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Mama's Baby...Daddy's Maybe

I know a girl

She puts the color inside of my world

But she's just like a maze

Where all of the walls are continually changed

And I've done all I can

To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands

Now I'm starting to see

Maybe it's got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters

Daughters will love like you do

Girls become lovers who turn into mothers

So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?

It's the same she's been standing in

Since the day she saw him walking away

Now I'm left

Cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters

Daughters will love like you do

Girls become lovers who turn into mothers

So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break

You'll find out how much they can take

Boys will be strong

And boys soldier on

But boys would be gone without the warmth from

A womans good, good heart

On behalf of every man

Looking out for every girl

You are the guide and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters

Daughters will love like you do

Girls become lovers who turn into mothers

So mothers, be good to your daughters too

- John Mayer "Daughters"

Most men say they don't want a woman with "daddy issues"- a tumultuous relationship with her father or father figure that leaves her scarred and hurt by men. But...sometimes there is no way around it and it's absolutely unavoidable. It's a matter of  just being understanding about the relationship or lack thereof. I thought about this post as I dusted off a book called "Whatever Happened to Daddy's Little Girl" that I found in my book collection. It was an excellent look at the impact of fatherlessness and black women.  I wasn't abandoned by my dad to be raised by a single mother. My father father was what you call "present yet invisible".

My story:

I'm not what you call a "Daddy's Girl". I'm not the apple of my father's eye.  He never smothered me with kisses, bouncing me on his knee and when he tried to be affectionate, it felt forced mostly and I'd tense up. I'm not his favorite because I am the (presumed) baby.    I can't call him and talk about anything (although he says I can) because he's extremely terse and judgemental. We never did any father/daughter time (because he felt that we should do what HE was interested in..and not the other way around)  and, actually, our first father/daughter dance was on my wedidng day (which almost didn't happen due to his temper and blow-ups. over absolute bullshit.).  Yep, I'm none of that to him. I really don't remember anything about my father before the age of 8 because he was in the service. Truth was, he and my mother had seperated and he was "getting his sh*t togehter".

My father, all 6 foot 3 of him, is a big and ever present man. A former cop and army sargent, he ruled our house, and relationships in it, with an iron fist. Sometimes that fist would connect to my mother's face or bullied my brother. I sort of blocked out the years of age 8 to about 13 because I really don't remember any happy times. I remember my father, although very hardworking, being laid off a few times. He drank. He beat my mother (although she has amnesia now...but my brother remembers too). He yelled at me and my brother. He never thanked my mother for her sacrifices when he was under or not employed and she, being disabled herself, made tremendous sacrifices to keep us afloat. Eventually, my brother, tormented by his own feelings, left our home quickly when he turned 19.  Between being isolated in school and feeling small at home, what was there to celebrate.  He felt he could live by his own rules. Although my parents have been married well over 30 years, I dont think there was a single year he was faithful to her. He made many kids outside of the marriage, including a supposed "sister" that is exactly one monh to the day older than me. I didn't feel special as he tried to force a relationship with me and this "girl" that I felt shoulda been a cumstain or swallowed.. I remember at age 8 asking him "Why didnt you use a condom?" (trust me..I was pretty smarty then) and he just laughed. I didn't even blink nor find it funny. Absolutely unapologetic, he even posted pictures of the bastards around our home. It was a slap in my mother's face that was more hurtful than any physical slap he could have placed on her little 5 foot frame. Emotional slaps.

I say my father learned all of this as a "generational thing". You see, my Grandfather also ruled his home the same way, and in turn, so did his sons. Being mean to women. Being deadbeats (which I learned from cousins I befriend via the magic of Facebook) and most of all, being sexually irresponsible. I really don't know any kid my age or older that doesnt have a dad who has at least one outside kid somewhere or is a part of some man's ever growing brood of kids. Unmarried mothers. Abandoned kids. And families torn apart.

A lot of focus is placed on the importance of fathers in the lives of black men. I argue that it is equally important to black women. Dont just be IN the house, do something while you are there.  Be an example of the kind of man she should seek out. Paying bills and keeping the lights on is the minimum duties of a father. My father didnt teach me what to expect of a guy just that if "he gets outa of line..I'll kill them".  For what if you are doing the same thing? He didn't teach me how to demand respect or for guys treat me like princess, because quite frankly, he was a  misogynist who really didnt know how to treat women.  So what kind of example could he give me? The example he gave me was : "Shut up. I'm a man. I pay the bills. So, I do what I want without any accountability because I am the MAN of the house". I think it's manhood wrapped up in false sense of black male bravado. "Maleness" doesnt come from anything phallic or physical. It comes in being emotionally vulnerable yet strong. I dont think I've ever heard my father apologize ONCE in my life. I've never seen him cry, not even when my older sister from his first marriage died in a tragic car accident (I'm not doubting that he cried).  Not even when I heard he and my mother arguing and him telling her "I told you to get an abortion".  I was 12 years old. I cried my eyes out.  You tell your wife to get an abortion? But not these other random bitches?

 I think this is why I am the way I am (and had therapist tell me the same crap for $100 an hour).  I push myself and overcompensate for everything. I am the consumate over achiever. Any sign of cheating or a HINT of cheating, I'm out the door.  Yell at me once, and I'm out the door. No guy has come close to being physical with me otherwise I'd be in jail for murder.  I hardly deal w/ a man with kids (and def. not more than one baby mama).  I am quick (and I do mean quick) to either cut a man off without warning  when they fuck up once or show signs or fucking up (like I did my husband) or give a guy 1000 chances (like I did my husband). This is also why the idea of "submission" was hard for me too. I def saw my father use it as a "doormat" and less of a "helpmate" despite my mother's constant need to people please (also a trait I get from my mother...but that's another post) and be a good wife. If submission had anything to do with that, I wanted NO parts of it. Where was the equality in any of this? . Conversely, I can be MEAN, angry, tense, cold, and sometimes totally unapologetic. I get that from him too. And I absolutely hate that. But at least I recognize that.

 I remember having this huge fight before I got married and yelling "My husband will be NOTHING like you!" and my father smirked.... and boy, I was right about that...and wrong about that. I couldn't even talk to my dad after the divorce.  I felt like HE had won.  I fell into my mother's arms when I found out about my husband and had decided to file for divorce. He was angry I got divorced. Not because of what my ex husband did to me or that his baby was hurt. It was about the $4000 he spent on the reception.  He tried to ask how I felt but how could it come off as genuine when you brought up money? In his old age and more secure employment, he had become a total tightwad and selfish with the dollar.  I got mad and said.."If you want the money back..I'll pay you back every dime". My mother told me "Dont you dare...."

I will say after I married and moved out on my own, the relationship with my father is better but it truly wont be as close as it should be ever.  I try to reach out but then I realize me and my father truly have nothing in common. I get jealous when I hear about girls having great relationships with their dads. I truly wanted that. But I feel like now it's entire too late. He's 60. I'm 31. I'm grown. How long can I blame him for my issues with men? Had I been any weaker, I could have easily turned to drugs or prostitution or something.  Instead my drug is picking emotionally and sometimes physically unavailable men. Pushing myself to the breaking point of achievment and goals. Just pushing..and pushing..and not wanting to look back..

I've tried to think about the positive attributes of my dad and the bad always outweight the good. He's great with cars, fixing things around the house, yardwork and can make anything. That's about it. And that's so sad to me. I cant say "He's gentle and kind" or.."He's understanding and makees me feel special". THOSE are the attributes I seek in a mate, the things he lack....mixed with the few positive things he has. And it seems damn near impossible. Now here I am...divorced and terse and unfeeling... torn between .wanting love..and feeling like I don't need it...and I can relate this all back to being 8 years old...and just wanting my Daddy to hold my hand and say "Baby, it's gonna be alright".I can only hope that my daughter (or son) get the positive experience of having a good male role model in their lives. And that the man isnt just THERE....he's there doing something. tell me how important is a father's relationship with his daughter? VERY.... Dont let her be set up to be "that girl" dudes avoid with the "daddy issues" that cant keep a man....get a man....or scares them off.

Don't let them turn into me.... (whatever that is)

Just don't.

(Damn..this was the realest sh*t I ever wrote......Thank you Heavely Father for allowing that to flow from my fingers to this page!)


  1. It is not the "illegitimate" children's fault. My mom and dad were both in the Navy when they conceived me while they were both married to other people. And now that I and all my sisters are "grown", they treat and speak of me the same way you talk about your other siblings outside of your parents' union. They actually probably say worse things about me. But shit happens, and it is meant to happen. And by that I mean the birth of certain people in certain circumstances is meant to happen. The fault is with the father, not the children who obviously had no say in their, our, conception.

    I speak on this because I don't know very many people who are open and vocal with their story like I am. I wasn't born out of wed lock, technically. I was born out of the social norms and a lot of children are. That "girl" or other woman/ women's bastard is your blood. She didn't ask to be here. You don't have to have a relationship with her/ them, although it's sad if you don't. But it is not the children's fault. It is what it is. I just get fed up with the "other woman" and her children being outcast. Everyone has their side of the story. All are to blame and no one is to judge.

    ~*Sailor Taylor*

  2. @Sailor Taylor

    I'm sorry. IMO THAT and THEY were not meant to happen.(with regards to my family). AFFAIRS can be controlled. They had condoms back then too. And the pill. etc. Abortions were still legal via Rowe V. Wade. Trust and believe. It's not sad I dont want to have a relationship with them. It's my choice. My parents are still married which prob makes it 10xs worse. I choose not to accept filthy, generational curses of my family. I'm not having it. They go on with their can my father..and my mother (who is really the true victim in all this). I go on with mine.

    And until they get a DNA test..I have one brother. And one deceased sister. Period. My father isnt even totally SURE these are his kids. So..whatever. I'm not speaking on your circumstances and won't touch it..but I can speak on me and mine. And it aint cool...

  3. I had no idea you had all this family drama T. I guess everyone has their own family drama though. I can only imagine how you feel re these other children and the way it seemed like he kept putting them/their images in your mother's face. My grandfather was the same. One of the kids is slightly older than I am (1yr or less). My grandmother was ok with having her around but I don't think I would have it in me to do that.

    You have a good understanding of where your "issues" come from and your corresponding reactions and coping mechanisms. That's very important. I'm proud of you for putting all that out there.

  4. @Sailor Taylor

    I don't think the author is saying that "because the children were born outside of the marriage that this is why she will have nothing to do with them or this is why she doesn't have the best relationship with her father." The extra-martial children have not helped the way she is feeling in regards to her father and she does not feel a connection with the "half-sister". She is not saying that universally this is the way it should be -- she is just speaking of her own experience. I am actually very close with someone whose mother opted to separate him from his sister when they were young and now he does not have a relationship with his own sister and currently does not feel any obligation to try start one with her. We have to try our best to understand where people are coming from. We may not necessarily agree, but what a boring and uninteresting world we would live in if we all thought and felt the same way.

    P.S. You are indirectly passing judgment by forming the opinion that she should not feel the way she feels because you don't agree with her.

  5. You broke it ALL the way down on this post. I cannot emphasize this enough. I believe there is much truth to everything being spoken. I too feel the same way about my daughters. My compassion for them goes way past the fact they are of my flesh and blood. I just worry that Tomorrow will not be kind to them in terms of the men they allow into their lives. It bothers me, at times. But I remain hopeful.

    I have an older sister and our dad died while we were young kids and she has always appeared to have many of the 'sentiments' you admit to having. Not that it's a bad thing or anything like that; it's just real, and always need to be addressed, whether separately or individually.

    And you know what else? I believe this goes both ways - I often have my doubts concerning women due to some 'things' I witnessed between my mom and dad, who, for the most part, I grew up without.

    So, yes, I am definitely feeling this. I can't even say it's a bad thing cause men and women should always weigh their past against their present in order to gain a good idea of the future. It just works better this way, if you ask me.

    As for the John Mayer song lyrics above: Man. I had no idea that Mayer put it down like that. I need to go and listen to that song. ASAP!

    Good stuff, Mocha.

  6. I agree w/your sentiments about children born out of wedlock, Tati. Sorry, but if my D decides to 1) be unfaithful and 2) be foolish enough to do it unprotected and then 3) bring a child into this world - I dont want anything to do with that child, nor do I want Chase associating with that child either. Call me judgmental or cold or whatever but.... that is a decision he (Chase) can make, whether or not to foster a relationship with his bastard sibling, once he is 18 years of age. It angers me deeply to think about it. And while it is not the fault of the child (after all, they did not ask to be brought into this world), it doesn't make my feelings of anger/hurt any less valid. So.... sorry, but it is what it is. :-(

    With that said.... fabulous post. So raw and honest (I think that's what inspired me to post in such an honest, "real" way on my blog, for the first time in a LONG time). I think many of us (women) have daddy issues, in some form or other. Mine stem around issues of "abandonment," and have undoubtedly impacted my relationships, the way I behave in them, the way I behave when it ends (ie, overly-dependent, not wanting to let go, etc.) Its sad how long that type of hurt/pain can stay with us and carry on into our adulthood, but it is a reality that we've gotta face eventually.

    Great post!!!


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