Monday, August 19, 2013

On Daddyless Daughters...(Part Deux)

I was really excited about Oprah's series. As I stated before, I needed someone to put my thoughts and feelings into words and who's better at that than Oprah?! I also wanted to bleed out the pain, I wanted to be healed. I don't want to carry the daddyless burden anymore...I don't want that baggage in my relationship with my boyfriend, in my relationship with my daughter and future children, or in my relationship with myself. I decided to go into it without the fear and embarrassment that comes with facing your issues head on.

In case you missed this series, the style was classic Oprah show-esque. She sat onstage in her studio with an audience around her. Most of the time she was accompanied by relationship expert, Iyanla Vanzant, sometimes Dr. Steve Perry and Geoffrey Canada were onstage, often they were in front row of the audience. I was thankful they made such a heavy situation as light as possible, there was laughter and smiling from both the experts and the audience. At times the audience was on the verge of tears or crying. As a viewer I was on the verge of tears a couple times.

I came out of it feeling refreshed. Mission accomplished.

There was a number of things that struck me in this taping. The first (in no particular order actually lol) was when Geoffery Canada (who is a daddyless son) mentioned why he thought his dad was absent. He thought his dad just needed to know how awesome he was and they'd get that connection and he'd love him. I remember feeling that EXACT thing, like, if he just knew how great of a kid I was he'd be sure to love me and come around...ha! The panelist went on to talk about how people fill the void of their daddy by overcompensating or over-committing. I don't think I attempted to overcompensate to fill the void but I definitely became a people pleaser. I hate letting people down and internalize disappointment.

Another was the 2 ways a father's absence impacts daughters: self sacrifice and promiscuity. Dr. Perry explained promiscuity as self mutilation and I totally agree. While I wasn't promiscuous, I did date "unavailable men" thinking that it was all fun, I wasn't hurting anyone. Except I was, I was hurting myself  and I am someone. Self sacrificing comes in many forms, one of the most prevalent for daddyless daughters is staying in unhealthy relationships for the kids. Iyanla mentioned how your self sacrifice ends up turning into sacrificing your kids. I'm not surprised, we've all known of couples who "stay together for the kids" and really they're doing the kids a greater disservice.

My Oprah infamous "aha moment" came from this line: "Daddy teaches daughter how to be in a nonsexual relationship with a man." This was said very early into the show so it opened me up and made me receive everything better. It was brilliant and made perfect sense! It's the neon sign plastered on daddyless daughters' heads. Some type of way we ooze "I don't know how to have nonsexual relationship with the opposite sex". I've wondered why a good number of my male friends attempted to be more with me even when they didn't like me like me. It's also the reason most of us use sex as a way to keep a guy around or thinking that if you didn't a guy couldn't or wouldn't like you. [Don't get me wrong, I have male friends that are ONLY friends and have never been any less than that. I say less because being another notch under someone's belt isn't more than being a friend.] It's the lesson mamas can't teach you, because they are of the same sex. We're socialized from a young age to interact with the opposite sex a "certain" way. In elementary school your teacher or lunch lady teases you about liking little so-and-so because you enjoy his/her company on the playground or at the lunch table. Then opposite sex relationships become competitive. Around 3rd grade or so girls undergo major growth spurts and are able to beat boys in basketball. Even though the relationship is non-sexual it's still based on what you can do. I didn't have meaningful nonsexual relationships with males until well into high school and I didn't understand the importance of them until college. My male friends offer me invaluable interactions.

According to Iyanla, here's how you move on. First tell the "Radical Truth", on the show she made the audience profess "I am a daddyless daughter". I did it with them. I got choked up when she made one audience member confess that she sometimes felt worthless. She explained it as a "level of emotional dishonesty" you need to filter through in order to live your better life.

The next thing daddyless daughters need to do is tell your story and cut down to 10 words. Your story being what you think or wanted from a daddy and what you did to compensate for the lack of daddy. I've told my story but you all wouldn't want to read a 10 word blog post so I thought I'd give y'all more ;)

Next, forgive yourself for what you told yourself about yourself. Reread that, I know it's a little much. Basically, daddyless children tend to blame themselves for their father's neglect. It's not your fault. What I learned during that 4 years of getting to know my father is that men that leave their children are scum. It has nothing to do with who YOU are, it's who THEY are. Forgive yourself for what you told yourself about yourself.

All in all I was happily healed. Once the credits rolled I didn't feel sad because I am a daddyless daughter. Iyanla's last advice was a 3 step plan; reclaim yourself, redefine yourself and recreate yourself. You are no longer a daddyless daughter, you are what you have become...

P.S. My daughter got hold to my computer halfway through this post. I've proofread but if there's a random letter inserted somewhere that I didn't catch please forgive me lol.

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