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I remember envying those who had childhoods filled with loving memories with their fathers…and I remember wanting to trade places with those who grew up without a father as well…because that would have made my life either black or white..without the many shades of gray to consume my confusions as to why this man is here providing a roof over my head, but is emotionally unavailable to fill this house with scents of homemade laughter and loving behaviors…

Why is this man always angry, why does he roar like a lion..yet when I tell him I love him, he mumbles the same with such discomfort? He always made sure I was taken care of financially, he protected me..alongside his most valuable property…he saw to it that my car was running smoothly..and that I knew what interesting new topic he was researching..and I always considered that to be the way he showed his love to me.

I remember days filled with fear, and holidays served with two heaping spoonfuls of his screaming and yelling at the dinner table. I remember his overbearing opinions, I remember his anger toward anyone who had an opinion different than his..I don’t remember exactly when I decided I would stop having them.…

I don’t think he ever spanked me…but I do remember the beatings…I remember counting past 60 licks until I couldn’t count anymore..I remember the rod being his answer to life’s questions and misunderstandings…and as a result I left home not knowing anything at all..

I went looking for his love and acceptance in the hearts of many men..and though I never found what I was looking for..ironically, they mirrored the only fatherly attributes I ever knew…something way back when must’ve happened to him..I remember my mother telling me how he had to grow up before it was time, shielding his mother from his father’s fist, being held responsible for his siblings, the experience of segregation, racism, poverty, and picking cotton took its toll on his childhood…and yet I sense that there is much more to his unspoken story..so much pain suppressed inside of him not yet ready to let go of.

I am in a different state of mind now, I have forgiven him, and I am working hard to address the underlying lessons my soul chose him to teach…my compassion grows for him daily…and I pray for his happiness and healing. I finally realize how much I love him.