I grew up only knowing one photo of my father which was a black and white headshot that was taken for his green card as he became a legal resident in the United States after moving from Mexico and marrying my mother. After a few years together they split up and my mom took me to live in Oklahoma, which was unbeknownst to my father and where she allowed me to believe that he had abandon me. (Now that's a different story)
I wouldn't know the difference of having a father opposed to not. Being fatherless was normal and quite frankly, there were way more single mothers in my neighborhood than not. Father's Day was always a weird holiday though and honestly I was happy that it didn't occur during the school year. Being forced to make cards and having to explain the fact that I couldn't participate because I was fatherless would had been downright awkward
Now that I am older I can look back and see how being raised without a father shaped who I am today and how it has taught me MANY valuable lessons. I can't say that I would or would not change my situation. But I can say that I am proud of who I am today: a kickass woman!
1.Women can do anything.
Growing up without a father surrounded by a community of single-mothers taught me that women can do anything. And I mean anything! They can work the same jobs in the factory or fix the car, kiss the boo-boo's and cook the dinner. They can do it all! I had no idea that gender inequality still existed until I went off to college and was told women could not pastor a church. That made absolutely no sense to me since my life experience had taught me that a woman can and usually does do every role that men do.
2.What a man should be.
That's right. I learned what a man should be without ever having one in my home. Maybe it was all the failed relationships with boyfriends my mother kept getting herself into that sharpened my sense on what a good man should be. I knew very early on how to spot a good guy and a not-so good guy. They had to be selfless, hardworking, putting family first, generous, kind, thoughtful, and intelligent. Now that doesn't mean I always chose those men. But I always knew when I didn't.
3.You are your biggest champion.
I'm sure it would had been nice to have a dad on the sidelines cheering me on during those years of playing softball, but not having that figure taught me a valuable lesson: I am my biggest champion. I haven't succeed because I have someone cheering or encouraging me, but I have succeed because I trust and believe in myself to succeed. No one can do that for you but you.
4.Screw the statistics.
Early on I said "SCREW THE STATISTICS" and made up my mind that I wasn't going to be another pregnant high school dropout that needed a baby daddy or a depressed and angry teen. All the energy girls were pouring into chasing boys I was pouring into working jobs and getting solid grades. I wasn't going to allow being fatherless to define me as nothing less than a strong and capable woman that was made for success. I determined my own future. A father didn't do that for me.
5.The value of male relationships.
Even though I think women are incredible, capable human beings I still see a lot of value in male relationships. Growing up my closest friends were always men. Maybe it was because I didn't have a male at home, but I always had the best male friends. I would consider myself as being a tomboy when I was younger. Dressing in oversize Tee's and playing roller hockey or video games was a typical afternoon during those middle and high school years. The relationships with men always seemed effortless free of competition and drama which I valued. I gleaned a lot from those early male friendships about patience, friendship, and self reliance.
I grew up thinking that my father did not take responsibility for me which I later learned was a complete lie. But in some weird twist, I learned to take responsibility for my actions. I did not want to be the father I thought I had that couldn't take responsibility for his actions. If I messed up then I would own it and do what I could to repair the situation. Being able to do this either at school, work or even personal relationships always showed the other person a vulnerable and humble part of myself which was always appreciated and in turn formed stronger bonds of trust between the two of us.
7. When you say you're going to do it, DO IT.
If I say I will do something then I will do it mostly because I did not want to be an unreliable person that I thought my father had been to me. My yes is my yes and no is no. If I say I will do it than I will most definitely do it. I told myself one day that I was going to find my father. A Mexican man that I had a few fragmented stories of and only one photo. I wasn't even sure if he lived in the states. A few weeks into the hunt, I found him, met him, and can tell you that it was as exciting as it was terrifying but led me into my last kick ass thing I've leaned from being fatherless.
Maybe it's because I wasn't a daddy's little girl and didn't have that big strong protector to absorb some of the scary moments in my life but because of that I have learned to take some huge risk. Everything from living in Africa on my own to finding my father and learning about my heritage.
So happy Father's Day to all my kick ass fatherless girls out there that are not allowing old statistics to define who they are and will become.