Gettin’ Grown…my rant
Its taken me twenty eight years, two months and twenty nine days, But I finally get it. I am NOT a little girl anymore. Its a scary thought.
My Daddy cut me off last night. Yeah, he helped me financially maybe once a year. I’d be at wits end and he’s swoop in with a sizable check to make the bad guys (read: bill collectors) go away. Well, last night, my Daddy informed me that “I’ll be taking care of me…and my wife…and that’s it”. Now, I’m fine with that. Before my Dad and I became re-acquainted in 2002, I was very self-sufficient, very rarely needing or asking for help from anyone. But his declaration last night shook something in me…
I felt rejected. I felt…small and weak. A very calm, adult conversation ensued. But all I kept thinking was “Well….that’s who’s always been a priority. Why would now be any different” . See, back in 1991 or so, my Daddy took off for the land of urban opportunity (ATL, Shawty). He’s done pretty well for himself. Meanwhile, my four siblings and I , along with our mother sputtered along in the industrial wasteland that is Flint, MI. Rumor has it (read; My mama says) that my Daddy barely paid child support. We didn’t hear from him many holidays, he refused to send birthday or christmas gifts. He’d quit a job to avoid garnishment of his wages for child support. And many times, when I was young, he’d refused to even speak to us on the phone. He got re-married sometime in the mid-nineties and I never even knew. As I got older, I was the one who refused to speak to HIM. I saw him once when I was 16…for about five minutes…and that was it until I was 21. But WE (my siblings and I ) made it. Without his help…his advice about boys, his teachings, his pay check, his discipline, his laughter, his approval. We made it. My two brothers and two sisters and I all have some issues, and that’s to be expected.
So the last few years, Daddy resurfaced, mostly cause we each sought him out at different times. I feel like his checks (some requested, most not) were blood money. Its the physical price that he was willing to pay in exchange for living a good life, a prosperous life, in exchange for our mental and emotional health. It’s almost as if he put all the child support into an account and refused to pay it until we were all over twenty-one. It was his guilt money. And because I took that money, NOW I feel cheap. Like I’VE done something wrong. Its like I allowed the money to camouflage my feelings of abandonment, my insecurities, my teenage promiscuity, my horrible sense of self-worth…it was as if BECAUSE Daddy is giving now, It must means he loves me.
And now, its been snatched…again. And its not that I NEED money. I don’t. ITs what it represented for me. I feel guilty for not moving to ATL. Like…if only I had moved…then Daddy wouldn’t take his “love” from me. He wouldn’t find my thinking flawed or my behavior, work ethic and ambition unacceptable. But he does.
I’m feeling really screwed right now. And Its not COOL. Not COOL at all…
But hey. I’m twenty eight years old. Gotta move on…and up. I CAN move on and up. And THAT realization is FA SHO’ the sign that I am definitely not a little girl anymore.