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I know you'll never understand
what it felt like to be a 8, 12, or 16 year old girl
with a "father" who told you things like
"pull your head out of your ***" or "you only think of yourself" while he snuck out at night to **** other women, and blame it all on my mother.

You'll never understand what it felt like as a young, growing girl with big dreams and a big heart and was told I will never achieve them. I wasn't good enough, and for that I needed to pull my head out of my ***.

You'll never understand the fear I had as my whole body shook in "that spot" in the hallway where leather licked - no bit and twisted - my fragile skin. It was never quick. It lasted an entire life time. I had to beg like a dog and apologize for things I did not do or dreamed of doing. I didn't lie like I have learned to do now.

Meanwhile the dog was usually treated better than me and I was ok with that.

But you'll never understand why a simple phrase can take me back to that little girl, scared in the hallway. Awaiting the belt for something I did not do. Crying in my room and thinking up apologies to say so my "father" would love me and be proud.
I would do anything.
And now, as an adult, I have let many men take advantage of me. Who am I to say No to? Men rule everything they walk over.
& that will never change

I know you will never understand
Because in ways, I have him instilled in my being. In my brain. The way I speak to people, my impatience. My lack of love for myself and for others.
You may never understand, but I will
tumbledry Aug 2023
They say girls find men like their fathers.
And I always thought that wasn’t true.
Until the night his fire took root in you.
You’d tell me to shut up that I was talking too much.
Push me and brush me out of your way.
You’d sleep when I’d cry and refuse to hug me through the night.
Made jokes about my mother who’s death I can’t get over.
Tried to take control of my body by force.
And try as I could. I could not meet your gaze.
Without seeing his malicious face.
Emma Jun 2023
I don't remember where I read it
Maybe a poem, a quote, a post on some site
That who you were at every age is still inside of you
20 years of me tucked behind my ribs like nesting dolls
The thought comes to me as I'm texting you happy father's day from the bed in my college apartment
You are 1641 miles away in a house I've only visited once
I was a guest there, I've been a guest in your home since I was 6 years old
It's the home you share with her, with the brothers whom I love and only share half a genetic sequence with
I remember being 10 years old and making fathers day cards, making breakfast, making presents
I barely remember being 5 but I remember putting the stickers from my cutie oranges on your lunchbox
I don't remember you leaving

I don't think what you did is something I'll ever understand
18 years and three kids for a woman only a few years over half your age
I know that love ends and relationships fizzle out into only embers of what once was but I will never forgive you for not ending one before starting another
For causing so much hurt to the woman who I trust most in this world
And even so, the 8 year old that remembers you standing on the sidelines of her choir concerts because you had to rush to make it from work
And the 11 year old laughing and making dinner with random things we found in the cabinet while you watch with a smile because we loved watching chopped and you wanted us to have fun even if the kitchen turned out a mess
And the 13 year old that went with you to the flea market for the first time and became enamored with relics of history just like you
They are screaming from my chest because they don't understand why it feels like a betrayal every time I miss you
But the 11 year old me, sitting on a therapists couch for the first with my two sisters trying to learn coping mechanisms for dealing with the woman you have decided to spend your life with
And the 16 year old crying in the corner of her room in the youth psych ward because she accidentally told you about the family visit that would come at the end of her stay and doesn't know how to tell you she doesn't want you to come
And the 18 year old graduate thats hoping to some higher power that you won't actually come to the graduation party she's planning because it's in her with her family and you are not included in that circle of people
They too are screaming, with anger and hurt, that you don't even deserve a text
You haven't felt like a parent except in the fact that without you I would not have been brought into this world since I was old enough to realize that I never thought of going to you for help
Not really
Not with things that mattered
But I am every age I have ever been
I am still 6 and you're making up bedtime stories of superhero little girls with flying vacuums and I miss you with a deep ache
Happy fathers day, love and miss you- Emma
Ashwin Kumar Jun 2023
Though you didn't exactly give birth to me
You raised me, right from the start
Ensured that I was always happy
Took me to countless places
Sent me to the best schools possible
Put up with my tantrums
Scolded me when I was out of line
And at the same time, pampered me every now and then
Moreover, our bond strengthened over time
I began to share things with you
That I'd previously shared only with Amma
And I found, to my delight
That you were an equally good listener
Understood me to a great extent
And showed a lot of empathy
Especially during crisis situations
Such as my divorce
I really enjoyed our trip to London
Which brought us, if possible, even closer
Of course, I also had the company
Of my sister and a couple of relatives
However, it was mainly due to you
That I had such a good time
I'll end on this note
Please be the way you are
And wish you a very Happy Father's Day in advance!!
Khoisan Mar 2023
I found myself
in a circle of chips
fighting the circus of life
if only the old oak
could shed some light
I guess his bark
was bigger than his bite.
sofolo Sep 2022
Death called your name, you said
Not from the periphery
But right here
Right now
And it requires bloodshed

Eyes glazing over
The tracks before you
Dreaming of being
For the length of a mile

I laugh nervously
When you tell me
Because it was me
Your son
Who handed you the phone
“For death, press 1”

You’re at the crossing now
From the pedal
Your foot lifts
The train’s horn
As into its path
You drift

The brakeman screams
As your body disjoints
Your shame for me reduced
To scarlet exclamation points

A nearby sparrow
Witnesses the scene
“Sad”, she thinks
Hatchlings cozy
Underneath her wing

It’s a bit cruel
To pile your ****
On my shoulders
As if I were a mule

And it’s a bit wicked
To claim my
As sin committed  

The enigma of stigma
Is yours to explore
I slide you a key
I’ll be right here
On the other side of the door

A mouse creeps
Across the threshold
Seeing both sides
“Too bad”, he thinks
As he scurries by

You named me Christopher
After a boy killed
By a train
And now you say I’m to blame
Like an unfortunate stain
On the hem
Of our family’s pain

The truth is
I couldn’t keep living a lie
And I’m sorry, dad
I’m the reason you want to die
Ashwin Kumar Jul 2022
When we speak of parents
We usually refer to the mother
More than the father
Which is quite unfortunate
Because fathers are equally special
Of course, it is the mother
Who has to suffer through labour
And its unspeakable pain
In order to bear the child
However, once the child is born
The role of the father
Becomes equally important
Coming to my own experience
I could not have asked
For a better father
He has been there for me, no matter what
Taking me almost anywhere
Whether it be India
Or the rest of the world
A special mention to the train trips
Since it is only due to my Dad
That the Railways hold such a special place in my heart
Next to the Railways
Pride of place goes to cricket and tennis
With Dad sponsoring my cricket coaching
And playing tennis with me and my sister
I will never forget
The India vs Bangladesh match at Birmingham
Nor all those Wimbledon finals
The events themselves were memorable
But it was Dad's company
That made them all the sweeter
Anyway, enough about sports
Without Dad's support
I would never have made it through school
Especially the transition from CBSE to ICSE
That too in the eighth standard
Moreover, not many fathers
Would've been as patient and understanding
As mine was, during my engineering struggles
Which involved notching up seven arrears
However, the biggest challenge was my professional life
My first job was full of ups and downs
And towards the end
I felt like a fish out of water
Plunging from crisis to crisis
And eventually being forced to resign
And take a break from work
During these difficult times
Dad not only arranged my counselling
But also stood by my side like a rock
Putting up with whatever tantrums I threw
And this continued during my second job
Which turned out to be a nerve-wracking experience
Ultimately ending in a termination
After six months of hard toil
Coming to recent times
During my trainwreck of a marriage
And the subsequent divorce process
Dad and I ended up getting closer than ever
And I hope this only continues
Though of course for happier reasons!
So, as I said earlier
Fathers are equally special as mothers
Full stop
Silver Hawk Jun 2022
He looks in the mirror
He sees himself
Young, driven and about the make
the same mistakes again
I look back at him, feeling
young, driven and wiser

Each attempt to right the wrongs
of the past
to live a second life through me
is like one rock striking another
until one day
age finally numbs the sparks
and the reflections in the glass
turn to one of understanding

When I am older
I want to look in the mirror
at my son, proud at the
refined version that he is
knowing that I did not tell him
how to live his life
Justin S Wampler Jun 2022
It's so funny, my approach to life has always been this convoluted dichotomy of ideas and practices where I never wanted to give a **** about anyone or anything but I wanted to have a good reason to do so. I couldn't just chalk myself up to being an *******, I wanted the freedom of some diagnosable dilapidated mental state. Like somehow if I could just write my apathy and general laziness up to some kind of disorder then it would all be justified and I could feel at ease about just letting life pass me by and letting people who love me down, over and over again. The whole process has been so ******* and backwards that I started to feel like maybe my goals have been achieved, and by just working towards this contradictory state of mind I actually managed to make myself some kind of insane. The act of wanting to not give a **** about anything, whilst simultaneously wanting a good reason to be that way perhaps set me aside as the thing I wanted to be most in life: crazy.

     My father is schizophrenic, and he left when I was maybe ten or eleven years old but I never hated him for it. In fact in my adolescence I actually idolized and envied him for the freedom of responsibility that was granted to him through his diagnosis, I saw it as a boon in life. A way to cast aside the obligations every one of us faces in a modern society and just live day to day like nothing ever mattered. I wanted that same freedom, but more than that I wanted the same reaction that his behavior garnered from other people in my life. No one was ever angry, or hated him for how he acted. They all just pitied him and would spout throw-away lines like "well, what can we expect?" or "I'm sorry your father is so sick, Justin." when he came up in conversation. My mouth watered at the thought of all that precious pity, I craved that dismissive demeanor that people gave him. Like sighing when a seagull takes your sandwich, what else did you expect would happen? It's pointless to hate the animal because it's just doing all that it knows how to do. There's no sense being angry, or even disappointed. You learn to hide your food better next time but ultimately you have to accept that it's just a part of life, and the only thing anyone could ever do is just sigh and hope that it never happens again. For years I wanted that same sympathy, I wanted to be crazy and lazy and not give a **** about the people who loved me. I wanted to be just like my Dad.

     It took me a good twenty six years and my Mom having an (ultimately fatal) aneurysm to finally realize that this way I've been living my life would never grant me any semblance of freedom at all, and in fact the things I actually wanted the most were those same loved ones and obligations that I've been absconding from all this time. Not only were those the things that I wanted most, but they were what I needed to bring me that much craved sense of freedom and justification that I've been looking for all along. Now I'm almost thirty one years old and I think I realize now that my father was never free, never liberated from any form of societal norms or responsibilities, rather, he was just but a prisoner. Locked in a mental jail cell, a drunk tank within his own mind. He couldn't escape his inability to be a fulfilling father, he was locked up within his psychosis and there was never a key to begin with. I think now that maybe him leaving was more about doing the wrong thing for all the right reasons, and I mourn for his presence in my life and for the sorrow he must've felt when he said goodbye. I can feel his sorrow echo in my conscience, for I know that even with his cursed, so-called freedom of responsibility, the things he always wanted most was just to be able to be there for me. I don't hate my father, but I do pity him and I no longer want any part of that pity for myself. I'm still a lot like him, but rather than embracing the worst parts of who he is I try to channel the positive aspects instead. I try my damnedest. Besides, at one point in his life he was a man that my Mom fell in love with. A charming, handsome guy that had a relentless love for cars and games and laughter that went unrivaled by anyone else I had ever known, back when I was young and still spending time with him. He could cast a spell on anyone and illicit laughter and smiles, genuine and hearty joy.

     Those aspects are what I now choose to remember, what I now choose to channel and project. Because what are parents really? Just people who are trying to take all the best parts of themselves and pour them into their children. They're just people, nothing magic, nothing sacred, working at crafting us into better versions of themselves. To that point I say that he may have succeeded (though I'm still awfully terrified at the prospect of fatherhood,) and although what I thought I learned from his absence in my life was misconstrued in my mind for so so many years, the true lesson that he taught me is so brutally simple. To just be there.
At one point or another everyone wants to be just like their Dad.
Francie Lynch Jun 2022
She said I was her first true love,
And one day she'd marry me.
I told her another might object to that,
For I'm not what you seem to see.
You see, there were three others,
That said the same to me;
And I married the one,
The only one,
The Mother of those three.
Ah, daughters. How a father loves them, and how they first love their Dads. I miss my young girls, and love my adult girls. Tempus fugit.
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