It’s Father Day again, that doesn’t mean much to me. However I can’t help but continue the cycle of thoughts the day brings.
At 32, I can tell you that Father’s Day is me at my most apathetic. Some years I’ll send a tweet, other years I just don’t register the day in any form. No offense to any one that functions as a father/dad.
It you haven’t guessed, my feelings on this day all point to my relationship with my father. Well in my case it’s a little more complicated. My personal scope of what a father is something two-fold really. Before I look into that though let me share my cycle of thoughts.
My relationship with my father has left some life long aspirations. I always ask myself am I decent man? Am I decent black man? Am I a decent Haitian American? When dating, am I a good partner? Will I be an upstanding husband? And the question that scares me the most…will I be a good father?
These thoughts, partial or whole, tend to come up when I’m working or dating. Things will be going well but I’ll be occupied for a few quiet minutes randomly. These days the thoughts pop up a little more as I’m trying to move into the careers I want — I’m sure I’ll be able to deconstruct that later-
So why am I here? Well a lot of reasons but I’ll just keep this all short. This started when my mother and father divorced. My biological father; a man I have no relationship with, was deported to Haiti. He got caught smuggling drugs when working in the Port of Miami. My mom did what was best for my brother and I. He went back and she moved on.
I’m sure he had his reasons for smuggling drugs. I’m going to assume he wanted to use the funds to help support the family. He was a economically influenced to do it. Or so I tell myself, I still carry the fact he let my mom down. The one person shouldn’t have.
So what happened was that I never really heard about him. I built my own resentment going through elementary school. I respected male figures and had role models. I’m not out here to make excuses.I didn’t see my father so I just thought; well my life is moving without you, I don’t need you.
So when I was 10? 11? My mom actually started dating again. I kept noticing this guy talking to her in our drive way. I’ll fast forward how I didn’t know how to process it. He eventually moved in and after they became a couple. Yeah, yeah I didn’t like it but she was happy. It’s not like they asked me what I thought. Not here to demonize my mom
Slowly over the years this man became my father…I guess. He did all the father things you associate with being a dad. He encouraged me to study, be mindful of my hobbies, and we had serious talks. The talks about not feeding into black stereotypes and recognizing the police. So eventually in my head, he was sort of like a dad to me.
Overtime however I noticed some subtle issues he and my mom had. They would argue pretty seriously at times. He would randomly just live and not tell my mom where he was going. There were a ton of trust issues. There were a number of years where he didn’t live with us. He eventually seemed to be cool with my mom around my late teens.
The subtle and not so subtle abuse my mom received left reminders. Now, I ask myself why didn’t I try to stop him. I know I was a kid, I could’ve called the police. Well, maybe I wouldn’t, I wish I did more for her. I felt pretty weak at times.
When I was 19 things hit the ceiling. One night they were arguing again. This time it was really bad. I mean really bad. He actually lay his hands on my mom and left just short of her calling the police. My mom is fine now but I hate myself for not doing anything. Maybe I could’ve thrown a punch, tackled him something. I hate myself for not doing something.
Over the years he and my Father made me re-evaluate what it means to be a better man. I dedicated myself to not being clouded by our patriarchal system. You see, that’s what really allowed them to be how they are. So I went ahead and took a long hard look at toxic masculinity and how it affected me. I still work on breaking that down and being better.
Now, where am I? Well…I have no relationship with my biological father. Nothing is probably going to change that ever. I have spoken to him on the phone but each time involved asking me for money. Admittedly, I may need to speak to him and just get closure…or not. As for the man who I guess was almost my father? I found out he died last year November due his medical condition. I’m still struggling with those feelings. I hadn’t seen him since I was 19. I’m not sure what to think.
So to the fathers out there please remember what your position as a father means. It’s heavier than you may realize, you can build a lifetime of confidence or a lifetime of hurt. I wish to not disrespect any of you but this day…I wish I could skip ahead to Monday.
For now…Father’s Day is just another Day after all.