papa

Memories of My Father

I hear my friends talk about their fathers. They talk about their quirks and likes. How their dad always uses a certain type of pen and when they see that pen they think of him. They reflect on stories or mentos and karaoke, homecomings and weddings, projects and just being there. My anger at my father is quenched. I don’t feel a wrath towards him. If anything I feel a pity.

The more stories I hear the more I grieve the memories that never were. When you have someone in your life who makes it more difficult, your brain never keeps the good moments. You work so hard to dump the bad, that you drain everything out. You are left with tiny fractured pieces that didn’t find their way to the recycling bin. I know nothing sentimental of my father, that I can reflect on and smile about privately.

My ultimate hope is forgiveness and restoration. My family is not perfect. We are a bunch of people fighting our demons. Many of us have slain the dragon, but for some, the war persists.

Dear Dad, 

I hope you have not given up fighting. You don’t have to do it for me. I don’t need you to. Do it for the sake of freedom. Happy Father’s Day.

Your Daughter, 

Tosin

Do We Really Need Dads?

I try to write solely about my experiences and myself. I conscientiously do not talk about my family in immense detail, as I know people who know my family might read this blog. Today, I am writing about my dad, because it is 2:30 in the morning, and I have spent all week denying that Father’s Day is today. Moreover, for self-preservatory reasons, I need to divulge. If you are someone who is in Atlanta who knows my family, just pray for us. And if you do feel the need to comment please do so here. Do not ask for more details and feed your gossip demon. Recognize that when someone shares with you, you are experiencing a moment where someone who trusts you is being vulnerable. Do not be the wolf to this sheep, be a fellow sheep and if you can be a shepherd.

All holidays pertaining to my father, I do not celebrate. I do not wish him a Happy Birthday or acknowledge Father’s Day. As of recent, my father and I are consciously estranged. Now, I made this decision recently. I do not call him. I do not text him. I do not email him. He has minimal to no knowledge of what I do, where I am, or who I am. The distance between Houston and Atlanta is so great that it is easy to pretend he is not there. In order for some understanding to be had, you need to understand some things.

Around age 12, I realized my father had no interest in my life. Not only did he have a massive disinterest, but also in no way did he attempt to hide it from me. The only moments where he did show interest is when, I did something he could brag about to his peers. I remember having to beg him to come to recitals and concerts. Senior year of high school, I was nominated for homecoming court (which was a MASSIVE deal). Friday night, you are supposed to walk the field with your dad. Two Sundays before, my family is eating Chili’s, and I ask my dad if he could walk me down the football field at half time during the Homecoming Game. He looks up and effortlessly says no. If it were not for my mother’s intervention, I would have walked alone. Sadly, comparatively, this is not the worst thing he has done to me.

You would think as an adult that, I would be done with all of this…nope. Even in adulthood the ramification of my interactions with my father, affect me. God has healed so much of my brokenness; there is still much more to go.

Since, I was a child; I could see myself as a mother before a wife. I knew I wanted to adopt, but I did not know if I could handle marriage. Often my saying was, “I don’t need a man”. Having a husband antagonize me seemed more of a burden and less of a blessing. God used college to do some work on my heart towards men. He is still working on it now.

So to the question of “Do We Really Need Dads?” My answer is yes, but we need ones marked with humility and love for others more than self.

  1. We need dads because girls who do not have them are stunted in their development with men.
  2. We need dads because boys who do not have them are given many incorrect views of what manhood looks like.
  3. We need dads because God gave them a role in the family to fulfill.
  4. We need dads because moms and dads are meant to be partners in this journey.
  5. We need dads because…because…well, because we do.

One day, I will choose forgiveness; I will choose reconciliation; I will choose love. However, today is not the day.

Father, forgive me. Soften my heart.

Celebrating Good Men

Sometimes, the one ends up representing the many. That’s what happened to me. For a long time one man has represented all men for me. I made an idol of loathing men. I hate their power. I hate that God asks me to submit to them. They are so untrustworthy. They manipulate people. Men, they want me to stifle my voice. They want me to feel like I am nothing; so they can feel like something. They did that to me. However, it was not men, it was man, a man, my dad.

However, this post is not about him. It is not about the multitude (like five tops) of guys that have made me feel so small. This is an apology and a celebration of the men who have put up with my craziness over the past several years.

Tonight, I dedicate this post to the men who have prayed for me. Who have actively just lifted me up to Jesus. For the men who don’t simply see me as a woman, but as a sister, their sister in Christ. Thank you men so much. I don’t know what in the world the Lord has as your reward, but I hope and pray it is something grand. There is something so endearing about knowing that someone is praying for you. I think it is because men and women cannot be anything, but genuine and vulnerable before the Lord. Thanks for mentioning me when you were at your most vulnerable. Thanks for mentioning to God. He heard, and He answered.

Thank you to the men who put up with my hurtful words and didn’t return them back to me. I have said some terrible things to you men. I probably still will (God’s working on that with me). I am never angry with you. Sincerely, I am never mad. I am my father’s daughter. I like to believe if I can take away your value I can ascribe it to myself. Please know that the venom I spew makes me so sick as well. You men are never ever the words I say. Please continue accepting my apologies and be patient with me. At sometime, I will get it.

Thank you to the guys that have been AMAZING LEADERS. Literally, a ton of my appreciation goes to this group of men. I remember conversing with God and stating, “God, how am I supposed to submit to a man? I don’t trust them and they all lead poorly” Literally, days later God sent a male leader that I respected so much. Without even knowing, he taught me how godly men lead. While, I never developed feelings for this man, I will be looking for the same leadership qualities in my husband. So, many times as an adolescent male leaders placed me in roles where women previously were, not at all thinking of my actual skill set or spiritual gifts. Seeing a guy assess that and then act on it was amazing.

Thank you to the sensitive guys, who have shared private moments with me. Who have opened themselves up to me. I know most people don’t accept it, but I do. It is beautiful and amazing. I live for those moments.

Thank you to the guys who smile at me or tell me I’m pretty. I like to believe I am, but it is nice to have someone else think that sometimes.

Thank you finally to my man. I do not think I have met you, yet. Please, know I am already thankful for you. I have prayed for you, and hold you in the closest place in my heart. I neither think of you as a perfect god or a fault-filled devil. You are human. You know life is harsh. You have made mistakes, but we all have. Christ forgave you. So how can I hold anything against you? So much of who I am right now is in preparation to one day be married. I am not learning a lot of housework skills (that will be split fairly). However, I want to be emotionally ready for you. I am dealing with my dad bags. While, I would love to meander around the dating world, I know it is not the best thing for me to do. Thank you for putting up with the first 10 years of crazy and tons of years more. Thank you for being an amazing leader to our big beautiful diverse family. Thank you for praying for me. Thank you for telling me I’m pretty, when appropriate (let’s be real here, some days I look awful). Thank you for having intimate moments with me, filled with secrets and jokes and whispers and tears and laughter. Thank you for loving me like Christ loves the church. I look forward to meeting you soon.

Thanks men, keep up the good work. Because there are tons of women just like me and worse who need some men to be GOOD MEN!