My parents divorced when I was five years old. My Mom took me halfway across the country to live with her new boyfriend. I missed my Daddy so deeply. I was so mad at my Mom for what she'd done. Her new boyfriend was no father figure to me. Not that I would have wanted it if he was. I hated him more than I hated my mom. I was a little girl and I didn't understand. I didn't want to hate my mom. I didn't want to feel sad and lonely and lost. I saw my Daddy on school vacations and over the summers but it wasn't enough.
I missed him.
I missed him.
I missed him.
I can bring back that pure, innocent longing for my Daddy and his bear hugs even now.
In fifth grade I had a male teacher who I loved. We called him Mr. Dub (short for W). I wanted that man to be my Daddy. But he couldn't be. So sometimes I cried for no reason in his class, just to get his sympathy, his special attention, his love.
I hit puberty and developed awful acne. I hated the way I looked. I felt skinny and flat and greasy and sweaty and horny. I wanted someone to love me anyway and think I was beautiful even in the middle of puberty. And I missed my Daddy. I got all mixed up by hormones and sex. I thought that having sex with a boy meant he loved me and would never leave me. I thought that would make me feel special and beautiful and lovable and ... whole.
My senior year in high school there was a math teacher that everyone liked because he was young and funny and fun. One day, he told me he had a dream about me. He told me he dreamt that I showed up at his door wearing nothing but a white tee shirt. And suddenly I felt sexy and desirable and wanted, despite my pimples and my insecurities, and not by a boy, but by a MAN. My whole world changed at that moment. I was armed with a powerful knowledge that a man wanted ME. Suddenly I was the most special person in the whole, wide world. So I flirted and wore sexy clothes and found reasons to be in his classroom, and then in his car, and then in his house under the wedding picture of him and his wife...
And I thought to myself, this is easy. All I have to do is be confident and sexy and flirty and I can have those feelings. I'll feel attractive and worthwhile and SPECIAL.
And so after my freshman year in college I started stripping. I took off all my clothes and piled makeup over the pimples on my face and felt like a queen, a goddess, a nymph. I felt special and sexy and powerful and desirable.
I met a lousy boyfriend. And when I tried to leave him he took off with me in the car and wouldn't let me out.
Afterward, I ran right to my Daddy and he hugged me and I cried.
But I didn't unlearn my bad habits. I still thought that I was only special when someone wanted me. I was still that little girl wanting her Daddy to be there to love her no matter what. And I thought I had to use my body to get that.
When I met Steve I knew he was different. Sounds corny, doesn't it. But it's true. He has this easy smile, kind of shy and sweet and it puts people at ease. Oh I melted when he smiled. We spent the summer together before my senior year in college. I quit stripping. He sent me care packages when I went back to school and I flew out to be with him for every break. Shortly after I graduated we found an apartment together.
When we'd been living together for less than a year I took a pair of scissors and cut the cable to the TV. I thought it was the TV that was stifling our love, our sense of fun and freedom. I wanted to get married. I thought that was what people in love were supposed to do. I wanted to build a future with him. I wanted his love and attention, so I cooked and cleaned and tried and tried to get back that feeling from our first summer. I just wanted him to make me feel special again, in the way that wasn't about my body, but about my soul. Maybe I hadn't felt it since that first summer together. But I knew it was possible. I think that's why I stayed. If it happened once, it could happen again, right?
But it wasn't happening. And at work I was surrounded by men. Before long I was filling my need with attention from strangers and customers and coworkers. And hating myself because it wasn't the feeling I wanted. I wanted my
Not special, no, not special at all.
Steve's been sober for a little while now. We're both in recovery. I'm learning to find fulfillment within myself. I still have a love-hate relationship with the word SPECIAL. And I still feel moments of weakness, like this weekend when I felt inadequate as his partner. I think he still has trouble dealing with the behavior of my past. But I’m grateful to say that I truly believe that behavior is behind me now. I’m trying to forgive myself for what happened. I pray that he can forgive me too and we can move forward with a better, brighter future.
And for all the fathers out there, love your little girls and be the man in their life, every day.