The Honourable Father’s Day

by Anna

On Sunday, the UK celebrated Father’s Day. This day was created about 100 years ago to form the adequate counterpart to Mother’s Day which was set up only a few years prior to that. Both originated in America and are now celebrated worldwide at individual dates, some coinciding with other local national holidays.

When someone mentioned that it would be Father’s Day soon, I gave off a surprised “Is ist?” and realised that I didn’t have a clue. And my response explaining the reason behind it was: “I don’t have one of those, so I don’t really care.”

It wasn’t until yesterday that I saw a blog by a friend which merely presented a poem and a photo of her with her dad on her wedding day.

That was the moment my throat tightened. The poem describes what my father never was there for. And I have recently begun thinking about tying the knot and realised that I didn’t have a father to give me away. Well, this is not such a big deal since I have decided that my brother will wonderfully fill that gap. Just the mere gist of realising that I simply don’t have a father suddenly got to me.

So, why is it, that after three decades I suddenly get this outburst of resentment and sadness? Is it maybe because I had simply put these feelings on hold, or even pretended that they had never been there in the first place or denied that they affected me at all? Or is it the frustration about all the failed attempts to get to know my father and show him what a magnificent and multi-talented woman I have become? Is it the feelings of rejection, to not be acknowledged for who I am? Or is it that I feel there is a side in me that is missing, or that has withered away because it wasn’t nourished when it was time to do so.

My father is still alive, at least I think so. So pretending that he doesn’t exist is difficult. I am basically lying to myself and others when being asked about my parents. And that happens a lot, because I live in a foreign country and people wonder where my parents are. Only rarely do I have to explain as far as that my father simply didn’t want to be part of my life.

According to Wikipedia, Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society, none of which mean anything to me. There was a time in my teens when I resented this day very much. To me it didn’t make sense why fathers deserved a day to honour them if all they did was ejaculate their semen in a moment of pleasure and then either spent the rest of their lives being the honorable dad who does all the nice things or just disappear, never to be seen again. I only saw the effort women had during pregnancy, giving birth and then raising the child, feeding, cleaning and educating it. Back then I had no concept of fatherhood and it appeared to me that they had the effortless part of being there, or not, without all the uncanny work associated with childbearing.

Of course I have learnt and grown since then and now know of women who simply disappear after childbirth leaving the father to deal with it all and raise the child alone. And also I know of a recent event where the mother decided to have a child and then cuts off all contact with the father. Maybe this is why I feel so emotional about it. He even went to the maternity unit on father’s day asking to just see the baby at least once. He was refused entrance…

I can’t resent all fathers, for some really are great dads. It was a tricky situation back then. I wrote about it a little while ago and I understand that my father had made a decision and he sticks to it. It must be very unsettling to accidentally create a baby when you are with someone else and it can ruin you whole life. And he didn’t want it to create a problem so he refused me access to his life. But I just wish he understood the frustration that I feel by not being seen. It is almost like a part of me doesn’t exist because of it. It is a constant struggle between hiding away and attempting to live my life to the full. I could waffle along forever because I just can’t find the words to express that tight feeling on my chest and in my throat that comes up when I think about this.

On the other hand this sensation of not being seen has made me work even harder on myself and my life. There are a lot of doubts and self-esteem problems but I appear to be a born fighter. And fighting I will do, for the rest of my life. It is a pity that I can’t get him to be proud of me. But then, do I really want to be dependent on a man’s approval?