I honestly don’t know what to say to you. You’re 50% responsible for my existence, and I don’t even know your name. I don’t know what you look like, I don’t know where you are… I don’t even know if you’re still alive. I don’t even know if you know you have a daughter.
Before we (or I) go any further, please allow me to introduce myself. I’m Na’Kole. I have been on this planet for thirty-two years… without you. You missed the moment when I opened my eyes for the first time. You weren’t there when I learned to crawl. You didn’t see me take my first steps. You weren’t there to catch me before I took my first fall. You didn’t kiss my “boo-boos” when I scraped my knees time after time after time… You didn’t hear me sing at my eighth grade graduation after I took my teachers and administrators through hell partly because I didn’t understand why you weren’t around… You didn’t see me walk across the stage… You weren’t there when I got my first car… You didn’t get to witness me preach my first sermon… Nothing. I have NEVER seen you. I’m your daughter. I’m your flesh and blood. I came from you. Who you are is who I AM. Yet… I don’t even know your name.
Let me tell you how my life has been. Honestly, I didn’t even know that everyone on this planet has a father until I was nine years old and my neighbor said to me, “I know who your daddy is” and I said to her, “I don’t have a daddy.” She said to me, “EVERYBODY has a daddy. Everybody has a mother and everybody has a father.” Until then, I thought that some people had moms and dads, some people just had moms, and some people just had dads. I knew that EVERYBODY had to have a grandma, because grandmas are just awesome.
Imagine how I felt when I got this news in one of the most inconsiderate manners possible. Imagine how I felt realizing that there was someone out there who was a part of me… a part of me that I may never know. I remember walking to the library after school the next day. I’m sure you know that I grew up in a small town, so walking wasn’t a major danger when I was growing up. I remember going through all of the encyclopedias and seeing how it all worked. I remember reading about sex and not really understanding it but realizing that it was true that I did have a father. I won’t get into the other stuff that was going on, because this letter is about how I feel about you. I remember feeling confused and not understanding why I had never met you and why it seemed that you didn’t care a thing at all about me. At first, it didn’t really matter, but the older I got, the more I thought about it.
I remember being twelve years old and contemplating suicide because I felt like I would never be a “whole person” because I didn’t know you. I felt like half of me was missing and that I’d never really amount to anything because they say you have to know where you come from to know where you’re going. At times, I wished that I could have stayed under the illusion that had me thinking that I was just one of those special kids who didn’t need a dad and only needed her grandmother and her mother and other family and friends. However, I as I matured, I realized that in order to grow, illusions must be shattered… one by one.
It was tough realizing that you existed somewhere… It was hard coming to grips with the fact that you didn’t move heaven and earth to try to find me. Did I not matter to you? Did you not value the fact that I AM here in this world? How did you just go on with your life without me? I asked you these questions for the majority of my teenage years, but of course you never heard them, because you weren’t there. Ever. Not for a single day. Sometimes I hated you because I felt like you should have come looking for me. Sometimes I was sad because I felt like I would never be complete because I’d never know who I really am. Sometimes I just didn’t know how to feel… and sometimes I wanted to just end it all because it was too much to think about. I was constantly flooded with emotions — day in and day out.
I’m telling you this because you need to know. You need to know how I felt. You need to know that I AM here and that this is what I have endured.
It’s hard living in a world and feeling incomplete. It’s hard watching everyone else with their dads and NEVER having one. The majority of my friends are daddy’s girls. There I was… with no dad. No trace of a dad. No concept of a dad. Nothing. I didn’t even have a granddad. Nothing. And the one father figure I almost had, I couldn’t even really maximize that because people acted like I was trying to sleep with him. That was never the case. I just wanted to know what it was like to have a dad. People can really lack compassion at times… but I guess it’s easier to accuse than it is to ask. To this day, the reason that I won’t get married is because I’ve never had the experience of living with a man… and because there is a whole entire section of who I AM (in the physical) that I don’t know. I don’t know what traits I carry. I don’t know what “runs in my family”. I don’t know ANY of that. To this day, I will not bring a child into the world because I don’t know what I may be passing on to him/her. Although I have faith to believe that God is able to purify our bloodline, I also understand the psychological effects that not having you around has had on me.
Growing up, I made SURE that I didn’t fall into the traps that a lot of girls who didn’t have their fathers fell into. I made sure to never get pregnant. I made sure to never go to clubs. I made sure to never do drugs. I didn’t take my first sip of alcohol until I was well over 25. I made sure to not get any STDs. I was not promiscuous. AT ALL. I didn’t go from man to man looking for love in a sexual way. I didn’t do any of that — because I didn’t want your absence to be the pen that wrote my story. I didn’t want that for myself at all.
Now I’m sure that this would be a good time to really go in on you and say some hurtful things… This would probably be a perfect moment to unleash all of the words that most women in my position would love to say, but I’m going to tell you how I REALLY feel.
You are the man who was responsible for helping me to get to this physical plane. You are the man who was responsible for ensuring that I manifested here in the flesh when I did. That was your role in my life. For that, I thank you. I appreciate you for helping to create the life force known as Na’Kole. Maybe that was your only job. Maybe that was all that the Most High wanted you to do for me. I don’t know. Only the Most High and you can answer that.
I had an amazing childhood being raised by my grandmother and my mother. I missed a lot, but God still made sure that I was covered. Though I don’t confine God to a gender (because the God who made genders can’t be confined to the genders that God made)… I can still say that God was a Father to me. God taught me how to change the tires on my car. I got a flat tire on my way to school and I got out of the car and said, “Now God, You’re gonna have to help me with this because I don’t want anybody trying to kidnap me out here.” God taught me how to be tough. God taught me how to hold my own with the boys in my neighborhood. God filled all of the voids that were in my life because you weren’t there. I love my grandmother and my mother, but no woman can be to you what a man is supposed to be. If there isn’t a man there, only God can step in… and only God did that.
Therefore, I can honestly say that today, I don’t have any malice in my heart toward you. None of my thoughts toward you are evil. All of them are good. You are the man who had 50% of the honor of bringing someone into the world who wakes up every day and allows the Most High to use her to change lives all over the world. Thank you. You are a big part of the reason that #NotOnMyWatch™ (my suicide prevention, anti-bullying and social advocacy organization) exists. I was able to come to this physical plane and go through the suffering that birthed my organization and my first published book because you helped to bring me here. Thank you.
To the pure, ALL THINGS are pure. I don’t have a single ounce of unforgiveness for you in my heart. All I have is love and gratitude. That’s it. I don’t understand it all, but my understanding is not required. The only thing I owe you or anyone else in my story is love — and that’s all I have to give you. Now and always. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing about my life, because I believe that everything that has happened was necessary. It had to be just like it was and is so that I could exist as who I AM.
I’m writing this to you, but I’m not writing it for you. I’m writing it for every young girl who has to grow up not knowing her father. I’m writing it because someone has to be a voice that lets them know that they don’t have to do what society expects them to do. They don’t have to play into those predictions. I’m writing this for every little girl who thinks she is incomplete without the knowledge of her dad, because I know what that feels like. I’m writing to shatter that illusion. I’m writing this because as the woman in me speaks for the little girl in me in writing to you, other women and little girls will be able to do the same. See? You helped to bring me here for all of us. Thank you.
I may not ever get to meet you. You may not even still be around. I don’t know. I’ll NEVER ask. Ever. I just wanted to be able to free myself from everything I have ever felt, because I have work to do. If you ever get to read this, thank you for taking the time to do so. I love you with all of who I AM… because I’m you. You’re me. ♥ I’m not mad at you. ♥