On Having Daddy Issues
When I was 5, I sat in the back of a car holding a gallon of milk filled with pennies, while my drunk father drove us to 7/11 to get beer. As I watched the police take him away, I knew I would never feel safe again.
In 6th grade, the boys in my class took turns chasing me during recess to try to touch my overly developed breasts. I was already a B cup and couldn’t conceal them under the knitted vest that was part of my uniform.
At age 11, a door to door salesman felt me up while my family was having dinner upstairs. That was the same year that a man on a bike approached me for directions, only to stick his hand up my skirt.
From the ages of 12 to 15, an uncle I lived with took away the last remaining parts of my innocence. I had learned to live with it until my aunt caught him rubbing my bare legs under the dinner table one day and scolded me for being such a slut.
My first love, Michael, was the most popular kid in school. He was a fuck up and a drug addict, but I thought I could save him. He wouldn’t hold my hand in public because I wasn’t cool enough. I lost my virginity to him anyway. 2 years later, I left my adequate, small town boyfriend for a Cuban boy in New York who resembled my father. His face permanently reeked of vagina, but I’d welcome him into my bed every night. He had the ability to make me apologize for questioning his fuckery. I really outdid myself with that guy.
I’ve turned down 3 marriage proposals and said yes to one.
My business partner and mentor of over 6 years, Daniel, picked me up in a brand new Cadillac and took me to a Pedro Almovodar film one night. I love Almodovar. Nothing makes my heart ache more exquisitely than his work. Daniel and I sat at a Barnes and Noble sipping cappuccinos when he, ever so cavalierly, asked me to have his son. He laid out his plan of taking me to Paris to do the deed and take care of me until I birthed the kid. As he put it, he would then “grant me my acting career after losing the weight.” Why did he think that because he had feelings for me it was any of my business to hear it?
My last serious boyfriend loved me so long as I built my entire life around his needs. When he was at his worst, I licked his wounds and washed his feet. When I was at mine, he conveniently forgot that he ever owed me anything.
Michael died from drugs. My father followed a couple of years later. Michael visits me in my dreams, but daddy doesn’t. Dad died on Thanksgiving. He would – because he was such an asshole – die on a holiday just to ruin it for us all. I thought of looking for him many times, but knew he wasn’t someone I’d recognize. I knew I’d look at him and he’d look at me and he wouldn’t be the man who once convinced me that my cheap flowery dress once belonged to a princess. But he also wasn’t the man who made my mother’s nose bleed every night. He was nobody, and I had no one.
I ask myself sometimes how I can be so cold to some, but so nurturing to others. I don’t know where I get off manipulating people the way I do. I wonder if those are traits I inherited from him. I look at myself in the mirror; my forehead, my eyes, and my smile when I’m being cynical, resemble him more than I can bear. More than I know my mother can bear.
I don’t know if I love him. He never gave me the chance to find out. I know that my heart cries when I feel myself settling for less than I deserve because I never had a better example. I know that my sister’s keenness to hurt my mother stems from the lack of having him there to take the blame.
Maybe I would’ve never let a complete narcissist convince me that I wasn’t enough. Maybe that wouldn’t be the standard description of most of the men I’ve been with. Maybe I wouldn’t have accepted the idea that success would come from being half naked in front of a camera; from being adored, wanted and lusted after.
Or maybe I am exactly the way I am supposed to be. I am a girl with daddy issues who sometimes needs to love herself a just a little more.