my father’s daughter. 

I’m going to live with my dad!

I’m mortified knowing how many times I yelled that as a child. Each time my mother would calmly say “ok” and help me pack a bag. We’d, my bag and I, sit by the door and wait for the man I’ve never known, to never come. I’d eventually succumb to sleep and my mother would put me to bed.

I don’t know when my mother and father split, but I do know I was 13 the last time I mentioned his name. I was saying something admirable about him when my mother’s sister had enough and told me how awful he was to my mother. He was abusive, really abusive. I never dreamt about him or what he and his other family were doing again. I never wondered why he didn’t come for me again. I never breathed his name again.

The summer before I went away to college, my mom thought it was important that I had a chance to make my own decisions about who my father was, so she handed me the phone and said, “it’s for you.”

“Hello?” Nothing.

“Hello?” Nothing.

“Hello?!”

“Heyyyyy, it’s me, dad!”

This phone call began a series of visits in which I met my father, as well his second and third families. I met 4 of his 9 children, of which I am the oldest, and two of their mothers. We saw each other on holidays and school breaks. It was a short-lived moment because I was learning things about my father that I will never unlearn. I was also learning that I am my father’s daughter.

The years passed and I forgave my father, made peace with his absence, and came to my own conclusions about who he is. I acknowledged that all my brothers and sisters are also my father’s children, and because he made love and trust hard and family complex, I accepted that we may never truly know each other.

I saw my father for the first time, in 15 years, at my brother’s funeral. My Rosie came. She hugged him and gave her condolences for his loss. I said, “hi” and refused to participate in any other exchange with him. As I sat there crying for my brother, my mother said, “you know Kenya, that is his son up there…” to which I blurted out, through choked tears,

“I am his daughter!”

Dear Tyler Trenez Patterson,

I want you to know that I am your daughter. I want you to know that am a product of you. I want you to know that I am my father’s daughter.

Because of you, I have never loved a bad man. I know what bad feels like. I am immediately able to recognize bad and distance myself from it without thinking twice. Once, a man scared me and I walked away and never looked back. Thank you.

Because of you, I only have the very best people around me. Despite my heart seeming cold, being slow to love others, hard to let others love me, and reluctant to let people in or fully trust, anyone, there is a group of people that have knocked down all the walls I built. I love and I am loved, in abundance and by people who will always be there. Thank you.

Because of you, I know that family is most important. You made “family” complex and heavy for me. The word itself establishes no form of respect, relationship, or love to me. Those things are earned in my world. Therefore, I put in the work to have meaningful relationships because I know they are what matters in the end. Thank you.

Because of you, there are other humans out there that I am predisposed to love. We share the same smile and the same hurt; and I could see them in a crowd, having never known their name, and know they are a part of me. Thank you

I want you to know that while there are times I am angry, I don’t hate you. I want you to know that not knowing me, is truly your loss. I turned out fucking amazing! I want you to know that I forgive you, and not because I am your daughter, but because I am my mother’s daughter.

Sincerely,

kenya

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Kenya Raymer is a writer, blogger, dancer and the hostess of the natural-hair meet up Curls & Cocktails. She is a self-love enthusiast who uses her natural-hair platform as a space to discuss hair and all things beautiful & real. She is loving in Nashville, TN, where she promotes the local eats, animal rescue, self-awareness, personal growth, happiness and finding comfort in your own skin.

10 thoughts on “my father’s daughter. 

  1. What an amazing story of acceptance, forgiveness, healing, and self love in spite of ones beginning. Kenya this is so powerful. Thank you for being so transparent. Thank you for sharing your mother’s daughter with the world. Love and light.

  2. For years I have struggled to find the right words to accurately express how I feel about my “father”. e weathering you wrote is everything I feel. THANK YOU!!!

  3. My condolences to you and your family. I haven been following you a while now on social media and you are such a beautiful person inside and out. The courage to be able to open up about things so personal is a gift as it helps others gain insight. I recently wrote a post about/to biological father (I’m sure someone told him about it). I said when I first met him at his father’s funeral at age 22…my Name is Quetta and I just wanted you know I doing fine.
    God bless you and your family Kenya

  4. This is wonderful! It gives me so much hope to see other women accept and overcome absentee fathers. Fatherless women can either turn out like you or they can end up searching for him in everyone they meet, encountering all of the bad things. They try to nurture and heal broken people because deep down they too are broken. They settle for any kind of love that seems to be real because they don’t know what it’s like. It’s a dark world on that side. I’ve been there. It was difficult but I’m not there anymore. Thank you for your post.

  5. This made me cry . Im glad you have made peace. Im so proud of the person you have become. I never wanted to force your dad on you, just give you the chance to form your own opinions. You two girls are beautiful , smart , caring, talented and amazing !!! I wanted tyler to see that. I thought maybe he would see that too and want to be a part of your lives. But he is who he is. I didn’t want to be the reason he wasn’t in your life. Im the one who took you girls and moved away. My dad wasn’t in my life and used that excuse. Im sorry for all the hurt and pain you had to go through. I am so proud of you ! I love you with all my heart.

  6. Thank you for this!
    It brought tears to my eyes, I relate to it in a different way as I wonder what I would tell my daughter about her father.

  7. This is so crazy in parts of these I truly felt like you were talking about my father!!! Gosh it’s so crazy!!!!

  8. This is amazing! I almost feel like I wrote it myself! The oldest of my father’s 9 children. The first of his 3 families. Never having been in a toxic relationship because I knew the warning signs and how it would everyday play out. The list goes on

    You are great for putting your heart out there. Kudos

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