Raised by a Single Father

I’m a very rare breed; I was a girl that was raised by a single father. Most stories you hear of single parents it‘s not the Dad who is the one doing the work of two. Throughout every school play, tea party, sleepover and field day it wasn’t my mom standing on the sidelines cheering me on, it was my incredible father. He was always the only man among all the moms taking pictures, bringing in snacks and helping me pick out the perfect prom dress. I experienced things most girls don’t, My dad raised me himself, which I’m sure to most males raising a daughter alone might be the scariest experience of their lives. However, he did the most incredible job, that I never once felt I was missing a part of my life. I never cared that it was my dad cooking me breakfast and giving me boy advice, instead of my mom. Being raised by a single dad taught me a lot of different lessons that I don’t think many women get to go through so I wanted to share my experience.

 

My Value

He taught me that my value didn’t come from my looks but from my heart and my mind. I always remember from a young age, and especially as I got older, that he would tell me to never rely on my looks to get me anywhere. My looks would eventually fade but my heart and my values never would. My dad taught me that to get where I wanted to go, I needed to put in my blood, sweat, and tears to get to it. He taught me that anyone who only valued my outer shell over who I was as a person wasn’t someone I needed in my life.

 

Independent

He made me fiercely independent. To anyone who reads this and knows my dad, he is the most independent person I have ever met in my life and I believe you all would agree. He raised me to be able to walk alone in this world without fear. That I could be happy and live the life I wanted even if it meant there wasn’t someone by my side cheering me on. That I could change my own oil, travel the world by myself and pave my own way in this life. I don’t have a fear of being alone because he taught me how to take care of myself.

 

Fuck the Status Quo

My dad is a very progressive person. He taught me to fuck the status quo.  There was nothing in this world that I couldn’t do. If I wanted to play basketball instead of dance, then he would spend hours shooting hoops with me. When I wanted a fast muscle car when I turned 16 instead of a Punch Buggy, he searched the Internet and got me a car with a V8 engine. To him, there was nothing that my gender would stop me from being able to do. He pushed me to go against the traditional and be different.

 

Brave

He made me brave, so incredibly brave. I remember when I told him that I wanted to pursue writing. I was scared because what if I wasn’t good and I knew that he always wanted me to join the family business and I didn’t want to disappoint him. I specifically remember him looking at me and saying, “Where is all this fear coming from? This isn’t you. Who cares what I think is best I don’t know everything. If you have a passion you need to go after it, this is your life.” His words are what helped push me to pursue this most likely unstable career, and to not be afraid because even if I failed at least I went for it.

 

Love

One of the greatest things my dad taught me was how I deserved to be loved. To be with someone who cherishes my heart and respects me. I deserve someone who is trustworthy, dependable and unconditionally loves me. I have such high expectations when it comes to love because he set the bar so high, I’m not even sure if there is any man who can live up to the man that he is.

 

This doesn’t even grace the surface of all the lessons that my dad taught me, but it is just a look into the life of a girl that was raised by a single dad.

 

Dad, you are the most gracious, giving human being that I know. Your unwavering love and devotion have made me into the person I am today, and I am forever thankful that I have you by my side. I love you.

 

-S. Annette

Why I Write

 

To me, writing isn’t a want. It’s a need, as much as lungs begging for oxygen maybe even more. This need, she demands me to share my racing thoughts, to express my pain, to voice my joy. I can never quench her need, she comes back time and time again forcing my hand to pick up the pen and tell my story. Sometimes I wonder what life would be like without her. What if she was passive and her love affair with the pen didn’t burn with passion? I wonder what would it be like to sleep through the night without her pleading to share just one more story. When I ponder of life without her, she wrangles my heart and reminds me, “we are one.” One and the same her and I, this need is I and her love affair with the pen is mine. Together we will always be, a flaming desire to tell my thoughts and share my voice.

 

-S. Annette

The Lessons Death Taught Me

Many people get undeniably blessed in life by not experiencing the death of a loved one until they are well into adulthood. I am not one of those people. I have lost more people in my life to death than I care to count. From the sudden death to the long awaited one, each one carried its own unique pain and its own lesson with it.

 

Lesson One: The pain will never go away. I know sometimes people try to tell you that over time the pain fades, but I’m here to tell you it never does. I can still remember every single detail and the cracking of my heart when I found out about each one of my loved one’s deaths. I can relive it over, and over again just as if it happened only moments ago. You will never ever forget that kind of heartbreak, it changes every cell in your body and you can never go back to who you were before it happened. Even though the pain doesn’t ever go away what I can tell you is that you can decide how you respond to it

 

Lesson Two: Happiness really is a choice. Each loss I experienced I could have chosen to let that pain and that suffering consume me, to let it engulf every part of me and turn my view of this life upside down. But happiness is a choice, you can choose to live in the pain of loss or you can choose happiness. I beg you to choose happiness, do not feel guilty for laughing or loving after a loss, it does not mean you no longer love or grieve for them. It just means you see that life, your precious life, must be lived to the fullest.

 

Lesson Three: Don’t live your life for other people. As a young girl, I used to do everything in my power to make others happy, even if it meant not being happy myself. When I lost two of my loved ones in college I realized that I was wasting my life trying to live for other people. You never know how long you have here in this crazy world, so why waste any of it living for others. It is your life and it is your time here, and you should seize every moment of it.

 

Lesson Four: Be kind. Life is too short to be anything other than kind to everyone around you. This world is already filled with so much hate and anger that if you have the opportunity to be anything but that, please do. You never know how one small act of kindness you present to another can change their entire day. When I lost my mother at a young age the amount of kindness that poured onto me from strangers was incredible, it didn’t take my pain away but it helped me see that this was not the end of my life as I knew it, it was only the beginning.

 

There are so many more lessons that can be learned from losing someone you love, but for me, these were the main lessons that changed my life. I am not the person I was before losing so many of the ones I loved, but I am a stronger and more resilient person because of it. If you are someone that has just lost a loved one, know I understand and know that I can say with all the confidence in my heart that you will be okay, maybe not right now but I promise you will.

 

-S. Annette

Hey Me

Hey me, “how are you? “

“How is your heart today? Is it beating to the rhythm of your dreams or is aching for the desires that are just out of reach?”

 

Hey me, “how are you?”

“How is your mind? Are your thoughts dancing to the sound of laughter or are they sinking into the depths of self-doubt?”

 

Hey me, “how are you?”

“How is your body today? It is swaying to the delicate touch of another or is it collapsing from the weakness of solitude?”

 

Hey me, “Please tell me, how are you?”

 

-S. Annette

Our Little Talks

I never know when days like today will find me. Sometimes it’s a smell, or sometimes it’s a song, and sometimes its nothing at all. You just open the sealed tight vault to my heart and let yourself in. I don’t mind your unplanned arrival. It helps me remember you because every day I lose a memory of you. My heart will break the day I can no longer remember the details of your face, so please let yourself in so I can take one more glance.

-S. Annette