When I was a little girl, the weeks before and after my birthday were filled with palpable anticipation, but it was not for the presents or the cake or the party. It had nothing to do with the attention I was sure to get from my mom, sister, and the few friends I had.

It was because it was time for me to check the mail again. Leading up to August 4th and a few days after, I would check the mailbox every day. I even asked to take the key to check the P.O. Box, just in case what I was hoping and searching for would be inside.

What was I looking for? A letter… from my father.

I remember asking myself each year if that would be the year I would get a letter from a man who I never met once I was old enough to remember.

Every year, the feelings were the same: I was excited until about the fourth day after my birthday, and then, my excitement was replaced by immeasurable sadness, because that letter never came.

All I wanted for my birthday was a stupid card that said “Happy Birthday. Love, Dad.” It could have been on a piece of toilet paper for all I cared. I just wanted something.

I grew up not knowing much about him, except that he was why I was the only female in my family who couldn’t/didn’t carry the family name.

In my younger years, I thought of this mysterious man as someone who might sweep in at any time and save the day! Save me from what? I had no idea, but I thought his presence was bound to show up at any moment. But it never did.

As I grew up, that fascination turned into resentment. It became a deep hatred for someone who I thought had abandoned me. In my adolescence, I cried to myself more times than I can count. I tried to push away the idea that a parent could just leave their child and never speak to them again.

I thought that the pain I felt could not get any worse… until it did. That was the day I found out that I had little sisters who I knew nothing about. First, I remember a feeling of awe and love, quickly followed by disgust, jealousy, and more hate.

What makes them so special? Why do they get to have everything that I desired? They get to be loved. What makes them worth more than me?

I remember being angry with my mom because, it must have been her fault, right? Otherwise, why would he just… literally… want nothing to do with me?

It wasn’t until high school when I first heard the words, “Oh, you’ve got daddy issues, don’t you” spoken to me.

“Daddy issues?”

I remember immediately spinning into a mental rage. The concept both fascinated and pained me back then. In fact, it fascinates me and tests my levels of empathy and compassion to this day.

I’ve gone my entire life without saying or using the word DAD.

I’ve hated that one particular day in June, you know, the one where we celebrate “the sperm donor”. At least, that’s what I thought when Father’s Day would come around.

I tried to celebrate my grandfather instead, who was a wonderful soul. I miss him so much. He was the only father figure I had in my life – the only example I had of what love looked like from a man. When I thought of things like having someone walk me down the aisle on my wedding day, my grandpa immediately came to mind. Knowing I had Grandpa helped me stop the flow of tears that would always well and pour when I thought about that magical day (back when I was sure I would eventually have it). He died 6 months before Hurricane Katrina, when I was a senior in high school.

I grieve for them both sometimes, the father I never had and the only one who ever came close.

After entering my first serious relationship at the end of high school, I made an intense promise to myself. I wouldn’t do to my children what had been done to me. I told myself that no matter the circumstances, I would do everything to be like my grandparents (married for almost 50 years) or be like my sister and brother-in-law (who have been together since I was 3).

I told myself that I would do whatever it took, even if it meant my life, my happiness or my sanity, to keep my future family together so that my children would never feel the pain I felt.

That was a nice thought, right? It was also easy to have because “life” hadn’t really begun to happen to me yet. It was nice to speculate on what I thought I wanted. Around the time I began college, it was all I could consider. Get through college, get a job (or something), get married, have a home and have babies. I didn’t know any other way to do life or give it purpose. That was what I had been taught, so I needed to deliver, or my life would be worthless.

Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway… ALL OF THIS HAS CHANGED.

  • I no longer desire much of anything contained in the outline above.
  • I’ve changed the game and my life story to one that is incredibly unconventional.
  • I have refused the idea and concept of both marriage and monogamy, and I don’t want to be a parent.

It feels better this way. I did the work to figure it out and decide for myself, versus doing what I thought I had to do in order to give my life meaning.

Occasionally, I ponder if my relationship with my father (or lack thereof) has anything to do with my choices regarding the future.

I recently went through a time where I forgave him. It was weird. I just decided that the pain, disgust, and resentment were too heavy to keep lugging around. It was also too much for other people in my life to deal with, so I just let it go. I decided that everyone has a reason for their actions, including him, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt indefinitely. For my sake.

I decided that “daddy issues” will not determine my ability to love or be loved by men.

It took a lot of work, it was fast once I made the decision to clear the energy, but it still took quite a bit of inner forgiveness and healing.

In a way, even though I can forgive, I think I will always have a portion of my heart that is poised and ready for self-preservation in the face of a man who should stay and love unconditionally… but may still leave. Who knows?

I choose to let it go every day. Something this big that occurs for such a long time in your life takes daily practice. For this part of my life, I am choosing not to define myself or my character or my relationships. It does take work, but it’s a lot easier now than when I first began the journey of self-acceptance, self-love and forgiveness. I imagine it will continue to take less time as the years go by, but again, who knows?

All I know is that I have a message for the other girls/women with “daddy issues”:

Your parental circumstances do not define you if you refuse to let them. Wake up and make a decision. Choose you, your life, your love, and your future. Do whatever you need to take it completely into YOUR hands and make it all as magical as you possibly can.

Just as you don’t need a man to complete you… you also don’t need a father to fill a void that you are perfectly capable of filling yourself.

I love you and I’m here if you ever need me <3

Capably yours,


*This was the first time in my life that I have shared this. I believe that sharing my story will help lead others to heal. That’s why I do all this, along with the fact that I can heal through my own fingertips touching the keyboard.

Thank you for reading and being a part of my healing journey. I will never claim to have all the answers, but I can wholeheartedly tell you that I am endlessly committed to the search.


**Much of my ability to share and forgive comes from the work I did with sexuality empowerment, self-love, sex education and relationship reformation. When you forgive yourself and unapologetically accept and love yourself, you can do the same for anyone else in your life – especially those who’ve hurt you.

I love inspiring this shift and change in both myself and others; I now realize that this is my purpose, and I am lucky enough to do it every day.


2 replies
  1. Brian Crook
    Brian Crook says:

    I am deeply touched by your words. I can’t imagine. I can’t think where to start. I have a daughter. A wonderful young woman that at 16 often sees me as an old, ignorant and out of touch nuisance. She also sees me as her protector, her champion and as one of two parents that love her unconditionally. In one moment she can screw her face up in dismay at me and then unconsciously hold my hand as we enter the mall. I hate the mall btw, but I’ll go anytime she wants. I have spent hundreds of nights with that angel, reading her books and laying with her while she fell deep enough to sleep for me to sneak away. I’ve been at countless soccer games, silly graduations and all kinds of other events celebrating her existence. I have struggled more recently with a sense of failure though. That I failed her because for some reason her mother left our house to pursue something “better”. How could I have let this happen. How could I have moments when I am harder on her than is normal or appropriate. When its not her misdeed that has me angry but rather my broken heart that is screaming. Then I read about a woman… a little girl…. you. What you never knew and never experienced in a man, in a father. I realize that my daughter is relatively fortunate and that I haven’t “failed” her. Reading your words break my heart. Keep the faith and stay on course Alexa. The world is full of men and loving fathers. Open your heart to the possibility. If there is a cosmic scale that weighs all things of significance, you have a wonderful life ahead of you. Thank you for your share and thank you for what you do.

  2. S. Samson
    S. Samson says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I never know how much pain a little girl go could through from feeling the absence of a father. I now have a much deeper respect and appreciation for women know that I know more about the depths and details of their suffering when feeling unloved. It makes me want to make every woman in my life feel as loved as I possibly can. I’m curious how your sisters experience compared.

    Heartfelt hugs,


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