My dad pretty much checked out as I was born. He was alcoholic, abusive and left us when I was 10. The last I remembered of him was a phone call, where he said, "I am starting a new business. When I earn a lot of money, I promise I'd come and find you."
Years passed. Occasionally there will be rumors that he is in town, but we never heard from him. Life went on.
Whenever I am reminded that I do not have a father, I sense pride that I did not let that turn into a victim story where I feel sorry for myself. I also noticed numbness - which I took it as acceptance of the status quo.
However, I realised I have the wrong beliefs about men. I worked very hard in working on my insecurities and I thank my husband and his father for showing me otherwise, that not all men are unfaithful or un-trustworthy.
Most father's days, I will thank my mother for taking the role of the sole breadwinner for us 3 daughters. This year, a friend, Yian, asked me to moderate for his Intimate Moments Ep 50 - Father's Day podcast. I agreed with the intention of expanding my perspectives, to learn from others who are very different fathers than the only one I knew.
What a privilege it was, to be in the same room with 3 great men - James, Jay and Richard. As I reflected on the experience, I realised I was at my worst in moderation. I am not a stranger to moderation, so why was I nervous, awkward and just out of words?
As I re-watched the podcast, Jame's sharing relieved my guilt.
“the Conversations with my dad are awkward and clumsy. i do it anyway... wishing having a different father and son relationship.”
I came face to face with my inner child. The low confidence and insecure child. I have never been in a room with fathers, talking about fatherhood before. I saw the love and pride they have as they spoke about their children, and the yearning for connection from their fathers - who were imperfect themselves. I was both confused and also in awe. And I felt exactly that, awkward and clumsy.
The topic of "fatherhood" has always been a hollow, white noise whenever I tuned in all these years. Jay, James and Richard's longing for their fathers moved me. It was a long, forgotten feeling.
Now, as I listen deeply - there are more than one voice (You can read more about them here).
"I am afraid." "Where will this go?" "Do I really want to keep in touch?" (Voice of Fear - the hurt inner child)
"We are fine all these while. Is there really a need to rock the boat?" "Why is it worth the pain?" (Voice of Judgement - the Ego defense)
I hear a whisper, "I want to let him know, I forgive." (Voice of Compassion)
"He will be relieved. Forgiveness is such a gift and blessing to my own father." (Voice of Wisdom)
As I sorted my voices out, I am no longer stuck in fear.
I choose to honor my hurt inner child, she deserves to be loved. So much. She will not be ignored anymore.
I choose courage and compassion, over and over again.
I choose to forgive, than to be right.
Elle has since received her mother's blessing, and has reached out to search for her long lost father for 25 years.