Today’s blog …

Today’s blog is about love. And I’m gonna get right to the point.

 

When did it become OKAY for men to go OUT OF THERE WAY to NOT express how they feel to the women they care about?

 

Now some disclaimers:

 

I’m not a woman who is real big on Valentine’s Day. I don’t hate it, mind you. I have nothing against it. But it’s not a day that I let be the main benchmark of how the relationship is going when I have been involved with someone. I’ve had Valentine’s Days full of flowers and jewelry and candy and elegant candlelit dinners and such. I’ve had Valentine’s Days that came and went with very little fanfare. Of course I liked the flowers/jewelry/candy etc. better than the lack of fanfare, I am a girl after all dammit. BUT a non-Super Sized Valentine’s Day is not a deal breaker for me. I like my love demonstrations doled out over time incrementally, not all dumped on me one day out of 365. That’s just my preference.  The numerous sweet, small/medium sized gestures that happen fairly regularly are the key to my heart, not the annual grand gesture. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE GRAND GESTURES, but if you go that route you’re still gonna need to give me my regular small sweet incremental love. Again…that’s just how I like it.

 

But what I am finding troubling now is that men seem to have decided Valentine’s Day is a reason to NOT show love. Or like. Or affection. Or…anything for that matter. And they say it’s because…well, let me get this right…it’s a paganholiday/toocommercialized/doesntmatter/isjustanotherformofbribery/isjustawayforwomentogetstuffoutofusthatweshouldnthavetobuyorsayordo.

 

 

Bullshit.

 

When did it become okay to not show love? Or like for that matter?

 

Fine. You don’t want the calendar to dictate when you show love. I get that. But do you actually do it all those other days of the year you say you do? Really? Do you really? Are you sure? Or is there some other reason those other 364 days? You worked a double? You worked a triple? You were broke? You were mad cuz the Ravens/Eagles/Lakers/Knicks/Yankees/Orioles lost? You waiting until you hit Lotto so you can blow it all on her? Yeah, think about it. I’ll wait.

 

You don’t like the whole manufactured commercialized big deal of February 14th. It seems fake to you. Fine. What day(s) ARE you willing to make a big deal out of when it comes to her with genuine excitement? Every day? Every Friday? Every second Tuesday of the months ending in ‘r’? Her birthday? The day she gives birth to your kids? Good Friday? Yom Kippur? National Bellybutton Day? February 29th every leap year? Any Saturday night while drinks are still 2 for 1 at the club? What day? When? Do you know? Yeah…I’ll wait while you figure that out too.

 

I was involved with a man who had 10 millions reasons why he couldn’t say to me any statements that would have indicated he cared about me, or wanted me, that I was in any way special to him. I made a point of explaining to him that for a woman acknowledgement is VITALLY IMPORTANT. And this was not a child either. This was a grown ass man well into his thirties who should be past the “I’m not gonna tell you I like you because you won’t tell me” games. And I’d made it very clear that I cared for him very much. But when I would ask about his reticence, the explanations came fast and furious. Communication wasn’t his strong point he said. It wasn’t his “style”. He didn’t like knowing I expected him to show his affection for me. He didn’t know how. He didn’t really have the money to do the things he wanted to do for me. I wouldn’t like the way he did it. Time and time again I tried to explain to him that the problem was that he DIDN’T do it. Period. The problem wasn’t his methods, the problem was his lack of effort.  He asked me what I wanted him to do. I told him – I like sincere compliments and the small sweet consistent gestures. But this man simply REFUSED to pay me the simplest of compliments like “you look nice tonight”. Or “I thought about you today.” Things like “I want to see you” were painfully difficult for him. The simple declarative sentence was a problem. And when I acted according to his lack of willingness to say those simple declarative sentences or express those very straightforward sentiments, he wanted to know what was ‘wrong with me’.  He didn’t like it…yeah, he managed to express those feelings just fine.

 

Then of course I hear men say that when they do make efforts to make their women happy, the women aren’t satisfied. Okay, fine. That is entirely possible that if you attempt to make a woman happy, it may not work. Sure. But is that really a good reason not to even TRY? Assuming you make reasonable efforts to find out what she likes, what she wants and so on, if your woman is just one of those hyper-critical types who just feels like you can’t do anything right, the problem may not be your gestures, it may be the woman YOU selected to lavish them on. That is an entirely different problem, and still does not justify not making an effort. You poor selection processes are for you to deal with.

 

What bothered me this past February 14th was all these men BOLDY stating how they didn’t care about Valentine’s Day, were doing nothing to acknowledge it or to acknowledge the women in their lives just because of the date on the calendar, but DON’T DO ANYTHING ANY OTHER DAY! It worries me that men are finding all these reasons to not show women affection, kindness, love, caring, and it REALLY PISSES ME OFF! Now the fact that some greeting card company created this “holiday”, men have seized it and decided its ANOTHER reason to not care for the women they really do care for!

 

I’m gonna end this hear, because I really do want to hear what people have to say about this. But my point is…if you aren’t gonna make a big deal about 2/14, cool.

 

What are you prepared to make a big deal about?

 

The world is such a mean, cruel, harsh place these days. Anyone who puts up any barriers to showing affection, love, caring, etc. for any reason really has a problem and really should think about their reasons why. We all are going through life struggling, hurting, beaten, bruised, wondering why its so hard. Is it asking too much for any of us to take time to let those we care for know? If it takes a greeting card company’s machinations rto emind us to be human, so what? Who cares as long as it gets done?

 

WHY IS IT SO HARD TO SHOW LOVE???

Advertisements

Aside

MY DAUGHTER’S DAD IS AN ASSHOLE! (Sorry, too pissed to be more original…)

I’m not as pissed as I was last night.

 

But I’m still pretty pissed.

 

My daughter’s father, who has been absent from her life for 90% of it, emotionally, financially and every other way, called me last night, at around midnight, to ask me what was wrong with her.

 

Normally I would go into the back story here, but I really want to get into my point. If you want major details, you can read my previous blog entries about her and him. The short version is I got pregnant, had her at 26, begged him to be in her life, and he wasn’t. A handful of visits, a few pennies over the years, but essentially he was absent. A lot of that time he was in jail, and when he wasn’t he was just out “doing me” as he calls it now. I never did anything to hinder him being a dad to her. In fact I did everything I possibly could to encourage him. He just didn’t do it.

 

Now my daughter is 20, and she has the typical “daddy/abandonment issues”. There is that lack of self esteem and self confidence in her that occurs in girls when they don’t get that positive reflection of themselves in their father’s eyes on a regular basis. She’s still in the process of figuring out how to gain those things in other places, and of course I do all I can to help and support her, but it’s a rocky road. She thinks she’s ugly, thinks she’s fat, wishes she were skinnier so she could be a model. But slowly but surely, bit by bit, with the help of a good therapist and a lot of very honest mother/daughter conversations, she’s figuring out who she is and who she wants to be, and is becoming okay with it.  She’s not there yet, but she is at least facing the right direction. It’s been a long time coming though; she spent many nights crying for her father, asking why her father wasn’t around, asking where he was, asking me why he and his family had rejected her. (To make matters worse, her cousins, her father’s sister’s kids, were raised by his mother/her grandmother, while this same woman spoke to my daughter perhaps once every 4-5 years.) She always wanted to know why they hated her, why they didn’t want her around, why they didn’t acknowledge her. I explained to her as best I could over the years that her dad was battling demons even I didn’t understand, and that I hoped she managed to keep a spot in her heart open to him in case he ever made an effort to create a relationship with her.

 

Over the past 6 months, her dad has been trying to rebuild a relationship with her. It hasn’t gone well. He hasn’t been willing to answer her difficult questions about his absence. I understand that it is his guilt and pain about it that is making it hard for him to cope with her disdain for him, but he must face her. He won’t. He keeps telling her that it is irrelevant now, but it isn’t to her. She tells me how angry it makes her that he has yet to really explain to her why he wasn’t there – he won’t say what he’s been doing that was so much more important than helping to raise her. He even told her that once she was 25 he’d talk to her about what happened, as if somehow she’d be more sympathetic to his tale once she had some life experiences of her own. She says that she hates that fact that he is such a coward, and that he doesn’t understand that this relationship with her that he wants now has to happen on her terms now. She says as soon as she starts to ask him about times he said he’d be there and wasn’t, he starts to cry and tells her not to think about it. That of course makes it something she can’t stop thinking about. He has come by the house to see her a couple of times, and she allowed him to visit her, though she would always ask after he left “why do you let him in the house?” (“Because you haven’t told me you didn’t want to see him,” I always respond. “I told you, you are an adult now, you need to decide what you want your relationship to be with him. Until you tell him you don’t want him in the house, I’ll let him in.”) When he was last here she was on Facebook and he forced her to “friend” him. After he left she complained that she didn’t want him as a Facebook friend when he couldn’t even talk to her in real life. I told her to block him if she wanted to, but of course she didn’t, and got upset when he began posting on her page and talking to her friends. I told her to talk to him about it, but she didn’t.

 

My daughter writes (just like her mommy!) and in a recent blog entry she wrote very honestly about her low self esteem and her lack of self confidence. She wrote about how she was beginning to understand that she had to accept herself as she was, and how she planned to start doing just that. She wrote about the things she wanted to accomplish in her life, and how she had to learn more confidence to accomplish those things. And she wrote about learning to accept her body, and to start striving for better health and strength instead of just being a size 6 or 8. It was a very well-written piece. I was proud of her. It displayed a vulnerability and a willingness to be open about her shortcomings that I admired, that is a writer’s greatest asset. I was proud of it, and of her, I told her so.

 

But when she posted her blog, because her dad is her Facebook friend, he saw it and read it. And he called her last night, asking all kinds of questions about her low opinion of herself and such. They talked for a bit. Then he called me, basically asking me what her problem was, and then asking how did she get that way.

 

Now I’ve been telling him for YEARS (when I could manage to get hold of him to talk to him) that his daughter’s self image was really taking a hit because of his absence. And the fact that he would come into her life on rare occasions for a bit and THEN would leave without a word of goodbye or explanation made it worse. He would always say “you got it. You’re a good mother. I know you’re raising her well.” I’d tell him I was doing all I could and then some of course but she really needed him in her life…not his money, but his TIME and ATTENTION. I told him over and over that she was really not in a good place when it came to herself in relation to the opposite sex, and he needed to help her with that. He told me I was her mother, I could teach her how to be a woman, not him. I told him I shouldn’t have to raise her alone. I told him as her father he had an invaluable contribution to make to her upbringing that I could not replace. All I could hope to do was to try to work around. But he always said “you got it. I know you’re doing a good job.” To this day it angers me to no end that he REALLY thought that it was okay for me to hold it down on my own; that it would all be okay if I held it down on my own, that she would be okay without him just because I was doing “a good job”.

 

He said to me “you’re her mother. You’ve been there with her every day. How did she get like this? How did you let her get like this?” He wanted to know how her self esteem got so low. He asked “is this my fault?” I said “a whole lot of it is, yes.” He said, “but why does she think she’s ugly? What are you doing to help her?” I told him that of course I’d done everything I could think of to build her up, but that she did always long for him, even as a small girl. I reminded him that I’d warned him that this would happen, that she wouldn’t just somehow magically “be okay” because I was a good mother. Then he asked “well she had positive male role models in her life, didn’t she?” I said, “and what does that have to do with you, as her father?” Most men I know, if they aren’t with the mother of their child/children do not want ANY other men around their offspring. If the woman becomes involved with someone else who becomes involved with the kids, even if he’s a decent guy the father is not pleased. He may learn to deal with it if the stepfather does turn out to be a decent man, but most men still DO NOT think another man is decent enough to be around their kids. And her father was asking why I hadn’t replaced him with random “uncles” “godfather’s” and “friends of the family”. What the hell?

 

Then he started questioning my choices regarding her. How I’ve lived my life, things I did and did not do. When he and I were dating for some reason he always saw me as this awkward slightly unattractive girl who he somehow made hot and sexy. I look back now at that, and at pictures of me from those days and I have to laugh hysterically because I was a very pretty young woman and he looked EXACTLY like Bobby Brown – hey, I was into unattractive men back then, but once I really figured out what I looked like I got over it. (I know, I know…but I’m pissed y’all. I’m sorry.) He even had the nerve to ask about how my writing and recording and performing erotica might be making her feel. He said, “and you’re doing your e-rotic…e-rotic…e-rotic…talking about your shoes and shit (who knew he’d even listened to the song, LOL!). He even said that I probably could have gotten married to some nice guy who could have been in her life if I would have just “acted right”.  He wanted to know why I hadn’t “found her a stepfather.” He talked about how me leaving the 9-5 world to pursue writing might have made her unstable, because I had less for her financially. I asked what he had provided her from jail. (Yeah, it got that ugly.)

 

But I then asked him…and this is where I really want to ask you all some questions…why he thought she would be okay without him? I asked him why he didn’t think his absence would effect her? I asked him why he thought my strength, other positive male role models in her life, and a financially stable upbringing would have made her okay with her DAD not being in her life? He kept talking about how it wasn’t like she was a boy, and that a boy needed a man to learn how to be a man but I had her there with me so why hadn’t I taught her better how to be a woman?

 

It was crazy. I had to stop yelling for a minute. He REALLY wanted to explain to me why his ABSENCE WAS OKAY! He wanted to be mad at me because I guess I didn’t pick up enough slack so she wouldn’t miss her father!

 

And this is my real anger. When did we as women really start convincing men that it is OKAY for them not to be there for their kids? When? I know I never did personally. The ONLY time in my life I ever BEGGED this man for anything were the times I BEGGED him to come around to visit his child. He’d always say he would NOT come around empty handed; he’d rather not come at all. I know lots of women are out here shouting “I don’t need no man to help me raise my kids; I can do it by my got damn self.” But I NEVER said that. EVER. My dad was in my life all day every day; he was married to my mom until he passed away 8 years ago God rest his soul, and I SEE how I am different from women who didn’t have that…not to say anything is wrong with being raised by a single mom but at some point you do have to find a way to COPE with the absence of the other parent. Even my daughter has said to me at times “well Mom, you can’t understand, your dad was ALWAYS THERE, and you know he love you. You can be sure. I never will be because he left me.” Her father actually thought because I wasn’t a junkie, because I wasn’t abusive, because I was strong and smart and loved my child with every fiber of my being that my child would be okay.

 

And do men really think, even when women say “I don’t need you” that it’s true? Do dads really think as long as mom isn’t a crackhead, has some kind of job and manages to piece together a “male role model quilt” to cover their babies that the babies will come out all right? That as long as he picks a stable babymomma to knock up, he can roll out and just not be there because mom will make it all okay? She’ll work, even work two, three, ten jobs, and go to school at night, and sacrifice, and get her family to help, and get her friends to help, and find some nice job/benefit having man to help…why is that all right? Why is it okay to burden the mother of your child with all of the upbringing? This man, who has seen his child MAYBE a dozen times in 20 years had the never to QUESTION me on how MY daughter ended up so unconfident. Then he wanted to tell me how it had very little to do with him.

 

I told him the fact that he didn’t know what was wrong with his daughter was his answer. Why didn’t he know what was wrong with her?

 

I know he’s lashing out because he feels so guilty. His dad wasn’t around to raise him, and his mom made a point of marrying a financially secure man to help her take care of her kids. So this is all he knows. But you have no idea how incensed I was and am.

 

A lot of my anger is at myself. After all, I picked this man. I thought, at some point, that having this man’s child would be a good idea. I thought he would make a good dad. I didn’t look at any of the indications that he might not be, even though they were there. But truthfully, I just couldn’t fathom that a man would walk away from their child. It was so far outside my experience it was just inconceivable.

 

So…question…when did a woman’s ability to FIND the strength to raise a child somewhat successfully on her own make it okay for a man to NOT PARTICIPATE in the child’s upbringing?

 

*sigh*

 

Pray for my continued strength everyone.