Friday, 1 July 2011

What you see is what you get

How many times have you heard someone say that about themselves?

My Father walked away when I was born.  He walked away because I was a disappointment. I wasn’t the first disappointment, there were 3 before me. But I was the the one that made his mind up.

I was a girl.

I never learned the word Daddy. I couldn’t join in at school when the other children made Fathers Day cards.

I rarely think about my Father. I know where he is, I could contact him if I chose to. I choose not to. He’s a stranger to me.

I spent some time looking in the mirror yesterday. Trying to see what it is that people see when they look at me.

I’m tall at just under 6ft (that’s something I DO get from my Father). I’m somewhere between a size 10 and size 12 UK dress size.  A little nearer a 12 in recent months but apparently that’s a good thing.

I thought about how people perceive me.

They probably think I’m fairly confident, reasonably intelligent, sometimes amusing.  In general, people seem to like me.

I am not a ‘what you see is what you get’ person. 

There’s a part of me that I keep locked away.  The part of me that will never understand how I could have been rejected like that.  Why wasn’t I good enough?  Why didn’t he want to give me a chance? Why didn’t he want to get to know ME?

I wonder if going on to have another family (this time all boys) made him happy? I wonder if they ticked all the boxes. I wonder how he justified this to himself? Did he feel vindicated because now he had what he wanted without having to compromise.  Didn’t he ever believe that I had a right to choose too?  Didn’t he consider that despite my obvious flaws I might have been worth loving?

It doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself that it says more about him than it does about me. It doesn’t take away that heartbreak. It doesn’t make it better.

Sometime I wonder if he was right.  Maybe I’m NOT good enough.

An incredibly self indulgent post I know. I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m just looking for someone who thinks I'm worth loving just the way I am.


Anonymous said...

Sarah. it must be truly horrid to feel that kind of rejection by a parent, and I have to say that it is something that I am glad I have not had to cope with myself.

My children understand more than I ever could, having had their father walk away from them, when I had finally had enough of his drinking and abuse and sent him packing nearly 3 years ago. He hasn't been in touch with them since, but then form my point of view this is a relief because he wasn't a nice man.

At the end of the day - you are the person you are, and people love you for being that person, and it doesn't matter to them whether your father was there or not - it's his loss that he wasn't there, not yours. This is exactly the same with my children - they aren't missing out, they are loved by so many people that not having their biological father around seems very insignificant.

You are more than good enough and you should tell yourself that every day. And besides bad shit only happens to really good people, because they are the only ones who can cope with it - so you must be really a really good person!

So come on Sarah, when life gets tough and you question yourself - stand tall and proud, brush the dust off your shoulders and say to the world "Is that the best you've got?"

Sending you a huge cyber squeeze, cos I think today maybe you need one.

Lou xxx

Being Me said...

Oh wow, Sarah. Please don't look on this as incredibly self-indulgent. It's so NOT. Was it really that you were girls? Is this what you have been told, or what you have deduced/decided? (absolutely no judgement behind this, it's a genuinely interested question) I can't even begin to imagine what confusion, rejection, guilt, anger and resentment must lie within such a desertion as that of an able-bodied parent leaving to have another life. Incredible.

At the very least, a 'flawed' newborn is impossible. It's simply not possible to be flawed simply by being born. That notion really jumped out at me. Big, big hug to you xxxx

Sarah Mac said...

Thank you Lou, that's EXACTLY what I needed,(possibly followed by a kick up the backside:).xxx

Sarah Mac said...

I'm afraid that really was the reason. With each consecutive girl he moved further away from us. I was the final straw I guess.

He has always had the option of contacting me and had chosen not to. The only time I recall seeing him was at his Mothers funeral when I was about 15 (she didn't share his views). I didn't know who he was and he showed no inclination to know me.

He truly is a flawed person but sadly knowing that doesn't stop a part of me feeling to blame however unreasonable that is.

E. said...

I so understood where you are coming from.

However my stuff wasn't as callous as what your Father did it you and your family.

But yes there is a part of me,somteimes biggers and soemtimes smaller, that is locked away at almost all times.

Sarah Mac said...

I think most people have something that they keep locked away E. It isn't something that I give a great deal of thought to mostly but sometimes, something happens that makes me question myself and brings back those feelings of self doubt. Sometimes, when you feel others don't believe in you it's very hard to believe in yourself but I'm working on it. I hope the things that you keep locked away will one day cease to have any power to hurt you.

Claire said...

I hope that by posting that you feel a bit better. It must have been awful to go through that rejection as a child. I cannot imagine how painful that must have felt at the time but how it must creep up on you now from time to time.

I think that most people keep parts of themselves locked away to keep protected from hurt. I think it's natural to do this. People who say 'what you see is what you get' really mean to say 'what you see is what I want you to see'. At least you can be honest with yourself.

You should feel proud of who you are and what you have made of yourself. You are who you are not because of him but in spite of his absence. x

Sarah Mac said...

Claire, I'm so sorry, my answer to your comment didn't get posted for some reason!

I'm not really sure how I feel about posting this, part of me feels that private thoughts should stay private and part of me thinks that it's part of my story, part of who I am.

I don't feel any real pain as such for the loss of my Father because I never knew him. I think it's the essence of what I believe a father should be that I miss.

I guess it must have shaped who I am, its so hard to tell how I may have been different if he were a different person. x

Anonymous said...

Not sure what to say - just wanted to say that that was very touching. I tend to think people who are "what you see is what you get" are either telling half-truths, or don't possess any real depth. My mum left when I was young and though she made sure she remained in our lives, there's always a part of me that can't understand why she left me behind... But don't tell her I said that ;)

Sarah Mac said...

Thank you petajo. I think people do the things they do for many reasons. I think it's how you deal with the consequences of those decisions that really matters. Your mother clearly loved you and needed to be a part of your life whatever the difficulties were.

I appreciate that you did comment and fully understand how hard it is to find something to say sometimes. I often read posts and struggle with the words to reply not wanting to offend or sound trite and hoping that the genuine feeling is conveyed.