This I Believe

Kelly - Saint Louis Park, Minnesota
Entered on March 6, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: parenthood

My father left me. I felt like I meant nothing to him. I felt hurt by him, and betrayed. I felt all men would ultimately treat me like dirt, if they didn’t from the start. They would all abuse me emotionally, mentally and perhaps even physically. Why wouldn’t they? My first encounter with a man, my father had not been what I longed for, deserved and needed so badly. I have never in my life been as hurt as I was when I was ten years old. I just wanted to be loved. Why didn’t he love me?

At night while I was lying in bed I would fight my feelings of neglect and fear by using my imagination. My mind was a wonderful place to be, it was full of beautiful flowers, wild horses running free, and the sun was always shinning there. I could forget that my own father had left me, left my family to start another one. I could almost forget that he had forgotten me. I am an only child and loneliness can consume you if you don’t have somewhere to go, somewhere to be, someone to love you. I knew that I could escape my reality if I only just closed my eyes for just a little while and dream.

Throughout my life the feelings of the pain my father caused me by not saying a word to me stalked me. He was everywhere from the bad relationships with men I chose to get involved in, to the self doubt and hatred I felt towards who I was as a woman. He was always lurking in the back of my mind telling me I was no good and that no one would ever stay long enough with me to love me completely. They would leave me, and again I would be alone. The way my life was shaping up in my young adulthood I started to assume he was right. The imagination of my youth that helped me find happiness grew more difficult to depend on as I grew older. I could no longer feel the warmth of the sunshine on my back, no longer hear the soft hooves of the horses, or smell the beautiful flowers.

I think I was angry, but didn’t really know it. In everyday appearances I seemed happy and carefree. I went to work, I had friends, I made good grades in college, but deep down I was hurting, and in pain. My temper would flare up like lava bursting from an ancient volcano, spewing harsh words and evil looks at the ones I held most dear. At times I was so depressed I found it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, let alone take a shower or even eat. I wasn’t sure why I needed to feel love from a man so badly, I didn’t understand that because I never received the kind of love a child should get from her father, I was never fulfilled. I was like a lone tree in a forest; I was rotten on the inside, hollow.

Until one day I met a man, a good man. I didn’t think he could be a good man because I didn’t think any existed. This man wasn’t only good he was first-rate, unparallel but at first I didn’t see those qualities. I only saw what he could do to me, to my mother and that was to wound our hearts, and to leave. In my mind he would never be good enough, he was a man and there was nothing that could change that. He tried his best to win me over with a stern, but loving hand and a heart as big as mighty as a lion. It took years of hard work, and unconditional love from him, but he did eventually gain my trust and ultimately, my love. This man is my step father, but I like to think of him as my true father, my number one dad, my hero.

And this I believe…this man saved me. He changed me. He loved me. He stayed, and he is still here today. I no longer need to escape into my mind to find peace. My sun is here in this world shinning brightly in the sky each morning. The flowers are bright and their sweet perfume fills the air of my life. And if I close my eyes for a brief moment I know I hear the distant sounds of horses running free as I now feel.