What happens to you during your childhood will without a doubt have an effect on who you become as an adult. When I was 5 years old, my simple joyous love-filled life was completely shattered. My father passed away from a rare cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma leaving my family absolutely devastated. I honestly couldn’t tell you much about that period of time in my life, which I may have blocked it out. I have zero memory of my father from when he was alive. I couldn’t tell you if I was ever at the hospital during his 2-year long battle with cancer. I couldn’t tell you if I was there when he passed away, or if I even had a chance to hug him and say goodbye. The only clear memory I have of my father is touching his ice cold face while he laid lifelessly in his casket, and that vision has haunted me for most of my life.
I had to become an adult overnight and I basically raised myself, which is a responsibility no child should ever be given especially at such a young age. I hardly understood what was happening or how to process what I was feeling, yet I was fully aware that my life would never again be the same. Somehow, I knew I needed to be strong, but no one taught me how to actually be strong. So I put a smile on my face and pretended I was fine and everything was ok. This became my shield of strength, which protected me and helped me get through all of the difficult times throughout my life. Unfortunately, it took me 34 years to realize that shield of strength wasn’t actually protecting me. In fact, all it was doing was allowing me to run and hide.
I began thinking about the relationship you have with your father, and how it has an effect on who you are especially when it comes to romantic relationships. According to everyone who knew my father, he was one of the greatest men to have ever lived, which absolutely kills me since I never even had the chance to get to know him. I was truly deprived of a love so ultimately pure. My father figure was an empty void in my heart, and I didn’t have a father’s love making me feel beautiful, confident, and protected. I didn’t have that male role model to look up to and show me the way. In fact, the reality of my relationship with my father consisted of me going to the cemetery, and crying uncontrollably as I approached his grave. I’d say whatever was on my mind, and I would ask him to help me find my way. I’d tell him how much I loved and missed him, and I would walk away feeling that void grow even deeper. That void is the only father’s love I have ever known.
I know my parents had that true love that everyone only dreams of finding, but unfortunately, I never actually witnessed it. I was never around a happy, loving, healthy relationship. My father was gone and my mother was left brokenhearted, and I don’t think she ever really recovered. I started to think that this may be how my whole self-sabotage issue came into play. I began to wonder if I would unintentionally but purposefully ruined relationships simply because I wanted to feel loved, yet the only real love I had ever known was a void in my heart. That thought may not make sense to a lot of people, but it is completely eye opening for me. The truth of the matter is, the love from my parents that I was deprived of as a child was truly the only love I actually ever known and trusted.
So, what does this mean for me and my personal life? Well to be honest, I have absolutely no clue. I am figuring out my issues and I am making the necessary changes, which I believe will be an on-going process. Truthfully, no one has it all figured out and even when you think you do, something will happen that will prove you wrong. I am fully aware that I am nowhere near perfect, but I can strive to be the best version of myself on a daily basis, and that’s my goal. As for a relationship, I know that I do not want to be single forever. That said, I will not settle for anything less than being in a mutually loving, respectful, and happy relationship.