dads with ink

Heres to the girls who’s hearts were broken by a man long before any boy got ahold of it.
Heres to the girls who believe that they can’t be loved because the one man who was supposed to always love them didn’t.
Heres to the girls who can’t stay in a relationship because all they were ever taught was how to leave one.
Heres to the girls who are in an abusive relationship and don’t know it because it’s what they grew up seeing.
Heres to the girls who can’t trust men because the man they were supposed to always be able to count on left.
Heres to the girls who are scared to have kids because they never want their kids to face the same pain they had to endure.
Heres to the girls who refuse to say they have a dad because all their father ever was is a man who helped create them.
—  You’re not my dad, you’re just the man who helped create me// 4am
you can forgive and not forget. you can not forgive and not forget as well. but you have to learn to let go of the anger because you don’t want it to eat you up and destroy you. you just have to learn to not let it eat you up and find a way to let go of it.
—  advice from my dad

my mother opens the sunroof on a roadtrip at midnight and i don’t bother pretending that the stars are small enough for me to count. instead, i talk about how the closest star is 4.24 light years away and how the next closest star is 4.37 light years away and how what we see now happened years ago.

i talk about how small we are. how we’re spinning at an alarming rate but we are so incredibly minuscule compared to our planet that it’s okay. one of my brothers doesn’t care and the other is tipsy, so i’m pretty sure i’m trying to get through to myself more than anyone else.

i just forget that we aren’t important sometimes, i guess. i have the audacity to think i’ll matter in 4.24 or 4.37 light years when i’m too quiet, too human to matter now. i could die or sleep forever or never get out of bed again and all of the stars are still exploding, you know? earth is still spinning and the sun is still burning. i’m not really sure if this makes me want to thrive, or if i want to explode myself now

—  there are 7 billion, 47 million people on the planet and i have the audacity to think i matter (catherine w // sempiternalwriting)
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If you hurt her, I will not break you, or hurt you, or injure you. I won’t even need to get involved. Because I raised my daughter to be independent and skilled enough to break you for herself, and her way is a lot more painful than anything I could even dream of. She may share her mother’s mind and my heart, but everything about her is individually, confidently, completely her own and that is a very dangerous combination to mess with. I raised my girl to be a wolf so she can deal with predators, not a flower to be admired, then trampled upon. Remember that.
—  My Feminist Dad to my Decidedly Not Feminist Ex | Nikita Gill
My childhood innocence was stripped when I was about 3, my dad was driving drunk with me in the car and some guy cut him off. So he proceeded to chase him down. Then the guy got out of his car and grabbed a crowbar. I would wake up from naps and my dad was nowhere to be found. Throughout the years I watched him fall down stairs and stumble around. I was terrified. He would come and leave and I would see my mom cry every time. I watched him and my mom scream at each other why I sat on the porch covering my ears. My brother asked me when I was 6 “do you wanna see your dad get beat with a club?” Id go to school and get no relief because I was picked on day after day. I truly believe the trauma of your childhood melds you into someone different. I often wonder what I would have been like if it hadn’t happened. Would I not be a shy, anxiety ridden depressed person? Or would I be exactly the same? I don’t think children should have to have an adult mind and issues. Because then you have all this baggage that weighs you down all the time. It’s always there in your mind. I think people think that children don’t catch on to things or wont remember. But that’s the farthest from the truth. They are so observant. It strips their childhood away from them. And puts them in a position to deal with things that they should have no business having to deal with. If adults have a hard time dealing with it, how do you think it is for children?
—  Chapters from my life

We are but a compilation of those who raised us.

When I am told I look like my father,
my stomach clenches
I guess I look like a recipe for unhappiness.

My mother’s favorite insult is
“Keep it up and you’ll become just like your father”
I do not want to become a king-sized bed made for two that has the pillows for one.
I do not want to want to wake up next to my self-loathing.
I do not want my children to see me cry.
I do not want to become a sad excuse for a person.

I have my mother’s impatience and her capacity for knowledge but
I have my father’s nose and thin lips and sometimes my mirror confuses the two of us.

Children with two brown-eyed parents
have a 25% percent chance of having blue eyes
I am told my eyes remind people of the ocean.
I wonder what the chances are that I will not inherit the life my father leads.

—  “When I was 12 I caught my dad cheating on my mom, he never knew that I knew. I never told anyone.” By Lindsay Brooke
It’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna hurt like hell. You’re gonna cry. You’re gonna bawl for days. You’re gonna feel numb. You’re gonna be physically sick. You’re gonna miss school. You’re gonna stop hanging out with your friends. You’re gonna sleep for sixteen hours. You’re gonna see him again, and you’re gonna feel fire in your lungs. And it’s going to be okay. You’re going to pick yourself back up. And you’re going to move on. You’re gonna love again. And you’re gonna love harder. Because you know how it feels to not be loved back. That’s just what heartbreak is. But it’s going to be okay.
—  my dad, on how my first heartbreak will feel
I’m trying, okay? I am trying to be who you want me to be, to be what you think you deserve. But I deserve to be happy too, and if I spend the rest of my life pretending to be your daughter, I might as well not live at all.
—  you have two sons and i am sorry

But imagine Cullen Rutherford finding out he’s going to be a father. 

Cullen, who, if you had asked him a year ago, would have said he didn’t want children. Not because he doesn’t–Maker, does he–but because he can’t imagine any woman would want his children. Doesn’t think he deserves that happiness. 

Cullen, who would be so afraid of hurting them or breaking them, because that’s what he’s been trained to do his entire life–to bash, and crush,and kill. 

Cullen, who thinks himself too broken and filled with horrors to be around something so innocent. How could he comfort his child when they have nightmares, when he still wakes screaming? 

But then the woman he loves tells him, cheeks flushed and eyes bright, that she’s with child, his child. And she’s so happy and excited that he feels himself become excited, and finds himself smiling at the prospect of teaching them–boy or girl–how to fight with sword and shield. 

And a few months after that, when his love suddenly takes his hand during a war council meeting and puts it over her belly, so he can feel their baby kicking. He almost starts crying right then at the feeling. How could he have ever been afraid of hurting them? He realizes he would give his life for his child and their mother, who, he thinks, has never been so beautiful as now, when she’s full and ripe with life. 

And then a few more months after that, she’s screaming and cursing like a sailor while old women try to keep him from their chambers. But who would dare stop the Commander of the Inquisition? He takes the steps three at a time and suddenly he’s there–holding her hand and kissing her brow. She’s still swearing, but the fear has gone out of her eyes.

Imagine Cullen holding his child for the first time while his love sleeps. Holding them and talking to them–not nonsense, but introducing himself and promising to keep them safe, no matter what. 

I’m your father, Cullen. I’ll always be here to take care of you, my little one. 

He always hit me in the sternum. Every time. He’d hold me against the wall, and punch me. “It hurts like hell, and doesn’t leave any marks.” That’s what he’d always “Jokingly” tell his friends.  I told my Mother it was happening. I told my Grandmother. I told my teachers, my friends, and the neighbors. Not one of them believed me. “Little boys shouldn’t make up stories.” “No one likes a liar.” “You remember how it went for the boy who cried wolf, don’t you?” That’s what they said when I asked for help. That’s why I don’t ask for help. I suppose I should be thankful. He made me the man I am now. He hardened me. Turned me cold. Because if him, no one can ever hurt me again. I left home the second I had a place to go. Years passed. We didn’t speak. Then one day, I reached out. He was surprised by my call. I told him I was ready to bury the hatchet. That I wanted to see him. He was reluctant, but he agreed. I met him at his favorite all you can inhale buffet. He always was a glutton. We spoke for a time, and then I invited him to meet my child. She was nearly four, and he’d never met her. He happily accepted. He’s been down there for years now. He definitely didn’t expect it. I unlocked the door, and let him inside. The side door leads to the kitchen. More importantly, it leads to the basement. The second he was out of sight, I put a boot in the middle of his back. He cried out, trying to catch himself. To no avail. He took quite the tumble. I still remember the look on his face. Shock. Horror. Anger. Pain. All paled in comparison to the realization I saw in his eyes that day. “Son… Wuh.. Why?” He managed. I said nothing, and put him out with a heavy shot to his jaw. He’s still down there. Tied to a chair. Morning, noon, and night I hit him. I hit him right where he always hit me. Wouldn’t want to leave any bruises. I’m going to keep hitting him until it doesn’t hurt anymore. Until he can’t feel it anymore. Until he never feels anything ever again. It’s ironic, really. I spent most of my life trying not to turn into my Father. Here I am, turning him into Me.
—  “Poetry, Memories, and Tales Dark as Night”
Doug Thrailkill Jr.
2016

If someone asks me what my favorite childhood memory is, I’d probably say when my dad used to make me sit on his shoulders so I could see everything from above. It’s nothing any daughter wouldn’t have experienced, but I can still remember dad’s eyes glowing with pride looking up at me laughing. I remember it as if it happened yesterday. I can still hear our laughter if I try hard, I can still feel the wind in my long brown hair and the sun kissing my skin. I know I don’t remember my childhood, things that you would want me to remember just because they were so special to you. I remember mom telling me how you’d take me upstairs on the roof and sing me to sleep. Every night, you sung the same song. I wish I could remember how it felt, falling asleep to your beautiful voice. I really wish I did. But I can recite that particular song in a heartbeat, even though I never understood the meaning behind the lyrics just because you sung it to me so much. I don’t know when or how I started picking up the lyrics and singing along, but that song will always hold a special place in my heart. Just like you do.


So, where did everything go wrong, dad? How did we end up here? You used to be my rock, a shoulder to cry on, my support system. When did you become one of the reasons I can’t sleep at night because the tears won’t stop spilling? I remember how you used to come to me at night when I fought with mom and was crying silently. Somehow you always knew, even though I’d try my best to not make a sound. I remember how you used to pat me on my head and sing me to sleep. I still remember those car rides, when you used to drive me to the other side of the city, amidst the heavy traffic and unrelenting heat, just to buy me my favorite cupcakes. I still remember laughing at that one song that would always be played on the radio every time you drove me to my classes, and how you’d explain the meaning behind the lyrics. I still remember how your face glowed with pride when my 10th grade results came out. I remember, dad. I still remember.


So where did all that go? The laughter, the conversations that were only ours to keep, and how I’d constantly annoy you will my antics. Where did that vanish?


I’ve tried so hard to make you proud, dad; so hard that I started basing my existence on it. Would you blame me? I’m just a little kid trying to make her dad proud. That’s all I ever wanted.


So did your expectations surpass your love for me? I know I failed, dad, I failed you. Now I’m the reason you’re hurting. I’m the reason I’m hurting because my eyes can’t meet yours. I’m the reason for the tears in your eyes, and believe me when I say those tears haunt me.


I wanted to make you proud, dad. And I failed. And you don’t see how much I wish I could take all of it back. If I could go back in time and make things right, I would. But I can’t.


Now I’ll have to live with it. Maybe that’s the right punishment for me. Maybe I deserve it. Maybe I deserve crying myself to sleep every night and not having you patting my head and singing me to sleep.

—  things i wish i could tell you, dad