Today, here in the UK, it’s Father’s Day and while my grandad (who raised me with my nan) quite happily took on the role my father didn’t want, I felt the need to write a poem/open letter to the man who played a part in my creation. He’ll never read it, but writing it was somewhat cathartic.

Dear Dad,

You’ve never wanted me in your life and I’ve never been 100% sure why

When I was fifteen, I began searching for you online

I felt incomplete, like I was only half a person. Who was I?

I found your brother and eventually, you found me

You found me with a text and I finally felt like I could be a real person

In your text, you claimed you wanted to meet me and I

The naive eighteen year old who wanted to see the good in everyone

Believed you. I thought that this admission was the happiest day of my life

If only I could have seen the path you would send me hurtling down

You texted me, on the day of the Royal Wedding actually, 

Saying that you’d changed your mind and that actually, no, you didn’t want to meet me

Me, your only child, the child who had pined after you her whole life

And it was that day that I took my first tentative steps upon a four year path

A long and lonely path paved in self-loathing and self-harm

I would look at my reflection in the mirror, so utterly confused

I would desperately search for whatever it was that was so fucking wrong with me

That even my own father didn’t want to meet me

I couldn’t see anything external, so I figured it was internal

And took up a razor to try and dig the rot out from inside of me

Some years passed and after a trip to A&E to patch me up

I realised that I needed help and after a cocktail of antidepressants

And trips to various counselors, I began to wonder if the problem wasn’t me 

But you?

When I was 22, I bagged the job of a lifetime. I was going to Japan!

Two weeks before I left, your wife added me on Facebook

And informed me that you had both come to the decision that actually

Yes, you did want me in your life. How fucking honoured did I feel?

Well, sarcasm is all well and good now, but again, hope was kindled in my heart

Maybe I wasn’t so bad after all and maybe you would accept me

We met at the local supermarket and you had your wife in tow

She created a scene in the car park, saying how my “body language” showed

That I didn’t want to meet her, but how I actually wanted to meet you

Wow, she’s a bright one your wife, isn’t she?

Regardless, I felt embarrassed, I’d already fucked up

You bought me a watery hot chocolate from the cafe

And when I quietly suggested maybe meeting or chatting once a month

You paused for a moment and said “Hmm I could live with that.”

We met once more before I flew out to Japan, this time in a nicer coffee shop

You talked continuously about yourself and then left

That was the last time I saw you and your last text was a couple of weeks later

I didn’t take up the razor this time, though

I didn’t search my reflection for something that wasn’t there

Sure, I still get the odd moment of doubt surging through my brain

Especially when I meet or talk to new people

If my own dad doesn’t like me, what chance do I have with other people?

But I’ve come to accept that the problem is you and that

I am a whole person with or without you in my life 

You gave me life but your opinion of me doesn’t define me.

Yours sincerely,