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Spotlight: Destiny I. Dicks

How Does It Feel Having A Father?

I don’t know how it feels to have a father. I never really have. When I would go to school and see my friends with their fathers, I always wanted to ask them, “What it was like growing up with a father? What does it feel like to come home to your dad at the end of the day?”

When I was younger, I didn’t feel as if my father’s absence had a strong impact on my life—as much as it does now that I am 17 years old. As a young child and adolescent, my grandfather played both the father and grandfather roles. I often wanted to ask him, “Why are you playing the father role when my dad is the one who should be here raising me?” I never fully understood my father’s absence.

To be honest, it has started to take a toll on my life. Not having my father in my teenage life started to hurt, and that hurt turned into anger. I started going downhill. I felt like since I couldn’t take my anger out on him, why not take it out on the world?

There were times when I disrespected my mom. I felt as though it was her fault that my father wasn’t around. I was hurt and lashed out. I turned against her in many different ways. I was just a young girl that turned into this young woman who only wanted her father in her life—even if her parents weren’t together. I would ask myself, “Why isn’t he here? Does he love me? Is it my fault?” To this day, I just want to know, “Why did he leave me?”

I never expressed my concerns to anyone. I never really asked my mom about him. I tried to find ways to tell her that I needed him in my life, but I wasn’t successful. Then boys started coming, and I didn’t know what I should and shouldn’t do. I started searching for my father on Google and other types of social media platforms without any luck.

Now, I am this teenage girl who’s in counseling. My therapist asks me questions like, “Do you feel like your father’s absence has an impact on you? If yes, how does your father’s absence impact your life?” and other questions of that nature. I never know how to answer. I’m not sure what it means to have a father. I have nothing to compare my father’s absence to.

I can say that his absence has had an impact on my life like when my hurt turned into anger. The struggle of not feeling a father’s love is hard. However, it has only made me stronger. I feel undefeatable. I can say that I am a proud, young, black female that has not become another statistic in this world. I have reached my goals without my father in my life, and I continue to strive daily.

I don’t hold his absence against anyone anymore. I had my grandfather who raised me and made me the powerful, independent, smart, resilient and motivated woman that I am today. I have my mom who supports and loves me. It hurts me to know that everything a young girl is supposed to accomplish with her father I had to do without.

Nevertheless, I will be a big girl and go on without him— even though I should not have to. I wish that he would have been here to watch me as I made my mistakes and accomplishments. I wish he could have given me direction, supported me, and helped me grow. I hope that wherever he is now he is proud of me and has positive feelings towards me.

His absence has made me realize that as I get older, I don’t need to rely on any man to do anything for me. If I saw my father, I say a few things to him. I would thank him for bringing me into this world and making me who I am today. I would say I love him. I would forgive him for his absence. I would wish him the best of luck for the rest of his life!

editor's note: Destiny Dicks is one of several teen girls whose essays appear in this book. IT'S ON SALE NOW.

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