The Words Never Said {5 Pieces of Advice I Wish I Had Received} #FTSF

My father gave me the best advice:

  • Make sure you’re on time to pick me up from work
  • Make sure you do your chores before you go to school
  • Guys think about sex ~ a lot!
  • Take care of your brother and sister!

The last one isn’t really advice… Really, none of them are. But that’s all I could remember about my stepfather, the man who raised me, told me. As you see, he didn’t do much “advice-giving”. For me, he didn’t do much giving at all, except the roof over my head and the food in my belly. I never felt like I would end up on the streets, but I was far from being his princess. That was my sister.

For my biological father… advice was about as useless, always given after the situation had happened, never before. Without the feeling of security that I had someplace safe to return, his apathetic nature leaves me wanting more… or just something.

Since I didn’t get any helpful advice from the men in my life, I’ll give you the

Words I Wish I Heard

1. “I love you unconditionally.”

I heard it from my mother quite often, but my dad… honestly, I don’t even recall being told this at all from my stepfather, after my sister was born. I know my biological father has said it, but then I wouldn’t hear from him for another year, so what did that mean?

Your father is a woman’s first love. A father teaches a woman how to love and how to be loved. Understanding that you are already loved and that you don’t need to “seek” love is a level of comfort that I never felt. Hence, a period after I left home that I won’t be talking about now.

It would’ve been nice to hear ~ just once ~ these words:

I love you no matter what.

2. “I’m proud of you.”

My dad attended my graduations, he smiled politely and came to support. Yet, the feeling that I had was that he was there because he had to be, that he was there because he loved my mother, and I meant a lot to her.

After his passing a few years back, his funeral held dozens of friends that I had never met. When I introduced myself, they all seemed to know exactly who I was and they all expressed how proud he was of me. Yet, to me, we hadn’t had a real conversation in years.

It would’ve been reassuring to hear that he really was proud before he passed away, even more so, when I was growing up, so I had some idea that I was making the right moves.

5 Pieces of Advice I Wish I Received from My Father3. “Keep going. I know you’ll reach your dreams.”

I worked hard growing up. Working for my mother starting at 12. At 15 (and a half), I worked at McDonald’s. When we moved 30 miles away, without a car, I still maintained a 4.0+ GPA, a job and a full sports plate. Jobs and school continued all through undergrad and eventually law school.

I felt alone. I felt that I was working harder and harder and my life wasn’t getting any better. After a while, I just got tired. No one seemed to appreciate my hard work, but expected to reap the benefits. I was drained and unmotivated.

If, for one second, I felt someone was just on my side, I would’ve kept going.

4. “It’s important to find the right husband, for he will help shape the rest of your life.”

I have met couple after couple, woman after woman who picked the “wrong” mate… or the wrong mate for them. Their lives have been turned upside down, sometimes over and over again because of their choices. Some of them are able to get back on their feet, learn from their mistakes and make better choices the next time around. But for others, life knocks them on their behind and they aren’t able to get back up.

I am grateful that I found a great husband, but it would’ve been nice to have SOME guidance on what I should’ve been looking for. I had no idea. My husband was “dropped” in my lap and I was intuitive enough to pick him up. I know a good thing when I see it!

5. “Keep your body to yourself. No one will be able to respect your body more than you.”

Remember when I mentioned my 20s? Yea that. I’m not proud, I’m not gloating, it was a dark time… but I didn’t realize that until MUCH later. There was a lot of empty calories spent doing things that I had no business doing, looking for the respect that I could only really give myself.

I truly feel that God intervened because he had something else for me, because there’s no other way that my life makes sense.

Learning to respect yourself may come naturally to some, taught to others, and painfully learned by the last. In general, I learned by others’ mistakes… and I was good with that. However, in this realm, I did no such thing. It made me who I am, but there are a lot of painful memories behind it.

So that’s it! The five things I wish I would’ve been told by my father. Since I had to research what I wish my father told me, here’s a great article on other things that a father should tell his daughter… all of which I wish I heard:

20thingsdaughter

 

This has been another edition of Finish the Sentence Friday… “The best advice my father gave was…”

What was the best advice your father gave you?

FTSF

Go check out Kristi, StephanieMichelle and Ruchira, our wonderful hosts this week!

30 thoughts on “The Words Never Said {5 Pieces of Advice I Wish I Had Received} #FTSF”

  1. I admit I love my dad, but I didn't always feel as though we saw eye to eye with each other, but as for advice I still couldn't come up with much, but definitely could for my mom, so to me I just thank god for that much.

    1. My mother was far more communicative. I felt very rejected by the men in my life. In a way I appreciate it because it made me who I am.

  2. Oh April I so so wish you'd gotten the advice you'd wished for and I'm so glad that you found a husband to love you for you in spite of not ever feeling like you were your daddy's first love. For me, I have the opposite issue – my dad was gone a lot when I was a kid but then my mom had a breakdown and left us with my dad when I was 13 and he just had to man up and cope. For a while he sucked and married a woman that was HORRIBLE. But eventually, he found his way and gave me some advice. Thank you so so much for linking up with this gorgeous and important post of yours. I know that you will help other women out there right now who feel like they wish their dads gave them more encouragement.

    1. I'm very happy for finding such an awesome man who has loved me in times when I didn't love myself. I find as they get older, they seem to want to give more advice. I hope that that this post find some peace with their own upbringing.

  3. Ouch. I am really sorry you had to go through all of this before you found your husband April. My husband died when my daughter was just 3 and she has been really lucky to have the support of my late dad, my brother and her male cousins. I never realised just how lucky until I read this. Bless you. I admire your honesty and the openess of your heart.

    1. I wish more women would lean on positive male role models in their little girls' lives. Unfortunately, a lot of women feel they can "do it all" and some even feel that a man is unnecessary in the raising of a child. Thank you for your comment.

  4. Brittnei Washington

    April, all I can say is: did we live the same life? I have a very similar story. I had a "step dad" that was with my mom for 10 years (who lived with us) but he wasn't much of a father figure to me and my brother at all. He was just the father of my sister who my mom had when I was about 12 years old. And I was very generous about my dad in my post but nope, he wasn't really there either and his mother, my grandmother, who I was extremely close to, actually didn't show up at my wedding because I didn't allow my dad to walk me down the aisle. I wasn't trying to get back at him. I just felt like, who shows up on that special day and tries to give me away when he never held onto me and cared for me or even gave the advice that you are talking about here. I did have to move on though from the neglectful behavior of both of my parents and recently I decided that I no longer needed to force myself to deal with the flighty behavior of either of them any longer so when my husband changed our numbers, I decided not to share it with them. Knowing how taboo it is to not stay connected to extended family, I decided that speaking to many of them even now in life is just way too painful. I have a wonderful family and I need to be present and amazing to them…not emotionally stricken and trapped by the opinions and actions of people who live thousands of miles away. I said all of that to say, girl, I so understand where you are coming from. I am so happy for you that you have a great husband and that your kids are growing up with a great father!

    1. I went years not talking to my mother. I felt that she didn't protect me, too caught up in her own stuff. Having children realy brought that back. I have a relationship with her now, but it's WAY different than it used to be. She wants the old relationship back, it just will never be that way. I understand the importance for her to be in their lives, especially since she wants to be, but it's extremely limited at this point. When we moved out from my father (long story), I didn't tell him where I moved for over a year. I control the extent of our relationships now. It's just better for me this way.

  5. Aww.. I wish I had heard so much more from my father, who passed away before I turned four.
    My dad has been pretty amazing to me over the years and I'd definitely be able to fill up a FTSF post with words from him.
    I wish you had heard more too.

    1. You neer really know what you missed until you have to address it. Growing up, for the most part, I thought it was just the "norm", but then I realized other families actually have a father who care!

  6. # 2 & # 3 to me are so incredibly important to hear and remember. When my parents say these two things to me, I literally float to cloud nine. Knowing that they're proud of me… Aw man, makes me feel like my life is complete! 🙂

    1. Yes. I know that my mother tried to make up for it, but I think that it's important to come from both of your parents.

  7. hugs babe, I wish you had gotten the advice you wanted and needed. Despite that you have made it! I bet your and making sure your children here all the things you never got to hear,

    1. Oh yes! I am all over them! Lots of hugs, kisses and praises (for things they do) and letting them know that they mean the world to me.

  8. Beautiful post. I think the advice you listed is advice all women need to hear, and we all crave hearing it from our father. I was really lost on the "I'm Proud of You," one. I spent quite a bit of my life chasing those words. And the body thing… yeah my body was no Temple, and I'm still not treating it well.

    1. Yes. Knowing that your parents are proud of you, especially your dad is really important and POWERFUL. You don't know how powerful until you realize that you've been chasing it for a long time.

  9. I think it is absolutely beautiful that you took the words you WISH you'd heard and gave them to yourself. That's kind of mind-blowing, actually. I hope it felt good to write that stuff- kind of a loving letter to yourself? Great post!

    1. Yes, very much so. I enjoyed writing the post and thinking about what I really wanted to hear and what I was chasing as a youth.

  10. April, you've come a long way in your life and it's wonderful that you are able to articulate what you missed as a child from both of your father figures. I think that it is significant that you've managed to find a husband who can say those words to your children. What a great way to change up the story!

    1. Thank you. I just had to stay true to me… if I could remember something great he said to me, I would've loved to post it. But I know that I have worth and am smart. Thanks for your comment!

  11. I was a stubborn kid growing up and I thought my father was just being so insane and strict but I realized now that I wouldn't be where I am now without his kind of discipline. I used to think I'd never come into good terms with him but actually we have a pretty good relationship now. I think it's great that you have moved on with your life and whatever happened to you helped you became a better person.

    1. I like to think so! LOL! I wish the strictness had some value, but most of the time it was confusing and counterproductive. Thanks!

  12. What a wonderful, heart-felt way to approach the prompt April. Instead of letting it stall you, you discovered how to move through it towards something really beautiful and meaningful. I see that you faced all kinds of challenges growing up that I can only imagine – thank you for sharing your experience and giving me some advice to share with my three girls.

    1. Thank you so much. I admire him for what he did do, he did keep me clothed with a roof over my head, never starving. As I've grown up, I just know exactly what I received and what I missed. Please do! They will appreciate it.

  13. How sad that your father told other people how proud he was of you, but not you. A parent's words – praise and criticism – have such an impact on children. I'm sorry you didn't get to hear those words from the fathers in your life, but it sounds like your children definitely will.

    1. Yes, when people told me that at his funeral, I know I had that "deer in headlights" look and said that I thought he was talking about my sister, who I have heard him rave about. It really was sad that I never heard it from him.

  14. I feel bad that I love this post so much because you SHOULD have been given all that and more. The best part is that you can take this and apply it to your own child and never made the mistake either dad made. Cause they missed a pretty important kid while she was growing up and it was their loss and fault

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