An Open Letter to My Dad

Dear Dad, (if I can even call you that)

Sperm donor seems too crass, Mark too personal.

Considering we’ve never met, or I’ve never met you at least, I think about you a lot. Not what you’re doing or how you are, not much about you at all I suppose. More of the you I wish existed, and the absence it has left in my life. I don’t want to meet you, I never have. I’m not sure the crushing, disappointing reality of your existence could ever add anything to my life and I’m not ready for more to be taken away.

I found you, I saw your giant smiling face mocking me from a computer screen, living life a million miles away. Funny how you can move across the globe to Australia but can’t make the 2 hour train ride up North. I don’t wonder if you’re happy, or if you ever think of me, I just hope your life has been nothing but disaster, a series of unfortunate events. I hope your other daughter, and however many others, think of you with the same disregard I do. How nice it must be to knowingly walk away from your own child, without a care in the world.

I think it’s good I know nothing about you, what you were like, your passions and interests, it’s not like it changes anything. I still despise you. The worst part of it, is the more I hate you, the more I hate myself for needing this. It hurts you see, being ‘dad-less’. I’ve been told I have your height & legs, meaningless things that somehow define my appearance, but I wouldn’t know if I share your sense of humour, if we have the same tics or the same irritating laugh. I will tell you something about me though, I love being called by an endearment, however patronising or lame, by a bus driver or a creep in a bar; I’m still hoping you see, that one day, I’ll get to be someone’s princess. Tragic, right?

But I have a terrible habit of bursting into tears whenever a father shows love for his daughter. The supporting hug after failing an X Factor audition, words of encouragement shared in a tight embrace, the despair of a dad pleading for a cure to save his daughters life, even the lunging of a furious father, desperate for justice. I think I’d like justice; I made myself hard to soften the blows and it made me into someone not easy to love.

There’s a moment in Season 1, Episode 6 of My Mad Fat Diary, where Rae tells Kester of a time her & Chloe were playing on the stairs & Chloe got hurt. Her dad stepped over Rae to comfort his daughter and left Rae crying all alone. It was like a sucker punch to the gut. For I have always been Rae, trampled in the process of saving someone else. It happened when I was 12, I lost all my friends and the world felt like it was ending, but our teacher told their parents to stay away from me, to save themselves. And again, and again. When I was older, pulled aside & told I have to protect her because she’s ‘your little girl’ and surely, I’d understand that? But I was just a girl too, never allowed to be little. And while you’re looking out for yours, who’s looking out for me?

‘Your own dad didn’t even want you’ like a broken record played on repeat, as if your complete lack of presence wasn’t indication enough. As if I wasn’t enough. Constantly striving for an idea of perfection that doesn’t exist, & falling horribly short every time, I gave up after a while. It’s easier that way. Failure feels like a comfort somehow, the only constant I know I can rely on. It’s easier to have no expectations than to have them all dashed. It's something I'm working on with my therapist. I seem to be discovering problems I never knew existed but I can't blame you solely for that.

I don’t know when I stopped hoping and started wishing it was over, that everything could just stop, that the darkness of night would never turn to day. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to bed, praying to a god I don't believe in, that I won't make it 'til dawn. Sometimes I don’t know how it could be possible to hurt any more than this, the weight of the world crushing me into a useless mass. and yet sometimes, I feel nothing at all; sometimes it feels as though a train could crash into me and I wouldn't even notice. I hate you. I hate you so much that it overwhelms me. I’ll tell you something else about me, I have a terrible temper. I joke that like the Hulk, I’m always angry, but it’s not far from the truth. I can go from 0 to 100 real quick, consumed by a dark, vicious cloud that's going to get me into trouble. Sometimes, I hope it does.

You left me alone, a literal black sheep of the family and I’ve never felt so lost. You robbed me of my culture, of tradition and of family. I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive you for that. It’s about time I started forgiving myself though, because I don’t deserve to feel like this.

I fear the tone of this letter is giving the impression I am in need of you, but please don’t let my sadness fool you, I’m okay. More than. When the dark clouds clear and the sun starts to shine, my life lights up brighter than a city skyline and I am thriving. I have a great life, filled with love and laughter and better relationships than anyone could ever ask for. Everything I have accomplished, all I will achieve, has been and will be, without you; despite you.

Maybe one day things will change, and I will be ready to face you. Maybe I won’t. Either way, I will continue to learn and grow and flourish. I am more than the empty parts of me. I am enough.

Never Yours,

‘Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you? Don’t you take it awful hard, ‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines, Diggin’ in my own backyard.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear, I rise, Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear, I rise, Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.’

- Maya Angelou



  1. I'm so sorry that you've been made to feel this way, but know that you are not alone AND that you are a strong, wonderful person. It doesn't make how you feel easier, but I hope this open letter is a powerful way to get those feelings into the open and breath them out. Sending you so much love. xx

  2. Thank you, beaut. Knowing I’m not alone in feeling this way or having gone through this, is comforting but also saddening. Some people are the worst, the rest of us will continue to shine Xx