When I sit down and talk to my grandmother about my life, my ideas and my relationships, she has a really genuine empathy. Her experiences, though dated and from a different generation, somehow offer a level of ease for my worries about the life I'm leading. All of her experiences with men, however, end with their passing, and she has a moment of reflective solitude, and it's almost as if I can see her remembering their first kiss, their first gut laugh with each other, and then a sigh of appreciation and utter marvel for biology's indifferent life course.
Much of who I am as a young woman is compared to a hypothetical me; who I would be had my father been a part of it at all. As I get older, I see myself observing daughter-father relationships with a level of ignorance, I can't seem to grasp what that type of relationship really feels like. What could have been. The woman I would be with a guiding father. I am much more emotionless than my sister is; she battles with an inner rage toward the misfortune of being raised by a single mother. And while we honor my mother for all her graceful and selfless years of our upbringing, there is still a dark corner tucked away for the resentment of not being protected. My sister's teenage pregnancy can be directed to the lack of supervision and utter confusion of being a young woman essentially on her own. Much of my critical paranoia about death and separation can be largely attributed to a fathers absense.
My relationships with men have been an on-going saga since I hit puberty. Romance novels and the mature marriage pursuits have intriguied me and enveloped me since it was socially acceptable to be dating. I've opened myself up, dared myself, mistreated myself, hurt myself and scarred myself on the plunge of various relationships. There are no regrets here - simply experimental etchings on my young soul and mind. I am asked often if I am searching for the qualities lacking in my father, and if I could seriously admitt to even knowing him then that could be the case, but I only know the in-and-outs of my fathers mental disorder, his painful attempts to be caring, and his involuntary submission to his own issues.
I've been communicating with people about their relationships with their fathers and taking personal notes on some observations in public places to help my personal goal to writing a book on "the fatherless tribe". Growing up without a father is an all too familiar story for our generation, where divorce and even a father's death seems a more common occurance over an enduring marriage. But what are young girls really missing from having a father? What is it about this peculiar opposite-sex void that leads many females along the same troublesome route of relationship issues... we are among the same fatherless tribe, with most likely the same questions about ourselves and our indentities.