A letter to my Father #BehindTheBlogger
February 15, 2016 § 9 Comments
Since your death, I look for you in everyone.
I look for your altruism, decency, courage, tenacity, moral sense, in addition to the sense of community & kinship that you fostered wherever you went. This is my dual act of optimism and defiance.
As I hold all that you taught me quite sacred plus use your wisdom as a measure by which I evaluate all things in life – both abstract (discerning who has earned a place alongside me on my life’s journey) and commonplace (recognising the necessity of challenging gender expectations). You taught me never to compromise my values.
“It is not what you leave to your children that matters, but what you leave in them.” …a pertinent truism considering that money, property and land are the typically inherited heirlooms, however, rarely is any esteem or value assigned to memories and experiences that cannot be re-created. Hours following your death, I recall the preoccupation of certain family members with attaining your estate and monies – all of which was valued / divided up and dispersed. Whilst they appeared to leave me with nothing materially, they failed to realise that there is no monetary value that can be apportioned to the REAL birthright you bequested – which was intangible and could not be ‘sold’. It incorporates of a rich mixture of heritage, character, values, ideals, life lessons and the desire to leave the world a better place than you found it. In many regards I lost everything, yet successfully made my way in life long after your proceeds have been squandered by others. In that same vein, I have many friends who have misused their inheritance to the extent of being indebted or financially dependent. If you leave enough ‘in’ them, they will be able to go out and make their own way in the world, not matter what is left ‘to’ them.
Thank you for:
- Instilling me with love and confidence. You taught me the necessity of loving myself before I deign to love another (I am indeed my own before I am another’s), to seek after respect rather than attention, that I am the creator of my own happiness; magnificent, powerful and deserve to be accepted as I am.
- Your tutelage in preparation for life. It was as though you knew you weren’t going to live to see me into my adolescence so you diligently imparted a condensed version of your life lessons, including a good work ethic (I understand the value of hard work) and appreciate your invaluable coaching about how to succeed in life, as well as the passing down of your good habits, which continue to serve me well today).
- Reminding me that it’s imperative to be part of change. The first way I challenge the convention of my role as a woman within society is by taking ownership for my decisions rather than being motivated by external circumstances – e.g. the societal constructs, pressures and expectations. For example, I decided to get married by choice, for love – and not because of social pressure, the fear of being incomplete, spinsterhood or loneliness. I am not the first person to share this social construct; this therefore illustrates my point as to how convention is created by individuals who are acculturated by shared convention and beliefs. Resultantly, I felt empowered with my decisioning and redefining my role in my own way – without justification or apology.
- Teaching me the importance of having a ‘voice’, meaning an an opinion. I believe that it is necessary to remain opposed to rather than indifferent to injustice. I love to honour and represent my ideals by upholding them without hypocrisy or judgement of others. Standing for what I believe in also means being open minded enough to consider someone else’s point of view.
- Your example of modelling equality, integrity, and honour in marriage. I learnt never to settle for less (particularly from having internalised mother’s motto of “nothing will keep me and I will not be kept”).
- Telling me that anything is possible, and that I am not restricted by gender or race (though others will attempt to marginalise me).
- Teaching me that making an error is an essential part of learning, and is nothing to feel ashamed of or regret for.
- Successfully fulfilling Proverbs 13:22 : “a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children”.
I appreciate this wonderful legacy, and carry it beneath my skin. It informs my perceptions and pervades my fears.
I see you in everything…in my own reflection, mannerisms, the beauty of nature and whenever I recall our life’s memories.
I am proud to be your daughter and bear your name. You make me smile.
Thank you for reading a story from #BehindTheBlogger Hop. Every 2 weeks a group of bloggers is given a writing prompt. These prompts are very open ended, so our bloggers can write about whatever they desire. The main rule is that their blog post directly relates to the topic of that week. The point of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level.
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