After a long day yesterday I came home to a quiet house, climbed in my bed and fell fast asleep. As usual, around midnight I woke up and lay in bed struggling with the insomnia that has taken over my life over the past couple of months. Scrolling through my phone I saw that one of my friends had pinged me just to make sure I was home safely and okay. After I responded she told me she needed to speak to me about the conversation we had earlier that day. When she called she asked me, “Tonza do you realize that you are drop dead gorgeous?” Blown away by this question, I asked why she was asking me this, to which she replied, “I don’t think you really see what you bring to the table and that is why you are constantly letting people that are not worthy get in your mind space.”
Stunned, I sat there and pondered what she was saying and then began to deny my insecurity. Of course I know what I bring to the table. I have received enough attention over the years to know there are a fair amount of people that think I am an attractive woman. I am an educated woman who has been self-employed for the past 17 years. My grit and determination has allowed me to build a great reputation as a litigator. Sure, I have had my fair shake of bumps and bruises, but my thriving legal practice has afforded me the opportunity to take care of my children, be a home owner, acquire other assets, travel to other countries, and experience the world in a way that many never do. I am passionate and compassionate. And, at 45 I am truly enjoying this journey and still exploring the possibilities that this life has to offer. So, how could my friend possibly think that I didn’t know what I brought to the table? And, even though I asked myself this question I couldn’t help but realize, despite all of my successes in life, I hadn’t seemed to master the art of finding companionship with someone I was compatible with.
As I sat there still justifying the behavior that made her call me to have this conversation, my friend gently said, “Tonza, have you ever considered the possibility that not having your dad in your life has caused you not to see your value?” Feeling my throat tighten, I became silent. In my mind, I kept saying to myself, “yes, I considered it and his absence has not affected me.” But I couldn’t bring myself to say those words out loud so I sat in silence until I was sure that my voice would not tremble and quietly asked, “What does that have to do with anything?”
“Well Tonza, dad’s play an important role in the lives of girls. They are the ones that teach girls love, protect them, and show them what to expect from a man. They are the protector of a girl’s heart. A girl whose dad constantly reminds her that she is beautiful and smart is usually comfortable with not putting up with bullshit. I think you tolerate a lot of BS in your relationships with men and lower your standards because you have no clue what you truly bring to the table and that is because your dad was not your protector.” After listening to her theory, I still continued to try to rationalize my behavior only to end the conversation with maybe you are right. After we hung up I lay in bed, for a long time, thinking about that conversation and dozed off still refusing to accept that the absence of love and support from my dad had affected me in any way.
When I woke up this morning my mind was still processing that conversation. I threw on my running gear and ran out in the brisk, cool air. I started off running as hard as I could. As I ran the tears began to flow and I could admit, my dad’s absence in my life has absolutely had an adverse effect on me. For the next four miles of my walk/run I acknowledged that I had some work to do so that I would no longer walk into a room and worry about how many people will not like me just because they “think” I’m stuck up. I had some work to do so that I would no longer feel like I had to dumb down just to make others feel adequate. I had some work to do so that I could not allow people that were clearly disrespectful of me to occupy my head space. I had some work to do so that I could accept that I did not have to lower my standards for the sake of companionship.
Dad, I wish you were there to teach me these lessons. I forgive you and I honestly believe that you have no clue that your absence of love and support left a hole in my heart. I know that now that I can say this out loud, I have taken another huge step in the right direction.
I share this story with the hopes that other daddy’s will read this and let their girls know every day how beautiful, smart, awesome, and powerful they are!!!!! Give them the power to hold their heads high and eliminate toxic things and people from their lives. And, my dear friend, I thank you for calling me in the middle of the night and forcing me to take a closer look. True friendship is hard to find, and, I appreciate ours.
Much love, Tonza