On biological fatherlessness

While you’re on the subject of fatherlessness…

I woke up from a dream today clear that I had a question for you. The details of the dream are, I suspect, unimportant, but the image that lingers is of me finding an old box that I kept under my bed as a kid. Inside was this tiny wallet-sized photo of my biological father. It was the one my mom gave me when I was about 6, and instructed me to hide from the only person I ever knew as my dad. It’s not like the whole situation was a secret, but the dad I grew up with has a fragile ego, the type of an addict, the type even a six year old can perceive.

So in this dream, there’s the portrait, just like I remember, and then facing it there’s another picture; one I haven’t seen before.  The guy from the portrait is holding the baby version of me above him, smiling, our noses almost touching. That saccharine quality was enough to make me gag a little upon waking.

I found him on Facebook recently–my biological father. The internet is a funny place where a swift mouse click is the only thing separating you from communicating with a person you don’t know but to who you are innately and permanently connected.

He’s there. Along with his wife. I have a half-brother. A half-sister.

There’s the grown up in me that doesn’t want to fuck with something that isn’t broken. My life is pretty damn good. It seems his is, too. There are plenty of people who care about me deeply, and I still have the dad I grew up with (and I’m still afraid of hurting his feelings). But then there’s this little bratty child in me who wants to kick and scream and demand that this person acknowledge my existence.

What do I do?

Find a private moment when you have a clear mind and an open heart. Sit down and write your biological father a letter. No other direction than that. Just sit and write. See what comes out. Find out what you have to say to him.

Get it out on the page, and then let it sit for a while. Walk away from it. Come back a week or a month later and revisit it. Check how you feel against how you felt. Write more if you need.

Over time, use what you learn about your emotions to inform your decision about how to proceed. Process as much as you can before taking any action.

Life is long, sweetheart. Whether it’s a year from now or a decade, I have no doubt you’ll eventually make some sort of contact with your biological father.

Know yourself as much as possible before you do.


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