At two points in recent times I have been asked what I truly, deeply burn and desire for the betterment of this world. Those of you who know me might think this would be about helping people find their love for their bodies, or realising healthy lifestyle choices. But when asked, I dug a little bit deeper and surprised myself with what bubbled to the surface. A clump formed in my throat as I tapped into this truth, and I answered the person asking me: "I want fathers to recognise exactly how important they are for their children. I want mothers to allow fathers to be fathers." Tears poured out of my soul as I felt my own longing for my own father and the raw pain from raising my daughter at 50% care with her father…
When I worked at the aquatic centre I would see many mothers roll their eyes at their children's father. "He is useless", they would say. We are now above the 50% divorce rate and our children are being raised in a war zone between genders. Separation brings out the worst in people, trust me- I know... When are we going to learn to accept one another? I have no doubt that there are those fathers being "useless". My own father was one of them. Being labelled useless is not helping. What needs to happen is to dig in to what is causing the uselessness. As for my own father, he felt pushed aside and not qualified enough to parent his 3 daughters. He had not been equipped with a vocabulary to connect with us, and fear, guilt and shame got the better of him. In the end he felt it was easier to stay away and just pay the child support.
Our society expects men to be strong, in control, achievers and providers. And then there is parenthood, which pretty much brings out the exact opposite: it's messy, it's exhausting, it's flaring up childhood wounds and insecurities. And early on there is no sex, and I am certain that's not helping!
All my life I have carried this innate fear of not being loved by a man. And as life happens, this fear has manifested itself into a series of broken relationships. I have turned needy, I have turned bossy, I have craved and felt an unease when getting close. Yet, I welcome these lessons. I am learning to completely embrace this shit. To love me with all of that hard and soft and messy stuff. If I don't love me, who else will?
Somehow, I think the answer to many of our societal problems lie in men not being loved and respected. In men not being taught the tools to face their pain and insecurities. Because we all have them. In women recognising that their power lies in them. Women need to stop blaming their partners or exes of their failures.
I dream of a society where fathers can be fathers. Where men can be messy, insecure, and be okay with it. Where real connection between genders are based on allowing one another to be vulnerable and cliché gender roles become obsolete. I dream of every child knowing their dad. And I dream of every dad being accepted for who he is.
This is personal.