Before I start this post I’d like to say how amazing the support and words of encouragement were after i posted the Dear Mum(my) post back in March
That article was a part of a healing process that was actually sparked by UK Grime and Hip Hop artist Stormzy and his song Lay Me Bare;
“Like bro I can’t believe I saw my dad Still up in the ends, still driving cabs He said “Yo son, I need a car” I kissed my teeth and turned my back
Like “Nigga, you ain’t seen my face for years Nigga, you ain’t seen my face for time
And the first thing you’re asking me for, is that? Fuck you! That’s where I draw the line”
Should’ve dashed through a rack like “Keep the change”
And fuck letting go, I’ll keep the pain Twenty-three years I’m still the same
When you hear this I hope you feel ashamed ‘Cause we were broke like what the fuck
Mum did well to hold us up But yet she still forgave your arse
But mumsy’s cool, I’m cold as fuck Fuck that! I’m still not over this
Fuck that! No, I’m still not over this”
At the beginning of the song Stormzy expressed a reluctance to share this part of his life but instead he chose too and i feel that like me, after writing the lyrics and releasing this song, he was filled with a sense of relief.
I experienced this when,soon after I clicked the publish button on my the Dear Mummy post (eyes closed peeking through my fingers) ,i started getting emails dms and text messages from strangers, followers, friends and family members expressing how much they sympathised with me and how strong they felt i was for sharing my story.
Well to my well wishers i want to say thank you but …
The night i published that letter i’d never felt as emotionally weak. For some reason my break up with my long term boyfriend had me wishing i was closer to my dad. I broke down in tears that night watching the Natwest Advert that featured a father sacrificing things to make sure her daughter fulfilled her dreams.
This happened a few times with a few different Dad based TV Shows and Movies and I decided that I needed to heal myself in order to move on. The dear Mum(my) article was the first step on the road to forgiving my Dad and letting myself have a relationship with him without feeling guilty.
The second step was looking within myself and trying to figure out what i wanted. I’d spent 8 years of my life pretending like I didn’t care about not having a relationship with my Dad then i spent 3 years in a relationship where I made my own wants and needs secondary. There was obviously something wrong.
It took me about 2 months after the break up to realise what that was. I was still living with my ex and we argued about something stupid, I don’t even remember what. But all I recall thinking afterwards was that I should make the steps to apologise since I was the one who initiated the break up and that’s probably why he was lashing out. I’d somehow managed to make myself the person at fault when all I’d done was defend myself. This scenario made me realise, I hated myself.
Every single time something out of my control went wrong I would beat myself up, there would be a little voice inside my head telling me i could have done something different to prevent it, a cynical snide little voice that wouldn’t let me move on until i’d fixed the situation. So I would apologise and often feel deflated afterwards.
I felt inadequate and uncomfortable in my own skin. I thought the way to fix it was to work on myself so i applied for better paying jobs , spent nights at the library,days at the gym and threw myself into plans with friends and family that I normally would’ve turned down.
After about 3-4 months of this my anxiety levels were worse and I often found myself reaching for a glass of wine to “settle my nerves“. I would tell myself I didn’t have a drinking problem because according to my doctor and the various internet quizzes I took I didn’t qualify because I didn’t drink enough but I still felt like i needed help.
So i stopped drinking in times where i felt stressed or sad, I limited myself to 2 gym trips a week and made sure i kept a weekend a month for myself were I wouldn’t make plans and just be by myself. I found myself reaching out to friends instead of the wine whenever I felt stressed or down. I silenced the little inner voice by letting myself feel sad when i was sad, angry when i was angry and just letting myself be aware of my feelings and reassuring myself that i was entitled to feel that way instead of looking for an immediate fix.
Safe to say i cried a bunch, had a little minor breakdown or two,cancelled a few plans, disappointed a few friends but,I came out of it feeling like myself again. Things I’d lost interest in when I was supposedly in love became important to me again. Stupid little things like reading for fun, Anime, handheld games and exercise for fun not for “fitness”.
I was a lot more stable less prone to wobble and have an existential crisis at the smallest hurdle. So, when a family illness lead to me having to move home and basically uproot my life, quit my job and transfer Uni in my final year I dealt with it in a healthy way. I even ended up getting an amazing job offer that ties in with my Law degree
I really thought that I would be over the trauma of my Dad and the end of my serious relationship as soon as I decided to deal with them but I realise now that those 5 stages of grief can last for months.
I forgave my Dad and it was a completely selfish and freeing act. We had a talk,I know he missed me. Our relationship is still healing but I’m not bitter anymore andddd the best bit is i can do stupid stuff like drop random Arsenal abuse to him without it feeling forced.