real life

Dear Dad: I'm ashamed to be your daughter.

Kezia on her 6th birthday. Another birthday that her father missed.
Kezia on her 6th birthday. Another birthday that her father missed.

 

By KEZIA LUBANSZKY

Dear Dad,

We’ve never had a typical relationship. I’ve only known you for a few years. And since the day I first saw your face there’s been something on my mind. I remember that day. I was fourteen, full of teenage angst and craving to know where I came from. I’d convinced my mum it was a good thing to do, so we tracked you down. Your father was hosting a family reunion, so we decided to meet you there. The reunion of a lifetime.

I stood there and waited. I can’t explain the feelings pulsing through me that day. Such a large aspect of my life, that I lacked a significant relative, was about to be swept away. So I waited and waited. Each man that walked through the door caused my heart to jolt at the thought that it could be you. I had fantasies about who you were. Valiant, charming, educated. And then you walked through the door.

Seven years on and I wish we’d never met. I’m sorry to say it, but I’m ashamed to be your daughter. You should have stayed away. You should have known.

You cried and apologised and told me you loved me. You said the drugs kept you away, that it wasn’t your fault. That night you swore to me that you would never touch heroin again. I found some in your drawer the next day.

I went to your court case and I cried when they took you away. I hated the thought of you in pain. But you’d never care if that were me.

Because I'm a junkie's daughter.
Because I’m a junkie’s daughter.
ADVERTISEMENT

I went to visit you, to introduce you to my boyfriend. You were slurring and falling over. You had that sickly glaze over your eyes and I knew you’d done it again. What a lovely first impression for the man I loved.

I waited up all night on my 21st birthday. I knew you’d call. You had to. I cried into my pillow when it dawned on me that you never truly cared.

You did call me that night. But not because it was my birthday. You called to tell me that you were going back to jail. You’d bashed your girlfriend’s dad, and you sounded kind of proud.

My life is tainted because of you. I have daddy issues. Since hitting puberty I’ve had a string of unhealthy relationships and

horrible boyfriends and it’s all because of you.

You see, you taught me that I wasn’t worth anything. You ignored my existence – your only daughter – for fourteen years. And when I tracked you down you dragged me into a vicious world of drugs, alcohol and violence. I know you say you never hit her, but you’ve said that so many times.

You’ve secluded me from the world and separated me from my friends. There’s a hierarchy in my head and I’m perpetually on the bottom. Because I’m a junkie’s daughter.

I dismiss questions about you. I never talk about you. I don’t want anyone I care about to know that I’m your daughter. I’m ashamed of you.

I thought it was time I told you that. Hopefully deep down you knew all along. I know we say we love each other, but we’re no fools.

Unfortunately, you fail to realise that your life affects me too. You screwed up, and I’m sorry for you. But I’m not your parent, and I’m not going to look after you or have any sympathy anymore. That’s your job.

It hurts me to know that you’re an addict. It hurts me that you’re in and out of jail. It hurts that you’re an alcoholic and a liar. It hurts me to think that I may take after you in any way at all.

You hurt me and you need to make amends.

Sincerely,

An ashamed daughter.

Kezia Lubanszky is a creative writer, blogger and lover of a good sentence. She is passionate about words and studies Professional Writing and Editing and Box Hill TAFE.

00:00 / ???