I always thought my stepdad was my real dad, but it turns out he wasn’t. When I was 17, my mom told me I had a different father. My real father dropped out before I was born.
He got two women pregnant at the same time and decided to be with the other woman. He
pushed my mom down the stairs when she was pregnant with me and said, “If you aren’t going to get an abortion, then I’ll do it myself.”
Instead of being the typical angry kid who’s angry at a parent who abandoned her, I was excited. This was my chance to be that hero I always wanted to be. In my naïve way of thinking I thought I, his long lost daughter, stood a chance to help him overcome addiction and alcoholism.
Five years ago, when my mom told me about him, he had just gotten out of jail for stabbing a man in a bar. He served seven years. Ever since he’s been in and out of jail or back on the streets, when he’s not bumming it in his mom’s house.
He’s been in and out of rehab. But still, there I am, or there I was, on the sidelines cheering him on. Everyone else who’s been by his side has left him. But I haven’t quite brought myself to do that yet.
Next week he’s facing jail time for theft. I was writing the judge a letter on his behalf when his sister messaged me, saying he just robbed a convenience store and got charged with another assault.
Ever since he started letting me down, after telling me he was going to stay out of trouble, my confidence has been low. I walk into a crowd and wonder, “Am I wanted here?”
I remember asking my father why he wasn’t there for me. He said, “I had places to be. You were always out of sight, out of mind.” Five years later that’s how I continue to feel. Unimportant to others because of what he said to me.
I’m in the Navy now and about to go on my first ship. I need confidence. I’m going to be
surrounded by people who may or may not make me feel wanted. I want the confidence to get through deployments whether I feel alone or not.
Kimberly, you can think a ship is seaworthy when it isn’t. That doesn’t affect the ship. It affects you. The ship will go down whether you acknowledge its unseaworthiness or not. What is in your power is not to board the ship.
Why let this man destroy your confidence? He chooses not to exercise control over his own life. Why give him control over yours? If he gets to be called father, what do you call all the good men who raise, support and love their daughters?
Kids want to be heroes. That’s why superheroes with super powers are so popular. We want to save the day. In some ways we never outgrow that. But there is only one way to save the day: by exercising power over our own life. You lack confidence today because you attempted something that was never within your power to accomplish.
Mastery builds confidence. You are starting a new endeavor. You are there to do a job. Master your job. You are in an organization where the educational opportunities are unlimited. Get as much education as you can handle.
Do that and seek out role models who can show you how to be an example to others. If you
embrace being the best you can be, you won’t have time or the desire to worry about lack of confidence.
Direct Answers from Wayne and Tamara – Column for the week of November 21, 2016
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