An Open Letter to my Dad

my-dad

Since my last ‘open letter’ post I have been thinking about what I could write next. I thought about writing one to a different part of my body – which I will do. But I thought this letter in particular might have a more resonating effect. I warn you, this might not be an easy read.

TRIGGER WARNING: If you are triggered by mentions of domestic violence, alcoholism, suicide or police presence please don’t read this unless you feel able to.

Dad,

WOW, it’s been a while, and to be honest I am not really sure how I feel about our relationship. The last time I saw you, you were stalking me around the supermarket, the last time I spoke to you, you were being arrested in the middle of the night. Your last words – ‘You are going to regret this’. The evil in your eye, I’ll never forget that.

It’s not been an easy ride, and I find the further apart the time gets, the harder it becomes. I didn’t start to deal with my experiences until very recently, the raw-ness of the sudden realisation of your behaviour often comes out of nowhere, and hits me like a tonne of bricks.

‘…or best yet, holding me against the wall by my neck…’

It’s only now I realise that it wasn’t what other girls and boys went through. Smashing wine glasses on our dining room table so the glass covered me in my pyjamas, blaming me for smashing your diamond watch even though you threw it at a brick wall, or best yet, holding me against the wall by my neck threatening to kill me just because I had dared to stand up to you. Just to name a few things of the things you put us through.

I do hate you. You shouldn’t speak ‘ill of the dead’ but I do, I can’t help it. For months after you ended your life I blamed myself. The causation of the end of your ‘perfect’ life to fall apart, your arrest, your warrant to not go near us, loosing your job and your family…and yes, I suppose on one hand you could blame me. I did cause all of those things, but do you know what ‘Dad’? I did it because I refused to accept your treatment and behaviour as acceptable. So blame me all you like, I now know, I did those things, at 17 years old, to protect my Mum and Sister, too terrified to stand up to you.

‘…I feel sad that you couldn’t be helped…’

But on the other hand, I do feel sad, I feel sad that you couldn’t be helped. The excessive alcohol consumption, the paranoia, taking a knife to bed with you. Two attempts at ending your life, just a cry for help. Yet no one helped you. I think this should serve as a message to anyone in a similar position, get help, your life doesn’t have to be this way. It may be hard, and the road may be rocky, but if there is a will, there is a way. The problem is with you, you didn’t want help, you couldn’t see anything wrong.

But now, here I am, without a Dad, and reminders of what my life could have been. My graduation, my wedding day, my first born, will all be without you. I see relationships that other people have with their Dad, we never had that, and that’s what breaks my heart the most.

But, if life has taught me anything, I am strong and I can do things on my own. I don’t need you and one day, I live life without those reminders. The day I walk down the aisle, I will do it alone, not because I don’t have anyone else to chose [I have plenty of lovely family I could pick], but to act as a symbol of me. Courageous and brave.

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21 Comments

  1. July 3, 2018 / 6:27 pm

    You will forever be brave and courageous and a beautiful young woman who protected her family when her father failed to do just that. A father should be protective but yours was not, from the bottom of my heart I am sorry for all you suffered with, especially as I was around at the time and saw him as the ‘good’ guy. He helped at the track and was clearly a different person around your family than he was the public. I am truly sorry Sophie but I am so proud that you have finally found your voice and that you are speaking up.

    You’re an inspiration to any young person who is struggling with things which you went through. You are strong and you will go far in life, it does not matter that he will not be there on those important life moments as you have enough family and support around you to fill the gap he created in your life. ❤❤

    • GraphicsBySoph
      July 3, 2018 / 9:54 pm

      Oh Imogen. This made me cry. Thank you so much. This is such a lovely comment. Please don’t be sorry, it’s not your fault. Please don’t let my experiences cloud your judgement of him, he was a good person in some elements, and in the capacity you saw him, he was – he gave his all to athletics. Thank you for being proud of me and I really hope my post helps just one person.

      Thank you for being SO SO lovely! 💗💗💗

      • July 4, 2018 / 9:01 am

        It definitely will gorgeous, I’m sure you’ll help many! Sorry for making you cry but it’s 100% all true! You should hold your head up high and be proud of where and who you are now ❤

        • GraphicsBySoph
          July 5, 2018 / 5:31 pm

          You really are far too kind! Xxx

  2. July 3, 2018 / 6:36 pm

    Wow! The power in this letter is amazing, I felt like I was sitting there with you as you wrote this. Words cannot begin to describe how sorry I am that you went through something like this. I’m sorry that you endured these things and, at one point, blamed yourself. This letter is raw and I applaud you for sharing it. I wish you all the best!

    CiCi | Navigation To Happiness
    navigationtohappiness.com

    • GraphicsBySoph
      July 3, 2018 / 9:55 pm

      Hi Cici, thank you so so much for commenting. I am really glad you liked my post, and I was able to convey myself in the way I intended. Please don’t be sorry, you are so kind, its not your fault. Thank you so so much for such a kind comment. 💗💗

  3. July 3, 2018 / 7:22 pm

    Wow Soph this is really deep.. I’m so sorry you had to go through those things at such a young age.. I know it was and still is hard to deal with.. I’m glad to know that you are dealing with it and your feelings in a constructive way and I truly wish you all the best.. You are so strong and beautiful and you definitely derseve it..💕✨

    • GraphicsBySoph
      July 3, 2018 / 9:58 pm

      Thank you so much Jaleysa. 💗 Please don’t be sorry, it’s not your fault. Thank you so much for the support and kind comment. It really means so much! 💗💗

  4. July 3, 2018 / 7:25 pm

    I am sorry you had to go through this. I am sorry you’ve only recently started to deal with what happened to you fully. It’s not easy but it speaks volumes to your strength. Both for standing up for yourself and your family at only 17 years of age, and again now, for speaking up about what happened and starting to help not only yourself, but others in similar situations. I applaud you!

    • GraphicsBySoph
      July 3, 2018 / 10:00 pm

      Joannda, thank you so so much for such a lovely comment. Please don’t be sorry, it’s not your fault! 💗 This comment made me cry because you are so kind. Thank you, it really means so much! xx

  5. July 3, 2018 / 9:09 pm

    You’re such an inspiration. I’m so sorry that you had to go through this but you are brave and courageous and for that you should be so proud of yourself 💕

    • GraphicsBySoph
      July 3, 2018 / 10:01 pm

      Charlotte, thank you so so much, please don’t be sorry it’s not your fault. 💗 Thank you for being so kind, it really means so much! x

  6. July 3, 2018 / 10:25 pm

    Wow Soph. I was in tears whilst reading this because so much of it felt like my own story – but I want you to know that you are so brave, for being able to not only write this letter but to be able to share it with the world. Your healing can become another persons healing and that is everything. Sending you love and light from South Africa. ❤️

    • GraphicsBySoph
      July 3, 2018 / 10:34 pm

      Thank you so much for commenting and sharing a little insight into your story. I am so sorry you are so familiar with it. 💗 Sending big hugs to you. Thank you for your such kind words, it really does mean the whole world to me! 💗💗💗

  7. July 4, 2018 / 7:20 am

    Unfortunately, I know exactly what this feels like. My dad was the exact same and even had to get reconstruction surgery. We are survivors. You are a survivor. Nothing he did was your fault. He made the choices of his doings. All you can do now is move forward with your life and not let your past or him to destroy your future. Look at you now! You have your own graphics business and a blog that’s doing exceptionally well. Keep moving forward beautiful. You survived and now you can do anything you set your mind too xxx

    • GraphicsBySoph
      July 4, 2018 / 7:25 am

      Oh Anne. Thank you so much for commenting. I’m SO glad we have come out the other side much stronger. Thank you for being so kind, it touches my heart to know you understand what I went through. You too lovely, you are capable of whatever is in your dreams. Sending my hugs! 💗💗

  8. July 4, 2018 / 2:29 pm

    One word… WOW

    Sophie, the first connection I had with you was when you reached out to me from my pleading tweet from wanting a new blog header to bring back my blogging inspo. I never knew one little gesture could have helped me so much. I just thought you were a super talented graphics designer but it turns out you’re so much more.
    Before seeing this post popping up on my timeline I’d never read your blog (guilty) and now I wish it was one of the ones I’d stumbled upon a long long time ago.
    You’re creative skills, both writing and graphics are incredibly and you should be so blooming proud of yourself.

    I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult this must have been for you to share, and let me tell you this, it was one of the most powerful pieces of writing I have read in a VERY long time!!!
    Not only are you courageous and brave, you’ve truly shown the world that your past really cannot control you. Even after going through such a terrible experience at a young age, you’ve come out, not only on top, but at the very top!!!

    You’re an amazing human and I have so much admiration for you, more so than I did before.

    I’m proud to have a Graphics By Soph header

    Hann Mariee xxx

    • GraphicsBySoph
      July 5, 2018 / 5:30 pm

      Oh my goodness Hann! This comment has made my cry [good cry though btw]. I am so glad that we were able to connect via social media. You are such a kind and lovely person, I am so glad that your blog header has brought back the motivation for you.

      I really enjoy writing, and I find that by using my words I can articulate myself far better than I would be able to in any other way.

      It’s true, the past must not define you, it may always be and if and a but, yet if you stand on the first step and wonder that, then you’ll be there forever. Thank you for being so so kind. xx

  9. July 4, 2018 / 6:12 pm

    Oh Soph I’m sorry you had to endure that, but it seems you’re coming to realise that it’s all made you into the strong, brave young lady you are today! You have to pull the positives out of these kind of situations, although it may take a long time to realise they are actually there. Good for you ❤️❤️ Xxx

    • GraphicsBySoph
      July 5, 2018 / 5:26 pm

      Oh Steff, thank you so much for such a lovely comment – this really means so much. I fully agree that you have to take the positives from the outcome of any situation. Thank you!

  10. August 21, 2018 / 8:07 am

    I’m speechless… you’re such a brave and strong person! Never doubt that! Standing up to protect your family is impressively strong. I wish you the best for a happier future xxx

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