Grudges & New Beginnings

Do you know who I am, do you know who you are?

There were things I wanted to tell him. But I knew they would hurt him. So I buried them, and let them hurt me.

When will you notice all the pieces I broke off were just memories of you

The first man who ever hurt me was my father. It’s not the typical “I had no dad growing up” story, because truthfully my dad did so much more to hurt us than just leaving. I won’t bring it up though. Most children in this situation will eventually get over it. He’s not in your life, so why bother, right? Wrong. When you’re a girl without a dad, it hurts. Not in a conventional way. Not in the way you’d think. I don’t feel an overwhelming sense of loss. It feels more like a gradual rejection. Your birthday comes around and instead of a gift, you long for that phone call from your dad saying he’s okay and he will see you soon–but you never get it. Theres a lot of broken and empty promises made, but you still cling to that tiniest bit of hope buried in the pit of your heart. You think maybe just maybe you’ll get a call or a card on christmas this year, only to be let down again.

I remember in elementary school there was this huge “donuts for dad event.” It was super hyped up and I just remember dreading going to school that morning. I’d have to look around and see the one thing every other child had that I didn’t: a dad. So I wouldn’t feel left out–my uncle took the place of my dad that day (which I truly did appreciate). Unlike the traditional “daddy issues” stereotype, I found myself running away from the male species. Part of me was just uncomfortable with the idea of men while another part of me just didn’t want to get hurt like I had been from my absent father.

As the days went on I started to believe that the only reason my dad wasn’t around was because of me. I hated myself and everything about me, including my name. I started to go by Veronica (my middle name) instead of Tamia. Because I hated my dad (who had a part in choosing my name) and I hated myself. People would say my name and it made me want to barf. I had so much hate in my heart over a man who never and still doesn’t care about me. My world was crumbling silently, but nobody knew because I would never speak of him. To this day I don’t know why I ever gave him so much power over me and my life. To hate any part of me that looked like him, or talked like him. It was a miserable way to live.

I started to believe that by using the name Veronica it would give me a different persona. I was wrong. My parents still called me Tamia or Mia. When the rosters are called on the first day of class they’d know me as Tamia, unless I stated otherwise. I couldn’t escape him. No matter what I am still me, I’d have to legally change my name for me to actually “become someone else.” Why would I change myself because of the doings of someone whose done nothing for me.

As we inch closer and closer to a new year all I want is for this weight I’ve been dragging behind me for years to be gone. I can sit around and wait for a call or text I’m never going to get. Or I can forgive him and move on. Forgiveness. It is one of the hardest things in life to do. But, how am I benefiting from holding onto a grudge for 19+ years? As much as I want to scream and cry and just absolutely lose it, I can’t anymore. It’s time to move on and let go. In the end, him not being here proved to be a blessing. My mom found someone who makes her happy, and I gained an amazing step-dad who gives me more than I could ask for. If you can gain anything from this it would be to not let people change you. Not a family member not a boy–not anyone. Not for any reason.

Here’s to the new year, and here’s to my real name.

-Tamia Tutson

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