Daddy Issues, by Rodney Fenner

Hello world. I’ve mentioned before that I was raised completely by women; my mother, my great aunt, my cousin, a short stint in a foster home. My father wasn’t around for whatever reason(s). Throughout my childhood, I can remember maybe two instances where I saw him and spent a little time with him or had some interaction with him. This article came about because it seems to be a default notion that if my father were around, I’d have been a better person. For the record, despite the fact that I’m in prison right now, I am satisfied with the person I’ve grown to be mentally, physically and emotionally. The road of development was far from ideal, but I am here. I did an interview a few months ago where I was asked if I thought my life would’ve been better if my father had been around. This subject came up in another recent interview as well. I want to answer that question and speak directly to my father and others like him. The answer to that question is there is no answer to that question. There are too many variables. Him making my life better with his presence is pure conjecture. I think that most times, people who say their life would’ve been better are just looking for someone to blame because their life is probably fucked up. What would they say if their life was good without him? People tend to believe that a family is more stable with both parents. In theory, it should be. They say that a father’s presence is vital to the development of a child and it is, however, it very easily could go either way depending on his character. He could’ve made me a worse person. I could be dead or still ended up where I am. On the other hand, I could’ve never come to prison and instead went to a different institution. College. I could’ve been or done a myriad of different things. I know who my father is, but I do not know his character beyond the lack of resilience and/or desire to be in my life that he’s shown me by his absence. Therefore, anything I say about my life being better or worse because of him would be baseless speculation. Anyone who says that having their father would’ve made their life better is just wishfully thinking because his presence could’ve made it worse. So, if your life is fucked up, don’t blame him. What I can say about him influencing my development is that he made me understand the importance of having a GOOD father or father figure. My father has ten children by six different women and through that, came my desire to not have children with a woman that I didn’t intend to be with. He’s taken care of only three and from that, came my adamance about not having children I wasn’t going to take care of. That’s why I am 31and childless. It seems that we as a people have perpetuated this intentionally designed cultural and societal flaw in America. Why? Are we really so feckless, immature and unaware? Even now, still, in this day and age? I can’t say we’re stupid because we are a highly intelligent people. Whether we choose to use that intelligence is another issue. I mean, of course not all black fathers are like this. Shout out to all those who take care of their responsibilities like men regardless of any obstacles (child’s mother included), however, the number of men who do not assume responsibility is alarmingly high where I’m from. Personally, I was lucky enough to have a mother who didn’t talk bad about my father because he was an absentee. She tried not to let her emotional disposition for him effect the way I viewed or interacted with him. She did, however, give me her side of the story and encouraged me to form my own opinion of him when I got to know him. I have yet to do so because he has yet to make an effort to know me. I know the things I’ve heard from the mothers of his children(who all know me well), but I don’t judge people on hearsay. I guess his lack of effort does speaks volumes though. To him, I’d like to say, contrary to what you may think or the popular assumption, I don’t hate you. I’m not even angry with you in the least bit. You chose your path in life like I chose mine. At the same time, I do want to get to know you and hear your side of why I was fatherless. To the other men out there, I’d like to say stop and think. Divide and conquer has been a strategy used for a long time. If I can divide you without you knowing I’m doing it, I’ve won already. See my allusion? Our families have been divided long enough. They are supposed to be the most sacred thing to us and if we don’t value that enough to be there for the children WE create, then I have to ask what in life IS sacred? Having a child is supposed to be a proud moment, instead it’s a moment where most shirk responsibility in favor of the oblivion and frivolous wasting of time that the streets never cease to offer. If you’re really from the streets, you know the streets don’t love you, so why not be with the children who can’t help but love you? I know that sometimes the mother is a problem in a plethora of ways (as I’ve witnessed) and that’s a whole other article, but if you’re on your duty as a man and a father, I’m sure there are ways to circumvent her if she isn’t cooperative for the sake of the child. If you aren’t on your duty, then YOU’RE the one in the way, not her. As I mentioned, I don’t have any children, but if I did, I’m positive there isn’t a force in existence that could keep me from my child(ren). To reiterate, it seems to be a default notion that if the father is around, the child will be better. Wouldn’t you rather be there and do the best you could than wonder if you possibly destroyed your child’s life with your parental truancy? Then, no matter what, nobody could say you weren’t there and that you messed up their life with your absence. Better yet, be careful who you sleep with. Wrap it up or step it up. Peace.

Rodney Fenner
DOC #1436377

Categories: family, Rodney Fenner

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