A few weeks ago, I was having an interesting conversation with someone about what their wish for the world was. Their initial wish was for there to not be “deadbeat dads” in this world. It was for parents to not have the option of walking out of their children’s lives. Soon enough, it dawned on him that being a parent comes with a certain level of devotion towards the child that could never come from someone who doesn’t want to be a “parent” in the first place.
In her book “the sun and her flowers”, Rupi Kaur wrote:
It isn’t what we left behind
That breaks me
It is what we could’ve built
Had we stayed
A self-diagnosis would reveal that I’ve had daddy issues in the past. Like many working parents, mine was always on the go and I would barely see him even when he was home because of his line of work. I was angry for years because it felt like he loved serving the community more than his family. More than me. When he had some free time, he’d sit us around the living room tell us about the stories of him in university, the struggles, his early days with my mother, the hustle,etc. He would take us to the beach with my cousins and let us play in the water. He ingrained in us this idea that we shouldn’t be a burden to anyone financially and that education would take us places we’d never dreamed of. Education to him was a bridge that could take anyone wherever and however far they wished to go in life.
I had created this idea in my mind of how greater of a father he would’ve been had he worked in another field.
Truth is, had he not traveled as much as he did (still does) and been exposed to the world, I would probably be married at 23 with kids. He pushed us to work hard and excel as young girls, a notion that my culture hasn’t grasped yet.
All this to say, we have this narrative of how life would’ve been had that “person” decided to stay. Whether we’re talking about a friend or a partner, we rarely think about how much worse it would’ve been. We spiral into this illusion of how the issues could’ve been avoided or handled when sometimes things don’t or stop happening because better things are ahead. When it comes to friends or partners, most of the time, they leave because they want or need to. Keeping them longer with us in hopes they realize “this is where they need to be” only drags the pain further down the line until we finally let the idea of “us” go. We cannot turn people into who we want them to be.
There’s nothing beautiful about people staying in your life against their will. You deserve to be with people who want to be a part of your life. You shouldn’t have to beg anyone to stay.
That’s not love. And you, my friend, deserve love even when you deny it to yourself.
We all do.
I hope you see it.
I hope you feel it.
P.S. And if they don’t stay, you’ll be alright 🙂