Dear Alma: I had a baby in my twenties when I was dealing with this guy, who was in the military, stationed close to where I live. I thought that we would get married and live happily ever after. Obviously, that didn’t happen. He relocated and eventually we stopped talking. He did however send money to take care of our daughter. I get a check in the mail from him every month and I’m forever grateful for it.
I was heartbroken when he moved away, and I don’t think I ever really healed. I was in relationships here and there and eventually got married.
When that marriage ended, I just shut down. I let myself go and made some not so good decisions. I put on weight, because I’ve been depressed, and I just try not to bring attention to myself. I’m a great cook and all my daughter’s friends and my family usually come over when they want a good home-cooked meal. Recently, a knock came on the door and it was my daughter’s father. He asked if she lived there and then he asked if her mother was home; he didn’t even recognize me. I just said that she wasn’t home and that I’d give her the message. He said, “Okay” and I shut the door. I was so hurt afterward, I just cried and cried. I don’t know how to feel. I haven’t told my daughter yet, because I don’t know if I want to see him again. What’s your advice Alma? Should I give my daughter her father’s contact information, or should I just pretend like he never stopped by? Signed, Reunited, but It Doesn’t Feel So Good
The question you asked has nothing to do with the answer you need, but because of the circumstances, I’ll offer you a two-fer.
First, let me get this straight. Your daughter’s father consistently provides for her and although he didn’t stay connected, his coins come regularly to help you take care of her. He recently stopped by to reconnect, but didn’t recognize you and you think that’s enough reason to keep him away from her? Okay, I’ve gotta stop rightchia: I’m sorry Sweet Pea, I don’t mean to kick you when you’re down, but this ain’t about you. It’s about your daughter and her father reconnecting—period. Run to your pocketbook, pour out your belongings and give the contact information to you daughter, plain and simple.
Now, scooch over and let me sit, here’s part two: Ain’t no doubt about it, it can seem like forever to spoon your way out of a dark, deep ditch, but you can do it. Once you get started, your spoon becomes a spatula, the spatula becomes a ladle and then the ladle becomes a shovel—you feel me?
What you thought you couldn’t do, suddenly becomes natural to you, but first you’ve got to change your mind, change your thinking. It’s been a long time since your old flame has laid eyes on you, that doesn’t mean you didn’t look the same. It just means he didn’t initially recognize you. Let that go, use it as the fuel you need to get back to your best. If you can’t find the strength in yourself, do it for your daughter.
Whenever you get tired, don’t let “Ms. Easy” rule your decisions. Ms. Easy will lead you back to eating fried chicken, mac & cheese, drinking milkshakes, but don’t do it. No excuses. Today is the day you are #sickntired of being #sickntired. Start walking. You own your mind and body; nobody should love you more than you love yourself. Stop allowing the pains of your past to deter you from making yourself a priority. Go find the happy you, the fabulous you, the confident you and reintroduce yourself. When you start healing your mind, your body will follow. And once that happens, a heap of friends and family members won’t recognize you, but that’s okay, because it’ll be for all the right reasons.
Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and The Washington Post. Email questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.