By: Gabrielle Lee
Growing up fatherless was not easy but it molded and shaped me into the young woman that I am today. Many people believe that not having a father will negatively affect you drastically and change you for the worse, but in my life, that has not been the case.
Not having a father did change me but for the better. Even though my father was not there I had a great mother who raised me as a single parent and who also taught me the true definition of hard work and independence.
In our society today, many people have preconceived notions as to how young black girls raised without fathers will turn out. Some believe that fatherless black girls and women become druggies, alcoholics, dropouts, live in government housing and typically choose men that are similar to their fathers, but is this true?
In my experience growing up with an absent father in the projects was not easy. I was teased, bullied and ridiculed from friends and mostly my family because he wasn’t there. The only memories I have of my father are him always promising me that he would visit and him not showing up. This caused me to become guarded and unable to trust people from a young age. I never experienced calling someone daddy or attending a daddy daughter dance but I got over it.
I remember sleeping over my best friends house in middle school and hearing her being disrespectful to her father, and telling her, “You should be thankful for him. He makes sure you’re okay, feed and make sure you have clothes on your back”. This moment really stuck with me because I would have done anything to have my father in my life at that point.
Although my father wasn’t there I had a wonderful mother that raised me while taking on the role as my mother and father. Being raised by a single mother, I learned to always work hard for what I wanted. My mother raised me alone without help from anyone not even her family and as a result, I vividly remember her being stressed out often and working night shifts just to make sure I was taken care of.
She taught me to never depend on a men but to work hard and make my own money. I watched my mother struggle since I was born just to make sure I was feed, clothed and safe. Seeing my mother work and make things happen on her own made me stronger.
I’m now a 20 year old college student pursuing a nursing degree while working part-time as a assistant teacher. I’m not on drugs, I’m not an alcoholic, I actually love school, and my boyfriend is amazing.
My mother and I are also doing just fine. Yes, we are currently live in government housing because that’s all we could afford in the beginning but who’s to say we’re going to be here forever or I’m going to be living in public housing with my future children.
After living making it through 20 years without my father I have come to realize that the negative generalizations and perceptions of fatherless black women are not the reality for all of us. Not every fatherless black child living in public housing will end up just like their mother, not every black child grows up without a father, and not every black girl without a father has daddy issues.
We as black girls and women need to tear down these generalizations and prove them wrong. I am today helping the youth of the nation from drug and alcohol. I have joined hands with White Sands Rehabilitation center to help people who are suffering from addiction. Yet still, there are so many negative stereotypes for black fatherless girls and for black girls period. I’m so thankful I was raised by a strong independent black woman. I give praise and thanks to all black mothers and especially single black mothers. Raising a child period is a hard job but by yourself with no help is a even harder job. And for the young fatherless black girls don’t let peoples stupid generalizations define who you are, you know who you are, God knows who you are and you know you can do anything you put your mind too.