How I Found My Worth in Spite of My Father’s Abandonment

“Because if I myself saw my worth, I wouldn’t wiring my worthiness on someone else’s seeing it.” ~Unknown

I can’t be sure which title I would have preferred. Daddy, Poppa, Pa, Dad. Aren’t these the endearing titles one earns when they live up to all that it ways in the role of the first and most important man in a little girl’s life?

The one who she can count on for love, guidance, comfort, and safety. The one who she adores. The one who teaches her how to play soccer or baseball considering she is a tomboy through and through. The one who allows her to put makeup on his squatter or to have tea parties with him at a table entirely too small for his stature. The one who tells her the weightier bedtime stories that leave her feeling unscratched from the boogeyman living under her bed.

The one who sets the standard when she finds the love of her life.

From all that I have heard, they are the ones who are something special and to be treasured.

Mine, on the other hand, not so much. Let us then undeniability him the sperm donor. Fitting since it’s the only role he’s played in my life. When one walks out on his wife and two little girls, the older, age three and the younger, age one (that’s me), offering no support, financial, emotional, or otherwise, he’s earned that title.

Bless your woebegone little heart.

Maybe this all makes me sound harsh or bitter. That’s considering I was, for a really long time.

And with that came all the issues: abandonment, people-pleasing, anxiety, lack of conviction and self-esteem. Choosing partners who didn’t respect me considering I didn’t respect myself. Drinking and feeling regret over things I may have said or washed-up that could have hurt other people. Always second-guessing myself and my choices considering I didn’t trust myself to make my own decisions.

I became my own worst enemy, unceasingly and constantly vibration myself up for anything and everything, and I filled my throne with toxic thoughts well-nigh my worth that I believed were truths. Truths I lacked any worthiness to refute.

I needed unvarying validation and approval, and a steady stream of input from others dictating my life. I did not know who the heck I was or how to be true to myself. I spent many years trying to make sense of it all, and the increasingly I tried, the increasingly I suffered.

I hated the fact that I grew up without a father. I hated everything well-nigh it. And for so long, I let it pinpoint who I was.

Fast-forward to the second half of my life. Without a series of difficult events, including a devastating breakup virtually my fiftieth birthday and the increasingly recent unexpected death of my mother, the only parent I had overly known (with whom I shared a tumultuous, roller coaster relationship), I became sick of myself and who I had unliable myself to become.

How could I expect my own kids to grow into confident, kind, respectful adults if I was not setting the example? “Get it together, Charlene. Do it for them, and once and for all, do it for yourself!”

That was the pivotal time in my life that triggered the light switch for me. It was as if I was given a second endangerment and an opportunity to proceeds the clarity I needed to wilt exactly who I wanted to be as a person and as a mom.

I knew three things: it would take work, it would not happen overnight, and it would not finger good. It didn’t matter. I had made up my mind. I knew, first and foremost, I needed to find a way to forgive myself—for permitting my past to pinpoint my life, for my holding so much resentment toward my mother, and my own struggles as a mother without my divorce.

I spent time initially with my three amigos. Me, myself, and I. We got to know each other very well surpassing shortly meeting up with my baggage. We all sat together most days in our group therapy sessions, and we went back. Way back. We rehashed our lives and all the unpleasant and unflattering times. We sat often, in silence and in our stench. We did this for as long as it took until we could squint in the mirror and see the person we could love and be proud of. 

It was not pleasant. It was not easy. And it was most definitely not fun. But it was worth it.

We, the four amigos (baggage included), were worth it.

I slowly unliable myself some grace and became kinder and gentler to myself.

Each day, I crush the short loftiness home from work on my lunch hour, hopping on my velocipede and looking for something, anything, to be grateful for… a bird or a butterfly in flight, the sunlight glistening on the water, a stone on the pavement in the shape of a heart, the sound of children laughing in the playground.

I flooded my email inbox and social media feeds with daily happiness reminders (Tiny Buddha stuff one of them), and I devoured anything resembling positivity. I single-minded myself to healing my wrenched heart and rewiring my wrenched brain. Rather than focusing on my flaws and perceived imperfections, I uncovered everything wonderful and unique well-nigh myself—my courage, my passion, my honesty, my empathy, and my own role as a mother.

I took my days minute by minute and inched my way forward.

Baby steps.

I will turn fifty-nine this year. Far closer to sixty than I am to fifty, when when the “you know what” started hitting the fan for me. When I think when to what my life looked like when then and all the worries and fears I had well-nigh what direction I was heading, I finger a sense of sadness.

Time is this funny thing when you are in the second half of the game (of life). While I don’t dwell too much on regrets, my age, or how much time I have left, I would be lying if I said I have not thought well-nigh the time I wasted anguishing over my lame ego and the hell I put myself through for so long.

It is time I cannot get back.

But today, I can say that I am proud of myself, and I requite myself some credit…

For overcoming my feelings of inadequacy and not stuff enough.

For realizing that I am not lesser considering of my flaws and imperfections, or considering I grew up fatherless, in a trailer park, and do not have a four-year higher degree.

For having the valiance and strength to walk my own path, plane when the steps were terrifying and uncertain.

Today, I am good.

Good as in I can wake up and squint in the mirror and like who I see. I could use a few less lines on my face, but I protract to learn how to embrace the whole package that is me. I can write-up myself up and throw a good pity party once in a while, but I usually reservation myself in the process.

Sometimes it takes a few minutes, sometimes a day or two. Just depends.

Either way, I have to sit the little girl inside me lanugo and requite her a reminder… to relax her shoulders, tropical her eyes, take a few deep breaths, and remember who the hell she is and just how far she has come.

Today, I am still under construction, and I have been single and on my own for eight years. I was wrenched for a very long time, and I knew I needed to work on my inability to love and respect myself and rebuild the shattered parts of myself surpassing I could entertain a relationship again. But I believe there are no mistakes. I think the stars aligned exactly as they needed to for me.

If you can relate to any part of my story, I hope you find the strength and valiance to dig deep and recognize where your lack of self-worth originated and discover all that is so wonderful and valuable well-nigh you.

Regardless of your circumstances or how anyone might have treated you in the past, you are worthy of your own love, just as I am.

About Charlene Alofs

Charlene is the tragedian of her memoir My Other Left: A Wicked Pissah Memoir on Finding Your Way. When she isn’t writing, you can find her on the pickleball magistrate or traveling to the mountains every endangerment she gets. She dreams of one day living simply and off the grid, far removed from the south Florida humidity and her frizzy bad hair days. You can find her at and Facebook and Instagram.

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