Validation is something I’ve always craved in my life. The agreement with my opinion, the praise that I’ve done a good job, the affirmation that I’ve made the correct choice, are all things I’ve needed like air to breathe.
I hate that I can’t exist happily without the need for recognition from others. I hate that I can’t just be comfortable in my skin and have a ‘take me or leave me’ attitude. I’m not happy with myself or with what I do unless someone is happy with me or appreciates me and that leaves me living on the whims of others.
On the surface it just sounds like I have a crippling lack of confidence, but I think it’s a little bit more than that.
I don’t really want to turn this into a discussion about my father, but when I think about why I am like I am, the biggest influence I can put my finger on is him.
People wonder why I have such bitterness towards him. They ask me why I’ve carved him carefully out of my life with such a sharp blade. He never rose a hand against me or did anything that a father shouldn’t do, but there are other less obvious ways to hurt someone.
He was like a black hole in my life growing up. He would suck up anything within his sphere of influence and you would never get anything in return. You couldn’t even have a conversation with him, he’d be silent and just stare through you. His affection was alien. He never hugged or kissed me, never told me that he loved me, never wished me a happy birthday or tucked me into bed at night.
I found his interactions with me to be cripplingly uncomfortable. There was no ‘normal’, no banter, no ‘How was your day? What did you do at school?’ stuff with him.
I always remember coming home with my school report, generally with straight A’s and glowing comments from teachers and leaving it on the kitchen table where he would eat his dinner alone in silence so he could read it. I don’t even know if he looked at them. He never said anything about any of them. I don’t even know if he read them or not. But I cared whether he did.
I hated that I couldn’t stop caring.
I was always a bit ‘deep’. I liked playing with words and wrote poems and music. I wanted boundless passion and the kind of love that makes you want to burst. His love was skinny and wasn’t nearly enough to feed me.
I suppose it was the way he was and I guess we can be no more than we are, but I hate that I am the way I am.
I’m supposed to be some autonomous adult that after 36 years should have come to a place of knowing herself and accepting her limitations, of celebrating her achievements and fostering dreams for the future.
But I’m not there.
And I hate that I want validation about needing validation.
Because that’s what I’m doing by writing this. I’m fishing for comments that I’m a good girl so that I can be satisfied with what I am. Tuck me into bed, smooth down my hair and tell me I did well. Tell me I’m enough. Tell me I’ve earned the right to be happy.
Needing validation is ugly and I want to walk in beauty.