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Dear Fathers of Daughters…
I feel your anguish. Can I offer an empathetic guess as to why?
Is it the disconnection you feel from your daughter? Or perhaps a disconnection from her mother? Does it feel sad, frustrating or confusing at times? I don’t assume to know how you are feeling, however if there is a stressful interaction occurring at home with the women in your lives, then I have a suggestion. And with that suggestion comes the disclaimer: it’s not your fault and no one is wrong here.
Society norms and cultural conditioning have pushed the notion that a woman’s cyclic nature is not a man’s business, instead turning focus to practical matters and things that can be controlled. Men are generally linear creatures, but with ‘generally’ always comes the exception. I hear from more and more men that they enjoy a little meandering as much as the next person. So with that said, bravo for even getting this far into the blog, it’s a worthy achievement!
My inspiration to put words down on paper came through me reclaiming another piece of insight into my own humanity, one night in the shower. You know those pivotal moments on the loo or in the shower? So I walked out of that shower with a deeper sense of knowing what truly matters to me, in this case ‘meaningful connection’. Underneath the desire for meaningful connection was sadness, disconnection, frustration and confusion (as I’m sure you can relate). That’s when I realised that pain is pain and human is human.
Some of us can say that we haven’t had anyone very close to us pass, maybe a distant grandparent, but no one immediate. Some of us can say we’ve seen a few. The more death I have personally experienced in my life, the more I realise how much meaningful connections matter to me. They are the ground I stand on, they get me out of bed in the morning, otherwise, what is the point right?
With these meaningful connections come mistakes, muck ups, faux pars, silly questions, resistance and bratty outbursts, shame spirals, judgement – all the gritty stuff. The shadows and darkness that you didn’t even see coming. But then you remember why you’re doing all of this, and you continually step up to the plate.
If I could speak on behalf of your daughter, or her mother…I would say this.
Be present with me,
I want to grow with you.
Create a strong container for me and I will hold it and thrive.
Don’t fear my signals, stay and dive in deeper.
Listen all the way through, watch it go by and we will find space.
Show me your vulnerability, you won’t need words.
Empathy arises. We walk side by side and we find the answers together, they come naturally and easier than we thought they would. Intention, attention, no tension.
It is a risk to try something different. To stop and put into practice all of these new social ways. To know all the intimate details of a woman’s cycle is quite a new topic and 10 years ago there would have been no conversation to join. But we are getting smarter, as ugly as that can look sometimes. Human evolution is happening in its own beautifully messy way. Know any beautifully messy women? As a father, my guess is that you do 😉