Vivian, our Too Damn Young founder, recently wrote a response to the recent Huffington Post article, “What It Is Like to Date a Girl Without a Mother.” She found it to be simplistic, demeaning, and stereotypical.
So did I.
I am not without a mother, but I am without a father, and the assumptions the HuffPost article made are ones that have been made about me time and time again.
“She will pretend she doesn’t have emotions.” “She will feel a sense of embarrassment when someone asks about her parents.” “Holidays will always be hard for her.” “She will cry a lot, but you won’t know when she does.” “She will hide, she will not accept your love right away, and it will take her a while to realize she is more than deserving of it.”
As a girl who has lost her father, add some token ’emotional detachment’ and ‘daddy issues’ to that list.
I resent being reduced to a list of obstacles to overcome.
Yes, some of the characteristics in the article were ones I related to, but they do not make up all of who I am. My identity is not defined by my losses.
Unfortunately, loss seemed to define many of the article’s commenters. Girls who have stepmothers they resent. Husbands whose wives couldn’t let themselves be loved so they abandoned them. Middle-aged women who self-describe themselves as “suspended in time” and never progressing in their grief.
As someone who detests the article, it hurts to read stories of people who don’t, people who truly identify with every word. I find it hard to imagine my grief enveloping me to a point where it is all I am and all I choose to be.
I’ve lost my dad. I’ve lost many more family members and loved ones. But I am still alive.
I decided to live my life to the fullest in spite of my loss a long time ago, and it is a decision I continue to choose every day.
Choosing life after loss isn’t easy, but for those who want to know what it’s like to date a girl who has lost her mom, dad, friend, or loved one, there is a very easy choice.
Don’t find out by reading an article. Find out by living life alongside her, and see how she chooses to live hers.