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Poetry

Daddy Issues

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I’ve always defended you in your absence

In the way I laughed off daddy issues when they were brought up

As if it were a thing so foreign to me

In the way I nodded in agreement when people praised their fathers

As if the hugs they gloated about resonated with me

In the way I defended the men of my nation to ignorants

As if I really believed it

You have your obsessions, much more important than me

Your commitment to your prayer mat five times a day

Your commitment to Arabic recitals you don’t understand

But your commitment to ritualism has left me empty

And I’ve dedicated years to filling that void

With the books I dwell in

With the distractions I douse myself in

With the hours spent far away from home

With the way I avoid thinking of what you’ve done to me

Because I refuse to be empty

And I refuse to play small in this one life I’ve been given

Because of your oblivion

It’s hard to convince myself that I’m full sometimes

When parts of wonder what I did wrong

What is it that I’m missing to make you neglect me the way you did?

And although mom’s screaming has done irreparable damage

It will always be better than your indifference

As much as I hate to say it

Her infuriation towards my trivial habits

Will always be better than the way you don’t care

And the forgotten birthdays

And the way you never seemed to wonder why I was sobbing in the next room

I hate that you taught me how emptiness is the heaviest feeling

And why people say indifference is much worse than hate

I do not hate you though, I never could

Because you travelled oceans for me

Relinquished your title

Abandoned the comfort and familiar

Left your loved ones behind

All so I could have a better life

You bore people’s ignorance

They mocked your accent

Your skin

Your faith

But you never looked back

Their words never pushed you back to your homeland

You left your world behind

So mine could be better

And I have to remind myself

You didn’t love me the way I wanted

But you loved me the way you knew

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