Confession – I blamed 95% of my problems on you, Dad.

Growing up, I rarely felt loved, validated, or seen. I’d watch the white families on TV, wishing I had a dad I could talk to.

Ngl – I always related to stories of those without a dad. Even though you were physically there, you’d isolate yourself in your room and numb yourself with TV, cigarettes, and food at night. Even though you denied it, we all knew something was wrong.

Whenever I asked for your help, I’d get yelled at or called stupid or lazy. So, I learned to stop asking and figure everything myself, knowing I couldn’t count on you. This is why I “know” a lot of random things but struggle asking for help.

Ever since I can remember, I’d get into these vicious cycles where I isolate myself and work myself to death. I still do this lol.

What no one knows is that I go to sleep feeling alone and disappointed. No matter what I accomplish, I feel like I’m falling behind.

If I’m honest, the reason why I work hard sometimes isn’t for the viewers, clients, or to help people. It’s to get the “I’m proud of you” or “good job” I never got as a kid.

I felt this in pharmacy. I felt this leaving pharmacy. I felt it as a kid. And I still feel it now.

Now that I’m older, I know this is in my head. No matter what happens on the outside, it will never fill the void on the inside… which is feeling loved, which is probably something we both struggled with.

Your dad wasn’t there because he died after WWII. And I’m sure you went through a lot of loneliness and isolation after the Vietnam War. (For those pro-war, consider this – the impact of PTSD on families is real.)

Despite all this, I realize now you were doing the best you could.

Whether it was driving me to Chinese school every Saturday, going to lunch together on my early release days, or reading Hop on Pop, thanks for doing your best.

I was wrong. You weren’t the worst or the best dad. You’re my only dad.

Six years ago, I promised you, “It’s okay, Dad. I’ll make sure to take care of mom, Chris, and our family. It okay to go.”

Dad, I want to make another promise to you – I want to be the father that both you and I never had growing up.

Happy Father’s Day.