Daddy’s Girl: A Spoken Word Poem

I’ve been missing my dad a lot in the last week, so I thought I’d repost this poem I wrote for him for father’s day.

Daddy's Girl-2

“Daddy’s Girl”

Urban dictionary tells me

that a daddy’s girl is spoiled, bossy,

a total bratt.

I wouldn’t consider myself any of that.

But I do know that my father is the strongest and toughest and kindest man I’ve ever met, and I wouldn’t consider him anything less than my best friend.

So yes, I am a daddy’s girl.

My Father never told me I was bossy.

He never told me my convictions were like sandpaper to the ears of men

-instead he celebrated me as Xena: warrior princess

gave me make believe kingdoms to reign and handmade weapons to yield

My father never told me to be quiet, to stop my voice from being heard,

he never told me that I held my opinions like a battle shield in front of me

He never told me to surrender.

My father never told me I was wrong, he never silenced me.

Instead he lifted me onto his shoulders and became my podium:

he taught me to express what often left me feeling ashamed of my feelings, my brazenness

to hold my conviction close to my heart

like diamond ribcages.

My father treated me like my bones were made of emeralds.

He taught me to respect my opinions above all else, even when they shifted like waves

He told me I was brave.

and to this day

I believe him.

My father didn’t tell me I was pretty, but he called me beautiful when I needed to hear it

And there were so many times I needed to hear it.

But I never needed it

as much as I needed validation and bedtime stories and someone to look for fairies in the forest with

Instead of beauty my father celebrated my intelligence, my creativity, and my kindness

He taught me that mirrors are one dimensional and scales cannot measure your capacity to love or your willingness to learn

He taught me that value is not derived by the formula of the university gpa scale, and that success is not measured by salary

that these things are intrinsically linked with your ability to hold hands with your grandmother

to spend hours immersed in other worlds mapped on crinkled paper

He used to fall asleep reading harry potter to me,

my father built within me a love of reading before I could even read

thus expanding my personality beyond little pink dresses and barbie dolls

My father always answered when I called

from twisted sheets of nightmares

at 3 in the morning

and When my father built my brother swords, he also built them for me, because real princesses don’t need rescuing.

He built me bookshelves to house my growing mind, and never left my passions behind

lugging suitcases of books for me on family vacations

my father never treated me like property to be handed to my future husband, he never treated me like an antique ivory hairbrush to be passed down through generations

he treated me like a human being

-never lectured me about purity or about staying quiet at the dinner table

he told me to never stop searching

never stop smiling

to never stop creating things

My father named me after a dream he had wherein he was a gaelic warrior restoring peace from atop a hillside,

and so my father raised me to be a lioness with the heart of a nightingale

My father never mentioned christina aguilera or britney spears

but he taught me about ann frank and how to look up to women who left nail marks sealed onto the earth years after their fingerprints faded

My father wandered london graveyards with me at midnight when I was only 12 years old.

We got chased out of the templar church by a recently awoken security guard

and he bought me a cheap teddy bear to always remember

the way the murky rain fell

and the wind in our faces on the winding rickshaws

he Introduced me to lattes and che guevara on a family vacation to las vegas when I was 13

and was proud of his dreadlocked, 14 year old daughter.

These days, my father doesn’t need to go looking for magic under toadstools with me

He doesn’t need to prescribe history books as antibiotics for panic attacks

and insecurity

he doesn’t need to remind me i don’t need rescuing

because he taught me that I’m not rapunzel, I am the steadfast, stone tower. He taught me that magic is real, but that it flows in rainbows under my skin

he taught me that I don’t need to be thin

or have perfect skin

to be loved

and to love myself above all else

he taught me that my mind is a giant bookshelf of handwritten histories,

and that mysteries make life all that much better.

One sunday a year is not enough to celebrate my father, and all that he’s taught me.

so today I’m wishing that I could recite this in person

every single morning as he pours his coffee and turns on the news

because he deserves that.

And as his daughter, I’m afraid sometimes I fall short,

But i hope he knows that I won’t always be his little girl

because he’s made me into a woman

that I hope he’s proud of

because I’m proud to be his daughter.

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