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Be the Dad Who Changes Everything (a poem)

Be the Dad Who Changes Everything
by Laura Di Franco

You were supposed to be
the first guy
to tell me
“You’re smart”
and
“You’re beautiful,”
make me feel like
the queen
of the world.

You were supposed to be
my hero
my champion
the one who
reminded me
I could be
anything,
do
any dream.

It was your job
to keep me safe
protect me
from
the mistakes
I’d make
help me learn
how to play
the game.

You were supposed to teach
me how to dance
how a boy
should
act.
Your job was to
show me
I deserved to be treated
with respect.

I wish you’d
said kinder words
helped
me know
even though
I was
a girl
I was also strong.

I wanted a dad
who
made me feel good
helped me
when I
was sad
cared when
I was wondering
what I should do.

But instead of all that
you called me names
I was to blame
when you
were mad
I was the one
who couldn’t
be
bad.

There were rules
and
shame
and you made
me feel
unworthy
and lame,
undeserving
of your love.

I had to fight
my way through
thinking
I was a loser
hoping
someone
would love
me
anyway.

I spent years
like that
not feeling
good
or right,
trying to find
a reason
why,
a way to be myself.

The price
was high
the journey cost me
my soul
always trying
to be
what someone else
thought
was right.

I could never
believe
I was good enough
or smart enough
or pretty enough
and something
died inside
while
I tried and tried.

Every man
would become
a chance
to be perfect,
a dance
with my self-esteem
a battle
with my
beliefs.

Every time
I’d give
my body
thinking it was
the only gift
I had to give
the only way
they’d
buy in.

And one by one
my heart
would shatter more
as I learned
I didn’t matter
so much
and I searched
for
love.

When all along
I had the secret
and the power
inside
hiding behind
a huge wall
I built
around your
fear.

If only you’d known
to be
vulnerable
to hold my heart
with two hands
to help me
see
I could be me
and that was everything.

If only you’d realized
the influence
you had,
the ability to
turn my world
around
and help me
understand
my worth.

Today I’m awake
I’m grateful
to be able to
say this all
to your face
and give you
one more chance
to embrace
my pain.

Funny enough
your words
might still
be the stuff
that would change
how I do love.
Strange but
you could still
be the one.

You could still be the guy
who helps me feel
I can fly
who says
You’re smart”
You’re beautiful”
“You’re enough,”
helps me know
what I’m worth.

And if you’re still asleep
not ready to feel
still afraid
and small
and weak
it’s okay
I’ve learned
how to deal
on my own.

I’ll survive
even
if you die
without being that guy
even if you don’t try
or even
realize
I’m
alive.

Because the one thing
you taught me
even though
it took a while
was how to find
myself and my purpose
without looking
to a man
to prove I’m worthy.

I may have learned
the hard way
and still feel low
some days
but ultimately
I’d say
I’m better than okay
a warrior in fact
so — thanks.

But here’s a note
to all the dads
why not be the guy
who has
it all -
the courage
the balls, the wherewithal
to make your daughter strong
with more of your love.

Make sure
she knows
she’s smart
and beautiful
and enough
just how she is.
Give her the gift
of feeling
like a queen.

Teach her
a man can
and should be
a gentleman,
that she deserves
everything
she desires,
that love can be big
and true and soft.

Dads
open your hearts
show your girls
you’re big and strong
by the way you listen
to their doubts
and then make them
believe
in themselves.

Keep them safe
by giving them space
to cry
or scream
and dream their big dreams
by loving them
no matter what
by treating them
and their mothers with respect.

You can be the man
who changes
everything
just by knowing how much
you mean
and by being the one
who does things differently
who uses love as your discipline.

Please
remember
guys,
your
love
can
change
the
world.

Your words will change the world when you’re brave enough to share them! www.BraveHealer.com

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