Traci Neal Says “My relationship with my father is an unbreakable bond”

Name: Traci Neal City: Columbia, SC | N/A

Dad’s Name: Nathan Evans

Describe your relationship with your Father and how did that impact you?

My relationship with my father is an unbreakable bond. I am a daddy’s girl. It has been this way, since my childhood. I remember my father making me go places with my mom and older sister. I would complain the entire time about missing my “daddy”. My relationship with my father has been impactful because it built a foundation for my future. The relationship shows me I can do great things no matter where my starting point begins.

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What’s the best thing you’ve learned from your Father?

The best thing I learn from my father is work ethic. Good things take time to grow and flourish. My father teaches me how to push through obstacles and bounce back from my mistakes. A great example of this is my dad teaching me how to back a vehicle up. Initially, backing out is a major weakness in my driving. I definitely need help on it, so my dad intervenes.

He takes me to my old high school, where he is teaching Social Studies courses at the time. We use the back bus parking lot for me to practice backing his car. My father has a strong vocal presence. When he speaks, he is heard. As I am driving his car in this parking lot, he firmly tells me, “Turn the wheel! Turn it! Turn it!”

At one point, I get so frustrated. I stop the car in the middle of the parking lot. Since my father knows I can have emotional moments, he simply says, “Did you get it out? Are you done now?” I nod my head ‘yes’ at him. Then he tells me to try again. When I try once more, I am able to back his car up from front of the parking lot to the very back of it! I feel amazing. I will never forget that day. I learn from my father the value of pushing through an obstacle and bouncing back from my mistakes.

What struggles did you face in your relationship with your Dad and how did you get through them?

The biggest struggle I face with my father is finding the courage to go after my dream instead of his. My father is a retired high school teacher of the same school for over 40 years. The pressure feels real to me for a long time. I can teach also, but my dream is to be a writer. I realize this at the age of five years old.

Still, I try to live out my dad’s dream of me teaching. I will fail my Praxis II exam to get my teacher certificate to teach elementary school in South Carolina. I will fail this exam ten times for ten years. After my tenth time of failing, I finally find the courage to tell my father I will be going after my dream to be a writer instead of teaching.

Although this will be one of the most challenging times in my life, I hold onto what my dad has given me. I push through the obstacle of my dad not understanding why I chose writing and the disappointment he felt. I learn how to bounce back from my mistakes in my writing journey. Through these experiences and others in my two-year writing career, my dad could not be more proud of me. I know the struggle my dad and I went through made our relationship stronger. I can only be grateful for our growth development.

What has your relationship with your Father taught you about what to look/not look for in your partner?

My father set a standard for me to value myself. Now, I am a wife. I still hold this truth of my worth close to my heart. My father has taken me out on so many dates throughout my childhood. He occasionally takes me out as an adult now. It does not take a lot to make me happy. I just expect to be shown love and respect. My husband knows this all too well. He also knows I am a true blue daddy’s girl. I have no problem saying to him, “Do I need to call my daddy?!”

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How has your relationship with your Father shaped the woman you are today?

All of my work ethic and determination to keep going comes from my father. I earn respect in my writing career. I push through ever ‘no’ given to me by people. I create my own opportunities. As a little girl, my father took me to the library during the summer months. I fell in love with reading. Without knowing it, my father helps me expand my imagination. Now, I have a children’s book series called, Lynn Learns Lessons. Time spent in the library with my father built a foundation for all of this to take place.

If you could write a short letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?

Dear Father, Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for teaching me how to persevere. Thank you for being my role model. Thank you for setting a high standard for me to follow in my own professional career. I am a better woman because of you. I know I can do great things because of you. I am grateful for what you have done for me. I am grateful for you being the best father in world. In my eyes, this is true. I love you, Daddy, always and forever.
Love your baby girl,
Traci

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