Name: Cole Patterson City: Manhattan Beach, CA | @ColeSkincareformen
Dad’s Name: Rick
Describe your relationship with your Father and how did that impact you?
Growing up my relationship with my father was not the happy story most young girls talk about yet it was unique to my journey to understand the difficulties black fathers face when survival is the only goal. My mother and father were high school sweethearts and out of the “love”, I was born. Prior to my father leaving for college my mother gave birth to me and through the pictures, my grandmother collected he was present often between his breaks. Although my mother was indeed a single mother I always felt his presence remembered as short and sweet but treasured.
What’s the best thing you’ve learned from your Father?
The best thing I’ve learned from my Father is the sacrifices we make today may cost valuable time in between. However, I understand finding your own way in life requires one to make hard decisions but “you have to go to grow.” A quote from my father when I decided to move to the west coast.
What struggles did you face in your relationship with your Dad and how did you get through them?
The biggest struggle I faced in my relationship with my Dad was getting him to understand I wasn’t a little girl anymore and that life forced me to grow up faster than any parent would want. During my early teenage years, there was so much time spent apart he was disconnected from the years of growth I had experienced. As a teenager, I struggled the most not having my father present his protection was missing. His absence had a huge impact on my behavior. I became isolated and distant from my mother, often blaming her for him not being around. Not realizing I carried such hurt and anger with both my parents, I was so rebellious with the outcome of becoming a teenage mother at the age of 16. On the day of my prom, my father came to visit insisting that we move with him I was so upset with him for being too late with his offer. Crying and yelling “why now, it’s too late you should’ve been here before now” he apologized and stated, “I’m here now.” For months those words replayed in my head not mad at his absence and more upset with his presence then one day something happened I began to see the value of his being in my life and my daughters. Just before my 18th birthday, I went to live with my father so we could build a bond and figure out a lot of unknowns. Our relationship has taught me to be forgiving and open-minded to understand the roles we play that can either hinder our growth or progress us to new beginnings. I didn’t realize how I needed his presence when it mattered the most as a woman.
What has your relationship with your Father taught you about what to look/not look for in your partner?
My relationship with my father has taught me to look for selflessness in a partner. The way a man treats his mother and the woman around him matters in a partner. My father continues to show me I am to be treated like a princess rising to the throne of a Queen and for that, I am able to identify the regal presence of a King.
How has your relationship with your Father shaped the woman you are today?
My relationship with my father has shaped my presence to be selfless for the greater good. Today I am a woman who expresses her feelings openly without judgment and I understand it’s ok to t be vulnerable while standing strong in my feminine energy. His presence has shaped me to be confident in my own being as a black woman and never subject myself to the ideas of others’ opinions. Most importantly he has shown me how to love unconditionally.
If you could write a short letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
In the eyes of your daughter, you’ve shown me valuable lessons in life that I live by daily. You’ve taught me how to own my destiny and write my story to contribute to something bigger than me. The universe matched us perfectly and your absence and your presence were equally embraced as it has helped me understand the flawed father every black man wears and my own imperfections I face as the reflection of most daughters. I thank you for granting me the opportunity to see you as a man and not paint a facade of who you are to be. I thank you for never folding and for showing your strength even at your weakest moments. As I continue this journey to be the stellar woman you’ve taught me I am grateful for your acts of being the human man you are.