Growing Up Nikki (GCLA, Ep. 5)

My feelings leading up to my dad visiting were mixed. On one hand I was really nervous and on the other I was really excited. I wanted to see him again and show him around downtown LA where I live and just have him in my own personal space.

After my dad decided he wanted to come to LA to visit, I started to get nervous. I think it is a very natural feeling to go through, considering I am just meeting a parent for the first time in my own city. Shortly after, I realized I wanted to make this trip about just me and my dad because I have never had that experience. I have never just been alone with my own father...since I was a little girl. I thought it was important that I learn how to be comfortable in my own skin next to him. It is easy to use other people as an ice breaker and a crutch to avoid any awkward moments, but, I wanted to face my life head on and deal with it on my own.

I did grow up with a step father, who did the best he could, considering I was not his child. But, after you realize as a child this is not your biological parent you start to question "where is my real father.” Those questions will inevitably come up at some point during your pre-teen years. I think that having your father teach you about how to relate to men is one of the most important roles for a man to have in a young woman's life. A father teaches his daughter how to love a man, and what to expect of men. It was very difficult for me to love as a young woman and gauge what characteristics I should look for in a spouse without the guidance of my own biological father who could teach me that. I had to learn that hard lesson on my own making for a lot of mistakes along the way that probably could have been avoided. I think the emotional aspect of trust and letting go is a huge area that affected me as an adult.

I was most excited to learn that he learned graphic design, considering that was one of the courses I took at school. My dad and I have a lot of picky eating habits which is crazy to learn that I developed these food likes and dislikes and they are exactly like him. We also have a lot of the same gestures and facial expressions. Genetics are amazing- seeing that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, even though I didn't grow up with him.

I was shocked to find out that my dad’s side of the story was that he was pushed out of my life by my mother. I have listened to her side of the story for thirty plus years and to hear his perspective was really sad. I will not side with either parent; in fact all I can do is listen. I’m not sure how accurate either side of both stories is, and it was over thirty years ago. All I can do is accept that I have my father in my life now and what am I going to do with this relationship. I don't want to get caught up with how we got here; it is too much to try to get to the bottom of it all. My mother did the best she could and whatever decisions she made, she thought it was for the best. That is all I can say about that...I have not confronted her about it.

What is next for me and my dad is to continue building our relationship. All I can do is take it one day at a time. He has missed a huge part of my life and I have to try to find out what works now, with who I am today. It’s not going to happen next week or a month from now. Building a solid relationship takes time, and I will do it until I am no longer living. I like the man he is and I want to learn more. I want to eventually have a real father daughter relationship where I can honestly say “I love you.”
It was great showing my dad all the things I have designed over the years. I think finding out that both my parents are creative and hands on type of people really shows me where I got my talents from. Not just my mom, but my dad too! I don't see me and my dad working on a design project in the future lol, but I would love to see some of the stuff he has done.

I was so happy that I made my dad proud! I am glad I had the determination to make something of myself and that I could make my father proud to say I was his daughter!

It’s exciting to see my life fall into place. These are the moments you dream of and pray to God to have it happen. I am in a really good place right now in my life, and would love to one day move to the next level. I want to explore being a parent, being married, having a family and be able to include my father, since he didn't have a chance to see me grow up. Life definitely has full circle moments and this is mine right now.

It is really hard to watch a friend lose someone so close to them. Denyce and I both have lost someone closest to us within the last year. The only thing I know is that it gets better each day. Handling the loss goes through its own natural cycle of anger, disbelief, not understanding, confusion, sadness, and then being thankful. It’s tough, but all you can do is go through that and be there for your friend through the process.
Kelly’s party was so much fun! One of my favorite moments was when Baga gave Kelly her gift and got down on one knee. Denyce's gift bags had the most amazing stuff in them including eyelashes she named and designed after each of her friends. To this day they are my favorite lashes to wear!!!! And of course bowling and hanging with my girls: Priceless!

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