Tiffany

tiffany

How did you get connected with The Fatherless Daughter Project?
I learned about the Fatherless Daughter Project during an online search for a blog or support group for women struggling with the issue of not having or losing a father. Lately, I’d been really struggling with my circumstances and have been thinking about my issues more than usual. For so long, I’d been successful at suppressing my pain and pushed my thoughts to the back of my mind. I thought I was fine and that I didn’t need to dwell on things of the past. That mentality worked for a while. But then one day, it stopped working. I began finding myself becoming more and more distracted and losing focus as a result of thinking about the one person I wish I had to share my life and accomplishments with. Distraction turned into anger. Anger turned into isolation. Isolation turned into depression. After a while I decided that I needed to turn this situation around and find out how I can get involved in any organizations or initiatives supporting people struggling with father loss. So after an Internet search, I found the website for the Fatherless Daughter Project, read some of the stories, and decided to submit mine. This is a really big step for me. Talking about deep rooted issues is not something that promoted or encouraged in my family. Submitting my story is my first step to liberation.

Can you tell us in a few sentences about your personal story of father loss?
I grew up without a father. I thought I at least knew his identity, but at age 28, I learned the man who was introduced to me as my father 9 years prior, was not. I was raised by my great-aunt, as my mother was in and out of my life. My mother always told me my father was a man from her past, who she had a bad break up with, and who had no interest in being in my life. Growing up, I believed this, but I could never accept he didn’t want me. There was always hope. There was always forgiveness.

tiffany_family

Once I reached a certain age, my great-aunt began to openly talk about her feelings about my father’s identity and would always suggest my mother was not truthful about his identity. Although I wanted to believe my mother, the doubts in my own mind began to form during my teenage years. Once I entered college, I had an opportunity to meet the person my mother claimed to be my father and immediately knew that he wasn’t. There was no physical resemblance and most importantly, I had no emotional connection. Although he fully embraced me as his daughter and did the best he could to welcome me into his life, I began to distance myself and eventually asked him to do a DNA test. A week or so before my 28th birthday I purchased a test, performed it with him, and shortly after discovered that he indeed was NOT my father. I shut down to everyone for a while, but quickly bounced back, by taking on more responsibility than ever. I’ve sought answers from my mother on my real father’s identity since revealing the test results to her and she in no way has been supportive or helpful. I still do not know the identity of my real father.

What has been the biggest challenge being fatherless?
The biggest challenge of being fatherless is looking at myself in the mirror everyday not knowing who I come from. There are also things I feel I’ll never get to experience, like a father to walk me down the aisle when I get married, or a father to go to when I need a male opinion.

I have had my grandfather in my life, but he could never take the place of the real thing. I always feel like a part of me is missing. It’s particularly difficult for me to see my friends with their fathers. I look at their dads and can see in their eyes how much they love their daughters, and I long for that. Because I don’t even know who my father is, I feel cheated. There’s a man out there who has no idea he has a daughter named Tiffany. That hurts a lot.

What has helped you to survive?
I’ve survived by the grace of God and through the thoughts and prayers of many wonderful people I’ve crossed paths with. Because I didn’t have much participation in my life from my mother, teachers, mentors, and other’s parents, have always taken a little more time out with me or given me that extra push.

My grandfather also stepped in to do many of the things a girl would expect from her father. I have some very special memories with him growing up and he’s always been there whenever I needed him. My brother has also been an instrumental person in my life who’s supported me with my struggles. He’s held my hand every step of the way and has always been a sounding board. As an adult, my son has been the primary motivation for me to keep progressing. I’ve had some very dark moments in my life and times when I certainly thought I wouldn’t make it.

Is there a special person(s) in your life that has helped you find healing?

tiffany_son

My son has given me a purpose and in a strange way, a second chance in life.

Where do you shine?
I shine when I’m helping others. I’ve always made friends easily and have crossed paths with many types of people in my life. In most cases, many of these encounters have led to positive, supportive relationships. I also shine when I know I’ve done something, or shared something that helps to inspire or encourage another human being. I was put on this earth to make someone else’s life better. I live by that creed every day. That is what keeps me going. When I’m given an outlet to do that, my inner light shines brightly.

What would you tell your younger self?
If I could talk to my younger self, I would tell her she is a QUEEN. I would tell her how much she is loved then and how much she will be loved in the future. I would tell her she is enough and to never let anyone tell her or make her feel as if she isn’t. I would tell her not having a father is not her fault and her mother’s actions have nothing to do with her. I would tell her she is special and destined to completely disrupt and inspire. I would tell her to trust in God, to never doubt herself, and to always trust the process. I would tell her life will get difficult at times, but to always find comfort in that God makes no mistakes and she is exactly where she is supposed to be. Finally, I would tell her what she feels is valid and to never be afraid to talk about what’s bothering her.

If you could have a theme song, what would it be?
If I could have a theme song it would be, “I Was Here” by Beyoncé.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world?
I hope to one day share all of my story and help to encourage and inspire others. Pain is difficult to talk about. I want to help other people feel good talking about how something has hurt them and to help them find comfort in knowing that everything is going to be okay. I want to inspire other people to inspire other people.

Fill in the blank: “The most amazing thing about my life is _______________.”
The most amazing thing about my life is that I love myself and everything, both good and bad. That is what makes me who I am.

 

Thanks, Tiffany. We are stronger with you in our sisterhood!

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