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Mixed Messages

Last weekend I drove over 8 hours ON MY OWN to attend a 92nd birthday celebration for my great grandmother.

My father was there.

Unlike the weekend before when I saw him at my Uncle’s house; he didn’t speak to me or try to hug me. We looked through each other as if neither of us were actually there.

Although I usually prefer he not speak to me, I was slightly shocked by his lack of effort. None of his siblings nor his mother made mention of it to me. Only his youngest brother’s wife seemed concerned.

She wanted me to “fix it” I insisted that I was fine and told her she was the only one who noticed. She quickly disagreed with me. If my aunt, uncles, or cousins noticed, none of seemed to care too much.

It wasn’t until I got a call from the Daddy I’ve been dating asking how I was and if he was there that I decided to acknowledge his presence.

When I returned home I said to him “I was nice to him for 5 seconds after I talked to you.” with a genuine smile. The kind misbehaving children show their mothers when they come home without getting suspended. Baby steps toward progress, yet still proud of myself.

I told him how I allowed Buddha to put me on his Snap Chat with the Swap Faces filter. He asked me why I didn’t REALLY talk to him. I said to him what I’ve been saying for years. “We don’t have anything to talk about.” Then he pointed out to me that maybe Buddha could sense in our hug the week before that I wasn’t genuine and instead of continuing to force it, he gave up.

In that moment I realized that for years I’ve been sending him mixed messages.

  • Not wanting to be bothered but simultaneously wondering why he isn’t trying.
  • Being dry on the phone when ever someone calls with him on 3-way.
  • Pretending not to hear or see his other daughter telling me he asked about me, yet telling anyone who will listen how much he’s missed out on my life.

I was being inconsistent.I was being the exact type of person I despise the most without ever really noticing it. I’ve done this in other relationships, noticed it and corrected it, but in this I was blind.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Daddy Issues may cause depression. Bipolar can be hereditary, But being inconsistent is a choice!

Now I have to choose whether or not I want a relationship with this man and directly say that. Using my VOICE.

I’ll no longer be sending Mixed Messages.

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Distractions

I work at a mental health clinic. On more than one occasion I’ve been offered a prescription for ADHD medication.

I’ll admit, I lose focus easily, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I have ADHD though.

Recent reflections have led me to notice a pattern of lost focus. I noticed this pattern a few years ago and intentionally remained single because of it.

Four years ago today I graduated from the Illustrious HOWARD UNIVERSITY .03 points away from having a GPA worthy of Honors. My family was proud, but I wanted better. So I vowed Grad School would be different.

Three and a half weeks into my first semester my nose was just as open as my legs and that 4.0 foundation had been flushed.

The next semester legs closed, nose still open. I gave all my “free time” to the next man and messed up my math grade. Was this a pattern? A bad habit? Or a learned behavior?

Yesterday my grandparent celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary. Ironically my whole life, my grandmother has been encouraging me to put my romantic life on hold and build some experiences for myself.

Today my new friend called me and asked if I had written today. He asked if I had updated my blog yet. He hasn’t seen it yet, but he’s always asking and encouraging me to write more, to do more. So why do I feel like I’m achieving less?

It would be easy to place blame solely on a man for wanting my time, or me for giving it to him, but it’s deeper than that.

Societal norms have us believe that you’re semi-single like Oprah or an assumed secret society member like Beyoncé, you trade your individual goals for a successful relationship.

Unfortunately, this expectation is commonly placed on women. Men as providers are expected to place success before relationships. Any reversal of these roles stirs up tea for conversation.

I recently read an article about how some men are great Daddies and terrible husbands. I know my grandmother would never say it so bluntly, but I’m sure she’s been lonely. My grandfather ENJOYED working. She forced him into retirement. It was funny at the time, but now it’s sad.

I don’t know Beyoncé, and I don’t want the “We just be coolin’ it. We ain’t goin’ steady” relationship Oprah has with Steadman. I realized I’ve never seen a woman I KNOW and LOVE and RESPECT balance Love & marriage with Dreams & goals.

I’ve had men outright ask me for my time because I’m not so great at making myself available when I have other things to accomplish. I’ve found myself enjoying that shared time so much that I slowly allot less and less time for working on things that I want and need.

I had not written anything this morning before my friend called. I hadn’t updated my blog yet. I spent my morning fantasizing about all the things I wanted to discuss with my new friend the next time we meet. About ways to pour into him the way he pours into me. Then I realized I allowed it to happen again. I allowed myself to get distracted. You can’t pour from an empty cup. And no matter how supportive of me he wants to be. There will be nothing for him to support if I lose sight of myself.

Vowing to no longer be DISTRACTED.

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Intimacy

My mother isn’t very affectionate. Don’t get me wrong, she sends me hugs & love on Tuesdays & Thursdays, but during the rest of the week? I better find a puppy.

Oddly enough, her limited affection wasn’t something I felt affected by until my teen years. By then I had learned enough to know that it was cyclical, and the grandma I loved to hug so much; wasn’t the most huggable mom in the world.

Why am I bringing up mothers on a blog about Daddy Issues? Because Parenting is a team sport and I have a point to get to so long as I don’t go off on a tangent.

Last week I shared that I had made a new friend. And this new friend showered me with ALL the lessons in April. One of which was about intimacy. In one of our “getting to know you” sessions, he asked me about my first love. I told him of the infidelity I experienced from my middle school man that I just KNEW I was going to marry & my mother was NOT invited. He asked if I had ever been in an abusive relationship. I told him that, that puppy love experience was mentally and emotionally abusive though I didn’t realize it at the time. When I told him what exactly happened that I consider abuse, he went and unearthed one of those fossils and asked: “Why did you stay so long??”

I won’t allow my desire for affection to keep me in spaces where I’m unloved anymore.

I didn’t have an answer. Young and dumb sounded so cliché. I knew the answer tough. It felt so stereotypical even thinking it, but I knew it was true. I needed the affection. Tuesdays and Thursdays from mom weren’t cutting it. Especially not when she had a threenager, a man, a career and a slew of tenants to take care of.

I enjoyed the intimacy. Falling asleep on his shoulder during band field trips. Listening to him breathe into my mother’s house phone while I baby sat a house full of kids, doing my homework, his and helping them with theirs. Holding his hand on walks to the store when I should have been making my way to class in the morning. And the kissing. The kissing was nice. Sucking fudge pops out each other’s mouth would have been bigger than the ice bucket challenge if anyone had the means to video us back then (Thank GOD I was born in the early 90s). I liked all these things so much I allowed my desire to keep them to get me caught up in passive aggressive “Away Message Wars”. I was cyber-stalking the Chatter-Box on his Xanga page. I even found myself using that timeless phrase “I don’t care what he told YOU. Until he tells ME. We did NOT break up.”

baby-steps

Yeah, my middle school drama was more juicy than the Love & Hip Hop franchise. And the fact that it was middle school for me makes me THAT much more perplexed that grown women accept that shit.

Anyway. Last weekend I found myself fogging up the windows of my new friend’s car like I was one of the Pink Ladies from GREASE or something. I nestled up on his shoulder; face breathing in his neck like a J. Holiday song. And I wanted to stay there. He wanted more, but fortunately, he didn’t pressure me for it, so I again positioned myself, head on shoulder. Face toward neck, as if I was waiting for him to read me a bedtime story.

Then it hit me. All this ME time without craving sex, was because I was craving more. I was missing INTIMACY.

In all this time I’ve spent getting to know my new friend, I noticed we never really touched before. We hadn’t held hands, although we had hugged a few times, this was our first time being in a private and enclosed space.

We almost devoured each other, but in the midst of what could have been a ravenous meal I had a moment where “I wanna take a nap right here.”

beach-nap-1

I felt simultaneously safe and afraid.

Something I noticed about my friend and his Daddy status is that he’s been very nurturing. We’ve been intimate with our words and he’s kind and gentle and encouraging me. He gives me that Daddy-like support without actually “Daddying” me.

My mother wasn’t very affectionate with me and Buddha was withdrawn. So I’ve been in search of intimacy all along.