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Looking for Love in All the wrong Places

Ok yall, I apologize. I started this blog to talk about my Daddy Issues and shed light on how Daddy Issues create other problems in our lives. Recently however, I’ve misused this platform to vent about my “Thought I Found A Friend” relationship drama. Not only is that not fair to you as readers, it’s not fair to him, nor myself.

Truth is however that writing helps me heal. It’s hurt how I talk to myself. Where I gain clarity and has brought about the most progress for me in identifying and finally facing some of my Daddy Issues.

The problem lies in this. When I was in high school I began writing in notebooks because I had come to the realization that people were not to be trusted. Before then, my notebooks were exclusively for poems and short stories.

I created this blog essentially as an exercise in trust. Could telling my story help others? Could others be trusted to know my story and not judge me? I did here what I often do in real life.

Look for love in all the wrong places.

My mother loves me, my monster loves me,  my uncles love me, my aunts love me, my grandfather reminds me EVERY chance he gets that he loves me, My grandmother loves me in ways her own children wish she had shown them and believe it or not all three of my Daddies tell me they love me all the time, well when I actually speak to them.

My problem has never been not being told “I love you” My problem is not feeling that people mean it.

When I was 12-13 years old I had my first boyfriend.

He was my 3rd-5th grade nemesis, but in 7th grade he became the “Love of my Life” My first Intellectual Asshole. I enveloped myself in him. Doing his homework AND mine (if mine even got done) Staying up late on the phone with him. Kissing him in the school courtyard, not caring who saw. I wanted to be loved.

At this time, Buddha was at peak failure. Living with some woman 5 blocks away, dropping off and picking up her kids at MY school that I lived right next to EVERY DAY. I would see him at the flag pole, roll my eyes and keep walking.

Step Dad #1 had seemingly fallen off the face of the earth. With his new baby and her mother that had a daughter the same age as me. I later learned that my sister’s father had demanded he back off not only from my mother’s life, but from mine as well. He had it in his mind that Step Dad #1 was using me as a pawn to lure my mother back in.

Speaking of my mother, she was acting very weird at this time. For 10 years I had been EVERYONE’s favorite person. Or at least it felt that way. Then my mother had my sister and I watched her create a new family I didn’t fell part of. My sister looks more like my mother, she’s as rebellious as her, and more importantly, at that time, she had a more loving, engaged and supportive father than I did. It was as if I was the little sister my mother never wanted and my sister was the daughter she always dreamed of. Any thing her father did to make me feel included always felt fake and forced to me.

To make matters worse, we had all just learned that my uncle’s girlfriend we didn’t care for was actually his wife. And she began speaking up more, putting a huge strain on my relationship with the one person I felt was always there and constant.

So, of course I fell in love with my nemesis. I wasn’t feeling very loved at home.

He listened to me. I learned from him.(He knew so much about so much the teachers loved his intellect but hated his attitude) And like most adolescent girls, my hormones made me want to be as close to him as I could whenever I could. Even if that meant listening to him watch The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen on the phone while I watched Nick @ Nite with my sister, 3 cousins and 57 stuffed animals laying in the bed with me.

When he started lying to me about other girls my famous line to them was, “I don’t care  what he told you. Until he tells ME that we broke up, it doesn’t matter.”

Emmelie said it best, I think I always knew that I was attracting these dudes, because that’s what I was seeing.”

Except, it wasn’t necessarily what I was seeing. it’s what I was experiencing I was watching all three, four including my uncle of the men directly involved in my upbringing, raise everyone else but me.

So the cycle continued from there. I kept looking for the love I didn’t feel I was getting from my family in other ways.

Though my relationships have been few and far between, they always seem to come at times where I’m feeling empty. Be it neglect at home, failed friendships, unfulfilled in the workplace. And they always help me refill in the beginning, and once I’m full again, I start to see their flaws, I take more notice of the half-truths and lies by omissions and my trust issues are back. And every canceled plan takes me back to that flag pole, watching my father take somebody else’s kids to school.

I can’t rewind time & make my Daddies be more attentive to me in my critical adolescent years, but now that I’ve acknowledged this pattern, I can stop looking for love in all the wrong places.

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F is for Friends Who Do Stuff Together

Initially I was gonna write about my abandonment problems from My Dads giving me trust issues & how my inability to trust causes me difficulty in building and maintaining friendships.

 

Then I hopped in a group chat after completely writing that post and talked about this random 37-year old man in the park telling me I had nice feet, then someone said “You have a boyfriend @BossyGroupChatName” to which I inquired “I do?” and they clarified that they were actually asking if I did. Then I was able to share. “I was feeling underappreciated so I let my last suitor go.” Or something close to that.

 

I was congratulated & told I deserve better by people who never even met the brother. I said “Thanks, I agree” and told them how I felt I couldn’t un-teach him certain behaviors, (Cause we all know you teach people how to treat you), then added “We cool now.” To which the initial interviewer replied “Good, I’m glad you were able to remain friends” And someone else chimed in “Good riddance. I don’t see why you should be friends with an ex.”

I could continue to transcribe the exchange & how I caped for this young man and just said “everybody don’t enter relationships with the same tools.” But I really want to zero in on how me saying “we cool now” led to a debate between other group members about whether or not folks should be friends with their exes. All I could think was *I never said we’re friends*

True to life I struggle with trust issues. I’ve ended many of friendships due to people habitually saying “I’m a call you right back” & not following through. I KNOW this is directly related to spending more than the first decade and a half of my life waiting for Buddha to finally show up or call or contribute when and what he said he would. For this reason I require people’s actions to match their words, or AT LEAST a genuine apology when they can’t. I expect others to treat me with the respect I give them.

I remember breaking up with my high school boyfriend and my uncle suggesting I try to remain his friend, because he did taxes and I might need an accountant one day. My uncle was friends with most of his exes. Many of whom had gone on to marry other men, but called on him to DJ their events and do repair work. So coming from him this was reasonable advice.

I tried that our with my high school boyfriend. We still did friend shit after I broke it off. He came skating for my 17th birthday. I attended his parents’ wedding the following month. After which we decided to go back to being more than friends. Only for him to fuck up royally on Valentine’s Day and me to discover that my choice to end things was the right one, because just as I suspected, he had been seeing someone else.

 

That was when I learned to listen to my intuition and not my uncles.

 

As far as my most recent situation, I felt like Tasha from Insecure. I’m not gone say that I knew or felt it was nothing serious but if he didn’t “You fronted like it was.” For months I thought we were something serious only for him to tell me he wasn’t ready for a relationship. I tried to replay in my mind any instances where I missed the memo that this wasn’t a relationship. And though I kept coming to conclusions that he led me on, he had confirmed on more than one occasion that this WASN’T just some casual shit. I realized that the biggest sign was the one thing that had bothered me most.

 

We RARELY did things together. He was king of “Netflix & Chill” if there ever was one. And every activity we DID do, I initiated.

“If You don’t know the purpose of a thing abuse is inevitable.”

I once asked him what my role/purpose in his life was. He said “friend” three times between filler words. We were coming up on a year of being exclusively intimate and I felt like the list should’ve been a bit broader than “friend.” I tried to see things from his perspective. He claims to be a Shy Guy and told me from jump he didn’t have many friends so I guess I should’ve been honored, but EFF THAT! F is for FRIENDS WHO DO STUFF TOGETHER! And I didn’t really feel like he wanted to do things with me.

This was possibly the hardest relationship I had to walk away from. I had learned so much about myself while with him. I challenged myself to trust & communicate in situations where I previously would’ve just ghosted. But that’s what made it necessary to walk away. Once you give to a person from places of yourself you didn’t even know existed and you don’t feel it’s reciprocated, you have to go before pieces of you start to erode.

When I attended the Sincerely Chosen Live Finale, Syreeta said something that has stayed with me. Her relationship with her children’s father was off again on again in the beginning because she was learning to love herself though loving someone else.

 

I think I wanna learn to love myself a little better before looking for love through friendships.

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What My Cheating Ass Daddy taught Me About Empathy

Queen of team “No sleep til the to-do list is done”, has been one of my virtual “Friend-tors” for a little while now. Emmelie De La Cruz formerly known as The Branding Muse is a BEAST at Millenial Marketing. Be it Big Brands or budding personal brands, she’s your go to woman. Though Syracuse & execution are responsible for her business acumen, her “Cheating Ass Daddy” taught her a different lesson. And last night she shared with us just what she learned about empathy.

When I asked Emm if she would talk with me about her dad, she already had this popping ass title ready to go. It had been about a year since I read this caption under one of her IG photos and thought to myself *10 years? I wonder what happened there* And I was new to her coaching program, talking about an upcoming Facebook Live collaboration I was embarking on when she suggested “Don’t just collaborate with people in the same lane as you.” That was the green light I needed to say “Hey, you wanna tell me why you hadn’t seen your Dad in 10 years?” Then she hit me with the title and I was like *PERFECT!* Cheating?! Daddy? You Free July 20th?

*Juy 20th happens to be the magical date between Step Dad #1 & Step Dad #2’s birthdays*

So last night Emm spilled tea about her Daddy, her 6 siblings ( I would’ve SWORN she was an only child smh) And their 4 mothers, well 5 including hers.

But the lemonade I wanted to sample was WHY empathy?

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand & share the feelings of another. Emm is certainly empathetic. I think it’s actually one of the keys to her business. Definitely why I felt like we were long lost best friends on all those Periscopes with Trap Queen blasting in the background & the Melanin Magic Webinars where I watched her generate business ideas for me and several other viewers off nothing but keywords about our industry and a sentence about what we felt set us apart. She did en masse what I did for friends and family all the time.

 

But what did that have to do with her Cheating Ass Daddy?

 

Our conversation started out with Emm sharing that her Dad used to have her around his side chick while her mom was in medical school, and at the time, she just thought this woman was like her nanny or something. As kids we don’t really know the inter-workings of the adults in our lives. Once she was old enough to understand the pain he caused her mother, she couldn’t disown him for what he did, because at the end of the day that’s still her father. But she better understood her mother’s choices, and the lack of age gaps between some of her siblings.

Despite the slight overlap in age of his 7 children, Emm has a father worth admiring. She respects his work ethic, his hustle, his ability to survive by any means necessary, even selling socks on the Subway. Her ability to understand that infidelity is just something Dominican women have come to accept as part of the culture, and sharing his hustler spirit is how Emmelie has been able to empathize with her father. She chooses to see him for all that he is not just all that he ain’t.

Though he lives in a different country, and she saw him for the first time in 10 years last April, it hasn’t stopped her from loving him, and learning from him. Listening to Emm made me realize just how much further I have to go on my journey to be less judgmental. She also made me feel less alone. I learned that I’m not the only one out here with nieces & nephews I don’t feel connected to because my father wasn’t the only one who’s shenanigans interrupted the development of real sibling relationships. I’m not the only one who sees what’s accepted in the culture & doesn’t REALLY agree with it, but seems to keep finding myself amidst these relationships where I’m deserving more.

We didn’t just talk about Cheating Ass Daddies & Sidechick Step-Mommas or siblings that feel more distant than friends. We talked about how seeing failed relationships and BEING empathetic puts us in this place where we face a constant internal struggle of “If you love him you can work it out” and “Girl, you deserve BETTER!” Sometimes we don’t know what better looks like, so we just keep attracting these cheating ass reflections of the Daddies we saw the best in. #DaaamnDaddy