Posted on

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.

Posted on

Why You’re Out Here Being Bad & Boujee By Ya Damnself

Almost a year ago, I wrote a post called The Myth of an Independent Woman.  I was in a place where I realized people thought I was doing it alone but they didn’t see me struggling. And thanks to the “safety net” of my family, I’ve rarely been alone. But I felt I had to be.

Last week I sat in a training here in Baltimore with 46  other bodies in a classroom space seated for 20. It was poorly ventilated, especially for the humidity on that particular day. My head dipped back, and I jerked it forward. SEVERAL TIMES. Sandwiched in and unable to take a walk to keep my blood pumping I drank my bottled water carefully hoping the river on my tongue would replenish my mind from inside out. I struggled.

Then a new face entered the room. Tailored corduroy denim, kind of a tierra clay hue. Classic denim button up & curly hair like Corey from Boy Meets World, but more of it, like a Robin Thicke cut, with a lumberjack beard. We’d seen him before. A stand out among the bodies of  seasoned educators who in that moment, mirrored the Baltimore Youth. We were cramped, hot disinterested in another presenter, until he opened his mouth.

The training was on “Trauma Informed Care” and how to keep in mind that some of what we’ll witness are rational responses to irrational life circumstances. He shared an anecdote of a youth arriving to work improperly dressed. Then saying i’d get robbed if I come outside dressed in a suit or nice clothes.” They supported that youth by allowing him to change into work clothes after arriving to work. But that young man developed a habit of  not dressing for success because his survival instinct taught him “dressing nice in this neighborhood will get you robbed.”

This made me want to check my own trauma led habits. I’m almost certain I’ve shared that I’m a hoarder and I believe I hold onto things because unlike people, they can’t abandon me.

I live alone, because I know my moods don’t always support me having or wanting to share  my space with others. But even that stems from me being the only child for 10 years and constantly having to give up my room for guests. I’m also fairly Independent I still struggle to ask for the help that I need and I’ve been told I push me away. I don’t allow them to do for me. But WHY?

The men in my life TAUGHT me to be independent. I can check my own oil, pump my own gas, I have a tool kit for small repairs & building projects. I can cook, I’m not much a fan of cleaning, but I really don’t have much NEED for a man.

My brother and my cousin, who oddly share the same birthday, were the first men I remember treating me like a “lady”. When they visited, I wasn’t allowed to do things I had to do in their absence, like take out the trash. But I was a teenager by the time they came along. I had already survived the abandonment of Buddha and Step Dad #1 by then. I watched my mother not ask for help and get things done. My uncle had taught me to lay tile and put up dry wall. I don’t think he meant to teach me NOT to need help. He probably just wanted me to stop asking him three million questions. Have you ever had a child in your presence hit you with “but why?” or “how’d you do that?” on repeat? We’ve all been at that crossroads where we can say “stop being annoying!” or just answer them. My uncle answered me with action.

Twelve year old me sitting on a stoop of three concrete steps watching Mr. Softee ride by as I waited for Buddha; wanting to slide my tongue diagonally against a soft mountain of sweet cocoa & vanilla flavored dairy chomping the chocolate rocks that adorned them; Learned not to wait for people to do anything with or for me. I buy my own ice cream now. I hop in my car and go where I want to go and most of the time I go alone.

My mother suggested that maybe I traveled too much without my ex. That my get up and go lifestyle may have intimidated him. I invited him to join me. Most times times he chose not to come along. Work or family obligations often trumped my invitations. I never saw those as reasons for me not to go. My grandmother always encourages me to go. She just celebrated 50 years of marriage. Which means she was about 5 years younger than me when she married. Unlike tv/movie grandma’s she’s never pressured me to settle down. Always to “GO”. Go to college. Go to China. Go to the Kingdom Hall. “Don’t worry about a husband. Just go live life. He’ll find you.”

“Never a borrower nor a lender be.” This one-liner from my Granpa is like a boulder atop the mountain of debt I’m currently chipping away at. I remember the Daddy I was dating asking me why I hadn’t asked him for help. And I simply responded “I didn’t want any more debt.” Watching my mother do it alone I had no real example of partnership. I watched my sister’s father embody all those “Petty things to take after a break up” memes long before Instagram was a thing. And I decided I never wanted anyone to have the right to claim batteries from my remote. Tents for the cookout. Lawn furniture from MY backyard. So I struggle. I struggle to make it alone. I struggle to accept gifts without suspecting ulterior motives. I struggle because I adopted all of these rational responses to my irrational circumstances. And I learned all these independent attributes, but I never learned the art of partnership. Being an only child made me a loner. Having young parents may have made me mature sooner. But I learned to be an Independent woman by accident. Now I just need someone to teach me how to love.

Posted on

Pack Light

Soo I just filed my taxes this morning and I cried. I filled out all the paperwork in January, saw how much I owed and said “Nah”. Now it’s 2 days past the deadline & 30 mins before I need to be at work & I’m full snot crying as I hit submit & pay to file taxes with money I don’t have.

                But it didn’t have to be this way. Last month when I was pushing for responses to my “What’s the Deal with Your Dad?” Questionnaire, I found Buddha in my Facebook inbox. Asking if there was anything he could do for me. I just asked him to fill out the questionnaire. (YOU can fill it out here while I’m on the subject) He replied “Done” and told me to let him know if I needed anything else.

I spent all month wondering if I should ask for the financial help I needed. The last time I asked him for money, ($50 for a trip to Boston in High School), He stole it from my uncle. So, I didn’t want to ask him for anything only to find out later it was ill-gotten. I thought maybe I’d ask him to pay his brother back some money I borrowed to cover my car Insurance. I didn’t ask though.

So here I am, damn near 8 weeks later; a list of debts growing daily; 7lbs down because I haven’t been eating just to ensure my bills are covered; Credit Card one McPick 2 away from being maxed out; Bank of Mom has insufficient funds cause she’s repaying a loan to her Bank of Mom & I’m watching Resurrection Sunday Service from my laptop. That’s when I heard a sermon that touched my heart.

Rev. Watley shared an anecdote about bringing in the groceries with his young daughter. She reaches for a bag that’s too heavy for her and gets frustrated. He hands her a bag with paper towels and items more manageable, then sends her inside. She doesn’t notice he’s right behind her with the heavier bag. Once inside, she drops off the paper towels and rushes around to go back for the rest & runs into her Dad with a confused look on her face. He says to her “That’s what you have a Daddy for, to carry the things that are too heavy for you.”

Image result for mind blown gif

 

Now even though I know he used that anecdote as an analogy to illustrate how we should bring our burdens to God, I took it a little more personally. I’m drowning in debt, working for a company that mispays me at least once per quarter and Buddha had thrown me a life raft I was too afraid to take. *simmer on that*

I drove home from a friend’s house early that next morning still thinking about the last line of that sermon. “That’s what you have a Daddy for, to carry the things that are too heavy for you.” And I realized that I hadn’t asked him for help because I’m not a user. I firmly believe in treating people how you want to be treated, and I damn sure wouldn’t want someone asking me for money after they shut me out for years. Its 4:27am and I’m on the highway driving, praying I make it home awake thinking *I’m ready to listen to him now*

Image result for driving tired gif

 

I got about two and a half hours of sleep, woke up and opened my computer to check some questionnaire responses and saw a message in my inbox on Facebook. It was Buddha. “Shamiko, you’ve been on my mind lately and would really like to talk with you.”

Not even EIGHT hours after I had made up my mind that I was ready to hear him out, he reached out to me! My grandfather always talks about the power of your thoughts, but this was the first time in a LONG time that I felt and saw the effects of it so immediately.

My current gentleman friend has been a strong advocate for giving Buddha another chance. My relationship with him thus far has been a true testament to me learning to trust again. Most of which involved me changing my thinking. Who knew that packing lighter thoughts would be the beginning of bringing more peace? #DaaamnDaddy

Posted on

Building Healthy Habits

First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Last month I participated in a Forgiveness Challenge. Turns out I didn’t have as long a list of people to forgive as I thought. The Challenge however did highlight to me the importance of building healthy habits.

I’m not the “New Year, New Me” type of person, but I have come to realize the key to feeling new starts with intentionally changed behavior.

Most people spent last Saturday “reflecting.” That was a buzzword when I was teaching. Means examining the things you do and looking for ways to improve them. So I did some research and came across a list of 5 steps on Chopra.com for creating healthy habits and I intend to implement them this year.

Forgiveness was a recurring theme in 2016. I was encouraged to write a letter of Forgiveness to Buddha. I was encouraged to be open to communicate with him. I did that and I have to say, I feel so much lighter since trying what I’ve been encouraged to do.

So in light of the New Year providing new beginnings, I’m sharing the 5 steps I learned on Chopra.com and how they can be applied to Dealing with Daddy Issues.

The First is to Set Goals:

  • My Goals are to not carry Daddy Issues into any future relationships.
  • To help others deal with Daddy Issues through teaching expressive writing.

I find mental to health to be of utmost importance so those goals are part of my bigger picture.

The Second is to Set Priorities, identify your weaknesses and strengths. Not all bad patterns can be attacked at once; so having small victories to celebrate along the way can be helpful. (Sunday my mom showed up with a new tv. She waited until it was inside my apartment to tell me Buddha helped purchase it. My boyfriend made it imperative that I call to say “Thank You” verbally as opposed to through Facebook message. Direct communication is one of my weaknesses. Tackling that is one of my priorities, and it will be something to celebrate along the way.

Once you set goals and priorities the Third Step is to Identify Harmful Patterns. The first line on Chopra.com in this section is “To change your negative habits you have to know what they are.” Some of my negative habits include shutting people out and not directly addressing things that bother me. I’ve done better at addressing things directly with the people who bother me.

Forming a new habit takes repetition and focus which brings us to Step Four, Making Steady Changes. Those priorities you set should be small and attainable, making them easy to implement and increase over time. Saying “Thank You” to Buddha on my  was a small step to me. I followed that up by wishing him a Happy Birthday three weeks later. Small steady changes to help me reach my goals.

And in order to reach those goals I have to complete Step Five; Reinforce Good Decisions.

I’m looking to build so much in 2017, Healthy Habits are just first on the List!

Posted on

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my 26th birthday. Over the past few weeks I attempted to write today’s post in advance but the words just would not come.

I signed up for a 31-day Forgiveness Challenge through “My Not So Private Diary” where for 31 days, I’m supposed to write a letter forgiving someone who hurt me. I don’t have to send the letters, just write them in a notebook she provided for us to burn at the end of the 31 days.

 

I never got my notebook.

 

BUT! I won’t allow that to be an excuse to stop me.

I woke up to a Facebook Message Request from my biological father; Buddha. It was a loving ‘Happy Birthday’ message; and I responded to it. It felt good.

My last post on “What Makes You Who You Are” opened up some feelings and thoughts I wasn’t ready to face or share. I seriously contemplated giving up blogging about Daddy Issues. But there is so much more to Daddy Issues and Daaamn Daddy than MY story.

So with that being said, I have a birthday request. I used to teach middle school and before that I was a tutor-counselor for high school students. Some of my most fulfilling days were spent having hones dialog with the youth about the things that affected them. Daddy Issues, sibling rivalry, teachers they felt didn’t care about them #UNameIt

My request today on my 26th birthday is for you to share this with an educator you near you and see if they will allow me to come speak to and write WITH their middle or high school scholars about the Daddy Issues we deal with.

I’m available Thursdays, and my goal is to speak with at least 26 groups before my next birthday. Have them contact me via email at daaamndaddy@gmail.com with any opportunities.

 

Thank You for any and all support!

 

Happy Birthday to me!

Posted on

What Makes You Who You Are?

In my last post I talked about teaching people how to treat you. I shared that post among a group of peers which triggered a conversation about my lack of relationship with Buddha.

It’s impossible to love yourself if you hate the things that make you who you are.

One person asked me if I had any animosity towards him. Another implored that family is too important to not speak to. A comment that stood out to me however, was, “It’s impossible to love yourself if you hate the things to make you who you are.” It made me think of M. Chuck on Survivor’s Remorse and her desire to find her father because she doesn’t know half of who she is. But this was different. This girl’s statement wasn’t about KNOWING who my father was. It was about HATING him. And how that could prevent me from loving myself.

But, I don’t hate him.

Shortly after that conversation I scrolled past a post on the DAAAMNDADDY Facebook page about a young girl raised by her great-grandfather, who wanted to meet her father because she felt like until she met him, she wouldn’t know half of herself. Seeing that reminded me of how I felt when I heard her say those words. Sad for her, but I couldn’t relate.

 

The same girl who made the comment about being unable to love myself if I hate Buddha followed that statement up with “Being at Peace is so much more fun.”

That’s the thing though, my decision to disconnect from Buddha was one I made to protect my peace.

Image result for the amount of time i have for liars

I spent half of my quarter century of life waiting for him to show up. Occasionally visiting him during his periods of incarceration, and having pleasant times with him I can remember overshadowed by his random moments of rage and negligence.

When I decided I was going to write this post I got news that my great-grandmother, Buddha’s grandmother, had died.

It made me want to examine “What makes you who you are” more closely. (So there will probably be another post on this.)

I remember being nine or ten years old when I watched Buddha throw a knife at his Fiancé for encouraging him to let me go home for school instead of keeping me when I no longer wanted to stay. She told him I’d be more likely to come visit again if he returned me home at the agreed upon time. I later learned that he witnessed his father be physically aggressive toward his mother growing up. Statistics show that “Boys Who witness domestic violence are two times as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.” Unfortunately, that became part of who he is.

But how does that affect me?

Knowing that about him makes me sad he had to experience that. Learning as an adult, that he even abused my own mother was confusing. She had tended to focus on his positives when I asked about him.

Almost anyone I’ve ever met told me Buddha was intelligent. So am I. The hand-crafted birthday cards he used to send me showed me that he’s a wordsmith and also artistically gifted. So am I. His siblings love him no matter what he’s done to them. So do mine.

Not only are some of these some of my greatest qualities, they are some of the things I love most about myself.

I’ve been fortunate enough to build relationships with Buddha’s siblings, despite my estranged relationship with him I’m fortunate enough to know who my father is, even if I don’t like him. And I will never be able to understand what it’s like to not know a contributor to your existence. But I don’t think that not knowing a parent or separating yourself from a parent prevents you from knowing who you are.

Image result for m-chuck survivor's remorse  gif

I’m an intolerant person, I know that about myself because I was willing to cease communication with Buddha once I realized continuing to communicate with him meant tolerating mistreatment. I even stopped communicating with my mom for a few months when I felt she disrespected me.

I don’t have all the answers on “What Makes You Who You Are” and you don’t have to agree with me that your parents aren’t always the sole contributors.

I think What made me who I am is my ability to learn from my experiences and the people I choose to surround myself with.

Posted on

Debt…It’s personal for me!

In my household, college was always promoted to me as something that was an absolute given. My grandmother was the first to graduate college from our family in the 50s. She set the bar very high! She believed for everyone in her family to attend either college or the military. College for me was the only option that was discussed; but we never talked much about how we would finance it.

collegehatdiplomamoney

I will share that my mother did a great job at preparing me academically by sending me to the best public schools in the City of Philadelphia. However, my father didn’t appear to be as deeply invested as my mother. My father re-emerged back into my life at the age of 13 years old from being absent since I was 5 years old. Even though him and I lived in the same city, I had not seen or talked to him during the 8-year hiatus. This hiatus was believed to be sparked by the judgement for him to pay child support. His absence was something I became accustomed to and him re-emerging among my high school years initially had me to feel resentful of his return.

Upon entering college, I was awarded $8,000 in scholarships from my high school. My freshman year was covered! However, sophomore, junior and senior year were left for question. Junior year my mother became very ill and was diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis. As a result, she lost her hearing, income and position as a teacher. With my mother’s income down to zero and having to rely on the support of my grandmother who earned around $40,000 in her retirement pension, things became very tight very quick!  Because my financial aid reported my mother’s income from the year prior, it appeared as if I was financially OK, meaning not eligible for grants. I refer to this financial state as being in the “sticky middle”, too poor to pay for college and too rich to receive a grant.

 

The introduction of student loans came into my life during my sophomore year of college. My scholarship funding received from high school was exhausted after my freshman year of college. In my family there was not a discussion about student loans or any education around how to repay them. It is my opinion that one possible reason that student loan debt is so high in our country, is due to lack of preparation.

529

My advice to anyone reading this who wants to help their child or family member prepare for college, is to start saving now. A great but underutilized resource is the 529 plan. Each state has a 529 plan that assist with saving for college through the use of conservative saving rates or aggressive investing.  Sharing information such as the 529 plan has empowered me with the ability to empower others. This led me to become an advocate and teacher for others about student loan debt and methods of prevention.

 

You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, “Where was her father during this time”? Great question, he was around in terms of time but not financially. I remember him saying, “I’ll send you something every month to help you out, but it won’t be the amount that your mom was getting for child support”. Child support had been suspended once I turned 18. I remember thinking to myself, if ever I had needed financial support, it was in that first year of college especially. I realized how much financial support I would need and how much I didn’t have.

The financial lack I experienced my first year of college, put me into “grind mode”! All through college I held 3 jobs. One on the weekends, and two during the week. I had to learn to financially count on me. Even to this day, the grind does not stop. One stream of income is not enough to create financial security. The reality is, parental support creates a safety blanket, one that is appreciated and wanted. However, if you ask the question, did the lack thereof create this ambitious, goal driven woman who has created a brand for herself now known as The Student Loan Doctor? I’ll respond by saying, ABSOLUTELY!

 -The Student Loan Doctor

Dr. Sonia Lewis

You may connect with The Student Loan Doctor by visiting her website www.thestudentloandoctorllc.com

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

Ties that Bind

You ever watch the movie Mean Girls, when the “dumb friend”, Karen, is describing how cousins work?? Yeah, that’s kind of what it’s like to hear me talk about my siblings. “Well you have Mom’s kid. Dad’s kid. Step Dad’s kid.” And the list goes on.

karen-smith-cousins

For whatever reason lately, like five years now, I’ve paid heightened attention to sibling and paternal relationships. (Shout out to Facebook Memories) Although it’s definitely been helpful to develop content for my blog it’s low key an obsession on self-reflection.

Last weekend I visited some of my favorite babies. They’re 8,9 and 11 now, but still babies to me. They have different mothers and share the same father. Several times I overheard the youngest two say “If Daddy keeps us til Monday” as they devised a plot to see Zootopia before going their separate ways.

I’m pretty sure they said tons of other interesting stuff but all I heard was “If Daddy keeps us til Monday.” Ringing in my ears because I couldn’t help but wonder *why WOULDN’T he keep them until or AFTER Monday?* they are on Spring Break this week.

“If Daddy keeps us til Monday.”

Same weekend, I attempted several times to see my father’s other daughter and my nieces and new nephew. We didn’t grow up together, or really even know about each other until I was 10, and even then (before children had cell phones) we had no means of keeping in contact. I told her a week in advance I was coming. Despite her offer a month ago for me to spend the night with her in her new place, and her persistent inquiries of when I was coming, she stood me up. TWICE!

I cried.

No exaggeration.

Real tears. Hiccups. Red face. CRIED.

Continue reading Ties that Bind