Posted on

Epic Endurance: Using the Power Your Childhood Taught You

On Mondays with Ms. Reid I had a conversation with the viewers about not having a monopoly on Daddy Issues. No matter how complex my story may be it doesn’t diminish anyone else’s.

If you’ve been following since the beginning you know I’m a firm believer that Daddy Issues manifest themselves in different ways. And once upon a time I didn’t believe I had any.

Last night I had the pleasure of talking with the founder of Women Recharged, Aprille Franks-Hunt about the Daddy Issues she never really knew she had. And how they influence the woman she is today.

Life is about learning and UN-Learning the habits we see and adapt as part of own character. Aprille Franks-Hunt tells us how witnessing and experiencing intimate partner violence, taught her to OWN YOUR POWER. How growing up overseas she developed a “Never fit anyone else’s mold for you” mentality. And so much more, from motherhood to business and the types of conversations women need to have more often.

It’s much bigger than Daddy Issues, it’s about understanding the psychological cycles we’re brought up in & understanding that once you acknowledge the cycle, you have the power to end it. Do yourself a favor & watch this conversation!

 

 

Posted on

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

Posted on

Final Farewells

Two nights ago the First Dad gave a  “Farewell Address” that brought many to tears.

As Americans watched President Obama address the nation for the last time, they also shared their feelings on social media Tuesday night.
Source: Twitter Photo: Twitter.com

The memes were swift and for some the tears were real.

I wouldn’t say that President Obama has been like a father to me, but he’s definitely influenced a generation.

As heavy as his exit will impact us, I don’t suspect it hurts half as much as it would for one to lose their Dad forever

We’re a few days away from having a Monday off from work and school in honor of a Dad who died too soon.

It made me wonder what Daddy Issues come with death? How did Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s children cope with losing him?

I put out a few requests for people who’ve dealt with their Dad’s death to share their stories.

No automatic alt text available.

Didn’t get the response I was looking for, but I did get some feedback.

Losing a Daddy that was present and positive, made those who lost him fight harder  to honor and extend his legacy.

Losing a Daddy that was unknown or absent turned a hole of inquiry into an abyss of unanswered questions.

I wondered if having a dead Dad impacted a child’s behavior in school.

If MLK’s assassination was a symbolic dead Dad in the black community:

Leaving us to raise ourselves. Forcing us to grow up faster, and prematurely aging the parent left to provide for and protect us.

When most people reflect on Martin Luther King’s legacy they talk about his dream. But what about his death? And have we ever really processed it’s effects?

Have you lost your Daddy?

  • How did you deal with it?
  • What advice on coping would you pass on?

 

If I were still in the classroom. I’d flip the script on Martin Luther King Day. Teach a lesson on Empathy, by having scholars write diary entries as one of his kids who just found out their Dad died.

 

Posted on

Communication is Key

Last month my mom was testing out her Amazon Fire Stick and decided to put on the Love & Hip Hop New York Reunion. On this particular reunion Special Yandy Smith-Harris was at odds with her stepson’s biological mother, Samantha.

With her husband serving time in prison. Yandy began to feel that Samantha was keeping her stepson away form her and his siblings. Samantha felt Yandy had overstepped some boundaries. Yandy felt that these boundaries didn’t exist when her husband was home.

From the outside looking in, there seems to have been a lapse in communication. Whether you agree with Yandy or Samantha, to me, the common denominator is Mendeecees.

Once a man decides to blend families he has to have a plan on how to communicate the needs of the children to the women playing roles in their upbringing.

Samantha is entitled to be upset that her son was taken across state lines without her consent. However, her anger towards Yandy is perplexing because he was in the care of his father on the way out and Yandy made sure he got back safely.

My point is his Daddy has the same rights as his mother; and being angry at the step-parent for the actions of his other biological parent makes no sense to me.

Yandy is noble in her desire to keep the children present in each other’s lives in the absence of their father. However a ring and a title doesn’t grant you permission to take other people’s children out of school early without telling them. That’s borderline kidnapping boo.

I was annoyed watching two grown women engage in an argument that seemed avoidable if they all had practiced the art of communication.

It also dawned on me that dating with a child while I have none, makes me empathize with Yandy. If a man sets the tone during the dating phase that there is no need for his girlfriend to ever communicate with the mother of his child, if and when that woman becomes his wife, it makes it difficult for those women to know HOW to communicate in his absence.

Additionally if a man decides to make a woman his wife, and a permanent addition into his child’s life, it is his responsibility to help build a bridge between the two women responsible for nurturing and pouring into his child. At least provide a pathway of peace.

Pathway to Peace

If you fail to plan the roles they’ll play in your child’s life, you fail your child. #DaaamnDaddy

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

Teach You How to Treat Me

Last week the Daddy I had been dating told me he had been thinking about working things out with the mother of his child.

twitter-receipts

Oddly enough I was happy to hear it. I could sense something between us had been off for some time. The over-thinker in me was glad my uneasiness wasn’t for naught.

He asked if we could still be friends

In the few months we’ve been seeing each other, I had never heard him speak ill of the mother of his child. So as shocking as it was to hear, I didn’t feel any tension. He never indicated that this was a hostile relationship for him to return to. He asked if we could still be friends. Initially I agreed. He gave me the heaviest hugs I had ever had & with tear-glossed eyes he asked if I were going to cry. I didn’t. I got in my car; drove home & watched Queen Sugar. Then I got a text message.

screenshot_20161009-105547

I responded. Assuming this was just a sincere moment of checking in after a n intense conversation.

screenshot_20161009-105642

To my surprise he called the next morning. And text “Goodnight” again that evening. Same thing the day after that. I was confused. The attention I had been receiving in the days following our “friendship” was everything that had been inconsistent about our relationship just days before.

On the third morning of “Phone Calls from Friends” I angrily answered “I’M SLEEP” then hung up. Perturbed at being disturbed after a night of crying. Yup, that’s right. I cried. Two days after the fact, but still it happened.

That Friday after work I drove home and a series of songs came on the radio that reminded me of our times together and I cried. Came home, wrote about it and cried a little bit more. So for him to call me early on a Saturday morning as if everything was fine was hurtful.

He texted me later that day and called again after my lack of response. He accused me of sending mixed messages, by answering graciously one day and snapping the next. I was offended. How dare he accuse ME of doing exactly what HE was doing? So I called him out on it.

How can you say you just want to be friends then resume relationship behavior right away?

It was a looong intense conversation, still trying to salvage some sense of friendship. I told him he wouldn’t be giving himself a fair chance to work things out with his child’s mother if he intended to continue talking to me several times a day. He didn’t seem to see a problem with it, but I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable with it if things were the other way around.

That night I found myself watching Iyanla Fix My Life; the episodes on dismantling the myth of The Angry Black Woman. One of the residents of her “House of Healing” talked about being a Yes Woman and how putting people’s needs before her own made her unhappy.

It was then I remembered a lesson I learned my whole life. “You teach people how to treat you.”

teach-people-how-to-treat-you-life-quotes-sayings-pictures

I’m 25 years old and I spent a Friday night crying into my notebook wanting so desperately to be consoled by a Daddy. NEEDING my grandfather or my uncle to reaffirm how beautiful & special I am. Being angry I couldn’t go to my own father, or step-father or even my sister’s father with those feelings in that moment. Then it hit me. I had never tried to establish that kind of relationship with any of them. I had NEVER consulted Step Dad #1 with my relationship problems. I don’t think I ever even thanked my sister’s father for his very presence when my high school boyfriend couldn’t take a hint and leave.

I’ve spent my life living pretty independently. I never taught my Daddies how to treat me in my times of need. So how could I be so hurt that they weren’t there for me?

On Sunday, I was supposed to have lunch with the Daddy I had been dating. We never made it. He texted me five hours after we agreed to meet and I was livid.

This man thought he could TEXT ME after standing me up & everything would be ok?

I didn’t respond.

He called.

I sent it to voicemail.

Something about me had taught him that it was ok to disrespect my time. His text message didn’t even include an apology. Just a one word greeting I didn’t find worthy of a response.

Two days later the same greeting. I just wanted to be left alone. But part of me so badly wanted to school him on how to treat people. So when he reached out to me requesting to sit down and talk, I obliged. And I was sure to take it as an opportunity to not only teach him how to treat me, but people you piss off in general. Don’t start with a text as if everything is fine. Acknowledge you fucked up and don’t take it for granted that you’ll get a response, or the opportunity to apologize AFTER a person responds to your basic ass text.

It was an emotionally taxing week full of experience but I’m glad I had it. It made me re-evaluate my role in my relationship with my Daddies & it reminded me to be more intentional in how I teach people how to treat me.

Posted on

Telling the Truth in Television: How Survivor’s Remorse is Getting it Right

Season Three of Survivor’s Remorse touched on so many pertinent issues. Colorism. Abortion. Rape. Not having a living Will. A carry over issue had been something near and dear to this blog. DADDY ISSUES.

This season M.Chuck is in court mandated therapy to deal with her anger. In therapy she came to realize many of her issues lead back to her relationship with her mother. And that relationship is strained, because her mother has denied her the identity of her father. M.Chuck, like so many people I know in real life feel that not knowing their father means a piece of them is missing. The writers didn’t just tap dance around the issue. They let her slowly uncover this root throughout the season; be it by therapy, or hard learned lessons following a night of partying. Real people don’t just wake up with Daddy Issues. Real people don’t automatically relate their emotionless sex lives with Daddy Issues. Real people have o look inward and self-reflect. To me, M.Chuck felt like a REAL PERSON coming to terms with her REAL ISSUES.

mchuck-in-therapy

And as much as I look forward to continuing M.Chuck’s journey with her, she isn’t the only character with Daddy Issues. Another way the writers room got it right is that they haven’t been one dimensional. No two Daddy Issues are identical. That was evident in witnessing Reggie’s story unfold.

restless_reggie

Reggie is a relatively young, married, black man with a career in Sports Management. He’s from a rough New England neighborhood in Boston and has no interest in looking back. He doesn’t want his uncle buried in Boston. He doesn’t want old Boston friends at the Funeral. He Doesn’t want his cousin/client visiting Boston, even for a wedding. For Reggie, his past is that for a reason and all that matters is moving on up. It’s almost as if he fears returning to Boston will turn him to a pillar of salt, and one we learn his Daddy Issues, it begins to make sense. Reggie knows his father; grew up in the house with him and his mother’ yet he still has Daddy Issues. He tells his wife that his father is the embodiment of the word “CUNT”. Unlike M.Chuck, Reggie has no desire to face his Dad or resolve anything. He’s even discarded any photos of the two together. Reggie’s Daddy was abusive, and although he is a young, married, successful black man; nothing seems to be able to undo that hurt. Not even leaving Boston behind.

survivors_remorse_s03e10_still

Reggie was able to leave Boston, because he manages his cousin Star athlete Cam, who is the center of the show. Cam is a well-loved family man, a little bit of a momma’s boy, and being a pro-athlete still doesn’t make him exempt from Daddy Issues. In the beginning of the Season he eulogizes his uncle detailing all that he had done for him, saying “He was everything a father should be” That line resonated with me because that’s how I feel about my own uncle. Cam, similar to myself knows who his father is and describes him as a deadbeat. Not too many examples are given as to what qualifies him as such, but the closing scene of the finale helps it all make sense. (Don’t worry I’m not going to spoil it) In addition to having Deadbeat Daddy Issues, Cam seems to experience some regret around a decision, or lack thereof he made surrounding his own parenting choices. Children aren’t the only ones with Daddy Issues. Sometimes being faced with becoming a Daddy has it’s own set of Issues.

Intertwined with all the comedy, Survivor’s Remorse is unburrying some deep seeded Daddy Issues for its characters & making these characters into Real People.

If you resonate with any of their stories of have your own to tell, feel free to email them to DaaamnDaddy@gmail.com

I look forward to Reading your “Dear Deadbeat, …Love, Star-Athlete” letters.

dear-daddy