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New Beginnings with Nicole’s Network

Happy New Year! The beginning of the New Year usually has folks motivated to change. There’s usually at least one person on your timeline or in your life, sharing a laundry list of people and things, getting left in “Insert any year of choice”.

What if we stopped talking about New Years from a lens of who who we’re leaving behind & focused on who we intend to build and connect, or in this case RE-build with? Tiara Riley, author of “23 & FINALLY Loving ME” met me in The Discussion Room last Thursday, December 28th to discuss, why NOW at 26 she’s choosing to reestablish a relationship with her biological dad. She shares how pregnancy opened her up to the idea of reconnecting with a man she told at 20 years old she wanted nothing more to do with him.

We talked about everything from therapy & miscarriage, to being protective of our sisters & the things we wish our mothers knew; most importantly how she’s planned to begin again with her father. We hit some heavy topics but we had so much fun! Press play to step inside The Discussion Room and hear about her New Beginnings.

 

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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!

 

 

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Advice

 

Sunday was Mother’s Day and I fought back tears as I attempted to end my current situationship. He treats me well, doesn’t yell at me or hit me; because I don’t allow that shit; but there seems to be some break-down in communication that we’re having the ultimate struggle getting over.

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My mom; single parent with 2 children by men that she’ll “always love but doesn’t like”; told me I over analyze everything. I shared with her some of my communication frustrations and she said “You give up too easily. Relationships have hurdles sometimes.”

 

I wanna be married.

 

I’m not looking to get married today tomorrow or this time next year, but I know I want to be married to someone I can trust. Someone  who communicates well with me. Someone not only on the same page but also in the same book as me. My mother isn’t married. Her partners have all loved her; but they’ve never in my opinion been in the same book. And despite proposals & rings and 7 or 13 year relationships; she’s never made it to the altar or even the courthouse. My mother doesn’t have the life I want. I hear her advice anyway, because, my mother.

Me hearing, my mother’s advice

Sunday I listened as he expressed his love for me. His fear of losing me. His declaration that I’m his lady and his THIRD confession that he is not ready for a relationship. I don’t want to lose him either, but I’m not in the habit of staying at the table when I feel my flavor of love is no longer being served.

It’s been more than a year since we became physically intimate. Even longer that we’ve been entertaining each other’s company. He stayed when he learned I was depressed. When he realized, my apartment is a constant mess. I don’t always use kind words. He stayed.

One day I asked if we should have joint goals, since we support each other’s individual goals. I think it scared him.

After nearly six months (because the six months before October 29th are questionable) I hear him for the first time tell me he’s not ready for a relationship. It makes wonder *Well what the hell is this then?*

I don’t like uncertainty.

 

I say this to him, but I don’t DO anything with his confession. I let it marinate in my mind & fester into a fungus that tells me I deserve more. I examine myself. Am I giving the type of love I expect in return? Am I making my expectations clear? Am I refusing to accept less than his best? I fail this exam.

 

I ask myself is this worth walking away: List all the reasons I should stay. Call my mom. She taught me to list the pros and cons. She doesn’t answer. It’s ok, she doesn’t have the life I want. But do any of the women in my life?

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On Mother’s Day morning, I tried to end my current situationship. Even handwrote a letter of all the points I wanted to address. I told him I didn’t want to give up, but I didn’t want to fight to be with someone who didn’t want to be with me. He detailed all the ways he’s shown me that I’m who he wants. He isn’t ready to give in.

He’s been hurt before. His mother is also a single mother. His dad with a similar past as Buddha. We both have trust issues. We don’t want to be hurt again. But it hurts me to sit in uncertainty.

I tried to call my mother again. Sent to voicemail after it rang twice. If I don’t know any women with the life I want. Then who should I look to for advice?

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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.”

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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*

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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

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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3 lessons I learned from Queen Sugar

If you’re anything like me, you spent at least two days of this past week watching the two-night premier or OWN’s newest series Queen Sugar. Three things stood out to me that I look forward to better understanding throughout the series.

  1. Blue & Ralph-Angel Bordelon. Ralph-Angel is literally down to STEAL to provide for his son. He’s clearly unable to provide for himself & there are some hints at a criminal past. No matter his past, he’s trying to a present and nurturing Daddy as best he can and protect Blue from the stresses of adulthood before his time. He butts heads with his aunt Violet on the thin line between preserving childhood and coddling a child to ruin. Because apparently, Ralph-Angel himself was placed on a pedestal as a child and now he’s “Wrestling with a world that ain’t got no pedestals for him.”blue-ra-kenya
  2. Micah & Davis West: We don’t see much of these two in the opening episode. However; what we do see is interesting enough. Davis appears to be the type of father content with showering his son with money because “This our real life. Ain’t it good?” Micah however seems to be grounded enough to see past the money and face his father’s flaws. He courageously expresses his disappointment when he tells his Dad directly that he doesn’t need him. He seems to have enough of a moral compass to know when another man is no longer worthy of leading him. I’m interested to see if Davis can regain Micah’s trust.i-dont-need-you
  3. Earnest Bordelon & Charley Bordelon-West: In the season opener we learn that Charley has an MBA and although he doesn’t directly ask for it, her father need her help. He reminds me of my own grandfather when he hits her with the “Hey Baby” style “Just Checking on You” call. She seems like a family oriented woman, but knowing her Daddy needed her help, she put her position as her husband’s manager first. She arrived in town too late to make good on her promise to give her Daddy all her time. And is casually referred to as his “California Girl”. It’s unclear if it’s due to her college & marriage life or if she grew up there separately with her mother. Her emotional reaction upon arrival & her apology at the end of the episode brought some to tears. She appears to have a special relationship with her Daddy opposed to her siblings and I’ll be looking to learn how that came to be.

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BONUS THOUGHT: Every Aunt VI needs a Hollywood in her life.