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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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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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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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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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Ghost the Ghost Dad

Last night, I came late to a discussion among young college educated professionals about the show POWER.

The conversation started as a debate of Tasha’s loyalty and Ghost’s lust. The women felt Tasha went above and beyond to be loyal to Ghost, while he took a hiatus from his real life to live a fantasy with his high school sweetheart.ghost-angela-fantasy

While the women in the discussion found it admirable that Tasha chose to protect her kids by refusing to cosign & hive Ghost access to funds they set aside for the children; the men were appalled that she had the audacity to deny him access to funds HE worked for.

Power Season 3 2016

The conversation got heated.

What interest me most about reading through these opinionated exchanges were their thoughts on Ghost as a Dad.

The argument was made that Ghost is an absentee Daddy.

Rebuttal; he’s separated from his wife so distance is to be expected.

Counterargument; Ghost can’t use the separation as an excuse, because Tasha encourages him to spend time with the kids without her.

Rebuttal: Ghost works two jobs to provide for his kids therefore he CAN’T be absent.

That’s where I chimed in. It appeared to me that most of the men felt like providing was adequate parenting and the women in the group quickly pointed out the many specific scenarios in which Tasha had to say “Yo Ghost, Lil’ Man wildin’ come get him.” Because clearly Ghost is too busy to see the signs of an outburst himself.

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One of the women in the discussion, took specific issue with Ghost’s methods of discipline. She was disappointed that their son raising his hand at his mother only warranted a talking to, but calling his father’s mistress out of name called for Ghost putting his paws on him.

 

The men felt that their son was out of line and in “grown folk’s business” and this woman felt passionate that any teenage boy would be upset with their Dad for mistreating their Mother.

One of the guys responded “Bad husband doesn’t automatically mean bad father.”

That wasn’t the first time I heard that statement, and under some circumstances, it’s true. Some men don’t allow their shortcomings as a husband/significant other to affect their relationship with their children. However, Ghost doesn’t qualify as one of these men to me.

Reasons why are as follows:

  1. He’s only physically present by their mother’s request
  2. He was uncomfortable when his son prolonged their embrace.
  3. He’s willing to jeopardize funds set aside for the children’s future to fix his past.
  4. He brought his son to learn his business, but pawned him off on someone else.
  5. He thinks providing financially can replace a loving interactive relationship

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At the end of the day James “Ghost” St. Patrick is human, and just like real dads, this Fictional Father is Flawed.

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Myth of an Independent Woman

*Disclaimer: I’m not saying independent women don’t exist. I’m just admitting that I’m NOT one of them*

Yesterday I text me best friend “I NEED to move” When he asked “why?” I simply replied “I don’t feel safe anymore.” Some Shenanigans went down at my complex in the morning that will probably leave an emotional scar for some time, the thought if it had me nervous to return home, but that’s a different story for a different day. What I wasn’t expecting was to come home last night to NO lights. YUP! The power company was tired of my lapse in memory over the past few months. Paying what I can when I can.

So this morning I made one of the hardest phone calls of my life. I called my grandparents. Fortunately for me my Grandpa answered the phone. He asked “How much?” then “How did you get so far behind?” He cheerfully said “This too shall pass. Let me let you speak to the person in charge of the finances.” I heard him tell my Grandma “Bump’s in trouble.”

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The Disdain and disappointment in her voice was SOUL crushing. She said “Next time ask for help sooner. I’ll put the money in your account because I love you. Bye.”

She hung up on me! She didn’t even give me a chance to tell her I can pay her back tomorrow because tomorrow is pay day; just *CLICK* I cried. So angry at myself for needing their help again. For disappointing her. For not having my own parents to turn to in hard times like this. My grandma is probably about as sick of my shit as the power company. And I understand.

A few nights ago I was telling my mom how strange it was for me to hear my aunt say “I’m not obligated to do nothing for my grandkids. I do cause I choose to do.” She sounded so angry. I guess her kids had begun to take her for granted & her grandkids feel entitled to her time and money. Until today I never imagined my Grandma feeling that way about me. As if I was a burden and not her responsibility.

Cookie Tired

25 years 8 months 2 weeks and 3 days ago when I was born; Buddha was incarcerated. I don’t know when he went in or when he came out, but I do know 3 weeks later he was at my baby shower (only because there’s video evidence) and from then on almost everything he ever gave me was stolen. My mother was 16 and unemployed still living with my grandparents. SO thanks to ill-equipped unemployed teen parents, for 25 years 8 months 2 weeks and 3 days I HAVE been their responsibility.

Which brings me back to today. I live alone. I’m responsible for insuring & maintaining a vehicle that is currently co-titled to my bank. I try to feed myself regularly so I don’t die, but I’m not Independent.

Friends and relatives at home see the freedom of being able to move out of my mother’s home. What they don’t see is the student loan debt I incurred to avoid going back. They see the privacy of not having to live with family or roommates. What they don’t see is the eviction letters that came after 9 months of unemployment, depleting my savings AND tapping into my pension. They don’t see me sitting in the dark on a Wednesday night when all I wanted was to come home and watch Greenleaf. They see me celebrating a new Pinterest recipe win. What they don’t see is me starving and afraid to open my frigerator to find that all the stuff I cooked in an attempt to save money has gone bad because I overlooked one bill for a little too long. They don’t see how embarrassed I was to need my grandparents’ assistance A-GAIN!

Kandi Koated Tears

The daddy I’m dating offered to help and I declined. I immediately wondered *What if I need help in the future and he doesn’t offer because I’m pretending everything is well right now? Am I being prideful?* I just don’t want to get in the habit of relying on men to save me. Then I realized, He’s just behaving how one should in a partnership. No one who lays beside you should be comfortable with letting you lie alone in the dark when they CAN help you.

I hadn’t seen that much growing up; partnership. I can still FEEL the resentment my mom has for my sister’s father for not helping her maintain her home financially. I can hear echoes  of her sharing with me that my Granpa told her it was because she didn’t require him to. Like me, she pretended everything was fine for too long and held it against him that he reaped the benefits of: coming to her home where the power was never turned off; watching football on cable she desperately wanted to disconnect; finding shelter in a home with a mortgage he wasn’t responsible for. And people saw this like they see me and they wanted it, not knowing the struggle it comes with. The embarrassment of needing to call for help when people think you’re fine and they’re expecting you to do better.

Rooting For You

I’m not an Independent Woman, I’ve had to ask people for help several times. Today I learned that embarrassment doesn’t last long and pride will kill you if you let it. I asked my neighbor for a flashlight and he gave me a generator. I was able to watch my show, write by lamp; not by flashlight and even charge my phone. I chose a moment of embarrassment because pride would have had me in here in the dark and disconnected from the world.

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It Takes a Village to Raise A Child and sometimes It takes A Village to Keep an Adult Afloat. Don’t be afraid to NEED the Village and ALWAYS BE the Village.

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Intimacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.”

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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.