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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.

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.

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CRAY-DAR

My mother must have something magical at that midpoint that serves as the meeting place where the lines of her thighs meet, because all three of my “Daddy’s” have had some stalk-ish moments when it comes to her. Unfortunately, she seems to have a broken CRAY-Dar. Or maybe it’s the magic in her regal region that makes them this way.

Cray-Dar Definition

Now that we know what a CRAY-DAR is, let me give you some history. It’s been rumored that even in infancy I was able to “See Red” in people and advise my mother not to date them. I’m guessing my CRAY-DAR kicked in early.

Buddha used to write me letters (some before I could read) of how things would be different when he came “Out on vacation”. Sold dreams of this family he and I would be with my mother. Needless to say I was thoroughly confused as to why he thought we could be a “family” when things were just fine with me, my mother and Step Dad #1. Buddha was CRAZY.

Step Dad #1 & my mom have tried their hand at reuniting on multiple occasions. He’s probably the least possessively aggressive when it came to her, but he still has illusions of a “perfect relationship” between them, where it’s ok for him to see other people, yet it’s painful to see her with anyone else.

Umm No

My CRAY-DAR was definitely strongest with my sister’s father. He knew things only possible to have know if he had been listening to conversations she had in his assumed absence or following her to destinations throughout the day. To this day I have most of my phone conversations in the car for fear of my apartment being bugged due to things I’ve witnessed. Throughout their decade + long relationship, he’s shown up unannounced at work functions & assaulted coworkers, called the police & pressed charges on her in the middle of the night when she had a house full of children, used the SUPER BASS in his voice as a weapon against her family and guests, drove through the neighborhood monitoring who is entering and exiting the home, and constantly plead that he wants his “family” back while continuing to live in a façade where their relationship has yet to end.

Maury Meme

When she met him, he had siblings & nieces & nephews, friends, a god-son, co-workers, band-mates that he wrote songs with.

Continue reading CRAY-DAR

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Admitting is the First Step

The top definition for the term Daddy Issues is defined by Urban Dictionary as follows:

Whenever a female has a fucked up relationship with her father, or absence of a father figure during her childhood, it tends to spill into any adult relationship they embark on, usually to the chagrin of any poor male in their life.

Stereotypically, we associate the term “Daddy Issues” with women who are sexually promiscuous or emotionally clingy. Just Google the term and you’ll find think piece after think piece and endless memes of women in suggestively sexual positions. Growing up, I’d watch movies and shows with my mom or my friends and see a woman acting in a manner that suggested she didn’t respect herself, and a common reaction would be “Oh, who raised her?” or “Where were her parents?”. My mother always told me “When you leave this house you’re a reflection of ME”. So it made perfect sense that women who behaved abnormally to me, must have some type of parental issues. Even though I didn’t grow up with my father in the home, or really as an active member of my life, I didn’t see myself in those women. The women who we prescribe to have Daddy Issues didn’t reflect ME. My mother’s brother was there for me from birth, so I never felt like I didn’t have a father. He did those things Daddy’s are supposed to do; taught me how to ride a bike, took me to school, made me soup when I was sick etc. I didn’t turn to sex as a means of filling the emotional void “only a father could fill”. I wasn’t a serial dater who NEEDED to be in a relationship to feel validated. I had decent friends, I was academically involved, I was in charge of most of the extracurricular activities I participated in, I even went to college on a scholarship. It wasn’t until after I graduated from Howard that I started to see these “Daddy Issues” manifest in myself. They may not look the way we’re used to seeing them, but they’re there, and Admitting is the First Step.