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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.

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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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Super Bass

Earlier this year, my mother told me I was the reason her relationship with my sister’s father didn’t work out. Those are probably the most hurtful words she ever sent in my direction. I’m an adult now and maybe I shouldn’t be so sensitive to the past, but I am.

They weren’t painful because I see myself as a perfect child or because I think he’s a monster. They were painful because they absolve him from any responsibility for his actions.

bonafide tongue

It took some time but I’ve grown to love my sister’s father, I’m still cautious of him, but I don’t despise him how I did in childhood.

A few months ago my sister asked me why I didn’t like her dad. I told her because he’s loud. That may seem foolish to some people, but she understood exactly what I meant. Before my mother dated my sister’s father I wasn’t accustomed to folks, men specifically, being loud with me. My grandfather doesn’t yell, my mother’s brother who pretty much raised me doesn’t believe in yelling at children, and Step Dad #1 wasn’t one much for yelling either.


My sister’s father on the other hand couldn’t whisper if it cured cancer. He has a beautiful singing voice, and enough bass to stop a toddler’s terrible twos before they even have a second birthday! He shouted for EVERYTHING. And for a child who was, until his entry, treated as an autonomous thinking human I often found his approach demeaning.abandoned_child

I didn’t need to be shouted at from across the room to change the channel, or do the dishes, just ask me. What troubled me most was my mother’s silence during those times. I began to feel abandoned, like she was taking his side & she was ok with his audible battery.


As I grew older I became numb to his shouting at me, but I became protective of my sister. I didn’t like the tone he took with my mother and became concerned that she rarely stood up for herself. After all it was HER house. She later told me that she didn’t “check” him in public because she didn’t want to give him an audience. She never realized that audiences tune-in even if it is a one man show.

Some men’s insecurities are loud. Loud enough to make them show up at work functions & assault your coworkers. Loud enough to dim your children’s respect for you. Loud enough for you to overlook a grown man’s infantile behavior & blame the relationship’s failure on your child.

Some men’s power trips speak volumes deeper than a slap to the face, and my sister’s father, he had that SUPER BASS. Verbal Abuse

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Humans Have Flaws

Fathers Day 15

This is a picture of some of the father figures I’ve had in my life; cousins, uncles, Step Dad #2. These are all men whom I have looked up to, learned from, loved and been disappointed by.

I remember the first time I began to notice the men in my life who I upheld as different, special FLAWLESS, were too in fact, flawed humans. I took these moments as personal affronts.

I’ve been reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X this summer. And yesterday I came across a passage where Minister Malcolm himself was dealing with the reality that a man he had come to idolize, was just a man.

Lost Faith

He said in a passage that

Loyal Muslims could be taught that a man’s accomplishments in his life out-weigh his personal, human weaknesses.

That line spoke to me. It spoke to parts of me that wanted to be angry with the men I loved for the way they treated the women I admired.

  • It should be more important to me that this man successfully taught me how to ride a bike than it is that he’s telling the woman he loves that he want to get married, but constantly makes single people decisions?
  • It should matter more to me that the man who rewarded my academic success with his time, SHOWED me he loved me than it does that he’s stepped out of his 20 year relationship, at least TWICE with the kids to prove it?
  • It should be of more value to me that he chose to invest in my love of music by purchasing my first stereo than it is that he broke his vow of marriage to have an affair hurting his wife whom I consider a friend?

Before I knew these things about these men I idolized them, Wanted to find men just like them. And as I learned of their flaws I also learned to be careful what you ask for.

Golden Apple

Truth is, we model what we see, and I’m tired of seeing men take advantage of other women’s emotions, while simultaneously trying to convince me, that maybe my standards aren’t unrealistic, and I should keep the faith that there’s someone good enough for me so not to “settle for these busters.” Although this knowledge shouldn’t make me love these men any less, I’m not a Loyal Muslim and I can’t accept past accomplishments as a trump for present and REPEATED disrespect.

As a woman it hurts me to see men whom I’ve considered the model of how I wanted to be loved; hurt women I care about just as much.

How do you expect me to believe I’m worthy of the best treatment a man can provide, when I now know you’re living a lie?

Insecurities; Deeply Rooted in the witnessing of men I highly regarded mistreat women I duly admired. Do good men exist anymore? Of course, but all humans have flaws.

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Yesterday was my goddaughter’s first birthday. Her father, whom I’ve NEVER been friends with and only say “Hi” to out of respect for her mother, inboxed me on Facebook asking me to remove the photo I posted

inbox icon

Part of me was like “Stay the F_©K out my inbox!” But I realized despite what I know he’s done to my step sister, he’s never directly disrespected me. His request was worded politely and by no means aggressive. He’s only able to see the photo because my step sister is tagged in it. Then I was upset because he called the photo “personal.” *How the hell is a photo that I took, of MY godchild, on MY phone, PERSONAL to YOU?*


I can just see ANGER running around in my head try to “put the foot down.” But then I had to ask myself “Why are you REALLY angry?”

I’ve been examining my judgment of other people’s relationships & approaches to parenthood lately.

I’m biased. I grew up in a single MOTHER household. My mother, my youngest sister and I all have the same last name. There was never any confusion at school or the doctor’s office & I grew to know the world from that ONE view.

narrow minded

I found myself judging women who give their child the father’s last name if they aren’t married. And then I remembered my friend Denell has physical custody of his daughter. Should SHE have her mother’s last name? Does he have the right to petition to change it if she does?

I didn’t respond to my goddaughter’s dad’s request to remove her photo. Although I’ve come to respect his rights as her father to have concerns about the image of his child, I disagreed that it was personal. She was fully clothed. She didn’t have any hair to be “done”, she was clean and there weren’t any items in the background that could be used to identify her location. Her mother “liked” the photo and therefore I decided not to play pawn in one of their potential feuds.

It did however bring to the forefront my biases against men in parenthood. Only thing I had of my Daddy’s was his face and some days even that’s too much.

same face

I recall being about 15 or 17 years old and Buddha tried to take my phone and I told him directly to his face, he had “No right to touch my phone. You didn’t buy it and you don’t pay this bill.”

When I was 14 Step Dad #2 and I  got physical and I told him he had “no right to put his hands on me. You’re not my real father anyway.” I guess I’ve always been biased toward a father’s rights in parenthood. More important than a father’s rights, is a Daddy’s love.

daddys love

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Lies Little Girls Believe

One of my childhood friends and I had a big falling out a few years ago after over 10 years of friendship. I saw a photo of his daughter for the first time today. She’s gorgeous, looks just like him. I told another friend of mine “I hope having a daughter helps him treat women better” No sooner than I sent that text, I realized just how far fetched that thought was. Changed Dad

  • Having a daughter didn’t stop Buddha from throwing a knife at his fiancé with me in the next room, when I was 10 years old.
  • Having daughters didn’t stop Step Dad #1 from having unprotected sex with another woman while in what was thought to be a committed relationship with my mother.
  • Having a daughter didn’t prevent my Sister’s Father’s insecurities from showing up. Causing him to behave aggressively & what some may call violently toward those he felt threatened his “happy family”.
  • Having a daughter didn’t stop my cousin from stepping outside his 11 year relationship for the umpteenth time producing his second child outside of said relationship.
  • Having a daughter didn’t stop my god-daughter’s father from physically abusing her mother and causing property damage in an attempt to make her lose her first apartment and her job simultaneously.

We have these myths circulating in our communities that a father’s bad karma comes back on his daughter, & that having a little girl changes the way men see and interact with women. Little girls grow up to believe that they possess some type of magic that makes their daddies into better men. Except when those daddies don’t become better men, those little girls feel like their magic is broken. We believe that our existence was supposed to show them that all women aren’t so bad, and in fact maybe they have been seeing women all wrong all along. We believe that our Daddies are supposed to look at us and say “I can’t believe I’ve been doing to other people’s daughter’s what I would never want done to this little magical being here” OR. “Man, I messed up; I have to protect her so no one ever does to her what I’ve done to other women.”


WHO STARTED THESE RUMORS? Because, they’re putting too much responsibility on infants, to change men who should have learned to respect women long before being blessed with the chance to create one. Dad Daughter feet

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Ain’t Nobody Got Time for Dat!

Ok, I’m sure most of you are familiar with Sweet Brown’s 15 memes of fame from a few years ago. Just like the people creating those memes there’s a lot of things I just ain’t got time for. One of them being ARGUMENTS.

Swwt Brown

In my last relationship I felt like we spent an abundance of time arguing over simple stuff because we really were having two different conversations.

Arguments are something I really just don’t have patience for. My sister’s father had a penchant for the art of arguing. If any man could make a mountain out of a molehill he was it. Just moments ago my mother called him to clarify if he was picking my sister up from school today. We decided to take a last minute road trip to surprise my aunt and my mother realized she hadn’t confirmed that with him. She called to make sure he was still available and to see if my sister had reached out to him to say, “Yes Daddy I need you to pick me up” or “Hey Daddy, my uncle’s picking me up so you don’t have to.” She believed she was being courteous and seeking clarity. I could hear him through her blue tooth ear piece preparing a case like he works for Analise Keating. Then my mother explicitly asked “Are you trying to pick an argument with me? Because I’m just trying to communicate.”


That was pretty much the summation of my adolescence; one person talking, the other unnecessarily escalating things. As I got older I realized my sister’s father wasn’t a bad dude, I just lacked the tolerance for his high octave shenanigans. If anything is a turn off to me, it’s a man raising his voice or carrying on in a conversation in the pettiest of ways.

My last boyfriend would come to my apartment and have an entire attitude if I took out my own trash or attempted to carry my own luggage to the car. “Why are you taking out the trash like I’m not standing here?” Why are we having this conversation? If it’s that big of a deal just take it out when you see it. Because arguing about who’s taking out the trash? AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!

willow no time