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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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Survivor’s Remorse

Imagine not knowing who your father is. At All. Not even a name, not even a theory. For 27 years. TWENT-TY SEV-EN YEARS!

Think about what questions you’d ask your mother. Do I look like him? Did he like the same stuff that I like? WHAT IS HIS NAME?

WHAT IS HIS NAME?

Now imagine being the mother of that child. Not only unwilling, but UNABLE to answer those questions. Spending 27 years trying to block out your child’s conception. Being reminded of the worst night of your life with every question.

That’s the story of Mary-Charles and her mother Cassie. Cassie was a girl from Boston in her early teens when she and some friends rode down to a party on Long Island. It was there she was sexually taken advantage of by not one, not two, but THREE fellow party-goers. It was on that night Mary-Charles was conceived. And for TWENTY SEVEN years she managed to bury that incident deep inside. Scolding and chastising Mary-Charles for every expressed desire to know who else’s DNA made her who she was.

Cassie telling Cam her truth

It took for Cassie’s son, whose father had been incarcerated since he was six weeks old, to guilt her into giving Mary-Charles a lead. I couldn’t imagine having to explain to my son at any age that I had been violated by three men and that his sister was a living, breathing, TALKING reminder of possibly the worst night of my life.

This may be the fictional tale of a scripted drama family, but for so many this is real life.

I watched in awe as Mary-Charles addressed the three tombstones as “Rape Father #1”, “Rape Daddy #2” and “Rape Dad #3”

Having the moment to get out all the “In spite of you, I Am” statements that so many of us need to say, some to fathers still living and breathing.

Every 98 seconds an American is Sexually Assaulted. September 21st is Rape, Assault, Incest National Network Day.

I’ve never been a victim of rape, but I could think of no Survivor’s Remorse worse than raising my unknown rapists’ baby. #DaaamnDaddy

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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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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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What’s LOVE Got to Do With It?

I was driving to meet my *thinking face* “friend” for lunch and turning on a certain street made me think of my “first”.

Not sure why, but my brain jumped to the day I told him I didn’t want to deal with him anymore. I don’t remember verbatim because that was nearly 5years ago, but I’m pretty sure I said something like “I deserve to be with someone who loves me.” And he replied “I DO love you”

I just realized I can’t tell when a guy really cares for me.

So my brain did what it does best & jumped to several of the tabs I had open based on the keyword love.

1st tab was me asking my mom advice on successfully ending a relationship a few weeks ago. I laughed because, all of my mom’s exes are still in love with her. *So again WRONG person for ADVICE*

Next tab was my own exes and how even after not seeing them for YEARS I can still see their hearts smile in my presence. (Saw paranoid Pete a few weeks ago).

Final tab was my cousin’s Facebook post I had seen before taking that drive. Her Dad & Buddha are brothers. Her post read “I just realized I can’t tell when a guy really cares for me.”

When I read that Facebook Post my immediate thought was “Well of course you can’t because the man that made you didn’t show you how.” But during that drive I thought “What’s Love got to do with it?”

It’s hard to realize when a guy really cares for me because I’ve constantly received mixed signals on what love looks like.

I like for people’s actions to match their words because Buddha’s never did. Unlike my mother, I don’t tend to dedicate much time to relationships past a certain point. I’ve always just attributed that to high emotional intelligence. *And also that I had my life played so thoroughly by my middle school boyfriend that I see no need to relive that experience.*

If you don’t stay, they can’t play you

But seriously, for more than two years, I’ve exposed how my trust issues are rooted in the fuck ups of the male “role models” in my life. A biological father that let me down so often everything feels like abandonment. A stepfather that seemed perfect as a child until he committed the ultimate betrayal. So now I don’t even know how to trust gestures because quality time don’t stop a cheater from cheating. Another stepfather who hadn’t dealt with his own Daddy Issues so he over compensated & under-communicated. Which brings me back to WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

All the love in the world can’t make you show up somewhere you don’t want to be.

All the love in the world ain’t gone stop a wandering eye from bringing the rest of the body to the bedroom.

All the love in the world can’t make a listening ear from a shouting mouth.

And ALL the love in the word cain’t clear a cluttered mind.

Nina Simone said “You must learn to leave the table if love is no longer being served.”

TRUST ME, I “Liked”, “Shared“ & “Pinned” every image of her and that quote but I’m not sure I truly understand love anymore.

Everybody who’s ever hurt me told me they loved me.

So again, I ask, “WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?”

What’s Love got to do with happiness? ● What’s Love got to do with health? ● What’s Love got to do with intelligence? ● What’s Love got to do with discernment? ● What’s Love got to do with confidence?

E●V●E●R●Y●T●H●I●N●G!

Yesterday, my cousin who wrote that post turned 24. And because her father didn’t lay a concrete foundation of love for her to build on, she can’t tell when a guy truly cares for her.

I’m 26 still playing Russian Roulette with my time. Because I’ve never been scared to walk away, but the one thing all my Daddies failed to teach me was when it’s worth it to stay. What it looks like when you work it out with someone, not out of fear, not for the kids, not due to convenience, boredom or because they control your finances, not even for LOVE alone. What it looks like to build a solid foundation with someone because you love them, you trust them, you value them, you’re invested in their growth, and they’re invested in yours and you respect each other enough to show up when you say you’re going to show up. You communicate when you can’t and you’re disciplined enough to remain faithful no matter how tempting the fruit may look.

I want that. And despite what my Daddies never showed me I will have that. Because I LOVE myself enough to know I deserve more. Even if that means I have to cut folks off to create it.

“You’ve gotta love like you’ve never been hurt; to get the LOVE that you deserve.” -My Motha Best Friend Mary J. Blige

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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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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?

 clair huxtable GIF

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.”

Image result for mind blown gif

 

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*

Image result for driving tired gif

 

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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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.

 

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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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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