The American Visionary Art Museum is currently a 3 story journey of parenting.
From the moment I walked in, greeted by images of an embryo in it’s mother’s womb, until I slowly exited down the steps, soaking in quotes on parenting strategically placed along the stairwell. I was intrigued.
There was a wall dedicated to POSTSECRET
A mural on Momma’s Boys
And a collection of ties titled “Big Daddy” where people shared their thoughts of their fathers.
It’s been so long since I’ve written anything and I genuinely went to the museum because it was free for Dr. MLK Day.
I followed a father & son around that day.
I sat behind them as Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech played.
I looked on as he hoisted his son up to see tiny pictures made from sock threads.
I even admired the way he held his sleeping child while awaiting the elevator.
Parenting is a privilege. Some people abuse it & others embrace it.
I was just happy to take it all in.
The art. The words. The reality.
This New Year’s Eve was spent different than most in my 28 years.
I played Monopoly, ate black eyed peas with greens & got a kiss from someone other than my momma ‘nem when the ball dropped. We left the festivities, went back to his place & landed on a Netflix original titled “First Match”
The film’s description says a high school aged girl, who’s bounced around foster homes joins a wrestling team to impress her ex-con father.
I watched an hour and 44 minutes of a young woman literally & figuratively for her father’s love. Eyes glued to the screen as my young man snored beside me. I witnessed a young woman sacrifice her body, her safety & her sanity for a father who didn’t seem willing to make the same level of sacrifices.
I felt triggered. Seeing her rejecting love reminded me of a time when I did the same. I didn’t know how to accept love. I still don’t know if I can. I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but I shared with my friend hat I was going to stop telling myself “No” by assuming I know everything about other people.
That decision came from a memory of being out with my biological father at the moves. He had just spent too much money in my opinion, on dinner for us & he asked if I wanted anything in the theater. I asked for M&Ms not wanting hi o waste any more money. When the truth is, I didn’t even know how much he had or if he felt it was too much. I made a decision for him based on my perception of his circumstances.
Mo’ in First Match did the same. Except she assumed that her father being released from prison & having a job mean he would be able to resume his position not only as her father but as her primary caregiver
He tried to tell her he wasn’t ready for that.
We see a glimpse of Mo’s interactions in romantic encounters and though those situations aren’t the main theme of the story, they help weave together this young woman who thinks she’s manipulating situations in her favor, yet she’s only getting hurt.
She’s blinded by the mixed messages she receives. Choosing to focus only on the behaviors that fit the dream she’s selling herself.
The biggest blinder is a Dad who’s seemingly supportive of her efforts to impress him with her wrestling abilities.
When he’s really just a predator preying on her talents for his come up.
When your protector treats you like prey who can you trust?
About a year ago I talked about how a disappointment from another man led me to finally have a conversation with my biological father.
In that year’s time I’ve learned that I have more in common with him than just our face. Honestly most of it freaked me out. Small things, like the time he took me to the movies & had a trunk full of one of my favorite candies, even though he didn’t know they were my favorite candy. It made me wonder if he had been the reason I loved peanut chews all this time & I just couldn’t remember him introducing them to me.
No similarity was more chilling than when he responded to a text a couple weeks ago sharing that he had lost his job & was feeling a little depressed because of it.
I had only text him because I was in town. I was only in town because I too had lost my job. And I too was feeling depressed because of it. So depressed I didn’t really try to meet up with anyone. I mostly hid at my mother’s house pretending I wasn’t there at all.
Seeing his text made me wonder if economic driven depression was hereditary. I told my mom about the text. She just talked about how much of a genius he was & how he didn’t have to be in this position if he really used his wits. I felt like she was talking about me. So many people think I’m “too smart” to be unemployed. The thing is, sometimes being too smart is exactly why you end up without a job. They couldn’t afford to keep me on at my rate, I just wish I had been smart enough to leave before they let me go.
My father thinks he was let go due to a background check. I wasn’t in a place to be encouraging. I had my own depression to climb out of & it was clear he couldn’t help me. Instead of being angry at him for experiencing similar misfortune. I just sent him a list I had seen circulating on social media of places that hire folk with a criminal record & told him that I was also in need of new employment.
They say a mind is a terrible thing to waste. But when you’re experiencing depression, your own brilliance is the last thing you think of banking on.
BMarcell Williams, the Youth Cheerleader, Brunch & Bible visionary & founder of Jewels Inc. Enrichment Program shares her story about, grief, guidance, & how God gave her Daddy back in ways she never expected. I met Marcell in Fall of 2008 when I applied to be a mentor with Jewels Incorporated. She was floating through the room like a fairy snapping photos, capturing moments, and we didn’t even know who she was. In serving as a member of Jewels Inc. I grew to learn more about Marcell, she was a mother, a former Campus Pal & Bison Cheerleader, and her Dad had died. Losing her Dad crushed her, he was her biggest cheerleader, her example of love & an avid community servant himself. She had to take a semester off to go home to St. Louis and grieve and upon her return, God gave her the vision of Jewels. Eleven years later, Jewels has served it’s purpose to outlive her time at Howard University & has grown to serve other communities as well. She shares her father’s love of serving children & the moment God took over her pen & released this vision in The Discussion Room, play for details.
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.
Have you ever been on a date with someone, who suddenly began to talk about their ex? Do you walk into new dating experiences with the expectation that all of your compatible matches are the same? Did you witness your parents’ relationship fall apart? Did that change your opinion and approach to dating and relationships?
If you answered yes to any of that, you HAVE to watch my discussion with matchmaker and dating coach Valerie Rivera of Val’s Bytes about Dating and Daddy Issues. We talked about the types of insecurities that show up in relationships, and how their often times manifestations of our Daddy Issues. She shared some tips on how both men and women can assess themselves and make sure they are READY to date before they hop into another relationship hurting, or hurt someone else.
Press play for more, & let us know if and where you fall on the “Abandonment Spectrum”