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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.

[ctt template=”8″ link=”fAf6f” via=”yes” ]”I may not have done a great job of teaching you how to treat me, but you gone learn today.” @MissReid1216[/ctt]

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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Telling the Truth in Television: How Survivor’s Remorse is Getting it Right

Season Three of Survivor’s Remorse touched on so many pertinent issues. Colorism. Abortion. Rape. Not having a living Will. A carry over issue had been something near and dear to this blog. DADDY ISSUES.

This season M.Chuck is in court mandated therapy to deal with her anger. In therapy she came to realize many of her issues lead back to her relationship with her mother. And that relationship is strained, because her mother has denied her the identity of her father. M.Chuck, like so many people I know in real life feel that not knowing their father means a piece of them is missing. The writers didn’t just tap dance around the issue. They let her slowly uncover this root throughout the season; be it by therapy, or hard learned lessons following a night of partying. Real people don’t just wake up with Daddy Issues. Real people don’t automatically relate their emotionless sex lives with Daddy Issues. Real people have o look inward and self-reflect. To me, M.Chuck felt like a REAL PERSON coming to terms with her REAL ISSUES.

mchuck-in-therapy

And as much as I look forward to continuing M.Chuck’s journey with her, she isn’t the only character with Daddy Issues. Another way the writers room got it right is that they haven’t been one dimensional. No two Daddy Issues are identical. That was evident in witnessing Reggie’s story unfold.

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Reggie is a relatively young, married, black man with a career in Sports Management. He’s from a rough New England neighborhood in Boston and has no interest in looking back. He doesn’t want his uncle buried in Boston. He doesn’t want old Boston friends at the Funeral. He Doesn’t want his cousin/client visiting Boston, even for a wedding. For Reggie, his past is that for a reason and all that matters is moving on up. It’s almost as if he fears returning to Boston will turn him to a pillar of salt, and one we learn his Daddy Issues, it begins to make sense. Reggie knows his father; grew up in the house with him and his mother’ yet he still has Daddy Issues. He tells his wife that his father is the embodiment of the word “CUNT”. Unlike M.Chuck, Reggie has no desire to face his Dad or resolve anything. He’s even discarded any photos of the two together. Reggie’s Daddy was abusive, and although he is a young, married, successful black man; nothing seems to be able to undo that hurt. Not even leaving Boston behind.

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Reggie was able to leave Boston, because he manages his cousin Star athlete Cam, who is the center of the show. Cam is a well-loved family man, a little bit of a momma’s boy, and being a pro-athlete still doesn’t make him exempt from Daddy Issues. In the beginning of the Season he eulogizes his uncle detailing all that he had done for him, saying “He was everything a father should be” That line resonated with me because that’s how I feel about my own uncle. Cam, similar to myself knows who his father is and describes him as a deadbeat. Not too many examples are given as to what qualifies him as such, but the closing scene of the finale helps it all make sense. (Don’t worry I’m not going to spoil it) In addition to having Deadbeat Daddy Issues, Cam seems to experience some regret around a decision, or lack thereof he made surrounding his own parenting choices. Children aren’t the only ones with Daddy Issues. Sometimes being faced with becoming a Daddy has it’s own set of Issues.

Intertwined with all the comedy, Survivor’s Remorse is unburrying some deep seeded Daddy Issues for its characters & making these characters into Real People.

If you resonate with any of their stories of have your own to tell, feel free to email them to DaaamnDaddy@gmail.com

I look forward to Reading your “Dear Deadbeat, …Love, Star-Athlete” letters.

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Managing the Pain of Living

September is Pain Awareness Month. I discovered this when researching what resources could be the focus of the bulletin board at the Mental Health Clinic I work at.

 

*Pain is a warning sign that indicates a problem that needs attention*

This week I experienced a different kind of pain. After finding myself TWICE engaged in draining discussions with “patriots” “protesting” Colin Kaepernick’s Protest, I along with the rest of the world was reminded why he’s been protesting to begin with. This pain let me know there’s a deeper problem than his right to protest, that needs attention.

 

My body can no longer stand to watch live executions courtesy of Dashcams & Facebook Live. The Audio triggers migraines so I read the subtitles as the images proceed in silence.

“Somebody lost their Daddy today”

My head aches. I drove straight to work from three states away and worked an 11-hour shift so no doubt I’m fatigued. But my sleepiness did not cause today’s head pains. Nor did my dollar menu diet. This, this was STRESS.

“Somebody lost their Daddy today”

Continue reading “Managing the Pain of Living”

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.

Myth of an Independent Woman

*Disclaimer: I’m not saying independent woman 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 fridgerator 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.

Finding My Lane

I’ve come to realize being a child & working with children doesn’t make me an expert in anything other than critiquing other people’s parenting.
I had a slightly awkward experience the other day when a group of children walked in the room and one of them addressed me as “Mommy”. Another, curiously added “That’s your mom?” To which the first replied. “No. I just always call her that.” I said nothing. I like this child, and after seeing someone week in & week out for over a year I guess you grow attached to them.
Two days after that I saw “Rest in Peace Lor Scoota” on Facebook and thought *Hmm I wonder what happened. That’s sad* then kept scrolling. Unfortunately, I find myself increasingly numb to death.

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Shortly after scrolling I got a phone call from the Daddy I’ve been Dating. He said “It’s a sad day in Baltimore.”
When I asked why, he explained to me that the young man “Lor Scoota” is a local rapper from Baltimore who authentically represented the city and received recognition from other rappers like Meek Mill & P. Diddy. He was murdered not too far from my house. As he was telling me all of this I could hear his frustration. I could feel his disappointment through my phone.
He said “It’s so many great people that’s from here and it’s sad that when they try to stay and do right in the city/community; they can’t!” His list included Jada Pinkett-Smith & Carmelo Anthony. He mentioned wishing he could leave &understanding why people don’t stay when they make it.
What he didn’t say was, he’s scared. He didn’t have to. I know he’s not fearful of his city. Neither am I, but lack of fear doesn’t stop things from happening. His fear is something I can not yet fathom. He’s scared for his son. His young black son that he’s raising in Baltimore City where I recently heard a man say “Our murder rate is so high it’s almost like we’re in competition with Chicago.”

Chicago homicides
Although he didn’t say it, I knew that’s what was fueling his frustration. And I knew I couldn’t feel the same. Ain’t enough siblings, students, cousins and kin to generate that feeling and parental instinct when they feel powerless to protect their own child.
This conversation coupled with the child with the incarcerated mother calling me Mommy got me to thinking. I have a terrible habit. Of telling other people what to do with their children (most times I’m right). And dating a Daddy who knows they one day want more children has had parenthood on the forefront of my mind more frequently than usual.
It’s become increasingly clear to me that I’m NOT ready. Not ready to pick a place to live based on the proximity of good schools. Ready to live in neighborhoods where I no longer have to worry about whether or not someone could/would take advantage of me, but if my offspring can play freely with their friends. I’m not ready for the worry that my child could grow to be proud & successful by following their dreams & still be killed by our attempt to resist gentrification.

Finding-Dory-
I need to Find MY Lane.

Last weekend, my youngest sister called me and said “Happy Father’s Day cause you basically raised me” I DID pretty much raise her. I love her. And I would be CRUSHED if she was killed. Does that make me a parent?

I loved the kids I taught and have done amazing things for them. I would also be crushed if any them were killed. But I’m not a parent. And seeing as how my empathy is broken, I’m not capable of FEELING like a parent feels. So where do I fit? I have to Find My Lane.

I work at a mental health clinic. On more than one occasion I’ve been offered a prescription for ADHD medication.

I’ll admit, I lose focus easily, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I have ADHD though.

Recent reflections have led me to notice a pattern of lost focus. I noticed this pattern a few years ago and intentionally remained single because of it.

Four years ago today I graduated from the Illustrious HOWARD UNIVERSITY .03 points away from having a GPA worthy of Honors. My family was proud, but I wanted better. So I vowed Grad School would be different.

Three and a half weeks into my first semester my nose was just as open as my legs and that 4.0 foundation had been flushed.

The next semester legs closed, nose still open. I gave all my “free time” to the next man and messed up my math grade. Was this a pattern? A bad habit? Or a learned behavior?

Yesterday my grandparent celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary. Ironically my whole life, my grandmother has been encouraging me to put my romantic life on hold and build some experiences for myself.

Today my new friend called me and asked if I had written today. He asked if I had updated my blog yet. He hasn’t seen it yet, but he’s always asking and encouraging me to write more, to do more. So why do I feel like I’m achieving less?

It would be easy to place blame solely on a man for wanting my time, or me for giving it to him, but it’s deeper than that.

Societal norms have us believe that you’re semi-single like Oprah or an assumed secret society member like Beyoncé, you trade your individual goals for a successful relationship.

Unfortunately, this expectation is commonly placed on women. Men as providers are expected to place success before relationships. Any reversal of these roles stirs up tea for conversation.

I recently read an article about how some men are great Daddies and terrible husbands. I know my grandmother would never say it so bluntly, but I’m sure she’s been lonely. My grandfather ENJOYED working. She forced him into retirement. It was funny at the time, but now it’s sad.

I don’t know Beyoncé, and I don’t want the “We just be coolin’ it. We ain’t goin’ steady” relationship Oprah has with Steadman. I realized I’ve never seen a woman I KNOW and LOVE and RESPECT balance Love & marriage with Dreams & goals.

I’ve had men outright ask me for my time because I’m not so great at making myself available when I have other things to accomplish. I’ve found myself enjoying that shared time so much that I slowly allot less and less time for working on things that I want and need.

I had not written anything this morning before my friend called. I hadn’t updated my blog yet. I spent my morning fantasizing about all the things I wanted to discuss with my new friend the next time we meet. About ways to pour into him the way he pours into me. Then I realized I allowed it to happen again. I allowed myself to get distracted. You can’t pour from an empty cup. And no matter how supportive of me he wants to be. There will be nothing for him to support if I lose sight of myself.

Vowing to no longer be DISTRACTED.

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”

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.

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