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What Makes You Who You Are

In my last post I talked about teaching people how to treat you. I shared that post among a group of peers which triggered a conversation about my lack of relationship with Buddha.

It’s impossible to love yourself if you hate the things that make you who you are.

One person asked me if I had any animosity towards him. Another implored that family is too important to not speak to. A comment that stood out to me however, was, “It’s impossible to love yourself if you hate the things to make you who you are.” It made me think of M. Chuck on Survivor’s Remorse and her desire to find her father because she doesn’t know half of who she is. But this was different. This girl’s statement wasn’t about KNOWING who my father was. It was about HATING him. And how that could prevent me from loving myself.

But, I don’t hate him.

Shortly after that conversation I scrolled past a post on the DAAAMNDADDY Facebook page about a young girl raised by her great-grandfather, who wanted to meet her father because she felt like until she met him, she wouldn’t know half of herself. Seeing that reminded me of how I felt when I heard her say those words. Sad for her, but I couldn’t relate.

The same girl who made the comment about being unable to love myself if I hate Buddha followed that statement up with “Being at Peace is so much more fun.”

That’s the thing though, my decision to disconnect from Buddha was one I made to protect my peace.

Image result for the amount of time i have for liars

I spent half of my quarter century of life waiting for him to show up. Occasionally visiting him during his periods of incarceration, and having pleasant times with him I can remember overshadowed by his random moments of rage and negligence.

When I decided I was going to write this post I got news that my great-grandmother, Buddha’s grandmother, had died.

It made me want to examine “What makes you who you are” more closely. (So there will probably be another post on this.)

I remember being nine or ten years old when I watched Buddha throw a knife at his Fiancé for encouraging him to let me go home for school instead of keeping me when I no longer wanted to stay. She told him I’d be more likely to come visit again if he returned me home at the agreed upon time. I later learned that he witnessed his father be physically aggressive toward his mother growing up. Statistics show that “Boys Who witness domestic violence are two times as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.” Unfortunately, that became part of who he is.

But how does that affect me?

Knowing that about him makes me sad he had to experience that. Learning as an adult, that he even abused my own mother was confusing. She had tended to focus on his positives when I asked about him.

Almost anyone I’ve ever met told me Buddha was intelligent. So am I. The hand-crafted birthday cards he used to send me showed me that he’s a wordsmith and also artistically gifted. So am I. His siblings love him no matter what he’s done to them. So do mine.

Not only are some of these some of my greatest qualities, they are some of the things I love most about myself.

I’ve been fortunate enough to build relationships with Buddha’s siblings, despite my estranged relationship with him I’m fortunate enough to know who my father is, even if I don’t like him. And I will never be able to understand what it’s like to not know a contributor to your existence. But I don’t think that not knowing a parent or separating yourself from a parent prevents you from knowing who you are.

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I’m an intolerant person, I know that about myself because I was willing to cease communication with Buddha once I realized continuing to communicate with him meant tolerating mistreatment. I even stopped communicating with my mom for a few months when I felt she disrespected me.

I don’t have all the answers on “What Makes You Who You Are” and you don’t have to agree with me that your parents aren’t always the sole contributors.

I think What made me who I am is my ability to learn from my experiences and the people I choose to surround myself with.

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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.

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.

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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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3 lessons I learned from Queen Sugar

If you’re anything like me, you spent at least two days of this past week watching the two-night premier or OWN’s newest series Queen Sugar. Three things stood out to me that I look forward to better understanding throughout the series.

  1. Blue & Ralph-Angel Bordelon. Ralph-Angel is literally down to STEAL to provide for his son. He’s clearly unable to provide for himself & there are some hints at a criminal past. No matter his past, he’s trying to a present and nurturing Daddy as best he can and protect Blue from the stresses of adulthood before his time. He butts heads with his aunt Violet on the thin line between preserving childhood and coddling a child to ruin. Because apparently, Ralph-Angel himself was placed on a pedestal as a child and now he’s “Wrestling with a world that ain’t got no pedestals for him.”blue-ra-kenya
  2. Micah & Davis West: We don’t see much of these two in the opening episode. However; what we do see is interesting enough. Davis appears to be the type of father content with showering his son with money because “This our real life. Ain’t it good?” Micah however seems to be grounded enough to see past the money and face his father’s flaws. He courageously expresses his disappointment when he tells his Dad directly that he doesn’t need him. He seems to have enough of a moral compass to know when another man is no longer worthy of leading him. I’m interested to see if Davis can regain Micah’s trust.i-dont-need-you
  3. Earnest Bordelon & Charley Bordelon-West: In the season opener we learn that Charley has an MBA and although he doesn’t directly ask for it, her father need her help. He reminds me of my own grandfather when he hits her with the “Hey Baby” style “Just Checking on You” call. She seems like a family oriented woman, but knowing her Daddy needed her help, she put her position as her husband’s manager first. She arrived in town too late to make good on her promise to give her Daddy all her time. And is casually referred to as his “California Girl”. It’s unclear if it’s due to her college & marriage life or if she grew up there separately with her mother. Her emotional reaction upon arrival & her apology at the end of the episode brought some to tears. She appears to have a special relationship with her Daddy opposed to her siblings and I’ll be looking to learn how that came to be.

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BONUS THOUGHT: Every Aunt VI needs a Hollywood in her life.

Mixed Messages

Last weekend I drove over 8 hours ON MY OWN to attend a 92nd birthday celebration for my great grandmother.

My father was there.

Unlike the weekend before when I saw him at my Uncle’s house; he didn’t speak to me or try to hug me. We looked through each other as if neither of us were actually there.

Although I usually prefer he not speak to me, I was slightly shocked by his lack of effort. None of his siblings nor his mother made mention of it to me. Only his youngest brother’s wife seemed concerned.

She wanted me to “fix it” I insisted that I was fine and told her she was the only one who noticed. She quickly disagreed with me. If my aunt, uncles, or cousins noticed, none of seemed to care too much.

It wasn’t until I got a call from the Daddy I’ve been dating asking how I was and if he was there that I decided to acknowledge his presence.

When I returned home I said to him “I was nice to him for 5 seconds after I talked to you.” with a genuine smile. The kind misbehaving children show their mothers when they come home without getting suspended. Baby steps toward progress, yet still proud of myself.

I told him how I allowed Buddha to put me on his Snap Chat with the Swap Faces filter. He asked me why I didn’t REALLY talk to him. I said to him what I’ve been saying for years. “We don’t have anything to talk about.” Then he pointed out to me that maybe Buddha could sense in our hug the week before that I wasn’t genuine and instead of continuing to force it, he gave up.

In that moment I realized that for years I’ve been sending him mixed messages.

  • Not wanting to be bothered but simultaneously wondering why he isn’t trying.
  • Being dry on the phone when ever someone calls with him on 3-way.
  • Pretending not to hear or see his other daughter telling me he asked about me, yet telling anyone who will listen how much he’s missed out on my life.

I was being inconsistent.I was being the exact type of person I despise the most without ever really noticing it. I’ve done this in other relationships, noticed it and corrected it, but in this I was blind.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Daddy Issues may cause depression. Bipolar can be hereditary, But being inconsistent is a choice!

Now I have to choose whether or not I want a relationship with this man and directly say that. Using my VOICE.

I’ll no longer be sending Mixed Messages.

SPOILED

They Say April Showers bring may flowers. I have to tell you; I’ve been showered with lessons this April.

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My most recent lessons have come from a surprising source. I made a new friend. I like this person. They ask me questions about myself. For an over-thinker like me, there aren’t too many questions I haven’t asked myself. He’s found those questions and made me unearth fossils from my past I didn’t even know were there.

Enough gushing, I just wanted to illustrate this new experience a little bit. I told this new friend my uncle was coming to visit and I was going to ask my uncle to cook while he’s here. I was boldly told that I am supposed to cook for my guests. Which I quickly rebutted with “I know; my uncle won’t mind.” And then he, my new friend, asked if I am SPOILED! I laughed it off and said maybe a little bit. (I DON’T think I’m SPOILED)

A few days later my uncle contacted me to see if I’d still be up for company, (He knows my moods) and said “We’re coming, we’re bringing groceries. We’re cooking and tell me what you need help with so I can bring the right tools.” I never even got the chance to ASK!

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OH MY GOOOOOOSH. I’m SPOILED!

OH MY GOOOOOOSH. I’m SPOILED!

I met up with my new friend that night, who suspiciously had his work logo on his pajamas, and tell him what my uncle said. He laughed and said “Your uncle is really setting the bar high. He’s right here — and any man that comes into your life is going to have to be here —-. You probably going to want to come home to a clean house and he made dinner for you. Ready to rub your back.” I half smiled and said “I had that life for a little while.” Jaw dropped, he asked “You did? What happened there?” To which I simply stated “We didn’t work out” Then I told him the story of Paranoid Pete and Ms. Reid’s inability to Forgive. (That’s a dope book title, don’t let me forget that!)

I knew Paranoid Pete was a good guy, but I never appreciated just how good he sounded, as competition to other men until I saw my new friend’s reaction.

I have a habit of seeing intimate partners for their flaws because I’ve seen so many women stay in undesirable circumstances by choosing to overlook or forgive one’s flaws.

My new friend asked me what some of my biggest fears were. I told him Trusting the wrong people.

We’ve discussed so much in such a short time I realized that, my Daddies (uncle included) really laid a great foundation for how I should expect a man to treat ME, but I never really saw any of my mother figures get the love I know they deserve.

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And for that I fear, I myself may never truly know how to accept genuine love AND THAT unfortunately is what makes me feel SPOILED.

The 25 Days of Healing Days 1-10

 

Day one of The 25 Days of Healing was to admit that you have you something to heal from. I’m pretty sure I have more than one area of growth to come out of my Daddy Issues. I chose to focus on my Trust Issues. I had to acknowledge that I have trust issues. Upon admitting to having these trust issues I had to make a choice, and decide it was more important to heal than it was to have more content. Once I decided I was ready to heal I had to be honest about the pain I was experiencing and how I was allowing it to manifest itself in my life. I realized that I was occasionally  projecting these patterns of pain and distrust onto others. Once upon a time writing was my greatest outlet, until I realized that I trusted pen and paper more than human interaction. I decided to evaluate how these trust issues were effecting me, and visualize what my life would look like without these trust issues. In order to get to this place I visualized, I have to confront the people who have contributed to my pain, and stop myself from participating in that pain. Holding on to some of those trust issues has prevented me from reaching that healed place. I won’t be able to move on without practicing forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean allowing folk the opportunity to continuously cause me the same kind of pain.

 

15 more days ahead on his journey of healing.

Follow my on IG: @daaamndaddy

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The 25 Days of Healing

 In 27 days I’ll be 25 years old. December 1st marks the completion of 25 years of life for me. I started this 25th year of life with something I chose to call #The25DaysofMIKO where for 25 days I did things to make me happy. Being the “Broke College Graduate” that I was, facing depression from the embarrassment of unemployment and not Graduating Grad School with my Cohort, those 25 days weren’t as adventurous as I intended.

Fast Forward a few months and I started my blog Dealing With Daddy Issues as a way to vent about the way my complicated parenting was manifesting itself in my young adult life. Full-time employment rocked the flow of my blog a little bit, but recent life events encouraged me to tie in Domestic Violence Awareness. Then it hit me. I wanted to end year 25 the same way I brought it in. By focusing on me for 25 days, but this time, instead of adventure, I wanted to focus on healing.

The future school counselor in me wanted to pin point 25 sequential steps you could take to heal from your Daddy Issues, relationship issues or self-love issues. Then it dawned on me, I can’t help you do what I haven’t yet done. So these next 25 days WILL be about adventure. Who’s ready to take the journey to healing with me? Unpack your burdens and enjoy the ride.

~Ms. Reid

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