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.

Image result for m-chuck survivor's remorse  gif

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.

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.


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.


I responded. Assuming this was just a sincere moment of checking in after a n intense conversation.


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.”


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.

This morning was the first time in a long time I thought about Buddha as a real person with real feelings.

Buddha is my biological father. Last week his sister, my aunt, text me to let me know that their grandmother, my great grandmother, Nanna was in the hospital. She had a heart attack & pneumonia in her left lung.

This morning she text me to tell me that the doctor’s said there’s nothing the do. Her body is shutting down.

That’s when I thought of Buddha. My whole life I had heard that he was her favorite. No matter how much he’d done; he could do no wrong in her eyes.

In 2014 I visited her and she asked about him. I responded “I don’t know.” When she pressed further I added “Because I don’t want to know.” At the time I was upset at the thought of having to lie to her on his behalf. I hadn’t realized how upsetting the news could be to her.

Today I wondered how it may have made him feel. Being away from her all the time. Was the idea of hurting her more heavy for him than not witnessing his kids grow up?

This May was the first time in as long as I could remember, seeing the two of them in the same room. I expected more. I don’t even recall anyone announcing his presence. She asked who all was there. Her sight had gone and her hearing was following. She couldn’t see us for herself and she could barely recognize our voices. But I remember even then wondering why he was so quiet. Especially since the last I saw her, he was all she asked about. Now that he was here in the same room with her, why wasn’t she asking?

Anyway, this morning I wondered how he took the news. I wondered if he cried. I wondered if he felt helpless. Or scared. Or angry with himself for disappointing her. I felt him as human. I empathized with him, because I couldn’t imagine losing my grandmother. And as sad as I’ll be to lose Nanna, I know his grief will be ten times worse.

Or at least, I expect it to be.

-Sunday, September 11, 2016

Debt…It’s personal for me!

In my household, college was always promoted to me as something that was an absolute given. My grandmother was the first to graduate college from our family in the 50s. She set the bar very high! She believed for everyone in her family to attend either college or the military. College for me was the only option that was discussed; but we never talked much about how we would finance it.


I will share that my mother did a great job at preparing me academically by sending me to the best public schools in the City of Philadelphia. However, my father didn’t appear to be as deeply invested as my mother. My father re-emerged back into my life at the age of 13 years old from being absent since I was 5 years old. Even though him and I lived in the same city, I had not seen or talked to him during the 8-year hiatus. This hiatus was believed to be sparked by the judgement for him to pay child support. His absence was something I became accustomed to and him re-emerging among my high school years initially had me to feel resentful of his return.

Upon entering college, I was awarded $8,000 in scholarships from my high school. My freshman year was covered! However, sophomore, junior and senior year were left for question. Junior year my mother became very ill and was diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis. As a result, she lost her hearing, income and position as a teacher. With my mother’s income down to zero and having to rely on the support of my grandmother who earned around $40,000 in her retirement pension, things became very tight very quick!  Because my financial aid reported my mother’s income from the year prior, it appeared as if I was financially OK, meaning not eligible for grants. I refer to this financial state as being in the “sticky middle”, too poor to pay for college and too rich to receive a grant.


The introduction of student loans came into my life during my sophomore year of college. My scholarship funding received from high school was exhausted after my freshman year of college. In my family there was not a discussion about student loans or any education around how to repay them. It is my opinion that one possible reason that student loan debt is so high in our country, is due to lack of preparation.


My advice to anyone reading this who wants to help their child or family member prepare for college, is to start saving now. A great but underutilized resource is the 529 plan. Each state has a 529 plan that assist with saving for college through the use of conservative saving rates or aggressive investing.  Sharing information such as the 529 plan has empowered me with the ability to empower others. This led me to become an advocate and teacher for others about student loan debt and methods of prevention.


You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, “Where was her father during this time”? Great question, he was around in terms of time but not financially. I remember him saying, “I’ll send you something every month to help you out, but it won’t be the amount that your mom was getting for child support”. Child support had been suspended once I turned 18. I remember thinking to myself, if ever I had needed financial support, it was in that first year of college especially. I realized how much financial support I would need and how much I didn’t have.

The financial lack I experienced my first year of college, put me into “grind mode”! All through college I held 3 jobs. One on the weekends, and two during the week. I had to learn to financially count on me. Even to this day, the grind does not stop. One stream of income is not enough to create financial security. The reality is, parental support creates a safety blanket, one that is appreciated and wanted. However, if you ask the question, did the lack thereof create this ambitious, goal driven woman who has created a brand for herself now known as The Student Loan Doctor? I’ll respond by saying, ABSOLUTELY!

 -The Student Loan Doctor

Dr. Sonia Lewis

You may connect with The Student Loan Doctor by visiting her website

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.

Ties that Bind

You ever watch the movie Mean Girls, when the “dumb friend”, Karen, is describing how cousins work?? Yeah, that’s kind of what it’s like to hear me talk about my siblings. “Well you have Mom’s kid. Dad’s kid. Step Dad’s kid.” And the list goes on.


For whatever reason lately, like five years now, I’ve paid heightened attention to sibling and paternal relationships. (Shout out to Facebook Memories) Although it’s definitely been helpful to develop content for my blog it’s low key an obsession on self-reflection.

Last weekend I visited some of my favorite babies. They’re 8,9 and 11 now, but still babies to me. They have different mothers and share the same father. Several times I overheard the youngest two say “If Daddy keeps us til Monday” as they devised a plot to see Zootopia before going their separate ways.

I’m pretty sure they said tons of other interesting stuff but all I heard was “If Daddy keeps us til Monday.” Ringing in my ears because I couldn’t help but wonder *why WOULDN’T he keep them until or AFTER Monday?* they are on Spring Break this week.

“If Daddy keeps us til Monday.”

Same weekend, I attempted several times to see my father’s other daughter and my nieces and new nephew. We didn’t grow up together, or really even know about each other until I was 10, and even then (before children had cell phones) we had no means of keeping in contact. I told her a week in advance I was coming. Despite her offer a month ago for me to spend the night with her in her new place, and her persistent inquiries of when I was coming, she stood me up. TWICE!

I cried.

No exaggeration.

Real tears. Hiccups. Red face. CRIED.

Continue reading “Ties that Bind”


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”

Hurt Parents, Hurt Children

It’s often said “Hurt people, hurt people” but we often forget that parents are people too.

I see ads all of the time about how Fathers should be Super Man and the first person a daughter should fall in love with is her father. I don’t remember the first time I was ever upset by the reality that Buddha wasn’t Super Man but I remember slowly learning the layers of him.

Shrek Layers 1. Shrek Layers 2

Today is the first Day of October, the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Buddha’s mother’s birthday.

I was a pre-teen when I first became aware that Buddha’s parents were no longer married to each other because his father was abusive. I was an adult long before anyone ever let me know Buddha ever laid hands on my mother.

I was exposed to a lot as a child, both positive and negative, but I was never made to believe that abuse was acceptable.

When I was about 9 years I spent the weekend with Buddha and his short-term “fiancé” and had a pretty good time; until I was ready to go home and he didn’t want to take me back. He decided it was a good idea to throw a knife at said “fiancé” because she had sense enough to tell him “If you take her back she’ll want to visit again. If you keep her like this she’ll never feel comfortable going with you again.” He didn’t listen.

I later came to realize that maybe all he knew about fathers is that they should have “access” to their kids. Maybe all he knew about women is that they should be quiet before they were MADE to be quiet. Maybe no one ever taught him not to repeat the violent acts he was exposed to.

Before I could come to understand Buddha as my father I need to understand Buddha as a child.

Baby Buddha

From what I’ve heard he was smart, ambitious, well-liked by his teachers, but overlooked at home. Having been a teacher for a short while I’ve seen versions of Buddha sitting in classrooms; naturally a teacher’s pet desperately pursuing a career as class clown fighting for their parents’ attention any way they could get it. I’ve been told his mother’s absence at award ceremonies poked holes in his pride, and sometimes having six siblings and a single mother drove him to weave tales of life as an only child, which is the story he told my mother when they met and she pointed out his resemblance to a classmate of hers (his younger brother).

I can’t rewind time and watch Buddha grow up and struggle to create an identity apart from being the 3rd of his mother’s 7 children. I do know what it felt like trying to remain relevant after my mother gave birth to her second child. I remember praying that my sister wait until after my class play to be born, because I had a big role and I wanted my mother to be there.

I used to tell people I wanted 12 children. Now, every time I think of why I haven’t started, I remember it takes a whole person to love a child; and sometimes hurt people can’t be whole.

I don’t want to start a new cycle of Hurt Parenting.

Hurt Cycle

This D!©k Ain’t Freeeeee

3:30am Sunday August 16, 2015

I was just woken up out my sleep by Buddha 2.0 knocking on his sister’s door and I said a prayer that he was ok & let him in anyway.

He asked for my phone so he could “Make sure the ß!+©# got home safely” referencing the young woman who dropped him off”

I initially told him no but part of me was proud he even cared that she made it home.

Debo Phone

My phone only works on speaker from being dropped so many times, so I had the displeasure of hearing their WHOLE conversation.

All I could think about was Kendrick Lamar’s 2nd track on TPAB “This. Dick. Ain’t. Freeeee.” I listened as he directly told this woman “I don’t want your p_$$¥ I mean it’s good, but if you ain’t giving me money I don’t give a f_ck” and she on multiple accounts throughout the conversation said “but I care about you”.

TPAB Album Art

I tried to think myself to sleep as I lay there in the dark, hearing this broken man that I love, but despise for idolizing my father, his uncle, but I couldn’t. “What we should be trying to do is figure out how YOU gone pay my phone bill & gimme some P-$$¥” and she actually said “Give me your phone number and I’ll pay it with my credit card right now”


I know I told yall I respect honesty & he ain’t fed not a lie to her as I lay here. He told her if she couldn’t figure out a way to make things work in their relationship she might as well wait for her husband to “finish his bid” and leave him out of it. She once again cited how she cared about him.*ß!+©# WHY? Care about YOU!*

She wanted to set up arrangements for sex sometime this coming week and said she couldn’t take him home because “the kids are here”. “I ain’t finna keep letting your kids get in the way of us f_cking. We got a room before, you the one decided to drop me off & now you asking bout some d!©k, we was just together!”

My OTHER N!99@ is on. YOU OFF!
My OTHER N!99@ is on.       YOU OFF!

I guess he got tired of the back & forth with no progress & her failed attempts to pay his phone bill on three way. (Yes there were multiple attempts) so he told her “Since you can’t figure $#!+ out I’ll give you a call around Christmas” Although I heard her say multiple times she could get d!ck elsewhere (hence the  correlation to Kendrick’s track) it was clear that she wanted HIM. Even after he called her a ß!+©#. Even after being told her kids were in the way. Even after he told her more than once he was using her for money. (She did tell him she wasn’t a bank but still) She wanted him & all the disrespectful ways he learned from my father and I guess his indirectly. I wanted to ask him “Would you want someone talking to me like that?” But I was afraid of what he might answer.

Questions  Answers

Worst part was I wasn’t even shocked. Despite having his own absentee father, he chose to be just like Buddha, and she chose to let him. I don’t know that young woman & I never saw her face, but all I could think of while hearing her borderline beg was.

*I ain’t ever had d!©k good enough for me to pay the bill on a phone I couldn’t have the number to*

When the only men you’ve looked up to lack respect for women, you learn not to respect them either. When you allow a man to have you without respecting you, you reinforce his bad habits. You give what you get, and you get what you accept. Just remember Nothing’s for Free.

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