When Mama Can’t Protect You-Part 1 (Prelude To ‘The Talk’)

TW:  Police brutality, police abuse, wrongful arrest

 

This came through my personal Twitter timeline on Father’s Day of all things. And I was inconsolable. In looking through this thread, all  I could think is, “This could have been my daughter. This child is my daughter’s age.” I make no qualms about my valid, palpable distrust of law enforcement. I make no reassertion that I am changing my mind about that. I have not trusted law enforcement since I was about 10, and I’m almost 40. With that being said, I make no bones about my Mama Lion nature for my children. In reading this thread, my heart sank. I wanted to stave off having ‘The Talk’ with my oldest daughter. The same daughter that is beautiful, intelligent, and stands 5’6.5″ at age 11 1/2.  I am aware that the world will not always see her as a girl. As an adolescent Black girl.

When I saw this thread, and really began to digest what had happened to this child without her mother present, left me horrified. The rundown was this:

A group of Black kids were playing on a movie parking lot. The police saw them and told them to move along. The kids grumbled and muttered but they go on. Nicole (the woman in the screenshot), heard screaming. She looked up and saw one of the officers dragging one of the child to the car. There are more cop cars that appeared (Nicole said it was 5-6 cars). She gets out her car and asks what is going on. The cops tell her to move along. She sees on child in the car’s backseat–handcuffed. The other girl was shaken and about to be arrested as well. Nicole advocated for the child, and confronting the police officer. The handcuffed child did not have her phone, and it would seem she was arrested for ‘loitering.’ Nicole gave this child her phone to call her mother. The police said they were going to release her to her mother. Nicole continues to advocate for these children, and speaking to the girl’s mother–she waits for her to get to the area. Another older couple is parked nearby watching. The handcuffed girl’s mom arrives, and wants to know what happened. Turns out, the girls are arrested without being Mirandized, or without a guardian present. Once that’s pointed out, the officer tells Nicole to leave. She doesn’t. The girls are released to their mother/aunt. Nicole gives Mom the name of lawyers that she knows. 

As a mother, I was horrified. My husband and I have gone round and round about how to handle raising our girls when these situations exist. I know that the world doesn’t see Black girls as girls–especially if Black girls are tall or in any way shapely! I never looked my age from 11-17. And my mother had to gently tell me that I had to watch how I dressed because I didn’t look my age. Not to leave the house without my purse that at least had my school identification. I knew that the police wouldn’t think that I was 13, 14 or 15, unless my parents were with me.

With this though? I thought I had more time, at least one more year to allow my daughter to be protected completely by her Mama Lion. But that shattered yesterday. This is the paradox Black parents have:  we know the world sees our children as never being such. But we know they are. I have talked to my husband about our daughter having a cell phone. He said she was too young. I disagreed. I tried to tell him that the world is such that she needed access to us in case she needed us.

This is another reminder that she is becoming more and more visible on the real world’s radar. It was a reminder that if something like this happened to my baby, I would want someone to help her. To see her. I would want her to know how to handle herself if an officer stopped her, and had no right to do so.  I know that in having this talk, The Talk, with her, a portion of her innocence is, and will be gone. And there is nothing I can do about that.

 

 

Daddy Lesson’s #3-Finances

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“Always keep some money on you.”

– Richard L. Bush (1948-1998)

 

The running theme that I tell people is that I’m the daughter of a hustler. I really, truly am. My father didn’t like the word ‘No’, and believed in making sure certain things were in place so other things could happen. One of those things that he taught me was to make sure I could take care of myself. The best way he thought I could do that, was to make sure that I always had some money on me.

My father made sure my sister and I got used to carrying, purses and a wallet. He would tell us that we  should keep money on us in case we go somewhere. He wanted us have some sense of financial responsibility even then. I mean, when I was in fifth grade, when I started carrying a purse WITH money in it! I mean, it was my Dad that taught me how cool having a bank account was! He taught me and my sister how to use and ATM!

Daddy taught me how to hustle, and be okay with (as a woman) to have my own money. Even though he didn’t teach us how to save (that came later for me after he died), but it make me see money as a tool. It was this strange dichotomy:  money is  tool to be used, but not to be saved.  But there was a power in that as a little girl. I had the power to realize that I can do what I wanted to do–if I had the money to do so.

From that, I was never afraid to work for what I wanted. Ever. The dream is free, and the hustle is real…and it needs to be funded. Until the Lord sends more help, or you win the LOTTO? Hustle. It won’t kill you. I promise it won’t.

 

 

Being A Daddy’s Girl

 

 

I thought that I meant nothing to him. And told him I didn’t. I spoke when I should have just said what hurt me. I should have allowed the love that we have, the affinity tear born to sustain me. But I didn’t.

I doubted. I ran. Yet, by this magic, he pulled me back to him.

I felt his hands on me the night of this great pulling away. I heard his voice in my head. “Come back to me. Come back to me.” My rage unbudging, I would not return to him. I willed my body to stop responding to him. I willed my inner self to forget his touch. Forget his voice. Forget the wonder and power of the coming together of male and female form.

I couldn’t forget how complete I felt when he pushed and inside me, telling me to open. Willing the quiet parts that shouted for him, to rise from my belly. From that rising, this fire becomes vocal–shaping to my mouth into his name. “Daddy.”

After our reconnecting, the reclaiming of my body as his and his as mine, I put my head on his lap. The warmth of his heavy hand on my slick face, damp from my tears, and his cum, soothes me. When he tucks my hair behind my ear, its the same gentleness that moved my thighs apart to welcome him home. I hang on the warmth of his thighs, closing my eyes as I feel his manhood throb behind my head. “Daddy.”

Deeper than any apology I could give him. Sweeter than any ‘I love you.’ His fingers along my bare back and shoulder coaxing a quiet growl from him. “You belong to me, Kitten.” More tears fall from my eyes, closing the memories of my body contorted to fit his. Blindfolded and on my knees to be spanked to remember my place. Closed remembering how he pulled my hair and kissed under my left ear, the tangle to braids n his fist as he told me how I hurt him. How crazy he was about me.

How insane I made him when I shut off to him. “All of you is mine, little one.” His hands were how and insistent. My body empty from his cock, watering as any mouth would be before being fed. “Don’t you dare try to do this again, Kitten. You are home.” Harder swat and I screamed more from need than pain. He was breaking me to fit me again. He growled in my ear, nuzzling along the right side of my jaw. “You are home. My home.”

I lay there, happy and sated. I was safe. I was home. I was with my Daddy.

Nothing bad could ever happen to me. Even if I did it myself.

[image by unsplash.com]

Daddy Lessons #2- Dating

 

“If a man likes you just a little bit, you’ll be amazed what he’ll do for you.”

-Richard L. Bush (1948-1998)

 

This is the simplest, boldest piece of advice I have every gotten in regards to dating and dealing with men to date. My father had the habit of telling me this type of advice on a regular basis even when I was still considering boys as gross. However, the truth of this statement? Unparalleled. Armed with this secret confidence, I began to be a constant observer of male behavior.

I began to watch how he and my mother interacted. I began to watch how he treated her, and how she responded in kind. I watched how he did things for her, just because he wanted to. Or because they needed to be done! He got her flowers because he wanted her to have them! Not  because he had done something wrong.

My father loved my mother. Completely. It wasn’t until he died, and I really began dating, that I saw how completely he loved her. That kind of love, I know now, is rare. And worked for. The cooler thing is he liked my mother, as well as loved her. They still went out and did things together. They made time to talk and laugh and be a couple–independent of the three of us.

I took their marriage, their relationship, as a roux–the bare minimum that I would accept as a partner. I expected to be treated well. I expected to be listened to and respected. I expected to be valued. When I ran across a young man that couldn’t or wouldn’t? I ended the relationship.

Now, have I always gotten that formula right? Nope, not at all. I chased me that I thought like me, and it came to naught. I stayed in crazy situations longer than I should, because I gave people time to change. Hell, I stayed with my ex-husband waaaaay longer than I should have because I knew (or thought) if I was a little more patient he would change. This has been my Achilles heel:  I love too hard. I give too much. And I sometimes am way too patient in anticipating a human being change. But perhaps that is the maturity in my father’s statement; I waited to see if like would surface, resurface, or how often it would surface.

On the other hand, I have been on the reciprocating end of affections of young men that I, too, was crazy about. This young men that decided to call me just to tell me ‘Good Morning.’  Who opened doors for me. That got me the flowers. Gave me money to ‘just have’. Even two of them decided they could not live without me and decided to make me a wife.

This quote gave me the awareness of what being treated well is. This portion of wisdom allowed me call crazy what it is. It allowed me to know when relationships should begin or end. It allowed me become cognizant of my time. To value my body. My skills. My talents. It allowed me to recognize what I bring to any situation. It allowed and allows me to know if those attributes are not appreciated, I don’t have to ask for permission to leave. I can just go.

The best thing my Daddy ever gave me was a sense of self. From that sense, he gave his oldest daughter to knowledge that I was special. If any man didn’t see me as that, or able to love me past the pretty, I didn’t need him.

 

Being Part Of The Knot-Part 5: Happy After All

I am a fan of monogamy and marriage.

In working in the profession I do, I see the dynamics in long-term relationships.  I have seen and talked to people whom have demonstrated what marriage is. They tell me that stamina, commitment and faith needed to be with someone long-term. One of the patients I took care of told me this: “Marriage is work. Don’t let anyone fool you.”

This is the most transparent thing someone has told me in regards to relationships. People get so enraptured by the day, the dress and decor that we forget being with another human being is hard. It is difficult and when you want to throw your hands up and leave? Man. There is a power in the stay–and in deciding to leave.

However, as coarse as he can be, Steve Harvey said that the way to keep your marriage happy is to keep folk out your business. The attitude of deciding everything that happens in the life of your relationship is not for public consumption. The metaphor Steve used was this: “You are the circle. Don’t let anyone else inside the circle.”

With deciding to be married, you are building a world inside and outside the world you have to navigate. For the health of any relationship, (I say this from experience and failure) you have to make time together. You have to make one another priority. You have to decide what you have, what you want, what you desire to build, is greater than what people say or will say!

You have to make up in your mind that being married is what you want. My good girl friend of seven lifetimes told me that. In this, because of this, in spite of it, people still decide they want to be married. People still want to be chosen, and cherished and be home to someone. But, the killer part? This doesn’t come without work. This resolve be  together, doesn’t come without some stuff that will try and rip you apart!

We romanticize everything in modern society. Marital longevity is the most romanticized. Being the consumers we are, we like to see and devour the stories of people. Especially when they are married for astronomical sums of time:  forty, fifty and sometimes sixty years. It seems impossible in age of iPhones and Instagram filters for anything to be sustained longer than an app upgrade.

Love is patient, love is kind, we know. Love is also a choice. A decision. A resolve. An action. Love is beyond anything a ring can show. It is showing up for someone everyday, even when leaving would be easier.  When throwing everything away is seducing. Love makes the decision to try again. And again. And even again.

Being happy with someone? That’s not wrong, neither is it impossible. But happy is temporary. A person can’t complete you; they can only compliment. They can assist, guide an support. Your relationships are yours:   you have a say in how they begin, are sustained and end.

Marriage isn’t a consistent fairy tale. It is dedication, and work and sacrifice. It involves you deciding that this person is whom you want. Deciding to be a part of a circle, a partnership, means you have to be vigilant about what influences you listen to.  Or you deeply you will be influenced by what is around you.

The couples that make it to count the time together being more than half their lives didn’t do it in a vacuum. They didn’t do it by some magic wand or placating. They didn’t fight off the world around them for a past time!

They were in it together.

Everyday, every single day, they made the decision to stay. To fight. To fix. To love. To repair. To forgive. The storms of life raged, and yet they were still standing. Still together and sometimes more in love than they ever were! Real love grows, covers, shield and adapts. Through those levels and adaptations, being together is what you want. What you need and wish for. The fairy tale isn’t ongoing–there are trials, deaths and disappointments–but the happily ever after is possible. Even if that means Netflix and chill after a hard week. Or laughing at any MCU movie or cooking together when you’d rather eat out.

Love is a decision. From that decision, the happily ever after is always in sight. Choose to be together today. From today? Being in love, acting with love, allows you to stay. Days turn to years and years to decades. The sweetest part? You’ll be the person who you can’t imagine life without.

Be together today. Be together today.

Daddy Lessons #1-Being Unstoppable

“If they won’t let you in the front door, go around to the back. If they won’t let you in the back, buss a window and jump in!”

-Richard L. Bush (1948-1998)

 

My Dad was one of the most driven men I have ever known. Perhaps in the nature of the Almighty, this was the best thing God could have given me:  a driven father. In that drive, I learned to make space; not to believe that “No” is permanent; and there is a way to do anything you want to do.

With this year marking twenty years without him, I have now had the wisdom which comes through life experience to allow me to value all he left me. That stubborn streak, that ability to be both present and visionary, I can say I got from him.

This quote is one I use and relay most often to people in my inner circle as encouragement. This quote has always been a source of comfort for me since his passing. It reminds me not to let situations, circumstances, -isms, or criteria set by other people to stop me. My father, even within the seventeen years I had him, made sure I knew the value of being resourceful. He made sure I knew how to treat people, and especially how to treat the people you employ.

Perhaps, even living in a time where the trappings of womanhood are seen as hindrances, my father reminded me that my sex is never going to change–but there was a power to it that was undeniable. He wanted me (and my sister) to be pretty and intelligent:  this way, no door could be shut to us. The most powerful thing this quote embodies is the willingness to work for what you want.  As a young girl, as a young Black girl, that reminder that I would have to work for what I want–but, that I could have what I wanted? That is powerful.

For my father, to tell me, that I can do anything and let no one stop me? That endowed me with a  superpower.

I think it is most amusing that for a man whom thought I shouldn’t be a writer as a consistent, stable profession, words are his biggest legacy to me. From those words, his words, the world  got that much bigger.

Thanks, Daddy.

 

 

‘Stop Taming Us.’

 

Viola Davis, in December 2018, at Women in Entertainment Event hosted by Hollywood Reporter Event

I am 37. I am young, gifted and Black. I have also been told that I am descended from a family ‘too’s.’

I’m too smart.

I’m too loud.

I’m too driven.

I’m too ambitious.

Which is why when I heard Viola Davis say the phrase “Stop taming us?” I felt the same way I felt when saw Captain Marvel basically go hypersonic, and tear up that enemy spaceship to protect Earth!

I felt that I had been seen, understood and affirmed.

What I have learned in my almost 4 decades on planet Earth, is that people love classifications.

They love categories.

They like to be able to group, change and identify things (or people) they feel are interesting or strange. Ambitious women, especially ambitious minority women, are just that. Black women, especially, suffer from this systemic identification. There was a quote from the glory of the internet that says:

“Black women will always be too loud of a world never intent on listening to them.”

I agree.

For all my prowess and intelligence, I still have people that I know love me that wish I would ‘do a little less.’ That I shouldn’t want to own the platforms I post on. That I shouldn’t have the vision that I do. I ‘should just write and not worry about anything else right now.’ That I should pace myself.

Yeah, about that? Fuck that.

I work at the clip that I do because there was  time where the words wouldn’t come because I was shattered. There was a time where the words were alien, and bitter and were enigmas.

Once my heart was healed, the words overtook. My vision restored and by God, I was not going to be dictated to by people who were not and will not be doing half of what I’m doing!

So, no I’m not going to ease up!

No, I’m not going to listen to nay sayers, haters and the trolls, crows, cows or chickens that desire to stop me. Seeing since they cant’t out pace me.

I refuse to be tamed, because I have taken too long to burn! When I was 23, I got a tattoo on Black of the Japanese kanji for Phoenix. This was a nod to my sister, Ashley:  whom I admire more than she thinks I do; and whom I am not truly worthy to call a little sister. Octavia Estelle Butler, herself  ‘a rare bird’, says that in order for a Phoenix to live, it first must burn.

I have come too far, to have someone tell me to stop.

I write for the Oracles in West Africa whom I will never meet. For the Kings and Queens of whom I am daughter, benefactor and granddaughter:  whom forged courses with whit and faith. I create for the conjure women I am descended from whom could not read. For my enslaved foreparents whom had the stories beat out of them. Or were killed for daring to say what was a lie!

I breathe fire because my great-great-great grandparents and my beloved father and mother, walked through fire to get me here!

I know women like me and my ilk scare you. I know we’re loud. I know the drive frightens you. The fact we curse, say ‘No’, and make our own spaces and taketh no isht makes you clutch your pearls.

But saddle up buttercup. We ain’t going no where.

We are coming for everything they said we couldn’t get, with the mantra of:

If you don’t let me in the front door, I’ll do around back. If that’s locked, I’ll buss a window and jump in.