Author Archive

being strong is killing us


Today I learned that Kayrn Washington killed herself.  Before today, I didn’t know who she was.  I didn’t know about her website, For Brown Girls.  But I did know her struggle.  I’ve struggle depression and anxiety for most of life.  I didn’t get help for it until I reached breaking points and the first two times I was actually forced to get help by the schools I was attending.  I’ve never tried to commit suicide but I have thought about before.  Thought so much I had a plan but chickened out because the end result would have been messy and I didn’t want my mother to deal with that.  I was lucky that I had enough sense of self to get help.  I don’t know if Karyn Washington was getting help.  People commit suicide even if they do go to therapy.  But I know a lot of us don’t and we don’t have a good reason not to.

I’ve seen some friends share their story.  I figured I’d share my own.  For the past four months I’ve been in pretty intensive therapy.  Two months ago, I started seeing a psychiatrist in addition to my therapy.  I can’t begin to describe the improvement in my mental health.  I’ve actually started to value my mental health.  I value it to the point that I take breaks (week long if I have to) from my dissertation.  And for the first time ever, I’m ok with taking breaks that I need.  [Now I will admit having a chronic disease that breaks your body down when you get really stressed has helped in recognizing the value of my mental health.  I'd rather take a day off and chill than be blind for a week, which is what happened last time.]

Sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m in therapy and taking anti-depressants.  But then I see friends who clearly would benefit from therapy not going because of misconceptions they have about it or because they don’t believe in it, and I realize that I have to put my ego aside and admit that I get a lot of help.  And I’m fortunate to have it.

I went through many therapists before I settled with my current therapist. Most weren’t good fits and so I shopped around until one fit and I felt ok.  I avoided anti-depressants for years because I felt like having to take them was giving up, I now realize it’s just taking getting help to the next level.  They aren’t a miracle drug, but I know they are working because I don’t have melt downs like I used to. I’m better able to react to life.

Friends say they don’t want to be analyzed and judged by someone.  That’s not what therapy is supposed to be.  My therapist doesn’t judge me.  He actually helps me understand the reasons why I think the way I do.  It’s been really interesting to learn about myself and readdress issues that I thought I had dealt with.  My friends and family have noticed in a difference in me, and for that I am grateful.

I’m not saying that therapy and psychiatry are instant fixes.  I’m sure I’ll be in therapy for a long time before I’m where I want to be.  But this feels much better than lying in bed all day because I can’t find the energy to move.  Or being so stressed out that I can’t sleep.  Or crying for hours because it feels hopeless.  I do hope that Black women can reach out and get help. I hope we don’t lose anymore Karyns.  Rest peacefully.


when your life becomes a murder porn* episode

Last month, three of my cousins were murdered by one of their ex-boyfriends/children’s father.  It still doesn’t seem like real life.  This is some murder porn* stuff.

The day started normally enough for me.  I woke up late and my mom said she wanted to talk to me. I remember being really annoyed that we were going to have to have a serious talk right when I woke up.  I don’t think I hide it well.

“You heard about the triple murder suicide last night in [town]?”
“Uhm, no.”

I feel bad, because my first thought was of my brother M, who lives in that town.  So now I’m really scared.

“Well, I think K and B were killed by B’s ex-boyfriend last night and then he shot himself.”
“What?  No.”

And then I left because K and B are the last names I thought she’d mentioned.  But a quick check to facebook showed that their friends had already heard the news and that confirmed it for me.  Later on in the day, I would find out the third person who was murdered wasn’t just a friend of theirs, but actually another cousin of ours.

At first I couldn’t believe it.  That doesn’t make sense.  Why would he kill her?  And why he kill the rest?  And then why would he kill himself?  And what about the baby?  (The baby thankfully is ok and is too young to ever remember any of this (hopefully).)  So I started digging for details.  Turns out the reasons were the increasingly common reasons a noncustodial father kills the mother of his children – child support and because she was moving on.

Now that I could believe it, I was angry.  Why is this the solution?  Why is it when a relationship doesn’t work out, violence is the next step?  What was his plan if the cops didn’t stop him?  I actually don’t want to know.

I was only angry for a little while before I became sad.  My cousins K and B were young.  Both under 30 and both with children.  They hadn’t lived life yet. My third cousin, T,  was older, and to be sure, I feel sad for her too, but at least she got to live most of her life.  I was much closer to K and B than T.

And then the guilt came.  I hadn’t seen them since the last funeral we all were at, which was K’s mom’s in April.  I had done a terrible job of staying in touch with that side of the family.  Even since I had moved back to CT, I only was ever around during times of tragedy.  That and I had gone into super hermit mode for most of the first year I was here.  Do I have the right to feel devastated over deaths of people I wasn’t close to?  I still vacillate between “they’re your feelings it’s ok” and “you don’t have a right to feel this way.”

The only thing I felt I could do now was to help.  B’s sister had come into town and was doing most of the funeral preparations.  I had to help her; I felt like it was my duty.  Some small way to make up for not being around while they were alive.  Man, did she put me to work.  It was difficult to watch everyone’s coping mechanisms, which ran the gamut from working instead of feeling and feeling so much they wound up in the hospital. It felt good to help, it felt awful to witness the families sorrow increase as they learned more details.  The murderer’s very long and disturbing history of domestic violence, my cousins’ last moments, how if the stars had aligned a little differently another cousin could have been involved and if they had aligned another way, it would have been the family matriarch instead.

But then there were good moments.  People volunteering food and space for the funeral.  A toy drive set up for the kids.  Donations of clothes and other things babies need.   People coming to share a laugh and good (but really bad for you) food.  And although I’m not into  Church, I even appreciated the many prayers shared.  But the best was the baby, who was just as happy as he always.  Hard to feel down when he smiles at you.

We planned a double funeral.  We had to find clothes for them to wear.  Something that seemed easy enough but quickly turned into a three day project while we worried about what they would wear, would they have liked this if they were alive and still getting something to cover up all the things the family wouldn’t want to see. Because everyone was so emotionally beat down, I wrote the two obituaries.

And then the funeral happened and it was terrible and beautiful.  Two white caskets next to each other, surrounded by flowers in their favorite colors, in front of a packed Church in the middle of a snowstorm.  People were sobbing.  Some had the decency to do it in the bathroom and not on the family who was already barely holding it together.  Thankfully, I kept it together through the funeral and the burial. Me, my mom and my brother had to do readings, but again, I felt happy that I could do something.   In the end, K was buried next to her mother and B was married next to her.  Best friends to the end.

We worried if there going to be conflict within the family since T was just visiting and because she had died trying to help her cousins here?  But of course there wasn’t, because this is family.  My mom married into the family when I was little and I used to still be around even after her divorce.  K and her brother used to always be at my house and I have many found memories of us terrorizing my step-father with our antics (and bad and much too loud singing).  The one thing about that family that I always admired is that they always stood together, even when one was acting a complete fool.  ”The Mills!” I would say and laugh.  And so, when I learned that my cousins died because they were protecting one another, I was not surprised.  It seemed so fitting that this tight knit family would literally die for one another.  I could not be mad at that.  I don’t think they would be mad either.  I don’t think they would have even thought they had a choice.  And though I am still really sad and mad and guilt-ridden, I take small comfort in family and the things we do for each other.


*murder porn is not actual porn.  It’s those murder shows like Snapped, Fatal Encounters, anything on Investigation Discovery.  Basically real life Law & Order.

i’m digging: twenties



Ok so I know it’s only the pilot but I am in love with Twenties.  Lena Waithe, of Dear White People fame, created Twenties because she felt it was a universal story and because she needed to tell it.   While networks love the script and premise of the show; they don’t think there is an audience for Twenties.  Now we have to prove them wrong.  Lena’s call to action is simple, share Twenties with twenty of your friends.  I have already raved about this show on my facebook and my twitter but this feels like a better way to do it.  I mean, we can’t let Tyler Perry be the only voice of Black people, and especially Black women. Ugh, can we really handle more The Haves and The Haves Nots? shudders.

Although many people have been calling Twenties a “Black Girls”, I think it’s more than that.  Sure they are twenty somethings struggling in a city, but Hattie is no Hannah and that’s a good thing.  Some of my friends have said the characters are annoying, but to me that makes them endearing.  The tampon vs. pads scene was something I have seen played out many times in real life.  I wasn’t in love with the down low angle but I do know that’s a fear many women have while dating.  I love all these familiar situations finally being shown on a screen.  These aren’t your typical Black girl characters.  But what I loved most about Twenties was the way the show dealt with Hattie’s sexuality.  She’s not the gay friend, she’s the friend who having problems with her ex, who happens to be a girl.   It’s not a big deal.  But it was hit home in Hattie’s breakdown that she was in love with an emotionally damaged straight girl. (Nope, that couldn’t have been a vlog from one of my own exes.)

So check it out and let me know what you think.


Thank you Lena, I really hope someone picks up this series soon because I need much, much more twenties in my life.


believing black men and boys are valuable even when no one else does


I am still raw from last night’s verdict.  I tried to watch the case over the past few weeks but it was too difficult.  People were sidetracked by Rachel Jeantel’s color, weight and grammar.  Sidetracked by a little weed in Trayvon’s system and old pictures of him on social media.  And then last night, I thought I could handle news coverage after the case but a few minutes into watching the defense  gloat and I was sick to my stomach.  And then Zimmerman’s brother came on asking more questions to tarnish Trayvon’s reputation and push the idea that Zimmerman, who is alive, is the victim.  I tend to get angry over verdicts like this, but last night I cried.

After last night, how can we look Black boys in the eyes and tell them they are valuable?  We can’t act like this is an isolated incident when it seems every year an unarmed Black man or boy is killed and justice is not served.  One can’t help but notice how Vick got two years for dog fighting and Placo got one year for shooting himself, but Zimmerman serves no time for admitting to shooting a child.  What we learned last night is that you get a pass for hunting a Black child if you feel scared enough.  We also know that every act of self-defense isn’t considered Stand Your Ground when a Black woman,who didn’t kill anyone, was given 20 years.

And what scares me more, this idea that your fists, your attitude and a slab on concrete are now dangerous weapons at Black men’s disposal and are so dangerous that they can be countered with a gun if you feel threatened enough.  When I heard this come out of Zimmerman’s brother’s mouth, my first thought was of Douglas Reddish and how his case has already been totally rewritten.  Instead of a Black man punching a drunk White man for yelling profanities and racial slurs at him and his girlfriend over lunch, I can already hear how the angry, drunk, belligerent man is the a victim because Reddish used the weapons of his fist and the sidewalk to knock him out.  Because Reddish couldn’t just sit there and take the verbal abuse.

And perhaps the worst part, how so many people were sad about the verdict but not surprised.  Some people weren’t surprised from a legal standpoint.  I don’t really understand their argument, but I’ve heard if enough from lawyers and pundits on television that I have to believe at least some of it is true. But mostly, many people already know that the lives of Black men and boys are never valued as much as others.  This is how you can have a case about murder and somehow manage to place the dead victim on trial.  The irony of Zimmerman’s frustrated muttering, “These assholes always get away,” was not lost on me.

Today I am still sad about the verdict.  Today I still wonder how do we explain to boys that even though there are countless examples of them being killed with no one being found guilty or sent to jail that their lives still matter and that they are still valuable.  Today I wonder how can men balance protecting themselves and their families while juggling everyone’s fear.  How can we look men in the face and say you can no longer protect yourself if you feel threatened because it’s not safe for you?  You’re in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.  It’s not fair and it’s not going to change anytime soon.  I think Cord Jefferson nailed it:  It’s a complicated thing to be young, Black and male in America.


Oprah and Iyanla on fathers, oh my!

Last Sunday, Oprah, Iyanla and friends tried to tackle fatherless sons again.  I want to preface this post with: I’m happy this are discussing this issue and sparking dialouge but I absolutely hate the way they are doing it.

The thing that bothered me most was the faux attempt to fix father and son relationships within the span of two hours.  It doesn’t work that way.  You don’t forgive someone for letting you down in two hours.  You don’t change the way you’ve acted for years in two hours.  You can’t “do the work” in two hours.  And I get that this is a television show, but this is also real life for the guests..

The segment that bothered me the most was between Aveion Cason Sr. and his son.  Aveion had not seen his son in 8 years.  He had just missed his son’s graduation.  His son was very hurt.  What the show should have done was have them start the conversation that would help them improve their relationship and then provide some counseling to continue after the show. Instead, Iyanla fed the sons lines to say to his father (a la DMX and his son) and then the father promised to be there and not let the son down before.  Without know these people, I can imagine the son and father have had this conversation before and I can also imagine that nothing has changed.  And then the father took this opportunity to tell his son that it hurt him that his son didn’t respond when he told him “I love you.”  I can see how that would hurt, but sir, this is a child, your child, who you hurt all the time.  Act like an adult, deal with your pain and don’t put it on your child to change, especially  when you’ve been dropping the ball for eight years.

I struggle with absent fathers.  I struggle with their excuses about why they are gone.  And I struggle with their pain when their children treat them the way they have been treated before.  Later in the show, a father came on and asked what he could do because his son had stopped responding to him.  The father admitted that he had a new family and his stepchildren loved and adored him and that helped him to see what a mistake he had made with his own child.  I was glad Steve Perry was there to tell him that he might have to eat it.  I think what gets lost in these fatherless children conversations is that children have a breaking point.  There comes a  time when they can’t handle the rejection any longer and they shut down.  While I understand that this hurts fathers, it never ceases to amaze me how they don’t understand how their actions have hurt their children.  This confusion grows when it’s men who grew up with absent (either physically or emotionally) fathers.  They know how it feels, and yet, they turn around and do the same thing to their children.

Steve Perry and Geoffrey Canada discussed how some kids punish their fathers to make them feel the hurt they’ve experienced for years.   I was glad that they bought that up because I haven’t really heard it discussed or read about it but it’s something that I did to my father and I know some friends who have done the same.  This defense mechanism allows children to feel power and control in their relationship with their father. For me, it also made me feel better to see my father actually try to be a part of my life, even if was later than I wanted and in reaction to my rejection of him.

Something that I didn’t realize until after I watched the show was that there was only one White guest speaker on the show. I understand that the world wants to believe that Black people are the only ones dealing with fatherlessness, but that’s simply not the case. There are plenty White, Hispanic and (I’m guessing even) Asian children that are fatherless.  I also think people forget that many children experience living in a single parent household when parents get divorced.

Featured in Parlour and The Root

A couple of weeks ago I sat down with Parlour Magazine and discussed my thoughts on fathers, child support, my own relationship with my father and my research.  My main message was that children just want their fathers, but that fathers often miss this because they are so focused on being a provider or their relationship with the mother.  The title definitely was an attention grabber.  The comments cover the spectrum; it’s nothing that I didn’t expect.  It’s awesome.  Then it was picked up by The Root.  Check it out.

Thank you Hillary!


first steps and lessons learned



Last Sunday, we climbed to the top. I’m not going to say that it was easy. I’m not sure that I want to say that it was fun. I climbed the stairs with three old friends and one new one. Towards the end, they literally held my hands and helped me up the stairs. They stayed positive and friendly through 66 flights of stairs. They cheered me up 1215 steps. They took breaks with me when I couldn’t catch my breath. They smiled the entire way. They made it happen. The climb was the win I’ve so desperately been needing.

I learned two life lessons from this experience: one that I was supposed to already know but didn’t until now and one that I keep forgetting but life keeps placing awesome people in my life to remind me.

During the two weeks before the climb, I was feeling really low about who hadn’t donated or volunteered to climb. I had expectations that friends that I had had forever, people that I talk to all the time, would be the ones to step up and make it happen.  And instead, friends that I hadn’t spoken to in months, in some cases years, were stepping up the plate.  People that I had only heard of before were donating money and leaving nice notes.  People that I had only “met” on the internet were coming to climb stairs with me in real life.  And despite how amazing that sounds (and feels to type) for weeks I was stuck feeling sad about who wasn’t giving.  To be honest, it still hurts a bit.  But it was wrong of me to let a little bit of negativity outshine all the love and support that was being showered on me. It’s embarrassing to think about it now. It’s very easy to focus on the negative and I’m thankful for my patient friends who allowed me to vent, offered some solutions, but ultimately told me to snap out of it and to not let this ruin an incredible opportunity.  You can’t let negativity suck all the shine of awesome experiences.

The other lesson is so simple, it’s funny.  It’s that you get what you ask for.  In the beginning I was hoping just to raise the $250 necessary to be eligible to climb.  But in the end, I raised over $2000.  I made a cowl for my brother for Christmas and people said they wanted one too.  I decided to use the proceeds from them to donate to the climb, I raised over $50 in proceeds to donate to.  I’ve never liked asking for help.  I dreaded asking for donations.  And while I can’t say that I love it or even like it, I’m humbled to know that if I just ask for it, people will be there to give it.  And that feels pretty good.

The preparation for climb had been such a difference experience than I was expecting. Initially,  I didn’t have much of a reaction to the climb.  It was something I was going to do, and it involved me doing something I really didn’t want to do.  I felt like jerk emailing everyone I knew to ask for money.  But I’ve been forcing myself to do things that scared me, so I looked at fundraising as an opportunity to work through my fear – to do something even though it scared me.  And so I did it.

Then there was the climb itself.  Although I’m  not in the best shape of my life, I was pretty confident I would get to the top.  I wasn’t sure how long it was going to take, but I knew I could get up there.  It was only in talking to people who weren’t doing the climb, that I started to doubt myself.  People wanted to calculate how long it would take.  In my practice runs, I was doing 40 flights in 20 minutes.  But somehow, in these talks with other people, I was convinced that it would take me over an hour to do 66 flights.  I began to panic.  What if I couldn’t make it to the top?  (Self-doubt is so lame.)  But as usual my friends talked me down.  My friends helped me up too. We did all 66 flights in 23 minutes.  Anna thought we probably could have gone faster.  Crazy, huh?  In the end, my breathing was the biggest problems.  My legs could have easily done the climb faster, but I just could not catch my breath.

When we finally got to the top, I thought I might cry.  My emotions surprised me.  I did something very difficult.  I did it with friends.  I finished something.  As I said earlier, the week before the climb was a disaster.  A comedy of errors.  There were lots of tears.  I remember crying over drinks that I just needed one win.  Just one victory to show me that it was going to be ok.  I got that on the top of the rock.  I got my first step back on track.


i woke up excited

I woke up excited today.

Over a month ago, I moved to CT from my beloved Brooklyn to focus on my dissertation.  My family offered me a deal that I would have been totally crazy to give up, and so I packed up my life and moved to Hartford.  While I knew this was the right thing to do, it made me incredibly anxious and sad.  The first morning I woke up, I thought I’d feel like I feel today: ready to get up and make it happen, but instead, I kinda dragged myself to the computer and I can’t really remember if anything really got done.  Slowly over the past two months I’ve managed to complete most of the data work for my entire dissertation, get all the committee members, and put work into my proposal.  I’ve been working on different versions of my dissertation for the past five years, so at this point, it doesn’t excite me like I wish it would.

But I woke up excited today.

As is par for the course, I’ve been incredibly anxious about my what’s next.  I’ve been paying too much attention to what my rockstar academic friends have been doing and then beating myself up for not having done as much.  I know, lame.  But in conversations I’ve been having with my brother and some male friends, I think I’m stumbling upon my next big step.  It doesn’t have the shape yet for me to describe it here, but I’m hyped about it.  For the first time, I woke up (hyped) and walked to the computer (hyped) and started working (hyped).  Instead of “this humongous, overwhelming paper that I don’t know when I’ll ever finish”, my dissertation has become “this thing I gotta get done now so I can do this really cool thing.”  My plans after my dissertation still aren’t as clear as I’d like them to be, but they are taking shape, which is a relief.  From the few people that I’ve spoken to about my next step, I’ve already received an incredible amount of support.  As much as it scares me, it’s something that I can’t not try. It’s in a field and working with a population where my gender will be an obstacle and still I can’t stop.

I haven’t felt passion for a project in such a long time. I am so thankful.  When facing hard realities, instead of feeling defeated, I just keep saying “there’s got to be a way to do this.”  I have to keep pushing it.  I’m too excited not to.  Naturally, I’m terrified, but even that is serving as motivation.  I’m about to make it happen.


and then I turned 30

I originally wrote this post over a month ago, but I figured since so many people were asking for the entire story behind my last post that I’d post it here:

Before I turned 30, I was incredibly nervous. I was going to be 30 but I wasn’t where I thought I would be. 30 felt really old and I still felt really young. I was worried.

For my 30th birthday, I copied my 13th birthday. For that birthday, my mother invited all her friends over and we talked about what it meant to be a woman. I remember feeling so loved and so empowered and that’s exactly how I wanted to feel on my 30th birthday. So I invited my closest friends and a bunch of my mother’s friends.  I asked everyone to be prepared to say a few words about what it meant to be a woman to them and/or their advice on how to live a good life. The party was awesome and exactly what I wanted. One of my most awesome and closest friends even flew in from Oregon. I rekindled some friendships that were dwindling. I got to spend time with some of the most important people in my life. I got awesome advice – mostly to live life on my terms, live without regret and to stop waiting for whatever I’m waiting to to start living.

I left my party feeling like my life was about to begin and that I was so blessed.

And then I turned 30.

It started simply enough: my left eye was acting funny. It didn’t hurt or anything, but it was funky to look through that one eye. Initially, I thought there was something in there. Consequently, I spent a lot of time in the bathroom playing with my eye trying to see what was going on. I took an L for the day and was crazy unproductive because reading was a total pain at this point. The next morning I woke up and my eyesight was a little worse. So I spent the morning trying to figure out who to go to since of course I don’t have a ophthalmologist. So I finally get someone and they say I need a referral from school and so begins my day. I got to work (late) and explained to my boss that eye was being a total pain and that I’d prob need to leave early to get to a doctor. She was super cool about and so I spent the rest of the day trying to get appointments and referrals. This was when I learned exactly how much my school’s health insurance sucks. Anyway, fast forward to 4 pm when I find a doctor who actually takes my health insurance and she makes me take a million different eye tests.  This is when I started getting scared.  Three hours later, the doctors are whispering in a different language, they keep asking if my eye hurts and then tell me I need to get an MRI soon. As in within the next 48 hours. And said something was wrong with my optic nerve. Then they sent me on my way home.

Of course I went drinking instead.

Next day was spent trying to get the damn referrals I needed to get the MRI.

The day after that I met with the big daddy eye doctor who did a preliminary check and guessed that my eye was acting funky because of an old injury. I couldn’t really remember any serious injuries other than my boo dropping his stupid phone on my eye a month earlier but I felt relieved that this injury was starting to make sense. He sent me to get more tests and then to get the MRI and blood work.

Hours and hours later we’re both looking at my MRIs and I’m smiling to myself because I’m not seeing any tumors or anything I think is crazy. (Yes, I do think I can read MRIs because I watch a lot of Grey’s Anatomy.) There is a history of cancer on both sides of my family, so I was prepared for that to be the issue here. I’ve kind of been waiting on a cancer diagnosis for most of my life since I know those odds aren’t in my favor.

What I wasn’t prepared for was my doctor thinking that I have multiple sclerosis. I wasn’t even sure what it was until he started explaining. It’s an autoimmune disease where your body attacks the mylein sheaths that protect your nerves. So that was what was happening with my eye. He said he thought it was just a regular optic neuritis until he saw two small legions on my brain. Yup. Then the rest kind of fades to black. I remember bits and pieces “50/50,” “I know this is hard because you came in here thinking you’re healthy” “home nurse” “iv” “steroids” “another specialist” “bring someone with you to our next appointment” and “come back in two weeks.”

In a daze, I left the office. I called my mom. I cried the entire subway ride home. I drank two vanilla cokes since they told me not to drink alcohol because of the steroids. My friends came over. It was insanely awkward and sad. My mom came. It lightened up a little. The drugs came. It got scary again. The nurse came, it got scarier. The catheter went it, it got gross. Chris came and I smiled. The nurse left, and then Chris left and then it was just me and my mom.

And for the next four days, it was me and my mom and my catheter. I only went out once during those 4 days and randomly ran into friends. The catheter, while wrapped up, freaked them out. I went back home and stayed in the house. The catheter came out. There was blood everywhere. I worried if this was going to become a regular occurrence in my life. This can’t be my life.

This week I see a MS specialist and get his opinion on my MRIs. I also go back to my first doctor to get the results of my blood work.  I’m scared.  This week I find out if I have a slightly annoying autoimmune malfunction where my eye is gonna get cute every now and then or if I have a chronic disease that might lower my life expectancy to just 30 years. [spoiler: it was MS, and that life expectancy estimation is off (too low) according to newer books I'm reading. phew.]

There’s nothing like a situation like this to kick your ass hard enough that it forces you actually live. Before I turned 30, my biggest goal was to pay off my loans within the next 30 years. After I turned 30, my biggest goal is to live the most incredible life I can within the next 30 years. Let’s see what kind of shenanigans I can get myself into now.


I love it when you talk Daddy to me

I must say, nothing makes me happier than hearing about my friends’ children. But my real joy comes when it’s my male friends doing the talking. I don’t know what’s so special about men doing what I’ve started to call “talking Daddy,” but I just can’t get enough. Luckily for me, a quick trip to facebook normally provides my fix. And if that doesn’t work, I simply have to ask my friend Jose how his son is and squeal when his answer is something super sweet like “delicious.” I almost can’t take it anymore.

I love when my friends tell me how their infant does something new or totally unexpected. I love watching videos of babies who have no idea how precious they are as they fall asleep while their parents try to get them to dance to songs. Or even simply little observations of their cognitive development. My favorite is when fathers tell me their child is their new best friend. I eat it up.

Something tragic happened to one of my closest friends, and yet even still, everything cool thing he does, he says it’s for his son. And even in private conversations, I can hear how this child who left the earth too soon has changed his life. My friend still talks Daddy to me.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by how much I enjoy Daddy talk given my field of research. I literally read and write about fathers all day long. And I find when I talk about my research, I spend a lot of time debunking this idea that fathers that aren’t married to the mothers of their children aren’t around and that they can’t be good fathers. And I spend the most time talking about Black fathers. Man, they get a bad rap for no reason. Especially when the research shows that as nonresident fathers, they are the most likely to actually be involved with their children.

It was with this understanding that I was totally annoyed when Courtland Milloy came out his face talking about Trayvon Martin and asking where Trayvon’s father was and why his mother was the one leading the charge for justice for her son. I mean, has he watched any of the press conferences? Tracy Martin is always there next to Sybrina Fulton. I mean, Travyon was visiting his father to get his priorities back on track when he was murdered. The next week, Milloy apologized… sort of. I get it, he’s writing about what he sees, or rather what he thinks he sees.

But this selective vision is the problem.  We really have got to stop assuming fathers aren’t around. We need to stop for one second and realize that we’re surrounded by many men talking Daddy to us. We need to start listening.


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