“Our Father, Who Art In…”

I will never claim another

Gift Habeshaw | Unsplash

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. — Ephesians, 6:4, NLT


The way my father looks at me is as if he is looking at the world in every color, tone, measurement, and description all at once. He takes me in — processes me, and tries to understand my words while I am speaking. He hears me. It is a blessed feeling to allow someone to dissect what you are saying when at times, those words have proven difficult to express. Given my father’s background and his marriage to the church as an elder and minister, listening is one of the things he does best. Coming out to my father was not as hard as I envisioned it would be. As a matter of fact, it was quite easy. He knew I had something to share, he had known for years — thus, he pressed forward with opening the door to our conversation about who I, his daughter, was. I touch on this just a bit in “Unconditional.”

Listen to me, baby. You are my child. I don’t care about anything else. I love you for who you are, you hear me? That will never change. Never.”

I could never have selected another man in this world to be half of what makes me whole. It would be pointless and an impossible feat. My father was made just for me at a time when roaming the streets, hanging out with his friends, and catching up on homework should have been the only things on his mind. To be a teenager, trying to bring a female mini-version of himself up in a crazy world, I am sure, was the last thing he wanted. But he did it and in his own way. I had enough years with my father in our home to know what I should know about life and understand what I should about right versus wrong.

You can come to me. I hope you’ll always remember that. I love you.”

He fathered the way he knew how. He stumbled. He struggled. He made a ton of mistakes. But one thing he did not fail at doing is loving me. It took me nearly fourteen years after my parents’ divorce to realize that fact. Today, I can call my father up and we can chit-chat about whatever, like whatever is the best thing since jelly on toastWe can hoot, holler, boast, brag, and commend each other freely without that awkward silence that used to layer itself around us.

I no longer have to wonder what my dad will say or do about his oldest daughter being bisexual. I no longer have to shelter, hide, or deny myself happiness thinking I will be shunned from the spirit of the messenger. After all, I am his child.”

I am grateful for a father who openly loves me and dotes on me around his peers regardless of how many of them misinterpret the Bible. He has not struck me down — with words nor his fists. He tries to guide me in his own way and sometimes it may come off a bit preachy (that’s a given), he notices the coldness before I can even utter a word and simplifies and coats his words with love so as to not break my heart. There were years when I did not mention him, would not mention him. He was there, but not there. Not to me. Divorce can cloud a teenager’s mind and when step-parents are introduced, it can do even more.

I think back now to many of the hurtful things I said — how I allowed myself to let my tongue walk all over him without apologizing for my crassness. My father, knowing who I was at my core, gave me the space to vent and be free with my words in my growing up years without causing me to shrink. One thing he would say often was, “When you are older, you will know all that I did for you, how hard I tried.” I did not recognize the importance of that then. Oh, but I do now.

I am equal parts Michael and equal parts Angela and with the two of them buried deep inside my veins, I am one person. I finally understand why I ached for so many years when I thought of, interacted with, and tried to hold on to a bond with my father — stubbornness. The older I get, the better I am becoming at understanding who he is simply because he has always tried to understand who I am. My eyes are no longer closed.


To my father, who never has to change . . . thank you for everything past, present, and whatever there is to come. I will never claim another.


Originally published in Our Human Family via Medium.

The Incredible Need To Be Wanted

And, How It Slowly Subsides When You Know You Should Want More From The One You Want To Want You.

Javier Ramos|Unsplash

I let the morning pass, sip on my Vanilla Mint herbal tea, steeped to perfection and I think briefly to myself, “Should I check on her again?” I am fighting with the left-side of my brain, trying to understand the logic behind “No us.” I am losing terribly. This is always a no-win battle, and I have the scars to prove it, but something in me won’t let the thought of loving her go. I tell myself that I have been defeated many times before, that I fight well, that the scars that I have earned are healing, but I want badly to have the opportunity to have them heal further while being with her. I know… I know, radical decisions are not usually my forte’, but for some reason, I can see myself nose-diving straight into her life and landing perfectly on my feet.

How do we control what cannot be controlled?

Therapy is teaching me many things, but it is not teaching me this. How does one silent one’s heart? How does one make it be quiet when the mind has everything sorted out? I ask myself again, “Should I check on her?” She disappears from time to time just as I do when life is far too much to handle and taking breaks are the best things to do on the menu of working too hard, but it has been too long and my first email attempt has gone unresponsive.

Respect the boundaries. Respect the boundaries. Respect the…

Something could be wrong, but all could be right too. It is pertinent in life to respect boundaries. If they have been set, established, and agreed upon, respect them. It does not take a genius to know that doing this will more than likely, work out in your favor in the end. What do I mean? You will surely get over it. It will take time, but you will. And thinking of her safety, her heart, her willingness to create beautifully in the sober hours of the night will reconnect with you, but at arm’s length. You will succumb to healing and your days will get better. You will tap into the mystery of you and learn more about yourself because your focus will be on “Letting her/him go.” Your focus will be on learning to know what it is you need from someone else because you’ve truly established what it is that you lack.

It is natural to be wanted, to be loved.

But, it is important to recognize when you are on a one-way street down a highway to hell where you are the only one loving the other. Recognize that, move on, leave the place as quickly as possible, because if you linger, you’ll lose more and more of yourself every single day and collecting your meaningful parts will be harder to recover. Today, I am learning what she cannot give me, bolding every item in the forefront of my mind, and understanding that I have what I need for this time in my life.

I can give me what I need, even what I want, it’s just going to take a little bit more time.

Centered

My Great-Grandmother Lucille Tiggs pictured at the far left. I have no clue of when this was, but I love this picture. Not sure who the other people are, but I aim to find out.

I remember my Great-Grandmother being more than sure of herself, she was confident and she had a presence about her that demanded your attention. I was close to her, undeniably and inexplicably close. Her passing more than sixteen years ago now gutted me. I felt as though my world would crumble. Her mind decided to give up on her. She had a form of dementia that beat her to a pulp and shrunk her overwhelming presence to one that we needn’t cower from. 

I do not want to ever know what it feels like to lose your mind, your sanity, your ability to make vital decisions for both yourself and others. When my Great-Grandmother’s condition worsened, her children agreed to have her placed under the watchful eyes of an appointed caregiver. There, in someone else’s home, she was monitored and cared for accordingly by professionals. It was there on my visits to her, that I noticed how aggressive this illness was. She didn’t know me anymore. Oh, she knew that I was family, but she kept referring to me as my older cousin. It pained me to watch her wither, to witness her become someone I did not know. 

Even though she was no longer as smart as a whip and her memory began shifting and leaving her day by day, there was still a sense of groundedness in her. I looked at her and she appeared centered. Was it the fact that she was in her eighties and had been the epitome of strength and tenacity for our family for decades? Was it because I still saw the confident and self-assured reckoning of a woman that she was? I am certain that it was a combination of these things, but now, when I feel as though I may fall or am falling, I think of her. I remember who she was and…

I tell myself that I am of her blood and I am centered, grounded, confident, and sure. 

I am hers even if she’s gone. 

Full Plate

Because I am just a woman with a heart willing to love and no lover willing to accept it. Even if it’s right there in their face. Some people just have far too much on their plates to handle anything else.
Courtesy of Pinterest

I have my heart in my hands…

Love Is Knocking

Love Is Knocking by: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I LOVE love. I love it even more when I believe it has forgotten me. I love it even more after that when I remember that it never will. As long as I keep this as the center of my thought-process when it comes to love, I will overcome my fears and feelings of loss at love. 

I am winning… I just don’t have a medal yet.