Not Like Fathers

You Are Halves of Our Whole

To you, the fathers… It is often hard, I assume, to stand in the shadows of mothers as they take the glory of it all, and in most cases, rightfully so, but you… you wait patiently with no other means of celebration other than the one day designated where you may receive a few hugs, some decent gifts, a day out to your favorite restaurant, then time well-spent in your recliner. This is for you. Those yet still fathering, still yearning to love as they look at eyes that look back at them — identical in shape and color.

To you, fathers who stand beside their children, fighting for their rights in all things life-oriented, ensuring safety and love. To you, those of you afraid to reach out to take the hands of yours who have soared too high in the sky for you to be able to reach them and bring them back down to Earth. Fathers of prodigal sons and daughter still counting the days of their return; I offer you recognition and sincere adoration.

You are the halves of our whole and without you, there could be no us. Those of you trying harder than anyone can imagine and more than anyone can see, I tip my hat to you. Those of you struggling to make ends meet, constantly arguing with your children’s mother for the sake of their best interests— I hear you, I see you. To you, the fathers who cry when no one is around and pack in hurt after hurt and pained day after pained day, you are honored.

Fathers, do not let this day go by without attempting to learn, understand, care for, and love the ones who made you fathers. Start now, if you have not. For those of you fatherless and trying to father without the clear knowledge of the act — your children know that you are trying, even if they do not show it.

May this day be one to lift you up if you were feeling down and may love envelop you at every corner. Father is a forever word — a forever action. You will always be it.

From our small community to your hearts,
Happy Father’s Day.


Originally posted as a letter in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

“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 Beauty of Realization

Caison: He’s learning that his reflection is a beautiful thing and in pictures, it’s even more so. This is him fiddling around with my phone and his reaction to seeing his face.

he picks up my phone,
little fingers fiddling with
meaningless buttons.

What’s he trying to do?
this, I query myself…

a picture is worth a thousand words,
but Caison’s smile is priceless.

Family: Reuniting, Feeling the Love

My baby brother Maurice, Me, and our Mom|Savannah, Georgia
My brother Joshua, Me, and my brother Michael|Savannah, Georgia

the beauty of love everlasting–
the kind that sneaks up on
you when you’ve forgotten it ever
existed…

you remember it when you
are next to a beating heart that
pumps the same blood
as your meaty veins
and you cling to it…

it is a love that only a tortured soul
can dream up in the middle
of a breakdown and lean into it,
drenched in its essence–
buried under its weight.

you cannot help
but feel this kind of
love.
you cannot help
but share this
kind of love.

Featured Writer for March

Photo by Tess on Unsplash

Askia Shantel:

When one receives a piece of writing from a family member to host in their publication, there is no describing it. Askia is one of my older cousins — one, I have always looked up to; she encourages me and has always supported me and reads my work regardless of where it appears. To see her share with all of us here makes my heart smile. Please, encourage her, beautiful people. It takes a lot to jump back into something you have neglected for such a long time. She is our Featured Writer for the next two weeks of March. And now, “Watchful Eye.”


Watchful Eye…

Leaving out of the dress shop, my brain is swirling — I just bought a formal dress for my daughter to attend the military ball at her high school. So, everything seems to be fuzzy because I’m feeling fuzzy all over. As we walk to the car, I see a little bit of a commotion that sort of snaps me back to reality.

A young guy and a very young girl having a bit of a confrontation.

Not really a confrontation — an altercation. He’s pulling her. She’s pulling away.

At first, I don’t think it’s a big deal. Lover’s quarrel. But she’s begging him to leave her alone.

So, now I have two options. I can pull off and mind my own business or I can make sure she’s ok. I choose door #2. I don’t leave because my heart aches for her.

Now I have another decision to make. Should I call the police and get them to help or do I put my window down and give the girl a ride? This time, I go for door #1. As I start to think clearly, if he’s bold enough to assault this young lady outside in broad daylight, he may be in fight or flight mode himself.

So I call the police. I’m moving my car from parking spot to parking spot. I want them to see meI want them to know that someone is watchingI want HER to know that I am there. It doesn’t seem to be deterring him — he’s still pulling, pushing and shouting at her. Another passenger sees this too and stops near the couple. I make eye contact with him and let him know that I’m calling the police.

The dispatcher eagerly asks for a description and a location. She is very helpful and thorough. I feel like she wants the girl to be safe and smart just as much as I do. I’m following. The dispatcher is questioning. The man is yelling. The girl is crying. My heart is breaking.

Just when I think she’s about to really walk away and find help, he grabs her around the neck in a hug/choke. He’s whispering now. Whatever he says works for him. She willingly gets in the car. He glares at me as they speed off.

I feel sick. I can’t believe my eyes.

I am trying not to cry. I want her to get in the car with me so that I can take her to safety. But she’s gone.

I get a glimpse of my daughter. She’s stunned and in disbelief. I can’t help but wonder if my daughter would know what to do if she were in this situation. I wonder if she’s ever witnessed anything like this. I wonder…would someone stop and check on her well-being. I pray someone does…


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.