It’s Father’s Day, so How Come He Don’t Want Me, Man?

In eight grade, the rings of my trapper keeper got a little wonky causing it not to close correctly. There was a girl sitting in front of me, Jennifer, and I asked for her help. After a few minutes, she turned around to pass my trapper keeper back to me and said, “ I couldn’t do it. Just ask your Dad to fix it when you get home. I didn’t have a Dad at home to ask but I replied, “Oh, yeah! I can ask him!” That exchange runs through my mind far too often. 

I went to Connecticut, the summer between 5th and 6th grade, I spent the night with my Dad. As we were having breakfast, he asked “September 12th, right? That’s your birthday?” My birthday isn’t September 12th. 

Speaking of summers, in 2005 after I received my report card in the mail I called him. I was officially a senior and beyond excited. So many expenses were coming up, but all I cared about was him coming to my graduation in June of 2006. He told me that he would be busy, and probably couldn’t get the time off work. He had a year to make plans, but he didn’t come.

When I taught preschool, on more occasions that I could count, I cried when my students’ dads would pick them up. It was sweet to witness but reminded me of something I never had.

So here we are, Father’s Day 2020 I thought today would feel differently and initially it did. But then, VH1 had the audacity to play that infamous “Fresh Prince” episode (we all know the one) and a flood of emotions started. The pain in Will’s voice when he asked, “How come he don’t want me man?” is a pain that resonated with me. To this day, I can’t watch that episode without balling my eyes out. After years of rejection, I got to the point where I was tired of reaching out, trying to make amends and extend olive branches. I was the child, this shouldn’t have been my responsibility. I still don’t know why he chose to be an absent parent to me but a present one for my sister. I do know, that even in his absence, I lived a good life thanks to my mother.

This isn’t a post meant to bash men, though let’s be clear, if I wanted to that’s my business. Rather, a moment of transparency to serve two purposes:

First, to let all the fatherless girls around the world, that you’re loved and whatever feelings you have today, are more than valid. I hope that you find both peace and healing because you deserve that.

And secondly, to let the men know that you are needed. Your love, your guidance, your support, and your pleasant memories are needed by your children. Don’t let anything or anyone else tell you otherwise.

This was a long introduction, but I wanted to share two previous posts written about my father, below.

Sending love and light.

Never Been A Daddy’s Girl

I waited for you. All day. I wore jeans and a white shirt. And I waited for you. I remember being so excited! Yes, FINALLY…I would get to see you.I sat on the front stoop of our apartment; And I waited for you. My friends kept urging me to come and play. But I wouldn’t leave that stoop. I sat there. All day. Lighting up like a kid on Christmas with each car that passed by. And the sun began to fall from the sky. Still I waited for you with a smile.Hot, hungry and sweaty…but I didn’t budge. All. Damn. Day. I waited for you.But you never showed. And you never called to say why. That was the first time I recall being let down by a man. You were supposed to love me. And show me how to protect myself; from sorry, lowdown, no good, trifling ass men like you. So I stopped waiting. I stopped caring. I stopped wanting to be close to you. And I had no idea what the side-effects of you would be in my life. So here’s to you…Dad. Here’s to you. For breaking my heart; before any guy ever could.

Grieving A Stranger

Like so many girls, my first heartbreak came from my father. The man who was supposed to love, protect, support and guide me throughout my life. The man who was supposed to be there for my chorus recitals, poetry readings, and cheering me on as the best damn performance of Jack’s Wife in Wintergreens Elementary’s three night showing of Jack and The Beanstalk.  Most of the times I referred to him as my sperm donor because he didn’t seem worthy of any other title. We were flesh and blood strangers, sadly. I had reached a point in my life where I was simply tired of trying, ya know? Reject me once, cool but to do so over and over was something that I just couldn’t tolerate any longer. For my sanity, I withdrew and carried on with my life. And though I deemed myself as “content” without him, it was a lie. I needed and wanted my father. I needed his love.

My favorite part about being a teacher was Daddy Days. Those were the days when Dad would oversee picking up the little ones. To see the look of joy, I mean unadulterated joy when Dad walked into the classroom was priceless. And on more than one occasion, I shed a tear because it was a reminder of something I didn’t have. My grandfather was monumental in my life but it wasn’t the same. Father’s Day was something I looked forward to but hated simultaneously. So many people had excellent fathers so I loved seeing their happiness but at the same time, it saddened me that I couldn’t take part in the celebrations. It had become my prayer that God would bless me with a husband that had an amazing relationship with his father so that I can share in some of that. And of course, I hoped and prayed that I would be able to shield my future kids, my daughter(s) especially from that same kind of void.

November 2016, while scrolling social media there was a  photograph captioned “I’m going to miss these moments” Wait, what do you mean? Was someone moving away? No, someone had died. Yeah, I found out through Snap chat that my Dad had died. Classy, eh?  I jogged that night-no really, I did. Each time my foot hit the cement, the tears fell even heavier until I couldn’t see a thing. My glasses were foggy, I’m panting and heaving—just completely unprepared for this impromptu run to process my emotions. There was probably some snot too. Anger, fear, anxiety, disbelief, hurt, you name it, I felt it. Every single chance at reconciliation was gone.  What if I had tried one last time? I should have just messaged him on Facebook. Did he regret anything? Truthfully, I had no intentions of going to the funeral. Why the hell was I going to miss work, and travel from Florida to Connecticut for him? But being the true saint that she is, my mother suggested that I go for the closure if nothing else.Needless to say, overwhelmed was an appropriate feeling. From meeting with the funeral directors and seeing his corpse to the actual service and sleeping in his home, everything about that experience was surreal. Everything I ever wanted to know about him, I learned while packing up the remains of his possessions. We were so much alike, he and I. We both doodle while on the phone which included jotting down bits and pieces of the phone conversation and the response that we would want to give. We have the same tastes in movies. Food—not so much. He was a real country boy so I’ll pass on the backwoods cuisine but fishing was another common ground. People spoke so highly of him and his big heart with a strong work ethic. I’ll have to give him credit for those traits as well as my mom.  But more importantly, my question was finally answered- yes, he did love me. I wondered that for 28 years. For 28 years, I thought he couldn’t possibly care but I was wrong. That was such a defining moment. I don’t know his reasons for choosing to be an absent parent but the past can’t be changed.  Sarah Jakes Roberts shared a post, stating that “Closure is not a moment between two people. It’s demanding yourself to stop reliving your history and let go of what-ifs. It’s embracing that every ounce of pain you experienced was necessary for your growth, peace and joy. It is a reconciliation with one’s self.”  I firmly believe that. So, when we buried him, I didn’t bury a stranger, I buried my dad. I buried my father, along with my insecurities and resentment. I buried every ounce of doubt and piece of negativity that came along with the memories we formerly shared. I forgave him and I received the closure that I needed.

I Think Jesus Can Use Some Help: Mental Health in The Black Church

This might shake the table, in fact I hope it does because this is a conversation that we need to have. In this good year of 2020 there needs to be an intersection of black Christianity and mental health awareness, it’s long over due.

My Mental Health Journey and Observation

I grew up in a Christian household, southern and black. This means that church was a mandate, not an option. Every service, every revival, every bible study, even the youth choir rehearsals when I have no true singing ability; I was present. Somewhere around my junior or senior year of high school, my mom gave those magical words: “You can go, if you want to.”  The freedom in the ability to choose something for myself was liberating. I am very grateful for my religious roots but somewhere along the way my connection to the church became one of habit and obligation. I went to church see my friends, half the time never even making it into the actual sanctuary. Like many people who grew up heavy in the church, we waver and eventually have that prodigal son experience.

The thing no one prepares you for in adulthood is that pivotal point when you began to unpack things be it trauma or characteristics to truly understand how you are as a person to initiate growth. We get tired of the same things, yielding the same results. Unpacking emotional luggage (carry on and checked bags because I was a mess) inevitably caused me to to become more conscious of my mental health . I learned that you can’t heal when you don’t acknowledge the pain. Most importantly from introspection, I realized that a lot of things that I passed off as “that’s just my personality” were in fact the tell tale signs of anxiety and depression. Yes! The happy, larger than life, outspoken, confident person that I am battled anxiety and depression on a daily basis. And I still, do. It’s important to note that mental health has a wide range of diseases, disorders illnesses and it does not look the same for everyone. For me, procrastination and avoidance was often anxiety about bigger issues. The ability to sleep for 10 plus hours, wake up to pee and then sleep for another five was more than exhaustion…it was depression (with a little bit of vicarious trauma from my work in child advocacy). I had to do the work to learn my triggers, and then figure out how to show up for myself everyday through gut wrenching transparency and vulnerability. And it’s so very hard to do. It’s more than affirmations. It’s more than mantras. It’s more than the feng shui of your space. And yes, Christians…it’s more than just prayer.

What I noticed in my mental health journey is that “The Black Church” still isn’t ready to fully talk about depression or other aspects of mental health. In my experience its rarely acknowledged. The few people that were “open” about it, were simultaneously elusive about their mental breakdowns, use of Prozac and weekly couch sessions. They had so much shame in the journey it took for them to become the best versions of themselves because the church pushed the narrative that all you need in life is Jesus. And that’s wrong. Looking back at some of the members in the church I grew up in, there were multiple incidents were the solution was prayer or the person was thought to have been possessed when these were probably genuine mental health issues on full display. Depression in particular, was considered “a spirit” and we were often told to just pray about it or it’s just a state of mind. And of course that classic line from so many black parents: you have nothing to be depressed about. (Go depress them dishes, was familiar to far too many people on Twitter). Somehow there’s a misconception especially within the [older, Christian] black community that these things are a luxury of the wealthy & privileged. I’ve heard countless folks within the black community from parents to faith leaders alike refer to therapy as “something for white people”. I’ve witnessed people from my childhood make posts on social media alluding suicide and the responses from church members were often “I’m praying for you.” People are dying and the best solution we have is prayer?

We Prayed. Now What?

Now, before you get twisted into a pretzel I do believe in the power of earnest prayers and I do believe that through prayer things change. However, as the good book says faith [without works] is dead therefore prayer alone is not effective in combating life’s stumbling blocks, hurdles, or struggles. In conclusion: we can have Jesus and a mental health therapist too. We can shift the narrative, especially within the church and here’s how:

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

1. Drop the stigma: Ordinarily, being proactive in varying aspects of your health is praised. If a person is making physical changes to prolong their life or attending couples therapy to save a marriage those are met with open arms. The same should be happening with out mental health as well. In order to do this, we have to remove the stigmas and the default reckless labeling of those who seek help. In 2014, almost 6.8 million black people had a diagnosable mental illness within the past year. People who rely on their religion and it’s leadership for spiritual guidance often turn to the church to combat issues. Through the earnest removal of these stigmas, when people are confident in whom they can confide, they are more likely to confront their struggles head-on instead of alone. 

2. Start the conversation: Host an open forum for church and community members alike. Within the safety of this forum, attendees should be able to speak freely about their struggles, concerns and pinpoint potential solutions. 


3. Education and Awareness: 1 in 5 adults experience a mental illness. Contrary to what we may have been taught through the lenses of Christianity, mental health is not a “spirit”, it can’t be treated through prayer alone & it requires a lot of temporary discomfort for the greater good. Pastors and leaders (especially youth leaders) should work with national, state or local mental health organizations such as Black Mental Health Alliance to become educated on racial disparities and signs of mental illness to be cultural competent allies. This should be in addition to addressing the immediate needs to make mental health services accessible to everyone. Use any available opportunity (conferences, outreach events, etc) to educate people on mental health and the resources available to them. 

4. Faith & Work: In order to heal, it’s important to appropriately identify traumas, triggers and their accompanying emotions in a healthy environment. As faith leaders, encourage your congregation to be their best selves. This includes utilizing whatever solutions suggested by a doctor whether it’s prescribing antidepressants or counseling. Prayer in addition to tangible, physical help will aide in the healing process. 

5. Hire a Mental Health Professional: What better way to show support and encourage mental health than having a licensed professional and advocate as apart of the church staff? While religious people seek spiritual guidance, they may not always want or need a spiritual response to their situations. A mental health profession can bridge that gap.

It’s time to be our best selves, in every area of your lives! I encourage you all to champion change within your faith groups and religious communities by helping get the conversation going! 

Help is Just a Click Away

If you are struggling with suicide, depression, anxiety or any other mental health illness, you are not alone.  Help is available by texting the Crisis Text Line or calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. To connect with a therapist, the following organizations are available: National Alliance on Mental Illness, The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation and Therapy For Black Girls.

Travel-itis…Planning The Perfect Staycation

Even though airlines are tempting us to truly adhere to YOLO (glares at Southwest) the coronavirus still have lots of us airing on the side of caution and staying put until things return back to normal. As of now, all of my spring and early summer trips are cancelled and honestly, as a person who loves to be on the go…this is truly hard for me.

Photo by Janiere Fernandez on

Where Do You Want to Go, Ronny?

It’s true, a girl can stay on the beach sipping Upside Down Pineapples for hours. But, for me of all the places I’ve been, New Orleans has to be one of my favorite place to visit. I remember my first time visiting summer 2014 and there was an immediate feeling of enthrallment. The French Quarter was exactly how I thought it would be from watching Double Jeopardy. In my hometown, the Walmart closes at midnight so to my little country ass self, the freedom of walking down Bourbon street at 4 am sipping to-go margaritas and watching second lines was mindblowing. As was the semi-naked ladies twirling ribbon from the banisters but that’s another story. The city is filled with so much history, culture and hidden gems that every time feels like the first time I’ve been and there’s always something new to do!

My friend and I determined that this house belonged to someone important in New Orleans.

Picking Your Staycation “Location”

While there are many lists circulating the blog and internet that tells us how we can pass the time during this quarantine and social distancing (see my previous post), I haven’t seen any yet that speaks to the travel lovers. Since Instagram and Facebook memories have us feeling extra nostalgic and realizing it was all good about a week ago; while we’re confined to our homes, it’s the perfect time for a staycation. Pay homage to your favorite or an inspiring destination by curing your travel-itis with a perfect staycation!

We’re “Booked”, Now What?

Be creative! If your partner and kids are joining in on the fun make “boarding passes” or text a “hotel confirmation” to create the full on travel experience. Apply the same rules you would on a normal vacation. This means if you ordinarily are away from your phone and off social media, do it for the duration of the staycation too.

Photo by Breakingpic on

Change the ambiance of your bedroom and bathroom to resemble that of a hotel, preferably adding something to remind you or your guest of the accommodations from your favorite destination. Use light dimmers or mood lighting, leave chocolates or their favorite snacks beside. You can even spring for the plush robes and toiletry kits, too. Take it a step further and add on the hotel extras like wake-up calls or room service. Oh, the most important part….add in a mini-bar!

Destination Activities

While scuba diving with manatees or anything remotely similar will be literally impossible from home, try to make most of what you do that day centered around something you did or want to do. Try you hand at virtual tours or YouTube channels dedicated to the activities on your list if you can’t safely do them at home. Truly and fully immerse yourself in that city. Any music and films you may watch should be from natives of that area or about it.

I’m a foodie, so the best part of any vacation (or any day really) to me is the food. Try authentic cuisine. Find a recipe or two from a restaurant you enjoyed and re-create something from their menu. For me, it would have to be trying my hand at the legendary “New Orleans Queen of Creole Cuisine” Leah Chase‘s gumbo. And of course, what’s a “trip” to NOLA without beignets from Cafe Du Monde?

Photo from The Atlantic.

So, In Conclusion

With the uncertainty of the forthcoming weeks and people grappling with new ways of life, I for one can definitely use an escape from the unprecedented realities we’re facing across the globe. Being home for an indefinite amount of time isn’t ideal but let’s make the most of it and have fun where we can! Let me know, where are you going for your perfect staycation?

I’m Baaaaaackkk!!!!

If you can’t tell from the title, I’m back…and it feels good.

Honestly, this is long overdue. Back in 2016, I launched a blog with one of my dearest friends Nikkie entitled TheFatGirlsLife. Our blog was a celebration of our differences and similarities navigating life as a plus size woman from the perspectives of a married mom and a single auntie. While I’ve been in somewhat in a blogging hiatus, I have been writing for other platforms (Parle Magazine and The CurvyFashionista mainly) since my last post on TheFatGirlsLife back in 2017. Check out the freelance page to see some of my work.

So, where the hell have I been? Surviving. And living.

Although writing is my passion, I found it incredibly hard to stay motivated when life was throwing me curve ball after curve ball. In the past few years there has been hospital stays, surgery, injuries, loss of friendships, break-ups, death…so much. And it took my drive and will to be creative away. But just the same there has been so much to be grateful for, so here I am.

This last year in particular…whew. 2019 was an incredible year of personal growth and wins starting with relocation, getting the most grown up job ever, promoted at my part time job, and a lot of opportunities that stemmed from freelancing and writing and a dope ass hot girl summer. It certainly didn’t come without the usual hang-ups but we’re focusing on the positive.

If you follow me on social, you know that I’m passionate about mental health, being body positive and loving yourself. That’s what you can expect to get from my blog along with some occasional travel and life hacks.

Before I start rambling, thank you to those that stayed on my neck about getting back to this. Yes, Nikkie and Alicia (and my mama) I am calling ya’ll out! To new and past followers alike, thanks for being here.

Stay tuned!

Surviving ‘Rona 2020

Day 3 or 4 of quarantine.

Oreo supply is low.

Introvert that’s actually missing people.

Send help.

While this is a very serious situation sweeping the nation right now, like most of black twitter or fellow overly sarcastic citizens, I use humor to get through anything. It keeps me sane to be quite honest.

Undoubtedly we are in some scary times right now, and truthfully I fear that we haven’t even seen the thick of this yet. Being forced to stay in your house for like 14+ days is tough for anyone. Here’s some things you can do to pass the time and make the most of it:

  1. Make a to-do list. Now, the kicker will be to actually do the things on your to-do list. For each day remaining of the anticipated quarantine, assign two or three tasks you can do throughout the day. Or, throw them all into a jar and randomly pull out a few tasks each day.
  2. Organize your space. It’s easy to throw your things about when you’re home. But refrain from doing this. Clutter can make you more antsy. We’re all trying to survive this madness. Create a space that you can relax and feel at peace in amid this craziness.
  3. Cook a meal from scratch. So often we have quick meals due to our hectic schedules. With the down time, not only can you try a new recipe but you can try a new one without skipping any corners!
  4. Send snail mail. Pick 5 friends, co-workers or loved ones that you normally see on a regular basis and mail them a note. Or pick 5 that you haven’t seen in awhile and do the same.
  5. Create an online challenge. Whatever your niche is, challenge your friends to be apart of it by inviting them to a challenge. To make it interesting, add in a prize such as an e-gift card.
  6. Have a spa-day. At home, of course! What better time to whip up some DIY face mask or lip scrub to pamper yourself while you lounge about or in between the ten thousand video calls we’re now subject to since working from home.
  7. Host a virtual movie night via Netflix Party.
  8. Learn something! Ivy league schools are offering FREE online courses right now. If you always wanted to be a Harvard gal, now is your chance.
  9. Speaking of free and learning something…did you know that Google Arts & Culture exists? Did you know that you can use technology to tour museums all across the world?
  10. If museums aren’t your thing but nature and wildlife is, then the live cameras at the National Aquarium, Monterey Bay Aquarium or San Diego Zoo may be of interest.

Let me know, how are you surviving #SocialDistancing ? Or you apart of team #QuarentineAndChill ?