siSTARS with Tikeetha Thomas (Part 2)

In this interview, Tikeetha discusses her understanding of forgiveness with regards to her relationship with her father. Also, Michelle asks her about her process for healing. With Father’s Day just around the corner in the States, I feel this is a timely discussion. Please feel free to add your thoughts about forgiveness and healing and how it manifests in your life.

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siSTARS with Tikeetha Thomas (Part I)

Do you follow Tikeetha Thomas? If not, then here are a few reasons why:

  1. She’s one of the co-authors of Daddy: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships.
  2. She’s an amazing lifestyle blogger who discusses everything from parenting to dating.
  3. She’s an all-around inspirational person who uses her own life to motivate each one of her followers.

In this first video, I ask Tikeetha to make connections between the relationship she has with her father and those she has in the dating realm. Check it out below:

DADDY CONTRIBUTOR: Lennon Carlyle

Today, meet Lennon Carlyle, author of “The Uprising.”

1521808695783Why were you inspired to contribute to this book? It’s a fantastic way to encourage women to understand that all men do not have the same qualities or negatives. If my reality can benefit someone, I would be elated.

What is your father-daughter relationship like now? It’s distant in miles, yet improving within time.

If there is one thing you could tell your father what would it be?

I love you. I forgive you and I want our relationship to grow.

If there is one thing you could tell women who struggle with ‘daddy issues” what would it be? Not everything revolves around your father. Just because he doesn’t see your value or beauty doesn’t mean you don’t have worth. Let the negatives of the relationship strengthen your mind and spirit. Remember, not every man is your father.

If there is one thing you could tell men with daughters what would it be? I believe more than anything, you need father and daughter time. Be diligent in showing her how much you care, love, and treasure her. Build her up and stress to her that she can accomplish anything. Help her to evolve.

What do you hope your story accomplishes? No matter how badly someone treats you in life, whether it’s physical or mental, never let him or her break you. Try hard to find something positive out of the situation. The worst of times times can make you resilient and unstoppable. Hold yourself up and know that your mind is extremely powerful.

What are you working on currently? I’m writing short fiction erotica. It’s outside of my comfort zone, but if I don’t explore new opportunities how will I ever grow? I love a challenge and this is a thrilling one.

Lennon CarlyleLennon Carlyle is a freelance writer, raised in Georgia, where she currently manages an industrial equipment business. She loves meeting new people and hearing their life stories. Lennon and her husband just celebrated their ten-year anniversary.

You can follow Lennon’s blog or contact her at lennoncarlyle@gmail.com.

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Carlyle, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund provides critically-needed medical facilities for treating United States military personnel suffering the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and psychological health issues.

Paperbacks are available TODAY! 

eBook versions of Daddy are available now!

Giving Back to the Community through Book Sales

1521808695783I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but 100% of the proceeds from the book, Daddy (from June 16, 2018-June 16, 2019) will go to a nonprofit organization near and dear to ten of the authors’ hearts. When you buy a book, you’re also giving back! A list and explanation follows:

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Toliver, Black Girls Code. The owner hopes to “provide young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time when they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.”

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Price, the Marjaree Mason Center. The organization “provides emergency and longer-term safe housing, along with a wide variety of support services for victims of domestic violence in Fresno County.”

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Scott, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The Foundation’s mission is to “provide optimal care and services to individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses and to their families and caregivers.”

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Wright, North Florida Freedom Schools. Operated under the Children’s Defense Fund, “the goal of CDF’s integrated curriculum is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.”

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Hagan, The Rhode Island Center for Justice. This organization partners with community groups to protect legal rights and to ensure justice for vulnerable individuals, families, and communities. The Center provides free civil legal assistance to low-income Rhode Islanders, engages in key impact litigation affecting the rights and wellbeing of thousands across the State, and conducts legislative and policy advocacy on behalf of the communities. 

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Thomas, the March of Dimes. According to their mission statement, “Prematurity is the #1 killer of babies in the United States. We are working to change that and help more moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies.”

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Jefferson, Vista Maria. The organization’s mission is to “deliver innovative care, support, treatment and education to vulnerable youth so that they heal, believe in their worth, and build the skills needed to succeed.”

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Kollar, The Oasis Center for Women & Girls. Their mission is to “improve the lives of women and girls through celebration and support.”

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A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Carlyle, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund provides critically-needed medical facilities for treating United States military personnel suffering the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and psychological health issues.

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be contributed to an organization important to Roxanne, Wounded Warrior Project. The Wounded Warrior Project supports veterans who’ve served on or after September 11, 2001. They help veterans transition to civilian life.

Be sure to order a copy for you or a woman you know who might benefit from understanding that she isn’t the only one with “daddy issues.”

Or, order a copy for a father who might need a nudge towards healing by reading about  other men’s imperfect father-daughter relationships.

 

Daddy: Motivation for Creating a Book

Summer of 1993 is when I became fully aware of my father’s abandonment. I remember the exact year because that’s when I started dating Dwight. That summer, he, my then best friend, Bobby, and I drove to Chicago for the weekend. I’d told my father that I would be home and that I was bringing these two important people with me. I wanted him to meet them.

That Saturday, I called and called, but he was nowhere to be found. I curled up in a ball in my great aunt’s back room and cried. I was twenty years old. Not only was I disappointed, but I was also embarrassed. I’d met Bobby’s parents a few months prior. Her father, though quiet, was in her life and supportive financially and emotionally. Likewise, I’d met Dwight’s parents, his father also seemed like a “normal” dad, making corny jokes and talking about his daily work.

All I wanted was for my father to show up when I came home and meet some friends. But it didn’t happen.

From that point forward, I was never sure how to interact with him, especially around made up societal holidays, like Father’s Day. Do I buy a card? None of the store-bought cards said what I wanted: thanks for being great the first sixteen years of my life. Wish we were closer. Hallmark doesn’t sell that one.

Maybe no gift and no card would send a stronger message. I mean it’s not like we’d spoken recently; he usually forgot my birthday, which was always about a month prior.

Most years, I’d opted for a generic card that said something like Happy Father’s Day. I’d sign it with no additional words.

This is one reason I felt motivated to create an edited collection of dysfunctional father-daughter stories. For a long time, I thought I was the only one who endured this angst. I really thought I was the only daughter sitting around a week or so before the holiday, wondering the best course of action for someone who’s supposed to care for you but doesn’t.

1521808695783I felt alone in these feelings, until I wrote and published The Transition. Afterwards, women confided similar discord with their own fathers, and somehow that was comforting. Knowing I wasn’t the only one was like being embraced by a big collective online hug.

And I wanted other women and girls to feel the same. I wanted them to know they’re not alone during a holiday that makes us face our dysfunction even more.

That’s why I put this anthology together, and that’s why the eBook released the day before Father’s Day.

Paperbacks can be ordered here.

My Father’s Funeral

father_funeral
Royalty Free

My father’s funeral was hard. It wasn’t because he’d died. It was because I had to endure sixty minutes’ worth of stories that didn’t resemble my own sporadic, dysfunctional experience with him.

I sat there. My youngest daughter draped in a black kimono to my right. My husband dressed in a black suit to my left. My oldest daughter donning a black dress to his left several inches away at the other end of the pew. My stepmother and her daughters sat across the aisle, on the first right pew, catacorner from us. My dad lie in state in front of everyone, his body shriveled from his final days of self-starvation. He wore blue. Later, he would be cremated.

His best friend, Michael had driven one hundred miles from Columbus to Atlanta. We’d talked earlier in the week and he’d already agreed to speak at the ceremony because as he put it, “They don’t know.” I didn’t know who “they” were and what “they” didn’t know, but it seemed that any best friend ought to have insight if his buddy died. I eagerly awaited his stories.

Michael began with his adoration of Daddy. Dudes looked up to him, Michael included. They all grew up in Cabrini Green, one of Chicago’s most famous projects. You know, from Good Times? Friends imitated Daddy’s walk, his talk and his motivation. Daddy had tried out for the Chicago Bears because he showed impeccable athletic skills. As the story is told, not many African Americans made it during that decade.

Michael was right. I didn’t know. I was a part of “they.”

“Tony didn’t curse. We didn’t curse,” Michael continued. And here’s where a lone tear stopped on top of my right cheek and rested there.

Perhaps Daddy didn’t curse in 1962. But by 1989? He did.

He cussed when he told me to “stop acting like such a bitch” to the girlfriend he’d started dating one short week after my mother’s burial. And as much time and space had passed between my sixteen year-old and 42 year-old self, I will never forget how confused and alone it felt to hear him utter those words.

Next up was my stepsister. She praised Daddy’s commitment to her and her two sisters.

“Dad was always giving us advice and,” she could barely get the words out without swallowing and choking on yesterday’s memories, “he was just such a good dad to me and my sisters, and we’re just gonna miss him.”

By this time, my tear ducts were dry.

Daddy was a great father figure and dad to her and her sisters. This was a fact. While he was being super-dad to them, he’d dropped his obligation towards me. That also was a fact. We were all adults when he and my stepmother married. I in my 20s and they in their 30s. But nothing was ever healed between us before he re-married and desired us to be one big happy, blended family. Pain lingered from the time he’d given up his parental rights. Its thick cloud followed me for two decades. And even though I’d semi-healed the situation, a knot of remembrance tightened as I sat and listened to how wonderfully he loved them. It hurt.

I want to tell you about everyone else’s words. But I can’t. I shifted to survival mode. Dwight’s fingers made small circles at the top of my back. My cousins spoke. I wanted to say something, but appropriate words wouldn’t surface. Folks didn’t have time for me to outline our relationship. It seemed useless to say that we’d re-connected the past three years, but only due to his throat cancer. Silence was best.

Someone sang “Goin’ up Yonder” strong enough to elicit a wail from my stepmother and cue gentle hugs from her daughters. My own emotions were wrapped up in that knot and buried at the pit of my stomach. The preacher didn’t know Daddy. They’d just moved to Atlanta a month prior. His demonstrative stance held little meaning. I’d bet money he’d given a similar eulogy at the previous homegoing from where he’d rushed in.

Eventually, it all ended. Everything. The knot began to loosen. My father’s funeral was the grand finale concluding our rollercoaster relationship. All of the memories, good or bad, sealed in the navy blue casket, later to be incinerated. Purged. The energy surrounding our relationship would no longer control me. It really was over this time.