*The Greatest Thing About…

On this blog, I spend a lot of time reflecting on my observations about people and society in general. No matter how hard I try, some of these posts might come off a bit negative.

And that’s not fair, really.

People are multidimensional and I certainly wouldn’t like it if I read a blog about all the horrible things someone perceived about me, with little balance.

Because of this, I’m beginning a new category called: The Greatest Thing About… Each month, I’ll blog about someone or something positively…on purpose.

Hope you enjoy!

*Also shared for Debbie’s Forgiving Fridays

 

DADDY CONTRIBUTOR: Charise Kollar

Today, meet Charise Kollar, author of “Marshmallow,” whose story skillfully connects the dots of her relationship with her dad’s relationship with his own father.

1521808695783Why were you inspired to contribute to this book? My ears perked when I heard that this anthology was in the making. I have long used personal journaling to process and heal from the tumultuous memories of my childhood. Granted, most of my personal writing has been positioned from the perspective of a fictional character. I suppose the distant relationship that I formed with my characters helped to reframe the situations in which I was writing about. This anthology contains my first memoir that features my voice as the narrator. I was inspired by this project because I knew that it would be a challenge I needed to take on in order to grow as a writer and as a daughter.

What is your father-daughter relationship like now? Embracing adulthood and physical distance have been the greatest gifts ever bestowed upon my relationship with my father. The physical distance has pushed both of us to spend genuine and meaningful time with one another when we have the ability to do so, mostly because we understand how fleeting these moments are. Time and age have softened my father, while adulthood has provided me with a rational layer to my overbearing empathy. We are learning to “meet in the middle,” I suppose.

If there is one thing you could tell your father what would it be? Years ago, during a rare vulnerable moment between us, I asked my dad, “Are you happy?” He scoffed, stared down at his coffee, and responded, “Yes” without hesitation. I have known this to be a lie, or rather, I have felt that there was more to the conversation than that brief yes. If I could go back, I would tell him that it’s not too late. It’s not too late to live fully and search for his true purpose. Perhaps this will motivate me to reopen the conversation before it does become too late.

If there is one thing you could tell men with daughters what would it be?

Please, for the love of all that is good in the world, please listen. Listen to your daughter, your partner, your siblings, yourself. Listen to the world’s messages. Listen to what is being said and what is not being said. Action limits us if we are neglecting to listen.

What are you working on currently? At the moment, I am immersed with researching and writing about “the ego” and social media involvement, specifically through the lens of body image advocacy. I find that many activists with an online presence utilize their own persona to inspire conversations within their communities, but I am curious as to how beneficial the social media involvement truly is for the individual activist. While I am definitely a supporter of social media as a means of communication, I am finding interest in how much of our involvement is ego-driven verses authentically intentional for the movement.

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetCharise Kollar is an English teacher by trade with a passion for mentoring and igniting a sense of self-awareness in teens. She is the co-founder of the spiritual blog for millennials, Real Talk Universe (realtalkuniverse.com). While she was born in New Jersey, Charise is a self-identified Floridian who has been residing in Tallahassee since 2008.

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.”

Paperback and eBook are available to order TODAY!

CLEARING III

The past two days I’ve written about two ways I’ve gained clarity. One is by protecting my energy and another is by getting to know myself and what my body and soul needs. On today, my actual birthday, I’m sharing my final clearing: relationships.

For decades, I struggled with being in healthy relationships with people. Only a therapist can tell you if these issues were linked to being adopted or being abandoned. What I can tell you for sure is that today, I don’t have those challenges.

Here’s how I gained clarity.

Friendship Matters. You know that Jim Rohn quote, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with? Well, prior to 2014, I was the average of a bunch of very unhappy people. Whether it was their marriage, job, or general dissatisfaction, I’d spent a lot of time in close friendship and kinship with folks who were saddened or angry. While some saw me as grounded, deep inside I knew I was not. Since then, I’ve noticed there was a reason we were great friends. We were actually all in the same boat, just rowing with a different oar.

New Image

Once I began to work on myself by looking in the mirror and choosing to repair childhood issues, some of those relationships began to slough off. I can’t be certain, but sometimes I think your internal growth can make others uncomfortable. They don’t know what to do with it, or you. But you know what else? The relationships that weren’t built on those negative qualities have risen to the top and flourished. I’ve never felt more secure with the people I’ve surrounded myself with in all my adult life. Talking to and meeting with these folks feels like a peaceful ebb and flow, instead of a rant session.

Family Matters. I belong to several sets of families: my mother’s side, my father’s side, my step-family, my husband’s family, and all his subsets. For a very long time, I thought we were obligated to attend functions and visit no matter how we felt or what was going on in our lives. Dwight tried to convince me otherwise, but I didn’t listen. Instead, we had to visit my cousin in North Carolina. We had to take the girls to his aunt’s house in Tampa. We had to drive to Chicago every other year for Christmas. I thought these road trips were required.

But over the decades, I’ve learned family doesn’t always follow the same rules they set for you. I’ve learned they’ll keep driving towards Disney World without stopping to say hello. I’ve also learned that’s okay. Realizing I can only control myself, I’ve created my own rules for familial interaction. If money, time, and energy allow me to show up for events, then I do. If not, then that’s fine. In this way, I’ve released myself (and my family) from the obligation, sans guilt.

wilcoxMarriage Matters. The last relationship, secondary to loving myself, is the one I have with my husband. Once I got super clear about who I was and how I wanted to show up in the world, I also applied this to being married, and subsequently, gained clarity about the type of wife I wanted to be.

For 21 years, people have called Dwight and I “the perfect couple,” or better yet proclaimed, “I want what you all have.” These phrases used to piss me off, primarily because we were far from perfection, and also because of something Dwight frequently says, they don’t know what we have, so how can they want it?

Exactly.

What we had was a struggle some years. But when I decided I wanted my insides to match whatever people thought they saw on the outside, our relationship improved. I won’t take all the credit. I mean it takes two people to relate to one another. Dwight shifted how he interacts as well; however, it still required a bit of self-reflection and determining what’s best for us as individuals, and then deciding how we wanted to be together as a union.

So that’s it good people.

This is how I’ve gained clarity towards a path of a more whole me. Through clearing my energy, getting to know myself, and pruning a few relationships, I can say with confidence that I’m a happier, healthier version of myself.

Have you ever journeyed inward? What was the process? What was the result?

CLEARING I

CLEARING II

DADDY CONTRIBUTOR: LaCharmine (L.A.) Jefferson

Today, meet LaCharmine (L.A.) Jefferson. Her story, “Wrong Number” kicks off the second half of Daddy, where each story moves towards women who want to relate to, forgive, and understand their fathers.  In her narrative, she describes the challenges with maintaining an adult relationship with her dad.

1521808695783Why were you inspired to contribute to this book? I was inspired to contribute to this book because I wanted to share a little-known fact about the complexity of daddy-daughter issues. Growing up with your father in the home does not negate you from having daddy-daughter issues. These issues can occur in the midst of a seemingly normal relationship. A few years ago I purchased a book on the art of personal essay writing. After several brainstorming sessions for topics, I noticed that my dad was coming up a lot. I had “daddy issues.” What’s even stranger than this late revelation is that I adore my dad. I have many fond memories of our time together when I was growing up. But when he and my mother separated after I graduated high school, I encountered a different man, a man far less perfect than he claimed to be. Our relationship became strained.

What is your father-daughter relationship like now? My husband passed away suddenly in a house fire in December 2017. I saw my dad, by chance, the day after at my aunt’s house, who lives two houses down from my sister where I was staying at the time. Over the following weeks and months that followed, my father never extended himself to me to see how I was doing, inquire about where I was living temporarily until my house is repaired. Nothing. “What kind of father does that?” I asked myself multiple times. That only added to the pain I was experiencing from the loss of my husband. After a few weeks of acknowledging my hurt and anger over his inability to put anyone’s feelings above his own, I finally called him to let him know how I was doing. He was glad that I called. I heard it in his voice. At the end of our conversation, he said, “I love you.” I said the same. I was proud of myself that the God in me overcame the temptation of my flesh to sever the relationship with my father. Like I said in my story, he is the only dad that I have.

If there is one thing you could tell women who struggle with “daddy issue” what would it be? Free yourself from the pain by forgiving your father. In Luke 23:34, Jesus set the example when he said to His Father, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do,” when His chosen people hung Him from a cross. Recognize that your father did the best with what he had based on his upbringing. I don’t think it’s possible for a parent not to love their child. However, they can certainly be clueless as to how to show it. Rest in the knowledge that you are loved by the most High God, our Heavenly Father.

If there is one thing you could tell men with daughters what would it be? You are your daughter’s first experience with the love of a man. Whether she wants to or not, she will engage in relationships with men based on her relationship with you, good or bad. Love her unconditionally. Tell her she is beautiful no matter what. Tell her she is the best gift for any man that she shares her time with.

What do you hope your story accomplishes? I hope my story projects the importance of forgiveness. I know it’s cliché, but the act of forgiving really is more for you than it is for the person who hurt you. Harboring un-forgiveness in your heart prevents your from living your best life.

What are you working on currently? I’m in the beginning stages on writing my third fiction novel. So far I’ve written about a woman’s addiction to the wrong man for all the wrong reasons (Unfinished Business) and a married couple doing all the wrong things as they’re attempting to overcome the pain of infidelity in their marriage (Reconciliation to Hell). Now I’m writing about a once loving marriage, seemingly, being divided by one spouse’s budding relationship with God.

lajeffersonLaCharmine (L.A.) Jefferson’s writing can also be found on her blog, Naturally L.A. She is a wife and mother of two. Visit her website for more information.

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.”

The eBook version of Daddy is available now for pre-order!

The paperback version is available for order here.

DADDY CONTRIBUTOR: Ishna Hagan

Unlike The Unhappy Wife book, Daddy is not written by me. This anthology includes stories written by women, who felt it important to publicly re-tell narratives centered on their relationship with their father. Each woman’s purpose is similar, yet different. Every Friday, I invite you to read about their reason why.

Today, meet Ishna Hagan, author of “The Deprivation of a Father’s Love,” which describes the impact of physical and financial abandonment.

1521808695783Why were you inspired to contribute to this book? I like to be onboard with any project Katherin takes on. I know it’ll be good, and she is great at executing and bringing it all together. I also know for her anthology, I could offer an honest story about my and my father’s relationship. Furthermore, I write. Everything fell right into place.

What is your father-daughter relationship like now? My dad and I are cool. I visit him and will take my 3-year-old daughter to see him. I always have a place to stay and food when I’m in town.

If there is one thing you could tell your father what would it be? I wish we were closer.

What do you hope your story accomplishes? I hope fathers do better to be honest. I hope they hear our cry for improvement. Also, I want to encourage women to be conscious of with whom they procreate. It’s a game-changer. (Ask me how I know).

What are you working on currently? I am currently working on my music review website, Just One Thing. Like music? Please visit.

ishnaIshna Hagan creates marketing-driven website copy and e-commerce stores for North American businesses. She is also a published author—most notably for her article “Gulf Residents Protest, Brace Themselves for Effects of Oil Spill” (National Newspaper Association, 2010) and for her WUSA9 online news reports. Ishna has one beautiful daughter and is a proud Howard University graduate.

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. 

The eBook version of Daddy is available now for pre-order!

The paperback version of Daddy is available for order here.

DADDY CONTRIBUTOR: Kotrish Wright

Unlike The Unhappy Wife book, Daddy is not written by me. This anthology includes stories written by women, who felt it important to publicly re-tell narratives centered on their relationship with their father. Each woman’s purpose is similar, yet different. Every Friday, I invite you to read about their reason why.

Today, meet Kotrish Wright, author of “Sunday Punch.”

What is your father-daughter relationship like now? Currently, my father-daughter relationship is manageable.

1521808695783If there is one thing you could tell your father what would it be? Dad, we all have things we have to work on, and not knowing the unknown can be scary, but I believe in you and I forgive you for all the tough moments that transpired between us. I wish you could understand the positive impacts they have had and continue to have on my life.

If there is one thing you could tell women who struggle with “daddy issues” what would it be? Healing and forgiveness are your power tools.

If there is one thing you could tell men with daughters what would it be? Be gentle with your daughter’s heart, be present in all aspects of her life, and ensure you create a healthy space for an authentic relationship to manifest.

What do you hope your story accomplishes? Selfishly, my story has already accomplished liberation from that part of my life. As for others, it is my hope that it encourages those who are suffering in silence to speak up and speak out.

Kotrish Wright is a recent MSW graduate from Florida State University. She was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. She’s also an avid traveler and believes faith, support, and resilience can get you through any storm. Follow her journey at Inspirational Words and Quotes.

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.”

The paperback and eBooks are available for order here.

DADDY CONTRIBUTOR: BB

Unlike The Unhappy Wife book, Daddy is not written by me. This anthology includes stories written by women, who felt it important to publicly re-tell narratives centered on their relationship with their father. Each woman’s purpose is similar, yet different. Every Friday, I invite you to read about their reason why.

Today, please meet BB, author of “Abandoned at Breakfast.” Her story outlines the fear of repeating family patterns.

1521808695783Why were you inspired to contribute to this book? I was told about this writing opportunity during a time of healing and self-reflection. At the time, I was looking at the relationships around me to see how they affected me, and how they contributed to the old wounds and the emotional baggage I was carrying. Reaching a point of self-awareness helped me to realize that I was still hurt by the broken relationship between my father and me. I quickly saw how my broken relationship with daddy affected my perception of myself, and ultimately spilled over into other relationships. So, not only would my contribution provide me with a sense of healing, but it would allow me to share my story with other women who could relate.

What is your father-daughter relationship like now? Our relationship is positively progressing. We talk or text at least once a week, and we see each other once a year. However, I can admit that there are awkward moments of uncertainty, at least on my end. I don’t doubt his intentions or his desire to rebuild our relationship, but sometimes I find it challenging to establish an authentic connection beyond the surface level. I often wonder if it’s possible to get past the “hey, how’s your week going” conversations.

If there is one thing you could tell women who struggle with “daddy issues” what would it be? “We are all human.” I say that statement with the most empathy and sincerity that I have. Some women have experienced the unthinkable with their fathers, and I would never discount that. When it came to my particular experience with my father, I heard bits and pieces about the things he struggled with during his childhood. Once I moved past anger and reached a place of healing, I was able to feel for who he was at that time.

If there is one thing you could tell men with daughters what would it be? I would emphasize to fathers that they are the first man from which their daughters receive love. Oftentimes, she will base her sense of self-worth and perception of other men on the experience she has with her father. Material possessions are nice, but nothing can replace the love and security that is felt when a father is fully present in his daughter’s life. She needs you.

What are you working on currently? I am working on my first children’s book. As we get older, we sometimes forget what it feels like to use our imagination. Creating a book for kids allows me to escape reality while spreading a message of love and positivity.

BBBB is a writer, mentor, and customer-focused pro, tirelessly devoted to serving others through words, influence, and good deeds. She’s a woman who takes pride in her roles as wife, mother, daughter, and sister. She dreams of living in a world of endless pancakes where women realize their self-worth.

 

The eBook version of Daddy is available for pre-order now!

Paperback version is available for order here.

DADDY CONTRIBUTOR: Anna Scott

Unlike The Unhappy Wife book, Daddy is not written by me. This anthology includes stories written by women, who felt it important to publicly re-tell narratives centered on their relationship with their father. Each woman’s purpose is similar, yet different. Every Friday, I invite you to read about their reason why.

Today, please meet Anna Scott, author of “The Thing About My Father.”

Why were you inspired to contribute to this book? When Kathy invited me to submit an essay about my relationship with my father for consideration in Daddy, I knew this was a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work through the myriad emotions I felt toward him in what I hoped was a healthy, constructive way. One of my greatest concerns while writing this piece was making sure that my intentions for doing so were clean. By that, I mean that I didn’t want to write out of anger or to be vindictive. I wanted to write to share my truth about our relationship, as I saw it, and in the process, try to heal and move on. Writing this was cathartic in the sense that, while I didn’t have any epiphanies or learn anything I didn’t already know deep down, I was able to release the expectations associated with our relationship. Somehow the process of putting pen to paper and being able to look at the relationship objectively, through an author’s eyes, transferred that energy out of me.

What is your father-daughter relationship like now? Nothing has changed on the surface. Our relationship is still superficial, kind of like that between a niece and an uncle she sees a few times a year. What has changed is that this no longer upsets me. Once I accepted that my father doesn’t get it and never will, I stopped taking his behavior personally. This has made a tremendous difference in my sense of self-worth and esteem. Also, I no longer feel an obligation to make effort with him.

If there is one thing you could tell women who struggle with “daddy issues” what would it be? I would tell them that they are worthy, lovable, and significant regardless of whether their father values them or not. I would tell them to be kind, loving, and forgiving to themselves. I would also tell them to be mindful of the men they invite into their lives so that they are not unconsciously trying to work out their “daddy issues” through unhealthy romantic relationships. It is better to be alone than with someone who doesn’t value you.

1521808695783What do you hope your story accomplishes? There are two things I hope to accomplish with my story. The first is that it might encourage women to stop feeling guilty and afraid to speak their truth to and about their fathers. This is tough, I know, because The Bible tells us to honor our father, and so it seems the burden of guilt falls on us, the daughters, no matter how deplorable our fathers might be. Family members may try to make us feel guilty for speaking out, even if they know full well our father has hurt us in some way. Society overall might judge and condemn us. Even so, it is our right to speak our truth, as we see it and feel it. A wise woman once shared something that I still refer to whenever I am questioning my feelings about someone or something: “I know what I know. I see what I see. I feel what I feel.” Don’t let anyone invalidate your feelings in the name of “honoring” your father if said father is an asshole. The second thing I hope to accomplish is that women will realize they should not take their father’s behavior toward them – whether it is rejection, cruelty, abandonment or something else – personally. Again, this is tough, because fathers are supposed to love and protect and adore their daughters, and when they don’t, it hurts. Try not to internalize the pain. It is his ignorance, selfishness, fear, self-loathing, etc. that causes him to behave the way he does. In the end, blowing the opportunity to have an authentic, loving, healthy relationship with his daughter is his responsibility and loss far more than anyone else’s.

What are you working on currently? Currently, I’m working on a historical romance novel set in 1930 Newport, RI. It’s about a young woman trying to hold her family together after her father loses his fortune and his mind in the 1929 stock market crash, who falls in love with the businessman sent to try and purchase their summer cottage for a steal. Recently, I submitted to Harlequin a 75,000-word historical romance. It is the first novel I have ever completed, and I didn’t show it to a soul before submitting it. This was a bucket list goal for me. Three months later, I received a rejection; however, it was accompanied by an extensive constructive critique by the editors that told me what they had enjoyed about it and what they felt needed improvement should I choose to submit again. I was so encouraged by the feedback that I am back to work on this new novel and plan to try again.

Anna Scott believes in the power of writing our stories to facilitate healing and personal growth. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and the family cat. “The Thing About My Father” is her first published personal essay.

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.”

The eBook version of Daddy is available for pre-order now!

Paperback is available for order here.

 

DADDY CONTRIBUTOR: Varina Price

1521808695783Unlike The Unhappy Wife book, Daddy is not written by me. This anthology includes stories written by women, who felt it important to publicly re-tell narratives centered on their relationship with their father. Each woman’s purpose is similar, yet different. Every Friday, I invite you to read about their reason why.

Today, please meet Varina Price, author of “A Letter to My Father,” which includes the actual letter she wrote to her dad.

Why were you inspired to contribute to this book? I wrote a letter to my father one year in hopes to reconcile a neglected relationship. A year later, with no response, I still needed to vent, I needed someone to hear my agony, so I blogged about it. I wanted women and girls to know they were not alone, that the pain they suffered, the feeling of abandonment was not their fault.

What is your father-daughter relationship like now? Until this day I have no father-daughter relationship. I have chosen to not indulge any more time into something I cannot change. I cannot change the way he feels about me, and I cannot force a relationship from someone who cannot find the time to invest.

If there is one thing you could tell your father what would it be? It would be exactly what I wrote in the letter. At this time, I don’t think there would be much to say. Too much time has passed; too much pain has been experienced.

If there is one thing you could tell men with daughters what would it be?

Anyone who is a father or expecting a daughter, I would tell him to create a trusting bond with her. Make memories, take plenty of pictures, and illuminate a relationship, which she can build a foundation on that will demonstrate how men should treat her.

What are you working on currently? I’m focusing on school right now.

Varina Price was born in Fresno, California. She holds a degree in public health from National University and is currently completing nursing school. She is married to Nicholas Price and is mother to Aaron Peraza, Bryce Peraza, Noah Peraza, and Brayden Price.

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.”

The eBook version of Daddy is available now for pre-order.

Paperback is available for order here.

Monday Notes: Some People

img_6288Some people will only call; they’ll never visit. Hearing the sound of your voice is enough to fill thousands of miles between.

Some people will only text; they’ll never call. lolz, emoji smiles, and gifs are enough to remind them of the place you hold in their hearts.

Some people will only check social media to determine your well-being; they’ll never text. Reading about your last coffee house visit or your latest societal gripe is good enough to know you still exist.

Some people will allow you to fade into a distant memory, assigning your time together as a seasonal happenstance, relegating your relationship to a blip on life’s journey.

Most will do what they want to maintain a relationship. Who are you? What’s your relationship style?