Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We Nearly Lost Her

My best friend nearly died giving life to her healthy, happy daughter.

Millions of women give birth every single day without complications—but for Chelle, whoever’s above or us below had other plans.

She lost so much blood. Her brain swelled. She went unconscious. For one tumultuous week the doctors were unsure if she’d live, and even if she did she would suffer significant brain damage.

Of course, like the champ she is, she lived. But even as we speak she’s in intense physical therapy. She has to learn how to use her arms, hands, feet, and feed herself all over again. Her short-term goal was to see, hold and raise her baby.  Nearly a month after having her child, she finally was able to do so.

Can you imagine?

We’re talking about a 27-year-old vibrant black woman. She was voted intern of the year, she just completed her master’s.

She’s a woman, who was so excited about the next stage in her life. Bringing her daughter in this world, her love.

When I received the news my world was flipped upside down. Every sense of security I had vanished. I heard about things of this nature happening to others but rarely does it hit this close to home.

As soon as I could muscle up the money to purchase a plane ticket, I went to visit her in Los Angeles.

I just needed to be there. 

I thought I was going to lose her without being able to tell her how much I love her.

I needed her to know that I am always there, even when I am not. I was horrified at the thought of her daughter growing up and not knowing whom I am.

I spent three days visiting her, keeping her company, and enjoying those moments. Like old times, we laughed, exchanged gossip, and gave recent updates.

High blood pressure was the culprit behind all of Chelle's pain and suffering.

Chelle’s experience taught me one important lesson—we are not promised tomorrow.

Although the saying was drilled into me when I was younger, realizing my best friend was on the verge of leaving us young—etched it in my soul.

 Everyday I lived my life looking forward and rarely savoring the moments of today. Recently I decided I want to cherish my moments. 

Sometimes we take too much on. School, work, family, and relationships—should all be healthy.

This month I took the time to clean out my mental closet. Those who cause excess drama in my life I let them float on into the distance. I let other people’s problems be THEIR problems.

Many of us carry the weight of things we don’t even need to carry.  We worry about things we can’t control.  The remnants of such things show up in our health—we gain tons of weight, we lose tons of weight, and we experience anxiety attacks. Some of us get depressed, or easily agitated.

It’s not worth it.

There are beautiful things in life, live them.  

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Best Father Around

Being fatherless, in my opinion, does not mean growing up in a single parent household. To me fatherlessness, means exactly that, there is an absence of a father. If your father was never home, had an addiction that devastated your family then to me you’re qualified to say you’re fatherless.  Or, like in the case of so many of us, our fathers were rarely or never there.

All I ever wanted from my dad was for him to call me on my birthday.

Out of all the days in the year, I believed his daughter’s birthday would be one that he’d never forget. Yet, he managed to “forget” year, after year, after year.

Due to my father’s absence I, like so many other women, was born with baggage.

I suffer from an unbalanced mistrust of men.
I can smell a no good dude a mile away.
But, I can’t always detect a good quality man. 

Like many of life’s wounds, I am slowly healing-- learning to let go, and let live.

My experiences have led me to strongly believe that all little girls need daddies.

Daughters often feel the absence of their fathers deeply. Angel Taylor belted these heartfelt words in a song about her father…

He took everything from us,
but he let us keep our fear.
He robbed the little picture called a family,
taken long ago, went away for so many years.

And it was as though
he took joy in listening to our tears.
And he would never apologize,
cause his pride was blinding.
Angel Taylor, Best Father Around, Album: Love Travels

…while Chrisette Michele sung these words to her dad, in her song “Your Joy.”

Cause no one loves me just like you do
And no one knows me just like you do
No one can compare to the way my eyes fit in yours
You'll always be my father
And I'll always be your joy

These are two different songs, two different messages, but their feelings for their fathers whether negative or positive are deep.

No matter what anyone says, fathers teach women two important things that a mother cannot teach their daughters.

  1. How to treat a man
  2. How a man should treat a woman

Fathers teach their daughters what men want by showing them their daily activities. Simple things like, knowing when your father comes home, he wants a little time for himself.  Or when the game is on, don’t bother him. We also learn from watching them interact with other people.

They teach us how we should be treated—that we shouldn’t be cheated on, lied to, or beat on. They teach us that a man’s love isn’t demonstrated by sex.

Teacher, teacher, please reach those girls in them videos
The little girls just broken Queens, confusing bling for soul
Danger, there's danger when you take off your clothes…
~Janelle Monae, Sincerely Jane, Metropolis: The Chase Suite

So many girls grow up not knowing who they are. Fathers help you learn your value. To them you’re the ultimate prize, and they teach you that.

Fathers protect their daughters­­– they may even be over protective. Not every guy is good enough for daddies little girl, and they’re right.

Just any guy should not be good enough for us—though we often forget that at times.

Fatherless daughters can’t learn these things from their mothers alone.

I was lucky because my grandfather really stepped up and he showed me most of those things. He taught me my worth, which is more than enough.

So what do you think? Do little girls need their daddies? Are there voids that daddies can fill that mommies cannot?  How has your relationship with your father impacted your life both positively and negatively? If you grew up fatherless, do feel you have emotional scars from his absence?