I Love You, Dad

As an adult, as a Haitian-American raised by a pure Haitian father, and as a mother, I can look back on my childhood and see how my father was a human in being a dad. It’s easy for me now to forgive him for the slights that I harbored as a child growing up, and mend the relationship that we had. It’s easy for me NOW to rebuild and repair and have the father that I always wanted. Not many people can say this.

I can’t speak for American parents and how they raise their children, but I could probably write a book on being raised by a Haitian parent. It was not easy. Especially when your father is strict and can only see things his way. I was the first-born for both of my parents; technically, I should’ve been daddy’s little girl. I don’t ever remember having that relationship with my father. I do remember the beatings, the yelling, the name calling. I remember being scared of him. So, it’s easy for me now (and it was then also) to gravitate towards my mother and have that close relationship with her. She loved youth, children, and me. So she treated me with respect- she listened to me when I talked, explained things that I didn’t understand, and had lots of fun with me. She was the “fun” parent.

When I entered high school, my parents divorced, and my mother took my little brother and I; I really didn’t see my dad much. So it went from being scared of him to not ever really seeing him. I had a LOT of daddy issues that surfaced later on in life. When I met the father of my children, had my daughter, got pregnant with my son, and I decided to leave, I didn’t have anywhere to go. My dad’s house was my only option. He let me stay with him, but it was like living with a stranger. I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me. At that time, I was fighting all the time with my children’s father and we had a lot of custody issues going on, so I was always angry or upset. That doesn’t leave for good communication, and I remember that one day I was angry because of something my kid’s dad did to me and I went into the house and I think my dad questioned me about what was wrong and I blew him off. Well, that didn’t sit well with a Haitian man who demands respect, so we argued and yelled at each other and he actually kicked me out (did I mention earlier that I had nowhere else to go and that I was pregnant at the time?). Don’t ask me where I went, I just know that I left. He called my mom and she explained everything to him; he called me and asked me to come back home. A little while later, I was arrested and sent to RCF pending the outcome of my trial.

Something happened when I was at RCF. I’m not sure if it was because my mother told him everything that was going on with me, or if it was because the judge denied my bail and I had no choice but to stay in jail and await the outcome of my trial, or if it was because I was pregnant, but my dad came to that jail every single week and visited me. He held my hand and prayed with (and for) me. We laughed, we joked- we just talked. And we got to know each other. We bonded- I became his baby girl and he became my protector. For those 8 months that I was away from my life and my family, he was my connection. When I was released (by then I had 2 children instead of 1), I moved back into my dad’s house. And this time, things were different. The kids loved him, and I saw his interaction with them. I cooked for him and he cooked for me. We talked. We went out to eat with the kids. We have, by no means, a perfect “father-daughter” relationship, but I now can turn to my father for stuff. I can talk to him. I want him to walk me down the aisle at my wedding. I don’t hate my father anymore; in fact, I actually like his old ass.

Now- I cannot talk about my relationship (or lack thereof) of my dad without acknowledging my stepfather, the guy my mother remarried. He was the dad that I wished I had growing up. I wasn’t his daughter, but he treated me like a princess (and still does today). He spoke to me, advised me, and treated me with respect. He adores my kids, and my son is his best friend. He actually told me that he wouldn’t walk me down the aisle when I was getting married unless my real father was on the other side of me. That’s respect. So, now I have 2 dads. And the love that I felt that I was lacking as a little girl growing up, I now have in abundance.

So now I have 2 children. And, although their father and I don’t always see eye to eye, my children adore him. I hate it! Lol. My daughter is a daddy’s girl to the T, and my son has a new-found love of calling on his father for everything. He’s stealing my babies from me!!!! But I am grateful, because my children don’t have to grow up feeling deprived of love like I did. And, my boyfriend has an amazing relationship with my kids. My son will wake up in the morning and ask to call my bf just to talk to him. He did it this morning. They have so many male figures in their lives to teach them, steer them, guide them, and love them unconditionally. My children are blessed, and I am more than elated about it.

My daddy-daughter relationship didn’t start off the way that I would’ve liked. But I love my father. And my step-father. And I wish them, my children’s father, my boyfriend, and all the  fathers a Happy Father’s Day. And I hope that your family gifts you something other than a watch or a tie. Lol!

Be legendary Kings; be extraordinary Queens!

-tootles!

xoxo

My Fear of Public Speaking

I am pretty sure that many people will find this hard to believe, but I have a huge trepidation for public speaking. It makes me nervous, and I tend to start talking really fast just to hurry up and get the words out. I find this pretty funny because lately I have been hosting networking events, and speaking on grant writing and forming a 501c3 non-profit. In front of large groups of people. By myself. You can see where the anxiety comes in at…

Since a teenager, I’ve always labeled myself an introvert. I would rather stay in the house and watch a movie or sleep than go out and be around a large group of people. Because that notion was ingrained in me, I carried that into my adulthood. So all of the anxieties associated with that has followed as well. When I had my daughter and was venturing back into the working world, my mother made me the PR & Marketing person for her non-profit. Which means that I was the point person who went out to support coordinating agencies and introduced our organization, explained what we did, and which insurances we worked with. Remember when I mentioned that I do not like large crowds? Before I went to the first meeting, I sat in the car and tried to talk myself into it. I had to carry napkins with me to wipe away the extra sweat, take deep threats to keep from having a panic attack, and pray A LOT and ask God to please give me the words to say! My speeches started off being 6 minutes long. I timed them. Seriously. The crazy thing is, within those 6-minute-speeches, we gained most of the clients that we have now. Everyone always thought that I did such an amazing job speaking and explaining everything about the company. In my head, I kept asking “do these people know that I barely gave them any info and told them to basically read our pamphlet?!” I just couldn’t believe the positive feedback that I was getting just from 6 minutes. So, I made the speeches longer. My 6 minute speech turned into 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, etc. And the more I spoke, the more people listened and followed whatever I was explaining. This was the birth of my public speaking alter ego. I think I’ll name her Veronica. Veronica was born in 2014.

Fast forward 4 years and I now own my company. I realized that there was a need for information to be passed around because of the questions that I was being asked in regards to starting a business that I thought everyone knew. So, I put together my first workshop. I was the last person speaking. And, I didn’t mingle around the room like a normal host does. Because I was afraid!!! Lol. What was I supposed to say to these people? How do you have small talk? What is the purpose of small talk? Lord- I am sweating right now just thinking about it! But- the people who attended the workshop LOVED IT!!!! Especially my 10 minute talk on grant writing.   Which prompted me to do a 2nd workshop, except on a much larger scale. And, again, I was the last speaker. Can you guess why? This time I forced myself to do a better job at walking around and talking to people, taking pictures, and being more social. My workshop segment was a lot longer this time around and again, those who attended loved the event. I must say, Veronica has been doing a great job with people! Lol.

Public speaking is extremely scary when you aren’t a people-person. Even more scarier when you’ve taken 5 public speaking classes and STILL have not gotten a handle on it. Lol. But, having a business later ego has helped a lot. Forcing myself to have more events and attend more events has been a help as well. I’m still learning how to ge a great host and keep the crowd engaged, but I think I’m off to a pretty good start.

Be legendary Kings; be extradorinary Queens.

-tootles!

xoxo