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Putting the CL on that ASS!

A Bernie's Daughter Thing

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parenthood

That Mother Wound is A Mutha!

Happy Friday and Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms! For many of us, it’s a wonderful day because it gives us a chance to celebrate our favorite women: Our moms! For others of us, it’s not as wonderful because mom is or was absent–physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or e) all of the above. Mother’s Day can be a reminder that mom was the first person to betray us, disappoint us, hurt us. And what do you do when that happens? What do you do when mom is not the safe place we think mother’s ought to be?

As Mother’s Day approaches, I am hearing more frequently the phrase, “Love your Mother because you only get one.” Actually, I hear the phrase a lot in every day conversation. While I understand the sentiment, sometimes I think this phrase is used to give mothers a pass. Yes, there are some good and great mothers who love, protect, nurture and guide their children to the best of their abilities. But there are also some mothers who are not; and we fail to acknowledge that. Some mothers are cold, heartless, cruel, and unloving toward their children. In the case of the latter, it is not enough to tell the children, “Love your Mother because you only get one.” While I believe in offering Love to all, I also believe you have to accept people for who they are. Not every woman who carries and births a child is capable of being a true Mother. So to those who await Mother’s Day with dread because their Mother is not, or was not a loving Mother, I offer my love and encouragement. I hope that you are able to find the Love that you feel you missed from your Mother–because after all, it really isn’t missing. Like Dorothy in the wondrous land of Oz, it’s been in you the whole time.

I love you and wish you well today and always!

Power in Empowerment

Happy Friday! It’s almost Spring and I’m happy about that. It’s a time for rebirth and I have to be honest and say I am excited about the process of rebirth taking place in my life. Life is all about cycles. We’re in a constant cycle of birth, death, rebirth. It took me a while to get comfortable with that. And now that I’m at that place of comfortability, I embrace each stage. I’ve learned that I had to get to the space of standing in my own power in order to embrace each cycle. I have been a very passive person in my life. I was just idly riding along the train of Life. And then would have the nerve to get peeved when I didn’t like the destination. I had some nerve, didn’t I? But I’ve learned what it means to be empowered. It means getting clear on what I want and making the choices that will aid me to getting what I want. Even more, it means accepting the consequences of my choices. It’s not about raging against a machine, or trying to prove a point to anyone else. That’s not empowered living. Well, at least not to me. See, at another point in my life, I wouldn’t have been empowered by sharing this video because I would have been too busy posting it in the hope that you would agree with me, like me or affirm me. It’s different today. While I would appreciate if you affirmed me or agreed with me, and I would be grateful if you liked me, I don’t need you to. I’m ok just as I am. I’m ok if you watch today’s video and feel like it just didn’t vibe with you and you left this space thinking I missed the mark today. That’s empowerment, baby; and I like it! I like it a lot!

The Struggle is Real . . . Or Is It?

The more I mature, the less I gravitate towards the idea of struggle. Now I know we live in a world that expects, and to a certain extent, respects—glorifies even, the struggle. I mean, it’s become a pop catch phrase: The struggle is real. Really real. We hear it in every day language: “You have to pay your dues.” “Nothing good comes easy.” “Hard work is the key to success.” Yet none of those things actually mean that struggle need be involved. Hard work doesn’t have to involve struggle. Paying your dues doesn’t mean you have to struggle before something works in your favor.

The word struggle means to contend with an adversary or opposing force; or to advance with violent effort. Now I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound very pleasant to me. It actually sounds like it should be avoided. But somehow, we live in a world that actually respects a struggle. We love a story of struggle. It’s what we respect. And it doesn’t matter the area in which it lies. The athlete who overcame all the odds. The entrepreneur who struck it rich after facing foreclosure and bankruptcy. The woman who finally found love after being dogged and abused. It’s what we love! They overcame their struggles! Which is why we diminish the ones we feel didn’t struggle for it. The millionaire who we know inherited money, even if that trust fund baby used their money wisely to make more millions? Nah. Not so much. After all, they didn’t really do anything.

Years ago, when my father’s career was taking off, he sat me down and talked with me about the idea of struggle. He said to me,

“I need you to understand something. You are about to be hated. You’re going to be hated for no reason other than the fact that you’re mine. People will look at you and only know that you’re mine. And from that they will conclude that you’ve had it too easy. See me? They respect me because I started from nothing and built this. But you? Not you. You they will hate. They will talk about you. And they will do it because I take good care of you.” He went on to say, “The crazy thing is, if I don’t take good care of you, they’ll talk about me and say, ‘That’s a damn shame Bernie Mac don’t take care of his daughter.’ And that just shows you how crazy people are. But no matter what, nothing you do will be good enough. Because to the world, you didn’t have to work hard enough for it. You didn’t earn it.”

I’ll admit that at the time, I thought he was crazy. I had a somewhat Pollyana-esque view on life. I loved everybody and everything and just thought everyone else did too. But experience has shown me that my father may have known what he was talking about. Now, I’d probably never admit this if he were alive. However, that’s another experience that has changed me a bit. I don’t have a problem admitting today that he may have been right. And I know everyone doesn’t think this way. But I’ve encountered more than my fair share of people—including some relatives—who have this view that I’ve had it easy because my father is who he is. Those people have deemed me a spoiled brat who has never wanted for anything. That’s not the case. I’ve had my share of struggles. I’ve experienced heart ache. I’ve lost out on jobs. I’ve had my very own Judas’ who have stabbed me in the back. I’ve had money problems because let’s face it, my father was famous and rich; I wasn’t, and currently am not.

And even as I say that, I know there are people who will still think, “Oh please! Cry me river.” Well I can’t. I’m currently dehydrated. So there! (wink). Anyhoo, my point is that this notion of struggle is something I can’t get with. As I think over the struggles in my life, I must admit that I played a major part in each one. And perhaps I wouldn’t have struggled so much if I’d made the simple choice to swim with my obstacle instead of choosing to swim against it.

My dad finished our talk by saying,

“People love a ghetto story. And the fact is that we all have a ghetto story. Every person in the world has had their share of problems that they overcame. Overcoming the problems doesn’t have to be their whole life. So don’t you worry about what anyone else says. You have worked hard. And you know something? You will continue to work hard. That’s what will get you to whatever you want.”

My dad was a very wise man.  And while we didn’t always agree when he was here, we can definitely agree on this. Hard work is essential to get what I want in life; be it career, relationships, money, and spiritual enlightenment. I’m going to need to discipline myself, and work for it. But that work doesn’t mean I have to struggle. And I may have some challenges along the way. But again, challenges don’t have to mean struggle. And while I’m at it, let me just ask a few questions. Why is it easier to believe that the good you want can’t come with ease? Why must it come by scraping your knuckles against the concrete? And why must it be deemed less valuable if it doesn’t come complete with the struggle?

My soul rejects the idea that I must struggle for the life that I want. I believe in a benevolent, loving God/Universe/Creator (call it whatever you want). I believe that I am a Divine being created for greatness. While I have faced many challenges in my life, and know that I will face more; I recognize that the challenges didn’t necessarily have to be a struggle. Had I not resisted, but instead simply accepted the challenges, my life would have flowed so much more easily than it had. I know that in the future, if I simply ebb and flow with the tides, the future challenges won’t be a struggle. Believe what you will, but I for one believe that life is much more simple than we make it. I know that simple and easy aren’t necessarily synonymous, but life not being easy is still not equivalent to life needs to involve struggle. But that’s just me.

Daddy’s Little Girl

People love to ask me what it was like growing up with Bernie Mac as my father.  I still don’t really know how to answer that question.  It’s all that I know.  He was Daddy.  And while his story seems quite extraordinary to some, life with him seemed quite ordinary to me. I will say that it wasn’t anywhere near as hilarious as others seem to think it was. Don’t get me wrong. We laughed a lot. I mean, he was just a naturally funny guy and he had a great sense of humor. He passed it along. However, he took his responsibility as a father very seriously. And as his daughter, I can tell you that fatherhood, as far as he was concerned, was no laughing matter.

I tell people often that my father and I were soul mates.  I know that the popular idea of soul mates lies in the romantic.  However, I’ve always believed that a soul mate is that person whose connection with you is unparalleled.  Your soul mate is the person (or persons) who are there to reflect you in your truest essence. They challenge you in the most life changing ways. That was my father for me, and I him.  We were mirror images of one another.  While I wouldn’t admit it when he was alive, I proudly say today that we knew and understood one another better than anyone.  There were things we just “got” about one another.  The flip side to that is that we also had the super power of being able to drive the other crazy.

People ask, “What do you miss most about your dad?” It makes me laugh now, but the truth is, I miss the way he got on my nerves.  And he did get on my nerves.  About 90% of the 100 billion estimated ones I have in my human body!  Hearing that may sound odd to you, but it’s a comforting truth for me.  Oddly enough, it’s not the tender moments I miss most.  I miss his idiosynchrasies, his bad habits.  I miss the little picadillos that made him Daddy.

I found one of my old journals that I kept as a child.  I had to have been about 10 or 11 years old when I wrote in the journal.  Almost every entry is about how much he got on my nerves and how I will never, ever, ever be like him.  Now, those who know me well can appreciate the humor of this.  I am like my father.  Always have been.  In fact, I think I was the last person in my life to recognize it!  I’ve known one of my best friend since we were 4 years old.  We’ve never had an argument.  We were about 14 the one time we came close to blows, and it was because she told me that I was like my father.

This is yet another thing I wouldn’t admit because a large part of me felt like he was larger than life.  My dad was a superhero in my eyes.  He was able to do the impossible.  Hey, he took us from true rags to riches, so why wouldn’t I believe that?  I never believed I had that ability.  But, I also wouldn’t let him know that.  No, I would say the opposite of whatever he said. If he said “Up,” I went down. If he said, “It’s going to rain,” I said “I see nothing but sunshine.” He was intuitive and very strong with his intuition. So he was right a lot. I mean a lot, a lot. He could tell you what you would do before you even thought about the act. And I’m not ashamed to tell you that I just got tired of him being right all the time. So yep, I was contrary on purpose just to prove him wrong. You probably don’t need me to tell you that it didn’t work out very well for me.

Again, these are things that I laugh about now.  But the truth is, as much as I resisted my true self (which is so much like my dad), I’m appreciative of it now.  I like that we are so much alike. I think my father was a wonderful human being and I’m proud to say that I know him. So here’s a brief list of some of the traits that we have in common.

We’re both extremely stubborn. I mean for real, for real. We will hold our stance forever. You’ll get tired before we do.

We’re both humanitarians and care takers. We’re the one in our circle who takes care of everyone. The unfortunate thing is that we both do so to the detriment of our own selves because we get so busy taking care of everyone else that we forget to take care of ourselves.

We both have a very, ahem . . . colorful . . . vocabulary. Now this one is really funny to me because I was timid about cursing until he died.  Once he did, it was as if a part of him fused into my soul and brought his vocabulary stash with it!

We’re both natural leaders.  We’re not interested in following a crowd.  In fact, we’re more inclined to intentionally go in the opposite direction of everyone else.

We’re both very sensitive. This may shock some, but it is indeed true that the MacMan was very sensitive. He cared a lot about what others thought of him. He just had a great poker face to throw you off the scent of his sensitivity. I, on the other hand, never developed the poker face. Yet, I am just as sensitive–if not even more. Now, we’ll still go on to do whatever we want and leave you feeling like we don’t care, but we do.

I miss my dad. I miss him every single moment of every day. For so long I expected this almost magic day to arrive where I would be over his passing. I finally realized that there is no such day. You never get over it. You just get through it. I can honestly say that I’m through the grief, but I still miss him. I like thinking of him fondly. And I don’t wish to martyr him. Yes he was a great man. But he was also flawed. But the beautiful thing about maturity is that you learn to appreciate the people in your life for who they are instead of who you wish they were. And I appreciate my dad so much for who he is and was. It is said that children go through three stages when it comes to their view of their parents. They begin by idolizing their parents. I am no exception. I idolized my dad. I was in love with him. I idolized him so much that I pitied any man who wasn’t like him. I actually thought that any man who didn’t physically resemble him had some type of deformity. My grandfather’s and my father’s friends were the only exceptions.

It’s said after idolization, children then judge their parents. I can admit that I did judge my father. I judged him for things he did and things he didn’t do. For a long time I felt that he was too hard on me. I felt that he didn’t give me everything I needed from him. It would take me maturing and learning to see him as a man, apart from being just my dad to understand that he did the best he could. He did his best to instill in me the values he believed would help me succeed in life. He didn’t know how to be soft. He only knew how to be hard–even his soft was hard. But it was well intentioned. It was covered with love. And I appreciate that.

People ask me am I proud of my dad. I understand that for many who ask, their question is rooted in his celebrity. The truth is yes, I am quite proud of my dad. But not necessarily because of his fame. I’m proud that my father, without having his father in his life, chose to honor his actions and marry my pregnant mother at the tender age of 19. I’m proud that he remained in our home, leading us as best as he could. I’m proud that he had the courage to dare to dream (a huge dream). But more than just dream, he took the steps to make his dream come true–in spite of the many naysayers. I’m proud that at the height of his celebrity, he held fast to his values and never allowed anyone or anything to deter him from that path. I’m proud that while he may not have been able to soften up for me, he was able to give me everything he had. So I guess that means I’m in the final stage, which is acceptance. I’m proud to say he didn’t have to die for me to reach that stage. I was there long before.

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