“I Swear I Don’t Have Daddy Issues.”
“You know you say that a lot, right?”
A friend had just taken me out to cheer me up after work, and insisted on both seeing me home and walking on the street side of the sidewalk. I made a quip about him not having to and he said he did, because that’s what men did and that’s what his father taught him. “Of course I knew that, my dad took me out all the time” I scoffed, rolling my eyes.
Awkward silence punctuated the rest of our walk home.
I don’t have cable, but when I did I’d catch “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” -much to my ex’s chagrin. “Why on earth” was a weekly question as he rolled his eyes and indulged my guilty pleasure. I always answered the same-“because regardless of how f**ked up they are, you cannot break that family”. And it is true. Once you’re in, you’re family for life (ask Adrienne Bailon). If you’re not, well…you’re Scott Disick. And if you came from a…not-so-tightly-knit family like mine, it is like watching aliens exist. Shoot, those girls had two fathers- mine struggled with a consistent male figure. I watched them all cuddle at the end of every episode with equal amounts of bewilderment and envy. And I could explain this to no one, as I must be the only person who felt that way.
That is, until I saw the Khloe & Lamar Wedding Special.
People love throwing around words like “simp” when on the outside looking into other people’s relationships and what husbands will do for their wives. So when I heard the rumors that Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter had changed his name to “Carter-Knowles” I waited for the simp-storm on social media. While people argue it was all part of their grand scheme to take over the world, I beg to differ.
When the rumors first started that long-time family friend Kanye West had developed a romantic relationship with a member of the Kardashian Klan, my friends furiously voiced their displeasure. Words like “golddigger” (her) and “attention-whore” (him) were thrown around. While I knew it was no match made in heaven, to me it made all the sense in the world.
Regardless of how I access TV these days, I deliberately missed the Oprah/Rih Rih sit-down on the OWN Network. The previews were all I needed to see. I saw my own face staring back at me on the TV screen, crying about how ‘protective’ I felt about my ex, how no one saw the help he needed, no one cared that he wasn’t a “monster”. I knew everyone would say she was suffering from “battered woman syndrome”. I knew she wasn’t.
She was “protecting” the first “real” family unit she’s ever had.
See, here’s the thing- if you have never come from a fractured family, you may not get it. There’s this “come to Jesus” moment we all have when we encounter a big, close-knit family. It’s like when an inner-city kid comes face-to-face with a rich family for the first time ever- you had no idea that people actually lived like that, at least not in real life anyway. Suddenly everything you thought was ‘normal’..isn’t. And once you’ve had a taste of ‘real family’, you will do anything to keep it around.
Like put up with abuse.
Or change your last name.
Or stay in a loveless relationship.
Or marry a Kardashian.
See it made complete sense to me that Lamar Odom, for whom “fractured” would be a compliment to describe his family, to fall instantly and completely in love with not just Khloe, but the entire concept of the Jenner-Kardashian Clan. Or for West, recently orphaned himself, to find his way in. Or for Shawn to gradually absorb more of the Knowles clan into himself. Or for two kids lost in a similar sea of pain to become each other’s life raft, no matter how unhealthy the pairing. That sense of belonging to something complete, the feeling of not having to ‘make up’ for something that is missing, being part of a whole instead of just being the better part, a love born because and not in spite of …if you have not had it, when you do, you will ferociously fight to keep it. Against your better judgment, common sense, any feasible logic. Because that’s what you do for ‘family’. At least that’s what you think family does. You don’t know, so you can’t really say.
We finally made it to my door, where I got my customary sendoff of a hug and a mush of my hair. “Hey,” he said. “So..you think maybe you do have a daddy issue or two?”
“Nah. I have family issues.”
“I don’t get it.”
“I hope you never do.”
I’m not saying anything, really. Just Musing.