Dear Mr. Tease,
I know I could easily pick up the phone to call or text you and say what I’m about to say, but there are a lot of boys and girls who look like me that don’t have someone like you in their lives so I decided to share this publically with the hope of showing people what it means to really love someone the way you love me.
I’ve always felt loved by my family. It’s been empowering. I’m learning not everyone has that. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
So here goes…
Yesterday, I was having a terrible day. I was preparing to have a really important conversation, and from the moment I woke up it seemed like the world was doing its best to knock me off my game. The details of what would be discussed aren’t important. Just know it was about something I didn’t just want, but something I felt I needed.
On days like today when I’m in a bad place, I know that I can call on you for your “dad advice” and right on cue, you delivered. The joke was that the world needs more L.T.D. (Love, Togetherness, and Dedication). As a child of the ’70s, you encouraged me to listen to The Gap Band - Yearning For Your Love. Especially the first line. I laughed when Jeffery Osborne opened the song by saying, “The time has come for us to stop messing around…”
[Side note - L.T.D. is also the name of a ‘70s funk band. This was a double entendre, which made me smile… my dad is super silly.]
Isn’t funny how a little love can help lift a person’s day? That 10-minute conversation was enough to help me snap out of my funk. Unfortunately, the feeling was short lived.
Long story short, the meeting flopped leaving me feeling extremely disappointed. I’ll be honest. I was hurt, angry, and frustrated. I normally suppress these feelings when they bubble up, but not this time. I gave myself the time and space to just sit with them. To acknowledge their presence. And to really know what it’s like to feel them. My challenge now is to learn how to let them go. But thanks to you and my mom, I know what love feels like. Growing up with love helped me realize that despite feeling hurt, love heals and prevails over all.
But just because I’ve decided to let go of the pain doesn’t mean that I’m going to just sit back and be OK with the outcome. Remember my days playing football in high school? I was clearly one of the most talented players on the team but struggled to get playing time. We had so many morning car rides where I would share the same hurt and frustration I feel now, and you always had the right thing to say to help me channel that negative energy into something constructive.
Now that I’m an adult, I have to commend you for helping to shape my mentality. Instead of staying down and depressed, I’ve got my headphones on listening to Blueprint 2 era Jay-Z. This is a time when Hov was clearly head and shoulders above his competition and is motivating me to put in work to prove my naysayers wrong. You and I have always bonded over music so let me direct you to a line from Some People Hate that’s fueling me right now:
Raw, rough and rugged when addressing the public
My attitude like f*** it cus MF’ers love it
I gotta chip on my shoulder the size of a golden nugget
In Vegas and f**k being famous, I came to get the butters
I could stay mad. I could shut down. I could spew hate. But instead, I’ve never been more motivated to spread love. The same love that has been given to me throughout my childhood.
I am looking forward to the day when I can share this story on a major platform and help boys and girls around the world understand what love can do for you. Remember when I would break a long run or score a touchdown? I would put my peace sign over my number 2 jersey as my way of saying, “I love you” while you were watching in the stands. It will be a lot like that.
“I put my hand on my heart, that means that I feel ya. Real recognize real, and you lookin’ familiar”
- Jay-Z, All Around The World