The REALationship With Your Parents | Crooked Media
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July 08, 2022
The REALationship With Your Parents

In This Episode

What does it even mean to have a healthy relationship with your parents? How does your relationship with your parents  play a role on who you are ? The ladies of Imani State of Mind navigate this complex and at times difficult process of creating a REALationship with your parents.

We would love to hear from you! Please email us at AskDrImani@crooked.com with all your questions and comments!

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Welcome to Imani State of Mind, a podcast about mental health, culture, politics and whatever else I think you need to know. I’m Dr. Imani Walker, and you may know me from Married to Medicine, Los Angeles or my YouTube series, Mother and Daughter with my mother, of course. I am a working psychiatrist in the city of Los Angeles. But most importantly, I’m a mother, a daughter and a Black woman living in America. During the current state of the world I know we’re all searching for ways to protect our peace and mental health. I want to make sure everyone has a place and a space to help with both. So I am a psychiatrist, as I said. And one of the reasons I really got into psychiatry is because I have mental health issues myself. I have been diagnosed with major depression. I have anxiety disorder. I have premenstrual dysphoric disorder. And I just want to big up Prozac real quick, because it’s been keeping my uh my mental state sane. And I also TMI. But we’re going to get into TMI, this whole show. Um. I actually have uh IBS. And so all of those diagnoses actually are regulated to a very strong in a strong way with serotonin. And so I take Prozac to basically help calm all that down and I feel great. So that’s a little bit about me. I really do hope that this show can be a resource for all you guys listening to help figure out how to navigate your own journey. If you don’t know, you’re going to find out really quickly that I’m not your average psychiatrist and this is not going to be your typical mental health show. We’re going to laugh. We’re going to keep it really real. And we’re going to learn how to better protect your mental state. And because everything in life is so much more fun with a partner. I want to introduce you to my co-host and copilot on the podcast. Megan Thomas. What’s up, Meg? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Hey, girl. Hey. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Hey! 

 

MegScoop Thomas: How are you doing? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I’m good. How are you? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Good. Over here just uh finished pumping this baby juice out of my breastess’s– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Breasticles. [laugh]

 

MegScoop Thomas: Uh because uh yeah my breasticles, since you know I got a, a newborn. And I will tell you, this is a job in itself. Okay? Somebody need to pay me for this. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: For sure. [laughing]

 

MegScoop Thomas: No, I’m doing good, though. Um. Happy to be here. Thanks for having me. You know, this is actually really great for my mental health. Um. I had well, as I mentioned before, I’ve had uh postpartum depression with my last child. Uh. I will say it’s it was undiagnosed, but clearly the symptoms were all there. I just needed to go get the official diagnosis. But um this is a blessing for me because I can sit here and talk to you about this and get some things off of my mind as well. But I want to ask you this before we jump into a lot of stuff. Okay. As a Black person, you know, we how mental health is kind of shunned upon is something you don’t talk about, is something “we don’t have to deal with”, quote unquote, which we all know is false. What do you tell people when you say, hey, I’m a psychiatrist, but I also have to deal with some of the things that you’re dealing with. Do people get give you the response of like, well, I don’t want to go to a psychiatrist that has the same problems as me or do you find that they’re like, oh, this is comforting because you understand me? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I’ve actually never I mean, unless the person was really nice and, you know, just didn’t tell me every time I’ve told patients, you know, like just so you know, like, you know, I’m not here to tell you what to do when you got to take all these meds. I’m like, I take meds too like I got issues, too. It’s it’s always like I can see, like, on their face, like, oh, my God. Like, you understand? Because a lot of people, it’s it’s hard to especially if you have I’m a say this, if you have severe mental illness or even if you have just mild to moderate symptoms of a mental illness, it’s sometimes is really difficult for you as the person to accept that you have the illness, because mental illnesses are very insidious. And I’ve said this a lot in the past, like you like you just don’t you don’t know like that you’re having symptoms because they just kind of creep into your life and you just kind of accept it. So, for example, I just started taking Prozac again. Um. I had stopped maybe like 6 to 8 months ago, and I’m noticing now how much more energy I have, I’m motivated to do like things that I’m, you know, like, oooh, who wants to do billing today? Like, I don’t want to do that, but I’m just like, Oh my God, let’s do some billing. And just, you know, I’m motivated to do stuff like I just feel better overall. And whereas before I’d be like, well, you know, like I’m taking two naps during the day because it’s not that I’m tired from depression, like I’m just tired because I have a lot of stuff to do. But now that it’s now that I feel the change, I feel like, Oh. I could do everything I need to do and maybe go take a walk later. So to answer your question, a lot of people that I interact with professionally, like patients, they really are like, oh my God, like you, like you get it. And I’m like, yeah, like I’m listen, like I’m I’m a psychiatrist, but I’m a person. I know a bunch of–

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Stuff about psychiatry, but I don’t know everything, including I don’t know sometimes when my symptoms get worse and I have to be told by, like, you know, close family or like a friend, like, yo, are you alright? Like you seem to be like my depression kind of manifests itself in like I’m irritated at everybody. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Everything. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Okay. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I’m like, why is this here? Why is this knife here? Why? Who didn’t change garbage? Like. Like, just like I just get super, like, aggravated. And now that I feel better, I’m just like, oh, I mean, yes, those crumbs do get on my nerves, but I’m not. But I’m not going to scream on everybody in the house about it the way that I– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: [laughing] The way that I used to, so.

 

MegScoop Thomas: Ooh girl slide me a couple of those pills. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Girl. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I’m just playing.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Listen. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Because that sounds that’s amazing that because a lot of people don’t see the connection. So I’m glad that you’re you know, you have these issues and you’re you’re willing to talk about them because to me, I would girl, I would hire you, okay, as my psychiatrist, because that is just no, it’s real comforting to know that you understand from a personal level, not just what you studied.  

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. Oh yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You know. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: For sure. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: That’s good. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: That’s dope. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: For sure. And I mean, I wanted to go into psychiatry also because when I was doing my training, like in med school, I began to understand that there were people in my family who had certain diagnoses and I was like, Oh, okay, so this person’s bipolar, this person has A.D.D., this person like has depression. Like, I would say, pretty much everybody in my extended family um has something and which is nice because the majority of us, you know, sought help for it. And now, you know, we’ve we’ve– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: That’s good. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Taken the steps and we we’re getting better. But um but yeah, that’s like I’m like, listen, I just I had the opportunity to learn about all this stuff. And so I, you know, took the opportunity. And I’m like, I understand. I get it. Like, it’s it’s very difficult to to be objective when it comes to your mental health. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah, that’s that’s real. And that it’s so great that you said that about your family, because we’re actually talking about uh families today. We’re talking about REALationships with our parents. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: We are talking about REALationships. And I mean real, R-E-A-L relationships with our parents. So without any further ado, let’s get to the show. Okay? So let’s kick off the show with a fun segment we like to call, ask Dr. Imani anything. This is the moment in the show where we get to connect with you and you can literally ask me anything. Tell us what’s on your minds, and we will give you our solicited and unsolicited advice uh for those of you who are new to the crew, let me tell you how to get in touch with us. You can submit your questions around mental health, life, or any problems preventing you from achieving a healthy mindset to our email address, which is Hello@ImaniStateofMind.com. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And since we love options on this show, people can also text or you can leave us a voicemail at 818-252-9462. So now that we got all that technical stuff out the way, let’s get into this letter. Uh today it comes from Laurel, and here’s what she had to say. Dear Dr. Imani, I’m almost too embarrassed to write you this letter, but I know if I don’t ask for help now, I will never resolve the issues I have with my parents. I have mommy and daddy issues. Let me first say I love my parents and appreciate all that they’ve done for me, but I truly believe it’s time for me to spread my wings and leave the nest. Let me paint the picture of my parental dynamic. My mom has to have control or say in everything from what I wear to how my house is decorated. She’s going to have a say and nine times out of ten she’s going to get her way too. Then there’s my dad. I’ll always be his little girl and best friend. I can’t ever tell him no. I will cancel plans to make sure I can help him out or just hang with him. I am married with my own daughter now, yet my mom still tells me what to wear and my dad still tells me how to spend my money. It’s starting to cause problems in my own marriage because my husband thinks my parents are too involved in our lives. For example, if they say they don’t think I should take a trip, I don’t take it, or I end up lying to my parents about going to avoid the lecture from them. If my mom doesn’t like my outfit or thinks it’s inappropriate, I will change it. They actually are still my emergency contacts on all my documents too. My husband constantly complains that I am grown and need to set boundaries. But I don’t know how to set healthy boundaries with them without an argument or guilt trip. The lack of boundaries heightened during the pandemic and I am literally at my breaking point. Please help. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oooh Laurel. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay, Laurel. Okay. First of all, let me tell you, Laurel, thank you for your thank you for your um for your letter. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I want to say, first off, that I in several ways, I want to say like 70 to 80% of what you just described, what you just wrote, I can completely identify with. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes, ma’am. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Completely. So let me let me just kind of like go through the letter. So you believe it’s time for you to spread your wings. First of all, I don’t I don’t know how old you are, Laurel, but it’s obvious that you are old enough to have a husband and a daughter um and you are an adult, obviously. Um. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So how do I say this? My mother has told me on several occasions that she is she likes to be overly involved in my life. And I love my mom, obviously. And I love my parents. My parents literally live a mile away from my house. And it’s not. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Wow. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah and it’s not because like my mother told me, like, oh, you have to, you know, be close to us. Part of it is that when I first came back to L.A., maybe like nine years ago from Georgia um, I just happened to find a house that was close to my parents. And my son was young at the time. So I did appreciate the ability for my parents to, you know, uh be able to pick up my son and just, you know, spend time with him. But I will say that over the years, and especially as my son has gotten older, I have had to put up boundaries because, I mean, I get it. Like I have a 15 year old and he is my everything. And I am now at the point where I’m trying to get him to learn how to be more independent and kind of learn how to deal with adult issues. It sounds like, Laurel, you need to set boundaries with your parents in, like, a stepwise way, and that could be– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Anything to, you know, like, uh let me let me go through your letter real quick and see if I can pick out something like very easy. Okay. So your your outfits. All right. So, girl. [laugh] Okay. So you first of all, they’re your outfits. They go on your body. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And you bought them. And so there’s I mean, listen, even if you out here with pasties and, like, you know, some pom pom shorts. That’s your choice. Okay. Like, that’s and honestly, honestly, whenever my parents have been like, Imani, you really going to wear that? Then I really will put on pasties and pom pom shorts just to, like get on their nerves and be like, remember how I told you, like, this is what I want to do. Like, this is like now I’m a go like beyond the full extent just to mess with you. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm mm mm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Um. Also, you know, the, the thing about the vacations can be validated, but I definitely would say that maybe the first step for you to do is to change your emergency contacts to your husband. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes, please. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Girl, please. Yeah.

 

MegScoop Thomas: You got a husband and a baby that means y’all have been together for a little bit, at least a year, because we know how long it takes for a baby to come. Right? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Ma’am. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: You’re. Y’all are– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Start there. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –family, right? Like that’s your family now like– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Start there. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, start there. So.

 

MegScoop Thomas: I, you know, I’m. I’m with you, Imani. I’m with you on all of this. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. I’m like girl. Change your emergency contacts. Now I’m. I will fully admit real talk. My mom is my emergency contact on my forms just because I recently got divorced. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Which makes sense. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: But I mean, she’s married, so ma’am. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You need to change that. I mean, that’s just and I get it. I identify with her as well. You know, my parents are still together. My mom is very much, you know she been– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: In the mix. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: –Actually she’d been at my house for the last two months after I had this baby. Okay? She over here doing everything, and I appreciate it because she do the most. But also that means she does the most, which is she tries to tell me how to live my life, y’all need to get this for this house. Put this up here. I bought this for this room in your house. I’m like, Wait, wait, wait. No, no. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: No, no, no. And my fiancee does tell me at times he’s like, you know, you be listening to your mom a little too much. So I had to check myself as well. But I think the first thing she says, you know, that stuck out to me is Laurel, you said you you want you don’t know how to set healthy boundaries with them without an argument or a guilt trip. Girl, it might be a couple arguments and some guilt trips. You got to be okay with that. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. Exactly. I can’t even. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: They’re not they’re not going to not be your parents anymore. They’re not going to not love you, but they are going to go, oh, okay. Because that’s what happened with me and my mom. I had to put my foot down when I had my my first child, you know, she was telling me what to do. And I was just like, Mom, thank you, but this is my child. And I felt bad because I knew she was coming from a good place. Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Your parents love you. But, ma’am, I got to do this. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: This is what I would, this is what I’m going to tell you, Laurel. This is what this is my advice. So they’re going to be a lot of instances where your your mother your father they’re going to tell you something. And you’re going to be like, Oh, my God. Here they go again. You have to decide in your mind what’s worth a fight and what isn’t. Okay? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yup. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So, for example, what’s not worth the fight? When my when my son was a baby and I mean, he had to have been like two, three months old. My mother was at my house and she was like, you know, his something sounds weird. And I she might have put her, like, her ear up to his chest or something. And she was like, um you know, something’s going on. Like, you should you should, you know, get your stethoscope out and listen. So I did, everything was fine. I didn’t feel like arguing with her. I was like, if I was like, you know what if I said this to myself I said, if I listen to this child’s chest and he is normal, which he will be, then she will leave me alone. Now–. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: That’s that’s something that I was like, I’m not even gonna start this argument. Now, there are other things where I’m like, Okay, listen, you and I are going to have to have a real conversation, and, you know, we’re going to hear each other out. And you might raise your voice and I might raise your voice. We’re going to love each other in the end, but you’re– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Still going to hear me out like you’re still going to hear like yo, like, in a, like on real. You kind of doing too much right now. And it’s not that I don’t appreciate it, but you raised me it’s kind of like you had your time. And it’s not that your parents, I don’t know. I don’t I don’t think that any parents deliberately want to just, like, run roughshod all over their kids lives, even when they’re adults. It’s just that our parents–

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Don’t know how to let go. And I think that’s– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Probably a conversation you need to have with your mother and your father, maybe together or separately, like I know that you love me, but on the real this is this is causing stress in my house. And– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And that that’s that’s honestly what I would do and be prepared for people to, you know, like for dust to get kicked up and people to, you know, raise their voice and all of that. But but it’s it’s more important for you to make for you to make them understand that this is like because of your actions this is causing a problem for me and it’s not–. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Fair. So. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: No that’s real. And then, you know, at the end of the day, like like you said, they’re going to love you, you know? I know one thing that I I always [?] my mom tries to tell me what to do I’ll just be like, okay. Do I do what she says, Absolutely not. But it made her feel good to tell me her thoughts on what I should do. So I was like, okay. And then I still go do what I was going to do. And then she says something to me. Then I’ll just be like, well, I’m grown. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Love you. Thank you for your advice. And I keep on moving. [laughing]

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So, Laurel, thank you for submitting your question. And I hope you begin to set some healthy boundaries with your parents and begin to create the life you envision for yourself. Laurel’s question is a perfect segue into today’s topic as we continue to seek out the REALationships that shape who we are, how we think and affect our mental health. We have to look at the relationships we have with our parents. So that’s what Meg and I are going to talk about today. What’s your parent dynamic and how has it shaped your way of thinking and living? But before we dive into this topic, let’s take a quick break and we’ll be right back. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Welcome back. This month is all about being real. We’re taking a deeper look into how our relationships shape our mental state. I’m hoping with this series, we all get real with ourselves to create self-awareness, evaluate the relationships we’ve built or the ones we need to restructure. I’m excited to be getting into today’s topic of the REALationships we have with our parents. Our parents presence or absence in our lives has the ability to shape us into who we are, how we think or see ourselves. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm. Ain’t that the truth? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: That is very true. That is very true. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I mean, I guess our first our first sense of family are our parents. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And it’s pretty much through our parents that we’re able to see ourselves. Like, did you grow up with both of your parents? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah, they’re still together. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Nice. I was. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: What about you? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: No I was well no. So my parents, meaning my biological father and my mother, split when I was about eight. And then my mom got remarried to my dad now my quote unquote, “stepdad”. I don’t, in our family, we we don’t use step as a designation– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: That’s good. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Like if you family– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –then you family and that’s that. So my “stepdad” in air quotes um they’ve been together since I was 14. And so, I mean, they got married when I was when I was 14. So it’s been 32 years, which is like–.

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh wow. Okay.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –To me, I was like, oh my God. Like, I mean, after like a year being with somebody, I’m like, I’m like, I don’t know like, you got any new tricks? Or like, what’s was like, what are we doing? Like, what would you like? What you gonna do? Like you gonna do a magic trick? But, I mean, but I think is I think it’s, you know, it’s awesome that they stayed together for that long. Um. But the reason why I was why I was asking you, if you if you if your parents are still together is because I remember being a little kid and my ability to, I guess, see myself and to and what shaped my sense of self. Very early was me looking into my parents faces and being able to pick out which character like which characteristic my parents had that I had. Like, do I have my dad’s nose? Do I have my mom’s eyes? Do I have my dad’s teeth? Like, you know, like what do like whose fingers do I have? And so not to say that, you know, a child can’t do that if they’re only, you know, living with one parent. But it did definitely help me develop just a very basic sense of my identity. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: After my parents split, it was I mean, naturally, it was kind of odd, but I think it was a very odd for me because my mom was more so the disciplinarian and my dad was more so like, you know, like the fun parent. And–

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: When my dad left, like when he left, he left like he was gone. So I haven’t seen him since I was like really little um and that was, that was really difficult and devastating as I got older because I mean, it’s kind of like, um, it’s kind of like when, I mean, this is, this is kind of an extreme example, but when, when a family loses um someone because they um are missing and you can’t, like, you can’t really have a ceremony, like it’s like the person’s gone, but it’s– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Like, are they dead? Are they, you know, like what? Like you there’s–

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –There’s really no closure. And so I just kind of–

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –You know, I was walking around with this kind of like hole in my chest, let’s say, and was just kind of seeking– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Seeking things to fill it up with. And um I can honestly say that I think that’s where, like a lot of my issues with anxiety came from because I was like, well, if I okay, my dad’s gone. And I knew I didn’t have like I knew that I didn’t cause my parents breakup like my dad was–

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Doing drugs and wilding and there was other chicks and I mean, it was just it was all over the place. But I would still say, like, make up these, like, rules to me, to myself when I was like, you know, sixth, seventh grade, like, okay, so if you do really, really good at all your classes, that means you are perfect. And then you don’t have to like think about this anymore because everything’s good and it’s, I mean, it makes no sense. And a lot of that I carried into my adulthood, and it’s only now that I’m starting to, I guess, dismantle that and tell myself, like, like, you know, you know what, like one activity I hate doing that. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: What? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Crying. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Really? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I hate– Yes. I hate. I’m like, you’re weak. You’re weak if you cry. Like, don’t cry like suck the tears back in to your eyeballs. And where did that come from? Like my logic–

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –At eight, you know what I’m saying? Like I’m 46 now, like, I can’t be. And no one told me that this was just something–

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –I, like, you know, pulled out of thin air and it was a negative thought. And so now I’m at the point where. Girl, uh did you did you happen to see um that Disney movie? What was it called? It was like Red Panda or something. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh, yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Girl. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay, so you are more Asian than I am. Okay, but when I tell you that shit like, hit home, I was like, oh, my god. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It’s my and my grandma. Oh my God. I was just like, I know exactly how you feel. I know exactly how you feel. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And at the end where she, like, basically told her mom that, like, you know, it was okay, I was like, oh, my God, just I mean, just little like cartoon tears, just, like, popping out of my eyeballs. But but yeah, it um it’s that my dad not being around, my biological father not being around definitely um was detrimental to me. But I will say that when it comes to my parents, meaning my quote unquote “stepdad” and my mom, my dad has been in my life since I was 11. And so, for example, his parents, like, they’re both deceased now. But I actually I mean, you can’t see but like in here, I have a picture of all my grandparents. Like, those are like, that’s my grandma and grandpa. Like– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Okay. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Without a doubt. Like they were like, yeah, like what if we share blood or not like, that’s not even the point. Like, we all family. So, like, that’s those are those are my grandparents like, and I’ve known them for– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Wait, wait. So hold on. Your dad, your biological father’s family, were you did you have any connection with them or it was like my dad’s gone and so is his family. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Well it, he when he left, he left. But I never knew his parents because his parents were dead. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Okay. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So his– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Okay I see. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, his mom died. My biological father’s mom died when he was like three of tuberculosis, which sounds crazy now because you can take– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –medication and it goes away. And then his dad, I’m assuming he may have had a drinking problem before um my my father’s mother passed away, but I’m sure it contributed to his drinking. And then he passed away of um cirrhosis when my dad was– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Wow. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Also really young. Yeah. So um I never knew. I when up until a certain age and I would say, I guess like, I don’t know, like 12 or 13. My grandparents were my mother’s parents. And then and then, you know, I gained two more grandparents, which was like, great, because they were just absolutely amazing. Um. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: But um, but yeah, it, it a, you know uh, you know, be like our parents. The one thing that I keep having to tell myself and remind myself is that even though, like, my mother would tell me, like, oh, you know, like, you you should be really angry with your father, like my biological father. You should be really angry with him. I’m just not that person because I just. I just know– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: That he had to go through stuff. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So I, I– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So I’m just kind of like, listen, like, what you did was wrong, like that factually, what you did was wrong. Like, you’re not supposed to just– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Leave your kid and be like, alright I’m a go do these drugs and act a whole fool. But I also understand what he had to deal with in terms of not growing up with his parents. And– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Probably, you know, I mean, I would say even I would say within the last two years, Black people collectively have, we’ve been like encouraging each other to get like mental health help. So– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Absolutely. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: God knows what was going on in the sixties, they probably was like, oh, you don’t have your parents no more. Okay, well, I mean, that’s messed up and everything, but um like, well, what you trying to eat? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Whatever. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right! Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like, right, like whatever. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right? Nobody cares. Nobody cares about your feelings, like–

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You know. And that’s so and that’s so big that you have that kind of grace, because I think you have to, especially when it comes to our parents, you know, they they went through stuff that we to us is like, okay, well, I get that. But they had no outlet. They had it was not okay, who what therapist were you gonna go to? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Nobody. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You know, what psychiatrist were you gonna see? It’s not something that Black people did. It was something like here’s your trauma and you just deal with it. And I remember seeing uh I forgot her name, uh [?]. She’s she’s a she’s a doctor. And she talks about like um just like how how slavery affects Black people today. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: One thing she said was that was so, I got to look her up but her one thing she said that was so prominent to me was how [laugh] did did slaves receive any mental help? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Girl, bye.

 

MegScoop Thomas: Absolutely not. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: No. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Like that. So now you have generations and generations of trauma that have just compounded. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And now here we are today, just now going, okay, we’ve got to undo some of this stuff. So like when you think about that, I think about what my parents have gone through, thinking about what my father has gone through as a black man that, you know, lived in civil rights era. And some of the things that he does now and how he reacts to certain things. I have a little more grace. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

 

MegScoop Thomas: For him. You know, my father was really strict, you know, military man growing up. But now I understand why he had to do some of that, because we’ve been told as black people, you got to be above and beyond excellence. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You know what I mean? You can’t just be at the regular standard that you see maybe a white counterpart be at. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Because that’s not gonna suffice. You’re not going to be successful in life. And so now I get that I understand why when I’m just like, No, I’m good, I ain’t got to do all that. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And then my father’s like yes you do. I get it now. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I get it. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I mean, and and I even have had to have the same conversation with my son, and I hated having to do it. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: But, you know, I’m like, listen, like, yeah, you, you mad smart and you go to private school and you killing it out here, you know, you’re getting really good grades. But, you know, I was like, I’m a tell you, they’re going to be people who are white, who may be your friends, and you will learn, like as the years go by, that they’re going to have they’re going to be afforded opportunities that may not be commensurate with the work that they’ve put in. And that’s just– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Something that, you know, you just got to have to, you know, deal with and get used to. So that is I mean, it’s depressing to think about, but, you know, unfortunately, we’re not where we need to be in terms of equality and equity. Um.

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah, absolutely. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Now, let me ask you this. Were you more so were you like a daddy’s girl or like who were you? I mean, I’m going to I’m going to tread lightly when I asked this question. But who who who was your favorite parent? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh, it was definitely my mom? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Not Deacon Thomas. That’s what I call him now. [laughter] Cause that you know, my parents were my parents have always uh raised us in the church. They’re still very heavy in the church, not Deacon Thomas okay. Because he was, he was so strict on us. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: He was he comes from the, you know, the old school where, you know, you you get a whipping for anything. Don’t talk back. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: When I tell you what to do, you do it. You clean up, you know. And he’s a military man on top of that. So it was very much like if I saw my dad’s minivan pull up after school it was–

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Not the minivan. Girl. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes, girl. He had all type of minivans. Okay? If I saw Deacon Thomas’s minivan pull up, it was like fun and games stops me and my brother. If we were having a good time, stop the fun. What needs to be cleaned up? What needs to be put away, what you know? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: It was always like that. So it wasn’t he wasn’t the fun parent. He you know, my mom was very a lot more understanding, um a lot more nurturing. And so my dad was, it was and he always told us, I’m not your friend. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh, yeah, yeah.

 

MegScoop Thomas: I’m your parent. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh, yeah. Mm hmm.

 

MegScoop Thomas: So [cough] so it was like, oh, well, we ain’t cool then. Okay, well, I just I guess I got to do what you say to do but we not cool. I’m not telling you nothing. I’m not. You know. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: He wasn’t that kind of a parent. And now that I am a parent, I understand where that came from for him. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You know why he was like that? Because of his own dynamic with his family. And so I’ve as an adult, I’ve been able to forgive him, but I’ve also been on his head about stuff because I realize as his only daughter, he’s he listens to me a lot more than he listens to anybody else. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: My brother, my mom. So I can tell him stuff and I can say, hey, dad, you did this. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And let me tell you the impact that it had, you know, even with even with being a grandparent, because I’ll see some of his same behaviors that he had towards me, which was like getting on me about nothing. Like why are you telling, like just let it go dad. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah let it go. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You ain’t you ain’t got to be nit picking every little thing with me. I see him and he’s done some of that with my son and I had to step in and tell him like, Dad, this is what that does. This is what it’s done to me and I’m not going to allow you to do that to my son. And he told me one day, he said, you know, you being a parent has helped me become a better grandparent because like, I’m starting to see parenting differently through your eyes and I almost wanted to cry, I was like, Oh, my Gosh. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: No, that’s awesome.

 

MegScoop Thomas: Like you being you being– Right? I was like, Oh, my gosh, you being a dad, like you being the type of granddad that I wanted as a father. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Now you’re starting to understand, like, you know, but he was he’s he’s been a great father. He’s always been there, been it been there for everything. I will say that. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: He wasn’t the type of like, let me lean my head on your shoulder and cry daddy. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, no. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: But he’s [laugh] but I always knew I was going to get taken care of. I never had to worry about that. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You know, and he’s always worked very hard for to support our family. So. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I appreciate and love my father for that. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, of course. I mean, I I think, you know, one of one of the things that I thought about when I was pregnant with my son is obviously like, what type of relationship do I want to have with him? Like I– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –I knew that. I knew that I did not want to institute like spankings or we used to call it like getting beat. Um. I didn’t– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –I didn’t want to beat my son. Um. I just even as a kid, I. I remember saying to myself, like, this is not helping. Like– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –If anything, it’s making– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: 100%. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like this is not helping. Like, if anything, this is making me, like, really resentful. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And it’s like like, is it going to make me stop doing, you know, the activity that or the behavior that got me here? Um. Sure. But at the same time, you know, as we can see or when we saw back then and we can see now with certain kids, they’re like, oh, you gonna beat me. Like, I don’t even care. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I don’t care. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. And that, and you know, and of course, you know, especially for Black people that comes from a place like slavery. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It comes from slavery. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Think about it. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: It’s just something that was done to us. And it was something that we think, I guess, it was appropriate to do to our children as just the way of life. You know, and it’s been a little tough trying to explain to my father, like, dad, you can’t beat your grandson, okay? Cause I don’t beat him. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You got a problem with him, you gotta come let me know, because I don’t want him to. You know, there’s certain I just remember one time my last I remember my last whupping. I was 12 years old. I was in the eighth grade. It was like the day, the night of my uh band recital. It was like the day. And I think I had my mom had a store and I guess she was having like a really rough day or whatever. Me and my brother had to go to her store and we were bored. I’m 12 years old like, what am I going to do at your your your hat store, your beauty supply store. [laughter] I was bored, so I remember hiding in one of her boxes and like pushing her hats that she had in there to the side. And I was like, when she walked by, I’ma jump out and scare her you know. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Girl. [laugh]

 

MegScoop Thomas: She walks by, jump out. She’s scared out of her mind. And of course, like now as an adult, I understand she she probably was like super stressed that day. So she calls my father and she goes off and she’s like, these kids are, I don’t what she says to him, but it was enough for him to go, okay, when I get home, I’m a whoop y’all. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Girl, okay? Pause. [laughter] That is the craziest thing to me. Like, like the notion of, like, I remember being a kid waiting for, like– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right! 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –the the door– like, you know, how much anxiety that creates, like you– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: So much! 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –waiting for the door to open. Like you hear the little latch click and you like, okay, now I’m a get beat like you can’t it’s it is– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –So like, it’s just it’s just it’s so rude. It’s just and it’s it’s really, like, kind of terrifying. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: It is. You know it’s almost like when people are like, Oh, I have something to tell you, but I’m a tell you later. Like, you shouldn’t– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: You know what. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: –have even of told me. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right, then don’t say anything. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Just tell me later. It’s like, don’t tell me you’re going to beat me later. Just beat me later. Okay? So at least I have a good day up to that point, right? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, it’s– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You know what I’m saying that’s making it worse. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And I remember and I remember he after he whooped me, I got home, he whooped me. And I remember thinking to myself, like, oh, he was like and not only did he whoop me, he’d he grounded me for two weeks. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Damn. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: So I couldn’t–

 

Dr. Imani Walker: For what now?

 

MegScoop Thomas: I’m telling you, military. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Cause’ you jumped out the box and– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Girl, for scaring my mom. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –scared your mom?

 

MegScoop Thomas: Okay I guess like I said, she had a very bad day. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So you can’t play– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: So I guess for him. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –No pranks in your house? Like you can’t play no– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right! 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Pranks in your house? You can’t, like, giggle– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: None, none. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: None. And I just remember going to my band recital like like this is I am a beat, tortured child. Like, I am– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I have nothing. You take away the Nintendo. You took away phone, you took away everything. And I remember like, you know what, forget this. And I just drew a paper TV with a paper Nintendo attached to it. And I was in there like, you ain’t gonna stop me. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Girl. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And I was like this is– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh, my God. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: –quite sad. [laughter]

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh, my God. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You ain’t gonna stop me. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: You ain’t gonna stop me. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And I was just sitting their crying. Cause I was like, he is stopping me. Look how sad my life is. I had to draw a paper Nintendo to play. [fake cry]

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay, yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: But, but like, you don’t have to, you know, I think about that. I don’t want that kind of anxiety– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: No. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: –on my children. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: No. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I don’t want them you know, I would rather talk them through it. And like I see the difference now. My son is three. So very vocal. He is very vocal. He will tell me in a heartbeat, Mommy, you’re mean. [laugh] 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I wish I would have said that to Deacon Thomas. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh, my God. Are you serious? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: He would have been like, Oh I’m mean? I got your mean. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Like get my go get a switch. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And but like, now and I’m actually kind of proud that my son can go, Mommy, you’re mean. Even though some, you know, my dad will be like, look at how y’all raising him. Yes.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, we’re raising him–

 

MegScoop Thomas: –I’m glad he’s vocal.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, exactly. We’re raising him to be able to identify his feelings and also be honest and and also express those feelings. It was a it was–

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It was the same with it was the same with me and my son. And I think, you know, that was definitely, segue, that was definitely one of the action items, let’s say I wanted to work on and make sure was instilled in the relationship that my son and myself had. I I I definitely when my son was younger, just like your son. Like he he was just like, I feel like this and I feel like that. And and I made sure that I wanted for him. I basically I went through this stepwise list in my head of all the things that I wish I had growing up and granted. I can’t blame my mom. I can’t blame my parents because that’s just how the way things were back then. But it didn’t mean– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah, yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –that I was going to continue what I knew was not was not beneficial. And also, like, you know, a lot of the stuff that that our parents did to us, they they were taught the same thing, but it was toxic because it was rooted in like slave. Like, just slave [?] like–

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh, oh, you you tired? Oh, you um you mad? I’ll show. You know, it’s like this. Like, why would you try to one up that? Like, just– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Just let me, like, be. But–. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I guess. Yeah. So as far as like things that I wanted to, to make sure that my son had, I wanted to be able to say, like, I love you all the time, like my family can be um, and I mean my extended family, too. They can be kind of like rigid. Like, I my my mother’s side of the family is Jamaican. And so it’s, you know, they’re just kind of they were more like proper people. And so– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Expressing, like, like saying, like, I love you. It was like, what’s wrong with you? Like. [laugh]  Like, are you sick? Like, are you going to die soon? Like, why are you telling me that? Like, it was really it was really odd. And when I saw people, like, saying that to their parents, I was just like, what is that like? So I made sure that saying I love you was was always part of, you know, our day. Um. I wanted him to be able to express himself. And even recently, like my son did something that, you know, he’s 15, he got hormones, he did something. And I told him I was like, yo, like, you need to apologize. Like, what you did was mad rude, and if you don’t apologize, you’re going to look like a total asshole. I said it just like that. And I was like, I don’t want for you to I don’t I don’t want to look at you and be like, oh, my God, you know, Idris is a asshole because he didn’t, you know, basically apologize for what he did. And after I explained it, he was like, alright I apologize. Like, that’s that makes sense. I’m like, yeah, like, I’m not I’m not I’m not going to come at you the same way. Like, because I even think about, like our parents. Like, that means you got to, you got to like your dad being like, I’m a beat you when, when I get home. So he has to, like, get himself into a place. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And it’s just not like for what? Like, it’s just– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: For what?

 

Dr. Imani Walker: For what? So are there any action items that you had like or that you have on your list as far as like raising your own kids? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. Yeah. So one of the things that I have have tried to do, and it’s very difficult because I find myself falling into Deacon Thomas mode [laugh] sometimes, um is is explaining. So even if my child is three, you know, there’s a lot of stuff he doesn’t understand. But I’ll still explain it. And I’m like I don’t know if he got it, but I’m going to still explain it because I think that’s one of the things that a lot of us fail to do as parents that our parents failed to do was explain things to us because they were like, you’re just a kid you don’t know. You don’t understand. And that causes so many issues. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Like, I have a friend whose father was never in his life and he thought it was like because his father just didn’t want to be in his life. But there was a more of a story there like it, you know, that had to do with his mom and and nobodies just took 5 seconds to explain to him, this is what’s going on. I don’t know if you get it or not, but this is what’s going on. And I think that would have made because I see some of the characteristics and some of the behaviors. And I was like, Oh my gosh, all of that could have been corrected if somebody had just told you–

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: –What happened. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And so I try to do that with my son and a lot of times. Like, I I laugh cause I’m like, I do not think he got that. Because that is way over his head. I use big words. I don’t you know, I don’t care. I’m just gonna have to explain this to you and hopefully you get it? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Because I don’t ever want you to walk through life feeling like you weren’t told. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And if somebody tells you an answer and you don’t get it, then I want you to go seek, maybe you need to go look on dictionary.com and see what words I used–. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: –To figure it out. But I at least want to give you the information and you do with it what you may. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And so that’s very important to me, and I think that’s something we should all do with our kids. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, I completely agree. And my son was using words. I was like, I know you don’t know what that means, but but I least wanted to, you know, like you said, I didn’t I had a tendency to explain a lot about like–

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –This is why this is wrong and this is why you really can’t do this, because this may make somebody upset and those types of things. But yeah, I definitely agree with, you know, I wish that I would have gotten just more explaining and I think maybe, you know, I think it would have probably been helpful to have gone to therapy with my mom. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh, yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Just to kind of see, like because there comes a point when you’re like a teenager where you start to realize that your parents aren’t like superheroes. Like they actually are like– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah, and they’re real people. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, they’re real people. They’re fallible. And I kind of wish that that would have taken place because my mother, even to this day, is kind of like a larger than life character and I know her. I mean, to other people, I know her personally, obviously, um but I know that there are also little things that occurred when she was younger, that she probably hasn’t necessarily worked all the way through or may not understand when she gets– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Into a certain mood like where it’s from. So. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So that being said, Meg, thank you so much. This was a super awesome conversation. Thank you for being my copilot today. Uh. This has been an awesome conversation. Okay, it’s time to switch gears. It’s time for my favorite segment, Pop Culture Diagnosis. [music break] We’re back. This is pop culture diagnosis, a segment where we take a person or a character from a TV show or movie and assess their mental state. Or, as we say on this show, figure out what the hell is going on with them. Meg, can you give listeners a quick synopsis of the four time Emmy Award winning show, This Is Us. And which character you wanted to diagnose today? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes, girl. This show is amazing if you’ve never seen it, it’s on NBC um six seasons in, I believe. And it’s just a beautiful story and it’s very relatable. Even if you’re like, oh, I don’t think I’m I have nothing to do with these people you’ve seen and, you know, some one of these characters in your own life. Um. But it it talks about the Pearson family and it goes from like the eighties when Jack and Rebecca, um a white couple, they have triplets, one of the triplets dies. But at the same time, they’re at the hospital. There was a baby that was kind of abandoned and and the hospital was like, hey, you know, you had a baby die, basically y’all got room for another baby? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: What? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You know what I’m saying? Y’all was planning for. It was. It is, girl. You know what I’m saying, it kind of was just–

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. That was the eighties. That was the eighties. They was no– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: It was the eighties! It was it was eighties. But basically, they were like, you know, we know you y’all dealt with lost this baby needs a family. So they–

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I know they did not try to slide a– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: –go ahead and take the baby and–

 

Dr. Imani Walker: D– a baby into they DMs like. No, they didn’t. [laughing]

 

MegScoop Thomas: They did, girl. When I saw the episode. I was like, Oh, man, that is kind of like, mmm you can’t just replace babies like that. But um I get what they was trying to do. So but the thing about it is the baby that was abandoned is a Black baby boy named Randall that they named Randall. And so Randall joins their family along with their now twins, Kevin and Kate. And you see the dynamic of the family. You’ve got Kevin who’s, you know, he ends up being like this really handsome guy. You got Kate, who always dealt with her weight issues from a child until she’s an adult. Um. And then you’ve got Randall who deals with anxiety. He’s Black in a family of white people. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Girl. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Um. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: That’s a lot. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You know, dealing with abandonment, you know, where’s my, where’s my what happened with my family? And so today, I think we should diagnose Randall Pearson, um a little bit about Randall. Like I said, he’s the he’s a lone Black adopted child in the family. He grows up. He’s super successful. He’s married. He has two kids of his own. And I love the relationship with him and his wife. They have like a really dope. Like, that’s the kind of Black love I want type of relationship. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: They do. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Very open, honest, beautiful. Um. And then he, you know, he always seems to have it together. But the people who, quote unquote, “have it together” usually are the ones that have the most going on emotionally. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yes. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And you see that with him? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yes. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You see that with him. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yes. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: So let’s talk about him. What do you what do you think are I guess some of his diagnoses? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Well okay before we, before we get there, I just want to say big up to Jack and Kate. That’s their name? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: For moisture– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh, Jack and Rebecca. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Jack and Rebecca. Big up to to you guys. Jack and Rebecca, I know you’re characters and not real, but big up to you guys for keeping this child moisturized. I saw flashbacks. Um. I only say that because I have encountered um I’ve encountered white parents who have adopted Black children. And some of them– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Have come up to me to be like, yo, like, we hope this isn’t too forward. Like, basically, what do we do? And I’m like– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay, you need to use this lotion and not that one. You need to, you know, like watch this video, like, take your kid to the hair salon. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like, like, so I just want to I I when it comes to young Black children who are adopted into families who aren’t Black, it’s it’s very important that this child uh and this is something that Randall’s dad told him when he was younger, like, we really don’t talk about the fact that you’re adopted enough. And which doesn’t mean that, like, we’re trying to make you feel like an other, but this is a part of your story. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And so I really I really um respected that. But to ask or excuse me, but to answer your question, uh Randall definitely has a generalized anxiety disorder. Um. Absolutely. I, I definitely um there was there was an episode where he was struggling with having panic attacks. Um I completely–. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Could relate. And I also could relate with the fact that initially Randall was like, no, I don’t have panic attacks like this just happens sometimes and, you know, I just deal with it. But–. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –The thing about it is that when you don’t deal with panic or anxiety, it’s it’s gonna come. It’s gonna keep coming back and it is going to be worse and or it’s going to get worse. And it’s just going to just I mean, I can honestly say that when I’ve had panic attacks, it really like for the rest of the day, I’m tired. Like, it’s it’s so draining. It’s so draining. And I know that Randall, uh you know, basically has fashioned himself into someone who is, you know, a go getter. He does it all. He’s doing well. He told his biological father, like, you know, I bought that the car the car that you see across the street. When he first like uh ran up on his dad, he was like, the car you see across the street um cost $143,000, and I paid for with it in cash and and basically, like, you can’t take that away from me. And I think– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –For Randall, you know, his not that he isn’t a highly intelligent man and isn’t a you know, a very capable man, but he is trying to, in a lot of ways, fill up the hole that he has in his chest um– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –With things that he feels will like if I if I if I do this or if I get this or if I can demonstrate this, then, you know, I won’t have this hole in my chest. But that never works because the hole ends up just getting deeper and deeper. And that’s where, you know, a lot of anxiety comes from. So Randall definitely has generalized anxiety disorder, for sure. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And that you know what? That is like really big that you say that about the whole like when a parent leaves, whether it’s because they wanted to or they didn’t want to, if there’s no conversation around that, whether it’s with family or therapy or something, that just leaves an empty space for children. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You know, like it it’s so important because you see that with him when he when he finally does meet his biological father, it’s like on one hand, it’s like, I really want my father to I want him to be in my life. On the other hand, I’m very angry with him. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Why? Why would you do that? Why would you leave me? Why would you not, you know, get clean from drugs? Like, why would? But at the same time, it’s like but I want to get to know you, and I want to hear these stories from you. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And it’s just it’s a real juxtaposition for people. So it’s like he I will say the actor that portrays Randall, Sterling K Brown did has done phenomenal in this role.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: No he’s phenomenal. I love him. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Phenomenal. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I love him. He was in um. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I love him. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: He was in Black Panther. And when I saw him, I was like, oh, my God, I loved so the episode that you just brought up where Randall, like [?] basically goes to his father’s house and knocks on the door, I, you know, again, I talked about this earlier in the show, but like, I could just see just the sadness on his dad’s face when he was like and I did this and I did that. And Randall was angry. I mean, logically angry, justifiably angry. But I just I just knew, like as soon as he was like, yeah, you dropped me off at a fire station and you are an addict. I mean, I’m like I said before, I’m a be honest. Yeah, I’m I’m very angry at my dad. Me and my dad basically have a texting relationship. Um. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And and I’m sure that’s because that’s as much as he can really take, you know, he has other kids. Um. But that’s, you know, for him, that’s really the extent that he can really that’s as far as he can go without I guess, you know, probably being upset, I don’t know. But I just really like I as soon as I was, you know, saw Randall’s father’s face, William, I was like, oh, my God. I just feel for him not to say that what William did was wrong. But honestly, I feel like William did the right thing. Like–

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah, he did. I mean, he he was addicted to drugs. That’s a disease in itself. You know, you can’t raise your child properly. Why not give them to somebody who can? And look at how Randall’s life turned out. He– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I know. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: He did phenomenally. He’s doing well in life. You got a great house, a big house, wonderful family, you know, and I don’t think he would have gotten the same opportunities had his biological father raised him. I mean, we don’t know that for sure, but it’s a high possibility his life would not have turned out the same. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: The one thing that I can say that that’s been really beneficial since I have been talking to my dad um very sporadically, though is that like legit like medical issues. I’m like, do you have medical– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Issues that I need to know about? Because there’s certain–. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Things that, you know, it’s interesting what that made me think of is so years ago, I guess a few years ago when I was um on um Married to Medicine: Los Angeles, and like the producers were like, okay, your storyline is that, you know, you, you going to reunite with your dad. And I was like, first of all, no, I’m not. Like, you’ve lost your entire mind. I was like, get out. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Wait. They told you that? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Basically, I was like, if you don’t get out of my face. I was like, I mean, I was–

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right! 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I was devastated. Like, I literally, like, broke down in my closet and just, like, was sitting in the dark, like, just crying, like, I don’t want this. Like, I don’t want to do that. So– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –So I only say that because when I broach this topic with my mother, who, of course, is still, you know, even after all these years, very, very upset about everything that happened, you know, between her and her ex-husband and me and my dad, she was like, he cannot come here. And because if he comes here, like, you don’t know what he’s on and he could, you know, come to a place like L.A. and and just, you know, start doing drugs and everything. And I was like, well, first of all, mom, my dad’s in Texas. Like, it’s not like there isn’t a place in the country where you can’t get drugs. Like, if he was going to get some drugs, like he would have been on that. But I had talked to my dad and I knew that he was doing really well. And my dad um is an engineer or he was he just recently retired and he was doing really well for himself. And so that so that was one instance where I was like, okay, mom. Because really the decision as to whether my dad was going to come here or not was, was based upon me. But to what you were saying, my mom’s reaction was very similar to Rebecca’s reaction, which is like this person– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Was an addict. They are always going to be an addict. They gonna mess up your life. Like he can’t come here. And and even though I felt like I was like, you need to kind of, like, fall back a little bit. I knew that my mother’s reaction is because she cares about me and just didn’t want for me to be hurt again. But it’s all fine. My dad didn’t come here. He wasn’t going to anyway. Which he told me, um and it was all fine. But um but I, I’ve never watched This Is Us in its entirety, but I definitely knew about Randall. Um. I’m really happy that you picked this character, Meg. For us to, you know, diagnose today and just do a deep dive into because um it’s um I mean, his story is a very nuanced and complex story that a lot of people can relate to. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes, for sure. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yes. So that’s it for pop culture diagnosis. We’ll have another fun character to analyze next week. If you guys have suggestions for fictional characters out there that you want me to diagnose, hit me up on Twitter at @doctor_Imani or email the show at Hello@ImaniStateofMind.com. Thank you for listening to Imani State of Mind. Thank you, Meg, for co-hosting. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: No prob. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And we’ll be back for an– yeah. Yes. And we’ll be back for an all new episode next week. And let’s keep the conversation going. Follow the show on Instagram at @Imanistateofmind and again, email us at Hello@ImaniStateofMind.com.