Ain’t No Instruction Manual For That

So many times I have said there are no instructions on how to be a good woman, wife, partner, mother, etc. In life there are just certain things you have to experience first-hand.  You “scrape your knees” and you create your own manual. 

My Twitter feed is compacted with people who promise you that they can change your life. People who promise they can sell you the “secret” to a fulfilling and prosperous existence.  Who’s legit????!


I have the pleasure of knowing a determined young man who I have seen heed his own advice. Saladin Davis has taken his own life to new heights. In short, he went from a teen father to a college graduate/business owner/motivational speaker/published author and sole guardian of his daughter.  I asked him a few questions about his book “Life 101 Lessons From A 13 Year Old Father.”

SYMACMU: What made you decide to write a memoir?

After moving to Charlotte I joined a Toastmaster’s International Club where I met people that already had published books and got paid to speak.  My eyes were opened to the speaking industry and I made the decision to pursue Public Speaking as a career.  One of my fellow Toastmasters Kevin Decker explained to me how beneficial writing a book would be to promoting myself as a Professional Speaker.  He went on to tell me my story sounded like a dramatic novel already so it fit right for the possibility.  After a couple of months of contemplating, I made the choice to put my story in manuscript form.

SYMACMU: Were you concerned about the way your daughters mother would respond to your depiction of her?

I was worried.  I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers so I decided to ensure that there were no negative references toward my Kera’s mother.  What got me over my worry was the greater good.  I knew how important it was to tell my story and how many lives would be impacted.  This made it easier to tell a story where you had no choice but to speak about other people who could potentially be offended by your work.  

SYMACMU: How do you feel about the term “baby daddy”?

I’ve always had a strong dislike for the term “baby daddy”.  I felt that term was reserved for those who don’t take care of their children.  I feel that term is for those men who aren’t present in their children’s lives.  So when I was referred to as such I would always correct the person letting them know that I am my daughter’s Father.  I’m nobody’s baby daddy.  This is a personal interpretation of course so this doesn’t mean that all people use the term in the way in which I perceive but I will never be fond of that term or it’s counterpart. 

SYMACMU: Do you think being a young single father was a dating deterrent?  Do you think women took you more seriously or do you feel you were judged prematurely?

I think that many women admired how I went about my relationship with my daughter and that attracted them to me more than not.  I was prejudged by women for many reasons but those who got to know me were drawn closer to me because of the fact that I was an involved Dad.

SYMACMU: Finally, Shutyamouthandcallmeugly is a home for individuals who aren’t afraid to “go against the grain”. What would you say to the individual who is completely paralyzed by fear?

To those who are stuck because of fear I would say…take a look at the person that is 25 years older than you that is doing the same thing you’re doing right now.  What is that person’s life like? What type of things have they experienced?  How do they carry themselves everyday?  Are they pleasant?  Do they seem excited about life?  If you can’t see yourself being that person in 25 year then THAT should be what you’re scared of!  Use fear.  Use the fear of the misery that would be caused by you being scared to be the best you!  Most people when they are about to die regret all of the things that they didn’t do as opposed to the things that they did.  Don’t be that person!

Lessons From A 13 Year Old Father is available at and in kindle version at Follow Saladin Davis at: 

Facebook: Saladin Davis Professional Motivator
YouTube: SaladinDavis
Twitter: Saladin_Speaks
LinkedIn: Saladin Davis
Instagram: SaladinDavis



Everyone thinks they’re special but you really are
Like the hembra and the macho bongos
Our hearts beat together and make beautiful percussion
You really are
A shining light
I can see from afar
Deep in the darkness
And everything they think you are crazy for believing in
And for every time they tried to control you with hatred
And for everyone who still doesn’t “get” you
I do
And I think you’re special. 

Happy Valentine’s Day from Shutyamouthandcallmeugly! 


Keep the Crown

As a tribute to self love for Valentines day and an awakening to men of color for Black History Month…
This post is courtesy of my baby sister, Cheyenne. 


Dear dads, dear future boyfriend who will screw up dear brother and dear man. Whether she be female, an addiction, or and illusion.  You made me feel rich although I hadn’t a dime made me feel voluptuous although I hadnt a C or D cup in the dresser. Made me feel like a sky scraper although I’m only five feet tall.  You made me feel royal although my blood line isnt pure at all. But now as I watch you with her smile and laugh eyes widen and lips curl that crown you had placed so perfectly on my head tips. It goes timber as gravity pulls it almost closer to her. I dont know how.I wont let it because it was me not you who truly knows my worth so I will defy gravity and take back my crown and place it ever so perfectly on my head. You cant touch it nor he or she because I will only give it to me. I’ ll change in body and mind i’ll change in lessons and plans but my crown will never move it will never fall its here now. The illusion of you is gone the journey to the past has ended. And now my crown wont be an illusion just the real thing.As you stand there and slip away.

By : Cheyenne Nickens (age 14)

Stop in the Name of Love!


So I literally jumped out of my bed this morning. I had a dream that disturbed me. An old neighborhood friend of mine told me to go for a ride with her. When we got in the car she was dressed in all black and she was listening to an old Styles P track. For those who don’t know, Styles P is always doing some sort of crime in his music. He gets arrested in every other verse.


Anyway,  she goes on to tell me she is going to do a drive by at 10pm. When I glance at the clock on the dashboard its 9:38. Now what’s crazy is,  I wasn’t alarmed at all. I said “ok.” Then I turned the volume up. I literally was thinking I had 22 minutes to chill with my friend before she committed her crime! What’s interesting is my subconscious cognitive perception of time and relativity is the same as my conscious! With 22 minutes to clock in, and 8 minutes to get to work, I will stop for gas AND coffee!! I digress!!

So as we’re driving,  we’re ambushed by police! They must have tapped the car ( this was what I was thinking in the dream.)


I say “YO?! WHERE THE EXTRA BURNER AT?!!!!!” (Burner means gun)

Now please understand I grew up in a “hood.” However,  I went to private school and was notorious for being the bourgeois/uppity sheltered kid.  Even though some of my associates were bona fide crime lords, I still had to be in the house when the street lights came on! So if this wasn’t a dream,  I wouldn’t have asked for a piece (piece means gun)…I would have cried.

So my friend (who was always a bad influence by the way) grabs a loaded shot gun from under the seat of the car and hands it to me. I hold it out the window and start shooting effortlessly.  Pop! Pow! Bullet!  Bullet! The cop cars are spinning out of control and flying into the air. Like a scene from “Bad Boys”, we hop out the whip (whip means car.)


We start walking down the street slowly to examine the damage.  As I’m walking, some shots are fired. I duck down and shoot back from behind a tree. All of a sudden,  a building grows around us from the ground. Like a flower! A building sprouts from the ground!  We start being attacked in drones of assailants. They’re climbing the ceiling! There are so many of them that they look like insects.

Some of the faces of the insect people were familiar.  People I’ve seen in passing.  Some were old co-workers from high school.  I even saw a Taylor Swift shooting at me! I blast them! Then I hear a voice from behind me. He taps my shoulder. His hands are ice cold in the height of summer.  He says, “Stop.” I can’t see his face. He shakes his head from side to side.  He raises his gat (gat means gun) and when he does, the tatoo on his hand says “Cupid”. Then everything goes black.  Pop!

Now from a psychosomatic perspective, I know two things about dreams:
1. They are never literal
2. You cannot see yourself die in a dream.  Your body will wake itself up as a defense mechanism. 

So I know Cupid didn’t kill me in the dream. Maybe ‘love’ fought for me. Maybe ‘love’ forced me to surrender. Maybe I’m just crazy!

Send me your comments!

Tell me about your crazy dreams!

Get ready for a packed month of posts for Black History and Valentine’s Day!