Sunday, March 26, 2017

Moment of Transparency

Moment of Transparency: Depression isn't a disease that just goes away after medication. It's a constant fight. And the craziest part is ur fighting ur thoughts. Friday, I felt myself losing it. I found myself dwelling on my past mistakes.
I felt like I wanted to cry and be sad but I had no justification. I opted to take myself on a date. I saw Power Rangers. It was great but I felt something was missing. A cloud covered me.
Yesterday, I didn't want to leave my bed. I considered quitting my part time. I considered hiding under the covers. Not coming out until Monday maybe. I forced myself to go to work. When I got there, my coworkers individually and unknowingly made me appreciate being there. I didn't realize I was up for my annual review. My boss raved about my performance. Encouraged me to consider a leadership position. My best friend texted me "ur aunt is looking for you" I remember thinking like Lord what I do now. I left work. Anxious to get home. Then I remembered I promised a friend to support her event. I can't not keep my word. My phone rings. My grandmother says "it's ur grandfathers birthday, come to dinner" in my mind I'm thinking about how I just wanna be alone in my bed away from humans. I agreed I will be in attendance. I made a stop. Then I went to my friend's event. It was amazing to see so many women supporting each other. Encouraging each other.  I watched in amazement and appreciation for being there. Didn't stay long, Grand dad's dinner. I went and ate and laughed and talked and .... I felt like I was home for the first time in a long time. FaceTimed my sister; we sang happy birthday ate cake. Laughed with my cousins. Before I even realized it, we had moved to the front porch, more talking with family, while the kids played. I observed and just took it all in. In those moments, I didn't realize had I made the decision to let my depression keep me in the house, I would have missed what appeared to be nothing but in reality was everything.
Today I woke up, I fought myself to get out the bed again, but then I reflected on what I woulda missed yesterday, and I realize, I belong. I am missed when I'm not around. I am appreciated most when I am present. I will make an effort to be present more often as selfish as it sounds, but because I want to live in more of those moments. I want to be present in those moments, I don't want to hear the stories or see the pictures.
I want to be present and accounted for. Today as work, I caught a glimpse of myself, in a peaceful state, beautifully being myself. I looked at the beautiful woman in the mirror and I was proud of myself for continuing to fight. No matter what. In spite of everything that could be wrong, I push forward..... Tonight I am thankful.... I've come so far and I have further to go. But in the end I will win.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

You Protect what is Valuable to You ....

This morning as I Lyft'd (not a word; def made that word up but it fits soooo moving along) ... My driver struck up conversation with me. The usual "U like the area... what do you think about it? ... It is changing so fast" My white driver referencing gentrification always makes me think does he really know whats going on... He is apart of the THEM who wants US out... I digress... ok back to the topic...

As we arrived to Julian's school, I ask him a couple questions to remind him of his daily affirmations. The life I speak into my babies. It is a very important part of my morning. "Are you going to make good choices today? Rushing, I get a yes. "Are you going to be a strong leader today?" Annoyingly I get a second Yes. "Are you going to show  yourself respect by respecting others today?" Straight face he answers: Yes. His tone says "I have had enough Mom let me go." I had swooped him in my arms and help him hostage for those yes. and a few kisses lol.  I watch as he runs to the building. He always moves slowly so he can stop to say hello to his friends along the way even tho I tell him to go straight to class so he will not be late. I digress again.  He makes it safely inside.
As I get back into the car, my driver says " I have never heard that before" Not realizing what he is speaking about I give him a "what chu talkin bout Willis look" (God that was a great show). He proceeds to admire my parenting. I thank him. As the car ride progresses he asks, "Who taught you how to be a parent"... I chuckled. "AIN'T NO MANUAL FOR THIS HERE! I AM WINGING IT BRO!" He laughed at my prompt response. I proceeded to tell him about becoming mother at 16 and how I really am just realizing how hard this parenting thing is. "Its 3 of them and One of Me... who da hell told me to sign up for this!" ** Please note how I am bat shit crazy because I want more, With a husband preferably twins 'insert Dab here'**  Probably, ask myself this question once a damn day. If I get a phone call home from a teacher, twice in one day. Maybe 3 times....

As our conversation progressed and I mentioned how hard it is being a mom to a teenager. You know that does teen things. She knows everything. She steals my clothes. She talks back. She rather sleep all day and not do a single chore. Oh you guys this baby once told me "Just because it is not done ur way, does not mean it aint done"... She probably regretted that statement when she picked herself up off the floor. But today in this conversation,  I reflected on myself as a teen and I reflected on a situation with close family members.

On Feb. 28, 2017, a 14 year old relative went missing. She was missing until March 4, 2017. During the time she was gone, I imagined everything under the sun. From Sex trafficking to homicide. I shared every flyer. I prayed. I was afraid for her. By the grace of God, she was returned home in one piece. I'm sure she is hurting. I'm sure she is afraid. I am sure her view of the world has changed now that she has had a taste of what every parent tries to protect their child from. I pray for her now as I would hope someone would pray for my 14 year old if she ever finds herself in that position.

I used this as a teaching tool. I went to my daughter. The rules that I have in place are not because I want to ruin ur life. The rules that are in place are because I want you to have your life. I want you to be able to experience a full life. I want you to remain as innocent as you possibly can for as long as you possibly can. I recently went thru my 14 year old's cell phone. The things I found were not a big deal. But to me they were enough for me to spazz over. Small simple rules were broken but to me small rule breaking leads to larger rule breaker so lets just cut the head off now and stay focused.

Idk the details on what happened that lead to my relative being missing. I just know the rules were broken somewhere in there. Not to blame her, but to say, rules are in place for protection. Period. Guidelines are in place for protection. As a parent, not even just in being a parent, as a person, a human, you protect what you value. If it is important to you,  you will protect it at all costs and by any measure.

Life is so hard, Living a life when it is truly you VS the World is even harder! Lord these babies just do not know.  When everyone has a motive and everyone wants something from you, and no one genuinely loves you for who  you are. Only based on what you can give or do for them is HELL. Literally, hard as hell. I have not experienced hell but I am almost sure that is close to it.

But one day, I hope my babies grow to see that EVERYTHING, every decision, every step, every move I have made up until this point has been to protect them. I have seen this world, I have experienced how it can eat u up if you allow it, and I will not give them to the streets. That is why I am hard on them, that is why I push them to be the best version of themselves. I value them. This world, does not and will not.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

You Need You More Than They Need You

"You are only obligated to urself n ur children" my best friend told me.... in my head I remember thinking but u don't understand because if I don't ...

Dad won't eat right. He will get sick n die.
My sister and her children need me.... who else is going to save them?
My brother is young he doesn't know any better; I have to show him.
My friends need guidance, I have to teach them. And if they don't have it I gotta get it to them because I have it. It's just the right thing to do.
I have to support all my friends in all their business ventures because they are my friends and that's what just what u do.

Yes I'm only having sex with him, but we are friends and he has to know, no one got him like I got him. He is my friend and lover in one. How cool is this? I can tell him all my secrets and have all the amazing sex I want. WINNING. 😐.... and that's just a few... I obligated myself to everyone I cared for.

Encourage. Support. Love. Teach. Show them ur mistakes so they won't make the same ones.
That was my mindset for everyone close to me. Everyone I ever said that I love. Everyone I ever connected myself to. I had to pour myself into them because that's just what is required. I love that's just what I do. Even if it doesn't come back to me. Even if it's never ever reciprocated. Even if it's unwarranted. Even if they are undeserving. It's just what I do.

April 23,2016. I was involved in single car accident. 4 ribs fractured right lung punctured. I remember thinking I killed my son... I remember worrying about being late for work. I think of the guy I was sleeping with at the time. I remember waking up to seeing 4 ppl. My father. 3 close female friends. Where was everyone else? I got a few phone calls. My sister who I hadn't spoken to in months... I remember her walking into the room and tears pouring out her face. I scared her. I immediately wanted to hug. I needed her there. Her showing up gave me strength.
I remember waking up and thinking FUCK IM LATE FOR WORK. They are gonna fire me. I remember being in the hospital room alone and thinking "where are all those damn ppl I woulda showed up for" .... Death knocked on my door and I can count on one hand who showed up for me. That was my peak. See God had started removing things from me n I didn't even notice until he exposed me to me. All the material things that mattered to me were gone; my car was the final piece. He had to expose me to myself. 4/23/16 he did. I tried to fight it. I accepted excuses and apologies. It was ok. I mean, I only could have died. No big deal. Really. Clearly. It was ok. In reality, it wasn't tho.
I was so busy loving everyone else.... I never took the time out to love me.
I never had the time to notice I was growing and changing and by the time I did, my body was broken n bruised all up. I wasn't happy with myself. I didn't recognize the person I had become. I was so angry inside. I was so sad inside. I was so distraught inside. But I couldn't stop. I had gotten into the habit of loving everyone else, I didn't even know how to love the woman I had become. I had no clue where to begin. So I started small. My appearance was always important to me. But I had realized my hair wasn't what made me beautiful. All my life I had ppl around me who raved over this thick curly hair.
I cut it all off.
Next. I realized I had so many negative ppl around me. I established a distance. I still love you .... but I gotta protect my space. This new woman, the woman I am becoming, I cannot be attached to negativity. I left them where they stood. I didn't warn them. I didn't explain myself. I just moved.
It's minor but I stopped the regular maintenance. Nails. Brows. Hair. I made an effort to get back into the habit. Those are things I do for myself. Non negotiable.

Then. My friends. The hardest part was removing ppl I never imagined living without. I mean how do u go from speaking everyday to not speaking at all. That's when I learned. Friends don't do things to u, that can bring u pain. Even if it's intentional, they won't make decisions that could possibly hurt u. They know u week enough to know what hurts u, what wouldn't. At least friends should. Not saying ur friends won't ever hurt u, they will. It's a difference between mistakes and choices. I looked at myself and said I'm this type of friend to my friends so why are u allowing this type of behaviors from ur "friends." I moved. No explanations. No warnings. We are grown. Just move. Everyone has sight but not everyone has vision and not everyone can go where u are going.

I remember being at therapy and my therapist asked.... "who makes time to take care of u while ur taking care of everyone else" and I sit down and thought about it and I realized. I have to be that person. I have to save me. No one else will.
And I made a promise to myself not to tolerate anything I wouldn't be willing to accept. Friends. Family. Any human.
I am only obligated to myself and my children.

THAT'S IT!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Blended Families ... The 2017 Version

Blended Families... Not so uncommon today... Very uncommon when I was growing up. I remember my 6th grade graduation... Standing proudly on the stage to receive my honor roll certificate. I remember seeing my mom on one side. My dad on another with my aunts. I remember my blue dress and sandals that I was so press to wear. I remember being so excited because I get to see my daddy. I also remember hearing "suck my dick bitch" ... "Fuck u aint no dick to suck"... I remember posing for a photo with my dad and never taking a single photo with my mother that day.

I remember my Aunt Netta looking at me saying how proud she was but I couldn't feel that because my parents were broken. My parents could not stand as the unit they were. They couldn't even stand together in a single photo for 30 seconds in honor of their child making honor roll. I did not make honor roll after that. No more award ceremonies for me. I remember holidays with no dad. Him sneaking up to my middle school to give my presents. I remember my mother finding my presents later and destroying them. Child this was a broken family. My father would have a new baby. Never got remarried. Still single today. My mother would have a new baby remarry later. That ended in divorce as well. Still not married today. I never wanted that broken family for my children. 

I went on a search to create the family I never had. I had my first child at 16. I was so pressed for my little family. I didn't want anyone to take it away from me. I did everything I could to make sure it flourished. He had another child 13 months after our daughter was born. I was devastated. My family was not my family. He was just spreading his seed every where. I did everything I could to force him to accept our family. Even took the offer to move with our baby into his parents house. He rarely came home once I moved in. He ending up moving out unofficially, a few months after I moved in. I hated his son's mother. Not because of who she was or what she did but because I blamed her for my broken family. Not realizing he never was committed to the idea of us being a family in the first place. We were children having children, playing house. It was so much drama!! 

The first few years were rough. I would help with his son. I loved that boy. I always wanted a son. I remember he was a few months and I gave him water to drink. His mother was livid. I never wanted to hurt him; I hope she understands that I would never hurt her child. I loved him like he was mine. My sister's brother. I wanted them to grow closely together. She and I re-established our friendship. Our common denominator was him. We agreed to focus on being friends for our babies. It was great. We even took family pictures once. He would sleep over our house sometimes and my baby loved her brother. Eventually, I moved onto another relationship and not even realizing I created a distance.I lost my old family and created a new family. He had a new baby with another woman. I was NOT interested in blending families with her. Just raggedy. I distanced myself more. I wanted to reach out to his son's mom, tell her I was praying for her. I know she was hurting. But we were friends for the sake of the kids.  So the few rare times we did speak; it was about the children. 
Eventually my relationship ended.  My new family was broken. My old family was broken. So I was just going thru the motions of making things work best I could. 

My oldest daughter's dad re-established our relationship based on our daughter. He would bring his boys over to visit every now and then. Her birthday parties everyone must attend. My children, not their sibling but my two, do not really know their sister's siblings. But it is in progress. 

My experiences have taught me being a broken family means u can never be a blended family. You cannot come together when you are broken. Families only blend when the adults take the time to resolve/heal from their issues while doing what is in the best interest of the children involved. I appreciate my daughter's brothers' mother. We have figured out what works for us and our blended family. Kids deserve to be loved on from all angles despite the adults relationships. That's the only way they are well grow to be great. They have to understand no person is perfect but the image of perfection comes with maturity and working thru the differences in spite of the pain. I pray my children understand this. and I pray my husband (whenever he arrives) understands that, its deeper than babies in common. We are a blended family. A support team. This is the village. We have to love thru the adult mistakes, to create better humans. Its all about choices. So far, so good. 

I am so ready for the day of us having a Christmas or Thanksgiving together all under one roof. <3 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I am that Woman.....

I am that woman.... 

The past two years have been truly hard. I am not even certain that the hardest parts are over. I just know I have gotten thru this journey so far and I am ready for tomorrow. I just know I am better because of it and on my way to becoming the best version of myself. I just know I have learned so much about myself. I was reading an article about Mental Illness a long time ago. Really long ago. I remember laughing at the individuals for being  "weak". Mental illness isn't real; I felt Its an excuse so I thought. I didn't realize God was exposing me to myself. I did not realize Mental Illness is not always about ending up in a jacket that makes u "hug yourself" as you bounce off padded walls. Let me help you understand the importance of Mental Illness and how you can see it everyday around you and not even realize that you are sick. Mental illness is being so angry at everyone... for absolutely nothing. You are angry at them for living, for their happiness, for their successes, for simply existing while you struggle with understanding why you cannot have that same level of happiness; why u struggle with seeing people and hearing they say they love you but not feeling it because you are not open to receiving it. You struggle with everyday tasks... Simply showering. You make life all about yourself. Everything is a personal attack against you. Of course your not beautiful enough. Of Course your not smart enough; of course you do not deserve that respect. Of course they will speak to you like your nothing. Because you are nothing. At least that's what you believe in your mind. Your mind is ill. Mental illness. So what do you do? You pretend. You begin to do things to make sure everyone around you is happy and u do not focus on yourself because you do not matter to you.... FOR YEARS. Until finally, you lose everything.  Everything that you thought mattered... is now gone. All the materials. All the friends. All the money. The business. The fake love. It is gone. and you are forced to deal with all that you have left....You. Because the ones who matter depend on you. And it is important that you are better because their success is dependent on the state of your mental health. God takes you out of everything that was comfortable to you. All the friends you depended on who gave you that little bit of happiness.... They left. The money that you depended on to buy all the materials... You lost it... The family that you did not appreciate because they did not live up to your expectations... Yep. Got so used to living without you and yep lost those too. So you panic... Trying to figure out how to get it all back.... You make strides. You progress in replacing what you lost. But this time; is just isn't enough. Your "happiness" is not coming like it was before.... and you have an experience... This experience is your defining moment. You almost lose your life and you realize all the things that you had before... all the people that you had before... all the ones who you "lived" for... all the ones you would risk it all for.... all the ones who u thought needed u... all the ones you gave ur last for... were not as important .... as YOU. Where would you be without you? and you realize in that moment how sick you are... You need to heal. But u are not sure how because for so long you have been surrounded by so many that you do not even recognize you anymore. How do you heal when u do not understand how it is broken? You do not know how to say "I do not like that" "I do not want that" "I am not ok" ... Everything begins and ends with the keeping and caring of you first. You disconnect yourself. You sit in a room; sad and sick. No one is there. The people who are still connected to you do not even recognize you or they are starting to see its something wrong so you remove them in fear that they will end up hating who you really are. You think maybe this life is meant to be without you.You sit on the roof of a building and you look down and close your eyes. In those moments you replay all the times when u couldnt have been happier.... The smiles the laughs the lessons and the heartbreaks... You consider if u slide off the edge ... those are the people u would be leaving behind.... Are u selfish enough to really do this? You are not. U go back inside. You sit down and u do not come out for a few days.... In those days u sleep the pain away. In those days you realize... U miss you. The times where u laughed until ur stomach hurt with those u loved more than life and who loved u back genuinely. Where u did what made u happy first? I could not communicate to anyone what I was feeling inside; I just knew it did not feel good and one day... After a long day of dealing with myself and life... I came home. My children were being children. My teenager was being a teenager. I do not recall the specifics of the day but I just remembered losing it. ON MY CHILD. I hit her. Hard. Multiple times. She had done something wrong but my reaction was unwarranted. She did not deserve the pain I inflicted on her. All because I was hurting inside and could not say why. and in that moment where I watched my teenager look at me in fear; and tears that she rarely cries poured out her eyes; it killed me to realize that I hurt her. I physically hurt her. My daughter is very much so like me. She rarely shows her true emotions. Her dog died earlier in the year and she cried for maybe 30 minutes and came back like "OK so can we get a new one" She is legit the strongest kid I have ever known and I broke her because I was broken. In my moment of self reflection I decided: the people you thought you needed; You do not... You do not need those opinions. You are valued. You are worthy. You deserve the love you pour into everyone else and you give it to yourself because no one owes you anything. You accept what you have done; you accept your mistakes; you accept your imperfections and you make a decision: It is time You love you first. Heal what is broken inside of you. Your children are everything but they are nothing without you. They would not exist without you. Your parents are awesome but they are humans they are not perfect. Your friends are great but they are humans too. Humans are not perfect and will fail you every time when given your expectations. Trust yourself. Love yourself. Believe in yourself and Be ok with you FIRST.
That very next day I decided to go into mental health therapy.

I am a woman who loves everyone but I hated people. Because people were hurtful to me. I was too sensitive to the harsh realities of this wicked world. I loved my children more than I loved myself because I valued their lives more than my own. I loved men who did not understand what it means to love a woman like me; I loved friends who hated me and I hated friends who loved me genuinely. I sometimes lay in bed while the laundry piles up high; and the dishes sometimes stay in the sink for days at a time because I am too lazy to do them. My hair is usually a mess unless I am leaving the hair shop; I bite my nails due to my anxiety so I made it a must do to get my nails done every two weeks. I have 3 kids but my weight loss/gain was because my depression would kick in after I had a baby. I never wanted to have kids anyway but I never could say that out loud. I am so thankful for those three lives man. God knew I needed them. I would get a new car at least once a year because I was validated by the material possessions. They made me feel accomplished. I would lie to people about the dumbest things just because I was afraid that if I was honest about how I felt they would not want to be around me. I valued the opinions of worthless people. I cared too much about irrelevant things. I appreciated the validation of outside sources. I long for acceptance by people who I did not need to be accepted by. I was crazy! I am mentally ill. My diagnosis after a few therapeutic sessions: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In addition to the trauma life exposed me to; I traumatized myself. I made a decision to stop. I took a step to heal myself. I took a step to understand myself and I am so thankful for what I have learned thus far on this journey. I am that woman. I am that African American woman. The one so many fear. The "crazy" one. Yep. I am there. and I am ok with that.

Thank you for being apart of this journey with me. and to those who I have lost along the way; Thank you for leaving when you did. I am better because of every gain and every loss. <3

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Reality of Death....

It has been a while.... Most recent obstacle I have had is dealing with the death of my grandmother. Its crazy because the reality is... Everyone is gonna to die. We all know this. We are told this, in the end we all die. But its different when its family. I mean I have had many friends transition. It hurts yes, but it happens you cry, you miss them but eventually you move past it. My grandmother's death was different for me. This wasn't just a cry and move on. I have so much I have to tell her that I didn't think to tell her until I saw her laying in the casket. So many things I remember that didn't dawn on me until I kissed her cold skin for the final time. Like how she told me to stop being mean to my mother, in the end she is your only mother. Or when I was 16 and pregnant and she took me to the store and while walking she said "well at least we know what u were doing last spring" or how she refused to listen to my doctor when they told me to wait until my contractions were two minutes apart, "u aint having that baby in this apartment" The many times she told me your the strongest one, thats why no one messes with you. Her strength could not be mirrored, she was short but u had to take her serious because she was grandma. Even in her final years, Doctors would say she isnt gonna live, she fought thru it. She survived. She was ok. She was stronger then they knew. She never cared what ppl said about her. She was just her. and I lost all of that.... How do u move on from that? How do u move on from losing your foundation? She was the only grandmother who was actually mine u know, the one that was there in the baby pictures, toddler pictures, graduations and Christmas dinner. How do you live the same? She was here for my 3 children's pregnancies, she won't be here for my wedding. I am defeated. She saw so many mistakes so many wrong things I did, she won't be here to see me make things right. I don't have a house to run too when I'm hungry now. Who will fry fish every Friday because its Friday. Grandma's house won't be the last house I go to this Christmas. I am broken now. There is no coming back from death. There is no, "I will call her later" or "ill go visit next year" I can never be the same...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Demise of the Black Family... Part 1....

As I look around today… I look at the children... The reflection of our future…  I observe videos posted online of our babies. I wasn’t around during the era where little girl’s wore dresses and bow tiesI wasn’t around for the era when little boys played with trucks and cars. I can only imagine growing up in those times.

My children are growing up in an era where it is cute to curse, where they are encouraged to wear shirts that show breasts that haven’t formed and a belly that still had baby fat around it. They wear eye liner and lip gloss before they can read. They can sing Nikki Manaj but have no idea who Jackie Joyner Kersee.

It makes me wonder… WHO ARE RAISING THESE CHILDREN?? I understand being a parent is hard. I understand it comes without a manual. But what is the difference in US as parents today, when compared to the parents in previous generations??? Every morning I have conversations with my spiritual sister and today’s topic, like many other days, revolved around the status of men, black men in particular.

The conversations on the quality of our black men today lead to the quality of black families. She mentioned to me the welfare system and how it was designed. We basically agreed, the demise of the black family began in our parent’s era. Our parents are both in their 50’s. So, when they started their families, it was during the era when Black Menhad difficulties getting jobs. Dads couldn’t work (legally we can address the drug era at a different time) and as a result, mothers were encouraged to use welfare. The catch with welfare is a man couldn’t live within the home. So if you take a man out the home give the woman money in his place thus creating an “independent” dependent. Does it make sense?

The man isn’t in the home. So his family isn’t his family anymore. The man naturally is a provider but at this point, you have replaced the provider with a system that does what he does so he feels he isn’t needed. As a result, he goes somewhere where he feels like he is needed; starts a new family and BOOM: The cycle is repeating. But wait, it gets better. So now we have a black man with multiple children, with multiple women. What happens next? The women began to hate each other. Why? Because they see the one another as competition; which leads to women hating  each other and also hating the man they  happen to have children with which in turns creates broken children because the two people who created them hate each other and they are forced to grow up in an hostile environment. I hope this is making senseIn summary, the final result is we have black families that are angry and fighting all because they were simply trying to get ahead, but they were using a system that given to them instead of strategically planning and creating a system of their own. The catch is the system they thought was designed to help them grow together was actually designed to tear them apart and has contributed to the demise of African Americans as people, as a family unit.

Today, we have children who do not understand the importance of the family foundation. They do not have values. They do not have morals. They do not have self-respect. They got caught between the battle of mommy fighting daddy because their “half” sister was born.  Our children have become victims of a war waged against black marriages, black families and black communities.

And our children are lost. You have little girls in the streets searching for the attention they should be getting from home. You have men acting as women because they have no one around to show them what it means to be a man. We have broken people creating broken children and the cycle will continue until we take a moment to recognize what we are doing wrong and actually do something to fix it. My point in all of this: It all starts at home and with us; with the family. Build a solid foundation. Become a team as husband and wife with God as the head coach. Create your plans first. Then build your roster (with children.) It is time our families begin to be families again. Teach our children and guide our children.