Three Things That I Want You to Know – 11/28/15

Hi Everyone,

I’m home in Tennessee today and here are three things that I wanted you to know:

  1. I like coming home to Tennessee. It gives me a great sense of family and appreciating what God has blessed me with. I spent Thanksgiving with my grandmother (on my mother’s side) and my aunties, uncles and cousins. It’s a fat girl weekend whereby I will be walking my butt off (as long as it’s not too cold outside) while I’m here.
  2. I hate traveling on Thanksgiving. Although there were no major delays or issues, I just hate traveling on Thanksgiving. I arrived late for dinner, but thankfully a dinner plate and some desserts were hidden away for me. Yes, I’m spoiled and I’m thankful that my family supports this weary traveler.
  3. I’m home because my dad has cancer. My goal is to gather as much knowledge, strength and support that I can to be here for the man I’m just starting to get to know. I’m capturing our time with photos and my desire to make sure that my dad knows that I forgive him for not being around and that I love him. I thought we would have had more time, but it was not in the cards, but I’m prayerful. He has a lot of children and at the moment I’m the only one who wants to have anything to do with him.

Those are my 3 things for this week and I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. We’ll chat on Monday!

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When Being Strong Kills You

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard men tell me that I’m crazy. But, I think what I’ve heard uttered in frustration is something that I want to bring attention to now. The myth of the strong black woman. This myth that seeks to guide us as we grow up in facts cripples us by the time we’re grown women.

We’re taught that we shouldn’t be vulnerable. That we should be able to get through the problems that we encounter with strength and determination. We should just keep on keeping on. But, that’s not true. So many black women suffer from depression and are not getting the help that they need.

We try to explain it all and say “Oh, she’s just a little sick right now. She needs to pray on it and she’ll be better.” We can’t pray away mental illness. We have to address it and we have to stop teaching our girls that they have to grin and bear the pain. It’s too much.

Being strong is killing them. I’m tired of reading stories about my sisters who are struggling with underlying cases of mental illness and no one in their circle seems to know it. Blame it on the fact that we are uneducated or unconcerned about mental health in this country, but I have to say “Please stop ignoring it. It’s killing us.”

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I know. I get tired. I get tired of being a strong black woman. I watched my grandmother raise 11 children on her own and then raise some of her children’s children. If that wasn’t enough, she took in foster kids. One summer that I spent with her she had 13 other children that summer. Who the heck openly commits to raising 13 children for the summer? Why? I know she loved us but did anyone think that maybe that was too much? Let’s alternate kids for the summer?

My own mother pushed aside her pain to raise her children by herself with no financial, emotional or physical support from my dad. I still remember the day she said to me “Your dad is gone. I need you to be a big girl and help me with your brother and sister.” I was 10. Thus began the need to be a strong black girl who would become a strong black woman.

I’m not against therapy. I’m a big supporter of the need for therapy. I will often say that black folks need three things: Jesus, wine and therapy. We often neglect therapy believing that we can pray away our pain. But, if you are in immense pain can you even hear God’s response? No. The noise is too loud.

So, we put on our cape and continue to fight for the injustices of the world and never worry about how it is affecting us. How it is killing us because we are supposed to worry about everyone else but ourselves. We don’t want to be weak. Therefore, we continue to do everything around us to make people not see that we are cracking under the pressure. Try to live a normal life.

We deny that we are hurting for the convenience of others. To try to appear strong in spite of the pain. To endure. To deny the ugly truth that sometimes life is hard and we need help. We need your listening ear. We need sympathy and we need your encouragement that we should seek help.

I’m tired of reading stories where black women are killing their children, each other or themselves in what is clearly undiagnosed mental health issues. We have to stop saying be strong and tell them that it’s okay to not be strong. Be you. Find your authentic voice and get help. It’s okay.

shirley-depress

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I don’t own these photos. A quick Google search was performed to find them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for so many things. Here’s just a few:

  • For my son
  • For my family
  • For my friends
  • For my fellow bloggers
  • For my gifts
  • For life
  • For choices
  • For discernment

I’m traveling this year. I’m headed home to visit my dad in Tennessee. It is going to be an interesting visit. I will share more in my 3 things on Saturday and when I return.

Wanted to leave you with this beautiful poem I found on-line. Be blessed and enjoy the day.

More Than A Day

As Thanksgiving Day rolls around,
It brings up some facts, quite profound.
We may think that we’re poor,
Feel like bums, insecure,
But in truth, our riches astound.

We have friends and family we love;
We have guidance from heaven above.
We have so much more
Than they sell in a store,
We’re wealthy, when push comes to shove.

So add up your blessings, I say;
Make Thanksgiving last more than a day.
Enjoy what you’ve got;
Realize it’s a lot,
And you’ll make all your cares go away.

By Karl Fuchs

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Built to Last

My friend and I were watching Selma last month and he said to me “See, they don’t make women like Coretta Scott King anymore. She stood by her husband when she knew he was being unfaithful. You present day women would leave your man in a heartbeat. You’re not built to last.” Yep, he actually said that BS. Really dude?

I had a WTH? look on my face as I tried to compose myself before responding. Believe it or not I can just respond and cut you with my words, but now that I’m 40 I’m trying to tame my tongue and think a full one minute before responding to foolishness.

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But, I got myself together and said “Built to last? So, women should stand by a man who is unfaithful because we married him?” I almost choked on my water and then I couldn’t stop laughing because I realized that this man was serious.

Simon Cowell almost chokes on his drink laughing at X-Factor

I decided that my friend must be smoking some new and undetectable brand of crack for saying something so absolutely whack that I had to share it with all of you. I had to break down a few things to this man about what he thinks women should and shouldn’t put up with and dispel a few myths that he may be sharing among other men who may start believing this lie. Here are three of the myths that I came up with in response to his foolish belief.

Myth #1: Women Should Stand By an Unfaithful Partner

I’m saying partner instead of man because if you’re in a same sex relationship my advice would apply to you as well. You don’t have to stand by anyone who is being unfaithful to you. If YOU CHOOSE to stay in a relationship where you are being disrespected, it is your choice. But, not everyone is that strong. The thing about infidelity is that it cuts like a knife. I’ve been there. It hurts like hell. You want everyone in the situation to feel the same type of pain you have. No matter what, they don’t. Your pain is your pain. You own it. You have to nurture it. You have to heal from it.

I’m not suggesting you leave a marriage if they are unfaithful. This is a personal choice. However, there are a number of things that I would consider before staying in a marriage that was unfaithful: length of our marriage, the issues that we are having that made him seek someone outside of our marriage and can I truly forgive my partner. If I can’t forgive and not continuously bring it up then I need to leave the relationship. Your sanity will depend on it. But, there have been many couples who have stayed with an unfaithful partner and were able to fix their marriage. It’s your choice.

However, don’t think you weren’t built to last if you choose to leave. That is a myth. You just don’t want to continue being a relationship where your partner has broken your trust. It’s your choice.

Myth #2: Your Partner Expects You to Stay

This is a big myth. No one expects you to stay in a relationship where they’ve violated your trust unless they are smoking crack. If that is the case then you should definitely leave for their alleged drug use and not just because of their inability to stay faithful. Drug addiction is just as serious as infidelity. You make the choice to stay. No one can force you and if you want to work on your relationship, there is nothing wrong with that. Do what you want to do. But, a piece of advice….if your partner expects you to stay then there is a real problem. Either they will continue being unfaithful to you or they are a cold-hearted narcissist. Whatever it is you should run now. Trust me. Run!

Myth #3: You Are Not Built to Last

Yep, you are built to last. Whether you stay with an unfaithful partner or leave. You are fine. You are built to last. You’ve survived the pain of the betrayal and you will be okay. You don’t need medals advertising your pain. It’s okay to cry and go through it alone. You are a survivor. I believe that in Coretta’s case that she may have stayed not just because she loved her husband but in actuality for a self-serving purpose. Her husband was changing history. She knew this. His name would forever be emblazoned in history and hers too. She stayed because her purpose was his purpose. A shared purpose and therefore she prioritized. She chose to stay. Her choice. Individual choice. If you choose not to stay that doesn’t mean that you are less than someone else. You are still you.

Infidelity is a serious issue and I don’t want anyone to think that you have to stay in an unhealthy relationship with a cheater. If you forgive and stay that is your choice and no one is judging you for it. If you leave it is your choice as well but in either case understand that you are beautifully and wonderfully made and this pain that you’re in will heal and you will get better. I promise you.

 

He Loves Intimacy

Is it weird that he loves intimacy? That he believes it is the foundation of a strong relationship? Whew! Are you serious? Intimacy to me is a big glass of wine and talking about politics while you tell me how sexy I am in my nerdy glasses talking all smart and stuff.

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I’m struggling with it because I’m not very good with intimacy. Opening up and sharing feelings, flirting, sharing sweet and tender moments with someone. Ugh! I’m such a weirdo. But, he likes that.

He is sweet with it. He shows me intimacy by softly caressing my arm to get my attention at the gym. The sweetest of touches. He’s a gentleman. It’s been a long time since I actually had that “sincere, I respect you for who you are kind of man”. No pretenses. No lines. No pressure.

So, I asked him, “Are you attracted to me?” He laughed and responded “I wouldn’t spend my money or time with you unless I was attracted to you.” I thought, “Well, he’s not Bill Gates rich so maybe there’s truth to what he’s saying.”

I like his mind. The way he thinks. It’s beautiful. He thinks in terms of binary codes. He is a loving and responsible son. Spends time with his parents. A great father. A hard-working man.  A good friend and a great work out partner. He works two jobs and says that “Roland Martin said a black man in America has to have multiple streams of income”. LOL.

I like that he makes time for me. Still at the same rate. Same level. Without arguing or making me feel as though I’m not worth it. Even when he went in to work overnight Saturday night after we had dinner. I told him to get some rest so that he could work overnight. He said, “No, we have plans. I’ll go in later.”

See that? Grown man stuff. At dinner, he blessed our food and sweetly rubbed my hands while he was praying. Whew! This intimacy thing is weird. He asked, “Are you okay?” “Yes” I replied and had a sip of my raspberry martini. Soft touches.

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I enjoy the little things about him. I’ve had so many questionable guys lately that it seems weird yet comforting to have someone who is committed to making time for me. Challenging my beliefs and being respectful and open when I do the same.

I told him that if this dating thing doesn’t work out we still need to be gym buddies. I look forward to having an accountability partner. The only thing I would change is the cute way that I approach going to the gym. I’ll show him the real me when we go work out.

Image from Fox TV's Family Guy
Image from Fox TV’s Family Guy

 

Ah, the joys of dating!

 

Random: My Munch May Be A Genius

In other parenting news I wanted to share some random things munch says and does.

Reading

Munch has to read 20 minutes a day. I ordered all these books from scholastic.com and then bought 5 more books at the book fair. He was ecstatic. “Mommy, I have so many new books” he said. “Yes, let’s get a book to read.” Five minutes passed and he still hadn’t selected a book. “Munch, what’s the problem?” I asked. “I don’t like these books. They are no color pictures and they have too many words and pages” he said. “Dude, you’re 7. Time to up your reading game. Adults don’t have color pictures in our books” I said. After some digging I picked up this book:

9780060097912_default_quickLook“Nope” he replies. “No color”. I then picked up this book to compromise. It is all in color.

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“Nope” he replies. “Too many words.” “Well that’s too bad. We’re going to read it for the reading log this week. It’s 20 chapters. We will divide them up” I replied.

Future Plans

Munch has been telling me since he was 3 that he wants to be a doctor. “Good baby. Mommy’s gonna figure out how to pay for medical school even if everyone in the family has to take out a second mortgage. Oh, and that includes your godparents.”

young-black-doctor

Then last week he says “I don’t want to be a doctor anymore. I want to be a police officer now because they have the power to change the world.” “Really?” I responded. I thought, dang. There goes the first doctor in the family.

A National Guardsman and a police officer hold their positions at City Hall during a protest Wednesday in downtown Baltimore. Thousands marched, demanding justice for an African-American man who died of severe spinal injuries allegedly sustained in police custody, but most were off the streets shortly after the 10 p.m. curfew.

But, I like the way he thinks that police officers have power to change the world. I pray he keeps that innocence. I pray that the world changes and makes that a reality for him.

Behavior

A couple of weeks ago we took photos with our favorite photographer for our upcoming photo shoot. We had an 8 am photo shoot on a Sunday and I had to drive an hour and 15 minutes to get there. It was a cold (39 degrees) morning and I knew that munch would not be a happy camper. So, he asked me, “Mommy, can you please download Sonic Boom on my Ipad?” “Um, it depends if you act right during our photos. Ms. Erin is going to take our pictures and if you smile, behave and do what she says then I will.” He looked at me and said, “Didn’t I already do good? I mean I got 8 A’s, 4 B’s and 2 C’s on my report card.” I laughed and asked “How bad do you want me to download Sonic Boom?”

Score one for mom because here is a photo from the photo shoot.

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Oh, how I love this kid.

Disclaimer: I did a Google search on all the photos except that of my child. I don’t own those that were found on Google.

Three Things I Want You to Know – 11/21

This week was rough ya’ll. I’m thinking about taking a break from social media including blogging. I realized that I am too empathetic and this is causing me to get discouraged in humanity. Sometimes I feel like I’m losing my mind. Wondering what is going on in this world.

So, my three things that I want you to know this weekend are based off some of the things that are floating around on Facebook and in the media.

  1. Black women are not responsible for all the ills of the world. We are not solely responsible for raising our children. It takes two. Black women love themselves and I will admit that all of us have issues. Everyone, not just black women, but to say that we lack self-love and therefore we teach our sons the same thing so they have no regards for life is a fallacy that needs to stop being circulated. Instead, I implore you to change your environment and become mentors to children that don’t have a father or mother in the home and stop making blanketed statements about black women. I am a black woman and I am raising a son with no man in the house. He will be fine. Many other black boys will be too.
  2. I’m a black person. A black woman. I am not giving my black card back to the quasi-pro black police because I changed my Facebook picture in support of solidarity to the lives lost on Friday, November 13th. I know France’s history and I also know the history of the U.S. We’re no better. I can have sympathy for the tragedies that occurred in a country where my son is learning to speak their language. A place where I plan to visit in the next couple of years. To a country that has seen more tragedies than many of us can imagine. But, I’m still black. According to The New York Times there are approximately 8 million blacks living in Europe and I can support whoever the heck I want because first and foremost I am a child of God. I pray for everyone regardless of their race, nationality, religion or sexual preference.
  3. This grandstanding on not letting Syrian refugees in our country is getting on my last dang nerve. Who are you? Dang, didn’t we steal this country from the Native Americans? Aren’t we refugees? Not everyone is a terrorist and not everyone who is a Muslim is a potential threat. We have to stop this foolishness. We are a country that loves our guns but can’t stop the American terrorists who were born and raised in America from shooting up schools, killing children or blowing up government buildings and we think we are safe? These people are running from the wars in their country and seeking refuge. Hell, I want to seek refuge sometimes because I’m scared of a radical American shooting up schools. We have to stop acting like we care about people and tie it to other issues of social injustices. Separate them. Attack them one at a time. If you are not part of the solution, step the heck back and stop being a part of the problem.

Rant over.

Have a great weekend loves!