Read: Men Rape Us And You Let Them

One of my favorite sites is For Harriet and I read such a powerful essay the other day that I just had to share it. This writer’s words resonate with so many of us that have been victims of sexual assault. You know that I’m a survivor, but many of you are also a survivor. Many of your friends, family or acquaintances may have suffered sexual assault or abuse. It never ends.

Before Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein or the many other famous men that have been accused, there are just normal men out here that are hurting women and children. No one should have to be a victim of abuse. No one should have to tell the story of their #metoo assault for you to realize that we have to be advocates. Advocates for every one.

My prayer is that you will start seeing that this is a problem in our country and finding ways to stop the violence. To stop the predators. To protect the victims before they even become victims. It will take a village.

Please read this powerful essay by Nicole Shawan Junior entitled Men Rape Us and You Let Them

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Note: I don’t own the rights to this photo. Through a Google search it came up.

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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A Healthy Heart

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about the massive to do list that I have going on and how I’m just trying to take it in pieces. One of those things was to send information about Munch’s fundraiser to all my family and friends. I am very selective about fundraising and I try to not inundate folks with every single request to buy something. Why? Because I can’t do everything.

However, Munch came home a couple of weeks ago wanting to participate in the Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart Program that is sponsored by the Red Cross. His school is participating and he was so excited to get these zoo animals and wanted me to let him participate. I reviewed the paperwork and explained why I was letting him participate. I told him that we have a history of heart disease in our family.

I explained to him that his grandfather has congestive heart failure and just got a pacemaker put in. I explained that his dad had multiple strokes when he was an infant and they are always checking his heart. I told him that the heart is the most important organ and the one that pumps all of our blood through our body and we must keep it healthy.

I went on to tell him that’s why I want him to continue to exercise with swim classes and soccer. But, there is still work to do. I admittedly don’t serve vegetables with every meal and I’ve got to do better. So, that was the challenge we agreed to do. To eat vegetables with every meal at dinner and to take a walk around the block every evening. Let’s keep the heart muscle working.

Today is National Go Red Day and I wore my red to support this great program. As a woman and knowing that I have a family history of heart disease, I want to keep my heart healthy. According to the Go Red website “Cardiovascular disease in the U.S. kill approximately one woman every 80 seconds. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events may be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Go Red For Women advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health.”

I’m a woman and I’m a mother and I support heart health. I want to be around for Munch for many years to come and I want to give him the tools to keep his heart safe and healthy. So, I’m asking if you’re able to, please consider making a $10.00 donation to Munch’s Campaign. We set the goal at $250.  All donations are tax-deductible.

The link is here:  Hoops for Heart

Life of Regrets

It is at the end of a man or woman’s life that they really begin to ponder things. Did I live a good life? Did I enjoy it? Was I good person? Did I leave the world a better place than when I found it?

Or at least I hope that is what we’ll do.

I have been thinking a lot about the life yet lived and the mistakes that we make when faced with the possibility of death. No, I’m not dying. I’ve been sick, but I’m recuperating. That’s why my posts have seemed erratic lately. Please bear with me.

But, I told ya’ll last week that my daddy had a pace maker put in and I was worried about him. His family was calling and asking me about a living will and what do I want to do with the surgery and being his decision maker. I started freaking out. What do you mean? Is he conscious? Can’t he make the decisions on his own? I don’t know about the will. He mentioned it a few times, but I’ve seen or signed nothing. Ugh!

I was overwhelmed and frustrated to say the least. I was told they would call me back and they didn’t. I just called the hospital and spoke to his nurse in ICU. He was conscious. He was able to make the decisions on his healthcare. He wanted the pacemaker.

I got answers. I was happy that the hospital was being very concerned about my dad’s health. They took down my phone number and called me. There was a wonderful nurse who told me she was trying to let the social worker know what my daddy needed when he went home. He needed a nurse. He needed help. He didn’t have a phone.

She asked me about my dad’s military service. My dad said he was a vet. He is. He is a vet. He was dishonorably discharged. The nurse said “He told me he wasn’t dishonorably discharged and he has papers to prove it.” I sighed. It was 1:30 in the morning. I responded in exasperation “My daddy is an alcoholic. He’s had a drinking problem all his life or at least for the last 35 years. Too much drinking and smoking. His brain cells are gone. He can’t produce any paperwork and I’m too tired to argue.”

She was sympathetic as I explained that I am the only one of a possible 9 children still speaking to him. One out of 9. That’s his life. So, I have no reason to lie. He’s broke and sick. He’s one of the forgotten. I just don’t know how to feel.

She understood. She listened as I explained that God had told me to forgive my daddy. That God told me that it in order for me to be blessed I had to let go of all the pain my daddy caused by not being in my life. She said “Me too. I know exactly what you mean.” She said she would help him. She would exhaust her resources.

Apply for Medicare. Do everything she can. Thank God for her.

She didn’t have to go above and beyond. It was appreciated. I wasn’t there. I knew at that moment that I needed to go home to see about him.

I talked to him the next day. He was moved to ICU to his own room. I called and heard his voice. He’s alive. He’s able to make his decisions. I told him the calls I received from his relatives. He said that he knew.

I was exhausted. Emotionally and mentally. It’s hard loving a man that you don’t really know. I’ve spent 11 years of my life with this man and 31 without him. It’s hard trusting him to not come in my life and hurt me again. I’m not his only child. I’m one of many.

My dad said that he wants me to contact his other children. To reach out to them and ask them to talk to him. I won’t. I can’t.

I feel that God gave me the message in order to move me from the pain to the promise. He may not have given my siblings that message. It’s not for me to clean up my daddy’s mess. I’ve said to him that he needs to find a way to clean up his own mess. That you can’t ask me to do what you should have done a long time ago. Be a man to your children.

I know that he’s living a life of regrets right now, but I can’t help him. We are all responsible for the choices we make. Good, bad or indifferent, you have to know that there will come a time when payment is due for your negligence. I wish that his regrets were more of the life not traveled, but I know they are more about the man he wasn’t and the forgotten children.

The Bubble Chronicles

Well before I had children, I decided that if I had children they would play in bubbles. They would wear all white and never get dirty or catch germs from grimy hands of other children. Mud and dirt wouldn’t exist in my home. Only giggles, sunshine and white. White was a pure color. White was beautiful.

Then I became a mother and reality set in. Munch was a preemie so I was overly scared of people bringing germs to my baby. Everyone had to wash and sterilize their hands up to their elbows and then put a clean blanket across your outside clothes and then you could touch him. No kissing him though.

You could kiss his feet only. Unless you were his mom or dad. Apparently, my mom thought she was the mother too because she was kissing all over my newborn’s sweet preemie face. I was livid. She didn’t care. Ugh! Mothers!

Back to the point…so I did everything I could to protect my little one’s immune system. I was trying to keep him healthy. He was the most sickliest little child. Always sick. Always a cold. A respiratory infection. Always something. He got swine flu at 18 months. He missed three weeks of daycare.

Every parent told me that it is a good thing when your child is really sick as an infant because that means when they get to school he will have developed a stronger immune system. Really? I fell for it.

Now my Munch doesn’t just get sick on a regular and consistent basis. He gets obscure illnesses that we’ve never heard of and are on the local health department’s website. Remember last year he got shigella? Well guess what folks? This year it is scarlet fever. Yes, scarlet freaking fever.

I thought that they had eradicated that back in the early 1900’s. Apparently it is still around and mainly affects children between the ages of 5 and 15. The exact time last year he had shigella he gets scarlet fever. This is also on the health department’s disease control list. Yep, that probably means another quarantine unless their lab confirms that he is symptom free.

His dad and I are wondering what’s next?

My best friend said “Maybe he should go in the bubble”. Yeah, that’s it. The bubble doesn’t seem so bad now huh?

 

 

 

DomesticatedMomster

The Musings of A Diabetic – Part 2

I called Mr. C. in frustration and shame. How the hell could I get diabetes? I’m 41. There is no family history of it. He calmly stated “It’s going to be fine. You can beat this. You should take the medication and keep working out. We’ll find out what you can and can’t eat.” I sighed. I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy.

Life never is.

But, he was optimistic. He was supportive. He was encouraging me. He wasn’t going to let me suffer a defeatist attitude and proclaim the end of my demise. He was going to be there pushing me to the limits to not give up.

I accepted it. I needed it. I needed to know that I wasn’t alone in my desire to LIVE. To live for my Munch. I had too much work to do.

I started increasing my steps. Stretching. Watching what I’m eating. Everything was scrutinized. Reduced my alcohol intake by 95%. I was going to fight this.

I tested my blood, took the pill and continued my workouts. Chicken. I eat a lot of chicken and lean protein. I have water all the time. With every meal. No thank you to wine. No thank you to dessert.

The doctor said that my numbers have to be less than 100. It was at the 121 range. More water. More research.

Then last week I needed a caffeine boost. I wanted a soda. I went to the vending machine. The choices were few. I wanted a soda. I hadn’t had one in months. I needed some caffeine. Ugh! They only had Pepsi products. I’m a die-hard Coca-Cola drinker. So, I settled on a Dr. Pepper. They didn’t have diet but I needed a Dr. Pepper.

I took it back to my office and drank a little less than a third. The need was satisfied. I was feeling satiated by the caffeine. I put the top back on the bottle and continued about my day.

The rest of the day was normal. I went to work out, ate a healthy chicken salad and drank water. Took my shower and went to bed.

The next morning I awoke and took my blood sugar before I left the house. It said 161.

I was devastated. This was the highest it had ever been. I couldn’t understand what did it.

I packed my lunch of chicken breasts and beans, water, strawberries, watermelon and water. I grabbed a couple of Greek yogurts and headed to work. Stressed as heck. Not sure what the hell was going on in my body I started to freak out.

I called Mr. C and he instantly knew something was wrong. I told him my levels and how I didn’t do anything differently so I didn’t know what the issue was. He told me to relax and that we would get this under control.

He reminded me that I didn’t become diabetic overnight so it would take time for me to figure out what I can and can’t eat. He said, “It’s only been a month. We’ll figure it out.” Hmm, I like that. We’ll figure it out.

He calmed me down. I started to feel a little better until I got to work. When I went to put my lunch in the kitchen I saw this sign:

I had an Aha moment! I know knew what sparked my elevated sugar. That damn soda. I had no idea how many grams of sugar were in that Dr. Pepper. It has 64 grams of sugar. Women are supposed to have no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar daily. That damn soda was triple the amount of my supposed daily sugar intake.

Worst part? I didn’t even drink it all. That little taste of soda elevated my blood sugar. After feeling better about what I learned I began to research ways to lower my blood sugar and monitor sugar in every little thing.
Mr. C sent me some great articles including this one about 12 Powerfoods to Beat Diabetes and I went to the grocery store that evening. I purchased some apples, citrus fruits, cinnamon (to sprinkle on everything), steaks, spinach, and apple cider vinegar. I’m trying everything.

I grilled some steaks that evening and packed a lunch of a grilled steak, spinach greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, sprinkled with cinnamon and a little bit of a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. I packed my fruits and bottled water. I was going to live.

I took my blood sugar the next day and it was 142. Higher than normal but it was coming down. I don’t know if it was the 2 tablespoons of vinegar that I digested an hour before I ate or not, but I’m going to keep digesting the vinegar, sprinkling ½ teaspoon of cinnamon on my meals daily and eating leaner and healthier food.

Now, if I could just find a quinoa recipe that I can cook (easy) and doesn’t taste like crap, I’ll be in business.

The Musings of A Diabetic – Part 1

“I have the sugar”. Those were the words I uttered last month when I found out that I am now in the diabetic range. My A1C was 7. I was officially diagnosed as Type 2 diabetic. I sighed. I was feeling overwhelmed.

I met with my doctor to go over my numbers. He was angry because I hadn’t repeated my labs or seen him since August of last year when the numbers indicated that I was pre-diabetic. He wanted to know why I hadn’t bothered to see him or return his calls. He was acting like I stood him up or something.

I guess in reality I did. I had been so busy and pre-occupied with life that I put my health on the back burner. Yes, I still worked out. Yes, I still kept losing weight and increasing my water intake. But, my life was in a tailspin last year. I couldn’t focus on me. I had to focus on everyone else.

My son got shigella. My daddy got diagnosed with cancer. My son was having emotional issues. I was going through a horrific time with my ex. I got a kidney infection and ended up in the hospital. My car got hit by a U-haul truck while it was parked. I thought I had breast cancer.

There it was.  A lot of the load that I was carrying had weighed me down. My health became minor. I had to work. I had to pay the bills. I had to take care of my son. I had to get a grip on reality. I was having a nervous breakdown and I couldn’t have one because there wasn’t any time to have one. Who would take care of my Munch if I did?

He listened. I said, “I need you to understand the plight and burden of being a mother. A black mother. We carry the weight of the world on our shoulder and we often neglect our health.” He said, “Okay, well now you can’t neglect your health. It’s serious.” I felt defeated as I responded, “I know.”

We spoke about my weight loss. He was happy. He sees the scale going down. We talked about my work out routines. My activity levels. My stress levels. My eating habits. There it was. My eating habits. I mostly ate healthy but I didn’t know that my love of carbs was killing me. Oh, how I love pasta, rice and sauce. I dreamed of pasta and warm breads. They comforted me.

They were slowly killing me. “I don’t want medication. My mom says that I could become dependent on medication and she doesn’t want me to take it. She wants me to reverse it. She’s a chemist you know.” He sat there and slowly responded “Nothing against your mom but you need the medication. I don’t want your pancreas to have to work so hard to get that sugar out of your body. The medication helps to get rid of the sugar. I wouldn’t recommend it unless I thought you needed it.”

“I know” I muttered.

“No one changes their eating habits overnight. It takes time. This medication will start to work while you continue to try and make better choices.”

“I know” I replied with tears streaming down my face.

“Look, since you’re against it I will start off on a low dosage one pill daily, although I would normally recommend two pills a day. I want you to test your blood sugar every other day and I want you to continue to work out and change your food choices. Keep a journal of what you eat so you can see the things that make your sugar levels rise. We will retest in 3 months. We will see what’s going on.”

I agreed.

The nurse came in and showed me how to test my sugar. Simple finger prick. Once every other day.

I could do that.

I left the office feeling defeated.

Damn You Breasts

So, I had my mammogram last Tuesday. This is only the second one in my life. I’m only 41 and when I got my PAP smear in January the nurse practitioner recommended that I get another one. Why? I’m only 41. Just turned 41. I do my own breast exams. I don’t need to do another one do I? Plus, my insurance plan covers it once every two years because there is no family history of breast cancer.

She said, “Nope, you should still do it.” I sighed. I huffed and puffed and said “Okay”. Now, before you start tripping and saying what’s the issue T? Let me explain. The dang thing hurts. Mammograms feel like thousands of angry midgets pushing, pulling and smashing your dang breasts in all different directions. It’s painful as hell.

Well, I’ve been having a heck of a year and putting off the second mammogram that I finally had enough. I got my baby situated and decided that I needed to handle that mammogram this month. So, I went to the radiology clinic last week to get it done. The representative said, “Can I get your orders?” I laughed. “You’ve had them since January.” She looked in the system and then gave me the forms to fill out.

I sat down and filled out the forms and waited. Ten minutes later they were taking me back to go through the process again. I cringed when I had to put on that half robe and it was cold as heck in the office. I walked into the room and thought “There’s the torture machine.” The technician was awesome and tried to get me to relax as she kneaded my breasts to lay flat on the dang screen and instructed me not to breathe.

“I’m about to pass out from the damn pain” I thought. She took her four pictures and said that they looked good that the radiologist will call me if there is anything. “Okay” I replied as I skipped my happy tale out the dang office. I proceeded down the beltway to pick up my Munch from school early because he had a doctor’s appointment too.

My breasts were still hurting last Thursday as I told my co-workers that mammograms hurt like heck. They laughed. They had all been through it. So, as I’m sitting at my desk working on this financial file for retiree data I get a call on my cell phone. I didn’t recognize the number, but I’m always thinking it’s the school so I answered. It’s the lab.

The nurse on the phone says that the radiologist wants me to come back in and do a repeat of both breasts because he saw a change from my last films and is also ordering a breast ultrasound. I sat there looking at the dang computer screen with tears streaming down my face. “What?” “When can you come in next week sweetie?” “I need a morning appointment” I stuttered. “Okay, how about Thursday at 10 am?” she said. “Sure, that will work” I replied.

I sat there with tears streaming down my face and cursing my damn breasts. What the heck is wrong with you? I’ve been good with you. I do my monthly breast exams. I’m always checking for lumps. Shouldn’t I have felt something? I started to freak out.

I called Mr. C and he calmly said “Okay, so what’s the worry?” I sat there looking at the phone like “Dude, didn’t you just hear me?” He said, “There’s no reason to worry. You don’t know anything.” I told him that I needed to call a woman he didn’t have breasts. He didn’t know what I was feeling. I called my best friend. She answered and said, “I have to call you back. I’m in a meeting.” What the hell is going on?

I called my momma. She said “What’s the deal? Don’t worry. It’s normal. I’ve had fluid removed from my breasts. There’s a lot of stuff between normal and cancer that could be wrong with your breasts.” “For real” I asked. “Yep.”

I sighed. I’m waiting. Not patiently. My mind is playing tricks on me. I’m trying not to think the worse. I’m trying. I told my mom at dinner on Sunday night that if I should die I need her to raise my son. She’s not my first choice. Not that she’s not a great grandmother. I just think that it’s too much for a 60 year old to raise an 8 year old.

Ugh!

My appointment is in two days. Damn the beautiful small breasts that are no longer perky because of age. The breasts that served as nourishment for my Munch. I’m screaming at you…Your next exam better be perfect or I’m going to have a dang hissy fit.

For Black Boys

Today’s Black History spotlight is remembering two black boys…Emmett Till and Tamir Rice. As a mother of a black son I constantly think about the effects of racism in this country and how it will show its ugly head as he grows. My struggle to conceive him was overcome the moment I heard him cry. I carried him in my womb until my body could no longer support him being inside me. He was my first and last thought as I was rolled into the cold operating room.

That fear never went away. It was replaced as I started hearing about our black boys being murdered. You see, I lived a sheltered life and thought that only black boys that were gang bangers were being shot. This doesn’t happen in the suburbs.  Until, Trayvon Martin.

I paused.

How quickly a child’s laugh could be replaced with a mother’s mournful cry. A cry filled with so much pain that I can only try to stifle that growing and gnawing pain in my own stomach. I can’t imagine losing the little boy that I prayed for. That I carried in my womb ushering in his life.

Trayvon’s death helped me see that this world hadn’t changed much. That people will still judge you by the color of your skin. People will assume no matter how many degrees I may have or how much money I make or the nice cars I drive or fancy neighborhoods that I move into that my son doesn’t belong there. Because he is black.

Times have supposedly changed but they haven’t changed enough. I try to hide the target on my son’s back everyday that I send him to school armed with the items necessary for him to succeed…a book bag, his school uniform and lunch box filled with all his favorite foods. Notes, I think. Don’t forget to put that note in his lunch box telling him how much you love him and you’re so proud of him.

Because if you do…

You just want to make sure that he knows. He knows that he’s beautiful. He’s smart. He’s loved.

No playing with guns. No video games. Nothing that could ever make him a target. I buy him name brand clothes. Spend my hard earned money buying from shops that some of his peers can’t afford. My only child. If I hide him then they won’t see him right?

I’m doing it because I love him.

The same way that Emmett’s mother loved her son. The same way that Tamir’s mom thought that letting him play outside was okay. Both were children who didn’t come home one day. Children who will never graduate high school. Get married. Have kids. Have a future. Mother’s who felt the emptiness in their wombs from the loss of their boys.

I vow to remember the names. The countless names. I vow to try to change the system. I vow to remember that our history, Black History is America’s history and we have to do better.

Emmett Till – July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955

Tamir Rice – June 25, 2002 – November 22, 2014

Audre Lorde

Today’s Black History Month spotlight goes to another poet I discovered in college. Happy Birthday Audre Lorde! Rest in Peace!

I love her work. Strong imagery. I can actually hear her speaking the words to me as I read them. Isn’t that what good poetry is supposed to do? Transport you into the situation so that you can see what is being said? Whew! Audre Lorde was born February 18, 1934 and died November 17, 1992.   She was an incredible poet, essayist and feminist. A champion of causes. She used her writing to speak to the times. Much of it could be felt now.

 

Power

BY AUDRE LORDE

The difference between poetry and rhetoric
is being ready to kill
yourself
instead of your children.
I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds
and a dead child dragging his shattered black
face off the edge of my sleep
blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders
is the only liquid for miles
and my stomach
churns at the imagined taste while
my mouth splits into dry lips
without loyalty or reason
thirsting for the wetness of his blood
as it sinks into the whiteness
of the desert where I am lost
without imagery or magic
trying to make power out of hatred and destruction
trying to heal my dying son with kisses
only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.
A policeman who shot down a ten year old in Queens
stood over the boy with his cop shoes in childish blood
and a voice said “Die you little motherfucker” and
there are tapes to prove it. At his trial
this policeman said in his own defense
“I didn’t notice the size nor nothing else
only the color”. And
there are tapes to prove that, too.
Today that 37 year old white man
with 13 years of police forcing
was set free
by eleven white men who said they were satisfied
justice had been done
and one Black Woman who said
“They convinced me” meaning
they had dragged her 4’10” black Woman’s frame
over the hot coals
of four centuries of white male approval
until she let go
the first real power she ever had
and lined her own womb with cement
to make a graveyard for our children.
I have not been able to touch the destruction
within me.
But unless I learn to use
the difference between poetry and rhetoric
my power too will run corrupt as poisonous mold
or lie limp and useless as an unconnected wire
and one day I will take my teenaged plug
and connect it to the nearest socket
raping an 85 year old white woman
who is somebody’s mother
and as I beat her senseless and set a torch to her bed
a greek chorus will be singing in 3/4 time
“Poor thing. She never hurt a soul. What beasts they are.”