A is for Afflicted

“Two people can only keep a secret if one of them is dead.”

Out of all the crazy stuff my Dominican abuela (I mean, grandmother) used to say, that was the wisest and truest thing to ever come out of her big uncensored mouth.

You see, the secret I’ve been keeping has been eating away at me. And with each passing day, the story keeps bubbling up inside of me, trying to escape.

I’ve never told anyone about what happened, at least not all of it.

But I have to get this weight off of my chest and the only way I can do it is by writing it down. If I was really smart, I wouldn’t write it down at all, especially online where people could find it. But I need to tell my story and figure out how I ended up here in the first place.

This blog is really meant for me and my eyes only. I mean, who would even care about my incoherent ramblings?

But just in case someone does stumble across this blog (and if you are reading this, I mean YOU), please remember that I’m not a bad person. I had to take Abuela’s words to heart and I did what needed to be done to save myself.

Truth be told, a little part of me hopes that you do find this blog. I mean, maybe you’ll help me piece this all together and help me see where I went wrong, though I kind of already know.

And of course, I’m writing this anonymously so I won’t tell you my real name. But you can call me “Cara”, short for “Caramel”. That was Abuela’s nickname for me because she loved the color of my skin. She also said that I was like burnt sugar with a bitter aftertaste. Back then, I never knew what she meant by that and the only time I had the nerve to ask, she had simply shrugged her shoulders and said:

Mas sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo“.

Yes, the devil knows more from experience than from being the devil. Maybe Abuela saw something in me back then that I only discovered later and that I’m reconciling with now…who knows.

But I’m getting off topic. Maybe I’ll write about that later.

Right now, I need to start at the beginning and tell you how I met my abuser Dex..

Cara

_A_ is for _Afflicted_

Continuation: B is for “Bomb”

All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. Graphic above created with Canva.

 

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This guest post by Marquessa Matthews. It is a repost from her A to Z Challenge and you must read all the posts in this challenge. She is an incredible writer that I’m praying gets to publishing a collection of her short stories soon. Please check out her blog at https://marquessamatthews.com/

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No Fear

Today is the day of my surgery. I’m not scared. I am a believer in Christ. I trust that all will be as it should be. God is in control. I am asking for your prayers. When prayers go up – blessings come down. I want to be blessed.

I wanted to share one of my favorite Psalms this morning:

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;[a]
    he restores my soul.[b]
He leads me in right paths[c]
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[d]
    I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff—
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely[e] goodness and mercy[f] shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    my whole life long.[g]

 

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/.

The Village Doesn’t Have an Idiot

Yesterday, the surgery center called to talk me through my upcoming surgery. I wasn’t available and they left a message. They then sent me an email and asked me to confirm that I received it and understood what it said. I started freaking out. I mean – I’m having surgery soon. I was now having a panic attack.

I’m at work struggling to breathe and calm my heart down. I’ve been calm about the procedure. No surprises. I’ve had 3 surgeries prior so I know what it is like to go under the knife. No fear. Not even when my mother called to tell me that she can’t take off to take care of me. Basically, she’s on detail and will just be getting back from Hawaii and needs to finish out some projects before heading back to her original post.

Ugh! Minor setback. I breathed through that experience. She asked me can I reschedule my surgery so she can be there. Umm, nope. I’m getting ready to head into my busy season and the time is now. Pushing it back will only put me in a bind. Now, that I’m in management – I need to think realistically. To look at my schedule and be able to see what is coming down the pike. The date will stay the same.

I appreciated the fact that she wants to be there, but I now had to go it alone. I asked her could she take and pick Munch up from school and she said “Yep, I can do that.” Well that was the worst of it right? I can do this. I called Mr. C and confirmed that I needed a ride the day of my surgery. Mr. C started a new job and doesn’t have leave and has to be at work at 2 p.m. I may not be awake and moving around by that time so I need a ride home. No worries. I’ll figure it out. Called my girlfriend and she said she’ll be there. Tell him to call me when he leaves and I’ll be on my way.

Friends.

Damn, I’m lucky. Then my girlfriend started asking me questions like “Do you have a recliner at home?” Umm, nope. “You need a recliner.” I don’t have one. Research recliners I told myself. She then told me that I needed to get an app for the alarm so that I can turn it on and off so that people can check on me. I don’t like this idea. Still working through it. But, she’s packing up food so that my mom can feed me and Munch when she gets home without having to cook. She’s a great cook – my inner fat girl is getting excited.

Oh, I’ll be too groggy to eat right? Ugh! Another minor setback.

She then told me she would get me home and in the bed, but once I head up the stairs that I needed to be up there for about 3 days. Walking up and down the stairs is not good for my incision. Okay, no problem. I can do that. She said that she would go to the pharmacy and get my medications while I’m resting so that I can stay ahead of my pain.

This is a lot. I’m still aware that I will be alone during the day time, but I should be fine right? Sleeping and stuff.

Last week as I’m finishing up my staff meeting I mentioned that my mom can’t take off after my surgery and I needed a recliner and that my girlfriend was going to help me and go and get my prescriptions. My staff is awesome. Apparently, I can get my scripts in advance of my surgery. They told me to call the insurance company to see if I can get a nurse for a few hours a day. They confirmed that I needed a recliner and I remembered Rent a Center.

I talked to my niece who is coming home from college next week and she will be staying with me for a couple of days to get my meals and make sure I’m breathing. No real work to do. If the nurse comes, even better.

I’m excited. I’m working my plan. All is fine in my world that seems to be anxiously moving. That was until the call came that reminded me that I’m having surgery. I didn’t talk to the surgery coordinator at the facility. I responded to her email. The only issue is that she has a day earlier than my doctor’s office on when my surgery is taking place. How is that possible? I’m now confused as to when this dang surgery is taking place.

Finally, I’m running around like a mad woman to finish up some projects and make sure that my transition is smooth. I will not be checking messages or responding to calls. I’m going to let my mind and body heal. I will miss Munch’s concert on the 31st of this month, but I have a whole lot of people who will be in attendance supporting him.

Yes, it’s overwhelming as hell and I feel like a chicken running around with my head cut off.   But, hey…I’m proud to report that there is not one idiot in my village.

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/.

Guest Hosting 2018

Hello my faithful and wonderful readers. I am taking a blogging break from May 31, 2018 through June 15, 2018. I will be on medical leave. Don’t worry, I will be fine. All glory goes to God because I know HE has me.

However, I need you. I need guest bloggers. If you would like to guest host on my blog during this time, let me know and I would love to host you.

What do you have to do? Here are my housekeeping items because there are always rules. I need you to know what you’re getting into. Here goes…

  • Read through my site. I discuss everything about life, love, dating, parenting and relationships and anything in between. Keep with my genre topics.
  • Make it fun and relateable. Your goal is to get the reader to want to know more about you and to follow you.
  • Respond to any comments a reader leaves on my page. This is a must for me. Let them know that you appreciate their response on your post and answer any questions.
  • Keep the swearing to a minimum. I love a good curse word two, but your post shouldn’t be all about your invention of new curse words.
  • Posts should be between 250-800 words
  • Create a catchy title
  • Reblog and share on your site and social media handles

I will be scheduling posts in advance and reading through comments and responding to some posts in between my recovery. If you’re interested, please email me at athomaspointofview@gmail.com.

Thank you in advance.

guest-blogging

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/.

Insurance

February 2009

I was insistent on not letting the issue go. I couldn’t believe what happened. How could this be happening in 2009? Did we just swear in a black man as President of the United States?

Munch woke up sick. Coughing and having trouble breathing. I was so worried. I called out sick and called the pediatrician. My baby was sick. They told me to take him to the hospital and that one of the doctor’s from the practice was there. I got him dressed and rushed out the door.

This was my first time at this particular hospital. Munch’s pediatricians are in a different state and I have a choice of hospitals. This one has a pediatric emergency room so it was definitely the optimal choice. I get there and check in with the receptionist. I’m trying to hold my fat baby (he weighs 25 pounds) and my purse.

The male receptionist asked me did I have insurance and I said “Yes”. As I began pulling out my card he asked me “Do you have Medicaid?” I was floored. Here was this white boy asking me do I have Medicaid. I’m carrying a child in designer clothes and a designer coat and carrying a designer handbag and you think  I have Medicaid?

I was offended. I said “No, I actually have a job that pays for our health insurance.” He said okay. I let it slide.

I got Munch in the back and met with the pediatrician. They gave him a breathing treatment and told me that he needs to rest. Upped his medications. The financial person for the hospital came to the room while he’s getting the treatment to get my co-pay for the emergency room visit.

I handed her my card as she charged $100. These dang administrators are worse than bill collectors. Can I please make sure my child is feeling better first? What the hell?

This hospital was getting on my nerves. I was one of the very few people of color there. I didn’t see one black doctor. Insurance games.

I reported the white guy at the check-in desk the next day. I called the hospital administration and registered a complaint. I explained that I didn’t judge those that were on Medicaid, but I worked hard to have great health insurance and I had never felt more disrespected or discriminated against.

A few hours later someone called me back and apologized profusely. They said that they would never allow a patron to be disrespected or discriminated against. They actually made the receptionist call me back personally and apologize.

I didn’t believe him when he said he didn’t mean anything by it. Whatever! Lies! You saw a nicely dressed black mother in her mid 30’s and you assumed I was on Medicaid?

I

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “I” is for Insurance. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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/.

I Hate You So Much Right Now

Remember that great song by Kelis – Caught Out There? Aww, it was a great song to show the rage of women after being lied on or cheated on by their significant others. It was an anthem for women. You don’t have to take it. She screamed. She destroyed stuff. She showed her emotions. Haven’t we all been there before?

But, that’s not what this post is about. LOL. It isn’t about hate. It is about you. Choosing you. Choosing to forgive and choosing to create your life with boundaries.

See, a few weeks ago a friend and I were having a conversation about forgiveness. He said to me that if I forgive someone then I should be willing to share my personal space with them. I laughed. I explained that forgiveness is for self and not for the other person.

If someone commits an egregious act towards you or does something that just doesn’t sit well in your spirit, you have the right to protect yourself. Your first obligation is to you. It is and will always be. Think about when you fly and they tell you that if you are flying with children and the oxygen masks deploy you should put your own mask on first and then secure the child’s. You’re no help to anyone if you don’t take care of yourself.

Some of you may be asking, what are personal boundaries? I searched and found the perfect definition from Z. Hereford in the article Healthy Personal Boundaries and How to Establish Them

“Personal boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. They allow us to separate who we are, and what we think and feel, from the thoughts and feelings of others. Their presence helps us express ourselves as the unique individuals we are, while we acknowledge the same in others.”

Sounds simple right? It is. I know that you may think that it is hard to really do, but trust me when you choose yourself first that it really makes it easy to not allow your personal boundaries to be crossed. Setting boundaries allows you to no longer be a victim. You become the leader of your own life. You become responsible for your own happiness.

I have to be honest. Setting personal boundaries was not a lesson that I learned early on. I learned to establish boundaries at 41. Can you believe it? I don’t want you to wait. I don’t want Munch to wait. You have to choose you.

I started to choose me first. I started to realize that I would not allow someone else’s feelings or thoughts about me impact my life. I choose to re-evaluate my life and relationships to remove toxic people. I chose to live my life on my own terms without giving a care as to who felt otherwise or didn’t like it.

I chose me.

It can seem overwhelming when you create boundaries and try to enforce them, but you need to remember that it is part of your personal responsibility. To yourself. No one can make you happy but YOU. So, the power lies within.

You have to take responsibility for how people treat you. You have to know that if you continue to allow disrespect and you don’t want it then it really is your fault. Stop letting people tell you that you have to have a relationship with someone that mistreats you because they are a relative or you are connected through children. You don’t. You just live your life choosing you first.

Forgiveness for me honestly means that I don’t dwell on the negativity, pain and hurt you caused. It means that I remove you from my life with little to no contact. I don’t allow you the opportunity to hear my voice or be in my presence. I set the tone. I set the rules.

Trust me when I tell you that this is the most freeing way to live. I actually dated men that I allowed to walk all over my boundaries and then justified their behavior and rezoned my boundaries. Yep, I was crazy. Why would I ever allow someone that kind of power in my life?

Because I subscribed to the belief that I had to be this ever forgiving doormat for others to walk on. I believed that otherwise people would think I wasn’t nice. I was trying to live up to an image others expected. Now…I don’t.

I live for me. My life. My choices. I forgive. I keep my boundaries firm. I choose me. You need to do the same.

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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/.

Freedom Friday – 02.16.18

It’s been a minute since I did one of these, but I wanted to share some photos of things that I’ve been up to in life. Wanted to let you know that Munch just got his second quarter grades and got 10 A’s and 4 B’s. I’m over the moon. His award ceremony is this morning.

Munch had his flute concert last month. Here he is looking so handsome. He’s actually enjoying playing the flute and I will be doing private lessons for him.

My siblings and I at my brother’s wedding. I love this photo because I just colored my hair and it was popping. LOL.

Munch and I worked hard on his STEM fair project this year. Although he didn’t win he won an award because of his creativity and enthusiasm. He was ecstatic about it.

My sorority sister made me this beautiful plaque for my birthday last month. I love it.

Munch went to the dentist last month and had to get two silver caps on his teeth, but one fell out right at the dentist. That was two teeth lost in 8 days. Hilarious. But, I’m still flossing his back teeth. He can’t get those and I am tired of paying for these silver caps. This is the second one. But, what was best about this is that Munch and I actually went to the library first and he selected a book to read for fun and couldn’t put the book down.

Finally, I’m trying to devote more time to appreciate the beauty in life. I’m learning to bask in the glory of nature and release my mind from negative energy. I’m learning to redirect my thoughts and pray more. I’m fasting and trying to increase God’s presence in my life. I wanted some fresh flowers in my office and so I went to the grocery store and bought some tulips. The next morning they had all bent in different directions and I snapped a picture because it reminded me of life. Even though we’re in the same jar some of us are bending in different directions and it still looks magnificent.

Happy Friday folks!

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/.

Day 16: Time

I’ve often spoken of the importance of time. Time is valuable. More valuable than money to me. Life isn’t about the money you make, but the memories. Those memories require you to spend time creating them. Do you see why time is more valuable?

Your time is more valuable than anything you could imagine. Don’t waste it. Don’t allow people or things to take more time and space in your mind and heart than necessary. If a relationship isn’t working, it’s okay to not invest any more time. Time is valuable. Your time matters.

Whatever it is. Time matters. I was reminded of this yesterday when I went to Urgent Care. I had sprained my ankle and I couldn’t remember how it happened until I was driving back to work from the urgent care. I remembered.

I had slipped and fallen down the stairs Friday night. I was rushing to start a load of laundry and missed a step. I fell. Munch asked “Mommy, are you okay?” “Yeah baby” I replied. I got up and continued doing what I was doing.

It hurt Saturday as I was limping around Chuck-e-Cheese as Munch played with his best friend. I couldn’t remember the fall. I was in pain. The next day it was worse. I woke up in pain and it was swollen. I limped down the stairs and drove to CVS for an ankle support thinking I could heal it. I put cold compresses to help with swelling and took Advil.

Monday I spent four hours after leaving work early to work with Munch on his STEM fair project. Oh joy. It was his first one. More of my time. My time was spent loving and assisting my son. More standing to assist this child with his experimental trials. Immense pain was my reward after spending time with my child. I had to deal. I’m a mom. Time matters.

Yesterday though it came crashing back with pain and the little support bandage wasn’t helping. I had sprained it and kept pushing forward. I made time to get to urgent care and I’m going to be back to normal soon. But, my time maters.

On day 16 of my #23daysofthankfulness I am thankful for time. Time washing clothes, time helping my son with his STEM fair project and time going to urgent care. Even though my sprain wasn’t planned. It provided a reminder to slow down and understand that my time matters. Now, it’s time to heal.

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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/.

Day 14: Lessons Learned

I am human. I will make mistakes. We all will. But, I’m thankful for the lessons learned. In all that I do, I try to see what the lesson is that I was supposed to learn. Many times I discover it and I’m thankful for it.

That’s what life is about. Learning lessons. Learning in spite of your trials and tribulations. Learning through your pain. It’s hard. I know. I’ve been there.

But, there is always a lesson and it will get better. No matter what you are going through there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You may not be able to see it but it is there. When you get to the end, make sure you share your story because someone else may benefit from your story of triumph.

Be a blessing to others and learn the lesson that you were supposed to learn. It’s day 14 and I’m thankful for lessons learned in my #23daysofthankfulness.

lessons-learned-chalkboard

 

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/.

Day 2: My Niece

I had to send a special thankfulness post to my beautiful niece. In this #23DaysofThankfulness post, I wanted to highlight this amazing young lady that I’ve been blessed to know, love and watch grow into the great woman that she is today. My niece is a sophomore in college and is a cheerleader for her school. What makes her so amazing? Her fighting spirit.

See, my niece is 19 today. Happy Birthday Princess! Auntie loves you more than you could ever imagine.

Nineteen years ago today, I was blessed to witness the birth of my first niece. It was an epic experience as that was the first time ever that I had witnessed a live birth and just being there with my sister and her husband watching life come into this world overwhelmed me with such joy. She was a preemie. She was born eight weeks early. We were so worried, but the doctors told us that her weight being 5 pounds even was a great sign.

She was in NICU and her dad and I went to visit her. She was so tiny and beautiful. I put my hand through the holes in her glass incubator and rubbed her chest as she screamed, crying and oblivious to the world around her. I said “Princess, don’t cry. Your daddy is right here with me.” No lie, she stopped crying, opened her eyes and looked right at her dad. He started crying like a baby.

A fighter was born.

And just like those many years ago that she was fighting for stronger lungs and a low birth weight, she’s continued to make us proud. In everything she does. It was at the age of 16 that my princess suffered a mental break down. I watched this strong and vibrant girl crumble from the things in her mind. I loved harder.

I admired my sister for her continued strength to love and encourage her daughter as well as mother her other two children while being a full-time working wife. Can you imagine having to do all that? I was thankful for it all. My niece brought mental health closer to home for us. She helped us understand her needs. She grew super close to my mom and we just loved each other more.

Throughout her mental health struggles we learned to love and learn how we can help. We encourage each other. We encourage her. We are thankful for the opportunities that her school provides with free therapy and her own room. What a blessing! So, my day two of my #23DaysofThankfulness is for my niece. Thank you for making me love a little harder, learn more about mental health and just living this beautiful life. You are loved and appreciated more than you know.

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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/.