Three Types of People

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my girlfriend about Mr. K. I was telling her what a gentleman he was and how I really liked that he was raised right. I told her that he was a good guy and just normal. I told her that I never had normal. I told her how I’m just enjoying the normal. He’s not perfect. Don’t get me wrong. Everyone has something, but he’s just a good person.

She asked me what if we got into a serious relationship, would I stop the weekly dinners at his parents? Nope. She said, “No, I mean you both are serious and in a committed relationship. You would let him go?” “Yes” I replied. It is their tradition. I told her that I would never interfere with family tradition and I like that they do that. She smiled and told me that she thought it was weird that he has dinner with his parents weekly. I smiled at her sincerely and said, “No, it’s not weird.” She asked, “It’s not?” “Nope” I told her. “It’s normal. We’re broken so normal things seem abnormal to the broken.” She asked, “So, that’s what it is?” “Yeah” I sighed.

I then went on to explain that there are three types of people in the world: broken, broken and healed and never been broken. I told her that Mr. K has never been broken so his being and doing normal things seem weird to those that have been broken.  Let me break it down further:

  1. Broken People – People that have suffered a traumatic life altering experience whether through health crisis, death or violence. They were fundamentally changed by that experience in some way, shape or form. The memories are still there. The pain is still evident. The scars can be seen by everyone. They will either be aggressive and have anger management issues or they could be hiding behind the pain with numbing items such as drugs (prescription or non-prescription) or alcohol. They are still bound by the chains of pain.
  2. Broken and Healed People – These are broken people (see definition above) that have received helped from the pain and are healed. The scars have healed and they are able to cope and deal with their brokenness. They’ve sought counseling and grown in their faith. The combination of therapy and their faith has allowed them to look at the pain as traumatic but they’ve learned how to cope and not let their past darken their future. They’ve broken the chains of their painful experiences.
  3. Never Been Broken People – These are people who have never experienced a traumatic event that shaped their world view or experiences. They have problems like everyone else, but thankfully they have never been broken.

There you have it. I am in Category #2 and thankfully I am healed from my pain and can talk about it without shame. Without feeling like I’m being judged or looked at awkwardly. I hold my head high because my faith and therapy have allowed me to get past the sexual assaults. I have a voice that I want to utilize to educate young men and women that these experiences are horrific but they will not define the whole of who you are. Only you can do that. Only you can want to heal. It takes time and it will get easier. Just know that I know and I will be here.

I’m thankful that I’m in category #2 and Mr. K is in category #3. It means that I can value and appreciate the normalcy of us. I can sense his uneasiness when I discuss the sexual violence of my past. I can sense his concern when my eyes tear up as I discuss the prison pipeline that we are creating for our young girls that are also suffering violence. I can sense his admiration when he says to me “I’m happy you shared your story with me. You are the most brilliant woman I know.” I smile.

I tell him that all I do is advocate for those who feel they have no voice. I am healed by the grace of God, but I will always remember being broken. I pray continually for everyone and especially those who are broken that they find the peace that they are looking for. Our world would definitely be a better place as a result of it.

Until next time loves!

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Really Bill?

I had remained silent on this whole Bill Cosby situation because I didn’t want to see a father, husband, comedian and advocate for educating black folks undermined in the court of public opinion. Why? Because I believe in the old saying “Innocent until proven guilty” but after Monday’s unsealing of court records where Mr. Cosby admitted to drugging women I’m sitting here like…really Bill?

What the heck is wrong with you? You were a husband. You were a father. You were an icon. You were an advocate. Now, we can add questionable rapist to the list of titles. I take sexual assault against women seriously. Some of the women who came forward were victimized in the court of public opinion. Were made out to be whore-mongers and liars and you sat by and did nothing.

Did you sexually assault all these women? I don’t know. But, the fact that you admitted in 2005 to drugging a woman when you wanted to have sex with her makes your character seem shady. You were dead wrong.

You endangered these women’s lives. You broke their trust. You took a piece of their soul and you tried to cover it up as though you did nothing wrong. You Mr. Cosby became the monster that they dream about at night.

I’m disgusted and disappointed in Bill Cosby’s behavior. I don’t condone the victimization of women. I hope and pray that these women get the justice that they deserve and you, BILL, know what it feels like to be raped in the court of public opinion.

Good luck with that.

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Knowing Your Worth

The sounds of screams, fists flying, furniture breaking and blood on clothing; are all vivid images from my childhood that still haunt me to this day. My mother left. Many women don’t. Domestic violence is not always physical. It can take many forms including sexual, emotional, verbal and psychological. It’s all about power and control. It has lasting effects.

I read this article last month on My Brown Baby entitled “#WhyIStayed: Teaching our Daughters & Sons How to Love Sans Violence” and was moved to write about this topic in October. Why? Because October is also Domestic Violence Awareness month and we need to stop blaming the victims for domestic violence and encourage them to get help and get out of destructive situations.

So, how did domestic violence affect me after witnessing it? I suffered all forms of domestic violence at one point in my life with the exception of physical, but it was just as painful.  Domestic violence affected my self-esteem and made me vulnerable and susceptible to unhealthy situations and relationships. You know the kinds of relationships where you think your first name is B*tch? How about the relationships where you’re being yelled at constantly with no regard to your feelings? How about the relationships where you feel that you’re just not good enough because he likes skinny women and I’m too thick for him? How about the relationship where he forced himself on you?

Domestic violence is serious. I suffered the affects for many years. Silently. As confident as I was on the outside, I was a wreck on the inside. I thought no one cared or that it was “my cross to bear”. Suffering alone and in silence strips you of your voice. You begin to doubt yourself and realize that maybe just maybe you deserved all those bad words or things that have happened to you. But, you don’t.

Domestic violence is simply about power and control. Hurt people hurt people. You can’t change someone. You have to love you first. Loving you is the fundamental point of everything we do in life. If you can’t love you, how can you expect someone else to love you? Truth? You can’t.

You can’t change someone.  You can’t heal a broken person when you in fact are broken. I know. I tried. I failed. All I earned was a broken, battered, abused heart and spirit. So, what do you do? You focus on you. Till this day, the best line I ever heard was from the comedian; Katt Williams when he says “B*tch, it’s called self-esteem! It’s the esteem of your mother*cking self. How the f*ck can I f*ck up how you feel about you…?” Vulgar and crude…Yes. But, it’s accurate and on point nonetheless.

That sketch reminded me that I’m the only one who can control how I feel about myself. I stopped waiting on others to validate me or my existence. I accepted who I am and I love me first. Think of it this way…when you fly they always instruct you in an emergency situation if the oxygen masks should deploy that you secure your mask first before helping someone else. Why? Because you can’t help someone else if you die. Help yourself first.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness

Not sure if you know it or not, but October is Domestic Violence Awareness month too. I realized that many may overlook it because it’s easier to remember to wear pink and show support for an equally worthy cause, breast cancer. But when I read this article on USA Today about the National Football League (NFL), I was in agreement with the author and decided to do something about it. So, I will spend some time each week bringing light to domestic violence in hopes of educating and encouraging us to recognize the signs and to hopefully seek help to get out of unhealthy situations. It’s not just women that are abused. Men too.

It’s about control. Plain and simple. I witnessed domestic violence first hand as a child. As a young woman in relationships, I was a victim too it. Not to the physical violence, but the emotional, psychological and sexual violence. I am the face of domestic violence. But, I didn’t know it was domestic violence. No one ever told me.

October is not just Breast Cancer Awareness month but also Domestic Violence Awareness month. Although I don’t know anyone who has ever been diagnosed with breast cancer, I still support it. But, as a victim of domestic violence, I think I have to take a stand and promote this awareness. Not just for me, but for my friends, family and others who may be suffering.

So, each week I will dedicate one post to hopefully bring about awareness to this serious and just as worthy cause.

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Raped Again: When Fools & Social Media Mix

The story of a 16 year old girl named Jada came out last week.  Have you heard about it?  Well, if not love, sit back and let me tell you how our society continues to have no sympathy for our young women and girls that are raped.  It is an atrocity when we as a country have an attitude of not believing the victim of rape and supporting the rapist.  Where does that happen?  In America. The home of the free and the brave.  But, is it brave to post and ruin a minor’s life by raping her and posting it on social media? Is it brave to make fun of a rape victim and strike a #jadapose on twit videos?  How about saying that you only gave her Ciroc and you have bail money?  Isn’t the legal drinking age in this country 21, not 16?

Are you disgusted yet?  Mortified?  Me too.  Here’s what we know…Jada went to a house party with some friends from school a few weeks ago.  Someone handed her a cup with something to drink and she didn’t remember anything that happened next.  She fell unconscious, was stripped naked and allegedly raped. Then pictures of her naked, unconscious and laid out on the floor began to appear on social media.  It of course went viral which is where the hashtag #jadapose came in and people began to mimic and mock her assault.

When is violence against children ever acceptable?  So few women ever report their crimes.  It is sickening to know that in this country alone, 60% of sexual assaults are unreported each year. Why do women not report their sexual assaults?  Mainly because who would believe them.  Fear?  Fear of being assaulted and raped all over again.  Fear of having to replay the nightmare that you’re trying desperately to wake up from. Fear of being called a “whore” or being told “she asked for it”.  Our bodies are not our own in a country that allows women and girls to be victimized with no action that is taken.  What’s worse is that in a day and age where we have social media, you’re being forced to relive your worst fears while people mock you in ignorance.

Jada is trying to reclaim her life after this horrific incident.  She wants her rapist to be brought to justice and arrested.  This video surfaced last week on World Star Hip Hop that showed one of the rapists admitting to taking the pictures of her naked, but he stated he didn’t “hit it”.  Apparently, he had a threesome with two other girls who were 14 and 15 at the party.  I pray that it is enough to get this foolish young man arrested and into some counseling.  It really is tragic.

I don’t ask for much out of this world.  I guess decency is too much.  Commentators have said that she was doing something she shouldn’t have been doing and it’s her fault.  Wow, really?  I am heartbroken to know that Jada has to endure this kind of pain over and over again in the media for the rest of her life.  But, I am prayerful that she knows that she can now turn this situation into a healing one for herself and many others. She was a victim, but her taking back her life shows that she is a survivor.  I am a mother and I feel for Jada and her family, but I vow to stand with her and let the world know too, that #IAMJADA