Can I Brag?

Love for me can be summed up in one word…God. God’s love has allowed me to be blessed in so many ways. Too many blessings to count. However, I would like to talk and brag about one of those blessings right now.

My son was conceived after years of struggling to get pregnant. We went through IVF to have Munch. Two cycles. Painful injections. Killer mood swings. I was an emotional wreck. Until I knew I was pregnant.

I would touch my stomach every night wondering what this little boy (I always knew I was having a boy) would be like. Would he look like me? Would he look like his dad? Would he be smart? Would he be funny? Would he be athletic? Would he be artistic? I had no clue. And in all honesty, I just wanted a happy and healthy baby.

I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would love this little boy more than life itself. He became my saving grace. He gave me purpose. My life was now about being the best mother that I could to God’s gift in my life. I would lead by example. I would encourage. I would combine discipline and love and not be too strict.

I had a lot of rules on how I was going to do this parenting thing. Many things went totally out the window when I had him. I just started winging it. But, then I reached out to you…my community for suggestions from self-esteem, to parenting, reading and negative thoughts. You’ve given me suggestions and guidance and made me feel like I have a community.

A community that is invested in my Munch. That is why I wanted to share a proud mommy moment with you…

Munch got 11 A’s, 1 B and 1 C on his report card for second quarter.

Yep! I’m so super excited. I can’t believe it. That C is in Math. It is a high C, but we need to get it back up to a B. He told his grandma “I struggled with fractions a little bit this quarter.” LOL. He did.

I struggled with making sure that his teachers are recording his grades timely. I email constantly about assignments not coming home. I spend time making sure he understands concepts and is writing clearly. I try to balance his intensive French curriculum with fun. French books and English books. Play dates and movies that will get him to think creatively.

I constantly tell him to do your best. That is all your dad and I ever want. We want to know that you are trying your best and we will support you. Heck, I didn’t think he got it, but I guess I’m realizing that it’s working. He’s finally trying his best.

Thanks for letting me brag about my Munch. If you missed yesterday’s post and you have the financial means to do so, please consider supporting Munch for the American Heart Association’s Hoop for Hearts fundraiser that he is doing. A $10.00 donation is tax deductible and you can make it here: Hoops for Heart

 

 

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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

Manic Monday

Hey Everybody!

I’ve been ill since last week (right after turning 42) and so I don’t have a Motivational Monday Moment to share. I promise I will be back next week with one. I’m still recuperating but I’m back at work today.

Thankfully, Munch was with his dad last week and that allowed me to rest in spite of feeling like death. It’s the little things. However, he is back and in full on I can’t do anything without my mommy mode. Ah, to be 8 and spoiled.

My health is on the mend, I will be going to two more doctor’s appointments this week and one next week and then hopefully all will be well. I’m taking it easy and listening to my body. Getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of water (ugh!).

So, today I will be reblogging some great reads. If you have a great post that you would like me to share, please feel free to post it in the comments. I’m 8-9 days behind on some posts so please bear with me as I go through over 3000 emails for the last week. If you get “likes” out of order, it really is me reading your blog posts.

Until tomorrow loves!

Motivational Monday Moment – 9/26/16

It’s the last Monday in September in the ninth month. Can you believe that the year is almost over? Whew! It went by too fast. There’s still time though.

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What is there still time to do? Serve. Be of service to someone. My Monday Motivational Moment is to encourage you to serve. Serving others is one of the greatest gifts we can give. Why? Because you are giving of your time.

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Time is valuable.

We all value our time. But, we know that we should be generous in the giving of our time to those that need us.

Mark 10:45 (NRSV)

45 For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

I know you’re probably saying, “I’m too busy. I got a million things going on right now.” Right? Well, how many of those million things that you’re doing are for others. Serving others in a situation that is more beneficial?

We have to be of service. Serving others makes us not only feel better, but those we serve are greatly rewarded. Time can no longer be a variable. We must find a way to make our moments in life count.

Give of ourselves selflessly. Just like the Bible commands us to do. What if God was selfish with his time? How many of us would benefit? Not many.

But, there are many reasons to volunteer…

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Still not convinced. Guess what I got to do this weekend? I got the amazing opportunity to be of service to others when my church had it’s annual Mission Blitz. It’s our annual day of service. We go out in the community and serve others through various organizations.

Where did I go? Martha’s Table. It was an amazing opportunity to serve others. Me and some of my fellow church members went to DC to help with their food distribution and you know what? We weren’t the only ones.

There were a number of other volunteers there. It was amazing. It was a great reminder of how bless we are to have access to food and quality food at that. I like some of the great programs they put on including a Pop-Up Market at local elementary schools and a couple of community centers. The Pop-Up Markets allow families to select from fresh, seasonal produce and healthy pantry staples at no cost every month.

Isn’t that amazing? There are so many people in this country who have food security issues and no access to fresh food that this organization is changing that. Can you imagine what it’s like to not be able to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables for your family? If you can imagine, can you imagine having an organization provide you access to the fresh fruit and produce at no cost to you?

Many organizations, like Martha’s Table need help all year round and I decided that I wanted to get some of my girlfriends involved. We always gripe about things that are stressing us out and wouldn’t it be amazing to do service for others? That’s one of my goals for the remaining 2016 and going into 2017.

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Serving others.

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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.

Recognizing the Difference

com·mit·ment
kəˈmitmənt/
noun
1.  the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.”the company’s commitment to quality
2. an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action “business commitments”

I saw this post on one of the many blogs I subscribe too. Not sure where it came from, but I am sure of the feeling it invoked in me…

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Accountability.

Accountability for my actions. For my part in everything that I do. I needed to own it. I needed to examine whether I was being interested or committed.

I recently shared my health journey with you and my desire to live a healthier lifestyle. Well, let me tell you the struggle is real. Some days are harder than others. I don’t do a food journal because I hate writing about what I eat and many times I can’t remember. Someone suggested that I take a photo and log it later.

Good idea. I will remember to do that. I hate working out. I do it because I want to be healthier, but do you know how hard it is trying to find work out videos to do at home with a 7-year-old? Ugh.

I hate it.

I did this video last week:

I’m working on this one for this week:

I’m trying to mix it up. I don’t want my body getting used to it. I’ve been eating healthier, cooking more at home and crunching on cucumbers, carrots and grapes. I feel like I’m a rabbit. Slow and steady. “Try to enjoy it” the voice whispers in my head.

I am not enjoying it! I’m not supposed to right? I’m supposed to keep at it. Keep up the work. More energy out and fewer calories in. Keep pushing forward. Don’t watch the scale. Don’t drink that beautiful glass of Riesling. No don’t touch that beautiful cigar that was rolled to perfection. Don’t worry, your hips will love you later.

It’s a lot of pressure. I’m just existing. I’m not committed. I’m going through the motions. I need to change my attitude. I need to be committed to lead a healthier lifestyle. It starts with me. I’ve got to change my perception and outlook. I’ve got to be better. It starts with me.

Can I be committed?

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Under Construction

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I recently read this great piece on Huffington Post entitled “My Stretch Marks Don’t Define Me” and I screamed “Yes”. I love the article. Mainly because the author was talking about how she loves and accepts her stretch marks and they don’t define the sum of who she is.

In the beginning, I felt that my body was still under construction. You know trying to lose the baby weight, get sleep, eat right and get back down to my pre-pregnancy size or smaller. Well that didn’t happen and six years later it is still under construction.

I lost weight my entire pregnancy and in the end I gained 15 pounds before they removed munch for medical reasons. I was sick. So, that cute mommy whose baby was eating off her fat cells the entire time she was pregnant was excited that I could actually eat normal again after delivery. However, no one told me that the pregnancy weight would redistribute. I had pockets of fat in other places.

Too weak to exercise and too tired to care about being smaller for the first 4 years of his life had me accepting my bigger figure. But, I wanted to be healthier. Make healthier choices with food. Be alive for him. I have no health issues and I wanted to keep it that way.

I made many life changes this last year and the weight and inches are coming off. My body is still under construction, but I’m not embarrassed by the imperfections. I don’t want surgery to fix the reminder of my struggle to conceive. I accept it and will work at being healthy in my own way. Naturally.

My stretch marks show the path to parenthood running from my stomach to the top of my (umm, let’s say Olivia Pope). They show the price I paid to be a parent. The white weirdly shaped lines show that I fed my son in my womb. They mark the immense pressure my body was under when I was pregnant. They remind me of the painful bursts of pain I experienced when my son sat on my sciatic nerve. They are beautiful and I love them. I accept them.

Many things about my body changed when I had a baby, but I don’t care. The only thing I’ve ever hoped for was bigger breasts and a smaller nose, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Wasn’t in the plans. My breasts grew big enough to nourish my son and then sadly went back down to their original size after nursing was done. But, even that doesn’t matter.

Why? Because I love my body just the way it is. Yep, I’m working out (not to be skinny) to be healthy, but my stretch marks won’t disappear. My breasts won’t grow (without surgery), my stomach will always bulge (unless I do liposuction), my thighs will still have cellulite and my incision will still be seen because of my C-section.

This body is and has been under construction for the last six years and it’s okay. Because you know what? I will still accept that I’m perfect just the way I am.

Fat Jokes

So, last week I had the pleasure of going to drink at an establishment where my girlfriend was the bartender for the night. The bar was small, but nice. They had a comedy show whereby local comedians were featured. As I settled onto my bar stool with my drink I was immediately captivated by the talent of a black woman about my age and rocking a beautiful African head-wrap. Sister was funny. She was bringing the jokes and I was feeling the pain from laughing so hard.

But, she lost me. Why? She started to talk about how she’s 40 and never been married and doesn’t have kids. She remarked about how she is attractive and that she seems to be entering the dating field at the wrong time. For example, when skinny is in she’s considered too fat or when fat girls are in she’s considered too skinny. Apparently she had it rough (insert snarky smile). As she progressed through her routine she said that she was watching Discovery Health one day and it depressed the heck out of her. Why? Because she saw two women who were both married to attractive men with children.

The first woman had no legs and was pregnant. She mused, “I mean, why can’t I find an attractive husband and get pregnant. I have legs. What’s the problem?” She inquired. She said that a friend had told her that the legless woman can outperform her in the bedroom (too much for this post). Everyone laughed. Now disabled people are humorous? She then said there was a show about a 692 fat woman who was married to an attractive man and she couldn’t understand how she could get a husband and she can’t. What was up with that? Everyone laughed imagining this situation because the comedian couldn’t have weighed more than 160 pounds herself and was attractive.

She told a few more jokes and got off the stage. A few more comedians came up to do their act and I realized a theme forming in my brain…Fat jokes. Men and women both think that joking about fat women is funny (not even fat men). They all wondered how fat women can find attractive husbands, boyfriends or even date because we’re so busy being fat and eating.

Now, check it! I get that they were just jokes but as the only curvy sister in the establishment they were all looking at me and saying, “Not you sister” as I was giving them the side-eye that their jokes weren’t funny. I am a plus size princess, a curvy cutie and a full-figured feminist so how do the fat jokes don’t apply to me? Because I’m not big enough like the women you are referring too?

Man, kick rocks with that kind of backwards thinking. I asked my boy who was with me why did they do that? He said, “They’re just jokes. All fat women want to be skinny. Look at Monique.” Really? WTH! I was outraged at his insensitivity to the issues that big women face and I said, “Not all women want to be skinny and Monique didn’t. She wanted to be healthy and she’s not skinny.”

I guess I’m disappointed that we still can’t find humor about real-life things instead of picking on me and my plus sized sisters. I just wish that a true comedian would develop their craft by finding other topics. I mean fat girls like me like comedy shows and you just might have to spend your routine looking away when I give you the side eye when you make fat girl jokes. I’m not ashamed of my size and not everyone wants to be skinny. Just healthy.

My two cents…find other things to make us laugh such as politics, sex and religion. You would offend a lot more people instead of one group. I’m just saying.

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Great Marriages and the Reality

My Facebook friend posted this link last month for a piece entitled “It’s time to accept this fact: A really great marriage is rare”.  I read the article and the researcher made some great points. It wasn’t a woman arguing that people shouldn’t get married, but that great marriages were rare and that there has been a shift in our society whereby women don’t need to marry because of the shift in our circumstances and/or cultural norms. Women have more options and don’t need men for financial security, sexual satisfaction, to have children or for social approval. Women have in essence changed the game. We’ve become more powerful.

I pondered that theory and I have to say that the researcher has a point. When you look at the changes in our society over the years, you see that not only in other races, but especially in the black community, there is a shift. More black women are earning more than their black male counterparts. Thus, it makes it harder for college educated women to find their ideal black man “IBM” who has equal or more to her in terms of wealth. Black women are working hard and waiting until later to get married. But, when you’re ready to get married, your IBM doesn’t come in riding on a white horse to sweep you off your feet.

Fairytales are just that. Fairytales. Not meant to provide any form of reality for our young girls. But, could I as a feminist really truly believe that I needed a man for anything? I don’t know if I was ever sold on the whole happily ever after fairytale that other little girls were taught because I knew better. My reality didn’t include a happy queen and a happy king. In my post yesterday, I talked about how my dad is an alcoholic so any chances of a prince charming taking care of me were replaced with the reality that he didn’t exist. People had faults.

Those faults translated into the fact that I grew up in a single parent home and I knew that I never wanted to be like my mother. She wasn’t a bad mother. She just short changed her life to have me and my siblings and to be a wife. Would she have made the same decisions now in today’s society? I don’t know. I would like to think no. I think she would have given birth to me and gone back to college like my grandfather insisted. I think she would have accepted that she could be considered a social pariah in a small town, but she would have been just fine raising a child on her own after getting her degree. She would have been considered a game changer by my standards.

But, she didn’t change the game. She followed her heart and cultural norms. Those norms shaped and impacted my belief in marriage. That fostered with the environmental factors and social shifts helped me realize one thing…I didn’t need to get married. I didn’t need a man for anything. Men were dispensable objects that had no real value other than fixing my car, maintenance on my house or just friends who I could toss ideas about my career path with. Not worthy of having the title of husband or father because I was jaded and I didn’t believe in happily ever after. I would never sacrifice my career to be a wife or mother. It wasn’t an option.

However, that changed when I found someone who wanted to marry me with my flaws and all. With my jaded view of reality in tow, he sought about finding refuge in my heart and spirit so that he could show me or whether prove to me that men weren’t dispensable objects and I could be both a wife and a mother and I would love it. Problem was that I didn’t love it. I loved him. I loved our family. I loved our son. But, I didn’t want to live my life being disappointed and feeling lonely and unloved. Yes, people have problems. I get that, but when the problem is the two people what do you do?

You make a decision on how your life will play out.  Whether it be a comedy, love story or tragedy, you have to know marriage is what you make it. It takes two people who share, not only the same value of marriage, but the desire to keep it healthy and functioning. You will make mistakes, nothing is perfect, but if you want to find someone who at the end of the day you would rather fight with than without then you have hit the jackpot.

“The painful truth is that really great marriages exist, but they are rare. What we as a society should probably be telling married people is, “If you have love, passion, companionship and equality in your marriage, you are wealthy beyond words. If you don’t, you have two choices. You can decide that your marriage is the best you’re going to get and try to be content. Alternatively, you can leave your marriage to play the lottery of finding that perfect partner, accepting that you are unlikely to win and may have to stay single for the rest of your life.” – Danielle Teller

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It’s Not Funny

As I sat there watching the “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” reunion show (part 2), I was mortified at the scene that was taking place. Joseline Hernandez, one of the main characters and her “husband” Stevie J were fighting. It started with them fighting Benzino and Althea and then transpired into Joseline fighting everyone. What things stood out to me:

Fame is a powerful drug

Apparently, some don’t know. Fame is addictive. You get a whiff and you can’t stop. You want to drink it, inhale it, eat it and breathe it because you can’t imagine going back to a perfectly normal life. Think about the reality stars who have made it big and the things that they’ve been accused of doing. From criminal activities, to violence to drug abuse and jail time, these people can’t let go of fame. How awesome is it to wake up and realize that you have become famous for just being you? Being recognized everywhere you go. Having TMZ and Us Magazine cover your latest antics seems normal after a while. You like the recognition. You crave the spotlight and you love having an entourage. It’s just like Rod Stewart said…

“There is this power that comes with being famous.”

Drugs are bad

I have never taken drugs, but I know what an addiction can do to people. My father was is an alcoholic. His addiction had him doing things that “normal” people shouldn’t do. Drugs numb a pain that you’re feeling and it’s only temporary. Deal with the issue. Address your brokenness and know that God heals all. You have to get help for your addiction. Drugabuse.gov indicates that the cost of substance abuse is in the billions. See the chart:

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We have to stop putting a band-aid on our problems and seek professional help to heal. Many do, but a lot don’t. Some people don’t see it as a problem. They don’t recognize the problem or how it’s hurting us as a society. We have to support mental health. Dang, don’t you get tired of pretending like everything is okay and you’re dying on the inside? Drugs are not the answer to your pain. It’s okay to hurt it’s also okay to…

Just Say No

People medicate to heal

Fact: Burying your pain and then self-medicating to get through the day is not healthy. I know people medicate to heal the pain, but it’s not working. Depression is real and we shouldn’t make the problems worse by turning to drugs. You don’t have to be superman or superwoman. We can’t keep it together all the time and sometimes life gets chaotic that you need to seek professional help. No judgement. Just truth. You can’t fix a dam with duct tape. It won’t work. Fix you. You are the most important person and you can’t heal while medicating and burying your real issues. I know there is a stigma in the black community for seeking help, but trust me…the worse thing you can do is avoid the issue and abuse your body to make the pain go away. Yes, you may cry. Yes, you may scream, but I promise you…this too shall pass.

When keeping it real goes wrong

I don’t think anyone was prepared to see the ratchedness that transpired on Monday night, but I hurt for Joseline and Stevie. I hurt because both of them are damaged. Instead of laughing at their antics, creating memes and diagnosing them (FYI – Joseline admitted to smoking blunts and Stevie J tested positive to cocaine in June) we have to create a campaign that bullying, drug use and ratchedness are not acceptable programming. The fact that it took more than two dozen security members to try and keep chaos from affecting the audience is proof enough that reality TV is truly at the end of days. Let’s demand quality programming because I can sense the lawsuits that are going to come forth.