More and more I start thinking of the age-old debate of ‘NATURE vs NURTURE’. Recently there was another school shooting, this time in Florida and it has me wondering. Why are our kids so angry, depressed and prone to violence? Sometimes there is no apparent abuse in the homes of these individuals, there is no truly defined dysfunction….. Some of the most quiet and unassuming individuals are brimming with malcontent and anger. Why? Why are so many teenagers choosing to end their lives rather than deal with bullying and low self-esteem? Why do they cut themselves? I have been on the receiving end of many cries for help, because someone has decided that life is just not worth living. A lot of kids come to me because they feel no one will listen. They feel like even though I am not a doctor, at least I care about them as a person.
Most parents today are so intent upon protecting our kids that we are shielding them from everything. But is that healthy or right? In Nature or the wild other species nurture and care for their young as well,however, even a lioness will allow her cubs to learn to fend for themselves. (Before we go any further this is not in regards to the shooter in the above story but in general.) Human mothers, fathers, grand parents and etc, today are so busy worrying about the boogy man next door, that we may not realize the one being created in the next bedroom. Have you noticed the number of kids that have no idea how to take care of themselves outside of mom or dad has grown? NO? Well I have, and it is very depressing. Young men are becoming so co-dependenton their mothers that they are not even able to hold down themselves without a woman there to guide them or take the reins. Fathers are either absent or fighting a seemingly losing battle for their son’s respect. Young girls that are so lost in the ways of being strong womenbecause their role models have been replaced by reality star icons. The role of Mom is now losing the respect it deserves. Then there is the intense moral dilemma of sex being forced down the throats of everyone within the country by the media….
When we talk to our kids about problems often parents will offer a solution before giving that child a chance to understand the lesson they need to.Think about this for a moment….. How did you learn that fire was hot? Most of us will have touched something as a kid and that sting was enough of a lesson to make us understand that fire was NEVER to be touched again. Life is really no different. LIFE is about learning and processing what we have learned. It is not about giving the answersand protecting. That is actually less about nurturingand more coddling. Going back to bullying because of the recent events, the more kids I talk to , the more I realize that they are so mentally destroyed by words that they can’t help but be devastated by adversity. They have not learned the lesson that not everyone is bad and not everyone is good. Humans can be mean, but that does not reflect your inner being. A lot of parents are no longer teaching their kids to fight back. Not in the physical sense but in the mental and emotional battle of looking to self and realizing that NOTHING anyone ever says about them is worth them internalizing that pain.
I say all of this because we have to do something to help our kids before the next generation are worse. As a parent allow your child to learn the lessons that are needed. It is not healthy to protect them from everything. Lets all learn to teach ourselves which battles are worth fighting for our kids and allow those necessary for growth to be learned. Let kids be kids. Let them get dirty, scrape a knee, pick themselves up and learn that pain can be overcome. It fades…
Why are you here? WHY do you exist? What is your purpose? A lot of us may assume that we are unimportant or that we have no real carbon footprint on this earth. That is further from the truth than you can imagine. Everyone has a purpose or calling even if it is nothing more than being a shoulder for a friend in need. Your purpose in life does not end because you get old or fall down a time or two. It doesn’t mean you are destined to be great in the eyes of many. Your purpose big or small is your stamp in this journey called life. In order to know your purpose you have to know who you really are. Who are you? I tried defining myself again and once more I came up with the same conclusion. I define me by how I chose to view myself and love the person in the mirror. I am pretty darn fabulous in my own world. My story is just my story and not who I am. I talk a lot about getting in tune with the one person you can never escape. Yourself. You will always be you so why hide it?
In class the other day the subject of self came up and how we define the person in our mirrors. A lot of individuals have grown to the point where their identity is apparent however there are still some that do not know who they are. I was one of those individuals for years as I have talked about so much over the past few months. I had no clue about my purpose. I did not recognize the value of me being alive. After discussing self, the conversation shifted to elders and aging. This made me think again about how you view you. We are a reflection of our parents and because of that our self is a reflection of their selves. So if our parents are so important it only safe to assume that our path, our identity can be influenced by them as well. You are your father’s daughter. You are your mother’s son. You are not simply a nobody.
You exist to be you completely. You exist because you are meant to be just as you are only better. Stop looking to others to define you and start seeing that you may not be important to them but you are priceless to yourself. When you think about getting older, how do you see your future? Do you see yourself surrounded by kids and grandkids? Do you see yourself successful in a business or venture? Do you see yourself in a rut or stuck? Think about our parents and grandparents. They grew up with a third of what we did and yet they survived and continued on. They paved the way for you to get where you are. Mom and dad are our mentors and first teachers, just as you are to your kids. You show them how to be the amazing ones they are. You teach them to be perfectly imperfect. That is your footprint. That is your legacy. Not just a big bank account or plot of land. Your legacy lies within your ability to touch the heart and mind of another long after you are gone.
Think about your carbon footprint. What about you will stay in the hearts and minds of those you interact with? When you leave home or work is there an absence that is felt? A lot of us may not think so but in truth we are more noticed than we can ever imagine. We are not simply nobodies. We are amazing beings, full of excitement and love.How do I know? Well that is simple…. Have you ever looked at a flower or one of God’s creations and seen it sighing and considering itself worthless? Even a weed has value to the weed. You have value as long as you see it within yourself.You exist because you are meant to. Just as I am.
Happy BIRTHDAY!!!!! It’s been an entire year since the start of this blog and GIRLS. I have been blessed to have been a part of this wonderful endeavor.The more I think about this year the more I can’t help but notice an evolution in myself and in the people around me. The blog was set up to try to share with others the joy that I felt atlearning to accept the person in my mirror. But to be honest it evolved so much more than that. I became obsessed with making a difference. I wanted to lead by example. I wanted to bring as much peace to others even if at times I did not feel at peace myself. This morning I woke with a song burning in my heart. Gloria Estefan’s ‘Coming out of the dark’. This was odd to me because I had not heard the song in over a decade and yet I could remember every word this morning. I woke with tears in my eyes because I realized that this was my time of coming out of the dark. It was time that I stopped being a prisoner of ME. For the past few years I have been going through one trial after another. I have walked around with a battered and bruised heart and mind and yet I am still here.I am ALIVE and I am Free.I am Coming out of this darkness in my soul.
It has been so hard walking in my own truth and I admit that at times I faltered. I admit to feeling ashamed of who I was and whom I was becoming! I wanted to hide instead in the comfort of my blankets as if the world would not be able to find me even there. I admit to shedding far too many tears. I admit to feeling weak and lost. To almost giving up. I even did one thing I promised I would never do…I compared me to you.I imagined how much easier life was for others compared to my own. I looked at my support system and found myself often sitting on a ledge alone. As I said before in an article, my inner circle was actually made up of squiggly little lines. It was more of a square. Nothing was what it seemed. The funny thing is, it does not matter to me any longer.
My desire to help is still just as strong if not stronger than it was a year ago. I am writing more and more. I am reaching out more. I realize that I don’t need organizations of people backing me up only in name. I need action. I am truly COMING OUT OF THE DARK!But I am not coming alone. I am going to be pulling and dragging whomever wants to be free. We do not have to sit aside in the quietness of mediocrity. We do not have to be victims of our own hand. We do not have to be sad or alone. We do not have to be hidden fighters!You have been with me for this long. I ask that you please stick with me a little longer. Come with me! Join me in stepping out of the shadows of life. We are each too precious to simply exist. We should all shine. You are my inspiration. Without this blog and readers I would be simply another dreamer afraid to speak. You hear my voice and I hear yours. I will always be here. I will always love you. You are my light. Thank you for everything.
Children are our most precious gifts. It is our duty to protect them from all harm, sometimes that includes protecting them from ourselves. Millions of children have unwanted and abusive sexual experiences.Many of them believe, that someone else knows or should know about their situation, but does little or nothing to protect them.Where is Mom? Dad? A few survivors tell adults what’s going on. They seek protection and help,however oftentimes they are met with disbelief, denial, blame, or even punishment.
How can that be?
It’s hard to imagine that there can be any “good reason” for failing to protect a vulnerable child.Kids may feel doubly betrayed by someone’s failure to help. They were in danger, someone should have protected them and chose not to…period. For this there is no excuse. There is no way to rationalize inaction.Surviving abuse is a long and arduous journey and although scars can heal, wounds can remain constant. Because I am trying to prove a point this article will be a little harsh and may offend a few. For this I ask your forgiveness but I am not sorry.
Recently I was introduced to a young girl that was being sexually assaulted by her mom’s boyfriend. The little girl was lost and afraid and did not know who to turn to. She described how this monster would meet her coming out of the shower and tell her to drop her towel. She cried as she talked about him touching her inappropriately and coming into her room.She was terrified and alone and worse she felt betrayed. Why? She was betrayed because her mother knew about the abuse but did not believe her. She was betrayed because no adult would listen to her. I wish her story was not common however since I began trying to reach young girls over the years, I hear tales of terror like this all the time. Including my own. I am a survivor of abuse and like this young girl, I remember having to double check the bathroom door and make sure it stayed locked, before jumping in the shower. I remember laying awake at night and praying that for once the door would remain shut and no one would enter. I remember the betrayal of family and friends. Her story was mine! I have a dozen other examples and that number keeps growing.
Do you see the pattern? Here 25 years difference and 2 different generations and yet our stories are similar. The common denominator aside from abuse was the betrayal, disbelief and indifference of adults. Being a mom is hard and being a single mom can be very challenging to say the least. It is a privilege so many enjoy but some (married or not), squander away. Daily there are news reports about moms that have harmed or allowed to be harmed their own children. Why? Is it because of men? Are some women so selfish and focused on what or who they want that they are willing to overlook their child to do it? Is having a man more important than making sure that your daughter/son is safe? Does your child not have value?
Put them first.
Understand that ALL claims of abuse must be investigated and believed until proven otherwise. If you are afraid of being alone, then imagine how lonely your child feels living with this nightmare. They depend on you to take care of them. When we made the choice to be mothers, we also chose to forgo self to a point. That means that if we have to let go of someone that is not a fit for our family then so be it. Tomorrow is a new day and eventually we will find love again. If you suspect a child is being abused, please for the love of all things good, call someone. DO something. ACT immediately. Be a champion for someone that needs you. Be that warrior mother and not an enabler.
When would you rather receive your flowers, while alive or dead?I know that is an unnerving statement but it needs to be said. Turn on the TV or internet and there will be some story related to Domestic Violence. It seems to be the one thing that is hard to escape, and yet we can change it. We CANNOT change the abuser but we CAN change ourselves. This piece will seem a little harsh, but, it is said with much love. It goes out to men and women alike, considering the way that a good many women are becoming just as violent as their male counterparts.STOP TRYING TO JUSTIFY ABUSE!!! I say this a thousand times. LOVE does not HURT! It does not hit. It does not stalk. It does not obsess. It does not burn clothes. None of those things are love, so why do we continuously say so when we try to defend our attacker?
Ask yourself why? Why do you stay? Don’t judge yourself and don’t think about how others may judge you. Just think of why you choose to stay. Is it really out of fear? Are you afraid of being alone? Are you afraid to not have love? Are you perhaps blinded by the fear of failure that you, think staying will somehow make the situation different? None of these things make you a bad person. It really doesn’t but here is the deal. We are told all the time to just pray about a situation and it will change. But just like with the flowers, when do you want to receive your prayer answers, alive or dead?Continue to pray for the person that has harmed you but get OUT if you can.
STOP saying he/she loves me! Who are you really trying to convince? yourself or everyone else?An abuser may care about you but that doesn’t equal to love. Love doesn’t give you a black eye. If he loves you why does he isolate you… berate you…. beat you? Is that love, because if it is, then why do so many prisoners of war not see it as such? Stockholm’s Syndrome (a victim’s emotional “bonding” with their abuser) can trick a lot of people into thinking that this horrendous treatment is love. This way of thinking is why so many of us go back.
STOP being afraid to be alone!If you are in an abusive relationship, isolated and afraid to trust then guess what? You are alone already. Now try being alone without having to walk on eggshells. Stop listening to lies. I listened to a friend talk about her abuser. She spoke about him with such love and affection that my heart went out to her. He talked to her about trust and that if he took her back he would need access to everything. He described how she would not be able to have friends and how she would basically be under his control. None of those things stood out to her as she was relaying his words. She chose to forget the black eyes. She only heard him talking about love. She desperately wants to be loved and he played on all of her feelings. Is that love? Sometimes Love really means loving the person in your mirror enough to be with them for a while.Get comfortable being alone. It doesn’t mean you will stay that way. Being alone is not a death sentence especially if you love the company you keep.
Love you enough to understand that you can not change anyone only you. Don’t be a victim of you. Staying or going back to an abusive relationship does not make you a martyr it makes you hurt.Love can be bittersweet but it is never physically or mentally painful. Stop confusing obsession and control with love. Stop allowing your own insecurities keep you in bondage. Just as victims with Stockholm’s can be treated and helped, so can you. You are never alone. Not really. There are those of us like myself that will always be there for you. Get help where you can. Make sure I can give your flowers to you while you can still smell them.
Excuses…. someone brought up the subject about women making excuses for each other and it made me think. Sometimes the excuses are good, sometimes bad. The point is they are there, and they can either help or harm us. I went to bed, and woke up with that thought on my mind. Do we (women) make excuses? Are we the one’s freely giving away the power of self? Are we so blind to the plights of others that the biggest excuse we give ourselves is that the other woman is somehow different or she asked for it? She allowed herself to be disrespected therefore it is not my problem and that makes it funny. I asked women how they felt about being called b****es. For me the answer was outrage as it was for a few others. For some however, the answer was “Depends on how it’s being used. ” In other words they argued that the use of this term can actually mean something good. If a woman is called a bad b***h then that means she is about her business. Well why not simply say that she is good at what she does? Why use a derogatory word and try to make it less derogatory by turning it into a compliment?
A video was shared on FB by a male friend of mine, that he and other men, found hilarious. I was curious,so I watched it. It talked about how side chicks should ‘stay in their lane’. As I watched, I was not amused. I grew more furious by the moment. I sat there and I replayed it, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Then I started reading the comments. “That’s how some women are”. “That’s what women like that get”. These were comments from women. Some of us actually found it funny. When asked about that, a few tried to justify their humor, by saying that if a woman was stupid enough to allow a man to treat her as such, then she gets what she gets. It’s funny now. This same logic …. these same words follow women everywhere. Even in the world of domestic abuse, a lot of women will stand by and watch a friend, stranger or even relative being battered and simply say “She stupid for putting up with that. If it was me I would….” Well here’s a newsflash ladies….. every time you do that you are justifying why you made a conscious choice to judge and not act. You made an EXCUSE!
A few weeks ago there a young woman was raped and filmed and the pictures were plastered all over social media.She was 16 and after passing out she was stripped and violated. The responses from some men and women, turned my stomach when I talked about and spread the news. A few men blamed the victim. “If she wasn’t drunk she would not have been in that situation“. This made me so angry I wanted to start a new war. A lot of people that viewed those pictures thought they were funny and made memes joking and laughing about being Jada’d. What has changed about the world that could make someone that deprived, think that rape was funny? Why are there not more people going around and rallying for justice for this young girl? Why does it seem as if we would rather laugh at violence than change it? Is this who we are?
I look on my news feed on different social media, and I am appalled by the number of people posting these videos of women twerking or fighting. We say some of the most ridiculous things when we share this mess. (It is either funny to us or degrading). Today alone, I saw a dozen videos of women shaking their booties. I am not a prude nor do I judge. It’s your body do with it what you will if you are old enough to understand the consequences. My question is why are there so many? It seems that more and more women are jumping at the chance to showcase her ability to drop it like its hot. WHY? How is this showcasing strength? How is this showing us to be above reproach? Is posting these videos causing some men to not see us as human beings but as fodder for playtime? These questions plague me because just as I was sitting here responding to comments from my post about Jada, I began to think long and hard. If Jada being drunk made rape OK, what does posting a video of a ourselves popping our butts like we have no other means of showing beauty, mean?Will the next argument be if I posted a video of myself then showed up at a party, I am asking to be raped? What about if I am constantly posting sexy pics of myself online? What if I had a few drinks and danced in front of a group of men?
How did we get to the point where our girls are posting more and more pics or worse we are training them on how? I still see disturbing images of teenagers and babies twerking. If the dances and attire of these girls is the same that you would see at a strip club or bar, is this not enticing to the minds of men? Although she is only 13, it doesn’t mean anything if she has the body of a 20 year old, and men won’t respond to it. Come on people! If Jada was raped while at a party, filmed and plastered all over the web to be made fun of, it could just as easily have been our daughter. The threat is not that far away and we as parents may be allowing it to happen.Women I say this to you, before you post a pic of yourself remember that if you have a daughter she may end up doing the same.Just because a man likes the video or pic, doesn’t mean he respects you. Just because you are grown and look good at 25, it doesn’t mean that you will still be proud of that video that you posted 10 or 20 years from now.
Be accountable for the person in your mirror and the one you are raising. Be aware that some people are using the things we do against us. In the case of Jada what if her attackers were caught and the jury included a few people that felt she asked for it? What will happen next? What if the next victim was your 14 year old niece, but she looks and acts older? Each of those pics shared of Jada were child pornography. Each of the pics our daughters are sending to young men and posting online is child porn. Stop making ourselves out to be only sexual beings. Pull back some and be more sensual. Grown and sexy should not always mean simply grown and popping. Talk to your kids. really talk TO them and not AT them.Find out if they understand that rape is still rape. Assault is still assault and no one ASKS for it!