Nature vs Nurture? Are We Doing It Right?

violent teenMore 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.teen_talk_depresssion_emo_cutting_02_jpg_70331 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.page6_sengalese_hug 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-dependent on 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 Young girls that are so lost in the ways of being strong women because their role models have been replaced by reality star icons.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….friends-hugging1

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 answers and protecting. That is actually less about nurturing and 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 adversity69576_672822726097609_1448457241_nThey 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.images (81) 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…

Ang

 

 

Coming Out Of The Dark!!!!! HBD JeweledAngel37!

bbdHappy 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 at learning 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.cc0hk 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.

images (27)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.10460724_736480593075755_2301309135916939953_n

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.10410517_736040753119739_5204901113113256372_n 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! 10345818_726241607432987_991066559302271364_nYou 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.

Ang

2014-09-27 21.38.22

Put Your Child First!

girls laughingChildren 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?child_abuse_facts_by_missfruitcupp-d3gr7x1

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. understanding-child-abuse-fbSurviving 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.

black-girl-looking-in-the-mirrorRecently 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.Stop-Child-abuse-now-stop-child-abuse-16726742-380-324 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.

Child_Abuse_by_corwyn581Do 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?

Stop-child-abuse-stop-child-abuse-30729625-1024-409Put 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.child abuse hotline

Ang

When Would You Rather Receive Your Flowers, While Alive or Dead?

floweretiquetteWhen 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.menhurttoo 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?

83_showcase_project_detail_itemAsk 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.wow

  • 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? powerfulStockholm’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. images (34)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.

Romanian women, who have lent their faceLove 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.

AngWoman Receiving Flowers

Control, Project & Lead By Example…

valueExcuses…. 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. images (96) 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?

uh uhA 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.strone-women-lift 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!

DAUGHTER“Women are forever saying that men treat us like we are cheap and dirty, but we are the ones in control of the images that we put out. We are the ones that control what men see and we control how he will treat us. ” I have repeated this statement a thousand times, even though at times I think it is falling on deaf ears. It is frustrating to see the way some of us women will give over the power of self in order, to please another. Stop making excuses Sisters. Stop being a victim to your own heart and foolishness. If you want respect, be someone who can be respected. Stop looking to others and saying that it is the other woman’s fault and passing the blame, all the while, your own closet is so full of skeletons it resembles a crypt. It is not funny to see a woman selling herself short. It is NOT OK for me to do the same. We are all worth more than we can ever imagine. Ladies stop allowing your dignity and pride as a woman be bought! You don’t have to parade naked to be seen. You don’t have to be loud. You don’t have to be a toy for an unavailable man who will never be yours. You can CHOOSE to be free. The KEY to your life has ALWAYS been in your own hands. YOU control YOU! Now control how you project the real you to the world and teach your daughters. sisters, and friends to do the same. STOP ridiculing other sisters and lead by example. Lift up those who need it. good enough

 

Ang

 

Could Your Post Make Your Rape OK?

jadaA 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? victim blaming

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. don't value 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?boys consent

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.mom and daughter 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! legacy

Ang

It’s Worse…. Please Wake UP!

kid behind bars     I recently did research for a support group I am trying to build for teenage girls, what I found, upset me so badly that I was physically ill. According to nearly a dozen websites about pedophilia and sexual abuse in Western society  nearly 36% of the sex offenders are CHILDREN.The number of youth coming to the attention of police for sex offenses increases sharply at age 12 and plateaus after age 14. Early adolescence is the peak age for offenses against younger children. Offenses against teenagers surge during mid to late adolescence, while offenses against victims under age 12 decline.” (US Dept of Justice, 2009) 

     Why are our children becoming so sexually violent? A lot of  offenders have been proven to been victims themselves. Today’s society is very over sexed, but now that I am aware of the effect this is having on our youth, I am terrified beyond belief. Most of us may still be a little skeptical of that number, but I can assure you the number is accurate. If anything it might be growing. For most people the definition of a pedophile can depend on perception. In a lot of cultures it is not against the law to have relations with a young child as long as they have gone through puberty. All of that is fact, however, here in the US it is considered to be wrong to have sexual relations with a child. Did you know that the average age of the models on most of the ads are between the ages of 12 and 16? Or that some modeling agencies may consider a young girl of 19 to be too old? That’s not that bad right? Unless…..french-v Consider the fact that the featuring of nudity from a child model is considered art. Sooo images of a 12-year-old dressed very sexually and posed, is not child porn so long as she is doing it for a magazine but if you take a pic of your daughter in a bikini and post it on Facebook it can be seen as suggestive.

juvenile     Over the course of the last few years more and more teen and young adolescents are being labeled as sex offenders. In Maryland just last year a 15-year-old was on trial for 12 counts of child porn after sending pictures of himself to another teen. This means parents, that gone were the days when we could say ‘kids will be kids’. We can no longer justify our young girls and men as experimenting and simply being kids. This is real. It is becoming an epidemic. A 18 year old in Arizona was convicted as a serial rapist for attacking nearly 18 young girls. tyler Kost This young man wasn’t just your typical looking Jeffrey Dahmer type.  It is not just the creepy guy in the van, that we have to be aware of anymore. I would like to think that this young man was actually a fluke but he isn’t. All we have to do is look around us and we can find examples. Recently the web exploded with images of Jeremy Meeks the sexy felon that went viral. Young girls were so enamored by his face that they were willing to overlook the danger of his deeds. The responses and number of women boasting about wanting to help pay bail or be his girl, made me want to throttle them. Imagine if he were a rapist….. Does his looks excuse his behavior then?  In our minds the obvious answer may be no but to teen girls, they may not view rape as unforgivable as we did.

Jeremy meeks     I posted an article on here about the dangers of seeing our young girls as sexual beings. I even took time away from blogging to try to reach young teens due to the marked growth in domestic violence among them.We have to take action now before thinks go any further.  As parents let’s first turn off the sexual images that we see on TV, social media or even the radio. Simply be a parent, teacher or friend in that moment. Talk to your teens and children. Ask them if they have had any situations where they have been made to feel uncomfortable. Make sure our daughters and sons are not so busy looking for the man with horns that they miss the woman with the tail. Or the peer from class that was abused and now seeks to abuse. Understand that things are not like it was when we were kids. We have always had problems with sex offenders and teen sexuality, we did not have the level of indifference to personal accountability and safety that we do now.  Talk to your daughters BEFORE letting them go out, about the dangers of date rape and let her know that if it happens she can talk about it. Talk to your sons about the dangers of the supposed cougar or older woman who just wants to make him a man.slut-shaming-crying-girl-300x300

The other night I was trying to find something to take my mind off of this horror when while perusing Netflix I came upon this movie. Are All Men Pedophiles. I had a lump in my throat already from the different websites that talked about child sexuality, but after watching that video I was literally in tears. I had to disprove it. I went on a full search that led into to the early in the morning. I wanted to find evidence to debunk these preposterous claims. I cried because I could not find anything. We have allowed our society to become over sexed and as a result we as a society can not distinguish whom among us are the real predators.

Girl_Teenager_8522132_H     In the documentary above one of the doctors above actually postulated that in the not so distant future pedophilia may actually be considered as an orientation much like homosexuality was. The difference as she stated was that the person must not act on the urges. I thought about that all night and morning. It just would not leave my mind. Because in the video there were a few pedophiles that were married and openly admitted to having sexual fantasies about children. Does being open about it make it OK? The documentary did not say so but it seemed to me that the people who appeared on camera thought so.  So should they be listed as sex offenders still if they have not technically committed a crime?

     We are going after children for posting pictures yet we (adults),  continue to glorify sexuality in everything they see. Reality TV shows, movies, games, music, internet, social media all of these things are all pretty much dominated by sex. Even some of our supposed Disney and kid friendly programming are still have the hint of sex. To be honest the way that we are going are we not making it easy for the true pedophile to be more tempted to be an offending pedophile? He/she can simply turn on the TV or go outside and we are literally handing our children up as sacrificial lambs.  Our children see us doing the same things that we tell them not to. We have become hypocrites in our own homes and then we wonder why they no longer listen to us. Are they becoming so violent because we are violent?

What can we do? How can we stop this epidemic? This nightmare has to end….. It’s time to WAKE UP!

adorable