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Monday, November 20, 2017

When it hurts so bad

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that may be true, but one can't believe everything they see. Take this photograph for instance.  Here I am with the love of my life, celebrating the expectant birth of my first child.  The room was overflowing with people who loved and supported me...who supported us. Our baby was lavished with gifts and when it was all over we packed up our car and went home. I checked the answering machine (the home phone hadn't quite phased out yet) like I always did and a woman's voice came on. I don't remember what the message said, but I do recall telling my child's father I didn't want that woman calling our home again. I confronted him about it and was met with the same reaction I'd always gotten from him when things didn't go his way. I was 7 months pregnant and not in any condition to fight so I told him we should both just calm down and leave the issue alone. Needless to say he wasn't having that. A fire had been ignited and he was determined to give me what I was “asking” for. I walked off going towards our bedroom trying to get away and be left alone. As soon as I turned my back I felt a pang in my scalp. My boyfriend (who is now my ex-husband) grabbed my hair by the handful. He began screaming at me calling me every bitch in the book. I broke loose ran to the bedroom and locked the door. This only incited his rage. “Didn't I tell you about locking the motherf***ing door!” he yelled before he literally knocked the door off the hinges for the second time. Honestly everything that occurred after that is a blur. The only thing I remember after that was standing in the bathroom looking in the mirror at my busted lip and the huge bald spot I had in the middle of my head. I looked at my reflection thinking what had I done to deserve this? Is this really an environment I want my child too grow up in; which consequently had also been the type of environment I grew up in. I emerged from the bathroom and was met by boyfriend who had made an icepack for my lip. He then coddled me and explained to me how it was my fault that things got out of hand because I had disrespected him. I should had never raised my voice to him (smh). I told myself that after he left to go to work that night I'd leave. I'd grab the bag I had hidden away in the closet and return home to go live with my mama and my sister. I'd get as far away as I could and start over. But the other voices would creep in. "Who's gonna want a woman with a baby? You'll be another statistic, a typical black woman with a baby daddy. And you'll have a child growing up without a father just like you did; and look how your life turned out."  and so...I stayed. And for the next 12 years I endured the abuse (verbal, physical, and mental) feeling so trapped that finally I concluded my only way out was death, and it most definitely was not going to be mine.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. That means 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. And more than 20,000 phone calls are placed daily to national abuse hotlines (ncadv.org/statistics).
As staggering as those numbers are those closest to the abused usually don't have a clue as to what is happening. My immediate family lived far away so the news of the abuse was a complete shock to them; my closest friends however sort of had a clue. My behavior had changed, and it wasn't just due to my new role as a parent. Before I met my abuser, my friends and I would hang out at each others’ apartments or go to happy hour together. After meeting him those things quickly changed. He had convinced me that my friends were nothing and no one in comparison to him. According to him, they didn't “give a f**k” about me and they were “trash” who weren't allowed in our home. I was so in love (and so hellbent on not being a statistic) that I was willing to do whatever it took to make my relationship last, praying every night that he would change, and change he did. With each passing year the abuse grew more intense and more frequent. I would tell myself things like, “He'll change when the baby comes,” “Once the baby gets older he'll stop because no one would act like this in front of their child.” and my go-to excuse was, “Once we get married he’ll stop because no one would treat their wife this way.”   As if somehow my change in status would make a difference.  I have to laugh as I write this. I spent so much time waiting on a person to change instead of firmly putting my foot down from day one. Our first date he refused to open the car door for me. I asserted myself, made a little fuss, but he replied “That's stupid. The door already unlocked. That's what alarms are for.” I opened my door, got into the car.  I tried a few more times to get him to bend, but he held steadfast in his refusal to open my car door.  Once I gave in to that I believe it sparked the idea for him to see how controlling he could be, and what I would actually comply with. I mean literally with every guy I dated up until him I was adamant about him opening my car door, and if you didn't we would never go out again. I felt it was an issue of chivalry, and common decency; however,  instead of trying to get an understanding of where I was coming from he shot the notion down because it wasn't an act HE wanted to do. In hindsight I can now recognize so many red flags, but when you're dealing with a narcissistic manipulator it's hard to see the forest for the trees. And I never really told anyone because I was too embarrassed.

This isn't my entire story, however it's a snapshot of my[former] life that I pray will help someone else. I'm currently divorced and after 12 grueling years of living in fear and chaos I'm finally “reclaiming my time” so to speak. I've made a conscious effort to reconnect with those friends I neglected. I've begun a career in education and I'm currently working on my Master's of Arts in Psychology. If you have a friend whom you feel is an abusive relationship please don't shun or dismiss them for not confiding in you or leaving the relationship. Being a victim of domestic abuse is similar to that of being an addict; for the simple fact that you aren't going to leave until you finally hit your rock bottom.  And many times children of domestic violence are 3 times more likely to get into abusive relationships themselves. These individuals (myself included) are so conditioned to observing domestic violence that it becomes seen as a relational norm. If you feel you may be in an abusive relationship please call a domestic violence hotline. And know that as long as you stay, it won't get better.

Peace and blessings.


For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or  1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

Monday, June 5, 2017

Shut Up!

A while ago on Facebook, I posted about the story of Ruth, and I focused on how she worked and positioned herself in order to attract Boaz.

I also want to point out that while in her "single season" Ruth did not (as far as we know) gripe about being single. This brought to my attention that although publicly I try not to gripe, privately, with friends and family, I often times speak on my desire for a mate. God knows fully well that I desire a husband. He knows what's in my heart. As single Christian women/men one must have absolute trust that Jehovah knows what's best for us and has our best interest at heart. Even if that means we never marry [again]. I however have full faith that I will remarry; not just because it is my desire but because an elder prayed this prayer for me without me even asking. Single people of God we have to learn to be quite, and to be still. We have to learn to fully trust God and his timing. What was supposed to take the Israelites 11 days took them 40 years because they couldn't keep their mouths closed.

So part of my advice to single Christians is to SHUT UP!  Not only are other people probably tired of hearing you gripe, but God is too. He knows what he has in store for you. Shut your mouth, trust God, get yourself right while you wait, serve God; and take the counsel of wise elders. Ruth obeyed Naomi. She didn't question, she didn't go ask her peers. She followed the advice of a godly elder.

Look I know it's hard and often times lonely being single. And if you're a single parent the angst intensifies. But be diligent about the work of God, be fervent about the work of God, honor Him, trust Him, remain obedient and in time your single season will pass.

Peace and blessings.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The end of an Era

On my way to work this morning as I listened to my pastor (Pastor Jackie Martin) preach on Paul and the "thorn" in his side. She spoke on how afflictions are made to humble us and grow us closer to God. It was at that exact moment I was rear ended and hit the car in front of me. My car is totaled but I'm alive and well, and thank God my children weren't with me. I got teary eyed as I saw the damage done to my vehicle. I didn't cry because I was sad. That car represented the first thing I bought after emancipation from my spouse. It was a triumph, a stepping stone into regaining my self confidence. But now I guess this is God's way of telling me that season has come to an end and a new one has begun.




Friday, November 11, 2016

Single Season

As my divorce draws near I'm finally learning to embrace my season of singleness (accompanied by my season of celibacy which is another blog in itself). I'll be the first to admit that divorce is a pain greater than death, but through all the heartache and pain there is a silver lining.

I'm learning to make the most of this time and do things I've always wanted to do followed with things I'd never imagined I could do. This evening I actually went to happy hour [dare I say] alone. Last year I could not have imagined such a feat. To sit alone...at a table...in public...and eat. Oh the horror! But when I tell you that not only did I sit, eat, and drink by myself; I also sang along to every song I knew, and in Spanish at that! Elvis Crespo's Suavemente never sounded so good.

To anyone who's going through a divorce or has left a toxic relationship please know it gets better. Life gets better, and that agonizing gaping pain you feel in your chest will subside. I'm not saying what I think, or what I've heard, I'm telling you what I know. The thing is that healing begins with you. Rebirth begins with you. No one can make you do it, you have to decide when you've finally had enough of lying in the bed drowning in your sorrow and tears. When you've had enough of stumbling in a drunken stupor daily, and when you've had enough of just going through the motions and existing instead living. You'll get up. You'll live again. You'll feel comfortable dining alone. And prayerfully one day you'll love again.

Peace and Blessings

Thursday, September 22, 2016

You are What You Speak

https://youtu.be/PAJcMmyFCEg

Many in white America won't stop seeing us (African Americans) as disposable until we stop seeing each other as the enemy. This scene from Spike Lee's cult classic School Daze is profound on so many levels.

How'd we go from calling each other "brother and sister" to "nigga, and b--ch, and hoe"? And then say it's a sign of love, friendship, and camaraderie. Most of us wouldn't refer to our parents and elders that way, because we know it's disrespectful. So why are we so free to use it with our peers?  Our slave ancestors called other slaves "nigga" because that's what our opressors called us. It was a manipulative tool to divide us.  And it worked. Here we are hundreds of years later using the terms of our oppressors and have fooled ourselves into thinking it's a good thing.

Well I tell you what. If using the words "nigga" and "b**ch" and "hoe" aren't dehumanizing refer to your parents and children and grandparents that way. Speak it over your children's lives everyday. Tell your son he's a smart nigga, and your daughter she's such a bright b**ch. Tell your son you're so proud of the nigga he's become; and let your daughters know that black hoes rock, and that they are filled with black b**ch magic.

We have to watch our tongues, for it holds the power of life and death. What you consistently speak to a person is what they will believe and what they will eventually become.

*****Warning***** harsh language.
https://youtu.be/PAJcMmyFCEg

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Vision Board Party

It's been on my to-do list for years but I'm finally going to complete the task of completing a vision board, and I'm extending an invitation to the VISION BOARD PARTY.

Many of us make New Year's Resolutions, but why not make mid year resolutions? Fall is swiftly approaching and 2016 will be coming to a close. Why not spend this month focusing on our plans and goals now? We can enter 2017 focused, and already moving towards our mark.

I'm asking that throughout the month of September we construct our vision boards. I'm an avid believer in visualization, and the law of attraction. I'd love to see your boards and hear how your goals were manifested into reality.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Land of the Free?

So Gabby Douglas didn't place her hand over her heart during the National Anthem. Who gives a crap? And how is this "Un-American" or disrespectful? I stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance back in 1998 or 99. I sometimes stand out of respect for others but it's my right as an American who lives in a free country to not salute the flag if I choose. How can we live in a country that is a melting pot of cultures and prides itself on all its liberties and then criticize others for exercising their rights and liberties? Instead of America being the land of the free and the home of the brave its motto should be land of the double standard and home of the confused.