So…I Remember Mama…in a happy way…

So…I Remember Mama…in a happy way…

Most people I know have heard the song by Shirley Caesar…”I Remember Mama”. It is played in heavy rotation around the holidays and especially around Mother’s Day. In it…Shirley recounts a few memories of her mother. I’ve always loved the song. As a little girl it always made me kinda sad because her mother had gone on to be with the Lord. Even then I knew that my mom was very important to me and I didn’t want to imagine life without her.

Thankfully, I don’t have to know that pain as my mother is still living but I wanted to highlight some of the lessons I’ve learned that have helped me in this adult life and as a parent.

Lesson Number 1 – Do it well or not at all.

My mom has always been good at being of service to others.  She volunteers and does things that need to be done whether she’s been asked to do it or not.  When she does something though, there is no “half stepping”.  It’s done to the nines and while being the best or better than anyone else wasn’t her goal, she always has people wanting for more.  Her things end up being something to use for comparison.  “Well, when Elaine did it…we had blank blank blank….we should do it like that…”.  What that taught me was that you have to be your best for whatever you are called to do.  If you’re going to do a project and you have the resources to get materials, do that.  Don’t just throw something together at the last minute.  Take the time to do it right and everyone you’re attempting to serve will be grateful that you did.  If you can’t do it well, then step aside and let someone else who will give it their all do it.

Lesson Number 2 – Work hard.

My mom was a single mother and she worked her tail off.  I’ve said before that she has always had 2 or 3 jobs when we were coming up.  But in those jobs and along the lines with lesson number one, she taught us to put in the work for what you have to do.  There’s no point in going in there and not doing your best.  In the end, what you do will carries your name and people will look at you crazy if you do something lazy.  It will look like you did it lazy.  No matter who is watching, always always, put the work in whether everyone else is or not.

Lesson Number 3 – Your children are worth it even when they get on your nerves.

There was never a time we went without something.  I can’t tell you the countless activities I was involved in that cost a gazillion dollars.  My mom worked and we had everything we needed and a lot of what we wanted.  As a parent now, I see how expensive it is just to have a child exist.  When you add into that fees for things at school or other activities, you need about 8 streams of income just to make it through and that’s just with ONE kid.  She did it with 3.  When we were ungrateful, she would remind us how hard she worked and rightly so.  In 2003, I had brain surgery and was recovering at her home.  With me, I brought my toddler.  My sister also had a surgery during my recovery time.  My brother has Down’s Syndrome and lives with my mom.  So…what was my mom doing while taking care of the four of us and herself? She was working full time, part time and in school working on her Master’s Degree.  When the tables were turned later that year and she had a surgery that put her in need of care, we didn’t get it right.  I mean, we were helping, but Lord we weren’t doing it right.

Lesson Number 4 – Don’t worry about what other people think.

At the end of the day…you’re responsible for the things you do.  You can’t please everyone.  There will always be someone who is unhappy about whatever you did.  Guess what? That’s their business.  It’s their right.  That doesn’t mean it has to change who you are or what you do.  When it comes down to it, whether someone likes what you did or not, it’s something you did and chances are it has no effect on their lives.

Lesson Number 5 – Sometimes you have to be gangsta.
People who have known my mom for less than 10 years might not know this about her…but my mama is gangsta….lol.  She was She-Ra before She-Ra!  For as long as I can remember she’s been very independent and handles business no matter what.  I watched her move furniture across the room or out of the house without help.  There’s no need to try to act helpless like you don’t have 2 hands.  She did what she needed to do.  Lazy men standing around watching? Psh…not on Elaine’s watch.  “Y’all need to grab a box and help or something, don’t just stand there!”  Once upon a time, we lived in a place that may not have had the best security.  No worries!  My mama had a crowbar ready for anyone who might be big and bad enough to enter our home uninvited.  I once saw her take a glass bottle and break it against the side of a house to defend herself.  There was no fight, but the person who tried her life (as The Teenager would say) knows better and won’t even come close to trying her these days.

I remember in 1994, the Flint River flooded its banks and she went down to Albany State to help bag sandbags to minimize the damage to the school.  While she was there working, we were home and had the news from the local authorities that we’d have to evacuate our home.  When we made it to my mom to let her know, she came home in no panic and packed her some things because we’d packed her nothing (crazy kids).  Then she found cinder blocks and put all of her furniture up so that if our home did flood, maybe the water wouldn’t damage those things.  I was amazed at how calm she was and so proud of her for keeping us calm.

Lesson Number 6 – Never give up.

This is probably my favorite lesson of all.  When I was little, we lived in Washington Homes in Albany…it was a low income housing complex.  My mom was working on her undergraduate degree and our car stopped working.  She had class that night but do you think that stopped her?  Nope.  No one was available to come take her but she didn’t care.  She put on her walking shoes and walked right on over to Albany State.  Right out the projects, across the civic center’s parking lot, across the Flint River bridge on Oglethorpe and right on down to her class.  She was determined.  Her mind was made up and she was going to finish her degree.

My mom has also been on a weight loss journey for a few years.  She’s been the example for me because she has not given up.  She is making a true life style change and it shows in her progress.  The gym is now her second home.  Walking trails are her best friend and she loves to drink water! Each day this encourages me not to give up on whatever goals I’m pursuing.

Lesson Number 7 – Be yourself and be unapologetic about it!

My mom retired from Dougherty County School System in December 2009.  She taught English and Language Arts to juniors and seniors that year.  Some folks were pretty upset that she was leaving.  People called to offer her jobs in other schools in the system.  Some even went so far as to call our pastor to try and convince her to stay.  My mama said, “No.  I’m retiring.  This is my time.”  No explanations.  No apologies.  Just…No…and she was dead serious.  Of course January came and her next opportunity landed in her lap.  She though didn’t care about what anyone thought of her.  She wasn’t insecure.  She didn’t waiver in her decision, she just moved on because the time was nigh and that’s what she wanted to do.

These days though…she’s turned into Patty Pound Cake…She makes these delicious little individual pound cakes and puts so much daggum love in them that you can taste it…No other pound cake is good to me…not even my own!  She sells them…so lemme know if you wanna buy some…but every now and then…she sees where some love is needed and whips up a bunch…told you she’s the best!

I could go on and on and on and on and on and on….because my mama’s lessons are endless.  Just today she helped me to see that sometimes you’ve got to look back so that you can get what you need to move forward.  She’s the coolest….most awesome…supercalafragilisticexpealidocious mom ever!  I’m so glad she’s mine and I cherish each day I have to spend with her.  So while she’s here…I’ll continue to remember her in a happy way.  She rocks!

Until next time…

Hakuna Matata

Advertisements
So…Broken Crayons Still Color

So…Broken Crayons Still Color

So…I know it’s been awhile…like forever since the last time I posted….my bad…:( life is tough…and busy! My brain was on overload….I just couldn’t. Anyway…a lot has changed for me…I’m seeing through new eyes!

Bare with me…this one is difficult to write. 
So a few years ago I shared with you my one word for the year and how it’s a goal for the year to help you change your life. This year…my word is love. 

Seems pretty straight forward right? I thought so too. I knew when I heard this word sometime in June that it was going to be a toughie though. See…I’ve struggled with love for a very long time. I haven’t loved the main person in forever…that’s me…

So…let’s get to the root of that…ready? I finally came to terms with it back in January. When I say it’s life changing…to get it out and finally just deal with my demons…here goes…when I was 20 years old…I was sexually assaulted by my then boyfriend…it happened on Valentine’s Day on my college campus in my dorm room. 

I’m sure there are lots of questions from that statement…let’s address them. 

Q. What was he doing in your dorm room? 

 A. well…we were allowed to have visitors of the opposite sex in our rooms. Our dorm was coed. As long as it was during allowable hours (and it was) it wasn’t an issue. We had planned a fun evening. We were going to watch a movie then go to the Valentine’s Day celebration thingamabob on campus. 

Q. You must’ve done something to make him think it was okay. Right? 

A. Wrong. I tricked myself with this question for years. We had been sexually active before. But we had decided we were cooling our jets because we were going to get to know each other better. We had had a successful date before without sex so I had a reasonable expectation that he would stick to our agreement. 

Q. Why didn’t you fight him off? Surely at your size you could have kept him off of you? 

A. Lemme tell you something….I tried with all my might to keep him off of me. I fought him…I scratched him….I pleaded with him…it didn’t help. When someone pulls you down by your hair and you’re begging…and they get extra hands to keep you from continuing to scratch them and they are sitting on you and somehow still manages to get your clothes off to get to what they want…well…you can only try and fight so much…I never got that adrenaline rush people say you get when you are afraid. I fought. I was just unsuccessful. 

Q. Why wait all this time to say something? It’s been 20 years…why didn’t you report it then? 

A. I’ve been asking myself the same questions….for 20 years. After it happened, he got dressed and left. I immediately went and showered. I felt dirty and violated I just knew if I could wash it off I’d be okay. I needed to wash it off! I could still smell him everywhere. I stripped my bed…tossed my clothes and then…I got dressed. I went to the V-Day party…sans boyfriend and convinced myself that I was okay. I was surrounded by friends and good music. It would be fine! I could not have been more wrong.  

I didn’t report it because I thought no one would believe me. I didn’t want to be dragged through the mud and be told I was ruining a young black man’s life….I’d heard these words regarding another situation on our college campus….surely I couldn’t say a word! 

Q. Surely you’re over it now? It’s been TWENTY YEARS! 

A. ….yeah…about that…20 years is a very long time to hold something in….you don’t know how much your life is shaped by a thing until you call that thing out. Looking back…I see how that one event changed my life’s path and shaped many decisions I’ve made through the years. 

One such decision that seems completely random and not related is that I avoid reunions with my friends from college. Sure…we are all friends on Facebook. I always get excited about proposed meet ups but when the time comes….I turn into Casper….it has always activated an anxiety in me that makes me not want to be around people especially them! They didn’t rape me. They didn’t even know! But the memory of that day and night becomes so real when I think of reuniting with my friends. I’ve missed so much….births…weddings…opportunities to help another heal…just. So. Much! All because I couldn’t deal with the aftermath of my assault. 

I think about the way I’ve dealt with men over the years…lord have mercy…I can see my choices with perfect vision and how I made myself a target because I didn’t deal. Low self esteem…since I blamed myself shaped my decisions to just accept whatever came because I didn’t deserve anything or anyone to genuinely love me. I was ruined…so why not just take whoever wanted me…that’s been very difficult to face because there were so many pains and heartaches I could’ve avoided had I just told the counselor I’d been raped and started some sort of program…

For years…I’d feel the darkness coming. Around November or December each year anxiety and depression would try to take over and I fought it as best I could. By January I’d be in a full blown panic on the inside but on the outside I was determined to make it through the year. I ignored everything in me. Every. Single. Year. After awhile I was numb and just put on whatever face I thought I needed to get through the day…week…month…year.

Anywho….I can’t change the past. All I can do is take steps to finally heal my heart and soul and spirit…

This year…I read a book that helped. I’d read the book before but for some reason when I read it this time…(for a Writing assignment) it resonated a different way. It completely touched me and I finally admitted what my issue was. I talked to a friend a church and she prayed with me. I’m the midst of our prayer someone else entered the room. She didn’t know the situation but she jumped in and prayed and put some more power in that room. 

A month or so later…due to a mix up…I was in attendance at a women’s ministry meeting at my church. The speaker was talking about broken pieces…and she asked if anyone wanted to share about a time they were broken. I resisted the first push in my gut to share my story. Then I found my hand in the air and the microphone in my hand. In a room of about 100 or so women I talked about my rape for the first time publicly. I felt so much lighter that day! You never know how heavy a thing is until it is lifted from you! 

So that’s why I’m sharing this now. By finally bring it into the light I can be completely free. I am a survivor of sexual assault. I’m no longer a prisoner to it. Now I’m taking my broken pieces and sharing them because broken crayons still color…there’s healing to be done. Some for me. Some for someone else. Someone needs to know it’s not your fault. That person had no right to do that to you. Your feelings are valid. It’s okay to tell someone. You have to For your own sanity! Either way…the time has come and if I want this healing…the exodus of this pain I’ve been carrying I’ve got to let it go….this was how. Thank you for reading. 

Until next time,

Hakuna Matata 

So…Do you know what love is?

So…my favorite scripture is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  You know it…it’s the “love” scripture.  Forrest Gump said, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.”  He did.  He really did.  Think about the movie and how he waited for Jenny.

1_corinthians_13-4-8-sunflowers

This is it.  This is the essence of what we should do to one another and ourselves!  But guess what?  WE DON’T.  Do you know why we don’t love each other? Because we don’t believe that God loves us.

I know you’re saying…”I know God loves me…that doesn’t apply to me!” But it so does.  We know on an academic or intellectual level that God loves us.  Absolutely.  it says so in John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  You know that.  I know that.  My daughter knew that at 3 years old.  But I dare you to consider this…do you believe it?

Yesterday, I visited a friend’s church.  I don’t really like to do that because I’m usually serving in ministry each Sunday at my own church and hate to not be present.  But, I’ve learned that God will put you where you need to be to hear what you need to hear.  So…at the behest of my friend, I visited a church that was not my own.  The message was simple for the most part and the pastor suggested that we don’t believe that God loves us and that’s why we treat people the way we do.

Think about it.  When we lie to people, we’re really saying, they aren’t important enough for us to tell them the truth about something.  I think about the books I read.  I used to not like to write a review if I didn’t like a book because I was worried about hurting an author’s feelings.  When I became an author, I had that fear even more.  In the last few weeks though, I’ve come to the conclusion, that not saying I didn’t like a book is lying by omission.  In the grand scheme of things, my opinion of a book is not that important, but this is just an example.  If the grammar is horrible, the editing is deplorable and the plot has holes, SOMEBODY should have stopped that particular book from EVER being published.  Unfortunately, that does not happen and the book market is flooded with less than publish-worthy books and when someone tells a friend they want to write a book, they get a response like, “Oh everybody is writing a book these days.”  That’s not demonstrating love.  You’re not honoring a person by withholding the truth from them.

That didn’t resonate? Well let’s look at it this way.  When you see a person that has something you don’t, whether that’s a material thing, a gift or talent, a personality trait, a physical trait or whatever, what do you do?  Sometimes, women are the worst culprits of this.  We see another woman and via a quick once over, we’ve made up our minds about her.  “She should be ashamed for coming out the house like that.”  In reality, we might be saying on the inside, “Why don’t my thighs look like that?”  But this is envy.  Love does not envy.  (It’s right there in the text…look at it…).

This goes back to us not believing that God loves us enough to give us exactly what we were meant to have.  The thighs God gave you were meant for you and no one else.  I remember once I was out walking and a lady stopped me to say that she loved my legs.  WHA?  I hated my legs.  She said that all of her life, she’s had “these lil chicken legs” and would love to have big beautiful legs like mine.  I didn’t know what to say to that because at the time, I was thinking the opposite.  She said I should be sure to show them off because everyone isn’t blessed like me.  Can you say floored?

Psalm 139-14

 

Now, I understand this scripture a little better.  I have accepted that there are things about myself that I may be unhappy with, but God made me and I can love all of me no matter what flaws I may find.  In His eyes, I’m the way I am supposed to be.  He loves me, and I believe that He loves me.  I’m making it my business to believe that no matter how many times I have to say it every day or how many places I have to post it each day.  If I don’t believe that God loves me, then I can’t love myself.  If I can’t love myself, then I can’t love anyone else.  I’m special and I have a unique set of gifts, talents and abilities that He gave me to perform a specific task for Him, so today, I embrace that.

He loves me so much, He sent his Son to die for me.  I can’t thank Him enough.  Would you have given YOUR kid to save all of humanity?  That type of love is unfathomable.  But today, I believe that kind of love is possible.  I believe that I’m loved that way.  There’s nothing I did to deserve it and there’s nothing I can do to earn it.  Here’s the kicker….there’s also nothing I can do to make Him not love me.  Imagine that.

Be free of your pain, your hurt and your self hate and know that God loves you.  Accept it and move on.

Until next time,

Hakuna Matata

So…Who Are You?

So…Who Are You?

So…here is what you know about me….I’m a single mom…on a mission to get healthy and stay healthy. You know that I’m an avid reader (though I’m behind on my goal for the year) and I’m an author who LOVES music (India Arie is my favorite). That’s who I say I am. Guess what? That’s actually WHO I AM! I don’t try to be someone I’m not, just because others think I should be. I’m emotional. I care about people and things with ease. I empathetic and feel what others feel when they are overwhelmed with emotion. That’s just me. My actions show that. I put my daughter’s needs before my own. I walk five or more times a week even in the cold or rain (well..not if it’s TOO cold – I have alternatives) and cook most of my meals at home because I know I want to get healthy and I also know I’m on a budget!  I read as much as I can and I write!

Can you say the same? Do you say who you are and then act like someone else? I always hear people talk about fake people. I never really thought about it. When I see it, I just say that a person was disappointed by another human. I realized though..that there are fake people. There are those who purposely seek to deceive others. It’s a sad thing to say about us humans. It is unfortunate that you can barely trust most of us as far as you can throw us (and you know some folks are heavy!) It is always refreshing when you meet someone who is TRULY who they say they are.

This leads me to be confident when I say, that God is the only one you can trust fully, completely and without fail. Humans are just that. Humans. We’re flawed. Shamelessly FLAWED! Thankfully, we have a Savior who came to wash our flaws in His blood. When we’re disappointed by other humans, it is VERY hard to forgive them and look past them. But God forgives us as we forgive others. So…does that mean God should only forgive us part of the time or keep bringing up our flaws or past transgressions when we have asked for forgiveness or turned away from our sins? That’s how WE forgive, so that’s how God is gonna forgive us right? That’s what the Bible says. Good thing our God is merciful which is more than I can say for some of us.

When I started writing this post, I was somewhat angry because of being disappointed by another human. Truth be told, there’s no way to avoid it. If you put all of your trust in someone other than God, you’re asking for disappointment. It’s okay, God forgives and so do I. Oh but what a lesson in the process!

One of my sister writers, Gina Phillips Johnson, from The Motherhood Diaries, shared the following as a status today, it’s kinda long, but well worth the read.

When we pray for something and God answers our prayer the way we want Him to, we give testimonies and give God lots of praise. But when God’s will isn’t the same as ours and he doesn’t answer that prayer request the way we had hoped he would there are often times feelings of disappointment, sadness, and sometimes even anger. When we tell our friends the outcome of whatever it is, they respond with…”Oh no, I’m praying for you.” Or, “It’s going to be o.k. ‘All things work together for good’.” There’s nothing wrong with those responses at all. And our disappointment is a normal human response. However, after receiving some news that disappointed me I was struck with a thought. My prayer is that I will have so much faith in the will of my Father, that even though things don’t necessarily go my way in a situation, my first response will be to praise Him. After all, He’s worthy to be praised no matter what. I can rejoice in whatever His will is, even if it’s not what I originally wanted. Why? Because He’s good. Even when the situation doesn’t look good, I can rest in His loving arms, knowing that His will is perfect and best for my life. Lord, increase my faith and trust in You. Help me to trust you and rejoice in your goodness even when you say No. Even when I don’t like the outcome. Even when I’m nervous about how this chapter of my life will unfold. Help my joy to remain full, and my faith to remain unwavering. You deserve an “all the time” praise. Not a conditional praise when you give me what I want. Lord forgive me for being a spiritual brat, and help me to be a grateful child. Always trusting, always believing, and always praising you because you are ALWAYS worthy of my whole and complete praise! Thank you Jesus. You’re a GOOD God!!!!!!

So…in the midst of my disappointment, I’ll continue to praise God. I’ll not let the let down keep me down. If I do, am I any good to anyone? I’ve got work to do! So let’s get to it!

So…the next time you’re disappointed by a human, rap ‘em over the head with your big stick and say, “Asante sana squash banana. Wewe nugu mimi hapana” and keep it moving! (That means, “thank you very much, Squash Banana. You’re a baboon and I’m not!”)

Until Next time,

Hakuna Matata

So…You’re 18 again!

So…today is my best friend’s birthday. She is 18 again!!!

Once upon a time, a girl named Kim met a girl named Karen in sixth grade. Kim thought Karen was a snooty rich girl. Karen thought Kim was a goody two shoes. They avoided each other and had no idea what waited for them just the next semester.

I constantly heard people say, “are you Karen?” or “you look like Ms. McWhite’s daughter. Is that your sister?” I didn’t like her the first day of school because way too many people asked me that question and I had not even met the girl! I even got in trouble a few times because I’m sure Mrs. Kuykendall or Mrs. King or Mrs. Cross SOMEHOW got us confused and somehow gave me an ‘NI’ in the “refrains from unnecessary talking” section on the report card. She was the popular one!!!! No me knew me enough to talk to me during class!

Well, at Valentine’s day, Karen’s mom sent us both carnations through the little school fundraiser and the note attached to mine said, “to my other daughter”. That single act opened the door to us talking. Once we started…we never stopped! Well…not for real…

We’ve been friends for nearly 25 years. We know where each other’s skeletons are hidden! It’s always great to have someone to help you keep your head on straight. We think the same thoughts! Well…sometimes…when I’m not thinking straight, she helps me get right.

One of the things I’ve always admired about my friend is that she believes she can do anything she set her mind to. When we were in high school, she KNEW she’d one day be a University of Alabama alum….and sure enough…she is!!! She also knew her occupation…and gosh darn it doo hickey to heck…she is doing the daggum thing! I’m so proud to call her friend. I’m humbled that she calls ME friend. I love that girl!

They say we look alike…well…I’m not sold on that. But we sure are close. I’m grateful to have met her and more grateful that we overcame our differences to be friends. The only friend I’ve had longer is my sister. So…I’m happy to call Miss Karen my wonderful sisterfriend. She rocks!

So…when she’s 99 and I’m 100…we’ll be sitting on the front porch…fussing at somebody’s great grandchildren to go get some tea or lemonade…we’ll not remember that we didn’t like each other at first…we’ll not remember the times one has let the other down…we’ll only remember that…well…she’s 99…and I’m 100…and we’re thirsty! BOY BRANG THAT LEMONADE!

Until next time,

Hakuna Matata

20130825-225109.jpg

So…The Girl is twelve!

So…The Girl is twelve!

LAWD HAMMERCY!  WHAT IS I’M GWINE DO!  (translation for you non-southerners…Lord have mercy!  What am I going to do?)

It’s my baby’s TWELFTH (why is there an f in that word?) birthday!  I can HARDLY believe it…Lord knows this has been a journey.  I remember it like it was yesterday!

4:30 am….Tuesday, August 7th…I felt a pain that was so strong I was jarred from my sleep.  I lay there thinking…”Oh Lord, Jesus…am I dying?”  I looked at the clock trying to figure out who to call at this hour!  I waited.  It only lasted a minute…then everything was fine.  I tried to go back to sleep, but 10 minutes later, I felt it AGAIN.  This time, it was so strong, it brought tears to my eyes.  Then it hit me.  “Am I in labor?”  I couldn’t fathom that just yet.  I just wasn’t ready.

I was two weeks away from my due date.  I’d just had an ultrasound the day before.  I remember the doctor saying to me that my baby was fully developed and was considered full term and any time after that day, she could be born without worries of premature birth.  I thought, “cool! alright…I”m about to meet my daughter.”  I’d just found her middle name using some program they had.  See…her dad is from Enugu, Nigeria…and I’d wanted to give her a name reflective of her African heritage.  Unfortunately, he was nowhere to be found (that’s another story entirely!)…so I couldn’t ask him….so…I was on my on.  But I’d found…the PERFECT NAME…Akanke – It was Nigerian…Yoruba…and it meant…”To know her is to love her.”

Anyway…back to the birthing story…I rubbed my belly after leaving the doctor and said, “alright little one…I’m ready to meet you…so whenever you’re ready, come on!”  I mean..I knew she could hear me and all…because I read to her and sang to her every day.  I didn’t know she was actually LISTENING though!

I waited in that bed for a full hour before I said a word about the labor.  My pains were coming every ten minutes and lasted a full minute.  Never in my life have I had the kind of pain that is so horrible that you cry the whole time it’s happening then stop as soon as the pain stops!  Craziest thing ever.  Well, at 5:30 am…after that pain ended…I figured I needed to find out if I was really in labor.  So…I called my best friend Karen who lived in a time zone one hour behind me…somehow, that didn’t occur to me.  It also didn’t occur to me that 1) she didn’t have any children and had not experienced labor, 2) if she could answer my question, it’d take her at least 3 hours to get to me and 3) my aunt was in the next bedroom.  So I got Karen on the phone…

Me:  Karen?  Are you up?

Karen:  No.  What’s up?

Me:  Sorry to wake you but I have a quick question.

Karen:  Okay.

Me:  (whispering)  What does labor feel like?

Karen:  Why are you whispering?

Me:  (crying) I don’t know.  I think I’m in labor.  Hold on.

I cried through the next contraction.  Then went back to our conversation.  The most hilarious thing I ever heard (well..looking back it is!)

I still waited a full 2 hours before I told my aunt.  I had a doctor’s appointment that morning and believed that I could make it at least until the doctor’s office opened.  I called them at 8 am and let them know that I’d been having contractions every ten minutes since 430.  They told me to come on in.  I finally told my aunt who was so flustered and excited that she began to have trouble getting dressed.  I also called my mom who happened to be starting her first day of a new school year with a new principal.  I later found out that she walked into the office and informed them…”Umm…hey…I gotta go…Grandbaby on the way…I need a sub..” and promptly left the building!  lol…

When I got to the doctor, I was disappointed and relieved to find out that I was not dilated and my doctor was about to send me home.  The doc left the room then came back 2 minutes later and said, “Umm…your blood pressure is a little elevated.  We’ll go ahead and get you admitted today.  Go on home, and call the hospital around 3 so that we can get you in alright?  I’ll see you later.”  I left the office and the person at the desk made me an appointment for the following week.  I laughed and said…”I don’t think I’ll make it…but okay.”

My aunt and I finally made it home and I when I tell you I had the darnedest time getting through to the hospital that day!  Every time I called, I was being told that my name was not on the list.  FINALLY about 7 pm, my mom (who arrived in record time!) called the doctor…never occurred to me to do that.  She hung up the phone and I kid you not….LESS THAN ONE MINUTE LATER, the phone rang.  It was the hospital calling…apologizing profusely and giving excuses about the nurses..charge nurse…blah blah blah…So…off we went to the hospital!

I got there and got checked in still crying every ten minutes for a full minute.  The doctor came in and was all nice and loving and she quickly informed me that I WAS STILL NOT DILATING…(for those of you that don’t know what that means…well..I’m sorry…look it up…lol…).  She said…”Because of your blood pressure though, we’re going to go ahead and induce you.”  She explained what all that meant.  I was angry!  After a perfect…and I do mean PERFECT pregnancy….I get to the labor and have trouble!  I was sooooo confused.  So..they gave me the daggum pitocin…that was supposedly going to speed up my labor…yeah…no such thing…all it did was make the contractions MUCH MORE PAINFUL!

So…yeah…if that speeded up the labor…I’d HATE to see how long it would have lasted had I not had it…I went all night and half the next day…FINALLY at 2:38 pm on August 8th…she made her appearance into the world.  She did not cry…..the only noise she made was a little whimper which made me nervous….My sister who’d found herself caught like a deer in headlights at the sight of the crowning…I love my sister…but…er…um…yeah…I don’t think she REALLY wanted to get to know me like that…I blame my friend Allan for the long labor…he always joked that I would have at least 36 hours of labor….well…34 hours and 38 minutes is pretty dang close!  When he showed at the hospital a day or two after she was born…I heard my family huddled in corner whispering…”is he the dad?”…NO!  lol…and to this day they still ask!  He’s just a friend…for real!

Anyway…we’ve had some tough times…and days I’ve really wondered where she came from….because sure no child of mine would…<insert thing here>…but she’s mine…mine…mine (okay..so she’s on loan from God…)  I love that lil girl…IDK what I’m going to do with her.  Guess I’ll just love her!

Happy twelfth birthday baby girl!

Until next time,

Hakuna Matata

photo 3 photo 2 photo 1 photo 4

So…what makes you comfortable?

So…what makes you comfortable?

So…there was a lot of talk a week or so ago after the BET Awards.  Actor Meagan Goode wore a dress that umm…well…was a bit much for some of us conservative folks.  Folks had much to say because she recently married a minister and she was presenting in the Gospel Music category.  Now, I expressed my shock, displeasure and perhaps jealousy only because the dress revealed so much.  It’s not something I would have chosen to wear, though, my body is nothing like hers, so, therein lies the problem. (maybe).  When I expressed my opinion, it had nothing to do with her being a pastor’s wife or presenting the category, I just thought a little too much skin was showing.  I remember other folks having the same reaction when Jennifer Lopez wore the infamous green dress years ago at the Grammy’s in 2000.  I was younger then and I think I said, “I don’t see what the problem is…”.  It’s amazing how the years change you.

Around that same time, I was fresh off of on campus life at Mercer University.  Before I left Mercer in 1998, there, in the student union was this lady who was well respected on campus.  Ms. Tee was her name.  She was an older lady and always had something to say about everything.  She gave out unsolicited advice all the time.  One day, I entered the student union with friends and I had on a dress that stopped at my knees.  She told me, in front of all of my friends, “Honey, now you’re just too big to be wearing a dress that short.”  At the time, I remember having hurt feelings and thinking that she had no right to tell me what to wear.  In my opinion, the dress was not short as it came to my knees whereas others of my friends wore dresses and shorts much shorter.  Well, the next day, I decided I would show her!  I wore a dress that stopped mid thigh and was tank style.  She was livid!  The whole day I took special care to parade in front of her so that she could see that I could care less what she thought.  She was NOT the boss of me and that what I wore was none of her business.  She did not say a word, but turned up her nose every time I walked by.

While my head was in the right place, my actions were a little childish.  True, she did not have the right to tell me what to wear.  I wasn’t dressing to please her.  I was doing it for myself.  But, I knew I’d never be able to say the words to her without coming off as disrespectful, so I let my actions do it.  It was still disrespectful though.

Well, now, I’m older, wiser and much more conservative than I was in my early twenties.  I am more about being comfortable these days.  That’s with clothes, shoes, hair, whatever.  I’ll wear sleeveless things and bare legs and not shave.  I’ll cut my hair short when I’m tired of it.  I realized that sometimes, I was doing those things to please other people, and sometimes it was at the expense of my own comfort.  Recently, I’ve had a problem with my feet.  Now that I’m diabetic, it is not recommended that I have pedicures.  Not that I did have them often before, but now that it’s not an option, I’m kinda miffed!  Anyway, one of the medicines I take has caused a reaction that makes the skin on my hands and feet peel!  At one point, I thought I must be turning into a snake because I was shedding so much skin!

Anyway, I moisturize my feet, but that does not change the appearance of the peeling skin.  Most times, I hide my feet because I’m worried about what other people will say.  When I’m going to get The Girl from camp though, I’m usually wearing my favorite Nike flip flops which do not hide my feet.  The other day when I went to pick her up, I noticed two of the camp counselors (one in her early 20s…the other in her late teens) staring at my feet.  One had told the other to look, though I don’t think I noticed because I ignored them.  They were laughing.  While I was signing my daughter out, I was a little miffed because they were laughing at me.  That dude that lives inside my head that the other folks keep tied up in a corner almost got out because I really wanted to kick them on my way out the door.  Then, it dawned on me.  They can think what they want.  They probably laugh at me because I’m fat too.  I’m comfortable, my feet are clean and while they are temporarily not the best looking, they are mine and they work.  Number one, I was comfortable.  That’s all that matters.  So what if it makes someone else uncomfortable.  I guess that’s what Meagan thought too.  She was comfortable so forget y’all! (lol…)

I said all that to say, if you are happy with what you see when you look in the mirror, then yay for you.  When it comes down to it, that’s all that matters.  If you can’t be happy with what you see in the mirror, then change it!  No, you can’t change your skin, but if that’s the root of your displeasure, then honey you need to pray!  Let God teach you about love.  Until you love yourself the way God created you, there’s no hope in you loving anyone else.

So, the next time you see someone wearing something you would not, could not, or should not wear, just know that they are probably not wearing it for you and if they are, feel sorry for them.  They need to learn how to be comfortable in their own skin for themselves!

Until next time,

Hakuna Matata