All my life I’ve realized that I was black. Well, not all my life however when I think back there is not a moment where I do not recall being aware of my skin color. Even at a young age I remember kids in my class telling me that I couldn’t drink white milk because I was not white I had to drink chocolate milk. Growing up I have realized that my country views me differently and that there is a second set of rules that applies to me; a set of rules that has nothing to do with fairness or equality. Growing up I have always been told that I must be twice as smart, twice as talented, and twice as successful to get half of what my white counterparts had. Through my years of living I have realized it as a harsh truth.
Being black I learned about our history of enslavement, lynchings, rapes, beatings, etc. I have learned about the “war of northern aggression”. I have learned about the constant attempt to subjugate my race. I have learned about Tulsa, race riots Jim Crow. I have even learned about the civil rights movement. I have never been deluded in thinking that I was somehow considered equal with my white counterparts. I have always known that inequality was still present, that racism was still an ugly abscess that festered in America hidden and indurated under its lily white skin.
In my family we talk about people getting their black wake up call. A call to awaken them from a deluded dream of mistakingly thinking that somehow they were viewed as equal with their white counterparts. Being as “woke” as I thought I was I received mine for a second time as a 42 yr old woman when I realized through the murder and lack of justice for Breonna Taylor that I am not safe in my own home. Erroneously I believed that in America the days of whites breaking into the homes of blacks unannounced and killing them was no longer tolerated. I never was delusional in the believing that it did not occur; but imprudently I assumed that in my home I was safe. Misguidedly I believed that those that would choose to violate the sanctity of my home would be brought to justice. I foolishly felt that in America at least in my home I had nothing to fear. As a mother I believed that if my child if my son could just make it home he could be protected.
Of course I’m talking about my little one! It is so much fun to share “coffee time” with him. I will say before the pandemic it was the highlight of my weekend but now that I’m off one day during the week and working virtually 2 days it’s like 5 days of morning bliss. I have learned 3 things from him that I endeavor to never let go.
Be prepared for the unexpected. Early on in his barista career, he loved to put surprise items in the coffee, ostensibly for added flavor or just to see what happened but luckily he grew out of that phase. But definitely being on my toes and aware of his quick movements save many a great cup of coffee from having an added bonus. Being prepared of the unexpected.
Coffee time is a fun time in our household and a time to take a moment in the rush of life to stretch and grow.
I fully intended to have a child out of wedlock, however I never imagined that I would be raising a child in my own. Signs that I missed in choosing my partner I finally saw before the birth of my child that showed me that he was not ready to be a parent. I realized that I had to make a hard choice for the sake of my son. There are some that will say I was wrong to make the choice to be a single parent and there are others that will agree. While there were 3 reasons I made the decision I made they were rooted in one core realization and advice from my aunt.
My aunt who is like a second mother to me said “When I became a mother all bull💩 stopped.” She went on to say that everything she did and still does is with her child in mind. She encouraged me to do remember that when it comes to my son I would have to make hard decisions often. She encouraged me to always remember to put my child’s welfare at the forefront of every decision. Who cares what others think or say, she told me. Who cares what they think about decisions that are none of their business. I encourage you to remember that when your are making your decisions.
I’ll admit that I missed the warning signs that others saw, namely my father and mother. They say hindsight is 20/20. However making the choice to be a single parent was the right decision for me and for my son. Parenting should be a choice. While creating a child takes a minimum two people raising a child takes a village. I takes those who are dedicated and those who put the child’s interest and needs first.
My first reason for becoming a single parent was that it freed me from the hassle of having to consult someone else in my parenting decisions. That freedom is precious and priceless to me. While friends and family questioned why I was not seeing financial support. It was a natural and simple decision for me; the freedom to make decisions regarding my son with no interference is priceless. It freed me from having to justify my actions with a co-parent that might not be able to set aside their own needs.
Secondly I realized that I did not want my sone to be treated or subjected to what I considered substandard treatment and care. When my son’s father and I broke up I vowed that I would not let him dismiss our child in the manner that I had witnessed him dismissing his own but turned a blind eye to out of love. After the birth of my son I watched and waited to see if he would change. As Maya Angelou is quoted as saying “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Finally, while I officially come from a two parent household I was raised by a mother who functioned often as a single parent while my father was off working or in school pursuing his masters and PhD. The bond that I have with my mother is tight and strong. She is my first best friend. That relationship that my other cultivated was that of a team. We had to survive with each other and depend on each other. I feel that my son will learn like I did that teamwork, dependability, and a sense of empowerment that he will gain from my own empowerment.
I choose to be a single parent; while it’s the hardest and most important job I have it is the most gratifying and I’m thankful that my choice allows me to operate in peace. A peace that no amount of money or financial support can buy.
The quarantine took a lot of us by surprise. I anticipated that it would be coming however I never expected such a protracted period. As reopening phases continue my family and I are still staying as quarantined as we can. Which has left me searching for ways to engage in self-care when possible.
GiGi Honey Wax
Early during the quarantine I discovered a review of GiGi Honey Wax and ordered it. While I’m still learning my technique and I’m quite messy with it—Picture it HONEY WAX EVERYWHERE; it has become a can’t live without product that is keeping me sane and feeling a sense of normalcy during these trying times.
Yeouth 30% Glycolic Acid
Pixie by Petra Vitamin C Juice Cleaner
Laneige Lip Sleep Mask
My lip sleep mask is a must have. Currently single I’m not doing much kissing of others but my little one does appreciate the softness of my lips when I’m tickling him with mommy kisses. If you haven’t tried this lip mask you are missing out.
Baby Feet Foot Peel
Not being able to get a pedicure was driving me nuts until I remembered the Baby Feet Foot Peel I started using this past winter. Boy were my feet baby soft all winter long. I may have to polish my own toe nails but there is no reason why my feet can’t be baby soft while on quarantine.
I know, I know, I know not a very realistic plan but it was still my goal. From all the reviews I read at the time the movie had a magic of unparalleled magnitude that I did not want my child or I to fall victim to.
I grow weary and tired. I am weary and tired. I am done in.
I will voice the names of those who are supposed to protect my family and call them to act. I will voice the names of those who fail to act, who fail to enact, who fail to heed the call to action. I will voice their names for those names that I cannot bear to say anymore.
It was a moment that I had been looking forward too. I went there with an amazing woman named DeLorean. We met on Instagram and decided to room together for me it was ideal because you know the cost of NYC is out of my budget. It was during that encounter and that time away that I really began to think about my life, my purpose, my mission, my goals, and my passion. It was an innocent question that she asked. "So what is your goal with your plantform? What do you hope to accomplish?" It was a seed that had been planted and continued to slowly grow holding and taking root. As I surfed and loafed along I continued to ruminate on the questions running in my head.
Starting my new job I had a hard time figuring out what my next move was going to be. I was so busy surviving. Then the pandemic hit and I moved into full self-protection and introversion. As I isolated with my family and ultimately with myself I was left to take a deep look within. As I looked the more despondent I became. As I isolated and had more time on my hands the more I wondered “Where have I gone?” I slowly realized that in my life I had created space for everyone but myself.
Choose Yourself: Sounds simple right but actually this was one of the hardest steps for me. As a physician I’m constantly telling my patients who are caregivers to loved ones that they have to take care of themselves to avoid caregiver burnout and fatigue; however as a physician I was the worst patient. Often electing and selecting others needs and wants to precede my own. There is a reason flight attendant say “Be sure to secure your own mask before assisting others.” I started by embracing words and responses. “No.” “I don’t have the bandwidth.” “I can’t focus on that right now.” “Do you need this right now or can it wait.” and other assortments. At first I will admit I felt like I was letting people down, however the more I prioritized my needs, agenda, and my sanity the easier it became. Now, in all honesty it is still struggle and sometimes slip into my old habits but I keep fighting because, I’m worth it.
Seek help: I have started to see a therapist. There is no shame in seeking help of any kind. The only dumb question is the one not asked and the only shame is in wallowing in spaces where help is available and not using it. I don’t for a minute realize the privilege I have in finding help. Mental health resources are hard to come by and some providers don’t even accept insurances because the reimbursement rates are low and the hoops to jump through are ridiculous (let me get off my soapbox). However, with the increased use of social media and technology there are some more affordable options such as TalkSpace, etc. There is also journaling, talking with friends that you trust. Whatever the mode or the need seek help.
Try new things: Stepping out of my comfort zone has never a hard thing for me. However when in a rut it’s hard for me to see past my routine and just trying to survive. The key to lasting change is taking steps not matter how small and seemingly insignificant toward your ultimate goal. Taking inspiration from one of my favorite elements, water, I have been learning that it can cut through stone not due to its sheer force but due to the sheer force of its persistence. Small movements consistent in the purpose. There might be detours and misalignment it likely will not be a straight path but a persist patchy trying new things new ways new methods all aimed at the goal will create momentum forward.
Oprah Winfrey said "You can have it all. Just not all at once." I used to hate that quote until I realized that she's right. Gotta love "Mama O". I have realized that in trying to have it all at once I lost the most important part--myself. I am now focused on the creation of a life where as I attain and reach goals I am still energized and present to enjoy them. I am creating space in my life for me and if you have been guilty of ignoring your needs too, I invite you to come on this journey with me. Let us Create Space, and Thrive!
A few weeks ago I decided to take the little one to feed the ducks. Geechi in her true nature of wanting to minister to the ducks suggested that I feed them the stale raisin break that we had left. Remembering that raisins are toxic to dogs I hopped onto Google to make sure that raisins wouldn’t be toxic to ducks and geese. Well to my surprise I learned something—DON’T FEED BREAD TO DUCKS!
WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT! Had all the movies showing people feeding bread to ducks lied to me?!? YES. Apparently bread provides no nutritional value to ducks the same as soda water (it’s the southern in me) to humans. If you were lied to like I was here is a list of things you can feed to ducks and geese.
The movies lied but the internet never will ???. Leave the ? at home and bring some ???????
While I aim to be my son’s friend I also realize that my job as a parent is to love him, affirm him, and discipline him. Bell Hooks, in All About Love, states that “Abuse and neglect negate love”. Earlier in the same chapter she denounced hitting and draws no differentiation between disciplining and punishing. However, there is a difference. Punishment is focused on the past and is rooted in anger. Discipline however is focused on the future and is rooted in love and care. Even God disciplines.
“At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.”
Hebrews 12:11 MSG
I write this not to change your mind but to be a voice of those who spank our children but in the current climate feel that we must hide in the shadows for fear of judgment. I speak out to voice that there is a difference between spanking and abuse and when we really honestly and openly talk about it we know the difference.
As with anything that centers around children trial an error is essential. I hope these tools help. If you have any other tools or suggestions please share them in the comments below 👇🏾 to help others.
Embracing my imperfection and striving for perfection through grace.