Please stop telling me about your uncle in blue: I don’t care about his job, Cheryl.

Boy, 2018 has been one for the books! And we still have two months left to dissect fickle friendships. Yes, those wishy-washy pals we all have who, after a while, reveal things about themselves that puts you in a really hard place. For me, that place has been a question of: how can you say you love/care about me but disregard how I feel–or worse, totally disrespect my opinions? Losing friends is something I’m used to, though. I’m a bit rugged. I’m a little too honest. I say how I feel, no sugar added. And what I’ve learned over the years is that not everyone is going to like you for that! Don’t get me wrong, I am more than okay with people disliking me (I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m more of a potent tequila), but I’d be a liar if I said losing friends who I’ve had respect and honor for doesn’t make me upset in the sad kind of way after they’ve said something racist or ignorant and insensitive. I get sad because I feel played. Let me explain. For many people of color, I’m sure you can relate to this, but for those who have never had this happen, here goes: you meet someone and you get along great right away! You actually end up becoming close with this person despite hints of oh, are you like that?? For example, this person may have a certain political view that you disagree with, but you’re cool with it because everyone has the right to believe what they want and whatnot–you just know to leave that topic off the table. Anyway, after you’ve become friends with this person and they’ve become comfortable with you, BAM! They come out of the blue with some awful rhetoric or terribly offensive views and the walls of your friendship start to fall down. You feel used and taken for granted–that, that this person has decided that you’d be the token [insert group here] for them to befriend and possibly use as that one reference in a debate. “Im not racist! You’re like my best friend!” Yes, Cheryl, but you still can’t call Mexicans rapists. It’s not cool, Cheryl! These types of friends…are trash.

Still, these people exist no matter how good you are at garbage picking. A few duds always get into your collection. You may recognize these people when they pretend to be concerned about social justice issues. It might sound legit until you ask them where were they when you voiced your concern about a specific topic. Ghost. Think hard. Where were they? Think harder! Think, think, think! Well? Now come back to reality. They were nowhere. That friend who you might’ve expected to be there for you–even if not for you, at least for the sake of justice, was nowhere to be found. In fact, their silence was truly a loud thud. It was so loud, you could probably hear their fake tears dropping in buckets.

Yet, in the midst of all that you’ve shared and discussed and mentioned about social and racial injustice, there is one thing that really grinds that fragile friend’s gears–don’t you dare disrespect their service men! The highest ranked human on the planet is one who wears blue and does the toughest job known to man! You hear the roars now! You’ve really pissed Cheryl off this time. Look at what you’ve done. “I am sad you feel this way. I thought more of you.” No, Cheryl, you didn’t think more of me. You wanted me to keep my mouth shut to make yourself comfortable. So the story goes, I called a killer cop a pig. And I had to remove two friends (long over due, honestly these people really played the game well) who boasted about the people in their lives who are cops. Others jumped in with their views on cops and love and division and hatred. In short, there was an attempt to force me to acknowledge the good cops (I’m sure they exist somewhere…). Not a single good cop’s actions negates what happened 4 years ago to Laquan. But that didn’t matter. As I write this, I am still processing the way things went down yesterday…I was being challenged on my feelings of witnessing law enforcement murder people who look like me, in my city, because someone’s soft feelings about the men in blue were hurt. I name called. And I take back nothing I said because a spade is a spade. A murderer was found guilty on October 5th, yet I have to hear about your husband and your uncle who took a profession they clearly aren’t fit to have? You really want me to feel some way about that, but not about murder? Wild. That is wild. Believe me, honoring and loving these members of society is important. But, you have to be free enough to be able to critique these institutions, otherwise, you end up blindly supporting and honoring men and women who are involved in more corruption than your small mind can handle. And moreover, you end up sounding like Cheryl.

So I’ve been asking myself all day, “why do these people want us to care, honor and respect their service men so much?” I can’t answer that question. I mean, so many times I’ve had the whole “my [insert human here] is a cop! I have a family of service men! They have the hardest job ever!” thrown at me in defense to police brutality. When a dirty cop commits a crime, the first thing Cheryl wants to tell you is that “well my dad is a cop and I know it’s a tough job!” Yes Cheryl, but your dad murdered someone in cold blood. Look at the big picture! You mean–you really really mean, that you have decided in the case of murder, you are unwilling to acknowledge the wrong that was done (has been done, is going to be done, done that no one talks about, etc.) and would rather try to strangely justify the unjust that this person did because your uncle served? Are you really doing this? The absolute lack of honest care that I have felt is beyond me.

It is sad to say that my faith and trust in the police departments has diminished. I’ve seen too much. I’ve had to watch too many videos of brothers, fathers, and sons being killed. I’ve seen too many killers walk free while families mourn. I’ve seen friends and family members terrified for their lives. I’ve been terrified to get pulled over by a police. And to anyone reading this, wondering if any of this is real–because, there’s an understanding that if it doesn’t happen to you it’s not true– I want to know how you see the same things I see and still feel the need to shout NOT ALL COPS ARE BAD!! at people who are grieving and suffering? I was grieving during the verdict reading. I grieved for the mother who lost a child and for the community who is disregarded in every sense of basic human rights. I grieve whenever I see injustice. Do you know how exhausting and frustrating it is to always have your feelings and opinions challenged because someone would rather have you shut up and see it their way rather than them be quiet and listen to understand and not listen to argue against you?

It is annoyingly and painfully exhausting. And I am tired of this type of person and these types of friends. If your only motive for commenting on my posts are to argue and make invalid points or to disregard my experience in your world, I no longer need you and your friendship is meaningless.

~positive peace with tension and justice~

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Tackling Those Problem Areas: Simple workouts to add to your routine

By biggest problem area for the longest time has been my abs/stomach and everything around it. After giving birth to my son back in 2014, I suffered from diastasis recti, which was a condition I didn’t fully understand when I began working out. You see, I was doing all the wrong exercises. So much so, that I was actually making my condition worse. I was doing sit-ups and crunches when I should have been doing pelvic lifts and deep breathing exercises. What I’ve learned over the past year is that sometimes we continue to struggle with problem areas because we’re not properly working out the right areas.

Here are some tips for getting to the root of some common problem areas.

CORE:

You want that flat stomach, slim waist and core strength that can ease the pain of sitting or standing for long periods of time, right? Sit-ups are just not enough! It doesn’t matter how many sit-ups or crunches you do, if you aren’t working your entire core, you may not see the results you’re hoping for. Try these exercises:

  1. Deep breathing/Vacuum breathing. This is going to work the transverse muscle, making it stronger and helping to give that flat stomach appearance. You’ll want to do this while standing. Breathe in and try to suck your abs in as close to your spine as possible. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat 10 times. This can be done everyday!
  2. Hip dips. This works the oblique muscles, which are an important part of ab and core workout that sit-ups and crunches hardly affect. You’ll notice more definition in your abs once you start working those obliques! Hold your core tight and really try to dip your hips each time around.
  3. Leg lifts. This will help work the lower ab muscles below the belly button. A few sets of leg lifts will tighten the lower half of the abs and smooth out the bloated belly look. You can place your hands under your back for stability.

BUTT:

Perhaps you’d like a cheap (or free) butt-lift that doesn’t require surgery. Well, unfortunately squats won’t do the trick alone. I’m all about #squatlife, but squats tend to work the thigh muscles more than the buttocks area. Keep doing you squats, however! You’ll need strong, toned thighs to support a nice booty! But if you want a nice lift, try these exercises to work more of your glute muscles:

  1. Donkey kicks. These will help firm up the upper part of your glutes. You’ll feel the tightness each time you kick that leg back. Try to kick up as high as you can and swing your leg back down.
  2. Hip abductor squats. The awesome thing about this exercise, is that it works those outer glute muscles that bring a nice shape and form around the hip and butt area. With each squat, step to your side and keep a wide stance to feel the hip muscle contract.

TRICEPS:

Arm curls are great for building those biceps. But what about that other part of your arm? You know, the one that hangs around like loose meat? The tricep muscle is a tough one to tackle, especially if you have never truly worked them. If you’re looking to get strong arm muscles all around, add these to your routine:

  1. Kickbacks. This exercise really helps to target the tricep muscle and create a nice defined look for the whole upper arm. You’ll want to make sure you feel the extension of the tricep and be sure not to swing your whole arm back and forth.
  2. Tricep dips. Grab a sturdy chair and start dipping. This workout also engages the core muscles, as you should keep them tight and contracted as you dip down.

CHEST and UNDER ARMS:

Let’s be real for all the moms out there: perky breasts seem to be a figment of our imaginations. But there is hope to see the girls rise again! Add these to your workout:

  1. Back bow twists. These are not easy, but will help strengthen the middle back muscles and the area under the armpit. You should definitely feel a good burn after a few of these twists!
  2. Shoulder press. The key to really getting results with this workout is making sure you feel those pectoral muscles tightening each time you bring your arms close to each other. It might also help to hold your position in order to work the muscles even more! The pectoral muscles, when strengthened, will better lift the breast tissue where you’d want it to be.

So there you have it! These are a few simple exercises you can add to your routine for those areas that are tough to tone up. I’d like to mention that many of these workouts also work the whole back as well–so don’t be shocked if you notice a nice sexy back, too.

Happy working out!

~shesneon

 

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American Systems Vol. 1: Armed Forces. A brief history.

  1. The Grand Union Flag was presented on December 3rd, 1775.
  2. During the Revolutionary War, the American military attempted to bribe 3,000 slaves to fight, and in return, they would be awarded $50 and emancipation. The Americans decided not to follow through with that bargain, in fear that the black population would have a social revolution against them. [a]
  3. The US Constitution was written deliberately to protect slavery without even using the word “slave”. The ones writing the document specifically avoided the word “recognizing that it would sully the document“. [a]
  4. Because black families were tired of being torn apart, in the War of 1812, roughly 5,000 slaves decided to fight with the British armies in hopes of being freed. They fought against the country which enslaved them. [b]
  5. Black people fought in wars and went back to being slaves afterwards. Broken promises for their blood. Noted: “Jackson ultimately secured the assistance of most with promises of freedom and equality that never fully appeared.” [c]
  6. After 1812, racial tension was on the rise as white Americans feared that blacks would threaten them in larger, stronger groups. [d]
  7. Slaves =  money. Once slavery would be gone, whites feared the loss of prosperity. “Over time, most took for granted that their prosperity, even their way of life, was
    inseparable from African slavery.” [d]
  8. America, and many white American families became very prosperous because of slave trade and crops.
  9. WWI 1915-1920. Blacks were stripped of right to vote, therefore disenfranchised by obstacles due to social and political oppression. [e]
  10. “The southern justice system systematically denied them equal protection under the law and condoned the practice of vigilante mob violence.” [e]
  11. April 2nd, 1917. Congress declared that “The world must be made safe for democracy”, leading many blacks to believe this war could somehow bring about true democracy and equal rights home to America. [e]
  12. Black soldiers expected to fight for freedoms and thought by sacrificing their lives and demonstrating patriotism, white Americans would finally see them as equal citizens.
  13.  And so effort was made. “Colored folks should be patriotic,” the Richmond Planet insisted. “Do not let us be chargeable with being disloyal to the flag.” [e]
  14. July 2nd, 1917. Racial tensions broke out, leaving 125 blacks dead and zero arrests.
  15. “The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) responded by holding a Silent Protest Parade in New York City on July 28, 1917. ” [e]
  16. One month later, blacks retaliated, killing 16 white civilians and law enforcement. The ones who were caught were given life sentences or were hung from trees. Any black person who served in the US military was buried in an unmarked grave.
  17. Black military service men were greatly treated unfairly. They were given subpar clothing, food and shelter. They were not offered basic healthcare or education outside of service work. [e]
  18. During the war, white army officers lied about the black men who served, claiming they were rapists to the French civilians. Many black service men were discharged unjustly. [e]
  19. ” African-American officers were particularly singled out for racist treatment because of their status. Viewed as a threat to white authority, many were unjustly transferred out of the division and others were court-martialed on bogus charges. ” [e]
  20. The French people, unlike Americans, treated the black service men kindly and fairly.
  21. 1919. After returning from war, there was a great spark of violence–directly at black–and the number of lynching increased abundantly. Most of the lynchings were soldiers who fought on behalf of America. [e]
  22. “In October 1919, whites in Elaine, Arkansas, massacred hundreds of black people in response to the efforts of sharecroppers to organize themselves. ” [e]
  23. 1925. “Blacks are mentally inferior, by nature subservient, and cowards in the face of danger. They are therefore unfit for combat.” US Army War College.
  24. WWII 1942. Propaganda was used to sell racial harmony among blacks.
  25. June 13th, 1942. “The Double V Campaign became a symbol of pride for Black Americans during a time when Jim Crows laws were prevalent and so many of the rights that soldiers fought for abroad were denied them at home.” [f]
  26. 1965-69. Vietnam. “Selective Service regulations offered deferments for college attendance and a variety of essential civilian occupations that favored middle- and upper- class whites. The vast majority of draftees were poor, undereducated, and urban—blue-collar workers or unemployed.” [g]
  27.  1968. Navy base at Cam Ranh Bay. “white sailors donned Ku Klux Klan-like outfits, burned crosses, and raised the Confederate flag.” [g]
  28. 2012. “White supremacists, neo-Nazis and skinhead groups encourage followers to enlist in the Army and Marine Corps to acquire the skills to overthrow what some call the ZOG – the Zionist Occupation Government. Get in, get trained and get out to brace for the coming race war.” [h]
  29. 2017.  Black service members are two times more likely than whites to be punished or face a court martial or other military discipline. “These disparities are particularly striking for black service members, who face military justice or disciplinary action at much higher rates than white service members in every service branch. In fact, the size of the disparity between white and black service members’ military justice involvement has remained consistent over the years, and, in the case of the Air Force and Marine Corps, has increased.” [i]
  30. On patriotism. “Whereas a healthy love of country would nurture a sense of unity and common values in an atmosphere of intelligence and maturity, modern American patriotism has instead become a vehicle for division and aggression.” [j]

Further readings:

On women and sexual assault:

1. “The power differential between men and women in the military,
due to its male-dominated leadership and structure, plays an
important role in sexual misconduct. More traditional and
hyper-masculine beliefs and negative attitudes towards women
have been linked with acceptance and perpetration of sexual
harassment and assault.” [W1]

2. “Some countries have actively provided sex workers to US military personnel as a
token of friendship. The ability to rape and kill has been
viewed as an indication of power, and the military’s traditional
acceptance of violence as a valid method of achieving goals
may create an environment conducive to perpetrating behavior.” [W1]

3. “The Defense Department today released its Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, which shows that service member reporting of sexual assault increased by about 10 percent in fiscal year 2017.” [W2]

4. ” Low reporting numbers usually mean that victims fear retaliation by their peers or superiors and don’t expect that their perpetrators will be held accountable by established systems of justice.” [W3]

On Latinos in US military:

  1. “Yet many more Latinos have viewed military service as a route toward meaningful inclusion within a society that in years past had a hard time viewing them as real Americans.” [L1]

On homosexuality:

  1. “In addition, the culture of homophobia in the military enhances the risk of
    sexual violence. Fear and stigma attached to being labeled or
    identified as homosexual are used as power and control tactics
    and often prevent victims of assault, particularly male victims,
    from reporting.” [W1]
  2. A long history of key dates and other policies. [H1]

And still to come:

American Systems Vol. 2: The Police

American Systems Vol. 3: Schools and Education

American Systems Vol. 4: Prisons

American Systems Vol. 5: Healthcare

American Systems Vol. 6: Housing

American Systems Vol. 7: Wealth

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On Love & Marriage

It's not about how many gifts
you collect from each other,
or how big and grand you project
life to be for your peers to witness.

It involves none of that.

Anniversaries don't come once
a year to purchase a new watch or
necklace.
Although, think of the time your
watch held your hand when you
feared the worst--or perhaps 
that time your pearls kissed 
your forehead at night.

This cannot possibly be a materialized.

It must only be an act of intent.
A motion, that leads to a gesture,
which becomes an intentionally charged
thing that you do.
Small, as it may be, its importance
is as breathing is to life.

Considering all the little things--
the ones that matter--
like, 
growing with a person as they change,
as they go through hard times,
being their point of reference for comfort,
a listening ear,
a well to capture fallen tears.

The intangible. 

As spouses, there is so much more
we can do than buying things.
Yes, buy a home, a car and personal needs.
But pay attention.
These things get 
used,
damaged,
replaced,
and eventually
become useless.
They'll sit in the collector's corner
or in a box in the basement,
and become those much cherished
memories we only think of 
every now and then.

They are forgetable.

The present, however, you and your
partner,
are forever. 
Forever creating a life of memories.
Forever having patience when you think
you've run out.
Forever offering happiness when
dark shadows cave in on the other half.
Forever trusting beyond written vows.
And,
forever speaking when actions are
misunderstood.

In anger, and perhaps on a path to 
creating a bad memory,
you treat each other with love--
as hard as the mind resists it--
the heart must always win.

You became one on that day,
and,
as individuals who are true to each other,
you'll become partners.
Emotionally.
Mentally.
Financially.
Quite literally.
You begin to think the same.
You'll like the same things. 
You'll desire the same outcomes,
though, through different means,
you always end with each other.

What can you purchase to sum up
these things?
How far can a dollar take you if
it meant going to the ends of the Earth
for each other?

Let me go with you.
Let's take that road trip.
Let's dance in the kitchen while cooking.
Let's laugh and toast to last night.
Let's pray.
Let us always think about growing together.

Keep me in your plans.
Please do keep me in your future.
I will for you, also.
I will think of you in everything I do,
considering all things.
Thoughtfulness.
Careful discernment for us, together.

Showing, and, when necessary, using words.

Happy anniversary, my Dear Bob.
Thank you for always thinking of me
even when it was before yourself.
Thank you for the effort put into each day.
Thank you for those Spoerl-of-the-moment date nights.
I thank you for growing with me,
evolving each day as humans,
when in love,
do.

~De’Anna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“I wish I had a white mom.” Why representation matters to young non-white children.

“I wish I had a white mom.” This is what my daughter said to me on the way home from school one day. Innocent enough, her statement concerned me heavily. I first thought some of the kids in school may have said something horribly cruel to her about having a mom that didn’t look like her. You see, if you don’t already know, my husband and I are an interracial couple and we have two biracial children. Our childrens’ skin tones match neither mine or my husband’s. They’re my Golden Babies. Inevitably, the conversation about skin tone and race comes up quite often in our home. In the very beginning, I wanted to avoid it all together until I knew my kids could fully grasp the totality of their racial identity. I didn’t then, or now, want to have any biases one way or another. My hope was that my kids would learn to view and love people before making a decision based on skin color. Unfortunately I think every parent knows that when a kid has a question, they will ask you until they get an answer! So we’ve talked. A lot.

On this particular day, my daughter heard a song on the radio and she was curious about the man singing. She wanted to know what he looked like. So she asked me, “Is he a black man or a regular man?” I was puzzled. I mean, coming from my daughter, “regular” could be anything from a zombie to a boy in a catsuit and everything in between. I had to ask her what she meant–just to be clear. And she answered that she wanted to know his skin tone. She further explained that the regular man is white and other people are black. This is the part that made me the most sad. In her mind, anything other than white is not regular. Despite me being an actual living, breathing example of a regular person (debatable) who is consistently and actively a part of her life, black people aren’t regular to her! We’re different. Other. Them. This is the problem. This has always been the problem.

Expressing this as a concern sometimes feels like talking through a brick wall–but this experience I had is one of a thousand reasons why we keep shouting at the top of our lungs that REPRESENTATION MATTERS! This is why Black Girls Rock. This is why we went on a Girls Trip. This is why we needed to Get Out. And this is why Wakanda is forever. This all matters, not because we selfishly want to see more people of color on TV and snatch away every white role or job that ever existed! No, no. It matters because the standard for what is considered “regular” or “normal” is usually white. It’s perpetuated in everyday things like TV commercials, magazine covers, cartoon characters, billboard ads, dolls and, well, you get the idea. For many of us, we can probably think of a time we first saw an ad featuring someone that we could identify with. I distinctly remember seeing a black model in a Crest ad many years ago. She was beautiful. Her teeth were so white and pretty and when she smiled at the end of the commercial, my heart was racing. To even fully describe how that commercial made me feel is not possible. I’ll just say that it’s the reason I decided to exclusively use Crest for my teeth. The point is, all too often, we get the shock of seeing the first |insert race here | to do something, to be something, to have something, to rank somewhere. It’s troubling. Especially to our impressionable youth.

I have found it common in talks I’ve had with family and friends that some white Americans have no concept of feeling “othered“. Understandably, how could they? Imagine living your whole life being the standard of wealth and education and beauty and, pretty much the standard of human and one day hearing voices of people screaming to be seen. It probably doesn’t make sense on the surface. I mean, people are just people, right? Yes, until the nightly news reports of a man who robbed a bank and is on the loose. Yes, until the nightly news reports of a black man who robbed a bank and he’s tall, dark skinned and wearing a denim jacket and did I mention he was a black man? You see, we’re visible in bad lighting. But this concept of constantly feeling like the other type/color/race/creed/salad dressing is one that is sometimes painful to describe because of the emotional toll it takes on people who go through it. My husband revealed to me a few years ago that he never experienced unusual stares and looks from people until we got together. He would get upset and question what exactly are they looking at–what’s the big deal? You’re holding hands with a pregnant black woman. That’s a pretty big deal (not me specifically, just in general, I mean the entire concept, it’s a big deal for the sake of this talk but, I mean, I am a big deal). There I sat listening to my husband complain about something I’d dealt with time and time again throughout my whole life. If I remember correctly, I laughed and told him to get used to it! Admittedly, it took me a while to get comfortable enough to have those tough conversations with him without getting emotionally disconnected from the root of the topic, which could have disrupted his opportunity for understanding. Since then, we’ve engaged in some discussions I wish I could have with all of America. Perhaps it just takes one person at a time to change the world. I want to change this world.

Good things are on the horizon. That is clear to me. I am seeing lots of good change almost everywhere. And while some of these firsts feel decades behind, it is a glimmer of hope for future generations who get to witness less of them. Still, the conversations need to be had. There are an unfortunate amount of ignorant people who see the praises of |insert race here| and get annoyed or confused about why we celebrate our people and our culture. Those types of individuals lack any understanding of the history of the country and world we live in. They lack an understanding of how media shapes our society–specifically how it’s shaped their world view and dangerous mentality. The simple fact that people can hardly understand the connotation of the use of blackface every Halloween, is an example of the blindness some people have. And this blindness isn’t due to the absence of knowledge and books and documentaries and speeches and just about every medium possible used to communicate this American plight, rather it’s a person’s willingness to remain in their ignorant little bubble. Conveniently, in school we learn the desirable aspects of American history, you know, that regular good ol’ important stuff. It’s an involuntary ignorant bubble, so-to-speak, that we’d all succumb to if we dare not to explore outside of the textbooks. Thankfully some schools offer African American Lit and other history in America as an elective! Yay! Should you choose to take that elective, you’ll learn a heck of a lot about 13% of the people in this country. Speaking of percentages, I’ve heard people argue against more PoC in media because they will be “over-represented”. You know how problematic that can be. Thirteen is a special number.

Anyway…the goal isn’t to saturate the field. Simply put: we just want visibility. Positive and creative and loving and happy and regular visibility. I’ll speak for myself here–I want my daughter to believe that all humans are regular. I want her and her brother to see black people doing regular things like selling toothpaste. I want them to see a regular Asian family and not associate them with any stereotype. I’d like my kids to see a regular person with a disability and have compassion for them. I want my kids to hear a regular person speaking Spanish and not assume they aren’t meant to be here . I am okay with my kids seeing white people as regular. But that is doesn’t have to mean other people are not.

Race is a funny thing. On one end, we strive to embrace ourselves and our backgrounds while also wanting to blend in and be treated equally, all as one of mankind. This makes the conversation that much harder for people who’d rather only see it one way. Either you’re fully, hardcore, celebrating |insert race here| or no one should talk specifically about their race because all lives matter. Yet there is middle ground. We can proudly celebrate who we are–and each other–and receive fair and equal treatment. That is totally possible! Yes, that reality is still a long way ahead of us. The road to full equality is a rough and rugged one–one that we may never see come to fruition. But we can continue to make an effort to get there. We can do this if we talk and be honest with each other and most importantly, if we listen to each other. I listened to my daughter. I heard what she was saying. And although she is just five years old, her voice needs to be heard loud and clear. My daughter doesn’t want a white mom. She wants a regular mom. Our place in this world has created a normalcy that she and many other children without white moms are subject to. It’s a world that doesn’t make half of her feel regular. At the core of her desire, she wants to be normal. And unfortunately for her, she is a rock star; so it’s just not possible.

Let’s talk. How do you discuss race and racial identity with your children? Or, how was it discussed when you were a child? No hate. No judging. No fighting. Let’s talk. Like adults.

peace,

~shesneon

Posted in Family, Honesty Hour, Inspiration, Interracial Dating, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You are more important than your children

You read that right. And I mean every word. You, the parent, are more important than your child(ren).

Think about it: what would happen to your kids if, God forbid, something were to happen to you that would prohibit your ability to take care of them? What would happen if you were out of work? If you fell ill with small children at home? Or if you physically could not provide them care? It’s a similar reason you are advised to put your mask on first, before tending to your child on an airplane. You, your mental, physical, financial and emotional health is an integral part of you caring for your children.

When I first had Rylan (now 5 years old), my mom would repeat over and over to me that “an empty well can’t fill a cup”. I would get so annoyed and angry every time she said that to me because, in my mind as a new mother, my child’s needs always came first. Always. I had the mindset that many of us have in the beginning–the one that doesn’t see room left for ourselves. The mindset that doesn’t allow room for a new mom to regroup and recover. The words my mom spoke to me hit me like a bag of bricks one day. And everything made sense.

I actually don’t think I’ve ever told anyone about this moment, mostly due to the shame I felt and the desire to make everything seem normal like nothing to see here…But I’ve been thinking about this topic so much lately and I feel the need to share. When I had Ry, I was still working a very stressful full-time job. My life was mostly baby, daycare, work, baby, dinner, sleep and repeat. I was determined to prove that I could do it all. I can be stubborn in that way. Unfortunately, on this particular day, my well was dry. I’d picked my little chick pea up from her daycare as usual, and headed home after work. Most days I’d have music blasting and we’d sing and dance the whole ride but this ride was different. I’d reached the point of exhaustion that halted my energy to put the radio on. I was so tired from working and traveling and being up at night…I fell asleep at a stop light. I woke up from the sound of cars honking at me to move and when I realized what’d happened, I had to stop myself from crying on the way home. I felt awful. I hated that I put myself and my sweet baby girl in that situation. I was mad at myself for a while. How could I let that happen? What kind of mother would be so irresponsible? One whose well was dry. That’s when it hit me. I was at the end of that rope from lack of sleep, energy and willpower. And that’s what my mother meant when she told me about taking care of myself. I was not well enough to even drive my baby 3 miles home.

I learned quickly how to demand my rest days and split baby time with me time. I understood the importance of making sure I keep a fresh, clear mind to truly be able to take care of my child. I talked to Bob about letting me sleep just a little bit longer. I have found a way to keep my well full so that my children can pull from it whenever they need to. And they can do so without losing any bit of me in the process.

Since I’ve taken my personal steps to emotional, physical and mental clarity, I made certain to encourage ALL of my friends who are about to become new parents to really remember this piece of advice: take care of you because you take care of your baby. You must be well so that they may be well. What does that mean exactly? Take a break. Take a nap. Take a long hot bath. Go out with a friend or your spouse. Go buy yourself a new pair of *actual pants. Get your hair done. Binge watch a TV show. Eat the cake. Do what you need to do to recharge and feel good. Your needs are more important than your child’s. I mean that. If you are well, no doubt, so your child will be also.

~peace

shesneon

P.S. Friends: if you ever need a baby sitter–hit me up! I know how hard it is to find a sitter. Or, if you ever need a break from time to time, use me! Just know, your kid might come home covered in glitter.

sesame street yes GIF by HBO

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Lights, camera, laser?!

If you all have been following my fitness journey on Instagram, then you know by now I’m basically ready for Bay Watch come summer of 2018. Alright, maybe that’s not quite true. But I am really feeling better about my mom bod. My waist is like an entire 3 inches smaller than it was last summer, my arms are looking like Wonder Woman and my back fat is thinning out. Boom, baby! There’s just one little issue remaining: loose belly skin. Right now, this is my arch nemesis.

Image result for i hate you gifs

Yes, this extra, unnecessary skin is killing my vibe. It has to go. There’s just one other little problem with that: I am terrified of any under-the-knife cosmetic surgery. Not only that, but I never really cared for cosmetic surgery for vanity. You are beautiful the way you are, guhl. Here’s my thing–I don’t think changing one’s body in order to look like or become someone else, is what any of us should be after. But if you’re looking to fixing a problem or self-improve, have at it! Heck, we all talk about going to the gym and getting fit! And there’s nothing wrong with improving or enhancing your looks. You don’t have to listen to me. This is what I tell myself. The loose skin around my abdomen area is a problem for me…and I want it gone. It shows under certain clothing, it’s lumpy and frumpy, and quite frankly, I can’t see my abs (which I know are there because I can feel them!). So I’ve been researching. I found something.

Nonsurgical skin tightening treatment.

Now before we get all slap-happy, there are some things I took into consideration. Numero uno is the cost. This stuff ain’t cheap, however, it’s not nearly the cost of a tummy tuck or any other surgical procedure. So I’ll just have to save up a few bucks here and there, lay off the tacos every Tuesday yada, yada, yada. Some treatments can be as low as $600 per session. That’s not totally unreasonable. I’ll just sell a kidney because who needs those!

Next thing is the timing. Laser skin treatments typically take about 3 sessions for the best results. Those sessions are spaced out 4 weeks at a time. Do I want to wait 3 months before I see results?! Heck yes. I’ve waited about 5 years before I saw the cut of what’s left of my core muscles. I can handle 3 months.

Last are the health risks. (Okay, I know that should be the first thing on my list of concerns and I could have gone back and rearranged the order of my list before publishing this, but I like to keep it one-hunnid). When I first began researching alternative skin treatments, I was mostly worried about, you know, an untimely death due to complications. As it turns out, this type of treatment doesn’t have very many serious health risks. Here is what I’ve seen:

  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia, if applicable
  • Changes in sensation
  • Contour irregularities
  • Scarring
  • Allergic reactions
  • Damage to underlying structures
  • Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures

Other risks specific to nonsurgical skin tightening are outlined below:

  • Small burns
  • Skin reddening, swelling, and numbness of the treatment area(s)
  • Pigment (skin color) changes
  • Loss of volume beneath the treatment area(s)

All in all, not bad! I can handle a lil’ irritation, swelling and allergic reactions! Jokes aside, this is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I’ve struggled with admitting to myself that I really dislike a part of my body, a part that is the aftermath of my greatest achievement to date: the birth of my children. I wouldn’t change or take back anything, even if it meant I never have to see this lumpy skin again. Still, I am human. I am a woman. I am confident. I am strong. And dagnabbit, I don’t like this belly! I am okay with my desire to “fix” what it is that’s bugging me with no shame. And to all the women out there possibly reading this, you should have no shame either. Nor should you feel the need to do as I do. This is a personal choice and I am choosing to share this aspect of my life with my readers just in case there’s someone out there struggling with the same thing. We don’t have to face our battles alone.

peace,

shesneon

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