Losing Our Babies

We’re losing our babies and it hurts deeply.

We’re losing our babies to violence.

We’re losing our babies to lack of education.

We’re losing our babies to lack of experience.

We’re losing our babies to lack of awareness.

We’re losing our babies. And it hurts!

We’re losing our babies to voicelessness.

We’re losing our babies to hopelessness.

We’re losing our babies to vicious cycles.

We’re losing our babies. It wounds me deeply.

They defeatedly state their inability to think, to read, to add, to subtract, to divide, for goodness sake to multiply.

We’re losing our babies to the feelings of incapability.

They sit in a shell called a body and feel worthless, mindless, incompetent, and fruitless.

We’re losing our babies and it pains me.

We’re losing our babies to settlement.

We’re losing our babies and I can’t stand it!

There has to be a solution. There is a solution. I will be the change. A movement will be a reality.

A change must occur.

This week was tough. This week was emotionally taxing. I wanted to wept. I wanted to scream.

As I listened to this 2x Junior in high school explain she had difficulty reading, she didn’t know how to multiply, and she didn’t have an ounce of belief she could earn a diploma – my heart shattered.

I refused to believe she was incapable. What did I believe? I believed she may have developmental challenges but with support she was capable. Capable of learning. Capable of being empowered. Capable of trying.

I asked, what is 4+4? 8 she quickly responded. I asked, What is 8 + 4? She paused. I encouraged her to take her time, use her fingers if needed, and reinforced I knew she could do it. 12 she said. And, if I asked what is 12 + 4? She rapidly responded 18. Calmly, I said, not quite. Take your time. What is 4 + 2? 6 she immediately responded. Correct now bring down the 1. I noticed her struggle to visualize what I meant. I quickly grabbed paper. You’re a visual learner.

Then, I wrote 12 + 4 = she responded 16. Right. I smiled. The journey is about learning, embracing, and applying. Do not give up on yourself, I riposted.

Look at what you have just completed – multiplication! Then I wrote 4×2 is the same as 4 + 4 which is 8. 4×3 is the same as 4 + 4 + 4 which is 12 and 4×4 is the same as 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 which is 16.

You did that not me. I can’t take any credit. You see. You are capable. *insert name,* I can feel your feelings of incompetence and stupidity. Tears welled in her eyes as I said you are neither of those words. They do not describe you!

You’re a hard worker that learns differently. It takes you time to process. That’s who you are.

We discussed other things. While, at the end, she did admit she felt better; I was saddened by her deeply embedded feelings of it being too late. Ms. Wright I do feel better; a lot better than I felt when I came in. I just don’t think I can keep going. I assured her as long as she decided to attend high school we could work on whatever it is that she desired (multiplication, reading comprehension, addition, subtraction, division isn’t my strongest suit but we can figure it out). I reiterated my goal isn’t to convince you not to drop out. I will never try to direct your life. However, I will always help you to see your good.

She shared with me she didn’t know if she would come to school the following day. She assured me when and if she returned she would come to see me. The student didn’t come to school the next day. I hope if nothing else a seed of hopefulness was planted. I hope to see her in the coming days.

We’re losing our babies and it pains me.

Will you grab a hand and join me on this movement? We all have a part to play. There’s enough roles for us all. We can. We will. Make a Difference.

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Monday Notes: Atlanta Book Reading (Setting Intentions)

Are you living intentionally? Here’s a few examples when you are intentional.

K E Garland

Some of you will recall that I had a book reading in Jacksonville, Florida. It was Women’s History Month and my intention was to introduce the book, Daddy in a public way with at least four authors. I did that and it was successful.

breeWith the Atlanta book reading, the intention shifted. One of my co-authors, Bree had a different purpose. She aimed to provide a space for healing.

It began with her creating another title. Instead of the book’s title, Daddy: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships, she decided the theme would be,Dear Daddy: Intimate Conversations about Father-Daughter Relationships. And let me tell you, her intention set the tone.

for_keepsAdditionally, Rosa Duffy, the owner of For Keeps Bookstore also had a goal. If you haven’t read about her, then please do so in this Atlanta magazine feature. Her intention was to have an open place for rare…

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Trauma, Let’s Talk About It!

Did you know that June is National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Month? What better time to talk about trauma?! Many times we hear the term when discussing soldiers who are going to war, have returned from war, or are inactive veterans (whether honorably or unhonorably discharged). In my opinion, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is exactly what it states stress after trauma, stress induced by a traumatic event, the aftermaths of trauma sometimes felt by survivors, the body’s reaction (communication style) to explain the effect of a nearly unbearable experience, and the list goes on. Literally the list goes on. Below are a few definitions:

According to the American Psychological Association, trauma “is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical.”

Trauma in the DSM-5 requires “actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence.”

Webster lists trauma as

a) an injury (such as a wound) to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agent

b) a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury

c) an emotional upset

This past Saturday as I watched When They See Us the following words came to mind:

Free Write: Trauma is

Trauma is being helpless because the color of your skin
Trauma is your dad losing his ish because of his past
Trauma is unforgiven mistakes
Trauma is fear of your son being picked up [by Law Enforcement]
Trauma is being voiceless
Trauma is feeling the hopelessness screams on the inside
Trauma is seeing black boys coerced into lies
Trauma is knowing one day you’ll have to have “that talk” with your future kids
Trauma is little black and brown girls and boys being viewed as animals
Trauma is red, blue and white lights flashing
Trauma is the hurt and pain that is too generational deep to not be felt
Trauma is the adrenaline rush felt when you or your child walk out the [front] door
Trauma is feeling powerless because of the socio economic class you are categorized in
Trauma is understanding that your country was built on the backs of people who look like you but received no credit
Trauma is your nation continuing to be build on the backs of those who look like you yet act as if it’s not happening

Trauma is
Trauma is
Trauma is

Trauma is not being able to ride bikes freely in a park without fear
Trauma is not being able to play in the street at a summer camp
Trauma is not being able to protest peacefully without threat

Trauma is brainwashing
Trauma is not knowing if you will be able to afford your child’s call [from jail]
Trauma is systematic oppression…that blocks income, self-sufficiency, progress
Trauma is the cycle implemented to destroy you
Trauma is generations of system captivity and dependence
Trauma is planning your funeral while your an adolescent
Trauma is being coerced to sign your death sentence while you’re still alive

I can’t express how thankful I am that I suggested a watch party and co-workers agreed to it because trauma is having a heart to heal the world and having to watch, to understand, and to immerse into the depth of the darkness to uproot and reroot.

Signing off

Sunshine – light of the universe

Yes, that’s my superhero name – pun intended – buy me a cape!

Stay Tuned for Part 2 – coming soon to a blog post near you 🙂

Mother’s Day

Transparent Tuesday

Everyday is Mother’s Day. Words from my mother. Mother’s Day 2019. I battled the days leading to Mother’s Day. I’d purchased my mom’s mother day card and gift months in advance. When the time came to mail the items, I found myself stalling. The gift didn’t carry the weight that previous gifts carried. Days continued to pass and the items remained on the dresser.

I never sent the gifts.

We’d talked all week about her plans for the upcoming holiday. In my opinion she was “traditionally” having her “annual” Mother’s day dinner. My sister and niece would come over and of course my dad would be present. Additionally, this year she invited her older sister to join the family. Somewhere between Saturday night and Sunday morning sadness overwhelmed.

In spite of having to work Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday afternoon I’d considered making the 2.5 hour drive home on Mother’s Day; so much, that I’d gotten an oil change and purchased a dozen of bundtinis (cupcakes) from a local bakery.  The fact remained that I was tired from working a nine-hour shift, that I had to work the following day and didn’t have a scheduled day off until May 23, 2019. Yet, I set my alarm for 5:00 am with every intention to go to work by 6:00 am and be to Jacksonville by 11:00 am.

However, when the alarm sounded off I wrestled with the idea of driving, the thought it was supposed to storm heavily and the fact that I hate driving in the rain, and that I was 31 years old and had yet to bear children. This was the first time being childless crept in and shook hands with my emotions. I didn’t understand where the feeling arose from or why I was so disturbed. In fact on previous Mother’s Days I’d found myself blissful and joyful; anticipating honoring my mom. As well as, grateful for the many messages and calls that came from previous kids I’d interacted with expressing their heartfelt feelings regarding me making them feel loved.

As I laid there and the hours passed I remained conflicted. I weighed the pros and cons. I texted my mom to see if she was up but she wasn’t up. I decided to called a dear friend to talk it out. I wasn’t looking for advice just someone to talk it out with at 7:30 am in the morning. LOL! She responded to the text advising to give her a ring.

Me: Hey sis. Are you up?

Her: Yes. What’s up?

Me: Trying to make what feels like a big decision. It’s really not though. Wondered if you had a few minutes to process it with me.

Her: Sure. I have a few. Your timing is impeccable.

I called and she cheerfully answered, Hey Bud! What’s Up? Then I shared with her the aforementioned. As we talked I still felt crappy and eventually told her so and thanked her for her time. She advised she would be traveling back home from visiting with her family and to keep her posted on my decision.

Thereafter, my mom texted stating she was up. As soon as she answered my throat tighten and I struggled to even say Happy Mother’s Day.

Her: What’s wrong, Kotrish?

Y’all I wailed like a baby!

And when I was done . . .

She calmly and lovingly stated, “Kotrish, Mother’s Day is everyday. Everyday that I get to be your mother is Mother’s Day for me. You know material things do not matter to me. You bless me all the time with gifts not just physical gifts but spiritual gifts too. Those gifts are the greatest gifts of all. She also mentioned that I drove enough for work and that I should spend the day resting and shouldn’t feel bad. Look at your schedule and let me know what day we can drive up even if just for a hour to pick up the gifts, talk a little and maybe play a game or two.” In the midst of me hyperventilating, I managed to say, “okay, I can let you know by tomorrow.”

In other news, we disagreed on the traditional dinner she said it’s not a tradition. I retorted, perhaps, not one that’s established but it happens every year. LOL! Maybe she’s right it’s not a tradition, it’s a routine that appears to the outsider looking in as a tradition. Either way, I realized I was battling with the reality of more family photos would be taken that did not include me and within hours my phone would be flooded with those photos.

In the end, I selfishly needed my mommy on Mother’s Day to tell me it was all okay. I must say I am thankful and blessed to have such a wonderful mom. I hope that I am just as wonderful in my own way to my kids.

Most importantly, I needed to give myself permission to feel the emotions I felt and face my vulnerability. 

Thinking Tuesday: Voting Thoughts

On the weekends, I work at a local rehab hospital admitting patients into our case management department and assisting in discharge planning. About two weeks ago, I had the thought ‘I wonder how many people desire to vote but will be unable to because they are hospitalized.’ This past weekend a patient insisted on being discharged earlier than his discharge date. “I need to vote. I thought I would be able to go vote and come back; since I can’t I need to discharge Monday, November 5, 2018. I can leave in the evening, but I have to go. I will leave AMA (against medical advice) if I have to.” I couldn’t blame the man. He wanted to exercise his right and use his voice. Besides, his discharge date was originally scheduled for November 7, 2018.

I wonder why we don’t have polls set up in hospitals for individuals who are hospitalized and unable to leave.

I wonder how many ballots are going without being cast for reasons as such or similar reasons?

Thinking Tuesday: Self-Care

Today’s message is a self-instruction: Take care of yourself.

This instruction is a direct reminder for me to adhere to my needs whether in the workforce, spiritual realm, and/or personal world.

It is my responsibility to care of me and it’s your responsibility to care of you.

What needs do you need met today? What actions are you taking or will you take to meet those needs?

 

 

Motivational Monday: Goals

Don’t be afraid to take the risk. Don’t be afraid to manifest. Playing it safe won’t ever give you the satisfaction that stretching yourself will give you.

Today.

Make the goal(s).

Set the path(s) to reach the goal(s). Make it plain, simple, and realistic.

  1. Step One: Write the goal
  2. Step Two: Simplify the goal

Meditation Goal

  1. Practice Meditating for 5 Minutes at least 3x a week
  2. Set an alarm for Yoga
    1. Ensure time is ideal
    2. Hold self accountable
      1. I deserve 5 minutes a day of stillness (say it, write it, believe it, KNOW it and IMPLEMENT IT!)
      2. Establish a Yoga Journal to stay on track
      3. Create a checklist (Lists seem to work for me)
        1. Check off each day meditation accomplished
          1. Celebrate!
      4. Review weekly
        1. Increase meditation time and days as needed
        2. Congratulate self!
          1. CELEBRATE AGAIN!

Don’t quit until you accomplish it.  (Thank me for the oxymoron later!)

You Got This!