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Looking in the rear view

Today marks 1 month since my faith was seriously tested. On January 27, 2020 around 7:30pm I was driving with my sister and three young children. We were rear ended and then we hit the van in front of us. I can still remember the  disoriented feeling, the sent of intense heat and fumes. I cringe and shutter every time I think about it because it’s so vivid in my mind.

I remember looking behind of me and seeing my 4-year-old face full of blood, my 3-year-old looked fine, and my 1-year-old’s rear facing carseat was slightly elevated and his legs were dangling up in the air a bit. I later found out he had a bruise and cut on his forehead.

I couldn’t get the door behind me open and as I frantically began to undo my kids’ carseat buckles, a panicked man furiously tried to pry the other backdoor open. When that didn’t work he banged the glass in attempts to free my baby boy but nothing. I eventually handed my daughters one by one to strangers who waited by the passenger door. I held on to my son.

We huddled in a ditch next to the wreck. There were so many people there, helping, coving my kids with blankets, PRAYING OVER US. My son began to go limp in my arms. From crying and clutching me tightly, his grip loosened and his eyes began to roll back into his head. I thought, no God, NOT MY SON. I prayed, that was the only thing I could do in such a helpless moment. Some of our rescuers began to join me and my son gained back his strength.

Shortly after that, the man we hit came over and began checking my kids. He was an EMT in training. He checked them for any signs of trauma to their neck, ribs, and stomach. There was none. I just remember feeling so grateful that when the police arrived and asked if we were ok, I walked off and began shouting, “In Jesus name we are fine. God is good!”

I didn’t feel fear in that moment. Nothing in the world seemed to matter. All I could think about was how blessed we were to be alive. Seeing the car and feeling like we were hit with an explosion, I knew it wasn’t anything short of a Miracle.

My faith kept me sane in the crucial moments after the crash. So many questions come up after seeing the car. There was a lot of impossible things that happened that night.

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Check out photos of the car Here

Hear more details Here

Please drive safe and NEVER drive distracted. We were blessed to literally walk out of that car alive.

We are all doing okay. Driving now does get me anxious but I can’t be afraid of being behind the wheel or even in a vehicle. Mentally, I have to pray everyday about the crash because I am traumatized. It’s a lot more mentally taxing than I anticipated. You never get over the event.

I just wanted to make a quick post so as always (HUGGZ & LOVE)

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Listening ears on: God told me to visit my ex in-laws.

Being human is hard. Add being a Christian and you have a whole list of rules and regulations you must follow in order to truly be a follower of Christ. Usually, especially now, doing the right thing and being sweet and kind has come easily. Even things that would trigger me, just goes over my head and I say a prayer in my mind, grin, and keep it moving. Last week however, I was thrown a curve ball that I really just wanted to dodge.

My ex told me that his parents were going to be cooking a big meal and asked if the kids and I would come over. Without hesitation, I said NO. I mean, why would I? Besides the fact that I’d have to drive over 45 minutes, I’d have to come in close contact with the family of the man I abruptly left in the middle of the night, with a week’s worth of clothing, and my kids. It wasn’t exactly a peaceful breakup and I found myself on the hated end of the stick. His father had a lot to say about me in the past and would quickly jump on social media in defense of his son, whenever I was the topic of a falsified rant.

I insisted that I had no business going there and I prayed to God that some crazy occurrence would happen so it would be set in stone that I couldn’t go. Be careful what you pray for because four days later a tropical storm came through AND a tornado happened 9 minutes away from us. We were obviously spared and I thought that was God’s answer to my prayers– no honestly! You want to know something? It wasn’t.

My ex told me he would be getting out of work early so he could take us if I didn’t feel like driving. I told him that was great because that meant he could take the kids and leave me out of the equation. He seemed hurt and told me not to be that way. They weren’t my family and I remember how dysfunctional it was when all of us lived together. I did not want to go so I purposely ignored all my ex’s text after that.

You know, God works in very BLUNT ways and as I headed to the bathroom I heard, “Go” in a vey soft voice. Now, don’t call the luny bin on me but I heard it clearly. I remember saying, “yeah right, God. You would never want me to go there.” I then saw a vision of me walking into their home and a voice said, “Go, so they can see all I’ve done for you. Go to be a light. ” Guys, I laughed so hard and said NO! Then I tried to convince myself that I was the one creating the instructions that I had but when I said the word “Go” in my mind it sounded different from what I first heard. This was not something I wanted to be obedient to. I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable and I didn’t want to break bread with my ex’s family.

When my ex arrived, I grabbed my purse and roughly told him to hurry up and let’s go. He was shocked but he got up from the chair quickly and we headed to me car. Once we were all buckled and ready to go, my ex thanked me for going. I heard a voice say, “I told you.” I rolled my eyes and replied ok God, of course in my head because I didn’t want to sound crazy. 😂

The drive down was actually enjoyable and I didn’t find myself ready to jump out the car or complain to the heavens. But when we got to his parents house I found myself feeling uncomfortable and nervous. My girls rushed inside and I bought myself time by getting my son out of his carseat. Surprisingly, I was greeted genuinely and asked if I wanted some food and my ex made me a plate. I can’t even lie, for a second I thought they were trying to poison me so I asked my kids if they wanted some food and when no one screamed out “No”, I knew that the food wasn’t unsafe to eat.

I stayed for maybe an hour and a half and I watched as my kids enthusiastically ran around and played with the side of their family they hadn’t seen for so long. I felt relieved. My kids were so happy and I felt good. I talked with everyone and at no point did I want to run for the door. When I left I almost felt sad. His dad thanked me for coming and said we could do something for Christmas if I had no plans.

Before last Sunday, I had so much anger towards my ex father in-law. I was upset because he knew what I went through with his son and he completely turned against me when I left. I was mad and hurt and really wanted nothing to do with him ever again. Visiting him was a healing moment for me. It thought me forgiveness in a way I did think I needed. There is so much truth in forgiveness being for you and not the other person. I was released from the grip of anger.

If there’s anyone you need to forgive, whether they said you an open invitation or not, forgive them. Listen to the voice inside that sounds crazy because it goes against every logical thing you believe in. I listened to God and went somewhere I DID NOT want to go and it ended up being a beautiful moment for me.

I hope you liked this post and as always Hugs and Love!

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Never give up

Can I be honest with you? There are days where I feel completely out of it. I mean low down in the dumps. Sometimes, I think about all the things I thought I’d have accomplished by now. I was suppose to be a successful writer, my social media presence was suppose to have sky rocketed, I’d have become a full time entrepreneur, bought a house— blah, blah, blah.

I had dreams—a vision for my life that I’m not seeing now. I can’t lie, I’ve whined and cried about it. Honestly, I sometimes get so heart broken about where I’m at now, that I forgot where I’ve been. It can be hard to look around and fully grasp the extent of actual success because we think success is a brand new car wrapped up in a giant bow.

Not all success can be measured by some huge act, event, or object. A year ago, I had just started a new job almost two months after I left a toxic relationship. I had about $40 to my name around this time last year, which I used to catch the bus with my then two and three year old daughters. I didn’t even know how to drive and I was living at my cousin’s house. Now, I’ve been at my job a year, I got my license, got a car , I have my own place, and I’m working on my second fictional book.

I can’t deny that even though I had an idea of what my life was suppose to be, what I’ve overcome is extremely impressive. Slowly, I’m realizing that my life is coming together but God had to get the important things done first. I just kept pushing, I kept going despite all my hurdles. I know that if I continue to push for more, I’ll get more. I simply can’t give up. In the mist of the storm it’s hard to see let alone imagine the sunshine but it will come again.

I hope that whatever it is you may be facing, you keep going strong. And like always, ((HUGGS & LOVE))

 

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Giving birth made me look at my body differently… but in a good way.

From as way back as I can remember, I always had an obsession with my image. Being the daughter of a black woman and a Puerto Rican father, who looked like a Taino Indian, there was a “look” I was suppose to have. Of course, I didn’t create that idea, instead it was implanted in me by my elementary school classmates and random people I met growing up.

I remember being told, quite often, that I couldn’t be hispanic because I wasn’t light skinned. They expected me to be Selena Gomez’s when, mind you, my mother’s skin color is comparable to Denzel Washington’s and my father was darker than her! Sadly, it didn’t stop there. You see, my father had long, straight, black hair and I don’t. So, it became “you can’t be hispanic because your hair is too nappy.” As a seven-year-old, those words knocked bits of my self esteem away.

Fast forward three years later when puberty started. When I was younger, I expected to look a certain way physique-wise. I had been surrounded by voluptuous women my entire life and when little lumps appeared on my chest, I thought I’d be a D cup the very next day. Okay, maybe not the next day but when an entire year had passed and I resorted to stuffing my bra with toilet paper, I knew something was up.

A lot of the other girls in class seemed fully developed and I felt like nothing had changed for me. I’d overhear them talking about how annoying bras were while my bra was really just for show, a placeholder for what could be. I couldn’t understand how I had started puberty earlier than most of my classmates and was now the hare losing the race. The body I dreamed of was just that— a dream.

My teen years weren’t any better. The taller I got the more my weight evened out around my body. Being tall plus having a fast metabolism equaled out to be for one very skinny me. I was embarrassed. How in the world was I still looking like a little girl when I was supposed to be blooming into womanhood? I was pissed off and I was jealous, jealous of every girl that didn’t have my struggle.

I would see other females and pick out the parts of their bodies that I liked and imagined how I’d look with them. I was creating a Dena-Stein monster in my head. Even at seventeen I was sure that I’d still have a chance of looking like everyone else. But puberty was done. My body had missed the train to Voluptuous Vile and I was stuck in a body I did not want.

I was able to give myself some reassurance that my body wasn’t all bad. I had a thing for how I looked in lingerie and by gully I bought so many pairs of matching sexy underwear that I own less actual articles of clothing. But I didn’t care. You could’ve told me to wear bikinis everywhere I went and I would’ve gladly done it. My past boyfriends always complimented me on my pretty underwear and it felt amazing. Really, I should have known it wasn’t the underwear they were excited about.

I was searching for any reason to simply like my body. I was tall and thin and though I started getting praise for it by older women and mothers who just couldn’t lose their baby weight, I hated my body. I didn’t want it. I wanted the body I was so sure I would get once puberty hit. I didn’t get that and I resented every bit of the body I felt I was punished with. I was desperate to feel proud of it but I couldn’t help but loathe it.

I was like a spoiled child not getting what they wanted from the store when there was no promise of getting anything to begin with. I’d throw tantrums in the bathroom when the jeans I had just bought didn’t fit right or my bra didn’t quite hug my barely there girls. As dramatic as I acted, no one truly knew how I felt about my body and I tried really hard not to roll my eyes at comments like, “You’re so lucky! You can eat whatever you want and not gain a pound.” I didn’t feel lucky, I felt plagued.

The grass wasn’t green on my side, in fact it was brown! Sure, I got into a relationship with a guy that loved all of me but he was over 300 lbs and hated his own body. We were an insecure mess but I loved him just as he was and he loved me the same. It’s a strange thing to come across someone the complete opposite as you but they have the same body image crisis. It’s like the universe brought us together to learn from each other or as a joke.

About three years after we got together, I became pregnant with our daughter. After feelings of fright and excitement came thoughts of my perfect body. “All pregnant people gained a ton of weight”, I thought. Finally, I was going to gain weight! I was actually looking forward to that. Imagine my surprise when I found out that’s not how pregnancy worked and even with a bun in the oven, every body is not created equally.

Normally, I weighed 141 pounds the highest my weight got, while pregnant, was 156 pounds. The crazy thing is, I gained 15 pounds but my pants were falling off of me and shirts that were tight around my arms were now loose fitted. No doubt about it, I was upset. The one sure way for me to get child bearing hips didn’t work! My body had the audacity to betray me?! I felt defeated.

After my nine month pity party, labor and delivery went easy enough. It’s funny how at no point during my thirteen hour ordeal did I think about how my body looked. Not when the EMTs wheeled me into the hospital and told me how “lucky” I was to look four months pregnant instead of 39 weeks. Nor was I thinking about my physical appearance when my stomach felt like it was getting ripped apart or when I was in my birthday suit with strangers huddled around me screaming “PUSH.” Oh, no. I just hoped that my body wouldn’t fail me— that it would dig strength from the depths of my soul to help me bring my baby into the world.

As I laid with a tiny person on my chest, I couldn’t help but look at my sagging stomach with no regrets. And when a TV commercial came on for wounded soldiers and then for breast cancer survivors, I couldn’t help but weep. I was holding a life that the body I rejected created. How could I have been so ungrateful? I hadn’t gone through war that left me disabled or gone through a life threatening disease but somehow I had less of an appreciation for my body than the people who did. They were happy that their bodies survived— that they survived. Their bodies mustered up the strength to keep going. I cried and I cried.

When you look at life through insecure glasses, you tend to find every pathetic flaw within yourself. You build this idea that first and foremost you must be good enough for everyone else. You create the assumption that somehow what others think of you is more important than what you think of yourself. From an early age, lies about who I was suppose to be trickled into my mind and created a flood of unnecessary and preventable insecurities. Even on the days that I felt beautiful, I worried about whether or not others would think the same thing.

It took giving birth and being in such an open and exposed state for me to fall so madly in love with every part of me. It didn’t come from a family member, or friend, or even from a significant other. It came from the very body that was no good to me for years. There’s a certain kind of freedom that comes from being released mentally from something that weighed you done all your life. My body impressed me more in those thirteen hours than it did for twenty four years.

I’m not saying that if I woke up with junk in the trunk I wouldn’t be excited. What I am saying is that I love the body I have for what it is now. However it changes, I’ll love it then, too. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to tweak your body here and there: Get some abs, tone up, get a bigger butt(wink wink). I’ve just learned that I have to want it for myself and make sure it’s not some idea someone else tried shoving down my throat because they think God created me jacked up.

I’m unapologetically showing off my thin frame with pride, with the knowledge that it kicks ass. Yes, I am “lucky” to have my body but not because I’m skinny. I’m lucky because it hasn’t failed me— because after all those years of completely hating what I considered a corpse, I realized how valuable it is. I look back now and pity myself. I spent so much of my life incredibly insecure for no reason.

Now, I go out of my way to tell women how beautiful they are. It doesn’t matter if I know them or not. I struggled in silence pretending to have all the confidence in the world and if I had genuine compliments instead of sugar coated insults, growing up would have been a lot easier. The truth is, there’s no such thing as the perfect body. As cheesy as it may sound, we are different and that should be celebrated not judged. Heck, if you’re the only one celebrating your body that’s really all that matters. I learned that what I think of myself is far more important than what others think of me. Others might come to that conclusion in some other way but as long as they do, it’s a major win!

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Lost in the choas

I don’t always feel like a complete failure but when I do, the voices in my head chanting my defeat are deafening. A crippling sense of  utter disaster overtakes me. For a moment I feel suspended in time, then as my heart begins to race, I’m thrusted into a fast paced world of terror.

What does that all mean? It means that you are not alone. Yes, YOU! You know you’ve been there. We all go through times in our lives that leave us breathless for all the wrong reasons. It’s okay to feel claustrophobic out in the open. Some cages can’t be seen.

Society today is unapologetically unaware of all the pressures individuals like me face. Or they blatantly don’t care. Parents, minorities, adults and children in school, people who are told they are way too skinny or way too fat— the list goes on and on, these are societies redheaded step children. Everyday people  deal with seemingly normal problems that they supposedly should be able to fix on their own.

But heres the thing, being on their own is the problem. Mothers can’t express how much they suffer while trying to raise a child without being judged. School kids face pressure from their parents, peers, and social media to be perfect. With no where to turn, many struggle in silence.

You hear it all the time, “It could be worse.” “Someone else has it worse.” That doesn’t make another person’s situation any less of a difficulty. And since when are we in the business of comparing hardships?

I can admit that there’s been moments where I wanted to fade away into the shadows because coming to the realization that my life was a mess, was too hard. Have you ever felt that way? Even your dreams seem comical and unattainable. You have this feeling of not being good enough, so everything that comes from your head seems like a wasteful fantasy.

Time…time is all we need to recenter ourselves, to get our life back on track. A moment of clarity and some positive affirmations to bring our confidence back. Truth is, support is not always easy to come by and at times you’ll have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and it’s going to be hard!

I found myself watching the social media craziness between James Charles and others. The way he spoke, made it seem like the events that transpired gave him thoughts of ending his life. I don’t know him nor did I ever watch his videos before but what he said hurt. It pains me when anyone so overcome by grief thinks not living is a proper solution to their problems.

This great big world can feel so empty and cold. It doesn’t matter if you’re famous or a regular joe. Struggle is guaranteed. I had to learn this the hard way.

If you read my last post and are now reading this one, you might be wondering what the heck is happening to me. Well, reflection happened. I’m a mess but I’ve stumbled upon others who also frequent Hot Mess Avenue and I found it only right to express my thoughts for the sake of helping someone else.

You are awesome!  You can do it! You, my friend, are not alone in this. Everyone goes through some sort of battle and yours is not to be minimized. When doubt fills your head, remember that you have the power to overcome anything. You are STRONG! Hurt doesn’t make you less of a bad ass. Remember all the times you made it through a difficult situation and know you’ll get through anything that comes your way!

 

As always ((HUGGS & LOVE))

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I’m obsessed with watching my kids eat

Growing up, my family struggled a lot. We were poor—not just poor but very poor. I remember one time, the only thing in our stomachs, for five days, was water from the facet. I lost about ten pounds during that time. Food stamps ending our five days of tears, stomach growls, and despair. I think that had to be the hardest time in my mother’s life.

We struggled, yes, but it was never that bad before and thankfully never got that bad again. We were always grarunteed two meals at school so even if we had little at home, we still ate. Unfortunately, those five days were during Christmas break and there was no chance of us getting fed any other way. It was difficult time to say the least.

Now that I’m a mother, the fear of not being able to feed my kids sometimes cripples me. I pinch every penny, I look for the best deals, and I never spend more than I have to. I don’t want to feel the devastation my mother did. I sometimes think her life echoes in mine as I come to the realization that at my age, she too was a single mom of three. Could history repeat itself and cause me to be so down on my luck that I wouldn’t be able to provide such a basic need?

As of now, that hasn’t happened and I find myself cooking and preparing meals with immense glee knowing that my kids won’t go hungry. When I set their plates before them, I see their faces light up and they usually shriek with excitement. “Yummy mommy!”, “I like this food.”, is what I hear from time to time in between bites. It’s like music to my ears and I can’t help but smile.

There are moments after we say grace and they begin eating, that I tune out the world and just stare at them. Their giggles filling the dining room. Conversations about how their day was and what they want to do during the weekend bounce off the walls and invade my observation. “We can do that on Saturday”, would be my reply to their inquiries. I soak up every bit of those times.

There is no better feeling than knowing despite my hardships, my children won’t go without. They know nothing of my struggle and dinner time is a celebration and not a reminder of how bad we really have it. Happiness stretched across their faces is a complete contrast to the days I would cry to my mother telling her I was hungry and she’d tell me, “I know baby”, and hand me a cup of water with a little sugar in it.

I know  what I went through was something that humbled me but that’s not the way I want my kids to grow up. That’s not how I want my kids to become appreciative people.  We all go through some lessons that taught us something and hope to God that our kids don’t have to go through it too. I don’t want the pain of watching my kids starve and I’ve been blessed enough not to have to. So, when I see my children stuffing their messy little faces, sometimes getting food all over the table, I’m thankful knowing that their bowls will be empty for the right reasons.

As always ((Huggs & Love))

 

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The reality of my life as a single mother.

If any of you have read my posts in the past, you’ll know that I left a very bad relationship about 2 years ago. What I never updated you on was that I went back to my ex a year later. Long story short, I was living the exact same hell as before and then some. Surprised? I surely acted  like it was surprising.

So, four months ago I truly decided that I had had enough. I spent the day feeling miserable and down, wondering what kind of life I was living.  My ex’s family had flown up to LIVE with us just a week prior. From the moment they came, I could tell my ex was unhappy. So from him being OKAY and us being in a decent place at the time, the added stress of  having 3 more people in the house got to him. It showed in the way he treated me because as usual he never took his frustrations out on who caused it. And here I was feeling out of place, getting treated like I was a plague to his existence.

I snapped emotionally. I decided that I didn’t want to stay there any longer. I told him I wanted to leave and he told me no. Months before, he had implied that in order for me to leave, I’d have to be dead, so a part of me was afraid to go. He also had my debit card and refused to give it back to me because his money was on it ($19) and told me when I started working I could get it back. I made sure to call my sister in the middle of the drama so if anything happened, someone would know. After realizing that I was telling my sister everything that was happening, he snatched the phone from my ear and left the room.

Guys, there is so much that happened that night that I might just make a video about it. What ended up happening was I packed a weeks worth of clothes for the kids and I, got my cousin to pick us up, and left the apartment around 12am. He was so pissed; if looks could kill, I’d be dead.

There was constant fighting and back and forth after that. Then he’d pretend to be good and act like he was changing only to flip out when I said I was never going back to him. I felt nothing. Plus I had already told all my family members what really happened behind closed doors and if I even thought about going back to him, they wouldn’t let me hear the end of it.

Within a months time, I got a job. It felt like forever! I was blessed to get hired at a daycare so my kids could be there with me. I love my job and honestly the hardest part about it has been getting to and from work. I catch the bus at 7 am but I have to leave the house by 6:35 am in order to make it there in time. Sometimes, if I’m late, I have to carry my daughters the entire 20 minute walk. It might not seem like much but when it’s pitch black outside, you’re carrying around 68 lbs plus their backpacks, and you have to power walk, it’s tiring mentally and physically.

The afternoons aren’t any better. It takes me an hour to get home from work between the bus and walking. It’s a 13 minute drive! Then the sun is so hot some days, I want to pass out. And those are usually the afternoons where I carry my daughters in my arms because I know if I feel weak, hot, and tired then they do too.

It’s not easy. Sometimes I cry and pray and cry and pray because I don’t know what else to do. Each blessing comes with another challenge and I feel so burnt out. I am grateful for everything, it’s just hard trying to keep going when you feel like you have nothing left.

I can say that this experience has shown me that there is a serious need for assistance to help people who have been in my shoes. I hope that I can start some sort of charity to help people get on their feet especially with kids and little to no one to turn to.

The truth is, I’m better off now than I was two months ago. It’s all about progress. Yes, I struggle a lot but it’s only for a shot time. I hope to get a car, more than anything, so that my kids don’t have to go through this. One day!  By the way here’s a Video  of what outside looks like when I head to work.

As always ((HUGGS & LOVE)) and I plan to write more soon!

 

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What if Love was truly contagious

Right before the year ended, my boyfriend’s father, stepmom, and little came to stay with us. It was a full house to say the least. For the most part we were cooped up in the house because there was no going anywhere with 4 adults( 1 being very pregnant), 2 toddlers, and a nine year old in a regular ole’ SUV. The weather was a hot mess. If you know anything about Florida you know the weather, especially during winter time, is bipolar. Now, we did get to go out at one point thanks to a rental. That’s how I got sick. I was the first to go down. Everyone else followed, leaving only my two-year-old miraculously healthy. In my misery, I couldn’t help but think how awful it was that a cold could be passed on so easily. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be so wonderful if love was passed on like that?

Some people say love, happiness, and joy are contagious but to me it really only is if  you have the heart for it. Unlike the cold, which doesn’t discriminate, love can’t break down some people’s immune system. Imagine if a warm and loving person touched a doorknob and then some mean, maybe even evil, person touched it right after. He or she doesn’t wash their hands and randomly rubs a finger across their  lips. WHAM! Love enters just like that. Or maybe someone bursting with a loving heart coughs and everyone who happens to be nearby is immediately infected. Wouldn’t that be cool? Instead of all these stinking illnesses being spread, love could get passed on in this way.

I’m a person who is big on love. It’s the best feeling in the world and I value it so much. I’ve always been like that but when I was younger I simultaneously was a very angry person. Ontop of being anger I was also extremely protective and easily bothered. I wasn’t afraid to get into physical fights or confront people. A lot of the problems I got into were mostly me defending family or a friend and the rest was me overreacting about a look someone gave me or me thinking someone said something rude about me.

I remeber being so bothered by people with bad attitudes. It would literally ruin my entire day if I came across someone with a bad attitude. I would be pissed leaving their presence. It was like they infected me with their hate and misery. I always felt like anger was something easier to “catch” than happiness. Sure good deeds go a long way but a batch of anger people go the distance.

I had to learn to ignore and realize that whatever made people so upset, had nothing to do with me. That’s when I decided that I should spread happiness to the best of my ability. If it worked it worked. If it didn’t, at least I tried.

Nothing was a better eye opener than a day I went to Mcdonalds to get some food.  The line was long and the amount of people waiting for their food was alarming to a very hungry me. I got in line  anyway. Only four workers were there that day. One cashier, two cooks, and one person getting the orders together. The other customers huffed and puffed. Even though they knew the line was long and the workers were short staffed they refused leave and continued groaning. For a split second I almost found myself complaining too. I almost let everyone else’s negativity affect my mood.

When it was my turn to order, the look on the cashier’s face said it all. She had no smile, looked tired and worn out. I looked at her with a big grin and asked her how she was doing. She was shooked but she smiled back and said she was doing good. She asked me how I was. With a bubbly voice I told her I was doing fine as well. Matching my tone, she asked what I would like. After I ordered I told her thank you very much and I hope she has a nice day. Now, her smile stayed when she attended the customer after me and I was extremely happy to see that customer be friendly and respectful to her also. And there it was, I had spread happiness just like that. I chose to look positively at a situation and realize how much I could affect those around me.

Unfortunately, you can’t catch love the way you catch a cold but you can spread it around in hopes that others will respond well to it. And whenever you find yourself in a situation where you’re surrounded by  the grinches, stand firm in your happy thoughts and share a little bit of it.

Like always guys ((HUGGS AND LOVE))

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Why are we more focused on gender rules rather than gender roles?

Before I start, let me first say that my goal is not to offend anyone. Now, let me say this as well, I don’t care if I do. We live in a society where people tend to tiptoe around what they really want to say, not because it’s truly disrespectful but because someone, somewhere will take offense to it. I know in this day and age people everywhere are fighting over gender rules. Parents want their sons to be able to wear dresses without any kind of judgement. PERSONALLY, if my son said he wanted a dress, I’d tell him no. Call me a bad mom. Say I’m dimming my child’s light. I could careless. Children want what they see without any thought to it. I don’t think it’ll determine their sexual orientation later on. However, I’m not about to listen to someone whose best decision is having candy for breakfast. Down the road, when my kids aren’t impulsive and irrational, I’ll take things like that seriously.

The point of this post isn’t about letting kids where whatever they want is good or bad. My actual concern is how these kids grow up to view their place in the world as men and women. Whither you’re straight, gay, trans, there is a certain role people expect you to play. Growing up boys were expected to be rough and tough and girls were expected to be delicate and sweet. If a boy cried, even if he was hurt, he was seen as weak. If a girl stood up for herself and gave her opinion, she was seen as rude or a trouble maker. Boys couldn’t have a soft side and girls couldn’t be strong.

If you go to the toys section of any store, you’ll see how the world has already decided who men and women should grow up to be. The girl’s toy section is filled with baby dolls, brooms, and shopping carts. A girl is meant to grow up to be a house wife. Sure there’s doctor toys and some expensive sports cars thrown in the mix but that’s not the main focus. The boy’s section is filled with racecars, army men, guns and any “beat my chest, I’m a man” type of toy you could think of.

I always wondered why parents lost their minds whenever their son touched a doll or yanked a toy car away from their daughters. “That’s for boys.” “That’s for girls.” Some parents would go on to say, “Are you gay? Leave that alone!” Girls tend to get a less aggressive response when they play with boys toys. Either way, I don’t see how a bloody toy could indicate a child’s sexual orientation. Let’s face it. That’s exactly why some parents react the way the do.

Boys are told to leave the baby(doll) alone, they don’t belong in a kitchen, and chores, like washing dishes, is a girl’s job. And when men grow up and leave the child raising and housework to women, it’s somehow a surprise. It’s been drilled into their heads that anything that doesn’t dirty their hands should be left for women. And when a man is a stay-at-home-father he is judged harshly and seen as a disappointment because he isn’t the breadwinner. WHY? It baffles me!

I always think about my little brothers when it comes to this topic. They are two rough and tumble kids. They hate dolls and say it’s too girlie. One day, my sister had bought barbie like dolls for the little girl I was taking care of. She was 5 and my brothers were 6 and 9 at the time. She had no one to play with so she asked them to play with her. They barely hesitated to. They even did character voices. Granted after she got up they started sword fighting with the dolls but for that moment those little boys wanted to make her happy despite their own personal feelings. They are still pretty boyish to this day. And their actions then and many times after that, showed me that they’ll be great fathers. I’m not saying go out and buy your sons dolls but understand that what  you put in their head as young kids will affect how they view their role in society.

Now, as for girls, we’re meant to be clean and pretty. We must bite our tongue and go along with whatever we’re told. Climbing trees and playing in dirt is a horrible way for us to spend an afternoon. Things like repairing cars and building aren’t what we should be interested in. In fact, at a certain age we are “trained” to be able to take care of a household. That’s the role women were meant to play. Mommy and wife. We must live in the kitchen and vacation in the laundry room. We must raise perfect children and keep our husbands happy. These stupid generic rules that have been placed on us. God forbid a woman is the boss of several man, some of them might lose their minds because they might have been brought up believing that is not her place.

You see, I could really care less about the “how to dress your child” debate. I have two daughters and my first son is due in a month. I don’t want my son to cruise through life thinking his sisters are his maids. I equally don’t want my daughters to feel intimidated by a male dominated workforce. This “war” on who our kids should be is superficial. I think so, at least when it comes to what I see on social media everyday. Okay, your son or daughter is happy wearing clothes of the opposite sex. WHAT NOW? What do you teach them now? What role will they play once they grow up? It goes far beyond clothing. It’s about having sons that embrace emotions instead of keeping them inside for fear of being labeled a wimp. It’s about raising strong daughters who don’t take crap from anyone and believe anything is achievable. It’s about men who won’t hesitate to wash a freaking dish and women who can fix a car just as good as any guy.

Do you understand what I’m trying to say? These ideas that we are suppose to be robots going down a conveyor belt in the same path as everyone else is stupid! We shouldn’t have cookie cutter lives. We shouldn’t have these dumb set regulations on what a man and woman should do. Obviously, there are some differences but the differences that are used to distinguish us most of the time doesn’t make any sense. All that old fashion crap should go out the window. Men and women should be seen as a team, sure, but they both should  be able to survive without the other. Example, a single man should know how to cook and clean and a woman should be able to use a drill and put up her own furniture without someone saying, “That’s why you need a man/woman so they can do that for you.” I don’t get all the gender restrictions when it comes to that stuff.

Leave me some comments about how gender roles were presented to you growing up and how you view them now. If you have kids please share if you have set roles specific to the gender of your kids. And remember this is not a post about clothing choice. I want to read what you think about the way society has segregated what is socially acceptable for men and women to do.

Like always ((HUGS & LOVE))

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My “Me too” Story

This story might be a bit much or some readers, discretion is advised.

 

I want to be completely honest and extremely transparent with you all. Everything I’m about to say in the post is true and it happened to me almost nine years ago. I was 17 and just a few months shy of high school graduation. At this time in my life, I was a “YES” girl. I never wanted to seem rude or hurt anyone’s feelings. I had a very hard time saying NO, even to complete strangers. My mother raised me to be very respectful. Despite my anger issues back then, I was a very polite child.

I had only ever kissed one boy and it was ONE time, about two months prior to this indecent.  I never had a boyfriend and never did anything sexual before. Kissing was as far as I had gotten and wanted to get, at that point in my life.

It was May 4th, 2009. I spent all day shopping and hanging out with my cousin, who was the same age as I was. We were preparing for prom and graduation. Neither of us had a car, so our only means of transportation were taxis. The taxis back home are different from the ones in the states. They are 15 passenger buses, cost $2.50, and only drive on the main road. They usually stop running around 6 pm, 6:30 pm. My cousin lost track of time and we ended up going to the bus stop after 6. She lived on the other side of the island and though that might not seem like much, for a place only 22 miles long, being 17  with no way home is not ideal.

On our way to the bus stop, a guy in a silver car motioned me over. Now, this is where my “YES” girl mentally screwed me. I didn’t want to go but I didn’t want to be rude. He said his hello told me his name was Alfredo or Alfred for short and asked me my name. In about 5-7 minutes, we talked about what school I went to, my future plans, and exchanged phone numbers. Once again, I didn’t want to do any of this but I was too damn nice for my own good. To get away, I told him my cousin really needed to catch a taxi so she could get home and I had to go.

Of course, my cousin asked me 21 questions about this guy. I told her everything we had talked about, in that short time span, as we waited on the bus. As time went by there was no sign of any taxis. I told me cousin that I’d call my other cousin in hopes that he’d be able to take her home but she declined. That’s when Alfred called and everything went straight to the crapper. I didn’t want to answer but my cousin insisted I did.

“Hello?” I said

“Yeah, where are you?” He questioned.

“Still at the bus stop.”

“You coming?”

“Huh?” I was puzzled.

“I’ll carry her home. Are you coming?”

I moved the phone away from my ear and told my cousin what he said. She eagerly accepted the ride. My stomach was in knots. I never planned on getting into that car. I thought to myself, If I don’t go, he might hurt her and it would be my fault. It hadn’t hit me that I was the one he really wanted and I’d have to take the ride back ALONE with him.

He made it to the bus stop in no time. It was almost like he never left the area where I first saw him and was lurking around stalking us. I got in the front seat and my cousin hopped in the back. When I attempted to close the door, some weird creature stung my finger. First damn sign that entering that car was a bad idea.  Once we were on our way, this man couldn’t stop talking. Yes, MAN! He told us that he was 26 years old. Mind you, he knew our age before we ever got in his car.

For the most part, he kept everything Pg13 while my cousin was in the car. Once she left, I realized what a terrible choice I had made. It finally hit me that I had to take this 25 minute drive alone with some strange man because I didn’t want him to try anything with my cousin. He went from telling me he was a drug dealer to saying he had a gun in his trunk just in case he needed to protect himself because he lived a dangerous life. He went on to ask me if I knew certain girls who went to my school and told me explicit stories about his relations with them. All this girls where younger than I was by about TWO years.

Needless to say, I was very uncomfortable. And when I was just 5 minutes away from home, he asked me if I’d mind if he stopped by his house for something. Like a fool, I said okay. Now, I’m thinking his house was on the way to mine. NOPE! Instead of making a left he drove straight ahead onto a back road, a road I had never taken before. What I didn’t know was that road bypassed my home and if he had gone the normal way he would’ve had to drop me home and drive about 10 minutes to his house. He knew exactly what he was doing.

When we got to his house, he proceeded to recline his chair back. He told me he wanted me to preform oral on him. JUST LIKE THAT! I was horrified and refused. I told him to take me home but he said he would once I did what he asked. He begged and begged. The he got close to me and started to rub my stomach, saying he could imagine putting something in there. Then he began to touch my breast. I was wearing a strapless top and prayed that he wouldn’t take it down. I remember thinking that I had only kissed one person and knew nothing about nothing, now I was alone with someone who was probably planning to force themselves on me.

You know the saying, “Flight or fight?”. I did neither. I froze up like water in the freezer. I was numb. My mind went to a whole other place. Finally, he said he needed to give something to his brother. When his brother opened the door, all I could see was this giant person in the shadows. Alfred was scrawny but his brother was humongous. When they both turned around to look at the car, I wanted to cry. I knew for sure that they would attack me…together. I wanted to run but I couldn’t move. I was frozen with fear. I didn’t know where I was. My cousin called to make sure I was okay because it had been over an hour since we left her house. My phone died in the middle of our conversation. Bad sign…disastrous sign!!

After a few minutes of talking, his brother went back inside and closed the door. Alfred came back inside the car with a big smile on his face and continued trying to pressure me. My mind would start to say, Well, if you just… I rejected the thought of giving in to that perv. I wasn’t about to do it willingly. I told him to take me home. He again said no and that he was taking me somewhere else instead. I started to recognized the area and knew that I was far enough from home that walking would probably take me two hours. He stopped somewhere I had never been. It was on a dirt road surrounded by dead trees. No one would hear me if I screamed. No one one would find my body if he killed me. At that point, I had it in my head that he’d have to kill me before I did anything with him. I even saw my obituary when my life flashed before my eyes. I was scared but came to terms with what might happen next.

He took out his phone and told me even if I tried to call for help, I wouldn’t be able to because there was no reception in that area.

“No service!” He said, as he shoved his phone in my face. He followed it with the most annoying laugh I ever heard. “Haaaaaaaaaaaa! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” He was taunting me.

I stilled refused, then he asked if I wanted to go to a beach called Lagoon. He claimed he wanted to make me comfortable enough to give him what he wanted. Lagoon was about a 30 minute walk to my house, so I agreed. Before I knew what was going on he park the car in a little ditch and told me we weren’t going to Lagoon. He then asked if I thought he was stupid and I only agreed to go because I could walk home from there. He then laughed in my face…again.

At first I wanted to cry then I got pissed. I thought about my father, for whatever reason, and it give me strength. I was so upset. I wanted to hit him, fight him. Wring his skinny little neck until he passed out. I was tired of being afraid, of being mocked. I didn’t care that he could really have a gun in his trunk. I was going to do whatever I had to do if he wasn’t going to let me go. So, I went off on him. I flipped out. He laughed at me again but it was a different type of laugh that time. He said he’d take me home and started up the car again. Of course he didn’t take me home. He said he needed something from his house and when I realized he was going up the hill to his place, I opened up the door to jump out. It made him yell out, “Okay. Okay. I’ll take you home.” He still went up the hill to his house but to turn around.

He asked me where I lived and made sure to drop me a 3-5 minute walk away from my house. He told me I had better delete his number because he deleted mine. He shoved the phone in my face. The list of names started with “Di” but my name starts with a “De” so I knew he didn’t delete it. At that point I didn’t care, I was just happy to get the hell out of that car. I made sure he or anyone else wasn’t following me and walked home.

He kept me hostage for four hours. I got home after 11 pm. My usually paranoid mother never asked me where I was. When I told my sister what happened she was horrified and was glad I made it out alive. I put my phone to charge and immediately put Alfred’s number on the reject list. I called my cousin once my phone had enough battery life and the amount of guilty she felt was obvious. Think it crazy, but I rather that had happened to me than her. I don’t know if she would have had the will to refuse that guy. I don’t know if fear would have made her do something that would have scared her for life.

I never saw him again but he did call me a couple of times months later. I had given my sister my phone and got another one. She deleted all my contacts so naturally, his number was no longer blocked. She actually talked to him for a bit and was going to ask me if it was okay to give him my number. Then it hit her that he was the guy that refused to take me home, not some long time friend checking up on me. She quickly blocked him when I confirmed his number. Freaking creep.

Because of that night, my trust for people has almost completely died. I stopped being so polite. If something doesn’t seem right to me I go with my gut. Only a few people knew this story. My mother doesn’t even know. I was ashamed. I knew better than to get in a strangers car but I did. I didn’t go to the police because I thought I’d be blamed for what happened. It took a long time for me to realize that it wasn’t my fault. I was a child at the mercy of a grown man, who knew better. I sometimes fear that he did the same thing to someone else, someone who gave in. I live with the guilt of wondering if I was his only victim or if I gave him the courage to do it again.  I guess I’ll never know.

It’s really hard for me to even think about what happened to me. I go through all the same emotions. It’s painful to relive. Someone thought it would be comforting to tell me at least I wasn’t raped. That’s like telling a hungry person at least you don’t live in Africa where people are starving. It was a horrifying experience nonetheless! Just talking about it takes a lot of courage.

I hope this story helps someone come forward with theirs. I hope it gives someone strength. I know things could have been worse for me but I’m still here. Never be too trusting. Never think that saying no to someone is disrespectful, especial if something doesn’t seem right. Don’t be ashamed. You could help someone else by speaking out, most importantly, you can help yourself. Talk to your kids about things like this –girls AND boys– so they can stay as safe as possible. It goes beyond saying don’t get in cars with strangers because I heard that all my life and still did it.

Be safe and like always ((HUGS & LOVE))