Emotions, forgiveness, Healing, Relationships, Spiritual Relationship, Teenage Girls, therapy, Women, Young girls

Remain conscious of your BUT

I vividly recall my session. It was day 3 after I found my new counselor. The person I had looked for when I began calling a list of individual & family therapists who would meet my standards was exciting, overwhelming, scary, promising, yet fearful.


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She knew I’d be a handful when I initially called her, outlining exactly what I needed for my emotional-mental therapy! “Are you African American; are you older than 50 and are you credentialed in family therapy?” were the questions asked of her. “Yes, I am, but why?” I continued to explain that my personal issues directly stem from systemic patterns in the black community that negatively impacts relationships I have with loved ones, inadvertently affecting friendships.

I had reached a point of lethargy! The intersection of what to do + where to go was too confusing for me to navigate. After all these years I had finally run out of tools and resources on this solo ride to self-healing. A plateau. I needed professional, clinical intervention but not at the hands of a novice.

Mental Health Therapy

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

She needed to know the depth of my hurt and wounds without being coached. I had to have someone who could not only relate, but look me eye-to-eye and break through my guarded heart and passive-agressive assertions to see my bullshit. This professional had to also be a ‘she’ because I know that effective empathy + combined wit + careful delivery would give me a safe space to talk. This was vitally important because I am particularly known to shut off emotions and recoil when I feel attacked – a place where only my dad understands.

“At the time, it seemed clear to me that any between-sex differences in thinking abilities were due to socialization practices, artifacts and mistakes in the research, and bias and prejudice. … After reviewing a pile of journal articles that stood several feet high and numerous books and book chapters that dwarfed the stack of journal articles … I changed my mind.”   Diane Halpern, PhD

Dr. King is and has been my safe haven. Her teachings, techniques, discernment, communication style, presence, aura, spirit, strategies, methodology and various specialities have traveled a 35+ year journey from the academia, turned clinical sector with awe-inspiring accolades. When she told me that I needed to hear the BUT behind every explanation I knew there was an incredible breakthrough on my end. Not only did I hear her explain the importance of why, I also understand how effective communication is discounted when we are unable to remove our BUT from conversations!

Think outside box

Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

About a month ago Dr. King said to me, and I paraphrase: “Felita, listening to the BUT when a person is explaining themselves will allow you to visualize, listen, have access to, witness and perceive their mindset about a subject issue, which will give you both an opportunity to clear up and potentially resolve any misunderstandings you would never know otherwise.”  This was the best advice I had received in a while, as it reminds me of instruction I received years ago about my writing, which is ‘the best way to notice your errors in writing is to read your sentences backwards because the pace is slower in the backwards direction.’

Today, removing the BUT allows me to sit in the present; to hear and stand witness to a person’s heart amidst their explanation of what they believe they’ve heard about our conversation that may be confusing to them. I remember removing my teenager’s rights to use her bathroom until she was tidy enough to maintain her own, and while she began to explain her point of view – I interrupted her at “BUT, mommy” — I later learned that she needed to know more about the why. We concluded that our definitions of tidy differed, and my inferences were confusing instead of helpful.

Thank you Dr. King for inspiring and teaching me to become a better me! The words that follow ‘BUT’ will be heard before I speak further; I will also commit with a thoughtful mindset. I promise to remain conscious of my ‘BUT’ so that others may also heal because words unheard are feelings unexplained. The takeaway – communication should be fluid, unambiguous, simple, sincere, gentle, kind and delivered with empathy. I get it — we all fall short, however, speaking in our present state will allow us to exercise care and attention for a created platform that is safe for all to share a seat at the table.





Black Grandmothers, black mothers, Daughters, Emotions, Relationships, Teenage Girls, Teenager mothers, Women, Young girls

Three Little Black Girls

I wish to friend, understand and play with the little girls who came before me. I want to know what they dreamed of when they didn’t have to concern themselves with anything except to play, laugh and love without expectations and instructions. What were the secrets in their hearts? Were they happy or unhappy, and how so? Did each of these little girls have someone who often hugged them, reassuring that ‘All would be okay?’ Did they feel beautiful or empty inside? Did they feel alone or cold, particularly in the company of others? Were they permitted to speak without being accused of ‘talking back,’ or were they told to ‘hush’ because they did not have the permission to voice their emotions?

cropped-torrie_ocean3.jpgThe aforesaid questions are sketched in my heart and although my maternal grandmother’s story remains untold, the remaining two girls, i.e. me and my mommy still have a chance to accept each other just where we are in life – fully flawed – and to possibly understand the heart of both girls whose first-male love (their fathers) were distant. Mom, the youngest of three, was brought up as a lone-spoiled child who was parented by a mother that regularly overcompensated because working full-time came first. Hence, mom gained materially but lacked proper nurturing such as the time when adamantly told to never return home with kids in tow with no husband but never explained what, how and why that was important.

Grant it, the desire of most parents is for their offspring to marry before having kids, however, the communication of these critical messages is more effective with explanations instead of demands so to teach healthy discussions instead of negative reactions. Just imagine how the curious mind of a teenager processes what not to do instead of what because of feared energy. We’ve all been there when asked not to do this or that but still questioning why not. If parents could only be mindful about how “the hurried pace of today’s society can be an obstacle to effective discipline” we’d invite more personalized ways of parenting for the betterment of child development for our family.

Now think of questions that are never asked of a daughter, or a child, to their mother because fright exist. When this happens the learn to understand or the ask to become empowered is suppressed unless there is an invite to share personal thoughts in a safe place. Hence, our homes must be that safe-haven, the place where intimate thoughts can be exchanged in a healthy way that promotes awareness, careful deliverance, love and affection  so that conversations with our kids aren’t viewed as directives but rather advice about how to handle certain situations.

Parenting from a place of fear delivers fear. Loving from a place of hurt delivers hurt. And communicating from a place of anger results in one’s inability to handle discourse in a positive way because rarely does anything happen from a place of hurt or harm, unless there is healing. Explained a different way means if a hurt person wants to truly bless another without constraint s/he will give, but with reservation because subconsciously and hesitantly, their instincts about what negatively affected them has a more lasting impact than any positive incident.

Parenting from Distance_HotSpringsLake

Need more convincing? Take a moment to think about a personal situation that impacted you so greatly that you now flinch at the sight of either seeing, smelling or talking about it. It could be anything from witnessing a robbery gone bad or the attack on the World Trade Center. Okay, now think about the person you were before these events occurred! My point exactly. Unquestionably, your disposition before these events are altered by the negative-emotional load you now carry today. Hence, the robbery, albeit, or the 911 attack is forever sketched as a recall about how to prevent or react should anything similarly revisit.

Lone_BlackGirl_LayingonMelon.jpgHence, there is a lesson to be learned about styles of parenting. Parents will either take on the same patterns of how we were parented, or we will unlearn to relearn other techniques for a different outcome. Nonetheless, my mission is to better know the little girl given to me before she was labeled mom so that shared fears of the little girl who lives in me sees her as a friend who desires to be understood, loved and embraced as the imperfect person who did the best she could to parent with the deposits of maternal love passed forward, despite its monetary value.

Black Women Need Their Mothers More Than Realized!  – Sunshine

black mothers, Daughters, Emotions, Fathers, Relationships, Young girls

These 3 Words…

mom_daughter_at oddsGood Morning! I. Love. You.

These three words are often exchanged on the phone between me and my dear father. As he rises each morning I am certain that he keeps me in prayer, as he has done for many years. This is a practice I also reciprocate! Hence, God tapped me on the shoulder one day and whispered that I should text him more often to share this same greeting; but, my mother also needs to hear I.Love.You more often because she is the person I have emotionally missed for many years because of our differences and our inability to communicate with each other.

Additionally, my close friend, turned fiance who has three sons and one daughter, once told me that a little girl’s first love is her dad. This statement is so accurate, as I am told to be my father’s female version. In contrast, the same cannot be said, or isn’t regularly voiced when speaking about the relationship a daughter has with her mother. Ahem. With that said, I do speak of my mother with similar endearment because she was, and still remains my first role model, although communicating this to her is so challenging – most of my time is spent defending myself from her unconscious belief of my taking advantage of her guarded heart.

So, until she believes otherwise, I will continue to write with hopes of meeting her there! If she only knew! One day, though … One day.

Antebellum Era, Black Grandmothers, black mothers, Daughters, Emotions, Relationships, Young girls

Three Little Black Girls

I wish to friend, understand and play with the little girls who came before me. I want to know what they dreamed of when they didn’t have to concern themselves with anything except to play, laugh and love without expectations and instructions. What were the secrets in their hearts? Were they happy or unhappy, and how so? Did each of these little girls have someone who often hugged them, reassuring that ‘All would be okay?’ Did they feel beautiful or empty inside? Did they feel alone or cold, particularly in the company of others? Were they permitted to speak without being accused of ‘talking back,’ or were they told to ‘hush’ because they did not have the permission to voice their emotions?

– Book excerpt from a section, titled ‘Three Little Black Girls,’ as the author explains the distant relationship between she, her mother and maternal grandmother.

Daughters, Emotions, Fathers, Relationships, Self Esteem, Teenage Females, Teenage Girls, Teenager mothers, Valentine Day, Young girls

My reciprocated partner

Happy Valentine Day!

On a day like today, i.e. the romantic-commercial holiday of exchanging and expressing love gestures to signify the appreciation we have for our partners and loved ones, don’t forget to keep the flame burning in your relationship. Whether you’ve found it already, still looking for that desirable match or are choosing to love on self because you need more ‘me’ time, be mindful of the gesture instead of its monetary gain or the public notoriety of receiving. Last year I wrote an article, titled Flowers and Chocolate where the giver of my gift was acknowledged for the Gesture of giving. I was grateful because the sender lifted my spirits insomuch the deliverance of joy was received at a time in my life when there were more downs than ups. Hence, his gesture of buying and ordering the deliverance of flowers and chocolate dispelled all self negativity.

Hence, today is unlike that day and now is a different situation because I am no longer in a committed relationship. I have thereby graduated to a stage in my life where the gesture of receiving is less valued than the act of giving. I will continue to usher more importance to the reciprocated practices of my very own Valentine who quickly forgives me when I make parental mistakes, compliments me when I feel low, lifts me when I am exhausted, reads to me when I need to hear an inspiring story and values our conversations during the slow-dance lessons on days when I will grab her hand to share the significance of ‘loving on self’ and why so. This person is my ultimate gift, my protege, my forever love, my darling, my Sweetheart, my shoulder when I am tired, my napkin when I weep and my partner who will sit across from me to work on her assignments when I also have work to do. She is my daughter and today is my day to make sure she continues to understand the essence of love, the act of giving and the significance of ‘marry to date’ so that flames in her future relationships are fueled with passion and substance.

Mommy and daughter

Enjoy your V-Day!



Daughters, Emotions, Fathers, Relationships, Teenage Females, Teenage Girls, Young girls

The Apology that Mattered. A House is not a Home.

A House is not a Home.

A house is a structure that includes different participants with dissimilar objectives. Each entity has a different focus and goal that is notarized and projected. The members in the house will behave in an agreed upon manner insofar of guidelines but each person has a different direction or objective to accomplish that, when given an opportunity, may lead to enticed conduct, e.g. stealing from one another, inflicting harm upon another, cheating or moving on to the next available offer. Further, the house members will enter and exit as they please because whatever laws that produce civilized conduct will be breached and persons will ultimately succumb to individual propensities, such as biases and judgments. Later, the ambiance in a house will fluctuate and grow uncomfortable, sometimes so unsuitable that it greets excessive admittances, produces high attrition, and invites intolerable demeanor and ultimate distrust.

In contrast, the home is a feeling (ambiance) that provides, produces and breeds tranquility. The cohesion and union cannot suitably occur without accordance. Certain things must be in place for a home to mature because it requires clarity, time, patience, tolerance, management, calm, a certain temperament, active collaboration and proactive teaching. Metaphorically, each member is a fiber that adds to the value of a finished product. The difference can be witnessed with the role of a project manager (PM) who is assigned to lead a group of 5, which was our household size before my parents divorced. The PM will wear many hats because he is the appointed overseer who will allocate funds, deliver assigned tasks, disseminate materials and issue project deadlines to name a few. Thus, I equate the PM to the head of the home; the father who is further designated to answer questions and provide clarity with the goal of delivering a finished-quality product.

The Apology that Mattered

love-daughter-dad-quoteClarifying these two distinctions lends itself to a question about the modern marriages compared to what I will call contemporary unions today. Shortly after sharing my most intimate post yet, titled “Sharing my Personal Scar” I received a phone call from my dear father. I will preface this to say that my dad has become my best male friend. He was overly apologetic and emotionally moved to learn that I had not reached out to him at a time of need. The content of my recent blog lends itself to a lot of speculations about the quality of parenting I and my brothers received when we were young; hence, I point the blame at no one because I attribute my parent’s parenting styles to that of which was passed on to them, i.e. adopted practices that were observed and illustrated in what I describe as the house where the parental figure was absent.

Conversely, I wonder if my grandparent’s decision to withhold facts about what they knew of their predecessors deprived my parents of an opportunity to predict and monitor certain tendencies that were imparted? Today I know the spoiled- rotten-little girl, who was left to self-parent because her older siblings were creating lives of their own, did the best she could to take care of house while her mother worked odd hours as a private-duty nurse, is the mother who parented us to the best of her ability. I also know the young man who pursued her because he wanted to be the paternal example that was absent in his life was improperly coached on chivalry and dating etiquette. Hence, both teenagers made conscious decisions to marry and create a nuclear family.

 “The future of every generation lies in its progeny.  Prepared or, unready they are the unwitting guarantors of familial memory, living time capsules filled with stories that define and sculpt family identity, culture and history.  All of us are both mirrors and windows reflecting what has been and apertures allowing a brief and narrow look into the limitless potentialities of what can be.”

Dr. Joy DeGruy

Systemic Practices

Dr. DeGruy alludes to the practice of inheritance. Whether it is knowledge bestowed upon us, experiences lived in the footprints of those we follow or the psychological incapacity of discernment, we essentially become what we may want to disown. Having said that, I see the authoritative, stoic, guarded, independent and covert habitudes that were instilled in me from my maternal upbringing that contradicts my paternal traits of balance, candor, transparency and objectivity to name a few. However, I also know that a lot of my characteristics were acquired along the way through my exposure to others and their experiences.

“In families where the father’s interaction with the children is limited because of marital statuses, he still has an effect on the children—but to a lesser extent. The roles of the father figure are assumed by male relatives, partners of the mother who live in the home, and by extended family helping networks (McAdoo, 1996).”

Excerpt from the Michigan Family Review. Section, titled The Child Socialization Role

For instance, writing and sharing my Personal Nuggets are necessary not inasmuch for personal healing but for others who are also reserved about why the black family is prone to systemic practices that seem challenging to overcome. For instance, if we were to poll children of divorce parents in the black community and ask them questions about their experience each person may have a different outcome; however, the common theme and take away may convey a degree of self-blame in their parent’s decision to live separately. Thus, my childhood history resembles other children that are now caught in the crossfires of a ‘tug of war’ between parents who have become fierce opponents. Accordingly, has the home structure that many black fathers desire been unreported?  Is the black man stigmatized by the mainstream media as deadbeats and uncaring?

There is supportive research that highlights the positive image of black males, who are willingly and actively involved in their kids’ lives, as was our father. Yet, for reasons I will write about later, both parents were subjected to unhealthy conditions that compelled him to leave when I was 10. Subsequently, his efforts to constructively co-parent and the attempts to remain in contact grew challenging as years passed. What I didn’t understand then I absolutely understand and agree to today. So, although the intentions of creating a home instead of that ‘house’ environment may be short-lived, our relationships with the comprised members don’t have to be. It is possible to maintain contact with our loved ones, albeit a grandmother or the village that reared us. And it is further possible to open our hearts to misunderstandings and disagreements. Today I thank my dad for the apology that matters because I am now receptive to hearing and receiving without reservation because he was the ‘Head of our Home’ and has accepted fault.

Note: This is dedicated to my Father.

Abortion, Abortion Clinics, Teenage Females, Teenage Girls, Teenage Pregnancy, Teenager mothers, Unwanted Children, Young girls

Sharing my Personal Scar

I seek no pity, yet request a silent prayer as you read this post because each thread of my human fiber remains deeply affected and permanently damaged by the choices I made at age 16 and 17. To lift my fingers and write what has been on my heart for years and to give voice to my experience is a step towards my healing. I can no longer hide from the truth of my scarred life because each time I attempt to mentally and emotionally isolate myself I am reminded of how a 20-minute procedure has forever affected the way I view myself.

Looking back, I must have hated myself and my life as a teenager. I lived a life of little hope, grave desperation and blinded guidance as a teen, who yearned the attention of both my parents but instead received it from a 26-year old who profiled me through mutual friends. I remember that one photo, highlighted in the ‘View Finder,’ section of the local newspaper that attracted him to me. It was labeled a ‘Sweet-Sixteen’ shot that precisely captured my freshly permed hairdo, red lipstick and green contacts. I was feeling radiant on this day, yet unprepared for the popularity that subsequently followed.

As with any young teen who had recently experienced pubescence, I was ‘feeling’ myself in my small town. It was a sunny, nice day when me and my girlfriends decided to go to Caldwell Park. Cars were lined up, music booming, and everyone was dressed in what appeared to be their Sunday Best. And I was no exception! Although I forget what I wore on that day, I could sense that he was staring me up and down with his hazel eyes, which was shortly confirmed when my girlfriend left his car to deliver the news that he was highly interested. I was immediately flattered but showed no emotions because I knew that he was much older than boys I previously dated.

I never asked his age while we dated and frankly, it did not matter because I thought he has exactly what I needed – good conversation, independence, a great job, his own apartment, a nice car and an inconspicuous reputation. Conversely, it wasn’t soon after getting acquainted that he and I grew closely attracted, i.e. talking to and seeing each other almost every day. Infatuated with this gentleness, particularly when we assertively pursued one another each night, he calling from his car phone in the Toyota Supra that waited for me to exit my bedroom window, he maintained a private lifestyle. His privacy is what drew me closer insomuch that I never wanted anyone to know that I was dating someone much older.

There were many nights, including weekdays, when I excitedly waited for the phone to ring in hopes of another rendezvous. Equally, I slowly felt myself drifting away from my small social environment and my school grades were a distant focus. I was physically present in most classes, but emotionally distant. I thought of him often, wondering where and what he was doing when I had to go to school. I was maturing way too quickly but had no clue how to control my emotions for a guy who cared less about my well-being. It was way too late for me to realize that I was just a warm body at night and a piece of convenient @$$ when his schedule permitted.

Mature Physique. Immature Actions.

I should have known because he was precise with almost everything. The phone calls happened at the same time each night when he wanted to spend time with me instead of his long-term girlfriend who had no idea about us. However, I promptly received a quick lesson in what I now call Relationship 101 when I stood there in confusion and fear on the day I told him that I was pregnant. What? I remember the words up to this day – “I will give you money to take care of it.” I was completely confused and asked, “what do you mean, take care of it.”

My heart dropped. All hope was completely lost. I was totally afraid, alone and left with no choice (or so it seemed). How could this happen, is what I asked myself? What the hell did I get myself into and how do I tell my mother and what will my father think of me? I felt absent from my body and abandoned by ‘the’ person who I thought loved me unconditionally. A few hours had passed before the phone rang after he abruptly dropped me off at the house. “What are you going to do and when” were the questions being tossed at me – one minute after another.

I knew of no one to turn to aside from my older female cousins who both provided their emotional support even after learning I was told to terminate the pregnancy. My mind was scattered, thinking about where my support system was beforehand. I recall thinking one thing, while my body was telling me something different. It was awful and horrifying and his actions, threats, calls and persistence prevailed. It took him no time to give me the money and when he did, he made sure that I called him to report the results.

For years I harbored suicidal thoughts. The year was 1992 when I asked God to take my life in punishment for refusing to parent at such a young age. He gave me two chances to parent and I disobeyed. After the first termination I accidentally bathed against doctor orders and I am positively sure (until today) that that was the day I became infertile. Blood was everywhere, while excruciating pain came over me like a ton of bricks. I had never, ever experience that type of pain. Doctors are very particular about the ‘do’s and don’ts’ after an abortion.

On the list of what not to do because of the dangerous side effects is to “not sit in water (e.g., take a bath), douche, or use any medication in or for your vagina” – only shower. Persons are further asked to keep away from the use of tampons and refrain from “swimming in pools” and “bathing in hot tubs or jacuzzis.” I am sure these warnings were clearly shared with me along with handed literature about safety and health tips, but all memory was lost when I arrived home after the procedure. I physically felt empty and invaded. I wanted little to do with life, particularly after my second termination but – somehow in some odd way – I kept on existing.

Until this day I am disgusted by my experiences because it was less than six months later when I became pregnant again, succumbing to the same outcome. The second pregnancy occurred with a different person who I openly invited for reasons that I cannot explain, aside from feeling empty and so desperately wanted. He and I hardly knew one another and when he found out I was pregnant, he and his mother called me to share that I must terminate. They each wanted nothing to do with the pregnancy and I was fearful of the constant calls. After the second procedure, which severely scarred my ovaries, I was numb about not having a voice and knew that God had finally disowned me as His child.

Today I am a witness to how your life will forever change when impulsive decisions are made. God clearly wasn’t happy with me then and He hasn’t been ever since, although I believe my sins are forgiven. I was 17, looking young, yet feeling like a mid-20-year-old who had experienced a life-time of events. My body was physically tired and my emotions where scattered all over the place. I felt used, washed up and forgotten about. It was 1988 and next year I graduated high school. Somehow, someway, I made it through the tumultuous year. Frankly, I was surprised that I managed to keep my grades up to graduate on time. I had survived, literally, two life-threatening events and few people knew about it.

After my first termination I remember returning to school and continuing my normal events like nothing major in my life had changed. I believe I told the mutual friend about the first procedure, but I cannot recall her reaction nor comment. The silence I received from the few persons who knew about what happened should have spoken to me, but I was senseless to the whole process and series of events, which was very troubling. I wish then I knew what I know now! Before I became pregnant I was once a loving person who felt things; was somewhat emotionally healthy and naive to how things worked in the real world.

Ahem! Maybe I should rephrase the last sentence to say that my heart beat was a healthy one because it is apparent that I was not emotionally healthy through the ordeals, nor did I think much of my body and self-worth. There are many days and nights that I ask myself ‘why’ and ‘where’ did I go wrong in seeing the value in others but not within myself. Why did I feel that my voice, feelings, desires and wants meant nothing? I clearly had choices, but chose not to listen to my heart but the sentiments and demands of others. Why did I diminish my self-worth by putting a high price on those of others? What the hell went wrong that, at the age 16 and 17, I felt nothing inside me that spoke to how wrong decisions were with the choices that I had made?

I wanted so much to speak to and cry out to someone who would understand, but I trusted no one. The only three people who knew my true worth and provided sound advice were my older brother and two older female cousins. My brother was supportive as much as he could while also dealing with his own personal matters. One female cousin supported me the best she could by providing consolation and advice about how wrong decisions in life can have a positive learning experience. Of course, I did not understand her words then as much as I do now. My other female cousin, who is the oldest of us all, gave me housing, food and clothing when I needed it most. Subsequently, all three supporters were finally told who the older guy was that impregnated me first and neither were happy to learn that his identity was nearly 10 years my senior.

 “Accepting what is instead of resisting frees you up to change.”

– Josie Kelly M.F.T.

It took two major-life changing events, a tumultuous relationship that involved physical abuse from a guy that I dated for 2 years when I worked for a company in NJ and other suicidal thoughts that paused my life and lead to a Complete 180! The year was 1993. Before accepting my aunt’s offer to visit and potentially live in MD for a life-changing overhaul, I prayed to God for forgiveness, asking for grace, favor and mercy for all my transgressions. I further asked Him for a second chance at life to correct and make right what I had wronged. There were many days and nights of prayer, but there is this one time when I clearly heard Him say that ‘experiencing another pregnancy will gravely cost me.’ That was the closest I had come to God’s voice and decided that I would do whatever I could to keep my promise and make conscious decisions about the precious life He gave me.

The common adage we regularly hear in the Christian faith that reads “… more than I deserve” could not be more relevant to what I have and continue to experience because of my actions at such a young age.

Again, the choice to parent as a teenager was that of my own, as was the decision to refuse. My kids would have been in their late 20s today. I will forever be haunted, affected and emotionally scarred in my many roles as a sister, daughter, aunt, female, woman, mother, niece and granddaughter. However, I know that our God is a great God! He reminds me every day of how a 20-minute procedure (twice) will have a life-long affect each time I see pictures of young adults in their late 20s and early 30s whose mother gave them life! The pill I swallow each day when I think of what happened years ago chokes me up, and then I am reminded that I have a major role to play to ensure that no one should ever experience what I endured.

I love differently than I used to and my sexual life isn’t as healthy as I would like. Today I question everything about myself and subconsciously wonder if I am being taken advantage of by men. The way I love myself is different. Sometimes I wonder if I am deserving of the things and blessings that are bestowed upon me.

Don’t ever criticize yourself. Don’t go around all day long thinking, ‘I’m unattractive, I’m slow, I’m not as smart as my brother.’ God wasn’t having a bad day when he made you… If you don’t love yourself in the right way, you can’t love your neighbour. You can’t be as good as you are supposed to be.”

– Joel Osteen

The 180 that Mattered

In 1994 I visited my aunt and late cousin where a few weeks at their home resulted in permanent living quarters in the Mid-Atlantic region. The complete 180 happened outside of my state of NC in a place that was literally foreign to me. A culture shock is how I will describe it! Public transportation was offered, diversity was on the rise, jobs were plentiful and everything and everyone moved fast as if there was always somewhere urgent to be or someone urgent to see, respectively.

I found a job at a local theatre in no time. My cousin showed me the ropes and schooled me on how to ride public transportation to and from the city. We lived in Silver Spring (SS) MD, a city 24 minutes from Washington DC. Mostly I was reserved about my new area because I was unaware of what to do when and how to maneuver around the city. Yet, when I had doubts, my cousin was there to help me transition. That cousin of mine was the real deal and I miss her so much. Life happened in SS and my job at the movie theatre was short-lived to about 6 weeks when I subsequently accepted a receptionist position at a law firm in White Oak, a nearby unincorporated neighborhood. Unbeknownst to my aunt, MD became my place of refuge, hypothetically and it was the place where I would find my husband of 16.5 years and ultimately create a multi-cultural family.

Fast forward: my new male friend who had migrated to the United States 2 years ago became my husband after our 4-month friendship. Today my mental and emotional condition speaks volumes to where I was some 24 years ago when I met my former husband at age 23. Supposedly I had self-healed, was convinced that a physical move from NC would psychologically repair the severed life I created some 400 miles away. It was like I had traveled across state with torn luggage, unpacked midway, and put on new clothes before I reached my destination in hopes that I could masquerade around in an healthy soul. Accordingly, I loaded every fiber of me on that bus from NC to MD factually unaware that my messy flesh would further hemorrhage.

Remember that voice I told you I heard when God clearly spoke to me, i.e. another chance at motherhood? He spoke after several unsuccessful attempts at natural conception when I prayed to Him. Our preteen daughter is the ultimate gift that happened to me and my then husband! We are grateful to God, the many prayer warriors and a village of emotional supporters for our baby girl. I finally decided to publish this blog for reasons that support my present motherhood. When I look at my child today in our many chats about pubescence, I cannot honestly speak from the heart unless I am cleansed of my wrongdoings. Have I told her what happened to me when I was only 5 years older than she is now? No. Will I? Most likely when it is age appropriate unless she reads it here first. Why? Because she, as do others, can benefit from my testimony.

Where is my emotional condition today? God has delivered me but I am forever reminded of my decisions. Do I live in the past? No, but I am cognizant about how my past influences my relationships, particularly, with men. I regularly talk to God and not just on bending knees. He and I talk as I commute to work, before I write and publish a post / blog, before I eat, when I parent, and the list continues. I confessed to be a sinner many years ago and my relationship with Him is improving now that I am finally seeking therapy.

Please continue to pray my strength in Him, as I work to obey His instructions, follow His deliverance and seek His guidance in every path that I cross. Today I am at peace that this story is going public because I pray that for all who read, reserve judgment. My soul is now delivered from the multiple threats from that one person who said she’d go public with my story if my book on PA was published. She wanted the first voice, yet God has given me strength to share.

One last thing! Please keep an open heart to receive the words of all teenage mothers for reasons that are multiple.