Your Child’s Mental Health Matters

Growing up Black, children didn’t have permission to have issues. We weren’t allowed to be stressed because how could a child possibly be stressed? We didn’t have to go to a 9-5 everyday, pay bills or support a family. Our “little” struggles in no way compared to what the adults were experiencing.

Growing up, the mental struggles of children were often minimized and dismissed based on the beliefs that they weren’t that serious. The minimizing of my struggles led to my first suicide attempt in 1996. Now, at that time having kids weren’t in the cards for me but once I became parent I vowed to always listen and take into consideration what my children expressed. I vowed to pay attention to the things they said and the things they didn’t say.

As cliche as it sounds, a mother always knows. God gave us a special kind of intuition that allows us to see into the souls of our children. I’ve talked about listening with your heart in a previous blog.

Fact, kids go through things and while they may seem insignificant to you, it’s a big deal to them. In my 40 plus years here on Earth, I’ve learned that we don’t get to tell people how to feel. As adults we’ve developed skills that help us to deal with issues, children are still in the molding stage.

Recently I started doing weekly mental check-ins in our family group chat. I simply text, “Mental health check-in! How y’all doing?” I give them the option of texting me individually in the event that they don’t want to share with everyone.

A few weeks ago my son expressed how school was stressing him out and how life was hard for him in the moment. He felt like he needed a mental health day, which I allowed him. Now, in addition to allowing your children moments to decompress, teaching them how to successfully deal with adversity is even more important. Life ain’t always pretty, and they have to be strong enough to deal with the not so great moments.

I had a conversation with someone recently about today’s generation of children and their inability to deal with hard situations. Can we blame them? I at times feel like we who were raised by “old school” parents have handicapped our children emotionally by trying to NOT be as hard on them as our parents were on us. Well let me speak for myself, I know I’m guilty.

Providing them a safe space that supports their mental health is important. Not making the topic taboo or linking mental health and crazy together is also important. Teaching them to talk about what they’re dealing with while you listen without judgment. The other piece of this is teaching them how to deal with problems and issues. Helping them to understand that life won’t always be favorable.

Here are three easy ways you can help your children with their mental health:

  • Have a conversation about the importance of mental health
  • Weekly check-ins or however often you feel is appropriate.
  • Incorporation of therapy if necessary.

I hope that this helps you to start healthy conversations with your children about their mental health!

Until next time…🦋

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Relationship Realities

What I’ve learned over the last 14 years, in no particular order.

“We were the episode of friends turned lovers.”

We battled with our identity as a same sex couple.

We lived unbalanced in the co-parenting space for quite sometime (and still do somedays) but we make it work.

We successfully defeated the battle of the EX and overcame the loss of friendships.

We held each other down through sickness.

Some days we questioned whether or not this thing would work but we realized that a relationship is a partnership that requires equal parts of give and take.

We navigated our way through unnecessary financial hardships learning that successfully managing finances takes teamwork.

We learned that if you can’t play, laugh and have fun like children, is it even worth it?

We learned that friendship before relationship builds a solid foundation.

We learned that sex is a vital part of a relationship. The necessity of intimacy and continued dating after commitment is important.

We learned that having social lives outside of the relationship is vital to its survival. You need a separate source for recharging so you don’t drain the relationship’s battery.

We learned that moments of disagreement aren’t fatal. In fact, it often leads to healthy communication skills when maturity is involved.

We learned that a relationship absent of trust is not a relationship.

We learned that allowing your significant other to put their cold feet on you to get warm is one of the highest acts of kindness.

We learned that love is the glue that holds it all together. That there is no such thing as a perfect relationship, just two people committed to making it work.

Hot Flashes are From Hell!

Imagine sitting in a meeting and out of no where you feel sweat beads forming on top of your lip while heat begins to fill various parts of your body at a rapid rate! Now all eyes are on you as you grab a piece of paper to quickly craft a makeshift fan.
I’m not talking about your average heat, I’m talking about an internal heat that can’t be extinguished or doused with water. An internal heat the gives you an instant attitude. A heat that makes sweat roll down your back. A heat that makes you feel like naked is the only option. A heat that can make you feel like you’re going to pass all the way out.

Disrespectful heat is what it is. There’s no warning and no quick fix. A year into my 40’s and this was my welcoming gift. I used to laugh at my older friends who complained about hot flashes, laughing and bragging about not being able to relate. I should have kept my mouth closed.
Not familiar with hot flashes? Let’s discuss!
Hot Flashes: heat waves that take over your body, created and managed by satan himself.
Okay, no really, what are they?
Sudden feeling of warmth, usually most intense over the face, neck, and chest, and profuse sweating, commonly due to menopause
Common causes of this symptom
Hot flashes can have causes that aren’t due to underlying disease. Examples include embarrassment, eating hot food, drinking hot drinks, eating spicy food, menopause, or an adrenal rush from a dangerous situation.
It’s not just menopause, but in my case it is, and generally it begins in your 40’s.
Here are a few things that help me:
  • Always have water on hand. Preferably a temperature regulated hydro flask
  • A battery operated hand held fan. Honey let me tell you, lifesaver! They even have fancy ones that can be attached to a water bottle
  • Cold water on the face or cold paper towels/towel on the back of the neck
To my fellow sisters, always remember, “real women don’t have hot flashes, they have power surges”
Until next time…🦋

The Power of Visualization

When you think visualization, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Do you think hocus pocus bs? New age stuff? Well let me explain to you what is is and why I now swear by it!

Visualization: Visualization is the process of putting together visual mental imagery of what you are wanting to manifest. Consequently, you can start to gain emotions associated with the desired image. In simpler terms, creative visualization is where you visualize what you want and experience the emotions or feelings you would have if it were true.

In essence, what you think about, you bring about.

I was introduced to The Secret/Law of Attraction several years ago. Growing up Southern Baptist and super religious, this was crazy talk based on what I’d been taught, but the more I read and the more I studied, the more it made sense. I began comparing what I’d been taught growing up with what I was currently learning and noticed so many similarities! What they were calling The Law of Attraction was what I knew as “speak things as though they were”. What they called meditation, we called prayer and so on and so forth.

Currently in the process of revamping my morning routine and making some overall life changes, I decided to put what I’d learned to use.

My plan, be more intentional about how I spend every minute of my day and what I choose to focus my energy on. This included thinking more positive and practicing visualization to get what I want and get to where I want to be vs focusing on where I am and what I don’t have. This includes doing the actual work. One thing that’s for certain, the mind is an amazing thing! I’ve always been amazed how we can think ourselves sad. Think ourselves to the point of irritation. Allow our thoughts to talk us out of opportunities. If it’s powerful enough for those things, I’m sure it’s capable of the opposite!

I recently rewatched The Secret. No lie, I watch it about once a week, and no, I’m not tired of it. In The Secret they talk about visualization. They say to think about what it is you want and imagine yourself having it, or having that experience. I’ve heard it a million times but this time I heard it differently. It’s almost like that part became louder while everything around me went silent.

In that moment I decided to add it to my morning routine as part of my daily practice.

Now please understand, I am no expert and this is just my experience.

A few weeks ago I began. I’d get in the shower, close my eyes and start visualizing my day. How I wanted it to go. I’d visualize close parking spaces, things I needed, an overall positive experience. At first I felt kind of silly but I continued. Most recent, my girlfriend and I were going out for the day. We had a bunch of errands to run, and it was the weekend. During my morning visualization, I visualized a park in front of every establishment we went to. I kid you not, there was a park in front of every place we went to!

Coincidence, I thought to myself, but I needed to try it again.

Isn’t it funny how we will visualize, pray or ask for something or a sign, then we get it and not believe that’s it? Both hands raised!

That was me in this case. So I decided to try it with something else. I was in need of a 2020 planner. I decided that I’d visualize my new planner. I visualized a pretty pink planner with a pineapple on it. Well, we went to Office Max, walked in, looked around for a bit then headed to the planners. I turned my head and there it was, a beautiful pink planner with a big pineapple on the front. I gasped! Y’all, I was shook and excited! If it works for parking spaces and planners, what else will it work for?

I’ve now made Visualization part of my daily practice! Do you practice visualization? I’d love to hear about your experience!

Before I go…I was hesitant to share with anyone fearing that no one would believe me, or they’d think I was crazy. When I embarked on a more spiritual path I was called crazy. Told that I was being influenced by the devil. Told that I was fake. I’m always amazed at how people will mock, judge or dismiss what they don’t understand or what doesn’t align with their beliefs. I guarantee you, we can all coexist peacefully if we choose to. During this period, I came across this beautiful quote:

Until next time…🦋

Divorce Is Not A Bad Word

A while back I wrote a blog about divorce guilt. I talked about my own experience with guilt after I chose to file for divorce. I recently saw a post where a woman had taken a negative stance on divorce using her religious beliefs as the argument and it got me thinking.
Why is there so much negativity and shame associated with the process of divorce? The obvious reasons, im aware of, but let’s dive a little deeper.
Is it the fear of failure?
Shame?
Religious beliefs?
All of the above?
I too was the person who believed that divorce was one of the ultimate failures and disappointments to God before reaching a point where it was either leave my toxic marriage, or lose my entire mind. When it comes to divorce, it’s not what you envision as the end result when you get married. You don’t stand at that altar thinking, “hmm, one day we’ll get divorced.” That’s not how it works, but reality is, when it comes to the process of divorce, everyone’s views aren’t the same and when you express your desire to file, some people will try to guilt you into staying. Some people will also use scripture to support their argument. Remember, those aren’t your people.
Let me share a story with you, I can remember the point when my marriage was in complete shambles. I’m kind of hesitant to share this story but I hope it helps someone. I had already left mentally and had shared my intentions to file for divorce when one Sunday we were called to the altar. My spouse at the time, and I were called to the altar to have our marriage prayed over. A surprise altar call during a Sunday morning service… I have never in my entire life been so livid during a prayer. I can remember becoming angrier every minute that prayer continued. I can remember being pissed at every damn person who reached their hand towards that altar. My stomach began to hurt. My palms were sweaty. I was holding one of my children and I can remember my grasp tightening.
I didn’t bow my head.
I didn’t hold his hand.
I didn’t close my eyes and I think I may have been cursing in my head. No, I was in fact cursing in my head standing at that sacred altar.
In that moment, I didn’t want prayer to hold together a failing marriage that I no longer wanted to be in, I wanted prayer and support in my decision to leave.
Yes, prayer changes things, but sometimes we can pray for the wrong things. It was that very moment that my thinking began to change.
Dear church folk,
Please stop encouraging people to stay in toxic marriages after they’ve expressed their desire to leave. After they’ve told you they’re unhappy, and after they’ve turned down your offer for counseling and prayer. All in the name of God and your personal and religious beliefs! It’s selfish, and can be dangerous.
Let me be clear, my stance on divorce has no ties to my thoughts on marriage, and maybe one day I’ll talk about my thoughts on marriage.
I’ll end with this. The ability to file for divorce was MY ticket to freedom. The finalization of my divorce was my answered prayer.
Until next time…🦋

2019, A Year of Lessons

Lessons, the best word to describe 2019. Without a doubt 2019 taught me several things about myself, and life in general. It also whooped my ass! You ever go through so much you question God’s intentions? Have to take a real good look at yourself? I literally said to God, “Bruh, I’m good on the lessons! I’m good for at least the next 5 years, easy.”

Here are a few things I learned in 2019:

  • Health is wealth only if you make it a priority
  • You can’t heal what you don’t confront
  • You can do a lot of things, but you can’t do all the things
  • More money won’t fix bad spending habits
  • The life you desire is on the other side of fear.
  • Age is really just a number
  • Parenting is a gift.
  • Saying no to things you hate is an act of self care.
  • Friends are a necessity.
  • A relationship is a partnership.
  • A spiritual foundation is a must.

What lessons did you learn in 2019 that will help you in 2020?

Until next time…🦋

My Thoughts On Kevin Hart’s Documentary

Kevin Hart’s documentary, I want to start this off on a positive note. This man’s work ethic is superhuman. He makes you want to go harder and adopt a “by any means necessary” mentality! I also felt that way after reading his book which, by the way, was brilliant!
Now, the real reason for this blog. After watching the documentary I felt some kind of way when he discussed his infidelity.
“When did cheating became such a forgivable act?”
Cheating, the new acceptable norm. His wife Eniko said I’m about forgiveness. She says, I told him he gets three strikes and this is two. As I listened to this beautiful young woman speak through hurt and tears I hung my head in embarrassment and sadness for her because at one point in time I was that gullible, that silly. I saw the lack of her own personal self worth as she spoke about wanting her son to have the opportunity to grow up with his dad. I don’t speak from a space of what I would do IF it happened to me. I speak from a space of it DID happen to me. I too was that pregnant woman, that new mom who was a victim of infidelity. I know all to well the strong desire to stick it out for the kids, but on the flip side I know how staying can create an indescribable amount of anger, resentment, loss of self esteem and loss of actual self in that process.
Watching the documentary I noticed that there was a lack of accountability on Kevin’s part when it came to his cheating. I also noticed that no one in his camp held him accountable. From his friends, “we weren’t there to watch him, to tap him on the shoulder and say nigga what you doing?” Why on earth would a grown ass man need babysitters? Why would his behavior need to be monitored? What does this say? To me it says that this behavior is normal. The camera was placed in the room because that individual knew something was going to happen. Kevin Hart putting into a comedy routine what he tried to hide is NOT showing accountability, it’s a forced admission of guilt. He seemed more hurt and upset at the possibility of it being a long time friend exposing him, then he was publicly humiliating his pregnant wife! It truly makes my blood boil.
Hear me when I say, there is no amount of money, private jets, lavished vacations, long D or forced public apologies that would make me stay. Hell, I left broke.
I don’t think individuals think of how cheating impacts not only their spouse or significant others, but several others. In Kevin’s case, because of his celebrity status, his stupidity was shown around the world through channels that even his children had access to. I can remember seeing the tweets of people talking reckless about Eniko. Paparazzi all in her face asking about his infidelity, if she knew the girl, all while being super pregnant. Do people know how hard pregnancy can be without any drama? I can’t even imagine the level of sadness and humiliation this young woman had to endure.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, one does not accidentally cheat. Cheating is a choice. One chooses to dishonor their vows, spouse or significant other by stepping outside of the relationship. Also, cheating isn’t always physical but when it is, one doesn’t accidentally fall into some pussy the same way one doesn’t just slip and land on a dick. They CHOOSE to.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re being cheated on and are unsure of what you should do, know that you don’t have to stay if you don’t want to. Know that, if you leave your children will be okay. Know that God won’t love you any less (because some folks will try to guilt you into staying with “the word”). Know that you’re worth more than someone CHOOSING to step out on the marriage or relationship.
Until next time…🦋

We need more Dwyane Wades | Lesbian & Black

I recently watched Dwyane Wade’s interview on Showtimes All The Smoke podcast where he speaks very candidly about his youngest child coming out.
A quick disclaimer, this blog is NOT for the close minded individual, so if the topic of homosexuality makes you uncomfortable, stop reading here.
Homosexuality, such a controversial topic in several communities, especially the black and Christian communities both of which I can relate to.
When I came across Dwyane Wade’s interview on All The Smoke it made me reflect on my own coming out experience. When it comes to my sexual orientation, it isn’t what defines me, however it is a big part of who I am.
Identifying as Lesbian in the black Christian community has been both uncomfortable and unwelcoming and on the flip side, I’ve honestly never seen a higher population of closeted human beings in my life and the funny thing is, everybody knows and everybody is talking.
I shared my coming out story in a YouTube video, link here https://youtu.be/MwXfLrlwtZQ and I wrote a blog titled, “My Gayness Won’t Make You Less Christian”. Here’s the link to the blog https://talkingallthatjaz.net/2018/04/11/my-gayness-wont-make-you-less-christian/ In that blog I talk about my own unique experiences as it relates to being gay in the Christian community. (Check them out!)
100% of the parents I’ve ever spoken to, who have had children come out always tell the same story. That story, “I could see it when they were young”. We’re not talking 10 or 12 young, were talking 3 or 4 young. I’ll let you guys chew on that for a moment. The story Dwyane Wade shares is no different. He says that when his son was around 3 he noticed that he wasn’t on the boy vibe like his other sons. Now here is where it got interesting for me listening to his observation as a black man because in my opinion black men are by far some of the most homophobic individuals I’ve ever encountered. Black men/fathers absolutely shudder at the tiniest “gay like” tendencies in little boys and other black men. Not all but a big population.
“You ain’t go be no punk”. “Stop acting like a little girl.” “Man up!”. “Stop acting like a sissy”. “I’d be pissed if my kid turned out gay.” I’ve heard them all and I bet a lot of you have too. Sorry to disappoint you, those tactics won’t make the gay disappear. What it will do though, is teach them to be gay in private and suffer in silence. I speak from experience.
Dwyane Wade speaks about struggling at first, but how he chose to love his child through this very difficult process by educating himself. Not demean, not belittle, not shun, not mock, nor tear down. He says his child is stronger than he’ll ever be. Truth is, the bullying often begins at home. Fact is, we fear what we don’t understand and dismiss what doesn’t align with our belief system…but what if?
I’ve lost friends both old and new. I often encounter the what used to be friendly conversations between girls which turn into friendly reminders of their heterosexuality. I choose my comments carefully as not to make certain individuals uncomfortable. “Sis, my sexual orientation doesn’t mean I want you” (insert hard ass eye roll). Im still astounded at the number of absent minded individuals who only associate “gay” with perversion and or sex.
I can only imagine how different my life would have been if I had a Dwyane Wade. How different the countless numbers of other children’s lives would be and would have been if they too had a Dwyane Wade. I can imagine how many children could have avoided debilitating depression and even suicide.
I encourage parents out there, if you have a child that you suspect may be gay or is gay, love them beyond your limited beliefs. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. They need you. They need your love. They need your support. I applaud Dwyane Wade. I admire Zion’s courage! It’s truly inspiring and heartwarming!
I hope this blog helps someone to consider another way. I’m always open to respectful dialogue. Perhaps my story and experiences can help you navigate through your own journey with a child or a loved one. I’m here if you need me.
Here’s a link to the interview. He talks about his son around the 30 minute mark if you want to fast forward.
https://youtu.be/qqwBZqndDUg
Until next time…🦋