Something Just Ain’t Right

Questioning my faith.

I think every religious and spiritual person questions their faith and what they believe in. It happens. You think you believe something until a moment makes you question everything you’ve ever known. Sometimes it makes people do away with religion altogether, sometimes it makes people change religions, sometimes it makes others become more secure in their beliefs.

I’m starting to wonder if I was told a lie all my life.

Yesterday, I was out with Bear during our weekly Target run. As we were leaving a store, I was approached by a so-called medium who spotted my “aura.” (She claimed it was so bright, she had to approach me…which is different from what she eventually told me…)

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So, with a complimentary private reading, it started off decent enough. She told me I had a rather hard four years (and she’s right) and while I had an overall good life, I also had a lot of battles (which is also right). She said I was a rather strong individual until something happened and it shook my core, which is correct. Losing a child will fuck up the strongest individual. Even Mike Tyson said he has never been the same.

Then, it went awry from there. She proceeded to tell me everything that was wrong in my life and that someone put a hex on me and that was why I lost Ethan (I’m not the type to blow up or curse anyone out so if I seem calm, that’s why). First she said Ethan’s soul was in limbo (not in heaven, but not in hell) but then she said he was in Bear’s body. Well, bitch, which one is it? Is he in limbo or is in my new son?

Then she was like, ‘Your son was healthy and alive in your womb.’ Well, no shit, Sherlock! I know exactly how my son died and what role my body played in it. She made it seem like I had a still birth but I didn’t. Ethan was born alive.

She then asked if I was in the medical field, because I had such a caring nature but anyone who personally knows me, know I can’t stand the sight of blood. Hell, I can’t stand the sight of my¬†blood and I hate needles with a passion (which is why I only have three tattoos and slow to work on my sleeve). She then said I need to have a evil cleansing session to rid myself of all of the evil in my life.

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I abruptly ended the session because Bear was getting antsy and I was just tired of someone telling me what was wrong in my life. People are so quick to tell you what’s wrong but not telling you what you’re doing right. Go figure.

I’ve always believed in mediums and clairvoyants. I do believe there are those who have a gift and can truly help others. I also believe those do not use their gifts for profits. For a long while, I was contemplating seeing one because I wanted to talk to Ethan and see how he’s doing in heaven.

But now my faith is shaken. Obviously, that lady was full of shit but now I’m wondering does heaven and hell exist? Does God exist? Is something I was taught all my life really just a crock of shit?

I listen to Joel Osteen’s podcast every week and he’s my favorite pastor. I honestly feel he speaks to me whenever he preaches. Now I’m not sure if I want to listen to what he has to say. Is he another charlatan? Are all of them?

I don’t know what to believe anymore. What a way to start 2016, huh? ūüė¶

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I Can’t Go For That

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I can honestly say I do not like my in-laws.

I’ve struggled for a while to write this post simply because I really don’t want to put family drama on blast, at least not anymore. But sometimes, you have to call people out on their bullshit, even if they’re related to you.

Long story short, my in-laws do not fully accept Bo. Not sure if they ever did or ever will.

One kinda has to wonder where it stems from. You see, Maks’s father (I’ll call him V) did not like the fact Maks was dating a Black girl and he expressed that. Never to my face, and I figured it’s because he didn’t want to be knocked out. Over time, V grew to like me because he quickly realized Black people aren’t a monolith. There are the Michelle Obamas, Phylicia Rashads, and Kamala Harrises as well as Nick Minajs, Beyonces, and Keke Palmers. We’re all different and we all fight similar struggles.

I’m going to say it’s always been this difficult. There were times the in-laws and I got along just fine. The issue really is with Maks’s mother (I’ll call her N). Without throwing N¬†completely under the bus and running her over, she has issues. In fact, her issues have issues. Lots of baggage from her childhood and well into adulthood has made her into a miserable thing. Honestly, N¬†doesn’t even resemble her wedding day picture, like at all. That’s how much stress she’s had.

So I try to be sympathetic and empathetic because I’ve dealt with my own mental issues as well. Sometimes, you need to stay away from someone if they really have nothing good to say. When someone is constantly negative, it does impact your life quality. You start to become negative because, well, misery loves company. There was a period of time where I refused to see my in-laws at all because I just couldn’t stand being around them.

Now things turned for the better after Ethan and they helped a lot. Keep that in mind. Ethan was our firstborn who prematurely died shortly after birth. One would think after Bear’s arrival, things would get better. They would be around more. They would be awesome grandparents because they know how it feels to lose a grandchild already.

The number of times N has seen Bo has been ONCE. Once in TWO YEARS. N and V only live 10 miles away, about a 30 minute trip one-way. ONCE. That one time was suspicious. N made a comment that she didn’t want to see us – as in me and Bo – on her birthday and she just wanted to celebrate it with Maks, his brother, and V.

You can guess what my reaction was to that…

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When I told my parents that, they were more polite though my father quickly expressed his feelings about potential racism, a feeling I still hold true. Maks shared those feelings to his parents and N quickly got on the defensive. Listen, y’all…no one is going to admit they’re a racist, okay? Not even members of the KKK are going to admit they’re racist. Saying you’re a racist is like saying you’re a child molester or a pedophile. No one will ever admit it despite all of the evidence pointing otherwise.

N came over on Bear’s first Easter and she was a last-minute guest. You got the feeling she played the, ‘I’m not racist’ card. I would’ve believed her if it wasn’t for the fact she barely acknowledged Maks on his first Father’s Day with a living child. She didn’t even come over on Bear’s birthday, Maks’s birthday, or Christmas. Easter 2014 was the only time N has ever seen Bear. V has been over many times since.

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You see where I’m going with this?

I’m not a person who believes you need to have a physical relationship with someone to be close with that person. If you’re making an effort to stay in contact with someone, you’ll always have a relationship with them. N has made no contact. I’ve invited her over many times. She’s rebuffed all of them. She could Skype, FaceTime, etc., she chooses not to. In fact, V is also guilty of that as well. I even asked Maks one time if he honestly thought his parents will come around and be a part of Bear’s life if he suddenly died? He couldn’t answer that.

Maks is in denial about his mother and I can’t blame him. No one kid wants to admit their parent doesn’t accept their child and family. Again, I know there are some heavy mental issues going on with N. This is a woman who will claim she’s not feeling well all year (I personally think it’s menopause) but she’ll magically feel better on her birthday to make a dinner for the family (those she considers she’s related to).¬†I have to keep in mind, this is the same woman who instigated a fight with me after she had three bottles of champagne by herself when I was pregnant with Ethan and on my husband’s 30th birthday.

It does suck on my end because I’m in a situation where I have to explain race and acceptance early to my child, and how even certain family members won’t accept him.¬†It’s an elephant in the room my in-laws refuse to address. They don’t see the issue and of course, why would they? When your head is so far up your ass, all you see is darkness. The interesting part about all of this is N still hates¬†her¬†in-laws for how they treated her when N and V had marital issues. Yet – are you ready for this? – N is acting¬†worse now than her in-laws ever did. The irony.

So if you ever wonder why you don’t see my in-laws in any vlogs, that’s pretty much it. Instead of holding hate and anger inside my heart, I’m choose love and positivity and raising the best little boy out there. He deserves love and not bullshit.

Let’s open it up for comments…did you ever have issues with your in-laws? How did you deal with them?

No Guarantees

Sometimes, it really doesn’t matter.

I try to eat healthy. I try to cut my intake of alcohol to twice a week and even then that might be too much. I constantly walk everywhere with Bo in tow. I meditate. I pray. Mentally, I’m probably the healthiest I’ve been in a long while. Physically, I’m getting there.

But sometimes, it doesn’t matter.

Because it can all be taken away in an instant. 

Tonight, M. and I went to a vigil for the woman who was hit by the car. She died a few days ago and the police are still looking for the driver. It was the second vigil we went to this year in our neighborhood because our main street is one of the busiest (and deadliest) in all of Los Angeles.

This one hit pretty close to home. I didn’t know Yolanda and I might have seen her around the neighborhood. Yolanda was a wife and a mother. She simply stopped by the store to get something on the way home from work when she was killed in the crosswalk.

You see, it’s moments like this that I’m quickly reminded of my own mortality. You can do everything by the letter, by the book, and it wouldn’t matter because ultimately, your life is in someone else’s hands.¬†There’s no guarantee they’re going to stop before the crosswalk. There’s no guarantee they’re not going to try to gun it to beat the red light. There’s no guarantee that person is even sober when they’re driving. There’s no guarantee even if you’re not in a car.

Since Bear has been born, we’d witnessed two accidents just by the corner of our home. There was a really bad one just a few months ago that we barely missed because we went home for a few moments before going back out.

I can’t tell you the number of close calls Bear and I had while we were walking. Drivers simply not paying attention. People following too close behind us. I often had people see me but not see the stroller I’m pushing in front. It is only when I’m carrying Bo when they actually see a baby (because of his dangling legs around my waist).

I said a prayer to the woman and wiped a few tears as I thought about her husband, family, and friends. She was only 51 and honestly, 51 is not that far away from my 35. It could’ve been me and I think that’s what makes me angry, sad, and disgusted. You can do everything and lead a good life and it all takes for some careless person to take it all away in a heartbeat.

I pray for a long life. I pray for a happy and healthy one. I pray for you, too.

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Fight the Power #blacklivesmatter #ukrainelivesmatter Edition

M. and I are a rare couple. He’s Ukrainian, I’m Black American. There are a lot of differences between us. There is a lot of common ground between us. Obviously, it works since we’ve been together for seven years, five married. We survived two notable miscarriages in one year, a stressful but very uneventful pregnancy with Bear, and trying to conceive our second rainbow baby. We mesh.

We also fight similar struggles and conflicts.

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Coincidentally, we both went through internal conflicts with our respective home bases. Maks had to constantly read news about the Ukrainian conflict via Twitter and other internet sites. Meanwhile, I had to deal with Black men being gunned down and killed on a regular basis just because.¬†To say it wasn’t tense in our household at times would be a lie.

An opposition supporter holds a Ukrainian flag in the center of Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. Ukrainian protesters lambasted parliament on Thursday for its lack of action, and a senior U.S. diplomat arrived in Kiev to try to help find a resolution to the country's grinding political crisis. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met separately with President Viktor Yanukovych and with opposition leaders during her two-day stay in the Ukrainian capital. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
An opposition supporter holds a Ukrainian flag in the center of Kiev’s Independence Square, the epicenter of the country’s current unrest, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. Ukrainian protesters lambasted parliament on Thursday for its lack of action, and a senior U.S. diplomat arrived in Kiev to try to help find a resolution to the country’s grinding political crisis. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met separately with President Viktor Yanukovych and with opposition leaders during her two-day stay in the Ukrainian capital. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

In Ukraine, they’re fighting Russia invading the country, which it has successfully done so. Oh, Russia also shot down a commercial airliner with heavy and incriminating evidence¬†but tried to say Ukraine did it. While my husband’s relatives and friends are safe, the conflict is still very much ongoing, despite it not being reported as much in the U.S. news. Over 3,000 deaths have been reported in Ukraine and the death toll will continue to rise until Putin is out of power.

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The comparisons to Stalin are justified. Look up Holodomor. It’s actually worse than the Jewish concentration camps if you can believe it.

We’re about to go to Ukraine next year and yeah…we’re both a little concerned.

You see, the news doesn’t tell you what Ukraine looked like at the height of the conflict…

An aerial view shows Independence Square during clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry members and riot police in central Kiev February 19, 2014. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich warned his opponents on Wednesday that he could deploy force against them after what he called their attempt to "seize power" by means of "arson and murder". REUTERS/Olga Yakimovich (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CITYSCAPE TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) ORG XMIT: MOS57
An aerial view shows Independence Square during clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry members and riot police in central Kiev February 19, 2014. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich warned his opponents on Wednesday that he could deploy force against them after what he called their attempt to “seize power” by means of “arson and murder”. REUTERS/Olga Yakimovich (UKRAINE – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CITYSCAPE TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) ORG XMIT: MOS57

So do me a favor…whenever someone says they’re pro-Russia, slap the fucking taste out of their mouth.

Pro-activist bae deray.
Pro-activist bae deray.

Three queer women – Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors – founded Black Lives Matter in the wake of the shooting of Trayvon Martin and subsequent trial and exoneration of George Zimmerman, who killed Trayvon. The movement has been instrumental in the protests of Michael Brown (Ferguson), Freddie Gray (Baltimore), Ezell Ford (Los Angeles), and Eric Garner (New York), not to mention many other deaths across the country. The movement has also been responsible for a decrease in police shootings and several police departments across the country installing body cameras on the police officers.

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When you hear someone say Black Lives Matter, it doesn’t mean the following:

  1. Black lives ONLY matter.
  2. Black lives matter above everyone else’s.
  3. Don’t support the police. That isn’t and has never been the goal of Black Lives Matter despite what the KKK Fox News loves for you to believe.

What it does mean, however, is this:

Black lives are not as valued as other lives. We are treated differently and unfairly based on the color of our skin. I’m sure you’re aware of the shooting of Walter Scott. He ran from the police only to be gunned down and the cop lied and planted evidence. He’s being held for murder.

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Let’s do a compare and contrast…

Dylann Roof just killed 9 people in cold blood. He was arrested like this:

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Eric Garner was selling cigarettes on the street. He was arrested like this:

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Oh, but it doesn’t just apply to the men. Black women are also treated differently.

Actress Reese Witherspoon was arrested and mouthed off to the cop. She’s still alive.

Sandra Bland was arrested (for resisting arrest, but it’s unclear why she was arrested to begin with) and she mouthed off to the cop. She died a few days later under suspicious circumstances.

I have a ton more evidence but you see where I’m going with this…

I hate it when people erase Black Lives Matter and replace it with All Lives Matter. They’re¬†taking a very serious issue that affects everyone, not just Black people, and trivializing it or in some cases, making fun of it because it’s a cheeky (read: asshole) thing to do (see below picture). Yet, I can ask any person what they think of Black Lives Matter, their first response will probably be, ‘Well, All Lives Matter.’ Give me a fucking break. If All Lives Matter, why is there a current war on women? If All Lives Matter, why is Kim Davis a trending topic? If All Lives Matter, why did we go to Iraq? (The answer isn’t because of 9/11. Those 9/11 terrorists were…wait for it…Saudi Arabian.)

Just a FYI, whenever someone says All Lives Matter, it’s not because they truly believe it but rather, they want those who say Black Lives Matter to shut up.¬†Ask them what they mean when they say All Lives Matter and believe me, they probably wouldn’t be able to tell you without contradicting themselves on at least one issue.

This was on the front of a food truck I'd visited. I left them a scathing review on Yelp.
This was on the front of a food truck I’d visited. I left them a scathing review on Yelp.

Speaking of All Lives Matter, where were they when this happened? I can’t recall any protests or demands for justice from the All Lives Matter crew. Can you?

When the Charleston shooting occurred, for the first time in my life, I was scared to leave my house and I don’t think I did for a couple of days. I’m living in a society where I don’t know if any day is my last one because I’m there at the wrong place at the wrong time and a crooked cop decides they want to fuck with me.

Ask yourself…you know a Black person. Yes, you know me. Actually, you know at least two Black people, I count Bear in that. If we died under suspicious circumstances, would you be in the street protesting for us? Or would you make excuses?

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Back in May of this year, we went to our first family protest. My parents were active in the Civil Rights Movement and my mother was very Afrocentric back in the 70’s. She was very proud we went. She’d hoped to see us on the news.

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In case you’re wondering, I’m not anti-cop. My husband knows a few cops and as a freelance photographer, he sees them a lot on his shoots. We are anti-police brutality and excessive force. There needs to be a change in how arrests are made and better training for officers across the board.

I support my hubby in Ukraine solidarity; he supports me in Black Lives Matter solidarity. We have sons (and future children) that represent us both. That’s why we’re fighting.

We fight for everyone.

I Bet

If you haven’t heard, singer Ciara and her boyfriend, Seattle Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson have been in the news lately. Did they rob a bank? No. Did they curse out the President? No. Were they arrested? No.

So why are they in the news? Let me introduce you to Future, Ciara’s ex-fiancee, and father of her son, Future (kid you not, that is the kid’s horrible name).

Future (who shall be known from this moment on as The Past) has been on a publicity tour for his new album. During a flurry of interviews, he specifically called out his ex-fiancee, for allowing Russell to be around his son. Furthermore, many bloggers and commentators agree that Ciara shouldn’t do that. Now, why is this an issue? A few things and let’s break it down:

  1. The Past has several children by several women. While it is known he has at least four baby mothers, it is rumored he has more. While The Past’s supporters are cheerfully agreeing with him, no one is calling him to task about his role in fatherhood and why he has so many out of wedlock children. The Past has never been married.
  2. The Past¬†has never addressed the issue on when was the last time he has seen Lil’ Future. It is documented he saw his son on his first birthday, but the kid’s birthday was sometime in May. It’s currently August.
  3. He is openly disrespecting the mother of his child, setting a dangerous precedent for his son in, well, the future. If you talk to the mother of your child any type of way, why should your son respect her? Why would your son respect any woman for that matter?
  4. Confidence remains silent while insecurity is loud and clear.

I think what really bothers me the most about this issue are other things. One, there’s a ‘hood mentality’ that applies here. A woman shouldn’t just bring a man over to her children without addressing the issue with the child’s father first. Says who? Why are single mothers relegated to being property when the relationship ends? Just because a man provides support for the child, it does not give him the right to dictate what the mother does with her life.¬†Furthermore, Ciara accepted The Past’s children and their mothers when they’ve dated, though she may have had second doubts herself. Any doubts she’s had, mind you, were private.

Two, it’s a clear attack on black women by black men, the supporters of said ‘hood mentality.’ We’re the first to be in the streets marching for justice for black men; we’re the first to be disrespected by black men. Again, we’re viewed as property, and not as human beings.

Three, I feel the real issue is a class and socioeconomic standing. Russell just signed a huge contract with the Seahawks, and many in the Black community, for reasons unbeknownst to me, think he’s not ‘hard enough.’ He’s a devout Christian. He volunteers his time at the local children’s hospital in Seattle. He praises his teammates. And yet…he’s considered to be soft because he’s quiet and nice?

The Past¬†is primarily known as a rapper. Newsflash: rappers’ careers typically don’t last long. When’s the last time you listened to a Ja Rule record? What’s Fat Joe doing nowadays? What’s Busta Rhymes up to? You get my point? Rappers like Snoop, Jay-Z, and LL Cool J (who mainly acts), are rare. Rappers are only as good as their next album.

This particularly hits close to home. I grew up in a middle-class family in a nice neighborhood. I was in Honors and AP classes. I went to a PWI (predominantly-White institution) university. I like Guns ‘N Roses. Seinfeld is one of my favorite shows. I adore Marilyn Monroe. I don’t speak Ebonics or slang, though I understand what the terms mean. Two of my best friends are White. Bear’s godmothers are Latina. Based on that, I wouldn’t be ‘Black enough.’

Can I tell you about the numerous times I’ve had a non-Black person put their fingers in my hair because they were curious? Can I tell you the many times I was followed in a store for no reason whatsoever? Can I tell you the number of times non-Black friends told racial jokes because they thought they were funny and I would laugh? Can I tell you how I received a compliment once from a mentally-disabled person as the ‘nicest black lady’ she’s ever met? Can I tell you how my father-in-law vehemently opposed our relationship at first because he felt all Black people were ghetto and hood?

You see, Black people may not think certain Black people are ‘down enough’ but trust, the outside world, I’m no different than any Black person out there.

Lastly, this issue really boils my blood because simply put, it’s an attack on single mothers. It’s an attack on women. It seems more and more, women have to keep reminding the world that yes, we are human and yes, we have rights just like men. And there’s been more of an attack to make sure we don’t have those rights.¬†It’s troubling and disturbing. It’s not just men attacking us, but also a small group of women who are joining in on the attacks. It’s ridiculous and stupid.

I hope one day, The Past will realize how stupid and disrespectful he was and makes nice with Ciara before it’s too late.