i make no excuses about who i am! love me, hate me, just read me!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Parable of the Proud Daughter: Supporting your Childs Decisions Even If Its Hard!

Sometimes as a parent it is hard to sit and watch you child's life unfold. The times when things are going well and they are successful make you proud of course and are a joy to watch. Those are automatic feelings that happen when pride swells your chest and you say "That's my kid!" to anyone who will listen. I have 3 wonderful daughters and sometimes I feel they only hear the negative things that I say. I know that's all I heard from my Dad. It took a long time to become a "better" parent, more mindful of things I say, even today I ranted and said "stupid" a few times. I am frustrated with "stuff" and I have a lot on my mind. I have been slipping in the praise department, and I know it.

I have my oldest daughter on my mind today as I request friends on Facebook to pray for her to make some hard decisions, that in part have come about because of someone else's irresponsibility's. Some were her own choices, but in the end most of the situation came from something that was not in her control. I selfishly want her to come home and live in my little house again. She has in the past and we have butted heads a lot! I think this time its different, no boyfriend drama is involved, shes an adult now and her son is going to be 4 this year. I think she knows she has to make some choices in his best interest. As much as I want them here so she can get on her feet, I know that is how much she wants to stand alone and be a grown up.

The fact is she is still my Baby, my first baby at that, and I have watched her successes and choices that have led her to a point she is at now happen. I wont call them mistakes or failures, because my grandson is not that. Getting pregnant with him at fifteen changed the way her life would go. I want her to believe that she can still attain her dreams, she has always wanted to work in the criminal justice system with at risk youth, kids like her. She has no high school diploma and tends to want everything to happen NOW! If she studies she will finish her math GED, she is a whiz at English, but math is  for her as it is for me, hard. Her time on welfare is running out, and though she is currently going to beauty school, she may have to take a leave or quit. Especially if she moves home with me. I keep telling her that she CAN finish her GED that she CAN go to college, that she CAN even join the armed services, or continue her education at a school like Fresno State. She is having a hard time believing that I think. Believing in herself. I will never stop believing in her ever, because she is MY kid, made up of the same indomitable DNA that I am. I never let anyone or anything hold me back, yet like her I am my own worst enemy when I fear failure! Sometimes letting my PRIDE get in my way and cloud my judgement. She is too big for this small town life and I know she wants to see more of the world, and I know that will one day take her away from me. For now though I want her home in our crazy little house, safe and sound like the "Prodigal Son". I told her last night that she needed to pray about her decision, and that I would be here for both she and my grandson, and I will be, whatever she decides, sometimes you need to let them fly, let them find themselves...even if it breaks your heart.
I spent a sleepless night and cried a lot. We never stop being Mama's even when they have babies of their own. Love you my Proud Daughter.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


It has been such a sad time lately, with all of the deaths of great artists and movers and shakers in the music industry….Whitney Houston being the latest one. I remember her as young model for Seventeen Magazine in my teenage angst years, that magazine was my Bible. I didn’t know then what I learned recently upon her death, that she was the first Black cover model for that magazine. When she ventured into singing, I remember singing her songs in the shower or in my room and watching her videos on MTV. She was a Star in every sense of the word. What saddens me most is that her death has become a media circus. The innuendo of the circumstances of her death. The reality of her years with Bobby Brown and her addiction. The inquiries into the much speculated talk that Whitney, like Michael had doctor shopped and gotten numerous prescriptions from several physician’s. Even talk about if Bobby Brown should be allowed to attend her funeral. It is all just a dark cloud hanging  over the memory of her Great Voice, even moreso to  the memory of the person she was to those that loved her, including her ex-husband Bobby Brown.

Death is something I have been keenly aware of ever since I was a child, it was no stranger to me and I knew as I got older that I would die one day too. I have talked to my daughters about how I would want my funeral to be. Who should be there….I have banned no one, this is my open invitation to my Celebration Of Life. All I ask in return is that you respect my wishes and those of my families. I know in some circumstances certain people should not be involved in the public or private services of one they once loved, forbidden even, to attend. It could have devestating effects on others that they even be there. I understand this way of thinking because it was my Fathers wish to forbid certain members of his family from both my Mother's and his funeral. This came about after a falling out over the way my Grandma's estate was somehow not dispersed to him, but yet to all 3 of his other siblings. It was common knowledge in the family and was uttered out of my Grandparent's mouths that when they died the property their home was on would be his one day. It did not happen that way and I won’t go into further detail because I personally do not know all of the circumstances involving my Aunts decision to disinherit my Father. I do know it caused a chasm so deep in the family that it made my father tell them in no uncertain terms were my Aunt, the executor of my Grandmas estate or his other sister were not to attend his funeral or his wife’s.  His brother, my Uncle did attend, he was also my Father’s caregiver in his final years. While I bear no ill will to any of them, I agree that them not coming was the best idea at the time, because I for one would have at that time probably spit on them. Now as a full grown adult I know Karma has a way of working on people like that. I have heard that she is quite ill and has numerous health problems. While I am sorry that she is suffering and I know there will be a day when she passes away I will in all likelihood not attend her funeral. She not only slighted my father, but denied my daughters her Great Nieces as if they were mere strangers in a public setting ignoring them from just a few feet away. This happened when I was in jail for my domestic violence incident. I want to think in my head maybe they just did not know what to say to them, but then again I remember who I am thinking about. We were, as my father was, the Black Sheep of the family.That being said, I will say nothing more about it, because my Mother taught me if you have nothing nice to say (this only pertains to family) then don't say anything at all.  

I have told my daughters that regardless of my relationship with their father, past- present- future, (because there are people in my family that hate him that much) he is to be a crucial part of any celebration of my life. The people who are uncomfortable with that don’t need to be there. They don’t matter, my wishes and my children’s feelings are what matter. Whitney’s daughter should be the focus, what she wants and may need is her Father to be there. People who love and live that hard are not easily forgotten for each other. Whatever happened in their relationship to become so toxic is not different than any other average person.  As a guest said on "Nancy Grace", a show I love to hate, “The only difference between Whitney and any other person was that she was famous…” No one worries about who’s going to the funeral of the meth head on the corner. Or even if Joe Blow goes to several doctors to get oxycontin or vicodin because after he hurt his back he has become addicted.   For those that are famous, and under the scrutiny of the medias giant microscope their every move in life becomes a well-orchestrated event to either get them attention or to try to not be the center of it. Even their deaths become tabloid news, and their last moments speculated on with so much intensity that I wonder how people like Nancy Grace sleep....or does she? She is a predator of the media kind and while I admit to watching her show and even talking back to her and her guests (albeit my t.v.) it still does not justify that a star like Whitney Houston or Michael Jackson are only seen as their celebrity status and not human beings who were flawed as most of us mere mortals are.

I choose to remember Whitney Houston as a person who made an indelible mark on the world with the beautiful, powerful, voice she had such amazing control of, as that fresh faced young girl with the whole world ahead of her, the girl on the cover of my teen bible…Seventeen.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sober Life.....I was slapped in the face by my codependent behavior, reality check for mates of those getting sober...

This past weekend was probably one of the best times I have ever spent with my family. My 3 girls, my grandson and my Love. I had dreamed of  days like this not so long ago and often times I had given up hope of having them. When you love an addict you are always waiting for the bottom to fall out, and now after all of these years of waiting for my love to realize that he deserves happiness, its finally happening and I don't know how I feel about it. Don't get me wrong I am soo glad that he is on a road to recovery and sobriety. It has been two long years in rehabs and though I have prayed every day for this I am forced to look at myself as he gains a new outlook on life. Forced to realize that I too need to change harmful old patterns of behavior and change my role in our relationship. He is becoming the guy I fell in love with 20 years ago...funny, confident, loving, the person everyone loves to be around and gravitate to. I am an antisocial people hater..... I say that as nicely as possible. We are complete opposites and that is what I love about him the most, he is all of the things I am not. He brings out the best in me, and unfortunately when he was in his addiction he brought out the worst in me. I was a textbook co-dependent and to some degree I still am, but I have gotten better at drawing boundaries with him.

This weekend I had to check myself for falling into an old pattern, we were having a great day a 12 hour visit and we had a lot planned. I had a lot of stress just getting to him, car rental issues and creditcard issues and no sleep issues. I was like a kid on Christmas Eve, filled with the anxiousness of seeing him after 3 long months since our last visit. It was great, all of  our girls were so excited to see him. My grandson also came, who took to him like he has not been gone. I wanted to take him shopping and buy him some much needed things, specifically tennis shoes, we shopped at the Gilroy outlets after a long morning of Monterey Bay Aquarium and Aptos Beach. Tired and beat I took my girls shopping as I had promised. He was excited just like them. For some reason he loves tennis shoes and I knowing this let him run wild looking at shoes. He was stuck on getting these ugly for lack of a better description effeminate looking sleek Nikes. I told him no, and as I heard myself say it I flashed back to the days of his addiction. I wanted to be in control of the fucking tennis shoe buying experience! This continued for three stores, too expensive, or he just didn't like Vans...I love them and have the hots for guys who wear them. Ok some guys. He then came across some 60 dollar Etnies and I had another shit fit...really I dont even spend that much on any item for kids maybe but me or him certainly not! I said no again. Wow, was I trying to suck the fun out of the trip or what? In all honesty I could of bought them, but wanted to hold it over his head that I had rented a car, paid for our trip and wasn't that going to be good enough for him...did he really need these damned tennis shoes? I told him as much when I went and bought a purse for 30.00 way over what I normally spend, it was leather and 70 percent off? I deserved it! He reverted to the kid he was when his Mom tried to make him eat meatloaf...nope he had to have Pioneer Chicken...remember that? Or Mc Donalds....I told him your not that lil kid anymore and he said he was "sorry, take back the things you bought me and I am just happy with you just being here."  That made me feel like the old days he would take it for granted that I would forgive him and reward him... a definite codependent pattern, and I would chide him and make him feel bad. Then he would be sorry and we would make up after hours of arguing.

This little tennis shoe incident made me realize that I need to work on my issues as he gets well. I too, need to stop trying to create conflict when there should not be any. He has had a history of sabotaging important days, especially holidays, and I have learned to react. So now that he has been working on himself and instead made the day memorable for our children in a good way, I had to sabotage it. I caught myself and apologized too. He settled on some tennis shoes he was happy with. I felt good buying them for him. I know in time he will be here helping me support our children financially and emotionally and making a better way, I know he can only do that sober. I know that we can only be a family if I work on my stuff too. Being in control is not all its cracked up to be. Sometimes like the waves ebbing in you just have to go with the flow. Our visit ended as I dropped him off and we said our goodbyes....I watched him walk in with his box of clothes and new shoes and he held his head up high. Something I have not seen him do much of in the past. I am so proud of my love, so proud of him in so many ways. I thank God for answering my prayers..."Dear God if you just let me have one day with my family where everything goes right I would be so happy!"  Yes it was one of the best days yet of my Loves sobriety, and a painful lesson for me. Learning to let him be independent from my control will bring us even closer. Ironic how he is teaching me that!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Remembering Don Cornelius.....Would you commit suicide if you had Alzheimer's?

I heard the news via a Facebook post on my feed that Don Cornelius had died. I was immediately taken back to when I was about 10 or so and watching Soul Train in 1976 on a Saturday afternoon. American Bandstand was another one of my favorites and I used to love to watch them both. Dancing the afternoon away, watching the pretty girls in their cool outfits. Learning the Bus Stop and the Hustle and dancing down my own Soul Train Line in the living room of the house on Lincoln Street. I passed by the house on Lincoln street today and it is a sad and ugly house. When I lived there it was a soft pale yellow worn by the sun, with a beautiful green yard manicured perfectly. A white picket fence surrounding the back yard. A lot of memories in that little house, and Saturday afternoons were some of my favorite.
When I came home and heard that Don Cornelius had died from a self inflicted gunshot wound I was even sadder, until I heard it mentioned that there was talk of the onset of dementia. Then I understood why he may have died by is own hand. I have seen several of my family members succumb to Alzheimer's and watched the slow downward spiral of the person they were into a person they would not have wanted to become. My mother was one of them. She suffered from early onset Alzheimer's and that has got to be the cruelest kind of dementia there is. She should have been enjoying her grandchildren, not being taken care of by me and my family. When they informed us of her illness they told us that the type of Alzheimer's she had gave my older sister and I the 50-50 chance of getting it too. We have always kidded that we had oh maybe 20 or 10 good years left to live a life. I know to some of you that sounds morbid or sad, but the truth is, its true.
I have often told my children who vaguely remember their Grandma that if I ever got Alzheimer's I would want to go somewhere, a beautiful island and drink a big margarita and take some pills so that I never woke up. They laugh it off of course, and say "Mom you are not going to get Alzheimer's" but I am serious. I would not want them to give up their life to take care of me and damn it all if I would let them put me in a nursing home. I would not want some stranger wiping my ass, let alone my kids!
I saw the frustration, confusion and fear creep over my mothers beautiful face, and in the end her face was stoic and unemotional and just there. She was somewhere inside that body that betrayed her. I know she was, and when she passed away it was a relief and a comfort to know that she would not suffer anymore. To know that her soul was free.
There are days when I lose my keys or misplace something and waves of anxiety fill me. I wonder is this how it begins, is this how it will be? I don't want to know, in fact I don't want to live if that was to be a prognosis for me.
Is that how the legendary smooth as silk voice talent Don Cornelius felt? Perhaps he wanted to keep his dignity in some measure. I know there are those of you who will say, shooting yourself is not a dignified way out, but who are you to judge? To feel that you have lost your greatest power, ability, existence, to become a shell of the person you once were. Is that what hero's do live and overcome their illnesses? You don't overcome diseases like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, and maybe shooting oneself is a slap in the face to those that live with those diseases, but just the same it all comes back to dignity, dying or living with it, is a choice that no one should have to worry about. Did Don Cornelius suffer from dementia, along with other stresses in his life, this may have been the final blow to a man like him.
Whatever the reason for his departure, he will forever be remembered as the man who brought the lifestyle and the culture of Soul music into homes everywhere.
I will remember this man as the man who taught me to dance and to love music..... that's how he would want to be remembered.