Unloved, Unworthy, Understood

Trigger Warning: I’m about to talk about sexual assault. It will likely not get graphic but if you can’t stomach talks about sexual assault or rape. do not proceed. Thank you, in advance, for reading and letting me get this off my chest.

(insert a multitude of emojis, gifs, & memes that display anxiety. This is some scurry shit to write!)

Ight so check it… I was raped in my own house 3 (maybe 4? I don’t harp on the date) years ago. Literally, on a couch that my family owned, in a place where I should have felt strong enough to say no; I was raped.

I have only said that out loud maybe three times since it happened. I have typed it online twice before now. I still can’t come to accept that it happened to me- by somebody I knew and trusted. That someone who I loved platonically and maybe would have had consensual sex with took my power from me. In my own home. And I didn’t tell anybody until almost a year or two later. And I laughed (nervously) when I said it; as if laughter was going to ease the pain that I had been carrying.

I laughed when I spoke my horror and let the laughing emojis carry my story to eyes and ears that would have, otherwise, never known. As if laughter was the cure all. I wish I could laugh through this again. I wish my laughter and nervous giggles could take me far beyond this place of trauma and unworthiness. I might need to laugh again.

I thought I was over this. I thought I had laughed the feelings of disgust, distrust, & betrayal to the depths of my soul. I think they’ve resurfaced and forgot to bring the laughter with them. Sigh. I don’t think I can laugh my way into trusting a new person with my love, my body, my loyalty. And quite frankly, I never did. Where I thought I was healed and “over it”, I found myself in the arms of my baby daddy. Someone I knew already- could catch his cues & knew his ticks- and trusted. Here I was calling myself running game when the game was running me. Ain’t that some shit?! To think you’re healed when really you’re going back to places of comfort… darkness, “Imma get what I need & leave” type spaces. That’s what they never tell you about sexual assault. The recovery is just as brutal as the initial attack. Healing is not linear and every time you think you’re on the up something snatches you back down & connects itself right back to that moment. You stop laughing & running game & being “okay” and realize you’re standing knee deep in that same shit. Ain’t it funny how loud and boisterous unworthiness can be? How he snatches your confidence and your power and dances away with it; arm & arm with low self esteem?

I was raped in my own home and I’m scared to trust again. That’s my first time typing that sentence out. I’ll yell it to the moon later today. My dignity was stripped from me and now I’m fighting to get it back. To understand me again and do it with a baby on my hip, while parenting with somebody who used to be my comfort. Ain’t it funny how loud and giggly and obnoxious life can be?

Hurt People, Hurt People

My grandma popped my baby. That’s it, that’s the story.

My grandmother popped my baby & I LOST! MY! SHIT! I couldn’t see past my triggers and I lost it! The helpless and scared kid in me jumped out and was front and center to defend my child; cause if I say “don’t hit my baby” that’s what I mean.

Here’s the thing though- while asserting boundaries and breaking curses you have to be considerate. Insane concept right? I have to be considerate of people who want to, or could potentially, harm my baby? You must be crazy! Except, it’s not that crazy of a concept. I have to remind myself that while this is the right journey for us, it is also a very new one.

My grandma popped my baby and I LOST! MY! SHIT!

I still can’t believe it almost a month later. I blacked out on my grandma over my child! (Sidenote: I’ll do it again, to anybody, bout my baby’s boundaries and body!) After the fact, I cried. I cried so hard 1: because “WTF I just spazzed on my grandma???” 2: because I was triggered and seeing red and 3: because “GOT DAMMIT how hard is it to not hit a baby?! MY baby at that??” I felt bad but I had to prove to my daughter that I will ALWAYS go up for her and that nobody and no thing can shake that or change that… right?

In defending my baby, my actions, and my inner child I made my grandmother cry; and that’s not a soft lady, ok! I was hurting so I reverted back to the very behaviors I’ve been trying to run from and unlearn- yelling, cussing, crying to guilt trip. How can I model “connection before correction” if my go-to in adult interactions is flying off the handle? I cried and realized I had the tools to make this right. If I want to stick to this positive discipline thing I can’t just reserve the tools for children- my child. So, I cried until I fell asleep and I woke up ready to apologize. I’m not used to apologizing, or apologies, after a lash out. I have something to prove, though. So I apologized. I did exactly what I would do to Bean, to my grandma; eye contact, nervous laughter (cause that’s my thing), and I apologized. I can’t break curses and shake up the violent lineage without offering grace to everyone around me and starting at the top of the line. So I apologized. I gave my grandma a hug and bellowed the biggest, most sincere “sorry” I had and I made sure my child saw it; because hurt people, hurt people but healed people heal nations.

I‘m trying to heal nations and generations. I’ve got a lot of work to do but it starts at home. Literally. This is your reminder that it’s never too late to start healing; you just have to be consistent. If you’re ready to make a shift in the atmosphere (Gospel geeks, where u at?), join me in my upcoming 6 week “Wash, Rinse, Repeat” Positive Discipline course. Sign up below for more information!

If Yo Girl Only Knew

I wish I knew that:

1: Every day will not be sunshine & rainbows. In fact, you might outright hate motherhood and that’s okay!

2: There is no smooth transition from woman to mom. And it sucks.

3: Self-care is no longer easy.

4: This is your journey and yours alone. YOU are the mother.

5: Spending time with JUST your baby is important. Seriously.

6: You are not bitter for being heartbroken, disappointed, or saddened by the way your child’s father treated you. You have every right to feel those feelings.

I wish I knew that. I’ve been sitting on this post for months. I like reminding myself of what was and what could’ve been. I keep having to remind myself of what was and what could be.

I coulda been a hairstylist, working all kinda hours in all kinda places, for whatever price I deemed reasonable. I can still be one. I coulda been a bottle girl, in college classes, all in the clubs having fun. I can still have fun and go to college. I coulda been an influencer- a “IG baddie”- linking up with anybody my daddy (& beauty!) could’ve connected me; taking trips, doing whatever I wanted. I can still leverage my beauty and my connections and “get to a bag” through Instagram. I just gotta do it with a baby on my hip.

I’ve been mourning “me” so much this past year but how dare I? Seriously. How dare I miss the young carefree girl who was just waking up and going? Why would I wanna be her ever again? (Hint: ’cause that carefree sh!t is FUN!!) I’ve really had to sit and grapple with the fact that I’m never going to be the me that I thought I was, and was going to be. That that’s okay and that this new me is someone I can love AND like, too. I wish somebody would’ve gave it to me straight- “you’re growing your own new life, too, not just that baby’s. Your birth is not just your baby’s; it’s yours too.” I don’t even know if I would’ve listened, but it would’ve been something nice to remember hearing. Your birth is not just your baby’s; it’s yours too. When you birth that baby, you’re birthing a new you. A you you may not like at first. A you you have to relearn and rediscover; somebody who might not like what you used to like and might like what you used to hate. You’re birthing and creating a new you. Own that shit! Walk in it. Dig your heels into this upgraded version of you and embrace her. Find what she likes and fall in love with yourself again. Own! That! Shit!

Why Not Play?

My mom is always telling me I need to “work on my poker face so Bean doesn’t think everything is funny.” Well, here’s the thing, everything IS funny- to me, at least. I literally get through my days by laughing and playing.

I need laughter. I need humor and good times and foolishness and fun in my day to day. I tried to work on my poker face but for what? Why can’t I laugh when my baby is doing something funny and silly? Who says it’s bad to laugh while also setting boundaries and being “firm”? Will Bean take everything for a joke or will she one day learn to assert herself and boundaries, even in fun moments?

Yes, she will, actually think everything is funny AND she will be disciplined! Go figure.

There is a parenting approach called “play-based parenting” and it generally follows the child’s lead; allowing them to create and solve problems for themselves while strengthening their emotional and social development. I know you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking “not another one of those parenting styles! That’s that new-age parenting!!” But it’s not! Play-based parenting directly aligns with the Montessori lifestyle and Positive Discipline. NAEYC says “rough and tumble play—has been shown to promote early brain development.” There is a method to childcare centers’ “madness” and their love of play centers, after all. Playing helps children learn emotional regulation, social skills, social cues, problem-solving, and conflict resolution-among other things. Play-based parenting, or just playtime with a caregiver involved, teaches children that they are fun to be around and fun to engage with. It builds emotional intelligence and boundaries. Fifteen minutes of play is really all you need to create lasting memories and help build your child’s brain better than any book ever could!

So I said all that to say: Sorry mom, I’m actually not going to work on my poker face! I’m going to keep laughing my way through my frustration and turning on my most goofy face when I need to power through a tantrum; because my baby needs it and I need it. In Sunday’s post (and all weekend on Instagram *wink wink*) I’ll be sharing some of my favorite ways to play with Bean and how I “laugh through our loco”! See you there and remember to keep on laughing!

P.S. Check out the links below for some articles to support play-based learning!

https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/10-things-every-parent-play

https://www.naeyc.org/resources/pubs/yc/may2017/case-brain-science-guided-play

Get that BREAD, get that HEALING, and LEAVE

Alright so boom! I keep typing this and deleting it, writing it down then erasing it, and I’m tired of that so here it goes…

My child’s father treated me like absolute shit for the entire 9 months that I was pregnant. There, I said it. And I’m clenching my jaw as I’m typing this because I don’t want that to be the image that is forever associated with him; but it’s the truth. He ruined my pregnancy with his selfishness, immaturity, inconsistency, and just plain shittiness. (I almost put an LOL there but there is nothing funny about this.)

I found out I was pregnant on January 15, 2020. I called my 2 best friends, reveled in their excitement and anxiety, mixed it with mine, and then got the balls to ca- text Bean’s dad and tell him the news. His response was “we’ll get it handled” and from then on, I knew. I knew any decision I made next was going to have to be for me and me only; so I chose. I chose life and I chose Bean; he chose to take matters into his own hands and try to choose abortion. Planned Parenthood address after address, “I’m not ready” texts followed by “If you keep it, we’re breaking up” messages, paternity denial- the works. I chose Bean, by myself and for myself. And then, I had to shrink myself and downplay my certainty to keep him around. I spent the first 6 weeks of my pregnancy finding any and every excuse to justify my reason for not getting an abortion when “I don’t want to” should have been enough. I found myself texting him asking how he was doing when I was the one creating a life, scared to tell my family, anxious about even going full term with this child. I was the one texting him. I went to every doctor’s appointment alone, went out of my way to keep him and his family included, and still, I was the one texting him- begging him to be a family and a present partner and father.

I was always met with “I don’t want to catch you off guard at the hospital so I’m telling you now, I want a DNA test. I know you didn’t cheat but I still need to be sure.” or “Please don’t put me on child support” or “Nah, I’m not coming to put the crib up today cause I don’t feel like it. Can you do me this favor though?” And like a dummy, I would do the favor, in hopes that he’d come through for me and he never did. I spent 9 months carrying and growing a child, by myself, lonely as a muthaf^€%@ and he still refuses to see what he did in its entirety. And that’s (almost) okay now. Because I get it. It’s hard to be a good and present father when you’ve never had one. That’s not an excuse though or at least not one that I’m going to let fly.

My Bean deserves an active and present father, or father figure, and I will not let anyone deny her that experience- myself included. That means I finally have to post this and forgive him for making me feel the lonely and disconnect and disappointment that he made me feel almost a year ago. I have to continue to forgive him when he doesn’t show up in the ways that I expect him to or how I think he should. I gotta take the current good with the old bad and make it some kind of great so I don’t subconsciously taint their relationship. I have to tell her all his ugly AND mine and pray that she makes the best choices for herself; not for my selfish desires. I’m freeing myself to talk about my experience as often as possible because, although it’s not pretty, it’s mine and it’s apart of our story and you can’t tell a story without all of the chapters. So this is chapter 1: A Fresh Start.

Fast & Frustrated 9

Forty-five minutes. Forty! Five! MINUTES!!!!

That’s how long a trip to the movies with nine month old Bean lasted. Here I go calling myself enjoying a nice day out with my mom and aunt; thinking “long as I have snacks & boobs everything will be alright.” Chileeeeeee PLEASE!! Miss Bean showed her little black butt in that theater! All I wanted to do was watch Fast 9. I spent the opening credits walking up and down the theater hall, looking over my shoulder to try to catch glimpses of the movie. I ultimately gave up on trying to soothe her and push through my sensory overload- have movies always been that loud?!- and called my grandma to come and get us. When I say I was FRUSTRATED y’all! I felt defeated and like a failure; like that mom. Y’all know, the mom who “lets” her baby cry and scream and crawl all over the place when it’s “inappropriate”. WTF even is “appropriate” public behavior?!

Seriously though, it’s my fault. I knew better than to take her to the movies and I should’ve skewed my expectations and been realistic about my child’s personality and development. I often forget that, although Bean is pretty “advanced” for her age she is still only 9 months old. I often equate her frequent displays of intelligence to actual intelligence and I really need to stop. I’m putting high expectations on this sweet, smart infant and then becoming disappointed when such expectations are not met. That’s the thing about this whole conscious/gentle/positive parenting thing; it’s always forcing me to take a deep breath and be real with myself. There’s no way I really expected my little busy bee to sit through an entire movie, in a theater, with an array of people around. Hell, she doesn’t even sit through 5 minutes worth of Youtube videos. Except, I did. I did expect her to nurse to sleep and let me enjoy the movie and that was something I needed to do for ME! I needed that reality check and that reminder that sometimes, just sometimes, I’m going to have the be The Hot Young Mom from the house. And that’s a gut punch in and of itself but it’s the truth, and it’s the raw truth, and it is MY truth; and I’m okay with that.

If motherhood in a pandemic has taught me nothing else it has taught me how to be okay with being in the house and the “oddball out”. (I’m looking at all of you who judge me for not going out, btw!) The eighteen months have reminded me how resilient I am and have given me soooo much patience! I could’ve sat in that theater and somehow forced Bean to be quiet, probably by popping her excessively or some other archaic and abusive behavior, but I didn’t. I sent a heavily frustrated voice note to my closest friends and then I smiled at my Bean and put her on the concrete and we walked and laughed until my grandma came. And we were okay! The movies will always be there for me to watch, these sweet moments with my baby girl won’t so I’m going to switch my mindset to “Fast & Favored 9” and I’ll try the movie thing again when she’s about 5… years old LMAO!

Truth Time

My priorities are screwed. I’d rather spend time playing sims, scrolling instagram, and typing captions and blog posts in my notes app rather than posting them. Why? I feel unqualified to be a “mom blogger”. I feel like I’m too “new” to motherhood to have the audacity to sit and document our experiences; but 500 people have seen my blog. I can’t be THAT unqualified if my follower count and engagements are steadily growing. Somebody, somewhere out there needs to hear what I have to stay and if not now, when?

This is my accountability post. This is me reminding myself that there is no such thing as “unqualified” or “ready”. It’s either do or die; now or never. I’m giving myself permission to have the confidence of a man! Y’all know they have some CONFIDENCE okay? So, this is our comeback. This is me freeing myself from my imposter syndrome and taking baby steps with big leaps in between.

I am Destiny, THE Hot Young Mom, and it is SO nice to meet you all!