Psych Ward Aftermath

http://youtu.be/HuCVRb-JUao

This blog will mostly be told in video, it was simply too much to write out. It was cut off before I could finish so I will just conclude with this. You can’t give anyone water if you are thirsty and we must put our oxygen masks on before we can put on anyone else’s.

I needed to be inpatient. I feel better; my meds are regulated. I have more people who were kind and patient with me. Even though I felt down and depressed last week, I am hopeful today and I will continue to fight, I have a mean left hook.

The Jambayala Tour 


It’s 11:00 and I am just now rolling out of bed. I’m not a bum and I don’t have a hangover. I woke up in need of a B12 drip with the lyrics of Twentylemhunnidmillion in my head. “ Ain’t no mo free, ain’t no mo free. I paid that fee.” My favorite part of this song is the bridge though. “How many times did I do you dirty but you never left me? Every time I messed around. How many times you should’ve left me but you the only one who gets me and you never let me down? How many times I made the wrong choice and ignored you but you never ever took my crown?”

Earlier this week my 23 yr old daughter came in hype and told me one of her favorite rappers would be in Dallas on Friday. “What you gotta do Friday? Aha Gazelle will be here.” All I knew was that’s the dude who raps, sings, and produces his own music. His singing voice reminded me of Bryson Tiller and his flow and energy is something I’ve never heard.

All week we vibed to all of the mixtapes. My favorites were Trilliam 1 &2. We had the soundbar speakers falling off of the cabinet. In the car we had our heads bobbing waiting on 7/7/17 to arrive. That afternoon we shopped for our fits got cute and waited for 7:30 to arrive. The Prophet Bar had a small gathering when we arrived. We checked each other out so we could see what kinda vibe would fill the club.

We waited a long time but don’t trip, it was worth it. As soon as we found a table my daughter grabbed her T-shirt which sold like hotcakes.There were a lot of fun and high energy opening acts to fill the time. Just when we couldn’t wait any longer this tall, overwhelming, man comes out and The Aha Show dropped. Aha grooved his way out on the stage and gave us that smile. He had us from jump! Folks started coming in from out in the lobby and rushed the floor. There were so many standout parts of this MOVIE!

All White Party was so lit and the crowd rocked back and forth. We helped him out on the high notes. My daughter had given me the background on this song so I knew it had greater meaning. Y’all can look that up on your own time. When the beat dropped on Supreme he made a face like okay it’s time for me to stunt a little. My favorite lyrics are, “Im feeling supreme, I know they mad at me.They told me not to mention God or say that I believe. They placing limitations tryna tell me what to be. They must forgot I’m from the same place as Master P.”

He stopped to talk to us a little and let us know he was single. Also to give the guys some game to holla at the nearest cutie. Glow Girl is where he speaks directly to the women and let’s us know how special we are and how we should shine and be confident. I fell in love with him again here. He again flashed that smile at the end and then it was party time.

Elevator, All Gold Party and Momma’s House feat Fiji turned everything way the heck up. I’m so glad Aha reminded us to be ourselves. I don’t know what everyone else was doing but my daughter and I were having a PARTY! We went through a bottle of water and a Sprite. Her aha. shirt was soaked. Then my absolute favorite joint dropped. Keep it in the Family. That one just makes me feel good and the whole crowed danced together. We all had the arm in the air on “Shoot my shot like Jordan.”

There were a few disappointments. You know how it is when you just want a few more of your personal faves? They had to end the show to start the meet & greet. So while I sit and write this review I am blasting Carpool, Unbothered and The Price is Always Right. It’s cool though because I’m a new fan and I plan to rep Dallas anytime Aha is in town.

There seems to be some controversy about what this kind of music is called. Is it hip hop? Rap? Is it Christian Hip Hop? Should we be twerking or jumping up and down? For me this is music that makes me feel good. The lyrical content contains bars that make you think and want to learn more. The party music is fun and energizing and you are literally worshipping. This music doesn’t need a box or a title. It’s Aha.

Roots & Wings 

Mother’s Day weekend marked my 23rd year being a mother. It’s not always been easy but it was worth it. The early years I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I remember the first night with my oldest I thought there was a cat in the house. I kept hearing a weird noise in a high pitched voice. It was my newborn. I couldn’t put my middle son down at night or he would wail and turn red. I held him all night and no daycare could watch him because he was spoiled. Raising my youngest I needed so much help my grandmother and uncle watched her for the first 6 months. She would come home and look at me like lady who are you?

In their elementary school years, I started to get it right and kept them grounded in church and the values I was taught as a child by my mom. They learned to share, recited scripture, and I started discipline methods. The girls didn’t have to be told to often to shape up but that boy tested me…often. I stressed how important education was by telling them by own story of struggle. I showed them how important their sibling hood was and they promised to always have each other’s back.

In the last five years they have gone off to college, my oldest has graduated college and began working as a teacher; they are all in different chapters of their lives. They don’t need me to do the day to day parenting anymore. I don’t have to make sure I come to their aid with every tear. I can’t hold them throughout the night. Many times they go to each other with their questions and concerns and I don’t hear about the issue until months later. I am content in knowing that they have each other for advice and encouragement just as I taught them.

My youngest is staying in Columbus for the summer and working an internship instead of coming home. As much as I want her here to snuggle at night and make her favorite meals; she needs to start getting into her field and making moves. My son is headed to Morocco a place I don’t know much about but I’m learning. I could tell him that I don’t want him to leave the country right now and to please stay in Cincy this fall but then he couldn’t use his language skills and prepare for the next phase of his life.

My oldest daughter is in Houston and has one of the hardest jobs in the world. I was frightened when she started teaching. I was worried, but she has been teaching all of her life. She is my oldest child. She has been helping me with her siblings and she has always said she wanted to teach. So she has her own beautiful place and is thriving.

As Mothers we want to have our children right there with us forever. We often want to soften the blows of life. I think we are here for two reasons, to give them roots and wings. I have done that, now I am reaping the benefits of watching them soar.

The Missing D.C. Girls, Fact, Fiction and Emotion.

I have spent the past few days researching this story so I could write about it with all of the factual information I could find. After 5 days I was able to speak with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and email them. I actually researched and watched local media. I was able to contact local news reporters and received responses and I hope I did my best in weeding out the fake from what is real. Although this story brought up many emotions I wanted to know the facts and what I could do to help.I didn’t want to rush and put up a blog without even having valid information. This blog will be longer than most of my posts. You’ve been warned.

These are the facts that I’ve uncovered. Last Thursday 3/25/17 NBC’s Washington Affiliate published on their Twitter page that a dozen teens ranging from age 14 to 18 were missing. The Washington D.C. Police Department tweeted that there were 10 girls missing who were considered critical cases. The latter was retweeted by a well known personality on Twitter who added the comment and I quote, “No one is saying anything about these girls that are missing.” That tweet went viral and the story began. 

I am sure we all know that when stories are carried they grow additions, people add their own pieces,  exgagerrations. So…let’s talk about facts. According to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children there were from 450-500 missing children in Washington D.C. This number has been consistent since 2014. 95% of those cases have been closed. Lets talk about the term “missing.”  There are children who are critically missing, children missing from care, family abduction, runaways, and long term missing.  Critically missing usually means there is an elevated risk of danger. A child missing from care is one who is missing or has been abducted from the foster care system. Family abductions are missing children who have been abducted or wrongfully retained or concealed by a parent or other family member. Runaway children are missing youth who have run away from a parent, guardian or state care facility  A long term missing child is a case that has remained unsolved for many years. 

As of 3/27/17 there are approximately 250- 300 children missing in The Nations Capitol. No one will verify how many are African American or Hispanic and I’ve asked that question many times. Nearly 2,000 children go missing every five years. If the police department and news media had not posted this story none of us would be discussing these girls. 

Washington D.C. is much like many metropolitan cities; the problems are the same.  Missing teen girls is a huge problem. D.C. police have tweeted 27 photos of missing teens since starting their Twitter page. Most of them have been found. One teen who was reported  missing on 3/21 was found on 3/26 and wouldn’t tell her mother where she was staying. Her name is Katherine Hunter and she has run away many times. There are issues at home. She says, “Many of her friends who run away just want out.”

Here are a few more unfortunate truths. African American and Latino girls are at more at risk of becoming abducted, runaways, and to be critically missing. Just as African Americans and Hispanics are at risk in many other areas of life. Poverty, single parent homes, and abuse are all at the top of the list as to why. Also when a Caucasian child is missing there is more media attention, especially for little girls. When a black or brown child is missing she or he is usually deemed a runaway; a child who is bad. D.C. Councilman Trayon White says, “There was a 10 yr old African American girl missing a week ago and there was no Amber Alert inacted.” He feels if this was a white child or even a child from a better neighborhood this wouldn’t have happened. Most African American girls are labeled as runaways who left home freely. Then after leaving the home they often become victims of rape, sex trafficking, and prostitution.

Now on to the fiction, there were never 14 girls, or 10 or any double digit number of girls missing in a 24 hour period. One of the girls in a few online post has been missing since 2014, her name is Relisha Rudd. There is no spike in missing girls of any race in D.C. , social media is simply being used to shine a light on the issue. Much like the Internet opens the word to things that have happened for years but were hidden. The fact is most of these girls became missing over the past month or two. Which is still scary.

There is hope in the face of despair. Mayor Muriel Bowser says her office will implement 6 new initiatives to tackle the missing person problem. They include boosting the number of officers assigned to missing person cases and expanding the local missing person website. With all of the facts and fiction being uncovered it still doesn’t negate the pain I feel. I am sad that so many girls are running away from home. What are they running from?  All of these children are not just bad. Why run from heat,food, their iPhones? Some run from abuse; sexual, physical, and mental. Some parents don’t give a darn about their daughters. ” Let her go, get out of my house.” What if she runs into the arms of a manipulative pimp, some punk or the local police officer? 
Just a few more truths.  Two D.C. Police officers were accused of running a prostitution ring just last week. Officer Marc Washington is accused of setting up 16 year old girls with adult men for sex acts. One of the girls had been reported as missing. As many as 6 teenswere found at a SE Stanton Rd apartment.Washington was also accused of child pornography for placing the girls pictures on the website  backpage. He also had a mirror in the home with the names of young girls on it. The other officer’s name has not been released.

There are so many layers to this devastating issue. When you break this down whether you believe the facts or the social media sensation, black and Latino girls are endangered. Some are being hurt in the homes of their own families and they run away searching for something. Others are betrayed by officers who have sworn to uphold the law. They are accosted by people who prey on them with promises of money only to rip away their innocence. We as a community must protect our princesses, the first place is in the home. We can’t rely on mainstream media to report them missing. We must use all of our options; TV One, BET, Univision, Telemundo, Black Twitter our publications and our voices.  But we must be accurate and we must be collaborative. If you have any ideas of what we can do comment below or hit me on any of my platforms.

Sources
Youth & Family Division D.C.

NBC Washington D.C. Affiliate 

Washington D.C. Missing Persons

The Center For Missing & Exploited Children

Washington D.C. Police Department

The Washington Post

WJLA ABC7’s Yolanda Traylor 

   
   

Stamp out Stigma 

Stamp Out Stigma

Mental  illness effects 22 million Americans. Most people want to sweep the issue under a rug as if it doesn’t exist. Some mental health issues stem from abuse; in my case sexual abuse from, age 9-12. As result of the abuse, I suffered from depression, low self -worth, and bipolar disorder.

As I entered high school, thoughts of suicide began to take place as well as low self- esteem. This led to my getting pregnant at a young age and becoming a teen parent. As I went into young adulthood, the episodes of bipolar disorder began. I started to experience low lows and high highs. While depressed I would stay in bed, become angry, and isolate myself from others. My manic episodes felt wonderful. I had increased energy, felt on top of the world, and could do many things at once.

I struggled with not wanting to take medicine. My family didn’t understand what was wrong with me. My mother placed me into hospitals, had me talk to counselors, and started me on medications. I would feel better and stop taking the medicine and visiting my therapist. As I entered my twenties, I was married and was an unstable wife and mother. Things would be going fine and I would become severely depressed leaving my husband to care for the children. My ex- husband didn’t understand and we began to argue and physically fight. Our children became voyeurs to our dysfunction and this created a dangerous environment. After eight years, my husband left me.

I am now in my early thirties. I have been through suicide attempts. I have been married, divorced, remarried, and I am the mother of three children. I have written a book regarding my struggles with mental illness, teen pregnancy, abuse, and how I deal with things today. The book talks about my spiritual deliverance; letting go of the past and releasing my mind to the will of God. I am now on medication that works for me. Just like a diabetic or an asthmatic, I have to make sure I stay on top of it. I see a therapist as does my immediate family. I pay attention to my body and my mind. I am not perfect and I still deal with depression, but every day I am on defense to fight this thing. I wish more people knew how important our mental health is, and how this can affect us.

For me the stigma kept me in secrecy. I even  lied to my second husband and kept secrets from my closest friends. I am now managing with meds, yoga, eating healthy, support groups and therapy. I am stamping the hell out of stigma. I spoke to legislators in Austin, TX and will continue my campaign in Wasghington D.C.

 

What’s My Name?

Rasha, Tasha, Ratasha, Russian, Soviet Union, these are all of the names that I have been called over the years. As a child I absolutely hated my name. I would often ask my mom why the heck she named me that and her response was always the same.”Your dad named you, I wanted to name you Ayanna.” I am glad she didn’t because my childhood bully was named Ayanna and that may have made it worse. Anywho that’s another blog for another day.

I was made fun of just as most kids were. I made it easy by walking around as Rhasha Halliburton. So I was Russian Hamburger and in my adult years I was ‘oh like the Texas rich money Halliburtons? ‘No like my daddy and momma are in social work and live in Indiana. As I left high school and started at a local community college kids started to tell me how cool my name was. There was a family friend who said the “S” like a “J” and made it sound really exotic and when I met my friend Mikel ( now husband) he told me how much he loved my name. He said he wanted to name his youngest daughter Rhasha but her mom didn’t like it.

My marriage and travels led me to Columbus, OH where everyone loved my name and always complimented me on it. Then I started getting the question about where my Dad found this name and what did it mean. I started to realize my name was dope as hell! Matter of fact I started realizing my name is just like me, different, uncommon, and my husband’s word exotic. I don’t think like most people. I am kind of weird and strange. My name fits me.

Whenever someone tells me that they love my name I text my dad and tell him thanks. It took me thirty years to appreciate the precious name he gave me as a baby. Now at almost forty my name has been said on the radio; once on a national show. My name is on a published book, and my last daughter was praised on a news show for her name, Ana Hoosier. Just like my dad I think her name fits her. I gave it to her because my Great Grandmothers name was Anabelle and she was so sweet and her skin was beautiful. Ana is not sweet at all but she is proud that her name means something.

It’s funny I always wanted to be named April, or Amber. I am sure there are MANY of those in the world, but so far I have only found two Rhasha’s with the same spelling as mine and I hope they are as proud of their name as I am, thanks Daddy.

Fly

It’s often said that as parents we raise our children and after raising them we are to let them fly. They don’t tell you that’s easier said than done. For some it’s losing control over their children. For others it’s the need to keep their children close to them. For me it’s very simple-fear. The fear of my daughter being hurt by those who don’t love her. The horror of some evil person trying to extinguish the great light that is inside of her. I even worried about her choosing her first post college apartment. And Oh Lord how will she pay for a house full of furniture? And what about her fifth roomate? Here we go again…

This weekend God showed me that as much as I love my sweet Brittany, he loves her more. I was able to spend the weekend with her. Brittany is living out not only his plan for her life, but her plan. She has said she would be a teacher since I can remember. So last week she began her journey as a 2nd grade teacher in her new city Houston, TX. She decorated her classroom and had her lesson plans all together. She found a very nice luxury apartment in a sprawling neighborhood with trails and beautiful trees. She has a couch, a dining room table, dishes, and all of her needs. We were so happy to purchase her a bed and a lamp to complete her list. Brit has her stuff together and I quickly learned this is no longer my college student. 

She has a reliable vehicle that she looks so cute driving. Her backseat is full of items for her classroom and a couple of Brittany spills. I guess driving while eating breakfast is harder than she thought. Brit is not a kid to miss any meals. She lives close to work and church. She is excited about joining a small group within her church community. I was able to visit her church on Sunday and enjoyed myself. 

My baby even has her own group of friends. Some of them are friends from Ball State where she attended school. Some are teachers who mentored her when she was student teaching. They have been like a small family. They have helped her along her path, helped her with home furnishings and showed her the ropes about what areas of town to stay away from. 

My little premature baby girl who weighed 4 pounds 9 ounces and had to live in an incubator for weeks is now a 22 year old teacher. The kids call her Ms. Hoosier. This is my Britsy who had a rare cancer at age 6 and went through almost a year of chemo and radiation. She is now a working tax paying real job having adult. I respect her vision. I have always supported her goals. I have her back the same way my mom always has mine. So after the 4 hour drive from Houston to Dallas I rested and slept like a baby. God has her in his arms. I am gonna stand back for a second…until I find her a husband and have some grandbabies. But for now I am going to let this beautiful bird fly.