Home is Where the Hurt Is

Going to my hometown Indianapolis is usually freeing and peaceful. I know where everything is located. I don’t get lost. The traffic is not ridiculous like it is in Dallas where I’ve resided since 2015. I can get the foods I’ve loved since I was young; White Castle, Long’s Donuts, and Mr. Dans. I enjoy worshipping at my childhood church and the church I transitioned to as an adult. I get to hang with my cousins, best friend  and family members. But some things are not as they use to be.

My Nana is getting older and starting to feel like she’s actually 88. She has always been healthy. While others were losing their grandmothers, mine was eating healthy; no diabetes or high blood pressure. Nana’s mind is 100% there and she can debate with the best of them. But her body is not lining up with her mind. Now she is having aches and pains and two doctor appointments a week.  She is sick of visiting different doctors and telling them over and over what is going on. After visiting  with her I asked her if she wants to come to Dallas so I can take care of her. 

My Aunts are also getting older. Aunts are such a blessing. They are like your mom only cooler and they let you get away with everything. My Aunt Beth is my favorite and she so much fun. She always had a nice car and she drove really fast. If anyone cut her off she would quickly yell at them. Aunt Beth loved roller coasters and Dairy Queen dates. She beats the crap outta the kids in board games and is very competitive. I was raised as a only child so when I could spend the night at Auntie’s  with my cousins it was fun times. Whenever my cousins wanted to do something they would say, ” You ask. She can’t say no to you.”   She would always keep me in suspense and then say, “yep.” 

My Aunt is not feeling the way she once did. She is often ill and struggles a lot. When I come home I try to cheer up her with songs and jokes. I always have a story about my grown ass kids. In the past Rhasha the cheerleader could change her mood and make her forget her pain; not as much now. She has been on dialysis for seventeen years and still has strong faith that one day she will be healed. The day after I celebrated her 63rd birthday with her I dreamed she was in Dallas on my back porch eating tacos on Tuesdays. 

So often times coming home hurts. I know that as long as we live we are getting older.  Even at 40 my knees crack and my grays are feisty. I look at Nana and think; her  body is 88 years old. Auntie has lived for 63 years when doctors said she wouldn’t or couldn’t.  Each of these ladies have made an impact on my life and that continues. I see them for who they were then and who they are now. 

I guess the best thing I can do is come home often. Tell them and show them that I love them. Realize that life doesn’t stay the same. Life is about transitions; memories and moments. There are still memories to be made and moments to share with Nana, Auntie and all of my family members. I look forward to coming back home for Thanksgiving to enjoy another precious moment. 

  

Image St. Joseph’s Cockeysville 

Advertisements

Divorce Made Me Stronger

  There are few things more disappointing then going through a divorce. It’s almost like a death.  It is a death; of a relationship, a partnership, a bond. When children are involved it’s that much harder. Where will I live? Who will move out? Who will have custody of the children.  Who gets the sleeper sofa?

I was married young; at 21. As my mom drove me to the church my stomach was in knots and I asked her if she would just take me to Cincinnati. Not sure if I wanted to go to Kings Island instead of the $10,000 wedding ceremony that my whole family helped pay for. Yeah…bad sign I know. That day in June I was to marry my high school sweetheart. The man I had three children with and who had my heart for six years.

The marriage started out wrong. On our wedding night we rushed through sex and if it was a chore and fell asleep soon after. Wait let me back up. The ring I got for him was too small and during the cake ceremony his finger swelled. The fire department had to come and cut the ring off of his finger and he sat there sweating bullets. Lots of early drama. 

We had the best intentions for our life.  We bought a house, sent our babies to school, went to church every Wednesday night and Sunday, worked, and went on date nights on Fridays. My Dad would keep the kids on weekends and my Mom watched them often. But soon loud voices in my head were telling me how doomed we were. The truth is we NEVER should have been married.

Our divorce was a culmination of my past issues, his frustration, our age and the pressure we put on ourselves to stay in a bad marriage. I was devastated and went through a 6 month depression. I was embarrassed, ashamed, and lonely. This man had been my buddy for so long. Everything I did involved him. But soon I would pick up the pieces and realize just how strong I was. Here are some tips for getting through and over a divorce and moving on in a healthy way.

1. Don’t beat yourself up. You have the right to feel however you feel, no matter what that is.

2. Practice self- care by seeking counseling, journaling and talking to a spiritual advisor.

3. Don’t jump into another relationship. Have a relationship with yourself. Take yourself to dinner, on dates, and pamper you.

4. Seek help for your children if needed. Seek counseling, a spiritual advisor, and allow them to get their feelings out with no judgment.

5. Spend time with those you love. Friends, family and pets are the best to be around.

6. Stay busy. Find a cool hobby, attend festivals, take a class, work out.

7. Gain clarity about what you did right and wrong in the marriage so it won’t happen again. This will help in future relationships when you are ready.

8. LOVE YOURSELF. Take long baths, give yourself actual hugs, and treat yourself with patience and kindness. Watch the things you tell yourself. Lowered feelings and thought can lead to depression.

For me divorce started as a negative and hurtful situation but ended in me learning so much about myself. I learned what I did and didn’t want in future relationships. Five years later I married the man of my dreams. He became a father to my children and a true testament that there is truly someone out there for me who will love me for the crazy, quirky woman that I am.

When I think about divorce the song Stronger by Tank stands out in my head. The song is about the ending of a relationship. The hook or chorus is “Now, look at me  I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. Where I am is no longer where I’ve been. I’m stronger and it’s all because of you.” The bridge begins, ” I’m still missing pieces after everything. But I’m stronger! Can’t believe it’s cause she said she’d never leave. But I’m stronger! But if she never left, I would have never seen that I’m stronger.” 

What divorce taught me was, I can stand on my own. I can be a great mother. My children went to therapy  and so did I. I also learned that what you want at 21 is not what you want at 30, or even 40.  Divorce helped me find my identity. I use my voice to encourage other women;  on my blog, on radio I even used it at the Texas legislature this year. I went back to school after my divorce, I reconnected with caring friends. And of course I found love after divorce. 

What could have completely broken me made me stronger.  

Day at a Time

IMG_0469I have been out of the hospital for six weeks. I am feeling more like Rha again. I am back to yoga regularly and biking. Eating three meals a day again and enjoying every minute of that. Getting back on track with my groups, volunteering and working.  There are many exciting things on the horizon. I started getting back to my habits by practicing a little one day at a time.

School starts October 23rd and I’m taking two Sociology classes. I really want to help women who are going through what I have been through. I not only want the testimony; I want the credentials to get paid for doing it. It’s fall and that is a time of transition. The trees change colors and the leaves begin to fall. The weather in Dallas is gorgeous this time of year; not too hot nor too cold. I plan to go to White Rock Lake and see the fall colors. I am slowly starting to enjoy life again and taking each day as it comes. Putting one foot in front of the other. Day by day by day.

I am learning that everything that I need I have been equipped with. I know how to mediate and use a mindfulness app to stop for five minutes daily. I know my triggers for depression and even though I can’t stop the onset, I can minimize the duration and intensity and have done so lately. Self care is so important because life is all about caring for ourselves, and caring for others. I am starting with me and then my husband & children. I am going to visit my family soon and care for them and my friends… I KNOW I CAN DO IT…ONE DAY AT A TIME.

Radical Self Acceptance, love yourself

Radical Other Acceptance, love others

Radical Life Acceptance, love Life.

OPEN LETTER TO KEKE WYATT

keke

Since we were teens I have always admired you. We grew up in the same hometown, Indianapolis. We were around each other in different girl groups in the city. We have lots of mutual friends and you even tried out for a group I was in called Baby Girl. You may not remember this but I remember the biracial girl with high cheek bones and a wide smile wearing 90’s overall swag and a voice I had never heard before and haven’t heard since. She walked into a dance studio in the Glendale area and sang Amazing Grace and His Eye is on the Sparrow.  We did some basic dance moves and the next time I saw you were on my TV screen singing with Avant.

First let me say this; Your voice is one of the best period. In a world where qualities like looks and sex appeal are more important than talent you stand above with raw talent and skill. And yes you are a beautiful woman. Don’t ever let anyone tell you any different. As your life progressed I always followed what you were doing. I always told people, “That’s Keke Wyatt. She’s from Nap. Her whole family can sing. I even know her momma from Allison Transmission. Her name is Miss Lorna.”

I watched you get married and have children and I saw you struggle. As you were struggling I was too. I felt connected. From being abused by the father of my children, to fighting back and looking like the bad guy. I vibed to your first album Soul Sista . My favorite song was always your version of If Only You Knew & Don’t Take Your Love Away.

In 2001 my daughter was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor kidney cancer and went through a year of chemo and radiation. During that time my husband completely pulled away from me. I was in fear of losing my daughter and my marriage. In the end she pulled through and is now a healthy 24-year-old 4th grade teacher. My marriage ended and I went into a dark depression which almost took my life. My ex then took my children away from me for 6 months and ignored my calls. I didn’t even get to celebrate my daughters Make A Wish trip to Disney. Another person stood in as me.

I still paid attention to your moves in Kentucky and sent you messages of encouragement on Myspace. I would come to your intimate shows where you would start singing R&B, go into Gospel and even throw some opera in there. People have always said things about your quirky ways. From one misfit to another  I would say, girl they don’t know your life! They have no clue what you have been through. One thing they can’t deny is you put your heart and soul into your music.

In my opinion no one bares their soul no one has your range and you rival some of the best voices of our time.  I made sure I even bought a physical copy or had a fresh download of every album from Who Knew, to Unbelievable, Rated Love, and Keke. Your hits have gotten me through some of my darkest days and made me smile and laugh while slowing dancing in front of my couch with my current husband.

I don’t know a lot about your childhood upbringing other than the church but I do know what happens when you are in a hostile relationship that includes cheating and abuse. It leaves remnants of PTSD that can stay with you for years to come.  I lived that life. Before I could heal properly I was swept off my feet by my own Prince Charming. Much like Michael Jamar he is a great father who not only cares greatly for his children but has taken good care of mine and loves all children.

My husband saw me as a wounded and hurt woman who didn’t trust anyone. Instead of telling him what I had been through earlier in life, I tried to hide the pain that haunted me daily. Eventually it showed itself and he saw all of my wounds. He tried his best to heal them while working and being a father.

You were away from the spotlight for a while but I was happy to see you on R&B Divas along with several of my favorites. I was excited to see the babies and the beautiful family you had created. But there was a sadness in your eyes…so I prayed.

It was great to see you building friendships with women knowing how hard it is for you to trust. Folks would come after you and call you crazy. I always responded on social media, “She isn’t crazy she’s Keke and what she has been through is crazy.”

Watching the interaction with you and your  hubby was very familiar. Your Michael reminded me so much of my Mikel. Strong, problem solver, father, patient and kind. Due to his support I began to get my life together. I started intensive therapy and mental health classes. Becoming closer to Christ and making sure to rid myself of toxic thoughts was another milestone in my progress.

I began to take steps to heal my hurt and be the whole healed woman my husband needed. I am still in therapy and I still go to classes from time to time. Volunteering and daily prayer are also a part of my regimen. All of these things are helpful in healing from past struggles.

The next time I saw you was on the Marriage Boot camp show. The struggles between you and Michael were magnified for the world. It was hard to watch. The show ended and things were quiet for a while.  Now you’re back in the media; not for the perfect voice, not for the amazing range of that voice, but for a possible divorce.

Keke I pray that God’s will be done. I pray that if God wants your marriage to work that it will work. One day you will be healed and whole and have true peace. You will one day know and see the beautiful woman who is behind that big ole smile. Even if you don’t see it, there are many  think about you and want the best for you.

I want to share with you lyrics from your song. I know this was written as a love song but I like think of it with God as the focus.  He will give you his love, peace, time, joy, and everything else you need.

I’ll give you my love. I’ll give you my peace . I’ll give you my time. I’ll give you everything you need.  I’ll give you my love.  I’ll give you my joy. I’ll give you my life. 

You will always be that pretty girl I saw belt out His Eye is on the Sparrow as if the song was written only for you. If God looks out for the little bitty sparrow you know he is watching you. I hope this helps you in some way and I hope that all women can one day heal from abuse and that the men who love us can also get the support that they need.

Rhasha Hoosier

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.

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.