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.

Girls Trip Review  * Spoiler Alert*

High school was one of best times of my life. I didn’t know it then; but now that I must adult on a regular I am positive it was LIT( to steal a word from my daughter). The highlight of that time was of course friends, your homies, your clique, your crew. For me it was Amanda, Chenelle and Dalisha and on the weekends Bianca, and DeAnna. Girls Trip will have you reminiscing on those times when you and your girls thought you were the ‘ish.

The movie begins by showing the years that have passed since the girls have spent time together. As is life they became busy with work, children, husbands, life in general. Spending time with their girls becomes an afterthought. The “Flossy Posse” consists of Dina( Tiffany Haddish) the wild child who seems to get fired from her job weekly and nonchalantly says, “ See you Tuesday.” Sasha( Queen Latifah) the broke former journalist now gossip blogger. Lisa ( Jada Pinkett Smith) the responsible divorced mother of two and Ryan( Regina Hall) the happily married author, and mogul who has it all….or that’s the way it seems.

The four set off for EssenceFest in New Orleans where they let lose. Ryan is there as the keynote speaker for the event but the girls make sure she has some fun. From the start the girls get into trouble with Dina getting them kicked out of the hotel. Then it’s revealed that Ryan’s husband Stuart(Luke Cage’s Mike Colter) is cheating and the girls seek revenge. Well mostly Dina ( I would have done the same btw). The other girls are angry but take a more rational approach. Ryan acts as if everything is fine to save face.

The male heart throb and my husband on the side Kofi Siriboe played Lisa’s crush. As much as she tried to keep her cool she ended up between the sheets with him. Another handsome actor who is aging gracefully is Larenz Tate who played former classmate Julian. The on camera chemistry between Julian and Ryan was hot and steamy and all they did was look into each other’s eyes. Yet there was still the problem of her husband and the perfect façade she puts on for the world. But Ryan wasn’t the only one with secrets.

Sasha seemed to have a thriving gossip blog that was bringing in big money but in reality her bills were passed due and her advertisers didn’t think she had enough traffic to the site. She was even taking clothes back to the store after wearing them.

This trip starts as big fun with drinking, twerking and turning up in The Big Easy but ends up exposing side chicks and insecurities. But what do friends have that binds them together? Loyalty.

From beating down Stuart’s side chick Simone ( you find out the actresses name. I don’t care) to being there for Ryan when she decides to live in her truth, the girls show true compassion. Herein lies the moral of this story. True friends know when you are hurting. They know when you are frontin’. They are there to pick you up when you fall and to celebrate the successes in your life. This movie truly made me laugh hysterically and blush with some of its crudeness. It also made me sad because all of my childhood friends are thousands of miles away. But no matter how far, I know they would fight the devil himself for me and slap the hell out of a ratchet sidechick.

Tiffany Haddish is the breakout star and has such an endearing quality about her. Her life story is a New York Times Best Seller for sure. She was great in this role and her ad libs were spot on.

Jada was also funny in her quirky bossy momma way. Regina has really evolved and I am loving the woman she is, beautiful and classy. Queen Latifah is simply that- royalty. She did her thing, as always.

If you and your friends thought you were the IT girls in high school go see this movie. If you grew up in the late 80s and 90s go see this movie. If you adore #blackgirlmagic go see this movie. If you are reading this go see this movie. Yes get your ass up and go.

My Name is Rhasha, and I’m a Yogi

In April of 2015 I had the opportunity to participate in a patient hospitalization program. What’s that you ask? Opportunity? Yes it was a strenuous program that ran Monday- Friday from 8am to 4pm. I learned about mood disorders, coping skills and medicine management. I also learned a new word self- care. I had never learned the idea that to eat right, exercise, and work out was a way of caring for my own wellness. I knew how to take care of my children and had done it for eighteen years.

I had a self -care class with a lady named Carla. She was a psychiatric nurse who had survived many traumatic situations as a child and young adult. She showed me the importance of yoga. At first I laughed, “ Yoga is for chicks who go to Starbuck’s daily and put little dogs in their purses.” How the heck could that help me?  

Carla started with easy poses and got us used to the practice. She turned the lights off and started us with mediation. I began to look forward to the quiet time. All of my life I struggled with quieting my spirit and mind; Yoga was a way to calm my mind and to tone my body. I started watching yoga videos at home and making it a way of life. 

In late 2015 we moved to Dallas and left our youngest daughter in Columbus. It was a time of major transition and yoga was something I could count on. At this time I began to meditate and pray to God the Father while I did the poses. I joined a yoga class at the local yogurt shop.  

Now yoga is a part of my daily self- care. I am advanced in the poses and know which regimen to use for tired days, stress, sleep and mornings. I use this as my time of thanksgiving and praise. I go to a gym that offers yoga Tuesday through Thursday. I also teach a yoga class a few times a month at my local mental health organization.  

As a yogi for 2 ½ years I have lost weight, gained muscle in my legs, I am able to root out depression and mania. Yoga has helped me with my singing and jogging. Whenever I am feeling unbalanced I use yoga as a way to stop, gain clarity and meditate while engaging my body. What use to be a joke to me is now something that sustains me and quiets my soul. Namaste & God be with you.  

   
   

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.

My Girls; True Friends.

imageI spent Cinco De Mayo weekend with my daughters Brittany and Ana. My oldest daughter Brittany celebrated her 23rd birthday. The girls had not seen each other since the holidays. Whenever they are together it’s just fun watching them. We were just sitting around the house and Brit walked in like she came back from grabbing milk. “What’s up y’all?” Ana was so happy and ran up to her big sis. My heart was so warm and full of love. My girls have always been close even if it was shunning their middle brother that brought them together. I remember him driving them crazy and them telling him to get lost when they were young.

As they were growing up they had their normal ups and downs. They got on each other’s nerves just like normal siblings, but they never fought. They never cussed each other out or had any of the drama I saw from sisters on tv. As they grew up Brittany took care of Ana like a little mother. She was there for her emotionally, spiritually,and physically. Often when Ana couldn’t come to me with different issues I knew that Brit would provide sound advice.

Even though Ana is 3 years younger than Brit she also is a listening ear when she’s needed. Brittany was the more patient, kind and tolerable sister and can be taken advantage of. Ana is much more suspicious of people, stands her ground more and is introverted. The older they get, I notice they are interchangeable. Often Brit is outspoken and impatient with mess and Ana tells me how many friends she has made during different events.

During the weekend I could hear them talk for hours in their room until late in the night. Ana would bust out laughing and then Brit would laugh in her high pitched voice. I love the relationship they share, the sisterhood. I hope that one day my relationship with my sis will be just as strong.