FULLY FOCUSED MAN

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A few days ago I turned 41 years old and that marks a year since I’ve REstarted my educational journey. Getting this far hasn’t been easy for me in the least. From age 9-12 I was molested and that trauma left me a tormented soul. I battled with depression and PTSD throughout adolescence and into young adulthood. By the time the room stopped spinning I was a 25 yr old divorced mother of three. The focus was no longer on me but on my children. Every move I made had to have them in mind. Where I would live? Where I would work; who I would date?

Over the last 5 years my children have graduated from college, entered the job market and began traveling the world. My oldest is a 4th grade teacher. My middle child is studying abroad in France, and my youngest is a junior at The Ohio State University. I looked up and no one needed feeding, or dressing; the nest was empty. I realized that I had been living my life for my children and they were gone.

I have always been one to help others. I would see the need often before the individual saw it. As a former teen mom, I had a heart for teen mothers, and for preventing teen pregnancies. I was also a domestic violence survivor and suffered PTSD from that and the childhood abuse. My goal was to help others by showing them what has helped me to push through. Having time to myself helped me to learn the practice of self- care and teach it to others. I began by volunteering at my local YWCA. This gave me the opportunity to reach women right where they were.

So now I am in my first year of school. I am determined to finish. I want to obtain a Masters in Social Work. I want to help women but also be paid to do so. I want to achieve some of my dreams and goals now that I have helped my children to become successful. It’s my turn to take care of me.  This semester I have 2A’s & 1B. I don’t plan on slowing down or stopping. I’m fully focused man.IMG_3433[1]

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LEAPS OF FAITH

ZIP 2018

 

All of my life I have been frightened by things many aren’t afraid of. At the age of 9 I was hit by a car and that trauma has stayed with me for most of my life. In the same year I was molested by a close family friend. It continued until I was around twelve and moved away.  That led to depression and suicidal ideations during my early teens. I was often scared of older men, paranoid of being hurt or killed and I was always looking out for my safety and the safety of those around me. With all of those traumas I never was the one to take risks or live on the wild side. I had to be peer pressured into riding roller coasters; and I quickly regretted it as the feeling of that days sweets swelled up in the pit of my stomach.

In 2015 on a trip to Cabo, Mexico I zip lined for the first time. Again I was peer pressured. As I walked the 5 mile hike I hoped something would go wrong and the excursion would be cancelled. Bad weather. A fallen wire. Jesus’ return. My sister- in- law went first, my husband second and there I was. “UP NEXT”. I listened to the instructions of the staff member, closed my eyes and soared through the sky.

Once I felt the breeze along my arms and legs, I opened my eyes and saw the beauty of the Pacific Ocean. The fluffy clouds, the sun and that glistening blue water caused me to shed a tear. I began to thank God. This had to be HIS artwork. There were 12 zips and we completed 8. I completed 8. I never got stuck on a line. I was able to stop myself and land smoothly. So it would have been easy for me to say, ” I zipped 3 years ago. I am gonna sit out this time.”

But I didn’t, there I was along with my best friend, hiking up a steep canyon. Not as steep as the mountain in Mexico, but more jagged. This excursion was in  Roatan, Belize in a jungle setting. This time I led the group. I wasn’t afraid at all, but excited to tell the ones who hadn’t zipped what fun it would be.  I listened to the staff member who chatted and teased us. “Ready, set go.” I screamed at the top of my lungs. I sang the Destiny’s Child song Survivor. There were 8 zips and we completed them all. Again I finished 8 zips. On the 7th one I yelled like Tarzan as I swept through the deep jungle.  I was so proud and it showed as I posed for pictures. I Rhasha Hoosier have zip lined twice; once over the Pacific Ocean and once in a beautiful lush jungle with insects and reptiles. I am just starting my LEAPS OF FAITH. What are your plans to challenge yourself and confront your fears?

ZIP AMANDA

 

Western Caribbean Paradise:Girl’s Trip 2018

 

 

Last week I had the pleasure of cruising to Conzumel, Belize, and Honduras. I’m still an infant in traveling.  I’ve been to the Bahamas, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, and France. I didn’t begin traveling out of the country until around 2015. It started as a result of my daughter wanting to travel instead of having a grad party.

After just one cruise I had the bug. After seeing the movie Girls Trip my best friend planned our own PG version. On March 4th we sailed out of Galveston which was great for me since I’m up north in DFW. All of our saving and planning was coming together.  As soon as we stepped upon the Carnival Breeze we went into party mode, smiles and laughter followed us onboard.

We checked out the room and hit the BBQ spot. The pulled pork and Mac n cheese wasn’t bad.  We sat and talked under the sun for a while and then we started our own tour of the boat. It was set up like past cruise ships; lido deck with food and a pool, casino, dance clubs, a comedy club,the Ovation Theatre and a huge water slide that  opened into another pool. We treked to the very top deck and felt the powerful breeze. A feeling of warmth came over me. I knew we were gonna have a wonderful time.

If I told you everything we did, this blog would turn into a thesis. Let’s just say this. We danced, sang karaoke, ate all day long, visited private beaches, zip lined, we took a cave  tube tour, we slept in( well I did), attended a foodie tour, shopped and make great memories while feasting our eyes on overwhelming beauty.

I am gonna attach some pictures that will tell most of the story. Not only did we experience everything Cozumel, Belize, and Honduras had to offer, we bonded as six powerful, intelligent, talented, beautiful women. Four of us stayed in a room and the other two shared a cabin. We had no drama, no arguing, we respected each other’s space and personal items. We looked out for each other.

No matter what activities we did alone or in cliques of two, we came together every night for a fine dining meal. We had a ball with the restaurant staff, and each other. We learned our food likes and dislikes. Some of us tried foods we never had before and will never try again( lol).

We prayed together, laughed together, danced and sang together. I truly love these ladies and my best friend for planning the trip. We came up with a name for our crew. Two of us are 40, and two of us are 41. So we are #4041. We are already encouraging each other as we return to work and school. And pretty soon we will plan another great adventure.

I have so much gratitude to be able to travel, to have the freedom to go where I choose. And thankful to have sisters who will listen to me, tell me when I am right, or totally wrong. So now we shall prepare for Girls Trip 2019.

* And hell no, I was not paying $246 for the carnival Picts. Those watermarks are just fine.*

 

MY DAUGHTERS

I am so happy and proud of the relationship that I have with my daughters; Brittany and Ana. Brittany and I instantly bonded when she was small but Ana was always with my Uncle and Aunt all of the time. Nana had her when she wasn’t at Auntie and Uncle Sonny’s. We later came together and she learned to trust me at around age 2.

            As the girls grew up and into their teen years, my favorite thing about our time together was laying across their bed and just talking to them about their day, Ana’s sports and Brit’s band stuff. When Brit left  for college Ana and I grew closer and really bonded. She was very popular in high school so she would put together cute outfits and I enjoyed doing her hair in cute styles as she talked to me about the thirsty boys who liked her.
              Now that my girls are adults…well Grown-ish, it’s so much fun to talk to them and go back and forth about politics music and pop culture. I so love our connection of love and honesty and they are both blatantly honest. Over the years I have learned to be honest with them because parents lie a LOT.  When we talk on our conference calls we spent so much time laughing and debating that it became a Sunday ritual for a while, but then they got busy. We still stay in contact through text and when I am annoying they ignore me. They agree that I do too much. For instance Ana told me to write a paragraph and I am on my third or fourth one.
              To sum up the relationship I have with my girls I would say I have homies for life. I have someone I can vent to and  they can vent to me. I also love the closeness that the girls share and I hope I had something to do with that. Ana is understanding to my needs and that is why anything I have or can do for her it’s done. Brittany is my boss and helps me make decisions that are hard, she keeps me in check. So I always encourage her and build her self- esteem.
            I love my girlies with all of my heart. I kind of feel like we are pieces of a beautiful mosaic set of tiles wound together through unconditional love.

 

SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT

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I was finally able to carve out some time to watch Spike Lee’s Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It. I am old enough to remember hearing about the movie when it came out back in the late 80’s. I was only 9 years old and didn’t see the movie for myself until I was in my twenties.

It started out as many of Spike’s movies have in the past with wonderful camera angles and cinematography. The setting is New York City; Brooklyn to be exact. Nola Darling is the main character just as she was in the film.  She is dating three men; Mars Blackmon who is young and keeps her laughing and sexing like crazy. However he is immature and lives with his sister in the projects. She  has Greer Childs a narcissist model who thinks he is God’s gift to women and to Nola. He makes love to her with patience and passion. And lastly Jamie Overstreet; the married businessman who is loaded and showers Nola with gifts and lives to eat her for dessert. She needs these men in her life for various reasons. They equal one man; each fulfilling her wants and desires. She has no intention to commit and of course the men don’t like that at all.

Instead of giving a review of the series I just want to give my opinion on  the overall theme.  I don’t want to give away the entire series for those who haven’t had to chance to binge. She’s Gotta Have It is about women being able to be sexually free and not being labeled as a whore or thot.  Are we not able to have sex and enjoy it just as much as men? What about us having side dudes as men have side chicks? Is it unimaginable to think that women want to have a full life and be able to choose what kind of cake we like, eat the hell out of it and have ice cream along with the cake?

The thought of having many husbands has crossed my mind many times. I have been married most of my life and the idea of marriage has always been important to me. My husband is cool and laid back for the most part.  He is a great guy but he doesn’t share my passion for life or music. What if I had another man who loved going dancing the way I enjoy it? Or what if I could have a boyfriend who would listen to music all night long and break it down to its purest forms? At some point that guy might get on my nerves and be too deep and I might want a hunk who picks me up and takes me from place to place in his arms. He opens doors and takes his shirt off at my request. He would be my Greer there for his looks and brawn not so much his mind. The passionate guy could be a poet and love spontaneous vacations, picnics, and naked games of tag.

Then I would have my #1 the one who is my opposite; balanced and controlled. In a perfect world that would be accepted and my husband would be on board. I mentioned this to him and his response, ” HELL NO RHASHA.” I am a realist in terms of relationships. People change, their wants and needs change,  what we want at 20 is different at 30 and even 50. I guess I can continue to live my life through Nola. Something about her is freeing and exciting. She is not perfect and has her flaws and insecurities. She is irresponsible as hell and makes excuses instead of owning her shit.

Season two of SGTHI threatens to be just as bold as season 1. What happened after the Thanksgiving dinner where all of the men became acquainted with each other?  Are they merely pieces of meat to Nola and there to fill her sexual appetite? Will they ever stop singing Prince’s Greatest Hits? For me I am here for every minute of the series. I gotta have more!