Lies the Fairy Tales told…

Even as a child, I was never inclined to believe in Fairy Tales. I always found the characters rather unbelievable and the so-called heroines a bit pathetic. I do like some of the newer ‘Fairy Tales’, such as Brave and The Secret Life of Arriety, where the heroines actually believe in something other than a handsome prince to come to their rescue. These characters believed in their own strengths and weaknesses, fought for what they thought was right for them, and stood up against implied feminine protocols.

As a child, I was not dissimilar to those characters. I fortunately wasn’t raised to be a ‘princess’; though there was an implied expectation of what was the stereotyped decorum. Regardless of that expectation, I ran with the best of the boys in the neighbourhood; got dirty, climbed walls and fences, got into fights; typically with boys, and wore my scrapes and scratched as a badge of honour when I wasn’t hiding them from my father. These kinds of antics for a girl were typically frowned upon and we were dubbed ‘Tom Boys’, which I think is wrong. Why couldn’t we simply be accepted for our diverse interest in things that weren’t stereotypical or gender-specific?! Conversely to my running with the boys, I tidied up well and quite enjoyed wearing skirts and dresses.

As the mother of a daughter, I did not impose colour or gender-specific things upon her, nor did I treat her like a princess. Yes, she was her mother and fathers pride and joy and her grandmother dubbed her Princess, but she wasn’t treated with kid gloves, kept ultra clean and graced with pink, sparkles, and lace. Yes, we read her some of the Fairy Tales, but they were never allowed to be imbedded as her mode of living and life expectation. We allowed her the freedom to pick and choose her activities, toys, and other childhood ventures.

Cultural and social exposure played a very active role in Lil Lady’s development. She was taken to various types of places and raised with an awareness of the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ so she could appreciate what she herself had. She took her first road trip at five days old, her first in-country flight at five months old, and her first international flight at 20 months. Throughout each other these ventures, I was met with a mixed bag of praise and criticism. Some thought it was good that I was exposing her early to life; while others thought I should “wait until she’s older” or “she’s a little princess and shouldn’t be this or that”. Yea, whatever! She was my daughter and I’d do as I pleased as long as neither of us was put in harms way.

Like the constant emphasis in fairy Tales, I’d often hear how beautiful my daughter was as if that’s all she was. I acknowledged that they knew nothing else about her and as soon as she was in school and proved her academic prowess, I was sure to let people know that in addition to her looks, she was an Honour Roll student. I never wanted her to be seen or known solely for her looks. I always taught her that Pretty Smart was leagues better than Pretty Dumb as she’d much more than her looks to get her through life. Granted, looks can and will get you a step up, but without content of character, common sense, and a good skill set, what would she have to fall back on? This is the premise in which so many girls are raised and it needs to be changed. Girls can very much be Princesses; however, they need to taught and learn there is more to them and for them than looks and the handsome Prince coming to their rescue.

This teaching can lead to emotionally weak women who live life through rose coloured glasses where their romantic outlook on relationships and life puts them in a deficit because they think life conforms to the lie they’ve bought into. Fairy tales have led to divorce, emotional, physical and mental abuse, and in some ways, created a breed of women who will either blame everyone else but themselves for the demise of relationships of their lack of love; or they raise daughters with inflated senses of self, entitlement, or the same voice as their mothers because the mother has not fixed what was broken in herself before raising her daughter. Cycles of dysfunction only break when one gets to the root of their issue and stops believing the fantasy sold to them.

I’m pleased that there are some societal changes are occurring to better empower our daughters and I pray that the influences I have on my future stepdaughter and my goddaughter will broaden their life outlook and allow them to be more than “pretty in pink”. I also hope they’ll be more like Merida from Brave and Arriety and not allow society and their peers to dictate what they should do because “they’re girls”.

Lastly, I’d like to add that I co-authored a monologue for a student I was mentoring with the same title as this post where she used it to speak of her lack of relationship with her father. It served as a great healing tool for her. 🙂 Let’s be careful of the seeds we plant for our children; especially our daughters to grow upon.

Yea, I said it!

Fast ass teen invokes a murder…)*^%$)*$^) kids these days…

For those unfamiliar with the story, read here Father shoots teen boy

As a parent, I know there were things that my daughter may or may not do. Granted we can never truly swear for what our kids will do, I always hoped it would be the right thing. I taught her it’s best to be honest and face the consequences than to lie and make a bad situation worse. Again, we can’t never know what our kids will do when caught, but as a parent, we can only hope that our reaction to the situation is one that won’t compound the baseline issue.

In the case of this, in my opinion, fast-ass-lying-ass-lil-heffa, she shouldn’t have lied to her father when he busted her in bed with a boy she invited over. Now, I can’t say whether or not she knew her daddy had a gun in the house, but when she saw him reach for one, she should have confessed to knowing the kid. I think the father went to extremes in handling the situation and while he hasn’t been indicted yet according to the story, it’s likely he will be. Personally, I think his hot-in-the-pants daughter should be charged with involuntary manslaughter for lying and causing the boys death.

What the hell is wrong with kids these days? I’m not going say I was the model teen, but I’ll be damned if 1) I was going to bring a boy to the house with my folks home and 2) I damn sure wouldn’t have lied when caught given the evidence is right there. This is a very sad story and an egregious act of gross negligence on the part of both the father and daughter.

The family of the boy thought he was still on Spring Break and he was taught not to go into a girls room unless his presence was known. I guess he learned the hard way on that. SMDH! Once again, as a mother, I’d hope that my child would have sense enough to not pull a stunt like the one he did that got him killed.

This story saddens me and I’m curious to see how it plays out.

Yea, I said it!

Trending thoughts…

Parents these days need to understand that their children sometimes need to be spoken to in a stern voice in order to have their voice heard and force the child to recognize that things aren’t always up for debate. I’m so sick and tired of parents talking to their kids with this sugar-sweet voice and expect to be taken seriously.  Children require discipline and the understanding that actions have consequences.  If these parents insist on talking to their kids like things are up for debate or in the sugared tone, how the heck do they think they, as parents will command the respect their title/position holds, be an authoritative figure, or expect their child to have any comprehension of how to conduct themselves?

Why do some women think it’s okay to dress their daughters as mini versions of themselves? I’m sick of seeing toddlers and little girls with weaves, press-on nails, and clothing that is entirely inappropriate of a child that age to be wearing.  In addition to taking issue with the mothers, I take issue with the designers of such garments.  It’s bad enough our daughters are being sexualized through the media outlets and then they back it up with child versions of adult clothing.  SMDH 😕

If a man already has multiple children; to include baby mammas, why does the next woman think or expect him to have time and money for her child?  I’m sorry, there is no way in this or the next lifetime am I taking up with a man with multiple previous children, especially if he’s not taking care of them.  In that vein, why would a man want to take up with a woman with multiple children and baby daddies?  Sadly, I can’t even say it’s a ghetto thing since there are athletes and such in that very category.

When I’m at a club and a man offers to buy me a drink, I opt for refusing it as I don’t want him to think I’m now in some way obligated to indulge in conversation, accept his advances, or be “his” for the time I’m there.

I’ve got issues with people touching me.  I take such offense to it that I’ve had to have my friends run interference when they see it happening.  If someone; especially someone I don’t know is conversing with me, it’s wise they keep their hands to themselves; men in particular.  There is no reason for him to talk with his hands on my person.  A fave line when this occurs, “talk with your mouth, not with your hands” and usually walk away.

After almost 32 years, I still have my English accent and find it annoying as all hell to have someone try to speak like me or ask me to repeat particular words because they think it’s cute.  It’s one thing to not understand, but to treat me like a doll, I don’t think so.

When people find out I was in the military, I am usually not please with the startled response, you were in the service? as if feminine looking women don’t wear uniforms.  Puh-leeze!  That’s tantamount to thinking all gay people have a “look”.

Have a good weekend luvies!

Yea, I said that!

Sins of a father…

I read the following post Schadenfreude and as much as I didn’t want to reply, I couldn’t help myself, but given that I knew my reply would resemble a post, I decided I’d simply do just that.

As a child born out of wedlock, I’ve often wondered what it would have been like to have never known my father. Actually, had mother had her way, I would have done just that and probably gone through life thinking my step-father was my father even though he’s light-skinned of mixed Jamaican and Chinese heritage. She’d pulled off that lie for five years until my father found her/us.

After coming to know my father and two of the eight total children he’d fathered, I was both happy and confused at my existence since I didn’t fully understand the full life dynamics that come with ‘external’ children…My father was married at the time of my conception. My father was good to me and my two siblings, but I didn’t realize there were still five more of us whom I’d yet to know or meet. That would come about well into my adulthood. Correction, I met my oldest and now deceased eldest brother when I was about 13. He was a nice guy and was saddened by his passing because I never had the opportunity to really know him unlike the two immediately above me.

During the years I’d spent shuttling back and forth to my father’s house, I came to see and know a man I actually disliked. He had an affinity for women making it rather difficult for me to form a bond with any of them since I wasn’t quite sure they’d be around from one weekend to the next. The two above me no longer lived with our father, so I ended up being there with him or whatever woman was in his life at the time.

Unlike, the father(s) mentioned in the referenced post, my father acknowledged all of his children; however, he was still no real father in the true sense of the word. He ruled with an iron fist with the “it’s my way or the highway” mentality and imposed strict and sometimes unrealistic expectations of his children. He disowned my brother above me because his children they were bi-racial and to date has yet to acknowledge their existence. He additionally refused to allow my brother into his home because my brother grew locks and my father vehemently disapproved of this hairstyle. My sister, the eldest of the three of us was disowned for the same and additional reasons.
As I got older, I questioned and challenged my father’s actions toward his children because it was wrong. My father was and remains a devout member of the Pentecostal church and prescribes to its many dictates; well, those accordingly to how he wants to interpret them. I’ve read the Bible, conferred with those who are also of his particular sect of Christianity, in addition to other pastors and nowhere in the Bible or in my conversations does it say it’s okay to disown ones children due to one’s personal beliefs, prejudices, or thoughts on life/society.

To date, I’ve met all but one of my siblings and maintain a relationship with three of them. To date, I am the only one of my father’s children that speak or have a relationship with him. He has successfully estranged himself from his children with his bull-headed, rigid, and often down right insulting ways. It’s a crying shame that a man; a father would treat his children with such disdain and disrespect. His actions have also distanced him from his grandchildren.

Some irony to my father’s antics is that he has embraced my daughter who is also bi-racial, which I gave him some serious grief over. Of his children, I’m the only one who does not have his last name and I’m the only one who he has a relationship with. I have and continue to argue and challenge things he says because I’m not afraid to call bullshit. I’m also the one he calls when he wants something that’s out of his limited budget. For someone who’s pushed just about everyone away, he’s the one who needs someone close to him the most – He lives in Jamaica and I’m in the US. The two of his children that reside in Jamaica have nothing to do with him.

I have limited respect for my father as father because he’s failed so miserably at being a good one even when he had the chance to be. I still wonder what it would have been like to have never have met or known him. He came into my life when I was 5 and I left the UK when I was 15, so he was only actively in my life for 10 years. I saw and spent time with him upon my return in 1986 and we maintained a long distance relationship for a while until he once again pissed me off and after that time, we were estranged for about 10 years. It wasn’t until 2007 when he and I actually started communication again and I was 39 at that point. So, here I am pushing 47 and have had a short and somewhat strained relationship with the man who help put me in this world. I can’t say I love the man and I can’t say I hate him. I maintain feelings of a familial connection and wish him no harm. Somewhere deep in his abyss is a sad, hurt, and broken boy who never healed and he took his pain out on his children, wives, ex-wives, girlfriends and ex-girlfriends, and most importantly himself and lost some of the absolute best relationships he could have had in life. I allow him to take no credit for my successes in life. What I do, do is credit him for some traits and qualities he’s passed on be they good or bad. I couldn’t choose who my father was and I accept who he is, but what I can’t and won’t do is minimize the negative effects both his presence and lack thereof caused. Fortunately, I’ve long since resolved and moved on in order to stop carrying the emotional baggage I had.

Sadly and unfortunately, there are no lessons or training for being a parent; though I wish there was. I further wish that men who help create children take care of them in every way possible. Children need their fathers as much as they need their mothers and any man who fails to live up to the responsibility that comes with his title is a poor and lame excuse for a man.

Yea, I said it!

Earned; not given…

As a mentor, I listen to students talk about their lives and how they want this or that and I think to how easy/good many of them have it. Many have never worked a day in their lives and have had everything given to them without the benefit of always having earned it and the few that have worked, still had their wants and needs supplemented by their parents instead of having to save up to get what they wanted. It’s a sad state of affairs when a generation has expectations of being entitled to luxuries in life simply ‘because’. I’ve heard students talk about their $300 weaves, expensive purses and shoes, and designer clothes meanwhile they’re unemployed or can’t and don’t purchase their text books in favour of these luxuries. This attitude confirms their lack of priority and appreciation for what should truly be valuable.

I raised an only child who’s been afforded many luxuries in life; however, she earned them with good grades, a good attitude, helping around the house, and volunteering at the hospital her father worked at. She was raised to understand and appreciate that her parents worked hard for a living and that getting isn’t simply acquired with an “I want…”. Her father and I differed on what things were age appropriate on occasion, but for the most part, while she was indulged; she wasn’t over indulged. He bought the high-end things like iPods, Coach bags, and things of that nature and I took her on vacations in and out of the country, museums/galleries, and other social and cultural activities. We found balance in our co-parenting.

Sadly, I see the converse of what Lil Lady’s upbringing was. I’ve seen many of her peers and those coming up behind her getting the things she earned being “gimme’s” for no other reason than, “why not?” and “just because”. These children aren’t being taught values and that things are to be earned, which is manifested in their neglect of appreciation and the more they get is the more they won’t; further exacerbating their selfish and narcissistic attitudes.

Parents hire landscapers instead of having their children cut the grass, pull weeds, or other minor landscaping tasks. They hire house cleaners instead of having their children clean up, do dishes (read: unload dishwashers), or do laundry. These are all life skills that should and need to be taught to these spoiled and over-indulged children in order for them to grow up knowing how to take care of themselves and the spaces in which they live or will live. These skills should be not gender-specific as each gender needs to know how to perform basic tasks.

In my Jamaican culture, both men and women are equally taught and are responsible for keeping a home. Boys and girls learn how to cook, clean, do laundry, iron, and perform other chores in and out of the home. These life skills carry them far in life as they do not have to rely on someone else to perform their basic needs or requirements. Sadly, I do not see this taught often in American households. Everything seems to be gender assigned and performed accordingly, which continues to breed lazy and incapable children and that lack gets carried into adulthood where money is wasted on take our or pre-packaged foods, service companies, and other entities to perform things that which they could do themselves had they been taught.

It saddens me to see idle children. I think of entrepreneurial opportunities wasted with them being inside playing video games, engrossed in social media, or texting. In every neighbourhood is a family that could use a reliable babysitter, groundskeeper, dog walker when they’re going to be home late or away, or someone to simply share the workload if they’re overwhelmed with many other things. Teens taking the initiative to take on any of the aforementioned could give them tax-free money of which can be saved or used to purchase things they’re earned instead of being given. Knowing and understanding sweat equity could broaden their knowledge of how hard their parents work to pay household expenses and still provide for things outside of the scope of basic requirements a parent has to provide.

Lil Lady has been out of the house for a year and now has a greater understanding and appreciation of what it takes to live on her own. I’ve helped out where necessary, but overall, she’s take care of herself and her needs. She’s always seen me work hard, struggle, sometimes go without in order for needs to be met, which I think is a valuable learning tool in and of itself. Too many parents over shield their children from the harsh realities of life and end up teaching them bad life lessons in the process.
Children have to be taught that a parent’s responsibility is to provide a roof over their heads, food on the table, clothes on their backs and support them in their growth process and that’s it. Everything else they get should be earned and a privilege and NOT an entitlement.

The following should be posted in homes and schools to teach children how to be valuable and productive in their homes, communities and in life.

Word to teenagers

 

Live the life you love; love the life you live!

Celebrating

On this day, 20 years ago, I gave birth to my beautiful, smart, and most amazing daughter. I’m completely awed by her and how well she’s doing. I wasn’t in the same frame of mind she is when I was here age, but she didn’t have the same childhood I did, which in and of itself is a good thing. She’s had her share of stuff, but she’s handled them with grace, poise, and strength; more importantly with support of those around her; something I lacked.

That aside, I love this girl with all that’s in me and no matter how old she gets, she’ll always be my baby.

This pic was taken a couple of years ago, but save for my hair, I/we look the same to date.