Tag Archives: girls

I was one of the 1 in 3….

26 Nov

I recently read an article in my Women’s Health Magazine that brought back a flood of emotions and caused my heart to tighten in my chest as I remembered a time not too long ago where I was living some of what was written in the article.  I hesitated to write this blog but decided to write it because someone else could be one of those women and trying to deny what is happening to them. 

Domestic Terror is the issue and the statistic is 1 in 3 women in the U.S. experience violence at the hands of a man in her life.  1 in 4 U.S. women have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner (hit with a fist, beaten, slammed into something, etc.).  1 in 2 have experienced psychological aggression (insults, humiliation, name-calling, coercive control). 1 in 6 have been stalked by an intimate partner. These numbers are way too high and something needs to be done.  Women need to be educated and taught that is okay to walk away and to seek help. 

Thankfully, I got out of the relationship before it turned into physical abuse but mental/verbal abuse is just as bad and does as much damage on the emotions and wellbeing of a woman.  I was blessed that my recovery time was short and I had a great support system that was there when I decided to be open and honest and admit what was going on.  Also, I am blessed to have an uncle who is a retired cop who had a “one-on-one” conversation with the guy and let him know what would be done if he tried to contact me ever again. 

You may wonder how a woman would allow herself to be in a situation where a man could abuse her….it’s easy.  You ignore the red flags, and you are willing to overlook certain behavior because you want to prove to that person that they are wrong in what they say about you or think about you.  You also observe him being kind, friendly, charming with others so you begin to think the issue is with you or that maybe you are overreacting and being petty.  Most often, after an argument or episode, he will be very charming and make you forget about what just happen.  You will keep your opinions to yourself to avoid an explosive argument….even stating my opinion on a certain book sent him into a rage one night. 

The article  gives some behaviors to watch for…warning signs that a man could be an abuser.  The Source is Debby Tucker, executive director of the National Center on Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence:

1 – constantly checking up on you

2 – Isolating you by criticizing close friends.

3 – Driving a wedge between you and family.

4 – Acting overly charming.

5 – Monitoring your social media accounts and pushing for access.

6 – Moving too fast in a relationship.

7 – Wanting to control the finances.

8 – Putting down your appearance.

9 – Dismissing your opinions quickly – or worse, calling you stupid.

Ladies, if the man you are dating exhibits ANY of these behaviors, please break off the relationship completely and get counsel.  When I say break off the relationship, I mean to break it off and have no more communication at all with him.  The guy I was with had several of these behaviors – and I wish I had read this list to know and be aware before I got in too deep.  Again, I am very blessed that we broke up before it turned physical – I remember the last night…a conversation turned into him exploding with anger because he was convinced I was lying to him and was going to a conference to meet someone. He proceeded to yell, cuss me out, and  throw a piece of furniture across the room.  I remember thinking, “what am I going to do if he hits me?” I think that is the moment things started becoming clear to me. 

Another reason why I almost didn’t write this blog is I realize what could happen should the wrong person read this and report back to him.  But the day I cut off all communication with him is also the day I stopped allowing him to control me in any kind of way.  I will never share his name or give away his identity but I will share my story to help other women get out of abusive situations because I believe everything we go through in life is to help someone else.  I never want any woman to have any of those feelings of low self-worth and that nothing you do is good enough.  Please don’t be a statistic.  Be Smart. Be Safe. Value yourself, your wellbeing, and your health.  Don’t be one of the 1 in 3.

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Chapters in life

6 Jun

Last evening, one chapter ended in the life of a very important young lady in my life.  She was part of the class of 2012 and received her diploma for completing high school and will move into the next phase of her life as she enters college in the fall.

Eleighna Chanel is the reason number one that I am an auntie.  She was born on July 12, 1994 and from the moment I saw her being born I was totally in love with this oldest niece of mine.

Because of circumstances, she and her mommy lived with my parents and I; and we were totally taken in with this precious gift sent from Heaven.  Yes, we doted on her and spoiled her and held her all the time and I’m sooooo glad we did because the moments just pass too quickly.

Memory after memory was made with this baby, toddler, little girl, young lady…..

I would wake up in the morning and could look through my door into her room and see her wake up and get a big smile on her face and we would point at each other and she would start giggling.  “I love you more”…. “No, i love YOU more!!!” These statements would be exchanged as she started talking.

Bath time, play time, reading time, trips to the park, trips to great grandma’s house in TN, Disney World, campground, family vacations to Prince Edward Island, etc.

Her first day of Kindergarten, the entire family went with her and escorted her to her room.  Lots of pictures were taken.  It was hard to believe she was already five years old.

During her time in elementary school, I volunteered in her class a few times – went on a field trip or two – was able to take her to school many, many times.  When I would drop her off, I would tell her that she was a princess and that I loved her but Jesus loved her more.  We would say a prayer and prepare her for the day.

She moved to New York for her middle school years; and the day she, her mom & her sister left town, I thought my heart would break it hurt so bad. Lots of trips both ways were made during those few years….

They moved back the summer before Eleighna entered high school…..and as glad I was to have them close again, I was concerned because I knew she would have to adapt to a new school, making new friends, and all the craziness of being a 9th grader.

And….then…..graduation.

I know she will handle the challenges of life just fine because she’s already had to face challenges and difficulties.  Challenges and difficulties I wish I could have sheltered her from.  She faced and dealt with some hurts, sorrows, and disappointments that she should have never had to deal with but because of other people’s choices it left her with consequences.

Not once did she complain or express anger. She would just say, “I’m used to it.”

This oldest niece of mine is kind, compassionate, tender-hearted, strong in her convictions/beliefs, musically talented, loyal, dedicated, sensitive, quiet, introspective, non-demanding, loving and sweet.  I’m so proud of her and being her aunt is a privilege and a blessing.

I hope that the memories she has of the chapters in her life so far will be great ones to reflect on.  I pray that she will remember the good more than the bad.  I hope that the love from her family will be a strong foundation that keeps her grounded the rest of her life….that she will remember the object lesson from her school superintendent at her commencement last night about having a foundation and then adding passion to that foundation and a lifelong love of learning.

It has been my privilege to watch and be part of this chapter in her life.  I’m so grateful for the day she was born into our family….our lives have been much better because of her.  It truly is an honor to be her aunt!

Congratulations, Eleighna, on completing this chapter!  I love you!

When Mom is Here….

16 May

When Mom is here

you put off blogging

you put the reading aside

you aren’t as concerned with social media

When Mom is here

you spend time sitting on the porch

you spend the afternoons going in and out of shops

you spend extra money to make her feel spoiled

When Mom is here

you drink lattes at Starbucks at Old City Java

you eat vegan scones from Earth Fare

you eat at new restaurants on Market Square

When Mom is here

You enjoy every moment

You know that just being together is what you treasure most

You are grateful for her wisdom and advice

When Mom is here

It makes everything better

Life is good

Care for grandma is relinquished to her

When Mom is here

She reminds you why the guy who hurt you is not good for you

She reminds you that true friends stick by your side & don’t continue to be friends and hang out with the guy who brought sorrow and hurt and emotional/verbal abuse into your life

She reminds you that the best is yet to come

She reminds you that your prince will come

When Mom is here

Gratitude and thankfulness feels your heart cuz you know you’ve been blessed with the Mom God gave you

When Mom is here

You don’t look forward to the day when she has to say a temporary goodbye and leave you behind

When Mom is here

You feel like a little girl again and feel safe

When Mom is here

You realize the big shoes you have to fill in order to be like her

When Mom is here

All is right with the world

 

The future of girls

31 Mar

As I sit and drink my morning coffee, I’m reflecting on a fitstudio chat on twitter, an article Jillian Michaels tweeted, a news blurb I listened to on NPR, a traumatic day at school for my youngest niece, and my role in all of this.

Yes, this blog will focus on the female gender not because I’m biased but because I am one and I’m a role model for two nieces that are my world.

Empowering Kids with Healthy Choices was the topic of Wednesday’s fitstudio chat on twitter.  As always, it was a great chat with lots of great tips and advice.  Towards the end of the chat, we started discussing role models for girls and how we could be positive role models for the girls in our lives.

One way I do that is to never say, “I hate my_______” or “I don’t like the way my ______ looks”.  I feel that we as women need to embrace our bodies and our unique, incredible bodies that the genetics in our families have helped to create.  I have my paternal grandfather’s nose – he has been gone for quite a few years….but every time I look in the mirror, I’m reminded of him and the role he played in my life.  I have feet like my maternal grandmother…..and just like my Mom and grandmother, if I gain any amount of weight, it will go to my stomach.  All of these unique things make me part of my family.  If I say I don’t like myself or a certain part of my body, how are my nieces going to think positive about themselves?

Jillian Michaels tweeted about an article that had been written by Dara Lynn Weiss about the difficulty of dealing with obesity and her 7-year old daughter.  You cannot find the article online but you can find lots of articles that have been written in response to her article.  I’ve included a few links at the end of this post.

Because of our society’s focus on weight, there’s another BIG issue that comes up.  The NPR news piece that I listened to was discussing the statistics of eating disorders.  Now obesity is an issue that we need to address, BUT I’m very concerned with the unhealthy thinking that can occur in people’s minds and what some are willing to do in order to be “thin”….Notice, I said “thin” and not “healthy”.  Eating disorders cause all kinds of unhealthy emotional and psychological issues and unhealthy relationships with food that people will struggle with the rest of their lives. Many eating disorders happen as a result of a teasing remark or negative role models…..what is disturbing to me is the amount of girls in elementary school that are on diets.  Our little girls should NOT be dieting….the word “DIET” should not even be in their vocabulary.

This hits home for me because over a week ago my youngest niece was in tears after some negative, hateful remarks were said to her on the playground.  She is 11 years old and is not obese or overweight.  No, she is not stick thin…she is just a typical pre-adolescent girl.  She was in tears when she was picked up from school and it affected her for the rest of the evening.  Her mom and dad did their best to un-do the negative, mean remarks but I know that as a child you don’t easily forget those statements made to you by your peers.  Thankfully, my niece is surround by great role models and very positive adults in her life; and, hopefully, we can be a louder voice of influence than the boys on the playground at her elementary school.

I can speak from experience because I was a chubby pre-teen and always struggled with my weight.  I did get some teasing remarks from people but my family never withheld food from me or told me I should diet.  I think a lot of my “problem” was that I was not active…I would rather sit and read a book than go outside and play.  Should my parents have made me?  I don’t think so.  Now we did things as a family – and my Mom always cooked very healthy (we were eating wheat bread before it was popular to eat wheat bread) and always had fruits and vegetables.  As I entered my mid-teens, I took it upon myself to be more aware of what I ate and starting becoming more active.  As a result, I discovered my passion for fitness and nutrition and that is why I’m so passionate about educating and empowering women to be their best.

I think as role models for our girls we need to lead by example…..get outside and be active with the children in our lives.  Teach them that we don’t go on diets but we make lifestyle choices.  Refrain from taking them to fast food restaurants.  Take them to our local farmer’s markets – plant a garden together.  Show them how fun it is to move our bodies….biking, skating, rollerblading, sports, swimming, kayaking, etc. The choices are endless!

Another thing I’m very adamant about is keeping certain magazines out of the hands of our girls….and maybe out of our houses totally.  We need to remember that most pictures are digitally modified and that most females DO NOT look like that naturally.

I want the girls in my life to realize that the world is a big place full of opportunities for them and that food is meant to be used as fuel to help them be their best mentally, physically, and emotionally – that is why we make certain food choices.  I want them to dream big and use their creative, intelligent minds to do amazing things in the world.  I want them to know they were created for a reason and that they are able to make a difference in someone’s life, in the community they live in, and in the world.  I want them to know there is no one else in the world like them….that they are unique and need to embrace that.  I want them to know that their self-worth is NOT based on a the size of any article of clothing that they wear nor is it based on what society says is beautiful.

Two girls that are my world are my nieces – Eleighna is 17 and will be graduating this year.  She is thoughtful, kind, compassionate, talented, beautiful, has a tender heart – she sings like an angel and is learning to play the piano.  She goes with her youth group to a nursing home and sits and plays games with the residents.  She is a faithful, loyal friend. Morgan is 11 and is vivacious, energetic, social butterfly, talented, beautiful, athletic, speaks her mind and has strong emotions and a great sense of humor 🙂  She has fun, beautiful hair that can get crazy wild – and I hope she always appreciates that fun, spunky, crazy hair.  Two amazing girls – two very unique girls – and I want the best for their futures without any of the negative self-image junk that can happen as a result of unhealthy mindsets of food and fitness.

I will always be an advocate for the healthy future of girls.

Here’s a few other women that I feel are vital and important for the future of girls:

www.lisajohnsonfitness.com

www.tobyamidornutrition.com

www.freakingfitness.com

I hope you will check out their websites and follow them on Twitter.  Let’s be healthy role models for the girls in our lives!!!

Two articles that discuss the Dara Lynn Weiss article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hayley-krischer/vogue-mom-writer-child-diet_b_1384845.html

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/03/28/dara_lynn_weiss_s_obese_child_vogue_essay_can_parents_ever_talk_about_their_kid_s_weight_.html