The Inevitable Changes

So I have not made it a secret that I have been going through some changes. Many of these changes I am welcoming with open arms as there is a real need for it.  I also understand that where there is change, there is growth. I’m all for growth. There are changes that I don’t quite understand. When it comes to these changes, I am realizing that I WILL NOT always find understanding in a place of confusion, so rather than go against the current, I must go with the flow. In due time I will go into further detail on the above mentioned changes.  I want to touch on the change that brought me to this entry tonight. This is one of those inevitable changes that you’ve heard about all your life. The changes that have enabled companies such as Proctor & Gamble, Oil of Olay and Neutrogena to stay in business.  Age! Yep, age. These are changes that are actually a blessing, because we technically want to age. As my mom would say as I was growing up. “You either get old or die young.” Merv, can I get Age (Gracefully) for 500 please? lol

My hair first started to grey a few years back. It started with a random strand to current day where I have a more than a few random strands and an entire grey streak in the front of my head. Grrr… (You will find that I growl a lot in my writing. lol Never mind me. Just letting off a little steam.) I’ve actually come to a place where my grey does not bother me.  I discover new moles on a daily.  Okay, so I may have exaggerated a bit there, but it’s OFTEN. I’ve come to embrace it all. I could be dealing with thinning hair and/or a receding hairline, so I am going to take my thick greying hair along with my mole constellations and appreciate it all for all that it is and is not. lol

My skin though…

Lately I look into the mirror and I see a face that it showing signs of age. Signs which I am positive are being assisted by poor eating habits, inefficient sleep, stress and dehydration. In the words of my mom (again) “Got to do betta!” I am 35 years old and I’d like to think that I look pretty good at this age. I would like to keep it that way, so… In addition to improving in the other contributing areas, I am doing what I have watched my mom and other women do ALL MY LIFE. I am going to adopt a skincare regimen for my face. I don’t quite know what I will end up sticking with but for now I am going to start with making sure I scrub and moisturize my face nightly.  EVERY NIGHT. I don’t wear foundation. I do fill my eyebrows and from time to time, I wear eyeliner and eye shadow.  Usually when on vacation or when I’m at an outing of some sort. Lately, I’ve been wanting to try foundation, because I have been so displeased with my skin. Tonight I decided that I don’t want a bandaid. I want to fix the problem, so I will be playing around with different regimens and seeing what works best for my skin. What are some of your practices? Do you have a daily/nightly regimen? Please feel free to share. I will also be sure to keep you all posted on what works for me.

Oh and ladies… Black DOES crack… and break too (lol I’ve seen it!) if you aren’t taking care of it.

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Hand, Foot, Mouth… Whaaaa?

“Did you wash your hands before you walked in my kitchen?”

“Get…your…HANDS…OUT OF YOUR MOUTH! That is NASTY!”

“Grab a tissue or paper towel and grab that handle. Don’t use your hands.”

“You know to not sit on that toilet right?’

This is me just about every day. Ugh!!! I hate germs. lol Yeah, yeah, yeah. I am aware that they are everywhere. So are mosquitoes and flies, do YOU like them? Okay.  Moving right along. Becoming a mom has definitely made me become a germophobe. Kids touch EVERYTHING. Yep, not many exclusions there. I think it may be an age thing though, because when my kids were infants, I don’t recall being such a -phobe. I was cautious of course, but it’s different when they are babies.  In the beginning, they don’t have very many options where they can go. lol Let’s see. Crib, playpen, your arms and MAYYYYBEEEE the arms of someone else whose been thoroughly vetted of course. I kid! I kid! kinda…  lol. For a while they aren’t able to go outside of a small perimeter, so no worries.

At some point you lose all of the above control as your babies become little Doras and Diegos exploring the world. It is no longer as simple as taking a burping cloth and wiping away their spit up. They have outgrown their stroller and have no interest in being held. GIVE THEM FREE!

I have a 7, 9 and 12 year old. The youngest two are boys and if you have boys of your own, you know how that goes. Even though I have heard myths of very clean and tame little boys I have never met one. Trace, my 9 year old, is actually a pretty clean guy. He’s not on the verge of tears when I tell him to take a shower and he is pretty tidy overall. Carter on the other hand… This kid touches EVERYTHING. Just… because. Now, yes, I may be a little on the extra side when it comes to them touching stuff.

My “Don’t Touch” List:

  • public staircase banisters
  • bathroom door knobs
  • toilets
  • area near conveyer belt at register
  • dogs
  • people
  • walls

LOL… just don’t touch anything!

True Story: One day we were sitting in my truck as I headed home. My son had a “something” (I don’t remember what it was now) in his mouth that he was chewing on. I want to say it was like a piece of plastic or something. I am looking at him through my rearview mirror and I tell him to get it whatever it was, out of his mouth. It dawned on me that I didn’t know what the hell it was. I asked him and he said something along the lines of, “It was by the truck.” This child of mine (on his way into the truck) grabbed “something” that was sitting on the step board of my truck and just decided her wanted to put it in his mouth. Jesus take the wheel. Carter was about 3 when he did this.

A little over a week ago Carter woke up with a slight fever. This happened to be the morning of a scheduled Disney trip. I could tell he wasn’t feeling like himself, but after the Tylenol kicked in, he was his normal self again. On a normal day we would have skipped Disney. I live 2 exits away, so we can go at any time. Since my best friend was visiting with her kids for that very reason, I decided to stick with the plans. He seemed to be okay by the time we were preparing to leave. AS SOON as we walked through the entry points of Disney, Carter started acting a little lethargic. Thank God Disney has a medical plaza on site. I took him there and he had a fever of 104 degrees.

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Yikes! Okay, time to go! We let him lie down for a while longer as the medicine did it’s job and then we were out. At least I thought. We attempted to leave and between the walk to the parking lot and aimless walking around looking for our vehicle, Carter decided that he didn’t want to leave. His fever had gone down and he was back to his regular self again, so… we turned around and enjoyed what was left of the day.  Crazy what a fever can do to you. Check out the transformation:

That evening, his fever returned. The following day, Trace developed a fever as well. After doing this “mommy thing” for 12 years, I no longer rush to the hospital for everything.  I alternated between Tylenol and Motrin that night and the fever was gone the next day. Yes! The stormmmm is ovvverrr nowwww!!! lol

Yeah right. Both of my boys started breaking out on their hands, around their mouths and on the bottom of their feet.  So this was scary. I went through everything they had eaten and could not think of anything that would have caused any sort of allergic reaction. They have had allergy tests and though Trace is allergic to just about everything, Carter wasn’t shown to be allergic to anything. After ruling out an allergic reaction, I took my babies to the Emergency room in which they were very quickly diagnosed with the hand, foot and mouth disease. Say what? I had only heard about HFMD a few years prior but I thought this was only something that much younger kids got. Welp… I was wrong.

Update: The boys are all clear now. It’s run it’s course. 

My take way: As parents we try really hard to protect our kids from as much as we can. Hurt feelings, falls, accidents and sickness even. We can pack the Lysol. We can purchase the safety gear. We can set rules. We can hover over them like a helicopters catching live footage, but there are things that we just can’t protect them from. Sometimes its just in the air or… THE DOOR HANDLE. LOL


 

Blog Style

As I surfed through WordPress last night from my bed, I ran across a few blogs that I found to not only be encouraging in my own writing but also provided me with a blog entry for the day. TA DAAAAA! They touched on different styles of blogging and the personal “why’s” of blogging. I have decided to ask & answer a few of the questions from my readings from last night.

Why do you blog?

Reason 1. I blog because I have something to say. lol Cliche? For most of my life I have kept a personal journal in which I document (in great detail) the events of any particular day accompanied by my attached feelings. As years went by, my entries dwindled to basically non existence. I jot things down from time to time but I can no longer say that I keep a “journal.” I do go back and read my old writings periodically and it’s a great tracker of growth… or lack thereof. I am sure that through this blog, I will be doing the same.

Reason 2. For years I have followed some of my favorite bloggers such as Alex Elle ( Alexandra Elle) and I grew a great admiration for her transparency to the world. At least all who follow her. I found it to be quite… brave. I also wondered why she did it. It’s one thing to share your truth to your inner circle, but to the world? That requires a whole lot of spine! I then thought about how healing some of her posts had been for me. On several different occasions she’s posted something that was so spot on with what I was going through at that moment and I was able to find solace in knowing that I wasn’t alone. I’ve seen other people share similar gratitude though their replies as well. It then became my presumption that perhaps the gift of helping others through her own journey was rewarding enough. That thought was definitely inspiring. You just never know who may be going through some of the exact same things that you are going through and it may be my willingness to share my experience that helps them get through. This is my real life journey.

How do you choose your topics? 

For the most part, I just type whatever it is that is on my mind at that moment. I share my experiences and thoughts that are sitting on me. I am not on a posting schedule where I feel I need to write at a certain frequency. I don’t sit down and search for topics to blog about. I am CONSTANTLY thinking of something and if it is something that I feel I would like to discuss on my blog, thats what I do. Take this post for instance. After reading last night, I felt this post would be a great way for me to identify my… blog style… or personality? lol 

Do you feel you need to apply a certain filter to your blog posts?

I don’t. No, not really. If the thought gets past my natural filter and makes it to my site, it needs no further approval. What is read on this site, is me. It is Ebony and these are my real thoughts. I feel that I will attract and keep the audience that will appreciate my blog for what it is. Not what it isn’t or what it should be. I created this blog for myself first. I believe this blog will be therapeutic in many ways just as my physical journals were.  It’s my journey and I welcome current and future followers to accompany me along the way.


FYI, it was a LITTLE weird being on both the interviewing and the interviewee side for this post, but anything for a little clarity!

Moments

My thoughts as I watched my boys play today.

I am constantly staring at my kids. As I watch them, my mind is moving at a dangerous speed. I’m thinking of how much they have grown from the yittle (no typo) babies I first laid eyes on. I am thinking about their genuine smiles and innocence as I pray that the world doesn’t take that away from them. I’m taking notice of a new scar, scratch or mole even. I am taking in the moments. I am capturing mental photos of my growing babies and hoping that I’m able to hold on to it all as I, myself, age. One day I will house an empty nest as my children move on to start lives of their own. I will rely on those very images to keep them close to me. It will be those stored away moments in time that will bring a smile to my face in their absence until I see them again.

There has been a real shift. A very alarming shift; In the way that I process these moments now. In addition to all of the above ways, every time I watch my children, I am visited by a thief of joy. Reality. Reality sits on me like a painful weight that I’m almost waiting to be crushed by, Ugh! Sounds bad right? Yeah, it feels worse. We are living in a day where the very people who have been sworn in to protect us are causing us horrific harm. We are living in a time where amongst many, life holds no true value, so taking one, is so easily done. We are living in an hour where kids are now just as dangerous as adults; The venues we previously deemed as safe such as places of worship, schools & locations where community gather are just as scary as finding ourselves in the middle of… war. What senseless war it is. Hate for others is surely one of the culprits, but I do believe that it is hate for self that walks off with the charge. We all have read the headlines. We have seen the never-ending news footage. We sense the fear in the overall atmosphere. It’s a scary time. Sure, there are people who feel they can bear witness to times that were scarier than this. I am far from a history buff, but I do believe the difference between now and any other time in history is that today we have no idea who the “enemy” is. It’s not just the slave master or the opposing military. It’s not just the the KKK. It’s not just the creepy looking neighbor who we all know to stay away from. It could be literally anyone. Man, woman or child. Nowhere is safe.

The above is the reason for the shift in my processing of my every moment with my children and anyone that I love dearly for that matter. I see every moment as a potential “last moment.” How sad is that? When I kiss my children and say farewell as I send them off to school, I pray that it’s not the last time I see them. Subsequently, I look them over as to capture them in that very moment in the event that it is. Why has it come to this?

A 15 year old young boy by the name of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz was recently jumped and stabbed (with a machete) to death by 5 adult men. There are at least two videos circulating around the internet which show the entire incident. Man. It pains my heart. Deeply. So tragic. So heinous. Today reports show that it was actually a case of mistaken identity. They weren’t out to kill that child. It was another child that they were after. This does not make it any better, because either way, loved ones are left behind to grieve the death of a child. I can’t stop thinking about it.

I have 2 sons (and a daughter). Any day they could be mistaken for someone else. Anyday some punk having a bad day can take their lives. At any moment one of their peers can decide to end their own life and take them and others with them. At ANY day ANY of these things and more can happen so TODAY and every day, I will love on my babies. I will take every moment that I have with them as if it is my last. I will smother them with my love.

Social Butterflies

As I was walking through Walmart today, there was a woman in a wheel chair shopping and seemingly needed assistance grabbing something from the shelf. I am assuming she didn’t have use of her arms as she was grabbing with her toes. I hesitated offering myself to her. I didn’t want to make her, in anyway, feel like a charity case or in need. I know that this can be offensive. However, the ME in me, made me ask anyway. “Ma’am, can I help you grab something?” She replied, “No thank you. I’ve got it.”

I walked away and headed over to the plumbing section to finish my shopping. As I searched for the appropriate aisle to turn down, I ran into another person who was wheelchair bound. This man had no legs and his arms stopped at his elbow. I didn’t ask him if he needed help. He seemed to be doing just fine. In fact, he told me to go ahead of him.

Anyway, I started thinking about the state that I find myself in and how I’ve allowed it to effect me. I started thinking about those two very brief interactions I had with those two people. Both, the woman and the man that I had come across, were limited in some way or another and it was outside of their control. I then started thinking about how blessed I am to be able to help in whatever capacity I am able. I felt remorseful.

It is my belief that we all have special and unique roles that we were born to play out in life. These roles are our purposes. In my many quests trying to understand my purpose(s) of being here and “learning my place” I have always been lead to one very consistent belief.  I am here to service.  I am a giver and nurturer. I love helping people. I have a unique gift of making people smile when they may have gone their entire day without doing so. People trust me and I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I have a “magnetic personality”. I guess you can say that I am here for the people. YASSSSS! HERE FOR THE PEOPLE!!! lol Okay seriously.  When I first started this blog I touched on my belief that I have saved lives. I said I would explain later. Say hello to Later! lol

I can name numerous times when I have had moments with complete strangers that will not only keep their encounter with me as a “forever memory” but I think that many of those instances may have very well changed the course of their lives in some way. NOW LETS BE CLEAR. I am not IN ANY WAY claiming to be some sort of God or anything, but I do know I’m special in this way.  Here is an example, so that maybe you can understand what I’m TRYING to say.

One year (2013 I think) I was at Universal Studios with a group of people and as we stood in line for something (don’t recall what it was) there was a lady and her son ( I think) in front of me. Me, being me, I somehow started a conversation with the two which lead to her laughing hysterically and at some point it turned into a sob. She hugged me and she cried. At that moment I had no idea why. Her son explained that the lady had recently lost her brother or husband and had not been outside out of the house since. That day was her first day out, but as she hugged me and cried she told me, “Thank you.” That lady needed that moment. I know she will always remember it, because I definitely will. I actually ran across the photo a little while back.

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This is just one example of MANY that I have of this nature. Who am I to not live in my purpose? Years back I struggled with allowing circumstances and/or people to change the very things that make me, me.  Doing so, would only taint my very being. My purpose for being here. I would be robbing myself of fulfilling my destiny.  No one or no thing is worth that. My last post was a very emotional one and I truly am in need of self care, but I will never again complain about what I was put here to do. I will, instead, recognize when it is time for me to take time for myself and also understand that doing so is not only ok, but essential.

The night of my last post someone texted this to me:

Even social butterflies need to retreat into their own cocoon sometimes.

This was perfect.

Cornered

Growing up my brother (Tank) would give me “fighting lessons”.  In all actuality I was his personal punching bag for years. I was a tomboy back then, so slap boxing and DDTs, amongst other 80’s baby shenanigans, was right up my alley. There were those times when he forgot that no matter how resilient I may have been,  I was still a girl AND HIS LITTLE SISTER and was a little too damn rough. I often (jokingly…kinda) say that my brother “beat me up” so that no one else ever could. He taught me how to hold my own. There are a lot of things that my brother taught me growing up, but one thing that has alway stuck throughout the years are these very words.

“Never allow yourself to get backed into a corner. You’re stuck and your opponent has the upper hand.”

On the other side of that, he also told me this.

“If you ever find yourself backed into a corner, give it all you’ve got. Fight!”


“All my life I’ve had to fight!” lol But really though. Much of my life, i’ve fought for not only myself but for everyone around me. At times my impulse to protect and defend has gotten me in some less than favorable predicaments and I’d like to think I’ve learned from those times. I’ve fought physically and mentally. There were times when I felt my back was against the wall. I felt life had backed me into a corner and each time I fought. I fought hard and sometimes long, but I’ve always made it out of those places. I’ve been able to help others out of their “places” as well.

Lately, I haven’t been in a good space. I guess you can say that I have been going through it. I have been stressed and full of anxiety. Shit, frankly, I’ve been sad. I feel lost and just… down. Not looking for or accepting any pity parties or sympathy of any type. It’s life and this too shall pass. I’m built Ford tough! However, even F-350’s require maintenance.

I feel that I’ve been slowly backed into a corner that I am now having to fight to get myself out of.  My opponent is surprisingly myself. My natural impulse to be “SUPER WOMAN” is taking a toll on me. I have gotten 4 texts today and they all were from someone needing me. I have gotten AT LEAST 2 phone calls in the past week with someone needing me. In the past month… who knows. What I do know is that I can’t be everything for everyone. I also know that RIGHT NOW I need all of me to remove me from this space. I have never had an issue being there for anyone especially those I love and care the most for. I am just realizing that I am in need. I need a moment to be as selfish as people often times are with me. With the exception of a few (you know who you are), no one calls me to ask, “How are you?” It is always assumed that I am ok and being a private person I wouldn’t volunteer anything less that “I’m good.” I’m constantly taking on other people’s loads and adding it on to my already very full load. Every time I show up for someone, I am pushing myself further and further in that corner. I just need to allow myself to be there for… ME. So I apologize in advance…. No. I don’t. I’m giving an advance warning.

I am taking some personal time for myself. During this time, I won’t be answering many calls and or texts. No worries, I won’t be completely off the grid. I will still blog, take photos, create cool things and post to my social media as I do these things FOR ME.  As my brother said, I have to give it all that I have.” What does that mean for me? It means that I can not take on anyone else’s shit fights at this time in my life.

***If this entry has raised concern for anyone in reading this, understand that there is no cause for concern. If I were to keep going as I have been, there would then be a need for concern.***

 

Take Flight… Live.

So, you know how one thought leads to another thought which leads to another and so on and so forth right?

LIVING EXISTING

Lately, I have been thinking about living. Yes living. Most of us are just here. We are JUST existing. We wake up every day with a heart that beats involuntarily.  Meaning without ANY effort from us. As long as we have vitals we are technically considered to be alive.  Well, I don’t like technical. For me, living requires intent. It requires deliberate effort.  It means waking up and deciding that you will take as much control over your life as you are able to do. So much is outside of our control, but for all that is left, we have to take the opportunity to seize.  Seize the moments that turn into days that turn into weeks, months, years and ultimately a very short lifetime.

FEAR

What holds us back from truly living? What holds us back from our happiness? The answer is fear. We fear uncertain outcomes. We fear pain, struggle, lost and a host of other anxieties. We fear failure. One of the worst fears that we have all (at some point of time) fallen victim to, are the thoughts and opinions of others.  Others that are out there (as far as we know) living their best lives. Some times those “other people” are more miserable than we have ever been and would love to keep good company.  Yeah, I’m talking about the people that are in our ears the most soliciting advice. They don’t always have our best interest in mind and often times they are speaking from a very fearful place themselves.  All of these fears become paralyzing agents in our lives. They hold us in this state of “existing” and rob us from living. When we remove fear from our lives, we welcome positivity and even greater opportunities than we ever knew existed. Our lives are ours to live and we have to start taking ownership and control.

FREEDOM

Miss Nina Simone described freedom as having no fear.  In the absence of fear we can truly began to live. There was a quote that I read years ago that went something along these lines: If you fear falling, you will never learn to fly.  Baby, it is time for you to spread your wings, jump and find flight.

*** I remember being a little girl and running across pavement, cement, down a steep hill or any ground my mom saw as unsafe. I remember not always heeding her warnings. “Ebony, you better stop running or you’ll mess around, fall and hurt yourself!”  Guess what? I still ran. Guess what else? I also fell and hurt myself. I wasn’t afraid. I was more interested in playing. I was more interested in chasing that ball or winning that race. I was too busy living in a place where fear did not exist. Guess what she failed to mention? I’d heal.***