Tag Archive | University of Dayton

A Letter to My 17 Year Old Self

Dear MJ,

By now, you’ve been in college for 3 whole weeks.  Enjoy it, this is the best time of your life.  This is where you meet the people who change your life forever.  Savor the geographical closeness of friends, and take full advantage of every new experience.  Try everything at least once, take pictures of everything.  It doesn’t stay like this forever.  There are some very dark times ahead.  You will use the happiness of this year to get you through some of those times.  Be Glad I warned you.

On Friendship . . . 

The people you meet in these 4 years, are your family.  Not just friends in passing, but the shoulders you will cry on when life is falling apart.  You will leave college with Brothers would would fight a bear for you.  You will leave with Sisters who will fight that same bear, and probably send evil text messages to that bear’s whole family for years, just because they love you.  Some of the people you start this journey with, won’t make it until the end.  You will lose great friends, but find them again  . . . even if it takes 17 more years to reconnect. MJ, these friends are lifetime friends.  Don’t take them for granted.

On Your Hair . . . 

MJ, you are going natural in 1999.  A full 10 years before the Natural Revolution.  Good Job being a pioneer.  Going natural for you was a necessity, and not a protest of the white man’s wish that you assimilate to European standards of beauty.  You just don’t know how to do your hair, and that’s okay.   But your hair is beautiful, enjoy the texture.  You are Beautiful, MJ. Everything about you is Beautiful. Sadly, no one is going to recognize you need to hear that from time to time.  You won’t feel beautiful until your 20’s,  But I’m telling you now.

On Your Career . . .

Right now, you are probably sitting in your programming class, wondering how the hell you are going to program a damn computer to play Rock Paper Scissors with you.  You are going to get your first failing grade on a test.  Don’t worry, it’s going to get better!

You are going to find your calling, Children.  You are going to go through a few different phases.  Education, Tutoring, and you are going to land on Social Work.  God put you on this earth, MJ, to help children.  You are great at it.  You will make a lasting impact on hundreds of children.

Sadly, the profession you choose isn’t gonna keep them pockets fat.  You are going to end up being the poor friend.  Except, you won’t figure that out until you are 34.  You learn to survive with what you have.  Some years are going to be much worse than others, but as you get closer to your true purpose, you will figure out how be handle your money better.

Money is going to cause you to shed some tears, some ugly ass tears.  But MJ, you will survive it.  So keep going, even when you feel like you can’t.

On Love . . . 

People are going to break your heart.  Remember those dark times I was talking about . . . The first time is coming in about 10 months.  Don’t try to stop it.  He’s your soulmate.  That kind of love is going to stay with you for the rest of your life.  He’s going to stay with you the rest of your life.  But losing it, is going to break you.

I mean, devastate you, and no one around you will see it.  No one around you will recognize the signs of depression, because Black People Don’t Get Depressed.  It takes about 10 years, but he comes back, and he’s one of your best friends.

True Love is something you are going to look for in almost every person you meet, which is stupid.  Nora Roberts fucked you on that.  There is no such thing.  It’s just emotional connections that work out or not.  The other two guys, who will both break your heart by the way, they aren’t bad people.  They just couldn’t handle you, and how intense you can be.  Calm the fuck down, MJ. Take it slowly.  Stop trying to make every guy your future husband.  Calm the FUCK Down.

On Sex . . . 

You are going to waste your college years.  This is the time in life, when you should be whoring it up. But you won’t, because they told you men only marry the good girls.  THEY LIED. Men marry the Jump Offs.  You are going to be SO PISSED once you figure that out.  Sorry girl, you should have been a heaux. You had the PERFECT dating app, Greek Life. And what are you gonna do, MJ? Be friends with everyone.  Dumb Ass.

However, your greatest sexual encounters are going to be with people you’ve been friends with most of your life.  So that’s something, right MJ? You can hold out for that, you’ve only got like 13 more years to wait.

On Your Sexual Identity . . .

It’s okay that you like girls too.  It’s okay that you have crushes on girls in college.  Even though you grew up in church, and they told you something was wrong with you because you liked girls . . . It’s okay. Even though people in your family drop the F-Word with ease, and try to shame their male children for being sensitive . . . it’s OKAY.

It’s perfectly NORMAL to be BiSexual. You will be happier once you stop hiding it.  And you are going to meet some amazing people that help you get there.  Let Your Flag Fly MJ. It’s okay to be Queer.

Finally, MJ . . . 

These plans you have right now for your life, on who you are going to be, and where you are going to end up . . . WRONG. Stop trying to be like everyone else.  You aren’t.  You are so Different, and Special, and Beautiful, and Unique.  There is no one in this world like you. Your personal freedom will come, when you embrace yourself.

Stop comparing yourself to your friends, it won’t bode well for you.  Be Proud of who you are, in that moment.  Every single tear is going to be worth it.  The pain won’t last always, MJ. You are going to make it.  And it’s going to be Spectacular.

I’m Proud of You MJ,

34 Year Old You.

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Words and Sounds of My Life: The College Years

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So thanks to Spotify, I had the best flashback to my college years today. Some of the best memories I have in life have been associated to college, and the music that was popular at the time.  Since I can’t just comment on all the songs that were in thei playlist, I’m going to talk about 5 of my favorite. Let’s get it started.

 

If you can listen to this song, and not HAVE to move your body, you are not only dead inside, but you might actually be dead.  This album came out my Sophomore year, and I can tell you right now, my suitemates probably hate Limp Bizkit to this day! Cuz this was my wake-up music . . . For my 8:00am classes.  Every day. For an entire semester.  I was an asshole, I’m able to admit that now.  I was also going through a DEEP depression at the time.  Limp Bizkit was all about the angry white girl who lived inside me – Meeghan – needing to yell and scream and be angry about her life.  Plus, this song GOES. Every single verse on this song is A+ . . . And the BEAT!!! I mean really!

 

Remember the first time you heard this song? For me, it was the summer before Junior year, riding in Jigga’s car on the way back to campus.  I was working in the UD Bakery, and HAD to have this song on the next Mix CD he was going to make for me.  The fact that she was so young, and so talented, we all knew she was going to blow up.  I went to Napster (DAMN YOU METALLICA YOU RUIN EVERYTHING!) and searched for any and everything she had out.  When the album finally dropped, we played it non-stop.  I knew every song on that album by heart – the vocalizations, the harmonies, the ad-libs – and tried to sing every song perfectly.  This was before the cyst on my vocal chords cock-blocked my quest to audition for American Idol. This was also the summer I was dumb enough to fall back in love with TBTLINY . . . Ahhh youth.

 

Again, Sophomore Year.  When we watched TRL relentlessly, just to see if *NSYNC or BSB was going to be in the top spot. This album was when I realized a) there were 5 people in the group  b) but I only knew what 2 of them sounded like and c) That Justin had to date Black Girls on the Low-Low.  He had WAAAAAAAAY too much soul on Just Got Paid.  That Just Got Paid was even on the album in the first place…. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the Holy War my suitemates and I had with the Girls down the hall, who were HUGE BSB fans. Like, they had posters on their front door counting down until Black & Blue came out, then when it came out they made a Birth Announcement.  Those girls were crazy,and we messed with them the whole year.  Walking down the hall singing *NSYNC songs at the top of our lungs, or moving stuff on their door.  I don’t think we did actual damage . . . I don’t THINK we did.

 

Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.  I STILL love this song.  My favorite memory of this song is actually tied to a kid I used to babysit that went to the child care center on campus.  One day, while I was changing his diaper in the room, the radio was on.  Of course I was singing, and when I got to the chorus, he thought the Whoooooo was like the best thing to ever happen in his life! He laughed and laughed, and any time I saw him for the rest of the year he would look up to me, waiting for me to say “I’m sorry Ms. Jackson. . .” Just so he could do the Whoooooooooo.  That kid was awesome!

This goes out to Santos Santiago Manuel Pabon.  This was HIS Favorite Song, like of ever of life.  At every Greek party, Meringue Night, BATU House Party, Santos was going to request this song.  I’m not quite sure WHY it was his favorite song, but the smile on his face every single time it played was EVERYTHING. This beautiful kid from Puerto Rico, with more hair products than most girls I knew, was one of my BEST friends while he was at UD.  I sometimes wonder where he is, and what he’s doing with his life.  I picture him as a Doctor, working with his dad, changing lives.  Every time I hear this song, I say out loud, “Awwwww Santos!”

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Thank you for joining my on this trip down UD Memory Lane.  I’m sure I’ll be doing this again some time in the near future.

30 Day Writing Challenge: I totally suck at keeping up with this

Day 19: Five Fears You Have
1) That I won’t make an impact in all the children’s lives that I work with.
2) That I will never get over the loss of MM and it’s impact on my life.
3) That I’ll never be able to, or willing to, fully open up to a new person again
4) That I don’t matter to the people who matter the most to me.
5) That I won’t be able to travel the world like I want to because of Isis.

Day 21: Your Horoscope and whether it

fits you

One of the people in your life is going through an emotional period right now. Their typical sunny disposition is getting clouded over, and they could start to get very irritable. Do not let this scare you off from talking to them, though. They need your input and good ideas desperately — they just don’t know how to ask. A gently worded email would be a great way to remind them that you are there for them whenever they need you. They will love the gesture.

It actualy does.  I just had to try to be a support for a few people in the last few days, because they were having issues.  At least I know I was doing the right thing.

Day 23: A Family Member You Don’t Like
BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, 1 . . 2. . . . 3. . . .4 . . . FIF!

Day 24: Something You Miss
I miss having the freedom to travel when I want to.  I used to be able to drive anywhere whenever I I wanted to.

Day 25: Four Weird Traits you Have
1) I bite my nails once they’ve reached an average length.  I can’t stop myself.  I like the act of tearing off the white part.  The only thing that stops me from doing it, is having gel or acrylic overlay on them.
2) I organize my music like most people organize their homes.  Everything has a place where it fits, and if thinks are out of order I have a conniption fit.
3) I’m afraid of Clowns, but that didn’t happen until I was like 23.  One day, a Clown came to our Daycare and I lost my mind. 
4) Igot nothing fro this one 😦

Day 26: Things You Would Say to An Ex
To BTB: I’m sorry I wasn’t able to make it work.  I iwsh I had known going in, that I wasn’t going to be able to make it work.  I’m sorry we got that damndog, that was really te end of something beautiful.  I hope you find someone who will accept you just as you are, and that you are able to communicate with them in a way you weren’t with me.
To MM: You disappointed me.  You were supposed to be better than that.  It sucks that you weren’t.

Day 27: What You Wore Today
A University of Dayton Elite 8 Hoodie, my only pair of jeans, and some Pink/Purple Flip Flops.  Welcome to Winter in Tucson.

30 Day Writing Challenge: 10 Interesting Facts about Myself

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#10 – I’m kind of Obsessed with Hello Kitty

So here’s the thing. I grew up poor. Not hungry, but poor. So when Hello Kitty was 1st popular in the US, (early 80’s) my mom couldn’t afford to buy me all the cool stuff. So now that I can afford it, I buy Hello Kitty stuff all the time! Because….trauma.

#9 – I used to wish Mariah Carey and Ronnie Devoe were my Secret Parents

Okay, I know that sounds crazy…but just listen. So I used to get in trouble ALOT in 1st-4th grade. Like, all the time! Cuz I wasn’t being challenged enough, and I had a really active imagination. So whenever they made me stand in the corner, I would imagine that Mariah Carey pulled up in her Limo to rescue me and then Ronnie Devoe would be there and life would be great. Okay look, reading that back to myself, I was a lil special. But whatever, we don’t judge.

#8 – I am Both an Only Child, and The Youngest

So I was raised as an Only child, my mom’s only child. However, I have 3 older half siblings, 2 step siblings,  a slew of foster brothers, and frat brothers galore. But I’m the youngest amongst them. So basically I’m the Baby. And I was usually treated as such. So I’m THE WORST. At least I know that now. I used to be in denial.

#7- I used to own every book written by Nora Roberts

I tried to sell my collection (140+ total, 50 Hardcovers) when I moved back to MI and I was told they would give me $10. For the entire collection. That was THOUSANDS of dollars worth of books. And they said ten damn dollars. I no longer buy books. If it’s not on the Kindle, I won’t own it. AND I found out how to get ebooks for the low low cost of not a got damn penny! Never again, never again!

#6 – I don’t see myself giving birth to a child or children of my own

It’s just never been something I longed for, with the exception of two VERY brief periods of my life. Besides the fact that it’s super yucky, I’ve raised SEVERAL generations of kids at this point. Plus, I work in the Foster Care System, there are plenty of kids out there who need parents. You don’t always have to give birth to your family. Sometimes you can create it.

#5 – I’m a Spoiled Brat

This might not be a surprise to people who know me. But back to that only child thing, my entire world revolved around me growing up. It’s still very hard to convince others that it still should now.

#4 – A Different World made me become Greek

If I hadn’t seen college life, and the relationships and trials and tribulations they all went through, I don’t think college would have been on my radar. My mother insisted I go to college, so I knew of it only as this thing after high school. Then A Different World came on after the Cosby Lie Show, and I was hooked. It had a much larger impact on my life than any other show on TV at the time, or frankly since.

#3 – I Wear a Size 12 in Women’s Shoes

That’s not really interesting. I just need to put that out there because cute shoes are hard to find.

#2 – All of my Close Friends live elsewhere.

Anyone who has known me more than 5 years doesn’t live where I am now. It’s a really difficult thing not being able to see all or any of your friends face to face. They are spread all over the world at this point, NYC, MI, D.C., Dayton, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Colorado…. Just all over the globe. Which is WHACK. Cuz Social Workers don’t make enough money to be traveling all the damn time! This also leads me to my last “Interesting Fact”….

#1 – University of Dayton was the best choice I’ve ever made in my life.

If it had not been for the Flyers on my side….where would I be?!?! Seriously, I was kind of floating around until UD. I become sure of myself, created a me I wasn’t ashamed of or afraid of, and kind of came into my own.  Dayton taught me to love everyone, be adventurous, try new things. Maybe put myself out there every once in a while.

Without Dayton there would be no Zeta Phi Beta Sigma, no MJ the teacher…pretty much no me as I am today. I’m forever grateful they sent me my first acceptance letter!

So that’s a sneak peak into what makes me tick….

The Story of My Life . . . or Holy Shyt! I’m 32

*Editor’s Note: I started this blog in January.  Actually finished it, then never published it.  I know why now.*

Every year, I TRY to post a blog about what I’ve learned over that previous year.  With my Birthday being so close to the New Year, it’s usually just my yearly recap as well.  This time, I’m going to do it a little bit differently.  After another one of my “I haven’t gotten any sleep in the last 48 hours” Epiphanies, I realized that I can actually pinpoint the times my life took a direction I wasn’t expecting.  The first 17 years of my life aren’t going to be discussed here . . . mostly because I’m lazy.

All Denim Outfit . . .No One Loved me.

All Denim Outfit . . .No One Loved me.

The University of Dayton

No, we start with my first step into adulthood.  The moment I decided I was GROWN! I stood at the West Bloomfield post office, mailed that acceptance letter, and that was all she wrote! I was going to be the female Bill Gates, and change the world of computers.  *Mind you, I didn’t visit the school, didn’t know what it looked like, they just gave me the most money. So they won.* But I MUST admit, best decision I’ve ever made. The friends I made there, the people I met, the experiences I had . . . wouldn’t have had it any other way.  University of Dayton lead me to Zeta, and my Degree in Education (more on that later), my closest friends, love, hurt, fear, anger, and most importantly – Understanding of Myself.  On May 3, 2003, I graduated knowing EXACTLY who I wanted to be.

13 Years Ago . . .

14 Years Ago . . .

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

It SHOULD be common knowledge that Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. is the Greatest Sorority in the Nation.  But if you didn’t know, now you know, sucka! I joined ZPhiB because I wanted to be the kind of woman ZPhiB represented.  What I didn’t expect, could have never imagined, was the Family.  The Women I call Sister, not just Soror. The two women who grew up right beside me.  Who dealt with my Sophomore Year Depression, who dried my tears, and had numerous sleepovers with me.  The Women who taught me how to create a Programme, and put on a Dove Ball, and STEP.

Ryders of the Storm

Ryders of the Storm

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Even more unexpected (and judge this next statement if you want) The Men I Call Brother. R.O.T.S changed my life. Not just because LeRoy was the scariest dude I had ever met in my life, but because they PROTECTED us.  From Greek Life Bullshit, and everyday Bullshit.  They knew how Naive we were, and they shielded us from so much more than we ever knew.  The Blu Bond is so sacred to me, and is still very much prevalent in my life. What I’ve learned, and cherished the most in these 14 years, is that Family can come out of nowhere.  These 3 Men, will forever be referred to as my Brothers, not my Frat.

2nd Best Kitchen I've Ever Had

2nd Best Kitchen I’ve Ever Had

My First Apartment

Having my own place was so freeing! I FINALLY had my own space.  I didn’t have to fear my mom randomly knocking on my door. You mean I can have HOUSE PARTIES. Kait and I entered in that adventure with the best of intentions.  We were going to be the only Best Friends that moved in together and didn’t hate each other.  The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions… The loss of that Friendship shook me to my core.  Not because I had known her forever, or because it was unexpected. But I saw that for the first time Money and Friends should NEVER mix.  We weren’t fighting over anything emotional, it was about her breaking her lease. *To move in with the man she eventually married but still…* Add to that, I spent 3 months without a JOB! As my support system from age 13 to 24 was leaving me high and dry rent wise, I had no idea what I was going to do.  Moving home wasn’t an option. So I began to hustle.  I had 3 part time jobs, 2 that were under the table (gotta collect that unemployment), and I babysat whenever I could.  I learned then, I’ll never be unemployed.  Because the Hustle is STRONG within me. I worked my way out of that rut, got a porn star roommate – no really, she did Porn – and Lived It The Fcuk Up.

These Two Ladies Saved My Life . . .

These Two Ladies Saved My Life . . .

The Triad

Words can’t even . . . The Triad is the Polyamorous Relationship everyone wish they had.  These two Women showed me what Friendship is supposed to be.  No Judgements, No Fear, No Regrets.  You live your life, you learn from the pain, and You Move On.  Diamond and Aaliyah were my anchors in the storm that was my early to mid 20’s. We Drank, (they) Smoked, and we Loved HARD. The nights/weekends/days we spent laying on someone’s floor crying and bitching about Men and Women! The Ex’s that we still talk to, the tradition of emailing each other all day, the Wearing White in public the day after Labor Day.

The children, and road-trips, and music that happened from 2005-2007. I don’t even talk to them every month. Doesn’t matter, the minute we are on the phone it’s like nothing has ever changed.  I’m my true self with them.  Not the woman I wanted to be post Graduation, but somehow better. Nothing seemed out of reach, everything was a great idea.  If later I found out it wasn’t, didn’t matter. We Laugh/Drink/Cry about, and Move The Fuck On.

To See a Mountain is to See God

To See a Mountain is to See God

Moving to AZ

And I did . . .right to Arizona.  With intentions of going back to school, and getting my teaching certification.  I was gonna fix my relationship with my Dad, so I could finally get rid of those Daddy Issues, and find love . . . Arizona started out as a peaceful place to me.   Instead of teaching children, I found a job teaching Teachers how to teach Children. I found my professional voice in AZ. In Michigan, I’m surrounded by family and friends who discount my knowledge of children because I don’t have any of my own. In Arizona, people assumed I was an expert. Took a little while to realize I actually kind of am. My love for children was confirmed there.  My life path was made certain.  Arizona was everything I didn’t know I wanted.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I thought I had also found the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with.

 

The Mexican

me and eric

Loving you is the best thing that ever happened to me.  It’s also the worst.  You changed me, turned me into a person I didn’t even know I could be, or wanted to be.  The last thing you said to me, in anger, was “You are just a faint memory. I’ve almost forgotten you existed.”  Even with that much hate in your voice, I remembered when it was beautiful.  When the love I saw in your eyes made every day worth living.  If I never see your face, and never hear your voice again, I Loved You.   In a way I had only read about in romance novels and Donny Hathaway songs.  For everything losing you took away, it gave me twice as much.  So for that, I saw Thank You. For showing me who my true friends are, and because you helped me stop hiding behind my weight. You were Loved Sir.

When I think of Home

My Mommy and Me

My Mommy and Me

I left AZ because I was devastated and I couldn’t be there.  Up until the point, the House I Bought was the Reason He Wasn’t There. Everything about my house reminded me of a loss I still can’t began to describe.  Emotionally, I was a 17 year old girl who had lost her 1st Love. I needed my Mommy.  I’m okay with admitting that.  I needed a break from those last 18 months.  My Mother Saved Me. I’m just glad I was Woman enough to admit I needed to be Saved. What I didn’t know is that I had been in a Domestic Violence relationship, and I needed to understand and forgive myself for letting it happen in the first place.

The Job I got once I moved back to Michigan healed me. I took the job thinking it would be just another opportunity to help children.  I was part of a team that worked everyday to save lives.  We worded to heal people who have been hurt/violated by people they love. We educate women (and men) about Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.  My clients, these brave and frustrating women taught me so much about how Trauma follows you your whole life if you don’t address it. My job taught me Accountability.  Owning up to the choices I’ve made in my life and their impact on me and others. My co-workers brought back my happy. In the completely emotionally damaged world we work, I smiled more than I cried. I looked forward to seeing them, and hopefully they felt the same about me.  We are a Strange Group of People, those of us who choose to do Social work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have to take a second to shoutout TIITC.  Never shall he be named, but he helped me realize that not all men are assholes.  He found me beautiful at my ugliest, and he let me cry on his couch when my Nephew died.  I wouldn’t have made it without him.  Thanks TIITC, you are loved as well 🙂

Finally, MJ has come BACK to 3013!

Finally, MJ has come BACK to 3013!

Which leads me back . . . to Arizona. Somewhere in the 4 years I lived there, it became Home.  I felt displaced in Michigan. I didn’t have my own space, I couldn’t live the life I wanted there.  I now crave warm weather, and mountains. I want two dogs in my backyard and Sundays at Mt. Lemmon.  I want Holiday dinners at 4 different houses with at least 3 different cultures represented.  I want to be called Aunt Marisa and ‘ARisa and Mz. Joy by children playing in my front yard. It’s time for me to stop licking healed wounds.  I’m finally stronger than that Pain. I leave you with an Eminem Lyric that perfectly illustrates my current mindset…

 But you won’t break me, You’ll just make me,

Stronger than I was, Before I met you

 I bet you I’ll be just fine without you

And if I stumble, I won’t crumble

I’ll get back up and I….

And I’mma still be humble, When I scream fuck you

Cause I’m stronger than I was – Marshall Mathers

 

I am SO My Hair: My Recent Hair Journey

Do you SEE how big My Glasses were?

Do you SEE how big My Glasses were?

As some of you know, I recently cut all my hair off. Because … for reasons, we will go into that later. Before we discuss my emotional attachment to my hair, I would like to talk about my Hair Past. I wore pig tails until 6th grade. Mind you, my hair was pretty much at my behind, but the pigtails + the Big Ass Coke Bottle Glasses weren’t really helping me in the “Oh, She looks cool,” department.  Because my mother wouldn’t let me wear my hair any other way.

Nerd Personified

Nerd Personified

Finally, I rebelled and demanded to wear my hair down.  I’m that girl who had a standing hair appointment on Saturdays. My life was scheduled around my trip to Mrs. Trent’s house. I was also the girl who had to wear rollers every night, because I wasn’t allowed to use heat on my hair until high school. Of course, that didn’t always work out very well on special occasions. 

Y'all Don't Judge Me . . . This was before Motions and Natural Hair

Y’all Don’t Judge Me . . . This was before Motions and Natural Hair

Yes, my life was hard. Can you imagine walking around looking like that for the first 17 years of your life?!?! Thank GAWD for college.  I was on my own, no more hair dresser and curling iron every morning.  I had to figure out what the hell I was going to do with my hair all on my own.  One day, I had to run out of the shower, cuz I was late for class, and I forgot to put my hair in a ponytail.  I had put the Paul Mitchell Foaming Pomade in, but for some reason forgot the ponytail.  People kept telling me, I like your hair like that.  I was like, ‘Wait, huh? I forgot my ponytail?!?!’ This is the day I found out my hair was naturally curly. This is also the day I “Went Natural’.

My Hair, the majority of my College Career

My Hair, the majority of my College Career

In March of 2005 or 2006, my Uncle passed away.  I couldn’t handle it.  I had to do something that made a statement about the loss I was feeling.  So I cut all my hair off for the first time.

Fried, Lyed, and Laid to the Side

Fried, Lyed, and Laid to the Side

Because of my awesomely tight curl pattern, I had to get a relaxer for the first time.  And I’m special, so I had to get one every time I went to get my hair done (by the youngest daughter of my original hair dresser). Which was once a week, because I never quite mastered sleeping on my hands so I don’t mess up my hair.  Eventually, getting my hair done once a week became too expensive, and I ‘Went Natural’ again.

My Fro was so effortlessly Amazing

My Fro was so effortlessly Amazing

The ‘Fro only worked when my hair was all the same length.  The lopsided fro got old quickly.  So back to curly I went. Sometimes, I would get braids, just to change my look.  My favorite hair is the ghetto ass Kalekalon (sp) 1b/33, then you boil it so you get wavy braids.  It’s sexy, don’t front.

*side note* This is also a visual reminder of how much weight I've actually lost

*side note* This is also a visual reminder of how much weight I’ve actually lost

Around August of 2010, I had another emotional breakdown of sorts.  Life in AZ wasn’t quite working out how I was expecting it to, and the former love of my life had turned into the world’s largest asshole.  I couldn’t cope . . . So the Hair had to Go. There are two things in life you have control over.  The two things people can give you advice on, but they can’t control.  Hair . . . and food.  Funny how I learned later that those are the two things I used to gain control of difficult situations. 

Just Shave it All Off

Just Shave it All Off

At the not so subtle suggestion of Lord Voldemort, I decided to grow my hair out.  At this point, it didn’t really matter to me what my hair looked like.  So sure, bangs sounded like a good idea.  Sure, I should totally leave my hair straight on a regular basis (0_o) But we don’t judge. 

There Goes My Baaaaaaaaaaangs Bish

There Goes My Baaaaaaaaaaangs Bish

The moment I moved back home, I planned on cutting my hair.  It was going to stop me from working out everyday if it was straight, and it’s just a pain in the ass to keep up.  I know all the products to use, have the greatest flat iron in the world (Solia for the WIN), but I’m lazy.  But my mom was just so excited that my hair was longer than it had been since high school.  So long it was.

My Teeth look white as all the hells . . .

My Teeth look white as all the hells . . .

But the stress of my current job had me feeling out of control.  You try dealing with other people’s trauma and drama for 9-10 hours a day, and accept that whatever you do won’t quite be enough.  I felt myself slipping.  I had to do something to get myself back on track. So I walked into the salon my home hair dresser worked in, and said, CUT IT ALL OFF.

I am NOT my Hair . . .

I am NOT my Hair . . .

He was PISSED.  He was like, “I like your hair long.  You look better with long hair.” But I manned up, and looked him in the eye.  “Cut it, or I’ll find someone else who will.” I took the entire weekend to be able to look in the mirror and know it was me, and not some weird other chick. But I Love It.  I’m embracing not hiding behind my hair, and forcing myself to see ME. The Scar on my forehead, the uneven skin-tone around my eyes, and the nose that always flairs when I try to take a Selfie.

Hair Did, Nails Done. Lip Gloss and Teeth Flossed. Cute!

Hair Did, Nails Done. Lip Gloss and Teeth Flossed. Cute!

So That’s my Story.  What’s yours?

Oh?!?! You’re a Parent! Where’d you get your degree?

I think choosing to become a Parent is a wonderful thing. It’s a choice SOME people make because they want to bring a productive person into the world.  They want to see a beautiful representation of their love running around filling the world with pleasantries and moments of mirth.  Your child is an amazing expression of God’s presence on this earth, and we are all pleased they are here.

But, you don’t have to get a degree to be a parent.  You push that baby out, and they send you on your merry way.  You don’t have to take a class, watch a training video, not a NOTHING.  You just get wheeled to a car, and venture out into the world.  “Whatever MJ, I saw What to Expect when You’re Expecting! That told me everything I need to know.” 0_o Oh. Okay.  You have to take a test, to drive a car.  But to raise a human being, just pay and go.

I am not negating your fertility struggles if they existed.  No, I praise how hard you worked to bring a child into the world.  But, you didn’t have to get a degree to be a parent.  No one believes your FB posts about your little love bug, who was speaking in whole sentences before he could sit up straight.  I know more about your child’s development than you do.  I’m not saying I’m better than you, per se. I’m just saying you don’t know everything you could about your child.

For too long, I have been silent while watching ignorant parent’s ruin their children because they have no clue what they are doing.  Frequently when I do comment, it’s blown off.  Which is of course every parent’s right to do.  But Dammit it’s time we Educators of the World speak up.

Let’s go down a very truncated list of Excuses I hear when talking to New Parents about why they don’t have to take child rearing advice from anyone.

1) You aren’t a Parent, You won’t understand until you have one.

Okay, first of all.  Thank The Birth Control Jesus I don’t have a kid.  I don’t want one.  I might never want one.  That doesn’t mean I don’t know anything about children.  Let’s just leave out the fact that I have been caring for children since I was about 7,  at My Nana’s house.  We won’t even talk about how I learned how to change a diaper before I could ride a Two-Wheeled Bike.  Nope. We won’t.

Let’s discuss my DEGREE IN EDUCATION. The United States Government paid the University of Dayton $55,000+ dollars to educate me.  In Child Development.  In Language Development.  In Disability Awareness.  I have the transcripts to prove it.  I have the GOT DAMN DEGREE to prove it.  How DARE you tell me I can’t give you any pointers on your child’s growth/education?  I skipped an ENTIRE semester of classes, but ACED my Finals (Geaux Depression).  The UD School of Education changed their attendance policy because of me.  So PLEASE don’t tell me I don’t know your child.  I know everyone’s child.  I’ve raised/educated plenty of children who aren’t mine.

Text me, I’ll send you references.

2) Well, I’m their Parent. I know them best.

Unless you home school your child, you don’t.  Stop lying to yourself.  Do you know their overall personality, yes?  Do you know their little quirks and irritants? No, not always.  For at least 8 hours a day, they are with someone else.   For at least 40 hours a week (more if they are in daycare) they are in the care of someone else.  This person deals with their good days and bad days.  They know how to calm them down with a word or a look.  Most kids like Captain America.  Having a themed party doesn’t make you the #1 Parent of the Year.

If you are a GOOD Parent, you have developed a relationship with your child’s teacher/caregiver and they communicate with you on a daily basis.  They give you pointers and tips about how to handle your child in various situations.  That’s called Parenting Advice.  WEIRD, right? Hopefully your child is in the care of someone who respects your position as a parent and takes pictures of the first step, and records the first word in case you miss it.  But other people contribute to your child’s life.  You aren’t the only person who knows your child, and knows them well. It takes a Village . . .

3) My Parents are so Old Fashioned

Did you survive your childhood? Are you now a functioning member of society? They did something right. I grew up in the Get your tail in the house before the street lights come on,” era of Child Rearing.  *I’m still usually in the house before dark if I can help it.  Judge me not* My mother grew up in the “Children should be seen, not heard,” era of Child Rearing.  This new era, “The No We Don’t Spank Tommy, We Want him to feel free to Express Himself,” is some complete and utter bullshit malarky.  People who have no boundaries violate the boundaries of others.

For some reason, these New Parents think they know everything.  You don’t.  This new trend of, “Screw how I was raised.  I’m making it up as I go along!’ is messing up the order of the world.  Rules aren’t made to be broken.  They are made to keep order.  So yep, I’m going to tell your kid to sit their lil’ butt down, especially if they are about to break something.  Being the consummate professional I am, I won’t say it like that.  But that’s what the Hell I Meant! I DEMAND respect from children and they give it to me.  Because I do it with love.

Most Educators chose their field because they have a genuine love for children.  It sure as hell isn’t for the money.  Many teachers have a gift when it comes to kids.  If we say something to you about your child, it’s usually in the best interest of your child.  It’s not meant to insult your parenting skills, or usurp your role as Parent.  It’s because we care.  However, always remember . . . You Didn’t Have to Get a Degree to be a Parent.

I had to get one to care for and educate your child.