The Verdict Is Still Out On My Kindergartner’s Substitute

Confused-TeacherWith school just being back in for close to two months, I was shocked yesterday when I found out there would be a substitute. I think a good majority of the parents were. Our little kindergartners are only at school for 2.5 hours per day, so the thought of a substitute seemed like a day of disaster in the making.

Our pm kindergartners were ready to start their day but there was one little problem the gate was still locked. Initially none of the parents thought anything of it until we realized that their playtime was now over and they should have been in their classroom already. I proceeded to head to the front office to notify someone that the gate had not been opened. That’s when I was informed of the substitute. But it wasn’t just my son’s classroom with a substitute but the other kindergarten class had one as well.

The gate is finally opened and all the parents started to look at each other like what is going on. Let’s just say the substitutes didn’t look like they had ever done this before and since they were both subs they had no one to guide them. I think we all just wanted to stay and volunteer for the day. After realizing our children just wanted to be in their classroom and they were less concerned with the teacher, we left.

Thankfully, I returned to find my son in one piece. But I soon realized that he was out of the classroom before I had made it to the classroom. Normally, the students are not released until the teacher has identified who is picking them up and allows them to leave the classroom one by one. Well the teacher released all the children at the same time to play on the playground. Substitute fail #1.

Myself along with a few other parents allow our children to play together after school until the gates are locked. When the gates were being locked and we were proceeding to leave, we noticed that there were still some kindergartners playing and their parents had yet to arrive. Substitute fail #2! I spotted the mother of one of the little girls crossing the street so she stayed with us until her mother crossed. But this entire situation was so concerning to me.

I’m not looking forward to anymore substitutes. How do you feel about substitutes? How have you handled a substitute in your child’s classroom?

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#WhenILeft Insecurities Followed

InsecuritesI left with more insecurities than I came with.  He always said things like, “You are the smallest girl I have ever dated” or “I don’t usually date “dark skinned” girls”.  I was never self-conscious about my weight as a matter of fact I was always fit and in good shape.  My complexion has never been an issue for me either but I soon realized that dealing with his issues was creating more issues for me.

When he realized I was unmoved by his comments and opinions about my complexion and weight, he focused on the fact that no one would want me because I was now a single mother raising our children. I guess he thought that by telling me no one wanted me I would endure everything he continued to dish out.  I endured it for more than awhile; long enough for me to believe it.  If he couldn’t have me then no else could and he was going to make sure that I thought no one did. The way he put it “I was all used up”. I even convinced myself that I would never date. Those thoughts couldn’t have been further from the truth but I had internalized his opinions of me.

And of course I was stupid. I think he was really trying to tell me just how stupid I was for giving him the time of day. I had graduated from college, went back to work on a 2nd BA and then started a Master’s program. But in his mind, I was stupid and even though I knew I wasn’t the constant ridicule led me to constantly second-guessing myself and seeking the approval of others.

I had to relearn my truth and affirm it often to shed the insecurities. I had to start believing in myself again, recapturing dreams and goals that he convinced me weren’t attainable.  I began to keep a journal and write down every idea that came to mind.  I wrote things down like, I want to start a t-shirt line, a marketing business, a non-profit organization, etc.  I figured if my mind could imagine it then I should take the time to at least honor the thought and write it down.  My first attempt at a t-shirt line ended because of fear.  I doubted and second guessed myself.  But I wrote and daydreamed some more about what it would be like to actually achieve what I was writing.  The more I wrote the clearer the dream became.  Until one day after the relationship was over, I was finally living exactly what I had been writing.  How your story begins does not have to be how it ends.  And the people you begin with don’t always make it to the end.  Dare to rewrite your story.  Dare to dream a new dream.  But never allow someone else’s insecurities to become your own.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

 

#WhenILeft Anger and Rage Followed

AngerThe very person that I said I never wanted to be like was the person I was becoming.  If things didn’t go his way, he got upset.  He argued. He lashed out.  He yelled. He cursed. He was full of anger.  I thought that if I just did things right the first time he would be happy.  But I soon realized that nothing that I did would ever be right or enough for him.  So I joined in with the screaming and yelling.  He raised his voice, I raised mine.  He cursed, I cursed.  Hurt people, hurt people.  Now we were both hurt, hurting each other and I had become what I said I would never be.

I didn’t realize how much the relationship had impacted me until I left.  I had a hard time expressing myself when I was upset.  I was even having difficulty communicating with my children. I could go from 0-100 in 2.5 seconds.  I found myself always complaining or finding something to complain about, even if I was complaining about something that I had the power to change.  I was on the defense even if there wasn’t an offense.  I even settled for the, “I’m just being me” excuse for a while.  But the truth was the relationship changed me. Abuse changes you.  I was no longer being me.  I don’t even think I knew who I was anymore.

For a while, I beat myself up over the person I had become because I didn’t know how to get back to being the person I had been.  I realized I had to do some soul searching when the inner turmoil I was feeling became the hell I was living.  My life was falling apart.  I was running away from a relationship but still carrying all the baggage.  I had to learn how to surrender.  I was fighting to regain control over my life but the fighting was just creating more battles.  I had to give up everything I had learned to learn something new.

I began reflecting and writing.  I finally gave myself permission to feel the pain of my experiences.

We get angry because it makes us feel in control because we are afraid to go into the hurt.

You are never angry for the reason that you think that you are.

Rather than be angry, try going deep into the hurt to actually feel it and be vulnerable to it.

That is how you go through the pain and can come out on the other side to find the love.  

(Iyanla Vanzant on Anger)

When I became vulnerable to the pain the wounds were able to heal.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

#WhenILeft Financial Abuse Followed

Financial abuse is present in many domestic violent relationships.  Financial abuse is often characterized by a victim having limited access to financial resources by not being allowed to work or being forced to work and hand over their wages.  My situation was a little different.  He would refuse to work whenever we got back together, losing his job almost overnight each time.  I didn’t have to hand over my paycheck, but everything went towards paying the bills.  He would even ask to borrow money knowing he had no means to pay it back.  I was left with nothing quite often for myself.  I remember when I finally made the decision that I had endured enough.  I had lost my job and we had been evicted from our apartment.  We had been leaving in a weekly motel.  I had found work but it was just enough to keep a roof over our head temporarily. He still wouldn’t look for work.  In fact, he would leave to go hang out as soon as I got home and stay gone until late at night.  I realized in my heart that whether I was with him or not, I was still doing everything on my own.

Post relationship he refused to provide any financial support, working off and on then quitting so I could not get child support.  Unfortunately sometimes the aftermath of leaving an abusive relationshp is what puts women back in an abusive situation.  I want to paint a realistic picture because some people still don’t understand #whyIstayed, why so many others have stayed and why some are still staying.

There were many nights that I went to sleep wondering how I would provide for our children.  The only solution that he would ever provide was that I send the children to him.  I couldn’t imagine living without my children.  But I also didn’t understand how a man that wasn’t working and refusing to pay child support could possibly provide for 5 children.  It was just another way to make me feel inadequate and as if I wasn’t doing enough.  I allowed it to get to me for a while.  But then I realized that I was doing the best that I could with what I had and I was continuously striving for more.  I wasn’t going to continue to allow him to beat me up emotionally or beat myself up.  It was just another way for him to try and maintain control.

The abuse didn’t stop because the relationship was over.  It didn’t even stop when I moved to another State.  It stopped when I no longer looked to him to provide something that he was not capable of, support.  He was not able to do anything that in his mind gave up any form of the control he wanted or thought he had.  Has it been easy providing for my children alone? No. But the peace that I have found makes it all worth it.  I know that the journey is not easy and at times you may even feel discouraged but don’t give up.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

 

#WhenILeft Isolation Followed

I know who I am

Oftentimes isolation is discussed in the context of a domestic violent relationship.  Isolation is one of the ways that an abuser maintains control, keeping their victim away from family and friends.  Isolation also makes the victim feel as if no one cares.  It may be subtle in the beginning; the abuser may say that they don’t want to come to a family gathering or night out with friends.  Then escalate to not allowing the victim attend such outings or using guilt trips so that the victim will decline.  Subsequently, the victim begins to turn down the invitations, until in some cases the invitations stop.

I experienced all of that and more within my relationship.  But even after it ended, the isolation seemed to have followed.  I was a single mother, in a different State, away from family and friends, 5 children, maintaining a home and work. Just as easily as he had packed up and moved to Las Vegas, NV with me, he had packed up and returned back to CA to live with his mother.  Packing up and just leaving to go back to CA was not an option for me.  Where would I go?  When I left CA, I walked away from everything in an attempt to leave him and the relationship so there was nothing to return to.

I was putting the pieces back together in my life.  I reached out to friends and family but speaking on the phone was not the same as the gatherings I had once organized.  I was happy that after 7 years the relationship was finally over but I found myself feeling alone. Since I was the sole provider, I spent most of my days working and my nights with my children.  I had a hard time developing friendships with people because I just didn’t have the time and a babysitter was not in the budget.  The invitations I received to hang out with my co-workers were once again being turned down.  I knew that my circumstances could make me vulnerable. I didn’t want to return to the relationship I had fought so hard to leave and I didn’t want to end up in another one just like it.

He made sure not to send child support so that I would not have extra money for ME.  So not only was I still dealing with feeling isolated, I was still dealing with financial abuse. I did my best to re-engage myself in some of the hobbies that I had given up. I began writing. I also made an effort to interact more with my peers.  I didn’t get to go hang out after work but I made sure that I at least enjoyed their company on my lunch breaks. This was very important in order for me to break away from the isolation that had followed me.

If you are struggling with feelings of being alone, reach out to someone, rekindle old friendships.  It may take a lot of effort on your part but it will be worth it.  A support system is very important to leaving an abusive relationship.  Over the past few weeks, men and women have taken to the internet to share with people “Why they stayed” in their abusive situation.  It’s not easy to stand in your truth while the world hides theirs and judges yours.  Stand anyway.  There are so many dynamics involved in each and every situation but if leaving was as easy as some try to make it so many more would leave.  It may not be easy but it is possible.

If you are in the Oakland, CA area, join myself and a wonderful panel for My Scars Chat. My Scars Chat is a live panel discussion on the impact of domestic violence on families, children and the community; a conversation between men and women about verbal, financial, sexual, spiritual and physical abuse.  Join us as we explore effective prevention methods, the road to healing and using one’s scars to bring awareness.

SCARS are those lessons that we learn in life that seem unbearable and come at a greater cost.  But the scars let us know that we survived it and healing is possible.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

My Scars Chat – Oakland

My Scars Chat Oakland

Wow!! In just two weeks, I will be in Oakland, CA for another My Scars Chat. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. The feedback from My Scars Chat – Sacramento was amazing. I want to give a special thank you to Michael Minnick of WEAVE Inc., a local domestic violence organization in Sacramento, that not only volunteered his time to speak on the panel but also provided brochures.  Every My Scars Chat has been different thus far. Resources vary from City to City and State to State. However, I am thankful that I have been able to get so much support from various community resources in each City.  Someone reached out to me and asked if I could live stream the upcoming Chat and it looks like we are going to be able to make that happen.  So stay tuned for details about how you can view My Scars Chat – Oakland from where you are.

We have some amazing sponsors that are supporting our efforts of getting the word out. Make sure you take out some time to visit Divas With A Purpose a great community of women, empowering, inspiring and motivating one another. There is definitely a little bit of Diva in us all. Also, make sure to visit Butterfly L.U.V. for all of your lipstick and lipgloss needs. Lets kiss domestic violence away!

If you are looking for ways to get involved during October, domestic violence awareness month, here is a list:

Contact you local domestic violence shelter and consider volunteering

Wear purple. Purple is the color for domestic violence awareness.

If you are a survivor, break the silence and share your story.

Support a cause that is bringing awareness.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

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My Scars Chat Tour

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Throughout the year, I make an attempt to bring awareness to domestic violence, whether it is through blogging, sharing articles that I have read or showing my scars. But the time of year has come that I get involved in communities, partner with organizations and discuss this problem face to face with those that have been affected by it.

I’m so excited about the upcoming My Scars Chat Tour. We will kick off our panel discussion in Sacramento, Ca at Underground Books, then we will move on to Oakland, Ca and more Cities and States are still being added to the tour weekly.

My Scars Chat is a live panel discussion on the impact of domestic violence on families, children and the community; a conversation between men and women about verbal, financial, sexual and physical abuse. We explore effective prevention methods, the road to healing and using one’s scars to bring awareness.

SCARS are those lessons that we learn in life that seem unbearable and come at a greater cost. But the scars let us know that we survived it and healing is possible.

How you can get involved:
If you are located in these Cities, please join us, bring a friend and help us get the word out.

If you are not in these cities and would like a My Scars Chat in your city email rn at rhachellenicol (dot) com and let us know.

If you haven’t already, purchase a “My Scars” Tee the proceeds allow us to bring these panel discussions to Cities like yours for FREE. That’s right, these panel discussions are FREE.

You can also help, by donating at least $2 to our Tilt campaign your donation will help us secure out next venue for the upcoming Oakland, CA My Scars Chat.

UPDATE: We have reached 65% towards our goal and we still have four more days to go!!!! Once we hit our goal we will be working towards securing a location in San Diego, CA to bring awareness. Thank you all for the support it truly means a lot.

UPDATE:We have 87% towards our goal and with only 2 days remaining we are confident that we will not only meet it but exceed it. Thank you all!! Oakland, CA here we come and San Diego you’re next.

UPDATE:With your help and support our goal was reached and the Oakland venue was secured. We will see you all on Oct. 4th at Zarif Soulye Fashion Gallery. Thank you all so much.

And as always…Keep showing your scars!!! Someone needs to see your scars.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.christiantees.storenvy.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

2015 Stellar Awards Go West To Las Vegas, NV

After living in Las Vegas, NV for 7 years and attempting to attend the Stellar Awards for the past 2 years, I am a little excited that Las Vegas will be hosting the 2015 Stellar Awards.  Earlier in the year, Stellar Awards founder and executive producer, Don Jackson announced the date change and has now released location and ticket details.  If you are planning to attend like I am, keep reading for more details.

“I am excited about moving the Stellar Awards to the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas to celebrate our 30th Anniversary in a bigger, more elegant venue,” said Don Jackson, founder & executive producer of the Stellar Awards. “The 30th Anniversary of the Stellar Awards will mark the longest running Black awards show in television and we wanted to commemorate this historic occasion in a first class venue that we know our Gospel music stars and guests will enjoy.”

Annually the Stellar Awards recognizes the accomplishments of Gospel music icons and individuals instrumental in advocating for Gospel music.  The show will air in broadcast syndication on 150 stations in over 125 markets around the country during the Easter holiday season from April 5 – May 3, 2015.  The telecast will be taped in front of a live audience at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with a new Spring production date, shifting from January to March 28, 2015.

The show is open to the public, with hotel and ticket packages on sale beginning August 4, 2014.  For more information, visit www.thestellarawards.com.  To join the conversation on social media and receive up-to-the minute updates on this year’s show, “Like” the Stellar Awards on Facebook and follow the Stellars on Twitter.

Will I see you in Las Vegas for the 2015 Stellar Awards?

 

What Happens In Vegas Shouldn’t Stay In Vegas

7 years ago, I arrived in Las Vegas, NV with a suitcase, my 3 oldest children and one on the way. I was broken, feeling hopeless and at the point of giving up. I was trying to move away from all of my emotional baggage but I soon discovered it had joined me on my journey. In those 7 years, I dealt with homelessness, being terminated from not one job but two, lights being turned off, losing my car and the list goes on. However, in the midst of all the pain, heartache, shame and loss, I found and established a relationship with God.

I didn’t realize when I boarded on that bus that I was embarking on not just a physical journey but a spiritual journey. I was away from everything and everyone that was familiar; it was just my children and I. I could no longer point the finger and make someone else responsible for the pain that I was experiencing. I can remember one day just crying out to God. I said “Lord show me my heart, show me those things that are causing me to continue to self-inflict pain”. Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it. God began to show me the condition of my heart. Not only did He show me the condition of my heart but He began to teach and show me His truths and through the teaching my heart began to heal.

I felt like a new creature. The weights were being lifted, my peace was being restored and I finally had joy within my heart. But I had no idea that God was preparing me for something greater than me. My story of transformation became Sunday Mourning which some of you may be familiar with but it didn’t stop there. I began signing each copy of Sunday Mourning with “I show my scars so that others know they can heal”. Each time I signed those words it was like an affirmation that God was going to do more with my pain than I ever could by holding on to it. Those words soon became a shirt and have connected me with so many men and women across the Country that are willing to allow God to use their scars to encourage and minister to someone else.

Today I can say, I’m leaving Las Vegas lighter than ever and no emotional baggage will be following me on this next leg. I’ve learned so much about myself, allowed God to heal the wounds that were threatening my life and purpose and now I’m freer than ever to “Show My Scars”. I am excited about what God has in store for me. You never know where God is going to have me “Showing My Scars”.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.christiantees.storenvy.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning