Chapter 47 of the Book “Annjanette”

Tonight is the last night I will be 47 years old. The night before my birthday I always reflect on the year. I think about my trials, tribulations and triumphs. My goal is to be s better me every year, and vow to not let the same things that caused me to stumble this year, cause me to stumble next year.
I have dealt with some things that I have never dealt with before, and some things that I thought I would never have to deal with again. I look back in amazement that I’m still standing. Like Marvin Sapp says in his song “Never Would’ve Made It.”

I’m stronger, I’m wiser

I’m better, much better

When I look back over all you brought me through

I can see that you were the one I held on to

The you that I held on to is God. I don’t know how anyone can navigate life without Him. I’ve been through some things this year that I could have legit lost my mind, BUT GOD said not so!! 

I took control of my health for real this past year. Not how I had done in the past, but with consistency. Little steps turned into bigger steps and now I see my progress. I’ve lost 75lbs so far!


I’m trying to live a life of quality not quantity. I don’t want to live a long time aided by medication. I want a quality life that includes living life to the fullest while healthy. 

As I reflect, I have no regrets. Every test has become a part of my story. My story shows the essence of Annjanette. My story has helped develop the strong, God-fearing confident woman I am today.

I’m ready for Chapter 48 of the book titled “Annjanette.”

46 Life Lessons I’ve Learned…


Today is my birthday and I was reflecting on the life lessons I’ve learned over the past 46 years. All of these lessons have truly molded and shaped me into the woman I am today.

These life lessons are not listed in order of importance, and there’s a story behind each lesson.

1. I have to love myself.

2. I’m my own Stan (fan)!

3. Sometimes I have to encourage myself.

4. God has to be a priority in my life.

5. Family is important.

6. Treat others the way I want to be treated.

7. Forgiveness frees me.

8. I can do bad by myself.

9. I know my worth.

10. Common sense will get you further than book sense.

11. Don’t lie.

12. Integrity is important.

13. Word is bond.

14. Be careful of the company you keep.

15. Be a good friend.

16. It’s not always about me.

17. Karma is real.

18. My husband is my best friend.

19. Happiness is a choice.

20. My life has purpose.

21. Hell is real.

22. Be authentic.

23. Live a life without regrets.

24. Stress kills.

25. Be informed 

26. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

27. Read on a regular basis.

28. Be open to constructive criticism.

29. Travel as often as I can.

30. Invest in myself.

31. Enjoy life to the fullest.

32. Pray.

33. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

34. Cultivate friendships 

35. Don’t let anyone misuse me.

36. Be honest.

37. Laugh often

38. Have a sense of humor.

39. Don’t be judgmental.

40. It okay to say I’m sorry.

41. Everybody will not like me.

42. Sex is good.

43. Be a good parent.

44. Be trustworthy.

45. Don’t go to bed angry.

46. Eat something you’ve never eaten before.

Cheers to these life lessons, and I can’t wait for the next 46 more! Happy Birthday to me!

To Be A Minority & Poor In Small Town America

image

I grew up in what used to be called Pyramid Courts, which is now named Leroy McBride.  In these projects, I had some of the best times of my life.  It’s quite disturbing to read about the despair of the current residents.

Reading the article (the link is below) disgusted and angered me.  To read how those that are poor or less fortunate have been marginalized and their voice silenced further demonstrates how being a minority and poor is a double negative.

Chaos In Cairo
If you are disturbed as I am, please contact the HUD regional office and demand prompt action be taken to remedy this atrocity!

Chicago Regional Office

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Antonio R. Riley – Regional Administrator

77 West Jackson Boulevard

Chicago, IL 60604

Phone: (312) 353-5680
Fax: (312) 913-8293

Fathers – A Lasting Impression 

  
I was getting ready for work this morning and I began to think about my dad. As my birthday is fastly approaching, I wondered what would my dad think of me. I wondered would he like the person I have become, and would he be pleased with my morals and values.  

Then, I thought of one of my most vivid memories of my dad. I had to be four or five years old. I was living in Henry Horner projects – 1847 W Lake St, Apt. 806. I still remember. It was in the winter time and I was standing in front of my school. My mom had bundled me up and no one else was standing in front of the school. I realize now she must have dropped me off early to make it to work.

 
This man pulled up in a car and called my name. I went to the car and he said, “do you remember me?” I nodded my head and said, “Yes, you’re my daddy.” He had me get in the car to stay warm and he talked to me until it was time to go into the school. He told me he hadn’t seen me in a while, but that was going to change. I later found out I wasn’t seeing my dad because of my evil stepfather, but that’s another story.

Father’s make a permanent impression on their children. The time you spend holding your children when their babies, allowing them to sleep on your chest, feeding, bathing and all the other quality time you spend with them makes a difference. Even though time had passed, I knew “that man” was my daddy.

After my dad passed, I got a tattoo over my heart that says “Daddy’s Lil Girl.”  My dad always called me “daddy’s lil girl.” I was in my twenties and my dad was still calling me his “lil girl.” The special bond I had with my father has kept me grounded. When I feel like fighting as my mom would do, the peacemaking spirit I received from my dad prevails. My dad was the first man that loved me unconditionally. He showed me what unconditional love from a man looks and feels like.  

This is a call to action for father’s everywhere. I pray it’s not too late for you to make memories with your children that will help you leave a good permanent impression on your children. What do you want your children to say about you? Do you want them to remember you with good feelings, or do you want them to learn the hard way that you failed as a father. I plead with you to make a renewed commitment to your children and be the great father your children need you to be in their lives. 

Daddy, I Have A Lot To Tell You

20140612-160456-57896164.jpg

Daddy,

Since you’ve been gone, so much has happened. I almost don’t know where to begin. After you passed, I still expected the phone to ring and you to say how’s daddy’s little girl; even though I was fully grown with a husband and children of my own. Almost every day I think about you. When I look in the mirror, I see you. I see you in my children and even in my granddaughter.

That’s right!! I didn’t have the opportunity to tell you about all of the life changes. Kenny and Kendra are grown, and Kenny has a daughter. Kendra is married! Kwinton is grown and still trying to find his niche.

I earned my MBA in 2005, and you know I love school, so I’m working on another degree. You would’ve been so proud to attend all of our graduations and special events that have happened, since you’ve been gone.

I am so glad I had a dad like you. You represented everything good about daddies. You knew me better than anyone. You could tell in my voice, if something was wrong. I could depend on you to be there for me. You sacrificed for my siblings and me.

Because you are gone, my life has never been the same. People say time heals all wounds. I don’t believe that. I believe the wound doesn’t heal. I have just learned to keep living my life without you. I miss you so much and will forever be appreciative of your love.

With infinite love,

Daddy’s Lil’ Girl

Loss – In Three Parts

Damaged Heart

“Image courtesy of fotographic 1980 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

 It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything. Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

When we think of the word loss we immediately think something negative has happened, or something negative is going to happen. These thoughts have some truth. However, have you ever paused to fully analyze who you are because of the loss?

Loss doesn’t always have to be negative. There are times loss compels us to change things about ourselves and our lives. Loss can cause us to reassess our character and change for the better. Loss brings others into our lives that we may have never known cared about us, or that we could help.

When we suffer loss, we have two choices: succumb to the loss or fight! A loss requires us to fight for our lives, families, beliefs and values. A loss will help you see who you really are, and determine if you’re happy with the reflection you see in the mirror.

Take a moment and reflect: what did you learn from the loss? What did you learn about yourself from the loss? How are you better today? Who have you helped because of what you learned from your loss?

My Special Place

If I could be transported, I would like to be transported to a place that’s very special to me. There’s a place that I love. I came of age in this place. I learned about sex, love, friendship, relationships, evil, jealousy and even other continents. I learned that I could feel all of these emotions and go to different places without ever leaving this one place. This place was my home away from home. I went to this place so much that the workers knew me by name, and my mom would call and ask to speak with me. I spent many hot, humid days in this place. I could hear myself think in this place. One of the greatest days for me was when I could go to the area of this place for those who were more mature in age. I felt safe and secure in this place. I could be myself in this place. Even now when I see this place, I am reminded of coming of age in this place. This place is the library in the town I grew up in – Cairo Public Library.

Where would you like to be transported?

Cairo Library

Silence Breaker

 

3617049144_f5f0bc2a46

Studies completed by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, show that:

  • 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse;
  • Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident;
  • During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Children are most vulnerable to CSA between the ages of 7 and 13.

According to a 2003 National Institute of Justice report, 3 out of 4 adolescents who have been sexually assaulted were victimized by someone they knew well (page 5).

Alarming statistics for an act that is silenced over and over again by the victim themselves, family, friends, churches and even authorities figures.  I wonder will we ever have a time when children can feel safe, and not be in danger of being sexually molested.  It is true that  most of us that have been sexually molested were victimized by someone we knew.  For years I didn’t count myself among those that were molested because I was not penetrated by my perpetrator.  However, I always recognized what he did was wrong, and carried emotional scars that negatively impacted by body image for a long time.

Molest means to touch someone sexually when it is not wanted.  I was a teenager in the stages of puberty.  My breasts seemed to have grown overnight, and they were not the normal size you would expect from someone my age.  I was thirteen years old that summer.  I was uncomfortable with the changes in my body, and this incident made me feel even more uncomfortable.  My breasts were grabbed and held by someone I trusted.  Someone who knew better and should have been ashamed of themselves.  I was very shocked, but didn’t know what to do other than call my dad and say come get me.  My dad knew me well and he kept asking me was everything okay.  I kept lying and saying yes, everything is fine.  Just please come get me.  My dad came and I never told him what happened.  My dad went to his grave not knowing what happened that summer.

Fast forward to 1999, when my dad passed and I told my mom and my step-mother what happened that summer.  They both were shocked!  My mom said why didn’t you tell me.  Why didn’t you tell your dad?  I told her I knew it would destroy family relationships, and I felt like what happened wasn’t that bad.  I mean I wasn’t penetrated.  Isn’t it crazy how victims rationalize what happened?

I realize what happened to me defined me for more years than I care to remember.  I didn’t like my breasts.  I hid them as much as possible.  If I didn’t have these breasts, this wouldn’t have happened to me.  Hindsight allows me to recognize that I did nothing wrong, and the perpetrator was a sick individual.  I was well into my thirties before I became comfortable with the blessing God gave me:  big, beautiful breasts!  Finally, I became comfortable in my own skin.

These posts may cause questions from my family, but I don’t care!  I am a silence breaker!  Audre Lorde summed up silence the best for situations such as this: “Your silence will not protect you.”

Be a silence breaker!  Be inspired to break the silence from here.

Image by bryanbope on Flickr

Remember When…

20140213-234549.jpg

Kickball and dodgeball were played during gym and recess.

We had recess!

Penny candy was really penny.

We jumped double dutch.

We played hide-and-go-get, oops I mean hide-and-go-seek.

You had a one on one fight and lived to be friends again.

Being ten and home alone wasn’t a crime.

Parents would come to school and whoop you in front of the class, and teachers let them.

Failing the Constitution meant you failed 8th grade.

Playing the dozens was a right of passage.

Parents were parents and could care less about being their children’s friend.

Grandma was actually old.

You couldn’t catch a mother and her children in the same nightclub.

We played outside until the street lights came on.

We played hopscotch, red light green light stop and hand games like Miss Mack.

Little girls didn’t wear weaves.

A singer actually had to be able to sing in order to receive a recording contract.

What do you remember?

Image courtesy of cjansuebsri / FreeDigitalPhotos.net