As the product of a dysfunctional upbringing, it was always important for me (as a parent now) to ensure that my children don’t ever look back and wonder why I wasn’t a better mom. Work, school, bills, relationships, events, activities, and life as a whole will pull on us everyday, whether we like it or not. However, the blessing and opportunity to love our children, not with things, but with our hearts and souls… only comes to a very few. So why aren’t we taking greater advantage of it?
Lately, I’ve been reminded that many parents are depending on the school system and its administration to steer their children in the right direction. They are probably never considering that school systems deal with politics and bureaucracy, that some teachers may be there for only a check, and that your child is in a classroom with over 15 children at a time. No one at school can dedicate that much time to your kid in such a short period, with several other children from various backgrounds pulling on them constantly.
Therefore, some other parents are depending on the childcare/daycare to help ease some of the stress. However, let me explain that most of these businesses are only required to keep your child physically safe, away from harm and danger, and well fed and healthy until you return from work. They are not required to ensure that your child can read, write, or even speak proper English. They are not required to ensure that child has an adequate amount of self-esteem, knows right from wrong, or that the teacher in the classroom doesn’t have emotional problems of their own. It’s about money most of the time, if they enroll your child then its income for the business.
So, what do parents have left? Ourselves! It is our responsibility to ensure that our children know the basics from saying “please” and “thank you” to more complicated topics like “stranger-danger”, child abuse, discipline, and something as important as washing their filthy hands after using the bathroom. Our relationships will come and go, our jobs, although important are essential because we have children to care for. Therefore, to ignore the very seeds we put on earth, to get that paper and keep up with the “Joneses” makes absolutely no sense to me.
Last week, I had the displeasure of witnessing two very troubled children cause chaos all over a daycare center just because they could. Of course, the mother was dealing with so much on her plate, with her new employment and being a single mother, she had her hands full. My heart was heavy for her because if she could get the help she needed, without worrying about being paid, bills, or other life struggles, she could very well turn these kids around. However, despite the children’s bad behavior and her struggles, the kids managed to have brand new sneakers, video games, and even quoted lines from recent movies in theaters right now. I knew then, it wasn’t about the struggles anymore, it was about parents not having their priorities straight. It’s about people assuming positions of change, yet allowing the dollar to become priority over their purpose. Everyone gave up on these kids, so the kids gave up on themselves. I literally sat there and saw a child inflicting injuries on herself, crying her soul out for attention (needing someone to intervene), while one of the staff members videotaped her tantrum supposedly for legal purposes. This girl was irrational and her parent was at work, this was kind of situation that required a hospital and psychological professionals. It hurt so bad to witness this, more so because in my position there was nothing I could do. As a mother, I wanted to scoop her up and figure out what was wrong, set her straight and comfort her all at the same time. It was then that I knew, we as parents depend on the system too much to raise our children. The system is only depending on your fee.
I spend a lot of time with my children. I teach them right from wrong and I have the tough conversations with them early. I have a lot on my plate and I am by no means a perfect parent. I do as much as I can, because I don’t want to depend on school and daycare to parent my child, it’s my responsibility. My son will learn a lot on the streets and from other kids, but it’s my duty to ensure that he knows the facts. His behavior and his actions are a reflection on my abilities to be an adequate parent, and myself. I’m accountable for my actions, as any healthy adult should be. I can’t blame school and daycare for what I failed to do at home. So relationships, business, and other stuff to the side, if your children are acting up, think about what you did to contribute to that behavior. Is it the movies and television you allow them to watch that has them acting like fools? Are they seeing your adult behavior when they shouldn’t be? Are they privy to your idle gossip and grown-up conversations when you think they aren’t paying attention?
We can’t complain about the world and all of the messiness, when we unknowingly contribute to it. Not steering our younger generations in the right direction is the first strike against making any positive headway at all. Chasing money and trying to make sure your family looks “fly” only covers the surface. The kids that are neglected the most always seem to have the priciest labels and latest gadgets, has anyone else noticed that? Our focus should be their physical, mental, and spiritual health as well as looking good. That also includes our own health as well. If we are at our best, then our children are at theirs. It’s our job to be awesome parents, let’s make sure we do it to the best of our abilities regardless of our circumstances.
Love and awesomeness,
Follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
Last year my husband had the awesome privilege of attending the Camp Diva Date with Dad Dinner and Dance, and came home talking about how amazing the whole event was. Naturally, we discussed all the beautiful dresses the girls wore and the fathers who compassionately accompanied their daughters to this event, which celebrated love and the bond between father and daughter. At the time my relationships with my own father was strained and virtually in limbo, so I felt my heart tug when my husband joyfully described the love and affection shown to each girl by her father. It was the pictures that depicted fun, excitement, and grandeur, which made me want to attend the event this year on my own. However, it was my husband’s powerful testimony that enticed me to make the decision to repair the relationship with my father and bring him along, with my two sisters as well.
I knew from the very beginning that God had his hand in this situation. As I was preparing to talk with my Dad about attending, my sisters had already caught wind of the event through social media, as I was tweeting and posting it to Facebook. Immediately when I suggested that we should all go, they both squealed in delight. “This will absolutely bring us all together!” they exclaimed. It was just a matter of asking my Father. When I arrived at my father’s house to ask him, I must admit I was nervous. In my late twenties, I have never embarked on something as wonderful as a father/daughter dance. I would have never imagined inviting my father to an event like this, or even him attending one with me. We just were never that type of father/daughter team. Neither my sisters nor I knew what was going to happen, but I stepped out in faith and invited my Dad anyway. My Dad immediately said “yes!” I was ecstatic. He said it sounded like a great idea and he too wanted to start spending more time with us and create a stronger bond with his daughters. This was going to be an experience I never wanted to forget.
I prayed on it the whole way through. Most of us were struggling financially, trying to make ends meet and pay bills. Just barely keeping our heads above water, I faced the challenge of paying for all four of us to attend the event. With tickets costing $25 each, I knew I wanted to contribute to the event and deliver an awesome experience to my sisters and father at the same time. I had to get to work. The Date with Dad was my priority. Most of the people I talked to were difficult to close on the idea that they too should contribute to this monumental occasion, some even suggested that it might not be worth it. Here I am trying to help and create a wonderful memory for not only me, but other girls and their fathers too, and obstacles were coming from left and right. I pressed on, I sold clothes, I contracted work, and saved pennies just so that I could attend with my family and give them the night I promised. I could only imagine the work that the women of Camp Diva have to put into what they do. They are truly an inspiration. The ability to keep explaining your vision, your dream, and your purpose to people, in the hopes that they too buy into it and can contribute a small iota of assistance to see it flourish… it monumental. Those women are amazing!
I finally got the money together and I paid for my ticket, Glory to God! We scheduled a date to help my Dad find a suit, which for some reason was rescheduled three to four times due to scheduling conflicts. However, when we finally got together, it was an awesome Saturday afternoon. We laughed, we cracked jokes, and we talked. Something we rarely get to do with him on our own. It’s that nervous feeling around him, as if you’re meeting someone for the first time. We ask ourselves constantly, “Does he know this” or “Have I told him this”. This event was going to be the catalyst to jump start a relationship with our father. This was going to be the marriage of a father/daughter bond that we never experienced. We wore variations of white and gold, because we were solidifying a solid bond with this man, who we have lived with our entire lives, but know rarely anything about. Our Dad, who has always provided for us, but never really tried to get too close. This was our chance to change what history has tainted, and I couldn’t have been more excited if I tried.
The night was beautiful! In gown and dresses, my sisters and I stepped out with our father in a spectacular way. I walked in a saw all these beautiful little girls and gorgeous women, all adorned in pretty dresses and incredible smiles. My Dad was dapper in his suit and tie, looking nervous but excited himself. He cleans up well, and we were so proud to have him on our arm. As we ate and drank punch at the table, marveled by the beautiful families around us, we laughed and joked the whole night. I am not going to lie and say that we weren’t at the table waiting and ready to get “turnt up”. I wanted to dance and watch everyone else get his or her party on as well. So right after the celebration of the Real Father Award Winners: Congratulations to Harold Coles Jr., Scott Randall, Thomas Nixon, Anson Owen, and Nelson B. Farrar and the Father/Daughter game with Actor Chad Coleman (Miss Evers Boys/The Wire), Juan Conde (Anchor with TV 8) led us into the dance portion of the evening.
My Dad was a straight crazy man on the dance floor and I loved it. We laughed at his silliness and delighted in his ability to just let go and be free. It’s times like this when I realize that time is never promised to us, and if I could make that moment in time last forever, I would. Nevertheless, I soaked in every minute of it, and enjoyed every second. He talked with Juan Conde and shared stories about us when we were little, listening to him on the radio when Juan was with Power 92. He was so excited. He ran and took pictures everywhere and profiled in his suit, something he doesn’t get to wear often enough. I was proud to have him with me that evening. My sisters looked beautiful and my Dad was so excited, the evening turned out better than I could have ever imagined.
When I think about what Angela Patton and everyone with Camp Diva are doing, have done, and are attempting to do with these young girls in Richmond, I kind of wish I was a little girl again. I wish I had this when I was younger, because we wouldn’t be trying to begin a relationship with my Dad as adults, we would be celebrating what already was in place. I wish that some more people out there were diligent in trying to institute something so precious as that bond, like Camp Diva is doing. Nevertheless, my mission was to prove that it is never too late. As a grown woman with children of my own I’m making it my business to make something happen between my sisters, my dad, and I. Life is too short and I don’t have the time for “should’ve, could’ve, and would’ve”, I want to take advantage of these opportunities when they come. I didn’t know if I was going to even be able to afford to do it, but my trust that God was going to see me through, and it did, it saw me through that hotel, with two beautiful sisters and my handsome father in tow. So just when you think it’s not important for you to strive for life has a funny way of showing you, everything is worth it and more. Our experience is one for the books, a lifetime memory and a whole lot of love was in that room at the Marriot. Camp Diva did an awesome job in putting that together and creating a chance for fathers to make their daughters feel special. I can’t wait to attend next year; I hope that I see you at the table beside us.
Shout out to Melody Short (Artisan Café), Craig Watson (Lyric Ave), Rob (Peace Clothing) who I saw and spoke to that evening. A huge shout out to Angela Patton, Ayana, Lisa, and all the beautiful women of Camp Diva (Camp Diva).
Please follow and support Camp Diva www.CampDiva.org
To see more photos go to my Facebook Fan Page at www.Facebook.com/GaptoothDivaonline
You might have been laid off, or struggling with a job situation. You may have been given a notice that the rent is seriously overdue or the lights are going off. You may have seen a shift in your relationships with certain people, and you’re wondering what in the world in going on. It may just seem like you are being attacked for one reason or another, and you just can’t get up.
I know the feeling. Many people know the feeling. The insurmountable agony of trying to overcome one obstacle and another, all without catching your breath sometimes can wear you out. I wouldn’t dare lie to you and say, it doesn’t get hard sometimes. I lose it. I cry. I vented to people that I probably shouldn’t have, knowing all the time… all I needed to do was pray. Therefore, don’t feel bad… just have faith.
It’s struggle trying to be a better human being. Life is full of temptations, easy routes, and shortcuts that look so good to you. You’re trying to make things happen, you want a blessing or two, and everything around you is saying if you only do this, it’ll come to pass. It’s easier to succumb to negative ways; it’s easier to rely on negative people, its so darn easy to just talk about it, rather than be about it. Pretending the struggle isn’t there doesn’t make it go away. Pretending that you can hustle your way out isn’t going to make the struggle less painful. This is something I’ve learned the hard way.
My husband, children and I were just in a car accident, I never said a word. My health started to take toil on me; I kept smiling the whole way. I kept getting offers to do things that the “old I’esha” would’ve jump at for the chance to make some money, but I turned them down. Why did the “weed lady” from six years ago call my number, asking me if I wanted to cop? I sent that woman straight to voicemail and deleted the message. Another individual broke my heart, and I still extended love and respect. I’m in a war at this very moment, as even as I write this I’m battling. It would be so easy for me to revert to old ways and old behavior, because back then when I was “that” chick, life didn’t seem to attack me. Back when I was not praying, not reading, and not being anything close to a virtuous woman, life was gravy.
That’s how I know… I’m doing well. I know I’m walking right, because the enemy doesn’t attack someone who isn’t a threat. I know I’m pleasing God, because the dumbest things will happen to try to push you into being that awful person, that negative thinking individual, but I kept saying “Thank you God!”
In the accident, I said, “Thank God we’re still here and the car still works”. As my health started to affect me, I said, “Thank God I can still move and I have my life”. After the drug dealer called, I said, “Thank God, I’m able to handle my issues without smoking”. When my heart was broke, I said, “Thank God for the time spent and the lessons learned”. When the bills piled up and temptation came with opportunities for money, I said, “Thank you Lord for confirmation that my work is being recognized”, despite the fact I said no.
I’m in a war! They want me for something, but they can’t have me, because I belong to something greater. I can’t go back now.
Through all this fighting, I had to tell you just how awesome He is. I had to share that I am being blessed beyond measure, with more than I deserve. It’s a fight though, but I’m staying prayed up. I just hope that you are as well.
What’s for you is yours. However, no matter your circumstances, believe that it’s just preparing you for something awesome down the road. We’re in training for greater things. Say “Thank You Lord” for all things, big and little, in times of hurt and of plenty. It’s amazing the moves He makes, when we just believe. I wasn’t supposed to update today, but I needed to get this off my heart and into yours. God has something so spectacular for you… just wait.
With Love and Awesomeness,
I feel funny writing this, because as off the chain as I can be at times, people don’t realize that I do strive daily to be a better woman, servant, wife, and mother. It’s hard when you have people provoke you, you allow yourself to be stressed and fazed, or you feel overwhelmed. It’s easier to go crazy, to snap, to drink or smoke, and to lose sight of why you’re here in the first place. However, lately I’m finding that my only sense of peace comes from knowing that I diligently pursued happiness by any means necessary. I’m only content when I believe in my heart that I pleased my Creator in some way by being the best person I could be to the people around me. I keep saying that I’m not perfect; I do have my “ratchet” ways at times, please don’t make me mad. Lol. Nevertheless, growth and progress comes from knowing that as you go all-out to be a better woman on a daily basis, similar to exercise, you will see that “ratchetness” occur in your life less often. I think that’s all God wants anyway, for us to at least try, not judge, but try to be better people individually. So, while we attempt to improve our own lives, hopefully people can be inspired by that and make every effort in their own lives as well.
Earlier I came across 31 Status (http://www.31status.com/) a movement created to show women how to live a Proverbs 31 kind of lifestyle. I found this to be one of the most inspiring things I ever seen. These women collectively decided to motivate other women, to be better women. It’s not a race, a competition, or a battle; it’s a unified pursuit to improve each other. I want something like this in Richmond, Virginia. It seems everyone is hustling to get that business started, trying to blow up, attempting to be the next big thing out of RVA. However, if we collaborate to improve what’s internal, I know for a fact that everything on the outside and all around us, will undoubtedly become better. I’m living proof. Talk to anybody who knew me prior to last year. They’ll say I was off the chain, but as I read more, got closer to God, and I started to value my time and myself, I’m not that woman anymore. Proverbs 31 teaches us to become better individuals. I don’t want to preach to you, because you can read it for yourself. However, you have no idea how much faith plays a big part on the blessings we receive.
1. Faith - A Virtuous Woman serves God with all of her heart, mind, and soul. She seeks His will for her life and follows His ways. (Proverbs 31: 26, Proverbs 31: 29 – 31, Matthew 22: 37, John 14: 15, Psalm 119: 15
2. Marriage – A Virtuous Woman respects her husband. She does him good all the days of her life. She is trustworthy and a helpmeet. (Proverbs 31: 11- 12, Proverbs 31: 23, Proverbs 31: 28, 1 Peter 3, Ephesians 5, Genesis2: 18)
3. Mothering - A Virtuous Woman teaches her children the ways of her Father in heaven. She nurtures her children with the love of Christ, disciplines them with care and wisdom, and trains them in the way they should go. (Proverbs 31: 28, Proverbs 31: 26, Proverbs 22: 6, Deuteronomy 6, Luke 18: 16)
4. Health – A Virtuous Woman cares for her body. She prepares healthy food for her family. (Proverbs 31: 14 – 15, Proverbs 31: 17, 1 Corinthians 6: 19, Genesis 1: 29, Daniel 1, Leviticus 11)
5. Service - A Virtuous Woman serves her husband, her family, her friends, and her neighbors with a gentle and loving spirit. She is charitable. (Proverbs 31: 12, Proverbs 31: 15, Proverbs 31: 20, 1 Corinthians 13: 13)
6. Finances - A Virtuous Woman seeks her husband’s approval before making purchases and spends money wisely. She is careful to purchase quality items which her family needs. (Proverbs 31: 14, Proverbs 31: 16, Proverbs 31: 18, 1 Timothy 6: 10, Ephesians 5: 23, Deuteronomy 14: 22, Numbers 18: 26)
7. Industry – A Virtuous Woman works willingly with her hands. She sings praises to God and does not grumble while completing her tasks. (Proverbs 31: 13, Proverbs 31: 16, Proverbs 31: 24, Proverbs 31: 31, Philippians 2: 14)
8. Homemaking – A Virtuous Woman is a homemaker. She creates an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for her family and guests. She uses hospitality to minister to those around her. (Proverbs 31: 15, Proverbs 31: 20 – 22, Proverbs 31: 27, Titus 2: 5, 1 Peter 4: 9, Hebrews 13: 2)
9. Time - A Virtuous Woman uses her time wisely. She works diligently to complete her daily tasks. She does not spend time dwelling on those things that do not please the Lord. (Proverbs 31: 13, Proverbs 31: 19, Proverbs 31: 27, Ecclesiastes 3, Proverbs 16: 9, Philippians 4:8 )
10. Beauty – A Virtuous Woman is a woman of worth and beauty. She has the inner beauty that only comes from Christ. She uses her creativity and sense of style to create beauty in her life and the lives of her loved ones. (Proverbs 31: 10Proverbs 31: 21 – 22, Proverbs 31: 24 -25, Isaiah 61: 10, 1 Timothy 2: 9, 1 Peter 3: 1 – 6)
Now which one of you wouldn’t want to be this type of woman?
Exactly! I’m working on trying to inspire myself and other women to be more of an example for other women. People will get angry and say we’re stuck up and bourgeois (bougey) but we know whom we are. Inspiration can come in all forms, so as people talk crazy about for living as if we are worth more and we’re blessed, they’ll eventually start to conform and see that blessings are coming our way. Therefore, they will begin to convert in the Proverbs 31 type of woman as well.
I’m excited to go on this journey and allow you to rock with me. No judgement! We are imperfect human beings, but our love and desire to please God is unyielding.
Love and Awesomeness,
I’esha GaptoothDiva Hornes
For more of The Baddest Creative Motivation, follow me @GaptoothDiva
I’m sitting in my office, GaptoothDiva.com up on the screen of my desktop computer. I have light bill, gas bill, and a money order for my car note in my hand. Thinking to myself, something has to change. I’m looking at the second love of my life, my son watching television and coloring on my living room coffee table, all the while wondering how we are going to make it until the end of the month. The struggle for me is real.
There will be hindrances and roadblocks on the journey to your dreams. Bills will continue to pile up, you may have to humble yourself and ask for help, even when you know you may be rejected. The world doesn’t just stop revolving around, because you decided to pursue your life’s ambitions. Frankly, the “world” doesn’t give a damn about your ambitions. You have to face all of the problems head on, regardless of what’s going on in the background. I remember having a deep conversation on Facebook, with one of the businesses women I praised so heavily on my website. She’s an amazing artist and designer, so focused and meticulous in her craft. However, like so many of us she suffered from some slight depression, piling bills that overwhelmed her, and a little self-doubt. While I tried to encourage her and motivate her to continue on, I realized that I was in fact, encouraging myself. I also wanted to give up at one time. The pressure of supporting people freely was weighing heavily on my pockets and hurting my heart. I want to help, I want to spread the word, but while my interviewees were making money, I was struggling to keep it together. The woman I was talking to said she felt inspired by our talk, like so many of you that direct message me your problems and concerns, I will always take the time out to encourage you and give you a good word. That I will do for free until the day I die. Nevertheless, I choose to take some steps to help me overcome some of the obstacles I faced. I hope this is something we can work towards together. Let me know if this helps you, and I’ll share with you regularly how it’s helping me.
You don’t have to see the finish line approaching to know that you are winning the race. As long as you believe in yourself and your creator, everything will work out. The enemy wants you to panic and trip out without thinking logically and spiritually. That’s why we blow the handle and snap at the slightest thing. Stop, pray, and meditate. Have faith that you will be victorious always.
People always tell me that I don’t ask for help as much as I should. It took awhile, but now I understand what they mean. I’m so protective and passionate about my vision, that I treat it like a pot of gold. You wouldn’t leave it with anyone and trust that he/she won’t steal it? However, I had to remind myself that what is for me is already mine, so there is no need to worry. Ask for help, tell people what you’re trying to do, then you will be better able to discern who wants to help you and who is out to get you. Better to know now that later.
I laugh at one of my closest friends because her hustle cannot be matched. She goes hard, she hands out her cards, she is networking and connecting the dots like she never sleeps. However, even though its amazing to watch, it is also inspiring. People fear going hard because they don’t want people to talk about them. They don’t want to step on people’s toes and come off like they are better than. I was one of those who thought that as well. However, why we’re sitting here hungry not wanting to ruffle feathers, other folks are eating and not caring what you think. Go hard in everything you do, don’t worry about losing people. Success can almost guarantee that people will fall out of your life. That’s not your problem. Think about those bills, those kids, the dream to inspire you. Those who matter don’t mind…. You know the rest.
I just recently stopped dealing with somebody because I felt that they didn’t have their own ambitions. I felt that they just wanted to “get on” by any means, even if it meant copying other people. It made me so angry to see someone with so much potential, just take the easy route and swagger jack other folks. We have to do what comes natural to us. Be ourselves, whatever that means. We can’t try to fit in, because then we are setting the wrong standard. When you pursue your dream, it’s your dream… a vision with you in it. If your dream has someone else as your face, then stay your a** sleep! It’s ok to be inspired and/or influenced by someone, but don’t try flat out do what he or she do. Take your influences and make them your own in your own way, or take the recipe and tweak it to represent you. In order to succeed your vision/dream should have purpose. If you’re only purpose to have what someone else has, then you failed before you even started.
Don’t portray something that isn’t your reality. A fraud can be spotted a mile away. If you aren’t about that life on the daily, than don’t pretend to be that kind of person for popularity. I know first hand a few jokers who post things online, but their life is a very different way. You see celebrities all the time ousted for the simplest things, because they care what other people think. If you willing to front about something for fame and popularity, neither which pay the bills, then what else are you willing to do when the money starts rolling in? Don’t sell your soul. Be yourself and forget all the nonsense.
I’m excited about what’s to come in the next couple of weeks. I can’t wait to share everything with you. I hope that you all can continue to overcome the struggle, and rely on your faith and yourself to get through. If you don’t believe, then who will. We’re in this together.
The Baddest Creative Motivation,
I’esha GaptoothDiva Hornes <3
I’ve wanted to talk about this subject for a while. Ever since I announced my pregnancy last November, the idea that I should be ashamed of having children was heavy on my mind. It appeared that many of my so-called friends were dropping off the social calendar at rapid speeds, and I couldn’t figure it out. It wasn’t until a former friend of mine decided to be completely honest and admit that people with no children are much more fun than people who have kids. I found this statement to be a little more than ridiculous, considering that the person who said this… had children herself! Was I hearing this correctly? Were young mothers being made to feel ashamed of having a family of their own? Another former friend of mine was pretending (online) that she didn’t have kids, when in fact she has a daughter that is about 8 years old. While she’s tweeting about getting drunk and smoking, having sex with other people’s husbands, and going to the club every weekend, her daughter sits in her room and watches cartoons. When I asked her about her role as a mother and how it plays into her life online, she stated, “Nobody wants to hear about my kids, girl. That’s not hot!” To imagine pretending that I don’t have these two fantastic little boys, for the attention I get online, send me into a raging fit. Why can’t my children and my family be apart of the equation?
I have a very small amount of friends that are doing something closely related to the entertainment industry, and have children. Most of the people that I meet are single and have no children. Some even stating that they don’t plan to have any kids, because they fear it will negatively affect their careers. Those that are in the industry and have children, most likely had those children mid-career or after they’ve established themselves in their niche. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to have both; it just means that it will take much effort and dedication on your part. In the beginning of my pregnancy, I was made to feel like I was in the way. People approached with sorrow, instead of joy initially because I would no longer be able to “party” with everyone. No more late nights drinking and dancing, no more clubs and chaos until after the baby was born. It seemed as if all the talk about babies and family life, made me older than my years while everyone was screaming “YOLO” to the top of their lungs.
Now that I’m not pregnant anymore, and able to say I have my body back, things have changed a little. Those old friends want to hook up for drinks and dancing again, but my priorities are different now. I’m more interested in spending time with people that appreciate that I am a family woman. I can’t go hang out at the clubs as if I’m single and childless, because that’s not my reality. I’m married and I have two sons, and I don’t mind if my life reflects that. When a former friend of mine told me that seeing so much about my family, reminded her of what she didn’t have and it was annoying, it hurt. I don’t throw my blessings in people’s faces with the intention of them being jealous or annoyed; I just want to show how proud I am of my beautiful family. Therefore, when I am not invited to Girl’s Night Out, by people like that, I already know the reasons. I just appreciate their honesty and chalk them up as old friends. If I can’t post pics of my kids and my husband, for fear of annoying some envious friends, then they are not really my friends.
People have to understand that we all are at different places in our lives. Some of us have made decisions that may have changed the dynamic of how we live our lives. I’ve made some bad decisions in the past, but having children and getting married was not one of them. Motherhood is hard, its work, and it’s not always glamorous and sexy. Nevertheless, having kids didn’t take away my personality or make me dull; it just made me more responsible. Therefore, if getting wasted at the club and going home with strange people is your idea of fun, I probably would be boring to you.
One girl came to me recently and admitted to me that she chose to “pay me no mind” when I first started to promote GaptoothDiva and the website. She said that she didn’t think it was going to go anywhere because I wasn’t as provocative and wild as other people were. She admitted that it wasn’t until she got pregnant and I started to talk about my family more, that she felt that she could relate to me. Prior to her pregnancy (back when all I did was promote local artist), her priorities were very different. All she wanted to do was tweet, drink, smoke, and have sex. She said that when she got pregnant, she wanted to learn more about having a family and still work towards your dreams. I felt honored that she included me in a list of people that now have her attention, especially since her mind-set is in a more positive place. When people tell me that I’m not their cup of tea anymore, because of my family situation and motherhood, I realize now that they aren’t the audience I want.
Motherhood is nothing to be ashamed of, no matter what age you are. You will have to change your focus to include your children, so partying and people shouldn’t be your main precedence, but that’s not a negative thing. People will assume that your lifestyle is an obstacle to be overcame, or they may not understand the obstacles you do face because you have children, either way it is not your responsibility to explain that to them. If someone can’t respect the fact that you have children, then they probably aren’t people you should deal with. It all in what you make it. If you want motherhood to be glamorous and sexy, then make it that way. If you want it to be exciting and fun, then plan so that it can be. I never looked at single people with no children and seriously considered them luckier than I was. Yes, I’ve joked about having kids and not having a sitter sometimes; but to deny my children to anyone whether we’re online or IRL is absolutely a no-no!
How someone could shame you into denying your children, I don’t get it. I know that some people aren’t ready get married and have a kid, that’s their personal choice. However, to ever try to make some feel small for making that decision, is just plain wrong. Blame it on jealousy, and the envy of secretly wanting a family and that level of love themselves. However, I would never say that behavior like this is ever justified. If the limitations they propose are really limitations that you face, you should find alternative solutions to them yourself. Don’t live with the notion that you can’t pursue your dreams and accomplish your goals, because you have children. We weren’t given anything more than what we can handle, so don’t make excuses. Love your children and do the best you can, keeping up with other people (with or without children) isn’t the purpose of your life. Obviously, if you’re a mother, you already know what your purpose is… live it, with no apologies. Never allow someone to shame you into denying your motherhood. You’ve earned it.
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Politics makes me crazy! Let me start by saying that. It seems to me that the rich keep getting richer, while the rest of us hustle hard. While some small-minded individuals are trying to keep up with those that have, I just want to believe I live in a country that will take care of all of us. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. I want to feel a sense safety for my family and myself. I know that you have to work to provide for your family and I don’t think I’m entitled to anything outside of my rights as a tax-paying citizen. So why is there so much confusion?
I’m watching commercials that suggest our current President isn’t qualified to be in office another term. However, the President before him (George W. Bush) somehow managed to bring this country to its knees for 8 years. That can’t be fair. When I voted for Barack Obama in 2008, I never expected him to get it all together in one term. I also didn’t expect him to come against so much resistance from Congress, either. Although, I don’t agree with everything that Obama has done in the past four years, I still believe that we can have some change. What can I say? I believe in Obama. He is not my savior, nor do I look at him as being a perfect individual. Nevertheless, I have never been prouder to have him in the White House representing and running my country.
Last week, I overheard some people discussing the election. They were talking about their plans to not vote, because they’ve lost interest. The same commercials that have been playing for weeks were the catalyst to their decision. They proposed that because the Romney campaign pointed out some flaws about Obama they didn’t know about, that perhaps neither of them deserved a vote. This didn’t make sense to me, because although both sides have views some may not agree on, these individuals were relinquishing their rights altogether. There has to be something we can do. I’m not comfortable with so many of us deciding not to vote based on a he say/he say campaign. People have to learn to find out the truth on their own, rather than wait to be spoon fed facts by our media.
In 2008, we were excited. We were so hype to have an African-American President, that we literally knocked each other down to cast out votes, as if we were going to buy the new Jordan Concords. I want that same excitement back! After hearing how Mitt Romney really feels, and after discovering how out of touch he is with the low-income demographic in this country, I’m equally as enthusiastic as I was in 2008. It’s not a challenge for me to say that I will be voting for Obama again. It’s not because he’s black or because he’s a celebrity. I’m voting for him because he is the candidate that is more closely related to MY views on how this country should be running. I don’t want to feel like I’m making rich people more wealthy off of the sweat of my fellow Americans and myself. I don’t want to feel like I’m a “sub-par American” for ever accepting assistance from the government, and I don’t believe anyone else should. Just because someone has endured hard times, maybe even qualified for assistance, it doesn’t mean that they don’t matter. I was offended, point-blank. It appears to be a class situation with Romney, where 47% of Americans just don’t fit into the bigger picture. What kind of President only wants to work for a certain group of people?
I’m only beginning to learn about the politics of this country, and what I’m learning thus far has got me more than a little upset. I understand that we need to get more individuals off of welfare and into good paying jobs. We also need to gain better traction in Education and Foreign Affairs. However, I’m not comfortable with allowing this billionaire Mitt Romney make decisions about my life, when everything about him has proved that he really doesn’t care about me. I made this decision after watching news reports, after reading various articles and publications that have cited the candidates views on particular subjects that will and have affected my family and myself. I’m not basing my decision on commercials. I’m not blatantly ignoring the facts and chalking it up to trends. I don’t look at my twitter timeline to tell me my real-life news, because I’m an adult. We have to take responsibility for our lives and the lives of our children, by making a conscious effort to educate ourselves on the issues.
As we prepare to watch the debates tomorrow and the weeks following, please promise to pay attention. Dedicate some time to researching for yourself the issues that are important to you. Do you want the right to choose? Do you want the government to tell you that you will not receive adequate healthcare because of your financial situation or tax bracket? How important is your child’s education? Don’t vote because one candidate is rich and/or because the other candidate is black. Vote based on the facts. Imagine being a pregnant woman, an elderly man, a small business owner or a single parent. Even if that’s not your current situation, what would you want if you were in those shoes? Whatever your reasons, just make sure you vote. Our ancestors have fought and dies just so that we can have a say in a country that we were born in. Please, don’t allow basic confusion to hinder you from voicing your opinion.
Over the weekend, I decided to take a trip to a thrift store that I can never seem to make it to, The Family Thrift Center on Midlothian Turnpike of Richmond’s Southside. This store is located on what I can only describe as the worst streets on Southside, due to all the construction that is currently going on. I hardly ever go down this street, but when I do, I always see the Family Thrift Center’s parking lot packed with people who are shopping. I always tell myself, I’m going to stop by one of these days, but between the awful road conditions and my busy schedule it never happened. Not until Saturday afternoon did I make the trip, and it was well worth the wait… well sort of.
I definitely liked the selection and the prices (the only reason why it would be packed), although some of the prices were a bit higher than other traditional thrift stores. You could tell that someone who worked here is the designated fashion professional because everything that “appeared” trendy was priced way higher than everything else was. The clothes ranged from some up-to-date items to a section full of vintage. They have a huge coat and blazer section for both the women and men. The shoes left a little to be desired, even though I found one pair that I damn near had to wrestle to get. They have a plethora of purses in various styles that I think needs to be shopped immediately. I have enough purses, so I wasn’t in love with anything but one. However, I know some of you may love the options available. The clothes were in great condition and there were so many. I knew as soon as I seen the options, that this is where most of Southside thrifting is done.
They have a section in the back that is considered boutique. Let’s just say a lot of that stuff could move on up to the front of the store with the rest of it, because it didn’t appear to be of boutique quality. The whole section looks a mess and severely overpriced, but I understand that you have to mark up some nicer things every now and then. I just wish that it wasn’t so much back there, and then you could see what you want. It’s so piled on top of each other; you’re just standing there staring at a pile of junk rather than shopping.
The customer service was null and void. I asked two sales associates for assistance, both of them told me to go ask the other. Are you serious? No one was really friendly or personable while I shopped. I heard someone cursing under their breath about people making a mess and dropping clothes. It was so loud that I turned around thinking it was another customer, but it was not. When I got to the register, I decided to ask the cashier a question about the store. The question was, “What are your slowest days of the week?” She laughed and said, “We don’t have those. I’ve been here three years and have never seen a slow day unless we were closed.” Just like that, I knew that I probably won’t come here often, but I would be back. I can’t stand a lot of craziness while I’m shopping.
Overall, Family Thrift Center is always crowded with so many people shopping; you probably won’t receive great service from the sales associates. People are on top of each other looking for great finds and trying to snatch a bargain. I wouldn’t bring kids with me, unless they were strapped down to a stroller. There is so much pushing, shoving, bumping, and tripping all over the place, it was insane. As I mentioned before, I can’t function like that when I’m spending money. It is not the service that brings the crowd, but the stuff that makes them return. I have to have an equal amount of both, though. Therefore, I could only recommend that you strap up before you go. Just joking… I think. I do recommend this spot but at your own discretion, it’ll grow on you eventually.
Family Thrift Center
5432 Midlothian Turnpike
Richmond, Virginia 23225
Most of the time when it comes to family, you’re surrounded by people who’ve known you your whole life. Some of them watched you grow up from infancy into adulthood. Some of them were with you during all of your important milestones. Some of them were somehow married in, dated in, or just inducted into your family by means beyond your control. However, even though you may have known these people for what seems like forever, you may not share that warm glow called loved and appreciation for them all.
I can honestly say I loathe many of my family members. I know “loathe” may appear to be a strong word, but it was the only one that I was absolutely sure most of my family members wouldn’t know the meaning. This is a sad fact, but very true. My reasons for despising certain family members aren’t due to their employment, education, financial, or relationship status. I don’t judge people like that. I am utterly repulsed by some of my family members because of their inability to be anything outside of negative. They’re the ones that ask stupid questions, just because they want to hear their own voice. They are the individuals that don’t celebrate great things about other people’s lives, but congregate to gossip about the bad. They call all the time looking for some juicy news, they always throw a monkey wrench in your goals and plans, and they somehow manage to embarrass everyone who shares their last name. Thank God for marriage, because I can now pretend I don’t know most of them.
There used to be a time where I thought that despite all their negative characteristics, I should still devote one hundred percent to loving them and being there for them no matter what. A sick notion I must have picked up from some Hallmark card or something, for sure. Nevertheless, after many years, much maturity, and a dose of healthy common sense, I realized that being around them would serve no purpose but to remind me of how awful growing with them up once was. I discovered that sometimes, you just have to deal with people with a long handled spoon or not at all. I think it was all those family dinners ruined by drunken relatives looking to stir up a fight, or maybe it was just God. Either way, I find myself avoiding certain relatives often. My up bringing wasn’t the most conventional or safe, mostly because of the relatives I’m mentioning. Nowadays, after becoming an adult and having a family of my own, I still see no progression or change from them in any way that displays that I should still be associated with them.
I have a lineage full of addicts, drunks, child-molesters, womanizers, pathological liars, instigators and plain idiots. While most young women rely on a helpful aunt, grandmother, cousin, or parent to guide them through life occasionally, I was short-changed with a few reckless characters on my family tree. Although not everyone in my family fits the mold of “waste of skin”, many of them are an embarrassment in some way or another. What is a girl to do? I recently had a conversation about dealing with those that I can honestly say, “mean to do harm” to me or are just pathetic, and how my children will need to know them some day. I think that is where my mother made the mistake while I was growing up. She hoped that her strained relationship with her in-laws wouldn’t affect their love for her daughters, and that they would keep disputes among the adults. Although we were young, her in-laws wasted no time in sharing torrid rumors about my mother, all the while allowing us to partake in alcohol and such as children. It wasn’t until we grew into young women, that my mother learned of their intent to sabotage her children and her reputation. I do not plan to introduce my children to people who wish harm on me, with the hopes that they will not treat my children the same as they have treated me. We all pray people will do right by our kids, regardless of their feelings toward us. However, why gamble with the chance that your children will receive the consequences of someone’s hatred toward you? Even if they don’t hate you, and are just plain bad news, why allow your children to be subjected to the same nonsense that you had to endure? Children don’t know the back-story and you are not required to fill them in. You also aren’t required to build a connection with those that make you uncomfortable. As an adult, we should be able to say, “I don’t want to deal with you” and not feel guilty about it. Our lives aren’t dictated by some unwritten rules that say we have to deal with people who bring no positive value to our lives, just because they are our relatives.
I’m not advocating that you deny your whole family and never speak to them again. I’m just stating that there comes a point in one’s life where they should rid themselves of useless relationships that wear them down. Often times these relationships are with our relatives. Relationships filled with turmoil, confusion, disputes and sometimes violence should not be tolerated just because you’ve known someone your whole life. Like the old saying goes, “God brings people in your life for a reason and a season…” I don’t think there was a special clause for relatives and their issues. I rather remember the good old days of growing up and enjoying my ignorance with these relatives while steering clear of them, than to endure stress and disappointment now while I’m grown. I once looked back at a few of my relationships with some of my relatives, and realized all we have are the “good old days”. There is nothing for us to talk about now, that doesn’t include gossiping about another relative. We aren’t going in the same directions in life and most often, the pain from past disputes and arguments never quite healed on either side for it to be ignored. It was when I realized that family is what you make it, that I was fully comfortable with dissolving those decayed relationships with my relatives.
The term “family” doesn’t necessarily mean, “people with the same blood line, last name, and family tree” as you. Sometimes family can be our great friends that we love and trust, our significant others, and even … our own children. Of course, it’s traditional to go to Mom and Dad’s or Grandma’s for the holidays, but there is no law that said this is required. Yes, it would be great to allow your children to play with and grow up with their cousins, those of which were born to that relative that you know sells drugs or is always in trouble with the law. News Flash: You don’t have to!
We are all in control of our own lives. Our lives are not pre-determined by other people, so there is no need to feel compelled to deal with those that you much prefer not to. Even our own family members can be unsavory characters in our book, those of which we don’t need to be associated. Feel comfort in knowing that although you may run into them at the next cookout or birthday party, your interaction can stop there if you choose. It’s ok to feel like you don’t want them too close to your kids. It’s normal to feel like ending your relationship with them, because of their life choices, their behavior, or their attitude for the sake of your family and sanity. You don’t have to deal with people that you feel don’t bring happiness, solitude, or positive aspects to your life. Even if those people are relatives, you don’t have to deal with their issues. I like to say that I choose to love them from afar.
Yes, it’s officially been over a month ago since I physically evicted my new son out of my womb. It was a sweet and sour moment for me. I think because part of me wanted to have my body back badly, however the other part knew there was a hell of a lot of work to do from here on out. When you’re not pregnant anymore, reality hits you harder than you think. This is probably why people always insist that you spend your pregnancy enjoying the moment, bask in your ability to create life, and be grateful for all the productive ish you can avoid doing because no one wants you to “strain yourself”. I spent my pregnancy thinking about all the things I’m going to do when I’m not pregnant anymore, that I may have missed a little of that. Nevertheless, at the exact moment that I was able to move my formerly pregnant body, life reminded me just how real it can get. Please believe, I’m still celebrating… however, it’s just not exactly how I thought it would be.
Here is a list of real reminders that I faced, dealing with my life as a non-pregnant woman. It’s been so long, I almost forgot.
Your Body – Of course the first thing that’s different is that the 5-10lb. baby is gone! You are relieved you can breathe easy with a little weight off you. However, I totally forgot how long it took to lose the rest still hanging off you like some old FUBU sweat suit. I sat staring at this pouch for weeks, wondering why it was still hanging on to my body. Last time it seemed like it just jumped off, this time it’s acting like a clinging one-night-stand that doesn’t get the picture. People will not be as forgiving about your sagging ass belly, because you’re not pregnant anymore. They will have to be told that you just had a baby, but you can’t use that excuse forever. I’m getting real re-acquainted with my spanx and girdles for the next several months, because I don’t have time to chin check folks for staring at my after birth aftermath.
Beat Your Face and Get Dressed – I regret not using every opportunity I could to look like a bum. I seriously felt so compelled to dress up (trying to distract from the pregnancy) that I wouldn’t be caught dead in just a t-shirt and jeans, or even flats sometimes. I blamed Beyonce a few months back, but she did set the bar too high. Now, as tired as I’ve been, I really want to be lazy and just say “F*ck It!” I’m not pregnant anymore, so folks won’t overlook me wearing pajamas in public, not having my face washed and polished, and rocking my hair scarf to the store. I should’ve played that damn card when I had it.
You Better Wait! – When I was pregnant, food came quickly, seats were given up, I didn’t have to carry anything, and my comfort was priority number one. I missed that part the most, let me just be honest. If I wanted to throw a tantrum, my hormones were the blame, not sweet pregnant me. Life was full of undeserved justice. Nowadays, if I’m hungry… that’s tough. If I’m tired…. So what? I tried complaining, but my once very loud voice is muffled by someone much smaller and louder, stealing my thunder. I can’t believe that all that tender loving care that I was being treated to, was not for me at all. It was for the person inside of me, who is still receiving it and often. I’m back to writing my congressional representative about my gripes with the world and we all know how that goes.
Let’s Talk About Sex – Pregnancy left me with this insatiable appetite to get skin to skin with the one I love, day in and day out. I’m not going to front on how bad I wanted to get busy. However, gravity and my physical capabilities left me feeling a little insecure about my skills. I can’t go all out in the bedroom with a 6lb. human being strapped to my chest as if I’m a suicide bomber. That’s not very sexy! I had big dreams of turning my man inside out, but settled for spooning and cuddling instead. It hurt me to not provide what I’ve been the master at for ten years, nevertheless my husband said he’ll hold it down and make up for loss time when everything is over. Now, I’m much smaller and even more capable of doing my thing…. However, the damn doctors say wait 6 weeks. Torture, it’s all torture!
Pissing Everybody Off – A bluntly honest person like me can get away with saying some rude mess to a few people… with a baby in her stomach. People tend to avoid getting upset with the pregnant chick, because she is “so fragile” and doesn’t need the “stress”. After you’re done being pregnant, people don’t give two farts and a shit about making you mad. It is almost as if some people save all the bullshit that will set you off for the exact moment after you deliver your newborn child. I wanted to kick their asses then; I want to kick their asses now. Either way, we can’t be that kind of person. We have to allow the small stuff to just role off our backs and ignore the nonsense. However, with the amount of adrenaline rushing through my body from a lack of sex and some dormant hormones, I sometimes see a slip coming up soon.
No Excuses – Clean the house, make dinner, do laundry, read bedtime stories, the list of chores is never ending. With all my responsibilities, I’m wondering why it seems harder now that I’m not pregnant. Oh yeah, I was being spoiled rotten. Now I’m saturated in the homemaker warfare and I have no ammunition. You can’t go without doing the required labor, because there are no excuses left. You have to get back on your grind. There was a time where you could fall behind, and it was ok because you’re pregnant. Nowadays, you’re just nasty, lazy, and trifling’ if you don’t get it together.
What Happened To My Feminine Side? – I used to cry at the drop of a hat at a commercial with love and devotion in it. I would adore the scent of flowers and stare at rainbows in the sky in awe and admiration. Now I’m like “STFU!” and “Get out of my face!” I lost that feeling. I’m not affectionate anymore (probably because I can’t have sex) and I’m impatient with the idea of sharing my feelings out loud. I turned into a man, but without the important part… a penis. The other day Hubs asked why we don’t cuddle anymore and I punched him in the chest. What’s wrong with me? The answer is obvious…
I’m too sickly to get drunk and nowadays one glass of Moscato makes me drunk.
I missed most of the summer and its fashion opportunities, so I’m forced to squeeze them in for the next few weeks of warm weather.
I’m not allowed to workout until my six-week appointment clears me for regular activities. However, my regular activities didn’t include working out before.
I lost my appetite for food and its deliciousness and I have excessively too many freaking pillows on my bed now.
Ratchetness is even more entertaining when you’re not pregnant and miserable.
I think being pregnant is a beautiful thing. Nevertheless, I think not being pregnant is awesome! I’m so glad it’s over and even more glad to be back and telling you all this. I don’t entertain ideas of post-partum depression. I think I suffer from post-partum disappointment. It’s the disappointment that although pregnancy was a pain in the ass, it still was a very cushy and comfortable lifestyle. I enjoyed the nurturing of my friends and family, I enjoyed the constant feedings and free stuff, but it’s all over now. I’m disappointed because in order to get it all back, I have to get pregnant again. Therefore, I will never experience that joy again. I mean, who keeps having kids just because they can, right? At least I’m blessed with a beautiful baby boy through it all, who I love and adore (especially when he’s asleep). I just thank everyone that made the road that much easier during this time, you’re the reason I’m like this.
We are coming upon the last days of this pregnancy. I must admit that I’m not at all excited about anything other than getting the baby out of my uterus. It’s been a long drawn out road of ups and downs, sickness and health, and most times, it seemed like death do us part. I never imagined being this sick, especially since my first pregnancy went by without a hitch, however this time around I was in for a fight. I had a fight internal as well as one with my own mind. I had to learn to fight the urge to want to please everyone around me, promising myself to make ME a priority over the success of anything else. I could have easily fell victim to overextending myself for false friends and networking colleagues, but the truth is my unborn child, my family, and my health came first. I couldn’t sacrifice my well-being for the sake of being liked, even if that meant redeveloping my brand after everything was said and done.
I especially think it was hard, because I never tried to operate my own business with the task of being pregnant. Therefore, with all the events and invitations I received, I never really had to discern which events were more appropriate for me to attend so thoroughly. In the past going to a party in some nightclub, affectionately themed after some grown and sexy cliché’, wouldn’t have sounded like a bad idea. However, after being pregnant I realized that some things are best left to the childless and unmarried crowd. I couldn’t imagine getting down at the “shortest shorts” event or hanging out at the “mid-week ménage” with no other purpose than to raise funds for some local charity. It’s just not about my image anymore, a fact pregnancy drilled into my mind quickly. I want to set an example and show people there is more to life than getting wasted and partying. I know some people mentioned “I’m foul” cause I don’t cover their events anymore or attend and “support” them. As ridiculous as that is, I initially thought they could possibly be right. After much prayer and deliberation, I had to accept that those who mattered didn’t mind, and you know the rest. I have to think about the people I’m trying to reach, my audience. My audience extends well-beyond the party “yolo” type, more into the ambitious family-oriented person looking to improve themselves and their environment.
Its crazy the type of things you think about when you’re forced to sit the game out, watching other people play non-stop. I must admit, I was scared for a while worried that an unexpected addition like our new baby may stop me from doing what I truly love all together. With some guidance and reassurance from those I love and respect, and of course some faith, I realized what’s for me is always going to be mine. I still had the passion, the drive, and the creativity to make my goals happen, so what was there to fear? Although a new baby meant some new challenges and more work, it doesn’t necessarily mean I couldn’t accomplish those same ambitions. I know plenty of women who have children (more than one) and can’t seem to cross over into legitimate entrepreneurship and success because of the challenges of motherhood. However, they do not define the role of Motherhood and Business Woman in my book, and I will do best to not look at them as examples of what to expect. I’m still scared, being that I never planned my sweet little bundle of joy and I have no idea how to incorporate him into the flow of things, but I pray and God got it for sure.
I don’t expect to be a perfect mother, I never even seen one of those. Nevertheless, I do want to be the best mom I can be. If that means that I have to put some selfish ambitions on the back burner (because I do love to have a good time and party all night), then it is no question… that’s what I’ll do. It should never be something of a sacrifice, when it comes to your babies. I want to set the greatest example for my sons, of what a REAL woman is capable of providing for her family, without neglecting their needs and image. It’s important to me that they know what kind of woman to eventually grow up and look for when they get older, despite what society and the corrupt media tries to portray.
I know now more now that some people read this website, not with the intention to be inspired or motivated, but to try to catch me slipping. They think they know me personally and they look to see what new things I’m into, what strides I’ve made if any, and what’s going on in my life. I assure you, it doesn’t bother me. I know that what I have is mine and mine alone and that no mere mortal can take that away. If watching me and quietly commenting amongst each other, is how they get through the day…. Continue to do so. It doesn’t do anything for me, if you didn’t know. I will say that I’m happy, whether I update this site every single day or once a month, I’m making moves. The satisfaction I get out of life is not measured by my peers, past or present. I’m in love, I’m healthy, and I’m blessed. My life is not measured by my status on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter, so stop checking my timeline for updates, because if you were worthyof some juicy gossip… you wouldn’t be twatching- you would know.
This baby is coming to a loving family, not too concerned with the world and its fickle ways. He is coming to two parents in love with each other and with life. That is all that matters to me. I’m planning to have a c-section, because I care about my vagina… just kidding (no not really). I plan to drop another video on Youtube soon, providing new updates and craziness with the Hubs, so be sure to check that out on my channel GaptoothDivaTV. So as I plan to have this c-section, whenever I go into labor (within the next 3 weeks), I know for sure I will really be out of it. Bear with me… I’m sure not giving up.
Check out more new photos of my family and me on Facebook, under my personal page www.facebook.com/GaptoothDiva
Being the very perceptive person that I am, I usually try to find underlying meaning to everything that happens to me. It’s not that I’m searching really, but somehow signs and ideas just spark inside my mind from random places and events. Lately, I’ve been having some very insightful conversations with my four-year-old son, A’veri. Like his mother, A’veri lacks a “conversational filter”. This means that he will pretty much say anything, to anyone, anywhere, without hesitation. He also gets his friendliness from me, so despite my constant teachings about strangers, he still manages to try to make friends wherever we go. I love him to death, but I would never ever trust him with my darkest secrets, nor trust that I can get away with any crimes around him. He’s my friend, but the boy is liable to get me in trouble one day with his mouth, no lie.
A’veri has decided to give me unsolicited advice these past few months, and I can’t understand why. I haven’t been depressed or crying, nevertheless he comes to me with questions that he has already answered and proceeds to preach to me on a daily basis. Whether it’s about my self-esteem, my pregnancy, my relationship, my friendships, my fashion choices, or just some heavy things that have been on his mind, the boy can’t seem to shut up. I love him, I can’t stress that enough, but if school doesn’t start soon…. I’m going to go crazy. Although these discussions with my precious son are hilarious and often times bizarre, I can’t help but think he may be on to something.
Sometimes in life, God has a special message that you really need to receive. However, He sends it by a messenger that you would least expect. Most people would ignore that strange messenger, chalking it up as a weird conversation. People like me however, take heed and realize that it’s often just what I needed to hear, just from the lips of someone I never thought would say it.
At the doctor’s office…
A’veri: “Mommy, Do you know why you have a baby in your stomach?”
Me: “Yes, I know why. Do you?”
A’veri: “Yes, I know. You have a baby in your stomach because I’m tired of talking to myself.”
After dropping his father off at work…
A’veri: “Mommy, Are you mad at Daddy?”
Me: “No sweetheart, why are you asking me that?”
A’veri: “‘Cause I don’t want you to be mad at Daddy”
Me: “Well I have no reason to be mad at Daddy”
A’veri: “Good, ‘cause Daddy goes to work and buys us stuff. If you get mad at Daddy, he’s not going to go to work and buy us stuff anymore, and then I’m going to be really pissed off. Then you’re going to be mad at Daddy, I’m going to be mad at you and at Daddy, and Daddy is going to be mad at everybody. (*throws his arms in the air and shakes his head.*) That’s not right and God don’t like that.”
Me: (*Laughing*) “Ok, lets try not to be mad at anybody then…”
A’veri: “No mommy, don’t TRY… just do it!”
A tired day, I decided to stay in the bed all morning. I was watching television, resting up.
A’veri: “Mommy, what’s wrong with you? You not happy?”
Me: “I’m fine. I’m just tired today.”
A’veri: “Don’t be sad. You’re beautiful. You’re a good mommy. You let me watch TV, you buy me toys, you give me bananas with chocolate sauce on it, and you got a baby in your stomach.
A’veri: “So why you laying down?”
Me: “I said I was tired…”
A’veri: “Too tired to make me some bananas with chocolate sauce on it?”
Me: “A’veri, It’s too early in the morning for that and you just ate breakfast”.
A’veri: “Then why you let me say all those nice things to you?”
In the car…
Me: “A’veri, you are growing up so fast! (*Laughing*) Where is my little baby at? What happened to my precious little baby?
A’veri: “Mommy, who are you talking to?”
A’veri: “Mommy, there ain’t no baby back here! You have a baby in your stomach… Don’t talk to me like that!”
Me: (*Laughing*) Ok, my bad.
Me: “You hungry?”
A’veri: “Yes, I want a sandwich”
Me: “Ok, I’ll make you a sandwich.”
A’veri: “Mommy, do I have to kiss your ass for you to make me a sandwich?”
Me: (*Laughing*) “No! Why would you say that?”
A’veri: *Heavy Sigh* “ ‘Cause, Daddy said you better have dinner ready when he comes home and you said ‘kiss my ass’.” *blank stare*
Me: “I’m sorry. (*Laughing*) I didn’t mean that for real. I was just joking.”
A’veri: “Ok, ‘cause that’s disgusting.”
A conversation with his father…
Dad: “I’m staying home with you and mommy today!”
A’veri: “Oh man, does that mean I have to go to work?”
Dad: “No, that doesn’t mean you have to go to work.”
A’veri: “Is mommy going to work?”
Dad: “No, we’re all staying home together”.
A’veri: “I don’t like it when you stay home. You turn the channel too much. *sighs*”
Dad: “Well, I’m staying home”.
A’veri comes into the bedroom to me…
A’veri: “Mommy, Daddy not going to work…”
A’veri: “Put him on punishment and tell him no TV”
A’veri: “‘Cause I’m supposed to watch TV, Daddy supposed to go to work, and you supposed to have babies!”
Obviously, I have a lot on my hands with this one. Now imagine these type of conversations times two…. I’ll wait.
God has planned something amazingly special for me with a child this unique. However, no matter what, I love this little boy.
Pray for Me. Xoxo
We decided to share how things are going with the baby and the changes we have experienced since being pregnant. There is nothing easy about bringing life into this world, especially when you were busy doing other things and didn’t plan it at all. LOL
However, we are so blessed and can’t wait to “evict” our darling bundle of joy from my womb. However until then, what better way to ease the frustration then to vent to all our supporters and friends.
Thank you so much in advance for choosing to be a babysitter…
We Love You!
The plan on Sunday was for me to attend the 5th Annual Date w/ Dad event conducted by Camp Diva (www.campdiva.org); I had my dress laid out and was very ready to go. I knew how extraordinary this event was expected to be and I didn’t want to miss a minute of it.
However, Divine intervention stepped in and decided not only to make the new baby kick my behind a little more than usual, but to also give my 4-year old the idea to jump off the couch and hit his little head on our glass coffee table. As I sat in the E.R, worried about my first-born, I couldn’t help but feel awful at the notion that I might not make it to this highly anticipated event with Camp Diva. I have always been amazed at the work they were doing with young women, and want so desperately to get involved myself and help make even an iota of a difference.
While watching A’veri get those stitches, and how emotional I was getting (blame the pregnancy), even my husband knew that likelihood of me leaving him that day was slim to none. So in slides, Superman Hornes, offering to go in place of me. He had been working with me off and on with GaptoothDiva.com, doing the scheduling for our internet radio show and sometimes attending events with me and taking pictures. I trusted him completely to represent us and catch the dynamic of the event, while I catered to our aspiring stunt-double of a son. He took on the responsibility with no problem.
Apparently, by going to this event it stirred up some feelings and ideas about fatherhood. Being a young man, whose father was absent in his life, he said that he was moved by the amount of men that took pride in raising their daughters. He basked in the idea that only a few days ago, he would have been one of these men, dancing and laughing with his little girl, if only God didn’t see fit to grace us with another boy. He mentioned that even though, he was going to be a father to his two boys, it meant so much to him that he BE THERE, not just financially but emotionally, spiritually, and physically. He wanted to take the mission of Camp Diva and apply it to how he raised his own children. He was touched, and you could see how affected he was when at 2:00 am; he was still talking about the various conversations he had with the different fathers and what he learned.
I was so proud of him. Being a woman whose father was always in the home, but never quite there, I could almost relate to the absent father theory. Although I appreciate my father never taking off and leaving my mother to do it alone, it almost felt like he might as well left us. He paid the bills, but never really tried to know us personally, he was absent emotionally and spiritually. Therefore, when my husband said that he talked to fathers who knew their kids’ friends name, their favorite movies, songs, and colors, I was seriously blown away. Some mothers claim to be too busy to know this kind of information, let alone the fathers. My husband said he wanted to be the father that the kids felt comfortable talking with no matter what, that he didn’t want to appear to just be the “provider”, someone they were lucky to have. Seeing that type of passion in my Husband about the way we plan to raise our children, I knew that the event did what it was intended to do.
He talked about the games, especially the “Would You Do Anything for Your Daughter” game, which had us laughing for a while. He also talked about how happy every little girl there seemed, watching them show off their fathers as if they were brand new dolls straight off the assembly line. Looking through the photos, he lighted up. While he dodged and dodged the idea of having a girl for months, this event made him realize that it wouldn’t have been so scary after all. I can’t help but laugh, because it’s obviously too late, and we are not even going to discuss having another one any time soon (sigh). He said he truly had a great time and suggested that we invite the whole family next year, not because of the father daughter theme, but because this event represented family…. At it’s finest.
I thank my Husband for standing in for me, doing what only a best friend would do. I especially thank Camp Diva for inviting us and being so gracious to him while he was there. Organizations like this are exactly what we need to start paying more attention to. When they affect people from all lifestyles and all backgrounds, when they inspire grown men to be better fathers and grown women to be better mothers, we know we have something special.
Check out Camp Diva and get involved - www.campdiva.org
For more of the Baddest Creative Motivation – www.GaptoothDiva.com
A year ago, I decided to make some drastic changes in my life. A super expensive party turned epiphany made me realize that everyone that smiles in your face, attends your events, and “likes” your comments on Facebook, may not really “like” you. I was bitter for a while, but I got over it. I got over the idea that I may have been a people pleaser. My desire to make everyone around me feel comfortable, feel at ease, and feel like they’re having fun, made me into my own worst enemy. I stayed in relationships with friends that didn’t have my best interest at heart. I dealt with family members that were even worst. I tolerated those conditions, with the fear that I would ostracize myself and end up alone. Needless to say, I was stupid!
After discovering I was pregnant with our second child, I finally saw what I’ve been overlooking. True happiness isn’t manifested through your false friendships and relationships for the sake of being alone. True happiness is those connections that you have where you don’t ever have to worry about being alone. Yes, I have friends online, but those relationships aren’t guaranteed to be personal or everlasting. Most often, I’m just a number to someone. That’s the truth that many people don’t realize themselves. Did it hurt to know that some of the people I actually considered friends; were just online profiles and nothing more? Of course, it did. However, now that I’m not clouded by the idea that I have a larger circle than what I did, I can now rest in the notion; I don’t have many people to please.
I’m more honest with myself, which in turn has made me more honest with everyone else. I’ve indicated my relationship expectations and my plans and goals for the future, and it gave me so much optimism in these past few months. Those people who couldn’t handle my honesty and straightforward ideals have eventually fell by the wayside. I only make decisions that I’m one hundred percent comfortable with, rather than constantly compromising for others without any regard to myself. I once feared being seen as boring and too mature. Nevertheless, at a certain point in your life, you have to let go of that misconception, and hold on to what you believe in. I’ve lost friends, but I gained new ones that I have never even thought were possible. I always believed that your friends were the people you could do/say anything with, at any time, good or bad. However, most of the people that fit in that category in my life didn’t care to whom those bad things were done… even to me. Real friends can handle when you say you’re not comfortable with something they did or said, and family should too. Relationships shouldn’t be destroyed when you speak up for yourself, they should get stronger.
Being in this vulnerable place in my life and carrying around a new baby that was definitely a surprise to us, has indeed made me emotional. Although scientifically those emotions are rampant, I’m thinking with a clear head. I’m another year older and bringing another life into this world. The most important things to me today are totally opposite than what they were before. I’m blessed to have a wonderful husband and a fantastic son. This is my family. My business is to inspire and motivate, not party and be wasted with my “friends”. My friendships are valuable to me; therefore, I can’t afford to allow anyone to hold up a spot that they don’t sincerely want. The family I was born into isn’t the family I have to tolerate. Even if I love someone, it doesn’t mean I should let them hurt me, emotionally, physically, or anyway else. By putting my integrity first, my faith foremost, and my foot down, I’ve found peace in a completely new way.
Yes, my circle is indeed smaller. There is no list of people knocking on my door weekly anymore. My phone doesn’t ring half as much as it used to. Nonetheless, God has shown me that I have more than so many other people, often more than what I need. I’m less stressed out and more focused on what’s important. I’ve taken in some moments of life that I didn’t realize I had. I’ve learned new skills and I’m excited to learn more. Most importantly, I’m not keeping myself up at night worrying if “such-and-such” is happy/satisfied/content/or appreciative of my decisions. I’m finally so happy!
Therefore, when you think all your friends have turned their back on you. When you believe that, your family is gone. When it seems like no one is going through what you are, and somehow you are all alone… thank God! It’s a blessing.
Grammy award winning singer and songwriter Van Hunt will be rocking the Camel this Friday along with the Photosynthesizers and Empress Hotel. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Don’t miss this rare chance to see someone as great as Van here at The Camel. Buy your tickets here…http://vanhuntcamel.eventbrite.com/
The Choice is Yours”, is a Hip-Hop critical thinking workshop designed to improve youth’s ability to demonstrate positive thinking through youth on youth interaction and the five (5) elements of Hip-Hop. Although many mentoring relationships exist between adults and younger people, peer mentors or teen mentors are effective also. A teen mentor or peer mentor is a friendly advisor – more friend than counselor, depending on the mentoring relationship. By inspiring mental growth and developing social skills amongst their peers, the youth will have the chance to learn from one another.1. DJ-ing… 2. B-boying (Dancing)… 3. MC-ing (Rapping)… 4. Graffiti (Art of Tagging) and 5. Knowledge 2pm at Franklin Street Library in Richmond, Virginia
Pride Fest returns downtown to Kanawha Plaza on 8th & Canal Streets on Saturday, September 24 from 1 p.m. – 8 p.m. Here’s the rundown of everything you need to know. http://www.gayrva.com/category/pride-fest-2011/
The Mission of the annual Family Peace Festival is to provide an opportunity for children, youth, and adults to gather in celebration of peace and diversity. It is our hope that the Festival will foster our community and offer opportunities to:
• embrace the possibilities of peace
• explore the many facets of peace
• understand each other through art, music, devotions, dance, and other cultural expression
• enjoy a safe and welcoming environment
• promote self-esteem in children through age-appropriate activities
• encourage cooperation and collaboration among the diverse communities of Richmond
• enjoy a day of fun, fellowship, and love
• explore community resources with exhibits and sponsors
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