19 Jun 2013
17 Jun 2013
Okay, so I wasn’t tagged to join the “Old School Blogging – Alphabet Soup” prompt that seems to have made its way around the blogging scene. But that’s okay. Years of running track make me hard to catch so I’m hardly ever tagged to be “it”. I’ll do you all a favor and just tag myself!
B. Best Friend?
Blessed with several great friends, but Hubs & Little One are my two besties!
C. Cake or pie?
Cookies! Soft baked!
D. Day of choice?
I feel like I’m suppose to say “Sunday”. Seeing as Sunday is too close to Monday and Monday’s make me depressed I’ll have to say Friday or any day I don’t have to go into the office.
E. Essential Item?
Lip balm. Bleeding, cracked lips don’t go with any outfit. Ever! Oh yeah, and my specs. My glasses save my life…and essentially yours if you so happen to be on the road at the same time as me when the sun goes down. Accident waiting to happen.
F. Favorite color?
Green, turquoise, or any color on the green/turquoise spectrum.
G. Gummy bears or worms?
Either. Who’s treating?
Born and raised in the City on the Bay! I’m a San Francisco treat! (Oh yeah, I currently live in Richmond, VA…)
I. Favorite Indulgence?
J. January or July?
July – it’s my birth month!
L. Life isn’t complete without?
Prayer, Faith, Family, Books, Pen and Paper, and Lip Balm. Gotta have the lip balm.
M. Marriage date?
Thursday, December 11th, 2008
N. Number of brothers/sisters?
My mother’s only child – no syndrome. My father’s eldest child which makes me the big sister to a 17 year-old sister and an almost 21 year-old brother.
O. Oranges or Apples.
Well apples got us in a bit of trouble so I think I’ll stick with oranges for now.
Birds are treacherous, dangerous, flying diseases who are capable of actually using your head, car, or jacket as a toilet. Disrespectful! Not to mention the trifling suckas scarred me for life when a seagull at the San Francisco zoo stole a hot dog out my then 5 year-old hands and commenced to squawking his friends over for a celebratory hot dog buffet at my expense! But I digress. Public restrooms also give me the heebie-jeebies.
Oh, I have plenty. Hence the name BeQuoted. A few of my favorites:
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle
R. Reasons to smile?
It’s more attractive than frowning. Some smile because they’re happy. I smile because it makes me look good. Or at least better than I do with a sour face.
S. Season of choice?
Summer & Fall. Summer for the fun and Fall for the boots and blazers. Can fashion get any better than Fall fashion? Methinks not.
Marika of Ambitious Curls
Britton of My Big, Beautiful, Life
Gillian of Fitness Buster
Catherine of Dear Vixen
Sherelle of Caramel Conversations
Kita of Say What You Wanna
Yes. I know I chose 6 lovelies instead of 5.
The other ladies I thought to tag have already been tagged! I welcome any of you to get in on the old school blogging. Just copy and paste the questions. Replace my answers with your own unless of course you too have a phobia of birds and public restrooms.
U. Unknown fact about me?
Collard greens, butternut squash, and artichoke. Yes, yes, and yes.
W. Worst habit?
Persistently getting less than 6 hours of sleep and turning off my alarm clock while silently chanting that I will get up in 5 minutes. I guess I should also mention that rushing is also a very bad habit of mine. Believe it or not I do actually make it to my destination on time. Usually. Pray for me ya’ll.
X. Xray or Ultrasound?
Clearly we were running out of questions at this point. ”Xray or ultrasound?” Say what?
Y. Your favorite food?
Mexican food. I could literally eat authentic Mexican food every day of my life. Jamaican and Italian food tied for a close second.
Z. Zodiac sign?
I am a Lioness. I suppose we’re better known as Leo’s. Don’t go judging me. Everyone knows someone who hates a Leo. Oy vey.
15 Jun 2013
If I could make a daddy I’d make him tall and sweet.
He’d be really handsome, and clean, and neat.
He’d get a bit dirty just to play with me.
He’d treat my mommy really well so I’d know what to expect.
A girl needs her daddy
This you could bet.
He’d be friendly and funny and did I mention his smile?
It would be contagious and bright
You’d want to be his child!
I think God may have blessed me to create this kind of a man
Because he’s right here beside me holding my hand!
~ Andrea & AKM (2011)
Our daughter was born only two months before my husband’s first Father’s Day in 2010. I was on maternity leave when we – my daughter and I – decided to make Daddy a scrapbook adorned with pictures of our growing family and Daddy in the birthing room dressed in an unattractive smock, bags underneath his eyes, and a smile from ear to ear. We completed the entire scrapbook the following year – 2011 – and put our minds together to write this poem on the last page of Daddy’s scrapbook. Happy Father’s Day to all of the hands on father’s who make their presence felt in a some child’s life. Special, special shout out to my husband, the BEST Daddy I know! Feel free to pin this poem or share it with the father in your toddler’s life!
12 Jun 2013
Before we became a family of three and began celebrating ourselves on days dedicated to Mother’s and Father’s, we were simple “him” and “her,” then “Mr.” and “Mrs.” Before you took to bended knee I told you that I was unafraid to go through the fire with you because I knew your character and felt that there was no fire hot enough to dissolve the love and friendship that came easily for us and remains a priority in our lives and in our marriage. Despite our roles as Mommy and Daddy, we were first husband and wife and know that maintaining our relationship is just as much a priority as loving, caring for, and raising our daughter. On the week leading up to Father’s Day I want to celebrate my man simply as husband – a man I am proud to have married and to have a daughter with. Here’s why I married him and why I would be proud for my child(ren) to take after him:
5. Character: He is a man who believes in God. He is a man who will pray with me and will pray for me. He is a man whose love goes far beyond that of a selfish man. A man’s character speaks volumes when he is willing to do for you before he does for himself. Well before we were married my husband showed himself as a selfless man of character who was willing to do without if it meant that I would have what I needed, and more times than not, what I wanted. He is a man who remained at a job he hated only because that job allowed him time off once a month to visit me EVERY single month for the entire two years we were in a long distance relationship while I was in graduate school. My husband is a man of extraordinary character!
4. Kindness: He is slow to anger and quick to give. Even if he weren’t my husband I would have at least wanted him as a friend. I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t like him. I always like to say that if there is someone who doesn’t care for my husband that person is obviously suffering from some form of haterism. I’m sure Walmart will soon sell some sort of ointment for that.
3.Open-minded and Positive: “The most successful men in the end are those whose success is the result of steady accretion… It is the man who carefully advances step by step, with his mind becoming wider and wider – and progressively better able to grasp any theme or situation – persevering in what he knows to be practical, and concentrating his thought upon it, who is bound to succeed in the greatest degree.” ~Alexander Graham Bell
There are few things more appealing to me than a man whose mind is open, whose goals are clear, and whose thoughts are positive enough to take him where his mind dreams of. Because he is positive about the present and future he is an authentic lover of life. His positive attitude is contagious.
2. Genuine: It is the most common compliment I hear people say about him. I am as proud of this compliment as I’m sure his mother is and his father was. They raised him, but I get to enjoy him on a daily basis. (Thank you mother-in-law and father-in-law!) I rarely have to guess with him (He is a man so communication can sometimes be a challenge…). He is authentic and honest and I love it. What you see is what you get. Speaking of which…
1. Beauty: He is beautiful. Tall, dark, and handsome. I am the founder and CEO of the Skinny Men Need Love Too non-profit organization and he is my cause and my muse. I adore his skin, his eyes, his smile, those to die for high cheek bones and long eyelashes, and his locs that I’d never call “dreadlocks.” There isn’t one thing “dreadful” about them.
“It’s so good loving somebody when somebody loves you back.”
9 Jun 2013
Girls like me grow up to either be: a) Promiscuous, b) Distrustful and Emotionally Unavailable, or almost always c) Sufferers of low self-esteem. “B” – check. “C” – check. With promiscuity as the only other option I gladly accept the labels “distrustful” and “low self-esteem”. Sounds horrible, but is exponentially better to me than the alternative.
Girls like me come with a special “I don’t give a eff” gene that allows us to laugh at boundaries and barriers, smile and shake our heads at statistics, write our own destiny and re-write our history. We don’t remain victims of low self-esteem or fall prey to statistics that both curse us and dare us to defy the “norm”. Girls exactly like me don’t remain fatherless. In our story our father actually shows up right when we need him because girls like me look for opportunities to forgive; and us girls know that forgiveness begets opportunity for growth, for change, for love.
I wasn’t completely fatherless as a child. I just didn’t have the father-daughter relationship I saw my closest friends have and covet. When their fathers told them they were beautiful and were princesses I looked on and wondered who I would be – would I be a better version of myself? – and how I would feel if my father said those words to me with enough conviction that I’d actual believe it. Or if he’d just said them to me at all.
He is a “convict-turned-community-activist” (or at least that’s how The Buffalo News described him) who for years mailed me letters in envelopes decorated with beautifully drawn cartoon characters and hearts of different shapes and sizes made specifically for me with arrows drawn through them as if testing the internal temperature as they were tampered with and passed from one hand to the next until finally in my possession. I can’t recall the stories he would write about but it must have been basic enough for my 5 year-old “hooked on phonics” reading skills to have been able to pore through. Years of written communication with my father could very well have been the beginning of my love affair with reading and writing. For that I thank him.
Throughout the years we’ve had too much empty space in our relationship and too few hugs but when in his company I have always enjoyed his sense of humor, off beat words of wisdom, and our times together, though short lived and likened to that of a married man and mistress because of the past broken promises on his part and on my part the undying hope that things will get better, not to mention the fact that although I am his eldest child many of the people in his life probably have no idea I exist.
But thank God for growth, for change, for love. My father, the same man who was in my life but not so much that he played an active role in my rearing, has recently become my biggest source of comfort and support during my time of despondence. My mother wouldn’t be able to relate to my struggle, my husband had enough on his plate, my friends needn’t worry themselves with my troubles, but my father, my father could empathize and offer much needed advice. I didn’t doubt his ability to offer me sound advice. It’s what I expected. It was the support, comfort, and worry for me that I didn’t expect. The tears that followed our phone conversation were even less expected. I didn’t cry because my family and I were in the throes of unforeseen change. I wept because for the first time in all of my 29 years I felt parented by my father.
Change and growth have no limitations. For as long as you’re open to change and forgiveness, growth and small miracles are well within reach.
To the men who grow and change and to the girls who forgive and in turn change and grow for the better I’m smiling at the things we can do, the empty space we can fill. These are the gifts us girls have to give and the gifts we shall receive.
This post should definitely beat out a Father’s Day card and save me money on postage! Winning!
7 Jun 2013
Confession: I sometimes feel guilty about popping my child. At the first sign of disobedience – too long of a linger when I demand for her to do as I say, out the corner of my eyes family members are shaking their heads or telling me some ancient tale of when I was little and how I got a spanking for doing that very thing. And look at how wonderful I turned out! (How I “turned out” is up for debate, but I wouldn’t dare debate lest I get a spanking for “sassing” or “talking back”.)
But spank her for what exactly?
She’s fresh off of her second birth date and is very impressionable. I don’t want her to grow up believing that when she’s angered, annoyed, or defied she is to lash out by yelling or hitting. That behavior is unacceptable and I’m not one of those parents who taut, “do as I say and not as I do.” Foolishness. Seeing is far better than hearing. Do as you see me do until you’re old enough to truly decipher right from wrong. For now I will show and tell her what is right and what is wrong.
Of course I discipline her. I mostly, but not always, fashion discipline in the form of communication. Stern looks, and, not too proud to admit, but yelling more often than I probably should according to my own standards. She is not too young to understand what I am saying to her. I give my child the credit she deserves: she is ”smarter than the average bear” and understands what I tell her. If she were older I would probably be more comfortable with physical punishment, but to be honest, even then I’d prefer to talk to her and allow for her voice to be heard. My mother often spoke to me with a few spankings sprinkled sparingly throughout my childhood and I believe her way of raising me was effective for me. I’m biased, but it worked and I appreciate her for it.
Am I soft? No. Well maybe a little, but she’s my baby. No one child is like the other and I happen to know better than anyone, her father included, what works for our child. She is intelligent. She is spicy. She is, after all, her mother’s child: brilliant and all things lovely (and delusional)! As such, she seemingly responds better to vocal reinforcement and affirmations that she can and will listen and obey; she is a good girl; she is a great helper and a loving and well-loved, and liked child. I try to let the punishment fit the misdeed.
I want to be a good role model. For me that doesn’t include a pop, shout, or spanking for EVERY time she doesn’t move as quickly as I would like or poops in her pants for the second day in a row. Perhaps I would reconsider my form of discipline if she were a different child or if I were a different mother. But she’s not and nor am I.
What’s your parenting style?
This is a Throwback Post Back from the Archives. Little One is 3 years-old and hasn’t pooped in her self since a few months after her 2nd birthday! Winning!
4 Jun 2013
Women are judged, preconceived, and mislabeled daily. But there is a particular misconception about black women being historically viewed as ironclad beings who are too independent and have enormous strength that plow through adversity, strife, and illness that I find extremely dangerous. It is one of those misnomers that isn’t usually defined as a misnomer because it is so close to being accurate that we sometimes forget that not any of us are without pain and suffering that cannot always be handled or dismantled.
You may be the “pillar of strength” and family matriarch I speak of. Or you know her. She is your mother, your grandmother, friend, or aunt. Whoever she may be in your life, you’ve met her.
I have certainly encountered this woman time and time again and I sometimes fear that I may even become her at her worse. We are the women who take care of everyone and everything all while purposely or accidently neglecting our needs. We do it because it’s what we were taught as we watched our mothers and elders take care of the family on little sleep and little support not always for lack of helping hands but for lack of asking for help or simply refusing the offer.
In my line of work I encounter patients of all ages, ethnicities, gender, illnesses, prognosis, and socioeconomic status. But more often than not I see the same patient. Her name may be different. Her diagnosis not identical but she is a matriarch and often times looks like me: African-American, Black, brown…
A colleague and I worked on her case offering supportive counsel to her and her family and then bereavement to her 3 daughters, 8 young grandchildren, and longtime boyfriend. After one particularly rough day my colleague, exhausted not because of lack of sleep but because of the failure we sometimes feel when we offer interventions that simple don’t substitute for prevention and medical compliance, turns to me and asks why might this woman – this woman whose ethnicity I share – and other “African-American” women patients tend to hide their illness from their families. “Why,” she asked, “do they ignore the signs and symptoms and their condition to the point of no repair?”
Of course I can’t speak for these women. “These women” can’t even speak for the number of women and men who allow their health to plummet without ever seeking medical attention despite actually having health coverage and access to healthcare. I could have offered my colleague an entire host of reasons so many of “my people” fail to seek help from healthcare professionals but I choose to only offer a few:
Fear of death – Yes it sounds odd that one chooses to forego medical attention because one fears death but being diagnosed and dealt a poor prognosis makes ones symptoms very real. Once diagnosed symptoms are no longer feelings that can simply be shelved as something that will go away when “the weather heats up.” It is real and it is something that must be dealt with and despite ones efforts to “deal” with the illness one may fail. This sort of failure is not a simple failure one can walk away from.
Distrust for medical professionals – There is a longstanding history of mistreatment and distrust between healthcare and Black people. The perceptions have changed for the better over time but there is still some distrust that has yet to be mended.
Religion – “God will take care of me. When it’s my time, it’s my time.” I hear this and a variation of this quite often. I cannot say that I disagree but I can say that seeking help does not mean that you’re putting your trust in man.
The best example I could offer as a reason for the complexities of the decision to hide an illness from family or not comply with the advice of medical clinicians was a story that consistently helps me to not only understand and communicate with my patients but to understand myself and why even I tend to ignore physical pain and put off scheduling preventive procedures and appointments though I have adequate health insurance and access to care.
There was an elderly female patient whose selflessness was her Achilles heel. For reasons that I’m not sure of this woman was the guardian of her grade-aged grandchild. Nervously and impatiently she sat in the ER undergoing a workup that would result in hospitalization. She adamantly refused. She verbalized understanding that she was on the verge of having a stroke if she did not agree to be admitted for monitoring and progressive care. With tears in her eyes and evidence of a strength that quickly turned into a weakness she said, “But who’s going to feed my grandchild dinner tonight? How can I feed him and care for him if I am here?” She had no desire to think about what would happen to him if she didn’t care for herself. According to her she’d be just fine if only she could care for her grandchild. Of course her logic was mind boggling to me and to the others who unsuccessful tried to persuade her to allow for us to care for her and put resources and a plan together for her grandchild for the duration of her hospitalization.
I thought about my own child and family. How I elect to go without for the sake of my daughter and family. I thought about how I forego sleep to chase the excitement of pressing fingertips to keys and eagerly awaiting the moment I can share my thoughts with those who actually find the time and desire to read and chime in on my thoughts. It’s a matter of sacrificing the thing you believe you can overcome or live without for the thing that fills you up when you’re running low. For some, there simply is no death when you live and thrive off of the people and things that give you life.
Think about this: What if that thing or person(s) you neglect yourself and your health for is living and thriving because you are here to be with them? Isn’t that enough of a reason to take care of yourself?
Be Well. Be Blessed. Be Encouraged.
29 May 2013
Has someone ever told you looked like someone and it offended you?
Tell me I look like Beyoncé and I will not believe you but I will paint on a smile (because I am moderately delusional) and say “Why thank you!” Even if I’m told I resemble Kenya Moore who, by her accounts is often mistaken for Beyoncé, I’ll smile with a bit more believability because at least that comparison is closer in my wheelhouse, minus the ash. The supposed ashy ankles won’t be seen here. Tell me I look like Ugly Betty or Dora the Explorer and I’d have a polite rebuttal.
Dora is extremely cute, but let’s face it. Her mushroom cut and brow bangs are a little played out. I would resent that comparison. Through my lens Ugly Betty is also cute. (Here’s where my friends would say, “Now you know she’s not cute!” But they also know that I don’t call people ugly. It’s not nice. Plus she is cute!) However, she is purposely styled to be “ugly” so clearly I’d quickly snap, “What the hell is that supposed to mean?” But what about those young ladies who do resemble people and characters who are known for how unattractive they are?
Almost every television show has at least one character whose sole purpose is to be the resident ugly duckling. That is their gimmick: being ugly. Spencer in King of Queens, Betty in Ugly Betty, Jay Jay in Good Times, Screech in Saved by the Bell. All resident ug-mugs. It’s apparent that there are casting calls for men and women who are unattractive. That is jacked up! How does that work exactly? Does the casting director send out a blurb to agents and the agents say, “Hey. I have an ugly client. This is perfect!” How does an actor respond to that? It’s kind of funny to think about really…
How would you respond? I would completely flub my lines at the audition and be sent packing. In my mind I’d be thinking, I received this call without any special instructions to ‘make’ myself look ugly. Oh my word. Here I thought I was fairly attractive and that was the reason the agent took me on. I didn’t know he needed to fill his ugly client quota. Damn. There might be a pending eviction notice on my door yet and still I’d be elated to be sent packing once the director tells me that I’m far too beautiful for the role. Hells yeah! *High 5*
This was another very long detour to help me arrive to the reason I thought of such a silly, yet relevant, post: Almost EVERY time I meet someone new they tell me I remind them of or look like their cousin, best friend, such and such’s ex-wife or “baby mama”. *Sigh* I have no idea what these wonderful folks look or behave like so I feel a bit slighted. Moral of the story: If you begin a sentence with, “Andrea. You know who you look like…” Just know that I’ve tuned you out at “look.” Look at this side-eye I’m giving.
So tell me, have you ever been offended by a physical comparison?