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Next Life, NO Kids: June 2015

June 28, 2015

He is Not a Monster - He's Just a Racist

The following is the response I received, from Gra Sea of Honestly Mama G, when I asked her to send me her feelings about the recent tragedy in her home town, and her loss. 

I am angry. I’ve been angry since I was four and realized I couldn’t marry Martin Luther King, Jr. because he was dead. 

I am scared. I’ve been scared since I was a teen, and truly understood the danger my father put himself in registering people to vote as a Freedom Rider. The level of terror that I feel as the mother of a Black son living in America is not something that I can begin to explain.

I am a namesake. My paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Graham. If I remember correctly, she died when my father was 12 or 13 years old. He named me Graeme after her.  Every few years, the Graham cousins would have a reunion or bump into each other on the streets of Charleston. My dad would make a big deal over me being their 'namesake,' and depending on my age I was proud, embarrassed, secretly proud - but outwardly embarrassed, or just mildly annoyed with these interruptions of our daily routine. Still, it is part of my identity.

These stories - these little histories - are what make up our humanity. Memory and honor and family are some of the things you can’t tell about a person just by looking.  

Cynthia Graham Hurd was my father’s cousin, and mine. She was one of those women who clucked over me as I was grew up – reminding me to do well in school, asking questions about what I wanted to be when I grew up, and subtly pressuring me to live up to the name I was given. Cynthia was also one of the nine people slaughtered inside Mother Emanuel on June 17th.

The second the media got hold of the name of the terrorist responsible for the shooting, they began looking up details about his life. Anyone interested can find out all about him; his family, his friends, his motives, and the burger officers bought him after his arrest. 

He is humanized.

Pictures of those nine people massacred last week in Charleston can be found online, the Reverend gave some speeches that are floating around too, but that’s about it regarding their stories.

You don’t know who the victims are, and you're not supposed to. 

You're supposed to focus on the terrorist. You're supposed to hear about his plausible mental issues and/or other possible reasoning and justifications for his actions that day.

The media humanizes the terrorist.

His victims? The people he martyred? They become faces on a unity banner or someone’s Facebook profile picture. They are not treated like actual people; people with favorite colors and dislikes, songs and TV shows that made them laugh and cry. They were people with best friends, secret crushes, pets, car payments, and health concerns. They had jobs with coworkers they hung out with and others they couldn’t stand. They left behind mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons,  daughters and grandchildren. 

They were human; beautifully and tragically human. 

One of those victims had a namesake.

I hope one day this nation will come to terms with its tendency to humanize a White terrorist before humanizing a Black victim.

The only way things will change is through action, and I don’t see any real action happening - none that makes me less afraid for my son or family.

You can take down all the flags and stop selling memorabilia, but you don’t get any extra points from me for doing the decent thing. You can stand on a bridge and hold hands for a beautiful picture and feel really good about it. But when the flag comes down, and you’ve walked home from the bridge, the people of Mother Emanuel can no longer afford to live within walking distance of their church.

I hope one day we will face the fact that the man responsible for this is not a monster - he's just a racist.

Racism is alive and well, and I don't see things changing.
The infant mortality rate of Black children in South Carolina is so much higher than it is of White children we call it, "The Cradle of Shame." Black men are locked up for minor offenses, and my father gets scared every time he drives past a police car. Black girls are kicked out of school almost twice as often as White girls. Our school board invited a new potential Superintendent to interview with only White members, and no one batted an eye.
We need to acknowledge that evil walks among us. It does not take a monster to do evil things.  Human beings, Americans, do evil things every day.  

Gra Sea is a work at home mom with an evil genius baby and Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. She writes her truth bravely at Honestly Mama G. Find her on Facebook.

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June 21, 2015

Not Everyone Gets An Awesome Father

Not Everyone Gets An Awesome Father 

When I was five months old, the two people who conceived me sat in an office somewhere and signed away their rights to raise me. They opted out of chances to hold me, comfort me, and watch me grow. They gave up the opportunity to know me. Whether or not they wanted influence in my life, their decision that day made a lasting impression.

If the story had ended there, it would most likely be a tragic one. On days like this, I think about how grateful I am for the man who was under no obligation to be my father - the man who chose me.

My father tells a story about the very first time he saw me. He says I looked up at him, and when our eyes met, I smiled. That, he tells me, was the moment his heart decided I was his. 

I pretend to be sick of that story almost every time he tells it. I even joke and suggest the smile was probably gas, but I will never get tired of listening to him tell it.

It's the story of my birth - the story of the day I became me. 

I love that story. 

I have been an emotional person since the day I was born, and my father has always fancied logic. I have always admired his ability to think -- when the obvious reaction is to cry, but I have not always appreciated it. It made for some very interesting moments during my childhood, and also some pretty volatile ones in my teen years. It wasn't easy. 

I was not easy. 

Of all the people in and out of my life the last 37 years, my father is the only person I've never worried would leave me. I have struggled with abandonment issues my whole life in nearly every relationship, but never with him. 

I cannot explain the bond I feel where he is concerned, or pinpoint the moment it started, and I have never questioned it. Perhaps the connection was mutual that day at the adoption agency. He has just always felt like my dad, and I have never felt anything but unconditional love from him; even when I was sure I didn't deserve it.

My father has seen me through many beautiful, terrifying, and horrific moments. He is the person I call when shit hits the fan - when I'm feeling overwhelmed and need help refocusing, or when I question my human abilities. 

His is the voice in my head. 

My father is the reason I got sober at age 22, and has always quietly motivated my desire to be a better person by holding me accountable. He had a front row seat for the, "I don't give a fuck" phase of my drinking career and tried to help me. However, after it became clear I was merely taking advantage of his kindnesses and attempting to anchor him to my misery, he kicked me out. 

At the time, I was shocked and furious. I loved the victim role, and it actually turned out to be a terrific sob story to tell at the bar and get sympathy drinks.  

Over the years, I have come to regard my father's decision as my saving grace. It allowed me the freedom to dig my own grave and decide for myself that I wanted to live. It taught me that limits, edges, and boundaries exist in love - that just because people love me doesn't mean they must put up with my bad behavior. I'm grateful for those lessons, and appreciative of the fact that someone loved me enough to take action when I refused, even though it wasn't fun.

The decision to kick me out haunts my father to this day. Even though I've made it clear I wouldn't be where or who I am today if he hadn't - it pains him.

Sometimes being a parent isn't about making sure our kids don't struggle, or giving them everything they want and keeping them happy. It's not about enforcing the distinct differences between right and wrong and then hovering to make sure they do what's right.  Sometimes, being an incredible parent means setting and example, doing our best to instill the importance of accountability and integrity, and then trusting in them - in their strengths. Sometimes making the right choices for our kids means forfeiting comfort and control.  

My father taught me these things. They are some of my most valued lessons.

When I stood head to head with my own teen-aged daughter years later, it was his example I leaned on. It was he who talked me through the treacherous months, while I argued and chased the hybrid version of myself, and the stagnating fear of letting her go. 

I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be my father's daughter. I want to thank him for every discomfort he willingly experienced to offer me the opportunity to grow into the woman and mother I am today.

I wish to make clear that I salute all fathers; however, I'd like to hand out some extra high-fives to all of the men who step forward to fill the empty spaces left by others. 

To the stepfathers, adoptive fathers, foster dads, and all other male guardians and father figures of girls: 

You will never understand how much she loves you and appreciates your presence in her life. 

You will never know how much your love has saved her. 

Thank you, Daddy.  

Whether you love what you just read or hated everything about it, let's connect and talk about it! I'm always open to honest feedback. Come be social with me!

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June 14, 2015

10 Hilarious Reasons I'm Not Having Sex Tonight

Next Life NO Kids - 10 Hilarious Reasons I'm Not Having Sex Tonight

1. I'm tired. No shit, Captain Obvious. After chasing after kids all day or just spending twenty minutes in my own head, I'm exhausted. One of my husband's go-to seduction maneuvers is giving me a "back rub," and I can't remember the last time I didn't fall asleep before the, "big move."

2. I find it difficult to feel sexy when I'm hairier than my husband.  Let's just say I'm camera ready for a "bow-chicka-bow-now" 70s-style porn video, with the option of super-cheesy storyline."Did someone order a pizza?" No, and I'm too tired to answer the door to accept the delivery, never mind offer up my vagina as a tip.

When the hell did my bikini line travel half way down my thighs? Unclear.

3. My husband said something stupid and/or insensitive a month ago and I just remembered. There is no statute of limitations on insensitive comments, and I reserve the right to decide, right before bed, that I'm not completely over it.

4. My husband and I haven't had the chance to have a two hour conversation* about my feelings regarding the stupid and/or insensitive thing he said last month.

*For the record, my husband's willingness to endure these torturous chats often results in actual sex.

5. I can't remember the last time I showered, and I smell like a petting zoo. 

6. I just showered. I'm clean! I'm finally clean! Do you really think I want to get all dirty again?

7. I probably have to poop. I have a bit of performance anxiety when it comes to using the toilet, and since I rarely get to sit down without an audience, constipation is my life. I'm gassy and bloated, and although that may sound extremely sexy, it's not.

8. I may or may not have a urinary tract infection.

9. Personal space is never overrated. I spend most of days with at most four inches between me and a territorial toddler. I am often mistaken for a jungle gym, trampoline, and good place to wipe your sticky hands. Some nights, after the kids go to bed and I regain ownership of my body, I don't feel like sharing it.

It's MINE.

10. We just had sex yesterday. What the hell do you think this is? 

Whether you love what you just read or hated everything about it, let's connect and talk about it! I'm always open to honest feedback. Come be social with me!

Find me on Facebook, Twitter, or on my Facebook Page!

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