The Skin We’re In

My husband, My Children,  My Brothers in law, My sisters in law, my nephews, my nieces, aunts, uncles, countless cousins, and many friends. AT ANYTIME ANY ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE LAYING DEAD IN THE STREET COULD BE SOMEONE I LOVE DEARLY AND DEEPLY AND FOR WHAT?? ALL FOR THE SKIN THEY’RE IN

We all wear this skin differently that is very clear. I wear my white skin very differently than most of my white counterparts. Even those that have their minds, eyes, hearts and ears, wide open to the dire problem in this country right now. I most defiantly wear it differently than those walking around with white blindfolds on. Eyes wide closed as I like to say. Even though I am very much aware, in tune and stand firm and with eyes wide open to the lives being taken at more than alarming rates in the streets of America I still have no idea what it must feel like to wear the black skin their in.

It’s not about skin color I hear over and over and over and maybe in some cases it’s not. Not maybe, I know in some cases there have been some amazing officers that have had to use lethal force in order to save their own life or the life of someone else. Here is where the water gets very muddy, even those good, honorable, incredible officers lose credibility when the cases of clear cut murder are going unprosecuted. I know so many people are going to hate these words and that’s ok because I am not here for a popularity contest, I am here to speak some truth. Good officers don’t deserve to have our backs turned on them, but black men don’t deserve to die on the streets for being black. The African American community doesn’t deserve to live in fear. THEY LIVE IN FEAR!!!!!

This blog today is about starting conversations. Starting a challenge that people would start asking questions. Most people don’t know how to help especially if this is not a world that you live in. Well here is where you start. Have a conversation with you children about injustice, about racism and the fact that it very much still exist today. Don’t turn a blind eye or ear just because it makes you uncomfortable, I promise you nothing is more uncomfortable than picking out caskets. Fear is what got us here so just jump and start the conversation. I beg and plead with you please stop turning a blind eye and pretending it does not happen and that the victims are the ones to blame because, while I am sure there is plenty of blame to go around there is only one person laying on the ground in a pool of blood. Officers are trained to work in high pressure situations. They are supposed to be trained to use their weapons. This is their job. There are thousands of officers that go out every single day and do not kill a single person, not one person. There are officers that go their entire career and never even fire their weapons, so why? These questions can’t just be left hanging in the air they need to be answered.

As I laid in bed with my husband last night and talked with him about the fear he feels when he leaves home every day I was overcome with a sadness that threatened to suffocate me. We talked about all the things he thinks about that could put him in contact with police and what he does to avoid that and I became disgusted, what country do we live in right now? I prayed God please don’t let my husbands car break down, don’t let him ever need assistance from the police for ANY reason because he is 6’5, 330 lbs. and I could not survive picking out a casket for him. We talked about the conversations we have had to  have with our children and will continue to have with them. As I drifted off to sleep with tears sliding down my face, I prayed for The family of Terrence Crutcher and like so many nights before with the names of so many people slain in the streets of the “Greatest Country on Earth” and I begged God that the next one wouldn’t be someone I love. Please God our nation needs you and only you can make this stop.

Go in peace and love, have conversations. Take it all to the Cross!!!

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May I fall apart now, Sir?

Life happens sometimes to fast and to often. We get going at a speed often thinking we are comfortable and able to handle all that is coming at us, putting things in their proper places or on their proper shelves and I don’t mean physical things I am talking all the mental.

Recently my family went through one of the hardest things I think I have ever went through. I was faced with holding my family together during a time when I didn’t even want to hold myself together much less anyone else. It’s something I have always know about myself, the ability to find strength and push through even the hardest of situations. It is how I was able to lay my mom to rest for the most part by myself, at the age of 25, and it is how I was able this time to rise up and care for myself, my home, and children after my husband attempted suicide on August 11th 2016.

I have known about this demon my husband battles since the moment I fell in love with him 15 years ago and it is something I chose for better or worse when I said I do 13 years ago this November. Mental illness is no stranger to me, it is something that has plagued people I love for as long as I can remember, many of them trying to combat and fight it only to find themselves slaves to another demon altogether, addiction. There is a pride that comes with seeing how hard my husband has fought all these years; because this disease has tried to take his life on more than one occasion. Yet on this night, one action, one thought, everything changed with just one decision.

We don’t have much support or guidance in way of parents, a lot of his pain comes by way of saying goodbye to his mother and father just 3 years apart beginning in 2008. When you lose the two people that are responsible for putting your fleshly body here on this earth it can do something to a man’s heart and way of thinking. Well in complete honesty we don’t have much support at all. You truly find out who your real friends are when your husband is in a lock down unit for 6 days in the hospital. When you are left with handling everything from taxiing the children, to school supply shopping, not to mention the practices and school functions. The beautiful thing about it all is that you also find out you had friends in the most unlikely places and sometimes that is how God loves on us. He uses these heartbreaking times to build a new friendship or build a bridge between a strained relationship. However, with every good side there is a bad side and you also see who isn’t your true friend.

I know that most people in general just don’t know what to do when someone is in crisis so the go to statement is “please let me know if you need anything.” I learned sadly from experience that when you are in crisis you more often than not don’t know what you need so you can’t tell people how to help you so you just go about doing the next thing. In the 7 days after my mom died and in the 6 months after her death I would have loved to have been able to tell people what I needed, but I did not know so how could I tell anyone. In the 6 days after my husband tried to kill himself I would have loved to tell someone what to do to help me with my 4 kids, but I was in autopilot. I was just doing the next thing. What I am recognizing now is that people know how to rally around him because it is easier to identify how to help and support him. I am the strong one keeping it all together and holding it down. I didn’t know and don’t know how to really ask for help or what to even ask for so no one really helps or even just stops by to be my friend, but they know how to help him. There has even been a few situations where I have suffered some negative consequences for his actions. I feel like I have been failed by those that should have showed up the most. My wall is up, I am shutting down and that is why I am able to survive.

The truth is this, I don’t ask for help because I am a fighter and survivor. I have fought my way through life since that fateful day in May 1982 when I was ran over and began to fight for my life. I fought through my parents drug addiction, through a bad childhood riddled with poverty and abuse, I have fought and survived my own physical aliments and obstacles and endless surgery’s only to come out the other side an amputee and will continue to fight every day the rest of my life for things that most people with take for granted. I am a survivor and a fighter and us survivors don’t know how to ask for help or what to even ask for, we just do the next thing.

It is only now that Brian is home and that we are in the rebuilding phase working on putting our family back together and healing from this life altering experience that I start to fray. It is only now that I start to look at doing a few things for myself and work on some serious healing in our marriage that I look to the heavens and I fall to my knees and I ask my heavenly father is it now? Is the time now?

Because when you have four children and a husband with a fragile heart and soul. When you have no mom to call upon and no soft spot to fall, when you know that you are the survivor and always the fighter and everyone looks to you for strength, it’s up to you to know the right time to look to your savior and ask……

May I fall apart now, Sir?

Whose Life Matters!!

We all matter. God decided that. YOU don’t get to determine that. My friends don’t determine that, my children don’t determine that. God sent his only son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins, for all of our sins, and that is what determined that WE MATTER!!!! The Police should not get to decide that. For as long as I have known it however, there as been a consensus by most of society that black lives don’t matter as much as others. Actually let me rephrase that sentence, lives of color in general don’t seem to matter as much. Most white people don’t know the differences in the Latino communities, I will be honest I don’t. How about the Indian community, Hindu, East Indian? What about the Arabic cultures, they are all taliban right? Since the beginning of time people of color have been treated less than.

Do my sons deserve to walk down the street without fear of being stopped by the police? They deserve it but they don’t have it. My 10-year-old son is literally the size of the average grown man. He is 5’3 165 lbs, and guess what, like most 10-year-old boys he likes to play with toy guns and when he is with his cousins, my nephews he even plays with their BB guns/pellet guns. What is to keep someone from calling the police on my son and what is to keep him from being the next Tamir Rice? #BLACKLIVESMATTER

 So what about Briana, everyone that reads this probably knows my incredible 14-year-old daughter. She probably babysits for you or maybe she is with your child in Life Kids, maybe you have heard about her from someone else or maybe you simply had her in class. Regardless how you have come to know her you know that she is the sweetest, most loving, respectful, helpful teenage girl you will probably ever meet. She is the girl you want your daughter to be friends with, the girl you want your son to date, but guess what that police man who sees those rowdy teenage kids on the corner doesn’t know any of that about her. All he knows is that in a community full of predominately upper middle class white kids she is the black girl in the group and often times more than not she is going to be the one that they decided to question. What is to keep her from being next? #BLACKLIVESMATTER

Meet my husband Brian, the first thing that everyone that meets him says about him is that his smile fills the room. He is truly a huge teddy bear. He loves with all that he is. He has a laugh that can be heard from miles away. Once you meet him you never forget him because he has a God filled spirit that is one of the most beautiful spirits I have ever experienced. My husband doesn’t just always drive the speed limit but he drives under it, just in case. Any time there is an issue or a complaint to be made at an establishment he stands particularly farther back than necessary just in case. In a discussion in public that might become heated he always stands with his hands folded in front of him just in case even when he isn’t involved in the discussion. My husband is also 6’5 300 lbs and as per previous situation’s resulted in the police killing Eric Garner apparently his size alone makes him a deadly threat regardless if he has an actual weapon or not. What is to keep him from being next? #BLACKLIVESMATTER

If at anytime you have thought to yourself it is not just black lives that matter but all lives that matter, I will say this to you, as I stated above yes we all matter God made that decision; however it’s not killing season on your children, your husbands, your family. This doesn’t just affect my direct house hold. I have  2 Brother and sisters in law, 5 nephews 1 niece and countless cousins that are black and any one of the above situations could be them as well.  

As I have sat and wrote this 11 police officers, 4 of which have lost their lives in Dallas tonight. That broke my heart even more than it is already broken. I can promise you this, The families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile did not want this. The killing of police officers goes against the very change that we all want. The movement #BLACKLIVESMATTER isn’t saying that no other lives matter, it is saying we matter to, stop devaluing us so much that you will shoot us down in the street unarmed in front of our wives, husband and children. It is saying we matter as much as our white counter part. So killing police officers goes against those direct message’s because  guess what there are black men and women on the police force and before they are cops they are black and their lives matter black and blue!

I want to end this by saying this, if you in any way think that this isn’t a race issue or that this issue doesn’t exist I ask that you kindly exit my life. I don’t want you here in our good times and should any of the unthinkable from the above happen I do not want you in my face being fake acting like you support me or my family in our darkness. I do not expect anyone who does not live with this reality to ever really understand, but what I do expect is that if you choose to stay in our life and be apart of our family is for you to acknowledge that this is a reality regardless if you  get it or not. We ask for your support and most of all if you spend time with our children without us please educate yourselves on how you should handle any situations that may arise involving our children regarding these types of  situations.  

Tonight I pray for the fallen police officers and their families. For the righteous officers across our country that go out on our streets to honorably protect us. For the families of Alton and Philando and all those that were senselessly murdered before them.  For the African-American Community that needs protection more than ever, they need healing and peace. Most of all I pray for the calm and peace that can only come from our heavenly father, our nation is in great need of you right now.

THE 5 BLACK LIVES IN MY LIFE MATTER

WE NEED TO DO BETTER

 

 

 

 

Motherhood: Overwelmed with Life and Childhood

 

I made it!!! The end of the year is here, but its bittersweet. Change has never scared me and in most situations doesn’t even cause me much anxiety. I can probably thank my crazy childhood for that. The one area that causes me any issues when it comes to change is with my children. I think it’s because I don’t want my kids to ever experience any of the pain or feelings I did growing up. With that being said with the end of this school year upon us I knew it would mean a lot of change was about to occur.

For the last 18 years I have had an infant/toddler in my life up to now. My baby is now 4 and my niece just graduated high school. I really thought that my niece graduating was going to be the hardest obstacle for me to overcome.katie grad I thought that because of my relationship with her all these years that experiencing this last youth milestone with her would cause me to come undone, but instead it opened my eyes to some realities that I have been scared to acknowledge and communicate in the past.  My Sister (in law) has done an incredible job with my niece and nephews. They are just great kids but they are not mine. That was the biggest thing I had to realize and that’s why I think it was  probably the hardest because I feel like I played a part in helping to raise them. I have loved them and treated them as my own all of their life but they are not mine. I had to let go and so I did and my heart broke, healing it will take some time.

 

The beginning of the school year brings about some of the biggest changes our family has ever faced. I am anxious, excited, nervous, and scared all at the same time. My firstborn child, my daughter starts high school.Bri The first issue is that I can’t even wrap my mind around the fact that I have a 14-year old. Since when did I get that old? Like I remember when I was 14!!  Some days in my mind I still feel like I should be a teenager. As she enters this new phase of her journey she has already gone farther academically then I ever did. She is far more than I ever imagined and she is just beginning. 4 years and she will be off to start her life in this world, 4 years and she will be done with the youth phase of her own journey.

As my oldest begins that phase my youngest begins her new journey.Brookie Brooklenn will start kindergarten in just 2 and a half short months. For the first time in 14 years I will have an empty home. No little toddlers running through the rooms. No lunches to fix, no toys to clean up. For most people this probably sounds amazing and most of the time to me it does to, but I just don’t know what I am supposed to do with myself. I have never not had a child in the home to care for. My baby, my last born little girl is about to enter the academic world and I know she will never be the same again.She will be better, she will be amazing and she will achieve great things in the world. It’s going to be the ride of a life time. I am so thankful I get to go alongside her, however my baby is no longer a baby.

Even though my sweet little Brayden hasn’t hit any big milestones this year his is promoted to the only big brother in the school with Brookie and there is nothing more fitting then Brayden being the one to escort his sister to school everyday, because they are truly best friends.brayden last day 2nd They have the type of relationship you see in movies. It is a sweet and precious gift to see how they have grown together and how they are with each other not only in public but more importantly when no one is watching. Brooklenn Goyce is one lucky girl to have Brayden as her big brother and best friend.

As if those things weren’t enough my oldest son Bj has left elementary. This year he was bj 2024promoted from 4th grade to 5th. He will enter Canyon Ridge Intermediate where they will help prepare him for middle school. This is his first step into no longer being a little boy but becoming a young man. He worked so hard this year and had so many ups and downs but in the end his hard work paid off and I really am so very proud of the young man he is becoming. Once again I sit and think where has the time gone and where was I when it was passing because I don’t know how we got here.

Yes, this year holds so much change for my family and I want to be able to handle it with a Grace and strength that will make my family and friends and mostly God proud. That is not something I have always been good at. I have tried not to be sad about the developments that have occurred in the family, but as I attended my son’s 4th grade celebration I realized I have now had 2 out of 4 of my children pass through this schoolbri bj mve.png I currently have my 3rd child in that elementary and my 4th is about to enter it. They may very well throw a party once these last two leave, I probably would. In all honesty the administration of Mustang Valley have become family. They have gone above and beyond to support our family through these last few years, I know that the first part of this journey is over and the second half is about to begin.

If I ever in my life wished I could see into the future or had a crystal ball where I could see what was going to happen this would be the time. I would love to be able to know what’s going to happen, the mistakes that are going to happen. the sadness that is going to occur. I wouldn’t change any of it because I know that it is gong to shape my children into who they are going to be but maybe it would help me know how to better support and/or help them through it. Its been hard to be a mom when you don’t have a mom. It’s hard to know what to do when you have nowhere to turn for advice, comfort or support. Sometimes its just hard not having the one person in this world that you know that would have cheered for you loudest.

It’s all overwhelming but in the end I know we are all going to be ok  and I am most excited to see my babies come into their own. My heart is clenched just a little tighter but it’s still open for what is coming. I am so thankful to God for choosing to give me the opportunity to be the mom to these kids and I pray he continues to give me the strength and guidance to be a better mom everyday. I pray that there are more happy days in these coming years than sad and I pray that as my children look back they know that mom gave it her all.

Yes a lot of change is about to occur but when we are at the end of this phase of our journey we will look back and say we did it with smiles on our faces, laughter in our voices and a gratefulness that beams through us.

 

 

Just One Second, This Second

I have felt this grief before, I have felt this deep longing this deep deep ache that seeps down all the way to the pit of my soul. So deep that I can’t catch my breath. I literally can not take a breath in that moment. I felt it the moment my mom took her last breath. I walked out into her front yard and with my friend in front of my and my husband behind me, I exhaled. I released the pain that was anchoring me in that moment. In that moment I wanted nothing more than to have my mama back but I knew nothing on earth would change the fact that mere moments before I had laid next to her, held her in my arms as she walked in the arms of Jesus.

The next time I felt that grief was the moment I woke up from my 8th surgery. The surgery that I knew before I laid on that gurney would be the one that would take my foot. The nurses said my body was racked with sobs before I was even fully conscious. Just like the night in my mama’s front yard, there was that pain that had become so familiar, that ache that had made its home deep in my soul. I wanted more than anything to have my foot back but I knew nothing on earth would change that mere moments before I was a whole person and in that moment I laid in that bed less. No longer 2 feet but 1.

In that moment it was just one second at a time, that second.  4 days later I would have a revision to form my stump so I would lose even more of my leg, but it didn’t matter because nothing would hurt more than the moment I woke up from that 8th surgery and couldn’t take that breath. It’s been almost 10 years since my mom died and I still get those moments of deep grief where just for a moment, that one moment I want more than anything to have my mom back. I can’t catch my breath but I tell myself “just one second, this second.”

The last few days I have been having those moments. No matter what I do, no matter how bad I want it, I will never be able to grow a new leg. There is no hope for a cure when you are an amputee. On days like today when all I wanted to do was get up and walk around the church with my husband. I wanted to stand in front of the church back drop and take a picture. I don’t want to live another day in this chair. I look down at my one foot of painted toes and just want so badly, Father God please I just want my foot back. Yet I know that will never happen. And there it is, I can’t breathe, but just one second, this second is all I have to do.

If only people could understand that having and wearing a prosthetic isn’t that easy. If only it was as simple as some think and make it out to be, it’s an ok second choice if I could get into one that I can actually wear. Having one and not being able to use it is like a constant reminder that just out of my reach is freedom that I can’t have. But just breathe, one second, this second.

These collection of seconds are what get me through each day. The days when I just want to pull the blankets over my head and cry. Days like today, but I try to remind myself that everyone has something they struggle with and although it may be different for them it is just as serious to them as my amputation is to me. So I pray that their seconds help them get through their days a little easier. They being whoever is in my life dealing with something.

I miss things, I miss going on water slides, and wearing jeans. I miss doing things without having to worry about handicap accessibility. I miss walking beside my husband instead of always having him behind me pushing me.  I miss just feeling “normal.” I pray that my collection of seconds become less about that deep pain that takes my breath and becomes more about living life and capturing memories. I am tired of sitting on the sidelines, of letting that breath seizing, time stopping, soul pounding grief hold me back, I want to fully step in2 my destiny.

Phantom: Yet Real As Ever

Invisibility isn’t a real super power, right? Well guess what I have it. I have an invisible limb and I still feel everything about it. The only difference with it is that I can’t use it. Most day I feel like I am going out of my mind because I feel things with my left foot and the stupid thing isn’t even there anymore. I truly believed that as the days went by the feelings and pains would get less and less but they haven’t. They are just as strong today as the day they cut my foot off.

I have been told that because the injury to my foot occurred 32 years before my amputation and I had suffered with the damage and pain all those years that I would probably always suffer with pain and discomfort from the severe nerve damage even thought my foot and lower leg were no longer there.

March 24th 2014, the day of my first surgery for the amputation I expected to have some phantom pain afterwards. I was warned, my foot would itch, it would hurt, I would feel things on it even though it was no longer there. The physical therapist taught me that in order to move specific muscles I would just move those same muscles in my mind. so for example in order to still flex my calf muscle I would need to still need to flex my foot in my mind of course because there is no actual foot to flex. All of this takes so much more work then you actually realize because when you have all of your limbs etc. these things come natural. You have muscle memory so most things are done without thought at all. How does one convince your own mind to pretend the limb is there in order to move muscles you need to yet then remind your mind that it is gone so that you hopefully, possibly will have some relief from the crazy feelings and pains that plague you from a part of your body that doesn’t even exist anymore.  

From the 24th to the 28th I was mostly numb because the surgery was done in 2 parts. So I can say I was slowly released into the phantom world but it didn’t matter because the twitches, the burning, the cramping, the full on pain hit and hit hard and has not let up since. I don’t even know how to explain what it feels like to constantly hurt in a part of your body that isn’t even there anymore. Sometimes I truly feel like I am going to go crazy. The muscle spasms can be the worse because when you get a spasm in your calf muscle and you can’t really flex your calf to work out the spasm can feel like torture. It really does work at your mind.

I think after two years I am just trying to learn to block out the pain. Remind myself that the foot is gone therefore the pain can’t be real, remind myself that it is ok to feel what I am feeling and that the pain will pass. Most of all I am just trying to be patient with myself. I am just trying to enjoy my superpower of invisibility and try to find a cool way to use it to help me to Step in2 my lyfe.

 

Drowning in a Sea of Pain

   How can I be invisible in a world of billions of people. How can I hurt so bad that tears become a permanent path down my face. I become afraid to share the depths of my pain because of what others might think and I don’t want to lose what is important in my life and the few things that I look forward to, the only few things that keep me breathing every day. Others look at me and say how strong I am and how they couldn’t get through the things I have with a smile on their face but they don’t know that the smile is just to hide the pain and keep the tears from spilling onto my cheeks once again.

   Everyday is like groundhog day. How many times do I think to myself there has to be more to life than this. My kids go through each day with the same routine asking the same questions and I give the same answers, praying with every breath that their life will contain more for them then what I have managed for myself. It’s not that I have a horrible life, and it’s not that I am ungrateful for the blessings that God has given me. You have to understand the history of my life and that it never seems to end. What is “it” you might ask?  Well “It” is all the crap that keeps getting dumped on me. It never ends and it can’t ever be little stuff, no it is bad stuff and it just piles up and piles up and over time I have just broken. And at this time, right now in my life you find me completely BROKEN!!!broken

   The question becomes can you meet me where I am right here on my knees completely broken. Not knowing which way is up. Trying to work through, heal, forgive, and ask for forgiveness of 34 years of pain, anger and destruction. I have to figure this out because if I don’t the outcome is detrimental. I know that losing my leg plays a big part in this because the day that happened it changed who I was, it changed my purpose. Everything that I was, did and took care of shifted. I was not longer able to do things that I had done my whole life. I had to depend on someone and that was brand new to me. I just don’t know who I am anymore.

   I know that everyone has something and I also know that some people even have things that are worse than mine but the only thing I know what to do is deal with my own life. I don’t know how to heal. I know I am burnt out on life. I know I look in the mirror and I am disgusted with what looks back at me. My kids and husband are getting the worst of me instead of the best of me. Instead of normal life issues being dealt with and handled they are just piled on top everything else. Our life feels like it is in constant crisis.

I pray whoever reads this if they relate they just know they are not alone. I pray you know that one breath, one second, this second is all you have to do. I know that things pass and that most of the time things have a way of working themselves out. I encourage you to reach out to a friend, your pastor, a friend from church, school or even me. YOU DON’T HAVE TO SUFFER ALONE. I know that God loves me and that all I need is faith of a Mustard seed. I know that if I will just hold on the sun will rise again. I pray that every day I get better at living without a leg and that when I look in the mirror I see someone worth loving and saving but I know that is a work in progress.leg   I know I have a choice and I have to choose life. I have 4 children depending on me to choose to overcome. I know that right now I may not be something they are very proud of but when all is said and done I pray they are able to look back and say that they are proud. I hope with all that I am down to the bottom of my soul that they when they are adults raising their own children that they look at me and say “mom thank you for all that you sacrificed for me.” I hope my daughters look at me and see an overcomer, a woman who worked her way from the bottom and never ever gave up. I want to work everyday to step in2 my Lyfe, so that they can learn to step into theirs. overcomer