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Breathing is Easy

I’ve never felt so good doing a enormous amount of nothing. That’s right. I deserve to be lazy, I deserve to eat ice-cream in 20 degree weather, I deserve to watch TV all day and never get out of bed, ignore phone calls as I please, go shopping and buy whatever suits my mood at the time. Yup. Vet school is pretty extreme. Not that I didn’t know that before, but “knowing” isn’t actually “knowing” until you live it. After depriving myself of sleep for weeks, sometimes food was secondary to my work. A comet could have been coming straight for my area, I would have known nothing of it and died quite unexpectedly. It’s like extreme isolation, cut off from the rest of the world….all you know are dosages, radiographs, veins, arteries, nerves, electrocardiographs, and clinical consids. It’s pretty bad when you dream about it, then wake up on a day like today when I don’t have to see that dreaded place, thinking about how the esophagus is dorsal to the trachea then goes laterally to the trachea at the thoracic inlet, then back dorsal after it pass it. Ya know…4 test in one week once a month then finals. Every test is like finals. Papers are sleeping with you every night instead of someone who can keep you warm, papers on the floor even greet your feet each morning as you rush out of bed, in the lab at 2AM with cadavers…and the list goes on.

So until I absolutely have to go back to that place…..I’m officially off duty.

Kristi…will go go put the…” No.

Kristi….is my..” No.

Kristi…if you’d just….” No.

Kristi….will you listen…” No.

Breathing is easy.

 

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Following|in Her Footsteps|and in His Shadow

Approximately 70% (66% to be more precise) of single black women are raising children. A disheartening 50% of these single black mothers live in poverty, and if one lives in poverty it is very likely that they will stay in poverty. This is increasingly becoming more of the rule than it is the exception. Soledad O’Brien’s Black in America  Part 1  on CNN only confirmed what I have always known and that is that the children of single parent households generally  follow in their parents’ footsteps, or shadows  when it comes to the absent father.

Black children who grow up in single parent households are more likely to:

  • Go to jail (mostly males): It’s no secret that many young, black men are incarcerated.
  • Get pregnant at an early age/Become “Baby Mommas”: With no father figure around, a lot of them go looking for a father figure and the love of a father that they never really had. Despite some women’s best efforts for their daughter not to make the same mistake she made, this seems to be the trend, especially for young girls whose mother had them at an early age.
  • Become “Baby Daddies”:  Considering this is, more or less, what his father did to his mother, this is the example his father set for his son by default.
  • Drop out of school: Nearly 50% of black students drop out of school and never graduate.
  • Join a gang (mostly males): 80% of black males who join gangs are those who have no father figure in the household. A lot of them look up to “OGs” or Original Gangsters as father figures. The OG is merely his name’s sake, and only cares about increasing his money through drugs and elimination of his competition through murder—-enter the young black troubled mind looking for a fatherly figure.
  • Get caught up in drugs: A lot of the black men in jail are there because of drug-related crimes. Murder, rape, and theft are also reasons.

The other side of this is some children know the mistakes their parents made and want to avoid them at all cost so that they can have a better life and future for themselves and family, however, statistics show that these are a small minority.

I am reminded of my two small cousins, one is 1 ½ and the other is 2 ½ —both are girls. Of course, I only want the best for both of them but I fear for them that they may very well following their mother’s footsteps or linger in their father’s shadow. God knows I pray that they are a part of that small minority and that the minority one day becomes the majority.

Now…why were/are some people mad at Barack and Cosby again?

Paying|Children|to Attend|School

1 student every 26 seconds drops out of school in America. Nationally, only 53.4% black Americans get a high school diploma. What happen to the other half? Numerous factors, of course, weigh in on this statistic.

As Soledad O’Brien’s part 1 report in the CNN special of Black in America reveals, some people are taking steps to change this. In New York, there is a program in process that actually pays children to go to school.

The program last 2 years and is obviously experimental; the children who participate in the program start young (10yrs old), and they get paid for scoring perfectly on test given.

As crazy as this may sound to some, this isn’t anything new. In the mid 1990s, Mexico implemented a similar plan except it paid poor parents to keep their children in school and to take them for regular health check-ups.

The Million”, another experimental program implemented, is a cell phone that disables text messaging, certain internet features, and other distracting features of cell phones while children are in the class. These particular phones allow children to learn and take test via their cell phone incorporating traditional teaching as well. When outside of the classroom, the cell phones function normally.

Most of the children in these programs are children from poor backgrounds and/or broken homes, which makes them all the more likely not to graduate from high school among other things.

Some people may look at this as a “bribe” of some sort, and basically, it is. It serves  more as motivation for the children than anything else.

People above the poverty line may take motivation from those around them, family, friends, etc. On the other hand, 33% of all black children live below the poverty line and these children typically do not have this kind of motivation in their lives. Most of their families/friends are poor like I mentioned earlier, so they don’t have the degree(s)/careers and such for a child to “look up to” so to speak. Often the things that they do have to “look up to” is very bleak.

For people like you or me who may look at things from a long-term point of view, we may think motivation lies in getting the diploma, degrees, and then great careers, supposedly, that are to follow. We are motivated in knowing we will eventually get to that point with the right steps taken.

However, these children mostly look at the “now” because most of their circumstances are based on the now and not the “later”.

For example, if there is no food in the refrigerator and their mother/father doesn’t have the money to buy food today for them to eat because they don’t get paid until 3 days after today, and the parent is barely living and providing pay check to pay check—- the child is still hungry and waiting for those three days will not cure his/her hunger.

So far, the program has been successful but it is simply too soon to tell if the true success of graduating these children from high school, furthering that into college, and giving an overall promising future will actually be achieved.

Taking Care|of Self|Loving Self|Free Yourself

         Take care of yourself and actually indulge in taking care of yourself whenever you get an opportunity. Instead of taking a 15 min shower, take a 30 min luxurious bubble bath with music, candles, beads and all your favorite things. Instead of grabbing just anything to eat before heading to work, stash some of your favorite treats, drinks, foods in the refrigerator to grab that are actually enjoyable and nutritious on your way to work. Instead of jumping out of bed and rushing to work everyday, get out of bed stretch and take the world in by taking a walk outside, enjoying the morning and fresh air, listening to the birds, relaxing for a few minutes, then get ready for work while listening to the radio. On your lunch break, instead of gulping down fast-food, eat some fruit, something that is salubrious, yet something that you actually enjoy. Instead of watching TV when you get home or getting on the internet, take a nap, do something fun and exciting with friends or family, or try something new to you.

 Although work, family, friends, school, etc are all things that need attention, it is important to remember that YOU NEED ATTENTION as well. Make the time! I think it is especially sagacious for everyone to make room in their lives for themselves. This is especially essential for women. Often times we find little time for ourselves because we are always taking care of someone else or something else. With school, work, friends, and family, it can be hard finding time for self. Women new and old to motherhood suffer mostly from this. More than this, when they do take out time for themselves, some even feel guilty for having done it. There is no need for guilt, you as a mother and as a woman….but more importantly as a human being need to take time for yourself…breath…look around you…rest….and appreciate the beautiful things in life, the things that make life truly worth wild and the beautiful things within yourself that doesn’t involve anyone else but you. This should be done often, if not everyday, not just on Mother’s day! Plan and make time for yourself and during this time… it’s all about you and what you want to do. Don’t neglect yourself!

Mothers that typically take care of home, children, husband, and seemingly everything else and everyone else while working all at the same time often find it a daunting task to find time for themselves because at the end of the day, she is simply drained—often forgetting and neglecting her mind and body’s daily needs and attention. Her hair is often not kept, pajamas and “around the house” cloths  began to be normally worn outside of the house, and all together fatigue is set in her face and around her eyes. It’s the same old sad song— the husband complains that she is not as “attractive” as she was before. Uh, Hello! Perhaps she’s overwhelmed with things you (as a husbandbarely think or act to give a helping hand in. Is a marriage not supposed to be a partnership where you help each other? Now a days, it seems so alloy.

Simple guide that anyone can follow (Just do it!):

  • Give yourself time and space just to think
  • Make it a habit to get up early in the morning before anyone else, before starting your day, allowing time for yourselfalso do this in the evening or before going to sleep. During this time, it is important to be away from  all disturbances—so that means be alone. (30-60 mins).
  1. Take walks
  2. Do relaxing exercises (Mediation/Yoga)
  3. Read some pages of your favorite book
  4. Write down positive thoughts while in open, clear, clean space.
  5. Write poetry
  6. Take long, luxurious baths/showers
  7. Enjoy the sun rise/set, fresh air, gaze at a stand (group of trees) and the rest of nature
  8. Get and maintain a garden (flowers, fruit, other food, etc)
  • Sometimes, even though you can get a few things done, it can be fatigable even irritating trying to relax while having to watch kids, so sometimes leave them with their father, grandmother, or babysitter for a while and bring them back a treat.
  1. Drive to or lock yourself in a quiet space and get some things accomplished
  2. Go to the spa
  3. Go shopping…
  4. Go to the hair/nail shop…
  5. Go out with friends every now and then to relax
  6. Go to social events/take up a hobby (swimming, salsa dancing, instruments, belly dancing, etc) that you commit to once or twice a week
  • Eschew overwhelming yourself, if you need help doing something or a break, tell someone!
  • Having to cook, clean, and take care of kids everyday after pulling a 8-5 job can be tough try sometimes…
  1. Letting your children and husband do the cooking  (breakfast, dinner, or lunch)
  2. While you are cooking, let your husband wash the dishes or vice versa
  3. Cooking with your husband/boyfriend (breakfast, dinner, or lunch)
  4. Letting your husband/boyfriend cook for you (breakfast, dinner, or lunch)
  5. Letting your husband get the kids ready for school
  6. Letting your husband go out with/spend time with the kids

  • Take real vacations and travel, not vacations where you will be at home having to deal with cooking, cleaning, etc. Get away for a while either by yourself, with your husband/boyfriend, or with the whole family.
  • (Personal favorite) Watch/walk into/listen to the rain as it falls to earth
  • Sometimes just enjoy doing nothing…take reverence in just being alive.