Sunday, May 24, 2009

Downward Spiral

I was compelled to write something about an issue that has been burning inside of me. I hear about how someone's friend went back to a bad relationship and I shake my head having been there before. But when the person is going back to someone who was once abusive it's easy for me to say, "What's wrong with her? Does she not get it? He's going to do it again."

But when that someone is in your own backyard, amongst your circle you are left speechless. You can say don't go back, or why are you doing this to yourself again? But they have to want to leave. I was once told, "I wish I was as strong as you," from this person. Damn...what do you say to that. I told this young sista to not measure herself up to me. I'm on no one's pedestal. I've made mistakes in the relationship department dating the wrong person who I thought was right or thinking I could change them or he would change for me. I tried to build her up and then she asked me, "Did anyone ever hit you? I mean would you go back if they said they changed their ways..."

Again I was stumped. Here this younger sista looks up to me and I told her, "Yes I had an ex that tried to grab me." Notice the word tried. I was all of 17 years old in high school in the subway station when my ex wanted to be a big man and tell me to not go to my basketball game (the play offs at that). I told him I gotta go and he proceeded to grab my arms. Everytime I moved he threw me up against the metal bars of a NYC subway station. Enough was enough. I don't know where the strength came from but I threw him off of me and we were throwing blows until the cops jumped in and held him back.

I was shocked, I never thought I would have to fight a man off of me. But I did. Did I go back to him. "Nope." I'm so thankful I was strong enough to say no to him after he called me months later stating how he changed. Well this changed brother got hung up on and then I heard shortly after he was locked up on drug charges. His spots never changed...

This younger sista is beautiful and talented but she went back to her ex again after he hit her, grabbed her, not having a job all to say, "But he's changed."

It's only been two months since the break up, he didn't change. As a wise woman once told me, "A leopard never changes their spots."

I only hope, pray and wish that this young sista would wake up and see how beautiful she is, gifted by His glory, talented, and is full of life. But somewhere she wants this man so much that she thinks she can change him.

According to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence they states:

  • One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
  • 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
  • Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.
  • Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
  • Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
I once visited a recovery center and talked to women who kept going back to him after getting beaten. They said, "He wasn't like this before, I thought I could change him. I stayed and drank the pain away or got high so it wouldn't hurt so much."

Their self esteem had been beaten as they hung their heads low. Underneath the scars and tattered clothes stood a Queen, they couldn't see it yet but I could. Some of these women had degrees, MBA's, etc so status/education means nothing when it comes to how much they wanted to change their man.

Sadder part is most of these women had young children in the household then they were hit.

According to the same source the following can happen to youth:

  • Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.
  • Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.
  • 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household.

All of us may either know someone who has or still is going through this or knows someone that knows a person. One of my cousins said it best the other day, "Stop reaching downward in the gutter and reach high for your King." Brothers like this give real brothers (the ones I talked about in my poem His Voice) a bad rap. Not realizing that all men aren't the same.

I wrote this piece hoping I could inspire this young lady as I pray for her continually. I knew he was back in her life when she distanced herself yet again from me. It was as if I could feel her spirit shift from the 1,300+ miles away.

Would you go back if he said he changed? What would you say to uplift this young sista and others that are going through this?

Some never made it out as they lie in a grave. Shed some love for her and those who are stuck on the line, "But he changed, things will be better, he only hit me twice, it won't happen again..."

Praying that they see that his leopard spots haven't changed. Can he change...yes but he has to want to do it for himself, his creator and realize that he has a problem. Until he does...those spots aren't moving and you need to go forward with life and not be stuck or worst off...end up in a grave way before your time.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cube Life

This is dedicated to everyone who either is working in a cubicle or has in the past. It's not a great place sometimes. So I decided in my cube today to write a piece about my life in the cube. Enjoy and laugh!

Cube Life
I am in a cubicle
No door…no shelves…anything to call my own
I am in a shared space
Speaker phones blaring
Coughing, hacking and sneezing next to me
Personal calls on full blast
Living in the land of the show “Office Space”
20 people having a cube party
Someone sleep under their desk
While I’m trying to do some work and keep my cool
Working out of a box
As toxic breath and air crawls across the air vents
People with offices who have no shame
To keep their doors wide open
So I can hear their lame conversations
With yet another funder
Who doesn’t want to cut the check
Or a honey what’s for dinner did you let the dog out
Like I really care
Dilbert’s land…
Easily 10 people at any given time working around me
Getting louder by the second, minute, hour
As I begin to become uneasy
Flickering lights from the ceiling
Maintenance climbing on my desk yet again
Trying to fix the problem when it’s not the bulb
But electrical wiring instead
Lacking privacy
People following
Me down to my cube
When I haven’t even put my bag down
And turned the damn computer on
Question after question about an email
Never receiving one because you are still asking
When I haven’t even gotten a simple hello
My life in the cube world
Not the glamorous one
As bosses try to inflict us with pain
By adding more cubicles by the day
Week after week I feel like there is a hidden camera in the corner of the office
Cracking open my laptop as I hear
Voices getting louder
Speaker conversations going on
Same cubicle party still popping
Same dude still coughing
You Tube watchers slowing down the server
Broken heart singing that sad love song to their love no more
On speaker phone
Welcome to my life
Cubicle life…
One of many
Unfortunately more people that have to deal with it

Dedicated to all of those that are cursed by cubicle life who are about to go stir crazy!

Copyright 2009 Serena Wills

All rights reserved

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Abundant Love...Happy Mother's Day!

Hello everyone and Happy Mother's Day to the Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunts, Sisters, Godmothers and all women who impact or have impacted childrens lives!!!! It's because of the strong women such as yourselves that we are encouraged as a people to move forward and give back to the next generation.

This poem is dedicated to all those women and especially to my diamond, my love, my Iya, Marguerite "Sauti" Wills. The picture on the left is from 1984 when she brought home my sister Ayana from the hospital. She is so loving that she opened up her heart and home to adopt Ayana and my youngest sister Christina! I love you Ma!

Abundant Love

Her touch and embrace
As she wiped the tears from my face
Holding me tightly whispering, “It’s going to be okay”
Cleaning the dirt away from my scars
I remember those days
When Mama would make everything feel like brand new
Between cuts, scrapes, bruises on my skin from falling on my knees yet again
Mom has a tender touch as she told me to hold on tight
The sudden burn disappeared as Bactine was sprayed on my wound
In between sobs saying, thank you Mommy
Always wiping away the pain whether it was a scrape on my elbow
Or another love that didn’t go
In the direction that I thought it would be
Times when I couldn’t understand what was happening to me
Laughing now cause I was going through mere puberty
Causing her drama
But all mama could say was
Everything is going to be okay
Mothers have a way with words like no other
To this day I’m amazed of your strength and often wonder
How did we make it through
I love you
For being my warrior, knight in shining armor, pillars in my temple
Tending to my every sniffle, sneeze, fever, body ache and shiver
Raising all three on faith, hope, love
Reminding me that we were no one’s charity case
I still hold tight to the memories
How you struggled to raise us
Yet no matter what jokes were made by cruel kids my age
You would stroke my cheek and say
Better days are coming our way
Somehow you managed to pull another smile out of me
Mama, my Iya, Sauti my love
I can say on and on how much I love and adore you
Worship the ground you walk on and I feel
It still wouldn’t be enough
Relationship like no other
Blessed to call and have you as my mother
God had a master plan and although times were tough
You made it work for us
And this Mothers day
I salute you and every other mother
By simply stating, I love you

Happy Mother’s Day!

Copyright 2009 Serena Wills

All Rights are Reserved

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Ayana!

I wrote this piece last week on my sister Ayana's birthday while in Nicaragua. Enjoy.

Sitting out in my friend’s backyard gazing at the palm trees and the red flowers that are blooming in Managua, Nicaragua on my sister Ayana’s 26th birthday brings mixed emotions. I’m happy that I’m celebrating her birthday but saddened that it’s my families second year without her being here with us. Ayana passed away September 22nd, 2007 due to her numerous medical complications at the age of 24. Doctors told us when she was born to my Aunt Doretha who later died of AIDS that Ayana wouldn’t see the age of 2. God showed them.

My Mother adopted my baby sis not wanting her to be in the institutions that they would have stuck her in. Although Ayana couldn’t walk, talk or do anything for herself due to the severity of her brain damage but she had a spirit full of life. I can’t explain it but I know what unconditional love feels like from being in her presence. Her eyes lit up my life and her gorgeous smile made me happy even on my darkest days.

So I decided to take a trip to visit friends this year and for some reason every time I scheduled to come to Nicaragua my schedule would get hectic or my money would be funny. When I woke up this morning I knew that Ayana wanted me here on her birthday to see the beautiful mountains, the breath taking Lake Managua that goes on for miles, palm trees and plants that I’ve never seen before. She wanted me to experience new adventures and embark on another journey.

One thing that kept a smile on my face during this time besides spending time with Lia and her husband Johnnie is the smile of their son Noah’s face. His spirit is so full of life and his giggles make my biological clock jiggle. I was supposed to be around new life instead of mourning the death of my sister’s life. I sense Ayana here, she wants to be celebrated and when I smell the fresh flowers in the air out here in Central America I know it’s her swirling around me.

I know she is free and doing all things that she could never do. Even looking at Noah I remember that Ayana could never crawl or take baby steps. All of the things that he’s doing. His language is increasing as he can understand both English and Spanish. A lot of times grownups get stuck on what and who has been lost instead of celebrating new life or the fact that they woke up this morning and in my case writing this story in one of the most scenic and serene backyards that I’ve personally seen at peace.

I know Lia and Johnnie felt bad that they had to work but if anything the time I have alone (well I also have a little 10 month old at my side named Noah) gave me time to reflect and write. Get things in order, pray and meditate more, prepare mentally for my next journey which is my move back east. This week I was forced to stay still for a little bit and everyone needs that time. Their internet was down and I didn’t even freak out about, no one has access to my cell phone because I didn’t select the international package. So the inaccessibility has been a pure joy.

Ayana Doretha Wills will always be missed, life is hard when you’re asked how’s all of your sisters, or how many do you have and that dreadful answer escapes my mouth that I have 4, one is deceased. But I have prayed on it and I know it was her time to go with her failing health and those bright eyes fading away as they didn’t have the same spark in them. God has healed me, I didn’t want to be stuck on mourning my sister’s life and she didn’t want me too either. But I certainly miss her. I now know she is able to travel, walk, talk, embrace, kiss loved ones and breathe without machines. No more beeping sounds panicking when they would slow down or flat line because she stopped breathing a couple of times. She is whole and at peace.
I’m at peace as I gaze into Noah’s eyes and watch him bounce up and down when I walk into a room. Nicaragua has quieted my spirit as I was working triple time and didn’t have a quiet moment to think about my move to Northern VA in the summer. It has helped prepare me for the next chapter in life which will bless me even more and my guardian angel named Ayana will see to it.

Lia and Johnnie thank you for opening your doors to me and Mr. Noah thanks for letting (Aunty Re) hug and kiss up on you. He reminded me that one day I will be blessed with children. Lia and Johnnie you both are an inspiration to me as I thought after my last relationship that I was done trying but now I know it’s not up to me and God wants me to be blessed with a husband who will care for me like Johnnie does for you Lia, a beautiful family and to have a closeness that you both share with your son Noah.