GROWING-UP FATHERLESS: MY FATHER’S DAY WISH

growingupfatherlessAfter reading my Booskie Carrie Pink’s heartfelt Mother’s Day post, I knew that I had to tell my story. Her story, which you can read here, was absolutely poignant and raw. Every day, I thank God for the woman who birthed me and nurtured me as well as the woman who came along later in life and nurtured me. I am who I am because of God placing these two women in my life. Unfortunately, the father who is very much alive was absent.

This past year, after sacrificing and getting sick; I realized that the man who was gifted with me as a daughter was truly unworthy. Some may want to keep secrets but I realized that it is a secret that I no longer choose to keep. After reading the SBM post on Madame Noire whch can be read here, I realized that by not saying anything we enable these men, including my own father to continue doing what they do: Have babies and fail to take care of them. While I stay far away from the belief that this is what Black men do, there is no question that this is what some males do. As a matter of fact the CDC recently released data that showed that compared to White and Latino fathers, Black fathers are heavily involved in their child’s lives.

Credit: Los Angeles Times

Credit: Los Angeles Times

 

Unfortunately, my father does not fall in the involved category. Rather, my father is as absent as one whose father is deceased. The irony is that he is very much alive and involved in the community at large. Somewhere along the way, he forgot that charity starts at home. My father has been blessed with 14 children. While I will not speak for them, I am confident in saying that the legacy that he will leave behind is not one that any man should be happy leaving behind.

They say sons need their fathers. The truth is…so do daughters. A father is supposed to be that number 1 man in his daughter’s life that shows her what she is worth to a man. He is her protector. Her role model. Her champion. He is her dad.

I am comfortable and confident when I speak for all “Fatherless Children” when I say that I agree that at some point men who fail to handle their responsibility to the gifts that God granted them; children, should not be allowed to have anymore. Some may complain about their rights being taken away but what about those rights of the children they father. What happens to them when they grow up without a father who is right there? At what point will the enabling end? At what point will words of forgiveness stop being bandied about? At what point will those that refuse to acknowledge that they too have been affected by the absence of their father admit the truth if only to themselves?

Here is to the men who from the day they knew they were going to be  fathers and stepped up and continue to stay in the active fatherhood lane. Words cannot express how happy this makes me. Children are a gift and should be cherished. They are not pawns or tools for advancement. If you are that father who realized this and lives the realities of fatherhood daily, I salute you not just on Father’s Day but every day. My wish is for all men who have been gifted realize that their role in a child’s life is everlasting. Here is to the man who has stepped in and became my Daddy. My life, while still scarred from my real father’s absence, is just that much happier. I love you daddy.

daddy and I

While I probably never wish my biological father a Happy Father’s Day, I am fortunate to know some great men. There will always be that little girl inside of me who wants my father to be my father in action and not name only. A part of me knows that no matter how old or successful I become, there will always be a piece of me that will not be whole. Even still, I wish peace and harmony for the man who shared his essence to create me. Maybe one day, he will see just how his action hurt. In the meantime, I will salute those men who continue to be fathers in words and actions and speak out against all those who forgot that God gave them a precious gift when He bestowed a child upon them

 

Words of Wisdom: It is much easier to become a father than to be one. ~Kent Nerburn, Letters to My Son: Reflections on Becoming a Man, 1994

In Health,

Maliyka

P.S. Stay tuned to the “Growing-up Fatherless” Project that myself and two other fatherless children will be debuting. It’s time to celebrate good fathers, ostracize bad ones and empower the children that suffer from the decsions made.

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The sexualization of the black woman

I did not intend to post today; rather I was going to wait until tomorrow. But then I read something that made me so agitated that I couldn’t put off writing today and ran to my computer to pound away my angry words.

While surfing Facebook, I came across a post by my Soror, Dr. Katrina Sparks shouting out another Soror, Anowa Adjah. I myself had shared the post when it came out but I had no idea that it was my Soror. Soror Adjah was featured on the Facebook page belonging to www.blackdoctors.org. Keeping it real, Soror Adjah looks amazing. She looks so amazing that it is hard to believe that she is over 200lbs. So what is the problem? The problem is some of the responses that Soror Sparks post garnered.

This is the picture used SororAdjah

And here is the responses to said picture by a man who shall remain nameless, photo

Although, that response had me seeing red I calmly asked. “Who is she teasing?” His ignorant response was

photo (1)

He went on to say more gibberish but I stopped reading and started getting angrier and angrier. As a black woman, it always amazes me how our bodies continuously sexualized even when we are not trying to be sexy. Here is a beautiful black woman showing the world that you can be 200+ pounds and still have a FANTABULOUS body yet, all this man could conceive is that she was trying to “tease” the masses. Blackdoctors.org, used Soror Adjah  to promote their article, While I did not get a chance to ask this man personally, I do wonder whether he would have had the same commentary had she been a “white woman” in any of the countless fitness magazines. I mean let us look at Tara, editor-in-chief of Shape Magazine and her bikini pose.

tara

Is she teasing people too? Or is she showcasing a body that with hard work and perseverance can be had by some woman too? Repeatedly blackwomen are sexualized through no fault of their own. Even when we are at our worse, or what we think is our worse we are being catcalled. What makes these comments cause me to burn even more is that the commenter is a man of color. Is it not enough that we are objectified by “white america?” Do we have to be objectified by “black america” too?

It is this type of behavior that continues to perpetuate “white privilege” and all that comes along with it. We criticize our own race for the same things that “white america” gets away with. I for one am tired of it. I am tired of being sexualized. I am tired of being objectified. I am tired of hearing statements like, “You should know I liked you…don’t you see your lips and breast.” I am tired of it all. Yes, I look sexy. Yes, I appreciate compliments but there is a way it can be done where I do not feel guilty for looking sexy. It is not elaborate. It is not complicated. It is actually quite simple.

Blackdoctors.org had a reason for displaying Soror Adjah the way they did. They were not trying to display how sexy she was she really is. Rather they were proving a point…ditch the scales because sometimes it interferes with one’s weight loss goals. You can check out that post here.  I salute my Soror  for just having twin boys and maintaining a fabulous body. I want that body and I will be doing my damnest to get it. Check out her blog to see how you too can get that body. Here is to being healthy and being able to display that healthy, sexy body without being called a tease.

Words of wisdom: Women who love themselves are threatening; but men who love real women, more so.” ~Naoimi Wolf

In health,

Maliyka

 Pictures courtesy of:

http://www.shape.com

www.blackdoctors.org

Dr. Katrina Sparks

It’s domestic violence awareness month too

 

A year ago, I went on a semi-rant about the NFL’s lack of involvement with domestic violence awareness (you can read all about it here). This year I am taking my rant a tad bit louder. Let me start by saying, I LOVE FOOTBALL. My favorite teams is the Jets. I am a loyal supporter even when they disappoint me. However, i am also a health educator and have a responsibility to educate the public about health issues. So despite my love, for football, educate I will.

On December 3, 2013, HuffPost Live aired “NFL Domestic Violence,” after Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend and later himself. According to HuffPost Live, 21 of 32 NFL teams had a player charged with domestic violence that year. Even still, the NFL has not stepped up to the plate and taken an active role in addressing domestic violence. While I appreciate their involvement in the breast cancer movement, domestic violence is just as important of a movement. While I commend players like Chris Canty and Chris Johnson on speaking out against domestic violence the NFL needs to step up as an organization and not only acknowledge but carry out programming to discuss their employees roles in all of this madness.  

According to a The Guardian article, “Reports of domestic violence increased by 10 percent in areas where the local National Football League team lost a game it was expected to win.” I challenge the NFL to do more. While domestic violence is not exclusive to the NFL, there is no question that the problem exist at an alarming rate.  More needs to be done to decrease this number. I am sure that it can be done seeing as how both Chris’ have stepped up to the plate and are doing.

It’s been a blessing and a curse. I have seen the savageness of domestic violence. I have been afraid that one day I would get a call that would change my life. It is easy to say what we won’t do or allow to happen. Honestly, none of us knows just what we will do. All we can do is hope that we won’t be a victim.

Words of Wisdom:

“In violence we forget who we are.”  – Mary McCarthy

In health,

Maliyka

Why I won’t sign: Kaitlyn Hunt

kateFor several years, I have been a member of change.org, signing petitions. Some of the petitions have been questionable and did not deserve my support. However, I just pressed skip and kept it moving. Recently, a petition popped up and after reading it I had to shake my head.

Here is the thing, when it comes to homosexual relations, I really do not care. At this stage in my life, I feel that if you are happy with your lifestyles/choices/orientation so be it. My name is Maliyka A.A. Muhammad and my main concern is me. You want to get married….knock yourself out. I hear marriage is tiresome and puts you in a whole other tax bracket with Uncle Sam plus divorce rates are high for heterosexual couples. But hey, if that is what you want who am I to stand in your way. This society has bigger issues to deal with like stopping cancer in its tracks. Eliminating HIV/AIDS infections. Combatting childhood obesity. You know real superman issues. Determining who should or should not get married really doesn’t fall under that category. As my sister once said to me and I ran with it, “If you like it…I love it.” I am cool with a lot of people who choose to sleep with someone I wouldn’t that goes for some of the opposite sex too. Some of these people are as close to me as my blood sisters. I have met their significant others. It is all love and then some.

Moving on to Kaitlyn Hunt. You can view the petition here or not. The short version is that Kate is a lesbian who recently turned 18. Her girlfriend is only 15 years of age. As soon as she turned 18, the girlfriends parents went and pressed charges claiming that Kat turned the gay. Kate has been charged with “lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12–16 years of age.” Now do I think that the parents are…WACK…LAME…CORNY…A CORNBALL…basically a non-factor…yep sure do. Do I think that Assistant State Attorney is perpetuating a parents disgust at their child’s lifestyle…absolutely. However, that does not take away from the fact that Kate committed a crime. The fact remains that the girlfriend, is not of the legal age consent. Regardless of how unrealistic it is, Kate was supposed to break it off with her girlfriend the minute that she turned 18. And in truth, her parents should have been parents instead of her friend and warned her of the potential consequences. If they did well than as my grandmother would say, “A hard head make a sore behind.” If they did not…shame one them. As a parent sometimes you end up being the bad guy…deal with it. I know I appreciate my mother for all of her bad guy moments. It was one of her bad guy moments. Go figure him and her evenetually broke-up for other reasons thank GOD.

While I am in favor of equality and I do agree with Bridget Crawford’s perspective, which can be read here , the fact remains that Kate did in fact commit a crime. Two wrongs do not make a right. 18 year old boys who have a 15 year old girlfriend should be charged and in many cases they are especially if the girl is white and the boyfriend is black and live in some backwater town.

I was once a young girl, and I had a boyfriend who definitely belonged under the jail given our age difference. Things like statutory rape were not in our vocabulary. At least not in mine. As an adult, I think about how selfish that decision was and am grateful that no one ever got arrested on my behalf. Funny thing is that, in my younger brother’s case my mother let his little girlfriend know that he could indeed go to jail for dating him. Although, he was mad at me I had to let him know that she was correct.

As the battle for equality comes to head with same-sex marriage being legalized in so many states real conversatiion need to be had. No means no even if she is a girl/boy just like you. The legal age of consent in almost all states is 17. If you are older than 17 and they are not, it is statutory rape. Domestic violence is wrong regardless of who are sleeping with. Same-sex relationship do not mean that a relationship is going to be easy. Even these relationships have their ups and down. Unfortunately, even in love there are consequences. This happens to be one of those Romeo & Juliet ones. I wish Kate luck in her legal battle. While I do believe that the punishment is indeed extreme and prejudicial, the fact remains that she was wrong. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

Words of Wisdom: “I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime” ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

In health,
Maliyka

Giving is good for your health: The “Help Robinson” Cause

Rob's fundraiser Now if you are following me, then you know that I ENJOY community service. When I accepted an award back in January, a part of my acceptance speech was, “To whom much is given, much is required.”  I live my life in service and fellowship with those who have the same belief when it comes to SERVICE!

The principle of service is so near and dear to me that it is my focus for today’s post. In honor of man-up Thursday I salute Rob Robinson! Rob, is an elementary school teacher where I rest my head every night, the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Over the years, Bed Stuy has had its ups and downs. It went from being a crackhead’s haven and no one wanting to come in to a gentrified dwelling and everyone rushing in to snap up its historical brownstone. Here’s the thing, gentrification doesn’t benefit everyone. As a matter of fact, gentrification tends to push out people. The people who were there when crack vials and needles littered the streets are not considered when gentrification takes root. Rob teaches the children who gentrification would seek to cast aside.

Knowing this and holding steadfast to the Igbo and Yoruba Proverb, “It takes a whole village to raise a child,” Rob has made it his mission to make sure that the young ladies experience what some of them seem to believe is a but a dream never to come true. This man is on a mission to take the young ladies in his class plus a young lady in foster care and one who recently loss her mother to the American Girls store in NYC. This is what I call a REAL man. He cares for home and heart as well as others!

I don’t know about you, but in a way I was privileged. We didn’t have much but I know that I had more than some of these young ladies even begin to imagine that they can have. How can I not support their dream? How can I not share their dream with others. I hope that you find it in your heart to make their dream come true. These children come from struggling backgrounds. There is no way that their mothers could begin to put out the dollar amount necessary for them to go to the American Girl store. Now I wouldn’t ask you if I haven’t done so already to give to this cause. It is indeed a worthy cause. Children deserve to grow old on special moments. I know I have. With that being said, I hope that you find it in your big generous hearts to give to the “Help Robinson” cause.  Believe it or not, there really is a health benefit to of giving! If you don’t believe me click here to read all about it.

Words of Wisdom: “One knee does not bring up a child.” ~Tanzanian Proverb

In health,

Maliyka

What every man should know about the menstrual cycle

First off, I am so sorry for the union tended hiatus. When I Sid that I may not blog everyday, I didn’t mean this. Ever since Hurricane Sandy my life has been on fast forward. While sitting in a business meeting yesterday my log came up and I realized that I hadn’t put fingers to keyboard in two months. Laying in my bed unable to fall ack asleep I figured I ought to remedy that. So here I stand and go figure on a day that I have yet to post a blog for.

When I started this blog, I coined Thursday as “Man-up Thursday”. Now the sensitive man or the liberal woman might think that I am trying to insult the male race and call into question their manhood. That is not the case at all. Honestly, it just sounded good. Today is the one day that I will talk about issues specific to men. So worry not men…man-up.

I am sure every woman will agree when I say that, men confuse me. I swear sometimes I think that they are eternally two years old. At 30+ years old I expect a man to know certain things. That includes the basic mechanics when it comes to a woman….the woman they are sleeping with regularly…menstrual cycle. It is appalling how many men don’t grasp it and have the balls, pun intended to rely on the woman to be diligent. What the hayle…I am tired and I am sure my fellow womenfolk are too.

Years ago, I told one of my brothers that they should know their partner’s cycle as well as their partner. It’s not rocket science and with today’s technology it’s easier than ever. But because y’all menfolk are special, I am going to give you the gift of free information. In a nutshell, I am taking away your cough EXCUSES.

First off, the proper word to describe that dreadful wrapped in joy monthly occurrence is menstruation. Yes, I know self included that we tend to se the word “period” to describe it but in truth a period is a form of punctuation. On average, a woman’s cycle is 28-days but it can range from 21-35 days in adults. Everyone is really different and even more every month can vary. The 1st day of the cycle begins the day her menstruation starts for any given month.

In the first half of the cycle, levels of estrogen (the “female hormone”) start to rise. Estrogen makes the lining of the uterus (womb) grow and thicken. Concurrently, an egg, or ovum, in one of the ovaries starts to mature. At about day 14 of an average 28-day cycle, the egg leaves the ovary. This is called ovulation. As the egg makes its way through the fallopian tube to the uterus hormone levels rise and help prepare the uterine lining for conception. Conception is more likely to occur during the 3 days before or on the day of ovulation. This is because sperm can live longer than an egg. So if you had intercourse 3 days ago, that sperm is chilling waiting to pounce. It can also happen 1 to 3 days after, based on the same concept. Keep in mind, women with cycles that are shorter or longer than average may ovulate before or after day 14.

A woman becomes pregnant if the egg is fertilized by sperm cell and attaches to the uterine wall. If the egg is not fertilized, it will break apart. Then, hormone levels drop, and the thickened lining of the uterus is shed during the menstrual period. The day before the menstrual engines is the last day of her cycle.

In a 28-day cycle, a woman is typically infertile from day 21 to day 5 of the next cycle. Her fertile day typically starts on day 6 even if she is still menstruating. Please understand that a woman can conceive while she is menstruating.

So you see, it is really not rocket science. While you may not be the one going through the chula body changes you too can take an active role.

Since you menfolks are visual beings, I was able to find the most graphic picture so you could understand the mechanics. I suggest you memorize it. It may save your pickets cause babies are expensive.

20121227-064230.jpg
(Photo can be found here)
Well guys that’s all for now. I have 30 minutes before I need to officially get up. I am going to try and take a nap before then. I hope you learned something today. If conception occurred and you didn’t take an active role in preventing it, you have no one to blame but yourself. If you wanted conception to occur…congrats cause your a dad.

In health,
Maliyka is health