My relationship with R. Kelly’s Music

ImageR. Kelly and I go back. I am talking about “Born into to 90’s” and popular song, “Slow Dance” back. That was 1992. I was 12. I am now 33 almost 34. Over the years, I have been an avid listener of R. Buying his albums and/or specific songs here and there. Over the years, I heard about the allegations that R. had a problem. A criminal problem. One that revolved around him dealing with underage girls. I remember the media coverage (what little there was) of his marriage to Aaliyah my middle name. When the infamous sex tape dropped, I remember crowding in one of my college classmate’s rooms and watching. It was gross, yet I watched and then filed it away.

The day his newest album dropped, Twitter went HAM with the hashtag that he started, #ASKRKELLY. Soon after, article/blog post started hitting the airwaves pointing/questioning the masses that supported and continue to support R. I too found myself asking the same question and even participated in some brief dialogue on Facebook, which can be read here and here. Hear me when I say this, I DO NOT SUPPORT ROBERT SYLVESTER KELLY’S DISPICABLE BEHAVIORS. Nothing about his crimes against young girls is acceptable. However, after reading Jamilah Lemieux post this morning on Ebony, I realized this:

The psychology of it though is that people learn how to disassociate from the things about a person that bother them and accept the rest. We do it every day. Some more than others. It is a coping mechanism.

Deep down, even R. Kelly Stans have admitted that R. is a PIG! He has destroyed many a young girl’s lives. His behavior is unacceptable. However, when we live in a world where every time we open our eyes there is some ugliness permeating the year we choose what we want to deal with. Say what you want, “Step in the name of Love” is a damn good song. I love stepping to it. And I definitely can relate to what he says on “When a man lies to a woman.” What woman who has been lied to by a man can’t. However, in retrospect by supporting him, are we really helping him come to terms with the fact that he has a problem? Or are we continually perpetuating his bad behavior? True, who are we to judge. But who are we to not judge? *Raises Hand* I disassociated myself from many of R. Kelly’s actions. The irony… I have been victimized. I had a part of my innocence stolen. I thank God, that videotaping wasn’t big. i don’t need any visual reminders.  One mayask how it is that, I can listen to a man who has perfected the art of victimization. My only response…I do not address that part of his life. I listen to his music the same way that I deal with my abuser… I dissociate. Years later, doing just that has allowed me to cope. That and giving it to God.  

After much thought, I have come to terms with the fact that I am indeed a part of the problem. Everytime, I buy his music I am supporting his financial ability to continue victimizing young girls. As a former victim, I can no longer do that. R. Kelly is at the helm of a lot of positive moments in my life and for that I thank him and his efforts. While I won’t forget those positive moments or stop listening to those songs associated with those positive moments, I will not be buying”Black Panties,” or subsequent music from him. At some point even if it hurts, one must take a stand. While I won’t condemn others for not taking the same stand, I do say ask yourself, “What if I was his victim?”I will continue to empower young girls (and boys) to respect themselves. I remember what it felt like when an older man paid attention to all of my curves. Luckily, in spite of my victimization I have always been conscious of how far I put myself out there when it came to the opposite sex. My mother made sure to remind me how beautiful I was and I did not need some man to reaffirm that. Unfortunately, some of these victims do not have that. I will continue to speak out against R. Kelly’s along with all other guilty parties crimes against women. Moreover, while I occasionally will play some of his in better taste music, I will not buy anymore. I aim to be a part of the solution not the problem

Words of Wisdom:

“I have learned this: it is not what one does that is wrong, but what one becomes as a consequence of it.”  -Oscar Wilde
 
In health,
Maliyka

 

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Do you need Plan B…

plan b The morning after pill and I are intimately acquainted. I am sure that it is acquaintance of a lot of women. Both of my experiences happened when I was over the age of 18 and did not have to worry about the pesky issue of parental consent. One of my experiences was way before they made “Plan B,” rather they gave me a pack of birth control pills and told me to take half of the pack almost in a hr interval or something like that. The second time around it was less pills but the result was the same…nausea being one of them. The difference between the first and last time I needed to stop something before it started, I had to go to a health provider. The second time, it was to my local pharmacist.

First things first, what exactly is the morning after pill or Plan B as it is now called. For all the lost and confused, don’t make up stories. It is not the same thing as the abortion pill. If you are pregnant unfortunately it won’t work.  The morning after pill works by delaying ovulation when sperm meets egg by preventing the sperm from reaching the egg. Depending on the type of pill, thickening of the cervical mucus may occur. That is it. Mystery solved.

A few years ago, legislation was put in place to make the morning after bill available over-the-counter. The catch, you had to prove that you were age 17 or older. Recently, a Federal judge ruled against the age limit going so far as to blast the Obama administration stating that,  “It had let election-year politics trump science and were making it hard for women of any age to obtain emergency contraception in time for it to work.” As a result of the ruling, the morning after pill will now be able to girls/women 15 years and older. The FDA has a mnonth to make it happen and it looks like they are making ithappen.

That’s great news right? Perhaps. While there is nothing wrong with giving a 15-year-old control over her body afterall a long time ago she would have been a married woman by that age she must also be responsible. The morning after pill should not be used as a form of birth control. It should not give one license to engage in risky behaviors. If the morning after pill is not taken within the window time period more than likely it will not work. Even if it is taken in the window period it may not work. This is no miracle pill. It an emergency option for an unplanned situation. Yes young people have sex. That is clear given that teenage pregnancies occur. However, most of these teenagers really do not understand the consequences involved with having sex.

So yes while I see no issue with making the pill available to those who are considered to be legal adults, I need adults to understand that conversations must be had with our young people. We must take our heads out of the sand and stop denying that they are having sex. They are and sometimes more than grown people. We all know about abstinence. Most adults actually see the benefits even though they love sex you can raise your hand and some will even admit that they should have waited. These babies may have women parts but they don’t really understand how said parts work. For them sex is something to do. It is really more than that. It is emotions, heartache, headache, frustration, etc. It is devastation, accidents, incurable diseases, nine months later. So while the morning after pill is available to even more girls/women than before, lets not delude ourselves into thinking that a problem does not exist. It does and until we are honest with ourselves that issue will remain.

Words of wisdom:  “Sex: the thing that takes up the least amount of time and causes the most amount of trouble.” ~John Barrymore

In health,

Maliyka

PMS and Insomnia

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As much as I love being of the femal persuassions, I can honestly say that sometimes being a girl just plain sucks pun intended. 21years ago I fully became puberty. I went from thinking that it was a joke to realizing that it was the real deal holyfield. Nothing about it was pleeasant and nothing still is. I can’t recall whether I really experienced PMS symptoms then. My skin didn’t go through an ugly transformation with all kind of little dots resting upon it. My junkfood intake was not through the roof. I was pretty okay, at least compared to now.

Fast forward to now and let me tell you PMS is the devil by another name. As I have gotten older, the torment that I experience before my period is just as bad as my actual period. Aside from the cramping before the cramping, my appetite puts a glutonous person to shame. After eating everything but the kitchen sink, I become so bloated to the point of pain. And a few months ago, I couldn’t sleep. These are just a few of things that I have to go through to honor my monthly committment to womanhood.

Not being able to sleep is completely new to me. I actually didn’t notice that it was a problem until I was marking all of the symptoms that I was experiencing in my trusty little application for my phone. This little application, Ovuview is really the greatest tool known to man. Aside from the obvious symptoms such as an increased sex drive, bloated, acne, I saw insomnia. Then it clicked. Not being able to sleep and having to force myself to sleep…Insomnia. Waking up for whatever reason and not being able to sleep…insomnia. I realized that I could add yet another sympton to my ever growing symptomatic life.

Well what do you know, it seems like I am not the only woman who experiences insomnia during the pms stage.

After doing some research, I found out that during the PMS phase it is quite common to experience insomnia. It would seem that after ovulation, progesterone levels are high and can make you drowsy. A few days before your period, both your estrogen and progesterone levels drop. This is typically the time when difficulty sleeping happens. This is exactly when it happens to me.

If you are having this problem and feel yourself being negatively effected speak with your health care provider. There is treatment available. For some light therapy may work. Others may need progesterone supplements. Personally, I drink a nice cup of tea. My favorite is Yogi’s Moon Cycle.

Either way, they say knowing is half of the battle. Now that I know, I still can’t sleep but at least I am not going crazy wondering what is wrong with me. I can still function. Probably more than what I was able to.

Words of Wisdom: Men truly could not handle having a menstrual cycle.

In health,
Maliyka is health

Freezer burn: Egg freezing

Some time ago my mommy (she’s actually my cousin who is like a 2nd mother to me), asked me if I had ever thought about freezing my eggs. Before you start offering condolences, no I am not dying. Rather my eggs are dying. At the time, I had entered into my 30th year and had no still don’t really real prospect of a mate to help me in child making activities. Knowing how much I wanted a child eventually, she was concerned that when I got around to it I would not have any eggs left to fertilize. At the time, I was startled. I was not ready for a child. Children weren’t even on my radar yet here was someone wondering more about my eggs than I was. However, as I detailed in the blog post a few weeks ago I realized that my fertility had a ticking clock attached to it. Even still, I will not be freezing my eggs.

Although, this is not Fertility awareness month over the past few days there have been many post related to freezing ones eggs. One op-ed piece that I read in  the NY Times , did bring home a valid point. That doctor that every woman loves to hate, the OB/GYN almost always talking about pap smears, cancer, and contraception but they never really discuss whether you plan to have a baby. On a personal note, I can attest to that. During my last visit, my doctor asked me what form of contraception I was using. Not once did she say, “Hey you are almost 32 years old, do you plan on having children anytime soon.” While I am not in a rush, it is a conversation that I believe my doctor should have discussed with me. Go figure, she is not even aware that both my maternal grandmother and mother were considered post menopausal way before they were 50. As a matter of fact, my grandmother started going through menopause right after she had my mother. She was 38.
There should be nothing to big or small that a doctor will not talk about with their patients. Even if that patients says, “you know what doc, I don’t plan on having children.” At least the doctor can notate that they had the discussion. Even if my doctor, had broached the topic with me i would not rush to have a child. I am sure that this is one of the reasons why doctors are cautious about broaching this topic. No doctor wants to be liable for any decision that a patient made which is not in their best interest. Here is the thing, as a doctor it is your duty to talk about the good, bad and the ugly. at some point personal responsibility must come into place and this is one of those situations. Some women, may bot even realize that their eggs have am expiration date and the longer they wait the harder it may be to conceive. It is all about education. While I am not promoting egg freezing it cost too much money there maybe someone who is interested. Who better to receive that information from than by your doctor.

As the oldest of 10 children, while I would like children freezing those little things that pop out of my ovaries and roll down my fallopian tube is not a reality for me. I am comfortable with never having any children. But to the woman who has $12,000+ to freeze their eggs good for you. For those women who have a medical condition that may destroy your chances at fertility, you are in luck. With all the health policy changes and us living in a society that values procreation insurance companies may actually pay that high price tag.

Today’s prescription: There is nothing wrong with planning but remember that your plan must be realistic. Tomorrow is never promised.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer awareness month. If you haven’t feel your boobies pun intended  You may just save your life. On a monthly basis, you should be checking your breast for any abnormalities. You may not realize, but the breast are made up of different components however there are several areas that are more prone to developing cancer than others.The most breast cancer types are ductal carcinoma and lobular carcinoma (Source: CDC). As of 2008, 10,203 women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,589 women died from breast cancer.

As with most health conditions, it is best to be proactive. Something that doesn’t take long could end up saving your life. For those of you who do not know how to check your breast I have given you a gift…direction. It is also important to know that men can also develop breast cancer. It is important that they look at their breast area as well.

How to Examine your breast

In the mirror:

  1. Stand undressed from the waist up in front of a large mirror in a well-lit room. Look at your breasts. Don’t be alarmed if they do not look equal in size or shape. Most women’s breasts aren’t. With your arms relaxed by your sides, look for any changes in size, shape, or position, or any changes to the skin of the breasts. Lookin the direction of for any skin puckering, dimpling, sores, or discoloration. Inspect your nipples and look for any sores, peeling, or change  the nipples.
  2. Next, place your hands on your hips and press down firmly to tighten the chest muscles beneath your breasts. Turn from side to side so you can inspect the outer part of your breasts.
  3. Then bend forward toward the mirror. Roll your shoulders and elbows forward to tighten your chest muscles. Your breasts will fall forward. Look for any changes in the shape or contour of your breasts.
  4. Now, clasp your hands behind your head and press your hands forward. Again, turn from side to side to inspect your breasts’ outer portions. Remember to inspect the border underneath your breasts. You may need to lift your breasts with your hand to see this area.
  5. Check your nipples for discharge (fluid). Place your thumb and forefinger on the tissue surrounding the nipple and pull outward toward the end of the nipple. Look for any discharge. Repeat on your other breast.In the shower:
  6. Now, it’s time to feel for changes in the breast. It is helpful to have your hands slippery with soap and water. Check for any lumps or thickening in your underarm area. Place your left hand on your hip and reach with your right hand to feel in the left armpit. Repeat on the other side.
  7. Check both sides for lumps or thickenings above and below your collarbone.
  8. With hands soapy, raise one arm behind your head to spread out the breast tissue. Use the flat part of your fingers from the other hand to press gently into the breast. Follow an up-and-down pattern along the breast, moving from bra line to collarbone. Continue the pattern until you have covered the entire breast. Repeat on the other side.Lying down:
  9. Next, lie down and place a small pillow or folded towel under your right shoulder. Put your right hand behind your head. Place your left hand on the upper portion of your right breast with fingers together and flat. Body lotion may help to make this part of the exam easier.
  10. Think of your breast as a face on a clock. Start at 12 o’clock and move toward 1 o’clock in small circular motions. Continue around the entire circle until you reach 12 o’clock again. Keep your fingers flat and in constant contact with your breast. When the circle is complete, move in one inch toward the nipple and complete another circle around the clock. Continue in this pattern until you’ve felt the entire breast. Make sure to feel the upper outer areas that extend into your armpit.
  11. Place your fingers flat and directly on top of your nipple. Feel beneath the nipple for any changes. Gently press your nipple inward. It should move easily.
  12. Repeat steps 9, 10, and 11 on your other breast

For those of you who need visual instructions here is a video that will help you breast-cancer-awareness-breast-self-exam.html

In health,

Maliyka is health

Tick Tock: There goes that biological clock

 

As the person in charge of my Sorority’s Stork’s Nest I am responsible for facilitating the 1st session. Being a trained community health educator it is a walk in the park for me. Having recently partnered up with Harlem Hospitallocated in none other than Harlem, NY (for those that don’t know that is an area in Manhattan) we recently started our 2nd cohort on September 11th (how ironic). Now every time, I have facilitated a session, an interesting discussion has ensued. This time was no different.

I can proudly say that I am 32 years old. Not trying to brag but I look good. Aside from the weight that I could stand to lose (I’m losing it). My baby face has folks thinking that I am under 30 (not to long ago a woman told me I couldn’t come to a performance at a club because I wasn’t 21) quite often. The thing is, I don’t have any children. In my opinion and that of my mother that is not a bad thing. Coming from *drumroll* a mother who birthed 10 children and me being the oldest I just don’t feel the rush.

As always, when I facilitate the Stork’s Nest session, we talk about the basic things that people need to do while they are pregnant. We also talk about things that they need to look out for as well as what happens at each stage of their pregnancy in terms of development, doctor’s appointments and testing. The 11th was no different in terms of topics covered but the conversation add was enough to add another tick tock to tat dreaded biological clock. During our discussion about test like the amniocentesis I mentioned that unless there was a reason to think that there was a genetic disorder it really isn’t offered to you until you hit 35 years old when you are considered high risk. While discussing this, it came out that I was childless, 32 years old and not planning to have a child for at least 3 years. Doing the math for you, I would be 35 and as one of the women pointed out high risk. She’s right, I would but I am in no rush to move up my schedule.

I am at the age where a lot of my friends have children. This year alone, I have gained so many nieces and nephews via my friends that it’s hilarious. I promise you that I won’t remember any of their birthdays. Without fail, someone always insist that I need to have a child. My response to them is that I am too young. Out of 10 children, my mother only as 2 grandchildren and thankfully, she isn’t pressed for more. There is no question that, one day I do want to have children. I also understand that at 32 years of age having already lost about 90% of my eggs (keep in mind that women are born with all of the eggs that they will ever have) I may have increased difficulty in getting pregnant the longer I wait (ABC News) Honestly though, I am okay with that. Aging a child is a huge step and I know that I am not ready for it. It pisses me off when I ear of mothers throwing their baby in the trash like garbage. Aside from not getting pregnant there are other options. I am not worried that I may have difficulty in getting pregnant. If it is meant to be, it will happen. If not I will adopt. Articles like the one the New York Times put out don’t scare me. My ovaries may look older than my real age but so what. There are already to many people in the world using up resources that are becoming scarce such as water that one less person populating really isn’t a bad thing.

So yeah, after that conversation happened, my clock did tick tock a little louder but I politely hit the snooze button. I refuse to be ruled by the proverbial biological clock. This body belongs to me (God really loaned it to me but you get my point). No one has the right to tell me when I should get pregnant and even when they do I smile and say I am too young to have a baby. After all, I really am.

Today’s Prescription: when it comes to life changing events don’t rush. Granted you are not promised forever but that is not an excuse do things haphazardly. This applies to having children. Family planning is a lost art.

In health,
Maliyka is health