Tag Archives: single parent

Dude Where’s My Blog and Part 1 of “The Raki Story”

What happened to my blog? This venture was supposed to be a fun journey where we traipsed and you tripped along with me down the road to mature adult hood and coming of age adolescence. Instead this became a prodigal sojourn where for the most part I left you the readers in the dark. I apologize for my somewhat stilted and formal writing style, I’ve been looking at Jane Eyre movies this entire week end and the narration of the book-to movie film has impacted my thinking so much that I fear Charlotte Bronte herself has possessed my writing. I’ll try to loosen up.

I realize now that when I started this blog I thought my life would remain pretty much consistent for at least 3 years or so. I thought that I’d be writing mostly anecdotal stories of lessons learned and funny glimpses into the lives of my son and I. Well that was true for at least the first few months after starting 30 and 11, now at 33 and 14. I must admit that the past year and a half has been the darkest and most trying time in my life. I’ve hinted at this in past posts and told you guys that I’d tell the story: I think now would be a good time to get it out. It’s pretty long and involved so I’ll have to break it up into a few parts. So let’s call part 1:

 

EXODUS: Escape from the District

The dictionary defines exodus as: a mass departure of people, especially emigrants. For our purposes let’s define Exodus as : an immediate need to jet, bounce, depart, etc from one locale to another. My flight from the DMV was prompted by a ever growing sense of unease, discontent, and the fact that the relationship with my son’s dad had descended to new lows of volatile proportions that could only be remedied through a curtailing of physical access. And straight up, my move was also in large part due to, as the ever so stern faced mustached Jimmy McMillan would say, “The rent was just too dang high!”. Shooo, I was living in Arlington, VA, in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom loft literally stitching my rent together piece by piece every month. We was hungry. So I made the decision to move to the promised land of North Carolina where my mom had promised us “2 hots and a cot”, military jargon for hot meals and beds to sleep in while I figured myself out. It wasn’t a bad deal except that, where she lives is in the middle of nowhere and that as SOOON as I told the dad about it, he went to WERK! And when I say he went to work, I would have never thought the Arlington County Court could process the amount of accusations that this dude leveled at me so quickly. I mean within a week I had subpoenas taped to my door. I won’t go into the details, because this is my story. My goal isn’t to rip on my kid’s dad regardless of the insanity that ensued from the moment I tried to level with him on why I had to make this move. I really want to give you guys a good understanding of what the summer of 2012 was like. Suffice to say that by hook and crook I got out of Northern Va, literally under the cover of darkness and found myself in the middle of COWVILLE USA, with no idea what to do next. I had the cops on my back saying that I’d kidnapped my own kid (who lives with me…) and to add to that, my first HUGE invoice for over 20,000 bracelets. It was the best of times and the worst of times. So, while I was in an out of court, I was also trying to put together a labor force to fill one of the largest orders I’d ever had in my life. Go figure. Plus my kid’s dad was getting married, BOOM! How’s that for when it rains it pours. I need to make clear that we had not been in any kind of romantic relationship for years so those feelings weren’t there, but there was A LOT of vitriol and it was suffocating me, and had been for years. So to be honest I thought that his getting married would release some of that tension, you know, focus his efforts elsewhere. I. Was. WRONG. WRONG. WRONGWRONGWRONG! Any who, so life was changing at an alarming rate, I couldn’t tell you guys about all of this stuff because like I said earlier, 30 and 11 was supposed to be a fun journey, not a perilous flight.

Cliff hangers suck, but unfortunately I have to end here. Come back for Part 2 I promise you it’ll be worth it, but don’t take my word for it (insert LeVar Burton, eye twinkle).

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Punishment side effects

It’s amazing the effect that punishment has on bedtime.

FACT: A child on punishment will voluntarily put himself to bed before 8:00pm

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The Virginia Bama Tells a Story

Raki wasn’t always cool. I speak of myself in third person to show how far I’ve come. But lest I forget, the following will always bring me back to earth. A few weeks ago I found a cassette tape of a 13 year old me telling a story that I’d made up. I had just moved from southern Virginia to the DC metro area and had not yet begun the arduous task of eradicating my accent. Listen and be amused.

http://theoriginaldavid.com/Shakiras_Story.mov

(if the link audio doesn’t work try the direct link HERE it takes a second to load, but sit tight…it’s worth the wait)

Are you done laughing yet? This tape surfaced right on time, and turned into an afterschool special. Dave is growing up and as much as I appreciate his eccentricities, being a teenager in a society that is telling kids to grow up too quick and act too cool way too soon, makes it difficult to instill in him to just be cool with who he is (everybody else can kick rocks). I get frustrated with some of his insecurities mostly because I’ve been in his shoes and understand what he’s going through. Telling your kids that you “get it” works sometimes but this tape gave Dave a real life peek at me at his age. I was awkward, friendless, the new kid, totally out of place and telling stories in the closet to amuse myself. Of course when I let him listen to it he laughed a lot, critiqued everything, then wanted to hear it again. Thankless but worth it 🙂

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The Single Mom and The Barbershop

Anxiety is me taking my son to the barbershop. I wonder if other single moms have this fear. Thankfully we are heading into the years where I can just drop him off with $20 bucks and wait in the car. Unfortunately though since we’ve moved the quest for a new barber has started again which means, I have to accompany him into these establishments. Going into the barbershop as a single mother is NERVE RACKING! First of all I have no clue what to tell the barber to do to this kids head. I think “fade” pretty is my only go to request.  I never know how to dress because I dont’ want to look busted and I don’t want any undue attentions by all those sharply tapered men. It’s not vanity, trust me. I don’t think I’m too bad on the eyes, but in truth it’s all of my insecurities about myself coupled with being in a place that I feel like is the commercial equivalent of a “man cave” that all come to play in this issue.

I feel like i’ve sauntered right past a “no girls allowed” sign and stepped into this place using my son as the ticket behind the veil. I don’t kid myself that barbers and their clients are talking about respectable men interests like mulch, sports, and BBQ. I feel like there are tongue in cheek tales of rowdy adventures abruptly halted and hanging in the air only to be concluded as soon as I leave. This could be a figment of an my very over active and literary imagination, but only in part. I truly feel that the barbershop is the man’s place. I also wish I’d had the forethought to make this a stipulation of our custody order that his father must be the one to take him to the barbershop. I think it’s a great father/son experience.

Mom’s in the shop cannot be avoided, but I really see the experience of getting a haircut and the entire atmosphere  of the barbershop as kind of a rite of passage. Some barbers can be great mentors and  it’s a place where boys become men.

You see, that’s exactly what i’m talking about!

 

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Do Over

Inconvenient Truth #5762: “Your Kids don’t care if you’re a single parent, neither does dinner”

Inconvenient Tr…

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I So Purple

Survival Kit

Survival Kit

Or Isopropyl if you insist. Earlier while wickedly enjoying pouring half a cap of peroxide on my sons cut foot (it burns so good) I began to think back to all the times I was in the same exact position as a kid having banged myself up in some way or another and being forced to sit on the toilet seat whilst my gradmother either poured alcohol or peroxide over my latest boo boo then perfunctorily painted it purple. Did you guys ever get the purple treatment? To this day I have no idea what the purpose of that was, and I doubt I’ll Google it. I’m going to just take it in faith that my grandma knew what she was doing…and do the same thing with my youngin, which brings me to my other ponderance; am I  grandma worthy?, is the generation beneath mine grandma worthy? My grandma taught me a lot about home remedies and “making do” to the extent that I feel confident enough in my spice rack, pantry, and medicine cabinet that my family will neither go hungry, nor lose a limb if push comes to shove. How about you guys? I think about the younger generations and how they need more grandmas, real gangsta ones that’ll give you a whoopin and bake you an apple pie all in one Sunday afternoon. I think about my grandma often, she raised me and next month is the anniversary of her passing. You guys will get to know her too through 30and11, Grandma Dot was a key character in  some of my most triumphant and EMBARRASSING coming of age stories and of course it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t share the best of them with all of you! Stay Tuned!!

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Letter to Me from My 9 year old self. Don’t Judge Me

me in the window

Yes, I did actually break down and do the “write a letter to yourself” thing. I usually think those types of exercises are a little sappy, but I did it anyway – it was a low moment in my life.   The way I did mine was to write a letter from my 9 year old self to my 30 year old self, does that make sense? Here goes… (note* my first name is Rakiyt, aka Raki, but growing up most people called me Shakira, my middle name)

My 9 year old self to me at 30:

Hey Raki it’s Shakira. I’m here in Norfolk. I can’t wait to be you. I want you to know I’ve watched everything you’ve been doing for the past 21 years and I want you to know I’m not ashamed of you.  I think you’re doing great now. I never thought we’d have a son but I’m happy he’s here.  I forgive you for your mistakes. I forgive you for making our path to greatness so hard. It’s okay. I love you anyway. I’m so happy we still have our sense of humor. You know we’ve always been a tomboy. I’m writing to you now from our “thinking tree”! Remember the big tree in the front yard? Well I climbed up here today and I see that you’re struggling. I saw what happened to us this week. I can’t believe someone would treat us this way. I’m just a little girl and I don’t really understand too much but I know I wish we had someone to stand up for you and It’s really scary knowing that I’m going to be in your position one day, but we’re fearless. You know we are. It’s going to be better. Please make it better for me. It’s lonely here and I see the path I’m going to take and I just need to know that at the end of it we’ll be happy. 

 

 

 

I wrote this on May 1st 2012 and just found it while going through old files on my computer…and you know what? I don’t think it’s too lame, I actually am happy that I found it. At almost 2 years later, it reminds me of where I was mentally at that time and how OUTRAGEOUSLY WACKO DIFFICULT CRAZE BALLS INSANE things got just one month later…and how the Crazy Train just steam rolled right on through to 2013. I promise I’ll write more about 2013 soon, …. matter fact I promise I’ll write more period. I miss you guys 🙂

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Crying in the Car is For Wusses

cryoutside

I went outside. I went even further than outside, I went outside and got into my car and cried my eyes out. Crying sucks big time especially when you’ve been trying to hold it in. Crying sucks even more when you do it in the car while it’s snowing outside. Why was I crying?  It was out of sheer exhaustion with life. I’m trying to hold a lot together, my business, my home, my son, my sanity. I feel like i’m failing at all of those things.  I had a meeting with a well respected veteran in the fashion industry today and he reviewed my brand and gave me his very direct opinion of my work. It made me want to give up. Half way through our meeting I wanted to pack up and leave but stuck it out because I needed to hear these things. I asked for this but that didn’t mean I had to like it. My skin is no where near tough, let’s just get that straight. I’m extremely sensitive on the inside, I try not to let it show but today was just too much. I didn’t just cry, I wept.  I had come face to face with the reality of my circumstances. You ever look around one day and notice that the carpet is threadbare, your sweaters are moth eaten, and the paint around the windows is peeling, when only just the day before everything seemed alright? That’s the feeling that over took me today as I sat in my car with my disconnected phone, and the last $3.00 I have to my name.  I wondered what am I doing?  What have I done? This is not the life I signed up for and why have I pushed and worked so hard to be in this place? I want to write more about this but right now I just can’t because my head hurts from crying like a sissy in my car.

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mid-life M.A.S.H

M.A.S.H Game

M.A.S.H Game

‘Member dis? We used to play M.A.S.H. (mansion, apartment, shack, house) back in the day. The limo was obligatory up until somebody realized that rich and famous people don’t actually own stretch limos. I also kinda remember playing this by myself and putting my 4th grade crush in the husband column then finagling the results to make sure he was chosen.   I decided to take a trip down memory lane two nights ago. I thought it would be fun. It wasn’t. It was actually stressful and depressing. I could only come up with two fantasy husbands, the housing situation was a bust too. I finally just started putting whatever, but this little exercise got me thinking about my current mental state. Am I really that jaded with life, that I can’t even dream about the unrealistic future or have I…dare I say it…lost the magic and grown up? I feel like the adults in the Polar Express that couldn’t hear the bell ring because they had stopped believing in Santa Claus. As I’m writing this I’ve figured out exactly who’s to blame!!! My financial advisor!!.. well he’s not “mine” per say but it sounds good and really grown up when you place ownership on a financial advisor.  I went to go see this guy more as a return on a previous favor, than because I needed advice about finances that I don’t actually have. That meeting was like a 2 hour long game of M.A.S.H. seriously, only we didn’t stop at houses, husbands, and cars, Mr Northwest Mutual added a few other columns like, Debt, Retirement homes, Insurance, Current Expenses and a whole host of other headers that bit by bit chipped away at the gold leaf I’d thinly layered over my very real, very impoverished state. This real life M.A.S.H was more like SQUASH. As sobering as it was to go through the intimate details of my life and future plans (or lack there of), it was an experience I cherish and have recommended to all of my friends. I realized that reacting to life instead of directing your life is not a good pattern to fall into. My advisor was amazed at the simplicity of my needs, while it was something to laugh about it made me realize that I’d stopped dreaming big. That is the toll that parenthood has taken on me. I didn’t have a dream car, dream salary, dream house, or dream future beyond wanting to pay for my son’s college tuition and be able to take care of my mom. It was pathetic really, but I’m saying this in the past tense for a reason. That meeting opened up my eyes and I started to focus on the happiness factor and creating the quality of life that I’d really enjoy, to consider the possibilities and not the liabilities of life.

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Burnt Offerings

Burnt Offerings

Burnt Toast

Guess who just got a visit from Virginia’s Finest? SOMEBODY who shall remain nameless, sacrificed toast to the convection gods and set the oven on fire. I called 911 and was hoping that they would just tell me what to do, instead they sent the whole fire brigade. which is em.bar.as.sing, especially when the fire GOES OUT before they get there. Trust me, I’m grateful for their efficiency ……but………………………………………….. i have a confession……………………………………..i’m so ashamed…………..i. had. a. SHALLOW MOMENT: in the midst of me talking to the dispatcher, and shuttling the boy outside and away from the flames, I started to think about the manliness that was about to be delivered to my front door, FIRE MEN ARE FOINE! At the time the fire broke out I was in the middle of working out, and had on these knee length workout pants. Whilst outside waiting i stepped into the light of the street lamp looked down at my bare legs and, to my horror, what did i see? ASH, from the ankles up! I heard the trucks coming and knew it was now or never, i made a mad dash for the house, and dived for the lotion next to my bed. Two pumps and a couple swipes later I was back outside, on the curb looking appropriately distraught. (don’t judge me)

We’re ok, the fire was contained in the Toast-r-Oven and all is well. oh and the firemen were, very, very, very nice 😉

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Guilty Chicken

Eating the breast does not make you a bad parent.

How many times have you found your self struggling between eating the drumsticks when you really know you want to eat the big piece? Why do we do this to ourselves? Is it that natural instinct to make sure the bairn are well stuffed before we nurture our own needs, or is it just idiotic guilt?  My vote is on the side of misguided self flagellation. Wings or thighs? Does it matter, does it make me a horrible selfish person if i go for the big one at the bottom of the bucket? Unfortunately this mentality does not just apply to The Colonels 8 piece, this unnecessary guilt at self satisfaction plagues most parents, though I think single parents get a double dose. When sacrifice becomes so ingrained in your way of thinking and operating it becomes hard to be self indulgent. It’s time to take a stand!! So on behalf of ALL SINGLE PARENTS I SAY EAT THAT BREAST, HECK, TAKE THE THIGH TOO!!! Your kids will survive they won’t hate you for it, you deserve it, you’re bigger you need the sustenance!!

Dante’s Fried Chicken Logo

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Happy Mother’s Day

I’m in the closet drinking juice and reading books. IT.IS.ME.TIME! It’s my day dangit!! This morning at 12:07am my boy gave me this lovely card:

Mothers Day Card 2012

and at 12:17am after I told him how much I loved it and would love it even more if he added an L to the word “world”, he asked me “Okay so what do you have for me?” He was serious. Fast forward to “for real morning time”. I’m in the bathroom with my vibrating footbath (with heat); he walks in and sticks his foot right in with mine. I’m like “Umm, Ok BYE!” He leaves. About 15 minutes later I smell breakfast food.  Could it be?! Nah, he can’t be doing what I think he’s doing? I’m actually scared to get my hopes up. I hear the clatter of plates through the bathroom door and imagine him scurrying around with excitement about surprising me with breakfast. I did allow myself a lil smile at the thought. I decided to take a little extra time drying off my now super relaxed feet.  I had the mommy face all ready, you know, the ingratiating furrowed brows, slight head cock and turned down lip smile, straight MOMMA FACE! And then I opened the bathroom door, and this:

self serve mothers day

I’M SO DONE!

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