This story of an inspirational woman in my life is extremely close to my heart since it belongs to my aunt. We belong to a very humble background, where woman are only encouraged to settle down as early as possible and men are the sole bread-winners of the family. Its just how the culture has embedded this trend within our society, since the beginning. But throughout my story, you'll realize why shattering the norms is important in today's society and why ones inability to achieve their dreams shouldn't be --- " don't do it since it goes against the cultural norms and since you'll be a shame to the family's honour"
There is no shortage of women who inspire me that I could write about. My mother, who raised three children on her own earning success in her career and raising strong resilient children. My sister who fought all odds and woke up from a coma that should have killed her or my friend who gave up her favourite foods such as steak and eventually gravy because her empathy for all living things was bigger than satisfying her taste buds or her meat loving husband.
It has finally happened, folks! I’m no longer living the paycheck to paycheck life.
I hit my 30th with true drunken Dionysus style. Probably more Dionysian than strictly necessary, but it was a dream 30 years in the making, so it needed to be epic. I had two hot ass bartenders wearing speedos, because I deserve to objectify hot men on my birthday. One was a bartender I met at my farewell drinks from KRONOS, the other was his mate who was a model. I propositioned Mark at the Ivanhoe, and he said he would be happy to walk around my house half naked and serve drinks at my 30th, for a price of course. After that it just felt so unnecessary to go online looking for hot wait staff for hire, only for them to turn up looking like the elephant man’s less attractive younger brother. That’s the problem with online these days. With all the filters and stuff, a photo can be a bit deceptive. On a related note, what counts as hot these days can be a bit confusing. I blame the body positivity movement. I am all for people loving themselves just the way they are, but that doesn’t mean my penis has to agree with your self-assessment of your own hotness. No amount of social engineering is going to change the basics of mainstream attractiveness. Sure, there will always be people with specific fetishes, if bed bound morbidly obese people light your fire, no shame in that, go get your tubby lover. There are plenty of people out there who are into amputees, but the reality is most people are programmed to prefer symmetry. The reality is the vast majority of people are not going to be into non-mainstream, you can shriek on social media about how beautiful you are, and to someone you will be, but that doesn’t mean I want you in speedos serving cocktails at my party.
So I really did think a long time about this. My mother is a woman who broke the mold on single mothers. Raising her children and then some, after the seperations from our fathers. Who wouldn’t want look to a role model like her, that worked the 80hr weeks for baseball fees, and pointe shoes. Or my grandmother who fought through custodial rights (which was unheard of at that time) and the kidnapping of her only child or her battles with end stage cancer (she’s doing well currently). I’ve had more than my share of strong, empowered female role models. But in the end, I was left with one person. I met Yvette Baker about 4 years ago, and we could say that I was very nervous at first. I was the new girlfriend. A stranger from another state and not always every mother’s dream girl for their son. So there I was in an outfit that was obviously picked out to make an impression. I turned on the southern charm most people joke about and before I knew it we had kicked up a kinship that was more like a lifetime instead of a few years. The lead up to this meeting was proceeded by one of the worst years of my life. I had walked away from the home I had always known for good. Said goodbye to my nephew, who I had helped raise from birth. He was my rainbow after a long period of infertility. My mother who had become my best friend and confidant. I left for a place that at the time left everyone scratching their heads (Iowa). I was suffocating in that town and had finally got those wide open spaces all the songs promise. But do you know what keeps people from moving back home? Healthy roots? Like when you transfer a plant from one pot to another. You have to make sure the ability for new roots to grow is a possibility. And I was primed by the love of my own family. But it’s not always so easy, but people like Yvette make it seem as easy as watering a Peace Lilly. It’s like having another mother without all the relived memories of how much of an asshole you were at 16. When my grandmother was first diagnosed with the cancer. I couldn’t find it in myself to cry to my mother. She had so much on her plate and who was I to ask for a shoulder when she needed one way more. Yvette had been through this with her sister. So I thought if anyone could understand how I felt she would. And I was right, she did know how I feel and listened to every fear, helped me work out when was the right time to come home. In the end when I left we hugged and it was a hug that lifted the rain clouds. Made it easier to think more clearly. She lol helped me search flights. Loaned me a suit case, and made sure to feed the boyfriend while I was gone. She has made every holiday feel as inviting as home. I will find myself coming early to lend a hand to cook, or wrap a present, or bake cookies like I use to with my own mother. Did I mention ethe grandmother she became to my son from a previous relationship? Picking him up from an evening with Grandma Baker is always followed with regalings of how they watched Godzilla, and popcorn or pizza. Yvette is the type of Grandma that really listens to what you say you want for your birthday. She is a well of fashion advice. I’ve come to believe that before I met Yvette, that I never felt fully put together and had told her on multiple occasions how silly I always felt dressed up cause it just always seemed off. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve thought to just give her money and let her pick out my clothes cause I always look fly as hell when she’s selecting. Like the stunning dress she picked for my brother in laws wedding. When in Ulta together we sometimes make eye contact and know we aren’t leaving without dropping an easy $50. She’s never slighted me once for moaning about Thad not taking the trash out. It’s always met with understanding and the compassion of someone who has been there. I joke with Thad, that he doesn’t have to worry about me leaving cause I love his mom too much, and he makes jokes about how I’m the favorite child. There’s never a rush to leave, when I pop in for a chat or to love the puppies. How could you not nominate a woman like Yvette Baker? A woman who redefined what it is to be a mother-in-law. No longer are we stuck in the past of dreading a call from the in-laws. Now I look into a future where my family has grown, and will continue to, with the births of nephews, the weddings of brothers, and maybe a few puppies being adopted. Who could have ever known how much admiration would have been born on the day Yvette Baker got to meet her youngest son’s new girlfriend. I love you, Yvette, for all the years of love and support. I only hope one day I can return the favor.
Proud. Formidable. Fearless. Just a few of the words that come to mind when I reflect on Mrs Esther Mae or Aunt Mae as she was fondly called. She was a force to be reckoned with. A cantankerous soul, often misunderstood, but with a heart of gold.
When I think of women who have influenced my life many great and famous Ladies come to my mind, but when it really comes down to it the Women who make me who I am today are my mother, Grandmothers, and Mother-in-law. Each of these women have instilled in me lessons that have helped me develop character and voice.
My maternal grandmother had a sister named Rachel Rebekah, but for some unknown reason everyone called her Gladys, My great aunt passed away in 2013 at age 92 and left a lasting impression on everyone she came in contact with. This could be good or bad depending on the situation, because Rachel Rebekah was strong willed. When the neighborhood children heard that Ms. Gladys was coming to visit they would scatter and run away from our home. When her name was mentioned it was like on television when someone would say “It’s the fuzz,” or “ Scram, it’s the cops.” This was because my great aunt was a strict disciplinarian and would be harsh on our friends if they got out of hand. Once when I was about seven or eight aunt Gladys came to visit and one her son’s drew her ire. She chased my cousin through our front yard and round and round a big tree with a switch in her hand. This cousin would have bern 16 or 17, 6 feet tall and about 260 pounds. It was a really funny sight to see him running from his mother who was about 5 foot 3 and weighing about 140 pounds. Everyone who saw it laughed until tears ran down our faces.
I used to be a single mom; I was proud of the title 'single mom', it carried weight, it carried a banner that told society I have been there and survived. I had also stopped trusting most people and stopped going out, stopped challenging myself, stopped learning. I was becoming a hermit, socially isolating myself, this is not safe or recommended.
Hi my name is Aliah. I was born in Jamaica the island. I was abused as a child from my mom and my aunts. Growing up in Jamaica I was very grateful and happy. I love the food in Jamaica especially the fruits in the tree and playing with my brother and my cousins and helping to clean the yard. I was happy in my country until my family was very jealous of me because I have beautiful eyes and I was not dark skin as them. My mom will always abused me she will hit me with a brush until my skin turns into many colors. She even gave me a black and blue eye and hit me in my face until you could see her hand print in my face. One day when I was coming home from school she got mad at me and she tried to killed me. My mom used a broom stick and put it in my throat then she step on my throat so no air could passed through. She look me in my eyes and told me she wants me to die. The only person that I was close to in my life was my brother. His name was Jordan. I lost him in 2005-2006. He was only 12 years old. He fell out of a tree and broke his neck. Ever since he passed away my mom told me she wish it was me instead of him. Me and my mom has not been close and I have not forgiven her for what she has done. What makes it worst is the guy she is with that is now her husband. He most of all did not like me because I was not his child he treat me bad and he used to beat my mom and tried to burn her with a lighter. He kicked me out of his house and I ended up living with my grandmother and my aunties and then I ended up in a foster home because my mom and her man did not want me. I was only 10 years old when all of this happened to me. I turned 11 years old in the foster home I was staying at. Then I went to court to testify against my mom and they ask me if I wanted to live with her and I told them no so my aunt took me out of foster care and I thought everything will be good but she used me as her slave I have to get up everyday and clean and be in the shop and pack up the food on the shelf for when the customers come. Her daughter always leave me in the shop to do everything and she will tell me to lie for her and tell her parents that she was helping me all day but I never do it I told them the truth. Then they told me to take a break and she was in the shop all by herself. I thought that since I am living with my mom sister (my aunt) I thought that she was going to come visit me and she did only twice and then I never see her again. After that my grandad said he was going to take me to America and then I was going to stay with him in Canada. The day come when I had to take pictures for my passport and that’s when I saw my mom again she came and she brought me to take my pictures at the Jamaican embassy, then I got my passport and then I got my visa and then the day came for me to get on the plane to come to America. My mom brought me and I told her bye and I got on the plane all by myself and I came to America. I was 14 years old when I came up here. When I got here my aunt who I was going to lived with was waiting for me and then I taught I was going to be happy I was wrong she was nice for a little bit and then she used me to babysit and to clean and to wash all her uniforms for work and her school clothes and her kids clothes as well. She had a cousin who she let stay with her. His name was Connie. while he was there he started to look at me weird and when my aunt would go to work I thought he would not do anything to me so I did what I always do when she leaves I clean and I fed the kids and then I will go and write some music in my book. One night I was staying up late to do my home work and when I was finish Connie came on my bed and he started touching me and kissing me. I was telling him to stop and he didn’t he just started pushing himself on me more and then I said it louder and then in the morning I told my aunt what happened, but she did not believe me. She called me a liar and she said that I made it up. So I started crying and then when she ask him he lied to her and she believed him. When I told my mom what she is doing my aunt lie to her and my mom believe her and my mom told me that if she was there she would have slapped me in my face. Then my grandad called me and ask me why I am not on the plane to come to him and my aunt made me lie to him but he knew she was telling me to say things to him so I was happy he believed me and that he knows his daughter. Then after that my aunt changed her number so he can’t call her. After that my aunt start to beat me with a broom stick and when I go to school I started crying in my class and my teacher brought me outside to talk to me and I could not speak to her because if I did I would get more beaten when I went home. My teacher brought me to the principals office because she was the only one I could talk to about anything but even with that I could not tell her as well. Then I started crying and I started to tell her what happened. I showed her all the bruises on my skin and then she started crying and she asked me “why I did not come and tell me what’s been going on at home”. I told her I tried but my aunt always lied to her and she believes her so she gave me a hug and told me she is very sorry then she told me I can not go back there and she called the cops and then they came and they took pictures of the bruises of my legs, arms and back. Then they brought me in the ambulance and took me to the hospital and while I was there waiting for the doctor they called my aunt but she never picks up her phone. While I was there waiting the doctor finally came in and examined me and he said nothing was broken but he asked me how this happened and I told him. after he left the cops told me that they would never leave my side then I talk to them and I told them that I could sing and they told me to sing so I closed my eyes and I started singing Selena Gomez song “who says” when I opened my eyes the room was filled with cops and they all cheered and clapped and told me that I was gifted and they said that I could be a singer. It was my dream. Then after all of that acs came and put me in a foster home and I stayed there for couple months and then I got adopted. This lady by the name Deloris Henry adopted me from the foster home I was in. She was the best mom I could ask for she has two older daughters and they accept me and they treat me like one of their own she will take me shopping and to church and she will always hug me and she is always their when ever I need to talk to someone. Then after I got a social worker and he was very nice his name was Mr. Brentwood. He help me got my green card and he will take me to the movies and take me to Manhattan. He show me this school where everyone goes to study acting ,art and music because I was into those stuff. Then after that everything was good until I got depressed because of everything that happened to me. I tried not to Think about it but it’s not easy. I tried to hurt myself by taking my foster mom pills and drinking her wine. Then my foster mom notice and she brought me to the hospital where I stayed for a whole year until I got better. While I was there I met a lot of young girls some the same age as me and some alittle younger, but their stories made me cry and made me realize that their is more to life. They became very attached to me because of my personality they called me very sweet and nice. I always try to be that person that anyone can come to and talk to because I didn’t have anyone like that in my life so I try to be one for someone else. Then after my aunt who I met couple times already she called me from the hospital and she told me that she is going to adopt me. I was happy cause I get to be with someone who I know. While I was in the hospital they gave me medication to take that was supposed to help me and it did a little bit. After I was released from the hospital I got adopted again by my aunt. My case worker make sure that I was in a good home and she took good care of me. I was happy again and she had a son and a daughter who already know everything that happened to me. My aunt was a Christian so we would always get up early eat breakfast and get ready for church. I went to a new school called valley stream central high school. I made friends very quickly because I was quiet and I was not born in America so everyone was curious about my background and my culture. Everything was going until we ended up moving again to Hempstead. My aunt wanted a bigger home because she wanted more kids and so I could have my own room. We had a big backyard and it was very nice, but I had to switch school I moved away from my friends and I went to another school Called malverne high school. While I was attending school I was still into my feelings and then my depression came back. I got depressed because I was thinking about everything everyone put me through and I didn’t even have my mom by my side to help me, so I started to cut myself on my wrist and then I took my aunt pills with some water and swallowed it. I just wanted to die. Then my aunt realizes and she brought me to a psychiatrist on Jamaica avenue to get me better and to talk to someone. I told her everything and she prescribed me some medication, and then she realized that this medication was not strong enough so she prescribed me another medication and she told me that I must take them together in order for them to work. After that when I had went home my social worker sent a therapy to come see me at home everyday to make sure I was taking my medication and to have an update on me. I will tell her what’s on my mind she would always write them down and she always ask me if I am happy and how are they treating me and I told her they are treating me good and that I am okay. My therapists was very nice her name was Allison and she cares about everything that I have to say and she listens. While I was on my to be fully recover I saw my aunt at church and I felt scared so my foster took me away from her and then she put me next to her and said that I should call the cops because she is not supposed to be near me. I told her I was fine so she didn’t call. Then after that I started feeling alone so I went on a dating site called zoosk and I sign up and I started talking to this guy who was 25 years old at the time his name was hector. We met in person and he was sweet but he was not my type so I started talking to another guy his name was Chris he was really cute we started talking on the phone and then we lost contact then I met this guy name brad his name on the site was banks so I used to called to him banky. We met in person and he was sweet we talk and eat and we learned a lot about each other then I start to fall for him he is not the handsome person in the world but he has a nice personality and he was a hard worker. He has a daughter and she is beautiful and she looks just like him. After a few months of being together I got pregnant and I was still in foster care even though I was adopted I didn’t know what to do so brad told me to tell my foster mom and he said that when I go back to court I have to tell the judge that I do not want to be in foster care anymore. I told my foster mom that I was pregnant and I told her that I am going to tell the judge that I do not want to be in foster care anymore. she was so mad at me and she told me to get my stuff and get out. She kicked me out of her home and I didn’t have no where to go other than brad home, so I had to lived with brad. He got so mad at me because he wanted me to finish school first and we got into an argument then he didn’t believe me when I told him that my foster mom kicked me out so I called her and I put her on speaker so he could hear it form her that she did kicked me out. Then after I got off the phone he started to think and then he told me that we are in this together and that he is going to make sure me and the baby is okay so then we went back to my foster mom home and I went to get all my stuff. Then I went to court and told them that I wanted out of the system. The judge grant it and I was out just like that. After living with brad I started to notice that he was cheating on me. I saw this girl on his phone that he has been messaging her name his Natassia wallen but she called her self Tassie. She and brad text a lot and they talk secretly on the phone. When I confronts him about it he started lying to me and saying that he is not cheating on me and he said that why do am I accusing him of something that I don’t have proof of, and then he start calling me names and saying that I am stupid and I am the dumbest person in the world and that I am bitch and he regret giving me a baby. I told him that I was going to get rid of the baby but then I realized if I had an abortion I would be devastated so I decided to keep my baby and I know it would be hard because I am first time mom but I did everything to make sure my baby was healthy. He always have his brothers over whenever he got a day off from work so when his brothers come over they would drink and talk and he will tell them that I never could caught him cheating because he is too cool and smart for me to catch him. I started crying when I heard that, I felt stupid I wanted to leave but I don’t know where I would go so I just stayed because I don’t want to be in the streets. One day his brother who he have not seen in a while came by with a girl and they went into the bathroom and they was smoking so I went to the room and closed the doors and I lay down on the bed and wait for him to come to bed, but then I heard the girl talking asking him if I don’t do this to him and he said yeah and said that I was okay at it. I was 18 years old at the time and I was 4 months pregnant. I went to go drink some water and I knocked at the door and he told me to wait then I throw up and he open the door and I saw his dick in the girl mouth and I was so angry I wanted to punch the girl and him I watch him pull it out of her mouth and zipped up his pants and he laughed and walked right passed me like he don’t care then the girl looked at me scared and walked away to get her stuff fast and she left. He said that I ruined a good moment. After that I told myself that I was done with him after I gave birth to our daughter I thought he would Change but he didn’t he got worse. I felt unhappy in the relationship but having my daughter she makes me happy, so I just focused on her. Then after my daughter turned one I decided to leave so I went to the shelter and I stayed there for two years and then I was still with my daughter dad we was still messing around and I was cheating on him too. Then I found out I was pregnant in 2017. I wanted to get rid of it but when I found out that I was three months I decided to keep it and to make it my last pregnancy. I told their dad and he cursed me out and told me it was not his baby and that the baby belongs to the other person I cheated on him with. I got stressed out after that argument and then I noticed that I was bleeding a lot and immediately I thought I lost the baby, so I had to go to the emergency room. Once I arrived at the hospital the doctor’s told me the baby was fine they said that I ripped my biblical chord and they said that they can tell I am stress. They said if I keep stressing myself out I will kill the baby. So I decided to cut off their dad for a little bit just to keep my baby healthy so I started eating a lot and not let anything stress me out and when I went back to the doctor they told me that everything is healed up and that the baby was going to be okay and then they asked me if I want to know the gender so I told them to tell the dad and they did and then he said that he will tell me on his birthday so when his birthday came he told me that we was going to have a boy I started crying immediately I was super happy and I could not wait to hold my baby boy. When I went back to shelter I started writing down some baby names and then after that I fed my daughter and then we went to sleep then at 3:30am I got up because my clothes was wet so I thought I was bleeding again but when I look there was no blood so I thought I pee the bed but I didn’t either so I took off my wet clothes and I went to pee and then I went in the shower and I got out put on my night clothes and was ready to go back in bed but I started to have contractions and they were mild so I decided to watch the time and see if I will have them every 5 minutes and I did and it got stronger and stronger so I decided to call brad and tell him I my water broke at 5:30 in the morning so he said that he was on his way so he came at 6:15am and was in Manhattan so I told him to bring me to the Bronx to the hospital and he did because the hospital in Manhattan did not accept my insurance. When I got to the hospital they asked me question and they said that I was 8 centimeters dilated. So they quickly strap me up to listen to the baby heart and then they set up my room and they called and got everything ready I was in so much pain and I could not wait to see my baby boy. I was in labor for 5 hours and then my baby boy was brought into this world I was so happy and I could not wait for my daughter to meet him and to take him home. He was 7 pounds and 11 ounces. My daughter was 6 pounds and 11 ounces. After I had him I went on a 5 year birth control I didn’t want anymore kids after because I was too young and two was good for now. I was 22 years old at the time. I got my apartment when my son turned 4 months I was super happy I moved in when he was 6 months old and I wanted to start over with their dad and be together as a family so I moved him in and it was a big mistake he was still cheating and in January 2019 he put his hands on me he and he kicked me in my face he threatened me with knife and and told me that he was going to slices my throat and shoot me in the head and then the one that hurts the most he told me that he wish someone come in my home and raped me and killed me and he told me that I am ugly and that he hates me and that I am not worth nothing and nobody will love me and that nobody will marry me. Then he went and got a hammer and he hit my hand with it he claims that it was an accident but that’s his words. I kicked him out multiple times but he refused to go so I am just waiting on till I moved so he won’t moved in with me. Everyday being with him makes me unhappy I cry so much because of so much this person puts me through and he knows my past and everything that happened to and he just add on more to it but I pray when I can and I teach my daughter how to pray too and I try to be happy because I don’t want my kids to see me hurt because they will feel hurt too. I am really happy I have them in my life because they make me strong and they are the reason why I am not going to stop fighting to get out of this messed up relationship. To anyone who is going through tough times in their life you are not alone and I just try to stay strong and pray if anyone puts you down and makes you feel bad about yourself don’t give up until you prove them wrong. Let them know that you are special and you will become something great in life.
When it comes to our parents, we want to be there for them. However, where can they live to enjoy their golden years? Living on their own can be significant. Eventually, the time will come when they will need help getting around the house. Not to mention, they can easily be injured, and that would put a lot of anxiety and stress when the family doesn’t hear from their grandparents or see them for a while. So, you would think a nursing home is an excellent choice because you would feel safe knowing the staff is certified. They wouldn’t be alone because of the other seniors.