I’m Not Just A Number!

If you’ve read any of my blogs, by now you know that I spend 9 months of my life away from my friends, my family, my children, and my sanity. Today is a rainy day so I decided to catch up on my tv shows until I got bored then I would do some work. On one of the tv shows, a father told his son “when you went to jail they replaced your name with a number and stripped you of your identify and your value”. That hit me waaaayyyy too close to home.

When I was admitted into Riverside Correctional Facility (also known as RCF) I was fingerprinted, asked about my health history, and given a tag. That tag had a series of numbers on it- 1155295. The moment that tag was placed on me, my identity was stripped away. Guards knew me by my last name and my number. Whenever I left my unit, my number was checked. When my mail was delivered, it was identified with my number. Losing your sense of self in that way can really mentally f*%! you up.

It was one thing to be ripped away from my life, but to rip away my identity was humiliating. Degrading. Demeaning. Dehumanizing. Even when I was being released, I was identified by my number. It took a while to regain my identity. I am one out of close to 1,000 women that was housed in that complex. 1 out of countless women who’s identity was stripped away. But today I make a stand- I AM NOT A NUMBER!

I am a mom. Every single day that I open my eyes I am a mother until I take my last breath. I am a daughter. A friend. A business woman. An entrepreneur. A soul mate. A future wife. I am everything BUT a number. And this was something that I had to constantly remind myself for months after I left RCF. And today I want to remind you, who is reading this and has had a similar background as me, that you are not a number. You are a person. A whole person. Beautiful. Smart. Driven. Talented. Brave. Fearless. And NOT who they told you that you were. Don’t let anyone else label you. Ever.

I refuse to be defined by my past mistakes. And I refuse to let my mistakes dictate my future successes. I am not a number, but I plan on having a hell of a lot of numbers in my bank account. Define yourself. Always.

Be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

A Letter To My Children

To my miracle child, and my guardian angel- mommy loves you. God knew exactly what he was doing when he sent to both of you into my life, and I wanted to let you know that I am extremely proud of you.

My miracle baby. I went through a lot before you came into my life. I had many doctors tell me that I wouldn’t be able to conceive you. I went through 2 rounds of invitro, and was told that my uterus wouldn’t be able to hold you. I had given up on having children, and was considering traveling the world before adopting. Your dad has just proposed to me only a few weeks before you made me sick. That’s how I found out about- I went to the hospital because I couldn’t get out of bed one day. Only to find out that I had you growing inside of me. It was one of the best days of my life. You changed me. Feeling you grow inside of me, watching you on the monitors, listening to your heart beat. It transformed what I believed was love and helped me to finally and fully understand how God loves me. You were His gift to me, and I promised God that I would always take care of you. When they cut me open and pulled you out, your very first cry melted my heart, and when I laid eyes on you I knew that I had finally attained perfection. You were the most beautiful little white baby I had ever seen in my life. Although I did think that people would think that I kidnapped you because you were so pale. Lol. I couldn’t believe that I- Kishna- had created and carried you. To this day I am amazed with you- how smart you are, how funny, how caring, how charismatic. You will always be my miracle baby.

My angel. Boy oh boy was mommy going through a tough time when you were conceived. Mommy and daddy were always fighting and I had made some really bad mistakes when I found out that I was pregnant with you. Mommy was dealing with mental and emotional issues and caring for another baby wasn’t very high on my list of short term goals. I told your nana that I wasn’t ready for you, and she begged me to keep you and give you to her. That was the best advice I had ever taken from her. When I was at my lowest points, you gave me hope. When I was feeling helpless, you helped me stay grounded (probably because you were so heavy in my stomach that you were weighing me down! Lol!). When I wanted to give up, I knew that I couldn’t because I needed to make sure you were ok. You helped mommy to stay sane in an insane period of my life. You helped me to remember that I had a purpose, a goal, and a reason to live and to fight. When they cut me open and pulled you out, your bright eyes made me see that everything that I went through was for you, to help you get here because you had a purpose. And when they took you from me, I knew I had to fight to be with you again. You are still my foundation. And you will always be.

To my children. Always know that mommy loves you, mommy will always be with you, and mommy will never leave your side. I will be your biggest cheerleader, your constant voice of reasoning, and the connection to God to show you good vs evil. You are my greatest accomplishments, and I hope to always make you as proud as you make me. I love you.

As always, be legendary Kings; be extraordinary Queens!

-tootles!

xoxo

Nowadays Kids

kelly-sikkema-266805-unsplash

Growing up, I was around technology. Internet, cable TV and of course, phones. It was my love for technology that drove me towards doing Computer Science as my major. But, I’m not here to talk about me nor my passions.

When I was a lot younger, I used to go outside and play with my dad and my friends. You know, playing hopscotch, double dutch and all those other fun things. Nowadays, these kids don’t really go outdoors and have fun with their parents much. And sure, when they go to school they get the chance to play. But what about that down time with their parents.

Cultures are different. What’s done in the US, UK or wherever else isn’t necessarily done in Jamaica. Well for the most part at least. I have a niece who is so glued to the TV that she knows when her favourite cartoon episode has been repeated. When she was staying with my parents, that’s all she ever did, watch TV.

Her parents are so busy during the day that they don’t really have time to take her outside to play. So she’s mainly inside, watching the kid version of Disney every day. Of course she goes to school and has made friends. But like I said before, what happens to the downtime with her parents.

My point is, nowadays kids are growing up into this highly technological world. And while there are still stay at home parents, some of these parents are too busy running errands or working from home. I’m sure a lot of parents want their “me time” especially after a long day and a long week.

These kids are relying on technology (like their tablets, the TV, etc.) too much and don’t know how to have real fun. They’re taking their phones to the bathroom, to the dinner table, to bed and the list goes on. So what can we do about it? Do kids know how to be kids?

Now, don’t get me wrong. Kids having their tablets and such is a great way to keep them preoccupied especially when you’re travelling. But let’s be real here; they need a break from it every once in a while.

One thing my sister does is that set her TV to a time for it to shut off. This means, no more TV until the next day and no TV at dinner either. This is a really good practice because it helps to bring them back to reality and be more involved with their family.

For parents, try to incorporate some family time into your me time. Take your kids to the beach, an amusement park, somewhere fun. So while they’re having fun, you’re having fun and relaxing too. I’m sure a lot of parents do it but it doesn’t hurt to say it so that busy parents can try it.

I’m no parent but when I do become one (if I become one), I’m going to try to take my own advice. I don’t want my kids to be glued technology for all their childhood. Childhoods are about creating fun memories that they won’t forget. Memories that they can share with their kids.

What do you think about kids and technology these days?

Are you a parent? What have you done to ensure that your kids aren’t always stuck to technology? Sound off below.

This post was written by the talented Shanese! Don’t forget to check out her blog and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Bloglovin’.