Why Must We live In Labels?

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I remember growing up in school standing in the lunch line behind two very popular girls. As I patiently waited for my spot to reach the lunch lady, I heard one of the girls ask the other girl a question. She asked the other child who looked like me, why didn’t she like me. Of course, I immediately positioned my body so I could hear the bulk of the conversation. This was a question I wanted to know because it was odd always being the person being left out of conversations, celebrations and even down right hated at times. At least this is how I felt because to a young child all those things help to make up our social collage.

So, back to the memory! She leans in and tells the other girl that I wasn’t like them. I didn’t talk like them, act like them, or even look like them. Now this was a little confusing because I was most certainly black. My parents were black, my sisters were black, so how was I so different? Well, I guess if we entertain the not talking like them, perhaps there was a little validity in that comment. My parents wouldn’t allow me to listen to rap music and at the time I was growing up, rap music was popular. A lot of the slang that children used back in those days, I couldn’t use. Once again, the rule was to leave the extra at the door. I most certainly grew up black, but my parents raised me differently than most of the children, due to their age. My parents came from another generation which really focused on how people were perceived by the public.

All sorts of hell lived in my house, but the public never knew. As the students were saying I wasn’t black enough, my parents were teaching another lesson all together.  They were teaching me about black limitations. So, when I came home crying over my favorite teacher who had just died in a car wreck the night before my world grew even more confined. I was told that I shouldn’t be crying for the white woman because she didn’t really care about me, add that on top of the you can’t be this or that because you are black ,and you have the perfect confusion sundae.

I had enough around the age of 18, so I left the confusing small town behind with all the confused people in it. Sadly, I see those same confusing outlooks being washed over the black race today. People are telling us that we can’t be Republicans because we are black, or that we can’t be racist since we have no control. I’ll calling out both ideas today because both are wrong. My parents preventing me from grieving over a white teacher was racist. I do not care what anyone tells me or you about racism because it isn’t a one race problem.

Racism is like a cloud that spreads over the world that brings down an invisible layer of confusion. It hinders the way we treat each other and perceive each other. It makes enemies out of people who know nothing about each other due to the stigma attached to the unknown group. Ignorance is the perfect environment for racism to grow. It’s like a perfectly lit breeding ground for misinformation and chaos. When we start seeing ourselves as people without limits race seems to disappear into the background.  Does that mean all racist moments stop happening? Of course not, but it means we learn how to move through life without constantly tripping over the vines of racism. The vines in many ways are the obstacles that we place down. Perhaps, we tell ourselves that we will never be able to get the job because they are looking for someone who looks like her, he’ll never ask me out because I am not his race, or people who look like me do not live in houses like that.

Anyway, you cut it, hiding behind race creates invisible borders. Life isn’t about being boxed into any group, it’s about being able to weather storms. If you are looking for what divides us, look at those people preaching division. They are the dividers of the world, but that doesn’t mean we have to let them make us act out that way. As always think with your heart, it isn’t white, brown or black it’s just human. Don’t let certain ideologies pave your way just because it is a norm. Fight for understanding and the right to choose.

Photo by Linda Eller-Shein on Pexels.com

Don’t forget to check out Ariana’s cooking show.

Knowing How To Spot Munchausen Syndrome

Many of you have probably seen the show on Hulu called The Act. As an ex child abuse investigator, I have been pretty vocal on knowing what and when to report child abuse. This morning we are going to talk about learning how to report abuse and when normal isn’t normal.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One of my most emotional cases dealt with a young mother who nearly mastered the art of deception. The case was centered around a toddler who was subject to multiple surgeries and needless test. By the time I entered the picture the mother had started keeping a visual log of photos detailing her abuse. I still remember seeing the enormous stack of photos and having a chill of sudden fear run down my spine.

I’ll never know why she kept so many photos of her son detailing every sick moment. My gut tells me that she was going to use those photos as a reason to assign death at a later date. We are talking about hundreds of photos with nothing but sickness and a detailed walk down torture lane. She knew the right words, she knew the right people, but she got a little too overconfident in the end.

Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

In the end I got my butt chewed off by our lawyers and the judge because I did something most investigators would never do, I went against the hospital by forcing their hand in learning the truth. When I got the case this child was slowly dying, he wasn’t gaining weight, and he was on a pure liquid diet. I had to threaten hospital social workers in order to keep him safe, but by the end of three weeks, I had all medical proof I needed.

His vitals rebounded, he gained well into the 50th percentile and he was now starting to eat by mouth. The child I saw weeks ago couldn’t sit up and he couldn’t wave at me. Now he was now able to walk around the hospital room and give me his toy trucks. We were awarded custody of him, but we couldn’t get the DA to sign off on charges of child abuse due to them not knowing much about the Munchausen Syndrome.

Two things could have saved this kid a lot of pain and heartache. The first thing is having a medical professional call in a case prior to him being nearly 4 or 5. By the time I stepped in, he had already been to quite a few hospitals. All of the doctors said they suspected something was off. They were taking notes, but the mother moved from place to place.

Correspondence is key when you are dealing with someone who suffers from this syndrome. If these hospitals would have linked up a year ago, this child would have been removed a lot sooner. Another provider stated that she felt like they were being forced into performing surgeries by the parent. The parent knew just enough medical terminology to fake symptoms and syndromes.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

This child was surrounded by medical personnel but it took years for someone to call in the abuse. Remember you work for the child. If you are an investigator , be diligent. I know the department presses you to close cases due to numbers, but life surpasses any number system. If you feel like something feels wrong, investigate it. Do not close that case until YOU are sure that child is safe.

Lastly, never assume that certain people can’t be abusers. If you saw little Todd walking and eating three months ago and now every time you see him he has a sippy cup in hand, ask why. If you babysit this child and he eats for you, but the mother swears that he can’t eat, ask why. If you still feel like something is off, call CPS. You just might be saving a life.

Lets Cook Together! Maybe I’ll Learn Something New!

I remember my mother once made this blueberry delight tart, but I can’t recall the name. So, this weekend I wanted to do something a little different. I want us to think back to our favorite childhood treats and share them. My mother isn’t living anymore so I can’t really give you details about the delight, but I can tell you about the ugly cake.

The ugly cake is also called the gooey butter cake. It’s rich and delicious with lots of butter and sugar. You take a yellow cake mix and prepare it as if you were going to bake it by the directions on the box. Then you take one stick of cream cheese, and a pound of powered sugar . After you mix all of that together you will layer it on top of the yellow cake mixture and let it bake for 30 to 40 min depending on the stove.

So, here’s the fun part. Post something easy and maybe we can all try something new this weekend. I don’t care what country it comes from, just post it and we will give it a go. You have to give something a try too! That’s how this works. I will open comments for this.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Comments are open, so share!!