Category: Relationships

Depression and Cognition: A Correlation

Once upon a time, depression was viewed by many as a term used by desperate individuals, who were seeking attention or individuals lacking willpower and coping skills. Flash forward to today and we’re seeing the dangerous effects of untreated depression, such as suicide, murder, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and so on.

We all go through some form of sadness from time to time, whether it’s from a job loss, a failed relationship, a sudden death, and even poor family dynamics, however, when that sadness becomes a part of your everyday routine, you know it’s time for a doctor’s visit. Depression affects you in more ways than you would think and it’s absolutely vital to seek help when you notice certain changes before you begin to spiral out of control. Personally, the one symptom that got me to my doctor’s office was my lack of concentration. As a writer, you cannot function without it and I became very suspect that something wasn’t right, right away. Social isolation is also something I experience as I work from home. We know that friendships become scarce the older we get, so imagine working from behind your computer screen, while living alone and you get the perfect case study for depression and the deterioration of one’s cognitive abilities. My short term memory doesn’t exist, brain fog is consistent, focus is almost impossible and the two things I haven’t lost as yet are my sense of humor and wit, which I am almost positive will ultimately make an exit. Cognitive decline is one of the most embarrassing and debilitating thing to happen to anyone, in my opinion, especially due to its social effects such as losing your train of thought in the middle of an interview.

Recently, I was diagnosed with a mild form of depression known as Dysthymia, a persistent depressive disorder (PPD), which now puts everything into perspective. Like major depression, it’s a mood disorder with similar effects. “Diagnosis of dysthymia can be difficult because of the subtle nature of the symptoms and patients can often hide them in social situations, making it challenging for others to detect symptoms.” Sansone, 2009, Dysthymic Disorder: forlorn and overlooked. This disorder isn’t biological, however, just having family members living with depression can put you at risk of developing dysthymia. Research also indicates that this type of disorder is far more chronic than major depression because it can begin in early childhood and go undetected for many years until it manifests into major depression. It makes perfect sense as to why I’ve always felt a deep sadness within me that I couldn’t explain and being the social and charismatic kid that I was, made it impossible for anyone to suspect that I was depressed. As a child, I thought my sadness was the result of not having my parents around, but as I grew older the feelings never left. As a young adult, I spent my early 20’s feeling sad and depressed because everyone around me had their own ideas and opinions about who they wanted me to be. Being emotional as I am, I internalized everything, which eventually lead me to develop suicidal thoughts. The fact that depression and mental health weren’t taken as seriously as it is today, allowed my dysthymia to progress. Fortunately, with therapy, it is possible to regain some sort of normalcy and control in one’s thoughts. Will my poor concentration and memory loss be a thing of my past? I sure hope so because my writing nor 150 LSAT score won’t magically appear.

As I researched this topic, I spoke with several people dealing with some form of depression, who each had one thing in common, an innate fear of being labeled and stigmatized, so no one wanted to speak with me on the record. This alone shows that even though we’ve come a long way with educating society on depression and mental health, we’re still not in the clear and more work needs to be done. If we came together to discuss our experiences with the disorder then maybe people wouldn’t suffer in silence or resort to taking his or her own life. Time and time again we hear about suicide cases, especially amongst celebrities and we’re left baffled as to why because they seemed fine. Well, in most cases we don’t find out until it’s too late.

Depression isn’t a joking matter because it can affect anyone and at any given time, but the key thing to remember is that it’s possible to overcome. Wanting to end your life shouldn’t be your first thought, instead, think about ways to manage your symptoms and coping mechanisms that have been tried and proven to work. I think that a lot of sufferers are those with empty hearts, who feel burdensome by their limited or lack of fulfilling and gratifying relationships. For these sufferers, a simple “hello” or “how are you” can make a huge difference in their mood and energy. We all want to feel valued, loved, and cared for, thus making it important to stay away from abusive relationships and negative people. Negativity in every form is bad for your health and your well-being, and it’s crucial to find a balance if you want to improve your cognitive skills and life. Life is too short not to be happy.


Suicide: What’s the Deal?

From since the beginning of 2017, it seems like there’s a suicide happening every week, as though life is only getting harder to the point where there’s just too little faith in the world. What is it? Many of you may ask, but never really wanting to hear the truth. Well, here it is, some people are simply fed up and unable to cope with demons and bullies alike, so instead of prolonging their hurt, ending his or her life remains as the only remedy to alleviating their pain. As harsh as it may sound, it’s the truth, but we have the power to save a life. Take for instance, 11-year-old Michael Morones of North Carolina, who was bullied so much at school that he decided to end his life. He was found hanging from his bunk bed with a black necktie he had worn to his first violin recital a couple weeks prior. Although Michael survived his suicide attempt, it’s likely that he’d never regain his independence due to his now, vegetative state. This tragedy could’ve been avoided if school officials had intervened or if parents not only taught their kids about “stranger danger,” but also about kindness, responsibility, and bravery in standing up for themselves and others.

According to, “Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.” And this is just for young people. A total of 34,598 people commit suicide each year, with a daily average of 94. We have reached an era where more people are dying by suicide than they are by homicide. I think it’s wonderful that fewer people are killing each other, but it’s alarming that so many are willing to give it all up. Over 90 percent of suicide victims suffer from depression, whether it’s from bullying, a job loss, poor grades, death of a friend or relative, abuse, emotional pain, chronic illness, loss of hope and many other ways. One problem still remains though; some people do not take depression and bouts of suicidal threats serious enough. Some look at a depressed and suicidal person as an attention seeker, and not the kind where the individual is actually crying out for help. It’s shameful how society treats and views depression and its underlying causes.

Social Media was ablaze when Netflix premiered the show, “13 Reasons Why” because people felt that the show “glamorized suicide.” Well, I highly dissent. This show is merely touching the surface of this soon-to-be epidemic. It showcases how oblivious and disconnected parents could be when it comes to their children’s lives. Bullies and gossip mongers are free to do as they please; torture as many of their peers as they see fit and make life harder for kids, who probably have enough hardships at home. Work and priorities will always remain the same, but it’s not enough that you spend so much time and energy on these priorities, while ignoring your children’s activities. Nowadays, everyone seems to have an opinion on what is right and wrong, but no one knows how to express their opinions in a respectful and considerate manner, and that leads to even more societal issues. Personally, I remember raising myself at different periods of my teenage years because my mom was just too busy. She’d leave for work before I left for school on most days and returned home just around bedtime. So much could’ve happened throughout these “blackout hours” and she wouldn’t have known. The point is too many kids are left raising themselves and adults aren’t proactive enough in their lives, while others place too much emphasis on areas that can easily be worked on.

I once had a college friend, who was so distraught by her grades for that particular semester that suicide seemed like the only answer at the time. She feared her parents would cut her off and quit paying her tuition, so she sat on the banister of the window in her room, gearing up to make her jump. I couldn’t live with the thought of someone dying in my presence, so I made the decision to call campus police in hopes that they’d be better at talking her down. They managed to do just that and off course, she felt a sense of betrayal on my part, but I preferred this type of emotion from her instead of the regret and contempt I would’ve felt towards myself. Furthermore, this is what you do for people you care about, you help in any way you can and you just don’t let anyone senselessly kill him or herself. In that case, along with that victim, you too, will eventually die inside and what good would it be for you, your family, your deceased friend, and his or her family? It’s important to think about life after this person is gone and this is one of the reasons why many states have laws against assisted suicide. I can agree that there are instances where suicide is and should be acceptable such as, cases involving terminal illnesses, where patients have weeks, months or years to live. If one’s pain is too hard to cope with, I don’t see a moral issue with medically assisting the individual, and it should not be frowned upon.

On November 1, 2014, Brittney Maynard, 29, chose to end her life through “assisted suicide,” also known as “death with dignity,” with her family and friends by her side. She was diagnosed with brain cancer and was given 6 months to live, but chose to forgo the pain and suffering she knew would soon become her life. According to ABC News, “[she] suffered increasingly frequent and longer seizures, severe head and neck pain, and stroke-like symptoms. As symptoms grew more severe she chose to abbreviate the dying process by taking the [lethal] aid-in-dying medication she had received months [prior].” This is the exception and it was executed with a great deal of care, unlike the other suicide victims, whose last thoughts are plagued with anger, sadness, resentment, fear, and desperation to leave this world in search of a better place in the afterlife. We are all here for the same reasons, so why not be nice to each other? No two people are alike, so there’s no reason to dislike others because they are different. Parents need to be more available and supportive of their children because your actions (negative or positive) are mirrored and internalized, so be sure it’s one that fosters kindness and empathy.

Please, don’t hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline if you or someone you know is in crisis at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).



Three Shows Worth Watching, if You Haven’t Already

Season after season, networks introduce us to new characters and plots, gripping us to our screens with no point of return because we crave drama. Netflix and Amazon Studios have taken notice, and now they too, are getting in on the action!

Gone are the days when we passively sat in front of our television sets watching sports and soap operas. Now, we watch them on the go and with this new era of fictitious non-fiction dramas, we are engaged and active in our watching. Thanks to Netflix and Amazon, we no longer need to bury ourselves in cable contracts in order to properly entertain our families, instead, we hook up our internet, plug in our fire sticks and behold, a new luxurious watching experience awaits. Although I’m not a big fan of watching television, I do have a select number of shows I occasionally binge watch and I think you should too! We’ve all heard of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Dexter and a host of other critically acclaimed dramas, and sadly all have since been canceled, however, with Netflix and Amazon you can continue reliving the experience, and it’s a wonderful one. Though these incredible shows are no longer on television, there are a wide variety of new shows that will quickly occupy your free time, as well as your heart. There’s a show for everyone and for every mood, so tread lightly if you still hate your ex and his or her new partner. Now that we’ve established boundaries, let’s take a look at the shows you should be watching right now.

Better Call Saul, AMC, Mondays @ 9 PM (Season 3 premiered April 10)

A spin-off prequel to Breaking Bad, created by Vince Gilligan and starring Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill, America’s favorite criminal lawyer. This show is brilliant because it takes you on a journey through Jimmy’s life before he became Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad. It focuses mainly on his struggles to become a successful lawyer and his relationship with his brother, Chuck McGill (Michael McKean). We all saw Saul become Walter White’s accomplice in his drug empire, but to get to that level, he went through many trials and tribulations. You see, Saul have always had a way with words and he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, so because of that his brother never trusted him. However, Saul was very motivated to get into law just like Chuck, except Chuck wasn’t flattered, instead, he became bitter and jealous. Throughout the first two seasons, Jimmy (Saul) tried mercilessly to make partner at Hamlin Hamlin and McGill (HHM), but with each attempt, Chuck found a way to sabotage his efforts. The show is incredibly well written and exquisitely performed, and I love the twists and turns that make up Jimmy’s life. Although he is a complicated man, he possesses a great deal of passion and drive to rise above his failures, and I think this is what makes Better Call Saul so engaging.

Bloodline, Netflix (Season 3 premiered May 26)

Bloodline takes you on an emotional thrill ride because it’s so good, you’ll easily forget that these characters are related. The show is set in the Florida Keys with the Rayburns, a prominent family of six, who owns a beachfront resort and is very respected in the community. Now, success doesn’t always come without problems and indeed this family has a lot to go around. As with most families, there’s a black sheep, but he quickly gets used to the notion that he’ll always be the outsider. The show is riveting and loaded with drama! Ben Mendelsohn’s character, Danny was severely beaten by his father as a boy because he was believed to have caused the death of his younger sister, Sarah, so he grew up being the designated black sheep. Kyle Chandler plays John, a detective with the local Sheriff’s office; he struggles with accepting Danny as part of the family. Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz) owns a marina, also struggles with forgiving big brother Danny for causing Sarah’s death, quick-tempered and impulsive, he gives in to his vices. Meg, played by Linda Cardellini, is an attorney who uses her power for the greater good of the family, also dislikes her brother Danny. Their parents, played by Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard just want to forget about Danny and his drama because they’ve lost hope that he’ll change his self-destructive ways. Although they’ve taken some responsibility for the way he’s turned out, there’s still a part of them that think Danny just uses his sister’s death as a way to guilt them into fulfilling his wishes. The story gets even more intense when a death occurs and then Danny goes missing…It’s very entertaining and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Stranger Things, Netflix (Season 2 premieres October 31)

Set in the 1980’s in fictional Hawkins, Indiana, a young boy goes missing and the investigation is not only conducted by the local police, but also by the boy’s friends and family. Winona Ryder plays the young boy’s mother (Joyce Byers), and she’s every kind of mother combined. It’s easy to see her pain when she realizes that her boy is gone, but it’s also incredible watching her keep the faith that he is still alive. She utilizes every angle and outlet to prove to the police that her son is somewhere close, but not easily seen with the naked eye. The supernatural theme of the show leads you to believe in the impossible and I think this is why it’s such a hit. Stranger Things tell the story of how the U.S. Department of Energy conducted experiments using human subjects, which ultimately went awry after they decided to delve into paranormal and supernatural activities. Will Byers’ (Noah Schnapp) friends really came through for him, especially when they came across a psychokinetic girl, who takes them on the journey of their lives in an effort to find him. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) escaped the Hawkins National Laboratory, where she was born and experimented on after her mother became a test subject and due to the experimentation, she developed these psychokinetic abilities. She ultimately becomes a very friendly foe in the search for Mike. The excitement and fear from these characters make you want to continue watching, so give it a try.

Religion in Minority Cultures

Whether for good or for bad, religion often becomes the focal point of how we choose to live our lives at one point or another. In minority cultures, however, religion tends to play a much bigger role than simply “doing right by God.”

I was baptized Catholic and was raised in an Anglican household, but for the past three and a half years, I’ve adopted Islam as my religion. To be honest, I’ve never been the religious type (although I did want to become a nun when I was 13). Instead, I’ve often considered myself more spiritual than anything else. To me, God is in everything and in everyone, and wherever I am is where he’ll also be, so I didn’t care much for attending Sunday mass. As I became older and more concerned about life and God’s teachings, I felt a need for belonging, and it hit me that people didn’t go to church or to the mosque just for prayer. They go for many reasons, especially for the social aspect. I remember going to Sunday mass with my grandmother, who was very popular at the time. The fact that she’d remain in church just to gossip with her friends for hours, made me really upset. It annoyed me that she’d stay for so long after service to converse with people she didn’t like or even care about. I think part of my frustration stemmed from hunger because church started at 8 AM and ended almost four hours later! Anyway, that was then, but this is now, and I completely understand why religion means so much to minority groups.

Let’s take a look at the word, “minority.” It can be defined as less than half of a whole or group; a small number of people representing a certain race, religion, region, community and so on. Here in North America, we characterize minority groups based on race, language, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. In other words, anyone who isn’t Caucasian, English speaking, Christian and heterosexual, is in the minority. The same thing can be said for different parts of the world. Take, for instance, Christians being a minority in Middle Eastern countries and Muslims being a minority in European countries. There is roughly 6% of Muslims living in Europe and 5% of Christians living in the Middle East. Culturally, Jews are a minority, as well as Catholics, and across the board; homosexuals are and will be the minority. Now that we’re in agreement, you’re probably wondering where religion fits into the lives of these minority groups, right? Well, when you take away the fact that some religions were introduced and adopted around the world due to certain promises, it is the doctrine for a healthy and happy God-fearing life. In the Qur’an, Allah arms you with all of the knowledge you need in order to get to Jannah, just like the bible teaches you about the 10 commandments for living a life close to God.

Here are some reasons why minority cultures might value religion a little more than others:

Religion serves as a roadmap to live a faithful and morally sound life, but also gives the underprivileged hope and something to believe in. Growing up humbly on a small island, only makes you dream bigger, and for the ones who couldn’t afford to, prayer made all the difference. Many churchgoers are, for the most part, people seeking refuge and planting seeds that one day something good will happen in his or her life. “Religion is the foundation of what keeps me going. My source of strength” said Roxanne Russell, an Ordained Minister of African descent. She went on to say, “when I was young, my grandmother would sit and hum and when I asked what it meant she’d say, ‘god will bring me through.’ So we were taught to stay focused on our faith.” And this is reminiscent of most struggling minorities holding on to faith for something good.

Churches, Synagogues and Mosques offer a safe place to those in trials and tribulations; it’s a place to feel comforted and accepted. God doesn’t turn his back on his children and no man of God would ever do that to his congregation. Mrs. Russell also commented on how she has “learned to trust in [her] religion and church in order to get through hardships, and [she has] learned that from [her] grandmother.” Some churches also offer prayer meetings to those looking to study the religion further or even those seeking advice on a particular issue.  

It lifts your heart and spirit to be in a place of worship with others who might be feeling similarly to you, and that alone is enough to brighten someone’s day. Some people go to prayers to give praise for the wonderful things they’ve been blessed with because they believe it will continue to open doors for even more blessings. I remember hearing people at church giving thanks because their son or daughter received a new opportunity or because someone won a court case, or even someone meeting a new prospective spouse. Overall, people don’t just choose to go to prayers or mass because they’re down on their luck, they go to give thanks throughout the year instead of waiting until Thanksgiving.

Mosques, Synagogues and Churches help communities with information and special programs like food pantries, housing, job opportunities, rehabilitation, etc. It’s a civic duty for most places of worship to provide its congregation with free services, including counseling and help with paying certain bills. Some churches have pantries where community members can go to get food, Mosques take clothing donations to distribute to the poor and homeless, and Synagogues provide free counseling, as do many other religious organizations. In case you’re struggling and don’t know where to turn to, look into religious organizations for help.    

Places of worship also provide social fulfillment and satisfaction for those struggling to find their way through counseling and enrichment classes. If you lack accountability, then your place of worship will surely whip you into shape. Being absent from service one too many times lead to two things: being called several times throughout the week and by different people and/or being dropped from their circle altogether. I’ve experienced both. Ultimately, religion is sacred and it’s very personal, and it should be something you choose based on your morals and need for spiritual guidance. For many years, I lived a spiritual life, but still included some elements of religion into my daily living. According to Dzevat Selmanovic, an Albanian Muslim, “religion means everything to me. It’s a way of life, a way of thinking and a way in which I relate to my brothers and sisters.” In my experience, I think this resonates with minorities everywhere because when the odds are against you, who can you trust if not your faith in God?


Bachelor en Paradise

Finally, I’m all caught up with ABC’s “Bachelor in Paradise,” which makes me feel a little more qualified to talk about this week’s episodes.

If you haven’t seen any of the episodes, I recommend backing away from this blog post like, yesterday. Or continue reading for all the hot dets!

Anyway, I am saddened by Sarah’s departure on Monday night’s episode because I was actually looking forward to “Raniel.” She had a very interesting relation-ish going on with Daniel, the Canadian baconater. He tried so hard to get her to like him and when she did decide to give him a shot, he goes ahead and gives his rose to Haley the twin, who needed to be coerced by her other half, Emily, to lock lips with him. I guess it’s karma. Oh well, Sarah, you’re better off without Daniel.

Moving along…Bret from Andi’s season came on and managed to break up the first couple formed on this season’s “Bachelor in Paradise!” Yes, Izzy was so smitten or I should say “attracted” to Bret that she was willing to forgo her relationship with Vinny. Long story short, she approached Bret and told him that she was insanely attracted to him and wanted to let him know that because she wanted no regrets. Well, I’d say she should’ve thought about that before making it clear to Vinny that they shouldn’t go out with other people.

OMG, Caila is a flight risk, she’s so indecisive! Just before Bret caused the excommunication of Vinny and Izzy, he took Caila out on a double date with Emily and Carl, also from Andi’s season (I think). Anyway, they went on a booze cruise and Caila couldn’t handle it. When Bret first got to “Paradise,” he asked Caila out on the date and with Jared sitting next to her she accepted, but right after she said yes to him, she asked Jared to come have a talk with her. Maybe she finally remembered that she was dating Jared before Bret got there, IDK. Well, they did have the talk and after Jared expressed his anxieties about her going on that date, she told him she’d stay and then minutes later said she wanted to go. Being the supportive boyfriend, Jared assured her that it’s still all up to her to decide on what she wanted to do. After thinking it through on her way to speaking with Bret, Caila decided that she didn’t want to go on the date. The bantering and the convincing was so hard to watch that I felt the confusion going through Bret’s head trying to comprehend what Caila really wanted to do. She went back and forth with Bret for a while until she finally gathered up the strength to accept his date proposal.

Caila girl, get it together!!! That, however was the perfect opportunity for Ashley I. to spend some uninterrupted time with the object of her affection, Jared. Personally, I think they’d make a much better couple than him and Caila. Anyway, the point remains obvious, Caila is indecisive and insecure and she is quite easily mislead. Someone like that needs to be taken with a grain of salt, hence the reason Ashley I. makes a much better and stable (yes, I said it) partner for Jared.

On Tuesday night, Carly and Sir Evan went on a date to purify their union and ward off anything remotely related to negative energy. More than that, they solidified their relationship by telling each other how weirdly strong they both feel. Carly came around full circle because she now sees Evan’s sultry and worthy sides. I’m happy she came around, but it sucks that poor Evan had to get a needle in his arm to make her see that she’s missing out by not letting him in. I can hardly wait to see them progress because I really like Evan, he’s a great guy and I think it’s what Carly needs.

There’s some trouble in the water for Grant and Lace because with the ending of Vinny and Izzy, and the return of Jade and Tanner, who brought a date card to give to the most deserving couple, she’s having second thoughts about their relationship. So, Grant told her that he was in love with her and although she didn’t say it back to him, he knew that she also loved him. Regardless, she’s having cold feet. He was so romantic tonight when he took her on a couples massage retreat. I’d love to go on one…but I digress. Only next episode would bring clarity to their story, let’s stay tuned!

Overall, the show didn’t disappoint because hello, it’s “Bachelor in Paradise,” where the rejects of all “Bachelor [and] Bachelorette” shows go to frolic with each other in an attempt to find love. It’s cliched and cheesy, but you still have to show some “respeck” (as Birdman would say it). I was there from the beginning of the franchise with Alex Michelle, and more than 10 years later I will continue to love and support each contestant. So, there you have it, the most gossip-worthy highlights.

Until next time…

Thanks, Mom

As much as I hate to admit this, it takes a certain kind of man to date and be in a committed relationship with a motherless woman. Yes, we’d hope that you will be there for us as any boyfriend or partner would, however there are a few more things we secretly want from you. Personally, I don’t expect anything more or less from my mate, but the mere fact that he does things without my asking or alluding, makes me feel extra special like my mother would have.

My mother and I had a rare, yet special kind of relationship. I am a product of an ectopic pregnancy and for those of you who are unaware of this birth type, it’s where an egg gets fertilized outside of the uterus and instead, latches itself onto the fallopian tube making it an extremely difficult pregnancy. In most cases, the woman either has an abortion or she simply miscarries, and in other cases, the fetus gets removed surgically. I was lucky! For months my mother endured massive amounts of pain, bleed as though she was menstruating, got tested for pregnancy and even thought it was fibroids or cancer, but she continued to get negative results. None of the nurses or doctors she had seen knew what it was. Eventually, a visiting American doctor performed a blood pregnancy test on her and found out that she was in fact, six months pregnant. Medicine in the 80’s was no where as advanced as it is now and thank God for that! Anyway, her health deteriorated and quickly, too. She became temporarily blind, was in a coma, had issues from water retention and at risk of losing her life as well as her baby’s. Both my grandma and father lamented on possible funeral arrangements because my mom was in such bad shape. Although the doctors initially planned on performing a c-section, they eventually delivered a healthy baby girl, vaginally. As per my mom, I looked like a rabbit. After about two weeks she was out of her coma and visually paired, and when the nurse brought me in to see her, mom had no idea she had given birth to a little pink hairy baby. Long story short, her health progressed and she was able to take me home, but only after she turned down the adoption request from the doctor, who delivered me and saved her life.

I was loved. If there was such a thing as loving your kid too much then my mother would win every award. She cherished me and I think it really had to do with her struggles while being pregnant with me. She was by far the most over-protective, most over-bearing, most strict, most passionate, most emotional, most pathetic parent ever, but she was great! To this day, I strongly believe that my birth played a role in the way I responded to her demands. I was very willful. Yes, she is my mother, however I never understood where and why her passion toward me was so strong, so I became an unwilling participant in her charades. I grew up strong-willed; blame it on her uterus for not opening up to me, but I was defiant and that drove her mad! There were days when my mom and I would battled like we were opposing soldiers and no, I am not proud of that, in fact I wish I could go back in time to change it. With every demand I asked a question, with every question I made a statement, with every statement I gave a response and when I have had enough, I would run out of the backdoor and head straight up the hill to my grandmother’s house. No one understood how and why a three-year-old had so much grown-up qualities and traits. It was for that very same reason, my mom sent me to school at two years old. In the weirdness of it all, I was more well-behaved at school than I was at home, and this continued throughout my life. The battles never stopped because my mom was a militant, partly from her training in the militia in her native country, Grenada, and from her love and dedication as a mother. All of which I did not fully understand until my early to mid twenties. By that time my mother and I had began a mutually respectful mother-daughter relationship.

Although I was testy, I was still treated like her baby and I am, however she never stopped doing the little things she knew would bring a smile to my face. I admit that I was spoiled-rotten! My mom would prepare whatever I wanted, did most of what I had asked of her, and cradled me when I needed her to. Whenever I became ill, she’d treat me like I was her queen, and I loved it! Even after her health started to decline, my mom took the time to prepare dinner, she continued to hug me at nights and often expressed to me that I was the apple of her eyes. The best part of my days was waking up next to her and being greeted by the warmth of her hands on my back. It didn’t matter what time I came home from work or play, my mom waited up for me. I’d simply get into my pajamas and hop on in bed right next to her. I started out my life as a daddy’s girl and ended up a mommy’s girl. My mother was beautiful as the heart she was blessed with. I remember how she loved taking in and caring for other people’s children. Any child who passed by looking frumpy and untidy, she’d take him or her in and would feed, bathe, clothe and put that child to nap until the parent(s) came home (it’s very common to do this in the islands because of their “village” mentality). My mom was loved and revered, some might even say she was a force to be reckoned with. She cared a lot about people and based her life off of charity, a trait passed on from my grandma, and she used her sense of care as a vehicle to enter the nursing field. My mother was the greatest! She made a lot of sacrifices and instilled in me the value and importance of love and charity.

After reading the article, “What It Is Like to Date a Girl Without a Mother” from the Huffington Post, I felt compelled to share my own thoughts on the subject matter. You see, I lost my mom a few years ago to a massive stroke, which was brought on by her complicated medical history. It was the most traumatic time in my life and all of the previous moments where I felt as though life was unkind to me, simply vanished. That dreadful day surpasses every single hardship I have encountered so far. There is nothing more difficult than hearing a doctor say to you, “I’m sorry, but we’ve done everything we could to save her.” Excuse me, “no, you haven’t because she’s dead!” This was my initial reaction, which was followed by my bellowing and the entire 9th floor of the Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn, stepping out of their rooms and nursing station to find out where the noise was coming from. Anyway, for the duration of that week and the better half of the year, I was tried and tested and all I wanted to do was give up because the closest person to me in this entire world was no longer here. I was alone and without guidance, and my life as I knew it no longer existed. I was hollowed and broken! My coworkers and close friends helped me to see and think straight again.

Many years prior to my world’s end, I met a boy back in college, who left a lasting impact on me and who I was to become. Neither of us was perfect for the other because of our differences in nationality, race, weight and the likes, but we had a connection that was proven and continued to be tested over time. Eventually, we went our separate ways. There was never a dull moment though because whenever I came home on breaks from college, somehow we found a way to get together (we each had a soft spot for the other) then we would go our separate ways again. Not until my mother’s death did we become a couple, a real couple. By the time my mom passed away, we had both matured, had steady jobs and I had started seeing the bigger picture of life after death. So, I made the decision to move on with my solo life. We took a chance and dated for what it’s worth and found out that we have always enjoyed each other’s company, and that was the thing that kept us coming back to each other. Although we still had our issues, like everyone else, we consciously made the decision to continue our courtship. This April marks our 4th anniversary.

I love and care about this man almost as much as I do my parents, which translates to a lot. Either way, we continue to further what we have due to our love, commitment and adoration for each other. Listed are a few things that every guy should consider when he enters into a relationship with a motherless woman.

  1. Do not get into a relationship with her if you are afraid of love or to love because it is all she knows at this point. Regardless of someone’s relationship with their mother before her passing, this person now understands loss and she knows the value of your relationship. She might even appear to be over-bearing, but it is all based on her level of commitment and admiration for you.
  2. She is not in a rush to become a mother because she still needs to reflect on the child she once was and the mother she would like to become one day. When one life ends, usually another begins, however this statement is not one size fits all. Most of us, motherless women, just need time to become a person separate from the one our deceased mothers created.
  3. Be kind and understand that our loss never goes away, no matter how great our strength. I cry and I even talk in my sleep sometimes and often enough, I respond to my partner as if it was my mother lying next to me. Weird, I know, but he has so much of her traits and that to me is incredibly comforting. On many occasions I’ve referred to him as “mom” and thankfully he has a sense of humor to laugh with me about it.
  4. Be generous with your love because unless we’ve told you, you wouldn’t know how close or distant we were with our mothers. Shower us with hugs and cuddles, but not too much because the last thing we want is you thinking we are broken.
  5. The sweet things we do for you is a direct indication of what our mothers were like. As much as we all hate to become them, we do tend to take after her in some ways, so pay extra attention.
  6. We are emotional and passionate beasts because we have had to toughen up and design a singular, more independent life before you came along. It has nothing to do with you, so no need to feel responsible or remotely sorry for our tears once it starts. Just support us and pass the “Kleenex,” thanks!
  7. We expect you to love and cherish your mother as much as possible because how else will you be able to understand us and be able to relate to your own daughter one day. Surreptitiously, although we’re not looking for a mother, we are hoping to conflate with your family. And no, I am not being naive. Be well and continue to love each other in this tumultuous time we are living in.


Virgins have sex

In wake of the recent split between star football player, Tim Tiebow and Brazilian beauty queen, Olivia Culpo, I must comment! Every tabloid magazine have been running their story, alleging that the couple broke up due to lack of sex. First, it’s absolutely commendable that someone of his caliber made the decision to put his faith first above all else, not many of us could say so. Anyway, Olivia knew who she was getting involved with and I am positive that being an upstanding guy and all, he’d express his desires or lack thereof to her prior to their courtship. I’m not taking sides, but she’s fresh out of a relationship and maybe he was just another rebound guy for her (you can’t believe everything you hear). Granted, whatever the circumstances may be, I still think it was in their best interest to call things off. They’re young, a lot of opportunities are waiting for the two and they’re beautiful people, so it’s one of those “wrong time” moment for them.

In any case, I’d like to share my list of intimate “things” virgins can and still do. I met my current boyfriend several years ago in college when we were both virgins and I can tell you that we had FUN! No sexually active couple had more excitement than the two of us. Anyway, here’s my list- use it, abuse it, share it, dare it, call it what you want it, enjoy it!

  1. Make out like your life depends on it! I mean, really get into it. Eyes closed, mouth slightly opened, tongue pushed out, deep breath then release the suction cup. Every and anywhere, but nothing beats making out in the backseat of a car. Inhale, exhale just do it.
  2. Touch! Get to know what it feels like to be touched aimlessly without having a destination and I’m not just talking about fingering, I mean “the five love languages” type of touching. That’s a great way to know what your body responds to, which would make it a lot better for most people to understand what it is that they need to feel satisfied in and out of the bedroom. A simple touch on the face and arms alone could drive you mad, really. Touching is something that goes underrated and I think that people need to use their hands on their partners more than anything else. Plus, you’ll learn what type of language makes your sweetie say, “ah.”
  3. Hotels, motels, Holiday Inns, are relationship savers! $50 will get you a room for at least four hours in which you can get to know a lot about your honey, if you don’t have a place of your own, which by now you should. Anyway, just taking some time out to do something different and fun will absolutely help out your relationship in the long run (those of you who are parents and don’t think there’s enough time in the day to get everything done can also benefit from this). Instead of just going to a movie and having zero time to yourselves to enjoy each other, just get a motel room for four hours and you’d see the wonder it’ll do for you. At 21 and 23 when our parents were strict, we had no other choice but to get a room and make the best out of our virgin times.
  4. Nature-lize your courtship! I am positive that nature does a lot for not just your emotional and mental health, but for your relationship too because it gets your senses going. You have a far better chance of getting to know someone on an intimate level, while you’re one with what God has given us for free. It’s calming, it’s relaxing, it’s sometimes amusing and very intoxicating. A liar has no chance of telling a tale while you’re sitting by a river, maybe lying down, hands beneath your head, looking up at the clear blue sky with birds flying high, no way will they lie to you. Why do you think therapists make their offices so cozy and comfortable for their patients? It’s for you to feel relaxed and safe enough to express yourself without inhibitions, so give that much to your significant other.
  5. Eat, eat, eat! Go out to eat every now and again, not just for your health or social prowess, but to see how your future beau treats fellow humans. Being in love makes it impossible to see your lover as a flawed being, so going to restaurants, bars (if you’re into that kinda scene), ice cream parlors, department stores, and the likes will more than likely give you a taste of what to expect in the future! Bonus, his facial expression when he tries grilled octopus that’s a little bit salty. It’ll be a hint as to what his face will look like when you tell him you’ve overcooked the rice. Cough.
  6. Organize your agendas! Find an organization that the two of you are passionate about and spend time together volunteering. Trust me, you’ll both feel like extraordinary people after you’ve worked together towards a greater good, other than yourselves. The two of you will get to see each other’s “softer side.” It’s always nice to see your SO tending and caring for others because it shows you that your future kids will be safe when you leave the house.
  7. Fix this! Work on a project together. See how well the two of you work together, if you don’t yell then you didn’t do a good job. Psych! Just put something together because that’s where it’ll hit you and make you think of whether or not this person fits into your lifestyle.
  8. King of fornication! You can play with your genitals and not worry about getting warts. Whatever you do though, make sure to wash your hands (fingers) before touching her vagina because you don’t want your fluids (wink) to get into her! It’s completely fine to play the adult version of doctor with your SO, especially as a virgin because when you do become active, you’d already know what makes your erogenous zones palpitate. Get on with it! Sucking, licking and rubbing are also part of the package, literally.
  9. Cuddle buddy! Everyone enjoys some cuddling, so why not spend time holding each other, even if for a minute? It’s a stress reducer, plus it makes you feel a little safer knowing your SO could be your possible protector…one day. Cuddling also exposes you to his/ her scent and whether or not it’s tolerable. Some people genuinely have bad body odor because it’s their DNA, so that’s a great way to know if you’d be humping each other if and when the elevator’s stuck…for hours. Imagine that happening with uncle Fester! Anyway, cuddling also involves massages and ladies, take this one from personal experience, guys love it when you rub their heads (like the head containing your brain). I think it goes back to childhood when mothers, especially would massage their babies’ heads just to get the blood circulating and to calm them down or even to help reshape their skulls. Guys, your woman would do anything for you to rub her back and feet, so get the massage oil ready and dive in!
  10. Just spend time taking care of you! Good for you if you work out daily, but it’s not the only way to achieve great health. Check in with your doctor; make sure your vitals are in optimal shape and eat as organically as possible, don’t forget the people you’ve known all of your life, don’t neglect your education and continue on your career paths. Relationships are wonderful and it should be without thinking about it. Care for each other, comfort and support each other, pray for each other and just be kind. No one likes getting hurt, so why do it? Anyway, if someone wants to break up with you because of your virginal status, just say thank you and move along. Whatever decision you’ve made for your life is yours and do not allow anyone to change that, unless you agree. Ladies, as much as we’re hoping to change our rape culture, it starts with you, so don’t ever pull “the Olivia.”



Oh, how beautiful you’ll be, full of grace and humor, vigor and spirit, curious to a fault, unapologetic and self-aware, charming with a healthy dose of wit, faithful to your followers and caring to a fault, sharp as a pin and eager to learn.

You’ll be brilliant and self-assured, the smartest in the bunch with an answer to every question thrown your way, strong-willed and yet humbled, a truth seeker and upholder of the law, you’ll stand up for what is right even when your life is threatened, your relationship with your God will supersede everything you’ll ever accomplish in your lifetime, you’ll be loved by everyone you meet, but more importantly by me, unconditionally.

You’ll be blessed immensely with talent and grandeur, but you’ll use it wisely to invoke change, change in a world that is broken and incredibly flawed, you’ll use your goodwill to ignite your peers with deep passion, passion that’ll surprise them and theirs, your level of care, tolerance, and love will be the subject for many generations before you and those to come, loyalty you will be ruled by and no harsh word will ever kill your confidence. You will be my child, my very own redemption, my freedom, my image and likeness, mine.