Intimate Partner Violence Part II (Chris & Rihanna)

It has been three years since this incident happened. Brown was 19 and Rihanna was 20 years old. He was mandated for treatment, given five years’ probation and court-ordered to stay away.

Unfortunately for them, not only do they have to deal with the personal ramifications of Intimate Partner Violence or IPV, they also have to deal with the constant attention from the media – Twitter, Facebook, news reports, etc. Rihanna is faced with people judging her for the choices she makes and right now, people are calling her stupid for working with Brown on an album.

Brown is being ripped apart in the media for something he did three years ago. Every time he takes a step forward in healing and working on himself (focusing on his music), he is taken ten steps back with tweets, facebook messages and signs throwing his past actions in his face. I am in no way excusing his behavior – indeed – he received consequences for his actions – by having a criminal record, probation as well as lost endorsements and reduced radio play. But, I’ve also noted that he has for the most part, kept out of the spotlight until recently.

Given how easily news travels and how accessible it is for everyday people, it is no wonder that Chris & Rihanna are receiving such a backlash.

So I ask you, think about the worst thing you’ve ever done in your life. The absolute worst thing you have EVER done? Do you have that in mind? Think about how horrible you felt after realizing that what you did was wrong. Now think about how you’d feel if you saw signs attacking you every time you hit a milestone in your life. During a job promotion, graduation, celebration or family event – how would you feel if you couldn’t watch television because you were being constantly insulted? How could you work on rehabilitating yourself and growing from the experience with people constantly telling you that you don’t deserve forgiveness, redemption or good things in life because of ONE action in your life?

Everyone loved Chris Brown before this happened. People praised his talent, ability and music. Then he did something very stupid and hurtful. He fell from grace, was held accountable for his actions, accepted the consequences and is now trying to make better decisions. Yes, he will screw up – he’s very young. But, then again we all do.

Level 0: Heiddi has no significant relationship with any product, service or brand mentioned in this post.

Intimate Partner Violence, Part I

Ever since the Grammy awards aired, I’ve seen several instances in the media where Chris Brown is bashed. It has happened via tweets, news reports and at concerts. While everyone is certainly entitled to an opinion, I think this has gone very far.

Even now, as Rihanna & Chris have released new music together – with Brown being called various names and Rihanna being called “stupid” for even considering this – I’m compelled to share my perspective on this subject.

I’m a therapist by profession and working in this field has taught me a great deal about domestic or intimate partner violence.

Some stats to reflect on (regarding teen violence):

(Unless otherwise noted, the following data in this section are from a Liz Claiborne, Inc. study on teen dating abuse conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, March 2006)

  • Half of teens (50%) reported they’ve been in a dating relationship and nearly a third (32%) said they’ve been in a serious relationship.
  • 1 in 3 teenagers in a serious relationship reported that they’ve been concerned about being hurt physically by a boyfriend or girlfriend. One out of five of these teens say they have actually been hit, slapped, or pushed by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

These are probably numbers that have been mentioned in the past. One thing that has not been talked about is how to heal every person affected by Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). The people targeted for assistance are the victims and the children from those relationships. One person often left out of this is the abuser.

Society has taught us that violence on any level is wrong and that the person committing those acts are “bad people.” We have also been taught that there is no redemption for these people. And that if a victim returns to his/her abusive partner, the victim is “stupid.” Society then “reabuses” the victim for that choice. And the abuser gets a backlash from family and/or friends and may lose relationships because of the abuse.

Would you be willing to get help if you knew someone would call you stupid because of your choices? How would you be able to focus on your healing if you are constantly barraged with negativity?

As a professional trained in the social services field, healing can only come if all people affected by IPV are helped – not just the victim and/or children, but also the abuser. There are people that want to change; those that want to continue the relationship; those that are willing to do the work to change patterns of behavior. Even abusers.

In NYC, where I live, there is only one program aimed at helping men working to be non-abusers. Seeing as many families are affected by intimate partner violence, more services need to be in place to help every person in the family, especially if the parents want to stay together. *Please note intimate partner affects people of all races, ages, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation*

I am aware that change is very hard, indeed, I know it is given my professional field of choice. And intimate partner violence happens very often. What I also know is that all people who are willing and open to seek help should get it. And they should be given unconditional love and support simply because change is so hard.

Go here to find more information on Intimate Partner Violence in NYC.

Go here to find more information on Intimate Partner Violence nationwide.

Level 0: Heiddi has no significant relationship with any product, service or brand mentioned in this post.

Whitney Houston: A Tragic Loss

One of the rarest, most memorable voices of all time has been silenced. Whitney Houston has always been a favorite of mine ever since her song “The Greatest Love of All” was released. I sang along with “I wanna Dance with Somebody” and “How Will I Know” even though I couldn’t hit her notes. Not many people could.

And that’s what is special about her. Her voice was a gift and it was fleeting. I’ve read about her lows the last several years of her life – drugs, erratic behavior and her rocky relationship with her now ex-husband, Bobby Brown. For me though, all of that pain heightened her gift. Her voice is one of the most, if not THE most, distinctive ever. Anyone hearing her music would know it was her. Because of her difficult last years, her triumphant early years became more so for me.

Her music was amazing. By far, my favorite song is her version of the national anthem and no one will be as recognized for that song than Whitney. So here, I won’t talk about her problems – we all have them. I want to share my love for her talent, her gift; the gift of her voice.

To Whitney, may you sing now with the highest of angels in heaven for you were one of their members graciously lent to us here.

Rest in peace, Whitney. (1963 – 2012)

NYC Potluck 2011

On November 20, 2011,  Mommyslinks and City Harvest are teaming up to bring NYC families together to share a special meal and to help New York’s neediest families by collecting food for Thanksgiving. Every family has suffered, but we also have much to be grateful for. And we can show that by sharing what we can with other families. Check out all the details below. Bring friends and family to share the fun. Be sure to sign up at Mommyslinks and rsvp today! See you there!

Mommy’s Links Thanksgiving Potluck & Food Drive

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

1:00  pm

Loft On Fifth

144 5th Avenue

New York, NY

Near N, R, Q, F, V, 4, 5, 6, and L trains

Mommy’s Links Food Drive For:

City Harvest

   The most needed foods are:

canned fruit

canned vegetables

peanut butter (plastic jars)

mac and cheese (packaged)

hot and cold cereal (packaged, family-sized)

No glass, please, with the exception of baby food!

Mommy’s Links Potluck Dinner:

Please rsvp with the meal you would like to bring to potluck**

RSVP at www.meetup.com/mommys-links-daddys-links

**Please remember we are relying on your dish to be on site**

There will be crafts, fun for the kids and much more!

Event Sponsored By:

North American Refinery

1:00 pm to 3:00pm

Need money for the Holidays? Bring your GOLD, Leave with CASH!

Once Upon A Cupcake NY

Will Sponsor All Desserts

Un-Halloween

Well, Halloween’s finally over and I’m here to report that I’m glad about it. It wasn’t just that my birthday was two days before Halloween (and I’ve never dressed up in costume for my birthday). For me, Halloween just isn’t fun anymore and hasn’t been for years.

Here in NYC, I haven’t seen many trick or treaters at all. With a rise in gang activity (initiations taking the form of women being slashed in the face), it’s no wonder that parents are choosing not to let their kids out on Halloween. I was so glad to be off that day from work, not to take kiddo out early, but because I wouldn’t have to deal with my office closing early due to the fear of gang-related activity.

When I was a kid, Halloween was about getting dressed up in a silly costume and asking people for candy. No one had to worry about contaminated candy or getting slashed back then. The only thing I worried about was filling up my bag with lots of candy that my mom would eventually throw out. I stopped dressing up for Halloween after elementary school. By the time I went to high school, I began worrying about getting bombed with eggs and waited until 5pm (or until the area cleared of egg-toting boys – whichever came first) so that I could go home without getting hurt.

Fast-forward 15 years later and I’ve my own child to think about. I was relieved that he DIDN’T want to go trick or treating. Something about pimples (my son’s 10 and got his first pimple this week). But, I was also disappointed. No kid should have to give up Halloween because of other’s people’s issues. Sadly, this is our reality. What I wonder is, when will it get good again, if it ever will.

 

Originally posted on Heiddi’s Blog. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Heiddi unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Heiddi’s Full Disclosure page for more information.

6 Parenting Tips from Mommy Irene

Everyone knows that parenting is a tough job and that there are rules to follow. Below you will find Mommy Irene’s parenting rules. She decided to come to New York City (and the Eastern Seaboard) to let us know how parenting works with her. There is no need for her to yell or carry-on. With her simple rules, Mommy Irene quickly lets the kids know who is boss. Below are Mommy Irene’s tips. For more information, you can also check out safety tips as issued by the Mayor’s office and OEM.

1. No you cannot play with your toys! – The MTA shut down all regular service (buses/trains) as of noon today.  Ferries, Access-a–Ride and Amtrak trains have been shut down as well. Also, all NYC parks, public libraries and Broadway shows have been closed for the weekend.

2. Go to your room. The city has been split up into various zones and Nyers have been advised to stay put if they can or evacuate immediately if residing in a danger zone (Zone A and the Rockaways).

3. Somebody’s on time-out.  Mommy Irene has spoken and there are specific time-out spots (shelters/schools) for NYers in danger zones with no alternative shelter. If you don’t have family and friends within a safe zone, there are shelters that are open. (Note: pets are welcome!)

4. You can’t go out today. All major airports have been shut-down as of noon today to inbound & outbound flights. (Contact your specific airline to find out about flight information.)

5. No, your friends can’t come over. All highways have been shutdown to Southbound traffic. Northbound traffice (heading away from NYC) only. And only for emergency vehicles.

6. No Video games for you. Power will be shutdown in lower Manhattan as a precaution to avoid problems when the hurricane arrives.

I hope that these parenting tips will help you get through the storm. Please stay safe people. Check in here if you can and let me know how you’re doing.

Catching up with myself

This week brought me one major accomplishment – passing my licensing exam. I rarely share it here, but one career goal is to be a licensed professional in my field.  No more waiting for the exam date, no more stressing out over what I know or don’t know and no more darn studying.

I’d been studying for seven months now and felt stuck in other aspects of my life because I was waiting to pass this one exam. I stuck with it because I knew that gaining my licensure would open many doors.  I’m in shock right now that something I set out to do six years ago has finally come to pass.

I realized that this morning as I shared the news with a friend. Six years from the time I started grad school until now. The first thing I wanted to do was sleep because I hadn’t slept well for several nights prior to the exam. To suddenly have the weight of this lifted from my shoulders and see this huge goal achieved has really caused me to stop and reflect on what I want to do next.

Of course, the next step is to find a new dayjob with my shiny, new license (ie better pay and better hours). Then I started thinking of what else I wanted to accomplish because I really can do anything I put my mind to.  So, I thought about my writing.

I’ve felt stunted in the writing process simply because it wasn’t my central focus for the last several months. I still wrote, but not in a planful way because I didn’t make the time for it. My time was for studying and building up my self-confidence for the exam.

I’ve now been doing research on breaking into magazines (yet again), but with small goals in mind. I’m starting with fillers just to get my feet wet. I’m also doing research on effective blogging so that I can grow The Freshman Writer blog as well as to market myself better as a blogger in general.

I can see that my writing talent now is in blogging. Since I know I can blog, why not put my energy into it? Other ways I’m catching up with myself is to focus on things that I love doing – writing, reading and having time to myself. I really missed just being me.

Reflections on Bin Laden, 9/11 & Kiddo: Part II

I’ve spoken to kiddo ab0ut that day, specifically about how I thought my mother (his grandmother) died that day. September 11, 2001 emerged as an ordinary day. I was at work at Penn Plaza near 34th street by 8:30am. WPLJ announced that the first plane hit the World Trade Center and compared it to when the Empire State Building had been hit by a small aircraft decades before.

I immediately called my co-worker who was on medical leave and asked her to turn on the television. I didn’t have internet access on my computer so I couldn’t watch anything. I told her what happened with the plane and waited for her to tell me what was going on. The dj on WPLJ then announced that a second plane hit the towers and a third crashed into the Pentagon. I realized it wasn’t a normal day; a regular Tuesday.

I called my mother’s work phone and received a busy signal. I then called my baby sitter to check on my son and also called his father. I tried Mami’s number again and nothing. By 10:30, my co-workers and I were all dazed by the news that both towers had fallen. Some had gone to internet connected computers to watch everything. I didn’t. One co-worker came back to her desk and quietly shared that the towers fell.

Our assistant comptroller sent us home to check in on our loved ones. I hadn’t heard from Mami, but still thought she was okay. Mami was very strong and independent. She could handle anything.

I mostly walked home that day. I took a bus up Sixth Avenue and ended up getting off after a few blocks. It took me hours to get from 34th Street to the South Bronx. I called my son’s father to let him know I was coming and stopped at McD’s to get lunch because I hadn’t eaten all day. Arriving at my son’s father’s house, I sat and ate quietly.

By the time I finished, the 5 o’clock news was on and for the first time – I watched with horror all of the video I refused to watch earlier. And I cried as I saw the powder. Mami had asthma and she couldn’t have run away in all of that. Mami was dead. She HAD to be.

Only she wasn’t. She called there. My son’s father passed me the phone crying and I yelled at her. “You’re DEAD!!!” It took her several minutes to convince me that she was fine and was at home. I yelled at her for not leaving a message on the answering machine. I yelled at her for not thinking to call because I was checking the machine all day. Mostly I yelled because she’d scared the crap out of me. It was the only time before or since that Mami let me yell at her. She didn’t take offense to it.

I went home with my son and hugged her. I expected powder all over her, but she’d cleaned up already as if nothing happened. I looked around to find traces of the day’s events because I just could not believe what happened. All I found were a pair of white, dusty Reebok sneakers that I knew used to be black.

Nearly ten years later and the man who was named the mastermind behind this attack is dead – killed in a raid on May 1, 2011. I still don’t believe it and don’t know how I feel about it. Even while others in my city and around the world cheer, I don’t know how I feel. Maybe because as a woman of faith I don’t believe in violence or war or hatred.

I haven’t figured out what to tell kiddo, but I surely won’t be cheering. All of this has left me reflecting on the value of human life, faith and the fate of our world. Growing up now isn’t simple and it isn’t pretty. Parenting now isn’t either.

Reflections on Bin Laden, 9/11 & Kiddo: Part 1

I woke up this morning listening to 1010 WINS announce that Osama Bin Laden was dead – killed in a raid last night. It took awhile to register as I’d just spent most of the night hacking out a lung (almost) and not sleeping.

My son came into my room chastising me for not waking him up and I had to remind him that I wasn’t feeling well at all. As the news continued, the announcer shared that people were cheering in the streets here in NYC. As a native New Yorker, who worked in the North Tower on the 83rd Floor for three months, I didn’t know how to feel about the news. So I didn’t react; I continued to lie in my bed while urging kiddo to get ready.

I did that to keep him from just going along with what I was feeling. Kids do that. They soak up everything we parents do or say without question. Especially young children. So I said nothing and I won’t until I figure out how I feel about all of this.

I’ve been reflecting on this event and on 9/11 all day. Still hoping that I’ll be able to figure out what to tell kiddo when he gets home tonight.

Read here for Part II.