YOUR MENTAL HEALTH STATUS SHOULDN’T BE A SECRET

I just found out that one of my high school best friends is bipolar. Like diagnosed! The sad thing is his whole family knew…but none ever told me! I guess in high school they could help regulate him and keep him on his meds. “Back Story” ….so he was always a loose cannon, but he was pretty normal like any other teenager. After high school, things begin to change but I held onto my friendship into the middle of the 2000s. 

I remember going into an audition and seeing my friend walk down the street.  He looked homeless, I felt sad! I brought him home with me! I made him take a shower, wash his clothes and gave him something to eat but shortly after he began to act erratically, and I had to get him out of my house. I was sad because I never felt uncomfortable being alone with him until that day. He was screaming about how he could elevate things using his mind and he was angry I didn’t see it. I asked him if he was on drugs, he insisted things were floating around my house! (Yeah, he had to go, I dropped him off back where I found him Hollywood Blvd.)

We had always stayed in touch. Yes, he had called me a few times, yelled and said crazy things on the phone but I didn’t know the signs, so I missed it. 

A few years after high school, our contact dwindled down. It was no longer a day-to-day thing anymore. More like a once a month check in and that’s pretty natural. People grow up and go in different directions. We would lose touch but every once in a while, the universe brought us back together.

Around 2013, I worked for a magazine and my office was in Hollywood.  One day I got a great surprise my friend showed up to see me…so he was still hanging out in Hollywood area often. Someone had told him that my office was nearby. It actually overlooked Sunset Blvd. I was so excited to see him walk up in my office, it brought me so much joy! He looked good, he was clean, he had on nice clothes, but he had a lil beard. It was awesome to see him looking like an adult. We exchange numbers again…stayed in touch. Everything was pretty much back to normal, we reunited, and I felt like I had my homey back. 

Then 2014… Not sure if you know the details of my pregnancy but it was extremely high-risk! I had emergency surgery, was on heart meds, had gestational diabetes, contractions daily and hormone shots. I was on bed rest for seven months and was told no stress!  Anything that caused me stress, I had to let it go. Not only from my life but also for my child. At that point anything and everyone who caused drama I easily said goodbye too.

I got a phone call one afternoon from my friend, he was cussing me out! I mean BAD, he was saying all kinds of mean things to me and I didn’t understand what was going on or where it was coming from. I tried to calm him down and I explained to him the situation that I was in and how I could not do stress. He didn’t care, he screamed at me, “Bitch, I don’t care!”  I hung up the phone. Usually I would have cussed him out, but I was having contractions and couldn’t deal. He musta called me back 30 times. Finally, I answered again, and I said, “What is wrong with you? I told you I just can’t take the chaos right now.” His response was, “Fuck you, bitch. I hope you die. I hope you contract HIV and die of AIDS and I hope your sick mama dies.” 

I hung up the phone and I reached out to his brother and asked his brother was he on drugs because nothing else made sense. His brother told me there was nothing wrong with him. I didn’t accept that answer so then I called his mother and said, “I’m really really worried about him. I think he’s on crack because nothing else makes sense.” I was then sternly told, “He might smoke a little bit of weed but he’s not on crack.” I said, “He’s on something, he’s not OK.” Then his mother basically told me she didn’t know what I was talking about, he was grown and she didn’t have anything to do with it. I understand having loyalty to your child but clearly, he wasn’t getting the help he needed. For the life of me I can’t understand why she chose to still not tell me? This is a man I’ve known 30 years! 

At that moment I kissed him goodbye, in my mind of course, not physically! I prayed for him and I let the friendship go.  His mom is a really sweet lady, she calls and checks on me from time to time and we keep in touch mostly on social media. His sister also keeps in contact with me but my friend and his brother I don’t really deal with. 

My daughter is now five years old. I thank God daily she was born healthy and I am off heart meds. Well his brother reached out to me recently and asked me to call him. I declined, I told him I was very much at peace. My life is changed, I’ve changed completely and no longer can I do the chaos. I refuse to have that kind of energy in my life. His brother said he understands. It was pretty much left at that. 

Shortly after I got a call from another family member who decided to tell me he was not on drugs, but he is bipolar! He refuses to take his medicine sometimes and that’s why he acts the way he does. 

My heart broke.  I have been asking for years what was wrong with my friend. I thought he was on drugs I asked him repeatedly if he was on crack! I asked his mother repeatedly was he on crack because nothing else made sense! I’ve known this man since the ninth grade. I never knew that he had a mental health disorder. That piece of information is HUGE and was never disclosed to me. That in itself was a shock to my core, and it hurt my heart because had I known I could’ve handled the whole friendship differently. 

I could’ve been a support, I wouldn’t taken every bad thing so personally, I wouldn’t have been so offended every time he cussed me out and I wouldn’t been so stressed out or heartbroken by the thing that he had done.  The things he had said. Unfortunately, at this point the relationship is pretty much unrepairable but I do have the answers I’ve been looking for… for 20 years! My friend is bipolar. 

With that little bit of information, I can forgive him. I can pray for him in a different way now. I’m sorry that I wasn’t there to be an assistant to helping him with his mental health but I simply didn’t know. Had I known things would be different…had I known he would know my daughter. He’s never even seen a picture.

I wish people with mental health issues would be open and honest about their status to the people close to them. 

www.TeamCherieJ.com

HOOP EARRINGS ORIGINATED IN AFRICA AROUND 2500 B.C.E.!

As a small child my idea of beauty was red lips and big hoop earrings. That was the idea I had in my head for my ideal look when I grew up. My mother would never let me wear large earrings as a child, but she always kept me in little hoops. I couldn’t wait for the day I was allowed to wear the big ones. 

Did you know hoop earrings date back to Nubia, a civilization that existed in the fourth century in what is now present-day Sudan?! In ancient Egypt, both men and women wore hoop earrings. Egyptian royalty including queens and pharaohs like Nefertiti, Hatshepsut, Tutankhamen and Cleopatra wore gold hoops, but it was the style. For Egyptians, “earrings were seen as something that enhanced one’s beauty and sexuality.”  As a child, my mother told me earrings always make you look beautiful. I never leave the house without a pair on and the few times I have… I actually have stopped in the store and bought a pair, because I felt naked.

I grew up in a white neighborhood and they made sure to let me know my hoops were ghetto! Instead of it making me feel bad, I embraced it! After all, I am originally from Duquesne, PA… not Westlake Village, CA where I went to school. I had NO problem living my true-self and was always PROUD of exactly where I came from. My knowledge of self has always been STRONG even when my mother’s sisters tried their best to reprogram and whitewash me. I love my Blackness and I am proud of it! Some things are innate to who you are! Bamboo earrings are more than a L.L. Cool J song.

How refreshing it was to find out it’s in my blood! It’s a part of who I am… Egyptians that were not royalty were also buried wearing their hoop earrings, to enhance their beauty and appeal in their afterlife.

Hoop earrings are NOT a fashion trend but a fashion staple and a part of our history! 

Happy Black History Month, Sistas! Let’s keep passing our fashion staples down through generations. I will be putting some bigger hoops in my daughter’s ears this month thanks to Grandma! (She hooked her up.) Make it a “THANG” as you put those earrings in your daughters’ ears. Teach them it’s their history and to sport those earrings with pride!

HOMESCHOOL ART CLASS

The fact that some schools have taken art out of the curriculum is heartbreaking. Art is so important for children for so many different reasons. Just a few of the reasons are fine tuning motor skills, perseverance, creativity, problem-solving, confidence, visual learning, it’s fun, it teaches art appreciation and so much more.

My daughter doesn’t even realize “Art” is a class. She thinks art is something that she gets to do after her work is completed. She’s five years old, in time her understanding of her academic achievements will change. For now, arts and crafts is playtime. Whether she has a specific assignment, or she’s just given a blank canvas, she’s just as happy either way that she gets to play with color and express herself.

Your child deserves to meet the artist within them. For some reason, some people think having a whole art curriculum has to be expensive. The truth is my daughter’s art curriculum comes from YouTube, a few artbooks, Michael’s $5 classes and the dollar store. The dollar store is an amazing resource for art classes for all ages. 

YouTube has guided instruction videos on how to draw, sculpt, weave, crochet, paint and so much more. The best part is you can press pause and rewind. You get to go at your own pace. Possibilities are endless! Please don’t forget to keep the art in your homeschooling. 

www.TeamCherieJ.com

GUEST BLOG: OPEN LETTER TO SOCIETY

I’m sleepless I’m up thinking how society tells me my double D tits should have gotten me a lot further by 40 years old than they have. Now they say they’re starting to droop, my time is expiring. Society didn’t take my royal melanin into consideration, I look in my 20’s…

They say I’m beautiful with a great career. I’m considered successful by most but the oxymoron is I’m a single mother.

Society rings loud the failure of not having a man’s last name. Society says I as a woman must long to wear a big white dress and be subservient to a man. It’s my duty to serve a him…

Who is he? I’ve read all the fairy tales, even kissed a few frogs. Does he exist? I do not know, all I’ve met is disappointment and continuously scolded how, “Nobody is perfect, nobody will… be perfect I must accept someone’s flaws and settle down,” but all I hear is Settle.

I am not comfortable in settling, not even with myself. But I am comfortable with self. Society needs to listen when I say I have no interest to share my bed, to share my bathroom or my home. I’m nobody’s maid. I’m not doing a man’s laundry. I don’t enjoy doing my own. I’m not a maid, a cook or therapist of adult emotion. I’m an entertainer I control your emotions. 

I will Not serve or submit or Settle, as I am just not her….I’ve tried. I am not a man’s helpmate. Society needs to stop trying to correct me and tell me I just haven’t met him yet. Trying to convince me that the 20 year goose chase I was on while dating them was not successful ….the success was finding what I lost …..self. Energy transfer is real, I am more comfortable single. The most laid back person has bad days if you care without cautions, those can become your bad days. 4 years ago my goose chase stopped and I’ve never been happier. I’m single.

I never played wedding or wife. I never fantasized about the day or the life after…I always knew I wanted a daughter and I got that! 

I knew I would entertain and I got that.

Society says these Double Ds shoulda open doors, got me a raise, a house, a car, a new family but I would lose or hyphenate my name to carry the name of a forefather I don’t know but let go of my grandfather whom was hands down the best man I will ever know.
Society says I need to pay for a piece of paper, legal fees,  a wedding, a reception, then joint taxes. 

Society is money hungry looking for ways to fill their collection plates.

Society can kiss my ass. I think for myself as I live for myself as I now know how to Love myself. A man is merely a trinket all women don’t desire to hold on to the same trinkets till death do them part….
By Anonymous–


www.TeamCherieJ.com

THE WORST PARENTING ADVICE I’M THANKFUL I NEVER LISTENED TO…

Some of the worst parenting advice ever collected was from people telling me, “That baby better learn to sleep through the noise.”

Healthy sleep habits are taught! That’s right, sleep is a learned behavior!  This is where I learned to break the cycle. My daughter sleeps a solid 12 hours still at 5 years old. People are always shocked she sleeps that much. They don’t realize that’s the ideal time for a young growing brain to develop.

People don’t understand when you’re sleeping you still hear everything and everything that you hear feeds your subconscious mind. What you think about creates what and who you are.

So yes, from day one I’ve always put her to bed in a peaceful and quiet place. No TV because falling asleep with your TV on means you are soaking up the blue light of electronics. The blue light suppresses production of melatonin and delays sleep onset. It’s also linked to obesity because the blue light messes with your metabolism. Also sleeping with the TV on, only God knows what would feed into her subconscious mind. No, thank you!

I’m not up talking on the phone in her face, no vacuums, no laughing loud or house parties. If she hears anything, it’s lullabies and motivational mantras very low.

This is why you can’t take everyone’s advice…before accepting advice from someone step back and think, “Is this person living the life I want? Are they leading by example in the advice they are giving?” After doing that, you will have your answer whether to listen or not.

Teach your babies how to sleep, America!

www.TeamCherieJ.com

GUEST BLOG: I WAS ALWAYS MY MOM’S KING, PROBLEM IS SHE’S MADE SURE SHE’S MY ONLY QUEEN!

Yes, I am a grown ass man and admit being a King and never a prince has caused me issues in my adult life. See my father left my mother with 4 children to take care of. By the grace of God, entertainment has my back so I was blessed with good jobs that support my family. Meaning my mother and siblings. I became my mother’s King instead of her son.
It was my house we lived in instead of hers. It was my choice what we ate for dinner…because of these allowances from my mother, she in return became my Queen.

At the age of 15, I met a beautiful girl who I fell in love with. She was perfect in every innocent way possible. This had nothing to do with dating or sex but in my mind I had long term plans for her. She was indeed going to be my wife one day when we were both ready. Only problem my mother despised that idea. Which at the time baffled me. This young lady was also in the entertainment business, she was beautiful inside and out and extremely hard working. How my mother could find fault or flaws within her made no sense. 
I always wanted to be my mother’s hero so I sat my feelings aside. I am now 45 years old and never pursued that young girl the way I wish I would have because of my mother. Truth be told I am 4 babies mommas in now, single again and never have been in love again. I have traveled, dated and done all I could to find that feeling I had as a teenager. Long story short that perfect, flawless, love of my life hates my mother because of her antics (understandably so my mother was very rude to her for no reason) and has moved on. She is now married with a family.


I admit to living a self destructive lifestyle. It started as a teenager as a way of rebellion. Which continued as an adult due to my issues with substance abuse. (I am working on it.) The relationship with my mother is strained. I was her cash cow which left me pretty penniless and struggling. I struggle to support my own children because my Queen’s children (my siblings) were well taken care of by me. Please don’t get it twisted, I’m thankful I was able to do for my family but because of it, I am NOT able to do the same for my children. Which gets me labeled as a deadbeat Dad by circumstance because the “Assumption” of all entertainers is We are Rich! 


I am writing this as a grown man to single mothers trying to raise boys. Please don’t make your son your King! Kings need examples, Queens. It’s okay to allow young men to be a Prince. They need time to learn and grow as a male before they are forced into manhood. No son should bare the responsibility of a grown Queen. I am not just blaming my mother, my father was a coward and dead wrong for allowing me to bare his responsibility. Cherie is my homegirl and I understand this is advice for my sistas so please don’t feel attacked. 
Had my Momma allowed me to date that young girl, my whole life could be different. We could have been an amazing force together. She is still beautiful inside and out and working as hard as ever. She’s remained successful without me. She is what I needed. Sure it may not have worked, but I would have learned that on my own if my mother would have allowed it. I needed to learn that on my own. Now I live with “what if’s” and NO healthy female relationships including the relationship with my mom! 
I see a cycle Queens, I am not the only King….


Anonymous–


www.TeamCherieJ.com

SOCCER TIME AGAIN – OMG, I’M OFFICIALLY A “SOCCER MOM!”

It’s that time again: soccer season. My daughter was so excited to get back in town the night before soccer started. I thought she was going to be jet lagged and tired.  Excitement took over. This time I did not sign her up to be on a soccer league, I signed her up for an instructional soccer class. She did great last season, but I didn’t play soccer, so I would like for her to learn some more skills before she gets back on the field. When we got there today, she was the only girl in her class, and because we got there early, I was able to see the class before hers and it was also full of boys.

At five years old I understand sports are supposed to be fun and games, but I also believe sports are more fun when you’re on a winning team. When you’re one of the top players on the team, your confidence is high and so is your self-esteem. She is so young right now that all the children get playing time, but I am that parent that’s going to go out of my way to do everything I can (in case soccer is something that she sticks with) to make sure her skills are perfected to the best of her ability. That way when she’s older, she will earn her time to play.

I’m sorry, (not sorry) I’m not one of those parents who believes everyone deserves a trophy. Kids need to learn if you want to succeed you have to work for it. That’s how you prepare your child for the real world. Everyone’s not gonna like you and everyone’s not gonna be nice. Those are things that I tell her now and I reassured her it’s OK, everyone doesn’t have to like you, it is more important that you like yourself. 

Today the class was a meet and greet and they ran some drills. All the kids did great and we’re pretty much rookies. I’m excited to see all that they learn, and I will write again to let you know if I think this instructional class improves her skills when it’s time for her to join her next team. 

I do want to give a few little tips for soccer moms. The first one is it is winter, so they told me that they would be having class inside the gym, so bring tennis shoes which I did. I’m so happy that I grabbed her soccer bag with her cleats inside because when we got there she was out on a dirty, muddy field because it rained last night. So, if you can, keep those cleats on hand and make sure you remember their shin guards. I noticed some of the rookie moms also didn’t bring water for their kids. He gave the children three 30-second water breaks during the 45-minute class and I thought it was awesome because I’m big on hydration. Last but not least, don’t forget to encourage them. Before we got out of the car, I looked at my daughter and said, “The only person you have to do better than is YOURSELF! This is NOT a competition! You are here to learn make friends and have fun.”

LOS ANGELES SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEIR HOMELESS EPIDEMIC!

I have been away from California for almost 3 years. Last week, I was staying in downtown LA in a four-star hotel. My view: tents of homeless people. There’s an estimated 60,000 homeless people living in Los Angeles. 44,000 of those people are unsheltered living in tents, cardboard boxes and their cars. Many of them are employed but simply cannot afford the cost of living. 

My heart hurts for them. California is one of the wealthiest states in the United States. Capitalism is not working. In Los Angeles, they try to make it illegal to feed the homeless. That’s the most sad, sickening and disgusting thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

I thought it would be a wonderful time to take my daughter down to the toy district since we were only eight blocks away. As we walked down the street, I had to tell my daughter to watch her steps, so that she didn’t accidentally step in dog poop. I didn’t have the heart to tell my daughter that wasn’t dog poop and pee, it was human feces. I’m not exaggerating, it was disgusting. We went into three toy shops and my daughter was done. We were stepping over bodies walking in the stores that had tents set up in between them. She chose to give the rest of her shopping money to various homeless people.

My five-year-old didn’t want any more toys, she just wanted to leave. My heart was broken for all those people that we saw but I was proud that my daughter was being raised with a heart.  She understood that those people eating and having food is more important than her having toys.

California needs an overhaul! And I’m not talking about the sirens and lights going down the streets at 6 a.m. to wake the homeless up so they can move from in front of the businesses.  Those people need resources, those people need affordable housing and those people deserve food!  I’m utterly disgusted with the cost of living; they need rent control. People deserve homes and food in one of the wealthiest countries in the world! We need to get our priorities straight! Instead of expensive cars, shoes, bags and clothes, we need to make sure our brothers and sister have food and shelter! Prayer is a great action, but sometimes God needs people’s assistance to help those prayers come true!

www.TeamCherieJ.com

MY FIRST PUMMELO

I love walking in the grocery store and seeing fruits that I’ve never seen before. I had no idea what a pummelo was. I asked a couple of people standing next to me if they had any idea what it was, nobody knew. So, I couldn’t just leave it there I had to bring it home and find out.

From the outside, it has a fresh citrus smell, kind of like a grapefruit. It looks like it could be a very large, yellow grapefruit. Maybe even an orange, whatever it was it seemed like it was very citrusy. 

I looked it up on Google, of course, and found out the pummelo is from South Asia and people were comparing it to a grapefruit. Well, I love pink grapefruit. So, I waited for breakfast the next day.

I was excited about waking up and cutting right into it. I cut it in half as I would a grapefruit.  It was pink in color and smelled so good, just like a grapefruit. The taste was definitely that of a red grapefruit after you put sugar on it. It tasted like pure sweetness, nothing like the bitterness and tang of a grapefruit.

For the first half, I used my grapefruit spoon to pull it out, and for the other half I decided I was going to peel it more like an orange. I have to admit, I enjoyed the side that I peeled more than I did the side that I used my grapefruit spoon for. I pulled the thick skin off of the outer perimeter and pulled out the inside pod. It was so juicy.

I had to fill you in just in case you have never tried one and you like pink grapefruit. It will definitely be my go-to citrus anytime I can find it!

Have you tried any new food lately? Let me know.

www.TeamCherieJ.com

CAN I TELL YOU A SECRET?

I self-diagnose myself all the time. (I am a lightweight hypochondriac. And a slight germaphobe and just hate to be sick!) I was due for my annual pap smear just in time for me to diagnose myself with a UTI! My pee didn’t burn, and I am emptying my bladder, but the issue is I feel like I always have to pee. I drink 16 oz of water and I’m in the bathroom like 4 times. 

So, my Dr. walks in after checking out my urine sample, checking for this UTI…he took my blood to check my sugar. Nothing! He says my bladder may have fallen from having a child, but he is pretty sure my issue is self-induced. 

“Self-Induced?” I asked him.

“Yes Cherie, you caused this. (Pause) You are drinking too much water,” he said. Dead pan.

“No bacteria was found. You don’t have a sting when you urinate. Your A1C came back fine, you don’t have diabetes. You are drinking too much water.”

“Every single time I self-diagnose, I do it wrong!” I started laughing.

“I’m going to treat you like I do the children…2 hours before you go to bed you are not to drink anything.” 

I put my head down. 

“Yes, Doctor.” Feeling 10 years old. 

So, there we have it! WebMD and Googling my symptoms, I’m done with you! We are divorced!! 

2020 – I am giving that up! 

www.TeamCherieJ.com