SOMETIMES I WONDER WHY MY DAUGHTER WAS BORN WITH NEGOTIATION SKILLS

School was not my thing. Kindergarten was a total drag. I didn’t understand why I had to sit in class for hours while people learned their ABCs and to count.  It all seemed like a major waste of my time. At 6 years old, I thought I had better things to do. My teacher got on my nerves. I remember this one time she wanted me to color Christopher Columbus and I refused. I thought it was stupid to spend all day talking about a man who supposedly discovered unknown land. You can’t discover anyplace where there were already people there. I chose to spend my coloring time with my head on my desk. My Grandma taught me about Native Americans, and how they were the first people here. I wasn’t about to participate in a celebration that honored the man who instigated the genocide of the indigenous peoples of North America. I got a chance to explain my view to the class and my teacher. Instead of my teacher respectfully challenging my views, all she said was, “Just color it,” in a stern tone.

I remember thinking to myself, “Talking to me like that is no way to get what you want from me.” I shut down completely. I pushed the paper to the side of my desk and put my head down. I wasn’t disruptive or rude, but I was frustrated and angry that she was teaching 16 young minds distorted facts. I mean, I had to be in that place 5 hours a day. And for what, to learn the wrong stuff?  At that moment, I didn’t care how my teacher felt, and I doubt she cared how I felt. I knew I wasn’t going to color because I didn’t want to. But I was even more peeved that she sent me home with a note.

I locked myself in the bathroom while my mother read the note. I was too scared to come out. She spoke to me through the door for a while until I felt comfortable enough to come out. When I got out, she sat me down at the kitchen table and asked me again if I wanted to color the paper the teacher sent home or get a bad grade. I told her, “Mommy, I just can’t do it. I don’t believe in it.” She said “Well, you’re never supposed to do anything you don’t believe in.” She kissed me on my head and got up out of her chair, while she was pushing it in, I said, “Mommy, I don’t want to do the Pledge of Allegiance.” “What’s wrong with the Pledge of Allegiance, Cherie?” she asked. “It’s just lame, Mommy. We are not one nation under God. If we were, people wouldn’t kill people and hurt children. I believe in God, Mom, but everyone doesn’t.” She just looked and me then finally said, “No, Cherie you do not have to say it, but you have to stand up with the rest of the class, ok.” “Ok, Mommy but I’m not putting my hand over my heart either.” “Fine, Cherie,” she said as she walked away to make dinner. I felt like I won! That is the earliest memory I have of negotiating.

Maybe some things are in your genes….

I HAD TO LEARN TO SAY NO!

Since I was 20 years old, every single day of my life someone has given me a sob story as to why they need to borrow money! I used to become emotional to everyone’s situations and over gave. I looked up one day and realized I gave everything I had: energy, finances and love. I saved bare minimal for myself. All those I gave to never gave back nor returned the favor when I was in need.

I finally learned to say no without guilt! And it was just in time because of social media. Social media has amplified the amount of people who not only ask but expect you to give. People have this false sense of entitlement when they know someone from TV. Not only are they entitled to every element of your life, they are also entitled to help you spend your money whether they have met you before or not. Whether it’s for their 10 kids’ school clothes, their rent, attorney fees, gas money, a funeral fund or their wedding. It usually starts with, “I hate to ask this but….” My response in my head is, “Baby, I hate that I am listening.” Deep down, I want to help everyone! For my sanity I have learned I have to help myself. Guard my peace, my finances and my well-being or I am no good for those depending on me.

No comes easy now, I’ve had some practice.

I keep my answers short. NO doesn’t need explanation.

I do NOT second guess myself.

I refuse to let them talk me into something I’m not comfortable doing. People will go on and on as to why you should give them your money.

In my head, I learned to separate refusal from rejection. Sometimes the first no feels sad but I’m not afraid to say it twice. Often, I find my peace in the second yes. Doesn’t mean I don’t sympathize with their situation, it means I am at peace with my choice because it is best for me.

I learned to stay true to myself.

I will not offer my money but what I can afford is prayer. I pray their situation will change and they find abundance of whatever their life is lacking.

POWER OF MANIFESTATION

At the age of 14 if you walked in my room, you would find my walls covered with black and white print ads torn from the pages of a magazine! I wanted to paint my walls black, lol, my mom wasn’t having it so I created my own way! There were a lot of Guess ads with Anna Nicole Smith everywhere and Michael Jordan had a series of Nike ads in Black and White. I became obsessed with magazines. Essence, Black Enterprise, Vogue, Elle, Allure and Cosmopolitan were all subscribed to. Editorials became my favorite. I was holding on to the dream of going to college to major in Architecture and Minor in Journalism. Yes, I was on TV but that wasn’t my dream, it was just what I had fun doing.

I am telling you this story about myself to share with you the power of manifestation. I know, I know, here I go again. Truthfully, I was eating lunch with my brother, Dallas 3 years ago and he said, “Right now, if you could be doing anything you want for a living, what would it be?” I laughed and said, “I want to write for a living full time and be a homeschool mom.” Fast forward 2 years. I am homeschooling and in November 2018, I was promoted from my part time gig at Fever Magazine to a full-time job as Assistant Editor! I manifested that shit and it all started with a teenage passion! I am a creative person and very eccentric. I am kinda like Lynn from Girlfriends, in the sense that doing just 1 thing forever is not my journey or my goal! Acting only did not fulfill me, I needed more. It is an awesome foundation that has given me a platform to stand on to achieve other things. I am not saying I quit acting, I’m saying I am more than an actress. I love setting goals and get a total high off achieving them. I also get a huge high watching others achieve their own goals. That is why I am sharing this story to encourage you to manifest your own reality! Good luck, you got this!

WHEN I GOT THE FEVER FOR THE STAGE

My earliest memory of being infatuated with performing is when my mom took me to see The Wiz with Stephanie Mills. I don’t even remember blinking ‘cause I didn’t want to miss anything. I was smitten. The singing was incredible, and I was mesmerized as they danced up and down the aisles. I wanted to get up and dance with them. My mom had to remind me several times to sit down. I remember telling my mom I could do that, referring to performing. Seeing The Wiz was the best gift she ever gave me. After that, something was sparked inside of me.

My mom bought me one of those record players that sat inside a little white suitcase with a plug that hung out the back. I owned three eight-inch records that I played back-to- back: Annie, The Wiz, and Sister Sledge. Nobody could tell me I wasn’t Annie. At that time, we lived on the second floor of an apartment building and I used to stand on top of my toy chest in the window (that was my stage) and sing to the people downstairs. Sometimes they would ignore me and carry on; other times they would stop and watch. I would get excited when I had a crowd and I would sing louder. I was and still am extremely shy, so it’s odd that I enjoyed performing in front of crowds. I didn’t like talking to people or being looked at, but I had no problem performing for them.

7 THINGS I DO DAILY TO LET MY DAUGHTER KNOW SHE IS SPECIAL TO ME

1) We cook together.

I make 3 meals a day and snacks. For at least 1 of those meals, I recruit a little helper. I notice giving her jobs that have to do with the family meals gives her pride. She loves feeling a part of the process and being a helper. She eats better when she has helped make the food as well.

2) I tell her I love her.

Not a day goes by without me saying, “I love you!” I never want her to have any doubt in her mind how I feel for her, so every chance I get, I let her know. I tell her, “I’m really proud of the way you did your school work today or put away your socks.” I notice this kind of praise leads her to doing more positive things the next day. (Works most of the time.)

3) Children love hugs and to be rubbed.

Give lots of hugs, rub their back. Kids never get too old for a positive physical touch from their parents. Always hug your children before you or they leave, when they come home and before bed.

4) We don’t watch much TV. We read together.

Since the day I found out I was pregnant I have been reading to my daughter.

We read for fun just as much as we read for school and she loves it. Instead of making it a chore, we go on shopping sprees to the bookstore where she goes in and picks out her own books.

5) We use technology as a teaching tool. We limit YouTube.

Electronics can be a huge distraction not only for my daughter but also for myself. For 1 week stay conscious of your screen time. You will be surprised when you realize how much time you could have been spending with your kids.

6) Listen to your children when they talk.

I have a daughter that runs her mouth all day long, even when we are trying to homeschool. I know firsthand it’s hard to actually listen to everything that comes out of your child’s mouth, but I try really hard to pay attention because children are so pure that they speak from the heart. So, you get to learn their desires, fears and about their mental health daily if you just take the time to listen.

7) Make bedtime special.

I do my best to keep our routine. It allows for extra time to chat, catch up on feelings, read a book and pray. This is the time my daughter will open up and say either today was a good day or sometimes, “Mommy, I am sorry for being bad. Tomorrow will be a better day.” I don’t have to prompt it. Bedtime is her reflection time of the day. Since I homeschool, it’s often the time when I ask her what subject she would like to start with in the morning. I have noticed when I let her pick the subject, there is less resistance.

A FISH SITTER?

It’s that time of the year again where I am looking to escape to a tropical beach. Only this year is different. I have to find someone to babysit our daughter’s fish, Molly! No joke, a fish sitter! My daughter said, “Mommy, you are forgetting you have to get another plane ticket.” I said, “For who?” She said, “Mom, we can’t leave Molly.” I looked down and wasn’t sure whether to laugh or get irritated but her little face was so serious. I said, “Honey, don’t worry. Molly will be okay…” Then, I started to think will she really be okay? She’s a fish! F@CK my life, a fish… My daughter would be devastated if we come back and Molly is belly up. I couldn’t be the only mom in history with a fish dilemma.

Now, I did know they have dog sitters and animal hotels. The thoughts in my head started to race. I have to call around to see if they take fish too! LOL. My daughter is 4 years old, so asking one of her playmates to keep Molly is probably not a good idea since the kid already has anxiety about her being alive when we get home.

Awww, get your child a pet they say.  It will be fun. Don’t fall for it! As I am browsing the world wide web for ideas I find there is a site called petsitter.com and there are actually people who babysit any animal, hahahah, including fish! They come to your home. Mmmh, I dunno how I feel about having a stranger in my home to look after a fish.

Then, I find Petco has something called Betta-Vacation Feeder for $3.59. BINGO! Petco for the win!!! Bells literally went off in my head. I am more comfortable with Molly staying in her own home and getting to eat than having a stranger in my home to feed the fish or buying another plane ticket for Molly like my daughter suggested, lol!

I was really sitting there thinking well, maybe I can pack the fish bowl and put Molly back in the little plastic cup she came in. It does have a lid. How ridiculous will it be tryna walk through the airport with a kid, a fish and luggage? (Would the airlines even allow that? I have no idea.) But Molly will be staying home. Thank you, Petco and thank you to the world wide web for all the resources for a Betta fish!

Sometimes I have to laugh as I think, this is not my life. Then, I remember my life has always been this ridiculous, it’s just taken a much more entertaining turn for me. Enjoy your children, enjoy their pets, just enjoy every moment. Our sweet girl, Molly is still swimming at home while I’m trying to swim on somebody’s tropical beach! I pray she makes it while we are enjoying our vacay! I will keep you posted. Wish us luck, I need all the positive vibes I can get!

AT AGE 30, THESE WERE THE RULES THAT I SET FOR MY LIFE

When I turned 30, I made a new list of rules for myself.

  1. No more letting people borrow money that they never pay back!
  2. No more paying for women to have abortions! 
  3. No more accepting collect calls!
  4. No more taking care of other people’s children!
  5. No more feeling guilty and doing things I don’t want to do!
  6. No more going places because other people want me to go!
  7. No more meeting people’s families so they can prove they know me!
  8. I was tired of being the birthday clown. (Yes, people ask for you to come over like I’m a birthday present to someone.  It’s weird)!
  9. No more fake friends.  I’d rather spend my days alone!
  10. No more dating groupies (male groupies are just as bad as women)!
  11. No more driving people around like I’m a taxi!
  12. And last but not least, no more putting other people’s needs in front of my own!

I received an inspirational text from my friend Keeland Ellis that I will never forget. He told me, “Have no friends who do not equal you. Watch those that you don’t know who are always wanting to be with you, and those who are wanting to be like you!”

I wish he would have told me this straight out of high school but he told me on time because not only did I hear every word of it, but I understand it now so I guess that’s an example of God’s time.

LEARN TO LET GO AND LIVE

I often remind myself, the picture in an artist mind is not often what’s translated on canvas, but it doesn’t make it less beautiful. ~ Cherie

 

I had to learn to let go and live. Life just doesn’t always move as planned no matter how long I spend working on the details. I am a stickler for schedule and being on time. From what I have learned, most of the world is NOT the same. No matter how much I prepare and break my neck to have things fall into place, often they just don’t, for reasons far out of my control. Someone always cancels and someone is always late. I expect to be paid on a certain date and I am not. It drives me insane and eats me up inside. I am by nature one of those people who does exactly what I say I am going to do. I have to accept the world is just not like me. In return, I am slowly learning to let go! I am learning to let go of the things I can’t control and giving it all to the universe.  (Maybe it’s my inner hippie.) I am learning how to find the beauty in every situation.

Just this week, I had 2 telephone conference calls just flake, and a nutritional consultation rescheduled last minute. I homeschool my daughter, so I busted my ass to make sure she was finished with school by 1 p.m., in order to take these calls. Had lunch ready to go so she would be preoccupied eating and watching YouTube, so the callers didn’t have to hear her talking in the background. While a part of me was fuming at the fact that they flaked… I had to take a moment and smile because I was able to hang out and eat lunch with my baby, where usually I would have just eaten the leftovers off her plate before I did the dishes and ran out the door to take her to Tae Kwon Do.

I was able to sit down next to her at the table and we talked and laughed while we ate. I listened to her tell me all about her LOL dolls and which were her favorites and why. I had to remind myself if I were on that conference call this would’ve been a moment that I would have missed with her. I smiled because I was able to be in the moment with her. Looking in her eyes and seeing the excitement made me realize I was exactly where I needed to be at that moment. I now get the saying let go, live life!

NOT JUST YOGA – BIKRAM YOGA

I lost myself and forgot who I am. I had been in California way too long.

YO, Duquesne, Pennsylvania and all my east coast folks, let me tell you about my conforming ass. I needed to get the fuck outta California. I say this because I let this dude convince me to go to some shit called Bikram Yoga!

This is not just yoga, but the room is like 120 degrees and they got you in there doing all kinda weird stretches with your body! Well, my hypoglycemic self hadn’t eaten anything all day and it was 4:30pm so I grabbed 2 cheeseburgers and went to class!

I was dizzy as fuck feeling like I was gonna puke and all these half-dressed, happy as fuck Cali folks were in there doing the splits and smiling and shit! LMFAO.

It was a 90-minute class.  I did about 80 minutes, okay maybe 75 minutes.  All the other time, I laid my ass on that stinky mat and tried to breathe.

Wasn’t excited about taking my shoes off and touching their floor, but I lived! It wasn’t that bad. I might go back. Before you LA folks start chiming in about YOGA, just know that’s some ol Hollywood bullshit to us East Coast folks, okay. Not saying Yoga is bad shit.  I tried it but it ain’t a part of our day to day life, though we heard of the shit B4 LMFAO!  It doesn’t smell too fresh in there either.

SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO RUN AWAY!

Every once in a while, I just…can’t! I can’t do life. Hahaha.  So, I quit and do something completely irresponsible as a parent! Yes, it was a school day and it was a little cold outside, but you know what, life is short. Ima enjoy it and I’m going to make sure she’s enjoying it to!

Sure, there were emails to answer, work to do and phone calls to make but guess what they will still be there tomorrow. The look on her face when she realized we were going to Disneyland was everything.

Southern Californians are terrified of drizzle and cold.  So, with a 20% chance of rain and 55 degrees on a Wednesday, Disneyland was perfect! Our longest wait was 15 minutes for It’s A Small World. No fast passes needed this trip.

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When it’s all over, all we have are memories. Ima do my damnedest to make sure we have great ones. Believe it or not, we spent an entire day there. My daughter and I ate lunch and dinner, came home with a few treats of her choice and I only spent like $300.00, including paying for VIP parking. I think I did pretty good! I understand everyone can’t do Disneyland but an ice cream date, a trip to the bookstore or library are all amazing dates to share with your little ones. Live it up and keep it fun.