xoxo Moongirl

Nicole Burgio. A woman who could be called helpless, defeated, jaded yet she is resilient, strong, and pushing through a life of chaos, pain, and violence. We sometimes live in our mini worlds overtaken by our own experiences. We interact with one another based on those experiences and don’t realize that our past definitely defines us only if we allow it. There is beauty in pain when you embrace it and use it to evoke change.

I attended xoxo: Moongirl at their opening show. If you remember I attended Communitas a few weeks prior. This was more raw than that show. It’s suggested for ages 13 and up. I might add upping the age to about 15 due to violent themes.

Nicole used magic, and acrobatic technique to show points of pain. The pain of knowing your mother was being beat by the hand of her father. The pain again feeling hopeless even after reaching adulthood. Why? Why can’t she take back this power? People sometimes only focus on the immediate dangers of violence in the home. Once you escape you think the journey has ended but does it?

How can you not be in a home and show signs of anxiety, hurt, distrust? Do you gravitate towards the same toxic behavior that you know is wrong but fine yourself in over and over again?! It sounds so deep and heavy and it should be to a point. You can’t sit and not be uncomfortable. However in the uncomfortable feeling there is still beauty. Healing isn’t linear. It’s an up and down path. It’s high one day like Nicole in her acrobat stance and low like Nicole in a anxious fit.

I left in peace. I left feeling hopeful. Yes you can encounter someone’s pain and still feel at peace watching them go up and down in their journey.

Domestic violence happens daily. 1 in every 4 women will experience violence from an intimate partner according to National Domestic Violence Hotline

Nicole is using her powerful story while utilizing her skills in the most provocative and informational way. We need to scream it out so friends can stop turning a blind eye to their abuser friends. We need to speak it so we can stop acting like it’s just a thing that happened in the past. There may be a few in your inner circle covering up the horror. The shame alone holds people in bad relationships where violence is the way to bind them to their partner.

There’s a way for you to see this performance:

  • Saturday, June 15, 3 p.m.

  • Saturday June 15, 8 p.m.

  • Sunday, June 16, 3 p.m.

  • Monday, June 17, 7 p.m.

  • Wednesday, June 19 7 p.m.

  • Thursday, June 20, 7 p.m.

  • Thursday, June 20, 9 p.m.

  • Friday, June 21, 8 p.m.

  • Saturday, June 22, 3 p.m.

  • Saturday, June 22, 8 p.m.

  • Sunday, June 23, 7 p.m.

You can purchase tickets here

You might be saying well I would love to come but none of the above show times fit my schedule, how can I still donate or help?

I can help you! This amazing show is also on its way to Edinburgh. That’s right and they could use some help getting there. Right now they have a donor that is willing to match so that means your one donation will go twice as far. One thing about theatre is that it takes the support of the community! Let’s donate here!

I encourage all to come out and show Nicole and Mel Hsu who single handedly provided live music accompaniment. Mel’s voice is pure amazement and I loved hearing her.

So let’s take some time to flood Funicular Station located at 416 Coulter Street with love. Get out and see xoxo: Moongirl and learn, engage, enjoy a little magic as Nicole travels to the Moon to gain strength and let’s stand up to pain and turn it into a thing of beauty!!

To learn more about Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, click here!

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Mother’s Day: Miscarriage, Loss of a child, and Infertility

Again I say that Mother’s Day doesn’t always bring these cookie cutter images that television and marketing companies want you to believe. It’s a place of grief for so many women and men all around the world.

When a woman conceives or attempts to conceive, there’s very little ways to do it without your heart becoming attached. With that in mind there are large amounts of women who mourn the day because it’s a reminder of what they desire (d) and can’t have. It’s a place of pain that can’t be measured. With all of the cards, flowers, and joy that should be given to women I want to recognize the women who aren’t in the celebratory spirit.

Are you pregnant?

It’s down right rude to ask a woman of whom you do not share an intimate space if or when she is ready to conceive. That conversation needs to be when and if she is ready to ever have it. Our culture has no boundaries on other women and their uteruses. It needs to be reminded that some women endure a heartache that they haven’t or may never be able to share. Asking her when and if, may inflict a level of pain that she may want to keep private.

Infertility

She may also have suffered a miscarriage and those wounds no matter how long ago it may have been are always fresh and sometimes gets reopen on days like Mother’s Day. You mourn all over again what your child would be and it’s hard. It’s debilitating to have to keep reliving the pain. We need to do a better job of acknowledging this and being sensitive. Your comments matter. Saying things like “just try again” or “it will happen in its time” may not always be received well. There are women that no matter what just can’t hold life and it’s the one thing that we all feel is reserved for women to “naturally” do yet it doesn’t always come so easily!

Miscarriage

Hearing your baby’s heartbeat is the most scared part of pregnancy. It doesn’t matter if you’re high risk or not; anytime you’re able to hear it, you hold that sound dear to your heart. There are many women who may or may not initially wanted to be a mother but once life has entered inside of you, a real mom will want to protect that life. Not hearing your child’s heartbeat is one of the most devastating events a woman can experience. It signals that even through no fault of your own, life has stopped. The process following that silence is grueling. We don’t speak about what a woman goes through emotionally, mentally, or physically but it’s life changing. It’s real and it can cut a woman to her core.

Loss of a Child

There are women who unfortunately either through miscarriage, still birth, death of a child or late pregnancy miscarriage experience the greatest loss known. Not knowing how to deal with those feelings have sent many women into a tailspin. It takes love, patience, sometimes medication, therapy and some of the most amazing support systems to get through. Outsiders are the first to put a time stamp on this level of grief when it’s no one’s time frame to control. You will forever remember and never forget.

Regardless of where you as a woman or the woman in your life fits, please understand that these are delicate topics that deserve reference during this time. Please be patient with yourself if you fit the above categories. Know that even if you feel you should be passed a point in your healing that healing is up and down and constant. Some days are better than others. If you need help it’s okay to receive it. If you’re struggling it’s okay as well. You don’t have to have it altogether. Just know that I for one understand! I sent you love! I send you peace!

Monday Inspiration: The Protection of No

Happy Monday to you.  Today I want to talk about the pain that comes along with NO.  Like children when we hear no we may experience a plethora of feelings.  From being disappointed, to hurt, to anger.  What you wanted and where you are in that journey makes your NO levels different.

If you were in what you thought was a loving relationship and you felt the next step was marriage only to find out that the person you held so dear to you is a fake, that NO that he failed you and the pain of starting all over again can be devastating. What about the pain in the NO when you are job searching?  Job searching is a numbers game at times.  You may hear several NOs in your lifetime where that is concerned.  Trust me.  When I got laid off of my job in 2010 right after having my premature daughter I was devastated.  I was thinking what in the world am I going to do?  I moved to Philadelphia and found out I was pregnant again.  Out of my element and new to a city I decided to take some time off and do the stay at home mom thing.  It was harder than I anticipated.  The time I decided to go back to work, I heard so many NOs my heart actually hurt.  I felt like I would be at home forever.  No after NO after NO began to chip at my spirit.  I am human I thought I have a college degree and experience why is this happening.  But it did.

During those difficult times of hearing NO and the mix emotions I felt, I got stronger.  I felt like I was taken a thousand steps back but I got stronger. I got a job and then began to progress to where I am now but the story wasn’t an easy one.  I have had moments where I second guessed myself. I cried.  I cursed from being so angry. I was miserable. I had to get it together.  So if you woke up and all you can do is hold onto the pain of NO, I get that.  Hear me clearly, when you let it go and walk with the sting of the pain and move forward you may not get that YES the same day, but you will if you don’t quit. At the very moment of quitting you will get a YES.  Put the work in.  Take moments along the journey of NO to renew your mind.  You may have to do this daily.  Whatever it takes, don’t faint and don’t quit.  There is protection in NO.  NO means something else is out there for you.  No means that the journey you paved for yourself wasn’t the journey YOU needed to be your best self.  Shocking how we think we know everything we need until life throws something our way to prove that we don’t.  Strive for excellence.  You can walk through the pain without the pain knocking your will to live out of you.  The protection is making sure you don’t walk further in pain.  There are people in places God never intended because instead of listening to the NO and letting it protect them, they let their personal desires walk them willingly into some mess and now they are miserable.  They shouldn’t be in that place and they know it.  Sometimes that stubborn will have you walking in circles.  When things don’t work out there is a reason.  If you are running late to a place, there is reason.  It’s protection.  Yes its frustrating but you don’t know what you are about to walk in.  Trust the process.  Have faith and walk in the sting of the pain don’t let the pain of NO overtake you.

From the Heart of a Parent

I spoke about it briefly but I want it to be super clear that as a parent I can’t imagine sending my kids off to school and someone coming into the school and taking my children’s lives.  I can’t! It hurts that parents are having to deal with this.  After the Parkland shooting it has left me numb.  I felt numb after all of these rash of shootings to be honest. I am tired of being numb.  I wished that no child had to fear for their lives.  If you watched the videos that arose after the Parkland shooting, hearing the gun go off, hearing those babies cry and scream in terror, it hurts all of us.

Regardless of where you fit in all of this, the fact still remains that 17 families had to feel yet another impact of gun violence.  I could debate either way on the scale but none of that will bring back those lives that were taken.  They were taken.  Young people who had bright futures ahead of them are gone. As a parent it makes me re-evaluate what I do with my kids.  I stopped worrying less about if the house was super tidy in the morning over telling my kids I love them and making sure they are secure. I wasn’t worried if everything was perfect. In our  home we strive to love on them instead of worrying about a few meltdowns.  We stopped worrying about if everything ran according to schedule and focused on who mattered.

Today my family and I was interviewed about how we feel about all Parkland and school safety. I don’t feel like my kids are super safe regardless of the extra additives in place.  People are dangerous period.  So now I spend my time making my mornings and my time with them in general is solid.  Making sure I can always say that as a husband and wife team we make sure we treat each morning as if it was their last.  Nothing else outside of that matters.

The experience of even being interviewed has pulled on my heart-strings.  I spoke to Anna twice and I remember the first time having tears in my eyes.  This isn’t just about getting a story out.  I practice what I say everyday.  We huddle as a family in the mornings.  We do our best not to be in such a rush…….

Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Here is a look at the article written by Philadelphia Inquirer, Anna Orso

Philadelphia Inquirer

Power in the Clouds…..

So I am feeling a lot better. I was under the weather taking care of my sick husband and I ended up getting what he had.  I do not think it was the flu as I was able to recover a lot sooner than he did.  I am grateful for being able to have a little down time but now as I get better its time to work.

There has been a lot going on in the world. So let’s dive in. I  was able to catch the 60th Grammy Show this past Sunday. There were a lot of great performances and of course the Me Too movement continues on as it should.  I haven’t made a public statement on it but it’s about time that these men who are using their power against women be stopped.  So many women endure so many things ranging from sexual harassment to rape to get ahead or simply exist. I wish above all that young ladies and women weren’t subject to this type of behavior.  It sickens me to think of my own daughters having to endure such abuse in any form.  However the down side to it too is that there will be a few women use this movement for the wrong reason. My prayer is that all women would be safe no matter where they are.  Shout out to all the ladies in the world taking a stand in public and in private! May the fight continue!

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So I wasn’t able to do a Sunday message or a Monday motivation message due to me not feeling well.  Let me say that discouragement is always around us no matter what.  It’s hard to do but we must all constantly check the messages we surround ourselves around.  What we listen to and entertain is super important.  No matter what type of journey in life you are on, discouragement is always in our faces.  Look at how the world is shaped, you log onto your computer and negativity is always present.  I try my best to be sure that I change what I take in and especially what my kids take in. I shield my spirit first.  This way I can assist them in what they need.  Be careful to clean up your social media actions.  Stop debating with everyone. Everything ain’t a fight. Sometimes letting someone have that last word is necessary for your own growth. Do you know how many people get off on saying they told you off? A LOT. Let them eat cake! You got enough time on your hands to build you.  You don’t always have time to build others.  I am not saying don’t be inspirational, I am saying your cup has to be full.  Drink from your cup.

I find that the mind is the playground of excuses too.  Sometimes you are having a bad day not because of the outside elements but because your mind is telling you something is going to be a certain way.  Doubt and fear are festering in an unchecked mindset.  You and you alone have the power to check that.  So check it! This may be a Tuesday but to someone they struggled hard during their Monday not because it was a Monday but because they are overwhelmed emotionally and spiritually and feel lost. Feeling lost is real.  It’s a feeling of despair.  It robs you of joy and happiness and it makes you scared.  Fear is debilitating. I have felt that pain many times.  That pain that makes you want to stay in bed and cry.  Getting up is easy but hard at the same time but you have to get up.  This isn’t just in the physical sense but the mental and emotional sense of the word too.  Whatever you lack can be fixed.  It can be achieved.  It is there inside of you.  Just do what you feel you must and try. If you woke up your answers are going to come to you as you make moves.  You were given a unique opportunity to make today better than yesterday.

I have had times when trying was all I had and then something happened, I got stronger. I had one situation line up and then slowly sometimes like a crock pot slow, things lined up.  It wasn’t a fast fix.  It wasn’t a microwave, convenient fix, it was a slow fix. The light didn’t shine when I woke up, sometimes only a few clouds move. If you are there you know what I am talking about.  The same power that comes in the sun is the same power in the clouds. never forget that!  Be encouraged today and everyday!

 

Over 30 Years in The Making

Well last night I was able to see my Aunt Starlett.  The overall happiness that I still feel even as I type this blog, can’t even be captured. To see someone I haven’t seen in over 30 years is amazing.  I am 36 by the way if you need to put things into perspective.

Why I haven’t seen my aunt is mostly location.  She lives in California and my entire family leaves on the East Coast.  She works hard like two jobs hard to make ends meet so vacations aren’t even on the radar for her.  So this was major for her to get here.  I am super grateful for the strides that both my mom and aunt are making in their relationship.  Whatever may have happened prior to the best reunion ever doesn’t matter to me. I have done my job as a niece to keep up with my aunt and that is all that matters to me.

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I am also glad that my mom, aunt, and grandma will reunite together as well.  This is major too.  I don’t have a lot of family on my mom’s side so anytime we can get together is a big deal to me.  I am also glad that my husband and kids were able to meet her.  It helps for them to see parts of me and not just my husband’s side.

So what was going on in my mind the moments leading up to the reunion?

  1. Would see look like I remembered her?  She did and then she didn’t.  I only remember what her face looked like but our interactions growing up weren’t that strong so the memories of doing fun things with your aunt I don’t have.
  2. Would we receive each other warmly?  We absolutely did.  Hugs and kisses all around and my kids received her just as well.  That warmed my heart.
  3. Would everything go smoothly?  Absolutely.  Shout out to my mom for making her infamous lasagna.  Nothing can go wrong with momma’s cooking and a few drinks.
  4. How to pull this off-I live Philly my family doesn’t. So an hour and a half car ride during a school week for my kids, with homework in tow, grabbed some dinner because kids can be picky, and the sounds of New Edition we were on our way. This takes organization to the next level.  I dressed the kids in their pajamas, and this made it easy to get back late, transfer them to bed, and let them be rested for the next day. Super glad that we had very little tantrums during or after.
  5. I took the deepest breath and said a prayer that all would go well.  Not that anything would happen but again anxiety and this was a major event for me so I wanted to be on guard a bit until I saw her, it went away.

Shout out to my job for allowing me to leave early to get on the road so I could get the kids and my husband ready to travel.  Everyone knows I have a do nothing policy during the week when school is in session, but this was a must attend event.

I am super glad for the memories that were made.  The pictures that were taken.  The continued relationship that she and I will have.  I look forward to more reunions.  This was like Christmas and Thanksgiving all rolled into one. My night was forever made.  The kids were excited both leading to and after they met her.  That alone made me feel super good.  I couldn’t never imagined the moment but I am super glad the moment was had.

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One suggestion I would make is to try your best to make good relationships with family.  As I type this I will keep it all the way real. Even though I am all about family, I must say that there are several family members that I don’t have a relationship with anymore for various reasons.  So I will not write this and act like I just have the best relations with all of my family because that would be a lie.  If and when the time is right I am more than willing to make things right as they need to be in their proper place.  My reunion with my aunt lets me know that healing can still happen.  No matter what is said and done there is a slight chance if you’re open to it to make things better.  So I will encourage others as well as myself to try to make things better.

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I love my Aunt Star and I am glad that I was able to spend time with her.  God bless her in all that she does.

Single Moms Survival Kit

So life of a single mom has usually a few things tied to it, stress and time.  There isn’t anyone that can help lighten their load.  They play the role of both parents which is almost nearly impossible.  They have to do it all and smile as if it doesn’t bother them. Let me say that is foolishness.  Single moms are not happy about their state of singlehood.  I haven’t found one however not being happy in singlehood doesn’t mean you can’t do a few things to change your personal perception.

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I was born to a single mom.  My dad well he had the ability to check out like so many other men who make that choice.  The children are caught in the middle of it all.  Every child needs both parents.  However when life serves up the craziness, you have to find ways around it and make it work regardless.  So it was a little later on that my mom would find real love and my dad aka my step dad although I never call him that entered our lives.  What was life-like before that?  Full of adventures.  No two days were alike. Sometimes my mom look effortless and other days you can see the struggle in her eye.  I have said it once and I will say it again no mother is perfect but my mom got us through displacement, homelessness, and struggle and she doesn’t even appear to look like what she came through.  No mom ever wants this life.  However let me tell you what lessons I learned from the best to do it:

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  1. Don’t look like what you are going through.  It doesn’t mean that you won’t have bad days but my mom not only told us this she showed us too.  We lived in a shelter and our clothes were always pressed and clean.  She made sure every time we stepped out the door we looked right meaning hair done too.  She made sure she had her make up done too.  Did that mean we were to the 9s all the time?  No but definitely most times.  It was about looking good and feeling good past the craziness behind the scenes.  No mother wants to have children in a shelter its a sign of not being able to provide. However my mom told us it was temporary and that in life you have to be able to go high even when things got low-trust me this was before Michelle Obama.
  2. Things work out when you work hard.  In life things get hard.  There will be times when you want to pull your hair out.  The kids will not make it easy either, however you can do your best and make moves instead of excuses.  You have 24 hours to cry and die like my mom would say but when you are done, wipe your face and handle it.  Keep searching even if you get a NO, keep going.
  3. Get help-if you have one person willing to help don’t cut them off.  Do not try to do it all yourself.  It takes a village.  Someone is ready and willing to assist let them.  It doesn’t make you less of a super mom to get the help you need and that means in all forms.
  4. Smile- yes your heart hurts.  You may have watched the sadness in your child face over a disappointment of the lack of the other parent, but your smile let’s them know that things aren’t perfect but they will make it. I know for a fact that watching my mom do the same in her life, when life gets hard she won’t one sugar coat life for me and she definitely taught me to smile through it all.
  5. Journal it out-everything ain’t for everybody.  You have to be able to have an outlet.  Single moms don’t always have time for hobbies and meeting up with friends but you have to be able to get it out.  Keeping things in will do more harm than help.
  6. Never let anyone come between you and your kid.  Listen to them because kids see and know more than you think.  Don’t let them dictate your life but don’t want a “life” so bad that you throw caution to the wind.
  7. Take care of your children.  Stop the dropping them off to momma and nem so you can be at the club working on your next kid. A break is a break it’s not forever.  It’s not weekly.  It’s a break-a brief moment.  The concept of dropping responsibility is not going to work.  You had them, you raise them.  Help is one thing, damn near walking away and visiting your kid is another. Its one thing if you can’t take care of them but if you are in the picture than be in the picture.  Give your kid 100% instead of them not already having one parent and then only having 10% of you because you are fed up with the life you created.  No you didn’t create it yourself but at some point the focus needs to be off of you and more on the children who didn’t ask to come here.