My Journee to Self Love

To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.

Robert Morely

In 7th grade English my teacher gave out assigned seats. My assigned seat was in front of this young white male. He began throwing small balls of paper at me during class. I turned around to tell him to stop and he advised me to go back to Africa. Annoyed by his ignorance I quickly reminded him that America would be boring without black people. He laughed and agreed and made a snarky comment about black people being entertaining. I rolled my eyes and turned back around in my seat and he continued to throw paper at me. Finally after an hour I picked a few paper balls up and threw them back at him.

Our English teacher yelled at me and gave me dentition. I was flabbergasted. I couldn’t understand why the guy who I’ll call Liam could make racial comments and harass me all class, but I ended up with detention. The teacher told me if I didn’t react I wouldn’t have gotten into trouble, acknowledging that he knew what was going on but still chose to only punish me. The teacher also moved Liam from behind me to across from me to the very next row over.

After the my initial encounter with Liam I really disliked him. He annoyed every fiber of my being. The next day in English class Liam told me that he thought I was beautiful. Liam was confusing, but he was also the first male to tell me I was beautiful. I didn’t say thank you to Liam because I figured he was joking but a part of me oddly felt good. I felt happy that someone other than myself appreciated my beauty. Someone didn’t think I was the weird fat black girl.

From the first time he called me beautiful I started developing strange feelings for Liam. He was tall with blonde hair and blue eyes your typical all America boy. From the first time Liam called me beautiful he never stopped. He rubbed my arms and held my hands during class. I made sure to always wear a short sleeve shirt to English. Then one day he told me he loved me. I didn’t say it back because I was afraid to and I didn’t understand my feelings. Honestly I felt liked I loved Liam too but we were kids who knew nothing about love. I knew nothing about expressing myself or my feelings.

One day I dropped my pen and asked Liam to pick up the pen for me.

“Call me master” Liam said jokingly

One of our other white male classmates overheard Liam and advised him that his comment was too far. I was in complete shock. I couldn’t believe that Liam actually said that to me. I was so hurt and couldn’t believe I allowed myself to be apart of his slave fantasy. I felt so ashamed and so stupid. I left out the classroom and refused to come back. I did not care about the consequences.

The English teacher wrote me up and I was sentenced to a week of detention and a week of in school suspension at lunch. My parents also punished me by grounding me for a week and beating me. I felt so dumb the consequences didn’t matter to me I was numb and heartbroken.

After I healed from the beating, completed detention and in school suspension I was right back in English across from Liam. However I had nothing to say to him. He apologized profusely but I hated him.

Then one day a few weeks into me ignoring Liam like he never existed to me he stopped me in the hallway after lunch. He apologized again this time he looked me in the eyes. I felt like he was hurting and sincerely apologetic.

“Baby girl I’m sorry. I love you” he said and then he hugged me.

I melted in his arms and laid my head on his chest. The moment was perfect. I didn’t tell him I loved him but I did. I didn’t tell him I forgave him but I did. I loved him calling my baby girl. It made me feel special.

I didn’t think he was racist at the time I just thought he was a product of his environment. Living in a predominantly white area sometimes people used racial slurs or said racist things they would later apologize for and I was used to that. Honestly we were kids, and even at a young age I realized kids aren’t born racist or hateful. Kids are taught those behaviors. My parents would have died if they knew I was in love with a white guy. We were kids and I told myself he had to be taught that behavior. I didn’t blame him I blamed the word. I still blame the world.

That strange dynamic between us lasted all the way through high school. One day I thought he cared for me and the next day someone was telling me he said he would never date a black girl. I would be hurt or sad but I never stopped loving him. He was the first guy to make me feel beautiful.

Fast forward to present day I discussed Liam and the roll that he played in my young life with my therapist. I told her once again how Liam made me feel. She paused and said “let’s be clear Liam said some pretty awful hurtful racist things to you. Let’s acknowledge the toxic role he played in your life”.

I felt so dumb once again. I credited Liam with making me feel beautiful and helping me love myself. I never really acknowledged the toxic role Liam played in my life. I found that since Liam I continued to gravitate towards men who hurt me or men who are mean to me. I attracted men who were prone to anger. It’s almost like I think I deserve a man who in one breath will tell me I’m beautiful and god’s gift to the world, but in the next breath tell me I’m worthless.

I am a work in progress and I realize that I have to 100 percent love myself before I can expect anyone to love me. I realize my worth and I have made a promise to myself to heal from past traumas. I made a promise to myself to always know my worth and never settle for less. It’s so cliche but love isn’t supposed to hurt you or break you.

EMDR Therapy

Be brave enough to heal yourself even when it hurts

-Bianca Sparacino

I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression by my therapist. I told myself that those were just medical titles that really didn’t describe me. However, after much thought I decided to work with my therapist to help myself heal from my past traumas. I decided that I didn’t want to be anxious or depressed anymore. I want to be the best version of myself possible.

My therapist and I decided to start an intensive form therapy called EMDR to start the healing process. EMDR therapy “is a phased, focused approach to treating traumatic and other symptoms by reconnecting the client in a safe and measured way to the images, self-thoughts, emotions, and body sensations associated with the trauma, and allowing the natural healing powers of the brain to move toward adaptive resolution.” My therapist advised me that we would be creating a timeline of my life starting from my earliest memories to find out how my past traumas have affected me, and to start the healing process.

My therapist also introduced the concept of “parts” to me. She advised me that we all have three parts the exiles, managers, and the distractors. The three parts main goal is to protect your true self. The exiles hold the pain, and shame of the past. The exiles are the vulnerable part that often holds negative beliefs based on painful past experiences.

The managers run daily life, are proactive, and work to contain the exiles by staying in control of events and relationships. The managers protect our inner world. Mangers control every relationship and situation in order to protect us from feeling hurt and rejected. 

The distractors (also known as firefighters) are reactive and will work to put the fire (pain) out when an triggered exile erupts past a manager. The distractors also protect our system, but often to soothe or distract vulnerable parts of our being.

The true self is the center or core of our being. Our divine essence. In other words, our true self is the best version of ourself. It is scary to me to think that at almost 30 I have not become my true self.

Often the exiles hold shame, grief, loss, rage dependency, and loneliness. My exile part holds my depression. I realize that I often feel like I am not good enough, or like I am an outsider. I feel unprotected in the world and in my life. I realized that all those feelings that I hold inside are because of my exiles. On the inside I am a hurt little girl that just wants to love and be loved unconditionally.

The manger part is also known as the warrior or the planner. The mangers are the inner critic and the inner judge. The managers is also the caretaker, controller, striver, and passive pessimist. My manger side is very controlling, extremely critical, and paranoid. My manger part is also a go getter, and goal driven. I am never satisfied with anything in life, and I always feel like I can do better. I noticed this more in college when I would be angry with myself for earning A’s or B’s. I always want to earn a perfect 100 or a A+. While I work, I noticed that I always must be the best. During my last work evaluation my manger ranked me as “exceeds” after my first year of work. Still I left that evaluation wondering how I could improve or be better. Good is not good enough for me I must be perfect. I strive for perfection and sometimes that is a draining way to live.

The distractor part is also known as the firefighter and is reactive. The distractor part is often the part that displays addictive behaviors or dangerous behaviors. For example, obsessive shopping, binge eating, extreme drug or alcohol use, or dangerous sex practices. My distractor side is combative, defensive, vindictive, devious, and non-compromising. I also have a pretty bad shopping habit I’m addicted to buying new shoes. I am also addicted to buying different health products like various vitamins supplements. I am very defensive or quick to react. My distractor part is always in overdrive trying to protect me. I realize that I am noncompromising combative because I don’t want to feel weak. I always want to be in control of my life. I realized that underneath my tuff exterior I am just a girl who is afraid to get hurt.

Although this whole process is a bit scary, I am excited to find my true self. I am excited to drop all my emotional baggage and become the best Janay I can be. I would encourage everyone to go to therapy. I hope that everyone reading this will start their journey to finding their true self.

Below I attached my parts chart. Create one at home to see how your parts play a role in your everyday life.

Reference : https://www.psycom.net/emdr-therapy-anxiety-panic-ptsd-trauma/

Tired Is An Understatement

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice”- Bob Marley

During a court ordered visit my son’s father Jhavier tricked our four-year-old son into showing him where I lived. For four years I tried my hardest never to let my son’s father know where I lived. I ended our relationship when I was three months pregnant and never looked back because of domestic violence reasons. I needed to be safe, and I never I could never truly be safe with Jhavier knowing where I lived. Jhavier made is clear that he could not control himself and he did not care if our son was present for his violent outburst last year when he punched me in the face and tried to hit myself and my son with a car in 2017.

The first call I made after I learned my location was compromised was to the House of Ruth Domestic Violence Center. I spoke with the representative who advised me to contact Jhavier’s probation officer and let her know that Jhavier violated his probation. I called LaSondra Michaels Jhavier’s probation officer April 19th 2019. She advised me to email her all the threatening correspondence between Jhavier and I, and she would forward that information to his judge. As soon as I hung up the phone with Jhavier’s probation officer I forwarded her all the correspondence between Jhaiver and I. I also explained to her how in November 2018 Jhavier called me and advised me that he was suicidal homeless and living in his car. I also explained to her that Jhavier advised me that he had a gun and would kill me before he went back to jail. His probation officer advised me she would follow up with me after she heard from the judge.

April 22th 2019 I followed back up with Jhavier’s probation officer because I did not hear anything from her.  She advised me that she submitted all the evidence to the judge and was waiting to hear back from the judge.  April 24th, April 29th, and May 6th I followed up with his probation officer and received the same response. She advised me each time she was just waiting for the judge to respond. This whole time I could barely sleep and was a nervous wreck. 

Finally, May 6th 2019 Lashondra emailed me to advise me that a VOP warrant was issued for Jhavier’s arrest. She told me would let me know when he was taken into custody. May 13th 2019 I received several calls from Jhavier’s phone. I screenshotted the calls and sent them to his probation officer. She advised me that Jhavier was taken into custody and she would follow up with me to let me know when trial was scheduled. 

June 12th 2019 my birthday I received an email from Jhavier’s probation officer advising me that Jhavier was being held no bail and his trail was set for 06/27/19. I cried when I read the email. I did not and still don’t understand how things got so bad between us. It was obvious that as much as I wanted things to change for the better, they would never. Jhavier’s birthday is at the end of May I’m not sure what the exact day is anymore, but I was sad thinking that he spent his 25th birthday behind bars. I was sad thinking about him being locked up around so many dangerous people.

June 26th 2019 4:48pm the state’s attorney Megan Bell emailed me and advised me she would be the prosecutor for my case. She advised me that she just found out about the case minutes before emailing me. She advised me it was important for me to call her back before 5:15pm that day in order to discuss the case. I didn’t check my emails until 6pm and by that time it was too late to speak with her. 

June 27th 2019 I showed up to court without being prepped for trail. I was so sure Jhavier would be released, because I had very little faith in the system. Jhavier was facing 10 years in prison for his probation violation, and had a court appointed public defender John Jameson. John was a middle age black mail who was so soft spoken and lost many of his previous cases. I could barely hear him when he spoke, and I figured my lawyer the state’s attorney would handle him well.

However, when it came time for my case to be heard John came alive. My lawyer asked for have the case postponed for until the end of the month because she needed more time to learn about the case. She asked to have Jhavier remain in jail no bail until the new court case. Jhavier’s lawyer flew into action.

“Your honor this is not a criminal case this is a custody case, and my client should be set free and at the very least granted bail. The plaintiff in this case is anger that my client has visitation and is doing anything in her power to stop my client from seeing his son. This is not a criminal case this is a case of a bitter baby momma” stated John.

I looked over at Jhavier to see him nodding and smiling with pleasure as his public defender spoke. I sat flabbergasted that Jhavier thought it was okay to ruin my character like that and attack me in open court. I would never ever lie to have anyone arrested. Instead of admitting guilt Jhavier smiled while his lawyer dragged my name through the mud. Even in handcuffs Jhavier found away to harass and belittle me.

However, the judge granted the state’s attorney request for a postponement and held Jhavier without bail. The new trail was set for July 29, 2019.

July 26th 2019 I spoke with the states attorney Megan again she advised me she would do everything in her power to help me. She advised me that she could not guarantee Jhavier would remain in jail. She told me that I would have to move as soon as possible. She referred my case to the House of Ruth relocation department. After the conversation with the state’s attorney I knew Jhavier would be released.

July 29, 2019 the state’s attorney advised me that Jhavier had already been in jail for 90 days, and she couldn’t guarantee that the judge would give Jhavier 10 years in prison. The state attorney advised me that she would offer Jhavier one additional year supervised probation. In December 2017 Jhavier was sentenced to 2 years supervised probation that would have ended December 2019, but now his probation won’t end until December 2020. Jhavier took the plea and like that he was free.

July 30th, 2019 my son and I where moved to a safe house in the middle of nowhere. I was alone in a strange town and advised to stay hidden until I was able to find new housing. I stayed in the safe house for 2 weeks, and then I was able to find new housing through the House of Ruth. I am thankful to the House of Ruth for helping me find housing and helping to keep me safe through this whole ordeal.

My First Heartbreak

I remember it was a Thursday morning and I woke up extremely late for school. I was rushing to get the bush, and I needed to brush my teeth before I left the house. I would have skipped the whole day, before I left the house without brushing my teeth. When I went to brush my teeth the bathroom door was locked because someone was showering. I waited and I waited for the person in the shower to finish until I couldn’t wait any longer. I grabbed a spare toothbrush and toothpaste and quickly brushed my teeth in the empty kitchen sink before running out the door. I barely caught the bus, but I made it to school on time.

Later that day I came home from school and my father was sitting on the couch waiting for me to arrive. He asked why I brushed my teeth in the sink, and I explained that I was running late, and someone was in the bathroom. He was upset and explained how nasty that was and how inconsiderate I was for opening new toothpaste. I really felt like he was blowing the situation out of portion. Yes, I shouldn’t have overslept but that did not warrant a massive argument. My father started ranting and I started daydreaming about whatever teenage girls think about at that age.
Halfway through my daydream my father started choking me. I felt his hands wrap around my neck and I couldn’t breathe. I fought back trying to get him to let go of my throat. I don’t know how long it was before he let go but it felt like forever. He let me go and I ran out of the house never looking back at him. I ran to my best friend’s house who lived up the street and called my aunt to tell her what happened. She came to get me immediately and I stayed over her house.
Once I got to her house, she called the rest of my family and explained to them what happened. My whole family was in a complete uproar and wanted my father punished.
I was at my Aunt’s house for three days, and I couldn’t miss anymore school. My aunt finally talked to my mother who advised her that my father denied choking me.
“I need you to tell me exactly what happened and this is serious so please be completely honest” my aunt said.
I explained to her the situation once more, and my aunt advised me that she believed me. Knowing that my aunt believed me made me feel good. Knowing my mother seemed to believe my father made me sick to my stomach. I couldn’t understand why my own mother would choose not to believe me. I would never lie about something so serious.
After five days my aunt advised me that she couldn’t keep me any longer. She advised she was taking me back home, but she would get me on weekends and the situation was far from over.
I went home and went straight to my room. I didn’t want to talk to my father, but more than anything I didn’t want to talk to my mother . For some strange reason I hated my mother more than my father. My mother was supposed to protect me from danger even if the danger was her husband . I felt like my mother should put me her child her first born first but instead she chose to believe her “man”. I vowed to myself never to be that kind of woman. The kind of woman who would let love or a man control her life. I vowed that day to always believe my child over anyone else.
Almost three months later I was talking to my parents about an issue. I don’t remember what exactly I was talking to them about, but I vividly remember blurting out to my father that he chocked me. I remember that without any remorse my father blatantly admitted to choking me.
“I choked you to get your attention” he said nonchalantly.
Shocked that he finally admitted that I looked to my mother. “This is her moment” I thought to myself. She couldn’t deny or ignore the fact that my father admitted to choking me. She had no choice but to react to my father’s shocking admission.
However my mother did not budge. She didn’t make on sound and acted like she wasn’t even in the same room. I hated everything about her. What kind of woman wouldn’t protect her child? What kind of woman could know that her child was abused but not care? It appeared my mother only cared about being married and staying married. I guess that’s what a good wife does. It was at that moment I told myself that I never wanted to be married if that meant sacrificing my self-respect, dignity and womanhood just to please a man. My parent’s marriage made me never want to get married.
Fast forward many years and I find myself sitting in my therapist office talking about my current day situation. I explained to her how even after my son’s father Jhavier girlfriend witness him punching me in the face in front of our three-year-old son she stayed with him and defended him. I explained to my therapist that even after Jhavier attempted to commit vehicular manslaughter and hit me with a car while her child and several other children were in the car she stayed. It was as if having a man meant more to her than standing up and doing the right thing. I hated her and I couldn’t understand what type of woman would stay with a man who showed no regard for life. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t feel like she deserved so much better. I pondered was her fear of being alone so great or was her self-esteem just that low?
My therapist asked me if Jhavier girlfriend’s actions upset because she reminded me of my mother. I realized I didn’t hate Jhavier’s girlfriend I hated what she stood for in my life. She was another woman willing to sacrifice her self-worth and respect for a man.
Present day I have a much better relationship with both of my parents. I love them and they are awesome grandparents. My childhood molded me into the strong take no nonsense person that I am today! My childhood made me vow to myself never to accept piece of a man because I deserve a whole man that will treat my son and myself with love and respect.
I would encourage all parents to trust and believe their children. Take action and protect your children at all cost!

 

Tiger Stripes

” Behavior never lies” – Gary Blair

I was admitted to the hospital 12/14/2014 to start the labor process for my son. Jhavier showed up to the hospital 12/17/14. Jhavier and I hadn’t spoken since about July 2014 around the time I was six months pregnant. There was so much turmoil between Jhavier and I during my pregnancy that I decided it was best that we didn’t speak. When I was admitted to the hospital I didn’t call Jhavier to tell him. 

When Jhavier walked into the hospital room I was shocked. However if I’m going to be honest I was also happy. Even after everything we went through I was excited to know Jhavier wanted to see our son be born. When Jhavier walked through the door nothing matter not the domestic violence, not him beating my dog, not the Craigslist sex scandal nothing matter. 

December 19 2014 I had a emergency C section and gave birth to my son Joshua. I named him Joshua because Joshua means savior. Joshua my son my savior. 

Joshua weighed 9.8 pounds when he was born. He was rushed to the NICU because he was barely breathing. I was so scared for my son, and although my mother was by my side I wanted to see Jhavier. Our son was being rushed to the NICU and I didn’t know what to think. I blamed myself, and I blamed Jhavier. I blamed him for putting me through so much negativity while I was pregnant. I blamed myself for putting up with the drama for so long. Once again I was broken my son was hurting and I couldn’t do anything to fix that. The only person who could’ve imagined what I was going through was Jhavier. No one else could feel the pain, or understand my anxiety other than Jhavier. Joshua was our child our flesh and blood. 

However after I gave birth to our son Jhavier was kicked out of the hospital due to his behavior. I watched the hospital security drag him out the hospital. That was the most painful and embarrassing moment of my life. I understood Jhavier probably was nervous about Joshua, but that didn’t excuse his behavior. The nurses and the doctors advised Jhavier’s behavior was unacceptable. 

“Typical Jhavier” I thought to myself. 

“Why couldn’t he hold it together for our son? Why couldn’t he hold it together for me” I thought as I began to cry out loud. 

The next day I would spend all day running back and forth to the NICU bringing breast milk to my son. I decided that I would breast feed, and it was very hard. My son wouldn’t latch onto my breast so I had to pump my milk. Pumping milk was also difficult because I wasn’t producing a lot of breast milk. Not being able to breast feed my son made me feel extremely inadequate and sad. I felt like a horrible mom because of my breast feeding issues. No one told me how normal it is for women to have issues breastfeeding and because of that I felt sad. I felt guilty like maybe I wasn’t supposed to be a mother or I wasn’t fit to be a mother. 

Jhavier finally came back to the hospital around 5:30 pm to finally meet his son. He came with a card with a handwritten note thanking me for choosing life and given birth to his first born son. He apologized for everything he put me through and promised to be the best father ever. He also came with a cloth flower from the gift shop.

“Maybe just maybe being a father will make him grow up” I thought to myself as I accepted the gifts.

Our son was in the NICU for 5 days. I stayed in the hospital everyday with him and so did Jhavier. We both slept in the same small hospital bed together every night. If I needed help with dressing Jhavier helped me. If I was hungry he would get me food and it felt like the old times were back. The old times when we were young and in love with no drama, no violence, just love. Jhavier was sweet, he was my protector. He was so in love with our son he held him whenever he could. My perfect family was coming together I thought to myself. I was happy even if it was just for the moment.

December 24th Christmas Eve 2014 Joshua was released from the NICU. I went home with my mother, and Jhavier went home to wherever he lived. Our time as a family was over. Reality kicked in as soon as we left the hospital. My little family was no more. 

After I left the hospital Jhavier would call every couple of days to check on our son. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t call everyday but I realized our son couldn’t talk. 

February 04 2015 I brought Josh to see Jhavier. Jhavier finally had time to spend with Joshua and I was happy to bring him. Jhavier was renting out a small bedroom in a boarding house for men. He lived on the top floor and had a small twin size bed. His bedroom door didn’t lock and there was one shared bathroom. Being the only woman in a house full of men made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want to be there, but I wanted to make sure Jhavier could spend time with his son. 

Jhavier asked me if we could have sex. I declined. He seemed like he was okay with the rejection as long he still could be with his son. I was at Jhaviers house for about two hours and I asked him to pop some popcorn. He said no and told me to pop my own popcorn. The microwave was in the kitchen and I didn’t want to go into the kitchen with the men. The strange men in the boarding house who I did not know. I explained that to Jhavier and he became enraged. 

“You think your better than me. Your too good to go to my kitchen.” Jhavier said as he snatched the popcorn from me and threw it out his third floor window. I realized at that moment that Jhavier did not change. He was still the same evil women beater and I felt dumb. 

I started gathering my stuff and my son to leave. I had my son in one arm and his diaper bag in the other arm and I started walking to the door. 

“Bitch you can leave but leave my son” Jhavier said as he pushed me. I feel onto the bed with my son in my arms. Josh was barely three months old. I felt like I failed as a mother again. I knew Jhavier was unstable and still I came to his room with the hopes of being a family. It was my fault that my infant son was subjected to the foolery.

Jhavier apologized and begged me so stay. I left with our son and told Jhavier I would never come back. I told him he could still see our son but I would not bring our son to him. He would need to make the arrangements. I left his room that day, and Jhavier didn’t see Josh again until Josh’s dedication on June 14 2015.

I learned that day that Jhavier would never ever change. No matter how much I wished he would change. My heart was broken. Jhavier showed me who he was and I should’ve believed him.

To Blog or Not to Blog

The brighter the rainbow, the badder the weather

-Lil Wayne

I haven’t made a blog post in almost two months for a slew of different reasons. The main reason is because I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing by blogging. Don’t get me wrong I felt and I still feel like by sharing my stories I can help other women. I know I’m not the only woman who has dealt with domestic violence and I want women to know that they’re not alone in their fight for justice. I want women to know that they don’t deserve abuse and that they can walk away.

However writing about my experience opens the door for unwanted opinions. I knew that their would be backlash with me sharing my story and I thought I was ready to deal with it, but I would be lying if I said ignoring the hate is easy. My blog is not like Facebook it’s public and I can’t block unwanted people from coming to my page leaving rude comments or screenshotting my post. It’s an exhausting fight, but a fight that I’m willing to fight.

Writing about my struggles with anxiety and postpartum depression is also not easy. Sharing my struggle with anxiety and postpartum depression made me nervous because I did not want to be labeled crazy. My blog post Mind Games is about my struggle with panic attacks and anxiety. Recently someone took a screenshot of my post and shared it on social media with a caption that said “I knew this girl was mentally ill. I’ll never argue with a mentally ill patient ever again”. I saw that post and became sick to my stomach. Everything I write is real and honest and I’m not going to let anyone make me feel bad. I’m not the first or the last person to struggle with anxiety, or depression and I’m not ashamed. I’m not going to stop telling my story or sharing my struggle because I know sharing my struggles can help someone. I want all my readers to know your not crazy for having anxiety and I don’t want anyone to feel bad or ashamed. I’m sharing my story so that everyone struggling with depression or anxiety will know that they’re not alone. I share my story to encourage anyone struggling with mental illness to feel comfortable seeking help and therapy. Therapy is so important and I recommend everyone to seek therapy and counseling. I don’t feel ashamed and I don’t want anyone else to feel ashamed.

The last reason I was reluctant to blog is because of the emotions writing brings out of me. Every time I write about my past abuse it’s like I’m there in the moment all over again. I buried so many negative emotions away because I didn’t want to remember them. However once I started writing all those emotions and hidden memories came back and flooded my brain. My therapist told me that my blog was almost like a trauma journal. I’m realizing that this blog is helping me move forward in life and helping me to leave my past in the past.

I recently was asked to be a guest on the Rise Up Women Podcast. I talked about my past and I felt empowered. I feel empowered every time I speak out against abuse. I feel empowered every time I speak out against the stigma of mental health. I was given a gift to write and to speak to the world through my writing and I won’t let a few naysayers stop me! So I’m going to keep writing my blog and sharing my story. To blog is my choice! Stay tuned 😊

Click the link below to listen the Rise Up Women Podcast featuring me!

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-3-interview-with-janay-kris/id1462716059?

Single Parent Confessions…

During the summer time my son’s father sent me a text message seeking to end the back and forth turmoil that has been our life since the birth of our child. He apologized for the dirt and acknowledged the domestic violence part of our relationship was a serious mistake on his part. He advised his court ordered anger management was working and he was seeing the error in his ways . Being the person I am I accepted his apology and left it at that. After the apology his family invited me to a family vacation weekend in Virginia and he started texting me all the time. However because I’m a stand offish person I never reciprocated or accepted the advances. All request to come over late at night were kindly declined. He asked if he could come over and have family dinners once a week so that our son could see us happy and getting along. I would again jokingly but sternly decline. He didn’t know where I lived and until this day he doesn’t. It was like yes I accepted his apologies but I couldn’t allow myself to trust him or go down that path again ever in life. With me once the love is lost it’s gone and there is no return of course I can be cordial but nothing more. I’m not the girl who is going to keep sleeping with a no good man just because he promises to change and comes with mediocre sex I just can’t do it.

My son’s father trying to be a player even asked me to have a second child with him. He said the second time could be the charm and we could get it right this time no courts, no child support no drama. I was just thinking to myself yes I love my son to death but I didn’t even wanna have him. I definitely didn’t wanna have my first child with my son’s father but he took advantage of me when I went on a Patron binge but that’s neither her nor there. I accept the fact that I was irresponsible and I wouldn’t change a thing because nothing makes me happier than being a mother. However once again I kindly refused his offer again advising him that I did not want another child. During this time he’s texting me almost all day, FaceTiming me, and calling at night and I was extremely perplexed . I accepted his apology but we were not friends. I could forgive but I couldn’t forget and not being able to forget the emotional pain wouldn’t allow me feel anything towards him ever again in life. I felt bad because I felt like he was genuinely trying to be a better person, but that wasn’t enough for me. I hate holding grudges. I felt like I should forgive and forget and put that past aside for my son, but my mind wouldn’t allow that.

After about a month and a half of my son’s father putting his best foot forward his girlfriend whose 40 years old must’ve thought we where getting to close because next thing I know she’s calling and texting my phone as well. She didn’t know why he was spending so much time reaching out to me, and she didn’t like it. She told me that my son’s father told her he hated me and thought I was a bad mother.

She’s advised me via text and I quote “Ok so I told Jhavier the best way to try to get off child support is to sleep with u . He said he was but u asked him is that what he really wanted to do and atp he changed his mind because he didn’t want to sleep with u Fr because he don’t like u like that ???”

I simply responded “Y’all dumb why would you all think that would work 😂😂😂 “.

Now all the apologies, family vacation offers and talks of future babies made complete sense he wanted off of child support by any means necessary. I have never been so offended in life there was no way I was going to let that extra mediocre sex keep him from finically supporting his child. I just thought to myself what in the name of childish high school plots is going on here! There was no way two grown adults one who is 40 (his girlfriend) came up with that plot. I thank God that I wasn’t dumb enough to fall for the okie doke like some females.

I didn’t even feel like telling her he told her a damn lie. I didn’t ask him is that what he wanted I flat out said no and ignored all his late night texts. I was so thankful that I knew not to trust him or even try to dig up the past. It’s no way on earth I would ever sleep with anyone who punched me in my face. There is no apology, there is no excuse there is no “I was a boy then but I’m a man now” line that could make me truly forgive him either! That was scheme number one I guess they tried to butter me up and go in for the kill I don’t know but I do know it didn’t work. I’m smarter than that, but that was just scheme number one it only got worst.

My sons father called me early November crying on the phone saying he was having suicidal thoughts and was living in his car. Please be mindful that is November in Maryland so it’s pretty cold. He stated that he lost his job and because he is currently on probation (for punching me in the face and trying to hit me with a car last spring) he was having a hard time securing another job. He was sobbing on the phone crying and explaining that he lost his place. “It’s hard out here janay I’m really out here having suicidal thoughts. Your son’s going to grow up without a father and you don’t care” he said while crying into the phone. I’m rolling my eyes at this point like ok Denzel. He goes on and on crying saying that he doesn’t have a job and when he does get a job his check will be garnished because he owes a bail bondsmen $4,000 dollars and he owes child support. He crying about how even when he’s not working the child support is just accumulating and he won’t ever get out the rears.

He was crying saying that he moved to Maryland for me and he can’t believe I really turned my back on him. I’m trying not to show any emotions because I honestly felt like he dug the hole he was buried in and now he wanted to be a coward and cry about suicide.

I said “Jhavier stop lying your not living in your car your living with that girl”.

He sobbed even louder at this time saying his on again off again girlfriend was money hungry and he can’t even live there because she wants money too and he doesn’t have money.

“That’s all y’all Baltimore women care about is money. It’s hard out here janay” is what he said before I hung the phone up.

He called me back 22 times. Sometimes I answered and he would say “please Janay I just need your help”.

I didn’t know what he thought I could do for him he couldn’t stay with me, and I wasn’t taking him off child support period. However after awhile my conscious started getting the best of me and I started thinking about the seriousness of his suicidal thoughts. So many people kill themselves when they get overwhelmed finically in life. I kept hearing him cry and call out for help and I knew I couldn’t just leave him out to kill himself in his car. Even though he was not my favorite person he was still my son’s father and my conscious wouldn’t allow me to be completely heartless.

I called the suicide prevention line, I called 311 and texted him the Baltimore crisis line information. I sent him these text “Idk if you were playing but suicide is serious I called the suicide prevention line for you and also reported it to the authorities someone should be reaching out to you. This is very serious. Much love I hope you feel better soon my friend and I provided your address”.

The second text “Baltimore crisis response 410-433-5175 Sheppard Pratt 410-938-help here are some numbers for you Incase you feel suicide thoughts”.

He never responded to either text and the next day I reached out to a lawyer from the Women’s clinic. It was his weekend to have our son and I started to get even more concerned about my son’s fathers claims of being suicidal and living in his car I couldn’t let my son be around that. He’s was not in the right head space and my son’s safety was worth more than a weekend out with my friends. I sent him a third text after the lawyer helped me find the right words to send “Out of concern for Josh’s safety, the two of you can resume visits when your health and living situation are much more stable. Good luck”.

He responded one hour later “I never made any statements our conversation was about joint custody”. I thought to myself is he serious this was another ploy to get off child support? He really cried and faked being suicidal to avoid finically supporting his child? This can’t be real this has to be a bad dream. Men can not be stooping so low these days a false suicide attempt is too far. All the tears and all the calls just because he didn’t want to pay $404 per month? I could not deal!

My mother said his girlfriend stopped her at the gas station and advised her that he was living with her and lost his car months ago. Oh the games and the lies. After that incident my son’s father didn’t bother to call his son and to say Happy thanksgiving. Our son’s birthday was December 19th he didn’t bother to call or text and say happy birthday. I heard he made a lovely post on Facebook saying happy birthday as if he thought our son would see. I love the clout chase of it all posting pictures like Facebook dad of the year all the while not speaking to our child once. Christmas passed and then New Years still nothing but I’m sure there were post. Too bad he didn’t call 22 times on those days instead of wasting those calls on fake suicide attempts. This story unfortunately is still in progress with no end in sight but I’ll keep you updated. If you see my son’s father before I do please advise him that all the while he is solely trying to hurt or hoodwink me its our son who suffers the most. Not only from the disconnect and distant he experiences from his father, but from witnessing his mother struggle emotionally and finically to support him. It’s not healthy and more importantly it’s not fair!

But Did You Die Pt3

“I’ve been doing this job for four years and you are the only woman that showed up to court. I’m proud of you” ~ Austin Hansen Baltimore City Police Officer

June 14th two weeks after my son’s father punched me in the face and attempted to hit my son and myself with a moving car I was granted a permanent peace order. However I quickly found out that a peace order is just a useless piece of paper. The peace order just stated Jhavier my son’s father couldn’t hurt me or talk to me legally. He was however allowed to call me in reference to our son. Jhavier went from never calling our son to calling numerous times a day.

The peace order also did not state that Jhaiver had to stay away from me. It only stated that Jhavier couldn’t hurt me or talk to me. One day I left the house and Jhavier was hiding behind a tree just watching my apartment complex. I called the police and was advised he legally could move into my building as long as he didn’t talk to me or hurt me. The Peace Order was a pointless piece of paper.

          I went to the court house to file for an immediate change of custody. I wanted Jhavier’s visits with our son to be supervised. How could I trust the man that just attempted to hit my son with a car to be alone with my son? I was advised that because I had full physical and legal custody the judge would not hear my plea for an immediate change of custody. The clerk advised me judges don’t hear immediate custody cases for changes in visitation. She advised me I could file for a change in custody and wait for a trial date to be set. I filed the papers that date and a trial date was set for almost 5 months later.

I pressed charges on Jhavier, but the state picked up the case. The case was now The State of Maryland v Jhavier Alexander. Jhavier was charged with 1st degree assault which is a felony, 2nd degree assault, and malicious destruction of property for breaking my glasses when he punched me. I was confused as to why he wasn’t charged with attempted murder for attempting to hit me and my 2 year old with a car. I was also confused as to why he was only really receiving a slap on the wrist.  I was so confused and actually hurt. I felt like no one was taking my case seriously.

The state’s attorney a middle aged woman advised me that the state would be dropping the felony charge. She advised the destruction of property charge would most likely be dropped as well, but the second degree assault charge would not be dropped. I asked her why he was not being charged with attempted murder. She advised me that things could have been worst. She advised me that because I was not seriously injured he wasn’t being charged with anything more serious.

So basically because Jhavier did not succeed with hitting me with the car he was not being charged with attempted murder. Basically Jhavier’s failed attempt at killing me worked in his favor and he would not receive a real punishment. The states attorney advised me that Jhavier would be offered two years supervised probation, ordered to take an anger management class, and a parenting class if he pled guilty. She advised if he did not plead guilty the case would be taken to trail and if found guilty by a jury he would be sentenced to 10 years behind bars which is the max for second degree assault in Maryland.

Jhavier pled not guilty and asked for a jury trial. December 2018 the case went to trail. Well actually the case never went to a real trail.  December 18 2017 Jhavier pled guilty to second degree assault. He admitted in open court to punching me and attempting to hit me with a car. However no jail time was given. Instead he was able to get the original deal. Jhavier was given probation before judgement. That means that he pled guilty without actually pleading guilty. It also means that after Jhavier completes his probation he will be a free as a bee and his record will be wiped clean. Jhavier was sentenced to 2 years probation one year supervised and one year unsupervised. He was also ordered to compete court ordered anger management and classes with the House Ruth. Basically for punching me in the face in front of our son and attempting to hit my son and myself with a car Jhavier was able to walk free. One year supervised probation and the next year he was just free.

Jhavier is free and I haven’t slept one night since the initial punch. This time around I don’t even know if it will be worth my wild to call the police. Jhavier advised me that he has a gun, and he will kill me before he goes back to jail.

April 2018 Jhavier and I went to family court. Once again I asked for supervised visits. Once again the judge sided with Jhavier even though he was on probation and pled guilty to assault. The judge said she believed that Jhaiver struck me, and drove the car at my son and myself. However she believed Jhavier was not trying to hit our son he was only trying to hit me. Once again the system befuddled. Jhavier plead guilty and was charged for attempting to hit my son and myself with a moving vehicle. However family court still gave him unsupervised visits with a toddler.

The judge also said that she thought Jhavier and I were two nice people. She told me that I was Jhavier’s trigger. Imagine being a domestic violence victim and being told by a judge that your abuser is a nice person you just trigger him.

Once again I was granted full physical and legal custody.

“Well I probably should’ve just let him run us over” I thought to myself after all the trails were over. Did I die? No not physically but a piece of me feels broken, defeated and let down. A part Of me feels scared because Jhavier is free. However I am proud of myself for trying to fight until the end! I refuse to let my abuser win!

But Did You Die Pt2

“This seems to be the most pro-criminal group of legislators I’ve ever seen” – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

The next Morning after Jhavier my son’s father punched me in the face, and attempt to hit our son and myself with a car I woke up in extreme pain. My body was sore, and my I was emotionally drained. It was Memorial Day 2017 and I did not feel like celebrating. Staying in bed all day was my plan until my phone began to ring over and over again. It was Jhavier calling me because he wanted to pick our son up for the holiday. 

“What is wrong with this guy? Does he not remember punching me in the face last night?” I thought to myself perplexed. I agreed to meet Jhavier at the playground in my apartment complex to do the exchange.  I called 911 and advised them that Jhaiver was at my apartment complex. I advised the police that there was a warrant out for Jhavier’s arrest because he assaulted me the on the pervious day. I called the police early because the day before it took them almost 30 minutes to arrive, and I didn’t want to take any chances with Jhaiver. 

30 minutes later Jhavier called again advising that he was at the playground waiting for me to bring our son. I called 911 and begged them to send a police officer to the scene as soon as possible. I advised them that I didn’t feel safe, and that Jhavier was too unpredictable. The 911 operator advised me that an officer was dispatched and someone should be there soon. In a panic I paced back and forth in my apartment not knowing what to do, or how the day would end. 

Finally 50 minutes after I initially called the police two armed officers one a short black female, and the other a tall middle-aged black male knocked on the door. I opened the door and to my surprise the officers started treating me like a criminal.

“Where is the child” the female officer asked as she began looking around my apartment. I advised her that my son was with my mother and he wasn’t home.

“The father is outside and he has a court order that states he is supposed to have his son for the holiday” the male officer stated. 

“Why does it feel like your questioning me when I called you? I called and advised that he Jhavier has an open warrant for punching me in the face yesterday and trying to him my son and myself with a car. You’re here for me when he punched me in the face. Look at my face” I said as my voice began to crack. I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore I reached my breaking point.   

“How do you know he has a warrant” the male officer asked appearing to be unmoved by my tears or my last statement. 

“We received a call from the male advising that he was supposed to have visitation with his son today, and the mother was being belligerent and preventing him from taking the child” Do you have proof” the woman officer asked. 

I showed her the police report from the night before, and the male officer called to confirm the warrant was in the system. 

“I called twice and you showed up because he called? The law is really just going to let this man harass me until he kills me” I said out loud to myself. 

“If he kills you it will be your fault. You need to protect yourself. Domestic violence laws are a joke in Maryland. Get a restraining order and protect yourself” the male officer said to me coldly. 

A few minutes passed and the officers confirmed Jhavier did in fact have a warrant out for his arrest. The officers came up with a plan to arrest Jhaiver without incident. Their plan was to allow Jhaiver to think he was going to be getting out son. Then they arrested him at the door to my apartment building. The police for some reason brought Jhavier to my apartment building and then arrested him. I spent almost three year hiding and never letting Jhaiver know where I lived only for the police to bring him to my door. 

“I have to move now” is all I could think. 

The officers handcuffed Jhavier, and he looked right up at me. I starred right back at him looking him in the eyes. I didn’t want him to see fear, or to see me upset. He didn’t deserve my tears, or my fear.

As the officer read Jhavier his right Jhavier began to break down and cry. “You’re a black man are you really going to arrest another black man” Jhavier asked the arresting officer. “They pay you to locked down and cage us like animals and you’re okay with being a pawn. A paid slave” Jhavier continued to say to the officer.  The officer never responded as he placed Jhavier in the back seat. 

“Is he seriously playing the race card right now?” I asked myself barely believing Jhavier was tacky enough to even use the race card in that moment. He was being arrested for attempting to kill a “black woman” but he felt as though the officer was a sell out for arresting him. 

That is the moment where I really realized that Jhavier was a narcissus.

Jhavier would be held without bail for 48 hours. His girlfriend would end up texting me and I quote “too bad he knocked those glasses off not a smart move, but he’s not a bad man, and the courts will see that. You want him in jail so bad don’t you little girl.”

After 48 hours Jhaiver was given a bond, and able to bail out jail. He was free no house arrest or anything free. The judge advised him to stay away from me, and to have no contact. I didn’t feel safe knowing that Jhaiver was free and now knew where I lived.  

 Jhavier took an erroneous restraining order out on me claiming I beat him up which was later thrown out. Why the court even let him take that restraining order out on me I’ll never know. It was all lies, and I had to go to court to have it thrown out. Jhaiver was never punished for taking out an erroneous protective order, he wasn’t held in contempt for coming to court and blantly lying.  

Jhavier was charged with second degree assault, and first degree assault which is a felony charge. He pled not guilty and asked for a jury trial. Read part 3 to find out what happens next. 

But Did You Die? Part I

“This seems to be the most pro-criminal group of legislators I’ve ever seen” – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

 Shortly after my son turned 2 years old his father Jhavier was granted unsupervised visitation. He was ordered to see our son every other weekend starting Friday at 5pm until Sunday at 8 pm.  I was granted full physical, and legal custody. I contested Jhavier receiving unsupervised visits. I wanted the visits to be supervised. The first reason I wanted the visits to be supervised was because Jhavier did not spend any time with our son the first two years of our son’s life. Jhavier literally saw our son at the hospital when our son was born, and at our son’s dedication six months later. The second and most important reason I contested unsupervised visits was because Jhavier proved himself to be a loose cannon. He was arrested and jailed for punching me while I was pregnant. I was granted a restraining order while I was pregnant because of the abuse. Jhavier could not control himself and he proved that time and time again, but the Baltimore City Circuit Court disagreed with me. The Baltimore City Court system advised me that Jhavier is the father and as the father he has rights to our child regardless of his past with domestic violence. I was advised that he hit me and not the child, and because he never hit the child he was eligible for unsupervised visitation. The law befuddled me, and I was extremely perplexed. I couldn’t understand why the law would allow someone with a violent past to be around a child unsupervised. Not to mention that yes he is the father, but he was also the same “father” that attacked the mother of his unborn child while she was pregnant. So because his punches to my gut didn’t kill our unborn child he was granted unsupervised visits. 

The unsupervised visits started January 2017. Every other weekend Jhaiver would pick Josh up, and drop him off. However the visits never went smoothly ever. Sometimes Jhaiver would drop our son off late, and other times he just didn’t show up. This would go on until May 2017. 

 One Sunday in May Jhavier was supposed to drop our son off at 8pm. However Jhaiver texted me around 7:59pm and advised that he was in DC running late because of traffic. 

“Really why would he wait until 7:59pm to leave DC if he knew he was supposed to drop Josh off at 8pm” I thought to myself annoyed. 

However once again 8pm turned into 9:45 when Jhaiver finally pulled into my apartment parking lot. I always met Jhaiver at the end of the parking lot so that he did not know exactly where I lived. 

Jhavier hopped out the car but he didn’t unbuckle our son right away. 

“Please stop dropping him off so late he’s 2” I said to Jhavier frustrated. 

“That’s my son he is with his father it shouldn’t matter what time I drop him off. I took him to the zoo” Jhavier said. 

“That’s nice, but why would you wait until the zoo closed” I said. I just thought to myself “is the zoo even open until 8pm at night”? Who would keep a 2 year old at the zoo until 8pm?  His story just didn’t make sense. 

Finally Jhavier unbuckled our son, and I bent down to hug our son. Then I took our son and we started to talk away, but before I could walk away Jhaiver grabbed me by my hair. Then he punched me in my head, and my glasses instantly broke and feel to the ground. Stupid Bitch” I heard him say. 

“NO Daddy your bad” I heard my son yell as he reached down to grab my glasses. 

Jhavier didn’t respond to our child instead he ran to the car. I thought he was going to leave the scene, but he didn’t. Instead he drove the car right at my son and I as fast as he could. Instinctively I grabbed our son and jumped out the way. We just missed being hit by the car. I mean we literally just missed being hit by the car if I waited a second longer I wouldn’t even be typing this. After Jhavier missed hitting us with the car he sped away from the scene leaving me to carter to our crying toddler. I called the police and reported the incident. I was advised that an officer would be on the way. 

I decided to wait outside for the police and to send my son inside of the apartment with my little cousin. I just didn’t want the kids to see me bruised because I was scared and embarrassed. Even after everything Jhaiver put me through while pregnant I couldn’t believe he tried to hit my son and I with a car. I couldn’t believe he would stoop so low to punch me in front of our two year old child.  

15 minutes after I called 911 and reported almost being killed by my son’s father a car pulled into my apartment complex. I thought it was the police, but it was actually just my brother getting out of a Lyft. I started to explain to him what happened, but before I could do so Jhavier pulled back into my apartment complex. He jumped out of the car and knocked me to the ground. My brother jumped in to defend me, and then he and Jhavier started to fight. While they were fighting I noticed the police driving slowly into the parking lot with their sirens off. Jhaiver noticed them too, and ran back to his car and pulled off. Unbelievably he got away the police weren’t able to stop him. 

Although the police weren’t able to stop him a warrant was issued for his arrest on the scene. The officer took my statement and took photos of my injuries. 

As the police were questioning me all I could think about was my son. I requested supervised visits to avoid horrible situations like this one. I still can’t imagine how damaging it is for a two year old child to see their father strike their mother. It’s heartbreaking. The court system needs to do a better job at protecting the victim, and the children. This experience showed me that the law at least in Baltimore MD is in favor of the abuser. There should have been no way with his past that Jhaiver was ever given unsupervised visits with a child. 

The law now basically says that a person has to kill you or your child in order for you to receive justice. If you survive domestic violence in Baltimore you go from being victimized by your abuser to being victimized again by laws made to protect the abuser.