Perils (pearls) of Ly Syin

I was reading Bill McClellan’s column. He was always telling stories of people who have endured and persevered. His column gave me hope. In Perils of Pauline he shared the story of woman who is on the brink. Women on the brink of poverty stories have become popular since the Shriver Report. In “Perils of Pauline”, McClellan talks  about how being poor created complex situations that are difficult to explain. Living in poverty does make things complex. The systems that are put in place to help are not easily accessible.

One thing that resonated with me from the column was utility assistance and how most agencies are not willing to help until after utilities are off. Utilities being off is difficult for people period, but especially for single parents with children. Having utilities off is grounds for eviction from apartments. It could also be considered as a form of child endangerment.

As  I have shared before on this blog, when I was younger, I refused to pay the utility bills because they were not a priority for me (lack of budgeting). After that phase ended, due to the realization that  utility companies will shut off utilities for nonpayment, then I began to struggle with underemployment and inconsistent employment. Once again, I dealt with having utilities off. Recently, I was faced with shut off notices for several utilities. I called around in search of  assistance and  the response from agencies was that I could get help after the utilities were off.

I didn’t really learn to advocate for myself until after I was homeless in Atlanta. I watched a fellow homeless woman do it and was amazed at the things she accomplished by being assertive. I have to admit at times, she was aggressive. When I was in a position again to pay  utilities and was short from lack of budgeting or lack of income, I started to reach out for help. Before I always said, “somebody else needs help more than I do.” I guess being homeless had taught me, “I ain’t to proud to beg”.

While working as an administrative assistant at church, I helped with their community care program (utility assistance). One day we processed application and I was thinking I needed to apply for gasoline assistance with myself .The hours we accepted applications made it difficult for working people to come in and get assistance. Having gas money or bus fare just to go to any of the churches or nonprofit agencies that help is an issue for some.

Recently I read some blog post that resonated with me How Being Broke is Blessing. I know it being in poverty has taught me to be creative.  Learning to entertain the children when the utilities were off. Enjoying the park for hours because we were homeless.  Sitting in a non running vehicle and being content. I also know that Money does not solve money problem’s. It can help and but attitude has a lot to do with. At least in my case my attitude toward paying bills was wrong. I am still struggling to develop the right attitude.

Interesting side note: “Paycheck  to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert“ was nominated for any Emmy and a single mom shared on Twitter that she didn’t get to watch it because she can’t afford cable television.

#MyBlackLifeMatters

Social media has been used this past week to express anger, to create awareness, to report events, and ask questions. #Ferguson, #FergusonPolice, #NOJusticeNOPeace, #MikeBrown. The police shooting of Mike Brown  in Ferguson, Missouri was the catalyst to change, to protest and riots.  The St. Louis metropolitan area of Missouri which comprises 90 municipalities has struggled with racial tension for decades. The evidence of urban flight is on exhibit in the Missouri  History Museum in Forest Park. Brown was a young African-American male. He was shoot and killed by a white police officer.  The circumstances surrounding Brown’s death has created a lot of questions about  use of force, value of life and more.

This incident has made me uncomfortable, angry and inquisitive. Angry because “African-American men are taught this at a very early age. You have be on guard, be careful around police. So if that’s what you’re taught to survive, then you’re not being taught that these are the good guys, these are the people who will protect you and serve you. You’re being taught that this is somebody who will probably kill you under certain circumstances.” From Alderman French interview in Mother Jones.

I am not saying that I have not had incidents where the police have protected me, but the first few minutes of any interaction with police are cautious because of the uncertainty. As victim and victory of domestic violence  I have called the police and received help. Unfortunately, I have to admit I have also got into an altercation with a police officer, where I was at  fault. Thank goodness she thought #MyBlackLifeMatters.  I hit her and she could have responded with excessive force but she choose not too. I am fortunate that my encounter was not with officer Darren Wilson. The officer I dealt looked through my coat pockets  and saw I had a card in my pocket  with the question “ What are three reasons women stay in domestic violence situations and a donate life key chain.” She realized I was person with a story who was tripping that day.  She realize our brief interaction did not display my true self. Mike Brown taking tobacco products from Ferguson Market and Liquor did not display his true self either.

#MyBlackLifeMatters because I have children, a common law husband, parents and extended family. My family loves me and values me. My children need a mother. I hope my existence impacts my community. I have hopes and dreams that I am yet to accomplish. #My BlackLifeMatters because I have a purpose.  God created just like he created every other human being for a purpose.

Observing a Riot

From my point of view as an observer.

I have never lived in Ferguson but I have lived around Ferguson. It has most of my life been an area notorious for racial profiling and police harassment. Divestment in the area has occurred a period of years. Which has affected the school district. Recently the school board superintendent was forced out. Because he cared about students in surrounding districts were failing and some even have lost accreditation. The citizens of Ferguson have been dealing with some issues. So after the shooting of Mike Brown, a desperate and near hopeless people were ignited to action.

Historically the police have used their abused their position of power and shown bias against African-American. In Missouri as well as other states the police have had ties with racist organizations should as the KKK. I know as an African American ever time I have to interact with the police there is fear, because I am aware that possibility for this interaction to cause me serious bodily harm or death. One should not have to fear those swore to protect and serve. But over the years police brutality has created an environment for mistrust.

Last night as I watched peaceful protest turn into a riot. I wonder what happen to change the crowd. I believe police investigation is necessary. I suspect based on the reports of citizen journalist on social media. That the police actions possibly aggregated some of the protesters which lead to the riot and indirectly the looting. It is my hope that the truth will come out about the events that lead to the death of Mike Brown and the truth will come out about the riot Sunday night.

I watched the press conference with the NAACP. The speeches were inspiration and the dialogue good for the most part. But as the first speaker said, young people are needed for leadership in creating a change. I hope they will invite them to be involved in the solution. There was a lot of christian rhetoric and Christianity does give hope. I know personally it continues to give me hope. But these young people don’t need christian rhetoric they need opportunities and respect, and then maybe we can discussion Christianity with them.

I know in recent years there has been a lot of marching and the NAACP and various other historical civil rights agencies have been involved, but for some reason no real change.  From Gena 6 to now. We need CHANGE NOW

Friendship

“A man that hath friends must show himself friendly” (Prov. 18: 24).frienship

As an only child I was very lonely and wished for close relationships with others. I wanted my cousins to be like my siblings. I often prayed God would give me a best friend. The Bible says, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly” (Prov. 18: 24). Some are too distant to form friendships.  The bible gives us several models of friendship. One of the most  memorable for me is David and Jonathan. Jonathan and David were close like brothers. Jonathan and David made a covenant. Jonathan did all he could to protect David from death.I was very shy until college. I believe that was why I struggled with friendships. I developed more friendships in adulthood than childhood.

I started this post some years ago after going through a  pruning period with a close friend.  We had developed a relationship like Jonathan and David. A ten-year friendship recently ended and I am hurt and sadden by it. My friend had become my god sister.“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity,” the Bible says (Prov. 17: 17).  Since I originally posted this the friendship has been restored.  We have went through adversity in our relationship but she has also helped me navigate adversity in my own life. She was my friend because she would be honest with me even when I didn’t appreciate. I was always jealous because I was not her friend that she would go to social things with but her friend that she could talk too and someone I can talk. She advised me to take steps to get my first apartment after college.  She taught me to be affectionate with my children and friends. She encouraged me to keep my family together through adversity.

Adversity does teach us about friends. We learn from Job that friends are not always helpful. When Job was going through his friends questioned him and accused him. Later her had to pray for them and ask the Lord to forgive them. I have learned like Job that forgiveness is a part of friendship.

 What Does the Bible say About Friendship?

Qutoes from biblequestions.org

There is great value in friendship.

We should have a Master Class on being Homeless

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about homeless people. People assume because of social-economic status homeless people are criminals.  There’s the perception that homeless people are uneducated, homeless people want to be homeless, and homeless people are unemployed. The list of negative stereotypes goes on. Exposure to homeless people is the key to changing these perceptions.

 Prior to going to college in Kansas, I use to see a homeless man outside the library drawing in a neighborhood known as the Central West End. I read in the Riverfront Times that man had a family and was very smart. He had worked for  Boeing  (formerly Mcdonnell Douglas).  He suffered from mental illness. After reading the article, I was not compelled to help the homeless or learn more about the homeless.

 The next time I focused on the label ” homeless”, it was during a discussion in Dr. Wilgers’ class, my freshman year of college.  Dr. Wilgers asked the class if we thought a homeless person could become a millionaire. One of my classmates suggested the homeless person could be an inventor.  As I listened to the discussion, I thought,  I am glad I am here at college. I will never have to deal with being homeless. After listening to the discussion for a while, I spoke up and said,  “I don’t think it is possible because the homeless person wouldn’t be able to focus. They would be focused on things like food and shelter. “

 Six years later, I realized I was wrong.  After graduating college, I was trying to find a job to support myself and my daughter. I lived with family but that was not working out well. My  God sister suggested for weeks that I go to a shelter. I refused until there was confrontation at home. Then I was forced to go to shelter.  Well, there I saw homeless women who worked to support their children. I saw unemployed women, who were working to better themselves by getting their GED. I saw women battling mental illness.

 After the experience was over, I still didn’t think much about the label ” homeless”. My next homeless experience was caused by domestic violence. Approximately 63% of homeless women have experienced domestic violence in their adult lives (National Network to End Domestic Violence). During my third homeless experience, I realized shelter and food are things that homeless people focus on. It was too difficult to focus goals and dreams.  My last homeless experience in 2003 was life changing. The label “homeless” was attached to me now.  At the time, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta had filmed the documentary “The New face of Homelessness”. They were working to educate people that homeless was not just men, with mental illness. Homeless had become an epidemic that  was impacting families.

I was shocked at how it seemed homeless people were treated with disrespect and second class citizenship. I thought it needed to be exposed. I figured if America knew,  they would make sure people where treated better.  I started writing about experiences in the midst of being homeless hoping to publish them and expose the treatment homeless people face. In the movie, “Pursuit of Happyness”,  I was excited about Chris Gardner. I thought- finally a story that would expose the conditions homeless people dealt with on a daily basis.  Next, Tyler Perryfeeding people went from homeless to media mogul.

 Social media has definitely helped give a voice to the homeless. They can share their experiences, strengths, hopes, and life lessons. Mark Hovrath-  Hollywood  formerly homeless-has done an excellent job of going around the country using  his media knowledge to allow the homeless to tell their  stories through Invisible People. Brianna Karp author of The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness. Individual like Chris Gardner, Tyler Perry, Mark Hovrath and Brianna Karp have proven that homeless people can be smart and educated. Not to mention Liz Murray (Homeless to Harvard).

 I know the some of the themes I see through my experiences and other homeless people are to continue to have hope and perseverance. Currently homeless and formerly homeless people have lessons to share. I think enabling people share lessons from being homeless would be beneficial in increasing awareness about homelessness and sharing inspiration.

 

 

Pay Check to Pay Check (My Story)

moneyI am One in three women in America who are living in poverty or teetering on its brink. That’s 42 million women plus the 28 million children who depend on them.

 

A woman pushes back from living on the the Brink out of desperation. Earlier this year I watched the documentary, ” Paycheck  to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert“.  Ms. Gilbert’s story was real for me. Learning about her struggles,  I got  a clear sense of desperation. Her story was similar to my experiences. I know about not having health insurance, about living in substandard conditions, about feeling stressed out, and about working in positions with low pay.

However, I did not get a clear sense of desperation as I read the article, Paycheck to Paycheck: How 4 Real Single Moms Make It Work.  In this article, the single moms talk about having support systems. In an optimal world, having a support system is vital to the role of single parenting. Realistically, it  is not always evident for every single mom. Recently in the news, a single parent in Arizona made a heart-wrenching decision to leave her children in the car while attending a job interview. Out of desperation, this single parent risked imprisonment, the endangerment of the lives of her children, and the endangerment of having them taken away. Assumingly, she convinced herself that this measure was needed and was a solution in assisting her to push back from living on the Brink.   I can relate. I have been in situations where I was unemployed and contacted about a job interview and did not have child care and had to make a hard choice. I have also been in the situation of the mother who worked at Mc Donalds and left her child in the park with a cell phone. I have had to take my children to work or have them to be latch key children. I was not making enough to afford after school care.

To continue to analyze  ….4 Real Single Moms, some of the profiled single parents were able to take vacations with their children. StilI, there is no clear sense of desperation. I am one of the 42 million women that are either living in poverty or on its Brink; and I  have only been able to take my children on one real vacation in their lifetime.  We went to Atlanta where we had been homeless a few years before. The outcome and the enjoyment of the vacation was no more different than when we were homeless. Saying yes to Dippin Dots at Centennial Park and choosing items we wanted to eat at CNN-not just from the value menu at Wendy’s-were the only concrete experiences that reminded me that my girls and I were no longer homeless.

 

Although references were made about the ….4 Real Single Moms, my intentions are not to blame. I applaud these women for their efforts, their devotion, their struggle, and their sacrifices. I applaud them for creating or maintaining such a system that allows room for problem solving and reconstructing ideas. I am truly inspired by their stories. Nonetheless, my heart and mind go out to the other single women that are on the Brink of poverty; and I often wonder what else could be done to reach out in more aggressive ways to address this epidemic. I would love to see a community or public panel to share information and formulate agendas on how to reduce or resolve this issue. I  envision feminist groups and volunteers lists surfacing in every community to tackle-at each state and local level- this disease which is a great indicator of the survival of communities. In addition, to minimize the capitalization of living on the Brink and to reduce the infinite interest of its impact, additional input from other REAL moms living on the Brink must be solicited to fully understand underlying causes. I am talking about single moms like me.

 

 

Leadership/ Americorps Motivational Statement

Leadership is about ultimately about creating a way for people to make something extraordinary happen according to Alan Keith. Improving the quality of the life St. Louis north side residents is about creating an environment for meaning change. This goal can be achieved through encouraging, and empowering the community. Using history, strategy and enlisting the aid and support north side residents dynamic change can be accomplished.

St. Louis neighborhood such as “the ville” are known for their glorious past, with effective leadership neighborhood can have a bright future. Through research about what factors contribute to the success of former residents such madame CJ walker, Annie Malone and Montford Point Marines. By sharing information about business models and grassroots organizing methods that were effective in the past. Plus using their stories about giving back to the community to inspire community action and through creating strategy through research of other neighborhoods that have progressed. North st. Louis can again be fertile training ground for entrepreneurs, doctor, lawyer and other professionals.

Americorps is a great leadership vehicle it provides opportunity for empowerment to individual (service members) and the community in which they serve. I feel my experience with stepping up to leadership training, completing the leading lady leadership series with Dress for Success Midwest Professional Womens Group and leading a community action project has provided me with the necessary skills to be an effective VISTA neighborhood organizer. I would be honored for this opportunity to make a difference in the St. Louis community.

Ok in Oklahoma

ok

After graduating from college, I not want to come home to St. Louis. I sent out my résumé to media outlets in Kansas.  One evening I received a call about an opening in Ponca city at local low power television station. One the girls I went to school with had worked there before. I went on the interview and my car broke down on the way home. I got the job at the small television station in Ponca City, Oklahoma.

One of my  Alcoholics Anonymous home group’s members loaned me his car for a week I  so could start my job as a reporter. I had never wanted to be an anchor person.  When I attempted to anchor SCTV our college news program I had an anxiety attack.  My classmates said I sounded like I was rapping. The news producer/camera man told me they would  train me. My training consisted of live promo before my first newscast. At KPOC, I was the news director, anchorwoman reporter, and video editor. One night I was more nervous than usual. I mispronounced everything and said the call letters backwards I was suspended from on air.

 The people who had supported me during college went out of their way to continue help me as I entered next phase of my life. I commuted 80 miles a day to and from work. During a rainstorm my friend from the domestic violence shelter and her husband came to pick me and take back to Winfield. The baby sitter took me to work. I got the dealer ship to resend the sale on the first car and put me into another.

While working at television station I went  the jail to interview the sheriff and a reporter from the local newspaper was there. I had plagiarized his copy the night before on air. I was sure he was going to confront me. He complemented me on the story.

Oklahoma one year after the bombing, I went to the federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to cover a memorial event. The citizens of Oklahoma were emotional and mean to the press.   I was wearing my press badge and that made me a target. I took my friends middle school daughter with me to Oklahoma city.  Since I had struggled through my preteen and teenagers. I thought I could use my experience and  make a positive influence possibly.   My friend had shared with her daughter looked so I thought maybe she would be willing to listen to me.

My favorite story that I covered was “The drug store “a scare kids away from drugs project. They take the kids on the journey drugs take you on from the party, to the hospital, to court and finally to the casket. When you look inside the casket there was a mirror. I wonder would have not been an alcoholic if I had that in high school.

The commute was hard on me. I was not spending any time with La Freda. My mom suggested I rent a room, until I could find an apartment I liked in Ponca City. She came to Ponca City to help me find some place. She took La Freda to St. Louis until I was settled. The landlord was a nice woman she had multiple sclerois. One day I was having a horrible day. I ran over something knocked the water out for the boarding house. I was saying the short version of the serenity pray “fuck it”. I did not want to turn my life and my will over to the care of God. I wanted God to get me on the right course and then I wanted to take control.

I went to Narcotics and Alcohol Anonymous meetings in Ponca City because they were smaller than the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I had gotten use to small meetings in Winfield. More men from the halfway house started coming. In the meeting, someone blabbed I was a news-person. I told them I knew what anonymity was I hoped they did too.

At the meetings ,I met a white guy named Greg. At first, I thought Greg did not like me. One night the group was going out after the meeting but I had to go back and do the news. He invited me for coffee after the broadcast. One day we where at a pizzeria I wonder why people where looking at me was it because I was with a white guy or because I was on the news. The relationship did not go anywhere. I could not imagine being intimate with a white guy.

I was scared about being away from my support system. I asked a 17-year-old girl, I met at the Narcotics Anonymous to baby sit.  I let her drive my car and I used the company car.  That was a mistake. She wrecked my car.

I was working from about 9 am till 10:30pm at night. The other person that made up the news team had quit. I learned a lot but I did not feel comfortable. In April I quit because I was feeling overwhelmed.

My family came in May and  spent graduation weekend helping me load the U-Haul truck. I had always prophesied that on graduation day the moving truck would be packed. My friend had mailed my cap and gown to me in Ponca city. It had gotten lost in the mail. I could not be able to take part in commencement with out it. The morning of the commencement ceremony, I went the bookstore and rented another cap and gown. Then I called my friend to make sure she would attend graduation.She told me she had the cap and gown. I went to her house to pick it up. I did not like the length of the original gown I order. I went back to the bookstore and exchanged it. She gave me Tupac’s Mackeville cd as a graduation gift.

The Big Block Goes on Top (Section 1)

At Wilkerson Foreign Language School, during fourth grade is when my life changed. I chose to learn German because; my Dad had learned German in the Air Force and then took some German courses in college. I participated in my first and only class play: All Around the World”. The students who were in German class sang Mine Hut Hat Dri My Hat Has Three Corners.
When my mom was hospitalized, during the second half of fourth grade, I fell behind in my homework. At first, I did not want to tell my teacher, Mr. Reed, that my mom was sick, but after I got behind, I had to start writing sentences about not completing homework. I finally said something.
When my mom was released from the hospital, she helped me write my sentences: “I will complete my homework.
She would be the parent that came on field trips. My classmates teased me and joked with me that Mr. Reed had a crush on my on mom

On my report card I had an F in Vocabulary and I thought I would be in trouble, but my mom didn’t say anything except that I should try to do better. Paul started helping me study for spelling test and my grades in Spelling improved.

When my Dad was around, he would get on me about my grades. Since my dad was not around, I continued to do poor academically. I did not study. I would transpose my numbers and that caused me to do poorly in math.

After moving from Laclede, I didn’t really make any friends until I met Rica in fourth grade. She was a brown, skinny, girl with silky, long, black hair. Rica was from Mexican-American. She shared stories about life in Mexico and how her godmother adopted her. Rica attended church and she told me about the Rapture. What Rica had told me about God frightened me. I went to church with Rica one resurrection Sunday. It was the first time I ever attended children’s church. I wanted Shirley Temple curls, so my mother tried to style it that way but I did not like the way my hair looked
. In January, things changed. We had a new girl. Her name was Chelle. She was bi-racial her mother was white and her father was black. She was taller than all the other girls and boys in our class. She was heavier too. She wore two long ponytails. She looked a lot older than her age.
Chelle became my idol, when on a field trip I did something that made my mom mad and she pinched me. Chelle told her to leave me alone. I wanted her to be my friend because I thought I would not have to worry about anybody wanting to fight me. Chelle, like Rica told many stories. Chelle told stories about being from Louisiana. Chelle and this white girl named Barbara always played with me during recess. Chelle and Jerry liked each other. Jerry was the boy who always got in trouble. He had been the first person to see Chelle because he was in the Principal’s office. He referred to her as his girlfriend.
On Track and Field day, I had signed up for the obstacles course. I thought it would be easy at least the ones on TV seemed easy. I was horrible. I could not jump over the trash cans that were used for hurdles. I had slowest time. The kindergarten class laughed at me because I did so badly.
On the last day of fourth grade, I was nervous. I thought I might fail. I was praying all day. When the school officials came they announced who would be going to 5th grade and told us to line up. I was so relieved to hear my name called.
In 5th grade, at Wilkerson Foreign Language School, the classrooms were split. The kids who did worse academically had to stay in the fourth grade room and the students who were better went upstairs with the sixth grades. Rica went upstairs. That finally tore our friendship apart.
During fifth grade, I began to struggle with relationships. I got into my first real fight with a kid named Charles on art field trip. Chelle and I got into a fight she told Mr. Reed I bit her and kept talking about getting rabies. I started fighting with her to stop her from fighting someone else. I thought she would be suspended for fighting but I could say we were playing fighting.
I participated in track and field again. I had practiced for weeks before in the basement jumping over trash cans. This time I was too slow. They did not let me complete the obstacle course, but it was personal victory of me. At least, I cleared the trash cans this time.
My Mother asked me if I wanted to take part in the voluntary desegregation program. I said yes, because my dad said I might get to experience racism up close. I liked the sixties and felt I had missed the excitement of Civil Rights and revolutionary era. While my mom was in college, she did a report on Dr. Martin Luther King. She tried to tell me who he was.
I participated in the voluntary desegregation program; where black inner-city children were transported to a predominantly white suburban school districts. Black and white students might have been in the same school at Holman Middle School but the student population was not integrated. At lunch, all the blacks sat together. A few tables were integrated.
For some class during middle school we had to do family history assignments. I began asking my mom’s parents about when they grow up. I found out my Grandma Helen was the eleventh of twelve children. Most of her siblings died during childhood. Her parents were sharecroppers. Her Dad’s name was Matthew and he was dark skinned. Her mother’s name was Lula Ballard she was  ( 1/8 African American). She was baptized in the Mississippi River. A racist killed her brother Matthew. His murder was never prosecuted. Helen attended Hearts Chapel a one-room schoolhouse. My grandmother married her first husband Roosevelt Cubbington on the condition they would go up north to St. Louis. After he died, she met Paul. They met in Tennessee while she was visiting her girlfriend. She was on the way home to see her sick dad.
Paul was a Black Indian. His grandfather was a full-blooded Choctaw (Native American). He grew up in Oxford, Mississippi a hillbilly region. Paul had a sister named Katie and an older brother named Thomas. His grandparents raised him. Paul repeated 8th grade several times because he worked in the fields. He was a cook in the Army during World War II. He told me had worked for a Ku Klux Klan member. He worked for Champ’s manufacturing while I was growing up.

In 1977 I remember watching the miniseries” Roots” on television. I could not stand to watch the whole thing. I could not stand to see the slaves being whipped. I went to integrated schools most of my life. I did not experience prejudice and racism really.
I had only experience overt prejudice once. Some white people getting off the elevator at Famous Bar called me a nigger. I thought I had missed out of the excitement 60’s.
I thought a woman could be anything she wants. I cannot say I got that message from home but I can say from the media.

Being in sixth grade was academically challenging. It was an awkward period in my life. I became withdrawn. My grades were bad I was scared I would fail sixth grade. I did not blend in with the black kids. I tried to make friends but they said I was too sad and depressing.
During sixth grade, I started listening to rock music on a local radio station because Lee a white guy in one of my classes challenged me to it. I challenged him to listen to rhythm and blues. He told me he used to listen to Majic 108 a local R&B station.
We went on a field trip to the St. Louis Zoo. The white girls were saying black people lived in houses with no windows. We passed by my house on the way. I told them to look and see the windows. I told them I lived in a house with 48 windows. Paul had just bought new insulated windows and had them installed.

Mildew and Water Damage
During my preteen years, my lack of understanding in relationships with males began to cause me heartache
By this time, my cracked foundation began to show. I began to withdraw and started acting out more. I did not go outside much to play so I was not good in gym class. I was always the lasted one picked. I was shy and reserved.
My mom would press my hair but it did not last long. I got a Jehri curl. One day I thought since I did not have much self-esteem. I would stop taking a bath. The school slut Ursula asked me, “Could you move because you stink”. I could not stand to smell myself and so as I got home I washed my under arms. I never tried that again not bathing again, but I continued not washing my face and brushing my teeth. Paul had tried to instill that in me as to wash my hands and face in the morning and I never washed my face.
For my 12th birthday, I had a party. Paul paid for it. We went together to buy the cake and food on the South Side. The decorations were pink and white. I bought a Kodak disc camera to take pictures. I wore a red and white outfit. Chelle came and some of the kids I invited from the neighborhood came. A few of the black girls from my new school came. None of the white kids I invited came. I did not wish my parents to get back together because my dad told me to stop wasting my wishes. He had been telling me that for few years. I wished for a stereo.
My best friend Chelle, came to the party. We continued to keep in touch after I left Wilkerson Elementary School. She told me she was pregnant by Mark, a guy that I liked from the old school.
I felt overwhelmed with my life a couple weeks after my 12th birthday, so I took an overdose of pills and wine. I had been taking overdoses of Tylenol pills regularly. This time I felt more out of it then usually. I had taken a whole bottle of Tylenol and some of my Grandma Helen’s prescription medicine and some arthritis pain pills, and washed it down with grape flavored Morgan David wine.
The irony is that we were studying the affects of drugs in school. My mom was at school so I told my grandmother Helen. She called her nephew, Snookie who live upstairs, to take me to the hospital. Paul, my grandfather, went with me. Snookie said he did not believe me but he ran every red light to Cardinal Glennon children’s Hospital.
They gave me some stuff that made me throw up. A nun came in and asked me why I wanted to kill myself. I told her I did not I just want to get sick. She did not believe me. I thought if I could get sick, I could take some time and get things under control. I had to stay in the hospital a couple of days because they feared kidney damage.
Paul came sat with me everyday, while I was hospitalized. I asked my mom not to tell my dad, and she did not. When I was discharged the hospital recommended counseling.
My grandma Helen would constantly tell me honor your mother and father are your days because if you do not your days will be shorter. She would also tell me I hope you have kids just like you I guess she thought I was too mischievous. My relationship with my mother was not good at the time and my classmates got sick of hearing me talking about it.
My Mom and Dad were going to court over child support. My mother would get upset with me when I did not want to call my dad or his mom and curse them out.

After my dad came back from college, he and I started doing model rocketry. . My dad made a remote launcher. We worked on it for months in the basement at my Grandma Rosie’s house. We had a rocket launch at the O’Fallon Park. My dad rented a picnic pavilion and we invited our family. We had a rocket six feet tall. I had my uncle stand next to it to check.
We continued to do model rocketry for a while. We got some white mice and named them Jerry Jett and Astro and prepared them for space flight in a simulator we made from a toilet tissue roll. The female mouse Astro had the babies. We noticed them when were cleaning her cage. She eat them. Later she killed Jerry Jett later.

My Cousin, Lala, told my dad, I had developed a crush on this white guy named Todd at school. He told me about how white men had sexually abused black women during slavery, and I had better not think any more about white guys. I was going through my phase where I want to be bi-racial. I had even told my dad I wished he were a white man. I was darkest on my mom’s side of the family. My grandma Helen would call me spook. My mom and I would stand in the mirror, she would say your black, and I am beautiful. She was joking with me, but I still stuck with me.

In 7th grade, Cyndi Lauper and Madonna came out. I wore the lace gloves and the mismatched Converse until Paul stopped me. I began to daydream and fantasize as I fell deeper and deeper into depression. In my daydream, I was a fashion designer, psychologist, and entertainer. My children were like the Jackson’s. In my daydream, my Italian husband was coke addict and I was an alcoholic.

From Woman’s Empowerment Adovacte to Woman who needs help

Last year Ly Syin Lobster hosted And Still I Rise conference to increase awareness about the impact of domestic violence. Lobster had been inconsistently involved in abusive relationship for 20 years. She states” My motivation for doing the conference is because I was exposed to abuse early in life. I wanted to start my journey to healing and encourage others .

After reading 107 Ways to Give When You When Think You Have Nothing to Give, Lobster was inspired to become involved in community service. She selected by Dress for Success Professional Women’s Group (PWG) to lead their 2010 community action project. Since Lobster and her daughters had previously been homeless three times. She decided help homeless women. Lobster and her fellow PWG members feed homeless woman, held a drive to collect personal hygiene items, and clothes. Lobster with the assistance of PWG members organized the Women Overcoming Obstacles conference for homeless women.

After her efforts to empower other women, Lobster and her daughters are facing eviction in September. She became unemployed earlier this year after Tax Centers of America had to close their St. Louis County location. Lobster has been participating in Connections to Success Employment Workshop to help her find employment.

Being a social media guru Lobster found Go Fund Me a crowdsourcing website that allows you to fundraise for personal reasons as well as projects. Lobster created the Help a Family Move. Lobster stated, “ time is running out and I have try. Chris Gardner was desperate in his pursuit of Happyiness for his family, and now he has achieve that and more. I believe that I can too”.

If you are interested in helping Ms. Lobster and her daughters visit for information on how to donate, http://www.gofundme.com/Helpafamilymove