“I will take your child away.”

Threatening to remove a child from their father’s life is a heinous and all too common go-to for some females. This threat gets more cruel when the man is fearful of the courts and becoming entangled in the webs of child support, custody, and visitation issues. Racial bias in the legal system can also increase these fears in men of color. There are men who would put up with almost anything to avoid potential legal issues, including being manipulated and emotionally abused by their baby mama (BM).

In my “Baby Mama Drama” post, I described some of the issues that can arise when dating men with kids. In addition to men I’ve dated, some male friends have shared egregious acts of selfishness and control on the part of their BMs. Although the idea is that they are making the man suffer, the child is truly the one harmed in a toxic parenting relationship. And honestly, the BM cannot be happy herself if she wants her baby daddy to be miserable. The following are (unfortunately) true stories.

Man 1 lived with his girlfriend and had a child with her. When they broke up, and she moved out, they would still hook up on occasion. When he started to decline the hook-ups, however, there was a change in their personal and co-parenting relationship. 

Suddenly, his child was unavailable at already agreed upon pick-up times. They eventually had to go to court to hash out visitation and custody, and the process was unnecessarily drawn-out and contentious. The BM accused him of being an unfit parent living in a home (that she used to live in) that was unsafe for children. The claims were found to be baseless. 

In the end, the man prevailed— receiving primary custody of his child. It took years of fighting and unhealthy relations with his BM to get there, and they still don’t co-parent well. 

Man 2 had stopped dating and hooking up with his BM, and everything was fine. He saw his child almost daily, and described his relationship with his BM as healthy. That is, until he got a girlfriend. 

His daily routine of picking up his child from school became an unpredictable game based on his BM’s mood. Weekend plans with the child would be suddenly canceled, and there were arguments over minor things such as the child’s hair.

The situation did not get better until the BM got a boyfriend of her own. They returned to a healthy co-parenting relationship, although the negativity caused his relationship with his girlfriend to end. He is still single, so what will happen when he couples up again (or if the BM becomes single again) is TBD.

Man 3 was dating his BM while also dating other people. He did not hide this fact from her, and she even encouraged him to see other women to avoid being intimate with him. There were no serious issues until he told her that he was in love with someone else.

The BM threatened to move away with the child if he did not stop seeing the woman he loved. She became a constant source of stress and depression for him, and she would scream and cry in front of their child to upset him. Whenever they did have peace, she would revisit the situation, unwilling to move on or accept the fact that he had a girlfriend. Now, he is trying to figure out how he can continue to see his son without involving the court system (good luck with that).

I could go on and on with more ridiculous and damaging accounts of BMs behaving badly. I’ve also noticed that women rarely call other women out on this behavior, as if the actions are excusable because of real or perceived wrongs committed by the baby daddy. Unless the man is a threat, there really is no reason to keep him from seeing his child.

If someone is happier without you, let them be. Forcing someone to be with you, or making them miserable because they are with someone else, is no way to live. Concentrate on making yourself happy and whole, and then realize that you deserve better. A healthy co-parenting relationship is better than a bitter relationship with someone who doesn’t want you anymore.

Cleveland strong

A long time ago, back when I was modeling, I had an audition in group interview format. A company was looking for promotional models in the Cleveland Metro area, and asked us what qualities that the city embodies. Almost in unison, we answered “resilience.” From the weather, to the economy, to our sports teams, we’ve been through a lot. It’s a collective Midwest experience, where the factories close, jobs evaporate, and there’s an exodus of people (feels like most of the people in Atlanta are actually from Cleveland).

However, Cleveland has been the butt of jokes for years– the Cuyahoga River fire, the “Mistake on the Lake” nickname, close playoff and championship losses, the LeBron James saga, the “Hot in Cleveland” television show, two viral “tourism” video parodies (“We’re not Detroit!”), and more have been fodder for comedians and haters nationwide. When I tell people I’m from Cleveland, some will respond with, “I’m sorry to hear that.” Most will ask how I feel about LeBron. It’s annoying every time. But, after years of collective disappointments and snide remarks, we’ve developed a thick skin. We also get up again and again, every time we get knocked down.

The last time I visited my hometown, I was proud to see a revitalized waterfront, vibrant downtown, and joyous people. With new businesses, attractions, and luxury housing, Cleveland is on the upswing. But, there is still a lot more work to be done. Job growth in Ohio still lags behind nationwide rates, and the number of unemployed increased by 5,000 persons from June to July, according to Cleveland.com.  Hopefully, positive changes will be implemented and sustained by the politicians elected (or re-elected) in November. There are Clevelanders around the world rooting for the city to win!

Mos Def force-fed under standard Guantanamo Bay procedure [VIDEO]

This is a vid from a year ago, but as long as Guantanamo Bay is open, this vid needs to be circulated.

Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, volunteered to be force-fed in the same manner as Guantanamo Bay prisoners who are on hunger strikes. A tube is forced up their nose, down their throat, and into their stomach, and liquid food is pumped down.

The original video and article were published on The Guardian.

WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT 

Pope Francis lists 15 spiritual ailments

Pope Francis provided this list targeting the Vatican Curia, but I think it is applicable to all who want to examine their spiritual health. I know I definitely felt convicted after reflecting on some of these!

Reposted from the Associated Press:

1) Feeling immortal, immune or indispensable. “A Curia that doesn’t criticize itself, that doesn’t update itself, that doesn’t seek to improve itself is a sick body.”

2) Working too hard. “Rest for those who have done their work is necessary, good and should be taken seriously.”

3) Becoming spiritually and mentally hardened. “It’s dangerous to lose that human sensibility that lets you cry with those who are crying, and celebrate those who are joyful.”

4) Planning too much. “Preparing things well is necessary, but don’t fall into the temptation of trying to close or direct the freedom of the Holy Spirit, which is bigger and more generous than any human plan.”

5) Working without coordination, like an orchestra that produces noise. “When the foot tells the hand, ‘I don’t need you’ or the hand tells the head ‘I’m in charge.'”

6) Having ‘spiritual Alzheimer’s.’ “We see it in the people who have forgotten their encounter with the Lord … in those who depend completely on their here and now, on their passions, whims and manias, in those who build walls around themselves and become enslaved to the idols that they have built with their own hands.”

7) Being rivals or boastful. “When one’s appearance, the color of one’s vestments or honorific titles become the primary objective of life.”

8) Suffering from ‘existential schizophrenia.’ “It’s the sickness of those who live a double life, fruit of hypocrisy that is typical of mediocre and progressive spiritual emptiness that academic degrees cannot fill. It’s a sickness that often affects those who, abandoning pastoral service, limit themselves to bureaucratic work, losing contact with reality and concrete people.”

9) Committing the ‘terrorism of gossip.’ “It’s the sickness of cowardly people who, not having the courage to speak directly, talk behind people’s backs.”

10) Glorifying one’s bosses. “It’s the sickness of those who court their superiors, hoping for their benevolence. They are victims of careerism and opportunism, they honor people who aren’t God.”

11) Being indifferent to others. “When, out of jealousy or cunning, one finds joy in seeing another fall rather than helping him up and encouraging him.”

12) Having a ‘funereal face.’ “In reality, theatrical severity and sterile pessimism are often symptoms of fear and insecurity. The apostle must be polite, serene, enthusiastic and happy and transmit joy wherever he goes.”

13) Wanting more. “When the apostle tries to fill an existential emptiness in his heart by accumulating material goods, not because he needs them but because he’ll feel more secure.”

14) Forming ‘closed circles’ that seek to be stronger than the whole. “This sickness always starts with good intentions but as time goes by, it enslaves its members by becoming a cancer that threatens the harmony of the body and causes so much bad — scandals — especially to our younger brothers.”

15) Seeking worldly profit and showing off. “It’s the sickness of those who insatiably try to multiply their powers and to do so are capable of calumny, defamation and discrediting others, even in newspapers and magazines, naturally to show themselves as being more capable than others.”