I know the heading is quite corny, I am quite terrible at topic so will let this one ride. Just a quick update of the books I have read since the last update, a couple of months ago.
1.I’m judging you.
This book has life hacks and gems-I like calling it “the guidance to common sense”.It has made me laugh and question my whole entire life at the same time. She talks about love, fame, religion and race. All the things no one wants to talk about but are always thinking about. I would recommend it to anyone going through a breakup or you just want to challenge your mind- GO FOR IT!!. Luvvie Ajayi also has a podcast with Yvonne Orji (one of my all time favourite actress and African public figures) called Jesusandjollof. Funny, inspiring and them sharing there testimonies have me believing my glow up is just around the corner. Try it out.
2.Maya Angelou’s Autobiographies.
Maya Angelou’s is truly a phenomenal woman-her life story showed me that if you are born for greatness, even when you lose focus-greatness will find you. From being sexually abused at 9, having a baby at 16 years old and to being a pimp and a prostitute at 18 (just in case you a gobsmacked and out of words-brace yourself because there is more!). Her 7 series autobiography will leave at the edge of your seat and reading slowly because you do not want it to end. I first saw Maya on Sesami Street and even though I have never met her-after losing myself in her world, I can say I feel drawn to her resilience and sassiness. Reader discretion is advised because you might never rise from your seat.
3.Martin Luther King (Autobiography)
This man made me feel as if I was not “saved” enough. I was just taken back by his compassion and level of forgiveness. After white extremists bombed his home numerous times, he chose forgiveness. Now, I do not know about you but if someone was to come for me and my family threatened and proceeded to bomb them? Personally, as a functioning human being, I would go through a spectrum of feelings but best believe forgiveness is not one of them it might not even be in the top 100. I understand why he was exclaimed and won the Nobel Peace Prize.
It is a good read and it urges you to self reflect especially as a Christian. At one point his love and tolerance had me asking if I am really a Christian? I will just say Christianity is a process and a journey.
4.Dear Ijeawele: A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.
I have read each and every published book and watched every Ted Talk and Conference video by Chimamanda. She is one of millennials greatest minds (in my books and brain) and she is fearless. I love how she delivers common sense like something we never knew we needed until it was “given” to us-like Facebook.
She inspires me to be bold and not to wait to be like for me to feel important. This book is like a sequel to We should all be feminists but it is more detailed. If you are a fan of common sense, read it and if you do not like it-keep reading, you won’t die.
5.Trevor Noah: Born A Crime.
I was first introduced to Trevor Noah by my best friend in High School when she lent me his stand up DVD. My friends and I became obsessed every statement had to have a Trevor quote or joke. I fell in love with his work and now having to read about him shows he is as African as I am. He talks of the struggle of growing up mixed race and he never fit in, poverty, identity crisis and his first heartbreak. It is funny and stirring at the same time.
I find myself laughing out loud and holding my chest at the same time because the stories are that good, especially the story about Fufi. It is one of my current collection which includes the other books on the picture.
This year I have dedicated to biographies especially by black/African writers because they are who I relate to. On my list are:
1.Shonda Rhimes: The Year Of Yes (because I love her mind and I want to be like her but on the African front).
2.Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart (because he is the greatest African writer of all times and I am diversifying my reading, touching all parts of Africa)
3.Frederick Douglas: Autobiography (he was an ex-slave who taught himself to read and write, helping other slaves to escape and he forgave his slave master!Reading is really revealing how I have a problem forgiving, you know?)
4.Shingi Mavima: Pashena (There are not a lot of Zimbabwean writers going big and it is always refreshing to read something that brings you back home even when you are miles away from home.)
5.Reni Eddo-Lodge: Why I No Longer Talk To White People About Race (talks about real issues in the UK and how racism is a very much alive.And to think it was a blog post which turned into a Sunday Times Bestseller book!I mean!!)
Initially called “For the men” for the sole reason of not being gifted in the good-post-heading-department, I decided to add a little pizzazz and name it “Dear men, it is human to have emotions”. Which I know sucks and does not have a kick to it, but I think it is an improvement.
Anyway, in today’s post, my goal is to try and convey the dangers of toxic masculinity and the dehumanisation of boys/men in our day to day lives. This might not apply to you but by reading this you might end up changing how you conduct with others (especially those of the male species) and how you can help. We live in a world where the symbol of masculinity and strength is portrayed by being fearless and emotionally unscathed. I grew up with this mentality too; expecting those of the opposite sex to be “manly” which in my head looked like James Bond-macho, driven and had his emotions “under control”. Looking back at it now, I am strongly of the notion that men are not COMPLETELY opposite to women. Yes, there are physical attributes and biological contrast e.g hormones and all that- however, we are all human and we all have emotions.
I was one of those girls who constantly nagged and told most of my male friends and family to man up! To be honest, I did not know what it meant but it was a phrase I used as a weapon to silence them when they tried to open up or show their humanity. I now cringe at that phrase because I now see the damage it causes and the way it reduced them. I profusely apologised to those I victimised in this way, they might have thought little of it but I meant it.
Being a person who tries to understand people before passing judgement; and also knowing that people are the way they are because of past experience-good or bad, I decided to pay more attention to the men in my life. I fail at times but I do my best to try and be in other people’s shoes (they might not always fit but I try to walk a km or two). This post is mainly based on that attribute and what I have learnt from the men in my life- from my father, brother, cousins and friends (acquaintances included). I am no psychic or the great oracle of knowledge and wisdom for all of humanity- but having spent over 20 odd years around and with the opposite sex, you tend to pick on certain things which are/caused by the root of something. I will share some of the things I have seen affect men around us, be it consciously or subconsciously, mentally, physically and spiritually. I will shed more light on 5 things which I will try to elaborate on.
P.S: This might not apply to everyone but maybe it can help someone you know.
Depression is a common and serious illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Though being confused with being a white people’s disease or weakness by most Africans- it has taken too many lives to be characterised as a mere issue. More than 6 000 men commit suicide due to depression every year and the ages range from 23-69. There are not many mental health clinics which cater to men nor are their programs that mainly focus on the mental well being of males in general. Men from a young age are taught to mask their emotions and get over situations that cause permanent damage, for example, rape and domestic violence to name a few. They are taught never to cry from a young age-“Do not cry, you are a man. Men do not cry. Man up”, they are told to sweep serious issues under the rug and just go about with life because it is what it is. They can not talk about their emotions, issues or plights because men are supposed to have it all together. This has caused a large number of men to lack communication skills or struggle with showing affection.
Most young men (especially Africans) do not have people to confide in- be it their fathers, pastors or any positive male figures. I was shocked and disheartened when one of my male friends told me he did not have a male figure to confide in, I am his friend to a degree and he does confide in me but I understand I will never fully understand his plights due to gender differences. I then resorted to ask the majority of them, if they have friends they go to, who do not laugh at them when they confide in them, who advise them and who they can openly cry in front of (crying is healthy, especially that one that leaves you with mild headache and puffy eyed-highly recommended for both sexes). Only three of them confirmed they had such friends but who would laugh after the situation had been dealt with (which I do not think I would personally appreciate but hey, each to their own). After that conversation, I realised not all men/ boys have positive role models to look up to and as time goes on, they end up looking up to people who are broken and damaged as well. I can imagine how frustrating it can be, to be told to be something you have never really seen a positive example and still being expected to be one. I believe this leads to frustration, anger, stress as well as depression and the fact that you can not express it is even worse. Just imagining it makes me angry and defeated at the same time, I get a glimpse of how most boys/men feel on a daily bases and try to conceal it too. It is not healthy and should never be defined as strength, that is no way for anyone to live. We are bound to live life abundantly and with joy and faith.
If you find yourself needing someone to talk to, try to talk with someone close to you and the might help you find help or they can help you. Also, pray for a friend with good counsel and who are also intentional ad committed. If you are in Zimbabwe, there is a mental health approach called the “friendship bench” which has elderly women counsel and talk to you about whatever will be troubling you. I believe it now caters for men as well (my apologies I could not find the link, but you can google wooden bench Zimbabwe and it will come up). Men, you really need to take care of your mental health; not for anyone but for you, because your life literally depends on it.
2.GENDER EQUALITY/ FEMINISM
Feminism sounds like a cuss word these days and it has also been redefined so many times it sounds as if it is a weapon of mass destruction against men. From what I understand, feminism is about equality but at times I fail to understand it because I do not completely agree with some of the things that are used to define it nor do I shame those who do. I personally believe in being equal but with different roles, I believe in submission to my husband (submission is not controlled nor oppression practised in God’s way) and I also believe in independence, I believe in being a career woman and a parent too, I believe in working for my family and providing for them and I believe in my husband taking care of our kids, because he is a parent and I believe in spoiling my husband as well as letting him unknowingly surprise me with shopping sprees charged to his card of course. So you see, equality.
On a more serious note, I understand why most men see equality as defiance against their nature. Men are raised to be providers, to be honoured and respected overtly, with reverence and grandeur. Most African men are raised to “receive” more than give- they are taught to expect a wife who gives them their all without question, who obeys them, cater to their every need, who is forgiving and whose strength is in how long she can put up with their “miscalculations” and will not accept anything less. I disagree with this because you can see the abuse underlining these “qualities”. At the same time, most men have grown in this kind of backgrounds and some of them do not know any better. Whilst this is not an excuse to be a jerk and menacing person, I can understand to a degree how hard it is, to have to learn something new after having to master something opposite to it, since birth. It can be hard, patronising even but very much possible. It is not about competing about which is the better sex but about us being equal in our differences. How women can be good at being engineers and men at being chefs, how women can be CEO’s and men can stay at home dads without shaming or being ashamed.
I do not believe equality is gender reversal as most people now see it, which I think is very petty by the way, but a way of men saying- we see you, and we respect you and women saying, we see you and we acknowledge you too. It is not to degrade men or see them as inferior nor insignificant. If it is still hard for you to comprehend and strongly believe and taught that women are inferior and insignificant; I reckon the next section is for you.
3. DO BETTER
Yes King, do better; you are more than where you came from or how “unconventional” your upbringing was. We all come from families who have differences and ways of life, however, I do not think to blame your mistakes or misconduct on how you grew up becomes old after a while. It could be how you never grew up with any examples of positive role models or how you came from an abusive household; doing better is a daily process but one which is worth it. It is easy to blame our backgrounds and dysfunctional families for all the things we do not want to face head-on (I am guilty on this too) but it is more rewarding and character building to do better and be better. For example, most boys/men have grown around environments where having multiple sexual partners or cheating is appraised, however, as you grow and realise your self-worth; you tend to realise your worth or masculinity is not based on your body count but who you are in Christ. It might seem feminine or unmanly to talk about self-worth as a man but hear me. After having a chain of girlfriends, sleeping with them and discarding them to be esteemed a legend amongst other men, do you actually have peace afterwards? Or you adamantly stating you do not care, is it because you are actually unremorseful or you do not want to face your emotions? I can also imagine the burden of not being able to tell anyone how the toxic masculinity weighs on you and also not forgetting the venereal disease you might be carrying.
It might be how you conduct with adults or people in general, using profanity and derogatory language. Come on now, do better, I can suggest a manual guide on How to do better- The Holy Bible or for light reading, Luvvie Ajayi’s I am Judging You. I use it too because I have days when I just want to blame my past for being sour. Do better by hanging around people who encourage you and see your worth, do better by choosing kindness over prestige on juvenile things. Be better by believing you are better, be better by knowing you are important and worth a lot more than your mistakes. Bringing me to my next point.
4.HEY, YOU MATTER!
You might not hear this enough or it might seem as if it does not apply to you, but believe me, you matter. You might not see it or it might not make sense because of what you are currently going through, the expectations, bills, economy, unemployment, suicidal thoughts, heartbreak, family feuds- you name it, YOU MATTER. The fact that you are alive today means there is more in store for you the fact that you feel and hurt, means there is more to you. You might be entering into adulthood or going through a midlife crisis but whatever age you are, you matter.
I have realised that most men scarcely hear positive words. They are rarely told they matter, they are loved, they are important, they are missed or appreciated. Most are told maybe after doing or giving something. I am talking about speaking health, love, peace into our fathers, brothers and spouses lives. To show them that they matter, giving them our attention and time. I am learning to do this for my brother and I love how it makes him happy and content that he has someone who values him and reminds him frequently. I do not want him to grow up in a world where he feels to be a man is to be emotionally constipated. I want him to know he can love and be loved fully and freely, that he deserves the best things in life, that his mistake does not define him- just like every human being alike.
I want him to understand that telling his friend he loves them is not gay nor is crying feminine but a mere human emotion and act. I believe all males should be their brothers keeper- be it brother by blood, hood, crime or in Christ. Which brings me to my last point.
5. YOU AIN’T TRASH, IT’S JUST TRASHY BEHAVIOUR.
Though I have thought this more than I have said it, I have come to realise that by calling men trash, we are low key referring to ourselves (women) as trash cans. Well, for the obvious reason that we are the ones who birth them. I think it is just trashy behaviours, it might not be you, but it might be that cousin of yours who has a dodgy business every week (scammer) or that friend who like a different girl each day of the week (which also brings your character into question). It could even be an uncle who gets a girlfriend every time his falls pregnant because he feels his needs are not being met or it could be that homeboy who talks down on dark skinned girls because he feels they are inferior to light skinned girls or worst, it could be you being around it but not saying anything.
I believe no one is born bad and can not become good. If you struggle with trashy behaviour, let those closest to you help you in prayer and accountability. Pray, have someone to confide in and ask for the Holy spirit to work on you daily. Follow the examples of godly men in the Bible, David’s resilience in pursuing God’s heart but not his murderous traits; Solomon’s wisdom but not his trashy womanising shenanigans; Abraham’s faith but not his lack of trust in God’s timing but by all means, go all Jesus.
I understand only covered a fraction of the plights faced of a daily basis, but I hope this sheds light, to women too, that men go through so much on a daily basis. Some struggle with their relationship with God, some are taunted by generational curses and other mental health. As a Christian, I feel obliged to look out for my brothers in Christ, as I do for my sisters in Christ. To love them as I love myself, to respect them as I also want to be respected and to treat them as I want to be treated. So to all the kings out there, go be royalty- because you belong to the KING OF KINGS.
Ok, let’s get right to it without shying away or filtering, RAPE IS AN EPIDEMIC WHICH HAS RAVAGED THROUGH COMMUNITIES, DESTROYING LIVES BUT HAS BEEN IGNORED NONETHELESS!! It is a topic that is rarely or never discussed in an African household. It is treated as something that never happens or a bad omen which brings 7 years of drought and plagues. Growing up African, when rape (chibharo in Shona) was mentioned, it was never discussed and was always an open and closed discussion which was always followed by an insensible and stupid statement which I will point out. Numerous issues need to be discussed within the African community or any community as to how rape is inhumane and traumatic to victims. I have heard and read stories of women and men (yes, men get raped too) who after decades are still suffering from the trauma of the event.
In Zimbabwe, over 75% of the population has experienced rape in their lifetime. Be it as a child or as a grown up, rape has even been categorised and redefined to make it less menacing by blaming the victim or “normalising” it so that it is not dealt with. For example, in the Shona culture there is ridiculous and cruel traditional practise called chiramu, where when a man marries a wife with younger unmarried sisters, he is allowed to “play” with them because they are technically his wives. Whilst this to an extent makes sense, there are many cases where the man ends up sexually assaulting (let’s call a spade, a spade) and even goes on to prey on young children (paedophilia) all in the name of tradition. Many people have not spoken up because they are told it is normal or out of fear. I will outline some of the statements used to justify rape and “protected” the perpetrator.
1.”Why was she/he wearing that?”
(Image from Pinterest)
If you find yourself justifying someone getting raped by this statement, please revise your moral ethics and thank me later. What people wear does not make them “eligible” for rape. I heard this statement so many times growing up, at one point I thought it true until I began to think for myself. Rape can never be justified and it should NEVER be given the time of day to be justified! Africans (most) have a tendency and culture (yes, culture because it is something that has been believed on a large scale) of blaming everyone and everything but not the perpetrator. Whether someone decides to wear lingerie in the streets or the shortest skirt, that should not justify rape. One might ask-Oh, why then are they walking around looking like that? Ask them or look the other way, your neck will support you. You will be surprised to know that the country with the highest percentage of rape in India- and do you know what they wear-long saris which cover from head to toe LITERALLY. Why not attack the perpetrator rather than attack the victim who will have to live with this blaming themselves and might never recover from the trauma?
I understand how it is easier to blame the victim than confront the perpetrator, in most cases, they are respectable members of the family, community or even church so we avoid a scandal, but what about the life of the victim? What of their mental well being, trust, damage and dignity? Simple clothes such as leggings or cami tops (spaghetti tops) have been categorised as clothes that attract men and many women have refrained from them out of fear or “respect” of the male sexual appetite. CRAP! Why are men not being taught to get a hold of there appetites and how to respect all human beings (men and women) regardless of how they dress or carry themselves?
2.”She/he was drunk, so they deserved it”.
This statement may and will make sense to the majority of people and will be justified by, what were are they doing there? I personally do not think there is a place you go and ask to be raped nor does being drunk imply you are inviting someone to rape you. YES, when people get drunk they tend to act out of character but in recent years, there have been cases of people having their drinks spiked. Rape drugs are being used to lace people’s drinks without them realising it.
Many women and men have been sexually assaulted after being drugged and some do not remember the accounts of what led to such a heinous event taking place. Some are taken advantage of whilst unconscious and even after screaming NO! and fighting- they are still told they deserved it. This has resulted in most people no reporting or telling anyone because they already “know” it is there fault.NO!It is never the victim’s fault it is ALWAYS the perpetrators and there are no two ways about it. Little children are being intoxicated and taken advantage of- DID THEY DESERVE IT? I personally do not drink nor do I condone it (my personal opinion, of course) but there is no way I would think or justify someone’s rape as there fault because of there state of mind. Shaming and blaming victims has created and bred more rapists and they keep getting away with it because it is always directed to the wrong person- the victim!
3.”What did you do?”
This statement has discouraged many victims not to come out and talk to someone. It implies that one has to do something to get raped. African culture is so quick to blame the victim it even ignores when the perpetrator went into the victim’s room and violated them in their own house or just smiling at someone, that will be “you doing something”. On Twitter a few months ago, #menarerapedtoo was trending and there was a gentleman who opened a fake account to share his story. It is sad he had to open a fake account and use an alias so he could feel comfortable and safe to tell his story. I understand his approach because there is a belief man CAN NOT be raped and they will be enjoying- because how else would it happen if they do not “participate”. This gentleman was sexually abused by his baby sitter (Sisi vebasa in Shona) and her friend. He recalled how they used to touch and play his private parts and say how he is going to be “gifted” when he grows up. I hate how I have to censor the gory details because it only makes the matter lighter. So for the sake of emphasis and justice, I will say it how he said it: READER’S DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
They used to touch my private parts and play with them saying I am going to have a big penis and make girls cry. He was only 9 years old. They would stick their fingers in my anus and I would around the house naked. They would take turns to touch and had me touch their private parts and have sex with me. I ended up thinking it normal and began to walk around the house naked when there were people around. My sexual appetite was triggered at a very young age, when there was no one around, I used a broomstick and would stick it in my anus. I began to think I was gay and became a sex addict. It has affected me so much that I only think of sex. I was and still, am afraid to talk to anyone about it because it will be praised that at a young age I was having sex with older women rather than see the wrong in it. I am now in my 20’s and still traumatised and addicted.
I was livid and saddened by his story, I thought of all the times people have said men can never be raped and how many young men had their sexual appetites triggered at a young age or at any age in this way! If you find yourself justifying this by saying or thinking- “Boys will be boys”. Please feel free to take several seats and keep quiet! Do you see how he was damaged and is still traumatised, he might never have a stable life and his sex life has been affected because he is now an addict. He thought it normal and I am pretty sure he was amongst those boys who were only known for wanting sex growing up. Anyone can see how damaged he is and how he might never recover because he can not talk to anyone about it because of fear and to an extent his gender will have him praised for sleeping with older women at a young age. He was a tween when he was introduced to sex, in consensual-but, of course, he must have done something, RIGHT?
4.”You will ruin (their) lives by this nonsense” / “How many times did it happen?”.
I do not know if the number of times something happens justifies the intensity and impact of something. Sexual assault or abuse cannot be justified because it happened once or only one part of the body was groped! The trauma for the victim is something that can not be measured. We can not say a person who was raped once is better than a person who was raped 5 times- TRAUMA IS TRAUMA! This is how rapist gets away with such horrendous acts. Victims when they finally get the chance to speak up, they are silenced again because they are made to choose the perpetrators “dignity” and stature over their own mental well being and justice. Victims are discouraged to speak up because they will end up ruining lives- What if the perpetrator has a family? Did the perpetrator not think of their family when they were abusing the victim? Why are you lying, do should never lie on grown-ups! What makes you think the victim is lying, should you not be relieved they thought of you as a safe person to confide in? What will people say? How is that the victim’s concern? How many times did it happen? If it only happened once it is nothing to worry about but tell me when it happens again then we will do something about. AND STAY AWAY FROM HIM/HER! When they come, go to another room and make sure you wear something that covers up everything. We do not want it happening again. *SIGHS*.
The culture of protecting the perpetrator must be stopped! Most of these perpetrators are the pastor, rich uncles, housegirl/boys, nice neighbours, brother or sister in Christ. We shy away from exposing them because we do not want to shame the family name or have people look at the perpetrators differently. Young children have been turned away so many times because they lie too much. Ma’am, Sir do not be quick to assume a child is lying just because “children lie”. I bet the person who came with that statement is a paedophile at best. Having people think children lie to get attention. NO! It is a cry for help. Pay attention to your children/nieces/siblings- not financially but emotionally, physically and spiritually. Be present in your children’s lives, be their confidant and friend (I did not say best friend, I know how African parents are allergic to being best friends with their children). Do not protect the perpetrator and ruin more lives by silencing the victim.
5.”But they are your husband/ boyfriend/ father/ mother/ friend, how can they rape you?/ “What did you expect?”.
Yes, your boyfriend/ partner or husband can rape you. It might not make sense because you love them, you live with them or you have had sex with them before. If the person says no either with their words (shouting, politely declining, screaming or saying no once) or with their body (pushing your hand away, hiding, covering themselves, sitting away from you or protecting their private parts with their hands etc) and you go on to have sex with them anyway- THAT IS RAPE! There is a misconception that you can only be raped by people you do not know- a husband/ wife can rape their spouse. I know one might refer me to study 1 Corinthians 7 v 4 and have me revise what I have stated. Yes, a wife does not have authority over her body nor does a husband have authority over his-meaning they both do not belong to each self but to each other. And Ephesians 5 v 31 goes on to say they are ONE-meaning one mind, one soul and consult each other before coming to a decisions-CONSENSUAL. Both have to agree and if one says no, though the one saying no does not belong to oneself- the one with the authority over that body must be in agreement so that the ONE is not divided. It takes time to understand but what I am getting at is if it is not consensual it is wrong.
In the Zimbabwean community many young women and men have been forced or “persuaded” into sex by being told they knew they wanted it, they were just playing hard to get or they wanted it but were shy to ask for it. For example, a guy will keep persisting to have sex with his girlfriend to show that she loves him or because he knows how “women act shy” when sex is mentioned even when they want it. The girlfriend might have told him no repeatedly but no, she is probably saying that because she is shy and does not want to seem like she likes sex too much. Sir, if you love your girlfriend can you not wait? Love is patient, gentle and understanding after all. She might sleep with you out of fear of losing you (we need to talk about self-love and self-care) or pure fear. Another example, a girl might throw herself at a guy even after he has said NO! repeatedly, then the girl goes on to cry and blackmail the guy by telling him he doesn’t love her or she is not attractive enough for him anymore. And because it has been stigmatised that male attention/ love equates to sex, the guy ends up giving in against his will. Ma’am, will let this man love you correctly? He probably wants to make you a wife first then do all you want in love and respect.
Some people are raped by their own parent, yes as terrifying and unnatural as it sounds and seems, it is happening. Who do you tell when the person who is supposed to protect you is the one violating you? There are many stories of people who have thought it normal to sleep with relatives because they grew up in it and no one was to tell them it is wrong- incest. It is a scary world we live in and these traumas have ruined lives-people have committed suicide, many are church hurt, self-hate, trauma, mental breakdown and addicts. We are quick to blame demons in the victims before we sit down and talk to them without judgement or seclude them from our social gatherings. Victims are the ones who suffer and it just does not go away- people in their 70’s are still afraid to come out because perpetrators know how to cover their tracks. They threaten the victims family or they even go to the extent of creating ridiculous stories of how they will kill themselves if the victims say anything. Some will even blame the victim of being too good looking they could not resist.
Young men and women should be taught about self-love and self-care at a young age. They should know they can speak for themselves and be taught that their voice matters and as parents/ guardians, we should be welcoming and talk to them. It is not a white thing to be present and involved in your child’s life it is a human thing and logical to do. If you are an adult, have a group or a person to confide in and talk to, I know in this age and time of “cutting people off”, it is tempting to be your own person- which is good but for your life’s sake- have someone to talk to and trust. And also be that person someone trusts and confides in. Someone needs your help!