Chaos

At some point or another, we all have prayed for better days. Chaos or any of these – disorder, disarray, disorganization, confusion, mayhem, bedlam, pandemonium, havoc, turmoil, tumult, commotion, disruption, upheaval, uproar, maelstrom; muddle, mess, shambles, free-for-all; anarchy, lawlessness, entropy, can truly destroy your future. You have to let go of that mess in its entirety. Doing this will allow you to attain everything the universe has for you.

Keep smiling while you’re letting go, living and planning for the future.

🙂

The flashy affair was over.  Finals were happening in a few days and The Kid was ready.  We attended the Senior Parent Breakfast and waited to pick up our cap & gown.  You will notice I talk about this moment as if it were mine but we worked at this. So, we celebrated this moment together.img_4143

Now, this senior breakfast wasn’t a high point for me.  Especially after I saw that buffet line.  In true fashion, that kid knew I wasn’t about that life and he got my pancakes. Not wanting to be a brat I stood in line for the other portion. During the running around, we took this picture. Yup – he got me by a few inches! God answered my prayers. 😉  This was the final whoo rah for the seniors.  The final grades were being calculated and the verdict would be announced the coming Friday.  These 10 days were taking the longest time to get to us.  This was the only moment we were really waiting on.  I told you about part of our struggles to get here.  See, his dad graduated out of summer school and he didn’t want to repeat that experience. We worked our asses off, he more than me but I kept a light fire under it to keep him on his toes.  Then June 9th happened and he handed me this when we met up with each other. img_4187.jpg

For the 3rd time during this journey, I shed a few tears.  He reached over and hugged me exclaiming “I told you I’d get it done.”  This cap and gown made it real. I held on to that thing like it was mine because somewhere in my soul it was.  I worried, prayed, and cursed to get him right here. I’m that teenage mom that had never even baby sat a child and here I was about to watch mine walk across the stage to accept his diploma. My expectations were firm but my methods kept changing but he did it.  Yeah, it would’ve been easier if he had done it my way but this was his story. I needed to let him do it his way.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/i-made-it/id204509084?i=204509140

So the morning of the graduation was here, and I posted the picture that matched my mood.  Hashtag #TheFinisher – I was beyond ready and I even packed a handkerchief. img_3986

This picture captured everything I was feeling about this meeting.  In a graduating class of 262 students, all I could see was him.  He strolled pass me as they marched in the theater of the Michigan Opera House.  This was a long ceremony and for a short moment, I was ready to rip all the programs up because I didn’t see his name. When I found it in its respective area, #CarryOn. Then they asked the graduates to stand up and I was on my muthf’n feet -which happened to be in some 5″ heels but let’s go. Then I got this message: I remember this paper being in his room on his desk and of course he forgot it. Now, I gotta run down the aisle like I’m on the Price is Right. Then I got back to my seat and cheered for all the kids that spoke when they were on the phone with him, introduced to me, called me “Ma, Auntie & Ms. Wilson.” Then I saw him make his way to the stage. #Leego The announcer said Lorez Wilson and I lost it – screaming, clapping, jitting up the aisle (my footwork was unmatched) and I did all of this while taking pictures.

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Did you notIce me mention I cried? NOPE! I had shed all the tears prior to this day.  This day was for smiles. We did it. In 1999, this event seemed to be a million years away but with each passing year, I realized how close we were.  As we made our way out to the streets of Detroit, I couldn’t wait to see him and congratulate him one more time. I found him in the swarm of black and yellow.  His smile was as bright as the day but I saw something in his eyes.  We snapped a few images in the daylight.

I asked to see the diploma and he told me they had to pick it up from the school later on. WTH DPSCD? We left headed to Joe Muer for lunch with Grandma. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you he cut his hair off prior to graduation. I was looking at a young man ready to make his mark in the world.  Little did he know he had already done a good amount of that through me.  I was different because and for him.  He is the best part of me.  Everything I never knew I needed.img_4240
While we were at lunch I learned his dad had not shown up to the graduation, after I gave up my opportunity to monopolize this event. I knew I saw something in his eyes at the theater. It was sadness.  Afterward, he went and got a tattoo (how could I say no- I have 16) and I sat down to REST.  I thank everybody that was on this journey with me. All of your help was and still is appreciated.  You never left me out here to do this by myself. The village of Marti truly came through for this kid. There are so many to name but I’m positive I’ve already told you personally. Eternally grateful to you all for everything because I know your love for him is an extension of the love you have for me.

August 1st, while I’m sitting in my chair at work listening to inspirational music this little exchange occurred and it gave this chapter closure.

As we tackle this next mission, I’m positive he’ll be just fine but I’ll be right there to throw an assist if needed.

 

 

I believe Malcolm X said it best, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”   As parents, we expect the educational system to provide a sufficient foundation for our children to build upon during the next steps in their life.  After Brown vs. The Board of Education, there was a blanket of security wrapped around black people who assured them they would receive the same education and opportunity as their suburban neighbors.  During a time of great social unrest and concern for #BlackLivesMatter, we find ourselves in Detroit preparing to go to battle regarding education and its numerous failures to our children.  Sit back and read my frustrations mingled in with the facts being presented in relation to how DPS and the political machine have left these children and teachers out.  This is an extended emergency and too many have turned away.

Over the pass several weeks, the teachers here have become “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and have been demonstrating through sick-outs.  The first I heard of this was one day when I pulled up to drop The Kid off at school.  He said, “Aww man Ma, I might have to go back home because these teachers have been talking about a sick out.” WHAT?! With no time to drill him about this, I went on to work and classes were not canceled.  It was later on that day that I learned what was going on.

I completely agree with the sentiment expressed in the video.  After countless messages via email and my representative about books with limited to no response.  This was puzzling to someone who is only 17 years out of high school herself.  Yes, I attended public schools in Detroit and they always gave us the ” it’s not in the budget” speech.  However, look at how much enrollment has decreased in the city.  I’m not making these numbers up.  Not as many kids, would mean to me, there are more resources to allocate to the students. Right?

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They’ve closed numerous institutions within the city to cut the cost of under-populated schools and pushed kids to other schools that are not in their neighborhood.  All in an effort to become more efficient.  So far the plans they hatched, cracked, cooked and shitted out are not working.  As I said, I attended and graduated from DPS and here is the short version of the history of my former schools.  The first school I ever attended was Sanders Elementary School.

This was the only picture I could find of the place because it was demolished very early in this century.  As you can see, once I left there it was no question where I was going next. The school right across the baseball field was my next stop and that was – Harry B. Hutchins Intermediate School. Every day I looked forward to crossing through these doors in anticipation to learn ANYTHING.

This school held a special place in my heart.  It was here that I was exposed to my love of science through DAPCEP, was inducted into the National Junior Honor’s Society, developed my personal style, learned to swim, got paddled on the hand when I was out of line and experienced my first school dance.  It was a wonderful time but as times and populations changed so did my beloved middle school.  Here’s a small slide show of the place that cultivated someone eager to learn continually. (Some pictures including are courtesy of this site.)

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You will notice that my middle and elementary schools were a standoff point during the Detroit ’67 riots.  After leaving this school, some family concerns forced me to split from my friends and I entered Beaubien Junior High School and went to Mumford for a short spell.  All to return to the same high school my entire Detroit family graduated from – Northern Senior High School.  NorthernHighSchool

This is the only institution still in functioning order.  The only difference now is it’s home to the Detroit International Academy for Young Women.  I’m sure you can imagine all of the memories I created within these halls and the expectations I had as I became a parent. The education was sufficient even though we could have had more but the budget never allowed us to get everything the teachers wanted for us.  We made due with what we had, we succeeded and I graduated in 1998.

The Diploma

So you can imagine my frustration when I kept looking for the answers to where his educational tools were.  The tools I was looking for were books.  Books for all his classes. There was one day I asked him about homework and he showed me a picture on his phone.  What kinda lazy shit was this?! He told me, this is what he needed to do because they do not have books to give each child.  WHAT?!  Are you implying they don’t have money to get you all the supplies you need?  He couldn’t give me an answer but in his 3 years within the Detroit Public School system, he has only brought a book home twice and that was when he stole it out the building.  So, you need to steal to get an education in Detroit in 2015?  This was and is unacceptable.  I had more questions the teachers/administrators could not answer.  So when the shit hit the fan about the “sick outs”, I was on board.  These are the concerns I have been having.  Not only for my son but all of the children.  Why?  I’m seeing the reports stating “Detroit students are not prepared for college when they leave high school.”  Was this a bad side effect of no child left behind?  My mind continued to race for information and resources to get answers.  My mom told me about a state representative that was explaining all the details at the church and brought me some literature to read.  I read it but it still wasn’t clear to me.  I didn’t get any solid answers until the beginning of 2016.  The SICK OUTS finally hit Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School.  In a quick crawl through social media, I was given an over abundance of information.  Let’s start with a declining timeline which begins right after my graduation year.

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The writing is right there in this infographic supplied by one of the educators within my circle of Facebook friends.  Feel free to open it up and take a good look at it.  From Surplus to bust with almost 120k missing students in the last 17 years.  Where are the students? Falling over into neighboring districts for an opportunity at better.

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This wasn’t even an option for me.  The kid wanted to go to KING and who was I to deny him his dream.  I graduated from DPS and I was alright.  I needed to know what was so wrong that they needed to go this far to protest in the middle of a school year.  Things should be better by now.  Nope, my timeline was littered with the truth.  This information was disturbing. Here’s some of it:

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These were the answers I had been looking for but didn’t want to find.  The system was failing our children on a higher level and the parents had no idea.  The teachers have taken all they could and now they wanted action.  In my support for them I found more upsetting information about our schools:

Horror House Unhealthy

I posted these things and videos to show what was going on and my frustration with the way our children’s welfare is being handled.  The institution my son attends does not have any visible signs of wear, I can see, from my numerous visits inside.  This for me was about the community and being a voice for those that I felt needed my help.  During all of this the one thing that kept jumping out at me, was everything minorities have been through to obtain an education in a land that provides it to its residents and I became angrier and focused on learning how I could help.  I used my social media pages to spread the word to parents of DPS kids, charter school kids and children outside the district.  The community needed to become outraged. Generally speaking, we all are products of DPS that have ventured off but this is the system that showed us there was more for us in this world.  How dare them deny our young for whatever reasons they may have?!  Hell, we’re only one generation out of school before this decline began happening.

This system was already FUCKED up when my son got there in 2013.  I made a plea to leave this place for better and he chose to stay in this school.  He and I have talked about teachers that have walked out on them and never returned.  He’s been through more substitutes and abandoning teachers than I have had my entire scholastic career.  Then people wonder why the students are having an even harder time learning.  They can’t adjust to the daily changes that are happening at home and then school as well.  The only consistent thing some of them have is their friends.  That’s also lofty idea because there are still parents ripping their kids from the district in search of better than THIS. He’s been bounced around from class to class in search of instructors or lack there of. They don’t know if the teacher is coming back or they have to fend for themselves.  This certainly isn’t a way to learn or trust the education system.

It’s not enough to say the system was already bad.  It’s not an option to relocate these children in haste.  It’s not fair to give the appearance that learning is being done and it’s not.  Have we lost our will to fight for what we believe is fair?  Have we turned a blind eye to the educational needs of our children?  Is the future of our children less important than our own?  I do not want to accept yes to these questions. With four Emergency Managers over the Detroit Public Schools, no one has found solutions for the EMERGENCY of these children not receiving a proper education in the wake of financial ruin – year after year.  As the old saying goes, “desperate times call for desperate measures.”  We’re desperate if you can’t tell.

#SupportTheTeachers

#StandUpForTheStudents

 

 

 

 

 

 

One the 35th anniversary of my birth. I feel older, wiser and even more ready for the next adventures of my life. There may have been times when I’ve cried, laughed and gave a serious tongue lashing. None of these moments hindered who I’ve become.

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My life may not be where I planned. I have excepted what was and have designated the energy to be happy. That’s one of the greatest things I possess. My happiness is not determined by material gains. The idea I’m consistently working toward is a mental state or pure happiness. I haven’t reached the apex but I’m making steps toward it everyday.

As always, number 7 resides on the 25th.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all over the world.

I look like I have all the answers.  Maybe that is because I’m forever open to learning how I can be better.  This is in relation to anything I am involved with in my life.  My recent journey into entrepreneurship was in need of direction.  Sure I had formal education but even since my days in the classroom, business has changed.  The only thing I acknowledged was my need for assistance and direction.  After watching my Instagram feed, I became interested in the things The Powerful Women were doing to assist local women in business.  I wanted to see what they had to offer.

A workshop, this was going to tell us how to set up the business to move it forward successfully.  I figured I could use a refresher course and gather some additional information to propel Sleeping Beauty Hair Garments, so I signed up.  To my surprise I received an email informing me due to my registration for the workshop there was an opportunity for me to attend a motivational session with a world renown speaker, Dr. Laureen Wishom.  I was excited and attended both events, taking notes on what I needed to do to become better in business and in my personal life.  After the workshops, I had enough momentum to research the things I needed to change and create.  Soon after the announcement of The Powerful women’s Luncheon arrived and I purchased my ticket.  This is a great event for women to network and work to build our community of women business owners and professionals up positively.

I really appreciated these experiences.  They allowed me to set some goals for 2015 and made me take my small business seriously.  My expectations are high for the upcoming events in the new year.

Following the kid’s freshmen year of high school, I knew some things needed to be changed.  He had not given his best effort at all in school.  Hell, he didn’t even put forth a good effort, according to my standards.  In a moment of defeat, I felt I was losing him to the plagued Detroit Public Schools.  His entire educational career to this point had been filled with above average scores and grades.  So the excuse about high school being a big transition had worn out with me.  This was the school he chose to test in to and passed to be accepted into the math & science program. These grades were that of someone just passing time. I knew we definitely were not passing time, we were here for excellence. What could I do to help him understand the seriousness of this moment? I mean, I had done everything, I thought, from taking the phone away, keeping him in the house and accessing his records to locate missing assignments and poor grades. Next year had to be better than this. Then in an effort to correct the poorest grades on his transcript, he went to summer school. I saw this as the boost he’d need to get him on the right track scholastically. I was wrong again. These grade mimicked those he brought in during the regular school year. Moreover, what was I, the parent, going to do to show him I meant the strictest of business when it concerned his education?

It came to me out of desperation. He needed to see what life holds if you don’t take your life seriously. There was only one option – send him to his dad. This post is not about deadbeat dads, bashing men or the effects of father inactivity. No, no, no! This was about needing a break from the cushy life he has been given, appreciating the efforts I make to benefit him and understanding why I push him so hard. This was not an easy thing to do. We have been together since April 5th 1999. (There’s a story about that but I’ll save it for another post.) I was angry, this was unacceptable. The feelings I had with regard to this issue were disrespectful to me. Never in his lifetime did I think I would need to send him to live with them. (There’s another story here but I’ll tell it to you when I tell the other one.) As I talked to his dad on the phone, I called him my BABY. It was in that moment I knew this had to be done. Here’s a young man 5’10.5″ and I’m calling him my baby. I rushed him in the car and took him to his semi-permanent residence.

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The tears flowed as I pulled away. Had I given up on my only child? No – but the emotions I was experiencing made me feel I had. I returned later that evening to bring him clothes and needed essentials. He apologized and asked how long did he have to stay. My reply was given through tearful eyes, “until you get the importance of education and understand that I am hurt.” He knew I meant business.

The weeks passed and on my off days I would go see my son. We’d sit and talk about what he’d observed, realized and most frequently when was he coming home. I usually got around that question effortlessly. A series of events took place and not to be the one to spread other folks business, I’ll just say – these certainly were NOT the types of things I wanted him around but he learned from them. One morning around 1AM my phone rang. It was my son calling me, crying out of frustration and discomfort from the streets of Detroit. The only thing I could think of was get him back to the confines of the house. In a plea to come home, he told me he understood everything I told him to focus on and vowed to be better. In a sheer moment of stoicism, I told him I wasn’t coming to get him and we were no longer doing what he wanted me to do. From that conversation on he never asked me about coming home again.

The new school year was coming up and he was quite anxious about it. My last visit there I informed him to pack his things up and be ready after I got off work to return home. You should’ve saw the excitement in his face. He didn’t have any idea of what I had in store for him. Check out the Agreement of Achievement I produced.

This contract was my written way of expressing I was NOT HERE for the foolishness he pulled freshmen year. As he sat there and read, he asked questions about different things and signed his name in agreement to all terms.

The school supplies were purchased and I had sent a private prayer up requesting favor on his behalf. In hopes that he was still a member of the MSAT program in his school. The 1st day came and he was ready. His schedule displayed the satisfactory in the delivery of my prayer and he was still registered into those AP classes. The homework was out on the table and he appeared to be more organized.

We’re well on our way to a better year than last. I think there is an external factor I’m not accounting for but I’ll keep my mouth shut on that until I get confirmation. I heard it with my own ears as I was waiting to pick him up from school one day. The young man says, “Hey! I didn’t even know you was back here! What classes you got?” Number 19 says, “Most of my classes with the 11th and 12th graders, I’m really smart I was just clowning last year.” There it was – the truth!

I have noticed a change in him. Call it maturity, fear or an act. I like what I’m seeing so far. The 1st report card will be here in no time and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the results. Some times it’s hard to let your children grow up, chastise them and define their own course for their lives. We never want to be seen through unkind eyes. Moreover, when you know what’s best for them it’s our job to encourage the best from them.

“Men are what their mother made them.”  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson