Teach the Youth: “Goddess Lessons 101″

I didn’t choose to be a single parent but I also didn’t wallow in the perceived sorrow of it. I stood up to the challenge and though everyday is a mini struggle, my daughter and I are fine. She is a goddess in training and I am the guidance that lights her way daily. I became a mother at the end of a relationship. And I have never regretted this decision.

Absent parent: A parent who does not live with their child but has financial responsibility for them. Also known as the non-custodial parent.

I recently finished a 10-month ordeal within the walls of Family Court. Interestingly, I began these proceedings when my daughter was 2yrs old. I opened the case of joint custody and visitation rights at a time when rose-colored glasses were still in. I know, it sounds crazy. On the one hand, I actually went through the effort to do this and on the other hand, he ignored my effort and forgot about us for the next decade.

Breath training is a basic tool with many uses, and children age four and up can learn and use breath effectively. Start by practicing these techniques through exercises yourself. When you’ve experienced the benefits and feel confident, it’s time to teach the children.

Once the actual court proceedings started, deep inside I was hopeful that in his absence he actually grew up and wanted to be a part of her life. I was elated and surprisingly, relieved. I was running out of excuses for him as my child aged and her questions became harder to answer. Unfortunately, on the first day of court I realized that he had not grown and was in fact trying to teach me a lesson by dragging us through embarrassing legal motions that I could never directly answer because of how he set it up.

Keeping children safe is a powerful primal urge. Our concern tinges every parting, just as our gratitude infuses every reunion. Fear’s presence is subtle but constant: the pause at their bedroom door to hear gentle breathing, the quick inventory of new friends’ homes for hazards.

Over the last year, I’ve watched him get overnight visits and then lose these privileges. I’ve watched him argue custody, citing that I’ve been blocking and then him not able to define blocking since that implies being present in our lives. I’ve watched him show up in court wearing brown suits with different women on his arm and then follow this up by contesting child support payments wearing old sweats and a backpack. All the while, I’ve listened to him regurgitate the same story from our daughter’s toddler days, not acknowledging the blooming woman who stood before him.

Take a walk after the rain and splash in puddles. Find a running gutter or tiny stream and float leaves or twigs out to sea. Water to clean and Water to feed.

Our last day in court found me on the stand articulating truth that only a parent who has been present the entire time could. With no hate, no ulterior motive, only the health of my daughter foremost in my brain. And when judgment fell in my favor, it felt like an enormous weight lifted off my back. All these months of confusion, depression, increased blood pressure, evaporated.  But even as I left, his shame couldn’t stop his hateful tongue to lash out at me. He shared no blessings to the one human that has poured unconditional love around his child. No apology. No head bowed.  No thank you escaped from his lips.

No ritual can do as much to teach children to love nature as a friendship with a real tree. Nature teaches a wonderful lesson about the mystery of life: that everything changes and everything stays the same.

I share this to help in the healing process of many single parents. It is not acceptable to be Missing In Action. It is not okay to be a deadbeat.  If your ‘adult’ decision is that you will not step up to the plate, then step off. It doesn’t make it easier on the tribe to have you reappear when you think you’re ready. That reasoning is not only selfish but a disservice to your child.

I am thankful that the men that I’ve chosen to surround her with have earned her respect. Words are powerful and I believe in their mana. I also believe that action speaks louder than words and that our children are always watching…

“Coit Tower” by TuffGyal 808


24 thoughts on “Teach the Youth: “Goddess Lessons 101″

  1. Hey love,
    My heart goes to you and the beautiful daughter that you are raising. I’m sorry that your daughter has to learn that we are not the sum total of the less than pleasant aspects of our parents. I am happy that she has you and that you are so aware of all that she needs.
    blessings to you and your family

  2. Wow, takes a lot of courage to say that Malia. I have some struggles with my dad to this day. My step dad has stepped up in many ways that he has not. I love them both, but I realize I have a lot of work to do personally and artistically to show young men an example of Dad’s who are doing it. whether they r with the momma or not, they can STILL be a family, somehow, someway.

    Your goddess is an incredible soul and it was an honor to learn from her!!!Much love homegirl…

  3. Damn, Sis–

    I am so sorry that you and Oni-girl had to deal with all of that. But for you to write about it and elevate us with your struggle is priceless. Now that it is behind you, take your breath and let Mama Ocean soothe…..

    1. Thank you Shawn!! I was a little nervous to speak my truth but then thought of all the single parents who stay silent and I never want to be that. Not for my seed, not for the Women in my dance company, not for myself. I share to help in the healing process and plan to get my small tribe to Mama Ocean soon… Blessings.

  4. Love. thank you for sharing a part of yourself and your travels through life with your precious daughter. such an intimate part of life yet such an important story to share…your compassion and love will encourage others. thank you Malia for being you. peace Queen

  5. I cried when I read this and I had Tina read it and now we are both crying.
    My cry is both joy and pain. Joy of the love you have for that beautiful Oni girl and the pain that her father has missed out on some of the most amazing moments in his life through his ignorance.

    1. Auntie D, it’s been a hard road but both me and babygirl have maneuvered the terrain gracefully. that’s all i could hope for. I love that both you and my lil sis Tina were moved to tears… proof that we are made of the same fabric… that salty water kind. XO

  6. Confession brings healing to the soul, you are not alone in this experience, there are many women going through this, thank you for sharing, it was very brave of you, many will be healed by this truth, and it will make them free ; I will send this to women I know . When resistance comes in our life we have to add PERSISTANCE, AND PRESS THROUGH, ESPECIALLY for our children, Love you cuz and continue to move forward ! Keeping it REAl!!!!

    1. Thank you for your words, cousin.
      Sometimes I feel alone in this but then are encouraged to know that I am not.
      Oni & I are grateful for our community of Support…

  7. Mama’Lia – as my Mama Georgia will say to me to this day! “Stand on the Wall and don’t let nobody make ya fall” I can only imagine the painstaking balance of grace and anx infused and embodied – and still you STAND, SHINE and MOVE…love U both immensely with continued inspiration – truly thank U for sharing.

    1. Regina, I love you.
      I also appreciate your words since you knew me and father, pre-Oni…
      my share is only to help the parents in similar situations..
      thank you for always seeing me. XO

  8. I applaud you and Oni….You are an amazing mom Malia.. Your courage to be so raw and open about something I know is painful.. We love our children no doubt and we see the beauty in them and for someone who actually holds the same DNA to not see it and not want to be a part of it could really pain your spirit. You and Oni are blessed to have each other. I have heard that the children choose their parents. Oni to me, has been here before. You can see her wisdom and you have guided her to be a wonderful human being. I have a somewhat similar situation. I have raised my son by myself for 19 years with no help from his father due to the fact that he is incarcerated for a long time.. 39 years was his sentence to be exact.. I have always felt that he made that a reality by putting himself in bad situations.. Selfishness and unconnected to the life he helped make.. Tragic.. We women do what we have to do without blinking an eye.. we have no choice but to move forward, why? because we are warriors and we are Earth.. Malia god bless you and Oni ..

    1. Thank You Lillian!!!!
      I had no idea about your situation and am thankful of your share here..
      Oni’s dad is in his own imprisonment, of the mind…
      All these court proceedings have been more about him trying to stick it to me and nothing to do with what is best for Onigirl… so his selfishness is real.
      I actually won’t know the effects of his choices until Oni is an adult. I can only stay hopeful that I’ve given her enough love and encouragement to continue on to great things… we shall see. XOXO

  9. what a beautiful, honest, diplomatic and compassionate teaching. i *so* appreciate the difficulty you must have faced in sharing your story [as a public person] but holding on, nevertheless, to the courage and fearlessness it takes to speak truth to power…for yourself and for your daughter.

    when we find ourselves on the other side of relationships that we believed in/hoped for/tried to save, the pain is often compounded by behavior and/or truths that we aren’t prepared for. who would have believed that the person you opened your heart and womb to would be so fundamentally counter to who you understood him to be? and the public and private pain associated with attempting to make a MAN be honorable and responsible and mature can be exhausting and maddening and humiliating.

    what an amazing mother/role model you are. and i thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your truth and your share. may you and your daughter continue to be blessed with joy, light and love. and may she revel in the power and grace of the amazingly strong goddess that shares her life.

    1. Karen, your words brought tears to my eyes because one never knows if the choices they make are correct… especially for the Single parent. I’ve never desired to be both mother AND father. It IS exhausting because I am constantly thinking long-term, what’s best for her, how do I tread this path without embarrassing our name, will she have healthy relationships with the opposite sex, etc.. And yes, as someone in the public eye who has a dance company who’s main focus is to heal Women with movement, I have found that writing helps my personal healing… that and HUMOR!!

      thank you for taking the time to give me a cyber hug because even us strong Fierce Independent Queens need moments of support to put our guard down and weep. a cleansing place to be to clean out all the clutter. Malia’e

  10. sistah malia
    i am touched by your sharing and honesty for such a personal family matter; your devotion to living without the extra baggage that keeps spirits cloudy is remarkable. this move-ment of energy is cleansing and purifying for all that know and love you and oni. i continue to hold a space of healing for your family. thank you

  11. You truly are amazing. I am sorry to hear of these struggles and my heart sincerely goes out to you and Oni. However, I’ve no doubt that you have always done and will continue to do your best in doing whatever is necessary to raise such a beautiful daughter and in always being the best mother you can be…even if it means overcoming struggles such as these. Oni is lucky to have you and you, her.

    It is never easy to openly speak the truth and share ones struggles…therefore, I sincerely applaud you. Despite not having seen you in awhile, you continue to touch my soul in ways even I didn’t realize needed to be embraced. For someone who is new to single parenthood, I thank you for this. Your words give me strength and courage in addition to the motivation to keep moving forward towards healing not only for me but for my baby girl as well. I can only hope that I will be half as strong and brave as a Mother as you are. Hugs and kisses.

    1. Dear family… I am always here to lean on as you navigate the path of Single mamahood.
      It’s not easy but completely rewarding as I watch Onigirl grow into a beautiful young Woman with a brilliant mind…
      that’s all me and the people I have surrounded her with over the years.

      It can be hard to share truth but as I read the feedback of everyone here… it seems necessary for all of our healing..
      for those who feel alone AND for those fathers who absolutely have their children’s back. Love YOU La Shana…XOXO

  12. Oh My Love! I remember running into you in those offices at the beginning of both of our journey’s though custody! Single mothers are not tragic, not be sorrowful or pitiful. We have been given the beauty of raising our daughters’ uninterrupted by the inept, damaging or corrupt personalities of another. I know truly that to have her father in her life in his present un-evolved form would be more damaging then him not being around. So here we are… she and I….she is learning to recognize the strength that is innate in her blood, She is gently learning how to choose good and supportive people to be a part of her life and how to be supportive and good in return. She is learning that neither a boy nor a man defines her sense of beauty or identity and her best reflection is how she see’s herself. The cadre of gentle, beautiful, strong, honest and uplifting women that have been around her whole life support her dreams and the Respectful, protective, loving, warm and strong slew of uncles, god-fathers and male teachers are examples of the qualities of the males that she allows into her life now and in the future. So he’s not around…what a loss for him. My countless hours of joy at watching her sleep, race, dance, recite poetry, get good grades, and show compassion. and love herself make me understand each day why we chose each other and the beauty of God’s divine plan!!!! And through this journey I have not become simply a great single mother….but a great mother…single, doubled or tripled!!

  13. Ms. Malia,
    I am endlessly inspired by you, the way you walk in the world and this powerful blog that I am just reading for the first time….
    I have such deep admiration for you as a woman/mother/sister/daughter/artist/citizen of this beloved earth….thank you for sharing your courage and wisdom…I needed to read this blog in this very moment…love you…….

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