We all have family members who choose the wrong direction and consequently land in the hands of society. My family isn't any different. My older brother has spent the bulk of his life in prison. So many times, I see people post things about freeing their family members or friends, but you'll never see me do that for my brother. In my whole heart, he's where he should be, and I'm safer with him being there.
My brother has been in and out of the system since he was a teenager. This is his second time in prison, and he was sentenced 55 years in prison for harm to a child. The last time we saw him was 13-14 years ago. My mom and younger brother reached out and tried to visit him, but always came to bumps in the road, just like this last time. They drove all the way to Huntsville, TX, only for my older brother to get into a gang fight right when my mom was checking in to visit him.
I know you're reading this like, What kind of family doesn't see their family member for over a decade? Honestly, I'm not keen on seeing him because the scared little girl that I used to be still surfaces when I think of him. All I can think is:
It could have been my son.
Whenever I think of my older brother, I see this evil person who still scares me even in his absence. When I thought he was going to be getting out soon, I was extremely scared. I only felt comfortable with sharing my feelings with my oldest sister, who used to be our protector from him. When things went left between her mom and our dad, she stopped coming over and it was a wrap for us. By that, I mean me, because I was the one he seemed to torture and hate the most.
Growing up with him was pure hell and I hated when my parents would leave to go to work because this was his opportunity to be the evil villain he embraced. I'm starting to cry just thinking about it. This wasn't your typical "big brother" bullying.
When no one was around, he enjoyed beating us or finding other mental manipulative strategies to make us fear him, and it worked. I can remember sitting at a table crying because he would purposely fix me everything he knew I didn't eat and threatened that if I didn't eat it, I would get beat. I remember crying trying to force myself to eat and jumping at any slight noise because I knew he was coming around the corner with his evil laugh.
I'd get beat from him, and then my mom would come home and whoop us all because he'd come up with some lie. My mom didn't want to believe that her oldest son was a lying sack of shit, so she did what most parents did back then—whooped us all.
One experience that I've never shared with anyone except my oldest sister just the other day, was the time he climbed on top of me and pinned my arms down in my bed. He didn't do anything sexual to me, but I knew it wasn't right that he was straddled on top of me holding my arms down, threatening he'd do something further to me if I made a sound because everyone was in the front living room. He stayed on top of me for about a minute or so, and I just laid there. Without my oldest sister coming over on the weekends, I felt helpless.
I endured every beating and evil act until my sister gave me inner courage to stand up for myself like she did.
I'll never forget the morning I took back my power. My best friend's mom used to pick me up for school, but this time they were running a little late. Well, that wasn't flying with my brother. He wanted me gone. He was adamant about making me catch the bus, which I hated doing because I'd get interrogated by the bus driver since I didn't ride frequently.
After I told him I wasn't riding the bus and went to the restroom to finish getting ready. While fixing my hair, I heard the restroom door fly open in anger. The way my brother looked at me still stings me in my stomach. He rushed in and grabbed me by my head, then started slinging me all around, but this time I made it my business to fight back. We were in there tussling.
I was losing the fight, but I was winning the war of not letting him hit me without defending myself. The last thing I remembered was him having me pinned down on the bathroom floor and me swinging wildly trying to get up until the car honked from outside. He got off of me, laughing with that evil laugh he'd do whenever he'd torture me.
I left my house that day house feeling empowered and stronger. No longer was I that weak little girl. Did the torture stop? No. But I fought back every time. It wasn't until he actually got locked up and sent away the first time that I could actually breathe and live freely in the house.
It finally felt like home without him there.
Unfortunately, that fear still reigns heavily inside of me. I'm terrified for him to get out. On top of him being evil growing up, he took it upon himself to begin worshipping the devil and getting demons tattooed on him while in prison. Who knows what he is capable of doing?
I know I shouldn't be scared of someone, but I can't help it. This is something that I am still working on trying to heal from, and it's not an easy thing when you have lied to yourself for years that you actually loved your brother. There was no way I could love someone who treated me so horribly. Funny, but my relationship with my brother is how all my relationships were.
I feel like I never had a chance of having healthy relationships with men because deep inside I expected to be treated like shit because I was used to it and continued to allow it because it seemed "normal."
It's true that your childhood reflects heavily in your adulthood.
Despite my true feelings for my brother, I don't want anything bad to happen to him. I pray for God to heal him internally because I hate seeing my mom beat herself inside about what she did wrong. I'm a mother, so I understand her pain.
I still don't want to see him and prefer him in there versus out here.
I will continue to pray that I can fully heal from all the damage he has caused me. At times, I feel robbed of experiencing the "big brother" relationship that I've heard so much about. He did evil and damaging things to me as a child that still haunt me as a woman.
I'm still healing from it all and asking the Lord to remove the hate that I had buried inside. I'm working on pushing through my trauma, and eventually my torturer will no longer have this hold over me.
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Besides being a devoted mother of two boys, PacePoetry is a known performance poet, author, Reading and Writing professor, open mic host, and brand influencer from Houston, TX, who prides herself in being open and completely transparent with her audience through her writing, performances, and speaking because she believes that someone needs to hear her story to help them learn and walk in their purpose as well. Follow her on social @pacepoetry.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
We all have a dream life that we spend our free time daydreaming about. You know, the one with a loving partner, high-rise apartment, thriving career, and endless abundance. But as much as we can dream about it, there has to be a little extra sprinkle of “magic” to make it become a reality, and that’s when manifestation comes in.
The uptick in manifestation techniques is nothing new to the internet. Since The Secret and the Law of Attraction became available on YouTube in the early 2010s and fast forward to today, where #manifestationtok and #spiritualtok surging in popularity, it’s clear that there are a number of different ways to get what you want out of life with the right action, affirmation, and visualization.
Still, with so many ways to manifest, from scripting to the 3-6-9 Method, it can be hard to know which one to lean into. But there’s one new technique that’s promising to yield “instant results,” and we’re curious about it.
The "I Am Sure" Manifestation
Replying to @A I M E E 🖤 lG: hothighpriestess 🤍 this is the “I am sure” method #iamsuremethod
The “I Am Sure” manifestation gained traction this summer by TikTok creator Sara Perl of @hothighpriestess, who initially introduced the method.
In her original video breaking down the concept, she detailed the steps to use the technique for those looking to “manifest overnight.” To do so, start by stating “I am sure,” followed by “your desired manifestation in the present tense.” If there’s a job, promotion, or text from a crush that you want, then you’d say, “I am sure that I got X job,” or “I am sure that I make a $100K salary.” Repeat this out loud 10 times, or for faster results, write them down on a piece of paper and say it back to yourself whenever the desire comes up.
Using your words and speaking in the present tense, affirmatively, “puts you in the frequency that has that desire,” as Perl states. “We know our thoughts create our reality, but our words create our reality even faster.”
No matter how you choose to manifest your dream life, there’s nothing like channeling a powerful affirmation and some faith to get what you desire. In every instance, though, allow yourself to dismiss any doubt that may try to cloud your hopes in good things coming into your life, and don’t hold too tightly onto the “how” or “when.” Trust the process and know that the “thing” that you desire is just waiting for the perfect time to enter your life.
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