Raising a Teenager…

First things first, Mom and Dad, I love and appreciate everything you ever did for me growing up! You Rocked as parents! I loved hanging out with you. Our house always felt safe. Having kids of my own entering their teens I understand how important it is for them to feel like they have a place where they can be themselves. I love being the house where kids gather and hang out.

Teenagers are naturally programmed to push the boundaries to get their own independence. One day parents are hilarious and the next day our behavior is embarrassing and frowned upon. That’s a hard transition to make as a parent. Words out of the mouths of babes are cute, out of the mouths of teenagers can sometimes sting.

Surging hormones, cry-laugh-bitch all within 3 minutes of each other sums up the unpredictable life of a teen. Remember how up and down your emotions were during puberty? My only hope is that I don’t go through peri-menopause at the same time my daughter goes through puberty or she’ll be going to the moon with Alice!

I was a great kid growing up, until my Mom wouldn’t let my older boyfriend (wild bill) who had a beard, study in my room with the door closed. Okay I find humour in that now, was it really that obvious! What-EVER! She turned into the opposition that day but fortunately it only lasted a short time, at least that’s my recollection. My Mom just let me ride the hormone wave until I was done while she maintained her loving support with my Dad at her side incase she needed the big guns for back-up. (she did, it worked) Thanks Mom! I learned a thing or two about respect in a very short time. (ya never call your Mom the B-word…doesn’t turn out in your favour…ever!)

When you’re a teen you can’t imagine your parents doing anything remotely close to sex so you assume you can pull the wool over their eyes! If your reading this Jordan, if your boyfriend has a beard, he won’t even be entering the front door let alone your pig sty you call a room! Fortunately for me my Mom was smart, understanding and stood her ground keeping me headed in the right direction. I can now appreciate how hard it was for her to deal with a girl-tween.

I have a 13 year old son who is way too charming and handsome for his own good and a 10 going on 16 year old girl who is starting to strike fear into us with how beautiful she is inside and out. Thank god she has a hilarious sense of humour! Her brother is going to have his work cut out for him in high school. The fun has just begun! I’m definitely up for the challenge and also have a great support system in place. Hugely important!

I liked my parents so I spent lots of time with them. They were cool parents that were always there for me no matter what. My Mom was generous, loving and very open and my Dad was encouraging and hilarious so were laughing all the time. We still do. I was never able to lie to my Mom, maybe because I didn’t need to. She was completely tuned into what I was up, and still is. She can tell by the sound of my voice what’s going on in my life. Honestly I always feel better after hearing her advice. I don’t always take it but I still like to hear it.

I recently had ‘the’ talk with my son on the way to a party about being aware and safe. I had the same talk my Dad had with me. He simply told me I was his only daughter who he loved and trusted and couldn’t imagine life without me. He always wanted me to be safe. I told my son how important it is to always have a clear mind. It’s when your mind is clouded that things can go terribly wrong. Teaching your kids to make conscious smart choices is so important, to be a leader not a follower. Its tough raising kids when they’re little but nothing prepares you for when they start to spread their wings to fly on their own, bitter sweet for sure. Telling your kids that you trust them right before they go out is like buying insurance, no kid really wants to disappoint their parents. Say it even if you don’t! 🙂 All kids make mistakes, the key is to be there for them when they do and support them, don’t say I told you so!

Kids need their parents when they are little to survive, but I think when they start to naturally push us away is when they need us more, even if it’s sitting together in silence. Just knowing your there if they reach out is sometimes all they need.

 

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History of a Tattoo…African ~

TracyAfrican Tattoos or Scarification~

The history of tattooing in Africa dates back thousands of years. Until Otzi the Iceman was discovered, the oldest known tattoos belonged to the mummy of Amunet, a priestess of the goddess Hathor somewhere between 2160 BC -1994 BC. The designs found on her mummy, were believed to be symbols of fertility and rejuvenation.

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African scarification

Many men in West Africa undergo scaring or cicatrisation as a form of tribal initiation and bravery. This painful process begins for most young males at puberty and continues into adulthood. Scarification is done by lifting the skin a little, making a cut with a sharp tool such as a razor blade, thorn or anything with a sharp edge, and sand or ash is then rubbed into the cut to make the raised scar patterns anywhere on the body. The patterns followed are often local traditions which feel like braille lettering. Each tribe has unique designs, the man in the photo has patterns that identify his village and clan. He also has black magic symbols to help ward off evil spirits. These different designs often indicate social rank, traits of character, political status and religious authority.

scarification nuba womanFor African women, scarification is most often associated with fertility.  Scars added at puberty, after the birth of the first child, or following the end of breastfeeding, highlight the bravery of women in enduring the pain of childbirth. As if that wasn’t enough! Scars on other areas of the body such as the hips and buttocks, accentuate the erotic and sensual aspects of the female body.

Children are also included in this tradition of scarification when they reach different stages of their lives such as weaning from their mothers breast. Here in North America most tattoo artists will not tattoo anyone under the age of 18 without a parents present, however there are those who do.

In the past I have always added a video to my tattoo posts to really show the style of tattooing, this one will be no exception. However some of you might find this video graphic because of the nature of the topic. I specifically chose this one because it was filmed by National Geographic, which I grew up watching. Keep in mind as you are viewing this video that this tradition or ritual makes these individuals feel accepted by their community. Although I don’t agree with it when it involves a small child it could be compared to circumcision in North America. Technically there is no reason for either tradition or ritual. I look at these differences as educational. We are all connected as human beings regardless of our culture. I accept everyone for who they are and what they believe.  It makes the world in which we live diverse in every way. This video is not for everyone. There is some blood and a quick clip of a child who is undergoing scarification.

Here are some African Symbols with their meanings ~

adinkra symbols

Warning ~This video has some graphic content!!

I think my next tattoo will be the African Adinkra Symbol ‘Sankofa’ “return and get it” the symbol of importance of learning from the past.

Tracy signiture

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