Friday, July 30, 2010
I have all these great post ideas; Philip Zimbardo’s Time Perspective theory, Monogamy, Honor Killings, and Going for broke. But, I can’t put seem to put any of these thoughts to paper because I’m presently in my Present-Hedonistic Person Time Perspective defined below.
Present-Hedonistic Person: Self indulgent, playful, enjoys all things that bring immediate pleasure and avoids those that involve much effort, work, planning, or unpleasantness. Lives to consume the good life and takes many different kinds of risks in part because he or she does not fully consider the realities of negative consequences and at the same time seeks stimulation and excitement. Is vulnerable to addictions of all sorts, regardless of knowledge of potential negative consequences. These people focus more on process and intrinsic motivation, rarely on products and extrinsically- motivated task performance. They are vulnerable to being caught up in social taps where short- term gains capture attention more than long- term negative consequences of imprudent actions. They do more poorly in academics (or when forced to function in future- oriented environments) than do the future people. However, where process and focus on immediate details is important, presents may do well, notably on some types of creative tasks, or activities with immediate feedback, such as video games. They can also enjoy play, sports, hobbies, high energy activities, intimacy, sexuality, parties, and may be more intense as friends. On the other hand, they are more emotional, volatile, easily upset, likely to violate convention and behave in anti-social ways, be delinquent, criminal, and aggressive.
Isn’t that great? I have to tell you about Zimbardo’s Time Perspective theory which may actually revolutionize that way we approach education, relationships, and define success. But, I can’t right now. I’m in weekend mode and ready to get out of my drab cubicle and enjoy my life. Sorry I’m totally blocked.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
My dad suggested I write about forgiveness when I started this blog a few weeks back. I liked the idea but felt sort of hypocritical writing about a subject which I had no experience. Besides, I had a few unresolved beefs grilling. So, I nixed the idea and wrote about other things. Now I’ve never been one to hold a grudge because I say what’s on my mind, leave the sugar coat out, and move on just as quickly. I’m not the most diplomatic gentle person and have been called a sledge hammer on many occasions. Yet, my loyalty runs deep, I’d do anything for anyone I consider a friend ,and am generous to a fault. So, if I came to friend or family member and express a concern or complain about hurt feelings – I expect empathy, an apology ,and a plan to ensure said offense never happens again. If I don’t get those things in that order .... I usually go defective and the smiley jokey light person becomes a walking ticking Hiroshima bomb. When the bomb goes off, I end up losing one of the few friends I’ve got and am left wracked with guilt, resentment, and a leaky open emotional wound.
On my journey to self improvement something odd and inspiring has been happening. I’ve started looking at my life in a completely different way. Besides my silly questions conducive to getting fit such as “are you hungry? If so, do you want an apple? I’ve started being more aware of my behavior and stopped saying “I have a terrible temper” “ It isn’t my fault because I’m rarely angry” and “if I blew up – it’s because you pushed me! “ I’ve started to say “Is this worth fighting for or about?” I’ve often noticed that small annoyances are often blown out of proportion because they aren’t handled the right way. The blow outs usually erode my familial, friendship, and intimate bonds. Am I always at fault? No, of course not besides, I’m not so evolved that I’d take complete blame for every situation. I’ve been taken advantage of, misunderstood, and a glutton for punishment at times. The point is I always have control of the way I feel post misunderstanding or feeling “said person may not have my best interest at heart”. I always have the choice to walk away or work it out. Things never have to get to the Hiroshima bomb stage because it’s a drain on my energy and bad for my health. It never feels good to cut someone out of your life. The wound of a damaged relationship is covered with a band aid but never heals.
My understanding of forgiveness deepened this week. My phone has been ghost calling my contact list which is odd considering I have a new phone, no transferred contacts, and few sim card saved contacts. The people I’ve been purse dialing are folks I lost contact with or had fall outs with years past. My ghost contacts have allowed me to make amends and apologize to anyone left on the grill. Well, some people I made up with within the last year and today the last beef was squashed due to a ghost call. I’ll spare you the details. But, I’ve never felt so light and never realized I was so heavy. Some of the shit I fought about was so stupid and ridiculous. I’m not perfect and never will be. I’m always going to make mistakes and only hope to become wiser in the process. The point is as much as I want to be accepted for me flaws and all, I have to start excepting other for who they are as well. It doesn’t mean that I need to force friendships with people whose hurt me and minimize or justify bad behavior. It just means that I need to value myself enough to live in peace; free of negativity, grudges, and bitterness. Forgiveness is about choice, a choice to live well and not allow my emotions to be held hostage by someone else’s behavior. I’m too powerful to be anyone’s victim.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Yesterday, I had tons of ideas , many different blog worthy topics. However, this little quote from the Dalai Lama aka “ HisHoliness” in twitter land really set my fingers to the keyboard
“When a positive goal has been set, you should pursue it all the way to the end. Even if it’s not realized, at least their will be no regrets. “
I really needed to hear this message and God……. is always on time. The hearts desire is always withheld or granted at the right moment, everything happens for a reason – right? I suppose that euphemism holds weight. I’ve been feeling somewhat defeated recently because changing my lifestyle hasn’t been easy. When I’m on point it’s enjoyable, empowering, and liberating. If faced with real life situations; computer needs to be fixed – no money in the budget, routine is thrown off making working out and eating specific things at certain times difficult, living my unpredicatable life, etc. feels disappointing. I don’t like how these curveballs affect my goals. My lack of control and incorrect handling of these situations have me feeling more negative than positive at times. The easiest way to make that sucky feeling go away is to quit. But, I’m not quitting anymore, in the eternal words of Theodore Roosevelt
"Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty... I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well."
I feel this statements innately correct. In the meanwhile, I refuse to feel disappointed or pat myself on the back until it’s bruised. I need to change my mindset and persevere. Every week isn’t going to be an ideal week and my assessments may not always reflect my desired results. Honestly, I’d rather be in route than sitting at a standstill, wondering what if? What if I really tried? What if I pushed through the tough times and sucky feelings? What if I really worked at it my goal every day or several hours a week? Deep inside the answer resides, I’d come thru it stronger, prouder, with better logic abilities, and honed skills.
Most importantly, I’d be living in the present moment. It would force me to savor every challenge overcome and every victory in the moment versus in reflection, allow the lesson to take root immediately, and finally live a life without regret.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Yesterday, I received an unexpected but always welcomed phone call from Ty (male friend).I know this sounds weird but we keep in touch via facebook, sporadic phone calls, and text messages. We don’t talk often but easily catch up when we do. In any event, we generally jump back into each others lives by discussing; work, health, and of course relationships. He asked – how my love life was going? I resisted the urge to bust out laughing and proceeded to say “What love life?” He was a bit confused because a few moths ago, I was on my way down that bumpy love trail. I simply summed up that relationship by saying “I got played “We both laughed hysterically. I admonished him for laughing at my misfortune while laughing alongside him a bit longer. I wasn’t angry in fact it felt good to laugh about such a painful event. The betrayal had just begun to sink in these last few weeks; during my commute, while running, walking alone, thinking, etc, my memories would trigger emotions. Emotions that quite frankly, I don’t think I’m ready to deal with therefore, won’t share at this time. The laughter we shared was due to the way I summed up the situation and my “Pre played” relationship plan.
Now let me tell you about my “Pre played “relationship plan which Ty was pretty familiar with. My plan was to take it back to the old school, take things slow, allow myself to be courted while getting to really know any potential’s. I was going to somewhat disregard the sexually liberating high women are currently on and cross my legs for a good minute or until I found that freak em worthy man. In order to avoid making the same mistakes twice, and finding myself not wanting to let go of bad fits due to emotional investments. I blamed it on the release of Oxytocin (love hormone) which intensifies bonding during sex – another blog topic. So, when I met the unexpected player I thought I was prepared – cookie jar lock - secured. My reasoning was men wanting to play silly games wouldn’t have the patience to go through the “getting to know me process” - great way to filter. Ty did tell me two years prior that my plan wouldn’t make a difference. But, I disagreed and proceeded with my plan based on personal experience. End result – rib cracking irony laced laughter.
Ty finally explained the reason for nixing the “locking the cookie jar” plan and why he thought it wouldn’t matter “it’s being handed out freely around the corner”. My plan to improve my relationships would put me in the minority category which may not work in a society filled with short attention spans and accustomed to instant gratification. I pondered……. he added “I truly believe that the sexual liberation of women is one of the factors attributing to the decline in marriage”. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy sex and the ability to enter sexual relationships without being labeled by society, independence, equality. But, I wondered – could he be right? In my situation, I invested 8 – 9 months of my life; sharing personal information, constantly texting / talking, weekly dinners, mini trips, group get togethers, etc. before getting down and dirty and it didn’t matter. My trust was unknowingly beaten and abused for nearly a year. In fact, relaying that experience to Ty who isn’t easily shocked had him speechless in a” Where dey do dat at?” kind of way. My situation was horrific and has left me uninterested in any pair bonding – for now. So, whose right? What’s the correct way to go about entering and sustaining a healthy relationship? I don’t know but welcome any advice.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
To Cook Well Is to Honor Life
by Othaniel S Cruickshank
To eat and savor a well prepared meal is to honor your life, by living it to the fullest. Good food represents nourishment and many other things as well. It symbolizes sensuality, spirituality, love, open – mindedness, comfort, acceptance, adventure, passion, and even political positions. Deliciously prepared food is as customary as the sun rising and setting.
My fondest memories involve deliciously prepared food. I remember as a child going to Auntie Esther’s house for family events and my mouth watering as I entered her home. The smell of cloves, thyme, lemon marinades, black pepper, and garlic permeated the air, floating outdoors, and beckoning myself, neighbors and strangers to hurry inside. The crackling of fried beef, fish, chicken promising a satisfying meal, laughs, salacious gossip and a good time for all. The kitchen being the center of the home where younger members paid their dues by prepping and washing endless pots and pans while learning. Tastings from the simmering pots being extensions of love doled out ceremoniously also temptations to be snuck and gobbled up secretly. Even the drinks were explosions of flavor, extensions of our meal. A hint of vanilla was added to the Rum Punch, and everyone was excited about Cremmase; the thick, sweet, texture of milk and rum delicious coated our tongues and burned our throats. In my family, prepared meals represents ones worth ethic therefore something to be passionate about.
My families’ inherent passion for prepared meals was a part of our character and lifestyle. My father is a former carnivore, turned vegan environmentalist interested in eating clean before it became fashionable. My dad decided to become vegan while my mom was pregnant with me. As with many parents wanting the best for their kids, he obsessed about my brothers and I ate. My immediate families’ diet was legendary among extended family and friends. My father voted at the cash register and boycotted the abundance of artificially processed food and unpronounceable preservatives; baked our whole wheat bread from scratch, made dough for our pizza, switched us to soy milk, whipped up delicious salad, created salad dressings with herb infused olive oil, juiced all of our juices, and introduced my brothers and I to the taste of fresh delicious food. He taught us how to honor our bodies.
My association with food reflecting love and comfort matured into something different as an adult. Since I’d been introduced to two completely different and wonderful ways of eating, my curiosity took over. I discovered my love for different foods by adventurously trying West African, Indian, Philippine, Thai, Turkish, Mexican, Italian, etc and other foods culturally foreign to me. One of my favorite things to do with my ex – finances family was to lovingly share a meal. The resident family chef would cook a delicious meal and tantalizingly arrange it on 2 or 3 large platters which up to 8 people could feast upon. The closeness and intimacy made me feel accepted and welcomed into his family. When he and I cooked and eventually shared a meal, it transcended intimacy and became sensual, deepening our love. Food that is prepared well and enjoyed symbolizes a full life
To my loyal readers :D , I apologize for not updating this blog. My life is a little crazier than normal at this exact moment, busy at work, attempting to write 2 essays, 1 magazine article , running 3 days a week, attempting the 100 push up challenge (canceled gym membership - no weight machine access), balancing the budget while having fun, and have been cooking alot more in my effort to become healthier all around. I'm starting to Beez about it (lol) versus talking about it and am realizing there really isn't enough hours in the day and thats OK. I will try to post two entries one day this week and get a bit more personal - ooooooohhhh.
Until then - Au Revoir
Friday, July 16, 2010
Unless, you’ve been living under a rock, you are aware of the Chad Ochocinco rumblings. A production member and a former contestant have sent emails to various bloggers and media outlets” accusing him of not wanting any black women on his show”. They went on to referencing his pre casting elimination process and comments. I can’t speak to the validity of any of these claims because I wasn’t there. Nonetheless, many of the almost non existent black women were eliminated from his reality show “Ultimate catch”. The eliminations resulted in a backlash from predominately black media outlets accusing Ochocinco of suffering from internalized racism; for having such a low percentage of black women on the show and rejecting the ones available to him.
Internalized Racism is a whole other blog topic which I will post about soon. However, I will touch on it briefly for those who unfamiliar with the term; Internalized racism occurs when people who are targeted by racism, are against their will, coerced and pressured to agree with distortions of racism. In societies where racist attitudes are pervasive and damaging, the victims are forced to turn these thoughts, stereotypes, attitudes, and beliefs upon themselves – agreeing with some of the conditioning, internalizing negative racist messages, resulting in mistreating oneself and members of one’s group, in the same ways they’ve been mistreated. A few examples;
• Victims of Internalized Racism see themselves or members of their as stupid, lazy, unimportant, or inferior
• Victims of Internalized Racism criticize or verbally attack each other, using the racist messages of our societies, or allow others in their group to do so.
• Victims of Internalized Racism often feel hopeless, despairing, and angry, which can makes them vulnerable to the lure of alcohol and other drugs for "relief" from those feelings; even though they know that this does additional harm to ourselves and our families.
• Victims of Internalized Racism often feel disconnected from other members of their group, or divide or categorize each other by behaviors or lifestyles, believing that some of us are "better" or "more legitimate" than others and that what some others do is "not part of" our cultures..
• Victims of Internalized Racism place higher value on members of their group who appear more white, and denigrate those who have darker skin, kinkier hair, or other "less white" features. We also do the reverse--we target those with lighter skins as not being "black enough," not legitimate persons of color.
No black person in western world has been spared from this defense mechanism. We are all still dealing with the effects of slavery, racism, and the effects of the institutionally racist world we inhabit. I barely scratched the surface and would like to address major breakthroughs in counseling, defined Internalized Oppression, expand on how it affects our community, leadership, individual relationships, children, causes us to internalized stereotypes , narrow black culture, mistrust our thinking and our people, etc. I’d also like to add my two cents (personal experience) but can’t in this post because I’d be here all day. The point is the anger directed at Ochocino isn’t superficial. As black women we expect to be revered, honored, desired, loved, and protected by black men – automatically. If anyone can appreciate our beauty regardless of how the media (based on us being ignored, overlooked, or sprinkled into mainstream advertisement, movies, shows, etc) see us – they can. The elimination of the few black contestants felt like a betrayal of the conspiratorial “Were in this together pact”. Going back to the show, I believe that’s why it caused an uproar.
Ms. Ethnicity offered a different perspective via twitter yesterday based on her personal relationship with Ochocino (5 years) and her experience in the “Ultimate catch’s” casting process. Ms.Ethnicity owns a talent agency name “Ethnicity Talent” her company was offered the opportunity to cast for Ochocino’s show “Ultimate catch”. She stated that the decision to take the job was a struggle and doesn’t personally believe in numerous women competing on a show for a man’s love – men should do the chasing. However, knowing Ochocino on a personal level helped quell her doubts. She knows him as an honorable man who would never mistreat the women or embarrass them in anyway, and felt it would be a fun experience, felt confident casting not only because she’d been in the industry for 10 years but was well aware of Ochocino’s type; predominantly African American with a sprinkling of other ethnicities but all curvy in the right places. She sent a list of suitable girls who Ochocino would definitely like to the main casting director, who reviewed the list, and was shocked to find out they only wanted to interview 5 of her girls – her immediate thoughts were they didn’t want the show to be “too black”. A term commonly used in the entertainment industry.
Ms Ethnicity goes on to say;
“Meanwhile Chad is taping dancing with the stars this entire time so he's not involved in the casting process at all. As soon as DWTS ends time for Chad to show up to start taping his show, his first time seeing any of the girls was the first day of taping!! He does what the producers tell him to do; they producers already know which girls are good for TV because they were holding extensive interviews the whole time Chad was doing DWTS. So on that clip board they handed him the names and numbers of the girls the producers casted for the show was already listed.”
“The show is not real! its casted, Chad is paid talent to play a role on a show. Trust me I've never seen him date any girls that look like the girls that were casted for that show except for maybe Rubi for 1-he likes to pursue not be pursued 2-the type of chicks he REALLY likes in REAL life weren’t even casted.”
On twitter, Ms. Ethnicity went on to say Ochocino couldn’t comment on the rumors since he’s under contract but felt compelled to do so on his behalf. She went on to ask her followers on twitter who they would pretend to be for money, and went on to say the “Nas, Ochie Wally” video was the video that made her a contender in the casting world. Yet, it was far from the image desired for her brand – a learning experience. Many people on twitter as well as I believes this “pretending” is a compromise of values. I honestly feel like him pretending to like everything other than black women is worse them him not liking black women. We as African American’s are still living with the psychological effects of slavery, racism and Institutionalized Racism. As unfair as it is, African American’s in the public eye (role models) don’t have the luxury of doing things for money, without regarding its effect on the community. Especially something as damaging as the “Ultimate Catch”, not only because it perpetuates negative stereotypes; black men with money only date white women. It reinforces internalized racism. The hurt felt over the first few episodes of the show isn’t superficial; it runs much deeper than the eye can see.
*Internalized Racism - www.rc.org/publications/journals/black_reemergence/br2/br2_5_sl.html
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The ability to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint, trying again and again, commitment, hard work, caring, and patience. I’ve always been an ambitious, hardworking, dreamer but am now realizing though I get up when I fall – I haven’t always persevered. I’ve been confusing self discipline which I can maintain in sporadic spurts with perseverance. Self – Discipline is different; it’s an orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior. If the pattern is disrupted, it’s often replaced by discouragement. Discipline itself is a great thing but has a negative connotation, a few words that pops into my head are forced, rigid, and painful.
I’m attributing everything to Saturn Returns, the lessons I’m learning, and serendipitous occurrences that are enforcing these lessons. My heart is now open to truly being better, I’ve stopped focusing on the results, and my life has become even more enjoyable. I’m committed to eating better, working out, saving money, honing my skills, letting go of my fears, stop people pleasing ,and being the best possible me. God, The Universe, Ultimate Source or whatever you address this higher being as is conspiring to help me by keeping me motivated. I’m now having random informative conversations about nutrition with people who I’ve never discussed breakfast option with, located a how to pitch to magazines article online, found 2 calls for essay submissions, read an article in Psychology Today encouraging folks to get back on the wagon when they fall off while detailing long term benefits of not giving up, felt inspired by one of my favorite bloggers post on turning 31 years old ( detailing the work need to accomplish her goals / believing in herself (belleinbrooklyn)), etc.
I even found this kooky book titled “Live what you love” written by Melinda and Bob Blanchard in the 50% off clearance section at B&N ( unsure of why it was even there). Anyways,I go there almost every day during lunch and read a chapter of my current book of interest, in an effort to save money, of course :). I flipped the pages and ended on up page 15 and read the most, hilarious, inspiring, nutty personal essay about the couple entering a wedding cake contest for a Today Show wedding. The Blanchard’s aren’t pastry chefs, don’t own a bakery, and never even made a wedding cake prior to them entering the contest. They own a restaurant in Anguilla and had been on the show a couple times as a result. The on air wedding which was to be award to one lucky couple was being held in Anguilla, and one the producers thought of them for the contest (Anguilla association).
Any “normal” person would have said “Thanks for thinking of me but no thanks.” – Not the Blanchard’s. They accepted the job naively thinking they could pull off a “cake” and started researching designs and techniques. It wasn’t long before they realized they were in over their heads and didn’t know the difference between fondant or buttercream – wedding cakes after all are an art form. They didn’t want to back out and lose their Today show contact. So, they got to work versus being scared of their more experienced cake decorator/ pastry chef competitors and focused on their strengths. They knew island of Anguilla like the back of their hand and set out to create a cake that reflected that knowledge. They spent months perfecting their cake, baked endless cakes to find one that layered properly with buttercream, took walks to find the perfect boat that represented the island, made 100’s of umbrellas that were either too weak (thin) or amateurish looking (thick), consulted for hours with a friend who had experience baking / decorating cakes. They also faced disaster when their perfected product was put into the refrigerator the night before the show and turned an awful shade of purple and black (buttercream and the cold tempeture = bad idea).The couple didn’t despair but rolled up their sleeves and baked another cake, getting it in under the wire.
They didn’t win that competition but ended up with a great cake and the ability to recreate one.
Perseverance is a word that I need to add to my personal lexicon. I’m glad that I’ve learned this lesson.
Monday, July 12, 2010
I read an article in Runner’s World (7/2010) magazine written by Kristin Armstrong titled “Get out there “(running – and life – should be a celebration, not a chore). The author goes on to explain her daily routine: wake –up, guzzle cup o Joe, pack lunches, herd kids to school, walk the dog, write and be creative on demand, drink more coffee, squeeze in some yoga, prepare a nutritious dinner, drive kids to activities, return to nest, cook, help with homework, eat, wash dishes, read stories, give tickles, say prayers, collapse (them, me). Repeat. She goes on to explain as a runner when entering races things gets tricky , sprinkling in long runs ,and speed work complicates her life. The weight of her responsibilities feels like an x-ray apron that rests heavy on ones chest in a dentist chair. In order to cope with feelings of stress, an attitude adjustment was in order. She has decided to express gratitude over the things she was able to do this small change has changed her life for the better. I can believe that because reading her article created this feeling of lightness within me.
I don’t have as many responsibilities as Kristin. I’m a single woman, no kids, and I come and go as I please, all I have is time, to address my needs, wants, and emotional concerns. However, I can admit that I’m very ungrateful at times. I complain constantly about my weight, job, hair, someone not moving fast enough, people annoying me, where I’m at in life, etc. Some of my complaints are valid ex: my anger @ BP for the massive oil spill that’s destroying the ecosystem, world hunger, neglected children, our bullshit educational system, etc, but most of them are silly. Kristin’s epiphany feels innately right – “I get “should start many of my sentences.
I get to run, who cares that I currently gasp for air, there are people living without the use of their legs.
I get to work at a company which pays me well and appreciates my efforts at, who cares that all my brain cells aren’t utilized / not a career. It’s a great place to work while finishing up my degree.
I get to breath air, feel different textures, hear beautiful music, see majestic sights, who cares that I’d not at my ideal weight, I appreciate the skin that I’m in, and have the ability to work toward a fitter body.
So on and so forth…..
I love it when I come across article like “Get out there” it really puts things in perspective and allows me to truly see the bigger picture. In an attempt to be more grateful, I’m thankful that I read this at a time my heart was open to change and the message could truly sink in and change my perspective a bit.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Waiting for "Superman"
I'd like everyone to pledge to see Waiting for " Superman". A documentary which address our nation's educational promise " No child left behind".
* 32 million adults in the US have trouble reading a children's picture book
* US ranks 25th in math and 21st in science among 30 developed countries.
* By year 2020, there will be 123 million high paying job, high skilled jobs in the US, but only 50 million Americana's will be qualified to fill these positions.
* Approximately 50% of teachers leave the profession after 6 years.
* 51% of students drop out of High School.
Waiting for "Superman" address the bullet points above and other issues, while discussing solutions. An educated, healthy, nation is a prosperous one - Please take the Pledge.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I'm on twitter, another social networking website. I'm not only shocked to be apart of the scratch your butt update craze but secretly relish the new updates from my connects. I follow alot of different blogs and heart them all. The cool thing is many of my favorite bloggers are on twitter and shout out their favorite bloggers random post via tweets. So, I'm all kinds of connected and my blog monster is constantly fed. I've noticed a disappointing trend while devouring my informative meals. Many of the female bloggers have knighted their asshole boyfriends who they can't shake " Mr. Big".
Mr. Big is the asshole boyfriend archetype. The guy whose expanded your limited horizons at any period of time, with who ones experienced unrequited love (comfortable ego boosting beneficial lust on Big's part),enjoyed good or amazing sex with, shared special moments, good conversations, innately bad for his "Carrie" ( snake charming abilities), heart breaker, etc. The traits just mentioned along with many others makes big a toxic and energy draining partner. Carrie for example was swept away by Big's looks , debonair style, swagger, other superficial things but could never feel comfortable in their relationship. She couldn't trust him enough to be her imperfect self, give him her unguarded heart, reciprocate love, appreciate her, and be the woman he couldn't live without. I always hated that Sex in the city romanticized a relationship between Carrie and Big. Carrie cheated on a man who wanted to share his life, name, and world with her(Adian) for a man who took a job in another country without thinking of her, wouldn't give her a key or allow her to leave a toothbrush at his place, married a random chick shortly after their break us, professed love after her new partner asked her to move out of the country, and finally left her at the altar on their wedding day. He broke my heart and i was just a viewer. I'm sorry ladies that's not love. We don't love that way , therefore deserve a whole lot better.So for all the women calling that man in their life " Mr. Big". Let it go ........
I attended a together apart event which I encourage everyone to experience. It's a discussion about relationships involving both men and women. One woman in the audience said something very profound after one of the panelist admitted to being guarded in her relationships. She said " We as woman need to have faith that we'll find someone that's right for us, we can't say that we have faith and continually find ourselves in bad relationships, returning to them, and addressing fears by settling ". I have to tell you her comment forced me to look inward and admit that my faith hadn't been strong. My lack of faith was the reason my comfortable first love , who hurt me many times in many different ways, was my " Mr.Big ". I've decided to trust my intuition and not even entertain potential partners if I'm not feeling it 110%. I was forced to learn this lesson again recently by the way of a betrayal by a man considered a friend. If it isn't or doesn't feel right, let it go and have no doubts.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Who defines beauty? and even better yet.....Why do we let them? I was inspired to write this post based on an Oprah show titled " Beauty around the world with Jessica Simpson". I know .....Jessica's " The "is tuna chicken?" girl" yet she dared the audience to question the status quo by discussing her feelings on the medias beauty standards. She discussed being criticized about her weight constantly in various tabloid rags and the now infamous January 2010 chili performance debacle. The non performance related incident that caused quite a stir was her decision to wear high waisted , wide legged jeans, now dubbed " Mom Jeans" , and garnered these headlines “Jessica Simpson: This is How She Rolls” (TMZ) and “Jessica Simpson Shocks Fans With Noticeably Fuller Figure” (Fox News). The audience seemed shocked to discover that Simpson was only a size 4 in those pics and has never been bigger than a size 6. What does that say about the rest of us when, the average woman in the US is a size 14 ( whole other blog topic). The point is if a size 4/6 is labeled shockingly unattractive. Does this make the average woman hideous? IDK,I think that's a fair question.
I visited China via Oprah's camera lens and met with the Anna Wintour of Chinese Vogue, Angelica Chenug. Angelica discussed the media's influence on Chinese beauty and the tutelage necessary to encourage woman to spend obscene amounts on clothes and beauty products; explaining hosiery and the need to own them, defining the 60's, 70's, onward, and explaining trends that were resurfacing and are those that are currently dated - pesky communist beliefs kept women out of the loop. She now has the honor of now plastering the right faces with the centimeter of exposed eyelid ( slightly western so prettier - obviously, couture costumes, and expensive must have bags on the magazine. Dictating who Chinese women should want to look like and emulate. After all, years ago there was no difference between the people from the mainland or villages (problem). As a result, China's plastic surgery industry has exploded, young girls in China now deem Barbie prettier than their own Chinese dolls, and their nations has joined many others in this love/hate relationship with ourselves.
The beauty industry is profit driven just like any other business. Do you really think they want us to be satisfied with ourselves for a second - absolutely not. They will continue to inundate us with brainwashing advertisement which stirs up discontent within, breeds sins like jealousy , and encourage us to covet our neighbors; hair, body, designer clothes, luxury car, house, title, ipad, etc. It will take us a bit further from true happiness and we'll do the work of brainwashing our kids to hate themselves, in the process creating the next generation of loyal customers. The beauty industries created this unattainable airbrushed image of beauty so that the work that needs to be done with the various eye creams, clothes, highlights, blow dryers, perms, diets, youth serums, cosmetic procedures, etc never ceases. The industry isn't a billion dollar industry for nothing people.
It will be hard to change. I know all of this and still find myself defaulting to my encouraged way of thinking when assessing myself. I often back track and start again, but I'm aware. I think being aware is most important and will help prevent this poisonous mindset from affecting the next generation. I'm by no means encouraging people to treat their bodies like trash bags by eating crap, not exercising, flossing, chain smoking, or playing Russian Roulette with ones liver. I am saying if you're doing the right thing 90% of the time which is loving oneself. Look in the mirror and say my crows feet or grey hair isn't an issue , it reflects wisdom, and tell your reflection that you love him/her.
Friday, July 2, 2010
I had a crazy busy day today but decided to stop off at the Bronx Museum before heading home. I'm really glad that I did because an exhibit based on the civil rights movement was on display. I gained a better appreciation of the liberties that myself and many others take for granted everyday. We are all human beings and the civil rights movement shouldn't have been necessary, yet it was. I appreciate all those before me who risked their physical safety and lives so that I could be educated , become an entrepreneur, live without a looming threat , and be proud of my race. I could walk around with my head held high and use my voice to say " I'm a human being not a second class citizen" and be heard. They showed us the power within that could in effect change the world.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I've brought you a sea of words. Please look, absorb, reflect, and pay this experience forward.
In the words of Martin Luther King Jr.
" We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with it's conscience."
Each one of us help create the society we live in - What do you want to be remembered for?
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I was inspired to write about the “Young Black Male Crisis” based on art work created by Abdi (Bravo's "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist") titled “I.E.D. "(Improvised Explosive Device). The contestants on this reality based show were asked to create a shocking piece of art. Many of the contestants defaulted to sex; auto fellatio, last supper with debauchery to spare, S&M tranny asphyxiation fantasies,etc. None of which, I found shocking or remotely interesting. Abdi’s work me had me at conception before the mold had even been cast. He described creating several sculptures of young African American male heads designed to represent ticking time bombs. Abdi wanted to create art and start a conversation about a crisis that is being overlooked. The artist explained and I paraphrase “Young black males as being marginalized by society, raised in impoverished environments, under –educated, too many see a life of crime as a viable option. He went on to criticize our government who could care less and compared these young men to ticking time bombs”.
Abdi’s social commentary really struck a cord within me; the topic above has weighed heavily on my mind for the majority of this year. I love to do community service / volunteer work because I’m paying my tithe/tax to God. In addition to getting right with my higher authority, my intangible reward is priceless. A few weeks ago, I was volunteering at a Harlem elementary school for a writing club called “The Young Authors Club”. Our club consisted of 20+ kids between the ages of 8-9 years old, 18 boys and 2 girls, and 5 volunteers. I’d like to add, I was the only African American volunteer, and 97% of the kids were African American – problem # 1. The volunteers were there to help the kids write plays, poems, letters, biographies, etc. I’ll never forget one project in which the team leader suggested that the kids write about their future .We’d all watched a civil rights movie based on Martin Luther King’s lifework. The movie took us through life in the segregated south, showed all of us how far this nation as come, explained sacrifices were made by our grandparents, struggles to overcome; beatings, lynching, marches, marginalizing, etc, so that we could have the opportunities we have today.
The team leader then asked the kids to write about their dreams for the future and how they’d plan to arrive at their destination 5-10 years from now. She asked them to create a plan for their lives. My heart shattered into a million pieces when not one of the kids especially the boys could see themselves being anything other than a basketball / football player. One of the newer students looked me in the eye, at 9 years old and said jokingly “I’m going to be in jail”. I tried not to focus on the negative and asked the kids to come up with a plan B and after literally 30- 45 minutes of coaxing; I got my group to come up with alternatives (doctor, artist, lawyer, and teacher). The volunteers were dismayed; we’d work with the kids for months and knew first hand how smart most of these kids were. They often shocked me with their knowledge of random things, pretty good readers, and came up with excellent stories when the boys weren’t horsing around :)
A lot of people may read what I’ve written above, absorb the information, and process it as an isolated incident. Those folks would be lying to themselves. The fact is, African American’s are more likely to be victimized by crime than are other groups, which creates individual and community problems. Secondly, the rate at which African American males have come under some form of criminal justice supervision not only affects the individual victims and families but communities as well. The point is for every action there is a reaction. Let run down some fact.
• 49% of prison inmates nationally are African American, compared to their 13% share of the overall population
• Nearly one in three (32%) black males in the age group 20-29 is under some form of criminal justice supervision on any given day –either in prison or jail, or on probation or parole.
• As of 1995, one in fourteen (7%) adult black males was incarcerated in prison or jail on any given day, representing a doubling of this rate from 1985. The 1995 figure for white males was 1%.
• A black male born in 1991 has a 29% chance of spending time in prison at some point in his life. The figure for white males is 4%, and for Hispanics, 16%.
*Marc Mauer “The crisis of The Young African American Male and the criminal justice system”
The price the community pays for African American males lost to a racial unjust criminal justice system is very high (whole other blog topic). Incarceration creates an imbalance in the male – female ratio among adult African Americans - 86 males to every 100 females, disrupts the influence of families, schools, religious bodies, and other institutions to transmit values and promote positive role models – How could the community be built up if the base of the family isn’t around? Incarceration and racial bias within our criminal justice system continues the cycle of neighborhoods with high levels of joblessness, social disorganizations, lessens the chance of parents / neighborhood leaders with the ability to assert the kind of influence that would recreate a “ Black Wall Street”, attract changes in government which could bring forth social cohesion, and also affects political influence by eradicating convicted felons right to vote in many states ( estimate 1.4 million African American males, or 13 % of the male black population aren’t able to vote). Casting my vote for Barack Obama and knowing that it helped him win the 08 election is one of the many high lights in my life. My vote determined who’d be in the White House creating polices that affected me.
I didn’t want to convolute my message by bringing other elements into this topic; our need to address the current drug policies, race and class effects, crime rates, etc. My goal is to encourage whoever is reading this blog to open up their eyes and spread the word. The African American community is in the midst of a crisis. We need to get more involved, demand that certain racially biased polices are changed, become the positive roles models our community needs, build up our neighborhoods versus moving away, support African American entrepreneurs, who should in turn support non profit organizations that promote education , keep our kids off the street, and encourages change. We need to stop dividing ourselves based on educational backgrounds, lightness of skin, faux bougieness versus ghetto antics, and work together. I apologize if these feels like a lecture but improving our community is my passion.
*Marc Mauer is one of the leading authorities on racism in the criminal justice system. In speeches, research publications, congressional testimony, organizing, and lobbying Mauer has worked tirelessly to expose racism in all aspects of the system. He is also active in challenging felony disenfranchisement -- the denial of the right to vote for ex-felons -- and other negative social consequences of imprisonment. Mauer will explore the social and political forces that have led to the unprecedented explosion in the prison population over the past 30 years, and will examine the impact of these developments on crime, community, and race relations.