RIP to the Phenomenal Purple One

Today the world learned that the one and only purple passionate one has died. I’m talking about Prince Rogers Nelson. The man who changed not only the music industry but the world with his music. I, like many of you, am a Prince fan.

His music was by far one of the reasons for my sanity today. His music helped me get through many tough times. Not sure how? Check out the lyrics to “Let’s Go Crazy”. He told you that there was a God. That everything will be alright in the after world. That you have to enjoy this life why you’re in it.

 

 

‘Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the after world
In this life
You’re on your own

And if the elevator tries to bring you down
Go crazy, punch a higher floor

We’re all excited
But we don’t know why
Maybe it’s ’cause
We’re all gonna die

And when we do (When we do)
What’s it all for (What’s it all for)
You better live now
Before the grim reaper come knocking on your door

Now, if that right there don’t let you know that God is real! Whew! I’m thankful that this man loved him some God and believed that this life and pain we go through is only temporary.

But, not just his love for God, but his love for woman made me hope and pray that someday I would find a man like him. A man that would just love me. A man who was not above telling me like Prince said in “Adore”...

Baby, yes
Until the end of time
I’ll be there for you
You own my heart and mind
I truly adore you
If God one day struck me blind
Your beauty I’d still see
Love is to weak to define
Just what you mean to me

I am thankful that the purple one that gave me so much peace and passion through his music is in a better place. Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) you are forever in our hearts and minds. Know that you are phenomenal and we will always remember.

Prince_at_Coachella

Disclaimer: I don’t own any rights to the above photo. I did a Google search.

I Am My Sister’s Keeper

Help one another, is part of the religion of sisterhood. ~Louisa May Alcott

I am my sister’s keeper. Not just my actual sisters (I have two), but my girlfriend’s too. I care about women and love my girlfriends immensely. They are the most powerful, inspiring, straightforward and loving women I have ever known. They listen, support, encourage and push me to keep my head up in spite of adversities. They are my support network. Better yet, they are my sistergirls!

My sistergirls have picked up my son from daycare or school when I was stuck in traffic and his dad was stuck in a meeting. They have kept my son overnight when I’ve been too tired to play mommy. They have kept my son when I have traveled out of town to their city for a date night. They have kept my son when I was an emotional wreck and had no family in sight. They have drank with me, shopped with me and gave me some of the funniest and best advice ever.

The bond between two women can be an incredible experience. You love the person and they become a beat in your heart. They don’t change your relationship with your significant other, they encourage it and remind you that no matter what…nothing will ever come between you two. They understand that you’re too busy to get together because you’re playing wifey or supermom. They cook meals when you’re sick so you can focus on getting better. They are just awesome!

Sistergirls are a requirement for any woman. You need that support. God has provided me an awesome network of women that do that for me and more. When I go to them with my “issues” they just listen and give me a non-judgmental and practical approach on how to handle things. “Whatever you want to do girl, you know I got your back” is what they say.

How encouraging is that?

Recently, I had a man tell me that he worries about me being everything to everyone. He said, “If you give of yourself tirelessly who will take care of you? What will you have left in the end?” I smiled and said, “Enough”. He looked at me puzzled. I said, “God gives me enough. Enough heart to love and strength to be the support that my sistergirls are too me. Yes it may seem like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders, but the load I carry is not heavy. It is enough. I am enough and I can handle it.”

I need my sistergirls more than they need me. I’m always the one calling them with the latest and greatest thought, idea or piece that I wrote and I want their advice. They give it to me. Without hesitation. When I have a break-down and cry about a situation, they love me and support me and remind me that “God never gives you more than you can bear.” They are the ones that have encouraged my writing and they are the wind beneath my wings.

But lately, my sistergirls have been going through things that I can’t fix. Do you know how that annoys me? They make things better for me and I want to do the same for them. I know I can’t carry their burdens, but I share in their heartbreaks, disappointments and pain. I willingly love and try to inspire them with subliminal tweets, posts, texts and Instagram love. I want to be their rock because they are that to me. So, you know what? I will.

I don’t want a man telling me to not concern myself with their problems because that is not what sisterhood is about. We live, we love, we laugh and we cry. Shared joys and disappointments. If you are my man and you’re going through something, don’t you want my support? Yep! Absolutely! So, understand this…there is no greater love than sisterhood. I am my sister’s keepers.

abstract-woman-face-vector-illustration_zkfm_M_d

No Fat Chicks!

Sometimes the hardest thing we can do is put ourselves out there. You know go “all in” to show someone we are ready and willing to be available to let happiness and love come into our lives. Dating has changed dramatically since I was last single. I’ve expressed how I’ve tried the on-line dating thing and my experiences from some of the men. That being said, I wonder what would have happened if no one tried to contact me after I posted my profile? That was the case of one woman who wrote an article about her experience on XO Jane last month.

The article titled “IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Tried Online Dating And No One Even Messaged Me Back” was depressing to me. I mean her profile and picture looked nice, what was wrong with men? Why didn’t they find her attractive? The author, Patrice Bendig, was crushed that not one person messaged her back. She put herself out there and was emotionally crushed by people who never got to find out how incredible she was.

She said that her self-esteem took a hit and as a curvy girl, my heart ached for her. I think one of the hardest things women (especially curvy women) deal with is finding someone who will admit to liking a thick um and wanting to be seen in public with them. All things curvy women fear. The fear of rejection is real and I think we need to stop acting like loving and dating a curvy girl is the end of the world.

Why would it be? Just because I have a little more cushion doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in exercise or am one step away from being featured on an episode of “Obsessed: I Weigh 650 Pounds and Can’t Get Out of Bed”. Nope. Not me. I am not ashamed of my size and I don’t want a man who is ashamed to be with me. I love the shape of my hips and the curve of my thighs. The stretch marks from carrying a king. All badges of honor that I wear well while working out on the treadmill.

Curvy girls come with a certain level of confidence, but that confidence is fragile when you find yourself dating and trying to meet new people who think you need to just work out and they will help you because they are a certified personal trainer. I’m always cautious about men who approach me and say they like thick women. They find curvy girls sexy. Really? So, everyone else is below par if they are smaller? Why are you saying you are a closet chubby chaser? (May not be rational, but I’m guarded).

Even one of my favorite plus size bloggers, CeCe Olisa blogged about her experiences in an article on Refinery 29 titled “Is Online Dating Different for Plus Size Women”. CeCe said “It can feel like everyone has an amazing dating life but you, and it can feel like you only attract people who have issues or fetishes. But, someone reminded me that those things happen to girls of any size.” But, do skinny women get humiliated like a faux curvy woman did in this Tinder experiment? (In case you don’t know, Tinder is an app that matches people based on appearances).

Probably not. I mean the guys who conducted the social experiment even said that women’s biggest fears about meeting a man on line is that he is a serial killer whereas a man’s biggest fear…meeting a fat chick. Wow! Let’s sound the alarm and have a revolution against ignorance. What happened to men who appreciated beautiful women inside and out? Where did they go? Can the non-jerks who love God, their family, curvy women and are employed please stand up?

In an “Instagram I got to show you how I can twerk like Nikki Minaj and close the partition like Beyoncé age” it makes me wonder how many times curvy girls will keep getting the short end of the stick in dating? Are we resigned to believe that we have to take what we can get because they’re not a lot of options out there? What happened to getting to know me first before trying to guess my pant size?

A lot of stuff huh? Well I’m going to deal with it like my momma said, “Put your big girl panties on and formulate a plan.” My plan is simple. Keep my expectations low, my self-esteem high and have a lot of confidence to carry me through this foolishness. Rejection is a part of the process. Rejection builds character. It is in our painful experiences that we can grow and realize that we were built to last.

¡Viva la revolución mis hermanas

(Long live the revolution my sisters!)

Here’s the social experiment video:

Screaming…I’m Beautiful

I read this incredible post that talked about definitions of beauty. The article entitled “50 Reasons You Are Beautiful” was just what I needed because I was having one of those days were I felt I wasn’t beautiful. You know those days where your hair sucks, you have a breakout and you just can’t seem to get your make-up right? Well, it was driving me nuts!

I hated going to work not feeling or seeming “put together”. So, I sat there fuming and really just getting down on myself. I was having a serious problem with my own self and started feeling ugly. In my meditation moment I reflected on how wonderfully made I am and started to feel a little better, but dang, this fly away piece of hair was annoying the heck out of me.

Enter God. God talks to me in a KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) manner and I love it. He allowed me to read this posting and realize that I am beautiful. Just the way I am. Not based on my looks, but because he created me. I am screaming…I’m Beautiful and let me tell you why.

I Have an Attitude of Gratitude

I am thankful for all the blessings and disappointments that I suffer. I believe in taking the good and bad of life and knowing that I am blessed regardless. No one thing is because I am super smart, super beautiful or super successful. It’s because I have a super attitude of gratitude about who I serve. Gratitude is beautiful.

I Am a Boring Nerd

Yep, I said it. I am a boring nerd. I’ve always tried to shy away from this because I didn’t want folks to know so I would jump up at any chance to go out to a party or to the club instead of just being me. I love to sit at home reading a good book. There are many days that I don’t even turn on my television. I just appreciate the silence and focus on growing and expanding my mind. I love politics and any and all legislation that affects my job, life, or people. But guess what? Being a boring nerd is beautiful.

I Can’t Dance

Nope. I can’t. I can move with a beat, but I’m not as smooth and sophisticated as some other women you may know. I’m not that gracious on a dance floor, but that’s okay. I like to be held. I dance to my own beat and you know what? Not knowing how to dance is beautiful.

My Nose is Weird

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my nose. More hate than love, but you get the picture right? It’s a nose that doesn’t fit in anywhere in my family. It’s awkward and long and kinda round, but it doesn’t seem to go with my face. It just is there. I’m always nosing around trying to find glasses that fit my face or better yet, my nose. But you know what? Weird noses are beautiful.

I Can’t Walk in Heels

I never truly learned to walk and balance in heels so anything beyond 3 inches is asking for trouble. Unless the shoes have thick heels, are platforms, wedges or anything that stabilizes my clumsiness, I can’t do it. I’ve had to make due with cute flats that allow me to maneuver through the day, but I always hated the fact that I wasn’t coordinated enough to master walking in heels. But, you know what? Walking in flats is beautiful.

My Waist Size is in Double Digits

I posted before about how I’m learning to embrace my femininity and accept my double digit figure each day. It’s been a growing experience and I realized that no matter how much I work out, how healthy I eat and how much I want to be small (without surgery of course), I may never get there. Instead of punishing myself for my flabby tummy or the rolls on my side I just smile and blow kisses. I may never get to be a perfect size 8 and you know what? That’s okay. Why? Because the round me is just as beautiful.

There are many more things that make up the whole of me that point to my beauty both inside and out. I’m thankful for all the things I’ve experienced and I love me.  I’m going to print out this list and tape it to my mirror to remind myself of these things every day and know that I’m beautiful, simply because I’m me. And you know what? So are you.

But I Have Black Friends

As a black woman, I have to tell you that each time a black person hears a white person say, “I have black friends” there is a collective sigh that tells us that you’re lying and you’re probably a racist. It’s not an accurate statement, but understand that it makes us think that you probably count your colored friends if you can name how many you have. Black people don’t count our friends, but after reading the article in the Washington Post, entitled “Three Quarters of Whites Don’t Have Any Non-White Friends”, I wondered if it really matter and if I had any non-black friends? Do I count them? Am I just like the folks surveyed in this article?

Who knew that when Chris Rock joked in his HBO stand-up that blacks have many white friends, but whites have only one black friend that I could be moving into that circle. But, I have to ask the question…does it matter? Friendships take time to develop and some people are friends for different reasons and experiences. Being a woman we tend to gravitate and bond with like minded women, but does that make that person a friend or an associate? Your neighborhood, environment and experiences can affect your interactions with other people and your ability to develop and define friendships with people of other races.

When I was growing up on a military base in Texas, I was exposed to all different races. However, most of the family on base knew each other. My best friends were white in color but two different nationalities. Sheila was from Tennessee and Kristin’s family was from Mexico. We were called the Three Musketeers by our parents because you would always find us together. Where I went, they went and vice versa. My closest friends lived in my neighborhood and I had a crush on the white boy who lived next door named Charlie. I knew some other black kids who lived on base and we bonded at school, but the military sort of shaped my view on the world. I realized one thing being on an Air Force base in Abilene, Texas…all they cared about was color: blue and your rank. Not race. It wasn’t until I moved away from that base that I realized that the world didn’t operate with a singular track mind. It focused on all things including the color of my skin.

Moving to Maryland was the beginning of that realization. When I came out of the first day of school looking for my school bus among hundreds of others (bear with me, I was 13) and couldn’t find it I began to cry as the buses started pulling out of the school. The bus left me and the principal was kind enough to take me home. I cried all the way and when my mom asked me how was the first day of school? I replied, “I hated it. There were so many black people and they were mean to me.” She gently replied, “Baby, you know you’re black too, right?” I did, but that didn’t mean that I liked the black people I was around. You know the ones that laughed and pointed at me when I wore my Levi’s and cowboy boots (Hey, I was a Texan).

When we moved to the northern part of the county, I was able to develop friendships with other non-black people. I was in advanced classes and student government so it made finding like minds a little simpler. I took Modern Dance and loved history. I was different, but in high school, I was able to find a place in the High School puzzle. I just fit. I had friends from all different races and so did they.

So, what happened? I grew up and formed relationships with people based on common interests and not color. But, if you weren’t in my circle, how could we develop friendships? I formed friendships with a couple of white girls at work that I truly and genuinely adored. They were smart, funny and very caring. I formed friendships with a couple of Asian women at work. They understood me and we formed a sisterhood of solidarity in trying to break the glass ceiling. I formed friendships with other parents as we bonded over our kids. But, I am not a straightforward person that has a line of friends.

My friend chart looks like this, but does it matter?

Picture2

Does it matter that white people may be in the same situation that I find myself in? Can’t people just find people that they genuinely like and develop relationships with those folks? I don’t think it matters and I am a huge proponent of developing relationships with people that have similar interests. My interests range from the gun range, jazz, hip-hop and hockey. I want to hang out with people that have similar interests as well.

Friendships are fluid. They take time to develop and with social media and getting older, we sometimes lose contact with one another. But, the thing about friends is that you can pick up where you left off without missing a beat, knowing it will be okay. You just go with the flow. We change jobs, addresses, sometimes spouses but the bonds that brought us together as an adult make it easier to stay in touch. Random emails or likes on Instagram or Facebook allow you to know who is in my circle. Some have been there since middle school and others when I moved back to Maryland, but I am thankful and blessed for each relationship and I suggest we spend more time cultivating them instead of trying to make a case of pointing out that skin color separates us.

group-of-female-friends

I’m tired of screaming…I am a woman

Earlier last year, I sat with a woman at dinner who inquired whether or not having children was something she was missing out on. She indicated that she had no viable prospects of a relationship that would produce children and she wondered if she truly were missing out on motherhood. I pondered her question seriously and replied that “Children are a personal choice and not a requirement.” I began to tell her my story and how I didn’t want children until that wasn’t an option for me. I told her that since I had my son, I can’t imagine my life without him because I’m a better human being with him. But, motherhood is a personal choice and doesn’t define you.

Lately though, her comment has been replaying in my mind even with my girlfriends who have never been married or have children. Some want to wait until marriage to have children and others are willing to take matters in their own hands and wombs because the choices are slim pickings. But, I sit here thinking are we rushing to make choices as women because we truly want children or we think that children somehow define us as women? The notion of…I gave birth therefore I am a mom? Well, last week, I read how Jennifer Anniston sat down with Carson Daly to discuss her life for a Today show episode. This quote that she said immediately caught my attention:

“I don’t have this sort of checklist of things that have to be done, and…if they’re not checked, then I’ve failed some part of my feminism or my being a woman or my worth and my value as a woman because I haven’t birthed a child”. “I’ve birthed a lot of things, and I feel like I’ve mothered many things”. “And I don’t feel like it’s fair to put that pressure on people.”

Why does society think that having children defines whether a woman is truly a woman or even a feminist? They’re completely separate issues. I’m both a woman and a feminist and it didn’t take me birthing munch to figure this out. So, what is wrong with the rest of the world? Your value as a woman is not tied to your uterus. No more than a man’s value is tied to what is between his legs. We all have choices and believe it or not, there are a lot of women who chose not to have children and it’s none of our business. I remember the Sex in the City 2 movie where that woman couldn’t believe that Carrie and Big didn’t want to have children. Carrie explained how they loved children, but that they didn’t want to have any and the woman was speechless. She didn’t know what else to say and turned around and stopped talking to Carrie who she had idolized for years.

She couldn’t believe that any woman would not want children. Are we really that simple as a society? I never wanted children, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t want to fight for the causes that were close to my heart and spirit. Motherhood is a personal choice and I think if more people thought about it there would be fewer abandoned or abused children. But, consider this for a moment…Everyday that I wake up and write a post or give my perspective on current issues affecting women aren’t I still birthing something? Creativity? Kindness? Am I now worthy to be valued?

Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

I am a woman. I am a mother. There are many different parts that make up me. I am bigger than the sum, but my value is NOT determined by society’s expectations of me. I will do things on my own terms and in my own way and you will have to accept it or not. But, don’t link my fight for women’s rights as a sign that I am better than other women because I chose to have children. Feminism means I value equality. I will fight. The fight lives within me. Always.

feminism-kate-nash-norwichtabcouk