More and more I start thinking of the age-old debate of ‘NATURE vs NURTURE’. Recently there was another school shooting, this time in Florida and it has me wondering. Why are our kids so angry, depressed and prone to violence? Sometimes there is no apparent abuse in the homes of these individuals, there is no truly defined dysfunction….. Some of the most quiet and unassuming individuals are brimming with malcontent and anger. Why? Why are so many teenagers choosing to end their lives rather than deal with bullying and low self-esteem? Why do they cut themselves? I have been on the receiving end of many cries for help, because someone has decided that life is just not worth living. A lot of kids come to me because they feel no one will listen. They feel like even though I am not a doctor, at least I care about them as a person.
Most parents today are so intent upon protecting our kids that we are shielding them from everything. But is that healthy or right? In Nature or the wild other species nurture and care for their young as well,however, even a lioness will allow her cubs to learn to fend for themselves. (Before we go any further this is not in regards to the shooter in the above story but in general.) Human mothers, fathers, grand parents and etc, today are so busy worrying about the boogy man next door, that we may not realize the one being created in the next bedroom. Have you noticed the number of kids that have no idea how to take care of themselves outside of mom or dad has grown? NO? Well I have, and it is very depressing. Young men are becoming so co-dependenton their mothers that they are not even able to hold down themselves without a woman there to guide them or take the reins. Fathers are either absent or fighting a seemingly losing battle for their son’s respect. Young girls that are so lost in the ways of being strong womenbecause their role models have been replaced by reality star icons. The role of Mom is now losing the respect it deserves. Then there is the intense moral dilemma of sex being forced down the throats of everyone within the country by the media….
When we talk to our kids about problems often parents will offer a solution before giving that child a chance to understand the lesson they need to.Think about this for a moment….. How did you learn that fire was hot? Most of us will have touched something as a kid and that sting was enough of a lesson to make us understand that fire was NEVER to be touched again. Life is really no different. LIFE is about learning and processing what we have learned. It is not about giving the answersand protecting. That is actually less about nurturingand more coddling. Going back to bullying because of the recent events, the more kids I talk to , the more I realize that they are so mentally destroyed by words that they can’t help but be devastated by adversity. They have not learned the lesson that not everyone is bad and not everyone is good. Humans can be mean, but that does not reflect your inner being. A lot of parents are no longer teaching their kids to fight back. Not in the physical sense but in the mental and emotional battle of looking to self and realizing that NOTHING anyone ever says about them is worth them internalizing that pain.
I say all of this because we have to do something to help our kids before the next generation are worse. As a parent allow your child to learn the lessons that are needed. It is not healthy to protect them from everything. Lets all learn to teach ourselves which battles are worth fighting for our kids and allow those necessary for growth to be learned. Let kids be kids. Let them get dirty, scrape a knee, pick themselves up and learn that pain can be overcome. It fades…
Why are you here? WHY do you exist? What is your purpose? A lot of us may assume that we are unimportant or that we have no real carbon footprint on this earth. That is further from the truth than you can imagine. Everyone has a purpose or calling even if it is nothing more than being a shoulder for a friend in need. Your purpose in life does not end because you get old or fall down a time or two. It doesn’t mean you are destined to be great in the eyes of many. Your purpose big or small is your stamp in this journey called life. In order to know your purpose you have to know who you really are. Who are you? I tried defining myself again and once more I came up with the same conclusion. I define me by how I chose to view myself and love the person in the mirror. I am pretty darn fabulous in my own world. My story is just my story and not who I am. I talk a lot about getting in tune with the one person you can never escape. Yourself. You will always be you so why hide it?
In class the other day the subject of self came up and how we define the person in our mirrors. A lot of individuals have grown to the point where their identity is apparent however there are still some that do not know who they are. I was one of those individuals for years as I have talked about so much over the past few months. I had no clue about my purpose. I did not recognize the value of me being alive. After discussing self, the conversation shifted to elders and aging. This made me think again about how you view you. We are a reflection of our parents and because of that our self is a reflection of their selves. So if our parents are so important it only safe to assume that our path, our identity can be influenced by them as well. You are your father’s daughter. You are your mother’s son. You are not simply a nobody.
You exist to be you completely. You exist because you are meant to be just as you are only better. Stop looking to others to define you and start seeing that you may not be important to them but you are priceless to yourself. When you think about getting older, how do you see your future? Do you see yourself surrounded by kids and grandkids? Do you see yourself successful in a business or venture? Do you see yourself in a rut or stuck? Think about our parents and grandparents. They grew up with a third of what we did and yet they survived and continued on. They paved the way for you to get where you are. Mom and dad are our mentors and first teachers, just as you are to your kids. You show them how to be the amazing ones they are. You teach them to be perfectly imperfect. That is your footprint. That is your legacy. Not just a big bank account or plot of land. Your legacy lies within your ability to touch the heart and mind of another long after you are gone.
Think about your carbon footprint. What about you will stay in the hearts and minds of those you interact with? When you leave home or work is there an absence that is felt? A lot of us may not think so but in truth we are more noticed than we can ever imagine. We are not simply nobodies. We are amazing beings, full of excitement and love.How do I know? Well that is simple…. Have you ever looked at a flower or one of God’s creations and seen it sighing and considering itself worthless? Even a weed has value to the weed. You have value as long as you see it within yourself.You exist because you are meant to. Just as I am.
Happy BIRTHDAY!!!!! It’s been an entire year since the start of this blog and GIRLS. I have been blessed to have been a part of this wonderful endeavor.The more I think about this year the more I can’t help but notice an evolution in myself and in the people around me. The blog was set up to try to share with others the joy that I felt atlearning to accept the person in my mirror. But to be honest it evolved so much more than that. I became obsessed with making a difference. I wanted to lead by example. I wanted to bring as much peace to others even if at times I did not feel at peace myself. This morning I woke with a song burning in my heart. Gloria Estefan’s ‘Coming out of the dark’. This was odd to me because I had not heard the song in over a decade and yet I could remember every word this morning. I woke with tears in my eyes because I realized that this was my time of coming out of the dark. It was time that I stopped being a prisoner of ME. For the past few years I have been going through one trial after another. I have walked around with a battered and bruised heart and mind and yet I am still here.I am ALIVE and I am Free.I am Coming out of this darkness in my soul.
It has been so hard walking in my own truth and I admit that at times I faltered. I admit to feeling ashamed of who I was and whom I was becoming! I wanted to hide instead in the comfort of my blankets as if the world would not be able to find me even there. I admit to shedding far too many tears. I admit to feeling weak and lost. To almost giving up. I even did one thing I promised I would never do…I compared me to you.I imagined how much easier life was for others compared to my own. I looked at my support system and found myself often sitting on a ledge alone. As I said before in an article, my inner circle was actually made up of squiggly little lines. It was more of a square. Nothing was what it seemed. The funny thing is, it does not matter to me any longer.
My desire to help is still just as strong if not stronger than it was a year ago. I am writing more and more. I am reaching out more. I realize that I don’t need organizations of people backing me up only in name. I need action. I am truly COMING OUT OF THE DARK!But I am not coming alone. I am going to be pulling and dragging whomever wants to be free. We do not have to sit aside in the quietness of mediocrity. We do not have to be victims of our own hand. We do not have to be sad or alone. We do not have to be hidden fighters!You have been with me for this long. I ask that you please stick with me a little longer. Come with me! Join me in stepping out of the shadows of life. We are each too precious to simply exist. We should all shine. You are my inspiration. Without this blog and readers I would be simply another dreamer afraid to speak. You hear my voice and I hear yours. I will always be here. I will always love you. You are my light. Thank you for everything.
When would you rather receive your flowers, while alive or dead?I know that is an unnerving statement but it needs to be said. Turn on the TV or internet and there will be some story related to Domestic Violence. It seems to be the one thing that is hard to escape, and yet we can change it. We CANNOT change the abuser but we CAN change ourselves. This piece will seem a little harsh, but, it is said with much love. It goes out to men and women alike, considering the way that a good many women are becoming just as violent as their male counterparts.STOP TRYING TO JUSTIFY ABUSE!!! I say this a thousand times. LOVE does not HURT! It does not hit. It does not stalk. It does not obsess. It does not burn clothes. None of those things are love, so why do we continuously say so when we try to defend our attacker?
Ask yourself why? Why do you stay? Don’t judge yourself and don’t think about how others may judge you. Just think of why you choose to stay. Is it really out of fear? Are you afraid of being alone? Are you afraid to not have love? Are you perhaps blinded by the fear of failure that you, think staying will somehow make the situation different? None of these things make you a bad person. It really doesn’t but here is the deal. We are told all the time to just pray about a situation and it will change. But just like with the flowers, when do you want to receive your prayer answers, alive or dead?Continue to pray for the person that has harmed you but get OUT if you can.
STOP saying he/she loves me! Who are you really trying to convince? yourself or everyone else?An abuser may care about you but that doesn’t equal to love. Love doesn’t give you a black eye. If he loves you why does he isolate you… berate you…. beat you? Is that love, because if it is, then why do so many prisoners of war not see it as such? Stockholm’s Syndrome (a victim’s emotional “bonding” with their abuser) can trick a lot of people into thinking that this horrendous treatment is love. This way of thinking is why so many of us go back.
STOP being afraid to be alone!If you are in an abusive relationship, isolated and afraid to trust then guess what? You are alone already. Now try being alone without having to walk on eggshells. Stop listening to lies. I listened to a friend talk about her abuser. She spoke about him with such love and affection that my heart went out to her. He talked to her about trust and that if he took her back he would need access to everything. He described how she would not be able to have friends and how she would basically be under his control. None of those things stood out to her as she was relaying his words. She chose to forget the black eyes. She only heard him talking about love. She desperately wants to be loved and he played on all of her feelings. Is that love? Sometimes Love really means loving the person in your mirror enough to be with them for a while.Get comfortable being alone. It doesn’t mean you will stay that way. Being alone is not a death sentence especially if you love the company you keep.
Love you enough to understand that you can not change anyone only you. Don’t be a victim of you. Staying or going back to an abusive relationship does not make you a martyr it makes you hurt.Love can be bittersweet but it is never physically or mentally painful. Stop confusing obsession and control with love. Stop allowing your own insecurities keep you in bondage. Just as victims with Stockholm’s can be treated and helped, so can you. You are never alone. Not really. There are those of us like myself that will always be there for you. Get help where you can. Make sure I can give your flowers to you while you can still smell them.
Are you ‘the path of least resistance’?Often I talk to men about how they see women and themselves. The subject came up about the way some men treat the women that they meet. Some of us ladies assume that we have to be a certain type of woman or we go out of our way to catch the attention of a man. We will basically walk around darn near naked, if that will get the attention of the man we want. Some of us will become an alter ego, where we are basically only mimicking the woman that we assume he wants, and hiding our true selves. All of this we do but the shocking thing is, according to a good many men, this does not endear us to him. Sure you caught his attention. Now what? Beauty fades. Booties sag… Bodies even though they can be altered still get old. Some men honestly want more than just a pretty face and a nice body. Sure it is nice but at the end of the day, they have their pick of different available bodies willing to be used.
I look at myself and at the pictures I take. The way I choose to dress… I look at the people I associate myself with. Why do I do it? Why do I dress the way that I do? Why am I so concerned about my appearance? Why do I care what men think of me? I know a lot of people will look at this article and assume I am going to start bashing women. I am not going to do that. Instead I am simply asking you to look at who you are and who you want to be. The question above “Are you the path of least resistance?” is meant to make you think. When I talked to my friend and a few dozen other men I asked the question, “Do men already have a set idea about the woman they want to be with?” The majority of them admitted that they do. Not surprising however, the woman they want is NOT the one twerking in the video. She is the toy for most.
When asked to look at two different pictures of women, one of them with a woman dressed very provocative and the other with a one dressed demurely, most of the men stated that if they were just looking to have sex they would move based on appearance to the ‘path of least resistance’. In other words the woman dressed in the sexy attire seems to be the easier option. Some men assume that a woman dressed very conservatively will take more work. But if a woman is parading around and looking as if she is ‘on the prowl’, all he has to do is spit minimal game and she will fall for it. It’s not to say that she is not to be respected but that she may give the impression that she does not respect herself. We see this type of behavior all the time on social media. Women will take booty pics, grown and sexy challenges, post wild statements or even refer to sex constantly in order to get noticed. We do it even though this is the wrong type of attention. We do it, in spite of the way that some men immediately after seeing those pics or talking to us, start looking at us as nothing more than a wet hole. Sorry to be vulgar but its true.
No one is saying to play hard to get. No one is saying start walking around with dresses down to our knees…. No… What I am saying is give him a chance to earn the right to see the sexiest side of you. Stop putting yourself out there with a target on your back. Especially if you are trying to build a relationship. You don’t have to be a sex star all of the time. This does not make you a better woman. It makes you easier prey. Put your boobs and booty away. Stand up straight and face forward.If you want to twerk for your man do it at home and not online and do it for his eyes only. Sex and sexy behavior should be a fun past time and NOT a coat of armor. You are too precious as an individual to keep allowing yourself to be nothing more than the easiest move on a chess board.
Excuses…. someone brought up the subject about women making excuses for each other and it made me think. Sometimes the excuses are good, sometimes bad. The point is they are there, and they can either help or harm us. I went to bed, and woke up with that thought on my mind. Do we (women) make excuses? Are we the one’s freely giving away the power of self? Are we so blind to the plights of others that the biggest excuse we give ourselves is that the other woman is somehow different or she asked for it? She allowed herself to be disrespected therefore it is not my problem and that makes it funny. I asked women how they felt about being called b****es. For me the answer was outrage as it was for a few others. For some however, the answer was “Depends on how it’s being used. ” In other words they argued that the use of this term can actually mean something good. If a woman is called a bad b***h then that means she is about her business. Well why not simply say that she is good at what she does? Why use a derogatory word and try to make it less derogatory by turning it into a compliment?
A video was shared on FB by a male friend of mine, that he and other men, found hilarious. I was curious,so I watched it. It talked about how side chicks should ‘stay in their lane’. As I watched, I was not amused. I grew more furious by the moment. I sat there and I replayed it, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Then I started reading the comments. “That’s how some women are”. “That’s what women like that get”. These were comments from women. Some of us actually found it funny. When asked about that, a few tried to justify their humor, by saying that if a woman was stupid enough to allow a man to treat her as such, then she gets what she gets. It’s funny now. This same logic …. these same words follow women everywhere. Even in the world of domestic abuse, a lot of women will stand by and watch a friend, stranger or even relative being battered and simply say “She stupid for putting up with that. If it was me I would….” Well here’s a newsflash ladies….. every time you do that you are justifying why you made a conscious choice to judge and not act. You made an EXCUSE!
When life hits you in the face with a two by four, most people are able to bounce back with ease. There are a few that can’t. Some like myself need a little more time to feel the hurt,deal with it and then analyze why it happened. Along that time I go through a dozen different emotions. One of those is depression. I have made no qualms about discussing my problem with anyone that wanted to hear it. I talk openly about the self hatred that I suffered growing up after never quite fitting into a certain image of perfection that I had designed in my own mind. I talk about my penchant for picking bad boys; joking about how if there was a jerk within a five mile radius, I would find him and fall for him. I talk about all of those things and yet do I believe in my own transformation. Recently I went through a serious crisis of faith.
I was tormented by the problems in my life and the duties of being a shoulder of so many. I forgot to make time for me. I forgot to breath. I forgot that I was human and therefore not perfect. I forgot that I don’t have to be. There are times when I would look at myself and only see the bad about the person in the mirror all over again. The reason for that is because once I found out I could not handle the entire world, and that things can and will happen to even me. I began to doubt other areas in my life. Suddenly I started looking at the mirror and seeing this overweight woman staring back at me, I would cringe. I looked at the fact that my organization is not growing by leaps and bounds as I had hoped. I looked at the fact that my book sales seem to be steady but not enough to cause a blip in my financial situation. I looked at myself trying to find work and being turned down time and again for whatever reason. I saw all of the people around me and paranoia set in, making me think that they were laughing at me, behind my back. In school, normally one to excel in class, I found myself on the verge of failing, because one class in particular was just too out of my box. Finally I looked at the fact that I am alone and I wondered why. All of those things I found myself rehashing over and over again until I had become almost despondent. Friends and relatives tried their best to cheer me up but I could not feel any better. I felt as if I were somehow forgotten by God himself.
The reason why I am sharing this is because someone out there may feel the same and I want you to know you are not alone.I felt the urge to just give in but I didn’t. Now much like a soldier returning home from war I am licking my wounds. I am optimistic about GIRLS I know eventually it will span the globe. I am not fat or repulsive, just needing to shed a few pounds. The book will do fine in time, In the meantime I am doing research for future ones. The people around me even if they were talking and laughing then so what? They do not define me and their words only hurt if I allow them to. And that was just one class,I can retake it. Life is not as horrid as I assumed. Being depressed can make us all think the worst BUT remember to breath and feed your soul. Be positive and learn to teach yourself how to roll or absorb the punches life throws at you. I want you to see and understand that I have been where you are and I am still recovering from it. I am not perfect and that is OK!You don’t have to feel alone because you’re not alone.You don’t have to compare your problems to mine, because your pain is your pain, and just as valid. What you have to do is Believe in YOU!You are so much more powerful than you know and so am I. (((HUGS)))