Tag Archives: Women

Being a Woman in a Man’s World: My Thoughts on Hillary with a Pinch of Pat Summitt

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“The man’s world must become a man’s and a woman’s world. What are we afraid of?” – M. Carey Thomas

I have been working on this piece for quite some time. I rarely shop out my ideas, discuss in detail, but something wasn’t quite right with my thoughts. Maybe, I felt that my thoughts were a little controversial or maybe, writing a post that was (kind of) in favor of Hillary, a person I am not fond of, was actually quite difficult.

But as I talked with several people about the public relationship between Bill and Hillary and how it has shaped America’s view of her, and consequently caused the American people not to see her in a positive light. I was met with the same resounding response that points to a simple fact for most people:

“I just wish she had made it here (the Presidency) based on her own merits”

“I think Bill being President has everything to do with her getting close to becoming President”

“She wouldn’t even be the nominee if it wasn’t for Bill”

And so on. Each person I asked was a Democrat. Their responses perplexed me. As humans in this vast and complex world, we are unable to write our own story. Who is to say had Bill not become President that Hillary wouldn’t have risen to the Presidency, to be successful in politics, or affecting change in this country. For this we do not know, but I find that most people think, Hillary is here solely based on her husband.

It’s not even a matter if people think she’s a liar, corrupt, or made mistakes as Secretary of State – it is because, if she makes it to the White House, it will be on the coat tails of her husband.

But I think it’s more than that.

It could be her desire for her own fame and success that has fueled her to the Presidency or it could be her commitment to serve this country. But you know what, if she was a man, it wouldn’t matter.

Hillary is being unfairly judged, because she is a woman. I know people have made this point over and over, but I, an outsider, wanted to make this point again. Because, despite my strong dislike of her, I am flabbergasted by the disrespect Hillary receives from members in her own party.  People still have more respect for her [enter all the bad adjectives you can think of] husband.

How many Presidents of the United States of America made it, because they were white males, from an affluent family, and they just so happened to end up in the White House. There are few Presidents, who earned the spot every step of the way. In general, there are far more people who were given a little help to get where they are today, so why are we holding Hillary Clinton to a different standard? Why do we as women give men a break, but don’t quite do the same thing for women? Is it because we have to be better? Or would we prefer to just work double time and allow men to work half of the time? Not to mention…. infidelity and cheating in marriage sometimes seems so commonplace in America because of the over sexualization in this country. How many of you, who’ve experienced betrayal in your life or in your family, could imagine experiencing infidelity in the public eye at the highest office in America, and for the world to see, not just America, and bounce back from it? How many of you after being completely embarrassed and disrespected, could then decide to run for a public office in the state of New York, one of the most media hungry places in America? How many of you all could face that kind of fire and win, and continue on.

Yeah, her hunger and need for the spotlight might fuel it, and I don’t really care, because to me, that is a tough thing to do and she should deserve a little more respect for her tenacity. Respect that we would easily be given to her if she was a man.

Now to preference who should be respecting, if you have ideological differences with Hilary (as do I), then by all means, you are free to disagree/dislike/hate her and make claims along those lines. But there are women, young and old, black, white, blue and green, who furiously supported Barack Obama, that struggle to support Hilary or diss her for no good reason in my opinion.

I would like to just make note, that Obama’s rise to the Presidency, although historical in its own right, the differences between overcoming the obstacles of race versus gender are actually drastically different. As a black woman, I can tell you the preference and deference black men with less abilities get over me time and time again from women is not only maddening, but sad. The blunt truth is that it’s happening simply because they are men. The long and short of it, women want to support men. It might be biblical. I get it. But we represent over 50% of the population and continue to allow men to make decisions that affect our lives and bodies, and yet, we struggle to view women in a positive light for being strong, dominant, and unafraid.

And I must pause here, because Pat Summit passed away last week, one of my favorite sports hero and I believe she was one of the few women, in the public eye, who was strong, dominant, and unafraid – and she had our respect completely. There is no question that her success and rise to popularity were forged with her own blood, sweat, and tears to be successful as a coach in women’s college basketball and to win Olympic gold. But she was the best of the best in a woman’s world. Many wanted her to cross over to coach men, whether in college or professional sports. But as I write about Hillary, I wonder if not crossing over was one of her best decisions.

One reporter shared:

“More than once, Tennessee’s athletic bigwigs considered asking Summitt to coach the men instead. With each crash-and-burn, it became more obvious that men couldn’t handle this particular job and that Summitt would be the safest hire available. She considered it but kept turning it down.

I think women should help women,” Summit said. A good reason, but there was a better one.

I wouldn’t want people to think I looked at the men’s game as a step up.”

It wasn’t. But it remains a concrete ceiling. If it were glass, a woman could at least see the path to coaching a men’s team. Imagine the fun, if Summitt had decided to burst through it. ” (Source)

And maybe we should take a lesson from Pat’s book.

  1. Women should be helping women.
  2. Let’s stop acting like their “world” is a step-up.

I must say this article is really less about Hillary, but my views on how women should go about supporting each other. Let’s try to hold each other to the right standard and support them in the same way we support men. Let’s stop holding ourselves to a higher and more unrealistic standard, and stop burdening ourselves for no apparent reason. We make mistakes, we are human. If we aren’t forgiving our fellow women then we probably aren’t forgiving ourselves. And trust me, men are not thinking twice about it, and moving on to the next thing.

M/P

Looking Through Her Lens (My Thoughts on LEMONADE)

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“In the perspective of every person lies a lens through which we may better understand ourselves”- Ellen Langer

So I know that you have already read a number of articles about Beyoncé and Lemonade and I am sorry to add to your list, but I guess I am sorry not sorry. Because I will tell you… it wasn’t easy to decide what to write about, there were several angles to come at this piece. I read several articles about this and that, about infidelity and Jay-Z, Black women empowerment, feminism and even that Beyoncé is no role model based on her lyrics (and there were some questionable lyrics), but I am sure they had some purpose, for HER. And this makes sense, as with a movie, a good book, or album, people can watch, read or listen to the exact same thing and walk away with a complete different interpretation. But let’s be clear the whole album is for Beyoncé, and certain parts are for our enjoyment.

I believe this is true for any real artist, and I am sure there are people who think Beyoncé is a manufactured robot whose sole purpose in life is to brainwash and make millions. But for the purpose of this post and my  satisfaction, I am writing from the viewpoint that Beyoncé is an artist and she paid top dollar for her writers to construct the lyrics to match her visual masterpiece that is LEMONADE. (I would say it’s not a masterpiece musically because just listening to the tracks it is not her best, but we can debate that at a later time.)

So as I sat down, I was trying to be polite with my thoughts, but I felt pretty strong about some comments and critiques such as the following, as tweeted by Azealia Bank’s herself.

Exhibit A – “You keep crying over a man and perpetuating that sad black female sufferance and it’s not good for what we’re trying to accomplish here”

Exhibit B – “You been singing about this n****a for years and he still playing you. That’s not strength, that’s stupidity”

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Just stop.

Azealia’s tweets are coupled with several comments of sarcasm that I heard from others, such as “poor ole Beyoncé singing the blues”, “oh, her life must be so hard” –

Seriously?

Okay, look, no one is saying that Beyoncé’s life is hard, but does that mean she can’t talk about the issues that she is having with Jay-Z. Azealia’s tweets and those comments completely miss the complexity of the role of women in the 21st century. When you have to balance a husband, kids and a career. The reason more women, of all races and ages, loved it, is that Beyoncé struggled (and is struggling) with the same shit as we all do and she is the “baddest bitch in the game”. But her being the baddest doesn’t change the fact that a man can (and probably will) betray your trust whether it is infidelity or something monetary or when something equally intimate is taken for granted. There are so many ways to be betrayed.

The reality is that our families, especially our significant others or our companions, deeply influence our everyday life and it’s hard. So to invalidate her feminism “cred” because she opens up about her struggles with a lying (maybe cheating) husband is like the opposite of feminism.

We, as group of people, who support the political, social, and economic equality of women, cannot be upset or frustrated that Beyoncé felt betrayed and felt the need to make music about it. For centuries, women have had to fight with decision of staying or leaving, heck, probably a few millennia! I mean who could forget how Adam was quick to throw shade in the Garden of Eden because Eve gave him the piece of fruit that caused him to sin:

Then the man said, “The woman whom YOU gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” – Gensis 3:12

See, men have been making excuses since the beginning of time. That isn’t changing.

So as a 30 year old woman with friends at different stages of their romantic life: single, married for years, newlyweds, divorcees, and even windows, regardless of whether they are successful professionally, or kick ass mothers, their relationships are a priority, so why would it be different for Beyoncé? Not for one second, would I agree with the critiques about HOW anti-feministic it is that she is whining and crying about her husband cheating. I mean I guess she could be quiet, and be damned nonetheless like Hillary Clinton, who stayed extremely quiet about Bill’s infidelity and her struggles until recently during her campaign and people have always talked about her silence. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

The reality is not about whether Beyoncé is weak or not, but we are actually uncomfortable with the honestly of Beyoncé’s album. Even for people who liked and admired it. It makes us all a little uncomfortable, in this male dominated world, that Beyoncé felt that she:

  • could openly critique a man directly, who is as equally successful;
  • felt betrayed and stay; AND
  • told the world all about it.

I didn’t walk away from Beyoncé ‘s album with a sad black suffrage vibe, did you?  I kind of felt like it was more  along these lines:

Life is hard.

Love is hard.

Money, fame, and beauty doesn’t make life easier.

That is really what she is trying to say in between her anger. The first thing I really thought about when I finished the album, was whether it was therapeutic for her? Was it part of her healing and recovery? Not to mention a lyrical guide for all the other women who are dealing with similar issues in their marriages, maybe Beyoncé wanted to bring them some comfort to her struggles. To be silent no more, and talk about how crazy she felt about her situation.

But in reality, we just saw misery, the heartache was so appetizing, especially when it’s not our own, and let it be a celebrity. We were less concerned what it meant for Beyoncé and the fact that we should be happy that we got to witness it.

So you can think she has nothing to complain about, but I think it doesn’t matter how perfect we want life to be, it will never be, and when life is falling apart, you find out –  some people will revel in it, shame you for your life falling apart, and only  a few will support you in it. But you will have to walk through that journey step by step nevertheless. No one can escape it including Beyoncé .

In closing, if Beyoncé can’t talk about Feminism and she can’t talk about Black Lives Matter, what makes her unfit to talk about relationships? To often she is seen and not heard, and when she decided to share her voice candidly about her man, in a male-dominated world, it wasn’t just the men who had a problem. It was women speaking much louder as if we all don’t struggle with feeling appreciated, loved, and supported. Even the BEST man will let you down at least once. Because we are human, and no one is perfect. So stop acting like you didn’t see a little of yourself through Beyoncé’s lens.

Stop trying to brush the shame under the rug. Embrace it, and move on.

M/P

Can We Talk about Consent?

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“There is no policy too sensitive to question, and no subject so taboo that you cannot even mention it”  – Lee Hsien Long

I can tell you I feel a little uncomfortable writing about this, but it continues to be a problem. I was appalled by the case of pop singer Kesha, who is unable to get out of a contract obligation with her producer who,according to the pop star, raped her and the biggest takeaway is that they think she is lying. (source). Of course, the court doesn’t say that explicitly. The article states:

“The judge said that granting the singer’s request to nullify her deal would undermine the state’s laws governing contracts and the court couldn’t do that.”

The court wouldn’t make a person stay in a contract if they believe she was in harm or danger. But they obviously think she is in no harm or danger, and just wants to get out of the contract, and using her lady parts as an excuse. She probably had sex with him to advance her career. Of course. Oh, wait, did I mention she is considered a party girl, and sings about it? (source). To me, this is saying that her consent doesn’t and didn’t matter. What people and what the judge believes, is all that matters. And that is why I am here.

I want to write about consent, because there are not enough of us, who have never  been sexually assaulted, talking about the issue, talking about our close calls. That’s right, not all women, but a lot of women in my generation, may have hung out with a guy who we thought was cute, and we had no intention of having sex with them. We may have kissed a little too long, but we got the courage to say that we didn’t go any further, they got it, and they stopped. Not because they are superheroes, because that’s what you are supposed to do. The thing that cannot be highlighted enough, is that we are in control of our bodies, and when we are with a guy this should respected no matter what. Now, Amber Rose gave an example a couple of weeks ago on Tyrese and Rev Run’s show on Oprah’s network that might be a little too raw and uncut so people would easily disagree with her. She takes it all the way to the point that even if you’re naked with a man, and then you decide to not have sex, no is no. And the reality is why it isn’t enough? Now, I have discussed this with several people, men and women, and I find that they think Amber Rose’s example goes too far. That if you allow yourself to be naked in front of a man, what do you think he is going to do?

Here, look at the clip.

If you think that a guy should just be able to have a go when they’re naked, what is different when they are clothed? If a girl tells a guy she wants to have sex with clothes on, and changes her mind, what does having clothes or not having clothes on make a difference? To some extent we are saying men have no control of themselves and we should let them have a go anywhere or that the women deserves it? I think they need to exercise some self-control, we let them run some of the most important parts of our lives and country.

So let me take it out of that extreme example.

When I was in law school, my first year, I had a boyfriend. We were still getting adjusted to a long distance relationship. He was slightly the jealous type, but not when we were in the city, in fact, he wasn’t clingy at all, so when I went off to law school, I thought he’d be fine, no problem. Well, not so much and when I would go out, he was one annoying person even when I was just trying to hang with my girlfriends. So one day, I was tired of it, and slightly stressed out about law school and we were fighting quite a bit so I went out with a few girlfriends. I met a guy, a tall, dark and handsome guy, and I may have had too much to drink, and at the time, I wasn’t much of a drinker so when he asked to come over, I was flattered, and hesitantly gave him my address.

After we left the bar, he came over and we were having good conversation, but the alcohol was waning. We eventually started kissing, but my mind was already changing. Talking to him, made me miss my boyfriend at the time. I forgot to mention, even though I invited him over, this was the first time I had ever done this. And I remember how I felt when he tried to push me further and I wasn’t feeling it. I was terrified, and I realized I potentially put myself in a dangerous situation. Why? Because here was this man who was 6’2”, maybe 6’3”, in good shape and everything, and I was worried that he could make me do anything. Eventually, he got the picture with no problem, and went and slept on my couch till the morning. As I laid on my bed, I prayed and was extremely thankful. Because the reality is that it could’ve went really left. Like, it really could’ve been me, and it would’ve been all my fault, because I let him in. But no. The guy accepted my non-consent, and that’s what missing in the conversation. There are plenty of men who understand what no is, so the ones who don’t, they don’t get a pass. THEY DO NOT GET A PASS. If I was in a similar situation, with a guy who didn’t accept my no, why would it be my fault if I am subsequently was raped. (Feel free to explain otherwise in my comment section)

So with any movement there is always a need to allies. I find that a lot of advocates involved with sexual violence are people who have experienced it themselves. What about all the women who have made it through without being attacked? Regardless if you have been in a situation such as myself or you have had sex with one person your whole life, we need more people (men and women) who have never sexually and physically assaulted, especially those who have gone out on a date, and said no.

And then there’s this thing called….VICTIM BLAMING…

It’s one thing when men victim blame but I see a number of women who victim blame, like WHAT?!?! But do you know why? Because it hasn’t happened to them. And that’s the problem. A women who is snatched while walking to her car is the same as the person who is just making out with a guy she likes who doesn’t understand no. We have to stop making concessions for certain situations. We have to continue to push what consent really is, and make sure our boys and girls, men and women get it, therefore, we must continue to talk about it.

More than anything about us understanding consent, there is a special place in hell for women who make up allegations about rape. On March 13th, ESPN will premiere it’s 30 for 30 documentary called, “Fantastic Lies” about the Duke Lacrosse Team rape scandal. I am not by any means speaking to anyone’s innocence and guilt, but the whole situation didn’t help women at all. This isn’t an election where Hillary Clinton wants all the women to support her. Anyone could be in the position of being physically assaulted. If you haven’t experienced it, you’re just one experience from it happening to you. Regardless if it’s sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or anything else. Just because it hasn’t happen to you, because for every women who is victim blamed is one more validation that we are the problem and aren’t control of ourselves and our experiences.

M/P

Oh Me, Oh My: My Journey To Get In Touch With My Inner Girl

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“I feel there is something unexplored about woman that only a woman can explore.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

So I just got off of vacation and I really wanted to write about my experience and all the things I learned, but my mind decided to fight me and make me write about something, I promised I would never write about, but here it goes. Beauty. Fashion. All the things girly. Yeah, I never imagined writing about anything around the subject, because there are so many more pressing issues in the world, but as I delve into the evaluation of feminism or just simply watching how Hilary Clinton and Carly Fiorina are being treated differently as women, I can’t help but think on these things to some degree. This is what makes a woman, we are layered, and even when we try to avoid certain experiences they sometimes still seem to creep in on us. What we look like still matters just as much as what it’s in our mind, if not more so, unfortunately. So I am in the middle of a feminine revelation, or shall I say transformation. Yes, America, the #1 tomboy has started doing things a little different and I feel compelled to kind of talk about it. I promise at times I was annoyed in writing this…How dare we be defined by a social norm. For the purpose of this blog post, let’s just say I have subscribed to the notion, that being “girly” is a thing and it looks a certain way.

So I have a lot of girly friends. Why? I am not sure and I really don’t know why, opposites attract, maybe? I am a bona fide Tom Boy, and I have a number of really good guy friends too. Not to mention my brothers and I are really close and they taught me everything that I know about sports and in fact, I always love to brag that I know more sports than the average man.

When I went to college that was the first time that I had to face the reality that I didn’t do a number of things that normal girls do. (Well, actually the first time I had to really deal with this is when I was 11 and was mistaken for a boy), but for the first time living with women other than my mother was a culture shock.

Now, of course, there are no absolutes, but there were a number of things, girly things, that I didn’t do. I won’t mention them cause who wants to be that transparent. To further take me down the road of girliness in college, I joined a sorority. Sometimes, outside of the amazing relationships that I’ve built, how did I manage that? Sometimes I used to feel like an impostor when it comes to “girl” things. What is a purse, why were heels even made, make-up – that’s for clowns, right? I used to feel like life would be easier if I were a man. And not because of the obvious benefits men get, but my personality, demeanor and my likes and dislikes used to be very much geared similar to that of a typical male. Heck, GQ is still my favorite magazine (I mean the articles are good and it’s full of half-naked men). I couldn’t even name more than 3 woman magazines.

So over the last few months, I decided to pamper myself, doing things like maintaining my nails, wearing make-up regularly, keeping my eyebrows on point, being dutiful in cooking and cleaning around my place, and diligently eating healthier and exercising. Oh, and my hair has been on point (most of the time). Growing up, with the exception of hair, things like this I was never taught to focus on. It was always about education, be strong, and fight for your rightful place in the world. I have never gone shopping with my mother, nor have we have ever made a trip to a nail salon or things of that nature.

*Enters my first real relationship (with a boy)*

So to only complicate the situation, the first guy I dated, was very much high maintenance. He would always take longer to get ready then I would. He definitely liked a kind of women who was well manicured, done up from head to toe. Over those 7 years, I tried to do it. I failed miserably over and over. We were in a long distance relationship after I left college (thank GOD), and I would go through a mini-transformation every 3 months when we would see each other. I would always tell myself, I would keep my nails done, hair laid, but nope, that rarely happened. I was never comfortable. I never enjoyed getting done up. It was very robotic to me.

*end of my relationship*

So 7 years later, I was free, the inner tom boy came back with a mad vengeance. I still liked to dress cute and do my hair occasionally, but I think over the following year or so, I rarely touched make-up, didn’t keep my nails looking decent, or even appropriately put jewelry together. For a period, I was going through the loss of a relationship so I wasn’t being horribly judged, and since I wasn’t really dating, I got several passes. As time went on, I wanted to start dating again, and I befriended some new male friends who provided me with a new perspective (that I am not sure I agree), but for the purpose of this article, it is the thesis statement and basis of this article.

This idea that most men (heterosexual) do like women who keep up a certain maintenance, because they can’t help but be visual, and it’s not from a place of shallowness, but why wouldn’t you want to keep yourself together and healthy?

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This “maintenance” involves maintaining healthy habits with exercise and maintaining certain “feminine” social norms (yes, I’m cringing as I write this). I personally feel like I should be able to do whatever the hell I want, and I should be accepted in that matter. But I decided to think I was wrong, and started making small changes, and began this transformation, and guess what I found.  I have completely different interactions with the opposite sex, with men I know and men I don’t know. But even more so I have different interactions with women too, even in my professional space. I have worn make-up more often to work, and see the differences in the interactions, and it’s puzzling to me. What does this mean? Am I not the same person, behind the make-up, clothes and nails?

When I used to look at famous people, who after hitting a certain level of stardom and maybe were a little over weight, they ALWAYS lose weight if they can. The reality is that people treat you different, and if I am not saying it directly, they seem to treat you better. Yes, I said it, and whatever that might look like to you. And I get that, but I was just raised differently. That the external just means less. That focusing on my appearance says nothing about you. I have met a number of women who focus on all those things, and not much else, and when they gain a little weight or circumstances make maintaining that look difficult, they are lost, and obsess over their appearance, because their interactions rise and fall based on their appearance and it’s sad.

I was fortunate not have to deal with these issues for a very long time, and I am very happy that it only took me 3 months out of my life, but I, like most women have to at some point in their life, wrestle with the social norms of femininity as it relates to being a women and what it means. I will never forget the first time Hilary Clinton ran for President and they were having legit discussions about pant versus skirt suits in regards to her “femininity”. It. was. disgusting. (and let’s not forget, I am not a Hilary Fan, unless you attack her womanhood, homey don’t play that). But I will tell you all this, I have enjoyed getting my nails, getting to have a “nail” lady, and trying new things with makeup and getting compliments from men and women alike.

But what I have learned, which I am sure many of you all guessed, but that it’s really about balance and there is no right answer. You can go overboard with anything, focusing too much on your outer appearance or you can look so bad that no one wants to be your friend. But it really is more than that. That this journey is one of the million things that makes our experience as women different and AWESOME. We produce strong young men and women, because we have to juggle so many different norms. That men don’t get to have the complicated and interesting life that women get to lead. Yes, I just said that. That we have to challenge ourselves, question ourselves more than they do especially in 2016. There is still a struggle with roles for women in the workplace, in the home and in relationships. Whether there is a spiritual component or not in your thinking, women are questioned about the way they parent, the fact they have no kids, are we too emotional or not having enough emotion, so that we are considered a bitch, and the list goes on.

I will never subscribe to this idea that I have to look a certain way to get the attention or affection of a man, but being pampered, getting in touch with my inner girl was and IS nice, but it is my friends, not mandatory to be kick ass. Being kick ass is just what women do whether you are or not in touch with your inner girl. So just do that. Kick-Ass!

M/P

 

 

 

Four Women That I Know

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“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” – Helen Keller

I have been working on a post about women and the strength of our relationships for quite some time. (Seriously, like 6+ months) I’ve gone back and forth between several themes, and couldn’t settle on just one. The idea of a strong ancestral matriarch, where I roar, is my go to choice.  The women who’ve come before me roared and as a descendant of those strong women, I am strong. But I wasn’t feeling it. Other times, I want to write to women that we have a responsibility to support each other first and foremost and not play second fiddle to our relationships to the opposite sex. How women relate to each other shouldn’t be dictated by this male dominated system.  For instance, the idea that women should forego our innate womanhood to support each other simply win over the attention and affection of the opposite sex. But, yeah, I wasn’t really feeling that either. Last and definitely the least, the topic on balancing our time between female friends and male friends has been done to death.

In my heart of hearts, I really want to talk about four women that I know.  I haven’t been able to write about them, despite several attempts, because my pen to the pad couldn’t quite capture their story, their lives, and their struggles.  They are so diverse in ethnic groups, ages, careers, and societal roles.  The four women I know aged with wisdom, seasoned with laughter, and equipped with love.

Sometimes words can’t encompass the most precious things in life. You must experience it and it must be felt. When you enter into their house, you can feel the love. One of my favorite lines from a Toby Mac song is, “When love is in the house, the house is packed”, and their house can get very packed, because they let people in with open arms. I am never ashamed to take someone to meet these four women that I know.

As I sit here, I am in that house, of these four women bonded by sisterhood that blood could never have forged, but of life and circumstances brought them together. I’m forever indebted to these four women, one who is my “real” aunt, but all of them, are family.  When I was broken, they loved me back to life with their generosity, but most of all their spirit of kindness and love. You can fake a lot of things, but a true spirit of kindness is hard to mimic.

So when I stop to think about these four women who roar, they roar mightily, but not in the way you would think. You would never hear, because the roar is not loud or boastful, it is in the small things that show they really matter. And each one has a unique roar that form harmony in their universe.  As a daughter of a science teacher, I couldn’t help but to describe their qualities to the elements of nature: Fire, Water, Earth, and Air.

Fire – One is like fire which associated with energy, assertiveness, and passion. She is the spark, full of life and energy, with an extra dose of spunk. There are days the fire shines brighter than others, but the best quality is that she is always warm. Her heart warms the soul of anyone who comes close.

Water – I think there are several ways to look at water, but for me, I believe the two things I love most about water is its calmness but even more so its steadiness. Although constantly, moving and changing, water is a steady, calming force the nurtures the soul when things are dry and brittle. She rises early and calmly to not disturb anyone who is slumbering about. All of her manners are calming from her speech to reading.

Earth – is associated with the qualities of patience, thoughtfulness, practicality, and hard work. It is seen nurturing and seeks to draw all things together with itself, in order to bring harmony and rootedness.  She tends to mother anyone in her orbit. Her decisions are for the good of everyone. She has weathered many storms which allow her sound advice to be valued.

Air- One of the most important elements in life, it is necessary for survival or we would all perish. It fits into the nooks and crannies and fills the open space, it knows where the breaks and cracks are in a foundation. Air is also about movement. She is always on the move as she goes about making the environment comfortable for everyone.

These elements have the ability to destroy as well to heal and soothe. They have chosen to use their superpowers for good.

That pretty much sums them up: Warmth, Steadiness, Strength, and Harmony

So I don’t get to visit these four women as often as I would like, but whenever I tell people, I’m going to visit my 4 aunties, sometimes people get confused. I do have 7 aunts. I sometimes have to break it down, and people will reply, “So you’re Aunt lives with 3 roommates?” But its so much more than that. I am going to visit my 4 Aunts. So, I guess I have 10 aunts.  I am blessed!

The reality is sometimes people just don’t get it and that’s what I’m really want to write about. Their house is made of love, and it’s different and people don’t always get it, because it’s not normal for 4 grown women to live in a house together after the children are grown, until death did you apart, or divorce. But that’s what is wrong with America these days. For every group, there’s a box, and sometimes people got outside the box to only end up creating another box. So it makes sense when people are confused because people don’t conform.

When things are true, you don’t have to explain it. Often times, the world, friends, co-workers, and even our family want to understand who, what, why, when and where you’re doing something. I’ve learned at some point in life you just have to do what’s best for you and EVERYTHING else is truly background noise. If you are unable to let go of conventions and boxes, you might never find the right fit, and be muddled with unhappiness for most of your life.

These four women I know in a subtle and silent fashion have taught me to be content with myself without being loud and boastful. To just walk in my purpose regardless of who understands and is watching, and that comfort and love will come to you. And that’s what is most important.

In Beyoncé ‘s video Pretty Hurts, she is asked, “Miss 3rd Ward, What is your aspiration in life? and she replies, “To Be Happy” , that rings so true to me. We do anything to be happy, except the one or two things that really makes us happy.

In the New Year, let go of the things that are keeping you from your happiness.

The Reality of Truth In America: A Story About Donald Trump and N.W.A.

jackn

“In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.” –Albert Einstein


What I am about to say may seem a little outlandish. You might think that I am a little crazy. But like the Black Eye Peas, “I got a Feeling”.  There’s this movie out, I don’t know if you heard of it … “Straight Outta of Compton.” And then there’s this actor running for President – Yes, I am referring to Donald Trump. And I see a connection, a similarity… in who they were, and who he is now, and why we just can’t get enough.

Americans, and others, love “the truth”. Straight talking in your face, not caring about the consequences.

* enters N.W.A. and Donald Trump hand in hand*

We loved/love them for their honesty, their bluntness but yet, they have/had their fair share of haters. There are people who disagree with their honesty, and then there are others who would just like them to “tone” it down a bit. But what they both have in common is their comments, lyircs or words about women that are derogatory. Yes… I am taking it there, but hear me out, this is not what it seems.

Filmaker Ava Duvernay expressed her feelings about hip hop so eloquently in 140 characters.

Ava

When you think of N.W.A and other Rap/Hip-Hop artists, as a woman, you can’t help but cringe at some of the lyrics. The honesty that they bring comes with an asterisk when it comes to women for a lot of people. When asked about their lyrics in response to say “F*ck the Police”, they explain that they are exercising their 1st Amendment right and shout from the hilltops that political correctness takes away from the stories they are telling about what’s going on in their communities. But in terms of women, what is the explanation for that? We have the right to talk about women any way we want. Well, that’s what they did and artists still do today.And Donald Trump, in 2015, still going at it strongly dissing women when he can.

Now, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube have kind of changed their tune, and don’t say degrading things about women for the most part (to be discussed later).  And to be honest, now, most people equate Ice Cube to a family actor who is always playing the sensible guy. I mean have you seen Ride Along.  And let’s not forget Dr. Dre’s physically abusive nature towards women from his past. Now, the members of N.W. A. are all grown up and might not talk or do what they used to, but we have new rappers who follow in their footsteps. We see time and time again, that people have no problem saying demeaning things to just about anybody, and we eat it up like cake as long as it’s not about us or offending us.

So here’s the question: Can we handle the truth, and if it is someone else’s truth, should we “handle” it ? Does being in the spotlight have any effect on what you are free to say? Do we really believe in Freedom of Speech as a Nation, and should we?

So I went on a little research expedition about Donald’s inappropriate language, I’m refraining from posting any of that garbage on my site, but here’s at least one link that identifies a few of his comments

Now, some of the comments in the article aren’t that bad, some of them are disgusting. Implying that Megyn Kelly was menstruating  i.e. she was emotional is equivalent to Hilary crying back in the 2008’s primary election. People said this happened cause she’s a woman. Really? Now my friends, those examples aren’t shit. It’s offensive, yes, but let’s not get distracted. Donald’s is offensive when he refers to women sexually or inappropriately but everything people are up in arms about isn’t offensive.  But the reality,  he’s running for President. So is he offensive, because he’s running for President, or because he’s just offensive. One of his supporters, now former, said it best at the end of the above article, “I wouldn’t want my daughter around him”, but would you really want Bill Clinton? (I’m just saying)

I am not at all condoning Trump’s commentary, look back two weeks ago here, I was pissed at him for talking about John McCain, because it was insensitive and un-American. But in some way American, right? This is my 4th post about Freedom of Speech. So you know, it’s something I care about. When we talk about limits and all that and its purpose, and why we should be thankful for it, you can look there and there for those conversations.

My point today America…. Stop picking and choosing the truth that you want to hear, truth should be all encompassing.  

So you have to take the whole person and their truth, not in parts. Can you love N.W.A. for coming out against the Police and shame them for their lyrics about women? You can but to me, it’s the same as an holier than though anti-gay preacher who hires gay men for sex. Like WHET! But here’s the point. Why do we continue to reward people for the things we like and shame them for the things that we don’t. You either love them for all of who they are, or you don’t. We cannot cherry pick the truth. As much as I or you would want to. If you know me, you know who my favorite actor is, and I watched that Clear Project crap, and cried every night for a week, okay maybe not every night or at all, but I love Tom Cruise, jumping on couches and all. So I guess what I am saying is just own it and stop apologizing, which brings us full circle as to why Trump is winning in the polls, winning in America with  his offensive talking points and language.  Trump isn’t apologizing for what he’s saying. It is HIS truth and he’s OWNING IT. There are not enough people doing just that.

In terms of N.W.A., I am not condoning the vile words or actions of abuse, but you cannot separate them. Those young men were born in situations of abuse where they saw it day in and out against women. When they raised themselves out of that environment, and knew better, they did better. This is not the case for all men. It’s not about whether Dr. Dre has or hasn’t really changed. In his new album, Compton, he might not be as bad, but he doesn’t do any favors for women, as mentioned so eloquently in this article. Even if slight, there are still a couple of hints of mistreatment of women. He could use his position to highlight the difficulty of being a black man, and how we unfortunately use violence against our women and children because of the struggle, but that wouldn’t be his truth. So let’s stop making excuses for him.  And that’s what this is really all about. You can yell and scream, inappropriate and vile, all you want, but the biggest problem is not believing people when they tell us who they are. So like I said, I am all for unabashed truth, even if it hurts, because it’s better knowing than not, but that means the rest of America needs to catch up with the truth that’s being spit right to them.

If what Trump is saying is resonating with so many Americans, what is the real problem, and who is going to fix it. Because if we don’t, Trump is going to be elected and he will have the opportunity to do so. My advice to the other candidates on both sides of the aisle, attack him until your truth is a better solution. Otherwise, his truth will continue to reign, and he happens to live in a country that will allow him to do so. Maybe everyone should take the same approach and exercise their freedom of speech as Trump has.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game, and starting learning how to play.

M/P

The Fight For Our American Dream

Web

A·mer·i·can dream

noun
  1. the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.

The origins of the American Dream are unknown, but this underlying theme has lasted with America for over 200 years dating back to the colonial time period. It is engrained in the very fabric of this country. And there are some people who believe that we all have the same road to the American dream and that all we need is hard work, determination, and initiative. For the most part, this is true, if you do these three things, it happens. But the reality is that we don’t all have the same road, because we don’t have the same starting place, never have and to be honest, we never will. But that’s okay. Is Warren Buffett’s achievement of his American Dream any less than Oprah’s, probably not; every son of an investor/congressman did not have his successes. But let’s not act like Oprah’s pursuit of her American Dream was not more challenging. No one is saying being born into a certain family is wrong, but we cannot negate the fact that there are some challenges certain groups of people have to face. That is what diversity is all about, and learning to first understand those differences actually helps us move beyond them, but do you know what doesn’t:

ignoring that these differences exist or

separating ourselves based on these differences, because we only need to be around people who “understand” us.

No one will understand you, if you don’t tell them. When I hear people complain about close-minded people, and that it’s not their job to bring diversity to them, you should ask Martin Luther King if he would trade you jobs…. I can hear him now, “All you had to do is talk to someone, maybe several times, be a little uncomfortable, and make an honest effort to help make them understand, and you couldn’t do that, WHAT?”

YBCLImU

Since I began blogging, I have not written directly about diversity, because it’s what I do in my day job, but I find it so improperly defined and viewed in America that we will never fix our problems with race, sex, or religion if we continue to separate ourselves or act like if we ignore it, and it will go away.

So what does the American Dream have to do with this?

Women often have a different road to the American Dream, and when, we as women embrace the differences it makes reaching the goal easier and more attainable. That’s really what feminism is truly about, it’s not that we want to be separate, but our ability to reach the American Dream is just different, and that’s okay. And we have to keep talking about our struggles and successes. I came to this idea, because there continues to be so much talk about feminism, I can’t help but think about it on a regular basis. As a young single woman, with a good education, and no kids, I think about it quite often, whether it’s other people’s perceptions I face, the questions I have to answer to, and the seats I’ve been told to take, and wait my turn. I can firmly say I believe that my life experiences would be very different if I were a man. I don’t think this is true for all women. There are areas that we, as women, have successfully navigated without as much trouble. However, I believe there are areas that we are still forced to break the glass ceiling, so yes, I believe feminism is part of that answer.

So I ask myself, why DO people have such a problem with this idea of feminism. And then it hit me: The American Dream. That’s what we are all striving for, as Americans. Achieving the American dream is different for each person, but to some extent everyone has dreams of success, and this success looks very different for each person, it could be measured in money, family, fame, notoriety, respect, salvation, or even legacy. The idea of the American dream dates back to the beginning of our country’s origin. Settlers came to America for their freedom and to be successful in their own right.

Now the reality is that for people to really obtain and achieve the American Dream there has to be a reasonable amount of people not reaching for it or failing to obtain the American Dream. Over the years, the number of people trying to reach for the American Dream has increased as America’s population has grown, and the number of different groups  striving for a seat at the table has also grown. As the numbers increased, those who had already achieved the American Dream were skeptical, presented challenges to the new groups every step of the way… we can look back to the Germans, Catholics, Italians, African-Americans, Jews, Hispanics, women and so on. And I’m not just talking about majority who are not cooperative, minority groups can become just as combative, because someone is trying to take a piece of their pie. Now I am not saying that these people feel threatened because they are racists, bigots, or sexists (although some may be), when someone is crouching on your territory, it is only natural to have a negative reaction.

That’s what I would say about the reaction to Emma Watson’s speech at the United Nations a few weeks ago. Here you have a young lady, fresh out of an educational institution, using her influence to create an initiative “to galvanize one billion men and boys as advocates for ending the inequalities that women and girls face globally”. (Source) Sounds, positive, right? Yet, there was such a negative reaction to her speech. Why? She was asking a whole segment of people to give up a little piece of their pie, and not just in America, but around the globe. And that’s the problem. Most successful people, especially women, didn’t ask, they just did it, even if they had to climb insurmountable obstacles. So let’s embrace the idea that we are not all given equal opportunity, but we are given an opportunity, and no one will give it to us. What we do with the opportunity, is really up to us.  The opportunity to continue to break barriers, and change the minds and hearts of those around us, is in our hands.

If we just look at a microcosm of women, you see a variety of differences that are truly beautiful. We have different dreams and goals. There are some of us who want to be the next CEO of a major company, or handle the small, quaint shop in a little country town; there are some of us who want to reach the highest point in their career while remaining a good and attentive parent, or taking care of the family and the household full-time. What none of us want to be inhibited from is pursuing our destiny, our American Dream.  But we must not ask for it, we must take it.

M/P


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