A mentally stimulating exercise!!

Posts tagged ‘culture’

Hurt No More…

Courtesy of Shepherd Door

Today marks the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence or intimate partner violence according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.

Growing up, hearing about or seeing a woman being hit by her partner while not common place didn’t seem a serious enough issue to be up in arms about. Of course we were all taught boys should not hit girls; however that was easier said than done when the boys that were hitting were mimicking their fathers.

Growing up, and being a typical teenager who thought I was so crazy in love didn’t give a second thought to the phone calls asking about my whereabouts or the suggestions on who my friends should be. I chalked it up to a jealous boyfriend not control or psychological abuse i.e. intimate partner violence.

I was sixteen the first time I was struck. I remember being untruthful to those who loved me when questioned about a busted lip. I remember making excuses for the heated exchange. I remember going back. I remember never leaving. I remember… Still the seriousness of this public health issue did not resonate.

Fast forward to May 2000- post a few more black eyes, verbal assaults, and foolishness. Intimate partner violence reared its ugly face and caused devastation that can be felt to this very day. You see it came this time with a vengeance that sunglasses couldn’t hide, time couldn’t heal or a thousand apologies couldn’t erase. This time it took the life of my mother. Shot seven times in a fit of drunken rage- domestic violence cancelled her existence.

And again the questions of what she did or didn’t do sought to validate or make sense of this crime. Even today when we hear stories of celebs and violence we pick and choose who we support, we find a way to justify why it happened instead of seeking to eradicate the root of it all.

Taboo, common place, not your business or you wish a n**ga would- however you categorize the issue- I challenge all that’s reading this post to not accept the status quo, don’t turn a blind eye and don’t judge. Violence against anyone man/woman- boy/girl is unacceptable.

I am dedicating my blog all month long to raising awareness about the issue. Share your stories of healing and triumph from either side of the fence. Your story could be the one that breaks the cycle for a woman/man that doesn’t know how to get out. 

“Live your life from your heart. Share from your heart. And your story will touch and heal people’s souls.” ~Melody Beattie

Links:

Enough- Breaking the Silence of Domestic Violence

http://www.thehotline.org/

Safe Horizons

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A Lovely Day! (Day 14)

I wake up to the smell of turkey bacon and sounds of someone in the kitchen preparing breakfast just for me. After morning meditation and reflection a quick glance at my to-do list reveals less than five things and no errands to run. I take the pooch for a walk around the neighborhood. I walk at a pace fast enough to elevate my heart rate but slow enough to take in the neighborhood scenery and sounds. Birds chirp, dogs bark, and a few cars drive pass. Cheerful neighbors honk and wave.  I take the time to deeply inhale nature into my nostrils. My mind is free and clear. No hurry. No rush. No deadlines. My morning shower is long and hot. No hurry. No rush. No deadlines. I throw on my favorite jeans, jump into the car, and excitedly head up I-75 bobbing my head to Lauryn Hill. Making my way into Lennox Mall, I anxiously arrive at Teavana. I browse every shelf, getting lost in the aroma of freshly brewed teas- so many to choose from.  Before heading home, I visit the art museum and spend hours gazing at and admiring a broad range of artistic expression. Evening finds me cooking an early meal, my favorite pasta. I unwind to the sounds of jazz, candles burning, and a bottle of wine. Yes the whole bottle! I’m in a zone as my creativity spills onto page after page of my new novel. No hurry. No rush. No deadlines.

Skyy’s Growing! (Day 8)

Briefly engaging in a twitter chat a few months ago, one of my followers and I discussed marriage and the lack thereof among African American women. We both concluded that many of us don’t know ourselves enough to know what we want or need and to truly discover this would require some soul searching- some self examination. This was absolutely true.  I had to be real enough with myself to admit that I didn’t completely know either. The 31 Day Reset Your Life Challenge was my blessing in disguise. From the beginning I knew it would be an awakening for me, yet I wasn’t intimidated. I yearned for more, more of me, more of the truth.  

Now that week one is complete, I have learned that although I am fully aware of the things that are important to me that there has been a disconnect in my actions. My talk and walk were out of sync. If I am to move towards maximum impact in all facets of my life (relationships, family, health, finances, education, lifestyle, and work) my core values should be revered as such.

The part that I have enjoyed most thus far was writing my personal mission statement. Every time I read that statement, I am re-invigorated. I feel bold, courageous, and a tad bit afraid. But what change isn’t frightening? What leader does not feel a little anxious guiding “their” people to a new place? With that, I feel the fear and I’m doing it anyway. After all, I have the ability to create, nurture, and transform. I am a WOMAN!!

Lastly, the exercise that pained me was actually seeing that there were more things I didn’t like about key areas of my life than I liked. I found myself staring at the paper and thinking hard. Yep, lean a li’l bit closer and roses really smell like poo-poo-poo!

My Life Map, My Vision (Days 6,7)

“Vision looks inward and becomes duty. Vision looks outward and becomes aspiration. Vision looks upward and becomes faith.” ~ Stephen S. Wise

Sitting on the deck of my quaint cottage overlooking Cape Cod, I am secluded a few weeks of every summer on Martha’s Vineyard writing until my heart’s content. I live on a sprawling estate in North Georgia where I host monthly tea socials with an intimate group of friends. I look forward to laughing and sharing with my sister circle. I attend many local community gatherings and charity events as well as national events. I travel abroad yearly to beautiful destinations- Peru, Egypt, Norway. I am an art and tea pot collector. I am a bestselling author and an award winning documentarian. I have been recognized for my tireless HIV/AIDS activism.  I attend annual conferences and workshops staying abreast of current and world affairs. I have multiple streams of income providing for a life of abundance and a path to early retirement. I give cheerfully of the first fruit. I exercise daily and have a personal chef. I devote time daily to meditating, praying, acknowledging my blessings, and seeking clarity for what is ahead of me. I love God. I visit family during the holidays and call frequently. I vacation with my best friends and laugh until my stomach hurts. I have a husband that was handpicked just for me, who loves and supports me unconditionally. I reciprocate. I nurture and pour into my children greatness as they will one day be great.

*****reflection

I stepped back, read my life narrative and walked away. My heart was full and tears welled up in my eyes. I had written this vision and made it plain before. But with all its promise, the pictures and words lacked Skyy (I).  I took my own breath away.  I questioned what I was seeing. Then I scanned my journey thus far and simply declared, why not?

My Tree of Life -“Reset 10” Values (Day 3)

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11

Today’s challenge focused on values. The aforementioned scripture spoke volumes to me as I thought about those things that were important to me both tangible and intangible. When I was young, carefree, not responsible for another being, and a tad rebellious I dreamt of worldly things…jewelry, clothes, cars. Not saying that if disposable income allows and all other priorities/needs are met that one can’t oblige themselves. But as a teeny bopper, still trying to self identify, the core of me remained untapped.

Maturity came with age, experience, and responsibility. I began to see things differently. I began to have an overwhelming compassion for others which came along with the nurturing spirit of motherhood. I began to become more empathetic as grace and mercy were extended to me time and time again. However, the pivotal change occurred with the death of my mother. Priorities shifted- the want to be a doctor was demoted for the need to spend more time with family and so forth and so on.

My values…God, Altruism, Family, Wisdom, Health, Peace, Financial Stability, Friendship, Fidelity, Loyalty, Academia, Community Activism, Trust, Success, Dignity, Integrity, Faith, …

Although my list is expansive at the root of it all is my spirituality, my guide to life, the root to which all my branches grow- my tree of life.

I am a woman. I have the power to create, nurture, and transform!

My Nappy Hair!!

I’m up this Saturday morning dreading the routine detangling, shampooing, and moisturizing the natural. Lying in bed, I mull over the desire to keep it; riding the same emotional rollercoaster for two years now. Then I dig deeper..

Picture this:  You have an interview for a Fortune 500 company, an interview for a position that not only will allow you to showcase your talent but garner you the salary that you deserve. The day before you have your two piece black suit laid out with the matching pumps and minimal accessories. While practicing your interview skills in the mirror you are faced with a dilemma. Keep or forego that crown of kinky-curly hair otherwise known as the afro.

With the downturn of the economy and decline in jobs this has been a hot button discussion among ethnic women. Hair worn by these women in its natural state absent of straightening chemicals is wooly, thick, kinky, and or curly appearing somewhat disheveled yet stylish. Looking in print magazine ads and television commercial this has become the new face of beauty for ethnic women, yet it cuts like a double edged sword.

Many in the unemployment lines have complained that while getting interviews the focus seemed to be more on their hair than the skills. “After the interview, I was bombarded with questions on the products I use and what methods I used to style my hair,” commented one woman. The idea of corporate diversity seems to be just an idea. Could it be that the afro has a negative connotation such as rebellious and strong willed or seen as some kind of political statement? Yes, if it were the 1960s or 70s. Mind you, the pick that many use to tame an afro is one that has a black fist formed at the end of the handle. A quick glance over history show those fighting for change sporting an afro; Stokely Carmichael, Jessie Jackson, and Angela Davis to name a few.

While the origination of the afro can be reminiscent of a very political and emotional time, many wore this style in defiance of what natural beauty was perceived to be, as a display of pride for African American beauty, or as a simple protest of inequality and injustices in that era. Today this style has proliferated through the ethnic community for various reasons however hair health, fashion, and embracing natural beauty are the front runners.

The notion that corporate America is not ready for radical looks that are deemed unprofessional only seeks to take society a step backwards and forces individuals to play a game to get a foot in the door. Some have called this game of straightening one’s hair to be accepted into a firm, selling out.  The issue of hair styles seem trivial compared to the societal issues that plague us yet it’s one that deserves acknowledging especially if it causes one to be boxed in for the sake of fitting in.

The fro lives to see another day!!