|Posted on July 31, 2015 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
Where oh where has Ms. Charlie gone. Oh where oh where was she... About a week ago, for 5 consecutive days I was away unplugged, unattached and unbothered with the hustle and bustle of life. That hustle and bustle stresses my nerves to the max, literally. Besides, I needed this break. Touring, book signings and speaking engagements has kept me busy this summer. I'm not complaining just thankful for the experience. With my plate being full I needed to unwind for a moment to take in the blessings he's bestowed upon me. Not in Dallas, or a spa day in Austin but away from every worry or matter of business that keeps me going.
Wheels up and I was off... To an island in the middle of the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic was absolutely beautiful, but they are light years behind in infrastructure. There was hardly any excess to technology, cellphone service or social media. Telephone calls were $2.85 a minute and internet access was only in the hotel lobby. Wouldn't you know it, my bungalow was near the beach about a half a mile away from the lobby. This resort was massive. To get around easier on the resort one caught the tram. Yep, have you figured it out yet? In order to use the internet, I had to leave my bungalow near the beach, get on a tram and to go to the lobby. Well, that decision was rather easy to make. To keep people updated or save my cellphone bill from roaming charges? I think not! In hindsight, it wasn't that serious to me. No one needs an all access pass to every step or one’s whereabouts anyway. I forewent technology and relaxed. That’s what I came here for anyway.
Now, I can't lie. That first day nearly drove me crazy not being able to plug in. I'm so used to updating tweeting, posting and texting that the simple joys of life have started to pass me by. The beauty of God’s craftsmanship, a peacock perched on a branch, a flamingo in a lagoon and a hibiscus flower budding for the first time are the few things that amazed me. While unplugged, I had to get reacquainted with me; not Charlie or Charlie Marcol but CMJ. I get lost in the shuffle trying to juggle it all that I forget to make time for me. I learned some important lessons that weren't taught in school, tried new things, detoxed on an ocean, had an experience with Mamajuana, (Mamajuana needs a blog all by herself) let fish feast on my feet, and I moved at my pace. Time was not a factor on this vacation. Thank God because it's never on my side. More importantly, I remembered why the best things in life are free.
A smile, laughter, a good soul cleansing cry became the theme early on. I didn’t have to act tough or have it all together in the Caribbean. These people didn’t know me or my story. They could hardly say my name, instead they embraced me and was happy that I came. Watching these people work tirelessly day in and day out, singing a song from their heart without complaining, I rediscovered what it means to be in a peaceful place in your spirit. They were thankful to see a new day, tips we left and things we take for granted such as family, being alive and the facilities of our body. A peace of mind is priceless and it is nothing in the world like it. We are so busy chasing unrealistic dreams, impressing others with wealth that we don’t’ have and putting on airs that we too forget about that real peace. Peace that allows one to sleep at night and productivity throughout the day. Finding it didn't cost me one red cent, a credit card swipe, or a check cashed. It is that peace of mind to be free, to love and accept me for who I am, and to release those things in life that don't matter that cause stress. Many long for sweet peace that passes all understanding. As I walked along the fluffy white sandy beaches, lined with crystal clear waters deep in my thoughts, I made a choice not to let others control my emotions or their thoughts of me. On that beach I freed myself, and forgave myself for some mistakes that I brought upon myself. One of them being my failed marriage. I made peace with that decision as I walked those blissful shores. I released my disappointments on the sea to study war no more within myself. It was important and necessary that I did so. I have a testimony to share and I didn’t want that weight to keep me in bondage anymore. As I reflected, I have the peace of knowing God has me and this was a part of the journey to get me here. I even made peace with cutting ties that bring stress into my life. Being unplugged from the world, wasn’t so bad after all. It actually set my soul free.
|Posted on July 20, 2015 at 1:00 AM||comments (0)|
The travel bug keeps biting me. This time he bit me hard. My word! In the matter of 3 days, I've traveled the southern coast of the United States racking up a grand total of 1,367 miles. Not to mention my drive to and from Waco and Dallas. My poor Acura needs a massage and an old fashion hand wash. It's good to get a change of scenery every now and again. Change is good. New places plus new opportunities equals exposure. Many people don't understand why I do what I do, but it's not up for their understanding or questioning. I believe traveling broadens your knowledge base, expands your view of the world and allows you to meet new people. I can remember as a young adolescent in elementary looking in my history and geography books wanting to travel and see the world. My daydreams have turned into my reality. These days most of my travels are in the name of "From the Florist to the Forest." The name of the book alone screams some type of traveling is involved. The exposure to markets outside of Houston will not come while I'm sitting twiddling my thumbs. So I made a conscience decision to actively pursuing my dreams. From the chitterling circuit to large cities everyone can relate to my book's universal message regardless of race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. I really believe in my literary piece and I want to share it with the world and anyone who will listen. It's my beautifully transcribe testimony of not waiting on God for my soulmate. I was concerned with the frivolous superficial things and not the real purpose of marriage because of my age. Many women receive it well and encourage me to continue sharing the message because they can relate. I received love from Waco to Birmingham because of its powerful message to Think Deep Before You Leap! Thank you to Marlena Hamilton at KWTX in Waco, TX and Apryl Fort-Kelly for hosting "Glam in the Ham" with Charlie Marcol. Ain't no stopping me now, I'm on the move. (Can you hear me singing the tune) It's nowhere to go but up from here. Next stop, no one knows.... Stay tune.
|Posted on July 18, 2015 at 12:40 AM||comments (0)|
It is said that opposites attract. Who on earth came up with that theory? Maybe opposites attract for batteries and compasses but in my opinion that theory is not true for people. Applying this lesson to our romantic pursuits is often a recipe for disaster. When it comes to matters of the heart, it gets complicated. Having nothing in common doesn't give you something special or the need to survive. For instance, my positive spirit with his negative attitude gives me a miserable relationship. I can think of a lot of opposite relationships that doesn't work well or integrate. Jesus and the devil, Ike and Tina, oil and water, bleach and ammonia, the educated verses the unlearned even a good looking man that's undetermined. No matter how you try to make any of those combinations work, simply it doesn't. How do I know? Based on pure observation. I'm not an expert in the field of science to know, the laws of physics and love can't exist when there isn't a bond. As I state in Chapter 3 in From the Florist to the Forest, "When something has bonded well together it is difficult to break apart. Bonding forms that indestructible connection that no one can break. With any bond there is a need." The need must exist to create the bond. Without the bond the relationship doesn't thrive. Forming the right bond creates a sense of belonging. Remember, I only speak or write from my personal experience. Your character, personality, goals & desires in life should align with your partner. In a relationship you will have to learn to be flexible, but not so unbalanced that you find yourself making accommodations for everything. Life already presents us challenges, so being a relationship shouldn't be filled with uncompromising drama. According to Psychology today, studies have found that people are more likely to be attracted to and pursue romantic relationships with individuals who are more like themselves in most facets of their lives. I wonder why? Actually I'm learning that when you and your mate are similar, it creates a harmonious peaceful relationship. You will find it easy to make decisions because you and your boo are on the same page about things that matter. You are a force to reckon with because better together than separated. You are secure with each other. You will appear to be happy in your relationship and find it easy like Sunday morning when you are more alike than different. Here are a few things (some are serious and some are funny) I believe a couple should not apply the opposite theory on.
Finances- We don’t have to have money to have a real good time! Said no woman ever! That’s cool for certain instances but is that the way the relationship will operate. Nothing kills a relationship faster than an over spender, a broke buster and a person that lives above their means. Who are you trying to impress? After marriage, you should be building an empire not tearing it down. Is there a retirement fund in place, a nest egg for a rainy day, or a savings account that will cover you just in case the unimaginable happens such as sickness or health was in intervene on your lives.
Energy- Ok, in the game of love we all know what grown people like to do. If he's a dud, and you're a bit experienced things will eventually get boring over time. Like yawning boring... The levels should match to help resist temptation from outside influences. If not, a whole lot of extra stimulation will be needed to keep the fire and desire burning. Again, I'm not an expert but I only speak from experience. (Smile)
Goals- What is the ultimate goal that you want to achieve together? Are you unequally yoked? Does he support you in your endeavors and do you support his dreams. Even if your goals are not aligned, that will create friction in your home. You will begin to resent your partner if for not being able to live out the dreams. When you marry someone unequally yoked, many things are not accomplished within your marriage because you don’t have the same outcome in mind. Instead, you will find yourselves arguing about trivial things. That’s enough to drive a person crazy.
Communication- communication builds bridges not walls. Your communication styles should be very similar in order to be effective. He’s yelling and your crying when disagreement comes creates two crushed spirits. When negativity is spewed like acid, it’s hard to take those words back once they are said.
Family- does he want a family and would you rather focus on your career & see the world. Starting a family is a serious conversation that should be discussed prior to "I do." Oh, and that mother-in-law that you can’t stand will someday become your child’s grandmother if the two of you decided to procreate. And if your husband-to-be is a momma’s boy, forget it. His mother will stand by waiting to catch him when he messes up because she doesn’t trust you.
Shared values & beliefs- Your political and religious views should be complement each other as well. Peoples beliefs say a lot about who they are and their character. For instance, if he is Buddhist and you’re a Christian, he will not understand your religious beliefs, thus creating strife in your home. In times of trouble, where will he turn to for direction, your God or his? How will your children be raised? What holidays will you celebrate? See… typing these questions created confusion in my head. You should be able to identify his work ethic and if you share the same values and morals. This helps establish cohesiveness amongst the two of you.
|Posted on July 8, 2015 at 10:35 AM||comments (2)|
As I scrolled through social media for the last few weeks, I've noticed several friends post the "big" announcement of having a baby. How exciting! Congrats to you all. For some, this is the first time. For others, it's the last. Whatever the time, consider it a blessing. The birth of a child means God has not given up on his people. He has granted you favor in this junction of your life for a reason. Your life is about to change for some awesomeness that I can not explain. I had my child over 10 years ago, but I remember being pregnant with so much possibility. Times have changed but GREAT parenting remains the same. The latest gizmos and gadgets can not replace your role and job as a parent. This journey that you are about to embark on will make you a better person. As a parent, I've learned the real meaning of unconditional love, patience and sacrifice. So today my friends, this blog is dedicated to you. Take pictures and make precious memories... These moments won't last long. Hopefully, these nuggets of information (some are funny) will help you as you cruise through parenthood. Have fun and enjoy the ride.
1. Having a child will NOT destroy your relationship or marriage. I hate it when I hear people express that about giving birth to a child. The birth of a child means new life, hope and promise. None of that equates to death therefore that can not be the reason why it ended. The reality is that the relationship was ALREADY on the brink and the relationship couldn't survive the strenuous request of parenthood. If anything, giving birth should bind you closer than drive you apart. Will it be stressful? Yes, but remember this is your partner so form a colloborative partnership to help keep your boat afloat. One of the most meaningful gifts you can give your kids is to cultivate a happy relationship with your partner, and that starts from day 1.
2. You can still put each other first, even with the baby. You can not forget each other and the needs that must be fulfilled to keep each other content. It takes effort and energy. There is a hierarchy within the family that must remain present in order to survive. If it doesn't, the dynasty will fall apart. You cannot forget each other or the reason you got married in the first place. You must make time for each other and continue to meet the needs of your spouse. You will have to learn to be flexible and considerate when the little comes along.
3. You will grow to love an individual more than you love yourself. All bets are off when it comes to your offspring. You will constantly stay in protection mode. You will learn to understand why mother bears protect their cubs the way they do. Your number one job is to protect them from all hurt, harm and danger. I promise you, you've never experienced love the way that you are about to witness. Here's a crazy fact. You are willing to lay down your life for your child.
4. At your worst, you are loved... Your children will love you even when you are unlovable. Sometimes, our life deals with us bitterly, but our children continue to love us inspite of our shortcomings, meanness, forgetfulness and unpleasantries. They will love you just the way that you are.
5. It's ok to ask for help. A closed mouth will never get fed. This job of parenthood will require some sacrifice and a whole lot of patience. It's ok to say, "I need some help!" without feeling guilty. Better yet, YOUR is the key word. "I need your help."
6. You will tell time in months until your child turns 2 years old. It's awkward saying, "He's 25 months." That drops off immediately at the 2nd birthday party.
7. The forecast will call for golden showers and you won't have an umbrella... Your child will put R. Kelly to shame. You will get urinated on, especially if it's a boy. Get ready. On top of getting urinated on, you will learn that feces has meaning. Yes! That's gross, but true. Your child's feces will have a meaning. There's teething feces, there's not enough water in your diet feces, there's that didn't agree with you feces. (That's the one that comes out of their clothes and gets everywhere.) Oh how I remember those days. I don't miss them at all. Here's a tip. Take turns on those diaper changes if you can. Everyone will get their fair share of golden showers and baby dung. My little one used to serve it with a smile. I couldn't stay mad at a face as cute as his.
8. The little things matter. Those things that we take for granted such as walking, smiling and talking become monumental as a parent. You cheer for first steps, rolling over, tummy time, sitting up and developmental skills that allude to the fact that your baby is on the right track. You may have baby Einstein on your hands but don't rush through the developmental process.
9. Make time for you and each other.... You will lose your swag for the first two years or so of the kids life. Make-up and a beat face will become the ghost of "I used to be" and your faithful go-to hairdo will be the ponytail. Those dapper clothes and threads that you wear proudly will be a thing of the past unless you want to get spit up, slob juice from those juicy cheeks, and formula on them. Cotton will be the fabric of choice and expensive clothes will move to picture days, family outings and Sunday's. There is a remedy for that. Don't allow yourself to go into the trenches for the sake of parenthood. Make time to pamper yourself like you used to before the birth of your child. Remember your number one priority is each other. Continue to have date nights where you can put on your best threads. There is no greater feeling than getting into your prior clothes post baby.
10. It'll come naturally... There is NO such thing as a "by the book baby." I read every pregnancy book on the market, and all of those do's and don't's scared me to death. Those books had me interviewing and asking questions to my family about genetics, chromosomes, intelligence IQ, etc. Need less to say, I worked every nerve in their brain and they were ecstatic when my bundle of joy arrived. It's your baby and your natural instinct will kick in in due time. My natural instinct kicked in immediately. Therefore stop reading the pregnancy book that tells you how to be, what to be and when. Those are reference guides and not the Bible. Every baby is different. I found out that the old wives tales that had been passed down from generation to generation worked better than those reference guides any way.
11. Social Media is the devil... Post only the best pictures of your baby on social media. I understand you are beyond excited about being a parent, but make sure they are cleaned & decent before sharing with the world. (The world Craig, the world) Just like you pick the flyest selfie of yourself, make sure your baby has that same justice. People are cruel so and when they only comment on the clothes or the shoes, they can't find anything positive to say. Hey! I'm being honest here. Don't say I didn't warn you.
12. You are the example. As a parent you must remember your number one job is to make our world a better place. Be sure to remember this one thing, you are making positive and productive people. The Bible tells us to, "Train them in the way they should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." That simply means teach them the difference between right and wrong. Never teaching them the difference between right and wrong creates a brat that will grow up to be a spoiled adult who will believe that everything should go their way.
13. You will become sleep deprived. No lie... Here's what I discovered after all my help started going back to their perspective places after giving birth to my son. Sleep when the baby is sleeping. Don't put on a load of laundry, vacuum or straighten up. Get your beauty rest. A rest-filled parent is a productive parent. If a messy house bothers you, hire a maid to help out on certain days of the week. Better yet, call your friends over to watch the baby so you can get your rest.
14. Social life! Forget about it. You will have a party at your crib from 1 to 3 AM for the first 6 months of the baby's life. Here's the cool thing, you will constantly feel like you have a hang over and you didn't drink one drink.
15. You can do this. Just remember to encourage each other on thie path of parenthood. This is a life changing event for the both of you.
|Posted on June 30, 2015 at 1:20 PM||comments (1)|
How do I say good bye to some of the best memories ever? Good byes are never easy no matter what it is; people, places and things. They are hard because it is familiar to the soul. But this good-bye though, is extremely hard. I didn’t know when we pulled off that faithful Sunday in April to return back home that would be our last time together. It is said, “Home is where the heart is.” On today, a mental open heart surgery was performed. My childhood home and I will no longer share the same rhythmic impulse. Our cozy 1,700 square feet, 4 bedroom abode snuggled in the bend of the street is no longer our residence. Even though they are moving, 326 will always be a part of me. It’s my home, my foundation and stability. My family has lived in Oak Cliff in this house my entire life. She remained constant when my life was full of changes. So this good bye is a bit difficult. She was good to me, my family, and those that graced us with their presence. All good things must come to an end and this is the end of an era. They've boxed up containers with our memories, furniture, and history. 326 has been kind to us, the years have not returned the same favor and has worn her down. The palace cannot be renovated or flipped any more. Her flips have flopped and we had to say good-bye… I will definitely miss her.
I am the woman I am today because of 326. She provided soil full of nutrients that helped me grow deep and strong roots to become this mighty tree. She wanted to make sure that I was able to bear fruit when it was time so she institutionalized me with the best instructors on this side of the Mississippi. I learned how to walk, talk, ride a bike, cut grass and polish my fingernails. On Saturday mornings, there was no sleeping in. She loved to be spotless and she wasn’t happy until she was in pristine condition. You could hear Rufus and Chaka singing Jamaica Funk, James Ingram’s Find 100 ways or Luther Vandross’s Bad Boy blasting from the windows with the smell of bleach fumigating the air while the vacuum was humming a different tune. Thanks to her, I know the meaning of “elbow grease” and she required a lot of it. On Sunday mornings, she would pull me out of bed to teach me how to cook Southern cuisine from scratch. Banana pudding, goulash, chicken and dressing, greens, and red beans were her favorite dishes to whip up to nourish her family. After the job was done in the kitchen, she was adamant that I attended church with my Sunday’s best on. Suited and booted with a slip on plus stockings was the only way to go and she was serious about that. So many things happened in 326 that I will cherish forever. I learned how to read, and write, think outside the box, dream, bore my creative genius, lost my virginity and marched to the beat of my own drum. It was there, she dared me to be different and stand out from the crowd.
Many have passed through her iron bar doors and were welcomed with love. If walls could talk, she would have a lot to say and the stories she would tell would put Tyler Perry movies to shame. This address buzzed with people and social functions that would shut the block down. Cookouts, NFL play-off games, get togethers and Sunday dinners were regular events where there was plenty to eat, drink and a good time was had by all. 326 was the cornerstone of the Johnson clan that offered pillars of strength. So much so, she provided shelter for those looking for a fresh start, a loving aunt who loves the Dallas Cowboys, a singing psalmist that loves to decorate and a little cousin that loves to talk and eat. Her doors were always opened. You may have entered as a guest, but when you left you were family. Even though I left her 18 years ago, she never left me. She welcomed me with open arms every time she saw me. I brought laughter, fun and love. She even welcomed my bundle of joy and wrapped him around her finger too. It was there that he learned how to crawl and mumble his first real word, “Hush!”
No matter what, 326 will always be a part of me and my character make-up. She is deeply woven in the tapestry of my being. She provided love, hope, laughter, peace, womanhood, cheer and countless other things that I will always be grateful for. She taught me consistency, responsibility and respect but most of all how to stand on my own two feet. She was filled with God-fearing women that loved the Lord that instilled the same love in me. She was our palace in the hood where we sat proudly on our thrones. Now, you know I was Queen C… and my mom and Granny were the princess and duchess. (Just kidding)
I know parting is a sweet sorrow, but starting over is even a sweeter taste to digest. I am happy for them both as they open this new chapter of their lives. Even though we have all physically moved from 326, she will always remain in our hearts. If you personally know them, join me in congratulating them on this new accomplishment.
|Posted on June 17, 2015 at 12:25 AM||comments (0)|
It's the summertime... Our lives are filled with welcomed and unwelcome distractions. We are busy working, going to, pick up, run over here, and gotta get there. When life doesn't have us tied down we are scrolling, uploading, posting, texting, tweeting, IG'ing, and FaceTime'ing that we don't put in the quality time for those that really matter. OURSELVES. My son was away in Missouri all week at a summer camp so this mother took full advantage of the free time. If I told you that I didn't do one thing, that would be a complete lie but my interactions with people was minimal. By Thursday, I was ready to see what I could get into. People need human interaction including myself no matter how much of a hermit we may claim to be. Conversations, laughter, mental stimulation is what I desired. I needed to give myself some quality time outside of my house away from my laptop. So, this past Saturday, I decided to put my phone down, get out the bed, put on one of my cute maxi dresses and take advantage of the Texas Black Expo. I wanted to do something other than a club or day party. The Expo was literally 15 minutes from my house. "Why not go," I thought. My hair was slayed to the Gawds & freshly done. I definitely didn't want it to go to waste. (Besides my hair works for me) Need less to say, I'm so glad that I listened to my inner self! I made up in my mind that Saturday was going to be the day to network, meet people in the business, find vendors for the upcoming Empowerment Breakfast, and introduce Charlie Marcol to potential clients and readers.
I had to walk a green mile to get to Hall A once I arrived at the George R. Brown (GRB). From the moment I stepped into the Expo Hall, we (the hair & the dress) were a hit! I walked in with expectancy. As an author, my first stop was the Author's Network area. Some names were recognizable while others were like me; novice in the literary field. (Hey! We all have to start from somewhere.) It was there I connected with some amazing people who were lucky enough to get their works displayed at this affair. I have a strong spirit of discernment so my gut pulled me to certain people like a magnet. I took business cards and distributed mine. "Oh you're an author?" "Why? Yes I am. I am Charlie Marcol the author of From the Florist to the Forest, where I am challenging women to think deep before you leap into marriage." Their countenance said it all. Their face lit up like City Hall's Christmas tree with pure astonishment. My elevator speech was on point because I wanted to make a lasting impression. I play no games and when it's time to stand and deliver; I deliever.
The absolute highlight on my day was the authors network panel. It was there I had the opportunity to meet Angela Stanton, Eric Jerome Dickey, and ReShonda Tate Billingsley. Of course the formalities were covered and then we switched gears to what we wanted to hear. They were candid, hilarious, and real. I love when people can joke about their craft because it shows they are human. Each of them are successful in their own right, but everyone shared their insight of the literary world that's key for my branding. It's all strategic. We covered distribution deals, rejection from publishers, how to market, and of course self-publishing. Self-publishing is a big deal in the author world. To self-publish or not to self-published, that's the question. Every inspiring author wanted to know if self-publishing is good. When Eric said, "Yes!" I felt like he gave me the stamp of approval! All of these things I've heard before because I have an amazing mentor, but to know I was on the right track gave me the wind to soar higher. Everyone rushed to meet Eric and ReShonda, but there was one that stood out. I knew she was different as she sat on that panel, but she spoke with confidence and the truth. Maybe because she was six feet tall, hazel eyes with red hair. Or was it when she shared she had her child handcuffed to a bed because she was in prison. I don't know what it was exactly, but I love second chance testimonies. I love stories of women who overcome, defy every obstacle set before them and are determined to succeed come hell or high water. (Reminds me of myself) Never judge a book by its cover, especially until you open it up and read it. Angela Stanton poured herself in her memoir The lies of a Real Housewife. I love when an author can open up my eyes to help me remove these rose colored glasses that I wear proudly. Ladies and gentlemen everything we see on reality TV has a back story. Angela's memoir solidified my creed in which I live by, "Don't believe the hype." (Chapter 4 in my book).
I left there again feeling accomplished. Not only did I meet and network with different entrepreneurs, activists and authors, I was granted an interview with D-Mars magazine of Houston. In the words of James Cleveland. "It was a good day and I thank God for it."
|Posted on June 12, 2015 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
Yellow, Red, Black or White... They are precious in his sight. Question? Are we still trying to pass the brown paper bag test in the 21st century. After all, it's 2015 we have made significant strides. Our First lady is a real sister. Lupita Nyong'o, Gabrielle Union, Tasha Smith and countless others have landed roles in Hollywood, but some of us are still enslaved in our mind. Especially within our own culture. Color complex reigns supreme. At a video shoot the sign read, "Only 8, 9's & dimes can apply," heaven forbid if a dark skinned girl shows up at the audition. She does not have a fighting chance before the cameras begin to roll. This type of attitude is deeply embedded in some that "light is right" and "dark skinned people are just ugly." This concept dates back to 1712 when Willie Lynch shared his theory on how to control the slave colony. This concept brainwashed slaves to believe in color hierarchy. It is a legacy of slavery and plantation society that placed white slave-owners at the top of the top of the social ladder, followed by those who were mixed race/lighter skinned and as your color went down the ladder the worse you were. If you were dark you were inferior. Sadly, it's 303 years later and the knowledge he shared on that dreadful day still lives on. (Go read on it, it'll blow your mind) Where is this coming from Charlie?
While standing in line at the bank this week an elderly African-American woman turns to me and said, "You're cute for a dark skinned girl." What? Did this old woman just throw some shade at me? The look of bewilderment on my face probably said what I wanted to say. Grant it, I was beat to the Gawds with my floppy hat, sundress and shades, but still. Did we just just step back on plantation? That's not the first time I've heard that from someone in the generation before mine. I've even been question about the thickness and growth of my real hair. I figured their assumption was I was wearing weave or my hair can't grow that long because of the color of my skin. My question is, what does that mean and why I just couldn't be a pretty girl? Why add "dark skinned." I didn't stick around to ask her but politely smiled with a thank you. I already knew where it was coming from. Willie Lynch's theory indoctrinated an entire race of people to believe that having melanin in your genetic make-up was despicable. Now, we are conditioned to believe that yellow bones are bad and dark skinned women aren't allowed to be attractive. It's called Colorism. Colorism was seen in the mid 21st century with the introduction of the brown paper bag test. Paper bag parties were African-American social events at which only individuals with complexions at least as light as the color of a brown paper bag were admitted. The term also refers to larger issues of class and social stratification within the African-American population. Ok, that's dandy and all but this practice is totally subjective. Honestly, we are the Baskin Robbins of culture. We come in all different shades and flavors. Chocolate, mocha, vanilla bean, and in my son's case French Vanilla Chocolate. That's what I love about the African-American race; the variety of color shades are numerous. I can't decide the color I want to be, however other cultures can. If someone doesn't except you for your skin tone, then that organization or person is not for you. In 2015, I refuse to believe this is still happening but I'm not oblivious to the fact.
Here is the greater question. Have we become culturally oppressed to believe that we are not beautiful as a collective whole? This attitude has descended into this generation. Just like that woman in the bank couldn't believe beauty could come in dark skin this same perspective effects the dating world. Some men will not date or marry a dark skinned woman. If that's his standard that's fine. Rappers rap about yellow and red bones as if they are colors in a crayon box that they can use at their discretion. It's his opinion and a person is entitled to feel the way he wants to. I personally find it very superficial but it that's what that man wants go for it! I've meet some beautiful light skinned women with funky attitudes and blank upstairs. She depends solely on beauty to get her wants she wants, but we all know that beauty fades with time. Real love sees no color especially not skin tones. I tend to think that I'm a strong minded individual but for some women they will change themselves to fit the standard. The Beyoncé look is what is hot right now. In turn, these women will add, enhance, put on or lighten up something they can not change which is DNA. I can not change how a person feels but I don't have to grow accustomed to people's opinion about my skin tone. Either you like it or not. No man or elderly woman cashing her Social Security check will make me doubt the skin I am in. If it's not your preference just move around. I am not worried about being a dime, because I am a dollar. It takes 10 woman to make up the totality of me and what I can offer. I know my worth! but ok... Here is one thing I do know... My melanin is on fleek. Now take that one to the bank and cash it.
|Posted on June 9, 2015 at 11:10 AM||comments (1)|
Friends... How many of us have them. Loyal. True. Honest. Confidant are just a few character traits that I can use to describe a real friendship. When it comes to friends, some of us are more in tune in that department than others. When we were younger, friendships were easier to come by. As a child you were my friend if you wanted to "play" with me, shared your Oreos on the black top and wore cute clothes. (Shallow... I know right. Hey, I was in elementary school) As I mature, friendship has taken on a different meaning for me. There comes a time in your life where you should evaluate your inner circle of acquaintances. Who's riding and who's lying. Yes, lying! Side note: Why do we say ride or die. Are you willing to lay down your life for me or is that just lip service? I only know of one man who did that freely. But I digress.
The Bible tells us that a man that has friends must show thyself friendly. At some point, you can't help but to notice your circle of friends because your friends are a true reflection of you. Friends should add value to your life and not bleed you dry, talk about you to others or pass judgment as if they are the "invisible" one. We take the word so lightly when friends have a major impact in our lives. We tell our dirty secrets to our friends, share and bear each other's burdens, celebrate as well as sympathize but more importantly our friends are adopted members of our families. That's the beauty in having a true blue friend.
We’ve all heard the saying "one bad apple spoils the whole bunch," and have probably seen instances where it applies to people. Every now and again, an apple falls into the barrel that wasn't ready to reap the benefits of harvest. It is spoiled, no good and infested. After awhile it will contaminate other fruit it is stored with. Now, do you really believe I'm talking about apples? Not hardly. I'm talking about that friend that doesn't know he/she is spoiled. That friend whose intentions are good, but can't identify the maturity of the friendship. We keep them around because they may be a good person at their core, but during their growth process something happened that caused them to get infected. What kind of friend am I speaking of? Let me introduced you to the "High maintenance acquaintance." As I progress in life, I am learning that I can live without the "The high maintenance acquaintance," because they add no value. I steer clear like a ten car pile up on the freeway. The high maintenance acquaintance have standards and expectations so high that no one can meet them. The sad thing is, if you were to turn and demand those same expectations they will fall short every time. Be aware. The high maintenance acquaintance can be deceiving as if they want the best for you but honestly their opinion and views are very distorted.
Let me break this down for you.
1. Burger King syndrome- The High Maintenance Acquaintance loves to have things their way. They love to outshine, compete and be the center of attention. The demands are borderline narcissistic because it's all about what they want, how they want it and when. This narcissistic mindset is often the result of failing to learn as children and young adults that we are not so special, and other people don't merely exist to serve our needs and wants.
2. You will do things out of obligation and not out of love for the High Maintenance Acquaintance for fear of the backlash or ridicule. Compassion is an after thought and never in the forefront.
3. Their advice reigns supreme- The High Maintenance Acquaintance believes they are very knowledgable in every facet of life. They have advice for everything, even things they have not experienced. Hello! What worked for someone else may not work for others. Listen, advice is always great but you have to consider the source. I don't like to listen to advice from people that I will not trade places with. Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
4. They can't recognize their problem- The High Maintenance Acquaintance loves to point the finger and place the blame on others. It's hard to look at self in the mirror at times. Being in a reflection state is scary. In their eyes, they are perfect and hardly wrong. Others opinions, lives, situations never matter because it's all about them. Which brings me to point #5.
5. It's all about me- No one ever listens to me. Me! Me! And me some more. The High Maintenance Acquaintance goes silent almost into hiding when "me" didn't get their way. They won"t call you for days, weeks or months on end because they are mad with you for standing up to them. Crazy huh? A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (That's the word)
6. They never let sleeping dogs die- It's ok to talk things over, but the high maintenance acquaintance loves to go on and on and on and on. They must get their point across and will not stop until it's heard. Their comments have to be validated and or justified. They never take in consideration your feelings or thoughts. The best way to shut down a High Maintenance Acquaintance is soft answers. Soft answers turns away wrath. During a quarrel go completely silent without responding. After they have stated their claim to win the war, say this. "Are you done." Watch how that sends their rocket into orbit. Arguing adds fuel to the fire and many of them feed on that behavior.
7. They don't adapt well to change- No matter how they may stress I'm "easy breezy" underneath it all, they still want things their way. A sudden change in plans, new friends to the crew, or heaven forbid if your opinion is different from theirs automatically leads to disputes. Any change causes them to stress and has a major impact on their life. I think it is the fear of the unknown. The High Maintenance Acquaintance is be a bit of a control freak.
8. Insert vs Assert- The High Maintenance Acquaintance can not distinguish the difference between insert and assert. Being assertive can be seen as a bit bossy at times. By all means, that should be saved for professional relationships never with your friendships unless the friend is causing eminent danger to themselves or others. But when you are a positive ray of light, people will insert you in their lives. You don't have to be assertive when people want to be around you. You bring goodness, cheerfulness, and being around you is a sure delight.
9. Entitlement- The High Maintenance Acquaintance has a sense of entitlement in your life. They believe they should be on the front row in your life's audience. How dare you put someone else before them. Entitlement, or sense that we have the right to have something, can be a dangerous expectation. However that same sense of entitlement is never deemed necessary when the shoe is on the other foot. For example, they want to be invited everywhere with you, but they never offer or invite you anywhere in return. They are borderline offended when the invitation is not extended. But as the good book states, "And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them."
10. Judge and the juror- The High Maintenance Acquaintance can be very judgmental. People need to learn the difference between criticism and critique. One is done with love and the other one is laced with malice. Encouragement is the key. The Word tells us, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."
At the end of the day, we love our friends, but are you really entitled to keep friends around that drain you and vex your spirit. As I can round my age to the next perfect number, I have to evaluate my circle of friends. My life is enriched and my friendships should be as well. It's just a thought and something to ponder. These ah-ha moments that I am having are so real, but refreshing.
|Posted on June 5, 2015 at 10:10 AM||comments (2)|
To be young, gifted and a sweet precocious black girl... oh what a lovey precious dream. She had so much promise in her big brown eyes, with the possibility of a great future ahead. Growing up on the south side of the the metroplex, she was the object of affection in her family's eyes. Her mother tried to overcompensate with material things because she knew her daughter was emotionally deficient. Even with time and beauty on her side, she lacked one important piece of her life... Her father. For an extensive period of time, there was a void in her heart she couldn't explain. She tried to fill those voids with male attention and relationships but still experienced rejection and the need for validation. Validation that she never received because each relationship was never successful. For the longest she couldn't figure out why. She felt depleted and suffered effects of low self-esteem and self worth. No daddy's knee to sit on, wearing the special title of "daddy's little girl, or super hero in her eyes to save the day. Just broken promissory notes and debts that he refused to pay. Her emotional security compromised forever. As time went on, she learned to guard her heart and avoid engaging emotions as the perfect excuse to keep her running shoes on and never to fully commit. She becomes "hard" and made a vow to herself never to be hurt again (if she can control it) Due to the constant feelings of abandonment, she becomes emotionally frail before entering into adulthood. Sad, but it's true. I know first hand how this girl feels. This girl is someone I know all to well. This little girl is me.
There has been a dramatic shift in the African-American home within the last two decades. This fatherless effect has affected the stability of future generations to come. There are more children growing up in homes without THEIR father. As an educator in an urban school district, I see first hand the effects of a fatherless child. These students are emotional, promiscuous, their academic performance is sometimes affected, and may suffer from social and psychological problems. Statistics state that boys are more likely to become involved in crime, and girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens. A father is so important in the home. He provides security, stability, and most of all is a role model of what a man should be. A father's role for a young girl shows her how a man should treat her, love her & make provisions for the home. Her father is her first love. Optimally, a little girl needs to see herself reflected in the love she sees for herself in her father's eyes. If she doesn't, her portrait of manhood will be distorted.
The past is a sure indicator of our future. Our childhood circumstances affects our relationships as an adult. The absence of a father in a girl's life may have major consequences in those development years because the positive paternal role model is missing. Without a father present it makes women pick anything as far as mate. There was no one there to set the standard too. If a girl is not reassured of her value and worth early in life she finds it difficult to relate to men. Subconsciously without regard, she seeks approval and recognition from her prospects. While jumping from bed to bed, underneath it all the fatherless woman remains hopeful that someone will stick around to love her the way she desires and receives the validation she longs for.
This coin is two-sided but it's still scary. All is not lost for the fatherless daughter. She may not endure the life of poverty, babies and crime. Instead she will become successful in her own right. She believes in herself, while the latter needs to excel in order to catch a glimpse of approval and recognition in the eyes of those who give her a message of approval, honor, or prestige. The value of such a belief in oneself, easily acquired by the woman with a positive relationship to her father, is immeasurable in the adult life. In the process of success, she learns to love herself. By receiving others approval she realizes that the validation she was searching for comes from a peaceful place. The peace she never knew. She becomes aware of her past, the mistakes and decisions that transcended into her present relationships. (Speaking about me) She makes peace with herself, forgives her father and grows from it. In the end, she realizes she wants to take off those running shoes for a positive and healthy relationship.
But we know that history repeats it's self. That's a known fact. I was raised by a single mom and now I'm a single mom too. The major difference is my son's father is a dominant figure in his life. I don't understand the dynamic because I did not experience that with my father, but I am thankful for their relationship. I believe certain roles belong to certain parents. I can't teach my son how to be a man because I wear my dresses and make-up proudly. One thing is for sure, just as my mother pushed me to greatness and success, I will do the same for my son.
The past really affects our future... Yes, I did not have a father in the home growing up, but I did not become a societal statistic. I actually think I turned out better than some people growing up in a toxic household with both parents present. My home was filled with love, peace, laughter and successful women. The fatherless daughter can grow into a woman with purpose, ambition and determination. She becomes a dedicated mother and learns to give to causes greater than herself. I've learned to address the root of the problem so my outcome could change. I now know what self-love means and I practice it. You see a successful woman in front of you today, but I remember when... Thank God for deliverance and change. I think I just had an Ah-Ha moment. This feels good!
Where are the fathers?
|Posted on June 2, 2015 at 12:35 AM||comments (3)|
Wow! What a busy weekend. This past weekend was so special to me. I mean, this one is goes down in my history books. Sometimes you experience something that changes your perspective forever. Let me be transparent for a moment. I've been drained and lacked the motivation to do anything but get up, go to work, return home to go to sleep. This was the story of my life and that cycle was beginning to take a toll on my mental state. This weekend was what I needed to jump start my summer into over drive. I stepped out of my comfort zone and traveled to foriegn lands. A book signing and a conference was on the agenda. I wanted to kick off my tour in the the land of peaches, the state of Georgia where everything is sweet including the tea. It's no secret that Atlanta is well known for its debauchery, ill mannered house wives, and cutting up with total ratchetness. We sensationalize and idolize the wrong women trying to pattern our lifestyles after them. Despite of Atlanta's sour taste, there is some sweetness wrapped with goodness happening there. There are positive things that we don't see on TV. No water throwing in the face, friendship contracts or Mr. Chocolate sightings. I found hidden jewels rippened with knowledge ready to share it with the world. These southern belles embraced me, empowered me, and inspired me to be greater. Saturday was beyond amazing for me. The Stilettos & Strategies conference blessed my soul immensely. These women poured into my spirit with their wisdom, knowledge and stories. I felt such a connection with all of the women. I truly believe that things are orchestrated by God and everything is his own timing. The warm welcome that I received when I walked through the door reminded me of home. It felt familiar because it was familiar. The organizer, Nu Epps the mastermind behind the conference was a home grown Houston, Texas girl. WHO KNEW! Immediately the hiccups and nervous energy I felt going in remained on the other side of the door. There I met women who were just like me; making it their life's mission to better other women who share similar journeys. As I sat there and listened wholeheartedly to each speaker share their story, I realized that we as women are more alike than we are different. It takes courage to be transparent about your life. Broken marriages, sickness, starting over, changes in careers, loss of a job, raising children alone, moving to find yourself... The list went on and on but through it all, they never lost their way but found theirselves fighting to get on top. Just like those women, my story is currently shaping my life. I felt compelled to share my testimony when asked. The floodgates of my eyes opened and the tears begin to fall. As I looked around the room, I noticed I was not alone. Women that I did not know transitioned from conference attendees to my sisterskeeper. Even though they listened as tears stained their faces, I knew these women understood me. The Bible tells us, "The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." God knows that my spirit was crushed and I needed to be revived. I went there to sell books, but left there stronger. Those women blessed my spirit. Big ups to Judi Mason for the spiritual cleansing. (picture below) I left there with a renewed energy to make some changes immediately. Now, I have clarity and direction to push myself even further.What a way to start my Saturday. Sunday morning I woke up still on that natural high from the conference but today was showtime for me. This is what I came to Atlanta for. This is what I wanted more than anything! I wanted to introduce myself and my brand to a new market. My mind was filled with what ifs? and will theys? I had to stop with the over analyzing and take this moment in. One year ago, the book was still in the writing phase and here I am today with the book in tow in another major city. LOOK AT GOD! I think it was the rain that was affecting me. Earlier that day, the storm clouds opened up showers upon showers and "flooded" the city. (Inside joke) None the less, the show had to go on. The rain stopped and the sun made an apprerance long enough to let the guest trickle in to hear what we had to say and what we had to say was good. The Battle of the Sexes with Troy Spry was the truth. Our perspective and dynamic working together was FIRE! It was moderated by author and activist Skyy Banks who presented thought provoking questions that made you reflect on your approach to marriage, dating and love. We realized that everyone does not date with a purpose in mind. Everyone in attendance gained a new perspective about themselves and how to approach relationships. Even though we disagreed in some areas, we came to one common thread... "When love is right, it's easy." This event was the start of a beautiful friendship. We want The Battle of the Sexes to return to a city near you. Bigger and better than before. Get ready!
I think overall I achieved my goal. I am happy with the outcome, the networks that were built and the friendships that were made. Life really is just peachy...
Simply put, this weekend was a sweet as a peach! (Literally) Thank you Atlanta for treating me well. Special thanks goes out to my mentor, Skyy Banks and the best collaborator on the other side of the Mississippi River Troy Spry. Thank you for the perfect partnership.