Posted in =Self Discovery=, Health Matters*

>>Body Image>>When Is It Good Enough? It’s A Woman Thing ..

First, a few facts>>

Body image is the way that someone perceives their body and assumes others perceive them. This image is often affected by family, friends, social pressure and the media

People who are unhappy with their bodies and don’t seek healthy nutrition information may develop eating disorders..Eating disorders are unhealthy relationships with food that may include fasting, constant dieting, or bingeing and purging

Body image is closely linked to self-esteem<

Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape..Unfortunately, only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media

58% of college-age girls feel pressured to be a certain weight..58%!

Studies show that the more reality television a young girl watches, the more likely she is to find appearance important

More than 1/3 of the people who admit to “normal dieting” , will merge into pathological dieting..Roughly, 1/4 of those will suffer from a partial or full-on eating disorder

In a survey, more than 40% of women and about 20% of men agreed they would consider cosmetic surgery in the future..The stats remain relatively constant across gender, age, marital status and race..WOW

Students, especially women, who consume more mainstream media, place a greater importance on sexiness and overall appearance than those who do not consume as much

95% of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25

Only 10% of people suffering from an eating disorder will seek professional help

Only 4% of women globally consider themselves beautiful..

This topic has become personal for me as of late..First, time in my life(at 51 yrs of age no less!) I’ve realized I’ve got body image issues..Even though I’ve clawed and fought my way back from becoming overweight post-surgery & in full-blown menopause; it still isn’t enough. Even getting back into my pre-surgery sized clothes isn’t enough.. Mind you I was almost scared into keeping fibroids versus gaining weight..Who would rather risk possibly gaining Cancer over gaining a few pounds????? From the list above I’ve done it ALL with the exception of purging & cosmetic surgery..But I’m forever going on meatless week stints, gave up all juices/carbonated drinks, skipping meals, squeezing in speed walks in lieu of leisure week lunches, biking, treadmilling, weight lifting, and of course my beloved weekly raw veggie smoothie detox drinks(which I’ll probably drink for the rest of my life..

So just this weekend I found myself giving solicited advice to my bestie about losing weight..And out of my mouth came the words@ “Don’t diet. Diets don’t work for us, because we wind up feeling deprived & fall off.. Just adjust your lifestyle little by little & eating habits in increments & exercise more..Start slowly on the green raw veggie drink..” When I got home I realized I was telling her something I wasn’t practicing! I wanted her to start off in a healthy manner; yet when I want to quick drop pounds I dang near starve myself..I’m always hungry! Stomach growls seem normal..Today I caught myself trying to climb 2- 3 stairs at once(butt lifting exercise) while on my cell & almost fell..Not cool!

I decided to reach out in honesty ..Calling out all/any woman reading this..WE have got to stop this never-ending cycle of pushing for the perfect body image..I can’t imagine how this life-long behavior would’ve impacted the daughter I always yearned for , yet never birthed..Thankfully , I can sincerely say this wasn’t taught to me by my own Mom..She taught me always to love me for ME..Yet, even with constant & consistent positive reinforcement from parents/significant others/countless passerbys/friends? Still find myself pushing for something more..It was somewhat comforting to read the above statistics; for a moment. I’m not ALONE in this struggle for the perfect body. It is deeper than just being vain..But when does it stop??? When is good enough(& healthy!) , enough??

IF one can’t be honest with self in their 50s; probably won’t ever be! Naked truth exposed feels pretty liberating & hopefully admitting it can lead to positive change..Anyone out there that can relate & would like to share?

Posted in =Self Discovery=

REALITY Check Time*Yep, even at 50 I’m still learning*

Gotta preface this write by saying..ALL of us fall short of perfection..Top that with I’ve NEVER met a perfect person..And last but not least I personally feel some of the most-righteous-acting-people? In my experience they can be some of the most jacked UP folks of all…I know because I used to be one of them..Used to think I could successfully dot my Ts all the time & that my shiiiite didn’t stink..Until life experiences not only humbled me; but also I learned my most perfect attribute ? My IMperfections & that I’m so very, very human..Y’all ready for this? Diving in head first! >>

Ever say something to someone else & you realize YOU could do well to heed those very words? Recently I said something to a girlfriend and had a HUGE aha! moment..Plus I had a hot flash at the same time(danggg only negative part about my surgery!); which sort of further cemented the moment in my memory. In that very instant it became clear to me I was in need of a self-tune-up-type-of-reality-check..I used to be my own worst critic; helped me to self-motivate. These days instead I try to make sure I keep myself in check and on track..Worked too hard to get here to allow myself to lose focus, however, I am like I said before very human>>

Anyways as I was saying I was talking to a friend recently..I was beginning to say something to her & almost had to BITE my tongue off! What I was about to say was nothing NICE..It was harsh indeed. And? It was about her husband. Ugh! Mind you stopping myself mid-thought-mid-sentence is NO easy task..I can talk UP a storm! Jeeeeez however she means a great deal to me; so I some kind of way stopped myself..Then? I did something I’ve never ‘eva done before..I asked her to pretty please limit what she told me in the future about her husband. Why? Because I won’t be held responsible for what I might say in response..I don’t like him; point-blank! Bad thing? I’ve never met him. Ouch! I hate admitting that part; but its the truth. Yet? I can’t stand even thinking about sharing the same air with him..One might ask how can I not like someone I don’t know??!? Simply said my thoughts/mind has been polluted after ALL of the awful, ugly things I’ve heard about him. From his own wife..And? She IS one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. Real talk for real. Am I wrong for pre-judging someone? Yep! absolutely…Nonetheless that doesn’t change how I feel about him. It does , however, cause me to pause and realize OMG that is SO UNchristian of me@pre-judging. Again, for the record let me state as I pre-stated I am so very, very human>>

Goooood grief! The list of rules, regulations, thou-shalt nots, thou-shalt can’ts IS getting longer by the day..Or? Am I just more cognizant since my Confirmation? Hmmmm But I totally didn’t like the idea I was pre-judging someone I didn’t know. Even though I trust the words of my girlfriend; I don’t like being pre-judged myself. So why am I doing it to someone else? It is after all something I’ve tried so hard never to do..Been burned earlier this very year; by not pre-judging someone based on words of a reliable source. Nevertheless judging others is something I don’t care to partake in. As a result? I find myself propelled into a self-reality check fest>>

Found myself telling someone to hush in church this morning..The yapping was messing UP my vibe from the excellent homily and the Gospel flow from our singing..Then? Bam! Hit me, figuratively speaking, square in the forehead..I’ve yapped in church before, OMG, whose vibe did I screw with at those times? Does it mean one can’t correct others when they’ve been guilty of same in the near-past? Pfft! If that was the case as parents we could never correct our offspring..I think what it means is that I, like other folks, am so very, very HUMAN. Honestly? I don’t want it to be any other way..This learning from experience stuff is getting more FUN the older I get. I think the most wonderful part is now I catch MYself mid-stroke..And I’m still learning>>

The learnings of reality checking? For me? Invaluable & priceless..When I take the time to do it forces me to reflect on reality vs. My Reality..Many folks don’t realize those two things can differ at times..Often times we “think” we’re behaving in a certain manner & yet others perceive us acting otherwise. OR one can find themselves, as I recently did, partaking in something they/I don’t care to partake in. Like judging folks..How often I’ve heard folks say they don’t like this or that celebrity. Wth? Never even met that person..And yet I did the very same thing with my friends husband..Yep, shit happens when you’re human and I suppose even when you’re not honest about it! The good news? Every day brings promise of fresh starts in every possible way..Translation? It is never too late to do a quick reality check to get back on track. That is a wrap for now folks..So until I write/read y’all again stay UPlifted & blessed. 4ever Sincere, Berna(the 1 & Only)

Posted in @Cultural

It is NATURAL …not…NAPPY *Black Hair*

The topic about Black American women and OUR hair issues keeps coming UP; so might as well go ahead and open it up for discussion…Again! Hang on tight though because I’m truly on 1 & going to write it out as I ride it out>>

Viola Davis: ‘I Took My Wig Off Because I No Longer Wanted to Apologize for Who I Am‘>>

Viola Davis recently said this & when I heard it? My eyes filled UP with tears! I didn’t realize until that moment that IS exactly what WE are doing anytime WE don’t wear our natural hair…And? That includes relaxing it. Even IF it’s a mild relaxer; which by the way would include ME. Oh, but this is such a personal topic..>>

First things first..The word NAPPY was not created to describe Black hair..That, sadly enough, is something Blacks did on their own. Using the word NAPPY as a negative note to Black hair in its natural state. Why, one might ask, would Black folks describe their OWN hair in a negative manner? Hmmmmm It would take going far back-in-the-day to pin down exactly when it was determined that wearing Black hair in its natural state was a BAD thing..Was it something Blacks sat down & thought of on their own? Or were they conditioned to believe their hair was ugly? >>

Allow me to backtrack for a minute…When I was a pre-teen the IN thing was to sport a fro! Yes, the 70s was a time of picks, fro’s, and afro sheen! Anyone out there remember those days??? Lawd, I had a natural curly fro SO big that it resembled this picture..(I really wish I could find the picture of me with me fro; if I find it later I’ll post it here..

Then suddenly it was no longer hip or cool to sport a fro…Next thing I know I’d have to sit for hours! having my hair hot pressed in our kitchen by my Mom..Took hours because I had/have a ton of hair..I clearly recall(even though it was a longgg time ago) the smell of the grease mixing with the heat & flinching if the hot comb got too close to my face>>

Fast forward a few years & next began getting my hair relaxed..Another process that took hours upon hours. By the time I left home as a young woman? I did NOT know how to style my own natural hair..Not only that I’d grown so used to having it in relaxed form; it became my idea of what it meant for me to look GOOD. To even think of wearing it in its natural thick state was a no-no…

Fast forward to the year 2013..There is a BIG movement of Black women wearing their hair in its natural state..Even my own Mom at 72 yrs of age finally went natural this year..And beautiful woman that she IS; she looks amazing and FREE>>

Recently Sheryl Underwood(who I dig as a comedian) made ugly comments about natural Black hair..Which she has since apologized for..BUT the damage is done! Problem is she said it in front of America; and more importantly TONS of Black children heard/saw/read her say it…I realize many Black parents don’t realize the message they send Black children when…a. relax or straighten their children’s hair b. use the word nappy to describe Black hair c. use the terms good & bad grains of hair…However, it keeps the mindset going from generation to generation that natural Black hair is not a good thing. And I’m of the opinion that doing so? Can cause severe identity issues..So much so that some Black adults do NOT even realize they’re held captive in the chains of slavery>>

Personally? I am absolutely ELATED every time I see a younger Sista sporting a natural hair style..And the conversations I’ve had with some of them & they say they REFUSE to straighten their daughter’s hair; due to the message it sends them? I love IT..Wigs & weaves has never been my style; but same message is being sent. And costly! Relaxers also though..Every 8 weeks I’m dropping mega bucks for someone else to do MY hair..That is money I could be buying shoes with. Lol! The good news? I’m inching closer & closer to transitioning over..BUT I refuse to cut my hair; I love the versatility of having long hair ..Can choose to wear it in so many , many styles; and I do. But once I find a professional that won’t charge me a grip to teach me how to make the transition? I WILL BE SPORTING A NATURAL ‘DO. Like these..>>

Anyone recently transition from relaxed to natural? If so, feel free to drop some tips..Lets rap!

Posted in =Self Discovery=, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

*The Long Way Home..*

longestwayhomeBased on the true story(& learned lessons)   which is my Life..>>What those that know me personally, that also read my blog(hugs,hugs! , & more hugs) are privy to is that at almost 50 yrs of age; I moved cross country to my parents home. I no longer live there though & have nothing but fond, loving memories from the life-altering experience.  What that same group of people knows is that …very shortly I’ll be drafting my very first book. A book I’ve planned on writing for the past-longer-than-I-care-to-mention-number-of-years..Haven’t yet dreamt of the title; it won’t actually be titled, The Long Way Home…and its foundation though based on life(specifically mine..) will be to serve as a guide for other young girls/women out there on their Life Journey..Not a self-help book; but a self-DO book. But anyways I digress for I was driving home yesterday & I got lost..Which led me to the idea of this post. For you see I’ve gotten quite used! to getting lost(with a GPS that I seem to keep on off mode) ; and I think its been the BEST way for me to never forget my way to wherever the heck I was headed in the first place..Heck of a run-on but I can’t break that line of thought UP..In short while some folks feel getting lost OR being lost is a bad thing; for me? It has brought me to where I needed to be; every single time. That might not make sense to y’all ; but it makes perfect sense to me..Question. Do you know what your center IS? Took  me almost 50 yrs but I know, and part of me always knew, what mine was/IS..Lets see if I can dig a little deeper & explain..>

^Your “Center”= I’m going to borrow this definition from Wiki..its FAR better than even I can write out. Afterwards I’ll move forward with this post; just want to first make sure y’all are up-to-speed .

**Within each person, there is a “center” where “you”, the essence of who you are and consider yourself to be, is located. It is not a physical place, rather it is where the certainty of your confidence is. When you are distressed, it is good to contemplate this “essence place” in order to reconnect with the calm certainty that is your self.

So “finding your center” means to understand within yourself that the distressing circumstance will pass, you will learn from it, and you will remain yourself. This is important when events make you crazy. When your world falls apart, the “center” of you reassures you that the event will pass, but you are still the same person you have always been.

In religion, this “center” is where you and your God connect. In some religions, this center can be called the soul..it is the “connecting place” between this physical plane and the Eternal. It is a place of calm, a place within you that can give great strength and resolve when you take the time to “return to your roots.” It is the place of refreshing and renewal.

So if you are in emotional distress, “find your center” reminds you that you are stronger than you realize and that you need to reconnect with your God and your essential being.** Moving right along…>>

What I’ve learned is the more in tune with Self I get..the less I give a dang!(and I mean that in the most respectful way..) of what other folks think about what I do/what I say/how I act. Who are they to say what it takes for ME to live UP to my God given potential? To be all the me I can? Its my belief when we let other folks “define” who we are; we become who they! want us to be..Think about that for a minute & let it sink in. I’ll take this line of thought one step further @ When I fully realized what my “center” was/is; the less insecure I became. And? I didn’t fully come to this realization until I came full circle and  went home almost 2 years ago.. I was lost (figuratively) until I found myself and my way home…>>

So, as I was saying when I first began this post..I got lost yesterday driving home. Returning from a bruncheon at adored friends house ..and! the funny thing is I’d just, and I mean just told them, oh nooo need to worry about me I know exactly how to get home. Plus, I told them I’ve got my GPS so if all else fails I’ll finally use it..I didn’t want them to worry. Anyways, I went skipping out to my car & bam! almost immediately took the wrong route. Went North on the freeway(they call them highways here; but I refuse! to give up all my Cali terms or way of life..) instead of South. And OMG I had to go for what seemed like forever for a turn-around spot..I’d known I was lost & headed the wrong way about 10,000 miles( exaggeration but it sure seemed like that far..)  before I could double back to go the right way..What heck kind of State doesn’t make a turn -around spot sooner than..as far as I’d driven? *slapping forehead* Yep, I’m still getting used to living outside of Cali..As I was driving along admiring all the green , lush(now thats ONE thing this place has over Southern dry brown Cali..) I realized how many times I’d gotten lost since moving here. Then my mind began to wander how many times I’d been lost , period, in my life journey…Times I just felt like-IF-this-or-that-I’d-be-a-little -bit-happier …times that I either still wanted something smaller or bigger..times I wanted either more or less of whatever…times I wanted my loved ones who love me dearly to love me a little bit; deeper..times , when all the world looking IN figured I was totally happy, that I just felt I neeeeeeded something “else” to be totally happy..Yet, I didn’t know quite what was missing. As my eldest son shared with me about 3  years ago; I needed to find my “center”. At the time? I didn’t even know what the heck that meant..>>

Ever feel like something is missing from your life? Feel like a gerbil running around & around & around a wheel; on a daytoday grind of routineness? Wonder what the purpose of life is? I read on a W.P. blog the other day someone said ” Contrary to what religious folks think! ; there is no purposeful meaning to our existence or life. ” WOW , reading this now blows my hair back. Why? Because there is nothing further from the truth..How sad for anyone to feel like that. Wouldn’t their life then be as boring as that gerbil running circular laps around his wheel? Until I found my way home that is how I felt..alot. My oasis in the middle of that jacked UP barren desert? My 3 beautiful Black princes. Not only did they add meaning to my life; without them life just wouldn’t be the same. True blessings from God..Also my beloved & loving parents. When God handed out parents; he gave me the BEST. My right-hand man & co-parenting partner. Actually divorced but I swear we get along better than some of the married folks I hear about..and the list goes on & on..I’ll save some keystrokes by saying my center IS..My family/Mi familia/My extended family of friends. Its them that I think of & smile! on days that I just feel I need a bright light to look forward to or I’ll explode. They are my center. Loving them & being loved by them ..and knowing that their love IS unconditional(that I never , ever have to doubt it..) keeps me grounded. Feeling loved IS the number 1 best feeling on this planet. For me. And yep, it even outranks the feeling of an orgasm. Barely..but still outranks it…>>

These days? I feel alot like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz..Everything seems SO new. Experiences. Projects. Friendships..For I look at things in a totally different manner. I believe its called , Appreciation. I no longer take things for granted. Not only that I’m quite verbal about letting the folks that I appreciate them; aware that I appreciate them. For far too many years I ASSumed folks knew how much I loved, adored, appreciated & even needed them in my life..and while actions speak volumes telling someone these things doesn’t hurt either. I feel a neeeed to express myself these days. In every/any form possible. I say all of this to say this. I am home. Not literally anymore because I’m in my own place now once again. Yep, I’m all grown UP now again. Lol, lol! But I am at home within myself. At long last & finally. And if its taking U a long way to get home? Don’t lose hope for you can get there..if you wish to. The first step will be the hardest step to take. Your feet may feel like they’re stuck in cement..but lift one after the other to step by step & day by day striving to get home. Striving to reach your Center. Striving to BE purposeful and to get the full meaning out of Life. Life might be short; but my days are long  & full..Hope yours are also. Until I write/read y’all again stay UPlifted & blessed. 4ever sincere, Berna(the 1 & only)

Posted in =Self Discovery=, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

SELF- Preservation IS the 1st Law of Nature^ Or its supposed to B*

Not sure how deep I’m going to go with this one..Its a topic in the forefront of my mind, on the tip of my tongue, and hoping my fingers can keep up with the flow of thoughts. Its  personal. So hang on tight & enjoy the ride… >

“Berna, you MUST learn the art of self-preservation!”…Those      were   the   words    that   my    only   sibling    said     to    me   some     17 .5  years      ago    as   I       was    going    through-IT ;    a   divorce     that    I    surely    thought     going       forward      with    was    like     cutting    off   a    part    of   my    body( I was so IN love with him!)     and    honestly   figured     it    was      going    to    kill     my    inner         Spirit..>

I told a very good friend of mine just yesterday that I cherish! being “different”..I’ve no issue with standing alone(as I have before) for what I feel in my heart of hearts is right. I’ve no issue with being the 1st one to ask the question that everyone else wants to ask; but doesn’t . (which is why I always sit in the FRONT of any, and I mean any, class room) I’ve no issue with being the ONE in the group; that looks for a rung ladder before leaping off a cliff with everyone else. I am truly not a follower…All those things I’ve mastered. What I haven’t mastered is self-preservation. I give of myself and I give freely…just flows freely from my being. For a split second today I had a fleeting thought that mayhaps I give too much . Too  much of me.  And after that split second passed…>

…thoughts came hurdling, tumbling back into my mind of what my brother said almost 18  yrs prior. @One must know/learn! self -preservation or they just might give UP the very parts of self; that make them who they are. And that is something I refuse to do. I digressed…badly..but as I was saying earlier just yesterday I was expressing to a close friend of mine that I do not want to be like anyone else nor everyone else. I am different. And I like being ME. It took me a very long time to get here . I need no permission to be me. I  make NO apologies for being me..What is clear , crystal clear, is that I, WE, have to set boundaries in any/all of our relationships. Whether its of an intimate nature or friendship(which truth be told the best intimate relationships start off as friends first..don’t y’all agree? Thats another topic for another time. Excellent blog idea! ) Today I had to draw the line with someone I care about. Someone I call/consider my friend…Perhaps I should’ve made the invisible boundary lines known from the onset. For often my kindness/my sensitive nature/my compassion; is mistaken for weakness. I may be many things but weak I am not. Not even on a bad day…>

I’ve come to believe in any relationship..intimate or friendship..we can quickly get locked down into patterns. Those patterns get habitual & routine. It becomes what defines the relationship..UNLESS a person draws a line or boundaries from the onset those patterns won’t/can’t ever be broken. As long as that relationship exists..think about that for a minute..I was sharing with someone today I feel as IF they’re taking my kindness for granted. My perception is pretty much grounded in reality of the way it actually IS. Is it cool when one is being themselves to collide with someone else being themselves in a bonded friendship..only to find out one of the pair feels taken for granted? Naw, thats not cool..which is why today I said out loud what had been building UP . Which means I should’ve already said it before..today. Why is it human nature not to want to hurt another with the blatant truth? Or is that just part of my nature? IF anyone out there can relate this is the part where you should contribute your 2 cents…>

I try to see the good in everyone. Yet I don’t choose to spend time with everyone…and when I do? I expect, unspoken demand, to get back at least an ounce of what I’m giving in return. Some of us are just natural givers..Givers of themselves. Their essence. Their love. Their friendship. It just flows naturally. I’ve got my hand held UP high on each/every one of those counts. But what I refuse to do, as anyone should, is let anyone suck me dry of those resources..Not speaking in a physical sense; but literally. Is it moreso human nature to be a giver or a taker? Are these things learned or uttered naturally from the heart. To give or to take. I’ve no clue how I got to be the way I am in that sense..It is just the way I am. And I’ve no plans to change in that aspect. Ever. For I enjoy being around folks who give freely of themselves..Have no issue letting their hair down to just; Be. I had to learn , after many moons, the art of self preservation..it doesn’t come naturally . I think it is possible to give much of oneself; yet keep some of self for self to remain self. What a silly sounding riddle, right? Makes perfect sense to me though. And I sure as heck hope its making sense to someone else out there reading this also..if so this is yet another part where your 2 cents could be interjected..>

The closer I get to 50 yrs of age; the less & less I mince words. Time is precious and its moving with more haste daily..I look UP and an entire week has passed by in a blur. Some weeks I just want to yell, STOP, as the clock seems to spin in a frantic pace. Especially during minutes of my free time after my 8 -5 weekday..Although truth be told my work days fly by as well. Without mincing words & yet not speaking harshly; I think we all owe it to ourselves to lay down those invisible/unspoken/spoken boundaries in our relationships. Agreed? For what is a friendship worth if one of the pair isn’t feeling appreciated?  I usually bail pretty quickly from such situations…I’ve learned to do so to maintain self. Just don’t see the sense in continuing to give to something that isn’t fulfilling. Anyone out there have a different take on this? Or related? Well I’ve said my piece. Now its your turn. What do you think? Do you have self-preservation skills you’d like to share? 

Posted in Telling it like it 'TIS

^Speaking OUT for those who can’t/don’t/won’t..*Straight with NO sugar*

I had no intention of writing on this topic. At all. Not now..and NOT for a while. I’m not ready to write about it. Or talk about IT. And then yesterday a friend of mine told me something SO horrific; that it rocked my very SOUL..When she shared it  I was able to honestly say ; I don’t know  anyone personally who that has happened to! …Then , later , on my way home my mind wouldn’t let it go…I began to think of the awful VIOLENCE in our country..Is it at an  all ALL time high?!? Or has there always been so many accounts of violence; but it didn’t hit close enough to home to affect me as it did today…..I couldn’t figure out WHY I couldn’t stop! thinking about a person who I had never    even    met. By time I got home I’d figured out why my mind wouldn’t let it go…My friend’s friend was a victim of VIOLENCE that she’d tried to get away from. I couldn’t mentally let it go because I’d once been a VICTIM of something horrific also. So awful that only a handful of people on earth know…so long ago backintheday. Yet, still fresh enough below the surface , because I was silenced…By my youth. By my pain. By my ignorance of what caused IT. By my shame. NO woman should be silenced by VIOLENCE. Silence is fuel that keeps it alive..**Warning: This topic isn’t for the squeamish**

^I’ve got to be honest; as is my style..All day long I tried to convince myself NOT to go forth with this piece tonight(because I know its going to take alot out of me emotionally to release this in such a public forum;this isn’t easy by far even  for me)..I lost that battle of weighing the reasons why I should vs. why I should not..So here I go. *deep breath* First things first. I am a Feminist. Exclamation point. Period.  Nope, that does NOT mean I hate men. Quite! the contrary. Just means I’m down for & in support of an equal playing field for women. And that still hasn’t come about totally; but that is another topic for another time>

I think I’ll try something different ..I’m going to attempt to paint a picture to better explain why I feel SO strongly about VIOLENCE against women..at this point might be the only way I’m going to be able to do this…

Noviolenceagainstwomen**Now, hold onto that thought for just one minute..that is my herstory of long ago..now onto the event my friend shared with me yesterday; that forced my mind(triggered)  to broach this topic & to speak OUT…

A few more stats on rape/sexual assaults on women in the U.S.=

More than 61.5% of rapes are never reported to law enforcement.(mine wasn’t)/Nearly 6 out of 10 happen at the victim’s home(my assailant broke into my parents home long ago..)/An American woman is 10 times more likely to be raped; than to die in a car crash(that is a deeeeep stat folks!)/61% of all rape victims are under the age of 18(I was only 17 & my chastity among other things was stolen..)/1 of every 7 women currently  in college has been raped; 9 out of 10 raped on campus won’t ever report it/Every 45 seconds someone in the U.S. is sexually assualted…Now on to the rest of the story..>

Yesterday a friend told me she’d just found one of her friends was murdered..I’d never had anyone I knew tell me anyone they knew had been murdered! I was horrified; and to make matters worse(as IF)..the murderer was her ESTRANGED husband. A man she had 6 children with..A man she’d left this state to get away from..A man she’d been trying to get away from…THIS is the stuff horror stories are made of; real life horror stories. Its no small  wonder why I don’t watch scary movies or cover my eyes if I happen to “try” to put on my big girl pants and watch one. There is NO need with all of the violent things happening ..Immediately into my mind popped UP a cazillion questions. WHY did she stay long enough with this type of person to have 6 children??? WHY did it take her so long to run?! WHY didn’t she speak out/scream OUT/run to the police?! Report IT? WHY didn’t her family rescue her & her children? Did she even tell her family? All of those questions reminded me of things I’d long dealt with emotionally & tucked away..though the invisible scars will never allow me to close my heart to hearing such atrocities..>

A few domestic violence stats=(of which I’ve never, ever been a victim of; but my unending compassion & heart goes out to anyone who has)

Every 9 seconds a woman in the U.S. is beaten or assaulted/Domestic violence is the LEADING cause of injury to women; more than car wrecks & muggings & rapes combined!(thats a heavy thought..)/Studies show that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually/92% of women listed reducing domestic violence & sexual assault as their top concern(OMG & wth? is going on???)/Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs(WOW)/Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup(THIS has got to STOP & is beyond insane)/Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends(more than 3 is far too MUCH..death is final..WHY can’t the man just accept its OVER and divorce or walk away?? )

**The concept of ‘I can’t have you ; so NO ONE else will’ is something many a woman has heard before..BUT in one’s wildest nightmares you’d not imagine that meant he’d kill you..Truth IS for a man to even utter those words OR to threaten a woman is totally! unacceptable..Women have got to learn the signs of a person who is capable of such things. Personally? I don’t stick around long, at all!, by a person who escalates quickly in anger..BIG red flag ladies & instant deal-breaker..RUN before it even gets to a point of dating; and IF you’re truly lucky his true colors will show that early. RUN. No one can change anyone; which is a big mistake alot of women think or feel. It takes a lifetime for some of us to change things we’re perfecting ourselves..So how in the heck can anyone change someone else?!? You can’t is the answer..Great self esteem is a key factor in all of this..or least thats the way I see it. A woman who has good self esteem will simply NOT accept abusive behavior. And for the record  women a controlling or jealous man is NOT cute. It is a sign of far more potentially dangerous things..RUN. Walking or running; might just save your life. I can only pray anything I shared here tonight helps/saves someone. Sharing is caring & I care. Deeply. Until I write/read ya’ll again stay UPlifted & blessed. 4ever sincere, Berna(the 1 & only)

dovepeace

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Calling out all good women of VIRTUE..last of a dying breed?

I first feel a need to have a disclaimer for this topic..Don’t want to ruffle any feathers. I know many women of VIRTUE; or least what I define virtue as. My Mom is one. She is THE one that I gauge all others from; tough shoes to fill indeed! Especially for me; her only daughter>

Nevertheless as I reflect about  young girls(& women)  I see out & about; its become clear to me many have forgotten, or worse! mayhaps never knew, what true beauty is. It has nothing to do with being beautiful. It has nothing to do with being perfect. It has nothing to do with what one owns or can acquire. It honestly has nothing to do with being sexy OR having SEX OR being celibate.. It has nothing to do with going to church every Sunday>

So one might ask what is my definition of a woman of VIRTUE? I thought you’d never ask>

This, to me, is the make-up of a virtuous woman>

SHE has a sincere desire & dedication to the growth of others..She voluntarily helps others WIN.

SHE moves, acts, thinks with  a positive & distinct purpose.

SHE has a genuine warmth & love for herself..which can’t help but flow to others.

SHE touches whoever she encounters with kindness and encouraging words. Negativity just isn’t her thing..nor idle gossip for she knows gossip of others is like raping their spirit.

SHE sees with her heart to meet & often exceed the needs of the moment.

SHE is a woman of vision..she uses her skills & imagination to see the tomorrows beyond today. Building UP brick by brick.

Mothers Day is quickly approaching..That fact is what actually brought this topic to mind..As I marvel at the woman that is my own Mother. My Mama! I’ve been known to say, quite often, IF I could be half the woman my mother IS..then I’d be as hellified as I already think I am. As I look around at some of the young women coming up behind me; I realize!, how awfully BLESSED  I am to have the Mother I have. For, how can a woman even begin to half-ass attempt to BE a virtuous woman..IF she has no example to mimic? Or to even aspire/strive! to emulate. Being that it IS a given that little girls learn from their Mothers; what to do when their Mother example is piss-poor? Or so strung out from drugs that she can hardly tend to her children? Or what about working so many hours just to feed/clothe/provide shelter for so called FATHERLESS children..that she can barely tend to her own needs let alone think of being virtuous. I can certainly understand how some women can be ‘bitter’ & fed UP & ready to give UP. As happenstance & circumstance I too could’ve been that type of woman>

I’ve been a victim of a ‘situation’ or happening; that could make a grown man openly weep..Which then caused me to feel emotionally “bankrupt”. And when a person feels like that they may as well be dead..or least that is what they begin to think . But for the grace of a mighty GOD; I woke UP. One day I just simply decided to stop living on the , fringe of happiness. I tired of being a victim, simply because I had been a victim, and decided I was NOT going to let anyone nor anything steal my JOY. And with every ounce of my being..I meant that. It is my sincere desire to express to ANY young woman this sentiment. YOU are special. YOU can do anything your heart desires. YOU deserve to be happy. YOU were created by a GOD that loves you more than you can fathom. YOU possess a uniqueness that only YOU can share with the world. YOU are strong enough to band-aid your scraped knees(from falling) & RISE above any expectation you even have for yourself..YOU are a loved child of GOD as such nothing is impossible. YOU can be your own worst enemy or your very own best friend. Choosing the latter is a very conscious & worth while effort. Exclamation point. Period>

I’m so thankful for the woman of virtue that gave me life..I’m so thankful for the women of virtue that mentor me spiritually(you both know who you are..) I’m so thankful for the woman of virtue I’ve called my BFF for 27 yrs..I’m so thankful for the woman of virtue that is my new GOD Mom..I’m so thankful for the 2 women of virtue who are my exMom & exSisinLaw. I’m so thankful for the woman of virtue I’m fortunate to call my Boss. I’m so thankful for the many women of virtue in my Church Family. I’m so thankful for the women of virtue who are my Aunts/cousins/& multitude of friends from Coast 2 Coast. I’m so thankful my GOD loved me! so much to have put you in my life journey..And this Mothers Day? I’d like all of you to promise one thing. Reach out and mentor a young girl that needs guidance…think of the impact that could make on a life. Just like mine…Until I write/read ya’ll again stay UPlifted & blessed. 4ever sincere, Berna (the 1 & only!)

Posted in <<COMING SOON, ***DPCHALLENGE, =Self Discovery=, Motivational!, Positive Movement Topic, ^Encouraging Words

~MAKE Choices *or* MAKE Excuses~

This ‘write’ is inspired by..Life. And will be written from the ‘mental notes” I’ve taken along my journey>

Disclaimer: I don’t claim to know all the answers..to anything. But what I do speak on I’ve lived. Through trial & error; and this theory is what works for me. In every aspect of my life it is working; only exception is my last love relationship. Which honestly I’ve not applied the time it deserves..but the right time for that is coming. Soon. Very soon. Anyways I say all of that to say I practice what I preach. Moving right along>

Keep it moving means exactly what it implies. Stay busy reaching/striving for your goals/dreams! This is a conscious  “choice” we can make. And it is necessary; if one wants to make sound, progressive choices instead of excuses. Ever met a person that just goes on and on about would’ve , should’ve , could’ve? They’re probably also a couch potato ..as IF that will help them do some of those things they wish they could’ve done. Staying busy , productive, and progressive keeps my mind clear of unnecessary clutter and B.S.! I simply don’t have time for it..and the rest of the time I’m sleep. But still working on getting more of that. But anyways moving right along>

Kis..yep, almost just as good as kiss! Keep it simple..Choose what you want to do. List the things it will take to get the job done. And one by one knock down the things on that list..before you know it..mission accomplished! Keeping it simple allows one to NOT get distracted(or delayed) by unnecessary complications. “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler” Quote by Albert Einstein

I used to live by chance..Trying to do everything in a perfect manner. Wound up feeling disappointed in myself alot because..a state of perfection doesn’t exist! When I chose to grab life and my goals..by the cajones and just do IT..I’ve been a cazillion times more effective in achieving what I set out to do. And a heck of alot happier/comfy in my own skin/content 100% with my choices/decisions. Sometimes  you just have to step out on FAITH. Been there and doing it. Alot. It is never an easy walk; but waiting for others to decide my fate left me feeling unfulfilled. NO one person , nobody, can make the best choices for an adult that will leave that person feeling wonderful. But making a choice that is right for me(you); regardless of whether it fails or not..has been awesome for my soul and self-esteem. When the choice, my choice, works!..I feel like I’m walking on air/gives me more confidence to make more choices & decisions/and motivates me to strive higher. The impossible truly is possible..ya’ll will just have to trust me on that one.  Or try it for yourselves.

IF there is something about your life you’re not content with; work to change IT. We all know the type of folks who whine about this or that..yet do nothing to change it. That is their choice..however for those that truly want to make a change..just DO it. 17 months ago I took a leap of faith(for the 1st time in my life journey)  and I’ve never looked back…Change? It is possible if you want it badly enough. Even at almost 50 yrs of age.

Last but not least most of us have a very, very strong relationship with our “inner voice”. That “gut” feeling. I call mine my “vibe radar”..when I feel good vibes from a person or an environment..99.9% of the time it is spot on. Same for the vibes I get when I’m making a decision or choice. Its called intuition. With most women it is strong; problem is we don’t listen to it half as much as we should. Until we get older/wiser/stronger/BETTER..or maybe that is just how its worked out for me. Word of advice? Learn yourself. Learn what you’re skilled at. Learn what you do BEST. Strive to figure out your GOD given talents. We ALL  have them; just some of ya’ll don’t use them or don’t know what yours are.  Learn your flaws and your faults. Admit them and work on improving them. Daily..Learn your weaknesses. Try to either stay “away” from them or get stronger so they won’t be a weakness. Its my belief the more one learns themselves; the more one’s inner voice can be heard and felt. Real talk. It works if you work it. Least that is the way I see IT…Until I write/read ya’ll again stay UPlifted & blessed. 4ever sincere, Berna(the one & only) 

Posted in ***DPCHALLENGE, *DP CHALLENGE>Post A Day*, =Self Discovery=, @Cultural, LOVE, Motivational!, Post a Day 2013, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

~~CONFESSIONS of a Single, Sexy, Divorced Sista~~Black History Month Tribute

I make this look ALOT easier than it really “tis..Alot of my commentary about “being  single & waiting for my ‘The One’ might come across as IF it is always …A walk in the park/through rows & rows of rose petals/and full of fabulous, sunny days..While 99.9% of my days ARE full of sunshine/tons of smiles/& even more laughter; it is some of those after-hour moments that can be trying at best. Shows like ‘Sex in the City‘ & even the black casted “Girlfriends‘; didn’t always reveal the “real” scoop. …

Majority of the time I can’t/won’t lie; my vibe is right and tight. No complaints with being single & sexy other than…I’m ready to NOT be single! I am ready for my onceinalifetimeloveofalifetime. And before I dive in deeper this song will or should set the background for the foreground; that I’m getting ready to lay down. Just so there are no misinterpretations of where I’m coming from..

Now that its been established the phase of life I’m in…Its the notsofabulous moments when thoughts of temptation can creep into the crevices of my mind..Usually right before I go to sleep when I’m finally; still. Those times when the part of my inner self? has doubts>

That “trouble-making” part of self that attempts to disturb my groove of feeling hecka-fied and awesome..Asks funky questions like: What IF waiting on “the 1” is for naught?!? Where the heck is HE? Is he lost??? Is time spent going to make up for these months of waiting? Why isn’t THE time for love right now? Maybe Mr Right Now is better than waiting for Mr Right..

I don’t profess to speak for all Black women..BUT I can not be the only one going through IT. However I am so busy it isn’t often I have time to even get “that lonely feeling”. That feeling of remembrance…of how sweet love can be and IS. *sigh* Certainly I can’t be the only Sista trying to walk the walk; and talk the talk…Single by choice and actually I’m not even dating yet, lol!, BUT I’m close to being ready to date..I guess I was hoping I’d run into Mr Right and he’d be SO awesome, that I’d be forced to give up my “dating hiatus”. After all I am a dreamer; and I dream BIG and in color…

Truth be told I’ve never waited on love before..this is my very first time. There isn’t much of my adult life that I’ve spent *single and unattached*. I’m far more used to being part of a love union than..this. I don’t even know if I’m doing this right! How does one know when it is their very first time? And how much longer can I endure those late night thoughts that creep in? Not sure how many more sheep I can count..

That nagging feeling that comes when my body is tired yet..mymindisstillracing gets me SO amped up I think about the unthinkable. A long distance relationship. Ugh! Or what about joining an internet dating site? Double Ugh! But holding on the hope of all hopes that not ALL of the outstanding brothers are married..IF so where the heck are they?! I keep running smack into hot married ones on this coast. Triple Ugh! And I refuse to go down that road…Did all of the hot, outstanding ,single,   brothers move to the right coast when I relocated to the left coast?!?? OMG

The really great news? I don’t have these type of thoughts often..though honestly I’ve had them alot more than when I first decided to take a breather from dating..More fabulous news? Overall the results have far exceeded what I’d wished for. Doing ‘me’ for a minute was one of the best decisions of my life..And I know, in my heart of hearts , I’m so close to the finish line. I can feel it! I can and will overcome those “nagging” late night thoughts & temptations..because settling now would truly mean I’d wasted alot of precious time learning me/doing me/reaching for my dreams, etc etc yada yada. And the best news of all? I feel so much better after this rant and venting it all out…exhaling is necessary from timetotime. Thank you GOD for blogging ;for its served as such a sweet release. Problem solved for now…

Posted in ***DPCHALLENGE, *DP CHALLENGE>Post A Day*, =Self Discovery=, @Cultural, Motivational!, Post a Day 2013, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

~~An Open Letter 2 My Black Sista’s~~Tribute to Black History Month*Written with love..

Had to show my Sista‘s some love during my venture of blogging Blackness during Black History Month..This letter format was inspired from Nova Giovanni..A brother whose a fellow WordPress blogger, comedian, radio personality, active philanthropist, social activist & author. The brother is busy for sure! And his site is listed in  my faves if ya’ll want to check him out..

Dearest Sista, I write this letter with the UTmost love, respect and regard..Sight unseen I know you’re beautiful! And the world does as well. How do I know? Many women from coast to coast and around the world try with all their might! to EMULATE  you. Don’t you find it odd when there are tons of stereotypes /racist , funky comments(usually behind our back …) about US; over the years in increasing numbers WE are imitated and envied. How so? From as far back as Bo Derek “others” wanted OUR  hairstyles; from braids to cornrolls! Folks pay big bucks to “tan” their skin in an attempt to gain our fabulous skin tones. Butt implants and fuller lip injections are the latest rage; attributes WE were born with naturally. And OUR Black brothers(men)? Well they’ve been desired by “others” since the beginning of time…Yet, you my Sista, were created beautiful just the way YOU are!

From the natural sashay of our curvy hips as we walk..to the way we can pull it together even during times of crisis..to the graceful way we age naturally withOUT even the many wrinkles to betray our true age…Black Women rein supreme when they’re at their BEST. When a Sista has come “into her own” she isn’t just a glowing sight to behold; she is pretty much unstoppable in achieving her dreams/goals/aspirations. She can come from the depths of poverty and abuse; to unlimited financial status. With finesse! Oprah is a perfect example of that very fact..and thus makes it possible for all of US…

But my dearest Sista, I wonder in the sincerest of ways, if YOU truly know from whence you come..Do you walk as IF  you love yourself? Is there pride in the way you carry yourself? When you look in the mirror are you proud of what you see? Do you  know that you walk on the shoulders of those who gave their lives for you to have the world at your fingertips? Are you living UP to your God given purpose? I never gave birth to the daughter I yearned for ; BUT if I’d had a daughter these are some of the things I’d have shared with her..

1. When you’re in your 20s you’ll think you know everything! When you reach your 40s..you’ll realize you didn’t know HALF as much at 20 as you’d thought you did. The lesson? Listen to your parents even when you think they’re not hip ! as you…truth IS they don’t just think they know it all. They do! As you mature gather people into your “inner circle” who can mentor you…Mentors aren’t just for college students. Choose people who have achieved goals they’ve strived for. Choose people who are already in places or careers you’d like to attain. And listen/observe every , single thing you can.

2. Choose your lovemates WISELY. Like Judge Judy says to all the whining women who complain about their misfortune with men; YOU picked him! Choose men not just based on looks or how fine he IS(although I won’t lie physical attraction IS a must) but also on his admirable traits , level of smarts, respect for his parents(important!) , his level of compassion, belief in GOD(sorry its the way I feel so I can’t leave that out) and bottom line ask yourself if he is a good person at heart..Who your mate IS is a direct reflection of YOU. Or it should be…

3. Hard as it IS sometimes remember your body is a precious temple..Treat it as such. If you take care of your body in your 20s; when you reach your 40s you won’t look like you’re 100 yrs old. Starting good physical habits in your 20s is far easier than later in life…Old habits are very, very hard to break. Consider your “precious temple” before you give it easily over to a Man..make sure he is worthy of your “essence” . Every time you give of “yourself” ; you’re giving away a piece of your essence.

4. There is NO one person who can be your everything! Nor should you need them to be..that was a hard lesson for me to learn. Just glad I finally did. A lovemate should compliment all that you are. Like ying and yang..doesn’t mean you have to be twins. And can often mean you’ll be opposites in many ways..BUT you should share core mutual interests. I’ve seen a pair of opposites work in sync for over 50 years; my parents.

5. NEVER be afraid to be different even when in a crowded room of Idontcarehowmany! NEVER be afraid to share your passions..NEVER be afraid to do your own thing. BE original. BE the first. DO YOU..you’ll find it alot more satisfying than being a follower. And more often than not folks will follow you…Let your little light shine and let it shine brightly. You only get one life/one shot to do this life.

AintIAWomanfurthertofly6. Stand FIRM in your convictions/beliefs when you feel with all your being that you’re right..but pray for discernment before doing so. However, also learn to know when to “fold” and give in ..its a thin line indeed..but it can be done. Trusting your “gut woman’s intuition” will save you many a heartache or misfortune; so learn to trust it 100%! Majority of the time our “first inclination” is totally accurate. It IS when we as women doubt ourselves we usually fall short…

7. Embrace who YOU are; Black roots included. Let NO one convince you that being Black is ugly or bad..your Blackness is a part of you that should be nutured..Learn your history and cherish it. Never , ever forget the many who died for you to go to uncharted territory they only could dream of. When you walk out of the door every , single day! you represent your ancestors, your parents, and YOU. Act like it..always..including how you dress! Translation: Cover UP your behind and breasts; unless of course you’re at the beach.

8. Strive to constantly strengthen your “spiritual being” and your FAITH in GOD. Without God you can do nothing; and with GOD you can do anything you dream of. Real talk….you never walk alone. Ever. Once you realize that the entire world/universe! will look different to you.

9. Last but not least remember always YOU were created for a reason! No child is an accident; even ones WE didn’t plan. You’re a unique creation…a one of a kind. One and only YOU. Strive to reach your God given purpose..Work always to improve “self” for we’re always a work in progress. And love, love!, LOVE your counter-part. Your Black Brothers. For even if you don’t fall in love with one..you were created to support HIM. Whether it is as your Father/Daddy/Son/friend/confidant/lover/or husband..do NOT tear him down. For if you do you’re also tearing down a part of YOU..and it is quite impossible to raise outstanding Black sons into beautiful Black MEN; without a sincere RESPECT for Black Men. It is quite simple to understand when looked at from that aspect….Whatever you do enjoy your life. Its a life full of chances to fall down , learn from mistakes!, and dust self off and keep right on moving forward. Love your life; and live the life you love. Anything less is a waste of time…DO YOU and do you to the best of your ability. If you do you’ll have little to no regrets.

 

Posted in ***DPCHALLENGE, *DP CHALLENGE>Post A Day*, =Self Discovery=, @Cultural, Motivational!, Positive Movement Topic, Post a Day 2013, ^^Thought Provoking^^, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

>I am NOT my HAIR….I am a SOUL that LIVES within<

~I am NOT my hair. I am NOT this skin. I am NOT your expectations no, no. I am NOT my hair ! I am NOT this skin….I am a SOUL that lives within~Lyrics by India Aire. India Aire’s song suggests we aren’t our hair..While I can understand the point she’s making; I can’t personally relate. I do indeed feel our hair IS a reflection and self-expression of WHO we are; and whats going on inside of us. And while the Bible says that a woman’s hair is her GLORY; with BLACK  women I feel it is FAR more than that. IT defines us in ways that don’t just meet the “eye”; but also reveals our ESSENCE.

First things first..For many moons I’ve said the following  @ The Black hair care industry is a multi-million dollar industry; and the Black community is the LEAST to see any revenue from it! Ya’ll can google UP whose got the major control over the industry(cause I think most of us already know…); and also note the fact they’ve a. excluded non-Koreans(yep, you guessed it!) from the industry by refusing to distribute to them b. raised prices higher when distributing products to non-Koreans c. do NOT put revenue back into Black communities but INSTEAD put the revenue back into theirs….Now the question that is just begging to be answered is?!? WHY didn’t Blacks corner the market on their own hair products in the first place???? And now? Everyone has got their hands into the pot of gold regarding Black women’s hair care; except Black women. *slapping forehead* But there are alternatives…

The new hot debate is Natural vs. Relaxed or Weaves…and it can get quite heated! Not in the conversations I’ve engaged in though…Natural is the being called the New Black. I’ve even heard sista ‘s that went natural say they feel its disgusting when a sista either relaxes or wears a weave. WOW. and omg! as if we need yet another thing to divide us. Lawd! Personally I feel it is a woman’s choice to do what SHE pleases with her hair..IF she wants to wear a wolly mammoth atop her head; her business! IF she wants to pay upwards of $500 or more for really good natural fake hair; her business! If she wants to chop it all off and strut it bald; her business! And IF she wants to chemically relax her hair/hot comb it; her business! OUR hair is already scrutinized, styles stolen( Bo  Derek  took OUR braids to a whole new level…) and critiqued by everyone else as it is. Last thing that needs to happen now is in-fighting..so knock it off! Chill out and do your thing with YOUR hair; and respect others to do the same with theirs. Some sista’ s want to try to micro-manage everything and everybody..jeeeeez. Can’t we all just get along?!?

Here is my opinion regarding natural vs relaxed vs weaves vs bald. The bald state is an easy & quick answer. Hecks NO! I dig being versatile far too much to even consider it..Backintheday my exhusband used to say I’d be beautiful to him even if I was bald! Aww gotta love him but still NO WAY. I’ve seen beautiful Black women sport the bald look ; but not my style.

I’ve also seen beautiful sista’s rock weaves..Beyonce is NEVER without a weave. Ever…her natural hair is boy short. It is quite the norm now for anyone to go from boy short to waist long hair over night. And also quite costly. There are weaves you can’t tell aren’t real hair…Love the idea of being versatile as an option. But I like my scalp being able to breathe…I don’t even wear hats! When I want to run my hands through my scalp; I don’t want to pull back thread. Or worse; not have the freedom to run my hands through my hair. Different strokes for different folks and this just isn’t my style.

I’ve got MAD respect & regard for sista’s that sport their natural hair! The cost is lower than weaves/wigs and I hear it is very liberating….I’ve got male Black friends who will NOT date a woman who wears weaves/wigs/relaxers. They want it all natural…from head to toes.

And while the numbers of Black women who go natural is rising; the majority are still relaxing or semi-relaxing their hair. It is convenient and when maintained with natural conditioners/relaxers the hair is very healthy. I’ve been on the verge of going all natural; but I’ve not dived in with both feet yet. I’m semi there and I use double natural conditioners in my hair to keep it healthy & vibrant. Which takes  more time but to me its worth it. I love my hair long…and since its naturally thick I have an awesome time being able to wear many different styles. I don’t get angry when people ask if its real….Actually I think its very amusing “others” are SO obsessed with OUR hair enough to ask such a question. Bottom line is it  is our hair/ our choice. And that is the way I see it…Until I read/write ya’ll again stay UPlifted & blessed! 4 ever sincere, Berna(the one & only)

 

Posted in <<COMING SOON, ***DPCHALLENGE, @Cultural, Post a Day 2013, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

COLORstruck

~Whether or not its a discussion as OLD as the hills; it is still sadly enough relevant in 2013. I’m willing to bet there isn’t a Black person in America who hasn’t been affected by the color  issue . In some form or another..and the type I’m  talking about  is Black on Black. As funky as it IS and as mind blowing it is…Colorism is alive and well amongst us. Even for those folks who “think” they aren’t colorstruck. As simple as it might seem to “others” to NIP it; it is very complex indeed. Disclaimer: As always these are merely one person’s observations/experiences/opinion. Mine. Ready? Get set! Here I go head first , again….

I recall watching my teenage heart throb(is that phrase even used nowadays? oh well, I’m old skool till the day I die…) beholder of the handsome face plastered allllll over my bedroom walls on posters; slowly MORPH into something horrific. The once beautiful brown skin with the just PERFECT wide nose and the full , luscious lips just poof! …gone. I couldn’t for the life of me understand WHY someone with so much talent could HATE their brown skin /Black features enough to do that to themselves. What happened to MY Michael??? Object of sooo many of my naive teenage dreams? Author of the OFF THE WALL album which was the BEST album of the century? How could he possibly have NOT liked himself when I and millions of others loved him so??? I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it. How could anyone NOT love being BLACK?…..

So that was about the time I decided to dig a little deeper…Taking mental notes of my own personal experiences as well as reading, reading , reading about others experiences. And of course quietly observing…

Before I delve deeper let me preface by saying..I LOVE BEING BLACK. Exclamation mark. Period..and I make no apology for it. Anyone who is anyone should be proud to be who they are and what they are..and if you don’t like who you are work to change IT. However, one’s skin color should be something to be proud of for it is given to us by GOD for a reason. Or least that is how I feel about it. IF he wanted us to be any other color certainly we’d have been born that way…OR better yet IF he wanted us to all look alike he’d have done that too! But it is my inherent belief he made us different colors for a reason…but that is another topic for another time.

So one might ask if being Black is so awesome; why does colorism exist? Why are we still stuck on being COLORstruck? Haven’t we evolved enough past slavery to get past THIS ?!? And we all know it stems from slavery; doesn’t it? Hmmmm Yep, my questions bring more questions that even I can only guess the answer to; or assume. Which I hate to do! So I began listening to others experiences…the pain!(like Michael Jackson’s ..) my people have gone through due simply to the color of their skin. IF a person keeps hearing or seeing over and over and over and over again negative connotations associated with “anything”(including their skin color) what will eventually happen? And what will that person then pass on to their children???

One way to change something is to start with changing our OWN behavior…Or whatever is possible to change within our power. I recall when my sons were much smaller…People would remark about their skin color being light or lighter or whatever. And the good hair comments OMG..WE have got to let go of that also. But that is another topic for another time…My response was always the same. Do NOT bring that mess around me or my sons! I won’t allow them to even think! they’re any less Black than anyone else due to their skin tone or hair. NOR will I let anyone else plant the seeds of those thoughts into their heads..What you do or say around your children is your business; but what you say around mine is MY business. And I was serious. Also, I ‘ve had people walk straight UP to me and ask “What are you. Are you mixed?” Wth? WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? I’m just good ole fashioned BLACK. Period. That has honestly been my response when anyone is ignorant enough to ask that question…I’d never ask anyone that, jeeeeez. Black IS Black folks. I don’t care if you’re one ounce Black…still BLACK. Sometimes I wish we’d gotten stuck in a time warp in the days of ‘Black is Beautiful!”..wasn’t that the 70s?

I  once had a brother tell me, to my face!, that I wasn’t dark enough for him to date…WOW. Blew my hair back because I’d never been told that before. Least not to my face. Appreciated his honesty, but dang!, still hurt my feelings. What the heck can I do about my skin color? Not a dang thing; nor do I plan on “doing” anything about it ..except loving IT. By the way we “did” end up dating and he’s an outstanding brother(& one of my best friends in the world)  that has no regrets…

We come in many shades that run the gamut …There are expectations/judgments/so called advantages/and slights that boost one shade of brown over another..It needs to NOT only be discussed but STOPPED. Generation after generation is carrying it forward. I recall when my youngest son started dating his high school sweetheart..first thing my ex husband said was”Whew! I’m glad to see he isn’t colorstruck!” Because she was dark-skinned..and my comment was”Why would he be? We raised him to not be; didn’t we?!? ” But then we talked about it and we really had  NOT ever discussed  it with our sons per se…all we did do though was not to label people by color. I’m not really sure what the answer is to stop colorism from continuing  to re-cycle..I think one sure way to start though is by addressing it. We know it exists. And society knows it exists; google UP what Loreal did to Beyonce’s skin in an ad if you don’t believe me. We also know that it causes DIVISION, schism and contention among us as Blacks. We can either continue to just discuss it every Black History Month or whenever; and then forget about it. OR we can discuss it and act on changing our own behavior. One person at a time might start a movement to nip it..I think that just might be how major movements/CHANGE begins. Until I read/write ya’ll again stay UPlifted & blessed. 4ever sincere, Berna(the 1 & only)

Posted in ***DPCHALLENGE, *DP CHALLENGE>Post A Day*, =Self Discovery=, Post a Day 2013, ^^Thought Provoking^^

~Straight, No Chaser..~

~A woman’s essence is impenetrable..

~A woman’s essence is impenetrable..

~A woman’s essence is impenetrable..

~A woman’s essence is impenetrable..It IS the very definition of who she IS. Makes the she that is she..she. The true beauty of a woman stems far beyond the swell of her hips/bounce of her fanny/fullness of her lips/LOVEliness of her facial features..it is seen from in her eyes. For that is the doorway to her heart and is where love never lays dormant. As she ages the depth of her essence will  flourish and evolve in ways that surprise even her.  Her spirit, her soul!, will emerge from all she says and does..it can’t be dimmed nor stunted. It just flows naturally as a brook babbles..Her walk is  her own and can’t be duplicated; for she owns IT. Each graceful( and sometimes clumsy) step is deliberate yet  spontaneous….Passion springs from her words that come from within without prompting. When she laughs it comes from the inside out and it can hardly be muted..Laughter that was kept at bay through walking through, under, and over hurdles taller than she. A woman that embraces her inner being cherishes the flaws that make her original & unique. The one and only created by her Father to be all she can BE. She has grown to recognize she IS perfectly imperfect..If she engages in conversation she is sharing a piece of herself in every single unrehearsed word..Her light is SO  bright that even the darkest of nights or surroundings can’t silence it..She simply REFUSES  to be corrupted. Freeeee in her own skin that has taken years to acquire. When a woman learns her own essence it consistently shows itself in her words/her actions/her thoughts..Pure, unadulterated and totally undiluted reflections of who she IS shines through her exterior biological makeup. When she walks into a room she comes with all of her hopes and unspoken fears…A cazillion reasons for why she is there in the room; but don’t ask her. If you watch her/read her/listen to hear/feel her..you’ll experience her true beauty. Her essence can’t be denied and knows NO envy for it stands out in any crowd..the she that is SHE~

**Written by me about my OWN essence..I hope/pray for all my Sista‘s/Sisters out there ya’ll can embrace yourself, hug yourself!, know yourself /LOVE yourself..2 also write/express /recognize your own essence as well. Took me years N years N many moons to “see” mine/LOVE mine/embrace mine @ essence …4ever sincere Berna(the one & only)

Posted in Motivational!, Positive Movement Topic, Things That Make U Say Hmmmm@, ^Encouraging Words, ^^Thought Provoking^^

^ EYE see U..Do U? ^

NOT going 2 give any teasers , clues or hints with this 1..You’ll just have 2 wait 2 see what is on my mind ..Stay tuned because it only gets better from here.. *HOT TOPIC COMING SOON..It is O’dark thirty Saturday morn N I can’t resist the urge 2..write..

>>”**The most beautiful people we know are those that have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an  understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deeeeep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen…** Quote from Elizabeth Kubler Ross>>

I ran across the above quote somewhere I was reading (I read everything & anything..) a few months back and found it SO deeeeep I had to keep it/save it/reflect on it..I’ll get back 2 it but for now lets move on. Deep alert though because I can feel it coming.

About a month or so ago I had the opportunity to hear an OUTstanding motivational speaker! Petite in stature N yet her words resonated in a HUGE way. As I sat there in an audience of my coworkers I kept loooooking around wondering IF her words/her message! was hitting H*O*M*E with any1 else as it was with ME..Ever wonder things like that??? Mayhaps that is just part of me being me, lol! Here I was sitting there, totally captivated by her words..and yet wondering am I the ONLY one getting this? Let me explain a little what her presentation was about and why..

Her presentation was simply about IMAGE. It was about our company desiring/commanding that it(including its employees) to BE exactly what the company is. In every possible way. The company I am OVERjoyed (have I said for the upteenth time I loveeeeeee my job?!?) to be a part of  wants to reflect a mark of excellence. The  company I work for wants its’ mission statement to resound loudly/smoothly via its employees dress/behavior 24 hrs a day/and of course in their job performance. Enough so they hired a motivational speaker to come speak to ALL of us. Wow..who wouldn’t want to work for a company that is willing to do that?! I’ve got my hand held UP high..but anywayz trying to STOP from digressing. So there I was one person sitting at the very, very back of the large room as this speaker was giving her oral & powerpoint show. And somewhere near the middle of her presentation it hit me. Ephipany! For all of my life but especially the past 15 months that IS what I’ve been doing..hoping that my words/actions reflect the love & light that I feeeeeel inside. For those that might not be following I’ve flipped the script to translate to SELF image.

Do others see YOU as you wish to be viewed by others? Are YOU actually the type of person you desire to BE? Do your words/actions reflect 2 others what YOU wish? Do YOU assume others see you as you wish; or have YOU asked them if you do? Hmmmmm let me dig a little deeper if I may..Do YOU care if others feel what the intent of your words are ? (N for the record I’ve always asked MYself all these same questions & nope I don’t answer myself LOL..thank you GOD for letting me have majority of my marbles still at almost, 50) Isn’t it important to reflect in words/actions/what we WEAR to the outside world? Before I go any further all of these questions are highly important to me. Totally in every , single way imaginable. Period.

For instance: IF you see someone dressed in firemans’ outfit; wouldn’t you expect them to come running if you yell out FIRE! On the flip side of that coin..if you see someone dressed in flip-flops, a bikini, and a beach ball ; wouldn’t you expect them to be heading to the beach? So, on a professional front should not our dress reflect a business savvy look? I mean is that NOT just something that need-not-even-be-expressed-to-folks-that-are-working-in-an-office-setting?!? And YET these dayz we must have very detailed dress codes. My question is WHY???? Because as I expressed at the very presentation I mentioned above EVERY single day I walk out of my home door I know I first represent my family..and not just MYself. Which means when YOU or anyone else views me physically I’m representing:my parents/my sons/my deceased grandparents/all of my deceased ancestors/all of my living relatives/MYself. That is how I look at myself every morning I wake up and depart to where ever I’m headed..Even if I go to the grocery store I’m NOT going out in furry, floppy house slippers and a shower cap. I mean , really?? I’ve seeeeen that. OMG. I bet their ancestors are doing flip-flops in their graves…Certainly folks weren’t taught this style of dress. Or were they? Know where I think it all goes back to? SELF ESTEEM. Which is why , in my hearts of hearts, I still think it is highly, and I mean highly!, important that children in their “primary years” are LOVED/taught&showed that they’re special/encouraged!/and  R stroked emotionally in positive ways. There is NO substitute for that…and it is something that will impact that child 4 ever 4 their entire life. For as much as I believe in a persons’ right to express themselves as they please(and I do believe in that…) there is a time N place for some of certain types of self-expression. Right? I might feeeeel like expressing myself by BEing in the most natural state. Naked. But can I go to work like that? I think not! Well not if I want to be employed…

Moving right along..What are WE reflecting in our words/actions/dress 2 our children? Hmmmm…for those that feel it is alright to self-express themselves dressed inappropriately! do they not realize their children are WATCHING & LEARNING from them? For any1 that has been a parent for a longggg arse time(and I qualify my eldest is 30 yrs of age…WOW) knows that children learn MORE from what we do; than from what we say. Just IS the way it ’tis..So , for instance. I’ll use me as an example. Don’t I qualify as a hypocrit if I tell my sons do NOT text and drive N yet they catch me doing IT? I stand guilty as charged..I’m queen of texts! I am physically having to break myself from the addiction of texting while driving. I used to have that bad..very. Caught myself several times with my head down when I was still in Cali..texting! That is not just UNcool it is not smart nor is it responsible! We can take that example and insert it into the space available________for a host of things I’m sure of it. But what we can DO is change the negative things. BEginning 2day…but first one has to first admit they can improve. I believeeeeee that is the case with any1  N anything. I have a host of simply outstanding loved ones and friends..and yet NONE of them are perfect. I for sure KNOW I am not perfect(and personally I think if I was I’d be boring but thats another topic for another time…)

Bottom line IS if it matters 2 YOU that you reflect to others what you perceive YOURself as..work on it! Daily. I can personally attest to the fact that it IS possible. I’ve come to the realization that I am not changing who I am(I don’t want to do that) but at almost 50 I am working ON  smoooooothing out the rough edges. I’m my own worst critic; always have been. My Daddy has told me that for years & years & years! Toooook all those years for me to realize he was right. Lolll lawd. Now that I’m no longer my own worst enemy (I’m now my own very, very BESTest friend..) I work diligently and consistently on moi.  I’m also open to positive criticism from my loved ones/extended family of friends..I’m sensitive! though and they know to give it to me with a spoooonful of sugar. All except for my Daddy. LOL . We all have those people we know are going to be straight-shooters in our lives. Don’t you? Well I do and its my beloved Daddy. When I want to know the down & dirty answer/black with NO sugar/on-the-rocks answer to something; my Daddy is my go-to person. Hands down..I loveeeee that I have that! And that it is someone who loves ME and would kill a rock over me. Yep, he has told me that since I was a very little girl…

I feel if we work on our self image in a positive manner IT can impact every aspect of our lives! Can impact our children. Who we attract as spouses/significant others. The type of job we can land by how we interview & conduct ourselves on the work front. Who we attract as friends…But most important(nope , I can’t leave this out) IF we call ourselves Christians..should we NOT try with-all-our-might to mirror the love & light of our creator???? At the beginning and end of each day that is honestly what I *now*  think about when I think of  who  I am/what I reflect/the words that come out of my mouth/my actions. Real talk…I’m going to leave ya’ll with that as my last expressed thought in this write. As always I hope/pray my “words” have had a positive impact on you in some small way. Stay UPlifted N blessed. 4ever sincere, Berna(the 1 n ONLY)