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Showing posts from 2015

Black like me: Ancestry by DNA

I've always loved the study of genetics. For years, I would argue with people that African DNA produces all kinds of (phenotype) skin colors, eye colors and hair colors...so the light skin vs dark skin debate never made sense to me. I would argue that having light skin and even light eye color did not mean that a person contained an abundance of European DNA. 
I never really knew all of my racial or ethnic background. My maternal grandmother was chocolate with slanted eyes. I had a light skinned grandma and a dark skinned grandma with slanted eyes. I had at least one grandpa who appeared Native American to me, but who said his father was actually White. So it has been somewhat of a mystery. 



People have always assumed things about my heritage that I never thought were true. I just didn't know to be quite honest. I have been teased about my eyes (that change colors) and skin color for years. People have even asked me "What are you mixed with?" (My sister gets this quest…

Dear Rosemary Plorin: 'I hope you dance'

Dear Ms. Plorin:
I read your letter in the Charlotte Observer, addressed to Carolina Panthers' QB Cam Newton. Initially, I found it ridiculous. Then, I looked you up and discovered you are the head of a PR firm. I then read the letter again, and I found it suspicious. Maybe your intention had nothing to do with seeking to open dialogue re: sportsmanship, as you proffered after receiving backlash from the letter. Maybe your letter was a stealthy way to get your name out there and raise the visibility of your PR firm. I don't know...I don't know you, so my suspicions may be unwarranted.
I wanted to say:

But that would have been rude, over the top, and unnecessary. We all have the right to voice our opinions and share our perspectives. 
I still find your letter laughable. You claim to have seen pelvic thrusts that didn't actually happen, you ignored Titans player Avery Williamson's dancing after sacking Newton and then getting after Newton for merely celebrating in l…

DAY 26 DV AWARENESS: Give more

I know this might seem like a strange post for DV awareness. But truth be told, I write these posts for the abused and the abusers. I feel like ending DV means we have to reach the perpetrators and the victims. 
I don't understand living a life in constant turmoil and feeling completely out of control to the point of acting out in violence. I believe we owe more than chaos to our lives and our loved ones. 
If you are living a life in constant upheaval and dysfunction, you need to give more to your life than what you're giving. If that means giving it more time away from other people, so that you can become stable, do that. Give more personal space to your life.
If that means finding help for mental health or behavioral health, do that. Give more psychological health to your life. 
If it means loving people like you would want to be loved, do that. Give more love to your loved ones. 
If you are able to read this, that means you are blessed with life. If you want it to be your …

DAY 25 DV AWARENESS: Want more

How many times have people said to you something like, "Well, you oughta be happy...remember there is someone doing worse than you."? Or some other version of that statement? 
Guess what? It's your life, and it is okay if you want more than what you have. Yes, be grateful and show your gratitude for the benefits of your life and the lessons learned from your struggles. However, you don't have to settle or become complacent. 
There is greater. There is better. There is more.
If you're hurting right now...there is pain relief... Go get it. 
If you're sad right now...there is joy...Go get it.
If you're broken right now...there is healing... Go get it.
If you are not where you want to be right now...there is opportunity for transition...Go get it! 
What is today, does not have to be tomorrow. There are possibilities. It is okay to hope and to dream. 
But remember, dreaming without working is just a gateway to disappointment. You have to do something. You hav…

Day 24 DV AWARENESS: Find friendship

You can spend a lifetime looking for love in all the wrong places. Then you end up with someone for a time, to only discover that you don't like him/her that much. 
Most of the time when you meet someone whom you're attracted to, your judgment of other things about the person gets a little cloudy. It really isn't your fault, it's that dang chemical reaction popping off causing your brain to synapse in all kinds of funky ways. So it's hard to tell that he lacks a sense of humor because he looks so good, that your hormones make whatever he says sound funny. 
Or she's so dope, that you don't realize she's dumber than a brick. It happens...so it's not your fault.
But oh...when that attraction wanes a little, you start to realize just how irritating or boring your mate is..now you just don't want to spend as much time together.
That's why friendship is so important in relationships. If you can develop a friendship with someone, you establish com…

DAY 23 DV AWARENESS: Create your own happiness

What does happiness mean to you? Do you ever think about what it would mean to truly be happy? 
The other day I wrote about not allowing anyone to steal your joy. But what if joy has been so absent from your life that you don't remember what it feels like?
It gets like that sometimes just through the rigors of living, you can lose your happiness along the way. One of the biggest causes of losing your happiness is looking for it in other people. 
Happiness is one of those feelings that has to have a fertile starting ground. That means that you have to prepare the place in your spirit for happiness to grow. 
It also means you have to choose the appropriate seeds to plant in order to grow your happiness. 
Let's talk about the fertile ground...
Nothing you plant can grown on rocky ground. So it will be hard to plant happiness in a spirit that is in constant chaos or that has been hardened by life's disappointments. Dealing with the past and letting go will soften the spirit. R…

DAY 22 DV AWARENESS: Get help

When I had a flat tire in the past, I immediately jumped on the phone to call someone to help me. When I broke my ankle, I drove myself to the hospital to get it fixed. 
In both situations, I knew something was wrong...I knew what was wrong...and I contacted the help I needed. I didn't go to the hospital to fix my flat or phone a friend to fix my ankle. 
Then there were the times where I didn't even know there was something wrong with me. For example, I have food allergies, and apparently had them for awhile. I am allergic to peaches and had been having reactions that I thought were normal. Every time I ate peaches, I would itch. I blamed it on the peach fuzz and assumed it made everyone itch...literally for years. 
It wasn't until I had a life threatening reaction that I knew something was wrong. Then after many trials and errors, I finally saw a specialist who told me exactly what was at the root of the issue. Over a period of time, I figured out how to avoid the things…

DAY 21 DV AWARENESS: Have fun

I grew up with these great aunts and grandmas who used to drop pearls of wisdom on me whenever I was around them. Though my grannies and most of my great aunts have passed on, their words stayed with me.
I can't remember which of them said this:  Baby, don't let nothing or no one steal your joy.
If those aren't words to live by, I don't know what is...Working in the industries that I work in, I come across a lot of joyless people. The relationships they've chosen to stay in, or find themselves leaving, have drained them of every ounce of happiness they once had.
Of course the relationships didn't start our that way. They began like any other relationship, then the sadness creeped on, the dysfunction took up residence, and the toxicity found a home. 
Something stole their joy. 
Joy stealing doesn't happen in healthy relationships. In healthy relationships, there is laughter and happy tears. A healthy relationship will marry two senses of humor and add laugh…

DAY 20 DV AWARENESS: Fight fair

I need to get this off my chest. YOU ARE GROWN, STOP THROWING TANTRUMS!
Little ones throw tantrums and use their bodies to express, sometimes violently, what they want. They do this because they haven't learned the words necessary to express themselves. As they mature, they gain more words, more motor skills, more understanding and more of an ability to communicate.
So tell my why grown folks forget all of the good strategies to resolving conflict, once they are grown and on their own.
You know, when we are kids, we learn certain rules of engagement that could translate over to adulthood with a few tweaks tailored toward realism.
If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. 
Ok...sometimes you really don't have anything nice to say, but you really have to get it out. As an adult, there is a way to say not so nice things in a way that doesn't torch a person's soul. 
Let me be real, I am a trash talking connoisseur. I have, at a time, gone p…

DAY 19 DV AWARENESS: Communicate purposefully

What I need from you is understanding...how can we communicate...if you don't hear what I say...-Xscape

Quite awhile ago, I interviewed this guy about being a reformed player who became a dedicated husband and family man. He was raised by a single mother, and learned the dire importance of maintaining open lines of communication with his wife. (You can read his story in my book.)
Ultimately, good communication keeps good relationships going. If you don't know how to communicate with purpose, you will find yourself making a lot of assumptions and being in a lot of unnecessary arguments. 
Purposeful communication is not just talking to be heard. It isn't just getting your point across. It's definitely not shouting someone down or firing off verbal beat downs. 
Purposeful communication comes with ground rules. Purposeful communication has goals. Purposeful communication inspires understanding. 
The Ground Rules:
Establish what they are. You two can determine when and how …

Day 18 DV AWARENESS: Have it your way

Do talk remember that song that Alicia Keys sang about having a relationship like all these famous couples? Bill and Camille, Oprah and Stedman, Will and Jada...yadda yadda...
Let me tell you something... I don't want a relationship like any of those folks because I don't know their struggles and have enough of my own. LOL 
I get the point though, she was talking about the positive aspects that we perceive to be part of their respective relationships. The thing is...some of their "good" may come with sacrifices that you're not willing to make. That's why it is best to craft your relationship your own way with the person you're in it with. 
If you saw your daddy treating women a certain way, that doesn't mean you need to follow suit. If papa was a rolling stone and it left you unstable...do you REALLY want to roll like he was rolling? If mama couldn't get right in her relationships, do you really want to live like she was living. Even if mama and …

DAY 17 DV AWARENESS: Learn to forgive

First, forgive me for being late with this post. I've been behind these last couple of days.
Let me get right down to it. Forgiveness is a hard, hard thing to give to someone who has done so much wrong to you. But the secret is...forgiveness is something you give to yourself. 
Yep! Forgiveness is a gift to you, not them. 
All this time, you've probably thought that forgiveness is something that relinquishes a wrongdoer of the consequences of his or her wrong doing. It seems like you are giving the person permission to do you wrong again. After all, people have always said that you are to forgive and forget, right? 
What people hardly ever tell you is that forgiveness releases you from what happened to you. As a matter of fact the perpetrators may or not feel a release themselves. 
Quite frankly, holding on to the emotions and memories of what someone has done to you, keeps that person and his/her deeds alive in your life. 

This is quite evident in a video, "Steel Here,&qu…

DAY 16 DV AWARENESS: Stay connected

We were not placed on this planet to abide alone. There are people around for a reason. Those people who have always been there for you, should continue to take up their special places in your life.
People who genuinely love you and care about your well-being help frame your support system. One of the biggest issues in DV relationships is isolation of victims from their support system. This can happen subtly and appear as though the abuser merely wants to be the go to guy or gal in your life. 
Someone who loves you will not isolate you from others, who love you and treat you well. As a matter of fact, they would work to become part of these relationships to build an even stronger support system. That doesn't mean an abuser is always an isolationist, but often that is the case. 
A supportive and healthy relationship includes involvement of good friends and loving family. Healthy relationships often join support systems, giving a couple mentors to look up to, friends to enjoy, and …