<3 The women in my family are all goddesses. We deserve to be celebrated, protected, and loved as such. We have to learn to love ourselves immensely exactly the way we are- without the need for validation from anyone else. Be it the men in our families, colleagues, friends or the world... I was inspired when I saw the pictures from Beyoncé's mother's wedding. I am a huge Bey fan. Some are not and they're entitled to that. anyway, hear me out. When you think of pop culture or what's in the news, who are the biggest most talked about people? The royal family, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt.. All Eurocentric. Who do our girls have to look up to?? So even if you're not a fan of Beyoncé or her family, the image that they portray is critical to our girls understanding that they are EQUAL TO and as important as any other person in this world; that they are not "minorities" but a part greatness; and that they do not have to be oppressed but can create their own opportunities as well as uplift others! But I digress.. It made me think of the beautiful women in my family. The strong, intelligent, talented, driven, passionate, loving, funny, nurturing, women. What we are is amazing. What we are not is irrelevant. We are made perfectly for our purposes, we carry out those purposes perfectly, and we deserve to be appreciated and loved. Respected. I thought about everything that I could remember that the women in my family have accomplished and endured. I am amazed. It's almost unbelievable; and through it all these women have remained the rocks, the strongholds, the organizers, the entertainers, the fixers, the managers, the problem, solvers, and the rescuers. These extraordinary women I am blessed to call my family. My sisters, my daughters, my cousins, my nieces, my aunts, my grandmothers, and my Mother. I am so blessed to be a part of this amazing beautiful matriarchal family. I love y'all.
I watched some of Unsung: Mint Condition on TVOne last night. Mint Condition REALLY REALLY represents how women want to and should be treated and how men SHOULD treat women. The kind of lyrics that their songs had just don’t exist in popular music these days.
I’m a firm believer that what you allow yourself to be exposed to affects the way you think- even if it’s only entertainment!You can see it in the behaviors of young folks these days. I was speaking to a group of young men last summer who happened to be assigned to an “alternative” school about why they made the decisions that they made to get into trouble; to my surprise, they volunteered that artists such as Chief Keef made it cool (in their minds) to be conscienceless criminals who had no problem carrying guns and shooting to kill. ESPECIALLY if it had to do with their money.
What they said was sad enough… but what was worse was that they recognized the problem with that and STILL subscribed to this horrible point of view and lifestyle.
Now, to be fair, my children listen to the radio and watch youtube videos like most other kids. I recognize that even if I banned this stuff in my presence, they will have endless opportunities to watch and listen when I am not around to police. I do address the lyrics in the songs, the images in the videos, and what they mean and don’t mean. I have daughters- I teach let them know that there is no one standard of beauty and not to judge themselves by what they see in media.
Nicki Minaj and the song “Anaconda” gives me the worst case of “what the hell am I supposed to do”. lol The song is raunchy as hell and the video is soft-ish porn. But I remember that I used to LOVE “Baby Got Back” (from which Anaconda’s sample was taken) when I was a little 9 year old. Our parents HATED that kind of music and tried to shield us from it as much as possible; however I think they gave in eventually, standing on what they had taught us to stand against the negative influences.
is FAR from this.
ASIDE: I remember when the song was popular because a singular instance; my family was moving my sister into her college dorm room. We were walking up the stairs with boxes of her stuff in our arms, everyone singing Sir Mix-a-Lot’s lyrics in unison. When the “me me me so horny” line came along, everyone stopped BUT ME. I was so embarrassed but only because I was the only one who was still singing. I had no idea what “horny” meant lol- but I was feeling the high energy of the song!!
I’m always questioning that I’m not saying or doing the right things to give them the tools to become happy and whole women. I try not to let my baggage affect how I manage them. The balance gives me nightmares… Not too permissive and not too strict. Be realistic to make them strong but optimistic to keep them confident.
I listen to old school music from the 50’s up to the 90’s with them and let them see affection between Matthew and me. I want them to know -and SEE- how they should be treated as girls, young ladies, and eventually women; AND how they should carry themselves.
I teach them that while they are exposed to music and images that I wish they weren’t, they MUST think critically about what they emulate and make the choice to first and foremost be good people. Then to define themselves by how they feel is the most authentic versions of themselves… and this changes over time!
I may not be able to completely shield them from all the stupid sh*t out here- but I WILL shine a light on the fact that it is STUPID SH*T so they will know to avoid it.
I HOPE that the purveyors of popular music start peddling music worth listening to. Otherwise, we will continue to avoid listening to the radio (and other entertainment media sources).
The light inside of you (which is in us all) not only shines on those around you- but multiplies when you reflect the light of others!
Imagine if every time you realized that you had an attitude or were feeling down- you took control of your emotions and decided to smile and do something kind for a stranger. IMAGINE how that would change you! Imagine how that would change your day, your week, your year. Imagine that you inspired someone else to do the same.
I realize that I can come off as an idealist or dreamer but this is something of which I am certain:
Any positive change that I have seen in my adult life, began with ME making the decision to see my circumstances from a different perspective. One that is not clouded by the ghosts of past trauma, present pressure, or future fears. One that is steeped in experience, confidence, and excitement. ALWAYS ready to conquer the next mountain.
Because after thirty something years I have FINALLY learned that I am ultimately in control of my experience.
I choose to shine and reflect the light of those around me. I can take no credit for my light. Only honor my creator for blessing me to be me- flaws and all- by being the most authentic version of myself.
I am happy because I love and I am loved. I listen, I speak, I serve. I heal, I create, I destroy. I make mistakes, I make amends. I apologize for none of this because I am made in the image of my creator.
When you realize that it is not only okay to be you, but it is the best, absolutely most fulfilling thing you could ever, EVER do- you can’t stand the thought ever going back to wearing the mask you donned all this years before.
The past week was the BOSS Camp- hectic, fast paced, and most of all- distracting. I knew this day was coming but it didn’t really hit me until Friday, after Camp was over.
I’ve been crying intermittently since then.
Saturday I spent quite a bit of time fighting back tears; Madysen came unglued and cried hysterically begging me not to go; Alyssen sent Beans the Pig #BeansthePig to keep me company. I’ll be instagramming our adventures.
Matthew and I had to come to Memphis on Saturday and have spent every possible moment together for the last couple days. I’ve tried my best to soak his presence in as much as possible. Last night (Sunday night) I began to feel the gravity of not being able to see, touch, and be with him for the next 3 months. It was truly overwhelming. We are together every single day. We work together, eat together, sleep together, travel up and down the highways – we are literally together 24/7. He’s my Soulmate and my partner and I am only half a person when he is not with me.
But today was the most difficult. We stayed in the bed at the hotel until about 9am and got on up to get some breakfast. We sat in the booth at the restaurant and almost immediately, I lost my composure. I went to the restroom to get myself together quickly- I wanted every second I could have with Matthew.
I didn’t have an appetite so I ordered coffee and Matthew ordered a sizeable breakfast- he wanted me to eat something at least. I cried off and on and laughed at Matthew trying to make light of the situation. We both agreed that we wouldn’t do anything like this again.
I opened my email from Joel Osteen, and wouldn’t you know it, the title was “Acceleration”. Matthew prayed and thanked God for everything- each other, our purpose, and most of all for his perfect plan and allowing us to have the privilege of serving his purpose on our lives. We had a good laugh at how timely and appropriate those messages always are for us.
I told him that last night I pictured this day and was about to play the song for him that was in the background (think dramatic movie scene) and before I could play it, he said “Is it old school?” to which I replied yes. He then asked if it was from the Dead Presidents Soundtrack- YES! He hummed the tune and was right. We were on the same wavelength as usual. My soulmate and I. <3
The food took forever, the order was wrong and then was pretty terrible… we didn’t finish it. Matthew didn’t even bother taking a to-go box! (Anyone who knows him, knows that it HAD to be awful in order for that to happen.)
We headed out for the airport, which was only about 5 minutes away. It was surreal. I knew that I was leaving and Matthew wasn’t, but it seemed like some rebellious part of my brain wouldn’t agree. It felt like WE were going on another trip for work or something.
There was an HBO crew filming and episode for a show called Quarry inside the airport- with which Matthew was fascinated while I checked my bags. When I was done, I walked to Matthew, standing beside the security line and hugged him as hard as I could. I didn’t want to let go- it felt like if I did, I would die. I cried and whimpered. He tried to comfort me and held on just as tight. Finally, I let him go, kissed him several times and walked through the maze of security rope. I took one more look back and saw him walking through the crowd. I quickly turned back and got through the screening.
When I boarded the plane I saw a picture of me that Matthew posted on Instagram with a long caption that set off another round of tears. I thought about leaving my family for so long and just began to pray to God- “I trust you. I trust you. I trust you.” It’s all I could think to say.
Now, I don’t want to sound all doom and gloom like I don’t want to go to San Francisco because I definitely do. I’m torn between excitement for what’s in store at the NEWME Accelerator and missing the comfort of having my family with me.
Matthew rationalized it for me like this-
I’ve always wanted to contribute toward our business and for our family financially, independent of Matthew and here is the opportunity to do so. I don’t have Matthew to hide behind in new situations, or talk so I don’t have to. This next few months- everything that happens for us in San Francisco will be because of me.
So here I am, on this United Airlines flight from Houston to San Francisco- scheduled to land at 4:32pm PST (6:32pm CST). As I write this, I’m listening to my music on shuffle and the Chi-lites come on singing “Oh Girl”. Are you kidding me?!! [SKIP] I can’t deal with that kind of nonsense right now.
I’m excited about all I’m about to experience, nervous about doing it alone, and sad to be away from everyone I love most.
I imagine that all of my posts won’t be as emotional as this one… At least I hope not. Lol
I just want to make everyone proud- my students, my team, my family, and most of all my Soulmate.
Here’s to the first step!