Say Her Name – Theresa Kachindamoto!

I read this a few months ago and saved it because it is important enough to be repeated, again and again.  Marni Fogelson-Teel first reported it in inhabitots.com.  It is a true story about Theresa Kachindamoto, a female chief in Malawi, who breaks up 850 child-marriages and sends the girl-brides back to school.

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Continue reading Say Her Name – Theresa Kachindamoto!

Not My Circus, Not My Monkey

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If you’re like me you kind of wish that a sign would drop out of the sky that would clearly state what you need to do in any given situation. You know, like in the cartoons? One says ‘duck’ or another one says ‘wrong way.’ Except these real life signs would say, ‘Bye Felicia,’ or ‘Betta call Tyrone,’ or even still, ‘This is a waste of time. Move on.’

But woe unto us, life is just not like that. We have to use the old noggin and perceive when it’s time to walk away from toxic people, jobs that suck the life out of you, or dodge a problem that is not your circus and not your monkey. We all have to admit that some situations are a total wreck and just can’t be fixed. You have to walk away and mean it – or at least put some healthy distance between you and whatever it is.

Emotionally, it may not be that simple. We may have history or a bond (or at least think we do) with said job, person, etc., etc. So we stay and continue to be miserable, until something shows us otherwise. That’s why I love the tips below. There are like guideposts to help one perceive when it might be time to let it go and leave it behind.

  1. If something has you lowering your standards or changing who you are at your core and deepest and instead adopting habits that are unsafe or downright unhealthy that ultimately threatens your happiness, then it may be time to go. So in other words, if something or someone absolutely brings out the worst in you, let go.
  2. If you’re always the one doing the extending, giving of time, energy, money in a situation; but with no reciprocation, then it may be time to make an evaluation. No one likes to be taken for granted; especially after repeatedly communicating this fact and totally being ignored. So, is it worth it?
  3. It may be time to leave or distance yourself if you’re repeatedly making excuses for a friend’s behavior – bad temper, moodiness, or insensitivity. Once again, you’re doing all the taking (their bull), and is being given none of the consideration you deserve. After reasonable attempts to make it work – but not – it juuuust might be time to bounce.

 

THE Cheesecake Factory

The Cheesecake Factory is officially one of my fav places on earth! Lawd ham murcy! I’ve been meaning to write this post for a minute, but a few months ago I went to Nashville where there’s one located at the Mall at Green Hills.  Continue reading THE Cheesecake Factory

Sojourner’s Brand of Truth

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So I’m still reading the life story of Sojourner Truth. In her narratives, I find her to be child-like in her faith, very practical, a deep thinker, and of passionate heart.

Sometimes she seems a bit odd to me but then I have to think about her upbringing. Beforehand, I didn’t know that when only a child, she was enslaved in a Dutch household and only spoke Dutch from early childhood until sold to an English-speaking family. How would I have fared if someone plucked me from the only place I knew as home, only to be taken to another place of dwelling where a new language and religion was beat into me – be a good slave and the Lord will bless you. Don’t steal, cheat, or lie, above all, to your master or the Lord – in that order.

Now, I’m a Christian myself, but what do you call it when religion is twisted and used as a hold on other human beings?  Slavery, perhaps? So I understand why she was odd and different because she was pushed, shoved, uneducated, worked to the bone, and stripped of her secondary foundation – her own family – her husband and children.

I see her slave mentality develop into a wise old soul. She literally sat educated, loud, rich, white men down. And with only her voice. And with her broken-styled speech. And with her plain looks and tall, slim frame. I am starting to feel, right through the pages, her force that she brought with her. And yes, it definitely was from her brand of religion. The one which she developed, hewned, meditated on, and heard read aloud from the scriptures.

Her own thinking got her places unheard of during that time. Her mind, will, grace and reverence was awesome. Her quips – simple and plain – set things right. Her words were pithy and powerful. I have to end with an excerpt of one of her monologues. It is told by an onlooker who witness Ms. Sojourner’s speech firsthand:

I was once present in a religious meeting where some speaker had alluded to the government of the United States, and had uttered sentiments in favor of its Constitution. Sojourner stood, erect and tall, with her white turban on her head, and in a low and subdued tone of voice began by saying: ‘Children, I talks to God and God talks to me. I goes out and talks to God in de fields and de woods. [The weevil had destroyed thousands of acres of wheat in the West that year.] Dis morning I was walking out, and I got over de fence. I saw de wheat a holding up its head, looking very big. I goes up and takes holt ob it. You b’lieve it, dere was no wheat dare? I says, God [speaking the name in a voice of reverence peculiar to herself], what is de matter wid dis wheat? And he says to me, “Sojourner, dere is a little weasel in it.” Now I hears talkin’ about de Constitition and de rights of man. I comes up and I takes hold of dis Constitution. It looks mighty big, and I feels for my rights, but der aint any dare. Den I says, God, what ails dis Constitution? He says to me, “Sojourner, dere is a little weasel in it.”’ The effect upon the multitude was irresistible.

Laugh. Out. Loud.

 

 

What Forgiveness Does Not Mean…

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What forgiveness does not mean…

Condoning the offense
Pretending that the offense never happened
Allowing others to take advantage of you

How to forgive someone…

Remember what forgiveness involves.  You are not condoning the wrong or acting as if it never happened – you are simply letting go.

Recognize the benefits of forgiving.  Letting go of anger and resentment can help you to keep calm, improve your health, and increase your happiness.

Be empathetic.  All of us are imperfect.  Just as we appreciate being forgiven, we should likewise forgive the mistakes of others.

Be reasonable.  When we have a minor cause for complaint, we can chalk it up to life lesson and go on.

Act quickly.  Work to forgive as soon as you can rather than letting your anger fester.

 

 

 

Things to Give Up So You Can Be Happy

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This is sooooo worth repeating…

9 things to give up if you ever want to be really happy:

1.  Complaining
2.  Limiting beliefs
3.  Blaming others
4.  Negative self-talk
5.  Dwelling on the past
6.  Resistance to change
7.  The need to impress others
8.  The need to always be right
9.  The need for other’s approval

 

Upper GI and His Brother, Barium Enema

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Medical procedures are a necessary evil.  Necessary because we want to be healthy and evil because of how awkward, undignified, and sometimes painful they can be.  Let me illustrate.  Not too long ago, I tired of having all kinds of stomach problems and decided to go to the doctor.  After the visit, he prescribed a battery of tests – the upper GI and barium enema.  These tests were scheduled for the following business days – that Friday and Monday.

For the upper GI, the instructions were as usual:  don’t eat anything after 8 o’clock.  Fine.  I can do that.  I showed up for testing the next morning and was promptly led back to the waiting area where a few other victims were seated.  After a few minutes, we all were shuffled back to what I’ll call the dressing room area where you actually changed into gowns that were made handy.

Very soon I’m sitting there not only holding onto my plastic bag containing my street clothes but also to my disposable haute culture which opened down the back.  The tech, of whom we’ll call Ms. Too Happy for short, comes in and calls my name.  Before leaving the room, I turn and pivot to save my dignity only to notice that there are these little brochures on the wall that describe what each test would entail.  In my gut, I’m thinking, the upper GI seems OK, but I’m a little worried about the barium enema test – the key word obviously being “enema.”  I proceed back to the testing area.

A little later I’m standing on what seems to be an upright table.  Ms. Too Happy tells me this table will be let down, positioning me on my backside.  Then, the x-ray part of this contraption was pulled over me.  After some time, she brings me what looks like eggnog, only whiter, much thicker and having the robust taste of chalk.  Its proper name is barium.  After being instructed to drink, I quickly think to myself that this gunk was so thick, I’d do better chewing it.  I wanted to ask for salt and ketchup but thought I’d better not.  OK.  Got that down.  But lo’ and behold, she comes out with another cup.  “Ms. Faulkner, this is another cup of the same.  Just swallow when the doctor tells you.”  Even though my stomach is empty, the barium is so thick that I began to feel really full and slightly sick.  But OK, I’m trying to be a good sport.  Swallow, stop, turn, swallow, stop, lie flat, turn on your left side, little more, swallow, stop, and on and on.  This cup of goo seems bottomless!  Finally, I was finished.  Momma said she’d take the cup, but when I looked up, I spied another cup in her wee little hand.  At this point, I could cry and throw my peas on the floor, or pinch my lips shut (I was really thinking about this one), or just tough it out.

To my relief, it was not the goo, but another liquid that tasted like a soft drink.  I drank it down greedily.  Anything to get that chalk taste out of my mouth.  One down, one more to go, I thought when leaving.  That Sunday, I followed the directions the receptionist gave me Friday.  I had all clear liquids, took the pill laxative, and drank the liquid laxative.  I think I lost 5 lbs.

The next day, the worst of my fears were confirmed; they would have to insert a hose through my backside (to put it kindly).  Once again, I’m lying on that infernal cold table with opened hospital gown and all.  The same tech comes in and proceeds to pull the x-ray machinery over me and to insert the hose.  Could this be any more undignified?  Oh yeah, it could be, I thought.  You know how they take the newbies on rounds?  Yeah, it could be just like that; you lying here with ten other people staring at your dimpled butt.  That thought made me feel better about my present state.  And why did they make this hose with ridges?  What genius thought of that?  Here comes the doctor.  He’s nice.  He’d better be.

Barium is being pushed into my colon through the hose.  Well, I don’t have to swallow it, that’s one good thing.  They take a lot of x-rays; all the while, more barium is being pushed through the hose.  OK, how much could a woodchuck wood if a woodchuck could chuck wood?  Translation:  How much barium can one woman hold?!?  Just when I was filled to the brink, Ms. Too Happy comes out and sings out, “We’ll take one more x-ray, Ms. Faulkner!”  If I could speak, the things I would have said to that woman.  Like, #1 don’t be cheerful when I have a hose coming out my butt, #2 how long is one more x-ray, and don’t you have enough? and #3 You people know w-a-a-a-y too much about me!  But because I was frantically hanging on to the side of the table in the fetal position, I couldn’t say a word.  They took one more x-ray, allowed me to go relieve myself and then I was up on the table again for several more.  Afterwards, I was permitted to leave.

After all of this, I am glad to report that my stomach problems were due to stress and poor eating habits; of which, I have managed more responsibly.  And in regards to these tests, as stated before, they are necessary.  We need to be, especially as women, more proactive in regards to our health.  Still, however, I firmly hold to the opinion that while necessary, yes, they are a tinch evil.  Deep down, I suspect that there is some man somewhere, with greasy black hair, pale skin, and a thick foreign accent holding a cup of white goo in one hand and that datburn hose in the other saying, “Pain, pain, the glorious pain!”

I Made Out Like Rapunzel and It Was One of the Best Decisions Ever

One thing is true when you approach 40 years of age – you’re all about making life simple. For me, it started with my hair. So a few years ago, I made the decision to cut my hair short and let it grow natural. Let me emphasize, really short. And let me further emphasize that for any woman, this is a major step. Recession or no, Ms. Clairol and Dark and Lovely will never go broke.

I’d like to add that short, natural hair probably wouldn’t be a big deal in major cities like Los Angeles, New York, or Chicago. However, it posed a slight problem living here in the South and the Bible Belt where hair is considered a woman’s glory. I kept thinking, what would people say? What would be their reactions? I had to prepare my heart. I had to get ready mentally for how people were going react. But how? How would I cope? Then it came to me – find the funny. That’s how I would cope.

After a year of going back and forth, the day came for me to get my hair cut. I made an early hair appointment before work. It was a Friday. I had previously informed my beautician of the style I wanted. I remember how she laughed and said that I would chicken out. But there I was, sitting in her chair. She had cut the sides and back down to the appropriate length and was now holding a long tuft of hair at the top of my head. She reminded me that she could still “save” my hair by perming or straightening the rest because once she’d cut the last section that was it. Now, it was OK that she wanted to double-check, but why was she about to cry? And why did I become so choked up right after? Swallowing the lump in my throat, I quickly told her to cut it off.

I would like to say that I immediately felt free as a bird but that would not be the total truth. Yes, I felt an instant sense of freedom of sorts but confidence came with practice and humor. For instance, one Sunday while at my religious services I spied Ol’ Sister Ms. Thang and Sister Shut Yo’ Mouth tipping toward me. Before I could escape, I heard one of them exclaim, “Gurl, look at cho’ head!” Then before I could turn around, the other says, “Yeah chile, dats a shame!” Meanwhile, I noticed Sister Ms. Thang was wearing a bone-straight nylon wig and Sister Shut Yo’ Mouth’s got on two, count ‘em, two weaves – one in the front and one in the back! Now that was funny. And I did laugh too. Right in front of them – even though I don’t think they knew what my private joke really was. As I walked away, I was tickled with myself. How proud I was of my reaction and how silly I felt remembering my fear.

Some of my other female counterparts even intimated that very short hair is not attractive, which is really code for – you will never find a man with your short, nappy hur – dat’s right, hur. Okay, but isn’t it funny that even some of us who have long hair are still alone or have marital problems? Let’s even turn to fairy tales. For example, in Rapunzel, a maiden of the same name had hair so long she would throw it down and use it as a ladder to let people up. One day a handsome prince ascends up her hair into the room to where she is and they fall deeply in love. A short time after, a witch finds out about their love affair. She gives Rapunzel a beat down, cuts off her hair, and throws her out of her own house. When the Prince comes back, the witch gives him the what-for as well. She’s got him so shook that he jumps out of the window into the thorns below. Although blinded, he survives. He stumbles around until he finds Rapunzel, who is broke, busted and bald- headed. And this, of all times, when Rapunzel is hairless, is when the fable states those familiar words…“and they lived happily every after.” Yep, she was finally free. Now ain’t that funny.

When I made this attitude change it seemed to start a chain reaction to simplicity and peacefulness which permeated into my life in small and large ways. I began to rethink the way I did a lot of things. How can I get this done without the same stressful fight as before? Had to talk to my boss? Plan what to say and come armed with a solution. Instead of having that showdown with my family when they mooch my vacation time, schedule time with them beforehand so I can still have my me time.

And as far as aesthetics, I feel that I am still attractive. I remember I had to run an errand for my boss one day. It required me to go downtown. In our downtown area, we have a trolley system so I caught one to get to my destination. When I stepped off the train wearing my fitted jeans, my leather boots, crisp cotton shirt, and sweater coat, I got as many flirtatious looks and hellos as when I had longer hair. One man even said, “You look so nice, so natural.” Well, I said to myself, I guess length doesn’t matter.

So, in the end, I completely love my hair. And yes, I know that neither short nor long hair is better. That either way, hair only attracts. It does not please, maintain, or sustain any relationship. We are powerful and womanly in spite of it, because of it, and certainly loving it all the same. Hair is just one of our glories as a woman whether bottle-blond, bone-straight down our backs, or kinky to the scalp.

Ciao, my peoples…