Love & Admiration for My Girlfriends!

This post is inspired by the amazing women I call my girlfriends! I’m sure you will be able to find yourself, your friends, mothers and sisters in this as well. So today, I celebrate not only my girlfriends but amazing women across the globe!!

 

 

Big hips, no hips, thick or thin lips, kinky or straight, face made up or not. You are beautiful!

Married, single, divorced or widowed, you are desirable!

Mother of 1, mother of 5, mother of none, you are needed!

Smile through the pain or lie down to cry, you are strong!

Money in the bank or account overdrawn you are valuable!

Understanding what you do today affects your tomorrow, you are wise!

Able to see past what’s going on right now and get a glimpse of your future, you are a visionary!

You take bits and pieces of nothing and craft masterpieces of all kinds, you are resourceful and imaginative. A creator!

Living life on your own terms, comfortable in your own skin, defining success, beauty and happiness for yourself, you are free!

Stepping into the unknown with expectation and trusting God, you are full of faith!

Taking off the mask, removing the makeup, you are transparent and vulnerable!

Knowing actions speak louder than words, you live love!

Aware that dreams don’t come true until you wake up and take action, you are practical!

Never demanding more than you’re willing to give and valuing compromise, you are balanced!

Allowing for other’s mistakes, you are gracious!

Refusing to give up, you are a fighter!

Doing the right thing even when no one else sees, you are full of integrity!

Helping others achieve their goals, you are an encourager!

Shunning what’s comfortable for something new, you are a risk taker!

You are powerful!

You are great!

You are beauty!

You are love!

You are royalty!

You are fun!

You are resilient!

You are consistent!

You are courage!

You are AMAZING!

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Natural Hair and Corporate America

I’ve made a very intentional decision to discuss black beauty only in terms of physical beauty and its relationship with corporate America. There are numerous things that make my people beautiful. Some take pride in the strength of character and resilience of our people. Some take pride in our innovation and ingenuity. This discussion does not negate any of that. Because our physical beauty is always under attack in some way, I am focusing on our outer beauty and how we choose to express it or hide it. This is where I’d like to start.

“Black is Beautiful.”  We’ve all said or thought it at some point in our lives or at least we’ve heard or seen it. I often wonder if we really believe it though.  It seems that some people can’t decide if they think black people are beautiful or not. If I asked you to “share” this post if you’ve ever heard or said “Black is Beautiful” I’d have a lot of shares today. I think others like our features, just not on us. Sometimes we don’t even like our features on ourselves and we fail to see our own beauty. But, I guess it really doesn’t matter what others think as long as we can see ourselves as beautiful. I wonder if some of us say things like “Black is Beautiful” and wear the t-shirts because we think it makes us stand out or that helps us fit in? Either way is a dilemma for me.

I have often heard black people complain about not being accepted by mainstream America, i.e. white folks or black people in positions of power. In the past I’ve participated in discussions about how assimilation in various forms seems to be a prerequisite for moving to the top, professionally and socially. For some of us this struggle is most evident in the way we choose to wear our hair. (Disclaimer: This is in no way bashing my people that rock brush cuts and perms.) Some of us work afros, some us rock locs, and some of us ladies work brush cuts. I got cut and dyed last week so currently I rock the latter. How many of my sistas with afros fought with themselves about straightening their hair for a job interview? I did. How many brothas cut their locs in an effort to be more attractive to potential employers?  Unfortunately, straightening and cutting usually wins. And sometimes, we decide against wearing natural styles all together because we’re not sure how it will go over at work or with our friends and family. How many of us were nervous on that first day at work with your new natural style? I know I was.

But the complaint remains that we aren’t accepted or respected when we walk into a corporate environment with our natural styles. So, I ask these questions:  if those of us who wear braids, afros, locs continue to assimilate how can we expect to be accepted? And why should we be accepted and respected in the workplace with our natural styles? I and many others like me would like to see things change. However, we have to be the ones to take the chance and initiative to challenge what our bosses, HR professionals and CEOs see when they encounter us in our natural beauty.

Do we not think ourselves worthy of acceptance and respect? Do we find this fight to be futile and so refuse to put any energy into it? As long as we continue to assimilate, we will continue to assimilate. May I submit to you that we are worthy of acceptance and more? Furthermore, we are due and we deserve and this.

In 2012 some parents feel the need to teach their sons/daughters that their blackness is something to be turned on, off, up, down according to where they are and who they’re around. Is this really the message we want to send the next generation? How can one turn their blackness on, off, up or down?! To whose definition of “black” have we subscribed that makes us feel it’s something we can and should control with a cultural remote control? We are a colorful people. Color wakes up a dull room. It opens up small spaces and even brightens your mood. Why would we want to hide this? Why would we want to cover up and hide something so beautiful?

I bet some of you are thinking this is easier said than done. I agree. I understand that sometimes we feel like we have to compromise. I’ve felt that way too. For my last job interview I didn’t straighten my hair but I did wear it twisted. I was very concerned that my hair would get in the way—that  I wouldn’t look professional enough and thus be overlooked for the position. I’ve walked into my office countless days concerned that my boss, VP or HR manager would pull me to the side and try to discourage my expressions of black beauty. But, they haven’t done that . . . yet. Everyday more and more of us are stepping up and bravely rocking our afros, locs, braids and other natural styles to work. May I encourage those of you that are still apprehensive to join in and demand to be respected and taken seriously no matter how you express your black beauty.

I am that chic . . . or not!?

Every now and then something happens that forces me to sit down and evaluate or re-evaluate a particular area of my life.  That happened twice this weekend.

Confession: I am a love junkie and in the words of Andre 3000, “[I] could be an organ donor the way I give up my heart.”  There are 2 men I’ve dated and loved fiercely in my adult life, David and Nathan (No, those are not their real names). At some point, marriage was a topic with them both; however, I knew I’d never marry Nathan.  A few years ago I watched David get married. The wedding came long after our break-up, my healing and right at the start of a new romance of my own. So, don’t think I was jealous 🙂 I was actually there to be the bride’s personal photographer. It was a beautiful wedding!

Recently Nathan stopped by to tell me he, too, will be getting married. I congratulated him as well and I am sincerely excited for him and his wife-to-be. But, yesterday it hit me . . . the last 2 men I’ve loved have moved on to marry other women and I had that awful thought… Am I that woman people write about?! Do I give too much or not enough? Am I too easy going or maybe too harsh? Needy? Excessively independent? What could possibly be wrong with me that no one has put a ring on it?! I mean, am I doomed to love a man only to lose him and watch him marry the next woman he dates?! This is for the birds!! Of course, human relationships are difficult to navigate and there are numerous factors that I won’t discuss here. I will share this though, I was ready when Nathan wasn’t and by the time he was ready, I couldn’t. So, maybe this boils down to readiness and it’s not a testament of my marriage worthiness. And, yes, I am the lover, nurturer, supporter you want in your corner.

The thing I love about writing is that it forces me to face myself, my contradictions and to think more deeply about things. Ladies, often times we ascribe value to ourselves according to our experiences with men. Take my ramblings above for example. No one has asked my hand in marriage, so I couldn’t be marriage material. But, what I’ve learned and what we all must learn is, sometimes the men we’re involved with ain’t marriage material—not to say David and Nathan weren’t. And, even if they asked our hand in marriage, it would be in our best interest to decline the proposal. By listening to pop culture, friends, parents and even our elders we become obsessed with proving we are worthy of marriage. But, if the man you’re involved with isn’t trying to prove to you he’s marriage material and if marriage is your goal, pack your bags and move on! You are that chic, but just maybe not for that man.

Love: The First Year

One year ago today after a little less than 12 hours of labor I laid eyes on Benyamin Adeal Nehemiah Porter. I remember. . .. I woke up, placed my feet on the cold, tile floor and my water broke. I remember thinking I’d peed my pants. Life had already changed so much because of the pregnancy. But now, now the real work would begin starting with the pain of labor contractions. I wasn’t scared. Although, up until that point I had been TERRIFIED of being in labor and giving birth with no pain medicine!! But that day, fear was gone. I was ready, ready to give to the world what had been given to me—a son. I was ready for Brian to see him, hold him and love him more than either of them could ever imagine. Yep, I was ready to get the show on the road and hold the child that captured my heart long before I ever saw him or felt him move. I’d stare at my belly swollen with life. I’d stare and be amazed that my body was working 24 hours to create a brand new, tiny human being with fully functioning parts. I was thoroughly amazed. Amazed that I had been chosen to give birth and be a steward over this single life that would soon impact this world by sheer virtue of the fact that he exists. I remember…Love!!!