Archive for the ‘Ladies’ Category

I See Your Racism and I Raise You the Constitution by Venessa Bowers

Several months ago, I wrote the following blog in an attempt to unpack the racist undercurrent in our country. Today, the day after this nation voted a bigot, a racist, a misogynist, a hypocrite, a pedophile, a sexual assault offender, a liar, a cheat, a fraud, a sham, a joke, a petulant child, a xenophobe, a homophobe, a conspiracy theorist with the support of the Russian government, with his minion vice-presidential candidate into the highest offices of our land, and in fact, the free world, I’ve had to rework the piece. I’ve included the original at the end of this blog to show you where I was a few months ago when I firmly believed that love would win. I am left despondent and questioning exactly what the fuck is wrong with the American people.

Let me be frank, I am shocked and appalled that the very people who have been denigrated by this campaign: African Americans, Latinos, white college educated women, LBGTQ members and the people who love them, immigrants, the working class, the poor, the disenfranchised have voted en masse against their best interests. Do you really believe:

  1. That voting for a third party candidate who was even less aware of the world in which we live than the now President-elect was a smart choice? Sure, sure, we all want more options – lobby for that shit in the years between elections and find a candidate who is not a moron if you really want to change the system. DO NOT sit here and tell me your vote for this idiot, regardless of the damn state in which you live, didn’t hurt the democrats. Because, you, my friends, are just wrong. Look at the numbers. They do not lie.
  2. That the FBI releasing a “trumped” up story (and I mean that literally) about some emails was not a “rigging of the system?” Those emails have been under investigation since July and as it happens, had not a god damn thing to do with Hillary Clinton.
  3.  That tomorrow you will have health care that you can afford? That you will be able to get medication you need? That insurance companies all over the country are not, right now figuring out how they can deny your future claims?
  4. That the economy will not continue to tank? Look at the DOW!!!! You just bet the farm against your own future. And? Do not blame Obama for that. That’s on you.
  5. That there will be voting rights available to women and minorities that are not stripped of the basic tenant of the constitutional amendment granting those rights? Especially with the folks calling for the repeal of the 19th amendment which granted women the right to vote in 1920 you, ladies voted AGAINST maintaining a right for which people died. And you should know better.
  6. Ladies – how about having sovereignty over your own body? You have relegated yourselves to brood mares of the state. Your uterus is subjected to the government. Your right to chose how to live your life will now need approval from men in power. Don’t believe me – go talk to women in Indiana who just lived through governance by the stain that is masquerading as the Vice-President-Elect and actually woke the hell up.
    1. And while I’m on the subject of women – guard your p***ies because those are the dominion of men who seek to own you. What about sexual assault victims? What do we tell them now? Anyone who has ever lived through sexual assault knows, KNOWS, that there is no protection for them now. After all, its just locker room talk, right?
    2. Guard your daughters because a sex offender was just elected to the highest office there is and you signed that check. He is facing a civil trial in December on a child rape case.
  7. My African American friends who did not even bother to vote. Seriously? What does John Lewis think of you today? You forfeited your right to live in a country that even pretends to view you as human. It will now be open season in your communities. How will you reconcile what you’ve just done with the fact that so many died in the streets to get you the right to vote in 1965? You simply cannot.
  8. That the Marriage Equality act will stand when the speaker of the house, Republican, Paul Ryan has ALREADY written a bill to support the First Amendment that gives religious zealots the RIGHT to discriminate against you. Its on the docket right now. Just wait for it. And? How about that electro-shock conversion therapy that Pence is in favor of? There’s no safe harbor now.
  9. Veterans – do you honestly believe that you will NOT be called up to support wars against anyone who insults this idiot you elected? You thought 4 tours was tough. Well, strap up, pals.
  10. That the rust belt will EVER see manufacturing jobs again from a man who built his hotels from Chinese steel? They won’t because he will benefit from the cheap labor – ya’ll too expensive.
  11. Poor people – you think that a man who has made a fortune off your back is going to lift you to a standing position? When his minion VP has voted against living wage increases for his entire career? What, is the Lord going to swoop down and change this man’s heart? Ok. Go pray about that.
  12. Family values folks – y’all really just voted for someone who cheated on his wives (note PLURAL) and had 5 children with three different women. Who subjugates his own daughter’s body. Who told the mother of his last child to abort the pregnancy? If you believe he’s a changed man, you need to seek immediate treatment for your delusion. Do it now, while you still have health care coverage.

Is this a rant? You bet your ass it is. I have never, NEVER been more ashamed of the state of things in this country in my lifetime. I am from an immigrant family, a working class/working poor family, a values-driven place that in this great land of ours, believed we would never again bear the weight of the boot on our necks. Well, you … YOU just polished the boot. Inside that boot, hate lives. Fear lives. Faith died. Loved died. Compassion died in the stench of the vitriolic rhetoric of this campaign. You have no idea how many people I’ve seen cry today. How much fear I’ve see today. How many triggered people I’ve seen today. I have sat with victims all day. Children all day. THESE are not weak people. These are the people strong enough to stand up and show their RIGHT to think and feel some kind of way today. I held space for them all, ALL of whom are utterly confused about their place, their identity, their worth, because of the goddamn audacity of marginalization prorogated and perpetuated by this campaign.

Now all that said – read the following blog because I wrote it when I had faith in human decency. I wrote it when I believed that we, all of us, could make it better for all of us. Right now? It’s every p***y for herself. Don’t look over here when the bottom falls out of your shit – because to quote the brilliant Everlast “Rock bottom hurts when you hit it.” Keep your powder dry, though. Because we are on the brink of a cataclysm. I hope you’re ready because you invited the demon to the dinner table. Eat hearty. You won’t get a pass here.
*****************************************************************************
The year is 2016. But it looks a lot more like 1816 in this country that I love. Every day, more and more reports of police using excessive force on unarmed African Americans grows. Since January 1, 2016, 790 people have died at the hands of police, 194 of those people were African Americans, and 33 of those African Americans were unarmed, according to The Counted, The Guardian’s tracker on police killings. The number of killings in general should bother us. The disproportion of African Americans, especially those who were unarmed, should stagger us.

And of those unarmed, they were shot for what? One was reading a book in the car, one was trying to fix a broken down car in the middle of a street, one occurred during a routine traffic stop, and the list continues grows.

Frankly, the people to whom I am referring have been shot BECAUSE they are African Americans. And how do we know? The smart phone in everyone’s hands has made the misdeeds of police a public issue. Day in and day out we get to watch murders occur in our living rooms, offices, schools, parks, and churches. And the best we can do is hashtag the names of the dead.

Here’s what happens: A shooting occurs, we see some outrage on social media, we hear that the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, there is “an investigation,” sometimes charges are brought, but far too often they are not. More often than not, even if charges are brought, the officer walks away from the incident. Why is that a problem? Because someone else CANNOT walk away from the incident.

We read the backlash against the social and political movement of #blacklivesmatter which has been labeled a terrorist and hate group by a portion of the population that clings to a sense of entitlement that they have simply not earned. They rage and storm because they do not like the fact that “this group” of people is using their constitutional right to protest injustice. Former Governor and now, Vice-President elect, Mike Pence railed against the implication by politicians that there is some “institutional or systemic bias” at work. Well Mr. Pence, it is not institutional or systemic bias – it is institutional and systemic racially motivated domestic terrorism. Your running mate is all about “calling it what it is,” so let’s just do that. It is racially motivated domestic terrorism that is sanctioned by the state. Let’s unpack that statement.

When is the last time we have heard the same excuses used when defending why a Black person was shot applied to a White person? We’ve NEVER hear that. When is the last time we heard that unarmed White people are shot by police because “they looked like they were on PCP?” We don’t. Damn it. We DON’T. How is it that the man who shot 15 African Americans inside a church was taken alive and given a meal? Or the Colorado movie theater shooter, taken alive. The Oklahoma City Bomber, taken alive? Notice that I do not use their names specifically because the victims are more important. In addition, notice that all of these people I refer to killed people and were white. So that explains the “racially motivated” portion of the statement.

It is domestic terrorism because it happens on American soil by Americans employed by the State (read government) on a daily basis. It terrorizes only one community because they are the community being targeted. I don’t fear the police. I don’t have to. I’m White and have the expectation that the laws of this land will protect me. African Americans have been shown, time and again, throughout history, that they cannot expect that the same is true for them.

The Bill of Rights of the constitution states that ALL American citizens can expect these specific protections under the law. I’m going to post those articles here because you, dear reader, need to KNOW the constitution so that you can KNOW when it is employed equally to all citizens and when it is not. These 12 articles of the Bill of Rights were completed and adopted on September 25, 1789. That was 227 years ago, almost to the date.

Article the first… After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.

Article the second… No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

Article the third… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Article the fourth… A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Article the fifth… No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Article the sixth… The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Article the seventh… No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Article the eighth… In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Article the ninth… In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Article the tenth… Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Article the eleventh… The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article the twelfth… The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
(http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html)

Please go back and read Articles 6-10. Are any of these things happening during these incidents? Of course not. Nowhere in the constitution was it written that a person could become judge, jury, and executioner on the life of another human being. NO where.

As we will see in the coming days, the lives of the dead will be trotted out to victim-blame them for any transgressions they have made during their breathing time. Any transgression. A speeding ticket. Drug use. Mental health challenges that were untreated. Selling cigarettes. Eating Skittles. “He had a gun!” Yes, in an open-carry state. A white person in an open-carry state is not shot, typically, just for “having a gun.” Which was found after he was killed. Trying to protect a client in one’s care. Even if these folks were guilty of breaking the law, they need to be prosecuted according to the Bill of Rights. Even if they were under the influence of drugs and alcohol, they need to be treated and THEN prosecuted. It does not stipulate that they are to be gunned down by the police who are expected to not only PROTECT them, but to SERVE them.

Let me ask my White folks out here a questions. Have you been shot for speeding? Have you been stopped and questioned for failing to signal? And if so, were you afraid you’d die? No, because the constitution protects you.

Let’s be clear. These are not “mistakes” made in the line of duty. These are murders. We’ve all watched the videos. They are murders. Any suggestion that law enforcement is “just doing their job” when these events take place is not only ludicrous, it is a tacit approval of the behavior. Further, help me understand how, in New York, a man who detonated bombs that injured 29 people and was prepared to detonate more, who shot at police, and was consider armed and dangerous, posing an imminent threat, was taken alive? Because those cops, “were doing their jobs.” And a great many cops do their jobs with insight and compassion, and caution. They de-escalate situations. So, when I take to task the cops killing African Americans, I am certainly not being anti-cop.

As a social worker, I can say that I have spent a lot of my time in the last few years listening to these topics come up in my classrooms and my private sessions. Frankly, I am tired of trying to help children cope with fear of police officers because they are black. Really tired of it because there is no comfort I can offer. I cannot honestly say that “it will be ok,” or “it won’t happen to you,” or “just use your manners.” I just can’t because I will not lie to a child. But also, as a social worker, my code of ethics mandates that my primary goal is to “help people in need and to address social problems” (National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics). It also states that must I respect the inherent dignity of the person in front of me, challenge social injustice, focus on the importance of human relationships, and that I value and practice in a culturally competent and socially diverse way.

But guess what? I’ve been physically and verbally threatened by clients and I didn’t shoot them. I have been afraid for my life and I didn’t shoot anyone. I’ve been so overworked that I didn’t know my own name, but instead of practicing unethically, I took time off. I do NOT want to hear those excuses from law enforcement. Ever. Again. Because as a law enforcement officer, you have chosen, just as I have chosen, to serve the public. And to do that well, you have to be trained, you have to care, you have to do self-care, and you have to CHECK YOUR BIAS at the door. Every day. Every time. No exceptions.

If I practice unethically, I will lose my license and that means I cannot no longer be a social worker. If I shoot and kill someone, I will stand trial and be convicted and sent to prison, especially if it is caught on camera. Why is the same standard that is applied to me, not applied to law enforcement? In so many ways, my profession is much more dangerous. Because we, as social workers, face crisis unarmed. Unarmed. Every. Day. So that means, I’ve got to use my brain to de-escalate a situation. I don’t get to tase someone. Or shoot someone because I’m afraid.

My code of ethics prohibits me from doing any harm to another person. More than the code of ethics though, the LAW prohibits me from doing harm to another person. And I believe in that, value that, practice that, and expect that from others serving the public.

Until African Americans can say that the law protects them, is my belief that the law protects me really valid? I’m not so sure. Because what happens when my groups are targeted by law enforcement? But see, even that question is ludicrous. I will never experience that. Because the law and constitution does protect, and has always, protected me.

So, as a white woman, a social worker, a human being, I am going to call what is happening right now (and has happened for centuries in this country) what it is: It is state sanctioned, racially motivated, domestic terrorism. And we need to read our governing documents to understand that. And we need to “take a knee,” or “take a stand,” or “raise our voices” to make change happen.

Because it has to change or we will see another civil war in this country. As White folk, we need to look within ourselves and find the corners where racism lurks. And we need to drag it into the light and deal with it. Head on. We have to be self-reflective. We have to be our brother’s keeper. We have to talk to other white people because they will listen to us. We have to educate.

We have to do these things now. People are dying in our collective streets. That has to matter to us, collectively. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Each time you want to say “well it’s not all white people,” or “it’s not all cops,” shut your mouth and listen to other people. Seriously. Shut your mouth for once. We do not need to dominate this discourse. We need to listen with our hearts and not hide behind our hastags.

Imagine how insulting it is for African Americans to see the hashtag #alllivesmatter. Can you even imagine what that feels like? It means to them: ONLY our lives matter (read white). Or how about #bluelivesmatter – like it’s an equivalent issue. Listen, a cop chooses to be a cop. No one wakes up one day and chooses to be African American. What if you were targeted and this is the response you got from people? Imagine what the heck that feels like? It’s isolating, it’s intolerant, it’s anti-intellectual, it’s anti-religious, and it’s anti-human. Be pro-something for once. Use your brains from more than video gaming and victim-blaming because it removes your from social responsibility. And if you cannot do these things. Get out of the way of the people who can.

Because if you come across me, I will see your racism and raise the constitution.

Every time.

Are You A Groupie? By Angenita Williams

GLPIC

 

Are you a groupie?

Merriam-Webster says a groupie is a noun that means a fan of a music group who follows the group on concert tours.

Urban dictionary says a groupie is a young woman, often under age, who seeks to achieve status by having sex with rock musicians, roadies, security, and other band-related guys.

Does that describe anyone you know?

I heard the song Groupie Love by an indie artist Young Mac about a year ago. (Check the photo.) The more I listened to it, the more I really get it. Although the title would have you thinking otherwise, it’s obvious that the woman being described in the song is a hurting woman.

“I can tell it’s groupie love cause she aiming to get rich.”

Listening to the lyrics on the surface would have you think the narrator is talking about the typical groupie – backstage at all the shows. Heels on point. Body a ten. Making sure she gets chosen. But a deeper listening reveals that this “groupie” isn’t typical…she has the “aim” to get rich…but the “rich” isn’t the rich that one thinks of when they speak of rich.

In this aspect, rich means love. She wants to be rich…in love… jumping from body to body in search of this elusive love…the love that every girl dreams of. Yearns for. And when that love isn’t there, then substitutes are there to take the place…money…attention…sex. Selling herself short for the illusion of desire. She’s broken. And the narrator tells her, “I can feel your pressure.”

How much pressure are we under to find love? For us single ladies that are 35 and up, how much pressure do we bear when we wake up next to pillows every morning? When you just wanna hug and hear a deep masculine voice say it’s gonna be alright? I know…Momma never said there would be days like that….because Momma never let it show that there ARE days like that.

Navigating the world of relationships is real tricky. Mainly because everyone has baggage to unload, and everyone wants to remain selfish….when love has nothing to do with selfishness…it’s so selfless. You willingly give your all because love is about growing the other person, not what you can get out of them or from them. You have to make sure that person has your best interest at heart…But you can’t wait too late or you’ll end up broken and bitter.

Self-love is the key to deflating the pressures of being single. No one can love you if you don’t love you, and if you don’t love you, you can’t possibly love anyone else. So for the groupies in the world….take a pause…love you…Nothing will give you more satisfaction until you realize that love you seek is right there in you…

“Go ‘head and show that groupie love…go ‘head, you know that groupie love….”

Beyoncè’s Super Bowl Concert by Delina Hill-Brooker

 

Beyonce SuperBowl 2016
(Photo: Ezra Shaw)

First off, let me put a few disclaimers.

  1. I am not, nor will I probably ever be a die-hard football fan. The only time that I watch a football game is if my son is playing or the actual Super Bowl game…which technically, I’m not watching the game, I’m only there for the commercials and the halftime show.
  2. ALL of the Super Bowl performers from Lady Gaga, to Cold Play, Bruno Mars and of course Miss Sasha Fierce herself, all did an Oh-Mazing job. I was thoroughly entertained.
  3. A few of my friends on social media didn’t enjoy all of the performers, and as I watched the trending stories, some of everybody had something to say about them as well, but hey, this is my blog, therefore my platform to voice my opinions. 🙂

Okay, now that we’ve gotten those formalities out of the way, let me just say this. Say what ya wanna; like her or not, Beyoncè slayed not only her performance, but the whole Super Bowl as well! You can criticize her song, her man, her daughter, her choice of clothing and dance. You can believe that she’s part of the Illuminati (which I don’t and don’t believe that there really is such a thing). But what you can’t do is say that she doesn’t give 110% of professionalism, style, grace and true artistry EVERY TIME she performs!!!
Super Bowl’s halftime show was a mini concert, gay pride, girl power, Black power, MC Hammer throwback, pop and live music, dancing while you sing, almost fall – but you don’t miss a beat – pick it back up and keep on going, plug your upcoming tour, playing nice with others fun loving good time all jammed packed and displayed as a physical collage – with a powerful message of “Believe In Love” to top it all off. (Yes that is an extremely long run on sentence, but hey, it works for this). To me the halftime show was a perfect blend of a variety of music for everyone to enjoy some aspect of the show.
As a Black, business woman I have no choice, but to respect her hustle, grind, creativity and brand building.

Now let me give out disclaimer #4. Her music has evolved in such a dramatic way that I do censor what my children listen to and watch of hers. However, I was okay with the halftime show for them. That being said, I censor what they watch and hear ANY WAY. Everything is not for children to see or hear even if it’s art. I wouldn’t let them listen to NWA, which is art, with a powerful message, but the delivery is just not for them to absorb YET!

I know not everyone will agree, and that’s totally okay, but I love and respect me some ‘Yoncè! And at the end of the day, her name is being talked about. Which is good for her brand, sooooooooooo…

Beyoncès Super Bowl Concert

(Photo: Christopher Polk, Getty Images)
                   LionessVizions.com                      @LionessDelina                            @LionessVizions

On Being Black in America by Angenita Williams

I know it’s been a minute…

These past few weeks have been torment for me.

I’ve sat quietly watching as news story after news story after blog after blog spills the details about another mistreatment of people of color.

I’ve been silent. Trying to figure out exactly what I want to say that hasn’t already been regurgitated through media.

And then the Charleston Nine happened. The actual thought of removing the Confederate flag happened. On my drive home, I figured out what I wanted to say – a checklist of sorts. I’m only going to list three, or this blog will be a hundred pages long.

  1. On Being a Black Woman

I am a Black Woman. That means that royalty flows through my veins. My foremothers were Queens. My foremothers were dignified women. I wear my crown straight. Slave blood runs through my veins as well as the strength of my ancestors. My shoulders sometimes struggle for carrying the world is heavy. My back is arched, my head is held high. Just like Maya said, “Phenomenal woman, that is me.” My piercing stares are full of determination and tenacity. My tresses are strong. I love me.

And it took me almost 40 years to do that.

With what society says I should look like. All my images of “real” beauty came in the form of Barbie. Brooke Shields. Susan Lucci. Farrah Fawcett. And when I got a little older, Claire Huxtable and Dianne Carroll. I was a victim of the paper bag. My blackness always questioned because my skin is a tad paler.

But I was still Black. I hated my kinky hair. I hated my name because it was so unique. It always seemed like if I was a white girl named Tina with long brown hair, and pale blue eyes, I would be so much happier. Why? Because Tina had things that looked like her. That resembled her. That were her…

And I was grown before I could truly love everything that being a Black woman is, does, and strives to do. Before I learned the true strength of where I come from – the fields of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Before I understood that my beauty comes from the strength I innately possess. Before I realized that beauty is truly beyond this skin I’m in.

  1. On Being a Mother of Black Children

I worry every time my children leave my sight. They are of strong mind and strong will. My son, a Black man. My daughter, a Black teen.

I am bombarded with images of unarmed children being gunned down because the officers don’t understand that they too are innocent. They have an innocence about them just like his kids do. But he is threatened by their melanin. By there sheer ability to have the nerve to WANT to do things outside the home. To DESIRE to be something other than…*insert typical Black stereotype*.

Not too long ago, a Facebook friend posted a picture of the White Charleston Nine shooter next to the picture of the fourteen-year-old Black girl with a cop’s knee in her back. The caption compared the dignified way he was captured against the violent way a CHILD was thrown to the ground. A woman who was white said the picture was misleading and that the bikini clad young lady was being aggressive. A child who had no idea what was going on and begged for her mother versus a cold-blooded killer who was afforded a bulletproof vest and a sandwich.

I responded with – she is a CHILD.

The lady responded with a long response to which she ended with “I will teach my children to treat everyone well, and I hope they teach their kids the same.”

My long response ended with “be thankful you can teach your kids that. Be thankful that you don’t have to worry about your kids not coming home – not because they are bad kids, because they are not. It’s because they are Black.”

As a mother, this is heartbreaking. And the list just keeps growing. I pray my children’s names are never on that list. I pray my nephews and nieces will never make that list. I pray my brothers, uncles, cousins and friends never make that list.

  1. On Being Black, Woman, Near 40, and Single

It truly seems like the older I get, the worse dating gets. Seriously. One would think that with age comes maturity. This isn’t so in a lot of cases. And it’s frustrating. Maybe it’s because I expect so much. Like a job. And decent conversation. And thoughtfulness. And a date or two or three. In my teens and 20’s, I accepted pretty much whatever just to be recognized by a man. Just to have one in my presence. Just to have one be there…even if it was temporary. Just to feel “love.” And I got two kids to raise pretty much alone (my loves!), a broken marriage (not truly getting what marriage entails), a few broken hearts, an ocean of tears, fears of rejection and pain, a steel fortified fortress built around my heart, and a different view on love. Dating isn’t fun – it is a tiring assortment of role specifics and game playing. I am over playing the game. And many older men that approach me want to play it.

There are way more things to speak on – finances, education, awareness, growth. I’ll save that for another time…

I’m baaaaacccckkkk

I am Legendary… I Create My Legacy by Angenita Williams

LLCPIC2

A few months ago, I received a Facebook inbox from a young lady I’ve seen perform and host within the Indianapolis poetry scene. Her poetry is phenomenal, exquisite, demanding, commanding, and raw – just like it should be. She captivates as her voice cascades through your ears to resonate within your heart. Not only is she a poet, she is a bonafide writer. I follow her blogs. Read her sometimes page-length Facebook posts. She inspires one to be inquisitive and most of all, while her heart is definitely on her sleeve, she is a mighty, transparent, strong woman indeed. Her name: Januarie York.

However, there was another remarkable woman whose smile brought life into a building. Her poetry was outstanding, and everywhere she went, love grew by the multitude. She was surrounded by the love she so easily dispersed – She was deemed a Queen. The name absolutely fit her to a “T.” Her name: Blanche Boone-Jackson, and she was called home earlier this year.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Januarie for a Spotlight. It was a great experience to see her outside of her usual poetic self. We had a great conversation and interview, and she liked the piece I wrote on her. I was pleased.

But, when I got the inbox from her asking for my address, I was shocked. I had no idea why she wanted it, but, I didn’t hesitate. Whatever IT was, it was going to be good.

I received my puzzle pieces, which turned out to be my invitation to The Queen B Legendary Ladies Ball. Legendary ladies? Me? Legendary? Wow.

Modeled after Oprah’s Legends Ball, the event started with a Tea and Testimony, then the actual ball the next day.

The Tea and Testimony was an awesome display of women coming together to support each other – to laugh and uplift. To enjoy the company of others. I gained some sisters that day. We fellowshipped in every since of the word. I knew some from Facebook, or going to poetry. Some I didn’t know…but we were all there under one accord – to fellowship in friendship and the love of the Queen.

The ball was everything. Everyone dressed up so nicely and smiles were everywhere. The gentlemen that were there treated us all like Queens. Elle’s voice was beautiful and sweet as she sang the interlude to her speech. The soulful Bashiri Asad shared his soul with us as homage to the Queen. A young lady by the name of Essence made eyes sweat with her rendition of Take Me to the King. And the wonderful duo of Elle and Theon gave us an awesome cover of Use Somebody. SunRae Phoenix gave a sermon unlike any sermon I’d ever heard before, and made our eyes glisten underneath the dim lights of the venue. Shantell read Still I Rise, and we saluted with HELL YEAH! Tony Styxx gave us the meaning of abracadabra and advised us to “watch our wands.” And then the fabulous Januarie said to us all, “If someone loves you, let them love you or let them go.” Then, we spoke our names.

To say this was powerful is a complete understatement.

We got a ceremonial box with mementos and keys to life. Beautiful purple sand, rose petals, and water beads adorned our boxes…some we placed in a vase as a ritual of unity…some we kept to share our energies, and keep it with us.

This weekend gave me so much strength to keep doing what I do. I never once thought of myself as legendary…

I am so humbled and honored to have been invited to this event and having the chance to meet and fellowship with some amazing women.

And I really feel as if #ICreateMyLegacy.

Thank you Januarie, and thank you Queen B for bringing us all together in your spirit. Your love lives on forever…for you are the epitome of a true #LegendaryLady…

Dear Janay by Angenita Williams

Dear Janay,

Hey Sis.

My spirit told me I had to reach out to you and to let you know that I understand what you are going through.

I know why you defend him. I know how it feels to be hurt by a man you love. And for all those on the outside, they have no idea what is real. This, what you have, is love, and until they understand that, they should leave you alone.

I get it.

But sis, what you don’t understand, is that this is not love. This is control.

I look at your beautiful face, and your eyes tell the story of how he breaks you down. He didn’t always strike you. He treated you like a queen. Got you what you need. There for you. Then one day, things changed. He hit you. He apologized, and went back to that good man. Then he hit you again. And the cycle continued.

I may be wrong. This could have been his first time. But the ease at which he hit you, with the strength he hit you with, and his callous reaction to it, shows me that he is no stranger to abusing you. He dragged you, even kicking you while you were out. He didn’t show that he cared…he showed annoyance. And you took the blame and apologized for your part – which was responding to a slap in the face.

Sis, love doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t hit. It doesn’t toss you. It doesn’t belittle you. The Bible tells us that love is kind and patient. He clearly lost his patience, Love.

And I am only reaching out to you because I have been there. I was not only a witness to abuse, but I was a victim, and also a perpetrator. I thought I would get them before they got me. That didn’t work out so well either. I was told that no one would want me. If I didn’t fall in line, my dad would hate me. Weak men prayed on my weakness and lack of self love.

Sis, physical abuse is the escalation. The emotional and mental abuse starts first. I understand the cycle. So when you defend him, I get it. You have to. He is your man, and you ride for him as to be expected of any good wife. Ride or die.

But ask yourself…

Would he ride for you?

I’ll end this by saying, sis, love you first. Find you. Explore who and what you are. What is your purpose in life?

I pray that you find the happiness in life that everyone longs for. I pray your marriage lasts without further abuse. I pray that if the abuse continues, you find the strength to leave. I pray you become a survivor. I pray for your strength, life, and health.

Be strong. Hold your head. Know that some of us understand.

Sincerely,

Angenita

Well Done, Maya by Angenita Williams

She rose from the depths
Of what society said
She should be
Tall, black, woman

Silenced
For years
After her words killed
A violator

But still, she rose

Her stature captured nations
Civility unmatched
Humble beyond measure
Loving spirit

Wisdom…
A teacher
A motivator
A Queen

And still…

Clouds produce storms
Rainbows are the products of storms
And clouds
They happen when the sunlight reflects moisture 

In the air
At just the right time
And angle
Nature’s splendor 

And still…

Her quotes…
Made you say…
Where did she get THAT?
How was that obtained? 

And her works
Will guide
On exactly where it was
Revealed 

And Still… 

Her voice…unmistakable
Her spirit…full
Her life…of purpose
Her legacy…everlasting
Her honor…noble
Her being…marvelous

Simple, awesome…love

When I wrote the blog last October, Clouds and Rainbows, I knew that Maya Angelou was ill. She was still boisterous, funny, and full of wisdom, but her body was frail. The shell that housed her was getting weak. But in her strength…she didn’t let it be known…

The strength of this woman is unlike many I have seen. By rights, a teen mother should not be this successful and full of life. She shouldn’t have all these experiences. She should grow to be a welfare mother with a house full of children with no daddies. Stigmatized. Alienated.

But through love and guidance, THIS, teen mothers, abused women, lost and lonely girls…THIS…is what you CAN be. Life can toss you so many things, and people can give you so many excuses as to why they can’t do something. But the LIFE of Maya Angelou dispels everything that anyone can say to you to impact you negatively. Her statuesque life. Her larger than life personality. Her…spirit motivated you to want to move. A simple reading of any of her works will get you up and out your seat.

God called her home on May 28, 2014. His purpose for her shell is done.

Rest in Peace, Dr. Maya Angelou. I’m sure you have already heard this by a bigger voice than mine, but, job well done. JOB WELL DONE …

Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it…

~Maya Angelou

Unbelievable! by Angenita Williams

symbolic illustration on violence against women - stock vector

It’s undeniably unbelievable that a man can be convicted of raping a woman, and he gets sentenced to twenty years, yet doesn’t do a day in jail. He gets to have eight years worth of home detention.

A pound of marijuana gets you up to three years behind bars.

Last time I checked, possessing marijuana isn’t violent.

Maybe he got to go home because he raped his wife. I mean, it IS her wifely duty to sex her husband, right?

Last time I checked, a woman can say no to any type of sexual pressure, no matter WHO it is.

This has me so heated because rape victims rarely come forward because of the scrutiny they face. It breaks down to a he said she said. And if her skirt is a little too high, her shirt a little to low, it is deemed as an invite for sex. I mean, she should know better, right? Like if she doesn’t want sex, she should cover herself and act like a lady, right?

Last time I checked, we can wear what we want, when we want, how we want, and we shouldn’t be subjected to the assumptions or force of men to fulfill their desires.

While I’m ranting, let me mention the woman in Indianapolis who was shot fourteen..yes…fourteen times by her ex-husband while they were in the midst of a custody battle. He was arrested in Kentucky and brought back to Indiana. She survived the attack. He was placed in jail on $100,000 bond. However, his bond has since been decreased to $25,000.

Why was his bond decreased? He pumped fourteen bullets into a woman. He is VIOLENT. WHY should he be offered a lower bond? He didn’t shoot her once or twice. He shot her fourteen times. He had malicious intent to kill, but now, if someone puts up $2,500, he could be walking around the neighborhood, looking for another opportunity to take her out. Oh, not to mention, a protection order was in place when this happened.

Unbelievable!

The only solution that I can think of is to be prepared. But really, how can you be prepared against a husband who forces you to have sex, then gets to go home? Sure it’s on his record. But he can have access to you. He can still be a threat. And you could call the police. But, would they make it in time?

Motherhood Reflection by Delina Hill-Brooker

2390728_1212077

 

It seems like just yesterday I was this scared teen, afraid to tell my mother that I was pregnant. I had gotten caught up, so fast, so easy, ‘it won’t happen to me.’ Well it did. The scariest thing that I could have imagined at that time happened to me. It was rough being pregnant an still in high school, the looks adults and even my peers gave me like I was some lost, wet, shivering puppy dog stranded on the side of the road. Their silence was loud, and the few words that they did speak went in one ear and out the other.

It took some time, but I decided before I actually delivered that I would not be a victim of the system, or a statistic. The more that I thought about it, I realized that this “situational dilemma” was actually, a beautiful gift from God. I decided then and there that not only I would survive, but WE would survive and come out on top. From that day forward I started making plans of how I would still graduate on time, and make a better life for us. I took my job seriously, I had to keep him protected, love him, as well as, show and teach him a better way. I literally poured all of me, and some into him. While I was on maternity leave I did home school, and would go to school with my baby to take my tests. Anytime I would get discouraged or unsure of myself my mother, my mother-in-love and the other mothers in our village would simply say, “You’re gonna be alright! You’ll look back on this one day and look back on this one day and you’ll laugh at the worry you feel right now.” For the life of me, I couldn’t see how that could be. Especially after I was hit with another blow of my fiancé (my sons father) passing prematurely.

Eighteen years later, after I decided to grow up quickly, I’m looking back and laughing at all of the worries that I had then. All of the love, nurturing, perseverance, hard work, bumps, bruises and help from our villagers paid off. My “baby” boy is graduating high school and has been accepted to BOTH schools of his choice!

 
He’s so very talented, funny, smart , hardworking, an excellent role model for his younger siblings and to top it off, he’s handsome too. He’s a perfect mixture of me, his biological father and my husband. He has been a joy to raise, and a perfect gift from God. He’s exactly what I needed.

I just want to thank everyone in our village, there are too many to list, and you know who you are. We love and appreciate you. Thank you for all of the love, encouragement, well wishes, babysitting, teaching, spankings, support (emotional and financial), tough love, words of wisdom, protection and guidance. We wouldn’t be where we are without you. It is true what they say, it takes a village to raise a child!

Healing Hidden Insecurities by Angenita Williams-Childs

Image free courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about domestic violence. I took three couples and compared and contrasted their domestic violence issues and outcomes: Ike and Tina, Rihanna and Chris, and Evelyn and Chad. The couple I want to discuss is Evelyn and Chad: partially because of what I wrote before, and partially because I watched her on Iyanla: Fix My Life on OWN.

Now, my assumption of Evelyn was based on what I “heard” through those who watched VH-1’s Basketball Wives. Reality shows that depict grown women showing out and acting a fool are a turn off for me. Honestly, any reality show that does little to motivate someone to do what’s right in life is a big turn off – Jersey Shore, Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta, Mob Wives or Bad Girls Club.

Anyway, Evelyn was, in Iyanla’s terms, a “thug amongst women.” She cussed any and everybody out. She leapt across tables. Threw drinks in people’s faces, and was the explosive one. She challenged everyone with her sharp tongue. She was just an all around hot mess with a pretty face.

Seeing her interviews with Iyanla actually made me realize something about her, me, and a lot of other women: this is the product of the “Daddy Syndrome”…and like my business partner said, a product of unhealed wounds.

Now everything that happened on Basketball Wives makes complete sense. Hear me out…

As a product of the “Daddy Syndrome,” I saw a lot of myself in her. She was angry, hurt, alone, looking for love in all the wrong places, and worse, sought validation of her self-worth in the arms of a man. The sad part is that it didn’t matter to her what man it was. She allowed herself to be used, abused, and cheated on. She gave the green light, not thinking she is worth enough to command respect. So many women deal with this daily.

The feelings of nothing that permeate their souls, stain their faces with tears. Give way to insomnia, drugs, alcohol. Depression, self hate and loss of all being happy because she somehow feels abandoned. Like how can she love herself if the man who created her didn’t? Like how could she ever hope to have a man in her life, when the very first one she knew walked out on her?

Men really don’t know just how much their absence affects a young girl who wants her dad’s love and attention. All she wants him to do is love her, be there for her, make her feel special. And when he doesn’t, the empty promises made by those who see her weakness sound good, real good… so sweet and tender. That is, until he talks her panties off, and is finished with her…leaving a trail of heartache, heartbreak, and more damage to her self-worth.  I think more damage is done when dad is alive and right around the corner, or a phone call away, yet never does. There is an empty inside and the constant question of why…Why doesn’t he love me? Am I that bad? Did I do something to make him turn his back on me?

I saw it all over her. She had some deep rooted Daddy issues, but what makes it worse is that she was never taught to heal. She didn’t know how. She set herself up in the same situations with different bodies, and couldn’t see the road she traveled. She didn’t recognize the patterns. It all was familiar to her. And sadly, her blindness about herself made her react in ways that were unbecoming of a lady. The hard exterior was her shell of protection to let no one in. She was angry, and displaced.

I knew exactly what she felt. I, too, went that route. I was angry and sad. But I was able to start my healing through writing my portion of Revealing & Healing: 3 Women’s Stories of Survival. It’s funny because until I wrote out some of the most intimate details of my life, I didn’t realize how bad I truly was, how depressed I was, how unhappy I was. I thought I was confident, but I wasn’t. I too still had Daddy issues. I didn’t know how those issues affected me in my relationships until I wrote them out and saw the similarities of relationships gone wrong.

Now, I’m not all on her side, because I still believe that she is not telling the entire truth. I think some of her anger and attitude still got the best of her. I’m only saying that now, I understand. I get it. So Evelyn, time out for all that. It’s time to start healing. You’ve got to be real with who you really are. Once you do that, the process can begin. There are two great loves in this world; the love of God, and the love of self. I tend to think they go hand in hand.

Healing starts when the pain is its greatest. We cannot continue to carry the burdens of the past on our shoulders. Open wounds get infected. It’s time to clean them out and stitch them up.

%d bloggers like this: