My One Year Blogiversary

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Many of you have probably noticed an extreme increase in the amount of re-posts from this blog, or re-spins. I have been doing this to lead up to this day or rather, yesterday: My One Year Blogiversary! I remember the exact date I published my first post here on The PBS Blog. It was August 18, 2014.

I have learned so much about the blogging experience and writing in general from this blog. Primarily, I believe I was capable of being progressive with this blog  in particular because I set out to devote more time to it. I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone. I subscribed to other blogs, commented on other blogs, shared other people’s material that I found interesting, and participated in writing Challenges and Blog Awards. I also publish very frequently, at least 2-3 times or more every day for at least 5 and sometimes 6 days a week and I have done this since the beginning. I don’t exactly consider myself a power blogger but I do believe that the quantity of my posting has played a big part in the growth of my blog. If I could at all help it, I tried not to miss more than a day without publishing something to my blog. A poem, an article, current events / news, etc., whatever I found to be of quality material or funny material or thought provoking, I shared. I set time aside specifically to blog. I treated this like a part time job and it has paid off. That is because I believe in consistency. I am a very dedicated and loyal individual and I transferred this over to my blog. I try to make sure that my blog is not one stale compilation of regurgitated ignorance and conscientious stupidity. I believe this draws people in and helps build solid supporters. All of these components together assists me in reaching my blogging goals which I must say, were not very clear in the beginning. I had a purpose, but I was not sure how I wanted to navigate the online world. In fact, I remember my first few posts, which got no likes, no comments, and no views for the first few months of blogging.

I hope that the future of this blog will continue to hold the same versatility in which I now strive for. It was not this way initially, but over time as I gained more understanding on how to blog, I unintentionally created a place where all people could get something out of it, despite where they were in their lives. In short, I hope that the contents of this blog will always be thought provoking and inspirational for positive change and growth.

In honor of my first year completion, I have decided to change my blogs theme up a bit. I’m still working on putting everything back since the new theme did away with the sidebar and pages (now located at the bottom).  I appreciate your patience as I rearrange everything.

But how does everything look so far? I’m going for a neat, clean feel. Yay or Nay? Keep it or Trade it?

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Encouraging Womanhood

I remember being given the permission to date at a certain age. Even if not literal (I don’t remember being told), by the age of 15, 16, and 17 it was understood I have at some point begun dating, and as such there was a silent acceptance of this change. As I’m running errands and trying to escape the triple digit scorch that’s got it’s body spread all over Louisiana, I thought about womanhood. d8998d4994ed3993c8d8df56c8e9ebcf What is womanhood? The question hangs over the heads of our daughters with anxious anticipation. The youthful mind dividing itself into sections of experience: puberty, first date, first love, marriage, and children. We split ourselves into portions and gamble off pieces that do not fit. We grow old and still we find this question lingering against the frontal lobe of our minds, and occupying the mental space of our thoughts, “What is Womanhood?” It is a question we believe can be answered just by purchasing cigarettes, buying liquor, engaging in sexual intercourse or the entering of the club scene. As my thoughts spread out and I take these snap shots of my own past, I thought about this generation and how disappointed I am in a lot of today’s youth. Their minds seem to be so far gone from basic fundamental teachings that drive adulthood. My thoughts grew to include preparation and how little of it is present in many of our communities. That is the preparation of our young people and most especially, of our young women. Instead of encouraging our daughters to get boyfriends, it is time we start to prepare them for womanhood. In this way, when they begin to engage in relationships, when they do find a man, they’re not little girls. Because we have not prepared our daughters, a generation of children occupy grown-up bodies and little girls have over run our households and are producing babies they don’t have the tools to teach. What happened to the womanhood training our grandmothers instilled in our mothers fifty years ago?

Sandra Bland & Black Hypocrisy

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I know, I said I was resting. I also said I was a workaholic. I am resting but before I dig in deep and disconnect from the internet, I thought I’d give you something to ponder over the weekend.

What kind of woman was Sandra Bland? Can anyone tell me? Did she pray often? Did she love those around her? Who was she? Personally, I don’t know.

I’m always saddened by the deaths of anyone and the things I see taking place within the black community. However, what annoys me is when black people allow themselves to be driven by emotion and disregard common sense. It has been said that she was dead in her mugshot, for instance. Have any of you ever seen a dead body or a rotting corpse? Have you examined lifeless bodies or studied the difference between someone living or dead? How then do you know what kind of state the woman was in when she was photographed? Must we ignore the marijuana they found in her system or is she automatically granted immunity for being black? We have turned Sandra Bland into a hero, even though no one can tell me what kind of woman she was.

How do we know for certain that she didn’t kill herself? Is this conclusion a result of a personal study or are we making decisions off pure emotion? Maybe she was murdered or maybe she committed suicide but what does it mean?

It’s sad, of course. How can it not be? But the question black people should be asking themselves is why? Why do these things continue to happen to you of all people?

Why is there a greater outcry against the killing of Cecil the lion than the death of one of yours? We are killed in the streets every day. Why are you continually treated like less than a human being?

These are the kinds of questions we should be asking ourselves, not whether or not Sandra Bland killed herself. The question is not if she did it or not, the question is….why?

I am not without compassion, but I cannot allow my emotions to surpass the truth. It’s hard to sit back and watch your people die but this woman did nothing to be considered a heroine of mine. I don’t know what her life was like to be granted that title or to make that kind of a decision.

You see the truth of the matter is that a lot of people are unconscious, especially within the black community. We have no idea of what’s going on around us or in front of us. We have no understanding of who we are, who we are not, and why as a result it has led to our position or lack thereof in this land. We continue to be slaughtered in the streets under the rule of a black skinned president but you’ll hear nothing about that. Funny how dark skin can deceive dark skinned people. Blinded by the hypocrisy  we cannot see the truth for what it is. Many of you, because you wear the title of African American, completely disregard any wickedness that comes from your blood line and the consequences that happens as a result of that disobedience. This woman is filled to the brim with weed but this is your Queen. I am not Sandra Bland’s judge and her death is sad, but she has done nothing for me to admire. Oppression is real but many of you are blind to the part that you play in that same oppression. This too is futility and it is hypocrisy.

Deu 28:20 “YAH sends on you the curse, the confusion, and the rebuke in all that you set your hand to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, because of the evil of your doings by which you have forsaken Me.

#Ronovan Writes #BeWoW Prompt – Regret

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Regret:
feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity); a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done.

Ex. “She immediately regretted her words.”

Today, Ron’s suggested topic for #BeWoW is on Regret:

In my opinion, the idea of Regret is good. In order for someone to change from a negative situation, thought, or feeling, he or she must admit to a wrong and feel sincerely sorry for having committed this wrong. There must be some kind of sadness from having done it. This repentance of sorts then will lead to proper change in whatever capacity that it is needed. So the concept of having Regret for having done wrong is a good thing. If I have no ill will toward having done evil in the past then the reality that it is evil has not left my heart and I do not see it as the evil (or mistake) that it is. If I lied but I do not Regret lying, then I do not see it as the wrong that it is. Life presents the opportunity for change and growth in many instances in our lives. And when I look around at the negative parts of me that I struggle to completely do away with, I see those parts as belonging to a time I have not fully regretted. I know that it is bad, but I do not wholeheartedly feel bad for having participated in that bad, I have not fully Regretted it. Instead, secretly, I still see it as a good thing.

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”

― Cynthia Occelli

On the other hand, the problem with Regret comes in when we wallow in that Regret and our repentance then turns not into positive change, but ugly depression, and thus causes us to regress in many ways. Even if I can Regret having made a mistake, I can never correct it if I continue to hold on to it. The amount of energy that I put into that kind of regret has the capacity to single handily destroy me. It leaves no room for positive change or any other feeling. This kind of Regret is a cancer, eating away at our life force until we are a mere reflection of what we used to be. It causes us to feel sorry for ourselves so deeply that we eventually hate ourselves because of it and are no longer any good; not to ourselves and not to anyone else. We fall down, but unlike positive Regret, we do not look on the fall as an opportunity to get back up, we look on it instead as a crutch and as an excuse to keep us down. This is the ugly side of regret and no good can come from it.

In closing, I say to my Regretters:

You should feel sorry when you’ve done something wrong because if not you are bound to repeat it. You should Regret it and be remorseful and sad because this is what is needed to change it from a negative to a positive situation. However, careful not to allow this sadness to turn into depression because it will destroy you. It’s OK to feel bad but eventually you gotta get yourself together and back on track. Your sanity and your growth as an individual depends on it.

Movie Night Friday – Coming To America

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It is a treasure to find movies that have it all, and Coming to America is one of those movies. Comedy, History, and Symbolism.

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For the most part, I fell in love with this movie for the same reason that everyone else did, because of its humor. If you need something to help make you laugh then put this movie in. I’m not even going to ask you if it’s part of your collection. I mean, you do have Coming to America…..right???? But as time went on I also started to notice other information of importance that surpassed the laughs. Not only is this movie extremely hilarious, but it also includes many messages.

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Starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall, Coming to America is about Akeem Joffer, the crown prince to the throne of the wealthy African nation of Zamunda, who lives a prosperous life. But having been appointed a wife from birth and forced to marry her, Akeem is unfulfilled to take a woman who would obey him and submit to him. He is also uneasy with the idea of the arranged marriage. In fact, he is sick of being pampered in general. As a result, he decides to take a trip to America to find his bride; as he puts it, “someone who will excite his intellect, as well as his loins.” To make a long story short, he takes with him his friend (or personal side kick whichever fits), named Semmi and together they end up in Queens New York, an impoverished part of New York City, and opt to stay in a run-down apartment in one of the most disgusting rooms in the building (“it’s a shame what they did to that dog”…lol)

Now, since there is so much here, I’m going to take only a couple aspects of the movie that I see that involve a deeper message than the ability to tickle the funny bone.

#1: Authority and Submission

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To start, part of Akeem’s travels is that he is not interested in taking a submissive woman as wife. It’s more than the arranged marriage; it is also the woman’s trained obedience to his authority. The famous, “Whatever you like…” scene showcases this well. While many of us laughed at this and threw our “I know that’s rights!” into the air, smashing our judgmental comments of Imani Izzi (arranged bride-to-be seen here) at the screen, in truth there was nothing wrong with what she said. Of course they had to exaggerate it, but the point is that a woman is supposed to obey her husband. She is his helpmate and her desire is his desire. Contrary to popular belief, authority has nothing to do with money. A man is not the head of his household because he’s supposed to make the money and a woman’s money does not appoint her as the head either. This is society’s definition of authority and it is the reason many women think they can step all over a man because they make more money than he does. And isn’t it a shame? That the one thing we value most in a man, many of our men do not have. No wonder 70% of black women are single.

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A man’s authority is to be the leader and the protector of the family. A man provides more than just money. He provides protection, leadership, and guidance just to name a few. Contrary to feminist thought, submission does not mean weak nor is it synonymous with slave. Submission just means to give respect and to be in agreement. When a woman is respectful and in agreement with her husband she is following his direction. In addition, she strives to keep him happy in every aspect. The saying that a woman is a lady in public and a freak in the bedroom is not made up by happen chance. It just means that a woman works to keep her man happy in every capacity. Even something as subtle as King Jaffe sitting on the throne and Queen Aeoleon standing by his side; this is an accurate portrayal of how it should be. It is no wonder the King walks around with a lion hanging from his shoulders. In the animal kingdom, the lioness hunts down the food, she brings it to the lion, and he is the first to eat. Like I said, respect. As you can see from this example, the woman is by no means idle and her job is not insignificant. She must work to keep the family strong just as he does and ensure her home is a happy and thriving one for her family. She may do this by working or staying at home. Either way, she is helping to add to the strength of this business of sorts called family. She makes decisions and suggestions as well but this authority does not surpass that of her man’s. There can be only one CEO of this business and he stands up to pee for a reason.

In short, Akeem refuses a woman from his own cultural background who will be obedient and respectful to him, and instead seeks a woman from America who is more independent-minded.

#2 Identity

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Akeem is in line to receive his father’s possessions. He is the royal descendent of a great people, much like the children of Israel. As he and Semmi maneuver their way around the “Land of the Free”, you start to notice an unraveling of their culture. They do not desire to be a set-apart nation of priests; they are simply, “Ordinary Americans.” They go from living in a palace to living in poverty; from letting their hair grow long to cutting it off; to being draped in gold, to designer jackets; from being pampered and provided for by a King, to having to work a 9-5 at a restaurant. Akeem and Semmi go from being among a powerful and set-apart people, to a downtrodden and despised people. They go from being in line to inherit the blessings, to accepting of the curse. In America, Akeem is not proud of his cultural heritage, he is ashamed of it.

Even the end of the movie is significant, but I will leave that part alone for the 2-3 people reading this who have not seen Coming to America (smh).

Trailer:

Funny Movie Mistakes:

When Akeem and Semmi get their apartment, the landlord says that the room has only one window facing a brick wall. But when Akeem is out on the fire escape, he yells out to a street, not a wall. And there are two windows.

Watch the movie and see if you can spot the knot!

“What’s your favorite movie? Is this among your collection? Why do you love it?”

Race Doesn’t Exist

French physician Francois Bernier was the first to use the word “race” as a category for scientifically classifying humans in a 1684 essay titled “A New Division of the Earth, According to the Different Species or Races of Men Who Inhabit It”.


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In addition, Johan Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840), a medical professor in Germany, argued that human beings fall into five races: Caucasian, Mongolian, Ethiopian, American, and Malay. He argued that Caucasians derived from the Caucasus Mountain region and embodied the ideal human from which the others degenerated. It was a popular belief that Caucasians were the ideal form based on a skull that had been found in the Caucasus Mountains, near the alleged location of Noah’s ark. What this classification achieved is the setting up of a color line. Blumenbach classified five chief races of mankind and by attributing psychological value and importance to race; this became what we know as racism.

Science has a lot to do with the usage of “race” to identify a people. Although there is uncertainty in the title about the correctness of the term “race” versus “species” to classify human variation, Bernier relied on categories based on outward physical characteristics such as skin color.

Carolus_Linnaeus_(cleaned_up_version)A prime example is Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus’ system of biological classifications in Systemae Naturae, published in 1735. Linnaean taxonomy is the system of scientific classification of plants and animals now widely used in the biological sciences. He formalized the distinction among the continental populations of the world and his work helped characterize the concept of race. In the tenth edition of Systemae Naturae, which was published in 1758, Linnaeus projected four subcategories of Homo sapiens: Americanus; Asiaticus; Africanus; and Europeanus. In short, the moral components of race–such as beliefs, values, etc., were not as prevalent where racial hierarchy was already established by slavery, but the word race was a general term that was used interchangeably with species, sort, type or variety. This is why there is no such thing as a race of people.

crayons-labThe concept of Race is a new ideology and has not always been with us. Genesis Chapter 10, known as The Table of Nations, gives an example of how people were split into nations and lands and language, not races. In fact, “definitions of who is black vary quite sharply from country to country, and for this reason people in other countries often express consternation about our definition.” (F. James Davis). What has happened then? How has a nation of people now become a race of people? They told you about a brown man, a black man, a yellow man, a red man, and a white man. It’s as if they took their crayons and painted us the colors of their expectations. After coloring they began the tasks of assigning these colors to class and certain geological locations in that they may properly identify them. Not necessarily so that these people may identify themselves, but so that racial superiority would reign supreme.

6a00d83420747353ef01a511c3312b970c-320wiThe U.S. Census Bureau defines race as “a social category recognized by the United States and does not attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically”. The Census Bureau recognizes five categories of race: White (people with origins in Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa,) Black or African American (Africa), American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. The census also includes a Hispanic ethnic category. It is an ethnic category rather than a race category because the Latino community is said to include many races, such as White, Black, Native American, Asian, and mixed.

The truth is that every single person on the face of the earth belongs to a nation of people, as he was so divided since the beginning, and thus he falls into whatever family according to his nationality. Every people have a nation to which they belong, followed by a specific set of laws, customs, and traditions separated only by land and this is why race does not exist, because there’s no such thing as a race of people. Sure, we may use the term for understanding sake, one may say “my race is..” so that the person next to him gets it, but he does not really belong to a race, he belongs to a nation. Prejudices, Biases, and oppression of one people who feel superior over another people does exist, but race within the concept to which we’ve grown to know it, does not.

Appreciating Body Parts

150510_0001I’m typing with nine fingers today. I do have ten fingers, but one of them happens to be out of commission today. Brilliant me slammed it in the car door last night. Now my wonderful husband can take care of his disabled wife. OK well, it’s really not that bad. It is in a bandage though so I really am typing with nine fingers. But this got me thinking: How often do we appreciate the value of the little things, such as a finger? Do you appreciate your body parts? You’d be surprised how important this small part is to the body. It’s a challenge not using this finger, but I know of a beautiful young woman who was not born with fingers. She has a rare disease that caused her to have webbed feet and no hands. This started me reminiscing on bits of my own history. What if I told you I don’t have a right leg? Well, technically it’s more like no femur bone. Your femur bone is the long bone in your thigh. It’s the only bone in the thigh in fact. It is both the longest and the strongest bone in the human body, extending from the hip to the knee. But I don’t have one. Instead, I have a steel plate. You see, it all started about eighteen years ago:

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The day was beautiful. The sun danced in the streets and illuminated the green grass. There was an abundance of little ones running around, riding bikes, roller blading, and playing tag. One of the many things I always loved about the neighborhood was the pouring of children who came out to play in the summer time. (I don’t know what’s up with this new generation where everybody stay in the house and play video games. Staying in the house was punishment for us. We loved to play outside).  It was 1997, and school was just letting out. 8023 South Paulina is an address I would never forget. It’s the first apartment complex we lived in after moving out of the projects and today, Auntie Roslyn had rewarded us for passing on to the 5th grade. That’s back when a $1 was golden. We spent most of the time hustling for quarters to buy candy, but dollars? We were rich now.

My twin sister and I decided this was the perfect day to visit a friend. And this meant bringing every toy in the house with us. We were excited and that meant that we would invite everyone to the festivities: Barbie, Ken, their car and the whole gang. This wasn’t unusual for the twins; these are the same little people who baked cakes in their easy bake oven and sold them to the kids in the neighborhood at a quarter each.

“Time to come in the house!” Boomed my mother’s voice. She actually called our names though. This was when parents still stood in the middle of the street and called your whole government to attention because the street lights were on and you were not at home. The day had gone smoothly. Our friend didn’t give us a reason to argue our ten year old genius about why she shouldn’t do this and that and for the most part we all played nicely. But as the sun began to set and the street lights crawled to attention, it was time for us to leave our dear friend down the street to come on back in the house.

This is when the story gets interesting. Cradling toys in our arms, my ears caught wind of the music before the ice cream truck floated down the street and a smile crept on my face. You see, I’d been scheming on how to spend this dollar since earlier that day. It was a precious gift and I wanted to make sure that I used it on something really good. I suppose now is the best time to remind you that my most favorite desert is ice cream. So, when the jolly jingle of something that sounded like, “pop goes the weasel”, sang down the street with its bright lights and large display of choices, I knew then and there what I wanted.

“Hold my stuff,” I instructed my twin sister. I was after all the oldest and back then five minutes was like five years, and let’s just say I wielded my authority proudly.

“But mama said to come in the house,” she whined.

Why must she do this now? I hated when twin started whining and complaining. It always brought attention to the seriousness of the situation. Why can’t she just get with the flow? The annoyance of her pleas etched into my face. I smacked my lips as I ignored her common sense.

“Just hold my stuff,” I said.

Before she could protest any more I decided to take a quick dash across the street. The ice cream truck was on the other side serving the people on the other side of the street. This should have been my warning that tonight was not the night for ice cream. However, I was stubborn so this logic didn’t occur to me. I wanted ice cream and I wanted it now.

I looked both ways before speeding across the street. I saw a white car and it all went black.

When I came to, I was rolling off the hood of this stranger’s car and onto the concrete. Twin and I were premature babies, only 3 and 4 lbs. each. And so we had always been small coming up. We were ten but we looked more like we were five. It is only now that I understand weight gain, but all throughout elementary and High School I never had to be concerned about my weight. When I graduated from High School I was 100 lbs. and could fit into size 1-2 jeans.

Needless to say that car tossed my small body around like a rag doll. When it was finished I lay on the cold concrete praying no one moved me. I had no knowledge of the medical field or any of that stuff at ten, and yet I knew enough to know I didn’t want anyone to touch me. Somehow, I knew that if I was touched it would not be good. But despite my pleas to be left alone, my mouth didn’t move and my voice shut down. No one heard my cries because it was all in my head. I was in shock and though I wanted to scream my mouth didn’t move. As a result, someone scooped me into their arms and not only could I not speak; now I could not breathe.

The person laid me in the grass and my breath returned to me. There was no pain as I lay there surrounded by the neighborhood. Everyone had come out to see the kid who got hit by a car. Either by walking by or peeking heads out of windows. I scanned the crowd until I realized my hand was being squeezed. To my left was the woman who hit me and her tears soaked her face. She pleaded and pleaded her apologies over and over again.

“Get over yourself,” I thought.

I wasn’t being mean; it’s just that I forgave her already. I still had not felt any pain and only prayed now that I would live. I forgave her over and over again while simultaneously praying I wasn’t going to die. But I was talking in my head again. The lady had not heard me and my mouth still had not moved. It wasn’t until I looked down at my right thigh that the pain came and my mouth opened. The thigh (it couldn’t have been mine) was twice the size of my real one and the pain was excruciating. To make a long story short my leg (or more precisely my femur bone) was broken. I had to get a steel plate put in and twenty-four surgical staples. I came home from the hospital with a walker which I thought really sucked. Here I am with a broken leg and all I was concerned with was why they couldn’t have given me crutches. Truth is I was fitted for them, but they couldn’t find two of the same height for tiny ole me.

“Aww man”, I thought, “I love those.” Yea, I was the kid who played on other people’s crutches. But the one time I needed them I was given an ugly brown walker instead. It didn’t help that they tied balloons around the thing. Yea, it really looks good now.

I was spoiled rotten of course when I came home, though the wrapping and unwrapping of my bandage and going back and forth to the hospital was no fun. Today you would never know the difference, though I still do have the scar which starts a little above my knee and stretches to right below my hip. It’s basically the whole thigh. Trace your finger from above your knee till it stops at the end of the thigh, that’s the length of my scar. The only side effects are the weather. When the weather changes dramatically, like from warm to cold, I get aches similar to that of arthritis. And sometimes I know when it’s about to rain (my leg tells me).But other than that I’m fine. I learned a valuable lesson though:

Obey your mother and father AND appreciate your body parts! Someone somewhere does not have what you have. And just think, I broke my femur, the strongest bone in the body, how ironic.