Stop Body Shaming

There’s too much fat/skinny shaming among women. Everywhere I look women are pointing out each others physical flaws; from Instagram to comments on websites and blogs, there is shade between women who are on either side of the weight scale.

Skinny vs. Plus Sized

I’m neither skinny or plus size, standing at 5’10” in a size 10 dress, size 12 (sometimes for comfort) jeans. I’m in the middle of the debate looking at both sides like Really? I wonder why we can’t just strive to be the HEALTHIEST version of ourselves, regardless of our varying body types or stereotypes associated with them? There are some ‘skinny’ women that can’t walk a half mile without becoming out of breath, just like there are some plus sized women that can run a mile effortlessly. There are people on both sides of the scale eating unhealthy and not getting enough exercise. Why not look in the mirror, go to your doctor and decide what’s best for you personally and work on that? For some women, getting healthier may result in weight loss (smaller), muscle gain (bigger or more toned), improved breathing, better stamina AND a more youthful appearance. And if any of that happens, don’t go sit on the other fence throwing shade and taking shots at other women because they are thinner or bigger than you are. I know what it’s like to be plus sized and struggling to lose the weight. Believe it or not, I had a medical condition at one time in my late 20s and I was a size 16. It took me over 2 years to lose weight and go to a size 12. The one thing I didn’t lose was something I have always had; the curves that create my booty and thighs. I learned to embrace those attributes, instead of making excuses for them or trying to minimize them. My thighs may not rub together as much as someone else’s, but they look good on me. My breasts may not be as big as someone else’s, but they also look good on me. My stomach may not be as flat as someone else’s but it looks good on me, and it’s looking better because I want it to, not because some magazine article, or pretend model on Instagram or a man who isn’t worthy of my attention told me I needed to change it. I’m working to make that personal change because a smaller waist helps me avoid a heart attack with all of the stress in my life and business. That’s my motivation at 40 years old – to avoid dying because of something preventable.

Exercise is for more than looking good.

Exercise reduces stress and the adverse effects of the daily traumas we experience when racists go out and shoot up churches, or people around us are losing jobs and hope. Exercise isn’t a badge you hold over your sisters head because she’s not with you at the gym. All of us as women, need to have better relationships with food, water, exercise, health, and each other. I encourage you to stop letting the Kardashians and other Instafamous nobodies tell you what you should look like, what to inject into or remove from your bodies. Instead, get to know the healthiest version of yourself, not to compete with other women, but because it’s going to improve the quality of your life.

Love yourself and be the healthiest you can, for your own quality of life and longevity. The healthier you are the more you’ll appreciate your individuality, regardless of your shape or size.

Enjoy Your Success Today

Sometimes I wonder if people want to be successful, or if they just want to be famous.

There are times in someone’s life when they can’t have one without some of the other. However, I observe people who are very successful and they don’t seem to realize it at all. They are seemingly chasing fame instead of celebrating the success they already have and the added success coming their way. The level of success they currently have is spectacular and impressive, and they are already accomplished and awesome, but they are constantly minimizing it themselves and their success because they desire to have fame and a lot fans. Having fame and fandom on any level isn’t at all what it’s cracked up to be. Being famous involves a lot of responsibility that many people truly can’t handle. Sometimes being famous can actually destroy your success.

Success requires work, sacrifice and maintenance. Remember all of those college classes you took and that student loan debt for those degrees? That was work. Remember all of the friends you lost and relationships that failed because you were studying or working? What about the long days and nights you spend striving towards meeting a deadline? Those are sacrifices. Think about your continuing education or leadership classes, conferences and networking events you attend. That is maintenance.

Fame is fleeting and unpredictable; it can help, but it can also hinder. Fame also has limitations. Everyone has different gifts and talents when they come into this world that makes them unique and contributes to the quality of their lives. When you are aware of what your gifts and talents are you can use them towards being a success, instead of trying to emulate others. Everyone won’t be a famous author. I know this because I receive phone calls and emails from people who haven’t completed a manuscript. Everyone won’t be a YouTube sensation overnight or at all. Yet daily people invest a great deal of time in doing so. Every woman with curves won’t become the next Kim Kardashian or Amber Rose, but on a daily basis women strike a pose on Instagram in hopes of being discovered. Becoming famous for most people who do isn’t about their gifts or talent. They are dependent on societal trends and timing. Without that fame formula coming in to play for them, we’d never have heard of them at all. Years from now we won’t remember most of those famous individuals for anything meaningful, if we remember them at all.

I’ve learned that you can’t reach the next level of anything in your life or career if you don’t appreciate where you are currently at. Appreciate the success you have today, no matter how small you may think it is. There’s something to be said for having gratitude in your current situation. There’s a lesson in this moment of your life that you need to learn in order to elevate to the next level.

Even if your name is never in lights on a marquee, strive to be success in your life, not famous. Success comes in various forms. For many people success is being able to pay their bills on time, feed their children and help others in their communities. Success for some people is never going before a judge or having their children go to college. Success for some people is having an opportunity to go a job they love everyday. Success is what the people who matter in your life will remember you for when you are gone.

Gratitude is extremely powerful and pushes you closer to your purpose in this world. Be grateful for what you have in your life and career today. Change your perspective and begin working towards improving upon the success you have without expecting to become famous for it. Your life will be more fulfilling and you will be happier when you do.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault

Turn Down For What?

Often we go through our lives concerned about what others think to the degree that we diminish ourselves. Too often, women in particular, down play our talents, dumb ourselves down to seem less educated or intelligent and quiet ourselves up to seem less intimidating. There’s that word – intimidating. I’ve heard that a lot  in my life and until I reached my 30s I honestly didn’t understand what it meant. Men often said I was ‘intimidating‘ to them and that’s why it is difficult for men to ask me out or commit to a relationship with me. I thought it meant I was doing something wrong. I later came to the realization that wasn’t the case. In fact what I grew to understand was that

Strong Women Only Intimidate Weak Men ~ Dr. Farrah Gray 

Recently, the extremely talented Mo’Ne Davis was verbally attacked  on Twitter by a male college student who called her a “slut” because he was jealous of her.  Yes, jealous. That was his motivation whether he would admit it or not. He didn’t like that Mo’Ne Davis was shining brightly, so he called her a “slut” on social media in an attempt to take her down a notch and throw shade at her. He wanted Mo’Ne to turn down so he could build himself up. His envy of her success drove him to behave like a jealous person does – ignorantly – and he lost his opportunity in return. Mo’Ne, being the exceptional young woman that she is, forgave him, asked his college to reinstate him and publicly stated;

“Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone deserves a second chance. I know he didn’t mean it in that type of way. I know people get tired of seeing me on TV. But sometimes you got to think about what you’re doing before you do it.

I admire her forgiveness, however, I have issue with her saying “I know people get tired of seeing me on TV” and here’s why:

As women, in general we turn our light, our shine, and our accomplishments down too much, too often and to make other people feel better about themselves just because they want to see our light lessened.  We do it in the work place, we do it at social events, we do it at family reunions and we do it with the men in our lives. As a result, we are paid less and disrespected more. We shouldn’t do this to ourselves, each other or teach other young women, like Mo’Ne, that they should either. If being successful in any shape, form or field results in others feeling envious of you, that isn’t your fault and it isn’t something you should apologize for. You shouldn’t stop doing the great things you are doing in your life or career because someone feels intimidated. You can’t control other people feeling jealous of you. You don’t have to lessen yourself to build others up. If a person’s jealousy doesn’t motivate them to do better for themselves, that’s entirely too bad for them.

I no longer care about how intimidated someone else feels when it comes to my appearance, my success, my intelligence, my height or anything else that makes other people feel ‘some type of way‘ when I enter a room or express myself.  Especially not a man. That is their issue to resolve, not mine. I will continue to be the amazing woman I am and anyone, man or woman, who can’t handle it doesn’t have to stand in my sunshine. They can go find a dark shadow to lurk under. And if Mo’Ne Davis was my daughter, I’d tell her the same thing.

The next time you encounter a situation where someone is attempting to diminish your shine, say this to yourself until you feel it resonate within yourself like the sun itself

I shine brightly, I am intelligent, I am successful, I am happy, I am beautiful, I am self assured, I am gifted, I am talented, I am loved. I live within my purpose, and I strive for personal greatness, so turn down for what? 

 

Does Anyone Really Need Cable Now?

Depending on where you live, you may have personal accounts related to poor customer service received from your cable provider, that range from minor inconveniences to major complications. I too, have a few horror stories. Although cable dominates, more and more consumers are cutting the cords that bind, myself included. I ditched cable in 2011 after I became fed up with the high price of receiving nothing. I traded my frustrations in and bought a Roku. For the one time price of $99, I immediately went from mad at the ridiculous bills and poor customer service, to excited and able to watch television as much or as little as I wanted to. I subscribe to Netflix, HuluPlus and I have access to several other options for no additional cost, including, but not limited to, Lifetime (the movies, series and reality shows), History Channel (Vikings and the documentaries), all the shows I love that air on NBC, ABC, FOX and dozens of other networks on cable. I can’t possibly watch all of the options available to me because the choices are so extensive.

Since the introduction of Roku into my life, Chromecast and Amazon Fire have entered the market giving consumers additional options for our entertainment. All you need to rid yourself of any issues you have with your cable provider is access to the internet. Yet, people are still needlessly suffering from cable. Even HBO (has finally) realized how much money they have been losing by offering their programming exclusively through cable providers and beginning this year they are starting their subscription platform (which needs to be made available on Roku, Chromecast and Amazon Fire after the 3 month Apple test run is concluded. Just my opinion if someone from HBO happens to read this. Otherwise, HBO will not have grasped the entire purpose of the subscription platform at all), with the monthly price of $14.99; which is still reasonable when compared to the cost of cable. For those who don’t want to buy devices that connect to your televisions, several national and cable networks offer their programs for free viewing directly on their website.

Did you know that there are thousands of households that have cable, but many of those same households don’t have internet? Knowing this I often ask myselfwhy?

Internet is less expensive and more important than having cable, in my opinion. As I just indicated, you can watch television with an internet connection. And with so many options for online content being developed in various genres, having access to the internet provides nearly endless access to information. Also, if you have children in your life between the ages of 5 and 25, they are likely using the internet to do their homework, learn languages and learning how to use smart devices better than you are. They can’t do that with cable. Businesses, such as Super Woman Productions and Publishing, operate online using the internet. I couldn’t connect with nearly as many people using cable as I’m able to do on a daily basis using the internet. The internet has literally turned people into millionaires in moments, while cable has only made a select number of individuals wealthy.

Keep in mind that I’m not sharing this information in exchange for anything. I believe in sharing knowledge that I have acquired with others and if you follow me on social media, you are aware of that. But if you want to sign up for HuluPlus, click this link and you’ll receive 2 weeks of unlimited viewing for freeIf you don’t love it, or find it to be convenient to use, don’t keep it. Test out other platforms at your leisure and find out what you like and what you don’t. I’m sure you will find at least one that can help release you from the bonds of cable and free up some of your income to save for something else you’d rather do. I happen to use the money I save on vacations.

IWD – It’s Not What You May Think

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today we celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women from all around the world, past and present. Today we also reflect and advocate on behalf of women’s issue and gender equality and social equity.

At Super Woman Productions and Publishing we contribute to International Women’s Day by hosting the only official IWD event in Michigan each March 8, called Women’s Day Tea. This year isn’t any different. However, for the first year this year, I ran into a small roadblock. In Detroit, I’m accustomed to people being behind in receiving and sharing information. I’m also accustomed to people not being receptive to something that is different from what they typically know about or are exposed to. Detroit isn’t the most innovative place in the world, like it once was.  It takes time for people to understand the value of something “different”.  Although I’m accustomed to these factors, I don’t accept them and I find ways to work around them.

This year, however, I received a lot of inquiries from women business owners whose only interest in Women’s Day Tea was to be a vendor at the event. I literally received messages on social media, by phone and email asking if there were any vendor tables left for the event. They didn’t seem to understand that vending wasn’t the purpose of the event and that I only offer four vendor tables to create an added feature and opportunity for women-business owners in Detroit, that would help them to meet and interact with other successful women in hopes it will encourage them and help them economically. Most of the women who contacted me by phone immediately dismissed me (practically hanging up on me) when I told them that vendor tables were sold out, and they didn’t allow me an opportunity to invite them to attend. Women who contacted me by email, didn’t accept my invitation to attend and responded with “let me know next time you have an event with vendors”.  Very disappointing.

When I vented about this sudden upswing of women business owners only wanting to be vendors at events and not understanding the importance of IWD as a whole, someone had the audacity to suggest that I should just turn the event into a vending event since so many people seem to want that and, in essence, just take the women’s money since they didn’t know any better.  That’s not the type of business woman I am and that does not contribute to the purpose of IWD.

In my post event surveys from Women’s Day Tea for two prior years, attendees stated that the event vendors were not the primary reason they attended the event or would attend again. Those who attend, attend to celebrate the purpose of International Women’s Day more than they attend to buy products from vendors at the event. In fact, their attendance still supports women-owned businesses, and attendees network with each other and hopefully support each others’ businesses and community projects after the event concludes. So, if my paying attendees have an understanding of the goal of the event and attend because of that goal, why would I want to shift the focus to please those who don’t have an understanding? I wouldn’t. And there are thousands of other events all over Michigan, throughout the year, if women want to buy a vendor table for a few hours or an entire day. I stuck to my guns. I did not turn Women’s Day Tea into a vending event or expo.

As a result this is what happened:

I received an email from an internet television program asking if they could cover the event; they now have a level of exclusivity and “bragging rights” because they get to cover the only official International Women’s Day event in MichiganWalt Disney Pictures contacted me and asked if they can send representatives to give away promotional items to the event attendees. Of course I said ‘yes‘ and it may turn into future business opportunities with Walt Disney Pictures. At the last-minute, for online ticket sales, tickets were still selling. I woke up this morning to emails from women asking if they can pay at the door.

At 6 pm today, Women’s Day Tea will take place as planned. The ladies who attend today will have a delicious and fun time, receive gifts and giveaways, network and celebrate the purpose of International Women’s Day with one another. Selected women in attendance will be awarded as #MakeItHappen honorees. Those women who opted not to attend Women’s Day Tea because they only wanted to be a vendor, have unfortunately lost out on opportunities to be vendors at the I Feel Good! Mind, Body and Soul Women’s Conference in August at Wayne State University, where we have up to 20 vendor tables available.  I have learned that sometimes passing up one opportunity because it doesn’t fit what you think it should, results in other missed opportunities. I truly wish more women in Detroit would realize that. That’s today’s lesson on being short-sighted, I suppose. 

Comfort Levels

We all have an idea of what makes us comfortable; the ideal weather conditions for our favorite activities, the perfect temperature for our favorite beverages, the number of people in our inner circle. This is our comfort level. It is similar in theory to our comfort zones, but not quite the same. Comfort levels adapt more quickly based on external factors or experiences and it can be a positive experience. Our comfort zone is where we retreat to when those factors are not in agreement with what we want, or with what we think we want, and it’s often based on fears of the unknown.

My comfort level is changing. What was once something that made me happy has come to the point where it is no longer enough. I want more. It’s not enhancing my life, business or purpose. It has run its course and is coming to its conclusion. I have lived in the same city for forty years and I’ve spent the last seven years building my brand in this city. There is only so much I can accomplish in this location. So what am I to do since I recognize this?

Some people would be willing to fight to keep things exactly the same so that they wouldn’t have to concern themselves with the unknown. I am clearly not like some people. I’m very interested in finding out what the unknown has to offer. I want a challenge to learn from. I want to broaden my consumer base. I want to expand my network. I want to make more money. I want more opportunities. I want warmer weather. And the beautiful part is that I don’t have to dismantle my company to do it. Because I stepped out of my comfort zone years ago and made a decision to use technology to operate Super Woman Productions and Publishing, I can effectively remain in business in one city, and reside in another city that is more in line with my comfort level.

When and where this change will take place isn’t known as of yet, but the steps are being taken in the direction I want to go towards….and some bags and boxes are already packed. When the time comes I will be ready to accept the opportunities.

Has your comfort level changed?

Are you willing to step out of your existing comfort zone to be happier?

The Company, The Woman, The Brand

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