Tag Archives: women

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.

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? 

 

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?

Experience; A True Teacher

We have all experienced disappointment, rejection and loss. I myself experienced a tremendous amount this year alone. My mother died, I lost friends and I lost opportunities. All of these experiences forced me to make adjustments, changes and sacrifices. What I thought was going to be one of the best years of my life, turned into one of the most difficult. I was hurt, sad and even felt depressed throughout each experience I weathered. In spite of the negatives, I learned from each situation and as a result I also experienced positive growth.

While I was going through hidden pain, I was still having positive experiences. This year I became a correspondent blogger for Six Brown Chicks and I got to meet a woman I admire greatly as a result; Zondra Hughes. I was in featured in several articles written by talented journalists and bloggers, one of which was published in Italy. I finished my second book and (to my surprise and delight) it reached number 34 in the world on Amazon’s Urban/Regional list of eBooks. In a couple of weeks that same book Breaking Through the Black Ceiling will become available in paperback for purchase.

I had a lot of obstacles come up against me this year, some that were truly unthinkable and others that were completely frightening. Details of one of those obstacles is actually the topic of one of my next books. We won’t even begin to discuss my nonexistent love life. I no longer date. It just doesn’t work out well for me, so I’d rather avoid it than endure it. I still learned from the lack of romance in my life this year as well. I learned that it’s better to be happy and alone, than be miserable trying to force your love on someone who doesn’t want or deserve it. This year I opened up about my past experience with domestic violence for PURE Magazine, I mourned the loss of my friend and mentor, Mark England, and I made some very difficult decisions for my family. I also had to say ‘no, thank you’ quite often for the sake of my own sanity.

This year, I also learned the importance of forgiveness, not for others, but for you. I learned how much I truly value certain friendships, but that I don’t need the ones I lost. I learned that loyalty is often expected, but rarely received. I learned that it is often difficult to be your authentic self, but doing so gives you strength and takes away any negative power that others may have over you. I learned that I have the ability to shape my destiny and purpose, while still living the life that is written for me in the Master’s Plan. I learned that sometimes I won’t be happy, but I will be strong. I learned that my apprehension related to fame is hindering my success, and I decided to change that.

Experience is a true teacher. I truly believe that even the negative things that have occurred to me, not just this year, but throughout my life, served a purpose and were meant for me to learn from. Experience shapes us as individuals. We can’t always control what we go through, and everything we endure in life won’t be pleasant. However, we can make an effort to learn from every experience, good and bad, so that we can become better than we were before. I hope that all of the experiences I had in 2014 will strengthen me to become more resilient, stronger and more purpose driven, so that I can have more wealth, better health and happiness in the days and years to come. I want to continue to make a difference in the world using my voice, my creativity and my words, leaving behind a legacy that will influence others to do the same. I hope the same for you as well.

Next year already holds a great deal of promise and opportunity for my life and career. What I lost in 2014 will be replaced with more abundant and positive experiences in 2015. The obstacles, fear, pain and disappointment from 2014 will no longer exist.

All that will remain is me

Better than I was before.

 

Making A Bigger Difference

For those of you who were unable to attend this past weekend’s I Feel Good! Mind, Body and Soul Women’s Conference at Wayne State University, you not only missed a successful, empowering and inspiring event, you also missed the launch of my newest initiative. No worries! I’m going to tell you what it is now.

I am now the first Women’s Cabinet member for the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE campaign! 

I was surprised to be approached by the American Lung Association, but I am honored to have the opportunity to bring awareness to an issue that impacts the lives of many women. Although I don’t personally suffer from respiratory illnesses, I do have friends, relatives and colleagues who are directly affected. I have witnessed the effects of COPD, lung cancer, asthma and other illnesses, so I understand how important LUNG FORCE is to our community and the health of women everywhere.

The LUNG FORCE Run/Walk Detroit is on the evening of Friday, October 3, 2014, 6:00pm at Belle Isle. The event will include the 5K Run or Walk, yoga, barre and Zumba (starts at 4 pm), lung health information, music and fun! I have set up my team and everywhere is invited to join as a runner, walker, volunteer or as a virtual team member.

As you may know, I believe in living a purpose driven life. Being a business owner for me isn’t solely about making money; it is also about using my talents and influence to make a difference. Joining the Women’s Cabinet of the American Lung Association comes shortly after my Community Partnership with Karmanos Cancer Institute (who are sponsoring LUNG FORCE) and deepens my philanthropic efforts in Metro Detroit. I believe that in order to be an effective leader, I have to lead by example. I can’t tell someone to do something, that I’m not also willing to do. Although I can’t take on every campaign or cause, I do strive to put forth a tremendous amount of effort and dedication to the causes and campaigns that I support. Working with Karmanos and the American Lung Association are important to me because my loved ones have been affected by cancer and respiratory illnesses, and for some of them, these illnesses have resulted in death. Each day one of the blessings I count in my life is my health.

I truly hope that you can join my LUNG FORCE Team and support us, either online or in person, on October 3, 2014.

For additional information about LUNG FORCE click here! 

To Join The Super Woman Productions and Publishing LUNG FORCE Team Click Here!