Letter to Young Women

I understand you better than you know.  Being a young woman in today’s society is difficult.  There are so many situations to deal with on a daily basis and you have not been equipped to handle them as you should have been.  There are so many values and traditions that haven’t been handed down to your generation.  There are skills that haven’t been taught to you.  There are instincts that you were born with that haven’t been properly honed.  Your self esteem hasn’t been enhanced.  Your self love hasn’t been preserved.  Morals have been forgotten.  We are no longer women of virtue, value and respect.  We are now reduced to the value of our physical appearance and our sex.  We’ve gone from being treasured to being commodities.  We’ve gone from being respected to demeaned.  We’ve gone from being royalty back to being slaves all over again. 

However difficult it all seems, it can change for the better.  It takes only a few young women strong enough to fight whatever adversities they’ve encountered.  It takes only a few young women brave enough to let go of any pain and disappointment they have experienced.  It takes only a few young women to recognize that they are more than the sum of their body parts and what their physical appearance may translate.  It takes only a few young women to know that they are priceless because they are creative, intelligent beings with a history of remarkable contributions to this world.   

It’s not hard to do.  It’s not difficult at all to let go of the pain and anger.  It’s not hard to wake up from a nightmare.  All you have to do is want to.  All you need to do is try your best.  You’ll need to stop making excuses and blaming others for your situation, your past and lack thereof.  You will need to start living and creating a new future, today; so that you can make the next generation better, stronger and wiser, as my ancestors did for me and as I planned for you. 

You are not alone in your struggles.  I’ve been where you are.  The difference between me and you is how I chose to deal with issues that arose in my life.  I am here for you now to teach you to do the same.  If you need my help, all you need to do is ask for it.  But, I forewarn you.  I won’t always tell you what you want to hear or agree with you because you expect me to.  That is not my purpose.  My purpose is to help you to become a better version of your current self and the best version that God intended you to be.  My purpose is not to mislead you into thinking the world is going to always be easy to navigate.  I will give you tough love and constructive criticism to help you develop strong integrity and character.  I will debate you to make you think and analyze situations thoroughly in your decision making processes.  I will put obstacles in your path to teach you how to maneuver around them.  I will challenge you, nurture you and discipline you.  That is my purpose.  Your growth has to start with your desire to grow.  Without that commitment from you, I am hindered.  You are the seed and I am here to ensure that you grow.       

Please share this with young women that you know by posting it to your Facebook or Twitter or by sending this link to them http://superwomanproductions.com/ 

Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  It’s celebrated nationally with events, conferences and activities.  We celebrate the survivors and commemorate those we have lost to breast cancer, regardless of who they are, by wearing pink, making donations and getting involved.   We do good things for breast cancer awareness during this month. 

October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Unfortunately it is not celebrated nationally.  We don’t pay tribute to the survivors or commemorate those who have lost their lives, regardless of who they are.  We don’t get involved or donate to organizations that assist victims and their families.  We don’t speak out to bring awareness.  Some of us don’t even call 911 when we witness an abusive situation on the street.  We tell ourselves things like “It’s not my business.  I don’t know what she did.  She could leave if she wanted to”.  We make excuses for not speaking out and we develop arguments against the victims.  We forget that at anytime, we could be “her”.  We forget that we’ve all had those minor encounters that could have at any second, turned major and put us in her shoes. 

I have been “her”.  About ten years ago I was “her”.  I was in an abusive marriage with a man who was both controlling and cowardly.  At his hands, I had been choked to the point of petechial hemorrhage, had received a cracked rib, black eyes and numerous bruises.  I had also suffered emotional abuse and infidelity that led to a miscarriage.  After three years and too much patience on my part, I ended the marriage and never looked back.  All my dreams of what a marriage should be, were completely shattered.  As a result, I developed trust issues, and I built a wall around myself that hindered me from allowing myself to be completely loved.  To this day I have nightmares and fears associated with the trauma I experienced.  I am one of the lucky ones.  I left alive.

Domestic Violence affects more people than most of us are aware.  It creates lasting damage to individuals and families beyond what you can ever imagine.  It changes lives; just like breast cancer can do.  I encourage that while we pay tribute to those affected by breast cancer, that we don’t forget those who suffer from domestic violence.  On my charm bracelet, I have my pink ribbon charm accompanied by a purple high heeled shoe charm.  It reminds me to take care of my health, in more than one way this and every October.

NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH, 2010
– – – – – – –
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

In the 16 years since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), we have broken the silence surrounding domestic violence to reach thousands of survivors, prevent countless incidences of abuse, and save untold numbers of lives. While these are critical achievements, domestic violence remains a devastating public health crisis when one in four women will be physically or sexually assaulted by a partner at some point in her lifetime. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recognize the tremendous progress made in reducing domestic violence, and we recommit to making everyone’s home a safe place for them.

Read the full proclamation by President Obama by accessing the link here:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/10/01/presidential-proclamation-national-domestic-violence-awareness-month

   

A Good Thing

I was in the hair salon yesterday, reinventing myself again, when this young lady came in to make an appointment for herself.  After some conversation with her and my hair stylist, it was discovered that this young lady thought that she had a relationship dilemma.  She had a man in her life who wanted a relationship with her.  He had told her and shown her in numerous ways.  He had done all the things that men do when they want a woman in their lives as more than a pretty accessory; he had taken her to his friends’ weddings, introduced her to his friends and relatives, spent quality time with her, even though he lived in another state.  If you’re single like me, you realize that often a man can live down the street from you and you will never see or hear from him.  Here she was with a man that clearly loved her and wanted to care for her.  But she was indecisive about her role in his life.  Men know when they want a woman in their lives and they know sooner than they are often willing to admit.  On average, they know within thirty to ninety days of spending time with that woman.  This man had waited for her for a full year.  I asked her was there anything bad she could say about him and her response was ‘No’.  Then I asked her did she think he was just too good to be true and she said ‘Yes’.  Ah-ha! THAT was the REAL dilemma. 

So many of us have been defrauded and betrayed in relationships that we develop a very unhealthy sense of cynicism.  We believe that because of everything negative that we have previously experienced in our relationships that everyone we meet with be a repeat of the same negative energy – over and over again.  Without realizing it, we talk ourselves out of a good thing.  We sabotage our own happiness because we do not believe in its existence. 

This young lady reminded me of myself SO much.  We’re even born under the same astrological sign – Capricorn.  But the biggest difference between she and I is that I’m almost six years older than she is and I do not have someone in my life that treats me the way her man treats her.  Yes, I told her that he is her man, but she’s the only person that doesn’t know it.  I don’t know what I’d be willing to give to have a man love me to that same degree or greater.  I’d love to have someone to share my achievements with, my ideas with, and my life with.  I’d love to be in her shoes and many other women would also.  I told her that there are women somewhere who would sit on top of rooftops with sniper rifles to get the man that she has.  Even though I often feel like I’m being held hostage as a single woman, I’m surrounded by people with healthy relationships and good marriages.  Therefore, I have a pretty good idea of what one looks like.   I told her to go get her man and the other women in the salon agreed. 

It’s disheartening that for so many of us we are waiting for the other shoe to drop.  We constantly believe that a person is just too good to be true and that their motives are to create harm and pain in our lives.  We let our pasts hinder our ability to love and trust.  We aren’t receptive to that level of emotion.  We are unable to be vulnerable out of fear.  We forget that other person is also a person, who may be just as nervous and fearful about us as we are about them.  We talk ourselves out of a good thing

I’m speaking about myself as well.  I’m known for talking myself out of a good thing.  I’ve had so many painful relationships and I’ve been rejected so often that meeting a good man who has the capacity to love me sounds like an urban legend.   I over analyze gestures of admiration and wonder ‘why’ about almost every little thing.  However, I’m learning that when there isn’t anything wrong, you shouldn’t create something wrong in your mind, just so that you can be right about there being something wrong.  If there is in fact something wrong it will manifest on it’s own without you applying energy to it.  I’m trying to be more open to that part of me that wants love so that I can accept it when it arrives.  That doesn’t mean that I turn my bullshit meter off.  It just means that I need to stop talking myself out of a good thing.  Maya Angelou said “When a person shows you who they are the first time, believe them.”  A person that isn’t good for you will show themselves to you.  The person that God made for you will also do the same.  All you need to do is believe them.

I Want it All

I want it all.  I want wealth, good health, a profitable business, and love.  I want everything.  I want it all.  Does that make me greedy?  Someone else’s perception may be “yes” because they don’t believe a person can have everything they want in life.  Am I selfish?  Absolutely.  This is my world, my life, my goals, my dreams, my effort and my energy.  Someone else’s perception is that I am selfish if I believe that this is my world.  I’ve learned that people perceive based on their own personal experiences, not necessarily yours.  Wanting everything may be equivalent to being greedy to one person, but to me it’s equivalent to being ambitious.  Believing this world belongs to you or that it’s “all about you” may be considered selfish to one person, but it’s being aware of one’s own worth and responsibility to me. 

This is my world.  However, I share it with others.   I’m aware that any actions I take, or don’t take, directly affect me, and then residually affect others.  I am responsible for my world.  This is my life.  It was given to me to live.  If I don’t live my life fully, another human being will not give me a second opportunity to live.  There are no stunt doubles in real life.  When I die, it is very unlikely that everyone else on Earth will die with me.  Others will still remain to continue on without me.  My life is my own responsibility. 

These are my goals and my dreams.  Although other people may have similar goals and share similar aspirations, whether my goals are aligned with theirs or not, if I do not achieve my goals or dreams, it will not prevent them from achieving theirs.  I am responsible for how far I’m willing to go to succeed.  This is my effort and energy.  How I utilize my effort and energy determines what I do or don’t receive from it.  If I fail, who will fail with me?  If I fail, who will fail because of me?  I can’t name one person whose success is directly affected by mine or lack thereof, not even my child.  If I fail to work on my projects, that is my fault alone.  Others can encourage me and support me, but they aren’t responsible for doing all of the work for me.  If you don’t work, you don’t eat, right?  Therefore, if I starve, I am responsible.

That is not to say that we don’t need each other.  Every human being needs companionship, support and admiration.  It’s innate.  But we have to always be cautious not to put responsibilities on others that aren’t theirs.  No one else is responsible for making your dreams and goals come to fruition.  No one else can live your life for you.  No one else can do the work for you and expel the energy required to make your world what you desire it to be.  And yes, God, or whomever you refer to as your Higher Being, is in control of our paths and we must submit to His will.  But God’s will is not for us to fail, or suffer, or go hungry, or be unhappy.  We have to be responsible for our share.  We have to improve upon what we’ve been given.  If we don’t, we don’t have anyone to blame but ourselves. 

Everything you truly need in life to be successful, to be happy, to be wealthy, and to be loved – you already possess.  Even if someone else’s perception is that you have nothing.  Prove them wrong. 

Strive for everything.  This is your world.

Preparedness

Everyday is preparation for something yet to come.  I come from a family that has several members who had illustrious military careers, including my grandfather, who was a decorated World War II Veteran and my uncle who is a decorated Tuskegee Airman.  I’ve been taught a great deal about being prepared.  When I was in high school ROTC, I learned that “pissed-poor preparedness, results in pissed-poor results”.  Preparedness in the military teaches you to be ready, specifically, for battle.  But that’s not the only thing it can prepare a person for.  Many people who have had military careers and experience also become valuable leaders.  Leaders are prepared.

I decided to amp up my workout routine recently, in preparation for the Opera Ball that I’m attending on October 2nd and for a cruise I’m going on early next year.  My workout is HARD; however, I’ve already seen results. Mark England is designing my dress for the Opera Ball and has to alter its size by about four inches.  That’s a reduction in my dress size in only about four weeks.  In addition to my weight loss, I have to prepare for that upcoming black tie event in other ways.  I had to select my make up palette, shoes, handbag and jewelry to compliment the dress, even though I had yet to see the finished product.  This meant that shopping had to be done, appointments had to be made, and orders had to be placed.  I don’t have an assistant (yet) so those preparations had to be done by me.  For the cruise early next year, I’m already considering what other preparations I need to make so that I will have an enjoyable trip, outside of what clothes to pack and how many swimsuits I will need.  I need to purchase my airfare, reserve my hotel in South Beach, arrange for my car service to and from the airport both here and in Miami, decide how best to get to the Port-au-Miami from South Beach for the cruise itself, which night clubs I want to be guest-listed on, etc.  Those preparations are not ones I want to leave for the last minute because other situations could arise that would distract me.  When traveling I like to be able to relax once the date of departure arrives.  In order to maintain that Zen-like feeling I get when I travel, I will need to be prepared in advance.  I also need to consider the possibilities (such as airplane delays) and have mental plans of action at my disposal for those possibilities. 

That’s how life is.  Those who are prepared for the inevitable possibilities can relax and better handle what comes their way, whereas, people who procrastinate or fail to evaluate situations are often left unprepared, confused and miss out on opportunities.  We prepare our children for their future by providing them with educational opportunities when they are young.  We hope they pay attention to what they learn in school, so that they are prepared for what they may encounter during their college years.  We all prepare for work each day, either by checking our schedules and emails, meditating, exercising, reading business articles or whatever your daily routine is.  It’s how you prepare.  It determines the initial response you will have to whatever interactions you are involved in.  We plan and pray for the best, but prepare for the worst.  Murphy’s Law states, “That anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”.  However, if you prepare yourself, even the situations that are “wrong” can turn into something “right”. 

Having faced a layoff earlier this year, what I thought was terribly wrong in my life would have been a lot worse if I had not had a level of preparedness.  I keep my resume updated, I have marketable skills, I had rainy day money in my 401k and my faith is stronger than I am.  I had even decided what I’d do while I was laid off.  That wrong turned a promotion and a raise to replace the position I was being laid off from.  That wrong became a right, even though I wasn’t expecting it, I had preparations in place.  The end result was completely unforeseen. 

Being prepared doesn’t require that you know in advance what the end result will be.  It only requires that you do your best to develop a contingency plane for the events that may be out of your control, but controlled by you after they occur.  How you react to and evaluate a situation, and how much energy you exert, are all within your personal control, regardless of the situation.  It helps to have an awareness of a situation in advance, but that’s not possible the majority of the time.  The only thing you can do is be ready for the possibilities, the changes, and the choices.  This can not be accomplished by sitting in the background to see what others will do.  This can not be accomplished by crossing your fingers and hoping the issue will go away.  This can not be accomplished by “just praying about it”.  After all, faith without works is dead and we’re given free will to make decisions for a reason.  Therefore, you have to be prepared.  

Of course, no one can ever be prepared for every instance in life, but it serves each of us best to make an attempt to be prepared, more than it does not to.

Non-Negotiables

Non-negotiables are the standards each individual has when involved in a relationship, whether it is professional or personal.  If a person’s non-negotiables can not be met or exceeded by the other person, they are willing to walk away from both the person and the relationship without looking back or having regrets.  Professionally, non-negotiables may include examining a person’s integrity, knowledge, work ethic and character.  Business people often choose their business associates in a similar manner that they would choose a mate; by asking questions based on their non-negotiables.  Is this person honest?  Is this person knowledgeable?  Is this person reliable?  In a pinch, would this person step up or lose focus?  Is this person punctual and respectful of my time?  Is this person organized? What does this person bring to this relationship that will benefit me?  Can I learn from this person?  Consider the last mate or the last business associate you had.  If they didn’t meet or exceed your non-negotiables, how long did you continue the relationship? 

Non-negotiables should be realistic.  They should also reflect who you are as a person and what you can offer to others.  You should not expect more from others than you expect from yourself.  If you have high expectations of yourself, it is only natural for you to feel the same towards those that you do business with or have personal relationships with as well.  Successful people do not surround themselves with people who constantly fail.  Ambitious people do not surround themselves with people who lack ambition.  It’s not the natural order.  Strength attracts strength and success attracts success. 

Non-negotiables considered when selecting a mate, may include having children, how to educate and discipline the children, financial goals and security, where to live, how to celebrate family events and holidays (which is especially crucial for blended families), along with other identified topics that you are steadfast about or that could result in arguments if the other person disagrees with your outlook.  When entering into a relationship, a person’s non-negotiables are never to be assumed.  Communication is vital.  You should always ask the other person what their non-negotiables are, and be honest about yours in return.  This conversation can take place anytime after the second or third date with the same person.  During the conversation, if you want to be married, you should express your desires to find a life spouse early so you can discover if you are potentially wasting your time or not.  Likewise, if you are interested in a more casual, noncommittal relationship, you should express this as well.  Don’t be afraid of discovering that the other person is not on the same page as you.  Everyone you meet isn’t going to have the same desires and goals you have simply because you share a physical attraction for each other.  Having this conversation too late can easily result in hurt feelings and resentment. 

As a single woman, I know that some men may be seeking a wife, but not right now.  Those are the men that I tell to call me when they are ready.  If a woman holds on to the dream that he’ll change his mind if she just hangs around long enough, a lot of time could pass.  She could potentially miss the opportunity to meet the man for her because she wasted her own time or operated out of desperation or fear.  It is true that when two people meet and find themselves attracted to each other, they decide within themselves what their intentions are.  However, they don’t always share their intentions with the other person. 

Remember when we were kids and the boy would pass a note to the girl?  The note usually said something similar to ‘Do you want to be my girlfriend? Circle yes or no’.  That’s The Question.  Traditionally a man would ask a woman the question when he felt that he wanted to spend time with or exclusively date a woman.  Then one day, men stopped asking the question and women started assuming that after a certain ‘reasonable’ amount time had passed, that there was a relationship in place.  As a result, there are people who think they don’t have to verbally communicate their desires in order to have a relationship.  These are the same people who never discuss their non-negotiables with each other, but expect the other person to “know” as if by osmosis.  This creates the potential for dramatic situations to arise, along with misunderstandings, arguments and hurt feelings. 

We wouldn’t conduct business in this manner and expect to be successful.  We wouldn’t tell our business associates that they should know what we expect when we’ve never concisely communicated our business expectations or goals to them.  We wouldn’t expect positive results from others who didn’t understand the way we do business.  Your personal relationships are another form of business.  How well you handle your business, determines the results you get out of it.  Communicate your non-negotiables effectively with others.  It will save you time, energy and improve your overall success, both professionally and personally.

The Company, The Woman, The Brand

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