Finding Peace in Stormy Times..

Finding Peace in Stormy Times..

img_3018
Snowboarding last Christmas in Stowe with my husband

When do I feel free? When am I most at peace?

The question was posed as a result of all of the negativity we are seeing of late in the news. How do we as warriors for change refuel?

It caused me to pause, reflecting as to how and where I regain my strength.

It is in these instances: one, when I am listening to music. That could be in my car, in a spinning class, or on the dance floor (happening less and less these days).

Two, when I am on top of a mountain about to snowboard down.

And three, when I’m with my husband.

Music has always been my freedom. For as long as I can remember, music has the ability to transport me away from any problems or concerns I am dealing with. In my younger days (early 20’s) I would find escape with my friends in the nightclubs of New York and Miami. As I got older — with the days getting longer, and the job became more hectic, I found solace less  on the dance floor, and more on a spinning bike. I discovered spinning classes around the early 2000’s; that same music and emotion present in a nightclub would take me away from my problems for 45 minutes on a stationary bike. For that time frame, I am focused on the task at hand; beat the bike! Of late, I have been going to SoulCycle down the block from my home.  That has been such a blessing and helped me through some tough trials. Other times, taking a drive in my car with the music blasting helps me clear my head. Whether it be dance music, R&B, old hip hop, or even country (thanks to my husband’s influence), I can shift my energy to a better place in a couple songs.

Another great activity that brings me peace is snowboarding. Mind you, I am not the best at it; a good run is when I didn’t fall at all, but there is nothing like standing on the top of the mountain. You are literally on top of the world. The only thing you hear is the whistling of the wind and the sound of your own heartbeat. Then, you jump. As I coast down the slope surrounded by God’s natural beauty, I am utterly at peace.

Until I fall.

The well from which I get my strength is my beloved husband. I have talked about him in prior posts, but I always feel it bears repeating. I married him a little late in life, so it enabled me to really pick the right partner. There is nothing better after a long day or a long week to cuddle up next to him and talk, or even sit in silence. During that time I release all the stress from the day and just enjoy being in the company of the one I love. I have grown to cherish these moments more and more as life, as well as my chosen profession, throws me more challenges.

It is always critical to find what brings you peace or else your tank will run empty. Bad things happen when you get to that point.

So what brings you peace? Sound off in the comments!

M.

#LoveWins: Interracial Relationship Realities

#LoveWins: Interracial Relationship Realities

Engagement picsLast Friday, Old Navy used an interracial family in a Twitter ad, and the Internet racist trolls lost their minds. The vile series of tweets were shocking to many, and a reminder that racism is real, alive and well. Many in interracial relationships took to Twitter with the hashtag #LoveWins to show support for the retailer being current in their ads. Jack McCain, son of Senator John McCain shared his photos with his African American wife, with a sweet note that told the racists to “eat it”.

I was no exception. — I shared this:

Tweet Love Wins

In our journey together, we have encountered the societal resistance from all races.

We get the white women who can’t possibly see what he sees in me, and will try to approach him. “He couldn’t meet a good blond woman like me, if I talk to him he will leave her” their eyes say.

African American men will give me blatant “side eye” on the street for “leaving my own race”. I’m a bit understanding of this, knowing how in the days of slavery, the slave masters would violate the sanctity of marriage and African American women’s bodies by raping them, leaving African American men powerless to stop it. This continued into the Jim Crowe era, when white men raped with no repercussions. That generational pain runs deep. However, times have changed. Ask Daniel Holtzclaw, the former police officer from Oklahoma serving 263 years for the sexual assaults of multiple African American women.

At an event, a judge told me a story of how on a particular Caribbean island, the women would marry white men so that their babies would be lighter and have better economic opportunities. He looked at me very pointedly as he told the story. I looked him evenly and said “how sad that the women felt they could not marry for love, and the economic conditions are so desperate”. This same judge refused on multiple occasions to acknowledge my husband.

My husband was dealing with customers one day at work. The companion of the customer felt the need to make a crack that “Obama is a thief“. My husband became unglued, knowing that the same would not be said of a white President. He angrily told him “Hey, my wife’s black“. The guy backpedaled, and said some ridiculousness.

But what sticks in my memory is visiting the small town in northern Idaho where my husband lived for a time. We still have a home there. We were at the grocery. There were a few unhappy looks, but I brushed them off. However, apparently the anger was so palpable to my husband that he became very concerned. He revealed to me in a discussion later that night that the town 45 minutes away was known for Ku Klux Klan activity.

I began to think in the dark, what would I do if someone burned a cross on the lawn? We were on five (beautiful) acres. No one could hear you scream. The police take at least 30 minutes if not more to respond.

If a cross burned, would we stay to prove a point? Or get on the next plane home?

Luckily, we never had to make that choice. But we did have the rifle in our wingspan.

Just in case. 

How do we deal with it all?

Much of it we ignore.  We laugh when we can, but we also have really intense discussions on race. My husband accompanies me whenever possible to see my work on social justice and the criminal justice system. We seek to open each other’s eyes on our points of view. I teach him about life as a person of color; he teaches me about how to further climb the ladder to success.

We were watching Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift one night. The main character was a young white man in a world of trouble with an Asian gang. Even though he was in a position of weakness, he demanded of one of the Asian crew to teach him how to race cars in their particular style (drifting).

I looked at my husband and said “that’s the ultimate in white privilege. How does he even think to do that?”

He looked at me, smiled, and said “Yep. You should try it sometime”. 

The lesson? Be bold, be brave, and step out of the box that people place you in. And don’t self-deselect.

It’s all about love, communication and having a true partnership.

Love is not about the color of one’s skin, but the content of their character.

IMG_3884 copy

 

Not Drinking the Lemonade: Is Beyonce Empowering Women?

Not Drinking the Lemonade: Is Beyonce Empowering Women?

beyonce-lemonade-film-5.png

Is it me? Am I the only one disturbed by some of the tracks on Beyoncé’s new album Lemonade?

There is no question that Jay Z and Beyoncé are the “it” couple of music.  At the same time, questions regarding Jay Z’s fidelity to Beyoncé have been swirling for several years.  In light of this, the explosive lyrics found on Beyoncé new album raised more than just eyebrows. In several songs along with the accompanying videos, she lashes out, cursing at “a man” for cheating with violence at some points, and referred to the other woman as “Becky with the good hair“.  The internet nearly broke with folks trying to figure out who “Becky” was — one theory was that it was Rachel Roy, who intimated as such on her Instagram page.

There are two possible scenarios here: one, she is going through a terrible time with Jay Z, and is airing their dirty laundry. The second scenario, which has been floated by some media outlets, is that Beyoncé, Jay Z, and Rachel Roy are all in this together as one big publicity stunt to promote album sales and Jay Z’s Tidal music distributing service.

But who is being empowered by the berating of Beyoncé’s marriage?

Either scenario is disturbing, but I will look at them in turn. The first option is that the cheating rumors were true, explaining the beating he received from Beyoncé ‘s sister Solange in an elevator in 2014. It does smack of an angry protective sister, and the only reason a sister would behave in that manner is if her brother-in-law was cheating. See a bit of the history here.

Beyoncé ‘s lyrics in the song “Hold Up” as well as several other tracks are a little questionable.

She says at one point “What’s worse, lookin’ jealous or crazy?
Jealous or crazy?
Or like being walked all over lately, walked all over lately
I’d rather be crazy”
Read more: Beyonce – Hold Up Lyrics | MetroLyrics

The profanity laced “Don’t Hurt Yourself” reflected raw anger and emotion.  Many women are looking at these lyrics as so empowering, thrilled that she is dragging her cheating husband through the mud. May be they see it as “she has the strength to do something I can’t”.

But I ask, is marriage no longer sacred? Since when do we revel in the fact that a woman is dragging her man for cheating? Obviously, writing and music can be very therapeutic and that is healthy. But at the same token, she is choosing to stay with someone who has humiliated her in an incredibly public way. We know she’s not staying for the money, because there’s no question she is one of the most successful female artist in the world today. She’s not necessarily staying for power, because she is an artist, powerful in her own right. She may of course still be in love with Jay Z, but is that how you treat somebody you love? Wouldn’t your marriage and your image be better served if you went to couples therapy and work through your issues in private? The questions could have been avoided as to whether or not he was cheating, and their public relations camp could have continued to blow off the rumors. But, this very public album detailing their perceived problems makes it very clear there is some trouble in paradise. This also cannot be healthy for Blue Ivy, watching her mother drag her father through the dirt for cheating. This of course, is in addition to whatever else she is witnessing at home.

I don’t see the empowerment in this. If you choose to stay with the man that cheats with you on you, where’s the power especially if you’ve done nothing to make a relationship healthier? You’re the “baddest chick in the game” but yet you are tolerating your man cheating on you? You’re acting, to use the colloquial term, “ratchet” by smashing things and cursing; I’m failing to see how this empowers you or other women. In the real world, if you smash someone’s windows out of their car, depending on the amount of damage, you will be charged with a felony. Is it really worth it to prove a point to someone who is cheating on you and clearly has no respect for you? Acting in a destructive manner does not beget respect from anyone, and only degrades the actor.

The other possible scenario is that this is a giant publicity stunt to promote album sales and Jay Z’s music streaming service. I find this equally as disturbing. To destroy the sanctity of your marriage for money and for profits is incredibly shallow. Again, if you look at the effect it can have on their child, all the money in the world is not worth it. I think that is a very disturbing sign of their mental state if they are willing to destroy the sanctity of their marriage in that way.

Don’t get me wrong, she looked great, the lyrics were quite witty, and the videos were visually beautiful.  I just believe some things should be left in private. I question our hunger as a society to watch the destruction of a marriage in such a public fashion, or such a blatant grab for money and profits.

My mind also turns to Hillary Clinton — we all saw how Bill cheated on her, yet she remained in the marriage. We saw how he supported her Senatorial career as well as Secretary of State, and is now vigorously campaigning for her to become the first female president of the United States. But in some minds, one question still remains: did she stay with him after he cheated for her own personal gain? Are we comfortable with a woman doing that– selling out on happiness, and living in an arrangement of a marriage in order to attain personal goals? Men surely do not adopt this model for success. What pain comes with that decision? (To be clear this is not a statement on Secretary Clinton’s qualifications to be President.)

I almost prefer the scenario in the show Scandal, where Mellie and Fitz got divorced, and he supported her in other ways rather than live together in a strange, possibly a farce, of a marriage.

Yes, relationships are tough and complicated. But one constant, in my mind, needs to remain.  Respect, love and loyalty are the cornerstones for success in a relationship. My motto has always been “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” As my mom would say “cut ’em loose!!”.  It was a tough lesson I had to learn, but in the end, it’s better than the alternative of an ongoing, destructive saga.

But hey, that’s the joy of a free country — everyone has choices, and has the ability to choose happiness!

Sound off on your comments and thoughts on this issue!

M.

All That Glitters…

All That Glitters…

Is not gold. 

My dad always told me this phrase growing up.

This warning came to mind again as I read fellow blogger Allison Jones‘ story about being a true “Basketball wife”.

She attained the dream of many girls and women — marrying a professional athlete with all the perks and attention that goes hand in hand with this lifestyle. However, she cautions that you have to marry for the right reasons, because like any relationship, there are ups and downs. She and her husband have weathered the storm because their relationship is based on true love and friendship.

The path to maturity tells you that money does not solve everything (and can create more problems!). A marriage is not something to be entered into lightly. Being a wife, as I have learned, requires love, understanding, patience and compromise.  Being a baller’s wife comes with its own set of challenges that are not easily conquered if one is focused on attaining money, status or fame. If you’re not sure, check out any “Real Housewives” episode as a point of scary reference.

As women, we should be focused on finding that loving, healthy relationship, while building our own path to success.

As a society, we must encourage our girls to do the same!

Please share your thoughts as always.

 

A few months ago, as I sat alone in a three-bedroom apartment in Cantù, Italy, a small town outside of Milan, I scrolled through my Instagram requests. Something stood out to me that I’ll never forget. A young girl, who looked about 14 years old, requested to follow me. I often get requests from teenage girls because, let’s be honest, those are the only people who still watch My Super Sweet 16 reruns on MTV and come across the almost decade old episode featuring my 16th birthday party. Usually, I approve as long as the page doesn’t look creepy and go about my business, but as I read the young lady’s bio, I stopped. It read: this school, that city, emoji, emoji, whoever’s bestie, “future basketball wifey.” When I read the last three words months ago, I couldn’t help but wonder who in their right mind would purposely seek out this lifestyle and as I think about it now, I wonder the same thing.

Read more here.

Image

Eternal Love! 15 Photos Of David Bowie & Iman Over The Years

Serpentine Gallery Summer Party
UNITED KINGDOM – JULY 09: David Bowie & Wife Iman, The Serpentine Gallery Summer Party In London. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)

While the world has lost an incredibly creative music icon in David Bowie, supermodel and businesswoman Iman has lost the love of her life. I look at the pictures, and my heart utterly breaks for her. I have always been fascinated by the couple–both successful in their own right, strong, and went against the grain without hesitation. I admired the fact that although their art was edgy, their personal life seemingly was not.  They were not in the news with infidelity, fights and foolishness. I’m sure they had their ups and downs like every couple, but they were able to keep it out of the public eye. In the days of Kimye and other publicity stunt couples, the dignity of David and Iman will be sorely missed.

I see the love in these pictures, and as a wife, I grieve for her.

Life is short — live hard, love harder, and tell the people that mean something to you that you love them

Visit my friends at GlobalGrind below for more pictures.

Source: Eternal Love! 15 Photos Of David Bowie & Iman Over The Years