The power of “Me Too,” why does it take social media for us to recognize “Me Too”
Why am I silently whispering in grief “Me Too”
Erasing images that come back when I see “Me Too”
Thinking damn, her too? – hard to swallow asking myself, who hurt you?
Is it worse to, bury the memories as I force myself to rebirth, woo
As we-achieve degrees, act bad all by ourselves, use our bodies as a weapon to resurface
To be brand new-intentionally undressing softness now disguised as threatening,
The cacophony trending online is deafening
Years of psychological trauma caused her to lose direction
No longer had an identity couldn’t see her worth in her reflection
Safeguarding her heart, fearing vulnerability-misdirecting
every attempt to use her self-expression
She’s not some sad story she’s a survivor- a story TELLER
and refuses to be reduced by her perpetrators unwanted sexing
Her future a battleground of searching for redemption
All because he acted insensibly with his erection
Courage of the outspoken will prevent little girls from abuse in the next generation
To control a person and tear them down with sex-and
For as many “Me Too’s” I’d be remiss not to mention
there are predators who still haven’t learned their lesson
Don’t look her way, don’t cat-call, don’t grope-it’s disrespectful
Why are we victim-blaming, victim-shaming so she feels regretful
Did I drink too many cocktails, was I dressed too sexual?
Instant reminder of the scenes-no one there to intervene
Was it my fault? I start to scream-the tears on my body-in my mind no one can clean
What does justice mean?
If all we have is a system who wont listen to me?
What could I have done differently?
If only I was more careful I could’ve prevented the inevitable-
Sis, STOP-that’s a dangerous road illuminated by the gaslight
It’s not your fault they didn’t act right
Didn’t ask right-violated but being told to relax right?
Strangers to co-workers to incest too-
Trust splintered, sacredness trespassed through
Sexual harassment, sexual abuse-causes post-traumatic stress too
The Power of “Me Too” are you with her too?
Not a trend, women woven together by tangible truths
What would he do if he knew it was his sister, mother, grandma, best friend, cousin, aunt, and daughter too?
What you ought to do-listen, speak and take action to prevent another “Me too”
You can’t do everything yet what “we do” is to know that solidarity has the power to heal too
Wow! It’s almost July! That means a few things for me and exciting news for you! If you have not already read the “Opening Up: My Endless Search” blog series, I am kicking you out, so please exit this blog post, get yourself a snack and a refreshing drink and read! This is an update and you really won’t have any idea or care what I am saying until you’re all caught up. It’s like binge watching a series when you’re this far behind, so embrace it, Netflix can wait! (Game of Thrones season finale cannot though, so GOT first, blog series second, Netflix, last, if ever lol).
For all my amazing readers who are probably wondering where is this book already(the wait is agonizing, I know), let me enlighten you and remind you that patience is a virtue, and money doesn’t grow on trees either! Ha. Here’s the update. The book is currently in the editing process and in the meantime, I have signed a contract with a web design company to reconstruct my website! Are you excited yet? There may be a period where this webpage will be down temporarily and those of you still reading and not either watching Game of Thrones or rerouted to my blog post link need to hurry and read before the content is no longer available! For those of you who are all up to date, despite the time since my last post (I told you I needed to focus and I did), I am working diligently and adhering to the timeline I gave myself to publish this book. Stay with me.
The history about relaunching my website is what I really wanted to share with you all. As always, there is a story to be told, and I wanted to share the background in order for you to understand why I am really enthusiastic about this revamp. First of all, I created my blog site back in 2011. I wanted to take my writing a little more seriously and see if it was something I liked and I really did come to love it. So much that when I started my Master’s degree in communications, I took a few digital media courses and started reconsidering my blog site because it needed a transformation. So long story short, I decided I was going to purchase my own domain name and have someone create my webpage in order to really distinguish myself as a writer/blogger/poet/brand. Way to take the initiative, right? So I was obviously ecstatic and I started pitching some ideas to one of my friends, who recommended someone who could help me create my vision. Oh, the recommendations, I really should write a recommendations piece, remind me, those stories get funnier and funnier.
Immediately, I reached out to this person who I was recommended to and we talked over the phone and I was willing to pay this person, but they insisted they would do it for free as long as they could use it as part of their portfolio. That’s a red flag, huh? Well, I didn’t see anything wrong with that, because I offered to pay! Anyway, everything went great, they sent me some sketches and we were experimenting with different colors, sending each other emails and in constant communication. Riiiiight, up until the launch period. So here we are spending months and time in order to bring my brand and vision to life when the communication ended.
Out of nowhere.
I can’t make this stuff up!
I sent emails, left voicemails, used Facebook-no response. I mean I thought something happened, like did this person die? Where are they? No one knew. At first there was some explanation about some personal issues that were prolonging the project, but then it actually just ended, abruptly. I was digitally dumped. No post it note, no text, no angry screaming match, just ignored and left to write (see what I did there)?
Whatever, life went on, as best as it could. Okay, so it wasn’t meant to be. I thought if I redid my website, I could find my niche, but then I realized, this was a blessing in disguise, because as I continued to write, sans my website, I found my niche.
Fast forward about two and a half-years later. I wrote my blog series which led into me writing my book. I have a clear vision for my website and a purpose to launch. The only thing I was missing, was a credible web designer who wasn’t going to waste my time. I needed an experienced designer who took their craft as seriously as I take mine.
That’s when I went to a networking event in Manhattan and met a blogger who had just redid her website. We were exchanging advice on blogging when she gave me the background on the designers who created her website. At first, I was naturally apprehensive, but I spent a lot of time talking with these designers (months), comparing prices, reviewing their portfolio, and finally signing a contract that binds our commitment to finish the deal (not getting dumped again, I deserve better). What led me to hiring them? Besides their talent, credentials, pricing-they saw my vision as soon as I explained it and they were excited to bring it to life.
Sometimes we force something because we feel we have to do it. We manipulate ourselves into thinking it makes sense. When something makes sense it happens naturally. The process takes time, you can’t just hire every and anyone who has experience in your field or a friend who’s willing to help out just because, you have to hire people who believe in your brand as if it was their own.
Collaborating with the right people isn’t just a task to check off in order to launch a website or to force a change, there has to be chemistry and an innate understanding that a designer feels regarding your work before they can demonstrate their illustration of your art better than you can. You, as the creator, also have to believe in their ability to take the time and effort to build and bounce off of your ideas and trust they can deliver.
We’re working, we’re creating, we’re interacting and we are going to bring this vision to life. I can’t wait for you to see what this new website will look like; this website started from nothing except the relentless desire to put words in the atmosphere; it’s my art, my craft, my passion, and it takes time. I promise it’s worth it and one of my favorite part of the creative process is being interactive with you and sharing all the behind the scenes.
Trust the timing of your effort, your art will exist no matter what, be specific with whom and where you share it, not everyone sees the masterpiece before it’s finish, build with the ones who do.
It’s Friday night, I live in Brooklyn, (still surreal to say!) and instead of going out or trying to figure out my weekend, I’m focusing on what I set out to do. It’s easy to want to go spend money you don’t have and go live it up in the greatest city in the world, but I didn’t exactly come here just for amazing Instagram photos and check-ins. I came here to work-and by work I mean not working because I love every bit of what I’m accomplishing.
In the past two and a half weeks I have done more living in New York than I would in two months living in the suburbs. The city unpretentiously awakens my soul. Living is more than just habitually starting and finishing your day. You have to extract worthwhile moments and marvel at the medley of moments. Here I wake up with a hunger to be more, to give more, and to sprinkle the city with my magic.
Purpose is passion and passion is purpose; you have to be able to recognize how you are meant to deliver your gifts. Your passion can manipulate you into thinking it is only about you, but your passion is what ensures that you deliver your purpose. Your purpose is the impact you have in this world, it’s why you are here, and that is to be a part of something greater than ourselves.
I’ll make this blog short and sweet (or did I pass the short part already lol), because I want to stay on task. I want to share with you my 25 top experiences of living in New York thus far & I also want you to know that this is going to be my last published blog until I finish my book. A few nights ago I was inspired by Janet Mock, Host of MSNBC’s So POPular, transgender writer and activist. Mock was discussing why she was getting bored with reporting the same stories that really didn’t “move her” and how they were ultimately shielding her from sharing her own compelling story. I had a similar experience and I related to her sentiments on authenticity and revealing your journey, as it may encourage other people to be vulnerable and authentic.
This interview inspired me to come up with the title for my book (which is always climactic for me because I write first and then the title follows). Creating the title gives me a rush because I know I am finally putting all the pieces together. I know that I’m close to completion! I hope you have enjoyed the bits and pieces of my previous posts and I can’t wait to share with you all what’s coming next. So for now, please enjoy my early experiences as a New York resident:
I spent over $100 eating steak tartar, french onion soup (I’m a FOSA-french onion soup addict), fish tacos and sipped Verdicchio, while listening to live Christmas music with one of my best girls. It was definitely a Sex in the City vibe, I regretted nothing. Thank you Belle Reve.
I will finally finish all of those books I got bored reading and listen to albums in one sitting again since you don’t get cell service in the subways. I am committed to having productive commutes.
I joined a gym next to my job, I’ve gone once-I’m ready to try the next place and I’m overwhelmed with all of the trendy overpriced spots, but I want to visit Gotham’s Gym & do Soul Cycle at least once a month. “Help me I’m poor.”
Speaking of poor, you have to learn when to give extra food/coins/swipes to the needy and when to say no without feeling guilty. It’s a work in progress, but I refuse to dip into my savings account because I’m over budget on my Metrocard!
Most of the time I stay quiet when there is an insane person on the train, but when someone is using an extra seat for belongings, yeah I’m going to have to speak on that when people are standing.
I’m in love with Brooklyn Heights because of all the pretty Brownstones, the Pier, and the Brooklyn Bridge is more stunning than I imagined.
There’s tons of free events-I went to the Nightly show with Larry Wilmore for free (thanks meetup) and waited in line for two hours for Glade’s traveling Museum of Feelings. Some things are worth it, some are, well, free!
I still eat pizza way too much, can’t help it.
Love seeing all my NY sports fans rocking their gear on a daily basis and saw all the apparel at the Macy’s on 34th street-ahhh, finally united with my people!
I keep three pairs of shoes underneath my desk at work, still doesn’t feel like enough. Heels are overrated outside of the office.
I have two umbrellas, one at work and one at home, I’m sure I’ll be buying another one soon.
Thank God for the skating rinks at the Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, and Battery Park, along with Christmas trees in every building, because global warming is trying to kill my #ChristmasinNY vibe.
Observing and listening are essential to embracing and learning. I love hearing children speaking different languages, foreigners with accents, and millennials talk shop.
Going places alone is not only liberating, but completely normal.
Smirking while passing by 90% of companies I applied for (and never hearing back from, their loss) and smiling when finding restaurants on my ‘to-go’ list showing up on google maps en route to another location. Yep, google maps is the reason I’m standing outside the subway station waiting for my location to kick in so I can find out where I’m going.
Hating that I had to give up my California license (for memories duh), but loving my New York license even more.
Still asking people where to go, but also being able to give the right directions to places I finally memorized with confidence and satisfaction.
Some days I love the subway performers, and other days I thank God for headphones.
Signal failure-enough said!!
Swiping my Metrocard thinking I had enough money added…time is of the essence, ugh!
Realizing how overpriced the local market is-I will be shopping elsewhere! Trader Joe’s is where I read to shop.
Had a lunch date with my cousin at Grand Central and my sister-in-law moved to Long Island! Family this close is a much needed blessing!
Exchanging stories with my mom who was born and raised in New York is priceless. Some days I call her multiple times and she yells at me and says “You’re a New Yorker now, you gotta say it right!” Correcting me on how to pronounce places like Greenwich…because it’s Gren-itch not Green-witch!
Falling in love with my cozy humble apartment perfectly located right above the subway with walls thin enough to hear another person’s cell phone vibrating and the mosque bells ringing six times a day.
Confirmation that home is where the heart is, I don’t know if I’ll ever leave.
Love. It’s a verb. An action. It trumps all feelings and emotions. Yep. I’m going there today. Some of what I write is through personal experiences and some are just my observations.
The other day I posted something on Facebook about not wanting any direct messages from people asking me out on a date, if you can even call it that. From a woman’s perspective I will tell you the problem and the solution. The problem is that people are lazy (because it works) and they do what is convenient. For example, it is much easier for a man to inbox several different women at once and hopefully one of them bites. It’s like going fishing right? You put some bait on a hook and whoever bites, you reel them in. Do you think we don’t know that? I believe that majority of the men who use in-boxing, in lieu of having a woman’s actual phone number, (which takes courage to ask a woman face to face in case she rejects you, I get it) are the same people who wouldn’t say a word if they were sitting next to me in person. Maybe this works for them and it’s worth doing all the baiting. But, on the other side of the computer, is a woman who instantly feels like she is already just one of many (according to you-this is not her opinion of herself) and if this is his version of effort, then he doesn’t even deserve to get to know me.
Social media makes men believe it is acceptable (simply because users are online) for them to reach out and contact whomever they want whenever they please. I think it is the most mundane, effortless, pathetic attempt to communicate with a woman. If you truly believe there is any chance, find a way to meet me in person. If we have mutual friends, attend the next social gathering where I will be there in person, muster up the courage to strike up a natural conversation. If there’s chemistry, then you can ask me for my number, and it goes from there. If you never meet me, then it isn’t meant to be. It is never ‘meant to be’ from social networks because if I wanted to meet my soulmate online then you would see me on Match.com or another website for people who are mutually interested in connecting online. Keyword, mutually. I am not on social media for the men who don’t have the bravery to find a lady in real life, therefore, you are already not the one for me. I am instantly turned off.
Another pet peeve of mine is frivolous texting. I am almost thirty years old and the last thing I want to invest my time in, is lackluster typing all day. I’m not sure what satisfaction or entertainment this is for men, but this is a waste of everyone’s time. If you want to get to know me, let’s go out. Address me suitably and ask me out. Yes I would love to have dinner by the Hudson and wear a little black dress and have you in a suit and tie, but I know that may not be OUR first date, or our FIRST date, but that’s okay, chance it. It is the courting nature, along with the respect and the effort that a woman will appreciate when you ask her if she would like to go out with you. Even if she says no, I bet you she will acknowledge that you were kind and daring, as this is becoming less frequent in today’s society. You already stand out against the billions of people still messaging away.
If you are truly interested in dating a woman with values, morals, and self respect, then that is how you have to go about it. You have to match her level of standards. If not, then don’t missuse her time and don’t be appalled when she doesn’t think you are drawn to her. Liking pictures on social media, inboxing her, and stalking her snapchats, is a cheat. Go out, have conversation, laugh, and be stimulated. Technology is replacing human interaction. I want to smell what kind of cologne you wear, I want to envision how we pair together, I want to sense the vibes, and I want to pick your brain about topics that amount to something and laugh about those that don’t. Are you trustworthy, are you witty, are you ingenious, do I feel safe with you, are you respectful to myself and others, are you always in your phone, are you ambitious, are you self-centered or are you humble? I have a million things I want to explore and I am certain we won’t delve into substantial conversations through text messages. Pick up the phone and call after a date. Obliterate a text message as your default contact habit and discuss your thoughts. Tell her you had fun with her, or you can’t wait to see her again, and reflect on highlights of the night. Why are these simple gestures too much to ask? Why is everyone trying to rationalize and time when they should contact the person afterwards? What is so frightening about being vulnerable? Why is what’s easier, what’s normal? This is all strange to me.
Texting is a convenient way to check up with someone when you are at work or unable to verbally talk. It is good to get quick information like addresses and times or for sending pictures/videos. I do not connect with you through conversation and our personal relationship will never develop simply through texting. Does that mean I don’t text people, no, it just means there is no intention on my end to cultivate our friendship and no opportunity for a relationship to be dynamic and pure through text messages. How can I effectively interpret your dialogue through texts and emojis if all we do is text? I don’t even know what you potentially mean because I don’t know you. It’s a recipe for being misunderstood and it creates a disconnect. It does the exact opposite of what we hope to express.
Love is a matter of chemistry, sex is a matter of physics. -Unknown
I believe in actions, always. If a person wants you to be present in your life, they will call you because they care. They don’t have to be told. They don’t have to be reminded to ask someone on a date. Yes, social media could be to blame, but the real explanation is a person has not found the one they are truly mesmerized by, because they go above and beyond for someone they hunger for. It can’t be because they weren’t told or they weren’t raised, we have the power to choose how to treat people. We have the ability to learn and do what feels natural. A man will have an appetite to go out on a date because he wants to take this woman out. There is nothing that can take that away. They feel it in their gut. Intuition is always true. We have to meet people organically to distinguish how they make us feel. Do they make us feel alive or do we feel comfort? Do we feel peace or anxious?
You can’t date five different people through text messages. When you date someone in person you can have authentic conversations that you wouldn’t have through messaging. Are you really going to text someone you like and ask them if they are texting other people? No, it comes off psychotic and intrusive. However, in person, when it is just you two, you are both vulnerable and you already have unspoken permission and authority to ask what their dating circumstances are. Typically, the person will answer, as uncomfortable as it might be, simply because they respect you enough to be honest. These type of discussions are rare through texting and often responses are not credible. In person you can see their truth, not just in their responses, but by their tone of voice, the amount of time it takes to answer, their mannerisms, and you can tell if a person is genuine or not. You automatically receive honesty about where things are going simply by being in someone’s presence and going out on proper dates. If you want to waste time and if you want to play the games, go ahead and use social media, have a million friends, get your instant gratifications, and hide behind text messaging. However, if you want to meet someone as real as we all say we do, put in some extra effort and go on a proper date. Eliminate unhealthy dating habits and see what happens when you open your heart.
We have to interact with each other on a deeper level. We cannot rely on technology to create and nourish relationships for us. It just doesn’t work that way. Ask the elders who have been married for 25 plus years how they met their significant others. See if they are online distracted by the billions of people that they will never meet. Everyone thinks the grass is greener on the other side and that people are expendable. They love conditionally and circumstantially. People will let every little thing get in the way of loving someone. It’s easy to give up because there’s always some else right? Wrong. People think they have to entertain every person they meet that is a tiny bit interesting just to get temporary fulfillment. You’ll never find a life partner if you are always looking for the next partner.
There’s still a few old souls who know the value of the person who impact their life. They would do everything to make sure nobody gets the opportunity to treat them better, they know there is no competition, no matter how enticing it looks on the outside, they resist the temptation to cross lines. When you experience love, unlike lust, you can filter out the people who only want something physical. The person a woman like me is patient for, is the one I trust in all aspects of love, the one who has no room for anyone else in his heart, who comes crashing into my life realizing that he chooses me because he doesn’t want to live without me, who loves me from the first day until our last day.
Here’s what people don’t tell us in school and maybe sometimes we don’t hear it in our household growing up; there are no short cuts. When we’re children we often hear, “What do you want to be when you grow up,” and “You can be anything you want.” You know why we hear those things, because those adults care about our future. They believe in the possibilities of a child, or a blank canvas. For whatever reason, on both ends, we miss the part where hard work is needed to be those great things. Then we become teenagers and the conversations shift. “You need to figure out what you want to do.” We are talked to rather than asked and we are scolded and pressured into figuring everything out. We realize life is hard and we have to work for all the things we want. It changes our outlook and we become lazy and eventually we stop focusing on the things that make us happy.
That innocent, authentic belief that we could do anything doesn’t seem to be communicated at the time we need to hear it most. If you have children in their teens, spend time trying to help them figure it out what it is they want to do in life. They need that encouragement and support. They need to be reminded that they can still “be whatever they want.”
We can still incorporate happiness into our life while we work hard. Just because there are no short cuts, doesn’t mean we have to hand over our joy.
Are you that adult who has a million different ideas and you are starting to feel too old or are you afraid of failure? Remind yourself that you are still worthy and deserving to create and live a happy life for yourself. If you want to be a fashion designer at 53, then go for it. If you want to be a food critic, then go for it-they do exist!
Even if it begins with you taking a local college class and you find out you hate it. There is nothing worse than regret, other than never trying. When something is poking at you over the years and you keep trying to rationalize why it makes sense NOT to do it, you need to start listening to your intuition and taking a few risks in life. So what if it doesn’t work out, at least you tried it. What if it’s everything you imagined it to be? What if it catapults you into a completely different direction? What if you can give solid advice to someone else who is in the same place you were once in? At some point we stopped believing in ourselves and we give other people praise for doing what they want. Forget that, you have a life to live too!
At some point we put our happiness on hold to survive rather than to live. We don’t have to spend our life that way and we should stop it right now. Life is not just about working a job you hate to put food on the table and rinsing and repeating until you die. It’s not about always looking forward to the same traditions and being comfortable in routine. For some people, maybe that is everything you want out of life, and that is fine, but I’m talking to the people who, as they are reading this, they are thinking about those exact things they have been putting aside.
Live your life and be happy with the decisions you make. I mean truly be happy. Do not be fearful of other people’s opinions so much that you begin to stop doing what makes you tick. Why give people power over your joy? That is what attracts the best people to you to begin with! If you have forgotten what makes you special, ask the people you love, what is it about me that you love? When was the last time you were cheesing ear to ear because of something you did for yourself? Remember what that felt like?
If you want to play a sport you haven’t played in 20 years, go do it please. You might have aged, but guess what, you’re not dead yet, so quit with the excuses and get out there and do it.
If you want to take a road trip to a specific place, book it already. Find the people who want to join you and stop letting the one person who doesn’t, prevent you from this life experience.
You want to learn how to cook, go YouTube a recipe and figure this out already, trial and error. And if you suck at it, drink some more wine and laugh at yourself, but know that you tried.
Dust off your old instrument or play a new one. Commit to learning if it’s something you have always wanted to do. Who is stopping you?
If you want to start a business, do every little thing that is going to help you achieve your goal. Turn off the television, and do your research. Put your pride aside and ask those who are 10 steps ahead of you. But for once, realize that there are millions of business owners, small and big and they were once in your shoes, you are smart enough to do it too. If you think they are all college educated, single, rich people, you are wrong. Don’t let life get in the way, choose life and figure OUT a way.
Publish your book, finish that application, try new foods, choose a workout that you love, make new friends, go on a date, ask someone out the old fashioned way, get dressed up for no reason, get dressed up for someone else, forget the diet and just be healthy, take care of your life by doing things that make you happy. When you do things you love, you feel good. Constantly do something new and refreshing.
Do you work too hard? Take a sick day and pamper yourself. Stop for one moment and enjoy this life because you only get one and it can end right now, are you doing enough of what you love? We don’t have to wait for the new year to come, end this year on a strong positive note. Choose to smile, choose to inspire, and choose to enjoy what you love.
I challenge you to give yourself a Christmas gift by doing the one thing you have always said you were going to do and never did…what’s it going to be?
Attending the Philadelphia Conference for Women was the best gift I gave myself this year. It is also the best gift I could give other people. The conference gave me the ability to look inside myself and really question what it is I needed to work on personally and professionally. It also revealed to me how I could live my life with purpose. I was able to be vulnerable and really listened to what others had been through and internalized their stories that often related to my own experiences. I felt that I wasn’t alone in mishandling situations and I wasn’t alone in wanting more out of life. I wasn’t alone in making mistakes and I wasn’t alone in figuring out how to fix them. I wasn’t alone because I was surrounded by my sisters. I felt revived as soon as I entered the building, as if my soul knew that this was exactly where I was supposed to be, in an atmosphere surrounded with women from all walks of life, each with a past, a present, and a future.
Have you ever felt like life was beating you down? No matter how much effort you put into your career, your education, your relationships, or yourself, that you weren’t making the progress you had hoped for? Maybe something wasn’t measuring up and you couldn’t understand why. Or you haven’t been feeling appreciated by your family, friends, co-workers, or spouse? There are ways to fix it. You have the power to turn your life around. This conference introduced me to women who have been changing the world because of their relentless belief in themselves and others. I wish I could highlight everyone and every topic, but then you will exit out of my blog and every thing will be pointless. Let me highlight some of them, stay with me. And when you want more, look forward to another book excerpt from me in the future!
I wish I had enough space and time to tell you every detail about the conference, but that is why it is so imperative for you to experience this for yourself, if you have not already. The conference was filled with keynote speakers, a variety of seminars, food and wine tastings, meet and greets, book signings, exhibitors featuring small businesses (women-owned businesses as well), technology, careers, health & wellness, education, and a networking lounge. I wish I could illustrate a better picture so you could embody the full experience and if I could transfer the feelings I felt from attending this conference I would. I will give you a glimpse from my perspective so you can try to picture how my mindset went from negative to positive and how my outlook on life changed in less than a day. I hope by sharing my favorite moments and highlights from that day that it encourages you to be there next year.
The first empowering woman I want to highlight is Carli Lloyd. If you’re not a huge sports fanatic, or like soccer, or you have just been under a rock for the past year, then you might not know who she is. She’s a New Jersey native who made history when she led the U.S. National Women’s soccer team to win the FIFA World Cup by scoring a hat trick (three goals). She’s an Olympic gold medalist, twice, no big deal. She is an explosive athlete who prevails because she doesn’t give up. Listening to her speak was influential, especially because I recently began playing soccer again myself at 29.
At 33, she mentioned that she will play for at least another five years. She moved the audience by telling us that it’s important to “spend every day to make yourself better,” and during the holidays when no one is likely to be perfecting their craft, that’s the time to step up. The way to block out doubt and criticism is to remind yourself that, “it’s a worthless focus, it can consume your head with negative things.” That really stood out to me, because often times we let criticism and negative thoughts shape us. We let our emotions control us, rather than controlling our emotions. Since this conference, if something upsets me, I ask myself, is this a worthless focus? If it is, I redirect my energy and focus on better thoughts. We have to train our minds to be positive and power through difficult moments.
My next two favorite women who spoke were Rachel Ray, Food Network chef and New York Times best-selling author, and Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian feminist and peace activist. Their energy instantly brightened the room and filled our hearts with hope, happiness, and inspiration. I remember Rachel Ray talking about the importance of family, traditions, and giving back. She had humbled beginnings and the simplicity of her ideas launched her career into Food Network. As she succeeded on Food Network, she would eventually host her own show, Rachel Ray, and have her own lifestyle magazine. If that wasn’t enough to impress you, she also founded Yum-O!, a non-profit organization that educates children and their families on healthy cooking. What I took away from Rachel Ray was when she said, “having a rich life has nothing to do with income.” That truly resonated with me because I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. So many people identify success with monetary value. Loving what you do and being surrounded with people who are supportive of you and love you are what matter at the end of the day. If you have that, you are already successful.
Women are the one’s who bear the greatest burden. We are also the ones who nurture societies. -Leymah Gbowee
Leymah Gbowee entered the room with grace and personality. She was funny and intelligent. Her charisma excited the whole crowd. We learned that she brought together Christian and Muslim women to protest together, which contributed to ending the civil war in Liberia in 2003. She was recognized in 2011 with the Nobel Peace Prize. She has a moving documentary, called Pray the Devil Back to Hell, which won the Tribeca Film Festival’s best documentary award. When her country was living a real-life horror story, Leymah Gbowee didn’t back away, she didn’t use violence, instead, she used peaceful protesting and togetherness to end the nightmare that was ruining her country. She is an international speaker and role model for the world. She said people may ask, “Is there hope for the world,” and her answers were, “I cannot be a pessimist and be an activist, I cannot be a pessimist and inspire people, I cannot be a pessimist and step out into the world and tell people this is possible every day. We have to be optimistic.” I respect her view on the world, especially because she has seen the most evil acts in humanity. She still smiles and she still believes in the good in people. She reminded us not to be fearful in the world because, “There are more good people than evil people. We should care because the world is a global village.” With the media portraying and magnifying all of the issues going on in the world, people become bitter, resentful, hateful, judgmental, and fearful,which makes it critical to remember that one act of kindness every day makes a difference in the world. As Leymah said, “we should care because it gives hope to humanity.”
If you feel like there is a void in any part of your life, attend a women’s conference. You will see yourself differently, you will want to make positive changes and be a part of things greater than yourself. By identifying areas of your life that may need change, you contribute to being a better person. This contributes to being a happier more productive you and as a result, you help make a positive impact on the people around you. We need more people who are willing to make those changes. The people who are happy and make an effort to make others feel good are the ones who start a ripple effect of readiness. Our energy is contagious. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, your level of education, or your financial status, what matters is that there is something inside of you that wants more from yourself and others. We have to live intentionally and that takes work. Be the proof! I promise you that this conference will change your life, because it has already changed mine.
Far too many people are looking for the right person, instead of trying to be the right person. -Gloria Steinem
If you read my previous blog series, “Opening Up: My Endless Search” then you know I promised I would expand further upon the details which I could not finish in a blog post. It is going to take time and please remember the story itself is still unraveling and it is emotionally challenging, but I want to keep you updated. With that being said, I have an excerpt of Chapter 2 (which is subject to change in the final edit), but until then, here it is:
I always felt a void leaving the city. Like I was leaving a part of who I was meant to be. I was meant to be close to my family, I was meant to explore all the different boroughs and let them nurture my identity. The void never went away, from a curious little girl to a determined woman, I continue to want to take another bite out of the big apple. The one thing I never knew, was how painfully hard it was going to be to reside in a place that was only two hours north of where I grew up. How a commute could turn into a 6 hour a day travel experience complete with missed trains, blisters on my feet, a growling stomach, and a heart still filled with hope. I couldn’t imagine the absence of support that I would feel going from place to place. The loneliness and disconnects grew deeper. Was it all worth it? I would see the friendships that would be strengthened and the ones that would falter. Still, my unwavering love for my passion still remained, but I couldn’t be sure how long it would continue and I felt the number of compromises I was willing to make were seemingly running low. Time was expiring. One thing was for sure, the more I wanted New York, the further life would tear the dream out of my hands; like a stack of papers being blown out of my hands every time I picked them up off of the floor. Typically, people want to stand out, but I was ready to blend in with the masses. The whole time I thought I was finding my way, I wanted nothing more than to get lost in the millions, where no one would ask questions and no one would be bothered by my disturbed past or my untouched future. How much longer? Discouraged, depleted, and anxious, I was so close to giving up. Why interrupt the dream by trying to make it a reality? Despite my afflictions, I kept believing that one day the city would be mine.