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Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “women messages”

Excuse Me Little “Black” Girl—Part 1

Excuse Me Little “Black” Girl,

Sad Girl

Yes you.  I am talking to YOU!  I know, I know….  You want to know, “Why?”  Believe me when I say, “I understand your skepticism”.  I have confidently interrupted you for no reason other than that you are female and black.

Is that a crime?

No…well, some may think so on two counts but in this case NO!  To the contrary, I have stopped you to encourage you to continuously set goals and envision achieving the impossible in this crazy world.  Its manifestations are indeed possible!

girl dreaming on laptop

I get it!  I GET IT!  Achieving goals is hard.  No one said it would be easy!

The ability to overcome stereotypes about who you are—or who you are expected to be— combined with societal hindrances, both inter-and-intra-culturally, does not come with a manual.  BREATHE!  Life is not that easy.

These breaking-barrier conversations, in number and in depth, to obtain guidance are not readily-accessible.  We are not mythical, however.  Living examples of us are in fact around, but you (and we) are being conditioned to overlook our essence and devalue our worth.

“Your turn will come,” they will say, “after his and hers.”  Time does not stop.  Remember, “Nothing beats a failure but a try.”  Your turn is now, just as his and hers.  Truth is, our worth is your worth.  Collective value carries weight.  It is either relieving or burdensome.  Be conscious and careful about what you cart.  No one said it would be easy.  You must push on and push through.  Your dreams will resuscitate you.  You will learn to trust that your help, meaning help that is specific to you, will come.  Time will teach you to expect and to accept it in whatever form and time it appears.  Experience will sharpen your ability to identify it.  In turn, you will become aware that you are being shaped to be the help for others of which you seek.  It is a process.  Excuse me little “Black” girl, you are being transformed.

Me 12.30.15 talking to group

Allow yourself to learn your SELF.  Be patient.  This is a never-ending process.  It must be embraced with (at times stubborn) determination.  Media messages will tell you, and those around you, who you are.  Songs and television shows will do the same.  Religious interpretations and authority figures will have a say, as will community leaders—if you are mentioned at all.  Find appreciation in the knowledge of other’s misperception of you, then confidently introduce yourself.

peace

It was nice meeting you.  Now you know WHY.

 

Those Lyrics

I ended my relationship with him because his music of preference degraded, devalued, and denounced women.  How did we get to this place?  When did I become his enemy?  Surely, he did not think of me as a friend!

“Oh, the lyrics are not about you,” he would say.

Ughhhhhh, my frustration rose with every point he missed.  Of course the lyrics are not about me specifically, but its collective implication is placed squarely upon my shoulders.  The weight is heavy.  The conversation is lacking.  Maybe if I were not a professional woman, I would not notice?  Maybe if my life did not require me to be in situations where I am the only one, I would not be bothered?  How have we gravitated from R-E-S-P-E-C-T to O-P-P?  Perplexed and tired, I ended the relationship.

If you are wondering, yes we are still friends—the one, he says, “that got away “.  What an interesting choice of words when considering the bondage his ideology would have placed me under.  Walking away, I was left wondering if he would ever know A Woman’s Worth.  I can only hope so, but I still don’t know.

peace

Unless empathetic, people only seem to understand “a thing” if it has a direct impact on them.  Have we become so desensitized that we only have empathy when catastrophes occur?  Don’t we know that by the time we see the physical manifestations of inequity, inequalities have already run rampant?  Many seem to think that if they do not have a dog in the fight, then the fight is simply theater.  “Get over it”, they say.  “It’s not that serious”, they insist while attempting to bully via shame.  “You are too sensitive”, they sing.  Their perspective, however, does not change your reality nor how such attitudes affect your life.

“Oh, the lyrics are not about you” become about me when I show up to defend someone in court and have to check a dude who calls me honey.  They become about me when I am in a meeting and the males are addressed by their respective titles and I am by my first name only.  They become about me when the salary being offered to me is less or when I am overlooked for a promotion, not because of my work product, but because of this rule that a man—and many times a white male—is simply worth more.  How could he not be worth more, right?  People like to do business with people like them and most big business deals are done between men—white, wealthy men.  Now, you know like I do that most people are not white and wealthy and male.  Yet, the oppression amongst those of us who are not continues to pit ally against ally.

Women Sitting Across From Each Other

Although at times slow to make mainstream rotation, songs empowering women are being written and played.  Their vehicle is not limited to the radio, but more readily seen in life.  So, what songs do you turn up…or turn off?  Are the lyrics being sung about you?  The big picture, most miss.

Female Friends

Female friends…thank God I have them.  I have heard numerous stories, negative portrayals, of women by women about how we relate to one another.  Sure, at times I am left confused by our interactions in workplace environments (but I will again address that at another time).  Likewise, there are those moments when we pass each other on sidewalks or in hallways and turn our heads.  Are we serious?  With all of the dangers that lurk, can we really afford to dismiss each other so easily or have we collectively agreed to each her own.  Friendship though, now that is different.  (Or is it?)  After all, we invite these relationships into our lives.

Friends

There have been times when, though my best efforts, I still seemed to end up with a few Judasettes in my crew.  Such is life, right?  All the while,  I defined—only to redefine—what friendship means to me.  In doing so, I learned more about myself.  Likewise, I began to pay even more attention regarding the world in which I live.

I understand that for me, it is vital that I have strong female friendships.  I not only want to hear, but I need to hear words of wisdom from wise women.  Why?  Well, I hear viewpoints—wise or not—from men all of the time and let’s face it, I am a woman.  I want to hear what other women, particularly wise ones, have to say.  (Iron sharpens iron.)

There are things that I experience because I am a woman and I want to hear of shared experiences, learn from similar experiences, avoid pitfalls, celebrate, guide, receive advice from, laugh, cry, encourage and be encouraged by people who know what I am talking about.  When I say, “It’s too hot to wear pantyhose,” I do not want to have to explain why. If I am asked, “What’s wrong,” and I respond, “Cramps”, I want that to end the conversation…for the day.  If I am addressed as “Hun” or “Dear” in a workplace environment (which I have been), I want support on how to best handle such a scene from a woman’s vantage point.  Also, spiritually, there are situations of faith where women may minister to me more effectively.

I am extremely thankful for the female friends I have.  My hope is that all women have a group of women who uplift, enhance, and advance their lives.  Maybe if we speak more on our positive experiences, others will too.  It will be evident that it is not only possible to have positive female friendships, but that they are plentiful.

Be well my Sisters,

Business Woman Model

Recently I saw something that was really awesome.  It happened within a split second.  If I had blinked, there is no doubt I would have missed it.  Glad I did not miss it.  I would have missed her.

Recently, I saw a “business woman model”.  This model is unique.  Her findings are rare.  After all, how often is she portrayed in film?  When do we hear about her in music?  Who is reading about her in books?  Although present, she is oftentimes invisible.  In a traditional sense, I guess her omission would make sense.  Society’s message has been that men make the bacon (i.e. money) and women fry it up in a pan.  With that being the standard, who would expect a woman to have and operate her business to make a significant profit?  She would seem out of place out of the kitchen, right?

Blog Woman Business

Over the course of my lifetime, I have seen numerous women in leadership positions.  I have seen them lead families, lead projects, lead departments, etc..  I have also known women who own their own businesses, but recently I saw something I had failed to identify before.  Was it there and I had somehow missed it?  I can only wonder.  What I saw was an outgoing, professional woman with a very kind heart and a generous spirit.  I saw a woman who understands the obstacles of running a business in general and as a woman specifically, and who is not afraid to speak on them.  I saw a woman who, within her own confidence, recognized and appreciated the potential she saw in another woman and without hesitation offered to be an asset.  Housed within the words she spoke lived work-life balance.  This woman encompassed all of that, but within a split second—the second I could have missed had I blinked— I saw her business wisdom illustrated by her knowledge of the importance and purpose of money.  OK. OK.  It was slightly more than one second, but her subtle delivery could have been easily missed.

The timely presentation of this model was great to see.  I am looking forward to learning from it.  I am looking forward to sharing.  It can only make us better.

Dude, Hire Me!

I had a very honest conversation with a male friend of mine which has inspired this blog entry.  I truly appreciate my friend’s honesty.  The conversation left me pondering a couple of things.  I’ll touch base on a few….

So there I was, comfortably sitting on a sofa when my friend casually mentioned that he is significantly reluctant to hire women.  “WHATTTTT!!!!  WAIT…..”, I must have not heard him correctly!  Sure enough, I did.  For a split second, I struggled believing that this was his true thought.  How could my friend, a guy who I have seen debate unflinchingly in support of women earning equal pay and having equal protection under the law, have this bias.  I have seen him argue against injustices, not just on behalf of women but on behalf of other oppressed groups as well.  Surely he did not admit that his personal preference is to hire men because to him a man will always be his best candidate for any non-domestic job, did he?  YES, he did.

I resisted the temptation to argue with him.  Whatever he said would be unsatisfactory to me.  Anyway, I was more interested in determining how my friend could hold and potentially practice this view.  He explained his position, typical opinions I have heard before.  We would have to agree to disagree.

Mentor Needed

I left our conversation that day with many thoughts.  I still wonder how many men in hiring positions share his views.  Such practices, when gender is replaced by race/colorism, seem easier to spot and more commonly shamed…at least in theory.  The issue, at least with my friend, is not a question of “qualification”.  It is the idea of the traditional roles of women, minus the barefoot part (I hope).  In a society where so many women are financially heading households, in many cases singlehandedly, can she realistically expect to reach the top of her professional and financial ladders, even in situations when the entry door is slightly cracked for her entry?  Do women have a responsibility to help each other succeed?  Is such collective operation necessary for her individual success?  My thoughts…my thoughts…these are only a few…only to be met with that last one of, “am I the only one with them”.

I am happy that not all men follow this practice.  I have been hired by both men and women.  In turn, I have hired both men and women. Both genders have helped me further my career.  Both have tried to hinder it.  I have learned that not everyone is comfortable with a strong, opinionated, educated, professional, and in my case minority-labeled woman.  Let’s face it, when found outside of our traditional roles women make a lot of people uncomfortable.  Oh well, we are here now.  If “dude” won’t hire me, I will be left to determine whether I should hire “dude”.

A Girl’s Voice?

Do you think we (as a society) coax girls to find their voices? Last night, I was watching a documentary on Richard Pryor. It told the story of when Pryor found his voice. Supposedly, he was in the middle of a comedy routine when he had this epiphany. It resulted in him walking off the stage. It was thought that his career, by abandoning his set, was done. Years later, he emerged as the comedian most now know—powerful, purposeful, and a change agent.

By the time girls graduate from high school, most have seriously thought about being a mother. When would be a good time? How many children to have, if any at all? How does having children fit into pursuing professional goals? These are questions many of us seriously consider, along with our ticking biological clock.

Some girls have high school sweethearts, making the dream of marriage (forever) more believable. No one is thinking about the divorce rate, which has lingered around 50% for some time now. Nope. Teenage love….well, some marriages last, right?

Since the early days of toting baby dolls and “playing house”, girls have been encouraged to be a parent, a caretaker, a wife, a nurturer, and if necessary a financial provider. Through music, movies, magazines, and media, girls (and women) are encouraged to be sex objects at all times. When, however, is she urged to find her voice if it lies outside of these predetermined boxes? When is she pushed to discover her unique self, her purpose, and her power? ….And for those of us who are…oh how odd we must seem.

Girl Holding Up Award

You Trust Her?

“I don’t trust women” are words I have heard women say on a number of occasions. What a sweeping announcement, one when stated is always done so with great certainty and boldness…and harshness! Although I find its sentiment ironic, I have never questioned the speaker. Why would I? Everyone is entitled to her opinion, right?

I, on the other hand, am happy to not have fallen into the mindset of (generally) not trusting women. Sure, there are some who have shown themselves to be untrustworthy. As the saying goes, “When someone shows you who they are, trust them.” To not trust all women, however, is extreme. If I accepted this notion as true, what would that say about me…to me?

Friends

When women trust each other, a bond is formed and great works are accomplished. History has proven this, but evidence also lives in our present-day era: in our communities, in our homes, in our workplaces, in our churches, etc.. Unfortunately, some girls are being taught that their greatest competition is that of another female. Interesting…in a male-dominated society, her greatest competition is her sister? (Hmmmmm.) This message plants seeds of mistrust which many times sprout into adulthood. Be careful of what you water. There is a difference between wheat and weed.

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