A modern-day Renaissance Woman. A Creative and Spiritual Being. Author of Fiction and Non-fiction. Writer. Fashion. Art. Music. Food. History. Travel. A bit of a philosopher I am told. Dreamer. Entrepreneur.
I am one of “those” type of people that celebrate their birthday ALL month long. My birthday marks my NEW YEAR for me personally. During this month, I do things I enjoy most and try new things. I take advantage of the things going on in my city during this month and I allow myself to get out more than usual and to rest more than usual. Things are changing on how I do this. I am more intentional of those in my space and I am also more open to those in my space. This may seem contradictory but, it’s not. For example, I met up with a diverse group of women whose birthday was in March also. There were Pisces and Aries in this group and it was an enjoyable space of laughter and pleasant conversation. Finally, my beautician and I got to hang out in another space of excellence. The conversation was very diverse among us at the table and the service, food, music was so good I felt like I was being pampered while I dined with an array of small plates and cocktails.
I spent time with three of my closest friends. With one friend, we went to a Women in Arts Exhibition that is in its grassroots stage. We had good food from a food truck and went for ice cream afterwards. We sat on my porch and had a variety of conversations. I saw one of my favorite women in ministry by myself but was divinely positioned next to a young lady I was able to bless and that blessed me! One of my friends and I went to see Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. I have always wanted to see them! My other friend and I had dinner, cocktails and saw one of my favorite performers in Memphis. Jazzy. I went off on a couple of adventures by myself. A girl needs her “me” time.
On my birthday, I invited friends and family to join me to hear my favorite reggae bands in the city. I think most of us had a ball! I know I did. Food, drinks, music, and family. The musicians in this band are some of the bests in this country if you ask me. I love to see musicians play with excellence and enthusiasm. You can feel it and they never disappoint which lets me know they hone their craft.
I wanted to go on a shopping spree and I did go on a mini-shopping spree. Now, it’s back to budgeting and balancing the books. I have issued a NO SHOP APRIL!!!
You need to learn how to be left. Left alone. Left behind. Think about this, how would you feel if you were forced to stay in a situation, with people, in a job, in a space you felt you didn’t want to be in for whatever reason? Oh! You’ve felt that feeling before, huh? You know that suffocating, funny, detached feeling that makes you feel stuck. You feel it your body and it weighs heavy on your mind. I have to tell you this, you’re not going to like it but, sometimes you are creating that for someone else. BREATHE. Sometimes they do not love you like you love them. BREATHE. Sometimes, they don’t like you for valid reasons or simply, they just don’t. BREATHE. Sometimes, they just don’t like your energy. BREATHE.
They have their reasons and it may hurt you. It may disappoint you. It may shock you. Especially, if you feel you haven’t done anything wrong or that bad. It may make you feel bad about yourself. And let me say this, if it does make you feel bad about yourself, then reflect, observe, and analyze. Because I would not have known the things I needed to correct or heal within me if someone had not left me or distanced themselves from me! “HARSH TRUTH will wash you clean. If you allow it.”-Nicole Jackson
People have a right to be free. Even if it’s to be free from you. I have learned to take it as it is. But the greatest thing I have learned is NOT to TAKE IT SO PERSONAL that I am angry, upset, mad or carry a grudge about it. How? I think to myself and put myself in their shoes. If I have a right to change my mind, fall out of like or love, remove myself from something or someone that is not a right fit for me, then SO DO THEY. Do I cry sometimes? Yes. Do I feel bad sometimes? Yes. Has my heart been broken at times? Yes. Have I been disappointed, shocked, bewildered? Absolutely. But when the emotions subside, I have to respect their decision. I don’t have to agree with it or like it. I want them to be free because if I need to leave, I want to be free to do so.
As we near towards the end of March and Women’s History Month, I think about all of the women that have made history that we know about and all of the many women that make history and a difference in their communities we will never know about. In a world, and especially in countries and cultures where women are often thought of as second-hand citizens, and in America and other countries, once were (still are) considered property, what is the value of a woman? Studies done by men in the past determining the intelligence and the emotional dissecting of a woman were nearly always biased and harsh. Even in religious texts women were treated poorly. Yet, I could never understand how you could be religious and treat another human being poorly. That’s another topic for another day.
A woman’s worth is priceless. Invaluable. Yet we, even women, continue to devalue women based on economics, social status, race, religion, bodies, and lifestyle. A woman has proven over and over again her value to this world and some women of color have to prove to other women the same thing those women are trying to prove to men. In my opinion, you can’t want equal pay and rights for women of your race and religion only. Either fight for ALL women or take some time to work on your inner self to find out why you don’t want to share your victories with ALL women. Resolve that conflict. If women are to move forward and to make more history, it has to be done in unity. In unity, there is power. In division, there are weak spots.
The ceremony also saw costume designer Ruth E. Carter become the first Black woman in history to win two Academy Awards.
Four years after winning Best Costume Design for Marvel’s Black Panther, she took home her second honour in the category for its sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
As lead costume designer, Carter played a crucial role in making the film a cultural phenomenon with her garments helping to bring the fictional country of Wakanda to life.
Here is a partial article about the history of black women in costume design by Shelby Ivey Christie. Link at the bottom for complete article.
Until the late 1950s, black actors appeared on screen mostly as slaves or domestic workers, leaving little room for creative costuming. Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar-winning role as Mammy in 1938’s Gone with the Wind is a prime example of this kind of caricature casting; her wardrobe was marked by a house dress, an apron, and a headscarf. Similarly, when James Baskett appeared as a plantation worker named Remus in 1946’s Song of the South—a role he won an honorary Academy Award for—he did so in the type of plain, tattered pieces synonymous with poor blacks at the time.
1957: Carmen Jones
“I’d have to say my favorite costume moment is Carmen Jones,” shares Stacey Beverly, a Hollywood costume designer who’s worked on Girlfriends, The Game, and Black-ish, among other projects. The 1957 classic stars Dorothy Dandridge as Carmen Jones, a factory worker who, outside of her blue-collar job, wears a now-famous look: a curve-hugging red pencil skirt and black off-the-shoulder top. This was significant—not only were audiences seeing a black woman portrayed outside of a domestic role, but that black woman was also the epitome of glamour, dressed in luxe fur coats, dresses cinched at the waist, and hoops (gold hoops, to be specific, which were not de rigueur in 1957). Dandridge made history as the first black woman nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award, and while she didn’t win, her portrayal of Jones did succeed in sending an empowering message to scores of black women.
1966–1968: Batman and Julia
In 1966 Eartha Kitt was cast as Catwoman in Batman—a role that saw her costumed in a tight leather catsuit and mask, bringing the sex appeal and allure of black women onto the small screen. Two years later, when Diahann Carroll became the first black woman to star in a TV series by landing the title role in Julia, the milestone was also a seminal moment for black costume design. A widowed single mother—which many black women could relate to, as the U.S. had entered the Vietnam War three years prior—Julia had an impeccable wardrobe reflective of the times. As the ’60s ushered in a fashion awakening that saw a departure from classic A-line silhouettes and an embrace of mod styles, Julia was costumed in swing dresses, paisley prints, and leisure suits; her hair was worn in the short, asymmetrical cut popularized by Vidal Sassoon, and she completed her looks with round-toe shoes and nude lipstick. Black women finally saw themselves as active participants in American pop culture and trends. They weren’t just the women who scrubbed the floors and burped the babies, they were now professionals, earning their own money and curating trendy wardrobes. Mattel partnered with Carroll to create a Julia Barbie, and in 1969 Carroll won a Golden Globe for the role.
I love fashion and I wanted to be a fashion designer growing up. It was the only dream I had had for a very long time. It still burns within me. I like anything that involves clothing. However, costume design in on another level of creativity and imagination to me.
“Thoughts that are out of alignment with your spiritual truth are toxic”- The Sacred Yes
Spring is the NEW YEAR.
You may now FEEL like doing those things you set out to do on the Gregorian calendar in December/January. You might feel more energetic, optimistic, refreshed. It took me a while to start moving along with nature and God.
I’m still learning to be attentive of the seasons and the timing of them. And leaves, flowers, vegetation, don’t just happen overnight in spring. There’s a process underneath and within. And even that process is affected by its region, environment, and weather.
Purge your space, circle, mind, body, and spirit.
Get your fresh nourishment. Get your fresh information. You’ve written the vision and now your steps are being ordered. Introduce some movement, action to the vision, dreams, goals.
On my way home from dropping my daughter off at campus Sunday, I felt my mood change. It was like that light switch. I am now familiar with it and I knew what was happening. Familiar, yes. Understand it? Not quite. I am always so frustrated when depression hits “out of the blue” or I can’t figure out what triggered it. If I know what the trigger was then I can better address it. But when I do not know, I get upset. I get angry because I don’t want to feel the way I am feeling and it takes some time for me to know if this is light depression? Moderate? Are we headed towards severe? I get anxious. I get…frustrated.
I just didn’t have the energy to figure it out Sunday evening because I was tired from the ride. I was able to make dinner and to just do the best I could to take care of myself. I showered. I did my nightly routine. I decided to just tune everything out and watch TV. I made myself comfy on the couch and called my parents and texted my daughter early to say my goodnights, etc. I thought maybe if I can just sleep when it’s time for me to go to bed, I will be okay Monday. I did not eat healthily that evening. I snacked quite a bit. Note: On my way home, I tried listening to positive things like a sermon and things that interested me on YouTube. I didn’t want to sink too low, too fast.
I woke up Monday and I was still depressed. I said to myself, “Well, this must be moderate depression. I feel like I can fix me something to eat. I don’t want to be bothered. I can still do a few things on my list that are easy for me. I don’t want to go anywhere. I don’t want to talk.” If this was severe, I would not want to do anything. This includes fixing food. Getting out of bed. I wouldn’t want to hear any noise. Go anywhere. Do anything.
It feels like strings of cans tied to my ankles and making noise every time I move. Weird. I know. The noise is the sharp criticizing negative inner dialogue that takes place during these episodes. If I drop something. “Clumsy.” If I can’t remember something, “Stupid”. Or just crazy thoughts from current, the past, “Look at you. Can’t even get dressed. No man wants to be around you if you ever get one. He can’t take this. Hell, people can’t take it.” “What the hell is wrong with you? Why was I born with these issues?” “What is wrong with my brain?” “Can’t live out your dreams like this.”
I FIRED BACK. LIES. GO TO HELL. IF HE CAN’T DEAL WITH IT, HE’S NOT THE ONE. PEOPLE ARE STUPID. I CAN NAME FRIENDS THAT UNDERSTAND. THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT DO GET IT. THOSE THAT DON’T, DON’T MATTER. I CAN ACCOMPLISH MY DREAMS AND REACH MY DESTINTY. SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE THESE ISSUES AND ARE SUCCESSFUL.
When it’s severe, it feels like a mountain on my back or like I am carrying around twice my weight. I imagine. So, instead of fighting it, I followed my normal morning routine. Well, sort of. Pray. Instead of coffee I wanted something cold. Read. Meditation. Post. I prayed some more. I called my parents so that I could see how they were doing and to let them know what was going on. I didn’t feel like being bothered unless it was urgent. I do this for two reasons: If you don’t tell the people you talk to daily, they will think something is wrong and worry if you don’t answer. Second, if I do answer and I have this mood they will take it personal because…they don’t know what is wrong.
Eat Well. I ate well for breakfast and lunch. I snacked well, too. I made myself do yoga for depression. It was restorative yoga where the poses were held longer and were to target specific areas of the body. I almost said forget it. But I stayed with the practice. I gave into it. I opened up my notebook of affirmations and I read some and then I wrote some that came to me during this depressing episode.
Even in my depression, I am loved. I deserve love. I am love.
I am worthy of love. I am still valuable. I still deserve to be happy.
Even under this dark cloud, I deserve the sunshine.
This too will pass. It’s just a moment. Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning and morning can come at any time.
I will wait for morning. I don’t have to wait perfectly. But I know morning is coming. Always.
I don’t have to understand it. I don’t have to explain it. I just have to know I will be okay. God is with me. God is with me. God is with me.
Later Monday evening, I begin to feel lighter. Yes. It was lifting. I felt like talking to a friend that called earlier. I felt like going for a walk and I did.
I know you are probably thinking you haven’t made history as a woman but, oh yes you have! You are making history in your own life that will become HER-STORY. You don’t have to be famous or to break a glass ceiling. You just have to look back over your life and see all that you have overcame. You just have to look forward and think about what’s next and plan it out. We all have a story to tell and stories that are forming as long as we are living. Why do you think the elders in our lives have so much to talk to us about? How do you think they gained so much wisdom? Our mothers, sisters, aunties, cousins, coworkers have HER-STORIES.
Tell me something you have overcome! Or share something you have done or do in your community!
Today I commented on a post that “As a Christian, I like learning things about the culture and traditions of the diverse people in this world” and two “Christians” took that as I agreed with the tradition and culture the author of the post was sharing. I responded back by saying quite a bit and one thing in particular was that “Reading is fundamental and so is reading comprehension.”
When I think about the first Christian’s response, I think about how slave masters and this country currently love to strip away African Americans’ (or anyone else’s for that matter) of culture, traditions, and history. I do understand why some Black/African Americans have a turned away or will not accept Christianity at all. The second Christian was her back up. Not realizing she was AMEN-ing a westernized and colonizing perspective of what it means to be Christian. God bless both of their hearts. I wonder have they ever thought about all of the Jewish and Hebrew traditions and culture in the Bible? I wonder if they think about all of the Pagen symbology and holidays made to be “safe” for Christians to observe yet, never observing all of the Holy Days? What about the traditions, patriarchy, and culture of their ancestors they hold so dearly? Probably not if they couldn’t comprehend my comment.
As I began to become really irritated by these Christians, I was reminded that my salvation does not depend on Christians, denominations or opinions.
Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was the first African American woman in Congress (1968) and the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties (1972). Her motto and title of her autobiography—Unbought and Unbossed—illustrates her outspoken advocacy for women and minorities during her seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 30, 1924, Chisholm was the oldest of four daughters to immigrant parents Charles St. Hill, a factory worker from Guyana, and Ruby Seale St. Hill, a seamstress from Barbados. She graduated from Brooklyn Girls’ High in 1942 and from Brooklyn College cum laude in 1946, where she won prizes on the debate team. Although professors encouraged her to consider a political career, she replied that she faced a “double handicap” as both Black and female.
In 1964, Chisholm ran for and became the second African American in the New York State Legislature. After court-ordered redistricting created a new, heavily Democratic, district in her neighborhood, in 1968 Chisholm sought—and won—a seat in Congress. There, “Fighting Shirley” introduced more than 50 pieces of legislation and championed racial and gender equality, the plight of the poor, and ending the Vietnam War. She was a co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971, and in 1977 became the first Black woman and second woman ever to serve on the powerful House Rules Committee. That year she married Arthur Hardwick Jr., a New York State legislator.
Discrimination followed Chisholm’s quest for the 1972 Democratic Party presidential nomination. She was blocked from participating in televised primary debates, and after taking legal action, was permitted to make just one speech. Still, students, women, and minorities followed the “Chisholm Trail.” She entered 12 primaries and garnered 152 of the delegates’ votes (10% of the total)—despite an under-financed campaign and contentiousness from the predominantly male Congressional Black Caucus.
Chisholm retired from Congress in 1983. She taught at Mount Holyoke College and co-founded the National Political Congress of Black Women. In 1991 she moved to Florida, and later declined the nomination to become U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica due to ill health. Of her legacy, Chisholm said, “I want to be remembered as a woman … who dared to be a catalyst of change.”