Many of you who have followed my work know that I have been an advocate for women and girls my entire career. It’s why I write this blog. What you may not know is my work in domestic violence and sexual assault prevention. It is something I have done for many years in addition to my political career. I serve on boards and commissions whose work it is to not only bring awareness to the issue of DV and Sexual assault, but to advocate for policy and programs to serve victims.
Four years ago, R & B singer R. Kelly was due to appear in concert here in Las Vegas. You all may now be familiar with the years old accusations against him which include sexual assault of underage girls thanks to the documentary Surviving R. Kelly produced by Dream Hampton which recently aired on Lifetime network. Though the world was shocked to learn of his treatment of women and girls, some of us have been familiar with these accusations for many years.
In an effort to shut down the concert, I launched a coalition of concerned women who worked diligently to bring awareness to the singers alleged atrocities committed against women and girls and to shut down the concert. Though we were not successful in stopping the concert we were successful in getting media coverage and bringing attention to his alleged crimes. I’m proud of the work that the coalition did to stop the concert and I’m proud of the work we continue to do on behalf of women and girls.
Considering the documentary Surviving R. Kelly and the work I helped spearhead to stop his concert four years ago, I received calls from people asking what I had to say about the documentary and was I pleased that it aired. Rather than speaking on the documentary I have chosen to direct my energy to what is most important to me and that is doing the work to ensure that young women and girls (and boys too) understand their value and worth. I want to make sure that we are providing spaces and tools for young people to develop a healthy sense of self-worth and value. If you have ever experienced domestic violence or sexual assault you may feel like a part of you has been stripped away. You may feel like you have no value. I want to tell you that though you may have been victimized you don’t have to take on a victim mentality. Your experience does not have to become your story or your identity. Your experience of assault is not who you are. It is part of your experience, but it is not the totality of you. Your power is internal and comes from your Divinity. It can never be stripped from you nor can it be diminished.
If you need to, please get professional help to guide you through your healing process. Get whatever support you need to get healthy. But whatever you do, always know that no matter what your experiences are in life, they don’t define who you are.
In luv and dessert,
In our society we have been conditioned to believe that we must live for others, to make others the center of our lives. Whether it be our children, our spouse or partner, our career, our ministry works etc., for many people, our value comes from dedicating our life to serving other people. Parents build their lives around their children and “live for them.” Some people build their lives around their career and everything they do is to further their career or business. Some wake up in the morning and immediately begin to think about what they can do to make their business or career better; how they can make their company better or make their clients or employer happy. We dedicate our days to providing for our children, driving them to where they need to be, building them up emotionally, making sure they have everything they need or everything we didn’t have when we were their ages. We live to be in service to our churches, houses of worship, pastors, fellow parishioners and members of our communities.
But what happens when the things we are living for are no longer there? What happens when we separate from our company? What happens when your children leave home? As unfortunate as it may be the possibility that a child may die before a parent is a real one. When the things we are living for are no longer there who will we live for then?
It is our nature to want to do our best and to have others think highly of us and to be pleased with us and the work that we do. We want to make others happy. But we must live for ourselves. This is not to say that we must neglect others in our lives, but it is to say that we must be our own center of our life. When we make ourselves the center of our lives and do things for us that make us happy, others will feel the effects of this. It is okay to think of yourself and what you want when making decisions. It is okay to consider how decisions that others are asking us to make will affect us. We don’t have to wear ourselves down to do something that others are asking us to do if it will affect us in a negative way; if it will cause you stress, disturb your peace or cause a burden for you it is okay to say no.
As we head into a new year, I encourage you to look at your life and ask yourself who are you living for. If the answer is not yourself then I hope that for the new year your goal will be to make yourself the center of your life.
In luv and dessert,
I don’t think I need to say much more! It’s Monday, embrace your freedom to decide what kind of week you will have. Don’t allow anyone or anything to dictate how your day, your week or your life will go. Know and be who you are. And above all else, take time to enjoy the “desserts” of life…first!
“When I was going through my transition of being famous, I tried to ask God why was I here? Surely, it wasn’t just to win three gold medals. There has to be more to this life than that!
I tear up as I write this. Yet again, I’m at a point of transition in my life and though I’m usually excited about the process of transition and look forward to what’s on the other side, this time I’m just tired. I feel like I’ve been in a perpetual transition for the past 5 years of my life. I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted and frankly I just want this shit to be over.
I know that for those of you who follow this blog regularly this may be a bit unusual to hear from me. But if you remember I always said that I would be transparent and share my own experiences with you so when I’m “going through” you get to read about it. I actually have been a bit absent from the blog for a while and for that I apologize. When I get to this point I tend to withdraw so that I can “hear” and get direction.
You guys know that I am a firm believe that life gives us exactly what we need at the moment we need it in order for us to grow and evolve from where we are to where we will be. I have always embraced that and trusted in the process. There is something different for me this time: there is so much frustration that I can hardly focus on the process and what this experience is here to help me do. I’m even a bit angry-at whom I’m not so sure. Ego has set in and I haven’t even engaged in my usual morning “dessert” practices of meditation, exercise, dancing and all the other stuff I usually do.
I have the greatest kids a mother could ask for though. They know me so well and can “feel” when I’m in this place. They tend to gather around me quietly as if to show their luv and support. They give me lots of hugs, cook for me and just offer their love. I appreciate that and the point is that we need support when we are experiencing transition. My close friends also “feel” this place I’m in. They call, send an encouraging text message but most of all they just let me BE.
And that is exactly what I have decided to do: to just BE and allow the beauty of this transition to unfold in front of me. I AM releasing my resistance to it. I AM letting go of the fear of lack and not being able to provide for my family. I AM returning to my center of “knowing” and trusting that all is in Divine order because it is.
What I know for sure is that I AM luv’d and supported. I know that I AM not in this process alone but that the Divine Universe is with me every step of the way. I AM opening myself back up to what this experience has come to show me and I AM embracing it. This was not an easy thing to do as the frustration of being here (again) was almost overwhelming. But I know that all is well even when I feel like it’s not I know that it is.
What does transition look like for you and how do you get through it? Do you have practices in place to support yourself? Whatever you do please remember that you are not your experience. Know that there is something wonder-filled in the process of transition. Embrace it and embrace where you will be on the other side. Oh, and don’t forget (or abandon) your “Dessert” in all of this. It will be what gets you through to the other side!
My theme for this week is Freedom-freedom from judging…myself or others! I find it quite amazing that we as humans so often criticize each other for the way that we handle the circumstances of life. We look at others and how they deal with situations or issues and make judgments about their character because they handle a particular situation different than the way we would handle it. Who ever said we are “right?” We often impose our standards onto others (often unconsciously) and when they do something differently than the way we would do it we are quick to judge.
Often, people’s life experiences determine how we handle what comes our way on a daily basis. Because we all have different experiences that make us who we are, we will all handle things differently. That doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong. It’s just different! Luv is allowing others to be who they are and handle life the way THEY would handle it and not the way YOU would handle it AND not criticizing them for it.
Free yourself this week! Free yourself from criticism and judgment of yourself and others. Allow yourself and others the space to evolve and grow from every situations that presents itself in your life this week. Give yourself permission to be who you are. Embrace every aspect of your personality for it makes you who you are! And resolve to have a great week no matter what comes your way!
As always, have a Magnificent Monday!
In Luv and Dessert,
Happy Father’s Day. This is a post that I originally posted last year for Father’s Day. I hope you enjoy it. Share your thoughts!
“Happy Father’s day to all the single mothers out there!” A sentiment we hear so much on Father’s day and one that I personally believe is detrimental. I myself have received a few text messages today wishing me a happy father’s day and I cringe at the thought of getting them. Although there are many single and divorced mother’s out there fulfilling the duties of their role as a mother and the role of father to their children they will never be a father!
I certainly understand the desire to congratulate and offer support to the many heroic women who are raising children on their own but more often than not this sentiment is used to disparage men who are not actively involved in their children’s lives. Although I am a divorced mother of four I understand that I am my children’s mother and not their father. I understand that I will never be their father I will only be their mother. I make sure that my children understand this and never will I allow them to wish me a happy father’s day because I sometimes fulfill the duties of both roles.
When women take on the role of being mother and father many times they start to believe that they don’t need a man in the house to help raise their children. True, there are many single women who are raising and have raised stable successful children but nothing can take the place of children having a father in the home. Fathers are needed in the home but because many women have taken on this “I don’t need a man” attitude they are not even open to the possibility of allowing a man to come in and be a part of their family. And why should they when they have been made to believe that they are both the mother and father and the presence of a man is not necessary in the lives of them and their children.
For little girls seeing this they too begin to believe that it is not necessary to have a man in the home to raise children. They see mama doing it and they often don’t learn the skills necessary to have a stable successful relationship with a man and build a family. They see their mother with children but they don’t see a man involved in those children’s lives and the cycle is perpetuated. For little boys, the message is that I can have babies but I don’t need to be involved in raising those babies because their mother can do it on her own. Their value as a future husband and father is diminished as they too see their mother raising her children on her own and being praised for it and neither do they learn the necessary skills to build a stable successful relationship with a woman. They also don’t learn the value of being a father and being a part of the lives of their women and children.
Children deserve to have a mother and a father in their lives whether their parents are still married or divorced or they are being raised by an unwed mother. Just because their parents may no longer be together doesn’t mean that they have to lose the presence of their father or someone else who is willing to fulfill the role of father in their lives. Mother’s should be mothers and understand that they can and never will be fathers. I believe that one of the best gifts a mother can give to her children is to speak well of her children’s father even if their father is not actively present in their lives. Words spoken highly of their father to children often give children a sense of respect for him and I believe that the goal should always be to build respect even if in the mind of the mother he doesn’t deserve it.
So to all of the mothers out there that are raising children on their own I take my hat off to you but please, help your children understand the importance of having a father in their lives by just being their mother.
When I was a little girl my mother shared a story with me that forever impacted my life. It is a story that she still tells me to this very day and it is a story that I refer to whenever I am experiencing challenges in my life and when I have been tempted to throw in the towel.