Unwanted Touching

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I had the pleasure of attending the 2017 Summer Spirit Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion. I enjoyed musical concerts by some of my favorite old school artists such as Bell, Biv, Devoe; SWV, Babyface, and En Vogue. And learned about new artists like The Internet and Trombone Shorty who was phenomenal!! Also, representing the sound of DC were GO-GO legends EU and my all time favorite Trouble Funk. It was a great two day event that had the thousands that attended dancing, singing, and reminiscing. It was the first concert I had attended in almost five years and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

But of course there was that brief moment when I thought I was going to have to introduce one of the male concert goers to my alter ego. And this is really the point of this blog.

Let me begin by saying fellas, not every woman is open to being randomly touched by a man that she does not know. It may seem innocent enough to you, but I find it intrusive and would prefer that your hands be kept to yourself. I apologize if that sounds prudish or arrogant. I’m really none of those things. I do however find it disturbing that some men feel a sense of entitlement and thus think they can just touch and/or grab on a woman without being invited. As though the female body was designed for him to do as he pleases.

One male concert goer clearly had that sense of entitlement. Or maybe it was the alcohol he had obviously consumed. Whatever the case, there was about to be a situation at the festival that was not going to end well for one or both of us. Initially I thought his random touch was simply a gesture that connected us as we shared a laugh at a funny moment. However, his hands found their way to my body again, even though the moment had passed. I said nothing nor looked in his direction, until he touched me again. After the third time I glanced at him, looked down at his hand and then glanced back up at him. I thought (or maybe I was hoping) that my look would inform this gentleman that his touching was not welcomed. I was sadly mistaken. Said gentleman touched me yet again. At this point I could feel myself becoming perturbed. I don’t like to make a scene but I quickly saw in my mind this situation escalating to the point of security being notified and me and said gentleman being escorted off the premises. So I thought to myself, “Self, there are a few empty seats, just move.” Problem solved.  I continued to enjoy my evening and no arrests had to be made.

Maybe I’m different, but that really is a turn off for me. Afterwards I thought about a time in my 20s while at 32nd Street Plaza, a nightclub in Baltimore. I was with my girl Renee and we were doing what we do; dancing and having a great time. The music must have gotten real good to the gentleman I was dancing with because before I knew it his hands were on my body from my shoulders, stopping to cup my behind, and down my thighs and legs. And before he knew it I had dropped kicked him dead in his chest.  He was, as you can imagine, caught off guard.  But he also had the audacity to be angry at the fact that I kicked him.  My argument about his hands not belonging on my body fell on death ears.  He saw absolutely nothing wrong with it.  And so here we stood, in the middle of the dancing floor, toe to toe, going word for word because I was not backing down.  Eventually security came to deescalate the situation.  But it really just got me to wondering why do some men feel that they have the right to touch on a woman’s body without her consent?  Fast forward many years later and sadly the mentality still seems to be alive and well.

I continued to enjoy the concert.  I had no more problems out of said gentleman and I was thankful for that.  I really wish some men would have a little more respect for women and lose the mentality that our sole purpose in life is to pleasure them.  Wishful thinking I guess.

 

Hotep

 

Please Do Not Lean On Door

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Please Do Not Lean On Door

#CommuterChronicles.  Every day my commute to work is eventful. It’s not always news worthy, but eventful nonetheless. I enjoy my ride to work as it allows me to prepare for another day. Sometimes I read. Other times I play Candy Crush. Sometimes I am even inspired to write my next blog post.  Then there are those mornings when I just sit quietly with my eyes closed, or maybe observe my surroundings.

Yesterday was one of those days where I sat quietly observing. I was in day three of a complete fast so my spirit was sensitive to everything. I looked towards the door and gazed up and I saw words that I have seen every day for the past three years…..Please Do Not Lean On Door. Every day for three years I have seen this often ignored warning and thought nothing of it. Today however the words literally jumped off the wall and landed in my lap….PLEASE DO NOT LEAN ON DOOR! In that moment God whispered, “Aren’t you glad I don’t come with such a warning?”

Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.”  When life gets rough and I begin to feel as though I can’t go on, I only need to lean on God. I only need to find rest in the Lord and lean on him. He is strong and able and more than willing to hold me up while I regain my strength.

So the next time you see the warning, Please Do Not Lean On Door, remember God who is a strong tower….run to him…..lean on him…..rest in him…..and you will be safe.

Hotep

You Only Turn 50 Once!

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Birthday’s are a big deal for me. I know some people aren’t exactly thrilled about turning a year older but I am grateful for every birthday that I see. And this birthday was a big one because I turned 50! I am now an official card-carrying member of the Fifty and Fabulous Club! I have entered into the second half of my life and I’m excited to see what God has planned for me.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would see my 50th birthday. There were quite a few incidents that occurred over the years that by all intent and purposes should have taken me out. But God said no, I would live! And live I have; in spite of the twist and turns life has taken me on.
As my 50th birthday approached I began to think about how I wanted to celebrate. Turning 50 is a big deal and therefore I knew that I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do something that I had never done before. I wanted to do something that I was afraid of doing. I wanted to bring 50 in with a bang. Therefore, the traditional dinner, dancing or spa day was not going to suffice this birthday. Oh, don’t get me wrong, those things are wonderful. For my 49th I treated myself to a day at the spa. From the crown of my head to the soles of my feet I was pampered and it felt marvelous. For my 48th birthday I gave myself a birthday party. Approximately 20 of my friends, Soror’s and colleagues helped me celebrate as we danced the night away. Each year was a great celebration of which I am grateful for, but I wanted this year to be different.

And so, after much deliberation I decided I wanted to celebrate my 50th birthday by jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at 11,000 feet! Yes! This 50-year-old woman who has an insane fear of heights went skydiving! What made me think of going skydiving? I wish I could tell you. I will say it was NOT on my bucket list. I never had a desire to jump out of an airplane. I do not ride roller coasters because I’m a scaredy cat! So the thought of skydiving petrified me. I admire people who do things like skydiving and bungee jumping. And I guess my logic said, “if they can do it so can I!”

So I put a plan in motion. First thing, see if there is anyone else as crazy as me who would want to go skydiving. Ironically, there was; my Soror’s. And can I be honest with you? When they said they would, I thought “darn, I really have to do it now.”

The date was set and from that point it was a waiting game. I was so nervous and scared the days leading up to my jump. I would look towards the sky and imagine me falling out of an airplane. I watched videos of other brave souls skydiving, including the 80-year-old woman who almost died skydiving. And every time I watched a video or talked about it, I became more and more nervous. What was I thinking?! Did I have a death wish or something. I laughed with friends as I thought about my mothers reaction to my pending jump. It would have been one of mass hysteria followed by her putting a direct call through to God asking him to send a blizzard. Or maybe she would have burned rubber up I95 so that she could tie me up and hold me hostage until I came to my senses.

After one failed attempt due to the weather, the day had finally arrived! I did not sleep at all and I had knots in my stomach. It was finally time to bring my 50th birthday in with a bang!

My wingman, my boo (at least for 30 minutes) got me all suited up and then we, along with my sisters and their wingmen headed to the plane. Before long we were taking off and the higher we climbed the more nervous I became. I thought about backing down but I knew I’d regret, possibly for the rest of my life, not finishing what I had started. So I went within and began to pray. I was so focused that I did not hear my name being called.

Before long, it was time. Time to jump out of the airplane. I had my instructions….I was ready. I was the second one to jump and when the door opened fear kicked in to high gear. First jumper out. Oh no, it’s my turn. My heart is pounding. My palms are sweaty. And I forgot what I was supposed to do. My wingman and I had made our way to the door. I was expecting a countdown or something so I could be prepared. Instead what I got was, step….OUT!! OMG…..I’m falling!!! I’m falling fast!!! I’m falling from the sky!! I’m screaming!!! My wingman is taking pictures and recording my jump! Then suddenly, WOOSH! Our parachute is released and we are gliding towards the land! What an amazing view!!! It was simply spectacular. The air was cool, not as cold as I thought it would be. My screaming turned to awe as I repeatedly said, “oh my gosh this is amazing.” After about a minute we were back on the ground and I was in complete awe.

Someone asked me what did skydiving do for my life. I pondered that question and can honestly say that has given me confidence. It was a reminder that “I can’t” should never be an option. I accomplished what 99% of the population never will. Skydiving also put life into perspective and reminded me not to take things too serious. Yes, in addition to being an absolutely amazing experience, skydiving was life changing for me.

By now you’re probably wondering if I’d do it again. Well, to answer that question I will refer you back to the title of this blog: you only turn 50 once.

Hotep

 

 

Lessons I Have Learned 

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Lessons I Have Learned 

In two days I will reach a milestone in my life as I become inducted into the half-century club. That’s right, I will celebrate 50 years of life and I am excited! Not many people would be excited about turning 50. But every birthday is a cause for celebration in my opinion. 

As I prepare to officially bid farewell to my 40s I wanted to share a few lessons that I’ve learned and would share with my younger self. 

1. Forgiveness is never about the other person. 

2. Just because you can do or say something doesn’t mean that you should.

3. Expectations will lead to disappointment and/or resentment.

4. Joy and happiness is in God’s hands. Never expect another human to do what only God can do. 

5. The biggest lie ever told is the one you tell yourself.

6. Someone is always watching you. Be mindful.

7. The ministry of silence is golden.

8. You cannot and will not please everyone. Stop trying!! 

9. If you wait until you have enough money to do the things you want life will pass you by. 

10. It’s ok to be mad at God. He can handle it. 

11. Spend money on experiences not stuff. 

12. Perfection is an illusion. 

13. Peace is priceless. 

14. A mother is God in human form. 

15. Unconditional love doesn’t just stop. If it did we would all be in trouble. 

16. Life without your mother is hard. And you will spend your days trying to exist where she doesn’t. But you can do it. 

17. At some point you will have to stop blaming everyone else and get real with the person staring back at you in the mirror. 

18. You will make mistakes. Some of them repeatedly. But every day God wakes you up is another chance to get it right. 

19. Have the conversation….no matter how difficult it may be.

20. Share your story. Someone needs to hear it. 

21. Sex is overrated. Wait. 

22. Girlfriends are priceless. Treasure them. 

23. Do not be afraid to express what you need and want. If you don’t no one else will. 

24. You really do teach others how to treat you. 

25. You are a black woman. Always be proud of that.

26. Comparing yourself to others is meaningless and will cause you more harm than good.

27. God made you, quirks and all. Embrace who God made you.

28. Love yourself. Your complete self. 

29. Do not live life afraid. Take risks. Step out of your comfort zone.

30. Live and love with no regrets.

31. Don’t close yourself off to love because someone hurt you. 

32. Smile every day.

33. Laugh every day.

34. Cry when you need to.

35. Eat the right foods. Exercise. Get the proper amount of rest. Take care of your body because you only get one. 

36. This is not a dress rehearsal. Enjoy life!

37. Every birthday is a gift! Celebrate! It’s better than the alternative. 

38. Be serious about and committed to your finances. 

39. Do not be afraid of change. It’s often necessary in order to grow. 

40. Your worth is not determined by the degree hanging on your wall; the amount of money in your bank account; the square footage of your home; the type of car that you drive; or the designer label sewn into your clothing. 

41. Everyone is not going to like you. And that’s ok. 

42. Do not spend years of your life dating. If marriage is your goal date with a purpose. 

43. Be grateful.

44. Be content.

45. Be kind.

46. Be compassionate.

47. Show mercy.

48. Show grace. 

49. Invest in yourself and others.

I never imagined myself at 50. I could not see that far. But here it is and I am looking forward to what God has in store for the second half of my life. 

Hotep 

Letter To My Daughters Ex

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Dear Son,

Let me begin by saying I do not apologize for the tone of this letter. As a mother it hurts my very soul to see my daughter hurting and therefore I need to make sure that you understand clearly what I am saying to you. 

When my daughter first brought you to meet me I have to be honest, I had my reservations about you. There was something about the way you carried yourself that said you were arrogant, self-centered even. Oh, you weren’t rude to me in anyway; I’m an old school mother so I was not going to allow that. But your disposition caused my mother intuition to kick into high gear. I’m sorry, you’ve never heard of a “mother’s intuition” have you? Well, let me just say it’s much stronger than a daughter’s intuition. It has to be for when daughter’s bring jokers like you home. But my daughter, she liked you. I could tell by the sparkle in her eyes. The way her face lit up when she talked about you. She had an extra spring to her step and she took extra care (more than normal) in her appearance. Oh yes, my daughter was smitten, but I saw right through your charade. And I knew it was only a matter of time before my daughter saw you too.

I’m sure my daughter told you that I don’t like you. Oh we have had many spats about you because I’m not one to hold my tongue. But as a mother I understand that I have to let my children find their own way. I have to let them make their own mistakes. Even if that means watching them get hurt. So while my daughter knew how I felt, I never once interfered. The times she’d come home crying I would hold her in my arms silently praying to God to open her eyes so that she could bear witness to the devil inside of you. 

And then that day came. My daughter was devastated. She was heartbroken and I was mad as hell. I wanted to find you and hurt you like you hurt my daughter but I knew that this was her cross to bear. My only responsibility was to soothe her while God mended her broken heart. To this day she still has not told me exactly what you did, but I suspect it involves another woman. You see, I know your type. You think you are God’s gift to women and everyone you bed is another latch on your belt. And now my daughter is hurt. 

But what has angered me and caused me to write this letter is that you are taking advantage of my daughter now. You ended the relationship. You chose to be with other people. You wanted to be free to sow your wild oats. But why must you continue to lead my daughter on? You know how she feels about you. You know that she loves you. You know that she’s hopeful that the two of you will reconcile. And you continue to have sex with her. When she calls you crying you fill her head with empty words. You fill her head with empty promises. You tell her you love her and how much she means to you but they are lies. You are only telling her what she wants to hear because you only want one thing from her. You call yourself a man, then leave my daughter alone. You don’t care for her. Because if you did, if you really cared for her you would walk away and allow her to heal. If you were a man, you would think of her above yourself and your own self-gratification. 

I hope you take heed to my advice. I hope you look beyond yourself and if you really care for my daughter, walk completely away. Allow her to heal. Allow her to go through her process. In other words……be  a man. 

Signed,
A Mother Who Loves Her Daughter 

Let’s Talk About Sex Baby! 

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Let’s Talk About Sex Baby! 

Ok, now that I have your attention, welcome! In the 90’s my favorite female rap group Salt-N-Pepa recorded a song titled “Let’s Talk About Sex.” The song promotes safe sex, as well as looks at the positive and negative sides of sex and the censorship that sex had around that time in American mainstream media. Since then there have been dozens of songs recorded centered around the subject of sex, each one being more raw than the one before. But as many songs there are written; as much as it’s shown on television and the internet; are we really “talking” about sex? Are we as free sexually as we appear to be? Or is it all a facade?

I recently watched a video of a young man discussing the virtual symposium, Single, Saved, and Still Wanting Sex; hosted by author DiShan Washington. While the video is humorous, it also has a very real component that is not being talked about: the fact that there are a large number of Christian men and women who love the Lord, have chosen a life of abstinence, yet still want sex. Or as Ms. Washington puts it; “Holy and horny.”

Someone reading this may be bothered by that. Bothered because (1) sex is much like the topics of religion and politics….off limits; (2) their own hang-ups and ideologies makes the subject of sex taboo; or (3) it’s believed that a person who loves God regardless of their religious beliefs should be so grounded in their faith that the desire for sex is gone. No one who loves God should be “Holy and horny.”

But my question is, why not? What does my love for God have to do with desiring sex? And why isn’t this a topic discussed more openly in the church? Why do we avoid this topic when a large number of church goers are single? Single Christians who love the Lord and are struggling to remain abstinent. Single Christians who are one date away from throwing in the towel and tearing off their clothes.

As a single Christian woman it’s important to me to have an avenue where I am able to discuss my struggles without being judged or beaten over the head with the Bible. I want more out of the conversation than “just pray” or “read your Word.” I know all of this. I am wise enough to know that prayer changes me in the midst of a struggle and wise enough to know that the answer to all of life’s woes is in God’s love letter to humanity. But sometimes there is a moment where I just need to talk about it. Sometimes I just want to have open dialogue, a no holes barred conversation about sex and all that the topic encompasses. Sadly, I once had someone quote 1 Corinthians 7:9, “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” REALLY?! At the end of the day I know that the decision to remain abstinent is mine. But when we can’t even talk about it or we can’t discuss it without making people feel bad about how they are feeling, then we have a major problem.

On the other end of the spectrum are young adults……13 and older who are either already engaged in some sort of sexual activity or thinking about it. If the church is not discussing it and parents are not discussing it, then where will our children get answers to their questions? We must reach that place of freedom where we can discuss sex openly. We must stop shaming and judging those who are struggling. We must stop condemning those who may fall. And we absolutely must talk to our children and young adults about sex, because they will get the information, it just may be the wrong information.

Sex is a gift from God; a gift that he designed to be enjoyed in the context of marriage. But if we are afraid or unable to have a conversation about it, then we run the risk of attaching shame to something that God intended for us to enjoy in the proper context.

Hotep

 

Roadblocks 

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On my way to work this morning I came across a roadblock. A busted water main caused flooding and traffic was being detoured. I was not familiar with the road on which we had been detoured so I was following the car in front of me relying on the driver to get me back to the main road. 

Image courtesy of jasongordon.org

Life can be like that. We can find ourselves cruising along nicely and then we come across a roadblock. Job loss. Death. Sickness. Divorce.

Image courtesy of CBC.

 These roadblocks often force us to detour off the road we were traveling on. At this point we have two options: allow the detour to deter us and keep us from reaching our destination. Or follow He who said that he has a plan for our lives.

Image courtesy of Dr Linda


Image courtesy of Clipart Kid

I choose the latter. The roadblock didn’t catch him off guard. And he knows the best route to get me back on the main road. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your pathsstraight.” 

~ Proverbs 3:5-6

Hotep