Thursday, August 22, 2013

What are you posting on your wall?

A few months ago, I read about a guy who took a picture of a total stranger at an Airport and posted it on his twitter account. He did this in hopes of making fun of this unsuspecting woman and having his followers join in. Somehow the twitter sphere became abuzz by the picture and word got back to the woman that she was a victim of an ill executed public shaming. Instead of responding with anger, the young lady responded with poise and the twit pic poster ended up profusely apologetic. (Click here for the full story).  

Lately, I have seen the same tomfoolery on my Facebook timeline. The practice of people taking pictures of unsuspecting individuals and posting it on their wall for sport has become prevalent. I have thought about it and I just can’t see how any mature adult would think this is acceptable. I consider it a breach of a total stranger’s privacy. More importantly I just think it is mean! I am not perfect (Gasp! Shocking, I know) and I would hate for someone to snap a photo of me at my worst and post it on the internet for the pure entertainment of others.

I also think this practice sends a really bad message to our youth (some of the people doing this are parents!!!!). At a time when our young children are struggling with cyber bullying and committing suicide because of Facebook, twitter, instagram and the like, we as adults should be setting an example for the youth. The story above ended in redemption, Amanda Todd’s story ended in tragedy. The 15 year old posted a cry for help on YouTube then committed suicide. Some people posted some really mean things on her Facebook wall. (Read the full story here). You never know what obstacles and barriers people are facing. I urge my readers to consider the motivation behind the act prior to sharing something mean on their social media. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for freedom of speech and freedom of expression. In a small town like El Dorado, anything posted on Facebook or any other social media outlet is sure to reach a multitude of people. Cafe owner faces backlash after posting picture on Facebook

Here is a gospel song telling you to "keep your business off of Facebook!"

Beloved, we are all strangers on this journey we call life. Let’s band together and be accountable to each other, perhaps that act alone can make this trek a little easier. If you ever see me do something that harms my brothers and sisters, please feel free to let me know ever so gently. In return, I promise to be cognizant of what I post on my social media accounts.

Until then, hugs and kisses!         

Monday, August 12, 2013

True Story, I was pregnancy shamed

This past weekend I was pregnancy shamed. Allow me to explain. You may have heard of slut shaming or fat shaming, but rarely do you ever hear of people saying they were pregnancy shamed. Hubby and I went to Houston this past weekend for a baby shower. It was indeed a most enjoyable event! The last guest departed the baby shower at 1:00 am! Yes, I am a party animal.

My day started out normally, as any other day. I got up, ate an emergency breakfast (emergency because ever since I got pregnant, I have to have something in my stomach or else this baby becomes a monster). After eating breakfast and talking to some of my family members, I went upstairs to take a shower and get ready to hit the road back to Arkansas. It was extremely hot, so I picked a maternity dress that was a light and stretchy material. My stomach has gotten bigger so the material accentuated and clung to my stomach. This is the one feature that I liked about the dress because it allowed me to show the evidence of my soon to be baby Diva. I met my little sister and she complimented me on the dress; it made me smile. As I made my way down the stairs, I became aware of the distressed looks I was getting from some of my relatives. The incessant chatter ceased and the room fell quiet. I felt weird but thought I was being paranoid. I made a mental note of how I had checked and double checked my appearance before going down the stairs. So why the weird vibe? At last, one brave soul ventured out to tell me they thought it was best to go back upstairs and change. I asked if she could see my underwear or if the dress was too short. She said no, but that the dress was not appropriate for me to wear. One of her cohorts further explained that the dress would be good for someone who did not have curves, someone tall and slender. She also stated that the dress made me look more compact. I was not satisfied with this explanation. My older sister piped up and asked me to turn sideways because she wanted to see baby Diva in her full glory. She did not seem to have a problem with my outfit.

Hubby loaded the truck and we got ready to speed off to the redneck highway (remote windy two lane roads) to our beloved El Dorado.  As we approached the truck my relatives kept pressuring me to go change prior to my departure. I finally asked why they found this dress so offensive. Finally, one of my shamers stated, “well, the dress would not look so bad if your stomach was not so know if your stomach was smaller.” After picking my jaw off the floor, I mounted the waiting truck and sped off.

Dear reader: I. AM. PREGNANT! Yes, my stomach is big…like a mini beach ball or a round, smooth extra-large bowling ball. It is big and round, like a perfectly shaped dome. It is also beautiful and exquisite; it is carrying life! I could not help but wonder why two women who have had children (emphasis on CHILDREN) felt it was ok to shame another woman because of her glorious pregnant belly. I wasn’t being told to change because my outfit was too provocative, but because of my protruding belly. My big pregnant belly was making them uncomfortable. As our truck carried us up home, I wondered, how can a pregnant woman make her stomach less conspicuous? Should I wear Moo-Moo’s for the rest of the pregnancy? I wistfully turned to my hubby and asked him if he thought I should cease wearing the offending number. He lovingly looked at me and smiled. Then he reassuringly answered, “no babe, your outfit is great, you look beautiful.” With a huge grin on my face, I turned and looked out the window to watch the trees pass in a blur and make our way a little closer to Arkansas. 

Slut shaming, fat shaming and now pregnancy shaming, what has the world come to?

Have you ever been shamed?   

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What I have learned; Lessons for Everyday Self-Improvement

Two years ago, I attended a self-improvement seminar in Little Rock. Upon my return to work, my boss asked me what I learned. At first I was taken aback because I had not stopped to evaluate whether I had learned anything. It was fortunate that I actually paid attention and took notes. I promptly typed up the wisdom that I had gleaned from the team of speakers. In retrospect, I realize that the messages and wisdom spouted by the big name presenters applied to everyone, young and old.
Living in a small town, I have not had many more opportunities to attend more self-improvement seminars. What I learned was too good not to share, so I have posted the highlights below.
Lou Holtz:
Three rules for a meaningful relationship:

1.      Do what is right and people will trust you

2.      Do everything to the best of your ability

3.      Show people that you care

Three questions that people will ask you:

1.      Can I trust you?

2.      Are you committed to excellence?

3.      Do you care about me?

Things to keep in mind:

1.      Make good choices

2.       Know what dreams you have

3.      Evaluate the past success and focus on the future

4.      Don’t let other dictate your attitude

Collin Powell:

1.      Have a sense of purpose

2.      Be passionate about what you are doing

3.      Demonstrate moral and physical courage

4.      Take care of your employees and coworkers

5.      “Invest in your words”

6.      Compliment people and give credit where credit is due

7.      Create connections

8.      Recognize when work is not being done

Bill Cosby:

1.      What is your personal best?

2.      Help yourself, don’t wait for others to help you.

3.      No matter how big the task or challenge, start small and you will succeed.

4.      Always take responsibility

Terry Bradshaw:

1.      Be thankful for your life

2.       Happy people are aware of what they are capable of doing

3.      Smile

4.      Keep things in perspective

5.      Understand who you are

6.       Know what you want

7.      Don’t waste your life, it’s too short, tap into what you want

8.      You need people to fulfill your vision.

My dear sweet readers, what have you learned lately?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back and Bigger than ever!

Hey Lovies! I have been gone for a while, but I am so glad to be back. A lot has taken place since my last post. Well, I won’t beat around the bush, the hubby and I have some news…we will be welcoming a new addition to our family in October! We are all excited, including our two furbabies (they know they are about to get a new baby sister).

Folks, I can’t lie, it’s been quite an adventure since finding out that we are expecting. At first I felt like...
 and then I felt like… 

Morning sickness and all day sickness had me down y’all! All I could do was...
After about 19 weeks, I started feel a whole lot better!Today, I feel like a million bucks. 

Hubby and I are busy getting ready for the little one and we are tickled pink! We are looking forward to playing with and holding our little pumpkin.
To all the mommies and mommies to be, I give you mad props! I underestimated how difficult the journey to motherhood would be. To all the daddies and daddies to be, way to support your significant other as she experiences the sometimes crazy roller coaster of motherhood!



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Tribute...

On this day…
To my lover, personal poet, cheerleader, protector, defender, lawyer and confidant, my best friend. On this day you took my hand and placed a ring on it. You asked me to continue this journey with you. With tear stained eyes and a brimming heart I gladly said yes. A year later on this month our friends and family joined us as we celebrated the beginning of our new life together. Never did I imagine what a wonderful, exquisite and exhilarating journey this would be. Happy Valentine’s Day, my sweet love!

Genesis 2:18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

On love...
This month marks the two year mark in our marriage. We have learned so much about each other and are discovering new things everyday these two years. In him, I have found all that I was missing and desperately searching for (friend, lover, companion, teacher and confidant). It is amazing when someone allows you to see their soul and even more amazing when they dedicate their life to you. Although life in a small town can be difficult, it makes it easier when I look in his eyes and see the promise the future holds. I admire his attempts to make this place my home and I am working to show him that his heart is my home. Wherever he goes, there shall my home be. I think both of us are far better people married than when we were single. I may have hated law school, but now I know God had plans far bigger than the one I had. I am honored to be his companion and help-meet. 

To all my readers, from my heart to yours..
Whether you are single, dating, engaged, in a committed partnership or married...Happy Valentine's Day! 

Wedding photos are courtesy of the  fabulous Steely Joe Studio Photography and Benfield Photography 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Rumble in the Lipstick Jungle: The Reality of Bullying

It’s been several years, but I can remember it as though it was yesterday. I remember the frenzied looks on their faces, the barrage of yelling voices and the veins straining from their contorted faces and necks. I was alone, with my back against the wall. I scanned the maze of the faces and tried to find a solution of how to escape this estrogen filled jungle. To escape the hurtful words, the faces red with anger, the beautiful women made ugly by their words, actions and behavior. All I could think was: “Don’t let them see you cry. You have survived worse; you will navigate this densely populated female infested lipstick jungle. Don’t cry now, you will have time for that later.” So I stood my ground and let them sink me deeper into the quicksand. I prayed for the floor to open up and swallow me as they descended upon me. I was hurt that no one stood up for me. I pleaded with my eyes for someone, anyone to step up and say enough was enough. I looked at the other girls and realized they were just relived to not be on the receiving end of the barrage of verbal abuse. A simple Weekend afternoon meeting, turned into a full blown afternoon of terror and all I could do was remind myself that this too shall pass. As soon as I left the room the dam broke and I cried for three full days. My only vindication was that they never saw me cry. How could the people that I wanted to bond with tear me to pieces?

Fast forward to the present and the feelings have been brought back to surface. I watched the Basketball Wives Tahiti vacation fiasco and my eyes welled up with tears. I saw the puffy tear stained face of Kesha and my wounds were fresh again. Grown women tearing other grown women down for sport and pure entertainment value, what a sad concept. I kept watching, hoping that one of the women would stand up for the attacked. I kept hoping that this fragile and soft spoken woman would get a chance that I never had, but just like me, she was not so lucky. I cried as her bully took her personal effects and rendered her helpless. I once read somewhere that “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” What happened to lifting each other up? As I continued to watch the episode, my heartbreak continued…one down, two more to go. Spies spreading slanderous gossip, bullies spewing venom and those who had the ability to stop the attack became spectators of the hunt. Three women seeking acceptance but were destined not to find solace because they became the hunted.

Bullying is real and many grown women have fallen victim to it. It has nothing to do with having a low self-esteem; it has nothing to do with being weak. Some people prefer to avoid confrontation; others prefer to solve their conflicts peaceably; others simply are not good at physical fights. I fall into all these categories. It did not make me a lesser woman then and it does not make me any lesser of a woman now. I prefer to adhere to certain tenants and resolve my issues in a different manner.

 That experience set forth how I interact with other women, how I choose my friends and how I approach potentially explosive situations. That experience influenced my career choice. I enrolled in law school to advocate for those who have been down trodden and bullied by those who perceive them as weak. I accepted my current position to secure the rights of those experiencing verbal, emotional and physical abuse.

Although I know they cannot hurt me anymore, their words buried deep in the recess of my young adult life still manage to creep in my mind at various intervals. At those times, I remind myself that I handled myself with grace and poise. I still wonder if my tormentors ever feel remorse for what transpired that afternoon. Even if you have never been on the receiving end of adult bullying, women, men and children across the world should decide that enough is enough. Bullying can and has ruined lives; both grown-ups and children have committed suicide due to bullying. If you or someone you know is being bullied please know that help is out there. 

Have you been on the receiving end of bullying? If so, what was the end result?