I named my book after a moment in time that I really didn't feel good about myself. I was tired, broke and sad.
I was at a party and was so uncomfortable already with the crazy events at the party. It was ugly, me and 2 other exes were at the party. I tried to play it cool, but I got a hot flash. I rushed into a room, and while taking off my sweater, my shirt caught onto my sweater and for a millisecond, my stomach was exposed. I quickly put it down but when I turned my head, my son's father was standing in the doorway and had caught it. He had this look on his face that unnerved me.
We were in a bad place at this point with a custody battle and residuals of messiness at the party, the look of disgust on his face when I looked at him showed me how I felt about myself. I was so unhappy and didn't like myself. I wasn't even conscious that I felt that way about myself.
He doesn't remember this instance to this moment and to his defense, sometimes people aren't aware of what their expressions look like to others add onto my own insecurities and it's a powder keg of emotions. With what was going on between us as it was had me in a dark place, his face showed me insecurities that I didn't know that I had. I thought I was proud of my body and was definitely high and mighty, but at that moment I literally felt like Saggy Boobs, Stretch Marks and Saddlebags.
Since then, I've sunken deeper into self pity and pulled myself right back out! But it was a great journey back to myself and I wanted to share it with you. The book is now available on Amazon.
Last night, I cried proud tears when Frances McDormand stood up with pride amongst women in Hollywood and told the seated men to think of and include these women when they negotiate their contracts. I was so happy. I knew that she included me. Then I saw black women on twitter say, “Well how does Inclusion Riders help other black women?” I felt a punch in the gut.
We saw firsthand what inclusion rider was when Jessica Chastain did it for Octavia Spencer. They were negotiating with the studio to make their own movie. Because Jessica stood with Octavia, Octavia got 5 times more than she would have gotten. That was with Jessica just to just have equal pay. Yes, Equal Pay.
On one hand, I see what the women on Twitter meant, because in our experience, it has been proven that black women shattering the glass ceiling is even harder than it is for a white woman, let alone any man of any color.
It’s been our experience that the world still doesn’t know a women’s worth. Unspoken (or spoken) actions had us question our own worth to the point that we didn’t know what ask for. We would come to the table and hope that our accolades and awards would speak for us instead of having to spout about our accomplishments, even be accused of “bragging”.
For black women, we’d be criticized for not “knowing our place”, because when we’ve demanded fair treatment, our attitude and approach is called hostile and confrontational. We’d all be left to ask, “Why can’t others see our worth? And if that’s the case, how can we see our own in this day and age?” When no one will hire you, because your price is too high, we are then left to second-guess ourselves.
I lived this on many occasions. When my last boss told me flat out that he didn’t see my value, I left my job. It hurt because I loved my job but he did me a favor. I saw my own value, so I left to do what made me happy and valued. That’s because I know what I bring to the table. I knew that I was supposed to be the one to provide the jobs and opportunities.
Sometimes, coming into any industry is like being a kid and others don’t want to play with you on the playground so you make your own game, with your own rules. You can’t cry about it, you keep moving forward, maybe the others will join you, maybe they won’t.
Now, it may seem naive to some, but I personally don’t see color as I move in industries. I’m in film, books and in the music industries, all male dominated but I never thought about color when it came to women. I see a sisterhood. Because when it came time for others to include me, I included myself. No one asked me why I was there. I showed up. I taught myself that if the powers that be won’t include you at the table, sit down anyway and shine. That includes my fellow black women. Problem is, that us black people have grown up in scarcity and lack for so long that we really feel like other successful black people should include us. It’s not fair to reason that way for them and we are doing ourselves a great disservice with that thinking. While no one “owes us anything”, it would be nice to have inclusion for other women like me that are making things happen.
So I make this clear: I am a black woman that refuses to stay seated when it’s time for women to stand up. All women are included. So take your space at the table. Or we can make a table and include others. Either way, let’s pull together and bring each other in so we can all go up together as sisters. There’s strength in numbers. Thanks Frances.
Without even immersing yourself in Social media, CNN, FOX or any news outlets you are still witnessing a devastating abuse of power in the case of Sandra Bland.
Sandra Bland is me, my sister, our girlfriends, mother's, aunt's and cousins.
And all Sandra Bland did was not properly signal, get stopped for it and "sass" Officer Brian Encinia.
Personally, anyone I know, with the weight of their life and their day, the rush to their destination and the anxiety of being stopped by the police; ANY OF US could've been Sandra Bland. And for all of those who do not THINK for one minute that these are unique circumstances, think again. Because unless you live under a rock, buried in a deep ravine, the abuse of power in this country is everywhere. People's lives are unjustly "plucked" from this planet with disregard to life's value in what seems like everyday by those sworn to protect us. When will that stop?
There's no overt conspiracy against police, no police hate here. But what the hell is happening?
After stopping Sandra Bland, everything else the police officer did was 1000% wrong. None of Sandra Bland's "offensive demeanor" or "black woman attitude" warranted her forced exit from her vehicle. Within that traffic stop, Sandra Bland's rights as an American Citizen, as a woman and as a human were violated.
And to add another insult to her unnecessary death, the transparent cover-up currently in progress is crazy to watch. Where's the accountability? Where's the: "I messed up." "We messed up." "We were wrong." Nope. None of that. Instead, there's this calculated plot to cover up an avalanche of wrongs. What is right with any of this?
There are actual "justifications" being thrown around.
How dare Sandra Bland not respect him? How dare Sandra Bland get sassy with that officer! He's got a badge!
How dare Sandra Bland have ever wanted to die in her past!
How dare Sandra Bland ever get depressed in her past!
How dare Sandra Bland have weed in her system!
How dare Sandra Bland be a woman!
How dare Sandra Bland be a *gasp* black woman!
How dare Sandra Bland drive a car!
How dare Sandra Bland live!
How dare Sandra Bland die in police custody?
How dare she!
My heart bleeds for Sandra Bland, her family and the senselessness of Sandra Bland's death. And the insulting of our intelligence within the "investigation" we're witnessing. It's heartbreaking.
Sandra Bland is all of us. Sandra Bland does not deserve to be forgotten or swept under the rug. Sandra Bland deserves justice. Bottom line.
#AllLivesMatter. I just hope that police officers, state government, federal government and all of the rest of us remember that.
#sayhername #SandraBland #justice
At the time of their kidnapping, Gina was just 14, Amanda was almost 17. On Twitter, I saw some feedback with people asking why would the young ladies get into a car with a stranger. Answer to that is, this man was no stranger.
This man preyed on his own children's friends and took advantage of the fact that these girls were familiar with him.
Problem is, this can happen oh so easily. I have a now 11-year old son. And like so many other families, we have a daily routine. The driver of our daily bus ride that we do small talk with, the crossing guard that crosses us, the deli clerk that gives us the morning bagel, the same security officer and parking attendant that we come across EVERY SINGLE DAY could be a predator. That's the real world that we live in. We have everyday people that we'd think can trust. After that interview, we are reminded that nothing is ever totally certain.
As far as I can see, that man was in a position of trust. He was a school bus driver. He was a parent. The lessons about life that we teach our children are hard enough without the horrible monsters on earth that make the world that we've created an even smaller & scarier place.
I wrote a book years ago called, "I Won't go with Strangers", (Amazon and in PDF form) about a girl on her daily routine, confronted with realistic scenarios, with her making the decision to not go with a stranger. I wrote an earlier entry called "Why Losing Leiby Kletzky Hurts so Much" and spoke about a boy that was "safe" in his own community, familiar surroundings and he also wasn't immune to the monsters that lurk and prey on innocent children.
Now with that said, there are no certainties that what happened would or wouldn't happen again because sadly, it happens everyday. But as long as we teach our kids to be aware, use their instincts & intuition and educate them on who monsters can be, whether they are strangers or sit on our couch, we can give them a fighting chance.
In January, there was the breast cancer scare. Benign. In March, I got hit by a car. I'm alive. In September, I had a biopsy on my thyroid. Benign. I'm healthy and I want to world to know that I'm fine!!!
Passing it all with flying colors. And that's just 2013.
So now, I am moving towards my next birthday with a huge weight off of me. Funny thing about relief. The valleys become wider. The sun, moon and stars shine brighter. And your dreams are bigger again. Possibilities are endless all over again. I call it belief relief.
When you get that sigh of relief and breathe fresh air, that's the perfect time to pounce on your dreams and make it real. Like actually hold it in your hands and make all things you've ever dreamed of, real. Belief in self, pursued with gusto and new life.
So. I'm back.
I speak with more authority. Focus is crisp. My thoughts are clear. My love is so much more passionate. I've had more than my share of second chances at life this year alone. I've gotta do more than play numbers with my luck, I have to float this boat out of harbor and make my dreams come true, come what may.
Life is short. And as "The big things" happen, it cements my need to appreciate the life that I've been given, show my love for the gifts I have and live true.
In 2014, I finished my album, Scandal, released hard copy versions (Not just PDF) of 4 of my kids' books. All I kept thinking was, "You can't sit on your dreams. It's like having a gift that never gets unwrapped." Doing that makes no sense, right? Been doing that. Time for me to do what I need to do. Live my life.
My new projects for 2015 include:
Writing songs for other artists.
The release of another Stickboy and Cookie Book; "The Big Start."
The release of my new Young Reader series, "Bam Roberts."
A new book called, "Saggy Boobs, Stretch Marks and Saddle Bags." Plus a bonus book (Shhh...)
I'm really excited about it.
Throughout all of my excitement, I'm pacing myself, yes. But my focus on the prize is so much more clear. My mission is to still sow seeds and keep folks talking... good stuff though. Good stuff.