Thursday, February 28, 2013

Black History Month Tribute

The Big Girl Chronicles:  Black History Month Series 

“A negative attitude is a true handicap.”  -Crenner Bradley, mother of Mayor Thomas Bradley

Many times when we think of a handicap, we envision wheelchairs and prosthetics.   This quotation speaks of the mental handicap that in many ways can be far more profound.  That mental handicap is simply a negative attitude.  You probably know someone who is a victim or their own handicap.  Ever tried to promote positive change or introduce something that would be constructive?  That person who says, “Nobody’s gonna participate in that,” or follows through with actions and other statements that quench the effort before you’ve even begun to try, that’s the negative voice that has been a hindrance to a productive rate of growth and progress. 

The challenge isn’t in changing the thoughts of a person with negative thinking, which is the product of a negative mind.  A better question to pose is “Why do we take heed to negative thinking?”  Think of how much we as a people have accomplished throughout the years.  The oppression that has been overcome – and over which we continuously struggle – began with a root of negative thinking that was embedded in our subconscious.  The leaders that have assisted us in being freed from structured racism in society should be called upon for a reawakening to address the mental oppression that remains.  Mental oppression and a negative attitude are evident when a person neglects their potential because of a “they won’t let us” or “we can’t” attitude.   None of what has been accomplished could have happened if we had submitted to a self-defeating, negative way of thinking.   

Although the month that we have designated as Black History Month has come to a close, let’s continue to honor our ancestors and our heritage by making these past accomplishments a part of our daily lives.  With each day and in all that we do, let’s consider how we can contribute to the work that they have begun.  Continue to challenge negative or backward thinking that serves no purpose other than to quench efforts to progress and grow.   Deter negative thinking with positive examples and success stories of the power goal-directed, like-minded leadership holds.  Most of all, celebrate the lives of those who have put in a massive amount of work and sacrifice so that you can enjoy the rights and freedoms of today.

*The thoughts expressed in this post were inspired by my interpretation of the quotation noted above.  However, Crennar Bailey  should in no way be held responsible for the contents of this post.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Black History Month Tribute

The Big Girl Chronicles:  Black History Month Tribute
“Look at me.  I am black.  I am beautiful.”  -Mary McLeod Bethune, Educator

It seems easy to lose sight of who you are in today’s world.  We are surrounded with images that mirror another culture as beautiful.  Black women have chemically straightened hair and added extensions and weaves to make other races more comfortable and accepting of us in the workplace and society as a whole.  Although I applaud these efforts, only those images that we create of ourselves bear a more accurate representation of our beauty to the world.  For the sake of not only our generation but generations to follow, we must continue to present images that reiterate our rich dynamic heritage and act as our own support system.  And it all begins with you. 

Beauty in the African American culture should be recognized as more than just outward appearance or physical characteristics.  Yes, it is important to realize that our broad noses, thick lips, kinky coils and earth-toned pigment are all traits that make us uniquely beautiful on the outside, but it is equally important to emphasize the strength, resiliency and wisdom handed down through generations that tell of inner beauty.  My grandmother doesn’t look like a model, but the wisdom and experience that she has to share make her beautiful in so many other ways.  Make special time to spend with the matriarchs of your family and listen to the history they have to share about growing up and living during their time. 

So as we continue to pay homage to our ancestors and their struggle that continues on today, let’s celebrate the beauty we possess that ultimately reflects in our actions and contribution to society, excluding the superficial and emphasizing those things that can only be measured in kindness and love. 

*The thoughts expressed in this post were inspired by my interpretation of the quotation noted above.  However, Mary McLeod Bethune should in no way be held responsible for the contents of this post.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Black History Month Tribute

The Big Girl Chronicles:  Black History Month Tribute
“Since science has not yet found a cure for adolescence, the best we can do is give the only real antidote for immaturity – experience.”  Thomas Sowell, Economist

This quote from Thomas Sowell is the very reason why I’ve remained a “Big Girl.”  There were life lessons that were handed down from the wisdom of earlier generations that I ignored.  The immaturity of those years has come with a price.  My present.  I am left now with a vision of what I hope to achieve in my future and so much time wasted.  If I had applied the insight that was being shared and studied the role models that were resources for me to pattern from, I would already be the woman that I now strive to become. 

However, the time squandered has not been a total loss.  I’m reminded of a quote someone once shared with me:  “Bought sense is the best sense.”  And from what Thomas Sowell has surmised, an immature adolescent mind can be corrected with experience. If you have found yourself fallen short of your potential for whatever reason, you too can begin a path toward what you would consider ideal for the person you hope to be.  This is how I began my journey.

Be cautious of what advice you take.

I know this principle seems simple enough.  However, sometimes minds that haven’t matured can get lost in advice from people who haven’t a clue themselves.  If you have questions about who is credible and who isn’t, take two things into consideration to help you decide. (1) Is the advice you’re being given divisive, discouraging or pessimistic? Anyone that has your best interests in mind won’t place limits on your potential.  And as a race of people, we certainly didn’t get where we are today with an attitude that we weren’t capable of achieving our collective goals.  So if someone is trying to convince you of why you shouldn’t rather than encouraging you to explore your ideas and potential, you might want to seek advice elsewhere.  What you want is nurturing and guidance.  Not someone to dictate what you should or shouldn’t do and make choices for you, but rather enhance your ability to make the best choices for yourself.  And…(2)Learn from the mistakes of others.  There are some people whose lives exemplify the power of positive influence and wise choices.  They have an abundance of wisdom to share because they have lived what you are yet trying to learn.  Listening to what went wrong and what helped can propel you closer to achieving your desire outcome. 

Take an active role in your growth.     

Chances are you haven’t gotten very far sitting and waiting on something to happen for you.  If you feel yourself worth the effort and investment, then make things happen for you.  Take the time to assess your strengths and how those strengths could be used to help you develop.  Go out and find ways to apply yourself.  Find experiences that would benefit your growth.  I once heard it said that someone lived their life “on purpose,” and that’s a good frame of mind.  Be intentional.  Plan.  And have each action count for something. 

Don’t become your mistake.

Growth is a learning process.  Mistakes should be expected and in fact are very necessary.  However, learn from your mistakes and move on.  Don’t become your mistake and make it a staple in your future.  There are times when there will be failures, but don’t become the failure and allow it to define  who you are.  Salvage whatever you can from a mistake or failure, refocus and continue towards your predetermined destination. 

Striving to become a better person and explore your potential at any age is challenging.  Approaching your journey with the right frame of mind will lessen the disappointment that can come from not having paid attention to the wisdom of others at the beginning.  But don’t lose heart!  Regain focus and begin to cover your ground.  Ready?  Lights…Camera…Action!  Spotlight’s on YOU!

*The thoughts expressed in this post were inspired by my interpretation of the quotation noted above.  However, Mr. Thomas Sowell should in no way be held responsible for the contents of this post.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Big Girl's "Bad Girl" Makeover

The Big Girl Chronicles:  The Big Girl’s “Bad Girl” Makeover

*This post is rated R.  It is intended for adult views only.

As Love’s Holiday falls upon us, couples are buying all kinds of gifts to shower upon that special love interest on the big day.  Most will enjoy an evening of romance night-capped with some nookie.  Ladies, if you have a man that’s been extra special and considerate (not just on this occasion, but most of the time), why not make plans to reward him with a night of fantasy?  The following is the Big Girl’s personal guide to a “Bad Girl” makeover.

It’s his night.

By now you’re pretty much in tune to what turns your man on.  What you want to do is up that 200% to make this a night he’ll remember and be a very good boy in hopes of experiencing again.  We know that men are extremely visual, so the first item on your agenda will be to select attire for the night.  The focus is on him. Although that thong is extremely uncomfortable, if he likes the idea then it’s a “do.”  You could get away with some really feminine lingerie from a department store or venture further to the adult store and buy something that will create the illusion he would appreciate.  Go all out with the garter, wig, hose and pole if need be.  Who knows.  You could just earn yourself a little change for your performance.   

Ambience. Check.

The next thing on your checklist is to set the mood.  This is mostly for you, ladies.  Whatever will get you into “character” is what you should aim for.  Candles and subtle lighting might make you more comfortable with your attire if you’re like me and have some baby fat and bulges that keep you shy about baring all.  Theme music that will put both of you in the mood for a sultry seduction or up tempo striptease should be loaded on your playlist in advance to give you time to rehearse or visualize what you plan to do. 

Lights. Camera. Action!

Need some study aids for what kind of show you want to do but too shy?  Check out some romance novels at your local library that have some pretty heated erotic reading for ideas.  There are of course the obvious adult movies if your man likes that raw, “straight to the point” approach.  Or let your man’s favorite female idol do all the work.  Pop in a video or movie featuring one of his favorites and the two of you can tag team to create a journey to Fantasy Island.  Add in some extras like flavors the two of you like.  Pour it all over each other to devour together.  Include some fruit and have a yummy time.  Feeling particularly bold?  Set up a camera to watch your performance and get some ideas for another time.

The morning after.

Once you’ve achieved your goal for the evening, continue to appreciate each other.  Follow up with a nice warm, bath or shower together and breakfast in the morning.  Send him a thank you note, text or voicemail making reference to the special night that the two of you had and how lucky you are to be a part of his life.    

The above is the mild version of what could turn into an explosive night of passion.  Each experience doesn’t have to be the same.  Experiment until the two of you find what other pleasures are lurking in the corners of your mind.  Yet in the midst of your sexual excursion together, be responsible.  Take precautions to prevent unwanted pregnancies and practice safer sex with the use of condoms.  Happy Valentine's NIGHT!!!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Black History Month Tribute

The Big Girl Chronicles:  Black History Month Tribute
“Deal with yourself as an individual worthy of respect and make everyone else deal with you the same way.”  -Nikki Giovanni, poet *

This quotation borrowed from African American noteworthy poet and activist Nikki Giovanni was what I felt the most appropriate introduction to our national reflection and celebration of our heritage.  It challenges us to examine ourselves first; our behavior, attitudes and thoughts.  Only after we have done this can we then demand that others treat us in a respectable manner.  So as we begin, there are some points of reflection that will clue us in to whether or not we are preserving our heritage with dignity, or making a mockery of all that our ancestors fought to extend to us.

Behavior – Am I an asset or liability?

Being of African American ancestry is more than just the color of your skin.  True enough, that’s all that is necessary to put you in the correct category for the census, but if you want rights to the culture you have to be willing to do just as much to earn your space.  So ask yourself: Am I an asset to my race?  My culture?  My heritage?  Would those who fought and died on the principle that I have every right to coexist among any race or culture on equal terms look at you and smile?  Or agonize at how you’ve belittled their efforts?  You certainly don’t have to consider my opinion.  You can assess for yourself.  And it doesn’t necessarily have to be some gigantic effort.  Consider how you’re raising your family?  Are you teaching your children about their ancestry?  Are you emphasizing the importance of education?  Suffrage?  Are you taking time during the month set aside specifically to reflect upon our heritage to plan activities at home?  I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.  If you are capable of doing more, why not become actively involved in local chapters of community action organizations?  Or begin one if there are none in your area?  Support organizations that share in the interests of our people.  Get involved and take an active role in bringing the overall vision of our existence in America into fruition.

Attitudes- How do I feel about who I am and others that look like I do?

There has been much discussion about how African Americans are portrayed in the media.  Now more than ever before, we have to meet the challenge of not letting what we see define who we are.  To do this it is imperative that we create positive images of ourselves in all capacities to frame the thinking of our children, how they feel about themselves and how they’re represented in the world around them.  It can be an unnecessary and avoidable barrier to meeting that goal if we aren’t careful about what our children are watching and listening to.  One example is rap music.  I’m by no means downing the hiphop/rap genre.  I’m a huge fan.  But what is important to realize is that rap music is intended for mature listeners.  “Mature” implies responsibility and some ability to differentiate between reality and fiction.  Therefore, you could want to consider not exposing young, impressionable children to lyrics about black people and young ladies in particular that will send messages that it’s a positive goal to become like those described in the lyrics.  Instead try doing just the opposite.  Listen to and expose your children to media that show desirable attributes and characteristics that would be more appreciative among African American culture.  Model  behavior that will positively influence our youth.

Thoughts – What do I think about myself and others of the same race? 

Forming a healthy outlook of ourselves, our race and our heritage is essentially one of the founding principles of Black History Month.   In sharing our struggles and history, we agree about who we are and what our contributions to mankind have been.  Sharing also helps cultivate a like-mindedness needed for direction.  What do we envision for ourselves as a group of people?  Having an overall unhealthy mindset about yourself and race naturally impinges on your ability to make helpful contributions.  In some cases, it can be harmful and divisive.  To guard against this, it could be a good idea to focus on the positives that you have to offer, and areas where you feel our race has made notable progress.   Listen to, initiate and participate in discussions about our race with those who have made positive efforts to further our interests and represent us well.  Take an interest in what’s being taught about our race.  Challenge unhealthy thoughts and undesirable images.

The right to be treated as an individual worthy of respect begins with each choice we make.  Sure we’ve made some mistakes.  That doesn’t mean that you have to continue to be haunted by your mistake.  Begin making improvements now that generations to come can reflect and build upon. 

*The thoughts expressed in this post were inspired by the quotation noted above.  However, Ms. Giovanni should in no way be held responsible for the contents of this post.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Black History Month Series

The Big Girl Chronicles:  Black History Month Series

In 2008, this country for the first time in history elected a man of African-American descent as president.  2012 followed with his re-election.  This landmark term has shined a light on the African American community.  As I take notice of people in the community wearing Obama tshirts and paraphernalia, I ask myself, “What else are we going to do?”  We as a community, as a people.  What more are we going to do to support not only the leader we showed up in record numbers to elect, but ourselves?  We’ve proven that we have the numbers to make things happen for us.  But have we realized how much further we can go? 

This Black History Month, I have chosen quotes from noteworthy and accomplished leaders in the African-American community, those at the forefront who have blazed a path to where we are today and those who continue to make headway for generations to follow.  I challenge you to take this month to ask yourself, “What more can I do to support my African-American community and represent ‘us’ well?”  Do something more than wearing a tshirt or putting a bumper sticker on your car.  Take the time to learn more about the plight of the African American community and where you stand therein.  Educate yourself about the decisions that are being made on your behalf and where your help is most needed to effect positive change.  Where you can strengthen your support and involvement is totally up to you.  If you have a talent that you’ve been hustling on the side, learn about your options and advantages to becoming a black owned business and increase our presence (and statistics) among business owners.   Get more involved in education and talks about healthcare options.  If nothing else, join a local chapter or civic organization and help make a difference in your community. 

Along with the challenge to increase awareness of issues that directly affect the African American community, there is another area where we can begin to take more responsibility for ourselves.  The area to which I’m referring is in spending.  This month, also pay attention to trends in spending among our community.  We could benefit from making time to prioritize and take control of our dollars.  Doing smarter things with money, like progressing towards homeownership and a college fund, could also prove that we not only have the determination to show up and elect leadership but also the discipline to collectively control our dollars, budget and plan responsibly.  Make your contribution matter so much so that when you wear another tshirt showing your support for President Obama, the face smiling on that tshirt also shows his support for you.