Everyone knows that I love Scandal. I have known its co-creator Washington power house attorney and former Bush Administration Deputy Press Secretary Judy Smith since I was in my twenties. I have had the opportunity to interview the amazing Kerry Washington (READ: http://thegrio.com/2012/05/10/kerry-washington-a-black-woman-truly-redefining-the-rules-changing-the-game-in-hollywood/#kerry-washington-4×3-2jpg ) and I found her to be elegant, classy, savvy and incredibly smart. I think the show is groundbreaking in its leading black woman of power role. Having said that, however, last week’s Scandal episode crossed a line. A serious and dangerous line.
Never mind the shocking abortion scene, and the love fest for Planned Parenthood. Never mind Shondra Rhimes blatant disrespect for those of us who support and watch her shows who are pro-life, and women of faith. But the smack in the face for millions of hardworking, accomplished, strong black women in this nation who want love. Who want to be mothers. Who want to be wives. And who know well how to be a “partner”–a “power partner” without losing themselves.
Olivia went rogue. She is so self-centered and power hungry that she couldn’t be a full partner to Fitz. The man who she says she has loved forever. The man who time and time again has sacrificed for her. Put it all on the line for her. And that the abortion scene of their “love child” was played to “silent night” a beloved Christian hymn, is just outrageous.
Last week’s episode underscores yet again that strong black women are not team players. That we do not know how to sacrifice self for love. That we do not know how to support a powerful man we love. That we must always be the “BIG DOG” in the room. What a farce. What an insult. That is NOT who we are. And it is damn sure not the legacy of our grandmothers and mothers. We are the original sacrificial lambs. The “mules” of the world. We lift as we climb. We love our men fiercely. We are the most amazing lovers, and givers of self. Even when we are smart, career driven, educated and accomplished.
I for one will no longer be watching or live Tweeting Scandal or Being Mary Jane (BET) which also crossed the line last week (Mary Jane was in an open sex club and allows a strange white man to openly fondle her veejay jay in the club. And worse, her cutty buddy–sex boy toy–has an epileptic seizure after wild sex in her bed.). I am sick. I am disgusted. I am not a prude. Sex is amazing. But love and commitment are more amazing. We are not wild animals sisters. We are women: to be loved. cared for and nurtured. These images of us on these shows from “How to Get Away With Murder” to Scandal, in a word make us look: NUTS.
Sisters, I have been saying it for years: It. Is. Time. For. Us. To. Heal.
We are not these psychotic, sex crazed, self-absorbed, depressed, suicidal women. Sister’s heal. Do not let the media or images of who people say we are define the reality of our options and our possibilities in real life. Shame on Scandal. You missed the mark. Olivia Pope may just be a fictional character to you, but she is a symbol of professional, driven, accomplished black women everywhere. And you took that symbol and made it a shameful stereotype of who people already say we are. You can do better. You are brilliant. We are brilliant. We are beautiful. And most of all we know how to love.
As I awoke this morning safe in my bed, in my secluded, safe from reality affluent DC Suburb of Northern Virginia, I fell to my knees and I gave thanks to God for living to see yet another day. I was on a train headed from Philadelphia to Washington last night when news broke of the Parisian attacks in France. Security for New York and DC was on high alert, and you could feel the tension on the train as people read their iPhone and blackberry alerts.
And I also prayed for those who were not so blessed this morning and who lost their lives in yesterday’s tragic Paris attacks. I prayed for mercy for those still fighting for their lives. I prayed for justice for the families of the victims. And I prayed for a God who says “vengeance is mine” to eradicate the evil know as “ISIS”. I also prayed for our world leaders, and for President Obama here at home to find the courage and bravery to go after these killers. They are evil walking. They are cowards. They are villains and they must be stopped. No matter the price.
One of the first thoughts I had laying in bed this morning was a.) of those I love b.) of the scripture in James 4:14 “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (NIV) c.) of John Lennon’s song “Imagine”. All in that order. And I wondered, like many of you what kind of world we now live in that such horror is commonplace and that we appear to be rendered powerless to fight it.
On my #SaturdayCoffee periscope this morning (WATCH HERE: https://www.periscope.tv/w/1yNGajDAwpgJj ) I offered 5 important LIFE lessons that I believe the horrific attacks in Paris once again reinforce for us. We felt them after 9-11 here in America. I pray we will grasp them after Paris yesterday. They are as follows:
1. Life is Fragile: It must be handled with extreme care. Just like fine china or family heirlooms, we must see the fragility of life and handle people with care. As well as ourselves.
2. Life is over in an instant: As Paris once again teaches us, we are only here for an instant. A moment. That moment can be 100 years or 23 years of age as with young Nohemi Gonzalez, of Cal State Long Beach. President Kennedy was sitting an in open car in the sun one moment, and laying slumped over after an assassins bullet in the next. Live your life. Day by day. Moment by moment. You never know when your time is coming.
3. Life is precious: It is everything. It is priceless. It is to be honored. Cherished. And handled with great care.
4. Life is a treasure: Life not your money. Not your stuff. Not your possessions or status. It is worth more than silver and gold. Your life is a treasure.
5. Life is to be lived: You will get but one life. Your one and only life. And you must live that life to the full. Stop waiting. Stop regretting. Stop lamenting who and what you lost. And start being grateful for who you have left. Live your LIFE. Love your family. Love your spouse. Make it right. Forgive. Release. Heal. And enjoy your one and only precious life.
I love you guys. And I love you too Paris.
Last Tuesday’s #BeingMaryJane episode Ugly Truths was, well, in a word: UGLY.
It went there. And I mean the show really went there–Beautiful, smart, talented, medical doctor Lisa commits suicide. And everyone left behind must deal with their neglect of her obvious pain, and the part they all played in making her come to such an untimely and ugly demise. This wasn’t just TV for many of us–I was in tears thinking about a young black woman in DC, age 22, Karyn Washington, who committed suicide last year and I penned my thoughts about it (as did many) in April 2014:
I could have written this piece for any number of mainstream outlets–instead I decided I wanted to put this on my own blog so that I could speak for me, as I know I am speaking for many of us: Unedited. Undeterred. Unhushed. And most importantly unleashed.
You see this is our collective problem as black women. We have a lot to say but nobody listens. We have a lot of needs but nobody seems to care. We have a lot of love to give but does anybody want it? Value it? Dare to return it? We have much to share and impart but we are always being silenced. We are always being told to shut up–shrink back. Quiet down. Back down. Back up. Turn it down.
I am tired of being “edited”. I am tired of being “compared”. I am tired of being denied the same full range of emotions that every other woman and person is allowed to have, but us. I am tired of having to always make sure that my mere presence in a room, corporate or otherwise, doesn’t offend or rattle others. I have to constantly make sure I am carrying myself the right way. Having to make sure people will “like me”–find me “acceptable”–or find me to be one of those “nice black women” unlike the ones we all see on Reality TV. The way we are depicted is always ANGRY. STRIDENT. STRONG. OVER THE TOP. HOSTILE. You all know the drill.
Yet, the collective wounds that we carry as black women are many. I am not suggesting we are to be pitied, or felt sorry for. What I am suggesting is that unlike any other human being that walks this earth (either male or female) we carry a unique history, experience and stigma like no other. We carry the unique burden of being both black and female in America; while never experiencing the benefits of our “white” sisters–or of “black” men. One is white. The other is male. Both classifications come with power, access, privilege, and opportunity that we will never ever know.
To my fellow black women, I just wanted to say that you are in fact: Beautiful.
You are in fact: worthy.
You are in fact: desirable.
And that the time has come for us to take off the ripped, torn and tattered superwoman cape, as well as the mask we all wear too well. It is time for us to stop letting black men dump all of their anger and angst on us, as if we don’t carry enough of our own. It is time to raise our voices from the depths of our hurt: the childhood rapes, sexual assault (data, including that in my book–Black Woman Redefined–say the numbers are as high as 40% or more of black women have been sexually abused in their lifetime), physical violence and emotional violence that too many of us experienced. It is time for us to stand together and STOP fighting and beating the hell out of each other.
As I said on Twitter the other night: “No-one can hurt a black woman, like another black woman.”
We do evil to each other without cause. Mean girls in the church are the worst offenders. The late great Audre Lorde, in her essay “Eye to Eye” (1983), says that all the hate that had been poured into her by white people since she was a little black girl in Harlem in the 1930s is what made her so angry. But that her anger was not directed so much at white people, but at other black women. Because it will hit the target. Because we remind her of herself, the self she cannot love and accept. Yet, ironically black women are the only ones who could ever help to make her whole again.
The essay was printed in Essence magazine in October 1983, but you can read excerpts in my book Black Woman Redefined and in my Essence Online series #SistersHeal from April 2012 http://www.essence.com/…/get-lifted-sisters-its-time-to-he…/
“Every Black woman in America lives her life somewhere along a wide curve of ancient and unexpressed angers. My Black woman’s anger is a molten pond at the core of me, my most fiercely guarded secret. I know how much of my life as a powerful feeling woman is laced through with this net of rage. It is an electric thread woven into every emotional tapestry upon which I set the essentials of my life; a boiling hot spring likely to erupt at any point, leaping out of my consciousness like a fire on the landscape. How to train that anger with accuracy rather than deny it has been one of the major tasks of my life. Other Black women are not the root cause nor the source of that pool of anger. I know this, no matter what the particular situation may be between me and another Black woman at the moment. Then why does that anger unleash itself most tellingly against another Black woman at the least excuse? Why do I judge her in a more critical light than any other, becoming enraged when she does not measure up? And if behind the object of my attack should lie the face of my own self, unaccepted, then what could possibly quench a fire fueled by such reciprocating passions?”
It is time to heal from our black mothers who loved our brothers more than they did us. Who raised us, and pushed us relentlessly to be independent. Educated. Strong. And capable. More than they did our black brothers who were coddled. Loved. Spoiled. And nurtured. And to add insult to injury when we turn 40 and are alone, they ask us why we aren’t married? Where are their grand babies? They unwittingly mock us for being too strong and too smart. Huh? What? I mean really? We are your creation. You never wanted us to endure what you had to endure. And for that we thank you–but you cannot have it both ways moms. You just cannot.It is time to heal from black fathers who were either absent from our lives, of if they were there it was sporadic, dysfunctional, abusive or part-time at best. It is time to heal from the warped way we are portrayed in history and in books. In the media and in corporations. It is time to heal from white women who say we are their sisters but ever since slavery, through women’s suffrage, to the feminist movement, to modern corporate boardrooms, and modern politics, have bartered us off, and sold us out, as they themselves gained by using “affirmative action” as we took the heat. I could go on and on about women like my white ex-sister in law and her white father: who suggested I should be sued when I wrote “Black Woman Redefined” in May 2011, because I dared to put a photo (with copyright permission from the famed photographer) of me and my two bi-racial (black nieces) with me in a chapter that I devoted to them, so that one day when they grew up to be black women (and they will no matter how much the white side of their family doesn’t like it) they would have a road-map, a tool to help them navigate being a black woman in America.Those same two nieces (now 17 and 13) are now forbidden to see my black mother (their paternal grandmother) and I, as their mother is divorcing my black brother. And she has alienated the children systematically from him and us in a most vicious way. Even in our own families, as black women, when our brothers marry white women, we are expected to cater to them and be “nice”. Not offend or upset their delicate nature. All while they can disregard, be rude, be unkind, and consistently remind us of the fact that we should suppress our blackness and deny our culture. I could go on and on about the foul things black men who should be mentoring us in corporate America do and say to hold us back. Or worse, our black sisters who “make-it” and refuse to lift other black women as they themselves have climbed. But, I won’t because like me, you live it as a black woman daily.
My heart is full. Charleston, South Carolina has been my family’s vacation destination for over a decade. We have a property off the Isle of Palms. If you know anything about this historic southern city, you know it is full of charm, elegance, beaches and great low country food. Yet, it is truly still in many ways, segregated, with the inner city area and outskirts housing poor and working class blacks, and the coastal and wealthy suburbs housing whites. It is like going back into time with Charleston Harbor still a reminder of the first shots fired to start the Civil War off of Ft. Sumter in 1861. Sprawling 17th century Plantations adorn Mt. Pleasant, particularly Boone Hall where epic movies like North & South, Queen and others were filmed. And the Gullah women (who are native Africans to the region since slavery) still make beautiful baskets on the side of the roads.
Yet, what Charleston has taught our nation over the past week, is more than just that a confederate flag still waves. Yes, it does. But, the good people of Charleston have banded together. Black and white. Rich and poor. And they have held hands. They have hugged. They have just fellowshipped one with another. And they have tried to heal the racial wounds of their past, suddenly re-opened by a crazed racist gun-man seeking to start a race war in this quiet southern city. Not too long ago an unarmed black man was shot in cold blood by a rogue police-man chasing him through a field. Yet, there were no protests, or riots. No burnings or looting. Not in dignified Charleston. Home of the historic Emanuel Mother AME Church, where nine souls were taken by the lone gunman at Bible Study in Church last Wednesday.
Charleston has modeled to the nation and to the world what it means to forgive. The victims families did something profound in the presence of the monster that killed their loved ones: They forgave. I believe that God himself is glorified in this horror. And I thank my fellow Americans in the sleepy south of Charleston for waking the rest of us up with your love. May God bless and keep you all.
We are now six months into 2015, and I began the year by challenging all of us to SHIFT into the new year with purpose and by releasing what was behind us. We are now in the 2nd half of 2015, it is summer and the challenge is the same: What do you need to RELEASE so that GOD can RESTORE?
It is not too late to get back what you lost. God can redeem time. God can heal wounds. God can bring the right people into your life, when the wrongs ones reject you. If you want to get back what the locusts of your life have eaten, then you need to clear your fields, clear your barns, clear your heart of the residue of the past. God is waiting to give you the best. Your latter days will be your greatest days. You have not seen what HE is about to do for you. HE is going to redeem the time you lost, as only HE can. Trust HIM. Release what you are holding onto, so that GOD can RESTORE what you lost. (SAN)
Mother’s day is special. All the world stops to honor mothers. The women who give us life. Whether biologically or not. The women who raise us. Who love us. Who encourage and sacrifice for us. We love these women because they are our first loves. No matter if mom was your mom. Your grand mom. Your aunt. A foster parent. An adopted parent. A neighbor who took you in. A distant relative. Moms are special.
The 2nd Sunday in May is always a big day for flowers, brunch, gifts, cards, and family gatherings. We love dads too, but moms get our love on a much deeper level. We love to love our moms. They shape us. Guide us. Lift us. And sustain us. Even after they are gone.
But for a new generation of mostly professional women now in their 50’s, and 40s. Motherhood has eluded us. Whether we wanted it to or not. These women (of which I am one) struggles on Mother’s Day. We are left out. Overlooked. And we secretly hurt. Because like those who became moms, we wanted that too. Some did not. But many of us did.
But we also wanted professions, careers, and success. No-one gave us the memo that we had to choose one or the other. The good news is that many professional women (30%+ of black women, and over 65% of white women who are professionals have children and careers. Our Hispanic and Asian sisters are less likely to be affected by this phenomenon and the numbers are not there to share just yet.). But the opposite is that 70% of black women, and a growing number of our white sisters upward of 30%+ do not have the children they wanted. Some due to infertility. Some due to physical disabilities. Others simply ran out of time. And yes, although women are having babies well into our forties. It is not as common as it is for men over 50+ who can still father kids well into their 70s if they so desire.
Here is an excerpt from my best-selling, award-winning May 2011 book, Black Woman Redefined, Chapter #9:
“Of all my achievements in life, none has brought me greater joy
than being the only aunt to two little girls who stole my heart from the
moment they came into this world. Alexandra and Mikaela, now fourteen
and nine, are the light for me. Plain and simple, I love them like I
never knew I could experience love before. They make me laugh, they
bring me joy, they keep me young, and they fill that void in my heart
that I had reserved specifically for my own children. Many of my fellow
sisters out there know the joy of which I speak because, like me, you love
your nieces and nephews, and they are a big part of your life. They feel
like your children too, and you thank God for their presence.
Facing the fact that I am now entering my mid-forties and may not
bear my own children has been the most difficult experience of my life.
The hardest part of this journey as a single woman is that as you come to
grips with this challenge, you must deal with the loss alone. When I read
the part of former First Lady Laura Bush’s memoir on her trials with
infertility in her thirties, I was deeply touched because she nailed it; the
desire to have children (for most women) is a profound and instinctual
one that is like an ache when it is left unfulfilled.”
Here is my ask of all of you today: If you have a sister. A friend. An aunt. A neighbor. Who you know wanted kids but never had them. Honor her today. Thank her today. She has mothered children. She has given wisdom. She has sacrificed for her family. She has loved. Give her a hug. Tell her God did not forget her. Tell her that she has blessed your family. Your circle. And your life. We are all mothers. Biological or not. But for those who wanted babies of our own the ache runs deep, and it runs forever. Be kind to us today. Happy Mother’s Day!
The decisions and choices that we make early in life, will have a lasting impact on the rest of our lives. So choose wisely. Among your most critical choices in life will be who you decide to associate with, love, marry, befriend and go into business with. So choose wisely at the beginning so that you will have very few regrets in the end. (excerpt from, The Woman Code)
Today we celebrate women and sisterhood across the globe, In honor of the day I wanted to share some powerful life lessons I have learned in my over 25 years of being a professional woman, and about the power of choosing the right women to share in my life and to be in my circles. I have been incredibly blessed and lucky in the friendship circle of women (and some men). I still have my circle of friends from grade-school, high-school, college and law school. My best friend has been my best friend for decades, and my “love council” is my closest group of women advisors, guides, prayer warriors, and girl posse! They are Ride or DIE. We don’t fall-out. We don’t fight. We don’t envy. We love. We correct. And we protect each other by always telling each other the truth “in love” and by sharing the same life CODE!
Today I heard a very powerful sermon preached by Pastor Ed Young, who was filling in for Bishop TD Jakes at the Potter’s House in Dallas. The title of his sermon today was, “Fifty Shades of THEY”. His basic premise was right out of what I share in “The Woman Code” Code: 17 Know Your Front Row and that is this: You have to choose your friends and associates very carefully. You have to choose your inner circle carefully. You have to be equally yoked by CODE, Values, Faith and Character. Truer words were never spoken.
We know from core leadership principles that the five people we associate with most closely in our lives, are actually a mirror of who we are and what we value. So it’s time you did a ROW check to see if the people you are hanging around are good for your life. If not, it’s time to get some new friends. However, before you go unfriending and cutting folks you better take a long hard look at you. If you are not right you will attract what you are. If you are a cheat, you will run with cheaters. If you lie, liars will like you. If you have bad character or bad code, you will attract similar people into your networks. This is the hard part about assessing others because the truth is if you have some bad apples around you, you have to ask the question: Why did I choose this person to be around me?
So before you check their CODE of conduct, check your own. Here are five types of women that I have run across in my life
The Drive-By Friend: This friend is only interested in linking herself to your success. And she really is quite transparent about it. She only shows up when you win at life. She is never there for you, unless you are throwing a party, invited to the A list events, in the spotlight, or connected to people that she is dying to be linked with. She is a user and she is proud of it. Stop her in her drive-by tracks. Wave her onto some other poor unsuspecting soul. Let her drive by.
The Drain (non-reciprocal) Friend: This friend is always depressed, Broken. In some kind of drama and she loves to blow up your phone and drive you crazy. She has no clue how to give or support you because her favorite person is HER. She takes, takes, and takes as much as you are dumb enough to give. And she never gives, and if she has to she is not pleased with having to do so and she will let you know it. She is a lazy person. She is also a narcissist. Stop supporting women like this who NEVER ever support you. Ever. Reciprocity is not in their vocabulary. Let her be. She needs a therapist and that person is so not you.
The Friend of Your Enemy Friend: This chick only befriends you because she knows that you hate someone she hates or wants to get close to. She worms her way into your life under the guise of friendship and sisterhood. She befriends you, while still being “good” friends with someone she knows has hurt you deeply. She does it to be a gossip. She thrives on gossip! This woman loves to stir up strife among other women. She is very insecure. She likes cat fights where she can play the two dummies fighting off of one another (Oh, have I been there with this group I call “the Coven” in a certain city in the Southwest US). I have a rule about this–I do not do it anymore. I cut off anyone who is associated closely with someone I know has done me harm or who means me harm. You cannot be friends with the friends of your enemies. It will never work. Their loyalties will divide against you. It’s just a big mess. Nobody has time for this kind of person. Cut her off before she get’s too close.
The Silent Hater Friend: This is the saddest of the lot. She admires you, but the truth is she wants to be you. She wants your life. All ENVY starts out as admiration. She never celebrates you or reciprocates to you. She and “the drain” are first cousins. She doesn’t get why everyone likes YOU so much and not her. She wants what you have because she has NO clue about what you had to do to get where you are. She has no clue the sacrifice, hard work and years you put into becoming YOU. Love her from a distance. She is basically harmless because she lacks self value and worth. You cannot save or fix her. So let her go.
The Mean Girl Friend: This girl here is just bitter and most of all she is broken. Life has done her wrong and she wants YOU to pay for it. She means it when she tells you that she does not “do women friends” (what she means to say is she does not like women). She means it when she says that she likes men better–so let her go be with them. She wears her mean bad ass girl attitude like a badge. I befriended someone like this once–loved her like an older sister. It was the worst, most horrible experience I have ever had with another woman. She cut me like we were in a street fight over a dumb misunderstanding (see Code #9 of The Woman Code for a fuller explanation). She cut me, character assassinated me, had her minions stalk me, and it took me a couple of years to get over the pain it caused. This type of person is dangerous. You need to avoid her at all costs. You cannot fix her. She actually is a good person in there somewhere, but she TRUSTS no-one ever. She has been abused by the men in her life. And sadly, too many women in her life. She is broken, untrusting and HARD. Your pollyanna, give all you got, open the doors up, nice girl scout self (I am talking to me) cannot love her or like her enough. She wants to trust you. She wants to love you, but she can’t. So she will kill your good name and sully you so that you know how she feels everyday of her life. Let her go. Quickly.
I promise if you keep these 5 kinds of women out of your life and your circles, you will avoid so much drama, pain and mess. Have a great day ladies. And by the way, gents, this applies to men too–just change it from women to me. These are human character flaws. We all have them. The goal is to learn, so we can teach others how to do better.
Propel Believes In The Passion, Purpose, and Potential of every woman.
Founded by Christine Caine, Propel is a women’s initiative focused on honoring the calling of every woman, empowering her to lead, and equipping her for success.
Propel will equip women for success using three main strategies:
Through local chapters and events
Magazine, Resources and Courses
Teaching, Podcasts, and Videos
The Brain Trust of Propel Women
New Initiative to Equip Women Christian Leaders
Los Angeles — A major global initiative aimed at connecting, equipping and empowering
Christian women leaders launches January 26, 2015.
The initiative, called “Propel: Women Who Lead,” is founded by Christine Caine, author
and founder of the A21 Campaign. The Propel initiative will launch during five days of
activities at Liberty University January 26-30.
Caine will speak at Liberty University convocations; and will be joined by a wide range of
prominent Christian leaders including Carl Lentz and Beth Moore—bringing a wealth of
insights on empowering women to lead, equipping them for success, and helping them
develop a sense of God-given purpose. Christian artists Kari Jobe and Meredith Andrews
will be joining Christine Caine and Propel at Liberty.
Asked about the mission of the new initiative, Christine Caine said, “Our calling and
objective with Propel is to help women internalize a leadership identity.”
Caine’s organization, A21, has grown to be a leading force in a battle against human
trafficking along with the rescue and restoration of women enslaved by it. She is the
author of numerous books including, Unstoppable: Running the Race You Were Born to
Win; Undaunted: Daring to Do what God Calls You to Do; and A Life Unleashed: Giving
Birth to Your Dreams; and speaks frequently in venues around the world.
She says her message to Christian women everywhere is, “Whether you are leading one
or one thousand, we hear you. Whether you stumbled into leading or were called into
leading, we see you. Whether you want to lead or are trying to find your way in
leadership, we are here for you. Propel wants to launch you forward.”
Propel’s full website featuring resources for women in all spheres of life will also launch
on January 26. Currently, readers can download the free issue of the digital Propel
Magazine there at http://www.PropelWomen.org.
Source: Propel Women.org
Contact: Alli Worthington. Alli.W@PropelWomen.org
Click here to READ the ARTCLE: http://www.joy105.com/why-is-character-assassination-so-popular-in-the-church/