Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

The other day, I was asked if I had any New Year's resolutions. I told the person that I did not make resolutions or promises and that I just take life as it comes. Now, thinking about it, that's almost a resolution in itself. It's hard to not make plans or look forward to doing or trying something new. I guess for me the thing is, if whatever I try does not work out, then I know God is sending me on a new path or journey and that will be ok.

Wishing everyone a safe and blessed New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas - Happy Kwaanza - Happy Hannukah

Thank you to all my family, friends and readers who have supported me this past year. Sometimes it's not easy to write but to know that I am being backed by you makes it a lot easier.

I wish you all a Safe and Merry Christmas and a Very Blessed New Year.


Cocco Butter

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An Open Letter

There are times in our lives when we go through some grave disappoints. We often want to tell the other party how we feel, but rarely get the chance. I wrote this letter to let out some feelings that I know some of you can relate to.

To Whom it May Concern,

I thought we had something meaningful, true, deep. I am your wife, daughter, sister, cousin, friend. I was your confidante, partner in crime, gossip buddy. We laughed what I thought was real laughs, shared what I thought was true feelings and did things that I thought were memorable, but they never meant anything to you. You only spent time with me because you were bored, didn't have anything better to do, at the time.

To you, I am expendable. Who cares about me, after all I can be easily replaced. Now when others laugh at me, you join them. Even though you know it's not true, instead of showing some integrity and standing up for me, you join them, because to you, they are your highest bidders. People who you think you will get something from. Perhaps they will give you the attention you crave and desire, because of your personal issues. You know that these people do not have my best interest at heart, but yet they are the ones you try to please. You talk about me, stay away and even give out false information for your own selfish, petty, temporary gains. How sad is that and how sad are you?!

Unfortunately for you, during the time we spent together, because you did not care, you did not take the time to get to know me. If you had, you would know that I am one to not be kept down. I am one to not be disappointed for long and that victory is always on my side. Contrary to what you want to believe, I am moving from strength to strength and you have been left behind. A new year is coming and I am on the up and up. It's sad that it ended up this way but as they say, 'things happen for a reason.' I hope your 'highest bidders' don't disappoint you, because one day when you are looking for that shoulder to cry on, it won't be mine. I won't be there.

Yours Truly,

Strength to Strength

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Poverty breeds Creativity - DIY

Many times I have wanted to get something and found myself short on funds, it's at these times I get creative and courageous. Where I live, getting braids can be expensive.Therefore, many moons ago, I thought, why not do-it-yourself? I learned how to braid and continue to do my own braids whenever the mood strikes me.

I know we all know that one or two Sisters who refuse to pay for anything, no matter how cheap the item is, but if you think back, they probably don't DIY. These women are just cheap.Unfortunately for many of us, when we see others DIYing, we see it as being cheap. There is something to be said for someone who is willing to take the time and dedicate themselves to learning a craft or a trade because they see the worth in being able to do it themselves. For example, I've always wanted to learn to sew. Instead of being afraid, a friend gave me their old sewing machine and I started making cushion covers for the pillows on my sofa. They were a bit rough at first but I can now sew cushion covers with my eyes closed, I then moved on to curtains (I sewed almost all the curtains in my house) and ottoman covers. My husband and I also did our patio by laying down stones and pavers. Neither him nor I had ever done this before, but now I can tell you what limestone screening is.

Not only have these activities been fun, it has saved me money and has taught me that sometimes, when you can do it yourself, that is all you need to boost your confidence.

Poverty breeds creativity, not cheapness!MM

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Blogs Her Color Feature

When I first started this blog, it was mainly as a therapeutic medium for me. An opportunity to write down my feelings and observances about my life as a Black woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and the list goes on. Since then, it has turned out to be more than that. It has become an inspirational and motivational vehicle for many women. The countless comments and emails I receive lets me know this. When you are going through things, it is easy to think you are the only one. It's good to know that I am not and that there are many women that relate and support me. I am grateful for this.

Thank you to all my friends and supporters at Blogs Her Color for making me the Daily Color of Choice. Please read some of my posts and I pray that I continue to be a positive motivator for other women and inspire them to do the things the want to do.MM

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Taking on the Challenge

I recently watched the animated horror/fantasy movie Coraline (written and directed by Henry Selick and distributed by Focus Features. Although this is not a movie review, I will give you a little background about the movie.

A young girl moves into a home with her overworked parents and upon inspecting the house, the girl, Coraline, stumbles upon a small door. When the door is opened, it is discovered that there is only a brick wall there. However, at night, the brick is gone and it is actually a passageway to the Other World. Here, Coraline meets her Other Mother and Other Father, who have more time for her than her real parents. As the movie progresses, it is revealed that the Other Mother and the Other Father are not who they appear to be. As it turns out, the Other Mother is a witch who intends on capturing Coraline's soul as she had done with other children. When Coraline tries to leave, the 'Beldam' locks Coraline up. Coraline then discovers that the souls of the other children are not only still in the house and need to be freed but the 'Beldam' has also captured Coraline's real parents. Coraline than challenges the 'Beldam' and with the help of other characters and defeats the Beldam.

What I enjoyed about this film is the bravado that this young girl had. Although I found the movie kind of creepy, because of her determination, that feeling soon left you because you trusted her strength and no-nonsense attitude.

Taking on the challenge with a no fear attitude and determination are not only inherent qualities, but can also be learned. Some people have always been couragous, while others, as they have grown and gone through life's experiences, have learned to have a no fear attitude. While others would have ran the other way, Coraline stood up to the 'Beldam' and even went as far as challenging her. It was actually refreshing to watch a movie where the main character did not cower but actually stood up and fought. Life is the same, we are always going to be handed all sorts of trials. It's the attitude we present to it, that in may time determines the outcome. If we cower towards a challenge, chances are that challenge will empower us and defeat us. If, however, we approach the same challenge with gusto, bravery and determination, the outcome might be a lot different. Many of us would not have had the courage to take on the 'Beldam', as young Coraline did.

For the rest of us that continue challenging our 'Beldams' everyday, keep at it, it is not in vain. One day, the outcome will be in your favour, as you have taken on the challenge with bravery, courage, determination and a no-fear attitude.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Take yourself seriously

One of the most difficult things for many women to do is to take themselves and their decisions seriously. Now by serious, I am not talking about always walking around with a scowl on your face, unable to crack a smile or make a joke, but serious, in that you are committed to the things you have, the things you do and the things you want to have and want to do. Not allowing distractions, doubters and naysayers to steer you of course.

When people try to question your decisions, have the balls to stand up and defend yourself and your choices. As women, we make the mistake of allowing people to constantly question our feelings, our achievements and our decisions and as emotional creatures, we allow them to do so, while we run the other direction crying, feeling defeated and angry. By allowing this to continue, you will slowly find yourself  becoming resentful, dissatisfied with life, unhappy, trying to live up to the expectations of others and eventually depression will set in.

It is ok to make decisions which you feel are best for you and your family. Be able to do what you do without having to look over your shoulder to see who is going to say what. Have the ability to take the untravelled road and make your own mark, being aware of the consequences and being able to live with them. Do not feel the need to justify yourself to outsiders, remember, they do not live your life. It's not easy, but little decisions you make everyday will eventually get you there.MM

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Hardworking Woman

It might sound like a cliché, but black women work hard. Real hard. Between the responsibilities at home and perhaps frustrations of work, activities and keeping up social relationships, it's a wonder we find time for rest. I have a friend that has 3 jobs, in order to provide a roof and meals for her and her daughter. It's not that her overhead is exorbitant, it's just that as a single mom, that's what she has to do to keep above water and in some small way, get ahead. Her option to go on social assistance is definetely there, but she has opted to work, to not only set an example for her daughter but to also set a standard for herself. I remember my own mother who had 2 jobs. I was very young, but I still remember her coming home from her main job, changing and then going back out again to her part-time job. She didn't seem displeased, angry or agitated by the fact that she had to do this, she just did it. Now, as a married woman, I see and understand what it is all about. It's important to be hardworking, to set goals, to achieve those goals and to let your children know that if I can do it, so can you.MM

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ungrateful Wife

We love to complain about how there are no good men out there, but when we get one, we don't know what to do with ourselves.

This woman is a perfect example of that.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Single Parenting

As a single parent, you have the responsibility of being mother and father, mommy and daddy or mom and dad. Even if the other parent is in the child's life, as primary caregiver, there is a lot of pressure to do your best. As parents, we are always being watched by our children, but as a single parent, you are center stage. There is no supporting actor or actress for whom you can share the stage with. Your children's, family, friends and society's eyes are all on you.

The circumstances of how you ended up as a single parent is not important, what is important is that you have undertaken the challenge of raising your child(ren) on your own. This means major budgetting where finances are concerned, being there at every recital, reherseal and game and sometimes having to say no because the funds are just not there right now. You might even be putting aside the things that you want to do, in order to allow for your kids to do the things that they want. Unfortunately many single parents are the butt of ridicule and judgement, especially when their children misbehave, get mixed up with the law or have difficulties at school. Instead of uplifting these parents, society tries to blame them, labelling them and sometimes just downright insulting them. Raising your children on your own is not easy and for all parents who have undertaken the responsibility, we salute you.MM


Online Resources for Single Parents:

Single Black Parents

Single Parent Dad

Single Parents Network

Single Parent Travel

Single Parent Romance


Single Mom and more

Friday, September 25, 2009

Coping with the stress of everyday life

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and more, it's overwhelming the amount of responsibilities you have to handle on a daily basis. Not only do you have to deal with the issues surrounding your children, school, discipline, diet, etc., there is also your duties as a wife including communication, support, sex. Not to mention this is being done while trying to maintain a clean home, clean clothes, cooking your meals, having a job, paying your bills, visiting your parents and then visiting his, while mentoring to your siblings and supporting a friend who is going through a divorce.

It's difficult to keep up! Is it a wonder many women are suffering from depression? The pressure of just trying to keep up continues to mount and many of us are medicating ourselves to cope. I am not talking about those who suffer from serious depression and require medication. Many of us do not need medication, we need to take some time out, take a break, put things in perspective and then start again.One of the best ways to help you cope with the stress of everyday life is perspective. Looking at your situation from a different vantage point. It could be worse! Truly and honestly, it could be. After a hard day, if I've burned the dinner, well, it's an opportunity for us to either eat out or order in. Discipline problems with my children is now a chance for me to review my strategies with my husband and think up new ones. Pressure from my parents is an opportunity for me to prioritize, and my family (husband and children) come first, and so on.

Next, take some time out. Whether it be a vacation or a cup of tea, a 1/2 hr mani-pedi or a full day at the spa, we all need to take time out and reflect. Categorize. What needs to be handled right away, what can wait and what you can't change-no matter how hard you try. Then, get to it, do what you can, the best you can and let God take care of the rest.

Pray! I have found picking up my bible and reading one or two verses in Psalms relating to what I am going through, always puts my mind at peace. I am always reminded that God will not give me anymore than I can handle.

If all else fails, walk away. Stepping away from a situation (for a period of  time) and redirecting your thoughts and energy, is a great way to get revitalized to tackle a task.

Everybody gets stressed at one time or another, the right attitude will determine how you get through.MM

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Get Beautiful, Clear Skin

Wash your face only twice per day, morning and evening. Excess washing can cause irritation. You want to be as kind to your skin as possible.

Use only your bare hands to wash. A washcloth is irritating. Consider the act of washing as simply prepping your skin for medication, nothing more.

Pat dry. Do not rub dry. Rubbing the skin is irritating, and excess irritation can lead to more breakouts. Gently pat dry.

It's important to get good products that work and to give your skin time to respond.

Products you need:  a good gentle cleanser, a facial scrub, toner, a mask and a good moisturizer suited to your skin type (oily, dry or combination.) That's all you need for great skin and drink lots of water to keep your skin hydrated.

THE REGIMEN - (Nightly)

In the morning, you can skip step 4

1. Splash your face with warm water or apply a warm towel to open up your pores.

2. Gently wash your face with your cleanser in a circular motion with lukewarm water for about 2 minutes.

3. Wash off cleanser and pat dry.

4. Apply toner rubbing upwards. Use as many cotton pads as you require until it comes out clean. Apply a cold cloth to your face to close your pores. (skip the cold cloth if you are going to apply a mask).

5. Apply moisturizer. In the evening, apply liberally.

Once or twice a week (depending on the condition of your skin)

After step 1, apply cleansing scrub, (about the size of a nickel) and cleanse your face in a circular motion, paying close attention to the areas around the nose and lips (these are prone to dryness). Don't be too rough with your skin when scrubbing (it's not a dirty pot) be gentle yet firm. Scrub for at least 1 minute. 2 minutes if you have dry areas you want to concentrate on. Then continue with step 2.

After step 4, apply a facial mask. Leave on for 10 minutes. Wash off with cold water. Then continue to step 5.
If you don't have a mask, egg whites,
honey, milk and oatmeal mixed with water to make a paste work well. ..

Visit this site for more ideas:

Happy Living - Skin care tips for black women

Good Luck and remember, stick with the regimen. Like everything else, it won't happen overnight, but it will happen if you give it time. Be diligent. It's your face, remember, it's the first thing people see.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The White Standard

Many blacks look down on the achievements of people of their own kind, but will sing praises of adoration for white people. Blacks have attained numerous distinguished achievements, however, many of our own have come to believe (whether by upbringing, the media or personal beliefs) that black accomplishments are not as impressive as those of white people. Unfortunately, this serves to diminish our spirits, belittle our accomplishments and keeps us from advancing not only in society but in the eyes of other cultures. Black people have been responsible for numerous advancements, and it's time we stopped looking to our white counterparts for validation.

Having black friends, dating black men and working for black establishments are all things we should be proud of and celebrate. There exists a myth that all white people are wealthy, successful and are heirs to great inheritances. This is about as true as the idea that all black people can sing, dance and love fried chicken. It's time we realized that for all black mediocrity and failure, just as much can be said for our white counterparts, but for as much success as white people have achieved, there is an equal amount of success by blacks.

Employing a white standard ensures that no matter how high a standard of success we attain as a people, we have achieved nothing at all. Instead, looking at an achievement as an achievement, encourages us to strive for excellence and a greater sense of pride.MM

Monday, August 31, 2009

Motivating your children

As mothers, we have a responsibility to our children. It is our duty to be good at whatever it is we do in order to encourage our children to live life to the fullest. Being a good mother means being fulfilled, in order pass on that fulfillment to our children.

Whatever you do, be the best at it. Whether it's your work, volunteer or hobby, be an example to your children by showing them that when you love to do something, it makes all the difference in the world. Paid or unpaid. In seeing you doing something with passion, your children will want to undertake activities with the same motivation and conviction.

"Doing what we were meant to do creates fun, excitement and contentment in our lives, and invariably, in the lives of the people around us. When you're excited about something it's contagious."Mark Victor Hansen

Your children are reflections of you, what you see in them, is who you are.MM

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Your Wellness

I want to thank my guest Blogger Fatima Da for this wonderful article on Wellness.

Wellness is a concept which has been around since the 50’s and is linked to Dr H.L Dunn (1896-1975). It has been defined as "an integrated method of functioning which is oriented toward maximizing the potential of which the individual is capable. It requires that the individual maintain a continuum of balance and purposeful direction within the environment where he is functioning.” The concept was not popular then, not until the 70’s and has been associated with alternative medicine. Generally wellness has been used to describe the healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit triad; a state that combines health and happiness. It can be viewed as the way in which we balance and cater for our mental/emotional, physical and spiritual health state and how we make choices daily to attend to our wellbeing. Approaches to wellness do vary and usually depends on who is using it or talking about it; I suppose the most important aspect is to promote the generally wellbeing of individual/s where they subsequently live a healthier and happier life.

However for some of us our emotional and mental wellness may be determined by our physical state where we may struggle especially if challenged by body abnormalities, genetic problems, accidents or various illness. The beauty here is that for those affected by ailments beyond their control, skills such as psychological tools can be utilized to help maximise the potential to live be happy and get the best out of life.

Research have indicated that people who have a happy and optimistic disposition and laugh more in their day to day life , live far happier and have a longer life span.

Moreover, research has also studied how positive attitude coupled with spiritual practices such as regular church attendance promotes health, wellness and healing.

The road to wellness and happiness can be paved by the small decisions we make daily toward our health. “Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh! Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is” By M.A Radmacher. Good luck...... and God bless ... for additional resources visit my blog at ...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Weight Loss


Exercise 3 to 5 days a week, preferably in the morning.

Find a routine you enjoy. Mix up your routine with cardio(aerobics), strengthening(weights) and stretching(yoga). This jolts your body into working harder and results in weight loss.

Strength training is very important. Women should really try to go for anywhere between 10 to 20lbs. Don't strength train everyday. Every other day is ideal, as you need time for your muscles to rest and recoup.

Eat small meals (approx. 6-8) meals a day consisting of plenty of fruits, vegetables. Eat by colour, greens, reds, blues, oranges, yellows.

On weekends, treat yourself. It's never a good idea to totally deprive yourself, you will resort to binging and that will result in more weight gain.

When grocery shopping, shop on the outer perimeters of the grocery store. This is where all the fresh food is located, fruits, veggies, breads, dairy and meats.

Don't grocery shop on an empty stomach, you are bound to buy junk food.

Get a measuring cup and start measuring your food. It might sound tedious, but after a while you will be able to measure your portions without the use of a measuring cup.

If you're Canadian, get the Canada Food Guide and try to design your meals according to that.
Get your free copy of the Canada Food Guide here.

Drink plenty of water, but also include fruit juices and dairy drinks.

Stay away from fads, low carb, South Beach, etc.

Follow a meal plan. There are some excellent meal plans online or sites that help you create your own. Search under meal plans.

Get an exercise partner, someone as motivated as you or even more...they will hold you accountable should your routine begin to fall by the wayside.

STAY AWAY from the scale. How much you weigh is no indication of how fit your body is or how healthy you are. Instead, go by how you feel and how your clothes feel on you.

Remember, this is a lifestyle choice not a fad.MM

Friday, August 21, 2009

Me Time

How many times have you wanted to do something nice for yourself or just take some time out and rest, but found something else coming in the way? Funny how many of us can find the time for our husbands, our children, our friends, our jobs and to do housework, but what about ourselves? How often do you make time to relax and unwind, without the guilt factor?
As women, we feel that if we do something nice for ourselves, we are depriving our husbands, boyfriends, children and families. What we need to understand is that, in order to be the good wife, girlfriend, mother, or daughter, we need to be good to us.
Whether it's a good book, time in your garden or taking up a new hobby, time with yourself is very important. It allows you to put things in perspective, to get a new outlook and best of all, it gives you energy and the motivation to go on being Superwoman.
To have some me time is not selfish, in this busy world, it's necessary. So girlfriend go out to lunch, have a spa day, get a mani-pedi, you deserve it!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Supportive Woman

Many of us expect when we get together with a guy, he should pretty much have his life together (a job, home, car, investments.) When some of us find ourselves-meeting or are in relationships- with men who do not have these, there tends to be resentment and regret.

I know many men that are trying to make successes of their lives, but dreams, like with most goals take time and nurturing. Ladies, support real, attainable dreams of those who want to make something of themselves and make their mark not only in society but in the world, not ridiculous ambitions, (I met a 40 year old man once, who was an aspiring rapper...get serious.) I have met many women who after meeting a man and learning of his circumstances and aspirations (unemployment, student, etc.) have already judged him as being unambitious or lazy. However, when these men realize their goals, these same women are calling them, trying to get a date.

Be realistic about your intentions in this type of relationship. Supporting a man with dreams takes time and if you are not in it for the long haul, then this is not for you. Nobody wants their time wasted. If hard times come (and they will), don't complain...too much. You knew what you were getting into. Success usually comes, but not right away. Also, don't let family and friends sway you from your decision to support your man. Misery likes company and some of these people might be looking for company for their own miserable situations. I have been the source of ridicule from girlfriends who thought I was wasting my time on a man with aspirations. He later turned out to be my husband.

Remember to not talk down to your partner because of impatience or frustration. He might already be feeling frustrated and defeated. Pressuring him about things beyond his control and insulting will not help matters. Be supportive. You would want the same if the shoe were on the other foot.MM

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Fitness is something we should all take seriously. Too many of us take our weight for granted. The truth is, without exercise and some form of daily physical activity, our weights will only continue to rise and our health will decline. Many black women find it difficult to get into a fitness regime. Citing excuses such as hair, children, school, work, family, etc.

Without regular fitness, we are leaving open the way to not only unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking, excessive alcohol and fatty foods, but to illnesses, including obesity, diabetes (African Americans are almost twice as likely to have diabetes than white women of the same age) and heart disease.

To women who are thinking of starting an exercise regimen, follow these few basic guidelines and you will be well on your way.

1) Be serious about your fitness goals. Don't set unattainable goals that you know you cannot follow and are not willing to achieve.

2) Get a fitness partner. Someone who is as serious as you in meeting their fitness goals. This person is there to not only encourage you during your journey, but they will be holding you accountable if you start falling behind. Usually this person comes in the form of a spouse, partner, child or friend.

3) Start out slowly. Work up towards your goal. Exercising everyday is not sustainable. Start out a few days a week and then work up the frequency. Remember to take breaks. Your body, like any other machine, will breakdown if overworked.

4) Find some form of activity you like doing, this will help you stick to and obtain your goals.

5) Try something new. Changing up your workout is a great way to rev up your metabolism.

6) Ladies, please do not be afraid to lift weights. I have heard too many times from women, that lifting weights will bulk them up. This will not happen. You need testosterone to bulk up and even then, you need plenty of it. If you are curious about weights, go for it. Start out slowly and increase your weights - 10 to 15 lbs - you will definitely notice a difference.

If you are starting out on a fitness regimen, send me your before and after pictures. I will post them to encourage other black women to get moving.

Good LuckMM

Monday, August 10, 2009

Don't worry, be happy!

Don't worry, it will all work out in the end. How many times have you heard that, told someone or had it told to you? Looking back, was it not true? Did it not work out? Some people are professional worriers. Worrying about how they're bills are going to be paid, what they are going to have for dinner tonight, how to pay for their childrens' education, etc., etc. As humans, we have come to believe that worrying is natural. However, this psychological act is very unnatural. It is learned behaviour, along with doubt and fear. It is not surprising that the things we most worry about is what we fear the most.

To worry is to not trust in your and God's abilities. It is to say to yourself, I or God have not done enough, have not done what is best for me. People who stress over things are not as fulfilled as those who have a more carefree attitude. Carefree people are happier, more successful, are willing to trying to new things and make friends easier. Worrying robs people of true happiness and leaves a void for negative emotions such as disappointment, discouragement, anger and envy to set in. It can cause tension amongst family and friends and can cause and lead to serious health problems. People in our lives who worry needlessly are also bad for us, for their negative behaviour and habit may rub off on us.

Sometimes, it is better to keep things to yourself or to discuss your concerns and worries with just your God.MM

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

Why not to worry

Lifetools for

Black Womens

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Faking the funk

As black women we love to fake the funk by leading lifestyles we can't afford. Buying things on impulse instead of paying bills, ducking creditors or trying to make a point to an ex-husband, ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend and even family members. Many of us are fixadated on leading lifestyles that we perceive as being enviable. The thought is that, "maybe others will see me and want to be like me", or "look at me, I am doing better than you". Keeping up with the Joneses or just plain pretentious. We need to stop living as if we are only as good as the next trend. It's time black women began being honest with themselves. On the type of lives we can afford to live and our financial status.

Faking it, lying about it, getting angry, and getting into debt is just not the way, it only leads to trouble. We need to be willing to work for it, pray about it and not care what the next person thinks. We need to stop thinking that DIY makes us look cheap and being with a man with money but no manners is better than a hardworking man who is honest and loves us. We need to stop feeling guilty if we can't buy every brand name for our children and to be happy knowing they are healthy, clothed, fed and loved.

So keep it real. The Joneses might be better allies than enemies to compete against.MM

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Letting it Go

The end of a relationship can be very traumatic or liberating. I've heard of people who have done everything from throwing parties to committing suicide. As women, ending a relationship with a man can be very difficult. Why then, do we continue unfulfilling friendships with girlfriends? Friendships that have fallen by the wayside, no longer have a meaning, we don't care about or worse yet, infests us with negativity? One word: fear!

I had a friend who I had known for 20+ years. Things began to change with us when I got married. I started to see her less and less and spoke with her even less than that. When I had my son, it took her 5 months to come out and see us (we lived in the same city) and I didn't see or hear from her again until months after. When I had my daughter, I called her to tell her and we spent an hour talking about how things were not working out with her then boyfriend. I never heard from her again. I never called. It's been 2 years. I should've ended the relationship earlier, the signs were all there. I know of a sister who (in order to end a friendship) ended up running out of a train she was travelling on with those same friends. Later, when I asked why she didn't just tell her friends things were not working out, she said she was afraid to. We don't break up with our girlfriends the same way we do with our boyfriends. It's funny because, usually the friends we want to break up with are people who we have known a long time, who have been there for us, when we needed a shoulder to cry on, someone to laugh or gossip with. The end of Toni and Joan's friendship on the TV show Girlfriends is a perfect example. It was no surprise, but it did leave me wondering why their friendship hadn't died years before.

We should not allow fear to keep us in bad relationships with our girlfriends. Relationships breaking down are a part of life and if you think yours is worth fighting for, give it that effort. If not, let the friendship go and lay it to rest, but remember to do with grace, tact, sensitivity and class. There's nothing more tasteless than watching a friendship breakdown on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter.MM

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Celebrating your Spirituality

Ask most black women, and they would say that spirituality means having a God and perhaps being a 'believer'. For most, spirituality has religious ties. For me, spirituality is a lot more than just conforming to a religion or believing that there is a God. To have and believe in a God is a wonderful and fulfilling experience and to belong to a religion, means I know people who have somewhat of the same belief systems as I do.

To be spiritual however, encompasses that and so much more. It is a belief that you get back from the universe, what you put into it. Positive begets positive and negative begets negative. That nothing lasts forever and hardships will eventually be overcome. It is a belief that we don't walk this life alone and that while there are forces working against us, there are also forces fighting on our behalf for our success and salvation. It is being directed by a force that can't be explained but you know is there and is leading you, guiding you. It is knowing that something good or bad is going to happen without any forewarning and the determination to embrace or change the outcome. Finally, spirituality is knowing that you are more than the you, you and others see and the drive to make that inner you come out and shine. It is life with purpose.

To all my sisters out there, spend some time with yourself and celebrate your spirituality.MM

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Looking Back - Looking Forward

Every year around this time, I reflect on the year gone by and try to anticipate the one to come. Birthdays are funny like that, love it or hate it, as long as you have breath in your body, you can't avoid it. They are like a personal 'New Year'. I usually spend mine with family. Having a nice dinner with interesting conversation. As I reflect, I think of things I did right and wrong or could have done differently. None of which I can change but can definitely learn from. Watching my children play and thinking of how far I have come and how far yet I have to go. I treat myself to something, whether an item of clothing I've had my eye on or a pair of shoes and I always, always have something sweet. I believe that sweetness is a type of prosperity that you will take into the new year with you. For all those that have dreaded birthdays and only have seen them as getting older, don't despair. Look at it as an opportunity to become a new you, to do the things you have always wanted to do and to let your light shine.

For me, most importantly what a birthday represents is another chance to thank God for possibilities, hope, faith, outcome and his love.MM

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Doing our 'Thang'

So many of us have seen other black women doing things, and by things I mean careers, jobs, hobbies and activities. Things that we either wish we could do, had the time to do or the no fear attitude to at least try. I meet many women day after day who-when speaking with them-it comes out that they wish they had tried one thing or another in their life. I know many talented sisters who don't pursue their talents. Yet, when we see another sister out there taking a chance, we do one of two things, we either commend her for going out there and doing her 'thang' or we 'hate' on her. The latter is not right. What we should be doing is encouraging each other to pursue our goals and aspirations. We should not be 'downing' others' passions but instead be helping each other on how to improve on those passions to turn them into something bigger. We should also use that to inspire and motivate ourselves to find our talents and improve on them.

I want to tell black women out there that if you have a talent you are passionate about, pursue it. In time you will see, with faith, hard work and a positive attitude, big things will happen. For the 'haters', if you have nothing encouraging to contribute, please step aside and let the rest of us do our 'thang'. MM
(Painting: Touch of Envy, ArtPosters International)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Shades of Brown

How can you tell what shade of brown a black child will be? Look at their cuticles or the tips of their ears when they are born. At times it's hard enough being black, but we then go on to categorize ourselves in shades. As a young girl, I always knew I was a dark-skinned black girl. I don't know if I had been told or if I read it somewhere, but I just knew. In highschool, I didn't get as much attention from the boys as my light-skinned girlfriends except for that one month every year. During black history month in February, the attention was mine, but then it would fade away quickly in March. I once had a boyfriend tell me that he did not need to do anything for black history month because he was dating a dark-skinned girl. Looking back now, I don't think that was a compliment.

"Black as tar", "dark as night", or "so black their blue", these terms are as uncomfortable and as deregotory as white people's "pale as a ghost". We have become so used to these sayings, we don't see that it does nothing in uplifting each other. The shades of our skin should have absolutely nothing to do with how smart, attentive or attractive we are. A fair coloured girl was described as being passable in terms of her looks, the person had went on to say, "if she was dark, she would be in trouble." I've had conversations with black women where they have described light-skinned women as beautiful but dark-skinned women as "exotic", (like they were some rare animal at a zoo.) Vanilla, chestnut, mohagany, ebony are just a few of the terms we use to label our skin colour. I think it's time we went beyond these surface descriptions and looked at what really matters and what we have to offer. To our families, our friends, society and ourselves.

That dark-skinned girl is now all grown-up with little black girls of her own. It would break my heart if they had to deal with the colour issue from their fellow sisters as I had to. MM

Friday, July 31, 2009

Hair Liberation

Whether braided, weaved, cornrowed, permed, jheri-curled, leisure curled, hot combed, dreaded, afro or shaved, you name it and I don't think you'll find a sister out there who hasn't worn it. Hair is just our thing. Love yours or hate it, we are obsessed with our hair. Long, short and every length in between, black women are always on the lookout-not for the perfect hairstyle but-for the perfect hair texture. Our mothers breathed collective sighs of relief when perm was invented because not only did they not have to walk around with big 'ol fros, but now their daughters didn't have to be subjected either. Prior to the perm, our mothers' hairs and scalps were the victims of hot combs. Anybody, whose ever had their hair hotcombed knows the torcher I am talking about.

What is it about our natural hair that we hate so much? Why do we despise its texture so much? This texture that handles the dry African heat of our ancestors so well? Looser curls are sometimes better for manageability-I agree- but why have we not learned to work with what we have instead of changing it? (I call this the Good Hair/Bad Hair Syndrome.) This obsession with straight hair that black women have (in my opinion) is a sin. Perm after countless perm, I continue to see sister after sister with their hair chemically straightened, wearing an unflattering, boring style and wonder why most choose to leave their homes having their heads look the way they do. Why not choose a nice, short, sexy style? Why not opt for a "natural" look that suits and flatters the face?!

I have never been one to be afraid of my hair, whether natural or textured, short or long, I have worn it. For the last four years, I have worn my hair close cropped and have never felt more liberated. I believe that's what we (as black women) are looking for from our hairs, liberation. To be free to style the way we want, wear it the way we want and flaunt it the way we want. Sadly, we will never find this freedom, this liberation when we insist on continuing to be slaves to our hair. MM

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Embracing Me!

As a black girl, I grew up in an area that had very few black people. As a matter of fact, my elementary school-which went up to grade 6-had only 3 and half black kids, the half came from a bi-racial friend whose mother was white and father was black. I really did not think much of my skin colour or race then. It wasn't until I moved to a predominantly "black" neighbourhood and started highschool before I began thinking more about my skin colour and how it affected me and the life around me.

If it wasn't the hair issues, it was the shade of my skin, or the size of my lips or whether or not I spoke too white and not black enough. It was always something and it is always something. As a 33 year old woman with a husband and 3 children, I am learning to appreciate and love what I have, to work with it and to have others love or at least like it. Having 2 daughters, I owe them that. To teach and allow them to embrace themselves, no matter the texture of their hair, the shade of their skin or the size of their butts-because we are more than that.

There are those times when I still question myself and have doubts, I mean who doesn't? But I think the problem is that not only am I worried about what my white sisters would say and think, more importantly, I'm concerned about my black sisters. As black women, we have made a career of not only doubting ourselves but doubting each other and it's time we stopped.

There are many of us-in addition to Michelle Obama and Oprah -doing wonderful things out there and it's time we showcased them. Showed off what they have and what they are made off. I want this to be a forum for that. To inspire our daughters, sisters, mothers, cousins, friends and neighbours and to let the world know that it's our time. MM

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Joy of Pregnancy

(Above-my son giving his sibling a kiss.)

When I was 8 months pregnant with my third child, I decided to have a photo shoot. I received some flack about why I had pictures like these taken-I guess for some, they were too revealing. However, the general response was good and that was uplifting. If I cannot embrace my body when pregnant, when can I do it? I enjoyed every minute of this and want to thank my photographer Leanna Gosse of Lee Weston Photography. One day, I will show my daughter what a hot mama her mother was when she was pregnant with her. MM

Above - Enjoying every minute of my pregnancy.
Above - Embracing my body and not being afraid to show off what I have.
Related Posts with Thumbnails