Category Archives: Women

The twists and turns to womanhood

There l was, enjoying a quiet breakfast this morning, when l got the text from one of my darling millennials who wanted to know how did l embrace my womanhood and what did it take to get there?

I read that text, chuckled and commenced to having a good conversation because she was shocked when l said, l didn’t fully began to walk into all that made me a woman, until l was about 40. Yep. I said it.

The first person l heard saying this statement and l looked incredulously at the television screen when she did, was Camille Cosby. I was all of 27 then, and just KNEW l was a woman, with all the mess l had experienced to that point and what was she even talking about?

But now that l am a half a century old, l have come to understand what she meant and the older l get, the more steeped l have become in being comfortable with who l am with zero apologies.

But to my millennials, it is indeed a journey-one that is fraught with second guessing yourself, making mistakes you swear you will never recover from, worried you will NEVER find the right mate, be a good mother should you so choose to become one,or be successful at anything long term in life.

You will lose friendships you swore would last your entire life, experience heartache that will have you questioning love and feeling fear when you want to feel hope.

So the bad news is that these experiences will shift in and out, one way or another for your entire life.

The good news is that you will be so settled into you are as a woman who knows herself and what she will not tolerate, that you will no longer second guess yourself to death or worry about that which you have no control over.

Someone doesn’t like you? Okay and? Keep it stepping.

That job isn’t working out? Move on in grace and find another.

Folks second or third guessing you on your decision to be an entrepreneur? Thank
Them for sharing and either fail or succeed splendidly for there are lessons to be learned in it all.

The bottom line is this- every molecule that is you, means that you are more than enough. Embrace your warts and all with as much dignity and grace you can muster up. Or not. Because the truth is, you have another moment to get it right.

In the meantime, stop being so hard on yourself and enjoy the journey to fully embracing the woman you will blossom into being.

Love, peace and fish grease,
Muva diva.

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SPEAK UP MUCH?

I have a mentee that will periodically text me about a subject matter she wants to see addressed and the second I saw her note this morning, I knew I would be right here writing about it..

Buckle up and hold on..

In recent weeks, I found myself traveling and commiserating with folks from around the country and in usual form, I am open, kind and share my thoughts as needed. Well the one evening, we had to all get in formal wear  for an event and the minute I strolled through the door, my friend saw one of the attendees throwing all kinds of “shade”  my way by rolling her eyes and whispering something to the person next to her.  I didn’t see her because I have learned how to block that kind of negativity from my line of vision.

I knew what her issue was  though.

Name Every -ism women face, and she had me pegged for it. My boldness and bravery made her feel inadequate and she then tried to transfer that feeling to ripping me to shreds with condescension. She didn’t realize that though. She thought she was within her rights to be jusgemental.

How do I know this? It is what I am told by women all the time who often try to coach it around offering “advice.” 
Aside from this being a total waste of energy and space, it is counterproductive to fall in line with them so they can feel better about themselves.

My response? Maybe if we were not so conditioned as women to “know our places,” not be “overly confident” for fear of being seen as bragging, or being labeled as “bitchy” when we dare to speak up for ourselves, we would see the benefits in speaking up and out.

As a direct result, women often lose sleep about demanding a position they are clearly over qualified for,suffer heartburn at the thought of requesting compensation that befits their value, minimizing the ones who step out on the ledge in an effort to find financial freedom and seeking to destroy the few who dare to do what they won’t.

I can’t even begin to discuss how it messes with personal relationships across the board. We hold on and fester about things we can and should discuss, until it becomes toxic and explodes the wrong way from us.

What do you have to lose but your sanity in trying to fit in to what society deems we should or shouldn’t be? Here are a few things that worked for me in removing the “do as I told ” models from my head-

  1. Speak your truth kindly but firmly and do not waver with eye contact. Prep yourself with calming deep breaths.
  2. Trust yourself. No one will trust you more than you. Your gut instincts are there for a reason.
  3. Be okay with not having a ton of fearless people with you as this is often a singular journey of faith.
  4. Celebrate the wins and extract the lessons from the losses.
  5. Keep the naysayers out of your ears. Lord knows they will try too. People who worry about all that could go wrong, never see what could indeed go right.
  6. Find mentors who have already walked the path you are on and heed the advice that feels right to you.
  7. Authenticity is worth more than silver and gold. You may not be appreciated on the moment, but you will be respected long term.
  8. Know when to step up and pull back. Everything doesn’t always have to be a battle.
  9. Collaboration works wonders. No one is an island. Learn to be okay with saying “I was wrong.” Pride goeth before….

All of that and a few more will give you the freedoms and joy to simply BE..
Dueces and mad love.

DivA

Dear younger self…

I woke up this morning to a text from a young lady, who asked if I could share a few tips on love/self care for young women because she felt education was pushed in society but not much else beyond that and the results are every where in these streets. I thought about it and here is MY list. 

1. Follow your parents rules but Develop a few of your own.

Our parents are supposed to be our guiding system and usually that makes sense because well, they are our parents and their immediate goal is to keep us safe, if they have sense and a sense of direction. Not everyone is so lucky and had to develop survival skills early on in life. But what if your mom or dad chose to remain in an abusive relationship for example for whatever the reason they had in their head at the time? Does that mean you should grow up and do that too? Or did you go in the opposite direction and become an abuser yourself?  Learning to develop a sense of right and wrong, also develops the gut instinct that will  keep you  from going down the wrong path. 
2. Love yourself without apology.

We are often taught, especially as young women to take care of everyone before ourselves. That is a lie that keeps on perpetuating itself. By the time you look up from taking care of others and are too exhausted to look after you, it’s often after you are ill or boxed into a corner rife with decisions that are costly to your soul. Take care of your basic needs first.

3. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes but learn from them.

How many of us have found ourselves in a relationship from hell?  I sure have. More than once too. And yes, I cried got mad and wanted to put a hurting on a couple of them. What I didn’t do? Was stay in that space. Holding grudges is counterproductive I wrote out my feelings, discussed it with someone I could trust and then took the steps to regain my life by moving the hell on. The only person that wins when you stay in that vicious cycle of trying to hold on to that which no longer wants you, is the killer of your self esteem. And trust me- losing that precious commodity is too costly and usually not worth the ninja you were pining over. In fact, you will look back and say HOW did I do THAT? But use it as the lesson for what you don’t want to embrace moving forward.

4. Choose your friendships wisely.

The hardest lesson to learn is that not everyone has your best interests at heart. Jealousy and complacency is a beast. Many of your friendships will NOT last forever. The truth is, most of us will only have a few cherished friends that’s spans our lifetime. The goal is to see and feel who those people are and ride the wave with them no matter what. We aren’t perfect people and it’s wonderful to have someone you can confide without feeling like your stuff will be in the streets before the words leave your mouth. When someone shows you who they are, believe them.
5. You will have doubts/concerns but there is a reason for that.

The greatest gift we are given that is often ignored? Our Gut instincts. That thing will ride us like a monkey on steroids and some of us STILL will choose to ignore it to our own peril. My advice? Don’t do it to yourself. Our gut instincts are spot on so even if the person in front of you is saying all the right things or is finer than wine, follow that deep still voice within because sooner or later, whatever it is you were feeling, will manifest itself. Protect yourself by holding back and choosing to be reserved until you know what that thing is. So worth it in the end.
6. RELAX.

This is the one piece of advice I wish I had as a younger person. Everything happens in our lives for a reason. Even the not so good stuff but what I learned now that I didn’t know then,  is that those lessons became the impetus to the places where I am now in life and it all made perfect sense. If I didn’t have the imbeciles, I would not have been able to fully appreciate the gems.

7. Have faith/belief in something greater than yourself 

We are souls in earthly bodies. Having faith, praying, asking for guidance in the universe, is a beautiful thing to experience and so choose to believe in the existence of that which is greater than you.  Your words when out into the universe, has no choice but to manifest itself. Choose wisely, what you think and say. 
All of the things above along with kindness, has helped me on the road of my personal journey. I hope it helps you a tiny bit. Be kind to yourself and the rest will fall into place.
Dueces and mad love,

DivA.

 

The way THESE eggs are set up…

What a week this has been. I am still recovering from Hosting Thanksgiving dinner in our home and all the shenanigans of love that took place within.

My husband was feeling especially mushy for some inexplicable reason and at one point, sat on the porch with me saying how grateful he was for us. I reminded him we had guests after telling him I was grateful for his love too and so as we walked back into the confines of the house, he says from behind me to the entire family, “we have news to share, Andrea is having a baby.”

I kept walking to the kitchen as his crazy family members clapped in glee and without turning around I replied ” what the hell is wrong with you?”

He cracked up and told them he was playing and I thought that was the end of it.

Later on that night, I learned from his mother that she would not be opposed to us having a child and in fact, she was looking forward to it.

Now see here. 

Did they forget I was a clapback of 50? 

When I reminded them of my not so tender years, I heard ” Janet Jackson is 51 and she’s doing it!”

Ummm… my name ain’t Janet. It ain’t Jackson if you nasty either. Not to mention I am sane enough to know these eggs have done their final drop some two score and plenty years ago and they fitting to scramble and retire for good in these Fallopian tubes. And I have an excellent retirement plan called menopause awaiting their arrival

Chile no.

I spoke about it at length with my husband this morning and it seems he seriously has been thinking about it.  I refrained from asking him to get his brain checked as we are now grandparents and instead worked hard to see and connect with his sentiments.

He agreed the baby-ship has sailed  for us once I laid out the facts but was happy I heard him out.
Lawd have mercy.. 

Men should be able to get pregnant. I bet you it would alleviate some of this baby talk. Women aren’t toaster ovens who pop out little humans on cue. This is a lifetime thing and honey, our “baby” will be 21 in 3 months and seeking to live abroad once he finishes college.

I seee the horizon and it has no wailing babies that I can’t send back to its parents in it.

Hell does indeed go with no.

Dueces and mad love,

DivA

And we STILL don’t do this enough.. to our own detriment..

On the advice of my wayward friends, I decided to skip “adulting” today after what was a long and stressful week and not being able to detach myself from the bed no matter how hard I tried this morning.

That is a sign from my body that I am overdue. So I made a few calls, plotted out the adult feee day and off I went to run the first errand.

As I walked to the cash register to pay for my items, I noticed the cayutest  wine rack on sale that I could use to store the bottles I have at home and got excited until I noticed the thing needed some assembly. 

Sitting beside the boxes however was an already assembled one so I turned on my biggest smile, flipped around , set my sights on a sales associate, and sweetly beckoned her nigh my dwelling.

Me: morning lady. Do you think I could buy the already assembled rack pretty please? I don’t have time to assemble anything before the holidays and I need this badly.

Her: morning sis. Hold on and let me ask for you. 
She ambles over to the boss, asked, he looked at me grinning with puppy eyes and said yes!! Praise Gawd!!

The lady came back and helped me put it in a cart and I couldn’t thank her enough!

Me: you rock! I so appreciate your helping me to get this!

Her: real talk lady? It was YOUR kindness that made me go the extra mile  for you. We never give away our displays unless it’s the last one and so many customers have such entitlements when they ask for something, I shrug my shoulders and wish them good luck in getting it with their nasty attitudes.
And just like that, she affirmed the lesson my mother taught me as a child- kindness will open doors all the money in the world won’t with a nasty attitude.
I took my purchases and skipped out the door!! 

Now, should I make my husband believe I worked hard and  put it together or tell him the truth?😂😂😂

I may have to mull on that one.. ha!!
Dueces and mad love,

DivA.

Trick or treat?

I often wonder if we fully grasp what it means to have a long term relationship with anyone. It could be romantic, business  or platonic in nature but they all require work in order to sustain them fully.

I look around me and see these relationships fall apart for many reasons but it all came back to not maintaining the health and viability of your partner.

Someone asked me a question last week that led to my  wanting to delve into the romantic aspect of relationships here.

When we first meet and begin the process of getting to know a person, we should check the temperature of those feelings regularly by asking ourselves things like 

What are my motives?  

-Do I truly like this person or is it something to do that deflects/detracts from loneliness?

– What shared values do we have beyond the initial attraction?

-Will we openly communicate in ways that works through any issues that will arise?

– Am I in this relationship to rebound from a failed one?

You get the gist right? 

The way we enter a relationship, sets the tone for how it flows and it still requires work and checking in with each other regularly because life will get in the way.

Unhappiness breeds all kinds of malcontent when not addressed in a timely fashion.  When we add marriage to the mix, that flame goes way up because you are now dealing with blended families and lord knows, everyone has an opinion whether you asked for it or not. 

Leave and cleave is not a cute catch phrase. It really means something. If you gotta run back to momma every time you have a question, how do you develop relationship with your spouse?

If you allow your children to dictate your lives through whatever means they choose to employ, that will cause a serious rift.

If you gush about another person without fully acknowledging and routinely appreciating the one that lives with you, it’s cause for a situation.

Do not invite the opinion of others into the seriousness that is your life. Learn about your mate enough to know when to draw the line and pull back with compromise and love.

We say that we know  relationships won’t be a bed of roses but the first time we get pricked with the thorn of life and see blood, we run for cover  and end what could be a long term partnership 

The flip side of that is hanging around and grasping at someone who consistently shows you with their actions you are not valued.

A relationship that begins on shady ground will feel like a trick from hell. One that is nurtured becomes a treat that keeps on giving. You decide through your choices.

Know thyself. Love thyself.

Dueces and mad love,

Diva 

The eggs dropped by the birds nest for a little love 

A few days ago, my eldest child flew home to visit albeit briefly, so we could see each other before he went off to handle his real purpose for being here- his fraternity and the brothers he formed a deep bond with. I was with him for less than 12 hours but we squeezed priceless moments within and my soul and heart were full when he left.

I wrote about this son a while back in a post where he had an encounter with a police officer https://lawfultrainer.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/innocence-of-a-child-forever-gone/

Even as we worked diligently to be certain he was okay and told him to keep achieving, he continues to defy and exceed any expectations anyone could have of him.

Quite simply, he’s determined to succeed and writes 5 and 10 year plans to keep his purpose in the forefront always. So earlier this year, 2 weeks before his 24th birthday, he had already graduated from college, works for a Great company that values and relocated him to another state and after just 11 months of living in said state, he closed on his very 1st home.

As remarkable as that was, he also bought that home with no financial help from his father and I. In fact, he insisted it was something he wanted to see if he could do and he did. We couldn’t believe how disciplined he was to save by not buying a new car when he graduated from college even as his peers were stunting with new rides all around him. He paid his bills on time and kept his credit score in a place many adults do not have and he stunned the banks when they saw he really saved and had a stable job at his age. Once he bought that home though, I flew in and helped him to furnish and buy appliances. He smiled and said I was “such a mommy” as if that was an insult!!😂😂😂

He is now 24 and as I listened to him discuss what his next set of plans entailed, I teared up remembering all he had gone through to get to this point and that his adversities only made him grow to the place where he is an incredible advocate of his rights and can see things from a point of view most miss.

He is a really quiet and profound cat that I am so proud to call SON. I caught a brief glimpse of his need for parent love when he walked up to hug me and just laid his head on my chest for a good two minutes. It was cathartic and healing to us both.

He credits his tenacity to having parents who aren’t afraid to work hard and achieve-he astutely learned certain traits we carry that he found to be beneficial in business and life and built upon that. I have no doubt we haven’t fully begun to see what he will accomplish. and while the house was filled with both my children and all their friends, when the nest emptied and those birds flew back to where they came from, they all left a piece of their love joy and peace with me..

Parents- raising children is the most challenging thing we will do and it never ends. We want to protect our children from danger and harm while we coach them on being able to thrive in environments away from us. If we could, we would shield them and keep their innocence firmly intact but life doesn’t work that way. 

On this day, I pray you have the courage and strength to do what you know is right for your children and to seek advice when needed.

Those babies we carried and nurtured will one day become adults. How they get there depends upon you in those early years of learning and growth.

Dueces and mad love,

Diva 

when the oldest comes home for a visit

A pot for his flower

I awakened early this morning and convinced my husband to take us to our favorite stomping grounds for breakfast at 7 and he happily complied.

We had been both so busy that we decided to run all our errands while out and it wasn’t too long before We landed in a home improvement store and separated to seek The items we needed.

So there I was, looking for the perfect flower pot for an indoor plant when I noticed a man talking to himself and shaking his head in confusion.

I had mercy on his soul and asked if I could be of assistance…

Him: I’m trying to find two pots for my wife but I don’t know anything about this kind of stuff.

Me: indoor or out?

Him: indoor.

Me: okay then follow me..

I proceeded to ask what colors were in his house and helped him choose the perfect pots- and it was then He said “I love her so much, I’m willing to do stuff like this all out my element to make her happy.”

He thanked me and we parted ways but I couldn’t help but think how awesome that was for his wife as I went to find my man who would do similar things for me.

When a man loves a woman, nothing is too hard for him to do to see a smile on her face. It’s the kind of love we women strive to have but that only happens when the man sees something intangible in us that he doesn’t want live without and we don’t have to force it either.

He will also work hard on being able to provide for you while he is in hunt mode and this is where we as women have to be careful to not try and make everything okay or fix his life. What we may consider a love languge, often makes the men feel worse and while they accept being catered to, they ultimately are pulled by the woman that challenges and intrigues him on a level that keeps him wanting more.

We have standards and we should. Make no mistake about it though- Men do too. So if you desire to have  a mate like the man who was happily going through unfamiliar territory for his wife, work on being your authentic self that will reveal the intangible that makes you irresistible to someone.

Dueces and mad love,

Diva 

The Hot chocolate Trollop that took my man

I have been married for a little over a year now and in that time,My husband and I have been purging our living space which was his home for over twenty years before I got there.

I wasn’t fond of the space as it was but since we didn’t live together for the entire five years  we dated, I gave no energy to it beyond trying to help him organize it during his annual holiday party.

So when we jumped the broom and we  decided I would move in with him, I had no choice but to begin looking closely at my new home and I literally sat on the front steps and cried not knowing where to begin.

But to know my level of tenacity, is the recognize that once my tears dried, I rolled up my mental and physical sleeves and got to work.

The house was gutted and the main rooms painted with vibrant colors. Some appliances were replaced, the outside had a new driveway and the entire front facade redone along with planting a new garden. The basement was gutted and redone, plumbing and electric updated. And so it went. The house had taken a huge turn for the better and I was happier.

So when I said to my husband 7 days ago that it was time to replace one chair in our living room, he didn’t argue and said go ahead.

Well I began doing research and found what I was looking for except I didn’t just buy one chair. I found the perfect sofa and then went about seeking a love seat that would be just right for him. I found it too. Dark chocolate and soft as butter.

They were delivered 24 hours ago and when my husband got home, he was slack jawed with shock and when he sat in his new chair, the look on his face was worth the surprise.😄

So when I texted him today in response to his query on how I was doing, it took him a while to respond and this is what I got from him “Doing well. I’m sorry to tell you that I have a new love in my life. 

She’s long and smooth, with a nice chocolate body. I took Advil and fell asleep on that love seat, and I didn’t wake up until 11:45.”

😂😂😂😂😂

I have been replaced by a chocolate chair!! He can keep her since I will know just where to find him on any given day.

My consideration of his wants has left him super happy which makes me super happy..

And that my dears, is how we compromise to a better place.. wonder what I’m Going to do next… you just have to wait and see..

Dueces and mad love,

DivA

Necessity is the mutha of diva inventions…

I am almost 6ft tall with incredibly long legs and when I open my arms wide, the wing span according to my strength trainer, Is impressive. While I mostly enjoy being tall, I struggled in stores to find clothing that fit appropriately and many times had to walk away because I looked crazy in the things I tried.

I finally found specific brands that made clothing for tall people and was chugging along until late 2014 when I noticed nothing appealed to me anymore and I was done wasting my cash on department stores and walking out looking like a variation of everyone else.

It was during that time of frustration that I met a young lady in a class I was teaching and my skin tingled when she imparted that she went to design school and sews well. 

I decided to test her by asking if she could make a dress for an upcoming class reunion and she said yes. So off I went for fittings as she chose the material and we worked together on color and design. This was the end result.


I was hooked!! The dress fit beautifully, I didn’t have to squeeze in or alter anything and I felt like a Princess! It was on like hot butter popcorn!

On a whim, I took to my facebook page and asked folks where was the best place to buy fabric and once I discovered fabric row, I felt like I was in heaven! I bought goo gobs of material in one store owned by an African American gentleman and he observed that I had an eye for fabric most would overlook.

Meanwhile, one of my nieces was getting married and in a tight crunch, I was sent to yet another lady who took one look at me when I honed in on what I wanted and in two days, she created this dress below.


Couldn’t tell me Nuthin.

I went back to this woman and told her I was getting married, I didn’t want to wear traditional white, and once I found the fabric I was seeking, ( given to me by the way at no cost from the fabric shore owner James) I took the beautiful silk and gave it to Renee Bolden. Everyone at our wedding wore white except me.

That dress was so stunning, it made it around the globe and back and has since been featured in magazines..

Meanwhile, I went to Ariel and asked her to make the desss I was wearing at the reception and she designed this

And so it went. Each time

I had somewhere to attend, either Ariel or Renee or Carla made my pieces. I found great fabric that cost very little and put them on their capable hands. I designed everything Renee made for me and many of the pieces Ariel created although she always had brilliant ideas just waiting for me to show up!! One of my Faves from Ariel was this gown below that I wore for being honored as Woman  of the Year.

I looked up a few days ago and Realized I now have a closet filled with these treasures as I kept designing with glee. I have not shopped in  any Stores for clothing in 2 solid years…


I had simpler pieces made too for every day wear… 

And then there were the few that defies description 






And to think this all began from a need… lord have mercy. I can now add “designer” to the list of hidden talents I found.. 

the lesson I learned? Our best work happens when there is a vacumn that requires filling as long as we are willing to put in the work. I didn’t put up everything here but you get the gist. What is inside of you just waiting to be squeezed out?

Dueces and mad love,

Diva