About Young BW Determined to Live Well

After being a faithful reader of various blogs dedicated to positively influencing black women, I recognized quite a few young black women in their teens, 20's, and 30's who were touched by the message as much as myself. This blog is my attempt to reach out and connect with young black women on issues we may be facing at a very transitional time in our lives. I encourage all, irrespective of age, class, origin, etc. to participate in the discussions and brainstorming sessions we have. I look forward to the potential of this blog and hope to hear from Young Black Women Determined to Live Well like myself!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Images of Black Women in the 50's

While viewing the blog Beautiful Black Women: Thoughts of a White B'woy, I came upon these images. I believe Andreas displayed them as a way of admiring black women as he always does, but the images compelled me to dig deeper and analyze.

Take a look at these pictures of Magazine covers in the 1950s. click on image for full view.

After viewing these pictures I can say quite a few things:

1) Black women were absolutely beautiful back then, and whoever is swallowing the hogwash that says black women are just naturally inclined to be big or overweight or “thick” is wrong. The women in the 50’s did not look like what I see everywhere I go including on the television these days. Here is a tip, work out and get healthy ladies. No if, ands, or buts. Where there is a will, there is always a way. In addition, it says that black women and the lives they are leading need to seriously be further examined. A lot must not be right for an entire group of women to physically morph into double of what used to be their norm, in a span of just 50 years.

2) Black women being shut out from glamorization in Hollywood, usually given to white women, is not a new thing at all. In my opinion, some progress has been made, but I say we (black women) stop trying to get the full recognition and glamour that we deserve all together and create our own avenues of media distribution and films. Either do that, or try to market ourselves in a way that appeals to all markets! Not just black.

3) Black women were sexualized and fetishized in the 50’s much like they are today. Just look at the face of the women on the cover of Say magazine. She has a very sultry look on her face. And then look at how each one of them are exposing their cleavage in revealing suits. I certainly don’t see much emphasis being placed on the bottom like the smut magazines of today, but I do think these magazines were printed with the black male gaze in mind and zero recognition of the black female gaze. So it makes me think? Were these women the predecessors of the Raunch Culture we view today? I suppose we perpetuate it, but were they (both the black women and the black men in the 50’s who subscribed to these magazines) aware of the consequences of what they mass produced? Did they not realize the inherent difference in choosing to market the women in these ways after the long history black women have in the U.S. regarding sexual exploitation? Or was this considered tastefully done? I am not sure but intend to do some research.

4) This makes me think about famous Blues singers of the 1920s like Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Ida Cox and the like. They were known for their talented voices, but also for the sexually suggestive (or as sexually suggestive as you could get away with in the 50’s) lyrics of their songs. I wonder what, if anything, this did to harm the image of black women back then and today? I am not placing immense blame on them because in some ways I feel they were not aware that black women could occupy a respectable and admirable realm that did not limit her to just the Hattie McDaniel mammy-figure. After all, they were singing for crowds of the black working class. Black women in the upper echelons of black American society did not like the songs they chose to sing.

How do you as a young black woman feel about these images?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I encourage you all to read this!

Hello to all the gorgeous young black women out there! Please take a moment to read the essay I linked to at the bottom. I have been too busy with final exams to post Part 3 of Young Black Women and the Issues We Face, but the arguments in this essay have a great deal to do with what I intend to discuss.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Young Black Women and the Issues We Face: Part 2 of 3

What I am about to discuss is adult material, so if you are not up for reading mature subject matter, you have been warned.

STDs. Sexually Transmitted Diseases are a crap load of stigma on young black women. You all have heard the stats: we, young black women; have the highest rate of infection. First thing is first, before you have sex with anyone, from this day forward, make it a priority to get tested for every possible STD you can. Note*** some women I have encountered have assumed a regular pap-smear would take care of the HPV test, since it is supposed to indicate abnormalities of the cervix, and HPV causes cervical cancer. It is my belief that a woman needs to specifically ask for the HPV test. Several pap-smears come back NORMAL and a woman could still be infected with HPV. It is estimated that 80% of women in the U.S. will get HPV at some point in their lives, and it is in your best interest to educate yourselves regarding the matter. See this website for more info: http://www.thehpvtest.com/

1) STDs can be transmitted through bodily fluids and skin to skin contact. Yea, we have heard the first one, but the skin to skin contact is a shocker for some ladies. Better yet, sometimes the infected party may not show any sign of infection on their skin, and months or years later, one is rudely awakened to know they have acquired an STD. In addition, the usage of a condom, if having sex with a male, does not cover the entire genital area. the shaft of the penis may be covered, but his groin is still exposed and would most likely touch your genitals during the sexual act. This could tranfer an STD to you even while using a condom.
2) Many STDs may not cause symptoms. In fact, you may be confusing an STD for another disease. Doctors have been known to confuse things as well. Simply doing a search of STD photographs on google is not sufficient enough to decipher what is going on down there. Those photographs are often displays of advanced stages of STDs and very rarely show what it looks like for a black female. Let me be clear that a personal Gynecologist should be a necessity for all of the young black women out there. Look up a reputable gynecologist online in your area; check their credentials and reviews if you can. Check with Health Services if you are currently attending a college or university. Sometimes they offer their services for free to female students.
3) Some STDs DO NOT have a test for males to take, like the dreadful Human Papilloma Virus (genital warts). This means that even if the guy a person chooses to have skin to skin contact, oral, anal, or vaginal sex with, is infected with an STD and shows no physical signs of infection, the only way he would know, is if you showed signs of infection after having skin to skin contact, oral, anal, or vaginal sex with him.
4)for the lesbian or bisexual young black women out there, know that skin to skin contact is a risk as well and despite rumors of lesbian women being least likely to contract STDs, this is not the case. In fact, these kinds of rumors contribute to the transfer of STDs even more among the lesbian community. Using sex toys to aid in vaginal or anal penetration from one partner to another, could transfer an STD. If using a condom on the sex toy, be sure to change it when penetrating the other partner. Cunnilingus should be performed using a barrier like a dam, cut open condom, or latex glove. Check out this link for ways to have safer sex with your special female someone: http://std.about.com/od/stdsspecificcommunities/a/lesbiansafesex.htm
you can also find information here: http://lesbianlife.about.com/cs/sex/a/safersex.htm
or do your own search to know more.
5) Want more info in general, here is a place to start: http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/std-general.html or you could simply browse through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Website: http://www.cdc.gov/ . They have a plethora of information on specific STDs

Bottom line: The only real “safe” sex, is no sex at all. But because I like sex, as I am sure other readers of this blog do too, we have to understand, acknowledge and accept that we are taking a risk. Make sure he, she, or you, wears a condom! Carry condoms yourself; you do not have to rely on the other partner for condoms at all. And if a guy or girl thinks you are “fast” or a slut because you are in possession of condoms, then he or she does not deserve to sleep with you. For those of you considering taking your relationships to a more intimate level, why not plan a day when you both go to get tested for everything? It may seem awkward, but your health is all you really have. Doing this forces people to think maturely about the sexual act. If the other party refuses, that may be a blessing in disguise. Know that there are ways of being intimate with someone without having sex. And for all purposes, an intimate night with just you, your imagination, and no one else is always an option. Never feel guilty about the idea or act of masturbating because looking out for our needs first and foremost, is a lesson we should all remember in our quest to live well.

Young Black Women and the Issues We Face: Part 1 of 3

I decided to do a post on a host of issues facing young black women. It became too long, so I am doing this in separate posts. Look for Part 2 and 3 in the very near future.

Moving from the realm of young girl, to young woman, to mature woman is not easy. I personally believe this is compounded by race if you are categorized by society (never mind whatever you choose to identify as) as a black woman. There is no rule book, no guidance being given. This should be coming from older black women but uh…yea…I don’t see much of that happening. It could very well be the case that these women have not figured out the answers either. I want to talk about the position young black women occupy in society. We have things that are considered valuable and things that are wrongfully trashed. Our youth is always a plus; people are forever worshipping youth and trying with their entire might to hang on to it. We have our physical strength, our contemporary knowledge, or degrees; we have A LOT going for us. What we don’t have going for us are our high rates of Sexually transmitted disease infections,our assaulted images in the media and constantly being compared as a negative to the implied white female positive, and for some of us, our way of thinking regarding our race and gender.

Our youth is a major asset ladies. Whether you like it or not, this works for us in ways we may not be aware. Therefore, I believe it serves us well to preserve it as much as we possibly can. I choose to preserve my youth by taking care of myself health wise. I am a very nutritious eater (at least most people I know always say so), it is a part of my daily routine to engage in some form of exercise or physical activity, my hair in its natural state is always on point, but you had better believe that even in it’s relaxed state, I was doing it too. Skin care has never been a major problem for me, but I do have a skin care regimen that I use to help maintain the pretty (for inquiring minds, the skincare line I use is called Rx For Brown skin. I use this line because it is specially formulated for people with various brown complexions and effectively addresses the issues that come with naturally sunkissed skin. Check out their website for more information: http://www.rxforbrownskin.com/ ).

We are quite an educated bunch! I am proud of how far I have come in terms of academically excelling in my studies, and choosing to continue this in the future. I am also increasingly aware of education NOT being the great “equalizer” some people believe it to be, so I try to cultivate myself in other areas as well. This I do through seeking organizations that advocate issues close to me, or that link to what I hope to be doing in the future. For instance, I have a great respect for women’s issues, and politics. Therefore, I seek out organizations that cater to both. I enjoy learning about different cultures and will be living abroad in the coming years; I would in tern subscribe to a newsletter or other network that keeps me up to date on the happenings of that country. There are several sources on the web that can assist you with this or practically anything that really interests you. Take advantage of it!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ask yourself: WHY?

Hello to all the gorgeous young black women out there. I would like to direct this post to the young black women who are dealing with males who are not on their level academically, financially, spiritually, etc. I would like you to ask yourself why?

I have noticed countless beautiful brown women out at clubs, walking in the city, out on campus, you name it, who swarm around groups of males (predominantly black) who are way below their level. I see them laughing, joking, flirting, posturing, blatantly competing for the attention of these males who for the most part seem disinterested, focused on their clearly accentuated body parts in ultra-tight clothing, or focused on gaining the attention of the few non-black or light skinned women they see.

I would like you ladies-to-be to ask yourselves why you do this? Have you actually sat down and asked yourself what it is that you really want? If all you want is someone who makes no secret that they are only looking at your physical assets (and most of you know what that consists of) and fantasizing about what they could get from you sexually, then I completely agree you should continue to invest your time in such settings with those types of males. BUT! If you are looking for a deeper connection, that can satisfy your need for companionship, intimacy, and support, and you don't seem to be getting that from the types of males you are associating yourself with, please do yourself, and other brown girls a favor. STOP!

Not only are you being completely SILLY (I'm being euphemistic) by continuing to communicate with those males knowing that you are not getting what you truly desire out of such relationships (friendships, lovers, acquaintances), but your constant image of associating with lower-caliber males gives all young black women a really bad reputation. Now I know some will say it is not their responsibility to protect the image of all black women, but trust me when I say, promoting a positive rather than negative image about yourself as a black women almost always brings value to you. Because American society is hell bent on compartmentalizing people into racial groups, whatever image is attached to those racial groups will help you or hurt you in the long run. Attach gender to the scope of things and this kind of behavior really makes black women seem desperate for bare bones attention.

I urge some of you to just go to a hip hop club setting with a predominantly black crowd, and without getting wrapped up in the music or men that you see, just observe the behavior of the men there. Look at who or what captures their attention immediately, look at who they are buying drinks for (if they even dare to buy a drink for anyone but themselves), observe how they behave when another woman dressed very sexy comes by? Do they immediately try to talk to her and court her, or do they simply look and keep moving to the next "hottie." Is her ultra-sexually suggestive outfit and stiletto heels really getting her the kind of "love" you would have thought? How about how much she spent to wear what she did, and look the way she did? Was it REALLY an investment with high returns?

If you have the opportunity, go to a non-hip hop club with a diverse or non-all-black setting, and do the same thing to those men. You could also go to a hip-hop club that doesn't have an all-black setting and do the same thing. I guarantee YOU WILL SEE A DIFFERENCE. Then I want you all to decide which group of guys exhibited behavior that you would view positively and prefer to experience from them yourself? Personally, I will say that my experience doing this has led me to prefer the non-hip hop or non-all-black settings. Since then, I have been very adamant about not wasting the "Pretty." You shouldn't waste yours either! Especially on the males who do not deserve it at all!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Are You a Social Climber? Do you aspire to be one? Take a look at this.

When I hear the term Social Climber, it forces me to pause and reflect on a number of experiences I have had. I will be the first to say that being labeled a social climber was considered insulting around the circles I was more familiar with during elementary, middle, and high school. However, in college, things are and have been for some time, extremely different. I have heard stories about social climbers on HBCU campuses, but at my PWI, social climbing is highly important. The difference is most people (this includes the general population of white students) go about things stealthily. I have chosen to be a social climber because I believe it will assist me in acquiring the lifestyle I seek to live. Everyone has different expectations of what Living Well means. Social Climbing may have nothing to do with Living Well for some of the young black women who read this blog. However, for those who do wish to seriously ascend in class and social status, I wanted to point you in the direction of a wonderful BWE blogger's new post:

Please do not allow some of the unfortunate comments from anonymous individuals to distract from what the post says. It could come in handy for many of the young up and coming black women who are determined to live well. Also, Sara explicitly mentions some of the tragic things happening to young black women around their last years of college, regarding unplanned pregnancy by a low-quality male (most often a black male at that). DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU LADIES! Bundles of joy are indeed adorable, and great to kiss and cuddle. BUT, children to unmarried, single, BLACK mothers suffer unnecessarily. The potential for them to live well is so low it cannot be mentioned here.

Interesting and potentially empowering find: I read a text on free colored women of the Americas and immediately zeroed in on the Story of a Creole (in this context, creole only meant an individual was born in the America's and not Africa, it had nothing to do with skin color or race as we know it today) slave woman and her interracial marriage to a British overseer in the mid to late 18th century on the island of Jamaica. Please be aware that North American scholars often fixate on rape being the only thing happening between black women and white men, but through my research of the Caribbean, the relationship between black women and white men is indeed quite complex. I certainly do not do justice to the story, but a very brief summary entails how this woman used her influence over this man to not only secure her eventual freedom, but the freedom of her children, and acquisition of economic wealth, including land ownership. In the harshest of times, this woman found a way to socially propel her way to a better life than the one she was born into, and I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to do the same. The book is called: Beyond Bondage, Free Women of Color in the Americas
edited by: David Barry Gaspar & Darlene Clark Hine
Check it out at your local library or campus library!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"I'll have a little of everything please!"


Please read the article above ladies. It is a lengthy one, but don't let that discourage you from reading it in its entirety. It offers very provocative information, and is quite intriguing by my standards! Of particular interest is the section dedicated to interracial relationships. Now, if you didn't read that section of the article, what I am about to write, may not make sense to you. Just a heads up!
On to my thoughts. I agree with much of what she said in this article and found it very helpful and affirming. All sections had the "thumbs up" from me until I read the IR section. It had me feeling...shall I say...a little hopeless on the "young, black, single, woman" front. If we are to continue this "proof" among future generations, and those who could ensure that we create the "proof" are less than interested if at all, not on our level for the most part, and exist in drastically lower numbers than ourselves, then what are we to do? If Being in an interracial relationship does not qualify as being with our "natural" mates, and chances of arriving to the "proof" in interracial relationships are slim to none, then what is a young black woman to do?!

Oddly enough, this is where I felt the divestment concept may serve young black women well. By not holding ourselves to the obligation of reproducing the "proof" we are free to be with whom we want and are fully accepting of the consequences of the unions we choose to be a part of. In my heart of hearts, I would LOVE to have a little brown princess that favors her mother with kinky, coily, thick hair, bright brown eyes, and a charming and intelligent personality. But, if my future darling came into the world lacking all of those qualities except a charming and intelligent personality, I honestly would be fine with it. I mean, you could also say that a union with another black person could result in albino children? what then?

She addresses the common factor that contributed to the conclusion of her interracial relationships. Apparently, her continued interest in issues pertaining to black people did not fair well, because her white love interests wanted her to conform to their comfort zone. I question whether "black issues" were a black people thing or a black men thing, if you know what I mean. This is where I think reading the divestment series on the blog: blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com come in very handy. These posts are a great place to start: http://blackwomenblowthetrumpet2.blogspot.com/2009/12/repost-free-agency-of-black-woman.html  and  http://blackwomenblowthetrumpet2.blogspot.com/2009/12/repost-annihilation-of-black-men.html
As young black women, especially those of us who choose to be in relationships with men or women of another race or ethnicity than ourselves, we will have to make changes in how we navigate a social landscape that is not comprised of solely black men and black women. Whether some of us are willing to make the necessary changes is a personal decision. For me, living well and passing that on to the future generations of my family, is a primary concern. Whatever I have to do to get there, will be done. period.

LIVING WELL: since we are on the topic of living well, I encourage all of you gorgeous young black women to think about financially educating yourselves. If that means purchasing the text, Personal Finance for Dummies, then by all means do it!. I think the website: http://www.kiplinger.com/ is a great place to start! Get your money right ladies. The economic decline in the United States and other countries closely tied to our economy is not a joke. In fact, according to the United Nations' 2009 report of the Millennium Development Goals, the financial crisis has caused their goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2015 to seriously reverse itself. A goal of mine is to create multiple streams of income. Being dependent on one job alone just doesn't seem safe at all.

LIVING WELL: Have you all been keeping up with the headlines regarding the health care debate? PLEASE DO. It affects us just as much if not more. As young black women, we need to make sure that at least some part of the day or week is spent updating ourselves on what is happening in our government. I am currently under the same insurance coverage as my mother, which is provided by her employer. However, this won't be the case very soon and I have been researching different options for insurance coverage for my health. I am not ashamed to admit that I haven't had a real check-up at the doctors office for a while simply because I could not afford it, even with coverage! I don't plan on making this a habit at all. You shouldn't either.

ON A SIDENOTE: To add a little fun to this posting, I invite all of you to log on to the website: hulu.com and check out this new science-fiction show called, Flash Forward. Gabby Union is said to be paired with Asian Actor, John Cho, who is is indeed very handsome! Granted, I have been keeping up to date about the celeb antics of Ms. Union (D.Wade...hint*...not divorced yet...hint*...homewrecker accusations...yea.), but I do support the fact that our image is represented in a loving and feminine way with a man who is of a different race, which only serves to promote a positive image of young black women that benefits us in the long run. The storyline is very engaging as well. They have an entire website dedicated to the film! Take a study break ladies and catch up on the first two episodes if you can.

Till next time! I have great ideas for postings in the near future so please be sure to look out for those!

Friday, September 4, 2009

GREAT READINGS and Getting to Know Me

Hello Ladies, I hope you all are still out there, my apologies for the delay in posting. I have been hard at work not only in classes, but in making preparations for life after college. I would like to encourage you all to read the recent postings at Khadija's blog, Muslim Bushido. http://muslimbushido.blogspot.com/2009/09/why-its-important-to-have-dating.html


Now, I am going to share. One of the reasons I am doing this is because as my 4th year in college proceeds, many of the same sentiments I have had for a while have never left me and continue to creep up and bring me much discomfort. I honestly feel attending the U of___ was a mistake. I can barely talk about my experience here because of how much it hurts to look back on all that I went through mentally and emotionally while living here. For the most part, I spent my time here dateless and unhappy. I carry the prestige and name forever, but if I had the opportunity to do it again. I wouldn't. In some instances, I FEEL ROBBED. I researched as much as I could and spoke with students of color from ___ on the phone to get a feel for what to expect. I don't believe they told me the truth at all. Not one. It was a living hell here for my first three years. It continues to be a living hell, although I have no expectations of it being anything but, which in most cases makes it tolerable. Too stifling to really spread my wings and just BE. It is a fight to stay alive as a young progressive and open to interracial dating black woman here. I am thankful of it being the final time I have to set foot on this campus, but deep down I felt this place never really appreciated me. I obviously can't do anything about the past, but I am telling this story to let you all know how important it is to do everything in your power to live well every step of the way. Yes, we are "young" but when time goes, it goes. There is nothing you can do to get it back. For the young women who are still in high school and beginning to apply for college, try to visit these Universities while they are in session. Find out what kind of clubs or support groups they have on campus that cater to black women. Speak with female faculty, and if they are black female faculty, ask about their involvement with the student body. For the ladies beginning their first or second year of college, get out there and be a part of different non-black oriented clubs. The goal is not only for you to see new things, but I sure know I want the non-black men to see you too. To the ladies finishing up their college years, maintain those bonds and contacts that have supported you the most and seek places in or out of the country that are safe and foster an environment that allows you to meet men and women of high caliber. This experience has certainly taught me lessons I will never forget, but it doesn't have to be this way for you. If any of you are curious as to which University I spoke of, let me know.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ladies, PLEASE educate yourselves about sex

Yesterday I was fortunate to catch an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show and her topic dealt with sex education for young pre-teens, teenagers, and their parents. A specific moment of the show that completely had my admiration was a conversation between Dr. Laura Berman and a young couple who were both 14 years old. Both of the pre-teens had genuinely strong feelings for each other and wanted to experience sexual intercourse with one another soon. When Dr. Laura Berman calmly asked the young man what would happen after sex, and how long he planned to be in this relationship, he responded 6 months to a year. The young woman was a little surprised (based on her facial expression to his response) but could not give a solid answer as to how long she wanted the relationship to continue. Dr. Berman calmly asked the couple what their plans were in the case that the girl may get pregnant. The young girl responded that she couldn't even imagine what she would do in the event that she were pregnant. By the end of the show, the young girl was not sure about having sex with her boyfriend, and the young man still was open to the idea of having sex but hesitant to actually go forward with the act.
Now, if you would like to access more information on this show, I would visit the Oprah.com website and peruse around for Dr. Laura Berman. But my purpose for posting about this is because the discussion about sexual education has not happened for a number of young black women, and unfortunately leads to regret, broken hearts, unwanted pregnancy, STD's or worse. How many of us actually had a mother, father, or adult guardian who sat down with us and engaged in a dialogue (not a lecture or declaring"DON'T DO IT!") about sex? Did they explain the anatomy of a male and a female? Did they explain the feelings and emotions that you could experience when dating someone for the first time? Did they provide other options to intimacy in a relationship that didn't involve sexual intercourse. Did they explain the necessity of having more than one form of contraception because of the condoms potential to break? Did they walk you through step by step about what to do if you were to become pregnant. Did they discuss this with the respective boyfriend or girlfriend? Did they involve the parents of the boyfriend or girlfriend? As you can tell, there are quite a lot of questions that need to be asked before any two people engage in the sexual act. Does this dialogue even happen between the young black women out there and their boyfriends, girlfriends, lovers, etc? If not, it definitely should. I invite all of you to take a look at this link:
It may be for parents and preteens, but even I learned a few new things by taking a look at the information available. I also plan on doing future posts about the steps we should already be taking in terms of sexual health. Until then, stay determined to live well, and cheer up a little (at least the economy may be bouncing back lol!)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

You have a hand in the life you want

As a 21 year old student about to start my senior year of college, I am coming to terms with no longer being financially supported by my mother. AHHH! Very scary, atleast for those of us who have never given real thought to the prospect of real I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-C-E. Sooo...instead of crying over this realization (as I probably would have done about 3 years ago lol), I decided to be strategic about it. I immediately jumped on that social networking site called facebook which is literally the one thing that keeps me "in touch" with people I've met in college that have long since graduated and moved on with their lives, and I sent them thank you messages. I wrote a list of all the people I met while interning this summer and sent them messages as well. After doing this I felt so much better! By focusing on the blessings I had and reflecting on how much I appreciated the good they had contributed to my life, being on my own didn't seem so daunting anymore. These individuals were just a few years older than myself and had to experience senior year anxiety as well. They survived it, and most importantly, could help guide me through it. Within hours, I got responses from a little over half of who I wrote to, and even a few offered to give me a place to stay after I graduated.
A bigger point that I want to express, is the importance of creating the social network that you ABSOLUTELY NEED when you are on your own. Trust me, you will be a happier person when you make that extra effort to cultivate friendships with people. BUT! With each person you meet, I believe you have to evaluate whether or not this person could make a valuable contribution to your life in the same capacity you could to their's. Don't give your best self away all willy nilly to individuals who could care less about you. You usually find this out given a little time and observation of their actions toward you.
I can honestly say that I grew up with a fairly close immediate family (mom, dad, siblings) but my extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) is literally shot. There is no contact at all in that arena, and it does hurt to see other people who benefit from having strong HEALTHY ties with extended family members that often leads to opportunities career-wise, socially, etc. I came to the conclusion that having a distant family was not for me. I know that in order to have the type of family I would like, I have to make an effort in creating that family by opening myself to deserving individuals who intend to support and encourage me to live the best life I possibly can. I also know that having hang-ups on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and the like could hinder my chances of having that family.
Are young black women of today actively cultivating meaningful relationships with individuals that could be great potential members of their support system? Do you already have a support system that just needs a little tweaking (how about that great professor you had in high school, or your former manager, or the upper classman that gave you great advice before they graduated)? Send them a HELLO! and a THANK YOU! What do you want for yourself 5 to 10 years from now regarding relationships with people? How are you working toward that?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dear Mother...

My mother has held a very prominent position in my life. She is indeed my sole provider while I complete my last year of college and the first person I ran to call when I simply needed a listening ear.
However, these days, I am reminded on a continual basis how much our relationship has changed. Sometimes it appears that our relationship has reached a breaking point. One which forces me to consider just how much I will allow her to be a part of the life I want for myself in the future.
I love my mother for all the good that she has contributed to me, but I find that more and more, the differences in how we see life, marriage, health, relationships with family, or friends are very different. So different that I have been made to feel guilty for holding opinions contrary to her own. It is a destructive pattern that I notice with disagreements between myself and my mother. One that sometimes smells like resentment, or jealousy, or perhaps a power struggle over my mind and emotions.
As I work toward realizing the best life for me, making the decision of who will be allowed in my personal sphere grows more difficult when I think about my mother. My heart would love to have "my mother" in my life for all time! But, my mind knows that the energy generated from our differences is not one that breeds much encouragement or support to go for my goals. Being the young and powerful women we are, how are we successfully navigating relationships with our mothers despite the obvious generational differences. Given our exposure to black female empowerment blogs, are there new differences coming to light that were a non-issue before? If so, what are we doing to turn these moments of frustration or hurt, into launch points for the lives we intend to live?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Introduction

Hello and Welcome to a very new blog! After being a faithful reader of various blogs dedicated to positively influencing black women, I recognized quite a few young black women in their teens, 20's, and 30's who were touched by the message as much as myself. This blog is my attempt to reach out and connect with young black women on issues we may be facing at a very transitional time in our lives. I encourage all, irrespective of age, class, origin, etc. to participate in the discussions and brainstorming sessions we have. I look forward to the potential of this blog and hope to hear from Young Black Women Determined to Live Well like myself!