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!

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?