Magical Women

Believe it or not this is a wonderful time to be a Black Woman. Now there are times when it won’t feel like it and honestly it should always be a wonderful time to be yourself, but there has been some beauty in the horizons. Starting with the Emmys Viola Davis’ amazing speech last week made it very clear that we are doing some amazing things in areas Black Women were never taken seriously. We may not be doing everything that we wish we were or have climbed to the top of the game as we would like to but we definitely are making some major moves and have started to be recognized for our achievements. This demonstrates one very important thing- Our voice is starting to be noticed.

As black women our voices have been smothered, silenced, and even beaten out of us. Remember when Celie decided to leave Albert in Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple”- ” Who you think you is? You can curse nobody. Look at you. Your black, you’re poor, you’re ugly, you’re a woman, you’re nothing at all!”  As I’ve gotten older I realized how much emphasis he put in that statement and that her being a woman was the worst on that list and her blackness was the first of her nothingness. How many times have any of us experienced this type of labeling just because we are black women? We see it in the media, in the workplace, even in our families and intimate relationships. We have even seen it amongst other women. But the beauty in this scene in the movie was no matter what Albert said to Celie he couldn’t undo her realization that she too was a magical woman she no longer stayed stuck in the box that others had put her in her entire life. Like Celie many of us get boxed in we are just little girls.

This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing Black Girl: Linguistic Play by Camille A. Brown and Dancers at the Joyce Theater in New York City that focused on just that us being girls. The show celebrated the magical power of being a being a black girl from the games we play, the bonds we make, through our discovery of self with the rhythms and gestures of childhood. It was a wonderful demonstration how we grow, play, and evolve into something bold and unstoppable with our voices only growing louder and more powerful where we can longer be ignored.

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Monday Motivation: Who are you vs. Who you are suppose to be…

Recently I have thinking about how many of us me included have or have had a really hard time during our lives trying to differentiate who we are compared to who we are suppose to be. It’s one of the those internal struggles that one can often get lost in and even defeated by. When I was younger I really struggled with: Who was I suppose to be? What was suppose to do? How am I suppose to act? Even, How am I suppose to look? Really, who decides these things? We do!

I have to realize after I got older that it was not anyone else’s opinion about who I suppose to be or even who I was it was mine. In getting to the who we are suppose to be we first must examine who we are and understand that it in order to get to who we are “meant to be” is a growth process. Understanding who we are as individuals is how we develop into our destined selves. Truth is the entire concept of “who are you suppose to be” is nothing more that a distraction.

Most of the time if we are trying to do what we think or what someone else told us we were suppose to do we are just on a mission to please someone else family, partners, teachers, spiritual leaders, or even God. I got to the point where I believed that I was suppose to be what other’s wanted me to be and my own innate skills and interest were wrong. Once I got older and started to embark on a journey where I worked and developed my skills, interest, and gifts I realized that I wasn’t meant to be what other’s wanted me to be. I was meant to be what God had created me to be (why do you think he gave us those gifts). But what was really important, I realized that it was truly all about the journey.

During that journey of chasing all of the wrong outlets, people, and careers was how I realized that I was already “who” I was suppose to be and “where” I suppose to be. So though I may not always enjoy the journey I understand it has allowed embrace that who I was “meant” to be was always in me the entire time.

Enjoy the journey,

Lou Hargrove

Artistic Rejuvenation?

For the last month I have been working nonstop. Last month I did a pretty big book signing (though it never really feels like work I had to put in quite a few hours in planning) and I been putting in a ton of overtime at my 9-5 so it has been an exhausting few months for me. However, since I have been working on a part 2 to Passion & Turmoil (available on Amazon, Kindle, and redbutterflypublishing.com) I really need and artistic boost of energy. I have been doing so much that I don’t feel like my brain ever stops for a nap, so since its so awake and active I need to rejuvenate it with some art, love, and sensuality and my go to place was what I really expected.
So I took a day trip to the City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia), where is my go to when I just have a few hours to escape. I started my day early enough to spend some time in the park, take a stroll around Center City and do a little people watching. I even made a few pit stops on Chestnut St. to do a little shopping. Though a few new items play with always thrill me, it still was not helping my case. Off to the park I went, first I went to Love Park to see if I could glimpse a few couples strolling through or see any artist outside playing and their was the usual tourist taking pictures, skateboarders, and a few locals just hanging around. No groups mixing each one separated into their own corner. It was kind of sad there such a dryness in many of the individuals especially the locals and it was heartbreaking. Even the fountain was turned off and drained. There was such an obvious difference between the two groups while the tourists where happy to take pictures the love statue the locals seemed to be barely existing. The atmosphere was very thick and heavy, which is a huge example to so many things that are going on and so many changes that needs to be made, then my mind started spinning, working, and wondering. Then I remembered what this trip was for, though it gave me so much to write about it just not what I was look for today.
So went across the street and outside of The Sip with a Love Park Lemonade and watched two toddler boys play in the shooting water, laughing, splashing, and running. And there it was, innocence! Carefree innocence, the stuff your not allowed to have as an adult, that’s why its such a precious gift for a child something the must have an opportunity to have. For some reason, at that thought I relaxed then and calmed for a bit and allowed myself time to just be in the moment. Which is sometimes hard for me. I am glad that I took the time to take a break from everyone and everything. However, though I didn’t come back home with a new spring in my step or a super amazing love poem I did see a lot to write about.

See you Soon,

Lou Hargrove

photo by: Yolanda Hargrove

Monday Motivation: Relax, Reflect, and Refresh…

Today marks the official end of summertime fun, though the sun is still high and shinning school is back in full swing and most summer vacations are over. Hopefully, everyone took some time this summer to reflect on their plans for the fall and leading into the new year, but this should not be the end of an occasional breaks and vacations.
The older I get the more I realize that it is important to take the time to relax, reflect, and refresh. Continual moving isn’t healthy for anyone. I am very guilty of moving constantly and never taking a break to reflect and think with an unclouded mind. Even when I say that I am taking time off I usually just dive into to new projects. A few years ago I realized that I had a fear of appearing lazy. For whatever reason I have noticed that women without children are expected to have these busy lives to make up for not having children or they are considered just “lazy”, which we all now is very far from the truth. Last year I finally realized that my busyness wasn’t at all healthy no matter how productive I thought I was. I made that discovery around the same time I discovered that I was no longer concerned with what people thought. With or without children we have our own lives to live and we are in charge of how we live them and those that are on the outside looking in and taking the time to care for ourselves and our well-being is very important not to just our physical health but also for our mental health as well.
This summer I actually took the time to spend some time on the beach, cut back on my work schedule, and try to spend more time with friends. Though I will discuss it in another post I have seen a lot more information about the unhealthy consequences for women who don’t rest or take the time out for their bodies or their mental health. I remember reading articles about how taking a break was for women only involved a 5-10 minute bathroom break, or a hot bath. Our break does not need to revolve around our necessities. Its only right that we are aloud to be able to nurture ourselves while we are in the world nurturing everyone else. It is very important to take care of yourself in order to keep taking care of everything else.

More info coming soon,

Lou Hargrove