Too Busy To Be Sick?

Last month I did a post “Relax, Relate, Refresh” discussing the busyness of life and how we get so easily overwhelmed with all of the things in life we attempt to juggle. But what about when we become too busy to even be sick or even too tired to know we are sick. I know I am a huge culprit of saying every time I get a sore throat that I am too busy to get sick, and in the midst of it all ignore the signs that my body is giving me to let me know that I need to rest, recharge, or even see a doctor. We constantly set other priorities in our lives on other things such as school, work, family, relationship, etc., that we totally forget about ourselves.

Last week a woman very close to me had a severe health crisis, she was so tired from her long days with work and school that she didn’t even realize that something was wrong. Then while being hospitalized she was more preoccupied with missed work and deadlines than she was getting well. Which means she still was not taking the time for herself that was necessary in a proper recovery.

Even with more and more information now available about how we should take care of our health and wellbeing, we still seem to be trapped in a society where the superwoman is no longer super but expected. We watch on television these extraordinary women that go through cancer treatment while never missing a day from work, have major surgeries or babies and return to work right away without their doctor’s permission. Their was a time in history when this is what black women were forced to do and that’s when we were slaves and housemaids, now we do it because that’s what we are used to. Because we must work harder than anyone else either because of our own goals and dreams or because have others that depend on us to keep moving and providing. And most of us feel like we can’t afford to stop or slowdown even for a moment.  But we still seem to be missing a major question, “What happens when there is no us?”. The point is we cannot allow ourselves to be worn out to the point that we are no longer available to help ourselves or anyone else. Taking care of our health and well-being is a major contribution to this world because it allows us to be around a lot longer to do what we do.

Sincerely,

Lou Hargrove

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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.

Bringing sexy back

Last week I made a post and I mentioned getting my swag back. For some reason I didn’t take into consideration that I was self-publishing and actually had to go out and promote. I had gotten so comfortable in my tights and sweats now that tax season is over, it took me off guard when it was time to reach into my bag of tricks and bring it together for press, promotional pictures, open mic events, and interviews. I actually had that moment of “I don’t feel like it”. It had been awhile since I had gotten dressed to go anywhere other than work or rehearsal, and with working and trying to finish the book it was just way too much to do more than shower and jump into some clothes to go about my day. However, once I started spending more than 10 minutes in the mirror I remembered how nice it was to actually take the time to slip into something pretty and sexy. Taking that few extra minutes in the mirror does a lot to add a little boost to my confidence as a woman. Now don’t get me wrong I wasn’t necessarily feeling a lack of confidence, to be honest I had been working so much over the last year or so feeling feminine and sexy just was no longer a priority. There was so much on my plate that I ignored myself as a sacrifice to get things done. I was surviving on 2-hrs of sleep a day and as much as I needed make up to hide the bags under my eyes I just didn’t have time, not to mention trying to maintain my natural hair I wore a turban or a bun any chance I could just to make sure I would be out the door as fast as possible. (Isn’t amazing what part of ourselves we give up to make ends meet.)

Thankfully those time are not behind me and while I am still in the midst of an extremely busy schedule I am also forced to look at myself twice in the mirror, especially now that I have to be conscious of my brand and I want to be seen. Now I know it’s nothing wrong with being lacks at times but now when it doesn’t feel natural and most times I was too tired and worn out to feel feminine or sexy. But today is new day and I know that it is never too late to create change and why not start in the spring where everything is fresh new and beautiful. So I will be keeping in touch with a few new purchases, hair, nails and even an occasional OOTD or OOTF. I can’t wait to see how my own progress will move into the summer months.

See you Soon,

Lou Hargrove

Monday Motivation: Know Your Power (guest post)

We often second guess ourselves in an attempt to make excuses of why we can’t accomplish any of our goals. Whether the goal is a career change, a scenic change, even financial stability, there is always a huge excuse standing in the way. Don’t deny it, we all have been there. Too many woman believe that they are inferior. Now, I’m not trying to be the next Stacy Dash, but I wouldn’t be considered so open-minded if I didn’t take into consideration some of the points she made, or at least what I felt she was “trying” to make. I felt as though she was saying, as a woman, even though statistics are against her, she is still in control of her future and will not let anyone put a limit on what she could achieve. Yes, the execution of her statement was a bit shaky but don’t sleep on it.
Women are powerful beings. Unfortunately, many of us tend to forget this because of what we are told. But, today is a new day. Today you must remember that your accomplishments have no limits and the big excuses standing in your way are just a figment of your imagination.

To help get things started here’s my top ten quotes, spoken by powerful black women, to help inspire change this week. Jot them down and place them in places you can always refer back to when you need that little extra boost.

1. “Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.” – Alice Walker

2. “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” -Oprah Winfrey

3. “Always be smarter than the people who hire you.” -Lena Horne

4. “No person has the right to rain on your dreams.” -Marian Wright Edelman

5. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” -Maya Angelou

6. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” -Alice Walker

7. “I have a lot of things to prove to myself. One is that I can live my life fearlessly.” -Oprah Winfrey

8. “The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.” -Ruby Dee

9. “Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without it, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.” – Mary McLeod Bethune

10. “Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face.” -Carol Moseley Braun

Sources:
http://www.forharriet.com

Yolanda Hargrove
Follow her blog at beyoncepostermain (2)Simply Stated yhargrove.wordpress.com

Monday Motivation: Finding Our Beauty

In the last few weeks I have seeing a lot of discussions about black women and their natural hair feeling insecure which I discussed on Friday on my blog redbuttaflydiva.com, the show Being Mary Jane has been doing a great job discussing the topic and black women and beauty, and last night’s Black Girls Rock. These different notes and conversations has really had me thinking.

Last weekend I performed in a For Colored Girls at one of the near by colleges and each time I perform in this play and listen to each poem that performed and talk to other members of the cast it really makes me wonder about black women and our definition of beauty. There are a few characters in the play that clearly define their beauty by their sexuality and their being wanted by a man. In the end they do find what they need on the inside but how often in real life do we not find the beauty and validation that we need on the inside. When do we stop looking for the attention or approval from others to feel beautiful.

What really concerns me so must is not just the validation seeking, because we all have been guilty at some point, but the fact that we will never find it. There is and always will be someone out their with an opinion of how black women should look and what defines our beauty. When the truth is we are ones that define our own beauty. Whether we are darker, lighter, weaved, relaxed, or natural our beauty is defined by the women we see in the mirror and how we feel about her. There will always be someone out there that will never approve to anything that we do, but when you find that beauty deep down in your being nothing else matters.

We must be willing to love and celebrate ourselves when no one else is, because how we feel about the woman that stares back at us each morning in the mirror is beautiful. The sooner we are able to realize this the less weight the negativity that surrounds these topics will have.

Lou Hargrove

Living Single Life: Taking Good with the Bad

Well it’s Friday I have had a rough week at work and i run out of the office like I’m being chased by lightening. I come home and walk in the house longing for that hug or kiss on the forehead that says, “It’s ok” or “I’t will get better”, but as a stick my key in the door and slam my purse in the kitchen counter the only noises that echoes inside my home are that of my own. So I turned around and reached into fridge for that emergency bottle of wine and then into the cabinet for a glass. With wine in hand I sit on the couch and sigh. This is the moment I hate the most about the single life, those moments that crave to be held and protected when the world around me seems too much. A few glasses of white merlot later an plans of earlier morning shoe shopping all is right in the world I remember what I love about the single life is that I am only accountable to me. There are no raised eyebrows in judgement when I have a few glasses of wine before dark or the fact that I may get a little to excited over the plan of early morning shopping.
Being single has its pros and cons just like anything else in life. There are those moments we may despise about being a single girl but if we take the time to be complete honest with ourselves there are certain things that we are comfortable with that we never want to give up. Now I am recently single and prior to my last relationship I had been single for years and we that complete freedom of being single was gone I had to admit I wasn’t thrilled. I was used to coming and going as I pleased and wasn’t used to sharing that time with a person that didn’t always want to do what I wanted to do. Now don’t get me wrong it was nice not to hear those questions from family member like, “Why don’t you want a boyfriend?” Or that famous reminder “You know your not getting any younger?” I know we heard this all before, and for me every year over thirty it seemed to get worse. Of course there are special occasions and life accomplishments that I would love to share with a significant other, but one one must admit that there is a feeling of liberation when we are able to make some of these accomplishments on our own, like the purchase of a first home for example. For me personally I especially dislike spending my birthdays alone even more so after the age reminders I usually get every year since I turned 30. Then there is also that quiet me time when I able to sit alone and gather my thoughts and catch my breath that I find harder to get when in a serious relationship (for some reason I’ve needed more since age 30). Life and financial responsibilities can feel overwhelming and cumbersome when I look around and realize that I am the only one, but again the feeling of accomplish after the burden is over has a certain special satisfaction. Being single does have its set of pressures and inconveniences as well as its moments and advantages, but the beauty of it is that it is a constant opportunity for self evaluation. I have been able to learn so much about what I want and don’t want, what I can tolerate and what I cannot. Even in those lonely times there is a huge opportunity for self reflection and learning what our need and wants truly are.

Lou Hargrove
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