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: 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: Don’t Allow Fear to Hold You Back!!!

OK. I know that this has been said so much that it has almost become a cliche. But it speaks so much volume into the importance of living life on the other side of fear. I for one am a complete scarey cat, and I allowed fear to control my actions for so many years that it is ridiculous. I wasted time and energy that could have used becoming the force in this world that I know I can be. I lost precious time not living the life that I truly deserve and one thing is for sure lost time is something that you can never get back. Life is about taking chances and not taking those chances only leave you with regrets and the never ending shoulda, coulda, wouldas. Which we all know are never cute or cuddly. I remember reading awhile ago that when it comes to realizing your dreams the bigger the fear the larger your reward. Even if things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to no experience is ever lost. I have learned the most about myself during the times that that may have been considered failures to most. Now I realize my only real failures are when I don’t do anything at all. Not acting on the things that I have burning inside of my spirit, not allowing myself to grow into the women that I was meant to be is not only a disservice to myself but also to others. We are not put on this earth only to serve ourselves. God puts us here for a purpose and that purpose will always relate to something that is deep down inside of you. I have found that many times in helping others I have also helped myself. When I started doing stage performs I scared to death, for awhile when a friend of mine asked me to do it I wouldn’t until I realized that the performances weren’t about me. The content and the material being received and the message getting across was what was important and that motivated me to step further outside of myself.
So right now I am currently in the process of writing my first book of poetry about love, passion, and broken hearts. A lot of these poems are about some very personal experiences to me, so it feels like I am putting my soul on paper for the world to see. Many things of these poems are composed of words that I have been too afraid the say in person to those that I am writing about and that resulting in failed relationships and a lot of hurt feelings. So you can see why the concept of actually releasing this book petrifies me. At times it is almost paralyzing, so much so I have been working on this book since 2008. There are a lot of poems that I am not going to include because in the being I was so scared my writings came across as scared, and there were a few years in between that I didn’t write at all. Then I heard a speech about fear and one of the things the speaker said in regards to unrealized dreams is “not to die with that book still inside you.” The truth is I don’t know how this book may sell but if it reaches someone who needs it that’s all I really want. Of course I would like it to be a success but I will be a lot better when I get it on a shelf and know I did not die with this book still inside me.
Whether your fear is of heights and its keeping you from taking that dream vacation or writing your first novel. You will never know what is on the other side of fear until you do it. You will not have what that experience will bring into your life. You have to think positive, listen to your instincts then do the things that are stirring within you. You’ll never know what the outcome will be.
Lou HargroveIMG_1972.PNG

Monday Motivation: The Greatest Love Is Self Love!

Please take the time to read these lyrics and if you can listen to the song while reading this post:

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be

Everybody’s searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone who fulfilled my needs
A lonely place to be
And so I learned to depend on me

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed at least I’ll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity

Because the greatest love of all is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all inside of me
The greatest love of all is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed at least I’ll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity

Because the greatest love of all is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all inside of me
The greatest love of all is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all

And if by chance that special place
That you’ve been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love

-Whitney Houston

I know that this is a little late in the day for a Monday motivation post but I still felt as though it was important to post this today. For some reason I have heard this song a few times over this weekend. The first time I was hanging out with a friend and the song began to plan and each person in the group we were in began to sing. Everyone there new the song because it has been the graduation song here for a number of years. But it reminded me of those positive messages and affirmations that this song possesses I remember walking across the stage feeling like I could conquer anything. I think song was essential to my generation in our you.
Then yesterday I was listening to Whitney Houston and I heard it again. And suddenly it carried a different meaning a stronger connotation, especially looking at myself 20yrs later. All the messages and affirmations that made this song to beautiful to me as a teenager become even more powerful after living though the struggles and finally realizing that all the love I spent so many years looking outward for what way deep inside of me and all I had to do was nurture and feed it and it would grow. And as I’ve discussed before placed myself on a journey to improve who I was and take better care of me in the process.
Yesterday listening to this song I couldn’t help but to wonder about Whitney’s own person journey and how sadly her life ended. Wondering had she ever found that point in her life when she found peace, freedom, and love in herself that she had been so blessed to share with others. But it reminds of the responsibility that we have to inspire and lift each other up not just youth but adults as well. Sometimes people need a little extra push towards their dreams an believing in themselves.
So today if you see anyone who is down and need a little extra assist, give kind words it could be saving a life.IMG_1791.JPG

Dare to Win: Monday Motivation

In the beginning of the week I am always on Instagram and tumblr looking for inspirations quotes and pictures to get my week started. Even though my work week starts on Saturday their is still a newness to the week that Mondays still bring to me. Maybe it’s because Monday is actually my humpday and the inspiration gets me through the rest of the week, whatever it is on Mondays I always look for a boost. 
So I came across this picture late lastnight and it just seemed to give me an extra boost plus some, because there is such a raw truthfulness in its content it’s amazing. Lately I have been pondering my writing career and for the most part the lack there of, and have been spend a few sleepless nights trying to figure out what my next step was. So of course the artist part of me decided to turn inward to see what have been my problems in the past. One of my major faults were I had spend a lot of time trying to fit in and be accepted by those that I admired professionally and just was afraid to go to far and allow myself to be judged for being to sexy or too racey or just too much. With that I am going to dare to step out of my comfort zone and write about thing both professionally and artisticly that I have been afraid to write about in the past. I am going to dare to be bold and answer some of the questions that people would like to know, or write a sensual lullaby that will poetically caress the readers eyes. And I will do it will love and passion, because at the end of the day those are the things that make work not feel like work anymore.  
What are the things that you are daring to do? Ladies what are some health and sex questions that you would like answered? Please leave a comment or email me at redbutterflypublishing@gmail.com

Lou Hargrove

Monday Motivation: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

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I have noticed over the last few days there have been a flood of self love messages about not comparing yourself to others so I have really been thinking about the how we all really do have indivual journey’s and it is not for us or anyone else to compare mine to someone else’s. The reason why I am jumping on the bandwagon is because as I mentioned in a previous post my birthday is coming up in a few days and I have been freaking out. Everything I have not done over my years of being an adult especially the fact that I am a single woman without children and my career wasn’t moving the way that I would have hoped at this age were hitting the surface of my reality with the same intensity that hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey shore. I thought about how I have had friendships end or become strained because I have had a friend to get married and become super critical of the fact that I still single and still dating and told me I just need to be by myself. Then there was the girlfriend that was still living in her mother’s house with two children that informed me that her mother didn’t think that I was doing enough with my life for us to remain friends, which perplexed me because I do work two jobs, own my own business, and have my own place. I have to admit that there was a pity party for a few days because I felt so alone and accomplished so I took to a few of the inspirational youtubers for assistance and I was surprised that the messages had been the same a “Stop comparing yourself to others”. Which is something that I know, but as humans we can already know things and when someone else is in need we are able to give a wealth of wisdom and knowledge but are usually unable to do it for ourselves (at least I can’t). I thought  about how easy it is to for us to compare our journey to others just like others can compare of our journey to theirs. Sometimes we like those around us feel as though if we are not doing things at the same time or same rate as others that we are doing something wrong. First of all we must be very honest with ourselves and because it is OK not to want the samethings and the people around you. It is ok to take a risque and pursue a career that you love (as long as your bills are still getting paid). The beauty of it is that God created each of us differently and gave up all a seperate journey. Each individual journey takes its own unique path in this world and which path you take is for you to decide. Though I admit I am a little disappointed to my life may not have accomplished everything that I have wanted in the time span I may have wanted I had to realize that I have been able to accomplish beautiful things and have been blessed with opportunities that I never would have imagined. Instead of comparing what we have and what we are doing to others take the time out and evalute your own personal journey with the dreams and goals that you have set for yourself. Being comfortable with who you are will strengthen you confidence in a way that will allow you to travel your journey in a new bold and beautiful way. When I take the time to focus on my own individual dreams and purpose I find that growth and opportunity knocks much faster. I was watching Andrea Lewis this morning on Youtube and made a great point by saying the only person that you should ever compare yourself to is you. Remember that in life you are the only one that can live your life and live your life only. That is the one thing that I have to keep in mind before the next pity party and hopefully it won’t happen.

Lou Hargrove