Hello March

“Being alive and being a woman is all I got, but being colored is a metaphysical dilemma I haven’t conquered yet.” -For Colored Girls

One of the best things about life (for me) is being a woman, not that I know what being a man feels like but the idea that when GOD created me he gave me one of the greatest abilities, to be able to carry and bring forth life and that is something to be celebrated (Along with a few other things that make being a woman great!).  As we enter the third month of the year (March 2016 already, sheesh) I am excited to celebrate National Women’s History Month. As I was working on a diversity project highlighting famous women for my son’s school I began to think of the phenomenal women that I have encountered and surrounded myself with over the years. From my grandmothers to my co-workers, there is and always has been greatness all around me. During the month of March I will take time to acknowledge those women in some shape form or fashion, be it an uplifting text message, a phone call or a dinner date. Something to simply say, “Thank you!” I encourage you to do the same.

You don’t have to be famous to make history. However, I will also spend a little time spotlighting some of my favorite women in history, and here is one of my favorites.

Hello March!!

“There are no good girls gone wrong – just bad girls found out.”  -Mae West

“If I were White I could capture the world.”-Dorothy Dandridge

[Black] Girl, Interrupted

“It’s like you’re screaming and no one can hear you.”-Angelina Jolie as Lisa Rowe “Girl, Interrupted”

One of my favorite movies is the 1999 film “Girl, Interrupted” by James Mangold starring Wynona Ryder and Angelina Jolie[who won an Oscar for her performance as Lisa Rowe]. MV5BMTUyNjUzMjk2MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDQyMTAxMw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_This film takes you inside the 18-month stay of Susanna Kaysen in an 1960’s psychiatric hospital following a suicide attempt. Showing a raw and uncut look at the struggles of women from various walks of life with mental illness. Funny thing about this film is that it there are no African-American patients on the ward, one of the only black faces in the movie is that of Whoopi Goldberg who plays nurse Valerie Owens. It wasn’t until recently that I noticed the lack of black faces “on the ward” on this film, but then it occurred to me that this was not because the hospital [in the film] was segregated but because even then mental illness in the African-American community is and still is considered taboo. Why? In 2016, when there are so many treatment options is the stigma of mental illness in African-American women still a “thing?” Continue reading

Monogamous-To Be..Or not..To Be

How important is monogamy? A simple question yet the answer is anything but. In a society where infidelity is so wildly popular it seems this has become the societal norm. The sanctity of marriage has become stained because of scripted series such as Scandal. Although the epidemic of “side chicks” is nothing new, just now it is part of the main stream.
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The Tattooed Admin (the new age secretary)

“An office can work without but the boss, but not without the secretary.”~Jane Fonda

In this day and age women in the administrative profession cringe at the thought of being referred to as a “secretary.” The politically correct term is and has been for quite some time “administrative professional”, but despite the title the responsibilities remain the same. As I was sitting in the airport this morning waiting to board my 6th flight in less than two months I came to the startling realization that as an Executive Administrative Professional I am the one that makes the machine run. But it was also in that same moment [as I was snapping selfies] that I realized I don’t look like my earlier counterparts.[You know kind of like Jane Fonda in the movie Nine to Five] Nothing about me reads “secretary” not my hair, my style of dress [which actually has more of a “I run this show” kind of vibe] and definitely not my fifteen [give or take one or two] tattoos.

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“I keep dreaming of a future, a future with a long and healthy life, not lived in the shadow of cancer but in the light.” Patrick Swayze

When I was a little girl I spent 90% of my time with my grandparents, so it goes without saying that I believed that both my Granny and Grandfather were made of something magical that would allow them immortality.

Jamesetta “Tootie” Williams July 10, 1039- January 22, 2015

But at nearly thirty years old I have come to the harsh realization that life does not last forever. At the age of 75 my Granny was diagnosed with stage 4 Uterine Cancer, just short of six months after diagnosis she lost her battle. This is HERStory.

I remember today, as if it happened yesterday; receiving a phone call from my aunt saying , “Mama is being transported to the Barnes, they think she has cancer.” It was almost as if in that moment the world stopped and all I could hear was the word “cancer”.  On August 23, 2014 around 5:30 pm I was told that my grandmother [Granny],Jamesetta “Tootie” Williams had been diagnosed in an emergency room with cancer of the stomach lining, she was immediately transported to the 17th floor of Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri; it wasn’t until later I would come to the realization that the 17th floor of BJH wasn’t the “cancer” floor it was the gynecological cancer unit. That night we were greeted by one of St. Louis’ most prestigious and respected gynecological oncologists and his team to explain the extent of my Granny’s condition. We would sit there listening as he threw out medical term after medical term explaining that the cancer was in the lining of her stomach, however it’s source was in the uterus and it was in fact stage 4. Ever the hopeful faith driven family we had faith in the physician and his staff. In all my years I could only ever remember by grandmother being sick or in the hospital a handful of times, but she always bounced back. I prayed that this time would be no different.

I remember when I was little getting my hair combed by my Grandmother.

On September 11th, 2014 my Granny underwent surgery in hopes that a complete hysterectomy would remove the root of the cancer allowing chemotherapy to kill the remaining cells. Along with surgery came complications that did not allow surgeons to remove all of the cancer; but they removed what they could without causing more damage. The long road ahead was just that, chemotherapy was not all [she] hoped it would be.[ I’m not really sure you hope for much with chemotherapy, but my Grandmother’s experience was a very difficult one.] During her initial treatment she suffered what we believed was a stroke but it was just an allergic reaction to the drugs, which meant the doctors had to switch her medications. My Granny spent the next few months in and out of the hospital and in inpatient rehabilitation facilities, all the while still with hopes of soon being cancer free.There were of course good days and bad days, but even on bad days her spirits were high. No matter how sick she was she was still a class act, her  nails were always painted, make-up flawless and her head wraps were top of the line. Her strength during her ordeal was inspiring; her grim prognosis never kept her from believing in the healing power or the love of GOD.

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