>The International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti is scheduled for March 31, 2010 in New York at the UN Headquarters. The conference is being hosted by the government of Haiti, the United States and the United Nations. The focus of the conference is on long-term recovery and reconstruction needs of Haiti, and to provide an opportunity for other nations and international entities who have not already done so to pledge their financial support.
The conference will be co-chaired by Brazil, Canada, France, Spain, and the European Union- all of which are major donors to Haiti’s recovery efforts. The conference will be webcast live with select sessions opened to other media.
>For International Day, Women for Women International held a Join Me on the Bridge global event that joined women and men across nations to honor and support the efforts of women in Rwanda and the DR Congo towards self-sufficiency, empowerment, and freedom from the harsh cruelties of war. It is amazing to see how many people came out to show their support on numerous bridges in cities around the world on March 6-8.
Bridges in New York City, Atlanta, San Francisco, London, Edinburgh, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, and other cities had supporters waving peace signs, flags, and pictures to passerby. What is especially touching is to see the images from Rwanda and DRC…the look of faith and hope in their eyes.
To see pictures from many of the locations visit: http://www.womenforwomen.org/bridge/media.php
I look forward to seeing a larger turnout next year as we continue celebrating our accomplishments as women internationally, while also demanding peace in those countries that rape, torture, mutilate, enslave, abuse, and murder women (and their children).
Through organizations like Women for Women International women in these countries will one day be free from living in fear, and free to live the life and be exposed to the opportunities many of us take for granted.
If you have not taken the time to learn about this great organization that I support, please visit their site today: http://www.womenforwomen.org/
Copyright © 2010 by Natasha L. Foreman
>The best way to gauge when you are indeed “over” a relationship is to assess how you “feel” about the person, the relationship, and how it is ending or has ended.
Do you still have the love letters, cards, and notes they gave you when life was all about the two of you? Do you find yourself frequently reading them, reminiscing, looking at your pictures and home movies?
Maybe you simply notice a numbness or indifference to that person, to the relationship…to the love you once shared.
It is also quite possible that you experience a sense of contentment, peace, or satisfaction.
When you get past the emotional roller coaster of anger, tears, sarcasm, and second-guessing yourself…when you get past speaking regularly about the other person, and your days no longer are sprinkled with images of them, sounds of their voice, urges to contact them, or thoughts of wondering what they are doing at that moment and who they are with…you are one step closer to being “over it”.
When a sense of peace blankets you and you see that relationship, that person, as an experience that was necessary to live without regret, but also without a desire to return… you have evolved beyond that level of experience…you are “over it” and “over” them.
Angry Woman Image Source: http://www.inspiration-for-singles.com/images/controlling-anger.jpg
Depressed Man Image Source: http://trendsupdates.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/depression-from-defence-magazine.jpg
Happy Woman Image Source: http://thekiwimillionaire.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/happiness.jpg
Love Letters Image Source: http://www.research.olemiss.edu/UMQuest/2006/Winter/images/LoveLetters.jpg
Pathway Image Source: http://amyjohines.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/journey-to-unknown.jpg
>So we left off looking back at the past fifteen and twenty years. Let’s move things along shall we?
Ten years ago my dad was still alive, and up until July 4, 2000 so was my dog, my baby, Nickalus- whom I mothered since I was in 7th grade. He died from the belief of cancer. I put a conspiracy twist on that, but that’s another story for another day. Oh gosh 2000 was a ridiculous period in my life…my parents divorced after 25 years of marriage (and roughly four years of separation…that was their second separation). Heck now that I think about it, 1995 through this period was all material for a book, movie, mini-series, and would have made a high-grossing run as a reality television show. I could cover a period long before 1995, but the “juicy” details started in 1995.
So in 2000, I went from having a career as a music industry executive with dreams of pursuing law school as a Civil Rights and Entertainment lawyer to co-managing an on-again-off-again boyfriend-slash-ex-fiancé who wanted to fire me every other month…yeah complicated was an understatement. I was also a Domestic Liaison (for a division in my dad’s company) working with other countries who wanted to acquire broadcasting rights to U.S. television shows and movies…and I had my own entertainment company managing and consulting R&B and Hip Hop artists and DJs.
Over a course of five years I had started writing poems and keeping them in notebooks and binders. A journal I had started in 1994 was looking more like a novel than reflective material to ponder, heal, and grow from. Who would have thought that excerpts from it would eventually be used as evidence in a court case in 2007? Go figure!
Five years ago this month I was planning a wedding to my on-again-off-again boyfriend-slash-ex-fiancé who was now somehow my fiancé again. Supposedly he had an epiphany about us and felt God was showing him that I was “the one” for him. He proposed to me June 2004 at my second job (I was working at a college, and a high school) and I said what the hell I’d take a gamble with it…worst case scenario I’d be single again. My dad had passed away July 2001 and my fiancé was the one man who knew what my dreams and goals meant to both me and my father. Despite the moments of ignorance he sometimes spewed out of his mouth, he was a highly intelligent and competitive person, and would push me to succeed…push me to work harder, study harder, and do more.
In 2005 I was more passionate about working within the education field. I had done a great deal of tutoring, speaking engagements, and volunteering within elementary, middle school, and high schools in Orange County, California. I saw teaching still as a strong career opportunity. So did my fiancé. He also saw another opportunity for me…being a life coach and motivational speaker. He said I was a natural and had already helped so many other people. That was something to strongly consider!
By the end of 2005 my engagement had ended, I called off my wedding; I was no longer working for the high school or the college, and I was studying for my LSAT so that I could go to law school. What was going on with my career? I was a full-time business consultant with a full-time client, a small law firm in Mission Viejo, California (the owner also encouraged me to attend law school); and I had two other clients that I was working with in Los Angeles. I was working with high school students more, speaking at workshops, conferences, and graduations. I was regularly visiting schools and speaking with students who needed to see and speak with someone like me so they could see that, “it’s only as difficult as you make it…if you believe in yourself it doesn’t matter what life throws your way you can do anything you set your mind to” as I’ve been known to say….with all of that going on, something was still missing in my life….
It’s March 12, 2010 and I’m reflecting back on things…wondering what is still missing in my life. Do you see anything missing? Let me share what has happened since 2005…
I let my fear of not passing the California bar exam, my fear of not being able to juggle law school, work and life sway me from following through with my dreams of attending law school. I instead faced head-on another fear…I started my MBA program in 2007. Never could I have imagined pursuing this degree so I challenged myself to do it and give it 100% effort. I was focused on having leverage on competition that would be going after the same prospective clients I was pursuing.
Another thing that I was interested in was teaching college business courses, and possibly high school business courses. Also that same year I became a licensed life insurance agent, and began my re-certification as a personal fitness trainer. Consider the possibility of several revenue streams flowing in and then see why I pursued these avenues.
By November 2007 I moved to Atlanta, Georgia completely stepping out on faith that I would find clients, a job, or both. It didn’t happen for me in November or December 2007. January 2008 rolled around…February…months were passing and still nothing…I was surviving off of savings and a prayer. I resumed representing my client, Jazz bassist, Melvin Lee Davis in 2008, after a 2006 hiatus. I got engaged to my boyfriend of two years the summer of 2008, started actively writing a book (a mix between fiction and nonfiction), and began representing an ABA basketball team out of Maywood, California…then later representing the Compton Cobras team handling their corporate sponsorships and partnerships.
After two years of late nights, lack of sleep, and body aches I finally graduated from my MBA program in June 2009. I had formed a partnership to promote philanthropic efforts I was involved with through the sales of t-shirts (giving 25% of net profits back to two wonderful organizations), and a few months after forming this partnership I called off my engagement to my fiancé (it was not meant for us to marry each other). Then like a stack of dominoes falling I ended my business partnership December 1, 2009. Weeks after ending my business partnership I began my PhD program in Organization and Management…and declared that 2010 would be an awesome year for me and anyone who rolled on my team!
I am now applying for teaching positions at local and online community colleges and adult education centers; while also looking for new clients to represent in the Atlanta area. In addition to my PhD I am working towards a Post-Masters Certificate in College Teaching (once again thinking about leverage). I am back in the saddle volunteering with children, having spent several hours last week reading and speaking to three classes at two nearby elementary schools. Both schools have asked me to return and I have without hesitation agreed to do so beginning next week.
I was asked a few months ago by a young woman if I would mentor her, and with the deepest honor I have accepted and assume that role. I have also found a way to continue my philanthropic work with one of the charities I supported last year, and can’t wait to share with everyone what I am organizing later this year. My writing has taken on a life of its own as I have become stronger, more confident, and more willing to share with the public…hence this blog. If I can’t write here and take the constructive criticism and feedback, then how will I publish my book that I’m resuming work on?
With all that is going on you noticed I did not focus or dwell on the fact that my dreams and goals 20 years ago still have not taken solid form. Piece by piece, step-by-step, I have made a positive impact in someone’s life, in my own life. I have opened myself up to the possibility of letting my guards down through love and living life. For the first time in a long time I let God control my destiny. I let God take the steering wheel and say, “you’re going here Natasha”.
Yes, I find myself stressed many days because I am not where I wanted (or want) to be financially or in my private, personal world…as a wife and mother…but I wouldn’t change one iota of what I have experienced in the past 20 years. This is going to make a hell of a great book, don’t you think? I look forward to teaching, consulting, traveling, and becoming a wife and mother. I look forward to sharing my story. I look forward to filling that void…that “missing” thing. I look forward to the rest of this journey.
Can you say the same? Can you look back at the past 20 years of successes, set backs, and failures and smile, knowing that it has ALL been worthwhile? Can you say that you wouldn’t trade your experience for anyone else’s? Can you say that the past 20 years have been inspiring, filled with growth and wisdom? I’ve experienced so much in 20 years, in 34 years (oh gosh did I just say 34?) and I am grateful to have lived this long. I am grateful to have lived this life, to have seen, felt, and experienced some things that are unique only to me and some things that hundreds of other people can say, “I’ve done that also”.
After 34 years of growing I have finally learned from a dear, close friend to cry tears of joy…not pain or regret…because I’m alive…I’m healthy…and my story’s not over. I’m not sure when that last chapter in my life will end and when the book will close…I’m hoping and praying that God and I are on the same page, and that I still have another good 80 years plus left… to write my story…maybe from my Tudor home under my Weeping Willows as my horses trot by!
Copyright © 2010 by Natasha L. Foreman. All rights reserved.
“The kindly foreman was too reticent to openly castigate the clumsy new worker”
“Despite all the talk about democracy in my family, my father usually gives the rest of us Hobson’s choice”
“When the teenager announced her engagement to the octogenarian, the public suspected it to be a publicity stunt”.
“The pugnacious boxer demanded a rematch”
“Since everyone can outpunch my cousin, he cannot afford to be pugnacious”
“Although the party had just begun, after his first drink he was feeling no pain.”
“We implored the faculty advisor to promulgate the requirements for the presidency of the club”
>Have you ever thought about what you would be doing in your life if you weren’t doing what you are doing right now? “Huh?” you ask. Sounds like a tongue twister or a riddle, doesn’t it?
Basically it comes down to this…are you doing (in your personal and professional life) what you envisioned for yourself twenty years ago? What about 15 years ago? 10 years ago? 5 years ago? Did you think you would be where you are in your life today? What were your dreams and goals way back then? Did you reach them or excel beyond them? Did you fall short, or are you still climbing trying to get there? Have you completely changed your dreams and goals from long ago to something more fitting of your character now?
Twenty years ago it was March 11, 1990 and I was a freshman in high school…my sister was born February 12th that year so I was beaming all over the place ecstatic at having a new addition to the Foreman family. March meant track season…and I was one of the captains on our team. I was 14 years old and in my mind I was a future Flo Jo who would also have a successful career as a sprinter, journalist, lawyer, and teacher. In my mind I had it figured out. I knew I could juggle all four careers without a hiccup.
I’ve always loved writing. It was a passion of mine to write books and articles, and travel the world documenting all of the beautiful and ugly things that I saw. At the age of 14 I had already envisioned being married by age 21 or 22, and having 4-5 children before age 30. I saw myself owning a Tudor home somewhere tucked away in Southern California on a few acres.
Visitors would have to drive up a long driveway lined with Weeping Willows and other flowy trees and flowers, that eventually led to a circular driveway that had a cute sculpture in the center with water cascading along the sides.
I could see my grand doors, the foyer, my spiral staircase, and the deep mahogany wood throughout the home. I would slide on the hardwood floors with my children and our dogs as we chased “daddy” around the house. Somewhere on that property I visualized a swing that is seen on most ranch-style homes (definitely not a Tudor) but I’m not sure where exactly…it was a detail in my dreams I could not pinpoint.
One thing that I did know was that the grass was always green, the pool always sparkling, the horses were always happy, I never was chased off from a bug or insect while I read under my Weeping Willows, and my home always felt warm with love.
I saw myself taking law courses at USC Law School and every lawyer that saw me dreaded losing to me…they knew I knew my “stuff”. My husband would also be a force to be reckoned with. I hadn’t put much thought into his career path, but I knew he would be highly intelligent, highly visible and sought after (in a positive way of course). I knew he was attractive, with a great smile, athletic, charming, and had a great sense of humor. I knew he would love me and our children, and that we would love him unconditionally. I never could picture his face, only the richness of his skin and the firmness of his hands. His voice seemed strong and reassuring…that’s all I knew. I used to wonder if I would meet him in high school (we’d share classes or something silly like that), like my mom and dad when they dated in high school. Or would I meet him in college, or while traveling the world?
I was just giggly thinking about my first encounter with my dream husband. My dad put a sour taste in my mouth when he said, “number one you won’t be getting married or having children until your mid-thirties, and number two your husband is gonna be just like me”. Oh gosh no…an anal-retentive, “is that ‘A’ work or ‘C’ work?” husband like my father…oh heck no…and there was no way on God’s green earth I would be waiting until my mid-thirties to be getting married and having kids. This man was crazy!
I contemplated going to a university in California for my undergrad studies or leaving the state and attending the University of Oklahoma (like my parents), Tennessee State University (like Oprah), Clark Atlanta University (a great mass communications school my friend Ericka and I discussed attending together), Texas Southern University (I can’t remember why I considered that school), or another school. Being in a journalism class, involving myself in community affairs, focusing on my growth and development, only reinforced these dreams and goals. My leadership skills throughout high school became more and more apparent; my desire to work within the community and to help others became a mission.
Coordinating political and social protests, using my position as editor of the school newspaper to highlight (and then blast on) the ignorance that was plaguing my community locally, regionally, and nationally irritated a lot of parents, teachers, and administrators. Forming the Los Angeles Recovery Helpers (LARH) immediately after the L.A. Riots in 1992 to provide food and clothing to those displaced and affected by the riots, began to reveal a side of myself my parents recognized when I was in 8th grade (but I didn’t notice until that moment). My true essence was shining through.
Fifteen years ago it was 1995 and I was in my second year of undergraduate studies at California State University, Long Beach. I never moved out of state, nor did I attend USC. I stopped dating guys from my high school my senior year- so there went that theory of meeting my future husband there. I can recall a few of my teachers that Spring semester at CSU Long Beach…Dr. Maulana Karenga (Black Studies 101) happened to be one of them…and a motivating force behind changes that I made in my dreams and goals. That semester I switched my major from English and a minor in Philosophy to Black Studies with a minor in Philosophy. I scrapped broadcast journalism (yes, I was going to be on television like Oprah Winfrey) as a major after the OJ Simpson trial began. The yellow journalism I saw on television, and in magazines and newspapers disgusted me and after speaking with a professor about my morals and ethics- I knew I could not “sell myself” to mainstream journalism.
It became clear to me that I would be a Civil Rights lawyer and teach Black Studies at local high schools. I was going to be a solution to the socio-economic problems within the Black community. I would help those who did not quite know how to help themselves. I would fight for those who didn’t know how to fight back. I would be the voice of the voiceless. I found my calling! I even began tutoring at Compton Community College through a partnership that my professor Dr. Amen Rahh had formed with students in his classes and CCC. Every Saturday I devoted several hours to tutoring students from elementary through college in several subjects. I loved it. I was also still heavily involved in my community service efforts working in both Santa Ana and Los Angeles with the underserved.
I was 19 years old and was living an exciting, yet stressful life trying to do way too much in a short period of time….but I enjoyed the adrenaline rush! I was in school, working as a personal fitness trainer (while I had another part-time job), partying, and enjoying the last of my teenage years. I was also dating this sexy football player from Chapman University at the time- he wanted to play in the NFL. Ah…we were in love. We were going to get a townhouse together in Corona or Chino Hills, California and conquer the world together. Yeah, that love lasted until November of 1995!
© 2010 by Natasha L. Foreman. All rights reserved.