Earlier this morning my mom shared these five simple words that form a very powerful message: Never Stop Living Your Dream! Mom said she heard the words in a Gladys Knight song and she thought they would help to serve through my blog. I wasn’t sure which blog she meant, so I figured that I […]
I’m smiling because I’m blessed and no one, and nothing can ever change that. It’s me and God rolling through life together each day!
By Natasha Foreman Bryant
Teacher. Corrector. Nurturing. Supportive. Caring. Loving. Tender. Warm. Patient. Understanding. Healing. Healer. Fixer. Graceful. Delicate. Strong. Respectful. Kind. Brave. Meek. Humble. Courageous. Lady. Love.
These words and more describe the traditional woman. These are some of the words that we think about when we think of mothers.
Baby Mama. B*tch. Baddest B*itch. Side Chick. Side piece. Breezy. Butter head. Barbie. Chicken head. Dime. Cougar. MILF. Ho. Jump off. Queen Bee. Diva. Gold digger. Vixen. Trick. Slut.
These are some of the words that are being used to describe women today. These are some of the words that women and young girls are using to describe themselves. These are some of the words being used by mothers to describe themselves and other women. The list continues to grow each year.
Something is wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Painfully wrong. Females. Women. Ladies. Mothers. Sisters. It is time that we step up and act.
We must Woman Up!
I wrote a two-part letter to the men (see the links at the end of this post) asking that they step up and do their part to help bring about positive change in our households, schools, churches, and neighborhoods worldwide. I wrote and asked them to do their part to help young men and boys learn what it means to be a real man, a protector, nurturer, teacher, provider, father, husband, son, and friend. I asked men to do their part to help young women and girls learn what a real man is and is not, why they need to shake their fixation on finding the daddy that left them, was never around, or hardly noticed.
But this change requires us too!
Young men and boys learn how to treat a woman by looking at and getting directions from other males, but they also learn by watching and interacting with us. The kind of woman that you want your son, grandson, brother, nephew, or cousin to marry and raise a family with will either be the woman he sees in you, or the image he sees somewhere else—maybe on television, in magazines, or on the streets. You can either help present an honorable image, or you can carelessly allow him to seek out and connect with the next “jump off”.
It is our responsibility to change the image and view of women. It is our responsibility to not sell out for money, affection, fame, or perceived power.
Your Image: Healthy or Destructive?
Here’s the problem. If your model image of womanhood comes from what you see on television or view in magazines, then you yourself have not been exposed to any positive female role models. You have allowed the media, designers, corporations, and airbrushing experts (all mostly men) dictate to you the epitome of beauty, sensuality, and strength. I just watched an amazing video that reveals what Jean Kilbourne and thousands of women have been trying to make clear for over 40 years—the images we see of fashion models, actresses, and female celebrities are mostly altered and airbrushed in an attempt to entice and seduce men, and embed a message in the mind of women and girls, that only leads to our diminished esteem and an increase in eating disorders, suicide, and heightened destructive sexual behavior. Please watch this video and share it with others, males and females, old and young. We have to change the way we see ourselves and other women. We have to change the way men and boys see us. We have to change the way designers and corporations see and depict us.
Eating disorders are not just a “white girl” or wealthy girl issue. Eating disorders don’t discriminate. They can reach all of us. Starvation, forcibly vomiting, binge eating, and emotional eating are actions taken by females around the world from every socioeconomic background, race, color, nationality, religion, and sexual orientation.You can have a seemingly “perfect” life living in a two-parent household, beautiful home, fenced yard, with one or more cute pets, and still have an eating disorder. You can live in the projects with your grandmother or aunt, and have an eating disorder. You can be a straight A student and star athlete, and have an eating disorder. You can be a soccer mom, juggling your demanding career and back-to-back playdates for your kids—and have an eating disorder.
Either we think we’re too skinny, too fat, too wide, have too much cellulite, don’t have big enough breasts, or have some issue with our butt (too big, small, lumpy, flat, or too wide), whatever it is we aren’t happy. This unhappiness turns into us using exercise, food and other substances to drastically alter our bodies. Someone planted this seed in our minds. Someone told us we’re too fat or too skinny, and that seed rooted and grew quickly. We then fixated on this and it became our reality. Then our pain must be inflicted on others, because hurt people hurt people. So we then see the flaws in other women, and we do our part to share with them and others our opinion of these flaws. There is the chain reaction.
Then there’s plastic surgery and this obsession with becoming a barbie doll—thinner, uplifted always-smiling face; big and even bigger breasts; perfectly sculpted legs and arms; toned and rounded hips and butt; and a teeny tiny waist. Women are spending one to six months of income (theirs or someone else’s) to achieve their ideal barbie doll image, and then when they still aren’t satisfied, they spend another one to six months of income to make corrections.
That is why honorable plastic surgeons inquire in advance your true intent for wanting plastic surgeon, what outside influences may be encouraging this decision, and if you are mentally and emotionally prepared for this change. You can make all of the physical corrections that you want with the help of a surgeon, but if you aren’t spiritually, mentally, and emotionally healthy, happy and satisfied, then you will never ever be happy with yourself or your looks. We must accept this for ourselves and we must explain this to the young girls and teens who are growing into their bodies and ingesting the toxins delivered by magazines and on television. It is our responsibility to have this discussion with friends and family. It is our responsibility to have this discussion with young school-aged girls and those young women ages 18 to 25.
It is our responsibility to tell the media, fashion designers, advertising and marketing companies, and other corporations that we are not inanimate objects, we are not objects. Period. We are women, ladies, girls, daughters, wives, girlfriends, sisters, cousins, teachers, entrepreneurs, and bearers of life. We are not to be dehumanized and exploited. To make this point clear that means that we have to also refuse to audition and interview for roles, assignments, and jobs that negatively portray us as objects of desire, and we have to stop carrying ourselves (and behaving) like mere objects.
Tune in for Part Two coming soon!
Your Sista girl,
Natasha Foreman Bryant
To read the two-part Call to Action for men visit:
By Natasha Foreman Bryant
I admit that around 2006-2007 I watched the earlier seasons of the Bad Girls Club. I wanted to know what Oxygen was bringing to the table, so-to-speak, and what made these young females so “Bad”. I soon discovered that droves of females claiming to be real women, were lining up to join this show to prove how devious, violent, ruthless, and spiteful they were. They wanted to prove to themselves that they were the hottest, sexiest female on the show, and the one who could curse the most and the loudest, while pretending that they really wanted to fight one or more of the other cast members.
Yeah I got bored of it quickly because I know that the women who aren’t to be messed with don’t go around advertising it for the world, or tooting their own horn. They just confidently sit back and relax.
Little girls throw temper tantrums, play childish games, and do petty things. This is what I saw on the Bad Girls Club, and this is what I saw when I decided to check on the show the other day (now in it’s 11th season). It’s disappointing to see these girls, obviously in pain, obviously battling some childhood or early adulthood trauma, taking out their pain and frustration on others.
Someone let them down early on in their life. Someone didn’t give them a healthy dose of love, attention, affection, and structure growing up. Someone didn’t teach them how to be ladies and mature women. Maybe there are daddy issues, mommy issues, or both. Whatever the problem it runs deep, and when not properly redirected, hurt people will ultimately hurt people.
I always wonder if the cast members from all eleven seasons look back at the episodes they starred in and really reflect upon how they were portrayed, how they acted, and the image that they have left in the minds of their viewers—and the young girls that I’m sure tune in regularly.
The episode that I have shared at the end of this post is a small reflection of what Bad Girls Club has recycled and evolved into after 11 seasons. I tell those so-called “bad girls” and those who walk around thinking they are “bad” to woman up! Your attitude and false image won’t get you far in life. The high you feel tearing others down will still leave you feeling lonely when the cameras aren’t on you, or when your entourage isn’t hanging around egging you on.
Copyright 2013. Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved.
Children are huge dreamers before adults destroy their imaginative spirits and tell them to start thinking smaller, to start being “realistic”. The huge dreams of a child is exactly where God wants us to be. There is no fear connected with dreaming big and setting goals to attain what we desire. There is fear in thinking small. The most successful people in the world open their minds to what most people would consider the impossible, the inconceivable, and the insane.
Think of President Barack Obama, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Mary Kay Ash, Bob Johnson and others who had big dreams and didn’t stop thinking, pushing, and working even after those dreams materialized. Even after they passed away, King, Jobs, and Ash’s legacies continue to live on through the work they started…their passion serves as the fuel for their mission. Their brand continues to grow.
We must realize that our actions and lack thereof impact us and others for generations. The native Americans have a saying that every decision we make today impacts seven generations of the future. So consider the decisions you make each day. Make sound decisions but don’t limit yourself in fear. Allow yourself to dream big and have the intense imagination that you did as a child. Free yourself!
Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
Excerpts of this thought were first drafted for Breaking Bread with Natasha on WordPress and Blogspot.
Artwork source: soggypigeon.deviantart.com
I’m really not sure what to say about this video, its message, and the impact (if any). I also am not sure what it says overall about the people it will ultimately reflect upon and clump together into one classification. Is this a fun and possibly healthy image of grandmothers and grandfathers shedding and shaking away the frail stereotype normally associated with getting older? Or is this somehow only adding to the negative stereotypes about Black people?
I start thinking of the buffoonery we once used to fight so hard against, and I wonder if we really have gone full-circle and found ourselves smack-dab in the middle of where we once were; if we have grown to accept not only other nationalities laughing and mocking us, but also embracing it as a reality for ourselves–so we too take part in this…we too find it acceptable; so we laugh, dance, smile, shuck and jive, and roll around comfortably in mediocrity.
Are we really in that much pain that we would rather entertain ourselves in this manner than uplift ourselves out of our pit of shame and despair? What message are our children really getting? Where is our dignity? When is enough truly enough? I believe that music and dance is healthy, healing, and cleansing–but does the “Frankie Leg” fall into those categories?
I am still letting all of this soak into my mind (which may be dangerous). But let’s have a healthy conversation about it shall we?
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. The Paradigm Life. Paradigm Life. Rights Reserved.
Video provided by YouTube
A coward is a hilarious yet pitiful sight to see and experience. A coward hides behind aliases, anonymity, avatars, masks, lies, and other people. A coward yells loudly behind mommy’s dress and daddy’s coat, but never stands out and speaks up for the world to see. A coward spits venom like a serpent but is too scared to face those they attack. A coward has little to no self-esteem, self-worth, dignity, or grace, so lacking a spine they sneak around trying to drag others to their level. A coward will hide behind a title but never live up to it. A coward is never dependable, reliable, or consistent…except in their cowardice. They simply exist, but never live, and even in their existence they don’t leave much of an impression.
I’m not too sure if I should feel sorry for the cowards of the world, sympathy, or nothing at all. They are a sad group of people. They can never stand on their own, they can never fight their own battles, they can never truly lead, they always make excuses for their inadequacies, and blame others for their shortcomings. Cowards are always the victim, always the damsel in distress, always the ones needing saving, always the ones complaining about what’s wrong and why they can’t do something. The words, ‘can’t’ and ‘impossible’ begin and end their sentences, and sometimes their days.
Cowards live for revenge, wanting to pay back those who hurt them, but they don’t have the courage to actually face this person head on. Cowards like to pick fights, but never stick around for combat, or they find a way for others to join the fight so their weaknesses are never revealed. They are the ones who spread rumors and cause drama, but in a sneaky, cleaver kind of way–that always make them look innocent. They pretend to be someone they aren’t because they don’t have the courage to be who they were created to be. They are weak-minded, weak physically, weak morally, and weak spiritually. They live in constant darkness; for only in light can one find true strength. It’s no wonder why cowards always prefer playing devil’s advocate, because for them it is too great a mountain to climb reaching up towards hope, possibility, and excellence, when they can use less effort kneeling down towards mediocrity.
I have encountered many cowards in my time, some as recently as today, and I am amazed at how much time they have on their hands to focus their energy on doing absolutely nothing of relevance in our world–except in their minds. It is pitiful that these insecure people spend so many hours of their day thinking about me, plotting and planning against me, and envious of what I have that they wish they had. We all have had our run-ins with cowards like this. See, cowards have plenty of time and energy to spread lies and hate, try to destroy other people’s reputations, families and businesses, yet they don’t invest the time and energy to bring goodness and love into our world. They don’t have the time and energy to make a positive contribution to society, yet they can waste all of their resources trying to drain someone else and destroy their dreams. They don’t have the time and energy to build, create, innovate, inspire, embrace, uplift, and shine. Yet they have the time and energy to tear things apart, destroy, manipulate, deceive, and play childish games. They have time to send stupid messages and make phone calls to others hoping to make them feel as miserable as they do; post idiotic things on the Internet for even the tiniest bit of attention; make claims without supporting evidence; and just take up much-needed space in the world. They eventually leave this world as they entered it and lived it…clueless!
I have more respect for the person who tries and fails, than the one who never tries. I have more respect for the person with bumps, bruises, cuts and burns from falling down in life, because in their walk I see that they found a way to get back up. I have more respect for the person who comes to me directly, without masks, anonymity and code names, and just speaks their mind. I have more respect for the person who comes right out and confronts me with the goal to fight, than sucker-punch me in the dark. I have no respect for a person who isn’t brave enough to stand up and speak their mind. I say what I want to say, and clearly say my name when I’m speaking. I don’t post to my blogs or anywhere else as “anonymous” or with some made up alias, or using a picture not mine, because I have the courage to speak up, speak out, and back up what I say. My parents didn’t raise a punk, so I don’t cower over like one. I’m no bully and I won’t be bullied–never have and never will!
So I have one last thing to say to the cowards of the world…you can say what you want and do what you want, because just like your anonymity, you really don’t exist!
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
The poorest person in the world is not the one without a nickel, it’s the one without a dream!
To dream is to want, to desire, to acknowledge the need, to hope for something…better. When you stop dreaming you give up on yourself, on life, on something bigger than you. When you stop dreaming you’re saying that you have no faith in greatness playing a role in your life, you’re saying that nothing better can come your way; you’re saying that God is done doing all He’s willing to do for you, and that He’s moved on.
Every day you open your eyes is another day that God has planned for you to seize the moment, to chase your dreams and make them a reality, to grab ahold of the gifts He has in store for you. Your needs and wants did not just become ‘hot off the press’ news to Him, He’s been preparing you for each day a dream came true. He has placed people in your life to help you see the clear path. It is up to you to believe that path is there waiting for you, or you can walk aimlessly around, stumbling and tripping over debris on another path not meant for you.
Don’t stop dreaming…no matter your age or circumstance! Let the child in you come out and believe the unbelievable dream!
Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
Quote source unknown
>“I’m shooting for the moon…there’s some footprints I want to confirm. If I don’t make it then the stars will do!” -Natasha L. Foreman
>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.