Women it’s Your Time to Act and Woman Up: A Call to Action, Part One

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
 
 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.
 
 Plastic Surgery
 
 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.
 
 Woman up!
 
 Tune in for Part Two coming soon!
 
 
 Your Sista girl,
 
 Natasha Foreman Bryant
 
 
 To read the two-part Call to Action for men visit:
 
 Part One
 http://natashaforeman.com/2013/12/12/a-call-to-action-for-all-men-part-one/
 
 Part Two
 http://natashaforeman.com/2013/12/13/a-call-to-action-for-all-men-part-two/
 
 
 Sources:
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWKXit_3rpQ
 
 Jean Kilbourne
 http://www.jeankilbourne.com/
 

Sean’s Thought of the Day: Friendship

A REAL friends promise:

I will always say what I believe you need to hear not what you wish to hear.

I will be honest with you even if it cost our friendship.

I will strive to make you the best person you can be.

I will not co-sign everything you say because I know that we can all be stupid at times.

I will not support your destruction be it drugs, alcohol or any other similar thing.

What you tell me in confidence will stay there but I will tell you if that secret is wrong.

In all I promise to be a real friend and hope you can give me the same.

A REAL friend wants you to be better not to just feel better.

What Kind Of Friend Have You REALLY Been?

Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.

A Focus on Dignity and Non-Violence at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

On April 15th I was honored to lead a Dignity Day session as a HOPE Corp Volunteer through Operation HOPE (HOPE) at the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) in Atlanta.

What is amazing is how the majority of this class of ninth graders were initially completely turned off to the idea of having to listen to yet another speaker that day as they were just returning to their classroom from an assembly that focused on the theme of 100 days of Non-Violence…so they were shifty and closed off. But about 15 minutes into our conversation some of the girls who had crossed arms were soon raising their hands and answering questions.

I started off by talking about the concept of legacy and that that day we were laying the foundation and road map for them to create and eventually leave behind a strong, dignified legacy. I had them define the term legacy in their own words and then share some of their dreams, goals and aspirations. Then as our conversation deepened I shared with them the history of how HOPE was founded, the services and programs that HOPE offers, and I started to weave a story where life included them and their legacy.


I think helping them share the names of empowered and dignified women they see in their family, community, and elsewhere who had similar or worse lives growing up helped them to see that they too could be those same type of women- that they are these women but in-training and with the potential to do more and help more in the long run because they are being equipped with the tools at a young age; and our adversity isn’t an excuse to let life pass us by or a crutch to coast through life doing and expecting the bare minimum, but a reason and motivation to excel and succeed.

These young ladies were shocked to hear that the civil rights movement as it pertained to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Ambassador Andrew Young was sparked, motivated, and pushed along due to their wives Coretta Scott King and Jean Childs Young- two women who endured and overcame adversity and strife. Hearing this information made many of these girls sit up straight in their chairs and listen intently.

                        

When I spoke about not holding grudges, and that forgiving people is not to benefit the person they were forgiving but to help themselves heal, grow, and overcome- some girls shifted in their seats their seats, a few others rolled their eyes in disbelief; but then when I mentioned Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vandzant and their ability to forgive their abusers and using strife as a launching pad towards success- some of the girls started naming other people like Fantasia and Tyler Perry who was sexually and physically abused and how he also overcame and pushed himself to success.

We discussed the concept of family and that it isn’t just our immediate family we need to be concerned about but our neighborhoods, cities, state, our country, and our global family. Because I know that girls can be equally as cutthroat as boys, I made sure that we had a heart-to-heart chat about trash-talking and “clowning” people and how although initially it can be lighthearted and funny, it can also be crippling and tear apart our “extended” family.

We discussed being relevant not only in this country but globally, and that true wealth (spiritual, financial, etc) can only be maintained long term by leading a dignified life, not by living up to the negative stereotypes that are projected globally about Black females. We discussed self-empowerment and not waiting on the government or specific programs to help us, that we have to help ourselves. That we shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to pick up trash on our sidewalks- we should pick it up ourselves.

We shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to cover the graffiti on our walls and buildings- we should paint over it ourselves; we shouldn’t wait for someone else to beautify our streets and parks with trees and flowers- we should plant them ourselves. I explained that they should be volunteering in their community through church or some other organization taking pride in restoring, building, maintaining, and beautifying their neighborhoods.

We had a pretty good time. We laughed and talked about boys and expectations of being respected by males and all people when you carry yourself with respect and dignity. We discussed the language of money and being financially literate, and how this literacy will empower them. It was refreshing to see that many of them have savings accounts and that two of the students had traveled abroad- one to London and the other to the Bahamas. Two young passport carriers living in an underserved and underrepresented area of Atlanta- doesn’t that give you hope? It gives me hope and encourages me to continue my work in the community, and my work through Operation HOPE.

I hope more men and women find it in their hearts to invest one hour of their time at least once per month to volunteer in a church, in a class room, or in a youth center through Operation HOPE. One person can make a difference!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
natashaforeman.com
natashaforeman.info
paradigmlife.blogspot.com
theparadigmlife.wordpress.com

>A Blast From My Past: A Note to Self

>About a week ago my mother was going through an old sketch pad that I shared with my dad and she ran across a note I had written five years ago. Read the words below and share your thoughts…

6/27/05

They can’t run off of your fuel- nor can they become something just because you believe that they can. Some things (and people) no matter how wonderful they were at one time MUST GO!

High-maintenance relationships drain YOU.

You CAN’T teach someone to care.

The person who DOESN’T have the passion for your purpose is in the wrong place!

Business- it has to be more than the money
Marriage- it has to be more than sex, status, or financial gain


1) Confront 2) Correct 3) Compromise or 4) Cut-off

Severing relationships   


Just because you have a past with someone doesn’t mean that you have a healthy future! Especially if the answer is NO to:

Do they share my dreams, goals and hopes for the future?

What are our common goals? Do we have any?

Do they include as a priority MY well-being?

Does our relationship raise me up and along the road to success?

Are they going my way?

Do they have direction?

Are they wasting one of my most precious commodities? TIME


What is amazing is in the middle of this note I created a list of names. On one side it listed four of my closest female friends who I had healthy relationships with; on the other side I listed three friends who I had unhealthy relationships with. I had to make a decision who to keep and who to let go (or put on the back burner). Five years later those three women that I had an unhealthy relationship with barely have a place in my life other than irregular communication over the Internet. The four friends I had healthy relationships with I communicate with on a regular basis. We may not see each other regularly, but we stay in touch by phone, email, text, etc.

Sometimes it is necessary to clean house and fly with other birds that are more like you…chickens and pigeons have no business trying to soar with eagles…and vice versa!

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

>Something to Consider…the Past Ten Years

>So we left off looking back at the past fifteen and twenty years. Let’s move things along shall we?

TEN YEARS AGO…

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…

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….

FROM FIVE YEARS TO NOW…

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.

>Something to Consider…Let’s Take a Trip Back in Time

>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….

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…

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!

So what has happened since then? You have to check out tomorrow’s blog to find out!

Copyright

© 2010 by Natasha L. Foreman. All rights reserved. 

>Effects of Haiti Hits Home

>

I have not heard back from one of my small group members from church. Born and raised in Haiti, she along with some of her family members relocated to New York when she was approximately 13 years old. Not too long ago she decided to pack her things and move by herself from New York to Atlanta. Although we have grown close, for several days now I have been completely consumed with the devastation in Haiti, and my own personal life, yet forgetting all about my dear friend.

As a small group leader I am responsible for facilitating the care and discipleship of my members, while helping to build an “authentic” community. I am supposed to check in with them regularly and make sure that all is well in their lives. It bothers me that I had not spoken with her in over a week. Another group member called me, also concerned and said that the last time she spoke with our friend was last week- and that at that time there was a sister still living in Haiti who hadn’t contacted family to say she was okay.

I felt as though I swallowed an apple whole. What is going through our friend’s mind? Had she heard news of her sister’s whereabouts? Is she okay? My mind began to race as I thought of the last email she responded to…wow that was two weeks ago when I sent that out…the only other email I have sent since then was earlier yesterday. I’m going to keep trying to reach her by phone and email. I have been praying non-stop for those affected by the earthquake and aftershocks in Haiti; now I’m saying an extra prayer for my friend and her family still in Haiti…hoping that soon she will call and say that all is well.

Copyright © 2010 by Natasha L. Foreman. All rights reserved.