“Frankie Leg”: A Fun Image of Grandmothers Shedding their Frail Stereotype, or is this Adding to a More Negative One?

 

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

>Never Losing Sight of Who We Are and Where We’re Going

>Let me first start by saying that I am truly blessed. I have had my share of ups and downs. I have enjoyed acquiring countless worldly possessions. I have also experienced the heartache of losing them to theft, oversight, or total disregard that they weren't mine to begin with, but God's gifts to me on loan. I have seen, experienced, and felt great loss through death, personal economic downslides, and career and relationship failures. This young woman, soon-to-be age 35 in 22 days, has experienced many things that some people will never witness; but I'm blessed for these experiences.

I can recall the day when I was around the age of four when my parents and I walked though our huge storage unit, to see that only a few items were there. Our beds, furniture, and the majority of our personal belongings were gone…stolen. How traumatic an experience at such a young age. My Holly Hobby playhouse, bedroom set, and so much more was gone! What about when 1993 rolled around and once again, personal property was stolen from my family- this time, directly from our home. Then the knockout blow came shortly after when we lost that same home. Yikes! We were homeless by definition, but to my family, home is where the heart is- and our hearts were connected together and intertwined with God.

It seems just like yesterday, but it was actually 1999, when I received a phone call that almost everything I owned was stolen out of a personal storage unit. The few items I possessed I had stored at my uncle's home, and at my mother's home. Something about those storage units, even with so-called top-notch security, my stuff always seemed to come up missing. That same year my prized BMW was vandalized by someone who didn't want to see me happy. I lost yet another material possession.

Several of my first posts to this blog shared my experiences of loss through death. I have had so many loved ones pass away that it was at one point seeming like a sick, twisted joke. I was questioning God why I was experiencing all of this loss, why did it have to be so painful and agonizing. I noticed I was becoming even more fixated on death, on losing things and the people that I loved and still love deeply. I began to miss my childhood, when everything seemed perfect and as it should be…depression caught ahold of me and placed me in a series of bear and sleeper holds that was crippling for many, many years.

Depression caused me to lose faith, lose sight of what my plan and purpose is here. It caused me to not extend my hand when opportunity was dropping 'loaves' for me to sustain, to build, to grow. I wasn't seizing the moments that were presented as gifts. I was letting life pass me by. I was so obsessed with not losing anything that I didn't notice that I was still losing plenty. My career spiraled head-first into the ground, partly because I sacrificed it in order to appease a man I was dating; and partly because I was so fearful of losing something that I wouldn't trust and believe in myself consistently to make the right decisions. I soon exhausted all of my savings, my credit sank like the Titanic, and I began to have serious health issues. I was at a low.

Now let me stop here for a moment and say that this isn't one of my deep spiritual posts. It is spiritual, but I'm not trying to go directly there with you. You can visit my other blog breakingbreadwithnatasha.blogspot.com if you want to lovingly break bread with me and share some daily scriptures, prayers, and reflection. Now let's continue…

It takes a strong person to face loss, fall flat on their face (figuratively shattering every bone) and then get back up on their feet. I have been one-two punched, jabbed, caught a hook to the kidney region, sucker-punched in the gut, and undercut dead center on my jaw by life countless times. I just find a way to dig down deep, pray for strength and guidance, as I look for something to grab ahold to so that I can pull myself up to my knees, then my feet. Once standing it can cause your vision to be blurry because the hit you took knocked the wind out of you and jogged your faculties. Slow, steady breaths help to cleanse you and clear your mind so that you can reconnect. The tingling from numb extremities eventually dissipates, and you know that your body's blood flow is back on its normal pace. There is a constant reminder that you just got your butt kicked, because your face still hurts from falling on it…but even that is okay because at least you know that you survived, and are alive!

It is important to look back and ask yourself, "okay so how did that happen?"

The answer is simple yet possibly hard to grasp, and even harder to implement a solution- You lost sight of things. You weren't paying attention in the boxing ring of life. You instead did one or more of the following:

1) You stood there in the middle of the ring and took a pounding
2) You were too busy looking out in the audience trying to see how many fans were cheering for you, and didn't see that hook coming towards the temple of your head.
3) Your foot action got sloppy because of your lack of conditioning, and being tired, you allowed yourself to rest and eventually be pinned against the ropes, as your opponent tagged their name into your forehead, chest and rib cage.
4) You should have been bobbing and weaving, making sure to keep your gloves up, arms tucked in, and feet moving. You got anxious and dropped your right hand trying to land that TKO, but instead life tapped you with it's left fist and you landed face first on the floor.

It is very easy to lose focus when our focus is on fear, a desire for power and privilege, and or, on acquiring worldly possessions just because we want something to possess- to prove our success, and that we made it. It is also easy to lose focus when we turn our eyes away from our path, and focus on someone's path in hopes of walking beside them. If we are meant to walk on the same path with someone, then that will be revealed, and our eyes are never diverted from what we were doing before we met them. It should be a natural flow and transition, no delays or derailments. It should be seamless.

I can admit that I can be hard-headed. I also believe that my Creator, God, obviously has a great sense of humor dealing with me. He obviously also loves me dearly because He could have easily zapped me out of here a long time ago. I do know that He often thumps me in the back of my head when I'm veering too far in one direction, when I should be going another route. Let me share why I say this.

After realizing that my career had spun out of control, that my financial prospectus was nothing worth sharing with anyone with a pulse, and that I had a weakness for loving love more than I loved God and myself; what do you think happened after I worked diligently to rebuild my credit, purchase a cute, affordable car (that wouldn't tear my vital organs out if it were vandalized), and gradually see a steady lifeline in my career?

I screwed it all up.

I lost my focus while in love, and let someone else's dreams and path deter me from mine. I forgot who I was and what my mission was. I leveraged my strengths and opportunities to counter and uplift his weaknesses and threats. The more I helped him on his path, the farther I walked away from mine. The more I helped his financial situation and career hiccups, the worse mine became. Eventually his credit became better than mine, his savings account balance grew, as mine was depleted; his career had a brighter outlook, and mine was almost in the toilet. I had walked so far away from my path that I was lost in the wilderness.

How could I do that to myself? How could I lose focus? How could I place more importance on someone else, and not on myself, especially when they weren't even helping me reclaim my footing on my path? I let someone's self-serving ways lure me towards servitude as their 'property', instead of staying true to myself. Guess what I received for sacrificing myself for him? Guess what I received for my loyalty, encouragement, and investments (both in time and money)? I received the gift of loss, enlightenment, humility, and wisdom all in one huge box with fancy wrapping paper and a bow. That was definitely my "ah-ha!" moment.

I'm truly blessed. I'm blessed to have experienced it, this time in a different way. I learned in that relationship exchange how to be giving, nurturing, supportive, caring, and understanding. I learned how to sacrifice my need for instant gratification in order to provide for what I considered my 'family'. It was a humbling experience. Going from breadwinner to just-over-broke in a few short years can do that. Having to rebuild alone, but never truly alone (I have grown to discover the past 13 months now), and having to believe that even that initial pain would pass, and lay the foundation of wisdom to grow and share with others.

Am I mad at him? Heck no, why should I? How can you be mad at someone else for something you did to yourself, for something you were a willing participant in? Duh!

I am blessed. My life so far has shown me that although I have been beat up from the tip of my toes to the scalp of my head, I am a fighter and I will thrive. I needed to see how it feels when I lose sight of what I'm supposed to be doing; when I get comfortable in accepting mediocrity in myself and others; and when I ignore that voice in my ear or that tug in my stomach warning me that I'm about to fall off the course.

I share this with you in hopes that you don't lose sight of the path you're supposed to be on. Make sure you aren't jumping on someone else's path, even if it appears to be more exciting or rewarding. You never know, their path may also be short-lived. I also hope that you remember that when you're in the ring to bob and weave, always keep your feet moving, keep those gloves up, and your arms in close…and remember…never lose sight of what you're supposed to be doing, who you are, and that you have the strength and ability to get back up when you're knocked down on your rump!

Natasha

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>P.S. I Love You

>I want to have a love like Holly and Jerry in the movie, “P.S. I Love You” starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler. If you have never seen the movie you should. I don’t want to ruin it for you by sharing too many details. So let me just say that it deals with life, love, hope, change, loss, healing, dreams, and living our destiny. 

I’m going to buy a copy asap! 

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

>Dealing With Loss: Part 2

> First, let me say thank you to those of you who emailed me after reading Dealing With Loss: Part 1. It was touching to see that I made a connection with you and that you could relate to what I had written. Now let’s go into part 2 picking up where I left off and delve deeper….



Once again I was hit with what felt like a ton of bricks when my paternal grandfather, “Papa” passed away. The pain grew tremendously but once again my coping mechanism was “being strong“. I can recall seeing him at the funeral home and how we tried to remove his jewelry from his hands because we didn’t want anyone robbing his grave. I remember my dad’s family arguing over whether to cremate or bury him. That was such a trying and emotional time.



I can still remember his funeral, the sound of the guns being shot at his 21-gun salute (he was retired Air Force) and how I jumped each time I felt the blast. I didn’t understand why they had to shoot their rifles. I can still visualize the flag being folded and handed to my grandmother…. I recently found a letter that I wrote my grandfather the day of his funeral. I remember staying by his burial site (after everyone else walked back to the chapel and to their cars) to read him my letter. My dad stood by me as I sat on the grass and bravely kept my composure. I was so young, but so resilient.

When my paternal aunt (my dad’s younger sister) passed away soon after I could not understand why so many people were passing away around me, but once again I had to be strong. My dad reminded me that my aunt would not want me to cry. I never saw her at a mortuary or anything like I did my grandfather and great aunt- but I felt her presence as though she was right there with me.



My family flew to Northern California and we followed her husband as we drove to the Pacific Ocean to spread her ashes and say a prayer. It was all so surreal. I began analyzing her death trying to figure out how and why. She was so young, only in her twenties…passed away after working out and swimming at the gym…being young and upset at losing someone that I loved dearly I initially, yet quietly, blamed her husband for not calling the paramedics sooner.

Then it seemed like everyone around me started passing away like flies…

A great aunt on my mom’s father’s side of the family passed away. The small church in Dustin, Oklahoma couldn’t hold all of us so I never got the chance to go inside to be seated. I instead stayed outside and kicked the dirt around, and played. The experience was not the same for me as the previous “passings” because I wasn’t that close to her I guess. I was saddened but also disconnected from the overall experience. However, I was amazed and intrigued by the history of the family cemetary and the grave stones; and how far back in time many of them were dated.

Are you noticing a common theme threaded throughout my childhood up to this point? Share your thoughts and my next post for Dealing With Loss: Part 2 we’ll see if you’ve hit it on the nail.

Until the next time we connect here on Paradigm Life I wish you the best in all that you do and all that comes your way! Take care.

Warmest wishes!