Natasha’s Thought of the Day 12.20.11

Life is like giving birth. We sometimes have the most excruciating pain that we could ever imagine, and we’re not sure if we will make it through– but then after it’s done we have peace, joy, and a gift–whether it be wisdom or something tangible, or both. We must remember that even the worst experiences are only temporal. So take life head on, face your fears, and fight your best fight ever!     – Natasha L. Foreman                                              

 

 

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved

“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

Natasha’s Thought of the Day: My Definition of a Coward

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.

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

>I Rocked Those Red Pumps for HIV/AIDS Awareness

>By Natasha L.Foreman

Yesterday I rocked the mess out of my red pumps as I honored and brought awareness to National Women and Girl’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Although my feet were screaming in pain after more than 10 hours of walking around on those narrow but beautiful 4 inch heels; it was important that each person who paid a compliment or questioned why I had on heels understood that it wasn’t to heighten my vanity but to bring awareness to an important cause.

I never wear heels while traveling, but there I was at the airport braving those floors, escalators, and the train as I proudly walked to my gate to board the plane. Then I made it through an intensive two-hour  PhD residency session followed by a reception in our honor. I probably should have had someone take my picture earlier in the day before the day caught up to me and my feet…but I didn’t hesitate to ask a colleague to take my picture so that I could share it on this blog.


After a LONG day I was still smiling and rocking those red pumps!

I want to thank the Red Pump Project for engaging bloggers for this national day of awareness- it was an honor to participate in this great cause. I would like to thank them for highlighting and educating people about the need for women and girls to get tested; and for collaborating with The Red Tie Project (forming The Red Project Collective) that encourages and educates men on the need to get tested for HIV/AIDS.

Remember, we all must make an effort to get tested and stay protected…our lives and our loved ones depend on it!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Righs Reserved. paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Dedicating this Song and Video to the Superwomen of the World

>

Ladies, I just wanted to tell you that through it all you CAN survive, thrive, and accomplish anything you set your mind to- but it starts with the belief in ‘YES I CAN…YES I WILL’. Those of you who are struggling to make ends meet, yet every day you rise to get your positive hustle on for yourself and your family- I commend you. To those of you who are focused on earning that diploma, whether it’s for high school or your PhD- I commend you. To those of you who are working 12-18 hour days- it doesn’t matter if you are an employee or self-employed, your hard work and dedication WILL pay off.

I commend those superwomen who are looking for a hand up not a hand out, and in turn they reach their hand back to help the next person. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Let’s focus on building each other up, not tearing the next sista girl down. Let’s look at what we have in common, and work towards what we stand for rather than focusing on fighting about our differences and what we are against.

There are days when I just feel worn out, beat down, cried out, emotionally and physically drained- and then something comes over me… a sense of joy that each and every day God wakes me to walk on the path He has placed before me. It’s not supposed to be easy- but it’s a path that is all yours! We may not see tomorrow, so let our today work for us and through us, and let it last for as long as it can. Be grateful for waking each morning- able to experience heartaches, triumphs, set backs, and successes…and the blessings that come with sharing your stories with others.

We have accomplished so much in such a short period of time. The only person who can tell you that you CAN or CAN’T do something, is YOU!

YOU ARE A SUPERWOMAN!
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved.
Alicia Keys Superwoman video from YouTube.com
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>New Board Member with YWTF-ATL

>I am excited and honored to be appointed to the 2011 Board of Directors for the Younger Women’s Task Force Atlanta Chapter (YWTF-ATL) as the Director of Communications and Marketing. I look forward to working with the other board members, and with the Chapter Director, Terica Scott- who I would like to thank for believing in me and my ability to serve this board, our chapter, the organization as a whole, the women we serve, and the community we hope to engage. I also am excited about my role in planning and executing the final phases of the A.S.C.E.N.D. First Annual Leadership Conference on March 26, 2011 at 103 West in Atlanta, Georgia.

To read the official blog announcement for the 2011 Board of Directors visit: ywtfatlanta.blogspot.com/2011/02/congratulations-to-2011-ywtf-atl-board.html

To learn more about the Younger Women’s Task Force Atlanta Chapter visit: youngerwomenatlanta.org

For more information and to register for the A.S.C.E.N.D. Leadership Conference visit: ascendyoungerwomen.eventbrite.com

To contact me about YWTF-ATL events or other business-related issues please email: natasha.ywtf@gmail.com

Thanking all of you now for your support, and I hope to see you at upcoming events.

Natasha

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved.