Bad Girls, More Like Hurt Girls: Woman Up!

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.
 
 [ http://www.hulu.com/watch/539096%5D
 
 
 Copyright 2013. Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved.
 
 
 
 

Some of our Leaders Seem to Have a Problem with “Brain-Mouth Disconnect Syndrome”

By Natasha L. Foreman

Some people need to just think before they speak, or simply refrain from answering a question when they have absolutely nothing of intelligence to say in response. Case in point…again… Oklahoma state Representative Sally Kern.


This woman appears to have what I call, “brain-mouth disconnect syndrome” whenever a microphone or reporter is nearby. Her mouth gets to yapping but her brain is totally disconnected from the process. She needs a handler who does a better job screening what comes out of her mouth. Do you remember when three years ago she made the comment that gay people are destroying the United States and were a greater threat than terrorists? If not, I have included the link to this footage at the end of this post. Do you remember Kern’s Divorce Bill that would have made it hard for people to get divorced in Oklahoma? Yes, I included that link below as well.

Well Ms. Kern has really stepped in her own mess last Wednesday during an affirmative action bill debate she back-handed both women and African-Americans by saying that women don’t work as hard and earn as much as men because they are more concerned about raising their families, and the high incarceration rate of Black people must have something to do with them not wanting to work hard in school.

We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school?…I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.

But let’s hear it directly from the horse’s mouth shall we? Oh and look at the body language and reaction from her constituents in the audience! Thank goodness for YouTube…

Yep, she said it and after coming under attack and her people returning from their extended lunch break (I’m joking about the latter) she tries to clean up her comments by saying that women are some of the hardest workers in the world, and that what she said didn’t come from her “true spirit“. Okay so where did it come from? Will people have to question which spirit (true or false) she’s speaking from every time she opens her mouth?

Maybe it’s time for Ms. Kern to take some sensitivity training, or re-training. Anthony Davis, the President of the NAACP Oklahoma chapter is cutting Kern no slack and is standing firm in his call for her resignation, and urging Kern’s constituents do the same- saying, “Let’s send a message out that in Oklahoma we will not tolerate racism at its ugliest level.”

See the Oklahoma news KOCO report that covered the story and interviewed both Anthony Davis and state Representative Mike Shelton:

I’m all for freedom of speech but when do we draw the line especially when words of hate, bigotry, and racism come from the mouths of our country’s leaders, influencers, and those who intend to lead?

If we are to be the example for the rest of the world to follow why then should we be surprised that there is so much hate spewed about our country and our people? We talk about athletes and entertainers being role models and that they should watch what they say and do, but what about highly visible business people and those in government positions who serve the people of this nation? What standards are set for them, or are they not considered role models?

What are your thoughts?

Oh and by the way here’s the link to her Divorce Bill recommendation: http://youtu.be/tXYKe4gdeRo

And her remarks about gays in 2008 in case you never heard it or need your memory refreshed:

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
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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.
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>Natasha’s Deep Thought of The Day 1.10.11

>
They say that imitation is a form of flattery. Hmmm well to those who spend many moments imitating me I would say, “look close then do what I do…you own thing, and be unique doing it.” There is a difference between looking at someone we admire and modeling their behavior that led to their success or their sense of confidence- but it is quite another thing when we begin to assume their identity on some level; when we start dressing like them, acting like them, speaking like them, assuming positions and roles identical or similar to theirs, picking up their hobbies and so on and so forth.


You lose yourself when you’re busy trying to be like someone else. Soon you will grow to hate yourself (more) and ironically (and subconsciously)…the very person you imitate.




The same is true in competition. You should be concerned with what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Your biggest competition is yourself so stop looking around you and start looking within. Live your life purposely not reactionary. Don’t do something because you see me doing it and you think it will make you look better or smarter. Sometimes the things that others do that seem so effortless are the very things that you will fail at repeatedly as you discover that it takes great effort, hard work, and a diligent thought process- they just make it look easy.


Look at how much time you wasted trying to outdo or be like someone else when you could have ran your own race, took care of your own needs, and found your own ‘self’- by your own set of rules.




I write because it is a God-given gift, because it makes me feel good and is my way of releasing and letting go. Just like music, I have loved writing and the written word since I was a small child. I began reading at the age of two, and words and books have been a major part of my life since. I was editor of my high school paper, wrote for the city paper and the Los Angeles Times, and found a way to continue writing in other environments since.

There will never  be a point in my life where I look at a piece of paper and pen, my laptop, or any other instrument that I can use to express myself and say, “I’m through with this nonsense“- I can confidently say that until I take my last breath I will be a writer, and I will share my work with the world. I say that to say, my passion may not be yours- so why imitate me?


My other passions are music, business, fitness, education, working with the under-served and underrepresented, and working with women and children who struggle for the right for self-empowerment and self-sufficiency. All the days of my life I hope to be blessed enough to continue working for and within these areas that bring me such joy and completeness. I would not consider stretching my arms into other realms because in my heart I believe that I am where I am supposed to be and doing what I was called to do…not imitating someone else!



If people stuck to what they do best and did it consistently every day they would be the most successful person in that area. Instead, people start hop-scotching into other areas that they are only vaguely familiar with- or out of envy they pursue because they see someone else succeeding at it- then they scratch their head and kick the dirt in frustration when they are mediocre in the same role. 

Follow your passion not your ego. 

Follow your gift not your greed. 


Look at your clock not over the shoulder of someone else.

Live with passion not out of fear. 

Be you and not the cheap knock-off of someone else.
I am pleased and humbled when people tell me and say to others, “Natasha is one-of-a-kind. I have never met anyone like her…” that is a major compliment because I have lived my life doing what feels right in my gut and what comes as natural as blinking my eyes. I have spent my life always as a leader- not a follower. I have made choices in life not because it was the popular thing to do, or the easiest. I chose the most rugged paths because I wanted to do something other people weren’t considering. I choose to look deeper than others because people are comfortable with surface-level results. 

I dress in what feels comfortable and flatters my body- not what the industry says is ‘in’. I listen to music that moves my soul, not to what the industry says is ‘hot’. I read what makes me think, ask questions, and desire more- not what the industry says is a ‘must read’. I’m attracted to the kind of man that makes my toes curl for both obvious and not-so-obvious reasons, not just what the status quo calls ‘hot and sexy’. I write what I think, what I feel, what I see, what I know, what I want to know, and I could care less what the industry or powers-that-be would say to the contrary.



I have mentors but no idols. I mentor women and young girls- but I don’t want them to be just like me. I worship one God and follow the examples of His son, yet I embrace my fellow brothers and sisters of different faiths regardless of our differences because I know that we are more alike than not. So at the end of the day I look within myself to motivate, push, and compete with- not at the next woman…or man. There’s me, myself, and I…and that’s a lot to handle for one person, and I don’t have the time, inclination, or low self-esteem to be concerned with what another person is or isn’t doing.

So I say to those who would imitate me or others…do your own thing and be unique doing it!


 

Natasha L. Foreman, MBA


 

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

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>The Complexities of Relationships: Part Two

>Yesterday I posted part one of this series on relationships. The topic hit me and I felt it important to share because we are all supposed to strive to be better, do better, and live better lives on a daily basis. An acquaintance of mine said, “if you keep yourself in check then no one else has to”. So by sharing this tidbit of information I can ‘check’ myself and maybe you will humble yourself enough to do the same. So let’s pick up where I left off….

CONTROL, INSECURITY, LOW SELF-ESTEEM, EGO, PRIDE

Uh oh towards the end of my post yesterday did I touch on another sensitive term, insecurity? In our double-standard world only women are to be insecure and have low self-esteem. Yet any time a man feels the need to keep people around him constantly (entourage), attempt to make his woman jealous by giving out his number, constantly flirting, and having lunch or dinner with other women- he is insecure, and dare I say, has issues with his self-esteem, as he always feels the need to prove he “still has it”…here comes the ego! 

When a man finds it in himself to consistently make sly, negative remarks about the men who find his wife/girlfriend/lover attractive, possibly even making it his mission to confront the other men, he is insecure. The same is true of women who do these things. If your significant other does not respect you enough to respectfully and firmly push away the advances of other interested persons, then you need to be with someone else. You should not have to confront another person. Your issue is not with them, it’s with your significant other. No one should be playing these games. We’re called ‘grownups’ for a reason people. Let’s grow up! 

A person who is secure with “self” and has healthy self-esteem is comfortable alone, they don’t need others to validate them. They don’t need to always be around someone or be the life of the party all of the time. They also don’t need to play games. They love without always looking over their shoulder waiting for the other person to stab them in the back. They love without expecting anything in return. They freely practice the art of reciprocity. They don’t need to frequently or constantly tell their loved ones how much they have done for them or how much they spent on them. Relationships soon turn into conditional arenas when we start playing that game.

I gave back an expensive piece of jewelry and purse to a man who gave them as “gifts” but clearly attached conditions. In his twisted mind his wealth gave him certain rights when it came to other people, especially me if I was going to be his girlfriend, ‘woman’, or whatever title you want to use. In his mind he was doing me a favor, he was giving me something. Boy was he surprised at my reaction. No woman had ever given back a gift and walked away from him. That surely bruised his ego!

Several years ago I called off a wedding three months before we were supposed to say, “I do” because of similar reasons, a man thinking I was merely his trophy he could take off a shelf and show off when he wanted, then he could put back on the shelf when he wanted to run off and do his own thing. He felt that because of his fame and wealth in some way he owned me, I was his. I should feel lucky to have him, “do you know how many women want your position?” he would ask. He was sadly wrong about me! 

I did not blink when I handed back those items, nor did I have second thoughts about calling off my wedding. I walked away and never looked back. I cannot be bought or sold. I will not lose myself to any person, because I belong to and serve a higher being. I’m not angry, bitter, or sad…I’m simply content in my place and space, and I would rather be alone than lonely and a disappointment to God.    

Tomorrow I will continue with Part Three of this series. I look forward to your feedback…let’s continue a healthy dialogue! 

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