Take your own stand…or have a seat…

So I have discovered a love of Podcasts on Podcast One and ITunes (it’s like talk radio without the interruptions of music!) And I was even more excited to see that Tia Mowry has a podcast titled, “Mostly Mom with Tia Mowry”. I decided to subscribe and add this to my podcast playlist along with about 10 others including LadyGang (funny girls) and Mo’Nique & Sidney’s Open Relationship (yup…THAT Mo’Nique, I’ll save my commentary for another blog post…she is still hilarious!) Anyway, I excitedly listened to the podcast intro which says this is a show about empowerment (and some other stuff too). And here we are at episode 1. Tia begins the podcast by speaking out about being cyber bullied and how she posted the following on Instagram, “In a world that’s obsessed with perfection, I am taking a stand and will not be retouching my photos. I want all of us women and men to embrace, love and accept our real bodies at whatever stage we are in life. We all have different shapes and sizes, lets encourage and uplift.” She went on to speak about being fat shamed 2 days later after she posted an unretouched photo of herself. After which her first guest, her husband, Cory Hardict came on. Who side note, seems like a real, funny easy going dude.
As I slide into episode 2, Tia comes on and thanks everyone for listening (you’re welcome Tia) and mentions (again in this episode) how she has come to a personal decision to stop photo shopping her Instagram pictures. She said she truly feels that this photo shopping and trying to look perfect has become an epidemic. She then posed the question to her listeners, “Why can’t we just love ourselves, our true authentic selves.” She continued on by saying there are a lot of women now contouring their faces and chests and their legs and wanted to know why are we doing this to ourselves. She wanted to know why we can’t just embrace our flaws and love who we are. Why do we have to be so obsessed with being perfect. Tia then informs all of us listeners that we need to just be ourselves and be who we are and embrace our flaws. This message sounded annoyingly familiar, like I was either having a de’javu moment or perhaps having repeated Groundhog days. I say this because while I did hear it on Tia’s podcast, I have also been seeing the same type of message on various social media and blog sites from other women who are saying the same thing in different variations. They are saying, “It’s time to take off your makeup, and be you”, “Take off your weaves and be true to you, stop trying to be European”, “ladies embrace your natural self.” And it annoys me…Why does it annoy me you ask (and if you didn’t I will tell you anyway).
I am a woman who although has never photo shopped my pictures, I have worn/wears a weave and braids. I also love my Nars highlighter in Albatross and when I wear it I see rainbows and flowers and unicorns (they DO exist) and I glow. I also love me a good tinted moisturizing BB Cream (cover girl in the color bronze…I feel like a goddess.) Does this mean I don’t love my “true, authentic self?” Does it mean I don’t “embrace my flaws” because I like to enhance my cheeks with a little blush every now and then? I’ll answer the questions myself…NO! It doesn’t mean that! What it means is that I am a woman who loves myself completely, even the parts of me that want to change other parts of myself. I love me and accept me…even the parts of me that have a hard time accepting other parts of me. Does that sound confusing? Ok, here is the breakdown of what I said. I am a woman who loves myself and accepts myself. In loving and accepting myself, I acknowledge the fact that there are some things that I do want to change about myself be it physically or mentally, and that is ok because I have decided to let ME empower ME to be ok with ME whether I have makeup/no makeup, contoured/not contoured, weaved/not weaved etc… I am sure you get the picture.
And about that word EMPOWER that is used so much. First, let’s start with the definition. Merriam-Webster defines the word empower used in the verb form as: to give power to (someone), to give official authority or legal power to (someone). Merriam-Webster also goes on to define the word empower when used as a transitive verb (a verb that can take a direct object): to promote the self-actualization or influence of. Interesting right? So when we say we want to empower someone to love themselves or to be comfortable with who they are, what we are really saying is that we want to give someone the power or authority to love themselves, the power and authority to love who they are…but only once they take off and remove the external things about themselves that they may actually love and accept, and THEN it’s ok to love yourself. For instance, women are telling other women, take out your weave and take off your wigs and love who you really are. But have these same women ever stopped to consider that this women may have an actual medical issue that leaves her unable to grow hair in certain areas of her head and although she loves and accepts herself, she feels like the world doesn’t have to see her bald spots, so she covers them. There are also women telling other women to take off their makeup and be ok with being natural, but this woman who wears the makeup may have skin that has been disfigured or scarred and while she accepts that about herself, she may feel that the world doesn’t have to see all of her scars. We as women need to see that sometimes, it is not all about other women trying to get attention or to attain perfection…sometimes it is simply that yes we do accept our flaws and imperfections, however, some things we just don’t want the world to see…and that is ok. We also need to understand that our own personal epiphany’s are not always going to become public movements.
Tia Mowry thank you for your podcast. I find you to be smart, beautiful, entertaining and funny and I applaud you for deciding to take your stand. However, please understand that taking a stand and empowering others is not just inclusive of talking about the stand you have taken and telling those same others that they should follow suit. This is your stand and your journey. You have however, inspired me to take a stand also. I have decided to live in my power, to live my life in a way that honors and reflects who I am in whatever stage of life I am in. I will live more powerfully, laugh more powerfully and love more powerfully and maybe, just maybe someone who is watching will be inspired by my actions and realize that they too have the authority to live in their power…
Love you guys and thank you so much for reading!

1 John 3 vs. 8 KJV

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

Run your OWN pace…

This morning I went to visit an old friend. A friend who has been there for me always. A friend who doesn’t hold it against me when I’ve gone to long without visiting (it’s been some months) but at the same time doesn’t make it easy on me. A friend who is consistently supportive and never bends under whatever weight I bring to them when I come…My friend…Lake Montebello. When I got out of my truck, I did the usual stretches and pulled out my phone to pull up my running playlist (think The Weeknd, Musiq Soulchild, Mint Condition, Floetry, Brian McKnight, etc. Listen, I need music that starts out just as slow as I do when I run.) The sun was shining, the wind was slightly blowing off of the water and as I took in a deep breath of fresh air, I thought about the runs that almost seem like fairy tale runs. It’s a run that as soon as you start out, you realize that it’s perfect running weather, the sun is shining in that not to hot type of way, but just enough to let you know it is there, your mind is clear and has connected to your brain which tells your knees, “I got you. No pain today,” as your knees tell your calves, “we’ll hold you up, it’s all good,” and your calves tell your feet, “go on and take us somewhere, we got enough muscle to help you through however many miles.” And you realize your entire body is in sync and as the wind is at your back pushing you through your journey of miles, you can’t help but smile, because this is gonna be easy. And as I stepped onto the track, in a slow jog, one foot in front of the other starting out with mile one with The Weeknd in my ears singing to me that I ” earned it”, my brain told my knees, who told my calves, who told my feet, “Taria, you ain’t in Never Never land today…this run is gonna be hard! And I’m just running, the sun shining…in my eyes so it’s hard for me to see, running in the direction OF the wind so it felt like it was pushing me backward with every step I tried to take forward and that same wind all of a sudden had a chill to it that made me want to stop and turn around and go back to the truck. I mean in my mind, none of those things did I have control over, so why try to keep running forward against elements that kept making it hard for me. But I kept running. And as I slowly ease into 1.5 miles, I think I may have found my groove, slightly. I’m breathing through my nose, my posture is correct and I allow my mind to just coast (which, those of you who know me, you know that’s not an easy thing for my mind to do. And for those of you that are just getting to know me, that is not an easy thing for me to do.) And I’m doing pretty good on my run, still moving forward at the speed I’m meant to go, then all of a sudden I feel someone coming up on my rear on the right hand side. Immediately, I speed up and then look back and as I am looking back, a woman with a big dog is passing me. I almost get OFF the track because I have a fear of dogs. Shoot.. let the dog have the track! But I stayed on. But I continue to watch the woman run ahead of me and get further and further away. I mean to me it looks like she is slower than me and therefore, she should still be behind me. I mean how was she able to come up from behind me holding onto a big dog that is heavy enough that it should be slowing her down (in my eyes) and I didn’t see her anywhere near the track when I started, and yet she came up from behind me and passed me!!!! I was so focused on her passing me when I was on that track BEFORE her, that it took me a minute to realize that I had slowed down and lost my rhythm and my posture was off which was causing my back to hurt, my breathing had become labored and I was starting to get cramps on my right side because I was breathing with my mouth open and taking in air, instead of through my nose and pushing out air. This continued on for a short while until it dawned on me that I was using so much energy to figure how she passed me, that I was getting ready to sabotage my own progress in moving forward…And I realized, that is how we can get messed up in life sometimes. There we are, traveling along on the paths to our goals feeling like we can do whatever it is we set out to do. And then along comes someone who has the same goal as you, and looks to be on the same journey as you, and then,they pass you. They get the promotion when you had been diligently working towards it, they get picked to lead a solo when you had been practicing for weeks and didn’t even know they were on the track with you. They get the proposal first when GOD knows you have been patiently waiting.They get selected to preach a sermon when they just graduated seminary and you’ve been ordained for years. And before you know it, you’ve gotten off track from working toward the thing you were gifted and born to. You’ve started regressing all because you were focused on someone else that was progressing. And the thing is, that person who you think has come out of nowhere to pass you, you don’t know what they have gone through to get to where they are going to.

So here I am at Lake Montebello, having an epiphany. I realized, I had to run MY pace and not let someone else’s pace throw me off track. I realized, it didn’t matter if I got to the “finish line” after the woman who passed me because in actuality, there was no finish line…It wasn’t a competition, it was two woman, who both liked to run and just happened to be out on the track at the same time. We still had to run our OWN race at our OWN pace…

I want to encourage anyone who feels like they are behind on what it is they are supposed to be doing and so you want to quit…keep running. If you feel like you have been working towards something for so long, and all of a sudden someone comes out of nowhere and passes you…keep running. If you feel like there are things beyond your control that are trying to force you backwards when you KNOW you are supposed to be moving forward, change your posture, to one of prayer…then get up… and keep running!

I love you guys! Thank you for reading…

Hebrews 12 vs. 1-2 NIV “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on JESUS.”

P.S. I ended up meeting my goal…3 mile run nonstop. :):):)

 

It’s not about a button…

For awhile now, (ok more like the past almost 48 hours), I have been almost obsessively watching my blog stats, especially the stats for that little blue button on the bottom right side titled “Follow” and wondering out loud, in my head, to my husband,to JESUS, “Why is the number not moving up faster???” Why are people not following? Why, why, why when so many of these same people have offered up their support of my endeavors on so many different occasions in the past while they were asking me to buy their product, attend their meetings, write a letter/poem/piece for them, or in boxing me for a list of modeling/talent agencies for their kids, mothers, brothers friends fifth cousin on their daddy’s side who is destined for TV??? And the more my self righteous frustration grew in my head, I imagined myself as Denzel Washington  Alonzo Harris from Training Day and imagined myself saying to people “Oh no you didn’t, wait a minute, no you didn’t. You disloyal…HEY! I NEED my follows..” (If you have ever watched Training Day, speed through to the end of the movie in your mind and you will understand. If you have never seen it, you missed a great movie). But I digress… I even brought JESUS into my pity party and said, “I’m putting revenge prayers cases on all of them, and they gonna be playing basketball in Pelican Bay when I get done!” Ok, ok, I know, way over the top I went… And then like the caterpillar does before becoming a butterfly and has to actually digest itself by releasing enzymes to dissolve all of it’s tissues, I too had to “digest” or convert all of that negativity I was feeding myself and instead turn it into energy that my body could use for something else, like a little bit of self reflection perhaps?

Initially, it was easy to say, “I’m doing this blog because GOD laid it on my heart and if one person can be touched through something I said, I have done my job. As long as he gets the Glory, I’m good.” But I realized somewhere within these past 48 hours (I’m thinking probably right after I hit the publish button on my first blog post),my thinking shifted from “HIS GLORY” to “MY GLORY.” I also realized that the brain has a funny way of helping you remember what you DID do, but not so much what you DIDN’T do. As much as I would like to think that I was a spiritual, financial, mental and physical support whenever I COULD be to someone, without fail, I wasn’t. The times I tossed out a, “Yes! Girl, I got you!” Or a, “Just send me your link, I’ll read it and re-post.” Or my most used one, “Just let me know what you need! I got you”, when I know FULL WELL I probably should have said, ” I can’t help this time.” Or exercised the same self- discipline that I sometimes fuss at my kids about, and just followed through on what I said I would do for someone else instead of justifying my lack of follow through on my oh so busy day (sometimes) or my doing 1,000 unimportant things at once that causes me to forget THE most important things, like staying true to what I said I would do…

So, from the bottom of my heart, I apologize to anyone that I gave my word to, and then ended up taking it back without fulfilling it. To anyone who needed me, and I wasn’t there. I am striving everyday going forward to do better and better and to learn to give a slow NO instead of a fast YES:)

I am never to busy to RECEIVE a blessing, and from this day forward, I will make sure to never be to busy to BE a blessing!

Love you guys! Thanks for reading…

Philippians 2 vs. 3-4 NKJV: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better then himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others.”

 

The Take Off…3.2.1…

WOW! Now that I have finally been able to put together some semblance of a blog/website (are they one and the same, like the same in one), I feel like I am not quite sure what to say… I guess I’ll start by saying, “Hi! My name is Taria (pronounced Maria, but with a “T”) and I am extremely excited to embark on this new adventure, Blogging. Well to be honest, I have actually been blogging for about 3 years now, so what if it was all in my head, it still counts right??? I have “head blogged” about my life, from being the wife to a handsome man (15 years September 15th, 2016), a mother of three children (2 beautiful girls and one handsome boy), a former retailer manager (the stories I could tell you), a former office worker (I felt like I was in a cage yearning to be free), a show biz mom (I know right???), a former youth ministry worker (that season is UP) and a woman of GOD who occasionally has to be reminded that GOD has the final say, not me. I know, it’s a lot. And that is not even the half of it…

Welcome to my journey…my life…Tales from a Butterfly…