Around the globe, the Black woman’s natural hair is raising its voice amidst the clamor of relaxers, weaves and wigs, and in Nigeria, the movement is gaining momentum. Women are asking questions about natural hair care, the transition process and protective styles. Anonymous lifestyle blogger, Natural Nigerian, collaborated with natural hair blogger, Screwy Haired Girl, and founded Naturals in the City (NITC) meet-ups to answer these questions.
The human race has fought many diseases and won, and I strongly believe the end of HIV/AIDS would come. We won the fight against Small Pox, and Malaria is eradicated in many countries even though the poor still suffer. The fight needs to continue, and it is never truly over until it is over. About three decades ago, the war against AIDS began, and as a child I watched, felt and heard the stigma, fear and anger that arose when the topic was brought up.
I came in direct contact with my first AIDS patient while working as first an intern then an evaluator consultant at The Women's Collective (TWC). TWC is a Washington DC based non-profit organization advocating for the needs of minority women and girls living with HIV/AIDS. The Women's Collective grew out of the life experience of the Founder/Executive Director, Patricia Nalls, a woman living with HIV/AIDS, who used her personal lessons learned to create this unique organization. Here I was working and sitting side by side with women who were living beyond the power of the virus. AIDS has many faces, and though it is prevalent in some circles...it is truly no respecter of persons. I was somewhat prepared for my encounters, because I was getting my Masters in Public Health at The George Washington University, and I had heard and learned a lot. I had read about the shame, the pain, the stigma and the limitation AIDS places on people. However, coming to work at TWC opened my eyes up to strength, the untold victory stories and the triumph that comes when humans stand up to evil. I am not denying the pain, but I saw that when we come together and lay down our prejudices and myths about the disease...we win. We win all the time when a life lost equates a story told that educates another generation. We win when we listen to the tales of doom AIDS tell, but then decide to work hard so we can re-tell a story of joy. I heard stories of women infected by their husbands, I heard little girls talk about how they got infected during a rape or through foolish acts of promiscuity. I heard as women cried out against the very needle and drugs they love. I heard the cry and the pain.
But, then I saw how these women rose up in their pain to fight for their sanity and for their children. I saw as TWC staff, some living with HIV/AIDS, fight and work the system to advocates for the rights of these women. I see women celebrate years of sobriety and freedom from drugs. I watched as children of AIDS patients choose a different set of values, and how their mothers propel them forward. I have seen women crawl into the TWC office and then walk out. I am forever changed by the fourteen months I spent working alongside beautiful women from all levels of life and social status. They inspired me. They accepted me. I was a fish out of water and out of my comfort zone, but they embraced me. Many people have different opinions about HIV/AIDS, and how it is contacted. People blame the victim. Many times, we fail to look at our collective humanity as flawed, but redeemable. Sometimes, the simple act of abstinence and engaging a condom in sexual relations does the trick. However, it is not always that simple. HIV thrives on reproduction to facilitate its transmission. The incubation period between infection and symptoms can take decades and during this season, innocent people are contaminated unknowingly. We should all get tested, but we need to keep finding news ways to work around and in people's mating behaviors. Telling people not to breathe in a TB infested plane would result in tens of millions of lost lives. The questions are what can be done and what should be done? Pointing fingers, blaming the victim or stigmatization never works. There are many advocates and organization fighting against HIV/AIDS. We have lost people and agencies to the disease and to funding.
The workers and advocates are passionate. The women and men are relentless. The fight continues, and The victory is surely ours.
TODAY IS NATIONAL HIV TESTING DAY! GET TESTED & KNOW YOUR STATUS! Beloved, You are Loved Absolutely!
Tomorrow marks one year since I launched JostWrite and "A Thousand Miles...The First Steps." I have been working on both in the background for months. I went from an anonymous blogger to a public blogger, and I also started freelance writing after thinking about it for years.
One year ago tomorrow on the 23rd of July, 2011, I wrote my first post.
Two weeks after I wrote my first post, I signed my first client.
Three weeks after I wrote my first post, I left my job.
Exactly five weeks after I wrote my first post, I moved back home with my parents in Minneapolis, Mn.
I am thankful for everyone walking with me on this journey
Everyone who text me, called me, left me a voice-mail, a Facebook message or an email letting me know they are rooting for me.
Everyone who let me interview them for a blog post.
I am thankful for the strength I have developed in the past year.
I am thankful for all the people, fellow writers and bloggers I have met thus far.
I am thankful for the questions I got to ask myself
I am thankful for the doors that opened and those that closed.
I am thankful that I can do this.
I am eternally thankful for Jesus Christ, the lover of my soul. You make me better. You call me out of my crap. You tell me I am a writer when I doubt it. You tell me to stop whining and conduct research for that article. You tell me You are for me and that You've got my back. I have seen You come through time without number and Guess what? I need You for the next year and every other year after that. Don't go walking away on me now...:) I love You.
I am looking forward to many more years to come, as I write more, blog more, become more open, get back on the job search wagon (yes, I fell off it for a while), travel more and grow.
Yesterday was Father's Day, and I called my dad to wish him "Happy Father's Day." As I mentioned in this post from last year, lately, I'm not one to celebrate. Days like Father's Day and holidays like Christmas have become like any other day to me. I have a lot going on in my life right not and in the past few years, I have found it hard to genuinely celebrate. I stopped making time to celebrate and appreciate. I am also currently struggling through some emotional issues with my parents, so my heart finds it hard to find the joy in Mother and Father's Day like I did in the past. I always call them to wish them a good day and leave it at that.
As I work through my issues with my dad and mom: a few emotional clogs in my heart and letting go of a few things, I decided to share the top six reasons why I love my dad aside from him being a good father and a good provider.
I love my dad because...
6. Dad taught me that men are not made to sit around and watch football. They are part of a household and should be involved in the household. My dad can hold it down in the kitchen and around the house. When we were younger, my mom always had to chase him out the kitchen. I will never forget when my dad visited my sister and I for a week in college, and he decided to stay in our apartment. We both woke up to breakfast, came back home to find lunch and dinner waiting, our beds laid and our laundries done. We were not surprised, because my dad has always been committed to taking care of us then and now in all the little and big ways.
5. Dad did not shy away from sitting my sister and I down for a little sex talk. He did it a few times and we shut him down each time. It was the funniest scene in the world. I can never forget our expressions the first time he tried, we shut it down in the first few minutes and I think he was glad we did, because he was uncomfortable. You can't blame him, my breasts grew out way to early. Uncomfortable poor father of two beautiful girls
4. Dad chose his family over money and status. I remember when we were younger and he was transferred by his job to a branch in a different part of the country. My mom was out of the country for a while. I watched him struggle over moving to an awesome job with a GOOD raise to choosing to stay with us. My dad chose us. I will never forget that sacrifice, because it was a huge one. My siblings and I in our hearts did not mind him going. because it meant more freedom for us (at least, I was thinking it). However, I knew all along that he would choose us. Looking back, he made a sacrifice that I believe he is still paying for, but he made the right choice.
3. When I was a little girl, one of our neighbors fondled me. I told my friends that we needed to avoid him, my friends told a guy who had a crush on me, he told my sister and my sister told my dad. Daddy marched across the street to confront the jerk. I'm still not sure how I feel about him confronting the guy even many many years after, because I had to endure the stares, the scoffs, the "she asked for it" and the "she is probably lying" that some people throw at me after that. (I believe that is one experience that taught me not to care about what people think about me) However, I love him. because I know it took all in him not to kill the man. It was also the first time I saw my dad cry.
2. My dad told me a while back, "I don't have an issue with who you choose to marry or his race, but he must love Jesus and love you more than I love your mom." (I am not sure how he hopes to figure the latter out. lol) He blew my heart out of its shell.
1. For as long as I can remember, EVERYTIME I walk into a room, my dad brightens up on seeing me and says "My baby." It is like he is seeing his girl for the first time in a long time, even if I saw him a day before. He makes my heart skip and reassures me that this man loves me. I always long to go visit my parents, and I approach the house with giggling heart, because I know I am about to make my dad smile and about to hear him address me as "AdeOla, my baby." My heart is at its best in that moment.
I try not to lie to myself. Others might lie to me, but I do not lie to myself. I call myself out on my crap. I challenge myself. I tell myself when I have done a good job and when I could have done better. I tell myself when I am afraid and when I am strong. I tell myself to get over it and I tell myself to dwell on it.
When I am comparing myself to others, jealous, scared, feeling ugly, feeling beautiful, awaiting that guy who took my number and is yet to call, envious of my friends, contemplating pre-marital sex, broke, failing...I stand back and tell myself the truth of why? If I can't figure it out, I ask for advice or I let it go. When I ask, I usually ask only two beings.. one never lies and the other gets it on and off.
Not lying to myself is a live saver for me. It helps me in telling others the truth about me whether they like it or not.
A mild winter is to shaping up into a hawt summer. I am not a fan of heat or humidity; I thrive better in lower 70 degrees weather with a cool breeze and a beach/pool. This is one reason out of many why all the opportunities opening up in Florida and the DMV (DC/MD/VA) are not capturing my heart. In retrospect, Minnesota winter, albeit mild this year, is not my favorite.
I mentioned here a month ago that if I did nothing else while in Washington DC, I had to visit the new Martin Luther King Memorial and also meet a charming, powerful, durable, uber-charismatic gentleman. And I did both! I visit the memorial and met the charming, powerful, durable, uber-charismatic MLK immortalized in stone. I went alone, and I'm glad I did. It gave me a chance to sit, stare, reflect and think about the importance of his life, mission and memorial. Racism, discrimination and prejudice frustrate me, and I wrote about my journey here. I don't understand their essence, and I do get disgusted with myself when my own personal prejudices raise their heads (Oh, they pop out ever so often). We all have them. I have a desire to see all men and women of all races and cultures actually like, enjoy and accept each other. I desire an era when Black or "minority" evoke no emotions of prejudice or stereotype. I have lofty dreams, and I really doubt if we will ever come to that place in my lifetime. However, I am reminded that MLK also had lofty dreams and we are all still walking and working them out. A few of his wishes are here and here to stay...many are still up in the air. We are reaching for them and I pray that they fall in the right places. I sat and stared. I smiled and thanked him for fighting for my right to be Black, woman and actively working towards my dreams. Many years ago, all I was perceived to be good for was as a maid serving a White family or picking cotton in the fields. I was raped without justice and my babies were scorned. Today as a result of your fight and the fights of many others...I can darn well do whatever I choose to do, and I am glad my heart is in the place to do the right things. The fight is not over...not for blacks and not for women. Your fight alongside the struggles of others like you helped make me decide a long time ago to always choose Right over culture and tradition. To always speak up for the oppressed whether Black, White, Pink or Blue. To take the fight for civil and human rights beyond race, but also gender, age and status. To point the fingers at domestic violence, rape, segregation and patriarchy. To let orphans rise, women speak and minorities reign. Thank you! Beloved, You are Loved Absolutely!
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Mine was busy and fast, not the way I like it, but I appreciated how fast it was. I laid in bed all day yesterday...slept and watched TV. I mentioned here that I was heading to New York City and New Jersey with a couple of girlfriends. Two weekends ago, we drove and I will not be driving into New York City ever again. Maybe if you award me a million dollars or something to that effect...I will drive. My decision has nothing to do with the craziness of driving into and in New York, my issue is with the cost of toll into Delaware, NJ and then NY. Please, lets get on a bus. I always visit NY city, and I should know this right, but I have been once by train and a million times by bus which meant I was either sleeping, chatting up my always cute male seat partners, sleeping, conversing with everyone else on the bus, sleeping or reading a book sleeping. I drove into NJ with a few friends in 2010, and I slept through it too. Last weekend was different, I was awake and fully engrossed in our conversation about men, marriage and life, I found my very rich self, well my very rich travel partners and friends dipping several times into their wallet to pay for toll. At each toll station, I got angrier.. especially at one $14 toll fee. I had $30 cash on me and it all went to toll. I am thankful I did have cash, because I'll feel like a total douche bag if my friends brought cash and I looked like "WHAT? We pay toll?" One afternoon, we packed our car close to Time Square, and when we picked it up...the fee made me want to go rob a bank.
In conclusion...gas money (to and back) plus toll fees (to and back) plus the cost of road-trip snacks (to and back) plus parking fee was enough to buy four bus tickets, pay for food, buy a pair of Louboutin Nine West pumps and some change. Luckily, we had free lodging, free breakfasts and lunches and a whole lotta fun in New Jersey and New York. I will not trade it for anything except I want my meagre $30 back. :) I keed! I do not envy people who work between these states or have to make the visit often...even with EZPass!
If you live in the East Coast and visit New York often, what is your preferred means of getting into the city and why?
of my newer clips are yet to be uploaded either because I need to
confirm some protocol issues or publication is still at a future date,
but I will upload as I go. I feel like I am in business. :) All that is
left is to take that professional picture I have been avoiding. I will
rather be jumping in the air somewhere for a picture than sitting and
posing for a professional one. Sad!
you need a writer to produce copy or edit a piece of writing, or know
someone who does, I would love if you would visit my site and share with
EVERYONE you know. For inquire about a project, connect with me here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A big big big shout out to my creative and patient graphic designer Lisa Butler at Elembee Creative.If you need a graphic designer, or know someone who does, connect with her here! She is talented, creative, client-oriented and da bomb! I am speaking the truth.
A few years ago in Winona, MN, in the dead of winter at a very ungodly hour, I sat on my bed across from my laptop and googled "locations with the best all year round weather."That night, I discovered San Diego, CA. Not too hot and humid and not cold. Perfect for all I was feeling, wishing and thinking in the devilish Minnesota winter night.
Prior to googling, I had always had California and Italy on my mind. If I had a chance to get up and move to any country in the world, I will choose Italy. However, somewhere lodging and growing in the corners of my heart was a desire to move to California, whether North or South...it really did not matter to me. I knew the cost of living was high and it was over-rated for many, but hey..I liked and wanted what I liked and wanted.
I wanted to study at Berkeley in the Bay area for my Bachelors, but I found myself in the peaceful town of Winona, Mn. (no thanks to my parents). I applied to transfer to Berkeley in my sophomore year of college, but my parents were all the more determined to kill that dream. I stayed in Winona and loved it even after my sister transferred out to Washington DC. I also desired to go to Berkeley for my Masters, but I missed the application deadline and found myself in the busy big-small city of Washington DC. Do not ask me why University of California, Berkeley, because I don't have an answer.
It is funny to note that if you take away the mild all year-round weather, I
am out of that city as fast as my two beautiful feet can take me. I also do not
think I know anyone or friends who live in San Diego, CA. I could move there
and hate it. I should go visit. Lol. Dreams are weird!
San Diego or any part of California does not seem feasible in my nearest future unless you award me a job that pays enough to live like a celebrity, but this does not stop me from wishing, dreaming, hoping and VISITING! LOL.I am living in my reality and it is presently in Minneapolis, MN. Oh life...what sense of humor?
May was a slow month in regards to writing projects. Many freelance writers I encounter talk about "the down season" when all projects are completed and/or there are no new or big projects in the works. May was that month for me. I had only three low intensity projects. I was pitching, prospecting and evaluating throughout the month of May. Below is a recap of May intentions:
Finalize Website...DONE! A lit tweak here and there is needed and I am yet to upload all projects on my portfolio page, but for now it is ready. I am glad this is done and over with. Visit my Writing Studio at http://:www.jostwrite.com Compile all portfolio items... DONE! I am finally done with compiling all old pieces. Many of my newest works are not up yet because of some protocol steps I need to take, but for now, this is done.
Finish "To Kill a Mockingbird"....So shameful. I neither completed this book or the new one I picked up.
Take a business writing class...Traveling makes this impossible, but I hope I will settle down this summer to finally start taking classes.
Exercise 3 times a week...Major Fail! I went running once in May. ONCE! I need to get back to strength training too.My friends mentioned the six packs they once envied is beginning to evolve into a burger belly.
Sign on 3 new clients...Still working on some contacts. Nothing thus far. :( Wake up at 7am latest... DONE! I woke up earlier sometimes. Yay for me! Go to bed latest 11pm...DONE! Most days I went to bed earlier. Blog M-W-F....DONE! I blog daily some weeks.
In just three days, there have been three tragedies in and about Nigeria and in these tragedies...many lights were quenched. The lives of people are precious, and when people die because of another's carelessness and SELFISHNESS, it stinks and stings. I am almost over yelling about how Goodluck and his government needs to be flogged. I am over debating about how bad Nigeria is and how it needs change. It is my same mouth that speaks that should build. This post is not about how incompetence every single sector of the nation I call mine is...I'm so over the talk. I am not even sure what this post is all about. But are these deaths really meant to be...no adequate fire fighting tools, emergency services are non existent, inadequate roads, too narrow roads, too crowded roads, lack of crowd control, faulty radar system, ignored warnings about faulty plane...if all was in place, HECK! if the last issue was addressed...would these people be alive? Would their family still smile? In the same space where love is happening and life is given..there is death, corruption, heartless travel officials and people without regard for life...just profits. In that same breath of beautiful is the ugly...all in Nigeria and in life. The news that a family traveled in to celebrate a wedding and met their death breaks my heart. The celebration of a wedding union and the death of three generations, a grandmother, a husband, wife and four children...the juxtaposing of beautiful and ugly. As a woman that loves to get on a plane and who also experience slight panics during turbulence, I am not sure how to imagine ones death when you are very aware the very plane you are sitting on is about to crash. Beautiful things happen alongside ugly things. The birth of a child and the loss of more than 150 lives in a plane crash in Nigeria are the juxtaposing of beautiful and ugly. The coming together of a man and a woman and the lose of over ten people in a terrorist attack in Nigeria all happening in one weekend and in one city is the coming together of the beautiful and ugly. My heart is sad and this post is making no sense to me. I know it is customary to pray that the soul of those who die rest in peace, but aside from the issue of who goes to heaven vs. who goes to hell...is there ever rest for victims of unjust deaths, murder and terrorist attacks? As much as there is no rest for the perpertrators, is there ever rest for the souls? I am not sure what I am trying to say, but my heart is heavy and full, and downloading it coherently seem almost impossible even for me. My pen is heavy, so heavy it is weighed down I will see you all tomorrow. Beloved, You are Loved Absolutely!
June is officially here. This means summer is here and Christmas is so close...I giggle! I am heading to New Jersey with a stop in New York today with two of my good friends. The drive would probably focus on MEN, Jesus, MEN, how much we love and appreciate each other, MEN, how much they wish I would move back to the DMV, our relationship with God, MEN, MEN. Not necessarily in that order, but you get the picture. :) I am pumped, because we will meet up with some friends in New Jersey tomorrow. Anyways, my trip in DC is slowly winding down, but I have this feeling I am not heading back to Minneapolis in June. I am going someplace else. If my dreams come true...I see San Francisco in my June/July. Please take me away. There is no "Settle Down" bone in my body! PS: I am dreaming! Source: pienoy.tumblr.com via AdeOla JostWrite on Pinterest Beloved, You are Loved Absolutely!
I am waiting for Ms. Daisy to get behind the wheel and drive already I am waitng for Humpty Dumpty to rebuild himself I am waiting for little Ms. Alice to get a clue and direction I am waiting for a mustard seed to grow into a tree I am waiting to dance naked in the rain I am waiting to kiss underwater To see Nigeria rise from its knees to its feet I am waiting for the Republicans and Democrats to embrace already I am waiting for menopause I am waiting to climb Mt. Everest I am waiting to behold the Pyramids in Egypt I am waiting to climb to the peak of Macchu Picchu I am waiting for the man of my dreams To buy a motorbike In all my waiting, it seems the world might be waiting on me. But I am waiting for Jesus to arrive already I am waiting to sit Him down and ask what took him so long I am waiting to ask him how mountains fall, seas roar and winds bellow, all on his watch. I am waiting to ask God to set it all straight, But it seems He is looking down and saying pointedly at me "Child, I am waiting on you." Beloved, You are Loved Absolutely!