Any of US Could be Kenneka?

Unless you live under a rock you have heard the story of Kenneka Jenkins, the young lady who was found in a freezer in the Crowne Plaza hotel in Chicago.  This story has had twitter and social media in a frenzy.  She left with a group of friends to attend a party and never came home.  Follow any of the hashtags to follow the story.  Regardless of the distorted facts one fact remained is that she had some extremely horrible “friends” and that she was being brought there to be raped.

Now I have seen the memes floating about how her death and rape has sparked the whole be careful of your friends movement but it makes it seem as if the rapist and murdered of Kenneka deserves a pass?  My thoughts are on what planet?  Just because people are using this story to remind others about their choice of friends that doesn’t mean that the rapists and murder whomever they may be are fine.  The way the information is spilling, the rapists and murders can be her friends.  Everyone in that hotel room should be charged.  Hands down.  I will not dispute that.  It’s not a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Everyone who live streamed it, turned the music to muffle Kenneka’s cries, participated, set it up, and carried it out should be charged.  AND you should STILL watch your friends.

I placed myself in the place of a mother.  I am a mother in real life.  I have two daughters. My oldest child is very lovable and already possesses the thoughts that her friends are great.  However as her mother teaching her right from wrong I am the voice until she has a voice on whom is not for her.  Yes, even at 8 I have had to call out a few of the mean girls.  My daughter goes to private school which means for the most part her classes are small and most of the kids in her class have already been together since Kindergarten.  They hang together in and out of the classroom. If you think that I as a mother am not in her ear telling her, pointing out, and calling out her fake friends you are sadly mistaken.  We ALL have had to deal with those who we thought was real and found it wasn’t remotely true.

I was asked this week have I ever had to deal with fake friends and the answer is HELL YES.  My eyes were opened AFTER something went down.  Whether that was hearing of stories being said tabout me, being left at a party, etc, it has happened.  Or the times I have had a circle of friends who were really friends because we had one mutual friend involved and heard some crap about me that I didn’t tell the group.  These are the very recipes for fake friends.  I do not think Kenneka realized that until her unfortunate death.  I said on my SnapChat and I will say it again, its not just the teenagers we need to worry about it’s the young girls that are my oldest daughters age that already show mean girl attributes.  It’s the grown women who keep stuff going well into their 40s and up. This mean girl mentality can begin at any age.  It doesn’t discriminate so while others are pointing their fingers at Kenneka, remember to re-evaluate your own circle.

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Listen cutting off friends is hard.  It hurts.  It makes your circle smaller.  Here are a few things to watch for:

  1. The “leader” that likes to control off the cards aka the information that is given to the group.  My rule of thumb is that just because we share a mutual friend don’t bring me no news about someone I don’t pick up the phone and call myself.  Do you know how many people talk that let’s pray for her crap and ain’t been in church a month of Sundays.  Stop believing the that’s my sis crap. That same sis is the same one when you get on hard times will give your information to people who don’t even know you.  Rule of thumb even in a group setting, let others tell their own business.  Stop giving in the name of friendship other’s information unless you have permission.
  2. When one or more lie about inviting another but talk about how that one don’t come.  I had that happen recently.  I found out that after all this talking about one “friend” went down the girl wasn’t even invited but the “leader” told everyone they were and then talked bad about them for not coming.  IF they will do it to one they will do it to all
  3. Be still sometimes.  We go to things without asking the right questions.  If you feel something isn’t right, trust what you say and have your own mind.

These are the lessons that even at 8 I have had to share with my daughter.  These will NOT solve fake friends problems but it will open eyes.  We believe anything.  Just because you know someone for a long time don’t always mean they have your best interest in heart. Also to my men you play a HUGE part in some of this.  For the men who use women as bait, stop.  Start having conversations with your son and other young men about respect. Too many women trying to protect each other but not having men stand and rally behind them to do the same.  Sorry your fragile egos can’t take a no but remember at some point, this could have been your daughter, mother, cousin, etc. Keneeka is all of us and I have the deepest sympathy for that mother and family.  I pray that the ones who did this, will come forward and take responsibility soon.  R.I.P Kenneka Jenkins!!

Protect your Spirit

Happy Monday to you.  Happy I am just making it Monday.  Happy I am alive Monday. Whatever your Monday looks like to you, make it that and rise above it.  Yes the weekend has left some of us dry.  If it wasn’t the news that is constantly being pushed in our faces, to relationships, situationships, kids, jobs, etc you may be at wit’s end.

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So we all know that we need to protect our spirit.  Your spirit is your essence.  It’s your wits.  It’s you in a nut shell. I know there are many times when I have to take a time out. I give my kids one and have no shame in taking one.  You need to protect your essence. All of life’s drama can take the beauty out of you if you let it.  Today I am even more guarded to keep being informed but to filter some of the junk to avoid getting too overly emotional or let things take me out of my element.

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Life is hard but cover yourself today and everyday.  Cover your children who don’t fully understand but are in the presence of the same junk you are touched with.  Never underestimate that they are able to pick up on negative vibes just as much as you do. Protect what they see and hear.  Protect who they are around.  Who you allow your kids to be around speaks volumes as they take on what on who is around them.  Protect what words you say around them as well.  Words have life and death in them and you have to be careful that the tearing down isn’t occurring in-house.  We are worried about the outsiders but truth be told you can cause more damage in house than you will ever know if you aren’t careful.

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Filter what you take on when it comes to social media. I love social media but the down size is that it doesn’t always allow you to be social.  It can become battle grounds.  It can become warfare. It can zap your energy.  It can take up so much of your time.  It can allow you to not be able to disengage with those around you.  It is a choice and you must make good choices on what you entertain on social media.  Everything isn’t worth a response. Everything doesn’t need a clap back.  You have to clean your social media act up. Delete some accounts you don’t need.  Take a few folks off that you allow to get you all up in arms.  Learn to take a step back with who you call friends on your social media accounts.  Never post anything you don’t stand by 100% and be prepared to live with any backlash.  Learn that some things that inspire you may just be for you.  Learn that you can choose to spread hate or love.  Love on yourself.  Practice self-love everyday.  Mental illness is real and it can be elevated by social media because when the mind is weak it allows the defenses of everything to be low.  Be careful.  Speak life today.  Speak life into your situations and find ways to make your bottom line better.  Reach out to help others when your able.  It’s no different from when you’re on a plane, they tell you to put the oxygen mask on you first.  Same rule applies in life, stop handing out all of your resources to others and leave yourself depleted.  Help you than you can help someone else.  Have a great Monday and practice self love and love on others around you.

No Accounts

So one of my favorite cousins had a conversation about no accounts.  When we first started talking it was about no account mammies.  Yes I said mammies.  No account mammies are the moms who have kids and don’t take care of them.  The moms who drop they babies off to big momma’s house and be in the club every weekend.  The ones that don’t ever even check on big momma to make sure she need anything.  Always expecting somebody to raise their kids but don’t raise them themselves.  The no account mammies are the ones that have kids and expect the state to take care of them.  These are the kids that get fished into homes other than the one they should be in.  No accounts have a reason for why they do what they do but most don’t take into consideration that at the end of the day a choice was made and a choice was taken.

My cousin and I have these talks all the time.  However the no accounts can really apply to anyone to be honest.  it’s not an attack on women or mothers.  It’s the reality of what happens when people who are too selfish to care about how choices and actions actually interfere with others.  So for the sensitive you might as stop reading now.  I will not sugar coat no account people.  They are all around us.  They could be in your close circle.  This is not to say that you must have a perfect life.  I know myself and others who have had lives that have been filled with tragedy, regret, etc but the choice to end up as a no account person is a personal choice.  I had a conversation with a person yesterday.  They said something that clicked to me.  Without getting into the details it boiled down to level of relationship.  Some people appear to be no account with you because they don’t even value you as anything worth doing better by.  Is that the person’s fault?  Some of it can be.  However could it be the way you allow certain things to be said or how you carry yourself in that relationship that makes the difference?

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We give the no accounts so much credit.  For instance the cash me outside chick.  She is a no account.  Sorry not sorry.  She is slated to make millions of this ghetto vernacular that black folks been accused of acting like but we get the wrong end of the stick.  To be honest she is a disrespectful child that needed her behind kicked  a long time ago.  Yes I said it.  I will not watch a reality show that glorifies her bad behavior.  She needs the right set of parents.  Now she making club appearances.  How?  She isn’t even 21 to enter these premises and making more than most hard-working citizens.  But the dummies of the world put their stamp of approval on her and bam she’s an instant hit.  Miss me with her and her antics.  I am not a hater.  I am on team make your money but if the only claim to fame is because you out here threatening to hit folks but every other time you getting your ass beat than I am in the wrong field.  She is out here making disrespect and foolishness cute.

No accounts care but mostly about themselves.  Have you dated a no account?  The one who every time you bring up stuff they disregard you?  The one that can’t seem to be on time except if it affects him or her?  The one who seems distant but you still working on him?  How much working on him or her do you need to do before you clock out permanently?  Even doctors get in and do what they have to do in surgery.  If the person you like has that much work to be done it may be time for you to consider that surgery time is not even worth it.  Like what are you really going to do with this person?  Convince them?  How is that working out?  Even in marriage the piece of paper that governs and holds your benefits of marriage together can’t make a husband or wife do what you want them to do.  After awhile working on the marriage becomes just exhausting but I know we aren’t supposed to say that because the ones striving towards marriage will feel some type of way.  This is real life.  The glitter and gold of all things eventually wear down.

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Let’s talk about the no account job you have.  Who makes it no account? Does working at McDonald’s make it no account.  Absolutely not. I really have to say this.  Nothing in this world irks me more to hear people who finally get a piece of job saying the most demeaning thing about fast food workers, or janitors.  Do you realize that people need to work.  Where they work has no bearing on who they are or what they can or can’t do.  I hear people say when people don’t have a job that they could have worked at (insert job) but the minute they do they have to deal with the most uppity attitudes because they sold you a burger.  Stop this mess. You have no idea where you can be doing what you have to do for yourself and your family.  This uppity mentality of telling people “he or she better pass me my damn sauce” needs to stop. No matter where you go you will find folks with bad attitudes that’s from the high-rise job to the lowest as well.  So don’t attribute raggedy to someone just because of their job title.  If you treated others well no matter what they do or who they are you yourself would be a lot further in life than where you are and that’s the truth.

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No account friends exist.  I am struggling in this department.  The reason for the struggle is that it has nothing to do with cutting people off.  It’s seeing the shift of friendship and waiting for the shift to complete itself.  No account friends are the ones who never have nothing nice to say.  You bring up something they make it about them.  Or tell you that they been there and then go into the ME fest.  Sometimes you need to just hear “let me know how I can help you.” Just because you did it one way doesn’t mean you have to speak ill about something and someone you call a friend.  No account friends start when friends forget to treat each other the way you want to be treated.  Not just when you feel needed and have a god complex that you are now saving the world.  No account friends have to be dealt with by cutting them out of your life.  Getting cut hurts.  So the emotions you feel behind it is real.  However what can you do with a no account friend? Nothing if your honest.  They don’t serve a purpose but frustrate the gifts, talents, and love you could be giving to another human being and get the same in return.

You have the power to end the no account cycle.  It doesn’t matter what your title in life is trust me being a no account person or continuing to deal with a no account person will only lead you into a place of continued frustration.  You will be dark and angry without knowing why and all along it was because you had all of the negative energy around you.  Take your life into your own hands in that you do what is absolutely best.  You have a right to be happy. Happiness is a state of mind.  However your struggle with the factors that you don’t think you can change.  Its going to hurt.  You will miss the negativity.  Yes you will.  You are used to it. Like for instance I was used to certain behaviors from others.  So the minute I took charge and ended it I still longed for it.  This is the part about change people don’t talk about.  They make it seem as if you change and then you just keep on trucking.  That’s not true especially when you been around something for so long.  However like my grandma would say to hell with it and folks.  You have to keep walking away, stay away, and command respect in your own life and how you deal with others and especially in how you allow others to handle you.  How you allow others to handle you is super important.  Often times when you allow folks to do anything the only one mad is YOU.  You know better.  You feel it’s not right.  You know you don’t like it than stop it.  It can be on a little scale or large one, end the mess today.  Take into account the no accounts in your life.

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People are walking around full of sorrow.  Some of it is from what they have done.  Let me give you a nugget for your past.  If you DID it already and have made strides to do better and changed your life around know two things.

  1. It’s over
  2. People do not have to validate your change.  You do not need an amen corner to push you along to the best parts of your life.  Walk alone if you have to but stop waiting for acknowledgement of change that may not come.

If you are walking around with sorrow in your heart because you lack friendship and you want to be connected as most of us do, put out the very personality and love you want to receive.  When it comes back to you tainted know that who you attempted to connect with or have been connected to is the wrong one. Another free nugget of wisdom, the amount of time you have been connected with a person or group of persons is never a reason to stay in a no account relationship.  Why do you think that people who have been married for 25 years end? It could be they held on for selfish reasons like making the kids happy.  It could  be that they weren’t financially in a place to end things.  This happens more often than you think.  Walking around in the wilderness of any relationship being faithful to it because of amount of years knowing it no longer served you is craziness.  Don’t get discouraged.  Keep on going. The right ones with the right spirit will link up and it will be like being thirsty in a desert and finding water for the first time.  Your issue is in the mean time of that happening.  Continue on your goals, fine tuning your crafts, finding your gift to the world and taking care of your home. Your home also means your spirit, your well-being, and what makes you whole.

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Cat Fight Chronicles

You know there’s a thing about women being catty.  Not all women but quite a few.  The reason in my opinion as to why there are so many catty women in the world is that we don’t have enough women who are more interested in first building themselves and then other women.  Think about that. How many women know deep in their hearts that they see another beautiful woman and just automatically compliment her?  Think about how the beauty of another woman doesn’t take away from you but because you don’t even believe you alone are beautiful this woman who you 9 out of 10 times don’t even know intimidates you.  She makes you feel less than you are.  She makes you second guess what you have on. But SHE isn’t the issue the issue is more self-reflective.

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Let’s give you some examples. If you watch just about any reality television and it doesn’t matter what race of women are involved the formula is always one and the same.  You get a group of women together and pin them against each other and bam you have instant ratchet and success.  So we love to watch it but say we would never act like that in real life. The real reality is that just because you aren’t throwing drinks in someone’s face doesn’t mean you don’t dabble in cat fights.  You dabble every time you engage in meaningless conversations where you tear down another woman.  Some people like to disguise it as “lifting another one up” like you’re in a church click.  Some disguise it as keeping it in the circle.  The best way to know if you are catty is that if you can’t and won’t repeat what you say about another woman to her face especially a stranger you are officially catty.  Let me say to my I can dish it out and I don’t hold my tongue ladies, you do.  You don’t ever say things in the same intensity that you described it to another person like you would to the actual person’s face.

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Another example you and your man is out.  Your man glances not the whole look down of the woman.  Instead of acknowledging even if it’s within yourself that she is beautiful, is dressed nice, or has a nice body, the first thing is you slap him for glancing. Let’s not confuse this with the out right stare.  We are talking about a glance.  So deal with your man’s wandering eye but don’t knock the fact that the woman he saw is attractive in some form or else he wouldn’t have looked.  Unless your man is a scumbag and remember you choose him, than that woman isn’t getting his number just because of her attributes. She is not coming home with you unless you’re into that sort of thing.  There’s nothing she can do to your well-being or your relationship unless you allow it or your man allows it. She doesn’t take away from you.

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Another example its hard to date or marry anyone with children.  We all know that baby moms and dads can be a handful but the reality is that they are going to be apart of your life.  I know plenty of women who fight their significant other.  For instance if you watch Love and Hip Hop New York you have Yandy, Samantha and Erica fighting over who was first, second or last.  Who had Mendencees heart etc.  I could go all day on why it’s not even apart of anyone’s need to fight over Mendencee but the reality is this is a common fight among women.  If you are on the scene now with the love of your life and the other past women isn’t currently involved, etc than just build your relationship with the one you are with.  No need to worry about who was first unless you are the current in the relationship getting cheated on.  Always deal with your man and not the other woman. Cattiness will keep you on team petty and at the end of the day 9 times out of 10 either you are making you look stupid or the man you ready to bust someone one’s head to the white meat is making you look even more stupid.

Let’s talk about ways to be less catty.

  1. Grow up-sorry no cute little saying to make it easier to read.  You need to grow within yourself.
  2. Build self confidence-this is something we all need a dose of anyway.  The more confident you are the better at reacting and engaging with other women you will be. Confidence makes a huge difference in how you see others.  The lens of perception gets clearer.
  3. Tell women when you see something you like about another woman i.e  a nice pair of shoes, a cute handbag, or outfit that you like it.  This is called a compliment.  Strong women are able to offer these freely because they know it doesn’t take away from who they are, what they have.
  4. Smile more.  When you smile more it really does help keep your focus on what is important in your life at any given moment.  Women who are miserable tend to strike against others the most.  Misery loves company never forget that.
  5. Disengage in negative behavior from other women.  We are the best at ending cattiness by dismissing it in our own circles.

I am not suggesting that changing cattiness is super easy because it’s not but it can and should be done.  You will find that uplifting each other is the best thing for all of us.  Take for example the Women marches that have taken place since Trump has been office.  If we united like that on an everyday school we all would be winning.

Natural is not a Phase

If you look around in the African-American community you see so many embracing themselves for the first time.  It’s a beautiful thing.  It’s not a phase for most.  This is the time to really embrace yourself in all of your flaws and especially when you’re Black or minority and there are limited amounts of things you can see in print, film, etc.  The time for making moves for you is now.

One of the things that I have always hated which is sad in itself to write is that I never wanted to find out my natural state of my hair.  Let me break it down because I am not alone in this at all.  On Saturday I did the most bravest thing ever and that was to cut the relaxer out of my hair and see what the natural state of my hair was.  To some, this is no big deal but I have had a relaxer in my hair since I was about 4 or 5 years old.  I was always told that my hair was “nappy.”  Now phrases like kinky and thick is being celebrated.  The conversation of what is good and bad hair is always going on in the Black community.  I know that since having my first daughter I have always told her that healthy hair is the best hair. I didn’t want to get caught up in her “kinky” hair being less than others because I knew that was what I was being taught from a little girl.  My twin when we were younger had that “grease and water hair.”  Her hair type was always the type that my mom could easily mange and mine wasn’t do to it being coarse, nappy or untamable without the aid of a relaxer.  With a relaxer my tresses became like my sister in the sense I could do more styles with it.

As I became an adult before kids I was in a salon every 2 weeks  getting it done and every 4 weeks I was getting my regiment of “creamy crack.”  By the way creamy crack is relaxer so it became normal.  I learned how to take care of my hair with a relaxer. I knew what I could and what I couldn’t do.  So fast forward to Saturday, my decision to cut the relaxer out has been months in the making.  This wasn’t just a new me thing.  It had to do with the fact that until I made my decision I put a weave in my hair in December.  I wanted to do the “big chop” in January but I got cold feet.  So back to Saturday I was thinking of all of the pros and cons. The cons had more to do with the stigma of natural hair.  Since I have been relaxing my hair all my life I knew  I would have to chop most of my hair.  So the stigma came from appearing bald-headed, or looking like a man.  I have had short hair several times including the months before I put the weave in I had cut my hair.  My hair grows back fast so when I took the weave out this time I really under normal circumstances could have just relaxed it and it would have been in a bob style.

I go to the salon of my choice here in Philadelphia and I tell them I am ready for the “big chop.”  My hands are sweating, my heart is beating fast, and I feel like I am going to throw up.  I thought about my daughters.  One has the same kinky hair that I do the other has thick curly hair.  How would I want them to respond about themselves?  My hair is my glory but I can be who I need to be without relaxed tresses.  As I was being washed it felt weird not being based for the relaxer.  I kept looking around.  I finally was washed and the cutting began.  I kept taking deep breaths as the hair was falling on the floor.  My hair dresser is telling me that she has to cut some more and I am thinking here I go, bald is going to be my expected end.  However she tries to show me my hair after just the cut but I refuse.  I just know what I want my hair to be.  Can my hair be healthy with a relaxer yes, it has been at times.  However I just don’t want chemicals in my hair.  I want to embrace this for me and for my daughters.

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So the cut is done she styles me and reveals that I actually have wash and go hair.  I am looking at her like she has 3 eye balls.  Like who has some wash and curl hair?  But she reveals it and I am super happy.  One its super convenient since I do work out at least 3 days a week.  I love it.  I love the look.  It’s what I wanted and for the first time in years I don’t have to wait 24 hours for my hair style to grow on me.   I also am learning that team natural doesn’t mean team don’t comb or do anything to your hair.  Your hair needs to be treated well with regular washes, moisturizer, and love just like relaxed hair.  And no I don’t mean the same methods.  I mean at the end of the day relaxed or natural if you don’t take care of it, it won’t look or be much of anything.  You can’t be lazy in taking care of yourself whether or not you can afford to go to the hair dresser or not.  Taking pride in your hair is the number way to take care of your hair in either phase.

So as I get home I don’t have nerves of what my family or husband will think.  Not one.  I walked in like any other day hungry and ready to eat.  I was at the salon for quite some time. I post the pic on Facebook not looking for validation.  I was happy and I was okay with the world seeing my happiness.  I wasn’t looking for approval from my parents and siblings either.  I like and love it and that is what is important.  I am determined to eat right, look tight, and be happy and that means putting my needs to the top of the list.  I am loving the skin I am in not because I am team natural but because I am embracing and finding ways to create the happiness that isn’t always there.  Life sucks but I refuse to look bad and feel bad in this life.

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I am not a pro in this natural hair thing. I do not pretend to be.  I do know how I felt the moments leading up to my big chop as well as how I felt afterward.  I do know that it’s not easy to transition.  I am well aware as I learn my hair.  I have to dispel the thoughts that have come back to my mind already.

 

I am not advocating team natural over relaxed hair.  I refuse to get into a debate over it. There are pros and cons to both processes.  What I am advocating is being strong and confident like we teach our daughters.  What makes you look and feel the strongest go with that.  This day and age everything is destined to kill our vibe, time for women and men to find ways to be happy and healthy from the inside out.  I choose to be happy, fierce and strong in my own skin…..

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