Women! We are a unique species. We range on the spectrum of colors from black to white, with many shades in between. We vary in size, height, language, ethnicity, talent, achievement and the list goes on. No two women are alike. However, one of the most perplexing commonalities that we women share is that we often don't recognize our own beauty. We women can be so very hard on ourselves at times. We worry unnecessarily about everything. If you were to assemble a group of women in the same room and start a discussion centered on fitness or body image; I guarantee that every woman there, will come up with a list of at least five things that they dislike about themselves. Why do we do that to ourselves? Have you ever gotten a compliment but instead of receiving it and saying thank you, you said something like: Oh no, I need to lose 20 pounds. Or oh no, can't you see that blemish right there? Have you ever thought about what must be going through the mind of the person who gave you the compliment? Think about it and then answer this honestly: Have you ever compared yourself to other women, wishing you looked like them or had something they had, whether it was their hair, skin, legs,height, size...etc? I think we've all been guilty of it at one time or another in our lives, whether we'd like to admit it or not. Of course we all know that the media has a lot to do with it. Everything is centered around superficial beauty, hyper-sexuality and materialism. God help our daughters who are growing up in a time when the less clothing worn the better and the ability to twerk and/or shake your butt, is the norm. However, that's another blog topic for another day. The point I'm trying to make is this. Forget about the images on TV, the internet and magazines. Forget about the women next door or at work, or in the subway. While there is nothing wrong with admiring the beauty of other women, we as women should start to celebrate who we are as individuals. Not just the image we see in the mirror, but every aspect of ourselves. We are works of art, unique and wonderfully made. I assure you that just as you may have wished to look like someone else or to have something else that another woman possesses, another woman is looking at you the same way. She is wishing to have what you have or to look like you. Most of us don't realize that because we are busy complaining about our flaws or we're just too blind to notice how truly beautiful we are. So start paying attention and celebrate your own beauty! While your at it, celebrate your life and the blessings in it. Appreciate everything about you inside and out, flaws, challenges, experiences too. For they have made you into the individual you are. All of our days are numbered and you don't want to reach near the end and then realize as you look back on photos of yourself, how truly beautiful you were and how foolish you were not to realize it.
Do you remember what it was like to be a teenage girl? So many changes happening all at once! Remember when your hormones took over and your emotions and body changed? Remember when your friends were experimenting with cigarettes, alcohol and maybe even drugs and they told you how cool it was; right before they asked you to try some? Remember the boys that said anything and everything including "I love you", in hopes that they could convince you to have sex with them? What about the adult men that gawked at you on the street, or worse yet, tried to pick you up...offering to buy you things? Remember the lessons you learned about relationships from what your parents taught you with their actions as opposed to their words? Meanwhile, the only thing your parents told you was to stay in school, get good grades and don't have sex before marriage. If navigating through the teen years was not so easy for you, can you imagine how difficult it is for your daughters? So...I'll ask you again. Are you talking to your daughters? It is so important that our daughters are able to come to us as their mothers, to help them make sense of their world. We cannot sit back and allow them to fend for themselves. Otherwise, there is a great possibility that they will learn the wrong things from the wrong people. What happens if your daughter finds herself in a place where she is not supposed to be and in a predicament that she is unable to handle? Will she feel comfortable enough to call you to help her get out of it? Or will she be more fearful of your reaction? Will she be so fearful, that she would rather remain and deal with the situation the best way she can despite the consequences? Think about it...and be honest. I work with families everyday and there are so many teens who have big secrets: They are in domestic violence relationships; they have or have had STD's; they have had abortions; they have had multiple sex partners; they think oral sex is not sex; they know what it is to get high and drunk from drugs and alcohol; they've exchanged sex for money and/or gifts from older men; they have been raped or molested by the mother's boyfriend or a relative...and believe me the list goes on and on. All of these experiences are taking place right under their parents' noses. Which means, just because they still look like your baby, that doesn't mean they aren't having adult experiences. And when I say teen, I don't mean 16-17 yrs old, I'm talking about 12-13 yrs old and sometimes younger. So wake up! Please... talk to your daughters, and be careful how you do it. Remember, the objective is to bring them closer to you so that you can help guide them in the right direction; instead of pushing them further into harms way.
Doubt is one of the most powerful tools of defeat in my opinion. Doubt is like a seed implanted in your mind, and the more you nurture it, the bigger and more expansive it will grow until it has control of your life. How many of us have failed to act because of those two little words...what if? What is it about the fear of the unknown that keeps us bound to familiarity even if familiarity is killing us? Why do we fail to act when we already know that the present circumstance is not what's best for us? Sometimes what stands between us and a better and/or happier version of ourselves is nothing at all. Nothing except for us, because most of the time, we are the only things standing in our own way! We sometimes create these scary scenarios in our minds that make the possibility of change seem laborious, frightening and even impossible. Have you ever done that? For example: "If I leave him, I won't find anyone else to love me. If I get up and sing...they will laugh at me. If I go back to school...I'll fail. If I try to lose weight, I'll give in just like the other 10 times. If I ask her out...she'll reject me. If I leave this job...I won't find a better one" The list can go on and on. We all at some point have given in or have been bound by doubt whether it was momentary or for many years. I've learned over the years that most of the time when I did decide to act, it was much easier than I thought and the outcome was far better than I could have ever imagined. So what if...today was the day that you got out of that toxic relationship that was killing you? What if today was the day you took a chance on your future by going back to school or getting a better job? What if today is the day you ask that girl or guy out? What if today is the day you decide to get in shape and live a healthier lifestyle? What if today is the day you stop self-medicating and deal with what is really bothering you? What if today is the day you say you're sorry? What if today is your day?
For most of us, the choice is clear. Of course you'd choose the daughter! However, you would be very alarmed to discover that it is more common than you think, that some mothers choose the boyfriend. If your daughter approached you and told you "mommy, he touched me..." what would you do? Would it matter how many years you were with this person or how much you loved him? Is the topic of sexual molestation still so taboo that people would rather ignore it, than to face it and help the victims heal from it? I can't tell you how many little girls I've met who have not been chosen. Not only are they not being chosen, but they are also being blamed. Imagine how it must be for a girl to know that her parent didn't believe her. Imagine how that choice shapes the rest of her life. If you can't imagine, allow me to enlighten you. The girl grows up with shame, confusion, hyper-sexual behavior, relationship issues, depression and/ or other forms of Mental Health issues. Yes, of course there are exceptions...but this is not about those exceptions. This is about the girls and even the many adult women I've encountered that are still wrestling with the demons associated with this type of crime. Oh yes, it is a crime! I make no apologies for this topic. It must be brought to the light because it is still very prevalent. I will say this, talk to your daughters. Give them the confidence to talk to you about anything. Provide them with the love and security they will need in order to take on an already harsh world. Oh and by the way, while you're talking to them, let them know that predators can be ANYONE! So when a teacher, priest, next door neighbor..or relative etc..attempts to steal her youth, they'll know how to deal with the situation. So...please don't let them fend for themselves out there. The end result is not a pretty one. Prevention is way better than a cure. Oh and by the way, this also applies to your sons.
We've all heard about Daddy issues, when it comes to women who date older men or a man of any age who has a paternal role instead of the role of a companion. Is this one of the symptoms that Fatherless Daughters face as they grow up and set out to find their mates? The importance of a father in a little's girls life is something that can't be substituted. While there are many single mothers (not unlike myself) out there that do a great job raising their daughter's alone; a mother can never be a father. A father is the standard that a daughter uses to choose her mate. A father sets the standard high, and thus the daughter won't settle for less than that standard. A daughter learns about how a woman should be treated by the way her father treats her mother. A father teaches his daughter about boys, because his insight about boys comes from prior experience. Obviously this is the best case scenario and of course it doesn't always work out this way. There are many instances such as Domestic Violence...etc, where the absence of the father is appropriate. However, the point I'm making is that it is important for a father to be involved so that there is a point of reference. When there is no father present, a fatherless daughter may seek him out in the arms of others. This need to fill the void and the absence of a point of reference can lead to a string of bad decisions. For she will search in vain, never finding what she seeks. There are many exceptions, but there are far more fatherless daughters out there aimlessly looking for love in all the wrong places. What say you?
What is it about child-support that causes anger on the part of the individual that has to pay it? I don't think I'll ever understand. There is a cycle of Father-less children that are not reaping the benefits of both mother and father. Child support is helpful but it is nothing compared to the figurative riches that a father bestows upon their son or daughter: love, guidance, direction, acceptance, integrity and a solid and healthy example to follow. Monetary support is a given. It is not a penalty for a crime. It is an innocent child's God-given right to be cared for by both parents. So....why the complaints?? Grow up and do more than what is mandated by the law! Be a father!