Thursday, March 29, 2012

Born to Be Deep

I was born to be deep

On some of my words

These people sleep

Born to take the path

Less traveled

Digesting me whole

Will leave your mind unraveled

You may have to take my words in doses

Because the truth isn’t always honeysuckle and roses

Like En Vogue

You have to “free your mind

Free the mental anguish

And release the bitterness from within

Your actions have been pleasant

But your thoughts have committed a sin

Your smile provides assurance

But your eyes have never learned to grin

You have to stop focusing on losing

And create a slogan that means to win

I was born

Born of the 12th day of May

Born to a one-parent home

But I made it anyway

Born with so much against me

That I must say

I was born

Born to be more than a mere uneducated woman

Who lets men walk up and down my spine

Because lack knowledge, did I

I was born from the womb

Mind still attached to the placenta of wisdom

Attracting like souls

And the inability to assume


Born in the times of foundation

Born to be me

In other words

I was born to be


Are We Raising A Culture of Unmotivated Youth?

In working with high school students, I have come across some who are motivated to work hard, while others are not.  These motivated and unmotivated individuals come from many cultures, have various nationalities, and have different educational, financial, and social economical statuses.  This information has made me think hard about the way we raise our children nowadays.  Are we raising a culture of unmotivated youth?

Picture this; there are three individuals that were raised in the same neighborhood; a 16 year old, 17 year old, and an 18 year old.  All of the students attend the same high school.  The 16 year old lives in a single parent home.  Let’s call this young man Elijah.  Elijah has had what some would call a very challenging life.  His mother was once married to someone who abused the whole intermediate family.  Elijah has always tried to stay positive; however he continues to think about his certain misfortunes.  His mother has taught him not to allow his adversities to get the best of him; however it is still a work in progress.  She has also taught him that he should learn how to continue being productive, while learning to deal with positive and negative situations in life.  Elijah is seen as an individual that works well with others, asks questions, and helps those who need it. 
Now, let’s take a look at the 17 year old female who lives with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend.  Let’s call this young lady Lauren.  Lauren’s mother uses illegal drugs, in which she constantly uses in front of her daughter and other chidren.  The 17 year old has no motivation in going to school because it is not a requirement from her mother.  Her mother never graduated from school, so why should she make her daughter do so?  The coursework for Lauren’s junior year is getting extremely hard because she does not have anyone in the household who can help her complete the work.  All Lauren can think about is smoking, having fun, and drinking alcohol.  Lauren is contemplating dropping out of high school and having a baby.  Her mother had her at 17, so she is thinking about doing the same thing because she does not need a diploma to get a job.  Or does she? 

Lastly, let’s look at the 18 year old male who lives with his mother and father.  Let’s call him James.  James comes from a very supportive household.  His mother and father have been very supportive in his life that some may think that they may have overdone it as parents.  James’ mother has continually given him speeches about being independent and learning to do things on his own.  She worked with him to schedule his classes for college; however she missed the most important lesson in helping him.  She completed the tasks for him, which did not allow him to do these tasks on his own.  Now, he relies on his mother to schedule all of his college courses.  James’ father has taught his son how to be positive and win at everything that he did.  What he fails to teach him is that it is ok to lose sometimes and that losing makes you look forward to the win.  In failing to teach his son this important lesson, James’ father has disallowed James from feeling the negative experiences of losing.  This can make or break James in the future.
Most of these examples given above have been slightly altered and may not represent current individuals that I work with.  In thinking about the examples, do you know anyone that would fit into the same situation?  I know you are also probably wondering what can you do to help motivate the youth.  As a child, I remember constantly asking my mother, “how do you spell this word?  What does this word mean?”  My mother would answer some of my questions; however I was often told to look them up in  the dictionary.  What do you think this did to my motivation?  As a child I thought, “why not just tell me what the word mean.”  It was easier and definitely much faster.  Today I say, “thank you mother for motivating me to look these words up.”  In the present-day, when presented with information that I am not quite sure about, I will take it upon myself and look the information up.  One of my previous employers stated that “you are a very diligent young lady who looks into finding the answers to many questions.”  I truly thank my mother, father, and siblings for providing me with a variety of skills that I continue to use today.    

Thursday, March 22, 2012

When is Innocent Until Proven Guilty Not Enough!

My emotions weighed very heavy on me today in my decision to write on such an emotional matter.  At first, I did not know what to think because I needed all of the facts.  However after viewing many media outlets about the story, I instantly knew what I needed to do.  I needed to write for truth and justice, which is sometimes brushed under the rug, until it has been uncovered and brought to light by the adamant whistleblowers who believe everyone should be treated the same.  Can you blame them or as it is sometimes referred to, us?

So, I am pretty sure that many of you are familiar with the story about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.  For those who are not aware, I will provide a brief synopsis about the very tragic event.  
Trayvon, 17, was headed back to the home of his father’s girlfriend shortly after 6 pm on Feb. 26, 2012 after a trip to the convenience store.  George Zimmerman, a 28 year old neighborhood watch member, reported Trayvon to the police and told the dispatcher that the teenager looked ‘suspicious.’  Zimmerman was told by the dispatcher not to follow Martin, but a few minutes after the police call, Martin lay dead from a gunshot to the chest.  Zimmerman admitted to police that he shot Martin, but claimed he acted in self-defense; he has not been arrested or charged.
Zimmerman, neighborhood watch member and previous  Security Guard in 2005, was given a duty to protect the community.  His duty was also to follow the orders of the dispatcher who stated not to follow Trayvon.  Zimmerman neglected those duties by not following the direct orders of a dispatcher and failing to protect those within his community.  Disobeying strict orders, Mr. Zimmerman found himself face-to-face with an individual who would be dead at his own hands in a matter of moments with a claim of self-defense keeping him out of jail.  I would like to know what type of laws in Florida allows someone to defend themselves with a gun, in a public area?  I know Ohio law states that if any individual breaks into your home, you have grounds to protect yourself in your home.  Anything that occurs outside of your home will not be viewed as self-defense and you may run the risk of being convicted of a crime for doing so.   Sandford, why are laws like this being inacted in this case?

As you follow the story, you will notice that there are a lot of unanswered questions on Zimmerman’s behalf.  These questions are: Why did he feel like he needed to protect himself from Trayvon?  What did Trayvon, a young man that had just bought candy and a drink from the store, do that would make him kill him?  Why has Mr. Zimmerman not been convicted of a crime or brought in for questioning?  Although Mr. Zimmerman proved that he suffered bruises from Trayvon, were the bruises actually self-inflicted or were they scars from Trayvon fighting back in order to save his own life?  There are a lot of unanswered questions on Mr. Zimmerman’s part and the passing of time only makes his self-defense statement less believable.  I am also wondering where is the preponderance amount of evidence that individuals must submit in order to prove their case or accusations?  Why did the police not gather this information?

Some of the comments around this case is that it was a matter of racial profiling, which was the cause of his death.  Do you actually believe in this time and age racial profiling still exists?  Well, I would be lying if I said it did not.  We all would be lying to ourselves if we believed such truths.  In this particular case, the presumed innocent Zimmerman has enough against him to prove some type of wrong doing took place.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's Not About Where You're From, It's About Where You're At!

Have you ever heard of the statement, “it’s not about where you’re from, it’s about where you’re at?”  Individuals all around the globe use this statement or statements like it to basically say that it’s not about a dreadful past, it’s about a prosperous future.  It’s about getting right back up when you have been knocked down because you have chosen not to let defeat continuously hit you where it hurts.  It’s also about finishing strong and not letting others or your environment determine your earnings in life.

You hold the reigns to your life and how you feel and react to certain situations and whether or not you decide to get back up.  I am a strong believer that “we fall down,but we get up.”  So get up from your defeat, look life straight on and say “no more.” 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Where Creativity Resides...

Do you know where creativity lives?  Have you experienced such a realm that some have yet to understand?  Do you currently reside there?  Creativity lives in a place where passion eats away at your internal soul, shouting “let me out.”  It takes over your thought process and does not let anyone in because of the repercussions for getting off task.  Finding it is like locking yourself in a basement with only a pen, pad, and a comfortable sitting place.  Creativity tells you develop in a place where you can consume its nutrients, whether it is at breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Being creative sometimes means temporarily cutting yourself off from society.  Once your mind is in a place of development, you then submerge your whole being into the creative process.  It means to give up even the simple pleasures for a temporary time in creativity’s world; a world which only the creative know and learn to express themselves.  People can spend hours becoming one with creativity and refrain from letting go because it breaks the connection to the most creative expression.
Creativity resides in the darkest places, which may only need one light to shine.  It pushes immensely throughout the pores of the zealous.  It trickles down the checks of the devoted.  And it graces the ears of the receptive. 

Creativity lies within me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Making Dreams Come True!

You cannot imagine how many times I have heard the words, “I just cannot do all that you do.” These are the words people state to me when they find out about my life and my current activities. Sometimes it is hard for me to relate to that statement because I have been very active for so long now and anything different would feel too strange. 

In me stepping back to take a look at my own life, I can start to see what others have stated for many years now. I want you to imagine being 29 years old, working a full-time job, going to school for your master’s, managing another full-time business, mentoring young ladies, writing books, promoting your books, and still trying to find time to relax and have fun. Well, that was exactly what I was doing just a few months ago. Seeing all those activities written down on paper makes even me say “Wow!” I honestly cannot believe that I participated in all of those activities and I am still active in most of them. Sometimes in life, people fail to realize or even see what others see, especially when they have become so accustomed to working hard. These hard workers are often seen as making dreams come true.

What does it mean to make a dream come true? And are you a dream seeker? Show me any person in this world and I will show you a dream he or she started, wanted to start, or have made come true. We have all had many dreams about doing something, being someone, or living a certain life. Sometimes, dreams come to us without us being well equipped with the necessary tools to extract the information from those dreams. We wake up, trying to hold onto a piece of that dream that seemed so real and would fade from our minds in a matter of moments. As the day progresses, we try to explain that same dream to others, but our minds are as cloudy as if we are Alec Baldwin in the movie The Shadow. You know what I have learned from moments as the one stated above? I have learned to keep a pen and pad next to my bed because I am not letting anymore opportunities slip through my fingertips. I have learned to develop my own dreams during a time I am awake and receptive to the information. I have also learned to develop a skill that exemplifies true passion and dedication. Making a dream come true means to live passionately in the era of which your dream lives. It means to work without acknowledging the concept of the word cannot because that word by no means exist. It means to do all which is necessary in order to accomplish your goals. We are all dream seekers and will always be. It is just that some of us have found methods to making their dreams come true, while others are in the beginning stages of making theirs come true

So what do I say to people that say “I just cannot do all that you do?” I say that you can. You just have to believe.

~Keep the dream alive

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Good Old Days: Have We Progressed Too Much?

A couple of years ago, I had a conversation with a couple of my male acquaintances. One of my acquaintances was a little perturbed about the current role of women. He stated that something needed to change because he was not happy with women’s newly found power. He stated that he wanted everything to go back to how it used to be. My first question was whose perspective would you like to revisit? Are you revisiting the male’s or the female’s perspective? Each gender’s role was different during that time of building and planning for the future, so the perspectives may be a little different. Individuals’ upbringing also had the ability to change how people perceive things.

A good example of this was my past conversations with residents at a popular nursing home in Columbus, Ohio. The residents enlightened me about the way things were in the past. The women discussed being stay at home wives, which entailed cooking, cleaning, holding social events, and much more of the home related activities. The women took care of the household and made sure the husband was mentally and physically ready for work and other activities. I imagined that the era that these individuals spoke of were in the 1930’s and 40’s since the majority of them were in their 80s. The role of women during this time may not have been a selected way of life for them. It was a tradition for the women to stay at home and raise the children, while the husband made a life for his family. It was also a tradition for women to get married at younger ages than they currently do now. I remember my previous work at a nursing care center. I often talked to the residents about life and how it used to be. The women often poked fun at me because I was 21 years old and unmarried. One individual stated “isn’t it time that you found a man? You are getting a little old to be unmarried.” I laughed because my concerns about being married at 21 were much different than her concerns. I was more focused on obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree and getting a good job first. I did have some interest in starting a family; however I wanted to be financially stable before doing so. I also wanted to meet the right person, which was a constant struggle of mine. I tried to enlighten the residents on my choices in life; however they were accustomed to a certain way of life, as was I.

I had similar discussions with the men about the past, which led to a discussion of providing for the family. They believed in being the provider for the family and completing some of the tasks that were deemed as “manly tasks.” These tasks included paying the bills, fixing the car and household items, making decisions, taking out the trash, and other tasks. The men seemed very happy in their role as providing and securing the family. I suspect that my male acquaintance wanted things to go back to him being the provider and securer of his family and his wife taking care of the household. As many have seen, women’s progression from taking care of the household to providing for the family has decreased, and in some cases eliminated, the male’s previous role. Some women have found a sense of comfort in helping to provide for the family, making decisions, and living outside of a boxed in traditional role, as set forth in the Good Ole’ days. The truth about wanting life to go back to the way it used to be is that things are constantly changing and our way of life must change with the changing demands. The cost of living has risen since that time, as well as other things in life. As I’m told by some of my older friends, life is much different now than it was in the past. With shared responsibility of being a provider, also comes the shared responsibility of making the decisions in the household.

Women’s position within society has gained them the right to help in making decisions. A portion of women’s current role in society can be attributed to World War II. During this time, women had to learn to complete tasks on their own as their husbands and sons went off to fight in the battle that would regain the self-respect of Americans from the attack at Pearl Harbor. This meant that women had to get jobs, learn to provide for the family, and complete other tasks that were traditionally known as “manly tasks.” In the men returning from war, they had to learn to share the driver’s seat because it was evident that the previous system was drastically changing. Life was changing as men knew it and women seemed to gravitate more toward independence and being able to make their own decisions. Women enjoyed their new found power and were more than willing to share their lives and power with just the right person, as they are today.

Some of my current female acquaintances have stated that they would prefer to enter into a relationship in which there is shared responsibility. In this world of changing systems, ideas, and roles, women want to be appreciated, thought highly of, and in a relationship in which they deem fit for the progression of both individuals. Is that too much to ask? It’s not too much to ask for in my book. I, being a single woman, understand my self-worth. I know that I am worth more than I have been given, so my search continues. In stating my search continues, I say this passively speaking. I say this because I am not actively seeking, but instead know that my connection or placement with someone could come at any time. So, in answering my male acquaintance’s question about life going back to the way it used to be, we just cannot afford to regress to such a time. We have come too far to get caught up in who has the power and not with how can we can all share the power and continue to progress as a people.

~Remember the past and keep moving toward the future

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Pilgrimage to Your True Self

I highly recommend that everyone takes a pilgrimage to find their true selves. We as people, often get mislead on our journey to ourselves when we open up over travels to scorners on the side of the road (The House by the Side of the Road). These scorners appear to have our best interest at heart, while attacking our castle from within. We have to know when it’s time to hit the eject button and let the scorners take their own journey to the truth.

The journey to yourself is never easy because you have to get to know yourself in the process. In this process, you are more than likely going to find some attributes that you love about yourself and others that you just cannot stand. What would life be like without dealing with negative and positive characteristics of our personalities? I know firsthand that you have to take the bad experiences with the good, in order to have an overall perception of the situation. Remember that friends, family members, and others may have some insight about who they believe you are, but sometimes the person who you really are may not be the person people see. At times, we try to cover up our true intentions because we want to fit in and fear being hurt or taken advantage of.  Being hurt is not the best feeling in the world; however it does prepare you to learn to deal with many situations that may come your way.

After you have gained enough knowledge to truly know yourself, then you can make the decision to keep things the same or change them. When you make the decision to change things, this may include the way you react to things, activities you complete, the goals you set for yourself, and the people you associate yourself with. I have been told many times that a very passionate person should associate him or herself with like individuals who embody the same passion. This is a great suggestion. The thing about this is that you do not want to push everyone out of your life that lacks the same passion that you do. You can still have functioning relationships with others. You just have to realize that your conversations with these people will be different. A great example regarding this situation that I can think of is your choice of friends. You many have three friends that are totally different; however they bring certain things to your life that the other ones cannot. One person may be very social and loves to have fun. The second individual may be very reserved and passion focused. The third individual may be very financially savvy and knows what it takes to sustain and grow your finances. All three individuals are different; however they may definitely bring a variation of uniqueness to your life. The individual you want to stay away from is the one who takes from the relationship. Each person plays a vital role in a relationship, whether it is a friendship, a lover’s companionship, or a family relationship. Intuitively, you know the individuals who are just there for the ride. This is your chance to stop the bus, pull over, and let the unpaid customers know you have resigned from a position that has no return on your investment.

Your journey to yourself is continuous. As you continue to embark on discovering yourself, you will have to realize that the journey to increasing your knowledge never ends. The journey is very similar to obtain a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a specialized field, such as Gerontology. In this area of study, practitioners are expected to continue their development by attending in-services, meetings, conferences, and completing other assignments to keep their knowledge up-to-date. Individuals have to be open-minded and be able to formulate their own thoughts. These characteristics will allow the journey taker to see more opportunities and be able to distinguish the ones that may need a little more development before committing his or her time and effort.  In implementing the steps above, remember to have fun while getting to know yourself.  You deserve it.

~Be passionate about your journey and travel at your own pace

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Transference of Emotions

When you think about the words transference of emotions, what comes to mind? Do you think of something similar to going grocery shopping, picking up a product, purchasing it, and then taking it home? Well, if you know anything about the subject matter, then you know that it does not exactly work that way.

Sir Isaac Newton’s concept of energy states that “energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred from place to place” or person to person. Sometimes negative emotions can be transferred onto your spirit without you going to the grocery store and picking up the lovely box of passionate negativity. It’s like your body was attached by the Black Plague or the Norovirus; no matter how much to try to stay away from other infected people, you still end up catching the virus. Sometimes, people will deem you as the go-to-person for their problems. This is usually because you are easy to talk to, listen, and/or provide great insight to what they should do when faced with a hard decision. There are those particular times when individuals really just want to vent and will not need any advice from you. What these individuals fail to realize is that sometimes the information they tell you puts a strain on the listener, as they may already have problems of their own to deal with. I am definitely not stating that you should refrain from having a go-to-person. I am stating that maybe you should ask yourself a few questions before divulging your information to particular individuals. These questions should include: Has this person expressed an interest in hearing my problems? Are my interactions with this person always about me venting? Do I ever listen to any of his/her problems or stories? Are there other ways that I can clear my mind without verbalizing it? These are questions that you really want to ask yourself because there’s nothing like venting to someone who cannot deal with your problems at that particular moment.

Transferring negative energy to another person should not always be your first choice, unless the individual has expressed interest in hearing the problems and has the ability to diffuse the negative energy source at its base. It is also a good idea to ask a direct question, such as: Can I talk to you about my problems and issues? This allows the receiver to decide whether or not he or she feels like listening to your problems.  You should always give him or her the choice to decide. This reminds me of a previous position in human services that I worked in many years ago. My co-workers often joked around with me about many things. I usually laughed and responded in a way which also made them laugh. There were a few instances while working there that I did not feel like myself or feel up to talking. My co-workers joked with me as usually. Instead of getting upset with my co-workers and transferring my negative energy on them because I was not feeling good, I was direct with my co-workers. I told them that I would prefer not to joke today because I was not feeling good. My co-workers thanked me for telling them how I felt because my comments let them know that I wanted to be left alone for the time being.

In the next couple of days, I want you to start asking yourself the questions stated above. I want you to think of healthy ways to limit your transference of negative emotions. Some things you can do is try talking to the person you are having problems with, exercise, take a nice soak in the bathtub, and review the information a little more. We as people, often react to a situation without really giving it much thought. Our reaction can lead us to venting negatively to other people, which we have identified as helpful to us, but possibly harmful to other people. So the next time you vent to someone, ask yourself, "will this information be harmful to the other person?"

Friday, March 2, 2012

Women and Subprime Home Loans

Today, I read two articles that were very interesting.  The articles were called In Subprime Fallout, Women Take a Heavy Hit and Women More Likely to Receive Subprime Home Loans; Disparity Highest for Women with Highest Incomes.  I found these articles to be very informative in the areas of predatory lending, subprime loans, and the disproportionate disadvantage of securing prime loans for women.  It was noted that "women are more likely to receive subprime home mortage than men."  The "higher rates of subprime lending make it harder for households headed by women to build wealth through homeownership."  Some of your first questions should be:  Why are women receiving higher rates than men?  What is the current credit score of these women?  What is their previous credit score history?  The Consumer Federation of America states "evidence suggests that women have slightly higher credit scores on average than men."  In that being stated, a higher credit score would suggest that women are paying their bills on time and taking the necessary steps to be financially fit.  I would naturually think that a higher credit score would allow consumers to receive the lower possible rates, which is not the case in the above situations.

African American and Latino women have also seen varing differences in their mortgages rates in comparison to white men. "African American women earning double the area median income were nearly five times more likely to receive subprime home purchase mortgages than white men with similar income and latino women earning twice the area median income where about four times more likely to receive subprime purchase mortgages then white ment with similar earnings."  The article, In Subprime Fallout, also noted "some loans were not technically subprime, but they were still very dangerous."  My immediate question to this noted comment is, what are the other loans that are "dangerous, but not technically subprime?"  It only would be right for me and others to understand the different loans and our rights.

It is evident that more training needed to be provided to home buyers and mortgage lenders should put something in place where they would have to talk about the different mortgage options to its consumers.  Lenders could also offer mortgage classes once a month, which would require a loan monitor from the city, state, or national level to attend.  This option would give the customer reassurance that the lender was talking about all of their mortgage options.  I suggest that consumers do the background work before purchasining a house, which consists of creating a budget and determining their ability in affording a home.  In purchasing a home, it is not only the consumers responsibility to make sure their needs and finacial state has been reviewed, but also the lenders.  While most of the suggestions were created off of the detailed articles above, this author recognizes that current programming may already be in place. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Zora Nelson

In All in Together Girls being released in the next coming months, a lot of people questioned me about the Illustrator, Zora Nelson.  A few individuals told me that they absolutely loved her work and wanted to know more about her.  Zora is a very creative person who gets a lot of inspiration from her environments, whether it is populated with people or in an individually simplistic environment.  She seems to interact well in any environment she is placed within.  I had the pleasure of meeting Zora many years ago in one of my art classes.  She was a relatively shy individual with a great ability to artistically capture many segments of her environment.  I was fascinated by her artwork and how she perfectly captured the structures of individuals on paper.  Zora and I had been out of contact for some time now; however recently met back up and I knew she would be perfect for the illustration work in All in Together Girls.  She currently resides in Columbus, Ohio.  She enjoys becoming one with her environment and taking in all that is around her.  All in Together Girls is the first book that Zora has created pictures for; however she stated that it will not be her last.  She is definitely an artist on the rise in Columbus, Ohio.

Being Successful and Reaching Your Goals

About five years ago, I was at the age that I started to reflect on my life and my accomplishments. You know that age where you start putting your life into perspective and start identifying whether or not you are reaching the goals you set for yourself? The age that I state usually occurs at age 25. Well, that was my exact age. My thoughts focused on obtaining a Master’s Degree, writing, performing poetry, and publishing a couple of books. I ultimately knew that when I set my sites on accomplishing things, they definitely would come true because I was dedicated to my purpose and succeeding. Even if my projected timeline was not accurate, I made sure to adjust the time I allowed myself to complete a particular goal. A good example of this is when I completed my graduate degree. Initially, I gave myself two years to complete the program. After adding certificates to my degree and making the necessary changes for me to be successful, I had to readjust the completion time to four years, instead of two.

My overall objective for my life was to complete my graduate program, publish two books, and make my name a household name by the time I was 30 years old. Well, how do you think I am doing? All I can say is I have made strategic strides for myself in accomplishing my goals. I obtained my Master’s at 29, attended and participated in numerous book festivals and events, rekindled my creative ability to design and interpret things, and will have published four books by the time I reach 30. The books in which I have published deals with relationships and domestic violence, poetry, and a children’s book. All of which are interests of mine.

So, what can I say to you about being successful and reaching your goals? You have to give life your all.  Success never comes to those who wait for it. Success comes to those who work hard, are patient, and knows what defeat feels like. Sometime in life, we have all felt the feeling of being defeated at something we loved to do or wanted to learn to do.  Do you think the Michael Jordan gave up when he shot an air ball? How about Tyler Perry? Do you think he gave up when he was homeless and living in his car?  Not at all! Michael and Tyler let the feeling of defeat serve as a lesson to not feel that way again. And if they did happen to feel that way again, they knew just what to do to change their circumstances. That is exactly what I want you to do. I want you to not let defeat keep you positioned on the ground. I want you to get up, look defeat in the face, and say no more.

The truth to following steps in being successful is that we all define our own steps. Life is different for everyone, so one thing that worked for one person may very well work or not work for another person. It is ok to repeat what has been done before; however when all else fail, go with what you know or what feels right.

~Start defining your own success and opportunities

Suicide is not the Answer

Today, my brain ponders about life and the many circumstances that have the ability in making us feel a certain way and do certain things to ourselves. Sometimes our immediate answers are not always the right answers, especially when we have only thought of ourselves in the situation. When thinking about current and previous problems, when have you not thought about others when making decisions?

Let’s take a look at the death of Don Cornelius. His permanent action to a temporary situation may not have been the best solution, but it was his solution. Now, let’s imagine that Mr. Cornelius is in his mid-thirties with three children and a wife. The wife is also in her mid-thirties and works as a Case Manager for a Mental Health Institution. She makes approximately $33,000 a year, which is before taxes. The children are two, four, and five years of age. Mr. Cornelius decides to take his own life because he cannot deal with the situations surrounding his family life, job, and social life. What do you think happens to his wife and kids after this tragic event? The responsibility of the family and everything else shifts from two parents to one parent. The wife and possibly his family have to make adjustments to their current lifestyle to support the needs of the children. Now, there are situations where the wife will not receive support from his or her family and will have to provide for the children by herself. What a stressful situation to be in when love did not prevail and get the couple through thick and thin? How will the wife cope with the stress that was often shared with her husband; however now has to be dealt with on an individual level?

A good friend recently told me that, “suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary situation.” You know what? I agree with her. Suicide is not the answer. The answer is finding various resources in the community to assist you with whatever you are going through. Those resources could consist of mental health organizations, therapists, family, friends, running, walking, and just leaving your situation for a temporary moment in time. In the past, my state of mind had the ability in making me believe that suicide was the answer; however I did not give in to those thoughts. I pushed through those feelings and allowed myself to deal with the situation in front of me. I told myself, “I do not want to ever experience this feeling again or think this way.” I also told myself that I had the power to let my mind to react to certain things that I was going through. In this place called life, you have to learn to control your mind and only react to the things you feel that are necessary for a reaction. I also found exercising and walking in the park to be relaxing. I would walk for an hour, looking up at the sky, while relieving my pain with every breath I took. This very day, I still walk in the park and relieve my stress; however, I use it as bonding time with my sisters and nieces by taking them with me.

~Life is tough; however you are well on your way to being a life expert. Become an expert and then empower others to do the same.