Girls Trip was hilarious, and a reminder of my own "FP". When I noticed the "FP" #fossyposse chains all I could do was laugh. It reminded me of my own piece of jewelry that I share with my posse. We received these rings in 2009, our 30th birthday gift. That ring and my charm bracelet which I've had since 2002 are both constant reminders of the best memories of my life. It symbolizes the bond that can never be broken and what true sisterhood feels and looks like. I have a lot of amazing girlfriends, and these 3 are definitely one of the reasons why. I learned at a early age how to be a true friend from them. Today we are family so I always say "my sisters", because that's what they are. Do you share jewelry, tattoos, etc. with your #flossyposse ???
It's a shame that our women/girls have to deal with men/boys who think women/girls are "supposed to be silent". Jameis Winston say he used "poor word choice", I'm OK with that because we all have S.H.I.N.E. (Stuff Happens It's Not The End) moments. But, there are still men/boys out there who feel this way. I don't have daughters, but I can guarantee you they would be raised just as fearless as my sons. They would probably be more confident than my sons, because I would know exactly what they were up against. They would know that they are more than just a pretty face to use as a prop. With that being said, I want to thank all the men in my life who support me. I started #SHINE IN 2014 and it was a man who helped me design my logo and introduced me to platforms to host my website. Another man who encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone - not by telling me, but by showing me. Another man who made sure my conference had speakers, a venue, and vendors. Another man who secured the venue and helped with setup. Other men who bought tickets to sponsor womenand donated products and time, because they believed in women #SHINING. Men who call or text just to say, "I see you and support what you are doing. Let me know how I can help". Men who see the vision for #SHINE way before I do. I can't forget my 2 sons who live in their #SHINE gear, and encourage me when I want to quit. I often talk about the women who make #SHINE run, but today I want to say thank you to all the men. Not only do you help me #SHINE in my business, but also in my personal life. Because of you, a man that doesn't support women having a voice or shining is just not an option. You guys set the bar high!! I'm not going to put you on blast, but feel free to get your #Shineon in the comments. Most of you won't because that's just not you, but know I LOVE YOU and this is bigger than me. REAL MEN LIKE TO SEE WOMEN SHINE!!!
While driving home from work last Tuesday, I was thinking about the fact that the twins would be 21 in less than a month and I could not be happier! My heart was full. I was thankful! I began to think about our journey and the more I thought about it the fuller my heart became. Our story is one for the books...."BUT GOD". I moved to Texas when they were 3 to give them the opportunity to live past 21. In New Orleans, it’s no secret that young black males are killed every day. I wanted to give my boys a chance. So I was feeling proud, accomplished, and again thankful.
Not so fast!!!! The next day I was reminded that being a black male ANY WHERE in America at ANY AGE is not safe. So much for not worrying anymore, so much for feeling this sense of accomplishment. Watching Alton Sterling being shot by police in the very city where they attend college was a reminder. It reminded me of the time my son was pushed, called a nigger and a fag by an off-duty officer in our suburban community. If only he made the wrong move she would have felt justified in taking his life when clearly she was wrong. It reminded me of a time when my sons had to defend themselves against a group of white boys that were harassing them out of jealousy and fear in their Engineering dorm at LSU. Putting them in that dorm was for peace of mind, we eventually had to get the campus police involved. As the week would unfold I was sent even further into a tailspin when Philando Castile fell victim to another police shooting in the presence of a four-year-old baby and Dallas police officers would be killed as well.
As I texted, called, and face timed my sons last week I had to remind them and myself who's in control. Fear is not of God. So today, though still sorrowful about last week’s tragedies, we are choosing to still #SHINE. For God has a plan for each of us. Today we start the countdown, 21 days until my BLACK, INTELLIGENT sons whose LIVES MATTER will be 21! Look at GOD!!!
I was sitting at dinner in Wisconsin with my son having great conversation. Next to us were two Caucasian women enjoying their dinner and wine. We began to chat with them about the nearby lake, where we were from, and why we were in Wisconsin. Then comes the million dollar question! “SO YOUNG MAN CAN I ASK YOU A PERSONAL QUESTION?” You know where this is going. He says “yes”. She asks “How are you handling being a minority here?” He says “I go to Louisiana State University, the people here are actually much nicer”. She began to tell us the reason she asked. She has two “dark-skin Haitian kids” and they deal with racism daily in Wisconsin. He began to tell her how much he love it there and has not experienced any racisim there all.
He tells her stories about he and his brothers first year at LSU, and how they experience racism on so many levels. He assures her that her kids will be just fine. She asked how he dealt with those things at school. Without flinching or thinking about it , he said “my brother and I don’t worry about it, because our mom has raised two CONFIDENT young men”. When you know who you are, no one can make you feel any less. He truly SHINED in that moment. Too often people let others define who they are. It's not HOW you look, it's WHAT you see. What do you see? How do you handle your character being challenged?
Spending the weekend with Terrell in Wisconsin was fun. He is there for an engineering co-op. Seeing him in his own apartment, taking care of his responsibilities was both inspiring and emotional; my baby is not a baby. From the time I stepped off the plane he was acting like the concerned parent. He was nurturing, caring, and most importantly a grown up. He had dinners and activities planned, I didn’t have to make plans for us. He was the chauffeur, the bodyguard, and the ATM. I’ve always dreamed of raising young men that I could be proud of who were independent, but I wasn’t ready for him to be that just yet. I wanted him to stay the Terrell who needed his mommy. He took me to his job and introduced me to everyone, and gave me a tour of the facility. Each person we encountered on the tour spoke very highly of him. This is a reflection of all the hard work and sacrifice that I put in with him and his brother. This trip was just what I needed to remind me that I’ve worked really hard for the last 20 years and it’s perfectly ok to take a moment and enjoy my hard work; to be thankful for God’s blessings and his covering over our lives.
We all have different ideas of what SUCCESS is. For me it’s raising two young men on my own that are self-sufficient. I sometimes spend my time wondering what I’ve done with my life. And, the truth is I’m AMAZING and I SHINE like no other. I’ve taught two young men how to SHINE and enjoy life. Be happy with how far you’ve come and what you’ve accomplished! Toot your own horn! Celebrate yourself! Stop comparing yourself to others and remember, “I will not be focused on anyone’s success but my own. No matter how appealing their lives may seem, their success do not outSHINE my own” – Karen Civil. As I was getting ready to leave I gave him the biggest hug and tears began to flow. I said I love you and I’m crying because you don’t need me to take care of you anymore. He says “It’s time for me to take care of you, and I’m always going to need you”. Thanks Kendrell and Terrell for the daily reminder of God’s grace and favor, and that my SHINE is just as important as anyone else’s.