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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

REAL MEN

I was having a conversation about giving real men the credit they deserve & thought to myself I try my best to do this.  I feel everybody who does their best deserves a pat on the back or to hear that they are doing an excellent job.  

I have no problem telling men they are great & expressing what I love about them.  It comes naturally because I see good men doing great things everyday.  It is normal to them & they don't look for praise or credit for being a great father, brother, son, uncle, husband or just working hard to provide for the people they love.  Most men I know always say "this is just what real men do".  


The issue is when people generalize & lump all men into one category.  Sometimes the focus is on males who can't get it together because they dropped the ball on being good fathers, husbands or do things to cause hurt within their relationships & among family.  


Personally speaking, I always see the good in men.  I notice some of the bad too but I don't expect men or women to be perfect.  I love men & think they do an amazing job under the daily stress & pressures they go through.  I would not want to be a man & deal with the world constantly shining a flashlight on my manhood.  


I've learned that what real men do is not easy at all, but their sacrifice comes from a place of love & respect for family.  I give them credit because I know real men are trying to learn & grow just like real women.  I've seen men who do everything right but are labeled no good for the one or few things they messed up really bad.  


Men are human & they will struggle, slip & fall.  The truth is we judge men & expect them to be perfect.  *TRUTH*  We say men don't have to be perfect but if we really acknowledge the truth then we have to admit we want perfect or close to perfection as we can possibly get in a man.  


The truth is, it is not gonna happen!!  What we need to focus on is appreciating & encouraging good men because they need support too.  Some men are into their kids to the point where they are in the salon religiously with their daughters every two weeks just to see a smile on their pretty little faces.  


Those lucky flowers will blossom into "Daddy's little girls" & that will create a special "Daddy Daughter" bond for life.  Some men will be at every basketball or football game & practice as they coach & cheer their children all the way no matter if they win or lose.  Some men are just *SUPERDADS* who love being a father & they put nothing before their children.  


Some men are workaholics & career oriented so they are very focused on achieving their goals so they can be a great provider.  Some men are attentive & will clean, cook, take the kids to school, pack their lunch & sit with them to go over homework.  


Some men are handy & will fix everything in the house, take the garbage out, mow the lawn, wash the car, shovel the snow then run errands for his family to make sure their needs are met.  Some men are great teachers who evolve with their woman & offer a world of wisdom to their kids to help them grow into well rounded human beings.


They are all good men but they are not all the same man.  Some men may have several of these qualities which is amazing, but sorry ladies, you will not get every single quality you love in one man.  You just need to know what you want & will accept from a man.  


You should have requirements & standards but you should not force them on a man who does not possess the qualities that you desire because you are attracted to him.  Be clear what your expectations are & do not force your man to become something he is not.  Be what you desire in someone else.  If we are not perfect, why do we expect our men to be perfect?  


All we are doing is adding stress to our lives & making some good men miserable.  We are not going to get every single thing we want out of a man because life is that not simple, easy or perfect & neither are we.  I've noticed that some women love to compete & compare their men to other men.  If one man is taking his family on vacations every year, a woman will start looking at her man like what's up with that?  


Why aren't you doing that for your family?  If a man is driven in his career & a women sees his growth through promotions & new jobs, she will look at her man like why are you so lazy & not working harder.  If a man loves to spoil his woman by shopping for her, fine dining & showing her off to the world, a woman will look at her man like you really need to step it up!!  


Forget about when women have girls night out!  They size each other up & if somebody has new diamonds or pull up in a new car the first thought is not maybe she worked hard for her money & treated herself to some new jewelry or bought herself a new car, it's I know her man loves her, look at what she has!  


Then women begin to look at their ring finger, their old car & their old man while thinking hmmmmm, I need an upgrade!!!  Women will give a good man attitude for not being the man they desire instead of thinking, I chose the man I am with so why am I trying to change him.  If a woman is truly unhappy with her man she can communicate honestly to make things better.  


If he does not listen or want to hear her truth then she can let him go peacefully.  The choice is hers.  

We do need to give good men credit. We also need to understand that when we as women set standards or requirements for ourselves & our men we will never have to focus on what other women have or what other men do.  

There is a reason you love your man & stuck by your man so if the good outweighs the bad give him the credit he deserves & communicate realistically about making changes.  Society is hard on men, women are hard on men but we can't forget to show appreciation to real men.  That is what real women do.

Monday, July 30, 2012

TAP INTO YOUR GREATNESS

By age 17, I became Miss Liberia, USA
I promise you while my body is forced to rest my mind, spirit & soul stays hungry. The only thing that will feed my hunger is greatness. You're either slacking or working hard because there is no middle ground. People who have a sick work ethic always make greatness look easy to others who don't work as hard.

By age 17, I became Miss Liberia, USA & all I could think was I need to be more focused in life. Life is about exploring endless possibilities. You don't know what you can do if you never take a chance & try!

There must be a thirst & hunger that drives your desire for whatever you're truly passionate about. I've had so many people reach out to me & say they've always wanted to write, blog, paint, take an acting or dance class. Go for it because only you can hold you back! Listening to "Uncle Fear", "Cousin Doubt" & "Aunty Hater" will always stop on your progress in life.

Never pause your personal journey to respond to naysayers because allowing your greatness to shine is not about them. The fact that society has "dumbed down" speaks volumes about how people truly feel about their worth. The false belief that you can't be great is pure negativity.

I don't care if you are dating, engaged, married, related to, work with or are best friends with a person, never accept & put up with their negative mindset! Negativity is toxic so shut them down & shut them out of your energy field, otherwise they will break your confidence down.

My attitude in life is who are you in my life to say that my voice should not be heard? Who are you to tell me what I can or cannot achieve? Even better, good luck getting me to buy that box of doubt & negativity you're trying to sell me!! I've had people telling me who I am, what I am capable of & what I can or cannot do since I was a child. As a child my attitude was if you're not the example of greatness then why are you talking to me?

As an adult my attitude is still the same. I know who I am & I know my worth. If all you know are hardships, struggles & failures then that is what you offer to others. You're a case study of what not to do or become. I don't need those conversations of fear & doubt in my life. I need to see, smell, taste & talk to greatness! I need support & encouragement because that is love!

I am not trying to make a statement to the world as much as I am trying to make a statement to myself. Pushing myself to work smarter, harder & be the best is normal. Mediocrity is unacceptable & playing small is a sin!

I know without a doubt that it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from. What matters most is what is instilled within you & what you believe about yourself. If you're not convinced that you have greatness inside of you then who will be?

There is tremendous fulfillment & satisfaction in knowing who you are. Nobody can reach inside of you & steal that feeling of knowing yourself. Faith in yourself is where your greatness begins.

Never allow people who are threatened by you to force you to play small & push your greatness aside. Why do you think you were born? Why do you think you exist? What do you think you are here for? The answer to all three questions is to display your greatness.

Your greatness is meant to be tapped into & put on display because you cannot offer something to the world if the world does not know you exist. You can't touch lives if people can't see or feel your greatness. Stand up & stand out your way!!

You are supposed to be self-assured & confident! You are supposed to take your life to the next level. Inner confidence is key to being a real champion within your own life. Something inside of you should make you want to wake up every morning & try even harder than the day before. Every single day you must wake up curious about what life has to offer because you are capable of doing anything you desire.

Sometimes what you desire may not be what you were born to do. Tapping into your greatness & doing what you love in order to make yourself happy will lead you down the right path. It may be something bigger & better that you didn't expect or couldn't imagine for yourself. Expect & embrace being excellent in all the little things you do & I guarantee your life will transform into greatness!!! Give life your all & make yourself proud!

You can place your focus on limitations or you can place your focus on greatness. Life is not about proving anything to other people as much as it is about making history for yourself. Allow nothing & nobody to stand in your way.

Your greatness lies within your heart, spirit & soul. Tap into it & draw upon that energy to give you the strength you need to achieve excellence. The authentic part of your heart, spirit & the core of your soul will last forever.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

ME & MY HAIR

I have to shout out & thank one of my favorite girls in the world, JULIAN RITA ADDO of BELLA KINKS!! I know that I would never have taken or posted this picture of myself if I wasn't encouraged & supported by her to take a pic for her natural hair website http://bella-kinks.com/, which I write articles for about topics that connect how you feel about your hair, self-esteem & your worth.

*BEAUTIFUL RITA*

http://bella-kinks.com/
Rita has taught me so much about my hair & about my self worth. Who knew that I could actually learn so much about myself through my hair. I know for both women & men hair is a big deal. I love long hair on other people but I can do without it.

I am the type of person that would shave my head bald & be quite comfortable with it. When I was a teenager I recall experimenting with my hair then cutting it all off, tossing some gel in it & feeling more free than I have ever felt in my life. I like short hair, I love natural hair but I also love many styles I see on other women & men too.

My hair has taught me many lessons. One lesson is that something so minor or trivial to me can be major or crucial to someone else. I'm sure people who suffer from hair loss & who may have cancer appreciate being blessed with a head full of hair.

Also how I see myself & define what is beautiful within me is completely different than how people see, perceive & receive me. We are definitely seeing someone & something different which is okay, but it made me curious as to why.

I'll style my hair but not truly care for it like I could or should have. I thought maybe I let myself go & became lazy. I know that I go all out & I am hands on with everything connected to me but why not my hair? Maybe I am just not as emotionally invested in my hair as most people.

I really could care less, that is until Rita encouraged me to take better care of my hair & wear my natural afro kinky curls. Little did she know that she was literally tugging at my roots. The root & reasons why I slick my hair back or up in a bun almost everyday if I don't cut it really short.

I'm grateful to her because I was very encouraged but I still wondered why I didn't care about my hair. People can tell me it looks great but if they only knew the fights with knots & tangles I have from ignoring it. I take quick care of my hair because I have to go out, not because I love my hair!

I have to be honest about my hair & say that it had to grow on me. (no pun intended) I always thought it was okay but never quite what I would like to have on my head. It didn't occur to me that there was actually a connection between my hair & my worth until I dug a little deeper. I learned that I had some deep rooted hair esteem issues.

I had to ask myself why I didn't love my hair? I never thought about it much but I knew one thing. My hair automatically triggered thoughts of my father. I put it out of my mind but had to really ask myself why. I realized that I have my father's hair but I never acknowledged that it bothered me tremendously. This led me to ask myself why wouldn't I want to have my father's hair?

At first I was in denial & thought, well my mother has thick, gorgeous, strong strands that never stop growing! Her short hair cuts are to die for! Then I thought so do my sisters & my brother! Everybody had thick & strong strands except for me. I love their hair but don't feel the same about mine. In my eyes my hair felt like no matter what I did to make it strong, it was fragile, thin, stringy, damaged & breaking all the time.

Funny how my hair reflected how I felt about myself when I thought about my biological father. I have his complexion & hair texture but I never had him in my life. My hair to me is a constant reminder of not receiving the love I needed & deserved from my father.

No matter how hard I try to love my hair I will always find something wrong with it or see something different than what others see. No matter how much I try to love my father I always see something wrong & different than others see in him.

Seeing my hair out in a curly Afro reminds me of the only pic I saw of my dad for so many years. He had a huge curly Afro & a gorgeous smile. I carried that picture around in my heart for many years thinking......that's my dad! Everything I knew about him was told to me by somebody else.

He's like the nicest, coolest & most amazing stranger that I never knew. I've ran into strangers who know my parents who would say "I know your dad, you are ?????'s daughter right?, Wow you look so much like your dad!" My response is always honest. I say "thanks for telling me that because I wouldn't know." The truth just is. Life is always teaching me even when I don't want to learn. Life has even given me lessons through my hair .

No matter how I try not to think about my dad & how different my life could have been my hair actually makes me think about him almost every day. I've learned to love my hair & now I feel good thinking about him. Every time I wear my hair out in a kinky curly fro I reflect on that picture of him that I keep in my heart. When my hair is in a natural curly Afro I don't see me & my hair, I only see my dad.

I have thank two amazing ladies who inspired others to love their natural hair.

Gorgeous Vashti from http://thehodgepodgefiles.blogspot.com/

Beautiful Jennifer from http://curlbycurl.blogspot.com/
They have inspired me because they make caring for their natural hair look so easy & so good!! I'm finally loving my new hair journey! It's a new look & a new me!! Be inspired & encouraged to dig deep into your natural roots so you can explore & enhance your natural beauty. Below are some of my favorite links by the beautiful women who have encouraged me to embrace my natural roots & beauty so I can take great care of me, my esteem & my hair.
*LOVING THE BOND OF SISTERHOOD*

Friday, July 27, 2012

CHILD SUPPORT


Everyone including the court system has their own definition of what it means to support your child.  I personally think people struggle with this because of how they define support.  Dressing your kid up all cute & doing the basics like sending them to school & providing food or a roof over their head is only the beginning of truly supporting your child.  Being a parent is very tough.  

We have no idea the kind of character or personality we are bringing into this world until they arrive.  As time goes on you must pay close attention to what their behavior tells  you about their personality.   You have to learn your children but it takes time just like it would when you choose to be in a relationship.  

You're not going to figure out who the person you brought into your life is without taking the time to discover who they are.  Also people change & so do kids, so who they are today wil not be who they will be tomorrow, if they desire to grow.  Giving support & always being supportive is work no matter how selfless you are.  

You are putting yourself after somebody else to uplift them on a daily basis with the hope that they show you some respect, love & appreciation or just turn out to be great kids.  I see a lot of parents making mistakes when it comes to supporting their child.  

Supporting your child financially is a given.  How else are they going to eat?  Where are they going to sleep?  Where can they get the best education?  How much is their medical, dental & life insurance going to cost?  What about daycare, babysitting & childcare services?  How much are their extracurricular activities going to cost?  Forget about keeping up with how fast they grow out of their clothing & shoes.  

And don't let them make friends that are with them all the time cause you'll have another child to spend on & care for.  The tab that comes with having a child or children is no joke but that is just the beginning.  

Child support means paying for their needs but it also means quality time, encouragement & unconditional love.  Some parents need to ask themselves are they giving their children enough of their time?  Are they into their children?  

Unfortunately some parents just don't know the best ways to parent their child or just don't care enough.  You can get tips & advice but  every family & child is different so there really is no rule book.  I've heard single parents say "At least you have a man around to help you", "At least you are married" or "At least the mother or father is in the child's life."   That doesn't mean squat!!  Do you know how many people who live with their children & do nothing or very little?

Do you know when both parents are not hands on that there is usually one very responsible parent pushing the other parent to step up to the plate?  Who has the time or energy to remind or teach another adult how to be a supportive & loving parent???  NOBODY!!!

This parenting gig is for life so it don't & won't stop.  Every single day you have to grind for your children & put yourself last so imagine the stress on the parent who is breaking their neck to care for their child or children but they receive no financial, emotional or physical support.  Children need "all hands on deck!"  

Both the mother & the father must be hands on parents otherwise the burden will become too much for one parent to bare.  Also it is selfish & unfair.  How lazy & disconnected emotionally can people be from their children.  Ummm..... *VERY*

I've heard every excuse & it sounds like people who choose to give up.  I will only share a little bit of the nonsense I've heard with what I call the "LAME BLAME GAME".  No it's not the classless ignorant baby momma's fault because you knew all along that she likes to take it to the head, shop, get her hair & nails "did", sleep all day & party all night but as long as she has your money to buy Red Lobster for the kids & her boyfriends then it's all good.  

Also why wouldn't she do what she feels like when you keep sleeping with her?  I would be confused & use you too because clearly you're getting something out of the poor choices you keep making! *NONSENSE*

The same goes for the guy a.k.a. the boyfriend that has your kids calling him "Uncle", living with you or moving in just because he's with you all the time anyway.  Bad move!!  Let him marry you & your kids to ease your load as well as prove he is focused on being a family, not just your man.   

What about your children?   Cooking meals with the food you bought, taking your garbage out or walking your kids to the park once in a while is not being supportive.  Children & families need so much more than that.  You need to be clear if the people you allow into your children's lives are there for the highs & the lows, because it is not easy.  The truth is most people do not have strong & positive parenting skills because it is work!  Everyday will not be peaches & cream.  You will struggle!

Parents who pay child support & spend time with their children deserve respect, not praise for doing what they are supposed to do but respect for not dropping the ball.  Unfortunately a lot of them have to deal with a bitter ex.  It's not about you, it's about your children!  When people stay bitter they are not punishing their ex more than they are punishing their children & themselves.  

Both parents & the additional parents (girlfriends, boyfriends, the fiancé or "Uncle") all need to pitch in .  Every person that is emotionally invested into the mother or the father must now do their part & be emotionally invested in the children too.  Children suffer from loneliness & low self-esteem when their needs are not met.  When we neglect them financially by not paying child support it only makes a bad situation worse.  

We neglect them emotionally by not spending time with them.  We neglect them physically by not running around for or with them when it comes to putting them in sports, dance classes, going to museums, etc....  No kid I know likes to sit on the couch & if they do we as parents are responsible for keeping them active.  Parks are free!!

We can't keep dropping the ball & making excuses about it.  We can't be in love one minute then get mad, break up & argue over child support or who is doing more for the child.  You already know what kind of parent a person is going to be by learning their character.  Are they selfish or are they giving?  Do they put others first, especially children or is life all about their needs & making time for themselves first?  Kids pay attention to everything!  They don't listen to what adults say as much as they respect what they see adults do in their lives. 

Both parents have to pay up, show up & be a constant source of motivation & inspiration in their kid's lives.  Their first hero or heroine should be the two people responsible for bringing them into this world.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

AUTISTIC SOUL PART-2

I don't just love & adore my nephew, to me he is the "crème de la crème". 
I can't love him enough!! ;-) 
I feel this way about all of the children within my family.  They are bright & beautiful beings.  One day I had to pick my nephew up from school.  When I asked him about his day & how school was going for him, he did not hold back! I was cracking up because he is such a little old man.  I am always amazed by how freely he expresses himself.  He said "Boy am I tired of waking up early every day, going back & forth to school then doing all this school work. I need a break!"  He cracks me up & makes me laugh so much.
At age six I get to listen to my nephew complaining about the stress & pressures of school like it's a full-time job.  I guess to him it is.  Then I think about my son & realize that at age five my son is still babbling as he struggles to push one word out of his mouth.  I can see & feel his frustration as he fights for me to figure out what he is trying to tell me.  This the the life of my Autistic Soul.  By age five or six most kids can read, write, sing, spell, dance & play with toys appropriately.  They have the luxury of exploring life as they gain their own independence.
At age five my son functions with a therapy technique called "HAND OVER HAND".  This means he will learn how to do things by being prompted by an adult placing their hand over his hand to teach him how to do things.  This would be great if it stuck with him but the reality is he's delayed & becomes upset or extremely frustrated when he is unable to do simple things that he sees other kids doing.  One thing my son does understand is that he was born into a family filled with that powerful warrior spirit & loving energy.  We don't give up!  We don't give in! We don't back down & we make things happen no matter what.
My son knows that I believe in him & that I will always have his back.  I tell him I love him so much that I lose count.  I say I love you every time he walks or runs by me.  I say it when I put him on the school bus.  I say it when I take him off the school bus & I say I love you just because.  He has no doubt that I believe he will speak, learn, be successful in life & work hard to be independent one day.  He will have a huge break through & when he does I will be right by his side cheering him on.  Our spirits are unbreakable.  Our love is unconditional.  Our joy for the gift that we are to one another is priceless.  
He's the love of my life & my little Autistic Soul.

DIRTY LAUNDRY

Don't ask if you don't know! 
 Don't tell if you do know! 
Don't talk about our dirty laundry! Does that mean don't snitch? That don't snitch thing allows demons to dance all over our spirits while it pollutes our souls. It is sick to adjust our mindsets to accepting that even though we have a moral compass inside of us that says something is really foul & not okay, our attitude in life should be but oh well.........we don't wanna be snitches now! REALLY??????????????????

As a kid I heard this from a lot of people & all I could think was maybe if we talked about it we can wash the dirt off & figure out the best way to heal ourselves. Clearly people are damaged, hurting & in serious pain. What better comfort to offer them than telling them it is not their fault, they are not alone, they are still worthy & truly valuable.

Why are we encouraging each other to suffer silently? How can we help one another if we don't help heal ourselves & share that same recipe that saved our souls with others so they can be whole again?
REALITY CHECK: This is why young boys are beaten, abused, raped, sodomized & never recover from abuse in the home or from being sexually assaulted by strangers, yet they still have to deal with society placing pressure on them to act like men. How does that work???? 

How the heck can you act like a man when your boyhood was stolen by monsters who made you feel less than human? How can we expect them to recover from that horrific experience that is not their fault? This is why people complain but do nothing when family members or people who have access to families rape & molest little girls.

I don't care what story or excuse parents give, as far as I'm concerned you can never protect & communicate enough with your child. Encourage them to speak their truth not hide secrets & protect the shame!
I know a lot of children who "drank the kool-aid & took the candy their abusers offered. Their young minds were soiled & their young souls scarred for life. Those demons followed them into adulthood & tortured them for life. I know a lot of family members, parents & adults who allowed the dirty laundry to pile up then closed the lid on the hamper.

They do nothing & that is never okay! How can people even function & live happy lives with that level of pain? I actually know exactly how! They take their pain & hurt out on themselves or others who they date, marry, work with, have friendships with, live with, give birth to & care for by abusing drugs, alcohol, showing promiscuous behavior, anger, violence, prostitution, etc...... Their silence speaks very loud & clear to me every day!

This dysfunction is what I didn't understand & probably will never understand about society. I truly take the time to learn, try to understand & get some clarity with things that don't add up to me. People giving up by not washing their dirty laundry is one of these things that I just don't get.

We all love fresh clean clothes! A batch of clean smelling laundry with those fabric softener sheets smell & feel so good, so why wouldn't people want to do that with their inner dirt. Healing is the detergent for the dirty laundry of the soul & nobody should live life without cleaning their soul.

We can save ourselves & stop the dysfunctional behavior! We can heal & live pain free lives. Joy really is just around the corner but we must shatter our shame first! We should encourage our children to communicate honestly instead of shutting them down when they speak their truth. 

We should not cosign on those sick family secrets of sexual abuse, domestic violence, rape, incest, drugs, alcoholism, lack of emotional support & unconditional love, being judged by people who are supposed to love & care for us, neglect, abandonment & so on.
At what point do we stop talking about breaking the cycle & actually bust that negativity wide open to grip it at its root so we can heal the heck out of it. When is hiding our hurt going to end?
The one thing I've learned about sick secrets & hiding dirty laundry is that other people can sense it & smell it because your behavior will be very different from people who are not in pain. Your conscience creeps out of nowhere & gives a signal to the world that something is wrong inside of you.

You will start to have anxiety & the stress of carrying such a heavy burden will manifest in other ways. People can smell other people's dirty laundry so it doesn't matter if you pretend your whole life & convince yourself that all of your shame, fear & humiliation is well hidden. I know it's not because I see it plain as day all the time in every culture, class, race & religion!

We see you! We love you! We are hurting for you! *TRUTH*

People are suffering everyday & it's not right to force them or make them feel like they should never share or expose their pain. That is a sick message society sends when they tell somebody to hide their truth instead of allowing them to discover they are never alone & are unconditionally loved & supported.

It doesn't even make sense to blame or judge a person who has already been victimized enough. We should have the love, hugs & care on stand by ready to give people all the support they need to survive in this world. That dirty laundry message has people really twisted. It's a bad message because we can all clean our dirty laundry & wash our pain away. It's called healing!
We must wash our dirty laundry, heal our pain & shatter our shame. The fact that people actually think that they are the only person or family going through painful times, shame, embarrassment & humiliation from hurt is just crazy.
We have to practice compassion & stand by one another, support one another, figure out how to help heal our children, men & women. Standing up & speaking out is how we empower ourselves. What if that was you, your child or your family? Would you want to be judged or loved?
The best message I received from attending a wonderful family reunion was that:  
WE NEED EACH OTHER TO SURVIVE.....*TRUTH*

If you or someone you know is in need please get the support & help you deserve starting today!  
http://www.rainn.org/    (RAPE, ABUSE & INCEST NATIONAL NETWORK)
You can always reach your local rape crisis center directly by calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE.

www.sanctuaryforfamilies.org/
Sanctuary for Families is the leading nonprofit in New York State dedicated exclusively to serving domestic violence victims, sex trafficking victims, and their children.


In New York City:
Sanctuary for Families: (212) 349 – 6009
Press 0 for general information and for information about shelter
Press 1 for Clinical Program
Press 2 for Legal Center
Press 3 for Children’s Program
Press 8 if office is closed and on weekends - Sanctuary is open from 9 am - 6 pm on Monday - Thursday, and 9 am - 5 pm on Fridays.
Press 9 for Spanish
New York City’s 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 621 – HOPE
In New York State:

New York State's 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline:
(800) 942-6906 (English)
(800) 942-6908 (Spanish)

Outside of New York State:

National Domestic Violence Hotline:
(800) 799 – SAFE

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

CHAMPAGNE TASTE ON A KOOL-AID BUDGET

I'm sorry but this topic right here needs to be touched on because people won't stop breaking their necks to show others that they are living large & "ballin".  Ummmm.....no you're not & people see right through you so please stop! No seriously....Please stop it!  

I understand we live in trendy times filled with pressure to have the best things, look the best & be the best but how about just being yourself first.  Let us not encourage each other to be walking billboards for advertisements that we are not being paid for.  *deep sighs*

Now in all fairness we all love nice things & I do think this happens to so many of us at a certain point in our lives.  When we don't give ourselves a serious reality check then we are setting ourselves up for an epic fail!  

Sometimes it's hard because we work so hard, love shopping for new things & really deserve or simply desire expensive things.  That's a natural feeling but there is nothing wrong with doing things in moderation.  From my observation some people did not get the memo or got it, read it then tossed the memo in the trash can.  

I watch people constantly set themselves up for failure over their addiction to luxury items.  Everybody seems to want to know what it feels like to have that "silver spoon" in their mouths or give the appearance of coming from or having a lot of money.  I guess it means you've made it "BIG" but I have a different definition for making it "BIG". 

I grew up poor but never felt poor within so that is the feeling I carry in life.  I don't need to be seen & do not require "high maintenance" attention.  For people who love that lifestyle then kudos to them if they can afford it.  I know if I work hard I can buy whatever I want.   My question is do I need it, really want it or is it because I don't feel worthy & my ego needs to pump itself up?  

We all have our moments of insecurity but we can't be driven by it.  I've watched plenty of television shows, seen ads & videos to know that when they say "cut" everybody receives a reality check.  It's not real life, it's pretend.  You are being sold a dream within your reality 24 hours a day & 7 days a week.  I've seen people run up their credit cards because they saw someone in the street with something they desire to have.  

The advertising that says you are less than but if you by this you are "the man or the woman" or "now you are somebody in the world" is a hoax.  The only time there is a problem is when you buy into it knowing you can't afford to lie to yourself.  Most people know better but sometimes they just have to fight the urge not to make poor financial choices that can completely screw up our finances.

Getting a tailored made suit for business is one thing, I believe that is called dressing for success!  Splurging while ignoring your bills is called destined for huge debt!

This is why parents drive around in a BMW, BENZ or an ESCALADE but live in low income housing.  Why not use that money to put your kids in a better school district?  This is why people move next door to the "JONES", buy the big house on the hill, inground pool with the white picket fence & the perfect cars to match but struggle with the mortgage & taxes.  

This is why students are in debt because they graduate & try to keep up with a lifestyle they can't afford.  Why graduate from law school & try to keep up with seasoned attorneys then you start faking the funk in the firm?  Why do you have an apartment in Manhattan, wearing prada everyday to work while splurging on starbucks but need 4 roommates, knowing you have loans to pay off?   

This is why Father's dress better than their children & claim they don't have money to pay child support........ ummmm cause you're wearing it dude!  This is why women break their neck for designer labels paid for by their child support & alimony checks.....ummmm the kid needs pampers & healthy meals, not *FITTI* & *FAST FOOD*!  Also if you have to date please get a boyfriend that can contribute to your household & not live off of your ex paychecks. 

I thought it would click in people's minds when they began to see celebrities going to jail for tax problems & having to sell their homes for far less than they purchased it for or worse losing it to foreclosure.  If they can't afford the champagne lifestyle they are portraying & stuck in, what do you think your kool-aid budget is going to afford.  That makes no sense.  

All these things are nice to have but they should not be high on your priority list unless you are living debt free & are financially prepared for an emergency within your life.  It's nice to treat yourself but if you can't afford it that doesn't make you any less of a person.  People need to know they are amazing & valuable regardless.  

Also paying bills, investing your money wisely & growing your bank accounts is very sexy!!  Broke is not.  Broke is actually quite unattractive & depressing.  The illusion that having material things is the end all be all to living a great life is false.  People have a twisted definition of what being happy means.  I know a lot of lonely label lovers who are designed to death trying to keep up an appearance knowing they are living paycheck to paycheck & missing meals. 

This is why females want fine dining knowing they grew up on government cheese. I won't get into how men shack up with women they don't love because that is the only way they can afford their "lifestyle" or how women sell themselves short by being with men who control them because those women can be bought & sold.  

Why wear only designer labels & run up your credit cards but you're at the bar depending on lame dudes for free drinks?  Why are you driving a luxury car but can't afford gas?  Why choose a lifestyle you cannot keep up with & end up in debt?  Why create habits you can't afford to keep?  Ummmmm....just say no to drugs........*TRUTH*  At the end of the day why set yourself up for that kind of stress & drama?  

Even when you have the money you should be sure you can afford to maintain what you've purchased & the lifestyle you are attempting to create for yourself or your family.  Kids need love not labels & gadets so people who say they want the best for their children need to spend quality time & show more love.  Parks are free & packing a picnic basket or bringing a cooler with drinks/snack does not cost much.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with living within your means & treating yourself to nice things when you can afford it.  

This goes back to caring about what others think of you.  I know a lot of happy people practicing practical living who love the balance it brings into their loves.  They are into their children & can spend real quality time with people who love them for who they are not because they are "ballin".  Ballers set themselves up to get used because that is what you are inviting into your life.  Ballers get people who want to be around them because they know they can get some "things" out of it.  

I say work hard, play hard & enjoy life on your terms.   Understand that something is lacking in your life & you are trying to fill that void with material things.  It is so much easier to stay true to you than to pretend to be someone you are not.  

Being unconditionally loved & supported by positive people in your daily life is my definition of "ballin".  I guess I'm a true "baller" because I am grateful to be loved beyond measure! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

WORTHY

Every human being’s worth begins to form when they feel the creator’s love. Their development begins when the key to their life begins to nurture them. A woman’s worth should begin thriving after she is born and blessed to exchange that first look, touch and feeling of bonding and unconditional love with the first person who holds the key to her birth…. her mother. -BINDU

WINDOW PAIN

Windows are the reason why I love women. Windows are why I have compassion for women, why I get frustrated with women, why I believe in women & why I will never give up on women.Windows have allowed me to see the love, joy, hurt & the pain within women but also the strength that women have to carry on with their lives. I would always sit quietly & watch people from a window. With a strict family, I had no choice so I learned to zone out by looking out of the window.
As a young girl part of my childhood was spent watching people in the neighborhood from the window up above on the 6th Floor apartment building. I grew up in the projects but the projects never grew within me. I would sit to watch the world from my window allowing my mind to drift.

Some people had it bad, some had it worse & others seemed like life was good. From the window I saw the most beautiful summer days where it looked like the sun shot sparkling rays into the clouds. I heard music playing, laughter in the air & I use to love to see people put baby powder around their necks.

I'm not sure why I got a kick out of that but it tickled me. I wasn't allowed to watch television or to go outside unless I was going to the store, to church or to school. Watching people on the roof was like having premium cable channels because the things that occurred on the roof was made for cable television.

I watched drug dealers lean over the roof & look down, around & then directly into my window at me, as if to say "I see you little girl....watch yourself now". I thought we all had it bad because when I looked out of the window I saw more pain than joy. I wasn't happy inside my home but life didn't seem too great outside either.

It taught me that I had to create my joy because life wasn't going to hand it to me. I had to find a reason to smile & be happy just like everybody else who was outside walking around smiling trying hard not to focus on their pain.
I watched black people fight their own people. Some were fighting because they didn't like the Africans. That would be my people because I was born in Africa. Those fights were like "West Side Story." Some Africans thought they were better than African Americans & some were angry because they were not accepted by African Americans.

I use to think does anybody realize that we all live in the ghetto where the depressing toxic energy consumes us & kills our joy. Nobody is better than anybody right now! It was a slow death because any choice we made, wrong or right could destroy & effect our lives forever. You can be going to school & get shot or you could be buying or dealing drugs & get shot. What's the difference when we can all get abused & shot???

I watched both girls & women sell themselves short, some for prostitution, some chasing or fighting for the love of boys & men. Others exposed their babies to crime while they abused drugs, some fought off their violent drug dealing boyfriends.

Many dressed up to walk around & show off how cute or pretty they were. Some would fall for whatever boys & men were telling them & sleep around with somebody's boyfriend/husband when the girlfriend/wife went to work. I watched so much brutality at the hands of police who treated human beings like they were worthless or beneath them.

These images stayed in my heart, soiled my spirit & made my soul sick. When it was too much for me I would switch windows. It was better than dealing with cleaning or reading the bible for hours to ask Jesus to save me. Yes, those were my other options!

Watching the streets was like watching the news. You always saw the innocent, hardworking good people wearing a look of disgust on their faces. They were disrespected & forced to deal with crime & ignorance as they tried to earn a living & protect their children.

Nothing worse than watching single mothers hold their heads high as they struggle to survive domestic violence, verbal & emotional abuse. I wondered why they kept having babies by men who didn't respect them & gave up on their children.

As I got older I was allowed to sit in front of the building or play handball by the ramp across the street as long as boys were not around. This means I never really got to play outside much because boys were always around so that rule didn't make any sense to me.

I can recall missing out on warm sunny days & long summers nights. Sometimes I wished I failed my classes or got left back so I would have to go to summer school. I thought at least I would be outside with friends where I could breathe, feel, touch & taste life instead of sitting in the window.

I'm sure somebody would have put a hit out on me for failing school & "SHAMING" my family, so I did the right thing out of fear. I didn't like school but it taught me a lot about the mindset of adults who worked with young people.

I didn't like church either but it was certainly entertaining in a way that made me question religion, sinners & saints. I prayed to be assigned window seats in high school so I could watch people & pass time. I attended a private all girls high school so once again I was blessed with the opportunity to study young girls who would grow up to become women.
The only male besides delivery guys that I saw from the time the bell rang for class until we were dismissed was Nando. He was the school janitor & my buddy. He made me gain more respect for men. He was friendly, polite, respectful & a good soul. He told me I was smart & very special.

When I asked him why, in a very thick Spanish accent he said "Bindu that means you have a heart that will shine a bright light on this world. You don't look down on people & you try to be good to people all the time when most teenagers could care less." I never forgot that but I thought that is such a simple thing to do & the best way to live so why can't we all be that to each other.

All of these experiences allowed me to learn people my way. I would sit & watch people's lives play out like a movie, do my chores, eat dinner then go to sleep & look forward to looking out of the window again. I would watch people for a long time & learned so much about their personal journey.

I would witness their moments of laughter, anger, joy, tears & heartbreak. I would see who was having another baby & who thought they were the father. (Momma's baby....Daddy's maybe). I've seen a whole lot as a child that made me question our purpose as women.

Are we really here to please men, birth babies, make men the focus of our world, chase careers that may not fulfill us so we don't feel less than, be in relationships that don't satisfy us, get married as if something is wrong with being single? Are we here to be the mother & the father or pretend like life is great so our friends won't judge us as we die slowly from within?
Maybe we are here to smoke love into life, dress, drink , drug up & party our sorrows away temporarily because sometimes our reality just sucks. I've seen women hold their husbands down, bring home the bacon, care for the kids & create a community of sisterhood in the midst of chaos.

I've watched women break each other apart only to let go, forgive & pick up the broken pieces to heal each other's hurt. Women always find a way to piece life's puzzles back together. The way we bounce back in life makes us stronger & wiser if we get the lessons. This is why I have no doubt that women are powerful.

We need to learn our lessons & use our powers to fully understand that we are treasures in this world. We must reflect love no matter how much hate breaks us down. When we no longer give into behaving as if we are powerless we will understand that our purpose is to shine brightly in order to make our world a better place.

Monday, July 23, 2012

DOWN LOW

GET TESTED TODAY!!
For most people I know being gay is not shocking & is being casually discussed openly just about everywhere. Many people are gay & no you can't pray it away! Yes I said it.....*TRUTH* For me being gay is not an issue but being dishonest about being gay is. That is what being down low seems to represent & we have to do better!

This is another one of those situations where I can't relate but I understand why it happens so often. That seems to be the theme & pattern with my approach to so many questions I have about life.

I think the biggest issue is the level of dishonesty that has a direct effect on women's health. If people were honest with themselves then they would be comfortable being honest with others. I truly wish down low men dating straight women was not such a major issue today but it still is.

Now I wouldn't bother to notice this was even an issue if gay men were not constantly trying to date me. I'm usually polite, upfront & direct about it but most women don't even notice anything DL about the men they date.

Maybe they notice but don't want to ruffle any feathers so they keep their thoughts to themselves. I pick up on it right away & right now I can name 10 women I know who have children with men that have such a strong down low vibe that I can't imagine their women's intuition not ringing like an alarm.

I honestly thought straight women liking gay men was a trend at one point or maybe women are so desperate for a man or husband they ignore the signs. Women have a very powerful & strong intuition that when tapped into it can give them clarity on all the signs they've ignored.

No some down low men do not call or will not consider themselves gay, but if you dabble & dip with men then to my knowledge that is showing gay tendencies. Doing this while pretending to be into women is not only unfair but damaging, dishonest & hurtful beyond measure to women.

Down low men are leaving an imprint on women that is like a scar that can't heal. Some women never get over these experiences. Women have enough problems dealing with or understanding why men do some of the things they do but dealing with a man who sleeps with other men behind your back is devastating to straight women.

I say straight women because there are women who don't mind dating gay men. Yes, believe it or not.......*TRUTH* At least they are aware & made that choice for themselves. Most straight women in this kind of situation are being fooled.

I can only imagine the inner conflict & struggle to just be accepted or seen for the man that you are instead of being labeled. When a person may fear being judged, put down, attacked & assaulted verbally, emotionally & physically they would rather hide than be honest with themselves that they enjoy being with men.

The issue here is once again women & children suffer because people are fearful, ashamed, selfish, dishonest & would rather go to their grave knowing they've compromised a woman's health than to expose their truth.

Women have a right to be angry when deceived but we also have a responsibility to ourselves & our children to be proactive about our health. We should be paying attention to all of the signs that our intuition has given us.

We should not be afraid to make our men use protection even if we are married or have known him for 10 or more years. We should be concerned with our men cheating & giving us an STD regardless of gay, straight or down low. We can't put it all on the men because we are choosing to expose ourselves in a way that can compromise our health.

We must protect ourselves otherwise we are taking huge risks! We have to speak up & follow our gut. It's not right & I don't agree with any man being dishonest when they are intimate with women but I do understand why they lie about it.

The truth is if men were honest with women most women would keep their legs closed.....*TRUTH*

We have to take control of our health. We can't control others but having self control & discipline can save us. When something doesn't seem or feel right women sense it immediately so I'm wondering how we keep ending up with down low or gay men as our boyfriends or husbands.

I think sometimes we don't want to know the truth so we avoid asking our men those tough or embarrassing questions. A man's feelings is not more important than my health & if I can't have honest conversations about putting my health at risk then it's not going to work.

The real truth is we cannot afford to not ask, not pay attention, not follow our intuition & not make tough choices like saying no if he doesn't want to use protection. Don't compromise your heart & your health.

EVERYBODY should have HIV screening as part of their routine health care. Keep up with your regular GYN appointments & get tested for HIV regardless if you are single, married or only sleeping with one person.

Sometimes you may be with one person but the one person you're with may be with one person who claims to be with one person.......and so on & so on. Protection means prevention & testing means treatment if you test positive. Your health is priceless!!

PROTECT YOUR HEALTH & GET TESTED TODAY!

HIV/AIDS & STD Hotline---Toll Free: 800-235-2331

www.STD411.org

www.thebody.com

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"THE SISTERHOOD"

To me being a woman means that I have been initiated into a beautiful sisterhood. I can walk pass a woman I don’t know and just smile and she’ll smile back at me to acknowledge respect for the sisterhood.  That smile says I acknowledge your beauty and true worth my sister! 

The sisterhood is a vibrant circle and community that shares a wealth of information to steer each of us on our own path. Women are connected to everything.  We are one!  Like it or not, I am you and you are me.  Your life experiences could easily be mine and vice versa.

We have a responsibility to uplift and empower each other and be a constant reminder that we are never alone in our experiences. This world teaches us to separate and compete with the attitude that I am better, prettier, smarter, stronger and more loved than other women.  

I for one reject that teaching!  No matter how things may seem, what we are going through and what we may be feeling from time to time, we can survive on Fem-Power!

Feminine power is a powerful energetic force guided by a pure, loving, nurturing spirit of strength and courage.  Fem-Power teaches us that we are here to shatter the illusion and negative programming that has been taught to us.  

Your joy is my joy!  If you succeed then I gladly support and cheer you on! If you cry then I’m crying for you.  If you hurt then I’m hurting with you.  Whatever women go through we must rally around each other to show love, support, encouragement and compassion.   

We must protect the sisterhood by stepping into each other’s stilettos to feel everything, from comfort, style to the aches, the tight grip and pain from the cracks in the concrete that we walk upon.

This sends women a message filled with sincere loving and protective energy that says I am here for you my sister. We must be in harmony with our differences and celebrate how unique we are as individuals but also how amazing and courageous we are as women.  

This is the purpose of the sisterhood. 

COURAGE & STRENGTH

Sometimes people fail to realize that you can know a whole lot about one piece of a person's life puzzle but there is so much more to learn about them. I would say most of the people in my life know enough about me to feel like they truly know me but are clueless as to how many deep layers I have within me.

It takes time to learn everything there is to know about a person & time is something we don't seem to have these days. People use their time to learn meaningless things or gossip. I try to offer the best of who I am while working hard on the worst of me.

I enhance my good, change my bad & work hard to clean up my ugly. Nobody is perfect but with hard work a lot of people can become balanced with the goal of being whole so they can experience life in a positive light.

When people are around me or I'm in their company I usually don't say too much. I allow them to lead conversations because I prefer to take it all in & soak up their energy. I usually give some small talk with plenty of head nods or smiles. The one thing I notice often is that people put energy into looking at me, sizing me up & trying to figure me out.

I think this happens to everybody & this is something people just do to other people without asking themselves why or what is the purpose in doing that? What do you need to see or confirm about the person you're focused on? I know exactly what I'm looking for which is why I smile so much.

I'm looking for strength from their soul, courage from their hearts & joy from their spirit. I'm not looking at people. I make eye contact to look into a person's truth because that is where their story & experiences dwell.
Sometimes it takes strength & courage to just be a human being with positive intentions. I've learned what comes so easy for me is truly difficult for so many. I offer who I am because I've learned I am no better than others, I've just been blessed to get my lessons early & apply it to my life.

So many people offer who they are not to others instead of who they truly are because they are lost in life. This is why I stay quiet in so many situations. It takes time to figure out who the real person is that I am dealing with because many people break the ice on a superficial level. I often struggle to get passed their pretense. I've learned that this is why people don't know who is sincere or full of BS.
Some people have been around me my whole life but never knew that I am actually grounded, open & approachable because I can't feel their truth. I will not offer up my truth without an invitation, but if you ask me I certainly will not hold it back.

When people do get to know me it has to be on a "non-superficial" level otherwise I leave them alone knowing they are not prepared or ready to deal with me on a certain level. I find that they see the courage & strength in me but not in themselves. They always ask me different questions that I know they already have the answers to.

I answer them anyway & shoot directly from my heart with the hope of piercing their souls with love & truth. I tell people that in order for me to hold my head up high the way I do means there were times when I have held my head down very low. Like many, I have experienced shame, humiliation, hurt, pain, disappointment & so much negativity, but I survived then thrived because I refused to accept it.

Everybody has the courage but not everybody will gather their strength to use it. Nobody can give you their armor of strength or shield of courage. It is your badge to earn by overcoming your personal pain & obstacles that continue to hold you back in life. You have to dig deep down within yourself to pull up your inner strength.

People can talk to you, try to save you from yourself, guide you & push you to be courageous but it will never work if you don't have faith in who you can become. I always see the true worth in people & my wish is for them to see it inside of themselves. We must take our hardships & allow it to shape us into people of courage & strength.

POPCORN LOVE

The prom is over & they are not cute "crazy in love" teenagers anymore but they still behave like teens. The behavior wasn't really cute back then & it really isn't cute now but some adults love their dysfunctional relationships. 
Sometimes my heart truly goes out to all of those couples who are still knee deep into that popcorn & cotton candy love. This experience is for teens only! Popcorn love is that unstable kind of love that has the "No, no, no, no way I'm living without you" vibe to relationships!

They are lost in their younger years. They have a toxic & codependent behavior that does not allow them to grow & have mutually satisfying relationships. In other words they are so high school & if children are involved they suffer silently wishing their parents would grow up!

Popcorn lovers are those people who have been with the same person since childhood experiencing the dysfunctional energy that only a teenage love can bring on. They never end the relationship because their minds have adjusted to the dysfunction.

These couples grow at a different pace than most couples because they usually lack personal growth, maturity & wisdom. They still see their lives through the eyes of the young teenagers they use to be. They cheat on each other for recreation or as a form of escape.

They fight about everything, drag others into their drama, force family or friends to pick sides & then make it up to each other through gifts, a date night out or a family day with the kids. Their love is so immature that it will drain your energy!

They don't notice that their personalities don't quite gel after 15-30years of staying together just for the sake of staying together. They are the kind of couples who can’t seem to leave their relationships or marriages even though the bad outweighs the good. They really believe their world will fall apart if it was over so they stay together in the name of crazy love.

They have more problems than they can count but they either refuse to heal the hurt or to let the relationship go. The disrespect is always at an all time high. People who know & love them usually catch them out with other people holding hands, having dinner & drinks like they are single.

They give the look like you're not going to snitch on me are you??? They create problems by doing the wrong things that have such a negative effect on their families & they force each other to carry the emotional burdens because neither is willing to walk away. One usually plays victim & the other pays them back by being petty.


They cling to each other & cancel each other out at the same time. They are polarized, yolked together & chained up with the key to their freedom being held right in their own hands. They have a circle of friends that ignore or overlook all the bad because they know their advice is useless.

Couples like this are sometimes suffocating to be around because the love is soooooooooooo strong in front of family, friends, co-workers that it comes off like a grand performance. They make you want to throw roses at them & stand up to clap & yell "BRAVO"! All you have to do is look at the sadness or disappointment in their children's eyes because their parents keep hurting & disappointing each other. Kids are the raw truth!

I've watched couples have the kids pick sides or worse tell the kids all of the bad/hurtful things the other parent has done & continues to do. Bad parenting 101 & a WRONG MOVE to make!!!! The kids are already hurting & should never have to choose or cosign on adult problems.

They know enough when they see mommy break down into tears when daddy disappears to so call "guys night out", "hang out with friends" or "work overtime". The kids know enough when they hear doors slamming & curse words shooting venom between two people they love.

Kids know enough when the anger turns into violence because one parent has no control over the other parent so they harm them to try & gain some control. Couples who stay together from a young age but never took the time to build a foundation that they can stand firmly upon are usually delusional.

They create new patterns of codependency & convince themselves they are growing as a couple. They never used their energy & time to discover themselves as unique individuals. Some never lived by themselves, dated or had relationships with other people. Most never gained independence in a way that made them secure if they had to be solo & on their own. They wouldn't know how to function without the other person in their lives.

They have that toxic clingy love thing going on. I have to say a lot of times I've notice that it is the women that try to keep the men in these immature relationships. There is a fear of the unknown. The big what if I can't do better or I feel like I've failed my kids & my family. They don't know how powerful they are. They have no clue that you really can teach people how to treat you, instead they try to force the other person to treat them right or punish them for each time they felt they were treated wrong.

I can remember walking out on an ex. I literally got up, walked out & never looked back. I didn't even look back when I was walking towards the door & can't recall if I even closed the door. I just kept walking & never looked back. I never said a word because there was nothing to be said.

He wasted every opportunity & I was ready to grow up so I moved on without him. When I saw that he was on a path of breaking me down emotionally I was done. It was the day that I decided to teach people how to treat me. It was the day that I decided to put my worth on display. I learned that people should add to or enhance the love you already have for yourself. They should not break you down.

If you have to fight, become violent, cry too much, argue too much, drink too much, eat too much & smoke too much or worse then you need to examine your life. Life isn't perfect but we can have healthy relationships, good love & respect. If your heart, soul & spirit is unhappy then you need to examine the kind of love & relationship you are in.

People care if the world thinks that they are still a couple when they should care if they are respected & truly happy. When you teach people to play games with your heart then they will not respect you or your relationship/marriage. They know you will always come back & take whatever they dish out to you. If you know you are a king or a queen then you will behave like one.

When you behave like one the other person has a choice to love you right or leave you alone. You will survive a break up & you always have a choice at any age to create a better life that brings you true joy & happiness.