" The few who do are the envy of the many who only watch. "
~ Jim Rohn
I am very careful and particular about the blogs I write because I never want anyone thinking I am writing about them, personally.
So to begin this blog, I will issue a DISCLAIMER:
"I am speaking from my own life in detailing the following opinions, which are NOT directed at a particular person, group of people, or situation. I am woman enough to address a particular issue or problem directly with the appropriate parties. Therefore, the spirit in which I write this blog is of the HUMAN EXPERIENCE, as a whole, and as a citizen of this Earth..."
Official enough? ..... Ok, great!
Now, let's continue.
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.
What struggle, you ask? Well, to put it simply, the struggle to believe in yourself, follow your passion and pursue your path, despite negative energy, bad advice, discouraging news, set backs, peer sabotage or any other curse-worthy element that exists in your world.
It's a struggle to hear "no" or "you can't" or "that doesn't make sense" or "that's not going to work"... when you know each one of those statements is a ruse. You are well aware that those statements come from a mind that has not been given YOUR PURPOSE, and thus, cannot see the finish line you have already crossed in your psyche.
Yes... the dreaded naysayers, whom focus all their time and attention on telling you things you cannot or should not do... all the while, watching you do it, and hating you for persevering.
Do you know anyone like that?
Have you encountered that type of resistance?
Of course you have.... we ALL have. The difference is what you learn/absorb from those experiences, and the choices you make to move past them, and not let them phase you in the slightest.
Case in point - MYSELF.
I wrote a poem called "I Have A.D.D." that I will soon perform at an upcoming ThYck Troupe™ poetry jam, along with the company members of my organization.
It is a poem about a woman that appears to be suffering through an A.ttention D.eficit D.isorder mentality, displaying signs of being scattered, indecisive and flustered.
However, the poem goes on to explain that her particular meaning of A.D.D. does not match the scientifically endorsed criteria.
In fact, her attitude and outlook regarding her "condition" defies the logic of science and can only be comprehended through prayer, faith and long-suffering. Those who suffer from the same unorthodox condition will understand her mental dilemma, and hopefully, embrace her proposed cure.
I will share just a snippet of it below:
"... I have A D D.
Now to the average person
A D D means you can’t sit still
You can’t fulfill
The task ahead of you...
which seems incredible.
You can’t focus or sit too long….
You have no patience.
Your will ain’t that strong.
But my A D D is of a different cloth
Born and bred in the fires of consistency
Groomed and purged through time and antiquity
Demanded and expected from a mother who told me….
... dream now.
Before time lies to you and asks you “how”….
How you gonna do that?
My A D D is of a different diagnosis
I twitch and twitter, but remained focused
I get tired and weary, but look at the ceiling
And see a movie, starring me…
with an outcome revealing…
A strong woman, who made it.
Who didn’t listen to others…
...but listened when others didn’t
Who found her momentum..
...only to slow down and think.
...To smell the roses, and
...fought through the stink...
Of the garbage that tried to stop her.
Of the people that tried to mock her..."
~ I Have A.D.D. (short snippet)
©2010 Tressa Thomas. All Rights Reserved.
Yes, that's what I'm speaking on.... the people who try to mock you and don't understand that the FATHER has given you a divine purpose, and their opinions matter not.
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL....
... and when you feel like that struggle may not be worth it, or that other people will never see what you see, that is the time to buckle down even harder.
It is so interesting how colleagues and/or associates... or even close friends and family, manifest their true feelings and intentions, once you begin to prosper. It's almost like... they admire you for having an idea... a vision. But, if it actually comes to fruition... well... WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?! ... OPRAH? TYLER PERRY? CAROL BURNETT?
This is a mindset I will never understand, and it keeps me scratching my head on the regular. You like the idea.. but if it actually comes to pass, YOU HATE ON ME FOR IT?
One of my favorite quotes in LIFE is from Will Smith:
I absolutely exist in this mindset, and attribute this quote to the most profound and enlightened words that have ever left Will Smith's mouth.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this blog post is not only therapy for me, and the things I am currently going through, but I hope it will motivate you to CONTINUE FORWARD WITH YOUR VISION. Don't let anyone tell you that your idea or concept can't work.
Now, of course, to be fair, there are a few exceptions...
Sherri Shepherd, Co-Host of The View
I recently attended the BLACK WOMEN'S EXPO in Chicago, IL with fellow ThYck Troupe™ member, Nikeya Young.
We had the pleasure of meeting Sherri Shepherd of The View, whom I greatly admire, especially after hearing her story/journey through the ups and downs of her career in entertainment.
She said something that has resonated with me ever since....
"There are 'good ideas' and there are 'GOD' ideas. Know the difference."
~ Sherri Shepherd
She went on to explain the "good ideas" may be just that... good ideas. But without the evidence of progress, a solid plan, and most importantly, divine purpose (God's hand upon it), it may not prosper to your liking or expectations.
But GOD IDEAS are very different. There are miracles performed.... ways made that are clearly spiritually influenced, and results rendered on your behalf that defy explanation.
And, I can honestly say, the ThYck Troupe Organization has experienced all of these facets.
I am thoroughly convinced, based on the blessings that have been bestowed and the ways that have been made out of "no way", that the ThYck Troupe Organization is destined for greatness, under the watchful, merciful and gracious eye of our Heavenly Father.
TO HIM..... I give all the glory, honor and praise.
But I certainly understood her point....
Just because you have an "idea" doesn't mean it's the best idea FOR YOU.
Sherri provided the example of a woman that wanted her to invest in a Singles Christian Cruise. The woman coordinating the cruise was a single mom, with 3 children, that had invested all of her savings into advertising and project managing the cruise... but to no avail. No one signed up, and her marketing strategy wasn't reaching the right people... after a 5 year struggle.
Sherri declined sponsoring and/or financially supporting the event because she felt the single mom of 3 needed to focus on ideas and/or events that were far more financially feasible and strategically planned to support her family.
A Single's Christian Cruise is great... but in THIS ECONOMY?.... with the jobless rate being higher than ever, and seemingly everyone in the American populace tightening their wallets and only spending money on the most necessary of expenses? .... (which often doesn't include a vacation, even for the upper class!)
Not to mention there was evidence of a lack of interest and very little support from an investment standpoint.
How would this woman prove to Sherri that she could insure a return on her investment?
Sherri made an excellent point, in that an idea needs to be well thought-out, planned, deliberated and combed over before it can be considered feasible and sustainable.
That doesn't even require Divine Intervention.... that just makes sense!
Strategically speaking, there is evidence that with all of the tools available, including, but not limited, to a Marketing/SWOT analysis, customer /demographic surveys, a business plan, a scenario analysis and financial projections, a business's feasibility can be determined rather thoroughly and accurately.
If you are truly serious about a business or idea, you need to do ALL OF THE AFOREMENTIONED STRATEGIC ACTIONS, and have a substantial explanation of your business model, should anyone be so curious.
I have done this... and I have witnessed the Father step in and take over in the areas where I, as a mere mortal, came up short.
Therefore, I am convinced that my organization is a GOD IDEA.... and that being said, nothing that the Father ordains - in my mind - can or shall be blocked, hindered, delayed or sabotaged.
That is why I believe in my mission and purpose as a non-profit CEO of a performing arts company for women with Curves... I've received my spiritual green light. I am simply waiting for the rest of the world to obey the traffic signal... and it'll happen... all in GOD's time.
1. Never give up:
If your idea doesn't pan out the way you think it should, seek the Father for guidance. He may send you in a new direction... OR - He may provide the knowledge and wisdom necessary for you to turn that idea into a successful working model.
2. Do Your Homework:
If you have done all of the necessary steps to insure your idea and/or business is a successful working model, including feedback from industry professionals, and people who have ALREADY DONE WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO DO, stand behind your idea, and give it the expertise it needs to pitch itself. Only YOU can truly define what's in your mind, so take the time to do so! Treat your idea like something you are going to RETIRE FROM.... not a quick fix, or a spur of the moment reflection of opportunity.
3. Ignore the Naysayers:
Picture yourself having studied for a very important test, without relent, for the last month. Every night, you read the required materials, created flash cards for yourself, recorded the text and listened to it in your downtime, and even studied with a student from the same class, on occasion.
Now..... picture someone coming up to you the day before the test, and telling you, "There is NO WAY you're going to pass!" .... when you know you have EVERYTHING MEMORIZED three times over, and there is NO QUESTION you aren't prepared for.
You would laugh at them, wouldn't you?
Because they have NO CLUE what you've got in your back pocket.
They have NO CLUE just how dedicated you are to your imminent success.
You become the WISE MAN, quietly chuckling at the savage taunts and retorts of the uninformed, know-it-all FOOL.
Treat your idea/business in the same manner.
BE PREPARED for as many scenarios and circumstances that may arise, as possible.
Know how to PITCH your idea to anyone from Bill Gates to President Obama in under 60 seconds.
The only way to shut people down is to prove them wrong.
YES... THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.
And, there may be days where you feel like giving up. But don't.
GOD gave you the vision.
GOD gave you the purpose.
GOD gave you the means, and GOD gave you the path.
Trust in Him.
Listen more than you talk...and NEVER think you don't have more to learn.
"Crabs in a Barrel" only concerns you, if you are IN THE BARREL.
I, my friends, am not.
I have long since escaped and am making my way back to the ocean, all while hearing the moans, groans and complaints of my fellow captives... and pitying them.
If only they'd tried harder and had vision... a purpose... a fighting spirit. :-(
I feel the sand beneath my feet.
I see and smell the fresh ocean water.
... And my journey to the shore line is well underway.
"For all your days be prepared, and meet them ever alike. When you are the anvil, bear - when you are the hammer, strike."
~ Edwin Markham
An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied. ~Arnold Glasow
I have never been a big "resolutions" person. I usually draft a vision board and keep it pushing. My vision board staples always consist of relevant Bible Quotes (first and foremost, because Faith without works is dead).... followed by the appropriate images of houses, cars, finances, partnerships, sponsorships, desires, dreams, etc.
But this year, I am actually NOT doing a vision board, because I have found that vision boards - although helpful - don't motivate me as much as a solid LIST of items I can reference.
My list gives solid missions... a defined purpose beyond pictures and zany quotes. And although each item on my list will always include an accompanying Biblical reference, I am changing the visual strategy, testing its impact on my spirit, actions and results.
I pray the following list provides inspiration to others:
The 2013 Manifesto
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1. SPEAK THOSE THINGS THAT ARE NOT, AS THOUGH THEY WERE...
As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed--the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
The following terms, words or expressions will be eliminated from my daily vocabulary - even through hardship - as often as possible:
These terms hold me back, burn me out, and put me in a negative place. They allow for self-loathing, excuses, grief, pity and most of all, lack of progress. They force me to question myself and lose confidence in my abilities and goals. THEY MUST GO, and are - in fact - GONE.
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2. BECOME THE PERSON WHOSE HEALTH & WELLNESS IS ONLY ACCOUNTABLE TO HERSELF ...
1 CORINTHIANS 6:19-20
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
I will mold my MIND, BODY and SPIRIT to the beautification of our Heavenly Father, and honor the temple he has given me by insuring my longevity, strength and endurance for the coming race of life.
I will not fall into old patterns of self-neglect, loathing, desperation, depression or fear. I will build and maintain the temple I know I should have, and not entertain commentary from sources that cannot relate to my struggles, pain, past or future.
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3. REJECT REJECTION and IGNORE ALL OBSTACLES.
2 TIMOTHY 1:7
"For God has NOT given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline."
In all things, I will step out on FAITH, that the FATHER has willed my success and will grant me the desires of my heart through my obedience.
I will not take NO for an answer unless I wish to. And I will not allow others to dictate my success and accomplishments. I will take ownership of my life and its direction, being lead by the Father, whom wishes me no failure or discontent. I will persevere through adversity, and pray for those who spitefully mis-use or abuse me.
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4. BECOME THE 'PROBLEM-SOLVER' and HONOR ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ACTIONS, WORDS AND DEEDS.
2 CORINTHIANS 13:5-7
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
I will hold myself accountable for my own failures. I will not cast my excuses onto the wind for pointless echos on the clouds. I will not point a finger in a direction other than my own standing.
Where there is a lack, I will fill the void. Where there is a deficit, I will create an increase. Where there is conflict, I will enhance my resolve. And where there is a problem, I will exist only in solution.
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5. RETURN TO LOVE and EXTINGUISH ALL LONELY ENDEAVORS.
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.
1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
I will open the door within my heart that has been closed through tragedy, grief and despair. I will tear down walls meant to protect me, that have only left me lonely and wrought with doubt. I will allow others in, and not fear the length of their attendance, nor the manor of their departure... for everything has a season and a reason.
I will love again, and fear DEATH no more.
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6. BUILD THE EMPIRE THAT AWAITS, and REJECT THE EXCUSES THAT BIND PROGRESS.
2 PETER 3:9
"The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."
I will no longer fear the destiny the Father has for me, simply because the mountains around me - that gave me strength and comfort - have been laid low.
I will act upon the visions He has granted me in dreams, and will manifest them through my undying FAITH in His will for my life. For how can what the Almighty Father reveals be in doubt to His faithful?
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7. EXPLORE THE LAND THE FATHER HAS GRANTED. FOR IN ALL SPACES, THE HOLY SPIRIT COVERS.
" Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
1 PETERS 3:13-14
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened."
I will no longer fear the exploration of this world. Despite past experiences, I will hold fast to God's unchanging hand, and realize the HE alone is in control.
I will not allow the enemy to continue his attack on my resolve to see the beauty and magnificence of this planet, and I welcome the opportunity to broaden my horizons - WITHOUT FEAR and WITHOUT HESITATION.
I discard the chains that bind me.
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8. BE A BEACON OF LOVE, FAITH AND HOPE TO ALL ENCOUNTERED.
1 TIMOTHY 4:12
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
I will strive to treat others - continually - the way I wish to be treated. I will respect, honor and cherish the spirit of all I encounter, and sacrifice self-desire when required, to help heal the broke and disparaged.
I will accept the responsibility of providing help, encouragement, motivation and inspiration to all who beckon those traits, and will unselfishly give of my time, energy, talent and knowledge, so that others may prosper in the Father's name.
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9. EMBRACE FAVOR, PROSPERITY and SUCCESS, FOR THEY ARE NOT GIVEN, BUT EARNED.
"Now the Lord said to Abram, Go for yourself away from your country, from your relatives and your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. 2) And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing."
"And my God will liberally supply your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
I will no longer reject the notion of prosperity, in both spirit and finances. I will understand that my Father wishes for me to prosper and live comfortably, but to the benefit of all, and not just myself.
I will welcome the blessings of others, and not repel assistance, knowledge and wisdom. I will acknowledge that I am worthy of help, and in return, bless others with what the Father has allowed me to have.
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10. HUMBLE THYSELF - IN ALL WAYS - AND TAKE CREDIT FOR LITTLE, AS MUCH IS ACHIEVED IN LIFE WITH ASSISTANCE.
1 PETER 5:5
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Psalms 149: 4
For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.
I will continue to SERVE.
I will learn to successfully balance the time I must give myself, in order to better help others. I will embrace compromise and always place myself in the shoes of others before I judge them.
I will completely and utterly understand that NO MAN IS AN ISLAND, and that the Father has placed others in my life as part of my humanitarian duty to assist them, as I wish for them to assist me. I will LEAD - always - with the health, happiness, well-being and prosperity of others as my foremost thought...
And I will first give GOD the praise, in all things, in all manor of daily life and the circumstances therein.
Innocent victims of Sandy Hook Elementary.... now angels in the Father's kingdom.
The cause of violence is not ignorance. It is self-interest. Only reverence can restrain violence - reverence for human life and the environment.
~ William Sloane Coffin
I wanted to weigh in on the gun debate that has surfaced in the media following the horrific rise of mass shootings and gun violence in this country, specifically the most recent in Newtown, CT.
First and foremost, my thoughts, prayers and sentiments go out to all of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. This very dark day in world history was absolutely despicable, and the country will not soon recover from the pointless loss of those 27 beautiful souls. Blessings and healing to the families that are left in the wake of this.... monstrous act.
Unfortunately, violence such as this always sparks a debate I truly abhor: Banning guns in America. I do not abhor this debate because I am a gun-toting, second amendment-worshipping citizen, that feels I should be able to walk into any establishment in America with a glock in my purse for security and safety. Far from it...
As a self-proclaimed 'conspiracy theorist', I am well aware of the law and our rights as US citizens. I've studied our founding fathers, the Bill of Rights, the philosophy behind Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness, and everything else your 'Alex Jones' types rant about on a daily basis....
I get it.... We are all free. Right. Great. Thanks.
What I am referring to is the notion and possible future legislation that may support banning gun ownership nationwide.
Personally, I liken that mindset to the same impossibility of there never being evil thoughts, acts or intentions on Earth by anyone... ever again. Ever. The world will become perfect. People will never have to defend themselves, and we will all live in peace and harmony.
If only that were true...
No... I look at the bigger picture.
The fact that there are 300+ million guns in the country, with only about 5-10% of the US population willing to participate in gun buy-back programs.
I look at the veterans, tactically trained and war ready, that keep the very weapons that have fought wars for us, safely locked in their houses... possibly on call for another tour of Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan.
I look at the criminal element of society. The people that do not walk into a gun shop to "register" their firearm, but buy them from their homeboy in the dark part of a back alley, and can't wait to use them on rival gangs.
I look at the citizens who were able to cheat the system, and appear sane enough to pass a written test, barely skirt past the background screening, a gun range test and the waiting period to receive their firearm... but they are as psycho as they come, and spend every night stroking their gun until they can actually USE IT on someone.
I look at the supposed "gun-nut" crowd... who walk around with the Citizen Rule Handbook in their back pocket and DARE YOU to threaten their personal liberties. They also go to the gun range like most of us go to the supermarket.
And finally, I look at your every day, average Joe Plumber - protecting his family by keeping a loaded firearm in his private residence to ward off burglars or defend his property from various criminal elements in the neighborhood.
... And what conclusion do I come to?
The majority of the aforementioned aren't giving up anything, regardless of the reward, incentive and/or legislation put in place, because they all feel it is their Constitutional & God-given right to protect themselves. And that protection applies towards other citizens, corrupt law enforcement and maybe even the government?
Until someone can convince them that guns are no longer:
2) protection against a criminal element; or,
3) a lawful, sanctioned "tool" of enforcement,
.... nothing is going to change.
So how exactly do you alter their perceptions? -- Has anyone figured that out yet?
Hence, in my opinion, the gun debate is useless.
Maybe if this country only had a population of 100,000, full disarmament might be possible. But 300+ million?
And let's not even get into the BLACK MARKET that full disarmament of the American populace would create overnight. It would be more dangerous than ever to live in this country, when only a criminal element willing to go to unthinkable lengths to own a VERY ILLEGAL gun would be walking around with them.
Anybody got a one way ticket to Iceland they wanna sell me?
.... Cause I'd be outta here.
Let me return to the impossibility factor I see in all of this.
There is only one way to fully solve the gun problem in a free society, where guns have been readily available and owned for hundreds of years:
Hop into a Delorian with Marty McFly and Doctor Emmett Brown, and prevent firearms from ever being invented.
OH WAIT.... I'm getting a call....
Time travel is impossible!?
Oh, ok. Well Damn. That sucks.
Ok thanks.... bye." <end call>
... Well folks, I've got horrible news. Going back to 9th century China to stop the invention of gun powder, and then making a quick stop in the 12th century to be sure firearms are never invented is impossible. So.... back to the drawing board we go! I think the flux-capacitor in the Delorian just gave us the finger...
In all seriousness, as far-fetched and ridiculous as it sounds, wouldn't the only way for us to get rid of guns be to not have had them in the first place? I find similarities in an "internet" scenario. For example - you've got a naked picture of yourself floating around out there that someone uploaded and you're determined to have it taken down. Unfortunately, in the 3 days it took you to learn the picture had been posted, 500 people posted it to their blogs, their Facebook timelines and tweeted it for good measure...
Looks like your naked behind is forever lodged in the annals of cyber-space.
If you'd never taken the picture in the first place, guess what you would never have to worry about?
Help me out... please.
I am not writing this post because I have a 'solution'. I am writing this post because I am waiting to hear a good solution. I am desperately waiting for a "Stephen Hawking-level genius" to come up with the perfect solution to this problem, in light of the many obstacles we face regarding crime prevention in a completely free society like the USA.... where it has been relatively legal to own a gun since the country's inception.
Someone please, make this happen for us. Enlighten us on how to deal with this situation so that mass shootings and irresponsible gun ownership is utterly extinguished. (Sarcasm = 0%)
It would be the greatest strategic theory ever developed and its implementation nationwide would save millions of lives. Although I am someone that does believe in gun ownership, I am also not BLIND to the Pandora's Box that gun ownership has opened, and the state our country currently finds itself in. Some may ask if it was inevitable... and I say - "NO, it was not, because MAN has a choice, but MAN usually screws things up... So..... humnn." :-(
Myself, and millions of other Americans are desperately seeking an answer. And if YOU have it, I'm all ears. I cannot take anymore babies, adults, animals, or any other living thing dying senselessly anymore. Gun violence needs to be abolished in all societies, free or otherwise. What an elaborate, massive and consuming undertaking finding an answer to this problem is going to be.
Please think of something feasible, sensible and realistic.... FAST.
For all our sakes.
I'd start with PRAYER and REPENTANCE.... but hey... I'm no Stephen Hawking.
A healthy attitude is contagious, but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.
~ Tom Stoppard
I want to address an issue that is finding its way into my email and Facebook inboxes from critics.
If you follow me on Facebook, specifically my personal account, you may have noticed over the last few months that I am undergoing a lifestyle change.... which, in turn, has effected my weight and overall health.
In other words.... I've changed my diet and am losing weight, and every one can see it. Ok?... Let me stop being so fancy about it. Geez!
Anyway, as the CEO of a non-profit that highlights the "curvier" or "voluptuous" woman, and showcases her many talents and gifts, you can imagine that some people are... well... a little confused. Dare I even say, some are insulted that I would choose to embark on a weight loss journey/life change when I have been and continue to be such an advocate of the plus-sized woman.
But here is my question for people whose mindsets reflect the observations above: How does me losing weight change my advocacy and/or movement.... one bit?
Many - especially plus size women and some fat acceptance organizations - have confronted me about the ThYck Troupe's policy of "embracing size acceptance, but encouraging healthier lifestyles, better habits and increased exercise." Now on the surface, it would appear to be a great initiative, and great advice. But some do not agree with my desire to help the women in my organization and community live longer, healthier lives by slimming down, because we are "supposed to embrace our fat, and the general public should accept us as we are..." .... I guess, regardless of how unhealthy or emotionally damaged we may be."
Ed Lover tv
Of course, I cringe at that concept.... simply because our personal size/weight has NOTHING to do with the general public accepting anything! We are individuals! We own our own bodies and the perceptions therein. So SCREW the general public! Right?
.... Ok, ok. That's not entirely how I mean it. Allow me to explain.....
I am on a weight loss journey and encourage other plus-size women to get down to a size and weight that makes them feel comfortable and good in their skin, because I know - first hand - that obesity can KILL YOU. -- Let me say that again for anyone who disagrees with my approach.....
OBESITY CAN KILL YOU.
End of discussion.
That is all.
I lost my dad at age 8 (he was 37) and I lost my mom at age 25 (she was 54). Obesity was a co-morbid to both of their deaths.... if not the outright cause! I watched and adopted years of trained emotional eating, binge eating and overall depression that led me to a table and a plate of food that provided the warmth and comfort that life was just not allowing me to have. And had I continued on that journey, both mentally and physically, I'd probably be either morbidly obese or dead.
How in the world can someone advocate that being incredibly unhealthy and on the verge of death is a positive thing?
How can someone insist that "if they want to get Heart Disease and Diabetes, its their choice, and we should all just accept that".
How utterly and eternally SELFISH.
I mean honestly.... What would Jesus do!
Many people have asked me if the ThYck Troupe is a weight loss organization, and I tell them, "Not directly. No. Weight loss, literally, for our organization, becomes a side effect of being fabulous and gaining industry opportunities. I can't fully explain it, but I know it involves an acute self-critique, and a strong desire to improve upon that which is already well-crafted and balanced." In other words, we never stop learning. We never stop developing and we never become prematurely satisfied with results. We keep pushing our limits and challenging ourselves. My philosophy?... It is your body and you absolutely have the right to improve upon it, or contrarily pursue an opposite direction. Just be safe and mindful of your approach, because both ways have their setbacks and consequences, if abused.
Overall, I am on a weight loss journey because I want to live. In my family, being morbidly obese shortened the lives of people to whom I was extremely close, and I feel the effects of their absence now more than ever.... mostly because if I knew then what I know now, their deaths could have likely been prevented.
For example, I am slowly learning to eat and cook "clean". And, as someone who could truly throw down in the kitchen, I'm sure my mother would have had that entire system on lock by now. Hell, she may have even gotten the idea to create some type of cookbook on the subject. I get my racing, innovative, ADHD mind from her. Always thinking of the next project.... the next movement. LOL!
And a person's inner talent and abilities have nothing to do with their size - no. They can be an amazing, if not the MOST amazing singer on Earth and still weigh 500lbs. But how long will they be the most amazing singer on Earth, and have the time to fulfill their dreams of performing or traveling the world, or singing at the Superbowl, etc... if they are constantly susceptible to dropping DEAD from clogged arteries or a stroke?
Through my work with the ThYck Troupe company members over the years, I have found that a 'weight loss push' occurs naturally. Why? Because everything changes when someone sees themselves on camera. Things come into a tighter perspective when that person can observe their physical appearance and attributes in an HD setting. (LOL!) The desire to make improvements naturally starts to set in.
Do those "improvements" always involve losing weight? Absolutely not! But wanting to make improvements/adjustments, however big or small, always seem to creep in. And I personally see nothing wrong with someone hearing, from their inner voice, that changes need to take place. We do it with relationships... on our jobs... even when switching up our wardrobes or personal preferences... so why not for weight loss or body changes?
So, I hope more of you understand that its not about "not embracing who you are and what you look like." For me, its about living long enough to see your children and grandchildren graduate from college, get married and have children of their own.... something neither one of my parents ever got to witness. So it probably hits much closer to home for me than for others.
And my organization will continue to uplift, showcase and support plus size women, regardless of any weight loss or not... because that is whom I serve and that is the demographic to which I've chosen to dedicate my time, energy and talent.
So I really don't care if I get down to 125lbs (which I highly doubt, but that's beside the point), I will always be "ThYck" and I will continue to cultivate my organization towards being one of the most innovative and cutting-edge performing arts companies in the world.
And if we all, as company members, keep dropping weight.... who is to say that is even remotely bad? If anything, we'll prove that plus size women DO workout and CAN maintain their health at appropriate levels, despite what YOU think their bodies are supposed to look like.
I mean how many of you can run along side me for 40 minutes straight as I cross-train for my next 5k? And last I looked, I was NOT a size 4....
You can be ThYck and Fit, which is something else the ThYck Troupe Organization will set out to prove in full-force come the Spring of 2013.
I wonder how many people that'll piss off next year?
Grab that Fuelband, and let's get it! .... :-)
The O'Reilly Factor = Traditional America
This past election was a huge decision on behalf of this country, and people voted based on their personal preferences, issues and beliefs (moral, spiritual, economic or otherwise). It's the American way, and it's a wonderful thing. Opinions run freely in this country, as they should, and can often times cause controversy and division within such an amazing melting pot of ethnicities, religions and age groups. I get that.
But something surfaced the night of the election that has me not only baffled, but fearful. And as I peruse the internet, reading comments from a plethora of blogs and news outlet forums, I have become discouraged that the following "opinion" is not only prominent, but believed strongly by the political demographic from whence it came:
This, ladies and gentlemen, is horrific, misplaced and downright dangerous rhetoric from a man who doesn't even exist in the same socio-economic class as the majority of this country.
A man with immense "power", as a political pundit, and media mogul, with a substantially effective platform that reaches millions daily, through radio, in print and on TV.
A man that has wealth and a wealthy peer constituency that many people, nor anyone in their circle of interest, will ever acquire in their lifetime.
A man who is race-baiting, stereotyping, pedi-fogging and firing up his "Traditional American" audience into believing this country is somehow "cursed" by a growing population of minorities and women voters obsessed with welfare and moral lasciviousness.
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As an African-American and a woman, his statements were a solidly planted slap in the face to both my intelligence and my individual worth as a native, voting citizen of this country.
What I fear the most, is that many will adopt his theory (if they haven't already). Many will turn violent and hateful from his words. Many will begin a stereotyping campaign, and start to look at every minority they see as being part of an "Untraditional American" culture... which is so illogically ironic, it makes my head spin!
I ask you all, what does that lead to? What type of dialogue does that create among the citizens of our country? What kind of future awaits us, our children and grandchildren when this attitude becomes popular.... again. Because it has definitely been here before. It has been the mindset of a group of individuals in power in this country before. And it leads to the forming of radical groups, and radical mindsets that cause death, separation and the lack of opportunity for millions of minorities in this country.
Do we really want to return to that dark era in American History? And does Bill O'Reilly wish to be a significant "Factor" (pun intended) in bringing that horrible reality to fruition? I'm sure he didn't think this deeply about the ramifications before he shared his delightful opinion with the world.
"White Establishment" & "Traditional America"
Let's explore the "white establishment" & "traditional America" comments Billy-Boy so flippantly made on air, broadcasting to millions around the world, with no apparent hesitation or even forethought. To me, these comments summed up the blatant and overt disrespect of the minority population of this country, and the growing disdain people like O'Reilly and his peers are developing toward women.
For example, after watching some of the footage from the election night coverage on Fox News, I noticed that the language and mannerisms towards several of the female anchors, especially Megyn Kelly, had much stronger chauvinistic overtones than normal.
I wonder if she noticed that she was essentially being "bossed around" on-air by the men that surrounded her. At times, men would even discuss how "women" and their desire for "hand-outs" (subtly addressing the abortion issue) would be the reason Obama could possibly win the election.
The way that Megyn Kelly and other women anchors had to sit quietly as their male counterparts openly discussed the voting patterns and moral standings of American women, without being able to defend their own gender or inject a conflicting view (if they even have one), was hopefully very difficult for them. It would be hard for me to sit at a table full of men, and allow them to tell me what it means to be a woman.
I can't grasp how she tolerates it....
'Here it comes...', I said to myself as O'Reilly began to explain his view of the current racial demographic of our great country. And then the words came. "The White Establishment is now the minority..." and "This is not a traditional America anymore...".
'What is that supposed to mean?' ... I found myself asking out loud to the youtube video I watched roughly 48 minutes after O'Reilly said it on live television. I had to sit back in my seat, as I couldn't believe he had gone there, and seemingly characterized not only himself, but his peers, his political party, Fox News Channel and his sympathizing audience as "the white establishment".
What I despise most about both of O'Reilly's generalizations, is in order to even define them accurately, you almost (if not definitely) have to go to an elitist mental process, where racism, bigotry and entitlement for the rich and powerful is part of a status quo. A status quo that the rest of America thought was dead long ago... attached to the historical remnants of Slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement.
But apparently, we were all wrong about that. And despite an obvious increase in births within minority communities and the influx of foreign citizens into the United States over the past 200 years, O'Reilly seemed to be comfortable that his "peer group" of wealthy, powerful, right-wing conservative "white establishment" elitists would remain the majority in all aspects of American life indefinitely and without contest.
The white establishment? Is that a "politically correct" way of saying the "white ruling class"? The "white elite"? ..... THE MAN?
O'Reilly may as well have said:
"The white man is no longer in control of this country. Minorities, women and other handout seeking 'undesirables' have taken it over, and we are now HALF a nation of welfare grabbin', pot-head smokin', abortion-lovin' brown people."
Then there was the "Traditional America" comment, which was also a subtle, yet sneaky way of saying:
"There are too many Black folks, Latinos, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, Immigrants and Women voting now, and us Good Ole' Conservative, White Christian Citizens are no longer the moral, political, social or economic majority of this once great country. So it's ruined, and we should all prepare for the worst."
I couldn't believe the nerve of this man! And this all stemmed from his desired candidate losing the election? I also couldn't believe that the two anchors sitting with him at the time didn't refute his words! In fact, they asked him to stay and elaborate on his opinions in a later segment!
If that is not an elitist state of mind, I don't know what is. It is also a state of mind that could throw this country into an in-fighting nightmare, waiting to implode. That is what I fear the most, and that is the attitude I see emerging around me.
It's Getting Scary Out Here...
| |Unfortunately, I have noticed a further increase in online and in-person racist & sexist commentary that supersedes the rhetoric of the first Obama election.Now granted, society has always dealt with your common skin-head, anti-semite, gay-basher, racist or Klansman exercising his or her right to free speech. God help 'em, poor things...
But I have been witnessing, over the past few days since the election ended, a division in this country that's headed for disaster. One that is not only based on race, but gender, economic class structure, and religious/moral standing.
More people are threatening the POTUS now than ever before, and brazenly tweeting racial epithets openly, with no fear of public scrutiny or defamation.A woman's right to choose is being attacked like never before, even in cases of rape and incest.
The race-baiting, stereotyping and disrespect of minorities nationwide is slowly returning to 1820's overtones, even among popular celebrities and political pundits!
I recently read a blog comment that mentioned minorities "out-breeding" Caucasians 7:1, and recommending to his peers to "gun up, because there is a war coming"...
Really? ... Gun up? .... War?
... And I know that was just one person's opinion, but his comment got 786 likes in 2 days, and that's terrifying. I personally believe it echos the collective rage of conservative voters and the Anti-Obama crowd.
For Our President:
I would love to see PRESIDENT OBAMA develop a National campaign that addresses the dangers of returning to past racial divides in this country. He cannot ignore it, and just go about his presidential duties. And giving motivational speeches of how we all need to "come together under one America" isn't gonna cut it either. At the conclusion of his term, he would find an America divided so deeply that it reflects the political and social landscape of the pre-civil rights era... which to me, would be a huge failure for this nation.
... And I am sure the President does not embrace failure at any level.
Michelle Obama has her "Let's Move" campaign, which I am a huge fan of, as an advocate to stop childhood obesity. A similar campaign needs to be developed to address the problem of racism that is boiling in the fiery cauldron that is the United States of America.
Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?
Jay-Z & Beyonce
Our President has done a decent job of bringing many Americans together under a common cause. Afterall, he wouldn't have won the election without having that ability. However, for his second term, I would love to see an initiative to address America's racial problems and bring the country together under a like-minded, unified view of our future.
Instead of having Jay-Z perform "99 Problems, But Mitt Ain't One"... how about sending Jay-Z and Beyonce on a national speaking tour in schools around the country, addressing the problems of racism (and even bullying) among the youth. And in conjunction, create a national competition, where the schools/communities that encourage and promote the most diverse ideals, activities, movements, etc... win a free concert and an opportunity to go backstage and meet the stars. I think a lot of kids would LOVE that.
In addition, establish a series of televised (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX) townhall meetings, inviting people like Bill O'Reilly and others to discuss their comments (inflammatory or otherwise) and define how they will personally fight to abolish Racism, Sexism & Bigotry in our country. Yes - put them on the spot. Force them to make a difference and not just incite hatred and division amongst us.
Or how about this? -- Create an unprecedented incentive for community organizations to effectively develop and execute projects/programs specifically designed to bring diverse populations together. Make it cool to not embrace racist ideals, while coupling the message with activities that the youth would enjoy and promote via social media networks.
The mindsets of our youth should be our biggest concern moving forward, and that is where the POTUS can make the greatest impact. The above options may or may not be the best ways to effectively combat this problem, but someone has to try! What's the alternative? That stupid race war half of the country thinks is coming? Sure that sounds utterly ridiculous to the thinking, rational individual, but not to everyone.
This country is more divided than ever, and critical thinking is not very popular - even amongst self-proclaimed "intellectuals" like Bill O'Reilly.
Couldn't have said it better myself.....
I was honored to be a part of a recent panel, associated with CHICAGO IDEAS WEEK, in reference to positive body image and the media's influence over image trends. This panel was conducted by Plus Fashion Week Chicago, and benefits from the panel assisted the Girl Scouts of Chicago organization.
The other professionals on the panel included Fitness Expert and professional model Christopher Sasha, Former Kraft Executive and Image Consultant Kali Raoul and Affairs Magazine writer and plus size model Michelle Resendiz.
The overall discussion was extremely informative and engaging. It is not often that I get to voice my opinion of how the media treats and dictates to the women of society - regardless of size, age or ethnicity. Having a health/wellness perspective, along with a "corporate" image perspective on the panel, along with my entertainment experience and Michelle's modeling experience, provided a very in-depth look at all the different facets of the industry.
Since I was a child, my mother explained to me how the entertainment industry was a world of difference from "real life". I was prepared for rejection at a young age, having had an audition at least once a week growing up and having had agents starting as young as 6 years old. In fact, my appearance on STAR SEARCH at age 9 (or 10, I forget) was a result of an agency submission. So, the industry is no stranger to me.
But to the ladies I represent in my organization, and possibly to the audience of this amazing panel , it is a world that is not often discussed or explored among "non-entertainment industry" professionals. There are so many different barriers, requirements, compromises and sacrifices that are expected of not only performing artists, but women in general whom the corporate and entertainment giants market to. On the panel, we discussed the use of PHOTOSHOP to alter pictures and perspectives, creating surreal men and women that society can never dream of living up to, as well as the process of consumer dollars dictating a lot of what goes on in media, as we all know the public votes with its pocketbook, and how corporate and media giants won't be changing that equation anytime soon... unless WE - the public, united as a national voice - demand that change.
Overall, this panel examined a wide scope of topics related to the changes that need to be made in increasing positive body image through the media, and I was glad to have been a part and shared my views with everyone in attendance!
Thanks to Michelle Resendiz and the Plus Fashion Week Chicago team for the invite!