Popular Posts

Powered by Blogger.

Archive for September 2014

The Finale: Trust Issues

I truly enjoyed the process of writing my Loneliness Series, The Science of Loneliness and The Science of Loneliness Part Deux, because as my writing evolved, I saw my thoughts do the same.  But it also slammed me headfirst into something I constantly struggle with.

Should I trust someone until they do something to break that bond or mistrust everyone until individual trust is earned??  I'm not proud of it, but I'm a member of the latter school of thought with aspirations towards the former.

So, the dilemma I faced after writing about reconnnecting with and loving the world was, how do I love a world that doesn't know how to love me?? Who, because of this, has hurt me to the point that I feel the need to disconnect, build up walls to shield myself from pain and at times, feel lonely.

My answer was trust. Not so much trust in inherent human goodness, but a trust in myself.  I have to trust that my character will remain the same no matter how many times I'm in a situation where I could - and in some cases will - get hurt. 

It sounds like a dumb plan, and there will undoubtedly always be those who mistake kindness for weakness, but I'm almost 100 percent sure this is the path that will lead to that coveted camp of trust first, ask questions later.

~ With ♥ from Halima

Do you give trust on credit or does your trust need to be earned? Has there been a time when this has served to your benefit or detriment?
Tag : ,

Monday's Muse: Love My Pit Bull

Last night I watched Cesar Millan's National Geographic documentary titled Love My Pit Bull and really, it couldn't have come on at a better time. See, Cesar Millan was discussing the history of Pit Bulls and how a host of high-profile, negative incidents related to bad training, have resulted in an adverse, public perception of them.

This show aired only hours after I had to speak up for Nellie, my pit bull. My boyfriend and I were going out to dinner yesterday and decided because it was a beautiful day, we'd find a restaurant with a patio so we could bring Nellie. Unfortunately, not long after we were seated, it started raining. The restuarant manager was able to relocate us to a table, still on the patio, that was under an awning. As my boyfriend got up to get Nellie, I started gathering our things. That's when I heard the man seated at the table behind us say to his friend, "Is that one of those dogs that rips children's faces off." At first I tried to let the comment roll off me, but it wasn't long before my mama bear instinct kicked in. (I was surprised and pleased with my reaction because as many of you who have been following my blog for some time know, I've been working on establishing and enforcing my personal boundaries. This was definitely a huge achievement for me.) As I stood up to move, I turned around and said, "She actually loves children and is a very friendly dog."

After watching Love My Pit Bull, I wish I had said more. See, in the documentary Cesar Millan said, despite how people humanize most dogs, pit bulls aren't usually given this same luxury - have no one to give them a voice. This made me wish I had told that jerk Nellie's name, so she would become more than just a pit bull and he'd know she is loved the same as any fluffy, lap dog. And I wish I had told him how much she loves everything and everybody...including ignorant people who think it's okay to judge others' characters based on appearances. But most of all I just wish people would keep their prejudices to themselves.

~With ♥ from Halima

Have you or something you love every been judged based on something superficial?? How did you handle the situation??

The Science of Loneliness Part Deux

When I wrote last week's free think post, The Science Of Loneliness, I didn't plan for it to be a two-part series. But my sister-in-law made a comment on the piece that made me think more about loneliness. In short, she offered two solutions: The first, "you are responsible for connecting yourself" and the second, "you have to be your own best friend."
Initally, I looked at these two nuggets as mutually exclusive -you either subscribe to the first school of thought or the second. But, the deeper I thought about things, the more I realized they go hand-in-hand.

I'm going to back into how I came to this conclusion by expanding on my theory of what causes loneliness.

Originally I stated that it's a disconnect. But what causes this disconnect?? I believe it can have three sources:

1.) You legitimately do not to care about people or causes outside of yourself - I'm not going to focus too much on this group because it often goes hand-in-hand with immaturity. Really the solution for this is just to grow up.
2.) You're out in the world but choose or pretend not to care about people or causes outside of yourself - this is far more likely because people use it defensively to protect themselves from being hurt.
3.) You purposefully isolate yourself from the world - although common, a smaller number of people inhabit this group. These individuals are highly empathetic and experience emotions, especially pain, on a deep level. As a result, they build up walls around themselves for the same reason as the individuals in the second category, to protect themselves from being hurt.

To quote my recent tweet,
So many people in the world and so many are lonely for fear of being hurt. - @midnytebloom June 7, 2014

Regardless of what type of walls you build, once they go up, they not only disconnect you from the bad in the world, they also sever you from the good. And once you allow negativity to impact you this way, your light dims and you're not able to connect with yourself.

I'm finally to my point. Last week's post was the first step to reversing feelings of loneliness - if the last effect in feeling alienated was not being able to connect with yourself, then the first step on the road to reconnecting is re-developing that relationship with yourelf. Do this by exploring and expanding on the things that made you who you are, love that person and be your own best friend. But expand on this, the purpose of this blog is to look at how we can contribute to the larger journey. So in the spirit of collective positivity, and in the words of another of my tweets:

Let's stop this cycle of hurt or be hurt. - @midnytebloom September 4, 2014

Let's do this so we can all go back to being connected.

~ With ♥ from Halima

In part one of this series, I asked what you've done to connect with yourself recently. This time I want to know what you've done to connect with someone else today??
Tag : ,

Monday's Muse: Why is Black Hair Everyone's Business??

About a year and half ago, I began allowing the relaxer to grow out of my hair.  This is the second time in my adult life that I've gone through this process. The first time, I was in college and everything was easier; from making it through the awkward, half natural-half relaxed, transitional phase gracefully with the help of headwraps - to others', for lack of a better word, acceptance of my hair. I was fortunate that the only reaction I received was something akin to awe from professional, black women who expressed a common wish of being able to rock their natural hair at work while remaining respected. Being in an academic environment where everybody accepted everything, I couldn't understand this desire until recently.

Since beginning my latest hair transformation, I've been put in at least two very awkward situations. The first came when frequent CNN contributor Michaela Angela Davis appeared on our office's TV screen to weigh in on a subject. The first thing that flew out of one of my coworker's mouth was how she didn't like Ms. Davis'hair:

Possibly realizing her mistep, she seemed to try to validate her statement by asking me what I thought. I stood there cognizant of every wave and curl on my head, told her I never judge people on their personal preferences and walked away furious.

My second incident occurred when a young man I don't work with directly, but who shares office space with my office passed me in the hallway and asked if I ever straighten my hair. Why is this his or anybody's business??

But as the Michaela Angela Davis incident with my coworker proved, you can be an authority in your field, but if you don't conform to Western beauty standards you can be deemed incapable. This then seems to give people the pass they need to overstep boundaries. I mean, obviously you don't know better and are in need their input, right??

A wider-reaching example of this is the recent case with Navy Sailor Jessica Sims, pictured at the top of this post. Ms. Sims was honorably discharged from the Navy for refusing to cut her dreadlocks or cover them with a wig. I understand the need for military regulations, but I also agree with Ms. Sims that the only difference between her bun and a regulation bun is her choice to lock the hair contained in the style. Also, it's telling that she wore her hair like this for 12 years with no repercussion until she changed commands and someone made it their business.

It's 2014 and I feel crazy having to say this, but the countless number of people who have said it before me haven't been heard, so I'll say it again - Hair choices are nobody's business but the person on whose head they reside. And yes, this statement includes black women. This though society would have us believe every decision we make about our hair is a statement and therefore public property open for discourse.

The first time I went natural, it was more of a spiritual decision. I relaxed it again purely to flip up my style. And I'm went natural this time because my hair began falling out in patches due to stress - part of the autoimmune disease I was diagnosed with over a year ago. At that time, I decided it was better to protect scalp from chemicals than worry about what my hair looked like. (Things have improved for me and as my hair has been growing back, I've been focused on loving every curly, untame tuft.) The point is, people make decisions for different reasons and outsiders may never know the logic behind them. I don't expect others to understand or even, in some cases, accept these decisions, but I do ask for tolerance. I give this to cultural aspects woven into others' lives that I may not understand and I don't think it's too much to ask to get it in return. Let's stop focusing on our differences and make tolerance everyone's business.

~ With ♥ from Halima

Have you had an experience when someone made an unsolicited comment about your personal decisions?? How did you handle the situation??

The Science of Loneliness

I'm lonely. No matter where I am or who I'm with - both in a given moment or in the larger scheme of life - I can be lonely. And you know what else? Ironically, I don't think I'm alone when it comes to this.

The prevalence of social media addiction reinforces the knowledge that humans are social creatures. Yet studies like the one done by University of Michigan show that increased social media usage correlate with an increase in depressed feelings. So what does this all mean? How can we be in constant contact with others, sharing what makes our lives so great and still be so lonely?

Despite all the luxuries life has to offer, I don't think we are meant to be comfortable in this life. If we are, we'll never strive for change. Loneliness is a trigger to remind us that no matter how much we have, if we're not changing ourselves - growing - we can never feel balanced.

Loneliness is spiritual starvation.

It's for this reason, when I'm in funks like my current one, I have to remind myself that instead of trying to fill a void using the company of others, I need to do something for me; read, write, start a project, anything to feed my spirit.

What will you do to feed your spirit today??

~ With ♥ from Halima

P.S. If you need help deciding, you can visit my reading room or crafts room for suggestions on books and projects.
Tag : ,

Monday's Muse: Selfie Nation

The other day, I was flipping through my September issue of Essence when an article titled Selfie Nation caught my eye.  Though I've taken a selfie or two in my day, I'm not a huge fan of the practice. But, this article still managed to strike a nerve with me. Especially this quote by psychologist Dr. Karen Streeter,
Black women have suffered a lot of attacks on our self-esteem...when you experience that you can develop a need for positive reinforcement on a regular basis.  
Although I agree that this can be the case with some women, I truly dislike studies like this because they create blanket theories.

First, I understand Essence is a magazine for black women, but by singling out this group, the theory seems to say, if a black woman posts a selfie it's something deeply psychological that needs to be studied, while if a member of any other group posts a selfie, it's simply another way to document life.

Second, it overlooks the subgroups within the black woman category.  There are those that take selfies because they're having fun, or they like the way they put their look together that day, or they may be, dare I say, a little stuck on themselves.

Lastly, it ignores the fact that though many black women are hard workers, by nature of our ethnicity AND gender, most of us have not been able to secure the same wages as peers of other groups who do the same work.  This means, we're unable to lead lifestyles that the mainstream apparently regards as selfie-worthy.  In taking photos of our lives, perhaps it should be considered more of a testament to what we've been blessed with than as some sort of cry for help.

By overlooking these, Dr. Streeter adds yet another innocuous item to the list of things it's socially unacceptable for black women to do.

So, although it's annoying to see the same faces streaming across my timeline day-after-day, ladies, if you're doing it for the right reasons, keep those selfies coming.  Because I do agree with Alisha Tillery, the author of Selfie Nation when she says,
Selfies provide an opportunity to exhibit self-love and create our own communities in which our standards of beauty can live and be accepted.
~ With ♥ from Halima

What do you all think of Selfie Nation?  When you see selfies in your newsfeed do you think there's an underlying message the poster is sending or do you think it's another way for them to stay connected?

- Copyright © LIVity - Skyblue - Powered by Blogger - Designed by Johanes Djogan -