Sunday, August 4, 2013

Speak On It! Iyanla Vanzant and Essence blogger Jai Stone Call For Black Women to Get it Together Part 2

Essence "Emotional Nudity" blogger
Jai Stone tells it like it is. 

Iyanla’s video wasn’t the only thing on point this past week. Essence magazine’s “Emotional Nudity” blogger Jai Stone had me shouting AMEN too. Her post “Emotional Nudity: Stop Comparing Yourself to Her” tells it like it is.

I give Jai Stone props for sharing that back in her 20’s, she was the insecure type of woman who didn't have much good to say about other women.   

She wrote:"I remember looking at other ladies and making a mental note of all their flaws so that I could give myself an emotional high-five. Her teeth are crooked but mine are straight…one point for me. She has a better figure, but my skin is smoother….two points for me. It was extremely hard for me to give another woman a compliment because secretly I felt that it took something from me."

Stone said this attitude came from having low self-esteem.

“Women. Ugh. We have this insane need to validate ourselves by devaluing others… I’m not ashamed to admit that I suffered from low self-esteem for many years, and it has taken almost as many to learn to love myself from within instead of depending on the opinions of others. Once I became less dependent on outside validation, I found less need to compare myself to those women around me.”

I run from women who do what Stone used to do. I’ve gone out with women to kick it. And if they spend most of the night saying, “Oooh, look what she got on.” Or, “Oh hell no, she need to…” That’s usually the last time I hang out with them. Even in high school I distanced myself from girls like that. Like Stone said it is an issue of self-esteem. When you got it going on, and feel good about yourself, you don’t have time to criticize others. Ironically, in my experience I’ve found that these women who like to talk mess, tend to sit in the corner at a party just talking mess. They hardly get up to socialize because they probably don’t feel they have nothing to offer. That's not always the case, but it's sad.

Envy or comparing yourself to someone else is natural. Who doesn’t do it? I find when I do start comparing myself to others, I need check in with myself. I ask myself, “Why am I feeling this way?”  “What is this really about?” “If she’s living her life or has something that I desire, how can I achieve something similar for myself?”

Which goes back to the woman I told you about who tried to pick a fight at the gas station. She was so angered, I feel, by what she saw I had. But if she had a better attitude, I probably could’ve referred her to resources that could’ve helped her. We need to do better with checking in with ourselves instead of acting on emotion. 

Jai Stone said she kicked her Haterade habit by complimenting women, being kinder to herself, and steering herself away from negative people.

Don’t let your confidence be tied up in the need to be better than others rather than to be your best,” she wrote. AMEN AMEN AMEN Miss Stone! 

What Stone wrote about just doesn’t pertain to black women. White women do it too. As do Asian women, Latinas, etc. Insecure women come in all races.  I’m a black woman who hangs out mostly with black women. So I've seen black women putting down others to validate themselves. I’ve been put down by other women who needed an esteem boost. But that boost is only temporary. It doesn't fill your soul or make your life better in the long run. 

 With many black women dealing with racism, sexism, classism, raising kids alone, trying to protect their sons and daughters, poverty, health issues, etc; it just seems that we could rise higher if we worked together and uplifted each other.

As Iyanla said, we are out of order. It’s time for us to get it together. 

Speak On It! Iyanla Vanzant and Essence blogger Jai Stone Call For Black Women to Get it Together Part I

OWN's Iyanla Vanzant schools black women in this Madam Noire

Last year I picked up my friend from the Oakland airport. We were going to celebrate my birthday in Napa. I was wearing a Spelman sweatshirt. I stopped off at the gas station to fill up and clean my dirty windows before hitting the road. When I pulled up to the gas station, the 3rd spot on the end was empty. Two other cars occupied the pumps in front of me. While pumping my gas, the other two cars left and a raggedy, white car pulled up behind me. There was no pump behind me, but the two in front were empty.  The driver was a black woman. A few minutes passed and I hear the driver saying something about, “This bitch needs to move her car.” Long story short, I figured the woman was talking about me. By then most of the station’s pumps were available. I kindly said, “Sista, you can pull around.” But she wanted me to move. She follows me into the store where I got my change and called me a “stupid bitch.” She kept calling me “stupid” and mentioned that she couldn’t move her car far because she was out of gas.  I didn’t know if she had a gun, but I could tell she wanted to fight. I think the real reason why she was angry with me was because she saw my Spelman sweatshirt, UCSD alumni license plate frame and my car looked better than hers. She tried to get a rise out of me by calling me “stupid” because she knew I wasn’t (My friend in the car is a lawyer and witnessed the whole thing. So if she attacked me, who would’ve been the stupid one? ). I ignored her which made her angrier. So I walked away, got in my car and went home to change for Napa. I thought about that woman at the gas station and other sistas after watching Iyanla’s interview with where says black women are “out of order.”

“We dishonor, betray and defile one another,” Vanzant said. And she’s right. Sadly, so many reality shows like the Real Housewives, Basketball Wives, etc. make money off of black women acting catty and bitchy with each other.

“We live in a society now where women are commodities, “ Vanzant said. “Where women are demeaned, diminished, demoralized in ways that we accommodate. And if we really understood who we are, as feminine representation of the Creator of the Universe…we wouldn’t be so apt to let other people define us and confine us. We are out of order. “

Amen Iyanla. WE ARE OUT OF ORDER. And we don’t know who we are. Sometimes I see younger sistas in the store talking loud, cussing, talking about their boyfriend and some girl that wants him, etc. And if they only knew their greatness and their ancestry… if they only knew they are more than their hair, their vagina, their breasts, their extensions, their acrylic nails, they’re boyfriends, they’re baby daddies and husbands, their cars, their man’s car, their designer bags and clothes. Like Iyanla said they wouldn’t allow others to “define and confine us.”

And finally Iyanla hits another homerun when she said, “There’s no reason for us to continue to have children with men who don’t honor us and don’t take care of their children.”

Sometimes I see mothers talking so bad to their children. I’m talking about the one’s that you can clearly see are abusive. And parts of me wonder if they’re taking out their anger for the child’s father on the child.  Sometimes people change. And maybe there were no signs that the father would turn out to be a deadbeat. But some women get plenty of signs that the men they’re with ain’t shit and still get pregnant by him anyway. Many of us probably know a woman who settled with a man they knew, and everybody else knew, wasn’t a good man or a good father. Sista stop settling for the sperm!

Iyanla’s video wasn’t the only thing on point this past week. Essence magazine’s “Emotional Nudity”blogger Jai Stone had me shouting AMEN too.  I'll tell you why in Part 2


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