The Village is Dying: Are We to Blame?

fingers

 

Punishment is now unfashionable… because it creates moral distinctions among men, which, to the democratic mind, are odious. We prefer a meaningless collective guilt to a meaningful individual responsibility.
Thomas Szasz

 Today’s world is filled with two things in abundance, individuals and their opinions. The news cycle, magazines and social media are all filled with stories about the actions of others, followed by our commentary on them. In recent weeks, social media was in an uproar over the grooming of a child born to a certain musical power couple. Powerful words flew back and forth chastising the couples perceived missteps as well as supporters who protested that it “wasn’t anyone’s BUSINESS”.  In isolation this statement seems harmless, but as I studied the comments and opinions I made an observation. Threaded  within the fabric of social media and other public commentary were statements that read: “It’s My Life, I’ll live it how I want”, “Why does anyone care?”, “Unless you’re paying my bills keep your comments to yourself.” One after another, each phrase gave me the distinct feeling that men are becoming islands. But is that really possible? Can a person live independently of others when almost every aspect of our lives is interdependent?

I must admit that by being a teacher, I am inclined to believe that  human beings  should care about the condition of others. It could also be the voice of my mother telling me that “one bad apple spoils a bunch” as she would caution my blind support of certain people. Either way, I was raised to believe  that “wrong is wrong” and “right is right” whether it is popular or not.  I also realize that there are areas of gray in life and I am not here to discuss them right now. I’m simply talking about the blatant and in my opinion unacceptable ways we are justifying the destruction of the people we claim to love the most. Any statement that doesn’t boost someone’s ego, make them smile or feel warm and fuzzy is received with defensiveness, venom and backlash. When did we become so self-righteous that we no longer could recognize solid, practical and well-meaning ADVICE.

Individuals of conviction are supposed to be firm about their beliefs and it is often those individuals who move others to see the error of their ways and change. How can someone who is against abuse encourage a person to assault others? How can someone who believes in healthy eating provide bad food for a friend? Is one acting out of jealousy when they say that an outfit/picture/song/etc is inappropriate? Are you judgmental if you think someone struggling to raise kids alone should focus less on romance and more on stability or self-improvement?  Can you really proclaim to be healthy when the weight on your bones prevents you from being active? WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE between being supportive and being an enabler? At the end of the day, adults WILL  make their own choices about life. The thing is; how does one make a “choice” if they are never offered the alternative?

 

Advertisements

It’s Dad’s Time to Shine!!!

Father

Dear Dads and Father Figures,
This time last year I found myself infuriated over the insensitive, over-the-top and unnecessary posts of women being wished HAPPY FATHER’S DAY either by themselves or their loved ones. Over the course of the year the pain I felt for great fathers like my husband, who had been robbed of the ONE AND ONLY day set aside for them, only grew deeper. I have voiced my concern about this senseless epidemic in the “African-American Community” (I didn’t see Hallmark making Father’s Day Cards for single mothers of other races….hmmmm) to my husband many times. Being the “glass half full” man that he is, his only reply was “Babe, they can’t take my day away. Don’t focus on them.” 

He was absolutely right. Instead, I want to say some of the things that will be lost in the messages of others on YOUR day.

The little girl in me who still sometimes questions her natural beauty says THANK YOU for treating your little girl like a princess and giving her a secure sense of self that she will greatly appreciate one day.

As the mother of a pre-teen boy, I THANK YOU for instilling the values, lessons and strength that ONLY A MAN can provide. THANK YOU for teaching your children that real men know how to LOVE.

THANK YOU for respecting the mother of your child/children and ensuring that they grow up to do so as well.

THANK YOU for being a leader and making tough decisions for the well-being of your kids.

THANK YOU for understanding that a PROVIDER gives physical, mental, emotional and financial support. For if giving money was all it took, then loan officers should get cards too, lol.

Last but not least, THANK YOU SO MUCH for never attempting to hi-jack Mother’s Day although you too, may be raising children without any help.

This of course does not cover ALL of the reasons you deserve to be honored on today but I hope that it helps to know that some women still believe that Father’s Day should be about YOU.
A Diamond Breed

Does Size Really Matter?

proposal2

wedding ring

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you ask many women to select their dream diamond ring , more often than not they will select the LARGEST & FLASHIEST stone  in the case. Carat weight, the last of the 4 C’s refers to the size of a diamond in a piece of jewelry. During my days as a salesperson, I was often asked by women to see the “largest” stone or ring in the bridal case. Many times these were women who had chosen the “perfect” ring… yet they weren’t even dating, let alone engaged. “What?” Above the relationship with a partner, beyond the scope of a deep love and respect, the “SIZE” & “BLING” mattered the MOST.

It seems that in our society BIGGER  and BRIGHTER  is better. This idea of competition at all cost is not reserved for the jewelry world but permeates the fabric of popular culture everywhere.  Upon visiting your local grocery store or pharmacy, one can’t help but be overwhelmed by the magazines plastered with  images of lavish clothes, accessories, cars etc. A constant reminder that size and quantity are essential to a happy life.

DIAMONDS……. This is a problem.

I’ve written this post to refute the idea that more or bigger is better. In fact a large, cloudy and fractured diamond pales in comparison to a small, beautiful and flawless diamond. At a glance the larger diamond has more value but upon closer inspection it lacks the quality to make it a lifelong treasure. In contrast, a small flawless diamond is coveted, expensive and in many cases out lives the owner of the diamond. In other words, the QUALITY will always mean more than the QUANTITY.

As women we have become very competitive in a number of ways, often reducing our worth to mere amounts. The SIZE of our behinds & chests, the NUMBER of degrees we have, the AMOUNT  of makeup we wear, the COST of our shoes and handbags, all but determine our value in society. When did our values become so warped?  Character traits like kindness, integrity, wisdom, forgiveness, intelligence, patience and a loving heart are just a few of the things that make us valuable as diamonds.

I have been to a few funerals in my life and I have NEVER heard a eulogy that included the deceased person’s account balance or shoe collection. When we leave this earth, it will be OUR QUALITIES that remain. So in this last installment of the 4 C’s, I ask that you take inventory of who you are inside DIAMONDS. Allow the most valuable parts of you to shine from the inside out.

 

The 4 C’s Part III: COLOR

Image Image  Image 

Well Diamonds,… Spring has arrived and so has lots of COLOR!!! Just as beautiful flowers are blooming in our yards, the wardrobe and makeup of women has done the same. Much like the spice that color brings to diamonds, color wakes us up inside and out. That being said, I can’t help but to hold the same reservations about color on women as I do about color on diamonds. This hesitation, this concern has been on my heart for some time. (However for fear of  being labeled a “hater” or “lame” , I kept my opinion to myself.  But NO MORE! Thank you WordPress.com!)  So here is my question for the ladies:

WHY DO YOU HIDE BEHIND SO MUCH COLOR?

DO YOU REALIZE THAT YOU HAVE YOUR OWN?

In the diamond world, color is the third of the popular “4 C’s of diamond grading. This “color” is not related to a specific hue of the rainbow but rather how “colorless” a diamond is. How ironic that in a world full of add-ons from make-up to body parts that diamonds are the MOST valuable when they are without color?

Recently, my FB page has been riddled with posts with titles such as “Make-up Sorcery” and “Unbelievable Before & After Photos”. These posts include galleries of how make-up has been used to “transform” the appearance of several women. I often joke to myself about the reactions I imagine men have when they see them “Au naturale”. With every photo I wonder what do they see that needs to be covered, hidden from the public? This is not an attack on all makeup.  I’m not referring to a nice red lip or a rosy cheek but a full… facial… ALTERATION! Some of the photos looked like two different people.

Personally,  I do wear some form of  makeup daily. However, its wear is minimal at best.  So much so that a friend of mine commented that she can hardly notice the difference. Surprisingly, I took that as a compliment! Make-up was designed to accentuate the wonderful uniqueness that you already possess. Unfortunately, today it’s being used to draw on unrealistic, non-human eyebrows because apparently the ones you were born with are inferior somehow. Diamonds, we must do better. Think of your face as a beautiful drawing or painting. IF IT ALREADY LOOKS GREAT, do you continue to color over your work? Or do you stand back in awe and say “That belongs to me!”

I AM BEAUTIFUL. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Now, that beauty varies from person to person and may be highlighted by your  own personal beauty mark or dimple, but that is OK. In order for us to be valued as the precious and RARE beauties that we are, we must celebrate what makes us ONE OF A KIND and focus less on how we wear the same trends as EVERYBODY ELSE.

                                                                        

The 4 C’s Part II…..

Clarity

Clarity is the lens with which a woman sees her sense of purpose and vision for her future. While a diamonds’ cut may be  its’ source of light, clarity describes the imperfections that prevent  light from passing through the diamond. As women, we may have discovered our particular cut (see previous post), yet still find that we do not possess the brilliance for which we were destined. Our beings, while filled with immense potential to achieve our heart’s desires, are comprised of what jewelers call “inclusions”.

Inclusions are the slight imperfections that are present in a diamond as a result of the pressure and heat required  for it to form. Regardless of your background, beliefs or age, there are experiences that have “marked” your diamond in some undesirable way.  It may be a small voice of doubt, self-pity, low self esteem or an underlying fear. Regardless of its identity, it prevents you from being your best self and shining the way that only YOU can.

In the jewelry world, inclusions can diminish a diamonds value. Thank goodness we’re only “similar” to diamonds! In reality, EVERY struggle, EVERY heartbreak, EVERY failure and disappointment has made you stronger and wiser. Because of your inclusions, the light that passes through you does not simply glow but BURSTS through because it had to survive BEYOND the scars and THROUGH the pain.

Diamonds have great CLARITY, not because they are without mistakes but because we understand that WE ARE BETTER for them.

The 4 C’s: What Every Woman Should Know About Diamonds

If there’s one thing I know about diamonds, it is that they ARE NOT created equal. All one has to do is look at the vast assortment of diamond jewelry and their variance in price. (Hint. Hint.) In the same manner, women come in a myriad of forms, shapes and sizes . A true lady, would NEVER invest in a diamond that was not properly vetted, so if we are going to embark on a journey of comparing ourselves to diamonds, it seems only logical that we also evaluate our own VALUE in life. Now when I say “value” I am in no way reducing women to objects worthy of a price tag.  However, I AM saying that each of us needs to know exactly what those things are that make us a “diamond” worth coveting, worth possession and worth adulation. As usual, thinking on this subject dredged up memories of my jewelry selling days. Whenever I presented a piece of diamond jewelry to a customer, I always began by highlighting the stones’ attributes using something called “THE 4 C’S “.  The 4 C’s are the basic criteria used by all jewelers to determine the overall value of a stone.

CUT

“When it comes to grading diamond’s, the “Cut” is a grade of the diamond’s reflective qualities — not the diamond’s shape.” http://www.adiamondbuyingguide.com/diamondcut.html

The cut of a diamond determines the amount of light that will reflect from it for the world to see. These cuts fall into one of four categories. Stones are either “ideal”, “fine”, “deep” or “shallow”. I realize the last one sounds harsh, but we ALL know a “shallow” diamond.

“Ideal Diamonds”  These are my well-rounded ladies. The ones who seem to seamlessly maneuver between circles, all whilst maintaining the same level of brightness and beauty. This woman exudes her inner beauty in a t-shirt and jeans at the park, at her 9-5 or even in a ball gown.

Fine Diamonds” These are self-assured ladies. Women who very much know who they are, what they want and where they are going in life. They are open to new experiences, but carry their own unique air everywhere they go.

Deep Diamonds” Women who have rich life experience and wisdom that glimmers through their every word and action. Her value is evident but not flashing to be accepted by the masses. She’s crossed THAT bridge and no one or nothing will steal her light.

Shallow Diamonds” Women who spend so much time pretending to be one of the stones above that  people often question the authenticity of the “real thing” when they encounter it.

To Be Continued…….

 

Which kind of diamond best describes you?