Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I Will Wait For You

SPIRIT & RELATIONSHIPS
Most recently a transcript I wrote of one of my favorite spoken word pieces  Little Girl   has been receiving an abundance of pageviews. As as result, I decided to transcribe another spoken word piece that I adore. It highlights the importance of patience, especially when in/out of a relationship. In addition to reading this transcript I encourage you to listen to this spoken word piece by clicking the link provided below; after all, spoken word is meant to be heard. 

I Will Wait For You 
by 
Janette Ikz 

So it seemed that it was cool for everyone to be a relationship but me
So I took matters into my own hands and ended up with him
Him who displayed the characteristics of a cheater, a liar, an abuser, and a thief
So why was I surprised when he broke into my heart
I called 911 but I was cardiac arrested for aiding and abetting
Because it was me who let him in
Claiming we were “just friends”  
It was already decided for me that by the first date that even if he wasn’t
That I was going to make him the one

You know
I was tired of being alone
And I simply made up in my mind that it was about that time
So I decided to drag him along for the ride
Because I was always the bridesmaid and never the bride
A virgin in the physical but mentally just a grown woman on the corner in heat
Who was tired of the wait
So I was going to make him the one
He had a form of godliness, but not much
But hey I could change him, so I’ll take him
I mean he’s close enough

Ready to sell my aorta for a quarter not knowing the value or use to me
Arteries so clogged with my will it blocked His will from coming through me
So I thank Christ that His blood pressure gave this heart an attack
That flat lined my obscured vision
Put me flat on my back
Through my ignorance he saw
So through my sternum he sawed
And cracked open my chest to transplant Psalms 51:10
A new heart and a renewed right spirit within

So now I fully understand better yet I thoroughly comprehend
How much I need to wait for you
See the bad thing is that I knew he wasn’t you from the beginning
Because in the beginning it was the word
And he didn’t even sound or shine like your son
Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks
And all he could whisper was sweet empty nothings, which meant nothing
He couldn’t even pray when I needed him to
Asking him to fast would be absurd
So forget about being cleansed and washed with water through the word

But I know you
You’re already praying for me, even never have met me  
Let me assure you I will wait for you
I will no longer date, socialize, or communicate with carbon copies of you
To appease my boredom or to quench my thirsty desire for attention
And short lived compliments from sort-of-kind-of’s
You know
He sort-of-kind-of right, but sort-of-kind-of wrong
His first name Luke
His last name Warm
I won’t settle for false companionship
I won’t lay in the embrace of his arms attempting to find some closeness
But never feeling so far apart because I just want to be held
Because all I got to do is
Say no
No more almost sessions of almost coming close
Passing winks and buying drinks and I’ma, I’ma, I’ma flirt
Who flirts with the ideology of
 “Can you just tell me how much I can get away with and still be saved?”
No more
I’ll stay in my bed alone and write poems about how I will wait for you

He won’t even come close, our fingers won’t even interlock
We won’t even exchange breaths…  
I will no longer get rated down from so called friends
And family talks about the concern for my biological clock
When I serve the author of time
Who is not subject to time but I am subject to Him
He has the ability to stop, fast forward, pause, or rewind at any given time

So if we could role play you would be Abraham and I would be Sarah
Or you could be Isaac and I could be Rebecca
A Servants answered prayer
I am bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh
Made up of your rib – Adam
And once we meet
Like electrons I would be bound to your nucleus completely indivisible – Atom    
We even speak the same math
1 plus 1 plus 1 equals 3, which really equals 1 if you add them
We were all created in his image
But you have the ability to reflect, project, and even detect the son
If I were to explain what you look like you would have to look like a star
As son of the son
I would gain energy simply from the light that you shine on me
I would need you in order to complete my photosynthesis
I await your revelation but once again from the genesis

I will wait for you, and I will know you
Because when you speak I will be reminded of Solomon’s wisdom
Your ability to lead will remind me of Moses
Your faith will remind me of Abraham
Your confidence in God’s word will remind me of Daniel
Your inspiration will remind me of Paul
Your heart for God will remind me of David
Your attention to detail will remind me of Noah
Your integrity will remind me of Joseph
And your ability to abandon your own will will remind me of the Disciples
But your ability to love selflessly and unconditionally will remind me of Christ
But I won’t need to identify you by any special Mathews or any special Marks
Because his word will be tatted all over your heart

And you will know me, and you will find me
Where the boldness of Esther meets the warm closeness of Ruth
With the hospitality of Lydia is inline with the submission of Mary,
Which is engulfed in the tears of a praying Hannah 
I will be the one drenched in Proverbs 31 waiting for you

But to my father
My father who has known before I was birthed into this earth
Only if you shall see fit
I desire your will above mine, so even if you call me to a life of singleness
My heart is content with you the one who is [Him]
You are the greatest love story ever told
The greatest love ever known   
You’re forever my judge and I’m forever your witness
And I pray that I’m always found on a mission about my father’s business
I will always be yours and I will always wait for you Lord
More than the watchmen wait for the morning
More than the watchmen wait for the morning
I will wait 

Click here, to hear it!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Post Thanksgiving

FITNESS & NUTRITION
I wont tell you what I had on my plate yesterday, but I will tell you that it was not anything close to healthy. In addition to,  the fact that my plate was full of calories and fat, I overate. Consequently, I will be in the gym today completing a full body workout; my plan is to do 20 minutes of arm/ shoulder exercise, 30 minutes abdominal work, 15-20 minutes of back work, and 20-30 minutes of legs/ gluts exercise. However, I am feeling extremely lethargic after eating so much food for Thanksgiving that my work-out routine may not go as planned. Wish me luck.
Click here, to read about 
over indulgence. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Apple A Day...

HEALTH & NUTRITION
...Keeps The Doctor Away?
Fashion and health are two key aspects of my life. As a jewelry designer – Pure Love – I look for inspiration all around me and I tend to find some of my greatest inspirations from fashion designers (e.g. Lana Del Rey, seen above, wearing a Louis Vuitton dress and Miu Miu gloves). Moreover, I am adamant about living healthy, so I am constantly researching fitness and health/ nutrition tips.  As a result, I have come to know as many fashion designers as I do nutrition myths, which is a lot. Previously, in Drink Up, I discussed the myth surrounding the need to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. It was busted, like most myths. However, the expression "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" appears to have more truth to it.

“The first printed mention of this saying can be found in the February 1866 issue of the publication ‘Notes and Queries.’ The publication printed the proverb like this: ‘Eat an apple on going to bed, and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread.’ Nearly 150 years later, variations of this adage are still quoted. It's unlikely that the saying would have maintained such popularity if there wasn't some truth to it, right? With that in mind, let's consider some of the apple's components and their effect on our health:

1. Pectin -- Pectin is a form of soluble fiber than lowers both blood pressure and glucose levels. It can also lower the levels of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol in the body. Pectin, like other forms of fiber, helps maintain the health of the digestive system. Apples are an excellent source of pectin.

2. Boron -- A nutrient found in abundance in apples, boron supports strong bones and a healthy brain.

3. Quercetin -- A flavonoid, this nutrient shows promise for reducing the risk of various cancers, including cancers in the lungs and breast. It may also reduce free radical damage. Free radicals develop when atoms in the body's cells have unpaired electrons, which can lead to damage to different parts of the cell, including DNA. Quercetin may neutralize free radical damage, which has been implicated in a variety of age-related health problems, including Alzheimer's disease.

4. Vitamin C -- Vitamin C boosts immunity, which helps maintain overall health.

5. Phytonutrients -- Apples are rich in a variety of phytonutrients, including vitamins A and E and beta carotene. These compounds fight damage from free radicals and can have a profound affect on health, including reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and asthma.

Apples also act as a toothbrush, cleaning teeth and killing bacteria in the mouth, which may reduce the risk of tooth decay. They're also low in calorie density, one of the trademarks of a healthy food. When a food is low in calorie density you can eat good size portions of the food for relatively few calories. In addition, apples are affordable and readily available.

With all of this information, it's easy to see that, yes, an apple has its health benefits.” (Hunter, 2012) As part of a balanced diet an apple a day will in fact go a long way in keeping the doctor away.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Non-Traditional

FASHION
 
Manish Arora Spring 2013
"Turning to his own roots, Manish Arora chose India to inform his spring lineup — yet not of the Bollywood variety...He updated the country’s pastel pinks, blues and greens, and worked traditional jewelry motifs into ornamentation prints and embellishments." (WWD, September 27, 2012) For a detailed look at Arora's Spring 2013 collection, click here.
 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Natural Rose Bud

MOTHERHOOD & POP CULTURE
All-Natural Birth Plans 
Amber Rose and fiancĂ© Wiz Khalifa are expecting their first child – a boy – together this winter. Recently, in a revealing interview with hip hop magazine XXL the 28-year-old American model, and her fiance, 25-year-old rapper Wiz Khalifa, spoke openly to Vanessa Satten about their relationship and their life during pregnancy (see here). 

The most intriguing and revealing subject discussed during the interview was Amber’s plans on giving birth – “I’m going all-natural. I’ve decided that I’m going to have an all-natural water birth. No medicine…”

Although, Amber’s all-natural birth plans are unconventional – with most women opting for drugs – natural births are becoming increasingly popular among expecting mothers. According to, the American Pregnancy Association, “over the last 30 years…water birth has grown in popularity.” 

Water births are believed to be “gentler for the baby and less stressful for the mother.” Nonetheless, Amber Rose did not decide to give birth naturally simply, because it is believed to be “less stressful;” her decision was  made in part to having the right to gloat. – “…I want those bragging rights! The next time Wiz has a stomachache or anything, I’ll say, ‘I popped out a baby all-natural.’”


What do you think of Amber’s birth plan?
How have/ would you give birth? 


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Leadership 101


"Being a leader is like being a lady
if you have to go around telling people you are one, 
you aren't." 

- Margaret Thatcher.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Morning After

POLITICS
Moving Forward
Yesterday, Tuesday 6, 2012, President Barack Obama was re-elected as President of the United States of America. His victory speech rung a familiar tone of hope –

“…Tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope.  I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the road blocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight. I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.

America, I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunities and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn't matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight. You can make it here in America if you’re willing to try…

And together, with your help and God’s grace, we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on earth… God bless these United States.”


While, hope is a critical aspect of moving forward, action is the most important element. I, for one, am confident that President Obama will take action and move the United States forward in the right direction. Consider what he has done already for the United States:  

1.  President Obama, along with Democrats, implemented an auto industry rescue plan, and saved as many as 1 million jobs.  This resulted in GM returning to its place as the top car company in the world.

2. He helped pass the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, which expanded on the Making Home Affordable Program. This assisted millions of Americans to avoid preventable foreclosures. The bill also provided $2.2 billion to help combat homelessness, and to stabilize the housing market. 

3. He, along with Congressional Democrats, pushed through and got passed Dodd-Frank, one of the largest and most comprehensive Wall Street reforms since the Great Depression.

4. President Obama pushed through, signed and demanded the Pentagon enact a repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that forced soldiers to lie in order to be eligible to fight for their country, and put our troops at risk by disqualifying many qualified soldiers from helping.
 
5. He put an end to the Bush-era stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan beyond their enlistment date.

6. President Obama, along with Congressional Democrats, supported and signed Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which made more money available to enable better medical care for veterans.

7. He repeatedly increased funding for student financial aid, and at the same time cut the banks completely out of the process.  

8. He ended the Iraq War.

9. He ordered and oversaw the Navy SEALS operation that killed Osama bin Laden. This assisted in the improvement of national safety and security.

10. President Obama ordered energy plants to prepare to produce at least 15% of all energy through renewable resources like wind and solar, by 2021.

This list is merely a snippet of what President Obama has done for the United States. Click here to check these facts (above) and to find nearly 200 more specifics of the president’s actions during his first term.


Any Thoughts? 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Stumbling Into Womanhood

LITERATURE
You’re not a little girl anymore.
"I caught a glimpse of my calves, the way the muscles sit high and long on my leg, the shadows that hours of yoga and wearing the highest heels have attributed to the shading and I thought, “that’s a woman’s leg.” A woman’s leg from the tips of my childishly glittered toes to the top of my thigh. You’re a woman...one who knows how to move and adjust, manicure and present, settle, satisfy and offer her body. You’re in your body.... finally. Who would've thought that day would come? If only I could hush that 18 year olds fretting mind, so lost inside herself.

In the ways that my heart is young and optimistic, accessible and open it has, as a Woman's does, acquired the necessary walls and carefully maintains the ones worth keeping. But in those walls, only a woman knows where the doors are and who is worth letting through. My gut, my instinct alerts like a woman.... it knows the difference between “right,” and “not right for me.” My heart, is no longer an empty room, with a "come one, come all" sign,  waiting to be filled with someone else’s stories, likes and dislikes that I'd hastily claim as my own in an attempt to keep them. That heart vessel doesn't say "Unoccupied," waiting to be invaded, or pillaged like it had been before... It stays FULL and entertained while deliberately awaiting the arrival of one worth re-arranging "the things" for.

My mind thinks like a womans now.... fiercely wanting to protect and nurture, hold and advise those younger around me. Despite my own need for advising. But as a woman can, I admit where guidance is needed and welcome...so that I don’t become stubborn, or rusty.

I can too, admit the places where I’ve hardened. I can track the steps, straight to the source... in honor of my spirit, I’ve done the work layer, by layer. I know now the longer you go without acknowledging the wound the harder it gets to heal when you decide you’re ready.

All of a sudden, in a way I hadn’t craved before...I have this insatiable desire to make sure you’re fed. Physically, spiritually, mentally. I understand that it is our job to bring something to the table and offer it up, without any expectations at all. I want to stimulate your mind, nourish your body, and sustain your spirit...because I've learned how to do it for myself first.

 I admit that I need to learn from my Mother, my Grandmother, your mother... matriarchs... the ways to make a home feel like a place to nest.... the secret ingredients.... the go-to meal.... the must-have medicine cabinet items... patience. Knowing how to gracefully walk away, or pick my battles. This is all a part of it.

Unlike a Girl, I know that things take time. That nothing comes to full bloom in a day. I’ve relinquished the need to have all the answers, or to make you see things my way.  Unlike a Girl, I know what it feels like to try and fit a square peg into a round hole, but now, rather than attempting it, I see the pieces for what they are and let them be.

Unlike a Girl, I don’t wish to be blonde, or shorter. I don’t wish for my hair to fall the way that hers does, or to have smaller ribs, bigger boobs, higher eyebrows... I don't compare relationships.... I know that no one has it “better,” we each just have it “differently.” Unlike a Girl, I’m comfortable with transparency, even if you aren’t. That my words are only of value if they are genuine and without pretense.... that the interaction, relationships, contracts that say, or feel otherwise aren’t “mine....” and that’s okay.  Unlike a Girl, as a Woman I don’t look to be anyone else.... and the “exemplary examples” that I hold ideal, as Mentors I humbly acknowledge will make mistakes. That the only true guide you have is YOU. As a Woman, I find that power terrifyingly exhilarating....unlike a Girl, I’m prepared to harness, feed, listen to my own True North.

The way a Mother subtly does, as a Woman I know when to save my advice, I’ve learned to identify closed ears and closed hearts. I've learned when to slow down, speed up, or just stop completely.

I’ve come to know the power of having a personal spiritual practice that is accessible to me, that is mine, a dialogue that is open before the time of desperation. In my private moments between that of monotony and doubt, I have a deep, deep faith and personal devotion, a commitment to that beautiful divine side... that’s just for me. As a Woman does, I commit to a daily practice, of surrender and awe.

A Woman learns the things that are hers to keep. Her precious moments. The “alone” ones,
the kind of alone that drives home at night and yearns for only the shape of their own body, soft and familiar in the forms that it takes. Wrapping itself around a pillow, taking up the space... misconfigured, immodest, spilling over and dipping freely and comfortably. You must learn to crave that specific type of alone.

As a Woman I’ve learned the power of graceful restraint, coming to know when what you ache to say is already spelled out, a woman learns to trust subtle knowingness. She learns that words are the smallest part of the whole, as fun as they are to play with.... play can be spared.

A Woman knows that despite everything, she will be alright. She knows the well of resilience and strength that resonates through her whole being, even when she can’t bear it...she can do anything.

As a woman I trust my ability to love selflessly and selfishly in equal measure, inward and outward.

I may not always pay my parking tickets on time. I still wonder which paths my career will take me on....or who I’ll end up with. How the hell to organize my closet properly and if 4 Luna Bars & iced coffees in one day can be considered proper “meals,” when on the run (the answer is no.) I still need my Dad. I still want my Mom to like my outfits, my boyfriends, my hair color. The parts about being a Girl worth keeping are there....they’re playful and raw, completely, softly discernable. While ALL the years, the lessons, the introspection of a Woman exist, freely and proudly, I embody that which I've wanted to become..... and embrace that it's all still a process....

...Growing up isn’t too bad."

(Chelsea, Just Like a Woman)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nina Simone

MUSIC & POP CULTURE
Woman of the Month 
Since, Belladonna is a blog dedicated to empowering women, I highlight an influential woman every month from all walks of life in "Woman of the Month". In the past I have highlighted the work of: Maya Angelou, Nancy G. Brinker, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Alicia Keys, Larisa Latynia, Sylvia Lawry, Michelle Obama, and Virgina Woolf  - just to name a few. This month I have decided to highlight the inspirational work of Eunice Kathleen Waymon better known as Nina Simone.

Nina Simone was an influential African-American pianist and singer who incorporated various genres into her music including classical, jazz, blues, folk, gospel, and pop. According to, Eric Wendell, "Nina Simone defied categorization by blending classical, jazz and popular music into an unconventional and highly personal idiom: over four decades, she galvanized audiences with albums and performances replete with deep passion and keen attention to emotion.  Fiercely honest, Simone was admired for her eccentricity and individualism. She was known for her spirited personality on and off the stage, which included flirting with audience members and voicing her opinions about social topics of the time. The legacy of Simone's music and message can be heard not only in jazz but amongst the many pop artists who cite her influence, including Jeff Buckley, Alicia Keys and John Legend..."(Jazz.com)

Recently, Nina Simone's legacy has become even more of a hot topic in the media with various debates on the controversial depiction of Nina Simone in Nina - an unauthorized film written and directed by Cynthia Mort. Aaron Overfield, content manager of Ninasimone.com, weighs in on the debate with an open letter, stating that, "The most frustrating people are the ones who imply everyone should just shut up and 'wait and see' or 'leave them alone.' That kind of attitude and oppression is not in the spirit of Nina Simone whatsoever. Quite the opposite. Nina was vocal, defiant, a warrior, an activist. She would not have simply shut up and sat down. She would’ve shown up at the studio with a shotgun to speak with Ms. Mort and slapped the makeup off Zoe. So let’s get that straight first. We’re going to talk about this and those of us with strong, impassioned opinions are going to express them. We will not be silent simply because it annoys those who aren’t in agreement. Zoe’s complexion (the level of her 'blackness') has taken the forefront in the discussion. Her complexion as well as her phenotype/features. We’re going to have to address this since obviously it is dominating the outcry against this project, understandably so. However, I believe this issue is a byproduct of the much, much larger issue: the total gentrification of Nina Simone. This occurred at the inception of this film so it’s no wonder the script and casting have come to symbolize the total fictionalization of Nina as a person and as an artist."
Click here, to read more!

 What do you think?
Who should be the next "Woman of the Month"?
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