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Category Archives: Women

What is AT? Besides Absolutely Tragic

Something has recently been brought to my attention that has greatly disappointed me to the depths of my little soul…

I personally hate to get involved in any gossip, rumors, or drama. And I find ZERO entertainment in these “reality” shows that feature nothing but the worst of cat fights, infidelity, profanity, and baby mama drama to the tenth degree. You know which ones I’m talking about. “Love and Hip-Hop,” etc.

Well I just learned that there is a R E A L L I F E “Bad Girls Club” on Facebook. There is a page that I will refer to as “AT.” (I’m not willing to mention the actual name because the LAST thing I want to do is advertise for it. If you don’t know what it is, don’t go searching for it. It’s not worth it.)

I don’t know how old or new this Facebook page is but there are over 3,600 members. This is a private and exclusive group where you can only be added by someone who is already a member. I was added by a friend who wanted to show me a male Soldier that I know that became a victim of the site. But once I saw all the other nonsense, I removed myself from the madness.

SO WHAT IS IT?

It’s upsetting and it’s humiliating. Most of the content in the group are women posting about their boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, husbands, ex-husbands, new romantic prospects, baby’s daddies, etc. exposing these men as well as exposing their own personal information. It is disgusting. These women are thriving on being “petty” and seem to be very excited to get involved in each other’s personal affairs. In just seconds of scrolling, you can see women posting screen shots of private text messages conversations between them and their men (yes, to include his phone numbers), women posting their baby daddies’ home addresses to have other group members go and “check on him” at his house, women posting photos of their ex-spouses’ new girlfriends to bash her, etc. They even post pictures of their men in their Army uniforms (rank and name all exposed) so other females on the page can “SPILL THE TEA” about him. Like, “Oh I know him! My aunt’s neighbor’s God-daughter used to date him. He has an STD. Don’t date him!” These posts literally have hundreds of comments and I realized after scrolling through a few comments that these women check-in regularly with their popcorn in hand to stay updated on certain situations they may find interesting. Just like you would do to catch up on your favorite TV series. Just as you would do to catch up on the latest celeb gossip in a tabloid or magazine. But these are REAL PEOPLE in real life situations! Real life tire-slashing, weave-pulling, baby-daddy-hunting, new-wife-bashing situations. What in the world?!

This AT page reminds me of Juicy Campus, but on steroids. If you don’t know what Juicy Campus is, don’t worry about that either. I think I just showed my age, lol.

Anywho, this group is full of women doing nothing but talking sh** about each other and about the men in their love lives. Nothing but digital attacks and rumor-spreading. How degrading!!! If there is anything on earth more ratchet than this, I might just die. (I’m exaggerating because unfortunately I’m sure there is worse than this. I’m not that naïve.)

The women in the group seem to enjoy every little bit of the drama too. It’s like they are waking up early and staying up late at night just to feed off of the negative energy and laugh with each other at other people’s personal dealings. They are unknowingly betraying every ounce of loyalty left in their bodies. By publicizing their private home life, they are revealing information to strangers about their children and themselves… Such as personal matters included in their divorce decrees and details about their child support cases.

It honestly breaks my heart that they are spending so much time and energy on this page digging and investigating and fighting and laughing. Why has drama become so entertaining? Why are these women so motivated to tear each other apart? When did it become cool to expose what’s going on in your love life? And to expose it to almost four thousand women you don’t even know and will never even meet? Why has being “petty” become such a competition? Like they are determined to be crowned the pettiest woman on earth?

And the saddest part about it all… These ladies, NO, these GIRLS are in the military or are veterans. From what looks like age 18 on up to 50, a majority of them are serving or have served. Yet they log into Facebook and forget what it means to have respect and bearing, ethics and discipline, loyalty and honor. We are professionals. We are leaders. We are ambassadors. What happened to that? I’m not saying don’t go out and make friends and have some fun. But this…this is just beyond a disgrace. IN MY OPINION.

I hope these women get a grip on reality before they end up ruining their husbands’ or boyfriends’ careers…or much worse ruin their own by digging their own graves full of social media harassment, bullying, and the exposure of PII (personally identifiable information).

According to Army Regulation 600-20 (Army Command Policy), “the Army is a values-based organization where everyone is expected to do what is right by treating all persons as they should be treated…Bullying and other behaviors that undermine dignity and respect are fundamentally in opposition to our values and are prohibited. Soldiers who violate this policy may be subject to punishment under the United States Code of Military Justice.”

And worse, I’m sure there are NCOs and Officers on the page as well. The Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer states, “No one is more professional than I…I will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the military service, and my country regardless of the situation I which I find myself…I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are professionals…”

Somebody on that page is just bound to screen shot a social media mishap and email it to someone’s Commander or First Sergeant. I am sure of it. I can foresee so many demotions, reliefs-for-cause, and extra duties.

I can’t allow myself to associate with this page nor with any female who finds this crap fascinating, cool, or humorous. I hope an act of God comes down on this group and turns it into a page based on empowering each other, networking, and mentoring. Sort of like “Beauties in Boots” (144K members) or “Female Bosses Link Up” (116 members) or Heather Lindsey’s Pinky Promise for instance.

I honestly don’t know how to end this blog post on a good note. The only thing I can say is that I will continue to focus on myself and continue to love on the women that I have in my small circle. I love them and they have remained in my life this long because of the support and friendship we give each other. Especially my female mentors.

Hopefully soon I find my calling and it involves making an inspirational impact in other women’s lives. People, I am far from perfect. But I am slowly but surely grooming myself to become something special. I’m excited to find my purpose. I just hope other women can get back on the right track to pursuing their purposes as well. Especially those that made the decision to live by the Soldier’s Creed.

JS

 

Decided Not to Get Married

URBAN ROMANCE – I Changed My Mind: Why I Decided Not to Get Married

By Atiya Shrieves

I was over my close friend Bam Bam’s house about to have a conversation I’d had about a million times with numerous people in the last few months. I hadn’t seen my friend in over a year and a half because of her deployment. The last time we spoke was a few months earlier through email when I told her I was engaged so, needless to say, the face-to-face conversation we were having in her living room came as a bit of a shock to her.

“So, how are the wedding plans coming along?”
“Girl… the wedding is postponed, indefinitely.”
“WHAT!!!! What does that mean?”
“It means I am not getting married!”
“I am so sorry,” Bam lamented
“I’m not.”

I know, a bit harsh, right? But I wasn’t sorry. Let me explain. I’d had this same conversation for a few months now and I’ve been getting the same reaction. Friends, family, and strangers alike were sorry for “my loss,” but what they all failed to realize is it wasn’t a loss, at least not for me.

I called off the wedding. I decided that I no longer wanted to spend the rest of my life with the man I once wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I changed my mind. Therefore, I am not sorry. I am actually at peace. Why? Because I’d just avoided one of the biggest mistakes I could have ever made—marrying the wrong person.

When I was proposed to, I felt like I was on top of the world. What woman doesn’t want the man she loves, to ask her to spend the rest of their lives together? Of course I said the only proper thing to say: YES! And it was off to the races after that! I started making the guest list, looking at venues, picking my wedding party, and, of courses, trying on dresses. I was so excited, I actually bought my dress within a month of being engaged.

Once the euphoria of becoming the future Mrs. Fill-In-The-Blank wore off, reality set in. What was I getting myself into? Without bashing or being too transparent (as if I’m not already), this man and I had our fair share of problems and I’m being modest when I say that. I mean he was just anokay boyfriend, so what made me believe he was going to be a good husband. Was I being like those women on reality television reunion shows? You know the ones who say yes to their deadbeat celeb boyfriends, who feel the best time to get on one knee is after their side piece throws a chair at their main chick, in this case, me? My life wasn’t being played out on television, but I could certainly relate to drama.

My situation was more down than up. So why did I say yes? Was I stupid?  No, I was hopeful. I hoped that maybe being engaged would help us and magically make everything alright. Well it didn’t. It made things worse.

I was engaged to the okay boyfriend, now my  fiancé. And what did that mean? Just more of the same problems with a different title. I could not, I repeat, could not turn this man into the okay husband.

I made a list. It wasn’t your usual list of pros and cons. It was a list of things I wanted in my life, things that I liked, and things that really grind my gears. Then I asked myself a few questions: Does he add to any of these aspects of my life? Does he know any of these things about me? Do any of these things matter to him? The results were staggering. I realized one thing with this simple list and these simple questions. I was settling. I realized that these things only mattered to me. That he wasn’t really in tune to me and what I liked at all. I was about to make a huge mistake. I was about to marry someone who I was good for (because for me, all of these things mattered when it came to him), but who was not good for me. I realized that I did not exist in my relationship at all. I gave so much of myself that I barely knew who I was until I made that list. In fact, I now understood why he wanted to get married. Not because he loved me so much, but because I gave, and did so much to uplift him and I didn’t require much in return. Who wouldn’t want to keep getting the best while only giving the bare minimum?

My heart sank, the tears fell, and the hurt was piercing as more questions flooded my head. How could I not see this before I’d said yes? How could I let it get this far? How could I be so stupid? What was I going to tell all of my friends and family? What was I going to tell him? I asked that question of myself, God, and my bestie. How could I tell him that I no longer wanted to spend forever with him; that I realized I was settling? Walking down the aisle would only end in heartache for both of us and I knew that. I should’ve never said yes in the first place. There was no point in beating around the push. It wasn’t going to change how I felt and wasn’t going to change my mind.

It was hard. Very hard.  He didn’t give up easy. He fought tooth and nail against what I believed would be best, not only for me, but for the both of us, in the long run. The hard part was over… or so I thought. Imagine telling a bunch of people who already started planning for time off, telling family members on both sides who just love you two together, and calling venues telling them you are no longer interested because there isn’t going to be a wedding. Let’s not even get into that wedding dress that you just had to have!

The point of me sharing all of this is I want someone to take my story as a lesson—an example of what not to do when you know something isn’t right in your relationship. Saying yes to an engagement doesn’t mean you have to say yes to the marriage. We all hope that is what will happen, but sometimes you must take a step back and look at all the factors involved. Just because it feels good at that moment and you love that person doesn’t mean that marrying that person is the right thing to do. Never stay in a situation because you don’t want to hurt the other person or you are afraid of what other people are going to say (even on Facebook). We all make mistakes, but it’s not the mistake that matters, it’s how we fix that mistake and grow from it.

So I’m not going to say “I do” and get to have the wedding of my dreams, right now, but I do get to have peace of mind and the satisfaction in knowing I did the right thing. In the end, that is what matters the most. Oh, and I’ll wear my beautiful dress just because. Who knows? Maybe I’ll marry myself in it!

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Atiya is a mother of two who served eight years in the United States Navy. She has an A.A.S in Justice and is currently pursuing a degree in Nursing. Atiya is also writing her first novel.

 

Yoga: Training the Body and Mind

A few months ago, I began practicing yoga as both a physical and mental builder/stress-reliever. It amazes me how closely the activities of the body correlate with those of the mind. Both can be trained and what you feed them will determine their everyday function.

Now I’m not the type to randomly wake up one morning, throw on some leggings, snap into a tree pose or half-moon, and call myself a yogi just for the sake of likes from the pseudo-hippie community on Instagram. For a while I had read about its benefits and admired the strength of those who had been doing it for years. But I never considered actually getting into it myself. I underestimated the power of meditation.. of breathing.. of pushing through.. of SILENCE. Yoga allows you to quiet that internal conversation and focus solely on accomplishing a goal. Goals may consist of holding a difficult pose for five full breaths, finally touching your head with your toe in the King Pigeon, stretching your legs at a wider angle, enduring pain, becoming less anxious about the stresses in your life, etc. No matter the goal, your session leaves you feeling balanced, powerful, invincible, and most importantly ENERGETIC. Positive energy will exude from your mind and body and it will show in your interactions with others.

As stated earlier, mental training is just as important as physical training. Your body can be conditioned to build strength and resilience for better functioning. The same applies to your mind. The more you utilize certain areas of your brain (i.e. emotion, logic, creativity) in healthy ways, the more conditioned it will be to do so on its own, with less direct conscious work from you. Consistently feed yourself positive thoughts and eventually, your subconscious will be consumed with so much positivity that you’ll develop a lower tolerance for negativity. Yoga is most certainly a vehicle for this type of mental training. I’d like to still consider myself new to the practice. Honestly, right now I’m not too concerned with learning a lot of the concrete material like the names of the poses, meanings of the various hand signs, etc. I’m just focusing on the basics and strengthening myself for the next level. Progress is key. I’m hoping you join me in the journey.

Namaste.

-Jade L. Stewart of I am Jade Leilani

jadeus

 

Lawmakers Want Clearer Army Breastfeeding Rules

bf-army

House lawmakers want clearer rules on breastfeeding in the ranks, a few weeks after the issue of public nursing caused an uproar at an Idaho Air Force Base.

In an amendment to the House Armed Services Committee’s defense authorization bill draft, lawmakers required the Secretary of the Army to “develop a comprehensive policy regarding breastfeeding” for female soldiers that addresses the availability of facilities and allows for work breaks for pumping milk.

The measure — sponsored by Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass. — also specifies that areas with “adequate privacy and cleanliness” for breastfeeding should include electrical outlets to allow use of breast pumps. “Restrooms should not be considered an appropriate location.”

The move comes just days after the commander of the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho was forced to rescind a policy requiring mothers breastfeeding in public areas on base relocate to a private room, use a nursing cover or leave the premises.

The policy applied to civilians and off-duty civil service employees, but not to active-duty service members or on-duty civilian employees. But it caused a public uproar, and a promise from officials to look for ways to better accommodate those mothers.

The Army is the only of the four services not to have a specific, service-wide breastfeeding policy.

The authorization bill will have to survive months more of House and Senate debate and be signed by the president before the Army breastfeeding requirement would become law.

Leo Shane III

 

Women With Vision

I am revamping my personal website here this fall and would love to write feature stories on women with vision. I will be creating a category just for this. So if you are a business owner, a spiritual leader, a motivational speaker, an educator, military, athletic, etc. I am definitely interested in meeting with you so that you have the opportunity to share your testimonial or story of inspiration. I love picking people’s brains, especially those of women because we are wired so beautifully up there. Feel free to e-mail me yourself and we can meet for coffee, OR if you have someone in mind that would be great for this type of story, also e-mail me: jasminestewart87(at)gmail.com

Thank you!
(Jasmine Stewart)

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2014 in Giving Back, Guest Writer, Women

 

THIRTY is Over-The-Hill?

What does over-the-hill mean? It’s a phrase society uses to describe the point in your life where you’re passing over the peak or highest point and getting ready to head down a steep slope toward old age or death. (Seriously). In addition, the age of “40” is most commonly viewed as over the hill.

I’m 27 and, unfortunately, for the past few years, I have been hearing several female colleagues and even friends saying they no longer look forward to their 30s and that 30 is now over-the-hill. (WHAT?!) I jokingly reply that 30 is the “new 21” but actually I am absolutely disgusted and really quite heartbroken at this type of mindset. You are imprisoned for a life sentence in a concrete cell that you have built for yourself! And at such a YOUNG age!

This is just ridiculous and unappreciative.

But if this is YOU, please don’t stop reading. Because this post is not to point fingers at anyone or embarrass anybody. No one is reading this with you but you. But stop being so hard on yourself and continue to read. This post is to hopefully give you an open mind and open heart. It’s too easy for us to lose sight of our blessings by getting bogged down by stress and emotions and work. It’s human. It’s okay. It’s just NOT okay to get down and STAY down.

1. The first and best reason that turning 30 is so awesome is that you are simply…alive.

Take a moment to think about the people you know personally that have passed away while you were in grade school or college. Think about what happened to them or what caused their death. Car accident? Suicide? Homicide? Disease? THEN think about those that have passed on at young ages that you don’t know personally. Children involved in school shootings or born with terminal illness for instance. YOU ARE ALIVE. It’s simple. God saved you. You made it.

2. You aren’t supposed to be perfect in your 20s. Maybe that’s what your 30s are for.

People assume that once you hit 30, you are “old” or “older” and no longer fun and youthful, therefore, you’re expected to be more responsible because you are supposedly wealthy and have established a family…and that if you still want to have fun you’re WRONG and that if you don’t have a spouse and kids yet you’re LATE… Really? Who put a time limit on fun? And who put a time limit on savings and finances? It’s never too late to start a new hobby or new career path and it is never too late to meet ‘The One’ and start a family.

Your 20s are pretty much for exploring and mistake-making, reparations and learning, moving on and moving forward, preparing for your life. This is the point in time where most people learn who they really are. So if you haven’t hit the lotto yet, it’s okay. Your 30s are not the end of the world.

3. Even if you are already 30 or 40+ who says it’s too late to travel, be sexy, be adventurous, and be spontaneous? Of course, it would be more difficult if you have kids, but kids are not a show stopper. Each time you use your job or kids as an excuse as to why you can’t do something, think of two more reasons or options as to how you CAN do it. There are motivational speakers and mentors out here sharing their personal testimonies with the public trying to help you live a wealthier, healthier, more fun lifestyle, and all you can say is, “But I can’t because _____.” Imagine if you were that person. What do they have inside that you don’t? Perhaps the answer is as simple as “will, determination, and perseverance.”

4. Maybe we see older women in our lives that aren’t doing so well and this subliminally causes us to believe this is the path we are headed toward.

For instance, maybe grandma died too young of heart failure or auntie is suffering from drug addiction and financial issues. Or big sis is still working as a bar tender trying to support three kids. Whatever their case may be, some young women are blinded by the older women they see and think that’s something like the obstacles they’ll encounter. And while some things are just inevitable in life, you still have control of what your future could look like. The people before you do not define you.

Bottom line………

Make a game plan or fix your current one. Because if you feel like you have NOTHING to look forward to in your THIRTIES, you are sadly mistaken, my friend. That means you have been wasting a lot of time doing nothing to create a great life for your 30s and beyond. Not just for yourself but for your family. Or maybe YOU HAVE but just don’t realize it. Take a few quiet moments, close your eyes for three minutes, and think about how far you’ve come and what exactly you have accomplished -no matter how big or small.

And guess what? A great life doesn’t fall into your lap once you meet ‘The One.’ It doesn’t fall into your lap once you land a job that allows you to finally use your degree. Nor when you fit into a size 1 jeans. Nor when you get pregnant like the rest of your friends. Once YOU get your life together, GOD will align all these things for you down the road. If you’re getting closer to 30, you still have time to begin saving and working hard and developing your mind, body, and soul for what’s ahead.

Chances are you are looking for the wrong things to complete you and thinking if you don’t have them by a certain age that your time is up. Trust me, I know. Because I too suffered from this mindset only a year or two ago. I didn’t know where life was going and used to want to be married by 30. Now, I could wait forever until the RIGHT TIME! Watching people around you or above you get married and get pregnant and obtain business licenses and then buy cars and houses, etc. You tend to wonder, Hey God when is my time? God’s just waiting on us to count our current blessings and stop focusing on other people. Simply put, ***He’s not going to furnish a house we haven’t built yet.*** (You’re welcome).

So let’s stop ordering future furniture and picking out future dogs and which future cars we want in our 3-car garage. I see you making baby shower invites with no baby. Go out and choose your foundation and build up your house and get the power flowing before you open up your hands for more.

Our thirties will be beautiful if we let them!! Let’s flourish, ladies!!

“Thirty is the new twenty-one!” At 21, we celebrate being able to drink. By 30, some of us have probably done enough drinking but not nearly enough living. Life begins NOW! Celebrate!

 
 

Military Chicks: Ace Pull-Ups?

“PT 365” Blog, Military Times
Author: Jon Anderson

Marine Maj. Misty Posey demonstrates pullups. Courtesy of Maj. Misty Posey

The dreaded pullup.

Among the basic bodyweight exercises, few garner more fear and loathing than standing below that hated bar.

That’s because the pullup works not just your biceps and forearms, but also taps something deep down in your shoulder muscles, plus the core-stabilizing lats, abs and middle back. It’s a full upper-body workout unto itself.

No wonder women can’t do them. Or maybe it’s only the Wonder Women who can. Most just aren’t built for that kind of heavy lifting. It’s basic biology — right?

Not really. At least not according to Marine Maj. Misty Posey.

Challenge her to a pullup showdown and you’d better be ready to knock out more than 30 reps. And hers will be better than perfect: Her chin will come a little higher than required; she’ll drop all the way down between each rep; and there will be no kipping to juice out a few extra reps.

She knows what you’re going to say next, and you’ll be wrong again. She’s not some genetic freak of athletic awesomeness or trained-from-birth sports ninja. And this 4-foot, 10-inch fireplug says she’s no Wonder Woman.

“I did not play sports in high school or college. I was never a gymnast. I only began lifting weights after I could do 20 pullups. I am very close to the maximum weight for my height, and my body fat is average,” she says.

So if she can do it, she insists, any woman in reasonable shape can do it.

Pulling their weight

And that’s not just a platitude. As the chief of the Common Skills Branch for the Marine Corps Training and Education Command, she’s in charge of all the Corps’ physical fitness programs.

Marines are known for having the toughest of the services’ physical fitness tests. Now they’re trying to make it harder — or at least equally hard for everyone by requiring women to pass a pullup portion of the test just like male Marines have had to do for more than 40 years.

The transition has been tough. The new requirement was supposed to take effect in January, but officials decided to punt that change for a least a year after more than half of female recruits were unable to do at least three pullups. The issue needs more study, leaders say.

But what it really needs is more women like Posey.

“Women have been conditioned to think they can’t do it,” she says. “There is this notion that weakness is a woman’s natural condition.”

Sure, she says, men are generally faster than women. “But that has nothing to with pullups, so who cares?” And, yes, men are generally stronger than women, but the difference isn’t nearly as big as people think.

Expecting more

It all starts when they’re young. We expect less of girls. And so they deliver less.

That wasn’t true of Sparta’s girls, who were trained how to kick enemy butt just like the boys.

Start expecting more, and you’ll see today’s warrior women rise to the task as well, Posey says. And she’s not alone in that view.

“By delaying the pullups and questioning women’s abilities to perform to that standard, we are imposing external limits,” writes Marine Cobra gunship pilot Maj. Jeannette Gaudry Haynie in a recent post for the U.S. Naval Institute.

“We’re saying that women should not be expected to have great strength, that pulling our own weight up to a bar 20 times, or even 3 times, is too much to ask. And that, right there, is what makes me worry,” Haynie wrote. “I believed it for years, and I was wrong. And now I’m older — I could have been doing these for years! Instead of limiting our Marines, we should ask more of them: set the bar high, and encourage them to fly right past it.”

Getting a grip

Posey knows it’s possible because she has personally trained dozens of women — and plenty of men, too — on how to get a grip on doing pullups.

“Pullups are a learned skill, not an innate ability,” she says. And learning that skill takes dedicated training.

She learned the secret from a crusty old gunnery sergeant who ran a base gym in San Diego.

Posey was still an NROTC midshipman at the time, trying to figure out a way make it through the obstacle course, when she saw a female Marine doing pullups.

“It hadn’t even occurred to me that I could do pullups until then,” she says.

After four months of daily training, mostly on the local gym’s assisted pull-up machine … she still couldn’t do a single pullup.

That’s when the gunny pulled her aside.

“He told me, ‘If you want to get good at pullups, you have to get the hell out of my gym and go out and get up on a pullup bar.’”

Crazy, she thought. How could she do pullups if she couldn’t do pullups? But she tried. And kept trying.

“Within a week, I could do one. Within three weeks, I could do five.”

In the years since, the old gunny’s words have become her mantra.

“I just want women to understand they just need to get out on the bar.”

Jon R. Anderson is a staff writer for OFFduty. Contact him at jona@militarytimes.com.

(Jonn Anderson)

 
 
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