Slow Food Vegan Again

I became a vegetarian back in 1998 after a bout with Bell’s Palsy. Long story short, I was running myself ragged, first year in NYC my acting career was going well and I was enjoying all that NYC has to offer socially. I was totally depleted and while I was literally on stage in Connecticut on a corporate gig, my face totally froze.

When I got back to Manhattan I immediately went to the emergency room found a great doctor who recommended a friend of his who was an acupuncturist. After a session, the acupuncturist recommended some Chinese herbs and recommended I try a plant based diet.

I followed his advice, my face was back to normal in about two weeks and I was plant based until 2014.

A plant based diet, in my body, effected my joints and a long term injury I’d had in a tendon in my hip was torn. I did some research on bone broth and animal protein on joints and found animal protein would help my healing process.

So I started eating animal protein once more. 2018 after a visit to my nurse practitioner at Planned Parenthood, I discovered I had two fibroids one was about 2 inches the other was less than an inch. I decided to go plant based, but half assed it.

May 2019 back for my exam at planned parenthood, I got a sonogram and a transvaginal ultrasound one fibroid grew a centimetre one stayed the same and there’s a new one.

So…I’m plant based again.

Here’s the thing, the style of eating the body needs to thrive changes during a lifetime. In my opinion there is not one set style of eating for all humans to follow BUT eating real food prepared in the slow food tradition is best for all humans. That means letting go of corporate non food substances.

The goal is to starve the fibroids. No processed foods, no mucus forming foods and no foods with high acid level.

Veganism today includes many processed foods, fake meats, cheeses, highly processed soy products.

I’ll be sharing my home made vegan recipes and showing what it takes to achieve a slow food vegan lifestyle.

Slow food means minimising foods that come from cans and boxes. Featuring foods that grow from the earth and sea.

Join me for my plant based journey to healing with joy and love.

Ashe

J9

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Perimenopause Papers 1B: Full Moon in Pisces…I bleed

What if, our menstrual cycles were the blueprint to organize our lives? What if our menstrual cycles were connected to the cycle of the Moon? Could we foresee emotional swings that are connected to our hormones? Would we be better equipped to know when to drink more water and green juice, when to have a full meal with tons of protein and when and why we want to just eat a huge cupcake? Would we know why we were feeling horny or angry or sad? What if our menstrual cycles were the blueprint to read our emotions and know ourselves better?

September 14, 2019 is the harvest moon in Pisces and I am writing this on my period, on a full moon. I am in transition. I’m also on day 6 of a 9 day liver/kidney cleanse and this harvest moon feels like the perfect time to cleanse.

My intuition is so strong that during a intuition card reading on a virtual group session with my coach Shannon Algeo, (who is in LA) he as my avatar, pulled this card

The energy that pulled this card was not Shannon being a healer, it wasn’t magic. It was me. My intuition. You can’t TELL me that intuition isn’t a thing!

As I spoke on my cleanse the group mentioned the full moon as I shared about my being in perimenopause. See, before the call, I was in the bathroom at the fancy and super clean Starbucks bathroom inside the Barnes & Noble in Northern VA gently throwing up the watermelon Kombucha I was drinking on my drive to the Mosaic district.

With my consistent physical practice of hot yoga, weight training and cardio, my menstrual cramps have diminished greatly. I also think the Femenessence Maca soothes the symptoms as well. But I do have one morning or late evening of nausea where whatever is in my stomach, just comes right up and it’s usually on the second day or first actual day of bleeding during my period these days. So right before the call I had to run to the bathroom and once I expelled, I felt relief. I rinsed my mouth out fixed my make up and looked at myself in the mirror… lighting was good so I took the photo at the top of this blog post. That’s what it looks like when all has been released. So when we were on the call I thought wow… my period is on and the moon is full what does that mean? Is it connected? I did a quick google search and saw that many women think there is a connection.

Okay let’s get into it. Western medicine says that women’s periods are random.

Yet Dr. Christiane Northrop writes,” Even in modern society, where we are cut off from the rhythms of nature, the cycle of ovulation is influenced by the moon. Studies have shown that peak rates of conception and probably ovulation appear to occur at the full moon or the day before.

During the new moon, ovulation and conception rates are decreased overall, and an increased number of women start their menstrual bleeding. Scientific research has documented that the moon rules the flow of fluids (ocean tides as well as individual body fluids) and affects the unconscious mind and dreams.)”

I’m going with Dr. Northrop. I love her, I like to believe in magic and I definitely noticed that the full moon was happening and my period was happening at the same time this month and my intuition says let’s explore this! Here we go.

For our purposes, let’s entertain that this philosophy of our menstrual cycles being connected to the cycle of the moon is true and learn more about the moon and our menstrual cycles.

As with everything, our connection to the moon varies depending on our stage of life. The New Moon is the time to be low energy to reflect renew and rest.

As we are in perimenopause, do our cycles link up with the lunar calendar?

Let’s do a “totally unscientific study” here on the blog. September 14th was the Harvest Moon. How many of you were on your period fullest day flow on September 14th and are you going through perimenopause?

How did you feel? We’re you tired?

Did you rest?

Did you power through?

According to http://www.themoonschool.org many women connect our menstrual cycles to the lunar cycle. “Our hormonal, emotional, creative, active and spiritual selves, and of course our powerful and necessary bleeding times, correlate firmly every month with what we see of the Moon’s waxing and waning light.”

Here’s an outline of the cycle according to themoonschool.org. Please read through and see where you fit in, if you fit in and share your experience in the comments section.

“1. Menstrual / Bleeding Phase = Waning Crescent / New Moon

Physically, we are bleeding, feeling tired and inactive with possible lower back pain and pelvic cramps.  See these as signs and encouragement to rest and retreat!

Our emotional strength is at its lowest ebb.

We are inwardly focused, preferring quiet and probably solitude.

It is time for consciously releasing outmoded beliefs, attitudes and behaviors, along with the bodily release of blood.  It’s important to do this now, so that anything that no longer serves us is not carried with us over into the next cycle.

Intuition is heightened – the two hemispheres of the brain are most actively communicating at this phase so intuitive insights and messages may be received.

As bleeding slows, it’s time for consciously setting intentions for the new cycle and emerging from this time of retreat.

 

 2. Pre-Ovulation / Follicular Phase = Waxing Crescent / First Quarter / Waxing Gibbous Moon

The pituitary glands release follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which is the signal the ovaries need to get ready to ovulate.

Our physical and emotional energy is rising.

We feel more open to others and to the possibilities around us.

Our rising confidence enables us to attract more of what we desire into our lives.

We feel increasingly creative, enthusiastic and eager to make plans and put them into action.

3. Ovulatory Phase = Full / Waning Gibbous Moon

Ovulation occurs.

Physically we are at our strongest and most alert.  Emotionally we are energized and confident.

High, stable estrogen levels mean that we feel open, sociable, and communicative, so the general mood is great!

It’s the best time in our cycle to throw or attend a party, to go on dates and schedule meetings.  This is because our communication skills are at their sharpest, we’re thinking quickly, calmly and logically, and we have the stamina to keep going!

We may be more aware of our appearance and become flirtations and sexually confident (this is our most fertile phase).

4. Luteal / Pre-Menstrual Phase = Waning Gibbous / Last Quarter / Waning Crescent Moon)

We start to experience a decline in physical and emotional energy, and towards the end of the cycle, premenstrual symptoms may appear.

We may become anxious, irritable and defensive in an attempt to push others away, in order to create the space we need to be alone.

We feel the desire to perform self-care rituals, to restore and honor the body and aid in its natural cleansing and repair.  Emotionally, these kinds of activities (long hot baths, massage, facials, manicures, etc.) help us to feel soothed and grounded.

We begin to seek more comfort and the familiar.

The particular ratio of hormones at this phase increases our attention to detail, and we may become absorbed in domestic chores and feel the urge to take stock and have a good clear out.

Emotionally, it’s also time to take stock and reflect on the cycle, which can result in feeling either proud of what we’ve achieved, or disappointed in ourselves.  This reflection prepares us to strip back and release any aspects of ourselves no longer desired or required, as we anticipate the release that comes with our next loss of menstrual blood.

The depth you need or wish to dive into any of these phases is up to you, and will change according to where you are on your own journey. But the basic pattern and rhythm hold true for all women, so it is incredibly important to remember that the ebb and flow is our natural state.  Modern society may demand a single, relentless, progressive pace, but that has never been our natural, female way – our bodies tell us so!

Once you have an awareness of this rhythm, it is far easier to start to tune into your body and emotions and then respond in whatever way is needed most.

Honouring the female cycles of fertility and menstruation is the responsibility of each single one of us, and is one of the most vital and practical ways we can keep on encouraging the awakening of the divine feminine energies within.”

All I know is, my body has always been ahead of my mind. I used to doubt it’s actions, now I just believe in my intuition and follow her guidance and she never steers me wrong. I strongly believe my body has been on the right track but my mind, my thinking mind, my domesticated mind gets in the way of my wisdom. What if, the emotions I’m feeling are signals? I mean, in my mindfulness meditation I practice looking at thoughts like clouds, I practice not believing that thoughts are facts, they are just thoughts that I can let go of. But what if the thoughts are tools, hints, signs to look at and consider before I let go of them. That doesn’t mean that I immediately act on thoughts as fact, rather, if the thought resonates… I can meditate on it before letting it go particularly if I’m in a more intuitive stage of my cycle.

Knowing that my body is on a cycle that’s connected to the moon and the circadian rhythm is liberating. Man even KNOWING what the circadian rhythm is and how that connects to my menstrual cycle and how that effects my mood…is EVERYTHING. I’ll be sharing more about circadian rhythm and perimenopause in my blog next week. Stay tuned!!!

If you feel called, please track your moon cycle and share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Next week we dive into the circadian rhythm, perimenopause, and redefining our sleep patterns.

If you love what you’re reading here, please become a sustaining member of VisAbleblackwoman Productions on Patreon! I offer affordable virtual health coaching online starting at just $3.00 a month! Your patronage allows me to produce plays, and work towards bringing my TV Pilot, NYC YOGA Inc into reality!

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Ashe

J9

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Perimenopause Papers 1: Yes. You’re in Perimenopause!!

Daytona Beach Florida- 2016 (46)

“I reject your assumption.” I said as I closed my legs and sat up out of the stirrups. The nurse practitioner at Planned Parenthood looked at me blankly.

“Well, you’re 46 so you are feeling the symptoms of Perimenopause…” she started, I abruptly cut her off.

“No. I’m not. I’m young. I’m vibrant, My periods are regular and I reject your assumption.” I said.

“Okay, so I hear you. Yes you are vibrant and you look younger than your actual age and time is still happening to your body. Now, I recommend we put you on birth control. Since you’ve never been pregnant, your body has not had a rest period from menstruation. So I recommend we try (whatever kind of pill it was that would have stopped my cycle for like 4 months to give my body a “rest”) in order to give you time without a period. Since you’re not trying to get pregnant, this will also protect you from pregnancy if you’re sexually active. But you still have to use condoms if you’re not in a committed relationship to prevent STI’s.” She shared gently.

I don’t know if what she said sparked something in my body but soon after that appointment, I get hot flashes. Yes, 2016, the world went insane then and my body reflects the chaos so I go to the doctor and they put me on birth control pills.

Birth control pills have always fucked me up seriously so, after 4 months on the pill I went off the pill, my body regulates and I look for alternatives.

Upstate NY 2017 (47)

VEGANISM, EXERCISE, BLACK COHOSH & MILK THISTLE, FRIEND CLEANSE

I was vegetarian from 2018 to 2005 then vegan from 2005 to 2010. Then, I was getting big joint issues and tendon injuries so in 2011, after becoming a health coach and learning about all the health issues that can happen after long periods of time with a vegan lifestyle, (losing teeth, weakened tendons, bone issues) I could feel those issues coming up in my body, so I decided to go back to eating animal protein. I felt better emotionally, physically and spiritually. But in 2016 with the hot flashes after the birth control pills, the weight gain I’d try Veganism again.

I also looked up holistic healing for Perimenopause and found black cohosh and milk thistle were used by Native Americans to heal menstural pain and worked well for some women with Perimenopause.

The plan was plant based diet, High Impact Intensity Training, and taking the black cohosh and milk thistle supplements.

The result, I was having to manage a low level of anger every day and it was super frustrating.

I had to pretend to be happy and joyous while in reality, I felt tired, emotional, crampy, grumpy which made me exhausted. I would think I was covering well, then I’d snap at someone, hurt their feelings and end up feeling even more shitty.

My intuition was super strong and I was not listening to it. Was doing the motions. I had attracted this group of friends who I actually did not fit in with. They were all in a different socio-economic class, they were all coupling up and I was not fitting in. Yet another situation where I was trying to fit in but just did not. I would call to connect reaching out to find out where the next social event would be. I’d figure out a way to seem as if I could afford to be there, I’d go, not drink or do any of the drugs they were doing and leave the party early so I could get the subway back to Brooklyn because I didn’t want to pay $50 for a car share or cab. I’d get home feeling empty. What kind of friends are these? I thought. So, without drama, I stopped inserting myself into their lives and those relationships faded away.

I gave myself permission to let go of trying to fit in and allowed myself to be with myself doing the things I love to do. As I do the things I love, that bring me joy, I connect with people who fill me up. New friendships blossom and I feel free.

All that high intensity training after years of dancing barefoot, I develop planar fasciitis in my feet. I need a new workout.

Birthday At the Arlo Hotel, NYC 2018 (48)

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION, HOT YOGA, ANIMAL PROTEIN & FEMNENESSENCE MACHA LIFE

This is definitely hormonal. I finally accept the fact that my body is changing and I have absolutely no control over the change happening. I dive deep into my writing. I cook and eat grass fed organic delicious animal protein at least twice a week and I hit the meditation cushion,open to receive answers.

Quieting my mind enables my inner wisdom to step forward and guide me. I discover a new gym is opening in Brooklyn, one with a hot yoga studio built in so I grab a membership discounted for 2 years. I start doing hot yoga daily and feel the difference in my body. The hot flashes, which have been minimal, come with even less regularity.

While visiting my folks in Northern Virginia, I run out of Black Cohosh. So I head to Whole Foods to get more. They are out! I panic, not wanting to drive all over Northern VA to find health food stores, I look to see what else is available. I find Femenessence MachaLife. I do a quick google search and see great things about Macha and Perimenopause symptoms. I go ahead and buy a box. I notice it comes with a 1-800 number where you can actually call and get support from a medical professional on dosage.

I start taking the supplement as directed with LOTS of water and by day 6 I feel the difference. A month passes and my period flow is less heavy and my mood is better. I’m able to get to sleep. After 3 months I noticed my period is regular, just once a month. I feel happier and my emotions are easier to manage. I’m doing hot yoga 6 days a week, as well as working out several times a week, meditating daily, eating well balanced meals I make mostly at home and I’m spending time with people who are authentic friends.

Life feels…joyous.

Friday Sept 13 2019 (49) Great lighting in a Starbucks bathroom in Northern VA

September 14 full moon in Pisces my period is on full flow. I glow. I did the slow food vegan summer for 2 months. In August I incorporated animal protein back in my life and it feels good. Monday before 9/11 I decided to start my friend Jessica Otter’s free 9 day liver cleanse. I took this photo on day 5 just over the hump of feeling hangry I notice my skin is clear and the haze of my mind has opened. It’s actually a great time to do a cleanse while on my period, because my body naturally doesn’t want much physical food while I’m on the first days of my cycle. And this particular cycle is special, full moon in Pisces and I’m a Pisces baby!!

This month, There’s this knowing. I’ll talk about this more in my next blog but to give you a taste, I strongly believe after 34 years of monthly bleeding that our moon times are a blueprint to our intuition. Damn. I’ve been bleeding for 34 years.

I just have to listen and take the actions our bodies are urging us to take. The body detoxes naturally. Pooping and peeing, detox. Sweating and farting, detox. Sexual fluids, detox. Screaming at the boyfriend that last time that makes him leave….for me…detox. Seriously, my hormones, naturally were rejecting the relationships that my mind was trying to fix.

I’m repeating that for me. My body has rejected all of the toxic relationships I’ve had in my life. I initiated all of my breakups when my period was on. I used to think that there was something wrong with me, I was difficult. Now I see, I wasn’t difficult, I was well protected. My intuition was able to end relationships that were not serving me. When my physical mind was on a whole other trip, my knowing mind was patient, she knew I would catch up some day soon, and at the same time, she held me accountable and did not allow me to be with anyone who did not love me, truly. Now I’m closer in wisdom and trusting my intuition. That intuition has always protected me and now, I know, I have a gift.

My realization that I am connected to my intuition is my superpower.

You see, I’ve never been abused in any way (So far) in my life. I had a happy protected childhood, I was lucky to have sane, wise protective parents. As young person, even when I didn’t realize it, my inner guide was protecting me, I listened to her. I was able to say no. I was able to get away from people I had a bad feeling about, I was able to foresee the trauma, get out of the situation, and protect my heart first. I’ve always been able to read the room for danger and quickly exit before the danger happens so far in my life.

I’ve always acted to protect myself then I would regret the results of my actions. Now I know I had not reason to regret the outcomes. Letting go of that regret, and grounding in to my knowing is a liberating force.

Yes, I am in my perimenopause period of life. I listen to my body and I rest when it tells me to rest. I don’t say yes to situations to be polite. I speak my truth and protect my heart always. I don’t feel called to be up all night out dancing, but I do feel called to wake up in the middle of the night and write, or make love or eat a cookie. So, I do, and enjoy without guilt.

I’ve designed my life so I can work from anywhere at any time connected to the power of my yes, to my no and to my knowing.

And that knowledge has come in, just the right time. I accept your wisdom and thank this period of perimenopause where my wisdom is keen. I open my toolkit ready to nourish my sensitivity and trust my knowing.

Wednesday September 18 will be the second Perimenopause paper. The subject is: Moon cycles connected to our menstrual cycles… hmmm… are they?

Perimenopause papers will be posted on Wednesdays for the rest of the year stay tuned 🙂

Ashe

J9

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Let go of “Riding the Busy” and connect to…Joy.

I recently went to one of my favorite meditation teachers, Kadam Morten, who led a meditation class on success.

“In New York City,” he began, “ our greeting card is success. The first question asked when most people first meet is often What do you do? We seem to focus on prestige, money, relationships, exterior things. Can any of us say we are successful at happiness?”

Having a connection to some kind of spiritual practice is a gateway to joy.

Kadam Morten spoke about how spiritual practice requires effort. Effort is a word that often makes us feel bad because it’s about gritting our teeth and working hard but according to Kadampa Buddhism, effort is a mind that delights in virtue.

It takes effort to learn how to delight in the the aspects of life that require effort to achieve. Mindfulness meditation has been my connection to happiness. Being able to look at my thoughts and process them before taking action has been my latest favorite tool. When I act without mindfulness, the result is consistently unpleasant.

Mindfulness meditation is not religious. As a Buddhist, Kadam Morten noted that, in his opinion, mindfulness meditation is maintenance.

As an agnostic, I’m actually okay with that right now.

Stress is the number one cause of more illnesses that I can name. Our bodies are shutting down because we run at such a high level, working to achieve happiness outside of ourselves, many of us are never aware that we are innately connected to joy, always.

Riding the busy. That’s what I call it. We pack our lives so full that we barely have space to breathe, then, turn around shocked that life is flying by. “Oh my god! It’s already June!!” Then the fear sets in. “Time is passing by so fast, and I’m not going to get it back!” My brother and sister in law have been married over 30 years now and every time I see her, if I ask her politely how she is doing her instant response is, “I am so tired.” Can you imagine, saying I am so tired to everyone you know for 30 years? What kind of a life is that?

Unfortunately when we run on all cylinders, riding the busy, our body unexpectedly shuts down. We get sick, our blood pressure rises, we develop cysts, cancers appear, our hearts become traumatized, we develop type 2 diabetes. The root cause of many of these physical illnesses is stress. Science is recognizing that the foundation to healing illness is learning how to manage and minimize stress.

Mindfulness meditation allows the space for us to slow down and get out of our fight or flight sympathetic nervous system, and ground down into our parasympathetic nervous system and is a vital tool for healing.

Kadam Morten compared starting a meditation practice to planting a seed. When you want to cultivate a garden, first you till the soil, clearing all of the rocks and thick roots creating a soft environment. Second, you work to nourish the soil. Using nutrients to make the land fertile for growth. I always think it’s interesting how we use compost and manure to cultivate and heal soil that has been worn out. Just think about that. The third and final steps are to take the action of planting that seed and nourishing it with water and warmth.

Using the seed analogy, Kadam Morten talked about cultivating the mind for meditation in three steps:

1. Remove whatever obstacles by purifying the mind.

2. Give strength and nourishment by filling the mind with positive energy.

3. Activate by receiving blessings which transform the mind and activate growth.

I think this formula is fantastic.

And….

I think about the diversity of seeds and environments that we have on our planet.

Some seeds will never have the opportunity to grow in spaces without obstacles.

Some seeds were designed to grow their roots deep and grow through concrete.

Other seeds live in the city and are constantly bombarded with dog pee, human pee, pollution yet STILL these seeds focus down and grow strong beyond the surface level reaching towards the heavens while grounding down into the earth.

Let go of “if only”, take a risk and just try. I loved Kadam Morten’s recommendations and I modify the teachings to fit my life.

Some folks have their basic needs met, so they have the resources to clear obstacles, nourish their soil, then plant the seed water it and grow.Some of us do not have that luxury.

Listen, you don’t have to have all of the obstacles in your life cleared in order to start a self care practice. I encourage you, whatever your circumstances, to begin the process of practicing Mindfulness. Be brave enough to be present. Listen, more than you talk.

Allow yourself space to just be instead of trying to be.

Ashe

J9

P.S. This summer I’m leading a virtual book club! The book for the summer is How to be Single and Happy: Science Based Strategies for Keeping your Sanity while Looking for a Soul Mate by Jennifer L. Taitz.

I read this book earlier this year after a year back in the dating world of NYC. It has been a lifeline to me being able to mindfully date while being unapologetically single, connected to happiness and joy. Join me…www.patreon.com/visableblackwoman

#rhythmtherapywellness #singlehappysane #virtualbookclub #summerreading #sciencebaseddating

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Attn: Black Women…Fill. Up. Your. Cup.

I’m noticing a trend on social media.

Young “woke” Black Women are going viral. Young Black Women are getting book deals and being featured on magazine covers. Young Black Women are getting paid to by white women to educate white women about race issues. Yet these same young Black Women carry their race based trauma on their bodies.

Ironically, many of the white women who are seeking this racial awakening are dating or married to Black Men while the You g Black Women who are doing the educating….are single and child free.

What does all of this mean?

I have no idea.

All I can say is…All Black Women are well served to fill up our cups…. first.

I see so many Black Women building up others and setting for less than, for themselves.

We black people, remember, America has always seen us, our bodies, our minds our creative force, our hair our skin our very existence, as a commodity. When our ancestors were enslaved they were literally commodities. During southern Jim Crow era and the post slavery period in the north, we were exploited as sharecroppers, union busters and low wage blue collar workers.

Traditionally we have worked three times as hard, in order to get into colleges and get higher levels of education, in order to get resources that the average middle class white person has access to because they fall higher on our skin color based caste system.

African American women (and men) focus on getting all of this education so we can get jobs where we must work at a high level in order to be paid less than our white co workers. With these jobs, we pay more to rent and buy houses and apartments in white neighborhoods for access to safety, better schools for our children, clean water, Green streets, access to real food, and get harassed in those very neighborhoods we pay top dollar to live in.

As we do all of this hard work we get health care where doctors treat us as if we feel no pain….

But wait …y’all know this already, so here’s my point.

As white Americans become more aware and about our collective racial trauma and more guilty about how white dominance is ubiquitous in our country, we, particularly we black women, must be mindful of our self care.

Ever notice how no one says follow Black Men?

Yep, it’s always on the woman to take care to educate to support…..everyone.

But strong women break.

Did you know 137 black women die every day of heart disease?

Did you know the average age of death for a black woman is down to age 60?

I just turned 49.

I see that a majority of the social media influencers who are making money educating “women” white women on racial inequality or are on the forefront of the body positive movements are in their 20’s and early 30’s are over 175 pounds.

Carrying a larger frame for a lifetime facilitates an even shorter lifespan. Add race based stress and the trauma of supporting everyone and that leads to an early death.

I think of all of the big beautiful black women in my personal life and in the public eye who left this planet in their 40’s.

All of the entertainers I loved who were big and beautiful died by the time they were 65 or younger.

Nell Carter- 54 from Gimme a Break

Mabel King – 66 from What’s Happening

Shirley Hemphill- 52 from what’s happening

And several other black women in the public eye who cared for others with their talents and died young not to mention the scores of black women in our own families who died young because they took care of everyone else first.

Yes educate others. Do good. Make that money. And take care of yourselves first. Future generations of black people need you to be alive to pass your wisdom on.

Step away from fad diets and everything out there that tells you you aren’t enough and at the same time that you are too much.

Move your body 30 minutes a day. Eat real food mostly veggies drink water and find love. Love yourself and allow yourself to be loved.

Find doctors of color to support you on elongating your lifespan.

Strengthen your hearts. Yes we all will die one day. But how will we live, today? How will we enjoy the quality of this living body right now?

Healthy Life is not to be lived only for the rich. There ARE resources for black women to care for themselves first.

Here are some of my favorite resources:

www.girltrek.org GirlTrek is the largest women’s health movement that centers black women’s self care.

www.patreon.com/VisAbleblackwoman – health coaching, self care and wellness resources that are assessable for spending levels.

Remember. As Audre Lorde said…”Self Care is a revolutionary act.”

Ashe

J9

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I love My family, and am so grateful for my smother.

I’m the youngest of 3. In the photo Mom holds me in her arms.

My parents were a team. Daddy worked and went to night school to get his degree when he retired from the military.

Ma managed the house worked part time jobs and she protected us kids.

My older brother and sister were 8 and 10 years older than me and when they were kids my parents were in the military overseas with a strong protective community. Even then, Ma was a lioness protecting her babies from racism bullies and creating a loving childhood.

During the Kavanaugh hearings Mom shared with me a story she’d never told me before. When my Mother was about 7 or 8 in the late 1930’s, after Sunday school, the Black Male Sunday school teacher ordered her brothers out of the room and tried to lift her skirt and touch her.

She kicked him screamed, and scrambled out of the room. Her brothers and her ran home. When she told her parents, they spanked her…for lying and spanked her brothers for supporting her.

She always remembered this injustice. That Sunday teacher was a pedophile and ended up abusing many young girls in the church and his daughters, one whom he impregnates and she bore a mentally challenged child.

The ENTIRE CONGREGATION KNEW what he was doing and no one said a word or did anything.

The community just talked about him behind his back.

Let that sink in.

This was the Jim Crow South. Black men and Women were being lynched for nothing. The police were not allies.

Black communities depended on solid family and community structures to survive. In order to protect the community, women and girls paid the price.

In the early 60’s Mom was married and in her 20’s, pregnant with my older brother visiting South Carolina with my dad on leave from the military she went to church with her family.

That pedophile Sunday School Teacher was still prominent in the church. Livid, she went up to him in front of the entire church and publicly named his attempted sexual assault. She named his years of abuse “Shame on you” she said. “And shame on this congregation for being silent.”

She never set foot in a Church again.

Her parents apologised to her for not believing her. After 10 years.

My Mother lived in a time where sexual violence towards black women not only happened at home, it happened by sexually deviant white men and boys in the south with power who would rape black women and girls and not ever be held accountable for their actions.

You see black women and girls in Amerikkka have always been sexualised.

Black girls with loving parents in the south were taught never to walk home alone because a white boy could catch them up rape them and get them pregnant.

Then that black girl would be sent north to avoid the shame and bear the child because of course the rape was her fault for being dumb. The child would be sent back south to be raised by the family while the girl stayed north worked and sent money home.

This is the climate my Mom grew up in. She chose sports, and as the eldest daughter she helped out with caring for her 12 sibling. And the family protected her and she protected them.

She got a basketball scholarship and left South Carolina when she was 18 and never lived there again.

As she raised us she gave us armor. I don’t ever remember having a big conversation about sex I just always knew about sex. When I had questions my parents told me the truth. They also told me that some men out there are dangerous and some want to hurt little girls. My parents did not sugar coat what would could to little black girls In the south. So they kept a protective eye on me and taught me to bite kick and scream talk back to adults and run if I ever was in a situation where a man tried to touch me.

But I was never on a situation where I was alone with a full grown man or boy. In fact I was rarely alone with grown women either.

My parents were strict and I was not allowed to play with anyone they did not know or had not vetted and was not a Jehovah’s Witness. My siblings and my Dad were also super protective of me…the baby.

I was the only black kid in my elementary school from k-4th grade in Northern VA so without me knowing my mother would stop into the school to check on me and watch the teachers. Mom made friends with the black female custodians and lunch ladies who were her eyes and kept an eye on me. She also was in touch with the librarian. You see we were Jehovah’s Witnesses and I spent a lot of time in the library during birthday parties and holidays. So the Librarian watched over me.

Women showed up who were my protectors. Even in middle school I’d be acting silly trying to make people laugh in The lunch line I’d turn around and my mom would be there in the cafeteria watching.

She was gps before there was gps.

At the time I hated her for it. I thought my life was boring that I was missing out. I was afraid of her. I thought she was stealing my youth.

I couldn’t wait to get out of the house I became an actor and went on tour.

The funny thing is when I was out on my own I knew how to protect myself. I had no problems saying no to men. I didn’t drink alcohol or do drugs because I did not trust anyone and I saw the effect of drugs and alcohol on the women around me. If I was out with friends I would always watch my soda or juice and keep an eye on everyone else’s drinks. I would leave early and would leave with another friend and make sure we called each other once we got home.

I taught my friends how to look out for one another.

I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 26. And when I did it was my full choice.

My smother gave me the greatest gift my emotional intelligence. My common sense. My knowing that as a black woman in a predatory world I can protect myself by being mindful enough to look out for danger and make choices to protect myself and listen to my intuition.

In my thirties I attracted a group of friends who partied and did coke and mushrooms. I never participated and left the parties early. I remember one time I met a guy at a club and we ended up talking for a long time. These friends left me in the club without checking on me. I turned around and they were gone.

These people are no longer my friends.

As of today, I’ve never been sexually abused, or assaulted. I am grateful to my smother and the community it took to protect me and grow me into the woman I am today.

Looking back here are the steps my parents took to protect their children in a world where children need protection.

1. Be present. My mom and sand literally showed up randomly at my school during school hours to keep an eye on me.

2. Be honest. As your child grows up and asks questions about sex be honest. Explain what the names of sexual organs are how they work and why they work the way they do. Use clear terms and only answer the questions the child asks.

3. Be authentic. Tell your child the truth about the dangers in our society and teach them how to protect themselves.

4. Be empowering. Allow your kid to say now to adults.

5. Trust your kids instincts. If a kid doesn’t want to talk to an adult or hug an adult DO NOT FORCE them to hug or talk to that adult. Kids are tuned into their intuition and we domesticate them out of their gut brain in order to conform.

6. Listen to your kids. Be aware. Notice any changes in behaviour. When I was going to swim class at dinner my parents would ask me how it was going. I was a talkative kid but when they asked me about swim I’d get quiet and give short answers. So my mom popped in one day randomly and saw the swim teacher had all the kids in the pool but left me the only black kid on the side of the pool on a bench. My mom went up to him and politely told him off and took me home. I never went to swim class again.

7. It takes a village. Have your community of caretakers and watch them like a hawk.

I had a friend who lived across the street. My parents liked her parents so she was one of the non Jehovah’s Witnesses I was allowed to play with. I came home after a sleepover my mom asked me how it was and I told her it was great. I told her all the things we did and then told her that the family took a shower together after we worked in the garden.

She asked if I went in too I said no. I waited til they were done cleaned the tub then took my shower. I never had a sleepover at that house again.

8. Lead with love and truth. Living life from a place of love provides so much guidance. We can protect sculpted by teaching them to trust their intuition and that yes they do have power no matter how young they are.

8. Allow your girls to be loud and speak their minds. Empower your girls to develop a bullshit meter. Don’t sugar coat the way many men have been raised in this society.

9. Educate yourself around technology. Look at the internet. Including porn. Know what’s out there and educate yourself around the impact what is portrayed on screen. Teach your kids what authentic love really is and the difference of what is portrayed on screen.

10. Always lead with love. I was given a blessing of parents who love me. No they aren’t perfect and I do have trust issues to this day when it comes to men and relationships. I do know that even now my parents who are in their eighties love me deeply. They STILL protect me. As do my sister and brother. My wisdom is grounded in love. And that love has enabled me to choose men who are not abusers. My exes were all men who treated women with respect and none of them ever abused me or cheated on me and I never abused or cheated on them. I am grateful I was raised with honor.

Having children is an honor and a responsibility . It’s okay to be a smother. Raise your kids…with honor.

Ashe

J9

Posted in #blackgirlhealing, gender & race, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Courage to Walk Away

(For clarity on identity, I am a cis- gendered straight woman. In this blog when I refer to “women” I’m referring to cis-gendered straight women dealing with cis-gendered straight men)

I’m not a fan of reality TV and don’t watch anything about “celebrities” and their faux personal/public lives. I use social media strictly to share joy and don’t look at much. But when searching for a yoga teacher I saw a post that one of the former members of Destiny’s Child had broken up with her fiancée of 9 months.

The post caught my eye so I clicked.

Looking at the comments section the women who were posted were beside themselves with grief.

In the 21st century, not having a husband seems to be the worst tragedy ever. God forbid you don’t have a husband AND you don’t have children!!! That’s a fate worse than death in America right now.

We don’t put any focus on men being husbands and fathers do we? Little boys aren’t given toys to model fatherhood. There are no magazines or websites for straight men who are planning weddings.

Men’s magazines and blogs focus on how to date as many women as possible, how to get a 6 pack of abs and guns galore, cars and how to have as many orgasms as possible, not how to be a husband or father. Men are taught they must have sex with as many women as possible to be great men with power and if they impregnate one of these conquests they blame the woman for not being careful. The responsibility is always with the woman.

I celebrate every woman and man who has the courage to end an engagement. I celebrate every man and woman who breaks up with someone BEFORE they bring children into the world.

Why?

Ending a relationship that isn’t working is the ULTIMATE act of self love and being a great citizen.

Here are some shocking statistics in 2018 regarding domestic violence in America according to the CDC and a blog http://www.socialsolutions.com/blog/domestic-violence-statistics-2018/:

Nearly 1 in 4 women have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime

Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime

In 15 states more than 40% of all homicides of women in each state involved intimate partner violence.

85% of domestic violence victims are women.

28% of families are homeless because of domestic violence.

81% of women who experienced rape, stalking or physical violence by an intimate partner reported significant short or long-term impact such as post traumatic stress disorder symptoms and injury.

4% of High School students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriends in the last 12 months.

Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to police.

When we teach young women and girls that the main source of happiness is being married to a man, instead of creating a world where we focus on loving ourselves unconditionally OF COURSE we get these results.

It amazes me that men are not held accountable in our society.

Let’s face it, for a woman at any socio-economic level, marriage is a stepping stone for having a life with abundance and wealth. Yes we live in a society where women are working more, but ALL women make less money than men in the workforce. So if a woman is the main earner in a relationship that couple is making less money than a couple where a man is the main earner.

I celebrate the women who got out of relationships BEORE getting pregnant by men with issues. I celebrate the women who had the courage and mindfulness to terminate unwanted pregnancies. I celebrate the women who are able to make the hard choice of saying yes to truth and reality and letting go of inauthentic relationships.

I’ve not been in a committed relationship since 2014 and the last time I dated someone seriously was summer 2016. Summer 2016 the man I loved contacted me to reconnect and I dropped my life and went to another state to be with him.

He was older but still just as beautiful and just as fucked up as he was when we were together in 1997 and even I, with all of the work I’ve done on myself, bought into the illusion of “The American Love Story” which is grounded in attachment.

Ladies no it is NOT acceptable to be with any man in order not to be alone. I don’t care if your biological clock is ticking. I don’t care what society has ingrained into your head. I don’t care that all your friends are married and talking about how wonderful their men are and how lucky they have to have found them. Guess what… luck is relative. Talk to that woman on a day when her man has crossed the line then see how lucky they feel.

If you are a woman who refused to settle, I celebrate you and encourage you to use your freedom in joy. We have one life to live on this planet, and regret is a waste of time. And if you are feeling lonely, know that emotions are like the weather,they will pass. Oh and one last thing, living “in the meantime” , waiting for your life to begin is not living. Your life is in progress right now so what are you going to do with your time?

When a sister ends a relationship with a man who is not serving her…reach out and celebrate her courage. Honor her for her courage to live her life on her own terms and please just don’t say things that encourage co-dependence.

Women…our lives do not have to revolve around men with penises. Go out and make the world a better place to be in, from a place of radical self love.

Give yourself permission to view your breakup as a break through and the relationships you attract from a space of self love will make the quality of your life…golden.

Loving yourself…is the Greatest Revolution.

Ashe

J9

Posted in #blackgirlhealing, Uncategorized, Year of Yes | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment