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Stop Calling Little Black Girls Fast

 

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The belief that children should be nurtured and protected doesn’t always extend to all children.  A report published  by the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality showed that adults were more likely to assume that black girls were older, more independent, more responsible for their offenses, and more knowledgeable about sex — basically, more adult-like — than white girls of the same age.  From a young age many black girls are told not to wear certain clothes, not to be in front  of men and are often oversexualzed and called “fast” or other derogatory terms.   Black girls who are sexually abused are often led to believe it’s their fault because they’re “too grown”.  This is an attitude which is unfortunately believed by many people not only in the Black community but in the larger society.

As early as age 5, many adults perceive Black girls as knowing more about sex and not needing as much nurturing as White girls of the same age.  Black women of all ages are generally oversexualized and in the past it was believed that Black women couldn’t be raped.   This extends to black girls being told they’re somehow at fault if they are molested.  It’s very important to nurture and love Black girls so they don’t grow up thinking they’re not worthy of being loved and cherished.   Black girls are just as entitled  and  deserving of equal treatment and protection  as white children.  They deserve to just be children.

Healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse

 

 

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Approximately 20 % of girls and 10 % of boys have been sexually abused before their 18th birthday.  The statistics may be higher as many people don’t tell anyone about being abused as a child.  If you were sexually abused it’s possible to heal from the trauma you endured as a child.

Everyone’s healing journey is different. It is important to find someone to talk to about your experiences and feelings, either someone you know and trust, or a therapist.

If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, know that you are not alone.  Many survivors feel that recognizing and speaking about  what has happened to them is a vital component in the healing process.   It is also important to have positive coping mechanisms in order to cope with flashbacks , memories, triggering situations and days when you feel extra anxious, depressed or overwhelmed.  Some healthy coping mechanisms are exercising, journaling,  meditation, spending time with safe people, eating comforting foods in moderation and talking to a therapist.  Practicing positive self care is very important in the healing process.

Healing can take a long time.  Take all the time you need and don;t feel you need to rush or “get over it”.    Remember being sexually abused is traumatic and you need to take time and be kind to yourself in order to heal.

It’s Ok to be Angry Sometimes

 

 

 

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Why does it seem like everyone gets to be angry, and be angry publicly, but Black women?  Black women are expected be restrained and many of us are made to believe we  have to be  mindful of our tone and mannerisms because as soon as we speak up, we’re seen as a threat.  In order to pacify people, we often become hyper vigilant with our behavior so we won’t be perceived as “The Angry Black Woman.”  I’m here to tell you it’s ok to be angry and as Black women there’s plenty for us to be angry about, remember we have to deal with racism, sexism and many other problems, no one should blame us for being angry sometimes.

I’m not suggesting we should walk around in  state of perpetual anger and misery, that is very unhealthy for anyone.   However if something is upsetting you, express your feelings because holding it in will only make you feel worse and eventually you will let it out and maybe lash out at the person who wasn’t making you angry in the first place.

Holding in your angry can  also cause lots of emotional stress and also physical health difficulties.  Holding in anger can increase anxiety, depression, your blood pressure and cause you to develop ulcers.

It’s best to express your anger after you’ve had a little time to cool down.  Expressing anger when you’re still very upset can cause you to be rageful and that often won’t get your point across.  Sometimes it helps to write down why you’re angry or maybe take a step back and count to ten to calm yourself down.  Once you’re calmer speak  directly to the person you’re upset with,  explain why you are angry, explore the  ways to fix the problem and suggest a way to prevent a similar thing  from happening again.

Remember not holding in your anger can actually help you to live a happier and healthier life.

 

Importance of Friends

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Friendships  have a major impact on your health and well-being, however it’s not always easy to build or maintain friendships.

What are the benefits of friendships?

Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends also help you feel less lonely.

Friends can also:

  • Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
  • Boost your happiness and reduce your stress
  • Improve your self-confidence and self-worth
  • Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one.

Why is it sometimes hard to make friends or maintain friendships?

Sometimes as adults it’s  hard to develop new friendships or keep existing friendships because of increased responsibilities,   moving away or just having a busy life.   Developing and maintaining good friendships does take some  effort.   Remember even though it may take effort the comfort of having good friends is worth it.

What are some ways to meet new people?

  • At social gatherings
  • At work
  • At classes
  • On social media

In order to meet new people, you have to go to places where others are gathered.   The more activities you participate in, the more likely you are to meet people.  Remember you may not become friends with everyone you meet,  but don’t give up.

How can I nurture my friendships?

 

  • Be kind.  Think of friendship as an emotional bank account. Every act of kindness is a deposit into this account, while criticism and negativity take away from the account.
  • Listen. Ask what’s going on in your friends’ lives. Let the other person know you are paying close attention  to them.  When friends discuss difficult experiences, be empathetic, and offer some comfort.
  • Be Open. Build friendships  by opening up about yourself. Being willing to disclose personal experiences and concerns  deepens your connection.
  • Show that you can be trusted. Being reliable and dependable is important in strong friendships. Follow through on plans you’ve made with your friends.
  • Make yourself available.Make an effort to see and talk to your  friends regularly, and to check in with them.

Remember, it’s never too late to build new friendships or reconnect with old friends. Taking time  to make new  friends and strengthening your old  friendships  pays off in having  a brighter outlook for years to come.

Staying Sober During The Holidays

 

 

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The holidays can be a difficult when you’re trying to stay sober. This is  especially true for people who have recently stopped drinking or using drugs.  . Here are a few ideas on how to help you with your sobriety during these times.

Meetings

If you attend meetings regularly,  keep attending them

The holidays can be a stressful time when trying to “fit in” seeing family, buying gifts and all of your regular activities. But if going to a meeting is helping you stay sober than it is important that you continue going.

A good idea is to have your meetings planned out. That way you can make your schedule around your meetings and be prepared. This makes it much easier to get to all the places you need to without getting stressed out.

Parties

If you plan on attending parties , try to bring a friend who will not be drinking.  If you make the decision to attend a holiday party, always remember that you can leave at any time.  Don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings or what people will think.

Seeing the Family

Families are often a trigger for many struggling in sobriety. Make sure your family knows where you stand with your sobriety. If you find yourself struggling, call a sober friend or sponsor  and talk to them about it.  Don’t ever feel guilty if you feel you need to remove yourself from a family situation. This may be uncomfortable for you in the short term, but it is important to look at the big picture.

Talking to Someone

Talking to someone is always a good idea.  No matter what the circumstances, having someone to talk to can change your perspective.

Remove Expectations

The holidays bring with them a variety of expectations, whether they be on you or on someone else. Don’t let these presumptions deter you in any way. You can’t pretend to know anyone else’s situation and you can’t expect them to know yours. Keep it simple and enjoy the season.

 

Help Someone Else

 

When you make someone else’s life better, you will be filled with a feeling of joy and purpose.  You will be amazed at what this does for your own life.

Enjoy the Season

Try and enjoy what’s going on around you. People are festive this time of year and instead of resisting that feeling, embrace it.  Joy spreads.

Stay Away from Things that Recall Bad Memories

This is the time of year for reruns of old movies and Christmas songs that may jar certain feelings. You know what is going to stir up these emotions.  Try to stay away from  people, places and things which may cause you to use.  .

Down Time

The holidays provide a lot of down time. Don’t use these days to dwell, instead try and find a way to help someone else, go to a meeting or do some shopping for yourself or someone else. Find something productive to do with your time.

Use Your Resources

There are many tools at your disposal to stay sober, many of which I listed here, use them.  Help is there  but you just have to reach out.

Tips for Avoiding Holiday Drama

 

 

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Watching TV and movies often gives us the idea of a perfect holiday where everyone gets along and it’s all joyful and peaceful.  This is very rarely the case in real life.  I’ve complied some tips to help you avoid the almost inevitable  holiday drama

 

1. Don’t expect to heal old wounds

Don’t use holidays as a time  to repair old childhood wounds, with difficult family, keep conversation simple. Don’t  get drawn into their drama. Don’t apologize or defend yourself.  Stay near the people you like and that like you and  don’t forget to breathe.

2. Don’t expect people to change

Don’t expect people to be any different from who they are, whatever or whoever irritated you last year, will probably do so this year.   Hoping people will be different this year just sets you up for disappointment.

3. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries

If someone tries to push your buttons, remind yourself not to personalize it. How people act and behave is a reflection of who they are and has nothing to do with you.

4. Plan ahead

Set limits ahead of time about things like how long you might stay at a family function.  Try and have some go-to coping strategies in mind before you get there.

5. Control what you can control

Whether your family has  hurt you or regularly offends you,  try to use holiday time to become an even stronger person.  Remember no one can touch your thoughts, so think what you want, laugh to yourself and give yourself compassion.

6. Look for joyful moments

Remember this is real life not a  movie.  Throw away the idea of achieving perfection, but create moments that are special to you.

Depression and the Holiday Season

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Feeling down during the holidays can be hard especially since everyone seems so happy.  Believe it or not many people who you seem happy during the holidays are also stressed and depressed.  So if the family gatherings, the endless parties, and the shopping get you down, you’re not alone. However people with depression need to be especially careful when coping with holiday stress. . Here are some tips to reduce stress and hopefully  find holiday joy.

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Emotions

1. Have modest expectations. Don’t worry about  what the holidays are supposed to be like and how you’re supposed to feel.  Don’t worry about holiday spirit and take the holidays as they come.

2. Do something different. If the  prospect of the usual routine fills you with dread rather than  joy try not to  surrender to it. Try something different to get into the spirit.

3. Lean on your support system. During the holidays, take time to get together with your support team regularly or at least keep in touch by phone to keep yourself centered.

 

4. Don’t assume the worst.  Don’t start the holiday season anticipating disaster. If you try to take the holidays as they come and limit your expectations you may enjoy them more.5. Forget the unimportant stuff. Don’t run yourself ragged just to live up to holiday tradition. Give yourself a break.

6. Volunteer.  Consider taking time to help people who have less than you. Try volunteering at a soup kitchen or working for a toy drive.

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Family

7. Head off problems. Think about what people or situations trigger your holiday stress and figure out ways to avoid them.

8. Ask for help .  People may be more willing to help out than you expect; they just need some guidance from you on what to do.

9. Don’t worry about things beyond your control. You can’t control others but  you can control your own reaction to the situation.

 

10. Make new family traditions.  While it’s nice to keep old traditions, you can also add new traditions for the holidays.11. Find positive ways to remember loved ones. Holidays will remind you of the loved ones who aren’t around anymore, try to do something to celebrate their memory.

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Parties

12. Don’t overbook.   Don’t say yes to every invitation.  Think about which parties you really want to attend.

13. Don’t stay longer than you want. Going to a party doesn’t obligate you to stay until the end.  Stay as long as you can and leave when you are ready.

14. Have a partner for the party. If the prospect of an office party is stressful, talk to a friend and arrange to arrive  and leave together.

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Shopping

15. Forget about the perfect gift. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed,  don’t worry about finding the absolute best gift.   Remember: everybody likes a gift card.

16. Shop online. Save yourself the inconvenience, the crowds by doing most of your shopping online.

17. Stick to a budget. The cost of holiday shopping can grow very quickly,   try to stick to a budget.

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Self-Care

18. Stay on schedule. As much as you possibly can, try to stick with your normal routine during the holidays.  Disrupting your schedule  can make your mood deteriorate.

19. Exercise. While you may not feel like you have the time to exercise during the holidays, the benefits are worth it.

20. Eat sensibly. When you’re facing a dozen holiday parties and family gatherings between now and New Year’s, it’s hard to stay committed to a sensible diet. But try. . On the other hand, don’t beat yourself up if you go overboard some days.   It’s not a big deal. Just get back on track the next day.

21. Try a sun lamp. As the daylight grows shorter, lots of people feel more depressed and sad.  A sun lamp may help to improve your mood.

22. Give yourself a break. “The holidays can make some people dwell on their imperfections, their mistakes, the things they’re not proud of,be  gentle with yourself. Remember it  is the season of kindness and forgiveness, so  save some of it for yourself.