Black Women United!

Oh, 2020. 

You were supposed to be lit—a year filled with holidays on the weekends and a pivot into a new decade. You done went and got petty on us with that “lit” part. The world is on fire with a global pandemic, one of the most consequential presidential elections I’ll probably see in my lifetime, and back-to-back instances of racial injustice. (Lord, what did we do to strike this match?) 

It’s overwhelming to say the least. As a reporter in Pennsylvania, I followed all of the coronavirus cases since it touched down in the state in early March. I was scared and floated aimlessly in a mindset, questioning: “Can it really get as bad as they say?”

It was daunting, tallying the deaths and the increasing amount of cases for weeks. I started worrying about whether I would get it or if I could spread it to my family, specifically my mom who has Crohn’s disease. I read in a Forbes article that a recent poll revealed that 63% of Black women felt their mental health affected by the pandemic alone. Unfortunately for me, my pandemic anxiety made friends with the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and an overall sense of hopelessness for justice. 

I am the only Black woman in my newsroom and even though my coworkers are great, I knew none of them could fully understand how I felt. And, as a reporter, I had to set those feelings aside and continue to muscle through journalistically. I did get to write about my experience going to a Black Lives Matter rally with my husband, which was picked up by USA TODAY. 

Even with little instances of success, I knew that I wasn’t fully taking care of myself mentally. I stopped seeing my therapist. I was letting work weigh down on me. I was constantly worrying about things that were out of my control, and I stopped putting effort into my personal growth. I was frozen.

I don’t want this to be entirely about my shortcomings over the past few months, but it’s only fair to reveal the bad with the good. I’ve started positive and beneficial habits amid the chaos. I turn off my work phone when I am not on the clock, reminding myself that if it was REALLY that important, my boss or coworkers would call my personal cell. I also started looking at how I decide to spend my time and who I choose to spend time with. 

I give myself more time and grace in the mornings by listening to motivational videos first-thing, journaling, and reciting my affirmations. I’m learning what does and doesn’t work every day and if there’s anything that this unexpected time has taught me, it’s that I can’t afford to underestimate myself. I also need to make myself more of a priority when it comes to my mental, physical, and emotional well-being. I’m a work in progress and that’s perfectly okay. 

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Reflecting.

I work in healthcare which by default has triggered my anxiety in the midst of the pandemic. I had to go out every day, not missing a beat trying to dodge Covid. While non-essential workers were nestled in tight during quarantine, I was playing with fire. Did I choose this field? Yes, but I am still human. To add insult to injury, I watched George Floyd take his last breath on camera and I learned about Breonna Taylor’s tragic story which ended in her taking her last breath as well. I struggled maneuvering in the workplace as a Black woman in charge. Finally, I have to place the toxic cherry on the cake which is none other than forty-five and his election shenanigans. Actually, I have yet to disclose my true feelings and what I’ve been going through, until now.

It has truly been exhausting, shocking, and stressful. That’s even putting it lightly. Listening to people dismiss Covid and me hearing from people, seeing people firsthand who had it, was alarming. No, it was reckless. I was just praying that God would shield me, my family, and loved ones from the awful virus that was killing people and is still killing so many. I love helping people which is why I dived head first into this line of work. I love it, yes. People love to think that healthcare workers aren’t human, are invincible and fearless. I love my job. Covid still scares me. A little light at the end of the tunnel prevailed though.

I received a promotion at my predominately white workplace which moved me into a supervisory role. As a Black woman, it was a win for me and every other Black woman. It sounds great, right? Don’t get me wrong, I was elated. I felt accomplished and semi fulfilled. It came with more challenging tasks which I enjoyed. But it also came with heaviness, and me having to prove myself repeatedly on the frequent heels of injustices. Every time I was mistreated or misunderstood in the workplace, I was thinking about George and Breonna. Their stories were permanent fixtures in my mind along with so many others. Some days I would go home and cry. I remember thinking and asking myself “Why is my Black skin so inferior, offensive and ugly to them?” I know the answer yet it never stops me from asking the question. I was doing my best. I was the best. I am the best.

Dealing with my work struggles was one thing. The other thing was me watching CNN every hour, checking to see which circus act was up next. This election by far has been the most tumultuous, ridiculous, and historic one yet. Black Lives were on the line. Humanity, decency, equality, and a sense of normalcy was on the line. I found myself praying again to God, that he would bless the world with better leadership. Man, waiting on those results was beyond nerve-racking. I was nervous as hell hoping that my prayers, the prayers of many would be answered.

Ok I lied. There was a bigger light at the end of the tunnel. Joe and Kamala defeated the one who shall remain nameless here. My soul’s frown turned upside down and I was hopeful. Especially because Kamala’s historical win breathed new hope, life, and restoration within me and Black women alike. 
Plus, my podcast business was flourishing, and all was better. I practice way more self care and take more me time nowadays. I know my worth! Meditation is really great!

Keep up with me

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Website: www.linneablogsherway.com

Apply Black Pressure

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I’ve been trying to find the words. The right words. Then I realized there are none. I know the world is in dissaray right now, discord, and there is apparent division. There is so much tension, hurt, pain, trauma, struggle, and stress. When you witness a human being in distress, struggling to breathe, struggling to live, wanting to live, WANTING TO LIVE, NEEDING TO LIVE, calling out for their deceased mother, and another human being is kneeling in between life and death for them, it hits completely different. When another human being is applying pressure to a vital organ, not letting up even after the other human being is screaming out in pain, begging, pleading, and is in total distress. When you actually see a human being transitioning from life to death before your very own eyes, it messes with your mental. Now add race into the mix, and that piles on more mental trauma. Being Black in America is hard. Being a Black Woman in America is harder. Being a Black Man in America is impossible. Now, here we are in 2020 living in the land that is not free. Not for us. A land where Racism has been planted, and is continuously watered mostly by the white hands with invisible sheets. A land where WE are being preyed upon, stalked, and hunted daily. It is extremely sad that we have been reduced to the likes of animals. Then again, I’ve seen animals get better treatment.

How do we fix this ongoing problem? How do we come together? How do we get everyone to understand, and agree that Black Lives Matter? How do we demand to be treated equally? How do we fix a system that never works in our favor. The system is not broken. It just doesn’t work for us, and it was never meant for us. We need to infiltrate the system, and design a new one. We need to get into Media, so that we can control our own narratives. We need to become Police Officers, so that we can break the corruption, and brutality chains. We need to become Judges, so that we can preside over cases fairly, and justly. We need to become Lawyers, so we can try cases fairly and justly. We need to become Medical Examiners, so that we can perform proper, and thorough autopsies. We need to become Doctors, so that we can advocate for patients who cannot advocate for themselves, and for patients whose health complaints have fell on deaths ears. We need to become Farmers, so that we can grow our own food. We need to become elected officials to be able to change laws, that work in everyone’s favor equally, and justly. We need to become Architects, so that we can build places for our Youth. We need to become Investors to be able to invest in some businesses, invest in our communities, and programs that will render aide to our suffering, and broken communities. We need to learn to save our money, so that we are able to facilitate these investments. This will help us all in the long run. We have to infiltrate the system in order to change it, and break this despicable cycle. We need to sit on boards, so that we can make decisions, and so that WE can make changes! We need to present these career options to our children. They just might hold the key that opens up the door to permanent change.

 

BE WELL and STAY SAFE!

Inspiration

77FD409C-4426-428B-BC2E-92ED0A1A3B91After watching Self Made, a series that was inspired by the life of Madam C.J. Walker on Netflix, I felt more empowered and stronger. It also left me feeling like I’m not doing enough. Yes, I do many things now. However, I’m not going as hard as I could be going. I could be more ambitious and more productive. It just left me wanting more for myself, and wanting to be more for myself. I can always be doing more. How could I possibly conjure up any excuse as to why I can’t do something at this point? There are none. Madam C.J. Walker was extremely determined, convicted, and focused. Her level of passion, determination, and perseverance was something I had never witnessed before. Hell, I don’t see it on that level in myself yet. Yet it’s starting to feel like her attributes were transferred to me via the screen lol. She had people coming at her from every angle trying to destroy her dreams, her hopes, her accomplishments, and everything she worked so hard for. They tried to tear her empire down, and burn her legacy. But she still kept on going. She kept going! She inspired me in ways that are partially unexplainable. The fact that she was able to accomplish all that she had accomplished while factoring in her being born into such a discriminatory era, was a great accomplishment all on its own. She used her voice, and stood up to folks because she believed in herself. She invested in herself. Let me repeat because these are the main ingredients for a successful recipe. She believed in herself and she invested in herself. It is required!!!! It is necessary!! It pushes you. The minute it went off, I grabbed my spiral book, and began writing. I’m definitely going to be an Author. I’m going to revamp my Podcast, and continue growing that platform! I’m going to continue expressing my thoughts on this Blog. Then, I started brainstorming about some other projects I want to work on. I created a new vision board. I want to do SOOOO much more! No, I’m going to do so much more. I’m going to create, create, and create! I don’t want to work for anyone else anymore, and I want to live comfortably! I want to spend my days on this earth doing the things I love, and things I’m passionate about. So, I’m giving myself my word that I will do everything in my power to ensure that happens. I know I have LOTS of work to do, and I’m going to get it done.

Well, there is one last thing I’d like to touch on if I may. The series also shined a much needed light on a dark truth, that has plagued our Black Communities for centuries, colorism. Yes an ugly and sad truth. The “brown paper bag mentality” still exists today, even in 2020. Light skin vs Dark skin. Sisters, I pray that for those of you who’ve experienced hate because of the shade of your skin, know that you are beautiful, you are loved, and I pray that you heal from all hurt and pain. Sisters, I pray for those of you who think you are superior because you happen to be a shade lighter. You are not fully responsible for those thoughts that have been embedded long before you were born. But like the saying goes, “When you know better do better.” I pray that you realize someday soon that you too are beautiful yes, and that you belong to the same community. My hope is that you are healed from all hurt and pain as well. We can move more mountains together. For any of you who have been prejudged negatively and doubted because of the color of your skin, please know that you are more than capable, you are more than enough, and you can do anything you want to do. “Your only limitations are the ones you place on yourselves.” Now get to it and go work!!!!!

Bravo Octavia Spencer for portraying this role so eloquently, strongly, and effortlessly! You are a superb actress and you’ve made waves in the industry!!! You’ve inspired myself and countless others.

Thank you Queen Madam C.J. Walker for setting a prime and beautiful example!!!!!!!! Thank you for opening up the doors for us. Well done.

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Be Well!!

 

LINNEA!

 

WHO IS SHE?

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I may not be your cup of tea nor your cup of Vodka.

I’m a full, and distinct glass of an acquired taste. My words can command your ears with one stroke of my well read tongue. My mind works in unpredictable, beautiful, creative, and mysterious ways. My smile will bring light to where light no longer exists. I am hypnotic. I can arouse your soul into a trance. Don’t sleep on me baby. I can awaken the soundest sleeper. My body will delight you, and ignite you. I wreak a sexy impressionable havoc. I will swallow you whole, and spit you out.

I am the only force to be reckoned with.

I am your kryptonite or I can be your dynamite.

I may not be your cup of tea nor your cup of vodka. But someone is going to drink from my glass…

What say you?

Deep

My soul is the keeper of my words. It tells me what to write, what to say. I can’t control what it concocts. I move when it tells me to. I move wherever it tells me to. When it compels me, I listen. The sound is deep. I am its vessel designed by intricate parts. Lined with complexities and substance. Are you receiving this? When my soul starts speaking to me, the noise outside begins to suffocate. The world outside no longer exists. The feeling is divine. My soul speaks a language that I understand more than my native tongue. It’s solid. It recognizes the good and the bad energies. I rely heavily on my soul to lead me and I am in tuned. If you want to get to know me, you must bring depth to the table and match my soul at eye level. Then, I will let you know if we approve or not.

Soul Mate

 

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My eyes latched onto to yours, and I got a glimpse of your soul. Our souls connected and created one. The energy we share is electric. I can feel when your vibe is off, and you can feel when my vibe is off. When our minds meet, the dialogue is eclectic. I get lost in your company when we’re together. The outside world doesn’t exist when I’m in your sensual midst. It’s just me and you. When we make love, my soul moans, and becomes detached for a moment. You make me climb into my feelings in unfamiliar places. I don’t recognize this kind of love. My soul yearns for you when we part ways. You’re the one. You’re my only one. My soul mate. 

 

Have you met your Soul mate yet? 

Fix Me

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To be completely honest, I once considered having plastic surgery because I hated my body. After having three children, my stomach wasn’t as flat as it once was. I gained a considerable amount of weight, and I just wanted zero parts of my new body. At the time, I didn’t fully understand nor did I realize just how much my body would change after giving birth to three children. So, I decided that plastic surgery would prove to be the perfect fix. I was thin and fit once upon a time, and I wanted to get back to that. I wanted to get back to that body quick, and scrolling through social media didn’t help. I used to wear cropped tops all the time. My stomach used to be my most favorite part of my body. I was always showing it off and I wanted to be able to do that again. I wanted to wear bikinis on the beach. I just didn’t feel sexy, and I wanted to feel sexy again. I didn’t believe I could be sexy again or wear some of the same things until I fixed my body. My body wasn’t pretty and I hated what I saw in the mirror.

The internet is filled with false expectations, and misinterpretations of a woman’s body form. They lead you to believe that all women should have flat stomaches, small waists, and big butts. They want you to believe that once the baby is born, it’s all about the rapid bounce back or the snap back. It’s misleading and it has never been my reality. The truth is that all of our bodies are different, and respond differently after giving birth. There’s no need to rush, and there is nothing wrong with real natural bodies. Social Media has some of us questioning whether a woman’s natural body is real or not simply because so many women are getting surgery nowadays. It’s hard for some to believe the same body built in the operating room, can also be built in the gym. It can be done and it has been done. I was so close to jumping on that operating table because I was insecure, I fell into the social media trap, and I just felt unattractive. Then I woke up, and I thought about it more and more. I thought about it deeper. I had to ask myself some very imperative questions. Why was I doing this? What are the side effects? Is it going to fix my insecurities? Is it going to make me feel better? Is it going to make me pretty? Is it going to make me more desirable? Is it going to fix me? When I answered these questions, I knew that I couldn’t go through with the surgery. I couldn’t. Yes plastic surgery would’ve fixed my outer appearance, but it wouldn’t fix my struggles within. I had LOTS of struggles buried inside of me, and it would’ve only served as a temporary mask. I am in no way knocking women who’ve gotten or who are thinking about getting plastic surgery. Do whatever makes you happy! But you should know that plastic surgery is not a cure for insecurities, or a lack of self love and self validation. You can sweep your shit under the rug all day, but it’ll still be there under the rug, waiting on you to deal with it. I’m saying if you’re going to do it, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. No I didn’t go through with the surgery, but I did change my eating habits. I did go to the gym. I also started being more kind to myself, more patient with myself, and I started my long journey to self love. It sure wasn’t a quick process nor was it easy. However, it was worth it!!!

 

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Merry Cookies Part 2

 

 

4A76C500-0DA8-4BE7-9714-A5AD23A03EBE.jpegHe was on the floor and his face was red. I kneeled down to check his pulse. His heart was still beating and he was still breathing. Thank God!! But he was definitely out cold. Just as I was stood up, my vision got blurry. I didn’t  know what the hell was happening, but it wasn’t right. Everyone else had already left I guess. I looked around the room to see if I saw Daren, Mike, and Merry Nicole. They were no where near in sight. I tried to get to my purse because my cellphone was in there. I needed to call someone for help. I left it at the table. I could barely see where I was going. Then, I tripped over something. It was something big and I fell on my arm. It was surreal and I felt like I was dreaming. I wished it were a dream because turns out I tripped over Mike. Mike was laid out on the floor just like Jay. His face was as red as Rudolph’s nose. I slowly inched my way closer to him to feel for his vitals. He was still alive. I was afraid at that point. I didn’t understand what was happening. I was confused. At that moment, my arm was hurt badly. Jay and Mike were both unconscious. My vision was fading more and more. I managed to find enough strength to get back up, and I was determined to make it to my phone. It was so hard because I couldn’t see which was weird. Finally, I made it to my purse and picked up my phone. I started dialing out and my phone flew out of my hand, and across the room. I screamed so loud!!! I screamed from the pits of my soul. I was beyond scared now. My vision was completely gone, and I started having a full blown panic attack. My heart was racing, skin was clammy, my breathing became rapid. I felt like I was dying. Then a faint voice whispered to me, “It’s ok” “It’ll be ok.” I’m still panicking. The voice gets louder and says “You’ll be fine”, and I immediately recognized the voice. It was Merry Nicole. I called out to her and begged her to help me. Her response shocked me. She said, “No.” “What is going on Merry Nicole and Where is Daren?”, I yelled!! I felt a hand massaging my hair. “You’re going to be ok. It’ll wear off soon enough. I just needed to see who was worthy.” “What? Merry Nicole What are you talking about?!”, I angrily asked.

“Just listen to me for a moment. I needed to find the one. The virgin. Daren is the one and you can no longer see him. He is invisible now like me, for I was only a figment of your vivid imagination. My name is not Merry Nicole. It’s Nia. You see…my virginity was taken away from me and I was murdered. I’ve been stuck in between worlds ever since. My soul can’t rest. It gets lonely here, and I was tired of being lonely. So, I decided to find a virgin that I could spend eternity with since my virginity was so brutally taken. I used to work in the same building that you all currently work in. In fact, I was murdered there. I allowed myself to be seen. I observed and planned for years. The chocolate chip cookies were drenched in poison and filled with specific ingredients to draw out the virgin. The sugar cookies were filled with a milder poison. Daren proved to be the one. He didn’t survive my cookies, and now I have someone to spend all of my eternity with. My soul can rest now. The poison will soon wear off of you, Jay, and Mike. You will not remember me or anything at all.”

Merry Cookies Part 1

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Every year, Merry Nicole cooks the best batch of chocolate chip cookies for the Annual Holiday office party. This year, I just knew it would be no different. Her cookies were quite popular. She could bake her butt off! Merry Nicole didn’t have much of a personality, she was odd, shy, and her wardrobe was hard to stomach. She was always fully covered head to toe. She wore dark colors, glasses, and flat shoes. Her hair was always in a messy bun. She was pretty though. She had naturally beautiful skin, and beautiful dark brown eyes. Her behavior was awkward at times. I mean…there’s always one or two at each workplace lol. But she more than made up for it with those cookies. So, I’m at the party and the place is getting packed. Not too packed because there’s not many of us at all. The party was always held at a small hall which was perfect for us. Merry Nicole is nowhere to be found which is strange because she always shows up extra early to set up her cookie spread. Two hours passed by, and she still hadn’t arrived. The party started at six. It was now eight, and still no sign of her. I asked around to see if anyone had called her. Daren from our Claims Department tried, but she didn’t answer. I decided to have a few glasses of white wine, and started dancing the night away with my other co workers. Things were getting wild! Sharon from our IT Department was on top of one of the tables, doing a mild striptease number lol. What else was new lol? Mike from our Call Center was having a dance off against Jay from Maintenance. Jay was killing it! The strobe lights were going. GOGO music was playing in the background from a stereo. It was a great time!! Everybody was free and enjoying one another. It was the one time we all could let loose. I was about five glasses in and in comes GUESS WHO? The music stopped playing, and I almost didn’t recognize her. It was Merry Nicole. She had on this little black fitted dress with black heels. Her hair was let down and filled with spiral curls. She had these perky c cups, a firm bottom, a very nice body. She was slim thick. I wanted to form words, but I couldn’t. We all were in a state of shock, and couldn’t believe our eyes. I’ve worked with this woman for eight years, and I never really saw her. That night we all saw her. Not only did she come in looking stunning, she was pulling a cart with 2 medium sized containers of cookies piled on! After we finished gawking at her, we all finally conjured up some words. We all greeted her, and told her how beautiful she looked, and how we couldn’t wait to indulge in her delicious cookies. She wasn’t a woman of many words. Needless to say, she didn’t say much. She pulled her cart up to the table, and began to place the cookies on the table, still in the containers of course. When she was finished, we all bum rushed the cookies. Daren, Jay, and Mike bogarted their way to the front which was rude! I expected nothing less from them! They all grabbed a handful each of cookies. Oh and did I mention these fools are the only men in our office, and they are all equally handsome? Yes indeed! So back to the party. Finally, it was my turn to get some cookies, and I couldn’t contain myself. Only there were no chocolate chip cookies left. She made the same cookies faithfully every single year, and they were all gone. However, there were what looked to be sugar cookies left. I asked her what happened to all the chocolate chip cookies, and she said the men took them all. The men AKA the fools aforementioned. I was annoyed mostly because I was a creature of habit. You know how it is when you have your mouth watered, and set for something? Yes that was me. Anyways, I decided to try the sugar cookies even though I preferred the other ones. In all honesty, they were so delicious. They were VERY delicious, actually. I ate about three…four…ok I ate six!! At this point, I was full and everyone was winding on down. Merry Nicole was across the room talking to Jay, Daren, and Mike. I was heading over to be nosey because she didn’t talk much, and I wanted to hear what she was saying. Then, all of a sudden hot flashes came over me, my stomach was turning, and I just didn’t feel well. I needed to go take a bathroom break. I ran down the hallway, and ran into the bathroom. Thank goodness the bathroom was empty. I rushed into the stall, and threw up, and I felt so much better. I collected myself, splashed water all over my face, washed my hands, and took a deep breath. I made my way back to the party. I turned the corner and I saw Jay on the floor. He was…

 

To be continued tomorrow…..

Black Kings

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Dear Young Black Kings,

You should know that you are a threat to society. A strong threat because they fear your mind and its capabilities. If used properly and to it’s highest potential, it can surpass the likes of MLK, Malcolm X, Matthew Henson, Dr. Charles Drew, and other great Kings who came before you. Use your resources wisely, Young King. You should know that using your resources in conjunction with your mind equals an intelligent cocktail, that will prove to be explosive, and they know this. They know that once you discover your power, you can awaken the masses, and they will move to your beat. They will listen to you and rise up, and hang on to your words of wisdom. You will be unstoppable. Young King, the streets have not a care nor an ounce of love for you. You have a target on your back, so you must move different. You must move smart. I love you! We love you! Your daughters need you and your sons need you. Your Queens need you!

 

With Love,

L I N N E A