LadyBuddha Speaks

Education, politics, spirituality, healing, love, life, and all that jazz.

You’re Invited. Again.

Hi there! I sent a note out weeks ago, but in case you missed it:

Seriously, what are you doing over here, when you’re missing all of the action over at cocostudio?

Subscribe to my new blog and get caught up on the latest posts like this one. All you have to do is type your email address and click that little brown box on the right hand side.

Come on! What are you waiting for?

New day, new space

So my birthday is tomorrow. And that is the official launch my newly updated digs on cocostudio.com.

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 7.06.59 PM

cocostudio is an old space that I revisit from time to time, and now is one of those times.

If you’ve enjoyed my writings over here, please go subscribe to my blog over there.

Although I have a few categories featured (love, sexual violence, education and a few others), I plan to write the same sorts of things over there as I did over here. In other words, a little of everything.

With the exception of the most recent post or two (coming soon), everything else is already there waiting on you!

See you on the other side!

 

Letters to my little sisters.

A week from today is my 40th birthday. *shimmies*

I’m very excited about this milestone. Aside from seeing Ailey, I’m not sure what else I’ll do to commemorate it. I want to go dancing. Salsa, like Ailey’s Revelations, is high on my list of favorite things.

As we were planning this week’s episode of Whiskey, Wine & Moonshine, Sojo realized this would be our 40th episode. We decided to call it 40 Before 40. It’s literal, in that it’s the 40th before I turn 40 (Ms. Smart and Sojo are a tad younger). But it’s also a play off bucket lists and things people want to accomplish before milestone birthdays.

I hadn’t created a 40 before 40 list, but I thought it might be enlightening if we discussed what we have accomplished thus far in life, what we have planned for the next phase, and what we would tell our teenaged selves if we could send some love to our past.

Sharing encouragement and life lessons with younger women is something I’ve long wanted to do. I have particular areas in mind, and some of my current planning is grounded in this work.

Our episode was an interesting one. Unfortunately, Sojo wasn’t able to join us (shout out to Kedar), and Queen Neen from the In Deep Show was there in her stead. We talked about body image, romantic relationships, sex, finances, health, and career.

For the seasoned readers among you, what have you learned that you would like to share with the younger generation? What do you have planned for the next phase of your life?

We Have Known Boys (But None Have Been Bullet-Proof).

Originally posted on stacia l. brown:

Image

Jordan Davis (1995-2012)

I have known black boys, known them in airless classrooms where the scent of their too-strong cologne worked overtime masking the cling of their sweat to skin and hormones. And I have known their scratching, grabbing, tugging at the belt loops of too-big pants, have involuntarily memorized the plaids and imprints on their boxers.

I have known boys like underripe fruit, a pit of eventual sweetness at the core of them, encased in a bitter pulp, toughening from too little tending or underexposure to light. I have watched them become principles in death when they were not finished learning what it would mean to be principled in life.

I have known them nursing dreams with slimming odds of realization, heard them reasoning with the wardens behind their private walls, scraping at the doors some white man’s stubborn shoulder intended to force closed.

Listen. You have heard them…

View original 407 more words

Revelations

Every Valentine’s weekend, the magnificent dancers of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater command center stage at the fabulous Fox. I’ve gone perhaps once every five years or so since I was a little girl. I don’t remember much about my first show other than I was there with my mom and one of her friends, and I was quietly awed about what I’d seen.

Since then, each time I’ve returned, the beauty, power and magic of Revelations is what I most long to see. Years I don’t go, I pacify myself with YouTube.

When I’m lucky, I find older videos, sometimes 20 years old, and watch them alongside the newer ones. The dancers’ athleticism and grace, and the pictures they create on stage are awe-inspiring.

Last year I hadn’t moved back to Atlanta by the time AAADT came and went. Still, I was disappointed I didn’t go to a show. I missed them. It’s been too long, I told Blue. I’m turning 40 next February. I have to go see Ailey next year. An early birthday gift.

Fox AileyThis year, just in time for the second great thaw of 2014, we went! I have rotating list of favorite things, and Revelations has a permanent place in the top five. I’m not alone:

More people have seen Revelations than any other modern dance work, and it has been enjoyed by over 23 million people in 71 countries across six continents.

If you have the opportunity to experience Ailey in general and Revelations in particular, don’t miss it.

Can’t build your temple without laying bricks

Today was a cardio day, but yesterday was weights.

I got down.

Weight lifting is interesting for me. On the one hand, I love seeing progress. I can lift the weight with less effort as time goes on and see real strength. My muscles get sculpted. I lift and carry heavy groceries in a single bound.

On the other hand, it’s hard for me to get psyched up to do it. A run in the early morning? No problem. My favorite aerobic workout before sunrise? No sweat. Weightlifting, however, requires some mental gymnastics to get motivated.

But yesterday? Crushed.

I do a full body workout with a barbell and plates. Ten tracks including warm up, squats, chest, back, biceps, triceps, lunges, shoulders, abs and cool down.

When I first started the program (Les Mills Pump), I wasn’t on the road, so I was able to follow it as outlined each day. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been traveling. That and other circumstances as of late led me to take it easy with my workouts. I found what amounts to a comfortable challenge for each track and stuck with it. For weeks.

In the past couple of weeks I decided if I was going to hang out at these easier weights, I’d really focus on form, and I have. But it was time for more.

Yesterday I felt energized, motivated, and ready for a challenge. It reflects an overall mood I’ve been in the past few months – one of action and forward motion. I’ve not yet blogged about my theme for 2014 (see 2013, 2011) but it definitely incorporates movement. I’ve started new projects and made strides in new areas.

And so yesterday, when it was time to get that barbell out, I knew it was also time to kick it up a notch. I increased weights on all working tracks. I worked harder than I have in a long time and it felt great! I was proud of myself all day and flexed my muscles in every mirror.

One of my favorite things about exercising is learning the lessons my body teaches. Yesterday’s lesson? If you keep doing the same things, you’ll find yourself in the same place. Progress requires effort. Lay down those bricks and build that temple.

When you become stuck in a rut
of apathy, your life stagnates,
leading to setbacks.
~Daisaku Ikeda

Quote of the day

You must never slacken in your efforts to build new lives for yourselves. Creativeness means pushing open the heavy door to life. This is not an easy struggle. Indeed, it may be the hardest task in the world. For opening the door to your own life is more difficult than opening the doors
to the mysteries of the universe.
~Daisaku Ikeda

No School, No Lunch

From NPR: When cold snaps and blizzards shutter schools, kids miss more than their daily lessons. Some miss out on the day’s nutritious meal as well.

Blue and I talked about this when the metro area shut down two weeks ago. Some folks were home when horrendous traffic and inclement weather collided in Atlanta, but thousands of others ended up stuck in the worst jam they’ve ever experienced.

People slept in their cars or abandoned them and hoofed it to nearby friends, restaurants and stores. But there were hundreds of students who had no such options – instead, they ended up at school over night when their buses were unable to maneuver the slick hills home.

For many parents, this may have been a nightmare. Many, but perhaps not all. For a few, knowing their child is at school with access to heat, running water and food, might be a comfort.

Over half of Georgia’s students live in poverty. I was a classroom teacher in what was then a middle class section of metro Atlanta. Even so, there were students who couldn’t always bathe at home and used makeshift facilities at the school, students who would’ve been cold without the socks, blankets and coats donated, or who were hungry but for free breakfast and lunch. We were never quite sure about their dinner. This was in the early 2000s and the poverty rate has increased since then.

So here we are, a mere two weeks away from the last winter storm, and kids are once again out for several days in a row. Parents with the resources to stockpile groceries did so, as evidenced by the numerous pictures tweeted from throughout the metro area earlier in the week. But still we wondered: What about parents who can’t afford take off work and are still expected to go? What about those who can’t stock up on food?

Summer Lunch
Hunger isn’t relegated to winter. When school is out for the summer, many students go hungry without community support. Growing up, I spent a good portion of my summer break in Savannah. In the afternoons, a truck would pull up to the park across from my grandmother’s house, and a throng of kids would crowd around. What are they doing? I remember asking once. Getting lunch, she explained. Grandma didn’t elaborate aside from explaining it was a special program and we already had lunch here. But given what I now know about some of the demographics of the area, I wonder if it was a free lunch program.

As The Washington Post has reported, one program in Tennessee retrofitted a bus carrying sack lunches and delivered free meals to kids in impoverished areas.

With Georgia’s slick, hilly roads, and kids who simply don’t have the wardrobe to brave the elements, we understand why schools and businesses close. But those in other quarters do wonder if keeping schools open isn’t the better response:

When schools close because of extreme cold, especially in areas where many families struggle to pay for heat as well, Alexander wonders whether closing schools is the best way to go.

“It seems to me the best place to be is in school,” she says. “At least we can get the kids a hot meal.”

Read the NPR article here.

Show me the money

Today I received the following email from Florida A&M University:

FAMU Board of Trustees Schedules Emergency Called Meeting

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Board of Trustees has scheduled an emergency called meeting for Thursday, Feb. 13 at 4 p.m. The general subject matter of the meeting is to consider the employment contract of President-select Dr. Elmira Mangum.

The public may access the meeting by dialing (877) 884-1929. The conference ID number is 23698072.

For more information, call (850) 599-3413 or visit,

http://www.famu.edu/index.cfm?BOT&AgendasandMinutes

A similarly worded release was issued on January 30, 2014 for a called meeting the next day. Earlier this year, FAMU announced its selection for university President:

Contract negotiations are ongoing, yet despite her robust qualifications, the Board of Trustees has had difficulty agreeing on the details of her contract. Mangum was initially offered a base salary of $425,000. Tallahassee.com reports this is $100,000 more than James H. Ammons’ initial salary in 2007.

Her base salary would, “put her in the upper third of Florida’s 12 state university presidents, according to analysis by Florida Trend magazine. However, her total compensation will likely put her more in the middle or lower end of the pack,” says the Tampa Bay Times.

But some members of the Board wanted to cut the offer to $385,000. A divided Board did agree to some tweaks in compensation, but ultimately voted against the base salary reduction 7-5. One of the suggested changes included the removal of a $1000 per month car allowance.

Any changes in the contract are reviewed by Mangum and require the Board meet again as negotiations continue. She has placed a counter-offer for a university sponsored vehicle. The Board will continue their review on Thursday.

If negotiations are successful, Mangum’s three-year tenure begins April 1, 2014, with an option to renew.

From silence to action

One of the insidious things about rape culture is silence. Survivors of sexual assault remain silent, fearing retribution, shunning or disbelief. Community members remain silent unsure of how to respond. Is she lying? Is {insert celebrity or well-liked neighbor here} the type of person who would do something like that? The perpetrator is often silent. Sometimes because he scarcely believes he is guilty, or perhaps to keep a low profile in preparation for the next victim.

But just as there is silence, there is often sound. We hear the voices of perpetrators, maintaining innocence in some cases; claiming she deserved it in others. Voices of community members who support the offender and/or berate the survivor. Voices of advocates who offer comfort, righteous indignation and activism for survivors.

And sometimes we hear the voices of survivors, telling their own stories and demanding to be acknowledged. They do it for legal reasons. To agitate. For peace of mind. Or in the case of Tamara Green, to lend credibility to another survivor:

A lawyer told me I would be crazy to come out after 20 years and accuse him [Bill Cosby]. But I waited and waited to see who would back this girl up, and nobody else would. The Cosby team started smearing her, making her seem petty and loose and cheap.

I saw how nobody believed her. She had trusted him, and he had drugged her and then assaulted her, just like what happened to me. I saw that nobody was going to take him on, so I felt like it was my duty to risk my neck and stand [up] for all the other women who’ve been assaulted by him.

Read the Newsweek interview here.


Suggested reading: The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action by Audre Lorde. 

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