Be You. Uncompromised. 100%
NO FEAR NO SHAME Removing Myths that are Holding You Back
Picture A World w/o Domestic Violence
The Making of NEVER AGAIN Mahogany Jones motivation for rapping about Domestic Violence
These Powerful Survivors Share Their Stories of Life After Overcoming Abuse
I R-E-S-P-E-C-T +RESPECTABLE MEN SALUTE
#PUREPurple Movement http://goo.gl/bdyBON
Whatâ€™s going on & How You Can Be A Part
Get the CD inspiring the Movement
Available Online Now!
Magazine is a part of A PURE Movement, launched by Mahogany Jones and PURE Vol. 1, a compilation CD to celebrate women and address women’s issues. As part of the movement, PURE Magazine goes behind the music with the collaborators and goes deeper into topic from the CDs.
Publisher Get Jayne Consulting, LLC For Mahogany, LLC Editor in Chief Jayne Marie Smith Assistant Editors Harriett L. Smith Kwantesia Williams Mahogany Jones Steve Johnson Writers Angela Hill Aseneth Parker Jayne Marie Smith Kalyn Risker Keivu Knox Mahogany Jones Naomi Knox Robert Charles Shari Smith Tarra Jackson Photographs by Covers by Abby O. Editorials by Jonathan Coleman Piper Carter
All of a sudden, domestic violence became a news headline. The very thing people laughed at in the cartoon, The Family Guy, now had people appalled and opinionated. Turns out, all the things people expressed confusion over are what made up the verses in Mahogany Jones’s song NEVER AGAIN. Most people fall into perpetual bad relationships because they haven’t seen any good ones and don’t even know what a RESPECTABLE MAN looks like. So this issue of PURE Magazine is all about the main component to any healthy relationship: RESPECT, with each person having respect for themselves and each other. We’ve also planned some events for Domestic Violence Awareness Month we’ll highlight.
CONTACT US! APUREMovement@gmail.com www.APUREMovement.com Twitter: @APUREMovement
Word from the Editor
By Jayne Marie Smith
“We will DEGRADE AND DESTROY ISIL.” I wondered at the words our President had spoken. What did he mean by degrade? As a lady growing up in the hip hop generation, I understood the word degrade easily, but in this context of strategic attack, I had a hard time grasping the meaning. Eventually, however, the mysterious words melted into the background of my thoughts. That is until one morning when I awoke with full comprehension drawn from personal experience. Oh, Life was degrading me! I had been in spiritual warfare. For months, as I spent all of my time and strength preparing PURE’s comprehensive domestic violence campaign that included this magazine, I was rebuffed on every side. Rebuffed, for me, is a severe form of rejection that brings to mind bumpers on a pool table or bowling lane. It’s something that not only blocks you from following through with your destination, but actually resists you so hard it sends you hurling in a completely different direction. It doesn’t send you back down your original path. It’s off-putting and sends you way off track. The harder you approach from one direction, the more forcefully you’re thrown in another – or so it seems. That’s how violently I felt my plans were rejecting me at times. That’s how cold the shoulder felt when I was reaching out to connect with my plans. I wasn’t just shut down, I was sent packing with an icy stare from my goals. After months of day after day victories being swallowed up by disappointments, I finally felt overwhelmed and defeated. I was literally sitting on three flat tires! I had a broken cell phone! I couldn’t get my stranded mother home from another state! I spent all of my money on the previous emergency, and no one was in a position to help. Cue The Crow Anthem from The Wiz. I couldn’t win, couldn’t break even, and I couldn’t get out of the game. That’s when I realized what it meant to degrade the enemy.
I don’t say any of this to bring attention to myself. Instead, I want to bring attention to the word “degrade.” More than just insults or humiliation, it is the constant grinding down of someone’s hope, esteem, and will so as to break them. It’s the sinking feeling of defeat that comes before an expected defeat. It’s the emotional consignment to one’s apparent, looming ill fate. It is one accepting the enemy’s vision of them as a loser and their opposition’s assertion of dominance. And it’s painful! Literally, “Degrade” means to “treat or regard someone with contempt or disrespect” or it can mean to “break down or deteriorate chemically.” I think it’s not “either/or” but “both/and.” In treating someone with contempt and disrespect – done enough times, done severely enough, done incessantly and strategically, it can lead to a break down and deterioration of the very basis and make up of that person. I mention all of this because this isn’t too far off from what happens during domestic abuse. Abuse is not just some mere occasional, haphazard slip of bad judgment. Everyone has a moment of anger sometimes where we might say or do
something that we regret. Who hasn’t yelled “I hate you” to a sibling only to be pained by the pain we’ve caused. Then we relent, repent, and don’t ever do it again because we cannot stand the thought of hurting someone. That’s the difference between carelessness and callousness. Anyone who cares can be careless when disappointed, hurt, thoughtless or afraid, but an abuser callously walks out of an elevator, drives down the street, or tells you it’s your fault. Mission accomplished. Sure, an abuser can say sorry and promise to never do it again. However, rarely do they feel bad about what they did, rarely do they accept responsibility for their action or reaction, rarely does their explanation ever come close in scale to their behavior, and never do they ever keep their promise to never do it again. They do it again – the exact same type of thing, because it is an effective way to break down a person’s will and get their compliance.
emotional well-being and balance at the loving sacrifice of the victim’s own feelings. The victim doesn’t choose to feel this way. The victim has been conned and groomed to feel this way. The abuser convinces the victim that they, the abuser, is the victim of circumstances, abuse from others, or unreasonable behavior from the victim. Therefore, the victim should do everything they can to shield the abuser from being hurt or feeling angry. It doesn’t matter if there was violence in the abuser’s home growing up and no one ever taught him or her how to handle anger. No one is responsible for maintaining someone else’s inner peace. You cannot dive in front of every shopping cart that might ding his or her car and set them off. It is their responsibility to behave like responsible adults, process their anger, and control their temper. Can you provoke someone to anger? Of course, but there’s no way to provoke someone to violence or better yet manipulation. Nothing that you could ever do is deserving of abusive treatment. To say your abuser’s actions are justified, is to say he or she has used a reasonable amount of force in selfdefense against you. Think about that. What could you forget, say, or do that would need defending against in that way? If it’s so justifiable, would it be okay if your child reacted that way in school to the exact same incident? It’s not.
That’s why abusers abuse. Don’t confuse an explanation for a reason, and don’t confuse a reason for an excuse. There is no excusing abuse. An abuser may have been abused or witnessed abuse, however, they drew the conclusion that abuse is an effective way to respond to what you don’t like and get what you want. An abuser may have had a hard day - or a lot of them, but rather than taking it out on his or her boss, the bully chooses to regain a sense of power or esteem by Understand abuse is complicated. Why do abusers robbing someone else of theirs. That’s not only abuse? Why do victims stay? There are tons of abusing you, that’s abusing your love. questions people struggle to understand, or Abuse is strategic. The words, the looks, the wrongly assume they do. Ending abuse requires intimidation, the demands, and the violence are all safe intervention, reeducation, and a willingness to designed (consciously or subconsciously) to change let go of manipulation or survival mentality. It also someone (usually a caring person) from the inside requires those on the outside to be a safe place of out. It’s way more vicious than bullying, because it escape, protection, healing, restoration, and combines the tactics of bullying with manipulation. empowerment. In this issue of PURE Magazine, we’ll look at how to be those things in order to The reason why victims stay is because the abuse safely intervene and restore what’s been degraded. has worked. Long before an abuser raises a hand HAVE A N O PI NION? C O NTACT US ! or an object, he or she successfully manipulates E-mail: APUREMovement@gmail.com the victim into feeling responsible for the abuser’s Twitter: @APUREMovement
By Mahogany Jones The 80's, The 90's, and the last fifteen years
stacked with empowering anthems that celebrate and testify of just how amazing
they deserve is a
we as women are in all of our glory.
song that toots
Whereas, for the last few decades we
have been hard pressed to identify songs
that cheer on and applaud great men. Although sometimes I wonder where did all the good men go, much less "great", I know they exist. When I think of the men in my circle I call brother, or my pastor, or local community activist, who are involved fathers,
entrepreneurs, and just devoted friends who don't attempt to take advantage or blur the lines, I know there are truly all around good dudes out there, the least
â€œRespectableâ€? is my salute to all the men that remind me that waiting will be worth it. It's my sonic encouragement to let brothers know, the women in your life appreciate you, need you, and
"Respectable" is my list of what I'm looking for- so ladies with that match making streak- if you know him, and
he's single and loves Jesus - wink, wink - hook a sistah up!- lol)
Is he perfect? Nah but his quirks I can work with
Beautiful is your mind
Solve problemsQuicker than a mathematician A man on a mission
A man of submission Yielded to the will of God, even when it's extra hard
And most of your muscleâ€™s not found in your physique Cause on any given day of a normal week But somehow you manage to keep your eyes Focused on God and not in between thighs You despise compromise so let it be recognized
Entrepreneur or civil engineer Blue collar scholar - doesn't matter the career
You the man of the year and I'm so sincere Crisp, Clean Cut ’
Cause you’re fully aware ’ Or how many shares
of stock you’ve got
You’re so secure
that makes you hot
You’re so MATURE
A real man taking care of real man biz – ness! Yes, you’re so blessed
I love the fact that you take the time to connect
With the love of your life who’s the God we respect
And it’s Christ that you live for and strive to reflect So Authentic Awesome
DON’T YOU FORGET IT.
By Jayne Marie Smith
Interview with Kamal Smith the Creator/Producer of
In the tradition of The Cosby Show and Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Kamal Smith seeks to set out examples of Black men that inspire and stick with you. His show is called Because We’re Men. PURE Magazine set out to learn what that phrase means. ******************** PURE MAG: Congratulations on Season 2! In addition to the network offering you another season, you chose to do some fundraising for this season. How did that feel? KAMAL SMITH: Very exciting, but it’s still a work in progress. I’m still editing season two and the first episode just aired. At first, I say, it was an ‘explosional’ meltdown. I was so excited when they called me and said, ‘How about a season two?’ Then, two seconds later I thought: ‘Oh my God, I have so much to do! I have so much writing to do. It has to be bigger and better.’ All that excitement was wiped away in one minute because I thought about what I had to do. Then, when people actually started to donate… I never take my success for granted [as though] people are supposed to watch my show. The fact that people would give one dollar and come to my rescue, come to my aid, is humbling. PM: So, what did all of that tell you about what you’re accomplishing with your show? KS: I think I’m inspiring [people] with the show. That’s what it’s for. When it says, “Kamal Smith presents,” in whatever I’m presenting, it’s to inspire and encourage. I want to show people you can get through anything. Typically, in all my work there’s always some type of message at the end. I try to write on relevant, realistic situations that people go through to be inspirational. PM: What shows left their impressions on you growing up?
KS: I watched everything! I was a TV junkie! ALF, Golden Girls, Family Matters, Family Ties. [Michael J. Fox’s character] Alex P Keeton is actually one of my favorite charters in a sitcom. He was just so cool. I watched Three’s Company. My mom can probably say, “It’s no surprise to me [that he now has his own sitcom] because he used to watch everything!” When I first thought of the show, I had no clue how to write a sitcom. I thought back to all my favorite shows Doogie Houser, Cosby, Fresh Prince – and I looked at the most successful shows on air at the time – Friends and then The Office. You’ll probably see these shows in BWM. PM: That’s almost like an ingredient list. KS: Exactly. Like an ingredient list. It’s like a pinch of each one, put them in a pot and add my own story line. They were winning Emmy’s at the time. If you’re going to learn from something, learn from most successful shows on air. PM: So, let’s talk about stereotypes. Your main character, Max, seems to be the opposite of your PM: How do you feel about the examples of black men black male stereotype. He seems to be a good on TV programs today? Do you feel there’s enough guy. Were you intentional in how you wanted to balance compared to how the news portrays black portray him? What were going for? men? What space do you think your show fills in KS: Max is a gentleman. He’s that neutral showing Black men? [ground] between crazy with Q and egotistical with KS: I’m not happy when I think about black Lance. He’s the big brother. He’s the programming as a whole, because it’s overrun by understanding one. He’s the support. But he’s reality TV shows that are just display pure ignorance. hurt. He’s hurt from season 1 where he breaks up To me its just unfortunate the Black people are with Delicious’s character. So in Season 2, he’s watching, particularly for black young women. dating a lot - not that he’s dog, like Lance. He’s You have The Game, Real Husbands of Hollywood, you rebounding. have Bill Bellamy’s Mr. Box Office. I don’t have a PM: Your character is not a womanizer even problem with those shows. They don’t degrade though he has women throwing themselves at themselves. I can cope with them. But there’s not him. He never exploits that. Why did you choose to many African American Sitcoms. I would want to hope have Max say No? BWM fills a void by what’s not there [alluding to the KS: Balance - for Lance. I didn’t want to make it absence of ignorance]. I can’t think for a show that’s seem like all males are dogs [like some other like BWM. I tried to write something original and create sitcoms]. And for the comedy. Cynthia, who’s a space where we all can laugh. My style of writing is played by Lynnette Patrick, is hilarious. The universal. If you were to close your eyes and someone comedy is the tables are turned. She’s a sexual read the script, you wouldn’t know if it was for a black harassing boss who’s a woman. What’s Max audience or white audience. I tried to make my supposed to do? Tell? That’d be to joke of the characters universal, not just buffoonery. When I think whole office. Men can’t do that. You get men who of Real Husbands of Hollywood, the average working sexually harass women all the time. I just though men can’t relate to that. I’m not putting anything down, it’d be a different twist. Really it’s loosely based I’m just comparing it to where we fit in. off my career at Chrysler Financial. In my experience though, if a woman wants a man,
PM: People try to say men are simple or so easy to understand, but I point out that men have this code. It’s not that simple. Can you explain what the man code is? What do we women need to understand about your code? I think there’s a lot of codes. It’s not one single, particular thing. There’s lots of them, It’s almost something you can’t describe. You just know because you’re a man. For example: The football game is on. It’s Sunday, 1pm. It’s man time. You’re not going to bring your girlfriend unexpectedly. You know better. It’s a code you grow into. No one has to say it. We just all know. It’s kind of like how you girls can talk to each other without saying a thing.
PM: So is that where the title of your show comes from?
she’s gong to get you, especially if she’s attractive. Unless he’s married, he’s not going to say no.. So it’s just funny. PM: So, still in the same vein of stereotypes. Your character is seen journaling and writing poetry at the end of the episodes. Some guys might not see that as manly. Why do you have Max do it? KS: It’s really just the way to express all my talents. It’s nothing new. In all my plays I try to express all my talents: Singing, poetry… Honestly, It’s something I stole from Doogie Howser. I was huge fan. I loved how he would wrap up and put the moral of the story in his computer. For me, I have a love poetry and I love writing poetry so I thought it was cool way to summarize.
Do you think other men could benefit from taking the time to journal? KS: I don’t know if poetry is the answer for every man, but everyone can benefit from finding a way to collect their thoughts in whatever way is natural to them even if that’s playing a game of pool. To me poetry is just that. I just chose poetry because I like that. It’s not unmanly for a man to display his thoughts at the end of his day and reflect on how he wants to better himself. Even if it’s just exercising at the end of the night. He’s scanning his thoughts just so he can live a better life, so he can improve self.
KS: I have No idea where I got the title. It just came to me. I was thinking about the premise… I don’t know, it’s just something catchy, easy to remember, it fit the theme… It kind of epitomizes the whole show: Why do we do the things we do… Because we’re men. If a lot of women would just understand that rather than think we have rocket science answers. We don’t know. It’s just because we’re men. It’s the answer to everything really.
How to do
Sweetest Day Most magazines are all too eager to tell you how to spice things up in the bedroom, but what about the kitchen? They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Obviously, this is terrible advice for open heart surgery, but it may be spot on advice for keeping a happy home. This Sweetest Day, PURE Magazine asked one of our Culinary Queens what she cooks to keep her man happy at home. She was happy to out dish some easy recipes.
Sweetest Day Cooking for me is a life line. It’s also another way for me to express my love for my husband. I’ve been married to Keivu for 5 years, and they have been amazing. He has sacrificed so much for me and I try to pay him back one meal at a time. In the way of creativity, I can’t draw and I can only sing in the shower, so when I cook I feel like I’m giving him the world… and he responds like I’m giving him the world. With love, I prep and create and the results from it are priceless. I love the way he responds to the art I make with food. Now my children try to emulate my cooking. It is a joy!
-Chef Naomi Knox
Not as popular as Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day is primarily celebrated in Midwestern states on the third Saturday of October, just the right season for cuddling. It’s actually not a new holiday! It began in 1922 by an Ohio candy company to give treats to those who were often overlooked or forgotten. Today, it’s popularly treated as a holiday to spoil the man in your life. Why fight it? If he’s good enough to be called your man, he must deserve it.
-- ROASTED CHICKEN -My husband loves to eat so it’s not hard to please him with food. One meal that really hits the spot at home and is a house favorite is Roasted Chicken Drums, Blanched Asparagus and Mashed Sweet Potatoes. It’s a simple meal that takes about an hour to prep and cook. Most people today are looking for ways to eat great and stay healthy, well you got it with this meal.
To Prepare Roasted Chicken
Ingredients: 1 pk Drumsticks 1lb Asparagus 2 Lg Sweet Potatoes 1 pt or qt of Heavy Cream (as needed) TT (to taste) Cinnamon TT Brown Sugar 4T Butter
Seasoning Ingredients: 3T Kosher Salt 3T Ground Chipotle Chile Pepper 3T Ground Sage 3T Granulated Garlic Powder 3T Ground Onion Powder 3T Paprika 1 ½ T Sugar 1T Parsley
Directions: Seasoning Mix all of the seasonings in a shaker and set aside for later.
Preheat oven to 425°. Remove the drumsticks from the package and clean well. On aluminum foil, season one side of the drumsticks with the seasoning in the shaker. Place the chicken in a baking pan seasoned side down and season the other side. Place the chicken in the oven and let roast uncovered for 45 to 55 minutes.
To Prepare Sweet Potatoes Peel and cut into medium cubes and put in a medium sized pot. Add water fill just about to the top. Bring to rapid boil and then reduce to a medium boil. Let cook until knife tender. In other words if a knife goes into it easy it done. Drain the water and mash. Now if you have a blender or and immersion blender use those. Once mashed add 2 tablespoons of butter, and gradually add heavy cream until the potatoes are to the consistency that you are looking for. Season with the cinnamon and brown sugar to taste.
To Prepare Asparagus Cut the asparagus in half and set aside. Toss the bottom end of the asparagus in the trash. Bring water and 2 tablespoons of butter and salt to the water. Bring to a boil, once boiling turn off and drop the asparagus into the water. Let sit in the water for about 2 to 3 minutes and then remove and place on a plate or a napkin covered plate to allow access water be removed. Plate everything and enjoy!
-- STRAWBERRY & MANDARIN ORANGE SALAD -Ingredients: 2c Arugula 2c Baby Spinach leaves 1 Cucumber, thinly sliced Fresh Strawberries, leaves removed, thinly sliced vertically Chopped pecans for garnish
Dressing Ingredients (Servings:10) ¼ c 1T Dijon Mustard 1T Apple Cider Vinegar ¼ c 1T Orange Juice 2T 1½ t Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 ½ t Honey Salt Black Pepper 5oz. Gruyere, frozen
To Prepare Citrus Dressing: 1. Combine Dijon mustard, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, honey and in a medium bain. 2. Using the immersion blender mix well. 3. Gradually add the oil. The dressing should thicken. 4. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Set aside until needed. Spinach and Arugula: 1. Remove the stem from spinach and discard. Wash and dry the leaves.
Finished Product: 1. In a medium mixing bowl add a few dashes of salt, a dash of pepper, and a 2oz ladle of the dressing. 2. Using tongs add two helpings of the salad mix. Toss. 3. On a plate place 3 cucumber, 3 strawberries. Place the strawberries on top of the cucumbers in the open spaces. 4. Mound the spinach and arugula on top of the cucumbers and strawberries. 5. Add the mandarin orange slices strategically on top of the leaves. 6. Using a cheese grater generously add the Gruyere cheese. Serve Note: Can use shredded parmesan cheese
-- STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE -Makes 10 Servings
Equipment: Pastry bag, medium mixing bowl, large mixing bowl, sauce bottle, saran wrap, saucepot, blender, cutting board
Ingredients: 20 Sponge Cake Rounds 2lb Strawberries 1c Sugar 1c Heavy Whipping Cream 4oz Cream Cheese 1t Vanilla Extract Âź c Sugar Âź c Granola
To Prepare 1. In a saucepot add 1lb of strawberries roughly chopped and sugar. Let cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Put mixture in a blender and puree. Put in a container to cool.
2. In a medium mixing bowl combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until completely smooth. 3. In a medium to large mixing bowl add heavy whipping cream. Mix until cream is just about thicken.
Finished Product 1. In a sponge cake round, using a piping bag, pipe out the whipped cream. 2. On top of the whipped cream place one strawberry bottom down. Inside the strawberry place another strawberry split open upside down.
4. Stir in the cream cheese mixture and continue to mix until thick. Place in a tootsie pack and refrigerate until needed. 5. Cut the leaves off of the strawberries and split. Do not cut all the way through.
Thank you Chef Naomi Knox for sharing these delicious crowd pleasers from your recipe trove
The New Sexy: Contemporary Ladies & Gentlemen How often have we heard (or said), “There are no good men?” Refusing to believe that, PURE Magazine sought the world-renowned etiquette impresario, Enitan Bereola, author of “Bereolaesque: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette Book For The Urban Sophisticate” and his latest offering, “Gentlewoman: Etiquette for a Lady, from a Gentleman.” Mr. Bereola was kind enough to talk manners, relationships, and the power of a gentle woman with us.
What Made You Feel There Was A Need To Write These Books? I didn't feel there was a need. There is a need. It's just a matter of one being either complacent or complaining, but never doing anything about it. To earn the right to complain, you actually have to present a solution or be a part of one. You can’t just sit back, observe, point fingers, and sip your coffee. So, Instead of complaining about society, I preferred changing it. I want to see society in a better light. You turn on the TV and see reality shows, you step outside and go to the grocery store or wherever you go, you see there's clearly a lack of etiquette and sophistication. Not to say this world has to be stuffy, but just some common graces and treating your neighbor with respect goes a long way.
So, What Is A “Contemporary Gentleman?” A contemporary gentleman is one who adheres to a specific set of morals, but who also has balance. Often a gentleman has been seen as a corny guy or stuffy guy who maneuvers through the world uncomfortably. The gentleman has always had bad PR. There needed to be a rebranding. I wanted to allow society to see him in another light so young men would aspire to be this guy. When I would open books, the only gentlemen they would describe wasn’t really
inviting. There was nothing sexy about it – I mean according to the masses. It was the lifestyle I’d always lived, but I lived it my way. I want to allow men to maintain their own identity while simply applying some concepts from the book and seeing how they can drastically change the course of their lives.
So, It’s The Sexy Spin On Manners? What makes it sexy is that you maintain yourself. There’s nothing sexier than being yourself - that goes across both books. Anything less, you're cheating yourself, and you’re cheating God.
How Can A Woman Distinguish A Gentleman From A Smooth Operator/ guy who says and does the right things with the wrong intentions? That’s difficult. There's always going to be that few that utilizes it for their gain and time is really the only indicator. Eventually the sheen and the shine withers away and true colors do show. You see more of this concept in the ladies book. To determine whether a man is serious or not about his intentions, you have to take your time with him. Don't allow a certain “thing” that may be required for marriage [you know “that thing,” Lauryn Hill euphemism for sex] in your relationships and friendships. During the process of the friendship or courting - make it very casual. Some men can't hold
out through that process and their true colors do come out at the end, when it's so called too late. I believe that discernment, prayer, and having a true understanding of who you are combined with time will work in a woman's favor to seeing what a man’s intentions are.
So, Part B: How Does A Lady Attract A Gentleman And Stop Attracting Everything But One? In my opinion, you attract what you are and you attract what you truly desire. If you always have something negative to say about all of your ex’s, you may want to hold up the mirror and enjoy the view. Often, the common denominator is the individual. It really requires an internal change. It requires for one to understand the core of who they are and Whose they are, what they are worth and why they exist. Until you come to that realization and fall in love with yourself, you’ll still continue that same cycle. Gentlewomen is a love letter (and so many more things) that allows women to fall in love with themselves again or for the first time. So, you‘ll be able to date properly or just maneuver through life properly… and attract a gentleman. Of course, if you’re of quality, you’re always going to get those who desire you across the board - the knuckleheads and the
If you’re of quality, you’re always going to get those who desire you across the board the knuckleheads and the good ones.
good ones. It’s like a Rolls Royce. People from the hood want Rolls Royces. They can’t afford it. People who are wealthy want Rolls Royces, but they get it. People who can afford it get it. When you see yourself in that light, you’ll understand who you should be paired up with, and the type of person who desires that [quality] will then be attracted to you. He will have those qualities that a lady wants and she will have more options [than just the knuckleheads].
You Don’t Hear The Term Very Often. What Is A Modern Gentlewoman? A gentlewoman was very difficult to describe. I always had her in my head, and I knew her when I saw her. I understood it, but it was difficult to translate, because when God created woman He knew exactly what He was doing! My little phrase doesn’t do it justice, but here’s how I would describe her:
Is It Possible To Be A Gentlewoman And An Independent Woman? Society is filled with independent women, but generally it’s not by choice. I have a chapter called “Sometimes the King is a Woman” and it's based off a James De La Vega quote. The point is sometimes if you look around, there’s just a lady and there are no men to wear the crown. But it's important to be honest about independence. It's usually something that happens to you and not a lifestyle choice. I know why women embrace it, but it's their responsibility to be truthful about it. Let your daughters see your tears and witness the pain that accompanies independence. It’s can be dangerous to maintain a brave face because their daughters are watching and can carry that same negativity that’s rooted in independence within their own lives. I think it's important to show both sides of the story because… most kings get their heads cut off. Sometimes independence is freedom, or sometimes it’s just pure self-reliance.
Why would you be with someone you’re afraid to have interdependence with? A gentlewomen can be independent. However, when a gentlewoman enters a relationship of value, I don't think on either side, man or woman, independence is recommended. I would suggest interdependence. Interdependence is depending on one another. Sometimes, women have issues with that. Submission kind of falls into that. I believe in submission on both sides. Women sometimes have a problem with the word because it's rooted within so much negatively, but why would you be with someone you're afraid to be submissive to? Why would you be with someone you’re afraid to have interdependence with? We should all be with somebody that we love to trust their sense of leadership and guidance. That should be like the blue print of a relationship. That should be the first thing you look at. Forget the list of “6 feet, making 6 figures and has a 6 pack.” How about “I can rely on this person. I can trust them. I trust their sense of leadership and direction.” That should be first on the “list.” So, yes a woman can be too independent within the realm of a relationship. Of course, you should maintain independence initially, but, as you begin to grow together and trust this person, you should start to rely on interdependence.
What do you think are some timeless rules for men and women when it comes to dating? There are a lot of concepts... I don't really like to use rules. “Rules” kind of confines your experience. Everyone dates differently. I have a lot of concepts and suggestions that would benefit you and what your goals are, but some people can be in a relationship and date around and function and they're fine. So, that's why I don't like to call them rules, because everyone operates differently, but there are general concepts. I have a chapter called “Royal Courting” and it goes over a ton of those concepts. It allows you to maneuver within them in your own way. I can't see anyone disagreeing with them because they are kind of general. They all have to deal with ensuring that you are taken into consideration. I think the overall thing is you being taken into consideration. A lot of times people can get into relationships and take themselves out of the equation - which is what you're supposed to do if you're married. Then, it's about them, and for them, it’s about you – and, of course, God is at the forefront so all bases are covered. When you’re selfless and give of yourself and the other person is selfless, you’ve got them and they’ve got you and God’s got you both, but people apply that concept to boyfriend/ girlfriend relationships. The problem is that they're kind of in a relationship with themselves because the other person - usually the man - isn't following that same guideline. So the woman is kind of giving up everything and neglecting herself and the man is consuming all of that and mainly caring for himself. So, she's just kind of left out there. Never neglect yourself in a relationship or you get a scenario where a woman is giving her all and
getting nothing in return. It happens so frequently. I always ask the question: If you’re in front of a vending machine and you're kind of hungry and you want some Doritos, and you put a dollar inside the machine and you don't get your Doritos, would you then go in your purse and pull out five dollars and try to get some more? If that's doesn't work, would you empty your entire wallet, and start swiping your debit card and running through your entire account trying to get those Doritos when clearly the machine is not giving them to you? Of course your response is no. Then I say, “Why would you give a man your all when he's giving you nothing in return?” The concept there is “Apply the same common sense that you apply to your everyday life to your relationships.” There's a bunch of analogies like that in the book that hold up a mirror to the woman - and the man - and allows them to see themselves. .
The film A Love That Hurts released September 2013 and is now on DVD and Digital release. The plot follows a newlywed couple who experiences trouble and tragedy in their marriage. Through good advice, bad advice, issues with friends and family, crossed boundaries, and real life, real tough situations including a miscarriage, they eventually learn they have to love through and fight through the pain. Most importantly, they learn it takes Christ’s help. What started as an interview about the film with one of the film’s creators, Timashion Jones, quickly grew to include poignant relationships advice and sage wisdom about dealing with hurt.
What made you want to make this film? We live in a society where marriage isn’t as valued as it should be. Growing up, I didn’t see healthy marriages. I always had this image in my head of what marriage should be, but no one in my family looked like that. Instead, I saw a lot of people let a lot of insignificant things break up their marriages. We wanted to show that even though we all experience pain in our relationships – there is no perfect relationship – but there’s a way to keep going, keep pushing. My wife, Taivia and I do marriage workshops called Engineering Healthy Marriages based on our engineering backgrounds and utilizing Biblical principles. We teach people how to handle problems and go about finding solutions. We use the film now as a tool in our marriage conferences.
Who are your main characters? Our male lead is named Chris. He’s a hard worker and a good guy, but he does he some things in the wrong way which causes some problems. Eventually, though he does learn from his mistakes. One of the things he has a difficult time is his wife’s miscarriage. A lot of times media won’t show how men are effected by this, too. Chris takes it hard. He also gets caught up trying to climb the corporate ladder and forgets about his wife. This of course opens the door for a lot of other things to happen. Chris gets to a point where he has to get his priorities in check.
Chris’s wife, Samantha is a really sweet person, but it’s hard to say that she’s naïve because she knows what’s she’s doing. In her own, sweet way, Samantha can be pretty manipulative. She gets what she wants. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t get hurt, and when she does, she doesn’t handle pain very well and allows her hurt to lead her into really bad decisions.
Most films portray the man as the bad guy or the problem and the woman as the victim, but you took a different approach. What were your thoughts about how you wanted to portray the couples in this film Originally the film was supposed to be about a group of guys who were working through different issues in their lives. My writing partner, Walter V. Marshall and I, decided to hone in on one specific guy along with his wife and their friends. We’re trying to tell different stories with these characters and someone has to be the good guy and someone has to be the antagonist, but they have flaws. It’s just certain flaws manifest in different ways. This person may not be dealing with anger, but their dealing with selfishness or lust or self gratification or trying to achieve goals. We wanted to show different types of behaviors so we can all identify with someone in the film to teach us how to work through the tough stuff. The beauty of being a filmmaker is we get to write from our own experience and imaginations and we can lump them into one character and make them do whatever we want. Then our actors add to it. Even in casting, they took the characters and internalized it, and put it in the script. They brought something of themselves to the story as well. Where do you think the break down occurs when it comes to a man being a good man, but his wife not seeing that? First thing is that a lot of women look at the good things that are going on in other people’s relationships. They always want the thing that some other man is doing in some other marriage. My wife and I participated in marriage coaching once where we were told to make a list of all the things we’d like to
change in our mate. I wrote this really long list of things I didn’t like. It just flowed with no problem. Then, we had to write what we appreciated, and I had to really think. That put things into perspective. A lot of women don’t understand they need to intentionally focus on the things that their husbands are doing and not what they’re not. My wife came home one day and started saying “So-and-so’s husband’s does this and does that.” My response was, “Well, I know that man. He works in maintenance and his wife cuts the lawn. Are you willing to do that?” I can’t compare myself to other husbands. I can only compare myself to what God called me to be as a husband - knowing that I drastically fall short. Still, that gives me the motivation to do better. We have to stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. [laugh] even though that’s my name. No pun intended. People often caution about letting others give you relationship advice – but it really depends on the type of advice you’re getting. Your film shows that. What’s your advice on getting or giving advice? And what relationship advice do you feel safe giving? When we try to offer help to people, we can’t just give them cookie cutter help. If you’ve got a headache, I can’t say, “here’s some medicine for clear skin.” The prescription has to match the problem. Now I will say, in general, the problem most people have is pride and selfishness. If we can deal with that, a lot of those other problems fix themselves. I don’t want to just say the most important thing is communication. In fact, I don’t think it’s true. It’s very important, but the most important thing is becoming one. If we can focus on becoming one, our marriages will be 2000% healthier. It’s a life long process though! In order to get to something that’s really good, the transformation is really painful. You’ve been you your whole life. It’s hard to kill off some things to make being one possible. Instead we say, “you need to be me.” That’s not going to work. A lot of marriages start off wrong when the two try to maintain their own selves. Not to give sweeping generalizations, but the longer you try to fight becoming one, you’re bound to fail. Some make it, but the majority don’t.
What are some of the unrealistic expectations people go into marriage with that can be landmines? First: Stop watching TV. I make movies I know how fake some of this stuff is. People have their own concept of what marriage should look like. I don’t care how much you study. There’s nothing like when you’re in it. Read all you can and study because it is a life changing decision. But you’re not going to know all you could possibly face. Unrealistic expectations is very real. It’s us wanting what we want. If we can get selfishness out of the way we won’t be as disappointed when things don’t go our way. We confuse out needs with are wants. You want to marry you. You need to embrace the man you got and not try to make him into you wan want him to be embrace the nuances of your husband. I don’t expect my wife to do a lot. Everything she does is a bonus to me. That helps a lot. That’s a way for me to not get upset at things I would like. She’s not obligated. I can’t say I don’t get irritated and I do get disappointed, but I to remind myself that it’s all bonus.
In this issue, we wanted to help women recognize what a respectable man look like, but we’re also talking about domestic abuse. While the title might give the impression it’s about abuse, that’s not actually what it’s about that though, right? There are certain scenes where there is domestic violence. We had to show certain things in order to get certain points across. Specifically, we needed to show just how much unchecked anger can really hurt someone. They’re so tied together, it’s kind of hard to separate them. Sometimes, it seems like it would be okay for a persons to unleashed their anger, but it never is. We needed to show that to contrast how one character chose not to and the other character - who might have felt justified - chose to do so. Justified or not, “vengeance is the Lord’s.” We can try to get back at people in our own way, but it never turns out good. t’s not our responsibility to engage in those type behaviors. We need to allow God to handle it. But the film isn’t really about domestic violence as much as choosing not to give into our hurt and let anger take over our decisions – whether violent or not.
Kalyn Risker’s Story “I thought ‘domestic violence’ was just physical.”
THE FINANCIAL RISKS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE At the time, I was in my twenties. I didn’t have an understanding of the type of relationship I was in. And it wasn’t this way at the beginning; there was a build-up. I didn’t recognize the other signs: Intimidation. Breaking things. Threatening gestures. Isolation. He’d hide the car keys so I couldn’t get to work at the hospital. He’d yell at me that he didn’t want me working nights at the airport, until finally they let me go because I wasn’t showing up. I just thought it was something we had to work through.
What is financial abuse? Financial Abuse is a way for abusers to trap their partners and make them completely dependent. 98 percent of domestic violence victims are financially abused as well. It can happen regardless of status, education, race or income. LoveisRespect.org gives examples:
• Giving you an allowance and closely watching what you buy. • Placing your paycheck in their account and denying you access. • Keeping you from seeing shared bank accounts or records. • Forbidding you to work or limiting the hours you do. • Preventing you from going to work by taking your car or keys. • Harassing you, your employer or coworkers on the job to get you fired • Hiding or stealing your check or outside financial support. • Using your social security number to obtain credit without permission. • Maxing out your credit cards without your permission. • Refusing to give you money, food, rent, medicine or clothing.
Then came Labor Day weekend 1998. My daughter was with my mother for a few days. We were in the car arguing. He punched his fist into the dashboard and left an indentation. He went to a friend’s for the night, and then he came back to assault me until he shattered my left eye socket. Then, he took me to the hospital. It felt like we were driving around the city for hours. Normally we’d take the freeway—but this time it seemed like we stopped at every red light in Detroit. I was so scared. He was on probation for another offense, and I was afraid that he was concerned about getting arrested. I began to pray, and he started screaming at me, cussing, screaming at me to stop praying. We finally got to the hospital, and I jumped out of the moving car. A woman asked what happened, and I could hear him say that I’d fallen into a desk. Then he left to move the car, and the police came. I was seeing double, triple. I’ll never forget the doctor’s checkered tie, and I’ll never forget hearing a nurse say, “We know you didn’t fall on a desk.” When my daughter saw me, she said, “Daddy did it.” How could he do this? Someone who loved me, my best friend, the father of my child? The only thing I could think of to say to her was this: “Men don’t hit women. Men aren’t supposed to hit women.”
…”He had been the breadwinner…” He was arrested and was given five years probation. He’d been the breadwinner, so my gas was cut off. I was threatened with being repossessed. I called the national domestic violence hotline and requested counseling. Through counseling, I was able to get job leads. Interestingly, when I lived with him, I never got calls for jobs. I can’t be sure, but I think he was intercepting them. I was offered fast-food jobs, and I ended up getting a job at a payroll company. Even though I had double vision from the beating, they were patient with me.
Now she keeps victims SAFE. While working full-time, Kalyn Risker earned her bachelor’s degree in human resource management and her master’s degree in 2012, both funded by a scholarship by Doris Buffett’s foundation for domestic violence victims. Working in Human Resources, Kalyn saw the need to help other women.
“We help women learn to manage their finances. Most importantly, we equip survivors with the tools to end the cycle of economic abuse. They feel financially empowered to start a new life, violence-free.” Today, she runs SAFE (Sisters Acquiring Financial Empowerment), where she helps victims of economic abuse learn how to interview, write resumes, and look for jobs online. With jobs come money and that means independence so her clients no longer need to rely on an abusive partner for income. Learn more about SAFE http://www.newsafestart.org
GREAT TIPS TO REGAIN
_ FINANCIAL SECURITY SAFE’s founder, Kalyn slips us tips for dealing with economical abusive.
1. Don’t wear interview clothes out of 4. Delete your cell phone browser the house. Take the clothes with you and change en route.
2. Conceal your job-hunting efforts. Don’t tell your parents, best friend, or even your kids your plans. They could accidentally let things slip.
3. Job-hunt at the library or at public schools, if you’re a parent there. Many public schools have federal funding that allows this.
is great for better anonymity. You can set up a separate email address, upload bank statements to Google Drive, and use Google Voice to transfer calls to any other phone. (Learn more tips here.)
6. Formulate an action plan with a counselor or an advocate about getting credit history. Send letters to creditors. It’s a rebuilding process, but it can be done.
7. When writing a resume, think creatively. Says Kalyn, “I helped a woman who’d worked for Burger King. Her resume had four words: “I cooked the food.” I asked her: Did you talk to customers? Did you use a cash register? It came out that she interacted with customers, worked with money, and was never late – not once! She went from looking at the floor to flashing a huge smile.” 8. Cliché as it sounds, take care of yourself first before getting into a relationship.
We’re told not to air our dirty laundry, but Kevin & Sara are addressing America’s “dirty little secret” of domestic abuse
… with a pair of panties… Make that too.
“He hadn’t noticed…” and that lead to recognizing an incredible need
It was this guilt, Kevin says that made him want to give back in his friend’s memory. So he Googled addiction rehab centers which also produced results for domestic violence shelters.
thing stood out on their lists of needs was underwear. Of course! You can donate used clothes, but you can’t donate used underwear! As it turns out, underwear is one of the most under donated items in “When we first started, I didn’t the U.S. There’s constantly a know that domestic violence shortage of underwear from It’s not the tragedy you would was the epidemic it was in our addiction rehabilitation facilities to domestic violence shelters have expected that launched country,” Kevin admitted. and rape crisis centers. Kevin and Sara Goryl’s Too “I honestly knew, very, very Apparel which donates little,” Sara, his wife and The idea of giving back grew underwear to women’s abuse business partner agrees. into paying it forward when shelters whenever you buy a Kevin adds even though he Kevin reflected on a pair of pair. worked in the news industry Tom’s canvas shoes he It actually all began with the for 15 years, “It’s not covered, purchased shortly before his death of Kevin’s friend. Secretly, and when it is, it’s just the bad friend’s passing. Combined Terry had been battling alcohol news, the criminal element. with his wife and business addiction until it took his life at It’s like America’s dirty little partner, Sara’s background, 35 years young. Terry had been secret swept under the rug. I that was all the inspiration a great guy and an Emmy was seeing the problem for they needed to create Too Apparel. award-winning TV producer, but the first time in my life.” now Kevin realized he hadn’t A s h e l ooke d m o re i nto All the brand’s designs come noticed his friend’s vice. donating to shelters, one from Sara whose experience
How It All Came Together in clothing product development includes working for Target and Under Armour, mostly in women’s apparel.
Underwear for Women Who Care
“I’ve always loved what I’ve done,” Sara explained. “I was looking for a way to combine that with giving back, especially as a woman helping other women.’ Even before Kevin saw what he called an “odd pair of shoes” hanging in the store, Sara had already purchased a pair of Tom’s. “I loved the fact that when I was purchasing something, it was www.WearToo.com giving to someone else.” So it all came together as one and your feeling of selfconfidence,” Sara mused, beautifully woven idea. “That’s some-thing we take for In fact, as a former marketing granted every day. You can executive, Kevin would come imagine how impactful not up 100 ideas a day, and, over having that would be.” the 10 years they’ve been together, Too Apparel was the Better than imagining, Kevin first idea he had that Sara shared a story of the first women’s shelter he visited in liked! their hometown of Cincinnati. Since, launching Too Apparel, The director of the shelter this husband and wife team arranged for a brainstorming really gotten to see the impact with some of the women there. “Some” turned into a gigantic of their company first hand. room with about 50 women all “A lot of these women are around. There were a lot of entering these shelters with just giggling and red faces, but the the clothes on their backs,” women were just blown away and one even broke into Kevin pointed out. tears. “When you really think about being a woman and how She explained why she was important your undergarments crying. “To most of everyone, are to who you are as a woman it’s just a pair of underwear,
but to be in that situation, coming into that shelter without a clean pair of underwear, and having to ask for that, just takes your dignity away from you. Hearing the story behind your company, that someone bought a pair so I can have this pair, to me that means that there’s someone out there that does care about me and does want to see me get through this difficult part of my life.” Sara had the chance to do a fitting with the women at the shelter while developing the styles to see how the different sizes fit on the women. “They loved it! All the girls were just so excited to be a part of the process and so appreciative. We got a lot of positive feedback.” Apparently, the garments feel as good as the good they’re promoting. One supporter said, “They are so comfortable that she almost forgot to take them off before taking a shower” – and that was the thong! Another women emailed them saying: “I love these more than anything I’ve gotten at VS!” How’s that for turning the tables on America’s dirty little secret? Speaking of secrets, please tell everyone about this company. Share this article, purchase a pair and make a difference, too. Visit www.WearToo.com.
You never really know what it takes to be “that couple.” You know, that couple that everyone admires. That’s why I was surprised when my friend told me that her first marriage ended due to domestic violence. Seeing her happily married now, I had to ask her husband what it takes to building a new foundation on top of a rocky past. If you’re afraid to let go of your past (or present) abuse, let this inspire you.
MAYBE IT’S TIME FOR A GOOD GUY “Just Like Day One”- By Keivu G. Knox When people ask how or when I met my wife, I often ask “which time?” While our “official” meeting was on April 1st, 2007, we had actually met at various points prior to that day. Naomi and I grew up in the same neighborhood, had similar friends, and crossed each other’s paths throughout our lifetime. We often talk about how our lives would have been different if we dated earlier in life, and ultimately, we believe that God called us together on his timetable, not ours. The experiences that we had in previous relationships prepared us to love each other unconditionally when we met and decided to date. Thinking back to those times, I remember as we shared about our past, that it was important for me to show her a love that knew no bounds, and to love her well enough to make it easier for her to leave those experiences in the past.
____________ “…Being labelled as the ‘good guy’ can come with a price.” ____________
_____________ The experiences that we had in previous relationships prepared us to love each other unconditionally _____________
That last point was important because I know that in our society, being labelled as the “good guy” can come with a price. Some look for that good guy to fail or show their true colors. Eventually, that good guy goes bad. As we learned more about each other, I had to understand that my wife had experiences in the past that mirrored that statement. At that point, it was up to me to show her that I could love her how she deserved to be loved. It was difficult at times to hear of what she had been through, and I know that at times she may have looked for me to change, as others in her past did. I had a choice to become angry about being compared to men I knew nothing about, but that was never an option for me. I understood those feelings or expectations are fair to hold, since we base some of our current feelings on our past. I did not hold it against her, and in fact, I took it as a challenge to love her even harder! She was such a wonderful woman to me, that it became simply easier to show her a love worth having. I didn’t see anything that would make me wonder about her past experiences in a negative way, nor did it make me look for those things. It was important for me to show her that I did not hold any of those feelings or experiences against her, and not try to prove to her that it was “unfair” for her to compare me to prior relationships.
My wife, to her tremendous credit, has never made me feel as if she was waiting on that day of her “good guy turning bad” to come. For me, my wife has been my priority and while I have made mistakes along our journey, she continues to be my focus. We will often say that we are “perfect…flaws and all.” This means that in spite of our mistakes, quirks, or idiosyncrasies, we are still perfect for one another. I did not feel any pressure while having the label of being the good guy. My goal has always been to let God lead me in terms of the decisions that I make concerning her, and show through words and deed how much she means to me. That is how trust is gained and earned. Trust is the backbone of any successful relationship, so I have always tried my best, especially when considering her past, to feel that my wife trusts me. It took time to build the trust that we have, and we also learned to trust the process that we were in. Knowing about my wife’s past made me understand that it could be a process to get her to feel safe and secure with me. That was perfectly fine with me, because I took the time to understand that love and trust are both processes that have layers to them. Those layers help to provide strength and stability to a relationship to make it even more effective. It was a responsibility that I understood was necessary, but one that I was eager to embrace and take.
____________ “It took time to build the trust we have. We also learned to trust the process...” ____________
_____________ “‘…We are perfect… Flaws and all.’ In spite of our mistakes, quirks, or idiosyncrasies, we are still perfect for one another” _____________
Some may say loving someone that had a difficult past can be a challenge, but we all have shared experiences in our lives that could be viewed as difficult. How fair would it be for me to hold the actions of others against the one that I love, or become angry at the one that I love for possibly expecting me to become what was once her reality? Consistency, trust and unconditional love have helped us throughout the difficult times we’ve had together. It has not always been easy, but when you find the love of your life, it feels easier when going through those difficult times. I try to consistently love, honor and cherish my wife every day, by my words and actions. I put a high demand on her safety and security. After seven plus years, and with many more to come, it is my job, my honor and my goal to make her feel the love and excitement and joy now, just like she felt on day one.
WAITING TO EXHALE
A Man’s Story of Escaping Domestic Abuse
I'm going to say I was ten when I realized that I did not like the way my mom was treating our dad. I noticed how she accused him of a lot of things that were just wrong, and how she tried to tear him down. So my father began to hang out late and work crazy hours to be away from home. Things weren’t always difficult between my parents growing up. There was a time when everything was great. However, there were obvious differences in the financial arena between my parents, as well as one parent who would show favoritism. Mostly though, mom and dad argued every day. Some things small and some things big. They tried to keep it from us, but we knew what was going on.
“Men fight physically. Women fight with words.”
Ultimately, my dad moved out, and that changed the entire dynamic of the house. Mom worked and then went out, which made for a lot of alone time as a kid with a younger sibling. I took on the role of trying to raise her. Looking back, I really tried the best I could, but I was a kid too. I think it changed me, but it affected my younger sibling even more. The anger didn’t stop when my dad left. I was 13 years old, and my mom and I had been having some serious run-ins. We got into it, and I balled my fist up in anger. That was the final straw. I knew then I needed to get out that situation. I knew I was not growing to be the person I wanted to be. I became a liar and I saw a dark road ahead. I had to change my course. So, I left. I had been mad at my dad for leaving me there. We had done everything together, and I was sad that he just left me. I didn't understand what all he had to do to get back on his feet. Now, my dad is my role model. He came to my rescue as soon as I told him I needed out. He helped me in one of the hardest times of my life. I watched him struggle and try to find his identity all over again and I got to see him remarry and show me what a happy marriage really looks like. I thank him for that. After I left, my mom and I didn't speak for years and other parts of my family had to choose sides. I took on a heavy burden from it all because I felt like I split the family apart. I'm still a work in progress, I think once I hit 30 and my brother passed I truthfully looked at life differently, I was allowing my past to totally decide my present. I was living scared, I also lost my belief in God, especially once my brother passed away. I was at rock bottom. As much as I tried to destroy everything in front of me, my family and friends were always there to take time with me. I had to rebuild me from nothing and that allowed me to fix glaring issues.
Now, I can say that I love my mom. Truth of the matter is no one is perfect, we all have flaws. My mom and I have come a long way. Today, she and I talk almost every day. We both missed a lot of things in each other’s lives, but we vowed to each other to make a conscious effort to be more involved with each other. I’ve learned a lot about me from listening to her.
As a man, my past gives me more compassion. It made me look and empathize with many different situations. As a father, it made me never want my daughter to see me argue or in a rage. I also talk to her a lot. I try to put myself in her shoes and look out of her window on things. I am doing my best to make sure she knows the lines of communication are WIDE open.
I realized that I looked (and sometimes still do) look for everyone to love me. I find myself seeking love to replace the love I didn't receive from my mom. I also find myself doing anything not to argue in a relationship. I put arguing and separation together: If you argue with me, you are going to leave me. Lastly, I found myself being a "yes man" to have more people like me. That has come back to burn me many times. Honestly, I learned my boundaries from my parents. I learned I will never allow anyone to put their hands on me. Also, I learned that there is a way to argue. Arguing doesn't mean say the most hurtful things possible. If a person does that, there is a deeper rooted issue. You never aim to hurt or give the gut punch. For men, the response to abuse is the exact same as for a woman. I look for women to prove their love for me. I do not trust easily, and I also find it hard to open up to people I don't know or speak in front of people for fear of judgment. I had terrible selfesteem growing up, but truthfully it all made me a better person.
Now my focus is making sure my daughter grows up seeing healthy relationships. I want her to know the proper way to communicate. Everyone has feelings and while you always want to be heard, you also want to remain in control. Speak your mind while remaining in control. I want her to understand as humans we can and will disagree, AND THAT IS OK. I want her to be able to agree to disagree. Most of all I want her to be confident in herself. I want her to know the name she carries holds weight and be able to keep her head high.
Us To Breathe!”The one thing I want all women to
know about how to treat a man is: Allow a man the time to breathe. As men, we are not built to argue with you. You think faster and you put words together faster than we do. When we walk away ALLOW US TO BREATHE! In the words of my dad, “Men fight physically. Women fight with words.” We are not prepared for those words. So, when your man walks away, allow that.
Purchase Never Again &100% of the proceeds go to the YWCA
Premiering Oct 17th
Be You. Uncompromised. 100%
By Mahogany Jones
The Song "Take the limits off" "Sky's The Limit", "Push it to the limit!"...We live in a culture where boundaries, and limitations are viewed as negative. I think even when it comes to what we are willing to endure. As women, we are taught to "suck it up..." "put your big girl panties on..." Or the classic "Be strong." Whatâ€™s unfortunate
is that often the strength we as women are asked to display is at the expense of allowing ourselves to be made weak at the hands of loved ones. My mother suffered from "Strong Black Women" syndrome. She was so strong that she knew how to bare the weight of my father's fist when he didn't know how to respond to the blows her words served his ego. Growing up I, too, was made "strong." I grew to
master normalizing the dysfunctions. I learned to process the unacceptable and digest disrespect. I didn't realize how much I had done so as a child, until I became an adult and began to enter romantic relationships of my own. My friends would tell me things like "I don't like the way he speaks to you," or "I don't like how he treats you;" or "You shrink when you are with him." I would respond with "You just donâ€™t understand him;" "It's fine" or give the
universal (uncomfortable, trying to act as if I'm comfortable) awkward giggle. It wasn't until I had reached my "limit," that I began to reflect on the period in my life where my dad was physically abusive to my mom, and
she was verbally abusive towards him. I realized, that while I knew I would never accept someone putting their hands on me or being violent towards me, I had accepted years of being less than respected in my romantic relationships. I had learned how to â€œbe strong" and knew I needed to redefine and find
real "strength." The song "Never Again" was initially birthed to encourage a friend who I knew was a survivor and wanted an anthem for her benefit event. However, as I began to write, it became my own anthem and a reminder to never again accept anything less than being cherished and respected the way God has cherished and respected me through the demonstration of His love, sacrifice, and provision. "Never Again" taught me "limits"
aren't so bad, especially when they drive you to make the best decisions of your life that can save your life.
When asked which is the greatest commandment of all, Jesus said there are two. The first is to love God with all your heart, mind soul, and strength. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself (even if your neighbor is your enemy, as he later explained). Most people make the mistake of missing the third person we’re instructed to love in those two commands: yourself. To love someone as yourself, you must love yourself before you love another person, or else you will mistreat and devalue or disproportionately value that person… like you treat yourself. When it comes to abuse, far too often, we feel we are doing the right thing by loving others, even loving our enemies, but we forget to love ourselves. At the same tine, we believe our abusers are capable of loving us the way we need to be loved. We don’t recognize that they are only capable of loving us as much as they love
SIGNS OF LOVE
By Jayne Marie Smith
THIS IS THE SIGN FOR LOVE
themselves. They don’t love themselves. It can be obvious in the way they neglect their health or in how they punish their bodies with excessive workouts trying to change the person they don’t like. It can also be subtle in how they choose to seethe in bitterness and self-pity rather than move on from hurtful incidents. If they can’t care for themselves, they won’t treat us any better. They wouldn’t know where to begin. The other mistake people make is believing that just because we love God, we automatically love others. (Perhaps that’s why abuse can go unchecked so long in the church.) If this were so, Jesus wouldn’t have had to command us to love others or specify it as something separate but equally important. But how can you love God who can’t see and yet hate your brother or sister who can see? The Apostle
John asked that question and says you can’t really love God. The Apostle Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 13 that even the most spiritual people can be spiritual and still neglect to love.
SIG OF AB
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of a n ge l s , bu t d o n o t h ave l ove , I a m o n ly a r e s o u n d i n g go n g o r a cl a n g i n g c y m b a l . I f I h ave t h e g i f t o f prophecy and can f a t h o m a l l my s t e r i e s a n d a l l k n ow l e d g e , a n d i f I h ave a f a i t h t h a t c a n m ove m o u n t a i n s , bu t d o n o t h ave l ove , I a m n o t h i n g. I f I g ive a l l I p o s s e s s t o t h e p o o r a n d g ive ove r my b o dy t o h a rd s h i p t h a t I m ay b o a s t , bu t d o n o t h ave l ove , I ga i n n o t h i n g.” We are all called to “love one another.” It is not enough for one person to love another. Love must go both ways.
THIS SIGN T ISN’T L
GNS BUSE IS A THIS L OV E
How do you know if your abuser has really changed? It can’t just be in their words, it has to be in their actions as well. Jesus said “whoever has been forgiven little, loves little,” but the one who recognizes she’s been forgiven much, loves much. (Luke 7:37-47) A person who has accepted the responsibility for their actions, then receives forgiveness can never act the same. That person is transformed by love – not just by receiving it but by the need to reciprocate it. If the person doesn’t love much, he doesn’t fully appreciate nor has he accepted any forgiveness, because he’s still trying to justify himself and his actions.
Forgiveness produces love. Look for that fruit. (Matthew 18: 23-34) Remember that a husband is supposed to love you like Jesus loved the church and laid down His life for it – not yours. Your life isn’t supposed to be disposable or expendable. It’s valuable to God and it should be valuable to the one God sends to represent his love.
Don’t get caught up in looking for signs of abuse, because you can find yourself keeping a record of wrongs. Instead, look for signs of love – not buds, but fruit, not occasional displays but consistency, especially under fire. One cannot consistently walk in In another story Jesus tells a way inconsistent with of a servant who was who they really are. forgiven a huge debt (one that jeopardized his family) If there is no love, follow but as soon as he was these words of Jesus: forgiven he found someone ‘When you are persecuted else who did something in one place, flee to minor, and he abused him. another.” (Matthew 10:23) Don’t be that someone else.
THE CYCLE OF DOMESTIC ABUSE No one ever gets or stays in a relationship because the violence or disrespect is so sexy. No, usually things look great in the beginning. Often, those being abused make so many adjustments to live peaceably, they may not see the seriousness of the situation or the cycle. Domestic abuse (also called Dating or Intimate Partner Abuse), often progresses from verbal or emotional abuse to intimidation and financial abuse, before escalating to physical and/or sexual abuse and possibly stalking, or sometimes, sadly, homicide. Most people say it’ll never happen to them, but let’s be honest, most people want their relationships to work. The first step to freedom is recognizing where you are in the cycle. IF YOU’RE BRAVE ENOUGH TO LIVE
WITH FEAR, YOU’RE BRAVE ENOUGH TO LEAVE IT
HE KNOWS RIGHT FROM WRONG
YOU ARE NOT STUPID
YOU CAN NEVER DESERVE VIOLENCE
YOU ARE NOT AT FAULT THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR DELIBERATE HUMILIATION HE CONTROLS HIS TEMPER AT WORK
INCIDENT Any type of abuse occurs (physical/sexual/emotional)
HE SHOULD TREAT YOU BETTER THAN YOUR BEST FRIEND
MAKING UP ABUSER MAY: Apologize for abuse Promise it’ll never happen again Blame victim or others for abuse Deny it took place or minimize it
LOVE DOESN’T ABUSE ABUSE IS NOT BIBLICAL
TENSION BUILDING Abuser starts to get angry Communication breaks down Victim tries to keep abuser calm Tension becomes too much Victim walks on eggshells
FORGIVE YOURSELF IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT YOU’RE BECOMING, DON’T LET HIM CHANGE YOU. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
CALM Abuser acts like it never happened Abuse may stop at this time Promises may begin to be met Victim believes abuse is over . Abuser may give gifts or act charming .
HE HAS ALREADY DONE IT AGAIN YOU ARE STRONG & SMART AND HAVE SURVIVED
HE IS NOT YOUR PARENT, HE HAS NO RIGHT TO TEACH YOU A LESSON
UNDERSTANDING YOUR FRIEND’S
CYCLE OF DOMESTIC ABUSE
INCIDENT Your friend may confide in you & may talk about/plan/actually leave DO NOT PUSH your friend to go DO NOT PUT DOWN their abuser CALL IT ABUSE CALL 911 if needed – it’s illegal.
MAKE UP Often when your friend may choose to stay, return, or abort escape DON’T JUDGE (she forgave you of things, too)
Don’t let her accept blame
TENSION BUILDING Your friend will modify behavior to keep peace. She may cut you off of cut off personal info Gather resources Reaffirm your friend Pray but don’t worry (God loves her more than you do)
CALM Your friend may deny, minimize, or take responsibility for abuse and defend her abuser They go to counseling/church Get as much time with her as possible and build her esteem.
In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, international, Inspirational Hip-hop artist and activist, MAHOGANY JONES is launching a movement to bring awareness and understanding of Domestic Violence to the public! PURE Purple is campaign covering social media, local businesses, and two awareness events all designed to educate the public on what we can do to support victims and end violence. The PURE Purple Awareness Campaign starts online October 1st with everyone encouraged to take selfies wearing purple and sharing the message â€œPicture A World w/o Domestic Abuse #PUREPurple APureMovement.com.â€? For each picture posted throughout October, participating businesses will make donations to The YWCA, the largest provider of Domestic Violence services in the U.S. and HandBags of Hope, an Eastpointe, MI based non-profit providing daily essentials to women who have fled abuse.
When your present is so overwhelming, it can be hard to imagine a better future. As you read these stories, picture a world without domestic abuse. If you have never been abused, take the time to relate to the lives of these overcomers. If you are familiar with abuse, share in their â€œah-haâ€? moments and victories, then create your own.
“We have preconceived notions of what an abuse victim looks like, and you stood here and told us your story, but you don’t look like it.” Angela stood in front of her speechless Speech Class taking in the words of her teacher.
ANGELA T. JONES is an author, publisher, creative entrepreneur, and brand strategist… and she is what a survivor of domestic violence looks like. Domestic violence is an equal opportunity offender, effecting any race, age, class, education level, social status, gender, sexual orientation, or faith. How is that possible? Because the problem isn’t the victim’s, the problem is the abuser. Angela’s life is a world a part now from that abusive relationship of her early 20’s. When asked how it all started, she makes it clear, she wasn’t raised this way and neither was he. She grew up in a hardworking, middle class family with opportunities and ambition. Indulged with ballet classes and classically trained in piano, Angela was raised by her supportive grandparents. They bolstered her self esteem in the face of bullying by showing their tall, skinny, glasses-wearing granddaughter examples of tall women she could admire. As far as self esteem, she had a healthy basin full. Then her grandfather passed when she was 12, just before he could have any talks with her about boys. By 17, an Angela had mothered a son with an immature 21 year old guy from the mall. He was good looking, well dressed, and had self esteem problems… but he was not her abuser. He was just the prototype. She was 23 when she married the man who endangered her. Though he looked different, he had the same insecurities as her son’s father, only worse. Though his parents divorced when he was young, there hadn’t been any abuse in his background. Her father-inlaw even warned her husband to stop abusing her, or else he would intervene. He had never been married and there was no record of domestic violence charges on file. For the first five months of their marriage, everything was harmonious. There were no arguments or verbal abuse. Then one day, he hit her. He apologized, and begged not to be put out of the house and for three years, he wasn’t, even though it happened again and again.
When asked why she stayed, sh “Fear of failure, fear of being a mother. I felt I would be judged single mother. I felt walking aw was failing. I didn’t realize I wa going to be a failure if I left.” When asked how she got up th courage to leave, she said: “I had an epiphany: I said to m ‘you have a lot of control over happens next.’ You’re letting th world have too much say on w best for you.” I realized, if you your story, no one can use you against you.”
During the final year of their marriage, Angela was pregnan twins. Her husband was excite about the babies and didn’t ab her during the time. However, 5 months into the pregnancy, sh into labor. Her son and daught where born and died on the sa day. Somehow, Angela knew h husband had been responsible a few months later, after testin doctor revealed her husband h given her chlamydia which ind early labor. On the morning sh to return to work from materni leave, he husband came home being out all night and shoved into the doorframe bruising he She told him he needed to be g by the time she got home from A PPO and divorce papers wer served by the police.
Angela’s Word’s of Advice:
When a woman experiences Domest Violence and doesn't report it, she's allowing that man to get away with it the future and she doesn't even kno There are situations when it's isolated, usually there’s a pattern. Men count on women to keep their secret as victims. need to do more than post pictures of a we need to name and charge our abus
he lists: a single ed as a way asnâ€™t
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For help, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 www.TheHotline.org
up my fam another, no like a sho days I crie me why he and dispos so drastica
I chose a toxic person because he was more interesting. I thought locking him
down meant I had won and having a ring meant I was chosen. Going through that taught me to question what I
value, need, and desire. It made me tap into me and I chose life. Now I have a greater respect for myself. I’m not where I need to be but I’m
immediate but she did mean, and blamed his environme admit that that perhap maybe she all her effo she turned
His extrem coupled wi accommod with friend “I disappea of who I wa through hi way to be o began to s
Reflecting Initially, I s his harsh w improbabil resolve fad was fearfu threatened finances to bills. Anyth ask for.
She contin lot, especia hated my s he would s For help, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 www.TheHotline.org
Before th annivers
with harsh words. Growing
mily never spoke harshly to one ot even in jest, so that alone was ock to my system. I remember ed and pleaded with him to tell e married me, because his words sition me towards had changed ally.
A HILL, or Angie, knew
ly she had made a huge mistake, dn’t blame him. “He was so I blamed everyone but him. I s mom, I blamed his dad… his nt. It was impossible for me to it was just him.” She considered ps he loves differently, that e was being too sensitive. When orts to avoid his temper failed, d on herself.
me jealous and insecurities ith her determination to date them made working, time ds, and even church impossible. ared within myself, Losing sight as before ‘I do.’ Seeing myself s eyes seemed the only possible on common ground, thus I truggle with self-abhorrence.”
on how she coped, she says: spoke up for myself, I addressed words, tried to rationalize the lity of his accusations, but as my ded, his disdain increased. He l of me leaving, I frequently d I would, thus he limited my o just enough for groceries and hing beyond that I would have to
nues: “I retreated to my family a ally when I knew he was upset. I son being exposed to the things say.
hey celebrated their first ary, he became physical.
Makeup and fake smiles kept outsiders in the dark, but there was no hiding reality from her son.
To why did she stay, Angie responds: “I had just given birth to our baby girl. We had purchased our dream home. I had what I felt were valid reasons to stay, but the look on my son’s face made me want to leave desperately. I had to fix it. I didn’t want to be a quitter. I made avow to God so I reasoned I had to make it work! “I felt maybe if I had something to bring to the table, I could be a woman he could appreciate. I put my foot down when a job opportunity presented itself. I went to work and took over the job of providing. I returned to school and juggled it all with such grace. I knew it would, but it did not. Inadvertently, I became a woman I could admire and appreciate. I began to see myself for who I had known me to be before marriage and children. That was the turning point. “Nearly a year ago I left, and it had to be the hardest most painful steps I’ve taken.” His harassment made it no easier. He either pleaded for her to return or threatened her if she didn’t. A month after he left, he struck, holding her and her best friend hostage in her house. Even after the police made him leave, she felt trapped. “The pain of being with him and the pain of being without him drove me to make an attempt on my life.” It was the patient support of her family that helped her onto a new path of healing and restoration.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t
mourn the loss of the man I love, but I’m all the more grateful to be here to love my kids and to have learned to love myself.”
“Never again! Never will you play with my mind. Never will waste my time. Never will you break my soul. Never will you take control...” Through witnessing all of the unhealthy aspects of her parents’ relationship, MAHOGANY JONES has learned to spot red flags of intimate partner violence early and leave.
The first time it happened, it was like someone thrust an emotional cocktail of fear, anger, and powerlessness into my hand and forced me to take it. It was a lot for this young girl to have to swallow. Seeing my mother’s lips red from blood, and not lipstick, as a direct result of a blow from my step-father was terrifying. I ran to the phone and threatened to call 9-1-1. My mother shot me a look that stopped me cold. It was catch 22. I was scared of what would happen if I called and what would happen if I didn’t. I didn’t know what the fall out would be. Just seeing my mother’s fear about me calling made me afraid to ever do that again… even when the beatings happened again. As a child, I wanted to see my mother empower herself and it angered me that she didn’t stop it. He was a big guy and she was obviously scared, but I had heard all of these stories about how my mom was bold and strong. That only made me more upset to see my mother give her power away. I had this huge reverence for my mother, but I had to watch her let my step-father strip her of her dignity. Why didn’t she hit him back? I hated her choice to be with my step-father. My mother was a regional record label rep. She could have done so much better, but I don’t think she felt she could. Instead, she felt she needed to keep him. Until you’re in that situation, you don’t know what you’ll put up with. For me, growing up as a child with domestic violence, I know my threshold. When I saw certain similar tendencies in a relationship – like callousness over physical and emotional injury he caused – I was able to end it. I recognized, “You don’t care if I’m hurt” and changed the dynamic. I recognize how important respect is. I look for things I respect in a man now. I realize just like my step-father was physically abusive, my mother was verbally abusive. I never want that dynamic to exist in my relationships. When I picture a world without domestic violence, I’m looking forward to having a partner in my life that I respect, who respects, values, and appreciates me and strives to protect and provide me and never harm me.
If You Find Yourself Single Again, There Are A Few Things You Should Do To Help Get You Through This Season.
Realize something has died. But at the same time a new You is being birthed.
You will need support, emotionally, physically and perhaps even financially. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help either. If children are involved, make sure you answer their questions with age appropriate answers. Your continual show of love and affection to them and allowing them to shower you with that same love can be amazingly therapeutic for all concerned.
Be careful with whom you share your personal business. Keep friends around you that can and will edify you. Beware of replacing one relationship with another. Time is very important during the healing process. Take time to get acquainted with the ‘new you’ that’s been forged in the fire. What beautiful new creature are you becoming?
Prayer is not only a conversation with God, but it is also your conversations with the “Wonderful Counselor.” Remember James 4:7-8a. “So give yourselves to God. Stand against the devil, and he will run away from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.” [ERV]
Don’t believe everything you hear. Statistics, news stories, and various articles can paint a grim of picture of life after divorce. You can and will come through this stronger and better!
If you didn’t have money set aside for a rainy day before the divorce, start saving what you can to rebuild your new life.
The end of a relationship is not the end of your life. God has so much greater ahead of you. Trust Him! Aseneth Peek Parker is a published author, ordained minister, and an accomplished playwright, singer and actress. She is also a mother and grandmother. For questions, comments or speaking engagements, write Ms. Parker at: AEPPenterprises@aol.com.
(A different kind of) is
CONFESSION: Why I Stayed and What I Did Have you (or anyone you know) been in an abusive relationship? I have.
In light of all of the attention regarding Domestic Violence and abuse brought about by the NFL Player Ray Rice’s video, showing him physically abusing his then fiancée now wife; it reminded me of the abusive relationship I was in several years ago. This abusive relationship was not with my significant other. It was with my financial institution. I was in a financially abusive relationship with my bank and it was painful. So now I am sharing my Financial Abuse Confession, why I stayed, but more importantly what I did to escape the financially abusive relationship. My hope is that my transparency with this experience will help someone escape their financially abusive relationship before it causes major financial damage. I BELIEVED I WASN’T WORTHY There was a period of time when my credit was “colorful” and less than 600. Because my credit score was so low and with everything I knew about credit, I believe that I was not worthy of a reasonable interest rate and IF I could get approved for a loan, the rate was in the double digits. Because of what I believed, when I applied for a car loan and was offered 22%, I took it. Honestly, I was just happy that I was approved. The payment was over $600 per month for a loan less than $30,000 for a car worth less than that. Why I stayed. I convinced myself that I would not be able to get a loan with a better rate anywhere else. Besides, I was making the payments on time and it wasn’t really a financial burden …yet; so refinancing wasn’t my priority. I also stayed because
FINANCIAL ABUSE CONFESSION
I was scared of rejection. I didn’t want to go through the embarrassment of applying for a loan somewhere else and getting declined because of my crappy … I mean “color” credit.
What I did. I got the hell out! It was when I looked at my loan statement and saw the amount of interest I paid, not to mention the fact that all of the payments I made barely put a dent in the principal balance. I was pissed! I got up enough nerve to go to a local credit union to share my situation and apply for a loan. That credit union understood my plight and gave me shelter as a new member (customer) by saving me from that high interest rate loan with a loan that was more than half the rate of what I was paying for almost two years. I THOUGHT I WAS BEING PROTECTED
I relied heavily on Overdraft Protection. Every time I did a transaction with my debit card, it was approved, whether I had enough money in my account or not. I believed that overdraft protection was my Protector. It started out just covering my money mishaps every now and then to being my life line in between paychecks. Instead of using overdraft protection once or twice a month, it turned into three to four times a week. Did I mention that the overdraft fee was $30 per transaction? You do the math. Why I stayed. It was my banking back up. I knew as long as my paycheck satisfied the negative balance, the overdraft protection would be available when I needed it during the next pay period. It also saved me from
Why I Stayed and What I Did
the embarrassment of being declined at the checkout line. What I did. I checked myself. It was the day I got paid but I had $500 less deposited in my checking account because it was eaten up by my $150 negative balance and $350 in overdraft fees. I panicked. There was no way I could pay all of my bills with less money. After I finished crying, I contacted my bank to turn off the overdraft protection. I also cut out extracurricular expenses, like eating out every day, took my breakfast and lunch to work and cooked dinner. This alone saved me over $200 during that pay period. I also contacted my lenders to request a payment deferment for one month due to a financial hardship. The two lenders that approved my payment deferment request were enough to make that pay period less financially painful. By creating and following a spending plan, I ended up having enough to pay my expenses and save. I’m not saying that everything that I did will exactly work for you. But I am saying that there is HELP for those being financially abused and getting their assets kicked with high loan rates, low deposit rates, high fees and poor customer service. If you are being financially abused, prepare yourself and plan your Exit Strategy as soon as possible. I look forward to being a resource to help you through my pain, passion and purpose.
Can Makeup Make a Difference? Mary Kay is changing the relationship between make-up and domestic violence victims. Many women have reached for make-up to conceal signs of domestic abuse, but now Mary Kay wants women and their teen daughters to reach to them for help. Expanding upon their many domestic abuse awareness efforts, Mary Kay recently partnered with the Love Is Respect organization to roll out their Donâ€™t Look Away initiative. With this initiative, Mary Kay offered representatives the opportunity for training on how to recognize signs and make help available to their clients â€“ or teammates. Krysti Gardner, is an entrepreneur with Mary Kay who has been with the company since 2006. She shares with PURE Magazine about how the company is empowering their sales force to be advocates for domestic violence awareness and agents of compassion and empowerment.
I had no idea when I joined just how involved Mary Kay was with supporting shelters for women who are victims of domestic violence… or how involved I would become. I had often heard, Gloria Mayfield Banks, one of our national sales directors, share her story on why she entered the business. She says it was right around the time that she was going through an abusive relationship and was about to go through a tumultuous divorced herself, and no one knew she was being abused. She would literally come to the meetings with a black eye, covering it with concealer and make-up. No one knew what she was going through, but Mary Kay was her outlet. Being in that positive environment, surrounded by so many women in support of one another, gave her the confidence she needed to know “Okay, I’m going through this, but this is not my story. This is just a part of it. One day I’ll be able to help others with my story.” Not only that, but in creating wealth for herself and her kids, she was creating a way out of her situation. To know her now, she’s so full of life, so vibrant, and really amazing. From those beginnings, she rose to be the
#3 National in Mary Kay in the 2013- 2014 Seminar year! So, this year at Seminar, I wanted to make sure I stopped
by The Mary Kay Foundation
and Mary Kay Corporate Social Responsibility Area to find out what exactly Mary Kay does for domestic violence. Seminar is like a big conference for all of our sales force, held annually in Dallas, where we get training and learn about new products. We also get to learn about the different efforts and charitable works Mary Kay does. This year, they were promoting a big domestic violence campaign, and I made it a point to know what was going on. To say I was impressed is an understatement. Mary Kay has been supporting shelters in every state in the U.S. since 2000, and just last year donated $3 Million in domestic abuse support and campaigns. In Michigan alone, they awarded five domestic violence shelters with $20,000 each in 2013, and make it a point to donate to at least one shelter in each state. That’s just where it starts. I learned 97% of the funds that are raised go towards helping these shelters, with less than 3% used for administration costs. Plus, I got to learn how to recognize signs of abuse and how to offer victims support. Little did I know, how timely that would be! Recently, a woman on my team confided in me that she was experiencing domestic abuse. It hit home for me that she was one of those women we were being educated about.
would see her, and she seemed to be in a good mood, but then she would kind of disappear. I had wondered what was going on. It wasn’t until learning the signs and learning what she’d been going through, that I could see she had been isolating herself. As soon as I learned of it, I was really happy to support and do whatever I could to help remove her from that situation. I even shared with her about what Mary Kay is doing to support women who are in those situations and told her Gloria’s story.
I was so happy that I had educated myself, that I was able to share that with her, and that I could be a part of a company that cares! With Mary Kay, it’s more than cosmetics and skin care, they really are concerned about the needs of women and children in the United States. Now that I’ve been empowered with this education, one of the things that I’m doing with my business and with my team of associates is hosting our own fundraisers. The company provided us with so much information and tools on how to raise funds and help through our businesses. They even gave us a list of shelters we can donate to or visit and find out what their needs are. I also want to be more available to my customers. You don’t necessarily know what’s
going on with the women we see. It’s not a very obvious thing. That’s why I’m grateful they educated us on some signs to look out for. Hopefully, in putting myself out there just like with my team member, when she was ready to speak up and share with someone, I was able to just step right in without hesitation - I hope to be that way with my customers as well. Even with being just one person, I hope that in sharing with other women, others will step up too and become supportive as well. So far, I’ve been fortunate to have an opportunity to be invited to do a glamor class at a domestic violence shelter. I really enjoyed it! We just did some basic things and practiced the “Dash Out The Door” look: Throw on a little powder on your face, mascara, lip gloss and dash out the door. Even with just that little bit, you could see the difference in the ladies and how they felt. Some came in feeling a little unsure, but by the time they were finished, they had this confidence like, “okay, I can do this.” Being able to do something that they thought they couldn’t do by themselves made them feel great. It was definitely rewarding for me to be able to lift their spirits with just a little gloss! Any time you do something you didn’t think you could do,
but someone takes the time to help you figure it out, it makes you feel good about yourself. To move out of your comfort zone and find out you’re good at something, builds your confidence. The fear goes away and you actually get excited about trying different things and creating different looks for yourself. That’s such a big deal for women going through domestic violence to be able to have someone to encourage them and remind them who they are, how great they are, and what they’re good at. Even if they don’t think they’re good at it, it’s okay if you don’t get it right. We can practice it until you do. Keep trying things until you find out what you’re good at. I see this building women’s confidence, even with my team member. She was going through domestic violence for years before it dawned on her, “Hey I don’t have to deal with this. I’m better than this. I have skills. I have talents. I’m a good person. I’m beautiful. I don’t have to stay stuck in a situation that makes me feel like I’m not worthy.”
I know makeup is just a small part of it, but I’m so happy to do what I do, because I never know what woman I’m going to run into that needs that encouragement and motivation.
4 Basic Steps to achieving a gorgeous yet natural on-the-go look Whether you’re a woman who just prefers a more natural look or you’re like so many of us and are just a busy queen bee on the go, it doesn’t take much to touch up your look before dashing out the door. Now, you can be ready for whomever you run into out in the world. This look is simple, easy and works for any woman of any age. And yes anyone can do it!
By Krysti Gardner Model: Hazel Photos by Jonathan Coleman
---- Step 1: CC Cream ---CC cream is every girl’s friend. It’s a complexion correcting cream that blends and evens your skin tone, and acts as a tinted moisturizer to nourishes your skin and protect it from UV rays all at the same time! No foundation or concealer necessary with this dash out the door hero.
Proper CC Cream application 5 DOT Rule: To apply the cream, just start with five dots. Dab a little on your forehead, nose, chin and both cheeks. Then spread around your face evenly to blend it in for a natural, radiant look!
---- Step 2: CREAM EYE COLOR ---Some women use it underneath a powder eye shadow, but for the dash out the door look, this little beauty foes the trick all by itself… and it stays all day until you wash it off.
Proper eye application BRUSH: Use an applicator brush to spread evenly on the eyelids. Start on the inside of your lid and just sweep across.
---- Step 3: Ultimate Mascara ----
Next, frame those eyes with long thick lashes courtesy of mascara.
Proper stroke application THE TIP: Brush tip of mascara wand across lids, then brush in upward motion through each lash. Also brush on top of lid and twist out to extend the lashes.
---- Step 4: LIPSTICK OR GLOSS ---Last step, apply your favorite Mary Kay Lipstick or Lip Gloss for luscious, moisturized, smooth lips and look that lasts.
Just a little bit of creamy color makes your eyes stand out.
What if we treat rebuilding our self esteem like building up muscle? What if the approach we took to changing the tone of our outlook looked more like how we tone up our bodies? What if we took this literally? It’s really not so far fetched. According to Dance and Fitness Instructor, Shari Smith, focusing on fitness can lift your spirits… and your butt. There’s something to working out that helps women work out our inner issues, and boost our self esteem, self worth, emotional state, clarity of thought, focus, and confidence. Exercise benefits both the mind and body. It releases tension, reduces blood pressure,
By Shari Smith
and relieves anxiety. But how does it release stress? By releasing chemicals into your bloodstream.
When you workout, you release endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. That’s why you feel a lot better afterward. I personally can be on my way to teach a class in a bad mood, tired etc. By the end of the class, my whole attitude is different. When you start feeling and seeing results such as endurance, strength and muscle tone or weight loss, your confidence begins to increase. You feel better about yourself. You start to recognize the person in the mirror and you want to improve other aspects of your health. Often, women who have suffered abuse can develop unhealthy ways to deal with stress. Sometimes, it’s working too much, drinking too much or eating too much. We may become emotional eaters and try to hide from the world under pounds of fat as a result of internalizing abuse. It’s all a way of hiding. Fitness can be one aspect of recovery from abuse. It’s an outlet to release stress, anger and anxiety. It can be a distraction or replacement for bad habits, including emotional eating. Once you’re working out and begin to look and feel better about yourself, you may not want to seclude yourself as much. Once you see and feel a difference, you’ll want to continue on the path to see greater results. You may even be surprised at how it’ll help you overcome fear and come out of your shell. Fitness builds strength, endurance and confidence.
to protect yourself and regain your sense of power. So, let’s say the gym is too intimidating. I suggest plugging into fitness groups and classes, especially if you’re being or have been abused and isolated. It is always best to get involved with a group of people anytime a person is depressed or isolated. People that participate in fitness groups are usually energetic and motivating, and could be a great benefit to a woman that needs some additional support. So, for any woman that is coming out of a bad situation, this would be a helpful. Finding a workout partner or partners can help reinforce accountability. Someone is monitoring your activity and progression and pushing you to commit. Since, access to money can be a real issue in domestic violence situations, but there are free classes, groups, and at home workouts you can do. Some community centers and churches offer free or low cost classes. A lot of studios and centers offer a first class for free. I also recommend Getting a few friends together and creating your own group. If that is not possible, you can go on sites like www.blackgirlsrun.com or www.meetup.com and find fitness groups in your area.
There are groups that meet regularly to workout and motivate each other. You can also go on Youtube and find just about any kind of workout videos you want to do I’ve seen participants in my class go from if you would like to exercise at home. hiding in the back of the class, to coming I also recommend playing with your to the front to eventually becoming children, if you have them. Play instructors. It’s fun. It’s motivational. kickball, softball or race them. Go It allows a person to be social. You bike riding with them. This will also become stronger. Depending on provide a fun form of exercise the types of classes you take, you and allow you to spend quality may be able to kick some butt time with your children and can yourself. Kickboxing and other self aid in your physical, emotional, defense classes make for great Dance Instructor & Personal and relationship health workouts, as well as teaching how for you all. Trainer, Shari Smith
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