I should have known Friday would be a great day. During my personal Bible study time Proverbs 28:1 was brought to my attention: “The wicked fleethough no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” And this was after a week of feeling God urging me to be bold in my prayers and to be more confident about my future.
Marla and Marcia Pruitte
a.k.a. The Pruitte Twins
Then I went to Cupcakes and Conversations, a ladies empowerment night hosted by inspirational speakers Marla and Marcia Pruitte, better known as The Pruitte Twins. The night was full of motivational talks by local women who true are movers and shakers in our city. Women who spoke at the event included radio and TV personality Eunice Elliott, Robin Ato, owner of Gracie Grove Venue where the event was held, Kimberly Davis and TaShara King of Davis and King Consulting, public relations pro Chanda Temple and Kanisha Shamburger of Created to Win Enterprises LLC. All throughout the night the message I heard over and over was to simply be bold. Be bold enough to dream. I knew I’d love the Pruitte Twins as soon as they started talking because they mentioned that they are fans of vision boards. A vision board is a visual representation of your dreams and goals. I make a new vision board every year or so because I believe that, as Proverbs 29:18 states, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (more…)
The B-Metro Blog Team We’re raising our glasses to the power of women!
Last week I had the opportunity to cover B-Metro magazine’s Women of Power party, which celebrated the release of the magazine’s annual Power of Women issue. As part of the B-Metro blog team I shared highlights of the party via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
The Power of Women issue is my favorite. Last year I had the honor of being one of the women featured. The profile See Javacia Lead focused on my work with See Jane Write. I was quite excited to see several ladies of See Jane Write at last week’s party, which was held at Vino in English Village.
Abiola, Jane, and Shella came out and represented for See Jane Write!
The turnout was great and everyone seemed to have an excellent time. We enjoyed delicious free hors d’oeuvres from Vino and live music by Gabriel Tajeu.
Along with Vino, the party was also sponsored by Alabama Power and Cadillac, who showed off some gorgeous new cars. At the party I had the chance to chat with Raquel Morgan, a top commercial account manager at Alabama Power, about what it means to be a woman of power.
Raquel Morgan of Alabama Power
“Being a woman of power is about being willing to give back and being willing to uplift other women,” Morgan said. When asked what advice she would give to young women graduating high school this month, Morgan’s response was simple yet wise: “Enjoy life, but make smart choices.” Morgan has worked for Alabama Power for 15 years and says it’s a great place to work for women and for anyone. “I’ve been given so many opportunities and resources to excel in my career path,” she said. Morgan said that one of the women of power she admires most is Bobbie Knight, who is the head of the Birmingham division of Alabama Power. “I admire her integrity, her strength, and her intelligence,” Morgan said. “And she has great fashion sense!”
How do you define a woman of power? What women of power do you admire most? Cross-posted at WriteousBabe.com.
There’s often chatter on some of my favorite blogs about whether superstar Beyonce is or isn’t a feminist. Her girl power anthems, all-female band and determination to be independent lead some to say that Bey is absolutely a feminist. But some look to her sexy persona and performances and say she’s a pawn to the male gaze. Some folks even complain about her decision to name her upcoming tour “The Mrs. Carter Show.”
Despite the fact that I’ve been waving the flag of feminism for years, I actually don’t care whether or not Beyonce has the label of “feminist.” She continues to inspire me regardless.
I had no intentions of writing about her HBO documentary, Life Is But a Dream, that debuted tonight. But when I found myself scribbling down notes throughout the program, I knew a blog post was about to be born.
Believe it or not, sometimes I do have reservations about calling myself a feminist, but not because of the negative connotations and terrible misconceptions people have about what being a feminist means. Sometimes I feel as if feminism doesn’t fully describe my politics, my life mission or my love for and devotion to women. Feminism is simply a belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. But my desire to improve the lives of women and help them express themselves is about so much more than equality. It’s about sisterhood.
In the documentary Beyonce describes how much her love for women influences her work. She says, “I’m always thinking about women and what we need to hear.” And with those words she describes exactly why I blog and why I started See Jane Write.
Beyonce goes on to talk about how important it is for women to have conversations with other women and how much she grows from those heartfelt discussions. I feel the same way, which is why I want to build community here on this blog and offline through See Jane Write networking events.
Life Is But a Dream is a compelling documentary because it reminds viewers that Beyonce is human. Yes, her life is acutely different from ours, but she still has insecurities and heartache, hopes and dreams. She’s a woman of faith. And when she’s talking about her husband you see she’s still a girl in love with a boy, and suddenly the fact that she’s calling her new tour the Mrs. Carter Show makes you smile.
But obviously it’s when Beyonce talks about her concern for women that she makes my feminist heart flutter. In the documentary during a segment on her Billboard Music Awards performance of “Run the World (Girls)” she says:
It really pisses me off that women don’t get the same opportunities as men do or money for that matter because let’s face it: money gives men the power to run the show. It gives men the power to define our values and to define what’s sexy and what’s feminine. And that’s bullshit. At the end of the day it’s not about equal rights it’s about how we think. We have to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead and reach as high as humanly possible. That’s what I’m going to do, that’s my philosophy and that’s what “Girls” is all about.
I love that she puts the ball in our court. If you see an injustice or disparity around you, do something about it! It’s time out for whining about men or “the Man” holding us down. It’s time that we take control of our careers and our creativity.
It’s time to take control of your life so it can finally look just like the one you live in your dreams.
For years I’ve thought that this song, particularly the first verse, describes perfectly my love for writing. It explains why I’ve wanted to be a writer since the age of 7 even though it’s a rather thankless and low-paying occupation that most people regard as a hobby. But last week as I was listening to the song (on repeat) in my car I realized the first verse also explains why I’m so determined to build up See Jane Write. I’ve been asked plenty of times why I bother organizing events for local women writers even though I’m not making money off my efforts. In fact, I usually spend money to make these events happen. And yes, the time I spend on these programs I could be using to work on my own writing. But the joy, the downright giddiness, that I feel when working on See Jane Write activities is invaluable.
Last week Glamour magazine hosted its annual Women of the Year Awards. Honorees for 2012 include the likes of actress Selena Gomez, photographer Annie Leibovitz, Girls creator Lena Dunham and USA gold medal Olympians. (Click here for a complete list.)
As Evette Dionne mentioned on her blog, The Huffington Post’s women’s website, Huff Post Women, captured the spirit of the evening at a reception dinner, asking several honorees and attendees this question: “What do you appreciate most about being a woman?”
This got me thinking: What do I love most about being a woman?It didn’t take long for me to reach an answer.
The thing I appreciate most about being a woman is sisterhood.
I believe in the power of sisterhood.
Most women understand that when we band together we are an unstoppable force.
In my nearly 32 years on this earth in this female body I have learned that your good girlfriends make accomplishing goals more manageable and a lot more fun — whether you’re working toward artistic or professional aspirations or a goal to get in shape.
I’ve now blogged for 19 days straight even though I’ve been juggling my full-time teaching job, freelance writing assignments, and church and family obligations. I’ve also had to make time to develop writing prompts to send to other bloggers participating in the challenge. One of the primary reasons I’ve been able to do this is because of ladies of See Jane Write and other female bloggers across the country who’ve been blogging like crazy with me. Their posts keep me inspired; their energy keeps me motivated.
And what I’ve seen happen this month on the See Jane Write Facebook group page has been fascinating. I’ve mentioned before that the women of See Jane Write have been sharing their blog posts with the group and have been forming incredible connections, even with women they’ve never met IRL, as they discover things they have in common. But what I’ve also seen is women who were intimidated by blogging or had left their blogs sit dormant for months getting in on the action too. They’ve started or relaunched blogs because they saw we were having so much fun.
All this has inspired me to strive to take See Jane Write to even higher heights and I know I can do it because my sisters will be there to help me along the way.
I believe in the power of the written word, and I believe in the power of women. This is why I blog, this is why I write essays, this is why I teach English, and this is why in March of 2011 I started See Jane Write.
On Monday a few of the women from the group and I (pictured above) got together for lunch at a local Thai restaurant. The food was good, but the conversation was even better. After a brief talk about politics (there’s always plenty to discuss in that arena here in Birmingham) we got down to business – discussing the writing life.
Being a writer is hard. Being an artist of any kind is difficult in part because there’s such little respect for these professions. In fact, they aren’t even seen as professions by some, but simply considered hobbies. For many of the women at the table when we told our families we wanted to be writers we were told, “OK, but you need to get a real job too.”
Being a woman writer can be even harder. The byline gender gap has been well documented by groups like VIDA. Women’s voices are still underrepresented in the media and literary arts. And this is another reason I founded See Jane Write. I believe that women who dare to express themselves, to tell their stories, and to share the stories of others through the written word need a strong support system. They need someone to encourage them and to hold them accountable.
Because the writing life can be so difficult it can be easy to get off track, to go weeks, months, or even years without writing. Lately, I have really been struggling with feeling like a real writer because now that I’m an English teacher and no longer a full-time journalist I’m not being paid for my written words. But one published author at the table said something that really stuck with me. She said something that reminded me not to put a price on my art in that way.
The true measure of whether or not you’re a writer is simple: Are you writing more than you’re not? In other words, you may not write every single day, but you need to write most days. All relationships, even your relationship with writing, need quality time. Are you truly showing your love for writing or just offering lip service? I, for one, am ready to give it my all.