Category Archives: Relationships

Silence Broken through Artistic Expression


Fresh Start for Women LogoOftentimes people hear about or see the evidence and may even be sympathetic to the woman with visible scars from the abuse she has endured. There will be those willing to help if she has become disfigured because of the trauma. A broken arm can mend. A scar from scalding water will eventually heal. A bloody nose can also heal. But what about the scars you don’t see? Don’t they require attention as well? Shouldn’t effort be made to help one overcome those scars?

There are many who believe wrongly that it’s just something you have to get over and move on. This is not an easy task and Fresh Start for Women’s 12 years in the trenches can attest to this statement. Even more damaging is the toll it takes on our young girls before they’ve even fully developed into young women and future leaders.If you have a daughter, niece, granddaughter or even a great-granddaughter make plans to attend Silence Broken through Artistic Expression on October 16th at the 444 Theatre.

Think about it. A woman or girl whose self-esteem has been reduced to lower than dirt needs healing. The woman or child who flinches when a raised voice is heard needs healing. The eyes that look out upon the world without light in them need healing.

The person you observe who never looks you in the eye, speaks softly and shrink within themselves needs healing. The soul, mind and spirit need attention just as much and sometimes even more so. A kind word, a smile, a soft touch all can serve as healing balm. A listening ear without judgment carries a lot of power. Use it wisely.

This year Fresh Start for Women is endeavoring to shed light on the various forms of domestic violence and the impact it has on a woman’s or girl’s life.  Silence Broken through Artistic Expression: The Real Effects of Domestic Violence is a talent showcase that will not only entertain but educate and hopefully inspire you to make a difference.

The arts are a great way to learn in a non-threatening yet caring environment. You’ll be regaled with spoken word artists, singers, dancers and actors. So mark your calendar, get your tickets and come walk the purple carpet, network and make a powerful difference.

Fresh Start for Women believes you will come away from this event with the power to help one who has been made to feel powerless to begin to heal and overcome. Learn more at www.freshstartforwomen.org. Someone needs you now.

Recovering From an Abusive Relationship


Yes, you are finally free! Now What? It took strength and determination to break free. It’s going to take strength, determination and patience to ensure you are recovered from the experiences of an abusive relationship.

Keep in mind that there is not a one size fits all prescription. There’s going to be trial and error as you navigate your way to a healthy relationship. But regardless of what works one thing is important for anyone. What is that you ask? Love Yourself! Let me repeat that…Love Yourself!

This is important in the healing process so that you can begin to listen to the warning signs you previously ignored. You know the ones some made you feel special when in reality it was all about control.

Love yourself enough to not allow yourself to be cut off from family and friends.

Love yourself enough to be happy with your own company.

Love yourself enough to not accept physical and emotional abuse as part of being a couple.

Love yourself enough to recognize and listen when your body tells you you’re unsafe.

Love yourself enough to speak words of encouragement and inspiration as you go through stages of grief.

Love yourself enough to want the best because you deserve the best and give it in return.

Love yourself enough to stand up and speak up when you’re in pain.

Love yourself enough to allow time to work its magic.

Love yourself enough to look in the mirror and see the beauty in the eyes looking back at you.

Love yourself enough to shake the shackles of the past and not hold it against another person.

And most important of all love yourself enough to FORGIVE and move forward with great expectation and joy.

Yes recovering from an abusive relationship is possible. You can and you will do it.

Mama Does Know Best


I’d like to start by asking you a couple of questions….

First, are you finding yourself repeating a familiar yet uncomfortable cycle in your relationships?
Secondly, when it’s just you and your heart is broken again, do you quietly say to yourself…”Mama Said”?

Come on be honest. I will if you will. Over the years as I’ve gone through relationships my Mama’s words have come back to haunt me. Had I taken her nuggets of wisdom to heart I know I could have avoided a lot of disappointment and would not have had to deal with:

Low Self-Worth, Low-Self-Esteem, Physical and Emotional Abuse, Embarrassment and Frustration.

I can readily admit that when I reached my teen years I suddenly woke up one morning and decided my Mama didn’t know what she was talking about. Besides it had been a long time since she was a teenager. The rules she lived by didn’t apply to me. How wrong was I!

Mama wanted me to not experience some of the things she had. She wanted me to learn from her… 

Now that I’m a mother and a grandmother, I find myself in her same position. I’m sure my children and grandchildren have those moments when they think to themselves, ‘Mama Said’ or ‘Grandma Said’.

Yes, it’s true that we all have to live our own lives, however, if we take the time to really listen to what our Mamas tried to teach us we could have avoided so much pain.

Sometimes it seems like we’ve learned from the “school of hard knocks”! The five nuggets of wisdom that my Mama tried to share and I was too stubborn to hear:

Nugget #1 – Know You Better than Others Do and Know Your Worth

Nugget #2 – Carry Yourself with Dignity & Respect

Nugget #3 – Education is Important for Success

Nugget #4 – You Can’t Change another Human Being

Nugget # 5 – “No” is Not a Bad Word

The interesting thing is that we don’t have to always learn things the hard way. I’m grateful that before my Mama passed she knew I’d learned the above lessons. I hope you’ll acknowledge the wisdom of the Mamas and Mothers in your life. It’s never too late to put it into practice. So go ahead give her a hug and kiss and say thank you Mama.

Celebrate Your Milestones


Oscar Hugging Janice-HIt has taken me years to realize the importance of celebrating milestones, Too often we tend to stay buried in the failures or trials we go through. I believe we need to do a reversal. Instead of spending so much time on the failures take the lessons from them and begin to plot your strategy to reach a successful result.

This week that is exactly what I’m doing! I’m celebrating being healed from past unhealthy relationships and now thriving in one that is full of love, wonder, hope, togetherness, encouragement, faith, support, laughter, joy, fun, quiet, peace and did I mention love?

Of course I did. I can’t imagine not having this peace and joy in my life for it is full of love, mutual respect and caring. If I’d remained in the past I shudder to think how empty life would be now. I may not be as young as I used to be but my heart is always young and so is the love that flows from me even when we are faced with adversity. Together we are unbeatable.

Each minute, hour, day that I’m granted in this world I vow to celebrate the milestones. How about you!

 

Say Yes to Yourself


Yes, sOscar Hugging Janice-Huch a simple little word. Yet it holds tremendous power. During this month of Domestic Violence Awareness, stop for a moment and say YES to yourself.

Say Yes, I’m worthy to be loved unconditionally.

 

Say Yes, to being touched by loving protective hands.

Say Yes to having eyes filled with love, respect and honor being cast upon you.

Say Yes to joy in your heart when your name is spoken from the lips of one who regards you as a precious and cherished part of themselves.

Say Yes to walks in the rain and picnics in the park.

Say Yes to growing closer until you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins because you’re so in tuned to each other and only want the best for each other.

Say Yes to a husband, wife or child who when you’re not at your best will come and give you a hug just because.

Say Yes to sunny days and peaceful nights.

Say Yes to a faith beyond your understanding.

Say Yes to cold lemonade, sweet iced tea, homemade ice cream and milk chocolate candy with a surprise inside.

Say Yes to flowers sent to adorn your desk.

Say Yes to a gentle kiss upon your forehead that makes your stomach quiver from excitement.

Say Yes to a smile that warms you to your toes.

Say Yes to God’s Love but most of all Say Yes  to loving yourself beyond measure.

Now walk in that Love and watch the positive energy gravitate to you. Say Yes I deserve this and so much more. I won’t settle for less because today I say Yes to Me!

 

 

Shout NO More to Domestic Violence


DV WheelFor a couple of weeks now domestic violence has taken center stage in the news because of a high profile incident associated with a professional sports figure. It’s good that the light is being shone on it, however my question becomes what happens when the next story comes along? Will anyone remember or think about the women and children suffering every day? A part of my life story includes domestic violence, abuse and sexual assault and it began in my early teens. The affects lasted well into my late 20’s and early 30’s. Because of that I eventually founded Fresh Start for Women to be a beacon of hope and encouragement for a life after domestic violence, abuse and sexual assault.

So may I please implore you to not let this issue go back under the covers when the lights go off on the current case? Every 9 seconds a woman or child is a victim of these issues and the likelihood of a woman being affected is 1 in 3. This means you know someone or it could be you.

Today I want to dedicate this blog to share 8 signs that may indicate you’re in an unhealthy relationship. You don’t have to experience them all but it is highly likely if you experienced one then the possibility of another one happening is very high. These 8 signs don’t necessarily happen in a predictable way but is still part of a vicious cycle.

Intimidation
• Making you feel afraid because of how they use their words, gestures or actions
• Smashing things, destroying property or harming pets
• Displaying weapons or threatening to use them against you

Emotionally Abusive
• Putting you down or making you feel bad.
• Calling you names, playing mind games.
• Humiliating you or make you feel guilty
• Saying you caused the abuse/blame

Isolation
• Controlling what you do, who you see and talk to
• Limiting your outside activities
• Using jealousy (though they may not admit it) to justify their actions

A healthy relationship will not use your children as a pawn in a game of control. Children should never be caught in the middle of grown up situations. They are not messengers, nor should they be used to deny visitation, demand support or threaten to be taken away.

A healthy relationship doesn’t promote male privilege as a means of leaving you to simply play the role of servant while all decisions are made by him and only him. It does not involve economic abuse, whereby your money is his money and his money is his money and you must give an account of every penny spent. The financial health of the family shouldn’t be a secret that only he knows!

A healthy relationship should not conflict, instead it should compliment. A healthy relationship does not use blaming or minimizing of your concerns in order to make them invalid.

I have to be honest with you, when I was going through this I mistakenly assumed I could change the person. Others may feel the same way but the truth is we can only change ourselves and how we react/respond to it. This realization was freeing to me and I pray anyone reading this will come to the same truth and make a change that is in their best interest.

Domestic violence, abuse and sexual assault are harmful not just to the women and children caught in the cycle but our communities suffer as well. Thus it takes a community (village) to say NO MORE!!!

Won’t you join me and stand up for those needing support, encouragement and real love!

 

Stop Looking Through Rose-Colored Glasses


That is such an old saying but it still rings true today. Too often we have a tendency to do just that look at things through rose-colored glasses. Sure it’s pretty pleasing to the eye and any flaws or imperfections don’t look so bad. The problem however is when we wear these tinted glasses and it prevents us from seeing things as they truly are. Things that were we to acknowledge could lead us to a new understanding of our circumstances. This is especially true when dealing with relationships.

Relationships are difficult already so compounding the issue by wearing those rose-tinted glasses can be harmful to you emotionally, spiritually and physically. Why? Think about it you’re trying to get to know a new person and that takes time. Too often women especially invest too soon emotionally before they’ve had the opportunity to form opinions based on all the information.

The first time you’re called by something other than the name your parents gave you and you let it slide you’re setting the stage for other things to occur. It’s a simple thing so you decide it’s not a big deal. But what happens when the next time it’s a very derogatory word?  Will you have the courage to address the issue? Why worry then address it in the very beginning. You set the stage on how you’re treated. If you give the signal disrespect is accepted because you GOT to have this person in your life then you’re selling yourself a bill of goods that stink! I have the privilege of riding public transportation to work everyday and when I see the disrespect our young ladies allow it breaks my heart.  How would you like to be addressed as, “chicken head”, “hoe”, “b….”, c..t” or worse? Do these words instill respect, trust,  devotion, caring or love? I think not. They are looking through rose-colored glasses and letting things slide that can only lead to nowhere good.

Your spirit is more than just talking about faith, it’s a part of who you are, your essence your life force. A broken spirit is a very sad one indeed. How do you live a life worth living if your spirit is broken? A broken spirit is void of hope. It is dejected, rejected and isolated. It is molded by the whims of others so much so that the voice of the owner is lost. It has been covered with so much junk that the brilliance that once resided within is dull. But guess what! It’s dull not totally put out therefore hope remains. There’s a spark of life there and all it needs is tending from the right source. So what makes up the right source? You have to start with YOU. You have to love yourself unconditionally flaws and all. Read Justin Albert’s  Self-Esteem and Self-Love.  If you have a teen daughter and you know she has allowed the opinions of others to infiltrate her self-esteem give her The Self-Esteem Workbook for Teens. You’ll be glad you did. But the greatest example for your daughter is you. So what must you do?

Start by letting her see you in action. Let the man come to the door to pick you  up for a date. Let her see him open the door for you, let her see you smile in appreciation and hear the words please and thank-you in your conversations. Let her see and hear you answer to the name your parents gave you. Let her see and hear you praise her for doing well in school and making wise choices. After all you’re her number one example. Let her see you with a man who wears his pants the way they should be worn, not hanging to his knees but clean, smelling good and about a future not a quick way to make a buck. Let her see you put emphasis on the character of the man. She’ll follow your example. Let her know that you’re looking at life clearly and not through rose-colored glasses.

Instill those positive attributes in yourself and cultivate them in your daughter. I know there are many fathers out there being the head of the household, let your actions, thoughts and deeds be an example to your daughters and your sons. Each will pattern after what they see and hear. Don’t allow the outside world to have more influence than you. You’re the head, act like it! Show them you have your priorities in order. An important factor is your faith and belief in something greater than yourself. it guides your every decision, your actions and responses to the trials you face. Show them you face them with courage bending but never breaking. Fathers, dad you are powerful, you have a lot to give don’t be absent for you are more than a paycheck and mothers let respect fall from you so that your daughters and sons will know what it means to have someone who has their back and loves them unconditionally. Even in those instances when your relationship with the father has failed don’t let the relationship between father and child fail. You owe them that. It’s not about you it’s about them. This brings me to another subject if a man you’re considering to allow into your life mistreats your child SHOW HIM THE DOOR!!!!! Enough said.

if you fail to do so and continue to look through those rose-colored glasses the possibility of physical harm becomes a greater possibility.  In more than 15 years the statistics have not changed much.

  • Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
  • Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
    • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
      • Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
        • Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
          • Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
            • Ninety-two percent of women surveyed listed reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern.
              • Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents.

These are just a few things to keep in mind. All the more reason that it’s imperative that we all take an active part in not looking at life through rose-colored glasses. The alternative can be devastating. Prevention is key especially for our teen girls it’s one of the reason’s that Fresh Start for Women developed the “You Are a Precious Jewel” program for teen girls 13 – 17.  Our goal is to instill in them the desire to  become great students, daughters and leaders of tomorrow.

This life we live was never meant to be easy if it were we’d never be able to appreciate those precious moments were it not for the trials and tests we endure. So live life, live it fully but please STOP LOOKING THROUGH ROSE-COLORED GLASSES.