openness, accountability, straightforwardness, candor
“the new government aims for better transparency”

On Saturday, my friend Steph babysat Lailah (a whole other blog post, lol) while I attended my friend Tinesha’s seminar. It’s part of a series of seminars entitled “Spread Love.” This one was about living a life of transparency.

The seminar was co-facilitated by Tarsha (pronounced Tar-Shay) Hamilton, who is the wife of An.thony Hamil.ton. Both ladies are phenomenal. They opened up by talking about their life struggles earlier on, and how they’ve both learned to be transparent in discussing the issues. Tinesha talked about her battle with depression, and how she has to learn how to process anger and deal with emotions. Tarsha talked about having lost family members to AIDS, the stigma attached, and how they did not discuss it openly when she was younger.

As an ice breaker, we each had to fill out a “Hello, My Name Is _______” page in our booklets. You have your name, how you found out about the seminar, what you hoped to take away from the seminar, and one thing you wanted everyone there to know about you. We switched papers with our neighbor, and we had to introduce each other. Several people mentioned that they wanted to find the balance between being transparent and just revealing everything.

I took a ton of notes while Tinesha and Tarsha were speaking, but I don’t have them with me right now. I also sent out some “live tweets” on statements and ideas that resonated with me.

The portion of the seminar that had the biggest impact with me was when we all shared a secret. I had flipped ahead in our packet (I can’t help it, it’s who I am, LOL) and saw the page entitled “Shhhhh…it’s a secret.” The directions were to write down something about you that was a secret. Everyone did, and then they were placed in a box. You did not have to write your name.

I don’t know about everyone else in the room, but that exercise was scary, humbling and freeing all at the same time. First and foremost, I know that putting things in writing make them real for me. And then I have no choice but to deal with them. Secondly, whenever you reveal something about yourself, you don’t know whether or not you will be judged. However, I obliged and wrote a secret on the paper, folded it up, put it in the box, and waited.

Once everyone was done, Tinesha passed took the box around to different people in the room, and each one pulled out a slip and read it. At first, there was mostly silence, and some gasps or sounds of sympathy.

And then it happened. One of the women was brave enough to speak up and say, “that one you just read, that was MY secret.”

And then another woman. And another. And each time they stepped up in the spirit of transparency to reveal themselves, great dialogue ensued. Offers of help and support were made. They were brave. There was no scorn or judging, just nods of sympathy and SUPPORT.

What I realized was:

  • We all have a story
  • A lot of us have THE SAME story…we just don’t know it
  • Transparency can lead to getting the help/support you need
  • Our stories are often the reason behind our decision making, in all areas of life
  • I have a few awesome friends

I don’t think that the point was to share everything with everyone. Of course, you have to be discerning regarding who you share your life with. But I think a good first step is being more transparent with the ones you love.

Are you transparent in your life? Do you think you could’ve written down your secret and then claimed it during the seminar? How do you think being more transparent would help you?

Want more information on the Spread Love Seminars? Check out the following:

Tinesha’s website/blog

Follow her on Twitter: @roc_star

Follow her on Instagram: roc_star

She’s also a great loctician/natural hair stylist: Revolution EGO Salon


Open House

Today was open house at the teen’s new school. This will be his school for his last two years of high school. It will be Baby H’s high school unless we move or get re-zoned.

Anywho, I left work early and met the guys over there. That school is pretty big. They gave us a map and we went around to all his first semester classes. His first semester involves alternating between gym and JROTC for his first class, then Algebra II, Contemporary Law and Justice, and last but not least, Chemistry.

At first I could tell he was being a little timid. As we walked around and met the teachers, he seemed to perk up. His algebra teacher looks like he could be one of the students! I’m sure he gets tired of hearing that.

The JROTC teacher is an older black male. I really liked what he had to say. The kids will have a uniform that they will have to wear once a week. It must be worn all day, from school bus pick up to school bus drop off. Changing during the day results in a call to the parents and an F. D’oh! The uniform is (surprisingly) free; we just had to pay for his t-shirt that he will have to use on designated ROTC PT days. We need to get him some black shorts. They also go out into the community and do community service work. JROTC keeps a record of this, so the cadets can refer to it when filling out college apps. Love it! He told us they are not there to push kids into military. They are there to teach them discipline and knowledge, and to learn how to do their best in school. I’m excited about his upcoming experiences with that.

His law teacher is a coach and used to be the athletic director. We had a nice little discussion about Syracuse joining the ACC. I Love his syllabus. Under extra credit it basically says “don’t ask – do what you’re supposed to do and you won’t need it.” LOL! I love it.

As we were walking to his chemistry class, I was telling CH that chemistry is one where he needs to be paying attention from the beginning, because it just continues to build upon what you learn. We get to the class and the teacher basically tells him the same exact thing. His class will have homework every night. I support it. #winning

I am excited for him for his junior year. It’s a good foundation for him. His second semester classes are just as interesting. I hope he takes advantage of all that’s being offered to him. If he can bring up the grades from last year, I’m going to have to come up with a nice surprise for him.

Social Media to the Rescue

To supplement what he’s doing in school, and since he doesn’t get much homework (a whole OTHER post), we usually have CH check books out of the library.

I want him to read the things that he enjoys, but I also want him to read educational books, the classics, and books that will prepare him for being a black male in this country. So, I reached out to my FB and twitter friends for book suggestions, and boy did they come through.

I’m going to put together a list with a brief synopsis of each book, and let him pick what he wants to read next. If I can find copies on half dot com I will just purchase there. I have a feeling the school library won’t have all we need. Not to mention, he can reference the books in the future if we purchase them.

Social media is not all mindless. 🙂

He might groan at this new project, but I think he will enjoy the books once he gets into them.