Wednesday, June 29, 2022

What TPTB Need to Consider When NOT Choosing Pro-Choice

Courtesy of Dreamstime

This is close to my heart for many reasons, I'm using this platform to state some simple truths, supported by solid resources. If you're a pro-lifer and proud (LOL), you may find this somewhat educational. If you can't think of those who may have made a wrong judgment, been a victim of unforeseen circumstances (like family or money problems), or worse, a victim of sexual assault. Overall, the decision to abort is seldom an easy one but very necessary for many women who've undergone a certain level of personal trauma.

  1. The world is already overpopulated. If you knew how fast populations grow under legal abortion, this latest ruling will certainly magnify things. Real estate developers buy land and destroy single-family homes based on population growth forecasting. This not only creates an inflated monopoly on rent and mortgages but destroys many of nature's resources as well as communities.
  2. About 30% of homeless families have underage children. Again, this is before the Republicans jacked things up. If you look at the link, California and New York lead in homelessness. This is not a Hollywood movie where some kind, generous stranger will rescue these people out of the blue and live happily ever after.
  3. Single parenthood is serious business. Before you read this long list of challenges single parents face (starting at #4), comedian Chris Rock once had a routine about single parenthood where not enough men (and sometimes women) lived up to the responsibility, resulting in some bad-ass kids. His point: single parenthood can be done but it shouldn't be this way because it's impossible for one parent to be everywhere.
  4. Kids cost money. Even with the most practical or humble child-rearing, there are expenses parents (or guardians) cannot get around. Being poor seldom results in a quality lifestyle (though I've seen some recent remarkable exceptions). And the working class can find themselves being "too rich" to afford things like reasonably-priced medical care.
  5. It literally takes a village to raise one child. If you're young and live in the big city, having a group of responsible peers as part of your support system isn't easy. It's harder for those who are introverts or haven't been exposed to genuinely good people (in other words, you're too trusting). When it comes to your kid, protection tops the list of priorities.

Those are just five things off the top of my head as to why I'm pro-choice and have been for years. In over five decades on earth, I've seen a lot of shit go down with unprepared parents of all races, income levels, societal standing, and so on. Other real but possible issues that go into raising a child are - 

  • Mental health
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Crime (as a victim or perpetrator)
  • Physical impairments
  • and anything that challenges a normal person's quality of life. 

Finally, there's the fact that the mother may not be in well enough health to carry a baby to term. If people cannot be reasonable in their judgments, please try to show compassion towards women who are simply living life...even if their choices aren't ideal.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Getting Business Grants Targeted to Women

Despite a pandemic and an increase in crime in most major (and some much smaller) cities, commerce has yet to really slow down. In fact, more people are having meals delivered, using financial planning services, and choosing a work-life balance. You may have noticed other industries experiencing a surge in popularity and wondering how this change may impact your small business efforts.

As the fiscal year comes to a close, there are often new opportunities for women business owners of all sizes and industries. These range from nonprofit organizations to government agencies. While the Small Business Administration (SBA) may be a solid grant lead for women and minorities, there are other links throughout this post. While I haven't applied for all of these myself, these resources are very solid to my personal knowledge.

The Real Truth About Getting Business Grants

As indicated, the SBA doesn't provide small business grants but when you work with a small business development center (SBDC) or approved entity, they can get things going. The process is still lengthy but for those who can't handle loan fees, the wait isn't bad. However, the paperwork process can be daunting.

It's been more than 15 years since I applied for several grants for my business. From what I understand today, the process is a little tougher but it can be a learning experience. Back when I applied, I was working with a new SBDC (which has since closed its doors) located inside a small Crenshaw area church. After attending a series of workshops, it was time to get down to business.

What May Surprise You

As an aspiring entrepreneur, all I knew was what I wanted to sell online or in certain offline markets. I hated working for the public school system, as it paid less than corporate America and seemed to have more drama attached. While applying for grants, it was revealed that I would target low-income opportunities but even after putting in around 30 hours/week in a classified position...I still made too much money.

Yup, my estimated $1500/month (before taxes) was considered above the poverty level by the government. And no, this wasn't 1989...but 2005. So this meant my business representative (I don't remember his exact title) had to get creative when it came to how my finances would go on record.

The Other Thing of Importance

Friday, May 27, 2022

Why Every Month Should Be Mental Health Awareness Month


If you haven't been affected by the events of the past 2-3 years, then you must have the luxury of living on another planet. The pandemic has caused a domino effect on businesses of all sizes, public health, and the increasing crime rates in cities across the nation. While it's nice to see articles confirming that we're alright or our ongoing sadness is just a phase, getting a handle on things early is the best method of prevention. Although some mental issues may be more severe than others, stabilizing your mental self before another life event hits home may be the safest way to turn over a new leaf.

Sidestepping the Problem

While I have no degree or even college credits in mental health, it does impact my life greatly. Being raised by a bipolar mother has its challenges because your scope of knowledge is based on whatever extreme mood swings are taking place at the moment. Lucky for me, I had something of a village to ensure I didn't steer too far off the cliff - but I still took many bad habits into adulthood.

One of those is negativity. Bad thoughts about people, things, and ideas that are more than just an opinion.  While bias towards a certain race of people is still common in 2022, mass murder of a specific group (and then justifying it to the media) is an example of how mental illness can escalate.

Although I would eventually learn how to distinguish myths from facts about mental health, I learned there was more to it than just "being happy". Earlier in the year, I was watching an episode of grown-ish where one of the main characters was experiencing a chain of events that affected her productivity and mood. In my opinion, this was kind of simplistic but I'd imagine this is how it starts for a lot of people.

Tackling Trouble on Arrival

This doesn't solve all problems but it's one way to keep current problems from escalating. And some things just take time...or you may have to accept that it will never be solved. When I discuss certain events with my mother, 99% of the time, she doesn't remember. Is it selective memory or just the aging process? I'm teaching myself how to stand strong with the understanding that my past doesn't define who I am today. Areas of which I had no knowledge or understanding are works in progress.

Dusting Off Self Regularly

Going through a bad phase and having a mental episode (even if it's not violent) aren't the same thing. This is to say that if you find yourself constantly dusting off your shoulders, it may help to look within. Before my cancer diagnosis, I wondered why I seemed to attract such toxic individuals in my life. 

Backstabbing, always with a vicious narrative, lying, and manipulation seemed to come with a lot of people I'd run across in my life. Unfortunately, many of them felt that because I was a larger person, I'd tolerate it because I had no other options.  I may have been low on options or people that did right by me but I never tolerated anything beyond my comfort level.

So, this is just to say that getting to the root of mental or emotional problems early can make a difference. It can also prevent you from going on life-altering meds or seeing a professional on a mandatory basis.  While May is one of the longer months out of the year, self-care should be a year-round thing that changes as we change.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Creating Your Own Finance Strategy (Part Two)

If you didn't want to hear the lengthy tale of my own unique money management experience, in a sentence - never become complacent in your current financial situation unless you are well-schooled in how to make money repeatedly work in your favor.  And this has nothing to do with income itself but being physically and mentally secure in your existence.  I've seen people with low-paying service jobs buy houses while those with a bachelor's degree or higher are holding on to some godawful job just to make rent on a place that's not worth the money.

Although health is more important than wealth, videos like the one above can provide some good basic information without trying to sell you something. One thing to always take into consideration is that the pennies do eventually add up.  However, if you find your current job has you in a money quicksand, it may be time to change careers to one that's less stressful.

How the Heck Can a Person Change their Money Situation?

My first theory after learning how to save pennies (then dollars) is to learn how to enemy operates.  While banks and other financial institutions aren't bad people or have evil intentions, many of their policies don't work in the favor of the consumer.  Excellent examples of this are interest charges and miscellaneous fees.

Although the concept of second-chance credit is good for those recovering from extreme hardship, it shouldn't be a way of life.  The thing is creditors don't always see it this way...either you pay off the balance or take a hit if you close the account.  Unfortunately, if a consumer pays off the balance and closes the account, their credit rating takes the hit.

Right now, I'm trying to lower my credit interest rates with the intention of closing in the near future.  While there may be agencies that will do this for you, I believe that if can heed simple instructions and maintain a follow-up schedule, this credit card closure method can serve you well.

Why Does Learning About Money Management Seem So Technical?

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Creating Your Own Finance Strategy (Part One)

via GIPHY - Throwing away money hurts at one point or another.

If you're someone who's been in the working world and not been affected by the recessions of 2008 or the post-pandemic economic state - consider yourself very fortunate.  The past 15 years have proven that very few of us not born into wealth can afford to live frivolously all of the time. In other words, if you have to go to work for a living (or to live by a certain standard), you're not immune.  It doesn't matter if you perform on a stage, sports arena, or even have one of the "safe" jobs like an engineer or registered nurse.  Even if you managed to invent and patent that "next big thing" that changes our world as we know it, you could still find yourself in a situation once the glory has faded.

For the past couple of decades, I've been all about taking advantage of money opportunities that I'm legally entitled to - as well as those that may require a little extra legwork.  That latter part mostly refers to instilling the services of someone who can see loopholes and work things in my favor.  Sometimes, it takes quite a bit of networking (as well as developing a decent rapport) to reach this point.  However, when it comes to reaching a certain level, the effort is certainly worth it.

The Art of the Hustle (My Humble Story)

Nope, I'm not going to share the latest side hustle that you probably know about already.  Also, not every hustle is meant for everyone or congruent with every living situation.  Often you need a greater return than a few hundred bucks a month, which may not be consistent if there's no opportunity available at the moment.  What I'm speaking of is making a reasonable plan for a frugal living AND finding ways to generate income.

Back in the day, I was a career clerical temp whose typing skills were under 40 words per minute.  One would think this alone is the perfect reason to return to college but this didn't come until much later.  While I hated some of the breaks in between assignments, I learned to take advantage of complimentary software training.  Once I was willing to be tested in accounting/bookkeeping basics, MS Office, and other proprietary software, I not only got more money but I could pick and choose my assignments.

Although I was eventually able to live on my own (and I reside in L.A., mind you) I still did things like clip coupons, buy work clothes from off-price retailers and department store clearance sales.  The one thing that got me teased by some co-workers was brown-bagging it to work.  Some days I brought a house sandwich that costs less than $2, cheese and crackers, or my diet go-to instant brown rice and salsa.  While those giggly-butt co-workers stressed out over needing $50 or $100 right before payday, I was stacking and willing to move up.

Using Business Resources

I started this whole thing under an SBDC, which stands for small business development center and can be found in most major cities.  They work with the Small Business Administration and while many operate differently, most offer free or low-cost business operations training.  There are also one-on-one consultations with someone who has knowledge of a certain industry or protocol.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Why More WOC Need to Stop Fearing the Damn Doctor

Do you hate going to the doctor or clinic?  I did for a long time and boy, did I pay a price.  Or was it a blessing in disguise?  While my cancer journey has been quite the whirlwind for nearly a decade now, I just want to put something out there.  Black and brown women deserve to be as healthy as the next person and beyond.  Between fearing the worst, lack of resources, and constant misinformation, we often find ourselves at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to learning about health care alternatives.

The Internet Isn't Your Doctor

While sites like Mayo Clinic and WebMD are some of the most reputable for giving basic information, that disclaimer at the bottom of the page is the truth.  Your symptoms may be what they appear to be...or something else.  My condition fell under something else that was atypical for the demographic I belonged to.  Long story short, don't use the internet to diagnose what may be a serious condition.

Do Alternative Medicine with a Licensed Professional

At first, I thought taking supplements, ACV, or anything that didn't come from a mean-old hospital or clinic would do.  It only made me go to the bathroom faster or suppressed my non-existent appetite further.  Every day, I read articles by some legitimate (as in well-researched) publications but of course, none had a cure for my condition.  

Even worse was reading of celebrity blogs, which occasionally veered off into general subjects.  The most bizarre suggestion (or treatment) for my ailment was to chew a half-dozen black grape seeds whole every day.  Yes, I was told that chewing undigestable seeds was better than modern medicine.  

Never, Ever Be Afraid to Get a Second (or Third) Opinion

According to a 2016 article by Johns Hopkins, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the States. Sometimes, this can be a learning curve because some chronic illnesses (like cancer) take time to properly diagnose.  In these instances, you also may not want to wait for something to go wrong before looking elsewhere.

If something isn't right with your body, seeing a licensed professional should be the first step in care.  When something is out of their scope, they can make referrals based on their findings.  For those who may be looking at a long-term ailment, this is probably the best time to get in touch with people who may have been through a similar problem.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

The Art of Being Unstoppable

Look at any women's stories, whether it be overcoming health matters, unfair incarceration, or launching a successful business under unlikely circumstances and you'll see natural resilience is something that will never go out of style.  Although some of us may be part of a culture that encourages carrying the load for survival, it's not the same as accepting your circumstances, good or bad, but the ability to roll with change without bitterness.  It's like those old Energizer bunny ads where the product with the brand X batteries (your haters) seemed to conk out quickly, the mechanical toy bunny just kept going and going.

A New Year and a new attitude often go hand-in-hand but these days, it’s challenging to stay close to your roots.  We started out as a fun alternative to women’s issues but then the cultural shift kind of made it hard to create sharable content regularly.  Throw in personal health matters, crazy hosting company drama, and other major life changes - all a normal person wants is time away to re-assess things.

This year, we want to keep the same spirit but make our content consistent and shareable.  I’m not a fan of social media (in terms of the tactics companies use to keep the engagement going amongst people minding their own business) but we’re updated some of our contacts and will work hard to not let any strange activity come through.

If you're a business, the opportunity for you to promote your services is always available.  Like any other site, we reserved the right to stick to our brand and not jump on bandwagons.  My bills are laughing at me as I type this but I’m sticking to my convictions.  Anyway, email any questions or suggestions and we may be able to explore other options.

In the meantime, look forward to an updated free version of the GENEROUS zine in the near future.

Hope to see you soon!