Saturday, December 31, 2005

Gearing up for 2006 - Day Three

We're rolling on with day three. And our question is: (DRUM ROLL PLEASE)

What would I have done differently? Why?

I really don't believe in do overs. I think every things happens for a reason and from every situation - a chance to grow. And I've done a lot of growing this past year. But since I'm asking you to answer the question; so will I. One thing I think I would have done differently is researching publishing companies before I signed a contract. I wasn't as interested in learning the business of writing as I should have been and it has caused some turmoil. I can't be mad though, because publishing Easier Said Than Done has been one of my biggest opportunities for learning in 2005. A couple of lessons: 1. most things can not be taken at face value - dig a little deeper and it may be a whole 'nother story and 2. the best of intentions does not always produce the best results.

Now what say you?

Friday, December 30, 2005

Gearing up for 2006 - Day Two

So, today is our day to brag. Don't hold back. I'm sure you'll be surprised like I was all that you were able to get done in 2005. Write it down, then give yourself a big hug! I'm proud of you!

2. What did I accomplish?

One accomplishment was completing my debut novel, "Easier Said Than Done" and getting it published. An even bigger accomplishment was keeping my sanity while doing it. I also completed my motivational speaking demo tape and have it ready to ship off in the new year. My film production was incorporated as well as my non-profit organization, "The Nikki Woods LeaderHership Academy" which will target girls between 12 and 18. And the script for "Easier Said Than Done" as well as my second novel, "Innocence Lost" are close to completion. Whew! It's been a roller coaster of a year and I'm sure I've missed some things. BUT that's just surface stuff. Most importantly, I developed a personal relationship with my Savior. I am talking more about just "getting church". I'm talking about a real relationship, a friendship and intimacy that I have never experienced before. I am also feeling more comfortable in my own skin. I accept my weaknesses as well as my strengths and have learned to capitalize on both. For someone who has struggled with confidence issues for most of their life - this is a HUGE accomplishment. I'm also very proud of my children and the things that they have accomplished as they made it to 2 and 4 years old and learned skills in leaps and bounds. Of couse, mommy takes a certain pride in that she had a hand in that.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Gearing up for 2006 - Day One

This doesn't have to take long, you may just want to take a minute and reflect on it. I would love for you to add your comments. See mine below.

1. What did I learn?

I think the most important thing I learned this year is that I can do anything and be successful at it when I really focus. As long as it's in keeping with God's will. Sometimes, I may be too scared, or too stressed or too lazy and just not done it - but I proved this year that I CAN do it. I also learned that I have a huge capacity to love that continues to grow. I don't tap into it nearly often enough but it is one of my goals for 2006. Tapping into Love brings forth a bunch of other great stuff like forgiveness, and courage. I also learned that I still have a lot to learn. And a long road of growth ahead of me. But now I know I can do it, from a position of love.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Gearing up for 2006!

As 2005 comes to an close, one thing that I regret is that I did not journal as much as in past years. For a good reason - I was too busy writing other things. I know that 2006 is going to be my breakthrough year. I have so much bubbling beneath the surface - good and bad - that needs to be brought forth. The good to be developed and the bad to be exorcised. So when I saw these questions I thought they would be a good start. AND I thought it would be fun for us to do together. (Yes, it's interactive!) We'll do them one at a time and really put forth our best effort. Can you tell I used to teach school? Read them, meditate on them. Class starts promptly at 8 tomorrow. And don't forget your number two pencil.

1. What did I learn?
2. What did I accomplish?
3. What would I have done differently? Why?
4. What did I complete or release?
5. What were the three most significant events of the last year?
6. What did I do right?
7. What were the fun things I did? The not-so-fun?
8. What were my biggest challenges? How did I overcome them?
9. For what I am grateful?
10. What do I want my theme to be for 2006?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Reclaiming My Femininity

"That's not quite rape." That was a listener's response to a call-in which a distraught listener related her emotional trauma that she was still suffering through ten years following a brutal assault at the hands of her fiancee.

"What did you just say?" I asked, incredulously.

"That's not quite rape." Seconds ticked by as the rage slowly worked itself to a boil, starting deep inside, burned its way up the back of my neck and had my eyes stinging with unshed tears. The caller went on to explain his rationale but I heard none of it; his words blocked by the screams of pain and hurt from my own "not quite rape" experience.

I didn't talk about it then and I still don't. It has been thirteen years for me but I've never quite gotten over it. And never will.

Like this caller most people still think of rape as a random attack, happening in dark corners at night or in empty parking lots. Although this is a tragic reality for some women, the majority of rapes occur when there is some degree of trust..... Yet, less then 5% of date rapes are ever reported.

I reported mine but to no avail. The system that set in place to assist the victims of crime only raped me again. So I shut my mouth and went on about living a life that I no longer felt belonged to me.

Instead of getting counseling, I worked in the trenches: talking to young women about dangers of sexual assault; whether it is at the hands on someone you know or someone you don't; advocating for tougher laws and more stringent sentencing for those who commit sexual assault and holding the hands of those who are dealing with the aftermath, struggling to pick up the pieces of their lives and their shattered femininity.

It was my own form of therapy and I thought it was working. But as I listened to the call again, I realized I still have a long way to go in my own healing process. Not on the surface - my physical scars have long since faded; but the emotional scars that are hidden deep within and are still puckered and pink.

I used to think the details weren't important. After al I gave the details - in excruciating detail to a group of people that only turned them against me. But now I've come to realize that the details are crucial. Because the signs of control and rage that I saw only in hindsight might prevent someone else from suffering through the ongoing aftermath of rape.

My body was violated but so was the very essence of what makes me a woman.

And the reclamation of that essence has been my life's journey; manifesting itself through depression, eating disorders, low self-esteem and relationship issues that plagued me through my twenties. Now in my thirties, I still jump at shadows, unexpected movements and loud male voices.

Even in the most tender moments with my husband, a similar movement brings back hellish memories.

My self-esteem as a woman is still splintered but it is no longer shattered and I've started taking back what it rightfully mine.

I'm starting to feel myself.

And love myself.

Validate and believe: Rape victims need reassurance that the assault was not their fault and that their feelings are normal. Although you feel you might have reacted differently, remember that each person's reactions are uniquely theirs.

Create a safe place: Both emotionally and physically, it is important for the survivor to feel in control again.

Expression: The feelings of a survivor of sexual assault can be very strong. Expressing these powerful feelings in a safe environment is an important part of the healing process.

Offer options-not advice: Survivors often struggle with important and complex decisions. You can be most helpful by helping her identify all of the options available and supporting her in her decision making.

Most importantly, believe in the possibility of healing.

Continue to be blessed.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

No My First Name Ain't Baby

By Guest Blogger Shelia M. Goss

Never thought almost 20 years later, I would be singing lyrics to an old Janet Jackson song, "No, my first name ain't baby," but I am.

Why do men take it upon themselves to call women, "baby" during the course of a conversation?

Is it used as a term of endearment or does it go deeper than that?

Several years ago, a male friend, who we'll call "John," did something that surprised me. I observed him speak with several women over a span of a few hours. Each time they called, instead of saying their name, his initial greeting was "Hi Baby."

After the umpteenth call, I decided to ask him, "Why do you call those women Baby instead of using their names?"

His response surprised me. "It gives me time to either pick up on their voice or have them tell me who they are," he responded.

All I could say was, "Oh I see."

John taught me that evening to pay close attention to when a man uses the word "baby."

When I hear it now, I don't take the man too seriously. I find myself crinkling up whenever I hear it.

Does the word "baby" irritate you like it irritates me? Some men use the term so much that it becomes a habit. I've heard so many men use it out of habit that they probably aren't aware of how annoying it can be.

I tried to get over the annoyance when I met this new guy and he used it. Well that is, until I heard him use it when talking to a cashier, a mutual stranger, at the store. Afterwards, hearing him call me "baby" didn't hold that same warm fuzzy feeling it once did.

Men, please beware and don't use the word to every Sue, Jill, and Jane you come across. And women the next time a man says it to you, why not let him know that, "No my first name ain't baby, it's…"

It could be worse; they could be calling us another B word.

Shelia M Goss is a freelance writer and the Essence Bestselling author of My Invisible Husband, Roses are thorns, Violets are True and My Three Beaus.




Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Affirmations for Adversity

Whenever you are doing BIG things, challenges will arise. That is a fact. It comes with the territory. Luke 12:48 states that, "To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required. Biggie said, "More money, more problems." From the Bible to Hip-Hop, the message is the same. Adversity is the direct challenge to prosperity. And there's no way to get around it. You have to meet it head on. And that's what I'm doing - armed with my affirmations. I thought I'd share.


There are revelations and new growth. I accept. I am grateful.

I welcome the challenge that life is. Focus is set to uncover present blessings and see what's so that's good. Within are unborn possibilities of limitless potential.

I am grateful for new ideas, new strength, new vision that carry me into a future unlike the past.

I pay attention to thoughts of good, positive actions, feelings of assurance. All endings are refreshing beginnings. New good is on its way to me today. Gratitude abounds.

I am alert and awake in all challenges. Certainty of good outcomes guide my way today.

There are good things in store for me, gratitude opens amazing new perspectives of possibility for each moment.

There are ways beyond ways, there is good beyond good, there is power beyond power. I envision my self there, each day, gratefully.

Now there are doors where windows used to be and we are thankful.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Moving Day

Note: I started a new blog. Kinda had too. This one will be devoted to Cry Me A River, the sequel to Easier Said Than Done. I was writing Chapter Two and I realized that it was getting a bit racy. Uh huh, racy. Author Sylvia Hubbard will appreciate that. Her only critique for Easier Said Than Done was that my love songs weren't long enough and for lack of a better word - detailed enough. Well, that's not the case here. I'll provide the link each time I add a chapter and will continue posing thoughts, affirmations and other inspirational tidbits on this blog.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation! :)

Monday, December 05, 2005

I've Been Tagged!

Tayari Jones has "tagged" me! My assignment: to write fifteen interesting facts about my writing/reading life. I'm not sure I have that many but Imma give it a black girl try. PS. What is written on the blog, stays on the blog. You'll see what I mean in a minute.


1. Most of my creativity comes while I am at work which can be sort of inconvenient since I am not getting paid to write!

2. I listen to reggae mainly to type.

3. I talk outloud to myself when I am trying to work through dialogue but only answer 50 percent of the time.

4. I run movie marathons for my kids when I'm under deadline. I thought about the NyQuil solution but didn't resort to it.

5. I am obsessive about cleaning my computer monitor when writing. Stray potato chip flake can often be mistaken for commas.

6. I judge a book by it's cover. I've admitted it - which is the first step - and I am seeking help.

7. If per chance you are perusing my recent reading material and you happen to find a fingerprint it will be cheese flavored guaranteed. It's my favorite reading food.

8. Naked is better in most things that you do; especially reading.

9. A glass of wine will improve most anyone's writing skills.

10. Erotica still makes me blush; naked or otherwise.

If I disclose anymore, I just may have to kill you. Mission complete. Cydney Rax and Shelia Goss ... tag you're it.