Insight from a Sex Trafficking Victim

SexyMom, Denise Hill, is an adult basic skills (GED) educator. She has found that most of her students have powerful stories behind what paused their education and lives until adulthood. In a conversation with one student, she learned that the recent news headlines about missing girls from DC were closer than she could imagine. Her student begins to share a story of her years as a sex slave. She had some interesting comments on the missing girls that were gaining national attention, and some advice about the little things women could do to increase their safety. She consented to tell her story on camera so others could be helped. We strongly suggest you watch this video about her experience as a survivor of sex trafficking with your daughters and have a conversation about what they need to know to stay safe.

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Stop Waiting!

Two women began their journey to become successful fashion entrepreneurs at the same time, attending the same university, networking in the same circles, and having access to the same resources. After graduation one sent resumes to various clothing and fashion corporations seeking employment. She mailed, e-mailed, and faxed then waited for a response. The other also sent resumes seeking employment but did not solely wait for a response. While waiting she also designed, cut, and sewed together original fashions that she then took to local boutique in an effort to get them on the rack and noticed by consumers. What she did not sell to boutiques she promoted on social media and sold online and out the trunk of her car. She went to the local office supply store and purchased paper for letterhead and business cards. She did what she could with what she had to get where she wanted to go while waiting for her resume to be noticed. Soon her finances looked up. Her fashions were seen all over town and abroad. Her name became known among the up-and-coming in the fashion world and she received more responses then she ever imagined. Eventually, the first woman was able to get an entry level job with a clothing company and progress but never saw the success of her former college classmate.

GET THIS!  Standing still gets you nowhere.  Really, what are you waiting for? We have been programmed to believe we have to do what we can to get a job. We work very hard to fulfill someone else’s dream. The person who owns the company you work for has fulfilled his or her dream of being a successful entrepreneur, why can’t you. The person who does your hair is living their dream of owning a salon, why can’t you. The person who educates your children is succeeding in walking in their purpose of educating and empowering others, why don’t you.

Everyday you should be doing something to get you closer to achieving your purpose and fulfilling your dreams. That doesn’t always look like business ownership for everyone; no doubt.  It is about living your dream and doing the one thing you were created to do. That is your purpose. While you are waiting for something to happen, looking for a sign, or waiting for the right time – do something. Order some business cards with the title you want, not the one you have. Register your business name so the possibilities become real to you. Trust and invest in yourself. Walk in your success before you can see it. If you do not do something and move forward, you are guaranteed one thing – NOT to reach your goal.

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Every Day, One Thing

Sexy moms are often busy moms. We are public transportation shuttling our children and their friends from activity to activity, chefs able to create full buffets on a budget of leftovers and air, and even medical personnel taking care of wounds and wiping noses. It is easy to look up and years have passed without accomplishing our personal goals or aspirations. That book goes unwritten. Fitness goals go unmet. Businesses go unopened.

There are 24 hours in a day. There are 365 of those days in a year and every four years (leap year) we get an extra day to help make things happen. If we took an honest look at how we spend our day we would have to admit there is more than enough time to put toward living our personal passion and achieving our goals.

I am one of those fanatics that believe doing is more important than sleeping. Each day I am learning more how to find balance. Until I reach that sweet spot in life I am going to work as hard (if not harder) for my dreams as I am willing to working a job that fulfills someone else’s dream.  I do not expect everyone to think exactly like me but you must be willing to do something –just one thing – everyday toward your goal.Whether you print out business license apps today then complete them tomorrow, write one page of your book a day, or finish one section of your business plan each day, if you make the time to do one thing each and every day toward completing your goal your efforts will yield success.

Hockey star, Wayne Gretzky, said it best when he said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” If you do nothing, you are guaranteed to have no results. Start the ball rolling. If you started and life took over so you stopped, then start again. Schedule the time through an alert on your phone. Wake up 15 minutes early or go to bed 15 minutes late. Do what you need to do. Make time for you to do one thing every day. Invest in one of the most important women in the world – You.

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Women Attract Men

A few months ago, I attended a relationship event where I spoke as part of the panel. One particular question to us was how an available, dating woman can distinguish a boy from a man. One of the brothers on the panel took the lead. He very eloquently explained, in detail, the social, emotional, and spiritual definition of a man and the origin of where we, as a society and culture, went wrong in defining, creating and enabling eternal boys. The brother got deep with it. It was great.

I, as the only woman on the panel, took a different approach. Very simply I said then and believe today, a woman attracts a man. When you are a woman who is about her business, focused on her purpose, and living a full and complete life of family, friends, love, and passion, you can only attract someone who is like-minded. A “boy” will not be willing to keep up with or invest the time and energy into developing a relationship with that type of woman. Boys don’t build and that type of woman is a builder. She is building the life she wants now, the future she wants to come, and as a mom, the legacy she wants to leave her children’s children. They know what they want, have a plan for achieving it, and is putting that plan into practice. A woman will attract a man who is also building and requires a woman who can support a joint effort.

If you are dating and find yourself chasing “boys” who only want to play games, lay-up in your house, or require more of you then they are willing to give themselves, look in the mirror for the source of your problem. The first thing you must do is stop chasing. If you are a sexy mom who is focused on building, you should not have the energy, time, or desire to chase after a grown man. Next, you may need to do some self-reflection. Knowing we sub-consciously attract what we think we deserve, ask yourself why you feel you only deserve someone who is less concerned with you then pleasing themselves.

Do you know who you are? Do you know why you were created? Do you know what your purpose is outside of taking care of your children? Find the answers to the tough questions for yourself. Once you have some answers you will begin to see yourself differently. Your inner value will increase and you will be less willing to put your priceless jewels in a plastic bag. If you have completed the process and consider yourself a whole woman remember, you are an attractive, appealing female and “boys” like shiny things so you will attract some. Do not be discouraged. Because you are a woman they won’t stay. Just, get busy living. The woman you are will attract the man designed for you.

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A Lesson on Giving

Something has always baffled me. When we experience hardship, tragedy, or trauma, the struggle is seared into our memory. We remember the sounds, the smells, and the physical pain of the trial. It was that pain that either paralyzed us in time or drove us to do whatever was needed to never experience that hurt again. The experience became part of the fabric that makes us who we are today. Yet when we see others in a similar and very familiar situation, why are we not always 

The Night the Bed Shook

Soon after being told my marriage was over, my daughter and I moved into a small one bedroom apartment in the middle of Northeast, DC. My possessions were few and my furnishing was meager.  Many times my daughter (then age 6) and I shared a twin bed. One day, as children do, my daughter caught a serious cold. What mom doesn’t want to hold and sooth their child when they are not well? So she slept with me. During the night I noticed she was warm and removed her shirt to wipe her down with a cold cloth.

On my way to the bathroom I heard a rattling sound reminiscent of windows and knick-knacks clanking in a house from the force of a train passing by. After a few seconds I realized it was coming from the bedroom. I ran in to find my daughter’s mouth foaming and her body locked in full seizure. The shaking was so intense until the metal bed frame left scratches on the wall. After that night, life would never be the same.

It has been years of EEG’s, medications, adjusting medications, side effects from medications, leaving work for doctor appointments, sleepless nights, worry about every twitch and blank stare, on and on. Dealing with what doctors describe as a chronically sick child is one of the loneliest things you can experience. You don’t want to burden others with what is your responsibility, your child, so you don’t share much. Explaining to others that there is no real solution to the problem doesn’t make much sense to you and sounds even crazier when you say it to others.  So you press through in silence; alone.

Your eyes are always peeled and ears perked for any warning signs so sleep becomes a luxury. You over-compensate for the times their issue caused them to miss school or a social activity by taking them out for their favorite dessert or to see the latest movie so treating yourself becomes non-existent. They are already going through so much and you never want them to feel the true weight of life as it so with them you only celebrate the positives and in solitude silently cry when they have fallen asleep.

It only takes a moment for life to change. After 9-11 I interviewed recording artist Fred Hammond about the collapse of the World Trade Centers. He reminded me that there are towers coming down every day in people’s lives. One of his band members had been recently diagnosed with cancer. For a young man, that hit to his health was a tower he thought would always stand, falling down.

There are so many directions I could take this post. The main thing I want you to know is that you are not alone. Whether your child has health challenges, physical limitations, or mental/emotional concerns, you are not alone. The doctors will not serve as you or your child’s social and emotional advocate. You will need to play that role. It is as important a role as the person who drives them to their appointments or covers the co-pays to medications. But, the person who keeps them encouraged and speaking “Can’s” and not “Can’ts” has to maintain a “Can” in themself first. The elders used to say, “You can’t pour Kool-Aid from an empty pitcher.” Stay filled.

There are so many support groups on social media now. Many meet locally and help carry the load of transporting, baby-sitting, or just talking. Talk to nurses and ask if they know of organizations. Community organizations and churches often have resources as well. Feel free to use this as a platform to connect with others. It is not take care of them OR you. You can and must take care of them AND you. Give yourself permission. You are just that important. Our children came from us and are more in tune with our emotional state than we are willing to admit. There wholeness is directly connected to ours. Life did not change to kill you. It changed to grow you. Stay encouraged.

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Achieve Your Goals When He Says No

Every time you make your famous sweet potato pies, everyone tells you how much you could make if you sold them. Or whenever there is an event everyone wants you to organize it. You’ve always had a thing for creating and once thought to be an Event Planner. Or perhaps you want to try your hand at singing professionally but have always believed you missed your opportunity. Yet, one day you wake and make the decision you are going to give it a try. You really want to do that thing you are so good at, everyone is always raving about, and that you secretly dream about doing for a living. The only problem is he does not support you.

Making the decision to become an entrepreneur is not easy and not to be taken lightly. It can be a difficult road filled with highs and lows that are of your own design as you learn and navigate the world of self-sufficiency. But it is also, arguably, the most rewarding way to live life. You are providing for your family while doing the thing that feeds your soul every single day. You get to do what you love and people pay you for it. The feeling of freedom and empowerment is unmatched. Getting beyond our own insecurities and doubts is the first step and one of the most challenging. So many never make the decision, even part time. So, with you out the way, how do you get past a husband or significant other that says, “You can’t do it” or “You don’t have the time,” or my favorite, “Me and the kids need you.”

Hey sis….can I tell you something? You need You too. I am not suggesting you drop everything and run off to live your dreams. That would be irresponsible. What I am saying is no one, NO ONE, should be able to inject toxins into your goals, dreams, or aspirations; especially the ones who profess to love you. Just as you should support him, he should support you. Support is a component of a healthy, adult relationship and vital to your business success. There is also communication, organization, and patience.

To achieve your dreams and preserve your relationship there must be open, honest, and consistent communication not just between you and your man, but within the entire family. The kids must have a concept of goals, working hard, and creating a legacy for them to put in perspective why you are not as accessible as you once were. It should never be a breakdown conversation where they are in tears because you missed their soccer game again and you just say you had to work. Teamwork will make the dream work. Together you all work to ensure everyone reaches their optimal level of personal, academic, and professional success. Talking about those goals, expectations, and, of course, schedules will help that especially with a reluctant significant other.

Children have their own schedules which become our schedules. That is one reason why our desires were placed on the back burner in the first place. But there are 24-hours in a day. I know, sometimes it does not feel like enough time but it is really a matter of organizing the time you have to be productive. When they are babies we are taught to sleep when they sleep…but maybe not every time. You can use one or two of those nap times to work on your business plan or respond to potential clients or plan for the future. They will not take 2-hour naps forever. They grow and become less dependent on you and less demanding of your time. You should not wait until then to get started. Go for it. If your children are already older, you may need to sacrifice some of your grown folks social time. Which ever case, scheduling wisely, multi-tasking, and using technology to assist with both will benefit you. If you can show through organization it is all possible with minimal disruption to the household, you are less likely to have issues with a resistant partner.

On the long journey of entrepreneurship, you must pack your patience. You will need to be patient with everyone and everything; including yourself. It will not happen overnight. You already have a lot going on so just trust your planning, your passion, and the process of becoming a success. More importantly, be patient with your man and your children. This is new to them. Maybe you have talked about it forever but talking and doing are two different things. They may need time to adjust. Continue to reassure them and ask for their understanding and support. By no means should you let their pouting or demands justify you quitting. You may need to slow the pace for a bit but do not stop. You are an example and while they may be complaining now, they are watching and learning. Show them how to be successful and live their dreams.

As for him, remain present in your relationship. He still has certain needs that must be met. Ask him what his concerns are and what he would need from you to make sure they are addressed. The key is in the conversation that says you have needs also. Be clear in what those are and don’t waver. Ask, “Can you do that for me, baby?” He just needs an understanding. Give him that, sometimes repeatedly, with love and patience. When he knows what is expected and can see how it will work, your significant other can become the loudest voice in your cheering section.

 

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HERstory: Breast Cancer Survivor – JENNIFER SPARGER

October is BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a cancer survivor as anyone who has ever had cancer, from the time of diagnosis through the rest of their life. There are now nearly 12 million cancer survivors in the United States, according to new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). SexyMomsROCK celebrates the life and continued fight of the mothers, sisters, aunts, and women who survived and continue to thrive despite a breast cancer diagnosis. YOU ARE A SURVIVOR!

Here is the story of Sexy Sis, Jennifer Sparger:

I met Jennifer many years ago. Like me, she was a sister trying to make a difference in the entertainment industry. To be honest, I do not remember the exact interaction though I am sure she could probably tell you what we were both wearing, how the weather was that day, and what the temperature in the room was. Maybe it is because as a PR professional and event coordinator you have to focus on the smaller details. I like to think it is just because she is that type of caring person, considerate person who thinks of the things that affect others before she considers herself. That is why she never mentioned her challenging journey of surviving breast cancer she was traveling.

A few years ago, just prior to my transition from New York back to D.C, Jennifer and I met up for lunch. She was not working a stage play at the time. She was not promoting a recording artist. She just wanted to sit and chat. We met and began to catch up. I was all over the place at the time. Transition is tough. I was not sure what I could offer to the conversation but was glad to see her after so many years of just social media convos.

As we spoke Jennifer shared some of her health challenges. I felt sad, not for her struggle because I knew she was a fighter, but rather because I did not know. While I was off inspiring the world, I had no idea of her diagnosis, doctors appointments, or surgeries. I was not a relative and not a bestie; just a colleague who had no right to demand personal information about any health issues or anything else. Still, if I am helping everyone else I should be able to help someone I know and have worked with. Call it ego or pride, but I just felt like, “Why didn’t I know?”

The truth is if I had known, there would still be nothing I could do. This journey was one Jennifer had to travel alone. While I and others could support her and encourage her, it would still be a walk she and her faith would travel alone. While connecting at lunch, I gave her all I could. We talked entertainment. We talked publishing her story. We talked about strengthening the sisterhood and encouraging one another. Since then she has told me, numerous times, how that lunch has blessed her. Little did she know I left with more from her than anything I could provide.

From Jennifer I have learned that being a mom is more than giving birth.

If you have a family history of breast cancer or are concerned about your status, perform monthly self exams, know the warning signs, and consult your physician.

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“Your Child is Perfect” – One Mom’s Letter to Her Doctor

Have you ever wanted something really bad? You worked so hard to prepare for it. You thought about it every minute of the day. When it finally seemed like it was time to celebrate your success, someone was there to tell you “Stop.” You cannot have what you wanted, what you’ve dream of, and prayed for. You need to destroy what you’ve done and start over as if you were writing something on a piece of paper and could just ball it up and toss it in the trash, confident another blank page was waiting for your success.

 

Now imagine if what you wanted were a child. You’ve watched everyone else become a mom and so wanted that for yourself. You did every thing healthy to prepare your body and finally became pregnant. Now imagine the doctor telling you something was wrong with that child. Imagine they told you to get rid of him/her and try again later. What would you do?

Would you follow doctor’s orders? Would you seek a second opinion? Would you look at the mom friends around you with their “perfect” kids and decide you wanted that and only that? Would you feel like you were alone and without any choice but the doctor’s? Most importantly, what, if anything would you say to that doctor?

One mom spoke up, alone in her pain, chose to no longer feel alone in the middle of her maternal crisis. She was told by the doctor to abort her child because it would not be “perfect.” Still, she made the choice to have her baby. She realized despite the medical diagnosis, her baby was perfect and had something to contribute to this world. But she also felt the pain of realizing others were not as blessed to believe they had choices and who blindly trusted the recommendation of that and other doctors to abort their child. Her empathy for others prompted her to write and open letter to that doctor.

A portion of the letter reads:

I came to you during the most difficult time in my life. I was terrified, anxious and in complete despair. I didn’t know the truth yet about my baby, and that’s what I desperately needed from you. But instead of support and encouragement, you suggested we terminate our child. I told you her name, and you asked us again if we understood how low our quality of life would be with a child with Down syndrome. You suggested we reconsider our decision to continue the pregnancy.

To see a copy of the full letter click HERE.

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I’m More than a Medical Case

I have had my share of Gyn issues. Those issues came to a head one year and my doctor determined that for me to have no more challenges, I would have to have a hysterectomy. At the time, I was going through a divorce. I had no clue what the future held. I could yield to my hurt and never trust marriage again, or I could find the man that would turn it all around and end up wanting to have another baby.

I was referred to a top gynecologic surgeon who could handle my problem and anything my riddled insides would throw at him. As I sat there discussing my options with this “great doctor,” he too quickly determined a hysterectomy would be the best solution. Though I sat still on the exam table, inside I was quickly becoming overwhelmed. All the feelings of helplessness, insecurities about my womanhood, and concerns for my future flooded my mind.

To alleviate my concerns, the doctor began to say everything he thought I wanted or needed to hear just to get the surgery done. He was so cold, breaking eye contact, rolling his head and eyes as he told me, “You won’t be any less of a woman If that’s what you’re worried about.” It was as if he were reciting some script he said a million times before that, for him, had clearly lost its punch. He was over it and I was over him. I immediately went from, “I feel devastated” to “This man is buggin’.”

I realized he may be the best at performing medical procedures, but he was not the best at knowing what was best for me. I stopped and met him where he was. I packed up my emotions and began to questioned him like a medical student in clinicals. He told me all my options and the consequences for each one. I set the date for the surgery and continued to research right up until the moment of admission into the hospital. When time came for me to sign the consent form, I went with another option and did NOT have the hysterectomy.

The doctor almost seemed disappointed but did a thorough job. His ego would not have allowed anything less. Even if he did not realize it, I understood I was more than a medical case. I was a woman. I was happy I took power and became my own health advocate, but I wept for all the women I was sure had unnecessary hysterectomies that forever changed their life. Perhaps they did not know they had options. Maybe they were scared to ask questions or “sound stupid.” Or maybe they believed their doctor would only operate in their best interest and never thought to question him/her.

We are quick to take our children to the doctor and ensure their wellness. As mothers and women, we must also become our own medical advocates. Do not assume all the questions have been answered or that who you are and what is important to you has been taken into consideration. Also, resist taking doctors out of the equation and diagnosing yourself through the internet or advice from friends. You must put in the effort to find the best physician fit for you. With the new health laws, do not assume you are being informed about all the medical benefits you are due. Seek information. Be proactive. Don’t be afraid to change doctors or seek other opinions. Make your health and well-being a priority for you and your children’s sake. Click HERE for some ways you can become your own best medical advocate.

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