October 2010

Change May Be What You NeedEver find yourself feeling bored or lifeless? That was me and I did what Michael Jackson (Man in the Mirror) said best, I made that change. Over the last twelve months I somehow mustered the courage and boldness I needed to make a few changes in my personal life and I could not be more thrilled at the results and I can honestly say that I actually enjoy the freedom and independence these changes have given me. Your change may not be the same as mine; perhaps you want to stop smoking, become more spiritual, or reduce your debt. Whatever your situation, it will not be different until you become passionate about making this change a reality. Your success will empower others to do the same.My first change was actually terrifying and not easy to do. I decided to go with the natural look after wearing a perm for over twenty-five years. Talk about being scared!! I think I would have preferred to undergo a routine appendectomy than to go natural. I am not sure which frightened me more, cutting off my long permed hair or the new challenges of wearing my own natural hair.But seriously, my decision to go natural gave me the freedom to be reacquainted with my own hair. It immediately felt so liberating, as though a heavy burden was lifted off me. I no longer have to worry about getting an appointment for a touch-up or feeling disgusted after long waits for service. Today many women are opting to wear their hair natural and they have many questions about managing their hair so they turn to the internet for answers. The great thing about the internet is there is so much information about everything; however, one must be mindful that the internet is uncensored for accuracy and consequently, there is a lot of misinformation floating around in cyberspace. After reading the article on Seven Myths About Highly-Textured Natural Hair on the BOBSA homepage, I was even more convinced that I made the right decision for me and deep in my heart I know my hair does not define who I really am.Another life defining change I made is to eat healthier foods and to exercise on a regular basis. Being a black male or female does not give any of us a pass to fall into the trap of believing what we see everyday on the various forms of media. For example, most black women on television are selected by design because they fit the stereotype that black women are disproportionately overweight, so I suggest you turn the television off and start walking. Knowing my family’s history, I was certain I did not want to be a statistic that so often accompanies being overweight. Some of the more common types of illnesses associated with overweight are: diabetes, heart failure, strokes, and hypertension.”Who has time to go to the gym,” you ask? I can testify that gyms are not for everyone, but surely you can start a walking routine that may fit into your busy schedule. Find a friend and make a walking routine fun, not work, and yet challenging. I have developed a passion for exercise and consider my workout time my “me time” that so many women neglect to take and which is so important to their well-being and also essential to the health of black men. My workout routine has become such a part of my life that I would put it at the top of my daily list of “must do” things.I have lost over forty pounds and am now maintaining my weight. I now have energy to do more fun things with my husband like dancing, horseback riding, shopping, and traveling. In retrospect, as I look back, it was never about the weight, it was about my wanting to feel good and be healthy. Is this not reason enough to want to make that change in your life starting today?Obviously, making changes in one’s life is a personal decision that requires a lot of thought and commitment and what works for one person may not be good for everyone. Your family physician can best determine whether or not you are able to participate in any type of exercise and should be consulted prior to the start of any physical routine. Your inactivity may be what prevents you from enjoying your life and I encourage everyone to make whatever change you need in order to live your life to its fullest.Best wishes,Michelle CarterEditor