Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Insanity or Resolve?

As most people (who know me) know, I’ve been battling the bulge for many years. I started out needing to lose 10-15 lbs after giving birth to my daughter and now, I’m on a mission to lose 75. Yeah…..WHOA…..what a difference! Pre-pregnancy, I weighed 134 lbs.  Post-delivery, I weighed 150. Three years later, I went away to college weighing 160 lbs.; at the end of  2 yrs., I came home weighing 180 lbs. From that point, my weight gradually increased: reaching a one-time, short-lived high of 250, hovering around the 237-240 range for a good 10 years and now hanging at 226 lbs. A few times during my battle, I did lose a significant amount of weight only to gain it all back plus some. You may have heard it before and I am here to attest to its truthfulness, if your mind ain’t right, your body won’t be either. Trying to lose weight without dealing with the mental/emotional component of why you are the size you are is a waste of time. You may make some progress but it won’t be sustained permanently. Let me give you an example of how your mental status affects your physical stature: About 15 years ago, I decided I was going to lose weight once and for all. I weighed around 190 lbs at the time. I suppressed my appetite with a pill and walked my way to 155 lbs. I don’t remember how long it took for me to lose the weight but I know I maintained the loss for, at least, the entire summer. At the time, although I knew I looked great, I was still bigger than what I wanted to be and the biggest of most of my sisters and friends. Mentally, I was a big fat whale. The way I felt in my body then is the same way I feel in it now: smothered & hidden. The way I look at myself in pictures now is the same way I looked at myself in pictures then: way too big. I thought I was huge then, but I’d give almost anything to be 155 lbs. now. When I look back at those pictures today, I say to myself & aloud, ‘Damn, I looked good!’  At the time, though, I was constantly being told by a certain someone that I did NOT look good…..and I internalized that and believed it (shaking my head @ the memory....woosaahh!). Unfortunately, due to the unrealistic method I used (taking pills) coupled with my mental state, I quickly gained back the 35 pounds I had lost and gradually, an additional 50+.  
During the time I gained the bulk of my weight, I was dealing with a devastating breakup and had involved myself in a series of placating ‘relationships’ with guys that, in the end, only magnified the pain I was already feeling. In addition to that, I never liked to cook and my skills were (are) limited so my daughter and I ate out A LOT. Fast food became my steady companion…..and has been ever since. Over the years, I’ve used powders, shakes and pills to lose weight more times than I care to count and I have no desire to try any of those again. However, there is one program that I’ve tried before and was the only regimen that worked for me. Weight Watchers, an effective and affordable weight-loss program, has helped millions of people (including me) lose weight. How did it work for me if I’m still overweight, you’re wondering?  Well, it’s a wonderful program for those who are serious about losing weight and getting healthy. But, it (or anything else) can’t work for you if you’re not willing to work for you in partnership with it. It’s no ‘get-slim-quick’ scheme and is ideal for individuals who aim for a lifestyle change, not a temporary metamorphosis (although it will do that for you, too). It uses a points system that allows users to monitor food/caloric intake and provides guidelines on not only the amount of food you eat, but the nutritional value of the foods as well. It also has a component that tracks exercise and activity levels.  I don’t view WW as a ‘diet program’ because it’s not something that can only be used temporarily. With WW, you can achieve your weight-loss goals and maintain them for life.  There are no pills and shakes involved that are unrealistic to a permanent lifestyle change.  On WW, you can eat regular foods, including those that are beneficial to your health and those that are bad for your health (albeit, at your own risk).  There are point values for almost any food you can think of.  So, you can keep track of how much ‘bad stuff’ you put into your body, along with the ‘good stuff.’  When I was on WW for a respectable amount of time (approx. 4 months), I did lose weight and, for a short while, I maintained it. However, as soon as I went back to my old, unhealthy ways, the pounds came back and they brought a few friends with them. I was so mad at myself for letting that happen because I wasn’t hungry while on the program and I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.  As per my usual routine, though, I let my emotions get the best of me; and when that happens, I call on my trusty comforters: fast, greasy, creamy, fried foods. In no time, I was back to feeling sorry, tired and plain ole miserable. And being in that space is no fun, no matter how many smiles one manages to put on. So, I’ve decided to try WW again!
I know, I know…the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over, expecting different results. People, I’m not insane, trust me. Through all my trials & error, I have learned a thing or few. As I already stated, I know my weight problem will not go away if I don’t address and resolve any emotional/mental state issues I have going on. I’ve been making progress, little by little, day by day, in handling some things that I’ve let fester & crust over. I still have work to do but I am at a place where I am handling things in a manner more conducive to a healthier state of being. I am confident that now is my time to shed the fat suit and reveal the gorgeous, fit gal within. She is tired of playing the back, second fiddle, angel in disguise. She is ready for the world….and it’s either now or never. I know what’s going through your heads: Sunshine Anderson’s, Heard it all befooorrrrrre…….. You want to know what’s different today than, say, a year ago? Me. I’m different today… so many ways. Ways that I won’t get into specifically but suffice it to say, I value myself much more than I ever have. I know what gifts I bring to those around me, I’m aware of my purpose in life and, more than anything, I truly believe I am worthy to live a better (quality) life. Besides, nothing beats resolve. I have (to use a recently stumbled upon quote) made up my mind in a way that totally says, ‘I will not have to do this again.’
Starting tomorrow, I will be a member of Weight Watchers. Every week, for the next 90 days, I will post a Progress Report, detailing my food and exercise activities and any changes to my body weight/shape/size (in photo form). When the 90 days are up, I hope I am in a place where I can run this race without having to pay for WW or any other weight-loss program.  However, right now, I do need the support WW (and hopefully some of you) will bring. I welcome all feedback and constructive criticism. Even better, I welcome you to join me in my weight-loss efforts if you’re fighting the fat too.  Either way, please, do weigh in………….
*Disclaimer: I am not a spokesperson or paid advocate for Weight Watchers. I am simply expressing my personal feelings about the program. Hopefully, it may be of help to others who also struggle with their weight/health.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Most parents look forward to the day when their children are finally old enough, mature enough and financially able to get out of the family home and into their own.  I am no different.  As soon as my daughter hit high school, I was thinking of ways that I could enjoy my free time and empty nest. I imagined the places I’d go, things I’d buy and people I’d entertain…..any time, any day and any way I wanted to. Then, the day came when I had to drop her off on campus and say (a temporary) good-bye.  The day I looked forward to for so long had finally arrived and what a bittersweet day it was.  I cried (of course) and I think she did too, after we left. The separation was difficult for both of us; easier than I thought for me (probably because she was home every other weekend) and harder than I thought it would be for her (especially since she was home every other weekend). She survived for a little while but, needless to say (if you’ve been reading regularly), she eventually came back home to attend school.  After a year and a half away, she was back in the house and on my nerves, full-time.  It’s been 2 years, a pregnancy and a baby since she came home and now, plans for emptying the nest are back in full effect.
When my granddaughter was first born, I told my daughter I would give her 3 years to get herself together and out on her own. I know how hard it is to be a single parent, physically, financially and emotionally and I don’t want to see my girls ‘suffer’ or go through unnecessary hardship. At the same time, I don’t want to coddle (cripple) my daughter to the point where she is too dependent on me.  Besides, I had life plans that she so rudely interrupted by leaving college then having a baby. Those choices aside, I think my daughter is a strong, smart and determined young woman and I want her to become independent sooner rather than later.  Yet, I’ve been worried that I’m pushing her out of the nest too soon. Yes, she’s almost 22 years old and yes, she has a child of her own to raise and yes, she needs to know how to navigate her way through the real world. But, the ‘pains’ of young adulthood and (premature) motherhood are definitely taking a toll.  Like most mothers, my daughter gets angry, frustrated, impatient and overwhelmed by her baby (duties), sometimes. She works and has her own money but still needs Mommy & Daddy’s financial support. She’s had her own room/space for most of her life, but, some nights, she still wants to crawl in bed with me (I probably would do the same if I lived with my Mom).  All of these things, in addition to knowing how cruel the world can be, makes me apprehensive about sending her out there. However, there is much more positive to be said about gaining and sustaining one’s independence. Handling your own business builds strength and confidence and dancing to your own tune (as opposed to your mother’s outdated music) encourages freedom of self-expression. I know it’s important that she build a solid mother/daughter relationship with her own child instead of allowing a big sis/little sis dynamic to take over by default of me being head of household. I want my daughter to know, by experience, that one must deal with the consequences of their own actions. When you choose to become a parent, you choose to become responsible for someone else’s life for, at least, 21 years; and how can one fully take on that responsibility if someone else is still responsible for them? 
That being said, I had been wondering if I was trying to make her do too much, too fast. In the past few weeks, my daughter and I have been looking for affordable apartments for  her and the gran’diva.  Every day, I give her some information or recommendation on apartment hunting and I can’t help but think I do it with a tad too much enthusiasm. She never mentioned feeling any kind of way about it, but still, I began to feel guilty.  No matter how many times I was told, ‘That’s just the mother in you….it’s normal….it’s time for her to get out there… will be fine and she will be fine,’ the feeling just would not go away. So, I finally asked her, point blank. I said, “Be honest. Do you think you’re ready to get your own apartment?” Her response was, ‘Ummmmm, uhhhhhh, I don’t know.”  “You don’t know!,” I exclaimed.  “Whaddya mean, you don’t know? Either you or you aren’t?”  She chuckled. I then asked, “Well, do you feel like I’m rushing you…pushing you out the door too soon?”  Without hesitation, she said, “NO. No, I don’t feel like that. I need my space, Shari needs her space. We do need our own place.”  “Okay,” I said, “just don’t want you to think I’m just trying to put you out like that.” She replied, “Nahhhhh, I don’t feel like that.” WHEW! As soon as those words were spoken, her assurance given, the waves of my guilt were immediately calmed. She does understand that it’s now time for her to take flight; time for her to make a nest of her own in which she can care for, raise and teach her precious baby. Yes, I look forward to the day I can enjoy the carefree feeling an empty nest brings; still, tears spring to my eyes every time I imagine them out there on their own. I’m sure they will survive and thrive, as many of us do but, as they stand on the landing, ready for takeoff, I want to snatch my little birdies back and never let them go….but that feeling is to be expected……right? 

Friday, February 24, 2012

BFly's Black Herstory Month: The Single Mother

In celebration of BFly’s Black Herstory Month, I would like to give honor & praise to the Single Mom. By definition, a single mother is a female parent who is head of her household, raising children on her own (with or without some degree of outside assistance from the male parent or other relatives). I know there are some single fathers out there, raising their children on a full-time basis but I don’t know any personally. I am also well aware that there are some single (and not single) mothers who don’t give their all and are not committed to raising happy, healthy, well-rounded citizens.  I’m not talking about them. Today, I want to celebrate the women I know who do this job and do it wellin some cases, exceptionally well. Whether or not a single mother receives financial, emotional or physical assistance from the other parent residing outside the household, her job is never easy. There is a huge difference between raising a child 24/7 and spending weekends, holidays and other planned time with them.  A single parent works full-time with rare breaks and no salary. She has to fill many roles along with being a parent: she is a maid, a cook, a chauffeur, personal assistant, stylist, nurse, teacher, referee, counselor, disciplinarian and the list goes on and on.  She is not allowed to quit when the going gets tough and she has no substitute to call on when she needs a day off.  Single moms everywhere work hard, sacrifice greatly and give more than they ever thought they possibly could.  So, today, I want to give them a shout out, some words of encouragement, formal acknowledgment and thanks for making such a wonderful contribution to society in the way of raising good human beings.  To all the great single mothers out there, I say:
Bravo to you, my sister
Your job is never done
Yet you continue to put that time in
Long after age twenty-one
Long after the kids mature
And are well off on their own
Their mother is always ‘Mommy’
And to her, they’re never grown
They remember all the nights you held them close to your heart
All the baths you gave, the meals you made, the love felt from the start
Being a good mother takes more than can be measured
And the memories created, for a lifetime, will be treasured
All the lessons that you taught and the battles that you fought
Will be honored when you see how strong and tall your children walk
When they take their first steps onto the path of independence
Accomplish goals, pursue their dreams and know their possibilities are endless
It’s because of you, dear Mom, that they have drive, that they can strive
That they know how to live, laugh and love, that they can smile with their eyes
And for them, I’ll say, THANK YOU Mom, for all that you’ve done
For raising an ambitious daughter, for raising a courageous son
a child who can now face the world on her own
a child who can give love because that’s what he was shown
The most important job of all is raising up a child
Shaping them into responsible adults, making their lives worthwhile
So while it seems the work you do is hardly ever done
If you’ve raised up a child in the way she should go then your race Is clearly won
Sameialika Tarver © February 24, 2012
This poem is dedicated to some very special single mothers I know who, in spite of their circumstances, are doing a helluva job raising their children in the way they should go: My sisters, Charliez Angelz: R. Tarver, K. Tarver, S. Tarver, N. Smith, N. Tarver, A. Tarver, C. Tarver, my dear cousins, E. Brace, S. Tarver & R. Monell and sista-friends, E. Manley, M. Moore, L. Harris, C. Hines, T. Johnson, K. Johnson, T. Mitchell, K. Thomas, S. Monk, S. Grady-Moses, and L. Phillips. These women are awesome mothers of awesome children.  Today, I salute you!

'40 in 40': BFly's 40th Birthday Bucket List

In forty weeks and six days, I will be celebrating my fortieth birthday. Me, 40 years old…..WOW. Unlike when I was facing the age of 30, I am not feeling sad about turning 40. I was almost always the eldest person in my close group of relatives & friends and I’ve never had a problem with that… any age. That might be because I’ve never looked my age so it always felt good to hear people say, ‘You’re (insert number) years old?! GTFOH!’ or could be because I’ve just never had a problem with my age.  It feels weird when I say it aloud but other than that, hey, it is what it is.  Anyway, in my 39 years and 86 days on earth, I’ve had all kinds of experiences, been many places and met hundreds (thousands?) of people. Most of these experiences, I have shared with my siblings, relatives or long-time close friends. But there are many more people I should meet & share life with and much more for me to see, do, experience and enjoy.  So, in what I call my ‘Second Act’ of life, I intend to broaden my horizons, step outside my same ole square box and stop spending so much time in my comfort zone.

To kick off my ‘second act,’ I have decided to have 40 new experiences (big or small) in the 40 weeks leading up to my 40th birthday. Each week, beginning Thursday, March 1st and ending Wednesday, December 5th, I will do something new or different; every following Thursday, beginning March 8th and ending on my birthday, December 6th, I will post about the new experience I had the week before. So far, I have compiled a list of  <40 things I would like to do.  As time goes on, I’m sure I will be inspired to add more to the list. I am also open to suggestions.

BFly's 40th Birthday Bucket List:
  1. Go one full week (that’s 7 days or 148 hours) without any contact or communication with my sisters. (Please pray for me!)
  1. Submit my writing to at least one major magazine.
  2. October 2013
  1. Lose, at least, 40 lbs.
  1. Become a licensed bartender.
  1. Relocate to Charlotte, NC.
  2. August 2013
  1. Take a weekend long trip with myself.
  1. Ask a guy out on a date.
  1. Pick up the tab on a date (not necessarily the date in #7).  I was asked out on a lunch date and my date was shocked out of his socks pleasantly surprised when I offered to pick up the check. 3/23/12
  1. Fall in love….with someone worthy of my love.
  1. Go one week without spending any $ on fast food/dining out.
  2. October 2013
  1. Make a sexy calendar 
  1. Start a job doing something I love.
  1. Take a dance class.
  1. Get a(nother) tattoo
  1. Treat myself to a spa day
  1. Host at least one Charity Event
  1. Break at least one of my bad habits (going to bed late, getting up late, eating out 90% of the time, procrastinating 90% of the time, not sticking to savings plan, overspending on gifts for others……just to name a few).
  1. Have the awkward conversation that I’ve been avoiding; gotta say it and move on
  1. Run for at least a half mile.
  1. Eat something I’ve never eaten before at a restaurant I’ve never been to. (Any suggestions?)
  2. Make peace with each of my siblings (oh, you thought we were 'perfect?'...NOT.....pray for me!)
  3. Aug 2013
  4. Purchase something outrageously expensive (nothing to make me homeless but something I'd otherwise say, "sheeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiittttt!" to)
  5. Go Jet-Skiing
  6. December 2012
  7. Take a sabbatical of (at least) 30 days
  8. February 2013 (LOA)
  9. Revamp my wardrobe
  10. Host a  5-course dinner party
  11. Go to a live taping of a show
  12. 2013 Additions
  13. Try online dating....and actually go out on a date with someone met on the site.

What are some things you think I should do before I turn 40? Hurry up and tell me, time is ticking!   

UPDATE 11/04/13: Up until today, my list only had 27 things on it and I didn't accomplish these goals before I turned 40. However, I will continue to pursue them and add more until I reach 40 things. Instead of '40 in 40' before I turn 40, they are on my list of '40 in 40' to accomplish during my (estimated 40 more years) Second Act of life...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

3 Types: Which One Are You?

‘What about your friends, Will they stand their ground
Will they let you down again,
What about your friends are they gonna be low down
Will they ever be around or will they turn their backs on you’
(‘What About Your Friends’ - TLC 1992)
A person with whom I haven’t been in contact for some months has been on my mind, more than usual, lately (going forth, I will refer to this person as ‘Jae’).  The last time I communicated with her was not pleasant and, at the time, I couldn’t care less if I never heard from her again. When the breakup of our ‘friendship’ (I use quotes because it was really a friendship in the building stages) occurred, my mind said, ‘good riddance’ but my heart wasn’t so quick to let go. This was probably due to my compassionate nature, coupled with the fact that ‘the incident’ that led to the breakup wasn’t really her fault. She didn’t cause nor instigate it but she was a co-conspirator, of sorts, in that she fed into the drama and allowed herself to be dragged into the fray. To make a long story short, it involved her significant other (s.o.) who caused serious injury to a loved one of mine and was extremely disrespectful towards me and a few others (including my sisters, one of whom was supposedly Jae’s best childhood friend). Although she did not initiate the 'bush' that went down, she did nothing to stop it, and at one point, joined her s.o in the disrespect. ‘The incident’ took place at Jae’s birthday party; a party that my sisters and I planned, orchestrated and hosted (albeit, financed by her s.o.). Not only did the actions of her s.o end the party but also what was once thought of as a potentially life-long friendship. Devastating as it was, in hindsight, ‘the incident’ was merely the straw…..the back had been cracked for some time. Although there were times when she was sweet, thoughtful, loving and lovable, there had been ‘minor offenses’ throughout the ‘friendship’ that showed Jae to be unpredictable, inconsiderate, disrespectful and downright rude. Despite her claim to want to have great friendships and live a more positive, meaningful life, there seemed to be a part of her that enjoyed (or was more comfortable with) chaotic situations. It was as if a dark cloud was looming over her, daring her to run away from it to clearer, sunnier skies…..daring her to try to escape its negative energy. I always remind myself to be mindful of an individual’s personal history that, undoubtedly, has great influence on the choices they tend to make. One tends to lean towards people and situations that they are most familiar with. So, knowing Jae’s history, a part of me wanted to give her a chance to be better because I always believed she wanted to be, could be and, in time, would be. I believed in her so much that (against my better judgment) I made her a partner in my very first business venture. My instincts told me not to move so fast but my heart told me to give her a chance to make a new impression.
By nature (nurture?), I am a forgiving person. Everybody’s got a story and, I believe, at one time or another, we all need to be cut some slack and extended some courtesy of understanding.  I have known Jae for over 20 years and, in spite of her flaws, she has some great qualities. Jae is beautiful, talented, fun and funny. She’s creative, assertive and skilled which, under better circumstances, would have made our partnership a force to be reckoned with in the business world. She’s a great mother and hard-working woman who wants the best for her family and works hard to attain it. I’ve always admired these things about her and those parts of her, I do miss. Unfortunately, the wonderful things about her are overshadowed by the not-so-wonderful things about her. Like, her penchant for drama; it seemed as if she was never satisfied unless someone was hurting, fighting , arguing or their lives was in some form of disarray.  Or like the 'dark aura' that seemed to surround her; whenever she walked into a room, the air literally changed.......thickened.....became static. There seemed to be a common sentiment between people who had just met her or were in her presence for the first time: 'I don't know what it is, but something about her rubs me the wrong way.'  Nevertheless, since 'the incident,' there have been times that I’ve wanted to reach out to her; times I've wanted to talk or laugh with her about something, times I've wanted to connect with her. I've also wanted to tell her exactly how what happened has affected me; that I'm more hurt than anything else, that I want to know how, why she could allow that to happen. But, whenever I felt that yearning, not only has it occurred to me that she likely doesn’t care how I was affected and probably has justified 'the incident' in her mind, a part of me warned, ‘There’s a reason she’s not in your life anymore; just let it be. She will not change; let her go.’ 
Then, I listened to an excerpt from a sermon by Bishop T.D. Jakes, where he preached about the Three Types of People In Your Life. After hearing what he had to say, I gained a new perspective and greater understanding of the relationship I shared with Jae, and others who have come into (and some, now gone from) my life. According to the great Bishop TD Jakes, there are three types of people in your life:
1.  CONFIDANTES – You have very few of them; these are people who welcome you unconditionally. They are into you whether you are up or down, right or wrong. They are in for the long haul and you can share anything with them. These are people with whom you can share your deepest and darkest inner thoughts; people who won’t judge you and will feed you instead of drain you. They will confront you; they’ll get in your business, in your face and tell you when you are wrong BUT will also come back and be by your side no matter what. Confidantes will never leave.
2.  CONSTITUENTS - They are not into you but, rather, are into what you are for.  As long as you are for what they are for they will be with you but never think they are for you. If they meet someone else who meets their agenda, they will hook up with that other person and leave you. Please Don’t mistake a constituent for a confidante. By the time you fall in love or are connected with them in a relationship, they will hook up with someone else and break your heart, leaving you wondering, “I thought our relationship was deeper than that.”
3.  COMRADES - These people are not for you nor are they for what you are for. They are simply against what you are against. They are strange bedfellows. They are the enemy of your enemy who will team up with you to help you fight a greater enemy. They will only be with you until the victory is accomplished. They are like scaffolding; that which is there just until the building is built. After the building is complete, the scaffolding is removed. Don’t be upset when they leave. They were not supposed to be there anyway. Don’t tell your dream to your constituents because they will try to sabotage your dream or try to fulfill the dream without you. Don’t tell your dream to your comrades. They will not support you because they are not for you in the first place.
I now recognize Jae as a Constituent, not the Confidante I mistakenly thought she could be. She is who she is and no amount of sympathy, empathy, conversation, rationalization or justification is going to change that. Some people come in to stay, some have a purpose that they serve then go and some are not a part of your life, at all, they’re just sharing the same space for a while. Thanks Bishop Jakes, I think I’ve got it now! ;-)
Although there is much more that can be added to each of these descriptions, I think they serve as a solid guide to deciphering who fits where in your life.  Can you recognize any of your close friends or relatives within these three descriptions? Are you mistakenly treating someone as a confidante when they are really more like a constituent or comrade?  Do you think my assessment of (my relationship with) Jae is on target?  Talk about it……

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

BFly Presents 'Way Back When's Days' Family Vacations

Remember, back in the day, when families actually took family vacations every year?  The family vacation wasn’t likely to take place in some faraway, tropical locale or require flight tickets. Usually, the family vacation was a week-long visit to an auntie/uncle’s house a few hours away, a weekend holiday spent with friends or relatives or a series of day trips taken over summer vacation. Wherever the destination was, it was some place you looked forward to going with your siblings and parents.
Some of my favorite childhood memories are from family outings and vacations: namely the trips to the beach we used to take with my maternal grandparents and the movie dates, park outings and overnight visits to relatives my mother & stepfather took us on.  I’m glad my mother was like the paparazzi back then: she has hundreds of photos that instantly transport one back to a specific time & experience and provides a healthy dose of uplifting nostalgia.  Nowadays, I don’t hear many people talking about family vacations.  People are usually taking ‘Girls Gone Wild’ vacations with their girlfriends or ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ trips with their homies.  Personally, I’ve been on many (long & short) vacations with my sisters and friends but only a few that I would classify as a ‘family vacation.’ I’ve planned many family vacays in my head only to be superseded by some jaunt or adventure presented by one of the ladies. Now that my daughter is almost 22 years old, she is less likely to want to vacation with Mommy so I am now planning for trips with the gran’diva. She and I will be sure to make some grand memories to last a lifetime.
What are some of your fondest memories of family vacations, either as a child or with your own children?  Do you have any suggestions for family vacation destinations?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sister, Sister


Today is my sister’s birthday. She is exactly one year, two months and 11 days younger than me. Although she’s the younger of us two, people either think she is my twin or they think she’s the older sister.  Most people think we look very much alike so, obviously, it’s not because of her looks that people think she’s older. I think we’re equally taken to be at least 10 years younger than we actually are. It’s because of her personality and the way she carries herself that she’s often taken as the elder sibling. Of the two of us, my sister Queen Bee (as she’s affectionately referred to by friends & family), is the bolder, louder, more outspoken one; she’s known as the fighter whereas I’m known as the lover, she will bring the ruckus while I bring the peace, I’m the quiet to her storm, the sugar to her coffee, the treaty to her war.  All of our lives, I have been known as ‘the nice one’ and she, ‘the mean one.’ As you can probably imagine, our differences caused many an argument, debate and sisterly (sometimes, enemy-like) fight. For almost 30 years, my sister and I clashed like cold water on a hot skillet. If she said no, I said yes……if she wanted to go right, I wanted to go left……if she had 2 best friends, well I better have 3 or more….and it went on and on and on and on and on. For years, my sister and I fought about every little thing. I don’t think either of us took the time to really think before we engaged in battle, we just did it because, well, it was what we had always done. 

Until one day, during a particularly heated battle (about what, I cannot recall), our brother-in-law stepped in and shut us down. He basically told us we looked stupid, were saying stupid things and probably didn’t even know why we were really arguing. My sister and I argued, talked and cried for hours that day and we got to the bottom of some deep-rooted issues that each of us had no idea the other carried around. It would still take us a few more years, countless hours and gallons of tears before we reached a point where we could talk to, instead of yell at, each other. We were finally able to build and sustain an actual friendship. Although, if you were on the outside, you would never know we had those problems because, (we were taught) no matter what, we were always there for each other. We shared all of life’s important moments, milestones and special occasions. Despite our wanting to tear each other’s hair out, we dared anyone else to even think about causing harm or posing a threat to our sister. It’s funny because, I remember many times, my sister wanted to beat me to a pulp but if anyone else even breathed the wrong way towards me, my sister was ready to pounce, with no questions asked.  SMH at the memories……..yeah, we’ve come a long way little sis!

I’m happy to say that, while we still have some work to do, the relationship between my sister and I is in good, solid standing. I know she’s got my back, she loves me, she’s happy to be a part of my life and I am happy to have her in mine. So, today, I salute my Lil’ Big Sis on her special day…………………..and I thank God for allowing her to reach another milestone for us to celebrate together.


it’s going down tonight……I hope you’re read-daaayyy!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Letter to Chris Brown

Dear Chris,
I have been a fan of yours from the first day I saw your tall, lanky frame on my TV screen (Yooooooo, I dont know your name but excuse me miss, I saw you from across the room, And I got to admit that you got my attention, You're making me want to say yooooooo). Not only did your dancing have me captivated but your boyish good lucks and evident charm made me want to know more about this new, cute kid on the block. I’m old enough to be your mother so I wasn’t looking at you as a celebrity crush/love interest.  Well, maybe I was…..but for my daughter. I could tell, from the way you moved and the emotion you conveyed while singing your song, that you were a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. Actually, you reminded me of a past, young love of mine who is tall, light-skinned, good-looking and on the ‘goofy’ side….though he has not one ounce of the rhythm in his body that you have in yours.  But, I digress…….. From the day I saw your first video, I knew you were going to be a star. I went out and purchased your CD and I listened to it all of the time. I think I knew all the songs & lyrics before my daughter did. I told all my friends about this new kid who was gonna do big things and I looked forward to watching your great career unfold…..and unfold it did.
For the next few years, you would not disappoint as you came out with hit after hit and wonderfully entertaining videos to go along with.  I never tired of watching your videos or hearing your songs. I began referring to you as my son-in-law and I longed for the day that my daughter (who was an aspiring model, at the time) would make it big, meet you, marry you, give me beautiful grandbabies and live happily ever after (a lady can dream, can’t she????).  Then, you hooked up with Rihanna and in my Scooby-Doo voice, I said, ‘Ruh Roh!’ Immediately, I didn’t think it was a good look.  No offense to you or Rhianna but I thought she was too much for you.  There you were, this innocent-looking, charming, silly young man making a name for himself in the music world and there she was a grown-looking, sexified young woman with much attitude making a name for herself in the music world.  In general, (they say) females mature faster than males so already, she had one up on you (I believed). Then, add the fast life and everything that comes with the kind of lives you both lead, (I imagine) requiring you to ‘grow up’ faster than you normally would have to and that gives her a few more steps ahead of you. Of course, this is all my own assessment of how things were. I wasn’t there and I have no idea how it is to live life in the spotlight so I am speaking strictly from a fan’s (and mother’s) point of view. I thought to myself, ‘this girl is gonna be T.r.o.u.b.l.e for Chris!’  I had no idea how much trouble it would be.
Seeing pictures of you two together and hearing stories about your young romance were bittersweet. It’s always nice to see people in love, especially that young love when everything is ‘innocent’ and brand-new.  At the same time, having been there and done that, it also makes one a bit sad knowing that, most likely, the young love will end on a not-so-good note and somebody (if not both parties) is going to end up hurting like hell. In your case, I always thought it would just be a matter of time before Rhianna would break your heart and leave you howling in the wind of her trail.  Never, in a million years, did I think your relationship with her would end like it did.
Grammy day was supposed to be a glittery affair for R&B's reigning It couple, Chris Brown and Rihanna. But things went horribly amiss.  About the time Brown was scheduled to be singing "Forever" onstage at Los Angeles' Staples Center, he was instead detained by police, being questioned for allegedly roughing up Rihanna, was the report given by one media source.  When I heard this news, I didnt believe it..couldnt believe.wouldnt believe itTheres gotta be more to the story, I thought.What the hell did Rhianna do to my son?!  I know a lot of people, men and women alike, wont like that statement and probably think its very irresponsible (at the very least) of me to say something like that.  Am I crazy, out of my mind, an abused woman myself? No, no and hell no. Not for a second do I think what you were accused of doing is/was okay. Not for a second do I believe that Rhianna deserved it. Not for a second do I believe that your behavior should have been excused. Not for a second do I believe that you didnt deserve to be punished. Not for a second do I believe you are a monster, as Ive heard some people refer to you as. Not for a second do I believe your dream of being a singer/entertainer should be snatched from you forever. Not for a second do I believe you should continue to be questioned about, ridiculed or punished for what happened 3 years ago. Not for a second do I believe you would do it again.
As a woman and mother of a daughter, I know how our species can be. I wasn’t there, in the car with you and Rhianna and you never gave your side of the story (understandably for fear that people would take it as you trying to excuse or justify your behavior) but I have my own ideas about what I think happened. However it got started, I believe you both were pushed to the brink of your emotions and one thing led to another and unfortunately, things got out of control. You put your hands on Rhianna. You’re a big, strong young man so I’m sure you knew you could overpower her, beat her, if you wanted to. I don’t know why you didn’t (or couldn’t?) just restrain her to keep her from hitting you or doing whatever it was that she was doing to you. Why you didn’t just walk, or drive, away from her instead of smacking, punching or biting her is beyond my understanding. But, the point is, you didn’t walk away. You didn’t just restrain. You hit her. You were dead wrong. You were dead wrong and you knew your were, but I don’t think you thought she would call in the dogs on you. But she did….and you paid for what you did to her, big time…..and rightfully so.
It hurt me to hear everyone dog you out, on radio, TV, online. I felt like people were really talking about my son. I wanted to reach out to your mother, speak out for your mother and I wanted to pop you upside your damn head! I was so mad at you, Chris. Why, why, why, why, whyyyyyy did he do that, I wondered. But, the damage was done and the why really didn’t matter. In fact, there was no room for ‘why’ because there was no excuse for it…..period.  So you had to pay and boyyyy, did you pay! I felt so bad for you Chris but I knew this was a lesson you had to learn the hard way.  You had to be taught that violence, especially violence against women, will not (and should not) be tolerated. You had to learn to deal with your emotions in a less damaging, more productive way….more mature way. You had to realize that, as quickly as people can build you up, they can tear ya down. Chris, you had to learn to ‘man up.’  Your image was tainted, reputation ruined, pocket tapped, career frozen and your love was lost.  I was worried that you had been (Jah)Ruled out and wouldn’t be allowed to come back. I prayed that you would be…..and you were.
You came back on the scene and you came back like you meant business.  However, not everybody welcomed you back with open arms. Still today, three years after the crime and the consequence, some people don’t want to let you live (it down). Which is why I am writing this letter to you today. After your Grammy win and performance (which I loved, by the way), people were outraged that a ‘man who beat the sh*t out of a woman is celebrated.’ I got so upset after reading one bloggers post that tears sprang to my eyes. I was ready to fight! As a fan and as a mother, I just want people to let you live. I agree, you done wrong. But you paid your debt to society, in more ways than one and now it’s time for people to leave the past in the past. I do realize, though, that there will always be people who ‘hate Chris’ and I will likely have to continue to defend you against those who speak ill about you in my presence. However, despite the cold or lukewarm reception you receive by some, (in addition to me and my cougar friends….haha) you still have millions of die-hard fans who love you and want you to stay in the game. We need you to keep making good music, entertaining us with your great dance moves and gracing us with your good-looking presence.  But, most of all, Chris Brown, we need you to grow up. We need you to stop feeding into the negativity some people just seem bent on spewing your way. I know it’s easier said than done, but we need you to stop stooping to their level by sending out angry tweets and arrogant commentary.  Don’t give the negators (neh-guh-tors - yeah, I made that word up) satisfaction by reacting to their ugliness with ugliness. We need you to keep your head up and your ego down. The best way to honor yourself, your mother and the fans who have been loyal to you is to remain humble, keep giving us good music and do what the naysayers think you can’t do - sustain a successful, respectable career, non-violent lifestyle and eventually, a healthy, loving relationship with a woman (whenever that time comes). I know you can do it, Chris. Just keep your eyes on the prize and you will continue to win. In this case, winning IS everything! I will continue to pray for you. Keep on keeping on and, CBreezy, please don’t let me/us down.
Sincerely and with love,
BFly, a fan who cares

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Let's talk about love, baby....let's talk about you and me.....let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be...let's talk about love....let's talk about love....let's talk about love...let's talk about love!

Today, I thought it would be fun to do a little quiz for Valentine's Day. Please, indulge me......and have a loving, sweet, wonderful Day!

Do you prefer flowers or candy?
What is your favorite sweet treat?
What is your favorite love song?
What is your favorite romantic comedy or love story?
Who is your favorite couple (famous)?
Who is your favorite couple (non-celeb)?
What is your favorite scent (to wear and to smell on others)?
What is (one of) the best romantic moments/experiences you've had?
What is your favorite romantic destination?
and finally....
Who do you love? Are you sure? (bonus: what song/year is that from? Don't cheat!)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

SUNDAYS with BFly....'A Moment in Black Herstory': WHITNEY HOUSTON

What's more inspirational than a teenager believing in herself enough to follow her dreams? To follow her dreams and make it big? To make it big and Wow the world? To be known, worldwide, just by your first name? To be known as 'The Voice?' To be viewed as the voice to be reckoned with? To have a voice that is incomparable; a voice that set a standard many aim for but only few (if any) can reach? To be a woman strong enough in her own conviction to do what she wants, when she wants, where she wants and how she wants with no apologies offered? To walk with her head held high even in her lowest days? To be WHITNEY ELIZABETH HOUSTON. Whitney came on the music scene at the mere age of 18, and from the start, she was a bonafide star. She was beautiful, classy and immensely talented. She was humble, yet confident. Soft spoken yet strong. She has celebrated relatives but shone brightly in her own light. She had a big voice that sent chills up your spine and tears down your face. Hit after hit, it was evident that Ms. Whitney Houston was here to stay. Throughout the late 80's & 90's, Whitney brought us music we loved to sing to, cry to, make love to and even, dance to. She starred in a few films and earned enough respect to rightfully add 'actress' to her talent list. In one word, Whitney was 'Phenomenal.' Unfortunately, her reputation as a classy, unblemished wonder of a woman was tarnished when she became romantically involved with, and eventually married to, Bobby Brown. Most people know the story of Mr. & Mrs. Brown (or Mr. & Mrs. Houston, depending on who you're talking to) so I won't go into too many details about their tumultuous 15 year relationship. I will suffice it to say, the couple became addicted to drugs and known for outrageous, erratic, uncouth and disturbing behavior. Whitney's family and fans were shocked at the slow but sure decline of her career (and seemingly, quality of life) and though some were genuinely concerned for her, a lot of people began to 'kick her' while she was down. Everyone's entitled to their own opinions and, unfortunately, in the life of a superstar, millions of opinions are thrown their way. Still, Whitney managed to keep her head up. As a fan from day one, I was enamored with Whitney through her ups and downs. It hurt to see her in the alley of her life but I was never turned off to her person. I loved to see her and hear her, always....well, not quite. I didn't want to watch the reality show she and Bobby had. I knew what the genre of reality shows was built upon: drama, extreme drama; and from what the media constantly reported, Bobby & Whitney had plenty of it and I did not want to be privvy to it. I am so glad I did! Although, I'm sure, if I had watched, it wouldn't have made me less of a fan....of Whitney's or Bobby's. I understand that they are human beings just like the rest of us. I have seen loved ones battle a drug or alcohol addiction and it is no easy feat to overcome it. I know that drugs alter a person's personality, their character and turns them into someone unrecognizable. It's easy to judge, alienate, convict and put down a person who suffers from drug addiction. It keeps one from focusing on their own faults, shortcomings and, perhaps, addictions as well. It's easy for us to build people up, hold them up on their pedestals and drop them like a hot ear of corn at the simplest, most minor mistake or 'violation'....let alone, become a 'drug addicted junkie.' Shaking my damn head at us. No, I did not....would that to Whitney. In my eyes, she was always a lady. A beautiful songbird. A class act. She will always be the lady who reminds me of my own mother's beauty. The lady who inspires the songstress that lives inside me. The lady who lends me strength through her lyrics, courage through her melodies and joy through her songs. She will always be that tall, slim, brown-skinned, beautiful, unapologetic, God-fearing mother, daughter, sister, cousin, friend, singer, actress, mentor, inspirational, phenomenal, wonderful human being. She will always be the incomparable voice that wowed the world at the tender age of 18 and will continue to inspire, motivate, delight and spread love for ever and ever and ever. Whitney, you are now heaven's songbird and you will be greatly missed here on earth. I thank you for your music, I thank you for your light and I thank you for being you. I will always be a fan and since I never met you here on earth, I hope to meet you some day in heaven. Rest in peace, dear Whitney..........I am forever inspired.....and IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII WILL ALLLLLWAAAAAAAYYYYYYSSSSSSSSSSS LOVE YOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUU!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Single Awareness Day

S.A.D. Singles Awareness Day. Apparently, that is another name for Valentine’s Day, contrived under the notion that, on February 14, single people are strongly (and unapologetically) reminded just how single they are.  As if we didn’t know how single we are already.  I can’t help but to think, a man must’ve come up with this idea. 

Sure, St. Valentine’s Day is a day reserved mostly with the couple in mind, but those of us who are single can find ways to enjoy the day and people to enjoy it with.  Spending quality time with a loved one who may not necessarily be a lover is an option; hanging out with a girlfriend, a sibling, a son or daughter, parent or grandparent can all be fun things to do.  I know, I know, it sounds so……..pitiful, right? Even I have to admit, doing any of those things pales in comparison to spending the day with a sweetheart. I’m not too proud to say: I WANT TO BE SOMEBODYS VALENTINEStill, Valentine's Day doesn’t have to suck and not having a valentine is not the end of the world. 

Yes, I would love to wake up on February 14th knowing that, at some point during the day, I will be getting a nice Valentine's Day gift. A card, some Lindt white chocolates, a big balloon and a sparkling piece of jewelry would be nice. Sitting at work with the expectation of a flower delivery or a surprise lunch date or an enticing phone call would make my day go so much smoother. Knowing that my evening will be filled with smiles, kisses, laughter and whispers of sweet nothings would really make my heart sing. Oh how I would enjoy buying (or making) a card for my sweetheart, fretting about the store trying to find the right gift to buy and carefully contemplating what outfit, shoes, scent, lip gloss, earrings, hairstyle to wear. I would be drunk with giddiness to have a special someone I could send sexy text messages to all day. Looking into the eyes, kissing the soft lips, being up close on and inhaling the scent of my formidable lover would absolutely fill me with joy. BUT, I know that’s not happening……not this year, anyway. 

Therefore, I will smile ‘til my face hurts as I witness the attached ones around me receive their Valentine’s Day love.  I will say, ‘Awwwww, that is so sweet….or nice…..or beautiful…..or hot!’ all day long. I will listen to the romantic (or not) stories of my friends and relatives who have sweethearts and I will probably say (as I’ve said for too many years prior), ‘Next year will be my turn!’ I will sometimes wince, tear up and swallow knots of emotion but I will NOT be a sour grape, fun-sucker (as my dear niece says) or joy-thief. As always, I will be genuinely happy for those around me who are fortunate to have love, not only on Valentine’s Day, but every day before and after. This is not to say being single is UNfortunate, but, you know what I’m saying (right?). I plan to enjoy Valentine’s Day aka Singles Awareness Day, either with myself or with a loved one. I have no plans, as of yet, but whatever I do, I just hope I don’t end up shedding a ‘whyamI(still)single’ tear (though I’m not making any promises)! 

Do you have any suggestions on how I should spend Singles Awareness Day?  Do you know of any singles events happening in the Albany area?  If so, let a Single-but-Still-Smiling Sista know! ;-)

Friday, February 10, 2012

BFly's Valentine's Day Gift Guide for Guys: For The Lover & You

Roses are red, Violets are blue, Confused is me ‘cause I know not what to get you…..
To give or not to give?  How much is too much or not enough?  In like but not love?  Been together for so long, you done used up all your tricks?  Haven’t been together long enough to bring out the artillery?  Well, I think I have some answers for all you lovers out there who have no idea what to give to your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day.  Whether you’re in love or lust, been around for a week or a decade, here are some suggestions I think would go over well on almost anybody:
A year or less: Give her a card (that says more than ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ but less than ‘Baby, I can’t live without you’) and a box of (her favorite) candy, flower arrangement, CD, book, movie (that she may have mentioned was her favorite or that she’d like to have) or bottle of wine/liquor with a set of pretty wine/cocktail glasses and dinner (restaurant or homemade). Bonus: Send flowers, candy or message to her at work.
1-3 years: Give her a card (that says more than ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ and along the lines of, ‘Baby, I don’t wanna live without you’) and a nice bottle of perfume, a pair of sexy shoes and/or a sexy dress (but only if you know her correct size & taste) or tickets to an upcoming concert, play or other social event she may enjoy or a romantic, overnight stay at a nice hotel complete with dinner, cocktails and (you for) dessert. Bonus: Send flowers, candy or message to her at work.
3-5 years: Give her a card (that says more than ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ and tells her how much you love and appreciate her) and a nice piece of jewelry, a romantic weekend away, a night to herself (if you have children), brunch/lunch and his & her spa treatments or pay for dance (or some other extracurricular activity the two of you may enjoy) lessons. Bonus: Send flowers, candy or message to her at work.
5-10 years: Give her a card (that says more than ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ and that expresses your deep love for & devotion to her), a nice piece of jewelry and romantic night at home (that includes dinner, catered or cooked by you, complete with candlelight & music), set of sexy sheets (followed by a sexy romp that includes oils, massages & other play things/activites), a day of pampering, romantic road trip or take her to do something together that you two have never done.
Bonus: Send flowers, candy or message to her at work.
10+ years: : Give her a card (that says more than ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ and nothing short of Baby, I cant imagine life without you) a nice piece of jewelry and use your imagination! Bonus: Send flowers, candy or message to her at work.
Fellas, please take no offense at the one-sidedness of this post.  I know some men do like to receive gifts but, for the most part, Valentine’s Day is a woman’s holiday. Also, because I am a woman, it was easy for me to come up with things I believe other women would enjoy.  Of course, you should take into consideration, your sweetheart’s likes/dislikes, personality and temperament.  Not all women wear perfume and not all women appreciate gifts of jewelry.  Tune into your lover and listen to what she says (and doesn’t say).  If all else fails, ask her sister or best friend.  If you take me up any of the above, come back and let me know how much your sweetheart liked it (or not)! 
  Please note (if you haven’t already): It’s all in the card! ;-)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

BFly's Black Herstory Month: 'Sugar, Sugar'

What is SUGAR?  Well, it depends on who you ask and in what content it is used.
  1. SUGAR (as described by Wikipedia) ‘is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose,[1] characterized by a sweet flavor.’ 
  2. SUGAR is another word for kiss.  (example, ‘C’mere baby, give Grandma some sugar.’)
  3. SUGAR is used as a name/nickname.
  4. SUGAR is a word often used by African Americans to describe the deadly disease, Diabetes.
According to the African American Community Health Advisory Committee, diabetes is the fourth-leading cause of death by disease among African-Americans and is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure and amputation. While diabetes affects nearly 3 million African- Americans — half of those with the disease don't know it. Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Contrary to popular belief, diabetes is NOT caused by eating sweets or the wrong kinds of food. The exact cause of diabetes is unknown but, increasing age, genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.  Diabetes is a killing disease but it may be controlled, according to James R. Gavin III, MD, chair of the American Diabetes Association's African-American Program. "By keeping fit, eating right and getting regular exercise, we can decrease our risk for diabetes quite substantially," he said. "This is a disease about which we can do a great deal, but only when those affected are informed and empowered to take the kind of control of this disease that is now possible.”
On December 6, 2010, I was diagnosed with diabetes; that was a serious reality check.  I mean, of course I knew beforehand that my health was at risk due to my weight, poor eating habits & physical inactivity. I knew something was wrong within my body because I felt it. I was also aware of some of the symptoms for diabetes (which include: Frequent urination, Unusual thirst, Extreme hunger, Unusual weight loss. Extreme fatigue, Irritability, Frequent infections, Blurred vision, Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal, Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet, and Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections) and had been feeling a few of them. Still, when the words were spoken, I felt like I had been slapped in the face. ‘Ms. Tarver, your blood work shows that you have diabetes.’ Tears immediately stung my eyes. I shook my head in disbelief; not at the diagnosis but at myself for letting my health go to that degree.  Also, it hurt to get that kind of news on my damn birthday. What a way to start off my new year. ‘I knew it, I knew it,’ I said.  I told my doctor how I had been feeling ‘off’ lately and that I suspected my health was at risk.  ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘so I need you to get more blood work done and you really need to focus on losing weight and eating for your health. In the meantime, I am going to prescribe a medication to help you get your blood glucose levels under control.’ Wow,  I thought to myself, not only is my health compromised but I have to be on a daily medication? How the hell did I get here?! I was in a state of shock when I left the doctor’s office. I knew diabetes was a serious condition and I had to find a way get it under control…..or else.
As with a lot of African American families, diabetes is a part of my genetic history.  My paternal grandparents, my father and some of his siblings live with (or died from) from it and now, I have it. I decided, right then and there, to stop playing with my health and taking my life for granted. I researched more information about diabetes and discovered that it could affect the body in ways I wouldn’t have imagined. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can lead to diabetes complications, such as hearing loss, dental problems, eye, foot and skin complications, high blood pressure and mental health issues (just to name a few). Upon learning this, other things that I had been feeling within my body began to make sense. I had to face some harsh realities; but, sadly, it didnt serve as the thing to push me towards a permanent lifestyle change. Its been over a year since my diagnosis and my health is pretty much in the same state, if not worse. I know and have heard about many people who have lost body parts, bodily functions and their lives due to non-treatment of their diabetes. Unfortunately, so many people choose to ignore the signs or medical advice. They neglect to take their medications, opt to continue eating poorly and they never make the time or effort to exercise. This is particularly sad because, although diabetes can be deadly, it can also be treated effectively and be reversed. By eating more healthy foods, exercising for at least 30 minutes per day and losing weight (sometimes just 10-15 lbs can do the trick), one can actually rid their body of the disease. So why havent I done that for myself thus far?  Hmmmmmmmmmm……….good question.