My Mother’s Eyes

Today, as I was walking out the door to an appointment, my mother grabbed me, hugged me and said a short prayer before I walked to my car. Now, I freely admit that my mother is a very religious woman and does even show affection to me, but I have never seen fear in my mother’s eyes. For most my thirty years, my mother has very much subscribed to the school of “pray about it”. 90% of the time I look at her, there’s a Bible nearby and a scripture at some point of a conversation with her so her saying a small prayer before I left today was nothing unusual. But when my mother gives me a hug and says a prayer over me with fear in her eyes because of the current state of the world because she is seriously concerned that something bad could happen to me in the couple of hours I was due to be gone, I can’t help but take notice. My mother was fearful for my well-being because I’m a black woman and we are in the very real situation that I am in constant danger due to living while black. It hurts that my mother who like my father, grew up and have lived in the south their whole lives and have lived during the Civil Rights Movement to being in a position fifty years later being afraid that they and their family are unsafe by virtue of their skin color. I have never been unaware of the position I was born into as a black female. I’ve experienced subtle and even blatant racism over the years, but it never sunk in to actually fear for my safety until I looked into my mother’s eyes this morning. In the year of 2016, I’m a black female in America and the fear is real.

Hindsight 20/30

Now I will be the first to admit that I’ve complained of the seeming lack of “Mr. Rights” more times than I care to count. I’d come back from another failed date,  another break-up, or a dating dry spell that would have a Westerns set look lush and inviting. As I’ve gotten older and moved closer to 30, I really started to hone in on my tendency towards tunnel-vision in dating. If I’m involved with someone exclusively, I am completely focused on him. I rearrange my schedule to accommodate his no matter how inconvenient it may be. In the period following my breakups, I see the destructiveness of this mind frame and even seem to learn from this in time for the next guy. I never fully realized how much I really wanted something real, healthy and nourishing romantically until after I got over my last breakup. In my first two relationships, I had next to nothing in common with my boyfriends; and in the last two, I had too much in common with my boyfriends but not enough of the positive stuff. I had finally started to realize that my caretaker/troubleshooter response to others gave me too much of a rescuer mentality rather than a romantic one. And I started asking myself: do I really want to be with someone who wants or needs a manager? My answer: No, I don’t. I would resent putting myself in that position and would resent the guy I was managing. I want a partner, someone who is my match without being the opposite sex version of myself and balances my strengths and weaknesses while challenging me to become a better version of myself while supporting me. I found that dating for the sake of not being alone lead me to make some rather questionable choices and didn’t help me to find the quality of partner material I’d like to find. I have realized even more importantly that to attract what I really want in life, I have to do some work on myself from the inside out. With that said, I’m off to do some emotional spring cleaning. From now on, I am an attractor for greatness.

How to Do a Background Check on Your New Date

This is a wonderful article from guest blogger, Alexandra from Background Hawk on arming yourself with information when meeting someone new. Enjoy, comment, and share!

 

It takes a lot of effort and calming of the nerves to get to know someone on a deeper level and actually trust them enough to want to go out on a real face-to-face date with them; and in the crazy world we live in today, if you aren’t 100% sure that the John you imagined meeting, really is who he says he is, then chances are you could be up for some major disappointment…or worse.

There are a lot of people out there who wouldn’t even blink at the idea of misleading you and creating a picture of someone and something they really aren’t. Basic instinct should be your first guide when dealing with a prospective new date. How you feel about the guy should tell you what to do, but if your head and your heart aren’t on the same bandwagon, there are a few steps you can take in order to do your own research.

  • Take a peek into his different online persona’s

Platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram give you a personal and more detailed peek into someone’s personality, even though it may only be what they are showing the virtual world, it could still give you some pointers. If his profile is bombarded with crass images and millions of friends it should be sending of some alarms. Snoop around a bit. A little Facebook browsing never hurt anyone.

 

 

  • Make use of free public searches

If you’re not having luck digging up any dirt on the social media platforms, then head on over to the public records. Sure you can do it old school and hit the local courts to sift through the records to see if he’s got any dirt hidden in the closet (but that could take ages, and in today’s fast paced world, who has the time for that?), or you can play it easy, and use sites such as www.criminalsearches.com , which has all the criminal records form the United States listed on there. If they appear on the public records then you should be able to find it there.

 

 

  • Dig a little deeper

There’s a site called www.PeekYou.com that gives you a summary of all the different social media profiles that one person has. Take what you find here and compare it carefully. If he’s an IT manager in his one “life” and an Art Director in the next, head for the hills, ASAP! Sites like these work great in giving you a perspective of what exactly makes himself out to be and can really help you when you want to try to determine who and what he really is.

 

  • Get in touch

Okay so no one likes to be a snooper, but every once in a while you have to simply take a deep breath and gather the guts to actually phone or meet up with one of his friends. Ask about who he is and what he’s all about. His friends might not be all too eager to spill the beans about him; but this is well worth a shot, and you might just find some info that could otherwise remain unheard of here.

 

  • Get an OPEN perspective of things

If you haven’t heard of it by bow, do yourself a favor and go check out the site www.Openbook.org . It lists all archived comments and posts a specific person (obviously the one you are digging into) has ever made or been tagged in on Facebook. This step might be a little border line stalker behavior, but hey, you never know what you could uncover with a little browsing!

 

  • Do a DEEP Internet Search

Sometimes due to the fact that we tend to use either the wrong passwords or the fact that we just don’t know exactly what to search for search engines such as Google and Bing will omit results or just not see them as relevant and thus you’ll end up without a hit on what you’re searching for. This is where sites such as www.Pipl.com come in, and man is it handy! It’s a little more like a people networking site but it does some crazy deep web digging, and goes into places and spaces that Google wont. If he exists on the internet then chances are Pipl will have something on him.

The tactics we talked about here are ways in which you can conduct your own form of online research and do a little DIY Background checking on that potential date you have in mind. If all else fails and you still don’t have any dodgy details, he might actually be who he says he is, but if you still have a weird instinctive feeling that all isn’t as it seems then do yourself a favor and get help from the pros.

An advanced background check from a quality service provider will get you all the details you ever needed and so much more. Their results are accurate and up to date – but you have to be sure you use a reputable and reliable service provider. They can get you details on just about anything from criminal history to driving offenses listings and more, but off course the services they deliver do come at a price. Good things are hard to come by and they certainly don’t come for free. It’s something well worth investing in if you have a creepy feeling about someone!

To round things up, there are countless ways in which the internet can help you conduct a quick and effective background check on someone. Not all players in the dating game are that bad, and not everyone is out to get you, but the reality is that there really are cyber stalkers and cons out there who would love the opportunity to take you for a ride. The golden rule however still remains: trust your gut instinct. If something or someone looks too good to be true, then sadly, it probably is and you should be heading in the opposite direction.

Alexandra is a member of the BackgroundHawk.com team, bringing you tips on how to date safely, and reviews of background checking services.

A World Divided

I have to admit. Waking up everyday with a new report of another crime, a vicious comment about someone, a video fueling the rage of any number of people from all over showing that in spite of time and supposed progression, mentally and emotionally the human race is mostly very much the same as our predecessors just with Internet, better clothing and bigger and better ways to cause each other to suffer. Bullies are mostly drawn attention to if they are children, but what about the adult bullies? Childhood bullying however cruel usually will have an end when someone will stand up to say “no more”. Adult bullies come in different shapes and forms. They can be a coworker, a boss, a neighbor, a cop, a doctor, a lawyer, a government official, even a stranger. All over the news, there are countless stories of injustice very many which stem from prejudice, hate and an inherent blood lust for pain and misery. Is it the long struggle of minorities against the “white betters”? Is it a need to be seen powerful through force no matter the cost? Is it just history repeating itself in a different time with new players in the roles?

We now live in a world technologically, politically, and educationally that even only 50 years ago would not have been easily dreamed of. Does that make us better? Does that prove our advancement? Only to a point. While yes, what those predecessors had been working towards all those years ago has come to the present; the prejudices of the past have come with it. The certainty that even with the opportunities out in the world made “openly” to all who seek them is not made for everyone in the same way is still there. I wonder if looking to the past and seeing so many parallels to the present, what will the world look like in another 50 years? Will there be anything in the future to compare to the past to really decide whether if and how we can move forward? For a time with some many resources at our fingertips, how it is that such a willful blindness can persist? We’re a society made with a glass house ideology that as long as we’re who we are, nothing else matters. If it doesn’t affect me and mine, then it has nothing to do to me. Don’t be fooled by this ideology. We are all human and should not only stand up to be counted for the cause when it affects our race, our group, our sources. Hate knows no color, it knows no position, it knows no separation in who to target. It only knows that it wants division. It wants blood, it wants more and more chaos. Why is it that we live in a world in which action is only effective when paired with aggression? And when it is paired with aggression, it has to overtake everything in its path forcing a surrender by any means necessary.

Instead of leading the way with violence, can we not inject learning into the mix? Can we not add knowledge as a weapon to the arsenal? Can we not find a way to finally see that the “I’m better than you” idea of class and status is there because we ourselves have done so? It is true that there is a classification of those who are in positions of leadership because they have the qualities necessary to do what is needed. There are also some who take those positions and can’t handle the power but know how to keep it and make those they lead the worse for it.

We make challenges for sport, to draw attention to a cause, to make a point and for many other things. And in closing, I make this challenge. For those who see themselves as leaders, remember that to lead by example is through more than to do so in front of the crowd, it is behind closed doors, it is in your convictions, it is your character, it is every part of you. In spite of the popular quote, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”, it is not power itself that corrupts; it is mental, it is emotional, it is moral. We stand or we fall based on what hill we allow ourselves to die on or even if we intend to show at all. We are remembered for the great and the terrible. What we seem to forget is that what happens in the middle affects the outcome whether great or terrible. In the work that is done, have we gained victory in becoming something more or have we made ourselves a prisoner of a specter given a body through our actions?

Armed with Knowledge and Understanding

I grew up in a rural town in South Carolina where it was definitely not unusual for girls to know how to fish, hunt, and physically defend themselves if necessary. I’ve never hunted in my life. The opportunity never really presented itself; but once I got to adulthood, I did wonder if I should learn how to handle a gun. I was then in a large city and sometimes better safe than sorry became a constant thought in my mind. I’ve been considering this idea of learning how to handle a gun for some years but never really found a class I felt good about acting on until very recently. I found out about Lawson Handgun Institute here in Chicago by a completely different circumstance that had nothing to do with signing up for a class. I found out about it because of the remarkable woman who owns and runs the facility, Colleen Lawson. Colleen is a gun rights and safety advocate who not only provides I place for you to learn how to properly handle a gun in any situation; she also gives tools that go far deeper than your typical gun safety classes. She uses her classes and curriculum to help her students really understand the type of circumstance they might face that would require them to use a gun, how to be able to judge the situation, and how to really feel comfortable in your right to feeling safe. Colleen is one of the most mellow people I’ve ever met and from the moment I met her, I felt everything I’ve read about her as a person as absolute truth. That’s something that can be found in others; but with Colleen, I knew that it was not a façade to get people to purchase her classes, she practices what she preaches. She believes that knowledge and understanding about our feelings in the moment are as important as how we physically handle a weapon and that a cool, level-headedness is every bit as necessary as technical knowledge of guns. If you would like to learn more about what Colleen has going on at the Lawson Handgun Institute, please go check out her website at www.lawsonhandgun.com . Be safe all!