sassysage's Blog

american hero and civil rights leader Dr. Olivia J. Hooker died on november 21st 2018 at 103 years old.  her long and trailblazing life has been written about and honored by many these last few weeks, including receiving her very own google veterans day doodle and a beautiful tribute on nbc today.

Dr. Hooker was a survivor of the infamous tulsa race massacre of 1921, otherwise known as ‘black wall street’.  She was the first african american woman to join the US coast guard in 1945.

she received her phd in psychology at university of rochester at a time when many people of color had limited access to any forms of higher education.  she went on to work with children and served as distinguished professor at fordham university. this is how i learned about her and had the pleasure of meeting her.  Dr. Hooker’s accolades are many.  but what makes her a hero and treasure to america was her boundless heart and honorable character.   

she took me in as one of her own.  i have vivid memories of taking the metro north from the bronx where i was a young doctoral student at fordham to white plains.  she would pick me up in her car and we would drive to her house.  she would offer me a home cooked meal and we would laugh the day away.  she drove down to fordham for my doctoral hooding, she cheered me on in completing my post doc, shouted with joy when i got my first job as a professor and we had a huge celebration the two of us when i got tenure!!

she was always encouraging but also clear about the challenges and barriers that lay before me as an african american female psychologist.  often our discussions would revolve about the great needs among youth in our communities.  the strength, energy and most of all passion that is needed to serve.  the importance of love, generosity and optimism.  she taught me that titles, honors and awards are nice if and when they happen. but the true mark of success is making a difference in the life of yourself and others.   

i watched with awe as through her 80s, 90s and even into her 100s, she kept serving.  living life fully until the end. it has been a true honor to know such an amazing spirit as my mentor and friend.  the beautiful small service to lay her to rest this past wednesday was so special; just like she was. she will be missed but never forgotten.   

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imageslots of people in the news, including Lady Gaga, Taraji P Henson, Michelle Williams, Former First Lady Michelle Obama and many other have recently talked about how counseling/therapy has helped improve their lives.

therapy has been proven to help people overcome many mental and physical health challenges. it’s also a great way to jump start growth and self-development.  learning more about how to create peace, happiness and a positive mindset are some of the benefits of therapy.  the stigma around seeking a mental health professional decreasing, which is great.  however, many people don’t know how to take the first step.  if you feel ready to learn more about how to get support.  Here’s a link to my tips on how to find a good therapist.

 

i was recently interviewed for teen girl, #Sesi magazine.  the article about dealing with rejection touches issues most girls/young women deal with.  like handling dating woes, feeling left out of a group, being turned down from a dream opp…

check out the article below and let me know what you think…

yesterday i saw #brenebrown speak about her book #daretolead.  she talked about how courageous leadership is something one needs to learn but in our society people rarely get training on.

girls-day-data-bias-EN research shows girls often feel limited in their skill set or lack the confidence to take the lead. this international day of the girl, the theme is ‘with her: a skilled workforce’.  thinking about what brene brown said, i  feel that the best place to start would be with young women and girls.  what better way to have a skilled workforce than creating girl leaders in STEM. 

do you think STEM is a good place to focus on regarding leadership?  what would a STEM leader need to learn?

 

 

downloadthis week i went to see the new kevin hart movie #nightschool.  my week started off rough, so as a self care tool i decided to roll to the theatre mid-week.  i figured a goofy laugh would be good medicine.  and laugh i did, from the moment the movie started to the end.  you really can’t expect anything less from greats like kevin hart, tiffany haddish, yvonne orji and romany malco among others…

but what i did not expect was the homage that was paid to teachers.  tiffany’s character, carrie, is a straight shooter and uses unconventional tools to get her students to learn.  what i also loved was that she is a math teacher who uses creative ways to teach STEM.  it’s clear she cares deeply about her students’ success. she takes the time to get to know each and every one of their situations,  strengths/weaknesses and dreams. she masterfully cooks up lesson plans and calls them on their stuff to bring out the best in them.  

nightschool is billed as a movie about second chances and that it is. but for me it is a tribute to teachers everywhere.  a highlight reel of the sacrifices and love that goes into being a part of this amazing profession.  that’s the special treat of this hilarious movie and what makes it a must see for me.

 

#Netflix aired the movie #NappilyEverAfter this weekend.  the movie stars sanaa lathan, whom i (and everybody else) love!!

it’s a story about a woman who seems perfect on the outside but isn’t happy with herself. the movie goes a layer deeper and explores the conflict that many women of all races, but particularly black women have with our hair. doesn’t sound deep you may say.  isn’t hair just grown out protein jutting out of one’s scalp?

no my dear, hair is so much more than that.  it is a crown of sorts and how we feel about it can make or break us.  that’s why i found the big chop scene in the movie the most powerful.  it reminded me of my journey when in my early 20s, i cut all my hair.  it was not a decision i made lightly but when i did i LET IT GO.

scan2_2_2like sanaa’s character, it wasn’t until i was left with my bald and bare self that i realized what i had done.  uh oh…now i had to find a new way of being in the world. not hiding behind my hair. not fretting over what it did or did not look like. not spending hours or dollars primping and pulling.  i was left with me and therefore needing to look at me, flaws and all.

that’s when the real journey began and it’s been glorious. i’ve since my grown my hair back, relaxed it, transitioned back to natural and many iterations in between.  but that first journey will never be forgotten because it was the beginning of a new me.

that’s why i urge all women contemplating cutting their hair to go for it.  it liberates in ways that will have a profound impact in how you see the world and how the world sees not only you but all of us.  if you’ve done the big chop; give some thought about what it did for you and share your experience with others.

Let’s start a #BigChop movement. it’s so much bigger than hair…

 

right now I’m typing in my living room taking in the delicious vibes of an ‘herb garden’ downloadcandle which smells like a cross between lavender and orange spice.  this is not just any candle; it’s made with lots of thought and love by Rose Powell founder of Rose and Co. Candlemakers.  Rose is just 11 years old but has a passion for creating aromas that speak to the heart like an old soul.   her candles not only smell good but they are good for the environment (made with natural soy and an eco wick) and society too (proceeds supports girls education through Michelle Obama’s let girls learn initiative).  for going for your dreams at such an early age, we salute Rose Powell as the queen entrepreneur she is.

 

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