A Pack of Alphas ?

I was scrolling through my instagram feed when I came across post that read:

“Alpha females don’t run in packs”

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This post prompted me to pause momentarily and to think about this declaration. I thought to myself, “it would be great to see a pack of ‘alphas’ running together.” So I posted that as a comment. I could tell immediately that my statement was not understood and I knew why. When you think of a pack of wolves, you envision a group of fiercely ferocious and stunning animals lead my the most ferocious and fierce among them; the alpha. You fear each one of them, you’re in awe of each one of them but there is a heightened sense of reverence for the “alpha” wolf. You can most definitely tell which one is the leader of the pack because the rest, while very close, are just a step behind allowing the “alpha” to lead.

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Because of this picture in my head of a wolf pack being lead by one, I kind of agreed with one of the comments that said it would be too intense for the whole pack to be alphas. I logged off of Instagram and continued to watch my favorite show of the month (The Biggest Loser) and eventually drifted off to sleep with the image of an “alpha” female leading her pack in the back of my mind. It looked a little something like this:

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We have all seen a representation of these girls in one movie or another. Taking away the fact that they are “mean girls” let’s examine them. What I see here is a group of girls who have it all (popularity, looks, style,brains etc.), but one of them has just a little more than the others donning her the “queen” of the group. Okay, this is not new thinking by far.. off to sleep for me.

When I woke up in the morning that post was still on my mind. I immediately went into my mother’s room and asked her “what do you think about a pack of alphas?” Clearly she had no clue what I was talking about by the baffled look on her face. So I elaborated for her telling her the story about the post and what my thoughts about it were. “I believe you can run in a pack full of alphas” I told her. “you most definitely can” she said. Then our conversation went on to solidify my belief. That Alpha packs do exist and they are impenetrable. They look like this:

They all look different, but equally as strong and you can’t tell which one is the “alpha”. That’s because they each are.

I think this stuck with me because there is such a misconception about being strong or being a leader. People associate leaders with one person in the front of a group or at the top of the pyramid while others follow behind. Thinking like this disconnects the leader from the rest. Would you really want to be the lonely one in the front or at the top with all of your followers behind you or below you? They’re together but because your the “alpha” or leader, you’re really alone. There’s a saying “it’s lonely at the top”. My thinking is it doesn’t have to be. Why can’t leaders or “alphas” run in packs? Wouldn’t that only add strength, knowledge and power to each one of them?

No one is great at everything so my vision of an “alpha” pack is a pack where all of them are phenomenal in their own way. Each of them a leader, but each of them taking the “alpha” role when necessary and each having the strength to hand over the role based off of the challenge confronted with. “In order to lead you must learn to follow” no words are more true in this context. “Alphas” build each other up, they follow each other, they make each other stronger, they are unstoppable because they can recognize the “alpha” in one another and respect it. When a challenge arises it is already conquered because it came to a group of leaders. Each leader has specific strengths and each of them are prepared to use those strengths at any given moment.I want to travel in a pack like that and create more alpha packs as my journey unfolds. I imagine this is what a pack of “Alpha” females would look like:

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and boy oh boy, that’s the kind of pack I’m rolling with.

I encourage you to leave your thoughts below. Thanks for stopping by.

THOSE DARN ANGRY FEMINIST!

So I’m sure you’ve figured out from the title exactly what this post is about and if you haven’t “feminism” is the topic. So let’s just dive in!

First I want to provide you with this definition:

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Also defined as “the women’s movement”, “female liberation”, “female emancipation”… etc. So now that we all know what it is let’s address the stigma that’s attached to the the woman who advocates for her rights. And there’s no greater way to depict the common perception of a feminist than the following pictures carefully selected for accurate depiction.

Feminists are widely labeled as loud, angry nudists with poor hygiene who hate men. I am writing this blog to let you know that this statement is :

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Feminism isn’t about hatred for men or anger with the world. It’s actually about fighting for the equality of women. Did you know that women are the highest educated group in the U.S.?

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And yet, Women are truly overlooked in comparison to men when it comes to many things, such as:

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Now thats just not fair:62881479 dont you agree?

Feminist are not here to make life more complicated or to destroy men with their anger.We just want  the opportunity to leave the house without this happening

because we don’t like it. We also don’t like… well this artist says it well enough:

Feminist just really want to empower women and to be treated fairly. We’re really friendly see:

So stop treating us like we’re all some crazy foreign creatures just because some of us like to expose our bare chests to the public, men do it all the time.

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If we got a little bit more of this:

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maybe we would  put shirts on:

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Or not.

Well, that’s all for now. And remember:

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and all we want is:aaa

And we should be treated like the awesome beings that we are because we’re .. Awesome! Yay for Feminism!

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Thanks for reading everyone!

About

This blog was created by me, Janelle Richardson (Rich Girl Nelle), the founder of The Rich Girls Project. I am a single mother to twin toddler boys, a police officer in the city of Philadelphia and…

Source: About

The Power of Influence (to the single mother)

Hey everyone,

So I want to talk about raising children as a single parent and how, while it’s a tough feat, it can be one of the single most driving forces of your life, rewarding too. I am a single mother of twins, who was raised by a single mother, who was raised by a single mother. While it looks like there is a clear pattern here, I’m sure not many people who lay down with someone and ends up pregnant ever did so thinking how wonderful it would be to raise this (or these) baby(ies) alone. I certainly did not and I know my mother and grandmother didn’t either. It sucks sometimes, when you’re struggling to work out a schedule for family, work and time to yourself (if at all possible), but lift your head up because I’m here to let you know that things get better in the world of single mommy-hood. How do I know? Well, I’ve got my mother to look up to and I can see what she’s done so I know that I can do it too.

Growing up with a single mother I witnessed the struggles that my mother went through. The financial hardship of having four children to feed, clothe and house is difficult with two incomes but to do it alone is truly superhuman to me. I have two children, half of what my mom had, I live in her house so I have no mortgage and I have a pretty good job, yet I still struggle so much to stay afloat. Doing that with four seems downright impossible but, it can be done. My mother proved that.

She had my older brother, and her first child, at 17 yrs old. She wasn’t married and hadn’t finished high school yet, but she made a decision very early on and that decision was to not let her circumstance prevent her from being who she needed to be to raise her son. And that’s where it starts, with a clear cut decision; no doubts. You tell yourself that YOU WILL do what you need to do for your children. Once that declaration is made, nothing can really stop you.

“Lady” is what I call her, and that she is. Strong, compassionate, beautiful. A “no nonsense”, strong willed and sometimes crazy woman who had the wisdom and the discipline to make the sacrifices necessary to build a strong home and give her children a role model that they could be proud to follow.

Although my mother, like many other young women, fell into the widespread statistic of teenaged pregnancy, she decided to not let her circumstance dampen her her bright future. My mom finished school, she got a job (the rest of my siblings and I were born during this storyline) and she raised her children. Alone. There were times when we struggled a lot. There were failed relationships, there was heart ache but she pushed through. She became a police officer, which took her away from our home in the beginning, but she made sure that we were equipped to take care of each other in her absence. The point to this is that my mother did what she had to do to make sure that her family was taken care of.

Women often  think that being a single mother defines their worth or that the struggle takes away from their strength. But contrary to that belief, it raises your value and multiplies your strength tenfold. Think about the hardships that two parent households have to endure. Now, single parents out there, think about those same hardships but this time only you are living through them. Living through what two people struggled with, you are strong enough to deal with on your own. Think about how powerful you are to be able to hold that weight on your own. Example:

You wake up in the morning, feed your children, clothe them, potty train, deal with mini-catastrophes, manage to get them out of the door and to school and somehow make it to work on time. Then you manage to do your job, and be damned good at it for eight plus hours. You drive back to school, pick the kids up, gather supplies for school, come home and cook dinner. If they have homework you get that done. Clean up the hurricane left behind (especially those who have boys). Play dinosaur, superhero, cars all while cooking dinner. Feed them. Get them ready for bath, bed and deal with melt downs. You read night time stories, kiss them and finally get them to sleep (or so you thought). Get lunch together for the next day and lay out outfits for school and work. Take a shower and as you drift off to sleep your door opens and your beautiful babe is crying because he saw a monster in his closet. So you grab his hand, walk him to his room with your super mom voice you patrol and make it safe for him to sleep. After convincing him that its safe you kiss him, go to your room. As you drift off once again, your other little one bursts into your room and begs to lay down with mommy and watch “Super WHYY” until he falls asleep and when you say “no” the fourth meltdown of the day begins and you try to hush him up before he wakes his brother but its too late. Now they double team you and you look at the clock a see that it is now 2:45 am and you’ve got to wake up at 6:00 so you give in and let them take over your bed. You manage to get three hours of sleep and wake up with an aching back and your day starts all over again.

That takes some real finesse, real agility, real strength.Think about how much value that strength adds to you. You are a real super hero, dressed as a mom (or dad).

My mom struggled her entire life with understanding her value. She didn’t believe in herself didn’t understand the value and influence that she had not only on her children, but on all whom she encounters. Well lady, just so you know, your influence is more powerful than you’ll ever know. Just look…

You laid the foundation for that boy to become this man. A doctor, a husband, a father.

Well the influence is pretty clear here.

That girl on the right turned into this confident, beautiful free spirit full of love.

That little boy became the young man who believed in himself and followed his dreams.

You influenced us to become our best selves. But whats more important is you taught us to excel. You taught us to sacrifice, to be strong and to believe in ourselves. You laid the foundation for us to become the men and women we needed to be for these guys.

 

And it all started with this girl who didn’t believe in herself…184968_10150143187065781_1788310_n

but was strong enough to become this woman who made a difference…screenshot_2016-05-28-16-58-42

 

Thank you lady. And to all of you single mothers out there who are struggling with your situation just know that you will see the light soon. The fruit you bare will be the sweetest reward of your life. So believe in yourself, hold your head up, walk tall and do what you gotta do for yourself and your babes.

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Thanks for reading.

Stars

I’ve been reading the statuses of random people on facebook, some I know personally and some I come across from looking up hashtags and phrases. I came across one today that read “If I didn’t want to leave my babygirl behind, I would just end my life right now.” It stopped me from scrolling through anything else. My heart stopped, for just a second. I left a comment on her page that I hoped would inspire her to not entertain those thoughts anymore. On a completely different day another status came across my timeline. It said “to all of my family and friends, I want you to know I love you. I just cant take it anymore so Im gonna end it now”.  To this I didn’t know what to say or how to say it, instead I clicked on the comment box and feeling lost for words,  left a simple “?”. I looked for that woman today and couldn’t find her page. I didn’t see her face where I normally see her everyday. What is this young woman going through that she would even entertain the thought of ending her life?  Why didn’t I say more to help her? As I ask myself that question I have to acknowledge the astounding number of people in the world who feel this way. I didn’t know how to approach the topic so I shied away from writing this blog. I think right now I’ll try to capture my unchartered thoughts and emotions on the topic of suicide.
About 12 years ago, when I was still in high school. I had my first encounter with suicide in a young woman named Lonnie. She was smart, she was funny, she was cute and talented. She had a lot of friends and a cute boyfriend, whose name I wont mention. Lonnie and I weren’t very close friends but we didn’t need to be in order for me to see that she had a beautiful spirit.  We hung out in the same circles so we often saw each other and that was enough for me to feel her genuine kindness. She seemed to the outsider looking in, to be happy and to have a bright future. Lonnie chose to end her life one day. Never to finish high school, never to go to college, never to get married, have a career or children. Never to breathe again. It was a complete shock to hear about. “Why?”  Is the natural question that comes to mind when someone decides to commit a seemingly unnatural  act.
Truth is, you will never truly understand the thoughts and feeling of someone other than yourself. What you can do is listen to the people who tell you directly or indirectly that they’re hurting. You can respond to them accordingly. Take the extra five minutes out of your day to reach out to them. Just let them know  you know that they are here and that they are important to you; that they have you to talk to. If it becomes too much for you to bare alone you can reach out for help on behalf of your loved one. There are support groups, physiatrists, websites, the suicide help line (1800-273-8255). There’s so much out there for people who are suffering from severe depression.  No one should ever feel so alone that they would rather not live.
  I cannot begin to compare the things that life has brought to my path with some of the horrors that many others have faced.But I did have a time when life was extremely dark for me. And while I never felt, what may be the most horrific feeling to end my life, I want to offer what I have learned and taken from those moments. It’s a simple saying and it carries so much truth:
“If not for the darkness, we would never see the stars”
Hold on a little longer because the stars will come. I speak life to you. I speak abundance, happiness an love. Remember when it gets dark to look up at the stars. Remember you are not alone and your life truly matters, more than you know. You can click any of the underlined words in this blog to learn more.
Thank you for reading.

 

 If someone you know is suffering from depression seek help for them immediately. Help them choose to live.
                                                                                  For Lonnie

The Woman in Room #670

Placeholder ImageI met a woman last week whose story I want to share with you today. This woman was taken into police custody but because of an illness she was held at a hospital for treatment. Her story is a story of misfortune, a story of pain, loneliness but more than that, it is a story lost hope. Because of these things, I feel compelled to tell her story and I pray that her story will help someone without hope to regain it, even if it is just one person.
It was Friday evening, the last night of my tour that week. I was sent to a hospital detail along with another officer. When we arrived to relieve the officers that were already there they were sitting outside of her room which is odd because usually prisoners are kept in sight. I thought nothing more of this at first, just fell in where they left off. I could hear her television inside of the room, she was watching “Family Feud”, I smiled to myself and took a seat outside of her room. My partner that night read a book while I began to do some research for the “Rich Girls Project”, neither of us paying any mind to the woman in room 670.
About an hour goes by and very few hospital staff enter and exit her room and, of those who did, none stayed for more than a minute. It wasn’t until someone came to fingerprint her that I entered the room. I was faced by a woman who was very fragile and visibly ill. She was thin, her hair was nearly gone, she had sores on her skin. She appeared to be in her 70s. I heard an officer earlier that day say that she was 80. But I soon found out that neither of us were even close.
After the finger printing was done I exited the room and took my seat. Soon I heard moans and groans of pain exuding from her room. I decided to go back in and ask how she was. That’s when I met this magnificently lonely person who had fallen victim to an endless number of misfortunes. After introducing myself she said “I’m not 80. I’m sick, so my disease makes me look older.” She had Acquired Immunondeficiency Syndrome which is known worldwide as AIDS. She had been living with it for 27 years. Although she appeared to be in her 70s, she was 49, the same age as my mother.
She told me that she wanted some sugar for the cup of tea that the orderly had given to her and that she needed pain medication. I went out to the nurses station to retrieve the requested sugar and told them that the woman in room 670 was in pain and needed medication. Then I returned to speak with her. I asked her to tell me how she contracted the disease, if she was comfortable. “I got it from a boy when I was 17yrs old”, she told me. “AIDS and Hepatitis B“. She told me that she thought that she was in love with the boy at the time and had aspirations of marrying him.  Not long after discovering she was exposed to these diseases the relationship ended.
The woman confided in me that she was afraid, that she felt like this was it for her and she was on her “last limb”. I asked her if she had family to which she responded “I had a son, he died years ago.” I assumed that he had Aids as well but she hadn’t passed it along to him. He died from gun violence in the streets of Philadelphia. Her parents were both deceased. She had recently left her husband whom, though she met him in an HIV support group, was extremely abusive towards her and had been living out in the street for several weeks now. I could see the pain in her eyes and I could feel her fear. My heart sank.
I asked her the only thing I could think of “are you saved? do you believe in God?” Her answer sank my heart even further.  “What God?” she asked. “What kind of god would allow someone to go through so much suffering?” She proceeded to tell me that she had lost her virginity to her own father at the age of 8. I held back tears as I moved closer to her. I sat in the chair beside her bed and told her that I didnt know why she was chosen to live the life that she had. I let her know that, although she might not be able to see it, she had made an impact on the world. She had definitely mad an impact on me. I told her that sometimes we have to go through things, suffer through pain, so that someone might see us survive, someone might catch a glimpse of our strength and that maybe that would give them the will to move pass their own situation. I told her that I thought that she could be an inspiration to someone who was HIV positive and thought that it meant the end of their life. “27 years you’ve had AIDS and look at you, still living when it was definitely a death sentence that long ago. You’re strong.” I told her that if no one had ever told her before, she was inspiring. I let her know that she was not alone. I left her with my phone number incase she wanted to talk and let her know that I would write about her and even more, that I would pray for her. She began to fall asleep so I proceeded to leave the room, I stopped before I hit the door and told her that I was very happy to have met her. “I’m really glad I met you too”, she said and she closed her eyes to rest.
When I left the room I thought of how lonely she must have felt all of these years, all of her life really. I thought of why my fellow officers had their chairs outside of her room instead of inside. I knew it was because of a lack of knowledge. I knew that they were afraid of the stigma of the disease and that they believed that being close to her would put them at risk. I thought of how many people living with HIV and AIDS feel isolated by those who know little to nothing about it.
AIDS is not airborne. Neither is Hepatitis B. Much like HIV, Hepatitis B is passed through bodily fluids.Contrary to what many people think, you cannot breathe it in. HIV lives in the bodily fluids of a human (blood, semen, rectal and vaginal fluids and breastmilk). You can contract it when it gets into your blood through a mucus membrane (sexually), enters through through breaks in the skin or when it is injected directly into your bloodstream. I want to reiterate that you cannot catch it from breathing in the same air or being close to someone who is infected. People with HIV can live healthy lives and even have sexual relationships with a person who isn’t infected if they are very careful.
Someone you know might be silently suffering from HIV/AIDS and may feel isolated because of its stigma. Educate yourself more on the topic by clicking any of the underlined words above. If you have HIV you are not alone. Help spread awareness about the disease so that more people understand how it is spread and less people become infected. Help spread awareness about the disease for people like the woman from my story who feel isolated and shunned because of an illness that she cannot get rid of. Practice safe sex. Get tested regularly. Remember HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence, You can be happy and healthy. Education is key. I hope this story reaches you well. Thank you for reading.
Pass this story along so that the woman in room 670 can live on.

Matters of the Heart

I’ve been wanting to touch on a topic that’s very close to me. In recent years it’s hit my family like a storm and it can sneak up on those who least expect it. It’s the number one killer for both men and women in the United States. Yes, I’m talking about heart disease and it’s so close to home for me because I currently have four women in my family who are suffering from a heart disease of some form. Heart Disease knows no age and although it is more likely in African Americans,you can be any race and suffer from CVD. One in every four women in the US has it. One in every three women will die from it, killing approximately one woman every minute. Heart Disease is more deadly than cancer yet many people are unaware. While approximately 44 million women in the US are living with Cardio Vascular Disease, I want to tell you a little bit about one of them. Her name is Dana.

 

While enjoying a family vacation with her entire family and new husband almost five years ago, she laughed as she sat under an umbrella  with her sister on the beach. She was having so much fun with her family and starting a new life with her new husband. I remember her wearing a floppy sun hat and a blue cover up on the beach that day. She was beautiful. She was happy. But in less than a month her life would be changed forever and no one could’ve imagined the sudden, drastic and tragic change that was about to take place in her life and open the eyes of her entire family to a new realm of pain, sorrow and fear.
Dana has been a hard working women from the moment she was allowed a job. Always on the move, always on a hustle. She was avid in keeping herself in shape,frequenting the gym, taking spin classes. She was the first woman in her family,now there are six, to become a police officer. She had a very active life. But one September day all of that would come to a halt. Shortly after returning home from vacation, Dana started to feel a little sick. She thought maybe it was the flu, but after a few days of getting worse she went to the doctor and was told that she had bronchitis  After being given medication she was sent home, but as the days went by she only got worse. She could barely walk up a flight of stairs now before she would need to lay down. Back to the hospital but this time the diagnosis was devastating. Dana’s heart was the size of her chest cavity and only operating at 15%. She needed a heart transplant immediately. 
I wrote this post not as a sob story but as a story of strength, inspiration and most importantly information. There are several risk factors that can lead to CVD some of them, like heredity, you cant change.I want you to know what you can do to lower your risk so here’s a list of things you can change in your lifestyle to decrease your risk of getting heart disease:
Physical Inactivity
I implore you to make the changes necessary to ensure a healthier you. If you can decrease your risk of getting heart disease, why not try. I hope this post reached you well. Thanks for reading everyone. feel free to comment and share this blog!
You can click on any of the underlined words in blog to learn more about the subject.

 

Dana is still struggling with heart disease. She still has an LVAD. She’s still waiting for a heart. But She is strong, she has faith and she is  alive.
Please share this post and help spread awareness for heart disease. You can donate to aid in research of heart disease to the American Heart Foundation.   #aheartfordana