Who’s Got Your Back?

Who’s got your back, for sure?  AND, whose back do you have?  We are all connected and there is power in unity. We were designed to be there for each other and not just for self. Are you honest, loyal, and trustworthy to those people who rely on you (and to everyone else for that matter)? There is a logical reason beyond the obvious for developing qualities of honesty, trustworthiness, and loyalty. When we are habitually faithful in these virtues, we are sending out powerful loving energy to the universe and attracting back to us the kinds of people with similar virtues as us.

Remember, you attract not what you want, but WHAT YOU ARE.

Who's Got Your Back?Everyone needs someone who they can rely on and trust wholeheartedly to be there through thick and thin.  That’s what true friends and family are for.

If you can’t trust the people who say they are behind you, first check to make sure that you have been loyal to them as well. If you have, and the relationship isn’t reciprocal, then perhaps you need to find those who will have your back. Life is way to short to spend it with people who bring no value to your life and don’t value you enough to give the kind of loyal relationships you deserve.  Just something to think about!

Another message that matters from Barbara Talley.

What did you do or not do to cause this to happen?

VICTIM OR IN CONTROL?  This morning I was reflecting on the natural law of “cause and effect” and thinking how liberating this law is when we really understand it. We can’t have it both ways.  Either our decisions and input matters and creates or contributes to our reality or it doesn’t.  Either we can initiate, create, mold and shape our reality or we have to wait for input from our environment and always be in a response mode. Our results have a cause.

cause_effect_picWe change the cause and our results have to change too. Our past thoughts, decisions, and actions have created our current realities.  If we want different results, then we have to change the input.

Isn’t it exciting that we are the creators of our reality, that we get to choose?  We get to decide what we will put our energies into and those decisions create the effects we now experience. So many people meander through life following the masses and feeling and acting like victims.  They see the world as pins and themselves as pin cushions, powerless to stop or curtail the pain.  Their primary response to the world is “fight or flight”, and the world from their perspective is a cruel and unhappy place.

Think about it, if you are a victim, then you have no control over the outcome.  If the person victimizing or causing you pain chooses not to change their ways, you’re stuck!  I’d much prefer to own some part of the outcome.  That empowers me to change my circumstances.  “Self-actualized” beings have broken free from the pack.  They realize that they have unlimited power.  They own up to reality and know that what they are perceiving, they had some hand in creating.

In my workshops, I frequently encourage participants to answer this question to help them take credit or responsibility for their actions. Owning up to the life we have created causes us to cease feeling like victims and that is empowering. Whenever they look at a specific reality that is not to their liking, they must answer the question honestly:

“What did I do or NOT do to cause the the happen or NOT TO happen?


Pageant Essentials: Beauty, Butt Glue, and Bronzer

Radiance Talley

Radiance Talley

Eighty-six beautiful girls stepped onto the stage, dawning their best smiles, high heels and faces made up to perfection. All were hopeful that they would be crowned the next Maryland Teen USA Pageant winner, but knowing that only one could win.  After several months of raising funds and shopping for the perfect dress, several days of final prepping with the experts, and several hours practicing, primping, and being paraded before judges, within minutes, it was all over!  One lovely deserving girl took home the crown, the remaining eighty-five hopefuls packed their things somberly: some in shock, some sobbing in their parents arms, and others holding back tears while comforting the other girls.

So Many Lessons Learned

My daughter participated in the 2014 Miss Maryland Teen USA Pageant on November 2-3, 2013 and was one of the eighty- five that left without the crown. And, although she did not win the crown, nevertheless she left a winner.  She was a winner because she took a risk and tried something outside her comfort zone.  The Pageant world is a world of high heels and makeup; she had only worn makeup once before the Pageant and that was to get a photo for the Pageant. She is a winner because she learned valuable lessons that she would never have learned looking in from the outside.  For example, she remarked, “I had to wear a fake smile at times because there was so much to think about that I wasn’t really enjoying the experience.”  She said she got more joy out of reciting her poetry to audiences and tutoring little kids. She was a winner because she learned to experience loss with gratitude, grace, and beauty and to focus on others (which is her nature).

Radiance’s Most Notable Experience

Now the most fun was hands-down the Saturday night party. When I asked her to share one notable experience of the Pageant, her face lit up when she shared how she had helped the makeup artist who desperately needed someone to talk to. The lady had arrived late to do her makeup because she was sick,  had cancer, and was being treated meanly by the other makeup artists. Radiance joyfully concluded, “Maybe that was the whole reason I was there!” After the Pageant, while all the girls were scurrying around saying their final goodbyes, she insisted we find the makeup artist so she could get a picture with her as she had promised. The lady beamed and explained how she got goosebumps from talking to Radiance and felt that she was the winner. Radiance however felt that God’s Will had been done, “If I had won,” she said, “I’d have to wear a two piece bathing suit at the USA Pageant,” she said.  “And I feel that would be compromising my values.”

Well, that’s the overview.  In part 2 (SMH x2), I share my observations from a mother’s perspective on pageants.  Now, you’re probably wondering why I titled this article butt glue?  Well it is the one thing that can make or break a Pageant hopeful.  I didn’t even know what the stuff was.  Evidently all models and pageant people know about it.  It glues your swimsuit to your butt so that it doesn’t slide up or in.  You can even lose ten points from your score if that happens.  Imagine that!  As for the bronzer, they were selling that stuff at the orientation like it was the secret to the fountain of youth. Anyway, check out part two for my SMH conclusion.


“Ouch” – BLACK ENOUGH? Remark About RGIII Hits the RACE Nerve.

one planetSo, just what does it mean to not be “black enough?”  While it was the most recent controversy between two high profile black men in sports that brings this question to the forefront, the questions of race and identity and what it means to be black have never been sufficiently addressed.  First of all, I’m not into sports, so the fact that RGIII is a celebrity, makes little difference to me. But the race and identity discussion does catch my attention, since I am African-American, I work in Diversity, and this question unfortunately hits too close to home.  As a mother, I’ve been dealing with this issue on behalf of my children for decades unabated. My fifteen year old daughter was outraged just a few months ago when she experienced this in her “magnet school” that lacks much diversity. A kid at her school told her she wasn’t black like the kids at a different school.  I too faced this same challenge as a child when my father took us from the north to the south while doing migrant work.  My sisters and I were often mocked and ridiculed by the other kids who said, “We talked proper.”  It didn’t stop there, many times in my career have I heard the ignorant comment, “You’re different!” What’s that supposed to mean? Although it was usually meant as a compliment, it left me with the same distaste as it did as a child.  I interpreted that comment as:”I’ve got this definition of what it is to be black, and you don’t fit it!”  Rather than the person admitting that perhaps their definition of blackness was flawed, instead I was the anomaly.  “I was different!”  So I got it from both sides, both black and white.

Who gets to define what “black enough” is: black people, white people or no one?  Before I go on, let me point out one thing.  Color is just an accident of climate.  People who live closer to the equator have become darker over the centuries than those who live in more cooler climates. Race does not define a person’s values, character, or identity.  There are those with good character and values and those without it in every ethnic group.  And finally, we are all members of one human race. There is no black race, white race, or brown race.  We are all humans and part of one race, one human family.  You are more apt to pick up traits from your environment and culture than from people who have the same “color”  as you. We all have different traits, yet we are predominantly the same:  “There are more than three million differences between your genome and anyone else’s. On the other hand, we are all 99.9 percent the same, DNA-wise.” 99.9% says it all. Race and color are cloaks for other things, racism, imperialism, and a convenient way to separate people to justify preferential treatment for some and disparate treatment for others.

I’m Barbara Talley, the poet who speaks and inspires.  To find out more about me check out my promo sheet or visit  my website.