Tuesday, November 30, 2010


"Love will never hurt. Love won't hurt you with hands, words or deeds. If you feel pain and you think that you have to stick it out because of love, you are taking love away from yourself. Love heals, love builds, love comforts, love brings you to honesty, love brings you to a place of peace. Anytime pain is introduced,... that is the absence of love. Take care of yourself."

                                                              ---- Tahira West-Sylvan

When is it time to say enough? I am through! I have had it! I am leaving and I am not coming back! The answer is anytime. Anytime you want to say enough is when you say it. Will you? Now that is a different matter all together.

I had to explore why people stay so long in situations that they dislike. Of course in order to get a reasonable answer I had to look at myself. Why do I tolerate certain situations for a long time before I say enough? I think as a child I never really told. I didn't tell on my friends or my cousins when they did something bad, I just watched. As an adult that has gotten me into situations that could have been avoided had I put my foot down and said ENOUGH but I just tolerate the nonsense. Finally I said to myself, I am worth so much more than taking someone's shit. I am worth more than anyone's short comings, I am worth more than having to take someone's shit because they feel badly about themselves. I AM NO ONE'S PUNCHING BAG, physically or emotionally.

So for my readers I ask, why do you take someone's crap? Why do you let them abuse you because they feel bad about them? What's that about? Could it be that you stay because you think that is what love is. Could it be that you think that you have to endure and suffer to say that you have love? Could it be that without that kind of pain you don't feel valid? There could be a series of things and YOU have to find what it is. I encourage and urge you to become so deeply invested in yourself that you will feel like you are in love all over again. What does that kind of love look like? Well for starters, you put your foot down and say ENOUGH. Don't just say enough and bluff but say enough and walk away. Take a day, a week, a month, whatever it takes to get back to you. Fall in love with yourself again by reminding yourself that you are your number one. You have to remember why you are wonderful, beautiful and worthy of all things good. Take long walks with yourself, talk to yourself, pamper yourself. All of those things are wonderful but none of them will matter until you can FORGIVE YOURSELF and MASTER YOUR THOUGHTS.

Forgive yourself for allowing you to be abused, mistreated and for not standing up for yourself. Forgive yourself for straying far away from who you are and for forgetting to lift yourself up everyday. You forgive yourself and then you stuff yourself with beautiful thoughts. You design what you want your life to look like, figure out what your life needs and flood yourself with ways to getting what you need. Just as simply as you allowed yourself to get lost, and tell yourself lies....well its is just as simple to find yourself and be real with you. Be real YOU! Find You!  Love you! Invest in you!

I understand that I didn't provide you with the easiest concepts in the world here but I am willing to work with you. This blog is a guide but my coaching is transformational. You need support finding yourself? You need support saying ENOUGH? Reach out to me, the realest and most compassionate life coach.

Email: Purepeacelc@gmail.com
Phone: 201-500-7146
Website: www.purepeacewithlove.com

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Punishment by Yelling and Beating = Resentment and Thoughts of Suicide

I am compelled to write about something that has moved me deeply over the past 24 hours. It's something I witnessed and something I have experienced. I'm not sure what exactly had me be moved to tears but what I do know is that the intense and unmistakable feeling of hurt and resentment has bubbled to the surface.

I find it humiliating and disrespectful to yell at your child for more than one minute. Actually I don't think yelling at your child is reasonable at all. I can understand if it's done out of fear like "Don't cross the street." or "Don't touch that" or " Be careful" because those exclamations are expressed out of sheer terror. Those things are said when you believe your child is in danger and you want to demand their immediate attention. Those warnings are usually followed up with breathless kisses and sighs and perhaps sobs just thanking God that your child is okay. I'm sure a talk with your child about why you acted that way follows and soon everything is all good again. Happy ending.

Now the kind of yelling I am talking about is that put down, extra loud, in front of people, hurt your feelings and don't care, obnoxious, never ending, telling everybody kind of yelling that most Caribbean mothers choose to engage in, at least my mother anyway. I have looked for reasoning in this behavior to find the benefits of it and I've come up with none. That type of yelling digs into ones soul and scratches out every bit of ease, bliss and self expression because you are forced to listen, you cannot talk back and if it's often enough you begin to truly believe everything that person is saying. The irony about that whole thing is that they blame the child for raising their blood pressure, for making them talk too much, for giving them stress but in fact we just want them to shut the fuck up. And yea....I mean that.

I've learned that my mother will yell for small things and big things alike and instead of staying on the topic of the original offense it will turn into everything I've ever done wrong, did wrong, will do wrong and I had to hear all about it. Again, what was the benefit of that? It didn't make me want to stop what I was doing. It wasn't helpful because I was seldom ever asked what I was feeling, going through or dealing with and once the yelling was over I felt far worse that I did prior to her opening her mouth. This kind of interaction was present throughout most of my teenage years. The thought of doing something or not doing something made me cringe because it seemed as though anything that I did was a reason for her not to just yell but berate me. Unlike most of my high school peers I never ever drank or smoked in high school. I told my mother this numerous times but for some reason she insisted on accusing me of smoking marijuana on a consistent basis and making me know what she thought every second she got.

This interaction created a tough armor around my spirit and heart. Coupled with excessive yelling came hitting as well. I just managed to get by by excessive tear filled nights, dozens of tears cried through black ink on blue lines in black and white marble notebooks and a bright smile to mask the intense amount of pain I felt all the time. Although I had tons of friends I was lonely. Alone because I felt that perhaps I deserved all the things she would say. Alone because no one would understand or care to understand. So I chose bright smiles, to mask crying myself to sleep nightly, tons of friends to mask my absolute depth of loneliness and poetry to save me from suicide.

I promise you I was no saint. I promise you that I did stuff wrong. I promise you there are times I could have been better but I promise you that I didn't deserve to feel like I didn't matter. I didn't deserve to be punished repeatedly because that's all my mother knew. No it just didn't work. So why say all of this? I heard my cousin say that when he leaves his mother's house she will never see him again. I wanted to cry because I knew why. I knew that he was dealing with wanting to go as far away ad possible from a place that has brought you so much pain. It didn't matter if he was going to have money, food or shelter but the thought of being somewhere, anywhere but here made him happy. I did that. I left a rent free home, with free food, free cable, free everything except the freedom to be me. Except the freedom to be me without being ridiculed, yelled at, berated, accused, hit and scrutinized. None of that other free shit was worth it. I left.

When I left I was never going to return. Never. I was willing to never see my mother again because she just didn't make me feel good. Eventually, with time my anger subsided. I became less jaded, less resentful and I was okay. I had become okay because I took a long, long, long, long time to find me. After being hurt and hurting for so long I needed to find out what felt good to me. I needed to find out how I could create a me that would be strong, resilient and happy. With a combination of teaching, mentoring and doing the Landmark Forum I found me and I was able to just be happy with me and get that no matter who has something to say about me, I can only be me. Just me.

Although I have found myself I still have some resentment about my mother's way of punishment. It bothers me because that's how she is but she can't see and refuses to see how her way almost drove me to suicide. She killed my spirit so deeply that I used to pray to die. I used to wish I would be killed because I would have rather been dead than to deal with the way she would make me feel. The difference now is that I am alive. I am well and there's nothing that she can say that can destroy me like she used to. I love my mother. I'm sure she didn't know what she was doing. She was doing what she knows and what she sees as effective punishment. She's doing what was done to her. However that cycle ends with me. Some of you may agree and others won't. In the end this is my story of how I survived a Caribbean punishment and how poetry saved my life.

DISCLAIMER: Now I do not want to portray this like she was a bad mother. I had everything I needed as far as the necessities went. I get that this was her way of showing love and concern, but her way FAILED!She did her best. She didn't have the deepest pockets, she worked hard, she raised me alone, she sacrificed and worked very hard for me. She went all out as far as providing me with the essentials like I said, but the tough love, and lack of emotions really did not land well with me. My mom is a great woman, she really is...her methods, not so much.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Comfort in Chubby

Writing from a place of coaching is easy for me, because in order to coach I have to be real with myself. I have to deal with my own issues around life issues in order to be an effective coach. This topic is one of those issues that has been a part of my life for a while and I now feel comfortable talking about it.

I have many friends who have been battling chubbiness. Their weight goes up and down, but in general up and they hate it. I have my own issues with my weight, I say I have a desire to lose it, I watch my weight for a moment, then I stop. I start a fun kickboxing class, then stop and finally I had to look into myself to see why I keep sabotaging my weight loss. Why do I say I want to lose weight but refuse to take actions consistent with that? Well, the answer may surprise you, I find major comfort in being chubby. Comfort? How could I be comfortable? The truth is that the attention that comes along with being slim freaks me out. Yes!!! I have a fear and a paranoia about be physically harmed, and my logic is that no one is going to mess with a chubby girl but skinny girls get kidnapped and harmed all the time. Crazy? Maybe, but a real fear of mine.

Now that I am aware of what the sabotage is about, I have taken several steps to manage my weight. I certainly eat smaller portions, I take short walks with my daughter daily and I don't eat just because.  Doing that alone has allowed me to lose eighteen pounds since the birth of my baby a little less than a month ago. However, the biggest difference is that I have actually shared this with my husband. It is important for me to share things, because then I can hear myself say them and get real about what I need to do. The bigger issue is indeed the crazy paranoia. How to deal with the paranoia? Talk it out, and always remember that it is not real, there is no room for physical harm and kidnapping in my world, and it is NOT  a reason to not lose weight. It just isn't.

There are a couple things occurring here. Sabotaging one's weight loss, an intense and paralyzing paranoia but combating both things with communication. Many of you who have wanted to lose weight have a similar story about sabotage. Diets that fail, workouts that fail, plans that fail and if you lost any weight at all, you gained it all back and some because you think that because you've failed anyway, it won't matter. When you give up on your plan to lose weight, you give up on your health and on yourself. You have to first be clear for whom are you losing this weight? If you know that the weight loss is not for you, do not do it. If the weight loss is for you, don't focus so much on the long term goal, but really take it day by day. Literally, day by day give yourself a pep talk, check in with yourself, how are you feeling? How is your day going to go? Remind yourself that today is a new day, a new you and you will succeed at your goals because you declared it. Once you check in with you, then you need to check it with someone you trust to get you through your day. Someone who will support you when you begin to slip and slide down the slippery slope that we call quitting. Have them remind you why you are doing this and gently ask you some questions that will get you present to your goals. Once you manage to do this daily, maintain a balanced diet, exercise to your comfort and the daily pep talks with yourself and your partner, you will have recognizable results in no time.

My paranoia stems from too much Law &Order SVU...truly. I love the show, and I cannot help but watch the marathons on TV, but it has definitely increased my fear of being assaulted. What am I going to do about it? Take myself right back to a kickboxing class, so I can be a walking weapon. I am not committed to fear, nor hiding so I will take my life in my hands and properly prepare myself for anything that comes my way. However, due to the fact that I am committed to love, and loving everyone all the time I am pretty sure no harm will come my way in any event.

How to lose weight the Pure Peace way:

1. Why do you want to lose weight? (List all your reasons why)
2. What obstacles are in your way around weight loss? (List all reasons why)
3. Realize that your obstacles are just obstacles and they can cease to exist the moment you say ENOUGH
4. Write a mantra that you will recite daily to remind yourself why you are losing weight
5. Recruit two to three people who will be your cheerleaders. The role of these people is to support you with   your goal and to motivate you when you do not want to continue.

Have fun...enjoy your process, enjoy your steps. If you want more details about this please do not hesitate to reach out.

Tahira West-Sylvan


Friday, November 12, 2010

Coping with Loss

This week's blog is dedicated to my grandfather Vernon Doc Sylvester Sr. who passed away on Nov 9th 2010. He an outstanding man, father, grandfather, husband, uncle and person all around. He will be laid to rest today. He will be missed.

I now feel like a certified officiando on loss because I have encountered more than I would like to admit. My grand mother died when I was eight years old, and although I was sad, I didn't feel the full extent of the impact. So when I was twenty years old and two friends of mine died three weeks apart I thought my heart and head was going to explode. I don't think I was coping with their loss, I was just in the midst of sadness and memories and just riddled with a numbing pain that just had me want to shut down. I was so angry because these two young men were so awesome, how could GOD take them? How? It was not fair. Two years later as I was getting over the loss of my friends, my cousin Vaughn was killed in a tragic car crash. I will not go into details but he had a three year old daughter at the time and his wife was pregnant. Talk about unfair. My cousins on my dad's side were my first friends and basically siblings....when Vaughn died we all mourned as a collective. We had lost a sibling, we had lost a piece of our tight link and that impact has left a big hole in my heart, only to be filled with memories of an earlier time.

This time I was going to deal with my cousin's loss and deal with it powerfully. I am a poet and I cry through words very often. I cry through my words and I realize that I am okay once I purge those words out. I have written several poem for Vaughn and i speak to him openly often, it helps me deal with the fact that he is not here but he can hear me wherever he is. Now, as my grandfather has left this earth I have yet to breakdown...and I am not sure if I am going to breakdown either. I have dealt with his death through poetry and also talking to him out loud. I am coping with his death by talking about him with my family, speaking about him to my daughter when I am feeding her and recreating him for my husband who did not have an opportunity to meet him. His body is gone, that is a fact. His smell, smile, moment of sleeping and waking and sickness is gone, but his memory and legacy lives.

How would I coach a client on loss? I would say be with your emotions. We have some people who are naturally the strong one and they feel as though they have to be the strong one by controlling their emotions. They are the ones who want to cry but do not let it get more than a lump in their throat,even when they are alone. We have our dramatic criers who cry enough for the strong one and everyone else. They cry, and cry and cry and they don't care how loud of for how long....that's what you call just being with it. The dramatic crier doesn't care about looking good or holding it together, they are crying out of pain and that pain has them let it all out. I would suggest not fighting your emotions or fighting your pain and just being in the presence of it. Be with your sadness, talk it out, get with people who share the same loss and purge it out. You should write down your feelings, talk about them, make a scrap book, put your loss into something positive that will allow you to have a beautiful memory of that person.

In the end, your loss is yours. You can lose the same person as your sisters, cousins, whomever but at the end of the day, that loss and how you cope with it is unique to you. Do not let anyone dictate how you should feel, how you should be or tell you that you're not doing it right. There is no right way. However, there is a healthy way to be with loss. If you find yourself hindered, losing touch with what's real and being a detriment to yourself by not taking care of you, then you are not coping, but hiding from coping. If you find yourself grieving excessively and none of your goals are being accomplished, then you are hiding.If your world is gloom and grief and in every conversation you have you MUST discuss this loss, then you are also not coping. If you attribute every thing in your current life with the loss of this person, then you are NOT coping.

The biggest thing to remember here is that we still have life. There is a life that we are put here to live and I am pretty sure that our loved ones will want us to keep living. We do not cease to live because our loved ones have died, but we breathe life into their memories and we allow ourselves to feel their presence, be with their legacy and honor them by doing our best. We honor them by being blissful, happy, taking charge of life and being productive. You should deal with loss in a group if you can, and just say all that needs to be said, however you MUST continue to live. You must continue to have life and do all that you would have done as though they were still here. You should never use the dead as an excuse to check out of life and a reason for you to be a zombie...it does not sufficiently honor their memory. If you find yourself struggling more than you can handle, then you reach out. You find a grief group, you go to therapy, do what you need to do to be better and to get better because being riddled with gloom and grief is not healthy. It just isn't.

I write this blog with my family in mind. We will get through this and we will come out stronger. We are all connected through love and there is nothing greater than that.

In Memory of my grandfather...DANCE WITH MY FATHER

Monday, November 8, 2010

Black Girl Pain (For Wombyn of Color)

This is my review and reception of Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls.

Umm Hmm

Yes my sistas

This movie had me exhaling like I was waiting for Whitney, Angela, and Lela

To join Juantia as she kicked him out for the last time

Yes my sistas

Those of you who have been raped

This is for you
This is for you
Who have grieved in silence
Making to be felt slutty
For being the survivor
Of a crime
Committed against sistas across the globe
From Alberquerque to The Congo
From Brooklyn to Sudan
From Trinidad to Chile
From your own home
To a gang rape
This is for you

No shame!!!

This is for you whose mama deserted you
And so called boyfriend
Didn't want you to have it
Didn't want that child that could be
A beautiful braniac
But unlike Ms. Hill you didn't get to keep Zion
You were forced to spread ya legs
On a dirty bed
And convince yourself
That the seed growing inside of you
Had to die
In order for you to survive
But you die anyway
Because you killed your chance
At a do over
Killed your chance at life
That day two souls died

Yes sistas this is for you

This is for you sista who was betrayed
By the man who said he loved you
He said that he cared for you like he cared for his momma
Who he put in a nursing home
And hadn't seen since
He says he loves you to death
And he means it
As he sleeps around town
Not covering his pride
But going raw
Into someone who isn't you
He spreads his pride and widens his grin
As he lies through his teeth
And says it work
So where do you work
That causes me to feel ill?
Everytime you come home you smell of someone other than me....
You're always sorry
Yes you're sorry
And sorry is what you'll always be

Sistas this too is for you

This is especially for you sista who say you got no pain
You're a G
A female pimp
Cuz you got men figured out
Fuck em and leave em
That's how they do us
That's how they pimp us out
And use us till we are dry
We fuck em and leave em
I was only after his wallet anyway
I can see in your eyes that you're tired
Of sleeping around
Lustily getting it in
But painfully craving a loving relationship
That you're scared to admit
Because the risk of being that vulnerable again
Will kill you
You can't handle dying like that anymore
So you become a lady of the night
Secretly awaiting Mr. Right

Sista this is for you

Yes this is true to life
A story about black girl pain
Deeper than the watery graves of our ancestors in the mid Atlantic
This is sharper
Than birth pains
In cotton fields
In Mississippi
In the middle of a humid night
Darker than hot blood
Dripping down the legs
Of that eight year old
Spread open
By the rapist she calls dad
Yes my sistas this is the pain
And the healing
All wrapped into one
And if you have to ask how

Then perhaps you should ask
Best friend

Let them tell you bout that Black Girl Pain

It's no joke!

For Wombyn of Color everywhere.

The Will To Succeed!!!

I noticed that whenever I was close to a breakthrough (breakthrough: An action that will leave you transformed and completely unrecognizable to yourself) I would pull myself back and stop. I had gotten used to running gradually in my boot camp/kickboxing class, we were running inside and it felt great. We took it outside and I HATED it.... My coach got that I was close to actually being a runner and someone who would run on my own and I too realized it but I told myself No! No, running is for ppl who are already skinny and furthermore it gives you shin splits and it was getting too hot to run and....and...and....blah.....blah....blah....blah. You get my drift? I sabotaged my success.

Here we are three years later and I am all hyped, success driven, and getting that feeling of fear and wanting to quit creeping up again. The struggle going through my head is on one hand I know I can get a job at some non profit somewhere and make great money because I am well versed and well qualified. However, that is NOT my dream. That's not my reality. I am the SOLE business owner of Pure Peace Life Coaching and I have another plan in the works that also is solely me working for me, getting paid for MY work, my innovation and nothing feels better than watching your success unfolding before your eyes.

I promised myself that I will be strong. This time it isn't just about me. I have a husband who works hard and who needs a strong business partner, even if we aren't in the same business. Additionally there is the life that we just created. Her life is in my hands. She is my drive, my love, my happiness, my inspiration, my light, she is simply everything. Sabotaging myself isn't an option here. I have the will to succeeed and I will succeed.

Life is Sweet!!!

I encourage my clients to always see life as sweet. Too often we come to a place where we feel life is bitter or sour and we say this, we affirm that life is rough. It is a fact that we as human beings complain so much about the bitterness of life that we enroll others in our complaint and convince them that life is bitter, sour and gloomy. That is a shame! 

Life is sweet. It gets sweeter as the words come out of our mouths because we begin to believe what we say and we live life is sweet. There are a few people that I know who say life is sweet but live it otherwise. They isolate themselves, they think everything is an attack, they live on past sorrows, they say they want something and they sit around and do nothing. These people are the life is sweet imposters. They say life is sweet but live life is bitter. WAKE UP!!!!!

The sweetest part of life is that there are moments that are genuinely sour and bitter but you take those moments and you remember This To Shall Pass, you handle the situation accordingly and heal. Healing is a beautiful process which will allow you to embrace the Life Is Sweet concept fully. You only get one life as you in this body right now. What do you do? You live. You laugh! You love! You heal!

Life is sweet even when it isn't. If you can remember that you'll be good all the time. Youll be able to say say to those life is sour people that life is sweet. Life is indeed grand and they gotta stop living in that world. If they don't hear you, move on. 

Life is Sweet!!!

Who Are You?

This question has been answered by me several times over the past twenty something years. Each time I had something new to add to my resume. I used to think that things, or a job or a degree defined me. However, only when I actually started doing real work on myself did I discover that who I am is me. All I can ever be is me and that is the most comfortable and truthful answer that there is. 

Recently I became a mommy or as my girl Andrene said I am a part of the largest sorority out there, Mama Kappa Mama. Although I am me, me is my family. My daughter and husband have made me a mommy and a wife. I am no longer in the fairytale of my mind and can wake up and be a single bachelorette any more. I am those things in real life and I love it. 

Being a wife varies for every woman I am sure. The experience is one in a lifetime for me. My marriage is a partnership filled with sacrifices, negotiations, planning, work, fun, big, big, big love, passion, intrigue, yearning and overall excitment and strong spirit led cohesiveness. I guess one can learn how to be a good wife but I wouldn't recommend reading a book or anything. However, take your marriage step by step, day by day and communicate everything that you are feeling, thinking, thinking about thinking and things should go smoothly, even when they don't, they will as long as you can effectively COMMUNICATE. It's okay to seek outside advice when both parties agree or if one of you needs clarity to move you guys forward...not to gossip. What you should never do is go to ANY single person for married people advice. I don't care if it's your best friend, a single person cannot advise you on marital issues, they can't. 

I've been a mommy for eleven days now and it's been a great but trying experience. The joy of seeing Jendayi smile is unexplainable. The smile accompinied by her wide eyes is just breathtaking. When I look at her, I see a mirror. She is the creation that my husband and I made from love. We didn't plan for her because we knew she would come. We knew she would show up and bless us with her beautiful bold spirit and we accepted it. I can't help but stare at her because Jendayi is me. She literally has my face, the same face I had as a baby and it's just incredible. Being a mommy to her has made me more cautious and more observant of the people around me. I know all of the people who are here in her life are here for a reason. There are a few people who are not in her life and I'm glad because they come with their baggage and their drama. I don't want that near my baby. I realize that I was a mama lion when she was in the womb but now that she's out I'm not just mama lion, I a mama lion who is ready to pounce on anybody who even thinks about getting out of pocket with my baby girl. The stories on the news scare me. I hear the stories about the pain little kids go through at the hands of their own parents and I'm horrified. Or the family members who take advantage of newborns. Like I said though...mama lion! 

So who am I ? I am me. Me is mommy. Me is wife. I am many other things but I enjoy mommy and I enjoy wife. Life is grand and wonderful. I'm grateful for the chance to be both. I'm doing a great job. My husband and daughter make it easy. I give thanks for this opportunity. 

Thank you Jendayi and Jason. 

Thank you Creator.