Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sparkle: Why moments matter

via SherryLynn Wrenn, FIERCE Sparkle expert
by SherryLynn Wrenn

Live in each moment. 

This life is built on them. 

You never know when your moments will be cut short so you want to be sure you lived them with all of the joy, happiness and love you could have instead of looking back wishing you had. 

Regret doesn't belong so start doing what your heart nudges you to do. 

Love Life, Love YOU.

SherryLynn is our FIERCE Sparkle expert who shows you how to be positive when everyone around you is being negative. Her annoyingly perky attitude is contagious. Kinda like a flu... except you can't help but WANT to catch what she has. 

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Saturday, June 9, 2012


by SherryLynn Wrenn

Its not always the easy thing to do. Feel SPARKLY.

I have spent the last few weeks:
  • a) in bed sleeping
  • b) in bed fitfully awake or
  • c) forcing myself out of bed.
Yes, I was sick and not the pretty have a tissue handy sick. I mean the head feels like it weighs a million pounds, your chest has a 1000lb elephant sitting on it kinda sick. However, I still have a business to maintain AND I have people who look to me to add some SPARKLE into their day.

Sure, I can take a day or two to myself and go slightly un-noticed but the truth is I need to pull my head off the pillow and do it.

Remember what SPARKLE stands for: Showing People Authentic Respect Kindness & Love Everyday.

The first thing that can strike you is that SPARKLE isn’t always about you. It’s about those around you. That in itself is a motivator. When you take yourself out of the equation the answer becomes a little clearer to you.

So off my head came from the pillow to send the texts some were or might never had expected. To post my SPARKLE on my Facebook page. To hug my kids and give some extra snuggles to my husband. The responses I received were ones that motivated me to do it again the next day.

What if you aren’t sick? What if you are mad at the world?
That happens too. Sometimes we feel like the world is out to get us, that people around us don’t care and that everything is somehow just plain wrong. Those are the days I encourage you the most to ENGAGE your SPARKLE.

How? Ask yourself the all-important question, “Is what happened ABOUT me or did it simply AFFECT me?” If it affected you, cool, you can own that. It was your reaction to a particular action.

Very often we take things so personally that it fuels us into a place that we create ourselves, not that was truly meant to be. The situation is in front of us, we now have to control it. So when you ENGAGE you turn it around. When someone does something cruel or offensive, that is about them and their character. It does not have to be about you in any way. You choose to involve yourself. Don’t get confused and think I am telling you to show the person that hurt you respect, kindness and love. That wouldn’t be very authentic at all.

What I am telling you is to show yourself that SPARKLE instead. Turn it to the place that needs it. You.

That’s how this head picked up off the pillow. I showed myself some kindness and love by resting, not feeling guilty about that.

When my SPARKLE ENGAGED...I was able to do the little bits and pieces my body and mind allowed me. I always felt better when I did.

SherryLynn is our FIERCE Sparkle expert who shows you how to be positive when everyone around you is being negative. Her annoyingly perky attitude is contagious. Kinda like a flu... except you can't help but WANT to catch what she has. 

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Living Out Loud

by Sammie Love
I took a walk. Not just any walk. I took a walk that freed me from 25 years of silence. I stood in front of the Women's Building in SanFrancisco with @500 other people and I bonded with them as we began the SanFrancisco Women Against Rape's 7th Annual Walk Against Rape 5k.

I was joined by my oldest son and my good friend/walking partner and they held me up and kept my spirits high during the 5k walk throught the Mission District, Castro District and Potrero District.

The walk was a simple one, in fact the route was half a mile shorter than my daily walk. The hardest part of this walk for me dealing with my emotions and finally coming forth after 25 years and standing before the public and saying, I AM A RAPE SURVIVOR!

Meaning those words, owning them, finally understanding my own struggles about being raped and coming to terms withthis life-long struggle was definitely the triumph of the day!

A week before the walk, I received a notice that my 10 year-old daughter's dance troupe LOCO BLOCO would be providing entertainment at the end of a parade and supporting an important cause. This special event would serve as a LIVE rehearsal for San Francisco Carnaval. As I kept reading the announcement flyer, SFWAR leapt from the page. I hadn't thought about them in years. I hadn't shared their significance in my life with my husband or children. I hadn't used their services or fiscally supported them recently. I hadn't spoken about this organization in years, in fact the last time I spoke of them, I unfortunately was giving a young extended family member a referral for their services.

San Francisco Women Against Rape had intervened in my life when I initially was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) six years after I was raped. They provided supportive services for me that completely changed my life! The counselors, staff and survivors that I met there were such an important part of my life and healing! Frankly, I question what would my life have been like if I had not been introduced to them because I was: afraid, angry, bitter, depressed, distant, embarrassed, guilty, hard, out-of-control, numb, scared, scarred, shame-filled, seeking love, suffering, suffocating, and slowly dying!

I was a shell of my former bubbly, fun-loving, happy, and lively self. I had become someone that I didn't recognize. My boyfriend at the time did the best he could to love and support me, but I was fighting a battle so much larger than "us" that all that could do was love him the best I could, which was pretty limited and by even basic standards was clearly not enough! I remember sitting in a group session with SFWAR and being asked what types of things made me happy -- and I could not think of one thing! Not ONE thing. I was so consumed with hatred, guilt for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and loathing yyat myself for being a VICTIM, that I found joy in nothing. I was broken and they helped me bandage my life, mend my heart, and helped me find the courage to heal.

When I finished reading that announcement flyer I decided to walk. No more living in the shadows selectively informing those that I know what happened to me.

I decided to LIVE OUT LOUD!

I sent a text message to my husband and oldest son and I told them that I wanted to walk in the Women Against Rape walk the following Saturday. They were receptive and understood what I wanted to do. Next, I went on Facebook and I posted on my wall for 556 friends, family members, acquaintances and professional associates to read about the most profound secret that I had kept for 25 years:

I made the decision to walk in the San Francisco Women Against Rape's 7th Annual Walk Against Rape next Saturday. I am so proud of all of the work they do and I wouldn't be able to say that I AM A SURVIVOR without them!
With that brief announcement on Facebook, the flood gates of caring, love, hope, empathy, understanding and peace overtook me. I was bombarded with messages in my Facebook inbox and friends posted encouragement on my wall! The terror of silence and the fear of alienation left me and friends quietly confided in me that they too had been raped and lived in silence, or they simply applauded my strength in
acknowledging my truth. Through my choice to live out loud I helped others find their voice by me sharing about this walk!

On the morning of of the walk, I posted another note on Facebook:

As I prepare to walk against rape this morning, I will be joining a chorus of men and women that refuse to live in silence, shame and fear anymore. We refuse to live as victims and we choose to live as survivors. I will be supported by family and friends that will be with me physically and the rest
of you will be there in my heart.

So, as my excitement built about the walk and we arrived at the end of the walk route to park our car, and my husband dropped us off at the beginning of the walk route, I began to reflect on all that I had been feeling for the past 25 years as I prepared to walk. I thought of how the years of silence had impacted my life. I thought about how I was able to continue on with my life living silently and how much better my life got when I decided that I didn't have to stay trapped by my fears of the past!

As my son, friend and me walked in the Castro District, I heard a voice screaming my name. I scanned through the crowd of people on the streets and on the sidewalks and I was surprised to see one of my elementary school mates and her mother waving at me. Two people that loved me as a child and watched me grow up. Miles and years had separated us, our families connecting through pictures and notes through Facebook and they read my post about the walk and came to San Francisco to support me. My heart jumped in my chest as the tears began to stream from my eyes when I reached them and gave them both a big hug. I don't think that they will ever know how much I appreciated seeing them along the route especially since they drove 40 miles from home to be there! Their being there gave me an affirmation that I was loved,
supported and doing just fine!

The walk through the Mission District continued to be overwhelming, thought-provoking and powerful. People honked their horns in support of our cause, the University of San Francisco contingent lead a chorus of chants against rape, store merchants walked out of their shops cheering us on offering us free bottles of
cold water and fresh fruit.

Never have I felt such an outpouring of love and support from a community of strangers. Love that could have helped me heal earlier if I was receptive to receiving it. Love that reminded me that I am so much more than the terrible thing that happened to me. Love that restored my faith in mankind and in strangers.

When we completed our 5k walk we were greeted at La Raza Plaza by volunteers and a wonderful lunch spread. My emotions were raw, I could not eat and I suddenly became silent, but this silence was okay. This silence came from living out loud, lifting my voice, speaking my truth and finally feeling at peace with everyone knowing that I AM A RAPE SURVIVOR!


Ending notes:
It has taken me a month to collect my thoughts on participating in the San Francisco Women Against Rape's 7th Annual Walk Against Rape. I'd like to thank my Boss/Sista from Anotha Mista Tamara for allowing me the time I needed to process my feelings, supporting me in my decision to walk and write about it and for loving me enough to tell me to walk away from writing this until I was ready to.

I'd like to thank my supporting cast of characters as well:

* My husband for your support and quiet strength as I've struggled to get to this point in my life when I have chosen to LIVE OUT LOUD!.

* My son for your jokes, encouragement, acceptance and "protection" as I walked (Yes, you were the Braun in our contingent of three).

* My girlfriend and walking partner for your heart, understanding and undying support and for getting up at the butt-crack of dawn and walking with me on a Saturday morning with coffee in your hand and a smile on your face!!!

* My ex for talking with me about this part of my journey towards healing, supporting my decision to walk and forgiving me for the damage I caused by being "silent" all of those years!

* My parents for their undying support (my Mom here on earth and my Dad from heaven), grace and love as I have struggled to come to terms with with who I was, who I became, and who I am now! Thank you for ALWAYS loving me, caring for me, supporting me and for being the BEST PARENTS EVER!!!!

* My Church Family for helping me mend my heart, to learn true forgiveness and for helping me remember to forgive others just as GOD has forgiven me.

* My friends (past, current, virtual and future) for taking this journey with me!

Be brave and be well!

Sammie Love is the pen name of a wife, mother of three children, and an Early Childhood Educator and Professional Development Trainer for Teachers. She is a sexy erotica writing super heroine unleashing passion on paper by night. She is an active blogger and has recently started writing a book about parenting children with learning differences.
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