Saturday, June 1, 2019
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
It's our episode trailer, and we're so excited to share this with the world!
Ms.Vixen is your destination for lit womanist perspectives, on pop culture, politics, media, and other incisive conversation usually stolen from us from the mainstream to profit off of. Yup, Ms. Vixen isn’t here to be polite or play around, we know Black Women, Black Femmes and Black Folks impacted by misogynoir, are the standard and not the exception. With Ms. Vixen magazine, Ms. Vixen IRL our workshop series, and now Ms. Vixen the podcast we will do more than just celebrate ourselves, we will always and forever turn the fuck up.
Ms.Vixen the podcast, will be a bi-weekly podcast debuting June 3rd 0f 2019. We’ll be having amazing conversations with folks that affirm all the things we need. Be sure to subscribe on Apple podcast, Soundcloud, Spotify, Castbox, Google podcast, and Sticher.
Listen to the episode below
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Ms. Vixen will be participating in the CareFreeBlackGirl CookOut for a second year! This is an interactive day festival that promotes, women empowerment, entrepreneurship, and the arts!
Come chill with us at our tent for a Free Bad Bitch Affirming Workshops for this June’s Ms. Vixen IRL! All workshops will be hosted by Ms. Vixen's creator Queen. You will learn, how to affirm the things that fill your bad bitch energy to the brim and then some.
All workshops will be an hour long, workshop times will be 3:00pm, 4:30pm, and 6:00pm.
Get more info about the CareFreeBlackGirl Cookout, and get your free RSVP below!
Location : Hebert Von King Park
Time - 2pm - 7:00 pm
what to expect
•female DJs , performers & host
•glam bar - braids, lashes
•health & wellness activity ( meditation, yoga, or aerobics)
•field day like games - ( hot potato, red light / green light & More)
What To Bring
•Entry is free we just ask that you bring $ for vendors
•Blanket for grass
RSVP & GET READY !
FOOD. GAMES. MELANIN
Sunday, April 28, 2019
|Photo Credit: Nappy.co|
Reprint from LithiumtoLashes.com
Choosing a treatment for mental health concerns is a very personal decision. Whatever you choose to do or not do should be thought out carefully and researched before you embark on your journey. However, one treatment method that I have consistently seen misrepresented and subject to fear mongering by people who either have no experience with it or who have had bad experiences with it is the use of psychotropic drugs. As a result of an irresponsible US pharmaceutical industry, the ability to both create and find a growing number of conspiracy theories and false information via the internet, the proliferation of negative experiences, and ignoring the lived experiences and testimonies of those who they have helped, psych meds have gotten a bad rap.
Despite my own, often painful and frustrating, journey with psych meds I still don’t count them out as a beneficial and effective form of treatment for many, many people because I understand my own anecdotal experience doesn’t trump data or other people’s experiences. Due to the enzymes my body produces I cannot properly process most psychotropic medications and have experienced some awful, sometimes rare and life-threatening, side effects. I didn’t find this out until much later in life after having felt like a guinea pig since my adolescence. However, I don’t fault most of my psychiatrists for their determination to find something that could help me using trial and error because the genetic testing, known as pharmacogenetics, was not available until very recently. It is, however, costly and not always covered by insurance. I hope with growing access to pharmacogenetic testing that psychiatry will become less hit or miss because that is a huge factor in why psych meds have such a bad reputation.
A big contributing factor to the vilification of psych meds, particularly in the US, is the justified distrust of the pharmaceutical industry. Medicine should not be a profit-driven industry, but in America it is. This has led the way to medications and treatments for various conditions being approved well before the appropriate level of testing could be done, incentivizing doctors to prescribe medications that have limited research available about them, marketing of pharmaceuticals through reps who have no actual medical background or extensive understanding of the medications they are pushing, advertising complex medicines directly to consumers much like sugary cereals are advertised to children in a bid to get them to demand them, and a gaggle of other concerns. However, even with all of the issues regarding “big pharma” numerous treatments that they have developed and put on the market are overwhelmingly safe and effective.
Even with the bad PR around pharmaceutical companies, I believe that one of the biggest reasons the disdain for psych meds has grown over the years is because of the experimental nature of prescription. Although people can and do also have negative and sometimes debilitating side effects from medications for other physical illnesses, the stigma around mental illness and the fact that the brain is the most complicated and least understood organ of the human body amplifies the distrust around psych meds. There are countless forums related to psych meds and their side effects with many people urging others to not just stay away from a particular medication, but to forgo medication as a treatment option altogether because of their own experiences. It would be different if the forums were used as a place to ask if others experienced the same side effects, ask what they did to cope with them, or just be an all-around supportive environment, but that is not always the case. Too often I see people respond to questions about medications with anger and anecdotal or false information, sometimes going as far as to shame people for choosing to take medication. This is not just dangerous, but ableist as well. There are also those with good intentions but terrible wording like the below exchange on Twitter:
I could very well have turned out to be one of those people, but I understand that each person responds to both medications and what can be considered innocuous things differently. It’s why some people will end up hospitalized from penicillin and others live’s will be saved. It’s why I can eat all the strawberries I want but someone else may go into anaphylactic shock. Acknowledging that we all don’t, and won’t, respond to treatments in the exact same way is extremely important to me. It’s why I always add the qualifier “for me” or some variation of that when speaking about treatments that have and have not worked in my experience.
I would never try to dissuade anyone from starting medication or pressure them to come off of medication. My approach is to empower people to talk openly and honestly, as well as advocate for themselves when it comes to discussing medication options with their doctors. Even when I’m told about side effects and a person expresses they can’t handle them, I would never tell someone to stop cold turkey, but to consult with their doctors immediately on how to safely stop or mitigate side effects. As well versed as I am in mental health as a consumer, student, and former provider I am not a doctor and I don’t pretend to be.
Psychiatric meds should be treated by the public like any other medication used to treat a physical illness. Just because mental illness affects the brain that doesn’t make it any less of a physical illness, and it doesn’t make the need for medical treatment any less necessary. As someone who has worked to advocate for people with mental illnesses and as someone who has a mental illness, one of the biggest hurdles regarding treatment and supports is that it is treated as a monolithic set of conditions. Even those who have nothing but the best of intentions, who are deemed qualified to create programs and educational material to improve the quality of life of those with mental health concerns and destigmatize mental illness fall into these trappings. Imagine treating all forms of cancer with the same treatment regimen and the poor outcomes that would produce. Yet, we continue to see this when it comes to discussions around mental illness. We have to get away from this way of thinking or we will continue to scare people out of getting the help they need and can benefit from.
Sunday, October 21, 2018
|Photo credit: Nappy.co|
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Wzup, Wzup, WZUP!!!! *Cues Martin theme song* It's been a hot and long minute ya'll, but ya girl is back and better than ever. I've been living, learning, loving, and growing, and I've picked up a few things along the way that I'd like to share with you. First and foremost, I learned something about myself in the past few months that I am not fond of. The beauty of growth, however, is that we have room to evolve. I learned that I have the tendency to shrink myself along with my values and belief around others in an effort to make them more comfortable and to fit in. In this new day, I realize I am a giant, and like a giant, I can't help others, fulfill my purpose, or manifest my vision by playing small in any regard.
Giant | 1. noun-an imaginary or mythical being of human form but superhuman size. 2. adj -of very great size or force; gigantic.
We've all heard the question: are you a leader or follower? Sure. On my best day, my response is: "I'm a leader all day babeee." Yet, in actuality, I have many follower moments. When the majority of the people I surround myself with are on one wave, I conform in an effort to ride it. Typically, this phenomenon disregards my own beliefs and ethics. Recently, I found that to be bullshit. I'm too old to be getting caught up in trying to "fit in" or be like someone else. In essence, I am the shit in my own right, and I do not need any leader other than the Lord all mighty and my spirit guides. On the contrary, this brief flashback into adolescent-hood got me thinking. In what other ways have I shrunk myself?
- . I downplay my talents and ideas to seem less intimidating to others. This might sound crazy, but its the truth. I have been told on numerous occasions that I am too much, or too crazy, or intimidating. So, as a defense mechanism, I resolved to speak up last.
- I seldom share or celebrate good news. When something positive occurs in my life, I share it with my man and keep it on lock. I don't like to share with others who are also climbing because I don't want to appear boastful.
- When I am complimented, I deflect the praise by sharing a flaw. Them: "Your hair is so cute!" Me: "Girl, it was only 5.99 at the beauty supply store. Nothing fancy." It's like I subconsciously believe I don't deserve love and praise. Therefore, countering compliments became my defense.
- I often sought confirmation or reassurance about a move from others. A new hairdo, relationships, outfit ideas, or etc, would need to be affirmed by someone who I felt knew more than me or opinions I valued greatly. In doing this, I found my own confidence in certain decisions had dwindled.
- When faced with an opposing view, comment or action, I did not advocate for myself. Occasions when folks say or do hurtful things, in an effort to avoid confrontation, I turned the other cheek. Not seeking revenge or disturbing piece is a beautiful thing, until one own self-esteem is tormented.
All that was cute, but I'm a giant.
Break it down, B:
The first problem with shrinking yourself to please others or conform is who you truly are will be shrouded by a mask. After a while, you will become so used being who you think the worlds needs you to be, you forget who you are. Second, when we shrink ourselves, we forfeit the opportunity to be used by God, the universe, or to whomever you pray. Different is truly beautiful, and it is also intentional. We were all uniquely made, and evolution lives in the difference. Different is the only avenue available to generate change. Lastly, it is a true disservice to oneself not to glow unapologetically. There is absolutely no way for you to live your best happy life if you are too busy ignoring your authentic self. Otherwise, the journey we call life will run you like a treadmill. Literally, you will find yourself doing all of this cardio without a beautiful view along the way. Cut the shit.
Well, Damn, B, How do I do this?
Combat urges to shrink by:
Surround yourself with like-minded folk. As people, it is natural to have a variety of thought processes and view. However, it is possible to surround yourself with people who share the same core values and mindsets. Ask yourself, is your tribe helping you grow or bringing you down? Do they celebrate you, or make you feel meager? Also, keep in mind, iron sharpens iron. In other words, those who share the same core values and mindset can only hold you accountable and help you grow.
Focus self-realization on the love of God, the universe, or whomever you pray. Consider this. God has crafted you uniquely, so life does not get any better. God loves every part of you exactly as you are while asking for nothing in return--not even conformity. Who are we to alter what God has already solidified and deemed perfect.
Love you. Good, bad, blemishes, and highlights. Nobody is perfect, but nobody is going to love you better or more than yourself. Realize you have great qualities and flaws, and embracing them decreases the need for outside approval.
During my moments of conformity, I found myself confused, drained, and uncertain. I found myself confused about who am I as well as my cause. I felt drained by the negativity I did not attempt to combat. I felt uncertain about my current position in life. After all, if I wasn't like them, then something was wrong. Later, I realized I only felt these feelings because I was not being my true and fullest self. Yet and still, the same God, that delivered me from turmoil, is the same who loves me as I am. (1 Samuel 17:37) .It would be a disservice to the world, for me not to glow. With that glow and be your extra self. Be so extra folks start asking how much for the extra sauce. It's a movement.
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By: Britney “Bird Nefertiti” Newton is a spiritual womanist, writer, blogger, poet, and “women are made of fire” enthusiast.
Follow her on social media!
Monday, September 17, 2018
photo via nappy.co
So, I'm in my new home preparing to plant some flowers. I like garden shit. It makes me feel one with the earth, but that's neither here nor there. I read the back of the seed packet and the instructions read: "deadhead flowers to foster more blooming." In true curiosity, I immediately google the term "deadhead." After all, the term sounds dangerous and counter-productive to the goal of blooming flowers, but on the contrary, I learned I need to deadhead the flowers of my own dreams and life in order to encourage more blooms.
Deadhead-verb|remove dead flower heads from a plant to encourage further blooming
Habits-noun|a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up
A flower plant's natural goal is to flower (bloom), create and set seeds, and die. It is the flow of life to do your part, reproduce, and well we all saw what happened to Mufassa. Yet, when we plant a flower garden, we ultimately wish to cultivate beautiful flowers which are aesthetically pleasing to us and adds a little light to our otherwise monotonous yards and homes. Deadheading helps gardeners to achieve the aesthetic goal, for when flower blooms begin to decay, the flower sends a signal to the root which says; "Aye man, it's over for the under. We just need to stop blooming and produce seeds now before we head to the upper room." Deadheading helps to discourage the message. In doing so, more flowers bloom instead of decaying because the plant's energy is redirected from setting seeds to creating more blooms. After learning this, I began to see many plants which had decaying parts. And I think, oh man those old parts need to be cut in order for the plant to reach its fullest potential. Then my inner spirit said,.
Break it down, B:
When our hair is not growing, the first thing our hair stylist says to us is: "you need to cut these dead-ends." And even when the new growth accrues, the dead-ends do not give them the room to shine. On one end we will have growing hair, but it is immediately stopped at the dry and brittle demon ends. The same concept applies to flowers blooms. More importantly, the same concept applies to our lives. We can be in the best of situations--bomb ass careers, bomb ass relationships, bomb ass car, bomb ass ideas, bomb ass dreams, bomb ass fill in the blank as you please. However, if there are old habits in play that discourages bloom and growth, the bomb ass whatever you please will be short-lived. And its a shame, because you--I--we deserve to bloom all year long.
So, I had to think, what dead habits do I have in the flower garden of my life and dreams that need disposing of? I can be a major procrastinator, laziness lurks within, and without getting too deep with ya'll, etc, etc. Nonetheless, these decaying habits (decaying because if it is not encouraging my growth it hinders) have to be removed.
Well, Damn, B, How do I do this?
The thing we don't talk about as it relates to habits is the replacement. We all know the traditional it takes 21 days to break a habit, or make a habit, or eat a habit, or whatever the kids are saying. Yet, in my experience, I've learned breaking a habit means nothing, if there is not a new habit to replace the old habit. For example, if one has a habit of eating unhealthy foods and decides to live more healthy, in ten days or less, the new healthy foods will get old, and those old cravings will start creeping in like decaying flower blooms. What should one do? Find a replacement. Find new healthier food options to stimulate the craving. As it relates to decaying habits, after deadheading, replace them with a tool, an alarm clock, or new habit to encourage blooms. For example, one of my decaying habits is procrastination, right. Now, I have to replace procrastination with the commitment to a schedule. In order to nurture this new habit, I took to listening to motivational sermons or speeches about grinding, growth, and serving God, so when my ten-day itch creeps in, I have a reminder of why I had to deadhead. Also, find an accountability buddy. Enlist the help of a like-minded gardener to lean on when you find yourself slipping back into old habits. Before long, you'll find yourself blooming consistently with brand new and healthy habits.
At the end of the day, this is your life. I'm writing to my unknown audience, but I need the reminder just as well. Five years from now, if we are not blooming in the way we desire for ourselves--if we are not living our dream life or enjoying our bomb ass situations, it will be no one's fault but our own. With that, consider, what habits you need to deadhead and remove from your garden? What ends do you need to clip in order to grow the mane you have always wanted to secure? Only you know. Only you can nurture the flowers of your life and dreams.
By: Britney “Bird Nefertiti” Newton is a spiritual womanist, writer, blogger, poet, and “women are made of fire” enthusiast.
Follow her on social media!
Sunday, March 18, 2018
|Image via Shutterstock|
One way to change ableist behavior is to start with the language we use. We often use words that are ableist that we aren't aware of because sadly it is everyday language. Words such as stupid, crazy, lame etc. There are many words we can replace these with to stop contributing to ableist behavior, check them out below.
If you mean frustrating or perplexing – ”This is so stupid!” or “That’s retarded!” –consider:
If you mean intense – ”Woah, crazy!” — consider:
If you mean bad or unpleasant – ”Wow, that’s lame!” — consider:
15. The pits
If you mean it as an intensifier, positive or negative – ”She’s a crazy good artist!” or “This is insanely difficult!” — consider:
If you mean unreasonable or absurd – ”That’s crazy!” — consider:
If you mean to describe someone with a bad, dangerous character – ”She’s psychotic!” or “He’s a sociopath!” — consider:
If you mean to describe someone who’s doing something a little dorky – ”They’re such a spaz!” or “Are you retarded or something?” — consider:
If you mean to describe something that’s difficult to understand, or totally bizarre – ”These mass shootings are just crazy.” — consider:
What are some words you use instead of popular ableist language? let us know in the comment section below!
Saturday, March 3, 2018
About a year ago I wrote about my experience with pregnancy loss. It was an extremely emotional time for my husband and, but unfortunately somewhat common. No, I am writing against not to talk about loss, but about my conception journey.
I’ll be honest when I first thought about trying to get pregnant I thought this would be pretty easy. I come from a big family (i’m one of five children) and my mother had an unplanned pregnancy at the age of 39. My Sister also has four kids of her own, so I've never really questioned my fertility. I figured when the time came it would be as simple as stopping my birth control and letting nature run its course. Yea. . . it’s not that simple.
Most of the information I’ve read says that most “normal” couples will get pregnant within a year if of trying. Of course, there are many factors that go into this like overall health, underlying fertility issues, age etc. now although I nor my husband are the pictures of perfect health (I’m anemic, and have a Vitamin D deficiency), we’re according to our Doctor’s relatively healthy. There has been a push for us to lose weight which if your been reading ms. Vixen for a while you know I have struggled with FOREVER. . . . ok so not forever but for the past 10 years or so.
Ideally, I would love to lose a ton of weight before getting pregnant but if I’m honest with myself I don’t know how realistic it is. Since maintaining my weight has always been such a struggle for me. I mention this because if I DID need fertility treatment to assist me, losing weight would be mandatory. Last I remembered I was told I would need to lose 30-50 pounds to even be considered for fertility treatment. Apparently, your overall health isn’t nearly as important as the number on the scale but I digress.
If I’m being honest, that’s why I’m here bearing myself to all you lovely readers. Trying to get pregnant is HARD AF. I mean not the act, of course, that’s fun. I mean the emotional impact of trying to have a Baby a planned pregnancy. Of course, it’s not Hard for everyone you have the lucky ones (or not so lucky ones depending on who you ask) who get pregnant without even thinking twice about it. Who don’t even really have to “Try” it just sort of happens.
I am not one of the “lucky ones” in fact most of the women who I personally know who have gone through this journey aren’t either. Although my journey has not been that long. Got pregnant after 5 months is trying before which did not go to term. It’s been about 4 months this time around and that by no means compares to the women who have been trying for YEARS. None the less I wonder like most Women in this position, will I ever get pregnant? Will I ever have a family?
This is hard Y'all, you do everything in your power I mean literally. The ovulation tests, the prenatal and fertility vitamins, you eat right you try to be healthy. You do your baby dance (trying to conceive talk for sex. Lol) and then you wait and you wait. You do obsessive google searches, like is (fill in the blank) and early pregnancy symptom? Cross your fingers it is so you have some hope that THIS is the month that you see those two little lines finally! And if not you do it all over again, I believe the definition of Insanity is doing the exact same thing over and over and expecting a different result which is pretty much what trying to have a Baby feels like some time fucking Insanity.
I’ve cried at the sight of my period because it meant once again, I wasn’t pregnant. Had to speed walk through the baby section at Target before having another moment of tears coming. Mother nature is messed up the way PMS mimics pregnancy so closely. Hormones are a motherfucker.
Now don’t get me wrong it isn’t all woe is me, trying to have a baby can be fun. I mean for starters your encouraged to have as much sex as possible. I know more about my body then I EVER did before being able to know for certain when my body is doing normal and not so normal things.
I’m sharing all these details about my life to hopefully help someone out there, you aren’t alone. I see you.
What is your conception story? Let us know in the comment section below!
Electa is a self-proclaimed foodie. She is a Wife, a domestic goddess, aspiring chef in training, and a Writer/Blogger from Brooklyn with serious Wanderlust. follow her on twitter: @emazing17
Sunday, February 25, 2018
My examples of womanhood came from the throwaway pile. The women that took no shit, and smacked their gum like the smacks were words necessary for their sentence structure. Those girls from the hood with a loud boisterous vernacular, it’s musical and fast, and if you don’t know the vocabulary they’ll leave you in the dust, lost, with no idea you’ve been cut into pieces until your bloody limbs fell to the ground. Those were my champions.
For most of my life, the world told me to despise those girls. Their existence something shameful, there being should disappear and this should be great for our Black queens. Queendom is the goal, the pinnacle of Black women hierarchy, which we all should be aiming to reach. My childhood was filled with messages such as; I was different, and of course, I was better than these women around me. Although I lived in the same projects, wore the same clothes, use the same food stamps, spoke with the same cadence, ate the same pickle out of the plastic cellophane bag from the corner store, I somehow was a rose amongst concrete the elite love raving about, I was special.
Girlhood was spent reading lots of books, learning to do hair, and playing on tire swings. My parents were dope about providing safety and comfort. Kept my siblings and me out the streets and occupied before my adolescence. Attending every kind of dance class you can image- track and field, and I love gymnastics and participated in that from the age of nine until about 13. Girlhood was great and I loved all the experiences presented to me through art and sports, but I never fit with the girls I met in those spaces my parents fought to put me in. There were missing puzzle pieces, or maybe the wrong pieces forced together with no consideration to the cohesive image of a puzzle. There was no comfort or safety by those surroundings. I’d go home, to the ghetto and I’d feel safe again, but I'd tell no one how comfortable I felt. The hood, safe? That’s foolish. I would walk past the girls on the block, they looked so free to me, and then I’d remember the respectability push down my throat that says I shouldn’t look at them lovingly. I’m supposed to rise above, so I’d’ roll my eyes at them, put my nose in the air and walk past them, like a queen. . . .Right?
By adolescence, I shred these thoughts, because I came from a legacy of hood chicks. These ratchet Black women that were resourceful, quick and knew the streets. For a long time, the world told me to not love those things about myself. Speak softer, wear fewer colors, your earrings should be smaller, and many other things I loved about women that fit that description. I was told not to exist, and I thank the Goddess in me for never listening to that white supremacist elitist vile. They will tell you everything about you is ugly and worthless so you can give it away for free. Then they’ll steal your fly and act like they invented it. This is the stories of poor Black girls all around the world.
Being her has saved my life, the intersection of being unapologetically Black and a woman was taught to me in those spaces, my oppression wasn’t going to result in me muting my carefree. It is those women, the BAPs, the chicken heads, hood rats (and the other vermin euphemism people use for us) that showed me strength in adversity, helped me stay equipped as I battled brutality from White people and Black men. Through them, I’m still able to laugh and smile, while the odds are piled against me. It is with them I feel the sisterhood, a coven of safety. How something as colorful as a Black woman from the hood could ever be compared to a weed is beyond my mental reach, but still, we grow. My allegiance to the women who actively taught me what womanism feels like will always be, they are my sisters, and no weapons formed against could ever win because our superpower is evolution.