Tag Archives: female focus

When the Broom Breaks

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jumpingthebroom“Jumping the Broom.”

The significance of the broom to Black Folk heritage and history originates in the West African country of Ghana. During the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, most of Ghana in the 18th century was ruled by the Asante of Ashanti Confederacy. The Asante’s urban areas and roads were kept conspicuously clean according to visiting British and Dutch traders with the use of locally made brooms. These same brooms were used by wives or servants to clean the courtyards of palaces or homes. The broom in Asante and other Akan cultures also held spiritual value and symbolized sweeping away past wrongs or removing evil spirits.

This is where the broom comes into play regarding marriage. Brooms were waved over the heads of marrying couples to ward off spirits. The couple would often but not always jump over the broom at the end of the ceremony. Jumping over the broom symbolized the wife’s commitment or willingness to clean the courtyard of the new home she had joined. Furthermore, it expressed her overall commitment to the house. It also represented the determination of who ran the household. Whoever jumped highest over the broom was the decision maker of the household (usually the man). The jumping of the broom does not add up to taking a “leap of faith.”

The irony is that practice of jumping the broom was largely discarded after Emancipation in America which was consistent with the eventual fall of the Ashanti Confederacy in Ghana in 1897 and the coming of British customs. Jumping the Broom did survive in the Americas, especially in the United States, among slaves brought from the Asante area. This particular Akan practice of jumping the broom was picked up by other African ethnic groups in the Americas and used to strengthen marriages during slavery among their communities.

Jumping the broom was not a custom of slavery, but is a part of African culture that survived American slavery like the Voodoo religion of the Fon and Ewe ethnic groups or the ring shout ceremony of the BaKongo and Mbundu ethnic groups. With slavery over and superficial hints of racial integration allowed, African-Americans could now have European-style marriages. Jumping the broom had nothing to do with Whites.

Once Blacks could have weddings with rings that were recognizable by anyone as a symbol of marriage, the broom ceremony wasn’t required. During this time, jumping the broom fell out of practice from the stigma it carried, and in some cases still carries, among African Americans who wanted nothing to do with anything associated with that era. The practice survived, and made a resurgence after publication of Alex Haley’s book “Roots.”

Currently, many African and African American couples include jumping the broom at the end of their wedding ceremonies as a tribute to tradition. And even couples who do not actually jump a broom when they get married, often refer to, or at least recognize, the phrase to be synonymous with getting married in the same way most Americans associate “tying the knot” with getting married.

Broom jumping is also practiced by non-Black groups and in different religions around the world with some variation. Wiccans and Gypsies are among some of the groups who developed their own broom-jumping tradition.

Brooms break like a bad weave. A Dirt Devil was required to get these couples out from under all the dust of deceit. After all was said and done, theses Sisters  are in the Black, except for If I Could Turn Back The Hands of Time, Halle just bury him already.

Nas & Kelis Martin

Christina Milian and Terius “The-Dream” Nash

Martin Lawrence & Shamicka Gibbs

Shaquille & Shaunie O’Neal

Michael and Juanita Jordan

Eddie and Nicole Murphy

Lisa Raye McCoy & Michael Misick

Dwyane & Siohvaughn Wade
Lionel and Diane Ritchie

 

Halle Berry & Eric Benetbrokenbroom

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This month in divorce history – Tis the Season for See ya

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4edcee086ebf52011  Zooey Deschanel & Ben Gibbard

2010 LeAnn Rimes & Dean Sheremet

Sandra Bullock & Jesse James

Nancy Wilson & Cameron Crowe



2009  Kate & Jonathan Gosselin

2009  Marg Helgenberger & Alan Rosenberg

Susan Sarandon & Tim Robbins – though never legally married, they split after 23 years and two sons together.

2007 Pamela Anderson & Rick Salomon (annulled)

Catherine Keener & Dermot Mulroney

2005 Renee Zellweger & Kenny Chesney – annulled

Valerie Bertinelli & Eddie Van Halen

Christina Applegate & Jonathan Schaech

2003 Sofia Coppola & Spike Jonez

1997 Kirstie Alley & Parker Stevenson

Home Alone?

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mary-poppins11The first holiday alone can only be made worse if you insist on becoming the Ghost of Christmas past.  Don’t watch old home videos or thumb through old holiday cards and photos.  You’ll just end up crying and/or cursing you, him, God and everybody in between.

Although you may wish you were at the North Pole right about now, you can get through the cavalcade of commercials and holiday specials.  Avoid them all together if the pain is too much.  One I wouldn’t skip is “A Christmas Carol.”  If you’re feeling bah humbug about the whole celebration, this tale will remind you what the holiday is all about.

If you find yourself facing the holiday alone and you want to be alone, so be it.  If you can’t face your family or your siblings and their offspring, but don’t want to stay home and watch It’s A Wonderful Life  a dozen times, then make a like a reindeer and disappear.  Behold, I bring you travel tidings of great joy:

Christmas Cruise – Unlike Noah’s Ark, not everybody aboard will come in pairs.   Put the word out that you’re looking for a travel mate, if you’re not ready to cruise solo.  You’ll be amazed how many of your single friends would relish skipping the family gathering and the assorted fruit cakes that show up every year.

Christmas in Cancun, Cabo or the Caribbean, Yah Man! –  Make any island your Christmas Island.  You’ll enjoy the locals and return with a fabulous tan, and memories of mistletoe under the stars with an island elf.

Most resorts do fill up around the holidays, so plan early.  Once you’re there, enjoy a day at the spa (no waxing), a Jet Ski and para-sailing.  Invigorate yourself.

Visit a friend in a far off land, or another city

If you’ve been tied down for years or decades doing the same ole holiday hooray, it’s time to go see how your friends do it.  Pick a friend who is also alone.  If you’re in need of a reality check, spend the holiday with a friend whose children bear no resemblance to angels from above.   Whether you crave chaos or comfort, seek it out.

All I want for Christmas is a Gingerbread Man

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Christmas_-_Custer_Kids   1950'sUnless you’re religious, Christmas is for kids.  Remember when you believed in Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?  Christmas Eve was magic.  You couldn’t sleep in anticipation.

On Christmas morning, you rushed to see what was under the tree.  For some, Christmas was a season of disappointment as child.

You may have learned earlier on, that there was no Santa.

You figured out that Mom and Dad were Mr. & Mrs. Claus and they couldn’t afford to buy you that dream house or Easy Bake Oven.

As we got older, Christmas turned into one big shopping spree that seldom filled our hearts with glee.  If you’re like me, you spent too much and felt like you didn’t do enough.  The spirit of the holiday soon became lost in a sea of receipts and retail remorse.

After you married and had children, the magic of the holiday resurfaced in the eyes of your consumer-savvy children.  Now you were the one in charge and others joy rested on your weary shoulders.  You were Mrs. Claus and therefore responsible for all the relatives on both sides of the aisle.  Oh, the joy.

For those from a childless marriage, the memories can be ones filled with alone time with your ex at home, on the slopes or on the sand.  You may have spent the holidays with in-laws or hosted the big bash at your home.   Screaming children from various relations filled your home.  Thoughts of having your own (or not) may have filled your heart with wonder or relief.

The Gratitude Garage Sale

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Sample ASS (awkward social situation)

Part of letting go of the past is letting go of stuff you no longer use or need or will never fit into again in this life.  A garage sale is a great way to accomplish this and a way to practice meeting strangers and strange neighbors.  It’s also a productive way to clear the closets before the holidays.  You’ll make room for all the new stuff you’ll be selling or re-gifting next year.

Rummaging through your past will induce flashbacks and the urge to reach for a hammer.  Consider this closet clearance to be a mental ex-orcism and another step on your way to freedom from the fabric that was part of your life.  Make sure to find any hidden ex-husband leftovers.  Items include but are not limited to:  clothing, accessories, sports memorabilia and all unused homme hygiene products.

Come Saturday morning, dress like you are having a Barney’s warehouse sale.  Resist the urge to dress for distress.  Don’t wear pair an old pair of Juicy sweats and a worn out “I ♥ Love” T-shirt. Look like a bargain.

Let’s assume the sale is going well.  You’re driving hard bargains around the perimeter, when you get a whiff of danger. And danger smells a lot like Obsession.  You hear a voice that involuntarily causes you to play with your hair.  You turn and quickly make change for the lady who purchased the unused George Foreman grill.  Next to grill girl stands a tall, dark and handsome man, sporting a baseball cap and flipping through your ex’s baseball card collection.

You move toward the man as if in slow motion waving away all others as their cries for “how much?” fall on deaf ears.  Mystery man smiles as you approach him he smiles revealing perfect pearly whites and asks, “How much for the box?”

Do you: A. Invite him in for loxs?

B. Tell him how much you love the Red Sox?

C.  Inquire about his batting average?

D.  Tell him to make you an offer you can’t refuse and inform him there are more cards stashed away inside.

Answer: B-D.  If you’ve ascertained that he is single and feel a few bases could be had with the fine lad, make the first move.  Of course, if you have no more cards stashed away, find some.  Make a coffee date. Or take him out to a ball game.

Love is a Battlefield

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War does not determine who is right, war determines who is left.

Whether you feel that you were honorably or dishonorably discharged from your marriage service – you are a Veteran of Divorce.

Even though it’s a safe bet that your divorce papers were not signed at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the Palace of Versailles, France, you are a Veteran of the Battle of the Break-up.

For the lucky few who saw no combat and came through the battle unscathed, consider it your patriotic duty to visit with those who were wounded in the fight.

The combat is over but many may be suffering from post traumatic divorce stress and other casualties of war.

Unfortunately, this country does not honor us with a legal holiday, parades, words of praise, or metals.

So as we see fit to honor our women and men who gave their service or their lives to keep freedom ringing, let’s take a moment to honor those for whom the wedding bell no longer tolls.

Skip the Veteran’s Day sales (or go for the early bird specials) and honor yourself and those who have served in the military of matrimony.

This can be a simple gesture or an honor guard affair depending on the number of your close Veteran friends.  For the inaugural event, try and keep it simple by hosting a Pretty Metal party.

This will give you and your friends something to do with your hands while you exchange war stories.  And if you can’t rally the troops, craft a few on your own and hand deliver ‘em to your emotionally disabled comrades.

Suggested honors:

Good Conduct

Awarded to the divorcee who in the face of public humiliation opted to take the high road and held her head high.

Heroism

Awarded to the divorcee who showed the greatest restraint without a restraining order.  

Prisoner of War

Awarded to the divorcee who endured the longest divorce.

Victory

Awarded to the divorcee who didn’t see the divorce coming, but quickly regrouped and was victorious in the settlement.

Purple Heart

Awarded to the divorcee who survived the most vicious attacks on her person.  This could be in the form of being left for another woman, man, the nanny, the neighbor or discovering that her husband had a child during the course of the marriage.

Salute you and others for being survivors in a war that is rarely recognized and its casualties too often forgotten.   

Bless the Butter Balls

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The holiday season has officially begun and you don’t want to be the one that didn’t have any fun.  Let’s first remember that this month’s big bash is about giving thanks.  Start by giving thanks for not having to butter ungrateful balls.  It may be your first Thanksgiving without  Mr. Turkey, but it’s not your first without significant others.

Most of  my fondest Thanksgiving memories are from childhood and there’s a reason for that – I didn’t have to do anything but stuff myself silly before watching  “The Twilight Zone,” with my brother. Who said youth is wasted on the young?  Admit it–you had fun watching those flowers float.

Older and wiser, we know that holidays are hard work.  We get so caught up in wanting to make everybody happy that we forget our own well-being.  Dreams of being feathered and decapitated may occur as you are determined to not cry in the cranberry sauce on the big day.  Whether past holidays were heaven or hell, they were familiar.  Now you are navigating in uncharted waters – not unlike the Pilgrims.

The good news is you are now the dinner decider.  You can Butter Ball it or not.   The day can be spent with family and friends or not.  Just remember to remember what you have to be thankful for.  You may feel like just giving your ex the bird, but why not make a thankful list.  For example:

Be thankful for your children and/or thankful that you don’t share any lifelong DNA with your ex.

Be thankful that you don’t have to deal with his crazy family anymore.

Be thankful you don’t have to cook unless you want to.  If you’re having the dinner at your abode, you can order the entire meal and not tell a soul.

You don’t have to watch football games and can indulge yourself in a mindless marathon of a favorite television program.  “SVU” anyone?

Be thankful you have a roof over your head.  Hopefully, you hired a good attorney and it is a very big roof.  You could have landed on a rock.

Be thankful for the good times past, being present and hopeful about the good times that are sure to follow.

Be thankful for having loved and been loved.

Thank your mother for having you.

Be thankful and grateful for your mind, body and soul.

As you drift off to sleep, be thankful in the knowledge that your slumber won’t be interrupted by the sudden sensation of butter balls pressing up against you.