Come to a FREE All Women’s Panel discussing Entrepreneurship!

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I have the wonderful opportunity to sit on a panel with these wonderful, creative, business women and share my personal journey of entrepreneurship. The goal of the evening will be to inform and inspire other women who are interested in going into business for themselves. It will also serve as a good networking opportunity!

Please come out! We would love to see you there! It’s free, but don’t forget to RSVP and get your ticket!

Smile? … But Why??

 

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Cat-calls can be annoying, but, currently, there’s one particular word that I’ve heard men say that really gets under my skin. I stopped by Leimert Park one weekend where there was an event with drummers, music, and food and merchandise vendors — it looked interesting, so I walked through. As I was walking, a man with a beard, long locks and dark shades, blasting music from his speakers, leans over and shouts to me, “Why don’t you smile? Smile.” And like a puppet, I complied and smiled. Immediately afterwards I was like, “Wait. Why did I do that?” Another question to ask is: Why did this guy tell me to smile??
Now, there are those that might say, “Well he meant no offense by it, he just wanted to see you smile. No big deal. Chill out.”

Here’s my response to that: 1. I am very chill … chill to the point of freezing. I am cool as ice. I know that this man meant no offense. However, just because he meant no offense doesn’t negate the fact that his statement was odd and unnecessary. I am not enraged by his comment… simply annoyed. 2. Why does this guy need me to smile??? There I was, happily living my life, minding my own business; yet he felt like he needed to make a suggestion — rather yet, an improvement — on how I should carry myself.

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Now, normally, I would have brushed it off, but he is not the first man to say this to me, and my girlfirends have experienced the same thing. He didn’t nearly leap from behind his speakers to tell the man walking behind me to smile like he had done to me, nor was he an enthusiast passing out fliers suggesting that the whole world smile. He picked me out and decided that I was the one who needed reminding. What’s also interesting is that I have yet to have a woman shout at me telling me to smile, nor have I ever felt the urge to tell anyone else to smile.
So why do men say this to women?

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I’ve thought about it and I have drawn two possible conclusions:
1. Perhaps it’s their way of simply trying to get a woman’s attention, and perhaps even start a conversation with a woman they find attractive.
2. Perhaps a woman who is not smiling really throws off their sexist idea of how a woman should carry herself, and that, in their less-expanded minds, a woman should always be wearing a smile. I feel like this idea stems from the 1950’s housewife image that was heavily promoted during that time and continues to be promoted today. Without ever prioritizing her own wants and needs and the vital self-care that is integral to a happy, healthy life, this woman raises the kids, manages and cleans the house, tends to the husband, and cooks… She does this all with impeccably-styled hair that never seems to have a strand out of place, an hour-glass figure that seems to require no real effort to maintain, wearing a perfectly ironed dress that accentuates her small waist with heels and, of course … a nice, bright smile.

 

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This is bullshit. Guess what, as a human being, I am allowed to experience whatever mood I like and sometimes I’m not in the mood to smile. Often, I’m not overcome by any mood at all and I’m simply going about my day, not even thinking about whether I am smiling or not. I’m just being. If me simply being makes a man feel uncomfortable because I am not accessorized with a beaming smile that would place him at ease, then that is a personal problem and has nothing to do with me. I do not have to smile for anyone. I don’t have to be anyone other than who I am, and I don’t care how that makes you feel.

Therefore, to all the men out there who have made the repetitive mistake of broadcasting this command to women: STOP! We are the ones in control of our emotional/facial expression — not you. So, unless you are on some kind of spiritual campaign to get the world to smile and live in a state of gratitiude, unless you are telling the men to smile as well, then you should take it upon yourself to kindly smile at me and say absolutely nothing, your silence will be GREATLY appreciated. I know it’s hard, but I believe it’s time you experience being seen and not heard …ssshhhh… just smile baby.

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Dating 101: Couple Pics lead to Poor Choices

 

 

 

Well it’s that time of the year where I’m starting to see my friends post their engagements on social media. And I’m also starting to see my single friends salivate over these images and what they assume to be a wonderful love story that they desperately want to happen to them. Their feelings are normal and completely understandable. I, too, want companionship; I also want to find “the one”. But I have to remind my friends and myself that what you see reflected off of a social media page does not always provide the full scope of anyone’s romantic relationship. You sincerely hope that people are in love and you wish them well, but you don’t know the details of anyone’s relationship. You don’t know what is taking place behind the scenes and whether or not you could deal with certain circumstances. Now my intention is not to sound bleak, dispiriting, or ominous. My intention is not to have you looking at couple photos with the mindset that something is wrong their relationship…not at all. The intention focuses more on getting you to stop and think before you compare your situation to someone else’s. Remember that your love story will happen in it’s own time, and that you too will be in the coveted position of posting couple photos that will annoy your Facebook friends.

 

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So until then- and this is primarily for my ladies – DO NOT GET INTO A RELATIONSHIP FOR THE SAKE OF BEING IN ONE. It blows my mind and breaks my heart how women settle for and go back to these sorry ass dudes all because they don’t want to be without SOMEBODY. These women will endure emotional, verbal, and physical abuse. They will lower their standards, shrink themselves. Some will allow their boyfriend to shadow them from their self-worth to the point where they know longer see themselves. They become lost in his shadow and are kept from their own light, thinking they are in love, but they are desperately trying to soothe a broken image of themselves.

And why is that, in 2016, women still find themselves in these positions? Is it because having a “man” is something that is still considered highly valuable, and we are conditioned and pressured to have a “man” as a way of increasing our own value? I just don’t understand.

Women YOU ARE THE PRIZE! Don’t settle for just any ole body who does not recognize that you are amazing. Do not fight over, social media stalk, or stress over these boys…leave them alone! Bid them Adieu! And make space for someone better to enter your life. Don’t allow these engagement photos to seduce you into entering into something that has the potential to leave you extremely disappointed.

It is better to be single and at peace surrounded by friends and family who truly love and celebrate you, than to be in a relationship that chips away at your self-esteem and happiness and leaves you disconnected from yourself.

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Give it time ladies, it will happen. For now enjoy the opportunity you have to be completely selfish and finally learn how to love yourself. If you haven’t figured out how to love yourself you run the risk of being lenient with your heart and placing it in shaky hands. So stop the madness. Disconnect from our virtual world for a while and come back to yourself. Remember that your Love will blossom at the appropriate season. Don’t rush the process, allow it to unfold naturally.

 

Lets start new day. Top view of beautiful young African woman in tank top lying in bed and stretching her arms

 

Club Good Body

 

Like a lot of people. I enjoy a good work out…a nice blood-pumping, sweat-drenching, funk-inducing workout. My body just feels better afterwards. And I’ve tried different types of workouts: Pole dancing, core-power yoga, beach runs, etc. However, it had been a while since I had been in an actual gym. My friend invited me to go along with her to her gym where I could get a guest pass and utilize the facility for a few days. I really enjoyed it and highly considered joining. But there was another gym closer to where I lived that I wanted to check out first.

This gym – I will refer to it as “Club Good Body” and will decline from providing the real name – is well known in Los Angeles and has multiple gym sites and thousands of members. I had seen employees of this Club at random places with tables, chairs, and a big banner hungrily trying to gain membership by stopping people as they walked in and out of stores. I would always walk past them briskly while shouting out that I was not interested.

But, on this day, I decided to get a guest pass and check it out. So, I walk into “Club Good Body” and tell the young lady at the welcoming desk that I have a guest pass. She tells me to wait while a representative comes to speak with me. Immediately I’m thinking, “Damnit!”. I didn’t feel like sitting in a chair while their representative asked me questions. But I told myself to chill and suck it up, and that it was just part of the process and that it wouldn’t last long.

I was wrong. It did last long…too long..nearly 40 minutes long. My representative — we’ll call him Jose — was a nice guy; however, his inquiries are what led me to never return to that gym. It was an interrogation: He asked me what my address was, What I did for a living, Where my job was located, How long I had worked at my job, What was my purpose in coming to their gym, when was the last time I had been to a gym, why did I leave my last gym, what was my current work-out regime, was I eating healthy…I mean, DAMNIT Jose!! SLoW Your RoLL! I JUST WANT TO WORK OUT! What’s with the interrogation?! I told him I felt like I was filling out a bank loan application instead of a simple gym guest pass, and I asked him why he needed to know and write down all this information.

Jose was trying to make a sale and gain my membership, and was filling out an application for me without me actually saying that I wanted to become a member. But the tactics that were used to make this sale are the same tactics that many people use : Fear and misinformation.
Jose said that he wanted to weigh me and calculate my body fat. His calculations determined that I was “average” for my height and age but that I was not at my “ideal” weight just yet and told me how many pounds I would have to lose. Then he turns his computer screen towards me because apparently “Club Good Body” provides their potential members with a visual of various body types so as to “help” them understand what condition their body is in. So on the screen was a computerized image of a woman. They had 6 or 7 images of this woman next to each other – similar to a scale – starting with the image of the thinner or “ideal” body shape and going all the way up to the image of the “obese” or bigger body shape.

Now, as I had mentioned, Jose said that I was “average”. And you would think “average” meant that I would land in the middle of this visual scale. Wrong. According to them, “average” meant that I was second to last on this visual scale, which placed me right before the “obese” image/category. Did I mention that this visual scale is color coded? And the “average” category has a yellow and red color code and “red”, of course, means that you are in the danger zone.

Needless to say this visual scale was complete bullshit. Not only did I look NOTHING like this “tainted, computerized image of a woman, but I’m NOWHERE near Obese. Thank God I can think for myself and recognize a blatant lie when it’s right in front of my face. But the sad thing is that so many women still have blinders on and cannot see the truth, they can’t see what’s real.

By using this scale, “Club Good Body” feeds off the insecurities of women by serving them a distorted image of a body that #1 is not even real, and that #2 does not mirror their shape accurately.The focus should be on living a healthy life, and not fooling women into believing that “good health” or a “healthy body” comes in just one image. These representatives make women become so fearful that they are not “ideal”, that the women seek the help and the membership of their club. And the color coding only increases this because of the psychological connections we make about colors: Green(ideal) = Good, Yellow (average) =Slow Down/Caution, Red (obese) = Danger/Stop.

Those tricky bastards. I told Jose that his scale was wrong and that this image didn’t reflect my body type at all. I told him that they needed to rethink this part of the interrogation because if I was someone who had a negative self-image, then this visual scale had the potential to sink me lower emotionally and mentally. Jose chuckled bits of nervous laughter, unsure of how to proceed.

On top of that, Jose says, “Also, here at “Club Good Body” we can provide you with a Trainer. The young lady behind me, Meagan, would be your trainer.” Meagan comes over to introduce herself and – not to be rude – but Meagan didn’t appear to be in the best physical condition to give me ANY advice.

And after all this, Jose says, “So which membership plan would you be interested in?” I said, “Jose I came to work-out. I don’t even know if this is where I want to be, because I haven’t gotten the opportunity to get a feel for this place and see whether or not I want to return.”

Jose says, “Oh yea! Of course! Go work-out and we’ll talk when you’re done.” What more did we have to talk about??!! And I had to leave my I.D. with him before I could go work-out, so I had no choice but to stop by his table before I left.

I worked out for 20 minutes before I decide to leave. Didn’t even break a sweat. All the treadmiills were taken, along with the other floor equipment that I wanted, plus I was on a time schedule, and that interrogation left me mentally drained and irritated. I bounced. Jose was surprised to see me return so soon. I told him I was leaving. He tried to get me to stay, but I told him I had run out of time and patience. He asked about the membership and I told him my plan was not to sign-up for membership today, just to utilize my guest pass. Jose could tell I was over it, so he quickly prints my guest pass and tells me to come back tomorrow and give them another try.

I didn’t go back. Instead, I decided to return to my neighborhood runs for now until I find a better gym. At least while running in my neighborhood I am free of distorted images and nagging sales people. I may not have the fancy equipment, but at least with my neighborhood runs I am reminded of what is real. I am real. I am beautiful. And my body is fucking awesome.

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Dating 101: “Why does he keep texting Me?”

* I dedicate this post to two young ladies who told me they were fans of my blog, and to all the young people of this generation who must carve out a path in this new, unchartered dating world. Although this blog post focuses mainly on women, my observations can be applied to both sexes.

To say that the dating world has changed in the past 2 decades is quite an understatement. With texting, social media, online and app dating, my generation must navigate through a confusing and frustrating dating structure where new rules, guidelines and even vocabulary have been established. Even though the way we meet people has changed and expanded, what’s really changed are people’s expectations and standards. Specifically, I think the expectations and standards for many women have changed. Actually, I don’t think many women have even set specific standards for themselves when it comes to their romantic interests.  

Let’s face it, women have the control, whether they are aware of this or not, it’s a fact. Women set the bar for which men will rise to.  If there is no bar, or no understanding of what it is that they want or expect from men, then nothing will be given in return.  Now when I talk about expectations, I’m not referring to a man’s financial and social status. I’m not talking about, materialistically, what a woman can get from a man. I’m simply talking about the way in which women  allow themselves to be treated by the opposite sex. I’m talking about an acceptance of mediocrity where demanding any type of reciprocity or high level treatment is considered strange or needy and opposes the power shift that is clearly happening.

It’s story time folks…this time it’s a personal one:

In April, I met this guy — we’ll call him Michael — at a fancy awards luncheon in downtown L.A. Michael and his friend — we’ll call him Ben — approached and engaged me in idle chit-chat. They harped on how nice I looked along with other inquiries about who I was. Ben suggested that we should all hang out some time of which I agreed, and Ben and I exchanged numbers. Even though I had wished that Michael asked for my number, I wasn’t opposed to Ben and I staying in contact because he seemed like a cool guy that I could be friends with. Ben texted me that afternoon saying how it was nice to meet me and that we should stay in touch. I told him it was nice meeting him as well and that we should definitely stay connected. I told him to tell Michael to stay in touch as well.

Fast forward 3 months later…it’s the 4th of July. I get a text from a number I don’t recognize and ask who it is. It was Michael. Needless to say, I had completely forgotten about him and was surprised to hear from him. He asked me what I was doing for the holiday and vice versa. The conversation was short and light. I didn’t expect to hear from Michael again, nor did I really care. But he texted me about every 2-3 weeks since the 4th of July, and the convos were always short and light. Our texting didn’t bother me, however I began to ask myself “What does he want?”….”Why does he continue to randomly hit me up?” So when he texted me recently I decided to ask him.

Michael texted me on Thursday morning at 2:34 a.m. — highly questionable hours, I know. Being that he texted so late, or early, I should say, I didn’t respond until I woke up and was leaving for work.  But what was even more random was the fact that he texted me a link to a song on Sound Cloud…(??)  He didn’t preface his text with a greeting; he didn’t ask how I was…he literally just sent me the link. Trying to gain some clarity, I asked him if he made music, and he said no, but that he had made a playlist — again, random. So I responded to Michael:

Me: You know Michael, there’s been a question I’ve been meaning to ask you…don’t get offended. But what exactly do you want from me?

Michael: Not sure how to answer

Me: No worries. Don’t take this the wrong way, but since there’s nothing you want there’s really no need to hit me up until you know.

With my last text, I thought I had ended our communication – said goodbye to him and his confusion. I was wrong. Michael texted me back at 9:55 pm …nearly 13 hrs later lol and this is what he said:  

Michael: Why do I have to want anything in particular?

Michael had no idea of the jewel he had just given me. Within his question lies one of the many issues that comes with our current dating situation. People don’t want anything in particular. Men, specifically,  have been given the option to interact with women without wanting any meaningful connection or having any genuine interest, even if the woman they’re interacting with does.

But why do women allow this?

What is the point in entertaining someone that simply doesn’t care enough?

What’s the point?

I responded to Michael. Since our convo was via text, I had to condense my words and cut to the point, but here I can give you my response in its entirety:

Me: “Why do you have to want anything in particular?”

       Really? Because you should, Michael. You should want SOMETHING.

       Do you want to be acquaintances? Friends? Date? Do you just want to talk? Do you want to get to know me? Do you simply want attention? What is it exactly? You see, there are intentions/reasons behind our actions whether we are aware of them or not, no matter how big or small the action. So my question to you is what are your intentions with me? As a matter of fact, let’s back track.

Michael: Let’s not, Beth relax.

Me: I’m not mad Michael, honestly. Just confused. You hit me up months after we first meet, and, since then, you’ve texted me every couple of weeks or as soon as I’ve forgotten about you. We have yet to talk on the phone and have a real conversation, there has been no plans to meet up face-to-face, and our texting is short and basic. Frankly, Michael, there is nothing that you want from me; you’re actions make that clear. And I have no personal issue with you, I’m not upset at all. I just don’t have time for people who don’t want anything from me and who add nothing to my life.

If you were interested, your actions would’ve shown that. But all your actions have shown, thus far, is that I’m an afterthought – someone to reach out to when you’re bored, and honestly, who has time for that?? We’re too old for this, don’t you think?

If you want friendship – cool. But until you know what you want, there’s no point in randomly texting me every couple of weeks. Don’t mistake this text for anger, I just had to let you know.

Goodnight Michael. I wish you well.

I don’t think you’re a bad guy, you’re just one of many guys who have been allowed by women to unapologetically loiter in their space and, as you put it, “not want anything in particular”.

Peace.

Friends, it felt good to be so direct and honest. It felt good to set both myself and Michael free from his pointless, aimless pacing back and forth within my personal turf, because it was becoming annoying.

Look Ladies, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: if a guy is interested in talking to you, going out on a date, etc. he will let you know. There is no guessing involved. Unless you don’t mind it, you don’t have to engage with anyone whose feelings towards you are neutral and aren’t moving in any direction at all. It seems like a waste of time to me. You don’t have to hold on for fear of not gaining something else, of not meeting someone better, because you will. Don’t accept just any ole thang!

Don’t be afraid to set the bar…there’s someone out there who will rise to the occasion.

New Book Release!

My New Book: “My Quarter-of-a-Century Life Lessons” will soon be available! I’m so happy to have the opportunity to pass along a few life lessons I’ve learned thus far. I have MUCH more to learn, but as I continue to evolve as a person, it is my pleasure to share all that I’ve gained with others. Upcoming book signing to be announced shortly…stay tuned folks!

 

 

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A VALENTINE’S DAY Special: She said, “So where does that leave us?”. He responds, “idk…I’m Regular”.

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This post is in reference to my good girlfriend and the most recent romantic experience she had:    

Let’s start from the beginning shall we?

In the beginning – as with most relationships – it was great. He – let’s just call him “Sir”-  met her – we’ll just call her “Madame” – at an event and was immediately attracted. And from that moment, “Sir” took the initiative to get to know “Madame”. They talked, when out on dates…it was the perfect no-pressure-just-getting-to-know-you situation, where they simply enjoyed the time spent with each other without any expectations. They were, as many like to call it, “going with the flow”, seeing how their relationship would develop.  As time passed, their feelings and attraction for one another grew.

 

However, during this “flow”, they became intimate. It is my personal belief that sex has the enormous potential to change the “flow” within any relationship, but especially in non-exclusive relationships. If two people have sex, but are not committed/exclusive, the nature and boundaries and expectations within that relationship can become blurry, leading to confusion and disappointment. Even though people – especially men- claim that sex won’t change things, it ultimately does.

And that’s what happened with “Sir” and “Madame”. Their sexual relationship, although enjoyable, lead to some minor “complications” – the details of which I will not share out of respect for both parties.  But these “complications” were no ones fault…sometimes shit happens and there is no one to blame.

However, these “complications” scared “Sir” away. He became distant, all the while claiming that he was fine. “Madame” could feel him disconnecting and asked him if he was still interested in talking. “Sir” said that he wanted to continue, but his actions said just the opposite. First, he said his distance was due to “working so many hours”, then he was dealing with “life issues” and soon, the same man that had consistently and enthusiastically sought her out, was slowly and cautiously backing away. He made no requests to go out on any dates, and talking on the phone dwindled down to the most basic of text conversations.

“Madame” confronted him about it, and they had a discussion where “Sir” explained how the “complications” sparked by their sex life made him feel guilty and, therefore, uncomfortable. “Madame” had known for some time that his disappearance was due to this and wished “Sir” would have just communicated his feelings honestly, instead of excusing himself away. Afterwards, “Madame” had hoped that their open dialogue would breathe life back into their friendship…she was wrong. “Madame” texted him, “I’m glad we talked last night…So where does that leave us?”.

“Sir” responded, “idk…I’m Regular”.

 

Uuuuuuummmm. EXCUSE ME??

You’re “REGULAR”????

Are we  at a GAS PUMP or something?? Did you just give her your GAS preference “Sir”?! You’re REGULAR??!!…Are you referring to the state of your BOWELS??!!…are you on laxatives “Sir”??!!  You’re REGULAR??!!…Is this in regards to your moderate MENSTRUAL FLOW?? 

What on earth does that EVEN MEAN????!!!

Well, I’ll tell you and all the other “Madame”s what it means. It means that he simply does not care. It means that his feelings about this woman are now neutral. Despite the happy moments and conversations that were shared, despite the fact that at one point they genuinely liked, cared for, and be-friended each other, despite the fact that “Madame” did nothing but be kind, honest and encouraging to “Sir”, despite the fact that it was “Madame”, not “Sir”, who actually had to DEAL with and overcome any sexually related “complications” by herself…despite all of these things, “Sir” says, “idk…I’M REGULAR”.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

Is “Sir” a bad guy? No, as a matter of fact, “Sir” is not a bad guy…he’s not a bad guy at all. He just did what a lot of people do when in an unpleasant/un-favoring situation: he made it about himself, and, rather than face it or say something, he retreated, leaving my friend, “Madame”, hurt and confused. But what’s perplexing is that I don’t know what he was retreating from. It’s not like these “complications” were that deep or serious or life threatening. It’s not as though “Madame” was upset and blamed him for anything. It was not. that. serious.

 

Do I think he felt bad about what happened? Sure. But I also think that in regards to sex, men have very fragile egos, and if they feel things aren’t going good in that department, they become insecure.  “Sir” claimed that he was just doing what he thought “she wanted”…but he was wrong. His actions only revealed his desire to leave a situation that didn’t go according to his plan. Or heck, maybe he just lost interest, even though he claimed he hadn’t.

 

In any case, “Sir”, I bid you farewell on behalf of “Madame”.  Thank you for walking away from my friend and making room available for someone much better and more deserving of her time. Someone who actually knows what he wants and can COMMUNICATE that. Someone who does not run or cave-in under the weight of their own self-imposed “guilt”, and whose feelings towards her are not “REGULAR” but SPECTACULAR. Someone whose actions consistently and enthusiastically display love, kindness, and reverence. As the song says, “All that Bullshit is for the birds..” So to you, “Sir”, I chuck multiple DEUCES.

 

And for my dearest “Madame”, who I adore and love with every ounce of my being, I say to you: Remember your worth. Never settle for someone who has yet to see your full glory. Follow your gut, your instincts, your God given intuition…your common sense. You know when a situation feels right and when it feels wrong. I know you are hurt, but do not waste your mental and verbal energy bashing or replaying what transpired between you and  “Sir”. Do not feel defeated or disappointed in yourself because you have not lost ANYTHING…you are fully intact having learned another vital life lesson. Valentine’s Day is around the corner, so surround yourself with people who will gas you up with that “PREMIUM” love…leave that “REGULAR” shit alone.

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Fear

FEAR.

Fear can serve as a form of self-protection/self-preservation, but fear can also serve as a veil that blinds us to the truth of who we are and all that we should be grateful for. The goal in life is to be able to discern between the two. 

~B’Epifani

Taking Flight

 

 

The older I’ve gotten, the further I’ve evolved, the more people I’ve shed. Learning to fly light felt lonesome at first. But now I’m able to soar higher with those of like spirits, without the weight of fruitless attachments. 

~B’Epifani~

Word Power

 

“Life and Death is in the Power of the Tongue”.

Be careful of what you allow your ears to hear and what you allow your mouth to speak. Root yourself in positivity and you will bear the fruit of what you cultivate.

~Bepifani~