Tag Archives: Revelation

It’s Hard Out Here for a Mom!

2 Nov

2013-10-26 09.24.14I cannot believe my baby girl will be six months tomorrow.  This past half year has been full of excitement, and I am truly embracing motherhood.  Prior to even becoming pregnant, some people would say with sarcastic tones in their voices , “Wait until you become a mother!” or ask, “Are you sure you want to be a mother?”  Though I thrive on being positive and have never questioned whether or not I made the right decision becoming a mother, there is no denying that it can be hard out here for a mom!  I think about how blessed I am to have a flexible teaching schedule  that allows me to spend most of the week with my daughter.  It saddens me to know that many mothers do not have that luxury.  In order to provide for their children, some mothers must work from very early in the morning until late in the evening only seeing their children for dinner, bath and bedtime, sometimes not even for those daily routines.

Having the support of my husband and extended family makes me have an even greater admiration for mothers who are raising their children alone and doing everything in their power to make it work.  Something that always amazes me is how some single mothers make raising children look so easy and almost effortless.  Kudos to you all, and keep putting in that hard work!  I am sure you will reap what you sow within your children 😉

All the best,

Tanya

My “Not So” Random Acts of Kindness

26 Oct

Not So Random Acts of KindnessI’ve always taken pleasure in doing something kind for a random stranger. It could be holding open a door, letting a person ahead of me in line at the checkout counter, or one of my favorites, giving a coupon to a person so that he or she can save a little money. What has occurred to me in the past few months is that my random acts of kindness are not so random.

It all started at Pep Boys.  I was having my car serviced, so I printed out a twenty percent off coupon for me and an extra one to help some random person save what could be more than a few bucks depending on the repair. Usually, there is just one other person waiting, and I’m able to simply offer the coupon, but this time there were three people.  My random act of kindness turned into an intense deliberation over who could benefit the most from the coupon. Should I give it to the senior citizen, the woman with three children or the young guy who could possibly benefit from the coupon too?  How would the other two people feel watching me offer this coupon to the third “random” person?

I then realized that I do this with restaurant coupons as well and have even got my husband in on the act.  If we have an extra coupon for twenty percent off of the meal, we will both look for a large family to give it to rather than an individual.  Or we will seek out older people who may be on fixed incomes.

Every once in a while, especially in supermarkets, I will simply leave a coupon next to the item for some random stranger to benefit from it. But I must admit that I get far more pleasure being kind to strangers directly and seeing the smiles on their faces.  Being kind lets them know that kind people do still exist,especially when many people believe kind people are anomalies. Whereas, stumbling upon a coupon on a shelf is mere chance and may not be perceived as a kind act.  Too often do I give fate a hand and pinpoint what random person should benefit from my kindness.  I want nothing in return from the person (just maybe for them to pass on the kindness), but I do wonder if it is wrong of me to not be so random.

Please share your thoughts.

All the best,

Tanya

Anonomz: Still Embarking on a Journey!!

19 Oct
Tanya Harris Franklin

Tanya Harris 2010

In 2010, I posted my very first blog entry about finding out who I am.  Three years later, the journey of Anonomz (a moniker I adapted in sixth grade), discovering the unknown within me, continues. Though getting married in August 2011 and having a baby in May 2013 has opened my eyes and given me some insight into who I am and how my life has meaning, I now wonder even more if I am headed on the right path or journey in life.

Though I have my individual journey, I must consider how the pathways I take will impact my immediate family. I still believe one of the best ways to address “finding me” is to utilize the gifts God has blessed me with.  In three short years, so much progress has been made. Overall, I feel more confident, especially in my writing and teaching abilities. I’ve written poetry, commentary and on topics that inspire me, and this experience has not only been cathartic but gotten me steps closer to knowing me.  I feel happier with my life too and have learned to appreciate everything, no matter how small or large it may be.

2013-10-11 11.11.08

Tanya H. Franklin 2013

It truly is amazing how getting to know oneself can be so rewarding.  I thank you for joining me and visiting my page as I continue to embark on this journey with a gracious heart and open mind.

Best regards,

Tanya H.Franklin aka Anonomz

Is My Birth Just Another Day?

11 Oct
Tanya H Franklin

Celebrating My Birthday in 2012

Today is my birthday.  No, it’s not a national holiday, mail is still delivered, stores are still open, and sorry folks, people are still expected to go to work. Regardless, this is still my special day!  Sometimes I hear people say with a ho hum attitude about their own birthdays, “It’s just another day,” but is it really?

Having a baby has caused me to reevaluate how I view birthdays.  Even though I have always looked forward to my birthday, especially as a child, I am not one of those people who has a week long celebration.  But why not? Better yet, why not celebrate it everyday?  This is not coming from a place of pretentiousness but from the idea of rejoicing and being happy to be here and have the gift of life. There doesn’t have to be cake and ice cream or a party everyday; just taking a few minutes out of each day to be grateful and to think about ways to improve my life is how I want to celebrate.

My birthday symbolizes the day I made a grand entrance into the world and forever changed the lives of my parents. A birth, for me, serves as hope for the future.  As my mother held me in her arms, I am sure she wondered what I would become and prayed that I would make a difference.  I hope I have made her proud and have made the day of my birth have meaning as I make my contributions to society. Five months ago, I held my daughter in my arms and wondered how her birth might impact the world as well, and I look forward to celebrating many birthdays with her.

Even though I am just another face among billions and billions of others, some who actually might share my birthday, I refuse to believe that my birth is just another day, even if no one acknowledges it but me. With absolute certainty, I can say that my mother would not refer to going through labor and giving birth to me or my siblings as just another day, so why would I refer to my birthday as such? I hope you do not view your birth as just another day because without that day we would not have you ;-)!

All the best,

Tanya

Hi Stranger! Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

28 Sep

IMG_0036Do you speak to strangers? Yes, most of our parents warned us about speaking to them, but I truly believe if more of us spoke to strangers, the world, or just our own neighborhoods would be much more pleasant environments. I know it might sound corny and like something from “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” but I enjoy saying, “Hello,” “Hi” or “Good morning” to people with a smile on my face and in the tone of my voice.  Have you ever noticed how most children, even before they can walk or talk, are so eager to say hi and wave their hands vigorously until the person(s) they are saying hi to responds?  Though that might be kind of creepy if adults did that, the simple gesture of saying hello and being happy to see and greet a person you do not know is cool to me.

Something I have been doing for the past few of years is making a conscious effort to greet people and hopefully brighten up their day for even a millisecond with a cheerful “Good morning!” Interestingly, many people are in such a rush and don’t even look up from texting while walking to say hello, not that friendly and grumble back a response or just prefer not to even be bothered and avoid eye contact so that they do not have to even acknowledge the person attempting to greet them.  Regardless, I am going to keep on saying hello because as Will Rogers said, “A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet.”

All the best,

Tanya

We’re All Made to Matter: Tribute to My Dear Friend Sandy

23 Aug

Four_Fundamental_States_of_MatterEverything around us, regardless of how large or small it may be, truly matters.  To demonstrate this, if you take the preposition in the title of this post “to” and change it to “of,” it completely changes the meaning of the sentence. Even the definition of matter depends upon the context of the sentence.

Matter can be a solid, liquid, gas or plasma; this of course includes humans. However, I am intrigued with the idea of matter mattering. Let me explain. I have seen how my actions, be they simple or complex, can impact someone’s life in a positive or maybe even a negative way (of course this is never my intention) and how people can do the same for me.  This is especially true when it comes to family, friends and coworkers.

Sandy and Me

Sandy and Me at her Son’s First Birthday Party

Someone who mattered to me was my dear friend and office mate Sandy.  Sadly, she lost her two year battle with colon cancer late yesterday evening, and when I think about how she lived her life and how she impacted the lives of others, I find it hard to believe that we, as well as our actions, do not all matter.  She was such a caring person who willingly showed me the ropes when I was first hired as a full-time tenure track professor and welcomed me to the office, literally, with open arms (she gave me a big hug) saying, “It’s so wonderful to meet you Tanya.”  That interaction alone mattered as I was feeling anxious and intimidated as a tenure track faculty member and trying to find my way. Inviting me into her home to meet her family and to even film the first birthday parties of her two little boys also mattered.  Coming into the office to a surprise box of marshmallow peeps (one of my guilty pleasures) courtesy of Sandy made me feel like I matter. There are many more instances, but I will keep it at these three.

She, being the selfless, humble and giving person that she was, never thought twice about helping me or anyone else out. How brave she was as she fought the great fight, never complained and always looked on the bright side!  I often told her how inspirational she was and how I admired her positive outlook on life.  It breaks my heart that I will be starting this semester without my friend and office mate and that her husband will be left without his wife and her two little boys will be left without their mommy, but I am grateful that I was able to tell her how much she mattered to me while she was still here. Please be sure to tell those you care about how much they matter to you. Though I am certain that you, along with your actions, matter to someone too, if no one has told you how much you matter, then allow me to say, “You do matter!”

All the best,

Tanya

Smile? I’m a Natural Born Frowner:

3 Aug
Baby Quinn Smiling

Baby Quinn Smiling

Hurry, grab the camera! The baby is smiling again! I have been obsessed with seeing my baby smile for the first time and every time after that. Interestingly, little Quinn had absolutely no problem frowning or making a face to display discomfort immediately after birth accompanied with a piercing cry. But with eager anticipation, I waited about two months for that first “real” smile (Not from gas or in her sleep).

Why aren’t we natural born smilers? Is it that we have nothing to smile about at birth and are miserable? My husband and I discussed this, and he deduced that it is all about survival instincts, and smiling and laughing will not get a baby fed, but frowning and crying will. I’m sure he’s onto something because feral children who were severely neglected and had little to no human contact typically do not know how to smile and must be taught through human interaction.

Seeing my baby smile for the first time and now smiling each day has me thinking about what a major milestone it is. Imagine going through life and never smiling or not even knowing how to smile. I’m sure we all know someone (Hopefully you are not that someone) who always has a frown or sour look on his or her face or might even have a permanent frown upon reaching a certain age from constantly putting a frown on his or her face in the past. When you were a little baby, someone’s face lit up upon seeing you smile or hearing you giggle, so why not make a more conscious effort to smile as adults? Some people may say, “I don’t have anything to smile about.” But having the ability to smile should be reason enough.

Though I was not always a smiler, especially during that awkward adolescent stage from preteens to early adulthood, I have learned the significance of smiling, and seeing my little girl smile has reinforced that lesson. I always greet her by happily saying, “Good Morning,” and she usually responds with a big smile. This has confirmed for me that how we start off the day and how we greet others is very important for us as well as the people with whom we come in contact. Whether it is a big teethy smile at my students in the morning, a small one at a passerby during a morning walk or at the cashier as I pay for my items, my smile just might brighten up someone else’s day. Have you smiled today? If so, how many times? The more the better is my philosophy.

All the best,

Tanya

P.S.  Keep Smiling : – )

The Ultimate Workshop: Discovering Me!

15 Sep

Tanya Harris Franklin aka AnonomzI just started an MFA program in Creative Writing for poetry, and a main component of one of the courses I am taking is participating in workshops where I provide feedback (I prefer the word feedback to criticism) on the work of my classmates, and they provide feedback, which I try not to take as harsh criticism, on my work.  Having someone look at my work, my heartfelt, overflowing-with-emotions work, has proven to be even more difficult than I expected.  I’ve always struggled with confrontation, shying away from it whenever possible, and in some weird way, I am being confronted about poems on which I have worked so diligently and hard to produce.  Last week, I submitted my first set of poems, and I am pleased to say the feedback was not as severe as I thought it would be; nevertheless, the differing opinions and suggestions and the picking apart of my poems line by line is a lot to process.  It has left me mentally depleted pondering over what feedback I should accept and which ideas I should discard.  Having a support system is wonderful, but how do I not lose my voice as a writer and not simply conform to what others think is best for my work or my writing style?

What’s interesting is that this dilemma has got me thinking about an ultimate workshop: discovering me.  An internal conflict I still struggle with in my everyday life is wanting the approval of others and upholding an image others deem appropriate or noteworthy.  My poems cannot and will not be everything to everybody.  Some people will be quite fond of them, and some people will loathe them.  Therefore, trying to figure out how I should revise my poems or if I should even revise them at all is a pinnacle moment leading to a huge turning point for me.  I am being forced to make decisions on my work, and there is no way around it.  As a result, I am discovering more about me and what I think is best based on other people’s insight.  This line of thinking extends well beyond my poetry, and with each passing day I am finding out a little more about myself, what I like and dislike and trying to figure out how to filter through the beneficial thoughts of others without getting caught up in what they think is best for me.  It will be a lifelong workshop, but I can already sense some growth occurring.

All the best,

Tanya

Profound Hip Hop Quote #28: Ready to Self Destruct?

16 Jul

“I don’t understand the difficulty, people
Love your brother, treat him as an equal
They call us animals mmm mmm I don’t agree with them
I’ll prove them wrong, but right is what your proving them
Take heed before I lead to what I’m sayin’
Or we’ll all be on our knees, prayin’
.” 


—Stop the Violence Movement, formed by KRS One, quoted lyrics by Heavy D “Self Destruction”

Self DestructionAccording to the homicide statistics from the Philadelphia Police Department, there have been 176 homicides this year (including July 15, 2011).  (Crime Maps & Stats)
Of course, this data does not account for other violent crimes such as armed robbery, rape and aggravated assault.   Is there something about the summer or hot weather that causes people to be even more violent than in the winter?  Is it that more people are just outdoors, so they are bound to resort to violence to address issues of contention they may have.

What about when it comes to people of color?  Are some people innately more violent than others, or does the environment in which people are raised or presently residing play significant roles in how they behave?  Last year, there were 306 homicide victims, as reported on Philly.com. Interestingly,  60 of the homicides involved people who were classified as white, and 242 of the homicides involved people who were classified as black.  This means that nearly 20% of the senseless deaths were white people, and nearly 80% were black people.  I am no sociologist or statistician, but this information is alarming.  In regard to neighboring counties and townships, many of them do not have “murder maps” because homicides at the rate they are occurring in Philadelphia would be considered an anomaly in those areas.

What conclusions would you draw if you just went according to the data and did not get to really know the people involved, their plights and struggles? (Not that this in anyway justifies the actions of these violent acts)  “Self Destruction” is a classic rap song where KRS One brought together some of the most renown rappers of the late 80s and early 90s for the “Stop the Violence Movement.”  Even though some of the slang terminology utilized in the song and some of the allusions may be dated, this song sadly still reigns true today.  Most people have heard the phrase, “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”  Heavy D uses this very same message in his lyrics, “They call us animals mmmm  mmmm I don’t agree with them. I’ll prove them wrong, but right is what you’re proving them.”  I’ve heard people refer to blacks and latinos animals.  There are even teachers who do not think twice about using such a derogatory term.  Perhaps you don’t care about what “they” think, but do you care about your family, friends, classmates, colleagues, neighbors, etc. who may eventually wind up on their knees praying and mourning the loss of a loved one?  We’re all in this together, or at least we should be.  Don’t let our people, neighborhoods, towns, cities and nations self-destruct!

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Heavy D chose to drop the “g” from the words “sayin” and “prayin” for dialectical and meter  purposes.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #27: I’m Back With Power!!

9 Jul

“Listen, dude, for you that ain’t in the cards
Think the power is in the gun, but over all it’s in your heart


—TI, “I’m Back”
    View Video

TI "I'm Back"TI, aka Clifford Harris, was dubbed the Jay Z of the south, yet has had his share of run-ins with the law and difficulties staying out of trouble. Nevertheless, there’s something special about this guy. Perhaps it’s that we both share the same surname or that my paternal grandparents also hailed from Georgia.  Actually, his profound lyrics and innate “swaggerability” (Yes I just made up a new noun) are two attributes that have made me a follower of his music.  Regardless of what has went on in his personal life, lyrically speaking, this guy is alright with me.

Ironically, TI’s trouble with the authorities has, more times than not, been associated with firearms or artillery charges of some kind, but he elicits a positive reaction from listeners with his lyrics from “I’m Back.”  These in particular lyrics, “Think the power is in the gun, but over all it’s in your heart,” address an issue all too familiar with people living in the inner city and even in rural areas: gun violence.

Even though I’ve never been fond of guns mainly because of the inauthentic power they instill in people who can impulsively take another person’s life within a flash, I do understand why guns have become so prevalent over the years.  Some people carry guns for protection, others carry them with the intention of committing a crime or causing harm, while others simply get an adrenaline rush of power by having guns in their possession and just going to shooting ranges to practice.

However, who are these people without the guns?  What do their hearts reveal?  Is it anxiousness, fear, confusion, desperation, anger or even worthlessness?  Whatever it may be, people must eventually deal with the matters of the heart because that is where the true power begins, and when it comes to violence, let’s hope “for you that ain’t in the cards.” Address those issues first rather than seeking power in an inanimate object that can potentially cause a lifetime of heartache for animated human beings who are passionate about making this world a better place.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
In TI’s profound lyrics, he chooses to omit the pronoun “you” in the second line of his lyrics, “You think the power is in the the gun, but over all it’s in your heart,”  causing the listeners to refer back to the antecedent, “dude” so that they know to whom he is referring.  Also, as a result of TI excluding the pronoun you, this particular line can refer to anyone who believes that the power is in the gun.