(The DMV)–September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month, and our guest for Episode 11 has a compelling story about how she learned of this disease.
Elle Cole is a writer and founder of Cleverly Changing, a lifestyle blog that focuses on “Empowering the Total Person.”
Elle and her husband have two daughters—twins. One of them has sickle cell disease, so the ups and downs of this genetic disorder are well known to Elle and her family.
As an advocate, Elle hones in on sharing educational information the disease, the trait, how it’s inherited, and about symptoms and treatments. Her blog contains a trove of information about sickle cell that can be accessed 24/7, 365.
In addition to spreading information about the disease, this awareness month can also be a way for folks to “see” each other.
There could be someone familiar to you who has been suffering in plain sight, in silence. Maybe someone you know has a relative, friend, neighbor or someone else in their orbit who battles this disease.
Maybe more people with the disease will meet at conferences, social or fundraising events and end up extending a current support network.
And if you don’t have the disease, maybe you can help be a support, listening ear, or advocate by connecting with already-established organizations to find how you can help their cause.
Maybe you know someone with the trait. The trait is NOT sickle cell disease, but if two people with the trait reproduce, there’s a 25 percent chance their child will be born with sickle cell disease. And if one parent has the trait, it’s possible to inherit that from said parent.For example, I inherited the trait from my mom.
There may not be any serious health ramifications for trait-carrying folks. However, it would behoove them to learn all they can about it and how there’s a higher chance of adverse effects during or after strenuous workouts.That doesn’t mean throw physical exercise out the window.Not even. It just means recognizing some possible symptoms can crop up—that could be a resultof carrying the trait.
I can only speak for myself but, the past few weeks have been the start of increased awareness about this disorder which, I am certain, is one goal of Sickle Cell Awareness Month.
The Air Force produced a video specifically for recruits who have sickle cell trait.According to this video, folks with the trait are allowed to serve, but the awareness video gives them tips on staying safe during and after workouts. I also learned they have to wear a special arm band during their training so their superiors are aware and can be on heightened lookout for symptoms of exertion.
Elle also passed along or told me about most of the following individuals and organizations. This information here is about a podcaster who focuses on awareness for those with sickle cell trait. His name—Farron Dozier of“What’s the Count” (WDC):
On the Cleverly Changing blog, this video has more awareness information about the trait.
For those in the Baltimore, Md. area, The Ruby Ball is an annual sickle cell awareness and fundraising gala. It’s scheduled for Oct. 13.
During Episode 11, Elle mentioned a fitness challenge for moms, the Cleverly Fit Moms challenge.She released the daily fitness goal on her website and social media.If you need some workout encouragement, you can start the challenge at your convenience.
Because about 1 in 13 African Americans carries the sickle cell trait, there is an initiative to bolster awareness about the trait and disease at HBCUs or Historically Black Colleges and Universities.Learn more about the Sickle Cell HBCU College Tour, including how to request a visit to your school.
St. Judes Hospital’s sickle cell program includes information on clinical trials, educational materials, information about navigating school challenges, and videos that help teenagers with sickle cell ease into their adult medical care.
Because she was who she was. She earned first name only status with an exclamation point (ARETHA!) AND ascended to royalty (Queen of Soul).
Because she played a role in the Civil Rights Movement and helped others. Much-much respect!
Last but not least, I’ll miss her for accompanying us through the human experience. She was the only artist who could make me raise a hand, and say a heartfelt “Hallelujah” for ALL the life reasons: From “Precious Lord” and “Mary Don’t You Weep,” to “Bridge over Troubled Water”…
And from “Daydreaming” to “Son of a Preacher Man,” and “Dr. Feelgood,” which could be the reason some of y’all exist today.
Our guest for Episode 10 is one of those people who does many things well! Her name’s Stacia D. Wright, an event and media strategist and owner of B. Reel Media Management, LLC. As I’ve said in previous episodes, small business owners fascinate me because of the risks they take and lessons they’re open enough to learn in order to keep progressing along the entrepreneurial pathway.
Through her business experiences, Stacia has a thing or three to say about knowing your worth, the value of your time and what you bring to any table. If you want to start your own business, her reminder: Working for others has invaluable lessons as well.
In addition to running B. Reel Media Management, Stacia is a wife and mommy. She’s even made a video to help teach her daughter Ginneh how to potty, and was surprised when the tune traveled around the globe to other parents having a doozy of a time teaching their young-uns how to independently use the toilet. Stacia also appeared on a local television station, and the video was featured on the websites of other media outlets as well.
Once upon a time, I used to create hair buns using elastic bands, but I have decided to ditch them for most of my styling needs. They’ll still be used to section my hair or hold the ends of my hair in place for certain styles…but for these updos? Nah, son. I’m done.
Much love for The Puff Cuff! It’s becoming my go-to styling tool for updos!
At first, I was doubtful. But since I learned about this product from someone I deem trustworthy, even though we’re not well acquainted, I was more inclined to take a chance on this styling tool.
So I opted for the family pack. It includes four versions of the Puff Cuff. The four sizes are the Original, Junior, Mini and Micro.
This style was created using one Junior and one Mini. I also use Eco Styler gel with coconut oil and a detangling brush. Once styled, I spritzed a lightweight shea sunflower finishing sheen onto my hair.
Learn how to achieve this updo right here:
This styling tool has won my heart because I can wear a cute updo without using elastic bands, and the Cuff doesn’t generate headaches!
WASHINGTON—God created music, dammit. I’m convinced. And he, she…or he and she…or it or them-there… they put a bunch of it on display last night when David Foster’s Hitman Tour hit D.C.’s Warner Theater.
David Foster is not, as James Comey might say, “out breaking legs and– you know, shaking down shopkeepers.” Nothing like that. This Hitman slays our hearts by taking shaped notes and cranking out hit after hit over decades—so many that you might not know how much this man’s musical footprint has pitter-pattered over your life’s soundtrack.
And it was a great show—aptly titled “An Intimate Evening with David Foster.”
An intimate feel it had with the Warner Theater’s ornate architecture and cozy seating.
Foster accompanied all of us down memory lane with with a team of fantabulous singers. They were EXCELLENT. “I wish I could sing like that,” Foster joked during the set, “then I wouldn’t need them.” He did croon lines from some of his beloved hits as well. And he’s needed, because no one can write what he writes how he writes it.
LAWDY-BE it was a good show! I just hope the adorable 70-something year old blonde lady sitting next to me didn’t think I was too loud when I got all happy and started shouting “YAAAAASSSSS” like I was up in church or something. She didn’t complain.
She also didn’t look 70. But she did tell me she retired from the CIA. #random
Sooooo… I’m a little biased about which of Foster’s guests I enjoyed most. Don’t get me wrong—I enjoyed them ALL. Fernando Varela and Pia Toscano can sing like NOBODY’s business! Whew! But Shelea blew the roof off the motha-sucka!
“I don’t understand why someone like her doesn’t have a show in her own right. She’s good,” CIA seat-neighbor told me.
“Best of all,” I replied, “she’s a genuinely nice person.”
Of course, of all the people on that stage, she’s the only person I have any experience with… I don’t count the 25 seconds I stood next to David Foster–long enough to take a photo after a session at the NAB Radio Show in San Francisco in…2000, I think. Still have that photo somewhere… ##random
The Hitman tour isn’t over. There are still some dates coming up in Florida. If you’re nearby—or not—airplanes still work, lol!
And if you can’t make it, just Google samples of Varela, Toscano, and Shelea. If you ever see them live—methinks it’ll be worth it.
Here’s what I learned in a nutshell—FSRD is almost nine years old, and they have a training program for newbies to get acclimated to derby-style skating. The new folks are called Fresh Meat, and before they can bout, they have to be able to skate a certain number of laps around the derby track—I think it’s 27 or so. Fresh Meat members are also taught other things, including how to fall–kind of like boxing, where you’re taught how to take a punch. They assess their skills before letting them join a bout.
A couple of the ladies I spoke to said they were turned on to roller derby from the Drew Barrymore-directed movie Whip It. I’ve never seen it, but I must do so after the raves I heard today!
@FreeStateRD season opener in the books! Can’t/won’t say it on air, but I’ll say it here: DANG, these ladies are tough… bad@$$, even. I’d have fractured my whole body by now. pic.twitter.com/9Z7H2GkF1t
So question is… Should I try to join the league? It’s been several years, but I know I can hold my own on some skates…but derby style? I’d probably fracture my whole clumsy body. I’ve been described as lithe and graceful, but do not be deceived. Clumsy has always tread just beneath the surface.
Every year for the past decade or so, DC Improv has hosted its own iteration of the No Pants Subway ride which started in New York in 2002 as a prank by a group of guys.
Now, it’s held in January in several cities around the globe—all on the same day.
And today was cold AF. See, a good portion of the East Coast is trying to wriggle it self free from a cold snap that has gripped it by the throat for the past week or so.
I can’t say I know what it’s like to ride public transportation in my panties. And I can’t say that I will ever find out what that is like. Knowing how I am wired, that probably t’ain’t neva gon’ happen.
But what I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed watching a diverse group of human beings… Of different races, ethnicities, I’m guessing they all held different beliefs, jobs and the like… But as one person I spoke to today told me… They’re all just “weird” enough to do something like this and it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.
It was cool to recognize a few faces from last year. Like the blogger from Baltimore, the guy who dressed up as a character from The Walking Dead, and the older gentleman who is a self-described nudist.
And there are the folks I met this year—the roller derby ladies, the man toting a briefcase who was mostly dressed for work except pants, and the woman who participated to celebrate her 45th birthday.
Nah, I may never drop my pants to ride Metro in my drawers, but I definitely appreciate folks who have the courage to do so.
I know why I’m here. My parents copulated and, well… nature kept on moving.
That doesn’t answer the why… it answers the how. Let’s get to why.
The answer to these questions evolves with each stage of my life.
I was writing in my journal… but that wasn’t “writing,” writing. Only dawdle-thoughts in pastel-colored books.
When I was in kindergarten, my biggest goal was to graduate from the 8th grade. When I became a high school freshman, the top two goals became college acceptance and 12th grade graduation. As a college freshman, the goals were were jobs and putting out quality work, exploring and applying for internships, studying and passing tests, taking inventories to know which careers better suit my personality, learning to roller skate backwards, keeping up with my studies, all of this with graduation as the end goal for that pathway.
During that time, I had always wanted to be a writer. I mean, I was writing in my journal throughout college, but that wasn’t “writing,” writing. Only dawdle-thoughts in pastel-colored books.
Here’s a confession. It’s taken me years to accept that my penchant for scrawling notes and story ideas on scraps of paper, keeping small spiral notebooks of ideas, scrawling in journals, and these days, using various apps to store ideas on electronic devices might actually mean something. It’s a sign there’s no shortage of ideas about what to write. However, all those scribblings will be a whole heap of nothing if I don’t follow through by cobbling then crafting these ideas into complete works. It doesn’t matter if they’re blog posts, freelance magazine articles, extra projects for work, or complete books. I am here to think, write, dream, write, establish goals, and diligently work at them to and through fruition.
At work, I have the privilege of telling other people’s stories, which I deeply enjoy. It’s a key part of my life. Sometimes these stories are gleeful, other times, downright sad. But these experiences are important to share. In addition to telling other folks’ stories, I’m also meant to write my own story, in my own voice.
Discovering the deep
Speaking of voice, when I was a little girl, I spent lots of time tinkering around with one of my dad’s tape recorders. The mono, black recorder with the little orange rectangle that users had to depress in order to capture audio. That old school thing. I remember the first time I experimented with it, and recorded myself talking and singing made-up ditties. When it was playback time, imagine my horror when I didn’t sound like some of the high-pitched voices that other little girls at school or on television released from their larynxes.
“You sound like a boy,” I thought, extremely disappointed with reality.
Fast forward to seventh or eighth grade, when I got the first random compliment for my speaking voice. Jump ahead to college, and my boy-sounding voice (coupled with that kind lady’s random compliment which buoyed my confidence) helped land me a job at the campus radio station. Fast forward past more jobs in radio, and I’ve learned to be thankful for both my writing and speaking voices. Even if some poor souls mistake me for a man over the phone. It’s alright. Still thankful.
Because any question or comment is liable to get me singing the closest related tune floating through my mind, I started singing Change the World by Eric Clapton.
Yup, “If I could change the world, I would be the sunlight in your universe. You would think my love was really something good, baby if I could change the world.”
Then I got stuck on the love being something good. Wouldn’t it, if there were more of it?
Here’s why my mind is stuck on love.
Both of my stories for work dealt with tragic anniversaries. A new exhibit at Arlington National Cemetery marks the centennial of United Sates involvement in World War I. One hundred years since 116,000 lives were claimed during the Great War from combat and disease. Those were just folks from the USA. Looking at each country, the number totals spike into the tens of millions. That’s a LOT of people.
Sunday’s second story covered the kickoff event for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in a local county. The whole thing made me want to go weep in the station vehicle. Nine photos were perched on concrete stairs leading to a stage in the middle of a town-center style shopping center. Each photo represented a life cut short by criminal activity. From the cute little boy with chubby-looking cheeks, to the 18-year-old young lady who perished in the Virginia Tech shooting nearly a decade ago, to a 22-year-old who was gunned down, and his family still doesn’t know why.
Each photo represents an unknown number of family members and friends who are left to grieve absences that will never be filled by another human being on this planet. Ever. Each photo possibly represents an unknown number of first responders who may never be the same after working the crime scenes where these victims died.
Where do the tragic ripples end? I have no answer for that, but what seems certain is that somewhere, somehow, love for these victims was absent during the slivers of time it took to commit each crime. Can’t help but think that’s a truism, whether any victim’s life is taken by a stranger, an acquaintance, spouse, lover, or parent.
It’s not up to me to hash out each case and condemn any person. What I deduce is rooted in another song. The world just needs more love dipped in compassion and sprinkled with patience.
If I could change one thing to make the world better, that would definitely be it. Love. More of it. I’ll let it begin with me, and put it to practice the next time I want to curse out an awful driver on the Beltway.