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New Poem: More 

My heart hurts for you
Since yours is too numb to feel anymore
As I watch him steal your joy
Both in his presence and when he's gone
I thought u were stronger than that
I see you for who you could be
A single mom
No, a mother who knows daughters tend to follow maternal example
A mother who neglects her desire for comfort zone men
Guys who sit on shelves like teddy bears
For no other reason than they've always been there 
Even though they've long been outgrown
I saw you as a mother who'd spend many a lonely night
Just to show her child what sacrifice was like
Show her that a no good man, 
Is no good, man.
Just because he makes you weak in the knees
Doesn't mean you can't take a stand
I don't understand what you see in him
Or maybe it's what you don't see in yourself
What makes you believe that u don't deserve happiness
You're more beautiful than your situation
You're a snowflake on a summer rose
Rare, delicate, but fading fast
Clinging to something that wasn't meant to last
Your child may be perfect with both your DNA
But you two will always clash
The man laughs at your dreams
Takes pride in your pain
But you stay with him so he continues to do it again and again
Cause for him,
Rejecting you keeps you at bay
And no matter what you say
You're addicted to insults
And used to taking in strays
I pray you see the err of your ways
And that in the novel of you
This will be a ripped-out page
Not to be told retold/ or ever replayed
I wish I could make you hate him like I do
He's laid up with other chicks
Don't you taste her lip gloss on his lips?
He's got your soul in a choke hold
Stop questioning what you did for him to treat you this way
Question what the heck made you stay
And throw so many years of your life away
Pulling tears from your eyes
While Donnell Jones cries in the background
You're too good for that
Too fly to go back
So from this day on vow to move forward
Cause this is worst than a blow to your face
He's given your soul a smack
Left permanent imprints on the color of your eyes
Torn apart the love letter you gave him between your thighs
Nothing you say can change him
Cause leopards don't change their spots
Why would they want to
When it's gotten them thru life all these years
My sister, use a mirror to count your tears, 
Each one from a different fear
Be sick of the way they taste on your lips
Vow never to let someone making you cry a habit
Know that true love stories are still non-fiction
It will find you once you let the fictional love leave you
My prediction
Is that someone will see you
Someone will see YOU
And appreciate you 
Your sincerity, 
Your resilience is beautiful
The features you hate on yourself are perfection
Madame Recarnier
You don't see your own masterpiece
I pray that you'll see that when he leaves 
He won't take away pieces of you
But he'll leave a certain peace within you
You'll see that in overcoming him
You'll find the power that I know you have within

Copyright © 2011 Shanelle Gabriel 

Please do not reprint or repost without my permission


5 Reasons Why Augustana College is Fly:  

1) "We've Got Bahls!" That slogan could be found on many a t-shirt at an athletic event as a tribute to Steven C Bahls, their College President.

2) They were the home of the original panty raid. Around the time of World War 2, the first official panty raid took place on this campus.

3) Students usually ice skate to class. The last snow storm was he first time A.C. closed down for bad weather in 27 years.

4) Annual Rigatta Races: They have an annual race with boats made from old cardboard in the campus pond.

5) The mystery of the mythical cat. Everyone always sees this random cat by the pond, but it's always one has ever seen it sitting or where it is coming from. 


Blog Post: When Helping Hurts ("I'm not giving you s**t!")

I had a discussion with a friend of mine about how he was getting tired of his family members. He is a semi-successful comedian, touring nationally and internationally along with other household names. He's been on BET as well as Comedy Central. He hasn't made it, but he's definitely doing his thing. To listen to his story was inspiring, but apparently when his family hear the story, they hear "Cha-Ching!" He said his brother told him, "Yo, people keep telling me since you're on TV and doing your thang that I should have more." He explained to him, "You said the magic words: I'M the one on TV. What the heck have you done for yourself?"

While many people can't say that they're a celebrity with family and friends all rushing to be down with the entourage, many, if not all, of us have people we know that seem to always have a hand out. They always need "some money to carry them through" or "just a lil favor." They seem to always be WORKING on fixing their situation, but nothing ever materializes. They have POTENTIAL but never any growth. And for some reason, they seem to think that you are the one that they can always lean on in a bind, even without searching for a solution themselves. This could be your best friend from the third grade, your ex-girlfriend who you always have love for, your older sister who practically raised you, or even your dad who helped create you. Your success means to them "We're all successful! They got my back no matter what I do." Now, don't get me wrong. We all need a little help from time to time, whether monetary or a connection. In no way am I saying for you to hoard the blessings that have come your way. But sometimes by helping we are hurting them more in the long run. Here are some things that helping too much can do:

1. You get in the way of them learning some important lessons about actions and consequences. Ever see that mother who always bails their son out of jail no matter what they do? They pay for the lawyer, who knows right after this case, there will be another one. Or your homegirl who right after you help her get her repossessed car. Sometimes you need to say no, so they can really feel the pain of what they've done so that they'll understand they never need to do it again.

2. They never learn how to problem solve on their own. There's nothing more annoying to me than someone who consistently asks a question when the answer is right in front of them. A spoiled kid won't even LOOK for the answer. "Where's the sweater I threw on the floor in my bedroom?" Likewise, there are some people who will never grow up and handle their biz because you keep saving them. Speak up. Tell them how they can do it for themselves. Require a higher standard of them. Give a man a fish, you'll feed him for a week; teach a man to fish, and they'll never bother your ass again. 

3. They won't appreciate it. My friend said she bought her mother a car. Paid in full, the only thing she'd have to worry about is insurance, which would be cheap as hell. The first thing her mom said is, "So you're not gonna pay for the insurance, too?" When you make things too easy for someone, they never learn the value of things. $500 is nothing when it seems to come from the well of someone else's pockets and they haven't had to scramble to get it on their own. Hand someone a record deal who hasn't worked the open mic scene, made a buzz on the underground circuit, or tried to make it on their own. Watch them screw it up. Conflict and struggle allow us to grow and to appreciate the blessings that come our way. 

4. They always forget. As many times as you have bailed them out, when a small argument breaks out, they will be the first ones to write-you off, fight dirty, and call you out on your stuff, forgetting that you were the one who got them through all of these years. The argument could've been over the pettiest thing, but they'll act like it was the definition of your character and treat you as if they never needed you in the past. They may still owe you money, you may have just gotten off the phone with the company you got them a job with, or you may be dropping their child off after an expensively fun day at Dave & Busters. They won't remember that. They'll only remember how you made them feel at that point and time, and call you the Devil when you've been a Saint to them for the last ten years of their life.

5. It always ends horribly. When the time comes for them to pay you back, 9 times out of 10, they won't have it. When you need to borrow the car that you co-signed for, you'll find it got towed for unpaid parking tickets. The trifling ex-girlfriend that you helped them escape from, they'll move back in with. The friend who you help with bills and free daycare who has a husband that doesn't do a damn thing and only pays the bills that affect him directly, will be indefinitely defended and she will throw you under the bus in times of conflict with him. Or worse, your friends will have a dog fight in your backyard, you'll be the one to go to jail for it, and people will put up signs at your football games calling you a "dog killer" wishing you were executed instead of imprisoned. Either way, the conclusion sucks.

6. YOU DON'T HAVE TO. We bend over backwards to make others comfortable and to bless folk with what we've been blessed with. Some situations are good charity and are rewarding spiritually. Others become a curse to your own life. There's a fine balance between helping and being walked all over. Sometimes you just have to let folk live their life, as messed up as it may be. Don't feel sorry for someone who makes bad decisions that they'll pay for later. It's called "Growing up." There's no reason you should have your lights turned out because you helped someone put theirs back on. It's okay to say no. You don't have it. They can't stay at your house for a week. That's not doable. And don't feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You deserve it, and they should respect your decision. Don't let someone feel like it's okay to take advantage of your kindness.


5 Reasons Why University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is FLY: 

1) The campus store has a full line of Motions products. For the sistas with relaxed hair, you know that's some exclusive, dope ish!

2) They recently had a campus-wide snow fight. It was the football players versus...uh, everyone else. 

3) They had the wildest Flash Rave I've ever seen. Imagine students climbing up the library wall & moshing off the roof. 

4) The campus is dead in some parts, literally. There's a cemetary located on campus.

5) The mascot used to be a shoe (Mocassin). Then the college got sued by Native Americans, so they're now the UTC Mocs, which is short for mockingbird.


The Red Pump Project- 3/10/11- Raising Awareness About the Impact of HIV/AIDS on Women & Girls

Every year, the United States recognizes March 10th as National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD). It’s a nationwide initiative to raise awareness about the increasing impact of HIV/AIDS on women & girls and encourages ladies to take action. While progress has definitely been made in the areas of AIDS prevention and treatment, women still represent 27% of all new AIDS diagnoses, with African-American women accounting for 66% of that group. This year focuses on this statistic, “Every 35 minutes, a woman tests positive for HIV in the United States.

In observance of this day, The Red Pump Project is asking bloggers to participate in the third annual “Rock the Red Pump™” campaign: 500 in 50. They have a goal of getting 500 blogs and they have 50 days to do it. And I'm going to help them!

So I posted my poem, "Games" which touches on a situation where lust got a certain guy in a bit of trouble. Click and download it for free!

BlankiTunes get music on


Key Snapshot of the U.S. Epidemic Today:

  • Number of new HIV infections, 2006: 56,300
  • Number of people living with HIV/AIDS: 1.1 million, including more than 468,000 with AIDS
  • Number of AIDS deaths since beginning of epidemic: 583,298, including 14,561 in 2007
  • Percent of people infected with HIV who don’t know it: 21%
  • There are approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. & almost 280,000 are women
  • In 2006, there were 15,000 new HIV infections and 9,801 AIDS cases diagnosed among women
  • There were 3,784 deaths among women with AIDS in 2006
  • Among those who are HIV positive, 35% of women were tested for HIV late in their illness (diagnosed with AIDS within one year of testing positive)
  • HIV is the 5th leading cause of death in women in the United States, ages 25-44
  • High-risk heterosexual contact is the source of 80% of these newly diagnosed infections in women
  • According to a CDC study of more than 19,500 patients with HIV in 10 US cities, women were slightly less likely than men to receive prescriptions for the most effective treatments for HIV infection
  • Women with AIDS made up an increasing part of the epidemic. In 1992, women accounted for an estimated 14% of adults and adolescents living with AIDS in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. By the end of 2005, this proportion had grown to 23%
  • From the beginning of the epidemic through 2005, almost 86,000 women have died of AIDS and AIDS-related complications
  • The largest number of HIV/AIDS diagnoses during recent years was for women aged 15–39
  • New York has the highest number of women living with AIDS – 22,532
  • Seven of the 10 states with the highest case rates among women are in the South
  • The rate of women in D.C. infected with HIV/AIDS is nearly 12 times the national average

HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects minority women in the United States. According to the 2005 census, Black and Latina women represent 24% of all US women combined, but account for 82% of the estimated total of AIDS diagnoses for women in 2005.

HIV is the:

  • Leading cause of death for Black women (including African American women) aged 25–34 years.
  • 3rd leading cause of death for Black women aged 35–44 years
  • 4th leading cause of death for Black women aged 45–54 years4th leading cause of death for Latina women aged 35–44 years
  • The only diseases causing more deaths of women are cancer and heart disease
  • The rate of AIDS diagnosis for Black women was approximately 23 times the rate for white women and 4 times the rate for Latina women
  • In 2006, teen girls represented 39% of AIDS cases reported among 13–19 year-olds. Black teens represented 69% of cases reported among 13–19 year-olds; Latino teens represented 19%.

These statistics were from The Center for Disease Control’s website and the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Fact Sheets (which cited the CDC). You can get more information about the effect of the epidemic from these sites.

P.S. We’d appreciate if you could tweet and/or post messages on Facebook about the “500 in 50″ campaign and why you’re fighting AIDS. This will help us spread the message about the campaign and encourage your networks to join in too! Don’t forget to include the hashtag #500in50!