Photo from plane while flying over Salt Lake City, UT headed towards San Diego, CA.

My Trip to California…I’m Still In Love

Photo of tree at La Jolla Cove. Taken in San Diego, CA.
I just liked the texture and shape of this tree in La Jolla Cove. Taken in San Diego, CA.

It was a pleasure to return to California for the second time this year (my second time thus far). Once I arrived, my reasons for falling in love with this place the first time, immediately came back to me.

Photo of a fisherman and pelican on the pier in Oceanside, CA.
A fisherman and pelican on the pier in Oceanside, CA. The fisherman would feed the pelican smaller fish from his catch.

There’s something about the sunshine, beautiful landscape and laid back energy that soothes my soul.  I simply connect with the land innately.

The best way I can explain is to say California connects with my spirit.

Photo of pelican cleaning it's feathers at the pier in Oceanside, CA.
Pelican cleaning it’s feathers at the pier in Oceanside, CA.

Alyscia takes photos on the Oceanside Pier in Oceanside, CA

Photo of an optical binocular on Oceanside Pier.
An optical binocular on Oceanside Pier. I haven’t seen one of these in a while.
Photo of the Oceanside Pier.
Headed out of Oceanside back to Del Mar, CA.

I don’t believe in perfection, so as anything else, it has its ups and downs. One of the biggest downs being the lack of cultural diversity on the south side of Cali (San Diego), which is the area I adore in particular. However, I haven’t visited northern California as yet. That will be my next trip.

My children, being in a classroom where they are not singled out as the only black  is very important to me. All things considered, before making the leap I realized I have some planning to do. That word “planning” is a bit foreign to my spirit. I almost always get up, go and know it will all work out.

At this point, however, I realize that for the sake of my children and sanity (this mama will be at the school everyday if there are issues) planning is our best option.

Regardless, I still breathe spontaneity :).

My reason for visiting this time around was to speak at the Green Festival in Los Angeles. The organization selected me as a presenter and I spoke on the topic “Embrace Your Natural Beauty”. As always, the audience was receptive to my message.

It was eye-opening to hear a man’s perspective of beauty at the end of my presentation.  He asked for the mic to thank me for my appearance then went into a brief personal story about his experience.

He said he struggled for many years with low self-esteem, was over 400 lbs while in his 20’s-30’s and pretty much lost hope. He then mentioned how much of a blessing it was to have met his lovely wife (pointing her out in the audience). The love she showed him gave him hope once again.

She saw past what HE thought was unattractive and loved him for who he was. From then, learning to love himself in his own skin,  and gaining a different perspective, led him to loosing  close to 300 lbs. He also worked through his issues of low self-esteem.

How wonderful was that!

Although I am sure there are other men/boys who have encountered similar struggles, this was the first time that I’ve personally heard a man openly express his experience of self-imagery, challenges and triumph.

I realized that men have trials of self-acceptance as well.  Unfortunately, I believe they do not have the opportunity or platform to express it as they should.

Our society tends to focus on women and girl empowerment. Although it is vital (this is my focus as well), sadly we forget our boys.

The fact is, just as a little girl learns how a man should treat her by the relationship she has with her father, our boys learn from us their mothers.  And in many cases (not all of course – just putting that out there for my sensitive debatable folks) how a man treats his significant other is a direct reflection of the relationship he had with his mother.

My point is, we tend to forget our boys but we can’t afford to. We need to hear more of their stories and aid them through their human experiences.

So maybe it’s time for Masculine Transitions? Something to think about.

Photo of a little boy for Alyscia's upcoming book project 'Masculine Transitions'.
I started shooting ‘Masculine Transitions’ back in 2010. I focused on Feminine Transitions and therefore didn’t continue but I am reconsidering finishing this project. This handsome young man is my nephew.

Back to my story… 

After the Green Festival, I met up with a few of the ladies (and a husband) of Black Female Photographers (BFP). That Saturday, September 14, 2014 was the 3rd Annual National Black Female Photographers Day (#NBFPD). It provides an opportunity for our sisters in photography to reach out to their communities and with them, explore the beauty of their cities through photo tours and to share their love of photography with others.

Picture from 3rd Annual National Black Female Photographers Day at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA.
Picture from 3rd Annual National Black Female Photographers Day at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA.

 

Picture from 3rd Annual National Black Female Photographers Day at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA.
Picture from 3rd Annual National Black Female Photographers Day at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA.

 

Picture from 3rd Annual National Black Female Photographers Day at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA.
Picture from 3rd Annual National Black Female Photographers Day at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA.

Not only was it nice to connect in sisterhood, but was wonderful to associate off of social media (I joined via Facebook over three years ago) and learn about the history of that particular area of LA. Fellow BFP Ysa Adams, was a wonderful host. Much thanks and admiration for Kym Scott, the founder of BFP, for organizing this annual event!

I had to depart from the group earlier than the others since I had to get ready for a meet and greet with WAM!LA (Women, Action & the  Media, Los Angeles).  Before the Ladydinner with WAM! I met up with Angela McCrae, a friend who move to LA from MD. Angela and I went to elementary, Jr high, high school and college together (the 2 months of college I bared at Morgan State University before dropping out and going to Montgomery College – the university scene just wasn’t for me).

I first met Angie in the 6th grade (when I first moved here from NY). After 23 years, she still possess the character traits that I believed connected us from the very beginning. We were always cool. That’s true sincerity. I always say, little people are simply that. LITTLE PEOPLE. Their personalities don’t change, it only develops. With that in mind, make sure your raising good people.

Nonetheless, it was great seeing you Angie!

Alyscia and her friend Angela and I at a restaurant/bar in Santa Monica, CA.
Angela and I at a restaurant/bar in Santa Monica, CA.

Later (yes my day continues) I finally meet up with the ladies of WAM!LA as the special guest for the Ladydinner at Lula Cocina in Santa Monica. I was invited to talk about my book Feminine Transitions.

Photo of myself along with the ladies of WAM!LA (Women, Action and the Media Los Angeles) for the Ladydinner in Santa Monica, CA
At the #Ladydinner with WAM!LA (Women, Action and the Media Los Angeles) in Santa Monica, CA.

First off, I truly believe in the core values of WAM! and feel it is in line with my message of social change that I currently and will continue to promote.

That night, I networked with an amazing group of women, had great conversation and a delicious meal.  Special thanks to Melanie Klein for organizing such a wonderful event! We shall meet the next time around.

Overall, and once again, I had such an exceptional time.

Weeks before leaving for California, I connected with two San Diego Meet Up groups. Black Women of San Diego and Women Hikers of San Diego. I’m sorry I didn’t  capture any pictures of the Meet Ups but the memory will always remain.

One thing I cannot deny is the power and connection we create as women. I am a firm believer in the “village” saying as well as the power of sisterhood. Unbiased, trustworthy, loving, lean on me type of sisterhood love. Despite our situations, status and decisions we make in our lives, when we get together we connect on a level that relieves stress and ignites inner strength.

We create life, calm the beast, kiss a cut, make it feel all better and are the true nurtures of life.

Together as girls and women, WE ROCK THE WORLD. So let’s rock!

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With that in mind, I am learning not to judge as we are imperfectly perfect. At this point in my life, I choose who I allow the privilege to be a part of my life. However, I understand that we are all human and our current circumstances are in most cases an outcome of our past. As long as one is willing to listen and be honest, completely honest, with one another (something I always say…if you don’t want honesty, don’t ask me for my opinion), our experience in this world will be much more rewarding.

I give thanks for the light of the universe for always granting me favor (even if I may not see it at that very moment).

Thanks to my Uncle and Kiva Zip contributors for making my trip to the west coast possible. Thank you my dear Sister Trista Hendren for your dedication in support of my campaign and spreading the word like wildfire. You consistent posting helped to make it a success! I have nothing but love for you.

Click here to learn how you can help businesses grow around the world by lending to 0% interest loans. Making a small loan can change a life.

Wishing everyone healthy family relationships, genuine friendships, and true love and happiness.

Peace & blessings,

Alyscia

Alyscia Cunningham on air with Claudette Lindsey, host of WEAA Caribbean Exchange.

Kiva Zip | A and C Books, LLC

Kiva Zip | A and C Books, LLC.

I’m only 5 contributors away from my loan going public on Kiva Zip. This means, my campaign will go live on the site for the public to see once I reach my goal of 5 more contributors. I’d really appreciate it if you could contribute as little as $5 to my loan!

This loan is important because it will allow me to expand my message of social change to an audience of over 30,000 at the Green Festival in Los Angeles, CA. I am also connecting with several Women’s Studies Programs to inquire about being a guest speaker their classrooms. In case you lost the link, here it is again: https://zip.kiva.org/loans/5380/i/u0hr

This is a loan, not a donation, so your money will be returned as I pay back my loan. Your support means a lot to me! Hope that you can help with a loan of $5 (or more) and share this with your network!

If you prefer sponsorship opportunities, visit my Speaker Sponsor profile here.

Thank you!

feminine-transitions-essencefest

Feminine Transitions at #EssenceFest

I am more than happy to announce that Feminine Transitions will be included in the Essence Music Festival this year.  It takes place in New Orleans, LA from July 3-6, 2014. This means…it starts today.

Whether you have plans to attend or know someone who will be attending, please share this blog post. It will be available at the bookstore beside the EmpowerU Stage. Pick up a copy for yourself and/or a gift for a special someone.

Find out more at www.Essence.com/Festival. Thanks in advance for your support!

Blessings,

Alyscia

feminine-transitions-essencefest

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