Janet Harmon Bragg is not a common household name but most of us can experience the essence of her story.
Mrs. Bragg was born in 1907 in Atlanta and was raised to believe “if Jack can do it, Jill can do it, too.” Mrs. Bragg received a nursing degree from Spelman, moved to Chicago, and became a nursing supervisor and then a health inspector. But, in the then home of Black Aviation (Chicago), Mrs. Bragg yearned to fly.
She did all the right things. She was the first Black woman enrolled in a grounds school of flying, earned two pilots’ licenses and purchased a plan, but was denied entry as a WW II Women’s Auxiliary Service pilot because of her race.
Despite her disappointment, Mrs. Bragg earned a commercial flying license. She denied the opportunity to fly commercially because, at that time, those paid opportunities did not exist for African-American pilots.
All the right credentials and experiences couldn’t get her to make a living soaring through the air. Seemingly, her dream and passion were grounded.
Later, an opportunity arose for Mrs. Bragg to purchase an apartment building that she converted into a recovery home for patients receiving public assistance. Another opportunity came and she went on to provide nursing care in a 22 room mansion that also housed students visiting from Ethiopia.
In 1955, the nurse by trade and the pilot by passion was a three-month personal guest of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.
While Mrs. Bragg may have dreamed to be in the clouds, her story shows that with coming through disappointment, opportunities and untapped talents can travel and form in emotional and physical places never before imagined. While her physical plane was grounded, Mrs. Bragg allowed other dreams to soar.
Opportunities can bring forth multiples dreams.
In “Dreams,” Langston Hughes wrote:
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
Call our to your DreamS, not Dream. Keep Soaring!Learn More
You’re doing it again, aren’t you? They are so pleased to see you. You make everyone feel better. You’re the team player who lets everyone shine. Everyone comes to you to solve the problem and to be available and, for the most part, you always achieve that goal. That twinkle in your eye and that pep in your step lets everyone know that you’ve got it right; you’re a winner and such a nice person. Is this you? Is it happening again? Do you get those messages in your head that build you up and lets you know that you must always be there for others? Forget that you’re tired, forget that you haven’t done anything for yourself in so long. You are the master of everyone’s universe. You don’t give to receive. It is your role at work, at home, with friends to never get what you want.
In a little under 9 hours from now, Spring is expected to arrive. The Farmer’s Almanac may believe this to be true; the picture outside paints a different picture. It’s snowing on the First Day of Spring. Plans are foiled again.
That’s life, right? Wake up in the morning with success on the mind. Set new goals: finally going to attack the ever-growing to-do list and mark today as the day to rejuvenate an exercise and healthy eating plan. Then, things go wrong. So much time is spent daydreaming about intended success that the day is started in a rush. The bad mood enters and they view the world with dread instead of anticipation. With all of these barriers in mind, thoughts direct to “Maybe tomorrow” and this wintry weather in Spring sums up life, “Things never go my way.”
Let’s take a lesson from Mother Nature, shall we? We control very little in this world. There’s always a tragedy somewhere, there are always barriers in your life. Certainly how you perceive and address the barriers is what matters. Accept your “powerlessness” and embrace your possibilities. What can you do now to strengthen yourself? What can you do now to address those goals? What can you do now to go from daydreaming to achieving?
What can YOU do? Happy Spring!Learn More
Summer reminds me of good music and as a delicious start of this week, his Royal Badness had another birthday. Prince Rogers Nelson. Had FanGirl stuff been popular back then, I would have been the official Prince FanGirl, but maybe not since I once read that Prince doesn’t like fans because it stands for fanatic. (He’s so amazingly and wonderfully complicated! ) Sorry Prince, I have been and will always be fanatic over what you represent to me.
The magical joy of getting an album, taking the disk out of the paper or plastic sleeve and putting it on the record player, then listening to new music over and over again while staring at the album cover. His soul seemed to seep in and the lyrics played like a movie. The scenery is set and there is bated breath waiting for the crescendo and denouement.
He has many songs that eventually help shape my social views. Prince has become one of my reasons for becoming a social worker.Learn More
According to Biography.com, The Day the Music Died was on February 3, 1959.
“Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and their pilot Roger Peterson died in a plane crash, a tragedy that has been remembered as “The Day the Music Died.”
As a documentary fan, I’ve heard that saying before and could relate since over the past few years, I worried about music dying for me. I saw him elegantly aging; noticing the heels were replaced with soft sole shoes and the extra sexy curled hair or slicked short cut was changed back to a beautiful natural. Man, I knew this would come but my thought was “Please hold on. I have so much more I need.”
April 21, 2016Learn More
In my professional and personal opinion, New Year Resolutions stink. What does one resolve, anyway? I know I won’t gain any new age, spiritually balanced friends when I poo-poo the desire to awaken the inner me by striving to reach new heights through carefully constructed goals usually listed in some downloaded app.
In my experience, my resolutions are my rehashed and tweaked attempts at having a New Life and call it, Me 2.0. Here’s my secret: after 22 1/2 or so attempts, I haven’t met Me 2.0. I’m still in my original packaging. On January 1, I’m determined to dress this package in pretty bows, but by by mid February, the bows wilt and I start my journey of self acceptance (read: the lies I tell myself to justify giving up my goals).
What’s going to be new this year? Instead of action plans and buddy systems, I’m going to try my hand at CONSISTENCY and OWNERSHIP. I think that’s really at the center of what makes my goal a success or failure. Consistently own that I have things I would like to address and regardless if it’s a new year, new month or new day, I have to consistently own and grow from what I SAY is important to I MUST DO what is important.Learn More
I’ve struggled for weeks trying to type the right message to post about depression. I feared being too clinical, too preachy or too whimsical. This deeply personal video perfectly conveys the symptoms and struggles of depression. You may become slightly uncomfortable at 12:46; please hang in there. The insight is too important to miss.
Wishing you Peace and Prosperity.Learn More
Scrolling through my Notes app deleting unwanted listings, I came across this : “What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.” I had NO IDEA where it came from or why I wrote it. I conducted a quick Google search and two blog authors have used the title, Jennifer Barley and Melissa Matthewson. Forgive me. I didn’t read the posts because I had this idea came to my mind and I didn’t want to lose my thoughts.
Vulnerability leads to beauty. It’s like the fragility of a rose; it’s vulnerability to harsh touch makes it beautiful. Roses require a gentle touch. Vulnerability and a gentle touch is required in truly, deeply respectful relationships. We need to show our fragility to our loved one to make beauty rise. When we are harsh with words, deed and lack of understanding, we erode the gloss from each other causing the other person to grow harsh in their words, deeds and understanding.
Be brave, shine through and create roses for each other.Learn More
Colleague circles say the same things about clients wanting appointments. Something similar to, “They will come when they are ready to make the sacrifice to put themselves first.” I agree and I recognize putting yourself first is sometimes hard to do when you already feel you don’t have time.
There’s a tiny twinge of remorse, guilt, whatever it is, on me changing my schedule that will change my availability to folks who are ready for therapy. How do everyday people with jobs and commitments make time to see a therapist who doesn’t offer many evening and weekend appointments?
Pretend it’s the day after Labor Day, okay? The time of year that always excites me.
The crisp air on the walk to the first day of school. It could be hotter than the fourth of July, but for some reason when school started, the air released its humidity and instead of a hurried, stifling rush, the walk turned into a saunter. The night before would bring those nervous butterflies filled with anticipation and excitement and unanswered questions that the following school months would answer. Who am I? Will I pass? Will I make new friends? Will people like me? What time is lunch?
Times have changed and numerous schools open the week before Labor Day. Times have changed to change the date, but the butterflies and questions somewhat remain the same. Who am I? Do I feel successful in the way I define success? Am I taking care of myself? How will I stay connected with my friends and colleagues? Am I doing my best? And the final question on the list – When will I eat lunch?Learn More