My First (Self-Published) Book is Now Available!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Writing has become a central part of who I am and recently I published my first book! You may find it by clicking on this link.

This brief book, which is published in digital format, will soon be available to library patrons as well. It is a womanist planning proposal, and it summarizes what I have learned (over the last twenty years) about the rebuilding of former black ghettos and predominantly black neighborhoods and communities in urban cities. It is both, a proposal and a love letter, as I reflect on the motivations and business legacy of Ollie Gates in Kansas City, Missouri.

It is also a book that I have dedicated to the memory of John Lee Johnson, who was a major catalytic force in redeveloping the North End of Champaign-Urbana, or an area where black residents of Champaign-Urbana were “allowed” to live. The North End is/was also spatially situated right across the street from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). I had the privilege of following Mr. Johnson for about two years, when I was working on my master’s degree in urban and regional planning at UIUC. I learned so much from him, first-hand, about community and economic development.

If the development of former black ghettos, or predominantly black communities and neighborhoods is something that interests you, then this is definitely worth the read. And, it should not take you more than an hour to read it!

In addition, if you are someone who has supported my writing over the years, thank you, once again, for taking an interest in what I have to say. If you are new to this blog, then welcome to my world!

I look forward to publishing more in the future!

©2019 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

What Can We Learn From Coronavirus About Time?

The things or activities that are important to us are the things that we make time for in our day to day lives.

Likewise, if something or someone is important to us, we will make time for them.

Don’t sit around and wait on time to give you the opportunity to be with them.

That is not how time works.

Time is not a person. It is something that is available to us all so that we can build and rebuild the quality and character of our lives.

Therefore, we must use our time very wisely, because it will not always be there exactly when and how we want it.

And, of course, whether it is a virus or anything else, there will come a time when we will be out of time to do the things that we love, and to be with the people that we love.

So, in light of the Coronavirus, we learn again that we must use the time that we have today to do what we want to do, and to be with the ones that we love.

Today, you can put time on your side. And, believe it or not, this is something that is up to you.

You do not have to become a victim of time.

© 2020 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

A Reflection on Her

This week, I learned that a friend, who is much older than I, is living with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS.

Her decline is something that I cannot imagine, because she was such an inspiring and beautiful black woman.

Every weekend, I spent time with her and her husband. We talked about all of life’s important issues, and we laughed a lot.

At the time, I was supposed to be working on my doctoral research. I let them distract me, and today I have no regrets; every minute in their presence was worth it. They were so authentic: the very essence of blackness.

And, they gave me so much to think about, not to mention hope.

© 2020 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

Red Flag

If a man intentionally harms a woman that he has claimed to love for no other reason than to punish her, hurt her, or make her suffer for something that he did to compromise their relationship or being together, and he is the father of a daughter and he has granddaughters, then you must know that something has probably gone drastically wrong in his life.

© 2020 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

Emotional Abuse: Some Characteristics

What is emotional abuse? Over the years, I have witnessed abuse first-hand, and I have listened carefully to the accounts of others who have been victimized by abusive partners or family members. Here is a working list of some the characteristics that I have experienced or heard about in conversation:

Is emotionally withdrawn, as in makes the frequent use of “the silent treatment” to willfully negate and hurt your feelings; does not ask about your day or your thoughts at all; uses unnecessary scowling and pouting to scare or shame you; displays grandiose or exaggerated anger over minor subjects, conversations, or disagreements; blows things constantly out of proportion; intentionally fails to be present when help or concern is needed; questions your every move, but freaks out if you question them about dang near anything; has an unreasonable and perhaps hateful disposition towards your feelings or thoughts; distorts or negates reality; falsely blames you for the awful things they do to you; consistently hides behind material possessions and uses those things to give them a sense of self-worth; uses material possessions to gain attention, praise, or companionship; intentionally ignores your calls to the extent that it produces anxiety and worry (they use the phone as a weapon); gloats easily; is overly selfish, narcissistic, or has to always be right or the center of attention; dominates conversations (especially with uninformed opinions or facts); shows excessive criticism or rages when you’ve made a genuine, unintentional mistake; refuses to grow up emotionally; expects life to be mostly fun and games, e.g., does not handle normal stress or life’s challenges very well; maintains rigid allegiance to social norms or personal beliefs that reinforce inequality or power imbalances; demands unrealistic expectations of you or your role without previous agreement or arrangement (maybe “in return” for something that they allegedly “gave” you without requesting repayment); has the expectation that you will do for them what they could or should be able to do for themselves; refuses to forgive you when they expect forgiveness or understanding from you always; contacts you by text when they know they have done something to hurt you, but primarily to see if they still have access to you; creates an environment for physical or sexual encounters, but rarely makes the time or space for the development of emotional intelligence or intimacy; dismisses or discourages your innermost thoughts and feelings (and they may actually mock the way you feel); habitually and blatantly denies reality; maliciously or intentionally refuses to be there for you when you are genuinely in need (not just when it is convenient); hurls hateful and hurtful putdowns on you for no apparent reason; bashes your hopes and dreams; accuses you of doing the abusive and awful things that they do; breaks promises and expectations regularly, and as a means to control or punish you; tells many and unnecessary lies; throws temper tantrums when things don’t go their way (i.e., walking out on you or literally throwing you out); makes it seem like you are not worthy of their love, when really it is the other way around; they yell, a lot; they often wake up or come home from work noticeably pissed off making you feel as if whatever is wrong is your fault; blames you for everything that is going wrong; repeatedly makes you fearful or walk on eggshells just to be around them. In conclusion, people who are emotionally abusive are unfortunately very terrifying to be with.

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What Do You Believe?

What you believe about yourself and others will show up in your actions, not in your speech.

If you believe you are worthy, you will act like it and you will make the best choices that you can to experience the best that life has to offer.

If you believe that the lives of others are precious and free, you will treat them with kindness and respect.

If you believe that life is worth the living, you will live it to the best of your ability.

If you respect the people in your life, you will show them that you care about their lives and their feelings.

If you are a good person, you will say and do good things, and you will probably be a giver.

On the other hand, if you believe that you are not a good person, it will be articulated in your actions.

Perhaps you will sabotage just about every good thing that comes into your life, and then fail to take responsibility for the damage that you cause.

The malevolence of your beliefs about yourself will show up in your day-to-day living, and you will probably be a taker.

If you are selfish, you will not care about how your actions affect others (and being selfish is not a sign that you love yourself, rather it is a type of greed or hedonism).

If you are manipulative, you will lie and deceive others to get what you want, and even when what you want could be freely obtained or given.

If you are hateful, you will belittle and spew hate on to others, including those you do not even know.

If you are not trustworthy, you will not trust others.

If deep down you believe that you are not worthy of good things and good people, then you may choose things and people who are not good for you.

Oh yes, I have learned to pay attention to the core beliefs of others (and to my own) by observing their actions, not their speech.

And doing this has enabled me to save my own life.

©2020 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

What Did You Notice When You Were in Love?

Once, I heard from an ex-lover who was upset with me about something that I had said and done,

And he asked me, “Did you notice this or that?”

However, when I thought about it, I realized that my ex did not realize the times that he said and did the very same things, and much worse.

He did not notice or recall the times that his behavior was painfully abusive and absent: totally unacceptable.

He did not notice that he was hurting me and the future of our relationship beyond comprehension.

He did not notice how dishonest he was about his feelings and about his concern for my feelings, or my well-being.

He did not notice how unwilling he was to change and grow.

These are the things that he did not notice when we were together and in love.

And, these are the things that he probably will not notice until he realizes that I am safely in the arms of someone who notices love.

© 2019 annalise fonza, Ph.D.