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JENNIFER'S GEMS
by Jennifer Brown Banks

Beyond Resolutions... Believe in the Power of Dreams! 2007 Could Be Your Best Year Yet

(My Debut on WVON Radio)

It was about 10:37 a.m. when the phone rang at my home office. I was so nervous that I clumsily dropped the receiver on the floor. The pleasant voice on the other end asked “Is this Jennifer Brown Banks?”

…In anticipation of the call, I had spent all morning preparing myself for my radio debut. For this moment. I drank my usual cup of herbal tea, talked to God, and went over some notes I made for myself, so as not to come off as a total amateur. It was too early in the morning for a glass of wine, I reasoned. I put on a black outfit (even though folks couldn’t see me), because black always makes me feel sexy and confident!

 

Then I frantically made last minute calls for a dose of courage---the most important one to my mom, who has always been my biggest cheerleader.

“This is she”, I said. And then, as they say in Hollywood, “It was show time!”

It all started yesterday when I got a call from Bonita Bennett, which I thought would be like our usual creative chats about the magazine. And though we did “talk shop”, before the conversation ended, she mentioned that WVON was familiar with my work, and was interested in having me come on as a guest speaker for their “Relationship Thursday” forum. Me? I thought. I really don’t see myself as an “expert”, as much as I do an incurable romantic who has graduated from the School of Hard Knocks!

I‘ve got a little experience under my belt, and some related wisdom that I feel divinely compelled to share. That’s pretty much my “credentials”. As far as “formal training” goes? My two degrees are in Business Management.

I’m no celebrity either, so I started to say "no". To be honest, I didn’t really know if I was ready or “qualified”. I should also mention, that I don’t listen to radio very much. But who doesn’t know that WVON is a giant in the field?! Who hasn’t jammed to their dusties or boogied to their soulful sounds over the decades?! In my mind they‘re the equivalent of Don Cornelius and Soul Train. Besides, this wasn’t the first time I had been asked to appear on a radio show. The last time I declined.

Then, I thought about how God has opened so many doors in my life that have led me to some pretty awesome experiences. Doors like writing for various, highly circulated magazines, teaching, and landing my own relationship column. Doors like self-employment; and countless other things. What if this was one of them? Did I dare not walk through it? What if I turned it down, and then the opportunity didn’t come again?

Fast forward… So, here I was. Who would have ever thought that a shy, socially challenged person like me would be given a platform to reach thousands of people, and perhaps change their way of living for the better? Who would have thought I’d find the courage? It just goes to show that if God brings you to something, he’ll bring you through it!

What do you dream of? What do you fear is too ridiculous to even utter to another soul? God hears it. And if you trust him, and it’s in alignment with his divine purpose for your life, it will come true for you! I know it, because I’m living it.

The Platform
The topic for the day was celibacy; a topic that I had addressed many times in my writing, and one that my girlfriends and I have discussed at length in living room conversations. And because of the alarming rate of AIDS in the African-American community, this was a topic that definitely merited much dialogue. I was excited and eager, but hoped that the questions wouldn’t be “too personal.” I wanted to be helpful and honest, but I also had to consider that my mom would be listening in! And that’s a whole ‘nother article altogether.

The show’s host, Santita Jackson, was polished, and quite complimentary in her introductions. She made me feel like a “real celebrity.”

“Today we have joining us an incredible author and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. She writes for Being Single Magazine and Online Dating Magazine. And it’s such a pleasure to have her here with us today!”

The first caller happened to be a friend of mine, Mr. Hurley Green, editor of the Independent Bulletin Newspaper. Somehow I was comforted by hearing his voice and having his support. As the show progressed, I was surprised at the candor of some of the guests and audience members. For instance, Darren Washington, (the cutie pie that graces Being Single’s August, 2003 issue, and a lobbyist for abstinence), shared with the audience his walk of celibacy that began for him 12 years ago. (And if I do say so myself, ladies here’s a man worth waiting for)!

Not to digress… he provided his perspectives on celibacy vs. abstinence, and other related views. I was intrigued by one particular comment he made. This wise, 36 year-old man stated that the way he knows he’s in love with a woman, is if he can spend time in her company and not even think of having sex with her. Now that’s deep!

I was also surprised that there were other brothers who revealed that they were not sexually active either. Adding to my amazement too, was the many misconceptions about celibacy. One gentleman caller complained that the reason that he doesn’t dig dating celibate sisters is that they tend to be frigid and full of rules and restrictions. He stated that it was frustrating “romancing” a woman only to later have so many restrictions imposed.

What this guy failed to realize, (as many men do), is that “romance” is not always about sex. And that the biggest sexual organ is the brain!

For me, romance is having a guy bring me chicken soup when I’m sick. Or declare his feelings with personal poetry that he pens. Or a foot massage after a hard day’s work. Or supporting my dreams. True Intimacy can be expressed without intercourse, for those who are mature and multi-dimensional. One of the guest panelists also stated that she tends to be celibate every four years, only choosing to indulge when she finds a man she considers worthy of “dying for”.

All in all, it was an engaging and enjoyable forum that provided much food for thought! The afternoon really was one of the highlights of my career, and made me feel like a big shot, even if just for a little while.

Perhaps the greatest bonus of my “15 minutes of fame” was this lesson I learned:

Hold on to your dreams. Let go of your fears!
With God as your co-pilot you can soar unthinkable heights!

May 2007 be your year to embrace big dreams!



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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.


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