Tag Archives: bentrivka

Unpacking Authenticity and a Happy New Year!

31 Dec
As I reflect upon my incredible learning journey of 2019; delving deeper into understanding cultural curiosity, diversity, inclusion and equity, I continually stumble upon the “authenticity” term and find myself pondering it. I so value the opportunity the word presents. I gratefully succumb to being my authentic self in personal and professional relationships. Though code-switching is integrated into our social constructs, I am challenged to don the cloak of authentic perspective when the “switch gear” is enacted. I appreciate and meet this challenge!
However, today with the finality of 2019 upon us, I find myself mulling over this concept of authenticity. Questions that come to mind are as follows:
1) Is being authentic excuse to not grow or change?
2) Who are my personal authenticity police officers?
For my own answers to 1 & 2, I am reminded that being authentic does not mean static and staunch. It means I am a fallible human in need of continual learning and my “police” are those individuals put in my path to ensure I continue to open my mind, heart and ears to growth.
The authenticity piece is understanding who I am, how I got here and the need for continual support along the way. My police officers are many and can be found in various locations within my sphere of influence. Some of these individuals I’ve never met, such as Eleanor Roosevelt. Some are as close as my most intimate partner, my husband. Some are well aged and several (and many) are still skipping through their youthful years. The range of support, for me to be authentic, is a wider cast net than the actual Me, Myself and I concept found within the “be authentic” principle.
Bottom line…for me to be truly authentic, others need to embrace me where I am at and see the value of investment in the potentiality of my growth. Gratitude abounds for me here at this juncture, as I unpack authenticity and find a village inside.
Blessings to all for 2020!
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Where’s Rivka?

8 Sep

Hi world,

I’ve been holed up in the prison of my mind. Thinking many thoughts, engaging many feelings and investing in hard work. This past year has been a doozie for me and “making it through,” the analogous energy-zapper, meeting me daily at my doorstep. Most of my expression of the past year lives in perpetuity on my instagram page: @mybentlife

I will return soon. I feel the slight heat of a new ember within. The momentary pause of an unrestrained timeline will lift, eventually. And with it? Who knows…

Be assured that my eyes are open, my ears attentive and my spirit alert.

xo, Rivka

Gold Star Mother’s Day

30 Sep

Stepping into a new world, one learns the culture slowly. I am one such person when it came (or comes) to military association. In fact I didn’t know there was a Gold Star Mother’s Day until Maria Shriver reached out, about three weeks ago, and asked me to write a piece in honor of the occasion. I have used the Gold Star name association in the past to help convey to people quickly that I, and my family, are “a man down.” I have also done my research on the Gold and Blue star flags and their meaning to ensure I qualify. At any rate, I won’t go on and on about it because I can simply direct you to MariaShriver.com where she has shared the piece today. And of course, you can also read it here below–


The Label of Love, by Rivka Bent

I confess, labels are hard for me. Not that I don’t love several brands whose label signifies something special. I do have dreams of owning a true Chanel dress and a brand-new pair of Dior shoes. But I choose instead clothes that conceal the label just as my only pair of Yves Saint Laurent shoes are devoid an outer marker. It is just a weird quirk of mine, this label aversion. There is one label I love, however, and for which I make an exception. It is the label of Mom. I have absolutely loved wearing this label since earning it 27+ years ago.

When my children were young and called for me, “Mooooooooommmmm,” the name actually sent a soothing calm over my being and brought a satisfied smile to my face. I did not dread the name calling, I very much embraced it. As my son inched closer to adolescence, he replaced the long-winded call with a quick witted “Mama.” To which I answered by quoting the goofy country song, “Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys…,” and would then happily attend to his summons while enjoying the giggle of my own absurdity. Both my children have called me “mom,” and no matter the tone, the label for which it stands has been a source of joy for me always. In fact, it is the label of mother that really struck me about Maria (Shriver). I felt an indirect empowerment from her simply because the first word choice in her biographical title is that of mother. Her inclusion showcases the importance of that role for her and touches me because I echo her sentiments and have loved every minute of my maternal work.

Given this little snippet into my label challenges and my love of mothering, one can imagine the wrestling I’ve had with the seal of Gold Star Mom. While I have sometimes used the new moniker in attempt to ward off further conversation about my son and his demise, concurrently I have also been hiding from it. Quite frankly the Gold Star Mom label I never wanted. But then what mother does? In my grief I see the label as solidifying my story, a reality that’s not supposed to be mine–ever! And even with the understanding that this new status symbol acts as a deflector of sorts, I still question its label value and why I would, or should, showcase it.

With Gold Star Mother’s Day coming up on September 30, my mind is fixed on the company of women to which I now belong. It is in recognizing these other women, I have been better able to see myself. As such, I’ve actually had to set my kicking and screaming aside and allow the honor of the label to shine. My resistance is testament to all of us wearing the brand, for none of us wants to belong to it, let alone wear it! Yet each of us has a story associated with the gold star, and beyond our story is the honor of the sacrifice of our child. If I allow it, my Gold Star tells the story of the 400+ people in attendance at the military processional for my son at the National Cemetery where he is interred. It also speaks of the 21-gun salute signifying his Honorable burial, and then lingers at the somber Presentation of The Flag from the knee-bended Marine who humbly bestowed me the triangular folded stars and stripes. It, tells the story for me.

I am learning, albeit slowly, to wear this Gold Star Mom label with the dignity it is due. Not to shine light upon myself only, but to shine light upon the pathway of honor taken by my son in his short-lived military career. This same recognition glistens brightly for all Gold Star labeled mothers. We wear the label because our fallen are honored by its significance and honoring them is testament of our undying motherly love. Please consider, this 30th of September, to treat an active military person to something special and please, do it in honor of their mom.

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