Dirty-Thirty Blues

 

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Sooo, I entered a new decade and turned thirty this year.

I wish I could say that I was excited about it, but I honestly wasn’t. There were a few reasons for my lack of enthusiasm:

1). I think, generally, in our society, to age and to be a woman is often seen as a bad thing. In Our country, a woman aging is the worst thing that could happen. As a woman ages she depreciates in value — for some. Therefore, as women, we do what we can to “stay young”. We exercise, eat certain health foods, we douse ourselves in make-up, get surgery, buy tons of anti-aging creams and anti-wrinkle creams — we do what we can. And to be honest, I felt that turning thirty was the jumping off point where I would start to depreciate in value, and the things that were once vibrant about me would begin to fade in the eyes of others — myself included.

2). I think I would’ve been more enthusiastic if I felt like I had accomplished certain things before I turned 30. I felt like I was not where I wanted to be professionally and financially, and that was a little disheartening. 

 

I felt myself sinking into an emotional and mental slump as I began to re-play self-critiscm, fear, and disappointment like a record in my brain. I knew that I had to change my self-talk fast before I ended up in tears, buried underneath my comforter. 

“Bethanee, stop. This is crazy!”, is what I told myself.

And it was crazy. I had to remind myself that I do have value and that aging is a privilege. There are plenty of people who did not live long enough to even make it to thirty. Especially to age while being a Black person is a great thing, seeing as how our lives are often tragically and unfairly cut short at the hands of someone else. To simply be Black, healthy and alive is a tremendous feat on its own. I think our society has to re-frame the horror story we have attached to “age” and look at it as part of our personal evolution that is beautiful and exciting. 

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And the beautiful thing is that I get to choose. I get to choose how I am going to perceive my age and aging altogether. I get to choose how I am going to feel about it. And I refuse to feel bad and fearful about getting older. I refuse to feel disheartened by something that is out of my control. Instead, I choose to remain excited for all the good that is to come. I choose to remind myself of my worth and my value and that, if anything, my value will be recognized because overtime I have attained skills and nurtured talents that others will appreciate. I am seasoned and have acquired a certain flavor that I didn’t have before… a flavor that only comes with time.
I choose to love and celebrate my body and my beauty at every stage, even when the rest of the world says that I shouldn’t.

I will celebrate.

I choose to be dope and fly up until my final days. I choose to take care of my body and my mind so that I can live my journey with good energy and vitality. I choose to look at aging as a blessing because there is only one other option — death. I am not ready to die any time soon, so my only other option is to live. And to live means to constantly evolve into another year. 

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In regards to being disappointed that I am not in a “certain place” by now, my response to that is, “Who said that I was supposed to be at a ‘certain place’ and where and what exactly is this place?” I think it’s great to have a vision for your future, but it’s also imperative to be flexible with your timeline. I was reminded that not everything goes according to our very strict and sometimes unrealistic, immature, and unforgiving timelines. I had to ask myself, “Is this timeline something that I wanted and designed, or is this timeline something that society (social media) said I should want and have by now?” I had to make sure that I was charting my course according to what was best for me and not anyone else. You must listen to your inner voice—the Higher Voice of God— and get clear.

Sometimes the things that you want for your future are subject to change as you grow. The things you thought you wanted prior, may not be what you want now. Give yourself the freedom to allow your vision to change and or expand. This is what I had to do. What I wanted in my 20’s is different from what I want now. Time has given me clarity.

 
Adjusting your timeline and your expectations can be challenging considering the societal pressure we all feel to succeed, but it has to be at the right time for me. And sometimes what I thought was the best time for me, was, in fact, not the best time for me. I have to be patient with myself. I am my worst critic at times, and I need to be more complimentary. Instead of being ashamed of what I feel has been a lack of progression, I must stop, look back, and remind myself of what I have accomplished thus far and be proud. I need to have faith that I am being guided wisely and that the work I have put in will pay off. 

 
God doesn’t introduce you to something until it’s your season — until you are ready. I can honestly say that I wasn’t as ready then as I am now. I have acquired more wisdom and knowledge. I have grown in self-awareness. I will forever be a work in progress, but I am better now than I was in my 20’s, and I can proclaim this, knowing it’s 100% true.

I’m simply better now than I was then.
And this is how I will look at aging.
I am wine. Time is on my side. 

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Valentine’s Day Special: “I’m Still Here”

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Well, folks, it’s Valentine’s Day. And instead of talking about more pressing issues like police brutality, global warming, the wage gap, or the incessant news coverage of Donald Trump’s stupidity, I have decided — for the sake of my sanity and the desire to unplug from worldly drama — to dedicate this post to Valentine’s Day.

Now, I’ve never paid much attention to Valentine’s Day. Although I appreciate the concept behind it, Valentine’s Day was just another day for me. I mostly looked at it as a commercial holiday and nothing more. Perhaps, it’s because I’ve never celebrated the occasion with anyone I was romantically involved with. This year won’t be any different. I am single, therefore, it will be just me and my single girlfriends choosing to acknowledge the love we have for ourselves and our friendship, rather than anything romantic. 

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For some, it might sound sad. The idea of single women on Valentine’s Day sounds much sadder than the idea of single men on Valentine’s Day. Lord knows how much pressure our global society places on women to have and keep a man. Women are sent daily signals about how our worth is dependent on a man choosing us and publicly claiming us, which, of course, is complete bullshit. Despite the bullshit, it’s hard to ignore the impact this conditioning has on women and our self-esteem. So when Valentine’s Day comes around, and we are still without a “bae”, it can lead to women feeling sorry for themselves and worrying about their romantic futures. I understand, I’ve had those same worries, not because of Valentine’s Day, but just as a result of running into guys that I never fully connected with.

However, don’t cry for me Argentina, because I am not sad about being single on Valentine’s Day. Not having a “boo” has been the least of my concerns. This past year has been such a learning experience for me. Stepping out on faith to lay the foundation for my own business has revealed both my strengths and my weaknesses. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve made great strides, I’ve cried, I’ve doubted myself and the gift God has given me, I’ve met some great people, I’ve considered quitting and going back to a stable job, I’ve cried, and I’ve ugly cried, I’ve considered securing a sugar daddy, and I’ve cried some more. But I’m still here. Granted, I’m not where I want to be, but I’m still here, and I am entering a new level of self-acceptance. I love who I am and that is something worth celebrating.

Growing up, I never had an issue loving myself, but this past year sent my self-love into question. Walking my path as a motivational speaker and dealing with adversity along the way made me question the love I had for myself and my talents. But I have chosen to not only embrace my growing pains, but to also embrace all of who I am: the parts of me that are great and the parts of me that are still in development. I have chosen to see myself in my entirety, proclaim my beauty, understand my perfect imperfections, and love myself again. I choose to love myself unapologetically, and during moments of insecurity, and with more passion than any man professes he can.e88cbf0e412471bc844088ac9b9b5efd--black-women-art-black-girls

I choose me.

I now know that when I thought I was breaking, I was actually shedding the pieces of me that I outgrew. I was having a break-through, not a break-down. I will acknowledge Valentine’s Day and every day henceforth as a day of triumph for self-love, instead of self-loathing. I will toast to this journey, how far I’ve come, and how many times I chose to stand back up after crumbling down. I’m still here.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Cheers! 

 

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A Reputation Scorned

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Ya’ll, I Love Netflix. From binge watching episodes of my favorite shows while eating talenti ice-cream from the container, to catching up on thought-provoking documentaries in the wee hours of the night…Netflix is “bomb”. With that said, I was tuned in to the conversation surrounding comedian Monique and her very public conflict with Netflix regarding the deal they offered her for a comedy special. They presented Monique with a pretty low, insulting deal, and she refused it. In the court of public opinion, everyone has various thoughts on how Monique should’ve handled the situation. Some were on her side while others were not. She was either respected for what she did or heavily criticized — which tends to be how the court of public opinion works. Whether or not you agree with what Monique did is not the focus of this blog post. The focus is, instead, on the importance of one’s reputation.

 

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Monique is a comedy legend with many accolades attached to her name, however, her public beef with members of Hollywood (i.e. Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Lee Daniels, Lions Gate) has tarnished her image in the public eye and to those who would consider working with her. This slander has impacted her livelihood and has made people think twice about doing business with her. Whether or not her tainted reputation is embedded with truth, I see her fighting against this negative image, but to no real avail — and I feel bad for Monique. Not to mention, simply being black and being a woman can be seen as two strikes against you. Sometimes it can be harder for a woman — especially a black woman — to re-claim her image in the public eye than it would be for a man.

 

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But all of this got me nervous about my own reputation and how others perceive me. I am an author, motivational speaker, a new entrepreneur and, of course, the concept of “branding” has been brought to my attention on a few occasions. In my eyes, your brand is your reputation and I started thinking about how I wanted people to view me. Granted, no matter what one does, everyone will not always have the best opinion of you. This is fine because you can’t please everyone at the risk of losing who you are. However, I started thinking about how a lie, a misunderstanding, or someone simply disliking you can have an impact on your reputation — if you allow it.
I feel like the best way to counter a negative opinion is to operate past it. You can’t always stop unfavorable chatter, but you can continue to showcase yourself in a way that best represents who you are. Eventually, the consistent image that you portray of yourself, coupled with consistent action, will strongly oppose all the non-sense that is said about you until it completely over-shadows the gossip. Your good reputation has to be stronger than the negativity, and only you are in control of that. I have to keep in mind that as I continue down this journey of entrepreneurship and motivation, the best thing I can do to thwart any potential slander is to remain true to who I am and be myself. I believe my inner light is equipped with enough brilliance to chase away any darkness.

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All Counsel is not Good Counsel: My review of “The Last Black Unicorn” by Tiffany Haddish

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Like many people, I have come to love and adore Tiffany Haddish. Her authenticity, her simple joy in being herself is what makes her captivating, and it’s why we cheer for her and want her to win. She is real. She is one of us…a reflection of “everyday people”.
As a new fan, I was excited when her book came out and I readily went to Barnes and Noble to purchase my copy. I enjoyed learning about Tiffany’s story and how she ultimately triumphs and overcomes her hardships.
However, there was one part of the book that I found somewhat surprising and troubling. In this segment of her book, Tiffany shares a dialogue that she has with Jada Pinkett-Smith. Jada offers Tiffany advice on how to acclimate to her new fame — it was Jada’s advice that I found surprising and troubling.

Some of the dialogue goes as follows:

 

” When I was in LA, I posted a picture of myself on Instagram in a dress I thought was nice. Jada hit me up on text:

Jada: Get a better dress.

She sent me all these links to these designer dresses, but they’re like $500.

Tiffany: Jada I feel fly in my $85 dress.

Jada: Who made it Tiffany?

Tiffany: Who cares it looks good

…. She gave me three more Givenchys and a wallet…she left the price tags on everything.

Tiffany: Why are you leaving the prices on if you got it free?

Jada: So you know the value of what you’re carrying around. You got to carry yourself like you’re valuable, and you need to have valuable things. When this movie comes out, you’re going to be an A-list person. This is what I was talking about in that text I sent you.

Tiffany: What do you mean? I like my $85 dress.

Jada: Tiffany, you want to wear designer clothes, because people are going to be seeing you, you’re gonna be in the eye of the public and they’re gonna be like, What are you wearing? If you say Chico or Ann Taylor, that’s not going to work. You need to be wearing designers. It sets you apart from everyone else and puts you in a certain class level. If you want to be considered top-notch, you need to wear top-notch things.

Tiffany: But Jada, this stuff costs money. I appreciate your gifts, I really do, but I can’t buy this myself. I have to be smart with my money, and save it. I gotta stack my chips, not spend’em.

Jada: You absolutely should be smart with your money! If it makes you feel safe to stack your chips, and stack’em. Most people in Hollywood don’t do that, that’s smart…I’ll introduce you to some people, but really, all it boils down to using your fame to get the stuff…most places will give it to you for free, or very cheap.

…I definitely have a very rough mentality, a broke person’s mentality…I can’t be living that poor life anymore, I can’t be thinking that way…I want my money to make me money, but what Jada is teaching me is that how you look in Hollywood can often make you money. Opportunities in Hollywood will open up if you are sending the right signals about yourself. Fashion is part of how to send the right messages…By wearing cheap, low-class, knock-off stuff, I’m telling people that they can treat me low-class. That maybe I don’t belong on that higher level. I have to value myself properly.” 

 

I was disappointed after reading all of this. I believe Jada genuinely wanted to help and offer her advice, but I whole-heartedly disagree. Now, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with buying expensive clothing in addition to other items that you want and can afford. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with valuing yourself and knowing your worth. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with change and growing into your best self. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with wanting to look nice. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with shedding a “broke” mentality.
However, what you wear does NOT dictate your value. You don’t need a designer label to let the world know you are valuable. This is the mindset that is hurting our society: placing more value on what you can acquire rather than the person you are evolving into. This is why you have kids and people out here stealing and killing each other over meaningless expensive items because they feel like it adds value to them. It’s why you see people on Instagram holding stacks of money to their ear and showcasing expensive watches and cars, etc. thinking that these “top-notch” things somehow validates them. It’s completely backwards.

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Listen, Tiffany wearing an $85 dress never made you less valuable than someone wearing a $2,000 dress. It doesn’t mean that you are not “top notch”. Wearing a “cheap”/affordable dress does not translate as “low class”, unless you carry the mentality that you are somehow inferior. And what message is this sending to people who wear and can only afford “cheap” clothing? It teaches them to correlate their self-worth to their attire, and — although I’m sure that’s not the idea you meant to convey in your book — that is a damaging message for your readers to interpret.

No one even knows how much your clothes are or what designer labels you’re wearing unless you say it, otherwise they would have no idea and they probably wouldn’t even think about it. You command respect not by what you wear, but by how you carry yourself — that is what “high class” means. Similar to “low class”, “high class” is a mentality, it’s not a Givenchy bag, or a dress, it’s you. By respecting yourself, you command that same respect from others, regardless of the clothing brands you sport. YOU control how people will treat you based on your actions and your behavior. And after reading your book, Tiffany, I highly doubt that you would allow anyone to disrespect you or look down on you. You are already “high-class” because you respect yourself and you respect others.

As a comedian, the audience could care less about the designer label you’re wearing. All they care about is whether or not you can make them laugh — they care more about what you have to offer — your skill. Your Givenchy bag won’t save you from bombing on stage. Tiffany, you made it this far without all of that stuff.
F*%k Hollywood and their perceptions. If this past year has taught us nothing, it’s taught us that the Hollywood industry needs a spirit cleanse because it has way too many demons that its needs to be set free from. Don’t place so much weight on the opinions of an industry that has no moral or ethical foundation.

As an L.A. native, the people who I’ve run into that were really wealthy never flossed their diamonds or their cars or their clothing. At first glance, you wouldn’t even assume that they had lots of money. It’s the ones who are bragging about their money and what they wear that are the ones who are trying to impress and fit in — and they usually don’t have the money to keep up their appearances and their life-style. They are fake. They are plastic — man-made, homogenous, and lacking depth.

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Tiffany, you don’t fit in with Hollywood and that’s why we love you. You are better than Hollywood. You remind people — especially celebrities — of who they were before they became jaded and the fame stripped them of their authenticity, and they lost who they were while trying to be someone else — someone they deemed as being better than who they already were. Don’t get lost or fooled by the smoke and mirrors of Hollywood. There is nothing wrong with looking good — we all enjoy looking nice and dressing up. However, you can look just as good in an $85 dress, as you would in a $2,000 dress. I would hate for you to lose yourself and become disconnected all in an attempt to fit in with people who don’t truly care about you. Remember that even those with the best intentions may not provide the best counsel, and you still have to pick and choose what advice will serve you best — this blog included. I hope that you continue to grow and evolve into the best version of yourself, but don’t forget who you are.

You’re a star Tiffany, you don’t need a label to remind people of that.
I wish you all the best.

 

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Keep Me Off Your Pedestal

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This blog is in response to a comment that an acquaintance made. I told him that I have made mistakes in my life just like everyone else has. He said, “I don’t see you making any mistakes.”

I am a Motivational Speaker. I have been blessed with the opportunity to pour love and encouragement, along with some personal advice, into the people to whom I speak. However, sometimes people forget that I need that same love and encouragement poured back into me as well. I think the assumption is that as a motivational speaker, I don’t need others to encourage me because I can motivate myself. I think the assumption is that we, as motivators, have everything figured out. Well, I will speak for myself when I say that I do not have everything figured out. If I did, I would be walking on water like Jesus did, but I can barely swim.

 

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The truth is that I am not perfect. Do not make room for me on any pedestal that you have carved out to place me on. As a matter of fact, don’t put anyone on a pedestal; this would be a horrible mistake. I am simply a human being who has decided to accept “the call” to share some life lessons based off of personal experiences. I am not perfect. I am a vessel — an imperfect vessel — allowing my voice and my imperfections to serve as road maps for others. Hopefully, by displaying my journey, I will help someone else along theirs. I am a human being, which means that I am susceptible to all the emotions that human beings experience: joy, doubt, fear, peace, worry, sadness, glee, confusion, anger, etc. And on those days when I am emitting low vibrations, even though I am aware of what tools to use to counter them, I still need love to be poured into me. I need words of affirmation that will dissipate those moments of doubt. Fortunately, I am blessed to have loving, supportive people in my life who are there to lighten my load on days when I feel too weighed down.

As a speaker/teacher, the best moments are when members from the audience come up to me afterwards and share how they related to what I said and how they appreciated the message. It’s the moment when a student comes up to me being extremely vulnerable and boldly exposes all of their insecurities in front of me. They trust that I will be gentle with their wounds, that I will not judge them for how they came to be so emotionally bruised, and that I will be the sounding board of approval and confirmation that they desperately want. Those moments, as overwhelming as they can be sometimes, lets me know that what I said resonated and is relevant to what they are experiencing. It reminds me that I am here to use my gift to continue serving others — that me being honest about my growing pains aides others in understanding that they are not alone and that they can/will move past the stages and into something much better and much brighter.
It’s during these short exchanges that we affirm each other, we pour into each other and lift our vibrations higher.

 


So, no, I have not mastered life just yet, I am still learning. But as I learn, I share. I am operating as a vessel that is allowing God to use my voice and my imperfections to deliver a powerful message of self-love.

 

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Honestly, you don’t have to go to college

 

college   I was getting my things together, about to head out the door, when I get a phone call from a friend. Being that I’m an author, he wanted to share a book idea he had been chewing on for a while, and, of course, I was very eager to hear what he had to say and to share my thoughts. Our conversation soon trailed off into new directions and the subject of school came up. We both graduated from universities and we both expressed our frustrations about school. Going to college is heavily promoted in our society, however, for many millennials, acquiring a college degree doesn’t lead to a life of financial prosperity , security, and peace of mind like we had been told.

We heard it from our parents, “Go to college!” We heard it from members in our community, “Go to college!” We heard it from our teachers, “Go to College!” Our parents wanted a better and brighter future for us, which is why they pushed so hard for us to attend a university — we understood and adopted their enthusiasm.  College was idealized to be this oasis of academic wonder that would quench us awake, where we would be exposed to so many new ideas and evolve into these well-rounded, highly-educated citizens who would take the world by storm. We were told that our success was guaranteed with a degree. Well, it didn’t quite happen like that.

 

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Millennials graduated with the idea that now they would be catapulted into success, and were extremely disappointed when that didn’t happen. We couldn’t find jobs, most of us had no idea what we wanted to do, we were drowning in debt, and we lived at home — in our eyes, we had failed. Gravely ashamed of our perceived lack of progress, we didn’t share our feelings with our peers, completely unaware that they, too, were enduring the same challenges.

Let me just say that I am all for quality education, I am simply opposed to paying hundreds of thousands of dollars, and getting into debt for a piece of paper that didn’t greatly propel me forward as I was promised it would. We all made a great investment, only to leave just as broke, clueless, and with no job prospects in our field of interest as the day when we first walked on to campus. I am opposed to not receiving in return what I put in. I told my friend that I don’t know if I would promote going to college to my kids to the same degree that it was promoted to me. It would all depend on what my child was aspiring to be. If they want to be a doctor, lawyer, teacher, social worker, therapist, etc. then I would definitely understand why they would want and would need to go to college. Those types of careers, along with others, demand that you acquire a wealth of academic knowledge — I get it. But what if you don’t want to be any of those things?? What happens to the rest of us?

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After navigating through that super rough transition into the “real world”, some of my peers are still trying to figure out their next career move, while others are doing things that they enjoy, however, it really didn’t require them to go to a 4 year university to do. It appears that happiness and financial prosperity is not solely restricted for those who are heavily degreed, but it also comes to those who are simply the most creative, inventive, consistent, and bold enough and gritty enough to move forward with an idea that they’ve conjured.

My suggestion would be to go to a community college for a year after high school. Take some prerequisites, decide if what you intended to study is what you actually want to study. When I think about it, it seems unfair and a bit illogical to have 18yr olds come to a conclusion about their future so soon by picking a major they are not 100% sure about — they’re still babies for crying out loud. Some of them haven’t even gotten the opportunity to vote in their first election, not to mention, they aren’t even old enough to get into any clubs, or even rent a car, or are emotionally/mentally ready to deal with the twists and turns of life just yet. So why would we trust them to fully know what they will do for a good portion of their adult lives when they are still growing?
So to all those young people out there, here’s some advice I wish someone else had shared with me: College is not the only way to a better life. If you decide to attend one, then that’s great, if not, don’t fret. Just know that your success is not solely dependent upon whether or not you have a degree. If you still need clarity as to which way to turn, then take the time you need to gain that clarity and then decide if a university is the right path for you. Honestly save your time. Save your money. Save yourself the stress, frustration, and unnecessary pressure. Stand still, wait till the fog clears, and then move.

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Car Crashes and Resurrections

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There I was, scrolling through instagram, when I saw a picture of my friend, Binna, lying in a hospital bed. She had gotten into a car accident, but was trying to assure us that she was ok — it was just like Binna to say that. She was the third friend of mine who had gotten into a serious car accident that month. When I saw the picture of her totaled car, which looked like it had been stepped on and squished down by a giant, in addition to her hospital photos where she laid there bruised and cut with a fractured rib, my heart jolted. Binna was in positive spirits, but I was frazzled.

When I finally saw her and asked her about the accident, she only spoke of the good things that happened as a result of it. I told her that there was no doubt that there was a divine hand on her life and I’m sure she felt so blessed to be alive. Binna said that she was definitely blessed. She spoke of how the accident changed her; she claimed that she wasn’t the same person anymore, and that she couldn’t conceive being who she once was. Of course I asked her what she meant by that, and, in retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have asked her to explain such a loaded experience in that rushed moment, but I just had to know something. I could see it was a little challenging for Binna to quickly sum up everything she meant by that comment, and I could see her trying to find the right words. All she could muster up to say in that moment was that she just loved herself more. Not that she didn’t love herself prior to the accident, it’s just that the love she felt for herself now was deeper than it once was, and the things that she used to stress over, she now finds irrelevant, therefore, she no longer stresses over it. There was an appreciation for life itself, for simply being, that she was awakened to.

There was something about Binna saying that she loved herself more that really struck me. I envied her. I wish I carried that same deep love and awareness that she spoke of. Don’t get me wrong. I do love myself, but I can also be pretty hard on myself and readily harp on my self-perceived flaws and countless mistakes. But Binna seemed to be on a different level. She was calm and at peace and happy — un-frazzled. I salivated for the same thing.

Binna’s story is not the first one I’ve heard where someone has had a near death experience that makes them infinitely more grateful for life and for themselves. It’s a shame that life has to be nearly taken before we gain an appreciation for it. I’m on a quest to gain that same depth that Binna now wades in, just without the near death experience lol. However, talking to Binna pushed me one step deeper into that realization. It appears as though her “accident” had a ripple effect and stirred me while I was apparently sleep walking. I’ll take it as one of God’s many signs telling me to chill the f*&k out and take note of all I have to smile about.

Thanks Binna.

Chadwick School Daze

 

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This week I had the honor and pleasure of returning to my old high-school to deliver a presentation to the senior class. I attended Chadwick School in Palos Verdes. It was surreal stepping back in time and returning the campus that had such an impact on me. I uprooted all of those old memories. Thinking about all the good times with my friends, in addition to, all the stressful moments we shared. Chadwick was the place that challenged me and forced me to stretch, to grow, to think, and laid a foundation for who I am today. It was an honor to be back.

Speaking to the senior class and sharing my story and life lessons from my book,
My Quarter-of-a-Century Life Lessons, was an experience I will always cherish. While speaking, I saw myself in them. I saw all the doubt I once had, the fear, the worry as to what the “Real World’ would bring. Would I be successful? Would I be ok? It brought me tremendous joy to affirm their questions and say, “Yes, you are going to be just fine.” It felt good to be used as a source of encouragement and reassurance for them.

I was also touched by those students who came to speak to me and ask me individual questions. I wasn’t expecting to be embraced to that extent, and they all echoed the same appreciation for my words, for my honesty, for my advice, and for reaffirming their success.

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I went into the lecture hall not knowing what the result would be. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be received. I only sincerely hoped that I could provide them with something beneficial that they could take and carry with them.

What ended up happening was even better. I very much wanted to be a blessing for them, but they were the ones who blessed me. Karma is real. You get back what you put out. And the same warmth that I gave to them, they returned 10x that warmth to me. It helped to re-affirm what I am here to do, which is to use my words to teach and uplift others. You never know how your words can affect someone. How a smile, an embrace, or simply listening can help ease the weight of the burden that someone else is quietly hauling. I was reminded of all this that afternoon. picsart_12-01-08-47-42

I know what my purpose is…I guess I’ve always known. Thank you Chadwick.

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Don’t Fall into the Ditch with the rest of the Sheep

 

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I was recently given an article to read by a good guy friend of mine. This article was highlighting a twitter thread that a young gentlemen put out about men and relationships. His thread was intended to “clarify” some things for women, to help explain the peculiar actions of men. Specifically, to provide them with the truth as to why some men go “ghost” and fade away after showing interest in a woman.

I read this thread, and the gentlemen did provide some truth — HIS truth. Some will be able to relate to this truth, others will not, and I would never discredit someone else’s experience. However, I felt his theory had some holes in it, and therefore did not provide the full scope. My friend felt as though this writer’s thoughts reflected most men, but it clearly did not. I even shared this thread to guy friends who felt as I did and who offered their objections.

The content of this thread is not as important to me. What is important is how this man’s thread is possibly being shared amongst women and being taken as truth or as this hidden gem of knowledge that all women should know. My concern is not for the article, people have the right to share their thoughts and opinions. My concern is for those out there who have yet to learn how to think for themselves, and will regurgitate theories and ideas without analyzing whether or not these ideas and theories actually apply to them. Especially in regards to relationships, some women long for answers and want to understand the nature of men, hoping that this insight will allow them to navigate with much more clarity amongst the male species. So they cling to these “gems of wisdom” and pass these ideas along to their girlfriends only resulting in more confusion, poor interpretation, and inevitable mis-understanding, which leads to misguided action. Here’s some insight for those women: If a man really likes you and wants and is ready to date you, he will enthusiastically and consistently pursue you. If he does not like you, then he won’t. Simple. Don’t stress over it. Keep Stepping.

There are other theories and catch phrases too, such as the “middle child syndrome”, “daddy issues”, “children in single-parent homes will undoubtedly face emotional and psychological struggles/instability”, etc. Who coined these terms and ideas? And more importantly, why do we take these theories and offer them up as facts?? They are opinions, based on personal experience —that’s it — and there is nothing wrong with that. (Some will argue the statistical data that proves their theory, but even the acquisition of data should be questioned). But their experience does not reflect everyone else’s and should not be readily generalized. If it applies to you then great, if not, then that’s fine too.

All I ask is that people take the time to process what they read and hear — including this blog — before fully jumping onto a particular bandwagon. Think first. The ability to think for one’s self is one of the best tools we have at our disposal, and it’s disheartening to know that so many people abandon this God-given muscle and permit others to do the heavy lifting for them.

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Don’t be lazy, utilize your mental muscle and put in some cognitive work. It’s not necessary to always follow the pack. Dare to think outside of the mass mind and go in a different direction. Going against the grain and raising an objection isn’t always easy and can be intimidating considering the collective agreement surrounding a particular topic, but going against the grain keeps us sharp and forces us to grow as a whole. So raise our awareness and challenge us to grow…think for yourself.

 

a sharp smart alert happy red fish with open eyes going in the opposite direction of a group of sad blue fishes with closed eyes : Be different or unique concept design vector illustration

Dating 101: Couple Pics lead to Poor Choices

 

 

 

Well it’s that time of the year where I’m starting to see my friends post their engagements on social media. And I’m also starting to see my single friends salivate over these images and what they assume to be a wonderful love story that they desperately want to happen to them. Their feelings are normal and completely understandable. I, too, want companionship; I also want to find “the one”. But I have to remind my friends and myself that what you see reflected off of a social media page does not always provide the full scope of anyone’s romantic relationship. You sincerely hope that people are in love and you wish them well, but you don’t know the details of anyone’s relationship. You don’t know what is taking place behind the scenes and whether or not you could deal with certain circumstances. Now my intention is not to sound bleak, dispiriting, or ominous. My intention is not to have you looking at couple photos with the mindset that something is wrong their relationship…not at all. The intention focuses more on getting you to stop and think before you compare your situation to someone else’s. Remember that your love story will happen in it’s own time, and that you too will be in the coveted position of posting couple photos that will annoy your Facebook friends.

 

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So until then- and this is primarily for my ladies – DO NOT GET INTO A RELATIONSHIP FOR THE SAKE OF BEING IN ONE. It blows my mind and breaks my heart how women settle for and go back to these sorry ass dudes all because they don’t want to be without SOMEBODY. These women will endure emotional, verbal, and physical abuse. They will lower their standards, shrink themselves. Some will allow their boyfriend to shadow them from their self-worth to the point where they know longer see themselves. They become lost in his shadow and are kept from their own light, thinking they are in love, but they are desperately trying to soothe a broken image of themselves.

And why is that, in 2016, women still find themselves in these positions? Is it because having a “man” is something that is still considered highly valuable, and we are conditioned and pressured to have a “man” as a way of increasing our own value? I just don’t understand.

Women YOU ARE THE PRIZE! Don’t settle for just any ole body who does not recognize that you are amazing. Do not fight over, social media stalk, or stress over these boys…leave them alone! Bid them Adieu! And make space for someone better to enter your life. Don’t allow these engagement photos to seduce you into entering into something that has the potential to leave you extremely disappointed.

It is better to be single and at peace surrounded by friends and family who truly love and celebrate you, than to be in a relationship that chips away at your self-esteem and happiness and leaves you disconnected from yourself.

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Give it time ladies, it will happen. For now enjoy the opportunity you have to be completely selfish and finally learn how to love yourself. If you haven’t figured out how to love yourself you run the risk of being lenient with your heart and placing it in shaky hands. So stop the madness. Disconnect from our virtual world for a while and come back to yourself. Remember that your Love will blossom at the appropriate season. Don’t rush the process, allow it to unfold naturally.

 

Lets start new day. Top view of beautiful young African woman in tank top lying in bed and stretching her arms