Category Archives: Self- Reflection

Being Unapologetic: How America Transferred this Privilege from the Presidency to the Candidacy

sns

“Never apologize, mister, it’s a sign of weakness.”  ― John Wayne

So have you heard about this thing… its called being “unapologetic” … it’s a new trend, a new hashtag… In 2015, it was considered the Top Beauty Trend… “ be Unapologetically you” …*rolls eyes*  and it’s definitely bled into 2016, and everyone is basically saying “be unapologetically [enter any word]”. So yeah, it’s definitely a thing. But it’s not really a new trend.

Despite the recent focus on it, being “unapologetically” anything is probably one of the hardest things to do. There are a few things that I do unapologetically, and because too much of anything can always turn into a negative.

One area I consider myself unapologetic is that I wear my heart on my sleeve and my passion on my chest.  At times, people find my openness disingenuous, and there always comes a time when someone thinks I am lying or not being “real” , that I’m just saying it when in fact they learn, oh, no, she’s serious, that’s how I really feel, and I am telling the truth. That’s just who I am.

And that’s what I want to talk about today.

When you’re living unapologetically sometimes people really never believe you. But if you prove that you are unapologetic, and your yes is yes, and your no is no, people are mesmerized. Because most people can’t do it.

We all know that as humans we are imperfect, so of course, we will make a mistakes at some point, and go off our path, and we will be remorseful and apologize. Although I think I am unapologetically open almost 100% of the time that would probably be a lie, realistically, I am probably at 95%, but I am okay with that.

But as I mentioned earlier, too much of one thing, brings about a negative. With this trend of being unapologetic all the time, another camp has also arisen, and in mainstream media, not to mention with the help of social media, the policing of ideals has happened. So you have:

  1. People who apologize for every action that isn’t socially acceptable
  2. People who stand behind their actions no matter what

I mean let’s take a step back and give a shout out to Ted Cruz who unapologetically got up on the GOP Convention stage, and did not endorse Trump. People thought he would cave in. And most people, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, enjoyed every moment of it. And to be honest, I don’t think Trump would’ve had it any other way. Do you think Trump would’ve endorsed anyone else if he hadn’t won the nomination?

No one likes the person always apologizing and caving into external pressure. (Ironic though that Hillary doesn’t cave in and people don’t like that, but I will give you one guess why it’s different for her – read more here) . It’s pretty clear, we don’t want an apologizer for President, but do we want that quality in our candidates? Before they take on the hardest job in America?

In this new state of Politics, we see Trump accept the Republican nomination being one of the most unapologetic persons running for a political office and people are eating it up.

In a Vox.com article called, “How Donald Trump Won” , the writers outline perfectly how the blunders of the Republican establishment have really contributed to the success of Donald Trump. If you look at their first reason in which Trump was able to open the door to his current candidacy it is the emergence of being unafraid to say whatever, no matter the facts.

Donald Trump was unapologetically focused on the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate. Despite all of the subsequent evidence and information that was revealed because of the stink Trump made, he never retreated, asked or forgiveness, nothing… he was truly unapologetic. Fast-forward 5 years and very few things have changed. Trump has to go back on very little such as not using anyone’s money for his campaign as he enters into the main election. But that’s understandable, right? Why use your own money, when you could use someone else’s? Makes sense to me. Except he’s been talking about self-funding as a main pillar in his speeches and that he can’t be controlled. But he unapologetically created a reason for the change:

“I mean, do I want to sell a couple of buildings and self-fund? I don’t know that I want to do that necessarily, but I really won’t be asking for money for myself, I’ll be asking money for the party.” (source) 

And his supporters are okay with it according to an Associated Press poll that determined “Trump Supporters Unfazed by Reversal on Self-Funding”.

Hook. Line. and Sinker.

Although, it would be unfair if I left out that it was released, that he did in fact self-fund his primary campaign. (source).  But he still changed his tune, but he didn’t miss a beat. For the most part, he continues to not ask for forgiveness even when he has contradicted himself, and he continues to speak from his mind and heart.

The reality is that we like this idea of being unapologetic. Even though it’s an unattainable goal, we, the American people, are slightly in awe, good or bad, with the notion of saying what you mean, feel, and sticking to it even if it’s changing along the way. I say this because I am learning that I know a lot more people who are Trump supporters than I would’ve ever imagined, and I am truly amazed by the people who are truly glossing over his racist and xenophobic remarks, as if you can separate those comments from who he is.

He’s unapologetic.

If you think about it, The President of the United States, in the past, didn’t publicly apologize. It’s almost Presidential to be unapologetic, it’s not a new trend for that role. However, our generation has seen President Obama and President George W. Bush admit mistakes and missteps sooner than any Presidents ever before, because our technology and media holds them to a different fire or standard, and I think that America has pushed back unconsciously to the point we yearn for candidates and politicians who are unapologetic.

With the exception of LBJ, who had to grapple with the realities of the Vietnam War in such a public way, Presidents have never been apologetic for their actions, they have to make tough decisions during terms of office, and none of us really envy that responsibility. Being seen as weak is not really a good look.

So I guess I wrote this piece to add a little blame across the country, Heavy is the head who wears the crown. But it continues to get heavier and heavier. I recently enjoyed discussing the secrecy that JFK was able to operate under with the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Bay of Pigs. That could never happen in this day and age it feels like.

To further this point, I personally never liked how everyone was mad at President Bush for continuing to read a book to kids when Hurricane Katrina hit just as much as people are STILL debating the true events surrounding the death of Osama Bin Laden. The insinuation that Obama waited until election time to allow it to happen is so interesting to me. I hope he never apologizes or admits to that, because we will have someone much worse than Trump making his way to the nomination.

Being unapologetic for tough decisions is something that Presidents must do when faced with a difficult decision for the nation, but it’s not cool to be unapologetic just for the heck of it. Presidential candidates should be concerned as they run for office about the hearts and minds of the entire country. There will come a day for each President to make a tough decision and be unapologetic, but it’s a privilege that shouldn’t be given too soon or to the wrong person.

Being a Woman in a Man’s World: My Thoughts on Hillary with a Pinch of Pat Summitt

Mans World - Hillary and Pat Summit

“The man’s world must become a man’s and a woman’s world. What are we afraid of?” – M. Carey Thomas

I have been working on this piece for quite some time. I rarely shop out my ideas, discuss in detail, but something wasn’t quite right with my thoughts. Maybe, I felt that my thoughts were a little controversial or maybe, writing a post that was (kind of) in favor of Hillary, a person I am not fond of, was actually quite difficult.

But as I talked with several people about the public relationship between Bill and Hillary and how it has shaped America’s view of her, and consequently caused the American people not to see her in a positive light. I was met with the same resounding response that points to a simple fact for most people:

“I just wish she had made it here (the Presidency) based on her own merits”

“I think Bill being President has everything to do with her getting close to becoming President”

“She wouldn’t even be the nominee if it wasn’t for Bill”

And so on. Each person I asked was a Democrat. Their responses perplexed me. As humans in this vast and complex world, we are unable to write our own story. Who is to say had Bill not become President that Hillary wouldn’t have risen to the Presidency, to be successful in politics, or affecting change in this country. For this we do not know, but I find that most people think, Hillary is here solely based on her husband.

It’s not even a matter if people think she’s a liar, corrupt, or made mistakes as Secretary of State – it is because, if she makes it to the White House, it will be on the coat tails of her husband.

But I think it’s more than that.

It could be her desire for her own fame and success that has fueled her to the Presidency or it could be her commitment to serve this country. But you know what, if she was a man, it wouldn’t matter.

Hillary is being unfairly judged, because she is a woman. I know people have made this point over and over, but I, an outsider, wanted to make this point again. Because, despite my strong dislike of her, I am flabbergasted by the disrespect Hillary receives from members in her own party.  People still have more respect for her [enter all the bad adjectives you can think of] husband.

How many Presidents of the United States of America made it, because they were white males, from an affluent family, and they just so happened to end up in the White House. There are few Presidents, who earned the spot every step of the way. In general, there are far more people who were given a little help to get where they are today, so why are we holding Hillary Clinton to a different standard? Why do we as women give men a break, but don’t quite do the same thing for women? Is it because we have to be better? Or would we prefer to just work double time and allow men to work half of the time? Not to mention…. infidelity and cheating in marriage sometimes seems so commonplace in America because of the over sexualization in this country. How many of you, who’ve experienced betrayal in your life or in your family, could imagine experiencing infidelity in the public eye at the highest office in America, and for the world to see, not just America, and bounce back from it? How many of you after being completely embarrassed and disrespected, could then decide to run for a public office in the state of New York, one of the most media hungry places in America? How many of you all could face that kind of fire and win, and continue on.

Yeah, her hunger and need for the spotlight might fuel it, and I don’t really care, because to me, that is a tough thing to do and she should deserve a little more respect for her tenacity. Respect that we would easily be given to her if she was a man.

Now to preference who should be respecting, if you have ideological differences with Hilary (as do I), then by all means, you are free to disagree/dislike/hate her and make claims along those lines. But there are women, young and old, black, white, blue and green, who furiously supported Barack Obama, that struggle to support Hilary or diss her for no good reason in my opinion.

I would like to just make note, that Obama’s rise to the Presidency, although historical in its own right, the differences between overcoming the obstacles of race versus gender are actually drastically different. As a black woman, I can tell you the preference and deference black men with less abilities get over me time and time again from women is not only maddening, but sad. The blunt truth is that it’s happening simply because they are men. The long and short of it, women want to support men. It might be biblical. I get it. But we represent over 50% of the population and continue to allow men to make decisions that affect our lives and bodies, and yet, we struggle to view women in a positive light for being strong, dominant, and unafraid.

And I must pause here, because Pat Summit passed away last week, one of my favorite sports hero and I believe she was one of the few women, in the public eye, who was strong, dominant, and unafraid – and she had our respect completely. There is no question that her success and rise to popularity were forged with her own blood, sweat, and tears to be successful as a coach in women’s college basketball and to win Olympic gold. But she was the best of the best in a woman’s world. Many wanted her to cross over to coach men, whether in college or professional sports. But as I write about Hillary, I wonder if not crossing over was one of her best decisions.

One reporter shared:

“More than once, Tennessee’s athletic bigwigs considered asking Summitt to coach the men instead. With each crash-and-burn, it became more obvious that men couldn’t handle this particular job and that Summitt would be the safest hire available. She considered it but kept turning it down.

I think women should help women,” Summit said. A good reason, but there was a better one.

I wouldn’t want people to think I looked at the men’s game as a step up.”

It wasn’t. But it remains a concrete ceiling. If it were glass, a woman could at least see the path to coaching a men’s team. Imagine the fun, if Summitt had decided to burst through it. ” (Source)

And maybe we should take a lesson from Pat’s book.

  1. Women should be helping women.
  2. Let’s stop acting like their “world” is a step-up.

I must say this article is really less about Hillary, but my views on how women should go about supporting each other. Let’s try to hold each other to the right standard and support them in the same way we support men. Let’s stop holding ourselves to a higher and more unrealistic standard, and stop burdening ourselves for no apparent reason. We make mistakes, we are human. If we aren’t forgiving our fellow women then we probably aren’t forgiving ourselves. And trust me, men are not thinking twice about it, and moving on to the next thing.

M/P

It’s Never Too Late To Decide How You Will Live

Bill Murray.gif

“Like wildflowers, you must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would” – E.V.

So this is the last week I will live in my 20’s and I am very excited about it. I never thought I’d feel this way at this stage in my life. From a very early age, people talk at length about not really enjoy getting older past 30, but I have no plans on turning 30 for the next ten years. I have learned so many good lessons, even the ones that make me cry when I think of how stupid I was or rather hard-headed, because I am sure someone gave me the perfect advice and I just didn’t want to follow it. It’s something special to learn from mistakes, maybe I am wrong, but I have always been a fan of learning. So going into my 30’s, I kind of feel like it’s the first day of school, and as I’ve mentioned before, I was excited about every single first day of school. There was no exception. For three simple reasons:

Something new…

                                                       Something unknown…

                                                                                               Something unexpected…

was going to happen. This is how I view the future, it’s still exciting and I am just a little more equipped. As I get older, life might not be easier, but if you allow life lessons to teach you, you get smarter or that’s the goal.

But I am not going to lie, all of this reflection comes at the same time as a couple of my favorite athletes and  I subconsciously feel as if we’re doing this together. My favorite football player retired this year, and it was announced that my favorite basketball player will be inducted into the Hall of Fame later this year. Yes, I am referring to Peyton Manning and Allen Iverson and there is definitely a connection here.  Trust me.

If you haven’t read or listened to Peyton’s retirement speech, you should, it’s definitely one of the best sports speeches of all time, but clearly I am biased. But there is something that he said towards the very end of his speech that resonates very strongly within me:

“When I look back on my NFL career, I’ll know without a doubt that I gave everything I had to help my teams walk away with a win. There were other players who were more talented but there was no one who could out-prepare me and because of that I have no regrets.(source)

I am sure there are some people who would argue about his talent level, but it is very true that very few out-prepared him and because of this he had no regrets. I am sure there are things he wished hadn’t happened, but when you give it everything you got, and it doesn’t work out, you can’t help but not have regrets. And I would have to argue that is the way to live. There are definitely experiences that give me a little anxiety when I think of them, but I don’t regret them. How can I? Our experiences and mistakes make us unique, but as we get older it is harder to live this way, with no regrets. There are so many external factors, such as family and friends, society or the lack of money, status or power, telling us how to live or how we should live, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Forget the milestones you haven’t hit, who decided them in the first place.

Christians often talk about having a child-like faith, we can similarly take this approach towards the way we live with an adult perspective, and this is why I am excited about gething older. I want to approach life with the heart of a child but with the experience of an adult.

So moving onto A.I. a.k.a Allen Iverson. A few weeks ago when the NBA Hall of Fame induction was announced, Iverson did a number of press interviews and his quotes also resonated with me as I contemplated the end of my 20’s.

But before we go there, we must look at life through three phases.

Phase 1:  Budding (from the beginning – from birth, new idea or new experience)

Phase 2: Maturing (the largest part of our life – This is the part where we’re really living and the most growth happens)

Phase 3: Knowing (Experienced and the time to give back – a wise savant)

Often people think of the cycle of life, or the phases of life occur in one cycle. But to me, we go through this cycle of life a couple of times in every area of our life it seems. In some areas, I am still maturing and very far from being the wise savant that I want to be and others I have already done several cycles. This happens, because even though in some areas we have learned and grown, life knocks us back down on our feet and you have to learn something completely new about something you thought you knew a whole lot about (i.e. being laid off from a job, lost a loved one and learning to live without them, etc.)

I thought Allen Iverson described this best while fighting back tears about becoming a Hall of Famer:

“It’s hard to be a Hall of Famer, I had to fight, I fell, got back up,  fell, got back up, fell, got back up, it’s still going on in my life right now”  (source)

This is the cycle of life that is real. You fight. You fall, but you get back up. And at this point in life, I am very comfortable with living with this cliché. Because some cliques are just freaking true. More over, for those who are unfamiliar with Allen Iverson, he was known for one thing in particular, something I consider most important in life – heart.

Sports commentators we’re surprised when Allen Iverson, a mere 6’0” would compare himself to the likes of LeBron James and others in today’s league, but it was all about the heart:

“Their heart…and the way they compete… The fight in them. That’s why I would say LeBron. LeBron ain’t got none of my game, but his heart is all mine.” (source)

And LeBron only seconded what Iverson said, by stating that while he was not able to take any part of his game from Allen Iverson, he was inspired by his will:

“I watch Jordan more than anybody for sure. But I’ll watch tapes of A.I., too. I don’t take anything from A.I.. Well, I do — his will. They say he was 6 feet, but A.I. was like 5-10½. Do we even want to say 160? 170 [pounds]? Do we even want to give him that much weight? And he played like a 6-8 2-guard. He was one of the greatest finishers we’ve ever seen. You could never question his heart. Ever. He gave it his all.” (source)

So as I enter into the land of 30, I find myself with the same child-like feelings of giving it my all, even when the cards are stacked up against me, but at least in a more slightly thoughtful manner. This is why I am excited. I have learned to say no, one of the hardest parts of growing up for me, so that I can continue to be excited, and passionate for the things I love, to have time to lead with my heart. So more than anything, I want YOU to stop and think about whether you have decided to live the way you want to live or are you only living by how you think you should live. It’s never too late to decide to act differently…. don’t be afraid to fly.

M/P

Oh Me, Oh My: My Journey To Get In Touch With My Inner Girl

tumblr_mes8yv0MuI1rxn6pro1_400

“I feel there is something unexplored about woman that only a woman can explore.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

So I just got off of vacation and I really wanted to write about my experience and all the things I learned, but my mind decided to fight me and make me write about something, I promised I would never write about, but here it goes. Beauty. Fashion. All the things girly. Yeah, I never imagined writing about anything around the subject, because there are so many more pressing issues in the world, but as I delve into the evaluation of feminism or just simply watching how Hilary Clinton and Carly Fiorina are being treated differently as women, I can’t help but think on these things to some degree. This is what makes a woman, we are layered, and even when we try to avoid certain experiences they sometimes still seem to creep in on us. What we look like still matters just as much as what it’s in our mind, if not more so, unfortunately. So I am in the middle of a feminine revelation, or shall I say transformation. Yes, America, the #1 tomboy has started doing things a little different and I feel compelled to kind of talk about it. I promise at times I was annoyed in writing this…How dare we be defined by a social norm. For the purpose of this blog post, let’s just say I have subscribed to the notion, that being “girly” is a thing and it looks a certain way.

So I have a lot of girly friends. Why? I am not sure and I really don’t know why, opposites attract, maybe? I am a bona fide Tom Boy, and I have a number of really good guy friends too. Not to mention my brothers and I are really close and they taught me everything that I know about sports and in fact, I always love to brag that I know more sports than the average man.

When I went to college that was the first time that I had to face the reality that I didn’t do a number of things that normal girls do. (Well, actually the first time I had to really deal with this is when I was 11 and was mistaken for a boy), but for the first time living with women other than my mother was a culture shock.

Now, of course, there are no absolutes, but there were a number of things, girly things, that I didn’t do. I won’t mention them cause who wants to be that transparent. To further take me down the road of girliness in college, I joined a sorority. Sometimes, outside of the amazing relationships that I’ve built, how did I manage that? Sometimes I used to feel like an impostor when it comes to “girl” things. What is a purse, why were heels even made, make-up – that’s for clowns, right? I used to feel like life would be easier if I were a man. And not because of the obvious benefits men get, but my personality, demeanor and my likes and dislikes used to be very much geared similar to that of a typical male. Heck, GQ is still my favorite magazine (I mean the articles are good and it’s full of half-naked men). I couldn’t even name more than 3 woman magazines.

So over the last few months, I decided to pamper myself, doing things like maintaining my nails, wearing make-up regularly, keeping my eyebrows on point, being dutiful in cooking and cleaning around my place, and diligently eating healthier and exercising. Oh, and my hair has been on point (most of the time). Growing up, with the exception of hair, things like this I was never taught to focus on. It was always about education, be strong, and fight for your rightful place in the world. I have never gone shopping with my mother, nor have we have ever made a trip to a nail salon or things of that nature.

*Enters my first real relationship (with a boy)*

So to only complicate the situation, the first guy I dated, was very much high maintenance. He would always take longer to get ready then I would. He definitely liked a kind of women who was well manicured, done up from head to toe. Over those 7 years, I tried to do it. I failed miserably over and over. We were in a long distance relationship after I left college (thank GOD), and I would go through a mini-transformation every 3 months when we would see each other. I would always tell myself, I would keep my nails done, hair laid, but nope, that rarely happened. I was never comfortable. I never enjoyed getting done up. It was very robotic to me.

*end of my relationship*

So 7 years later, I was free, the inner tom boy came back with a mad vengeance. I still liked to dress cute and do my hair occasionally, but I think over the following year or so, I rarely touched make-up, didn’t keep my nails looking decent, or even appropriately put jewelry together. For a period, I was going through the loss of a relationship so I wasn’t being horribly judged, and since I wasn’t really dating, I got several passes. As time went on, I wanted to start dating again, and I befriended some new male friends who provided me with a new perspective (that I am not sure I agree), but for the purpose of this article, it is the thesis statement and basis of this article.

This idea that most men (heterosexual) do like women who keep up a certain maintenance, because they can’t help but be visual, and it’s not from a place of shallowness, but why wouldn’t you want to keep yourself together and healthy?

tumblr_mzys8nfrxf1st18yzo1_400

This “maintenance” involves maintaining healthy habits with exercise and maintaining certain “feminine” social norms (yes, I’m cringing as I write this). I personally feel like I should be able to do whatever the hell I want, and I should be accepted in that matter. But I decided to think I was wrong, and started making small changes, and began this transformation, and guess what I found.  I have completely different interactions with the opposite sex, with men I know and men I don’t know. But even more so I have different interactions with women too, even in my professional space. I have worn make-up more often to work, and see the differences in the interactions, and it’s puzzling to me. What does this mean? Am I not the same person, behind the make-up, clothes and nails?

When I used to look at famous people, who after hitting a certain level of stardom and maybe were a little over weight, they ALWAYS lose weight if they can. The reality is that people treat you different, and if I am not saying it directly, they seem to treat you better. Yes, I said it, and whatever that might look like to you. And I get that, but I was just raised differently. That the external just means less. That focusing on my appearance says nothing about you. I have met a number of women who focus on all those things, and not much else, and when they gain a little weight or circumstances make maintaining that look difficult, they are lost, and obsess over their appearance, because their interactions rise and fall based on their appearance and it’s sad.

I was fortunate not have to deal with these issues for a very long time, and I am very happy that it only took me 3 months out of my life, but I, like most women have to at some point in their life, wrestle with the social norms of femininity as it relates to being a women and what it means. I will never forget the first time Hilary Clinton ran for President and they were having legit discussions about pant versus skirt suits in regards to her “femininity”. It. was. disgusting. (and let’s not forget, I am not a Hilary Fan, unless you attack her womanhood, homey don’t play that). But I will tell you all this, I have enjoyed getting my nails, getting to have a “nail” lady, and trying new things with makeup and getting compliments from men and women alike.

But what I have learned, which I am sure many of you all guessed, but that it’s really about balance and there is no right answer. You can go overboard with anything, focusing too much on your outer appearance or you can look so bad that no one wants to be your friend. But it really is more than that. That this journey is one of the million things that makes our experience as women different and AWESOME. We produce strong young men and women, because we have to juggle so many different norms. That men don’t get to have the complicated and interesting life that women get to lead. Yes, I just said that. That we have to challenge ourselves, question ourselves more than they do especially in 2016. There is still a struggle with roles for women in the workplace, in the home and in relationships. Whether there is a spiritual component or not in your thinking, women are questioned about the way they parent, the fact they have no kids, are we too emotional or not having enough emotion, so that we are considered a bitch, and the list goes on.

I will never subscribe to this idea that I have to look a certain way to get the attention or affection of a man, but being pampered, getting in touch with my inner girl was and IS nice, but it is my friends, not mandatory to be kick ass. Being kick ass is just what women do whether you are or not in touch with your inner girl. So just do that. Kick-Ass!

M/P

 

 

 

Four Women That I Know

Roar

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” – Helen Keller

I have been working on a post about women and the strength of our relationships for quite some time. (Seriously, like 6+ months) I’ve gone back and forth between several themes, and couldn’t settle on just one. The idea of a strong ancestral matriarch, where I roar, is my go to choice.  The women who’ve come before me roared and as a descendant of those strong women, I am strong. But I wasn’t feeling it. Other times, I want to write to women that we have a responsibility to support each other first and foremost and not play second fiddle to our relationships to the opposite sex. How women relate to each other shouldn’t be dictated by this male dominated system.  For instance, the idea that women should forego our innate womanhood to support each other simply win over the attention and affection of the opposite sex. But, yeah, I wasn’t really feeling that either. Last and definitely the least, the topic on balancing our time between female friends and male friends has been done to death.

In my heart of hearts, I really want to talk about four women that I know.  I haven’t been able to write about them, despite several attempts, because my pen to the pad couldn’t quite capture their story, their lives, and their struggles.  They are so diverse in ethnic groups, ages, careers, and societal roles.  The four women I know aged with wisdom, seasoned with laughter, and equipped with love.

Sometimes words can’t encompass the most precious things in life. You must experience it and it must be felt. When you enter into their house, you can feel the love. One of my favorite lines from a Toby Mac song is, “When love is in the house, the house is packed”, and their house can get very packed, because they let people in with open arms. I am never ashamed to take someone to meet these four women that I know.

As I sit here, I am in that house, of these four women bonded by sisterhood that blood could never have forged, but of life and circumstances brought them together. I’m forever indebted to these four women, one who is my “real” aunt, but all of them, are family.  When I was broken, they loved me back to life with their generosity, but most of all their spirit of kindness and love. You can fake a lot of things, but a true spirit of kindness is hard to mimic.

So when I stop to think about these four women who roar, they roar mightily, but not in the way you would think. You would never hear, because the roar is not loud or boastful, it is in the small things that show they really matter. And each one has a unique roar that form harmony in their universe.  As a daughter of a science teacher, I couldn’t help but to describe their qualities to the elements of nature: Fire, Water, Earth, and Air.

Fire – One is like fire which associated with energy, assertiveness, and passion. She is the spark, full of life and energy, with an extra dose of spunk. There are days the fire shines brighter than others, but the best quality is that she is always warm. Her heart warms the soul of anyone who comes close.

Water – I think there are several ways to look at water, but for me, I believe the two things I love most about water is its calmness but even more so its steadiness. Although constantly, moving and changing, water is a steady, calming force the nurtures the soul when things are dry and brittle. She rises early and calmly to not disturb anyone who is slumbering about. All of her manners are calming from her speech to reading.

Earth – is associated with the qualities of patience, thoughtfulness, practicality, and hard work. It is seen nurturing and seeks to draw all things together with itself, in order to bring harmony and rootedness.  She tends to mother anyone in her orbit. Her decisions are for the good of everyone. She has weathered many storms which allow her sound advice to be valued.

Air- One of the most important elements in life, it is necessary for survival or we would all perish. It fits into the nooks and crannies and fills the open space, it knows where the breaks and cracks are in a foundation. Air is also about movement. She is always on the move as she goes about making the environment comfortable for everyone.

These elements have the ability to destroy as well to heal and soothe. They have chosen to use their superpowers for good.

That pretty much sums them up: Warmth, Steadiness, Strength, and Harmony

So I don’t get to visit these four women as often as I would like, but whenever I tell people, I’m going to visit my 4 aunties, sometimes people get confused. I do have 7 aunts. I sometimes have to break it down, and people will reply, “So you’re Aunt lives with 3 roommates?” But its so much more than that. I am going to visit my 4 Aunts. So, I guess I have 10 aunts.  I am blessed!

The reality is sometimes people just don’t get it and that’s what I’m really want to write about. Their house is made of love, and it’s different and people don’t always get it, because it’s not normal for 4 grown women to live in a house together after the children are grown, until death did you apart, or divorce. But that’s what is wrong with America these days. For every group, there’s a box, and sometimes people got outside the box to only end up creating another box. So it makes sense when people are confused because people don’t conform.

When things are true, you don’t have to explain it. Often times, the world, friends, co-workers, and even our family want to understand who, what, why, when and where you’re doing something. I’ve learned at some point in life you just have to do what’s best for you and EVERYTHING else is truly background noise. If you are unable to let go of conventions and boxes, you might never find the right fit, and be muddled with unhappiness for most of your life.

These four women I know in a subtle and silent fashion have taught me to be content with myself without being loud and boastful. To just walk in my purpose regardless of who understands and is watching, and that comfort and love will come to you. And that’s what is most important.

In Beyoncé ‘s video Pretty Hurts, she is asked, “Miss 3rd Ward, What is your aspiration in life? and she replies, “To Be Happy” , that rings so true to me. We do anything to be happy, except the one or two things that really makes us happy.

In the New Year, let go of the things that are keeping you from your happiness.

The Right Words to Say

tumblr_inline_ml6k1osbWn1qz4rgp

“We never say so much when we do not quite know what we want to say. We need few words when we have something to say, but all the words in all the dictionaries will not suffice when we have nothing to say and want to desperately to say it.”  – Eric Hoffer

It has been over a month since I have written a blog post, and I very much relate to Hoffer’s quote.  I had nothing to say, and many times I tried to put words together, but I couldn’t formulate sentences. I attempted and have several posts, started and unfinished. And each time, I felt more and more unsatisfied.

Maybe I am emotional, or maybe I just lacked the words.

But as I look over the posts that I tried to write, there is an underlying theme:

FAMILY

Often when people obsess over something…. it is because they lack it. Is this not where desire comes from? The lack of it. Now, if you know me personally, I do not lack family. It’s quite the opposite. I have more family then I can deal with it. But they are very far away from me and I miss them very much. But I appreciate them for giving me the tools to spread my wings, to be able to be here, far from them.  But sometimes, it’s just not enough.

Maybe I am emotional, or maybe I just lacked the words.

But that’s not it, I am always emotional.

I am avoiding the issues, trying to move around problems, and push forward. But I cannot push forward till I deal with what I am lacking. That’s kind of how I feel about American politics right now. It doesn’t matter that we live in the same country, want the best for our friends and families, our interconnectedness no longer matters to the people in charge nor the ones running for office and trying to be in charge.

Now, nowhere does it say that America is supposed to be like a family, but that’s exactly what it feels like. Some of the most broken relationships come from things that happen right in the family.

Abuse, divorce, theft, and death.

We do things to our family members sometimes that we would never to do a complete stranger, because it’s not appropriate. And it’s so unfortunate. And based on our experiences in our family or the way we are brought up, these experiences affect our views on the most pressing issues in America right now.

  • Immigration.
  • Social Security.
  • Abortion.
  • Gun Control.
  • Race Relations (especially with the police)

So back to my family….

I have been very fortunate to have only lost a cousin in the 29 years of my life. I have mentioned this before, mostly because I think of my namesake, with whom I have never met, and as much as I would give anything to meet her, I didn’t lose her. But I have two grandparents, who have been a part of my life since the day I was born. I was always special to them as I am their only granddaughter and that works out perfectly for me.

However, my grandmother has stage 4 ovarian and colon cancer, and my grandfather who is in perfect physical shape, has been diagnosed with early stages of dementia. They have been married for over 60 years, and I love them very much, and blessed to have them in my life. Growing up with your grandparents, you think the world of them for so long. Then as you get older and become an adult, things are never as rosy as you think, because you learn that they are human. But I appreciate that lesson, because as you make mistakes, and you learn the mistakes of your parents or your grandparents, it makes overcoming your mistakes easier. Because if they fell down, and got back up, made poor decisions, and learned to make better ones, so can you.

So now, as one’s physical body slowly fades, and the other, is mentally fading, they are constantly on my mind. Talking to them, visiting with them, is harder each and every time, and more and more, our convos are shorter, not because I don’t want to stay on the phone longer. But they just can’t. It is a good day when our conversations last a whole 5 minutes, but they rarely do. And when they do, it’s mostly my grandmother telling me (at the ripe age of 29), to not rush into marriage. Yes, the woman who’s been married for over 60 years. Either way, I have learned that in the past we used to talk a lot, but now we say very little, but it means the world, because the only thing that needs to be said is that we love each other.

Now this brings me back to the issues that are being discussed over and over.

We do so much talking. Presidential Candidates are doing

so

much

 talking.

But when you hit the nail on the head, it doesn’t take much. The few lines from the presidential debates that seem to stick with you, feel like zingers, such as, “no one gives a damn” about Hilary’s email. But in all seriousness, you’re not saying much when you have to repeat yourself over and over. I tried to find the number of  speeches Trump has given about immigration, but I couldn’t find the exact number. What I did find were articles that highlight that Trump’s focus on immigration is a good thing. Prior to him zeroing in on it, very few republicans were willing to have conversations about immigration. (source) . If this is true, maybe something positive can truly come out of a negative. Except the words we say matter, what we say matters.

To me, a debate over two hours is exhausting, or I walk away from long speeches feeling like little is said. It is less about the words that you say, it’s more about what is being said as it is with my grandparents. And this is coming from a bona fide motor mouth. Growing up, I hated awkward silences, or people who said few words. As I have gotten older, I’ve learned the importance of saying the right words and listening to the words that are being said to you. It is one of the best, and most difficult, lessons that I have ever learned. Maybe with less words, and more meaning, we can have better conversations, but we have to all give it a try. And there are probably some people who are out there not saying quite enough. But I talk about that a lot, standing firm, expressing yourself, and even chasing waterfalls. Today, I am saying take a moment to think about what you have to say, share, or joke about. I have thought about this post for a very long time, and it took several attempts to find my truth to share. What I found is that owning your truth doesn’t always involve a litany of words, because sometimes it can be said in a few short words. But you must find the right words to say.

M/P

Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough

Phoebe-Wishes-She-Could-But-Doesnt-Want-To-On-Friends-Gif

“Excuses are tools for the weak and incompetent used to build monuments of nothingness. Those who excel in it seldom excel in anything else but excuses”.  

That’s right folks, I am here to talk about excuses, but I am not talking about politicians and celebrities today,  I am actually doing a little self-reflection. I am participating in another blog post link-up  (click here for more details) and this month’s topic is “WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE FALL?”

Now, I generally walk around with a number of goals in my mind, and they are always around my career, working in my community or blogging . I am very ambitious and my focus on those items are solid. Therefore, I had to take a hard look on a few things that I need to work on. Okay wait, let me stop lying, I didn’t have to take a hard look, I know exactly what goals I need in my life, and they all surround self-care. I am that person that rolls their eyes when people talk about paying attention to self-care. I mean we’re selfish beings right? (for more on selfishness, click here) So of course, I focus on myself plenty, and I wouldn’t neglect things that are important to, say my health,  getting enough rest and then I realized…

tumblr_inline_ntpdr2b7a41rkg7ly_500

I MAKE PLENTY of EXCUSES and neglect myself. I have mastered turning excuses into perfect arguments that could win any legal battle ( I blame law school). I called these glorified excuses, and I just can’t get enough. I can rationalize myself out of anything that I do not want to do, especially self-care. I realized there are certain areas in my life where I am not setting goals. I have talked myself out of focusing on those areas in order to achieve the goals that I do enjoy.  I think I have always viewed my goals as  building on my strengths, or reaching new heights to have more badges of honor. I mean, who wants to work on areas that they don’t enjoy, but I realized that it’s much deeper than that. It is also about avoiding failure. Why set goals in areas in which I struggle? The probability for failure is much greater. Nobody wants to set themselves up for failure. I sure as hell don’t. I have even heard speakers who suggest that it is wrong to focus on weaknesses, because you’re exerting too much energy on the wrong things. Maybe I have bought into this too much.

Therefore, I have decided for my fall goals to focus on areas where I need actual improvement, and not in areas I am just trying to reach higher heights. So here they are:

  1. Exercising and Eating Healthy
    1. I actually love exercising, and letting out steam with a little sweat. I do not, however, like to eat healthy. These two items are connected for me,  because I make excuses not to get these done, because of time. Over the next three or four months, I am going to MAKE TIME to pay attention to my health. Since I wasn’t unhappy with my body, but I needed to lose a pound here and there, I was just putting it off. But being healthy is just as important as anything else and I need to make time for that as much as I make time to have a mentor, going to a training to improve my professional skills. Hopefully, it will assist in my mental and emotional well-being, which makes the whole machine (ME) work better.
  2. Take A Break/Alone Time
    1. Yeah, I have this as a goal, because as an extreme extrovert I definitely get a lot of energy from being around others. People motivate, inspire, and excite me in general. I am weird and enjoy networking. But what I am learning as I get older taking time for yourself is actually important in building relationships. Just like a car, we can cause ourselves to end up on E. We have to fill ourselves up whether its reading, mediating, or asking ourselves tough questions and finding answers that will provide better interactions with others. The other reason  is taking the time for self-reflection.  I need more of this. I am learning that I can be on the go to the point, where I am not sitting and evaluating what’s going on. Obviously, these types of posts assist in self-reflection, but I need to take more time  to breathe in and exhale. I am excited to see what I learn here.
  3. Just Say No
    1. Simple. I need to say no to things. I know, especially women, make this goal often, because we are givers, and love to give, give, and give. For me, this isn’t even just about giving to much. Sometimes, I need to tell my family no and my friends, but I also need to be able to tell myself NO. The hardest person to tell no is the person in the mirror. I know giving excuses to others seem easy, but for me, I have become to comfortable with making excuses for myself, convincing myself to say Yes to too much. I believe this goal will also assist in achieving goal 1 and 2.

Now that wasn’t too painful (it was actually), but I am glad I stopped to think about it. It’s your turn!  Share what your goals for Fall? AND please be sure to check out POSTS from the other bloggers that I am linked up with this month below.

Annie Reeves
26 and Not Counting
Alyssa J Freitas
Carly Blogs
Feathers and Stripes
Carrie Loves
White Oak Creative
PRBlonde
Sequins & Strawberries
Pieced Together
PreppyPanache
Knowing Kelly
Something Good
Life By Bri
My Beauty Cloud
La Vie Petite
Wealthy in Health
White Cabana
Mrs. on the Move
Boys and Bombshells
She’s All Smiles
Life Modifier
Everyday Cuvée
A Little Leopard
Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough
L is for Lucy
Cori’s Corner
Beauty and the Pitch
Dreams and Colour Schemes
Viciloves
Lights Camera Catwalk
Pattern Me Pretty
A Few of My Favorite Things
Chic Glamorous and Splendid
She’s All Smiles
StyledbyKesha
Suzy Speaks
Luv in the Bubble
The Minimalist

M/P