Defining Moments: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

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As we march closer and closer to 2016 there are many things that come to mind that have assisted in the shaping, molding and breaking of who I am as I get closer to 40. However, my son and I both experienced a defining moment based on one potentially contentious co-parenting experience. For the purposes of respecting his privacy I won’t fully disclose the issue but, what I will say is that this moment defined me as a mother and ex-wife who showed spiritual maturity and him as a young man coming into his own and understanding that you do have choice even if no one explicitly tells you.

Our chance encounter with this “defining moment” taught both of us some things:

  1. You do have choice and voice. And if you don’t use it you will lose it.
  2. You are your best advocate.
  3. Ask for what you want, with no apologies attached to the ask.
  4. You are only responsible for giving people information. You are not responsible for how they interpret or respond to the information given.
  5. You don’t have to accept anything less than what you deserve. The moment you lower your standards for how you should be treated is the moment you lose yourself.
  6. You get to choose what emotions are evoked when receiving startling information. You can choose a different response.
  7. Adults should never put children in a position to make adult decisions.
  8. Not hurting other people by hurting yourself leads to the phrase “hurt people, hurt people.”
  9. People make mistakes, allow them the opportunity to correct the error and move on.
  10. You will only see a situation from your level of perspective. You have to commit yourself to elevating your level of perception if you want to understand people.
  11. Everyone has blindspots. Acknowledge them. Forgive yourself. Do Better.

So before you start making resolutions, declarations, vision boards, promises, goals and all the other things that come along with the new year. Decide today that you will first reflect on your Defining Moments of 2015, then proceed to making your life the best one you could ever live.

The most important part of your story is the dash (-) between your arrival and departure here on earth.

Make the dash mean something. Dream big. Leave your mark!

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Those Dressing Room Blues: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

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Photo Credit: Yourbeautyadvisor.com

The holiday season is upon us. Eating, shopping, drinking, and house hopping are on the menu of things to do. Well, if you are like me you always want to look good while living this fabulous life. I made a pit stop on Christmas Eve at a store I vowed NEVER to frequent…DRESS BARN! In my mind Dress Barn was my mama’s store. It was the store of work clothes, patterns and polyester. It was my mama’s store good people! Mom jeans, shoulder pads and floral patterns were all the things that came to my mind when I thought about Dress Barn. Until, I took a chance and stopped in on Christmas Eve 2015. I actually found a few cute pieces.

I also found something else. The Dressing Room Blues. Now, let’s be clear. My body and I have a love/like relationship. When I am eating right, drinking my 56oz. of water and getting rest I love it. When I am eating Nestle Tollhouse Cookies, drinking chai tea lattes and up all night I like it. In that dressing room I was having a like it moment. As I pilled off my Her Success Is Not My Failure t-shirt, scooted out of my skinny jeans and kicked my boots off I realized the reason I don’t shop much in my like stage is that I get depressed trying on clothes. Okay depressed may be a bit extreme. Let’s say frustrated. I start critiquing every little nook and cranny on my body. I grab my love handles and my relacore (that’s my nickname for my belly fat) and dissect my side rolls like I am in a biology class.

As I tried on clothes in the dressing room my entire disposition changed. I started with a size 14 skinny jean, then made my way to a size 12, then EUREKA! I almost made my way into a size 10 but I had to come back into my right mind because I was pushing it. My hips and thighs weren’t having it. So there I stood with a size 12 jean over my curvaceous hips, thighs and behind. All of a sudden a sense of urgency swept over me. I pulled out my phone and typed  She’s a Bad Mama Jama into my Youtube search engine. The next thing I know I am shakin’, poppin’ and lockin’ all over the dressing room. Did I tell you I was in a size 12 jeans?

It was at that moment I realized my previous Dressing Room Blues came from the fact that the clothes at some stores were not created for a thick chick from Joy Road and Evergreen. They weren’t created for an almost 40 year old mother of 3 who came through each pregnancy with no drugs, limited stretch marks, but lots of love handles. They weren’t created for someone who gets bloated around the 2oth of each month and then gets the bright idea to go clothes shopping on the 21st. They just weren’t!

And that’s okay because there are people out in the universe who they were made for.

So after Carl Carlton finished the last verse of Bad Mama Jama and I hit the last booty pop in the mirror (don’t judge me, you know you do it too) I picked up my clothes and ran to the counter with my coupon. As I walked out the door, the only thing I could think about was hearing my mother and sister talk about me and my previous disdain for Dress Barn.

But who cares, I was looking Christmastime Fine “in those jeans”!

 

 

 

 

Struggle with Stride, Not Stress: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

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Hey Good People! I was gone for a minute but now I am back at it. I watched a video on Facebook titled Are You a Broken or Whole Black Girl/Woman the other day and I just watched Serena Williams’ acceptance speech for the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year AwardI have been contemplating this one question for the last 3 days, “at what point do we stop creating and embracing the struggle narrative?”. Now I am not talking about the Romans 5:3-5 narrative. Because suffering does produce endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. I am talking about the struggle that produces an “S” on our chest, the struggle that makes heart disease the #1 killer of black and white women . Just so that I can make this statistic real for you lets take me and three of my best friends (Quian, Andrea and Courtney) heart disease says that 1 out of the 4 of us will die. Now think about your circle and apply the same math. It just got REAL, REAL QUICK. The struggle that makes us put everybody else first and our self care last. The struggle that says if I am depressed, I still have to show up and show out as my best self when I don’t even know who “she” is. The struggle that makes you sing  How I Got Over by Mahalia Jackson and No Happy Holidays by Mary J. Blige all in the same day. Yeah, that struggle. That’s the struggle that makes me mad.

So now that I got that off of my chest, let me tell you what my fellow employee of Jesus (Courtney) and I talked about today at work. I told her about my issue with struggle and as always we brainstormed together how to define this issue. Then it hit us, we had an AHA! moment.

The question really is how do we struggle with stride instead of stress? See, the definition of stride(n.) is a long, decisive step or a step or stage in progress towards an aim. The definition of stress(n.) is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. When we struggle with stride we know it’s spirit led. We can refer back to James 1: 2-4 knowing how we should call it all joy. However, when we struggle with stress we can be sure that it is flesh related. Your flesh makes you angry, anxious, tempted, scared, sick, and a whole gamut of other negative nouns, adjectives and verbs that literally make me want to gag. Stress contributes to sleepless nights, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal issues, alzheimer’s,  asthma, headaches, depression, accelerated aging and premature death.  When you struggle with stride you know who holds your future. You can leave it all on the altar and let Jesus fix it. You can seek out the help you need when you are at the end of your rope and you know Jesus needs some physical help in the earth realm to assist with your issues. Seeing a therapist is not shameful, it’s life changing.

This badge of honor that is masked as resilience, tenacity, and fortitude is heavy. I want to rip this “S” off my chest just for one day and not be strong for anyone else but myself. Yeah, I know it sounds selfish. Possibly downright self-centered. But there comes a time in your life where you MUST…YOU HAVE TO…IT IS IMPERATIVE to put yourself first. You must Replenish. Reconnect. Recommit. Reward. and Re-examine your reason for the struggle. What is your why? Who is your why? And if YOU are not attached somewhere in the answer I advise you to go back to the drawing board. Your health is worth it. Your life is worth it. Your sanity is worth it.

You, my dear are worth it.

Start making strides in your struggle, not stress.

Watch your life change one long, decisive step at a time.

 

 

Settling for Scraps on the Table: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

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Growing up I quit a lot of things. Violin. Dance. Tee Ball. Junior Achievement. School. Jobs. Friendships. Relationships. I wish my parents would have forced me to finish at least one of these. But, I think my parents understood the power of choice, my strong will and decided to invest their money into things that would give them a better ROI (Return on Investment). And really as a parent I don’t blame them. If I was my Mama I would have done the same thing. I wasn’t the most cooperative child.

However, there is one thing I can say I am okay with walking or running away from. A bad relationship. I don’t like to stay in places where I am no longer wanted, needed or tolerated. Like really who wants to be tolerated. That’s why I cannot stand the “teaching tolerance” curriculum when it comes to diversity. Like for real, who wants to be tolerated??????? But I digress. The older I became the more I realized that you have to “learn how to leave the table when love is no longer being served”. By the way, I have a book coming out in 2016 focused on this concept. Everyone’s definition of being comfortable in a relationship is different. I will admit that in most romantic relationships I was a bit of a track star. I wouldn’t sprint at the first sign of trouble. But by the time that second or third sign appeared just call me Flo Jo ’cause I was outta there like Obama Healthcare!

I just believe that as much as it may hurt to leave it hurts worse to stay. Now let me be very transparent. I have had some folks quit on me. And at the time I was shocked. I’m a cool chick, I love hard, but I used to fight harder (not in the physical sense) and my mouth was an AK-47 blazing anyone who I perceived was trying to hurt me in word or deed. So really, I don’t blame them for leaving. That’s called growth and ownership of your bad behavior good people.

A very good male friend and I were having a conversation about his relationship and why he continues to stay in a relationship that seems unhappy and unfulfilling. His answer was straightforward “she has held me down so I would feel bad for leaving”. And although most people reading this will think that answer is very noble of him I want to challenge your thought process. If his girlfriend heard that answer, what do you think her response would be? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

I want joy, comfortability, spontaneity, fun, passion, love and consistency. I want someone who believes in my dreams, visions and hopes. Someone who will bring 100% of themselves to the table, but understands that sometimes relationships are 80/20. Not all the time. Just some times. Someone who can push me to the height of my calling and build God’s kingdom. A visionary who supports the extreme dream.

That kind of loving is not happy or comfortable. It’s both. Not always at the same time. But it’s both. I don’t want someone to hold me down out of obligation. I don’t want a quid pro quo type of love. I want that Lauryn Hill reciprocity love that she talks about in Ex-Factor.

But hey, if you are okay with scraps then get it how you live. As for me, I want the 5 course meal relationship with nothing left on the table. ‘Cause we both eating good!

Just Breathe…Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

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This week has been emotionally stirring for a lot of people I am connected to. Souls have been bared. Secrets have been exposed. The smell of emotional freedom is in the air from Oklahoma to Chicago to Detroit. Transparent truths are manifesting like never before. Chains are being broken and lives are being transformed with a click of a button or the glide of a pen. Voices are no longer being silenced. Many can now come up for air.

BREATHE.

BLACK WOMAN.

BREATHE.

Inhale the fresh morning dew of a new day. New experiences. New Grace. New Mercy. Exhale the toxic nouns that tried to suffocate your calling.

BREATHE.

BLACK WOMAN.

BREATHE.

The darkness no longer can hold the light captive.

A rebirth of dreams of old are now taking shape in your life.

Through the PAIN is a PUSH for PURPOSE. A higher calling is NOW upon your life.

BREATHE.

BLACK WOMAN.

BREATHE.

Take what is rightfully yours back from the enemy. Your mind. Your body. Your spirit. Your health. Your finances. Your dreams. Your truth.

JUST BREATHE. Knowing that this moment is not the end of the pain, but the beginning of purpose!

 

Beep, Beep Who Got The Keys to the Jeep: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

 

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Photo Courtesy of brwnpaperbag.com

My children can always hear me before they see me. I love KEYS! For example, whenever they attended after school care they always knew when I was close to the classroom by the sound of my keys. What’s even funnier is that when I attended the catholic school equivalent of after school care, “late room”, at St. Mary’s of Redford I could tell when my mama was close by the click of her Ganto’s Boutique heels and her keys.

But my question to you tonight is a simple one. What person, place or thing is holding the keys to your future? What divine connections are you opening yourself up to in order to be in the front seat of your future? What choices are you making today that your future self will thank you for?

I just declared on Facebook that December is the month of divine connections. I see it. I feel it. I hear it. I do it. I have connected with some pivotal people within the first 6 days of December. These folks are so important to my journey. They will assist God and I by thrusting me into 2016 with so much vigor and fortitude that the only thing WE as a group can do is WIN. And WIN BIG!

You hold the keys to your destiny. You also hold a key to someone else’s success. Don’t miss key opportunities by trying to keep your keys to yourself. Keys can take the shape of resources, skills, expertise, knowledge or just support for something outside of yourself.

So let me know, who has the keys to your jeep?

Are You a Two-Faced Tootie? Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

 

 

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Photo courtesy of conspiracy-watch.org

In order to get my  book finished my writing coach, Je Tuan “The Message Midwife” Jones, told me that I can only blog on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The other 4 days of the week I must devote solely to making my dream a reality. So with that being said here are my thoughts on social media and two-faced Tooties.

Technology has made us grow closer in ways, it helps take our message further and reach people all over the globe. But it also at times sets up false hope or pretense. Two-faced Tooties are people who show up on social media one way and in real life are totally different. Now I am not talking about you being on the “gram” with make up and then when I see you in public I see your nose is not contoured. That makeup contouring got outta hand for a second though. I am talking about folks who profess to love sweet baby Jesus in the manger who is swaddled with polyester, frankincense and myrrh. But will friend you in public, but won’t speak in private. Hey, you friended me remember? I didn’t know you from Adam. Didn’t you just like the picture of my Patti Pie?

I am talking about the Tooties who comment with all the right answers, whose opinion is ranked as ZERO NO HIGHER (those who played ‘hood hide and seek know about ZERO NO HIGHER), who always have all the right things to say, do, think and wear and feel as though no one is remotely on their level. YEAH, those folks! The ones who claim to have written the Bible, know what Jesus ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, who claim to have counseled Adam, Eve, Mary, Job, David and Steve. YEAH, those folks! The ones who get up with self-righteous indignation and can tell you how Obama should run the country, how Michelle should raise the kids and how to get rid of ISIS. Yeah, those folks!

But I understand, we all want to put our best face forward for the world to see. Even if we don’t know all the people in the world. Truth be told, there are many times I have wanted to do a Periscope but I knew it may not go over too well with crust in my eyes, morning breath and my hair standing on top of my head. Well technically it’s my hair because I bought it, but you understand where I am going with this.

However, for me what you see and hear is what you get. I love Jesus, I love my family, I love So Yummy,  I love to uplift the perceived underdog and I have sarcastic humor. I get on my own nerves at times, I talk junk, I ain’t perfect. I have 1 baby daddy (I hate that word, but it’s funny when I say it!), 2 ex-husbands, and some bags I need to let go of. I need to exercise, I try to eat right but I LOVE a good nestle tollhouse cookie (my secret nickname is Cookie Bootie). I cannot put on makeup right to save my life, I like when my friends pick out my clothes and my eyesight is bad!

Now I am not saying not to have an opinion about current events. Or not be abreast of pop culture. Or not know a lot of useless information about useful topics. But what I am saying is know the definition of grace beyond saying it before you eat. And extend that grace in public and private.

Don’t be a victim like Brenda. When Keepin’ It Real Goes Wrong!

 

Thanks for coming out, God Bless, Goodnight!