Deadline

I’m only saying this aloud because I want to change…and if you’re reading this, then you can somehow be my accountability partner.  Or a mentor.  Maybe a encouraging word-er.  Something to push me out of my comfort zone.  Out of my fear of either failure or success.  To make me not only afraid to be in darkness, but actually run towards it.   I let an opportunity pass me by.  But first, a backstory.

 

rihanna-vibe-vixen-2

I remember when I first got this magazine in the mail.  I was a sophomore in college and the Editor-in-Chief was Danyel Smith.   The way she constructed the magazine, the content of what was inside, it just spoke to me.  It was what I envisioned the magazine I always wanted to print would be like.  I became an instant fan of her writing.  Started following her Tumblr and really just admiring her from afar; wishing for the day that maybe…just maybe…I’ll be able to work with her.  Well, this year, she and her husband started a Kicksarter for HRDCVR, or Hard Cover.  It’s basically a hard cover magazine which is a fantastic idea.  Anyway, they posted a fellowship opportunity to work with them on this project and the deadline was yesterday.  I sat at my computer and read over everything that was required.  A written essay on a variety of topics, samples of writing, questions to in-person interviews.  I thought about everything I would write….and then closed the tab.  I didn’t look back.  I didn’t even know how to proceed.  It seemed as if they were looking for professionals, and I didn’t feel like one.  Immediately, the thought of being rejected for a fellowship from another popular web publication came into my mind and I felt the same would happen.  Then my mind started drifting to the “what if”.  What if I’m chosen and I do the interview?  How would I be in front of two people that I’ve only known from afar?  What if I’m not what they’re looking for?

 

I talked myself out of an opportunity for a fear of failure.  Maybe even the fear that I’d become a part of this fellowship and my writing would be more than just personal blogging.  It would force me to grow.  Force me to improve, and it scared me too.   I’m tired of being scared, y’all.

 

The (Tarot) Read

When I was 17, my mother gave me about $100 and let me loose in the mall.  This is something that my mother began doing once I turned 14, due to the fact that we’re both stubborn and don’t see eye-to-eye on what I should’ve worn.  I wanted to dress myself.  My mother wanted to dress for herself with my body.  So I came to my favorite store at the time – Deliah’s – and started searching for clothes.  Oh, and by searching, I mean taking a bird’s eye view of the racks and leaving once nothing immediately grabbed my attention.  But something did grab my attention, and it wasn’t any article of clothing.  It was a book. 

the-fortune-telling-book

 

I wasn’t sure why this book was even in the store, or why the manager thought that any pre-teens or teenagers should even have a book like this, but it jumped out at me.  I leafed through the book and knew I had to have it for myself. I purchased the book and went home to begin learning everything that I could.  I did it in secret; waiting until everyone was asleep in the house before I decided to try out what I had learned.  I would sit in the middle of the floor with a clear bowl full of ice, staring deep until I could see images like a crystal ball.  I took my deck of cards and decided I would give myself tarot card readings.  I had a lot of fun, but it also became my little secret. A secret I had to hide from my family as well as my friends.  Those with no religious affiliation scoffed at what I was (secretly) doing as bogus and make believe.  Those who did saw what I was (secretly) doing as “black magic” and “inviting evil spirits in”.  Which is why when my mother found the book (that I could’ve sworn I hid….) she immediately threw it in the trash, but not without a ultimatim: the book or family. 

 

I never had to make the choice.  My mother made it for me.  She threw the book away while I was at school.  I was pissed, but eventually I moved on from feeling that way towards my mom, but not from fortune telling.  In fact, in the little time that I did have the book, it intensified my desire to learn more.  I went through a phase of wanting to read about witchcraft and magic, but it never stuck with me.  The only thing that did, was tarot reading. 

 

design-tarot-cards

Last month, I got my own deck of cards and I’ve been loving them since.  I’m still a bit of a novice but the best person to test these cards out on has been myself.  It’s giving me a chance to really understand what the cards mean in the grand scheme of it all, especially paired with other Arcanas.  There’s one that keeps coming up no matter what question I ask (which lately, I’ve been doing my weekly readings) has been The Heirophant.  I can’t ever seem to shake him no matter what I do and I love seeing him show up!  

 Maybe one day my mom will understand that tarot card reading isn’t some portal to the underworld but rather, it’s a tool to help you learn more about yourself.  Maybe she never will.  Maybe I should just ask the cards. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balloons

 

This is what happens: somebody–girls usually– got a free spirit, doesn’t get on too good with her parents.  These kids, they’re like tied-down helium balloons.  They strain against the string and then something something happens, and that string gets cut, and they just float away.  And maybe you’ll never see the balloon again. It lands in Canada or somethin’, gets work at a restaurant…..or maybe three or four years from now, or three or four days from now, the prevailing winds take the balloon back home, because it needs money, or it sobered up, or it misses its kid brother.  But….that string gets cut all the time.   – excerpt from Paper Towns

 

Balloon Manufacturers

 

I grew up in isolation.  I don’t mean in the “my parents locked me in the basement with a tiny window overlooking a sidewalk” way, but in a “I don’t understand why she’s always talking to and playing with her dolls so much…but she’s not bothering me so I’ll just leave her alone” type of way.  It was fine for me because of my over-active imagination and knack for being a daydreamer.  When I did decide to interact with people my own age, I was either received well, or bullied tremendously.   I may have focused more on the love that I was shown, but like most girls, I wanted the approval of my mother, who sounded a lot like my bullies.  When teachers didn’t know how to deal with my constant curiosity, my mother would beat it out of me.  At 10, I was tied down just like a helium-balloon.  I wanted to be a “good girl” and stay out of trouble, but I always found myself  in more trouble.  I didn’t have a safe space to explore who I really was.  I wasn’t supported in expressing myself.  Instead, I was guided to keep my head down, get an education, get a well-paying job in “computers” and settle into a quiet life.  Any form of creative expression was seen as a “hobby” and something “that doesn’t pay the bills”.  I rebelled.  Sometimes it worked.  Other times it backfired on me.   I threatened to run away several times.  My parents yelled and screamed at me.  But one day, the string broke.  That day was the day I went to college.

 

Custom-Balloon-design-tool

 

The thing about these balloons is that there are so many of them.  The sky is chocked full of them, rubbing up against one another….and after a while, you can’t even see them individually  You look up at the balloons in the sky and you can see all of the balloons, but you cannot see any one balloon.  - excerpt from Paper Towns

 

Even though three states separated me from my parents, I felt a whole lightyear away from them.  I felt free.  I was (semi) living on my own and felt grown enough that I could make my own decisions.  What was even better was that I met people–girls and guys alike– that were just like me.  We were all here in this new world trying to figure out what it means to us.  For some, we were just carrying on our parents’ wishes to get a higher education.  For me, I just wanted to expand and try any and everything I could.  I would stay out late.  I would go to any party I was invited to.  I stayed out of my dorm room a lot (it helped that me and my roommate didn’t get along well at all) and found a community of balloons that didn’t feel like they fit in, either.  They became my family and I really appreciated that.  They’re what I needed; but even then, my newfound family was looking for security.  At the end of this magical journey was suppose to be love and marriage and job security.  I didn’t want to worry about any of that; I had my whole life to figure that out.  But my friends and my relationship didn’t see it quite like I did.  So the strings came back onto my balloon.  I felt a need to rebel again, but my fight wasn’t there.  I just didn’t feel like fighting, especially in my relationship.  I just wanted to float.  Others saw that as irresponsible and unwilling to commit.   Because of it, I was let go by my “family” and it hurt.

 

The only thing worse than the skyful of balloons you see is what he sees: a clear blue day interrupted by just the one balloon.  But once that string gets cut, kid, you can’t uncut it.  Do you get what I’m saying?  - excerpt from Paper Towns 

 

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So yeah, life got hard and I came back home and for a while, that was fine.  I had to piece myself back together and become whole again.  You know how hard it is to admit to yourself that you were broken?  Well, I was and as I began rebuilding, I saw my friends going on with business as usual: falling in love, getting married, finding job security…all with smiles on their faces.  I started to feel like the weird one again.  That maybe I had everything wrong and that they figured out something I haven’t.  But that’s not the case.  I’ve learned that they have to live their life, and I have to live mines.  It may not look like everyone else’s, but it’s good.  It’s coming along.  And I can’t be mad at that.

What’s In A Name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” – Juliet Capulet, Romeo and Juliet   

This year, I’ve been weening myself off of reality television in lieu of more scripted television shows.  With the help of Netflix and now Amazon Prime, I’ve been able to do just that.  My idea of a relaxing weekend is reading up on books/magazine and binge watching a show that either I love or obviously missed.  Recently, I have come across a show that definitely got lost in the shuffle inbetween my college life and Sex and the City craze. wire-poster   Knowing full well that I’m 10 years behind on this show, I decided to start watching it after I was looking to entertain myself during my lunch break.  I just finished Season Three and I have to say, this is a great show!  The more I (binge) watch it, the more I appreciate that I’m watching at this time in my life.  I know I wouldn’t have appreciated or even sat still long enough to care about the many plots and subplots.  The writing is just beautiful and everyone involved gives the character such a depth and just a well-rounded individual.  Now, as much as I’ve learned from watching 36 episodes, I will say the most interesting one from me is the contrast between Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell.  Especially in Season Three.   String-Avon   These two were childhood friends.  One was born into the drug game (Avon), while the other just observed it (Stringer).   When Avon was released from prison and found out that his corners had been taken over by a young kid named Marlo, he immediately went into Soldier mode.  Stringer, however, became a business man; making deals with rival dealers to sell premium products on the streets in exchange for corners.  Stringer even created “The New Co-Op” which, in very much Godfather fashion, was the heads of most of the drug king pins in Baltimore meeting to discuss how to sell without getting violent.  Stringer knew that the more bodies that fell, that police would be on them.  Avon, feeling that their position was weak, declared war on Marlo; going directly against Stringer’s wishes.  When I watched these two interaction and their story unfold, I saw two friends and working buddies grow apart.  What was tearing them apart?  Their name.  Being born into a notorious drug kingpin family, Avon learned early that the Barksdale name carried a meaning.  That they were to be feared and respected.   The name was known far and wide and anyone who stepped to that name had to be dealt with.  Stringer, in contrast, didn’t care about his name.  In fact, Stringer wasn’t even his real name (it was Russell, by the way).  Stringer never cared for street cred nor did he want to be known for having the hardest name on the block.  Stringer wanted his name to mean more than that.  Where Avon wanted to rule a few corners, Stringer wanted to rule Baltimore.  He wanted his name to influence Congress, land developers, and ultimately, Washington, DC.   Which is why Stringer moved his name further and further away from the crime life, even though that carried with him in his dealings with city councilmen.

Then I watched this video on if you should put your real personality into your brand and we all know your brand is your name.  Even professionally, you always have to be mindful of what your name represents.  What do you want people to think of when they hear your name?   How do you want to be remembered?  Are you a Avon Barksdale or a Stringer Bell?

 

*and as a bonus, check out the infamous clip of Marlo having a meeting in holding…and of course, the subject of names come up*

Prelude (can blogs have that?)

 

Ever been writing a blog post that you had all the words for, yet none of them seem to be coming out right if at all?  Well, that’s happening to me.  Maybe this is my first taste of “writer’s block” which I always felt was reserved for people writing novels or essays.  I have an idea that I’m really playing around with and my thoughts, as usual, are all over the place.  So forgive my absence this week and take this video from Kendrick Lamar as the prelude of what the blog will be about.

 

Oh, and send positive vibes that I get these thoughts out.  Cause I’m trying. 

You’re Doing It All Wrong

How’s your New Year’s Resolution holding up?  I’ve been checking out my list  just to see how far along I am in accomplishing what I set out to do for the year.  So I stare at my list that is as pretty and crispy as the day I wrote it, which is bad.  Half the year is over and I haven’t crossed off a single thing.  This is the same issue I had last year and I wonder, Are my goals too lofty?  Did I expect too much for 12 months?  Why can’t I get serious?  But what I’ve learned is that my goals are lofty. They are, however, are doable.   Here’s how I’m handling one of them:

 

2. Donate $500 to charity

 

Now looking at this has given me much angst because I’m approaching it as if I have to give the lump sum to one organization.  Then I stress over which I’d give to and then the saving.  This week, I re-read about having a system vs. goals.  If I’ve applied this to my workouts and blog, why wouldn’t I do this with my resolutions?

 

 

So I’m going to spread the $500 out into various charities each pay period.  If I donate 10% of my check to an organization (or a struggling small business), then I’ll reach this goal by next month!  I plan to do this with the other 13 as well!  Just thought I’d share this with anyone struggling, like I was.  Maybe this is a good time (if you’ve fallen off the new year’s resolution bandwagon) to create a mid-year resolution list and get back to it!

 

Enjoy your holiday!

 

 

 

It’s A Wonderful Life

Here’s a question I’ve been mulling over for the past week: What does your ideal life look like?   After watching (and reading) The Secret several times, I believe in the Law of Attraction: that your thoughts become things.  Now I’m not saying that I’m always successful at staying positive in my thinking, but I’ve gotten much better at catching myself going down a dark path.  There’s a saying that goes, “What you have in your life is a manifestation of everything you’ve thought about up until this point.” and you really begin to examine yourself.  Did I miss out on something coming to fruition because I thought I couldn’t afford it?  Or that I wasn’t thin enough?  Maybe when I told myself I wasn’t a good dancer is why I haven’t become a certified instructor.  Either way, I’m ready to do some manifestation!  So, what does my ideal life look like?  Sound like?  Hell, even taste like?   I’ll just focus on three parts: Career, Lifestyle, and Love.

 

Career

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I love writing.  Always have and probably always will.  I spend a good portion of my down time reading online articles, essays, and recaps of television shows.  Now, maybe I have a very glamorized view of a freelance writer (minus all of the freelance writers I follow on social media complain about not being paid on time) but that is my ideal job.  I want to be able to write for a variety of publications on a variety of subjects.  I’d love to write short stories that are featured bi-weekly and ultimately have a column where you can come to every Thursday (my favorite day of the week) and get a dose of whatever it is I’m talking about.  Maybe an advice column?  Where to go in the city?  What to do on weekends?  My epic fail using Spanx?  Either way, I’d love to write for a living, because when you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.  Hey, I’m believing in it!

 

Lifestyle 

gypsy

 

I’ll let you in on a (not so) little secret about me.  Growing up, while girls were dreaming about their wedding day and starting a family, I was dreaming of becoming  a gypsy.  Albeit, I fell in love with the stereotype of one, still I wanted to become one.  I thought it was dope to be a fortune teller, wear vibrant clothes, and live wherever you decided to set up your wagon.   Of course the reason they moved around so much wasn’t because they wanted to but because they had to (for fear of physical harm from the locals), but the idea of living a nomadic life is something that has stuck with me to this day.  I want to be able to travel around the world.  Be able to live in London one month, then Morocco the next.  I wouldn’t mind being submerged in another’s culture and even learn to speak the language.  To be able to wake up to ever changing scenery is very appealing to me.  There was only one place where I felt completely at “home”, and that was when I vacationed in the Caribbeans.  So yes, there is a place I’d love to come “home” to, however I’d love to have the freedom to pick up and reside somewhere else if the mood strikes me.

 

Love

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I have tried envisioning my ideal love life and I always come up empty.   The times when I do envision my love life, I’m much older, settled, and we’re on a porch in the South; drinking Countrytime lemonade in rocking chairs.  So for the longest time, I felt that I would be ready to settle down when I’m in my 70s which I know is possible, but felt absurd.  Does this mean that I can’t experience love now?  No.   I guess my ideal love would be just as curious about life as I am.  That no matter where we live and where we are, we’re strong enough to stick together.   That we would have similar interest and just co-exist together; creating lasting memories along the way.  Or maybe I just fall in love daily with my life and not necessarily a person.  It could be the piazza in Tuscany or the pastry shop in Paris that makes my heart flutter.  Maybe the beaches of Jamaica or the yoga retreat in Costa Rica or that shrine in Bali…either way, I’ll have some form of love in my life.

 

That’s just a glimpse into my version of a wonderful life.  What’s yours?

 

What’s That Ford Slogan Again?

 

I don’t love my job.

 

xibit

 

It’s not that I HATE my job, because I don’t.  I’m not even ungrateful for my job, because I’m grateful for the work I do.  Lately, I’ve been wondering what else was out there for me.  In December of last year, I was offered a job at another location with more pay (before my raise).  I was immediately intrigued and gripped with fear over going to a new job to start over.  I had everything set up where I am now.  But my gut was pushing me to at least hear the other company out.  But I never did.  Instead, I told my boss that another company, after hearing rave reviews about me, wanted me to work for them.  My boss looked me dead in the eyes and said, “I don’t think that would be a good idea.  You shouldn’t leave.”  And I didn’t.  I stayed exactly where I’ve always been, but I felt bad about it.  I felt I was given an opportunity and I allowed fear AND the opinion of another keep me where I’ve been for the past three years.    But this year…..this year has been different.   Oprah once said that the Universe will send you signs in a whisper, and if you ignore the whisper that it’ll turn into something much louder that you can no longer ignore it.   I’ve heard whispers this year.  They turned into rumbles.  This week?  Two people in particular turn them into screams.

 

 

I won’t pretend to act as if I care about basketball, but hearing about LeBron James exercising his right to terminate his contract (early) to become a free agent was a story that I couldn’t ignore.  Starting July 1, he’ll have plenty of options to choose from on where he would like to take his talents next.   A lot of fans– of the Heat or for LeBron, I can’t really tell — seem to be devestated by this news; even going so far as to call him a “traitor”.  They love to remind all of us that Michael Jordan never left the Bulls and he won lots of championships.  I can see both sides.  I can see him just finishing up his contract and then leave; there’s nothing wrong with that.  I can also see how you would want to see how you would fit in at another team.  In his profession (I imagine), you go where you feel you would have the best chance of winning.  He’s also very young.  LeBron got me to thinking a lot about why I’ve stayed at my job.

 

 

Angie Martinez, the “Voice of NY” radio, announced that after 15 years on Hot 97, she was leaving the station.  If that wasn’t shocking enough, later on that day it was revealed that she was joining the Power 105.1 roster.  I remember when I heard the news and was extremely happy for her.   This seemed like a very lucrative, smart career move.  She wanted to try new things and expand and evolve as a radio personality.  My co-worker, however, didn’t share my sentiment.  She called her act “treason” and that it made her sick to her stomach that she would betray her home (Hot 97) to work for their “enemy” (Power 105.1).  Really?  I started thinking about all the people who have quit their job and went into unknown territory and did just fine.  Sure it was scary, money was funny, and mistakes were made.  However, they came out better than they would’ve if they stayed at their current spot.   After watching/listening to her interview, I completely understood.  She just wanted a change and felt she had a better shot doing that at Power 105.1 than she would’ve with her previous employer.  Sometimes when you’re at a job, no matter how much you move around in the company, you hit a ceiling.  You do all you can do in that space and that may be good for you, but for others it isn’t good enough.  Angie gave me the confirmation.

 

Ford-nuevo-slogan

 

I think I’m on the verge of quitting my job.

The 10-Year. Tenure.

 

 

I happened to come across this video after my blogging mentor posted another video by her about  having someone “pick your brain”.   After watching the video, I wanted to see more from her.  I’m always a fan of a person who can speak to me in a tough love,  humorous, truthful kind of way.  I like the “concerned best friend who just wants to see you reach your full potential” feel and Marie gave me that.  So how funny was it that this was the video that was recommended to me?  You know how I feel about messages that are confirming something that I’ve been thinking or talking about doing.  Using the 10-year plan was just what I needed to hear.

 

In it, she talks about envisioning yourself 10 years from now and ask yourself, “Do I regret not going for that thing/opportunity/person/trip?”  Whatever that answer is, then you know what you need to do.   You’ll become more focused and determined to do what is necessary to finally go after your dreams.  So I really sat with that notion.  Visualized my 42 year-old self and wonder if she would look back full of regrets, or would she look back and say “Well played!” as she sets out for the next decade of her life?   What do I want to do now?  What do I want to accomplish in 10 years?  Just something that was on my mind that I wanted to share with you.  This song by Tori Kelly sums up everything really well, too!

 

The time will never be perfect.  The pieces may never fall into the correct place.  Just….go for it!

 

 

Video

Halfway To Happy

 

happy-the-movie

I kept noticing on my Twitter feed a few people participating in a challenge.  The challenge was to post everyday for 100 days something that makes you happy.  You could start anytime and use any platform you choose to.  Curious, I went on to the website to sign up for my 100 Days of Happy.  I picked a date: May 1. I even picked the platform: Instagram (which you can check out my collection of happy!), which was going to get me to be more consistent posting there AND fuel my passion for photography.  I was ready to take on the challenge and really stick to it.   Now that I’m half-way through this challenge, I look back on how far I’ve come and anticipate what lies in the other 50 days.

 

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I knew starting it in May (my birthday month) that I had at least ONE day that would be a happy day for me, but what about the other 99?  I started feeling like I had to plan my happy days; that my normal, everyday life wasn’t happy enough. I saw my life as lacking happiness and this challenge was going to make me finally have some happiness.  So I actually started to actively seek happiness; even planning days in advance what I was going to post, just in case I don’t have one for a day.  But in an instant, it didn’t feel right.  It felt forced, and I no longer like to live my life forcing anything.  If it comes from me, I wanted to come from my heart.  I want to be authentic and genuine in all of my actions.   It also felt deceptive.  Why would I post a picture on Day 12 of what makes me happy, when it actually made me happy on Day 3?  I had to step out of my own way and lose control (in a sense).  The challenge is about being in tune to what makes me happy.  Sure, I can “plan” events and “construct” what I think happiness is, or I can really pay attention.

 

f-happy

 

I can notice this world I live in more aware than I may have perceived myself to me.   I can really pay attention to what makes me happy and see that something as simple as feeling the sun warming up my skin, or a cinnamon roll can really get my endorphin going .  And what if I already posted something that made me happy that day and I experience another wave of happiness?  I posted that, too!  This challenge so far has made me more open to happiness coming into my life (and it has been pouring in!).  I wake up knowing that happiness will come to me.  I set my intentions on it during my meditation.  I find myself at so much peace and less stressed.  I am, in fact, happier.   So I definitely encourage any and everyone to take the 100 Happy Days challenge  and to get you started, check out the clip below that definitely made me happy today.

 

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