Confetti

What if tomorrow never comes?  I’m not waiting for the confetti to fall  – Tori Kelly “Confetti”

This week has been really hard for me, if I can be completely honest.  It started off with a great conversation with a woman who I have admired for years.  She’s sharing her knowledge of blogging to anyone who will listen and I was more than happy to be taught from.  After reading Mastery, I knew that I needed a mentor.  So call it divine timing or the opportunity I’ve been working towards, but I went for it.  Our conversation was very pleasant and I just sat on the other end of the phone and just listened.  I didn’t want to interrupt; didn’t want to stop the flow of conversation.  Then I was asked how I promote my site.  Then the truth of the matter came out.

I’m still insecure about my vision and my voice.

Truth is, as much as I share online….I’m much more reserved offline.  Comfortable with staying in the background until it’s my time to come forward.  I always felt that if I just put in the work, then someone would see it.  Humble to a fault, I’m much more excited for other people than I am myself.  I will support you and offer my advice if you need it, but often times I keep what I’m working on to myself.  I can admit I’ve been conditioned to keep your ideas to yourself because “there’s always someone out there looking to steal your ideas”.  So for me, being naturally reserved, I became more seclusive. In becoming seclusive, I started to doubt what I was saying was even impactful.  In doubting my words, I noticed it was spilling into my work life as well.  In a dispute with a co-worker, I started to doubt my voice.  Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything.  Maybe I should’ve just stayed quiet because now I look emotional and unprofessional.  My co-worker began to give me the cold shoulder and I even overheard some pretty nasty things about me.  I felt I had no allies in my already small division but this week, it felt like I was on an island all by myself.  My good friend told me that I can’t let it show that it’s getting to me, however it was.  I had to be honest with myself about that.   But why?

This morning, after sitting in much needed silence, the answer came to me on everything.  About my blog, my job, and myself.  I’m looking for permission to be great from someone or something else.  From my boss telling me I was right in my dispute with my co-worker to my unknown blog having millions of views, I felt that my happiness and my success laid in the hands of another.   The fact of the matter is, it’s okay to feel how I felt about my co-worker making false accusations against me.  It’s okay to speak up for yourself when you’re feeling bullied.  It’s okay to promote the blog.  It’s okay to let people know it exists.  It’s okay to believe that my voice matters just as much as everyone else.  It’s also okay for me to be vulnerable.  Its in this state is where I feel the most connected to my highest self and feel that I’m being my authentic self.

So I don’t need for you to throw any confetti at my parade.  I got enough of my own that I’ll be sprinkling over me every step that I take.

With Friends Like These….

I have amazing friends, and that’s not a word that I throw around lightly.

Growing up introverted, I had to always get a “feel” for people before I opened up to be myself around them. Because of this, I was labeled “awkward” and “weird” which kept a lot of people away from me. Lucky for me, the ones who were suppose to be in my life stayed around and I am grateful. I have to thank one friend in particular who has always pushed me to be a better me. Especially today, when an incident occurred that could’ve made me out to be the “bad guy”. My friend was in my ear, giving solid advice and words of encouragement.

I always say “thank you” when she helps out. I always say, “thank you” when she just lends me her ear (and saves me money on going to a therapist). I say “thank you” just because I’m grateful for the woman that she is to me in my life. If you have a good friend (or friends) like I do, just tell them, “Thank you for being a friend.”

Candy Crush Course

Candy Crush Course

You see this? This is the current level that I am on (and will gladly accept any extra moves you have) and have been for a better part of a month now. Every time I fail the level, I ask myself “Why do I continue to subject myself to this level of frustration and failure?” Day in, day out, I try to solve this puzzle when really I just want to fight the air.

The arrangements of the candy is never the same and one wrong swipe could set you back three moves. A game where you are given a limited amount of moves to complete your task and a goal to reach, you become something of a Master with this game. You have to study the puzzle; see the obstacles in your way, like a chocolate block. Determine which move will yield better results. Maybe if you move that one red candy to destroy the jelly, it will create a domino effect and destroy other jellies. If you’re anything like me, you’ll dive into the level head first and think about the consequences later; you’re just eager to get started on a new level. Then frustration sets in when it doesn’t work. Many people abandon the game once it gets hard, and then there are those who are on the 400 levels. Other people who are playing the game will help you out by giving a life or extra moves. These people become your lifeline. Your unofficial support system. Potential mooches and opportunist that will take your help and offer none in return. Either way, y’all are in this struggle together.

When you finally finish a level and see “Sugar Crush” flash across the screen, you feel accomplished. All those minutes, hours, even days are all worth it to finally complete a level you worked so hard (or so little, prodigies) for. So, why do I keep playing Candy Crush?

Because what I’ve learned by playing this game has translated into my everyday life.

Soft Spots (Riley’s Gotta Man)

Riley is in love….and she hates it. 

So last night as I was posting on Facebook, I happen to come face-to-face with my ex updating his profile picture.  Simple, right?  But this photo update was of him and his fiancee.  Immediately, Riley showed up.   I expected it so I just sat still and listened to her.  I’ve learned to not become so reactive when she shows up.  Besides, what can she tell me that she hasn’t told me about my ex already?  Actually, the picture brought a smile to my face; it was good to see him with his future wife.  Riley….wasn’t having it.

This sucks.  Why is it that everybody leaves and ends up finding their wife?  Why am I not wife material?  It doesn’t matter, y’all weren’t suppose to get married anyway.  You knew that already so who cares.  Just pray about it.  Pray him away because you need to get over him and put the past finally in the past.  Has he ever had you as his profile picture?  It doesn’t matter.  You need to move on from him.  Just….move on.  This shouldn’t be this bothered about a couples picture.

The inner conversation was interesting…but it also brought me a moment of clarity.  My ex was a very big part of my life.  My whole college career was spent either being his friend or being his girlfriend.  He played a MAJOR part of my life.  Why do I have to shut him out?  Why not just appreciate who he was to me in that part of my life?  Truth is, I have a soft spot for my ex-boyfriend.  The problem came, and the reason for Riley’s resurgence, is that we keep fighting that reality.  The source of the pain doesn’t come from wanting him back (because I don’t).  The source of pain doesn’t even come from feeling that I won’t experience a love that I’ve had with him again (because I have).  The source of pain comes from Riley’s insisting that I actively fight and suppress the years and love that I have for a person.  “Getting over it” may work for some, and blocking someone from your mind does help in the process for moving on. I understand Riley’s concern to want to protect and isolate me from a man who was a big part of my life.  However, to deny that he wasn’t that important to me actually hurts me more.

It’s okay to have a soft spot for someone from your past.  It’s also okay to move forward with your life and that was something Riley wanted to keep me from.  Just moving forward.  I’m glad I listened to her last night because the weight that I was able to lift off of me…

XO

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and as annoying as people think it is to say, “It’s just another day”, for me…that’s exactly what it is. Not because I’m unattached. Not because I don’t have plans. Not because of a personal hang-ups about the day (which by the way, I don’t….i love love!). The reason tomorrow is just another Friday to me is because I’ve learned to show and find love everyday, and this week was especially special.

In a newsletter that I get in my inbox there was a call of action for us to participate in doing a random act of kindness. So naturally, I was up to the task. I chatted up a stranger who looked down in the dumps. I gave out compliments freely. I sent out thank-you cards and e-mails to those people who helped me along the way. I was overcome with a feeling of gratitude and it felt good. Then this morning, I got my own act of kindness.

Like most on the East Coast, it snowed last night and this morning, I knew I was going to have to tackle the driveway. But first, I was going to make the heartiest of breakfast foods. As I was walking past my window, I noticed two people in my driveway. Thinking it was some neighborhood kids, I went outside to see my neighbor and his son shoveling my driveway. “I just wanted to help out, because you’ve helped me out.” was all he said, with a smile. I was taken aback by this gesture. This random act of kindness. This display of love filled my heart to the brim. He may have been a good neighbor and I was just fulfilling a call to action, but this week showed me the power of showing love every day, not just on the 14th of February.

The Familiar Case of Michael Dunn

I still remember Trayvon Martin

Today, I watched Michael Dunn take the stand in his own defense.  He stands accused of the murder of 17 year-old Jordan Davis.  For more than two hours, he sat at the witness stand giving his account of the events that lead up to the shooting.  Still carrying the residual hurt and anger over the verdict in a similar case last year, I forced myself to push aside my own personal feelings and reservations.  I wanted to feel that I was on the jury.  I wanted to be just like a juror; I only wanted to focus on the facts in front of me. Not on what I personally felt about Black teenagers, or gun laws, or even older White men….just the case that was presented.  So I listened to the defense.  Then Dunn.  Then the cross examination.  Then Dunn again.  It became exhausting.  It was just too much to process (which would explain why the Judge seemed to confuse a lot of information) but one thing was clear, the ego was always there.

Michael Dunn acted (in my own personal opinion) in self-defense….of his ego.  He didn’t appreciate the fact that he was disrespected by a group of teenagers.  Not only was he disrespected by a group of guys twice his age, it happened around an audience.  He must’ve felt in every nerve in his body that this was a situation he needed to handle.  Had he just been more in control, or rather more aware of himself, he could’ve stopped everything.  He would’ve observed his ego wanting to be right and making the teenagers wrong.  He wouldn’t have taken the teens turning the music back up so personally.  He would’ve gotten on his phone and talked to a friend.  Maybe he would’ve taken that moment to walk into the store with his then fiancée and kept her company.  Or he could’ve remembered the bliss he felt from watching his son get married to the love of his life and be so caught up in the moment, that the music would’ve been just blended noise in the background. 

But that didn’t happen.  To the unaware, it never happens.  The ego wins and everybody loses.  Especially Jordan Davis.

The Alchemist

Alchemy is the art of liberating parts of the Cosmos from temporal existence and achieving perfection which, for metals is gold, and for man, longevity, then immortality and, finally, redemption. Material perfection was sought through the action of a preparation (Philosopher’s Stone for metals; Elixir of Life for humans), while spiritual ennoblement resulted from some form of inner revelation or other enlightenment (Gnosis, for example, in Hellenistic and western practices). – H.J. Sheppard

You know what really got me back into the gym?  Pole dancing.  Yep.  The idea that I can get a workout doing something that I’ve always wanted to do and be able to add to my arsenal of “hey, look what I can do!” was right up my alley.  So once I found a gym that offered pole classes, I signed up.  My very first class felt like the first day of school for me.  I picked out my shorts and tank top, I made sure not to wear any lotion (for obvious slippage reasons).  I even showed up early to get my pick of the poles.  I was ready to learn.  What actually happened was I was in an Intro Pole class with students who moved as if they have been doing this for years.  Former dancers and gymnast who caught on early, and caught on well.  Meanwhile, I was in the furthest corner trying to shrink into myself; mad at my limbs for betraying me the way that they had. What do you mean my outside leg crosses my inside leg?  How is that even possible. 

I got discouraged.  I kept going.  I became angry at myself.  I kept going.  My thighs began to chafe.  I kept going.  I was bruised all over.  I kept going.  My hands got calluses on them.  I kept going.  I began to question if this was even worth it.  I kept going.

This went on for a year until one day, the owner of the gym came up to me and said, “We have a new instructor.  He’s teaching Pole.  You should sign up.  I hear he’s really good.”  and I became intrigued again.  This time, for a different reason.  A guy that does pole?!  Oh, this should be interesting.  From the minute he walked into class, I knew he was the teacher for me.  A medium build guy with the sweetest Southern drawl, he was a ball of energy.  His smile lit up the entire room and I felt energized and ready for the workout ahead.  His laugh filled the studio during our stretches as he described how we should look and feel as we were stretching.  Completely animated in his approach, I was attracted to his playful spirit.  But that all dissolved once he began to show us spins.  He was more advanced in pole then I could’ve imagined.  I felt that intimidation beginning to creep back into my psyche again, but he made me feel at ease.  He told me tricks and what I could do and it became easier with practice.  After the class was over, I signed up for the month.

The next week, to my surprise and probably his, there was no one in the class.  My  mind started to race Great.  Now he’s going to be pissed off and become all drill sergeant on me.  And I can’t hide behind nobody so now all the focus will be on me.  Can somebody PLEASE come to class!  He just smiled and said, “Well, I guess it’s just me and you.” and began the class like he normally would.  But this class was different.  He really talked me through everything.  He showed me tricks, like how to hit the 4 points when walking around a pole.  I understood the importance of floor work, how to angle your body a certain way.  As a man, he knew what he loved about women and shared that with me.  For the moment, I felt he was training me to be a stripper, but now I see he was tapping into the woman that I always was and drawing her to the surface, where I could see her.  When doing an isolation, I saw her.  I got what he meant by “showing off your curves”  We worked on it for weeks together.  He noticed a change in my body.  I noticed the change in me.  The confidence he gave me that night has lasted with me to this very day.  Because of him, I walk different.  I talk different.  I’m not (as) afraid to take a chance and a risk.  I know what makes me sexy, because he pushed me to find it.

He taught me for the last time Friday.  As I strapped on my heels and tugged on my shorts, I couldn’t help but think back on the first class we had.  How a shy, insecure, obese woman who only stood in the back was now in the front.  Staring at herself in the mirror doing back hooks and Corkscrews.

My Alchemist.  Look at what you’ve created.

Surrealist

Surrealist

A friend of mines on Facebook, who I’m believing is some kind of mystic, suggested today that we need to promote more art. I actually agreed, considering that I’ve been finding myself in museums lately to draw on inspiration and to just get out of the house once in a while. So she tagged me with an artist’s name…and I got Rob Gonsalves.

I’ll admit, I didn’t know who he was by name but I knew his work. I’ve always been fascinated with his work. As a kid, I loved his paintings because there was so much more than meets the eye. It felt like a painting inside a painting. An optical illusion; a mystery. I would stare in awe for hours just amazed at how everything was constructed. Everything just looked so precised. I couldn’t take my attention away from it, always wondering if there was something else that I was missing. So for my friend to suggest this painter to me was slightly eerie, but made me smile. To give me a surrealist artist had me thinking, “Am I a surrealist writer?” To blend the natural with the abstract. Placing emphasis on the subconscious and dream like state to relay a message.

Well, I do love a good metaphor.