Second Time Around

This morning, I was moved to tears by this passage from a book I’m currently reading titiled, You Are A Badass.. :

 

Most people, however, wander through their lives giving the tasteful candle version of their gifts.  You know– they don’t show up to the party empty-handed or anything; they present their somewhat flaccid gift to the world, receive a warm hug, and an “Oh, you shouldn’t have,” in return, but they don’t knock it out the park.  For example, they get a job doing something that they either hate or that’s a bit of a yawn but is, you know, okay.  It affords them a life that covers the basics as long as they don’t go too crazy.  They do fun stuff but not as much as they’d like because they don’t have the money.  Or the time.  Or the belief that they deserve to.  They have little victories here and there, they meet their sales quota and win the six-day cruise to the Bahamas or rack up enough miles to go stay with their aunt and see the Olympics or finally sit down and write an entire song that they may or may not ever record or perform, but they never truly go for it and create a life that really lights them up.  They basically Big Snooze their life away.

Vanilla-Cupcake-Yankee-Candle

I stopped reading because that struck my soul like a large bell.  I was on a bus, during morning traffic, heading to a job that I’m good at but not my passion.  I was Yankee Candling my life and my gifts and I wasn’t even sure how I had got here.  Actually, I take that back.  I do know how I got here.   In the quest to re-piece my life back together from 2009, I got scared.  I got afraid to lose everything again.  Some part of me doesn’t want my foundation shook again.  The ego got comfortable but disguised it as “living life my way” but was I really?

 

Angelou

 

Then an hour after reading that passage, I learned of Dr. Angelou’s passing.   As a writer and being familiar with her work early on in my life, hearing of her passing hurt me but I knew she was at peace.  In interviews that I had seen of her, she was a fully recognized woman.  She knew her worth.  She knew of her contributions.  Then I read into her life and how she lived it without judgement, without fear, and with a light and honesty that I had been striving for my whole life.  She wasn’t ashamed of where she came from and didn’t let it keep her from being her authentic self.  As a writer, she enjoyed the English language.  It flowed for her.  She appreciated it.   So in the midst of my sadness, I found a comfort.  I was moved by Dr. Angelou’s words all over again, from her own mouth.  She had a rough life and kept going.  She changed her career path SEVERAL times, and loved every step.   If it was something she liked, she did it.  If it didn’t serve her, she didn’t do it.  So simple and yet, it was something I’ve struggled with.

 

I want to go on more vacations, but I’m afraid of taking off the time for work.  I want to write more, but I’m afraid that I’m not good at it (and the other crippling fear that I didn’t officially go to school for it).  But the biggest fear for me is not knowing where to start.  Well, maybe I’m not suppose to know all of that.  The only thing for me to do is get still, set my intention, and listen.  Trust that where I am is where I’m suppose to be, but also know that I’m still moving towards my purpose.  My gifts will open doors to me that I initially saw as “shut”.  Don’t get caught up in the two-headed monster called “Criticism” and “Compliments”.  Just infuse a little more Maya into your life until you know what it’s like to be Tiffany.

 

Stop bringing the candles to the party….because you’re pretty damn special!

 

Fly Maya, Fly

Fly Maya, Fly

“I admire people who dare to take the language, English, and understand it and understand the melody.” – Dr. Maya Angelou

I loved hearing Maya Angelou talk about the craft of writing. It was always about getting to an emotional truth. She was a woman who lived a well rounded and full life. She was a fully realized woman and wasn’t afraid to share it with the world with a tenderness and emotion that I find myself trying to do today. Funny, you never realize who indirectly influenced you until they’re gone. I connected to her poems because I wanted to feel better about myself. Now that I’m sitting here with her memory, I realized that she taught me how to be a more authentic writer.

Thank you, Dr. Angelou. Now, go rest.

Village Wanted: Apply Within

Village Wanted: Apply Within

On my birthday, I had the pleasure of having a birth chart reading by an astrologer/acupuncturist/superwoman I met online. Our hour-plus long conversation came with so many teachable moments (that I’ll probably discuss at length) but when she told me that I need to find my “village” of people, I looked at my life and realized I don’t have one.

It was even creepier because I’ve been looking for one my whole life.

My family is great, but they can only do what they know. I’ve never been able to share my passions with them without being talked out of them. Never truly felt comfortable with revealing my desires, as they would become table talk and jokes for years to come. So I went searching outside, but got frustrated when the people I met didn’t think like me or understand my humor. I was stubborn, I’ll admit that much. Young, too. I felt in order to be in my group, you had to be my clone (or pretty close….I have this thing about being “first”).

As I’m getting older, I do feel this longing to be a part of a group. To form bonds with women and men that are like-minded like me. I even wanted to join a sorority for that simple reason: I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. To be accepted by a group of people who support my endeavors. A group who will support me when I can’t support myself, and correct me when I get besides myself.

But what kind of village do I need right now?

Subconsciously Speaking

 

New self-help book.  New revelation. 

 

You ever read something so full of gems, even though  you’ve only read the first few pages?  Well, this new book (You Are A Badass….and yes, that’s the title) got straight to the point with allowing me to look inward on some areas in my life that needs fixing.

Iyanla

That’s okay, I think I can take it from here.

 

Right at the end of the very first chapter, we’re asked to look at a part of our lives where we feel that we’re lacking and try to figure out “why”.  I love that; finding out the “why” of everything.  Once I get to the source, then how to fix it will be relatively easy.  The assignment is to write the first 5 things that comes to mind on the particular subject.   Even though I have a few, I’ll use this post to discuss what the author calls “a fan favorite”: money.  So, let’s have a crack at it, shall we?

money pppp

5. Money was never an object for me growing up.  So I never knew money’s true value.  I grew up with two college-degree parents who worked lucrative government jobs.  As a result of that upbringing, I was afforded a very comfortable life.  My Christmas was a Christmas and my birthday parties were legendary.  I really didn’t understand how money worked nor did I even realized that it took a lot of money for me to do what it is that I loved to do.  I figured that out once I got older.

Hilary

4. People with less money than you made me feel bad for having it.  I was tease relentlessly for having a lot.  I was called Hillary Banks: a character from the tv-show “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”  who constantly asked her dad for money and was a snob.  Being “privileged” got replaced with “spoiled” and I remember going home in tears; begging my parents to “be poor” so that I wouldn’t be picked on at the bus stop anymore.  I began to resent the luxury cars in the garage, my new bike, my dozen of stuffed animals and closet full of clothes.  I wanted to be below average to fit in with kids….who lived in my neighborhood.  Isn’t that crazy?

shopping

3. In order to live the life you want, you have to have money for it. Lots of money.  I lead with my five senses in everything that I do.  Even as a child, when my mom would allow me to pick out my own clothes, I went with what appealed to me.  What appealed to me happened to be the most expensive thing in the store.  It’s not something I intentionally do to; I believe I enjoy the finer things in life and it’s not limited to just clothes (which if I’m being honest, doesn’t even scrape the tip of my financial iceberg).  I love plush furniture, beauty products, nights out, and comfortable vacations.  Basically, if I feel good, I’m good.  So whatever it costs, I’m willing to pay it.  In this sense, I’ve viewed money as something to aspire to.  A motivator, if you will.

college-diploma

2. I don’t have a college degree, so I can’t make a lot of money.  This revelation was the biggest one for me.  The source.  The “why”.  Have I been subconsciously sabotaging myself into being in a financial place in my life making less than what I’m worth as punishment?   Even the chatter from my parents mirrored how I felt; that people with degrees make more money than people who don’t.  I felt three times worse because I actually did go to college and didn’t finish.  So on top of feeling broke, I felt like a failure.  Then to see the Steve Jobs and the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world who also dropped out of college and became billionaires made me feel that it was everyone else’s lot in life to financially gain from dropping out.  But me?  I should’ve stayed the course.  Because I didn’t, I deserve to be broke.   So, in direct push-pull with no. 3, I get a job that pays just enough to keep me satisfied, even though I’m capable of so much more.  (I need a moment…..)

Him Paint 6

1. Money is the root of all evil.  Who hasn’t been told this bedtime story to scare them straight?  I know I have.  And in my life, I see examples of people who let greed and money cloud their otherwise good judgement.  How a hard-working construction man can win the lottery and blow it all on gambling.  Or when sweet Aunt Pearl dies and the family fights over her will.  Money became something to fear; a two-headed monster that could turn friend into enemies.  Even my favorite rapper, Notorious B.I.G. said, “The more money you make, the more problems you get.”  Well, who wants that?  I don’t see a whole lot of people standing in line to gain more problems in exchange for more money.   Even the people that I’ve seen who are “fiscally responsible” treats money like a prisoner who won’t be released until Nevuary.  So it might not be the root of all evil for them, but they see it as this partner that’ll run out of their lives if they don’t keep an eye on it.  Money doesn’t make them secure; it makes them scared.  That, in turned scared me.

 

That’s my stance on money.  It’s a love-hate right now…but I’m working towards a love-love.  Maybe you can get honest with yourself and find out what your subconscious has been feeding you.

 

 

Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl

Birthday. Born day. Burffday. Whatever you like to call it, for me it’s today. I personally like to think of today being the beginning of a new year for me. My birthday wish? To say “Why not?” to a lot more. To love more. To trust myself more. To be more kind to myself. Learn to take breaks. Bask in the sun. Find out what I’m passionate about. Listen to my instincts more . Lead with my instincts more.

So here’s to a brand new year!

Get Happy

The amazing thing about doing this “100 Happy Days” challenge, is that you open yourself up to much more happiness.

I started the challenge at the beginning of this month and so far, it’s going really good. I figured this month was the perfect month to start off the 100 days of being happy. Well…at least become more aware of what makes me happy and May makes me very happy. Let’s count the ways, shall we?

1. It’s Spring.

2. My birthday is in this month (along with 75% of people I personally know)

3. Memorial. Day. Weekend.

4. Warmer, longer days.

Add on the b-day weekend trip to the beach and me finally scratching off a “to-do” off my list, I am just bursting with joy! Just wanted to make this short and sweet….that I am truly happy!

Becoming Natasha (Is This A Catfish?)

catfish-the-tv-show-12

 

One of my favorite television guilty pleasures came back last week.  I have to admit, I love this show.   Every week, they find a new person who finds love online with a person they never met in person.  While it is morbidly entertaining to watch a gullible person come to the realization that the person they had formed a real bond with looks nothing like their avatar, I watch Catfish for a completely different reason.  I watch for the why.  I watch to listen to the Catfish’s why they would go online to create another person.  I do that because I understand where a lot of them are coming from .  If I can be completely honest here, if Catfish: The TV Show had come out 7 years ago, I would’ve been on it.

Back when MySpace was a thing, I had my regular profile.  I used it to keep in touch with friends, write down my thoughts which ultimately became my obsession to blog, and post theme songs (the one that I loved the most was a song by Cee-Lo Green).  I had a few people like what I had to say, but not a whole lot.  I was also dealing with low self-esteem and low self-worth and although I was in a relationship, I didn’t feel that attractive to my boyfriend.  It didn’t help any that one day when I was using his computer to do an assignment, I came across an open folder of women’s pictures.  Most look like what you would call an “Instagram Model” and I would stare at those girls and feel instantly bad.   I don’t look anything like them.  I don’t pose in my bra and panties.  I don’t really have the body to do that.  But what if I did?   I never got the courage to post a photo of myself in barely nothing to get the attention of strangers, but I wanted to know what it was like.  To be desirable.  To be noticed.  To be heard.  So, with the help of my active imagination and my boyfriend’s binder full of women, Natasha Jennings was born.

 

I created the profile and wanted to make my new girl as elusive and attractive as possible.  So I just made everything up:

Lives in Miami

Works as a bartender

Bisexual (oh, the guys would love that!)

Everything came into place for her, but I still didn’t know which profile picture to use.  I thought about the type of guys I wanted to attract and what they like.  Then while my boyfriend slept, I snuck onto his computer and found my Natasha.

tasha

The friend requests began to pour in.  I was getting as many as 20 per hour.   I couldn’t keep track of all of them.  My wall began to fill up with all types of messages.  I was popular.  I ran that page more than I did my own page.  Of course, my boyfriend caught wind of the fake page and was really upset.  He couldn’t figure out why I would do such a thing, but by that time I was too far gone.  I was Natasha and Natasha was me.  I was able to do things as Natasha that I couldn’t do as Tiffany.  I could tell a guy why I didn’t have more pictures of me up (the excuse was that people would steal them and make a profile….crazy, right?) and they bought it.  I would openly put men on blast, only to have them apologize and beg for my forgiveness. I would write notes on Natasha’s page and have as many as 45 comments; all praising me for basically being a no nonsense bitch.  Tactful, yes…but still nasty in my approach.   Natasha could do no wrong.   I had plenty of male attention and a few of them I grew especially close to.  They actually opened up to me.  I was being told deepest regrets, aspirations, fears, and secrets that they didn’t feel comfortable telling anyone but me.   A few even professed their love to me.  I was the fantasy that was a reality.  I was also a phony.

 

I thought being Natasha would help me personally as well as creatively.  Turns out, I ended up feeling worse about myself than when I started.  I was angrier than I was willing to admit to myself.  The times I tried to convince myself that this was all a game, I grew upset that I had to be someone else to get any type of attention.  I completely ignored how it took a toll on my real-life relationship because I was too busy maintaining several online ones.   I became Natasha because I hated who I was.  That was a hard reality to face.  I’d love to say I had that epiphany and decided to make a change in my life.  That I was going to start loving myself more and be comfortable in my own skin.  That I deactivated my account and told all those guys (and a few girls) the truth.   That I was so sick and tired of being someone else and wanted to just speak for myself.  That I became enough.  But I didn’t.

 

I just forgot my password.

 

 

Enough

relax2

Lack of care and just a “it’s not that serious” attitude I carried all throughout my 20s landed me in the dentist chair yesterday.  I had taken the day off from work to finally have my teeth looked at after sleepless nights of pain that the maximum strength Orajel just didn’t soothe.  While my dentist took my X-Rays (followed by the speech on how I need to get a handle on my dental health), I started thinking about other areas that I have ignored.  It’s funny, when you finally decide to take better care of yourself, you realize that the way you had been doing it has been piss poor to say the least.  The binge drinking (or Friday at the bar), the trips to the hookah bar, the late-night runs to McDonald’s and Checkers, the lack of sleep.  Everything that you know you should’ve done better, you now wish that it can be reversed.  But not yesterday morning.  I had a massive cavity.  I need a root canal.  I ran the risk of gum disease.  Massive plaque and tartar (what about all those mornings i burned my mouth with Listerine?) jeopardizing the remaining teeth I have.  I walked out of that dentist office with a prescription in my hands and worries on my mind.

My body is falling apart.  I kept getting signs, but ignored it.  I just knew I would get better; that the pain would go away. I figured I could just eat right and exercise and my body would do the rest. But I know I need to get regularly checked out, but I don’t have the time.  Honestly,  I didn’t want to take the time off work.  When I don’t work, I don’t get paid.  Now I have to put my vacation on hold yet another year to pay for this work.  What else do I need to get checked on?  I should go back to work, since I need the money now.  But I have some money saved.  Yeah, but now you’ll have to start at square one.

relax

Then came the inevitable; while I was waiting for my prescription to be filled, I toyed with the idea of going into work.  I rarely take off work unless it’s an emergency.  My co-worker’s fear slowly but surely became my own. I got kids, I can’t just be taking off work like that.  You take off work, and you can be replaced.  There are too many people out here hungry and ready for our jobs.  You gotta stay one step ahead of the competition.   After working for a year straight with no break (thanks, government shutdown), I made it my business to take time off for me.  That I was going to request more days off from work and just relax.  But after years of working in a department where just one person being gone is a strain, I’ve made it close to half a year without taking any time for myself.  Even the time that I feel is my “off days”, it’s been compacted with work around the house, or errands that have to be ran.   There just never seemed to be enough time or money to really “relax” but did I need that?  I took off work to take care of myself and my health, is that not a good reason to stay home?  Because I just need to sit down somewhere and do nothing for at least 24 hours?  Walking around Target was so quiet and peaceful.  I read vegan cookbooks to pass the time (and to also not get sucked into the voodoo that is Target.  You know what it is; that need to buy everything EXCEPT what you came in there for…) and I was calm.  Looked at bedding and pictures.  I got in the car and made a decision that I wasn’t going back to work that day.  That I was going to go home, get in bed, and not do anything.  That the simple “I just need a day” was enough.

I don’t need a grand reason.  I am enough.  I don’t need a surplus of wealth.  I am enough.  I don’t need permission.  I am enough.  I’ve also had enough.

We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mind-set of scarcity.  Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency.  By sufficiency, I don’t mean a quantity of anything.  Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance.  It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough.  Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all.  It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.

Lynne Twist, except from The Soul of Money 

You Make Me Wanna….

There are songs that just signifies the beginning of warmer weather and cool breezes. There are also songs that reminds you of the love you have for an artist. This new song from Usher is the song for me! Now I have to admit, Usher lost me during his techno phase. Not that he wasn’t making good music then, but that’s not what I came to love Usher for. I knew him to make crooner music. I knew he would get the party started and have me put a sexy sway to my hips while holding a Solo cup full of dark liquor and coke. Usher been singing to me since “Just Call Me a Mack”. When he left (like most artists do) to try a new sound, I was there for him….at first. Then it just became homogenized; he began to sound like everyone else on the market (I’m looking at YOU, Chris Brown!). This didn’t just last for a month or so, Usher did this for YEARS!

prayer-hands

I groaned and moaned with other like-minded people who wanted Usher to step back over to the R&B side. Well, our prayers have been answered because this song does it for me! It’s catchy, sexy, slightly vulgar (which I can appreciate), and I can’t wait to hear this at a pool party. So thank you, Usher Raymond IV, for putting me in the right mood for summer.

Pokemon (but don’t catch them all)

I was never a huge fan of Pokemon.  It could be because I was in high school when I first realized it was on television and didn’t care for that campy version of an anime (I was more of a Gundam Wing girl myself).   But every now and again, I would stop and watch a little bit and I found it interesting that the characters had to “catch” their Pokemon.   Some were a cinch to catch , others were a little harder to contain.   As I continue to keep myself open to dating and what that entails to me, one thing I am learning is that saying “no” to a potential date is probably for the best.  That some Pokemon are better left uncaught.

pokemon

I was approached by a guy I work with who has expressed interest in me for over a year.   Now usually this would be a HUGE deal-breaker as I actually do keep to myself and my personal business is at the bare minimum.  But this guy has always been nice and I do give people the benefit of the doubt, even when the rumblings from other workers came my way.

Don’t talk to him.  He’s crazy.  Literally crazy.  He’s on medication. 

I can’t stand his ass.  He’s such a man whore.

There isn’t anyone at this job that he hasn’t tried to talk to. 

That’s exactly what I found out.  He came into my office to confirm a date that he wanted to take me on later this week.  We made plans for drinks and karaoke on Thursday.  He smiled and told me that he would call me to let me know.  Just then, he walks a few feet to my female co-worker’s office and asked her out this Friday for drinks and going with him while he gets a tattoo.  I sat at my desk, shaking my head.  “He’s got a lot of nerve!  Wow!  He couldn’t wait to do this while I wasn’t around?  Is he REALLY serious about dating two co-workers in the same department at the same time?”   But then my hypocrisy creeps up.  Aren’t I doing the same thing as him?  Is there some sort of hierarchy of a respectable serial dater?  I think I just got a taste of my own medicine and….I don’t like the flavor.