Let me tell you about the time I lost my dog and the lesson I learned from it.
This cute little Lab-Chow mix is Jo-Jo. My first real pet. One day, after someone came to my apartment just being a pill, Jo-Jo got out of his leash and ran out the front door. I immediately became frantic as I searched high and low for my dog. I tried to retrace every step that I felt he made. I asked the kids in the neighborhood if they saw him. They all did, but none of them could catch him. So I kept looking for him. I noticed that it was starting to get dark and on the other side of my development is a three-lane highway. On the other side of the trees? The major highway. My fear that he could’ve possibly been hit or ran over sent me into hysterics. I begun screaming his name over and over again; clinging to his favorite treats and his leash, hoping to find not just my dog, but my friend. Then something said to me, “Stop searching. Go home”. At that point, I was too tired to even put up a defense, so I made my way back to my apartment when I saw Jo-Jo. He was sitting; waiting, outside the apartment development for me. When I came close, he licked my arm and snuggled up close to me as I managed to put his collar and leash back on him and we went home.
When two things (or people, or pet for that matter) are looking for each other, you’re constantly on the move. Let’s put it like this: If you’re searching for “The One” and that person is also searching for “The One”, how do you find each other? You’ll keep chasing each other aimlessly around this globe and never find one another. Eventually in order to be “found”, you have to stand still. One of y’all got to stop moving, otherwise you’ll never find one another. Lucky for me, Jo-Jo stood still and waited for me.
When you want to become the best, you have to first learn from the best. That opportunity came on August 20th when I signed up for a Floor Exercise workshop with Cleo The Hurricane.
For years, my favorite chair and pole dance teachers would talk about Cleo relentlessly. She became the ideal; the prototype. Shoot, even our classes and routines were shaped and molded by this woman. So when I saw my former teacher post that she would be offering up a floor and pole workshops, I signed up. I wasn’t able to get into the pole class, but I did manage to secure a spot in the Floor Work class. I was excited! Finally, the woman, the myth, the legend, would be in the same room as me, teaching me her ways. Showing me some moves. Getting my ass in shape. I expected it to be fun, what I didn’t expect is for old fears to arise.
Okay, so a few things was going on with me:
I haven’t worked out strenuously in months. Seriously, this is the most inactive I’ve been since I started my weight loss journey.
I was the “chunky” girl in class, which immediately made me feel insecure. Still trying to shake that “You have to be this weight in order to workout” because crazy.
Being in a pole studio again made me reminisce on the love I had with pole dancing. And the reminder that I had a desire to teach pole one day
Seeing my former dance instructor and members of the gym I used to go to instantly gave me the sads. When I was a member of the dance studio, I felt a part of a family. I felt supported. Now that family has dissolved.
Still, I was excited to be able to learn from Cleo and from the first “hello”, I knew that this would be a very fun and laid back class. Immediately I stood out with my random fact (I told the class that I like to talk in a Jamaican accent when I go on vacation out of boredom. Imagine me; bored, on vacation.) and I would continue to stand out in the worst possible way. Honey, I was a clumsy MESS! During the routine, which involves a lot of rolling and kicking, my legs were all over the place. I was fumbling to catch up and my surrounding people were noticeably annoyed by my long legs invading their personal space. Cleo called me out a few times to make sure that I was okay and that I was getting the routine. I became “that” student in class.
The best. I may have been drenched in sweat and my knees were raw and my body may have been acting all over-dramatic, but I was right next to Cleo The Hurricane, dancing. And keeping up (flexibility not included) with every move. See, what people don’t know, and become amazingly impressed by, is that I can pick up dance routines relatively fast. I had a blast! And for a bonus, not only did Cleo give me a pep talk and a shoulder rub….she also smacked my butt. No other woman but her. And maybe Rosario Dawson…..
The opinions shared on this entry, do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the writer. It’s just today, the writer is in a pretty shitty mood. So bear with her, okay?
n. apersonorgroupmadetobeartheblameforothersortosufferin theirplace.
Maybe it’s because I haven’t really spoke up for myself in the past. I t could be possibly that I like to think things through and never been that great at coming up with things on my feet. Maybe it’s because I allow myself to become a soundboard to people who just need to get it off their chest….and instead, they proceed to take their frustrations out on me. Whatever the case is, I’m done. I’m tired of being people’s scapegoat when someone else pisses them off. Growing up, it was my mother who would verbally abuse and become passive-aggressive, instead of dealing with the fact that she was frustrated at work. My friends, instead of understanding that I can’t be in 1,000 places at once, decide that I’m the “bad friend” and that I don’t “follow through” like I should, but only for them. Eff other friends or obligations that I may have; when you care about somebody, you make time for them. That’s the saying, right? Maybe it’s easier to have someone take the brunt of your pain so that you can sleep easier. After all, energy is neither lost nor destroyed; just transferred from one party to the next. So what happens to me? Where do I turn and where do I go when people have designated me their go-to scapegoat?
Who becomes the scapegoat for the scapegoat? Or is “working on our own shit” too much of a stretch? Until then….just blame me.
There has always been something so healing about water to me. When I was a growing up, we would take a family road trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I would stretch out in the backseat with my favorite teddy bear and a blanket, while my mom packed snacks into the front seat and my dad would provide the soundtrack for our trip; usually listening to a lot of Patrice Rushan, Soul II Soul, and Sade. When we would finally get to the resort, I couldn’t wait to put my bathing suit on and go to the hotel’s lazy pool.
You read right. The lazy pool.
I didn’t want to play with kids all of the time. I didn’t even want to share the pool area with anybody. But I found so much comfort and relaxation just sitting in a plastic inner-tube and floating around the pool area. I would feel the sun on my skin, the water floating through my fingers. When I got to the beach, I instantly felt calm. I’ve always loved the wet sand between my toes. The waves crashing up around my feet. Even the sound of the ocean just instantly made me calmer. Ever since, I would clamor to either be at the beach or near some body of water. Interesting enough, I was reading this month’s issue of Psychology Today and they actually had an article about how being near, in, around, on, or under water can vastly improve your mood. Here’s an excerpt that I particularly found interesting:
A feeling of enhanced well-being around water seems almost universal, and not just among surfers. It’s why everyone flocks to the beach come summer, and why real estate with ocean views commands top dollar. Yet while the impact of drinking water on our physical health is obvious — it’s essential to everything from our skin and muscles to kidney and heart function — cognitive scientists are just now ammassing evidence that proximity to water has measurable benefits for our minds, promoting calm, focus, creativity, sleep quality, and overall happiness.
So it’s no wonder whenever I’m going through something heavy, I find myself wanting to sit next to a water fountain in the park or walk along the Potomac River. Water just heals me. Nature really does nurture me. So today, I encourage you to let Mother (Nature) heal you today. Take advantage of the summer weather (or Fall-like, depending where you are) today. Take your lunch outdoors. Get off a stop before your exit and walk around. And if you, for whatever reason can’t get out from under fluorescent lights and office chairs, just visualize.
empath: n. a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.
I never knew the word “empath” but I did know about empathy. I always felt in tune with other people. I was a safe place for people to come and to vent and sort out their feelings. I still do that to this day! It’s one of my greatest gifts, because a lot of people don’t know who to talk to or even feel comfortable opening up. I provide that space. But, I never knew I was an empath until I watched VH1’s “The Last Days of Left Eye”
Me and my boyfriend at the time were in my dorm room when it came on. Having watched it previously and feeling very uneasy afterwards, I told him that I couldn’t watch it all the way through. He thought I was just scared of seeing her actually die in a car crash and it being documented on film, and that I needed to “man up”. So, against my better judgement, I watched the documentary. Every moment and every word of it. Then my heart began to have a sharp pain. My eyes began to water. Listening to Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez was traumatizing me. There was a scene where she was explaining why she cut herself. The word “HATE” was etched into her arm, but you could see the faint writing of “LOVE” underneath. My body began to shake. In between wails of tears, I screamed at my boyfriend to turn the documentary off. It was like I could feel her pain, her angst, her sorrow, and it was too much for me to bear. I felt like I knew something the whole world didn’t know about this iconic star.
That she wasn’t at peace when she died.
My boyfriend, clearly seeing that I was visibly shaken by just listening to her immediately turned off the television and just held me. He didn’t understand, but wanted to fix it. I didn’t understand and reached out to a friend. A spiritual friend who told me that I had to be careful of the “spirits that I allow into my space”, but then proceeds to tell me about how frustrated and angry she was at her mom, which made me instantly angry. I felt lost. I didn’t know how to be a friend to people and detach from what they decided to lay on me. And because all of this was new to me, I didn’t have anyone to really turn to. My solution was to keep people at a distance. I didn’t want anyone coming to me with their problems. I thought that would help. It didn’t.
As the years went by, I didn’t even have to know you in order for me to “feel” what you were going through. They say people bring an energy into a room, and trust me, I felt it. I could be getting a latte and know that the barista is worried about paying her rent. I could sense people’s anxiety and hesitation if we were in a workshop. Others, I could be drawn to their warmth or their lighthearted spirit. Still, I didn’t fully understand what it meant to be an empath, nor did I know how to really be in control of it so that it wouldn’t take me off my day, because my mood was severely altered just by me being around someone else who emoted strong feelings. I will say this: meditation really helped me out.
Once I began meditating and becoming centered, I was able to navigate between what I was feeling, and what other people were feeling. Which is good because the last 72 hours of my life have been really hard. From finding out about an online friend’s suicide, to the senseless murder of a teen in Missouri, to another friend still grieving the loss of his baby brother to now the passing of Robin Williams. I’ll admit, it became to be too much for me to handle. I woke up yesterday morning feeling dizzy and drained. I physically, emotionally, and spiritually felt exhausted and sick; as if I couldn’t go on. But it was in that moment that I got still, I got quiet, and I meditated. Then, I took a walk in nature (which is a perfect remedy for empaths like me) and just sat near a fountain of water; the sun beaming on my face. I felt recharged. I felt for the first time in a long time that being an empath, isn’t so bad.
I started reading a new book by Marc Ecko and I came across a section in the book about your personal brand and social media. Here’s the excerpt:
The digital grid of Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and Tumblr give the illusion that you can ‘create a brand’ just by typing 140 characters. A brand does more than talk, a brand does more than just cultivate perception. Think about what your brand is without the crutch of social media and words, and make sure that it can stand on its own actions. Talk is cheap without action.
Words. Action. Two different things. Know the distinction, and quit talkin’ loud and sayin’ nothing. The great equilizer for WHAT YOU SAY is how you will EXECUTE.
Naturally, I start to think about what I’m doing with my own blog. What is my personal brand? What I know for sure is that I want my life and my words to help someone out there that may be in a similar situation. This life is a journey and I want people to feel like they’re on this ride with me. But in order to do that, I have to live. And I don’t mean me just going out and putting myself in compromising positions because it would make for a great post and people will like it, but not to be afraid and chase after my dream. Figuring out what makes me who I am, because for so long I’ve lived for other people. I’m still piecing myself together but I’m not where I used to be. Whew! But even offline, I’m the “go-to” for friends who are going through a difficult time. I give them advice and insight on what I’ve been through to show that you can make it through. So my challenge is to not just give my personal perspective and advice through my blog, but to actually live my life authentically.
What is your personal brand saying on and off the internet?
I know me and Erykah Badu can’t be the only ones like this.
I was super excited to attend my very first writing workshop! I was doing what I love , which is creating via a short story and what made it the icing on the cake is that I would be writing Erotica. I’d never read Erotica, let alone created it, however I saw this as my chance to step outside of the box and just learn something new. So when I got to the workshop, I immediately felt at home around my fellow writers . We came into this space to create and you could feel it in the room, along with the hesitation of “we’re about to write about something taboo and possibly share with the class. I don’t even tell my husband about my G-spot!” As our instructor, who could easily pass as Janeane Garofalo, got her worksheets together, she urged us to take out what we would be using to do our exercises. I watched as everyone around me pulled out their laptops. And not just any laptop. No. Everyone in the room had a Macbook Air. Literally. Everyone. Meanwhile, I pulled out my “Brilliant Ideas” notebook and a pen. With each exercise*, even though all of my other peers got to type away, I sat with my pen and notebook. In a weird way, I felt more connected to my words and my ideas. Writing it all down made the words seem a lot more permanent. When I made a mistake, auto-correct and “backspace” didn’t save me; I drew an old-fashion line through it. It showed me clearly my thinking process and where I planned to go with it, but this way was MUCH better.
I went to my first book club meeting. I had been a member for a while and even read the books that were suggested but when it came time to go to the meeting, I either couldn’t make it or didn’t finish the book. So I was pumped that not only did I finish the book (on time…this is very important people!) but I had the time to actually make it. So with snickerdoodle cookies in hand, I was ready for this book club meeting. But just like the writing workshop, I noticed that I was the only one holding a physical copy of the book, while everyone else had their iPad, Kindle, or Nook illuminating. One person in the meeting actually used the Audible version of the book. Again, I felt out the loop. Sure, I could’ve gotten the book on my Kindle; I actually have several books on my Kindle. But there’s just something about holding a book in my hands that just feels real to me. I appreciate the artwork that’s put into a cover. I want to be able to read inside flaps and maybe even see the author’s face on the back flap. The back cover of a book is the best place to display all of your accolades. Plus, I think the best piece of furniture in a house is a bookshelf and I keep mines stocked up. When we got to the book discussion questions, I was able to follow along because, unlike my digital friends, I had the questions right at my fingertips. I was able to flip through the pages and pull a quote that I love (although, my recall was on point that day…despite everyone else hating the book, I actually enjoyed it!) and I couldn’t have done that on my Kindle.
There are ways that I love to keep things vintage, if only for nostalgic purposes. Next year, I actually plan to get a record player and buy nothing but vinyl records. I cherish interpersonal communication with friends and unplugging from my computer. I crave bike rides in the city. However, I owe a great deal of my connectivity to my trusty iPhone. I enjoy being on social media. Hello! I blog for fun! So I’m not completely in the dark ages. It just from time-to-time, I know how to function without technology’s help.
Can you? Have you? Let me know!
*I’ve considered taking the 7 exercises (yes, SEVEN!) that I started and really sitting down during my Saturday Sit Downs and really develop them. So be on the lookout for my erotic short stories in the upcoming weeks.
I had a beautiful conversation this week with another friend of mines. We were talking about working in the corporate world and how most jobs don’t necessarily require you to work day in and day out. Some jobs actually just require you to do a decent job. But that wasn’t what I loved about our conversation. In the midst of us talking about how the government shutdown shook all of us, more so me, we shifted into acquiring a better quality of life. I’ve mentioned before that I wanted to be kinder to myself this year and take my breaks when I feel it is necessary, but then he said something that really resonated with me. He said:
Instead of focusing on what you want your life to LOOK like, focus on what you want your life to FEEL like.
I sat with that for the longest; still am if I’m to be completely honest. So I challenge those who are reading this to answer this one question: What do you want your life to feel like?