Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: Traveling While Noire-Saving Your Coins

On the last post I griped about the side eyes and juju dolls being created cause you like to catch stamps and collect sky miles. This post will walk you through some steps to make your imagination become a reality. Your pockets and your wanderlust do not have to be a mutually exclusive thing. Practical things can jump start or even restart your traveling lifestyle. 

Start somewhere. I live in Florida so there is tons to do and see right here at home. So yeah I joked about Disney World on my last post. But part of my honeymoon was spent at Universal Studios. I know Irlo Bronson Highway like I know my own street. These days Orlando seems like right around the corner. I remember when it used to seem like millions of miles away. Start close to home and venture out. You will find there will be times you need a quick weekender and nearby locations serve a great purpose for that. Tampa, Naples, Port St Lucie are all great places to visit. St. Augustine is all history. Sanibel has the best beaches. Florida can be traveled in just under 12 hours. Take the time to explore your home base. You’d be surprised in what you discover. 

Create a savings plan. If you have the discipline to save on your own, create a vacation account. Look for the deals. More on that later. Look at your budget and be realistic about what you can set aside every pay week. Travel agents also accept installment payments. My annual vacations start getting paid on the Fall before. So that’s about ten months of setting aside already in play. Tithe on your traveling budget and see how much you can save. It means one less pair of shoes. It means less Christmas gifts for the entire family. It means buckling down and remembering you have a trip to save for and some things and people will just have to wait. 

Travel with like minded people. All my girls only trips and trips with couples have generally been about spending time with people I wanted to spend time with. I’m not paying gobs of my hard earned money to travel with anyone I’m going to be grinding my teeth about the entire time. Not happening. Travel with people who enhance the experience of discovering our world. Travel with people who will split the bill evenly with no questions asked. We all gonna eat good, sleep in nice hotels and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Travel with people who vibe like you do and who understand your quirks. If you’re on Oxford Street in London and you want to drop some cash on a pair of shoes, you don’t need anyone picking up their jaws from the ground and texting the world about your adventures. Your travel buddies have to know you and accept you in all of your bad and boujee self. 

Read more. So I don’t think some would expect this to be part of the plan. You want to travel but if I say Saint Petersburg, The Vatican, Christ The Redeemer, Stonehenge, Golden Gate Bridge, The Colliseum, Kimberley Diamond Mines, The Biltmore . . . and you can’t click with at least two of those locations, you really need to read up on your geography, history, and travel landmarks. Most of my knowledge initially came from reading Danielle Steele and Norah Roberts novels. Real talk. Don’t judge me. When I buried myself in my encyclopedias as a teen it was to discover a world without borders. Imagine reading about “New York, New York” all your life and finally seeing it for yourself at age 41. Times Square was once in my mind and twice in reality. Seeing Lady Liberty across the river was like . . . yeah, no words. The novels I had read about Ellis Island all flooding back. Visiting Martha’s Vineyard and seeing the Kennedy compound and learning about The Inkwell. Yeah . . .  Tighten up on your reading. 

Step out your comfort zone. Travel with friends. Travel with a mission driven group. Travel with organizations. Travel by yourself. However way you get to pack your bags and go, don’t hesitate to make it happen. On our way to Hawaii, there was a medical emergency. So I did my due diligence to get up and inform the flight attendance that a friend in my group was a medical professional.  As I proceeded to tell her where we were seated, she quickly interjected and said “Oh, I know where you’re seated.” Puzzled by her comment I returned to my seat. While I walked back, it dawned on on me, well yeah, she would know where I and my friends were seated. We were the only MELANIN POPPIN’ ON THE WHOLE PLANE!!!  A sea of white and Asian and Hispanic and everything else. And six Haitian girls from humble beginnings interrupting the status quo. That felt hella good. 

I laugh and I cry about that though. In 2017, you can count us like odd balls on the planes, the excursions and the seats. I always say my Haitian parents didn’t travel far from their home and work so damned hard all their lives only to have me sit in some self imposed prison of fear. 

Save. Plan. Travel. 

What other tips would you leave for our traveling sistahs? Leave them in the comment section. Bon Voyage! 

Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: Traveling While Noire-Unpack The Hate

The other day someone asked me if I was taking applications. Me like a dummy fell for the line of questioning only to be told that for the way I travel, they wanted to trade their job for mine. So I won’t dwell on perceptions and assumptions people have when they haven’t spent a day in your shoes (no time for the foolery on this blog) but I will gladly dig right into the myth that implies that only people of other cultures have the inalienable rights totravel without prejudice. And without side eyes. 

Last summer saw me in NC, then NYC, then PA, then HI, then NJ and then back to NYC to return then to FL. A boatload of circumstances, proper planning and plain ol’ Jehovah Jireh provided for all this galavanting across the nation. This spring saw me on a cruise, twice in GA and a fourth trip down to JA (that’s Jamaica for those who don’t know the island monikers). And I’m counting down to my trip to SC in September! Tongues can start wagging at one’s ability to pick up and go. People will volunteer to help you count your coins, just to help figure out for themselves, how in the name of ratchet and raggedy did you do all of that?!!!

What seems interesting in all of this is the acceptance that white folks can trek to Bora Bora and no one bats an eye. Someone from the Middle East can jet off on the Arab Emirates to Dubai and it’s just a regular news day. Europeans are expected to jet across the big pond and back with nary a word. But let a brotha or sistah make the same moves and folks on social media creepin’ and countin’ how many trips you have already made in less than a year! Show me this mysterious travel quota. Smh. 

Black brethrens and sistrens! We gotta do better! We simply have to do better. Anytime someone mentions “well when do you work?” or assume you don’t work, (cause remember if you’re not taking selfies at your desk on a regular, you don’t work), there is some hidden messages in those statements people. 

Where is it written that Disney World is the limit to my traveling? Where is it written that Miami Beach is the destination of the world? Side note: I’m from St. Maarten. You ain’t seen beaches until you’ve seen Simpson Bay, but I digress. Where is it written that you shouldn’t be able to endure a 12 hour flight to Hawaii. Yes your ankle will get swollen but you won’t be thinking of that while you slurping up them “scrimps” from Giovanni’s Food Truck on the side of the road. The next time you see that couple take flight to Dubai, don’t suck your teeth. Save the page and send them a text when you make your plans to take your own trip there. 
I may die tomorrow and never see the Motherland. But knowing that I know someone who did and that they shared their journey with mee will just have to do. Knowing that they can freely speak about their experience without being “travel-shamed” into submission is only fair. So instead of turning green with unreasonable envy, take notes and get your life. 
Let’s have a funeral for the hate that so controls us at the successes of others. Let’s bury the “crab in the bucket” foolery. Our experiences inform our existence and lend such a beautiful essence to ourselves. We can in turn bless others with the stories and inspire others to push their own boundaries and set aside the fears that have beset our culture for far too long. Now you won’t catch me ziplining anytime soon in the Amazon Forest but call me when you’re ready to go white water rafting (with my non-swimming self). 
Celebrate the innate wanderlust of our culture and the spirit of exploration. 
Next blog: How to save for your travel lifestyle. Cause it’s definitely not free. Unless you for a sugar daddy. And you’re selling yourself to the highest bidder. šŸ˜

Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: Age Accordingly

The problem with Generation X is that we really ascribe to the Toys R Us “I don’t want to grow up” syndrome. Never in the span of the generations have we come across an age group that refuses to age accordingly. When you got the media reminding you that a certain R n B singer of questionable character is actually 50 years old but he’s dressing like it’s first day of school ’round here, we have to pause and contemplate the whys behind our fear of aging and aging gracefully at that!
No one is saying to turn in your Fabulosity and Swag for dentures and Icy Hot, but goodness! The way a 14 year old wears converse isn’t the way a 40 year old wears converse. Ripped jeans on a 20 year old should look different from ripped jeans on a 40-50-dare I say 60 year old. Future blog on when to give up the ripped jeans ghost coming soon. When I got my first pair of Jordan’s this year (at age 42 at that), I thought long and hard on how I was going to pull it off. Pinterest was no help either.  If I saw one more photo of skin tight jeans and a cropped top with them vampire nails! I had to eventually pair it up with a calf length spaghetti-strapped tshirt dress, the two layer ones, with a complimentary cardigan that framed my mama-inspired hips. There’s levels to aging and being cute. I have no plans to sacrifice one for the other. I just know well enough to stay in my 40 year old lane. 

The point to all this is to not fear the process of aging. I woke up the other day and found a gray hair dangling right above my eyeballs. The pesky thing got plucked and dang it, didn’t grow back! Then there’s this curly one up front and center acting like she’s a conductor of my Sisterlock symphony. She’s got no plans on leaving either. Under my eyes seem kinda tired of late. Not sure if it’s fatigue or age. I look at photos of my younger self and I see the change coming. My face isn’t as full. There’s an angular, leaner look to it these days.  But I can’t find any anti-aging commercials that will point my melanin self in the right direction.  My knees creak more and although I’m not giving up my heels (perish the thought!) I know well enough to keep some cute sandals in the car. Just in case. 

In my Game of Thrones voice “The Wrinkles Are Coming!” Unless you want to “Little Kim” your body into oblivion, accept the progress of time. Embrace those things that just won’t change no matter what you do. Fight fair in your quest for health. Eat right. Drink lots of water. Try to keep some level of activity going. Hang around the younger folks who will keep you feeling younger if nothing else. But accept the fact that the fountain of youth is yet undiscovered and no matter how many times social media would like to make you feel like you need to get your life, remember it’s just filters on that IPhone 7 Plus that’s got them looking like front cover material. What glitters is really never gold. 

Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: Eating WhiteĀ 

I will never forget the time I was working at a local high school as a school social worker. Sometimes the students would come up to my office and chill during lunch time. I’d usually take a break and eat with them. I don’t even recall what I was eating this particular day, but there was a lot of greens/veggies-no rice or French fries in this particular lunch meal. One of my students took it upon herself to ask “Ms., why you keep eating white people food?” My brain stalled on that one and years later I’m not even quite sure what to say to the countless curious Black folks who ask the very same question in different ways when they see me eating kale, quinoa, bulgur wheat, chicken that isn’t fried or whatever they just can’t readily identify on my plate. 

This whole notion that eating healthy is a white people thing or a “bourghie behavior” actually leaves some people *insert health conscious Black folks* feeling some type of way. That if salmon trumps ribs as your choice on a menu you’re just being extra. That eating healthy is other people’s habits and people of African descent only acquire this taste in food once they earn a couple of degrees and take flight to other parts of town. 

I’m Haitian. So I’m quick to remind folks, our ancestors ate and Haitians are today still do find their sustenance from the land. Our juices are made fresh. Our vegetables are a melange of eggplant, chayote (that’s militon for my Zoes), carrots, scallions, onions, garlic, parsley, bell peppers–all to create the legume meal that I love so much. I don’t need meat in mine. Some crab maybe. Some lambi (conch) maybe. With some white rice. And “sauce poi blanc”. Mezami, my tastebuds just took a detour! 

I remember being raised in a home where neither pork nor any shellfish was permitted in my diet. Part of that was my mom’s personal Levitical biases and part of that was that she knew better so she did better with our meals. Olive oil was a staple. Except for the time we lived with another family and overdosed on hotdogs and bologna, she preferred sliced meats from the deli that didn’t have all that salt added. Oh! Did I mention my mom wasn’t white and that we didn’t live in some uppity neighborhood? So it irks me to no end when people make broad stroke comments about diets being white or black. Granted I do maintain that Haitian food is THE best food in the world-and since this is my blog I’m only stating facts. Lol! Digressing again. 

So I got me and the hubster back on a juicing plan. I dragged out my Breville juicer and it is holding court right next to my smoothie machine on the kitchen counter. One bottle per day. Nothing major. He’s 45. I’m 42. Our bodies demand extra attention and what better way to do so than to make a concerted effort to get some extra veggies in our system the raw way. So we got celery, carrots, ginger, apples, lime, strawberries, kale all up in this latest batch. The celery gives it this refreshing taste. The ginger spikes it up a notch. The carrots and apple balances it off with some sweetness. And the lime, believe it or not, brings it all home flavor wise. 

There are some of us who didn’t grow up with the best cooks or best diets in our lives. And if you’re like me, living on my own in college caused all types of rules to be broken. I went from eating no pork to eating the Friday night griot. Every Friday. Of every week. These days I probably eat it once per quarter (yes I mind my junk food intake in terms of quarters) cause it takes about that long to leave your system anyway! 

Circumstances may not have allowed for healthy balanced meals. We all joke about the red juice that causes ADHD to go undiagnosed in many households. Food deserts is a reality. For me to get a juice on the go, I would now have to leave my predominately urban community and head either east towards the beach or west towards the Everglades. It takes effort to do right by your temple. It takes money and time. The first time I got back juicing I promise you I burned 1500 calories between the setting up, breaking down, washing and then mopping my sticky kitchen floor. Then you think of the time and energy you take to do some random activity and you realize the return on the investment really does beat out the annoyance. 

I have had non-Black colleagues quickly hide their amazement when I ask about the nearest vegan option or plant based option eateries. Once they get over the shock that I’m not asking for the nearest bbq joint (and no offense to them cause I can gets down with some ribs too), they are more than happy to share in the love of healthy foods. 

So next time someone makes some off color comment about your coconut black rice, adashah, kale, toasted coconuts and avocado lunch (and it’s usually some poor, misguided brotha or sistah) don’t give them the side eye. Take the time to let them know what’s on your plate and point out the health benefits of your meal. They may roll their eyes and go about their high cholesterol, diabetic living or they may dwell on your comments and who knows? You may have gained a convert to eating healthy–not White. 

Our ancestors would be honored to know that you too are eating off the land and honoring the food traditions that transcend race and yes even color lines. I’m Black. Been eating Black since 1975. Whatever that is. šŸ™„šŸ˜‚


Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: Declutter Your LifeĀ 

I spent an entire day doing laundry, trashing old CDs and just getting into all sorts of fits each time I saw a corner of my house that had clutter piling up. Piles of books. Piles of junk mail. Piles of shoes. Ugh…

We usually assign Spring as the time to place back all the winter gear, go through our checklist of what to update around the house and tidy up our living spaces. We take inventory of what we have and promise we the retail gods they will never see us in a mall or on Amazon ever again! Yeah right. 

How many of us actually take the time to do the same with our lives? I mean if I’m going to try and get my house in order, may as well take some time to inventory my life and see what’s worth keeping or getting rid of. Right?

 *inserts sense of discomfort*

Take An Emotional Inventory                            

I’m entering a personally emotional season in my life. And I know every Spring my feelings are a bit raw this time of year.  Two weeks from Mothers Day means a loss of my mother. Since I know it’s coming up, I get myself mentally prepared for it. It’s usually a time when I will be around a lot of folks (weddings, graduations, etc.) so I know that I have to spend some time beforehand taking care of me. Journaling. Lunch with friends who have been down this road. Whatever it will take to make me be okay. That’s what you have to do. Take an emotional temperature of where you are with things. Marriage. Dating. Grief and loss. Children. Life. It happens. What should also happen is you making sure you’re okay. If that means therapy-go. If that means calling a mentor on one of your long commutes to work-call. If it means visiting a house of worship where nobody knows your name-visit. If it means praying without ceasing-pray. If it means camping with some friends-do it. Go. Do. Be. Take care of yourself. 

Take A Physical Inventory                       

That darn right ankle of mine really set me back some with my working out. But I had to reflect on how much of it was my ankle and how much of it was me just not making the time to workout. Yeah, work had exponentially picked up but I’m sure if I dug through all the hours I found to binge on some random TV series, I would certainly find the time to make it to the 24 hour gym that was five minutes away from my house. Guilty.  I read somewhere that physical beauty is a given in youth but not in the aging. It takes work to keep some thangs wrapped up tighter in your 40s! And I’m not talking about buying one of those body armor things that leave you breathless and about to faint either. Werk! If you can take the time to slay your face, your hair, your nails. Take the time to slay the very thing that houses it all. 

Take A Soul Inventory                                

French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin surmised it best, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” I believe my soul is eternal and that what happens here is just the beginning of my eternal existence. I believe God’s plan for my life didn’t start on the day I was born but well before the two human beings who procreated me even had a clue. I believe that my actions on earth have a ripple effect for eternity. So in that belief I’m ever humbled by the sacrifice made by Christ on my behalf. He died so that I may live. Live eternally with Him that is. It makes me take stock of my life not in the way of checking to see how much money is in the bank or how many likes I get on an Instagram post. But rather what kind of impact is going to earn me the “Well done, good and faithful servant.” When I get frustrated with humanity, I have to believe I MUST believe there is more to life than this. 

As much as I want to grab huge garbage bags and just dump everything in there and haul it out my house and start fresh, even I know that won’t solve the issue of clutter and disorganization.  It’s not the stuff that’s the issue, it’s the whys and the hows behind the stuff that I need to sit and deliberate over.  Just like our lives. It’s the sitting with it, the embracing it, the digging deeper that will yield a “spring cleaned” mind, body and soul. 

Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: Don’t Do It For The LikesĀ 

I don’t know when I decided that when people shared information with me that I just couldn’t keep it to myself. Maybe it was while growing up and seeing an entire immigrant community of people being deprived of basic rights while their immigrant peers from other countries got the first pickings. Maybe it was when I sat in my college counselor’s office and received all the college applications for free; while my classmates walked around clueless. Maybe it was having a college roommate whose parents bought everything she needed while I had to run to the dollar store for a frying pan that peeled metal after one week’s use. 

You get to a place where you say “When I … I will … for people who…” So when you get there. You do your part. You pay it forward. You do right by humanity. 

I have been guilty of overcommunicating. I have been accused of over-emailing and secretly maligned for over-posting. “If she sends out one more thing today,” they say. I’m sure they wonder what’s in it for me. I’m sure they are convinced that I get some type of commission. I laugh, mutter some not so nice thing under my breath (keeping it real) and continue being me. 

What’s in it for me?

My commission is seeing a fellow entrepreneur get her small business training certificate. Making room for others to come behind them. My bonus is hearing that a colleague jumped on that job opportunity and nailed it. Being a contributing member of society. My raise comes when parents taking advantage of free community activities with their kiddos. Making memories for years to come. I can’t tell you how much considering others before self tends to keep you humble. I mean, who doesn’t like to pass along info? I guess there are some grinches out there. Phooey to them! And they wonder why they can’t get off the ground with their goals. Smirk. God don’t like ugly and He ain’t too fond of pretty either. 

I think of the God-sent angels who guided me in my youth when my parents didn’t have a clue on how to navigate the education system. To the counselors who placed me in the coolest after school extra-curricular activities. My parents didn’t work for government offices, didn’t come from legacy, didn’t have access to the resources never mind could they afford to pay for it. To mentors who have groomed me over the years to simply walk through doors that Haitian girls weren’t expected to enter. So when people start bad mouthing public education, I’m ready to flatten tires and key cars! And give ZERO cares! Oh … wrong blog. Never mind! 

*Red Haze Lifting*

I don’t do it for the likes. If it were the case, my train of goodwill would have screeched to a loud halt years ago. People can be ungrateful. They can be mean. Darn right mean. And the most hard core person can be affected every now and then. The sheer waves of mean spiritedness can bog a person down. Yet God reminds us His eternal rewards surpasses what man will ever do or say on your behalf. That He will confound the wise and leave others continually perplexed about the favor on your life. Christ reminds his believers that if they could place him on a donkey and herald him as the next King then turn around and malign him on the cross-well heck don’t expect any less from the world we live in. But you carry on. You press forward. You do what is right before His eyes. 

When you do it for the passion, the purpose or simply because your rent on earth is a bill that will always come due, you will find plenty of opportunities to be a blessing to others. Where your right hand will never know what the left hand is doing. 

“Let us not become weary in doing good.” Galatians 6:9

Don’t do for the likes. Do it for the love. 

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How To Be A “Type A” Living In A “Type B” World

My husband makes it his life’s mission to remind me that my brain doesn’t function as others. That very few plan their birthday trips 18 months in advance. That it is a rare species who labels their shoes, office supplies and anything else an Avery label can be slapped on. That ‘OCD speak’ is a dying language. That Pinterest Boards for everything in life is not normal. I’m convinced he’s telling me the truth and taking jabs simultaneously. 

The Business Dictionary defines a Type A Personality as:

“A temperament characterized by excessive ambition, aggression, competitiveness, drive, impatience, need for control, focus on quantity over quality and unrealistic sense of urgency. It is commonly associated with risk of coronary disease and other stress-related ailments.” *Strike that last part.*

Type B Personality:

“A temperament characterized by moderate ambition and drive, accommodating attitude, cooperativeness, focus on quality over quantity and, in general, an easy going approach to life. See also type A personality.” *No ailment inserted?* 

Basically stated, the former will die a painful death while the latter gets to skip through fields of lilies with nary a worry. 

And this is why us Type A’s (my name is Delphine and I am…) should really get it together and compete to maintain our sanity. While it is easier said than done, it can certainly be done. You may be surrounded by the others who could give a rat’s behind about keeping to rigid schedules, dissecting data, or going way above and beyond, but it doesn’t have to be the death of you. Here are some tips to keep your sanity while remaining true to thineself. 

Build In Extra Time

You’re planning an event and the reservez s’il vou plaits are trickling in like Flint, MI water? Give yourself an additional two weeks to factor in time to make some individual calls. People get busy with life and while you are the person who logs everything in your electronic and paper calendar right away, not everyone does that. Build in some extra time for follow up. Whether it’s a work related project or major event, people are people. Life happens and you have to anticipate as much as you can. 

Plan 75% Trust 25%

Type A’s have some serious trust issues. Our inclination to compete can be at the cost of others’ feelings. Unless you’re willing to lose some friendships/partnerships along the way you might just want to avoid railroading people’s feelings. Working on a project for a community event? Allow for input and feedback. Give others the space and opportunity to assert themselves. While you may think people could care less and that you may as well do it all by yourself–some do care. They care enough to see you do well but may frankly get put off by your intensity to get things done. Because it is your pet project or your name riding on the line it’s okay to plan most of it but give the benefit of the doubt for others to help along side you. You need people who can check your blind spots and make sure you’re on the right track. 

Let It Go

Yes. Sing the song. Hum the song. Yell the song. Pray the song. Make it your mantra. If you elect to omit any of these suggestions, don’t let this be the one. Type As are notorious grudge holders. We don’t, I mean they don’t forget a thing. We are the absolute worst when it comes to just throwing it to the wind and walking away. Yet, there will be more times than we care to admit where it’s really not worth the fight. You already know who is who and what is what. You shouldn’t expect more or less based on that. So they come late to your party. Greet them and keep the festivities going. So they have ignored every deadline known to man. Remember the 75/25. Make it 100 and keep it going. 

Your locus of control is yourself–not on anyone or anything else. Understand what is within the realm of your influence and what is not. The world is a much well managed place with us in it. We just want to be sure it is also a well loved one too. 

Curious about where you lie on be personality spectrum? Disclaimer: there is no “type” written in stone. Check the link below. https://psychcentral.com/quizzes/personality/start.php