Uncategorized

2016: Waiting

I re-read my prior New Year’s Eve blogs and thought whoa! I was really trying to get the heck out of the last 365 days of those respective years! One was about watching the year in my rear view mirror and another was all about death to making resolutions. Chuckle. 

My heart and mind were in different places each time I bid another year adieu. No different than this year. Last year was tough. It was the year I closed out the year I lost my mother. And I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to hold on to dear life to 2014. As if to believe that the months would continue moving further and further away from my memories of my mother. Sorta kinda like this year too. 

This year oddly enough, even with all the dramatic changes I have had the nerves to make, I’m just quietly waiting for the clock to strike 12. No grand declaration. Just quietly waiting. 

Excited. Fearful. Humbled. Anxious. All words to describe my peaking around to see 2016. Excited for the possibilities. Fearful of the unknown. Humbled that God saw fit for me to see another year through. Anxious to get it all underway. 

Here’s to you 2016. 

Uncategorized

My Gift To You

For the fools who still comes around saying “where’s my gift” feel free to use these words in response to them. 

When I put in a good word for you to get that job. That was my gift to you. 

When I wrote that reference letter at the last minute. That was my gift to you. 

When I took your late night phone call or texts or emails. That was my gift to you. 

When I let you stay at my house for longer than expected. That was my gift to you. 

When I loaned you my car and you brought it back on empty. That was my gift to you. 

When I set you up on that date with your now new bride or groom. That was my gift to you. 

When I loaned you that $500 and didn’t get it back. That was my gift to you. 

When you needed money for school uniforms for your children. That was my gift to you. 

When I lied to the pastor about where you were last weekend. That was my gift to you. 

When you came over and spent half the night crying on my shoulder about that poor excuse of a person that you still with. That was my gift to you. 

When you lost your loved one and I was the only familiar face sitting in the pews.  That was my gift to you. 

When I spent my hard earned money to celebrate your birthday trip. That was my gift to you. 

When I traveled up for your wedding, graduation, birthday, parent’s funeral. That was my gift to you. 

When you needed seed money to start your business. That was my gift to you. 
When you needed sound advice about getting this new job and leaving the last. That was my gift to you. 

When you needed someone to help you pack up your stuff and leave in the still of the night. That was my gift to you. 

When I agreed to go to the strip club with you just to make sure you came out of there alive and safe. That was my gift to you. 

When I had to defend your reputation to others on social media. That was my gift to you. 

When I chose to overlook your two-faced comments. That was my gift to you. 

When I’m still waiting on an apology five years in the making. That was my gift to you. 

When you took advantage of my good name for your personal benefit. That was my gift to you. 

I could go on and on about the myriad of ways that we gift throughout the year. Never get caught up in feeling obligated to buy anyone anything. In those other 364 days of the year. You have gifted well enough. 

Faith, Life Coach, Uncategorized

Squad Goals: Real Friendships That Matter

There are studies out there that highlight the importance of healthy relationships among women.  From lowered stress, reduced therapy bills and lowered health risks–there is something to be noted about the benefits of having strong relationships among women. Not the sprawling kind that men experience where they are 20 deep at a strip club or football game; but the intimate group, handful of trusted gal pals who form your inner sanctum. There is something to be said about who you choose and how you choose girlfriends to be part of your inner circle. 
Choose Authenticity. If you can’t trust a woman to be her true self in your company, to show vulnerability and fear when she’s at her lowest then it’s all in vain. Friendships shouldn’t be about guessing games. The act of taking off and putting on a “pretender’s” mask becomes exhausting after a while. Your friends should know your true self. And you should be able to accept them for who they are. Warts and all. Life is too short trying to be something you’re not. If there aren’t people who have not seen you without your proverbial make-up on, then it truly sucks to be you. 

Choose A Challenge. If your friends aren’t encouraging or downright pushing you to be your personal best, then that’s cause for concern. I’m not talking about friendships where the latest purse and shoes is the topic of every conversation type friendship. Let’s face it, you may have a friend making twenty stacks more than you (that’s $20,000 in layman’s terms). If she goes out and buys a coat from some famous maker and you go down the street to Thrift-R-Us, that’s cool. Do you boo! I’m talking about the friends who hears you complain about a job and finally gets tired of the complaining and says “what are you going to do about it?” Or the friends you call when you’re thinking of quitting your well-paying job. One just wants to make sure you have insurance at the end of the day. And one is like girl, for it! Gotta have those type of friends in your circle. Challenging you to make moves even when you “scurred.”

Choose similar values. If we can’t see eye to eye on this one then the other two choices won’t come natural. My girlfriends are all believers in Christ. With that comes a set of values that may be part of societal norms, like not committing homicidal crimes and such. But there are other things attached to our faith that doesn’t make sense to society but it’s just how we roll. We trust God to handle our light weight therefore the possibilities of living a drama free life is a bit higher in my crew. We’re not perfect. Not by a long shot! But we all know that there is a guiding force that sets the tone  for how we live our lives on earth. 

It took me quite a bit of living to realize that there are indeed circles of influence. I learned I couldn’t confuse my sorority, community partners, workplace colleagues, church folks, book club, professional connections with my true squad goals. Yes people. Not all church folks are supposed to be in your inner sanctum. Every sphere has a purpose in my life. But when push comes to knock me down, I know who I can call. That’s just how it is. 

Choose well. Choose wisely. 

Proverbs 13:20: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

“Thank you for being a friend. Traveled down the road and back again. Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidante. And if you threw a party, invited everyone you knew. You would see, the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say, THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND.”–Golden Girls Theme Song

Career, Uncategorized

Exiting Stage Left: The Art of Leaving A Job

There is no easy way to begin the process of separating from one’s place of employment. Yet there are definitely modes of ensuring that you make a clean break with as much class and dignity possible. 

Discretion is key. Taking out a full page ad in the local paper or posting countdown comments on your Facebook page is not recommended. Be sure that your boss and human resource department are the first to know of your intentions. There is a method to the madness of job separation. Informing loose lipped colleagues shouldn’t take precedence over ensuring that you take it to those who need to know first. And even when you have decided to share with others, your organization may still have a process that needs to take precedence over your wanting to shout it from the mountain top. Once you have done your due diligence, then feel free to take the time to notify those who really need to know in your circle of influence. 

Support your successor. No one likes to enter a position with loose ends left untied. The best gift you can give your last job is to know you left it intact and organized. If it means setting aside some time each day to touch base with your successor, make it happen. No one is in your head. You will have to jot things down, organize  folders, clean out your office and make the transition a smooth one. Use the golden rule on this one. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 

Keep in touch. Let’s be honest, leaving a job is akin to a loss. You’re walking away from some meaningful relationships. Your work family sees you more than your real one. Those water cooler convos helped you through some tough times. The meetings after the meetings kept you sane and functioning. There are some people you are happy to be rid of. But remember your community isn’t as big as you think. That six degrees of separation is for real. And you never know who knows who. Note the connections you want to maintain. Some will be for personal reasons. Others for professional reasons. Cutting ties and never looking back isn’t recommended. Don’t cut your nose and spite your face. 

At day’s end you want to be a class act in how you separate from your job. You do not want to be the one known for being messy. One’s reputation is too important to put on the line. Keep those matches hidden away. Burning bridges never helped anyone.  
 

Uncategorized

Island Gyal Revisited

I’m an Island “Gyal” at heart. My dual personality is rarely seen or heard of. Drinking from the cistern, bathing outdoors, being bit by centipedes, living in a block made two room house with no air conditioning–been there done that and got the Tshirt.  I miss my roots and even now as I spend moments with family I have not seen in years, I’m catapulted back to a time in my life where things were humble and simple. 

To look at those of us who weathered the destructive 1980’s Hurricane David, wading in knee deep water, you would never know that words like “ayoo” (all of you) and “make haste” (hurry up) was part of our daily dialect. Our parents, immigrants to an island that many of their peers felt was just as backwards as the one they had just left, formed a small community of friends who then became family. It explains a lot about my views of family. Blood for me, was definitely thinner than water. It still is. 

My mother’s passing severed yet another connection to my life before the states. My god-mother’s recent passing has continued to do the same. My childhood memories are filled with “Nenen” feeding me, showing me how to wash with the old wash board, rolling clothes through this contraption to squeeze all the water out, showing me how to set a table. I mourn for the silent years of being too busy with my life to connect back with hers. When the disease that robs you of your loved ones before they die came to steal her mind away, I knew it was too late. She would never know who I was. 

But God has a way of making you make first what used to be last in your life. It cost me nothing but and a plane ticket, to sit and talk and talk and talk some more with loved ones who had also been just living life. Reconnecting and picking it up from 30 years of silence. Not interested in what you’re doing now but how life was back then. 

Our memories are all we have now. Of mothers who have gone on to be our angels. Of home makers who were hustlers living out a hard life to ensure their children would soon live out their own dreams. When my god-sister got on the plane to come to a foreign land to school, my god-mother cried incessantly. “Maman, I won’t go if you don’t want me to,” she said. In between the tears she said, “Oh but you must. It is what you have to do.”

It is that must do, can do spirit that they endowed us with. They left us no family trust, no fine china, no family jewels. What we have in the way of perseverance, grit, faith in Christ, and backbones made of steel; it is more than any riches they could ever leave.