Life Coach, Random Thoughts

Sistah Take A Seat: When You’re Not Being  “Present”

Gabby Douglas has been on my heart something serious this Olympic season. I know she’s all the way in Rio and I’m nothing but a mere observer–but her spirit speaks to me like it would if she was my girlfriend two miles away, a church member in my congregation–like she was even me. I watched her four years ago shine and sparkle and give us all that #blackgirlmagic we so craved. Sprinkle. Sprinkle.  I watched the media and Black women at large try to dissect every strand of her course hair. White folks could care less about our hair as much as we care about our own hair. Gabby fought back and brought home the golds. 

This time around, Gabby stepped onto the stage and her shine and sparkle, well, her #blackgirlmajic, hmmm…something ain’t right. Minimal eye contact. Detached. Performance for the cameras and back to “normal”. Apathetic. Flat affect. Smiles that don’t reach the eyes. Mood incongruent with the setting. That fake smile. Simply put, this girl is not happy. Why? I don’t know. I can’t begin to know why this beautiful young trailblazer has missed a step. That she simply is not present.  By present I mean not being in the moment. Not connecting with others. Not being your true self and relating to the experiences about you. 

But I feel Gabby. How many times have I checked out when I couldn’t deal with the emotional threats made against me (real or perceived)? How many times have I withdrawn to that quiet space in my head and just mentally floated away? How many times have I taken off my glasses and allowed the blurry world to just be that–blurry? 

Gabby is one among millions of women who may find it hard to cope with life’s challenges in one form or another.  It’s not the challenges I’m concerned about yet rather how we cope that separates the wheat from the chaff. I spent half my lifetime trying to pretend that I liked everyone I met. I pretended that people excited me when in reality they drained me. I pretended that I was happy with my body when I really was not. I pretended I wanted to be “cool” and relatable when in reality I wanted to be in my nerd space with the do not disturb sign on the door. To me there was something wrong with being smart, organized, opinionated and introverted. After all, “everyone else” was wearing the long weaves, the high heels, and the big purses. That being in roles of wife/pastor wife, daughter, sibling, friend meant I had to kill my true self to become someone else. The pressure. Oh the pressure of living a lie. 

Today, I still carry all those roles and then some. But it’s how I cope that has made me more spiritually and emotionally centered. My faith in Christ keeps me grounded. No, I’m not in seminary school reading the Bible cover to cover for the 100th time, but I’m connected to Him. 

Do people still drain me? Yep. I just know how to better manage my responses and time spent with others and make time to be alone. Balance. Do I still find it hard to manage my hips and thighs? Yep. Fitbit helps. Wearing clothes that flatter me helps too. Acceptance. Am I still a nerd? Yep. Til the day I die! Truth
Gabby is young. I pray it doesn’t take half her life time to strengthen her village, acknowledge who she is at the core, forgive herself and others and use this test to be her testimony. I want her to hurry up and feel better, do better, be better! But as with everything, I know it’s going to be more hard hills to climb before the road smooths itself out. Being present is no small feat. Come through Gabby. Come through. 

Family, Life Coach, Random Thoughts

Beware Of The Daddy’s Girl

The father’s toast to his future son-in-law at their engagement party started like this “I already showed you the gun… here’s to taking this last expense off of my hand.” I hollered! 

It reminded me so much of the one time both my dad and then boyfriend/now husband both accompanied me to buy my first new car. They haggled on my behalf. Both standing on each side of me protecting me from this salesman’s pitch. I will never forget the look on my boyfriend’s face when he saw the five one-hundred dollar bills that my dad pulled out. I didn’t miss a beat and took the cash to handle the transaction. Boyfriend talked about that for weeks. He would soon come to learn in our pre-marital counseling sessions that I was a bonafide Daddy’s girl. 

Daddy’s Girls are a dangerous species in the human race. They come with a long list of instructions and warnings attached. Like, she buys shoes every two weeks and because her dad paid for her prom dress (though she was working), she kinda expects you to spend your money first before she spends hers. She doesn’t like bare pantry cabinets. She doesn’t like buying one toilet paper at a time. Costco is her favorite spot and she likes to buy things in bulk. 

She’s sorta, kinda impatient. Her daddy gave her field trip money every time and extra just in case. He was always waiting after her shift ended and she’s since hated having to wait for anything or anyone. No isn’t in her vocabulary because much to mom’s chagrin he could never say no to his baby girl. 

Daddy disciplines but would secretly cry after for doing so. When she is old enough to understand, she can cry you a river and you will never know the difference. Beware because she’s only gotten better at this. Lol!

Daddy reminds his baby girl that men are a dime a dozen and her self-fulfillment comes first. Get your education. Get your own money. If you found someone you could see yourself being happy with, then and only then would you consider putting them first. When this joker doesn’t work out, have a good cry and get on with your life. Remember Daddy taught you to have your own anyway. 

Daddy’s Girls don’t take no for an answer. As they get older they accept the no, but not before trying to find a way to make it a yes. She’s determined and tenacious. She’s a natural born leader. She doesn’t need anyone to tell her she’s cute or smart or the ish. Daddy always told her. So the blah blah compliments and yada yada commendations will always fall on deaf ears.  Daddy already beat them to it. 

Beware of Daddy’s Girls! We, ehem, I mean THEY, are hellions in heels. They run organizations. They run households. They run DIS! And lawd forbid you come across an only Daddy’s Girl. You know the one who had a josue full of brothers, one brother, or no siblings at all?! There’s no competition in a house with the one girl.  There’s no competition other than herself in life for her either. 

Prayers now being accepted for my husband. LMBO! 

Family, Random Thoughts

Home Anniversary 

“Happy Anniversary!” That’s my husband reminding me that as of Halloween night we have now celebrated thirteen years in our home. As children of immigrant homeowners, we both knew that homeownership was part of the plan. Five years into our marriage, a vision board, and an awesome testimony later, we crossed the threshold into our pre-foreclosure home. 

I remember the realtor holding his breath when I came across the dead mouse laying on his back on the concrete floor. The house had that Brady Bunch feel. Drop ceilings, popcorn ceilings and wood paneling would be our view for the first few years. We kept the popcorn ceiling. Some things you grow to love. I regret covering the terrazzo floors now. I couldn’t appreciate the beauty of speckles then. Drat! 

Hurricane Wilma blew our patio away three years in. Our guest bathroom is the last space to go through my HGTV-ish shenanigans. Every summer was a project. My home office is my personal pride and joy. All me! Home Depot is my spot! I miss the smell of sawdust and sound of tools. Being the daughter of a construction worker had its perks. I discovered my personal style during those years of remodeling. I didn’t want shiny. I didn’t want modern. I certainly didn’t want bric-a-brac. I liked what I liked. And. I. Got. What. I. Liked. Much to my hubby’s chagrin. 

Now we are entering that season where things need to be repainted, replaced, or removed. Yet another one of life’s reminders that things don’t stay young and fresh forever. There’s going to always be room for a do-over, a makeover, a scrap this and try it over. 

We were like nervous kids signing all those documents that Halloween Night. Our younger selves excited about this new adventure we were on together. Taking another swipe at this “American Dream” thing. Now our seasoned souls sit back and bask in this achievement of coming to not just a house–but a home. 

The AC unit has lasted another South Florida summer! It’s the smallest things. 

Life Coach, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

Just Enough Ahead

So I just thought that turning 40 meant I got a cool trip to Vegas with my gal pals, work out some issues on blog paper, and go about life buying up pretty shoes along the way. Psych!!! 

This aging thing has got me where people actually think I have something to say. And since I was for many years the wallflower/introvert (and still am believe it or not), I didn’t get the memo that folks actually expect me to know more and do more in this new season of my life. Drat!

In plowing through this mentorship devotional I’m reading, it drove home some reminders that my years on earth just weren’t meant to be check marks on a calendar; but rather milestones to be shared. 

I am “just enough ahead” to talk to a high school senior about leaving home and not looking back. I am just enough ahead to guide in choosing the right premarital counselor. I am just enough ahead to share on the sorrow and newfound grace that comes with the loss of a parent. I am just enough ahead to push someone off the cliff towards pursuit of their professional goals. I am just enough ahead to admit that I’ve failed in many relationships and can identify the pitfalls. I am just enough ahead to say I really don’t know. 

For those of us who are just enough ahead, you may get downright disappointed when you say right and hell if them hard-headed ones don’t go left! You may get disgusted with the current state of affairs in those coming up behind you. You may even want to turn your backs and say “F this” and go about your own damn business. Le sigh. I know I do. 

But I’m here to say, I’m reminded daily that Jesus never gave up on me and damned if he doesn’t remind me day in and day out to duplicate his love for me to others. Long suffering (fancy word for patience), compassion, wisdom…all those and many more things we are “just enough ahead” impart to others. 

To my “just enough ahead” squad, you may be right out of college and feel like you’re sinking. You may be ten years in your job and feeling stagnant. You may be 25 years into a marriage and wondering where did the time go. You may be a parent barely making it through with Kleenex and some Clorox wipes as your shield.  

Wherever you are in your bless-ed life stage, remember you are just enough ahead to be a blessing to someone else. 

Faith, Grief And Loss, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

Not All For Naught

Not sure what prompted a mentor of mine to tell me this particular story. Maybe she saw that I was going a hundred miles a minute with no brakes. Or that I had bitten off more at a time that I could possibly chew. Whatever it was, I remember her recounting the story of a head janitor that fell dead in the school office and the principal bending over, unhooking the master keys and passing it on to the next janitor. 

I’m sure there was some wailing and carrying at that moment. I’m pretty sure blood pressures were sky high and tears flowed down like the River Nile. I’m even sure that the memorial service for this head janitor was packed to the gills. I’m sure his loved ones miss that dear man deeply and that life without him is unbearable. 

I am also sure that life still went on. 

We rise from bed, we drink our coffee and we start each day. Some of us pray. Some of us don’t. Our days are filled with agendas, meetings, conference calls, classes, all sorts of activities that keep us busy busy busy. 

When a life is cut short be it at twenty or ninety we seldom pause to take stock of our respective lives and ask God:

Am I where I need to be? Am I doing what I should be doing? What am I driven by? Why do I even bother? 

Experiencing loss is the worse and the best thing that can take place. Worse in that the devastation that grips you and won’t release its hold can lay you real low. But best in that while you are out for the count, God does His best work in you. Paradigms shift. Transformation takes place. Dead skin is shed. And you walk away changed. 

I guess my mentor was trying to drive home the point that all this right here wasn’t worth a damn at the end of the day. That the Ecclesiastical outlook on life is the real truth. You are born. You live. You die. What’s done in between makes a world of a difference. Your eternity’s destination is the final call. 

Because when they reach over your body and hand the keys to someone else, it cannot be all for naught. 

Random Thoughts

Bossy Girl 2.0

I sat in a room packed with female Type A boss personalities the other day and nearly choked to death on the amount of Estrogen that was being emitted in the space! 

Random women, varying walks of life all describing them self as bossy, perfectionist, Type A. Lawd! I thought I was at the “I Operate in Excellence” convention. I have been used to being the”boss” in my personal and work life for so long that I never factored in the reality that there are more creatures like me out there. Women who do not take no for an answer. Women who step on hot coals to get to their destination in life. When you see your mirror image, it’s like damn! Have several seats! 

What happens when you and the other sister in the room bleed the same Type A blood? Do you turn catty and claw each other’s eyes out or do you turn and hold their hand in empathy. Living this #40IsMyReality life has come with some behavior adjustments. Notice I didn’t say attitude adjustment. Behavior is learned. Attitude is an excuse to behave badly. 

It’s taken some time and reflection to trust that my sister who enjoys a rousing debate as much as I do isn’t out for my blood. Or that when she sees things a certain way and I don’t, compromise doesn’t have to be a dirty word. 

Living in my Christ-like reality means I have learned to relinquish the imaginary crown I gave myself for the one that Jesus promises me. That crown speaks of serving others, placing others first before myself. This world says you’re a carpet when you deny yourself the right to “be right” all the time. It’s not easy just sitting on the sidelines watching train wrecks happen when you know your “know-it-all self” could have been a better conductor on the train. Sucks teeth. I could have done that hella better than her and looked good while doing it–you think. Truth is you could have. Yet being Madame or Mademoiselle Right may cost you more than you may have bargained for.

Here’s to all the Boss Chicks who don’t eat people for sport. Your character will speak volumes for this life and eternity. Here’s to the Perfectionist who understands that people are worth more as friends than as enemies. Here’s to the Type A dame who has made peace with her flaws and is working on being her better self. You will always be smart, you will always stand out, you will always be recognized. You just don’t have to be Cruella Devil while you’re being you. 

Trade in that first version of you for the Bossy Girl 2.0. 

Random Thoughts

Vacate-Tion: Destination Glorious Living 

Not everyone has the means or methods to splurge on random trips to Europe. But everyone has the opportunity to save. It is never fun to be the one left standing at the wharf waving the kerchief as yet another friend travels to sights unseen. You’re left feeling some type of way and it is usually accompanied with a side of “feeling sorry for myself.” Well it doesn’t have to be that way. Traveling is no longer just for the haves.  Let’s look at some ways to increase your vacation mileage for years to come. 

One Penny At A Time

It’s been our second cruise in as many as four years. After I learned that I could lay-away my trip, it was nothing for me to call the travel agent and set up a weekly payment plan. As long as you can divide and subtract, you should be able to set aside funds each month, week or day towards your dream trip. What now seems as a huge price tag becomes chunk size pieces that are manageable to plan for. It will mean denying thyself that new pair of shoes (gasp!) or bringing lunch instead of eating out. When you’re standing in front of yet another gorgeous buffet, dining on an island’s waterfront or slicing your knife through a tender filet mignon, the leftovers of yesteryear will be a distant memory.  

Start off Small

Sites like Groupon and Living Social have made vacations, staycations and nights out that more doable and feasible. Suddenly an Indian restaurant in the fancy-schmancy part of town doesn’t seem like an Olympic hurdle to overcome. That two for one Groupon has made your night out something to look forward to. Zagat is a great source for all things foodie. Reading reviews on the top ten brunch spots in the country led my husband and I to a hotel I wouldn’t have otherwise ventured to. For the three hours we were there, you couldn’t tell us we weren’t your random couple just here at our Miami pieds-a-terre, searching for some good sushi and mimosas on a lovely Saturday morning. Garcon! 

Can’t Take Everybody With You

Nothing sets my teeth on edge more than hearing people limit themselves in life. Granted, we aren’t all able to pick up our Vuitton bags and jet set to Aruba, but we can grab that college-worn Jansport backpack and head for a road trip to “destination your choice.”  Most of our early years in marriage was spent road tripping up the east coast. Trips to Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, yes even Canada were made on four wheels. You can’t put on Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me” without my mind’s eyes seeing the red barn as our SUV took on the mountains of Pidgeon Forge, Tennesssee. Sharing life with those who enjoy new experiences make the planning and scraping and saving that much more worth it. I have my travel buddies on speed dial. Vegas for my 40th? Done. Shopping trip in Naples, FL. Am there. Africa, Europe, the Caribbean. The atmosphere is the limit! 

Next time you see the latest trip photos on your social media feed, instead of feeling sorry for yourself–do something about it. Call your girlfriends and hatch out a master plan for making that trip to sights unseen. Commit with your spouse to set aside funds for the trip and the babysitter if need be. Want some time away alone? Make it happen Captain! Make it do what it do and pack those bags for destination Glorious Life.