Every Day Livin’: Only In America

Uber Opportunities

Only in America would both my Uber drivers today be non-English speaking immigrants.  The second one only eight months in from Cuba.  He’s learned “left, right, stop, yes and no” and was thankful that I knew some Spanish to get us there.  When he dropped me off to collect my car at the mechanic,  he even waited around long enough to make sure that I was talking to a mechanic and not just standing there alone.  He gets five stars for that.

International Women’s Day

Today I celebrate every real life XX Chromosome carrying chick.  It has been one of those unifying posts across my Instagram feed.  Men honoring their mothers, sisters, nieces, grandmothers.  Women honoring each other and enjoying the brilliance and beauty that is our true essence.  I remember my mom and her bestie (Madame Babier), both of whom now serve among the cloud of witnesses in heaven.  They had a great work and home life together.  We lived with Mme. Babier and her family for the first two years when we moved to Miami.  I never got the sense that there was ever any competition between them.  My mom was quiet.  She was outspoken.  They made sense together.  They worked together for years in a sweat box factory, always complaining about the management but never giving in.  I miss them both on this day.

My Kinda Funny

I’ve been on this Golden Girls series binge for the past few weeks.  I watch it when I get ready to leave for my day and at least one episode before I fall asleep.  I know why I’m watching it.  It reminds me of my mom.  It reminds me of afternoons spent hanging out with her in her room when my dad wasn’t around.  The wisecracks and sarcasm are epic funny.  “I haven’t been a virgin since The Louisiana Purchase was in escrow!” barks Estelle Getty’s character.  I died a thousand death on that one.  My husband doesn’t understand the binge but whenever he’s around long enough to pay attention, I hear him laughing at some odd situational comedic scene and I know he gets it.  He even humors me and sits through an episode-or two.  Not sure if it’s because he knows why I’m watching it or cause he finds it funny too.  Just glad that he gets it.

Social Worker Month

I never need an excuse or reason to celebrate my profession.  I figure if I don’t do it, who else will?  I’ve been working on some projects to exponentially move forward the field of mental health personally and professionally.  What I’ve discovered is that unlike five years ago when people would bow their head and pass the collection plate in pity when they heard what I did for a living, folks are now paying more attention-really pay attention.  In this climate where people are looking for answers, looking for direction, looking for anything; I’m humbled to be a part of what it is going to take to bring about hope and perspective to those who are searching.  I never take it lightly when a total stranger decides to entrust him or herself into the hands of another total stranger with their story.  There is no definitive role that a social worker plays.  He or she can be a political figure one day of the week, a play therapist another day, life coach, therapist, case manager, consultant–you name it.  The sky is the limit.  So pardonnez-moi as I scream from the rooftops that “I LOVE MY PROFESSION!” It’s more than a job, it’s a calling.

Un-Fastening My Potential

I’m two days into my 40 Day Fast.  I get the sense that people are becoming less traditional in their walk with Christ and more “progressive”.  Christ was the most progressive human being who ever walked this earth, so I know he’s provided me with enough tools to maintain a level of constant renewal in my spiritual life.  No need to reinvent the wheel in that department.  Some days it’s like automatic.  I can read my Bible, pray and remain centered.  Other days it’s like searching for a light switch in a pitch-black room.  Both types of days require my trusting in God for the answers regardless of whether they come easy or hard.  

Abstaining from certain foods and activities is part of that.  I have never been disappointed.  Tested, yes.  Annoyed, yes.  Bothered, yes.  Disappointed, no.  It doesn’t mean that I become some hermit and go in a cave until the day before Easter.  The Bible actually warns against those who would have themselves look like they’re in misery during a fast.  Nothing changed but my choices.  Limiting my social media and news intake to Pulse and Instagram.  I figure I still gotta consume news to remain updated and I still want to learn from others who I don’t even know in areas that matter to me.  Those two outlets meet those needs.  I’ve always grown personally during these fasting periods.  It’s not something I can place my fingers on during some years.  In some years, I can see the hand of God just moving in ways only He could take credit for.  In other years, it’s been quiet shifts in my paradigm.  Just one degree of change still means change.
I’m having major caffeine withdrawals and it’s not pretty.  Just thought I’d throw that out there.  Prayers needed.
Solo Field Trip

This weekend I get to go to the much talked about Game of Thrones Concert Experience.  The nerd girl in me is super psyched to be in this space.  The introvert in me is extra psyched that I don’t have to share this experience with anyone else.  Going it alone. Solo dinner and solo concert experience. Can’t wait to tell ya all about it.

Random Thoughts

Paying Rent

I don’t remember the name of the kind soul who thought it her duty as a teacher to donate her daughter’s hand me downs to me during my fifth grade summer school year. She was my typing teacher. I’m sure my studious nature and quiet demeanor won over her affections. I was a scrawny girl, still speaking with a weird, misplaced Caribbean accent. I was painfully shy and my clothes may have hinted at being somewhat worn. They were carry overs from a better season in my life. Times were suddenly hard and forward fashion was at the bottom of my mama’s list.

Being in the field of education and social work, exposes me to the many needs of young people. The average child bears many a burden. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs barely tells the tale of children who go from meal to meal and pillar to post. I hosted an annual winter coat drive each year at my former school. Boys would show up in their older sister’s pink hoodie sweater. No shame in their game, just trying to stay warm on a brisk Miami “winter” day. God bless the donors who paid it forward and blessed an unknown youth with a sweater that was gender friendly, lol!

I wonder if those donors, like myself, had come across a kind soul in their past. A stranger to them who sensed a need and brought a box full of gently worn items that were lovingly washed and re-gifted. There’s a famous quote that says service is the rent we pay for our stay on earth. Thank you to those who paid your mortgage ten times over in quiet service through your giving. The recipient may never cross paths with you in this life time. Just know that it was enough to know that someone out there somewhere cared.


Social Work Month: Why Social Work Is Sexy Part Deux

Three times a year I make it my business to trek 20 miles to my alma mater, Florida International University and sit on a Humanities class panel of guest speakers. It’s the least I can do for the school where I got my first degree in this field. This year I went on my birthday of all days and had my hubby in tow. Wondering all the while, why do I still do this? Then looking into the fresh faces of these students, I remember why I will come every time they call.

The Millenials are at such a loss, gripped in fear of making the wrong degree choice, paying too much money, and not landing a job right after college. I have sat next to FBI agents, attorneys, journalist, educators among others. No student ever thinks first to consider social work. So I come and play part life coach and part social work salesman, angling to make my profession look sexier than a Sports Illustrated Model.

My Spiel
-No we don’t take children out of homes. That’s what case managers (not to be confused with social workers) do.
-Yes, my clients come in every income bracket, every God-made shade, and every zip code.
-Yes, if you are ADD, OCD, ADHD with a hint of narcissism, then you will enjoy one minute sitting at your desk working on a substance abuse data report then in the next grabbing your bag and heading off to a school crisis. Such is the life of a school social worker.
-If you have no qualms about sitting on a crate in a leaky home or on a Louis XVI chair in a hi-rise condo, then this might be the career for you. Such is the life of a home health medical social worker.
-If you plan on writing a book or a Hollywood script one day, you will certainly not lack for themes and narratives to choose from; we can’t make this stuff up people. It’s all true!

So I won’t get tired of fighting traffic and that god-awful parking system to put my profession in the spotlight. As long as there will be human beings, there will always be a need for this profession.



Social Work Month: Why Social Work Is Sexy

My profession celebrates for an entire month. I’m sure the nurses are like “we get a week and how did they end up with a whole 31 days?!” Well who else can celebrate us but ourselves? It’s thirty-one days of asserting ourselves in the professional landscape and reminding our peers in other disciplines that we put SOCIAL in social work.

Kings With Common Touch
We are a long way from the soup kitchen case management life of Hull House. Social workers can be found working in human resource using personal and emotional intelligence to assist in the hiring process. Businesses recognize that company growth and effectiveness hinges upon capacity building a workforce that is emotionally and mentally prepared to be productive in the job setting.

We Are Better Than Fortune-Tellers
Those in this field have a knack for understanding human nature. We recognize the complexities of the mind and respect the power of the brain to heal itself after great trauma. Best person on your team to have is a social work colleague who digs deeper than the obvious and arrives at a meaningful conclusion that is grounded on both theory, experience, and the good old hunch.

And I’m just beginning!

I have got a whole month to stand on my band wagon, beat my own drum and toot my own horn.