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. 

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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. 

Faith, Life Coach, Love & Marriage

Sistah Take A Seat: Don’t Dull Your Shine 

I’ve been sitting on this Ayesha Curry Twitter rant for a minute, waiting to see how it would play out. I wanted to see who would come to her defense and who would drop her like a bad habit. Seems like the bipolar social media hounds are at it again with the teeth gnashing and the petty behavior.  One minute they were loving her quirky videos, her choice in clothing, her propensity for all things “domestic” and next they were hating her for having an opinion and actually sharing it. 

Some can argue that she should have tempered her words and avoided implications of coming against the NBA-her husband’s boss. After all, she did say that the NBA finals were “rigged.” Raise hands if you didn’t agree with Ayesha. Birds chirping. I thought so. I’m not here to belabor that. But I am here to explore the whole, women keep silent whilst their men go out and slay the dragons “gar-baj” I see is alive and well in 2016. A rather verbose sports commentator decided he wanted to go further and compare Ayesha with Savannah (Lebron James’wife). He essentially asked, why couldn’t Ayesha just sit at home and bake her cookies and stay out of man folks business? Well, that’s all it took! 

Disclaimer. I don’t ascribe to everything that feminism expounds. But I want my equal pay for my equal efforts. And I want you to “put some respect” on me as a woman who deserves to sit at the table where the plans are being drawn and the decisions are being made. My faith in Christ has already gained me equality in His eyes. I was fearfully and wonderfully made from day one and no amount of social media perceptions of women as objects can change that. I don’t operate in fear (most days) because my mind is sound and I am able to do all things because he gives me a soul deep type of strength. Regardless of what man has done to try and make me cower by the use of “religion” to magnify himself and minimize myself has failed.  I know very well that Jesus’ appearance on this earth cancelled out inequality among the sexes. Don’t get me started on where women stood in his ministry. That’s for a face to face. Just not tah-day. 

Back to Ayesha. Back to women at large. There’s a secret relationship book out there that says women should look pretty, act polite and keep their mouths shut. They are allowed a college education but not necessarily apply it. They are allowed to earn an income but not hold an opinion or share it. I mourn for the countless of women who have drank the “inferiority juice” and found their light slowly dim to a dull glow. I mourn for the women who died with dreams unrealized. I mourn for the women whose brilliance was never known while they were yet living. 

This was and should never be about the battle of the sexes. Our womanhood is not a handicap. It is a gift we give our men. They are the ones who “found a good thing” when our lives connect. Our wombs bear children. Our minds bear dreams and visions. When I’m blessed to find two individuals who decide to call their union a commitment in marriage, my silent prayer is always “Lord please let my sister remain true to herself, please let her never lose sight of her own purpose on this earth.”

For my sisters who seek that lifetime companion, seek one who will value your worth. One who will sit at the table late nights and go over the finances together. One who will call you first before he calls anyone else for decisions. One who will not become anxious when it’s your name that’s on everybody’s tongue. One who will recognize you as his “ezer kenegdo” his “strength and power.” One who will not shrink at the brilliance of your shine. 

There is plenty of room for the Ayeshas and Savannahs of this world. One likes to talk and be quirky and doesn’t mind being at the forefront. One is low key likely making waves that she rather not have promoted or shared on the public front. One should never make the other feel less of a person for the choices she’s made and the journey she’s chosen to take. 

Yet neither should ever, ever, ever let any man dull their shine. 

Faith, Life Coach, Love & Marriage, Uncategorized

Sistah, Take A Seat: Say I’m Sorry

Sequels to movies can either do one of two things. They can be successful or they can be a bust. So it goes in the world of blogging. I got a lot of positive traction for my “Sistah, Take Seat” blog last week. I’ve frankly been kinda scared to think about writing another one. Yikes! But one can never say (or write) enough about single women living their lives, doing big things and navigating their way through the issues of the heart. 

The hubster and I literally had to drop all commitments on our busy calendars to attend a one night marriage conference this week. It was by a well known expert on all things relationships and I’m happy we did. All I could think about while there was man! How many single men and women would definitely be their better self if they could get this stuff BEFORE they said I do?! Everyone is so hot to get in a relationship, take Facebook pictures with the googly eyes and then what? The hard work that goes into relationship building is more than a cell phone photo. Lawd knows it is! 

The speaker was a white southerner who spoke the king’s country English. Well I’m bringing it to you like your big sister, who you half can’t stand sometimes cause EVERYTIME you come to her with your problems she had the nerves to be honest and give you the business, the Fortune 500 type of business. 

Men can do some dumb things. No denying that. But let’s be honest we are no saints either. We just do better with making ourselves look good. Before you know it, dude is apologizing for something he never did! He does enough of that and you will wonder why the phone calls stop and he’s moved on to the 2.0 version of you. Bigger and better cause you wouldn’t, couldn’t learn how to apologize. 

Express regret and accept responsibility. Tell your man what you’re sorry for. Just saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t work anymore. Babe I’m sorry for not coming to you first to discuss this. Boo, I’m sorry for being out of hand and disrespecting you in public. Honey, I’m sorry for putting our business on that GroupMe chat. Learn to admit your wrong in a matter. Psalm 51:17. Luke 15:21

Offer to make restitution. It’s one thing to apologize and accept responsibility. It’s another to make restitution. That would mean you would have to make it right. Batting your eye lash extensions and rubbing his arm is NOT restitution. You embarrassed him in public, you better apologize in public. You didn’t allow him to take the lead on a decision. You better make sure you give him space to do that next time. You ignored his requests to spend time together to cause you wanted to hang out with your girls. You better make the next date night a hella good time. Make right what you made wrong

Genuinely repenting. So you have apologized. You have even made it right. Don’t do it again. Yeah. I know we’re all human. But you only got a few times to make the same dumb mistake before you get deleted off his phone and from his life. How many times you think dude is going to want to have to hear your banshee voice on the other end of the phone? Or all them capital letters on his text messages? Or the same old, “Babe I won’t do it again!” followed by some fake crocodile tears. Girl Bye! I said it before and Imma keep saying it. Cute don’t keep a man! Acts 2:38

Requesting forgiveness. The speaker said 10% of the population doesn’t ask forgiveness. This is a direct influence from how they may have been raised by their fathers. In my head I was like that’s gotta be wrong because I’m like the 1% right up in there. But he got the dad part right. Parental and life conditioning has taught us that asking for forgiveness is a sign of weakness on our part. We’re punks if we ask for forgiveness. We’re carpets to walk on if we ask for forgiveness. No, dear sistah. What we are is a relationship on its way to a glorious death if we don’t. Forgiveness is a healthy response to a sincere apology. When we have gone through the process of apologizing it is that final act that releases you and the offended party from the bitterness that tends to seep into the soul, oozing into the heart and manifesting in the form of mental and physical illness. No human being on earth is worth that kinda obligation. None. 

We think  that a beat face, three college degrees, 20 inch Brazilian hair, an extensive vocabulary, talents in the kitchen and butterfly wing lashes is what a man wants. Surprise surprise (in my Gomer Pyle voice), buddy has moved on to a woman who has got way more substance than you ever will. When you’re on your couch with a pint of Starbucks Caramel Machiato ice cream pining for that same man whose now googley eyeing with some other chick I hope you have a heart to heart with yourself and the Holy Spirit about what in the hell went wrong and what needs to happen to make it right. 

Start out small. Open your lips. And start with these three words. I am sorry. 

http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resource/when-sorry-isnt-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, Life Coach

Power of the Sistrenhood

The two young ladies were huddled together, holding on to each other for dear life. No we weren’t outside in arctic weather but rather in a conference room filled with professional sistahs. My split second decision to break away from an acquaintance and make a beeline for them was definitely not instinctive but rather a God-thing.

Introvert self-talk begins.  Smile with your eyes Delphine. Reach out your hand. Give proper eye contact and add some soprano to that alto voice of yours. And then connect. What happens next is yet again a God-thing. 

The young ladies had shared earlier to the group that they were just out of grad school. Infants. First real job in the professional world. Toddlers. And scared to be in this great big world about ready to make yet another career move. Preschoolers. So I know they were nervous as hell to be in a room of accomplished women who were there–not to embark on their first journey, but some on their third or fourth. You’re talking married for 20 years. Going through a divorce. Just got married. How does a 23 year old complete with all of that?!

I took less than ten minutes to say what I wish someone my age would have told my younger self back then. I had to first tell them my age. Because apparently being shorter and appearing younger doesn’t carry as much weight as a greying woman in four inch heels. Le sigh…

Disclaimer. I’m about to be 41. Yes I don’t “look” like 40 (whatever that is) but I do have one gray eyebrow to prove it and a morning backache that makes me think twice about wearing heels these days. Lol! 

To my younger sistrens I say …

Don’t be intimidated. Seasoned Black women are a force to be reckoned with.  You put us all in a room and gale force winds begin to swirl while animals scurry about.  A mere turn of our heads and the room is at attention. A slight head tilt and the world moves on its axis. Remember when the black male anchor said “This is an earthquake” and ducked for cover? That was no earthquake! That was a black woman walking in the room. Head high. Hips swaying. And what?

It’s like I read their minds because the head nodding commenced and they were like “Yeah, so many of you are like…wow!” Black sistrens have that effect. 

Lean in and learn. We’ve got some years under our belt younger sistrens. Don’t hesitate to acknowledge (and all hail respect that). Then decide what you want to glean. One of my mentors is a 71 year old retiree. We met on the job. I would take every available free moment of my work day to just hang out with her. She was on that Bal Harbour, Coco Chanel, Hermes status. I’m on that whatever I can get at Burlington Coat, Marshalls/Ross/Target, and Macy’s Clearance sales status. But she never made me feel like a second class sistah. 

Once I got past the facade that others tripped over when they first met her, we became fast friends. I can call her anytime, bounce some ideas off of her and check in as needed. She helped me refinance my home. She helped me message my approach to my husband without getting into a huge tete-a-tete. She’s a wise soul with a take no prisoners attitude. I love her! 

We want to learn from you too. Youthfulness is refreshing. It signifies all things new. Aging tends to take us from a place of motion to stagnancy. For those seasoned chicks who have some more living to do, we know that relevance doesn’t come from talking to our 40-something year old friends all the time. I have some girlfriends who are younger than me doing some crazy, sexy, cool things with their lives right now.  I’m always inspired by younger women (at least the smart and forward thinking ones) who can teach me a thing a two. No, I’m not interested in learning a new dance from you but I would like to know more about IPO’s, the latest productivity app, or leadership movement that’s right around the corner. 

Younger sistrens, you’ve got a lotta learning to do. Don’t be afraid to step out, spy out the land, and make those intentional relationships happen. As long as your motives are right, God will make room for you to grow. 

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.