Filed under: Chapter Next, Reflections of a Black Girl | Tags: lessons, New Year Resolutions, Rising Up, The Roots
Music: Rising Up // The Roots
Happy New Year to ya! Hopefully your evening and day were spent exactly as you saw fit. As for myself, I partied with some friends at the Ritz and brought in the year surrounded by all of the very people that I will continue to remain connected to in the new decade. Aside from the partying, I also launched a new business and spent most of my new year’s day tarrying over things to do, people to get on the phone with and ish like that. But in the midst of my busy state I thought about you and this blog and wanted to share some words for your 2010.
You know I’m a list girl, lol. And in the midst of my planning and to do’s I began thinking about all of the lessons I’d learned this year. There are so many, but for the sake of brevity I’ll give you my absolute top five. Hopefully you can take something away for yourself as well.
…in no particular order
1. Master the art of doing more with less. I lost a lot this year, only to gain more and greater in the end. This lesson was necessary for me because during those times of loss and shortage I found myself devising new and creative ways to do more with the what I had. And ironically I came up with ways to obtain and build more with what I had, which is crazy to me, lol. Learning to live and enjoy life on the bare minimal is a character builder. A skill builder too, but when you mentally master of the art of doing more with less, you’ll have the skill and know how to manage and keep the excess that is destined to come your way. It’s all apart of the process.
2. Understand the value in every relationship. I’ve always been guilty of hanging on to people or connecting with folks that may not necessarily have my well being as a priority in their minds. This year I really learned to understand the value in every relationship and connection in my life. Value would be defined as anything “good” that happens as a result of the connection, even if you are not the direct recipient. When I began to look at the people around me in this light, I shed a lot of dead weight and ended my 2009 with a close group of valuable relationships that I will continue to build and grow in the years ahead. Contrarily speaking, if you cannot see the value in the connection whatsoever, let. it. go.
3. When in doubt, build, build, and build some more. I can’t tell you how many times I second-guessed and questioned my path throughout the year. I was on something new and treading unfamiliar territory, so I was unsure of what to except along the way. And I admit I was a little scramble headed trying to figure I all out! Lol. But the one thing that I continued to do was build even when I didn’t know much else at the time. I’m not saying build something on shaky ground, I’m saying that when you are in doubt, build on what you know because chances are you know it for a reason! Build and don’t stop, the rest will take shape. I am a living witness to that.
4. Don’t think big, think broad. I’d like to think of big as anything larger than what it is compared to. Usually taller, maybe wider, right? We really can’t pinpoint it we just know its bigger than something else. But, just because something is big doesn’t mean that we can see it in its entirety. What we’re thinking about may be too far over our heads to wholly understand, or there may be something on the other side of that big that we may not necessarily want to fool with. But when I think of something broad, I think of it as being long range, wide, but at eye level so that you can see a lot more with the basic turn of your head. Can’t see that far in the distance? Get some glasses, some knowledge. It just seems smarter to think broad in order to be big. Thinking big is a little less specific, but thinking broad gives us a long-range front, rear and side-to-side view of our lives. It also takes a lot more skill and strategy than thinking big, which is easy. I’ll definitely be focusing on the broader picture in 2010.
5. Love. I know its something so simple but I learned a lot about love this year. Not the boo’d up R-Kelly kinda love, but the love that you share with your family and friends and carries a ,”No matter what, now matter how” disclaimer. As in no matter what happens, no matter what you do, that real kind of love will be there when you need it most. If you don’t have access to that kind of love and you are not able to offer it yourself, work on that ASAP. Get past your issues, amend the mistakes and have your sorries because in the end its that real kind of the love that will get you through the most challenging times
Music: Going On // Gnarles Barkley
I needed some time to think and get my shit together. To really decide what I am doing and how it compliments the bigger picture. Even now I’m sitting here at the computer wondering whether or not to push things harder than I have, or to stay on the same course and speed throughout the next year. I’m afraid the latter isn’t in my blood. Something that became painfully evident this year when I made the ultimate decision to go back to school to learn the mechanics behind my craft. I don’t think I’ve ever worked this hard toward something to be honest with you. For the majority of my life ish came easy. I always seemed to get by and attain what I wanted without much effort, like I had a personal Angel making moves on my behalf or something. So you could imagine the tantrums and fits I threw this year for pushing myself to levels I hadn’t danced on before. One of my homies said it best though. “This is a good thing because you’re building resilience, strength, discipline…you think things are hard but they are not. You good.” I concurred without mentioning that I’d been witnessing the cloud of fear dissipating before my eyes for months now. Proof that what he was saying was indeed correct.
As the cloud continued to dwindle to nothing I began to see and better understand the ultimate design and purpose for my life. And the more I see, the harder I rock. I said that 2008 was a year of change and it became so, and I said that 2009 would be our year to build, work and prepare. Those of you that ride strong with me are in some form or fashion building up yourselves. Which means that 2010 will usher in a year of heightened execution for you and I. All that we’ve practiced and perhaps even learned the hard way will come into play. Everything that we’ve worked on and prepared ourselves for will be put on the playing field and against the opposing side. Will you score? Yes, because we have spent time building as we should. I personally did a lot of cleaning out, cleaning up and moving on to make room for an even more victorious year that’s almost here…and that’s definitely a good thing.
Filed under: Reflections of a Black Girl
//Rise & Shine// Cee-Lo & Seed
The past few days have been pretty good. I was sick all last week, germs are on the bounty like crazy. To the extent that I was out-for-the-count sick. The kinda sick where you can’t do anything but lay there and listen to God whispering in your ear, quietly reminding you of your responsibility to man kind and those whom he has entrusted to be present in your life. All while zoned out in a medicine induced coma. What really sucked is that I had premium seats for the Hawks/Miami Game at Phillips that totally went to waste. I did shed a tear for real! The reality that landed me there hit hard and I took heed to the warning: working, stressing, not balancing the scales as much as I should be. We’re all guilty of that at some point in life, I suppose. Nevertheless, my center was waaaay off and sister-girl was in need of an intervention!
I go through this at least once a year, you know – the hole break me down and build me back up stronger thing. But this time around it was a little different, as each of these instances are since there is a different lesson to learn each time. I was so busy focusing on the instruction that I had been neglecting to stop and check in with the Head instructor. Let’s discontinue if you think I’m going in that direction. The one where I flip to some seriously religious plane while thumping a Bible thicker than my head. Nah, not the point and that’s not really my style. I just think that as individual partakers in humanity we all have a spiritual element present and alive in our lives. Good, evil, dormant, active…whatever. Things only become real when you acknowledge them and harness their power to work for and through you.
When I got back to work and back in the game, the first thing I told my boss was, “lesson learned.” “There’s really nothing you could of done about it,” she said. Then goes on to explain how people are just running around ramped and coughing everywhere. I laughed at the story, she had a point and I took it as it was. In the end I’m not certain she understood what I meant by “lesson learned”, though. Sure we could all use a little more sanitizer and coughing into the arm vs. sprinkling infected droplets into the atmosphere, but my real lesson said that the lessor we commune with the spiritual, the more we dance down the opposite end of the spectrum. May not even necessarily be toward the intent of evil but, more so just a steady drift farther away from the 360 degree person we all want to be. And then you get physically sick.
All of that to say that I’ve been spending a lot of time on myself since then, centering and setting the plan back in motion. A lot of good things are happening, I’m just keeping myself on a steady and wise pace. In the meantime I guess I’ve just got to remember that in the midst of all of this stuff in my now, strategy and balance trump lightening rocket speed.
My very last serene view of yet another summer.
Music: August Day Song // Bebel Gilberto
I always laugh with my friends about the irony of life. In how it so easy to live as if things will never change, and that everything you see, do and hear will be the same as you see, hear and do even a week from now. We all assume it to be dangerously so, and in turn we subject ourselves to the harsh blows that life is notorious for throwing. To no fault of our own because it’s just how some folks live. But if only more of us could learn the importance of living for each individual day, loving and taking care of everything in it with sincerity and intent…with purpose in the moment, I think one’s quality of life would be that much more enjoyable without any external changes needed. Going through the motions and expecting that the future will be exactly as we planned is a risky habit that I admit to having succumb to at times. But in all of it I’ve learned an important fact: we all deserve to live and live well. And that includes cherishing the present day.
Waving goodbye to the end of summer while wading in the warm waters of the Mexican Gulf gave me exactly what I needed. An opportunity to come clean with myself, all the shit that had happened over the past few months, and to really wrap my mind around some important points. Revise my values. Reorganize my principals, priorities and beliefs. To wash away the bad and keep the good. I can’t say I did much writing while there, but the time was well spent doing all that I needed to do to usher out the summer and get on with a day that’s new. Besides, I had to get myself back to this here city to get on with my get on. Now more then ever there’s mad work to do
Filed under: Reflections of a Black Girl
A chunk of time had passed before I’d finally seized back my britches and come to my senses. A conversation with a close friend reminded me of how I tend to make things more serious than they truly are, and it’s not a secret to the world that I live with much heart. So when it comes to challenges and people (especially those in my immediate circle) I have a hard time not treating everything with care and concern. We all know that in itself can become life’s burden. My home girl really checked me and brought me back to soil…“Like for real – fix the problem because this is an essential element you’ll need, and stop believing you’re in control of what happens in your life.”
So in my effort to let life be I had since left my water-filled prison, dressed and had begun the process of cleaning and re-arranging things around my room. I still hadn’t unpacked from my mini trip with *Chris the weekend before so tidying my space was definitely a must on the ‘to-do’. And as I sorted garments and put shoes away remembering the thoughts of my friend, the answer to that prayer I’d put in the air hours before descended upon my thoughts and blurted one word:
That was my issue and somewhere along the way I’d gotten so caught up in the world that I’d forgotten the importance of that lifeline and component. My belief in certain things had gradually chipped away, slowly willowing into a lump of nothingness that ultimately served no purpose. I’d in a sense allowed my freedom to be taken away by losing my Faith in what mattered THE MOST. I really had to check myself and understand that people panic because they do not believe. They don’t believe in themselves enough to trust that the unseen is far more powerful than what is seen. They don’t believe that heart-break could spell blessing, that circumstance can create opportunity, or that hardships build character. I’d essentially forgotten that adversity and challenge sharpen the mind, and without either I wouldn’t be where I am at this given moment. It’s easy to forget when you’re in the mix on your own and dealing with layers of life around you. Somewhere I’d gotten stuck in some kind of whacked out battleship that hovers fields of internalization and isolation.
I plucked my arm and vowed to begin the process of rebuilding my faith. Faith in my family, people, myself and most importantly the ONE that trumps them all. The bug out session may not be my last, but it’s definitely the last of its kind. Especially since I’ve been reminded that there is Freedom in my Faith.
Faith (noun): confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability. Belief that is not based on proof…(oh yee of little, little black girl).
I cowered deep into the water so that only my head was left un-submerged. The panic was coming strong and all I could do was hold on for the guns. As I lay there in the tub, silently whispering, “Why me?” I thumbed through my mental Rolodex thinking of the best friend to call and talk me through it all. But my fingers were paralyzed by the moment and my ears where halfway tuned to the XM radio that crooned vintage rock songs I part-heartedly listened to. Took deep breaths, shifted me eyes to the bathroom window, a cloudy world outside… then back to my toes planted underneath the dripping faucet of the bathtub.
I thought taking a bath would alleviate some of the anxiousness I felt slowly taking over, but seemed as though the silence and warm water made matters worse. I wasn’t sure of the culprit…perhaps being cooped up in house, ill for ages had snatched my laughs and girlish giggles. Though feeling a little better, on the mend physically, my state of mind and like state of panic were the perfect breeding couple – birthing everything that came next. “What’s wrong with me?” I thought trying to fight off the worry that threatened to ruin an otherwise ok day for no effing reason. Have you ever felt that way?
I’d awaken on a positive note, cooked breakfast, and even ate it with a smile on my face, lol so you could imagine my gripes and murmurs of, “WTF is happening and why I am freaking out about everything I can’t control?” Where this internal sense of anguish comes from is a mystery to me, and for a while I thought I was crazy. As the quips were coming stronger and more frequent…to the point where I knew when I was about to get lost in the turmoil of my thoughts, I did my best to clear the mental space and free it from the clutter since I could never simply run and hide before the thunderstorm began. Why would it be that simple?
I was thinking about anything and everything that I had to do but didn’t want to do, yet no real threat danced on the horizon. Shortly thereafter came the adrenalin rushed with thoughts of flight or fight. But fight who? Flee from what? My legs said run but I wasn’t in danger.
This had been my third, so it wasn’t new and I kinda figured it would happen the more I told my silly self NO. No relying on outside sources to deter me from what I should’ve faced long ago. No friends, no alcohol or smoke. Instead I faced my thoughts and chinned up to my feelings like a big girl. And in place of my finger tips gripping for the phone to call a friend, I forced myself to see the problem in hopes of coaxing my heart and mind back to peace. 2008 had been over just a few days before and it was either now, never or plainly put, never live up to what it is I should be. So, instead of trees – I put a prayer in the air and waited for answers…
(to be continued)
Filed under: Reflections of a Black Girl
Felix Ing | Slint.
So here I am, smack chillin on my January 1, 2009 and I still haven’t figured the best way to go about branding myself. My option would be to brand myself as a writer with my own name, or to transition my old company into a newer brainier one and remain the hidden force behind the machine. I should have made up my mind by now and I’m not quite sure what’s holding me back. There are pros ad cons on both ends but regardless of such, and as many biographies as I’ve written in my career, the one I cannot write is my own.
Good news is that I got my first piece of the year distributed today, just like I said I would. Despite my hacking all over the place trying to get a handle on my health I held true to my commitment and followed through. So, while my other friends where drinking in excess and indulging in belligerent fun I was at home staring at a computer screen wondering what the hell to write. To be honest with you what came out scared me. When I went back to read the article it was is if I was reading something someone else wrote. It was very intellectual, philosophical and clean. A step up from the rest so yay me! I also got my first editorial calendar from a mag today and was told to “pick what I wanted to cover” so things are well on their way to project next! Speaking of projects, I haven’t touched either of the two I’d committed to working on prior to the new year. Mainly because I haven’t gotten what I needed and without the necessities black girl cannot move.
Aside from the heavyweight decision of figuring out what’s best for my life, I have to say that my December was a wacky one but enjoyable all the same. I wish I could go count for count the great moments and experiences I had, but there were just too many laughs, memories made and seeds of friendship planted to recount. Looking back at my 2008 in review, I’m satisfied with contending that my number one lesson learned was that of living. In every sense of the word for my family, my friends and myself. I let go of a lot of things and gained so much in return. I sacrificed and gave only to see myself rewarded on many levels at the back end. 2008 is the year I think I officially I grew up while realizing I had a hell of a lot more to do. I became the woman ready to enter the next phase of her life…the fly phase that encompasses everything golden, everything special, and everything that represents me. And I have funny tickle on the back of my neck that says 2009 will be the beginning of a beautiful era where even more lifelong memories are made and people will come and go.
I’m excited about all of the new things in my life this year…the good, bad ugly, and even the royally phuked up because in all my getting, I’ll surely get understanding.
Happy New Year Everyone!