Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

jesus birthday shirt

 

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Happy Monday everyone!  I’ll be taking a break over the next two weeks to spend time with family and friends in the DMV over Christmas and New Years.  2014 has been an amazing year in so many ways, and I can’t wait to see what next year has in store 🙂  I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Years – and look forward to keeping this random convo going in 2015!

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Not My Kind

Only 8 more days before I see my fam – and you know what that means:

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This  past week has been ridiculously busy for me.  As the end of the year rapidly approaches, there are looming deadlines at work as well as last minute items to attend to before I hop a plane and head home for the holidays.  For these reasons, and probably a few others that I can’t quite remember, I admit to slacking off on providing the freshness that is Monday Motivation to this blog.  Instead, below is a posting that I originally did for blackandmarriedwithkids.com earlier this year and that I’ve provided for your reading enjoyment.  This subject also became a topic of conversation on an impromptu roadtrip with a friend recently.  Anywho, don’t say I never gave you nothing 😉

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The originators of the Boy Band!

One of the original Boy Bands!

Due to my age I am admittedly a little behind the general population when it comes to my love for the music group ‘New Edition’.  I love them, can listen to their music for hours on end, and even sat front row during their reunion tour (and yes, that included Bobby) a few short years ago where I was handed a rose by Johnnie….swoon!  Fandom aside, I can definitely appreciate any artist who puts out music with quality lyrics.  One of my favorite New Edition songs happens to do just that.  ‘You’re Not My Kind of Girl” relays the sentiments of a man who encounters an amazing woman, yet can honestly admit to himself that she’s just not his kind.  The chorus goes a little something like this:

 

            Sorry, you’re not my kind of girl

            You’re the kind of girl that a man’s dreams are made of

            Sorry, you’re not my kind of girl

            You’re the kind of girl that a man would be proud to call his own

 

How many of us can relate to the above?  During my dating tenure, I can say that I have met some amazing men, from all walks of life, all of whom I believe are great people and some of whom I have been able to remain friends with to this very day.  All of these men have redeeming qualities about them, were hard workers, providers, were family oriented, educated, and the list goes on and on.  Now I know what you’re thinking – if these guys were so great, as I’ve claimed they were, then why didn’t it work out between us?  The answer to this is simple, they were just not my kind or vice versa.  Compatibility is a quality that I find important, and when dating I try to pay close attention to how compatible he and I are.  For example, I’m a pretty goofy person who tries not to take myself or life too seriously, and can easily find a couple hundred things to laugh about on any given day.  Someone who is more serious may not be a good fit for me.  Also, I’m pretty out-of-the box, abhor routine and enjoy trying new things.  A man who enjoys following a strict pattern when it comes to life may not be a good fit for me.  Notice the emphasis that I’ve placed on each of those statements as I don’t believe there was anything inherently wrong with that individual.  Instead I can be honest in admitting that while still amazing he may be better suited for someone else.  The same can be said for me, as I understand that not every man may find my dry humor and acerbic wit attractive…and that’s ok 😉  Acknowledging that you’re not someone’s kind does not mean that you’re no one’s kind, or that you need to change anything about yourself – quite possibly you haven’t met the right one yet.

I like to use the phrase “There’s a lid for every pot” to illustrate the point that there is someone for everyone.  Now, this isn’t suggesting that we should not continually look to improve ourselves and become better people – because we should and independent of our relationships status.  But I am suggesting that you are enough, just as you are, and the right person will appreciate you – all of you.  So get out there, have fun meeting and interacting with new and different people while learning about yourself in the process.  Because you never know…you guys might just click, and end up singing & practicing the choreography to another New Edition song together – with matching leotards* and all 😉

 

Ring Off

woo woo woo

I’m a feeler – I can’t help it, and this past week has been supremely heavy for me.  I was still processing the impact of the Ferguson verdict when news came back that there would be no indictment towards the officer involved in the choking death of Eric Garner.  This in spite of it being prohibited for NY police officers to use choke holds and the act being captured on video.  And what, pray tell, was the crime that warranted the use of such excessive force?  The illegal sale of cigarettes, that’s what.  Really?  Like, I can’t even with that bogus grand jury *starts to woosah and rub earlobes counterclockwise like Martin in Bad Boys 2*.

the little engine that literally can't even

Even still, my faith and deep commitment to love (no matter what) has kept me from truly going off and maintaining focus on working towards meaningful change.  Listening to music is another activity that has also helped me to unwind and not become overwhelmed with depression.  One artist in particular recently released a song that really captured my attention.  That artist is none other than Mrs. Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter:

bey kiss

While I don’t consider myself a member of the Beyhive, I do respect her business acumen and appreciate her new single ‘Ring Off‘.  In the song, Beyonce sings to her mother about how she graciously handled the demise of her relationship with her now ex-husband and faced the difficult decision to take her ring off.  Beyonce expresses a great deal of respect for her mother during that time and pride that she chose to take the “high road”.  Less a celebration of divorce, the song celebrates those who are honest enough with themselves to choose to make difficult decisions regarding their relationships.  As a single woman, I can attest to the social pressure to be in a relationship and the social hierarchy that can sometimes form pitting singles against non.  It take much courage to stand up for yourself, especially when in the public eye, and have the audacity to do you.

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There was a recent vlog by awesome YouTuber Bronzegoddess01 where she responds to a strawberry letter from a young woman who felt pressured to get married even though her purpose was leading her in a different direction.  In the video response, Bronzegoddess01 urges the young woman to first seek her purpose and not worry about “losing” her relationship as anything that is compatible with her purpose will manifest in her life.  Her response was consistent with the message contained in one of my fav Bible verses (Matt 6:33), which talks about seeking one’s purpose in God as being the key to having it all.  I too have faced the challenge of walking away from something that “seemed” great but was not in line with where my life was headed at the time.  But as the song says, “letting go is never the end”, and my faith in God’s direction for my life has strengthened my resolve to not hold onto anything that might hold me back.  Salute to all the women (and men) who have struggled with and yet succeeded in making tough life decisions.  You are the real mvp!

Blackfish-ish

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In my pursuit of financial independence (and after acknowledging that I’m much too impatient to wade through channels to determine what to watch) I made the decision to give my traditional cable package the boot.  It’s been approximately two years since I made that decision, and I haven’t looked back.  Thanks to streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, I have not regretted my decision in the least.  These services, and Netflix specifically, have exposed me to shows and movies that I probably would not otherwise have watched.  The documentaries section on Netflix especially has provided me with an array of interesting items to view – the most recent of which has been the film ‘Blackfish‘.  Considering that the film came out in 2013 I’m slightly late to the party, but still glad that I managed to make it.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the film, ‘Blackfish‘ details the story of Tilikum, a killer whale taken into captivity within the sea-park industry and the dire consequences that resulted.  Without giving too much away, a consistent theme that emerged throughout the movie was this feeling of regret.  Regret about the decision to subject killer whales to captivity, of not fully understanding the ramifications of the sea-park industry on these creatures, and the choice to support psychological and emotional trauma under the guise of entertainment.  There was one quote in particular from the film that really stood out to me.

“I think that in 50 years, we’ll look back and go ‘My God, what a barbaric time.’”

It was interesting to observe the transformation that some who were involved in the sea-park industry underwent as they realized the true consequences of their actions and the harm that had been done.  As I watched their remorseful and tear-strewn faces, I couldn’t help but wonder when the same degree of revelation about the adverse treatment of killer whales and the respect/humanity they deserve would become applied to Blacks in the United States whose lives have been cut short by law enforcement.

KilledByPolice_circumstances_v3.0

 

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The response of protestors to the Ferguson verdict highlights a growing state of unrest.  The legacy of slavery in the United States is something that many try to ignore or treat as if it were antiquated.  In reality, it is our lack of reconciling the nearly 250 years of slavery followed by an additional almost 100 years of Jim Crow laws designed to enforce segregation and that supported racist practices and terrorism towards Blacks that has contributed to the current state of race relations in this country.  To put things into perspective, there are still people alive today who experienced segregation and Jim Crow.  Martin Luther King Jr. would have only been in his 80’s were he still alive.  Unfortunately, it is not until America acknowledges the atrocities that were imposed on Blacks and work towards true reconciliation, which includes addressing privilege and dismantling institutionalized racism, that we can work towards true healing and justice.  And unlike the above quote from Blackfish, I truly hope that it doesn’t take 50 years before this country has a Laurence Fishburne ‘School Daze‘ moment and truly wakes up.

 

 

Small Head

chipotle

 

So today’s posting is a throwback to my short stint on tumblr from about 2011-2012, where I shared random stories/occurrences that took place in my life.  Enjoy 😉

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I like Chipotle, and by like, I mean I really really like – so much so that I’m thinking of dedicating to them a remix of J. Cole’s ‘Can’t Get Enough’.  It’s that serious, but I’m working on it.

Anywho, I’m in line the other day after submitting my usual order for a chicken burrito bowl, when the cashier gives me a compliment on my haircut.  I’ve been rocking a near baldy for about 4 years now, and decided to do it on a whim just to see how it would look.  Needless to say, I ended up loving it, and after trying different short hair cut variations (including the infamous mohawk – loved that too!), I’m now experimenting with what I like to call the “fuzzy top”.  The “fuzzy top” is my modified version of the high top fade, which seems to be making a comeback.

The originator of the high top fade

The originator of the high top fade

I get some pretty interesting feedback about my hairstyle choices, but for the most part they’re positive.  This Chipotle cashier was no exception, as she commented that she “loved my hair!”  She caught me a little off guard as I was mentally already caught in the bliss of enjoying my chicken burrito bowl, but her comment brought me back to reality as I graciously thanked her.  But her compliment didn’t end there, oh no.  “It looks good on you, you have such a nice small head!”  I automatically thanked her again for her “compliment”, and it was only later – after I ate my chicken burrito bowl of course, that I was able to process what she’d said.  Telling someone that they have a small head isn’t really a compliment.  I understood what she meant, as it wasn’t the first time that I’ve been complimented on my less-than-gargatuan head size, but everytime I hear my head referred to as “small”, I can’t help but have a visual of the pawn shop owner from the ‘Men in Black’.  You know, the one whose head regrows after being shot off by Agents J or K?

jeebs-head

Yeah, his head isn’t exactly one that I aspire to emulate.  Now don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the cashier’s compliment (along with the fact that she works at the greatest place on Earth!), but I would place the small head compliment in the same category as telling someone they look sick.  While said comment is well intentioned, it can also carry a negative connotation that suggests that the person does not look their best .  Hopefully said person is sick, because if not, then they have just been dissed.  Just saying.

It’s not easy drinking green

kermit smoothie meme

I’m generally a supporter of anything that promotes health and wellness, especially within my own community as health disparities are a very real thing.  This has led to me adopting a general openness to new experiences, including becoming a green smoothie enthusiast!

green smoothie

I was first introduced to green smoothies a few years ago, and since then have perfected a very simple recipe that doesn’t require fancy equipment (a simple blender will do) and that tastes pretty good to boot!  So when I was recently invited to join a friend of mine on her 7-day green smoothie challenge, I was so down.  When she presented the idea, all I heard was ‘Challonge!’ and I was all like:

challonge!

I woke up on Day 1 and whipped up four mason jars full of green smoothie goodness to take with me throughout the day.  Bananas, frozen strawberries and spinach went into the blender, and I excitedly awaited their consumption along with the resulting energy boost.  I even thought I was cute and created a video short to post (thanks iMovie!) on instagram to share about my green smoothie challenge, hoping to entice others I knew to join me for 7 whole days of nothing but green smoothies.  Turn down for what?!
cosby-dance-o
Needless to say, I got very few takers, most likely because others more quickly realized that a green smoothie challenge during cold weather months is probably not the most fun idea.  Now, this isn’t to say that the feat is impossible.  Hardly!  But it takes a lot to come home after a long cold day (& I live in lovely Wisconsin…smh) and happily reach for something cold for dinner.  Sadly – those few beginning instagram posts were all I contributed during that 7-day stretch, as I failed miserably at just drinking green smoothies for the entire duration.  Now, I did manage to consciously consume 1-2 green smoothies per day during that time period, which is more than I usually consume.  I also became more focused on what else I could do to support my reaching optimal/health wellness.
Overall, the challenge was a fail, but I am now intent on maintaining a diet and activity level that will result in preservation of the sexy.  One of the most enjoyable (and empowering) fitness activities that I’ve participated in in the past was pole fitness, and I have my eye on some local class offerings.  We’ll see what the future holds, until then – stay tuned 😉

Are you angry? Good!

FB-Meme-Inspire-JusticeI once read that ‘problem that makes you angry is something that you were designed to solve’, and while I have no recollection of the original author I do believe that statement to be true.  Now – Pharrell’s inspiration aside, I (in general) am a pretty happy go-lucky person.  I don’t hold onto grudges, and little things tend to not get me down…at least not for long.  Though few and potentially far between, there are those moments when something just sets. me. OFF!  A recent occurrence that took me there was the tragedy that continues to play out in the media in Ferguson, MO.  That situation prompted me to take action by becoming personally educated on the issues that were important to me and connect to like-minded individuals who were seeking solutions.  Since then, I have been paying close attention to other situations that have prompted me to act.  In doing so, I noticed a common theme among the things that triggered me: they were all social-justice oriented.  Case in point:

Situation: Unarmed teen is shot by police and then his humanity is put on trial by the media to justify the action

My response: Argh – that sucks!  Now, what can I do about it?

Situation: My new home state is leading the nation in incarceration rates of Black males…that in spite of Blacks making up less than 10% of the total population

My response: Argh – that sucks!  Now, what can I do about it?

Situation: Shonda Rhimes accused of being an “angry Black women” by the NY Times for daring to create shows with diversity and strong female leads.

My response: Argh – that sucks!  Now, what can I do about it?

Situation: Just got out of church & I have a taste for a Chik Fil A kid’s meal.  Wait -Chik Fil A is closed on Sundays!!

My response: Argh – that sucks!  Now, what can I do about it?

angry leslie knope

 

Ok – so that last example may not have equaled the first three in the emotional response it elicited from me, but it does suck when you have a taste for something and can’t satisfy that craving…just saying.  Bottom line, my awareness of my triggers highlighted to me that an important aspect of my purpose is to promote social justice.  Since then, I have connected myself to a few likeminded individuals and groups, Justified Anger being one of them and Groundwork another, to contribute towards solutions to address social injustices in the city I reside.  I feel so fulfilled in the work that I have been able to do, and have an immense amount of respect for those individuals who have and continue to do the work of fighting injustice.  Cornel West said it best when he defined justice as what love looks like in public.  I couldn’t agree more, and will continue to support the demonstration of true, agape love by promoting social justice for all.

So if you find yourself angry – that might just be a good thing if it highlights an area of your purpose that you were designed to solve.  Now it’s time to get to work!