Urban Dictionary – How I Heart Thee

urban dictionary

Since entering my 30’s and moving to an arguably less “urban” city, I came to the harsh realization that I was losing touch with the slang that I had come to embrace in my teens.  Thankfully my friend circle does include individuals who are younger than me and who help to keep me current (I’m not old enough to use the term “hip”…just saying).  There are times, however when I’ve scrolled through Tumblr/Instagram/Twitter/etc. and found myself scratching my head as to what they’re talking about.  Case in point:

ihopfleek

Come again IHOP?  Even my younger acquaintances were unable to assist me with this term.  At times like this, I turn to Urban Dictionary – a trusty companion who discreetly hides your unawareness by providing you with the knowledge you need.  According to Urban Dictionary, fleek is synonymous with perfection and is often used to describe one’s eyebrows when they have been properly groomed (in the above instance IHOP chose to apply the meaning differently for obvious reasons).  Thanks to Urban Dictionary, I now feel confident incorporating this term into my everyday vocabulary – such as complimenting a coworker on their writing skills by commenting that their recent report was on fleek!

self_high_five

Ok, so the term may not have universal applicability, but I do appreciate Urban Dictionary for helping me maintain a vocabulary that the youngsters can appreciate 😉  That and for helping IHOP’s social media manager provide a steady Twitter feed that is chuckle-worthy.

ihop-tweet-bobby-shmurda-geeksandcleats

You’ll get that one on your way home!  Or maybe you won’t – which highlights the need for you to incorporate visits to Urban Dictionary* into your life 😉

 

*It is advised that you refrain from visiting this website while at the workplace, unless you or your coworkers have the urgent need to understand what terms like ‘banana polish’ mean.  Either way, don’t say you weren’t warned.

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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!

Shout out to the guy friend

procrastination

 

So I created this awesome and heartfelt post months ago but procrastinated actually posting during the month of February as intended.  Upon reflection – I realized that it was still relevant and decided to post it today rather than wait a year.  Enjoy….and bear with me as I work through my issues 😉

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In the spirit of the month* in which we widely celebrate (…..and commercialize…..we can keep it real) expressions of love, I would like to take a moment to celebrate the guy friend.

He is often that unsung hero – the guy in your life who may be nothing more than a friend, but who remains that consistent and reliable male presence that you can count on to assist with tasks requiring height, upper body strength, or knowledge on subjects like how to drive a manual transmission (…& who knows how to drive in stop-and-go traffic without stalling now? This chick!).

The trusty compadre who freely provides friendship without any of the weirdness that can emerge from any male-female interaction. To whom you can turn to for advice, insight, bathroom humor, or a buddy for that late night run to Walmart. And who isn’t ashamed to text you Donald Glover gifs because he knows that the two of you share a Black & nerdy kinship.

happy-troy

The one who looks out for you and at times can be slightly protective, and not because he views you as the weaker sex but because he genuinely wants to make sure that you’re ok. The friend who wants you to meet a nice guy someday with whom you are compatible, while also offering constructive critique on your *ahem* control issues and stubborn ways. The guy who, after viewing Iyanla Vanzant’s ‘Fix My Life’ you have been inspired to start referring to as your ‘Beloved Man Friend’, and whom you wouldn’t trade for all of the outrageously delicious dark chocolate almonds that this world has to offer!

In all seriousness, I have been blessed to have some amazing guy friends in my life – all of whom have modeled for me what a true man is. I love all of you and so thank you for the friendship that you have gifted to me. Donald Glover and I salute thee 🙂

*It would have been awesome if I had posted this on Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t want to let another year go by without showing my homies some love while I work through my procrastination issues…. Not only that, but this week is the celebration of the born day of one of my amazing guy friends!  Thank you so much for being you – you are the real MVP 😉

Different Norm Indeed!

non_normal

As I was working on today’s blog posting I came across the above picture that I had previously saved in my ‘Inspired’ Dropbox folder, and realized that it pretty succinctly describes the motivation behind the naming of this blog. I’ve always been a little quirky, and tried on several occasions during my formative years to be more like the “cool kids”, but always felt inauthentic doing so. Over time I have slowly become comfortable with who I am (i.e., entrepreneurial Black chica w/an affinity for short haircuts, social justice issues, droll comedies & anything by Shonda Rhimes, who reads personal finance blogs for funsies, loves God and is passionate about seeing others fulfill their purpose), and have definitely been enjoying life ever since. In my experience, the “box” that we may try to place ourselves into due to perceived societal norms, family pressures, the media, etc. can be very limiting.  Not only that, but each of us has been created for a purpose that is greater than ourselves.  Meaning that who are you – isn’t even about you.  And by withholding your authenticity you prevent others from experiencing and receiving inspiration from you.  So at the end of the day – do you!  Celebrate your individuality and your unique perspective on the world around you, and in the process know that there is someone out there who will be inspired by you to do the same.

Be great…like Oprah

oprah-wasnt-built-grey

 

I’ve been on mental overload as of late, as many things around me have inspired me to act.  What this typically looks like for me is that something will happen (such as the recent occurrences in Ferguson) that will lead me to develop loads of ideas.  Some of those ideas actually make it to the production stage, where at minimum a gmail account is created – and if I’m feeling particularly motivated a domain name will be reserved on godaddy.  I’ll proceed to share these ideas with others, and use the support from others (or sometimes the lack thereof) to continue to fuel the developing stages of the new project.  But over time, things seem to change and that exciting new idea becomes less exciting as life settles in, time and/or resources become limited, and the awesome reality that I originally envisioned seems farther and farther away.  That idea eventually fades into the background, only to be replaced by a new idea, and then the process repeats itself.  I had a ‘Come to Jesus’ moment on the drive into work this morning as another idea managed to seep its way into my brain.  Only this time, the initial response wasn’t excitement as usual.  No this time I became noticeably angry and frustrated that I keep having ideas, many of them I believe to be great, but haven’t been able to see many of them through.

oprah you mad

Then I came across an article on one of my favorite online spaces (Clutch Magazine) which featured the above graphic tee, and I was reminded that greatness takes time and effort.  While I believed I had (and still have) great ideas, I was allowing impatience to steal time away from working at my ideas and allowing them to develop.  So I’ve issued myself a challenge, and that is to change my strategy and to work smarter (and more patiently) towards achieving my goals.  This idea-generator that I call a brain will be put into good use, even if what it produces does not quite reach Oprah level success.  I will be perfectly content strategically working on ideas that are most important to me, and hopefully while inspiring others to do the same 🙂

 

Source for the tee, and original article by Clutch Magazine on other cool statement graphic tees

 

 

Be the change

bethechange

My intentions were to write a well thought out and researched piece about the current situation in Ferguson, MO that resulted from the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, Jr.  I have been following the story closely since the very beginning and have related to the passion felt by those seeking justice.

But as I sat down to write, the coherency that I envisioned seemed to be hindered by the the combination of sadness and anger that I feel, and have felt every time a story like this one is put into the forefront.  For a young man who was soon to attend college, and who had dreams of starting his own business.  A young man who I’m sure wasn’t perfect, but did not deserve to die on August 9th.

This incident and ones similar to it continue to highlight the racial divide in this county.  As much as we would like to believe that America is this utopian melting pot, we still have a long way to go before true equality is established.

I don’t know what the solution should be, which is extremely frustrating for my solution-oriented brain.  But if nothing else I hope that the media attention that this case is receiving causes each of us to examine ourselves and how best we can support the change we wish to see.

What racially-motivated ideas/perceptions do I hold and how do those ideas/ perceptions manifest?

What might I be doing better to promote equality for all individuals, independent of race/ethnicity?

How can I help to create a society where individuals aren’t judged based on the color of their skin?

In what individual way can I contribute to the passing of legislature that supports a just and equitable society?

The eternal optimist in me continues to believe that change is possible, so long as I make it my personal responsibility to support change through my thoughts, words and actions.

Despite its release in 1971, the words of Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On?” still hold true today.  One line from that song really stood out to me: “For only love can conquer hate.”  Not only do I want to support change through my thoughts, words and actions, but I desire that unconditional love be the foundation upon which change occurs.

The Point of It All

goodthings

This year has been a year of tremendous change for me.  I have transitioned to living in a renovation project (which for me has been analogous to camping indoors) and have taught myself to drive a stick shift beater.  Despite my initial dislike of cats, I suddenly became the owner of two after a mouse sighting in my home (…a tad overly dramatic I know, but I never saw a mouse again!) and quickly came to love my kitties 🙂  That love was short lived, however, as I had to rehome my pets (the kitties and my dog Lundy) a few short months later after getting an exciting job opportunity that entailed a cross-country move to a state that I had never visited until recently: Wisconsin.

Saturday morn in downtown Madison = Farmer's Market on steroids

Saturday morn in downtown Madison = Farmer’s Market on steroids

A far cry from Richmond Virginia, I have had to provide a decent amount of explanation as to why I would consider a move to the midwest.  But more importantly, I had to say goodbye to the wonderful people (one of whom faked proposed to me) I have met and have come to love during my decade run in Virginia’s Cap City.  I now find myself in a new state, meeting new people, taking on new challenges, and learning a new side to myself in the process.  I’ve ventured out and traveled solo, stayed in a hostel, and have come to appreciate the little things that make up the rich human experience.  Throughout this entire process, I now understand that the point of it all is that purpose will always connect to right people, places, and things.  This is an exciting new journey for me, one that is bittersweet but filled with new possibilities.  I will continue to document life as it unfolds right here – same Bat Time, same Bat Channel!  Until next time 😉