Congratulations: Lessons Learned from my Fake Engagement

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Exactly one week ago today was the nationally recognized day of buffoonery – otherwise known as ‘April Fool’s Day’. The one day of the year where people who might not otherwise be considered funny can get their opportunity to shine. It also, unfortunately, can lead to mishaps – as one woman learned after her arrest for calling in a fake shooting at an area school…smh. Stories like that one bring to mind the ‘When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong’ skits from the Chappelle’s show.

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Wu Tang indeed Dave.  Anywho, one of my close friends and I decided to get in on the April Fool’s Day fun by becoming fake engaged and announcing our engagement on Facebook. He put in most of the manpower to “stage” our engagement as my work schedule was hectic that day, and posted multiple pictures of the two of us on his page, along with falsified pictures of the engagement ring, etc. I popped in as my work schedule permitted to provide colorful commentary and to add to the believability of our hoax. Both of us went into this activity not really believing that anyone would take us seriously, and close friends of ours did call us out on our joke (and he even received a few ‘You can’t be serious?’ comments via private messages). But surprisingly, a number of people congratulated both of us and even left pretty heartfelt messages about the qualities that the other person would be gaining through our union.  Awwwww, you guys….  I also realized the potential seriousness of our situation when I received an out-of-state phone call from my mom who had been notified by a close friend of hers about my “engagement”. Needless to say, we made sure to come clean that night (this time on both Facebook and Instagram), though I have continued to get congratulatory messages even a week later.

As someone who has never been engaged before, this was definitely an eye-opening experience, and one that taught me a few things.

  1. You may have more people in your corner than you realize.

Seriously, I did not expect the number of responses that we received, and how happy some people genuinely seemed to be for me. Even people whom I haven’t spoken to in years expressed congratulations, which definitely helped to spread the warm-fuzzies.

  1. People seem to generally hold positive views about marriage.

It is interesting to me that certain events seem to automatically elicit a positive response from others. For example, my “fiancé” could have easily been the biggest man-hoe* in the world and not at all marriage material, but yet his announcement produced majority congratulatory commentary. I’m guilty of this as well, but wonder if this socially acceptable response should be revisited until further research has determined that it is warranted and well deserved.

  1. Word travels fast

Facebook unapologetically tells your business, and doesn’t care who knows it. Anyone who doesn’t want information about themselves becoming publicly consumed should seriously reconsider utilizing any form of social media, or at least have a thorough understanding of the privacy settings on their account.

At the end of the day, I’m glad that I had this experience as I feel I’ve gotten a preview into what engaged life might look like…..provided I’m not choosing to marry a jerk and that others aren’t shy about letting me in on this fact. But I do agree that congratulations are in order for anyone who has the opportunity to commit their lives to their very best friend. Until that has happened for me, I’ll try to suppress my weird sense of humor and keep my April Fool’s Day jokes on a more conservative level in the future. Ha, who am I kidding – that probably won’t happen, especially when there are people who give you ideas like putting eyeballs on all of the items in your fridge, lol!

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*My friend is an amazing person, and the above statement was solely used for discussion purposes. And actually…he’s single, as am I – holla at us 😉

Audacious much?

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The nerve….  I’ve developed several of those in 2014.  Not in the physiological sense, but more so in the realm of enhanced confidence.  Growing up I had my battle with confidence, and my being skinny and donning both glasses and braces for most of my early years did not help matters.  But at some point in my late teen/early twenty-dom…confidence developed in such a way that I’ve been able to navigate through life mostly unscathed and in a manner in which I’m comfortable.  But recently things have changed, and I don’t know whether this change should be attributed to the new year or my turning the big 3-0.  Independent of the cause, there has been an increased drive in me to unapologetically pursue every dream and passion that God has placed in my heart.  Like….it’s so not a game.  To place this into context, I’ve traded my more luxurious car for a stick-shift beater that I taught myself to drive in a little over a week and have since moved into a home I’m renovating that’s maybe a step above being a former crack house* because both decisions will further propel me towards my endgame.  Needless to say, both decisions I consider to be sacrifices, and have garnered a bit of negative attention and critique from those closest to me.  Honestly, I completely understand their concerns…I do.  But fear of the unknowns and ‘what ifs’ are minimal in my perspective relative to the tremendous gains to be made.

Fear & Self Doubt: sweet brown

 

I’ve been reading a book recently entitled ‘Sun Stand Still’, and a line in the book really stood out to me.  The author wrote: ‘Time can talk you out of your dreams.  Routine can weaken your propensity towards audacity’.  I reflected upon those two sentences and realized that if I wasn’t careful, it would be easy for me to drift towards a life of mediocrity and predictability rather than one that was passion-filled and required an immense amount of faith through which to navigate.  That and I was finding myself becoming increasingly bored and unmotivated with where things were in my life.  I quickly assessed my situation and realized there were things within my power that I could change……but then I realized that those decisions might require some discomfort on my part.  And on top of that, what might people think?  Thankfully those doubtful thoughts lacked staying power, and I was able to move forward with a renewed albeit somewhat out there plan, and I can say that I’ve been enjoying the process.  It’s a little bit scary, yes.  But also incredibly exciting  and encouraging knowing that I’m being further propelled towards my purpose, and doing so in a way that requires that I have faith in a power greater than myself.  This process has also shown me that I’m a pretty audacious chick-a-dee!  That word has stuck with me, and will reflect my theme for the remainder of the year.  I plan to have an amazingly audacious year, one that is extremely bold and fearless, and will be using this blog to document my experiences (the ups and the downs) with completing projects and my ultimate pursuit of passion and purpose.  Who’s with me?

*more elaboration to come, stay tuned 😉

Start

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What are you waiting on?  Serious question – what are you waiting on before you take action on things that you’ve wished or hoped to do?  I’ve written before about my commitment to give procrastination it’s walking papers, and I have been working really hard to make some serious changes in my life so as not to hinder my own progress.  I have several updates as it relates to this topic and that I will be sharing in future posts – but today I would like to focus on you.  If you’ve never heard these words before, know that you are amazing and the world is waiting for you – your brilliance, your creativity, your feedback, your talent, your gift, your motivation, your contribution, your time, your effort, your love…….YOU!  Don’t leave us all hanging, please, and more importantly, don’t leave yourself hanging by not fully experiencing all that you have to offer.  Let the above graphic serve as a motivational tool for you to carve out time to pursue anything that has been waiting in the wings, and I hope that you have an amazingly productive and fulfilled week as a result 🙂  Happy Sunday!

You don’t appreciate what you have…..until it’s gone

I didn't begin to appreciate the consistent intensity of Jack Bauer until nearly 3 years after '24' left the air.

I didn’t begin to appreciate the consistent intensity of Jack Bauer until nearly 3 years after ’24’ left the air.

*proceeds to blow dust from this blog*

It has been seven months and exactly one day since I’ve shared on this blog….and true to the title of this post, you really don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone*.  By that I mean this blog had become a cathartic release for me – a place where my creative juices, overactive imagination, and flights of randomness could coexist in harmony and without judgment.  But time demands, career changes, and just plain-ole’ trying to figure out life has led me away from posting on a regular basis.  In the time that I’ve been away, so much has happened (including my turning the big 3-0 *gasp*) and I truly regret not documenting my experiences in real time……at minimum so that I can look back at this point in time in my life in the future and chuckle at the person that I’ve allowed myself to be 😉  At any rate, I have immensely missed regularly writing, and rather than continue the ’24’ marathon that I have currently paused on ‘Netflix’** – I’ve decided to wipe away the cobwebs and begin anew with posting.  So here I am on this day after “Mass Genocide Appreciation Day” (i.e. Columbus Day), seven months wiser and motivated to write again as I continue my pursuit of normalcy within my differentially defined bounds.  Stay tuned!

* This statement continued to ring true as I remembered that, earlier today while filling my gas tank, I threw away a baggie containing yogurts that I packed as snack the day before along with the spoon that I packed with the yogurts.  That spoon will be missed,the yogurts…..not so much.

**I greatly admire that the show captures commercial breaks in their clock countdowns.  Guessing the amount of time that has transpired during commercials has become a fun guessing game for my friends and I while watching the show.

Happy Valen-times Day!

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It’s been a long time

I shouldn’t have left you

Without a dope blog post to read to

My attempt at a song remix would sound much better over a Timberland beat.  But while I work out the details of that arrangement, I would like to take the time to wish all of you a very Happy Valentine’s Day (or Valen-times Day….depending on who you’re speaking to…..)!

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Colbert knows how I feel 😉  Valentine’s Day is one of my all-time favorite holidays, and no, it’s not because I’ve been receiving floral bouquets and boxes of chocolate every year (though I have been the recipient of some pretty sweet gifts).  I interpret Valentine’s Day more broadly than some, and see it as a general day to express your love to those you know….and even to those you don’t.  This day in particular can cause some people to slip into mild depression if they don’t have that “special someone” in their life.  That’s where you and your volcano of love, overflowing with hot liquid magma (please tell me that I’m not the only person who said this word in a Dr. Evil voice….anyone?) and loving goodness, can swoop down and brighten someone’s day.  This could be as simple as wishing someone an amazing Valentine’s Day, or offering to treat them to a BOGO deal at Qdoba in exchange for a peck on the cheek.  However you plan to spend your day, I hope that it is completely filled with love – so much so that you’re able to freely dispense that love onto unsuspecting others.  As for me, my homey and I are planning to rack up on as many Valentine food freebies and discounts as possible before ending the evening with a new epi of Scandal.  Yeah, my Fitz like has gone down a bit after witnessing his passive-aggressiveness last week, but I do admire his g-move on the late Supreme Court Justice Verna Thornton.  You will not ruin his legacy mam……but I digress, as clearly I’m way too into this show.  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, and enjoy one of my fav love songs (and karaoke selections), along with a cutesy remake by the Smiths!  Hollers ❤

‘Elephant’ – The Superhero Sidekick!

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Today’s random tale is another throwback from my earlier days in blogging and recognizes two things that I love: 1) my nephew & 2) superheroes.  I hope that you enjoy!  I also, just for kicks and giggles, put my name into a Superhero Name Generator and was informed that my superhero name would be ‘The Incredible Freak’.  Yeah……not entirely sure what that’s about, but I hope that you all have an amazing Thursday 🙂

My (then) 4 year old nephew is a pure comedic genius, and the things he comes up with make this random auntie proud.  I was on the phone with my mother a few months ago, just doing my regular family check-in.  She was being encouraging as I was feeling down that day after having a not-so-pleasant experience with a member of the opposite sex.  She proceeds to put my nephew on the phone so that he could say ’Hi’, and after greeting me, he tells me that I’m his girlfriend.  Now, I saw two things wrong with this picture: (1), he should not think that it’s appropriate to just tell a woman that she is his girlfriend.  She should be extended the invitation, preferably after being wooed with nice things like dinners and superhero movies directed by Christopher Nolan, and (2) I can’t have my own nephew be my rebound guy!  I kindly turned down my nephew’s offer after explaining to him that I wasn’t his girlfriend but his aunt.  He simply replied ‘Ok’, and presented a counter offer – that I could instead be his superhero sidekick!  As much as I love superhero movies, I was ready to jump at the offer, until he told me that my name would be ‘Elephant’.  *insert record scratch*  Come again little guy, because I know you’re not trying to take a jab at my weight?  I surpressed the side of me that wanted to throw shade at a 4 year old, and instead happily accepted his offer.  Now, you may not find me driving in a tricked-out car and responding to a lit signal displayed in the night sky, but I will be around……watching……protecting…….I am Elephant!

Blessed

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So we’re almost 2 weeks into the new year, and for some, the “new car smell” of 2013 may be starting to fade.  I’m honestly still pretty hyped (….but I’m that way in general about a lot of things), yet I still have been challenged to maintain my normally positive attitude when faced with negativity & opposition.  Grrrrr!!!  So when I came across the idea of starting a gratitude jar, I jumped at it!  A gratitude jar is an idea that has been circulating around the interwebs (largely thanks to Pinterest) that basically involves writing down at least one thing that you’re grateful for everyday on a strip of paper and placing that paper slip in a jar.  At the end of the year, you dump out the jar and revisit all of the things that you were grateful for.  How cool is that?!  This challenge doesn’t have to be limited to the entire year, for some it might be better as a monthly activity.  I like the idea of doing it for the entire year (but reading periodically when I need a reminder) – provided I can find a jar that’s pretty and big enough to hold 365 slips of paper 😉  Let me know if you’re already a gratitude jar veteran and how practicing this exercise has impacted your life.  I’m hoping that the constant reminder of the blessings that are in my life will completely obliterate any negative thing that may try to get my attention.  Also, if you’re feeling the cutey-patooty jar pictured above – visit this Etsy shop.  Have a fabu hump day!

 

The New Year is upon us, time to let ish go! ….& it’s Friday too ;)

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This is me right now, because I’m no longer blowing my nose every 5 seconds from a cold that I believe was transmitted from one of my darling nieces or nephew over the Christmas holiday…..that & because, it’s FRIDAY!!!  Did you miss me?  I took some time away from you lovelies to enjoy time with my fam (which included dancing until I was sore to Dance Central 3 – you can’t see me on ‘Da Butt’), and to reflect on the start of a new year.  I’m excited about 2013, as it’s the year I turn 30 (a legit adult!), embark on some interesting creative endeavors, and ultimately continue to progress in chasing down dreams.  I’m working to put some things into place to facilitate the completion of my goals for the year, and in doing so, have identified things that have hindered my progress in the past.  Here are some things that I’ve been able to identify that I want to let go of in the new year:

  • Procrastination – ahh, we’ve been tight like a grip for many years, you and I.  But you really weren’t that great of a friend, as you had me to believe that waiting to the last minute actually worked to my advantage, because I “work well under pressure”.  Pish tosh!  To that, I say ‘Nay’ good sir – as I end my relationship with you.  In 2013, I will strive to complete tasks early – no matter how seemingly unappealing – so that I can move on to the next in an organized & timely fashion.  I will also not stress myself out over how “difficult” something may seem, nor will I use that stress as justification to put things off.  Shoot, I’m highly capable and with God there’s nothing I can’t do…….and that’s all I have to say about that *drops mic*
  • Past – *picks mic back up*, so maybe everything in your life didn’t work out quite how you planned or expected.  Big whoop – you still have an amazing life and so many things to be appreciative of, and while you wallow in the past you’re missing out on the amazingness that’s taking place right now!  Learn from past mistakes and victories and use those lessons as tools for personal growth & advancement to the future you desire.  Also leave room for God to make alterations to your plans – and trust the outcome.  Bottom line: move on & enjoy/appreciate where you are & what you’ve been given.  No regrets & no excuses!
  • People – I know you can be a little sensitive at times, and you have a big ol’ heart, but that does not justify allowing people to influence your perspective.  So maybe he wasn’t the one, or she let you down…..ok, and?  No one is perfect, yourself included *gasp*, so you might as well get over the idea now that there is a single person in this world who will never dissapoint or hurt you.  Ok, so it happened – what are you going to do about it?  You could either internalize those negative feelings and become an angry & resentful person – basically the opposite of who you are….OR, you could simply choose to love.  Love when it hurts, when it doesn’t, when it’s reciprocated & when it’s not.  You LOVE – 24/7, all day, erryday* – LOVE!  It might be hard, and you might feel like crying or uppercutting someone during the process – but you keep loving and watch how your response not only positively impacts you, but the people around you too.  And fully expect to receive back every bit of love that you dish out…and then some.  God recognizes those who choose to walk in love – guaranteed!

So yep, I’m looking forward to starting the New Year off right!  Enjoy this first weekend of 2013, here are some events happening in and around the RVA area.  Also, enjoy this go-go classic while I try to remember all of the choreography that ‘Dance Central 3’ taught me *starts stretching*.  Have a fabu Friday!

*The misspelling of ‘everyday’ in this sentence was intentional, as I felt the need to pay homage to the unique speech patterns commonly found in my area of origin – the DC Metropolitan Area (otherwise known as the DMV).  Stand up!

Merry Christmas: Love to Love Ya!

love you

Merry Christmas!!!  I had an entirely different topic that I was prepared to write about today, but now…..I’m not feeling it.  Instead, I’m going to keep it short & sweet 🙂  In celebration of this day to commemorate the birth of Christ, the ultimate exemplar of Love – I just want you to know that you are loved.  I love you, and more importantly, God loves you…..and there’s nothing you can do about it 🙂  Now that’s a gift that requires no gift wrapping.  Enjoy one of my fav songs by ‘The Commodores’ & have a fabu Christmas Day!

Inspired – Different Christmas Traditions

love candy canes

It’s Christmas Eve – the day before the big day!  I’m finishing up some last minute shopping before hitting the road to visit my fam, (majorly procrastinated this year!), how about you?  Hopefully you did the  complete opposite and completed all of your tasks super early and are now able to chill-ax (i.e., chill + relax).  I’ll get there one day….actually, scratch that – I look forward to not having to get there one day.  And by that, I mean that I really want to institute some different Christmas traditions among my close friends and fam, ones that deviate from the consumerism normally associated with this time of the year and instead focus on what Christmas really is about.  Honestly, I have everything I need….and a lot of what I want – and would be completely fine with not receiving gifts, and instead having that money (& shopping time) allocated elsewhere.  Now I’m not sure how on board other’s would be about my seemingly radical ideas – but here are some that I would like to see done, collectively, one year:

  • Kiva – If you’ve never heard of Kiva before, consider yourself informed 🙂  This organization is the world’s first online lending platform connecting online lenders to entrepreneurs around the globe, to help fund business ventures and alleviate poverty.  You can select the borrower of your choice and lend as little as $25 towards their efforts.  It’s an easy and impactful way to spend Christmas funds, and you will receive your initial loan back to re-lend to another borrower, to donate to Kiva for operating costs, or you can withdraw via Paypal.
  • Adopt a family – There are formal as well as informal ways to accomplish this category.  Formally, there are organizations in place that will connect you to families in need, like the Salvation Army’s ‘Adopt a Family’ Program.  Some churches also have a formalized process for giving to families.  Informally, you could also organize a more personal approach to give to a family that you know – in the form of paying a needed bill or buying Christmas toys for children.  If this is the desired method, having a clear means of communicating with the family about their needs and reaching an agreement about the need that will be met is a good starting point.
  • VolunteerDosomething.org is an excellent resource for volunteer opportunities, from serving in a soup kitchen, to helping out in an animal shelter, picking up trash, etc.  Wherever your interest lies, you might be able to find a volunteer opportunity that fits.  But if not, you could always create your own volunteer experience by connecting personally with an organization that fits your interest.
  • Random acts of Kindness – Ok, technically, this category should extend to the entire year and not just during the Christmas season.  But random acts of kindness are just that – doing something kind for someone else.  Are you like G. Garvin in the kitchen (the crush I had on that man……or maybe the crush stemmed from the fact that he simply could cook….and if I were with him, I wouldn’t have to….WINNING!)?  If so, whip up that dish and give it to someone you know who would like it – just because.  Standing behind someone in the check-out line who seems stressed over a bill amount that you know you could afford?  Offer to pay for their purchases!  I witnessed this very act this week, and to call it beautiful would be an understatement 🙂  Now random acts don’t have to be uber-expensive either.  They could be as simple as holding the door open for others longer than what would be considered normal, returning your cart after shopping to the inside of the store *gasp*, or saying ‘Hi!’ with a genuine smile to everyone that you come across on a given day….something I would’ve considered (more) weird before moving to the south.  Actually, out of all the things my sister and I have done for my mom for her birthday, the one that she reminds us of the most was also one of the simplest – the year we snuck home when she and my dad were out of town and cleaned the entire house.  So yeah, simple random acts of kindness and consideration can go a long way and majorly brighten someone’s day!

I’m looking forward to stepping up or starting to act on these areas for next year!  However you’re spending your Christmas, I hope that you are continually reminded that you are loved 🙂  Have a fabu Christmas Eve.