Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

jesus birthday shirt

 

source

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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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 😉

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

 

 

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 😉

Audacious much?

audacious-definition-tee_design

(click pic for source)

 

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 😉