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.

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The Point of It All

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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 😉

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 😉

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.

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!

 

Merry Christmas: Love to Love Ya!

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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!