Category Archives: Change

four simple words.

You would think I had forgotten how to write the way I’ve neglected this blog.

I feel like I owe it dinner, a movie, and a walk along the beach to make up for how triflin’ I’ve been to it. Maybe a Michael Kors bag too. But anyways, I’ve come back! I’m here now, I’ve blown the cobwebs off of my blog, and I have some things to say.

I could sit here and ramble about all of the great things that have happened to me since the last time that I put my fingers on my keyboard to get the thoughts out of my head (because there have been a LOT of fantastic moments), but that’s not what brought me back here.

I came back to vent. To say one seemingly simple sentence.

 

I want to move.

 

*exhales deeply*

 

Now, this isn’t the first time that I’ve said this sentence, nor is it the first time I’ve given considerable thought to the idea of leaving DC. But this past weekend, I had a chance to spend some time in North Carolina, and while I didn’t do much in the vein of a “typical” vacation, I had a chance to just drive around, take scenery in, and go do regular things in the city, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I want to be down South. Like…there is something about the South that just feels like home to me, though I’ve never lived there. I feel at home every time I go anywhere south of Virginia, and…I’m starting to feel like it’s time for me to see and experience something different. I’ve been in DC/Maryland for my entire life, and yes it’s home, but…I want to plant my feet somewhere else. I want to see if I’d like it somewhere else. If I don’t, home will always be there. DC will always be home to me; most of my friends and all of my family live here, but…I want out.

The catch? I’m scared. Completely. Effing. Scared.

I have a job here that pays me (albeit less than I should be making and it’s not really what I want to do), I have stability, I’ve got a pretty generous benefits package, most of my friends are here, I get to watch my goddaughter grow up right before my eyes, I’m currently not tied to a lease that I can’t get out of, my mother is here, home is here, everything I’ve ever known is here.

But is this what I want? I can’t tell you how many times that question pops up in my mind on a daily basis. That, or questioning if the life I think I want is the life that will be best for me. At one point, the life I have now is the life I thought I wanted, and well…we see how happy I am with that. :-|

The thought of trying to go after what it is I want to do with my life (which requires a complete sector shift, and might require an entire other graduate-level degree), packing up everything I have onto a U-Haul or into a Pod and shipping it somewhere other than down I-95 in Maryland, moving into a place completely by myself in a city that I’ve only visited a handful of times, and starting my life almost completely over, scares the living sh*t out of me. Being here in DC is safe. It’s comfortable. It’s familiar. Hell, it’s even nice. But I don’t know how me it is anymore. I just don’t know…

I just don’t know what it is I’m supposed to do…

 

If you’ve ever faced a decision like this, or if you’re like me and WANT to do something different, but haven’t made a move or a plan yet, leave me some thoughts in the comments. I’d love to gain some perspective/talk this thing on out. Thank you guys for still being here in spite of me being triflin’:)

 

a free-write.

9.

that’s the number of years it’s been since I lost my father to pancreatic and liver cancer.

7.25

that’s the day I lost him. since then, this day always feels like an end. it feels like the last time I heard his saxophone emit a note, like the last time I heard his laugh, and like the last time I saw his face…I feel all of those “lasts” on this day every year.

i’ve grown a lot and accomplished some great, mind-blowing things in these nine years. there are just times where I wish I could pick the phone up and call him and ask for his opinion. I can’t. that’s what hurts the most.

i know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s been keeping his eye on me. i know he’s damn proud of me being this close to finishing my masters degree, i know he’s seen my photographs from his seat in heaven and is amazed by them, and i know he’s saying “about damn time!” that I’m learning how to play the piano. i just wish we could sit and talk about it.

this doesn’t get easier as the years go by. i am a daddy’s girl, so the physical void left by his death is noticeable at best and palpable at worst. i long for a hug, a reassuring set of words that only he knew how to speak, and a swift kick in the fact whenever i try and doubt myself or my skills.

i miss my father. i see him in the structure of my face, feel him in the depths of my personality, and recognize him when my creative energy starts to flow. it’s been nine years, but it feels like an eternity. my heart is heavy today, and i know i will shed some tears, but i have to remember that this was all a part of the bigger plan of my life.

this year’s anniversary is harder than its been in awhile. the growing pains i am feeling now have me in an awkward, emotionally vulnerable place, and it shows, no matter how hard i work to hide it.

i wish i could spend the day today listening to his favorite music, honing my craft to honor him, and reflecting on his life and the undeniable impact he had on my life. instead, i will be waking up at my usual time, heading into work with a forced smile, and getting my way through the day the best way i know how: praying and friends.

dad, i love you. i miss you, and everything in me wishes you were still here with me. i hope beyond all hope that i am making you proud of me as your daughter…

This Thing Called Fear…

One of the most powerful emotions I have ever felt is fear. Fear has kept me from saying things, doing things, creating things…or it has caused me to do, say or be things other than what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. Do you know how debilitating it is to see the life you want or yourself, but to be too afraid to even think about the steps you need to take to get that life? Or even worse, to know what you need to do, but to be too scared to move? That’s the kind of fear that gripped me. I’d know exactly what I wanted to do, but be too scared to do anything about it…which to me, is way worse than not knowing what you want to do at all. Up until recently, that was pretty much my sole method of operating. I’d be so gripped with fear, or with the “I’m not good enough” thought process that I’d never even make the first step. What kind of a life is that to live?

I’ll tell you — not a great one.

Over the last few months, I’ve had numerous conversations about dreams, destiny, and what it is I really want to do with my life. I’ve had them with people that have been in my life for a short time, and those that have been in my life for years. All of those conversations have led to a consensus: we all have dreams, they scare the mess out of all of us, but we feel like they are things we absolutely have to do. I would be a bold faced liar to sit here and say that my dreams don’t scare the crap out of me, because if I sit and think about it long enough, they truly do. I’m getting to the point now, though, where I am working around and through that fear. I can’t sit back any longer and wonder “what if I had taken that chance?” or “what if I had followed through on what I really wanted to do?” Life is too short to begin with, and the last thing I want to do is live with a whole bunch of regrets.

Does this mean that I’m going to have to step outside of my comfort zone? Definitely. Am I going to still be scared at some points? Of course! But my goal is to do it anyways. I’m trying to take risks that I normally wouldn’t take, to relentlessly pursue my dreams like my life depends on it, because it does. The very core of my being hinges on this journey to live the life I believe I’m destined to live. If I decide to give in to fear…if I decide to let it run my life, I will effectively die. Part of me will cease to exist, and I’m sorry, but I like all of me at this point. I need all of me to stay around, because well…I’m a pretty awesome person!

I’ve said all of this to say that I refuse to be ruled by fear anymore. It is a process to get out of this way of thinking, because I’ve conditioned myself/been conditioned to think this way for so long, but I am willing to go through the process in order to come out a better, more fulfilled, happier person on the other side. To you, my readers, I have to ask…am I the only one that’s been this gripped by fear? If not, what have you done to try and get over or around it to become the best you that you can be? Share with me in the comments; I’m sure we can all learn from each other.

Until next time, folks…

A New Journey…

Over the last year and a half, I’ve made many transformations. I’ve introduced logic into my way of thinking (long story), I’ve rediscovered my wit, I’ve lost 20+ pounds, I went from driving a Saturn to a Honda…all important, all visible, all worth it.  One of the most unexpected changes I’ve made over the last year, however, is all about my hair. If you remember, I blogged about my decision to cut all of the perm out of my hair and go natural back in April. At the time, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I hadn’t seen my hair without a perm in it since I was a little girl, and wasn’t sure of how I would adjust to having just a little bit of hair on my head.  Needless to say, I got used to it really fast. I went out and bought a lot of Shea Moisture and Oyin Handmade products because my hair LOVES the stuff, and experimented with a lot of different accessories, from headbands to flowers, and got some new jewelry and makeup to accent my face. I sort of went through a transformation when I cut my hair, and it’s been all for the good.

Well, as of Saturday, December 3, 2011, I’ve started a new little hair journey.

my hair is so long! :-)

That’s right folks, those are comb coils in my hair! Meaning, I’ve started the process of locking my hair! *the crowd goes wild* I’m really thoroughly excited about starting this process. Ever since my sister got Sisterlocks back in 2004, I’d always entertained the thought of locking my hair. I think they’re gorgeous, and since I have this newfound freedom with my hair (with the overarching thought being it’s just hair…), what better time than the present to try something new? I know there will be days I don’t like my hair, and days where I’m totally in love with it – this happened when I had a perm, it happened when I cut my hair short, it happened when I went natural, so I fully expect it to happen as my hair grows and does things I’ve never seen it do before.

I’ll pause here so you can see what my hair now looks like:

 

the top of my head! :-)

 

side shot!

 

the sepia view.

 

I’m so excited to be starting this journey, and I’ll be sure to take you all on the ride with me! :-)

School Days…

Somehow, here we all are at the end of summer. (Well technically, summer doesn’t end until September, but…just go with me here for a second…) I don’t have a clue as to how Memorial Day until now sped by so fast, but here we are, knocking on the doorsteps of fall. And with the beginning of fall comes a familiar new beginning– school. School supply lists have been combed to make sure kids have everything they need, new clothes have been purchased, and bedtimes have gone back to a decent hour.  Millions of kids all across the country either have already started school, or will be starting the school year within the next two weeks. It’s an exciting yet nerve-wracking time for students, parents, and educators alike.  Everyone is worried about what sort of challenges the year will bring, what progress will be made, and how students will fare come the end of the academic year. It’s nerve-wracking for me for different reasons.

It’s the time of year where I start to feel a pang in my chest, and start to wonder “what if…” I try not to play the “what if” game with things that go on in my life, because I believe everything happens for a reason, but this is one area where I can’t quite shake the feeling. Those of you that know me in real life, and have known me for a while, know that I started college with the intention of becoming an educator. I went to school intending to major in Secondary English Education, but life took me down a different path.  Life took me to major in Family Science, and to now be on the road to a Master’s in Human Resources Management. Far cry from the education world, right? I know that I’m setting myself up on a career path to be successful, and to have a decent career, but there’s a…personal touch missing from it for me.

There’s part of me that wants to get out and get involved in the world of education. Do what I have to do to get a degree in education, get certified to teach, and start to take over the world, changing one child’s life at a time. I’m not going to go into all of the statistics and all of the specifics, but the United States is in dire need of some improvement when it comes to education. We’re so far behind lesser developed countries, and it makes no sense! The achievement gap between African American and Caucasian students and between affluent and poor students is real. (If you need proof, go watch “Waiting for Superman.”) I really got inspired to start thinking about teaching again when I read my friend Gem’s take on how she would operate a charter school if she was ever in the position to run one. It’s really what got me to thinking on if I could go back to school after I’ve finished this Master’s, or if I should go into a program like Teach for America and go into the classroom that way. Of course I wonder if I’d be an effective teacher, if I could inspire my students, and if I’m cut out for a truly thankless job. I recognize what teachers have to go through every day, all year long, and I truly salute each of them.

This is just something that’s been on my heart for a while and that I needed to get out. To my readers, I ask…do you have any particular career change that you feel tugging at you? I know I can’t be alone out there…share with me in the comments.

Until next time, folks…

Living for the Weekend…

Ah, the weekend. It’s the best part of the week if you ask me. Sometimes the work week can be so long and mundane that I’m practically begging for Friday to come back around. On the weekend, I don’t have to get up early (at least not early like I would if I was going to work), I can lounge around in bed if I want, and it gives me time to do the things I really love to do…like writing, taking pictures, and hanging out with my friends. But this past weekend? This past weekend was unlike any other weekend I’ve had in recent memory. It was chock full of things I’ve never done before. Now normally, I wouldn’t be particularly intrigued by me doing random things on the weekend, but this time is different. Things happened this weekend that I swore in a million years would never happen, and I’m still in awe that they actually happened. Well, are you going to tell us what happened?

Glad you asked! For starters, I went thrift store shopping for the first time ever in life. Peebz sent out a Facebook invitation for people to join her at the Unique Thrift Store in Silver Spring, MD, and I figured what the hell? I’ve never done it, I’ve heard that people have gotten great deals on clothes, and I wanted to go do something different. While there, I finally met my Twitter buddy Eric, and me, Peebz, her daughter Tee, and Eric all traipsed around the store, finding random hilarious things along the way, and having a ball roaming around that HUGE store. I had a really fun time thrifting with them, and I got somewhere around 8 pieces of clothing for just about $60. That definitely wasn’t the last time that I plan on doing that, and I now have friends and family members that want me to take them with me the next time that I go find some more things out in Silver Spring.

Although I’ve lived in the DC Metropolitan area my entire life, I don’t take the time that I should to properly explore my city and surrounding areas. Going thrifting on Saturday and taking Peebz back home allowed me to see parts of the city that I haven’t seen in a while, and I really enjoyed the experience. Far too often, I just hit 50 West, head onto New York Avenue, make a right on Florida, end up on U Street, or keep going to Adams Morgan, and I’d forgotten that DC is so much more than that. I saw parts of the city that I had never seen before, and other parts that I hadn’t seen since I was a kid…I’ve got to take some time out this summer to go to the less-traveled, but exceedingly authentic parts of where my family is from.

To round my weekend out, I went to and participated in One Degree From Me’s DC Quarterly Flow Dating event. Now, anyone that knows me knows that I don’t even go to work alone (my mom and I commute in together to save money – stop judging), much less go to a dating event alone, but guess what? I did it! And to top it all off, I had an amazing time doing so. It was so nice to meet different people from all parts of the country that ended up in DC, as well as people that had been here their entire lives. There were people from all different walks of life, from all different professions, and at all different points of their lives with one goal in mind — to have meaningful conversation with other like-minded individuals. I got to meet some very friendly men and women on Saturday evening, and the entire atmosphere was warm, inviting, and pleasant. I was especially proud of myself for actually engaging people in conversation…I love talking to people, but sometimes my introvert starts to show and I end up in the back of the room just taking it all in. I didn’t let that take me over this time. I started conversations with people, maintained ones with others, and ended up with contact information for a couple of guys and a couple of women. I’m sitting here in anticipation of the email that I’m supposed to get with my mutual interests’ contact information in it, but regardless of the outcome of that email, I’m extraordinarily proud of myself for getting out of my own way and doing something I never thought I was capable of doing. It was just the boost I needed to not only become an active participant in my dating life, but to get out there and to try new things and see what life has to offer me. I have to give a special shoutout to Paul Carrick Brunson and his One Degree From Me team for putting on an amazing event, and him for being such a warm and inviting person, and for striking up conversation with everyone that came to him wanting to talk.

Takeaways from the weekend? 1) Try new things – there’s no telling what can happen if you just go out there and do something that you were previously afraid/skeptical of doing. 2) Have some fun – I literally spent all weekend laughing, joking, talking, and with a smile on my face. That doesn’t happen often, but I’m making it my priority to see to it that it happens more often than not now. 3) Get out of your own way – I don’t know how many times I had to tell myself this on Saturday night, but I’m certain that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have had as much fun as I did. All of these lessons can be applied to my life, and I have faith that they can be applied to the lives of you all reading as well. If you’ve gotten this far in the post (I salute you), let’s talk about what things you think you can do to add some variety back into your life, or some things you’ve always wanted to do, but have always been too afraid to attempt.

Until next time…

Back Down Memory Lane

Picture it…
Sicily, 1932…

No really, I want you guys to come on a trip of sorts with me. We’ll start from last year…May of 2010, to be exact.

Beach 2010

Awww...:-)

Now this was me about a year ago. You see that color? See those bangs? See the waves? I was too cute for school, wasn’t I? ;-) At this point, I was trying out the idea of growing my hair out to try and go natural. I was concerned about length, so I wasn’t about to chop it all off, but I wanted to see what my hair would do in its natural state. So, I stopped getting perms, and started doing more roller sets, more crinkles thanks to my friend Vogue, and a lot more trying to hide the new growth coming in on top with the permed ends I had. Well, that eventually got really old, and really tiresome…so one day I went to the hair salon and decided, hey, let’s cut all my hair off, and go natural from here!

Something New...

As we can see from this picture up here, it didn’t quite happen that way. I saw my stylist’s haircut, and BAM! I wanted almost the exact same one she had there. She had to put a perm back in my hair in order to achieve desired results, and while it sucked at the time, I was genuinely happy with the haircut I got. I loved how vastly different it made me look, how easy it was to deal with, and the feeling of getting a shape up. Why didn’t any of my guy friends tell me how awesome shape ups were? What I didn’t like was the amount of money I had to spend on the upkeep. My hair grows extremely fast, so every trip to the salon included a cut, which brought my grand total to around $60 every two weeks including tip. Needless to say, there were other places where that money could be going.

And that brings me to today…

This is me...now!

Yep! You guessed it folks, as of Saturday, April 30, 2011, I cut about 90% of the perm out of my hair…there’s still a few strands that are not like the others, but that’s quite alright. I am so happy with how it turned out! I’ll be honest, I was scared of what I was going to think, scared of going shorter, scared I wasn’t going to know what on Earth to do with my hair…but you know what? I absolutely love it. It’s so me! (Ironic, right?) Of course, I’ve already got the faces that look like O_O when people see that I’ve cut it again, but I don’t care…I’m ready to see what my hair looks like, what it does, how it reacts to certain things…it’s been a long time coming, and I’m glad that I finally decided to cut my hair and see exactly what I’m workin’ with. :-)

Until next time folks!

10/10/10 – Reflection at its Finest

Hey ya’ll!

Welcome to my first post in my new e-home…*looks around* I’m kinda diggin the place over here to be quite honest! Anyways, yesterday morning as I rolled over after a night of fantastic sleep on my new Queen-size mattress, and I checked twitter, I saw a tweet from a friend of mine (you can follow her here ) that dealt with the 10 things she wanted for herself…and I thought to myself, “Self? Why not do the same thing for you? It would be a good exercise for your brain and you might even learn some stuff you didn’t know before…”

So, thanks to that ever-so-motivating tweet I read and conversation I had with myself, here we are with the ten things that I want for myself, in no particular order, and in no particular time frame…

10. I want to make some type of impact on the educational state of our country. There are way too many statistics to go into here (maybe I’ll do another post on that), but the educational future of the United States is bleak at best. There is no reason why every child in this country shouldn’t be afforded the opportunity to receive a high-quality education, and I want to find some way to contribute to the change that is needed in order for this country to remain globally competitive.

9. I want to get past the idea that I function best when I’m in a relationship. It has been a LONG time since I have been in one, and since it’s been so long, I’ve often thought that my quality of life would improve if I magically found someone to want to be in a relationship with. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the sometimes therapeutic powers that companionship can bring, but…I can make it in my life right now without a significant other.

8. I want to find my niche. I don’t mean to compare myself to other people I know, or to seem envious, because I’m not, but I would like to find the little corner of the Earth that’s solely and specifically meant for me. I have all of these interests, and a couple of passions, and I want to figure out how to combine them all so that I can finally feel like I’ve come across something that gives my life purpose.

7. I want to be able to find balance in all aspects of my life. Anyone that knows anything about astrology knows that the sign of the Libra is the scales, meaning we search for balance incessantly. I get to these places where I find balance in some parts of my life, but then other parts are out of whack, so I feel jumbled and out of order. I want to be able to be on an even keel academically, personally, socially, spiritually, and physically. It’s a tall task, but I want it!

6. To piggyback off of number 9, I want someone to find me that is as equally invested in me as I am in them. Far too often, I become invested in people (whether it be friendships or potential romantic relationships) way before they ever even consider the idea of becoming invested in me. In the romantic sense of things, I’m doing myself a disservice by expecting or even wanting things from men that they don’t expect of me or that they don’t want me to give or them to give of themselves. I’d do myself a world of good to make people prove themselves before they become an integral part of my life.

5. I want to pursue my dream of publishing a book. I’ve had this dream since I was in middle school, and I can’t let the fear of “will it be good enough?” paralyze me any longer. I know I have a God given gift to write; I just need to finally sit down and do it!

4. I want to get past myself. You know how they say your greatest roadblock is your own self? Well, that’s 100% true for me. Too often, I allow fears, past transgressions, regret, confusion, or any other myriad of things to get in the way of the things that I feel like I want to do. I can’t live my life like that anymore if I ever expect to achieve anything great. I have to learn to take chances, and put the past where it belongs: behind me.

3. I want to become a better friend to myself. Yeah, you read that right. I am naturally gifted at being there for other people, and I pride myself on being a good friend, but somewhere along the line, I lost sight of being my own best friend. I want to learn how to take myself out, how to be comfortable with being completely by myself, and to fall in love with myself all over again.

2. I want to come to understand what the word “family” means again. I used to know in my childhood, but it seems as if since everyone has gotten older and ventured out on their own, we never take the time necessary to keep our familial ties strong. I want to translate a strong familial tie when it is time to start my own family, and am really passionate about making sure that my family sticks together.

1. I want to grow closer to God in different ways. I feel as if He places people in your life to teach you lessons, and that learning these lessons can somehow bring you closer to Him. I want to be able to hear, discern, and recognize His voice, and to be able to apply what He says to my everyday life better than I’m doing now.

Well…I think that’s it! What about you, readers? Did 10-10-10 spark any thoughts of change or thoughts of what you would want for yourself in your mind? Kick back, take a load off, and let me know!

Until next time folks!