Monday, April 30, 2012

Check Yo'self Before You Wreck Yo'self

Lately I have been consumed with learning as much as possible about personal dramas. My personal drama, other people's dramas, how I effect other people with my drama and how other people's personal dramas effect me. As I've been going about my drama research, the Universe has decided to provide me with teachable moments to experience how these dramas meet and interact on the daily. This has given me plenty of time to learn that no matter the situation I have to check myself before I wreck myself if I want to get out of interactions with people totally unflustered.

My first opportunity to check myself and not meet ego with ego, came while talking to my ex from high school on facebook. Every few years he pops up in my life, usually when he's single, to see how I am and 9 times out of 10 these conversations end in him insulting me because I am not interested. Our real problem is that while I see him as a 27 year old man that I have nothing in common with, he sees me as a 15 year old girl who is insecure, unsure of herself and would love to be with him. (Truthfully, I was painfully unsure of myself all through high school and stayed in a relationship with him because I thought he was as good as I could get...FALSE EXPERIENCE APPEARING REAL) Whatever our perspective differences our conversation went from me trying to end the conversation peacefully to him attacking me. I had to go back and reread the thread to see if I ever once attacked him, insinuated he was less than or anything and nope nothing. His issue was that he was expecting one reaction and got another, I say his issue because the way people perceive you is never your issue. Either way, eventually I found myself slipping into my "poor me" drama and had to check myself before I wreck myself. Instead of further engaging in a cyclical conversation that was upsetting and tiring us both out, I decided to get off the merry go round and just stopped answering his messages. Honestly I probably should have stopped answering them after a day or two but I didn't want him to feel like I was pulling a Gotye on him but it has been ten years and unlike my most recent ex and I, me and the high school beau don't have much in common. It's not a bad thing, he is just a person I would see in the park and say "cargo shorts, really?" and keep it moving. No judgement, we just aren't on the same wavelength mentally, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, culturally etc and that happens after 10 years. Anyway, my personal drama experience would have been done there with a BIG lesson learned--go with your gut and don't let people peck you--but my lesson was not done.

Thursday night I went to a party hosted by some of my favorite fab Atlantans at the Gucci store. Drinks were flowing, food was being passed, the energy was effervescent and I was totally soaking it all in. I even met a super cute guy who I think was sent my way not as a potential mate but more as a sign that I am beautiful and guys do like me. (We did exchange numbers and I'm sure he'll pop up on my cell when/if he's supposed to...I love this chill approach to dating and meeting guys.) While I was fully in my me-ness and feeling as bubbly as the prosecco that was being passed around, I was roped into a conversation with a guy that was all about me meeting his ego with defenselessness. This stranger, straight up to me I was going to need to wax my upper lip when I turn 30. It was like the record scratched and everyone at the party went "err?" At first I responded with my usual "poor me" defenses and tried fighting him off, however that is exactly what he wanted. (You see everyone has a way in which they attempt to get energy/attention from others and his way was to giveth then taketh away or as the Celestine Prophecies would say, he was an interrogator. ) After a minute or two, almost as if a light switch was thrown in my brain, I identified his compliment with a but as an attempt at getting a reaction from me and simply told him that he should end his compliments with the compliment and leave the buts out then I walked away. (After a bit of a tug-o-war with him hugging me and refusing to let go. FYI I am not as young as I look or as weak as you think, my dad was in the military so I know how to break a hold and throw a punch if necessary.) This interaction ignited something in me, along with the one with my ex from high school and a conversation that I had with a girlfriend about her boyfriend earlier that week. 

All my life I though I had to fight. I thought the only way to stop feeling like a "poor me" was to go from damsel in distress to Xena, boy was I wrong. As A Course in Miracles says, "In my defenselessness my safety lies," meaning before you defend against anything you need to take a minute and ask yourself what am I defending against. No, really what am I defending against? When I was talking to my ex on facebook there was nothing to defend against, because not only am I not capable of being attacked but defending against nonsense makes more nonsense. Did you get that? There is no way to make sense of nonsense and it is NOT my job or anyone else's to force people to see sense where they refuse to. People have to come to things on their own in their own time and no amount of forcing will make them change. So next time you feel someone spitting nonsense your way stop trying to check them and shake them into reality and check yourself then cross the street as Iyanla Vanzant would say.

As a part of learning to check myself and keep myself in check, I have committed to wearing a rubberband for 30 days and every time I feel myself acting out of fear, falling into the poor me trap, not living in the present, or just generally not living in my truth, I'll snap my rubberband to snap back to life and reality. So if you see me snapping myself with a rubberband anytime this month know I'm just working on me. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Major Lazer + Amber of Dirty Projectors + a Mr Tee like character = amazing....listen to the lyrics

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stop the Shhhh!!!

I was walking from Madewell to Bloomingdale's on my Spring living spree, bags in hand, when my phone vibrated to let me know I had a new email. I was expecting some kind of spam from one of the many mailing lists that my email address has found itself on or something work related, however it was an email from a friend of an acquaintance saying that she had passed in the night. (She being the acquaintance not her friend.) Before I go a character further, I have to say that I didn't know this person very well, only through facebook, herfture and email. Despite not knowing her in real, real life, her death shook me enough that it made me question the way in which I live my life. I mean, she was 31, had been living with cancer for years and despite that was still the shining light in my inbox every week.

I'm not going to dwell on the life of someone who touched my life without knowing much about it, but I have to say the death of a person in your age group always makes you rethink your life. It forces you to face you own mortality in a way that seeing an older person die never could. It drives home the message that life is short since it indeed could be over much more quickly than you think, causing you to rethink the way you've handled or not handled things. Having a friend or colleague who is merely a few years older than you live her life fully while dying, while you are stressing over the dumbstuff, makes you remember that life is a gift. I'm trying not to sound too shallow but it often takes the death of someone to make you realize how good you have it. I mean just yesterday I was bitching about the fact that I'm single instead of celebrating my new job and car. I was also debating on wether or not I should get real with my ex about us. Now all of that drama seems both small and huge at the same time. Small because it's petty stuff. My life is stinking awesome the end. However on the other hand my drama just got ocean size.

When you die the things you regret are the relationships you effed up, the people you took for granted, the time you spent working instead of living and a whole host of stuff that has nothing to do with how much money you earned, how many shoes you owned or how successful you were. People say it all the time but it's true, you dan't take it with you. The only thing you'll have on your death bed is family, friends and your memories--and perhaps a blanket. You have your love and that's all, and if you're me you have a heart full of love deeper than the ocean--Titanic reference--that is reserved for one person who either does not care or does nto believe me when I say that I love him not the job or the money or the outside shizz but the person who makes me feel like being me is the easiest thing in the world. (Trust me being me is not easy, being a puppy is easy being me is strange.)

You know, death makes you remember how fragile and temporary our bodies are. Once they're gone they're gone and you move on to wherever you came from. But in the meantime, while you have a body, tell the people that you love how much you love them, forgive the people that have wronged you, enjoy the time you have to do nothing, seek balance and have ice cream....real full fat ice cream that is rich and creamy and makes you want to jump on a treadmill after eating it. You only taste for as long as you have taste-buds so don't waste your sense of taste, or hearing, sight or smell for that matter.

*I'm not going to get all weepy and sappy but I am going to say that Shanna Sandmoen was an amazing woman and her weekly emails and blog posts will be missed. 

Lessons Learned From....Josephine Baker

Freda Josephine McDonald, aka Josephine Baker, was my kind of woman. She was fierce, talented, passionate, generous and behind that coy smile and Eton crop was one bad mamajama who did what she liked when she liked. She adopted her own "Rainbow Tribe" long before African babies were the new black and when her own country would not treat her with the respect and dignity she deserved she split! Here are a few lessons we can learn from the woman who put the Art in des Arts Decoratifs (Art Deco).

1. A banana hammock is a sin but a banana skirt is couture!

2. Being a cat lady isn't all that bad when your cat is a cheetah.

3. If you don't like the hand you're dealt get a new one...Josephine wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth but with hard work, dedication and a lotta bit of gumption she went from a street shild dancing on the corner to the "highest paid chorus girl in vaudeville" to the most successful American (notice I said American not African-American)  entertainer working in France.

4. Stand for something. Josephine was more than a nice set of legs and a pretty face, she worked with the French underground during World War II earning the Croix de Guerre, the Rosette de la Resistance and was made Chevalier of the Legion d'honneur by Charles de Gaulle. She also a HUGE supporter of the Civil Rights movement although she stayed in France where her marriage to a white Frenchman was not illegal--look up anti-miscegenation laws, interracial marriages were the first marriage equality fights--and she cared for her Rainbow Tribe consisting of 12 multi-racial orphans. Oh and JB refused to play to segregated audiences in the US.

5. "The things we truly love stay with us always. Locked in our hearts as long as life remains"

My Fairy Tale


Everyone has a story that they tell themselves when they get out of bed every morning and before they go to sleep at night. For some lucky people their story is "my life is awesome" and "everything always goes great." Most of us over age 7 or so, do not live with a story that is so amazing. We have layers of stories that we tell ourselves to reinforce our deeper story and the older we get the more layers we layer...kind of like an onion or an ogre depending on who you ask. This tendency to layer and reinforce means that you can spend years peeling back the fears without touching on your story or, if you're like me, your mother and a book you were destined to read can point it out to you.

Let's start at the beginning. Two weeks ago on my way to work I rear ended someone and my 10 year old car fell apart, literally. Like I barely scratched the other car and my car just crumpled and fell apart, which was for the best since it was 10 years old and falling apart anyway. Not long after that I met up with my ex which resulted in a pretty disastrous encounter. While it looks like shit was hitting the fan, by the end of the following week I had more than enough money to pay my bills for the next month and get a new car--which I did on Sunday on my own with my own credit score no co-signing--and I was offered an amazing new job that would not only make me a decent living but would also bring all kinds of new experiences to me. New car and new job in hand, it looks like my life is finally coming together and one would think I am jumping for joy and filled with gratitude but instead I've been cautious, wary and haven't celebrated at all. As I was wondering about why I haven't been celebrating, the thought hit me that I do not believe that this is my life. Literally, I do not believe that my life is pretty good these days and all I could focus on was the one spot in my life that isn't good. However, the not believing that it's my life has more to do with my personal drama than me not thinking I'm worthy or anything like that.

Cinderella didn't even pick out her dress.

So what is my personal drama? Well, it was cleverly layered deep beyond the fears of abandonment, not being good enough and God knows what else. All this time I thought the abandonment issue was my core story but while reading The Celestine Prophecy I had an aha moment and realized that my core story is "I am a victim." Ever since I was a little girl I have played the victim, people were smarter than me, had more than I did, got more attention and whatever else I told myself to prove that the cards were stacked against me. My mom told me she noticed pretty early on that I was a "poor me" type when she was talking about two of my cousin's being bright girls and I said "what about me?"...I was 8 or 9. She seems to think that after the birth of my brother when I was 6, the new dynamic in the family put me in a place where I was no longer the star and to get my spot back I played "poor me." But it didn't end there.

With friends and co-workers, with getting jobs and dating and pretty much everything in my life I have played the victim. I have handed over responsibility for my life to other people and conditions, all the while blaming everyone for my life but me. He left me, she doesn't like me, my parents don't have enough money--sidenote if it weren't for my parents I would be homeless since my rent is way more than I can afford on my own--I didn't go to the right school, I didn't have the right amount of support, blah blah poor me blah blah. These stories churning around my core story like the arms of a hurricane churning around the eye do nothing but wreak havoc in my life and relationships and keep me in a place where life happens to me, instead of creating the life I want. It keeps me a damsel in distress waiting on someone to rescue me when I am perfectly capable of rescuing myself.

This is my kind of princess

This is soo not the life I want, one cloistered in a tower waiting on a savior so that my life can begin. The life I want is one that is beautiful, unfolding, full of adventure and love. A life that I co-create and can claim full ownership of. A life where I AM NOT A VICTIM! Sadly, that doesn't happen over night. You don't go to bed saying "my personal story is one of playing the victim" and wake up saying "I'm Xena warrior princess and I run this show." Life is about subtle shifts that add up to major shifts. So for now, knowing my story is enough because now that I know better I can do better. Will I slip? Hell yes, I'm a person and I have no interest in being perfect but I will progress. I can rewrite my fairy tale and will, but stories evolve one word at a time and 27 years of learning take time, and therapy, to undo. All I can do now is say I AM NOT A VICTIM!


"The ultimate goal is to be happy. If you want to be happy, make somebody else happy. If you want to find the right person in your life, then become the right person. If you want to see change in the world, then become the change in the world….There’s no social transformation in the absence of personal transformation."
-Deepak Chopra 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


After finding out a few not so settling things on Sunday, I sooo needed to hear/watch this.


Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. 
                                                                                             - Carrie Fisher  

Monday, April 9, 2012

What Do You Do?

Can't wait until what I do pays me as much as whatever she does. 

This week's burning question deals with the one question that I feared being asked at cocktail parties, events, dinners, pretty much wherever I could meet new people. That was until a certain guy I know told me to stop glossing over the things I have done and start saying with confidence what it is that I do.  I literally remember being at an art thing in a circle of PhD's and MDs and when they asked what it was that I do and I shrugged and mentioned something about being a Jack-of-all trades and a master of none. Everyone laughed and then someone said, "Really, what do you do?" Before I could answer my ex swooped in and said she's an amazing writer. That really meant a lot to me, but it didn't change my habit. It took years of having other people introduce me as "an amazing writer," "the cutest young writer in town," "my favorite fashion writer," and simply a writer for me to stop saying I work in retail or whatever crappy 9-5 I was doing to pay my bills while I freelance. It may have taken years of affirmations, people seeing in me what I could never see in myself and me accepting my greatness for me to stand up and say "I am a fashion and lifestyle writer who has tons of experience online and is working her way into print one mag at a time," when asked what do you do but I have finally come to a place where I am proud of me.  Now when I tell people what I do they don't laugh, they kinda think it's cool. If only I could stop telling them it's not cool and that writers are usually poor until they aren't. One limiting belief at a time.

Friday, April 6, 2012

You Know You're A Spiritual Gangster When...

This is totally for a laugh. To me, spiritual is who we all are by default and the path you choose to connect to the divine is your practice, and that practice is as individual as you are. If you're comfy reading the bible and going to church that's just as awesome as meditating or going to brunch on a Sunday morning. It's a personal thing and I'm not about making your personal business my personal business okay!

  1. You carry crystals with you everywhere you go, even to the club. 
  2. "Stop. Drop. Meditate," is your mantra
  3. "Holla for my mala"
  4. You find the hidden spiritual meaning in almost every song you listen too, including stuff by Gucci Mane. 
  5. You have a team of spiritual mamas that keep you in line when your ego gets a little cray.
  6. You meditate before and after you go out.
  7. You get mad and rant and rave BUT you forgive the person, the situation and yourself afterwards. 
  8. Russell Simmons is your homie. 
  9. You constantly check yourself before you wreck yourself. 
  10. You find yourself going deep and sharing your downloads with people in the most random places. 
* Bonus: You pull a card before you walk out the door. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Believe That!

I don't generally take the advice I'm given, whether or not I asked for it. Usually it's because it doesn't resonate with my soul, and I've always been the kind of person who doesn't believe something's hot until my hand is on fire. Being that I usually dismiss the advice I'm given, answering this week's burning question "What's your favorite piece of advice that you've been given?" has proved to be a bit more daunting than it should be. I mean seriously, my mom, my dad, my grandparents, friends, co-workers and love interests have all given me tons of solicited and unsolicited advice I just couldn't recall anything they've said if you told me my life depended on it. (Sorry guys, I check out of most of what you say unless it hits a deep spot in my soul other than that I follow my own internal advice. Unless it's what to do when I'm sick or something. )

Well, since my memory is failing me when it comes to advice I've been given I can say the best piece of advice I've ever heard comes courtesy of Dr. Maya Angelou, she who knows why the caged bird sings. And it goes a little something like this, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them." Now Dr Angelou didn't tell me this herself obviously, but I have had my mom and my therapist repeat this to me more times than I care to count because I have a habit of expecting things from people that goes totally against their nature. I have friends that I expect to stop being self centered for 5 minutes when I know they are incapable of talking about anything but themselves, I expect people to be rational and logical that I know are incapable of being either one of those things and I expect my brother to be more like me when I know he's ok as he is despite never being able to be as awesome as I am--heehee. Time and time again, people show me how to deal with them and time and time again I set myself up for failure but setting my expectations well about their behaviors. That is until I realized how peaceful my life could be if I stopped expecting anything from people, especially the ones that show me what they can and can't handle.

So next time someone gets cray-cray on you remember they are showing you they are undiagnosed so treat them accordingly.

(+) Sleigh Bells


I don't claim to know much, except as soon as you start to make room for the parts that aren't you it gets harder to bloom in a garden of love, love, love, love. 
- Sara Barielles "Bottle It Up"