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Archive for the tag “dreams”

A Person’s Definition About Success Says Soooo Much

I’m obsessed with a song called, “Happy” by Pharell. It’s off of the “Despicable Me 2” soundtrack.

I heard it and saw the video for the very first time over at my parents on Thanksgiving. I instantly fell in love with it. Like you listen, and it does make you happy. You want to dance. And Pharell sounds really good!

It’s crazy, because I’ve been in conversations with people lately about success and some people’s answers disturbed me.

One guy asked me what I thought success was. He said, “What, you want a big house in Bowie, don’t you?”

Gag.

I told him, big house or small house, I want it to be a place that feels warm and feels like love and feels like home.

I’ve known people with too much house and just delinquent and deficient in love.

I’ve known people with studio apartments that were filled with joy.

When I was a kid, my little mind told me success was being rich and famous.

When I was a teenager, success was getting good grades, getting into college, passing my driver’s test and straight up independence and having my own pocket change.

I got to college, and the hill got steeper. Success was completing my degree and then gulp, actually getting a job in the field I spent the last four years studying.

After college, it was getting the job and working my way up. Where up was, it was supposed to be a large newspaper or magazine, where I became the editor, and had a nice office and being able to walk into a room and people be impressed by me.

I’m 31. I became a reporter, I became an editor. I live independently and I’ve got a list of things to complain about, but at the same time I know I’m blessed. I recognize it every day. But the biggest thing I learned this year is that dreams change, definitions of success change and that what? It’s actually ok. You didn’t abandon who you are, instead you are listening and listening more carefully.

I think there’s a big difference in people who haven’t found themselves and switch jobs every six months. You have to be grown and responsible. But if you take certain other risks, and you were a doctor for 10 years and decide you want to fly planes or build furniture, and you’d been taking lessons for a while and loved how you felt in the air, and long for that feeling when you see your patients or on weekends people admired a table you build, then why the hell not? The seeds had been planted. This may in fact, be who you are.

I’ve seen my friends and my family and other folks go through a number of life changes. Some folks got married, got divorced, had babies, lost loved ones, buy homes, launch businesses, go back to school and change ish up completely. I’ve seen people leave behind “dream jobs” to find peace of mind. I’ve seen people up and leave the country to seek themselves and new adventures.

I’ve seen friends on Facebook who I’ve gone to high school with defend being stay-at-home mothers and say it’s the best thing they’ve ever done.

I’ve seen friends on Facebook climb the ladder, gaining big promotions and going on lavish trips.

Who is the most successful of the two?

If both are happy with their lives as they are, right now, then both of them are. No contest.

We cannot define or dictate success to anyone else but ourselves.

There are a few people me and my friends joke about and sometimes say not so nice things about in terms of their life choices and where they are today. And one day, I asked a friend if the person we dogged so much was actually more free than any of us. My friend thought I was joking, but I wasn’t.

We considered him a loser for a number of reasons, and he kind of is. But if he is genuinely happy with his life, by my definition, he may very well be successful. It’s not up to me.

The older I get, the more I hate folks who aren’t genuine, and who are stuck on appearances and material things. You’ve read the blog. I love clothes and I swear before the good Lord, if I managed to increase my earnings, I would shop at high-end stores. I just would.

But at the same time, over and over, I’ve heard from friends who “seemed” to have it all complain over and over, that those bags and shoes and houses weren’t all they were cracked up to be, or they were still unhappy because they weren’t in a relationship, or they didn’t have kids, or someone they know on Facebook appears to be doing better than them.

If you are lucky, you can learn how to think for yourself. It’s not always easy. And maybe my risk-taking, bleeding heart, creative friends, and not growing up rich, but with a lot of love, makes it a bit easier to see the world this way.

Lately, I’ve had a really big desire to live my life fully, beyond the illusion, to seek beauty and wisdom and knowledge. I don’t want to be trapped in my thinking, or in my living. We have this huge gift of life and just one and the ability to love and feel and be.

There are moments I just want to be a hippie making music and art and love and to not worry about anything else. I want to sit in a cabin and drink tea and write or design tee shirts.

Then there are moments I want to be an academic, speaking and giving lectures. I want to pour over documents and find connections and be a part of some major think tank and lead thought to societal problems.

There are times I want to cook, and let the sweet smells fill my house and fill people’s bellies. I want to set beautiful tables and burn sweet smelling oils and drink from beautiful wine glasses with the people I love, well-dressed, healthy and happy.

There are times I want to be someplace beautiful on the other side of the world and be amazed by its wonder and let my mind wander. I want to be in crystal blue water, floating on my back and letting the sun warm my face and just look up at the sky.

The idealist in me is mad there is racism, and classism, and that smart, poor people may not ever get a chance to rise from their circumstances.

The older I get, and the more I think I’ve changed, the more I realize all of these things, these moments where I want to be those various things, that’s all me. It’s all of me. And I don’t have to be just one of them. And I can’t be. I’ll never be.

I told someone success is living the way you want to live with peace of mind despite outside forces. Success is understanding your power and beauty and what it is you bring to the world and having the humility to know you are such a tiny piece of the puzzle, but still essential to it.

When you know all of those things and you understand it, that’s huge.

When the stay at home mom says she has the most important job on the planet, I can’t knock it if that’s what she knows to be true in her heart. Same thing for a cop, the president, a baker, a butcher, candle stick maker, crossing guard, or teacher or grave digger or janitor or the CEO of Walmart (well that’s controversial) but still. Honestly, I want most of the people doing any job to all feel like it is important and bring pride to it.

Success is being able to sleep at night, knowing you did everything you could that day. Me and my boy talked once about what we would want people to say about us when we died. I hate the thought of dying. It scares me. It really does. But I did say this.

I want people to say that I was real, that I was genuine and that when I loved people, I meant it and I told them so and I showed them. I want people to say that I was funny and silly and gave what I could, whenever I could. I want people to say I was creative and loved creativity and being inspired by art and music and that to me nothing is greater than creative expression except God, who is the ultimate creator. He made the creative process so powerful on purpose, I believe to give us a glimpse on a micro-ist of micro levels to see what it’s like to be like Him. Watch any great singer or dancer or artist work. You can’t tell me it isn’t spiritual the place they go, the way they give themselves up. I want people to say I was appreciative and grateful, and gracious, and classy, and kind of mischevious, but I still had high expectations. I want people to say I believed in thinking and growing and learning and education and access and exposure.

Weird way to end. But that’s how I felt. Thanks for sticking till the end.

Launching a Business and Falling in Love: More Alike Than I Realized

So here we are.

I’m a scardy cat. I will admit it. I’m always freaked out about stuff before and while doing important things. I’ve mentioned that in my reporter days, I could never go out on a story without taking my “calm down dump.”

Seems like the knots in my stomach were VERY real and until I could take that dump, I wouldn’t be right to go out there and nab that story.

I am freaked out because I finally stopped making excuses and got to work on my tee-shirt website.

I worked with one do it yourself site, which required a lot of doing it yourself and I ended up frustrated, and left the work undone.

I allowed the defeat.

Finally one day, I realized, maybe I should just pay to use another, easier, more user-friendly site and keep it moving.

Pride aside, you don’t know enough to build it, or at least build it with these tools.

So with my mind made up to pay for a really great site, I got to work last night. It turns out the really great site has a free option. It’s limited, but it’s free and perfect for where I am in the process now. I will be upgrading, but I’m glad I started working on it.

The vision is coming together beautifully. And that’s what’s scary. Crap my pantalones scary, yall. Because here I am.

The photos, my models, who are my friends and the site looks mighty professional and sleek, in my opinion. I really can’t believe what I’m seeing. I’m so excited. All of my hard work since Fall 2011 is really starting to show results.

Straight up, if I didn’t have an artist of a friend of a photographer and gorgeous models who went to work and totally represented exactly what I wanted, the shirts would look like poo, if I tried to do this alone.

They elevated the game. I can’t even take credit.

But I’m scared. I had all of this planning, all of these classes I took, and now, basically the only real thing left to do is to get some inventory to get going and launch. Just put it out there and launch. See if people dig it, take some orders and go.

The planning and the learning helped me heal and gave me purpose it was an awesome distraction from my pain that allowed me to be creative. But now the nuts and bolts stuff I’ve been working toward is about to begin.

It will be time to launch. It is soon time to go out there and try and see if people feel what it is I’m putting out there. The idea I was afraid to say out loud, will be out there for the world to consume. This is no longer philosophical, folks.

Oh, that’s scary.

Deciding to follow a dream is a lot like allowing yourself to fall in love. Sometimes your expectations are too high, sometimes your expectations are too low depending on your skill level, history of success and self-esteem.

Both are highly risky, both are highly scary, but man when it works…

People looking in from the outside have all kinds of opinions. Some people agree with your choice, some question it, some hate it.  Some people think you are crazy for trying.

Launching a business and falling in love are so similar.

You find yourself thinking about both all of the time. You imagine what your future will be like if it all goes really well.

You try your hardest to make it work.

You want to be your absolute best for it.

You can’t deny the connection you feel to it. It haunts you.

You will spend a lot of money and make a lot of sacrifices and you won’t care about that unless it fails.

Something that keeps you going, that feeling reminds you that if you try hard enough, if you believe hard enough, it won’t fail.

“I Don’t Know” Soulive and Amel Larrieux

Lancelot Vs. Kyle Barker the Results Show

It’s been an interesting, eye-opening weekend.

In my last post, I waxed on about how Kyle Barker had this strange power over me. I alluded to his love of weed before, but after speaking with him and having drinks with him and hearing him wax on about how his recent trip to Jamaica was awesome because of the amount of weed he purchased and consumed and how he engaged in reckless drunken, and high behavior…

My bubble was burst.

I sat thinking, “What the hell? You are a grown man. You were on one of the most beautiful islands on the planet and weed was the only thing you can rave about? Not the scenery, not the food, or the music or even the beautiful people?”

Now fast forward to the next day, where a simple text between me and Lancelot turned into me spending the entire day at his lovely home. Sitting outside on his deck making drinks and talking about everything. Businesses, home buying, family, “the racism of low expectations,” so much. I cooked dinner. When the sun got in my face, he pitched a tent.

Looking at his well-manicured yard, he talked about the weeping willow which seemed to be the centerpiece.

I went nuts because, in one of my dreams from last week, when I was traipsing around the South, there were weeping willows a plenty. I love those trees. I told him about that dream. He smiled and said, “Well, I guess you are supposed to be right here right now.”

I kept staring at that tree. I told him he should rent his yard out to old church ladies so they could hold teas there, it was just that beautiful. I stretched out and let the cool breeze hit me. I saw birds with vibrant colors. I joked that even the air smelled different in his neighborhood than mine. And we probably live barely five miles apart.

I told him about how I used to marvel at trees down South. The real skinny ones that lined highway 95 or 85. You could tell they were old, but somehow they were ridiculously tall, but never snapped or bent. I used to think giants like the ones from Jack and the Beanstalk had to live up there.

“Strong roots,” Lancelot said.

“Yeah.”

He chuckled when I could see the colors on the wings of the birds and how excited I was to see them.

“This is what beautiful days should be like,” I said.

He said my amazement reminded him of when got lasik eye surgery and how it seemed like the entire world became this insanely vibrant place, with so many new secrets revealed, the smallest details of life normally missed, unfolding, now undeniable.

We talked all day and all night.

He loved the food and we ate until we were full.

We mixed drinks and I joked that usually I use the cheap stuff, when he offered up the good stuff. And boy there is a difference between the cheap stuff and the good stuff.

I was gone.

I paid for it dearly all day Sunday. But we still had a great time.

Day fell into night and at some point, he grabbed me and kissed me passionately. My head was spinning from everything I drank and from the moment.

I found myself nervous and quietly saying, “Please don’t kiss me like that if you don’t mean it.”

And I gave in.

Kyle Barker couldn’t be half the man Lancelot is on his best day.

Case closed.

Lancelot is the man who will tuck you in.

Kyle Barker will fuck you.

Lancelot is the man who will make you breakfast.

Kyle Barker will be long gone by then.

Lancelot will make you tea and bring you water and an aspirin.

Again, Kyle Barker will be gone and smoking.

Lancelot is the man who will reach for you in the middle of the night and hold you closer.

Kyle Barker will be gone and smoking.

Lancelot is the man who has a ten year plan and has long term visions he is certain of.

Kyle Barker has a great job, but he’s not game changing anyone’s life or providing folks with opportunities to empower themselves.

Lancelot is the man who won’t sell you a dream, he makes them come true and they are better than you originally imagined.

Kyle Barker is a means to an end guy. He does what he wants and what works for him at the moment.

Lancelot knows how to share. He gives freely. He is open, he is honest.

Kyle Barker is vague but that’s probably because he’s high.

Lancelot challenges you to be better.

Kyle Barker doesn’t care if you are better or worse as long as you aren’t wearing any panties.

I want to be better. I want to be more serious about my dreams and goals. He amazes me. I am inspired.

I respect him deeply.

And he’s a great kisser.

This is a no-brainer.

The Week O Dreams Continues; Oprah, I Mean, Ms. Winfrey, Pays Me a Visit

My most recent dream did not involve a man, or love or exes.

Thank you, God!

My most recent dream involved me hitting the road and visiting a dear friend in the state of Ohio.

I managed to pull over on the side of the road and get into an argument with a coach of what seemed like a new version of the Bad News Bears. I couldn’t remember much.

But another part of my dream, or a second dream that sticks out in my mind is that I had a ten-minute meeting with Oprah.

That’s right. I was kicking it with The Mighty O.

She was just as splendid meeting her in dream life than I would have ever imagined in real life.

Yeah. Play that back.

Lol.

Okay, so we are in a lovely room. Sunlight has entered. Lady O was wearing some soft, white top that I’m sure Olivia Pope, already has in her wardrobe. I’m sure.

Women with the confidence to wear delicate white clothing and not look afraid of dirt touching it all day inspire me. They are truly fearless.

Anyway. For some reason, I know I really only have ten minutes with Oprah, so I’m trying to make it count.

So, I keep it simple. I’m not asking her for a job, or a loan, or to send me to college. We are simply talking about books. We are specifically talking about “Twelve Tribes of Hattie” and while although she put her stamp of approval on it and made it apart of her book club, it left me feeling some kind of way and quite sad.

We agree to disagree on the awesomeness of the book, and I felt so at ease with Oprah. She was so awesome and gracious and present in the moment with me. She didn’t rush me, this was our time. She was all in. She wasn’t condescending or diva-like. She saw my humanity and we enjoyed our brief conversation.

Well, I felt really comfortable. Too comfortable. And I began to speak. I said, “Ms. Oprah…”

I was instantly stopped short. Oprah interrupted me.

Making one of her “honeychile” faces she looked me straight in the eyes and said, “No sweetie. Not yet. Ms. Winfrey.”

And she laughed.

And I had to laugh too. Totally embarrassed, thinking I committed the worst offense of all time, I think I managed a quiet, humble, “Yes, yes, Ms. Winfrey.”

Her smile and laugh was warm. She asserted herself to correct my misstep, but it was in a confident, kind, instructional way.

She did it in a way, not like a diva, or not like she was speaking down to me like a peasant.

It was wonderful.

But what I appreciated most was after her gentle, yet authoritative response was that she said, “Not yet.”

Not yet?

Hol up.

Does this mean, Opr… I mean Ms. Winfrey wants to actually speak to me again, where I can get to call her Ms. Oprah? Not Oprah, because I don’t even think Gayle can call her that. I just want to be able to like a good child, raised by Southern parents, refer to her lovingly as Ms. Oprah. It really is respectful. I mean it in a highly respectful, old school way.

Oh rapturous joy!

Does this mean Ms. Winfrey has taken an interest in me???

Oh what a dream!

There are a few things I can gather from this in real life, that I’ve been mulling over as I share this awesome story.

One, I have something in me that can be attractive to people from all walks of life. Humanity is shared, therefore from the youngest to the oldest, richest to the poorest, we can connect and we can learn and give and take something valuable from one another. Period.

When you walk into a room humbled by that fact, you can own that room.

I have some level of power and influence within myself that I haven’t tapped into… yet.

There was something so powerful and hopeful about that dream. Maybe I will meet Ms. Winfrey someday and she’ll think I’m awesome.

But I also learned something from the way Ms. Winfrey, in one sentence, spoke with such conviction into my life and hers, by saying yet… and by also reminding me of who she was in an authoritative, yet kind way.

It reminded me, one you can let people know who you are without being loud, or boisterous or saying, “Do you know who I am?”

Don’t be afraid to correct people when they have not earned the right to call you by your proper name. Don’t be a jerk, but when you know who you are, you can confidently let people know where they stand with you, without being offensive or coming off like you are better.

Be unapologetic. Let people know who you are. And know who you are so when people get it wrong, you can stop them right away.

I’ma say it one more time.

When you know who you are, correct folks right then when they incorrectly say who they think you are.

I got chills off of that.

That level of class speaks volumes of you and elevates others, because you took the time to respect them regardless of status or income or amount of power.

You can energize someone else “lower” than you, by showing them respect, giving them hope and showing that you share the same humanity.

I woke up this morning feeling like I could take on the world. Could you imagine if I actually met Ms. Winfrey? Lawd.

I’d just go ahead and run for president 2016 myself and really believe I could win.

“Lighthouse” by Fantasia (This is my latest, favorite positive jam.)

Funks, Shopping and Dream Intrepretation for Dummies

So after work, I treated myself to a nice sushi dinner (man, I miss my sushi half-priced happy hour place), and decided on a whim to go to the mall and treat myself some more.

I was feeling really funky and needed a lift. So, I found an amazing, flattering dress from Loft, a cute pair of shorts for the summer from H&M an awesome pair of pants that look like I tend to hang out at Bazaars in Marrakesh also from H&M, and the Jimmy Choo fragrance rollerball (when you want to be somebody else, sometimes just smell different) and my favorite French face mist from Sephora. Oh, and a lemonade.

It was a splurge. I can admit. But it was nice. When I got home, I took a long shower and burned incense and put on fresh sheets.

I tried to do all of the simple things I know make me feel good.

When I went to sleep last night, I had three dreams. But I remember two of them. In the second dream, I appeared to be on a college Real World-type show. I wasn’t really getting along with any of my roommates who all had two or three pets, which drove me nuts. I kept explaining over and over that I didn’t have a problem with animals, but they were too big and too many.

It seemed like I was the nerd of the group and the other girls claimed I didn’t have a big butt. I know those simple chicks were lying. But I did manage to connect with a very cool male roommate, who happened to be familiar with the area and he and I would sneak off and just visit the town and look at the old buildings. Something tells me we were in Louisiana or Savannah. The vibe was hot and humid and sexy and warm. There were gardens and old buildings, the pace was slow. He explained to me history we laughed and walked arm-in-arm. He made me feel not like the unlikable nerd of the house, but quite beautiful. I felt this energy rushing through me. He was calm and cool and he didn’t have to say it, but I knew he liked me too. I knew he wanted to protect me and show me a world greater than the one I was clumsily trying to navigate, frustrated and unsure of myself.

That’s all I remember.

The second dream, I was in Greece. That’s for sure. Me and a Howard classmate, who I currently admire professionally were racing through the streets in a tiny, yet powerful red sports car. I was leaning on his arm as he drove and we darted in and out of these massive columns and long-standing monuments of Greece. I hate when men drive too fast, darting in and out of traffic. But for some reason, I enjoyed this. In Greece, it was awesome. Again, I felt flirty and sexy and completely alive. I felt like I could feel every atom, every bit of water and oxygen and blood flowing through my body. Oddly enough, I knew the person I was having this moment with had to be a metaphor, because I don’t really see myself with this person in real life, but being with him in that moment, felt completely correct.

I woke up to one of my best friends texting me. Then I realized it was 8 a.m. I leave my house for work at 8 a.m. I overslept, I was late. Three days of rain. Three days of dismalness.

I found myself rushing around the house and managed to get myself together in a span of ten minutes.

The whole way to work (about an hour of driving) I kept thinking about those dreams.

In both of those dreams, I was totally in love. In both of those dreams, I felt safe with the person I was with. I was able to let go and let them show me new worlds and I was happy. There was something familiar about each guy, even though they were both different, but the feeling was the same. There was joy. There was an appreciation for the moment as it was happening. Nothing else mattered. I wasn’t thinking about the future, I damn sure wasn’t thinking about the past. I forgot about all of the things I tend to find wrong with myself and I let myself be the woman who those men saw.

But then I panicked while on my way to work.

What did those dreams really mean? What was going on in my subconscious? Was it telling me the kind of man I really wanted and needed? The kind I’m truly yearning for?

The other piece of the puzzle was how easy it felt when I was with those dream guys. Love was coming out of my pores.

I wasn’t questioning anything. It was just happening.

Anything they would have asked me to do, I’m quite certain I would have done it.

I had already had a tiny anxiety attack at work yesterday in which I had to get up from my desk and take a walk in the rain to calm myself. I couldn’t put myself through that again.

I nearly want to cry right now, because I was reminded, if not but for a moment how that felt. I miss that feeling.

I keep on tricking myself into wanting a mature, stable, practical love. A love that is safe.

But love isn’t really safe. Not all the time anyway.

Love is a fucking risk.

As we get older, we get less reckless. We are super aware of our limitations, and history and failures and success tend to dictate how we proceed. We take fewer risks.

We do that with love too. We train ourselves to believe all sorts of stuff to be with who we think we should, and to talk us out of being with people who we think we shouldn’t be with. We get lost.

Our pain, our pain, it messes with us the most. Fear of pain drives us to be horribly safe, and even with in the confines of the safety prison we’ve built for ourselves. We’ve managed to be just as miserable. We have no cuts, no bruises, no stories. Yet, we suffocate.

I am suffocating. Right now. I am. It’s hard to fall asleep at night. It’s hard to stay awake during the day. I ache to be free. I want to go away for six months, travel, write, make bad art, drink wine, make love. Sing in a band and do the bass player, then write a song about what a ho he is. Wear sunglasses and sundresses with no panties. Wear long braids that I can feel on my back when I get out of the shower and swing them around. Just live. I don’t want to worry about bills, or love or falling in love or getting hurt or being alone, or being confused and neurotic, or being lonely, or choosing the right path, or being better.

I want to be someplace else. I want to be somebody else, but still me. Sometimes I want to be the spunky little kid I was. Sometimes, I want to be the fierce teenager who did everything. She sang, she played sports, she served the community, she was a nerd. Sometimes, I want to be a college student testing out my independence, partying, staying up all night long with my new friends talking about ridiculous things, then serious things, then studying and achieving.

I’m at a crossroads. There’s who I was, who I am and who I’m going to be. It’s getting so hard to see sometimes who I’m going to be especially based on who I was and who I am right now. I used to be able to see it so clearly.

The Choking Kind. Joss Stone

It’s Already Been Decided

I’ve been wrapped up in knots about a major opportunity that I’m hoping happens for me.

Knots.

The anxiety has been making me nuts.

I’ve been very careful not to give folks too many details, for fear of jinxing it. And not even jinxing, but I’ve learned there are times you need to sit still, be quiet and keep your mouth closed. You go about your business and when it’s time to reveal something, especially once you’ve attained it, instead of each and every detail of the process, the fewer questions you have to answer along the way and even after, if it doesn’t work out.

One of my favorite mentors in the world basically affirmed me yesterday in a simple statement.

“It’s already been decided.”

Boom.

She is another woman of faith, who doesn’t beat you over the head with religion, perse, but with her actions, with her words of affirmation and comfort, you know God leads her life. No sign, no pamphlet, no guilt.

The history with this person is strong. When I didn’t know her very well, I stepped out on faith and told her just how close I was to failing and getting fired at a particular job early in my career.

She asked me why I didn’t come to her sooner. She didn’t see me the way the other superiors saw me. She saw talent, drive and promise. From that point on she called me a weeble (80s babies know what the weebles are. They are a family of egg-shaped people who can be dropped and will wobble around, but still stand up straight no matter what you do.). When she referred to me as such in a message yesterday, I just wanted to cry and hug her for a while. We used to do that too.

She addressed my enemies and said she would be personally responsible for me and whipping me into shape. She went to the mat for me when I was even starting to doubt myself as a reporter and writer and she helped me focus. She stabilized my confidence during one of the most difficult times in my career. She is a major influence on me. I am forever grateful to her. Words are not enough.

So, let’s get to how all of this started. She posted a video on Facebook where Oprah discusses how she got the role of Sophia for the Color Purple. She instantly had a connection to this book from the moment she read a review in the New York Times, and literally ran out of her house with a robe covering her pjs to buy it, and then basically inhale it in the same day. Then she bought more copies and gave them to anyone who’d take it.

When there was talk of a movie, she knew she had to be a part of it somehow.

She did not have experience as an actress and was scared and felt inadequate in comparison to others auditioning.

I was thinking about the opportunity before me. It’s bigger than anything I’ve ever done and if I had truly known from the start what I was getting into, I would have been too scared to go for it.

Oprah said in her video, that God’s plans for us are bigger than ourselves.

I wrote this as a Facebook post like two days ago.

She said she had to surrender and let go to whatever her fate was going to be and make the decision to be happy for whomever gotten the role if she didn’t. She said she prayed and cried and sang, “I surrender all.”

And she got the call. She was Sophia and it opened the way for her to get a national television show… and we all know what happened after that.

I told my mentor that I needed to see that clip, I needed to hear those words, because it was a straight affirmation for what’s going on in my life and the changes that are coming.

She said she knew it would speak to someone, and that she too finally had the opportunity to sit still and quiet her mind because she is on bed rest for her pregnancy (im thrilled for her new addition). But the biggest thing that hit me like a ton of bricks is when she said we have inside us all we need, but we have to trust it. “Keep me posted when you get the new gig. It’s already been decided.”

“It’s already been decided.”

Some people who have faith, they live in this everyday. It’s been decided. God has things already mapped out.

Some people believe in predetermination, where our fate is decided.

My anxiety lifted.

It’s been decided.

This is the video. I hope you’ll be inspired too.

 

My Creative God Complex

I am creatively restless.

I am about to explode. There is so much in me.

I lamented to a friend that I was itching to get out of my office, go away someplace, create, write, paint badly on canvas (never painted in my life), eat the most wonderful foods, drink amazing wines and have sex. That would make me happy right now.

My day dreams are becoming really powerful these days. Too powerful, distracting, and intoxicating for me to ignore and not act. They are far more fabulous and filled with passion and purpose than my current state.

In them, I am ridiculously happy, well-dressed, healthy and traveling as I please. I am working on my various projects, I am launching my novel. My non-profit for young women is doing powerful things.

Tyler Perry and Oprah are very interested in turning the novel into a movie. I’m asking Tyler over lunch respectfully about how he feels about the black bourgeoise crucifying him on every turn and blaming him for the coonization of black people in today’s media landscape, and how my main concern is that honestly those same people are the ones who love my book. How will he and his brand legitimize me in the movie world? He looks at me intently and says he loves the challenge and that is exactly why he was drawn to the material. His question was how will me and my book finally make those folks see him with different eyes?

He assures me not to worry. He’s ecstatic that I am so humble and wanted to learn everything about screenwriting that I can. He is impressed that I tactfully asked my question about coonery to his face. I’m so heavily invested in my book, and my characters that while I’m open to working with the pros, I want to be hands on…

See there I go.

To make matters better or worse, I get a breathless email from a friend who is traipsing through China this week, eating great food, exercising vigorously, immersing himself in language and culture and having a wonderful time. I’m jealous and inspired at the same time.

My sister sends me an adorable photo of the diorama of the wetlands she (mostly probably) and my nephew made for a school project. I think it is the finest diorama I have ever beheld.

These things heighten my senses.

I opened my fridge this morning to find spilled milk. I laughed while cleaning it up, and laughed harder at the irony of laughing at spilled milk. I thought of a new shirt design from that one incident. I thought of writing this blog. The creative force was beckoning me and I was already starting to run late for work.

Work is standing in the way of the greatness rumbling within. Damn…

Because I feel I am an artist today. On this extraordinarily rainy day, I decide to wear large jewelry, a shorts jumper over a white turtle neck, and blue tights, a massive statement necklace and long black jacket and tall black boots. It’s so extra for where I’m going to spend the next 8 hours, but I’ve got to be free. I’ve got to express myself today and through my clothes too (fashion is art). I recently finished reading an amazing novel, “The Human Stain”. I believe in order to be a great writer, you have to read great reading and study what the author was doing.

I was entranced by these characters Philip Roth developed. They each had a story that was thoughtfully played out. They were flawed, they were messy, arrogant, some how they were all intertwined with one another. They had secrets, they made massive mistakes, they carried their pain and they were often reckless in the quest to feel alive and free, if only momentarily.

I followed that connection in me. This yearning for reckless freedom. Freedom from the hold that paying bills and eliminating debt has on me. Freedom from the quick, scary pangs of fear when it’s really quiet in my apartment and I hear a random sound foreign to the regular sounds of my home and realize I am alone.  Whatever that sound is, if it is evil and wants to have at me, it has a very good chance of doing me in and no one will be able to save me.

I fill the noise with the low hum of the radio, say a prayer and go back to sleep.

So how do I break free?

The sobering reality is, I have to toil on in my practical world to pay the bills and finance my dreams that I feel are well within my reach.

Then came the rational roll-up-my-sleeves mantra I’ve adopted to “do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do.”

In my Holy Spirit-filled home church, there was a saying people often said. “Your gift will make room for you.”

This meaning, if you stick to your God-given talents, acknowledge Him in it, recognize where it comes from always, opportunities will present themselves.

I am a creative person. I am a writer. I had gotten so far from the writing path professionally for a number of reasons. It’s time to come back full circle, this time doing it on my terms. I’ll finish my book. Tyler and Oprah will come…

I feel a power and a connection to God when I write from my heart or when I sing. The creative force itself is Godly, in my opinion. Why wouldn’t it be? He is the ultimate Creator, I think He delights when we start combining our intellect and what’s in our soul to make something meaningful, even if it is only to one person.

Folks often think when we love others unconditionally, or treat people kindly, that is when we are most God-like.

That’s cool, But I think when we create something, see an idea through until it is materialized into something we can see, hear or feel, smell or taste (food is art too) that’s when He says, “Wow, look at my children.”

When we make something beautiful or useful or meaningful, I think that’s when we are most like Him.

Dream, Plan, Execute, Celebrate, Elevate, Repeat.

Dream, plan, execute, celebrate, elevate, repeat.

That came to me this morning when I was getting out of bed.

I was thinking about the business I’m working on, the creative process and success.

Dream.

Man, my dreams are big. My dreams involve a lifestyle brand involving clothing, eventually a perfume, a social networking community, blog, internet radio show and internet t.v. show. I already have planned out a photo shoot, the models, the themes and what my website will look like.

I know what my brand launch party will look like, and even the very cool space where I want to have it. I see the appetizers and people sipping on drinks and video and photos from my shoot enlarged, projected on the walls as loud music pulsates through the room. Family and friends are there, I’m being interviewed by bloggers and local media. People are buying my products.

I dream about visiting a new city and seeing strangers wearing one of my shirts, stopping them to take a photograph to put on my website and being blown away.

Plan. 

I enlisted help. I am enrolled in a program geared towards grooming female entrepreneurs and the classes are intense. But it’s totally worth it. They also offer other networking functions where you get to meet other women business owners and exchange ideas and find mentors. It’s a supportive environment where I can actually see my project off the ground in a realistic way, acknowledging my own shortcomings and where I have to grow or put in more work. They have me crunching numbers, doing research, market research, establishing my target customer, figuring out who my competition is, etc. Refining my idea, going back to smaller goals and attacking those one-by-one.

Execute.

I’m executing my plan by being enrolled in the course. By working on designs and making samples, wearing my samples and getting feedback. Working on the concepts for the blog, t.v. show, securing my models and a photographer and planning my photo shoot for the summer. I write down any and every idea and I’m constantly looking for inspiration. I study people/brands who are doing things similar to what I’m trying to do at the smaller levels and I’m studying companies doing it on a much larger scale, seeing where I can grow.

I saw the best quote ever last week. This one business owner said, that you should love the business you have started and should be working harder than your friends with the so-called “real jobs.”

So in addition to my real job, I have to put in the time on my business. My day doesn’t end when I leave my real job. I should still be working on ideas and making decisions and plans and studying.

Celebrate.

When my samples show up, I celebrate. When the photo shoot happens, me my models and photographer will celebrate. When I launch the site and make my first sales, I will celebrate. When I actually turn a profit, I will really celebrate. I enjoy seeing my ideas come to life and it makes me feel I am one step closer to the entire dream happening. As a journalist, seeing my byline in print never got old. Mini celebrations all around. If you don’t celebrate accomplishments great and small, you are going to put a lot of pressure on yourself and the distance between you and the bigger picture is going to seem a whole lot farther away.

Elevate.

After you celebrate, it’s immediately time to look over what you did and figure out how to improve upon it. Can I make this better? Is there something I see now that I didn’t see before? How can I save myself time and energy and money the next time around? Who else can I ask for help who knows a particular area very well?

Repeat.

Go back to the dream state. I always go back to dreaming about that launch party, dreaming about the photo shoot and dreaming about how the web site will look. I dream about eventually being able to use the philanthropic arm of my company to visit young women in middle and high schools and talk about dreams, their talents and about the planning and execution of their dreams. I dream about giving stand-out girls and women scholarships and internship opportunities, and jobs to support themselves and their families.

When I imagine myself as a kick-ass business woman, I envision myself giving a presentation like this someday, just for the hell of it. Love this scene from Charlie’s Angels.

Mom and Dad I’m Sorry

It’s about 5 am. I had a dream that unsettled me. I was out and about without a care in the world in some diner and my uncle somehow found me.

In his calm, cool but oh so humbling tone, he proceeded to tell me that my parents were worried about me and wished that I would take the time to just call. He said he felt the need to drive from NY to Maryland to give me that message personally, face-to-face.

It shot straight to my heart. I wrapped up my food and left feeling horrible.

I woke up and called right away.

No answer, I panicked.

* Background for context: My dad just got a cell phone in the fall and the reason why he finally did it was actually to rescue me, find me in NYC to give me money when I made the bus trip to go to a wedding and left my wallet wedged in the seat of my car at the park and ride where I caught the bus…in Maryland. I called my dad and he went and bought a prepaid phone so he could find me wherever I was once he got into the city.

This morning, I called his cell, it was off. I forgot we didnt set up his voicemail, because he said he didnt need it. My dad isnt much of a phone person.He fought against buying a cell phone for soooo long, but he didn’t hesitate when he heard his baby girl was in trouble!

Back to this morning, again…. I sent him a text. “Love you Dad. Miss you. Hope you remember how to find your texts.”

He just called me back now. It made me feel so good to hear his warm voice with a twinge of a North Carolina drawl come through the phone.

I told him about my dream and how I knew I had to call and that he and mom have done so much for me and that I miss them. That I got a little scared and with the sudden passing of the amazing Whitney Houston, I felt like they needed to know I love them so much and they needed to know right NOW. I would not be able to return to a restful sleep without speaking to at least one of them.

He told me it was alright and that he did talk to me for my birthday last week and he knew I was busy. That week felt so long for some reason to me and we arent the type of family that needs to call everyday. Usually two weeks is our max of going without a call. I told him I wanted to do better.
I told him about my week, and having to get the heat fixed on my car.

He interrupted me politely, suggesting we carry on this conversation later on the house line.
Not because he just arrived at work and had to go.

Because, “You usin’ up all the minutes on my phone!” He said with a chuckle.

That’s my daddy.

If your parents or parental figures are living and breathing, call them today. Even for two minutes.

If they are not here, remember a special moment you had with them that always makes you smile or laugh.

It’s Valentine’s eve and that day is not only about romantic love. I’ll talk more about this tomorrow.

RELATED POST: “The Reality of Your Parent’s Mortality”

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