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Archive for the tag “self-esteem”

Connecting Others to Their Purpose Seems to Be Becoming My Purpose

It is no secret that I am a cheerleader for my friends and loved ones.

If there is something you want to do, I generally believe you can do it, even when I’m lacking confidence in my own life.

One of my closest friends has been struggling to find a job, as a lot of people are in these times.

I’ve always said what she has needed most is a great, well-connected mentor.

I’ve been looking and looking, and I think I found her the perfect person. I reached out to this person a few days ago. We hadn’t talked in years, but this woman had an impact on my early in my career. I sent her a very humble, yet passionate email describing how much I love my friend, and how I think that her mentorship will do my friend a great deal of good and point her in the right direction of entering a related field.

This well-connected woman reached back out to me, said she totally remembered me and appreciated the fact that I wanted so badly for my friend to succeed and was so ready to advocate on her behalf. She said she’d be delighted to contact my friend and help her in any way possible.

I have been over the moon about that this morning, because I do believe this interaction– which is now up to my best friend to knock out of the park, can set in motion just what she needs to get her to where she’s been wanting to go.

That moment inspired me greatly.

Right after that email, I saw another from a company I applied with over a year ago and went on an interview for.

They said according to my qualifications in their system, they suggested a position. Normally, these suggestions are way off, and well below my pay requirements.

I’ve been comparing salaries in this area, and this job could potentially make me happy. So I’m going to apply.

I was talking to my other friend I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, a lot about purpose and wondering if as a writer, professionally, I’ve been drifting further and further from what I originally wanted when I set out to be a world-class journalist.

Maybe I did drift, and maybe being a writer for newspapers may no longer be a desire of mine, but I will always be a writer.

But something else has been happening with me. Writing this blog, gives me the opportunity to still do what I love and I love writing this blog and I love the positive feedback people give me.

The other piece of my heart and purpose now really is advocacy. I think this job I’ve come across has the potential to do that. I said several posts ago, I’ve accepted my lot at my current job, and would only apply to jobs that really move me, instead of applying to jobs for more money or to get the hell out.

I’m learning to listen to myself. And I’m listening.

So let’s give it a go.

I took this a step further and decided to write myself a mission statement. If companies and organizations can write them to establish goals and organizational culture for groups of people, why can’t we do this personally? Individually?

I will use my talents and experience as a professional communicator to be an advocate and cheerleader for health, education, the arts, women and girls, and the disenfranchised.

 

I will connect people to resources that will lead them to achieve optimum mental and physical health, and identify and utilize their own creativity, skills and talents in positive and powerful ways.

 

I will use my gifts to empower others.

 

Creativity is my guiding force and inspiration, I will continue to seek inspiration and challenge myself in my creative pursuits– through literature, music, visual arts, technology and entrepreneurial endeavors.

 

Today, I challenge you to really think about the things you love, the things that inspire you and make you feel good and think about your talents used and unused, and the skills you use every day as well as the skills people are always asking you to use. Create your own mission statement and post it someplace to remind you of who you are and what REALLY drives you.

Posting this in my cube has already given me a new feeling and a sense of greater purpose. I’m saying it out loud and whoever comes by my desk will see it too. I’m giving my thoughts real power and standing behind it and challenging myself to live up to it.

I Love Others Better When I’m Loving Myself

Photo credit: Dan/freedigitalphotos.net

Photo credit: Dan/freedigitalphotos.net

I woke up this morning and I didn’t want to work out. I just didn’t want to.

But I did.

Because it’s Valentine’s Day and I love myself.

I finished the workout and I felt good.

I was glad I loved myself enough to do what I was supposed to do for myself and my body.

In my Facebook status, I told folks to remember that love never fails, and to celebrate love in all of its manifestations in your life. Be it friends, family, and yourself.

Do not make today just about romantic love. Or dwell on the fact that you have it, or you don’t.

Celebrate love period. Celebrate it with your parents, call your grandparents if they are still alive.

Call your old play cousin.

Give your kids a candy heart or a bear. My dad did this every year in my house and I wrote a very long and heartfelt blog about how this influenced me last year. Folks really responded to it and it was so touching to me.

Tell your close friends you love them.

A dear friend of mine and I were talking about how special it was that our dads gave us valentines every year growing up.

She lost her dad when we were in college, and the memory made her cry. I told her it’s ok to be sad, but also just be thankful that you knew he loved you and showed you how a man is supposed to love and honor you. We were on the phone and I felt so bad I couldn’t hug her. So we stopped talking about it.

When I saw her a few days later, I snuck a saucy valentine’s day card in her work bag.

She saw the card yesterday and she thanked me. She’s going to drop by some valentine’s cupcakes for me today.

That means something.

I will be making dinner for the boo thang. It’s cool, but it’s not a super, big deal.

I did actually wear red and pink today and I feel cute. I found some red pants from Target for like $12 bucks. I’m rocking it hard. And rocking my red lip. Fun times.

Also in my Valentine’s status today, I said that the first person we need to say I love you to, today is the person looking at us in the bathroom mirror.

I can say, flaws and all, I love myself. I love my God and I love my friends and family. It’s not about a man. I’m happy that I can spend the day with someone I like spending time with, but I think if I wasn’t in the early stages of dating someone, I’d feel the same way I feel today and that’s a huge deal and it’s something to be proud of. The more I love myself, the more I can share love with others and give it freely and not fear being hurt or taken advantage of. The more I love myself, the more I can be patient and compassionate with others when they need a little extra love and attention and it won’t cost me anything, it won’t be as emotionally taxing.

Think of the times you are stressed out, and unhappy with your life or yourself. Any problem the people in your life have, it feels ridiculously heavy. You are almost angry with them that they are going through drama at the same time, because you know you can’t give your best to them.

I love the book the Five Love Languages, but for real. You have to fill your own love tank too and do things for yourself, that you know you enjoy and love.

Get your massage. Try a new fragrance. Order from your favorite take out for lunch. Work out. Write a list of things you like about yourself. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Wear your favorite outfit. Listen to your favorite music. Talk to a person in your life that you admire. Be like me and marvel at some new furniture and be happy about the abundance in your life where ever you can find it.

So, today I’m commanding you fabulous folks to look at yourself and love what you are looking at, then smile.

I looked in the mirror with my red lip, dressed and ready to go to work. And oh so quietly I whispered, “I love you.” I watched myself smile and laugh a little, then I turned out the light, grabbed my keys and marched out the door.

When You Look Good, You Will Have to Save Your Company and then Sing

I look awesome today.

I just do. I can say this because sometimes I don’t give my all. There are no hot guys here, nuff said.

I did it on purpose. I wore my favorite gold sweater with a chunky gold necklace, green slacks and my patent black boots with gold trim around the heel.

I wore bright red lipstick, and wore my fancy ponytail hair twisted into a loose, elegant bun.

After working out, and taking my shower, this thought came to me:

“I want to stunt on these hoes today.”

Now, there weren’t any particular hoes I wanted to stunt on, it was just a phrase.

But I then thought to myself, why do I want to stunt on hoes? I mean don’t they have it bad enough as it is?

You aren’t really challenging yourself, if you’re trying to stunt on hoes.

Like, you are not to be played with EVER if you find yourself in a room with Oprah or Michelle Obama or Beyonce and you somehow manage to successfully stunt on them. Good luck with that.

Hmmm. See where my mind goes? Anyway, I decided to stunt on the general population today.

And it was a good thing. For some reason, I had to defend my department today and speak to folks sternly in meetings, and I’m glad whilst I was reading folks the riot act and getting my point across, I at least gave them something to look at.

And I guess it came in handy when I was summoned to lead a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” to a co-worker.

I heard my name. I thought folks just wanted me to stop working and have cake.

I oblige. Then there are about 14 sets of eyes staring at me.

“Well, we heard you can sing.”

Me: “Umm.”

“Start us off, so-and-so (the other person who can sing) isn’t here.”

Me looking at the crowd and the waiting birthday person: “This is embarrassing.”

Awkward silence.

Now, I realize that the Super Bowl was chalk-full of talented, black women singing all up and through, but really?

Yall want me to sing?

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Crowd quietly looking at me. Cake candles burning…

“Oh, so yall really want me to sing? This is embarrassing.”

Crowd still looking.

Me: “Uh, alright. Everybody now.. Happpppy Birttthday, to you…”

So look fly.

You never know when you have to return your bosses’ frantic, misdirected crunkness with style, or lead the office birthday song. But when you do, no one can dispute, you looked good as hell doing it.

Lucky Girls

Great wall of Lucky covers! Ultimate Lucky Girls.

Great wall of Lucky covers! Ultimate Lucky Girls. (Screencapture Google Image Search)

When I was a bright-eyed college student, one of my roommates always bought Lucky magazine.

I’d read hers, and eventually I was hooked myself.

In the beginning, during the college years, I would marvel at all of the great clothes, shoes and handbags I couldn’t afford.

But what seemed to get me the most were the women they featured. Not the celebrities, but the “regular” women they called “Lucky girls.”  They really inspired me. Especially the ones who were editors and writers and gadget queens.

*Sidebar, I don’t know what the hell happened over at Lucky, but they have really stepped it up in terms of diversity. There are way more women of color in there now and I’m loving that they are doing features with plus sized and regular sized women with curves. They have made me fall in love with them all over in a very real way.

They weren’t much older than me, but they wore the awesome clothes, shoes and handbags and they had great jobs…IN NEW YORK and other ridiculously expensive places.

I wanted nothing more than to one day be able to attain enough professional success, and effortless, classic style so I could land in Lucky’s pages.

I’m 30, and I look at those pages in a different way. I’ve managed to work my way up from grinding as an editorial intern, a metro desk reporter, to a web editor, and I guess you could say, hey throw on an outfit and Lucky, where’s my close up?

But, I look in the pages and now I see these uber fabulous women who are younger than me. I’m jealous again. But knowing fabulous women personally, and being one myself, it’s hard. It’s lonely. It’s frustrating and difficult. The expectations fabulous women place on themselves are enough to cause permanent scoliosis. There is pressure, there is wanting to stay ahead of the curve and the fear of falling behind and never being able to catch up. There is keeping up the appearances. Making others happy, staying sane, proving you deserve everything you’ve got and everything else you’re trying to get. They are duty bound to their loved ones, they are leaders in what they do.

I take nothing from the gals who grace those pages. I’m certain they had to work very hard, but as I reflect on my career, and my closet (which doesn’t have that many luxury brands, but is still friggin fab) , I’m wondering, am I a Lucky girl?

Did I do enough? There are some over 30’s in the magazine, don’t get me wrong. But seeing 27-year-old powerhouses who still have early 20’s bodies and dream jobs, luxury apartments, etc. it makes me feel some kind of way.

When you feel like you’ve hit a rut, even the most supportive people in the world like me tend to lose it when they see people who are too fabulous to be true. A friend emailed me an amazing article in Apartment Therapy about this stunning woman who had an insanely awesome apartment in a chic area of Northern Virginia. Something about it kind of sent me in a funk.

Then, one of my best friends, who was in a funk, just whisked herself away to a resort out of the country for the last 7 days.

I am jealous of these people. I just am. Keep in mind, in comparison to other people I know, I’m blessed beyond ridiculous belief. I can afford to live on my own, and even though I had to suffer a pay cut last year, I’m still able to pay my bills comfortably– something I could not do two years ago, for sure. I’ve rebuilt my credit. I actually have a credit card again and I know how to use it properly now.

I don’t have to take care of any children or anything like that.

I know with more money or with more anything, one has even more stresses and responsibilities, but there are days where being the Lucky girl seems so far away.

On the flip side, the current economic climate isn’t a joke. I’m well aware, which makes my bellyaching sound so self-indulgent and insensitive to the millions of people who are unemployed and working very hard to really get their lives going. There are so many young people coming out of colleges and universities to a very bleak situation. I have friends with multiple degrees, struggling.

Ask any of them, and I’m sure they’d slap me for this woe-filled post of rambling.

Bi*&^, you are a Lucky Girl. Shut up.

I am a Lucky girl. I don’t need a fancy title or to be a 20-something with a multimillion dollar startup and $500 pumps.

I am where I am right now. And that needs to be ok. It’s fine to keep dreaming and to keep striving, but to keep beating myself up, because I drive a 13-year-old car, I rent an apartment in an area that is increasingly annoying me (the smell of weed wafted into my place last night), or going nuts over and over about my current job. It’s exhausting.

And the college girl who looked at those magazines and dreamed would probably be in awe of the 30-year-old writing this post right now. She’d probably be thrilled that we actually made it this far and not figuring out which relative to ask for money this month because she asked so-and-so last month.

I’ve come a long way, and for that and nothing else,

I am a Lucky girl.

TMI Alert: A Hairy Situation

Spoiler Alert: I’m talking about body hair and I’m also talking about the love below. If you are a young reader, you may want to have a discussion with a cool aunt, older sister or your mom before or after reading this. I’m kinda graphic, but it could have been much worse. If you are a man, you may get privy to how to have a civil conversation with your lady about her parts without wrecking her sexual self-esteem.

Ambro/freedigitalphotos.net

Back in the late 90s early 2000’s a lot of rap artists put silly skits in between songs.  One of the quotes often quoted by me and my friends come in the form of a skit called the “mad rapper.”

The angry rapper was just a certified, bona-fide, hater and he’d always have someone say, “Tell em why you mad, son.” And then he goes on his rant.

Well I had that moment today.

I need to get my eyebrows threaded. Yes, I am that chick. I’ve stopped waxing because, it seems to last longer in my opinion.

So I purposely go to the quiet mall that elderly people like, and get my brows done during my lunch break.

No one is ever in that place.

Oh, but not today. There was not one but two young girls. One clicking away on a cell phone. She was probably 13 or 14. The girl in the chair getting her brows done looked like a younger sister maybe 9. The little girl is saying, “ouch, this hurts.”

The older one not looking up from the cell phone says, “it’s supposed to.”

So I sit and wait hoping they will leave. Nope, the older snarky one still has to go and is telling the eyebrow stylist (I made that up) to just hold on while she’s figuring out why her instagram isn’t working.

I’m through so I walk out and go to the sad, sad food court to eat and hope they are gone by the time I return.

I eat, I return and now their mother is hovering over the chair inspecting the handiwork of the eyebrow stylist, and with her is a third adolescent girl.

I was so mad.

First of all, I never got my eyebrows formally waxed until my freshman year of college. And boy did it make a difference in my features. We aren’t friends anymore, but thank you Maya, wherever you are.

Back to why all of this matters. I couldn’t believe how casual these girls, who were all under 17 were about getting their eyebrows done.

It made me a little sad. Then it made me think of how I didn’t have a problem with any of my body hair, until other people pointed it out and made me feel bad about it. So people are starting on these girls, really early. Or I was just really sheltered and oblivious.

I really wasn’t aware of my hairs, or how unattractive they are to society until middle school while working on my rocket in technology club a boy pointed out he could see my armpit hairs when I raised my arms to work on it.

I was mortified.

Until that day, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me, those hairs, and that boys were looking up under there.

I immediately took my dad’s razor and began secretly shaving my pits.

I’m so sorry daddy. Here you are shaving your face after I’ve shaved my little 13-year-old pits. I’m so, very sorry.

Then I found out a year or so later on the volleyball team that leg hair just really had to go too.

I was so depressed. So I shaved my legs, once again with daddy’s razor. My mom didn’t want me to start shaving and said so when I brought it up. So I snuck. So sorry daddy.

When the other only black girl on the team, a year older than me declared she didn’t shave above her knees, I felt as if that was a good idea, and so, I didn’t shave above my knees.

I told them to go take a hike when they all agreed one girl on the team was perfect because her thighs never touched when she walked.

I decided in my mind that girl was a genetic anomaly and that a little contact while you walked wasn’t a serious issue.

It wasn’t until college that I realized men were waaay more obsessed with the “hair down there” than I was.

For spring break one year, I knew the importance of keeping the bikini line clean and raced for the Nair. I wasn’t about to be looking crazy in South Beach.

But once again, sheltered little me didn’t know the rules of the game.

I was so busy concentrating on the bikini line, a Miami weed man with dreads, and Caribbean accent, who was crushing on me that week complemented me on my confidence and declared my “happy trail” was sexy.

I was totally confused as to what he was talking about. Noticing I needed further explanation, he tickled my stomach and stopped just short of my bikini bottom.

Damn it. Those little bitty hairs? You have to shave your stomach too? I must be a hairy monster.

Why didn’t anyone tell me?

I was so embarrassed. He could tell I had no clue and he just kept telling me how cute I was.

I went back to the room and commenced with the Nair on my stomach too, just below the belly button. Damn.

I honestly thought the hair on the love below was supposed to be there, because it was there and more covering for well, the private parts. And after having a first sexual partner, who was my long time boyfriend, who never had a problem with it or mentioned it, it didn’t occur to me until a couple of partners later, hair or no hair was such a big deal to certain men.

One jerky boyfriend during my early 20s wouldn’t leave it alone.

“You should really shave it. It will make it feel better, for both of us.”

I was livid.

I felt like he was rejecting me and my little lady. That it wasn’t good enough, which was a damn lie, because my first loved me and it, and had no problems with saying hello face, to, um face before, now he wants to bring this up.

So after that conversation, and finally the end of that relationship, I decided that it was my choice to shave or not shave because it was a private part of my body and you can take it or leave it.

So that was my take on it. If you want some of this lovin bad enough. You will take it as it is, however I decide I want it.

I blame porn. Silly men and their silly porn.

Years after the boyfriend with no tact who made me feel like I had an ugly kitty, I had another lover who used a different and most effective approach.

“It’s beautiful, I love it and I will still enjoy eating you out, however if you shave it, it will help me do an even better job.”

And Bingo was his name oh.

I didn’t have no Harriet Tubman speech about accepting my hairy parts, and accepting me and rejection and the are you a pedophile question session.

Nope.

The hair? Gone.

But at a certain point in time, I came to the conclusion that sometimes I like being bare and sometimes I keep it au naturale when I know I’m not having company for awhile. It depends on how I feel and to me that’s the point. I’m not asking for anyone to lean one way or the other, just feel good with what it is you’ve got and don’t let anyone else sway you.

That’s your stuff!

I do believe you should make it as presentable as possible for your special partner, but you should ALWAYS do what is most comfortable to you.

I know I went totally left today. I’m gross. Some of you may stop reading my blog forever. If I went too far, I’m sorry. But this was the post on my heart and mind today.

But seeing how these really young girls barely batted an eye at the thought of body hair removal and how long it took me to even understand the hairs, let alone the social, and sexual implications of it all, I had to laugh and I had to share these thoughts.

I’m glad I had a childhood. I’m glad I maintained my innocence for as long as I could.

Maybe I was late to the hair removal game, but if I joined it any sooner than I did, I would be even more jaded than I already am. I’m glad I was militant about shaving my special parts early on, and I’m equally glad someone showed me the other side of the argument in a nurturing way.

And for those wondering during the college years and after… I bring my own razors when I visit home.

My poor, poor father. God bless him.

‘R You Ready for a Wonderful day?’

I get to work this morning and I look at my phone.

My ex (ex fiance I am still recovering from) sends me a text asking if we can talk later today.

He’s been going through some tumultuous family drama, and me being me, I agreed.

As soon as my mind started spinning, and my chest started to tighten, consumed with whatever he wants to talk to me about, I was pinged with another text.

This one from a male friend with whom there is an undeniable mutual attraction, but we find a way to argue everyday.

Aside from saying good morning, he said something that hit me like a tranquilizer dart.

“R you ready for a wonderful day?”

I was on the verge of the spiral, when I remembered all I’ve been gaining for nearly a year and a half, the pain, the setbacks, the small and large victories.

I realized I haven’t felt this good about myself in a long time, and with one text message, I was about to worry and second guess myself into oblivion.

I couldn’t go back. Regardless of what my ex has to say (and yes, I will talk to him because I said I would, and yes I actually care about him to offer my support) I’m going to remember something a fellow blogger L from Not So Skinny Genes said in a recent post that resonated with me since I read it.

“I will be the same amount of happy that I am right now, or I will be happier than I am right now. Because I’ve spelled everything out, and presented the option… regardless of their choice I will be able to feel confident that I didn’t hold anything back. There were no surprises. I valued myself.”

I already applied this theory to dealing with a difficult friend earlier this week, and I’m going to apply it again, when facing my ex later on today.

“R you ready for a wonderful day?”

Even though I fight with this guy friend on a regular basis, there are times he says things that just hit me over the head.

There was so much irony in the timing and who it came from.

“R you ready for a wonderful day?”

It was like he was opening a brand new door in my mind that had to have been there all along, but suddenly appeared out of nowhere today.

Was I going to choose to spend my entire day obsessing and agonizing over what my ex has to say 8 or 9 hours from now and letting that affect me and ruin my day?

He no longer has that right.

As another friend pointed out, he relinquished any right to me owing him anything when he spontaneously said he didn’t think he had what it took to be a good enough husband for me and simply walked away.

I choose my wonderful day.

I choose door number two.

“R you ready for a wonderful day?”

To which I replied,

“Yes. Yes, I am. Ironic. I got a text from someone who could potentially ruin my day and/or everything I’ve been working so hard to rebuild and you say that. It’s a good reminder. I’m ready for consistent wonderful days.”

Beating the Psychology of Doing Bad Things to Feel Good

I just read an article that doesn’t surprise me at all, but for some reason it hit me in a profound way today.

The article I read was basically about a study that concluded overweight girls are at a greater risk of engaging in risky sexual behavior– such as not using birth control, or not having their partners wear condoms, to even being forced to have sex when they didn’t want to.

Keep in mind the stats were even more unsettling because the survey of almost 4,000 girls ranged from around age 13-18.

Sex wasn’t on my mind as a young girl, until I hit 18, surrounded by beautiful young men in college (who were smarter and better looking than the guys from my small town) and a roommate with an active social life that kept her out of our room… I had a boyfriend. We kissed and we touched and fondled and groped in that room until, I couldn’t take kissing and touching and fondling and groping anymore.

He asked me if I was sure, I nodded and took a deep breath.

I took the plunge.

It’s been a battle of discipline, self-esteem, love, rationality, irrationality ever since. I do see the reason why people should wait until they get married, even though I didn’t. Once you dive down that rabbit hole, it opens up a lot of emotions and challenges and human complexities that even people with multiple partners who claim they are cool with casual sex choose to acknowledge or ignore. Regardless of the choice there’s a Pandora’s box of feelings, of reasons why you are choosing to engage in sex, with whom and why.

I can’t imagine what these young ladies are going through having to think about these things as early as 6th and 7th grade. It hurts my heart, really.

But as a 30-year-old woman, I look back at the times I thought sex would make me feel better, and to my shock and dismay, it didn’t.

The bad news for these young, overweight girls is, self-esteem and the complexities of sex and why they are having sex will continue in their 20s, 30s and beyond.

They will find they’ll still struggle if they lose the weight. They’ll struggle if they are a runway model in Milan. They’ll still struggle if they got a degree, or a master’s or a doctorate. They’ll still struggle if they manage to rise in the ranks of a major corporation. They’ll struggle when they meet the perfect guy and he’s bad at sex, or the guy they can’t stand and he’s awesome.

For me, there’s no greater time for emotionally risky sexual behavior than my infamous “ho” phases post breakups.

Speaking of risky sexual behavior, other studies have shown that drugs and alcohol use are usually the culprits behind people having unprotected sex and making bad decisions.

Looking back, I’d say 99 percent of the time that I had self-pity sex, or spiteful sex, or bored sex, I was drunk. And even then I was drunk because I was feeling crappy about myself or I was stressed, or my job was making me nuts. If I was sober and made the date,  I was getting drunk by the time my booty call showed up.

Getting drunk was to muffle the voice saying, you need to be doing this for love and not to escape. This is not real. This is a waste of your time and energy.

I’m older now and although there are times I’m ridiculously horny, I’ve decided I’m willing to wait for the real thing. I owe it to myself. I know what it feels like to be madly in love with someone and be in a committed situation. Truth be told, when I was engaged, during the act, I’d look at him and I’d look at that ring on my hand and my head and heart would synchronize swim in delight. I’ve had no higher sexual experience than that. I’ve always joked that I couldn’t wait until the day I had married, God-approved sex. I still feel that way. I believe it will be highly intense, especially knowing all of the things I know now about love and committing fully to someone and trusting them completely with everything.

Once you have that high, anything outside of that kind of sex sucks, even if it’s great sex with a casual person who you think is cool. You find yourself reconfiguring your emotions afterwards whether you have feelings for the casual person or not.

You find yourself feeling like you wasted your time even if you briefly blacked out in ecstasy moments before. No sooner than you’re putting on your robe, to see them out the door, the euphoria has already come and gone…literally.

It’s not enough for me anymore.

Real great sex lasts longer after that release. Great sex carries over into sleeping late in that person’s arms, and making breakfast together, drinking out of the same glass. It’s watching that person getting dressed and heading out to work. It’s singing along with the radio while you are cleaning the house and sniffing his shirts and it’s coming right back home to that person when the day is done, and knowing that person is going to be there the day after, and the day after and the day after that day.

I’m alone.

Sure there are guys I could call.

There are hot guys I could call. Hot guys with good jobs, who are smart.

I do not love these hot, smart, guys. They do not love me. There is mutual respect. There is honesty about what we are and what we’re not, but no love.

I can’t see myself with them, and I’m not sure if they can see themselves with me in a real relationship.

I’m appreciating the discipline it takes to take control of my mind and my body.

That makes me feel good about myself. (When I don’t feel good about myself and I feel I’m going to crack, it’s time to break out the list of things that make me feel sexy and do the non-sexual things, lol.)

Feeling good about myself, keeps me from making that phone call.

Or in some cases, maybe I did make the phone call. But the good feeling I have about staying true to myself and having the understanding about what it is I really want, gives me the strength to change my mind, call back and say, “I’m sorry, I can’t.”

Love this song and the lyrics by the delightful Elle Varner “Refill”:

My Sexy, According to Me

I wrote down a list yesterday of things that made me feel sexy, whether or not they had anything to do with my outward appearance or even sex for that matter.

It was a fun exercise. Because I think if I do these things more often, I’d probably feel more fabulous. We should want to feel more fabulous.

Here’s the list.

1. Long baths.

2. Freshly threaded eyebrows.

3. A flattering shade of lipstick.

4. Knee high boots.

5. Back seam pantyhose.

6. Form-fitting clothing (before eating).

7. My glasses. (It took me a long time to get to this point! I was always taking them off trying to be sexy. Blind, but damn it, sexy.)

8. Fresh sheets.

9. Sleeping naked.

10. Pencil skirts.

11. A good night’s sleep.

12. Form-fitting jeans and high heels.

13. Lacy underwear under a business suit.

14. A genuine compliment.

15. Black eyeliner.

16. Yoga pants.

17. Bootie shorts in the house.

18. Painted toe nails.

19. Pretty slips.

20. Laying under a slow ceiling fan after a shower or bath on a hot day.

21. Being an arm piece for a man wearing a suit.

22. Cooking breakfast in my bootie shorts after lovemaking.

23. My gap.

24. Laughing.

25. Passionately arguing my point with a handsome, equally passionate man.

26. Perfume.

27. Candles.

28. Sade’s voice.

29. Crabcakes.

30. Cold Stone cake batter ice cream. (I have to eat it alone because I let out soft involuntary moans while eating it. I accept this now.)

31. Raphael Saadiq’s “Stone Rollin” (I really think I’m the girl in this video.)

What are the little, simple things that make you feel sexy?

Keep Calm and Stay Busy

A humorous take on the popular “Keep Calm and Carry On” slogan. Photo courtesy of youwerespring.tumblr.com

I see all sorts of signs and shirts and bookmarks that have a variation of that slogan, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

Interestingly enough, it’s a British slogan from propaganda posters during the beginning of World War II. According to Wikipedia (I cringe at using them as a source, being a journalist, it’s a no-no) the phrase was thrust back into the lexicon and suddenly made a resurgence into popular culture after some woman unearthed some of the old posters from her father’s belongings and was featured on Antique Roadshow.

History lesson aside, it’s been everywhere and people have even made up their own funny versions too (there’s a tumblr page devoted to this).  It seems like this slogan is the recycled, classier version from our British cousins of “Keep on Truckin” a popular U. S. phrase from the 70s.

I’d like to add one to the list. Someone else probably already thought of it, because, it’s really simple.

“Keep Calm and Stay Busy.”

I have a friend who is a master at this. She volunteers, she likes to travel and visit her family and friends. The girl hardly sits still. She’s active in civic organizations; she’s just a busy little bee. She finds things to do, she finds me things to do and she lives hundreds of miles away!

I have noticed, that even when I pack my schedule, or I have a specific place to be at a specific time, I’m happier.

I’m happier because I feel like I’ve done something, that I didn’t waste time or brain cells.

I move more quickly and with purpose, I don’t hit the snooze button (as much). I’ve already thought of what I’m going to wear, and I’ll have it ready.

I’m more organized. Because, if you have a lot to do and places to be, you have to be more organized in order to do it all.

It’s perfectly fine to have lazy days to decompress from all the action. But it’s more fulfilling to fill your time with things that are important to you, your health, your spirit and your fun. By the time you take care of all of these areas, you will have a full schedule and a happier heart, indeed.

Your health: Having a scheduled workout at the same time, even twice a week makes a difference. I know people who schedule their daily workouts and they say they are at the point they feel like crap when they don’t work out. Their body notices it. I think I’m on week seven now of zumba twice a week for one hour. I may even start going to three classes, because I really like how I feel and today, I’m wearing a pair of pants that used to cut off my circulation. Those pants may still leave an indentation around my waist, but I can breathe, thank you.

Your spirit: If you are religious, having that set time you go to church to practice your faith can contribute to keeping your spirit busy.  Outside of worshiping with others, it’s good to sit down alone and meditate or pray privately. In addition to that, doing community work, or helping others also feeds your spirit if religion is not your thing. As I’ve found and my super active friend often tells me, once you volunteer to do things and you organize and do it well, somehow more people find you and ask you to help them too.

I’ve decided that I’m going to join the National Alliance on Mental Illness, volunteer from time to time and be an advocate for my mom and families who want to support the people they love. The outpouring of support from yesterday’s blog post, especially from fellow blogger, suestopford of The Happily Single Chick, really gave me the push I needed to do make this decision.

Also aiding in the efforts to stay busy for my spirit is the tee-shirt line I plan to launch at the end of this year or early next year. I’m planning an amazing photo shoot and I can’t wait to start working on content for the website. The whole vision is extremely exciting and I think it will really empower women, which really sends my spirit into a happy frenzy.

I’m going to an all day conference on leadership Saturday at Columbia University. It wasn’t so much about my job or my business, but it was about me getting more tools, and meeting new people even if that means getting on a bus early in the morning to go to NY from the DC area. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and go the extra mile to do things you know are good for you and will help you grow. I could possibly meet an investor or a potential client who can take me to the next level or even just make a new friend at this event. I can’t take that for granted.

Your fun: All three of these things are crucial and I think all three can overlap, honestly when you come from a place of sincerity in all that you are doing. You gotta have fun. You gotta do things that you enjoy. Thanks to living social, goldstar, and meetup, I’m just trying things. I’m going to new restaurants and seeing shows and checking out concerts. Taking a class, whatever, opportunities are all over the place. I’ve even convinced my friends to go to a fancy high tea one day soon (never done it and there’s a historical mansion literally down the street from me that does one monthly!).

These things make me really happy and you have to make time and the investment to do them. I love spending time with my family and friends and it just makes me feel really good.

With that, despite my challenges and emotional things I deal with from time to time, I’ve got to take a page from my uber busy friend’s book and “Keep Calm and Stay Busy.”

Zumba: The Great Equalizer

I’ve been itching to write this post since my first Zumba class two weeks ago.

Now that I’ve been going twice a week for two weeks now, I feel like I have the right to speak on this now.

I’m still a newbie, however, I didn’t give up, and now it is a part of my scheduled week, so I can say something with authority. Yesterday, I didn’t feel like going, but I did anyway and when you do that, you can officially say you are doing something and can make comments.

I get the Zumba craze. I really do.

People can go at their own pace and still sweat as long as they keep moving.

If you don’t get a step just right you can modify it and make up your own (or insert a gratuitous Beyoncé uh oh dance) and no one thinks you look crazy.

But the number one reason Zumba is great besides all of that is because anyone can do it. Elderly women, small women, large women, some men, some large men, children.

The main and only person guaranteed to do everything right and look hot doing it is the instructor, who does this multiple times a day, every day.

The rest of us are winging it.

Zumba is an equalizer.

Some of the rail thin chicks with great bodies have no rhythm.

Some of the thickest mammas in the joint can go step for step.

The old women can keep moving, when people who went too hard are winded.

There’s always a move in the course of the class that is “your move” where you know you are doing it right and you look good doing it, and that’s the one you do the hardest.

Everybody from the youngest to the eldest, the smallest to the thickest has their move. You can look around the room at any point in the class and see that moment happening. It varies from step to step and song to song. It’s a fun thing to watch. I smile at the people doing “their move,” and they smile back.

Madame Sexy Abs, you can't dance. photostock/freedigitalphotos.net

I was a bit angry when a really toned woman decided to ceremoniously take off her tee-shirt to reveal her color-coordinated sports bra and toned abs.

However, justice was served when during a few of the songs I was going step for step and she was stumbling and bumbling along.

Ah, Zumba is the great equalizer. Take that Madame Sexy Abs!

I was telling my friend my theory about Zumba being an equalizer and she was saying how uncomfortable she was with the gym and group classes because they seem competitive.

I’ve done it all, and I think Zumba is not competitive at all unless you try to compare yourself to Madame Sexy Abs, but we’ve already learned. She can’t dance!! Whoo hoo! Zap. Equalized!!!

My friend explained that she was never really athletically inclined and hated gym class all through out her education and that rope-climbing and push ups and situps were embarrassing and confidence-crushing experiences.

In today’s schools it seems physical education is getting cut from the budget anyway, but I do think it’s a good idea to incorporate Zumba to get the kids moving (they’ll think they are dancing). I would have done Zumba over square dancing any day (although it was an opportunity to touch cute boys who never talked to you under normal circumstances).

There’s no equipment to buy, and the kids who can’t ring the bell at the top of the rope (or even get past the second knot) can participate with some confidence because they can see that the big football player could use a little help with his samba too.

EQUALIZED!!!

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