Last week, a friend of mine put this post in her Gmail status. Shortly after reading it, I came across this post amongst the blogs that I read. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both posts speak true to how I’m feeling and have been feeling for a long time now. I am not happy. Waking up in the morning feels like a chore. Finding interest in people and things have become a burden. Foods that I use to love have lost their flavor. And tears? HA! I’ve cried more times this year alone than I have in my entire life, twice over.
But WHO wants to talk about that stuff? Who can you say those things to without feeling like you’re complaining or seeking sympathy? No one, really. But I’m choosing to tell you all today for vulnerability’s sake. I don’t wake up every morning with birds singing sweet songs in my ears. I’m not excited about much of anything anymore. I feel like a complete stranger to myself. That’s not the kinds of things people want to hear. But it’s my truth for the moment.
After reading those posts, I felt like I should be honest with you all. I know that my writing has changed because I don’t feel 100% like myself. That isn’t fair to you as a faithful reader. I appreciate you so much. So here goes.
“The only journey is the one within.” Rainer Maria Rilke
I pride myself in not having many regrets in life. But as I get older, I’m finding that I’m becoming more cautious. In my early twenties, I threw caution to the wind. Now, anything you say will be researched for honesty and authenticity. I question motives. I question intent. I question whether someone has my best interest at heart or whether they are self-serving.
There are things that you can control and then there is just life. You don’t know what will happen. You can’t control it. You can only go with the flow.
Have you ever laid in bed at night wondering whether you would open your eyes the next morning? Scary, right? But for many of us, when our alarm blares, by the grace of God, we open our eyes again. I don’t know about you but sometimes I just want to exhale. Whew! I made it another day! I’m not sure why He saw fit for me to live but I’m sure glad He did. Being alive…it truly is a blessing.
I woke up in the morning feeling fresh to death
I’m so blessed, yes yes
I went to sleep stressed, woke up refreshed
I’m so blessed, yeah yes
Water in my face and everything is in its place
Peace of mind even my grace
I’m so blessed, yes yes yes
It was right before bed when I first heard Janelle Monae’s song, Q.U.E.E.N. I thought to myself, “what is this noise that I am I listening to right now?” By the second and third listen the next day, I finally realized how perfect it actually was. Oh yes, Miss Monae brought it with the funky beats and hip-hop slash gospel tones. But more than that, her lyrics spoke to the very thoughts I’ve been mulling over for quite some time. It was at that moment that I decided to reclaim my Queendom. I decided to reclaim the respect that I feel I’ve lost along my way.
“Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am.”
I don’t believe marriage is for everyone but I do believe companionship is.
I don’t believe in happily ever after but I do believe in moments of happiness.
I don’t believe in any right answer or right way but I do believe things work when they should.
I got the opportunity to sit in on a photo shoot with Kandi Burruss over the weekend. This was pretty exciting for me. I even tried to come up with a plan to ask her a few questions about her clothing store in Atlanta but I didn’t push it, lol. Of all the Atlanta “housewives”, Kandi is the most successful to me.
I don’t know much about Kandi but I do have a few things that I admire about her when it comes to success. Even before the show, she wore many hats. She is a singer-songwriter, producer, business owner and TV personality. I respect anyone that has a relentless drive and work ethic.
I’ve never been one to ruthlessly go after what I really wanted. Fear and doubt have always crippled me from trying. I do realize that not asking and not doing will keep me in the same stagnant situation. Taking risks has never been my strong suit. There’s something weird to me about approaching a random person about an opportunity. I suppose that’s how you get ahead but it’s a lesson that I’m still learning.
I was having a conversation with my friend Ben that eventually became a discussion about my blog. I know I say this a lot but I am still genuinely surprised when people tell me they read it. Seriously! Anyway. A lot of what he said to me was about doing the work and taking the risks. Basically, things that make me nervous.
“Can’t get a huge win from a small bet.” Benjamin Styles
What I see with Kandi is that she isn’t afraid to try something. I mean, she has a sex toy line AND a gospel song out at the same time. If that isn’t risky, I don’t know what is. A successful person can’t be afraid to think and act big. And if what you’ve tried doesn’t work, then you have the tools and experience to make positive changes the next go around.
I think we all have the tools in order to be winners. Remind yourself why you want what you want and adamantly pursue it as if your life depended on it.
Even the most arrogantly confident of people have a little bit of self-doubt in them. It’s what pushes them to be better, to become “perfect”. It seems like we’re always on a journey to figure out our purpose in life. We’re trying to find out who we are and where we belong. And sometimes when you don’t have all the answers, the feelings of uncertainty can be nerve-wrecking.
One of my favorite designers, Diane von Fürstenberg, sheds some insightful thoughts about confidence.
The most important relationship you have in life is the relationship you have with yourself. No matter what happens, you always have yourself. Every pain, every joy, every satisfaction – you always have yourself…
In order to like yourself, first you have to be tough with yourself. You have to be demanding on yourself, you have to be true to yourself, you have to know what’s good about you, what’s not good about you. And you have to always say the truth.
Once you have that relationship, then it’s true friendship.
The best and most fulfilling relationship you can ever have is the one you build with yourself. Be your own best friend. Build yourself up. Watch your confidence grow.
“Still, despite all this, traveling is the great true love of my life. I have always felt, ever since I was sixteen years old and first went to Russia with my saved-up babysitting money, that to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. I am loyal and constant in my love for travel, as I have not always been loyal and constant in my other loves. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless, newborn baby–I just don’t care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it’s mine. Because it looks exactly like me. It can barf all over me if it wants to–I just don’t care.” Eat Pray Love
I’ve never been satisfied with staying in one place. Whether it was moving from apartment to apartment, or traveling to visit friends, or just getting out of the house, my desire to see new things is unquenchable. I think it’s part of my sense of wonder. I’m amazed by the smallest of natural things. I try to see the beauty in everything.
This weekend, I spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts. Isolation is probably not the best for a really long time but I needed it. I needed to hear my thoughts even when I wanted to drown them out. I spent time daydreaming about the places that I have traveled and the places to come.
If you need any motivation to travel, here are eight of my personal reasons to hit the road.
Use your imagination. Dream up all of the places that you’d like to visit. Then feed your sense of wonder. Book a ticket and just go.
Five years ago, our first African-American was elected the 44th president of the United States. Today, as we celebrate President Barack Obama’s second term, we also remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and his dream.
Yesterday, I attended the annual observance of the King holiday at my alma mater, Kennesaw State University. This year’s guest speaker was the philosophical Dr. Cornel West. I will admit, I am not familiar with any of his works but his thirty minute message was so rich with substance that I was inspired. Dr. West reminded us that Dr. King’s movement was about his fight for freedom, equality and justice for all. We were reminded that Dr. King believed the only way to achieve any of these things was through nonviolence movements. His message of peace and love lives on, but we still have a long way to go.
Even if you didn’t volunteer today, I hope that before you close your eyes for bed, you will ask yourself a serious question Dr. West posed of the crowd last night. “What will be your prolific trek from the womb to the tomb?” What will people remember you by after you die? We know that MLK Jr Day is about “A Day On, Not a Day Off”, but what about making service a lifestyle? As President, Barack Obama can only do so much to immediately affect our world. WE have to possess the desire to revolutionize our communities. And we can.
Pick something, anything. What do you care about? What cause makes you so angry that it incites you to act? Your contribution is not too big or too small. Use whatever talent you have to do good. And even when your works do not receive acknowledgement, press on. Dr. King reminds us that “every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle”. Knowing this, our goal should be to be a part of a greater calling. Martin lived a life of service and died fighting for his cause. We must be willing to do the same. Suffer for something; be remembered for something.