Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2015 Life Lessons (video)

2015 was interesting and long as hell. This year felt like 3 of them jammed together with 1 Winter and 2 long Springs. This year was so odd that I decided to be sure that I captured the major moments of my own life and share them with you, my new readers.

Things I learned:
  • You can do Epic things with $350 (vacations, electronics, wardrobe refreshes)
  • There are way more free things to enjoy than people are willing to find out about (casino shuttles, first-time Ubers, concerts outside) 
  • Life is full of crazy assholes, try not to be one of them
  • I am responsible enough to own a house
  • Family is everything, good and bad...
  • God is going to always send me something to laugh at when I'm feeling blue and doesn't really care about the protocol of the given situation. Funeral, Church, School, Work... doesn't matter
    • Did you know that God was from the Land of Oz, and Jesus flew in an airplane?  I thought that I was going to have to climb in the box with my big cousin because I was getting dead weak... RIP and love you always Tyrone, you would've been rolling too.
  • Saying No, and being told No can be the best thing that ever happens to you
  • Tyson Beckford feels like he's made out of muscles and Shea Butter and has no pores or wrinkles
  • My best friend is hilarious when drunk, but even funnier freshly sober and ready to eat
  • My dog June is my spirit animal, she hates bells, and will kill or die for the noise to end 
  • My parents really love themselves and eat lots of vegetables so hopefully if I follow suit I can look like them when I'm knocking on 60's door
  • My Grandmother is amazing enough to diagnose her own illness... she made the doctors look again so they could start the treatment early, and that's just the tip of the iceberg of why I love her so much. 
  • I'm still too emotionally fragile to really experience a tourist free Gentrified New Orleans 10 years after Katrina. I love White people, but they only made up 25% of the population when I lived there... Fleurty Girl will have to serve as my stand-in Black New Orleanian. I hope she can tell me what happened to the Gumbo Man that sold to club patrons out the back of the Scion.
  • Every grown person comes with their own list of responsibilities, and if you're not careful, they'll try to sneak some over to you. Keep your eyes open and wash your own dishes. 
2015 sent me through the entire emotional spectrum and I'm a little sad to watch it come to an end. However, I am looking forward to what 2016 has to offer. 

I think it's safe to say that this was "The Year of the Dream Chaser". When we see a guy go from giving us gospel versions of "Throw That A$$ In A Circle" dressed in someones Red Hat Society regalia, to becoming the face of Patty LaBelle pies in the same year that Donald Trump is taken seriously as a Presidential candidate, we know that anything is possible. 

From all the new babies and marriages, to the near death experiences and people that we lost along the way 2015 gave us all it had to offer and I can personally say; "it don't owe me nothing" *in my old acquired New Orleans accent*.  Have a great holiday, somebody save me some Kwanzaa bread and I'll see you in 2016.

Until then, don't get caught under the mistletoe smelling funny... and remember, it's not your birthday (unless it really is) so don't worry about what you don't get, just feel the love.  

Enjoy the video of my 2015 :)


Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Activist, The Hotep and The Suit... In the Sun.



Code Switching- The term, as it relates to those of us that effortlessly dance on the balance beam across the dichotomy of what it means to be Black in America is not new, nor is it exclusive to the Black experience. There have been blog posts and articles that do a great job explaining the act. I'd like to open up the conversation and create a space to discuss how this year has created instances where the lines have blurred. 2015 has proven to be the year of the movement, and there have been plenty of times that being the only black face in the place has called on many of us to have to decide where we need to fall on the spectrum.

Disclaimer: I am making the assumption that many of us have at least a temporary Hotep persona that both inner- and overstands when it's time to let the knowledge drip like raw-vegan, organic, cold-pressed carrot juice.

So picture this scene:
Day three of five of a major event that you've been helping plan for over a year. You find out, via Shea-Butter Twitter, that a peace rally is about to jump off right outside. Why? Because the tape from one of the various heinous acts of violence towards black men this year was released this morning and The People are more than aggravated... There's you, a sea full of white people and others. The only other black person around has gone Full Corporate because they're in the middle of conducting a service/training and they also haven't heard the news. Everybody else is buzzing about what's getting ready to take place. Who do you decide to be on this day?





1. The Activist- You can take the bold approach and assert your stance on the matter in an eloquent and unwaivering tone without falling into a debate trap. Stand firm on what you believe and take a walk outside to march in solidarity. Don't talk, just do it. You may get fired, but that's the life you live when you're not typing TPS reports and you're ok with that.


2. The Hotep- Find the most vocal person in the room and work to tear apart their argument from it's origin. Giving them just enough room to draw breath and no space to provide an opposing view until you have, at least in your mind, completely dismantled their reasoning and caused them to question their very existence in your King- or Queendom. You'll get fired, but it won't be until they've been able to build a six month case around all the times you showed up late because the healing session went too long, or when you had the whole office smelling like frankencense. They've been waiting on a moment like this to get the paperwork started on you. You however, overstand that this job is not your source, so you're ok with that.  You even dipped extra incense and renewed your vendor's license over the weekend just in case because you Stay Woke!


3. The Suit- The most uncomforatble place on Earth is being in a position of feeling like you have to explain your people when you don't really know how it's going to go yourself.  At bare minimum you have to reinforce the fact that you aren't afraid or you run the risk of being stuck in an environment where it's ok to be afraid of Black people attempting to exercise their rights to protest. You decide to go in confused as to what the fuss is about, and return with an appeal to common sense. "Hey would you go get a permit to start a riot?" *insert an uncomfortabe, acceptable negro chuckle*. Then immediately enlist a socially aware and open-minded co-worker to be your stand-in "other black employee" and release all that fake smile frustration in a remote corner of the building. As long as you chose the susbstiture wisely, you won't get fired... but how long do you plan on living like this?


 Full disclosure something like this happened to me and I chose to be The Suit. I still don't know if that's the right answer, but I do know it was the safe bet for me at the time. What would you do? Can keeping it real have it's advantages or does it usually go wrong in these circumstances?

Let's get the discussion going in the comments section, I'd like to hear which approach you'd choose and if you think my descriptions are valid/accurate.


Some Reference Articles if you'd like some explanation:
http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/04/08/176064688/how-code-switching-explains-the-world 
http://www.economist.com/blogs/johnson/2013/04/code-switching 

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Art, Science and Agony of Adulting


They should really stop the normal rhetoric at both high school and college graduations. Although not in my case, that is where most of the new wave of responsible people hear some motivational speech about taking risks and enjoying the ride. While many of those speeches provide the hope and optimism needed to brave this whole new lifestyle that will never end until the day that you die, they usually miss a fey key points. Today I present to you that missing piece, in the Art, Science and Agony of Adulting. 

The ART

The art is in the understanding. Social constructs are like grammar, you have to know the rules first to break them. Here is where you can know that it's polite to bring a gift to the baby shower, but bring cash instead and still be celebrated as a timely and thoughtful gift giver. This also includes knowing just how late to be for church so that for you it only lasts an hour and a half. There's no right or wrong in doing what you want to do because you're an Adult...and nobody can stop you. 



The Science.
When you're an adult, you're in charge of several things; when and what you eat and how much, what time you go to bed, how many friends you can have over at one time, how many things you can buy in the store. You are also in charge of funding, sourcing and coordinating all of the activities of your life. The science is in measuring your lifestyle with your income and the obligations required to maintain both. This is where lots of people fail. This is why there's such thing as credit and even more why people deal with "bad credit". Adulting is not cheap when you try to live a life like the music videos and reality TV shows that you grew up watching (unless you're strictly a Survivor fan) and most of the time you need a job to do half of the things. That means that you have to figure out what you need to know in order to qualify for the job that aids in creating the lifestyle you want followed by a coordinated effort to secure it through proper networking and application of the acquired knowledge. 

Yeah, I know... 
#THEAGONY
Here are some things that can happen when you do too much of one and not enough of the other between The Art & The Science:
Weight gain, Alcoholism, Homelessness, Joblessness, Drug Abuse, Loneliness, Depression and in extreme circumstances even Death. 

Heavy right? 
I remember the first time I got out of the house and out of intense supervision. I was in the Navy and even though we had fitness standards, I'd just spent over 10 weeks only eating food that was provided. When I got the chance to eat at a restaurant again it took me years to stop. I even found a way to go on a diet with restaurant food... why? Because I was grown and nobody could stop me. As I embark on this latest fitness journey, I just wish that somebody had, but that's not how Adulting works..you're supposed to just know. Why? Because you're the adult.

Lately my entire life has been revolving around school and work. I have to literally schedule and budget fun. The stinking trick is, that's not really how fun works. You can plan a trip to Vegas, but it's the spontaneous decision to sit through the timeshare presentation that gets you free tickets to see Tyson Beckford naked.

 But bills and future money take precedence over right now fun because that's the formula that we've all been taught that keeps us from sleeping on the park bench. So the Agony is in knowing that even though you are totally in control of what you actually do, nobody is going to stop you and also nobody is going to bail you out. It's a tough pill to swallow this whole Adult thing, and just think, it lasts the rest of your life.


Until next time... may your coloring not rely on the placement of the lines. 

This post is dedicated to my Sister Kristol who's Birthday I'm missing tomorrow because Grown-Up... 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Good Man's Guide To Becoming A Successful Cheater (Book Review)

http://amzn.com/B018WRJG8Y
The end of this past week I took some time to see which new books were released by new authors and I came across this book. My natural curiosity and recognition of the author as someone that I knew in the Navy caused me to 1-click purchase and proceed to get my entire life.

First let's get into the title. I haven't had a title grab my nosey bone and shake it around since "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" and that left me in a ball sobbing uncontrollably. As much of a freelance part-time private investigator as I like to be, this not only felt like a good piece of information to have, but essential reading for the job.

I sincerely enjoyed every chapter of this book. There were moments that caused me to pause and evaluate whether or not I've witnessed any of the behavior described. Fortunately, I haven't seen anything lately, but I surely hope that my ex-husband has stepped his game up because this book doesn't pull any punches when it comes to calling out the missed steps that so many men make.


It also caused me to wonder whether or not I'm one of those women that believes that all men cheat. Granted I've seen a lot of things over the years, I think I've still maintained just enough goofy little girl to not become completely jaded. I think that's the key to not ending up the cat lady... or in my case the dog lady, in the housecoat all alone in a cavernous house eating microwaveable turkey pot pies.

This book is an excellent read for the woman that's like me and holding on to that lat bit of optimism that keeps the frown lines away. While there's lots of useful information that can aid in the cornering of your potential suspect (for all my fellow Private I's), there's a great overall message. It's also a quick read, that way you won't spend too much time agonizing over the details.

Click on the link just below cover photo and grab your copy today. it's actually free if you subscribe to the Kindle Unlimited service and come back so we can talk about it. I feel like I need to dish with someone, and calling the author just won't satisfy this itch. I know this feels like a plug, but I plan on coming back with a book that I found to be trash, and they'll get the same amount of publicity.

Until next time...