She wants to lead the glamorous life!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Body's Betrayal

I don't feel stressed.  I don't think I'm stressed.  But every time certain topics come to mind.  Or certain individuals approach me about certain topics.  Or just the thought of being in a situation where certain individuals would approach me about said certain topics come to mind, my eye twitches.  At first I thought this was just a random twitch of the eye that has occurred in the past for no apparent reason.  But it won't stop.  I finally admitted to myself that it may be more than a sporadic reflex of the body when someone asked me a question, or rather made a suggestion that annoyed me.  When the conversation concluded, tears started forming in my eyes and it was confirmed:  I might have a problem. 

I researched this eye twitching online and apparently the remedy is to relax or get more sleep.  Dr. Oz disputes the stress theory and says it's the body's way of producing more tears for dry eyes. But because of the timing of the twitching- thoughts of unpleasantness, thoughts of potential unpleasantness, thoughts of how to avoid unpleasantness- I feel there is a direct connection.  My body is signaling to me that something is wrong. 

Besides the twitching, I have been dreaming every night.  Dreams are not bad necessarily, but dreaming does mean you are closer to the surface of conciousness, therefore, not in a deep enough sleep to completely rest.  This leaves me tired in the mornings when I awake.  My uncle, the therapist, prescribes relaxing.  But how does one relax when there are so many negative thoughts penetrating my mind?  I am good at relaxing, don't get me wrong.  I put the "re" in relaxing!  But the more mellow I am, the easier it is for certain thoughts to creep into a seemingly empty brain.  I will still give it a try.  My mom's remedy is to eat healthier foods that will boost my energy and psyche.  So as I munch on this apple and look at the empty bowl that once held the raw salad (no dressing) I just devoured this morning, I am hoping for a miracle.

This twitching has to stop.  It is not only annoying, but it serves as a reminder that all is not well.  And that's not good.  As much as I want to put things together on the outside, like everything is okay, it apparently is not.  It took my body's 'betrayal' to tell me this.  Okay body, I'm listening now.  You have my full attention.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Censor-y Deprivation

I do not like to be censored!  But, I also do not like offending and isolating others.  I have been advised by my best friend and beau that everything that comes to mind, does not need to be divulged.  All those constant thoughts that run through my mind at all times of the day and night, need not be expressed in my writing.  If I take this into account and my already self-imposed stern rule of not using real names without permission, not telling stories that involve the personal business of others and tying any stories about others into my own personal growth and revelations to avoid being a gossip blog.  I rarely discuss celebrities.  I do not touch upon politics.  I skirt around race issues.  And with the exception of my monthlong daily blogging challenge I took earlier this year, I make a point of writing when I feel I really have something to say. 

A recent post was the catalyst of the advice given.  Although everything in the post was how I truly felt and I did not exaggerate the situation to make the story more enticing, I was told it was unnecessary.  That if by chance the parties involved were to decide out of the blue, 'hey, I want to read MJ's blog today...for the first my life' and read it, they would instantly recognize themselves.  Did I feel a pang in my side as I made the decision to write and publish it?  Yes.  Did I purposely only share the link on my Facebook fan page, not my home, where I am friends with that individual?  Yes.  And yet I wanted, and did, post it anyway.  The Gift, never said anything, so I thought I was in the clear.  My bestie, who casually, but usually never reads my posts (I tell him everything anyway, so he already knows the stories) gave me the 'shame on you' humph.  He told me I was "stirring the pot" unnecessarily.  So in a phone conversation with the Gift during a lunch break, he confirmed that he did indeed read it and that it embarrassed him.  He said he did not want to tell me what to do, instead he instructed, "do what you want to do."  Which I am wise enough to know is guy-speak for, "take that shit down."  So I did.  And told him that I did.  To which he thanked me. 

That is the only post I have ever removed after publishing.  The rebel in me proclaims, 'you can't tell me what to do!'  But my mature self, who has no desire to embarrass my guy, overrides this thought.  Is it worth it?  I want my blog to be free and open.  I started writing it as a journal.  The bestie says there are some topics that need to just be written down privately in an actual journal and not broadcast on the worldwide web.  Or he suggested that I just tell him, if I need to get something off my chest.  I have always taken pride in my writing and the platform I have built with my blog.  But the thought of having to be so particular about what I say and how I say it, left me feeling conflicted.  This is such a good outlet, but it's not worth any damage my words can cause.  As I sit here, hoping my best friend Antoine hurries up and calls so I can tell him the latest nagging thought that has popped into my mind, I do feel restless.  But I also know it is what's best.  I think what had me worrying was that I already limit my posts due to my previously mentioned guidelines, and now I have even less to write!  At least now, I can return the focus to me and stay away from magnifying, for the world, or in my case that's the 20-50 average readers, what I consider to be other people's "issues".

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you." -Maya Angelou

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What Is Your Happiest Moment?

Last night I attended a seminar about goal setting.  The certified life coach, Rosie Guagliardo*, was charming and funny and had a lot of insight on attaining goals.  I have previously attended time management and goal-oriented classes and workshops, but this coach's approach was by far the best.  Instead of having us spend time making lists about what we wanted, Rosie, who studied marketing and psychology, giving her a unique ability to get to the root of our desires and roadblocks, had the group focus on happiness.  To be specific, how one can become happier. 

The first step was to identify what "happiness" means.  From there, we discussed what could stop someone from setting and reaching their goals.  Then Rosie asked us to pinpoint a time in our lives, present or past, when we felt the most happy.  For me, this was easy.  I have always regarded my 25th summer to be one of the happiest times in my life.  I remember feeling totally free.  I described how single I was and how good it felt to date back then.  It was also this summer when I moved out of my parents house for good.  I, for the first time, got to experience "boat life", understood the enjoyment of riding on the back of a Harley, dined in fine restaurants on a regular and kept my social calendar extremely busy, 7 days a week.  I did not tire then, as easily as I do now.  I recalled how mature I felt, as I remember thinking, "I can now rent a car".  I felt young, and I started morphing into the woman I am today.  I was utterly nervous about turning 25, yet, it became my most cherished year.  It was a magical summer.

I also added how being in New York makes me feel alive and vibrant.  When I am there I feel in synch with my true self.  I am giddy like a child and feel like life is good.  New York makes me happy.  I try to visit at least once a year.

While I was giving my description, Rosie took notes and explained that when you are able to hone in on your happiest moments, you can then start to figure out what makes you happy.  From my descriptions, she came up with words like:  free/freedom, youthful, vibrancy, fun, variety, nature and independence. This sums me up in a nutshell.  The key is applying my most inner desires to my life.  What I liked most about this class, is it was not your typical, list 5 goals you'd like to figure out how to make that happen.  Goals can be too overwhelming to manage like your average grocery checklist.  Could it be as simple as Rosie says?  Could finding more happy help you reach your real goals?  Rosie brought to our attention that it is human nature to create goals of what we should want.  Not what we really want.  When you create your 1, 5 and 10 year plan, are you listing what you really want in life or what you feel you should be doing in 1, 5 and 10 years?  Are you subconsciously working from a script written by society or someone other than yourself?  Do you really want to be a V.P. of a major company?  Or is it just that the thought of being okay with being an admin for another 20 years makes you feel weak and listless?  Is marriage really on your "to do" list, or is being alone scare you more than being with a mismatched partner?

What a refreshing course!  There is nothing like leaving a seminar/class and feeling you not only learned something, but you gained a new understanding.  What are your goals?

Click to learn more about Inner Brilliance Coaching.

*Rosie Guagliardo, founder and coach for Inner Brilliance Coaching, received her Life Coaching certification from the International Coaching Federation and Coaches Training Institute.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Are You Declawed?

Catty:  Deliberately hurtful in one's remarks; spiteful.
I have been referred to as catty twice in the past 3 weeks.  I do not like this assertion and find it unfounded.  I disagree with the synonymous nature of cattiness to womanhood.  As a woman, I feel I have the right to an opinion about a person or thing without it having an automatic negative connotation.  I do not like everything.  Nor am I a fan of everybody.  My being female does not dictate that everything I say, especially about other females, is nasty or negative.  If I call a woman out for her behavior no matter how mild or obnoxious it is, does not signal me having an issue with women.  I am in the company of women all the time and I am mature enough to make the distinction between someone I like and someone I can do without.
The person who proclaimed me to be catty, was none other than the Gift himself.  He dismissed my request to not be in the future company, if at all possible, of two separate women as me being catty.  And attributed it to some “woman/girl stuff” that he did not understand.  I will give him that.  There are things and/or violations that women can pick up on, that men are absolutely clueless to.  But in each case, one I previously mentioned in my post about *double dating, I feel I was right in my opinion of the situation.  When I brought it to the attention of other individuals, both men and women,  to get their thoughts, it was clear that I was not being catty, but had valid points.
What is the distinction between being catty and opinionated?  Where can we draw the line separating hurtful and spiteful comments, and the truth?  Do I have to always be the bigger person, inhaling and holding my tongue against ridiculousness?  When can I call a spade a spade?  Do I always have to smile and be the mirror image of a first lady, keeping all natural emotions under the surface?  Why is maturity parallel to shutting up and pretending?  Could it not be said that my maturation is further pushed forward when I have the guts to say what it is I feel?  On the flip, maybe I need to hold my cards tighter.  I, as mentioned in the double dating post, was quite assertive about my feelings towards an individual.  Because of the “witness” present, I do run the risk of having my proclamation repeated.  It could very well get back to the wrong person.  Then I would look like I have the problem, when in fact, she has the problem.  The next day, sobered up and a bit embarrassed by my alcohol soaked behavior, I spoke to my uncle about what happened.  What he said to me stuck and I return to it in my head when I have any doubts about my “cattiness”.  “You have come too far to go back.  If she wants to get on aboard, she will have to catch up.  But you can’t go backwards.”  Thank you and thank you!  In my two “catty” incidences, that is how I really felt deep down:  that I have surpassed that moment and that type of attitude.  I will no longer sit silent and burn within as bullsh*t occurs.  I have indeed passed those milestones.  I cannot meet a woman on several occasions and act like we have never met.  I am over that.  I used to be that way, nasty and mean spirited- unable to let things go or soften my mood to embrace a person on a new day.  I was in college then.  If you ask some of my schoolmates from that time, there is a relatively large population who still consider me a bitch.  So I understand that behavior; the insecurity that fuels it.  But again, that was several mile markers in the past.  I don’t want to stoop to anyone’s stunted level, playing along idly just to avoid the title of catty.  If it is catty for me to openly affirm that certain individuals don’t make the ‘cut’, then let me meow.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bare Essentials

Last week, my girlfriend and co-worker’s teenaged daughter Kim* visited our office.  She had an early day at school and stopped by, as always, to visit me at my desk to say ‘hi’.  On that particular day, she was flanked by two of her schoolmates.  As I am close to her mom, I had heard the stories of this threesome of friends who do everything together.  However, I had never met the girls.  They are all high school seniors, preparing for college- at least Kim is.  Here is what bothered me the most.  Contrary to Kim’s very naturally beautiful look (she wears no makeup, has her own natural and full head of hair, although she loves painting her nails, she does not wear false tips or overlays and she keeps a very casual chill look about herself- no heels or tight skirts and dresses), her friends were a little glam.  One had a full weave.  The color chosen was black, which is such a hard color for most to pull off, especially when you’re young and have her complexion.  The fact that it was long (past her shoulders) just highlighted how bad it was.  I could tell from my amateur eye, that it was human hair- I’ll give her that, but it was a low-grade selection.  The other friend had false eyelashes.  Anyone who has ever worn lashes knows that even with “individuals” (which she wore) there is a very short, acceptably cute lifespan.  Do not get me wrong, my intent is not to bash these girls.  I cringe at some of the outfits and makeup choices I have made in my youth and in some cases, not so distant past.  So I understand a young girls desire to be ultra-feminine and mature beyond her years.  We all have witnessed little 3-year-olds pressed to get any kind of lip gloss, even if it’s just Carmex.  My problem is with the moms.  I know as a woman with no kids, my 2 cents may not be looked at as much.  But as a woman, especially a woman of color, furthermore a Black woman, I shudder to think of how these girls truly feel about themselves- their true selves. 
For the record, my mom was not spending crazy amounts of money on hair or anything else for that matter.  If I got individual braids, it was more about convenience and upkeep, than style.  But whether I chose to adorn my hair with afro-centric fabric covered headbands to jazz up my mom’s homemade cornrows throughout junior high (yes, that’s right).  Or, I fell in love with and worked intricate earrings, I made the best of what I thought was a bad situation.  I felt pretty in my own way.  Did I want a relaxer?  Oh yes!  But my mom had seen my hair fall out previously from the chemicals and did not want to further damage my follicles.  As a woman now with “big hair”, I am so grateful.  Instead of helping your daughter learn how to manage her hair, whether it’s relaxed or natural, you have added a couple of packs of nonsense to it!  This is why there are grown women walking around who are crippled when it comes to their hair.  They never got to know or understand it.  If they have an interview, date, big event, etc., they shell out money at the salon or slap a wig or hat on to create a diversion.  The last time I went to the salon was in May.  I miss my stylist like crazy, but if funds or time do not permit, I am still okay.  The reason I, like so many other sistas, feel so liberated with natural hair is because the message it sends not only to the world, but to yourself is that, I am good enough.  I am pretty enough.   With the lashes, I love lashes.  I think there is no quicker way to spruce up your face than a little eyeliner and lash action.  However, this look can still be achieved with good ole mascara and drugstore eyeliner.  As someone who suffered from (and still does monthly) acne, I know how hard it can be to feel totally comfortable with one’s self.  Instead of buying me the whole caboodle of make-up, like some of the girls in my class, my mother let me get a pigmented Clinique Cream Stick.  That was my makeup.  And I thought I was doing it!  What message are you sending your girls if you do not stress the beauty they possess without and within? 
Yes, hair and makeup take us to another level; but a good, workable canvas is essential.  Recently, while vacationing in Mexico, I noticed that after the first couple of days, a clean face with sunscreen became my beauty regimen.  Although I brought some product to do my hair at night in order to keep it “stretched”, coming in from partying at 4:30am, made that a task that would not be accomplished.  So my hair, affected by the humidity, stayed soft and fluffy, and short.  At an intimate gathering hosted by the same previously mentioned girlfriend, a friend of hers, who happened to be a professional photographer, brought his “big boy” camera.  I asked if he would take my picture.  My instinct was to stand up and pose.  But he instructed me to, “no, sit back down, that was a good shot.”  I did, and the pictures are beautiful.  There is one close-up and the other showing the full body.  Taken at night, he captured my glowing skin (my home body scrubs are indeed working) and yes, me being critical of myself, I noticed the slight dark circles under my eyes.  But if I am fair and honest with myself, there is not that much to critique.  The picture is all me- sans makeup.  I may have worn a little of eyeliner and/or mascara, but beyond that, the picture is me at my purest form.  We should teach our girls to appreciate themselves, as they are.  Then they will know how best to accentuate their assets and love themselves without any additives.

*Name has been changed.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

+1 (Plus One)

It is my understanding and legend has it, after The Gift first met me, he told everyone who would listen that he intended for me to be his "Plus One" to Mi Casa Holiday this year.  Mi Casa is a house music weekend event, where people from all over the world converge on Playa del Carmen, Mexico to celebrate and enjoy house music.  It was at this event last year that he met my girlfriend Ang, whose house we later met at.  On our first date, he reiterated his plans to me directly.  Stating that he knew it was crazy and I probably did not believe him, but "watch, you're going to be my plus one (+1)".

I gave the same sheepish, embarrassed grin/smile I have learned to adopt after being let down previously on so many occasions from previous boyfriends.  I have to be honest, I was humored by his convincing tone, but I wasn't holding my breath.  I mean, I cannot count the amount of places I was supposed to go to or the things I was going to do, that never came to fruition.  But as I type this post in a Playa del Carmen hotel, a meager 8 months after meeting my beau, I cannot tell you how much more I appreciate him.  When I told him thank you, he asked why I was thanking him.  What he does not know or at least cannot understand is how much it means that he invited me and kept his word.  I love the fact that he put his mind to something and made it happen.  It may seem simple, but I cannot stand liars and I get so annoyed when someone makes a point of making plans that you both know will never come to be.

I am going to enjoy my vacation, not just because I'm chilling in Mexico, but because of who I'm chilling in Mexico with.