She wants to lead the glamorous life!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Singularly Single

I am single.  Again.  There, I said it!  It is not something I thought I would be facing at this point again, but it is what it is.  You live.  You learn.  You move on.  No hard feelings.  The most glaring initial problem with break-ups is getting back acclimated with your single self.  More nights at home alone.  Less confidence in who to choose to accompany you to certain events.  That was always his job.  Although now that I think about it, his work schedule and overall lack of interest in things that interested me left me still having to make that choice, but it still felt like I had more opportunities to have an "escort" or buddy.  But I digress.  There are a few events that have come up recently that I have invited friends to, with no success.  I will be the first to admit- it happens.  Life that is.  My girlfriends have kids, and husbands, jobs, stressful re-occurring life issues, plans, class, work assignments.  Lives.  They need naps, and rest, doctor's appointments, money, and a rain-check.  I cannot be mad.  Is it frustrating?  At times, yes.   But it's adult life. 

So where will I turn for companionship during this re-adjustment period?  Within.  I have decided to take myself on dates.  Not once in awhile, but regularly.  Not in that corny, girl you need to get to know you before you can be with any man! type of way, but in a sincere effort to just keep myself entertained and interested.  I purchased one ticket to see Amel Larrieux in September.  I gladly accepted two tickets to the Black Harvest Film Festival from my boss yesterday, with no idea of who would get the other ticket.  I had struck out with my first three offers.  So before my co-worker showed excitement and I offered her the ticket, I planned on attending the short film series on Love (yes, Love) last night, by myself.  It has been a awhile since I have courted me.  I admit, I'm a bit rusty, but taking care of myself is a necessity.  I cannot wait for the right companion to emerge.  I have to keep moving forward, to make this a smooth transition.  In fact, I am going to take a breather from inviting others to the "party" so much.  If it happens and we get together.  Great.  If not, no biggie.   I think I can handle this alone.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Worrisome Non-Mother

Each summer, my company-sponsored internship program hosts about 20-25 young people from both college and high school.  Sometimes we partner with mentor programs within the city and allow their handpicked students to join our program and work as well.  This is how I ended up with my intern/mentee this year.  She is a recent Chicago Public Schools high school graduate and ready to head off to college in less than a week.  When she first arrived, she had about two to three months left of her senior year.  She was anxious about graduating and a bit timid within our work environment.  When summertime came, and our other interns arrived (most of them older), I along with my co-worker, who also helped mentor this young lady, encouraged her to make friends and open up to the early stages of “networking”.  She was nervous, but soon she had a regular lunch crew, acquired work friends and even did a bit of complaining!  
I was told my intern was coming as she literally walked through the door.  I had no project for her to work on, nothing specific and intensive for her to do.  My goal, as with all of my interns in the past:  teach her what I could work-wise, but try to get to know her on a personal level as well.  When she arrived after school, I would ask her about her day, her plans for graduation and prom, find out what was going on with her boyfriend and get a general sense of what her life was like all the while learning about PhotoChat (I think?), her definition of ratchedness and dishing out MJ’s tidbits of advice here and there.  All in all, I think she enjoyed her time and I got an up close view of her blossoming into a college-bound young lady.
On Wednesday, her mentor organization held a luncheon that centered around the interns completing their public speaking challenge.  This was a PowerPoint presentation, discussing the company they worked for, what they did and the lessons learned during their internship, in front of an audience of mentors and judges.  My girl was nervous after having worked on the project for months.  I have to admit, so was I.  What had she learned?  Did we provide a work environment that she could be proud of?  How would her presentation stand up to the others?  I mean, she briefly interviewed me, so what exactly was she going to discuss?  What wise-crack comment had I given her that would come back to bite me in front of all of these people?  To my delight, the presentation was excellent!  It brought tears to my eyes.  I was so proud!
Thursday, was her last day working with us.  I got all misty-eyed and gave her a long hug.  We pulled away, she was crying and we embraced again.  My instinct was to tell her everything I could think of:  Don’t put your drink down unattended, You can party, but not too hard, You can do whatever you want to do, Love your boyfriend, but know that there are other boys, Take care of your reputation, it will follow you all four years and lastly, I reiterated a point we had discussed thoroughly in the past- Don’t lose your crown!  She nodded in agreement, tears streaming down her face.  “I know, I’ll remember”.  
I will admit, there were times I had to correct her, gently, but professionally.  Her teenaged moodiness and slight eye-rolls would work my nerves.  She was your average teenager, with boyfriend drama, best friend issues and high school annoyances.  She was still my girl though. Yesterday, at work, I received an e-mail from her company account.  She must have scheduled it from the previous day.  In it was an attached Word document thanking me for the lessons I taught her.  How much she appreciated those lessons.  Not only are you my mentor you are also my big sister that taught me to always keep it classy and always act like a lady.”  This must be how a parent/guardian feels!  You want them to soak up what you tell them and take it to heart.  You want to know that they are listening.  You want them to be okay.  Most importantly, you don’t want them to make the same mistakes you did.
With the city’s senseless violence and staggering high school dropout rates unwavering, I always take personal care to wish the interns a safe night, weekend, or return to school, with reminders to “be careful” and “be good”.  I did the same with my intern this year.  I found myself adding her to my prayer list.  Not only worrying, but wanting to personally protect her.  When it comes to our youth, I believe it really does take a village.  As a fellow villager, my work feels sometimes just as tough as a parent, knowing that every little experience, word of encouragement or discouragement, makes a difference in someones life.  I still have “old tapes” that play in my head that some former employee, school teacher or classmate said to me many moons ago that serve to shred my self esteem at times.  Thoughts I have to overcome and try my best to delete so that I can be productive and move on, releasing all judgement.  I want the words that I speak, that might be on auto-play in a young person’s mind that I have encountered to be positive and uplifting.  You want to create a better world?  It starts with the younger generation and how they feel about themselves.  If they love, respect and believe in themselves we all benefit.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Too Grown

Yesterday I returned from a trip to D.C.  I flew in on Saturday for my Best Friend's Trip 2013, which my best friend (hence the title) Antoine and I do each year.  We chose D.C. to catch the highly anticipated Mrs. Carter Tour starring BeyoncĂ©.  Neither of us had seen her prior and decided the trip would kill two birds with one stone.  Although we both frequent live performances, our distance and schedules never permit us to see any major concerts together and we could finally settle on a trip destination for 2013.  A win-win situation.

The plan was set.  Concert and plane tickets were purchased.  What I realized was, unlike previous trips from years prior, this vacation did not involve us "kickin' it" hard.  There was no club-hopping.  Instead we caught a great happy hour at a tapas restaurant.  Where previously we may have chugged tequila and vodka drinks, we opted instead for pitchers of sangria with co-workers and new friends.  In the past I would have stressed a shopping excursion.  This year, our days were spent visiting the recently erected Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial and the Rosa Parks statue located in Statuary Hall in the Capitol.  We did not wear our feet out dancing all night.  The soreness came from walking from the Smithsonian's African Art and American History museums to the National Archives building where we viewed everything from Michelle Obama's first inauguration ball gown to the original Constitution.  We both ended up seeing Beyonce separately prior to our trip and were not dying to see the show again.  So on our last night, we sold our concert tickets on Craig's List and bought $4 lawn seats at Vienna, Virginia's Wolf Trap National Park for Performing Arts to see the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.

The trip, as always was a success.  We spent less money than usual (neither spending more that $200) and agreed we both had an amazing time.  You can map our maturity through our trips and vacations.  They have become less about getting 'tow up' and more about bonding, relaxing, getting away and learning.  Yes, things have definitely changed!