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Showing up and being seen

9 Dec

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 3.51.40 PMI have been fascinated by the work of author and researcher Brene Brown. I discovered her on Oprah’s Life Class and have been intrigued every since. I recently bought her book “The Gifts of Imperfection.” The timing seemed impeccable because I’ve been struggling with perfectionism, shame, and vulnerability for a long time and I’m ready to move past them.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been in a healthy, loving relationship with a great guy for a little over a year now. Given my past, vulnerability has been tough to overcome. Vulnerability, as Brown defines it, means to “show up and be seen. To ask for what you need.” Wow, if this wasn’t an a-ha moment. And with my boyfriend’s help, I’ve been able to see that I struggle with this even outside of romantic relationships.

Many people grew up to believe that to be vulnerable meant to be weak. I wasn’t raised this way but I have discovered that as a child I determined on my own that being totally open and emotionally naked could lead to disaster. As a defense mechanism, I have built up walls and it wasn’t until recently that I discovered how much this was hindering my life.

Brown doesn’t believe that we should be vulnerable with everyone. Not everyone has earned the right to “hear our story.” But everyone, in our most primitive state, craves for love and belonging. And without vulnerability, we’ll never quite experience the love we seek.

So how did I move past my fear of vulnerability? It’s something a fight with everyday but each day gets better. I keep telling myself that the only way to have a true, authentic relationship is to show up with my whole-hearted, imperfect self. I’m beginning to have more of the hard conversations and talk about how I really feel. And trust me, these new changes have not always been met with love and support. Some people resist. But I’m learning that it’s ok. It just lets me know that you’re not the person that’ll hear my story again. I move on.

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Back to Blogging

10 Sep

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. I’ve been thinking about it though. I started (didn’t finish) watching a movie called “Julia and Julia” and was sort of inspired by the modern-day Julia and her quest to blog about all the recipes she’d made from a Julia Childs’ cookbook. I thought, “wow I want to be passionate about something again!”Truth is I’ve been in a funk. I need some inspiration and some motivation.

I’ve been thinking of trying some new things: online dating, salsa lessons, or maybe even scuba diving. I was really into swingout dancing and have been doing that for about 2 1/2 years. But over time, I stopped feeling challenged by it. Plus, I am growing tired of seeing the same people all the time. Time for some new hobbies and some new friends.

I did fall back into one of my old hobbies this past weekend though. I went to a wine tasting for a friend’s birthday yesterday. I used to really be into wine when I was back in my hometown. The winery we went to was quite lovely. Plus, I found out some things I didn’t know about the wine-making process. Interesting stuff. Maybe I should join a wine club. Now there’s a thought…

Facebook Fast: Day 3

14 Dec

Hey peeps. Well, I’m on day 3. Yeah, it kinda sucks. But then again I don’t really miss it tremendously. I had to log in to Facebook to grant access to another site for something and I peeked. I had 4 measly notifications. Whoopee! See, I’m not missing out on much. But I do miss looking at photos and there are some random thoughts of mine that I’d like to share from time to time. But as I mentioned, my head is clearer and I’m getting more things done. (Now, if I could only stop obsessively checking my email. Hmm, maybe there are deeper issues here. lol!) Perhaps once the fast is over, I’ll just wait to check fb in the evenings.

So why am I doing this again, you ask? Well, to get clear on some things. I needed to remove some distractions from my life to be able to hear God speaking to me. I have definitely lost touch with him. I told my s/o that I no longer knew God. Truth is, I know Him but it’s me that’s become distant. I’ve let all sorts of things get in the way: my work, dancing, relationships, hobbies and whatever else comes along. But I’ve been feeling lost for awhile now, not really knowing what to do and where to go. I need direction and I need to be plugged into THE source. If I want to do what’s best for me, I need to be in a relationship with the one who wants best for me.

Facebook Fast: Day 1

13 Dec

Stop the presses! I’m on a Facebook fast. Yes, you heard right. Yesterday, I happened to stop by a church in my hometown on the way back to Dallas. I’d been to the church a few times before but it had been awhile. I had missed the evening worship but was invited into one of their life group meetings. I didn’t know what to expect but I was open to anything. I had been praying on the way there for God to reveal some things to me.

The group leader started the discussion about fasting and about how we should take this week to remove something from our lives to have a more productive prayer life. It could be food, smoking, TV or whatever. He spoke of members of the group whose child was undergoing genetic testing and how they needed the prayers and support of the group. So in order to focus on them, he suggested that we fast and pray. Well, I don’t know the couple, but I definitely wanted to participate in the fast along with the rest of the group. While I’ll be praying for the couple, I definitely need to pray for myself for a few things.

Why Facebook? Simply put: it’s a distraction and it takes up too much of my time! A distraction to my work life and prayer life. And honestly, I think it increases my anxiety. (There have actually been studies on this.) And frankly, some of the stuff I read and see aren’t exactly positive or spiritually uplifting.

So, I disabled my facebook app (except for the messenger app to get Facebook inbox messages from family and others on some pressing issues), removed it from my toolbar, and signed out. Wow, it’s amazing how many times I clicked on a tab or typed the url before I even knew it. It was like a reflex. But later in the day, it became less important. I actually got a lot done today and my mind was clearer.

I actually felt a breakthrough on some things today, thanks to my significant other. I’m not calling him my boyfriend because…well, it’s complicated. Hence, why I need prayer!

On to day 2…

Day 1: 21 Days to Financial Freedom

26 Apr

“Times are hard.” You don’t know how many times I’ve heard that lately. And yes, I’ve been saying it, too. With gas at almost $4 a gallon, no cost of living raise in the last few year, and those unexpected expenses that pop up (locking my keys in the car), my pocketbook has taken a beating. But while I’d like to blame it on all things external, I’ve had to come to the realization that I need to take personal responsibility for not managing my money the way that I should. So, some changes will be made. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I know that I’ve got to do something different!

I’ve already made some changes: I got a roommate a year and half ago and I got a part-time job at Macy’s back in November. But despite those major changes, I still find myself strapped for cash. I’ve got to go a step further. A friend recently mentioned a book that he and his wife were reading called “The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom” by Michelle Singletary. He had some pretty good things to say about it and he mentioned the 21 day fast. He let me borrow the book and the fast is something I’m going to try. Basically, the book calls for 21 days of refraining from spending on anything other than necessities, eliminating using credit and debit cards, avoiding shopping or even window shopping, and more. And during this process, the book will help you to develop a budget and gain other tools, both practical and spiritual.

I’ll be chronicling my progress along the way right here on Emo Idiot. I’ve already read the first chapter and here’s my first assignment:

Make a list of any potential obstacles that may prevent you from sticking to the fast and then decide how to eliminate them.

I know that my biggest obstacle will be eating out. Most days when I get off from work, I don’t feel like cooking. Or, I may not have time to cook when going from my full-time job to my part-time gig. I’d usually just grab some fast food. And, I’m gonna have a hard time not buying snacks at the bookstore or coffee shop at my job or at the mall where I work. I’m going to have to plan, plan, plan! I’m going to need to make food on the weekends so that I can have it during the week. I’m going to have to carry my lunch including snacks everyday! Ugh, this is going to be tough! I’ve already started doing some of this but not everyday. At first I thought that I would just build some lunch money into my budget during this 21 days but eating out is forbidden during the fast plus I need to face my biggest financial challenge and that’s spending too much money on food! I’m gonna need prayer! lol

What a tragic loss. Michael, we’ll miss you!

27 Jun

thriller-michael-jacksonAll day I have been watching Michael Jackson YouTube videos, listening to his playlists on Napster, watching CNN, listening to marathon’s on the radio and looking at friend’s comments on Facebook. But no matter how much joy I get from recalling all his hits and all the memories he created for me growing up, I am still shocked and saddened by his death.It’s amazing how one person, an entertainer, could be so influential on a single life and the whole world.

Many of my fondest childhood memories revolve around Michael and his music. I remember being scared to death of Thriller! I couldn’t watch it for years. lol. I remember gathering around the tv with family watching his videos and trying to imitate his dance moves. I also remember when MJ performed, I think it was the Motown 25 special, and I was going nuts. I was hysterical. My mom was like, “Girl, what’s wrong with you? Are you crying?” Ha. I’ll always remember that moment. I remember listening to the “Bad” album over and over and over with my childhood friend NaTasha. We put on our own little concert in her bedroom. Later in life I got to perform a routine to “Blood on the Dancefloor” with my dance company in college. I’ll always be inspired by his creativity, his magic, and his artistry as a singer and phenomenal dancer.

As speculations start to arise about the circumstances surrounding his death, I think about the irony of the whole situation. It’s amazing how perhaps one of the most well-known human beings on the planet, who achieved success yet to be surpassed, could live such a tortured life. I’m saddened when I imagine the loneliness, the isolation, the pain and the ridicule he faced. This man was under a huge microscope. He was hated probably as much as he was loved.

I’m not going to use this post to speculate on whether he did some of the things he was accused of. Only God can judge him now. But I’m sure that whatever happened in his life was a direct result of being a child star and the son of a relentless stage father. This saddens me also.

The music industry wouldn’t be what it is today without. If you look at Usher, Chris Brown, NeYo, and Justin Timberlake, they are all biting his style. But there will never be another like him. Michael, we’ll miss you!

While I have so many favorites, this is perhaps one of my top five MJ videos: click here. I think it paints a perfect picture of his magnitude. Enjoy and good night!

A moment in history

22 Jan

I am still in awe of what I witnessed yesterday. I’m normally not a person that cries easily but the tears were flowing as President Obama took his oath. I couldn’t help but think about the implications of the event. After years and years of slavery, then Jim Crow, then covert discrimination, yesterday was truly a milestone not only for African Americans but for all Americans, especially those of color.

During the inauguration, I thought about my mother who was one of the first African Americans in my small hometown in central Texas to integrate into an all-white school. I thought about the stories I heard about how she received bomb threats because there were some people who were against the integration. I recalled stories about how she would have to use the bathroom in the back of the restaurants on roadtrips and how she couldn’t have even dreamed of eating in the main dining area. I also thought about my grandparents from Alabama who lived in the heart of racism which later became the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement.

And then I thought of myself. I thought about how I can accomplish whatever I choose. With God on my side, the possibilities are endless. And I always admire the Obamas as a family. They give me hope in believing that I can share my life with a man that is admirable, strong, intelligent, and influential and together we can have beautiful children.

While I believe that Barack is the most qualified to lead this country in spite of his race, I can’t help but rejoice because he’s the first African American president. For a Black man to now be leading a country that once enslaved us is mind-boggling. But it’s a true testament to the strides that America has made. We still have a long way to go, however. But at least we have the hope and the changed needed to propel us into the future.

I am a Phoenix…enuf! We get it!

19 Jan

Ok. I’m getting sorta sick of seeing all the “I am a Phoenix” ads from the U of Phoenix. I don’t know why I’m getting so annoyed because I do marketing/advertising for a living. But I think there might be such a thing as overkill. Over the past few weeks, I’ve definitely gotten more than three impressions. Sheesh.

I’m probably just mad because our president saw our movie theatre ad from our new campaign (“What’s a Thunderduck?” for Richland College) back-to-back with their ad (which we came up with before the U of Phoenix campaign rolled out, btw). Now he hate’s it! We have to start from scratch now. (banging head up against the wall now) When will ever be able to convince 50-year-old white men that they are not our demographic? Note to all middle-aged administrators: If you don’t like our ads, then they are probably working!

I was also sorta ticked because the U of Phoenix has a $220 million budget! We did our campaign on say…. nada! Besides the U of Phoenix is marketing to a totally different demo, working adults. While we market to working adults also, we have other markets to consider, too, like recent high school grads, seniors, high school jrs and seniors…you get the point.

Ok, enough ranting. I shouldn’t even be thinking about work. It’s a holiday!

Life is about choices

13 Jan

I was just thinking that sometimes in life we have to make tough decisions. Sometimes those decisions may initially hurt another individual, but we have to be mindful of our own well being. Just recently I had to make a decision that I’m sure crushed another individual. It crushed me, too. I had to do some deep soul searching and I discovered that I have to make me happy; I have to do what’s in my best interest and what’s conducive for me long term. If I’m not happy, how can bring joy to others? Sometimes I guess at times we have to experience short-term pain for long-term gain. But waiting during the painful part is the hard thing to do. I just pray that I will continue on the path that God has chosen for me and if so, everything will turn out fine.

(non) Cooking tips from a single gal

19 Dec

It’s been awhile but I’m baaack! With the economy in its current state, I’ve had to be real creative in thinking of ways to cut costs. I tend to eat out a lot, so I’ve been trying to eat in more to save money and pounds! Here are some tips:

Buy a rotisserie chicken. There’s no way I can eat a whole chicken but I buy them, eat some for dinner one night, and use the leftovers to make other dishes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make chicken salad. Shred the chicken, add Miracle Whip, apples, walnut or pecans, onions or whatever tastes good to you. Spread it over bread for a sandwich or top over a bed of lettuce.
  • Make enchiladas. Tonight I make what I call an “Easy Enchilada Bake.” I took tortilla chips and spread them over the bottom of a casserole dish. I combined the shredded chicken with Old El Paso enchilada sauce and spread it over the chips and topped it off with cheese. I baked until hot and until the cheese melted.
  • Make a green salad. Top salad greens with the shredded roasted chicken and your favorite salad toppings like cranberries, cheese, nuts, wonton strips, mandarin oranges, or whatever you like!

The possibilities are endless. Please comment with your ideas.