Energy

**Today’s gifs will all feature Drake. Mainly bc I keep thinking of the blog’s namesake song. Enjoy.**

It’s weird.

I’ve been in contact with a lot of people from my past lately.

Some just reaching out to say hey. Others touching base I think wanting to make amends, but we both know it’d never be the same so we silently decide to leave what we were back there. And yet some more who as much as I want them to be a part of my future, God and other people and even they indirectly tell me they need to stay where they belong — as a memory.

2017 has been a roller coaster. But not in the way most ppl use the roller coaster analogy. This one has been enjoyable! The ups and downs and sudden drops and random, brief moments to stop and see everything that’s around me — to see the scary part of the track I’ve conquered and realizing it wasn’t all so bad to seeing what lies ahead of me and looking forward to the upcoming lurches and stomach in throat feeling — it’s truly breathtaking and exciting as I put both hands in the air after I’ve finally shifted my perspective from paralyzing fear to enjoyment in the unknown.

This journey in LA hasn’t been easy. I think when I was at my lowest I attracted low things. I was a sad magnet who at the time wanted to stay sad because it justified why things weren’t going my way. So, when I decided 2017 would be different, I was intentional about making sure I didn’t feel sad anymore and stayed away from things and people that could bring on those negative emotions.

In a nutshell, I decided to change my energy. Now, don’t get me wrong. I know you can’t turn depression on and off and it’d be belittling to that issue if I framed it as such. I think, for me, I found a way to be honest with myself (mainly because I’m too cheap to go to a licensed professional) and found a way to healthily get myself to a new, enlightened mental state over time. Hence why I was so vigilant in the no social media and voluntary social isolation and being overly attentive to people’s  words/actions so that I could verify if they had my best interests at heart… It’s been a process, but I’m starting to slowly reap what I sewed at the beginning of the year.

As we passed the halfway point of 2017 last weekend, I’m looking to see how I can maximize this positive energy. I’m winning things. People I never thought I’d talk to again are wishing me well. My confidence is on a 1,000 right now. People are seeking me out to work and collaborate with me. Others are seeking advice because I’m giving out wisdom like I know what I’m doing — I don’t lol.

I challenge you to figure out the energy you’re exuding right now and how you can shift if to the positive. Energy is like a boomerang, what you give is what you’ll receive. So go forth and live the rest of 2017 emanating good vibes and surrounding yourself with good people. You’ll be surprised just how far life is going to take you these next six months. I’m excited for you. Let’s finish this year positive and strong together. ❤

 

You Are A Terrible Person — && Other Things We Say to People (In Our Head)

 

You don’t like most people.

I know this because we’ve most likely crossed paths in life and I don’t like most people and the law of attraction states that if you’ve met me you’re similar to me and therefore you don’t like most people. So, by scientific fact, even if we haven’t physically crossed paths, the electricity that flows from my computer seduced your computer to read these words and we’ve electronically crossed paths and this logic still applies to you. #science

Don’t get me wrong, I’m interested  in most people – their story, what makes them tick, their aspirations in life, how they face their fears, who has let them down the most in life, when they found their passion and what it is, etc. — but I don’t like most people.

People are insecure and rude and don’t stand up for the little guy and don’t say what they mean and say what they mean behind your back and expect you to read between the lines and don’t respond when you try to care and use each other under the guise of caring and are callous and cold for no reason and have fragile egos and are manipulative and crazy and self-centered and narcissists and selfish and the list goes on…

Yes. I sound jaded. Yes. I mean (sorta, not really) all of this. However, pointing out human frailty is not the point of this blog. The point of today’s post is to discuss “Crucial Conversations” and how to make yourself have them. Now, I’ve never read the book. I just like the title and the subject matter applies to what’s been buggin’ me lately, so therefore I’m blindly plugging it.

Why do we find it so hard to say aloud what’s got us mad? Why is it difficult to verbalize what’s boilin’ our grits? Why can’t we just naturally bring up that someone is a giant terd monster as casually as we discuss our weekend plans? Why can’t we just tell someone YOU’RE A WASTE OF EXISTENCE and get that emotional gremlin off of our only chest*?

*If we had 2-4 chests, I’d most likely reconsider this post’s advice, but alas we do not. Hence the importance of today’s line of thought.

When talking to a friend at a heightened level one day they shouted, “how was I supposed to know that’s how you were feeling?! If you felt that way you should’ve told me and not made up your mind about how you felt towards me from a conversation you had with me — in your head!” After finally coming to terms with the fact that this person was a complete idiot and slow and an idiot and conveniently aloof — and did I mention idiot? –, I sat down and stewed and realized that they weren’t totally wrong. Why didn’t I go to the person and say how I felt? Why did I hold my tongue on discussing my issues with this person but find it oh so easy to discuss it with literally anyone else with a mouth and brain?

 

Try as we might, we can never truly predict how a person will react to what we’ve got to say. While at the heart of it we’re trying to avoid conflict, the very act of delaying the conversation is all but ensuring heightened issues and disagreements at a later date. It’s crazy to realize that we avoid these conversations for fear of the other person’s reaction, but the longer we suppress what we have to say, the more resentment builds and we all but have a self-fulfilling prophecy of the negative perception we have of the person.

I realized my writer brain was getting me in trouble. Not only with this person but many others. I was avoiding conflict not because it made me uncomfortable (ha, lies) but because I thought it was unnecessary and a waste of time when “I know exactly what they’re gonna say.” Ugh other people have identified she’s a betch, why do I need to tell her? Yes, I’m a fellow black woman, but why should I have to tell her her weave looks crazy? Of course we’re aware of our overt tension, but why should I address the issue if they’re not gonna say anything? Obviously I want to jump your bones, but why should I have to tell you the signals you’re sending are confusing af, especially when we (read: you) decided we’d just be friends? I’d have all of these questions and answer them so vividly in my head with an entire theatrical production complete with song and dance that by the time I next saw the person I avoided eye contact because of how offended they made me from my imagination conversation.

To say this was a jarring realization is an understatement. I’m an inherent people person. To come to terms that I wasn’t relating to people as well as I thought and to understand that I have to take a bigger responsibility for my failing relationships with people who pretended to be normal but eventually always reveal their crazy is an understatement.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I AM PART OF THE CRAZY PEOPLE’S PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (&& so are you. Remember? Science?)

 

A person cannot change if they are not aware. As introspective as I am, I can’t always ID my flaws so I take and sometimes work on the feedback I get. If it weren’t for that friend I might still bite my tongue when people negatively affect my emotions. It’s important to remember just because something is obvious to you and you can smell the trash emanating from the person’s pores, you cannot assume they know they’re a garbage person. Be that person to let them know. If they can’t take your feelings into consideration then walk away from the landfill that is their soul. However, it’s refreshing to know that maybe, just maybe, with your help you can be the head of park clean-up for their lives by initiating the conversation.

I’ve taken my own medicine and been more vocal to people who — suck. And it’s hard. And scary. And daunting. And uncomfortable. But, the relief you feel from just expressing and not suppressing your feelings and not holding grudges will be levels above the sunken emotional place you might usually find yourself in.

I have faith in you, I have faith in us, that we can vanquish miscommunication and hurt emotions one awkward conversation at a time. If we don’t help garbage people evolve into high class recycled goods, they’ll meet another garbage person and make more garbage people!

Let’s STOP the madness.

 

Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself…

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I’m happy.

I need that to be very clear.

This needs to be distinct because I have no idea where my fingers are going to take me in these next few moments as I write this post, but it’s imperative to know that I. AM. HAPPY. I’ve worked hard to get here and I need you to acknowledge my hard work and clap for me incessantly in reaching this milestone. Seriously. Gimme the claps. I live in LA now and like claps and green juices.

The past few months I’ve vanished. Figuratively and literally. “Friends” in LA have commented on it incessantly. People on the east coast would slide in my phone letting me know — in case I didn’t notice. Initially, I was subtle. Showing up here and there. Posting a quirky status on Facebook or showing up for every 5th pal’s performance I was invited to so that I still maintained all of my shallow connections. Initially I cared about these things. However, I soon realized that caring for and about other people who didn’t genuinely care about me and invest in me in return was hurting me. It took me awhile to realize this, but once I did I couldn’t unrealize it. So, what’d I do? I chose to ghost myself.

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You see, at that time I was well versed in ghosting. I’d recently gotten a feel of it from a guy, from “friends”, from potential job opportunities — I could’ve written a step by step guide on “The Art of Attraction: How to be a Ghost Magnet”. Who knows, I might make that a chapter in my memoirs. So many things were vanishing in my life — so quickly — I didn’t know how to process it all. Not only that, but I was in a serious rut of depressive/self-loathing stagnation — I wasn’t writing, wasn’t improvising, heck I wasn’t even networking and I can do that in my sleep! — I decided my unemployed self deserved a well earned break from it all. A break from what you might ask? A break from subconsciously comparing myself to everyone else and constantly feeling inadequate. I realized I didn’t really enjoy the pain of social media like everyone else. It’s funny. Social Media — S&M — in a way, they’re eerily similar. Adrenaline rushes from well received pictures/videos. The shame/irritation from poor performing posts or friends that are doing “better than you”. Social Media wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I needed to break free from the addiction and go cold turkey.

110 days.

For 110 days I said no to my flesh to compare myself.

For 110 days I battled demons I didn’t know I was in the ring with.

For 110 days I upped the ante God did on my humbling season and bet him he couldn’t make it any worse. <<< I’m an idiot. <<< Never bet God.  <<< You’ll lose lol.

But I’m grateful for it all. I have an issue comparing myself. Not wanting to graduate from somewhere or wanting to birth a mini me, but realizing that I’m overwhelmingly self-conscious that I’m not progressing in life at the same rate as everyone else and finally accepting that that’s okay. It’s okay to have this revelation, it’s not okay for it to paralyze me.

My sister made me do this exercise yesterday where I wrote down the misc things I’m balancing and figuring out where my time goes and what I’m truly prioritizing. 14 things. I’m wearing 14 different hats right now. If I tried to somewhat consolidate them they’d merge into 8 fedoras. That’s still too many. Of those 8 I didn’t even realize writing, my main passion/talent at the moment, WASN’T EVEN ON THE LIST! Obviously in my “Year of Yes” I forgot to make sure I was prioritizing what really mattered. I’m not being secretive for the sake of being mysterious. I just don’t know which of the 14 have to go to make room for more of this. I’ll share with you in due time. I need you to help me stay accountable.

So, now that I’ve learned how to be truly comfortable in this chocolate skin… Now that I’ve learned not to feel validation through other people and the likes I receive on the interwebs… Now that I’ve learned to focus on the future and not replay the past… Now that I’m learning how to prioritize my responsibilities, and not let life happen to me but take it by the cojones (yes, that’s how you spell it!), It’s kind of exhilarating. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d have five jobs, only get paid for two of them and be okay with that! Never in my wildest dreams did I think improv would a) be a part of my life and b) be such a HUGE part of it and c) that’d I’d look forward to being on stage. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it was possible for me to pursue what I’m pursuing and be surrounded by some of the dopest people I’m humbled to call friends and mentors.

I’ve no idea what the big man is scheming up there. But I’m finally ready to not stand in my own way with senseless things like fear and doubt.

So, allow me to reintroduce myself.

I’m Moni Oyedepo.

The girl you knew.

The woman you’ve yet to meet.

How Are You?

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Such a loaded question in times like this.

It’s been a week after we, the leading nation in the world, voted a man who could give two fux about me and most of my closest confidants keys to essentially rule the world.

A week to let it sink in that I have probably unknowingly called closeted racists some of my closest friends at miscellaneous times in my life.

A week to grasp that the divisive, palpable racism I saw in history books and documentaries, those distant memories I thought were from of years or yore… those memories I thought were dead and gone… they’ve been my reality all along. I just didn’t know.

The same sentiments and elitism and privilege and hatred during the Civil Rights era never left. They were just festering, boiling and scratching underneath the cloak of political correctness. Instead of sit-ins and fire hoses, it’s been trending hashtags and viral videos showing the execution of black men who didn’t deserve to die. Instead of in your face “I can drive by the plantation slavery,” legions of minority men have vanished into privatized, for profit prisons never to be heard from again.

Last week I went to a women of color brunch where we talked about self-love and life and anything that came to mind. At one point someone spoke up that she realized a few years ago she was viewing life through a white lens. She realized she was accepting life at face value and took it upon herself to self educate on topics and people she never heard of in school. [Let’s just say there are huge Grand Canyon-esque holes in our public education.] It wasn’t until I heard it articulated in this way that it struck a nerve with me. Lately, I’ve felt myself having internal turmoil as I reflect on my past and upbringing. I was talking to a fellow Nigerian friend who also grew up in white suburbia and while we knew we were black and the “only one” in our adolescent friend groups, we never viewed ourselves or really realized that we were tokens. That maybe because no one was shaking a noose in our faces and calling us apes, we didn’t internalize or register the times people clicking at us pretending to be Nigerian or uninvitedly running their fingers through our ‘different’ hair as racism.

I’ve been aware that in recent years my white lens cracked — I just didn’t know what was happening. However, In recent  days it has completely shattered. I resisted in Chapel Hill when I would hear my black guy friends tell me they were pulled over multiple times during their four years at my institution. That’s crazy. I’d think. They’re great guys and the last people I’d EVER expect to get in trouble with the law… but they must’ve been doing SOMETHING wrong to get the police’s attention. I resisted when over dinner I’d have friends who grew up in black neighborhoods tell me that going to school with clear backpacks and metal detectors is a very real reality for a lot of black youth. I was concerned with getting a 4 on my AP exam and being the anchor on my track team’s 4×1, she was concerned with hoping the internet worked each day and not catching the attention of the school’s rogue security guards. I resisted when a white friend declined coming to my birthday brunch when she realized she’d be the only white person. I begrudgingly gave her the pass that she has probably never been a minority so I guess I understood, but when I was the only one at her housewarming two weeks earlier it was just maintaining the status quo.

I’ve resisted acknowledging the realities outside of my white bubble because I knew it would cause more questions than answers. If I’m being honest, I didn’t want to focus on being woke. I’m constantly trying to figure me out in this game called life and where I fit in. I didn’t want to self educate and unearth the copious amounts of information my privileged, suburban education didn’t think was necessary. I’ve resisted for as long as possible, but the endless murders caught on tape and the election of that man and the countless conversations I’ve had with people on tangential topics related to this issue make it so I couldn’t suppress this anymore if I tried.

So I stopped.

I’ve read.  I’ve Googled.  I’ve watched. I’ve listened. I’ve prayed. I’ve cried. I’ve sobbed. I’ve run. And I haven’t even scratched the surface of the countless resources people have sent my way since getting on this quest for deeper knowledge.

Lately I’ve alternated running and crying. Running to train for a race and crying because my emotions have been questionably volatile lately. Sometimes I’d cry on my runs and I’d pray it just looked like I was sweating from my eyes. My well of tears has been dry lately because beyond exploring my blackness, life in general has been — interesting. I am finally surrounding myself around people I could really consider friends out here, but at the same time I haven’t felt this isolated since I was in the womb. Gauging relationships and career goals and figuring out how to pay car payments with no income and coming to terms with the fact that I spent 25 years developing a useless resume… In full disclosure one of my crying panic attacks was so severe recently I couldn’t even make it up the stairs to my room. I can laugh about it now with my closest friends, but at the time we were all concerned. Praise God I have a free shrink in training on speed dial! I say this not for you to feel sorry for me (I do not want your pity), but for those of you who are struggling with whatever personal demons you’re battling — you’re not alone. You’re not. Okay? Seriously. Got It? Good.

But back to the topic at hand.

Now that the lens has shattered, I find myself awkwardly trying to navigate the once pristine streets I used to gallivant down so freely. Whenever I cross paths with a white person, instead of the friendly head nod hoping they have a good day and going about my business, I catch myself doing the friendly head nod, but also asking myself “Are you a white devil?” in my head. This is NOT OKAY. I know this, and yet now that I’m more aware and see the statistics from the latest election, I can’t help this line of thinking.

Even as I type this while watching the local news, I can see how the media, heck everything can create a subconscious bias if you’re not aware of what you’re being fed. As a journalism major, we learned that framing is basically when the media picks and chooses what parts of a news story to highlight. It’s quite interesting once you notice this stuff. For example, in a five-minute and 49 second (yes, I timed it) minute segment of ABC 7’s reporting last night seven different stories were reported. Of the seven, four were of people essentially disturbing the peace: a man who went on a violent rampage with his car in the local grocery store parking lot after assaulting his girlfriend (1 minute, 47 seconds of coverage), a man who broke in and raped a woman in her home — which might be tied to a string of other assaults in the area (1 minute 34 seconds of coverage), a man with a viral mug shot (23 seconds of coverage) and a man who assaulted an officer in a local convenience store (37 seconds of coverage; interesting it’s not on their website, but here’s KTLA’s coverage). Let me make this plain: what everyone did was bad. Period. However, three of the four had a mug shot shown and three of the four were minorities. The segment that received the longest coverage and perpetrator who received the harshest charges (assault, assault with a deadly weapon and felony domestic violence charges) was of a 25-year-old white male whose face was never seen. I’m probably never in life going to Temecula, CA, so I don’t need to see this man’s face and know to avoid him. However, if we’re wondering where the trope of the big scary black man comes from, it’s from framing like this when minority mug shots are flashed 2-3 times in their 30 seconds of coverage, but the Caucasian male’s face is nowhere to be seen. I guess what I’m saying is if it’s worth reporting I should know what all the perpetrators look like and not just the black and brown ones.

Sigh.

Fifty years from now when little Lauren reads about this time period in American history what will she think? I remember thinking the Civil Rights Era was a crazy time and I’m fortunate and lucky enough to be born in this day and age when overt racism is a thing of the past and my generation wouldn’t uphold the atrocities of the people before us. If little Lauren thinks like this, will she be as naive as I was? Or maybe just maybe this really could be her reality like Dr. King intended?

So, how am I?

I’m alright. I’m tired. I’m lonely. I’m confused. I’m sorta confident. I’m feeling fit. I’m almost funny. I’m impatient. I’m angry. I’m annoyed. I’m restless. Most of all, I’m hopeful. Maybe this is the wake up call America needed. Maybe we got too comfortable being PC and we see just how much farther we have to go as a nation. Just like when people were shocked and floored that they saw a black president in their lifetime and it’s no longer an absurd fantasy to see a black man lead this nation, I have hope that we can see racial, LGBT, gender, disability and all the other types of equality in the same lifetime — call me greedy.

I grew up with a president who ran on a campaign instilling hope into a clearly divided nation. If that man decimates everything Obama did in these past eight years, the foundation of hope I gleaned from Barry over the past decade is one thing he could never take away.

What A Time to Be Alive

The title of this post is cheesy. I know. Gimme a break. It’s been awhile.

Wow. Today marks me being a resident of LA for ONE YEAR. #WhatInTheWorld

So much spiritual, emotional, literal and figurative growth has occurred this past year, I honestly don’t know where to begin… Hmm. That’s a lie. I know exactly where to start.

The past few months I always said that when I start messing w/ this blog again my first post would be titled: “You’re a Fake Friend and Your Concern Is Too” or “Sarah is My Sister but She’s Not My Keeper: Quit Asking Her How I’m Doing.” But my mood/outlook on people isn’t as aggressive as it once was. Obviously my journey in LA hasn’t been sunshine and rainbows. Only recently have I started enjoying waking up at 5:45am – naturally excited to go on a run – versus insomnia due to wondering if God made me accidentally because he still can’t figure out what to do with me just yet. Initially, writing while brooding was a welcome feeling as people would tell me that they have felt/are feeling the same way and that they find comfort in my words. However, I soon realized every time I hit publish the posts were lacking in spunk and I didn’t want to shoulder the weight of being the voice of the depressed millennial. During this time of confusion when Sarah and I chatted, she’d say, “so and so read your blog and: ‘is wondering if you’re ok?’ ‘asked if you’re depressed?’ ‘asked if you regret moving?'” After awhile it got to be too much. I realized people don’t necessarily care about me, they’re just fascinated by the tumultuous fall that is/was my life. I figure if you cared about me you’d reach out to me, not get second-hand info from ‘my husband’. So, I wrapped up this blog and decided to shelve it until I could type words in a coherent sequence that didn’t have people itching to call a therapist after reading it.

This past year has rocked me to my core. I’ve questioned all of my friends, family, purpose, talents, existence — literally at some point in this reset year I’ve pondered everything under the sun and wondered why I’ve even been blessed to feel the warmth of the sun and know how simple and great life can be if I find there’s no reason to get out of bed most days. There was a huge part of this year that I was depressed. Sometimes I have phantom pangs reminding me that I haven’t fully escaped it. During my darkest days I even thought about suicide (HUGE disclaimer — I’m fine — trust me — please leave Sarah alone). I didn’t think about doing it or how I’d do it, but just thinking about it in a general sense and empathizing with the anguish of those who go through with it. I could never do it because I always see myself as too much of a “coward” to end my life… but this is another blog for another day. I really wish people freely talked about these things instead of only when a life (attempts to) end(s) because I’ve danced around the issue of depression/suicide with many a person in 1:1 conversations and the people you least suspect are hurting most. Again… another blog for another day.

I’ve surrounded myself with the best people around and I’d duel to the death with you right now that my inner circle run laps around yours. From budding PhD recipients to venture capitalists funding their own coffee shop to a legitimate Hollywood star on the rise once fall TV rolls out to an exhausted surgeon who makes it a priority to keep me alive (luhh you girl!) to many many many other scrappy, talented, wise, God-fearing, calling out my BS and forcing me to face my deepest fears individuals — without these angels on Earth there’s no way I would’ve mentally made it through this year. My angels know who they are. Thank you for your endless support and constant motivation. (Hint: If you have to question if you’re an angel [to me] then you’re not. My angels know.)

Lately I’ve started to find my footing in LA LA land. I came fresh eyed and excited, thinking I’d land a writing job at Buzzfeed within the month and somehow finagle a way to meet Oprah because — well — Oprah. After a year I’m doing things I’d never imagine:  I self-taught myself how to write TV show scripts in hopes of landing a writing gig on a network show. Started taking improv not too long after to ‘find my funny bone’ in my writing.  Apparently I’m not half bad and a random curiosity in improv has snowballed into me joining my own team (I still don’t think I’m funny, but it’s a talent I must now accept).  Shameless plug: Obama’s Other Daughters — is an all black, all female indie improv team who is slowly taking over the improv scene. (We already got a mini corporate sponsorship in this bihhh… #WeLit). I’m also brainstorming my own web series after helping produce one from conception to final product and dabbling in acting and eating better and losing weight and TRAINING FOR A MARATHON (my 16yo self who ran track and in better shape than me pre-ACL tear would never believe this). I’m finally starting to understand this thing called life and how to live it fearlessly.

Conquering fears has been my homework this summer. One angel in particular would just work that in our conversations at the most random times. “What are you afraid of?” Huh?! I was just trying to convince you to eat dessert waffles for dinner instead of a real meal. “What are you afraid of?”  was the theme of our friendship and my life for a while. What WAS I afraid of? Like, I legit didn’t know the answer. Deep water. The police (lately). Wasting my youth. Growing old and alone (friends on Facebook have moved past engagements in their lives and working on their 2nd/3rd child — it’s too much). It took me a few weeks to figure most of them out. I mean I was addressing deep-rooted things that have been around since I was 9 and started hating my broad nose and thought it smart to put Clorox in my lotion thinking I might get a few shades lighter. Heavy stuff I didn’t even realize I was still carrying I started to chip away at this summer. It was the most intense, painful yet therapeutic thing I could’ve ever done.

I could ramble more, but I want you to stick around for future posts! So, as I end this heavy(ish) blog with twinges of positivity, I challenge you to be fearless in your journey. I thought I was but my angels, quick to smell that bull, made me realize I was only fooling myself. So, my cherished friend who made it to the end of this blog, “What are you afraid of?” If you don’t have any angels in your life, know that I’m a bomb one. I may not always respond or do it immediately (no one is perfect even if they have wings!), but I’ll be there for you and support ya as you continue to reach your own milestones in this journey called life.

Wow. What a time to be alive.

Excited for you. Excited for me. Excited for us. ❤

Intellectual Impetus: Tupac Shakur

{i.e. “Monday Motivation” for you non-creative type}

You know when you’re creeping on that one random acquaintance you met at that one random function and you’re all on their Facebook and Insta and stuff [don’t act like I’m the only one], and you think “Huh, they’re into so dope @$$ stuff. Maybe we can meet again and exchange info and this won’t be weird next time.” You know, those moments? Well, the other day I thought this about someone because I was on their page and watched this brief snippet on one of the busiest individuals EVER before he died. I have officially lived longer than this dude by a few weeks. He died at TWENTY FIVE AND (almost) THREE MONTHS. He did so much in such a short amount of time it’s mind-blowing. It’s crazy. It’s absurd. It’s “lemme get my shizz together grind time”.

Here’s to all of my people out there who need the extra kick in the pants.

Happy Monday!

“How to Not Be a Dick” The Social Cues Handbook that Needs to Exist

Hmm… I’ve been told lately that my blog posts have been a bizarre balance of depressing and funny. Apologies. For some reason I get ‘inspired’ when in a funk and I should probably start filtering when I hit the publish button. For those of you who have reached out to me, your concern is much appreciated. I’ll try to sound less emo in the future.

In an effort to combat my latest “woe is me, I’m a lost 20 something” post, I’ll redirect you to a recent blog of mine on the Huffington Post.

Lately I’ve had intriguing interactions with people and for the life of me I can’t figure out if I should speak my mind or only yell at them in my head. If I don’t speak my mind they’ll never learn, but if I do speak my mind I’ll sound like Donald Trump – irate and illogical. It’s all confusing. WHEN IS IT OKAY TO SPEAK YOUR MIND?!

I’m serious about this book coming into existence. If you’re on the same page as me and want to contribute lemme know. I just might slide you a percentage of the royalties.

Enjoy!

First 105 Days at 25

Around this time 10 years ago I felt angry, helpless and alone.

My mom recently told me that we’d be moving from Texas to North Carolina my Junior year of high school. I knew deep in my heart I was leaving before my prime. I’d already made the cut to be on my school’s radio station reading traffic/weather reports for the next school year. I sadly had to decline auditioning for the noon – 1 pm personality slot since I’d no longer be around. I’d already made the Varsity Track Team for the next season and was excited to receive my Letterman Jacket in the fall. Unfortunately the moving truck would whisk me away before that ceremony.  I was going to be an officer of my school’s chapter of National Honor Society. Instead of being in charge of philanthropic events, I spent weeks trying to prove to my new school that I was in fact a bad ass and inducted as a Sophomore.

Around this time 10 years ago, I was coming to terms to the fact that I’d be moving halfway across the country as a junior in high school. Instead of being the person I pictured involved with countless activities and various leadership positions, I was soon to be the kid who ate lunch alone by the school buses. Instead of being on track of having the ideal high school experience, I was the awkward new kid that didn’t know how to make friends – to the horror of my 5-year-old self. In order to pass the time I’d escape and imagine my life 10 years in the future. After high school and college and what fun adventures I’d be getting into….

After living my first 105 days at 25, I can say that I’m feeling the same emotions that I felt 10 years ago – Angry. Helpless. Alone. The only difference between the two is that my teenage self left incredible things behind as I headed into the unknown.

At 25 my future feels bleak, but the future I would’ve had if I stayed in DC would’ve been bleaker. As I type this I’m overcoming yet another setback with my writing goals. If I’ve learned nothing else, I’m starting to realize 25 is literally my make it or break it year. I’m either on the cusp of something great as I head into my 30s or I’ll be that washed up kid with a job nowhere near my interests/passions/major praying there’s someone worse off than me as I walk into my high school and college reunions.

5-year-old Moni would’ve never imagined that 15-year-old Moni would be that awkward new kid. 15-year-old Moni would’ve never imagined that 25-year-old Moni would be that unemployed ‘starving artist’. 25-year-old Moni would’ve never imagined that 35-year-old Moni moved in with her mom content with a minimum wage job. <<<<< Since my expectations are always wrong, I’m figuring the reverse will happen. No?

Here’s to hoping that the incessant ‘you can be whatever you want’ comments I heard when growing up didn’t set me up for failure!

Thank You, #BlackTwitter (Again)

Some people can’t read watches, I can’t read calendars.

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This entire month I thought Leap Year Day was yesterday. So when I posted yesterday’s blog I thought it was today so that I could commemorate the end of Black History Month which is today and clearly not yesterday. I’m not simple, I just can’t read. That being said, The Huffington Post published it on the right day – today – they’re just so smart! 🙂

So if you haven’t read yesterday’s words, you can read them today on the right day. Yay! Enjoy.

#BlackTwitter

On this unicorn day of the shortest month of the year, I’d like to pay homage to an entity that has kept me grounded, alert, entertained, and most of all connected. Let me start off by explaining – I am not a social media participator, but a social media appreciator. I cannot recall contributing to this movement in any way, but (my feeble excuse is that) I simply cannot squeeze my thoughts into 140 characters. Instead, this 140+ word blog post will have to suffice. Black Twitter this is to you. All of the creators, writers, advocators, entertainers, bloggers, millennials, reporters, POC, contributors, gif makers, photoshop masterminds, to all of you I say thank you. You created a movement that is far from being over and I am forever grateful.

Despite getting the standard history lesson in school during my adolescence on icons like Rosa Parks, MLK or W.E.B DuBois during this time of year, I would’ve never noticed it was Black History Month had it not been for Black Twitter and my changing Snapchat filters. I remember there were times in school I’d say a quick prayer thanking God I was born in 1990 and not anytime prior whenever I opened a history book. I just know I’d never have the strength or mental capacity to live the lives many people before me had to endure. Thank you Black Twitter for exposing me to Virginia McLaurin. Her energy is infectious and humbling. I can only imagine the America she experienced and the nation before Negro History Week existed or schools were desegregated or the thought of a black president was a crude joke rather than a possibility.

Since I’m not on the Beyhive email list, you exposed me to #FORMATION… along with the endless satirical ‘journalism’ and controversy surrounding it. I have no idea if a tight black leotard that slayed across the grass of a football field will eventually spur a riot. I just know that in this case the revolution was televised and people (especially the police for some odd reason) got their feelings hurt. For a person who so rarely uses her platform on political issues to get this much heat, you have to wonder if there’s more truth than comedy when the world finally realized Beyoncé is black. I also can’t err to mention Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy performance. Music has given us a 1-2 punch on #StayingWoke this month.

Since I’m on the west coast, I hate that I can no longer live Twatch TV when things are first aired on the east coast. I don’t want to see your tweets when Wheel of Fortune is on over here and by the time I can see what you’ve already watched, you’re tucked away in bed and your tweets have grown slightly stale, but I still enjoyed them anyway. This was the case in Black-ish’s episode ‘Hope’. This modern Huxtable family found a way to explain pretty much the entire spectrum of Black views on recent police brutality issues. From Anthony’s monologue about Obama’s first day in office describing every black person’s fear to Yara’s accurate portrayal of every confused millennial, the Black-ish writers did what no one thought possible – cover such a controversial topic with poise and substance. This episode stretched the actors and our perception of the generational differences black people have on their version of America. We can only hope that these views converge for the better over time because if we can’t strive towards this simple ideal it means that things aren’t changing and the struggle will forever be real.

Until recent years, I’d been a little ignorant of appropriation. From twerking to big butts and lips to exotic nails to extensions, many an unsung black woman will forever be at the forefront of these profitable trends – seeing no dollars of course. At some point in time a non-Black saw something, decided to ‘make it better’ and ‘created’ a market overnight. It’s no secret that white and black music artists have sampled from each other over the years, but recently Black Twitter couldn’t take it anymore. #TrapCovers is a stand against all the watered down coffee shop hip-hop songs that we know and love. Work should never be sung accoustically with a guitar. Neither should Formation, Hot in Herre or Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) – but I can’t lie, My Neck, My Back is kinda fun! Anywho, creative Black innovators instead made trap versions of Hello, You Belong With Me, A Thousand Miles, Hey JudeBaby One More Timethe Star Spangled Banner and more! Thank you, thank you for these gems Black Twitter. Even though some people never understood the point of the hashtag was to make them mad for forcing you to create the hashtag, I respect the hustle as I patiently await for full versions of some of these songs.

Not sure of the chicken or the egg in this scenario… The @ObamaAndKids Twitter account or the #ObamaAndKids hashtag. Either way as you scroll the tweets of both of these pages you begin to see just how much of an impact and influence one man can have and is having on the next generation. Sure, if you’ve been exposed to the harshness of the world you can articulate your views on why you love/hate this man. However, for those who are still innocent and only old enough to like/dislike someone based on demeanor, appearance and first impressions – Obama has clearly left a strong impression on these kids and you can tell in the images that the feeling is mutual. Thank you BT and thank you @MichaelSkolnik for leading me to this gem during this amazing man’s victory lap.

I know I didn’t cover every monumental Black themed trending topic that occurred this month (as a few are: #OscarsSoWhite, #BlackFutureMonth, #BlackPanthersPBS, #BlackHistoryMonth/#BHM), but I just wanted to briefly show my appreciate to you, Black Twitter, on how you’ve kept me aware and entertained this month. Long before a headline on injustice finally hits my phone – you’ve been there. Long before I can put words to my swirling feelings on arising issues, you’ve given me 87+ I can cherry pick and retweet that are more eloquent than anything I would’ve thought to tweet. This Black History Month (and every month really), you’ve continued to open my eyes and shatter the myth that our generation can’t stand together like generations of yore. History books document what was; however, (Black) Twitter cleverly documents what has been, is, and will be. Thank you, thank you for the laughs, the thought-provoking one-liners, the news before they became articles, the wisdom, the silliness, the heartache. Thank you for opening my eyes and thank you for making me realize that while we’ve come a long way, we’ve still got a little while more to go.

Until next time, Black Twitter.

 

Song of the Day: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Homeschooled

Today, the Huffington Post published my blog on creating and following a personal syllabus that you can write for yourself. You should definitely go read it because I’m not going to repeat myself about it here lol.

However, I want to explain why I was motivated to make a personal syllabus. This whole “new city, new you” thing has been a mental and emotional rollercoaster for sure. I haven’t stumbled upon an amazing friend group yet like the ones I left in Chapel Hill, DC && NYC. For the life of me I still haven’t figured out my purpose nor have any new careers been clamoring to seduce or hire me. Finally, I’m so used to not hearing back from the random jobs I’ve applied to online, even LinkedIn and Indeed have slowed down on sending me job postings because they’re tired of sending me empty promises.

It’s all made me realize that I’m not going to find my next job online. No quirky Google search or email subscription or company’s career page will give me what I want. Whatever I want to do won’t be listed. It’s reserved for people who are ‘in the know’ and ‘connected’ and ‘driven’. I’ve decided I’m going to be one of those people. After shifting my perspective, talking to people in the industry and attempting to align my talents with my interests, I’m starting to have a general idea of where I want to go next in life. Voicing my dream and attempting to go for it in recent weeks is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. (Sure, uprooting my life and moving across the country was ‘scary’ but that was ‘new adventure’ scary, this new goal is ‘I almost broke out in hives when I realized what I’m about to do’ scary.) However, the fear of reaching 50 at some deadend job disappointed with how I handled my youth is scarier than attempting what I want to do and failing miserably. I’m a millennial. I’ll bounce back, eventually.

That being said, I’ve ordered a few books, am taking online workshops, structuring my time, R E S E A R C H I N G, and writing and reading like crazy in hopes of taking this tiny marble of an idea and helping it to snowball into my wildest dreams.

&& no, I’m not going to state what I’m working on – right now. I’ve got to figure out and fine tune my goals before I share it with you, my audience of 11 (seriously, thank you for reading my thoughts. I love you!). The HuffPost article has a crude syllabus you can follow. You can also download this template I found online to really shape and achieve your ambitions and goals.

Enjoy!

A Year Ago Today…

 

A year ago today, I decided ‘this will be my year.’

A year ago today, I was in the midst of planning an international adventure with a fun group of friends – most of whom I don’t talk to anymore.

A year ago today, I thought I was in love with one of my guy friends but realized he just wears a suit really well.

A year ago today, I had two songs on repeat as motivation to not quit my job prematurely.

A year ago today, I would’ve bet money that Chris Christie was going to be our next president.

A year ago today was a Sunday. I was driving back to my house in DC from my adolescent dwelling in NC.

A year ago today, I didn’t want to arrive at my destination because I was starting to hate living there.

A year ago today, my smile would be genuine but my heart would twinge every time friends told me about the positive progress in their lives. While happy for them in the moment, I’d always leave the conversation wondering ‘when will it be my turn?’

A year ago today, I was living paycheck to paycheck even though I made more than the median income for a family of four.

A year ago today, I wondered about my college best friend. How is she? What is she doing with her life? Will we ever share a conversation again?

A year ago today, I’d never seen any of George Lucas’ work or why it mattered that James Earl Jones was Luke’s father.

A year ago today, I would’ve done anything to change the rut that I found myself in.

A year ago today, I’d still get giddy just thinking about my birthday. I realized I am loved and I’m not as crappy of a friend as I used to be.

A year ago today, I deleted a spreadsheet I created on grad school and possible concentrations. Finally realizing that books not meant for pleasure just aren’t for me.

Today, it’s intriguing to reflect on what I’ve done and who I’ve done it with. Remembering those who should stay in my past and possibly rekindling things with incredible people who have fallen off.

A year from now, I hope that I’ve flourished and figured out why I’m alive.

A year from now, each of my days will have a fulfilled purpose.

A year from now, I won’t be a bum in my sister’s spare room on my sister’s couch (this just sounds better lol, sounds like a true starving artist’s ‘struggle’)

A year from now, I will be experiencing compounded interest on happiness.

A year from now, my intentions and goal-setting/goal-achieving will astound my inner circle more than it will me. They all know that this is one of my biggest character flaws.

A year from now, I’ll chuckle over some text Shonda [Rhymes] just sent me (stretch goal).

A year from now, I’ll still be me. Just in a better place mentally, spiritually, financially and relationally.

It’s important to realize where you’ve been and visualize where you’re going. Use what you’ve learned in 2015 to flourish in 2016. Wishing us both the best of luck for the next 360 days! #YouveGotIt

Political Poem

The other year I decided to try my hand at poetry…. I didn’t like it so it never saw the light of day. Anyway this is what I have, but after three revisions and forgetting I wrote it, I’ve decided to table this project. Maybe I’ll approach it at a different angle in a different way one day.

Twas a year before the election, when all through the nation,

Every candidate was stirring of pure agitation;

The numbers are in and are constantly showing

Who once was a joke is now leading the polling.

The pundits, reporters and supporters alike, all make the case

Of who’ll be the last standing in this race.

The Democrats have so very few in this round

No desire to be trampled in this political burial ground.

Maybe no one wanted to follow Obama’s two-term popularity,

Grateful, now realizing this race is now just pure hilarity.

Perhaps it’s that Clinton appears to have such swagger,

Even those secret emails proved to be a weak dagger.

Sanders is really her only formidable foe,

Especially since Joe decided to say “no”.

Chafee, O’Malley, Webb – non factors they are

Have make choosing a Democratic the most boring by far.

If it’s a show you desire, something more entertaining

Look no further than all of the Republicans campaigning.

Where to begin with this political farce

Why let’s start with the one true biggest arse! // The quality candidates are just so sparse.

Donald Trump is apparently the one // the only candidate to beat

Oh God, if he wins I’ll start to overeat. // Proof that needing any qualifications is now obsolete.

No matter what he says his numbers keep increasing

My faith in American politics is slightly decreasing.

Ben Carson, Ben Carson oh where to begin,

His legacy should have ended with that conjoined twin

Instead he’s running as the anti-Obama

He’s only adding to the Republican Party’s trauma/drama

Then you have Ted Cruz a tea party supporter

You’d think his political career would’ve been much shorter.

Carly Fiorina has been in the lead a time or two,

But can she really help increase the nation’s revenue?

Of course we have Jeb, a model candidate

Another Bush in the Oval, might be a miscalculate.

Chris Christie, my man, once thought him the one to beat

Should’ve ran in 2012 and wouldn’t be experiencing such a crushing defeat.

On Gilmore on Rubio on Paul on Huckabee

On Santorum on Graham on Kasich on Pataki

The number of Republicans running reached its peak at seventeen

These campaigns are nothing more than a fundraising machine

Way too many candidates and each running out of time,

it’s just about time to end this rhyme // The time has come to end this rhyme

As party representatives are slowly picked

This race is so volatile, it’s truly hard to predict

Maybe there’ll be another Clinton White House sex scandal

Maybe we’ll be disgusted by the way Trump will eventually mishandle

There are too many uncertainties for the nation’s future

Hopefully there’ll emerge a candidate that’s a master suture.

I wonder if we’re deciding on a president or a reality personality

These candidates not concerned about change but their celebrity mortality.

With this dysfunctional lot of candidates who will be inspired to vote?

I’ve less than a year to hear something of note!

Happy New Year.

Well…

This thing has obviously garnered a little dust over the past few months [sigh]. So many emotional highs and lows that needn’t resurface, but I’ve realized that if I want to see the 2016 that I’m visualizing for myself I need to create it. So here’s to me for getting back on this horse. Here’s to you for reading it.

Happy New Year.

Wishing us both the best of luck as we take steps to actualizing what we want to see in the new year.

Personal Exercise: Write Your Own Eulogy

The Huffington Post recently published a random blog I submitted.

I was watching A Different World the other day and in their public speaking class (taught by Whoopi Goldberg) the students had an assignment that required them to write their own eulogies. Tisha Campbell (Gina, from Martin) guest starred in this episode as her character wrote her eulogy on dying within two years after having unprotected sex with her boyfriend in high school and acquiring HIV.

This was a huge deal as HIV/AIDS was such a taboo, terrifying topic of discussion in the early 90s. The episode had me wondering what my eulogy would consist of and if I would be satisfied with the person I became once I left this earth. Obviously I have no plas of dying anytime soon and I hope that some of the far fetched things I have outlined for my future come true. Who knows, maybe I’ll accomplish some things that I’ve never even thought of before! Whatever the case, I found this to be a healthy exercise as I evaluated what’s important to me and unearthed random dreams I didn’t know I had.

I challenge you to do the same. Maybe you’re on track to becoming the person you’re satisfied as dying as. Maybe you’ve never thought about your future or even your present and you’d cry if you realized that you’d die next week and weren’t on track to being the person you wanted to become. Wherever you are in this life of yours use the words you write about yourself as motivation on your personal journey.

Song of the Day: Forever Young – Alphaville

Craigslist: Need Not Apply

In my quest to find stable employment that I actually like, I’ve looked high and low for potential opportunities. From LinkedIn (premium) to Indeed to temp agencies to word of mouth to Craigslist, no stone is being unturned as I try to figure out the best way to get my big toe in the door of success out here.

Last week, I responded to a Craigslist ad that was looking for a Production Assistant/Apprentice for a dolphin movie that would transform from a documentary to a potential kid’s action/adventure movie. The job would be 2 1/2 months and unpaid, but it promised to provide a lot of hands on experience with pitching to investors, maybe reaching out to A-list actors for voice over opportunities, ability to watch the CGI (computer generated-imagery) get added to the existing footage and even potentially go on location (to local beaches) and get more footage for the film.

I contacted the guy (Fri), he gave me his number to call. We chatted for 35ish minutes and we agreed that I would meet him the next morning for an in person (Sat) as he wanted his new apprentice to start ASAP (Mon). Now, I’m telling my sisters this story and they’re freaked out and think that this is a scam and that I’ll get kidnapped or sex trafficed or something. They make me Google the movie. I did – his promo site for the movie exists. They make me Google the documentary. I did – the documentary is listed in IMDB (International Movie Database) and the top celebrities he kept name dropping are all listed on the documentary’s page. They make me Google the guy (ie: the producer). I did – his name matches the producer listed on the documentary’s page on IMDB, but there’s no picture. At this point I think this is good enough and I decide to go through with it.

By the time I wake up the next morning, my sister emailed me a picture of the guy… I AM SO GLAD SHE DID THIS! When I arrive at the address he sent me, I call my sister. ‘Hey! So…. I’m outside of an apartment complex.’ She laughs, ‘Come home. Now!’ I agree, then disagree. I already drove 40 minutes. I want to see where this leads! I go inside and meet the guy on the second floor of the building. It’s the entertainment floor – huge TV, pool table, couches, computers, etc. I never felt alarmed otherwise I would’ve left. Yes, I DO have a sense of self preservation. As I’m sitting around for 20ish minutes waiting for him to ‘finish another business meeting’ I’m talking to my sister and she’s trying to convince me to conduct the interview on the phone so that she can hear what happens in case I get ‘Taken‘.

When the guy and I finally sit down together, I’m creeped out and intrigued. He is a heightened version of the picture my sister sent me. His hair is longer and greasier. His belly is more pronounced. His eyes are more piercing. Honestly, if she hadn’t sent me that picture I would’ve been convinced this guy was recently on an episode of Dateline’s To Catch a Predator and I would’ve bounced            I M M E D I A T E L Y .

As soon as I sit down he makes me sign a non-disclosure agreement – hence me not giving you full details of my sordid tale. We talk, things look promising. He says it’s full time for these 10 weeks, but it will all be worth it.

I ask ‘Where will be working?’ He states ‘Here, in this apartment complex’. Strike 1. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt as office space in LA is rather expensive…

I ask ‘The days we’re not working here, would I meet you at these other venues? Call an Uber?’ He responds ‘Well, you can just drive here and ride with me so that we’re not eating up too much of your gas.’ Strike 2. Sir, I don’t know you…

I ask ‘You mentioned that if this job goes well, the other movie you’re trying to get funding for in the Amazon will be a paid position and I’d travel to South America with you and the team. Can you let me know a salary range for this future position?’ He responds ‘Ha, well. That all depends on how much money I get. I’ve got to get paid so you can get paid so it could be a lot or not much, but it will be fun!’ Strike 3. No, just no. I’m all for international travel, but this LITERALLY sounds too good to be true and maybe this is some international kidnapping ring he’s a part of (Again, I just watched Taken for the umpteenth time, so I’m slightly paranoid).

At this point I point blank ask him if this job is real. He seems slightly offended, but I’m like sir… I found this listing on Craigslist… and we’re meeting/would be working in an apartment complex… some things just aren’t adding up. He concedes and says he’s met some interesting characters through this posting, and thinks I’d be a great fit. After I assure him that I can survive these months in LA with an unpaid gig, we part ways and he says he’ll call over the weekend after he decides who he picked.

I’ve never heard back from him. Maybe I was slightly too smart? Under qualified? Either way, I just can’t tell if I want this movie to be real or not. I’m obviously grateful I wasn’t kidnapped if this wasn’t a scam, but I’ll be SUPER PISSED if in a couple of years I see this Dateline man on a red carpet and sitting at the Oscar’s when I could’ve been his date!!!! Only time will tell… Sigh.

Note: All events in this story are real. I promise.

Song of the Day: I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

Livin’ On A Prayer

A summary of my life in recent weeks:

  1. I quit my job with nothing to replace it
  2. My sister’s job moved me to LA, where I now reside
  3. My current 9-5 is being a live-in maid/cook for said sister
  4. Jesus and I have become best friends in recent weeks
  5. FUNemployment was once horrible, now I love it!

Lemme explain. Spring 2015, I probably hit one of my lowest of lows – ever. I wanted to quit my job (hated it since orientation, but April 2015…), I wanted to abandon my car in a sketchy neighborhood with the doors unlocked (car payments, car insurance, parking tickets and gas all add up to a lot of unpurchased clothes), I wanted to pretend to be a butterfly and crawl into the fetal position until I magically transformed into a better, more successful version of myself (because I suck). I kind of hated life as it was VERY clear that it hated me.

At the same time, my sister was interviewing for jobs all over the nation as she looked for a new hospital to call home (she’s a fancy surgeon, saving lives and combatting cancer or whatever). She was kind of feeling low as amazing interview after amazing interview didn’t materialize into anything. After months of bewilderment, a random LA job came a knocking on her door. They’re confused why she’s still on the market. She’s confused why the ‘perfect’ job is across the country. I should explain that we’re a small, close-knit family – it’s east coast or bust. However, this place loved/valued her so much her final package poo-pooed on every other offer that was presented to her during the months of interviewing. Overnight she went from feeling undervalued and loathsome, to accomplished and poised to take on the world.

In the weeks of evaluating and negotiating this job, our initial joke of me quitting my job and becoming her freeloading roommate started to transform into real conversations. Fast forward a few months (I can’t skip over the fact and need to address again that HER JOB AGREED TO PAY FOR MY RELOCATION AS WELL – praise him!), and here we are.

I haven’t had this much downtime since the summer before college. Ever summer since 2009 I’ve interned or worked or backpacked in Europe. I’ve never had this much time to just sit. At times I find me rather boring. At times Google takes me down rabbit holes of the internet I didn’t know existed. At times getting trapped in my own thoughts scare me. At times random thoughts like being a soccer mom don’t seem like such a bad idea.

Either way, I’ve done a lot of sitting. Now, the words are manifesting and I’m in a fevorous writing phase. I just got my latest HuffPo blog published. It’s rather morbid, but something to ponder nonetheless. Before I left DC, people would tell me ‘you’re so brave for doing this’ or ‘I don’t understand how you could do this, I could never do what you’re doing‘. In the moment, I didn’t really understand the steps I was taking – I was moving on auto pilot in one direction. Now that I look back at my life, it’s rather surreal that I’m typing these words in my (sister’s) new condo on the west coast as I glance at palm trees between my thoughts. I guess I am kinda ballsy. I’ve already played on the beach, sat in the audience of Let’s Make a Deal, met execs at top entertainment companies, had a job interview from a Craigslist posting, bonded a lot with my sister and started to establish a friend group out here. Excited to see what kind of adventures I stumble into out here.

Song of the Day: Show Me What You Got – Jay-Z

Well… What’s Next?

There has been so much coverage lately on race, race relations, race wars, race riots, race assimilation and race based police brutality, I’ve gotta ask where exactly are we “racing” to as a nation? What is the finish line? How do we know when we’ve reached it? How long will it be until we get there?

The sad thing is that there are no answers to these questions – there will most likely never be answers to these questions. How can we think that we’re progressing as a nation when there is so much news coverage telling us otherwise? I’m starting to wonder if it’s the chicken or the egg. Has there always been such racial disparity in society and social media is forcing the media to finally cover the pandemic that is racism in this nation? Or maybe, it’s that the media is sensationalizing race and racism so much it’s inciting strong emotions in the average American and even the most apathetic individual is finding it hard not to choose a side of either trying to seek change or maintaining the status quo and emphatically expressing their views through social media and other mediums.

The executions that happened in Charleston, SC last week, were horrifying, deplorable, senseless and unnerving. Perhaps the one thing that I can’t let go of, is that the assailant is a millennial. When I envision a ‘stereotypical racist in America’ I see a white man in his late 40s – 60s with a smattering of silver locks of hair, lightly munching on chewing tobacco in some unidentified southern state – kind of like the Chapel Hill Shooting aggressor. When I think of a racist in America, I do not think of a 21-year-old kid who is trying to be a catalyst of a burgeoning “race war”. When I think of a racist in America I see a disgruntled Baby Boomer, I don’t envision a troubled millennial.

This is ageism at its finest and I see how flawed my prejudices may sound. It’s an elitist way to see the world, but my generation perceives itself as being vastly different from the generations of yore. We are progressive. We ‘don’t see color’ as the sole identifier of a person. We are entitled and see the world as ours. We are ‘trailblazers’ who elected the first black president and ‘innovators’ who promote the LGBT agenda and helped make it acceptable and mainstream. To know that any person could carry out this act is disgusting. To know that a millennial did something so heinous is demoralizing.

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This must be how many progressive white people feel. How can they distance themselves from their racist, slave-owning, vote withholding ancestors when the media is constantly portraying a white man who is caught being racist as the norm? However, this just might be the same way the average black male feels as well. How can they properly say that they are assets to society and trying to make it in white-collar America, when they constantly see men who look just like them being shot down like dogs on the 10 o’clock news.

Framing plays a huge part in the way the media presents news and maximizes its revenue dollars. Afterall, all of our “trusted news sources” are all business at the end of the day. As most people know (or should know), the media does not have a legal obligation to tell the truth – but a moral one. Maybe you’ve noticed that I haven’t stated the names of the aggressors in these situations. It’s because I find it distasteful that we focus on the flaws of the victim or the psyche or the assailant – usually no more and no less. We need to remember those who have lost their lives beyond just the random Tweet that we spend 17 seconds crafting and then moving on to focusing on the latest Kardashian drama (one flaw of the millennial generation).

I don’t know what’s going to happen next in America. I don’t see another Civil Rights movement happening. I definitely don’t see a race war starting. However, something, some kind of large scale millennial aged movement is on the verge of happening if the status quo doesn’t start changing soon.

Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha. Deah Shaddy Barakat. James Boyd. Michael Brown. Depayne Middleton Doctor. Eric Garner. Freddie Gray. Cynthia Hurd. Susie Jackson. Ethel Lance. Trayvon Martin. Reverand Clementa Pinckney. Tamir Rice. Tywanza Sanders. Walter L. Scott. Reverand Doctor Daniel Simmons Sr. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton. Myra Thompson. 

This is just a few of the many who have lost their lives in a violent way for questionable motives in recent news cycles. You will be remembered… long after you’ve stopped becoming Breaking News.

 

Song of the Day: Strange FruitNina Simone

It’s Wednes’Ye

In my newly daily quest of scouring the internet trying to find the impetus for my next chapter in life, I stumbled upon this site through my never-ending rabbit hole of random clicks provided by Google. The site, WhatYeIsIt.com, simply gives you the date accompanied with an animation of Kanye and track from each of his albums in anticipation for his seventh studio album.

Wednes'Ye

Seven songs. Seven animations of Kanye. Seven days of the week.

Since he’s Yeezus, it makes sense the theme for the site would be around seven – the number of completion – versus the number six – the number of spawn Kris Jenner created.

Original blog post: here.

Song of the Day: Through the WireKanye West

Quote Meh

“The internet is overwhelming. Sometimes I wish we could only use the encyclopedia.”

– Me

Starting a new series called “Quote Meh”. Any and all memorable syntax I create will be saved here. Remember: your definition of memorable and my definition of memorable are probably two very different things!

I’m Baaaack!

Hmm.

I seem to have deprived you of my words for some time. For that, I apologize. I wish I had some grand reason for why I stopped writing but there isn’t one. In a nutshell I’ll just say that I lost (a lot of) confidence with my writing and doubted anyone was reading this little ol’ thing.

So. Anyway. Self-deprecating moment over.

I’m back. Ready to write. Get ready.

Blah III

There’s this telling knot in the back of my throat that tells me I’m not as happy for you as I say I am.

While my words are genuine as I say “Congratulations, you deserve it” I can feel the corners of my eyes start to prickle as I wonder – when will people start saying this to me?

Even as these negative thoughts creep in and I try to smack them away, it feels as if I setup camp near an ant bed. No matter how hard I try to fight these feelings and shake them off, eventually I’ll be consumed.

I don’t want to be that person… that person who finds personal misery in your good news. I want to mean it when I say I’m happy for you. I do mean it when I say I’m happy for you.

The problem is that I’m failing to find the positives to my narrative. I’m no longer noticing the peaks as I am consumed by the valleys and trenches. Stuck in an internal war I’ve found myself in, I’ve developed trench fever as I am physically starting to feel the effects that this mental warfare is having on me.

The scariest thing of all is not my health – I’ll bounce back. It’s not these trenches – there’ll be personal casualties, but I know the war is mine.

The scariest thing of all is that during this internal warfare, my smile has lost its power. This was my super power. Dazzling. Disarming. It made me hard to figure out at times. This smile was my greatest piece of hardware as it made people think they knew me, made them think we were friends, made me seem a little genuine.

This war has bled into my reserves and I don’t have the strength to bolster my greatest asset. Now that the smile is fading, as it’s no longer reaching my eyes, people are starting to see the underlying emotions, the underling layers… and to me that’s the scariest thing of all.

No one should really know what you’re really thinking. No one should ever know how you truly feel. Right? If people found out what you weren’t saying they wouldn’t be around for very long.

Being fake and surrounded by people is less lonely than being ‘real’ and having no one. Right?

I am not depressed. I am not jealous.

I’ve just been exposed.

What Could’ve Been…

So.

Just watched RiRi’s iHeartRadio performance of #BBHMM. It was… alright. The song is FIREit’s just that we all know Rihanna’s talents lie more in walking on a red carpet than actually performing on a stage.

 

I was thoroughly distracted by her outfit as she looked like a reject from Sesame Street, but it wasn’t until Sarah said, “you know… if Beyoncé had this song she would’ve killed it.”

It was in that moment that chills truly covered my body and it felt like I was sucked into an arctic vortex as the thought truly sank in that Bey would’ve rejuvenated my spirit in those blessed four minutes than giving me something to nod my head to.

Bey would’ve given me Flawless attitude

With Say My Name synchronized dancing

Freakum Dress costume changes

and a signature dance move that I would’ve busted out at the club that a man just might be tempted to Put a Ring On It….

Ohhh what could have been….. Sigh.

 

Quote of the Week // Day XVII

Every time you hit snooze, you’re delaying your dreams by 9 minutes…

– Pastor Mark Batterson on a sermon about Self-Control

 

Have you ever been in the audience of a sermon, lecture, speaker series or professional Q&A panel and had the overwhelming, unnerving feeling that the speaker (who has never met you before) randomly seeped into your mind and is toying with you by addressing every thought, point or question you’ve had recently? << If this hasn’t happened to you yet, you’re clearly not questioning life enough or attending enough intellectually stimulating events << do better.

Anyway. The sermon was about self-control and how we need to “start making decisions against ourselves.” Now. I’ll be honest. I have no idea what that means. However, I walked away with realizing that my constant cycle of making grand sweeping changes in my life and being surprised and befuddled when they don’t work out is old and useless and a waste of time.

I should explain that typically once a month I either say “I’m not eating anymore carbs or processed foods” or “I’m gonna start doing INSANITY” or “I’m gonna do a juice cleanse” or “I’m gonna cut out TV and start reading books” or “I’m gonna cut out discretionary spending” typically leads to me being ‘solid’ for about 4-6 days and then doing the COMPLETE opposite of my gesture [ie: eating a grilled cheese with a side of crackers and cheese or ‘running’ to Chipotle and getting a 2x meat bowl with an extra tortilla (so.. yes… two) or binge watching House of Cards or Game of Thrones or random YouTube videos or going through Urban Outfitters feeling obligated to spend money just because I’m there]. This is an unhealthy cycle that I’ve found myself in for about the past year and some change now.

That being said, Sunday was a wakeup call of sorts (I’ve had many of these lately). Sure, I’ve been told that I have ZERO self-control plenty of times, but it’s entirely different when a man of the cloth tells you about yourself. For the past few months I thought I had a binge eating disorder. Seriously. I did. I sent a link to a friend to prove that I had symptoms and was going to bring it up in my next doctor’s appt. You see… I can get ‘distracted’ and can eat *cough shovel* a bag of popcorn, an apple, kiwi, and three handfuls of trail mix (all after dinner mind you) when I initially went to the kitchen for a glass of water. Sure, these are all ‘healthy’ but I can’t have junk food around… I gorge on that too (Tina, I’m sure I owe you two bags of chips by now. Bless you for still loving me. I’ll get you more soon).

Bottom line. He talked about self-control. And how all things are permissible, but not everything is beneficial. And how SC is the difference between being great and mediocre (one of my greatest fears). And he tied it into a great sports analogy to connect to the former athlete that’s still deep down inside me somewhere. And he explained fasting (something I’ve strongly considered recently). It was a pretty trippy sermon. Either way, he made it clear that SC requires discipline. The more disciplined you are in one area of life, the more you’ll be disciplined in other aspects of life. I harbor 0% SC. If I want it, I get it (usually I eat it). I’ve realized it’s time for me to finally take MJ’s advice and look into the mirror and evaluate what I truly want and how to achieve these goals.

That being said, I decided Sunday night that I was no longer hitting the snooze button. Monday, I turned on the lights and got back under the covers… Tuesday, I rolled onto the floor and just kinda stayed there facedown for a few minutes… Today, was a little better. I changed my alarm to ‘Know Yourself’ and Drake screaming “running through the 6 with my woes” scared me awake. Progress!

If you have a chance, watch the video. Even if you’re not a Christian there are some good quotes to write down. At the very least watch the intro graphics. They’re cool. This might be the next Google search that I dub as “free educational classes” for the month.

 

Song of the Day: Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson

Day X

I made a friend today. His name is Zamal.

He likes his mediterranean combo platter with an eyebrow raising amount of Sriracha.

He had great news to tell me… He qualified for section 8 housing by the zoo and Social Security finally approved his disability application and will start providing him with monthly checks. It seems all of this will happen by the end of April.

He has a game plan. He is going to open a Chase account and put the money away and get out at most $50 a week for food. When asking about any friends that he might have, he said he’s usually alone. He doesn’t like being around people who only drink – they lead to trouble. <<<< wise man.

I am excited for him. I am glad that my $9.90 made him smile. I could tell he wanted to give me a hug but was nervous. If that’s the way he knows how to show gratitude, next time I just might let him (or whoever). I have to remind myself that I’m willing to hug random people I’ve never met in church, at school, on a boat all the time… just because I met him on the sidewalk that shouldn’t make a difference.

Before Dubai I was doing a great job of making a new friend a week and helping them smile through food or petty cash. I’ve learned it’s not what you do, but the fact that you’re ‘doing’ that matters.

Sometimes I do it because I want to help. Sometimes I do it to have a positive balance on my karma credit card. Sometimes I do it because I can be a selfish, self-centered person and this is a bucket of ice water on whatever ‘serious middle class American issue’ I’m facing at that time (right now it’s my identity and career!).

I made a friend today and he smiled.  I hope to never see him again – standing on the corner at least. That would truly make me smile.

Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart… There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.

Deuteronomy 15:10-11 (MSG)

Is It DuBae or DuBye?

2 parts timing + 8 parts social media + 10,847 parts divine favor = one amazingly ratchet affair of young professionals wreaking havoc on the United Arab Emirates and its citizens.

Lemme explain. Christmas 2014 Eithad Airways experienced a computer glitch where my friends and I all got $178RT tickets (some weren’t lucky and had to pay $250, ha tough life.) from NYC to Abu Dhabi. There was of course lots of excitement, lots of heartache (from those who didn’t check their phones in time and missed the deal) and lots of worry as my mother and sisters were concerned that I’d be knocking on ISIS’ back door.

Fast forward 2 1/2 months and 11 friends and I were setting out on an international adventure. I’ve debated on figuring out the best way to present this trip to you and I’ve decided to portray my trip to you in the most creative way possible – a timeline. <<< Insert your snarky comment about my lack of creativity here. Let’s begin.

March 4

4:11 p.m. – We get our Lyft driver to practically leave our destination and turn around and go back to the house since Sarah left her make-up and flat-iron… Women. -__-

7:33 p.m. – a mother and her grown child sit next to me on the Megabus and I am forced to breathe in the fumes emanating from his diaper. Any moments of slumber I wanted to have while breathing through my sweater were lost as he felt the need to kick me each time I approached stage 2 sleep.

11:57 p.m. – after drinks in Times Square with a few friends (you know, the salty ones who weren’t going to the Middle East with us), we called it a night.

March 5

2:16 p.m. – We started the hike of carrying all of our baggage to… B.R.O.O.K.L.Y.N. (for those of you unfamiliar with NYC, this is about an hour on the train, not including the treacherous walks to/from the station)… Did I mention that there was a huge snow storm during this time in NYC and the inches were steadily falling as we tried lugging our bags, umbrella and Chipotle?!

7:11 p.m. – somehow we all miraculously synchronized our clocks to NOT run on ‘CP Time’ (absolutely dying that this term has its own Wikipedia page) for this one (and only) event and made it to JFK three hours before our flight.

10:22 p.m. – of course our flight is delayed. It doesn’t matter. We ran into Ansel Elgort (at least we’re pretty sure) by the Shake Shack in terminal 4. We’re pretty confident it was him because 1) his leather jacket looked expensive and was tailored just right, 2) he was super tall and had dreamy hair, and 3) he fashionably drove up to the Shack in the carts typically reserved for the elderly. We made enough commotion for him to glance at us as we embarrassingly and obviously held our phones out to compare the Google images we found to the face standing three feet away from us, but I was told not to make matters worse by asking if he was famous and getting a groupie photo with him so we will never really know if it was him or not… but it was. Trust me.

March 6

12:02 a.m. – we’ve been on the plane for about an hour as there’s excess baggage, delays, and tons of de-icing to do (mind you, we were supposed to take of at 9:55 p.m.). Either way, I was just grateful they were taking their time as NO ONE wanted this plane to end up like the one that skidded off the runway at LaGuardia earlier that day.

1:34 a.m. – shot a quick text to my sister to let her know that Whiplash is an amazing movie (yes, I finished an entire movie on the tarmac) that she should watch and that we’re FINALLY taking off!

11:42 p.m. – we’re safe and sound (Dubai is 8 hours ahead) && spend way too much time buying bevvys in duty-free as we prepare for the upcoming turn up.

March 7

3:51 a.m. – after documenting our hotel rooms and proving that we’re still alive on Snapchat (I wish I could just upload my snap story, would’ve been much easier than you reading all of this.. If you’ve made it this far and are still reading, I’m honored) we take a nap as we prepare for our sunrise tour of the Burj Khalifa.

5:48 a.m. – the quartet (three of my line sisters [Fox, Jas n Sarah] and I) headed to the Burj Khalifa to see it at sunrise. It was a good idea of mine. Everyone stated as much. Clearly ppl should listen to me more often. #justsayin

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1:38 p.m. – we board our private yacht. [1) CP time was abound, we were supposed to leave the marina at 1, and 2) I’m not bougie but have bougie friends] and are taken around the city to the tunes of Fetty Wap, Drake and other lyricists. Mind you people were surprised I jumped into the water (I can’t swim), but the life vest game was on point so I had no worries. I was more perturbed by the multiple champagne showers of Moët that my male friends felt the need to give. In my opinion, Moët is a liquid that is meant to be consumed not used for its visual appeal on social media (Korbel exists for a reason!); however, I’ll admit their flexing was worth it, so good job boys.

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4:28 p.m. – while lounging on the boat, I made best friends with Kelly (an expat who works in Dubai) and she has decided to take me under her wing and give me her tips, tricks n tidbits on securing a job abroad. #NetworkingNeverSleeps

11:53 p.m. – we arrive at WHITE Dubai and it was pretty amazing. Girls drank for free and the pass back of LIITs to the boys was abound. The rooftop club gave me a New York vibe as it is a hybrid of a House themed, Hip Hop music party full of people who moonlight as models in their spare time. The only difference from NYC is that no one twerks… like nobody. So it was interesting to see a bunch of Americans who typically twerk to Juicy J and Beyoncé frantically swaying their hands and bodies to the beat instead of twerking to fit in. I’ve found a good default for most friends (&& myself) was to scream and shout into their phones and Snapchat a video to portray their fun since they can’t shake their @$$ like they normally do. Oh. There was also a Beyoncé impersonator who did a medley of her entire latest album… o_0

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March 8

2:56 a.m. – I made friends outside of the club (two brothers Faisal & Saeed) where we discussed their multiple pairs of Balenciaga shoes, the black convention happening in Dubai and places to eat at 3 in the morning. I clarified to them that we were not here for a black convention (they’ve never seen so many non-African black people in the city – like ever), but that a black focused social media account spread the news of a cheap flight to the UAE, hence the influx of black tourists. They then told our cab driver where to take us for good food at this hour and we all parted ways…

3:14 a.m. – …or so we thought. The brothers show up a few minutes after us and took control of the entire situation. They sat at our table and started ordering EVERYTHING. Plates and plates and plates of lamb, chicken, pizza, fries, humus, falafel, pita, etc. There were 11 of us. Enough food came out to feed 30.

3:52 a.m.Faisal snaps. “Am I a dinosaur?!” he exclaims. “Fossil.. fossil… I am not a T-Rex. My name is not fossil, it’s Fay-zel.” We took a moment to learn how to properly say his name.

4:22 a.m. – a guy friend explains he feels like a mitch. Reason being, Faisal doesn’t understand why we’ve all but stopped eating and plates are still coming out. “Keep eating!” he exclaims. Guy friend has stated he’s never eaten this well in his life and wants to keep eating to remember this day even though there’s no space left in his stomach. Somehow he finds room to eat a few more plates to please Faisal, fulfilling his mitchy ways.

5:51 a.m. – after eating enough food for a week Faisal passes his card to the waiter and pays the bill without really looking at it. Mitch friend rejoices. Jas and I share a look of relief. We were all wondering how exactly this bill was going to play out because before the brothers showed up Jas and I were going to split a humus and bottle of water and call it a night because that’s all we could afford!

6:24 a.m. – we make it to our hotel room as the sunrise is almost complete and reflect on our random family meal and the DuBaes that Fox n Jas (Saeed and Faisal respectively) acquired.

12:38 p.m. – we head to the desert. If you go to Dubai (or anywhere), don’t get a Groupon for this activity (or any activity worth doing). The experience is not worth skimping. Whatever you do, just review BEFORE you buy (we all ended up losing $30 because the Groupon we purchased turned out to be a dud).

1:14 p.m. – instead of doing cool tricks on our 4x4s, we’re focused on taking the BEST possible shots for Instagram (what our generation has been reduced to lol).

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2:01 p.m. – we spend the day joy riding in the desert, taking scenic pictures, viewing belly dancers, getting henna, riding camels – typical desert activities. We also befriend these two women from Norway (one a nurse the other a teacher) who were jealous of our youth and carefree lives. They stated if they didn’t have kids they’d love to travel more often… <<< See. Children are leeches. I’ve said this time and time again and nobody gets me.

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11:08 p.m. – everyone wants to rally. We are clearly tired and forcing an outing, but because we’re “not always in Dubai” we head to Cavalli. Beautiful venue. Boring night. Faisal warned us to not go here (especially on a Sunday of all nights geez!). While it was a pretty blah evening, I was coached by the ‘always camera read duo’ Johnny and Rachel on how to properly smize. After spending 35 minutes trying to learn how to do this.. I’ll stick with smiling with my mouth.

[HONESTLY… the trip is so so after this. (Sarah thinks I’m belittling our “this is a rapper’s dream” trip when I’m not…) If you want to tap out here I understand and appreciate your patronage.]

March 9

1:12 p.m. – after walking around for an hour and some change Sarah, Fox, Deonta’ and I were going to call it quits and head home since we couldn’t find the beach and the rest of the gang. Yes, it sounds absurd that we couldn’t “find the beach” but when your friends send cryptic directions and turn off their phones to avoid international data charges and an 11 minute walk turns into a 90 minute ordeal you get annoyed.

2:36 p.m. – the group buried Sarah in the sand and made her a man… just let that marinate.

3:13 p.m. – Sarah and I decided to let some friends be guest stars in our pop up music videos (we’re Snapchat famous). We are foolish, but the music video to ‘Know Yourself’ was an Insta hit. [The production team is trying to figure out how often to create these. You’ll see more of our work soon.] [[&& the reduced quality of this video is NOT because of my Android, but the app that made it!]]

4:55 p.m. – we head to Global Village. It’s the coolest/weirdest market I’ve ever visited. It’s a theme park featuring most of the countries of the world as an attraction and various performances featuring the country’s culture throughout the park. Inside the country they have vendors selling the souvenirs that you would typically want when visiting that country (hello Pharoah heads in Egypt and scented oils in Lebanon!). I was slightly (actually highly) offended that ‘Africa’ was a destination as there was no ‘Asia’ or ‘Europe’ but that’s another discussion for another day.

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11:41 p.m. – groupthink permeated. My hotel room hosted a ‘party’ of sorts. This was a bad idea. 1) people do not listen when you say “don’t touch the mini bar” so at $8 a can, you’re surprised that you’ve spent +$50 on soda you never drank at checkout. 2) when some people want to play Uno and others want to make up dance routines to Beyoncé, there’s dysfunction on what the group should pay attention to. 3) when people drunkenly order room service and charge it to your room… it’s never good. 4) when friends of friends show up to your room and they’re ratchet and annoying and cause you to be slightly rude and snap, it makes you vow to yourself to never play ‘Never Have I Ever’ again in life.

March 10

6:23 a.m. – saw the sunrise again. This one was more out of tradition’s sake than actually being up from a fun night.

11:30 a.m. – had a photo shoot at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. It was ethereal. It was breathtaking. It was hot. Really wanted to recreate the group shots Ms. Gomez and the Jenners had, but I am neither rich nor famous and pretty sure my mom wouldn’t bail me out if I was arrested for being foolish.

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2:39 p.m. – wandered around the Dubai Miracle Garden, for yet more Insta opportunities. It was really pretty, but felt like one of those weird places that’s supposed to be romantic and missed the mark – kinda like the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

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8:03 p.m. – group dinner outside of the Dubai Fountain. We bonded singing the eclectic 90s throwback tunes the DJ kept giving us. We all just reflected about the trip and our slight ire towards Travel Noire for not featuring at least one of the gems that our group shared with the Insta world. I mean seriously. Some of the pictures they post are just absurd.

March 11

1:48 a.m. – Johnny and I made a promise that we’ll always have one real conversation every time we’re with each other so we did just that. We let Deonta’ and Raven guest share… It’s interesting to realize how little I know about the people I call friends (this is important because most people are acquaintances to me even if they’d call me a friend). I’ve had a strong desire to really get to know people lately. So, if we ever cross paths and I ask you a deep/probing/nosey question, it’s because I really do want to get to know you while also being nosey.

6:22 a.m. – last night and sunrise in the Middle East.

9:30 a.m. – had a traditional breakfast.. It looked visually appealing, but I was not a fan. What made the breakfast worth its fee was the presenter who talked to us about culture, global perception, the purpose of the hijab and any other questions we had on the region, its history and its wealth.

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1:12 p.m. – spent the day wandering the souks with, Thank God. Yes. His business card said ‘Thank God’. Thank God is his government name. Thank God was great. Any who, he helped us haggle prices and get the best deals. He was awesome. One merchant event tried to kidnap Fox – ‘Thank God’ he was around.

5:17 p.m. – At this point the trip is actually taxing us and we’re dying. Food. Cab. Airport. Plane.

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March 12

2:21 a.m. – passed out in the plane. Was supposed to take off at 2:55 a.m. Learned we didn’t really take off until after 4 a.m… it doesn’t matter. For the 13 hour flight I slept for about 12 of them. It was glorious. Since we only slept 18 hours (yes, we did the math) over the course of 6 days it was much-needed.

9:45 a.m. – land safely in JFK. Mom is happy (and asks if I bought her gold). All bags made it. All imported souvenirs made it to the states in one piece. Grateful for the trip. Grateful for the memories. Grateful if you made it to the end of this post!

– Until the next adventure with my Woes. xo

Songs of the Trip:

Trap Queen – Fetty Wap // Know Yourself – Drake

For more pix >>> CLICK HERE <<<

Day III

“Lord, thank you for the many times I have cried out to you and you have heard me and set me free. You deliver me from all my troubles. Help me today to keep my tongue from evil, to do good and to seek peace. Help me to live in harmony with others, not to repay evil with evil or insult with insult but rather with blessing. Thank you that it is for a life of freedom that Christ has set me free.”

– Psalm 34:11-22

This morning I read the devotional for March 16. Yes… I’m a tad behind in my Bible in One Year app as I’m really on February 22, but that’s neither here nor there and the Lord knows my heart and all of that good jazz. However, this sense of peace that I’ve felt in the past 48 hours is palpable. That day’s devotional was titled ‘Now I’m Free’ and I actually believe it and feel it. Being at peace with yourself is such a weightless, freeing feeling. Granted, I’ve no clue where my path is leading me, I’m excited by the steps I’m taking. I hope that you find comfort in your steps and can find a source to lean on when you need it most as well.

Song of the Day: All He Says I Am – Gateway Worship (Cody Carnes, Kari Jobe)

Day II

My view on today. Ha these are things my inner circle send me to cheer me up. This and articles on Justin TimberKappa, the blue-eyed bombshell whose shimmy makes all the girls go crazy.

Here is a brief apology on my mood from yesterday. Things happen and sometimes I share at the peak of my funk. Ha, which tends to sometimes have people worrying – oops – my b! Either way, there are tons to update you on in regards to Dubai, family stuff, career moves, adult swim lesson adventures, etc. etc. All of this is to come very soon. You MUST hear about the UAE baes that we stumbled upon.

Here’s to the first day of the rest of my/our/your life. Bye Betches.

Song of the Day: Now & Forever – Drake

III.XVI.MMXV

You know when things are going perfectly fine and you’re basking in the glow of a recent tan from an international getaway and life just kinda throws an unexpected, mind shattering curve ball your way? Yeah… today is definitely one of those days. Today is one of those days that made me realize that I genuinely have to hit reset with my life and come up with a “game plan” as my ‘work brother/husband/mentor/friend’ told me today. This is something I’m sure to give you more detail on one day, but the wound is too fresh and the “game plan” is so murky I barely know how to explain it all to myself let alone to my few readers.

I’ve reached the gamut of emotions today. From laughing, to crying, to giving no fux, to feeling completely lost, to feeling secure in myself, to feeling like a failure… I’ve exhausted my brain and emotional palette all before 2:30pm.

I’m grateful for things, trying to mollify my anxiety towards other aspects of life… but either way this is all a part of the journey, story, rollercoaster that is Monisola [long middle name] Oyedepo’s life. Ha, I hope you’re enjoying your front row seat.

I also hope you’re appreciative of and enjoying the path that you find yourself on as well.

Song of the Day: I Don’t Fuck With You – Big Sean

Quote of the Week

“Do they have Tinder in Dubai?”

– A friend who shall remain nameless.

Well. It seems my friends and I are going to wreak havoc in Dubai in T – 48 hours. While some are excited for our private yacht tour in the harbor as we see the manmade islands and “turn up” and some are excited to go sandboarding and ride camels and what not, I have a few friends who are excited about bagging a sheikh in hopes that their far-fetched dreams of marriage into an oil family might actually happen.

Let me explain that my friends and I think we’re Vanderbilts even though we really make slightly more than the Evans’ on Good Times. We capitalized on one of the greatest Christmas presents ever and I ended up paying $177.80RT for a trip that is normally $1,000+. All pricey activities aside, this should be a trip for the memory books.I’m nervous (hello. ISIS is only a stone’s throw away). I’m excited (#teamJesus). I’m ready. I told you that 2015 was going to be different and the first quarter is leading to some interesting adventures. I hope your first quarter of the year is shaping up as well!

Kool-Aid Sippin’

“We can see ourselves as brick layers or cathedral builders,” Global Chairman John Velhmeyer, KPMG

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, we are posed with the question ‘Can a job just be a job anymore’? The answer is a resounding ‘NO!’ if corporations are looking to attract and connect with the latest full-time employment eligible generation. Corporations are trying to elicit some kind of meaning or sense of higher calling from the typical 9-5 assembly line “make me money” approach they’ve had for generations past. Instead of just being a tax guy/lady, it is acceptable to believe that they are “support[ing] advancements in medicine” because they are helping to take the tax return process off of the brain surgeon’s mind — Wait. What?!

It is nothing new that my friends and I are grateful to be gainfully employed and excited to see the diverse opportunities that the future has in store for us <<< I’m projecting. This is, however, my new response to people who ask me about my job. #NoMoreComplaining #StartDoingStopLosing >>> Digression. Apologies.

With so many potential young professionals in the start up world or taking on fellowships to do good in the world or flocking to places that “provide meaning” like Google in droves, many companies are desperately trying to figure out how on earth to keep us employed within their four walls. When corporate leaders use words like ‘higher calling’ and ‘change the world’ in the quarterly company memos or investor meetings even though their employees are on the assembly line and know they’re packaging crap to meet the bottom line, in my opinion it’s worse than putting the proverbial lipstick on a pig. If you want me to be a loyal and engaged employee, pay me appropriately and actually foster employee engagement. Don’t try to tell me I’m keg standing the Kool-Aid when it’s actually being water boarded. At the end of the day Kool-Aid will always be cheaper than providing a decent meal that would prod me to stick around a bit longer. Until companies truly get this, the employer hopping trend will only intensify.

Below is a list of companies with the shortest tenure in 2013. You may be a little surprised to see the golden goose of employers on this list… however, if you are surprised you’re a victim of sipping a little too much of the red juice.

You can see the full list here. Yes, my employer is listed. No, I am nowhere near the median pay.

At the end of the day, I wonder if my generation is a bit disillusioned. Should we really be looking to our employer to help us make the world a better place? Should we try to do this on our own, outside the designated 9-5 hours? After all, when you were in school didn’t you spend more time on your extracurriculars than school itself? No? Was that just me? Oh…

Song of the Day: Working for the Weekend – Loverboy

Blah II

What do I do?

You’re the one I confide in.

You’re the one who knows all of my secrets.

You’re the one who knows me better than myself.

What do I do when I can’t talk to you?

What do I do when I can’t be around you?

What do I do when we call the same place home?

I want to escape you.

I want to confide in you.

I want to hate you.

I want to be you.

Nobody but you would get this.

Nobody but you would know how to help me.

I’m lost.

I’m confused.

I don’t know where to go.

Because the one person who could help me dry my tears is the reason why they began to fall.

 

50

Well.

If you’re an avid reader of this domain that I recently bought last month (*cough* God bless you), you may have noticed that I’ve taken a brief hiatus. On the one hand, I’ve been lazy and struggling to find things to write about. On the other hand, I’ve made progress on this blog (helloooo uploaded tons of pictures for you to look at!). Either way, I’ve been dragging my feet on writing about a topic that has literally been stuffed down our throats since the start of 2015.

Way back when the 50 Shades phenomenon first wreaked havoc on society, I found myself thumbing through the pages of the series as I slowly died at a summer internship in Arkansas while all of my friends flourished and prospered in NYC (I soon found Ana and Christian as my only reliable friends since the folks in NY got tired of answering the phone and putting me on speaker when they were out and about so that I could feel included *shudders*). When I finished the books, I remembered thinking, this woman is getting paid how much for this dreadful writing? I wondered and am still baffled on how E.L. James managed to get all of this hype as she is far from the first person to write about sex or even bondage of this graphic nature; however, she managed to create a name, brand, and demand for her burgeoning empire. If I learned nothing else from this week’s episode of ‘Empire‘ (watch. this. show. NOW!), Cookie taught me that the first rule of being a great hustler is understanding supply and demand. James made a way of creating a desire and demand for something that has been around long before she was on this earth and I give her props for hustling us all since 2011. We can all only hope to make something out of nothing and create an overwhelming outcry of support because of it.

&& the church said amen.

I could go into detail on how I equate the books to a Twilight reading level and that both authors did a great job of capitalizing on their success although they have limited penmanship capabilities. Afterall Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) tried to sue James for “derivative work rights” though she ultimately lost her case. Seriously… it’s not like James was loosely adapting her work off of a classic like To Kill a Mockingbird. Meyer shouldn’t have been so selfish. She can’t think she should be the only person to make millions off of poor writing and luck… right?!

Sigh. I could go on and on about my disgust on wasting funds on this 50 shades movie that could have gone towards a Chipotle bowl. I was even early and wasted my youth in line (come on I LIVE by CP time. Me being early for this movie was mind-blowing). The awkward laughs from the audience weren’t due to the scenes, or the awkwardness of the movie, but I truly believe whenever the audience laughed it was because they were in disbelief that they spent money on this film as well and were laughing at their own judgment and decision-making process. However, I will say… it was great bonding with 9 other lonely betches and 1 who is in a loving, committed relationship – betch. I have exit interviews of these women, but I’ve lost the desire to post them. (Friends, you will get your shine on this blog one day soon. I promise!)

Either way the movie did a little above average its first week grossing over $100 million domestically and $300 million globally (Insert sarcasm here. That’s a $#!* ton of money especially since it only cost them $40 million to produce!). However, it seems that I could parallel the flop that is the movie to James wanting to be VERY hands on with the production (not taking a page from JK Rowling (Harry Potter) and Stephenie Meyer’s books of success who were for the most part hands off during the movie adaptations of their work). Hopefully she won’t stand in the way of her success and will acquiesce as the films can’t get any worse than its predecessor. James is currently fighting to write the screenplay for the next film and we can only hope that she loses this battle.

But… In an effort to divert away from James conning the American public to making her rich, I’d rather highlight some interesting puns/spinoffs of 50 Shades that the world has created.

1. Domino’s Israel promoting its Sriracha pizza

While the pizza chain has stated that the ad is fake and not brand-appropriate, it makes you wonder how far some companies will go to push their product down your throat before the fanfare of the film dies down.

2. Political ads gone too far?

bill

The NY State Republican Party recently released this image of Mayor Bill de Blasio and Al Sharpton. The poster alludes to controversies de Blasio has faced while in office. Sharpton has demanded an apology, but de Blasio is more concerned on if Dakota Johnson will play him in a biopic of his life. (& yes, this one is actually real!)

3. Comedy, Comedy, Comedy!

Fortunately there are people on this earth who were meant to liven your spirits when you’re feeling down. Luckily, the internet has made it so that I can find a comedic moment and share them with you so that we can all enjoy a laugh together (I’m awesome. I know). Below are a few of my favorite parodies. Enjoy!

 

 

Grr. The funniest ones are from SNL’s 40th Anniversary. Since it doesn’t come out until later today, they’re being a little protective of these videos. You can find them here (seriously watch this one) and here.

Song of the Day: Earned It – The Weeknd (The best song from the movie’s soundtrack played at the worst time during the movie).

Losses.

There are few things that have my undying allegiance and love. My faith, my family and my alma mater basically sums it up. Recently my school has endured the loss of two great figures.  Stuart Scott and Dean Smith were memorable in their own regard and will forever be missed for the impressions they left and the advancements they achieved.

While I never met Stuart, listening to him talk on campus about his time as an undergrad and his personal story as a journalist was inspiring. He seemed so humble and down to earth and now that I look back on that day he seemed to be in awe of his own success. He never let his battle with cancer define him. The outpouring of love and support that he received upon his passing was overwhelming. He was a man who is known for pushing the envelope at ESPN and being the first voice that many African-Americans related to. One of the last memories he left before he passed was his inspiring acceptance speech at the 2014 ESPYs about not giving up. These are words that we should all hear and take to heart. They remind you to uphold a better perspective on your personal situation and to try to find joy even when you’re down.

 

I had the great fortune of meeting Dean Smith during my undergrad years when I was a waitress at a private on campus restaurant (yes, Carolina is boogie). It was a slow lunch day and the managers decided to put me on a VIP table that afternoon. [I should explain that this restaurant is basically where people who are financially comfortable (as you have to pay monthly membership dues to eat at this restaurant – haha I can’t make this stuff up!) stop to eat when they find themselves on campus.] I had a great time. It was fun talking to this older gentleman who loved the Arnold Palmer’s that I made and the light banter I had with the table. I had no idea I met or served Dean Smith. In my simple logic I thought I was serving a dean at the school who had the last name ‘Smith’. I failed to realize that this was a man who had a stadium named after him a few feet away. I failed to realize that I was not only serving a legendary coach, but I was also serving his former assistant coach who made it big and a former UNC turned NBA player that played under him (I learned all of this after they left and the rest of the staff filled me in).  I just thought I was serving an adorable older gentleman and a potential former basketball player (I at least guessed that – the dude was massive). I can’t help it that I grew up in Alabama and football was still the only sport on my mind – oops!

That interaction just attested to the character that so many people have spoken of when reflecting on their memories of this man. He had a way of making you feel like his equal and as if he knew you. He had an interest in my Carolina experience and I am grateful I met him. Many memories during my four years come and go, but this is one of those special moments I will always hold dear because it was so unexpected. In hindsight I realize how special that hour was and in hindsight I am grateful I didn’t know who he was because I would have DEFINITELY ruined it in some way, shape or fashion.

 

As I think about these two men, I think about the latest episode I watched of House of Cards (Season 1 Episode 13) where Claire asks her husband Frank when they die, “what do we leave behind?” That is a question that I’m sure many people ponder from time to time and a question that we can all hopefully answer with time. These two men made a huge impact on modern-day sports and media, but left lasting impressions on the Carolina community. These two men will forever be missed and remembered by Carolina, and I am proud to be associated with an institution that remembers and honors men like these.

Song of the Day: What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

Blah

What is that over there staring at me?

Is it an object, a thing, a person maybe?

Do I stare, do I watch as the figure goes by?

If I look it in the eye I just might cry.

You see, I have an idea of what that thing is over there.

It’s a figure that hides behind well-groomed hair.

It’s an object with a knee jerk laugh to cover the pain,

It’s a pair of windshield wipers to move all the rain.

Like those blades that can only move left, then right,

It’s trapped in complacency even though it wants to escape and take flight

I know, you figured out what that thing is with a little wit.

It’s me, it’s me. Yes. You guessed it.

As I stare at it harder, in the eyes this time,

I realize it’s time to end this rhyme.

The longer I look, the more uncomfortable I feel,

The longer I look, I want a new life to steal.

Instead of more thoughts and feelings and words,

I need to find myself and stop feeling like a sack of turds.

This poem has come to an end I am concluding,

These words didn’t help, if anything they’re  convoluting.

-Meh

 

Song of the Day: Arcadia – The Kite String Tangle

Grappling.

I am still reeling.

The way the Seahawks lost last night’s game is  still a little fresh on my mind (well, if you disregard all the post game footage that I watched in the past two hour).

While I cannot say I am a true Seahawks fan (I am a DEFINITE bandwagoner – Go Cowboys!), last night’s loss was like a dagger to the heart. It feels like winter is coming (cough – GoT reference).

Today, I leave you with heartbreaking gifs that sum up my pain, not only for the Seahawk loss, but also the debacle that was the Ohio State/Alabama Sugar bowl game. Two times this year, the teams I rooted for lost their chance to make history (Alabama – 1st team to win the College Football Playoff) and Russell Wilson (winning two back to back Super Bowls while still under his rookie contract). Either way, I know both teams will come back with a vengeance next year and I am excited to see every high and crushing low of next season.

Richard Sherman’s poignant reaction to losing the Super Bowl

Bama fans reacting to the Sugar Bowl. I feel your pain, sirs. I really do.

The incredible catch that ‘won’ the game…

….or so we thought.

Song of the Day: Ooh Child – The Five Stairsteps

 

To Cheat, or Not to Cheat?

Like any other night, as my roommate and I tried to fight off slumber, we started a random discussion about life. Last night’s tangent was nothing out of the ordinary for us, but it made me wonder about our futures… in particular our friend’s futures.

After watching some run of the mill comedy (The Game), a character served her husband with divorce papers citing “emotional cruelty”. We then started talking about prenups and if we’d sign them, make our fictional significant others sign them, what kind of clauses we’d input and how we’d get the most amount of money from said fictional person (especially if he cheated).

This then led us to play a game called “Which of Our Friends Would Cheat on Their Spouse” and our assumptions and findings were quite interesting. We played the game with all of our closest friends (guys and girls) in mind and we concluded that most of our friends would most likely step out on their spouse at least once during their marriage.

[There are even some we think would have a whole separate family in another state/country, but that’s neither here nor there.]

While this game was fun for the eight or so minutes that we played it, it made us wonder:

1. Why do we think these (horrible) things about our friends?

2. Does this categorize our generation in some way? If so, what does this mean?

3. Will our generation be the one that changes the ideal of the American family?

As I try to address these points, I want you to put yourself in my shoes. What do you think of your friends? Would your opinion of your inner circle be vastly different or sort of similar to mine? At the end of the day, I’m not saying that my friends are moral less scum bags who respond to any and every kind of temptation. Rather, I’m saying that being a part of a self-centered, narcissistic, temperamental generation,  I think most of the people I know have the capacity to be unfaithful.

In college whenever we had a crazy night and people used the excuse “oh, it just happened” I usually gave them a glaring look that kind of summed up my judgement of their character. Now, I’ve come to understand that sometimes things DO just happen and I have to wonder what the outcomes of these situations will become. Now that we’re older and “adults” and alcohol is a staple in the food pyramid (next to the fruit, above the bread group), this ‘liquid courage’ can blur some moral lines and the ability to direct our moral compass could/can/might be increasingly difficult with age.

Typically we’re always talking about the ‘what ifs’ and ‘when it happens’ and ‘I’m so excited for’ our future families and how they will develop. However, we’re overlooking the day-to-day activities of chores, and soccer practice, and potential financial arguments that usually become staples in a marriage. When I think of people cheating, I think of people trying to find that honeymoon stage again. A time where you’re still getting to know each other, going on interesting dates and not worrying about if Alex(is) washed the dishes and paid the mortgage.

As we delved into this topic, we concluded that maybe our generation doesn’t really fight for anything. If we had to choose between fight or flight, most of us may take flight as it’s usually easier and ‘less drama’ than trying to fight for something, anything. Marriage is hard and clearly something worth fighting for if you choose to make that bond. However, I don’t think it’s as easy to stay faithful as it was for past generations. Today, people can literally have contact information and profiles and pictures of a plethora of people through dating apps, social media, heck even old school email – all with a touch of a button on their misc devices. With current statistics citing marriage at a decline and divorce on a rise, I wonder how this generation will impact these statistics over the next 20 years. The below gif created by Movoto explains the marriage decline by state.

I’m not saying that infidelity is the source of America’s marriage slump. I’m just saying that if you’re honest with yourself and check your friends and your surroundings, you may see that long-term commitment and marriage are not as highly regarded in society anymore.

What started off as a funny joke, ended up as a stark look at our friends, our future and how the two can intertwine in the most interesting of ways. I’m intrigued to see how the future unfolds and learn how our predictions were drastically misguided (we pray).

Song of the Day: Confessions Part II – Usher

So, What Is She Wearing…?

Typically I don’t care about watching fabulous people wear fabulous things as they get interviewed on their fabulous lives and get honored for their fabulous work and go to fabulous parties after their fabulous awards show. Typically I don’t focus on these things because I’m typically too jealous trying to figure out my life and shaking my magic 8 ball trying to see if I’m going to end up having a fabulous time like these fabulous people one day. Sigh. Yes. There was major repetition. It was intended.

Anywho, a few friends came over to watch the SAG Awards last night and I must say it was a record night. This was the first time I watched the red carpet on E! and the first time I watched any awards show in its entirety. I usually just like to read the sparknotes version of awards shows on E! or The Huffington Post or a random blog or two, but I’ve decided that today I want to be that random blog or two!

Below are my favorite actresses and their looks from last night’s festivities. Please note that you’ll see me listed in one of these lists as well one day. #waitonit #hahaha #laughatyourownjokeday

Song of the Day: Isn’t She Lovely – Stevie Wonder

Julianna Margulies >>> Giambattista Valli

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Viola Davis >>> Max Mara (Won for Outstanding Female Actor in a Drama Series)

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Natalie Dormer >>> Naeem Khan

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Emmy Rossum >>> Giorgio Armani

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Sarah Hyland >>> Vera Wang

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Emma Stone >>> Dior (Won for Oustanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture – Birdman)

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Lupita Nyong’o >>> Elie Saab

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Audition Tape

For the rest of his life this kid has a stellar, ready-made video if he ever wants to “make it big”.

Jon Cozart created a medley of Disney princess perspectives after the cameras stopped rolling on their ‘happily ever after’. The sheer talent and dedication that he portrays in this video is amazing. Hearing his back story from his TedxYouth Talk (yes, this kid has already been guest for a Ted Talk – sigh), makes you understand the word perseverance a little more. You never hear about or really think about the trials and failures that your favorite celebrity, personality, hero went through because you usually only focus on their success.

If you’ve a wish to do something, do it. Follow through. It may be hard in the beginning, but you never know where you just might end up. I highly doubt Jon knew where he’d end up after he made his first video in the 7th grade dressed as Hitler. The journey you take is much more important than your destination; make it worthwhile.

**Alas, there was no desire to make this a motivational piece as the video is about a cappella singing and Disney princesses, but we are where we are. Use my wisdom for your future successes. You’re welcome.**

Song of the Day: When You Wish Upon a Star – (sung by) Julie Andrews

MLK, What a Day

“If you’re succeeding without suffering, somebody else did. If you’re suffering without succeeding, somebody else will.” – Unknown

martin-luther-king-jr-2015-letter-from-birmingham-jail-pathos-1

Yesterday, my pastor touched briefly on MLK and his legacy and the ‘creative suffering’ that he and his leaders went through in hopes of getting our nation to a better place. As he was talking all I kept thinking was that I am so grateful to be living in this day and age. I am so grateful that I was not born into slavery. I am so grateful that I did not grow up during a time when the KKK was running rampant in almost every state I’d call “home”. I am so grateful that other generations suffered before me so that I could have access to a quality job, quality education, quality internet speed…

I’ve often asked my friends what our generation will be known for in history. While we are currently seen as the ‘Me Generation’ I know there is more to us than that. I know that others suffered so that we could succeed and I hope we do those previous generations justice. I know in some ways my generation is still suffering so that those younger than us can flourish where we can’t, where we won’t. As you finish up your MLK Day however you see fit, think about the bigger picture. You may not see the fruits of your labor today, but maybe it’s not meant for you. Maybe, just maybe your purpose on this earth is to pave the way for someone else’s greatness.

Song of the Day: Juicy – Notorious B.I.G.

So Long, Farewell

sorority-sister

Welp. That was quick.

It seems Vh1’s Sorority Sisters is on its last leg. Due to immense audience backlash and corporate sponsors pulling ads from VH1, the network will show the season’s final three episodes back to back Friday night starting at 9:30pm.

Show/History Lesson: this show is premised around the lives of nine Atlanta women from the four historically black sororities. The show did a great job of playing up stereotypes about Atlanta, black females, but most of all any misconception about each organization and its members and how they might ‘typically’ behave.

The show premiered December 15 to 1.3 million viewers and massive contempt. After weeks of backlash through social media (#BoycottSororitySisters), sponsors began pulling ads from the show and Alpha Kappa Alpha even suspended two of the show’s members. Carmex, Crayola, Ford, Hallmark, Honda, McDonalds, The NBA, Sports Authority, State Farm, and Victoria’s Secret all pulled their ads from airing during the show – some pulled their ads from VH1 altogether until the show was canceled.

nba

While VH1 has not stated it will cancel the show, it is pretty obvious no further production will occur.

On one hand, I agree with the general sentiment of fellow black Greeks in that this show should rightfully be pulled because it detracts from the image of the 100+ year old organizations and what they stand for. The main distinction between this show and other reality shows  is that these women aren’t just representing themselves, but are also “representing” their organizations  – and that is where many people take offense. I get it.

However, I’m still wondering if this show deserved to get such a negative wrap and public outrage? At the end of the day it’s a show that paints the African American community in a bad light as it highlights all of the drama, cattiness and ”good for TV” nonsense that formulates into a great reality show (this is true for any targetted demographic). So if you strip the women saying ‘I’m a proud member of ___ Sorority, Inc.’ at the beginning of each episode, how is this show really different from other VH1 successes like Basketball Wives or the Love & Hip Hop franchise (I’m making an educated guess that the largest demographic of viewers for this show is the African American community)?

It’s just like if I were on a show and I stated I’m a proud Tar Heel of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as I entered each scene. Yes, I’m a Tar Heel and no one can take that away from me; however, while I’m associated with the school I am not a reflection of the entire campus or its ideals or its values.

At the end of the day, I think a lot of people are upset because this show ties to the history of the collegiate black experience in a negative way. If the show had kept the same premise (inciting pettiness amongst the represented organizations), but had the cast represent discord on a college campus I do not believe the same outcome would have occured. The masses can relate to a struggling student trying to maintain their grades and extracurricular activities, the masses can’t relate to a burlesque dancer and 30+ year old women (who haven’t stepped on a college campus in years) arguing over the most assinine and simplest things to create a plot for the show.

 

Song of the Day: Another One Bites the Dust – Queen

Trina Merry is a successful artist who doesn’t feel the need to use a studio or canvas as she has a way of creating art with just a naked body. Taking advantage of New York’s law that allows nudity in the context of performance or artistic expression, Merry had a guerilla art “exhibit” near some of New York’s most iconic structures as she blended her models into their surroundings. With literally the sky as her only limit, I’m excited to see where she’ll strike next.

Song/Film of the Day: Picasso Baby – Jay Z

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Do You See What I See?

You Are A Toy You Can[‘t] Fly

The other day I emailed my sr. manager a response to a list of points she wanted changed in a deck that I oversaw. A deck that was edited by various people on the team including others managers, staff, etc. In that email, I tried to eloquently express that she made me feel incompetent (yes, I used that word in the email) and tried to explain my perspective on the creation of the deck, why I chose to include/exclude certain things, and why I chose to email this to her in the first place (you see, I’m much better with my words when they’re written). She stated that she would address both (deck/perspective) in our meeting the next day.

The next day comes and we address the deck point by point. While it’s clear to me (and her) that what she wants can’t happen and that other people are skewing the data I need to use, she decided to take over the deck because she wasn’t “comfortable with the way that I’ve handled it.” By the end of the conversation, she did give me her sincerest apology that one of her comments led me to delete a statistic – you see – she wanted it on another slide… and no, there was no real mention of the second half of my email.

While I was a little down after the conversation, I quickly perked up because I realized that my circumstance isn’t permanent. Whatever God, karma, the fates, have in store for me is much greater than my yesterday, my today even. This isn’t an angry employee rant, but rather a few words to help you find your own perspective. Reframe what you’re seeing for your life. Maybe you’re having a not so hot day/week. Maybe you failed a class last semester and don’t know how you’ll recover this semester. Maybe someone recently passed away and you’re wondering how to move on. Maybe your closest friend(s) let you down – again – and it’s draining you. Whatever it is, whether you’re going through some of your smallest or greatest challenges, just know that your tomorrow can be different from your today if you have the right perspective. I’m not down because I know this is all temporary. Every situation in life teaches you about yourself and how you can grow. No matter what happens, don’t let someone else clip your wings or tell you that you can’t fly. Don’t listen to your Woodys. You are an amazing Buzz Lightyear. Even when you find yourself to be at your lowest, just remember somehow you’ll make it even if you don’t know it yet.

I’ve never had someone question my intelligence before. Can’t say what I’ve learned from this situation yet; however, since all great things take time I’ve assessed it as being “part of the process.” I’ve realized that I’m growing like a weed here, but somewhere else I’d be a cherry blossom. I just need to figure it all out and not lose sight of my perspective.

 

Song of the Day: Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars

Is It A Black Girl Problem?

Disclaimer: I’ve created a personal goal for myself with this blog starting with this post. There’s no point in explaining said goal, just know that it will come to fruition and you’ll see more of me around.

This topic has been an underlying trending topic amongst my friends and I over the past few months. It’s a phenomenon that isn’t new by any means; however, as we get older and identify more with the professional sphere and less with the early 20s no responsibility undergraduate sphere, it is a topic that is glaring us in the face like a 3-year-old toddler who is shining a mirror in our eyes from the backseat of his mom’s van. It’s coming at us head on and for the life of me I can’t figure out an objective stance to take.

Question of the Day: Why are black women single and what can we do about it?

After many discussions with (black female) friends I usually walk away with a sense of bewilderment and confusion and an idea that it’s not us it’s (the proverbial) them and that we’re all awesome and I’d date you/me/all of us in a heartbeat.

After reading countless articles (ok, really 10.. I couldn’t take it anymore) on this subject and reading the various opinions in the comments section of said articles, I began to feel uncomfortable and a little ‘dirty’ I guess as so many people interjected on the black woman’s plight and basically told me why I might have to accept being single forever.

Sparknotes of what I read:

1. There is a shortage of black men due to their high incarceration rate and the disparity between educated black men and women is alarmingly high. <<< this is true. While I personally do not know any incarcerated men, the educated black men I do know are enjoying playing the field and have no intention of settling down anytime soon. If I were one I’d do the same, so you can’t fault these manboys.

2. Black women are too assertive, aggressive, abrasive, – in a sense ‘too much’ – and no one wants to deal with all of their nonsense. <<< I know plenty of black women who have backbones and make a stance, but it’s no more than a man would do (regardless of race). These women are constantly forcing smiles on their faces so that they don’t fit the angry black woman stereotype and yet so many are still seen through the negative lense.

3. Unmarried black women should keep their legs closed because no one is going to wife them and father someone else’s kids. <<< this is fair. I wouldn’t want to raise a bastard child if I were a guy either. However, there are so many women without children, I don’t understand where this stigma comes from except for the stereotypes that people see on TV of women with five kids who don’t want to work and are abusing the welfare system so that they don’t have to be employed (the general theme from the comments section, even though a majority of the frustrated women are educated and employed).

4. Women raised in single parent homes (with just a mother) do not know how to understand and appreciate a man. <<< again, this is stereotyping. Many (again, comments not articles) said that it’s obvious single mothers are always talking about ‘no good ni****s’ or ‘your no good daddy’ to their kids and these children grow up to abhor men and not know how to appreciate them. This is not true. I was raised in a single parent home and my mother constantly encouraged me to reach out to my father. Most of my black friends from school all have married (a few divorced) parents. The minority of us that were raised with just a mom would know how to appreciate a man. It’s really a game of logic. Why want something you wouldn’t cherish or appreciate? Why would thousands of single black women want a man just to belittle them? It just doesn’t make sense.

5. Black women are obese and no one wants thick women except the rappers <<< I don’t know any obese people. Maybe I’ve been blessed with my Carolina bubble (undergrad) and DC young professional bubble that I didn’t realize this was a black female perception. The idea that black women don’t need to take care of their bodies because they think they don’t have to and that all men should like ‘thick’ women is absurd. Granted big booties have been glorified in recent years, it’s only on certain types that it is embraced. J.Lo has been lauded as having been the pioneer of the big butt and the Kardashian clan made it mainstream. No one really praises Serena Williams’ derrière or heck even Nicki Minaj’s (&& she wrote a whole song about it)… but the appropriation of the booty is another blog post for another day.

6. While black women are opening up to the idea of interracial dating/marriage, you can’t really assume other races are willing to do the same. <<< while a guy may be willing to sleep with you, you may not be in the top five he’d consider bringing home to mama. This could really be said for any one, any race. However, if you take into consideration this UCLA study or these OKCupid results that was turned into a visual on Buzzfeed, you can kind of see the point I’m trying to make.

Reading these opinions  intertwined with statistics made me wonder what does society find to be true and how do black women find a sense of self (in their personal lives) when everyone is basically saying that you being single is your fault. I’ve realized there isn’t really any one answer and there will probably never be one. Let’s face it, if I could crack the code on why single people are single on a widespread scale, I’d be featured on every late night talk show and on top of the New York Times bestseller list for months.

I could tell you about how 2/3 of my (white) friends from Texas are married/engaged and that constantly seeing people’s last names change on Facebook is one of my biggest annoyances to date. However, I would be belittling the plight of all of my single friends and how this stage where so many friends are starting families and we’re still going out to bars to meet people is kind of like a family creating purgatory.

While I’ve done an anecdote for location, I could do the same for education level (hellooo should’ve tried harder at acquiring my M-R-S while getting my B.A.), and go deeper on race than focusing on the black female, but I don’t want to. Yes, black women have their issues. Every group has their issues. At the end of the day if you erase a whole group out of potential mate consideration because of their features  you’re immature. If you categorize a whole group of people as inferior or disdainful or undesireable because of stereotypes and generalizations you’re an idiot. Trying to find a mate isn’t a black girl problem, black problem, or racial problem, it’s a single person problem.

I’ve realized that it’s harder for some more than others to find love, but trying to find a mate is half the battle when trying to win the war of love – right?

Song of the Day: Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing – Stevie Wonder

Quote of the Week

The civilization of a country consists in the quality of life that is lived there, and this quality shows plainest in the things that people choose to talk about when they talk together, and in the way they choose to talk about them.

Albert J. Nock

 

It’s only fitting that Forbes’ thought of the day would generate this. It’s marinating for me. With all of the conversations I’ve had and eye opening moments I’ve had lately I’m wondering what will be my role in our nation’s current movement of unrest. More ramblings on my perspective of our country’s situation to come.

Swiftamine.

I’m late to the party. *shrugs*

Granted this comedy sketch about the girl we love to hate T. Swift debuted practically a month ago, it’s still worth noting and still worth publishing for those few of you who read my blog through LinkedIn (my ambicious audience that’s too busy for SNL, I love you and thank you for making me feel relevant when I share these (old) current topics with you)!

T. Swift has broken record after record with the debut of 1989 and her cash keeps rolling in. I have yet to listen to her album as she is currenlty having beef with Spotify and I refuse to get my music from anywhere else (especially when I throw $10/month at this particular streaming music source). I’ve gotten used to the fact that I may never listen to it (helloooo still haven’t listened to Beyonce in its entirety and that came out a year ago!) and that I’ll only know Shake It Off, Blank Spaces, and any other single she decides to release – I’ll live.

Clearly I’m not an avid Swift fan, which is why I wanted to share this SNL clip with you. For those of you who aren’t Swifties and are surprised, annoyed, bewildered, perplexed, confused that you sometimes find yourself humming ‘Shake It Off’ – this if for you. For those of you who find yourselves having the ability to belt out the entire chorus (and if we’re honest a verse or two) of said song and find it witchcraft that you know more than just the words “Shake. It. Off.” – this is for you.

It’s okay. Embrace Taylormania for what it is. She’s a pop star who is winning it at 23.

**cough, Taylor, if you need an educated black gal on your staff I’m only a Facebook, Twitter, Gchat, Instragram, LinkedIn message away!**