Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Here We Go - Cruisin! Part III

I love my journey! Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, continuing on my adventure. Okay, I went on the cruise, rode the banana boat, fell off of it and got back on it, and then went parasailing. Whew!

The cruise ship had a variety of clubs and musical shows to check out. The fun part was dressing up and looking cute. I wore a dress that I've never worn and probably won't get a chance to wear again (where would I go in Charlotte that requires dressing up?) Let's be honest, the best part was dressing up and taking pictures.

Second island destination: Nassau. We decided to forgo a beach excursion. We didn't want to pay the ships $65 ticket price just to be dropped off/picked up at the beach even if it was a private island. I was baked enough. Besides, as soon as we walked off the boat and down a cute little walk way, taxi drivers approached us. Rodney, a charismatic driver gave us a good vibe so we decided to take a 2 hr tour of Nassau with him.

Rodney took us, and several other cruisers, all over Nassau. We toured the middle class/million dollar homes and to the poorer areas. I sat right up front with Rodney because I love to talk and interview folks. Rodney never tired of my questions. It was crazy riding in front on the left side of the vehicle in a city with no obvious traffic laws, but Rodney was a gem. In fact, he had me already moving over to Nassau and even showed us the area that I would be living in if I decided to teach there. (What he didn't tell me that the cost of living was so high!) As a side note, did you know that Nassau didn't have taxes and the government covered healthcare costs? This excursion was truly about learning a little about the culture and sightseeing. What I found interesting was that I could count the number of folks that had natural dred locs. Most women had relaxers or wigs (wigs in that heat, really?!)

I've already decided that I'll be relocating somewhere outside of the U.S. when I get older. Hmmm...maybe Nassau will be in the running. I can't relocate until Dove goes to college and I've got my Master's Degree, etc. and etc.

We toured the absolutely astounding Atlantis. I can only dream of staying there right now. (Lawd, let me work hard as a writer and sell some books so that I can lounge at the Atlantis for a few days.) The rooms start at $499 a night! Other than that, we walked around Nassau finding the perfect souvenirs and t-shirts. My mom has this obsessive thing for t-shirts.

So, back on the ship the guy that my mom marked as a loser kept popping up. I didn't know his angle, but whatever it was my mom wasn't having it. Then a guy slid over to me and said, "You know, you have some sexy legs. I've been watching you all day...you had on some orange shorts, right? I wanna dance with you..." Okay, corny! I couldn't help but to squeeze through the crowd and lose him. Can you say, "stalker!"

Now, here's what you've been waiting for. (Ha! You didn't even know that you were waiting for something, did you?) I've been dancing and working out trying to wear a two-piece bikini by my birthday. I tried it on in the room and had Dove take a picture of me - and I chickened out. Then I kept on eating and getting a round belly. And, the days were passing by. Finally, I decided to wear it regardless of what I looked like. So, I put it on and went to the upper deck to ride the giant water slides and take pictures in my bikini. My first bikini ever!!!! (Ha, I waited until I was 40 to wear a two-piece so no judgement!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Here We Go- Cruisin! Part II

When I went on my cruise, I knew that I was going to make it adventurous. I had to. This was the year that I marked as my beginning of living free, daring to live, trying new things, etc. and etc.

Freeport, Bahamas. Our first destination. Hot sun, clear waters and clean air. Since my mom and I cruised before, we were kind of familiar as to how it worked when we arrived at an island. You have to move beyond the port area to get to the action. A few cruisers were leery of the taxi drivers shouting and urging you to their vehicles so we had to let people know that this is how it works. There was nothing at the port, but a few shops and a little welcome band.

Dove, mom and I hopped in a taxi with a few other cruisers and headed to Freeport. We had one thing that we had to do - swim with the dolphins. Well, *ahem* pet the dolphins according to my mom. Although I wanted to swim, she was not quite ready to join me on the adventure. We made our way to the touristy area of Freeport and found the excursion office. (We didn't book any excursions through the cruise ship because they were too expensive.) That was a fail. We were sure that we could take the 2 PM and be back by 4 PM, leaving us 1 1/2 hours to play. However, the little lady at the counter insisted that we had to be back on the ship by four. Which was not the story at all. So, we missed it that excursion. We didn't have to be back on board until 5:30!!! Ugh!

We sauntered over to the beach area. Beautiful! The sand was white and although it was hot as a brick oven out there, the sand didn't burn my feet. And, the ocean - man oh man, the ocean was clear and amazing. I loved it all except for me feeling like a chicken on a rotisserie rack. The sun was broiling my skin! All I needed was a little olive oil and I would have been ready to serve on a hot platter! Whew!

We decided to take a ride on the banana boat to cool off. We boarded with several others to ride out to see dolphins, million dollar homes, and a pirate ship. We bounced on the waves and soared like the wind! It was great, except for my mother screaming from behind me, "Slow down! There are children on here!" I believe she was crying out more for herself, but used the excuse of the children. It was a good thing because at one point we turned around and a man with his 4 year-old son bounced off the back of the banana boat and was floating in the water. Poor baby! There was no way I would have put a baby on that thing.

Back to the ride, yeah, I did say that it was all fine and dandy, right? Well, that was until the ocean smacked me right in the face! Yep, we hit a curve and I could feel the boat turning over - it felt like slow motion - and I tried to slant the opposite way for balance. Problem is, I don't think everybody else was trying to balance it out. We hit the water - bam! And, I went under. My baby, Dove, went under, too! Thank goodness she was closer to the boat and reached it to get pulled in, but me - ha! Did I mention that I can't swim and panic when my feet can't touch the bottom of the pool? Even with the life vest, I was in the water feeling as if I was about to drown...the water was touching my chin and that was entirely too close to my face. I looked a hot, dramatic mess! But hey, I got back on. (Photo: notice the people still floating in the water.)

I got back on only because I couldn't stand to hear my mother's warning. "I knew something was going to happen, my spirit told me that it was going to turn over, that's why I got off. My spirit...blah, blah, blah..." I got back on to show her that things happen. If you ride a bike, you're gonna fall off. If you get on a banana boat, it may very well turn over. Things just happen!

Back on the beach, as we played around in the water, guess what happened? Another excursion boat pulled up exactly where I was standing. And, my Zumba peer, Diana Stewart, got off of it. I didn't even know that she was in Freeport. Isn't that the craziest thing? We hugged, took pictures and even Zumba'd on the beach. (What was crazier is that she was covering my Wednesday night Zumba class for me!!!) That chance meeting which really gave meaning to the phrase, "It's a small world."

Well, after our traumatic experience, my mom was rather toddlish cranky. She was hot, needed water and probably wanted to get out of the sun. But, I wanted to do something else. I talked Dove into parasailing with me. My mom didn't want to and went off to seek bottled water. I wish she went out with us to take pictures for I have none to show. (sad face) I love Dove, she is such a team player. She's down for trying new experiences.

We waited our turn out on the wooden, floating dock. We were in the middle of the ocean! Me - the one who fear the water. After a quick tutorial on how to take off and land, we were harnessed in and ready to fly. It was truly amazing taking off and going high in the air. I looked back at the balloon, down at the water, back up at the ropes and harness, and thought, "Man, this takes a lot of faith. There is nothing keeping us from plunging in the water, but these ropes." With that thought, a little panic set in. I glanced down and mumbled, "Holy, moly! What was I thinking." But, Dove was calm as a little dove. She said, "Close your eyes and let go of the harness, it'll feel like you're flying." Ha, the innocence of a little kid.

I did just that. I relaxed a little bit and trusted God to land us safely. I took in the heavens and the ocean below. I saw stingrays, turtles and the beautiful colors in the water. It was a sight!

These adventures were the best so far this year!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Celebration Station

Yep, the party is not over! I still have one more cha-bang left. My cousin Shinnel is throwing me my actual birthday party. I'm so psyched! I haven't had one since my BFF forever, Tracee, gave me a surprise party when I turned 26. So, yeah, I'm really ready for it.

However, in the meantime, I've had little moments of celebration. In especially, the cruise. My mom killed two birds with one stone by taking us on this vacation, we celebrated mine and Dove's birthday. Just us three gals on a cruise to the Bahamas. My mom flew in from the Motor City with the hugest, heaviest luggage. Can someone tell her that we don't pack like that anymore? Geesh, she didn't even wear most of the stuff she packed.

Any-hoo, this trip came at the right time. I was so overwhelmed with everything going on. I didn't feel stressed, but I could tell that I needed a little break. Lately I have been traveling, but it wasn't always pleasure. Funny thing is, I've been traveling more without the steady-income-job at the bank and I'm not living off credit cards. It doesn't add up on paper, but I'm living more free now than I did then. (Can someone holla, favor!)

Getting back to the cruise...I see that I'll have to take several installments to get all my thoughts out. When we first stepped on the boat, it was buzzing with excitement. People didn't know where to go first. Colorful drinks with cute umbrella's were popping up everywhere - but they weren't free. (Pace yourself, folks!) We were starving so we decided to eat first and check out the room once they were available.

Carnival Fantasy is an older ship so it wasn't as large as most cruise ships. I've gone on Royal Caribbean and it had so many other options for food and activities. But hey, this was a free trip - a cruise at that so who's complaining? Not me. It really wasn't about me because this was also a trip for my daughter. It was so wonderful to see her and my mom laughing and bonding. We don't get to see each other as much so this was definitely a winner for all three of us.

On the very first day we met three gals from Asheville. Can someone say, "Road Trip!" Thank goodness for Facebook, we're able to keep in touch. They were so fun that an instant bond was formed. Hilariously enough, they were all in their 20's and you have me -40- and my mom -much older- hanging out with younger gals. I do hope we didn't look like two old biddies trying to be young. Ugh!

Oh, another thing...a guy found his way to where I was sitting -reading- on the high deck. Dove was in the children's camp and my mom was in the art gallery so I found peace - alone. Well, I was found and I had to put down my book (The Grapes of Wrath) to carry on a conversation lest I be rude, right? Well, he bought a drink for me, nice. But, not necessary. Finally my mom came -the reference mom came up in our conversation several times as I talked about her - and joined us. He bought her a drink as well. All was fine and dandy until he called her "mom" one too many times. She rolled her neck and said, "Listen, don't call me mom again. I'm her mom, not yours...(under breath) sh** we're about the same age..." Hilarious! That man could do nothing right after that no many how many drinks he offered her. He had no chance with me because she ex'd him out with picking him apart the rest of the cruise. "Something isn't right with him...he's divorced twice..."

Thank goodness finding love was not on my agenda because she blocked my chances for that one! This was a family trip, just the girls, and family love was in the air.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Before I go into details about my adventures...

I must toot my horn that I'm a darn good single-mother! And, I have a daughter who is by my side without all of the drama kids bring. We make a very good team -even though her is infinitely messy, I still have to remind her to put on deodorant and she hasn't picked up on the motivation thing yet - we're so blessed to be partnered as mother and daughter.

Never had I imagined that I would be a single-mother. When she came into my life, I really wanted to be married or at least to get married before she turned 5 so that she could see an example of good, positive love. Well, that didn't happen and look how we turned out - fabulous and our home is full of love.

Last night, Dove had to turn her peanut money order in for Girl Scouts. Well, she'd told people the money was due last week in October because she didn't know and failed to confirm it. I called the troop leader to find that she had a week to collect the money! (Yep, still teaching her responsibility) Fast forward to last night, the order total and the money collected didn't match so she was short. "Who didn't pay?" I asked. Well, since she wasn't organized with making check marks by the name of the payers, she wasn't entirely sure. She had 3 people for sure that hadn't paid. (My responsibility? Nope, not this year...resposibility is my mantra.)

Dove had to make a decision. One person came to pay at the last-minute. She told her grandparents she pay for their order and she cancelled the last one. Cool, right? Nope, she didn't have enough money! She was still short at least $7. I know, I know, I could have paid it and told her to pay me back. But, would she have gotten the lesson? Nope. I know this is true because she doesn't have the motivation to earn allowances even though the chore list is posted on the wall and chores go undone. So, no, she wouldn't have learned a lesson.

"You don't have anymore money?"

"No, this is all I have."

"Well, I think you're going to have to use your quarter collection." This is the same collection that she collected forever of all the states. She offered her precious collection with crocodile tears pouring from her eyes. I had to console my baby. I really wanted to bail her out and sneak the quarters out to make her earn them back, but she had to personally turn that money in and feel the weight of her quarters leave her fingers. It hurt me to know that she made the ultimate sacrifice, but she HAD to learn the lesson.

Later that evening, I told her how proud I was of her for not blaming me for her lack of organization or asking me to give the money for her. She took the responsibility and owned up to her mistakes. That was a definite sign of maturity on her part. And, this will stick with her a long time. (Yep, I stuck to my guns.)

Later that evening, she crawled into my bed with more tears. "Dove, don't ever be so attached to the material things in this world that when they're removed from your possession that it utterly destroys you. Quarters, you can collect once again. But, think of the things that you can't get back. (She answered me, family, friends...yep, she's getting the point.) I remember when I got married, I had a car, apartment full of furniture, etc. When he decided that he wasn't ready for marriage, I had not money to support myself because we'd relocated to NY for me to go to school. When he left, I lost everything. Car, furniture, art work, collectibles, etc. If I allowed it to destroy me and give up on my dream, my life would be totally different today. I wouldn't have gone to acting school, met my friends, or even had you in my life. I learned how strong I was and that I am a survivor. So, don't let material things become so important that when you lose them you become lost and devastated. Understand?"

"Yes, I do," Dove said.

"Now, go wash your face and look in the mirror and remind yourself who you are. Tell yourself how strong you are, you're amazing..."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

So, Common didn't call me for my birthday...

but, I'm gonna be okay. Even though my friends posted my wish -for him to call me because of our bond from when he pulled me on stage a few years back - on his Facebook page several times, he still didn't call. But again, that is okay. I understand he's busy so I'm a patient gal.

Anyway, Happy belated birthday to me!!! Yes, I made it to 40 and I am soooo thankful. I have so many adventures to catch up on with my blogs, so be patient (to any and all persons who may actually read my blog) as I'm uploading pictures. While you're waiting, I'll go ahead and answer the BIG QUESTION. Do I feel different?

Why do people ask that anyway as if the body has an alarm clock that buzzes on the birth date? We all know that doesn't happen. But, do I feel differently? Actually, no. I still feel like a little girl trying to play grown-up. I'm still finding my way in life and wondering when will I get "deep" and "serious." When will everything click for me? Will I have to take an Eat-Pray-Love journey, too? Who knows, but I sure as heck don't feel differently.

Back when I was growing up, women in their 40's seemed to be so much more older, settled and well, serious. They were busy taking care of the home and being grown. Now, they say that 40 is the new 30, or 20. And, it seems so. I feel vibrant, fit and young. I'm not sure if I look it, but I feel it. Wait - when I say fit and young, I'm not talking about the stiffness that occurs in my body after I work out and seems to linger for days even through to the next work out. Nor am I talking about the pains that pop up in weird places in my body without a result of injury (like that pain in my thumb for no apparent reason), what is that about? Or, that my body can't handle certain foods anymore, or - okay, I do feel a little different, but it didn't happen on my birthday, issues have been accumulating for months.

Thank goodness for shows like Sex in the City for making 40's look stylish, sexy and fun. Since I decided to take this journey to explore my feelings this year I am astonished on how I don't feel old. I'm teaching dance fitness, hanging out with friends, meeting new people, traveling and enjoying new experiences. I'm not at home on the couch complaining of feeling old.

Let's revisit my bucket list for the 40's. I haven't actually created one to complete before I die. I'm actually looking for the next few years. Here goes:

2. Climb a wall - rock climbing
3. Parasailing - DONE
4. Jet skiing
5. Swim with the dolphins
6. Cage dancing - DONE
7. Take pole dancing class - DONE
8. Ride my own motorcycle - will learn once I get adequate health insurance
9. Race like a Nascar driver - DONE
10. Wear a bikini and look decent (down-graded from good) - DONE, will post pics
11. Learn to swim
12. Take Karate
13. Learn two foreign languages
14. Watch a baby being born in real life
15. Dance in Carnival (wearing thongs is not a necessary)
16. Ride in a hot air balloon
17. Thinking about skydiving - tandem only with a highly skilled professional
18. Kiss Common - (I really want to do this one)
19. Visit Taj Mahal, Egyptian Pyramids, Mayan Ruins, India, Greece, Italy and Ghana
20. Take boudoir pictures
21. Dance burlesque
22. Write a fiction book
23. Adding new ideas daily

Hmmm, if you have any suggestions for a good idea, let me know. Or, if you have a bucket list and want to share it, please do.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Playing Dress Up

I've been invited out, which will be major fun. That's the good news. Want to know the bad news? The clothes in my closet haven't been updated since 1998. Yep, I've got stuff in my closet (that I still wear) that I've had before my daughter was even born. Seriously. I know, it's sad. But, I hate clothes shopping. It's not my thing. It gives me a headache especially shopping at TJ Maxx and Marshalls - too many racks of clothes bunched all together!! Ugh!

Maybe it's because I get flashbacks of my mother shopping for me in the husky size when I was a kid. And, watching her break a sweat in the dressing room as her size 1 frame struggled to pull a pair of husky Levi's over my fat thighs. It was hard for her to have a fat daughter and it was hard for me to have a very skinny mom. I've detested shopping and trying on clothes ever since. But, I do it because sometimes it can be enjoyable.

For instance, I went to find a new dress to wear for my 40th celebration and it was pleasing to see how my Zumba body has shaped up. (I'm not that fat girl that I used to be.) So, I picked up a hot little number to place in my old-fashioned closet.

Now that I'm invited out, my cousin Shinnel urged me to stop by her house with the dress to accessorize it. Yeah, that chic has a closet out of a made for TV movie. We accessorized the dress alright. She took it back to the ol' skool days where girlfriends used to have the music pumping while trying on each other's clothes while playing dress up.

Her- Take that dress off, try these [black leatheretter looking] leggings...and wait, try this blouse on.

Me- Ooh, I like these. It makes me look like I have a niiiceee booty. Oh, cute top, but I don't want my tata's to fall out.

Her-They won't fall out. Wait, I've got a dog collar. Ugh, your neck is too small.

Me- You know, this look makes me want to wear leather gloves. That makes it real bad!

Her - Lisa [lil sis] has my leather gloves. [calls Lisa] When you come here, bring the gloves and some shoes, oh and some boots...you know the ones.... Take that off Alicia, try this dress...try this...now put on these shorts...

Let me tell you, we went from dressing for this weekend to dressing for my 40th birthday extravaganza. What about my black little dress? Well, it was lying on the bed with the rest of the outfits that she had me try on. No matter what the event will be like, trust me, I will be looking H-O-T and I'll be posting some pics to prove it!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Word For My Spirit

So, I was over to Kesha's getting my locs tightened. And Titus, her hubby, who is like a play brother to me sent a folded piece of paper for me to read via his son. I refused it because Titus, like a brother, always teases me. So yeah, being smart - I refused it twice. Finally, Titus came out -very serious like- and gave me the paper himself. "This came to me, to my spirit for you." Yes, Titus is deep. You should read some of his writings.

It read: Do not settle on anything that will not provide fuel for your destiny.

Hmmm...what does that mean for me. And, what am I settling in. I think I can guess a few things. But, what exactly is Spirit trying to tell me. Yeah, I've always got to look at all sides of the box when a word is given to me about my life.

So, this evening as I flipped through the Natural Awakenings magazine, I saw the Moon Signs. Sept 15th, 1:50 AM: "The First Quarter Moon is like a scythe cutting across the sky. This is a time for decision, a time to cut free of the past and affirm our true core purpose. Choices made now are likely to be the right ones. Breathe deeply and focus on the light above to make your ideal real and move freely (dance!) to shed old ways and be present to the power and possibilities of the time."

Hmmm...time to shed some old stuff to fulfill my purpose and destiny. (Now sitting with my head cocked to the side, looking up with a deep thinking look in my eyes.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Taste of Power

175 mph. That's fast...real fast. And, I like to go fast - as I've discovered.

When the opportunity came for me to ride in a race car on the Nascar track, I deliberated for a minute. Should I? Or, shouldn't I? "Hey," I said to myself. "I'm turning 40 and this year is all about experiencing new things, heck yeah, let's do this!" And, I did.

It just so happens that since I'm on a journey, Dove is on a journey with me. Hey, it's part of the life of a single mother. But, she's a good road buddy. She's game for trying new things so she was in and didn't back out of it. She's cool.

We waited for our turn to get in the passenger seat of the race car. Disappointed crept in because I really wanted to wear that bad azz racer uniform. Can you imagine the picture - me in that uniform!?But, I quickly sobered as I realized that I'd be dripping sweat in this smothering Charlotte heat. Then I wondered, how in the world am I going to slide in the window of the car while trying to look cool. Luckily, Dove went first so I watched her. If she could do it then I could definitely do slide in gracefully.

Funny thing, I don't even watch the races on television and had never been to the track before this day. But, at that moment I had to experience being in a race car. I watched in proud excitement as she roared past me several times and came out with a smile. My turn. Helmet on - check! Cool stride - check! Leg up and slide in the car - ch..ch...check. The driver revved the engine and off we went! Fast...so very fast! Faster than the rollercoaster, The Intimadator! Extremely Fast! And, I could have sworn that he took me around 4 times. I tried to count, trust me. The fierce roar of the engine was incredibly loud while the vibrations from it penetrated my body. It was on! The ferocious rumble, me riding shotgun and the 1-2-3 and we're off made me scream with delight! While taking the curves, we hugged the wall so tightly I thought, "Hey, uhm, are we supposed to be this close to the wall?" I held all of my trust in the driver on this new adventure because as soon as I thought it, we were on the straight track again. Whew! Zoom! Whoa! We rumbled and skidded to a stop leaving a trail and smell of burnt rubber. I was ol' skool-Happy-Days-Fonze bad: Whoaaaa!

I did it. Fun. Fast. And, furious! Loved it! It was just over a little too soon.

Uhm Yeah, there's a certification for that!

Yeah, about this turning 40 thing and the bucket list...uhm, somewhere in between those two things I decided to teach dance fitness, i.e. Zumba. It's one of those things where you start the sentence with, "See, what had happened was..." I say that because I was never one to always dance (unless in the club back in the day) or attend any type of fitness class on a regular basis (not on your life, unless it was in my living room) or desire to teach (well, it was that one time that I thought I could teach African dance after taking an African-robics class). But, that's all in retrospect. We're talking about the here and now.

Yep, a year and a half ago, I walked into a Wednesday night Zumba class taught by Sara Bremer, not really knowing what to expect and I was hooked. It kind of put me in some kind of hypnotic trance or the music must have had some hidden messages delivered to the subconscious mind because all of a sudden I said, "I can do this. I'mma teach Zumba!" (I'm still wondering where that voice came from 'til this day!) I took a Zumba certification class and told Angie Acosta of Queen City Dancing Queen, "Okay, I'm certified, but I want to teach with your group." Yep, you know how the story went because I'm teaching with Ang and the QCDQ posse.

Yeah, about that... Uhm, here's the thing. I was supposed to be just teaching and having fun - but that is work! Learning choreo, being consistent, remembering stuff -did I tell you that as I've aged, my memory is starting to suck! Yeah, and now I'm accountable to lead groups of people all the while having an aging memory issue - and an getting AFAA Group Training Certification.

Hold up, what was that? Get a what? An AFAA Group Training Certification. Wait, who said anything about that? I just wanna dance! (You mean to tell me there's a certification to teach dance, too?) Yeah, who knew that I had to take that test. Fast forward and rewind back to last Friday - all day from 9-5:30. Certification Day. All. Day. Long. Here's the other thing...after spending the whole day going over muscles, figuring out what strength and stretch exercises to do for the practicum part of the test and breezing through a study workbook for the test and etc, and etc. - we start the test the last hour of the day. Someone should tell AFAA that college students have the agility and adaptability to workout all day and mentally exhaust themselves and still take an exam and someone should also remind AFAA that most of the participants were well beyond the collegiate age group! (Let me just say, I am not sure if I ate enough brain food because I was mentally exhausted by the time I took that test.) Side Note: The instructors for the day were absolutely wonderful and did their best to instill information into the participants.

Halfway through the test, I looked down at my answer sheet...(sigh) there were a lot of C's marked. Oh well... Let me just get back to dancing when things were not so complicated. Hey, I've got an idea! Maybe someone should make some music that subconsciously teaches all the muscle groups, nutrition, energy sources, fitness risks and benefits, etc (the etc. is everything you should know for the AFAA certification) and that way, while we're exercising our bodies our minds are getting plugged with information. Yeah? Yeah? You like that idea? It's yours, consider the first one free. If you make a million off of it, then I charge 20% for the idea. Good luck!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Taste of another custom...

So, my cousin went to Dubai (yes, all the way over to the infamous, luxurious Dubai) and posted the pictures of Facebook to prove it. She indulged in the exquisite desires and comforts that Dubai has to offer. But, who's jealous. I'm not jealous. Who said anything about jealous? Ohhh, one day, perhaps...
She partook in the custom that even the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland experienced. The Hookah Pipe. Who remembers the relaxed, cool caterpillar puffing on the end of the stem? I remember when I first saw a hookah bar. I was at a Writer's Conference in Tampa and striding along with a few authors, we stumbled on one. Aussie bestselling author, Anita Heiss, and I wanted to try it out. Hey, that's what writer's do. We engage our senses and dare to experience life so that we can write about it. However, we didn't because the other two writer's didn't want to do it. Awww....

So, guess what? Charlotte has a hookah bar. Well, it's a dessert bar with hookah pipes. Same thing. And, I tried it. Yep, along with some other virgins to the hookah. We had to ask some hookah novices to show us what to do. I have to admit, it was exciting to try something new - that was also legal. And, it was pretty relaxing as well. (I don't think my pastor would approve, but if I was still a member of Christ Central, it would be fine since I know Pastor Harold experienced it and is not the least judgemental.)

The group of us puffed the strawberry flavored leaves and chuckled at each other as we attempted to look cool as newbies. It was cool. An experience, but I won't be feigning to get to the hookah bar every weekend for a fix. Now, if I ever go to Dubai, I know exactly what to expect. Or, if I'm every hanging out with Snoop, I'll know what he means by puff-puff pass - but only in the legal sense. :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Plea for Common Sense

If you haven't heard by now, let me be the first to tell you. Common Sense is available! And, as much as I hate to admit it (to admit it is an act of betrayal), I am wanting me some Common Sense. Well, you all might know him as Common. Common Sense was his name back in the day. And yes, Serena let him go! (It's about time! Come on home to me, Common...just come on home!) She claims to have commitment issues. (Whateva!)

I'm admitting it because my BFF used to be in love with Common. And, we women have a code that we follow. Girlfriend Code #3: Never Date Your GF's exes. Well, technically, he isn't her ex, but its like the same thing since she had a secret love for him (and Will Smith). Anyhoo, it's not my fault that I have these feelings for him. It's Common's!

It all started when he spotted me in a crowd at his concert and pulled me on stage and personally serenaded/rapped to me two songs and hugged on me and took pictures with me and left his body sweat on me (taking a big breath). Ahhhh....Common. You just have to sigh dreamily when you think of him. He's so intellectual and grounded. And, I bet he can hold a conversation. What a turn on! Okay, okay, moving on... That's when the fantasy began.

I mean, I just don't understand why Erykah and Serena can't appreciate that good man! Well, I'm sure they appreciated him when they were together, but come on, he's fine, beautiful smile, talented, smart, and I'm sure he values the beauty in women. He just has to!

Well, Common, I'm sending you my plea! Just come on back to me! We've got so much in common, Common. Your first major album was Like Water For Chocolate at that was the title for the first foreign film I ever saw! We both majored in Business Administration, although I was quite bored with it and changed my major. We both are spiritually connected, have one daughter, and use our gifts of writing/presenting to change minds. I get you, Common! We're both vegan, well, I hope you're still vegan. Ahh, I could go on and on about how we would make lifetime friends, but instead, I'll wait for your arrival back to Charlotte.

And I (aiiiiii) will always love youuuuuuuu!

Friday, September 3, 2010

And oldie, but goodie...This is where I am in my life.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination (measure). It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous. Actually, who are you not to be so?
You are a child of God. Your laying small doesn't serve the world. (Small games do not work in this world). There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. (For those around us to feel peace, it is not example to make ourselves small.)

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not in some of us, it is in all of us.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, simply our presence liberate others.

-Marianne Williamson

I combined two different versions of the same quote.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm f(bleeping) Tasha Mack!

Okay, I'm not Tasha Mack, but I am Alicia Williams. I am Alicia Williams. I AM Alicia Williams.

Who is Tasha Mack? She's a fictional character on the sitcom, The Game. This chic has some issues of coming to grips of getting pregnant in high school by punk a$$ Chauncey, over 40 and still single with the only thing going for her is Malik El-Debarge Wright, her winning Quarterback son. But, it hit me - we all have issues that we are overcoming and as women, we still punish ourselves. We punish ourselves for past mistakes, for being single, for not having that perfect body, career, etc. And we do this, all while being wives, mothers and girlfriends. Dang, we got it hard, plus we have to have still go through menopause!

But seriously, I work hard to keep my confidence up. It should come easy, right? But it's not. High confidence comes in stages. I wish I was fabulous all my life, but incidents always reminded me (or us) that maybe I'm not all of that. Like, when my grandpa used to say: "You short, fat and squatty and ain't got no body." Or, the backward compliments of "You're kind of cute to be so dark skinned...if you had a lighter skinned sister, I'd talk to her." Or even to my hair, "Why you wear them things in your hair?" (Uh, my dred locs?)

As I watched The Game, I saw how Tasha Mack pumped herself up without the assistance of others. I realize that I must dust the old layers off of my shoulders and toot my own horn (I hate tooting my own horn, it seems so egotistical). Tasha would loudly declare, "I'm f(bleeping) Tasha Mack!" Yeah, go head with your bad self! Sometimes you gotta declare your own greatness because no one is gonna do it for you. Like Tasha, we've gotta push past our old mistakes and realize our full potential, beauty and power. "I'm (bleeping) Alicia Williams!" Yes! I know I'm beautiful! I'm destined for greatness! I'm all of that! Why? Because I said so! I'm Alicia Williams!

THIS is your life. This IS your life. This is YOUR life. This is your LIFE!

I'm gonna live life on my own terms. I'm gonna love me with all of my imperfections and past mistakes (and future ones). I'm gonna be, no - I am wonderful, talented, gifted and beautiful. You know what? Sometimes you gotta look in the mirror, rear your shoulders back, smile your best smile and say, "I'm (bleeping) _______ _______ (insert name here)!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Round Two...

It was so nice to get an invitation to go out with the agenda already planned. It minimizes the debating and deliberating time. That's how it is with E-Boogie (Erica). She's like, "We're going to the Charlotte Roller Derby and then dancing. Boom." The emphasis on the boom meant that it's all settled. And, I'm like, "Cool." Only thing I had to debate and deliberate about was what to wear - cute yet comfortable. I settled on some skinny jeans, red-hot Nike dance shoes and a cute tee with a picture of Paris.

I love a good Girls Night Out. I really do. Well, that's kind of a rhetorical statement because who doesn't like a good night out with the chica's. Erica, her old friend, and her roomie, LaToya, in tow was seated front and center at the Charlotte Roller Derby. It was so much fun! Really, it is a good outing to take your daughters to as an empowering event. Those women were working the floor and the skates. And, all I thought was, I really want to wear a roller derby outfit - so hot! Well, that's not all I was thinking as I was screaming at the Philadelphia team as they tried to bully our Charlotte girls off the track. I'll keep my actual thoughts to myself.

The night followed with my cousin, Lena, joining us. She drove all the way from Greensboro in her convertible Sebring - with the top down, of course - for a cage experience. I love her. Gotta love a person who loves to laugh. And, also we were joined by a young (really young) cutie pie (and his friend) that Erica met at the pool. So, the group of us went out eating and dancing. And that's when the fun actually began again...

We worked that dance floor like it was going out of style! We held it down as we dropped it low. And, not to mention - the cage. Yep, I did it again for the second time. I owned that cage once again and of course, had to share it with the cage virgins - since I'm a pro at it and stuff. And, when LaToya managed to have the DJ play my song request, Pony by Genuwine, that's when I cut up. You couldn't tell me that I wasn't filming a music video. (I had to put the word music in front of video to make sure ya'll knew where I was going with the video comment. Just forget it, ugh!)

Seriously, I faced my fears of dancing in front of everyone in an isolated place. Yeah, I know I teach dance fitness, but I mean dancing and trying to tap into the inner sexiness. We women want to feel sexy, look sexy and embody sexiness...confidence. That's why I wanted to dance in the cage. I'm sure there are other ways to do it, but that was one of the ways that I chose to display my freedom of announcing to the world -and myself - I like me, the way I look (except in a bikini) and feel.

All I have to say is - I cannot wait for my actual birthday celebration. It will be delicious!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I know...I know...

This is it...I can't fake it any longer. Time is of the essence and yes, me, have procrastinated almost the entire year. I know that I was supposed to leave that terrible habit behind me. I know this already! I know that I declared to fit into a two piece swimsuit by my 4oth birthday. Get off of my back already. I know that I have about 30 days to go and I haven't worked out with my Jackie Warner video tapes consistently or done my ab/core work. Enough torturing me already! I know, darn!

It's not your fault. It's me. I'm under pressure. So, I didn't mean to get all defensive and stuff. You see, I went to my all time favorite store, Target' (pronounced Tar-jay for us couture folks). And, I saw a bikini - it was part black and black is supposed to be slimming, right? And, I have been teaching dance fitness classes and stuff so I thought I'd go to the dressing room to check my progress. *Ahem* What had happened, the bottom was a small and I could have used a medium, you know? So, I found a size medium and went back to the dressing room. *Ahem* I don't know what is wrong with my throat. Anyhoo...I told my daughter that I'd call her when I was ready to seek her opinion. I opted out of that choice.

Well, I renewed my challenge. I bought the bikini refusing to take the tags off just in case I don't reach my goal - to set it as a challenge to work hard for 30 days and see what changes I find while wearing the bikini. When I got home, I had my daughter take pictures of me in the black two-piece. What was I thinking? I'll tell you what I was thinking. I was thinking that it can't be all that bad since I exercise on a daily basis. It won't be that bad even with a little belly and love handles and a little back fat. I cannot possibly be that bad. *ahem - ahem* It was worse.

No more chocolate...wine...refined carbs...and whatever else I know is wrong to have. I will not be defeated. I must look better - on camera - in a two piece. Yes, I do already have a tankini - that's not the point. I set a goal so I have to reach it, even if it is after -much later- than my goal date.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Freedom Starts in the Mind

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. - Harriet Tubman

Charleston is one quaint town that I love to visit. It seems as if every tree, stone, house and building has a story connected to it. And, boy do I love stories. Recently, I found myself taking a few days of R&R in my favorite spot. (Other than seeing my aunt Sophia and her husband at my hotel all the way in a different state and quickly sneaking out the door to avoid a confrontation - everything was pretty much R&R - see blogs about family.)

My friend and I visited Boone Plantation. As the sun glared angrily down at us, we could just about imagine the miserable lifestyle of the slaves working in the field. I said, "just about" because we were merely walking around the plantation and not doing heavy labor. Brick slave cabins still exist on the plantation (the wood shacks were destroyed during one of the hurricane seasons). The bricks were handmade by the slaves and if you look closely you will find finger impressions in the bricks.

We walked through the cabins and it hit me, "Slaves lived, breathed, birthed babies in this very place. I'm standing where they stood, wept, dreamed and loved." One of the cabins was excavated and they found the bones of animals that were buried. They questioned, "How could slaves live off of the meager food rations - nutrition wise - and perform all the labor demanded of them?" They hunted and buried the leftover bones under the cabin floor so that the master wouldn't find them.

We also visited the Slave Market, where they brought the slaves, housed and cleansed them for auction. This is where I broke down crying and had a break through.

As I touched the walls that my ancestors were shackled to I wept for them and for me. I thought, "How dare I question my gifts? They made so much progress with limited resources...they fought so hard for freedom...MY FREEDOM. I have to do all that I can to live up to my full potential. How dare I question if I'm a good enough writer to go to graduate school or how could I afford it! I have to do it, for me and for them.

I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves. -Harriet Tubman Free your mind!

We live in fear daily: How can I afford it? What if I fail? What if I don't get promoted? How can I do this? If our ancestors lived in constant fear and worry, we wouldn't be free.

There's an old saying, "We stand tall on the shoulders of our ancestors." Yes, I'm standing tall, working on my manuscript to get to graduate school to write words that will motivate minds. I'm standing on the shoulders of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. DuBois, Sojourner Truth, Nat Turner and the unnamed hero's who shed blood by the lash or put fear aside and pushed for liberty.

I am turning forty next month and I have to show some growth this year in my journey. Me loving myself, pushing myself to reach my full potential, live life without regrets and fear is my goal. So yes, I'm free to live - live my best life now! It is not my desire, it is my destiny!

Monday, August 9, 2010

My to-do list...

Well, I can honestly say that I can mark something off of my to-do list that was never on it. If this particular event was on my list it would have read: Be insane for a moment and ride the intimidating Intimidator at Carowinds.

Earlier this summer, I really, really wanted to ride on the Intimidator. I stood with my mouth dropped opened and eyes wide staring up at the enormous rollercoaster. It seemed the tracks looped and dropped and went on forever. I just had to ride it, but not enough to stand in line under the blazing sun for at least 2-3 hours. (I know, it doesn't seem that long when you're in line - whateva.)

Dove and I found ourselves at the theme park on a cloudy, drizzling day. We rode every ride that we wanted to. But, and yes, there's a but...we started off on the high note. I talked her into riding The Intimidator - first. The line was short, we didn't have time to debate, analyze or even talk of our expectations. We were clicking our belt buckles before we realized what what going on, but instinctively I knew we weren't in Kansas anymore.

The car (or unit) climbed higher and higher and even higher. I love rollercoasters and the thrill of the drop. However, after ten minutes of climbing up the never-ending hill, it was at that precise moment that I questioned my sanity. Why in the world did I talk me and my only living child to get on this crazy ride? What in the world was I thinking? Was it too late to turn around? And, as I was about to cry like an infant fighting sleep that's when the tipping point came and down, down, down we dropped.

The down part should not be underrated here, folks. After that climb, the down was incredibly steep and I could have sworn that we were descending straight down - not at an angle or a curve- but straight down. And, round and round, up and down it went - on forever.

My to-do list has some incredible, risk taking challenges on it, but seriously, The Intimidator should have been number seven because that ride was thrillingly insane! Was I ready to run back in line - hellz no! I was ready for a kiddy ride to calm my heart down (I had to massage it back up to my chest since it dropped down to my stomach)!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Eleven years ago...

Eleven years ago I found myself in labor pushing for hours. As Sienfield made its way on the television, my daughter's head began to crown as if she knew I regularly watched the series and wanted to make her debut to watch it with me. The pain I block out, but I do remember the nurses saying, "How did itty-bitty you give birth to such a big baby?" Secretly, I was a little insecure to have such a bib 8 lb. 8 oz baby since it was always said in amazement as if it was a bad thing.

Now my little-big baby has grown to such a tall, thick legged eleven year old. My, my, my how time flies. I remember how she used to play in my shoes. As of last weekend as she scurried to find character shoes for her production of Beauty and the Beast, we discovered that she could no longer fit my shoes. Her feet have surpassed my size 7.

I fell in love with her ever since the seed was planted in my womb. I used to talk and play with her as she formed her tiny limbs and body. She was a part of me as much as I was a part of her. Actually, she was sent to me to save my life. She has made me settled down to build a home instead of running from place to place. She has given me permission to open my heart and love, when I convinced myself that it was okay not to receive or give it freely.

Eleven years have gone by and I have learned a life full of lessons since there hasn't been a book written to adequately prepare a single mother for motherhood. I'm not perfect and will never will be. But, we're a team. Recently I was asked, "what inspires you?" I thought about it and responded, "My daughter. I live to pursue my dreams so that she can know that she can do anything she puts her mind to. She can say to herself, 'if mommy did it, so can I.' I want her to be proud to call me Mom."

I desire to plant so many seeds of greatness inside of her because she is my legacy. Twelve years ago, I would never have considered being a parent. But, as I look over the last decade of my life, I'm so happy that she chose me to be her mother. My life would have been completely different without her - whether better or worse - and I wouldn't change anything.

For the first five or six years my mantra was, "I can't believe I'm a mother." Now, it's changed, "I can't believe I'm a mother of an eleven year old." Soon it'll be, "I can't believe I'm a mother of a teenager...college student..." Time, please stand still so that I can rock her in my lap and watch her sleep one more time.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Good, Bad and Ugly

As the months creep by and the magical age is coming closer and closer, I've discovered a few more things about life. Some of it is good, and some, well...are less desirable.

The Good -

*The more I work out (dance fitness), the younger I feel. I can shake, pop and drop it with (or even more so) than some of the youngsters. Once I get started, I channel Beyoncé and just go for it.

*Unless I'm looking through rose-colored glasses, I don't look quite 4o. And, according to reactions from others, I don't either - unless that's the learned habitual response, "Oh, you don't look 40...you look like you're only 38." (Thanks, a lot, but I'll take it.)

The Bad:

*Although I can dance with the best of them, my body is growing more stiff daily. The regular stretches doesn't cut it anymore. That old chant we sang as kids now rings true, "My back aches, my shoes too tight, my booty shake to the left and right..."

*Yeah, something is going on with my eyes. While at the grocery store, I noticed that I couldn't quite focus on the ingredients without moving my hand backwards and forwards to get the right distance and only then did my eyes re-adjust for the right focus. Hey, I've always had 20/20 so this phenomenon is quite odd! I blame it all the squinting while using these darn computers!

*Three weeks ago, I felt sick. It could have been something that I ate, but it happened again. Now, I'm looking at the commercials about the little purple pill. Yep, not only did my body reject dairy at 35, now I have to deal with a little acid reflux or indigestion (or whatever they want to call it this month!) This is not fair, acid reflux is not for the almost 40!

*And, a while ago I found gray hairs in places that I would rather not discuss. But, now I've discovered hair in places that it shouldn't be - for a woman. What is it with the few strands of hair popping up on my chin. What in the heck is that about? Now only do I have to wax my upper lip, but life would be completely unfair if I have to do that for my chin, too!

The Ugly:

*I have succumbed to the realization that everything on the market that promises to reduce stretch marks - doesn't. Years of trying to erase the proof of motherhood has ended up in realizing that it's not going anywhere! Yep, some things I found will stay with me the rest of my life.

*I'm needing naps...well, not just naps, but longer naps.

*If women reach their peak at 35, what happens when we reach 40? Please don't tell me, I'd rather be in denial because I'm not even married yet. I want to be krazy wild for once in my life - when my husband comes into my life - not just sitting on the couch looking at each other without little desire to do anything else.

*Oh yeah, it was something else...oh right. Uh, I found that I'm getting more forgetful. I used to not use a calendar, information was all programmed in my mind (except phone numbers, I never remembered them too well, esp. from dudes in case I didn't want to ever call them back.) But now, I find myself forgetting where I put things, grasping at words in regular conversation, names, and...what what I saying?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Adventures of a Writer's Convention

"Wow, I'm doing good on time, the first workshop starts at 9:00 AM, I'll have 20 minutes to spare according to the GPS," I smiled. Cruising along i-85 since 5:00 AM to Atlanta was a breeze or so I thought. "Dang, what the-!" My car came to a complete stop as I entered the cusp of Atlanta. Back the back traffic creeped along like a caterpillar. That slow traffic ate up all the time I made up. "Finally, we're up to 35 mph, thank goodness," I sighed.

Screeeeeeeccchhhhhh! Swerving my car to the right towards the exit wall, trying to avoid hitting the car in front of me. "Oh Jesus," I cried inside. My brakes didn't seem to stop my car and I slid toward the rear end of the metal box braking in front of me. My eyes swelled as I visualized the impact and bracing myself. Suddenly, the screeching stop and was replaced by the smell of burnt rubber, loud bass drum beats of my heart and my shaking body. I saw my car hitting the car in front of me! I did! I was less than an inch front smashing into it! I really thanked God for that miracle.

It took me the rest of the morning to calm down. I made it to the Black Writer's Reunion & Conference unscathed. Shaky and nervous, but unhurt. Whew, thank goodness because I don't have health insurance until our government works that issue out.

It was so good to reconnect with fellow writers and learn from some established, successful authors and professors. The reunion was wonderful and the information from the conference was helpful. Some presenters were more prepared and knowledgeable than others, but more importantly, I spent time writing with other authors.

The W Hotel hosted the event and it was beautiful, but a pricey hotel without free Internet in the room? Come on, W - What is up with that? And, $4 for a bottle of water, come on, really? So, I settled in my room refusing to even investigate the little snacks on the table in case they were weighted.

Fssttttttttt...what was that? A big water bug flew out of the air conditioning vent. "What the-?" Knocking everything off of the desk where it landed, I was determined to kill that enormous beast! "Where did it go?" I emptied everything out of my purse, conference bag, and books. "Where did it go?" Finally, I saw it creeping from under the linen so I sprayed it with my perfume! The creature quickly flew underneath the bed. "Please, can you send someone up to spray for this devilish thing that is tormenting me?" The hotel refused me...instead they moved me up to a suite. A suite? Ahhhh, sweet.

I eyed the new room with contempt. I saw the kitchen area, living room with a balcony, couch, desk, sleeper chair, and flat screen. Yes, the bedroom had another flat screen and balcony, walk-in closet and separate bath. "Is this the best? Well, I guess it'll do." I was in heaven! Go me, go me!!! I invited my writing buddies up to my penthouse suite to have writing sessions. That's the least I could do for the little people in their tiny, normal rooms. So generous of me. We even watched a movie on my DVD player in my living room.

We walked to the mall and I bought some special exfoliation soap from a skin and body care store called, LUSH. And, let the fresh air fill my room with my balcony door open. As I relaxed in my plush bed watching my flat screen television. Did I mention that I was in heaven?

Hey, what is the life of a writer without experiences, right?

Friday, July 9, 2010

You're not going to be my FB Friend!

I laughed out loud as I scanned a blog written by an acquaintance. A hilariously written list of those who deserve a throat punch. After all, who doesn't want to jab a good punch to someone in the throat on any given day, right? One of the groups listed: Adult women that choose to back stab and play the “I can’t be friends with you because you aren’t friends with her.”

When I transferred colleges, I joined my fellow sorority sisters on the new campus. I expected to be welcomed into a glorious sisterhood. I expected my sisters to have my back like Thelma and Louise, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and Celie and Nettie of the Color Purple. But, boy was I wrong. As one sister said, "You meet all types of women in a sorority..." Tis true, sis.

I'm never one to just readily open up to women because of my past experiences. But, I've let my guard down and allowed myself to enjoy the encounters that new female friendships and bonds could bring. But, to quote Debbie, some of these chics need a good throat punch! Seriously, they're acting more like Desperate Housewives, Housewives of ATL, NJ and Orange County combined. Why??? I cocked my head to the side and questioned, "And, how old are you?" But, a friend said, "It's not about age, it's how they truly are."

Okay, you be the judge. If we met at BOA and developed a bond, but you started seeking employment at Wachovia, and BOA finds out that you've been posting, taking profiles, etc and resigned you, would we have to stop being friends? But, when you tell me that you care about our friendship, but you don't know who to trust at BOA now, should I be offended? I'm still the same person, just wanted to keep my job. And, to add insult to injury, when you delete me from your simple Facebook page as a friend, does that mean we're not friends anymore at all or just not friends on FB? Please tell me your thoughts...

I was up last night thinking about this issue because although I don't care that these women deleted me from their FB friends list, their reasoning for it bothes me. And, I don't really care that they have left a good company and started a bunch of unnecessary confusion. (Do you!) But, I do care that these individuals called me personally and texted me: "I care so much about our friendship and I just don't know who to trust...I don't know who's a mole...I hope we can work together...good luck, you're awesome...you make me smile...I'm tired of the gossip and rumors..." Then the very next day I lost these two supposedly friends on FB. I get hung up on by a forty-something man, now this? What is the world coming to?

"Maybe all the rumors, drama and gossip would not have started if it weren't for you! Or, maybe you don't know who to trust, paranoid of moles because you're guilty of something? Or, just maybe you are deleting everyone that knows the truth and hope that your new connections at Wachovia won't talk to your old connections at BOA?" As I told one of them, "what's in the dark will come to light eventually...it always does."

And, the other thing that I care about is everyone affected. All of the people who have been made to feel uncomfortable because of their mess! Making people feel like they have to choose, real friends don't do that. "I won't be your friend because you work for BOA and bank with BOA." What the hell? People are dealing with foreclosures, sickness, lost of jobs, children in Haiti are starving, tornado's affected family in other states... folks are dealing with big life issues and I hate that these women are causing distractions for their pettiness by involving so many others.

If you want to leave BOA and start a project over at Wachovia, own up to it! Just do it and own up to it. Then people wouldn't have to choose, you wouldn't be secretly deleting friends from FB and lying to their faces, and you wouldn't be trying to make the CEO, VP and employees of BOA look bad because of your decisions.

So, when I see them on the street, what do ya'll expect me to do? Truth be told, my life was fine before them and will be even greater after...no empty spaces were filled and no void was left. It was a good journey but it had to end because of their lack of credibility as an individual and the lack growth, evolution and accountability.

Yep, I said it, I meant it and I'm here to represent it. Don't you touch my dredlocks, don't you touch my knee cuz I'm a Detroit sista, don't you mess with me! (part of a chant that we used to sing back in the day in the D.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"I better watch what I say around you..."

my friend half jokingly said. "Or else my life will be on page 6." (Page 6 pun, in the NY Post all the crazy news and drama is on page 6) Obviously, he reads my blogs.

I remember this lady in church warded off gossipers by saying, "If you don't want it repeated then don't tell me." What she meant was, "don't come whispering to me about something or somebody unless it can be repeated." I laughed at this while all the while knowing that I loved a good gossip secret every now and then. Okay, yes, I'll repent, but be honest with yourselves, you've indulged before. So, don't judge me!

This year I have decided to be transparent via my blogs. This is a journey of trying new things as well as my experiences, encounters and thoughts. And, as a writer and actress, I go through an emotional rollercoaster by empathizing with others. Every conversation, meeting, and situation might just be repeated at one point or another whether it's in a blog, one of my books or plays. That's just the way it is. I write about me, my family, friends and enemies. I take it all in and write about it.

When my mom finally read my book, Up From Rock Bottom, she was extremely angry with me. "You painted me as this bad mother and made it seem like I've never done anything for you," she lamented. It wasn't that she was a bad mother, I tried to explain. It was just that she was a young mother and made some choices that affected her children. Now, did I mean to oust my mother for the world to point their judgemental fingers towards? No! But, unfortunately while telling my story she became a sacrificial lamb of having her story exposed. And, we all hate exposure...well, bad exposure. While talking about my nitty-gritty her gritty-nitty was intertwined.

I have to admit that I'm pretty stubborn and rebellious so I try not to write out of that energy. But, I must write. It's funny, I grew up a shy, passive kid. Later, something snapped within me and as my mother says, "You just can't let stuff ride, you've got to tackle it." Yep, I do, but I am learning to pick which battles I'll pursue. Sometimes I'm wrong and sometimes I'm right and sometimes its just about principle. And, as we all know, there may be consequences and repercussions.

This year, I'm trying not to hide anything. I was very transparent in my book and I'm transparent now. So, if your story is intertwined with mine and you see it on page 6...well, as the church lady said...

Unless, of course we both know that it is personal and private, some stuff I do promise to take to the grave to honor friendship.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I just lost one...

"Who me? What?" I mouthed to the hunk of man on the cruiser in the left turning lane. He signaled a "hi" and gestured about me pulling over. This took me back to my highschool and college days when guys flirted with girls and let them know that they were desirable. Ohhh the days. I was flattered to be checked out on a hot day plus being sweaty from working out.

Biker man navigated his way out of the biker lane and followed me to Target. He seemed a little charming, but again I could have been so flattered that in my now past youth days that I'm still being flagged down. Or, it could be that I was taken aback since men in Charlotte won't utter a single compliment to women even on our best Halle Berry-everything-is-tight day.

We exchanged numbers and as on cue he asked, "Where's your man?" Cute, same line guys used since the 70's. "I don't have a man," I said. But, I did tell him that I had a friend.

Biker man wore my phone out! It quickly went to, "I miss my boo," and "My baby is smart!" Whoaaa big fella, it's way too soon to be labeling me as boo and baby. Big turn off! So, I backed off a little. I have to admit it would have been cool riding on the cruiser or sailing on his "boat" (if that was true.) However, my antennae was sensing something strange and I had to acknowledge it.

Finally, I told him, "Listen, I can't give you the time that you want. I won't leave my daughter at home alone to come meet you. I won't bring her to meet you because I don't introduce her to guys I've just met. And, to be honest, I'm just really busy with the direction my life is moving. So, don't wait for me, go do your thing." He quickly told me that he wasn't waiting, but he just wanted to see me. (Yeah, okay.)

Over the holiday weekend, dude called me over and over. Men, don't do that. Women, don't you dare do that!!! Don't keep ringing someone's phone until you get them. Give them a chance to call you back. Ugh! I was never given that chance and I was irritated. He must have called not once or twice, but about 8 times over the weekend without me calling back. Beyonce's "Diva" played out on my iPod and I said, "Okay B, let's do this."

I called dude back (he had just called me twice, back to back again) and told him, "Hey, I was busy and saw how many times you called. You don't have to call me over and over until you get me on the line. When I'm not busy, I'll call you back. That's irritating and overwhelming. And, when I feel overwhelmed I back away..." He tried to interject something about telling my man to stop taking up my time and that he just wanted to see me or something stupid like that. "Listen, I'm feeling overwhelmed," I continued. "So, I don't think...hello?"

Dude hung up on me... What the? Do men in their 40's still hang up? Ha, apparently so.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My journey has new direction...

Last month I was questioning, what was I going to do with my life. Working in the arts in such an unstable career especially during this economy. Heck, working any job holds instability right now. But, the arts is in me and if I tried anything else it'll be like a 200 lb. woman squeezing uncomfortably in a pair size 9 skinny jeans. It's a hot mess to say the least.

Recently, I heard a speaker/author named Dan Pink speak on the arts. Let me share with you some of what he said to help clarify any doubts of pursuing what you want to do in life.

We are now tipping from the left brain to bridging the right brain. We prepare our children (as we were prepared) through math and science to get jobs as accountants and lawyers, but don't teach through the arts. Here's why we have to change this, according to Mr. Pink. The three A's: Asia, Automation and Abundance.

Asia: India will take over America. There are 1 billion people in India, and if 15% make it with education and coming to America for better jobs, guess what? That would be 150 million new workers. Right now, US is outsourcing "routine" jobs and they are no longer valuable. A routine job is defined as: if you can write down the steps and get the right answer (blue-collar jobs). These jobs have left the building like Elvis!

Automation: Software is replacing our "left" brain. White collar jobs are being replaced by software. For example, accountants high revenue service is tax preparation. These are now outsourced to India, which prepares about couple 1000 per tax filing. No big deal! But, Turbo Tax has hit the scene and has taken over majorly. Even lawyers got paid for uncontested divorces, but now you can file online for $249 at completecase.com, 3stepdivorce.com or 123divorce.com.

Abundance: We live in it! Think back to when our parents grew up. They didn't have a tv/dvd in every room! The ipad just came out 2 months ago and 2 million people bought it. Two months ago did they know that they were missing it? Or, the "new" iphone. What was wrong with the old one that people stood in line for hours to replace it? Abundance!

Poets, dancers, and artists give the world/people what they didn't realize they were missing. The right brain art abilities help us establish high concept-hard to send overseas-and give the world what was missing.

We need novelty, nuance, customization, but our education is routine with right answers and standardization. We need to restructure our system from STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Ex., NYU medical students are going to the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art) to study the artwork because of diagnostic training. Why? Certain types of diagnosis is routine through software. Students are learning to use observation skills like a sculptor and painter (using reasoning, analytical, algorism, aesthetical skills.)

As I listened to more of Mr. Pink's speech, it made me realize that my teaching artist work has and will make an impact on our future. So, I'll be pursing my arts and my Master's Degree.

As Rachel said with tears in her eyes in Glee to the music teacher, "I'm just really glad you didn't become an accountant." As the song fades in "Don't stop believing..."

Monday, July 5, 2010

Okay, you twisted my arm, I'll talk!

I'm sitting here trying to focus on my writing, but I can't because the same thoughts keep swirling in my head. The way I look at it, I have several choices: let them keep swirling and stay distracted, get the journal out and write it all down or just blog about it as part of my transparent evolution. Lucky for you, I chose to blog it.

My mom has always told me that I will never have a man because I am to hard on them. My retort was, "I just don't like excuses." The men in my family never reached their full potential because of excuses. So, when I called my friends' friend to invite him out to share my friend's birthday he gave me a few reasons on why he couldn't come: my girl can't make it...I know ya'll want to be alone...I'm gonna' let ya'll share your intimate moment." All these "reasons" fell flat because it was an invitation to join a celebration. So, when I later ran into both my friend and his friend and brought up the event, the reason changed to "I've got plans." Wait, when? That was a new "reason." When I questioned him he said, "Hey, can't you handle her?" Or something to that fact. What? Handle me? That took me back to something a pimp would say.

I must admit that my pre-menstrual hormones kicked in and an attitude instantly swelled up. Instead of tripping, I decided to take myself out of the equation and leave. Simply exit before I said something inappropriate. What set me off? First, the excuses. I never expected this person to be full of excuses. Secondly, the passive line of "handle her." Not something a man should say to another man in front of a lady. Never.

I traveled to another event that I was invited to and got my attitude under control. If I was to celebrate my friend's birthday then I needed to check myself. Later my friend questioned me about my whereabouts and with whom. This was nothing unusual because he is a questioner of all things. However, if I was to question him then defenses would have shot up like a brick wall. "Why you questioning me?" We've talked about this and we both know it's true.

So, after all of the fun festivities of the night, my friend had a major attitude adjustment. Which left me wondering, "What the heck?" And, this made me question a few things. Why would someone who doesn't verbally admit his feelings or want a relationship even care what I do? What was the mood swing for? Why as grown adults do we just bury these thoughts and feelings instead of talking about them? Are the boundaries of our friendship being crossed and we're not admitting to it? Again, I know what my attitude change was about, but what about his? Should I even ask or let it go? Was my mother right all this time? Why the heck am I wasting time thinking about this crap for?

As you can see, I could spend my precious time asking questions and not writing, or I can just blog about it and let it go. I blogged it so hopefully I'll come to a resolution and let it go. Ah, woosah!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Wicked is Life

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!

Life is a journey. It can be an amazing one if we let it. And, this year I hope to make it an amazing one even in the midst of unemployment and an unstable future.

Sitting in the auditorium watching the wonderfully crafted musical, Wicked, I found a lesson. Watching Elphaba finally breaking away from the limits that others place upon her as well as dealing with her unusual oddness was so refreshing. Yes, a green girl trying to life a half normal life is strange, but to have the purpose of living to take care of her disable sister? Ugh! "Don't do what you want? Do what we tell you to do? Live this way and not that way!" Not Elphaba and not me! And, hopefully not my daughter, Dove.

I wrote my first book, Up From Rock Bottom, to prove to my daughter that she can do anything that she wants to do. I wanted her to stretch her mind and creativity and understand that life has no limits. As a child, I pretty much got her involved in the creative world and that child would watch every musical including the long length "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." In fact, her kindergarten teachers thought she had ADD, but she was having a musical going in her head.

Through the years, I found that I put so much into her that I lost myself. And, now here it is 11 years later and I'm rediscovering me. Unemployed and questioning my purpose. Am I to go back to school? What about money? Should I just get a "real" job if there is such a thing?

But, at least I have the courage to find me and what I really want. It's time to fly and live life! Defy gravity and do everything. I may not ever be Puffy Combs rich, but I want a fulfilled life without regrets! So as Elphaba says: it's time...

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you can't pull me down!

So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
"Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!"

And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who'd ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
Defying gravity
I'm flying high
Defying gravity