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?