No More Faking It

Law of Attraction. Like begets like. Birds of a feather flock together.
As I prepare for this next chapter of my life, I’m finding myself surrounded by this message that I need to start looking and acting the part, if I want the part. And while it naturally makes sense, I think I have been taking for granted looking the part as well as acting the part. I believe I’m still living under the pretense that once I get the part, that these things will just fall into place. 
When I got my job as a part-time administrative assistant at an after-school program almost three years ago, I had made a conscious effort to dress nice for work. I was wearing skirts and heels in the dead of winter and dressing professionally in an atmosphere where everyone else was dressed in jeans and sneakers. For the four hours a day that I worked, I took great pride into my wardrobe selection. I was buying dress pants, selecting heels, and picking out my blouses the night before. I would spend sometimes an hour or two getting dressed to go in during the afternoons. 
Needless to say, my supervisor and eventual friend, held me to a higher standard than he did everyone else under his supervision. My impact, given that I had very minimal tasks, was felt, causing him to struggle to find a replacement once I left. 
And when I started my new job, as a full-time credentialing specialist, I found myself trying to make the same efforts and coming up with a determination of what business casual looks like. Very quickly, I gave up my heels in replacement for flats as to not feel overdressed. I switched out skirts for dress pants. And before long, I was doing a cardigan and tank top combo to accompany my pants. Without even noticing it, the effort I had made at the beginning of my employment in the mornings, had disappeared. I was rotating the same pants in and out of my wardrobe, along with cardigans, and tank tops. I had a staple pair of flats and boots I would wear. I was no longer concerned with wearing the same outfit over and over again, like I had been at my previous employment. 
Yet as I commuted to work this morning, I found myself aware that rather than looking and acting the part, I was waiting for the part. I was waiting for the part so I could finally act and look it. And that’s not what law of attraction dictates, nor what like begets like and birds of a feather flock together means. I think I have officially found the root of my frustrations.
As much as I am ready for this next chapter of my life and ready to earn the part of a lifetime, that I know is destined for me, I’m not going to be able to acquire it until I shape up. So no more repetition of the same outfit and not thinking twice about what shoes I slip onto my feet in the mornings before heading out on my commute. 
I am in no way saying that tomorrow morning I will pick out a skirt and pair it with heels and a blazer, dab a little makeup on my face, and head out to work and start dressing and acting the part. What I am saying is, now that I’m cognizant, I can now begin to start to make the changes necessary to get me to that place where I will be able to earn the part that I desire. 
No more faking it until I make it. It’s time to just make it and let the opportunities fall on my lap as a result of it.

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Michigan

Maybe I’m doing this wrong. Maybe instead of questions, I should be doing some else more proactive, like reviewing colleges and universities in the areas and even reviewing apartments. Perhaps, I should be diving into private school searches, instead of showcasing my hesitation. Maybe all he needs is to know that I trust his decision making and that I’m not so self-centered as to think that he is incapable of making a sound decision regarding our future. Maybe that’s where I have gone wrong with all of this.
Yesterday, my boyfriend asked me about moving to Michigan. He told me about a conversation he had with his sister regarding it being a more sound decision than having him move to NY or us relocate to Maryland and potentially find ourselves in the red trying to play catch up for the next couple of years. And it makes sense. Why should he be subjected to moving to NY, without the promise of a job, to try to figure out a way to navigate one of the most expensive states in the nation, while combatting the NY traffic that he has come to dread from the moment he stepped foot in the state. And why should I subject both of us to moving to Maryland with no guarantee of immediate employment for either of us and then having to navigate a new city we don’t know together. It makes sense to move to Michigan. The price of living is significantly cheaper. 
And maybe this hesitation has more to do with the fact that he’s running off of his sister’s suggestion than mine. I’ve brought up the notion of moving to Michigan more than once before in our relationship and he had asserted not having a desire for me to move there. So to know, or at least feel like, he trusts his sister’s call over mines is disheartening. At least the conversations about NY weren’t my parents. They had no direct input and no matter how many times my friends and them sided with me staying in NY because at least I would have support, I let none of their words factor into anything I wanted, if I were to stay. I was content with the idea of remaining in the state and moving almost an hour away from my family and friends. I was willing to even move upstate. 
For me, moving was never about having a safety net, but embarking on a journey and seeing if I could actually do it on my own. What’s the point of having your own family, if you are still reliant on your family to help you with everything? I want seeing my family to be a trip, something that has to be planned out, and can’t be an on whim decision. That if I’m visiting my family and friends that there are other things lined up on my agenda, and it can be a mini vacation. I want a degree of distance.
But even as we talk or rather argue about Michigan, I have no answers regarding proximity to anything. There have been no discussions of how close to his families and friends we should potentially be. I’m entirely dependent on him to help me navigate what would be considered better areas than others and commuting times. I’m reliant on the information he possesses about his home state to help me make an informed decision regarding potential schooling for my daughter and how far is too far to commute to work. And there are no answers. No indication that he has thought about it more than his sister bringing it up to him or his family not wanting him to move so far away.
But perhaps, I’m wrong in all of this. Perhaps, this has nothing to do with his sister’s suggestion, but his desire to know that I would be willing to forsake my home state and dreams of Maryland living to move and be with him. Maybe it’s him trying to see just how much I trust him when it comes to planning our future, and I shouldn’t get so analytical about it, trying to map out the logistics of the state and determining which areas host the most universities of colleges, in search of my qualifications. Or private schools that boast that if I enroll my daughter, not only will she adjust and do well, but they will unlock all her hidden potentials. 
Yet, we are on two very different pages with this, and as much as I want to say “yes, this a great idea, let’s do it,” I can’t. 
I don’t feel secure about it. Not because I would be leaving my family and friends behind, but because there is no apartment that I have fallen in love with yet. Or private school that I want to enroll my daughter in. There isn’t a neighborhood that I have stumbled across with the demographics that I approve of. Nor has a city or town been selected, for me to gather the intel I need to discover distances to universities and colleges I may be interested in. 
I was given a state and that was it. I wasn’t given the promise of a sparkling or bright future, but a state that feels convoluted with mixed messages of whether or not it would be an ideal home for me. 
But like I said earlier, maybe that’s not what I should be so focused on, as much as just trusting my boyfriend and his suggestion. I shouldn’t be upset because of who said the words that got him to consider it as a feasible idea. And I most certainly, shouldn’t display a distrust in his decision to put the state back on the table, after him taking it off the table multiple times. I just don’t want to resent him for the call he’s making and the way he’s making it.

I’ve Been Meaning To…

I’ve been meaning to clean my room, a good deep cleaning that includes rearranging furniture and going through my closets and making piles of keep and do not keep with my clothes. I’ve also been meaning to pick up where I left off on that piece I started in January, the one with the goal of being completed by the end of February. Also, I’ve been meaning to get started on this writing portfolio. Now that I have taken all necessary steps to getting the paperwork in order for applying for my MFA, I need to complete and submit my writing sample for approval to the program. Aside from those things, I’ve been meaning to be a better person, doing yoga, working out, eating better and taking better care of my general health.

I think it’s safe to say, as the month of March closes, I am no closer to having completed or even started half of these things, than I was when I first decided I would do them.

I have been consistently making checklists with all of these items on them, and yet, I find an excuse to continue to push off getting them done for another day and week at a time. I can’t tell you how many times I have told myself that I will write when I get home from work and end up lying in bed, resentful that I have to get up even for a minute to attend to something for either my parents or daughter. Or the amount of times I declared that today, in this hour, I will tackle my room, pull out a few items and then toss them in a corner to be dealt with at some other time. Or the amount of times I say tonight, I will play the Sims (don’t judge me) and end up succumbing to watch NickJr with my daughter and find myself uninterested in changing the channel even after she falls asleep.

My life has turned into me scheduling everything, from taking care of myself to cleaning my room. To putting in a significant amount of work in my writing and business plan proposals to determining an hour that I could just play games. And yet, with all of that scheduling, I still manage to get nothing done and still feel exhausted.

Growing up, I would watch my mom take a day off to just clean her house and run errands. I always looked at it as a complete waste of a day off. I mean, why would you take a day off if you aren’t going to be doing anything fun? I remember, prior to starting my full-time job, her warning me about getting things in order, because I wouldn’t have time once I started working. I had looked at her crazy for even suggesting that a full-time job would rob me of hours and necessary energy and I would succumb to requesting days off to do things like go grocery shopping, do the laundry, and even clean. And here I am now, wondering if it would be worth it to request a day off to do just that.

The issue isn’t however my severe exhaustion that is a direct result of my tiring commute, although it’s not nearly as long as it could be, nor is it a result of severe repetition in my day that my body has just craves the ability to lay down on a bed for extended periods of time. The issue is, I’m not doing anything.

I’ve read articles about how Beyonce has the same amount of hours in her day as I do, she just uses them wisely by not multitasking. And I’ve tried it, not multitasking, and it has worked. Not multitasking as resulted in me completing my work in half the time required to do so. It helps me not overexert myself and have some energy leftover to do other things, but what I realized is, I have a lull in my day.

My commute is that lull. It doesn’t matter how much energy I conserve at work, I use it all up during that lull in my day commuting from work to home. Why? That I’m not entirely sure of, maybe it’s because I go back to multitasking, prepping myself for the activities that will ensue once I get off the train, or the fact that I constantly choose to speed walk out of the train station to a waiting car, instead of taking my time. A large portion of my commute does revolve around me racing, often times without a reason to race, to get from one destination to another, often times, just to find myself standing around aimlessly waiting to either start work or my ride to arrive.

I’m almost certain most of my energy is zapped during this period, making me want nothing more than to collapse into my bed and not have to leave it until the next morning. But it’s still not an excuse, which is essentially all it would come down to at the very end of the day. I’m finding reasons to justify my lack of motivation to finish blow-drying my hair or even get started on my writing sample, let alone touch my room (it really needs to be cleaned).  I’m arguing reasons why I’m lazy, as if somehow that will change the fact that I am.

Sure, I could stop speed walking everywhere and maybe that will help in conserving energy, or I can throw back a cup of coffee once I get off the train. I could make my bed completely off limits until a certain time of the evening, so I won’t ever get so comfortable in it prior to bed, that I don’t want to get out. And all of these things could help in breaking me out of my laziness and get me to just do more with my evenings, but I don’t think any of them will be effective unless I’m honestly interested in doing so.

I mean, what’s the real difference between me and Beyonce? I, am more willing to talk myself out of doing things for my betterment, while Beyonce probably just goes for every idea that pops into mind, wholeheartedly. And of course, Beyonce also has a team of people that are essentially her “yes men” letting her know that she should go for it and her ideas are awesome, while my “yes men” are limited in size and often times too busy with life to offer that “yes” right when I need it to help keep me motivated.

So just what am I saying? What indirect advice am I actually offering? The answer to that, I guess, is that it’s really mind over matter. And if that’s not it, then I guess we are all in the same boat about figuring it out.

Is It Time…

They say weddings do this thing to you, they make you either ready to jump the broom or dump the person you are with. I would like to think funerals have the same effect.

I am in no way declaring that I have broken up with my boyfriend or that I desire to, but I do think we have now reached a point in our relationship where a decision needs to be made in regards to how we precede from this point forward.

In thinking about my past relationships, the running motif that was apparent in them was that I never necessarily wanted to be with the guy I was dating. They had always had a desire for me and although I knew I didn’t really want more out of the relationship, I stuck it out. I figured, eventually, they would part ways with me. They would grow bored of my moods and I would be irritable to them. That they would find some reason to no longer desire to be with me. Yet, they always remained. They were even appalled when I ended things, in disbelief that I could not want to be with them.

Then I began to think about all the guys I used to talk to. Guys I had a sincere interest in that I was hoping would progress into a relationship, but never did. Generally, they had very little interest in dating because they still wanted the freedom to see other people and make a more informed decision regarding relationships, but as I was the impatient type, I ended up mourning the loss of a suitor and beginning the pursuit of another. It was a vicious cycle of me feeling heartbroken over a two week romance that didn’t leave the guy interested in being with me anymore than the conversations we had via text.

Naturally, I developed a complex. I mean, why wouldn’t I? I went from guys I had no interest in wanting to be with me and then acting as if I owed them and thus shouldn’t break up with them, to guys I had an interest in that just weren’t ready to commit the way I needed to.

And while I did wait several months before making things official with my boyfriend, it had more to do with my fear of him losing interest like all the other guys I had ever spoken to before coupled with the fact that any new guy in my life would eventually have to meet my daughter and I refused to bring around a guy that wouldn’t become a staple in her life.

When my boyfriend and I had made things official, you couldn’t tell me anything. He was forever. He felt like forever. I was honestly ready to propose to him. I had already picked out rings and considered the different ways in which I could do it. When our first anniversary arrived, I prepared myself for an engagement. Almost every visit he made afterwards or that I saw him, I prepared myself, in the only way I knew how to. And with each visit he made, I wondered if he had spoken to my parents, if he had asked for my hand, if their continued affection for him was because he was gearing up to propose to me. I mean, why else would my mother text me that when he visits he could stay at our house, although we would have to stay in different rooms.

Even up until recently, after my letter denying me admission to the doctorate program arrived, and our plans had gotten tossed up in the air, I considered buying a house. I had begun believing that in lieu of a ring, I could offer him our home to propose. That as I showed off the place that I just bought, I would hand him his keys and ask him to marry me, in what would be our first home with each other.

And now it feels like we are at a crossroads and a decision has to be made. And it’s scary. It’s scary to think that this where we are at right now, because I want him so much. I want the future we dreamt of together. I want it all. But I’m scared that I’m believing in a happily ever that doesn’t really exist. And it’s crazy to think that it’s possible that I could be this ready, and he might not be.

 

 

Kindergarten Assessment

“She’s too smart not to know…”
There was no greater, disheartening news, than those very words. I found myself sitting at lunch trying to hide the disappointment that I knew had coated my face and trying to remove it from my voice, so I could continue to sound upbeat. According to Ms. Graves, my daughter’s assessment proved that she didn’t have a clue about letters outside of singing them in the alphabet. 
Almost immediately, I wanted to protest. Maybe my daughter was being shy or unfocused and playing around. She’s able to identify the letters in her name, although we do have some issues with getting her to stop calling “I,” “T.” But outside of that, she knows that “S” is what her name starts with and she writes her name with ease nowadays. So how is she isn’t able to recognize letters or identify their sound?
I had to take an immediate step back and check the accusations that were running wild in my head.
Education has always been the centerfold of my family. Having found a school that actually prides itself on its educational value and creating young people who are much more advanced in their basic education than those attending other schools, I mean their kindergarteners are testing at a second grade level, I had jumped for joy. This was the ideal school for my daughter. It would push and encourage her to excel academically. It would have her learning at a pace that my parents had us working at, which was essentially getting us workbooks for a year ahead of us and making us work through it rather than spending hours watching TV.
I found myself suddenly having to grapple with the fact that my daughter wasn’t up to par. That she was no more smarter than her current peers and that she potentially might be less smarter than them. 
The only silver lining in the conversation yesterday was Ms. Graves informing me that my daughter is eager to learn and is unashamed to get an answer wrong, if it means she will eventually get the right answer. That determination was enough for me. My daughter could learn and I could teach her.
As I walked through the front door of my house, my mom immediately accosted me, asking me for my Paypal information because she wanted to get my daughter ABCMouse. I had watched the commercials for it, at least a thousand times, each time with no more irritation than the first time I viewed it. It was yet another promise of helping parents produce educated children without having to do so much as a lift a finger to do so. And while I can admit, I am one of those parents who runs off and buy educational toys in the hopes of my daughter figuring it out without having to sit down and do it with her, I’m a busy woman, that phone call reminded me that the only way to truly teach your kids the fundamentals is to not isolate them and subject them to learning it on their own.
If I want my daughter to learn her letters and the sounds, I have to roll my sleeves up and clear my schedule and teach her. While these programs and products are great, they can’t do what it is I can do if I just took the time to do it with her. Which is reinforce the concepts and lessons she has learned and encourage her to continue learning them. I mean, I haven’t exactly enforced her usage of reading with the Leapfrog Tag Reading system any more than I have with any of the numerous educational toys I’ve gotten her. I also haven’t sat down and engaged in them with her.
So I won’t be disheartened about my daughter’s less than stellar assessment. Instead, I’ll just work on doing my part and being active in teaching her what it is she needs to learn.

Just Like Job

Since the year has started, it has felt like at least once a month, I should expect bad news. I should prepare myself for something not going according to plan and being completed thrown off the course I was once traveling. In January, I felt defeated at the news that my court date with my ex, resulted in him gaining visitation (long story short, he has already violated his visitation agreement that he requested). In February, I discovered I hadn’t been accepted into the doctoral program I had spent months and even years dreaming about. And now, in March, I have received the news of a close friend’s death.
Each moment had resulted in sending me in this backward spiral that made me want to forgo everything. Plans that I had carefully put together. Ambitions that I was ready to hit the pavement running with. They all came to a screeching halt at the news of each of these things, to the point I found myself confused as to how to address how I felt without feeling idiotic that there would have been a different result.
However, Sunday, as I sat in church, once again feeling defeated and wondering how to get out of this spiral of depression that I knew I was on the verge of sinking into, my Pastor shared the story of Job. How God had given the Devil permission to essentially turn his life upside down, because God knew that no matter what happened, Job would never denounce Him and wanted to prove to the Devil that the faithful will never despair. As I listened to my Pastor continue his sermon, drawing direct correlations to what can be considered issues we encounter daily, he said something that resonated in me; the Devil will not attack those that he already has. And just like that, it felt like these past couple of months were nothing more than a test of my faith than an actual blow meant to keep me on the ground.
Since the start of January, I have been dancing with excitement about a business idea I had. Actually, since January, the vision of that business idea has expanded, growing in momentum and making me want to do nothing more than get started on turning it into reality. The hiccup with the court case threw me off a bit, sending me into an emotional spiral, where I was ready to forsake my ambitions because my feelings were disregarded. Yet somehow, I managed to pick myself up, more determined than ever to turn things around. And in February when the news of not being accepted arrived, that defeat returned, this time sending me into another emotional spiral because once again my feelings had been disregarded. I mean, I had a backup. I had always had a backup plan to not getting accepted, but for some strange reason, that was the last thing on my mind. And now, as the funeral of my friend rapidly approaches, I’m reminded again of that emotional downward spiral I was thrust into at the news of his death. I was ready to forsake everything for the sake of grieving, although I will admit there was a spike in adrenaline to just push forth with my dreams and make something happen. But once that had settled, I was ready to settle. 
I believe the sermon on Sunday was meant for me. I have let the misfortunes of these past couple of months make me narrow-minded and unable to focus on the bigger picture. And whenever, I start to focus on the bigger picture again, and start to feel good, I’m once again thrust back into emotional turmoil. But now I understand. I get it.
I just have to be like Job.

What I Learned From Losing A Friend…

I lost a friend today.

I will never forget the phone call I received this morning, from my best friend from college, notifying me of the death of one of our college friends. I will never forget that feeling of shock as I tried to swallow back the tears that wanted to consume me. He was gone.

Nothing in life had prepared me for death. As many funerals as I have attended growing up and cemeteries I’ve had to endure, nothing prepared me for the reality of it. I was always removed from it- consistently standing on the outside looking in. Familial deaths didn’t affect me because for the most part I didn’t know the family that was being put to rest. Outside of abstract family stories and pictures that only circulated postpartum, I didn’t know who they were. So his death hit close to home and was way too close for comfort.

I found myself trying to make sense of it. Last night I was just watching a video he had posted. This morning, I was expecting his usual good morning video. Even after my best friend shared the news, I found myself constantly checking his social media pages for activity from him. Something to dispel the fact that he was in fact gone.

I read through the messages and comments everyone left, commenting on just how special and irreplaceable he is. Shared tales of how he had impacted their lives for the better and pictures of him interlocked with just about everyone he knew. And of course the usual commentary regarding someone passing commenced. The teary eyed remarks of making sure the ones you love know you love them and living life to the fullest because you never know when it will be cut short.

Naturally, as I grieved, I started to come up with ways to live life to the fullest and to ensure I loved every minute of it. I prepared to end every other sentence with I loves you and dedications of how much a person to meant to me, every time I spoke to someone. I prepared myself as if I knew my days were numbered, geared up to make sure that those I cared about knew I cared, and that those that meant the most to me would be left with nothing but wonderful memories.

All in the course of just eight hours after hearing the devastating news, I had a plan of action. I was going to start my business, quit my job, and fast track myself on the road to happiness.

No sooner had I told my boyfriend about my plans to live life free of unhappiness, he was reeling me in, reminding me that I shouldn’t just up and quit my job because a friend died, or go forth with any notions of spending my life’s saving in a day. I got upset. I mean, how dare he tell me to slow my roll. My friend had just died, tragically, proving that not only is life short, but I have to make the most of it.

A few hours after speaking to my boyfriend about it and watching a few more minutes of videos and pictures of my late friend, I realized exactly why my boyfriend reeled me in the way he did.

I was mourning. I am mourning. I lost an amazing friend albeit not staying in contact with him after having my daughter and graduating college. I mean, he was among one of the first people I shared that I was pregnant to. He was also the only person that got genuinely excited about my news. Everyone else had paused, unsure of how to react, their faces conveying the same uneasiness mine must have conveyed when I saw that pregnancy test. Not his though. His face lit up. His excitement pure and genuine.

He was an ambitious young man who enjoyed life for what it was. He was constantly on the pursuit of making his dreams come true and encouraging others to follow their dreams. He was influential, motivational, and inspirational. He was taken before his time, but I know God has a reason for taking him when he did.

As I try to heal from this loss, I’m realizing that life is more than just enjoying every moment, refusing to settle, or even making sure your loved ones know they are loved. Life is about living.

It shouldn’t be spent worrying about making sure that when you pass away that those you love know they are loved or ensuring you did everything you wanted to do before going or even ensuring you enjoyed every minute of it before it’s time to leave. Life is about taking it one day at a time. It’s about going through the ups and downs. It’s about living life the only way you know how to live it. Regardless of the end result, your loved ones will always know they are loved and the memories you created will never be in vain.

As I think about my friend, I realize that whether he knew how many lives he touched and how many people credit him for where they are now in life, isn’t nearly as important, as knowing that he loved and cared about all of us. And if there is one thing we all know after his passing, it’s that he genuinely loved and cared for us. That no matter how many months or years went by without speaking to each other that we were always in each other’s thoughts.

And that’s what will comfort me.

He cared.