A Throwback Ode to NYC

Written on the C Train, in my notepad, October 11th, 2018: 

Or you can just stand there firmly and let people go around you, I thought.

A father told his daughter who stood by the train doors and read, To Kill a Mockingbird, my favorite, to make herself smaller, or stay where you are. That statement meant so much to me. Life is funny that way. You hear just what you need to hear when it’s needed.

I know how he meant the directive. But my soul, my heart heard something different. I’m a protagonist that way. Always thinking the worst of people. But am I. Or am I truly thinking what’s best for them.

The conductor, sweet, logical women harked to passengers “Please do not hold the doors. It causes delay. It may be nice to hold the doors, but it causes delays for the many aboard the train.”

Or her next PSA, “Please take your backpacks off your backs, and hold them in your hand. You don’t want to cause someone to trip or to cause injury. Make space and hold on to your bag.”

Beautiful. Not because she’s a woman. But because of her sincere concern and well being of all. I’ve had my share of nasty gals shout across the train speakers. The dark tunnels day and night are enough to make anyone MAD.

As I stepped off the train the young girl bid me a good night. Ah, NYC, your hot and cold love is amazing.

You’ve ditched F-boys but could you be the F-girl?

are you a f-girl?Recently, I visited one of my favorite cities, the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado. I was stoked about getting my work-ation underway. The trip also presented a unique opportunity for me to visit neighborhoods I’d been stalking on Trulia. My dream goal is to move the family out there real soon. Just before my trip, I booked some clients, so having a nice, quiet apartment, sans my little guy, overlooking the city, for the long Labor day weekend was ideal. There was a pool for inspiration breaks, and free breakfast Sunday AM to feed and fuel a nap after pulling an inspired all nighter. The luxury apartment fell into my lap as I reached out to my network for chances to link up and catch-up. Aren’t friends the best? One former coworker was leaving Denver as I was arriving and so she bestowed her gem of an apartment upon me. Ugh, so awesome when life works out that way. All you have to do is put it out there. Anyway, I secured the accommodations, and some girl time with my expecting-momma and frequency-twin a few towns over. Now, all I needed to secure was the entertainment.

I had anticipated going to Denver weeks earlier, in the beginning of August, but instead attended a blogger conference. My expecting momma was hosting a happy hour at local a bookstore in Denver and I wanted to surprise her. But plans just hadn’t worked out. Once I knew I was headed that way I made sure to let my Denver boo-thang know I was visiting. We weren’t talking much lately. We really fell off each other’s radar around the New Year. I was just so busy with writing and releasing the book. Our last face-to-face encounter in December also left me with a bad taste in my mouth. We both got entirely too intoxicated and confrontational. So I decided to let the situation-ship die down and give myself time to reflect on what it is I needed and wanted in a healthy relationship.

Labor day weekend presented the perfect amount of time and freedom to travel so I booked a trip Denver asap. Before I knew I’d have a place to stay, Denver boo offered me a his place to stay. I was hesitant but not in the position to drop $500+ on accommodations so I graciously accepted. 

Immediately I contemplated the awkwardness and resistance I’d have to stave off in an attempt to stay carefree and jovial. It was so important for me to guard my mental, emotional, and sexual energy. When the opportunity to stay at my friends place presented itself I was so relieved to know I had a safe place to retreat to if need be. 

Nonetheless, I was excited to see him once again and he I. We made plans to see the third leg of a three day stint of his favorite band. The phenomena known as Phish. Ehhh, I like their stuff but I’m not so obsessed that I’d spend more than a few hours in their presence. I was going with a Phish veteran. Needless to say we stepped into the freezer (Phish fans will get it). Anyway, the festivities were fun, enough, can’t say I’d do it again but I enjoyed his and his friends company, raging, enjoying adult beverages, and just vibing out. No work, no baby, no responsibilities. Just music, just escaping. But momma, can’t hang and so I skipped the after party. To be fair, I broke night delivering a clients copy the night before so I wasn’t on my ‘A’ rage game. I woke up the next morning rested, lazy, and looking for a nice rejuvenating walk, and ramen spot. Something about broth and slurpy noodles comforts the soul. As I got ready, I remembered I packed an overnight tote, just in case I ended up raging with the Phish crew, and left it in his car. So I didn’t have my make-up bag, a decent outfit, or my toothbrush kit. All the items I needed to feel human again. I took a shower, put on my sweats and Wu-Tang tee, combed my hair, finger brushed my teeth, mouth washed and hit the town. 

I was oddly agitated. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Was I hungover? Still tired? Out of my comfort zone? I couldn’t put my finger on it. I stumbled upon a quaint bookstore near Union Station and the 16th street Mall, and walked inside after my lovely ramen lunch. I ordered an ice coffee, searched the aisles, and landed on Ta-Nehisi Coate’s, ‘We Were Eight Years in Power’. I curled up in an armchair and got to reading. 

Ahhh, the perfect….Monday? It sure felt like a Sunday. Then a text came through. It was Denver boo rallying from the night before, heading to a local brunch/watering hole. He extended the invite, “Want to join us for a beer?” My initial response started off with: “Not really.  Think I’ll cap off the day here at the book store and walk back to the apartment…..” I deleted the response and typed several other turn downs. I eventually landed on ‘Sure, what’s the address?’ I really wanted my bag, and I felt bad for ghosting the night before. 

I took my time, purchased the book and Uber pooled to the spot. The moment my eyes locked onto his body, slumped on the bar top, sipping a beer, my demeanor moved to annoyed. Not going to lie, this transition, happens a lot for me with men. But usually after we’ve been in each others presence for more than a day. I’m a girl that likes her alone time and sometimes the mere presence of someone consistently can annoy me. This was different. My body was acting purely on muscle memory. As if to tell me ‘you don’t want to be here, why are you here?’ My mind played back a few instances the evening before, and other evenings in the past, that didn’t sit well with me, but under the euphoria of the music and the booze, I had been able to push those discomforts aside. 

It’s easy to say that he’d been acting like an overgrown f-boy in the past but was I ignoring the fact that I too was being a bonafide f-girl.  One of the main reasons I’d stop talking to him, besides the blow-up months back, was his incessant complaining and need for support during two rough times. One a falling out with his brother’s family in law and the other a pretty bad fender bender that left his car totaled and him out of work for quite a while. Although I did lend an ear or text when I had the energy. I found it draining, and decided that it was just best to fall off all together. He was only necessary in times of fun, partying, and lavish dinners. I did not sign up for lows. Good-times only please! 

At first, the separation was truly in an effort to conserve my energy and time for those treating themselves, others, and me with the utmost respect. But it’s a whole new thing, when I let all those moral standings go out the window for a so called ‘good time’. I was adamant about not sleeping with him this trip, and although I almost faltered, I stayed strong and didn’t give into my urge. I would only be using him for a false sense of intimacy and that would be unhealthy for both of us. I realized I was just as capable of being painfully dismissive and self absorbent as he was. 

We were able to have a really in-depth talk afterward and hash out some pains and find some clarity in our dispositions. We are good for communicating when it matters, but unfortunately only after a few drinks and wee hour jam sessions. EXHAUSTING! That let’s me know there is a capability for at least a decent friendship. But as far as a true romance, I think it’s unfair to think he or any man is purely there for my entertainment, a faux sense of intimacy, and a convenient romantic tryst or booty call. Which ironically, wasn’t even on his radar. I discovered this when I turned in for a disco nap, to find he cleaned his spare room for me to stay in, unbothered for the weekend. It can be so easy to point the finger and find fault in the other person. But are we just fitting people in for their convenience and generosity? Are we as women so quick to call men out on their bullshit, when it’s us who are asking men to change who they are and then resentfully use them for a false sense of intimacy or adoration? Sometime’s it’s important to check yo’self before you wreck yo’ self and be honest about your behavior. 

There’s no doubt I have some feelings for this person but they should not be conditional and based on whether he can ‘entertain’ me or express unwavering ‘wokeness’. He has some momma and daddy issues but who doesn’t. I won’t get into that this post. Moreover, if there are non-negotiables on my or his end we should not be willing to flex the rules, knowing damn well we would never commit, in order to pretend and feel some sort intimacy. As women, we shouldn’t stick it to all men by being dismissive and calculating to a unknowing man. We show our true power by loving and living in our principles and never settling for less than, and never letting the ones we love settle for less than either, even when that less-than is us. 

Long Live the Queen! 👸🏾

It’s no coincidence that on yesterday’s cake run, (a run to get my boss her surprise Bday cake that is, not an actual sprint involving cake consumption), that I bumped into a mural of my childhood idol, the late Michael Jackson. I was enjoying the sun, the city, and a walk with a work-bestie. Catching a glimpse of MJ was just the icing on top.

Michael literally taught me everything I know about dancing, syncopation, and perfectionism (for better or for worse). I briefly paid homage, mourned his loss, and exalted his talents, as the king of pop, on my Instagram feed.

Today, with hearts full of sorrow, and feet full of a soul, we say goodbye to another icon lost: The queen of soul, Aretha Franklin. Her music is the soundtrack for of so many people whether black, white, brown, young, old, or in between. She commanded respect and celebrated her femininity. Her catalog of music, recorded performances, and TV appearances will undoubtedly live on forever.

When you look back at what you’ve created, do you ever wonder for how long it will stay relevant? Do you wonder if someone decades beyond will stumble upon it and bask in its magnificence? I think that’s what many creatives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders hope to achieve: an indelible mark on the blip of existence. To leave the world a little or a lot better than they found it. To be seen and heard. To be a beacon of servitude and true impact.

As a writer I’m always wondering if my message is hitting home, if I’m helping anyone gain a new perspective, or making them feel seen and related to. It is something I try to pull into other areas of my life as well.

When you understand your own desire to be seen, heard, and understood, you comprehend the importance of letting others feel understood, heard, related to. Aretha Franklin empowered woman to demand RESPECT, if even just during Karaoke. She made woman feel, strong in their femininity, if even just singing Natural Woman in their shower. She was an expert at her craft, a powerhouse, but most of all relatable and unwavering. A diva that enjoyed the simple things in life, as well as success, and did so with style, grace, and no apologies.

As a creative you owe it to yourself to create the art, the products, the content, and the services that leave your clients, community, and industry moved and affected. That is my wish and mission. I know it is yours too. May we all make our legendary mark and may you carry on in your greatness.

Rest in love Aretha Franklin.

Hate it or love it: Are you a fempreneur?

Ms. Boss Lady To you
I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you over my slaying

There were times when I cringed at the mention of ‘mompreneur‘ or ‘girl boss’. Let’s face it, men are not called dad-preneurs when they become fathers during their journey to entrepreneurship. There is no mantreprenuer or boy boss (which actually sounds really creepy). So why is that we need to feminize these terms? And what about them is appealing (or isn’t)? Well, it just so happens, that women are the one’s self-identifying themselves as fempreneurs, girl bosses, and rebelles. Researchers,  in the UK published a study in 2015, alongside Barclays Center for Entrepreneurs that most if not all women in the focus-group preferred to be called a “founder” or “business owner” over the term entrepreneur. Entrepreneur seems to be a dirty word amongst women, and a good ol boys club reserved for men. The mere definition of an entrepreneur doesn’t allude to any unconscious bias: “Entrepreneur – a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.”

For some people, both men and women, entrepreneurship can come off far too risky and irresponsible. Perhaps it’s the stability that words like founder or phrase like a business owner that appeals most to women. Mompreneur gives the air of equal responsibility and dedication to both motherhood and entrepreneurship (with motherhood actually taking the most weight). Fempreneur, as uplifting as it may want to sound, could be the exact deterrent for women going full throttle, balls to the wall (no pun intended) to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. Women are conditioned to play it safe, put family or others first, and to play ‘nice’.

On the other hand, many women could just not give a flying…duck as to what they’re called as long as they’re crushing it. I’m not very excited by either term, fempreneur or entrepreneur, as much as I’m intrigued by the term artist or creative. I don’t see myself as an entrepreneur as much as I see myself as a person who transfers her thoughts and ideas (and other’s) into a language or dialogue. Wordsmith or bad mama-jama is more my speed. It’s important to claim your calling to live life on your own terms and brand it however you like. If you are a mompreneur then own it! If you are a fempreneur, rock it! But ask yourself are you identifying with these terms because of how you show up for others and their bias, or because in your heart, you feel like you are being true to your priorities and beliefs of awesomeness.

I’d love to hear how you feel about the feminizing work and business trends? Leave me a comment below and share with your fellow rebel babes in business. Want more post like this one? Let me know where we should dive into next.

WOW! It’s been one year :)

alphabet-balloons-birthday-1271134
It’s a real one’s birthday! 

Can you believe it’s been one year since I started this here blog? I was kindly reminded by the automatic renewal invoice of my domain name this AM. But even then, I didn’t realize the gravitas of the automatic payment. It wasn’t until I logged in to do some editing and sharpen my eye for erroneous grammar, did it hit me: one year and one day ago I embarked on my journey as a writer.  I wielded an un-maxed credit card and a determination to invest in my dream of becoming a blogger. The site was an outlet to unleash my creativity, practice writing, share my experience, connect with a soul or two, and build up the courage to publish a book. Instantly, I felt I was living my Oprah-sized dreams. So much has happened in just one year. Those were simpler, high energy, highly-motivated times. A book has since been published, posts have been regularly uploaded, and resources, as well as coaching, have been purchased to move the needle in my favor.

 

I bobbed and weaved in and out comfort zones. I tried and liked hot, hip-hop vinyasa yoga, meditated regularly, quit drinking (then relapsed), and started drinking again (hey, I’m human), ate healthier (then back to cheap carb loading), all in an effort to shake old habits and define success as my state of being. It was a journey of one step forward and three steps back, the whole way. Improvement and growth are funny that way, and very similar to the tides of the ocean. The water races to the shore, and contracts back into the depths of the sea. Life is a lot like that.  Somedays I’m in and others I’m out. Sometimes I’m even stagnant. My patience wavers, and I’m constantly questioning my judgment or motivation. My ego desperately wants to hold tight to the self-sabotaging habits I’ve formed along the way and keep me playing small. You see, I’ve hit the highest of highs, and still felt like, whoa, is this it? Is this all? I don’t feel any different or any more accomplished. Everything was pretty much the same. The issue lied in one important factor: I didn’t choose myself. I looked at external factors to make me feel successful. I thought that once I published the book, I would surely feel successful. I’d get the movie deal or book deal, or at be a least freelance writer full-time. I’d leave my corporate job. Tell the haters (what haters?) to suck it. But instead, it seems to have made me feel like I haven’t done enough, haven’t sold enough, haven’t self-promoted enough.

 

What did I truly expect? That overnight all my problems would be solved, all worry displaced because I wrote some book. As if! I should know better, but my ego is not ready to let go of feeling sorry for herself, feeling inadequate, and doing everything in her power to stay in her comfort zone or avoid the true issue. The issue is that I’m addicted to judgment—addicted to positive reinforcement, self-comparison, and negative opinions, whether imposed upon me or directed outward. I have to constantly love on myself, remind myself that I’m doing the best I can (and that others are doing their best, too), and that what’s for me, won’t ignore me. Navigating success is like an old-fashioned wind-up toy. You pull back to gain momentum, direct the toy in the direction of your choice, and let it go. All this in the hopes that it goes straight into the direction you hoped. Instead, it veers off to the left or right, or maybe it hits the wall or your big brother’s toe. Sometimes, it goes nowhere at all. The point is that you have to be patient, reposition that wind-up toy car, pull it back, and let it rip—all this knowing that it could go anywhere, but that you will keep trying to get it to the goal line or go the longest distance it can without hitting a soul or a wall.

 

I’m more excited than ever to see what’s next and where my journey is leading me. I will trust myself to know where my calling lies. The next chapter of ‘my success’ will be just that—a success that is my own and all because I chose me. Choose you and your cup will be full enough to serve and inspires others.