WOW! It’s been one year :)

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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.

She’s a Bad Mama Jam-a!

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As I made the decision to plunge into motherhood I couldn’t help but feel that the majority of the mothers I encountered were leaving something out. Everyone admittedly exclaimed how hard it would be. Life as it is, is hard. So by no means did I think this was going to be a brunch in the park with all you can drink bloody marys. Nor did I shy away from the challenge because it was “hard”. There is nothing I can’t do, right? So I grabbed motherhood by the umbilical cord and roared “BRING IT!”

To be quite frank, parenting itself hasn’t been “hard”. My son just turned two and is yet to throw a fit or tantrum. OK maybe he’s pitched a real fit once or twice. But honestly, he’s rather quite enjoyable. The main concerns are his lack of stranger danger, affinity for water/spilling things, and his ability locate every sharp object he can get his hands on. What can I say? He likes to party. My only plight would be the lack of sleep. Currently at no fault of my little guy but of my unsound mine. It runs constantly. She is always cooking up the next move, the next catastrophe, the current insufficient bank account, the current state of affairs, the safety of the neighborhood, my death, my sons death, my next career move, my next meal, the next big idea, the next step back. “Are my eyebrows okay, are there too many points of entry to this duplex, am I saving enough for retirement, is this guy the one, am I terrible mother for entertaining a relationship? Is it a relationship? Should I leave NY? Do I need a coach? Do I need a financial advisor? Should I be a financial advisor? Do I hate my job? Do I hate my boss? Do I hate myself. Do I love myself? Am I being shafted in the custody/child support set-up? Do I even have a set-up?” The reality is she never shuts-up. The constant movement leaves me unable to focus at times rendering me either useless or the master of multi-tasking. All of which is exhausting. Right now, I’m thinking it’s time to cook, post this rambling already, take a gig or remove my availability because working full-time, single parenting, hosting a blog, hocking coquito and maintaining a long distance situationship isn’t enough. I’ve recently taken on catering gigs. I need to do whatever I can with every inch of my body to make sure the roof over my head stays there, the food in my fridge is stocked, the smile on my baby’s face is wide, and the smile on my face is straight and white too.

My body is aching and creaking just thinking about it. But at what point is it pure determination and at what point is it self sabotage? To think I’m immune to suffering or struggling just because it’s happened in the past is ignorant more over negligent. It’s the journey not the destination, right? Well this part of the journey is a bumpy one. And I know there are plenty of other people, and not just single mothers, or single women that are feeling the pressure to balance life, work, interests, finances, family and community. But it is the mothers who feel they need to some how embody the wonder woman phenomenon of ‘having it all.’ And is it truly possible to have it all? If you ‘have it all’ is that it; eternal happiness? I can graciously admit that like Prince’s mother in ‘Doves Cry”, I’m never satisfied. I’m always looking for the next best thing. The thing that is going to catapult me into success and a life in which I love and live freely. I’m never lacking motivation or inspiration. The mundane bores me and I have caviar taste on a spaghetti budget.

All this time, trying to have it all, it dawned on me that not only was I trying to have it all, and some and but right, right now, like yesterday. By no means was I trying to disrespect the process and hinder any growth. But in this world of stimuli overload, social media, and materialism the big picture can get murky. Distractions and the ghost of instant gratification lurk at every corner. So then how does one exercise the delayed gratification muscle? How does one quiet the noise of temptation, distractions, and set backs? After all, “The act of delaying gratification helps to strengthen your mind and shape your character, it builds your will power, promotes higher levels of self discipline, and teaches you the value of patience,” as explained by an article I read on Entreprenuer.com. How Sway?!? How does one keep on course but still have time to smell the roses, spend time with family, and develop the temple that is mind and body.

Luckily a good friend let me in on a success training module he bought into. It features all the advise, anecdotes, and philosophies of the late, great Jim Rohn. Mentor and guru to many but most notably the mentor and sponsor of one of the greatest life coaches of our time, Tony Robins. All the while, before listening to the modules, I was under the impression I was just this raging lunatic, with overly ambitious dreams, and no real course of action. I’m busting my hump over here to fashion the best life for me, my son, family and friends. Let’s face it, success and millions of dollars are no fun or reward if you can’t share it with the one’s you love the most. Doesn’t my son deserve awesome birthday parties, swim classes, play dates, and the latest baby innovations. Don’t I deserve to live beyond paycheck to paycheck, develop my skills and talents, and make my dreams of owning my destiny (as well as a plethora of vacation & investment homes) a reality? As listened to Jim’s words of wisdom and affirmations my path cleared up. My vision of a bigger, brighter, bolder future didn’t seem so hard fetched. He strikes a balance of labor, education, service, and connection. All the things I once thought before was light years away became just an arms length away.

When life’s woes make me doubt myself or my progress and setbacks, I make sure to turn to my old faithfuls, my personal development tools. My audiobooks, my philosophy snippets, the church and my faith in the universe. That quick plug-in and a deep breath always seems to get the rails back on track. It’s easy to feel you have fallen of course or you’ve been short handed or are biting off more than you can chew but the bigger picture must always be in the foresight. Without the pain there couldn’t possibly be any gain. Without the curiosity there couldn’t be the question or the answer. Just when I thought I was taking on too much another grand dream came to me. Not because I was looking but because success leaves clues. My circle presented the opportunity to me. As I stood in the subway a poster stood in front of me for a show that easily could have been an IG post straight out of the day in the life of yours truly. I couldn’t believe it! One look at the poster and a fire ignited in me and I hit send on the low level rant I typed feverishly. The creators of the show ripped my life right out of my journal pages. Well, not literally but could it have easily been my narrative. The response was a resounding battle cry and encouragement in the ‘write’ direction from my close circle of sister-friends. A realization of a dream that has been a long time in the making. I jotted the idea quickly and led the search of resources. Many times we think a goal or project is out of our reach. We let our reservations or our “should be’s” get in the way in what could be. What if you just put that pen to paper? What if you just make the call? What if you just took the game changing course? Small steps in the direction of your dreams are definitely better than none. Mindset is the key. You need to plug in to the resources and tools that can change your mindset. Hang up the inspiring quotes, write in that journal, soak in the hot bath. Do what ever is going to turn you on and plug you in to your potential. READ, RESEARCH, DEVELOP! Treat yourself like Jobs treated Apple. Unapologetic-ally move towards serving and evolving.

You see, Jim Rohn’s  steps to success and leadership, as well as other books, and spiritual guides helped my realize, even with the odds stacked against me, that the “have it all” fantasy is much more than a fantasy but a real living and breathing entity. A life form that needs nourishment, encouragement, development, and most of all hard work. I’m never too busy to realize my dreams. I can never be too ambitious. But I also must respect the process and the seasons. I must respect the peaks and the valleys. I must continue to know, account for, and increase my self worth. As women, it’s easy to get lost in the notion that we are over compensating or need to apologize for going after our dreams. As if going for what we rightfully deserve is somehow neglecting the home or family we support. In fact it’s quite the contrary. Women should embrace the hustle and bustle that comes with the season or reason for following their dreams. That determination and blind focus is temporary and we will reap a lifetime of reward for the very family and commitments that drives the dreams in the first place. In essence your children, your home, your family, your community are the exact reasons “why” you are hitting the ground running at whatever cost. So the short answer, is yes, we can have it all. No it’s not a gimmick. No it’s not just a pipe dream. No it’s not only reserved for our male counterparts. It is legitimately within reach if we give it the same nourishment and determination we give in our tenures as mothers, sisters, grandmothers, and care takers. The idea of having it all no longer feels like the intimidating shadow in the room. Having it all is now a beacon of hope and a slogan of change for my destiny.