Don’t be fooled by the title or picture, I do not bake cakes however, I have a friend who does and they’re absolutely delicious. They’re made with a LOT of love – and sprinkles by special request. Baking cakes takes skill, amongst other things, and is not easy but it provides the perfect analogy to a lightbulb moment I had the other week. Just follow me on this one. Continue reading →
It’s been a tough but good ten years. I felt it necessary to reflect and share some of the lessons I’ve learned that will “hopefully” make the journey through my thirties a lot less bumpy and possibly help somebody else along their journey too.
*This list is not comprehensive. This list also does not reflect the lessons that I’ve mastered (ha!)…I’ll always be a work in progress but I’m much better than I was 10 years ago, one year ago, and one day ago and for that, I’m grateful. Continue reading →
New year and I’m still here and if you’re reading this, you’re still here too. Congrats! I’ll be honest: the urge to wax poetic and gush with positivity has been so strong over the past week. I listened to more of Oprah’s podcast yesterday and ya girl feels optimistic af! I love a good reset and what better time to reset than on a Monday, the very first day of a new year. I’d been thinking of a good post for NYE or New Year’s Day; I would do some reflecting, recapping, re-energizing, and writing out this year’s goals then spend all day New Year’s Day cleaning and clearing out my space to start 2018 with a clean slate.
Back in late July 2017, Congresswoman (Auntie) Maxine Waters gave us the clapbackthat we never knew we needed. Auntie reminded us that we have time that we need to be out here reclaiming and we mobilized as a mighty black-ass army to spread the phrase all over the interwebs. We circulated the hashtag and created songs, t-shirts, mugs, and the like to catapult this concept into the mainstream black lexicon but did we really actually stop to reclaim our time? I didn’t. But I am now. You probably should too.
Now, Auntie was reclaiming her time from white male mediocrity, something we all should be out here doing as much as possible. The black interwebs also offered up a slew of things we all need to reclaim our time from but in revisiting Auntie’s wisdom, I had to ask what/who was taking up a significant chunk of my time from me? There are the obvious things: work, grad school, laundry (Lordt help!). But there are also other, more insidious things that take up too much of my already limited time and something has to change.
If I was good at math, I could come up with a really fancy formula but in an effort to keep it simple: f*cks = life – time
The more f*cks you actively give to stuff, the less time you have but giving a f*ck in itself isn’t the big time zap for me. It’s all of the time-wasting thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that come with f*ck giving that actually drain me.
Ok, this is the part where I stray from my original post and get really real.
I woke up early today and had my mind set on going in to work to try to get a head start on the upcoming week. Tell me why I was half way there and turned my car around?! I just couldn’t muster up the will to go in today. Not after the week I had. Not after the week I’m going into. I’ll make it in tomorrow. I just need one day this week completely void of work so I took myself on a coffee date to write instead. Wonder what else I’ll be doing today? More after the jump.
I’m 27 and, honestly, I can’t figure out how I got here. I feel like 21 was a year or two ago, probably because much of the past six years have been a mix of blah, blech, and bitch please. I’ve developed a theory to explain the sharp decline from the pinnacle of my twenties (21) to now (27). It’s not groundbreaking, probably not even original, but I feel like it’s at least worth reading so yeah, click through.
Although I have yet to seek a legit diagnosis, I’m pretty sure that I have anxiety. For me, maneuvering social situations can be extremely stressful. I sweat. My heart beats fast. I feel winded and short of breath. Sometimes my hands or legs shake. While all of this is happening, I worry that people can sense my anxiety through these physical manifestations of stress.
Then there’s a barrage of thoughts about how I’m perceived. What am I saying? Am I saying the right words? Did I pronounce that word right? Am I explaining something clearly or do I sound confused, confusing, and dumb? How is the tone of my voice? Am I talking loud enough? What do I talk about next? How do I end the conversation? So many thoughts. All about myself. All at the same time.
As you can probably imagine, all of this makes it hard for me to be in the moment and be fully present in most social interactions. Some days are better than others and it’s not as bad with familiar people or in familiar situations. The more I struggle with my anxiety the more I find tricks and workarounds that help me manage it but some days I consider seeking medication (which I would only do after diagnosis and under the consultation of a doctor).
As a leader and future mental healthcare professional the most burdensome aspect of my anxiety is how it involves so much of my mental energy to be focused on myself. Many times I find this at odds with my ability to be empathetic. I believe one of my strengths and innate gifts is my ability to connect with people in a way that allows me to deeply understand who they are and their perspective but this is extremely difficult to do when I’m focused on all of my own flaws. There’s also a burden of guilt that comes with feeling that I am neglecting those that I’m leading and helping because I’m so focused on myself. Above all of this it’s really exhausting. Mentally. Not only does it prevent me from giving my attention to others but it physically drains me in a way that can make me feel too tired to be there for those who may need me.
In all that I do, be it leadership, ministry, or mental healthcare, self-care – maintaining my own health and happiness – is of the utmost importance. Which is why I’m addressing this problem first here on my blog, second with my therapist, and possibly third with medication. I really can’t afford to let my mental health issues affect my ability to fulfill my purpose and I want to give my very best to those who I lead and help, and most importantly, to myself.
If I wrote the way my mind works, it’d be a hot mess. Within the 5 minutes since I decided I felt like writing a blog post my mind has jumped between about 5 different loosely-related topics. I’m a decent writer but I know better than to try to make all of that come together in one coherent post. Instead, in the spirit of my former blog, I’m just going to do some fast and dirty bullet points of what’s on my mind currently.
Next week I’ll be heading to the national training for my summer job. This will be my second year going and last year was such a profound experience. In conjunction with all of the personal growth I’ve experienced this year and finally starting down the road to becoming “woke,” I know that this year will be even better.
In tandem with the positive expectations I also anticipate some not-so-positive aspects of this experience. 1) Being around a lot of people all day every day for a week and a half and the anxiety that will surely come with it. Last year I was so overwhelmed by all of the people from all over the country and instead of reaching out to them and getting to know them, I just observed from afar. I don’t want to do that this year. I want to be more outgoing. 2) Being the leader and go-to-gal for a large group of these people as the most experienced person on my team. I work well under pressure but hopefully things will go as smoothly as possible. 3) Last year I had a travel companion who I also was in most of my workshops with. She became sort of a crutch for me. A comfort zone. This year, I’ll be on my own. Well there are two men, my counterparts, who will be coming as well but I’m not sure how we’ll hit it off just yet. Men make me uncomfortable, especially strange ones. 4) Caffeine depravity. Last year, coffee was my savior in terms of making it through the long days but recently I found that coffee exacerbated my anxiety so this year I need to cut back or do without entirely. 5) It’s going to be extremely hot. Ughhhhh.
I’ve been in a bit of a rut this weekend but I feel myself coming out of it. The excitement about national training is keeping me together. As well as the long ass to do list that I need to get through before I leave.
I’m single. And lonely. Nothing new here.
I’ve fallen in love with a new podcast: Another Round. It’s hosted by two awesome Buzzfeed ladies, Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton. I was just thinking a couple weeks ago that I wanted to find more podcasts hosted by people of color talking about issues relevant to people of color and this podcast is everything I could’ve hoped for and more. They’re like funny, cool, big-city-living older cousins. I can’t get enough. I always say one episode is my favorite until I listen to the next.
I’m budgeting and will begin stock trading soon. How long until I can trade stocks for income?! Next week? Cool! (I wish)
I’m halfway through a book: Leadership and Self-Deception. I may do a review. But also, I may not. (Just being completely honest here.)
Ok, I’m running on fumes. I think it’s time to wrap it up. I don’t feel like proofreading, either…
For much too long I’ve been trying to convince myself that I am this person that I’m not. And not in a trying-to-be-someone-else-because-I’m-ashamed-of-who-I-am kind of way but more of a oh-this-isn’t-me-but-it’s-kind-of-ok-maybe-if-I-keep-this-charade-up-it’ll-feel-more-natural.
Well folks, I’m here to tell you that it does. not. work.