ARE YOU IN?
You are invited to the event of the year! Regal Realness is hosting its first REGAL GIRL CHALLENGE! The purpose of this challenge is to bring women of color together for a common cause that in turn helps them make their lives better! As we exit 2012 and welcome 2013 I want to ensure that you are entering this next year on the right foot, with a vision in my mind and goals set in place.
I have good news and bad news. Good news is I’m going to be on TV! Bad news is that I’ve joined a cult. I know that the latter is very enticing and you’re probably on the edge of your seat waiting for me to explain how I managed to get myself involved in a cult, but let’s for once not save the “good news for last” shall we? Yes.
I’m going to be on TV! Literally, I will be sitting on top of the TV in great anticipation of the tonight’s “Oprah’s Next Chapter”. The OWN network has really stepped it up since its initial launch. Many of OWN’s original television series/shows have quickly made its way to my “must watch TV” list, but none more than “Oprah’s Next Chapter”. On the show that airs every Sunday, Oprah has interviewed, and in some cases grilled, celebrities like Rihanna, Fergie, Kelsey Grammar, The Kardashians, and now, Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington and Judy Smith. If you aren’t familiar with the names Shonda Rhimes and Kerry Washington, then you are obviously not a member of the cult that is the dedicated followers of ABC’s “Scandal”.
“Scandal”is ABC’s uber popular – and historic – show that follows Olivia Pope, the very powerful crisis manager whose business is to fix other people’s lives, including the U.S. President. The show is popular because of its storyline and awesome cast, historic because Washington is the only Black female character to currently lead a show on primetime. The last Black female lead on primetime was close to forty years ago when Diahann Carroll played “Julia” on the small screen.
Tonight at 9 PM EST Oprah will interview Shonda Rhimes, creator of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal”, the show’s main character Kerry Washington, and Judy Smith the real-life “crisis fixer” who is the inspiration behind the character Olivia Pope.
If you too are a member of the “Scandal” cult and cannot wait for the show to air tonight at 9 PM EST head over to OWN for a sneak peek.
Before “Oprah’s Next Chapter” I’ll be tuning into another one of my favorite series, CNN’s “Black In America”. Tonight at 8 PM EST Soledad O’Brien will attempt to navigate who is Black in America and who decides who is defined as Black and why. Join the discussion on the “Black in America” Facebook page.
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” ― Marilyn Monroe
The moment I grew in strength was the day I admitted to someone other than myself that I was insecure and weak. Then, and now, the word “weak” makes me cringe. I don’t care to think of myself as weak or insecure. Weakness and insecurity never go well with my outfit – not any of them – yet those words clung to me like they were tailor-made. Depression soon became the accessory that I couldn’t live without; couldn’t live with it either…
Now, here I am admitting yet another embarrassing truth: I sold myself short. I settled. After years of failed effort and much courage I revealed my secrets and immediately felt I could never do it again. I could be considered a “one-hitter-quitter.” I laid out my dirty laundry, uncharacteristically allowed myself to be vulnerable, and while I didn’t get the reaction (me left in a cloud of dust while vaguely recognizing the car break lights in the distance) I was expecting from the person on the receiving end of my Big Reveal, I knew that I was never likely to allow myself to be so open again for fear of being judged, and ultimately, rejected. Although I had overcome, or to be more precise, was making great strides in overcoming the depression, insecurity, and weakness, I didn’t think I would be strong enough to stand unpolished and emotionally naked in front of another. So I settled. That is where the buck stopped for me. Dreams deferred. Growth stifled.
I didn’t want to admit that I settled. ”Settled” is not a very sexy word. Not all that desirable of an action either. But, I admit, I settled.
Today, I am choosing to do something that scares me. Assessing the poor and impulsive decisions I have made in my life and taking complete ownership of how I reached this point in my life is scary, but not as scary as choosing to accept that I can never turn back the hands of time and correct the many, many mistakes that I have made, but instead must move forward to happiness in the aftermath of all that has led me to this moment. There is no room for regrets. We all know that regret is only a short fall from the corner of Pissed Off and Bitter. That block doesn’t really work for my outfits either.
Being an adult is hard work. It looked so deceitfully glamorous as a child. But of course that’s because children are far less scared than adults. I’m not afraid of the dark, or the monster in the closet, but I am certainly afraid to reconcile the past with the present and cannot bear to fathom an uncertain future. Today, I am deciding to forgive myself for past mistakes and grant myself permission to sometimes be vulnerable without fear or regard of judgment.
Join me in confronting the fear that might be holding you back. Be encouraged.
For this one moment in time I’ll cross my fingers in the hope that one of my two least active “followers”– my mother and husband – will continue to “support” Be-Quoted from a distance and bypass this post like they have done most of the others…lol. Why? Because in this post I will rip them a new one for ignoring my very lovely and insightful posts! Just kidding. I’ll save that post for after the holidays. Instead, I’m offering up a simple gift guide for the long-distance mother who delights in sentimental and thoughtful gifts.
To: Momie, From: Daughter, With Love:
- 5-Piece Luggage Set with Personalized Luggage Tags – Unfortunately I live 3000 miles from my family. Fortunately, my mother visits at least twice a year. A luggage set of decent quality can be purchased for as little as $99. We’d recommend Tag Fairfield II 5-piece Luggage Set or U.S. Traveler Rio 2-piece Set.
- Comforter Set with Complementary Bathroom Coordinates – I am thee comforter set connoisseur! I shop for a new comforter every season. I can’t see why any mom wouldn’t like such a fabulous gift.
- I-Pod with pre-loaded music. Load Mom’s I-Pod up with classic hits you remember her dancing to while cleaning the house, or the tunes that bring back a bit of nostalgia from Mom’s high school prom or wedding day, coupled with modern hits that she can appreciate.
- Camera with scrapbook tools and a gift card to cover the cost of prints at Mom’s local photo center. If within your budget, a photo printer would nicely accompany the camera.
- Mom proof, easy-to-use phone with Tango preset – If you aren’t familiar, Tango is free video calling service. Think Face Time.
- Wine Cooler or Wine Rack – Pre-filled with wine of course!
- Flight Gift Card – Can easily be sent via e-mail. No shipping and handling necessary.
- Spa Package
- Nook Tablet
- D.I.Y. Entertainment Basket – Basket filled with Mom’s favorite beverage, snack(s), theatre or movie tickets, CDs, DVDs, books, restaurant gift card, home-made cookies, or whatever it is that floats Mom’s boat.
Despite the 10-month and a few days too long pregnancy, the two-day labor, four-day hospital stay, and four digit hospital bill, I didn’t really feel like a mommy for the first few months of my daughter’s life. Uncertain as to what being a mommy actually felt like, I just knew without a doubt that I wasn’t feeling “it” even as I celebrated a beautiful Mother’s Day just a few short weeks after the birth of my beautiful baby girl.
Now fast forward two-and-a-half years later, and I’ll tell you that I physically, mentally, financially, and otherwise feel every bit like a mommy. I’ve got both tangible and intangible proof that I am indeed a mommy. Even when I’m not mothering, which in reality I don’t think I am ever not mothering; so let me rephrase, even when my little one is not physically in my presence, I still feel like a mommy. Thanks to my membership to motherhood I now understand, and usually more willingly accept, my mother’s – the best Momie ever! – unsolicited advice and protection although I’m on the verge of being dirty-thirty. A mother’s job is never done.
So, after just tucking my little one in for the third time after a couple of episodes of vomiting at an insane time of the morning I present to you How You Know You’re A Mommy…
- When you get up in the middle of the night to change and wash dirty linen bathed in your child’s bodily fluids. Gross, but we do it.
- When you muster up enough strength to lift a toddler mid-air so as that precious bottom doesn’t touch the seat of a public commode.
- When you pick boogies out of a nose that is more crusty than the lips of Dave Chappelle’s character Tyrone Biggums. Now that is some kind of crusty!
- When you’d risk being mistaken for a hobo or crazy person after having a night/early morning like I’ve just experienced, but still make sure that your child(ren) is clean, pristine, and ready for a close up.
- When you give them the last of your food because they claim to still be hungry although they’ve eaten an entire kids meal.
- When your heart melts after they hug you and affectionately dub you “Mommy” even though you just disciplined them 2 minutes earlier for misbehaving.
- When you don’t make any plans for your future before thinking of them first and how they’d be impacted by your decision(s).
- When you work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life just to provide stability and security that they can rely on.
- When you allow them to lay in bed with you even though you just want to sprawl out across the bed without concern of waking up to a tiny toe in your nostril.
- When you protect your child(ren) with a level of ferocity that even you didn’t know you possessed.
- When you can easily wake from your slumber at the faintest sound of their discomfort.
- When your child inspires greatness in you and leads you to strive to be a better woman, parent, and partner so that your child has a role model whose behavior he/she can emulate.
In a previous post I shared a list of new and old holiday traditions from my childhood that I planned to experience with my daughter. The day before Thanksgiving marked the commencement of our holiday tradition bonanza. Today we continued creating memories and making traditions. For the first time ever my daughter and I stood on the side-walk – one of us with a grueling backache in the aftermath of holding a 30-pound toddler – to partake in the local annual Christmas parade.
It was easy to tell that some bystanders have long included the annual Christmas parade as a family tradition. The veteran onlookers were decked with lawn chairs, mugs of some variety of hot cocoa, tea, or coffee, and blankets. Yours truly had the daily essentials: lip balm and gloss, peppermints, phone, camera (with a dead battery), and sunglasses. Little One had her mittens and fruit snack. She declined the offer to be pushed around in her stroller. It was a nice day for walking, so hey, what did I care that she wanted to be healthy and get her blood pumping with a few thousand blocks of walking? Good girl I thought.
Two hours, no stroller, no Daddy, no camera battery, and no back support. Did I mention my lingering backache?
Those two hours were filled with watching the Marching Force from my alma mater, Hampton University, march proudly down the street playing classic Christmas tunes that most, if not all, of us are familiar with. We saw a number of inflatable character floats one after the other, the Harlem Globetrotters, and even a troop of tiny cheerleaders, oddly not cheering, smiling, waving, or yelling, “happy holidays” to the crowd.
Came the float carrying 8 men dressed in uniform. I’m not referring to the big man in the red and white suit (what is that, velvet?) and his elves I’m talking about 8 men decked in freshly pressed military regalia. Blame it on the dull pain in my lower back, or the absence of my lovely husband who could have prevented the pain in my back, but I uncharacteristically was pretty excited to see the men in uniform, standing tall, dignified, and demanding respect. Exciting indeed. I smiled and waved, yelled, “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas.” I even saluted one very handsome officer! My, oh my. Don’t ask me why I did it.
My daughter enjoyed the parade. More than the parade she enjoyed being amongst the hundreds of onlookers who also included this year’s parade on their tradition to-do list. Mommy enjoyed the parade too. Especially…well, I won’t hurt hubby’s feelings, but you all know what my favorite part was, next to seeing the joy on my baby’s face of course.
Moving forward our holiday traditions list will include annual Christmas parade with fine men in uniform on float. No exceptions!
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Ever notice how a single blade of grass can grow in the cavities of asphalt and concrete, it’s sheer will for life indignant, persistent to rise despite the weight of cement and the danger of a million trampling feet or heavy weight vehicles?
In my life I am attempting to make a conscious effort to be like the grass, impervious to elements and changes designed to put weight on me. I admit, professional, I adapt to change extremely well. I am a problem-solver, independent thinker, and a creative innovator (SN: This my friends is why I am the resume and interview queen! Can you hear the confidence in the words “problem-solver” and “independent thinker”? I’ll have to elaborate on my interview genius in another post…lol) skilled at tackling crisis’ and difficult changes. Although, personally, I admit that I sometimes tend to easily get on edge so to speak. I don’t run from change, but I do not embrace it in peace. I can become easily irritated, often becoming short with those closest to me. In other words, I am weaker than a blade of grass.
Thank God that with each day comes new opportunity to learn, to do better, to set a goal(s), to reach a goal(s). As of late, my daily goal of seeking and staying in peace is showing itself to be within my reach. I am so happy to be on the right track especially knowing that the concrete is being formulated and readying to be poured. I need my armor to protect myself, and, as much as I can, my family from the dangers that are both “seen and unseen.”
I am uncertain how the upcoming changes in my life and my family’s lives will affect our relationships with one another or impact our daily lives. But what I am certain of is that there are allowances for an abundance of opportunity. Opportunity to grow in Christ, to better ourselves individually and as a family unit, to fine tune our relationship, to hone skills that in the daily hustle and bustle of our lives as parent, spouse, employee, son, daughter, aunt and uncle we have allowed to become rusty, and to pursue personal and professional endeavors that we would have made excuses to not tend to had we not been pushed in a corner by these changes and forced to evaluate all that we are not doing to lead a bountiful life.
I may be naïve to feel a rush of excitement given the dangers seen and the dangers unseen that are sure to lie ahead, but I’ll be honest, I am excited. I’m looking forward to learning how strong of a woman I truly am. I’m looking forward to showing my husband how much love I have for him and that the vows that I so thoughtfully wrote and recited to him almost 4 years ago are not empty, but words in motion.
I can’t see the dangers that lie ahead but I know they are there. I am not afraid. Instead, I am protected and fitting myself with the armor of peace…and faith.
This post was inspired by life and the words spoken by two people who are so worthy of being quoted.
I hope that this post provokes dialogue, thoughts and actions that you may not have otherwise had this evening without visiting Be Quoted. I appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read my rants.
Be Heard – share your comments.