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.
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.
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.
Recently I watched an archived episode of The Dr. Phil Show (don’t judge) about a morbidly obese woman who had gained over 100 pounds throughout her two-year marriage. Her spouse was completely disgusted, embarrassed and turned-off by her weight gain that he claimed led him to begin an extramarital affair. He, and a number of the shows guest found his infidelity acceptable under the circumstances of her rapid weight gain and past unwillingness to control her weight.
The possibility of actually retiring at the age of 55 might actually be feasible if I could have pocketed $1 for each time I’ve heard a woman say, “all men cheat,” or heard a man explain his infidelity with the simple reminder, “I’m a man.” Oh ok. Well why didn’t you say so? I’ll just pack my things and go now. Take care. WTH?
Upstanding men who do not make a habit of cheating – yes, they do exist. At least one I know of for sure. Right, honey? I said RIGHT? – should be offended by the “I’m a man” statement used to rationalize blatant disrespect. I think most of us can agree that, “I’m a man” is a piss-poor excuse, not a justification for cheating. But are there some excusable reasons for infidelity? Apparently so.
Tune into any of the 1,001 court shows, talks shows, reality talk shows and you’ll witness a number of men and women cheating on their significant other citing that their infidelity is the reaction to first being cheated on. According to this rule of thought, cheating is not only acceptable, but also warranted.
There is a number of excuses that cheaters have been known to give: “I’m not built for a long distance relationship”; “I can’t stand your mom”; “you’re boring in bed”; “you knew that I was unhappy”; “your middle toe is longer than your big toe.” Blah, blah, blah. The common denominator is that all of these excuses blame the “victim” or the person being cheated on leaving behind the notion that the act of cheating is not the decision of the cheater, but controlled by the person being cheated on.
I’m a firm believer that despite how many home cooked meals one makes, kegel exercises performed throughout the day, or how beautiful one is, it doesn’t guarantee that infidelity will be prevented. Infidelity is a choice that one makes. It doesn’t “just happen.” There is no justifying it, but maybe you disagree…
“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood
Don’t let me be misunderstood”
Nina Simone, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
My family isn’t one to really use the word “tradition” to reference our holiday celebrations, but on each holiday the expected ritual is that we all gather at my grandmother’s house for gift exchanges, my grandmother’s soul food, and my aunts baked from scratch cakes. We spend the evening playing a game of Scattergories where my Aunt Dorothy will inevitable cheat and have all of her answers ignored and thereby be declared the loser before the game ever begins, followed by the family sitting (some standing as we are a very large family) watching terrible homemade movies that always, always, always ends in laughter. The older I get the more I am reminded of how my childhood growing up in San Francisco was abundantly rich filled with “traditions” and unwavering relationships.
As my little one is growing up right before my eyes I ask myself this holiday season, what traditions will we create as a family? What will my little one say of her childhood; how will she complete the sentence, “We always did _____ for the holidays? The only way to foster traditions are to first create them. This year we’ll continue with the traditions that started when I was a graduate student dating my hubby, then boyfriend, along with the traditions that came about with the birth of our baby girl, and start new traditions that one day my daughter will say, “As a child we always…”
- Fixed Thanksgiving dinner so that we’d have leftovers cooked in our own kitchen.
- Wore festive pajamas for major holidays.
- Unwrapped 25 books – some handpicked by me at the library, some store-bought. Mommy would wrap each book and place it under the Christmas tree for me to unwrap each night beginning on December 1st leading up to Christmas day.
- Listened to Bob Marley, a CD Mommy and Daddy coined “our Christmas music,” while decorating the Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving.
- Exchanged Christmas stockings on Christmas Eve.
- Scoured the “Black Friday” ads and got a head start shopping on the morning of Thanksgiving.
- Watched Christmas movie classics while sprawled out on the sofa under the handmade quilt “Created with Grandmother’s Love.”
- Drank hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and a peppermint stick.
- Mailed Christmas cards to my family and friends.
- Read the story of Jesus’ birth.
- Stayed up late on New Year’s Eve dancing, flipping the channels between New York’s Time Square ball drop and Nick Jr’s countdown, eating hors d’oeuvre’s and sipping sparkling apple cider from a plastic champagne flute…fancy!
- Using my acting chops in the church’s annual Christmas program.
- Ice skating, or more aptly, falling on the ice, with Mommy and Daddy.
- Had a never ending playlist of holiday music.
Follow me on Pinterest for holiday tradition ideas. What traditions will you uphold or create this year?