Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Twenty Eighteen Taught Me.....February

Your path to happiness does not require approval.....

Traditional norms are nothing more than a suggested blueprint. If we were all born with our own individual purpose, we can not all possibly follow the same plan. Go to school, get a good job, get married, have kids, saddle yourself with mortgage loans and car financing (to of course cement the need to work for the next 30 years or more), retire, and die. Is this what we should all want? Is this what you specifically want from your existence? For me, that plan was trashed long ago. Yet, the outside world keeps yelling those messages around me, that is until I think of who we watch, the people others either attack or want to be. I believe masses of people are mesmerized by the lives of celebrities, those considered sexual deviants, and many with massive amounts of money, simply because they found a way to do it differently. People are amazed by those who did not follow "the plan", likely because it has been drilled into our minds there is only one way. We are almost told we should be ashamed if we choose another route. Currently, the trend is for everyone to claim they give "no fucks", but the statement couldn't be farther from the truth. Social media shows the majority coveting the same places, lifestyles, and possessions, and if you don't want those things, there must be something wrong with you. So many can not even explain conclusively the reason it is those things are wanted. It all appears to be nothing more than brainwashing. Learn to delve deep into your needs, analyze them with the greatest of intensity, and then pursue them with your entire spirit. If there are days when you feel the entire world is against you, or moments where you feel you may have to abandon all the friends and family you dearly love just to grasp a breathe of freedom, then and only then are you likely doing it right. When you reach that point, I am more than certain there is a joy and a peace waiting in rest for your soul, in fact I know it, because I have seen it. We can not be guided to individual satisfaction, it is an unaccompanied journey. Therefore, the permission of another will never open the gate. In place of waiting for someone else's sanction to participate in your inner most joy, make the conscious decision to learn you, love you, and most importantly live you.

Never let the selfish overshadow those who offer nothing but love....

A man from my past died this month. He was not close enough to call a friend, yet I remember him fondly. We went on a couple dates, shared a few laughs, and when I wanted to take the train at ungodly hours he would always insist on driving me home. He entertained all my questions about his occupation, and his history within it, not because I needed to know, but because it had always been one of my interests. He was sweet to me. On the day I found out he died, my buried memories showed themselves and I realized his impact ran a bit deeper than I thought. At the time, mentally I was residing in a sullen space because I was feeling unappreciated by a person I once considered a friend. The feeling was taking up enormous amounts of my internal sphere and energy. Negativity is substantial, and looming, but, so is love, kindness and appreciation. Both sides of the coin are large enough to lay imprints on our subconscious, however it is a mindful task to assign which takes the bigger seat. I found it astonishing a man who did not remain in my life long enough for me to comfortably call friend showed nothing but fondness and I forgot, but an unappreciating "friend" had occupied my mind for longer than I can even recall. I decided in that moment, it would never happen again. Negative energy may not be something I can completely stop from entering my space, however it will never again be allowed to sit front row when I have positivity lingering somewhere in the cheap seats just waiting to be invited down to the floor. I am now deliberately keeping the warmest of memories at the forefront of my thoughts, as they not only serve me best, but are the lesson I want to stand as my tribute to his memory.

Karma is not the universe "getting you back" for an error in judgement....

No one is perfect. I do not believe it is the intent of the universe to punish an individual for behavior simply because it yielded an unintended, unfavorable outcome for another. Consequences and benefits should always be anticipated with all of our actions. Sometimes we luck up and reap all of the benefits, other times we strike out and have to face the consequences. There is a possible positive and negative outcome for every scenario. I personally believe the deciding factor in manifesting our outcome is intention, as much, if not more so than our actions. Any one who has ever studied concepts ranging from the law to science to everyday life knows intention makes all the difference when it comes to the interpretation, and therefore the outcome of our actions. The intricacies of concepts like karma are vast, and should not be reduced to social media quotes and hashtags. Stop telling people "karma" will "get them" because you happened to be a casualty of the circumstances surrounding their choices. Every action is not ill-intended, and therefore does not yield a detrimental conclusion, no matter how badly some of you all would like it to.

Aggression and antagonism are not more powerful than positivity....

In a country which bathes itself in the principle of "being the very best", it is more often than not we encounter others willing to do whatever it takes to "be the best". Many degrade, belittle and even compromise the standards they may have once held high simply to win nothing more than a fictitious race. Challenging oneself to reach a higher level is healthy, and mere evolution, but competition does not have to lack kindness. I suppose it all comes down to the outcome one wants. Sometimes one has to ask, "What kind of impact do I want to leave on the world?". We have all heard the quote "you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar", but on a greater scale how does being the honey versus the vinegar propel your own life? If the choice is to be self serving, then that is everyone's right. However, I don't know about you, but I have yet to see a genuinely happy person who only cared about themselves.

Cliches and imitations are enemies of progression....

I watch many people use cliche quotes, and bits and pieces of lectures from people like Oprah as a road map to attempt to reach a place of peace, a place of success, a place of happiness, a place of wisdom. While there is nothing wrong with listening to stories regarding the path of someone else to gather insight, it is important to understand your path, your purpose, they are your own. Accomplishing what someone else has accomplished, in the exact same way they have achieved it is not possible. We are unique, and therefore our journey has to be equally as uncommon. There is no such thing as walking in someone else's footsteps. Have you ever tried to literally walk in someone else's footsteps? If the steps are in a shifting substance like sand, you'll notice the sands moves as you step into it. Once you have stepped into it the footprint is no longer the same. If the substance is immobile, say in the case of hardened cement, likely trying to step perfectly into each footprint will throw one off balance. Life is no different. Copying another's path only throws us off balance, and keeps us standing in the same spot, trying and trying, again and again, to get it right. If growing in your own universe and ascending to your greatest power is the goal, at some point you're going to have to forge your own path.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Twenty Eighteen Taught Me.....January

Evolution is an ongoing entry on my "bucket" list. The things I do, the places I go, the interactions I entertain, I believe they should all propel me forward. This year I have decided I want to evaluate and record all the things I learn month by month. Sure, I could do it in my journal (and I do), but something is nudging me to do it here as well. Maybe someone will read it and help me "unpack" some of these lessons in a more expansive way. So, if you're inclined to coast along with me, hopefully this year, you'll teach me something, or as Jay says, "I'll do that so you don't have to go through that".

If the choice is between money and time, always take the time....

Middle of last year, I left my 9 to 5 to essentially work as a freelancer. When my job on the project I was working on ended after the first week of the year, I had a choice to make. I could wait for another job to start with the same people a few weeks away, or search for something else. If I chose to look for something else, it would possibly put me in a position where I would not be available to take another job with the people I preferred, which for a number of reasons would be more beneficial. Pressed by my instincts, which I have recently vowed to follow, I decided to take the time off. This time off has been one of the most comforting and enlightening periods of my life. It is no less than a set up for all of the things I would like to accomplish in this coming year. If you ever have an opportunity to take a break from the responsibilities of adulting, turn off your anxieties, rest upon your faith, and take the break. There is a reason for it and a blessing we are all not afforded.

Reciprocity in itself is not enough, it must be equal and balanced.....

Life is filled with careers, children, and honestly all around chaos for many. We know we all get busy, we go through things, and we struggle to keep friendships, romantic relationships and family connections wading smoothly through the tides. Everyone knows reciprocity is necessary for healthy interactions, even in places as basic as social media. However, the bare minimum is not enough. Do not ever be convinced it is. Yes, a person may respond to the energy placed before them, but how often? Are you giving eighty to receive a measly twenty of someone's energy in return? People who care for you, people who matter, will show it. Do not accept scraps from someone else's table when you can have a full meal at your own.

Treasure the source of your comfort....

As far back as my memory takes me, I always had a book and a source of music in my possession. Even when all of my possessions where destroyed and I had nothing to claim but an actual roof over my head, the first thing I bought when I finally got a paycheck was a $20 boombox and my favorite magazine (because it was cheaper than a book). I knew as long as I could listen to the radio and read I would be okay. Sure, I could have spent that $25 dollars on something more productive, but for me, it was the most basic way to preserve my sanity. In this last month, I've gone back to reading more than I ever have, and my television is collecting a lot more dust than the record player I own. There was a moment where I found myself engaging in the pastimes of others as a way to be supportive. It brought me nothing but unrest. I say that to remind you and myself, it does not matter if your solace is a DVR full of Love & Hip Hop episodes or ice fishing, do not let it fall to the wayside simply because you are the only one in your circle who likes it. Love what you love, and do it often.

Loving my own company allows me to pour from a cup that runneth over.....

Not getting up and going to a job everyday means spending a fair amount of time alone, at least during the week. Spending time in my own world has never been a problem for me, but to have the span of time I have had this month to pour into myself has made me so much more able to give so freely to those I love. Whether working home alone, or out in the world, I now know a dinner, a movie, or even sitting for a few hours with headphones on to listen to a new album alone has to happen more often. It is necessary if I want to be the most outstanding version of me for the others in my life. I want to give them more than a measly twenty percent of my energy. I want to make time for me, so I can make time for them.

Take care of yourself in ways that feel good internally, not simply for vanity....

I like fashion, tea, a tall glass of cold water, and salads, but I love comfort, coffee, red wine, rich desserts and cheesy, creamy pasta dishes. In the past I have allowed some of the best memories of my life to be spoiled by how unhappy I have been by what I see in a picture following the occasion. I rarely look completely pulled together, and I don't ever "slay" anything. However, I've always enjoyed myself. The memories my friends and family recall always start with "It was the night you said...." or "It was the night you did....", less often "It was the night you wore..." Taking this month to revamp some of my eating and exercise habits, I have come to the realization, I am one hundred percent okay with not being the girl who "slays". It feels good when I go for a twenty or thirty minute run, it doesn't feel good to be sore from nearly two hours of working out five nights a week. Fresh fruits, veggies, and organic meats from a farmers market always make me happier than eating disgusting fast food, but so does a gourmet meal at a great restaurant. Jumping off a cliff into extremes for nothing more than a smaller size dress is not going to ever be okay for me. It's taxing and miserable to maintain. I have a number of healthy habits, and they feel really good for me to partake in, but unfortunately for me, they just do not translate into a size 2. Health is important to me, but so is quality of life. Compromising is just out of the question.

Now let's see what February brings....

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Narrative

Do you know any married couples who have survived infidelity?

I mean really know them, like they have discussed the transgression at length with you. The ins, the outs, the fall out, the aftermath.

How does their relationship look?

Are they consistently working at building trust daily? Are they in a blissful second honeymoon kind of phase?

Is love still there?

I don't know about you, but the marriages I know of, where an infidelity has occurred, is best described as a very clear lifelong exercise in the words "work in progress."

On their best days, the thoughts of the indiscretion are placed at the very back of their minds and they can smile, love, live, breath.

However, on their worst days, there is still an unspoken truth wafting through the air that leads to checking unattended phones, and snooping through open email accounts.

The love is still there, but the trust is irreparably damaged.

I can see it, feel it. It's tangible. It's real life.

They have decided to stay married, but things are different, and they probably will always be.

Not bad, not good, but most certainly different.

Being I have witnessed the real life versions of such circumstances, I find myself annoyed with how this scenario is portrayed when it applies to any sort of public, political or celebrity couple's story displayed for your nightly news.

Or even more dishonest, when the narrative is being duplicated for a television show, or blockbuster movie.

The illustration we typically see is a couple experiencing an affair, one-night stand, however extensive the relationship may be, only for it to end with the marriage winding up back in a place where their love is somehow much greater, and much stronger.

Their happiness is now overwhelmingly unbreakable.

Who are these people?!? People no one knows, that's who!

Being honest, the majority of the time the forgiving party within this story line is the wife.

Is this, as a society, what we really want to teach women? Is this what you want for your daughters?

It is perfectly acceptable to be cheated on, because in the end your marriage is going to be so much stronger, and your love will be so much more wonderful than ever before. And you can make your story a hit album, and have twins while the world gushes

When are we going to stop indirectly, sometimes directly, feeding women these fallacies of necessary forgiveness?

Pay no never mind to the possible expensive price of her own self worth, because the societal credit of being a "wife", being "chosen", is worth so much more. Right?

Indeed, everyone does not have a visceral, dramatic reaction to infidelity, but if one does, it should be okay for them to leave. And when I say leave, I mean leave without stigma, or the judgment associated with having given up on their covenant with God, and that other person, laid at their doorstep.

Marriage is a difficult journey for most, even without infidelity, and if an affair becomes a part of the process, there is nothing wrong with deciding to stay.

We all make individual choices someone else may never even consider.

However, there is something wrong, very wrong with gorging women, or men for that matter, with the idea that the pain and hurt of betrayal will somehow magically turn into a redeemable experience, something for which you can and should be grateful.

I could be wrong, but in real life, it just doesn't seem to work out that way.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


After moving into my apartment in the Bronx I didn't have any money, not one dime. Zero dollars and zero cents. I'd paid the deposit and the first month's rent to move in. It was everything I had left. I wasn't happy, but I was relieved because now I didn't have to live in the roach infested place I'd lived in for the first month I'd been in New York. Joy helped me move my meager belongings (my clothes, music collection and a few other knick-knacks), she'd known me maybe all of two weeks at the time. Crystal, who had only met me once via Joi (the only friend I had in New York when I moved there) gave me information for a temp agency. The phone number to that temp agency was my only glimmer of hope. I wasn't concerned about my empty apartment, sleeping on the floor, or the 4 or 5 $0.25 bags of chips being my only food until someone gave me a check. I just needed a job.

On Monday I made it to the temp agency, but I was late, and covered in sweat because I'd gotten lost taking the train for the first time alone. I ended up walking from the West side of Manhattan to the East, which I thought would be a short distance. It sounded short, so rather then continuing to get turned around on the train I thought I could walk it a bit quicker. Don't ever let anyone tell you that is a short walk, especially not in business attire in the middle of August. I just knew the woman would look at me, and the mess I was, and walk me right back outside. She gave me a bit of a side eye, but when I told her about being new to NY she seemed to understand. She found a data entry job that I could start the next day. Finally, things were looking up.

I pushed through to the next week, although not before passing out on the train due to not eating. A stranger picked me up and gave me a few sticks of gum. That gum tasted like steak. All I heard was "Whoa, we almost lost you there" and all I felt was an overwhelming cloud of pity surrounding me, but those strangers who picked me up and shook me awake....well let's just say New Yorkers are not as cold as you may think.

That first check was everything to me. I bought groceries, a pillow, a $5 blanket (which is inside the ottoman in my living room right now, I'll never get rid of it) and a $20 boombox. That night I laid on the floor with a full belly and I played almost every CD I owned. The music revived my spirit and I felt like God really loved me.

Just Grateful.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Our Story

I've been asked, so here you go....

The first time I saw him Autumn was beginning and although the sun was still shining, a breeze was in the air. He was wearing a Nautica jacket and I thought, "He must be from home". As long as I have lived away from Michigan, now and then, it gives me a sense of comfort to find a native Detroiter, so I keep an eye out, and in 1997 nobody wore Nautica as much as a Detroiter, I took notice. I also thought, "He's kind of cute too", but nothing more, nothing less, I simply took notice.

That was my freshman year of college, (his senior year) and although I noticed him filming events around campus we never spoke, even with mutual friends, we were never introduced. My first interaction with him, he doesn't even remember. A friend of mine, took me to the apartment of a friend of his. He was there working on the computer, his friend introduced us. He said, "What up?" from the corner where the computer was located then stated, "Alright, I'm out". No interest on either end. Ha!

Fast forward to 2008, I am living in NY and he is still in GA (where we went to college). We've added each other on MySpace (because who wasn't adding every familiar face, even though you were damn near strangers, back then). My friend and his friend are now brother/sister type best friends and it's Homecoming. My friend and I (both living in NY) come into town for homecoming, so we're staying with his friend. I've noticed via social media he's not just "kind of cute" but also smart, and funny. We've shared debates, comments, private messages and I'm crushing. I ask about him. His friend is all about it. He gives me his number. I don't call, I send a text message, inviting him to hang out with "the group". He said he's down to hang with us. He never shows. I go back to NY, thinking "Oh well".

A month after homecoming, back in NY, I'm riding the train home from a party I worked, and my phone rings, it's a number I don't know. I'm on the train so the signal is bad, although we are above ground, I barely hear who is on the other end. The voice is going in and out and I hang up. I think it must have been someone from the party, and I've decided not to work with them any more, so I don't care when it rings again. I exit the train, transfer to my bus and by the time I get off the bus, my phone is ringing again, from the same number. It's dark, and late. It's chilly October and the wind is blowing my hair in all directions. I figure if someone is going to kidnap me on my short walk from the bus to my door someone should hear it. I pick up. It's him. I barely hear him over the wind and my hair flying, but it's him. I smile, because although a month has passed and I have had no interaction with him, I'm still crushing. We talk until I get home, and we talk a little more. We stay on the phone for hours and I get off the phone with a grin and a lite airy feeling.

A few months pass and we talk regularly now, my days begin and end with his voice. On Sundays, we stay on the phone from the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep. My friends are now faux annoyed by his name, my giddiness, and our plan to have our first date when we both go home for Christmas in Detroit. I have even traded in the Hip Hop in my headphones for ooooeey-gooey love songs.

Christmas in Detroit arrived and I'm still nervous about where this is headed. I think, "Phone conversations are one thing, but will this work in person?" We planned to go play pool on a night I was suppose to go to a party with my sister and best brother friend. My brother friend teased me for bailing on them for a dude, but my sister is excited. She has heard all of these stories about him, and she wants this to work. I put on a short sweater dress and ask her, " Should I put some jeans on under this? I mean, we're going to play pool, I look fast." My sister says, "Nope, just the dress". (To this very day, he tells my sister, "Good call on that one" Ha!) We meet up and the chemistry is overwhelming. Reminding myself, "I'm fast but not this fast" kind of overwhelming.

I went back to New York sad. This was a real dilemma, I lived in NY and I LOVED NY!

Heading back to NY, I decided if it was meant to be it would be. I couldn't count on this. I had to be reasonable. We were not an official couple and we'd only gone on one date. So, a few weeks back in NY I went on a blind date. My date, a Nigerian born, British bred, Idris Elba doppelganger, who worked as an investment banker on Wall Street. The date was nothing short of amazing. We agreed to meet for drinks at Blue Fin in Times Square, a mutual friend set us up and we were both skeptical, so we only agreed to drinks. We were having such a good conversation, he asked me to join him for lunch around the corner at the restaurant inside the W hotel. We talked about music and different cultures next to a huge window overlooking Times Square for so long it was dark when we came back outside. He offered to pay for my cab home but I told him I was meeting a friend in SoHo so instead he walked me to my train. When we parted, I called a friend. I told her how great the date was and how he was everything I THOUGHT I ever wanted, but from the moment I arrived until the time he walked away, all I could think about was him. She said, "Georgia". I nodded into the phone. I knew I didn't want any one else. Apparently, he felt the same way because a few weeks later he told me he didn't want to see anyone else and he hoped I didn't either. And then there we were, officially a long distance couple.

It was April, and I was sick. I didn't want to go to work, but I had things I needed to get done, so instead I called in and said I would be late. As soon as I walked in the front door, my best work friend, runs up to me and in her usual dramatic fashion she said, "Oh my God, they are laying people off! They are calling people into the conference room. If you get a call, then you know." I immediately called him. By this time, we had already begun discussing marriage and I was looking for a job in Atlanta. I told him, "If they lay me off, I'm just going to move to Atlanta" His reply, "Okay, hope you get fired, babe". As soon as I hung up my pink flip phone, my desk phone rang, and a couple months later he came to New York. With the help of two friends, we loaded up the contents of my tiny Bronx studio and never looked back.

We planned to get married. It was already decided we would do it alone. Neither of us wanted a big wedding. The idea of being the center of attention, for any reason, didn't appeal to me. I didn't find it necessary. The location was an old beach where volcanoes had erupted making the terrain a mixture of sand and lava rock. I wore a simply white sundress, with my newly natural hair only being held in place by a white chiffon rose. He wore white linen. The only guests were our photographer and videographer, and my ring once belonged to his mother. We told people we were going on vacation. Our parents and siblings knew why we were there, and close friends and family received an email later that day. Our photographer asked could he tag us in one of the photos on Facebook. We told him yes. Immediately, our phones chimed and rang with non-stop notifications and calls. The uninformed had been informed. Everyone who didn't know, now knew. On September 17, 2011, he and I, became Mr. & Mrs. Damon L. Thomas.

And there, our journey began...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Women Lie, Men Lie....But It Isn't Equal

Women are not perfect.

Although men and women alike would like to claim they KNOW women are not perfect, it seems to be believed more in theory than in practice. Between reading comments recently stating Trey Songz's "Mr. Steal Your Girl" persona made the woman who fell for "being stolen" a hoe (not him, HER) and Kerry Washington having to explain why she would play a mistress for the millionth time in an interview, I am convinced, the world condemns anything less than ideal.

As people grow, experiences are had, and knowledge is gained, one would think people would be more open-minded as to who we all become, but nope. The underlying expectation to "have it all", "be super/wonder woman" or my personal favorite, "always be a lady" still linger, and frankly the stench of those concepts are enough to make even the most conservative woman scream for mercy.

Men lie, cheat, steal and kill and yes, women do all of those things as well, but the difference seems to be, as a woman there are no second chances to right a wrong. Life is definitely not a dress rehearsal and there are no do-overs. Once men see you fall below their standard of "class", then it is okay to be treated without respect and almost no one, not even other women, will protest.

How many times have we all heard seeing a drunk woman is worse than seeing a drunk man? How many women have been given those almost guaranteed second chances men get after an affair? What female prisoner has letters pouring in from a boyfriend/husband stating "he is waiting for her"? Woman are forgotten once a mistake is made and it is accepted. It is so accepted women will do anything to maintain an appearance of desirability by the type of men she deems worthy,(which can even be pretending not to be the conservative type because she wants the man who wants a "bad girl") simply because as Drake's mom put it "Who wants to be sixty and alone?"

I have told lies, pretended to be something I was not, left a drink half full, curbed the vast amount of cuss words I regularly use, worn uncomfortable clothing and remained hush-hush about my sex life. All in the name of being liked.

The question is when does it stop? When do we become okay with being ourselves no matter who likes it? Does that even happen in a lifetime for women?

Well, I plan to make it happen for me.

The ideal. I reject it.

And you should too....because as Popeye would say, "I yam what I yam".....and I yam a pretty good person.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

May I Help You?

I read a quote once saying, "People ask why customer service has gone to hell in a hand basket, I ask why have customers gone to hell in a hand basket"

I thought about this quote this morning when I heard a story on The View about a man who was faced with the choice of deleting a tweet he posted about rude service, including the name and gate number of the agent he encountered, or leave the plane. The airline stated it was a security risk. Although I can not say how much a of a realistic security risk his tweet may have posed, I will say I commend Southwest for standing up for their employee.

It seems all of the women on The View (as well as my husband) were on the side of the passenger. Now, as someone who works in customer service, I have to say I do believe in a lot of cases, customers are the ones taking these things too far. A huge amount of people these days are so self-important and privileged they forget the person they are talking to is actually....get this...A PERSON. Not getting what you want, thinking it should be "no big deal" if the rules are bent or broken "just this one time" for you, or because you do not work in a service position and think they deserve your nasty attitude because "they choose this job", does not give you the right to treat people like they are beneath you. I have been called a cunt, a bitch, a moron, a nigger and just about anything else you can think of working in several customer service oriented jobs over at least 20 years of my life. I do not recall one company standing up for me, instead I have been told to "not take it personal".

I am all for expressing your opinions on social media or anywhere else you may choose, however you have to accept the consequences that follow those actions. Instead of actually getting in contact with a manager/supervisor to lodge a complaint this man took the passive way out and tweeted his little hurt feelings. I will completely agree he has a right to make this his chosen method of expression and say whatever it is he feels he needs to tell the world, but including someone's full name and specific work location is insensitive, and in my opinion, out of line. What if she is a battered woman whose ex-husband was searching for her? You have no idea what is going on in someone else's life, but of course WHO CARES when you want what you want, right?

Well, you can choose to treat others as if their lives do not count when it involves providing others with a service, but be very aware, not all people or companies are going to cower to your entitlement issues. There will be consequences for treating the world around you like personal servants. You feel important enough to demean another, well than I hope you are also important enough to not only find another flight headed to your exact location in a matter of minutes, but find alternatives for all the services you require the assistance of OTHER PEOPLE to receive in this thing we call life.