Thursday, September 4, 2008

Keepin' It Real

I am a person who is real. What you see is what you get. It’s always been this way. So many people say this about themselves, but it holds true for only a fraction of these self-proclaimed realists. You’ve heard them – “I keep it real and I don’t do drama” BE CAREFUL…these individuals usually make up your rowdiest and most dedicated drama crew.

If there is something that I’m upset about or something I have to say I’m going to do just that. I’m not the kind of person who pretends that things are one way if they are indeed completely another. That to me is a characteristic that represents weakness. I guess my feeling is don’t bark at the wrong person or about the wrong thing. If you are upset bark at the right person…bark exactly what your thoughts are. You know what I’m talking about…those people who pretend that everything is ok to maintain a relationship or to seem politically correct. But every chance they get they have something to say about the person or thing that they are supposedly so “fine” with. That’s an insult. I will always be woman enough to say exactly what is on my mind. Exactly the way I want to say it. It ticks me off that someone has the audacity to take me for fool enough to not be able to read through to the root of their true implications. Always having an unkind word, always picking FOR SOMETHING. Never really having a reason but always blaming it on a joke. I would MUCH rather you NOT deal with me. If someone has a problem with who I am or the way I live my life call a spade a spade. It doesn’t mean that we have to become unbenefit or that there has to be drama but let’s be honest…it has the potential to lead there. I’m just saying be REAL enough to play the game of life real…on an even playing field. Let me know what’s really good. I deserve that and I promise I will always give you the same respect.

When I find out that you are the kind of person who will smile in my face and disrespect me behind my back or “on the sly/in the name of a joke” you are not someone that I am EVER going to associate with. Makes no difference of our relation - family, friend or foe. I appreciate someone who I know doesn't particularly care for me and is upfront about it more than a family member who proclaims to love me yet will talk behind my back. People are human and therefore fallible however don't confuse that with those who are just of bad character. There are specific actions that tell a persons character. The way in which something is said or done often shows intent. That intent is usually what is in a person’s heart. There is such a thing as coincidental occurrences or mistakes being made, but the truth is MOST of us were raised with enough discernment to know when someone really has malicious intent towards us. Unfortunately because we tend to be kind natured ourselves we try to turn other people’s unkind intent into mistakes/idiosyncracies. You know, “girl he/she don’t mean nothing…they just so crazy..” No…Usually that person is telling us who they are. And I am saying when a person tells you who they are through action…please listen. It is your obligation to yourself and to your well being to surround yourself with people of like moral value/content. Not like character, but like intent. I have plenty of friends who live their lives different than me, but their make-up, their value for life, integrity, thought processes all have value, some sort of value.

I pride myself on having the ability to get along with all types of people. Even these malicious people that I am speaking of. We are bound to run into them. There are enough of them to know that completely avoiding them is unrealistic. I’m not saying to instigate an altercation, I’m saying to make a clear effort to NOT incorporate them into your life. To NOT call them friend. When you see them there is no problem with being cordial, that is our duty to society and to each other (law of humanity). I am simply saying be kind to yourself and choose the people that you allow to be close to you carefully. Overlooking clear indications through action that some people willingly show is a common and detrimental mistake made by many and recovered by few. Be good to each other and most importantly to yourself.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Something for the Brokenhearted...(titled by another)

I am aware that it's been quite awhile since I've written something not only original but "telling". I'm sure thats because where I am right now is something that I haven't been able to put into words. However, today I came back to the office (yes extremely late, to check my email and whatever else) and stumbled upon something from a friend that completely spoke to my spirit and that I knew would be a blessing. I also knew that it would help to clearly identify and help clarify for some where they were in life, what they were experiencing and maybe even help to facilitate what they have been feeling. I want to share with you some words that were blazen and outright. Focused, eloquent and considered before sharing.

I have been wanting...needing to blog for quite some time. I needed something to break the silence in my own life. I wanted the words and I found them at 4 am on a random trip to the of my friends posted new pics which drew me to her page where I discovered that she'd written a blog...EONS AGO...Maybe I'm late or she reached an awakening in her life that I am just approaching. I didn't notice it before maybe because it wasn't my time. And now I am on the brink of...something new, remarkable, inexplicable. I am POSITIVE that this will reveal what in my own life I've been gradually discovering and help to "splain" some things in some friends lives as well... This was a random finding and those have proven to be some of the most meaningful and the most beautiful...

I'll catch you up in my happenings soon....

"A time comes in your life when you finally get it ... when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out ENOUGH!!! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes. This is your awakening. You realize it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change...or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that you are neither Prince Charming or Cinderella and that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you...and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance. You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are...and that's OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions. And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself...and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval. You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it's not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself...and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance. You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties...and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness. You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is as a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. And you begin to sift through all the junk you've been fed about how you should behave, how you should look, how much you should weigh, what you should wear, what you should do for a living, how much money you should make, what you should drive, how and where you should live, who you should marry, the importance of having and raising children, and what you owe your parents, family, and friends. You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with...and in the process you learn to go with your instincts. You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. And that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next fix. You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life. You learn that you don't know everything, it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake. Then you learn about love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. And you learn that alone does not mean lonely. You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK...and that it is your right to want things and to ask for the things you want...and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands. You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won't settle for less. And you learn that your body really is your temple. And you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drink more water, and take more time to exercise. You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play. You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you believe you deserve...and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different from working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone...and that it's OK to risk asking for help. You learn the only thing you must truly fear is the greatest robber baron of all: FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your own terms. And you learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It's just life happening. And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state - the ego. You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls. You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever settle for less than your heart's desire. And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility. Finally, with courage in your heart and God by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best you can."

-Vanessa Fonseca

Thank you Vanessa for giving me the words. Again I am reminded that we are not alone in this constant strive for greatness...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mothering Mossimo

I have been blessed over the last few weeks with additions to my family. My brother and his wife had twin boys (pics will come) and I adopted a puppy on Monday. His name is Mossimo Darth Vadar Stewart (named by granny and Kiyah). I know that's an awful big name for a 2 month old pup but he is such an incredible little guy with tons of energy. Since this is the very closest I will be to mothering in a long time I am completely thrilled about my new baby. This is not the first pet I've adopted but certainly the first that needs "mothering". When I got Jinxi, my terribly independent cat, all I needed to do was keep the bowl filled, litter clean and she was pretty much on her own. She runs things really. When she's in the mood for love or affection she will slide herself under my dangling feet, and when she's not in the mood trust me no amount of coddling or whistling will bring her to me AT ALL. Not that I love her any less, there's just something completely exciting and even kind of scary about knowing that something depends totally on you.

Mossimo was a gift from one of our clients and she gave me and two other women in my office pups. So Mossimo's brothers Chucho and Co Co will be close, which is good for him. We plan to throw their first birthday party next November for the three of them together. I was initially a little concerned. When we got into the van to take the pups home the previous owner, Brenda, told us that this would be their very first car ride so they may get sick. SICK is an understatement! We had three puppies vomiting all over my poor coworkers car. REPEATEDLY! It was sad when the first pup did it and then downright disgusting when they started inspiring one another. We finally got them back to the office, got the van cleaned up and gave them time to rest. They were very emotional and completely tuckered out. I was also concerned about him being able to sleep by himself considering he's been sleeping with five brothers and sisters.

Nothing matched the feeling today however, when I came home from the office and he jumped up to greet me. I learned that in my absence he has tackled going up and down the stairs and he's even learning to stay in a room by himself. He is completely potty trained (which is a complete blessing) and should facilitate teaching him to go outside instead of the training pads. The smallest things about his progress and development are thoroughly tickling me and I am taking complete joy in learning what he likes and dislikes. There really is no feeling like it.

I assumed that I would have issues with Jinxi when I brought Mossimo home. I thought she would be trying to attack my pup given her size advantage so for the last 2 days I have been shutting my door and keeping her out. She has not been happy about that at all. The day I arrived home with Mossimo she came to the steps looked at the bundle in my arms with complete disgust as if to say "Seriously, when did you ask permission to bring this stray home!"...she rolled her eyes and went back under the bed. Yesterday, I went to the bathroom forgot to shut the door to my room behind me and she snuck into my room. When I emerged from the potty there she was staring at the dog and waiting for me as if to say "See, I see the dog, I'm not zapping, can we please get over this locking me out thing!" Again she rolled her eyes and walked out..tail in the air.

I love my "kiddies". They are completely different but 100% lovable. Jinxi is a cat that only a mother could love. Due to her lack of affection and concern for others no one seems to really like her but me. And that's ok. I love her to pieces. I hope she and Mossimo look out for each other like family should! I may not be ready for REAL kiddies, but I am certainly on my way! Besides, my brother and his wife are having enough for all of us. 6 for them! I'm sure what I'm experiencing however, doesn't even REMOTELY scratch the surface of the true intricacies of mothering human little ones. I am enjoying the responsibility none the less. Mothers are amazing, it seems that their work is never done and decision making takes place all day EVERY DAY!! When your an adult you can't live with them (literally) but as a child it's hard to live without them!

Mossimo and Pablo after their ride to the office

Home At Last

Visiting with Takiyah

Wouldn't be complete without my Jinxi Salmonela Allywishes Stewart!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl Blues...

Usually Superbowl Sunday I wake up with a bolt of energy and strategically plan my day of a fantastic season culmination with a grand football game. This year it was different. It is true that I wasn't really excited about either team. Not truly a fan of either, but there have been other superbowls (plenty actually) where my teams haven't made it and I'm still excited to just watch the game. But this year was different and I couldn't shake it. Even when my bff faithfully called by the second to update me on the pre-game festivities, I just couldn't work up even one solitary woohoo. I have been in a really frustrating slump with the pigskin sport since about the middle of the season. And yes, it did coincidently become clear by about that time that neither the Eagles or the Ravens would see the postseason but that really wasn't the MAIN reason that my love for the game was declining as the season went on. I just couldn't muster up my normal vigor for it. This behavior is not only abnormal but down right embarrasing for a football fan such as myself. When the Ravens finally got rid of Brian Billick and took on John Harbaugh, the newbie from PHILLY...I still only greeted it with an average yahoo at best. What was happening to me?

I'll tell you what happened. I figured out today that football was reminding me of politics. It was no longer a battle of the best team coming out on top but a referee influenced, money dictating, cheaters walking type of display. I couldn't tell sometimes whether I was watching commentaries or campaign speeches. I love the raw, the brute...the complete battle to be the best during the last quarter of the year. I look forward to the players vying for attention, stats, fans and endorsements. It is the blood, sweat and tears of win or go home in the post season that leaves me breathless. The struggle every week to crush your opponent to add another W to the record. The trash talking and promises of punishment and pain to the opponent and then the smile and high five at the end to show sportsmanship. I LOVE THE GAME OF FOOTBALL. But this season it proved to take on a completely different feel.

The New England Patriots were caught at the beginnng of this season video taping the defensive plays and signals of their opposing teams. They had their videographer capture the play signals on tape so that they would have an unfair advantage during the game because they would know the plays that other teams were going to run. Apparently, this behavior has been going on "for years"..and according to another supposedly "outstanding" coach, by very many teams. However, only ONE team was caught holding the bag. I can't tell you how many teams have actually cheated, I can only tell you that one team was CAUGHT. I watched Roger Goodall and the powers that be handle this NFL scandal and anxiously awaited the penalty and outcome. I waited to see how the players and other coaches would react. Waited to see how the fans would surely protest in outrage at the idea of spending their hard-earned money to see cheaters. At the end of the day it seems that I was the only one enraged.

Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 which was paid by the owner of the Patriots, Robert Kraft (which is like $1.00 to him). The tapes with the proof of the cheating were destroyed and Roger Goodall, Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick all three only spoke of the "incident" once. SERIOUSLY?? The media, players and fans were then advised to overlook this situation and focus on the fact that the Patriots were WINNING GAMES. I don't think I even realized how disgusted I was with the whole situation until the end of the season when the Patriots were going for their perfect season record...(which by the way is only perfect if you WIN the superbowl)..AWWW..It's kind of like watching the nephew of the boss take the position that you know someone else who has worked much harder deserves...yeah, kinda sucks. But today is proof positive of what parents and teachers have been saying for years - CHEATERS NEVER WIN...(even when it seems like they are going to cause they are 18-0 going into the bowl)!

I don't mean to speak so harshly of the boys in blue...I actually think that they are a good football squad. But that's the key...good...not GREAT! I have watched them win game after game by a simple field goal and wondered when someone was finally gonna take them down. When the scandal was exposed, I selfishly thought of my Eagles who lost to them in the superbowl several years back by that same field goal and wondered if they were calculating all our plays back then as well.

Maybe next year there will be two spots available for the superbowl...instead of the one offered after the Patriots are handed theirs. I look forward to the return to competition, real battling between two teams and the better team getting ALL the glory. I can't wait to be EXCITED about Superbowl Sunday again!

Congrats to the Giants and Giants fans! It's a good day to be a Manning!


Thursday, January 31, 2008

Shaneia Who?

I've recently had an epiphany. I have discovered after thorough research that I am a HUGE fan of ABC Primetime. I never really thought I was much of a TV watcher but as it turns out I think I watch enough to be considered an expert on the subject. Although I am a fan of Discovery Channel and MSNBC, I really enjoy Primetime Dramas..and I have come upon the realization that ABC is my fave. Foregoing the obvious, Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice I have recently become a fan of Big Shots, Eli Stone, Cashmere Mafia, Ugly Betty, and an occasional Supernanny. And that is a lot of television to enjoy on one evening network. I have even decided after three completed unwatched seasons to finally give Lost a chance. ABC Kids also hosts my Disney Faves - Suite Life of Zack & Cody, That's So Raven and Hannah Montana. So, it is with unwavering certainty that I am declaring ABC my favorite local network. And yes, I am aware that Oprah comes on WBAL, but did you know that Oprah's new reality show (premiering Sunday March 2nd), Oprah's Big Give, is debuting got it...ABC. Enough of the plugs (I should get paid for this)!

On my journey to this very pertinent discovery I purchased a new Ipod Nano. With my new purchase comes the ability to watch television whenever I so please and because of this new perk I decided to peruse the shows that Itunes has to offer...And I came across Samantha Who?. I've seen the previews for this show for months now and was never really interested in watching. Partly because I missed the pilot, (I am completely anal about watching something from the beginning and in chronological order if at all possible) and secondly because the show didn't seem to have anything that I thought would keep my interest. However, with my new toy and having seen most everything that Discovery had to offer I decided to give it a try. After all, it was on ABC.

It was almost perfect timing to be watching this show during the New Year change. The show follows a young successful business woman who seems to have it all prior to a life changing accident leaving her with amnesia. She had a successful career, a long-term relationship with what's supposed to be a stud and a group of superficial and ruthless chick friends. The three things that most young, career-minded women would agree are the points of a complete triangle in a well balanced life. The only problem is she learns after coming out of a coma that she doesn't really like the person that she has become. She is discovering that during her pursuit of these things she has completely lost sight of herself and the morals that she believed would always be important to her. She wakes up to a mother that she later learns she hasn't spoken to in years, and a best friend that she had in middle school that her mother assumes she still talks to. And there her journey begins. Samantha is forced to remember, re-evaluate and recreate a life that upholds the positives of what she has built and quickly modify to improve the person that she wants to be. Except...she has the benefit of not remembering how foul her mistakes have been. Without the lingering stink of past mistakes reminding us of our wrongful pasts, starting over can actually be a tangible silver lining.

While watching these first 9 episodes it hit me...Isn't this what we are all doing? All of us. Aren't we attempting to remember the good things that we have built and improve the things that we need to change? Aren't we continuously striving to be a benefit to ourselves, a blessing to others and a vessel for our maker? Samantha needed a wake up call. She needed an opportunity to step back and realize that although pursuing material gain she had completely strayed from being the REAL person (friend, daughter, girlfriend) that she should be. She gets a second chance to change. To be BETTER. At the end of the pilot episode Samantha realizes all those things - past hurts, bitternesses, losses that she was holding onto she no longer remembered and this was her real opportunity to do life over.

I know I am completely late for the New Year but I have shamelessly discovered that starting over is great! I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO START FROM SCRATCH! I dont mean to make new years resolutions, but to really look at myself and decide if this is the person (daughter, sister, friend) that I am intending and content to be. Although I can say that I am proud of my relationships and my roles in them I can also recognize (without the coma- Thank God) that there are some things that could stand improving. I want to continually work on being a better me, it's a NEVER ending process. One that can start today (or whatever day it was that I was watching the show). Be it January 1st or April 12th when your epiphany comes, take the opportunity to put the necessary changes in place to develop your new you. Eating right, not just to lose a few pounds, but because living healthy makes living last longer. Giving more, because people need, God commands us to and we can't take it with us anyway. Although I have always been a supporter of change, doing it is harder than talking about it. I am reminded that free will gives me the opportunity to do what I've been thinking or talking about at any given moment.

Learn from Samantha Who... Whether your changes need to be the company you keep, the amount you save or simply the foods you eat, there is no time like the present to make it happen. It is always a great day to get your affairs in order. Although it may take time for those changes to become permanent for you and your growth noticeable to others, you will have yourself one proud moment when they become apparent (right Wynter). Happy New Year.