Laughing Til the Tears Came

Yay!! It has been a year since I started this blog and well I can say is THANK YOU!!!

Well, I am back from vacay after spending time with my family and friends.  I was running on empty, but now I feel completely rejuvenated and ready to conquer these next hurdles to successfully close out 2010.  A little time away from the rigorous routine and good people will always feed the soul.
It is funny, I may have missed some of the moments if I wasn’t told the first day I was home visiting with my family to “put that phone down.”  In D.C. my blackberry lives within the security and comfort of my hands and I am often tweeting my experiences as they happen like most of my peers.  It is also how my friends from anywhere in the world connect instantly and interactively with other mutual friends.  It is genius.
However, back in the Deep South, prolonged phone use in the presence of others is still, even in 2010, considered rude.  At first, I was prepared to defend my stance on how the world is now a hybrid.  I have been well trained to multitask between my present reality and my virtual networks.  But I knew my case would fall on deaf ears and instead took a moment to understand their point of view.  Reluctantly, I placed my phone in my purse which is where it would remain for the majority of the trip.
While my phone was somewhere in the bottom of my purse, I had time to really enjoy the people I came to spend time with in the first place.  I was able to take in entire conversations and laugh hard without having to pause my outbursts to inform my virtual network so they could laugh too.  Usually, I would miss the next moment in my reality to respond the virtual reactions to my initial post about my reality.  Then I have to ask what I missed in my reality while I was interacting virtually, and it is never as funny as hearing it in real time.  I had forgot that laughing so hard and thoroughly bring tears to your eyes and eventually make your stomach ache…and your eyes sparkle and smile brighter.
So that is what I did.  I took it all in and lived in the moment in the presence of those who I was physically around.  And believe it or not, the world did not end.  I know, it’s crazy.

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Coming From Where I From

I’m pretty excited about going home this weekend. Yes, I will always refer to Dallas, my hometown, as home.  And while, I have always been eager to move away , I can never stay away for too long.  I’ve always understood that this place and those relationships are the core of my existence.
Specifically, I enjoy my time spent with older and elderly people.  In D.C most of my time is spent around my peers.  All of my jobs up until now have also been mostly ran and employed by people in my age group.  The level of comfort among people in your age group, regardless of position, is one of the things that make this city so fun.   Nevertheless, I miss spending my Sunday afternoons over one of the elders from the church’s house and just listening to their stories.
There is one older gentleman in particular whose house I used to visit for hours upon hours.  His home was one that anyone that knew him could just drop in or if you saw the patio open just step on in.  It was warm. As a child I would fall asleep on the couch and miss some of the life lessons shared in that home or on that patio.
This man married the love of his life for some 50+ years.  He loved her until the day she passed away which will be 15 years ago next week.  Well, really, if you talk to him today, he will still tell you that she is still his wife and the absolute love of his life.  And when people ask him if he would ever remarry, he would reply “I’m still married.  I promised to be with only her until the day I die, and well she would kill me if I had another woman up in her house.” Even as a young girl, I knew what they had was what I wanted.
He would also tell stories of growing up as a sharecropper and surviving the Great Depression, World War II, and Jim Crow.  He is not one to brag, but eventually I would ask about his roles in the local NAACP chapter and how used his business, community, and church to bring attention to the national civil rights movement and local concerns for social justice.
As he spoke, I envisioned him as a child, as a young man, and his progression up until the older man I see today.  It is through his stories that I am reminded that everything is only for a season and we are designed to grow. Yet, the most important thing he shared was his mistakes, the things he wished he would have done better, and oddly enough, the things that even at this point of his life where he still seeks improvement.  In a world where everything is instant and tries to give the illusion of perfection, it is home where I like to slow down, turn off the blackberry, and just enjoy these kinds of moments and learn something new about life.

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Reflections of a Sick Lady

Man, I missed ya’ll…

So feeling like you are near death has a way of giving you a brand new perspective on life.  It will also teach you a few lessons on life.  The first lesson is to follow your doctor’s orders and not improvise with my own remedies and substitutions.  Well actually, that is all I learned this week.
However, as I reflected, I realized I have nothing.  I own nothing.  It kind of made me sad because when I planned my life out at 18, by this point I would have lots, plenty, and an abundance.  Yeah…very little about that plan has turned out as I predicted.  Contrarily, the only things of value I have are the relationships established over time.  It is weird the people that God throws in your life.  I am often surprised that the people you least expect become the best of friends and the people you expect to be great fall short.  Despite this, love is consistent.  It exchanges hands often, it increases or decreases depending on its supplier, but the balance of love always remains intact.  This makes it easier to let go of and move forward when you know that the love supply in our lives will always be replenished by someone.
Well, I did learn another lesson. Those who love are there to help carry our load and vice versa.   It is easy for me to fall into superwoman mode and think I can handle it all by myself.  Or moreover, that my problems and shortcomings are nobody’s business.  And while it is a fine line to tow, I am blessed that I have people I can share the things in which I struggle or projects and aspirations that I am working toward.  These people help hold me accountable – both to myself and to my dreams.
After further reflection, I do own two more things.  I own my actions which lead to my progress… or my demise.  And I own my words that either speak life… or destroy.  People don’t put enough stock into these things nowadays.  But I see them as the most valuable thing I will ever possess.  These along with my relationships,  will bear my prosperous future.

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My Love Letter to My First Gray Hair

I found you at the tender age of 24.  Despite all the hair I have, you decided to make your debut at the very front of my head,  off to side, in perfect view whenever I rock my beloved ponytails.  I am not going to lie, at first, I hated you.  My life was not particularly stressful at the time so I didn’t understand why you were there and what purpose you sought to serve on my very young head.  My boyfriend at the time began calling me Storm, and that made me sadder.  I knew plucking you would only cause you to bring your homies next time, so I cut you down as close to the scalp as I could to deny your existence.  But you and your damn resiliency just kept growing back.  I don’t remember when I decided to just let you grow.  I decided you were a gift from wisdom and no longer a curse from stress.
That is until I recently found 7 more of you.  Now, I am back to blaspheming your existence.  These new gray hairs are clustered at the crown of my head.  I am not even 30 yet.  Obama is graying but he is the President of the United States.  I preside over nothing but my own existence and that is pretty stress free.
So maybe I am learning a few lessons.  Slowly. My aunt told me, “The same lessons come around until we learn them.”  And maybe per lesson learned I receive these silver strands to remind me that I am getting older and I do know better.  If this theory is correct I have learned 8 lessons to date, which seems about right.  So I begin to think on the lessons these silver strands represent.
1)       I cannot be everything to everybody. In my youth, I wanted to the perfect person to everybody.  So in school, I was the perfect student, after school I wanted to fit in with neighborhood kids.  I wanted to be the perfect girlfriend, so forth and so on.  Oddly enough, I never wanted to be the perfect child to my parents.  Anyway, I got to the point, where I stopped trying to wear all of these different hats and just try to be my most authentic self.  And I learned that being authentic requires fewer apologies than trying to be perfect.  I don’t like apologizing, which brings me to lesson # 2.
2)        Sometimes you will have to apologize even when you are right. I loathe this lesson. But I learned that there is a distinct difference in being right and going about being right the right way.  The latter requires more constraint and discipline that I typically like to exercise.
3)       Despite my efforts, I did grow up to be like my parents. As a teenager, I promised I wouldn’t that I would be completely different from my parents.  And in some ways I am.  In some aspects, I have fallen short of who they were.  They were homeowners by age of 22.  I am not.  And other ways, I am a continuation of their dreams.  But the combination of their spirit and core is by all means who I have become.   And I am finally at a point where I am okay with that.
4)       My cousins made me cool. I am an only child, and my parents were strict so I could have very easily ended up only book smart and lacking any street smarts.  That would have been a tragedy.  But my cousins, particularly on my father’s side, provided me with a balance that has contributed greatly to my persona and my successes.  Though I was trained in ballet, they taught me how to do the snake, wop it out, and to put a little more umph in the electric side.  They taught me how to stand up for myself.  They taught me how to curse, or maybe that was our Grandmother… But most important, they taught me what it means to be loyal and how to cheer the loudest to make sure the person feels your love.
5)       To Love on Their Standard. The saying, “treat others the way you want to be treated” is flawed.  To really love is learning to look beyond how you feel they should be treated them how they want to be treated.  Just because one man likes one thing doesn’t translate that the next man will like it the same.  Or how they want to be treated may evolve; what makes my mother happy now is very different that what made her happy when she was younger.  So in our love, we must be intuitive and listen to how a person wishes to be loved.
6)       The truth cannot be eluded, so wait for it. I used to want all the truth upfront and instantly.  I would damage friendships and relationships because I wanted to know any and all possible deceits so I could adjust my interactions with them accordingly.  As I got older, I know longer want to be Inspector Gadget and I have learned the truth will come out as soon as it is ready to.  I just have to wait for it.  And in this waiting time, I have learned to assess those connections with those people and their value in my life.
7)       Don’t panic. I was never really one to panic easily, but it is even less so now.  Everything will work out.  God doesn’t need my help, so I quit offering it.  God can also work around me, but then I would be a waste.   I prefer to be useful, and I know that everything and everybody has a purpose all working toward a greater purpose.  There is usually an email forward that goes out around the anniversary of September 11th and it tells of all the these incidents that happened to people that were supposed to be in the World Trade Center or on one of the planes that for whatever reason they were running late or missed the flight.  One was a story of a man that spilled coffee on his clothes and went back to change.  Another was a story of a lady with a sick child and so she called out.  Things that typically frustrate us but that day saved them.  So I don’t mind delays anymore because I don’t know what I am being protected from or what is being prepared for me in my delay.
8)       Don’t present a problem without a possible solution. I don’t know where I heard this. But it is genius.  It reduces complaining dramatically.  And then you have one of two options, be silent or become involved in your own progression.  I know some are saying, well it is not my problem, but if you take the time to help others you by default will become better than you were.

I will let you know if I find any more silver strands…

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