Category Archives: Blogging

Reasons To Smile

 

Me...smiling.

Me…smiling.

Far too often we focus on the things that make us upset or piss us off. Thanks to a SITS writing prompt recommended by my fabulous pitch partner and fellow blogger, this post is dedicated to the things that made me smile this week. I must admit that I had to give significant thought to this question as I’m accustomed to having a dreadful glass half-empty viewpoint on most situations. Sadly, I can fire off a list of stuff that angers me with little to no contemplation. But the good thing is I’m in the process of changing that, starting with this post! That said, here are a few things that happened this week to turn my frown upside down:

1. Making progress at a new writing gig: Twice a week, I’m responsible for posting at least three entertainment related articles. Usually, I pitch to my editor, then post, lather, rinse and repeat until I have three write-ups. But this week, I finally managed to simultaneously pitch all three article ideas and have them accepted at once. Sounds like a small feat, but hey, it made me smile and relieved some pressure. Also, yesterday was the first time since I started this gig that I felt completely in a groove where my writing is concerned. I feel like I’m recognizing and developing my unique writer’s voice and constantly creating is a true testament to the mantra, “Practice makes perfect.” Continue reading

Motivated by Shame pt. 1

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Although life taught me early on that procrastination could lead to unfavorable results, the lessons of the past still haven’t kept me from dashing out of my front door with 10 minutes to get to work on time, hairbrush in one hand, breakfast in the other.  It seems that no man, woman, or child can curb my relentless addiction to waiting until the last possible minute to handle my business.  But one dirty little motivator always manages to get me back on track when I least expect it. ‘Tis true that I can be motivated by shame.

Exhibit A (as if anyone needs convincing): My 11th grade government teacher. Mrs. B**** tasked us with creating a presidential campaign slogan and including it on design for a pin. My slogan was a creative play on my first name, but my design left a LOT to be desired. I knew this heading into class that day, as I had struggled to complete the assignment out of sheer laziness and oh–here’s that word again–procrastination. I sheepishly handed in my paper and eased into my seat, prepared for a lecture, but what Mrs. B had in store for me would stick with me for life. Continue reading

Never Have I Ever…

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During a recent episode of VH1′s “Hollywood Exes,”  I watched the group of glamorous celebs’ ex-wives engage in a few rounds of a good ol’ drinking game called “Never Have I Ever,” in which one person names an activity they’ve never participated in, while the persons who have indulged in that particular activity are required to take a shot. Their activities of choice mostly involved experimenting with drugs and various sexual exploits, but it got me thinking about the people I’ve spoken to and some of the things I’ve heard people say they’ve never done or experienced.

The first person who came to mind was my grandma. I’m pretty sure she’s bypassed all the stuff these ladies copped to, but in addition to that, she also never learned to drive. Then, there’s my sister-in-law, a 41-year-old wife and mother who hasn’t had so much as a sip of alcohol. As someone who has gone through somewhat of a wino phase, I admire her ability to bypass the booze. I doubt she’ll break down and have a sip of the sauce anytime soon, but I try to keep my camera handy just in case she does.

One time I was discussing my travel plans with a co-worker, she told me she’d never been to the beach. I gasped because even though the nearest beach from my home is about 300 miles away,  I refuse to allow distance to keep me away from my beloved ocean waves. In my co-worker’s case, the sucky part is that she’s visited California a couple times, L.A. in fact. But circumstances beyond her control prevented her from sticking her feet in the sand. Therefore, I’ve started a one-woman campaign to get her to take a trip to the beach sooner than later. Continue reading

Burpees or Babies?

During a short MegaBus commute between Dallas and Austin today, I listened to a baby’s throaty, gurgling laughter and thought ‘Awww, how cute!’–until an hour and a half (and several frayed nerves) later passed and she was still guffawing. Oh, the joys of babyhood, a time in life in which one finds humor in a freezing cold double-decker bus instead of sharing my annoyance with the lady behind me for mindlessly breaking the silence by screaming into her cell phone in Spanish.

As both the baby and the loud-mouthed lady continued to blabber, I recalled running around the block with my trainer early this morning as we approached a park filled with the sound of excited children.

“Kids,” she muttered, “they scare me.” At the moment, I was trying hard to convince myself that the cramp in my side wasn’t a burst appendix, so all I managed was a breathy, “Yeah.”

Translation: The thought of having kids scares me more than any horror film ever could, for a number of reasons:

What about life?

Work + Marriage + Side Hustle + Friends + Family + Personal Interests + Sleep + Endless List of Other Important Stuff = Where the hail am I supposed to fit a kid in this equation? The answer must be linked to one of those imaginary numbers I heard about in algebra class.

What about what pregnancy/childbirth does to a woman’s bawdy, specifically those who are 30 and up?

Before someone else mentions it, I know Halle Berry just did it (again), but so what?!? Yeah she’s 40+, but she’s been physical perfection for quite some time. I’ve just now become dedicated enough to regular exercising to develop some visible muscle definition and get through several 30-second sets of nonstop burpees without seeing spots. Vain as it is, I’m afraid that if I have a kid, my not-so-youthful body won’t soon recover from the trauma of giving birth. Continue reading

She Pulverized Me: My First Grade Teacher

My elementary school memories mostly consist of dense fog, but there’s nothing like a favorite teacher to penetrate the clouds and shine light on the past.

Enter Mrs. Brooks, my awesome yet fear-inducing first grade teacher. A tiny, sharply dressed woman of about 50, she frequently peered over her glasses to issue mean stare-downs and threats. Her powerhouse tendencies kept students and colleagues in line.   My mom credits her for arguing my case against the stubborn principal, who initially refused to skip me up to her first grade class.  Thanks to her efforts, I only spent two weeks in kindergarten.

She had an unrivaled passion for education and ran an unbelievably structured class. One day while reviewing a set of math problems for an upcoming test, her eyes narrowed as she zeroed in on her target of the moment: class troublemaker, Terrance. Oblivious to the impending doom, he feverishly chatted with his neighbor.

“Terrance if you don’t stop talking I will pulverize you!” she roared.

That got everyone’s undivided attention. Holding the gaze of a now-shivering Terrance, in one hand she wielded ”Brown Sugah” the long, masking tape-wrapped yard stick we would all come to fear. She waved it about, asking who knew the meaning of that awful sounding word. We gave her a collective blank stare, but we left class knowing the definition, the spelling and how to use it in a sentence.

I went home that day repeating both words over and over, allowing their significance to sink into my 5-year-old brain. Soon, I connected the dots: I’d better not procrastinate on my studying because if I got a bad grade, Mrs. Brooks would pulverize me. 1 +1 =2. Simple enough. Continue reading

Falling Out of Fear

For quite some time now, Fear has successfully convinced me that I can’t and I shouldn’t, therefore I didn’t and I wouldn’t…until recently, when I decided that he had dealt the absolute last blow to my self-esteem. After years of putting up with Fear manipulating me, embarrassing me in front of my friends and family, relentlessly criticizing me and starting pointless arguments right before I meet my girls for drinks, I decided the only way was out.

There was no going back after this, so I packed my shit (again) and prepared to go out with a bang.
Much like the other fights we’d had over the years, I cursed and damned him to hell loud enough for the neighbors to hear, threw stuff and threatened to burn the place to a crisp.
“This is it!” I yelled. My wild eyes narrowed as the suppressed madwoman inside me clawed her way to the surface. “Don’t call me, don’t come looking for me at my mama’s house or my job and if you see me in the streets, I suggest you cross to the other side.”
That said, one enraged sweep of my arm cleared a nearby dresser of its contents. Cologne bottles and picture frames clinked and crackled loudly, breaking beneath the pressure of my angry steps. I slammed his door and kicked it as a final expression of utter disdain.
A few months passed and I was becoming accustomed to the idea of living without Fear.  This undoubtedly left me feeling raw and exposed, like a freshly peeled potato. I cautiously approached the idea of going it alone, living life in a Fear-less manner. Little by little, I allowed my mind to tip-toe towards that possibility, carefully spoon-feeding it positive imagery and promises of a life fulfilled.
Just as my optimistic mindset began to blossom, Fear showed back up dressed in his signature style, smelling of his favorite cologne. It was the same scent I stomped on during my grand finale exit. When I noticed the smell clinging to my shoes, I’d tossed them in the trash.

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Write For My Life

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Recently I joined writer and editor Britni Danielle‘s “The Write Pitch” seminar, an online class of sorts where she produces weekly videos designed to help writers break into freelancing. The first session focused on why one wants to pursue writing as an occupation.

The three questions that prompted serious consideration were:

1. What do you hope to gain by becoming a professional writer?

2. Describe your ideal life and how writing fits in it.

3. Are you prepared to go into business for yourself?

In thinking about my answers, I dug deep and came out feeling quite certain about my goal of becoming a professional writer. I truly appreciate her for posing these questions because examining the meaning behind one’s actions can sometimes shift perspective and reveal things that may not always be evident. Nevertheless, I’ve always been quite sure that writing is my calling.  I’ve kept a journal since I was a 9-year-old, babbling about my crush or documenting the daily happenings on the bus ride to school.

Today, I am a married woman in search of personal, spiritual and emotional freedom and fulfillment. But inside, that 9-year-old lingers, waiting on me to re-commit to her craft and document my life experiences so others may learn from my ups, downs, joys, mistakes and successes. Thinking about why I want to write was very enlightening and prompted me to create this post. Below are my responses:

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