Category Archives: Challenges

The Benefits of Having an Alter Ego

Sad woman with Superhero's Shadow on wall

Quite often the sheer act of existing feels downright overwhelming. Sometimes I wake up and before my eyes adjust to the morning light, a never-ending to-do list sidles into my mind and sprints off towards a mirage of a finish line. If you ask me, that’s just too much pressure before breakfast. At that point, I want to do nothing more than drift back into a peaceful sleep where deadlines, bills, emotions or any other concern that’s popular amongst the living mean about as much to me as a crack in a sidewalk.

But life beckons, and I eventually roll out of bed, sometimes sliding down the side of it, other times sitting up with an attitude and a curse word forming on my lips. It is then that I realize how badly I need a stunt double. Since Texas is a day’s drive from Hollywood and my house isn’t a movie set, I’ve decided to settle for the next best thing: an alter ego.

Nicki Minaj has Roman Zolanski. Garth Brooks had Chris Gaines. Eminem has the maniacal Slim Shady. And Lady Gaga has Jo Calderone. Now, I’m not sure what in the hell she needs with an alter ego because she seems to be quite the handful all by herself/selves, but that only confirms that having a little spare personality buddy can’t hurt.  And finally, if Beyoncé has an alter ego on her payroll, then goshdarnit, so can I. I’m far from a member of the Beyhive, but there’s no doubting the benefits that the Sasha Fierce transformation hath wrought upon her life.
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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

7 Ways Working a 9-5 is Like Being On a Reality Show

This is the one time I wanna be like Kim---no longer a cast member.

This is the one time I wanna be like Kim (pictured in gold)—no longer a cast member.

So today, I’m pissed and totally over the work drama, so let’s skip the fancy intro and get right to it. Here’s a list of seven ways jobs make their employees feel like they’re on the set of a sleazy reality show, only the lighting isn’t flattering and workers aren’t getting the hit singles, paid club appearances, Christian Louboutins and fresh sew-in weaves in exchange for their troubles.

1. Ain’t nobody f*ckin’ with my clique, clique, clique…: Ahhhh, cliques. The delightful dollop of people who consist of a lumpy, co-dependent, shit-talking mass of conjoined humans. They tend to share a brain, so it’s no wonder they don’t take too kindly to outsiders. They routinely convene about when and what to think, and the unfortunate soul who manages to permeate their wall of nasty judgments and constant gossip regrets it immediately and hopefully has the wherewithal to retreat just as quickly, lest they wish to give up their souls to the devil in exchange for the coveted honor of “fitting in.”

2. Bullies: Quite frankly, I don’t buy into the notion that adults can’t be bullied. Just like they appear on each cycle of Tyra Banks’ “America’s Next Top Model,” a narcissistic, sociopathic bully seems to be a workplace staple. I’ve dealt with my fair share of them, from an alcoholic, racist judge who thought it was cute to unplug my automatic stapler each time she passed my desk, to other co-workers who took more pride in delivering stare-downs and partaking in feverish whispering sessions than they did in actually working. Just like aggressive playground tyrants and reality show jerks, most of the in-office offenders don’t stop unless their targets knock them flat on their asses, whether in the form of an official complaint or a nice-nasty tongue-lashing. (Full disclosure: Both methods have worked for me.  There are other methods, but…nevermind.) Continue reading

Don’t Pity Me, Fool

                                     I'll pass on the pity.

I’ll pass on the pity.

At this very moment, there’s a voicemail on my phone that I haven’t heard. I know who it’s from and have been hoping the message and its owner will disappear if I continue to ignore them. Why? Because the person who called thrives on doling out pity and I am not here for it.

For the record, this isn’t the average pity. It is of the Incredible Hulk variety, complete with bulging, green muscles and an uncontrollable nature that when unleashed, freely tramples innocent bystanders. In other words, he takes no pity on those he overwhelms with pity.

A conversation with him goes something like this:

Him: “Hey stranger, how have you been?”

Me: “Hey there, I’m good. You?”

Him: “I’m doing great! You sure you’re OK? You sound kinda down.”

Me: “Yeah, I’m fine. Just feeling a little under the weather.”

Him: “Oh nooooo!!! That’s AWFUL! I hate to hear that! Are you sure you’re gonna be OK? If there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know. I feel SO bad for you.”

Me: *Silence* 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…

never image

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

Feet, Thou Art Loosed

My feet, buried in the sand:-)

My feet, buried in the sand:-)

Recently, I talked with a 26-year-old woman who didn’t wear sandals until she was 22 because she was embarrassed by her feet, in particular the shape of her big toe.  Thinking about how her hang-up might impact her son who inherited the same unique big toe, she finally shoved an uncovered foot up the butt of her insecurity and wore shoes that exposed her feet.

She didn’t know it, but I was right there with her, battling the constant shame I have of my ugly toes.

For a long time, I refused to show my feet. I would scan the Avon magazines left lying around the office, admiring the models’ flawless, dainty toes. Talking with friends invariably leads to a discussion on physical hang-ups, so I know of quite a few people who say they’d jump at the chance at cosmetic surgery. Mostly everyone mentions nose jobs, boob jobs and tummy tucks, while I keep my desire for a toe replacement to myself. (Is that even an option?) 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

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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Why it’s Bad to Hold It

After hanging out last night, I woke up feeling a little down in the dumps. Had one margarita too many and revealed something I should’ve kept to myself.  So all day, I did what I often do when something plagues me–I wallowed. I slept off and on through a Rockefeller documentary, ate a bunch of junk food and scrolled my Twitter timeline. Just as the sun set, I left the house to drive around the lake in an effort to clear my mind.

Back at home, I still hadn’t showered, an act that serves as a personal signal that I’m ready to shake my slump. I sat down at the piano and began practicing. Suddenly, I had an epiphany. I wanted to feel better. However, I didn’t want to do what it took to get there. But why not?

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