Category Archives: Writing

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

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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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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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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Calming Your Inner Tornado

Keep this away from the homefront.

Keep this away from the home front.

For me, a day at the office ends in quite the typical manner. I log off my computer, gather my things and say my goodbyes. All official duties stop once I hit that stretch of pavement between the building and my car. Or at least that’s my intention. Sometimes, I don’t realize I’ve subconsciously lugged home after-hours assignments until I’m in my living room, meticulously rehashing the day’s challenges to my husband. One day, in the middle of a particularly feverish rant, I stopped waving my arms around long enough to actually notice him. Even though I probably looked like I was about to take flight, his facial expression still puzzled me.

“What?” I asked him, clueless.

“Sometimes when you come home, you’re like a tornado,” he huffed, now clearly annoyed by my theatrics. “You just unleash all this stress and drama and it brings me down.”

Gulp.

For a split second, I almost took a defensive stance. I came thisclose to telling him how he was an insensitive jerk and to just shut up and support me and UGH!!! Instead, his blunt declaration stopped me dead in my tracks, forcing me to consider his words.

Realizing the accuracy of his assessment, I instantly felt draped in a shroud of shame. I had allowed my experiences on the job to infiltrate our personal space in a negative way.  I’d come to rely on him to allow me to vent and express my frustrations with no filter.  Suddenly, I worried that without an open-ear policy, my sanity would become a distant memory. Then, I recognized that in this moment, he chose to stop enabling me. I had to find a way to manage my frustrations without sacrificing a healthy home.  As a result, I came up with a list of remedies to stormproof the home atmosphere from the withering elements of life at the office:
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