#SummerSixteen - Reading List Reflections: My Year of Yes Indeed ❤️📚
At the start of every year, we seem to place an extra emphasis on the effort of re-evaluating ourselves..we try to improve our perspectives, we discover new places we want to go, activities we want to try, or at the very minimum, come head on with habits that we want to break. We make vision boards, and bucket lists, and overdose on fancy quotes..but, despite the clichés, at the end of the day I still think its important to visualize and map out a plan for yourself, even if everything on that plan doesn't come to fruition on your time, still....celebrate that. Because baby steps matter. Lol. Break it down to the little things like writing it out and making it a tangible reality for yourself. Create a blueprint. Journal as much as you can..Put post it notes on everything, Gabrielle Union "Mary Jane" style..Whatever works. I used to like to put magazine clippings of words and sayings on my vanity mirror so all the positive messages were the first things I saw when I was getting ready each morning. What can I say? It works for me. Find what works for you. The way we speak to God, our children, and ourselves are the most important conversations we have, so make those words, WORK. As you can probably tell, I'm a huge believer in the beauty and the power of words. I grew up in a big southern creole family in New Orleans, and there was always somebody at our house *rolls eyes* lol......my mom would find me hiding in closets with flashlights, reading books...that's where I first fell in love..so, as i was reading this book it was refreshing to find out that Shonda Rhimes also hid in the pantry as a kid creating new worlds of her own.. So, low-key, our common bond made me feel like an undiscovered genius. Lol...needless to say this book is overflowing with black girl magic dripping from every page. From Shonda, the queen of Thursday nights and the ruler of Shondaland, to Shonda the mother, the sister, and Shonda the friend..she takes us on a journey we can ALL connect to. My Year of Yes isn't going to be the same as Shonda's, or Oprah's, or Gayle's or Iyanla's or yours, we all receive information differently. And as someone who loves to read, I'm always looking for the lesson. We're halfway through 2016, and as we're embarking on our summer reading lists, i wanted to share my experience and how the lessons in this book helped me apply abundance into my daily routines. Here's my year of yes indeed..
Sorry Not Sorry. My mom always said, no matter how messed up the situation is, you simply can't expect an apology from someone who doesn't think that they were wrong....sounds fair enough right? ...There are times in life when you'll find yourself accepting apologies that you'll never receive, and on the flip side, you'll also find yourself apologizing for things that you shouldn't be. What I noticed though, is that i had spent most of my life serving up and dishing out apologies like free samples at Costco, but wasn't receiving half as many in return. I was apologizing so much it became habitual, i was apologizing for things that weren't even my fault, like if someone else dropped something, "I'm sorry" was just a natural instantaneous reaction for me. Like, wtf? And it was almost as if a part of me died each time i said it, because I was allowing other people to subconsciously withdraw from my spirit without adequately depositing back into it. I was carrying weight on my shoulders that was never mine to carry. For instance, I was sorry that I've been thin all my life, no matter what i ate, because there were other women miserably struggling to lose weight every single day. I was sorry that i had a healthy pregnancy, delivering a son who was perfect, and amazing, and so full of life, because there were women in the world who had been trying to conceive for years, surviving miscarriage after miscarriage. I was sorry for things i couldn't control, i was sorry for my shortcomings, as well as my successes, i was just......sorry. Sorry for being me. Sorry to the point where even my blessings made me feel guilty. I didn't feel comfortable talking about or sharing the moments that made me happy, because i didn't want to make anyone else feel uncomfortable, or slighted, or overlooked. That was the most poisonous thing I could have ever done to myself. I could literally feel myself shrinking on the inside. Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you, depression starts here. I was slighting myself. I was overlooking myself. I was hurting myself, to avoid even the smallest possibility of hurting others. I had to take a step back, come full circle with my trials, as well as my triumphs, and recognize the power I had to change my circumstance. I made a decision to stop surrounding myself with people who belittled my personal battles when times were bad, and those who made me feel guilty for being happy when times were good. Telling someone to not complain about their struggles because there's always someone who has it worse, is the same as telling someone they shouldn't be too thankful for their blessings because theres always someone who has it better. Own your shit. This life, this story, is YOURS. No one's path is the same. The minute you stop comparing, you stop apologizing. I am exactly who i am, and no, I'm NOT sorry about it.
Celebrate YOU. Once I stopped apologizing, I started celebrating. Because the only obvious next step once you stop being sorry for being you, is celebrating being you. There's no guilt in being joyful and thankful for where you are and how you got there. Happiness is humble. It's not about flaunting your blessings in anyone's face, it's about that inner glow, that self-satisfaction that comes with being proud of your path thus far, and your optimism going forth. Milestones are meant to be commemorated, don't wait for anyone else to recognize you the way you recognize yourself. Give yourself that birthday party, or that engagement dinner, go and celebrate that promotion, that new house!! There will always be people who won't come, there will always be people with "plans".....leave their salty asses at home because the people who sincerely fuck with you will be there. And the people who did all they could to come, but simply couldn't make it, will be obvious. Trust.
The art of accepting compliments. HAIR. Its been the story of my life since childhood. Hair....everywhere. Just thick, and heavy and sometimes simply unmanageable. My mom would set my long hair with rollers and sit me on top of two yellow page phone books, for two hours under the dryer. You ever sat on a phone book? For two hours? In the scorching heat?? I say child abuse, but hey I guess that's still up for debate. Lol. My cousin/hairstylist would always tell my mom "You know when she gets to college she's going to cut all her hair off right?" I waited a few years past Freshman year, but that day inevitably arrived when I was 23 years old. I was about 3 months pregnant when I made the big chop, and I was lucky that it wasn't a bad decision/hormonal haircut. It was actually really, really cute :) It was addictive, I just kept going shorter, and shorter..I would cut it, shave it, color it, my hair was my favorite experiment....then 3 years ago, I got a buzzcut. And I love, love, loved it❤️❤️, people would ask me if I would ever grow my hair back long again, my answer was always something like "Are u crazy? This is amazing lol." And then one day, about a year and a half ago, I woke up and suddenly I had a new experiment. I like to challenge myself, so i did. I challenged myself to "Project Grow Out", lol. And boy, has the struggle been REAL. The original mission was something like, "..lets see how long i can grow my hair out before it starts to drive me nuts.." And with hair as thick as mine, many days I've been tempted to grab some clippers and go straight 2007 Britney Spears on y'all, any minute now...but, the patience I've learned along this journey has been priceless. It's funny because when I first cut my hair, my friends from back home would say "OMG you cut all your hair off!!!" and my new friends would say "I can't even imagine you with long hair." And when I'd show them pics, they'd freak. But, along this "grow out" process, the reactions are mostly the same, "You're growing your hair out?? I love it!!" ...Me however? Eh. I guess cause I'm the one that has to deal with it everyday, lol. I wasn't really here for it at first. Aside from the patience (which I needed desperately by the way), its taught me to step out of the box and try new natural styles while I'm in the "in between" phase, styles that i normally wouldn't try, but most importantly, its taught me how to be better at accepting compliments. Whenever people compliment me, especially on my hair, I would reply with a sarcastic joke, or an awkward comment like "Omg stop, my hair is a mess." All of this is related to the apology theory, and the self celebrations, and the complete downplaying of uplifting myself. And.....why?? So I don't make other people uncomfortable?? Or so don't I don't make myself feel uncomfortable?? Maybe both. But, what I've learned is, if you're comfortable, you're not growing. I find myself outgrowing people and situations everyday. And guess what?? You're damn right my hair is cute.
Resources. Sometimes, when the struggle gets real, its easy to look around you and think there's no way out. It's easy to get comfortable within the confines of our realism, not allowing ourselves to experience the openness of our optimism. When my back is against the wall, I've tried to develop a habit to look for the cracks. Once you find the cracks in the wall, you'll start to see the light seeping through. You just have to look around. Resources are all around you, and knowing how to utilize your resources can be the defining factor in finding the happiness in where you are, and where you're headed. Sometimes, at my day job, there are moments where i have more downtime than others. But, instead of punching the clock waiting for time to pass, i started to use that time more efficiently by reading more, researching more, and writing more while saving everything to my mobile cloud. Why work 8 hours a day for someone else and not make time to work for yourself? This state of mind helped my day-to-day routine almost immediately. I began to look forward to going to work, getting all my major morning paperwork out-of-the-way, making a clear space for my own personal productivity, while maintaining the desk phones at my job. I found this to be more a constructive way of time management at work, instead of spreading tedious work out throughout the day, with major gaps of downtime in between.
Work hard. Play harder. Not what you think it is. Ok, well maybe. The subject of time management as I discussed above, flows fluidly into this next paragraph. Utilizing my time at work properly, has improved how i use my time at home. I don't have to "make" time to be creative. I don't have to schedule writing in after my daily duties as a full-time employee and a full time mom, because I already handled it. So when I get home, sometime in-between dinner and homework, I make sure to give my son at least an hour of my undivided attention. Now i admit, with a 9-year-old boy...it can be an adjustment. I was a sporty chick when i was young, so i prefer basketballs over Barbie dolls anyway. But, this new generation with their technology and their video games are definitely giving me a run for my money. As a mom, I've learned that all he's asking for is my interest. So, i let him teach me. He shows me all the fascinating things he's built in Minecraft, and i was honestly truly impressed. He's an all-star soccer player. And he's obsessed with cars. By the time he's 15 i won't have to pay for an oil change ever again. He teaches me so much, as long as i give him my attention. And that's with any kid. Nothing helps you take that big sigh of relief at the end of your day like knowing those around you are fulfilled by you just showing up.
..So there's my long ass drawn out 3000 word synopsis of how Shonda Rhimes helped shape my 2016. Take it or leave it. Lol. If you're still reading by now, then I've done a damn good job. But for real though, we should be just as selective with the things we feed our brain as we are with the things that fill our stomach. Hopefully this helped someone looking for a new book to dive into this summer, or simply provided an energizing perspective on the "routine of receiving" from the things we read. Cause yes indeed, sometimes you have to escape into the pantry, take control of your reality, remember where you started...