Day Three – Identifying My Values

Today’s exercise was to name my values. I initially was making it more complicated than it really was. All I had to do was list 10 things that’s important to me. Here’s what’s important to me.

  • Knowledge/wisdom/truth/spirituality – I can’t explain this. It’s just who I am. It’s what I do. I’m always looking at the “why”s of everything, I enjoy it.
  • Love – Love is a beautiful thing, when it’s mutual and unconditional. I love love and I love being in love
  • Family
  • Community – These are my brothers and sisters too. We need to adopt a mind-set that when one succeeds we all can. If one is down, we all should try to lift that person up.
  • Financial security – Money provides more choices. Choices offer freedom.
  • Advancement/personal growth & developement
  • Responsibility – one of the things I’m most passionate about. When people voluntarily take on responsibilities and then choose to neglect it just pisses me off. Especially, with children.
  • Peace
  • Fellowship/laughter/good times
  • Creativity – expression is essential.

Day Two – Life Assessment

Lifestyle: I love that I have a routine during week and free time on the weekends. It gives me something consistent to look forward to and free time for me to chill or be spontaneous. I love my hometown, but I feel boxed in. I hate that I don’t have my own and that my activities aren’t more diverse.

Work: I’m glad that I have a job to begin with.  There are so many people who have families and because of the selfish, greedy, rich wealth seekers  economy they can’t provide for them. I get to make a positive difference in the lives of adolescents. I’d do that for free. It is disappointing when clients aren’t ready for change; I understand that not everyone wants to be saved. I do not work in the capacity I would like to work in. I don’t like being limited to administrative projects. I want to do it all,  to be a part of a treatment team and make programmatic decisions. The program I work with now has a lot of potential, but it’s very stressful. It’s lacks space, resources, knowledgeable staff, and structure. In short, I’m overworked, over qualified, and underpaid.

Education:   I’m a student of life. I love that I graduated college. I love that I never contemplated changing my major. There are so many skills I want to learn, but I’m limited because of my lifestyle and finances. I hate that I didn’t push myself harder. I hate that I procrastinated and was not as focused as I should have been. I would have liked study at a different institution at some point, preferably a HBCU.

Finances: I have money coming in and I have not touched my savings. I don’t have to rely on anyone to have my basic needs met. However, the money coming in is not enough. I hate my income-to-debt ratio. I hate that I haven’t managed money properly in the past and now I’m literally paying for it. Oh, how I have learned!

Health: I’m in sound mind and I’m in good health. I desire to be more spiritual. What I don’t like is not being able to get a good night’s sleep, not feeling rested and my body fat percentage. I’m currently investigating how much of that is in my control. Wish I was consistent with nutrition and exercise. In a nutshell, I literally and figuratively feel like I’m trapped in a clear box on stage in front of an audience. I feel like I’ve been fighting with weights on, trying to get out of the box. I’m exhausted.

Family: I have good relationships with my parents and sister. I was raised well and I’m grateful for that. I feel loved and respected by all my family. I’m ready to start a family, but I’m not ready, ready. I’m not stable enough. I don’t have all the things needed to start a family. What do I hate? – That some of my family have chosen to live their lives in ways that burden others. That some of my family take on some much of others’ burdens that it becomes them. They are consumed by it. However, I’ve accepted that I can’t change them and perhaps I can lead by example.

Relationships: I’ve established lasting relationships with good, supportive, goal-oriented people with a sense of humor, common interests and outlook on life. Others, I haven’t and I battle with it. I can’t let it go.  I hate that I wasted valuable time, resources, and energy in situations where I should have just kept it moving.

In spite, I am blessed. Life is good.

Day One – Mantra

“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” — Anais Nin

Got this notebook from a choir member for Christmas. It's perfect...just in time!

I can’t stay here. Here is killing me. It’s time for a shift and I can’t look back. I have to position myself to receive what God has in store for me.

Farewell 2009, Hello 2010…

It’s New Year’s Eve and 2009 is on its way out.  I have 9 minutes til the new year. This has possibly been the most emotionally draining year of my life (because of Fall/Winter 2008). Started out unemployed, heartbroken, and stressed. Stressed about my standard of living, relationships  and responsibilities.  I was awarded $5000 in car funding scholarships in October 2008. This scholarship was the breakthrough that I had prayed for. I had extra money but poor money management. I found out on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving that, TUESDAY, was my last day working. Reason being, my scholarship maxed out my remaining unmet need AND cancelled out my work-study for the spring. Great, now I’m jobless days before my birthday and weeks before the holidays.  That means that my car and loan repayment money now has to sustain me til I start working again. So what did I do? I tore it down for Black Friday, bought everyone’s gifts and went out Saturday! On Christmas day,  I had my heart rolled over (because it had previously snatched out my chest and later left on the ground.) After which, I just picked it up  and put on a key chain. I still had my organizational obligations, I was president. After Fall 08 only two people were left in my chapter, my preggers prophyte and I. I felt like a mess had been dumped in my lap and no one was around to help me fix it, because graduation is/was important, duh! Then, a family crisis. Hello 2009! Family crisis, at least once a week in the wee hours of the morning (and it’s already carrying over into 2010). I’m talking about disturbing phone calls, prophetic dreams, insomnia, sleep paralysis, and headaches. All a result of this crisis. Next, someone stole my course materials from my car. I was not going to buy all those e xpensive resources again; I was still unemployed. So I had to make do. Shoutout to my Soror Lulu for helping me with that class. I don’t think I could have graduated without you :). So I get my learning papers and I have to move back home.  Moving back home is bittersweet. It’s great not having a  bunch of  financial responsibilities and now I can save for my house. However, as many of you know it’s very hard to deal with adults with/in their stuff when you’ve experienced your own. Viva la independence!

The Silver Linings  I must acknowledge these. If I don’t, I would be taking my life for granted and I fully understand that tomorrow is not promised, so I’m grateful for today (still 2009!). I graduated, in the midst of natural disasters and my self hinderance, and received my B.S in Psychology. A couple of weeks after graduation, I found a job, in my field of study! I’m getting everything lined up and making career moves. My education has allowed me to better assist with the family crisis. I know it’s a long road ahead, but my family will be better because of it.  As painful as this experience is (and I write this on the brink of tears) I thank God that I am part of the solution.  These generational curses will stop. Relationships *sigh*. I complicate things. I’m learning  to become happy with being alone. Learning to be happy even if the contact list in my phone is empty. At the end of the day, I can only count on me, right? Still learning to trust my intuition.  My eyes are opening, slowly. All these years I thought I was so mature because I carried myself respectfully in public and never shamed my parents. Because I understood that there is a time and place for everything. Because I didn’t show my ass (literally and figuratively). I now see how naïve I was. I’m seeing people for who they are and it’s quite disappointing. I thought I forgave to a fault. Turns out I wasn’t really forgiving, just rushing to get past something so I wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore. Everyone in my life has a season and I have trouble adapting to the climate change, lol.

 My plans for to 2010 are simple. I plan to keep living and opening my mind to ways of becoming better (physically, mentally, emotionally). I’m going to smile more. Not just because my smile is splendid awesomeness that everyone should witness, but because it feels good. I complain a lot and I want to tone that down. That’s why I titled this blog “Silver Lining Chronicles”. To remind me, and others, that no matter what happens, nothing is so bad that nothing positive can’t sprout from it. In closing, I’ll never stop laughing and loving, mostly because I’m goofy. I thank God for everything. Every day. Each breath. Each motor and mental skill success, lol.

Not Safe For Work

So, here I am, another day at the office, being the best employee I can be. At this phase in our program development we are setting up the facility. We’re taking almost all our inventory that was in storage and moving it a gazillion times in the facility. Fun, right? After many moves, everything was finally in one big room and sorted. Good job! When I say everything, think about everything an inpatient treatment facility with a built-in school would need, anything from pencils to fridge/freezer thermometers to cough syrup. Next, we (really, I) must inventory everything. Okay. I knew this day was coming, besides its part of my job. Ya know, the stuff I’m good at, organizing. I initially planned to go line by line to check what items we actually have against a master invoice spreadsheet (which lists every item and quantity we should have) Of course that would have been a huge task, but I wanted to be thorough and accurate. It’s nothing I couldn’t have done if I was left the hell alone. What did make that task harder was co workers coming in and grabbing random supplies with the intention of documenting everything they have. I can’t work like that. I’d prefer for me to do what I need to do without others interfering. So the next idea was to stop everyone from taking stuff and to start listing what and how much they have and then I’d do a master inventory of what’s left. Okay, this could work, for now. Everyone gave me a list of what they had.  I, along with three co workers completed a master inventory of what was left. So at this point, scribbled on random sheets of paper, was a count of everything. Next, I had to organize the raw data electronically. No problem, part of my job, stuff I’m good at. Unfortunately, I was off the next day and my co workers must have been idle. #2 in command decided it was a great idea to tell everyone to go AGAIN and get everything they need from the remaining, untouched inventory. What for? Why? We have no clients. The program has not commenced. What work could anyone be doing that they just HAVE to have a post-it note dispenser or a set of color pencils? Anyway, #2 called me that evening, all after the fact and told me about the work day. And I sure did express my discontentment. I’m not trying to be a “supply Nazi”, but when something is my responsibility I want to handle it the way that is most efficient for me and the company. I don’t need people screwing with stuff that I’m accountable for. I don’t need anyone’s help in looking like I don’t know what I’m doing.

So, I returned to work Monday, without seeing the full implications of #2’s actions. It’s only right that #2 has taken the whole week off. Monday, we moved everything AGAIN, this time, to the halls of the building to set up the remaining beds in the dorms. Tuesday, we unpacked the boxes and put the items in the respective areas. When it came time to store the office supplies, everyone went to lunch, except me. Great, doesn’t bother me any. I stored everything neatly. Everything is visible and retrievable. One would think that the hard part is over.

Today, Wednesday, after MOVING SHIT AGAIN, I sit down to tabulate the entire scribbled inventory. Forget checking with what we should have. Shit shouldn’t have to be moved on an average of twice a day. Mind you, I don’t have photographic memory, but my vision and memory are intact. I figured I’d make the master list one sheet and then put everyone’s individual items on their respective sheets, all in one big Excel document. So, I get to the item ‘desktop calculator’ and the quantity reads two. Remember, I put the office supplies into the storage cabinet. I only saw ONE desktop calculator. How can it be, that I only account for one calculator, but my list says two? Hmmm. So what does the Supply Tyrant/Sherlock Holmie have to do? Go around and ask every person if he/she has the damn desktop calculator. So I launch my investigation and I discover that one of the teachers has it. His response, “Well so and so told me to take what I need and wrote down what I took.” She did scribble everything down alright, in her cursive handwriting, on yellow notebook paper. How the fuck am I going to reconcile my records if people keep taking shit? At this point, I’m angry and I rant, audibly. Still professional, I just vocalized my frustrations to myself and the teacher agreed J I hate when people make my tasks harder. I hate when people recklessly complicate things for others. So I guess now, that master list, the one I and three co workers (including #2), worked on for a least an hour, singlehandedly counting everything, has to be disregarded.I’m still going to work on my inventory project but I’m not counting what was put in the cabinet, because I don’t have a photographic memory, nor am I going to go take everything out and count again. I’ll compile the lists of what everyone has against what we should have and whatever is left is assumed to be in the storage cabinet. If the numbers don’t match, oh the fuck well. That’s what happens when you constantly move stuff and people take stuff while stuff is in transition. I hate feeling like I’ve done something in vain. I hate feeling like my time has been wasted. I’m not over reacting. I’ve felt this way several times while working here. I will address my concerns at the next office meeting.

The Princess and The Frog – Review

Characters pictured: Tiana, Dr. Facilier (Shadow Man), Ray (firefly), Louis (gator), Prince Naveen (the frog) and Mama Oadie

On Saturday, December 12, 2009 I decided to do a “Sorors’ Day Out” (in the pouring rain) and catch this movie. I wanted to support it because the princess is Black (bout time!). Learning that the story took place in New Orleans was icing on the cake.  Who doesn’t like a relatable story!? Anyway, I’ll try to summarize the movie’s plot without dropping any spoilers. The story is set in the early to mid 1900s.  It is so beautifully drawn. That’s right, back to 2-D baby! I could really hang up some stills around my home. It’s centered around a young woman with a dream (her father’s as well) of owning and operating her own restaurant/nightclub. She works hard and she doesn’t play (literally) and saves everything she has to bring to her dream to fruition. In contrast, the Prince (of Maldonia), is a partying playboy who has never worked a day in his life and has been cut loose by his parents. He sets sail for New Orleans to marry into a rich family to continue living his lavish lifestyle. Of course, he gets mixed up with the Shadow Man with the help of his (the prince’s) attendant and is then turned into a frog. He meets Tiana, who has just heard disheartening news about her restaurant. Thinking Tiana is a princess, he convinces her to kiss him to change him back to human. From there they journey about balance, self, love and all that Disney jazz. So here are my thoughts on the movie and other reviews I’ve seen online.

1. The music was good BUT it was missing those beautiful ballads, like “A Whole New World”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “Colors of the Wind”. The movie opened with Tiana singing a New Orleans intro shortly followed by her “Almost There” song. I felt like something was missing from her first full song, but it was short, sweet and ended on a high note.  I kept waiting for any character to sing the song I would want to go home and find the lyrics to. The soundtrack is so New Orleans though, so go cop that!

2. Almost all Disney princess movies has “magic” or “mystique” in them. How many princesses were poisoned/tricked by little old lady/witches? Wasn’t the Genie sprouted from a magic lamp? Wasn’t Jafar a sorcerer?  One should not take issue that the “magic” in this movie is based on Voodoo. It IS set in New Orleans, which most people ignorantly associate with voodoo. Yeah, there’s deep history, but voodoo was not born here nor is it or ever was a primary practice here.

3. Who cares what race the prince is? New Orleans is the melting pot of the South. I don’t know why anyone would be surprised by a character of Creole culture in a movie set in NEW ORLEANS. I think it was a great idea to leave him racially ambiguous, he can be whatever race you want him to be. He could be Black with Spanish ancestry but he can be white in shining armor to someone else. He’s got a tan and curly hair! LOL

4. I would have liked to see more of “Tiana” though. You’ll know what I’m referring to after you’ve seen the movie.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. I’d add it to my collection and watch it regularly. Given the fairy tale nature of this movie, the cultural depiction seems to be as accurate as it could be. The accents by some the characters are so strong, it’s funny and creepy. I don’t really talk like that, do I? This movie seemed to lack the “Disney magic” as beautifully drawn as it was, it wasn’t “glittery”. Though the premise is fanciful, I guess that’s the price you pay for having such a movie (young Black woman, independent, working to secure her own). Bottom line: great movie, go see it, IN THEATERS!

TLC of Me pt. 1

So, here it is December and I’ve been gainfully employed for six months with benefits. One of which is, free dental). Since I haven’t been to the dentist in FOREVER and my teeth are increasingly sensitive, I thought it was time to take advantage of those benefits. My supervisor referred me to a dentist she had been visiting for years. With that, I was all too excited to finally go in, find out what was wrong and what needed to be fix. Maybe it’s the hypochondriac in me. *kanye shrug*.  So I go in for teeth cleaning and come out needing seven (maybe eight) fillings and four extractions. WTF! Now I was expecting that I’d need some fillings, but alladat AND some? I was shocked, excited, and hurt at the same time. I don’t consider myself a cocky person, but most people who know me know how I feel about my smile; my lips (so soft, shapely ) and my straight teeth (or so I thought). Within a series of visits, I get the fillings and all of my wisdom teeth taken out. I’m saving the wisdom teeth extractions for the New Year (and insurance purposes)! So now, I’m four fillings in and I totally understand now why they must numb it.

NEXT: TLC of Me pt. 2: Date with the Allergist