More than Meets the Eye

What is the first thing you notice when you meet someone for the first time? Their gender? Their race? Their economic and social status? Or all of the above? Most people notice race first and gender second whereas I myself pay particular attention to a person’s character more than anything else. I could care less what color you are let alone your gender. What matters most to me is the type of person that you are because there is much more to a person than what meets the eye. The inside of a person is what should really matter and not so much as the outer shell of a person. Besides, looks fade.

Speaking of looks and beauty, I decided to use my Sunday blog to share a personal story of mine to encourage one young reader that follows my blog. This is something that she is currently dealing with and it is something that I myself encounter every time I get dressed up to go out or whenever I straighten my hair. It is something that irks me every time it happens, but I hope by sharing my own story she will be encouraged and realize that she is not alone. Hopefully, those who make these types of comments or find themselves wanting to make these types of comments will think twice before saying it.

Some of the worst back handed comments I receive are as follows:

  • “You are pretty for a Black girl.”
  • “You have such long pretty hair for a Black girl. Are you part Dominican or is one of your parents Mixed?”
  • “You are smart to be a Black girl.”
  • “You speak so well to be Black.”

Lord have mercy! Can you see the problem with comments like those mentioned above? I do not refer to those as compliments because they are far from being a compliment. Comments like that are not only disrespectful, but they are also ignorant. For some, it can even be hurtful. Yes I am Black and yes I am a female, but I am also a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a writer, a blogger and so much more. Being Black and female is only part of who I am and it is not something that I want people to constantly dwell on. See me for who I am and not so much as my color. To my young reader and the many young readers to follow, know that who you are on the outside is just a part of who you are. Who you are on the inside defines you; not so much as to what others have to say about you.

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Until next time…

An Unabashed Writer

I pride myself on being an honest person and an honest writer. Why? Because when you are true to yourself and to everyone else, it makes life less complicated. I see no need to emulate anyone nor do I see the need to pretend to be something that I am not. Besides, it is not that serious. I was raised to march to the beat of my own drum and I am going to keep living my life that way. Does that make me a bad person? I would say no. Stubborn? Maybe. Different? Absolutely! Am I ashamed of that fact? You already know the answer to that…

Over the course of a year, I have built up a nice following of wonderful readers, amazing writers and awesome bloggers who appreciate my barefaced honesty for what it is. I am a shameless writer who is not afraid to write about the good, the bad and the downright ugly. I write what most people are afraid to write and I say what most people are too afraid to say; in real life and in the stories that I write. It is not about being defiant or rebellious, it is about discussing the obvious no matter how upsetting, how uncomfortable or how embarrassing it may be.

For those of you who have been following my blog since the beginning, you already know that sugarcoating is not my thing, but I do take the power of the pen seriously. I use these small copper brown hands of mine to speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves and for those who are too afraid to speak for themselves. Now ask yourself, “Why on earth would I be ashamed of that?” Do not let my profile picture fool you.

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Until next time…

Family Matters

Family is the most important thing in the world to me. Social status, money, not even friends can compete with the love that I have for my relatives. My kin means everything to me and I would not have it any other way. We are always motivating each other and seeing the best in each other because we know and recognize our own personal struggles and how far each of us has come. Granted, from time to time we may argue and fight like cats and dogs, but by the end of the day we are laughing, cutting up and loving on each other like nothing ever happened. We waste no time making up to each other because life is too short to stay mad at the ones you love. Tomorrow is never a guarantee because we never know what tomorrow may bring.

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The family dynamics of today has changed so much because of the strong presence of social media and entertainment. Instead of most families spending quality time with their loved ones, they would much rather let their television, tablets or phone entertain them. Let us not forget our pursuit of work. Some people are so focused on their jobs and getting ahead in life that their family sadly pays the price. Ask yourself, “Where is my main focus?” One must never be fooled into thinking that gadgets and money can replace the value of spending quality time with the ones you love. If there was ever a BIG lie that was told, that was one of them. It is a fact that as time goes on, one may forget all of the things you have given them, but the one thing they will never forget is how you treated them and how you made them feel.

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Sad to say, some people come from families who do not show love or grew up in a household where there was no love. To those individuals, not all hope is lost. Both of my parents came from a household where very little love was shown, but that did not stop them from showing me and the rest of my siblings what true love is and what it means.  Love is gentle, respectful, patient and kind. Love does not hurt, scheme, betray or lie. My parents have always said that family is one of our greatest possessions and that you cannot put a price tag on that. What are your thoughts? Do you agree? I will be the first to admit that I am proud of my family tree.

Until next time…

Be What You Are

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I have never quite understood how so many people lack the confidence to just be themselves. They wear so many faces for so many people because they want to be accepted or fit in. We have all seen and encountered them have we not? Sometimes it can be a little embarrassing to watch. They wear this face for this person and act another way for the next person all in an attempt to fit in. One has to wonder, “How do they keep up with all the faces they wear day in and day out?” Sometimes I wonder if they ever get exhausted trying to appease so many different people. One thing is for sure, those types of individuals need to be kept at a distance and for good reason. The majority of them can not be trusted. I would never put my mind, body and soul through such rabid and foolish behavior. If you ask me, it is not that serious.

Everyone who smiles in your face is not your friend and not everyone who laughs and jokes with you has your best interests at heart. So be mindful of who you are and what you truly stand for. Be who you really are and just live your life.

Until next time…

No Cause to Complain

It is so easy for us as humans to find a reason to complain. We are all guilty of displaying this less than desirable trait at some point in our lives; some more than others. Usually when any one of us complains it is out of anger or frustration regarding something that we have deemed as unfair, unjust or harsh. Think about that for a second. Granted, in some cases one may have a legitimate cause to complain, but then there are those cases where one has no basis to complain.

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Some individuals have a habit of complaining about almost every little thing. They always seem to gripe about someone or something. These individuals see problems in almost everything and find faults with just about everyone or everything. For these types of individuals, they unfortunately see the negative in almost every situation and in some cases they see most people as the problem.

I was raised to think twice before I complain because it may not be a cause for a complaint. Nine times out of ten I do not have a valid reason for me to complain which is why I rarely if ever complain. Some things you just need to keep to yourself which is why I am tight-lipped about almost everything. My tough as nails Father’s motto was, “Don’t complain unless you really have a reason to.” The ROCK in our family, my Mother, had a rhyming saying that went like this, “Think twice before you complain and then ask yourself what is there to gain?”

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Some of us compared to others are extremely fortunate even if we may only have a little. There are millions of people going without food, water and shelter and if you ask me, they have a bona fide reason to complain. Yet, if you had the chance to meet some of them like I have, they hardly ever complain. They are too busy trying to survive while trying to help others. Complaining is the last thing on their minds.

At the end of the day, it is all about perception and how we view things. If we took the time to think twice before ever complaining, we would see that most of our causes for complaint are null and void.

Until next time…

The 60/40 Rule

I was given a challenge to blog about the best advice I have ever been given in life. Anytime I am asked this question I always give the same answer, the 60/40 rule. This rule may be slightly different from what you are familiar with because in my family this rule takes on a whole new meaning.  Once I break down “our” version of this rule, you will see exactly why. Some may think this rule is a little harsh or unfair, but I find this rule to be fair, sensible and reasonable.

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The 60/40 rule is a very simple rule because in my family we do not believe in complicating things. Life is not all that complicating, but most of us seem to make it that way. The 60/40 rule centers around our pursuits in life because in order for us to pursue the things that we want, it involves work. When it comes to your line of work, whatever line of work it may be, the key to this rule is to never give that line of work your full 100% unless it is absolutely worth it. In the case that it is not absolutely worth it, you only want to give that line of work 60% of what you can really do. Now granted, your 60% may be greater than mine or it may be less than mine, but the point is to give 60% of what you can really do.

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Why 60%? The answer is very simple. You do not want to expend all of yourself if it is not absolutely worth it. I have met so many people whose health is declining because they are killing themselves for a trade or profession that is not paying them for what they are worth. Some look aged in the face, others are bitter and resentful and the rest are just plain stressed. The way we operate is the total opposite which is why most of the people in my family and those who practice this rule are much happier in life. Life is too short to be wasting your precious energy on something that is not worth it. If you honestly think about it, it actually makes a whole lot of sense.

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Now you may be wondering about the remaining 40%. Well, that is to be used at your own discretion. We increase ours by 5% once we have determined that our line of work is deserving of it. Our version of the 60/40 rule is not about being lazy; it is about playing it smart with the life you have been given. People often wonder why I and most of my family seem unfazed or unbothered by most things; it is because we live our life by “our” 60/40 rule. There are only two things in life I have given my all to and that is my family first and foremost and my writing. Your life is your life, use it wisely.

Until next time…

REFLECTIONS

Good Morning and Hello to you all!

On behalf of this Sunday’s blog post, I wanted to take the time out to reflect on my journey as a writer. For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed writing. I love being alone with my own thoughts and I enjoy spinning those thoughts into intriguing stories. When I first set out to write my debut novel entitled Poka City Blues, I had no idea where that journey would lead me. I have always wanted to pen a story about my parents’ life because to me they are such amazing human beings. My mother and father has conquered many storms, overcame a number of tragedies and they have a will power that is unmatched. I was excited to sit down and write Poka City Blues, but I did not expect the range of emotions that would eventually come with it.

Writing is one of the few things in life that brings me great happiness, but I soon learned that when you are writing a story that is personal and close to your heart, that it can also lead to bouts of depression.  I have no shame in admitting that I cried a number of times and experienced a range of moods as I wrote Poka City Blues. Why? Because I knew that some of the things I was writing about were in fact true. At times I was conflicted and there were times where I became flat out angry. Nevertheless, I kept on writing because this was a story I felt I needed to tell.

Fast forward to a year and a half later and I have no regrets in regards to my writing journey. I have received a number of emails from readers who were inspired by Poka City Blues, I have met a number of fellow writers, authors, poets and bloggers who I have been able to relate to and I have been on a roll with my writing. I am about to publish my second short story entitled Underneath the Pecan Tree and I could not be happier. The best advice I was given as a child was to keep on writing because I was often told that I never know where that journey may lead me.

I love writing, I absolutely love being a writer and this is a journey that I hope will never end.

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Until next time…