Archive | May 2020

White People Stand UP Please!!!

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Hi everyone, I hope you are doing okay. I say okay because I know most people are pretty upset about the events that happened this week. I have remained silent on these things and I realized that it is time to speak up. Today’s blog is a response to someone on Facebook who denies white privilege and believes in being colorblind. His posts was length so I will not post his comments, only my response to the message. Reading his message really fired me up because so many people don’t believe that there is a problem and if you acknowledge the problem than you are buying into the leftist narrative. That is infuriating to me because even after I posted this, he still didn’t get it. He seemed like a nice man, but his views open my eyes to the fact that if white people don’t become more comfortable discussing race, we will never see the end of this madness of black men and women getting killed. Here was my response:

Yes a black man can achieve success, just like a white man, but that is not what white privilege is about. There are many successful black people who are scared to be pulled over by the police. White privilege is the fact that white people can do things and not get killed by the police or civilians, but black people don’t have that luxury. White people protest with guns and do mass shootings and they do not get shot. George Floyd, Ahmed Arbery and many over the years were unarmed and the police still killed them. I have seen videos of white people getting in the faces of the police and yelling at them and they still live. Meanwhile, if you make one wrong move when talking to the police as a black person, you are in danger. They see us as a threat no matter how rich, how poor, how educated or uneducated the black person is. White people keep calling the police on black people all the time for any and everything that black people do. If a white person doesn’t get their way, they call the police. I know not all cops are bad and not all white people are bad, but society seems to think of black people as a threat. Police are afraid of us and have been for a long time. All lives do matter, but that’s just it, America does not value black lives the same way it values white lives. Black lives matter is saying that our lives matter too, not that our lives matter more than others. The media talks about all types of murders, but these stick out because they were racially motivated. Ahmed was running like so many people do and gets shot. There have been incidents like this all the time.

The media does not follow me around all day. I live my life like everyone else, but when I walk into a room, I don’t know if some people will see me as threat for just being there. That is White Privilege, walking into an environment and not being seen as a threat. I understand that as a white man this is not your experience. But if a black person says that they live in fear daily, that isn’t the media. That is their personal experience. America is not the same for black people. It just is not.

My parents were kids during the civil rights movement. So it is not like my ancestors went through discrimination 100 or 200 years ago. My mother grew up during segregation. She was 11 or 12 when Martin Luther King died. I’m 30 years old and I work hard and have done okay. But I can reach the highest positions in life and I am still looked at as a black woman in America. I had a white girl move out after she found out I was her roommate. A kid told me he did not want to play with me because I was black when I was a child. Many white people fear black people. This is my experience not based off of television or the news. It is not victim mentality, it is my reality. I went to predominately white schools and in college, sometimes I could walk in a room of white people and the whole energy changed. I sang at a friend’s wedding and I was the only black woman there and I got questioned by guests about why was I there and how could I possibly know the couple basically. She grew up in a small town where they aren’t used to seeing black people at all. The white people who protested integration during the civil rights movement are still alive today. So to think that racism does not still exist is a choice. You choose to not accept the narrative because it does not influence your life or your family, so it is unimportant to you. There are black mothers who are sobbing because they don’t know if their sons will come home after being pulled over by the police.

It is the safest era of history for you, but it has never really been safe for black people since slavery. We were always considered second class citizens here. In the sixties, black people were hung and there were no charges against those people. Now people just use guns and call it self-defense because they feared for their lives when there was no threat. And guess what? They don’t get charged with murder. Now if a black person shot a white person, they would be thrown under the jail, even if they said it was self-defense. Besides, these recent videos were shot on people’s phones, so it wasn’t the media who even witnessed the events happen. The people in the George Floyd video tried to tell the cops to stop kneeling on his neck, but he wouldn’t. The media outlets got more information about the incidents, but the citizens are the ones catching these incidents on camera.

Black people have been killed ever since we were brought over here. The government required integration, but there were people who fought tooth and nail because they didn’t want that to happen in America and those people are still living, alive and well. You think those people aren’t passing on their prejudice to their sons, daughters and grandkids? Of course. I had a friend’s parents tell her not to date my black classmate because they were okay with having me over their house, but not okay with their daughter dating a black man. I normally stay silent about these things. I never respond to comments on facebook and this is the first for me. I’m super introverted, but I have been silent for too long. I need to start speaking up more about injustice and we need white people to acknowledge the problem, but since it doesn’t effect them, many won’t do that and this perpetuates the problem to continue. I am not saying the media is perfect because it is not, however, not everything is a lie either. The proof is in the footage, as a matter of fact, most of the videos are posted on social media first by citizens and then it gets to the major media outlets. The killing of black people never really stopped, it is just now we have more ways to capture the evidence. When the white woman lied on Emmett Till, he was murdered, but when the white woman lied on Christian Cooper in Central Park, he had evidence that she was clearly lying, so he lived. These videos get shared on Facebook first most times by witnesses, and then the media outlets respond. Now Americans can be the media because of technology. When a child gets bullied in school and nobody does anything, that is wrong. If you stand there and do nothing when another child is bullied, that’s not okay, but white people do it all the time when black people are involved. Sit back and say nothing. Black people say we are scared and white people say, “well that’s your problem. Pick yourself up and make something of yourself.” So Black people do pick themselves up and make something of ourselves, but at the end of the day we will still be another n word to some white people. One thing that I learned is that when race comes up, white people get real defensive and uncomfortable. It’s frustrating because it is the elephant in the room that people never want to discuss. The only way to grow in life is to be uncomfortable sometimes and that is how America can grow to be better. Ignoring the problems and sweeping them under the rug is not going to help our country become better. Anyway, I hope this helps you empathize more with the black community. Have a great day! Quote from my friend: Ignorance is when you don’t know any better, but racism is when you do know better, but don’t do better.

End of My Comment.

So basically, my white friends acknowledge that you can make the difference here. If you become an ally to black people then these things will stop. Black people can protest until we are blue in the face, but unless white people become our vocal allies, then we will continue to see the bodies of our black brothers and sisters again and again. Please be a friend and speak up about injustice, please. This is not a conservative or liberal issue, this is a life or death issue. Until Next Week!

The Journey to Healthy

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October 2016, Disney Store, NYC

 

Hi All,

Hope you guys are enjoying your Memorial Day weekend!!! I’m off from work on Monday for the first time since February, so that’s exciting. I only have four more weeks left at my after-school job and I’m looking forward to moving on to the new job full-time job in July.

In the meantime, like so many Americans, I have struggled to eat healthy and exercise pretty much my entire adulthood. Growing up, I ate more balanced meals, but still had a huge love for sweets. I was never overweight as a child, teen or young adult. However, I think that may have been attributed to a high metabolism and the fact that I drink quite a bit of water and don’t like soda. So in terms of calories, I think drinking water may be some of the reason that I am not currently 300 pounds.

As a child, I never played sports, rarely played outside, or exercised much, except for physical education classes. My parents were never very active and I am fortunate that I have never been fat, but currently, I am closer than I have been in my life. My eating habits have never been very good. I recently discovered that I don’t even like real vegetables, since I grew up on canned vegetables. Spinach, mixed greens, tomatoes and romaine lettuce are great, but broccoli, brussel sprouts, beets, and carrots are an acquired taste. In other words, yuck!! Eating and working out seem self-exclamatory, but making changes, especially dramatic ones is very difficult. Now, I empathize more with overweight and obese people because living a healthy lifestyle is not as cut and dry as people make it out to be.

I started skipping breakfast in college and never ate breakfast again, except for the three years that I lived with my parents post college. One thing about living with my parents was that I had three meals a day within reasonable hours. Dinner time with my parents was between 3pm and 5pm, which is super early for most families. I ate dinner and dessert and didn’t eat again until breakfast the next day. After leaving home, eating became an epic fail. Many days, I skip breakfast, sometimes skip lunch, and binge at dinner. Particularly, on days when depression is hitting hard, I don’t eat all day, until like 7pm or 8pm. I just don’t feel hungry until later in the day. From 2010 until 2018, I have bounced between the same twenty pound range, 140 pounds to 160 pounds. December 2018 was the first time that I went past the 160 mark and I have bounced back and forth from 156 pounds to 165 pounds since then. At least, I’m somewhat maintaining to some extent. Now that I am strength training, I learned that the number on the scale is not as important as my bust, hip, and waist measurements. I have never been skinny. I just would like to be healthy and that hasn’t really happened yet. 

My roommate wants to be a personal trainer and applied for her certification, so she is using me as her guinea pig. She is super healthy and works out all the time. I have been working out for about 5 weeks now.

In 2016, I worked out with a trainer at Planet Fitness for about a year before moving to NYC and realized that I enjoy working out, especially strength training. I was more fit than I had ever been, but my diet was still not ideal. My diet has had its’ ups and down. I can eat healthy for awhile and go right back to poor eating habits. I have prayed about it many times and get frustrated with myself about it because I just can’t seem to get it together.

I know I use food as a comfort because I’m dealing with being alone most of the time. I’m an only child and I have always been alone, this is nothing new. So why is it affecting me more as a adult? I’m not sure, I think it is human nature to long for companionship. There is a part of me that loves being alone, but it can be daunting at times. I don’t long for a romantic relationship necessarily, but intimate friendships. Friendships have been more challenging as an adult than when I was younger. Food has been a reliable friend in a way, an unhealthy friend, but a friend nonetheless. Drugs, alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes never appealed to me, so I guess food has been my go to.

Most of us don’t know how to eat healthy. When your schedule is busy and you are on the go all the time, especially in New York, you grab what you can and you don’t plan or cook your meals. Cooking is not something I enjoy or love. I have learned more from my two roommates about cooking in the last couple months than I ever knew beforehand. Both of my roommates love to cook and are exceptional cooks.

I’m a performer and I know that my body is a part of the total package, but I think I have gotten complacent with my eating habits because I haven’t had significant consequences for my poor food choices. But I’m getting older and entering your thirties means that the weight is not going to be as easy to drop as it was when you were in your twenties. I don’t want to end up diabetic, so I really have to do something now before I do irreversible damage. Besides, most of my relatives have only made it to their sixties or seventies. My grandfather is eighty-two, but he is one of the few to make it that far. Most of my family members have died from heart related problems. I have a great aunt with  muscular sclerosis and dementia, but she is the only blood relative that I know in our family to have an issue unrelated to the heart. In other words, I need to overcome my issues with food as soon as possible or I may only have about thirty more years left at best.

Steps to A Healthier You

Begin keeping a food diary!  You can write it out by hand, use fitness pal online, or type it daily in a Microsoft Word document. I chose the latter. Go back over the diary for the week. Acknowledge what you did well and see where you need to make improvements. The diary has given me insight into my eating habits. I usually don’t eat enough or I binge, and rarely have I had a solid 1200 calorie day since I started working out five weeks ago. I’m usually over 1,200 calories or under 1,200 calories. If you want to lose weight, you need to consume between 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day until you reach your goal weight. Then, you can increase to 2,000 calories a day. Counting calories is super important, however, you also need to look for the grams of fat, protein, and sugar. Nutritionist Kim Lynn suggests looking for single digit grams of fat, single digit grams of sugar, and double digit grams of protein when reading the nutrition labels on foods. Numbers are essential. If you do not collect the data, then you just consume calories, sugar, and fat without thinking about it and this leads to significant weight gain.

Ask yourself why you are eating? Are you hungry, bored, sad, or lonely? Most times boredom, depression, and loneliness can cause overeating. Quarantine has increased boredom and depression for people, so food has become a crutch for many of us during this time. Food is for nourishment and to keep us going during the day, but not to fill holes of emptiness or deal with stress or emotions. Journal, workout, read books, or watch movies or television shows to calm your stress or get out your frustrations and feelings. Acknowledge your feelings instead of stuffing them down with food or other substances.

As a Christian, I’ve been thinking about how we are only given one body and I have been treating my body like a trash can. God helps those who help themselves and you can’t treat your body with disrespect and expect it to keep going with no issues. Eventually bad habits will catch up with you and it is better to deal with this now before it becomes a serious medical problem later.

The food diary and working out are the first steps to getting my body to a healthy weight. Does this mean that I have everything together? No, I don’t. I am struggling daily with my diet. I am visiting Memphis on June 20th, so from now until June 20th, I plan to keep working out 5 days a week and only cook my meals from home. This will reset my body. I want to come out of this quarantine a physically healthier person and an emotionally healthier person as well. Keep taking care of yourselves!!

See you next week!!

Singer! Actor! TEACHER! OH MY!

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Hairspray 2015, Murry’s Dinner Playhouse, Little Rock, Arkansas

Hi Peeps and Home Slices,

I hope you all are doing okay. Things are super strange and crazy! I have lived in NYC for 4 years in August and it has been a wild ride. This quarantine has been quite a bit to take in for all of us. I feel okay most times, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that it hasn’t gotten to me at times. I only have 5 weeks left at my current job and I’m Zoomed Out. I had bible study for the first time online this week and I had a hard time focusing because I was already on zoom for my job all afternoon and I was over it. I love bible study, but I am on zoom several hours a week now, so I’m beginning to burn out. My students are starting to burn out too. I feel really bad for them because I think they really want to go back to school and be with their friends.

Furthermore, I just found out this week that my new job training for the charter school will be online instead of in-person until mid-August. So basically, I am home bound until at least mid-August, which made me a little sad. This was the first time that it really hit me hard, that life is not going back to normal anytime soon.  I am beginning to prepare myself mentally to be teaching at home until January 2021. I am so grateful to have a job when I know many people don’t have jobs, and I thank God for that daily. My bills have been paid in full and I am not stressing financially the way I had been thanks to the stimulus package. We are almost halfway through the year and in some ways it has gone super fast and in other ways it seems like it has been 5 years instead of 5 months.

On the bright side, I was accepted into Relay Graduate School to get my Master of Arts in Teaching. As a teacher-in-residence at Achievement First Elementary, I am required to get certified and enter grad school, so I have one step down. I got accepted! The state of New York requires all grad students to take the GRE and I still have that on June 6th. I submitted my GRE registration with my grad application, so I was accepted on the grounds that I would take the test before September. Actually, I would have taken the test today, but it got cancelled because of the pandemic, so I had to sign up for an at home test.

I am looking forward to starting this new job in July. Financially, I will be abundantly blessed with this job, but I will be taking on a heavy workload along with grad school. Working online is no joke. Currently, I’m working part-time and working way harder than I did when in-person. Working full-time and going to grad school will be exponentially harder in the fall if it is online only.

However, the Lord was looking out for me because if I had not changed jobs last year, I would still be working in NYC with the public daily in customer service. If I had booked a performing job, I would currently be laid-off. The Lord really does work in mysterious ways. It wasn’t my time to perform yet and that is okay. I do have my moments where I feel a certain type of way about not being where I wanted to be with my performance career. It’s hard not to compare myself to other people who are my age and who started a similar journey with me, and have exceeded way past me in their careers. But like my friend Crystin Gilmore Ndiaye says, “What is for you is for you and what is for someone else is for them.”

The theatre door closed for a reason, especially since it doesn’t look like the performing arts will be opening  up anytime soon. Theatres are already closing permanently and I don’t know how long it will take some major opera companies and theatres to recover from this financial loss. Artists are troopers and will push through, but some of these theatres were hanging on by a thread and this could send them over the edge. I pray that my theatre and opera friends will continue to make a living in the arts as soon as possible.

My plan is to teach full-time, at least for the next three to five years until I feel ready to audition for full-time opera companies in the future. I”m still pretty young for opera and I have time to develop my voice further. I have a voice teacher and a vocal coach, but currently can’t afford it at all. So this new job will give me the opportunity to take vocal lessons and vocal coachings on a regular basis while balancing full-time teaching and graduate school. Whew, I’m really going to have to lean on the Lord to get through all of this.

Thirties friends, if you are feeling overwhelmed about the future, ask the Lord to show you His will for your life. Understand that a closed door doesn’t always mean you should quit, it could just be the wrong time or maybe you just need to develop more as a person for that dream opportunity to come to fruition. Hold your head up high and keep pushing!!

Stay safe and healthy!!

MY MEMPHIS BLUES

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Hey Fellow Peeps,

I hope you all have had a great week!! This quarantine has definitely brought a wave of emotions for all of us. Most days, I feel fine with this, but some days are a little unnerving. Stay encouraged and prayerful during this difficult time.

I’m sure we have all been longing for the companionship and camaraderie of family and friends. I miss the hugs and seeing familiar faces regularly. Since we have been quarantined, I have literally only seen my two roommates. Whew! One good thing is that I have gotten to know my roommates much better during this time. We have had so much quality time and that has been a blessing. I have also seen the faces of my students daily and that has brought sunshine to my days. They can be super funny and I enjoy working with them. I have called family and friends on the phone and that connection has been nice. On Sundays, I have been asked by the pastor to sing one or two hymns for the church on Zoom. I have been able to share my gift with the congregation and learn new hymns to prepare for service each week. I only have six weeks left at my current job and then I go home to Memphis to visit at the end of June. I haven’t been home since December 2018, so it’s time. I have lived in NYC since 2016 and I have only been home twice. Coincidence, sort of, it was somewhat financial, but also sort of by choice, a combination of the two. Since my mom is a performer, I have seen her more than twice because she has performed in New York three times since I moved here.

Memphis and I have always had a strained relationship, if I’m honest. I was born in Hampton, Virginia, but I might as well have been born in Memphis, because I spent my whole life there until I was 26, almost 27 years old. I went to college in Murray, Kentucky, which was about three hours away from home. I remember wanting to leave Memphis when I was a kid. I just never felt like I fit in there. Funny thing is, people always asked me where I was from all the time, even though I was raised there. It was weird, strangers would ask this question because they said I spoke differently. Excuse me!! My whole family is from Memphis, born and raised, so why I am I always getting this insane question.

Secondly, I got the white girl label from family and friends, which kind of annoyed me, but I let it go. There was no denying I was different. I was a nerd who loved school, reading, and was socially awkward. I was super sensitive, which was not cool in the black community. I cried often, but don’t ever really remember being comforted when I was little.  I spoke properly and had no street smarts whatsoever. I grew up listening to R&B music, but never really listened to much rap. I was not athletic at all, and most people didn’t even know I could really sing until I was in college. Then, I started singing opera and musical theatre, which is obviously a mostly white entity.

I felt ostracized by black people at times in Memphis and felt like sometimes I was more accepted by white people.  Let’s be real though, I wasn’t always accepted by white people either. In the fourth grade, this little white boy in summer camp, told me he wouldn’t play with me because I was black. This was my first encounter with this. However, I do remember that I was initially uncomfortable with transferring to a predominantly white elementary school in the 1st grade. At that time, I had only been around black people until 1st grade. 

Thirdly, I love my family, but if I’m honest we were never that close. I talk to my mother almost daily, and I have always been super close to my grandfather and aunt. Other than that, I rarely saw my relatives more than once a year, sometimes even longer and we only lived between 5 to 20 minutes from each other.

When it came time to apply for college, I only applied for out-of-state schools, but my mom told me I had to apply for the University of Memphis and I did. However, if I lived on campus at U of M, the cost would have been more than Murray State. I did THE MATH! Since I didn’t go on college visits, I had no idea how few black students attended Murray State until I arrived for school in the fall. I got a four-year academic scholarship and there was  a tuition discount for people who lived in Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. So MURRAY STATE IT WAS!!! However, Racism reared its’ head again in college. I went to my friend’s dorm room freshman year, and there was a girl there who was clearly uncomfortable with my presence. She just keep staring at me and it was strange. Junior year of college, I moved in my dorm and met a white roommate. She seemed nice, but the next day she moved out without saying anything to me. I think she was super uncomfortable with my race. I mean I have lived with people many times and I have never had any complaints about me being a bad roommate. I’m pretty quiet, neat, and keep to myself mostly. Murray was like my first home though and I loved it. There were a few cringe moments though, but we’ll save college for another blog post, lol! 

Furthermore, I had observed that most of the people I encountered in Memphis were extremely negative. If I had an idea about something or thought outside of the box, it was shot down immediately. My college professor was one of the first black people that I had met with such a bright, bubbly personality. I am super bubbly, but I felt like people didn’t really like it growing up and maybe they thought it wasn’t black enough to be bubbly. Most black people that I was around were in survival mode, which now I know is systemic. I guess when you fear for your lives daily, then you would be pretty negative too. When you have only had your civil rights for about 50 years with significant limitations, then I guess you wouldn’t be so bright and bushy tailed either. I get it now, then I didn’t. RIP Ahmaud Arbery.

When I graduated college, I bought a ticket to NYC and wanted to never return to Memphis if I could. However, I moved back after about three weeks, not because I was homesick either. I stayed for three years until 2016. I didn’t really experience Memphis fully until I lived there as an adult. It really is a cool place to live. It is super affordable and people can be positive if you look outside of your front door. I met some amazing friends during my last years in Memphis. I joined a church and my church family became closer than my real family. I still keep in contact with them to this day. They were all very positive and innovative thinkers and it opened my eyes to the fact that there are some beautiful gems in Memphis.

So why did I move again? JOBS, JOBS, JOBS, they are far and few between in Memphis. This is one of the reasons why I moved the second time because if you want to make more money or get a better job, your options are limited in Memphis. Most people there work in education, government, the airport, health care, offices, or warehouses. Fedex is one of the best job opportunities there. I applied there and got no response. I went to the Clark Towers and offered my resume to offices on all 33 floors and asked if they were hiring. I did get a catering job out of that, but it wasn’t consistent enough. I tried to get an office job, but even the temp agencies didn’t help me get a job at an office or even a warehouse. I was working multiple jobs and I still couldn’t afford to leave my parents’ house. I sold insurance with AFLAC and didn’t make a dime. My first real paycheck after college was from performing in The Color Purple at Playhouse on the Square. Crazy I know, who would have thought that my first payment after college would have been in theatre of all things. I did work at a private school part-time, worked at Cracker Barrel part-time and taught vocal lessons, while still performing in shows around the city of Memphis.

I love the theatre experience that I gained during those years and I loved my church family. But I still wanted out, badly. I decided in 2016, to get another job at Olive Garden in addition to my other three jobs, so that I could save money to move somewhere, ANYWHERE else. I saved money and sold my car and was out by August 2016. I found a job within a few weeks, a full-time job at the Disney Store in New York. In Memphis, you can be potentially out of work for months and even when you find a job, you don’t get enough hours to pay any real bills. Minimum wage is still $7.25. Yes it is affordable to live there, but you can’t live off of that, even full-time, let alone part-time. Initially, I didn’t plan to go back to NYC. I was looking at moving to Atlanta, Minneapolis, or Boston. Then, I got into AMDA, so I chose New York. Memphians looked at me like I was crazy when I said I was moving to New York, especially since I had failed the first time.

Lastly, Christmas 2015 further prompted my decision to leave Memphis. Yes I had my church family, but I was still so disconnected to my family. I went to Christmas dinner and just felt so alone. I didn’t have the connection the way the other family members had with each other and I was closer to them when I was younger. My family knew little girl Dominique, but not adult Dominique. My family didn’t even know I could sing until I was grown. I was a complete stranger to them and I felt really sad. I remember crying in my car because I felt so alone, even though I was in my hometown. But Memphis never felt like home to me because I never felt understood and I felt like I never fit in, EVER. This was telling to me because if I feel this alone at home, then what would be different about moving somewhere else. I seemed to make better friends anyway. In this moment, I told myself, you have to leave and 2016 is going to be it. When I first moved to New York, I didn’t miss home for like a year. I didn’t go home for a year and a half. I missed my church family more than I missed my real family, even to this day. My family has lived in Memphis all of their lives and never wanted to leave, including my mother, but for as long as I can remember I wanted to leave. A few relatives have moved away, but very few. I just found so much freedom by moving here and I am finally coming into my own. NYC is not perfect, but once my mother and grandfather are gone, I see no reason to visit Memphis. Yes we are getting hit hard with the pandemic, but we also have a significantly larger population in NYC.

I know this was super raw, but it is my truth. I don’t want offend or condemn anyone, but this is my reality. Memphis is a great city and I made my peace with the city when I lived there for three years after college. Family is blood, but I always feel like I need to protect my mind, body and spirit and family can be complicated. I don’t think it is as cut and dry as people think it is. I have no ill will towards anyone, I want success for everyone and I love my family, but from a distance. I have made connections with my cousins in Connecticut. I am trying to build a bridge there because I don’t have much family left. I’ve been to their house many times and I have spent two Christmas  holidays there and I prefer it. My cousin’s wife’s family is more welcoming than my own. She is Dominican and I think family is super close knit for them. She says that they have had their problems, but at the end of the day, family is top priority. With my family, I don’t know if anyone’s first priority was family. They say it is, especially if you mention leaving, but I don’t know if they mean it.

Do I get lonely here? Yes, but I would rather feel lonely in a place where I don’t know many people, then feel lonely in my own hometown. I wrote this because I think this is reality for many thirty somethings. If you aren’t married with your own family at this point, it can be hard if you are not connected with your extended family either. Many young people that I have encountered in NYC, have cut their families off completely, which is shocking to me. See, I would never do that, but for some people they do it for their own protection. I’m writing this to let you know that forgiving people doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be super close. Just because you are family doesn’t mean that you will always be understood. There is this misconception that all families are super close and it’s horrible if you are not close to your family. People assume you must be doing something wrong, if you are not close to your family. Truth is is that friends can become your family and be just as supportive if not more supportive than family.  I reached out to many family members, but it is not always reciprocated. Yet, I still reach out. I have gotten more calls and messages in the last few months from friends more than anyone else. I’m here to let you know that this is more normal than you think and it is okay if you feel isolated from family. Welcome to ADULTHOOD! I will leave you with this, if you want to connect with your family reach out to them first and don’t wait for them to reach out to you because you will be waiting forever. Just Kidding, sort of, LOL! Seriously though, continue to reach out whether it is reciprocated or not because you never know, you may get surprised one day. Most importantly, reach out to God if you believe, because at the end of the day, your Heavenly Father is your most important family member!

Stay safe and prayerful!!

 

Confidence or Pride, Humility or Self- Deprecation, That is the QUESTION?

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Hello Thirties Peeps;

I hope you guys are remaining safe and sane during these times. For anyone that has lost loved ones or has sick family and friends, you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

This quarantine has given me so much time to reflect and spend time with the Lord. I have been reading devotionals on You Version about confidence and being a woman of purpose. Through these devotionals, I discovered that I can be prideful often. It’s so easy for me to think that I am better than someone else because of their actions and this is not Godly at all. Honestly, I can be really judgmental and I am becoming more aware of it through prayer. I am a sinner and we all are, but when you find Christ, your goal is to move away from sinful actions. I confess and repent, but I still struggle with my flesh daily.  I have dealt with an inferiority complex since I was quite young, so I never viewed myself as prideful. Self-deprecation was my middle name and at times it still is.

The question is how do you balance having confidence without being prideful and having humility without being self-deprecating? Pride becomes an issue when you want to be right all the time. I try to be more cognizant of my thoughts. I try to think first before I speak and try to understand that everyone’s journey is unique. So maybe that person’s decision didn’t make sense to me, but it’s not about me. I haven’t walked a day in that person shoes, so what makes me so special that I have the audacity to condemn that person.  I make so many mistakes and have made many poor decisions. However, I have also made great decisions for myself, that others still criticize to this day. Humility is referred to in Luke 14:11

11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

As far a confidence goes, you have to find this in the Lord and not within yourself. Remember that God created you flaws and all, but He brought you here for a purpose and you are meant to fulfill His will for your life. Your existence is not in vain and you have to fight the negative thoughts of the enemy daily. Find strength and hope through the Lord. This is where true confidence exists, it is through Jesus.

Whether you believe in the Lord or not, I suggest writing positive things about yourself and posting the notes in your home. When you get a negative thought, reflect on it and counter it with a positive thought. The mind is powerful and can take you down some dark holes, if you let it. Thirties friends, the line between humility and pride is thicker than we think. Focus on doing the right thing and you will find humility. Focus on your purpose in life and you will find confidence. See you next week!!!