Life

Against The Grain

 

tina_boys
Yes, we like you. No, we’re not made to live up to your ideas of us.

 

Recently, I’ve been asked why I’m so aggressive. As many times as I’ve been asked, you’d think I walked around just beating people up. I wouldn’t say that it bothered me, as much as it has led me to once again question what it means for me to an aggressive woman–and why it’s an issue.

Let me first start by describing myself. I’ve never been ‘girly’ in any sense of the word. Yes, I can showcase my womanliness, but dainty I am not. I’ve never been into the princess thing. My fave female Disney character is Mulan because she’s just kickass.  I can be blunt, but I’m still conscious of the feelings of others. I’m a bit outspoken, but I’m also shy. I like being around people, but I love having time to myself. I’m not as competitive as I wish I were. Long story short, I–like many other women–am a mix of many characteristics. Whenever we’re asked why we’re a certain way, there’s always a negative connotation. For this reason, I’m not cool with being questioned just because I don’t fit the stereotypical idea of what a woman should be.

I talked to one of my guy friends–my Wingstop Therapy partner–and he offered some insight. He said that men generally have an idea of what a woman is, and when a woman doesn’t fit they just may look elsewhere. These men don’t realize that the problem doesn’t lie with the woman but with their faulty perception of her. Maybe I’ve missed something, but it seems to me that women don’t get the same privilege. If a woman perceives that men are meant to be providers–or any other cliche –then the woman is asking for too much or digging for gold.  The fact that it’s normal for a man to question why a woman doesn’t fit a mold blows my mind. Sure, there are women with rudimentary perceptions of what a man should be, but a woman’s not going to walk up to you and ask why you suck at manhood.

Even after thinking all of this through, I’m still left with more questions than answers. The one answer that I do have is that I’m not planning on changing my description of myself in order to fit anyone’s perception anytime soon–men especially. There’s perception, and then there’s the truth. If your perception of the opposite sex is so strictly constructed that you need to question why someone doesn’t comply, then you need to look for some truth and stop fooling yourself.

***BONUS FUN ACTIVITY***

Visit Google and do an image search for “aggressive woman”. You’re going to love the angry women that pop up.

 

 

 

Life · Positivity · Wellness

Right Place, Right Time

purpose

I was supposed to have yesterday off. I was given the option to go in and make some extra coin, so I gladly accepted. The night before, I had spent time catching up on my networking and had opted to write my post in the morning. On my days off, I usually make time to sleep in a bit and still get my post done in the morning, but work was calling. Not wanting to be thrown too far off of my writing regimen, I took a trip to Barnes & Noble after work. I was looking for that inspirational atmosphere where I could get some writing done–there’s no better place than one where you’re surrounded by books. At first, I didn’t quite know what I wanted to write about, so I took some time to people watch, and then it hit me.

I was meant to go to work yesterday.

I don’t mean that I was meant to work because of the money–even though that was definitely the goal. While I was there for one purpose, I think I might’ve stumbled upon another purpose. A customer told me that I did such a great job because I cared about helping people and it showed. I hadn’t done anything out of my ordinary for this particular, I gave him the same attention to detail as any other customer. He wasn’t the first customer to share this sentiment, but somehow it resonated with me at that moment.

Every day, I’m working to find my life’s purpose. A lot of this searching is done inward, but I’ve learned a lot from other people as to what it could be. I’m still in the beginning stages, but I’m beginning to think that people are my purpose. I get so much joy from helping others, I like to know that I have the power to make a difference in someone’s day. If I can make my mark on a single day, just imagine what I could do to make a difference in an entire life! How would I make this happen? I have not a single clue, however, I do feel that yesterday’s confirmation makes me want to dig deeper to find out how I can be of use.

I could’ve stayed home. I could’ve been writing a post about something completely different. I was meant to be in that place at that exact time. That’s the beauty of living in the moment and letting each move speak to you. That customer thought he was simply complimenting my customer service skills, but he did much more. Now I know for sure that I have to keep following the crumbs that are guiding to the life I’m meant to live. I keep hearing the same messages repeatedly. There has to be something to the message, but the question remains:

How do I get to my purpose?

Life · Positivity

Keepin’ It Real

I like to think of myself as being a realistic optimist. I’m all for looking at the bright side of things, but not before assessing a situation and seeing it for what it really is. I often feel that people mistake my realistic approach for negativity. Because I’m able to see situations for what they are, I feel like I’m better able to determine a course of action. Being able to understand the full scope of a situation is what has saved me time and time again.

Being a realistic optimist is a bit weird because reality can be stressful. Sometimes reality makes it tough to be optimistic. On the other hand, that same penchant for reality is what gives me the power to push my way through the stress. When it becomes too stressful, I find myself having to dig a bit deeper to find that silver lining. I went through a very stressful period at work recently, full of doubt and uncertainty. My friends and family reassured me that everything would be fine, but I knew better. I knew that the only way to lower my stress levels was to rid myself of the environment altogether.

Sometimes you can’t remove yourself from the physical environment, but you can remove yourself from the toxic mental environment. How did I break my own mental chains? I distracted myself. Once my optimism kicked in, I had the bright idea to find things to do outside of the workplace. I decided to find ways to enrich myself and ended up blogging and brainstorming on possible business ventures. Once I distracted myself with something that I knew I could do, the pressure settled. My workplace stress slowly started to relieve itself and I was able to perform better.

As crazy as it sounds, people actually look to me for advice. These people look for my advice because they know that I’m going to give them the tough answer, the one they knew but didn’t want to accept. Sometimes my advice has a “this changed, so you have to change” tone because I don’t like the idea of dwelling on something that’s never going to be a reality again. It sounds harsh at first, but I know for a fact that it works because I’ve done it myself. Being a realistic optimist, adaptability is the main byproduct of my superpower.

Now, I’m not bothered when someone calls me negative. It’s annoying, but it’s ok. Yes, my optimism sometimes is more laissez-faire than yours. Yes, I’m more willing to take on the pains of reality. Guess what? This realistic optimist wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t be real with you if I’m not first real with myself.

 

Life · Positivity

Incomplete

incomplete
Sisqo? Incomplete? Get it? 

I have a history of completion issues. It was always either one of two things: I’d start but I wouldn’t finish, or I’d plan but I’d never start. I already touched on my issues with tackling goals, but I want to take time to work through the ingredients of these issues.

Motivation–or lack thereof–is a big contributor to my shoddy completion record. I would begin something new with an enthusiasm only matched by that of Tom Cruise jumping on that couch. Then it happens. Soon enough into the process, I’ve lost all motivation. I’ve suffered a failure and been unable to bounce back–this leads me to my fave reason of all.

Excuses. Plenty of excuses. Because I’d dealt with a setback and lost all initial excitement, I’d have to find reasons as to why I couldn’t possibly follow through. Excuses were comforting. It was ok. At least I’d tried. I TRIED?? THAT was a lie. A bold faced, italicizedlie!! What kind of honest try includes giving up at the sign of the first pebble in the road? No matter how many excuses I made, the comfort was only temporary. Once the pacifier fell out, I was always left with a feeling of inadequacy. I was losing.

While reading this, you may have noticed my use of the past tense. I’m telling you all about what I USED to do, and you’re wondering whether or not I’ve been reformed. Yes and no. I still struggle with incomplete tasks. This here blog is a PERFECT example of my struggle. So far, I’ve only taken 2 rest days–one weekly. I’ve been going pretty strong as far as consistency goes, but there are THOSE days–those days where I’m too tired to even think straight. There are nights where distraction and writer’s block threaten my whole writing process.  This very post is a product of such a moment. I’m almost through writing this post at 1:38 am, even though I sat down to write at 10:30 pm.

The old Keshia? She would’ve politely threw pen and paper on a nightstand and wasted the night away watching YouTube videos or something. 2016 Keshia is exercising more accountability. Instead of giving up on this post, the thought of surrender inspired me to do the opposite. When I get tired, I think of my responsibilities to my goals, my audience–heeeeeyyy y’all–and myself. I think of my own growth. It’s ok to be tired, I’ve given myself that concession, but there’s no quitting allowed.

Current Events · Life · Positivity · Wellness

Just Let Me Be Cute

birthday 2016-2
My 28th Birthday. December 2015.

I’ve had enough.

So there’s this “new” makeup free trend that’s been accredited to Alicia Keys. I’m not sure how she became the authority on makeup free living, nor am I willing to concede that this is a new concept. Women have been shouting #nofilter on social media for years now, but suddenly it has become newsworthy. I’m not against natural appearances at all, and I believe in one being comfortable in inch of their skin. What I AM against, is the idea that makeup free women can come for me and my choice to wear a bit of makeup here and there.

This is where I am fed up.

As a woman, you really can’t win. Your weight is an issue. Your style is an issue. Your makeup is an issue. I don’t understand how women can work against their own cause with such vigor. Telling me that makeup is a sign of insecurity–or whatever Doc McStuffins diagnosis you decide to project onto me–is a slap in the face. I’m sick of seeing posts where WOMEN are bothered by perfectly shaped eyebrows or a full face of makeup. With the advancement of makeup gurus on social media outlets, many women are being given that extra confidence in being able to transform themselves into whatever mood they feel that day.

I had no command of makeup before the age of 25–YouTube was my savior. Now that I know how to give you a sickening brow and lip, you really can’t tell me anything. You also can’t get me to side with those who demonize makeup as if it’s regressing the state of women everywhere. UPLIFTING YOURSELF WHILE CHASTISING OTHER WOMEN IS A NO-GO!!! I can’t shout this enough!! You have no idea why that woman is wearing her makeup and it really doesn’t matter because she is free to do whatever she wants!! Don’t get mad at me for flexing my makeup skills–no matter how minor–when you could be doing the same thing. To make matters even worse, you have women bashing another woman because of their natural state–and you wonder why insecurity exists in the first place.

You don’t have to like my perfectly designed eyebrows. I don’t like that I wasn’t given full eyebrows from day one, but still I rise. I refuse to absorb your negative energies. You will gaze upon this beat face, while I continue to not care what you think. YOU WILL DEAL!

Life · Positivity

Mindset is Everything

mindset

I can say that I have wholeheartedly committed myself to blogging. I decided that I have the power of positive influence and can somehow make a difference in someone’s life just by using words. I think that anyone who strives to express themselves does so with the hope that it will mean something to someone, even if it’s just one person. Since I’ve been on this journey, I’ve been forced to look at myself and try to discover more about myself. I wish the act of discovery was as easy as typing a sentence about it.

One of the toughest things I’m now unveiling, and dealing with, is the way that I sell myself short. I’ve had a habit of believing that I could do everything while also believing that I couldn’t do anything. I will believe that I can do something, but at the same time, I will find myself imposing a limit on how successful I can be at that something. I’ve seen successful people around me all the time. I’ve seen people who have money to take passport vacations and money to buy nice cars. Not once in my life–this is me having a completely honest and epiphanic moment–have I truly believed that I could do those things too. I grew up with limits–growing up low-income can do that to you–and my mindset up to this point had been one of only wishing.

Screw that.

How am I changing my mindset? My secret weapon? I make it a point to seek help and influence from someone who has done the things I could only wish to do. I look for advice from DOERS. In my quest for help, I’ve learned how to not only have a goal and write it down, but how to break it down to where it is achievable in parts. Seeing the achievable parts of a goal makes the major goal less intimidating. Revisiting the goals on a regular basis helps my subconscious mind get out of the “uh-uh girl, we can’t be be doing that stuff” rut, and into the role of supporting the positive actions of my conscious mind.

Just because you can’t see what it’s like to achieve those goals, it doesn’t mean that you should stop before giving yourself a real shot at the life you want. I’m not finna settle for a piece of the pie. I want the whole damn thing. I know it’s gonna be frickin’ delicious and I can’t wait.

Life · relationships

I’m a Good Friend…I Promise

old friends
via memes.com

When it comes to keeping in touch, I am right up there with the worst of them. I know how to use words. I know how to talk. I DON’T know how to do both on a consistent basis with those that I care about. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care about people or what’s going on in their lives, I’m just really bad at it. Unlike many people, I have no problem admitting to this. It kinda is what it is.

Out of sight is truly out of mind for me. I know this is true for a lot of people even they would rather claim otherwise because it makes them feel better. I REALLY realized how real this was for me after I moved from Virginia to North Carolina. I was close with a lot of people back home, and was even able to keep up with some of them during my early days of adjustment here. Now? If it weren’t for social media interaction, I would have no contact with any of them. Sometimes I feel bad about this, like maybe I’m a crappy friend. Guess what happens next? I get over it.

I get over it because the same way that I haven’t sent a call or text is the same way that I haven’t received either. I’m fine with it because I learned to not beat myself up about not making constant contact with people. I see posts on a regular basis that tell us what things we need to do to be considered a good friend. I don’t need to talk to you every day to be your friend. I don’t need you to carry my every burden in order for me to consider you a friend of mine. I don’t need for us to be inseparable–I don’t even know what it feels like to be inseparable from anyone. Life moves and changes us, which is why we grow apart in so many ways. I understand that and don’t hold it against anyone.

If you’re reading this and feel neglected by me, my bad. It’s not intentional and honestly, it may even continue, especially if I’m not told to do otherwise. I’m the best at catching up and picking up right where we left off. My heart is true. I am a pal and a confidant.

AND IF YOU THREW A PARTY…

Ok. I’m done.

Life · Positivity

Can’t Lose What You’ve Never Had

Life sucks.

You’re older than that girl at work but shes’s done everything that you have yet to do. That guy has a better car than you could ever get. Your friends bought a house but you’re stuck in a crappy apartment.

Stop it.

I learned a long time ago to not be envious of what anyone else has. I didn’t learn because I was envious myself, I learned from observing and asking questions. You can search all day and find plenty of people in more favorable life circumstances–at least they seem favorable. I bet you can also find people in a worse state than you’ve ever been. Envy bites you every time because you have no idea what someone has gone through to get to those things you so desire. You don’t know how many years of education, sacrifice, networking, rejection, or struggle that person endured JUST to be in the position where you may envy them.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, we are all on our own path to the things destined for us. If you want it, do your own work to find the life coordinates that can lead you to it. Have no idea how to do it? Find a mentor. That person who has what you want? Ask them what they did to get it–hold the envy–you’ll be surprised at how much insight you can gain AND you’ll find out whether or not it’s work you want to dig into. You may be bothered by how much easier someone’s process was–I think we’re all guilty–but that goes back to my statement about different paths. That easier path may have one helluva storm up ahead, and you’ve just avoided it. 

I’ve had enough of my own struggles that I don’t bother wasting time figuring out how I can experience someone else’s. That’s exactly what you’re doing when you’re envious. We all see things and think, “hmm, I want that”, but dwelling and consuming yourself with being upset about someone’s possessions is not healthy at all. Be careful what you wish for and be thankful for what you have no matter how little it may seem to you. That crappy apartment of yours sounds great to that homeless guy. Don’t use envy as your motivation for achievement. I won’t say that you should achieve as little as possible, but I will say that I don’t envy those who have more to lose than I do. I can’t lose what I’ve never had.

 

Dating

Jonesin’

I remember watching “Love Jones” as a kid and thinking it was a good movie. It wasn’t until about 2 years ago that I saw it again for the first time as an adult–how I made it that long without ever seeing the movie, I don’t understand. Now, it’s not just a good movie. It’s relatable. It reminds me just how much time and experience changes our perspective on matters.

It’s been years since my last “relationship”. I use quotations because in hindsight, I don’t know if that word fits the bill…but I digress. I’ve been out of the game for a while, but I haven’t forgotten the push and pull of love. There’s that cloudiness of heart vs mind. You love that person but you don’t want to feel like a lame because you fell so quickly. Then there’s the time where you both are like, “Cool. We love each other”. That’s when it gets real and you have a full blown relationship. Then you get comfortable with each other, maybe too comfortable, and you learn whether or not you really have lasting power.

I said “too comfortable” because maybe  you’re comfortable to the point where insecurity has a moment to rear its ugly head. You feel like this comfort is too good to be true so something must be wrong, so your mind searches to find that wrong thing. Sometimes you’re right and there’s a real issue that needs to be addressed, other times it really is all in your head. This is the period where your relationship is tested. You’re forced to communicate in a deeper way than you had previously. You have to get a little uncomfortable, these are the growing pains.

Love can put you through, but it also brings you through. That’s the message I get from the movie these days. Keshia the kid had no way of understanding the complexities of love. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I fully understood even in my early 20s. I guess it really is grown folks business.

 

 

Current Events · Life · Positivity

Fathers

My apologies in advance. I’m another one of those people who are touchy about Father’s Day in real life. I take that back. I’m not really touchy about it, since I was raised by my grandmother, my views on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are a bit weird. I have no idea who my father is, so forgive me if at any point I seem to not care about the holiday–that’s not what I’m going for. This is one of the rare times that it’s hard to talk about something I’ve never experienced.

Father or no father, I am still excited by the fathers who are present. I feel like fathers don’t get enough due. We are in a society where the mother is deserving of all praise and the father is an accessory–at least that’s how it seems from my point of view. Mother’s Day? All about mothers. Father’s Day? The mothers make it about them. To all the fathers out there, I admire you because I know that has to be tough to see. I don’t need any mothers attacking me because of this post–I’m just speaking truth. Don’t believe me? Check out your social media feeds today. Shout out to Facebook for not having a temporary profile pic for Father’s Day too. Mm hmm. I see you.

Not having a father or steady father figure hasn’t made me blind to what makes a great father. Take the time to give props to the fathers in your life, even if they don’t belong to you. Encourage them to push forward in what they do. Ladies, for the love of all that is holy, please don’t taint their day with bitter rants about negligent daddies and how you’re mother and father. I’m sure you’re an amazing mother, but please just don’t.

Let these men enjoy their day–these FATHERS deserve this honor.