Showing posts from 2014

The Gift of You Never Stops Giving

Happy Holidays 2014! This has been one of the most relaxing and stress free holiday seasons that I can recall from recent years. I stopped buying into the pressure of quantity of gifts and excessive shopping and stayed within budget and spent time and money making memories with the people high on my priority list.
This holiday season and moving into the new year, I encourage you to give the gift of YOU! You are a valuable commodity and you are a gift in itself. I used to spend all my time, energy and resources running around like crazy buying gifts for people who never showed appreciation or reciprocated my efforts. While the spirit of giving should not be met with the expectation of return, it is not unreasonable to want to be acknowledged, appreciated or shown gratitude for efforts that you did not have to do. A lack of gratitude results in diminished blessings.
The best thing that you can do for those in your life this holiday season is to be your best self so that you can add value …

21 Years of Parenting

I've been selfishly depressed this month about my only child turning 21. I mean, let's face it.....her turning 21 means that I'm officially getting older. And who really likes growing old?
But then it dawns on me. It is nothing short of a miracle and a handful of blessings that I am here to see this day. Diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer in 2007, I was given three years to live when my daughter was 13 years old. It was her harsh words to me that motivated me to undergo grueling chemo treatments.
When faced with an unplanned pregnancy my second year of college, my love for my unborn child motivated me to do better and be better. My own traumatic childhood forced me to do whatever it took and to the best of MY ability to ensure that my child never felt motherless like I often did.
I was never a perfect mom but I did strive to make sure that she never went for anything that she needed. For the first thirteen years of her life, I had to do it alone and did it by any…

Re-entering the workforce-On my own terms

I recently accomplished something that I set out do back in June of 1996. After I graduated with Honors from The University of Houston, I just knew that I would secure that high paying dream job that I worked so hard for. Sadly, it never quite happened that way.

As a single mom of a then three-year-old daughter, I was forced to secure full-time employment immediately and settled into an administrative role; always keeping the hope alive that I would eventually work my way into marketing. Years passed and I found myself stuck in the admin/receptionist role despite doing a good job and working hard. My self esteem was at an all-time low.

There is NOTHING wrong with these career roles but it is not what I set out to do. After a brief stint as an investment banker and after dozens of admin jobs at Fortune 500 companies, I became an entrepreneur out of a desire to survive. I never set out to have my own business but I got lucky with a generous severance package and former corporate clients…

Strive to be Pro-Good Choice

I don't think ANY woman aspires to have an abortion. In fact, it must be one of the most heart wrenching and difficult decisions a woman will ever face. Men will never find themselves in this predicament so they really can't have an honest, first hand opinion into the matter.

I've been involved with Planned Parenthood since my teenage years. Planned Parenthood sponsored a teen television show in San Antonio and I was cast as a principal actor. Our skits talked about date rape, domestic violence, drug use, peer pressure and some other heavy topics looking back but the reality is that these topics were happening everyday and teens needed to talk about it. Hiding something under a rug doesn't make it go away. 

Women's bodies are simply amazing. With the ability to reproduce, we deserve to have complete autonomy over our own bodies and should be entrusted to make the BEST choice for OUR bodies at any given time in our lifetime. I don't have the right to make a deci…

For those who know why a caged bird sings

Dr. Maya Angelou unarguably was one of the greatest poets who ever lived. Gifted with the strength of words, she was able to craft poetry and prose that spoke to the listener in such a way that your soul stirred. Her work was able to transcend racial and gender lines and is timeless in its relevance.

I first became acquainted with her work in the early 90's while a high school student. I competed in UIL competitions and began looking for literary pieces to recite that would also provide an outlet for my insecurities, fears and pain which were often masked by conceit, pride and anger.

As I began to embark on a pageant career, it was almost expected that any Black female contestant who was going to recite poetry would do a Maya Angelou piece. Fast forward twenty years and I continue to see her work demonstrated on pageant stages.

Of all of her works, there are three that have really impacted my life.

Still I Rise
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may…

Life Lessons from the beach

Life's a beach! A bit cliche, no? From my very first visit to the beach in the early 90's, I fell in love with the sights, sounds and even smells of a beach. It is when I am at my purest self. I'm carefree, no worries and uninhibited.

The cool sand under my freshly painted toenails, the crashing symphony of the waves and the warm (often hot) sunshine on my skin always make me happy. So with all these good vibes and memories about the beach, what can one take away from the moment and apply to daily life?

1) Love the skin you are in. At the beach, you will see people in swimsuits in ALL shapes and sizes. The beauty of it is that no one seems to be concerned with their appearance but focused on the people they are with and enjoying the beauty that nature has to offer. If you're not comfortable with your swimsuit body, then take the necessary steps to change that but in the meantime, embrace who you are and what you look like. Being a depressed wallflower isn't going t…

The Quiet Types

As a substitute teacher, I have spent a lot of time in public classrooms. For the most part, I find it rewarding and consider it my way of impacting students lives. It also gives me a glimpse into the community I live in.

I was actually in a classroom this week when the news broke of the mass stabbings at a Pennsylvania high school and I was horrified. I can only speculate what would fuel a young man to choose a knife as his choice of weapon to inflict slow pain and injury to so many people. His pain must have run deep.

The harsh truth is that most teachers focus on the brightest students in the room. The pretty girls, the handsome boys, the star athletes, the doctor's kids, the behavioral problems and the rich clique often command classroom attention and respect while the quiet, less than ideal, awkward students go unheard and unnoticed. I make it a point to spend time and focus efforts on those kids because I feel they need it most.

The adolescent years are tough. Everyone, no m…

Addressing Your Perceived Haters

What is a hater? Is a person who simply doesn't like you a hater? Do we put ourselves on such a high pedestal that we feel like everyone should constantly praise, celebrate and applaud our every move? If a person offers constructive criticism, do we label them a hater?

Quite simply put, a hater is someone in your circle who secretly desires to be you. They are willing to lend an ear or offer input into your personal negativity or drama but when you have a positive attribute or accomplishment, they are nowhere to be found. A hater will sit back and secretly hope for you to fail. Unlike an enemy, a hater wants a front row seat but is not in your audience.

So why do we give so much time and attention to our perceived haters? We dedicate time and energy into addressing the haters through tweets and status updates which only validates their opinion matters to you. By even taking the time to address them, you subconsciously fuel them further.

Keep yourselves far from envy; it eateth up…

Lupita's Oscar Win a Win for ALL skin tones

Like most people, I was elated to see young newcomer Lupita Nyong'o win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "12 Years A Slave." Throughout the award season, she has been a fashion standout and has captivated the public with her beauty, poise, elegance and humble heart.

I remember when Halle Berry won the Oscar for "Monster's Ball." I was absolutely ecstatic because she was the first African-American woman to nab the Best Actress Oscar. What I don't remember is saying to myself "This is for all the light skin, yellow, mixed race girls with long hair out there." And I certainly didn't use it as an opportunity on social media to elevate my own perception of beauty.

Yes, Lupita has darker skin. Yes, Lupita has shorter hair and yes, she is to be celebrated for who she is but there are those who take this opportunity to elevate their self esteem by putting other women down who don't share in these physical features yet we {l…

Black ballerinas are on pointe!

Last week, I had the opportunity to cross something off of my bucket list. I don't have many lofty or extraordinary things on my list; just meaningful experiences that take me back to the few safe places of my childhood. Since I was a little girl, I always wanted to see a Black ballet ensemble perform and I had the opportunity to see The Dance Theatre of Harlem perform in Irving, Texas.

I vividly remember the birthday I received a doll that looked like a Black ballerina.  She had on a pink tutu with cotton candy pink tights and pointe shoes. When you would press her head, her leg would kick up. She immediately became my favorite doll.

I think most little girls at some point dream of being a ballerina. After all, ballerinas are graceful. They are poised and elegant. They wear beautiful costumes and command attention when they take to the stage and if you are lucky enough to be the star, you twirl in the spotlight and command attention.

My mom put me in ballet classes but I was a ve…

Survivor Guilt-Carrying the Torch

Not even one month into the new year and a young woman I grew up with lost her battle to breast cancer. I remember the day that another classmate inboxed me to tell me about her diagnosis and asked me to reach out to her via facebook.

Over the next few weeks, I would read about how hard the chemo was on her body and her subsequent trips to the ER and hospital. All the while, I am cheering her on to victory, encouraging her from my own treatment experiences and praying for her wellness.

NOTHING HAS BEEN HARDER FOR ME THAN SEEING ANOTHER WOMAN DIE FROM THE SAME DISEASE THAT I MANAGED TO OVERCOME. It saddens me deeply because I realize that a) that could have been me b) I see the impact that her death has on her friends, family and loved ones and c) I wonder when the other shoe will fall for me.

With each death, I very small part of me dies with her. A dismal part of my heart and faith are chipped away. She fought as hard as I did, she had reasons to live, she had people that loved her a…

No Problems with Mary Jane

I don't blog daily because I strive to be relevant. In between social media posts, I do live a real life. This week, my facebook newsfeed has been inundated with bloggers and writers upset about current media portrayals of Black women on television; specifically the fictional characters of Olivia Pope on "Scandal" and "Being Mary Jane" on BET.

First let me state the obvious: These are fictional characters. Dramatic television is simply that. In order to engage an audience, you must have conflict and character flaws. Few people would tune in to watch a show where perfect people go to their perfect jobs and return home to their perfect families in their perfect communities with absolutely no conflict, turmoil or drama.

Television serves as an escape. We invest our time and emotions into characters which we can relate to at some level. My biggest concern with everyone upset with these portrayals is that they don't know what the resolution will be. These charac…