So I was thinking about how this is my son's senior year of high school. I dropped him off for his first day a few hours ago. As the day approached, I anxiously worried myself into a frenzy. For some reason, I’ve just felt really overwhelmed, nervous, and...terrified if I’m being completely honest!
This is a huge deal! It’s the end of high school, the end of “childhood”, and the beginning of the rest of his life. And, I’m just worried that he isn’t ready. My baby is still a baby and I don’t know if he’s ready to grow up! I know what you’re probably thinking, “Cheryce, YOU’RE the one who isn’t ready for him to grow up!” That isn’t it. Really. I actually felt excited that he’s getting closer to 18 and almost out of my hair. I was ready to let him go spread his wings and figure out this thing called life for himself, ESPECIALLY since he thinks he knows it all already! Who was I kidding though?! Him getting older just brings about a new set of concerns and a different level or stage of parenting.
As his senior year drew near, I was extremely reflective and stressing majorly over everything from his haircut to clothes, from grades to college acceptance, from graduation fees to prom costs, and every little thing you can think of in between. I harshly critiqued my parenting and shoulda, coulda, woulda’d myself to smithereens. My boy has endured way more in his little life than I ever intended. Situations we’ve ended up in haven’t always been ideal and he’s had many challenges to deal with, go through, and overcome. Although not always easy, many times frustrating and upsetting, I’m proud of my son for his strength and resilience. However, I was a MESS thinking about it all...just really TRIPPIN! Even as I write this, I’m realizing that even though hindsight is always 20/20, there’s nothing I can do to change or fix the past. What I CAN do is move forward with 20/20 vision for what’s right in front of me and for what’s ahead. I can stop beating myself up for what I think I could’ve done better or differently and use previous mistakes and experiences as lessons and stepping stones. I’ll continue to do my best as a parent, using any previous mistakes and experiences as lessons and stepping stones. I’ll keep encouraging my child to do and be his best, applaud him for his victories, congratulate him on how far he’s come, affirm his greatness, lovingly push him to his potential, and in the process, enjoy what life has to offer through it all. As a result, I’m certain this will be his best year yet! Salute to my wonderful child and all the class of 2020!
So I was thinking about turning 40. Why? Because I’m 40 today. Lol! Yep, today I’m the big 4-0. Right now, I’m in Mexico having the absolute time of my life, but for months leading up to this, I had all types of mixed emotions about turning 40. But, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m happy, grateful, and looking forward to this new decade of life! I haven’t written in a while, but today I wanted to share 40 important lessons learned during my 40 years of life. Let me know if you relate!
So I was thinking about how walking down the street can be quite the arduous task. I travel all over Chicago/the Chicagoland area via public transportation, so my commute includes a generous amount of walking. But, the struggle isn’t because of distance. It has nothing to do with the shape I’m in. The chalkenge of my walk isn’t due to weather or the type of shoes I wear. It’s just that I’m always greeted with a certain level of anxiety when it’s time to leave my house. This happens especially when the weather starts to break. I know you’re probably thinking the difficulty is caused by the fear of violence in my city or the safety of my neighborhood. I DO live in the hood, however, that ain’t quite it either. Once the sun starts shining, the weather starts warming up, and layers begin to disappear, more people are outside, and as a woman, I can’t walk down the street without men in vehicles beeping their horns or yelling out their windows. I’m not even exaggerating and it isn’t flattering, it’s irritating.
Many times, as I pass by guys on the block or those walking toward me/behind me or when I see the working fellas outside or stand with the bros waiting on the bus/train, I’m met with all sorts of x-ray vision type stares, hey babies, what’s up sweethearts, and other catcalls. When a guy speaks to me, very seldom is it to be courteous or neighborly. Their words may seem polite, but they’re accompanied by sleazy glances and elevator eyes. When I’m approached in these ways, I don’t even want to speak...not only that, but sometimes I’m just in a hurry or in a zone, but I know that I must snap out of whatever apprehension/rush/trance I’m in, plaster on a smile, and have just the right inflection in my voice when I say hi. Why? Because as a teen I learned it was in my best interest to always speak when spoken to, whether I wanted to or not. At that age, I had boys call me ugly or a b***h or say that I was bougie when I wouldn’t respond to their advances. As I grew to be a young adult, I thought “men” would be different, but it was more of the same. There was never any physical assault, but because of the level of aggression I’ve experienced at times, I try to make sure I always grin and speak, because I just never know.
I share some of these scenarios on social media, many times making light of it, but it really isn’t funny. Like the one time I was speed walking, trying to catch my train, at the same time talking on the phone, and I pass by this man who says something that’s unclear. But, when I don’t respond he YELLS out: Well f**k you too, B***h! Then there’s the time someone looked me up and down and told me all the gangbangers must like me because I have a nice personality and I’m pleasingly plump.
Having to deal with this is frustrating, disheartening, and upsetting. It’s so unfair that I can’t mind my own business and get to my destination without being harassed in some way. Please, why can’t you let me walk on by??
So I was thinking about this happiness challenge I just completed. A year ago, my friend Shari and I embarked on a "100 Happy Days Challenge". We had been discussing where we were on our happiness journey and I reminded her of this challenge I had done about 5 years prior. The 100 Happy Days Challenge was started by Dmitry Golubnichy in 2013. It was a personal challenge he established where he would post something that made him happy each day for 100 days. He began this journey after finding himself discontent with his career and other "first world" problems, but then realized that his friends were happy with circumstances that were seemingly mundane. Dmitry figured if they could be happy, certainly he could too. He decided to post a picture on social media for 100 days that reflected something that made him happy that day and used the hashtag #100HappyDays. As his friends noticed what he was doing, they wanted to join. From there, the challenge continued to grow and more than EIGHT MILLION people have participated! You can find out more about this movement by clicking here. After I recounted to Shari how rewarding the challenge had been for me, she decided that she wanted to do it and I agreed to join her again. The challenge proved to be such a fulfilling endeavor, that we decided to extend it to a year and continued to post using the hashtag, #365HappyDays.
I am pleased to say that we finished the challenge yesterday and it was just that, a CHALLENGE. If I didn't understand the concept of the word, I undeniably do now! Heartache, death, disappointment, illness, rejection, confusion, mental illness, fear; these, among others, are all things I encountered that effected me either directly or indirectly during this last year. There were many days where it was a legitimate struggle to find something that made me happy during the day, but I did and learned (and remembered) so much during the process. One major key I recalled is that being happy does not mean being devoid of struggle or pain. Happiness is about choice, perspective, and emotional maturity. Emotional maturity is this: acknowledging your various emotions, allowing yourself to feel, and realizing that it isn't healthy to suppress your feelings OR dwell on your feelings to the point that they become toxic. By sticking with this challenge, I have clarity of what happiness is to me. Check out these 10 points.
Focusing on positivity and finding my daily happy, caused me to have more of an attitude of gratefulness, which transformed my perspective. I found myself in more of a state of thankfulness than in pity-party mode. There really is always a bright side, and for that I am happy. ☀️🙂
So I was thinking about job interviews and how I loathe them. Lol...but for real! It’s extremely hard for me to “sell” myself and answer those stupid questions they ask you at every interview. The words “tell me about a time” make me want to tear my ears off and rip somebody’s tongue out. 😩 I can’t “tell you about a time” Susan, because that ish has never happened to me or it HAS happened, but every time I get in an interview, I get a chronic case of temporary amnesia, so I really don’t know what to tell ya. Where do I see myself in 5 years?? Prayerfully, some place far far away from here, finally doing what I love. Becks, truth is, right now I just need to be closer to the crib, doing what I gotta do until I don’t have to do it anymore. Ya feel me?? Why do I think I’m a good fit? Because it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do what you’re asking. And you’re in luck, cuz I’m no rocket scientist, although I’m probably way smarter than you, which doesn’t matter since you’re the one asking the questions while I sit here with excessive dry mouth and disgustingly sweaty palms...These are all things I want to say or am thinking, but I replace it with some semi-intelligent, what I hope is convincing, tell’em what they wanna hear bs...
Now, what I CAN do is write and if given the time, opportunity, computer or pen and paper, I could knock these interviews out of the ballpark! Like seriously, why can’t interviews just be like essay questions on an exam??
You know the other thing I hate about interviews? The fact that per HR policy a certain number of interviews have to be done within the company or whatever the stipulations are for conducting interviews even though they may already know who they want to hire. Recruiters, hiring managers, or to whomever else this may concern, if you see my name up for a position where this is the case, please do NOT pass go. Skip on by me, k? And stop kee keeing with or grinning at me and oohing and aahing about my answers making me think I got this in the bag and you KNOW you have the “Thanks for coming out, but we’re going with another candidate and you’ll no longer be considered for this position but you can keep applying” email ready to send in your drafts! And even if you don’t know, I’d rather interviewers keep the poker face. Don’t get my hopes all up with your flattering reactions and body language.
Can you hear the rejection and bruised ego in my tone here?? 😫😢 I hope whoever was hired instead of me, quits their first week...(sets reminder to remove my website from my email signature when corresponding with a potential employer🤣).
So I was thinking about Candy Crush and the epiphany I had while playing. First off, don’t be coming on here judging me. Yes I still play Candy Crush. And yes, I make in-app purchases. It’s my escape! 😂 Anywaaaaaay, I woke up at 4:30am to use the bathroom, came back to bed, and started playing Candy Crush. Now, even though I consider the game as an escape, a way to just relax and rid my mind of the cares of life, there are those times when my brain actually functions while playing and I contemplate life’s (at least my life’s) greatest mysteries. Somehow, as a rainbow of candy colors exploded across my screen and the corresponding points flashed brightly and ostentatiously before my eyes, my mind wandered to a(nother) dating app I’ve joined. I haven’t an inkling as to how the vast array of hues and the spontaneous bursts of the sweet treats on my cellular device led me to thoughts of my drastically less colorful or sweet love life, but alas, here we are.
The app I recently joined is BLK. It’s much like all the others; Tinder, OKCupid, Bumble, etc. What makes this one stand out is that the majority of the potentials are black. So, the thought I had was that I didn’t turn on the notifications. I established my profile, did a few swipey swipes, didn’t approve notifications, then didn’t look at the thing for about a week. When I went back on after that time, I had several messages which I responded to, but still didn’t turn on the notifications, and now another week or so has passed and I probably have more messages. Could be. Could be not. Who’s to say? Whatever the case may be, this flash of reflection thrust me into a vortex of thoughts surrounding my dating experiences and the consistence of nonexistence when it comes to my relationship status. As I quickly plummeted down that black hole, I was struck with a realization I had, surprisingly, never before pondered. I have a thorough, comprehensive list that I’ve compiled and tweaked over the years of everything I want and need in a man/relationship. But the one thing I didn’t include or emphasize or require with any man I’ve dated/talked to/liked is that the person needs to be sincerely interested in me.
Let me see if I can articulate this clearly. As I reflected, I recognized that the men I’ve dealt with all had a lot going on, whether it was in their current job/career, a dream they were trying to fulfill, a skill they were perfecting, a degree they were pursuing, a family issue they needed to rectify, or even an internal/mental struggle they needed to control or come to grips with. I was always the sounding board, the encourager, the helper, the brainstormer, and/or the pseudo-therapist. But what about me? What about how I feel?? I’ve had tons going on over the years. Even as far back as my ex-husband, nobody really showed much interest in MY thoughts, feelings, hobbies, dreams, etc. Things were always pretty surface and one-sided. What I need is a person who is genuinely concerned with my desires, pursuits, fears, triumphs, failures, and joys. We can bounce ideas off each other, be a listening ear to each other, encourage each other, etc. etc. That’s what I’ve been missing!!
Yep. All this from an early morning trip to the bathroom and a frivolous (or is it?) game on my phone. Maybe now that I’m aware of this huge element I’ve been lacking, I can attract a love as colorful and sweet as Candy Crush...
So I was thinking about Solange's new album, When I Get Home, that I just listened to. Chiiiiiiiiiillllllle. I work overnights, so I listened about an hour ago and now it's a little after 4 in the morning and I cannot WAIT to see what her fans/stans/bandwagon jumpers have to say. I wonder if they're going to love it the way they obsessed over A Seat at the Table. I didn't like that album. It wasn't HORRIBLE to me, but I gave it a couple listens and did not fall in love like most people I know did. I can't even remember anything from that album aside from Cranes in the Sky because that was played out everywhere...a song title, lyric, melody, NOTHING can I recall!
Since I seemed to be drastically outnumbered when it came to my opinion of her last album, I decided that I needed to give her new stuff a try. I thought that maybe I would find in this new album what was missing for me in the last one. *insert eye-roll here* I want my 39 minutes back, plus interest. I mean, that should tell you something there. The album has 19 tracks, which includes about 5 interludes, and it is only 39 minutes long. And when I think about it, I'm glad because I would not have been able to endure another nanosecond. The psychedelic music was distracting and the repetition of some of her words/phrases was annoying. Furthermore, I mostly couldn't understand what the heck she was saying, not because her lyrics were so deep or her subject matter was so heavy, but simply because I couldn't understand her melodic mumbles and groanings. Then, when I COULD make out words, I still didn't know what on erf she was talking about. I actually think I blacked out a time or two. LOL!
Don' t get me wrong, I think she's extremely gifted and I like her earlier albums. These new school tunes aren't doing it for me though. It isn't just her, but I can't get with a lot of the current music. I LOVE all types of music, but the older I get, the shorter my attention span, the shallower my understanding, and the more clogged my ears. Ain't nobody got time to be deciphering the meaning or lyrics. Lol. I could listen to my trusty 90s/early 2000s music all day everyday. I've even been incorporating more music from the 70s and 80s for my everyday listening pleasure. As a matter of fact, excuse me while I listen to my James Ingram playlist. :-)
So I was thinking about love. Valentine's Day is Thursday and it's a day where most of the world focuses on "love". During this season, most businesses are filled with reds and pinks and decorative hearts and cute lil cupids. The stores have seemingly endless suppiles of chocolate and the florists are inundated with orders for extravagant arrangements. Hallmark sells tons of cards, balloons, and the like. Restaurants are booked solid. Classrooms are abuzz with the excitement of giving and receiving Valentines and reading conversation hearts. There's even extra traffic around the water cooler at work with talk and speculation about who got what delivery from whom. The media is in on it. Department stores are in on it. Hollywood is in on it. But is true "love" REALLY the focus? Or is it the commercial appeal that most of us buy into? Now let me say this. I'm not the one for knocking people for celebrating this holiday. Although we should show love daily, I'm not against recognizing a specific day of celebration. However, do we even know what love is? This is my favorite definition/explanation of love:
Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogrant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. -I Corinthians 13:4-8a, Amplified Bible Translation
Whew! I felt convicted even as I typed. Even if you are not a believer of The Bible, that it was divinely inspired by God and not just a poetic work akin to that of Shakespeare...and even ifyou aren't the follower of a specific religion or religious sect, or a believer in a power higher than yourself, you must admit that this breakdown is the purest form of what we call love. There's no way that, after reading that passage, you can deny the power that having or displaying a love like this contains. I'm sure you can imagine the impact a consistent, widespread love like this would have on not just your life, but the world! Would not the entire state of our planet be different?
We're human and we're not capable of navigating through this life perfectly. What we CAN do is be our best and strive to do everything with excellence, including love. I'm confident that if we made a conscious effort to actively and diligently love the way the scripture has laid it out, our relationships with our family, friends, and fellow man would drastically improve. I don't know about you, but I'm going to commit to love with more patience, kindness, selflessness, endurance, grace, and faith. And, while I'm at it, I'm going to be grateful for the many opportunities I have to love and be loved. So, as you're celebrating Valentine's Day, think about what the true meaning of love is to you and how you can go about cultivating and spreading that love 24/7/365!
So I was thinking about jealousy. Forget a hundred, I'm about to keep it 1000% with y'all. I be gettin jealous man! LOL! But seriously, I'm surrounded by such dope people doing such big things. My peeps are out here really living their best lives, taking care of business, and realizing dreams. And sometimes I get a lil jelly. Jealousy gets a bad rap. When people hear that term, they automatically equate it with things like being a hater, being bitter, or being unsupportive. But, I don't think it has to be a bad thing. As humans, we will naturally experience different emotions. When I think about this, the animated movie, Inside Out, comes to mind. It did an excellent job of illustrating the importance of feeling and expressing our emotions. Anger, sadness, jealousy are a few of the emotions that can become toxic if not handled properly, but I believe if you just feel what you feel and move on, you can experience each of these emotions in a healthy way.
When I find myself feeling envious of someone's bucket list get-away or dream home or new relationship or newsworthy accomplishment, I do the following things to make the jealous rollercoaster an enjoyable ride.
So I was thinking about the importance of good writing. People tend to downplay it, especially when it comes to text messages and social media. Folks seem to think that the quality of those things don't matter. I beg to differ. Writing is such a HUGE part of our everyday lives. Why not do it well? There is a popular saying that states, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression". Texting, social media, email; these avenues aren't only used for leisure, but many times they may be used as an initial encounter with a job connect, other professional opportunity, or even a potential love interest. In each of these cases, it's important that a good first impression is made. Then, after initial contact is made, it is very likely that frequent written correspondence will continue. I've conducted business in which 95% of it was handled via email, social media, and/or text message. It's also become a common practice for recruiters and HR reps to check an applicant's social media. I'm sure it's usually to check for any questionable content and how a person represents themselves, but I'd imagine that, depending on the job, it would also be important that whatever the person is trying to convey is well written.
I recently had someone text me, questioning the steps they should take to become a better writer and I'll share a few with you here.