“If I see you and I don’t speak…”

…that means I don’t remember you. Or, more than likely, I remember your face but not your name. If you see me in public and you haven’t seen me in more than a year, I just might forget you. Please don’t take it personally. I’m 46 years old now. I’m a teacher with 18 years in education, and I’ve taught thousands of students and conversed with hundreds of parents. I’m active in my church and in my community; I probably meet someone new everyday. My little brain just has to dump all of that information sometimes. No disrespect, but somehow your name file got deleted with some of the others. I mean no harm!

This is really important to me because I really don’t want anyone to feel like I’m being a snob or, as they say in my neighborhood, “acting brand new!” I’m not. I just can’t recall your name. As I’m talking to you, I’m desperately trying to think of who you are, but it’s difficult because at the same time, I’m trying to stay engaged in this conversation with you. This always makes the conversation difficult…tense…stunted. I know it, and you can probably sense my struggle. Then, I see it in your face; you give me that, “This bitch tryin’ to be funny,” look. But I’m not! I’m just old! 

It seems that even with my graying temples some of y’all forget that I’m not 10-year-old “Boo” from the Southside anymore. I’m full-grown Tracy J. Cass from Fort Worth, TX, graduate of UTA, DBU, and UNT! I’m an educator of many students and teachers. I’m a proud auntie of two nieces and two nephews, with a great-niece, a bad hip, and a horrible memory! With all of that on my plate, I forget things, including keys, and people…OFTEN. So I’m saying now, “I’m sorry!” If you see me at the local Walmart, and I’m struggling to remember your name or who you are, be kind and let me make it. Just say, “Hey, GURL,” keep it pushing, and let me move on. That’s just too much pressure. And low-key, I’m embarrassed that I forgot you. Let me be great. 🤦🏽‍♀️

Thanks!! 

#wheresmyaarpcard

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Girl Code

“The only side that matters is your friend’s.”

The person who vets these little vignettes for me said, “Cass, this is all over the place. You need a unifying theme.” She’s extremely smart, masters in literature kind of smart. So, when she reads my work it’s hard for her to allow me to bend the rules of structured writing. But, I do, and I did here in this piece as well. And as the Grammar Guru that she is, her nerves are most assuredly grated. 

I said all of that to say, I don’t have a unifying theme except to say that friendship is essential to the soul. Genuine friends, real, true, ride or die friends feed your spirit and help you mature and blossom. Friends can be closer than your family. It is written in holy script somewhere that a person that has friends must show himself friendly. In other words, in order  to be a good friend, you must ALSO be a good friend. 

Having said that, some of y’all out here living foul. Just like man law or bro code, girls, too, have a code that we live by. Rules, regulations, a set of boundaries that allow us to grow and flourish in sisterhoods in which we are not bound by birth, and sometimes in those which we are. To be blunt, there are just some things you do’t do, but y’all violating the code. And it is my responsibility, my duty, as a member of a true squad to get y’all together and let you know the rules, the code, the Girl Code. What makes me an expert? I have a PH.D in maintaining friendships. I have three sisters, and I have a squad of friends that I have been down with for more than 20 years. So, uh yeah, I think I can talk a little bit about friendship. Don’t judge. Just learn and apply. So here they are, my rules for being not just a good friend, but a great friend! Girl Code 2018.

1) Husbands and boyfriends are off limits. Period. Forever! There is no statute of limitations. Once someone has dipped into that love-pool, dude is forever off limits to you. Despite what other cultures may do, our culture does not. Bump that…other cultures don’t do it either. I’m telling you now; stop it! Even if she says, “It’s ok. Go ahead, I don’t care.” We all know she’s lying. Don’t do it. This is the ultimate no-no. Taking this chance causes years of conflict and confusion, most often ending friendships permanently. I say it again, “DON’T DO IT. Dude ain’t that cute anyway!

2) My business is my business. If I choose to share it with you, that means I choose to share it WITH YOU. Not everybody else, even if the person you are itching to tell is my friend. When you decide to tell my business without my permission, you are violating my trust, and I’m not going to tell you anything else. Now, I won’t necessarily ex-communicate you for this, but I damn sure won’t trust you with anything else. Keep your trap shut…but we both know you are probably thinking of who to call faster than I can hit END CALL.

3) If we had an argument 10 minutes ago, then that’s just what that is. An argument. Ten minutes ago, or two days ago, or three weeks ago, or five years ago. It’s over, never to be brought back up again.  Say what you have to say and then let that be the end of it. Period. Ain’t nobody got time for grudges. Once we have hashed it out, we will cry, hug, blow snot, and move on. We are no longer mad at each other. It’s done. Now…let’s go get ice cream!

4) If you are mad at one of our friends, you are mad, not me. We, she and I, are still cool, just as I am still cool with you. I will not let you talk about her, and she can’t talk about you to me. I will try my best to help you reconcile, but bottom line, that’s y’all’s business. Don’t expect me to stop speaking to my friend because you are mad at her. I’m not going to stop speaking to you when she has beef with you. Hopefully, you two will resolve your issues; however, I understand that some disagreements are just too hard to work out. In that case, I will respect your decision to move on from that friendship, but until that person does something to me, she and I are still friends. Respect it.

5) Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…imitation, not copying. Listen, God made us all different, with unique gifts and talents. Use what God gave you for the greater good…what God gave YOU, not me. If every time I do something, you do it too, that is not a friendship. That is a person who is insecure and competitive. Friendships are built on mutually beneficial relationships; they are diverse and rich. No one learns or grows if everyone in the village is just alike⏤dressed alike, talks alike, eats the same food, wears the same style, has the same job. Where is the fun in that? When you win, I win. I will celebrate you and let you have your moment, do the same for others. Let us all be great! Because honestly, no one likes a copycat.

6)If we came together, we leave together, even in our forties, fifties, and sixties. Have you ever seen Golden Girls? My favorite show, by the way.  As your friend, I am responsible for your well-being, and you are responsible for mine. We must look out for each other. Your family SHALL NOT call me and say have you seen_____________, and I can’t answer that question. If we are out and someone is coming on too strong or trying to harm you, he will have to come through me and the squad, you hear me? We will let you make moves; I’m not a blocker at all. However, we will all have our eyes on each other to make sure that we leave a place just like we arrived…TOGETHER.

7) It’s your job to get me together; don’t have me out here looking a fool. Not in fashion. Not in relationships. Not in my career. Not in life. As friends, we will speak the truth in love. But we will speak truth! If you are out of order, I will tell you. If I am out of order, please tell me. (Delicately though, I’m sensitive. ☺).

8)Friendship is friendship, and business is business. If you can’t separate the two then friendship comes first. We will not lose our friendship behind business. 

Bonus Code:

Okay let’s pause and take a break. I wrote a previous version of these rules a few years ago. I have since grown and matured, and even still, most of the rules still apply although in this version I hope that I am a bit softer in my approach, a tad bit wiser, but still honest. I re-read the previous version, which I didn’t remember writing until I finished this post, and not shockingly, not much had changed. Just my delivery. There were a few rules, however, that I would like to add from my earlier version.

9) Trust your friend’s to be who they are. Okay, this rule is simple. If your homegirl talks too much, don’t tell her all your business and get mad when everybody knows your story. You knew she talked too much when you opened your mouth. If you have a friend that is always late, why do you insist on giving her the correct time to show up when something starts, then pitch a fit when you are two hours late because you were waiting on her to pick you up? You know you need to tell that girl to show up two hours early just so you guys can get where you’re going on time. I know you want to believe in your friends. You  also need someone to talk to, someone with whom you can share your problems so they can pour into your soul. In essence, sometimes you need to unburden your soul onto someone else just so you won’t go crazy. So, you call your friend, your sis, in hopes that this one time you can tell her something and she won’t go blabbing your business all over town. You love her so you give her one more chance. But in reality, you are not being fair to her. You are expecting her to be someone she is either not capable of being, or she doesn’t want to be.  You screwed up when you thought your friend would be someone different. The best predictor of past behavior is previous behavior; pay attention and learn!

10) Keep your opinions to yourself. We all want to make comments or suggestions on someone’s, style, hair, relationship, decisions, etc… Be like the government- if they don’t ask, you don’t tell! Honestly, they don’t really care what you think if they haven’t asked for your opinion. And really, these pieces of advice you are giving are just your way of manipulating your friend into being just like you. But, what would the world be like if we were all the same? 

But wait, you told us earlier to “get you together.” There is a fine line between making sure I’m slaying versus you just knocking my style. If you are constantly criticizing someone, then chances are you are being a negative Nancy and you should probably keep your opinions to yourself. However, if you are that friend that celebrates more than she critiques, when you have to give a critical word then your friend will take it in the love in which it is given. She will know you came to help her slay and you are trying to help get her life together. It’s hard to do, and balance is the key. My advice here is to tread lightly and check your motivation.

11) Have some honor among thieves! Let me handle this rule gingerly. Some of us have been put in situations where our fidelity to one another has been…tested. For example, Your homegirl is stepping out on her man. You and her man are cool. One night he calls you. General conversation in the beginning, just idle chit-chat. “How are the kids?” “You coming by to watch the game next week?” As the conversation progresses, he knows you are going to ask where she is and what she is doing. He tells you, but before you know it he starts talking about their relationship and how he really cares about her. Let’s face it, this is the start of him picking you for information.  First and foremost, you were wrong for talking to him so long. I know, I know…you feel sorry for the brother. He’s crying on the phone, sounding all pitiful. But remember, your loyalty is to your friend, not him. GET OFF THE PHONE! Think about it, if the situation were reversed, would he look out for you or he would stick with his homeboy? You already know the answer to that question: Man-Law #1 BROS OVER _____s! You don’t have to lie to him, just don’t answer! 

This isn’t just about relationships. This is any situation where you have to take sides. Remember, the only side that matters is your friend’s. When I pledged my sorority, one of the first things I learned was that “soror business is soror business.” This means what we do and talk about stays between us; if and when we are wrong, we will handle that behind closed doors. As I tell my trainer when he tells me I always take Kim’s side (See March 6, 2018 post: Ode to Comfort Foods/ Requiem for a Fat Girl.) “She’s my line sister. I can talk about her, but you can’t. I’ll tell her she’s wrong later!” And when it comes to my blood sisters, do we even have to ask?

Girl Code is not written in stone and it shouldn’t be. As women, we have a right to change our minds. Depending on how the group feels about certain things, these rules are simply a guideline to help us navigate in the space of friendship. Fellas, as you read this and you suspect that your wife, sister, mother, cousin, auntie might be violating the code, do not, I repeat DO NOT try to charge them up and hold them accountable! Why? Because you are not officially part of the squad. You can try but it probably won’t go over well. When you do it, you are judging. Get one of her homegirls to do it! When she calls her to the carpet, it’s LOVE! I hope this blesses somebody. Be a good friend, not a shady one! LOL!

P.S. Coming soon Part 2: “Get You a Crew!”

#mycrew! ❤️👩‍👩‍👧‍👧

Confessions of a Beyoncé Hater

“Beychella…I will admit that I did drink a bit of the Beyonce Kool-aid, it tastes pretty good…”

Beychella 2018…let me just say, “AMAZING!” I have never been a part of the Beehive. Admittedly, I am a reluctant fan. I like a few songs. Maybe one or two off of each album that I have on my run playlist, but I never really understood the world’s obsession with Bey. Well babbbyyy! Let me tell you. NOW. I. GET. IT! She is the queen, and she deserves all of the props given to her.

I didn’t even know that Coachella was going on until yesterday. I think I found out while scrolling Instagram. It still didn’t hit me that, “This is the weekend Beyoncé will perform.” I guess I just don’t care that much…until I got to Sunday School, and my sister said, “Jon Jon stayed up last night to watch Beyoncé! He said, ‘She did that!’”

I was perplexed. How? On what? The miracle of all miracles.”We have T-Mobile and they live streamed it. They dropped it at three this morning” I tried to play it off with an eye-roll, “How many more times is this chick going to drop albums and what not? Isn’t that old news?” But secretly, I was trying to figure out how I could watch it. Was it still streaming? Would they re-broadcast? Would it be available when Sunday School was over? Low and behold when I left class at 10:30AM and checked my phone, it was available on YouTube! I sped home to mirror it on my tv just in case it was a mistake and YouTube decided to snatch it down before I could watch it.

I propped up on my couch ready to criticize and critique, but Bey did something spectacular. She marched in like a queen, sang the black national anthem and gave me at least 60 minutes of homecoming/ probate step show at an HBCU!

On top of that, the second or third song was my favorite, FORMATION! I was hooked! By the time she got to “Lose My Breath” with Kelly and Michelle, I was literally in the living doing jumping jacks like we do when my trainer plays it in class! When it was over, I realized that she had performed all of the songs that I loved, and I had sang everyone of them!

Listen I know some of you guys are out there like me saying, “She’s doing too much. What’s all the hype? Give us a break!” I won’t argue with you. All I can tell you is that Beyonce is the Michael Jackson of this generation!. Give her credit for that. I have to at least acknowledge that she is a true performer.

Now, I am not a member of the Beyhive (they are a bit crazy).  I will admit that I did drink a bit of the Beyonce Kool-aid, it tastes pretty good, and that alpha line of Beta Delta Kappa Spring 2018 is looking good right now! Here’s why I had to taste and see.

I thought about it, and Bey is me.  Beyoncé is a black woman from Texas. She is successful. She is talented. She is proud of being black. She is proud of her culture. The more the world tells her what she can’t do, the more she shows them what she CAN do. She empowers women. She empowers young girls. She loves her husband, but shares through song her fight to preserve black love. She’s a big sister who loves her little sister! She is loyal to her friends. When she gets put on, she brings her friends along with her. How can you NOT LIKE someone like that?

I am ashamed that it took me this long to recognize her greatness. My line sister tried to tell me, but I wasn’t hearing it. I’ll say it now, “I’m sorry, Kim! You were right! Beyoncé is G.O.A.T.!” At least one of them. I can’t deny anymore that she is to be held in the same regard as Tina and Janet! She is definitely the best entertainer alive today. Don’t believe me? Watch Coachella.

From one Texas girl to another, thank you Beyoncé for keeping it all the way live and making me a believer! #givingBeyherprops #coachella2018

Ode to Comfort Foods/ Requiem for a Fat Girl.

#weighinrevolution #trainerconfessions

Every week, I weigh in with my trainer, Chris. But not this week. This week, I am staging a rebellion!! I refuse to step on that scale. Why? Because I know that I have done the fool with my food, and I just cannot…I will not feel bad about it. I know that he is going to fuss and tell me he is disappointed. We will have another session of #trainerconfessions, and I will move on. Yet, I just don’t feel like going through it this week.

My trainer is really good; he is. I wouldn’t say it if were not so, but I am often …hmmm, is “disobedient” a good word? Yes, he would probably say I’m disobedient. Every week I get, “You don’t listen to nothing I tell you!” Meh…Sometimes I do; sometimes I don’t. The exercise regimen he outlines for me, I got that! I go hard in the paint. At least my version of going hard. But the food part, not so much. I have good intentions, and I do well with my meal prepping—Monday through Friday. On the weekends? HA!!! I know that I can’t outwork a bad diet. I know that! I know that fitness is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition. I KNOW THAT. I know that I can’t keep doing things the same way and expecting a different result. I know ALL of that…But I miss food, dammit!

I miss Cocoa Pebbles and Fruit Loops.

I miss Little Debbie Donut Sticks and Oatmeal Cakes.

Strolling pizza buffets as if I were taking walks through the park.

Hamburgers…oh how I miss thee! And not turkey burgers. I want ground beef. With two slices of cheese, onions, and bacon, on a nice buttery, toasted bun.  I had one, too, on Thursday, when I went to the movies! And, it was DELICIOUS!

I miss Paul’s Donuts on Hemphill. Nothing beats that warm, soft, sugary pastry that just melts in my mouth.

I miss Braum’s Ice Cream and the 31 flavors of Baskin-Robbins. On the way home from the gym on Thursday evenings, I often glance at the Braum’s Ice Cream Parlor on the side of the freeway. “Let me have an ice cream sundae, please. Vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup, not hot fudge. Whip Cream, no nuts, and extra cherries.” My order is cemented in my mind. I’m always tempted to exit, but I force myself to keep driving because…the scale!

I miss the catfish basket from Lisa’s chicken.  There’s one right in front of the gym. As I leave class, the aroma of Lisa’s wafts through the air like mist on a dewy morning. I get weak, I tell you!

And I miss Popeye’s, and Chicken Express…one day we shall meet again. Maybe this Friday when I can stay at home and enjoy some ratchet TV in my robe.

I miss Cherry Pepsi and Cherry Coke. If they didn’t have so many calories, I would get a 2-liter bottle and freeze it until it was slushy. Then after my long day at work, I would drink like it like it was a gin and tonic.

Oh, how I miss my comfort foods! They got me through so many trials in my life. Crazy parents at school? I got a honey bun from the vending machine to calm my nerves. My Granny died? Chicken and 7-up cake made my day. Relationship blues? Cookies and cake were food for my tears. Food was my friend, and I miss my BFF!

But what I don’t miss is not being able to bend over and tie my shoes. I don’t miss the pain in my legs when I stand too long. I don’t miss wondering if my seatbelt is too tight because it’s stuck or because I’m just fat. I don’t miss those things at all.

I’ll do better next week…but I’m still not weighing in tomorrow! #resist! #chubbygirlblues

P.S. This weigh-in revolution was the brain child of my line sister and friend, Kim! We hatched this plan on Friday night, and I wrote this opus after we agreed to stand in solidarity. Well, let me tell y’all what happened Saturday morning. We walked in the gym Saturday morning, and I said, “I’m ain’t doing it!” She said, “Yeah… we’re not weighing in.” But something in my spirit knew her response sounded kinda shaky. I went to the restroom and came out only to find out that Kim had sold me out! Chris is a mastermind at divide-and-conquer. He’s like a ninja! I knew I shouldn’t have left her alone with him. I weighed in after all because the weigh-in revolution was televised via Kim. Regrettably, I kicked her out of Wakanda (she can only cross her arms at the bottom), and then I gave her a good tongue lashing because she violated girl code! Thus, the topic of my next blog. I must remind you heifers of the rules!

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I guess I’ll let her come back to Wakanda

Top FIVE Things You Learn to Appreciate After Turning 40!

1.) Bufferin or any type of anti-inflammatory.

Arthritis is real. Even in the early stages, you can be shocked by the pain it causes and how limiting it is physically. You attempt to be strong and tell yourself you don’t really need it, but honey, when I tell you popping two will have you feeling right!

2.) Memory

Walk in the kitchen looking for….oh snap! I forgot that quick. Trying to remember the name of…anybody…it just leaves you…until it comes back, right after they walk off.

3.) Money

With retirement beaming on the horizon, you recognize that you didn’t save like you should have in your 20’s and 30’s. The thought of having to wake up before dawn in your late 50’s to go to a job that sometimes isn’t your ministry makes you want to vomit. It really hits you when you ask the pizza delivery guy, who is well into his 60s, how are you today and he responds, “I’m just ready to stop working.” It startles you a bit that he is so matter-of-fact about his misery. You recover quickly with an encouraging word, “You don’t have long to wait.” You expect a thank you or a smile. Instead you get his grumbling reply, “Noooo…these bills keep coming. “ And as you pay the bill, you have a flash of you at 70 years old standing in Walmart working as a greeter while your girlfriends are taking an Alaskan cruise because they saved their money when you were on shopping sprees.  Yeah…you start to appreciate the value of couponing, shopping on clearance, and cutting the cable cord so you can pay off some bills and save.

4.) Alone Time

Listen…sometimes I just don’t want to be bothered. I don’t want to see anybody or talk on the phone. I’m not mad. I don’t have anything against you. I just want to be alone and watch my shows. Is that ok?

5.) How many “shits” you no longer give (millennials say “FUCKS”, but I’m a GEN Xer…I prefer shits)

You will be surprised how little you care about what people think about you. Judgment abounds in this day of social media. Whether you are a chronic user of said media (such as myself), low-key creeper stalking the pages of your friends and family (and ex-lovers) but never posting. Or, you think social media is the devil incarnate and you refuse to touch it for fear you will have a check waiting on you in hell. Wherever you fall on this spectrum of people, once you turn 40 you stop giving a damn what people think about how you use it. Not just that, but anything. Your style, your job, your man, your hair. Not when your friend, who was a year older than you, died of a heart attack. Not when your classmate was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Not when doctors are giving out diagnoses for auto-immune diseases like the government used to handout cheese. No ma’am…or sir. You really start to give up the ghost on receiving validation from other people when you realize you only have one life to live. You don’t have time to waste trying to make people like what you do. And chileee when I tell you!!! It is liberating. I stay not caring!

When my friend read this post she said, “You just stopped writing instead of ending it.” So my final thought of appreciation is this: when you are in your forties you don’t waste words and you know when to quit. Peace out!

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#thefortyandfabulouscrew #mygirls😎

The Best Revenge is Living Well

“…you, my friend, are a QUEEN. A woman too good, too valuable, too DOPE to let a dude make you think that you are incapable of ANYthIng…LIVE WELL!”

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Some of you were in your feelings because you spent the day alone. Maybe it was because you chose to be, but it might be because the guy you thought held the key to your heart actually stomped on it with his Luccheses or Tims. If you are a part of the latter group of ladies understand this: 1.) You are not alone. 2.) You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and 3.) Things are a lot better than you think. Keep reading.

That dude who pissed you off. Walked off and left you in the bed with a mountain of used snotty Kleenex, eyes that looked like Roma tomatoes, and wondering whether or not you should pull a Jasmine Sullivan on that @$$ and bust ALL his windows out on, not just the car, but the house too. The dude who said you weren’t good enough; or, the one that cheated because someone else was more convenient. How about that dude that told you what you wanted to hear? Words that sounded so good they felt like chocolate and caramel melting when it touches your tongue. You held on to Every. Single. Drop. Only to find out that it was terribly bad for you. After the rush of deliciousness, you crash from the high that left you feeling guilty and ashamed. Yeahhhhh … that dude.

Thank the Lord he is gone, but let’s be honest. He did you a favor when he moved on. You know it, and he does too. He knows he is trash warmed over. He is fish left in the sun for three days. He is the area in the back yard designated for dog poop. HE. IS. NOT. THE. ONE. So let go already!  But in your heart you want to hang on. Why? Because you want to win. Letting go is like losing the Super Bowl by a field goal, a boxing match by split decision, the World Series by one run. Victory was in your grasp, and you watched it slip through your fingers. Friend…the new girlfriend is the victory parade that he flaunts in your face.

But I tell you what, take that “L” like a champ and move on. You really are the better for it and you know it.  Sis, recognize that dude just gave you an opportunity. The opportunity to live your best life minus the baggage that is him. You see if he cut you off, then he obviously is not the person for you. Anybody that is not meant to be in your life is baggage. Weight you are carrying around that isn’t beneficial to your progress.

You can you win this war. Yes, war because that is exactly what it is. A war for your dignity and strength. You need to win this Relationship-Geddon because you need to know that you, my friend, are a QUEEN. A woman too good, too valuable, too DOPE to let a dude make you think that you are incapable of ANYthIng, especially of receiving the love you deserve. So you are about to win this war. And this is how: LIVE WELL!

Yes ma’am. DO IT! Live the best life you can imagine. Travel to exotic places. Eat rich and delicious food every once in a while. Pursue your passion. Do you like to cook? Host a dinner party for your friends. Take a class and learn to sew. Get healthy. That’s right. Get HEALTHY by eating right and exercising. Those endorphins will kick in and boost your attitude, and your skin will glow. The pity party is over. This guy is no longer a factor in your life; he chose not to be. So don’t allow this opportunity that he gave you to go to waste. This is the perfect time for you to say, you know what “I can show you better than I can tell you.” Then show him, girlfriend!

You know what’s great about living well? You won’t even have to tell him! Other people will. “Have you seen______________? She looks good!” “Did you know that ________________went to Costa Rica? Man, I saw her on Facebook. She doing it BIG, homey!” You will know that he knows, too. When you get that late night text that says, “Hi,” don’t answer. Hit delete, then roll over and go to sleep. Trust me. The headache you will have re-opening that door isn’t worth the 10 minutes you are going to waste responding to such foolishness. No, don’t answer! Just continue to live your best life. Bottom line, you aren’t doing this for him anyway. You are doing this for you; you deserve to be happy. You deserve to experience life and appreciate the journey. You deserve the opportunity for the world to see how magnificent you are. You see, you were going to do this anyway, and you tried to invite dude along for the ride. He chose to get off, so let him. That was the Divine Conductor’s way of getting rid of baggage that would surely slow you down.  More than anything, you deserve to live in a space where you are alone but not lonely. You deserve to flourish in your single-hood, so much so that you can stand on your own and be OKAY. You also deserve to be loved by someone who sees these things in you and will step to you the right way. And when you give that person a chance, he will understand that this IS an OPPORTUNITY, and he will work his hardest not to F. IT. UP!

So, stop crying, get out of the bed, take a shower, get dressed, and start living. Look up, thank God, and say, “Thanks, dude. You did me a favor.”

#deucestolosers #notbitterbutblessed! ❤️💅🏾

Shout Out to 2018

This is the year you tackle your dreams! What are you waiting on?

Welcome! No disrespect to 2017. We had our problems. You know this. For a minute there, I thought we weren’t going to make it. It started November 8, 2016, and I just knew that we wouldn’t make it much past March. Despite the challenges, you held it down even though things were really rocky…especially those last few weeks. So, I’m not going to chunck you the deuces; I’m simply going to say, “It’s time I moved on.” On to new challenges and adventures. I must face what lies ahead in spite of how things look around me. I don’t have any “new year, new me” declarations or resolutions. I’m not dissing anyone who does. I’m just focused.

I’m 46 years old now but when I was a kid, I had dreams. I left college with a bag of ambitions, ready to set the world on fire. Then, I entered the real world and lost my way. I forgot about what inspired me and motivated me to be great. How sad! No time for regrets though. It’s time to do this thing and just focus, grind, and hustle despite how ridiculous those dreams may seem. So I’m giving a shout out to 2018! She deserves it. She patiently waited on me to get my shit together, tapping her foot like a MeeMaw looking at you as you clean up your room and pressing, “You know what you need to do.”

In the distant past, 2018 has watched me during my formative years stop and start, over and over again with this writing thing. But she has believed in me when I doubted myself and allowed self-talk to stop me from being great. “It’s time,” she admonished. Shout out to 2018 for speaking to 2017 and all the other years and telling them, “Let her go. You’ve allowed her to be lazy and indecisive. No time for that anymore. She has work to do!”

Furthermore, I nod my head to 2018 for allowing me to enter it with great mental health. Listen, the news cycle in 2017 almost drove me into depression; yet, 2018 holds the promise of a brighter future. She is here now. In great form. Like a grand diva ready to grace the stage. This is my moment. And so, it is yours also. This is the year to rise to the occasion. To look at that vision board and tackle it head on. To realize my dreams. This is THE year of accomplishments. “Don’t talk about it, BE about it,” as the old heads used to say. Yep! This is that year.

However, before you go forth ready to conquer 2018 like Khaleesi on her dragon ready to fight the Night King, remember there are a few things you need to do as you travel this journey:

1) God is first—nothing in my life gets done without His blessing. “Not my will but His”. Pray with expectancy but without expectations. 2018 knows this. She knows that God is who is He says He is, and He will do just what He says He will do. Remind yourself that He will answer in due time, yet be mindful that His answers may not look like what you think they should. “Not my will but HIS!” AND HE is in complete control.

2) Expect to fail—When I was in college, one of my friends pledged a fraternity. Each night, he and his line brothers went through a series of tasks and games given by the big brothers that taught them lessons but sometimes left them humiliated. The idea was to break you down to build you back up and make you stronger. I’m not advocating hazing AT ALL; but I do recognize that although misused, sometimes the purpose of such activities was to make you stronger mentally for a world that was often waiting to celebrate your demise. Anyway, one night after a long list of entertaining the big brothers,  my friend was standing in line and one of the big brothers took an egg threw it at my friend. It cracked, and he had egg yolk dripping over his entire face and white t-shirt. My friend was furious. He was ready to quit and step out of line to open up a can of whoop ass. His line brother firmly put his hand on his shoulder and urged him to step back. The big brother then explained, “Look, man, I know you are mad. You should be. But sometimes in life, you are just going to end up with egg on your face. You can’t let it stop you though. You gotta keep going.” It took a minute, but he eventually calmed down and stepped back in line. Later that night, he crossed the burning sands into full membership into his fraternity, accomplishing a goal he had long had as a young boy. He was overjoyed, realizing that he had almost stopped just short of his goal. In 2018, you will fail. You will. Embarrassment, shame, and sometimes guilt. They are all waiting on you. But don’t let them stop you. Keep at it every day. Eventually you will succeed. Or, you run the risk of stopping just before you reach the goal. PUSH THROUGH!

3) Remember…YOU. ARE. A. BAD ASS! People will try to make you think you are not. Don’t believe it. You are the SHIZNIT. Why? Because God made you, and He “don’t” make mistakes. When He formed you before the beginning of time, He knew, “This one right here ‘bout to do some thangs!” He knew what He made was good, so He sent you forth to set the world ablaze. Your doubts and fears are just signals to your soul that what you are doing is DIVINE! It’s a good thing to be humble. What’s not okay is allowing a false sense of humility to prevent you from fulfilling your purpose and dreams. My pastor, Rev. William T. Glynn (HeYYYY, PASTOR!), always says that it’s a sorry dog that can’t toot his own horn…or is it wag his own tail? Anyway, you get the point. Recognize that you have something to offer the WORLD. And it’s only something you can do because you are special. Own it and celebrate it! Do it! 2018 is ready.

So SHOUT OUT 2018! The year of my dreams. And so is 2019…and 2020 and beyond, as long as I walk this earth. LEGGO!