Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Next Level [Insert Poop Emoji]

I work in an office with a casual dress code. Perhaps not as casual as I tend to take it, but three-piece suits are not required. Recently, I noticed a co-worker dressing to impress. At any moment, should there be a meeting, she is ready. Me on the other hand? Not so much. And that is a problem.

Years ago, a friend of mine was in a bit of a professional rut. She was applying for jobs all over and no one was taking the bait. Day in and day out she assessed the problem and she came up with none. Qualified? Check. Capable? Check? Hard worker? Check. Educated? Check, check. After a frustrating conversation with herself, she realized to get to the next level she had to act like she was already there. She began moving differently and dressing differently. Nothing she did was out of the realm of herself, it was just in the vein of her best self.

The Universe gives us back what we put out. It does not matter if you are the most qualified, educated or dedicated person in the room. Do you look the part? Do you act the part? Do you live the part? I often wonder how con artists get away with obtaining jobs they are less than qualified. How are they operating medical offices and accounting practices with little more than a high school diploma? They somehow trick people who have been in the business for years and often get validated by said individuals. The package they present is what makes the difference. From the expensive paper their resumes and fake letters of recommendations are printed on to the way they speak, they are living the life they stole, and it makes a difference.

I dress my life. Take one look at me and you can see that (a) sleep evades daily, (b) clean eating means it didn’t stain my shirt too bad, (c) money is non-existent and (d) energy that should be going to me just simply isn’t. I mean, sure, I enjoy some mediocrity like the next guy but I cannot set up camp there. That is not good enough for me.  I need more. I want more. How do I get it, you ask? More is as more does, Forrest.

I must do more. Not in the traditional sense of running around like a headless chicken, but more so in the sense of creating an environment that is conducive to the more I expect for myself.  I must lift myself up to the level of what I deem success to be. I will never in a million years be a flashy expensive clothes/car/house type of person. I will forever be a tee shirt, jeans, ball cap type of gal. My afro will most likely always be big and unruly. But just because at my core casual is who I am, it does not give me permission to be lazy.

The next level which is meant for me, is for me. It does not require me to be anything other than who I am right now. It does, however, require me to be a less lackadaisical version of myself. I cannot be less than my personal best, which by the way, does not include chin hair and hamper shirts. As much as the gung-ho twin wants to hop on all of this at once, the forty-year-old sit-yourself-down twin knows better. One small bite at a time. Much like the woman with the issue of blood who only needed to touch Jesus’ hem, if I can just touch the handle of a razor my healing will begin (joking, not joking).

~SM

Nothing Is Everything

Every day, I sit and write. Every day I rack gray matter for some perspective of life to spew. Day in and day out fingers tap keys. It has become a thing now. But today, sigh, I gots nothin’.

It was upsetting, at first. The little panic mice ran haphazardly through my brain yelling about what to do, but I threw my head back and sighed. They would do nothing. Neither would I. Sometimes, nothing is exactly what is right.

Things can come at us faster than we anticipate. We often think because we can do everything all the time we can handle anything. First, we are not capable of doing everything all the time, and those of us who think we can, suck. We are the first to fall out from sheer exhaustion, or nut up in the middle of Kroger when all the almond milk is gone (not speaking from experience or anything). Second, there are moments when nothing is okay. It is better than okay. It is exactly what the moment calls for.

If silence is golden, then nothing is platinum. You cannot be present or grateful or loving or caring or clear or amazing if you are in a constant state of doing the most. Nothing can sting. It can make you feel lost. In a sea of everything, to sit and do nothing feels lazy. It feels as if the whole world you hoist atop your shoulders is going to roll down the hill at any moment. But here is the thing (hold your breath), it won’t. Shut the front door!

The most empowering moments are when I choose to do less than what I know I can do. It sounds backward but hang with me here. I am capable of some amaze ball stuff. I. Am. Great. I kick ass and take names. I handle business first and shed thug tears later. We plays no games. But, when I ease off the gas a bit and move below the standard level of kick-ass, I am refreshed. The act of doing less, of being less, than my daily one hundred is when my spirit speaks the loudest. I can be present. Every minute is like a lifetime when I do nothing. Less is so much more.

Obviously, I wrote something anyway because you are reading it. Hopefully, if you take anything away with you today, take nothing. Take laziness. Take a moment. Bring yourself down to a place below your normal level of wonderful and push for nothing. Allow the day to wrap around you and breathe it all in. Stare out of the car window. Walk slowly. Be present. Time is limited—why waste it by always doing the most? Just sayin’.

~SM

 

Being Helpful

I have about $34 to my name currently. I also have a $20 bill nestled safely and sweetly in my wallet. It has lived there for the past 3 weeks. On top of the $34 and the $20 I have about $1000+ I will  spend in the next few days for a baseball trip–of which I currently do not have. Go figure. The only reason why I have not drowned my sorrows in cake and ice cream just yet is because I have faith that He will make everything okay. But you know what they say…faith without work is dead. So, I decided to put in a little bit of work.

I hate asking for help. I would sit in the dark with only candles for light before I opened my mouth to ask for help. It is unfortunate, but it is who I am. I am learning, however, that that is what family and friends are for. So I put a little bit of my head on their shoulders when my back is crushing the wall. This week (please reference the $1000+ above) my spine is cracking the drywall. I asked for help.

My aunt and uncle were one of the first to answer the call. When my uncle answered the call, he reminded me to tithe. It was a funny thing he had mentioned it because it was nothing more than confirmation. Just a week prior I had prayed about my situation (as a whole) and what I should do and the only thing that came back was that. It stayed on my mind for days afterward–you know that nagging pull and tug? Yes, that was it. Okay God, I understand. I have a plan. Starting July 1 I would have it all in place. So–yea–the thing about God and plans….

Remember the mention of that sweet little $20 bill I have tucked away? It is no longer tucked–in my wallet anyway. YG came into the office looking for food to feed his face. He also mentioned that he was trying to drum up cab fare for a lady who had been sitting in the lobby trying to figure out how she would get to where she needed to go. Angel tap, mental nod, bye bye $20. He took a $20 bill out of his wallet ready to hand it to her and I slipped my $20 out too. “You sure?” He said. “Yup.” I said. “Ok, I will try to get you your money back.” I shook my head. “No need. I don’t want it back.” And truthfully, I didn’t.

Someone sewed a seed for me in my time of need and it seemed only fitting that I did the same. The Angel tap didn’t hurt either. I have learned not to argue with God or to hem and haw at His instruction. We have no idea what His plan is. It feels good to be helpful when I am in need of help. To be able to give openly knowing it is His will and for His good and not my own, feels right. I like feeling good and right. It also feels kinda cool to get my sweet little $20 back…she didn’t need quite so much after all 🙂

~SM

What Is The Point?

Remember that scene in Dreamgirls when Deena asks the other two what’s the point? I am asking the same question. Deena asked that question of her group-mates because she was frustrated. They knew they had done an outstanding job, but once again they got the door shut in their faces. So, out of frustration she expressed her interest in finding out what the hell is the point of it all. I don’t ask in frustration, but more out of curiosity.

I was plucking a couple hairs and wondered why. I put lotion on my feet this morning and asked myself what for. I put on a dress and make up and made my way out the door to drive twenty minutes to work and for what? I get up, get dressed, go to work, come home and do it all over again, but for what? Why? To make a set amount of money just to pay someone all of said money? To buy things of no value or momentary value? Don’t you ever wonder, like really really wonder why we are doing what we do? Why do we bother?

If you believe in God then you believe He has a plan and purpose for your life. You wouldn’t be here if He didn’t. But He knows the plan–you don’t. So, while He’s working the plan and you are either right on target or running around in circles like a headless chicken, there is a point we just don’t know what it is. So what is the point of the not knowing? Is it to teach us something and if so, does it really matter? We’ll be dead when the lesson is learned. Right?

Why in the world are we here? Why are there some rich, some poor, some in between? Why are their nutty people and seemingly sane people? Why are there marriages that last 50 years and some that only last 5 days? Why are there single people longing for love and why are their coupled people cheating? Why do we wear make up and look for better jobs? Why do we have passions yet can’t find a way to live them? What. Is. The. Point? Perhaps we’ll never know…well…anytime soon that is.

~SM

Feeling Replaceable

The biggest problem with loss is the feeling of being replaceable. Sure, it is nice to be the dumper or the two-week-noticer, but when you are not, it doesn’t feel so good. I got a taste of that when I was unexpectadely reminded that even though I am the mother, there is always room for one more.

It is something you think about when you have an ex anything and there are kids involved. You forget there is the potential for your off spring to bond with another adult. You ex has bonded, but you could give two shits about that particular bond (matter of fact you have often wished they got stuck together like humping dogs in the street). No. What worries you most is her (or him) glopping themselves onto your kids with fun stuff like shopping and outings and your kids sticking. After all, you are the rule setter, the drill sergeant, the taxi, the bill payer, the yeller, the spanker, the bad guy and on the tired days the ‘i don’t care’ guy. You don’t get the luxury of every other weekend fun in the sun spoil time with your children. Your spoil time and your mom time is intermingled together and it can be hard to tell the difference. To them…you are just mom…and to you…well…maybe you are not entirely replaceable but you certainly aren’t alone and it hurts.

It hurts somewhere way deep down, in a place no one can quite touch, when you think about being replaced. When your boss lays you off to replace you with someone younger and cheaper–it hurts. When your significant other breaks it off to replace you with whomever–it hurts. When your kids replace you with a girl/boyfriend, or just activities and friends in general–it hurts. But I suppose it doesn’t have to.

Looking at it behind mature lenses, we are truly irreplaceable. Someone can fill our seat momentarily, sure, but we are marvelously, wonderfully made uniquely enough so that no one person can step comfortably in our footsteps. There is only one you. There is only one me. Of course…I prefer to seethe and throw a tantrum about the potential of the Replacement, but that’s only because that feels better than being all yogi-om and mature. Realistically (here’s the mature crap again), I should know my worth and I should know my place within this world and in the hearts of those who truly love me. Why…I am smwart. I am kand. I am impowtant. Can’t take that away, no matter how much glitter and gold is thrown in the air.

~SM

Jeepers! Creepers

As a woman with awesome legs, I enjoy wearing dresses. They (the legs) are about the only thing on my body I don’t have to encase in Spanx like sausage. So when the weather is warm, or when I am just in the mood, I will slip into a dress and heels. I am a woman. It is my right.

One day last week I was feeling especially sassy and threw on a short, black sheath dress. Not short enough for people to mistake me for a prostitute but short enough for someone to admire the scenery….at a distance. Upon standing in the bread isle waiting for The Girl to come back with a carriage, Mr. Creepy Peeper proceeded to look up my dress. I know this because I caught him out of the corner of my eye and met his gaze when I turned around. Clearly taken aback, I moved to the opposite end of the isle where a small crowd of people where standing. All finished, and safely sitting in the car, I turned to say something to The Girl and low and behold Mr. Creepy Peeper was walking by. *shock and awe*

Not assuming he was following me, but let us assume he was following me–what gives a person the right to make another severely uncomfortable? And I suppose I should follow that question up with, do you just carry a baseball bat around with you and beat up Creepers when you feel like it?

As women, we have the right to walk around practically naked if we want. And…as men, they have the right to look, stare, drool, eat their hearts out…you get the picture. But at what point does the looking/staring/drooling become not enough? Why must we be touched or cornered or called like an animal or visually assaulted with Creeper eyes? Show a little respect will ya….Creepers.

~SM

I Am Suppose To Be…

That woman. You know, that woman? The one who breezes into Starbucks with her yoga/running gear on, fresh from dropping the kids at school, looking to get her day started with some physical activity. Perhaps she will end up driving back to her snazzy Better Homes & Gardens pad to slip into a shower built for two with a shower head that sprays water to mimic rainforest  showers. She will throw on a designer pair of slacks or jeans or a dress to officially start her day. She is probably the CEO of her own body care company or a consultant of some kind or a best selling author–able to move in and out of home life and work life seamlessly. I am suppose to be that woman.

No, no one told me I was suppose to be anything like her…it’s just….well….I can feel her lurking around in there. I can feel her tugging at the edges of my thoughts and (on a good day) I can feel her literally taking the steps for me to move from the minivan (which she would not be driving) to the neighborhood Wayfield (she would shop at Whole Foods). But then…her one step is countered by 3 steps back (boooooo hissss booooo). It kinda makes you just want to throw your hands up (not party style…more like in exasperation).

The other day, while at brunch with a friend, as we walked from car to restaurant we both felt it. We both felt the pull to be her. She, this woman I speak of, has the freedom to do what she loves, take care of her family and enjoy little slices of life. She has a positive bank account balance, no real worries or cares, and a plan. She travels and does community work. She breezes through Target buying necessities, but the name brand kind. She doesn’t have to choose between paying her power bill or putting gas in the car. Matter of fact, she can actually fill up her tank.

I need to be that woman. She is in there. I just need to find that thing to squeeze her out…like a big fat zit.

~SM

Death (And Other Grown-Up) Prepping

I am a single, 35 year old mother of 2 with no life insurance, disability insurance, retirement fund or emergency fund. If a bird shits on my life the wrong way everything collapses. I am on the brink of turning 36 and I suppose it is time for me to become a real, live grown-up. First thing first—Death Prepping.

The hardest thing a person will probably ever do for themselves and for their families is create, read and sign their Last Will & Testament. I spent last night’s baseball practice reading and re-reading my Will. It puts lots of things into perspective, especially when you do not have much to leave behind.

I read through the Will, imagining The Girl and The Boy sitting in a lawyer’s office listening to him read my last wishes. Morbid. But necessary. Being prepared for your death is less about you–it is about who you are leaving behind.

I think the thought of doing a Living Will came from (don’t judge me) Grey’s Anatomy. Derrick dying, Meredith having to make whatever decisions, Bailey bugging Ben about what he wanted to do in case it was left up to her–it all translated into real life. What if something did happen to me? Would my loved ones know what I wanted? Hell…did I really know what I wanted? The Will was easy to deal with…the Living Will was what had me reeling.

Thinking about what I wanted done in the event of something I cannot possibly predict was hands down harsh. What if I am pregnant? Do they save me and then the baby? Or just let me go and save the baby? What if they want to amputate a limb? Will it save my life? Can they leave the limb and still figure out a way to save me? How long, if at all, do I want to be hooked up to machines? Who will I appoint to carry out these wishes and pray they do not let their emotions get in the way? See…I told ya…harsh.

To ease some of the morbid tension between my future self and my sick/dead self, I decided to focus on something a little bit more cheery: Retirement. My plan has been (and continues to be) to live out the rest of my days in a Charleston beach house with the ocean as my back yard, teaching horny 20 year olds about literature and writing. I refuse to be 65 skrimping to live. I want to actually set my bills to auto-pay. I want to have several commas in my savings accounts and no negatives in my checking accounts. I want to be able to live in peace with no financial worries.

Planning for your death, sickness, and retired life is exhausting. I was so tired by the time I got done with all of that, I had to go to bed early. But, when I laid my head down on the pillow, I felt accomplished. I felt ready. I felt…like a grown-up.

~SM

Everything I Learned…I Learned From Fast Cars & Toretto

I remember sitting in the theater, packed and hot–teeming with anticipation, waiting for the first glimpses of tricked out foreign cars and mysterious macho actors. From the first scene to the last, I sat on the edge of my seat wishing I, too, could rip through city streets and zip under 18 wheelers. That night, I learned about the Rush.

The Rush is a feeling you get when your body is crackling with electricity. The smile on your face is pure joy. The palms of your hands are sweaty with anticipation. The beat of your heart is beyond normal. The Rush reminds you that you are alive. Every idea, every dream, every ‘what if’ spins around until they blur and you realize you are capable of everything.

I remember sitting in the theater, all of us feeling the sting of the loss of Letty, feeling so heavy in the seat. From the moment she died until the end, nothing quite felt the same. None of it felt….good…except Toretto’s love. That night, I learned about Love & Loss.

We all know Love & Loss–no further explanation needed. That was the night I actually questioned Love…what it was and what it really felt like…if I actually had it. I knew Loss, or at least some version of what I envisioned Loss to be, but I did not know Loss as it was connected to Love.

I remember standing in the isle, shortly after the credits finished rolling. The theater crowd was thinning but when we heard voices, we all froze. Something more was happening. Life was changing. Letty was alive and everything as we knew it was about to be turned upside down. We all stood, frozen, mouths agape at the thought of what was to come. That night I learned of what Possibility felt like.

I buzzed about the Possibilities of Letty for the rest of the afternoon. Possibility is endless. I started to see the Possibility in everything. What if, What would happen if, Where could, How should, Why…. With Possibility, Life becomes much more exciting and unpredictable. The end never seems so fixed when Possibility is involved.

It all sounds kinda nerdy, I guess, but when sitting in the theater watching silver screen friends (who happen to be real life friends) say good-bye to one of their own it didn’t feel nerdy at all. It felt incomplete. It was sad. I was sad. Everything I had learned over the last decade, I had learned through fast cars, corny one liners and bad ass drivers….and here it was….finished yet not on their/our terms.

I walked out of the theater neither interested in staying past the credit roll or bothering to see if there would be a ‘what’s next’. I took the experience, a decade and some change long, and packed it away. I packed away the Love & Loss, the Possibility, the Unfinished, and the Rush and put them on a mental shelf to be revisited later when in need. I smiled to myself thinking of something Toretto said (by which I currently live), “I live life a quarter mile at a time…” That’s all we have really.

~SM

Its Tough Being Good To You

Right now I am sitting in a nail salon, in a pedicure chair trying to ignore the petite Asian lady with the sparkly pants pick at my toes. I’m watching the girl about ten feet from me getting her nails filed and painted. We decided that while her brother was at practice, we would do girly things. But this girly thing is giving me a heart attack…slowly and quietly.

My mother is the best. She has a straight line to God’s heart and His ear. She often knows just the right prayer to pray and at just the right time without a word from the person she’s praying for. She often sends cards and small amounts of money for us to just spend on things other than regular life. For the kids it’s often candy and for me it’s usually gas, even though her instructions are to use it on myself. Last month, I opened up the mailbox to find an unexpected card with an unexpected blessing in it. How did she know I needed it? I immediately put it up in a safe place and managed to make it to pay day without spending it.

It has been my goal to save it and keep it until I find something worthy to spend it on like a broken pinky toe cast…light bill…bail (just saying), but this afternoon I decided to spend it on me.

So here I sit, getting my toe nails painted practically having a stroke because this seems frivolous and irresponsible. Sure, the rent is paid and yes the power bill is finally caught up. The Boy’s extra curricular activities have a 0 balance and I even managed to get an oil change. But getting your toes and nails painted doesn’t help with putting food on the table or gas in the car (unless you are a porn star). I should have run like the wind when she patted the chair. I should have thrown up the cross and backed out of the door when she told me to pick out a color. I should have been more responsible.

The saving grace…the only thing keeping me from keeling over in this stupid, vibrating chair…is seeing the girl flash me her nails and smile. The anguish, the self-imposed guilt, and the continual running list of better things to do with $30 sorta fade away seeing her pampered and happy. Maybe she’ll remember this moment one day. Maybe she finally feels the boy’s shadow moving out of her sunshine, just a little. Maybe she just feels good about feeling good. It is tough being good to yourself, but sometimes it’s ok to be good to you even if it feels heart attacky in the beginning.

~SM