Diary of A Mad, Interesting Woman

Welcome to the random (and sometimes ratchet) ramblings in my head about life, love and pop culture.

Tag: taking care of self

What I Know For Sure

Birthday Reflections & Ish Like That …

So … #ThisIs38

A few years ago I was included in the “What I Know For Sure” section of O Magazine and I shared perspective on not being defined by the roles we lead (i.e. mother, sister, daughter, etc.), but prioritizing and nourishing your individual spirit and soul in order to be the best you can for everyone else (and I’m paraphrasing in case some of yall are still holding on to your copies). As I learned recently at #Blogalicious9, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Hallelujah and moment of silence for that little piece of wisdom …

Today is my born day (one time for #ScorpioSeason) and I can’t help but consider what I know for sure at this point in life. Seems that I’ve recently been involved in lots of deep conversation with girlfriends, my Hubby Honey, my Mama, my Boss and others about the lessons I’ve learned and the level of “sureness” I feel cloaked in these days. More important, it wasn’t a magical occurrence that just happened to me. My “sureness” is the result of intent. I’m living my life like its golden and operating within a level of freedom that I don’t think I’d ever experienced before now. I made the choice to be happy, to believe in myself and to throw a (metaphorical, and at times, tangible) middle finger to distractions. I’m living a life that I’m proud of and truth defined by me and only me. I. Am. So. Free.

As I celebrate this 38th *ahem* year of my life, here’s what I know for sure:

  • I no longer require any form of external validation to inspire or empower my internal thoughts, beliefs or ideas. For years, naturally, I sought approval from my friends, needed my lover(s) to assure me that I’m pretty, needed my managers to validate my smart thinking and my family to champion my tireless role as protector and provider. The expectation and necessity of the validation was so subtle that it took me a long time to pinpoint it was there. It drove me to seemingly inconsequential insecurity that metastasized into anger and resentment when I didn’t receive it. I finally decided I don’t need it. It was a cross too heavy to bear. Removing the focus from receiving my validation externally and empowering that positive energy inside has been likely one of my greatest rites of passage as a woman. Doing so has created this powerful level of self-awareness, self-love and self-confidence. It’s been one of my wisest intentional moves.

  • I’ve created healthy boundaries (for the most part) in my personal and professional relationships. For example, my loved ones (which include my Hubby Honey, Parents, Siblings, Girlfriends and extended family) are my lifeblood. In this life, it has been a privilege, and at times, a burden to serve them. It’s cost me peace of mind more often than I can reasonably quantify and I realized that it is 100 percent MY FAULT. We show people how to treat us, and too often, we operate within our familiar roles at unsustainable levels. Your loved ones don’t intend to overstep or abuse your over-commitment, but it happens. And it was happening to me. A LOT. So, I took a step back about three years ago and began to redefine my role, my expectations, my preferred level of commitment and the healthy level of reciprocity I needed within my familiar relationships. Doing so has freed me to support my loved ones absent of guilt, resentment, fear or worry. And, if someone doesn’t agree with my level of interaction or commitment, I leave that as a cross for them to bear. Cause as my Nik Nak taught me long ago – “What you eat don’t make me sh*t”. Word.

  • My heart is big. My tongue is sharp. My patience is thin. I’m extremely passionate (a true Scorpio). And, I’m funny as hell. I used to be reticent to say that about myself because it felt obnoxious to speak it, but no more. *picks up megaphone* I’M FUNNY AS HELL! Maybe not stand-up comedian funny, but I’ve been known to draw a crowd and bring down the house. #realtalk … my inner spirit is doing THIS most of the time …

Moving on …

  • I have a new found spiritual connection to my sexuality and pride in my body image that has skyrocketed my confidence. It’s not JUST about my looks (though your girl is killing it these days with this snatched waistline and size back to what I was in high school *hair flip*), but rather my internal confidence, keen self-awareness, my energy and this connection to a sense of … “knowing” about myself. My Grandma Mable used to say to me, “One day you just gone know what you know.” I never really understood that until now. Today, I own my confidence without shame, fear, ego or vanity. It’s my truth. It’s just as real as breathing.

  • I love being a woman, and more specifically, a black woman. There’s the fun stuff about being a girl like dressing up, makeup, all things shiny and sparkly, etc. But being a black woman comes with this Herculean strength, unicorn-level magic, enviable sense of wit, epic ability to clap back and shade and multidimensional talent. I am every woman and I BAWSE up in every gawt damn aspect of my life. Boardroom, bedroom, kitchen. I cooks, Baby. While my awareness to this perspective has been slow, my pride and ownership of it is SO here and SO real for me right now. I believe its actual tangible energy that even others feel when they are with me. I’m beaming in the skin I’m in. And loving every minute.

  • My relationship with God is real and tangible. It used to feel mythical. Perhaps because it was the product of the articulation of other people’s experience with Him. Today, we have our own vibe. My Jesus is trill! He MUST be because He created me and I stay on level trill at ALL times. I can feel Him … tangibly feel Him, hear Him and sense Him in all that I do. It’s pretty incredible. There’s not a moment I’m not mindful of Him, chatting in my mind with Him and hearing His response. I’ve tapped in and He’s reciprocated in the most beautiful fashion. It’s provided a much-needed compass as I carry two of my most important roles: Wife and Mom. And it’s endeared me to Him in such a personal way. #IluhGod #youdontluhGod #whatswrongwithyou

So … here I am! Big, bad and bold AF (said in my Ike Turner “What’s Love Got to do With It” voice – LOL). Loving myself and every aspect of my journey. I regret nothing. I’m present in every moment because I don’t want to miss a thing. And with that comes a continual birth of my being … which I am SO here for.

#ThisIs38

And many mooooooooooooooooooooooooore 🙂

Love You. Mean It.

@AskThePRGirl

#WeareTEN

In the Bible, the number 10 signifies completeness and wholeness depending on the source you reference. The perfection of divine order. Today, my beloved and I are ten.  Ten years of marriage. #weDIDthat

It’s funny. I’ve never doubted that Bryan and I would be together for the long haul. From the moment he looked at me in that way that he does, the way that only he can, I knew that I knew that I’d found my home. In the past ten years we’ve weathered a long distance relationship (for a combined two years) and two cross country moves that taught us lessons in trust and leaning into each other. We’ve weathered job loss and restoration, home sale and purchase, two children, a partridge and a pear tree. We’ve learned the difference between disagreements and deal breakers. We’ve learned each other’s love language. We’ve learned how to transition from roommates to soul mates. We’ve learned to fight fair which undoubtedly means listening more than you speak (real talk – something I’m still working on). We’ve learned to “seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” And my goodness has God blessed us.

In Bryan, I’ve found a man who treats me as if I’m his purpose in life. In every ordered step he takes, I’m assured that the driving force, the means to it all, is me. There’s not a doubt in my mind that he cherishes me. He respects me. He challenges me to be better, to never settle for less than I’m worth and to dream fearlessly. AND, to pursue those dreams with reckless abandon because he’ll always be here to catch me should I fall. He always says, “What’s the worst that could happen? No matter what it is, we’ll still have each other. So really … how bad could it be?”

In these 10 years, I’ve tried to be a good wife. I pay attention to him to communicate that there’s not one thing that interests him that’s not important to me. I encourage him daily, consistently affirm our love, champion his decisions and respect the path he’s leading. I like to think that I’m “21st century submissive” (I made that up). I follow his lead and believe his counsel to be wise, but I’m a partner with opinions that I voice respectfully with understanding that they’ll always be heard and weighed before he makes the final decision. It’s because of that reciprocity and open heart from my husband that I feel safe on our journey. It’s not easy being the head of household, thus I try hard to never do things that make it harder for him.

I began our journey in traditional role play (i.e. woman cook clean, man make money take out trash *said in caveman voice*). After a few years, I was exhausted. I couldn’t be all that I saw my Mom and my Grandmothers be AND be this dynamic communications executive at the same time. I remember one night that I sobbed to Bryan confessing that I couldn’t be the perfect wife. I was trying to do it all and I was killing myself. I was overweight, stressed to the max and supremely unhappy. I had it in my head that in order to be the “perfect wife” I had to subscribe to certain rules and duties.  Bryan looked at me and said, “So let’s change the rules. What do you need? Tell me and I’ll do it. I can help out around here. I can’t cook like you, but we’ll eat. Just tell me what you need, Baby. I’ll always do it. I love you more than anything in this world.” I give this man my life because he’s given nothing less than that to me.

I don’t think Bryan and I would say that our marriage is perfect, but who are we to argue with the Word of God? 😉 What I can say is that we are perfectly paired. Equally yoked. And, this journey has been the sweetest ride of our lives.

Bryan, my beloved, my friend, my lover, my Priest, Prophet and King

You have made my life so beautiful. Even my hopes, wishes and dreams of what marriage would be didn’t hold a candle to the fruition of you. Your love has been reverential and restorative. In it, I have been born. In it, I’ve found safety to stumble without regret and blossom without worry. In you, I’ve found my true North. Thank you for every laugh, every wiped tear, every night of pillow talk, every small and large decision suffered with little acknowledgement and every beautiful moment together. Being one with you is the sweetest gift God has ever given me. A reflection of His love for me. I am forever changed. I am forever yours.

Ten years … time really does fly.

#WeAreTEN #HangingwiththeHaleys

Love you, Baby. Mean It.

@AskThePRGirl

The Warning Shot Heard ‘Round the World & Other Insecure Ish

I’m not a traditional recapper of episodes giving a play-by-play of what happened so if that’s what you’re looking for, I’d check for another blog. I DO appreciate a good post episode query to ensure I’m not in these skreets thinking these thoughts by myself. Mmmkay?  So umm … er … let’s dive on into my top five gut check moments in episode 14 of HBO series #Insecure: Hella Blows:

  1. #Hoetation – Issa ain’t about this life she’s tryna live. I mean, she really sucks at it. We all see it. It takes finesse to truly have a hoetation without your name and deeds being in the skreets. You gotta be on some “eff yo feelings, I’m gettin mine” WITHOUT alarming your “prey”. And you CAN’T be thirsty!!! She’s TOO up in her feelings, painfully uncoordinated, odd and slick destructive in her approach. Who shows up to a dude’s house that you’ve only banged once and gets mad when someone else is there? Better yet, who bangs the guy who lives in the same building?! I was taught to never sh*t where you sleep. Clearly, I’m a dying breed. Raise your hand if this is normal behavior? IF you DID raise your hand, I’m gonna need you to collect your belongings and skedaddle right the hell up off my page. We’ve talked once before about your questionable life decisions and I won’t suffer you in life or blog. I just … can’t.
  2. #BlackatWork – Lawrence encountered that good ole tokenism at work. Nothing like working with folks who absolve themselves of the privilege and supremacy collar simply because they hired a black person, but knowingly treat you with condescension-laced tolerance. Me thinks it’s learn your effing lesson day for Lawrence this season. Everywhere he turns he’s getting a nice little sermon (chapter and verse). And looks like old girl at work is here for his awakening. We shall see where they go with that.
  3. #Shade – For forever and a day, “Girl, shut yo light-skinned ass up” will remain the ultimate no clap back shade. And it’s shade that only WE can say and ONLY to a good friend who know she saying some tom f***ery to begin with. When Molly said it to Tiffany, my heart warmed. It’s one of those unspoken black girl rules that you take advantage of when you with your real girls. Yet another reason why I love this show. They always tap into the real and deliver it effortlessly.
  4. #ThatDROstroke – I hate this path Molly is traveling down. I hate the license she’s given herself to sleep with this married man simply because she woke up to real life about her parent’s very adult relationship. I hate that she’s sacrificing her relationship with a lifetime friend. I hate that she represents a woman having it all, but nothing at all. I hate that when she gets what she’s been looking for, she ignores it for the thrill of complication (I mean … nothing’s more exciting than sleeping with the guy you KNOW you ain’t supposed to be touching). I hate that she’s taking the LOOOOOOOOOONG road to happiness and threatening her ability to get there because she backtracks 10 steps for every one taken in the right direction. BUT (and I say this hating myself as I prepare to type these next lines) Dro’s stroke is nectar of the gods. My man ain’t puttin in light work, he’s literally throwing his back into it and coming with that mythical light-skinned love! You KNOW what I’m talking about! Sistas get with chocolate brothas like Daniel, Lawrence, etc., because we know that stroke is coming from deep in the hills of the motherland. Light-skinned dudes (aka pretty ninjas) don’t be in there right because they’ve been with too many girls who are happy to be with the pretty ninja and didn’t tell his a** that his stroke is terrible. Thus, he goes through life thinking he’s THE MAN and he sucks. Somehow, Dro got that “spirit of Jidenna” stroke (i.e. you start hearing “Bambi” as soon as that ninja drop his draws and your soul cries a native African scream). That be late for work stroke. That call your girls and tell ‘em you ain’t gone make it stroke. Lawd ta mercy … #IJS. She ain’t right, but the b*tch is only human.
  5. #TheShot – Now … maybe I’m wrong, but we DID hear Daniel say, “Oh sh*t! You ‘bout to make me come.” In my experience, that’s when you pull back and use your hand if you don’t want to be shot in the face or swallow. If you gone be down there working it out and puttin him on notice that you came to win, you must engage all your chakras, be listening with your ears and looking with your third eye. THAT WAY, you don’t end up … like Issa. Listen, we’re adults, right?? It’s not the most pleasant sitch. We’ve ALL been there. I’m not tryna judge Issa that it happened, but I’m slightly confused at her reaction. What did she think was gonna happen? And can somebody hip me to WHEN we start givin head to ninjas that ain’t your man or regular d***?? I missed that memo about the same way Issa missed Daniel’s warning, child. I aneono. Yet another reason why Issa need to get out these streets.

So basically, everybody is a mess and resisting any and all common sense. Right?? Mmmkay.

Well, next week looks to be a doozie with everyone meeting up and having their mess on Front Street. Jesus be a ram in the bush. These people got my pressure up in ALL the right ways and for all the wrong reasons. #issamess

Until next week …

Love you. Mean it.

@AskthePRGirl

 

*All gifs courtesy of Giphy.com and HBO

#theLEMONADEeffect

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So … it’s been roughly five days since Queen Bey dropped #LEMONADE and completely flipped my world upside down. Am I the only one out here completely caught off guard by the levels to this sh*t?! Like … it’s day five and I’m still catching new messages, hearing new undertones and experiencing new feelings.

And let’s be clear – it’s been on REPEAT since the moment she released it. I’ve not listened to terrestrial radio, not a nan CD or iPod (yes “nan” … it’s in the urban dictionary) or satellite radio. I’ve been ALL BEYONCE, ALL DAY since Saturday, 4/23 at 10pm. And … I’m amazed. Like for real. Eff if you think Jay cheated or if she’s talking about her Mom and Dad’s story or if you think it’s marketing bullsh*t to sell records. It’s brilliant. It’s deep on the struggle. The struggle of being a woman. A woman in love. A black woman. A proud woman. Even if you think it’s bullsh*t, isn’t it crazy how it has reached deep into the belly of damn near every woman out there (including those who aren’t black) and stirred up this sense of HELL YEAH, I’M HERE?!  And YES, I might be a little crazy. And YES, I might be a little wild. And YES, I love hard. And YES, I deserve you to recognize me. See me. Hear me. Love me. Own me. Claim me. And IF you refuse to do those things, to recognize those things and be cool with them, know that I am strong enough to survive you. Strong enough to thrive beyond you. And let’s be clear, that’s not just in the context of relationships. She’s talking about life. How women are perceived at work, at home and in society. How blacks are perceived in society. And how the solution to all of this struggle, all of this strife is to see one another. Acknowledge one another. Love one another. Embrace one another and be open to the complication it brings. There is redemption to be found there. There is healing there. There is a fresh anointing there.

Levels man …

Bey showed us levels.

If you can’t see that, I’m sad for you. If you can’t hear her, I’m sad for you. Whether you’re a fan or not, you’ve got to give nod to the deep saturation of profound thought behind the lyrics. The social themes. It’s crazy!!

I’ve actually cried several times through the album. Thankful for the place and space I operate within my life, but also grieving a place and space I didn’t even realize needed to be grieved. Grieving the dry lands and constant mirages I face as a black woman in Corporate America. Grieving the loss of past love.  And then simultaneously crying joyous tears for the love and overwhelming happiness I feel daily. The redemption God has blessed me to experience. The “exceeding abundance” He’s given me in life. My family. My children. My beautiful husband. My thriving career. My girls. My guys. Not to be cliché but, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.” And I honestly feel like #LEMONADE bubbled it all to the surface and gave me … release. A deep sigh. A blessed recognition. I feel … seen. Heard. Not in the way I feel it with God (not trying to say that), but like someone collected every woman’s inner thoughts and emotions, and gloriously exposed our heart. Maybe that’s it. It’s a crazy take on a new age love note. One to us. One to this country. One to our loves (past, current and future). I dunno … I’m still processing.

Levels …

Welcome to the world of a woman. A black woman. And while the struggle is real, the journey is beautiful. Complicated. Necessary. And this my friends, is the #theLEMONADEeffect.

#selah

Love you. Mean it.

AskThePRGirl

just a kid

I’ve worked really hard in my career to reach a certain title. I’ve literally been blinded by nothing but TITLE for the last three to four years. And now that I have it, I have no idea what to do next. I’m not even sure I’m happy or fulfilled with it. Standing in these shoes […]

What Do I Do?

me

Hey Loves!!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged anything for a few reasons:

  • I only want to blog when I have something to say and for a while there … nothing relevant / thought-provoking came to mind. I mean … there’s only so many times a girl can talk about the “ratchetness” of reality television
  • Career + Mommyhood + Being the perfect Wife (#shedidthat) + Pregnancy = all-consuming. There’s almost not enough time in the day to bathe let alone come up with something pithy to say to you guys
  • I’ve been working on self which requires silence.  You can’t hear God if you’re constantly talking.

So, while I probably lost some faithful readers, I needed this time to adjust.  And you should always know that I’ll only speak when I truly have a topic that will benefit you, or at the very least, make you laugh. And moving forward, the posts may not be very long.  Just enough to get you thinking.

Here lately I find myself back in the midst of a relationship issue that’s giving me … pause.

Ever felt like something wasn’t quite right in your relationship (friendship, marriage, GF / BF, brother / sister, etc.), but you can’t quite put your finger on it?  Actually you can put your finger on it, but the “issues” are small and appear unworthy of attention … until you add up the issues and the time you’ve been dealing with them up and you realize … “SHIT! We’ve been dealing with this for a while!”

Yeah … welcome to my world. My favorite thing to say to people right now is that I’m “dealing with real world sh*t” in my life (like raising kids, juggling my career) and thus I’m a bit slower to catch on to things. *Ye shrug*

How do you address an issue with a loved one that you know is there, but have no idea whether your loved one is feeling the disconnect?  How do you even broach the subject? To have a formal sit down is too formal. To bring it up randomly during a get together is too … random.  When a relationship means the world to you, how do you address an issue that could potentially cause irrevocable harm if not addressed?  Especially when you’re dealing with someone who would rather chew off their own left arm rather than confront it? (I mean hypothetically … which must be said after that last Scandal episode with Olivia’s Mom. Good Lawd!)

That’s it. I don’t have the answer.  If I did, I’d tell you. I want you to tell me.  Hit me back in comments or tweet me (@AskThePRGirl).  This is important to me.  This time … I need your perspective. I mean, this is no one-sided relationship. You’ve got to pull your weight! 🙂

I look forward to hearing from you. And once I’ve sifted through all of the comments, I’ll be sure to come back to you all with the solution I chose and it’s outcome.

All the best, AskThePRGirl

P.S. I’ve missed you.  We should chat more 🙂

P.P.S. Don’t I look cute pregnant?? #SHEDIDTHAT (photo courtesy of @JennBinsPR)

Real Women Stand Up!

Bravo

Truth moment …

I’m no saint. I have an extremely saucy personality and can be a bit … mouthy when I want to be. At times I could use a better filter.  My shade game is razor sharp and scarily precise (even when I don’t mean to be). When threatened (or shall I say when there is an attempt to threaten), I assess the “target”, figure out your weakness and I begin the very deliberate, quiet and confident pursuit of disassembling you. They don’t call it the “Art of War” for nothing, right?

That said, I am also a consummate professional and I’m hyper aware of my personal and professional reputation. You will never see me do ANYTHING to bring shame to my good name, my family or any company, client or service I represent. It’s too important to me that my name and reputation is synonymous with integrity, maturity, respect and accountability.

I share this about myself because I want you to know I, too, have had moments during conflict with others that I’m not especially proud of; however, there is a line.  I believe it’s self-control, fear of embarrassment, respect for other humans and just a good village that keeps me from ever crossing that line.

Conflict is inevitable between people and certainly women.  We are beautiful, brilliant beams of light.  We are life. We have incredible power.  We can be such beautiful examples of this human experience.  We are responsible for so much during this walk of life so it’s only human that we lash out when offended.  We literally carry the weight of the world EVERY day and when someone disrupts, threatens or brings negativity into our world we retaliate like a lioness. I also believe that when that disrespect or disruption comes from another woman, the offense is even more painful because there is an unspoken code that SHE knows better than anyone the road traveled and the weight carried.  So it is my belief that we tend to be especially vicious with each other.

Last week I watched Married to Medicine, yet ANOTHER Atlanta based reality television show, for the very first time. What I witnessed was two “prominent” black women completely and utterly destroy their reputations with zero remorse for their actions.  I was MORTIFIED as I watched these two women physically fight each other at a black tie birthday party.  I literally couldn’t believe what I was watching.  I was shocked to silence.  Even more than the feeling of shock was that of embarrassment.  I was so completely embarrassed for them that I found myself wincing in discomfort and writhing in pain.

I took to Twitter and read comments ranging from who was right, which side America should take, whether the homeowner should have called the police to break up the fight and much more.  What’s sad is that I didn’t read many comments at all about the tragedy of two beautiful women tearing each other to shreds over something that could have easily been discussed another time.

What’s happening to us, people? When did this behavior become exciting?  Funny?  Entertaining?  Acceptable?  When did it stop being a tragedy to see two people have very little respect for themselves and others?

Hear me and hear me good. If you are publicly mirroring any behavior from reality TV whatsoever, please do everyone in your life a favor, find the tallest landing building you have access to and … jump. Ok, ok … not literally, but that’s how vehemently opposed you should be to this type of behavior, ESPECIALLY if you’re a woman.  The fight I saw last week on Married To Medicine disgusted me. And what’s even more tragic – instead of rebuking their own behavior, they have the audacity be self-righteous. I swear on everything that I love, if anyone and I do mean ANYBODY from my camp EVER models this behavior it will be a cold day in hell before you have access to my life again.

The desire closest to my heart is that women learn how to truly empower and support each other even when that means applying a deep level of humility.  Contrary to popular belief humility is NOT synonymous with humiliation.  It takes such strength of character to embrace humility and reap its benefits.  I believe that when we do, we will find a power that could truly change this world.

Think about it this way.  God has given women the gift of being the giver of life.  That’s extremely deep.  Shouldn’t we be focused on how to honor that gift and draw from it to be powerful agents of change in this world instead of looking for the next opportunity to destroy it??

I’ve decided to no longer watch Married to Medicine and I’m slowly but surely eliminating all television that mischaracterizes the woman I am. I don’t want that spirit in my home and certainly not in my life.  I refuse to accept that the behavior portrayed is okay.  I refuse to accept that all women model this behavior.  I refuse to make it easy for Bravo, WE TV and any other network to keep telling ME that this … this backbiting, vicious, undisciplined, unrefined, unloving, ridiculous, shameless being is the true representation of women today.

I am a woman.  I am NONE of those things and I will no longer delight in the tragedy of that depiction.

I challenge you to do the same.

All the best,
AskThePRGirl

What Will They Say About You?

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Yesterday, on behalf of a professional colleague, I attended the funeral (or home going) of his beautiful daughter who finally ended a lengthy battle with cancer.  She was a prolific writer for the Dow Jones and Wall Street Journal.  She’d met the president and at a very young age had earned the respect of journalists with twice her experience.  She was a loving wife and an awesome mother.  There were many testimonials about how loving, sweet, kind and beloved she was.  They couldn’t share enough stories of how she lovingly challenged those around her to do better and be better.  Most importantly, she was a woman of God.  She loved the Lord and was a living testimony to His goodness.  Even in her darkest and sickest days, she still professed that she was here for a purpose and so thankful for the many good days of health she was given.  She took her last breath in her husband’s arms a few days ago.  She was 33-years-old.  Born exactly two months before me.

I left the service feeling a mixed cocktail of emotion.  I felt so hurt on behalf of her family to lose someone so clearly dear to them at such a young age.   I hurt for her five-year-old son.   Though I was eight, I too, lost a parent at an early age.  I understand the journey he’s about to take and the pieces that will always be missing because this critical person is gone.  Almost as equal as the hurt was an overwhelming sense of reflection on my own life.  I began to wonder: if I were to die at this very moment, what would people say about me?  Have I accomplished anything worth eulogizing?

Will they say I’m loving? Will they speak of my relationship with God?  Have I shown myself to be a good mom?  Have I been a good wife?  Daughter?  Sister?  Friend?   Will my colleagues say it was a joy to work with me?  Will they witness to my strides as a game changer and influential contributor?  Have I left my mark at all??  Or have I wasted time chasing things, people and accomplishments that don’t really amount to anything worthy of attention?

I realized very quickly that if I had to ask these questions that perhaps I’m not quite happy with the path I’m taking to earn them or an admirable response.  That’s not to say that I’m making horrible choices, but there’s something to be said for valuing what’s truly valuable in this life and not being easily distracted by what’s worthless and “shiny”.  By that I mean, leave work at a decent time at least a few times a week to make sure you’re making a comparable investment in your own life as you do to the job. You’re at work chasing this phantom “job well done” from a system that will and could easily replace you once you’re gone.  You’re killing yourself for that “good boy” or “good girl” from the boss all because he’s dangling a promise (something shiny) as the prize for your labor.  Meanwhile you’re MISSING YOUR LIFE.  Let me say that again … ready … YOU’RE MISSING YOUR LIFE.

If you die tomorrow, are you going to wish you’d spent 60 hours at the office this week?  Will your family wish you’d spent that time with them instead? Perhaps you’d even still be alive if you’d just made that healthy investment in yourself.  I know the grind is tough and the corporate climb is rugged.  I know what it feels like to get so close to that next title that you can taste it so you virtually kill yourself to earn it.  Meanwhile, the guy next to you got it because he’s tickling the boss’s balls and gets the promotion years ahead of you.  You’re killing yourself trying to reach that “shiny” place and for what?  More money?  More power?  What are you seeking that holds any real value?

Listen, I’m not saying let’s all go be hippies and flee reality like Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd in Wanderlust.  I’m not advising for you to live outside of the bounds of reality and expect the ecosystem you’re trying to succeed within to make a 180-degree culture shift because you woke up and saw the light.  I am saying that you have the life you demand.  And when it’s all said and done, what will this system say about you?? If they speak heavily about your professional accomplishments and very little about your personal relationships, do you consider that a life well lived?

I don’t.  I can’t.  If God gave me the privilege to see my own funeral, it would tear me apart to know that my greatest accomplishments had very little to do with how I poured my heart and soul into edifying my family.  How I loved.  How I lived with passion.  How I followed my dreams.  How I was unafraid to seek exactly what I want out of this life.  And how I spent every single moment of every single day living an authentic life.

What will they say about you when you’re gone?  Know that each day that you’re blessed to live your actions cement your legacy.  Your choices script your eulogy.  Are you happy with the story?  If not, I suggest a quick shift.  I say it often because I cannot say it enough: this life is NOT a dress rehearsal.  This is it, people.  Live with purpose.  Live like you may not get another moment to get it right because the fact is … you may not.

Though I never met the young woman whose funeral I attended, my life has been instantaneously transformed by the choices she made.  The testimonies and eulogy given on her behalf provided an overwhelming and intimate view of her life.  I was so proud of her and I didn’t even know her.  More importantly, I felt challenged by her to make sure to cherish every day I’m blessed with by making choices that honor this gift of life.

What will they say about you?

Love you. Mean it.  ~AskThePRGirl

P.S. I chose this week’s picture because I remember my thoughts the exact moment it was taken. I was on my honeymoon and at that very moment I was thinking, “If I never take another breath, I couldn’t be any happier than I am right at this moment.” I thought it was fitting to share 🙂

To Gym or Not to Gym …

Gym or Not Pic

I know it’s imperative to take care of self.  We should eat right, get a minimum level of exercise a few days a week and drink plenty of water.  Can’t argue with it.  Wouldn’t dream of trying to convince someone otherwise; however, I can’t stand working out.  Not because I’m lazy.  It just doesn’t fit into my routine.  You saw the list (see last week’s blog post I Don’t Know How She Does It).  Who has time to add an hour workout on top of the 157,000 things I’m responsible for every day?? A woman that’s fitting in gym time deserves to be nominated for “Woman of the Year” in my book.

I’ve been told it’s about prioritizing.  Ideally, if I make it a priority to work out a few times a week, then it will happen.  The reality is that in order to work out something has to be sacrificed and most often its time with my family.  I already feel like my son sees me walking out of the door more than I’m in the home these days.  I can’t take any more Mommy guilt.  Isn’t that funny?  When sacrifice is necessary, women tend to forego personal things.  Things that lift our spirit.  Things that keep us healthy.  Things that keep us sane.  Things that get us from Sunday to Sunday.  How many times have you thought:

 “I can’t go to dinner with the girls.  I should have movie night with Hubby and the kids instead.”

 “A massage would be so nice right now.  I’m going to buy X for the house instead.  No sense spending money on a one time thing.”

 “I’ve been dying to read that new book everyone is talking about.  I should read to the kids instead. Besides, I’m too tired to stay awake.”

Everyone who knows me knows that I prefer to get my cardio one way and one way only – underneath or on top of my husband.  If I’ve got to huff, puff and sweat, I might as well enjoy it.  All that effort deserves fireworks during and at the end.  I’ve never experienced fireworks at the gym.  A real orgasm burns anywhere from 150 – 300 calories depending on who you ask.  If I have sex with my husband at least two to three times a week, It counts as one gym day in my mind.  That’s logical, right?  I mean, my husband is magical in our bedroom and I’ve been known to draw a scream or two. In my mind, I’m burning more than the average woman.  #IJS #TMI

Either way, my girlfriend Jules called requesting that we take kickboxing cardio at our gym followed by a little light lunch.  Instead of fighting it, I said, “Why not?!”  I pulled out my cute gym outfit (the one that hasn’t been worn since I bought it a year ago on sale at Kohl’s), my cute gym headband, sneakers and set out for the gym.

Now, here’s the problem with going to the gym when I haven’t been there in a while:

  1. As cute as my gym outfit is, it’s still wrapped around all of my … er … girth.  So while other ladies, like my girl Jules, are walking around looking extra cute and tiny, I’m walking around looking like I actually need to be at the gym.
  2. The gym feels more like a nightclub than a workout facility.  The beautiful people walk around and pretend to workout rather than actually bursting a sweat on the machines.  I see more women in makeup than I see with crotch sweat (a telltale sign that you truly worked out).
  3. The men stare.  Now, I know I draw eyes wherever I go.  I’m sexy.  Yeah, I said it.  I’m thick, and even though I don’t have J. Lo booty, I ALWAYS draw male eyes and attention.  That’s not arrogance, that’s confidence. I might not be the best-looking girl in the place, but my confidence combined with my cuteness draws ‘em in every time.  While I’m generally okay with stares, at the gym I feel a little self-conscious.  My cute outfit hugs ALL of my … er … girth.  The only person that can stare at that without making me feel a little shy is my husband.
  4. Gym classes are designed to point out those of us who haven’t been there in while.  The class starts with everyone doing the same moves in unison.  Roughly 15 minutes into the class, you begin to see a few people modify steps, stop for water and bend over heaving for air.   Those are the folks that haven’t been in a while.  Approximately 15 minutes later, a few more folks tap out.  This process continues slowly, but surely, exposing the people who don’t workout.  That process of elimination and impending reveal stresses me out.

With all of this in mind, I still agreed to join my girl at the gym.  Unfortunately for me, she didn’t want to take a simple beginners step aerobics class or yoga or even a mild morning on the elliptical.  She wanted to take kick-box cardio.  In my mind I’m thinking, “My fat ass has NO BUSINESS in kick-box cardio.  None whatsoever.” I literally can’t think of a reason other than a fetish for public humiliation that would make me agree to kick-box cardio, but I went all the while thinking, “Jesus be fence ALL around my stupid behind.  Lord be a lasso around my life.”

Thankfully, I made it.  I made it through the class without passing gas (a workout hazard), throwing up or passing out.  I actually looked like I had taken the class before.  I only stopped for water once.  Color me surprised!! I guess there is something to that spin class I sporadically show up to!  I left feeling so good.  I felt so proud and sexy.  I actually felt more energy when the class was over than I felt walking in.  Who knew?!?

One phone call from my girl and a little bravery in my cute gym outfit helped me realize that I have to make more time to take care of myself.  In addition to letting myself off the hook for failing to get it all done around the house, I’ve got to stop feeling guilty about taking care of me.  Truth be told, I need that spark of energy I felt after yesterday’s class.  Maybe I could get more done on my list if I wasn’t always running on fumes.

What could you be doing to take better care of yourself?  Whether it’s going to the gym, treating yourself to a massage or making time for a little mani/pedi action, start telling yourself that it’s okay.  You’re just as important as every other thing you’ve prioritized in your life.  Besides, there’s no reward for running yourself into the ground.  There’s no blue ribbon for killing yourself and failing to take a moment to celebrate all of your hard work.  No one and nothing is going to validate your lack of commitment to self.  Whatever’s feeding this sadistic behavior must stop.

So, to gym or not to gym: that is the question.  Whatever the “gym” is in your life, say yes.  Whether your “gym” decision involves getting your hair done, date night with someone special or seeing a matinee movie, choose it.  Every time.  Choose you.  As I said in the November 2012 issue of O Magazine within “What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself” (shameless self plug, I know), I’ve learned:

“That I am not the titles I wear.  To outsiders I am a wife, mother, sister, best friend and business executive, but at one point, the responsibility that comes along with these roles took over my life.  I had no idea what I was really feeling besides overwhelmed.  I’ve now learned that I need to take care of myself in order to care for everyone else.”

I challenge you to do the same.  Be good to yourself.  It’s okay.  Real talk – those who persecute you for it, don’t really love you.

All the best, AskThePRGirl

Semi sort of kind of random P.S.  Isn’t is uber cool that President Obama was sworn in for a second term today?!? Moments like this make me so proud to be an American.  And the FLOTUS’ new hair!! WOO! Loving everything about it! Happy MLK weekend, y’all.