Say Something: Just One Way to Be a Better Ally

You hear the news. It’s not as shocking as it should be. It’s the same trending topic you heard about a month ago. Too soon. Too soon for another Black body to be gunneddowninthestreet. Another life gone. Another family member slain. Another fundraiser to support the children left behind. Another trial. Another uproar.

It’s not just another anything. Every single life is significant. Every story deserves to be lived, yet pages are torn away. Chapters left unfinishe

What do you do? You try to process this and wrap your mind around it all. You want to help. You believe that your liberation is directly connected to that of those you stand beside. For some reason, words don’t come easy.

What do you say when you and your Black colleague are face to face?

What do you say to your Black friend?

How do you broach the topic with the Black employee you supervise?

I don’t want to say the wrong thing. I don’t want to break anything. 

Let me tell you something: It’s already broken.  It’s not helpful to ignore it. Your silence – though well intentioned – is not helping to soothe the pain. Say something. Say something from the bottom of your heart. Be there. Ask, “How can I be someone you can count on right now?”

And then listen.

 

 

All This Before 30

To do all of the of the following things I have to start somewhere. For example, I haven’t gone swing dancing in like 2 years. I’d need to actually take classes and get proficient before I could teach a beginner class. That’s the idea. Set a goal and then do what it takes to meet it.

This is all stuff that excites me. What’s on your list?

  1. Facilitate an online workshop intensive on productivity or self-care. (I wanna be like Hannah Brencher.)
  2. Lose 30 pounds and keep that ish off. (I have a nutritionist and a personal trainer right now.)
  3. Write a book about my life and how I’ve gotten to where I am. Publish it. Sell it. Maybe change a life. Maybe not.
  4. Prepare to enter a doctoral program. (Ummm…that’s scary).
  5. Run two more seasons of SA Search Motivation.
  6. Co-teach a beginner level Lindy Hop Swing dance class.
  7. Co-teach a beginner level improv class. (This is going to happen. I LOVE improv.)
  8. Run 10 different 5Ks (No Color Run 5Ks. Some kid threw yellow powder up my nose one year).
  9. Have 1:1 coffee meetups with at least 75 different college students and document 1/3 of them. (e.g. Keep track of who I met with; jot down their dreams and challenges while in undergrad, take a selfie with them, etc.)
  10. Go on 3 BIG vacations with Tynesha. (We’re going to Canada this year, so that’s one down).
  11. Send the moms in my life flowers on Valentine’s Day. (Because I stress the eff out when trying to get the perfect gift. So moms are the best option.)
  12. Co-plan a 1-day for young professionals needing a jump start in their careers.
  13. Go to 3 dance exchanges that include day long workshops.
  14. Launch a university peer-to-peer note writing project. (Similar to this one.)
  15. Speak at 10 schools (K-12 & college/university).
  16. Take 3 cooking classes –  especially one to make delicious foreign street food.
  17. Do a TEDX talk. An IGNITE talk. And talks at NASPA and ACPA. We goin’ big, ya heard!

*To be updated and modified periodically.

Somebody Needed To Hear This

They told me: Your words do a lot for me. Keep saying them. 

I found it hard to believe. I would say these inspirational things, but I would doubt myself too. Often. Everyday. I’m bright on the outside and feel ugly and unwanted on the inside.

But, I keep saying them because someone needs to hear them. Recently, I started believing my own words.I started believing that I am enough and that I am needed. Someone benefits from my presence (even if I never discover who or how), so it behooves me to show up. To push. I get to keep pushing.

I don’t have to keep pushing. I get to keep pushing.

There’s such freedom in realizing that I get to create a positive and healthy life for myself. I get to smile in a room full of frowns. I get to dream – really, dream. Dreams are important. Don’t let anyone take them from you. Don’t let them trick you out of dreaming.

I get to move at my own pace with this healing thing. Childhood was hard. People can be mean right? They can be so full of themselves that they fail to see how you’re hurting. I have stories and scars. We all have them. But, I’m still writing this thing. I’m still working this thing. And as I do, I’m going to keep saying what someone needs to hear.

I’m going to keep saying that you matter and that you are beautiful. You are. You are worthy of love. You are worthy of happiness.

Truth is: all this scares me. If I’m worthy of so much, then can’t I lose it all?

I can. And even if I did lose it all somehow, I’d still be worth it. That’s how it works. You showing up as you are and acting out of good intentions is what matters. That’s where you start. The rest you’ll figure out.

 

 

Do You Like Getting Happy Stuff In The Mail?

This is so exciting! So far, over 60+ people from around the country (and London too…LONDON!!!!) have signed up to receive a free and inspirational note from me in the mail. You know: the post office, stamps – the real thing! Oh, and to be honest, I don’t even know like 80% of the folks on the list. So that’s super cool because strangers are just friends waiting to happen, right?

You know you want to be on this mailing list. Click here to sign up. I can’t wait to write you.

 

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Photo Credit: Niki Brogen

Why “Being YOU” Can Be So Damn Difficult

I encourage others because I’m encouraging myself at the same time. 

Be you. Don’t let the haters get you down. Keep showing up. I’ve been known to share these messages often. I mean them each time I say them, but I don’t always believe them about myself. Does this make me a fraud? No. It makes me human. While I have had many genuinely positive moments of self-acceptance, I’ve had some challenging moments as well. It comes and goes. One day I’ll be in a room of people, and could care less of what they think of me. Some days, anxiety kicks in and I’m worried that the person I am isn’t good enough, cool enough,  or Black enough (or too Black depending on the situation). I fear critique and conflict. I end up over-qualifying why I began this project or greeted that stranger in passing. Worry is whisper. Only you can hear it and others have no idea of what you’re going through. But, I push forward.

Recently, I’ve been taking time to notice moments when I’m not being myself in order to make others happy. It happens a lot. It’s disconcerting. My next goals are to:

Do a few things that scare me.

Speak up even if it causes conflict.

Schedule in self-care time.

I keep telling myself: You’re 28, you should have this all figured out by now. That’s a huge lie. There is no right way. There is no right time. We just fumble until we figure it out – little by little.