Friday, June 29, 2012

Don’t Forget To Celebrate

I don’t know about you, but I do not need to be reminded that nothing comes easily in this life.blah..blah..blah. I don’t need to see it posted on an ad, t-shirt, billboard, or a piece of cardboard, nor do I need to hear it in a song. To live the life you want, to obtain the goals you set, it is no mystery that hard work goes with the territory. Time moves so fast, that no sooner you meet one goal, you have already shifted your focus toward your next objective. Sometimes the shift happens with no appreciation shown or celebrating done for what has been accomplished and acquired. I have found myself being drained from work to the point of being left discouraged because the journey to my aspiration had proven to be more difficult than the last. At times, the discouragement settled in to the point of me showing no consideration to what I have already achieved. I even found myself lessening the significance of what I had completed. Side note: Discouragement is a dreadful something if not dealt with. Don’t fret, I snapped out of it! I had to ask myself, does it really make sense to work so hard to make things happen, to be a “mover and a shaker,” only to never celebrate my successes? You and I deserve to honor what we’ve attained. We’ve had to overcome internal and external obstacles to make progress to get to whatever point we are at right now. To commemorate that, it IS personal empowerment. So the next time discouragement tries to take a comfortable seat at your table, let the celebration begin.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Take a Moment

Often, I wonder how in the world am I supposed to get done what I have to get done. I feel like I’m always rushed. There are days I feel like throwing my calendar out of a window. I get caught up with being busy and making preparations for tomorrow that I never take a minute to just be in the current moment. I have noticed my so called relaxation isn’t relaxation at all. My mind races heavily and I then I realize I’ve just spent the last 15 minutes thinking about what I needed to do next! It’s becoming more important for me to seize time to be tranquil and just look at my surroundings. I’m constantly proclaiming to the world my pressing need for a vacation. Maybe I wouldn’t feel this way all of the time, if I take a minute to just sit and listen to the calm and get recharged. I believe that more peace would come when I take time to notice my own breaths and feel my own heart beat. I guess it would be okay for my mind to race at first, because being silent will focus my attention to what and how I’m thinking. There are different situations that have sparked my preoccupation with making this apart of my life, as I still have yet to do so. (I got it! I’ll make it apart of my work out sessions.) I realize these moments have been of great value for quite some time. I’m sure that many of you already appreciate these quite moments. So, please excuse me for not being up to speed. Excuse me again, as I “take a moment.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

No Explanation Required (extension from “When Being Busy Gets Ridiculous”)

I have never understood why a certain two letter word has so much power and brings so much grief. Why is so hard for people to say, “NO?” In my earlier “Busy” post, I discussed how people find they don’t have enough time to fulfill obligations they’ve committed to. I hear people complain about being asked to do certain things they would much rather not do or get invites to go to places they would much rather not be see in. Last time I checked, “NO” is still a word.  People voice concerns of wanting to avoid hurting another’s feelings by declining. I am all for being considerate of other people’s feelings. On the other hand, I know that I have absolutely no control over another’s feelings. Guess what else? “NO” can be said freely, without providing an explanation. I have witnessed that, even after saying “NO”, people follow up with an explanation. Is the explanation supposed to soften the blow of hearing that two letter word? So, now you may be thinking, “Really? Come on! That’s just mean!” Ok. I understand under delicate circumstances, a follow up explanation would be polite, appropriate, and respectable. I just don’t think every proclaimed “NO” needs a follow up. Because, even after the “follow up”, that “NO” is still waiving. It is ok to use the word. You don’t have to feel bad using the word. You can’t do everything at one time. You have the right to respect your time and your energy. NO. Just say it…it really is that simple.

Monday, June 25, 2012

When Being Busy Gets Ridiculous

Being active is good! Being active keeps us alert and engaged. Life, if you have one, is busy anyway. We all have obligations we must tend to in addition to doing those things that give us pure enjoyment. Then something happens. We start to complain about all of the things that we have to get done. We start to gripe about the places we have to go to. We whine about the “duties” we’ve agreed to accept. Here is a perfect resolution for that. How about we stop agreeing to be involved in everything, in every group, in every club! How about we stop accepting every invite and “rsvp-ing” for two! I view giving time just as significant as giving green (green=money). I enjoy giving both. But I don’t know anyone who will give money until they don’t have enough left to take care of themselves. Even the richest person, that person with long money, is not giving all of their dollars away. Do you get the idea? Our time should be treated the same way. Unless you have a double, you can’t be in more than one place at one time. If people are asking you to give your time for whatever reason, and you find it is not feasible according to your schedule, you can decline the invite, you can say NO. (By the way, don’t fret about how people will react to your rebuff. That is not your problem. Look for further discussion on this in another post.) What is the point of agreeing to something, knowing you really do not have the time? You will end up dreading what you agreed to. You’ll end up asking yourself, “why did I agree to this?” or “why am I here?” or here’s my favorite, “what was I thinking?” Also, we get involved in so much that we forget to even set time out for ourselves! I get the feeling some may disagree with me on this, but that time out for you, is a necessity, not a luxury. It’s so important to me that I take time out for myself, that I make it an appointment on my calendar! Being “on the go” makes life even more eventful. But, if you find yourself fuming about being busy, try asking yourself if all that you are involved in has good reason…that’s of priority. (Only you can define a priority in your life and what is not. Don’t let others define that for you.) If you don’t find an answer to that question, then perhaps some of your “busy” is just brainless. Maybe it’s time to drop some “obligations” out of the line-up.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Perfection Quickie

I often hear people say “Don’t try and be perfect, just do your best.” I’ve also heard, “Perfection is too much pressure.” So, when did perfection become such an unenthusiastic notion? To me, when you give your best at what you do, it is the same as reaching for perfection. I don’t believe in doing anything haphazardly, regardless of how big or small the task is. I believe when you do something, you should do everything you can to get the task done RIGHT. I get the feeling that some people will turn perfection into something negative when they need to find an excuse for either not completing their task or the task turning into something frightful. The search for an excuse begins because they know the task was not handled to the best of their ability. Instead of saying, “This task didn’t meet expectations because I didn’t do all that I needed to do,” they say, “Oh well, I’m not perfect.” Side Note: Consider that the effort you put into accomplishing a job is a reflection of you. Let me point out, I do feel the notion of perfection becomes a problem when it develops into obsession. Of course, after we’ve completed something, we will always notice what could have been done differently or better. That’s inevitable. We can take what we’ve learned and apply it to our next mission. That’s good for us! However, it is not healthy when we become gripped by everything that we could’ve done differently. But, when we know we have made all the proper preparations and put all of our sweat into completing that task, we can be confident that we gave our absolute best.  We can be confident in that, regardless of the outcome.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fashion Edition: Summer Weddings

Since summer is my absolute favorite season and I’m attending several weddings during the season, it’s only fitting to do a segment on what to wear to a summer wedding. I do not claim the “fashion expert” title, but I do know a few things. What you will read here, and in future fashion segments, is inspired by my own style and fashion tragedies I’ve witnessed. Please note: some of what is discussed here can be applied to weddings in general. OK. Men, your best bet is to stick with linen to keep you cool, now stand by. Women, here we go. We see more couples opting for nontraditional ceremonies instead of the traditional church weddings. For example, I’m attending one wedding that will be outside and the other will take place in a ballroom. Because of the “nontraditional-ness,” attire for weddings has become slightly more flexible. This flexibility necessitates caution. I will be the first to embrace every moment to wear shorts, halter/strapless dresses and tops, and high-split skirts! But let us pump our brakes when we go to weddings. Please remember you are not at a party, a lounge, or in a club. It’s important to keep your “extra sexy, showing a lot of skin and I’m too sexy for my shirt” attire in the closet.  We already know that bright colors are so right for the summer. However, please do not wear the same bright colors that are themed in the wedding. Remember you are a guest, not part of the bridal party. So, look like you are a guest. I probably do not have to address this, but I will, for the sake of completion and clarity. If you show up in white, you deserve to be escorted to a far away land and that is all I will say about that. So you ask, “Well Tamu, since you have these “rules”, what do I wear?” Try an asymmetric dress, which always has sophistication without “over-shining.” Also, a simple A-Line dress with pleats or appliqué detail is classy. You can’t go wrong with the Maxi skirt or dress. Please don’t forget about the jersey dress, especially if it is strictly comfort that you are going for. I have posted pictures, but keep in mind they are only examples. If we were to get into accessories (shoes, jewelry, hand bags), that would be a totally new post. However, I would be more than happy to provide ideas for coordination of your complete ensemble, should you have further questions.

(ignore the dreadful flip flops)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Health Edition:You Have Time!

I won’t list the reasons here because you know them well. You see them listed in magazines, on the news, and everywhere else!  But I will say, “Yes, you do have time!” I’ve heard the argument, “When your time comes to die, exercise won’t keep you here.” (**crickets**) Let’s talk about living. I believe in quality of life and doing those activities, within reason, that will keep us feeling and looking fabulous, not for other people, but for ourselves. Exercise is a stress reliever for me. Exercise helps me clear my mind. Ladies, raise your hand if you feel extra sexy after a workout! Men, I don’t mean to leave you out, maybe you guys also feel extra sexy or..something..after a workout. So that I don’t use the “I don’t have time” excuse, I treat my exercise sessions as appointments. Some days, because of my odd schedule, I exercise at odd times. Either way, I know I’m getting my exercise done. We can probably name at least one disease that is common in our family. That does not mean we have to be doomed to the same disease. For example, heart disease is a disease we hear about everyday. .Now, I know I said I wasn’t going to list reasons, but you know exercise strengthens your heart (you know it does!)  Even if family members suffer, why not do everything you can to avoid the same diagnosis? We know stories of seemingly, healthy people who exercised regularly, who were stricken with incurable illnesses. So, yes, life is unpredictable. Yet, we cannot live with the morbid words of “I’m going to die anyway.” Those words rob you from getting the most out of your life. Speaking from experience, exercise provides wellness in the mind and body. Take care of yourself. Make exercise your time. You have just been served an extra-mini lecture on exercise.

Good Luck?..No Thanks

That saying has always been unnerving to me.  When people say that phrase, for the most part, there is no malicious intent behind it. But, it sounds like a phrase you say, when you don’t know what to say, but have to say something to avoid an awkward moment. “Webster” tells me that luck is “the force that operates for good or ill in a person’s life, as in shaping circumstances, events, and opportunities, considered a result of chance.” Excuse me “Webster”, but I’d like to believe that all of my hard work, the disappointments, and sleep deprivation, and not simply chance, have opened and will open doors for me.  I’d like to believe that my efforts have cultivated my success grounds. Otherwise, if simple luck is all I need, then I might as well get my beauty sleep! Life will interrupt the most precise of plans and turn them upside down. I have learned that being flexible is essential. I have had to readjust to make my plans harmonize once again. After all of this “readjusting” and “harmonizing”, there has to be more than just luck behind curtain 1, 2, and 3! Good luck just does not seem to match my efforts. I need favor, a phenomenon! Someone said to me, “Tamara (in a disapproving tone), you can’t tell people to not tell you good luck.” Let me think. Maybe saying, “Don’t tell me good luck,” could make me appear starchy and rude, especially to someone who really wants to wish me all the best. So, to replace “Good Luck”, how about saying, “Best Wishes?”  That works for me!

Roll Up Your Sleeves

We’ve read it in books, heard it on talk shows, see it in ads, it is so cliché- Dream Big.  Even as cliché as it is, I believe in it.  Sometimes I wish I didn’t.  Dreaming big repositions you so far out of your comfort zone, that when you realize how far you’ve gone, it’s too late to get scared and turn around! I have tried to tone down my goals, but that would require me to just settle for my current position.  That is difficult to do, when you know you have more to do. Dreaming big requires rolling up your sleeves and getting into the trenches. It requires mental, emotional, and physical energy.  At times, you will have to reach through inner layers to grab hold of that energy.  Dreaming big shifts you beyond what you thought was your limit.  It will require you to look foolish to those who really don’t understand your ambition and what you are attempting to accomplish.  Another cliché moment: I firmly believe, that what you can think, you can make happen.  I understand this immense entity called LIFE, can zap our energy in ways we are not expecting, leaving us exhausted on all levels. So exhausted, to the point, where we start to question whether reaching for that next goal is even worth it. (Ask me how I know!)  To get past that point, I have had to use what I have already accomplished as fuel for the next phase.  Now, to those of you who are comfortable with what you have accomplished so far and you have decided to not expel anymore energy on any more goals, you are appreciated! To those of us, who are not finished, let’s roll up our sleeves, and keep dreaming, keep going, and keep doing!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Especially for You

I’m sending You a Thank you note for spending your valuable time reading my blog. I am surprised at the number of views I have received so far. A few have asked me, before reading, “What is your blog about?” I did not have a definite answer then and I still do not.  I will say, I should have started this blog months ago. I have had fun with it, which isn’t surprising because I do enjoy writing. My blog has been a nice break from all the activity in my life (I’m not complaining).  Blogging has forced me, so to speak, to slow down! So far, my ideas have come easily.  Sometimes the ideas race through my mind so fast, I can’t keep up!  I can’t say if I have long-term goals for my blog.  In the meantime, I will continue writing and you continue reading! Thanks again.

Get Over It

Many times we hold onto what people in our lives have done or said that have offended us. (These are not the same offenses I was speaking about in “The F Word.”) In many cases, the offense was not even intentional.  Sometimes we expect for people to be a certain way, treat us a certain way, and talk to us a certain way.  These expectations are fine, except these people may never be able to meet those expectations. This fact does not make them bad people. It means that we are waiting for them to fulfill a role they do not have the capability to fulfill.  Instead of being irritated and annoyed, a decision has to be made.  We need to decide what we are going to deal with and what needs to be left to the birds or left for someone else to deal with.  Do we keep that person close to us and just accept the role they CAN fill? Do we decide to keep those expectations and hope the person will someday meet them? (Stop here. If you are keeping hope alive on this one, bless your heart and get ready to be disappointed….again.)  Do we decide to distance ourselves from that person because the role they CAN fill just isn’t enough?  In either case, whatever we decide, we need to “get over it!”  We need to get over what they did or did not do that brought us so much frustration. If we decide that keeping that person close is important, we have to remember the type of person we are dealing with. Not one person walking this earth is perfect. Take me for example. I may smile like an angel (it’s a joke..laugh), but I am far from flawless. I know I can be domineering, also known as “bossy” and “overbearing.”  Because of this, I have often offended people very close to me. They know I have very limited capacity to fill a meek, apprehensive role, however, they continue to keep me close and deal with me (I appreciate it).  I have had to apologize for my affronts and as long as I live, there will be more apologies for me to hand out. I don’t want those that I care about to carry frustrations about what I have done, and I don’t want to carry irritations toward someone else.  So, can we get over it?

The “F” Word

Let us get close and personal for a minute. I have endured painful situations at the hands of other people. I am sure you can say the same. The hurt was unfair and unjust. The hurt left emotional and mental scars. Now let me speak for myself. I have been bitter to the point of..well..let me not continue before I incriminate myself. I did not fully understand what the saying, “Forgive for yourself” really meant. It just did not make sense to me because I was angry and I had a right to be! But, I think I get it now. As long as I was pissed off, fuming mad, and bitter, I was basically asking to be stuck in distress and sadness or just stuck…period. I owed it to myself to release that debris. That hatred and anger was kryptonite to my existence. When I grasped this reality, I embraced…Forgiveness. It did not happen overnight. You see, this Forgiveness business, is a tough one.  No matter what excuse I came up with to not forgive, I still had to recognize my hatred was hurting no one, but me. When I truly grasped that fact, something happened that I could not believe. My view for these people turned from hatred to pity. I realized they are sad souls, who have actually gone on with their lives. Now, I will never have dinner with these people, meet them for happy hour, give them a coke and smile, or even wish them a good day.  I am happy with the progress I have made thus far.  At this point, I am satisfied that the contempt I once held is no longer weighing me down. I now pack light. Disclaimer: This post is not related to “Get Over It.”  This post goes far beyond that.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Don't sweat the what?

You and I know the saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. The problem is what I may think is small may not be small to you and vice versa.  Take this “i.e.” moment: People who display poor boundaries as in standing so close to me that I can feel the person breathing on my skin.  Or how about, instead of a person saying “excuse me”, they would rather reach over me or in front of me to get what they want. Neither one of the previous examples are “small” to me. I know both examples well.  I have voiced how I’ve felt to the culprits, to get a response of disbelief that I actually had a problem with their actions. Sometimes I’ve walked away feeling that maybe I should have ignored the “violation” and perhaps it was not a big deal. After all, no one got hurt.  But then I have a right to speak up when something is bothering me, don’t I?  Of course I do.  I think people view being assertive as negative.  But what is negative about requesting that someone gives you space or asking for someone to excuse themselves?  Nothing is negative about it.  You cannot help how a person perceives your request. My view is if a person is bold enough to display uncouth actions, then that person should be able to handle the feedback they receive. I do realize I can be high strung. Over time, I have learned to control this “no so cute” part of me. Still a work in progress, I have learned when I need to address something and when I just need to smile and nod.  So here’s the deal: You should be free to assert yourself when something occurs that makes YOU feel uncomfortable. Whether that something is “small” or “big”, really does not matter. Deal?...Deal

What’s wrong with me?

People assume I have at least one kid after I state my age. I cannot believe the amazed looks I get they realize I’m childless. People look at me as if my age and my childless factor make me an unusual being that should be studied.  I am not so unusual, I promise.  There are plenty of women in the world that are my age that wave the childless banner for different reasons.  People take on a convincing tone when they describe to me “what a blessing kids are” as if I thought they were a curse. Kids made me…well let’s just say they made me nervous.  I would not even look in the direction of children’s clothes.   If a heard a kid crying, I would remove myself from the premises whenever possible.  As I got older, I, surprisingly, got into volunteer work that had me face to face with kids, and yes, this includes teenagers! If I was not sold on having a child of my own after dealing with an 8 year old, dealing with a 15 year old was certainly not going to help!  Then something happened. Seven years ago, my sweet, beautiful niece was born. She was a breath of fresh air.  She deserves a posting dedicated to her. I have noticed my tolerance level for a kid crying has increased. I actually stop and look at children’s clothes.  I have even caught myself looking at babies and thinking, “Now how cute is that baby.” I have NEVER done that!!  Now wait. Do not get excited. I still cannot say, with all of my heart, soul, mind, and spirit, that I actually want one of “those.”  People used to tell me, “When you fall in love, you will want a child then.” Guess what? Falling in love has not made me say with confidence, “I want a child.”  So until, or even IF, that confidence arrives, I will continue to recognize the “cuteness” in other people’s children, smile, and continue moving right along.

Friday, June 1, 2012

MY 1st

I’ve always let the “1st” pass me by as just another day, but I realized I should be embracing my gift, my new beginning. So, at the start of 2012, I told myself I would make a special effort to recognize the first day of every month and to really seize its’ moment. The “1st” marks the beginning of: new opportunities, dreams realized, new relationships, healed relationships, new good habits.  The “1st” means I have a chance to right what I did wrong during the last 30 days. The “1st” means I survived whatever the last 30 days brought to me. The “1st” represents a chance for harmony in my life. I used to hear a phrase over and over again, “walking into a new month is like walking into a dark closet.” (blank stare) Ok, not only does this phrase instill fear, but it also robs you of the excitement of starting something new. Of course, no one knows what life will bring in a new month…Ms. Cleo left the building a long time ago.  However, I choose to hold onto the positive possibilities. So, it should not be surprising for me to tell you I think the “1st” should be celebrated. Celebrate it in your own way; light a candle, do something on the “1st” that you wish you had done in the last 30 days, get a few of your “close ones” and make a toast,  just recognize, welcome, and embrace it! (And here you thought this post would be about something else, get your mind right and hey…..thanks for reading!)

Sugar Coats

 A wise woman once said, “Life is too short to sugar coat, so be honest and the pieces will land wherever they are supposed to.” (Feel free to ask the identity of the wise woman). I’ve never been one who would deliberately say something to hurt another’s feelings.  I try my best to be honest and tactful, especially when it comes to those I love. I would never want anyone, especially my family or friends, to think that I was judging them or putting them down.  But if you are constantly so conscious of that, how do you know if you are really, truly, being honest with people? If you are trying to be careful with what you say, how do you know if you are helping that person or being a crutch to plain foolishness? On the other hand, if you are being so honest, how do you know that your “un-sugar coated” honesty is not sending that person into a major slump?  I’ve made decisions that were really dumb and some that were dumber (get it? Dumb and Dumber?).  “Anywho”, I can’t remember anyone using words like “dumb”, “stupid”, “ignorant”, or “brainless” when I was receiving advice on how to move beyond a decision I made.  I guess I did not need to be reminded because I already used those words on myself.  When someone is asking for opinion/advice on a “situation”, the one thing that rests on my mind is, I never want that person to come back to me and say, “Why didn’t you tell me how foolish I looked”?  I know the saying, “the truth hurts.”  I know you can be honest without calling anyone outside of their government name, obviously.  Is there such a thing as being “too harsh?” Maybe all of these questions depend on how detrimental the situation is and/or has the situation turned into a trend.  I am only talking about adults/grown folks here. You can give advice and opinions, until you are purple in the face and STILL, grown folks will do what grown folks will do. So, I guess you can only relay honest advice in a way that you see fit at the time. At least you will be able to say to yourself, “I told them.”

Of many talents, but I don’t brag

When I was younger, my mind raced with images of how I wanted my life to look when I “grew up”. I had one main goal and then I had others I would reach one by one.  No bragging, but I know I’m good at a “bunch of things” (no, I couldn’t come up with a better phrase).  When I was younger, I did not know how to channel any of my talents. I was all over the place! Being good at more than one thing can make it difficult for a young person to decide clearly on a career and stick to that. I was a perfect example of that. I did have the opportunity to explore some of my talents, which handed me priceless experiences, that maybe I could not have received otherwise.  Those experiences bring me to 2012, where I am back at my “one main goal.”  Disclaimer: The following statement is not a complaint.  Reaching my “one main goal” has been anything but easy. Sometimes it has been a *beep* pain in the *beep*. (Feel free to insert your own words.)  I wish I would have reached this “one main goal” first and THEN, played around with my talents on the side.  I know there is nothing I can do about it now, but I do wish I could have been more focused in thought. I guess you could say I’m having a “should’ve, would’ve, could’ve” moment. I’ve heard people say these moments are a waste because I can’t go back in time and I’m supposed to enjoy the process of working toward my goals. (Yeah, it’s a process alright!) Well, I say to those people, “Excuse me, you have reached Tamu Talks, so let me have my moment. Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, and Good Night!”