What About Your Friends?

For many women, friends are our primary partners through life; they are the ones who move us into new homes, out of bad relationships, through births and illnesses.

-Rebecca Traister’s book

Female friendships are a topic I’ve avoided writing about. I have so many thoughts around the subject and yet nothing I felt would add anything meaningful to this blog. It’s true that I become wholly self-aware and self-conscious around the topic. However I’m here, attacking my trigger.

Where do I begin? So let me say that the age of online friendships is a gift and a curse. I blame Facebook. With the click of a button, you “Friend” someone. Is that all it takes? A passive, mindless act? You may never personally message that person, write on that person’s wall, or even have to remember that person’s birthday (FB does it for you.) But you made a new friend. On the other hand, when I learned of my acceptance into Howard University, I took to Twitter. I couldn’t anticipate the people who extended themselves like @PeaceLuvNicole. We met within weeks, and that made the transition a bit easier. There are people who are eager about taking the relationship offline, and I love and appreciate that. I started becoming more and more comfortable with the idea that I could meet some quality people by just initiating the gesture. Although I dealt with general anxiety from moving to a city where I knew 2 people and had no family, Twitter peoples helped through the process. 

Everyone is quick to “like” my minor triumphs and “heart” my Instagram photos — passive interaction has become the default setting, the status quo.

-Felicia Sullivan

I can make friends easier online. You learn a lot about someone based on what they post. It’s not the ideal way, but it’s easy, less risky and convenient. It’s passive. Trying to make friends in real life involves risk. Meeting strangers hoping and praying it leads to something can be disappointing.

Does she like me?

Does she think I’m talking too much?

Am I talking too much?

She’s so fashionable. I wish I could dress like that.

I’m 30 years old, why is this so difficult?

Truth is, I have a lot of standards because I invest a lot when I care for someone. To me, my standards are like the bare minimum of cultivating and sustaining a friendship.

  1. Thou must not be flaky. I’ve experienced a lot of people that will make plans one day, then inform me the day of that they can’t make it. REPEATEDLY.
  2. Thou must spend quality time. This is my love language, not negotiable. It’s the main reason why I make the effort to see friends that don’t live nearby. We connect when we are actually together.
  3. Thou must show REAL LIFE effort. Check-in with one another, attempt to go out and do stuff. You know, real basic and mutual.

I understand that different people need different things from friendships. I’ve always wanted a group of “girlfriends” that I could count on to do life together with. My history with friends has never amounted to that. It’s not to say it won’t happen, maybe it will take some adjusting of expectations.

Signature

Some posts worth exploring:

What the Market Will Bear: The Long Game of Female Friendships

Sorry I’ve Been a Shitty Friend: A Multiple Choice Form Letter

What About Your Friends?

Pushing, moving, working

Spring is here

Spring is moving in, and the mornings feel glorious now. I had to brighten up the blog around here, what do you think?

Even the rainy days are necessary and welcomed. Last night, the sky ominously turned shades of gray before the sun was officially to set. An orchestra of thunder paraded the sky. It was a scary sight to be driving around in, but when the rain came down, it reminded me of Costa Rica. It was one of those hard rain showers, that first fell as sloppy drops before they turned into uniform sheets of water. It felt as if the sky’s regrets came violently drop by drop.

The mood reminded of me of Carl Thomas’ Summer Rain song. It was wonderful opening my balcony door and listening to the sheets of rain coming down. I got to cool down my humid apartment with the wind coming in. I am missing home at this time, that very enigmatic concept of home. Except I’m not exactly sure what “home” I’m missing.

Home is whatever you want it to be, in my opinion. It can be a place, a feeling, family members, friends, food, good memories. Or a new tradition. New experience. A place you desire to be your home.

I’ve been living in this area for going on 3 years. Not quite sure it’s “home” yet. And maybe it’s not meant to be. It could be a transition to my next experience, the journey to finding my new traditions. I made some great memories here. Accomplished some great things. I got a second chance at a career, and I’m finishing my first year in the field come July. I’ve been in love. I’ve been in lust. I am in love. I made friends. Friends left the area. Classmates also stayed. It’s been crazy. I’ve had lows and highs, and I’ve also met some really memorable people. I’ve pushed, I’ve moved. I am working. I’m “adulting” with my own apartment (sorta), bills, car notes, federal loans. Man, the grind is real.

I’ve done some significant work on myself, addressing my mental health issues. Last week, I began taking anti-depressants. I’m giving it a shot for 5 weeks. This was not a small decision, but I made an adult decision about how I want to manage my current symptoms. To be honest it seems like I’ve barely grazed the surface on the amount of work that needs to be done.

But I’m no quitter. 🙂 Happy Spring!

What does home mean to you? Do you inhabit home right now?

She

Pushing, moving, working

Things My Life Consists Of

Spring is officially here! I cannot wait for warmer weather and riding in my car with the windows down, as well as being motivated to purchase some balcony furniture. Thing is, I don’t own a dining room set. So will it be wrong to get outside furniture when the inside still needs furnituring? cafecito 1. Coffee in the mornings or in the afternoons. I can’t stay up without it now. My friend was telling me about a “liquid” vitamin she drinks that helps with energy. I believe I have “low iron” and all in all, I should be on a multi-vitamin. My past history has shown that I’m just not consistent with pills so I’d rather save that money. Are you a fan of vitamins? Pills or potions?

2. Audible.com. I finished “listening” to my first audio book! It was called Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. It was a fiction book, something I would have never chosen on my own, but I’m glad I finished it and it was a solid read. Stevenson shares his life passion and work with death row inmates who have been wrongfully accused and awaiting execution. Or children who have been sentenced to life imprisonment for non-homicide crimes. Depressing, angering and heart-wrenching to hear him speak of cases that would make a person like me loose faith in the justice system. But hope. I’m browsing the selection for my next book– I may continue the fiction bandwagon. What are you reading right now? Anything worth recommending?

3. The school year is close to being done, and I.can’t.wait. Let’s get through Spring Break first though. It’s coming up in April. However, I have no plans to travel as of right now. I still technically work in the evenings. Brain is craving some sort of retreat so…I’ll report back soon. Some sort of stay-cation may be more doable.

4. I’m chubbier. Which is conflicting because I like the way my pants fit now, however, If I lower my chin in a certain angle I see 2 chins. I’m serious! (don’t laugh) I know I’ve had some bad eating habits and can do better fitness wise. What I have tried to do is: have a consistent bedtime (even on the weekends), and set out some time to take classes but my work schedule also makes this difficult.

5. TV and lots of it. Game of Thrones comes back soon, and really everything I watch now is just a filler until GOT comes back! Here’s a short list of what keeps me entertained:

  • The Slap (NBC)
  • Married at First Sight (Season 2)
  • Fresh off the boat
  • Empire
  • Girls
  • Being Mary Jane

That’s pretty much it. When I’m not blogging, I’m probably watching TV so maybe there will be more adventures to share once Spring is here to stay! Time for cafecito, She

Things My Life Consists Of

Halfway Through 2012: Book Checklist

I wrote this post just so I could post this picture. All together now: Awwwwwww!

There were so many people who demanded to know the place of your beginnings, the place where you stored your dreaming, they were dangerous, those people, the ones who did not earn their keep with you. They were potential killers or thieves.

-Daughters

And believe me, a good piece of chicken can make anybody believe in the existence of God.

– The Absolutely True Diary of Part Time Indian

“Now, comrades, what is the nature of this life of ours? Let us face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short. We are born, we are given just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty. No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is a year old. No animal in England is free. The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.”

                                                                                                                                           -Animal Farm

It’s June, soon to be the first official day of summer which means more down-time for leisure reading. So far this year I can’t recall anything I’ve read that blew my mind…but I’ve been reading consistently even in the midst of tying up my Spring semester which makes me very happy. Now that it’s the summer before I begin Grad school, I will be reading like I’m getting paid for it.

Here’s what I’ve read so far this year (that I can remember):

1. Paper Dollhouse by Dr. Lisa Masterson (full review here)

Genre: Autobiography

Gist: Wonderful, moving writing from a Black woman that hails from Louisiana to make it as an obstetrician and gynecologist. You may know her from the Emmy Award-winning TV show The Doctors.

Recommend: Yes, I enjoyed her writing style– I didn’t feel like she was this stuffy person I couldn’t relate to. It never feels like she’s overwhelming you with details or information. It’s a must-read if you’re looking for inspiration.

     

2.   Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones

Genre: Fiction but based on the true story of the Atlanta murders of the late 1970’s-early 1980’s.

Gist: “Leaving Atlanta tells the story of classmates Tasha Baxter, Rodney Green and Octavia Harrison during their fifth-grade year at Oglethorpe Elementary in Atlanta.” (read the rest of the review from We Turn the Page).

Recommend: Yes, not her best book (in my opinion). Worth a read.

     

3.    Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

Genre: Fiction

Gist: If you’ve never read anything by Sedaris, you should treat yourself to comedic gold. He usually employs his personal family history to write really funny stories, in this book, he also includes some touching stories.

Recommend: Yes. The only problem that I have with Sedaris’ books is that they are good ‘in-the-moment’ books (which are usually collections of short stories), but they are not very memorable. Outside of 1 or 2 stories, I can only remember moments, nothing really sticks with me once the book is done.

 
   4.   Daughters by asha bandele

Genre: Fiction

Gist: A touching story told from both a mother’s and daughter’s mother’s point of view about her young daughter who is the victim of senseless violence in the grimy streets of New York.

Recommend: Yes, had some gold moments. Made me consider all the things my mother sacrificed for me. How it’s easy to judge her, but maybe not fairly since I’m not a mom yet.

 
  5.   Animal Farm by George Orwell

Genre: Classic/Political Satire

Gist: Animals on Manor Farm decide to form a coup to run the farm on their own. It’s all done on the premise that animals are smart enough produce and provide for themselves, but eventually Orwell explores what happens when too much power is given to one animal group.

Recommend: Yes! It wasn’t a stuffy book like I first imagined, it’s a simple read which I’m sure is filled with more gems and criticism than my fast reading could pick up.

 
 6.   The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Genre: Young adult fiction

Gist: A young boy, Junior, is in a dilemma. He lives on an Indian reservation but has dreams of going further than his current situation allows. Why is he a part-time Indian? Read the book and find out.

Recommend: Yes. It’s witty, raw and truthfully sad at times. Junior is also a sketch artist, and his cartoons are strewn about the pages.

 

7.   A Taste of Reality by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Genre: Fiction

Gist: Among other things going wrong in her life, a black woman battles discrimination in her white-dominated corporate job, and decides to fight against it.

Recommend: Meh. I didn’t find her writing to be AMAZING, but it was tolerable. Maybe I will give another one of her books a shot, she has plenty to choose from.

 
 8.   Mandingo by SIDI (don’t judge me!)

Genre: Urban erotica

Gist: An African student studying at Columbia University looses his father and therefore funding for school so he has to get side job. Guess what that is? You so smart!

Recommend: No. I was bored and desperate to read any book.

9. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

Genre: Fiction short-stories

Gist: A collection of stories about immigrants, specifically (East) Indian transplants and their American children. Most of the stories are entities of their own but there are some that are intertwined. They are very engaging and powerful portraits of Indian culture and the American culture shock, which include love, loss and changes. You might be more familiar with Ms. Lahiri’s work The Namesake, which was also turned into a movie.

Recommend: Yes, very moving writer and I look forward to more of her work.

Currently Reading: 50 Shades of Grey by EL James. I caved in to all the hypes, and got the trilogy for free. So if you’re interested in reading, let me know. I can forward that to you in PDF Format, yo!

Anything memorable you’ve read this year so far? Do share…

Halfway Through 2012: Book Checklist

My Summer So Far…

I know it’s not technically summer, but since classes have been over for awhile (maybe 2 or 3 weeks, who’s keeping count?) I feel that my summer is already under way.

What have I been doing besides wearing the same Interview outfit over the past couple of weeks? (in no particular order)

Making cheesy collages like this one…
  • Decided against straightening my hair for the summer to prevent the battle against humidity
  • Fell in love all over again with blogging
  • Have been blessed by God beyond belief not only to be attending my dream school for Grad Studies, but to have an awesome community of people who are supporting me along the way
  • Joined some other new social site where people are signing up to meet people aka Flirt: Badoo
  • Also joined LinkedIn- and cringe every time I’m notified that I’m connected to someone by e-mail
  • Read Animal Farm and started 50 Shades of Grey
  • Have felt like I’m loosing my religion by continuing said journey through 50 Shades of Grey and since then have not read past page 125ish
  • Washing my hair almost every other day (a practice I’m not used to)
  • Acting kinda skankish
  • Responsibly gotten my mid-yearly Status check-up
  • Adopted a little sister of sorts
  • Have lamented over countless hours behind my computer screen
  • Experimented painting my nails in some funky summer colors
  • Have contemplated doing my follow up vlog to Rejection
  • Have suffocated on humid nights trying to sleep in a room that gets no outside ventilation
  • Fallen asleep late night next to my bed buddy aka my laptop
  • Pondered over paying any mind to the new season of Love and Hip & Hop: Atlanta
  • Found out about the political climate in certain states while performing telephone surveys- my unofficial ‘job’ of the moment
  • Have set intentions to start reviewing my coursework/start refreshing my memory before Grad school begins
  • Am contemplating having a quiet birthday, although I’d rather be spoiled.

As you can see, my summer so far has been filled with all kinds of trivialities. I can’t say that I want it any other way right now.

What are some habits/plans of yours that mark the official beginning of summer?

My Summer So Far…

Quotable: Serve

“We can fix without serving. And we can help without serving. And we can serve without fixing or helping…fixing and helping may often be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul.” – Rachel Remen (1996)

I found this quote in one of my Communicative Disorders textbooks, and I thought it was interesting. Sometimes when people say they want to ‘help’ others, that denotes a relationship between two unequal partners (the subconscious You’re beneath me mentality). Serving is viewed as a balanced or equitable connection between individuals. In my career, I don’t want to fix or help, I want to serve. Isn’t that what God desires from us, after all?

If you’re interested in more ways to serve others, here’s a cool list of 100 Ways to Serve Others. I’ve already started with sharing books I’ve read with others (#30). It’s better than having them sit on my bookshelf, collecting dust.

What kind of things do you do to serve others?

Quotable: Serve

ReTracing 2011

Reflection Question: Where did 2011 begin?

I feel like I’ve been talking about 2011 since it begun, so I’m trying not to talk myself out of this post before it even begins. In totality, 2011 has been a catalyst for change in my life. I was comfortable in the beginning of the year. At 25 years old, I had yet to experience true heartbreak, grief, loneliness, disappointment and feelings of worthlessness. The year begun with my Tia in her last month of life, loosing her courageous fight against what begun as colon cancer. I witnessed  first hand a life being depleted from a body, but was reassured in my Tia’s steadfast faith and knowledge that her body was only a temporary condition, and the spirit–eternal. In the beginning of the year I was fighting for an almost 3-year relationship that I believed would culminate in marriage. In the beginning of the year I had no idea how my publishing internships would turn into full-time work, but was holding on to the idea that writing for a living could be profitable. In the beginning of the year I learned how callous the corporate world could be, after receiving an e-mail from my boss of 5 years that I was laid off days after my Tia was laid to rest in Costa Rica. In the span of months I had lost a family member, my job, my relationship and had to physically relocate because I was living with my ex.

In the face of fight or flight– I flew. I got a one-way ticket to Costa Rica, not knowing how long I would stay or how I would pick up the pieces of my life which I clearly had no control over. Enter Globe Tracer, this blog, which was birthed out of my need to document my time in Costa Rica and lessons I learned in my recovery period, if you will. Eventually what ended up happening was those things that angered me the most– getting fired and dumped over e-mail, became those things that set things in stone for me. I know I deserved more respect than that, but how long could I stay angry at those people and expect to keep moving forward? I definitely couldn’t change what they had done, and they probably will never know how DEEP that cut me. So what could I change? To this day, I repeat this anecdote to myself on those days that unforgiveness and angering thoughts replay in my head.

Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

It’s so simple, yet, plenty of us are intoxicating ourselves daily.  Forgiveness is not an easy formula, a one-size-fits-all for every person and every situation. But acknowledging you need to forgive someone and taking the steps you need, at your pace, to DO it is imperative. More for you, than anyone else.  There is an indescrible freedom in forgiveness, if you stick with the journey. I am not at that point 100% yet, but I won’t stop until I get there…

#Godisworking,

She

ReTracing 2011