Second Act, Second Chance

Blogging My Way to a Better Life

What’s your ‘Sunken Place’?

 

A couple of weeks ago I saw the movie “Get Out”.  A GENIUS plotline from the comedic and demented mind of comedian and master storyteller Jordan Peele.  The movie is about a black guy named Chris who has a white girlfriend named Rose. He’s meeting her family for the first time, who live in an isolated and curious nook upstate.  A peculiar chain of events leads Chris to the “Sunken Place”, which is a mental state of paralysis, oppression, and hopelessness.  He gets there by becoming hypnotized by Rose’s mom who is a therapist after she delves into his psyche and taps into a traumatizing event that happened in his past.  Chris is summoned into the sunken place by a ‘command’ given by Rose’s mother when she taps a spoon in a teacup she’d been stirring during the therapy session.  If you haven’t seen the movie I don’t want to be a spoiler, but if you have seen the movie you know what I’m talking about. Essentially Chris’ mind is separated from his body and he’s temporarily left a shell of a person at the mercy of this villainous family who has a sinister plan to sell him into slavery.  Yeah.

We all have a sunken place.  A state in which we feel marginalized, stuck, hopeless, oppressed, out of sorts or paralyzed.  It could be the tense relations between the black community and law enforcement, how white America profiles people of the Muslim faith, how the wealthy marginalize the poor, or how the current administration is shitting all over this country.  There are plenty of examples of this place of dejection and despair.  But what’s your sunken place? What pit of hell have you consciously or unconsciously cast yourself into?  A financial sunken place where you continue to spend more than you make? A professional sunken place where you go to a job every day that sucks the life’s blood out of you like a vampire?  A relationship sunken place where you’re settling for less than you deserve from a person who doesn’t deserve you at all?  A personal sunken place where you’ve given up on pursuing your dreams because you think the shit is too hard, yet you just can’t let it go?

Are you currently going through life stirring your tea cup succumbing to a constant state of hypnosis? And when a glimmer of progress of any kind rears its head, do you tap the tea cup and resign yourself further into a catatonic existence?  What are you afraid of?  Why are you holding yourself back?  Or maybe someone else is holding you back, an overbearing mother, a needy friend, an ungrateful child, a micromanaging boss.  WHATEVER your sunken place is, acknowledge it, confront it, talk to it,  DEAL WITH IT.  Life is meant to be lived and is far too precious and wonderful to be relinquished to the dreaded sunken place.  *FLASH*  (people who’ve seen the movie know what that means. HA!)

We’re here, now what?

It has taken me a long time to process what has happened to our country. To the point that I just couldn’t bring myself to write anything.  Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, it did.  Donald Trump became President of the United States.  Yes you read that right.  And now we are in the middle of a shit show.

I wrote about him running in a post titled It’s coming… and warning the American people that this monster they are letting run slipshod right now is going to be the veritable death of this country.  He ran on a platform of bigotry, divisiveness, xenophobia, sexism and fear. He honed in on the imaginary concerns of racist white America and how anyone who didn’t look like them, talk like them, worship like them or lived like them is the reason for their lot in life.  Trump talked about how he was going to “drain the swamp” of all the special interests in Washington and give the people back their country. Wrong. Brass tacks, he never wanted the job.  He only pushed so hard and became more sensationalized because a black man held that office for the past eight years and did a phenomenal job.

Let’s flip to the other side of this coin.  Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee and seemed to be a lock. She’s an attorney, has been in public office for more than 30 years, was First Lady twice, Senator of New York and Secretary of State. It doesn’t get anymore qualified than that.  But alas she didn’t win. 57% of white women voted for Trump. Even though he is a flat out sexist and has shown his disrespect for women time and time again. Was even recorded saying he would grab women by the pussy and they would let him do it because he was a celebrity. Gross.  But that’s who they wanted to run the country. A raging bigot with no public office experience and holds an enormous amount of contempt for women, people of color, Muslims, the disabled and pretty much anyone who isn’t white, racist and wealthy. By the way, the kkk (yes, all lower case to indicate the ignoble life form they are) endorsed him and he never separated himself from them.  That’s a whole other post.

On November 8, 2016 I thought the American people were going to do the right thing. Given everything this racist slimy unqualified, unfit and unstable bastard has said and done, which by the way includes him calling all Mexicans rapists and murderers, mocking a disabled reporter at one of his rallies, stated he would ban all Muslims from this country and decided that all black people live in poverty, have no jobs, aren’t educated and can’t leave their house without being shot. Still with all of that toxic sewage he was spewing, on November 9, 2016 American did the wrong thing. America essentially took a scalpel to its throat, slit it from ear to ear and is bleeding out. Oh another little tidbit about this horror show of an election, turns out Russia hacked the U.S. elections to get Trump to win. Hmm, still haven’t seen or heard when he will be brought up on charges of treason. Guess you get to do that when you’re a white privileged billionaire bigot.

So now here’s a guy who never wanted to be President, ran on a platform of fear and divisiveness, doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing because he comes from the excrementitious world of reality television and is about to burn the fields and poison the wells to distract us from the fact that he’s actually scared shitless right now.

So Russia and racism picked the current President of the United States, our nation is in a free fall right now and the Republicans are doubling down on their horrific decision to back this imbecile even though he’s going to destroy their party.  As the title of the post asks….we’re here, now what?

 

 

 

 

 

Prince

Prince pic

I am just now emotionally able to write this post. Sixty four days ago my world as I knew it changed forever. On April 21, 2016 the musician, artist and entertainer who I adored since 1978 transitioned. I refuse to say the ‘D’ word. This man who came into my life when I was 10 years old, crawled into my soul and made it his home.  At that age I didn’t know what to make of him other than he was beautiful and his voice was angelic. The man who played more than 20 instruments, self taught. Who burst onto the music scene determined to make it on his own terms. Whose look and sound defied any category that dared to confine and define him. A man who had 10 year old Kristina singing “Soft and Wet” and had no idea what he was talking about. A man whose play on words had you in a constant state of blushing, “I wanna be the only one that makes you come (pause for effect) running!”  A man who had us thinking that the year 1999 was the year the world would end, so we better party like it’s the last time. A man who gave a whole new meaning for  “Little Red Corvette”. A man whose name is synonymous with the color purple. He hijacked the color and made it his own. You can’t think of the color purple and not think about this man. A man whose diminutive statue seems to be in complete contrast with his prodigious talent.  Prince.

I was driving when I heard the news and it felt like someone hit me in the chest with a battering ram.   I screamed in horror. Tears immediately started streaming down my face and it seemed as if I was laboring for each breath thereafter.  For the first 28 hours after hearing the news I couldn’t eat or sleep.  I watched tv non-stop consuming all of the tributes from VH1 playing Purple Rain to MTV playing a barrage of his videos and all of the news outlets doing interviews. I figured if I keep watching him, looking at him, finding his face and his voice then it won’t be true. I am still waiting to wake up from this nightmare.  Prince has been apart of my life for 35 years. Through the good and the bad.  My room as a teenager was a shrine to him. Posters, concert ticket stubs, album covers.  I even bought a toy little red corvette and hung it from my ceiling light fixture.  And yes I managed to find a raspberry beret and wore it every chance I got.  In junior high and high school  I was known as the “Weird Prince Girl”.  I was a Prince fan long before Purple Rain. I had the poster that came with the Controversy album of him in the shower with his black bikinis on. Why did a 13 year old girl have that on her wall?  I remember being in the front row during one of his Controversy concerts.  I STILL don’t know how that happened! And seeing the Purple Rain concert at 16, to this day is the BEST concert I have ever been to.

But as the days, weeks and months have passed and as I listen to his music, watch his videos, read articles about him and watch interviews, Prince has taught me one big lesson, to be responsible and respectful when it comes to the gift God has given you.  It was extremely obvious what Prince’s gift was, music. To play it, sing it, write it, produce it, arrange it and seduce us  with it.  To merely say Prince was a musician is like saying Michaelangelo was just a painter. That Mozart was just a  composer.  Yes there were many before him that laid the groundwork for his genius. Jimi Hendrix comes to mind of course. I’m pissed that I will never hear that collaboration. But then again the world just wasn’t equipped to handle an event of that magnitude. Prince was a bonafide genius. He was responsible when it came to his gift. He nurtured it. He knew how precious it was. He was honored to have been given such a task to share this monumental endowment with the world. And he did it with such vigor. We’ve heard the stories of how he would work for days at a time, writing new songs daily, giving concerts that were more epic than the last. And the  infamous “vault” that contains probably 500 years worth of music. Singing, screeching, writhing, and pulling us into this wild, wonderful, whimsical world of Prince.  And how hard he fought to regain and retain ownership of that gift and helping other artists do the same. Seeing him perform you knew he wasn’t in it for the money.  He did it for us. He was relentless in pursing his gift so that he could share it with us.

When was the last time you were relentless in pursuing your gift?  When was the last time you even acknowledged your gift?  God gave us all a gift, whether it’s music, writing, teaching, skipping rope, basket weaving or raising turtles. We ALL have been given a gift. Just because it’s not big as someone else’s or perceived as glamorous doesn’t mean it’s not as important.  God gives gifts according to our willingness to share them. He gave Prince the humongous gift of music because He knew Prince would pursue to the point of exhaustion and create a body of work that will ensure his legacy will be forever etched in history.  Do you think you could have handled Prince’s gift? Probably not, because you weren’t meant to. What’s your gift and are you being responsible for it? Are you taking care of it? Are you nurturing it? Hell, have you even said ‘hi’ to it?  I am so glad I was given the privilege of living in the same time and space as Prince.  I saw him at least 25 times in concert.  He is to me the ultimate example of pursuing your gift and leaving  your mark. I must apologize to God for not actively pursuing my gift, writing. That’s my gift and I must pursue it at all cost. The first step is admitting what your gift is and proclaim it at the top of your lungs.

Thank you Prince for 35 years of scintillating, sexy, outrageous and over the top music. Thank you for making me blush. Thank you for letting me know it was ok to be known as the Weird Prince Girl. Thank you for the hours upon hours that I sat in my room and just lost myself in you. Thank you for creating the soundtrack to my life. And thank you for teaching me the invaluable lesson of being completely and utterly responsible for my gift. May u live 2 see the dawn.

It’s coming…

There is a dark, sinister toxic cloud that is engulfing our nation now. It has been brewing for just under a year and has gone virtually unchecked until now. It spews hate, discord, divisiveness and racism. It’s pugnacious, intolerant, bigoted and is creating a subset of repugnant storms throughout the states to spread it’s xenophobic propoganda. It judges and categorically dismisses anything that doesn’t resemble it or agree with it’s pre-civil rights views. It labeled an entire race of people as rapists and drug dealers. It labeled an entire culture of people as terrorists and has stated it will ensure they are not allowed in the United States. It wants to build a wall and arrogantly orders the people that the wall is suppose to suppress to pay for it. It pays the legal bills of those who blindly follow it for committing unprovoked crimes on its behalf. It cowardly avoids anything that dares to challenge it. It embraces separatism. It breeds contempt. It encourages violence. And this dark and poisonous cloud wants the power to rule over our nation.

This nation is a melting pot of races, cultures and religions, not an alabaster monolithic fraternity of entitled Hitler worshipers. It is an indictment on this country and how incredibly racist it is that this noxious blowhard is still relevant in the race for the presidency. I have heard people state that they will move to another country if this toxic cloud wins. This is NOT a time to create an exit strategy, lower your heads, tuck your tail between your legs and retreat. This is not a time to cower in fear and think this storm is too far gone. Now is the time to stand up, be counted, register to vote, and use the power that God gave you to cast this Luciferian spirit back to the deepest pit of hell where it belongs.

This toxic cloud is feeding on the fears and bigotry of a percentage of the people in our nation to make it bad for the entirety. Other countries are looking at the United States with shock, awe and complete disbelief. How could we let this happen? How could we have let this infection fester into a full on cancerous abscess that has burst and is oozing it’s thick putrid hatred across this country, trying to set us back one hundred years. Come November you have a choice to make, you can eradicate this caustic vapor with your vote and ensure the safety and sanctity of this country or you can cowardly look the other way, spouting this matter doesn’t pertain to you and allow the devil personified who has proven he will destroy race relations and abandon our country’s allies to dictate the future of your children.

Non-Millenial doesn’t equal loser

Loser

Looking around in society today, you will notice that a lot of businesses, apps, inventions and pretty much anything cool is being created by someone who was literally in high school ten years ago.  Upper management at your job now looks like a sorority or fraternity row.  The job that you applied for at that new startup is being run by 25 year olds. How does that make Boomers and Gen X’ers feel?  Honestly, like shit!  Sometimes millennials can come off  as entitled and condescending to the same people that laid the groundwork that gives them access to so much today.

It seems now whenever you see anything about following your dreams or someone who is doing the next big thing, it’s someone under the age of 30.  There have been a lot of late bloomers who have done great things and changed the game:

  • Toni Morrison published her first novel at age 40
  • Alan Rickman was 42 when he got his first movie role
  • Kathryn Joosten moved to Hollywood at age 56 to become an actress
  • Susan Boyle was discovered on Britain’s Got Talent at age 48
  • Anna Mary Robertson Moses aka Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was 75 and is revered as one of the most famous American painters

Seeing the millennial landscape can be disheartening and frustrating because it seems the world is only spotlighting their accomplishments.  It’s almost as if you have the “middle child syndrome” fighting to get some attention.  But if you look at the accomplishments of the above mentioned “late bloomers” it can give you a shot of confidence and reassurance that it’s never too late.  You have access to the same technology the millennials have.  Hanging your shingle is a a few clicks away.  The gatekeepers of yesterday are virtually non-existent today due to the worldwide web.  Whatever product you want to sell or service you want to provide can be shared with the entire world within a matter of minutes.  Like Nike continues to tell us, “Just Do It”.

You don’t need to have a phone full of selfies, know every Drake song or wear a hipster hat to start the next big business, write the next soul stirring book, or spearhead the next revolution of change, you can do that right now at age 47, 57 or 107!  Going after your dreams isn’t reserved for the young, it’s open to all those who are willing to go after those dreams and make them a reality. Change Agents aren’t specified for the 18 –  25 year olds. Just because AARP is starting to send letters to you doesn’t mean you can’t open that coffee shop you’ve always dreamed about, start that non-profit for single parents that’s been needling at you, finally put your name on the list for that open mic, or enroll in school to finally get that degree you want.  It’s waiting for you now.

Boomers, your generation represented the Oval Office through our last three presidents, Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.  Gen X’ers you relished in a world where Michael Jackson and Prince were the titans of music going head to head against each other back in the 80’s…it doesn’t get better than that!  So it’s time to rise up in your vintage greatness, stop letting your age dictate your path in life and show the world how AWESOME 40 and over is.

 

Mission Statement. Manifesto. Mantra.

February is coming to a close (although it’s exciting that we get a Leap Day this year!) March is the last month of the first quarter of the year, how are you doing on those awesome goals you touted about in January?  Just to be clear, this is a NO JUDGEMENT ZONE. This post isn’t to haggle you about your goals, I’m just checking in and to possibly present a solution that my help.

The other day I came across a wonderful quote while I was reading that stated:

“Respect your life enough to pursue a meaningful mission. Respect yourself enough to give yourself something to do.”  -Iyanla Vanzant     

This quote really struck me because often we just drift through our lives working, paying bills, working, paying bills, working, paying…well you get the gist.  And every year you vow to do it differently and yet we somehow slip right back into our safe and unproductive zone.  We were definitely created to be more than worker drones. I’ve referenced Beyonce’s song I Was Here before and if you’ve never heard it I suggest you give it a listen.  This isn’t a command from a Bey-hiver (I like a few of her songs, but that’s as far as it goes) however it is worth the listen to ingest the message of doing something significant to show the world you were here. It would be a shame to have lived and no one knew it.

To help you leave a mark on this world it would help if you had a mission, something you you want to pursue. It would be even better if others were well served by your mission. So let’s start with a mission statement, which is defined as “a formal summary of aims and values for a company, organization or individual”.   This statement identifies your mission, briefly describe how you will carry it out and who will benefit from it.  This mission statement can be for a company you’re starting, a book you’re writing or simply a statement by which you’ll govern your life. I co-founded a non-profit for single parents and our mission statement is “R.O.K.S. – Raising Our Kids Solo is charged with assisting single parents by providing emotional support and tangible resources to help them manage family life without a partner.”  Short, sweet and to the point. It states who we are, what we’re doing and who benefits.

Next is your manifesto. This is the emotional counterpart to the mission statement. It talks about your core values, emotional priniciples, what differentiates you from what others are doing, what you believe in and what you’re willing to invest to accomplish your mission. It’s basically a written pep rally created to excite, ignite and get you energized about what you’re trying to accomplish. Dig deep for this but have fun with it.

The last thing is your mantra. This is your statement or slogan that you repeat to keep the mission before you. Don’t be overly clever with this, make sure it’s clear, concise and impactful.  For example, the mantra for my single parent non-profit it “Single by circumstance, Parents by choice”.  Straight and to the point.

So whether you’re starting a revolution or rebranding your life, come up with a mission statement, manifesto and mantra to help you get clear on what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.  Type them up on pretty stationary, laminate them and post them prominently where you see them every day.  Don’t waste another minute not working on your “I Was Here”.   Pursue a purposeful mission. Respect yourself enough to give yourself something to do.

 

 

The waiting is the HARDEST part, and here’s the reason why.

Waiting picture

In 1985 the group Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers made a song called The Waiting. And in the bridge of the song they sing “the waiting is the hardest part”.  Truer words have NEVER been spoken.  Have you ever waited patiently or impatiently for something? Of course you have, we all have.  We’re still waiting.  It’s a diabolical holding pattern that I am currently in and it’s making my life miserable, or rather I’m making my life miserable by concentrating so much on waiting on this thing.

When you pray for something, our microwave mentality thinks that it’s suppose to come right away.  With the snap of our fingers and a click of our heels that job, that money, that spouse, that car, that house, that WHATEVER you’re waiting for is suppose to show up immediately.  Who wants to wait?!  But alas that’s what we end up doing. You pray and put it out in the universe and then you wait.  My absolute favorite quote in the whole wide world is by Ralph Waldo Emerson that states “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”  So you’ve made a decision about something, you pray for this thing, the universe hears it and now it goes to work. That’s why the waiting is the hardest part because the universe is preparing the path. No one said the answer was coming in the next second. Now the universe is preparing you and the thing to come together. This may take hours, days or even years. Talk about a suckburger.

I’ve personally been praying for something for eight years….EIGHT FRICKING YEARS!!!!! (trying really hard not to curse). I’ve cried, cursed, yelled, screamed and have worried myself to exhaustion because I’m thinking now the universe won’t answer this prayer. And you know what REALLY sucks (ass)pirin? (told you I’m trying not to curse) Seeing people all around me getting with what seems great ease the very thing I have been on my face pleading for.  I know life isn’t fair, but daggone it life just isn’t fair! There’s a saying that a delay isn’t a denial, but if we are real with our impatient, often bratty, imperfect selves we know that a delay feels like a denial. Who wants to hear that it may take 15 years for your husband or wife to show up after you’ve prayed for marriage? Who wants to hear that five more people will get promoted ahead of you before your promotion comes?  Who wants to  hear that your manuscript will get rejected 167 times before it’s published?  NO ONE!!  But it’s part of the process of the universe preparing you. It SUCKS, but if God has put it in your spirit you have to trust with every fiber of your being that it will come to pass.  You have to keep calling that thing into your space even when it seems like it’s not going to show up. At times you’ll pray through clenched teeth and crocodile tears but you have to keep calling it. You have to get on your face and pray God’s word over it. And after you do that you have to go on with your life. It’s going to be hard but you have to do it for your sanity’s sake!  You can’t keep checking on it, peeking at it or making sure it’s still on God’s checklist.  You have to let it go and let God work.  You don’t like people micromanaging you right?  What makes you think God likes it? He created the universe and all that’s in it, I’m pretty sure He can what handle you give Him.

So make your decision, pray about it, nine times out of ten you’ll have to wait on it. So why not go get some ice cream, take a walk, catch up with friends or take a much deserved nap. Before you know it you and the thing will be happily dancing cheek to cheek.