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Life

This tag is associated with 15 posts

I’ll Triple Your … But First THIS

I believe when two or more parties come to the table with requests, demands, and skills, that all parties should be willing to contribute time, money and good effort to produce and bring to life a product. I don’t mean to treat all things as business deals, but then again “I do.”

“I do.” That’s the phrase that pays. It speaks commitment and dedication, to a certain extent, depending how much and how often your ass really does something that contributes to an end goal. And be sure to really do something or be left at the table … Sitting alone … With your handful of requests and demands.

When people say “I do” they are voicing their dedication and are saying that they are in ready position. They’re ready to use their skills that they already possess, willing to exercise brain power for critical thinking for challenges that may arise, open to growth, and have all the time and energy necessary to bring about an end goal. With what’s required, no frivolous deals conclude here! No trifles. No insignificant figures conclude here.

Don’t come to my table with your demands unless you’re willing to say “I do” and live up to that commitment. Show me an investment, and I’ll triple it!

“I don’t and won’t.”

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These are our Last Days … of Friendship! No Brown Sugar Ending!

Just Sunday, my best male friend and I met for drinks and to watch Sunday’s football game. I’m not one for football. And even though I’m not new to the dating world at 28, I’m still not well-versed on what goes on in a football game. Some say that’s a shame. If my mate is into football, I much rather whip up wings for my beau and let that him BE … alone with his football. That’s not my game. And furthermore, it wasn’t the reason why I chose to make a B-line for the bar to meet my best male friend on this past Sunday. The focus was on him, not the game.

You see for the past few weeks, we’ve been hanging out really tough, a few times a week. While I’m intrigued with our conversation as I’ve been over the past seven years and he’s easy on the eyes, I’ve been far more consumed about his transformations.

All these years, I’ve been the wing-man. When it’s just us, I’m the girl about town with him. We’ll hit up a few our favorite spots including Hickory Tavern and Wine Vault, and we talk each other’s heads off–about astrology, conspiracy theories, love, sex, and more. I admonish him for his ways; he scrutinizes me on my maneating dating methods. We might chat about business ventures and the like, and then we’re on our merry way … ‘until next time.’

All these years, I’ve been the boys’ bait, and I don’t mind it one bit. One pretty attractive lady attracts other attractive women. This is a proven tactic; men like to hunt. I watch the boys as they do ‘work,’ and then I’m probably peacin’ out early. No, they don’t ever ask: “Are you going to be our bait tonight?” But naturally, withing the forces of nature, that’s what happens. Women come over to talk to me or talk to them (competition), and they have at it. All the while I enjoy myself and take notes. Some women may criticize me for this ‘bait’ position, but I didn’t make this world, I just live in it.

These past years, I’ve also been a small sample of the female perspective. I’ve heard every piece of ratchedness there’s to hear. I cannot mention any of that here. But I do my womanly, sisterly duty to try to save some relationships and decrease the probability of infidelity. All I can do is root for the home team and be a friend, yet not in that order.

I’m quite often mistaken as his girlfriend. You know that scene in Brown Sugar when Sanaa Lathan’s character is like “Puhhh-lease.” Yes that’s me. “I’m not with this negro.” Standbyers and passerbyers can’t seem to just walk on without noting aloud “that you two are quite the couple.” We just have that chemistry. But we’re just friends.

I’m not the girlfriend or the current fiance. “Lawdhavemercy, thankya Jesus.” I’m the best friend who has NOT been invited to the wedding next month, and that’s where the problem lies. I’ve been on, off, on, off, maybe, then officially OFF… the list of invited wedding guests. This is some bull—!

I bet you’ve got questions now. Let me see if I an clearly answer them all!

What is my relationship with his fiance might you ask?–Rocky, and that’s on a good day! In 2009, over dinner, I admitted to her that I told my boyfriend at the time that I’m not giving up my friendship with my bmf for him. That started all kinds of hellfire in my home. And that didn’t maul over too well with her either. She said: I’d let any one of my friends go for him if he asked.” And my bmf doesn’t ask her because frankly she has very few friends. I won’t go any further with that one!

Why does she not want me at their wedding?–From the conversations we’ve had I gathered, from the  horse’s mouth, that she senses that we have feelings for each other, and she fears that I’ll object their nuptials mid-ceremony. Last week, I tweeted that ‘folks are too proud to object anyone’s nuptials’ especially when there’s a strong possibility of him/her getting their ass beat by a team of bridesmaids. I’m way too cute for these shenanigans. And she’s a criminal lawyer, so that’s a strike against me right there. I don’t need a record. I’m good on tragedies. So again, an objection isn’t in the plans.

Besides, she deserves him; she’s paid her dues. But on the other hand, I had to ask him seriously if he is ready to get married … to her? I asked for good reasons. And let’s just say I’m not the only asking either!

All that I will say is … I better not … go there.

Yes, it’s quite disheartening to see him transform and prepare for a wedding since I will not be in attendance. He’s stuck on his obligation (my words, not his) which I believe isn’t a good one. Any blind man can see …

Oh one more thing because I know my followers are curious if we’ve had sex before. Seven years and two attractive mofos hanging out is supposedly a recipe for hot, steamy sex. But it isn’t always. We haven’t, and I’m thankful that I can state that truthfully ’til this day. Our other purposes for each other outweigh sexual attraction. So there! In your face! I’m no home-wrecker, side-chick, etc as some beady little heads may want to reduce my position down to. Life is far more complicated, and platonic relationships can serve as allies on any front. I suggest you get one if you don’t have one already.

Some of this is HIS FAULT. Unbeknownst to me, I’ve been an alibi and they have conversations about me that probably should’ve never happened. He’s pretty bold at the mouth, so I disagree with some things he’s said to her concerning me.

Moreover the way he wears his smile and resorts to retreats, I can tell that these are the last days of our friendship …  and that, in itself, might bring about a storm of sadness because I had not prepared for our once-upon-a-time friendship. It had never been in question.

Real life, real people, real things. Have at my comments box.

 

Help Me Help You ‘Meet the Task’

Last week, at the Black Enterprise Minority Supplier Forum, we talked about “meeting the task.”

“Most black women have been taught to ‘meet the task’ which makes us more technically equipped,” said Bohannon.

This week I encountered some folk who haven’t been meeting the task, personally and or professionally. And this really gets my blood boiling because I’d never let myself get away with not meeting the task.

Of all the jobs I’ve ever had, I took my work seriously. If I needed to stay an extra hour or three to meet a deadline, I did that. I performed thorough research about things I had no idea about when I was a technical writer. Like the time I wrote Standard Operating Procedure Manuals for mechanics who worked on changing assembly lines of equipment in order to bake/produce thousands of Sandies in a hour! Do you know how important it is to meet the task there? Some of these mechanics had no education, so I had to write in a way that assured they’d meet their task. Because if they did not, I did not.

Or the time I had to prelim and close Multi-million dollar magazines that had to balance to the hundredth decimal perfectly, every time, or I’d have pompous managers and over-paid account executives breathing down my neck. I did that for almost three years. Do you understand how incredibly important it is to meet the task there?

I guess my struggle is understanding how to deal with people when they don’t meet the task with me. That is my biggest struggle. Sometimes I’m passive aggressive; I go behind their backs and just fix it. I figure a conversation at a later date is in order … Or NOT. Sometimes, I take the assertive approach–giving recommendations, suggestions, meanwhile speedily assessing the situation for best optimization. And sometimes, I’m aggressive, I won’t talk to you for weeks. The latter is the easiest. No confrontation, no drama.

When I was a student and now as a professional, I’ve always pushed myself to do my best. And by best, I mean whatever the job/task called for … And I know my honor system is a bit abnormal, that pushing myself as I do may not be as common or necessary for some.

Im writing this because I’ve written people off who don’t ‘meet the task.’ Issues of guilt! And I’d much rather, at this point, help them ‘meet the task’ and not do the work for them. This takes craft, huh? Let me know what you think. Help a sista out with suggestions, recommendations, books, and whatever else you’ve got.

And in case you missed it. See my Black Enterprise post.

Give Me Good Feeling

It gives me good feeling …

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5 Revealing Quotes–We All NEED Love

Snickers*

There’s so much controversy in these quotes because they reveal the ugly truth … Nearly about everything. Here are 5 quotes that I’ve encountered by way of people in my life … in the past 7 days. (“Why didn’t she say a week?” Oh, let’s admit it; seven days sounds more recent.) Please enjoy!

1. “Yes; there’s someone I’m with, but I would never commit to her because she has a child. And you know with that, the baby father is never too far behind.”

I wanted to tell my friend “No. That’s not true. I’m sure she doesn’t want to get back with her baby’s father and she’s not getting with him on the side.” But the look in his eye motivated me not to be optimistic in this situation. Friends don’t do that to friends. I just nodded.

2. “I never said I didn’t have a girlfriend. I just omitted it.”

3. “I love you.”

4. “You could be more consistent.”

5. “I just need to get outta this damn house!”

More snickering … We ought to listen closely to what people say and DO NOT say. There lies the truth. And I’m all about listening in order to prevent problems, follow up with solutions, and care for my friends.

One commonality for all these people: they’re trying to fill voids of love and other things.

Startling Tell Tale … Fist: Elderly Lady And Me

I encountered an elderly lady, few weeks back, and she told me something as if it were laid on her heart by God. As it if Moses himself had appeared in a fiery bush to advise her to say this very thing to me.

As we sat at the kitchen table, tying up conversations about family and explaining whatever happened to so-n-so, she looked at me with her big weary brown eyes. I could feel the heat of her focus stemming from her soul. And she said “If you keep your hand closed, nothing can come in it and nothing can leave.” And she formed a fist.

Stalemate came to mind. Then I had a few other cognitive processes. None of which I care to mention here. Only because most of them were vague ideas.

Logically, I feel a natural need to preserve número UNO. If I don’t take good care of myself, in every capacity, how can I help others?

You must know I didn’t respond with nothing but a nod. And I started mentally counting all the giving I currently do and have done. It seemed enough. Heck, “it is enough” was my next thought.

I really can’t imagine giving much else time or money away on anything. So what was she talking about? What I should’ve done was asked what inspired her to tell me such things. You know old people have a strong tendency to be random and delusional. Yet having heard her speak, dating ancient occurrences and such, I knew she had to be all there. So at the time, I counted it as a precious moment and took it with a grain of salt. A way to be careful yet not dismissive.

From as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a giver, assisting others in their endeavors, inspiring them to see the realities of their situations, being a confidant. All of that requires resources. And in its in that giving, that I became burnt out and detached. What’s wrong with focusing on me? I decided the principal investment shall be given to me. Principal, primary and sole!

But to my dismay, there’s been turbulence in my … Hell you guessed it, in my personal life. I honestly can tell you that I can’t stand to give a single damn about anything in that realm. And I really don’t want to, yet I’m not getting anything worth fighting for in return. “I just want what I want the way I want it.” I could spell those wants out to you. Then again, they’re kind of absurd.

The image of the elderly woman holding up her closed fist came to mind this afternoon. Aww shit!! She was speaking about my heart. Indeed it was her left hand. Finally, I was able to tie these two objects together to complete the tale, the message, she intended for me to get which I believe can be summed in a quote:

“Have you ever seen a human heart? It looks like a fist wrapped in blood.” –Closer(movie)

Indeed, the quote from my favorite movie, one of which I have two copies of, appeared to resolve the instinctive notion that the good Lord is trying to me something.

Stubborn as it is, I want to tell the Lord “in my own time.” But will I?

Life: I’ll Walk Those 10 Miles.

Morning. “We need to talk.” Aren’t those the most dreadful words you never wanna hear? Defenses go up, and, immediately, you start thinking the worst. But hold on; this isn’t about you. It’s about me.

I’ve been having this recurring car dream for about a month. You see I don’t know where I’m traveling, but I reckon this is what Jersey looks like in the 1950s. And it’s quite possible that I’m on an adventure.

However, whenever I approach my destination, about 10 miles out (I’m guessing), I run out of gas. It’s a shocker. I don’t even recall having a gas light.

In a panic, I walk to my grandparents houses. Sometimes it’s my great-gran or my grandfather, and they’re home. I could hear them. So I’m relieved. Next thing you know, I’m banging on the door like crazy, and they can’t hear me. They never open the door. I’m yelling out my name at the door, and I get no answer.

Then the dream abruptly ends. And I wake up thinking “what the f*ck?!”

I googled it as some us do when we’re looking to interpret our dreams. One site said: “you’re wearing yourself out.” I refuse to believe that. The other site says: “you want to move forward, but you’re not getting what you need in order to do so.”

But why am I set in the 1950s? I’m an 80s baby. So my wheels start spinning and I think:

Maybe my grandparents can’t hear me because they weren’t expecting me then; I wasn’t even conceived. I’m moreso a stranger to them.

And perhaps I’m running out gas, not getting to where I want to be, because the timing is wrong? Am I ahead of my time? Why can’t I just walk or run 10 miles? Next time, I will force myself to walk/run that 10 miles because I don’t recall feeling tired … If I run out a gas, fine. But I’m not discounting my journey by not making my destination.

Whatever it takes.

Do We Pick Our Friends Like We Pick Our Fruit?

Have you ever considered the way you pick your fruit and vegetables? When you’re at the fresh market, do you scrutinize a little more as you would if you were at Harris Teeter? Or do you, no matter what, judge all fruit and vegetables by the same criteria? No bruises? No brown? Saturated with color?

I recall a certain Erykah Badu song “Apple Tree.” In this song, Badu sings “See I picks my friends like I pick my fruit …” This neo-soul melody is a reminder of the importance of criteria when picking anything.

Let’s examine Nikki’s criteria on picking fruit as it relates to picking friends.

Criterion 1: Bruised Fruit. These have all kinds of dents and blotches. Such issues date back to their harvest and uprooting. Still found usable, they may wound up at the fresh market or a nearby grocer. No matter where you meet these fruit, it’s always best to neglect them for their awful taste and toxicity.

Criteria 2: Is your selection of fruit saturated with color? The color, pale or rich, is an indication of it’s ripeness. Don’t be mistaken. This has nothing to do with age as it does with maturation.

My best friend’s mom had us pick tomatoes in our younger years. She always warned us to leave the unripe to age and pick only the bold and brightest. This lesson, so basic in design, has been a constant reminder to not pick prematurely what isn’t ready.

I could go on for hours about my list, my criteria, on picking fruits and friends. But I shan’t. I will leave you with this: “no matter what setting you’re in, use the same tried and true criteria for picking your friends as you do your fruit.” Every lesson in life can be taught through any organic experience.

When we pay more attention is when we’re awaken to these thoughts and can make better decisions.

My rebellious spirit attempts to defy these odds, yet every time I pick a bad fruit, I’m left with a bad taste and eventually a conditioning instinct “not to shop fruit like that again.”

See what I just did there? 🙂

The Persecution of my Gentle-Man Caller

Real life and real dating, incident 1, 2, and 3. Are you ready for this?!

Incident 1: So I’m seeing someone, and I am reluctant to commit. Commitment feels like imprisonment. On the threshold of commitment, where my singleness ends, I began worrying about just how many mood swings I must endure, how often will we argue, how heated will our disagreements become, his potential controlling habits, and his unforeseen anger. Then I’ll start piecing his behavioral patterns together, assessing what he looks and sounds like when he lies or feels guilty. Seemingly, these are negative thoughts. But I have logical explanation for it; they come from real life experiences. I’ve developed very ‘tried and true’ techniques. As in ‘I tried that shit, and it wasn’t true.” Thus, that’s the reason I gotta move on. Now that right there, moving on, I’m good at it, especially when it’s ‘Solo, Dolo.’

Ok, so let’s talk first incident. I’ve already sought permission, so don’t worry this person can handle this post. Ok, first incident … Incident is a technical term, so don’t read into it. Ok, first incident occurred this past weekend.

My ‘friend’ wanted to do dinner, casual cookout, at my parents. Now I had no intentions of asking him. I was merely telling him my dinner plans, and he asked: “Are you inviting me to dinner?” lol. That’s how that happened. Me: “Well I wasn’t asking you to dinner … But do you think you might be up for that? At my parents?” Him: “Yes.”

Now wait, I hadn’t committed to dude yet exclusively. But I thought, “hey this could be a turning point.” So we agreed that he could come for dinner after our talk.

Then I thought again. I had a question. So I called back and asked him something more serious, “Of all the women you introduced me to which women did you have sex with?” The stuttering had begun, ladies and gentleman. It was hilarious. Then he began to answer my question with a question. Deflecting and guilt. He refused to answer that question. In fact, he was willing to sacrifice our relationship to protect these women.

There, in that moment, I drew the following conclusion. Either the stakes were too high for him to tell me and it’s worth sacrificing new ground for old (yes good inference) or you really don’t like me that much. And if either is this case, you shouldn’t be meeting my parents. Just by his choices alone, avoiding transparency and not willing to build a circle of trust by seizing the opportunity to share pertinent info with a potential partner told me all I needed to know about him in that moment.

Now sure he wanted to throw in his “I’m in it for the long-term speech.” And his “that any ADULT wouldn’t care.” that mug just patronized me. I can’t!!

Here’s the thing: I cannot be blind sighted. I’m a tough crowd, big personality, and smart. Everyone isn’t a fan, that being so. Knowing that, I’m aware. And I like to be ‘in the know.’ I’m a writer. It’s purely journalistic behavior. When you jeopardize that, I become more guarded and withdraw interest. Because making me unaware is like gouging out my eyes. And I just cannot walk around like that.

Think I was wrong?! Have questions? Ask them here. You don’t have to login to make comments. I appreciate the read!

Incidents 2 and 3 are for the ‘morrow. Real people, real incidents. Lol. My dating life, your entertainment.

WTF are you talking about?! Free Write ENJOY

There’s nothing more repugnant than a dishonorable and disrespectful person. Their words are vile, they smell of bile, and their direction of life leads down the never ending road of misfortune.

There’s nothing greater than the celebration of life–you become reenergized by Earth’s molten core, empowered by water, and lifted by God. You are they. And they are we and in touch with Thee.

There’s nothing more beautiful than to just Be. Be happy. Be sad. Be remorseful then glad. And to experience a cyclical of emotion is just to be human and to be alive.

Thank you for reading. This is my “spur” of the moment free write.

Life as We Know It–Learning Acceptance

I’ve been wanting to veer away from the entertainment writing and wanting to give you more reality. I have this thing about having honest conversations and, oftentimes, I stress their importance to whoever that will listen.

As I go on in life, growing, meeting new people and discovering more things about myself, I face more real people who have real issues than instances of entertainment. And please don’t take this the wrong way, but even their real issues can be quite entertaining in it of themselves. However, this isn’t true in this case.

Take for instance, a friend I have who struggles with death and loss on a daily basis. To avoid finding practical solutions which would take a lot of mental strength, focus, and effort, this person busies -self with work and extra curricular activities. Work and personal interests are this individual’s scapegoat … The loss of immediate family members has become a barrier that separates this individual from nurturing intimate relationships with family and others.

Without going into detail, I ask that you imagine having lost a parent, whether be by abandonment or by death. How would you feel? If you have lost a parent, how do you feel?

I’m familiar with the abandonment part with my biological father. I believe it affected me earlier on in life than it does now because I’ve learned a key thing about how to deal with loss and death–acceptance.

Acceptance. I don’t know how many birthdays had gone by before I stopped anticipating my father’s phone calls or his showing up to my rescue, but I had stopped. At some point, I accepted that my father’s choices were not going to define me and my future.

I’ve read many a stories about women who grew up without the influence of their biological father and how that led them to prostitution, drug addictions, and other irresponsible behavior. I decided that wouldn’t be me long ago. I had since then developed a self sufficient life where I’m proactive in my decision making, learning to prevent problems than getting in the habit of solving them.

My action plan for my life was my way of accepting the past because it was a way for me to add value to my perceived self worth without feeling compromised by how others felt about me. In other words, I gave to myself the love, knowledge, and perspective that I needed to feel whole without being completed by any other.

Perception … What’s that quote? “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.” Our perception yields our reality … The thought that becomes our action .. That action becomes the habits then later on our character.

Looking at yourself or perceiving yourself to be an abandoned person puts you in the seat of a victim. Thou shalt not be victimized! Don’t you hate when someone victimizes an active voice for a passive one?!?! Or speaks in third person? Whew … I digress.

Feeling abandoned doesn’t get us very far because with it comes the sense of hopelessness and helplessness. Now I’m not one to preach, but isn’t God everything? For me, he has been …

When I found a father in God, using him for a source of guidance and love, I found a father that would never abandon me … Not in my darkest hour. In finding footing with God, the Universe, I found myself abandoned no more … Victimized no more … And I had found peace … And was able to accept that regardless of the actions of others, no matter how irresponsible and hurtful, that I am not defined by their shortcomings (or excellence, on the flipside) but by my own feelings and thoughts. These are the very things that I have control of … And with this control, I shall not feel abandoned no more or victimized.

It can be a difficult concept to implement in your life. It isn’t easy. Yet with the right focus, you can achieve this way of thinking.

Prayer is everything, and a direct line to the lineage that gave you life and assured your legacy. Let it be known, that you can pray all day which is encouraged, but you must also take that walk by faith.

To my dear friend, I love you so. Acceptance is underway. I hope the days are near where you feel abandoned no more. Xo

Serendipity-An Inspired Music Wednesday

Him: You wanna elope? Like right now? We can go to Vegas … like right now? You wanna go? Wanna elope?
Me: Blank stare* Increased palpitations* Nervousness* Smiling ear to ear
Him: We can do it the right way.
Me: Agreed.

Destiny/Fate, we’re living it, and it has the magic to bring us together with ourselves … and with someone else.

The wondrous life of NIkki!

Balancing Life Means Pyramid Action

Evening, people. I just returned from the gym, and I must tell you that I missed it so. For the past months, I’ve been advising my friends and family that “in order to be centered and balanced with Uni-verse, there must be a lot of pyramid action going on–focusing on mind, body, and spirit.” As always, I hit ’em with my tagline “Shoot for 3s.”

Of course 3s take on a whole ‘nother meaning in numerology; however, this blog isn’t for that. So I would ask that you do your own research and get started on your very own pyramid action. Here’s what my pyramid action means for me:

Mind–With all the constant stimuli, work to our personal lives, there’s very little time to sit still. However, I make time for prayer. It keeps me focused on what I aiming for and immediately puts my body in submission to God. Without this focus, we are missing such an intricate part that keeps us with the One. Meditation also helps.

Spirit–Along with prayer, I emit and submit positive energy into the atmosphere. I made it a habit and now it’s becoming more of my character. It takes practice. With the programming that’s in our media, your spirit can become dis-shelved and unfocused. It can be impacted by what’s not good. In this, I use my spirit of discernment and choose what’s good for my spirit. And if I choose to take in the bad, I also try to level this out with just as much good. Choose your programming wisely.

Body–So it’s been about two months since I’ve been on my weekly gym regime. However, I was back in there tonight, and I’m glad I made a point to go. Staying active isn’t easy, but at some point, our body has to become important enough to make that commitment. Yes? Also, we must watch what we eat. What’s on the outskirts of the grocery store–fruits and vegetables are what’s good. What comes in 6 packs usually isn’t. I’ll let you digest that.

Pyramid action isn’t easy. You have to be determined enough to keep going, balancing mind, spirit and body. Just a reminder … #carryon

May God Be the Driving Force … an Inspirational Piece this Tuesday

In a world where everyone has an opinion, it’s the opinion of yourself that really matters. It’s in those most private moment when we realize that we’ve grown from one thing to the next big thing …

I started this blog based on pure passion, just after having written as an editor for a magazine for over two years, been in advertising for nearly three years, edited many books and so forth.

I first noticed that I had a passion in middle school where I thoroughly enjoyed writing on a descriptive prompt that just so happened to be about Tradewinds. Me and my friends frequent that skating rink, from middle school and so on. $5 to skate, and they always had “Back to School” bashes. It was what we had growing up, something positive for us to do that kept us out of trouble.

Speaking of trouble … we aren’t always shielded by our parents and ‘safe places’ from harmful things of the world. From the office space to my home, I learned some hard lessons and healed from them through the art of writing. Perhaps, I’ll share some of those entries with you along the way as the blog continues to grow. Now that I’m taking more time out for myself, I noticed that I’m using wisdom from past experiences. I’ve been so busy indulging and making money that I had not taken time to sit and think to acknowledge my progress.

For instance, on Saturday, I received a Facebook message from a long-lost friend. Someone I had been foolishly mean to about a year ago. Why we stopped speaking is trivial. But I did something that I don’t normally do … I seized the opportunity to go see about her, meeting her for an impromptu mani/pedi date. And we picked up right where we left off. Normally, I would’ve just held a grudge and continued with stubbornness. But I’m glad I chose the opposite–Forgiveness. Surely, we’re not expecting to be the best of friends … however, we both understood that you must forgive in order to maintain a respect for life.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve received calls from exes. A few of them that weren’t so good to me. I can only remember a few scenes that stuck out with each guy and how I felt during those times. I was either juggling two or three jobs and picking up freelance work or carrying 16 hours worth of writing classes my junior year of college while working 24-hr long weekends 2 hours away from school … yea … all the while dealing with some mess. I remember going back to one in particular when things didn’t work out in my current situations, be it personal or career. At those times, I was dealing with rejection. With work, I always felt that merit should get you where you gotta go (promotions and all) … but that’s not how it works in the Corporate America; and I couldn’t yet understand that as a recent grad. Now I know better. Thank God! I no longer feel that my acceptance has to come from without. I’ve learned how to reach within and find it for myself. This strength comes with an air of self-righteousness. But one thing at a time; I can work on the latter later. The important thing is that I’m not at all entertained or in need of the past. The present is filled with all the right pleasantries …

I also had a run-in with a little jealousy … no names. The great thing is that I rebuked it with kindness. Sometimes people can’t appreciate your gifts because they have yet to discover their own. Prayer is everything.

Unfortunately, Friday, I was told that a ‘friend of the family’ was diagnosed with Cancer. My fond memories include me sneaking into her Sunday morning classes; she taught older kids. They’d let me stay because I usually volunteered to read scriptures, a task greatly avoided by her students. She taught me my first gospel songs. She has also watched me mature, from skipping classes to paying attention to God’s intending hand. My … how I’ve grown.

I say all this to express to you on how important it is to just listen in from your past to make better decisions today, so that you can reach your highest potential. And currently I’m learning that reaching your highest potential means lots of pyramid action: balancing the physical, mental and spiritual. It’s not ignoring who you once were but stepping out into the person God wants you to become.

Whether you’re an aspiring actor, writer, musician, doctor, lawyer, chef, marketer, there’s already a path to your success lying right ahead of you. But you’ve got to be brave enough to get out of your own way to get there, whether it be letting go ghosts of your past, changing the way you react to situations and or gaining a new perspective on life. With the changes that our nation is facing to the changes we witness in ourselves, we should forever stay pupils, learning our life’s path. And I believe that even when we don’t have the strength to rely on ourselves for advancement, we can look to God to feel empowered to choose what’s right for us, meanwhile let our gifts and talents be our outlet for healing, sharing and inspiring.

Outside–Where the REAL Content Lies

At the end of the day, most people don’t want to show up on NikkiPanache.Com. No … not really. What am I saying? Most people don’t want our conversations to show up on NikkiPanache.Com, and when it comes down to it, that’s where the real content lies, in my daily conversations.

A lot of you know I spend most of my evenings dining out and hanging out in lounges. Those are the settings where I meet the most interesting people … and … their problems … especially when at the bar. Sometimes, when folks explain their issues, I think to myself ‘that’s really not an issue; all you need to do is this …’

However, moving on, last night I met a young, 30-something woman at a lounge. In between a friend and I, she walked up and ordered a glass of red wine. She’s cute; she reminds me of the teachers I used to work with. She wore her hair pulled back in a loose ponytail and black, squared frames. A piece of hair framed the left side of her face.

As she reached for her drink, I complimented her: “You smell really great. What is that?” She excitedly replied “I don’t know. It’s in my purse. You want some?” She immediately rushed over to her purse which sat on the opposite side of the bar and came back with VS Heavenly body spray. From there, we started talking about how the same scent on different individuals can create a variety of smells.

So then, the conversation becomes a little more interesting. “You know most black women never compliment me on anything? They are always giving me attitude.” She said this as she swung her hips, a heavy left, and poked out her lips. I just smiled.

“Really?” It’s not that I couldn’t believe that it was true. If you know me well enough in real life, this is what I usually say to incite people to elaborate on their findings. You know people never just respond to this question with a ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ It’s usually a confirmation and a few examples.

And just as I expected, she went on regurgitating few incidents… I won’t mention most of them here.

One incident, however, is worth mentioning. At some point in her life, she was robbed by two black men. She went on to say that she’d became a bit racist.

But her faith in God and Jesus was helping her get through her bitter feelings. And that’s when the real connection happened. She said she had been to Elevation church a few times. And we had an extensive discussion about that. As I wrote in an earlier post, I’d been attending Elevation. I especially enjoy the way they ‘celebrate God’ and a lot of times traditional churches fail to do that. It just seems that at Elevation, they focus on the positive. But I digress. That’s not the reason why I wrote this post–to discuss my church attendance and recent epiphanies.

I wrote this post because this incident’s a shock factor.

She was shocked that she could sit down with a black woman and have a meaningful conversation, adopt some practical advice, and be impressed by someone else outside her normal social circle. Maybe, she didn’t have any black friends growing up. It appears that we’re still in living in the Old South, a bit segregated, in thinking as well as geographically. Even when we party, we find a less diverse crowd. I won’t tell why I think that is here … that’s for another episode. But when I think about this separation and how many lack that integrated experience due to whatever influences they’ve had in their lives, I pity those who don’t even try venturing outside ‘their box.’ Beyond the race factor, there’s a commonality amongst women. We can find similar experiences due to our biological makeup. (That’s a duh moment)

I’m not claiming to be a Dr. Phil by any means. But she picked up some good advice. I believe it made her feel better about her experiences and her current situation. Even if for a second, on some level, she changed her ‘thinking’ path, lending her thoughts to a more positive frequency. This current experience counter-acted an old one. I hope that at some point she would have had enough positive experiences to overshadow the negative ones.

And that’s just the reason why I wrote this. It’s the way we think people that will either keep us in a box or free us from prisons our minds have built for us. It’ll also keep us from finding new treasures in the least expected places.

–Til next time in LIFE.

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