Tag Archives: friends

Pay it Forward

“Itโ€™s in our interest to take care of others. Self-centredness is opposed to basic human nature. In our own interest as human beings we need to pay attention to our inner values. Sometimes people think compassion is only of help to others, while we get no benefit. This is a mistake. When you concern yourself with others, you naturally develop a sense of self-confidence. To help others takes courage and inner strength.” ~Dalia Lama

I feel as though I’ve been particularly self-centered lately.

Several events transpired to form a perfect shit-storm; effectively stressing me to the breaking point and putting me in quite the tailspin for the past few weeks.

shit storm

Said events aren’t exactly settled.

But I’m beginning to remember I have a plethora of absolutely wonderful things in my life to be grateful for.

Any one of which, is enough on their own, to elicit enormous amounts of gratitude.

be thankful

But I have a habit of focusing on the things I don’t have, rather than those I do. (I want everything, all at once, right now!)

Over the weekend, I was reminded, no matter what I think is going horribly wrong or is irreparably damaged in my life, I still have it pretty damn good.

I was the recipient of a thousand (not actual number but there were far, far, far too many to count) acts of kindness.

Acts of kindness that went above and beyond any threshold of friendship.

Acts of kindness I will probably never get the chance to repay (even if repayment would be accepted).

act of kindness

The words to express how very grateful I am escape me and I cannot fathom how to even begin to reciprocate the kindness I was shown.

So I’m going to do the only thing I can think of to show the Universe, I do indeed know how blessed I am, even if sometimes I forget.

For the month of September I will be paying it forward.

pay it forward

At least once a day, but every chance I get, I will perform an act of kindness.

They might be random acts of kindness.

They might even be for some of you.

Every day for thirty days I will try to make someone else remember, they too are blessed. That even though not every day is good, there is good in every day.

every day

Maybe, if I remind enough other people, I’ll remember it myself the next time that shit-storm comes blowing through.

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Filed under Climbing the Ladder, Family + Friends, Following Your Dreams

Call Me, Maybe?

I was talking to my fabulous friend Amina the other day and she looked at me like I was bat.shit.crazy when I told her I frequently go a day or two without talking to anyone.

The fabulous Miss Amina and I

The fabulous Miss Amina and I aka Ebony & Ivory Divas ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m notorious for taking “personal days” when I respond to no one and spend a day completely in my own company, ignoring the outside world.

Which she completely understands and occasionally does herself.

But she couldn’t understand that I would regularly go a whole day without texting or calling a friend or family member.

(Please note, she does NOT count Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform as acceptable substitutes for a text or phone call. As someone who works in marketing and uses most of these platforms daily, I strongly disagree, but will humor her for the sake of this post.)

Now, before you also think I’m some psychopathic introvert, let me explain.

Heeeeeere's Johnny!!

Heeeeeere’s Johnny!!

I talk to people every day. These interactions are usually at work, the gym, or the store. They aren’t always people I know personally. But I do talk to people!

I’ve never been a big phone talker.

When I was growing up we had one phone, in the kitchen, where everyone could hear you, so there was really no such thing as a private conversation.

As an adult, I worked for more years than I care to remember as a customer service rep and grew to despise speaking to anyone on the telephone.

That smiling face is a lie. Customer service is the worst.job.ever.

That smiling face is a lie. Customer service is the worst.job.ever.

And quite frankly, I don’t know if I’m going deaf in my old age or cell phone reception just sucks, but I feel like I can never quite hear anyone clearly when talking on the phone these days.

Rather than just “uh huh” and pretend I heard what was said (repeating myself is a huge pet peeve so I try my best not to make others do it) I’d rather just make plans to see you in person. It’s more fun that way anyway!

Her reaction did get me thinking though.

As I’m living alone again these days, if I disappeared, would anyone notice?

Thankfully I’m not a crazy cat lady (or a fan of cats period) so I’m not in any danger of dying and having my face eaten off.

Never, ever, ever!

Nevah, evah, evah!

But I think I might need to start interacting with my friends and family on a more regular basis and not just to make plans.

I don’t want to be that woman discovered dead after neighbors start complaining about a foul odor.

How about you guys?

Do you talk to someone every day?

Is it the same someone?

Do you call people just to say “hi”?

Would anyone notice if you disappeared for a couple days?

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Filed under etiquette, family, friendship, growing up

It Takes a Village

Hillary Clinton said it takes a village, and who am I to argue with Hillary??

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her PDA upon her departure in a military C-17 plane from Malta bound for Tripoli,  Libya

Sunday is that one day of the year when we take the time to say, “thank you” to the women who raised us.

(By the way, how about we start doing that a little more often?!?)

Which got me thinking about all the women who have influenced my journey through life.

There are two I feel I lost just before I needed them most:

Aunt Joan – I will always have questions for you. Things I wished I’d thought to ask before it was too late. But, I’ve started to realize, the world you grew up in was far, far different from the challenges I encounter today. Sometimes the choices I have the freedom to make are daunting. I wish you were here to talk to.

aunt joan

Grama Gloria – If the woman you raised is any indication, you were a force to be reckoned with. I wish I remembered you more. I wish I had the foresight to ask for your story. In my mind you will always be an adventurer. From what I hear, that’s not far off.

grama gloria (2)

There are those I still have the privilege to know and love:

Aunt DJ – There are no words for the strength of spirit I have witnessed over the years. I can only hope to one day approach life with the grace and class you exhibit every day.

me justin and aunt dj swimming

Mom – my crazy, smart mother, who knows more than I can ever hope to – which I will never admit (again). You taught me anyone can learn anything if they set their mind to it and put in the work. I can never express how truly you inspire me every day to be a better person.

4821

Barbara – my beautiful cousin who showed me family could be friends. You have taught me being vulnerable is a gift not all people receive. I only hope you know how very wondrous and fierce you are.

babs genie

Those who have shown me professionalism and class are NOT mutually exclusive:

Maura Deedy – the first real female work friend I had in the “professional” world, she taught me that you CAN be a rock star at work without throwing your fellow woman under the bus

Erika Cook – my first female boss. I might have been just a waitress but you set the standard that for 20 years has made me believe women can be supportive and caring of their subordinates. Shame on you ๐Ÿ™‚

And last but certainly not least:

My girls – that seems like such a lame word for the women who have held me up and encouraged me over the years. “Girl” completely discredits the reckoning you encompass. You are so much more than words could ever describe. Imagine that! I’m at a loss for words!! You know who you are. I love you fiercely.

Just a sampling of the “girls” who warm my heart:

ange martini

bend over

me and amina

me and amber

me and rach

me and lindsey on the bridge

I thought long and hard about the women to include in this post. There are far, far, many more goddesses who have helped show me love and kindness on my journey. I honestly did not have room for you all. (I fully relish the excess and decadence this sentence implies.) But that does not mean, in any way, shape or form, that your presence has not been felt, nor made a significant difference in my life. It has. You are appreciated and loved. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

Are there women in your life who have lent a helping hand on your journey?

Tell them!!

Who do you owe a “thank you”?

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Filed under family, friendship, growing up

Thirty Life Lessons

There’s this great list from Glamour I kept on my fridge for years.

When I cut it out I don’t think I really understood it, but I figured they were things I could work towards (I was sixteen at the time).

There’s now an equally amazing book that came from said list, full of wonderful life lessons from awe inspiring women (my personal fave is from Maya Angelou).

I’m not 30. I’m 29.95 plus tax

As I approach my big 3-0 I’ve been thinking about all the life lessons I’ve personally learned along the way.

I’ve forgotten some of them from time to time.

A couple that I’m definitely old enough to know better!

So I figured I’d write down the top 30 lessons I’ve learned thus far and see if I could save someone else a little trouble ๐Ÿ™‚

1.) Family is the most important thing. And it’s not just the family you’re born with.

2.) Stop making up stories explaining the events in your life and just except them. The more time your spend analyzing you life the less time you spend living it.

3.) If it seems too good to be true – it is.

4.) Always trust your gut. That niggling feeling that something isn’t quite right, is always right.

5.) Music is the miracle of life. It has the power to validate your feelings, make a bad day better, celebrate good times, nurse a broken heart, and help you keep on keepin’ on.

6.) Be honest. It’s hard. I know. If you don’t have the balls to be honest with others, at least be honest with yourself.

7.) No one is going to take care of you. Save your pennies and always have some “fuck you” money stashed away.

8.) Everyone has their own narrative and they are rarely EVER the same.

9.) Always be yourself. The most authentic version of yourself you can manage. Never EVER water down your personality for anyone. It’s the best part about you girl ๐Ÿ˜‰

10.) My parents are truly amazing people.

Seriously! They rock!

11.) Talk is cheap. No matter what people SAY it’s what they DO that actually matters. So pay attention.

12.) You can fool yourself better than you can fool anyone else.

13.) Perception really is reality. There’s nothing you can do to change that, so stop wasting your time worrying about what other people think.

14.) Opportunity is usually disguised as hard work.

15.) Dogs are better than most people.

He might eat your shoes, but he’ll never do you wrong.

16.) This too shall pass is a true story. Good or bad, life changes on a dime. Always appreciate what you have.

17.) Stop trying to fast forward your life. Slow the fuck down and just take it all in. It really is all about the journey. Don’t get me wrong, goals are good, but it’s how you get there that really matters.

18.) Be BOLD. Ain’t nobody got time for that pansy ass shit. Figure out what you want and go for it.

19.) Credit cards are a slippery slope. Pay offย your balance at the end of each month. You’ll save thousands in interest rates and countless headaches.

20.) Have an excellent tailor and hairdresser. They’ll make you look like a million bucks even when you can’t afford a cup of coffee. (For those of you in the area: Amber LaBorde at Visual Changes in Longmeadow, MA is beyond amazing and A Perfect Fit in Agawam, MA is the only tailor I’ve ever met who continually tries to save me money and does wonderful work with an unheard of turnaround.)

21.) Mind your manners. Especially if you’re sometimes socially challenged. Remembering what your Mama taught you will get you successfully through most interactions and keep you out of hot water.

22.) Read more. Books have lessons we’re all familiar with but hearing someone else’s troubles helps us actually learn them.

23.) A bra that fits right will change your life. Seriously go get fitted for one. I know, it’s awkward and weird but it’s worth it.

24.) Jealousy really is a monster. Keep an eye out for that bitch. She’ll sneak up on you if you’re not careful.

25.) Climbing a mountain will clear your head of all your worries. Even a small mountain ๐Ÿ™‚

26.) Learn how to LET GO. (I have to admit I’m still working on this one. It’s super hard sometimes.)

27.) Expectations can be a dangerous thing to have. Manage yours well.

28.) Sex does NOT equal intimacy.

29.) Learn how to confront people effectively. Keeping emotions bottled up inside isn’t healthy, but neither is flying off the handle when you can’t take it anymore. Address your issues upfront and you’ll feel much better in the long run.

30.) A new pair of shoes can change your life.

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Filed under Change, dating, deal breakers, etiquette, family, following your dreams, growing up, inspiration, looking for love, sex

Don’t be a Loser

When you play relationship games, everyone loses.

Regardless of your current commitment level, managing expectations is key to any successful relationship/booty call/sex friendship/one night stand, etc.

This is especially important for all you playah-playahs out there.

If you’re looking to keep it foot loose and fancy free it’s imperative to make sure you’re both on the same page.

Even when you’re up front from the start, things can get a little awkward, and people’s feelings can get hurt.

This is when you have to man up and be an adult.

Instead of disappearing when a girl gets too close, just tell her the truth.

“Look, I think we want different things. You want me to be your boyfriend and I just want to put my penis inย  you. I could say we’ll stay friends, but we more than likely won’t. If you want to get freaky every now and then though, that’s cool with me. Just don’t expect anything more than a ‘hey what’s up?’ text somewhere in the midnight – 2am range.”

Either she’ll think you’re the world’s biggest douchebag or she’ll appreciate the honesty and you’ll live happily ever after, casually bumping uglies until one of you finds something better.

Now for all you lady playah-playahs, the same rules apply.

There is no excuse for doing a dine and dash on sexy time.

Be up front from the beginning and if you think a man is catching feelings –

DON’T RUN!

Be an adult and have the difficult conversation.

“I really enjoy spending time with you (getting penetrated by you) but I think we want different things. You want to lock all this fabulousness down but I just want to jump your bones every now and then. We can continue to be sex friends so long as you understand there will not be anything more down the road. I’ll continue to text you after I’ve had a couple (too many) and am looking to get stuffed.”

Most guys will jump at the offer of strings free sex. If that’s not what he’s looking for, he’ll appreciate your honesty and you’ll amicably go your separate ways.

So remember, act like an adult.

Be honest, always use protection, and everyone wins.

Happy Humping ๐Ÿ™‚

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Filed under dating, deal breakers, etiquette, growing up, looking for love, sex

But we can still be friends…

Have you ever stayed friends with an ex?

It sounds like a great idea until someone’s feelings get hurt AGAIN and then it gets awkward and ugly.

There’s no easy transition from “I’m in love with you” to “let’s be buddies”.

I have actually remained friends with quite a few of my exes.

What can I say? Like my Mom, I have a hard time throwing some things out.

For those of you who don’t know, she’s a border-line hoarder. ILYM ๐Ÿ™‚

This ONLY works successfully if you STOP SLEEPING TOGETHER.

I know this part might be really hard for some of you.

So here are some pointers on NOT being an emotional whorebag:

  • Do NOT get drunk with your ex.

Not alone, not at a party, not in ANY place where you can achieve penetration.

Which when you think about it, is pretty much anywhere.

So dude, DON’T GET DRUNK WITH YOUR EX.

DON’T DO THIS!

  • Give it some time man!

You have either broken someone’s heart or had your heart broken.

Grieve! Cry! Break shit!

Do NOT pretend everything is sunshine and roses.

It’s not!

You’re allowed to admit that and take some time

Or allow your ex to do the same.

This actually makes you an adult. Just make sure your break-down is done in private and STAY OFF FACEBOOK!

  • During your time out:

DO NOT CALL THEM

DO NOT TEXT THEM

LEAVE THEM THE FUCK ALONE

If you have to; write their number down, put it somewhere safe, and delete it!

It’s never easy at first, no matter where you fall on the broken-hearted scale.

But it’s always a lot easier, IF YOU STOP SLEEPING TOGETHER!

And dude, seriously, delete that fucking number!!

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Filed under dating, etiquette, growing up, looking for love, sex