As we age, we have to grow for true maturity. Staying in the same head space and sometimes even the same place can hinder us.  Evolution is uncomfortable. You’ve become familiar with one set of norms and growth challenges you to be someone different. 

I know it’s scary but with every day your life should become enriched with ideas and opportunities of growth. This in no way means you’ll have a new personality on a daily basis. If for some reason this happens, please seek professional assistance. At 30+, I don’t even think of things the same as I did at 30. I can truly say I’m growing, opening up to new experiences and looking for a every opportunity to smile. ūüôā

The purpose of my life may not be clearly visible but I’m acknowledging I want to get there. I believe everyone on this earth wants to live in their purpose – but how will you know if you’re stuck in the same spot. In order to discover everything or even a portion of what it feels like to live in your purpose you have to break away from some norms. Embrace the uncomfortableness of the process and BE GREAT. 

Have you noticed your evolution? Was it a welcomed change? 

I’ve been waiting on Frank Ocean like a little kid on the porch counting the minutes until their parent comes to pick them up from grandma’s house. ¬†His music is unexpected and captures some foreign emotion that pulls at me. ¬†I’ll give an artist a substantial amount of time to get their creative juices flowing to put out a good project. ¬†After that amount of time has passed, I start looking for them even harder. ¬†Check out some of the tweets I published in search of Mr. Ocean.

So, you already know how excited I was about the new music released last week. ¬†This album has been on repeat, repeat 1 song, shuffle and let’s go back to Blond again. ¬†I just wanted to share my most played song.

I removed the link due to copyright.

Are you enjoying Blond? ¬†If not, I’ll give you a while to jump on the bandwagon or take a long hard listen to another great body of work from the elusive Frank.

We all have a bucket list and even if you don’t there are a few things you’ve identified that you have to do. ¬†I’m just like you. ¬†Over the past few days, I acknowledged the things I want to do as soon as he is he goes away to school. ¬†It may be safe to say these are the things I want to do after he turns 18. ¬†It may not be impressive to you but I wanted to share and document it for myself. ¬†Lord knows I don’t need another list running around me. ¬†ūüôā

1. Watch the sun rise (DAILY).

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In the summer of 2014, I moved right on the Detroit River. ¬†Two years have passed and everybody has been trying to figure out why I’m not in my backyard more often. ¬†I don’t even have the answer to that. ¬†Sometimes when I’m on my way to work, I look at the sunrise in my rearview mirror and I’m amazed. ¬†The sight fills my spirit with optimism. ¬†In the future, I’d like to take the time, have a cup of tea and take it all in every day.

 

2. Discover USA via Amtrak

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Train travel is exciting to me. ¬†It’s not as quick as planes, involved as a car or luxurious as a cruise ship. ¬†It’s practical. ¬†This mode of transportation takes you to a time when this was the fastest method known to man. ¬†There’s a great percentage of this vast land that I haven’t seen. ¬†I didn’t realize Amtrak serviced so many destinations on my list of places to see. ¬†The fares are relatively cheap. ¬†A round trip from Detroit to St. Louis was $162.00. Chicago is the central hub of all the activity. ¬†So, the plan is to travel to Chicago every other month and journey into one of these foreign places to experience them. ¬†I might not make it to the West coast via train but the other locations look rather exciting.

3. Travel to Europe

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My passport expires Feb 2018 and I still haven’t made it across the Atlantic Ocean. ¬†This will come to an end next year. ¬†I’m gifting myself a European vacation for my 18 years of parenthood. ¬†You can call this a Pull Gift – you know the reverse of the Push Gift. ¬†ūüôā ¬†(The one I wear almost every day.) ¬†I haven’t narrowed down the exact location but the contenders are:

You’ll be the 2nd to know where I’ve decided to go. ¬†ūüėČ

4. Purchase a home in Detroit

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I’ve been renting for a couple of years now. ¬†Let me tell you – I don’t like it at all. ¬†The amount of money I’ve paid out in the last 2 years was enough to purchase a small bungalow in Detroit. ¬†The jig is up next year. ¬†This year I have been focused on resolving some concerns on my credit report and rehabilitating my credit score. ¬†My hopes are to raise it enough that I will not need a special program to purchase. ¬†The downtown Detroit market is booming. ¬†This area is first on my list due to my 7-10 work commute. ¬†Right now, I am unsure if I want a house or condo. ¬†I’ll¬†know what’s best for me when I get there. ¬†This probably should’ve been number one but who’s judging me. ¬†lol

My Area

5. Start an aquarium

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This originally said get a dog or start an aquarium. ¬†Then I did a “what type of dog is best for you” quiz. ¬†Let’s just say the results didn’t appeal to me. ¬†So, the fish won. ¬†I know owning a saltwater tank is hard work but I have a secret method. ¬†My dad! ¬†He’s the guru on aquatic life and starting aquariums. ¬†The freedom of fish is very calming to me. ¬†I would get a bird but I’m terrified of them. ¬†The dog would have made a great companion but considering my work schedule and travel plans that might not be the best idea. ¬†I’ll swim with the fish and allow my dad to teach me how to maintain it.

6. Start dream car project

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It’s hard to be from Michigan and not have muscle car dreams. ¬†This is the ‘Motor City.’ Home of the Woodward Dream Cruise. ¬†On my vision board you will see several old model vehicles and I plan to start that collection soon. ¬†The 1st vehicle I have selected is the classic 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS. ¬†I don’t want to trick it out. ¬†My vision is to restore it to its showroom beauty. ¬†I have found a forum to purchase from and gather parts. ¬†In addition, I plan to do part of the work. ¬†I bet you can guess what the exterior color will be. ¬†#itsMyFav This will become my Friday/Saturday car.

7. Learn to play piano

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I’ve always wanted to purchase a piano. ¬†Where’s the joy in owning a piano if you can’t play. ¬†Over the next several years I will make this dream a reality. ¬†I think you all know how important music is to me. Yes, I may not become Roberta Flack¬†but I will enjoy the learning opportunity.

There may be more things I want to do with this newfound freedom. ¬†This is just a quick list off the top of my head that I wanted to share with you. ¬†Just a few things to encourage my happiness. ¬†ūüôā

 

The #HealthyHairJourney is one of the most recognized tags in the world, right now. Everyone is embracing their natural hair or at least acknowledging those who have made the choice to take this journey. ¬†Earlier this year I celebrated my 13th-year relaxer free and 3rd year with limited heat. ¬†I’ve come to a very tricky fork¬†in the road and the jury is still out with the verdict.

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Start of the year, my hair was booming.  Here it is after wash day in a flat twist. I noticed it was getting thicker and longer.  No one had touched my hair since the cut I received in November.  It was thriving and I was getting more excited about my next straightening and trim.  Time got away from me and I felt I needed to hold on a little while longer to retain a few more inches.  So, I decided to get some braids.

These felt comfortable. ¬†The 1st set of braids I kept for 3 weeks. ¬†On the next try, I called in the swift professionals at one of the local African braid shops. ¬†Morning after morning, I jumped up, got ready for work and made sure my scalp was oiled. ¬†I hadn’t had braids in a long time and I thought this would be the break I would need this year. ¬†This had to be the best protective style for me. ¬†My classic wig was starting to frustrate me – only because of its synthetic composition and the limited availability around town. ¬†In addition, during this time I discover my hair is officially BLACK in color. ¬†Not the same 1B it’s been my entire life. ¬†The 2nd set lasted for 6 weeks. ¬†I knew I needed to give my hair a break from this pulling of the braids. ¬†This was my hair after removal. ¬†I was in love.

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I did a YouTube search to find alternative protective hair styles to reduce the stress on my strands. ¬†With an extra pack of braid hair on standby, I pulled off a high bun (but I didn’t get a picture). ¬†I wore that for about a week but something wasn’t right with my hair. ¬†It wasn’t performing as trained. ¬†It felt harsh but I wasn’t plucking the knots anymore. ¬†I knew I needed to get it trimmed. ¬†Two flat twists with braid hair bought me a little more time.

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A subsequent wash day displayed some disturbing news. ¬†I found several patches of hair in my head that were the length of my pinky finger. ¬†WTF!? ¬†When did this happen? ¬†There were areas of my mane that are touching my chest, neck, and chin. ¬†My heart and spirit sank – NOT AGAIN. ¬†Let’s add this to the mix, I stopped taking the vitamins. ¬†I was under the impression they were the cause of an acne breakout on my face. ¬†I had no motivation to continue taking them. ¬†I started to look into a salon near me to assist in getting my hair diagnosed. ¬†My frustration with the possibilities was getting the best of me. ¬†I conceded to the defeat with more flat twists and the shit still wasn’t feeling right.

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Can you see the difference from the beginning of the year? ¬†I’ll answer for you – YES! ¬†Even if you can’t just act like you can. ¬†ūüôā ¬†By the time of this picture, I had an appointment to get this shit resolved and see the true damages. ¬†Let me just tell you – I had a severe breakdown when I saw it up close. ¬†The hair was gorgeous in some areas and look like a rat had been chewing on it in others. ¬†I held the tears back but I knew what needed to be done. ¬†The truth of the matter is; I’d rather have healthy hair over long hair. ¬†I ran my fingers through my tresses one last time and in one stoic breath I said: “cut it.”

img_1120Now, I’m back to the drawing board. ¬†I’m not completely warmed up to this idea of entering salon life, again. ¬†In this first week, has been so conflicting. ¬†I miss my coils, curls, and the fullness of my hair in its natural state. ¬†However, on the other hand, I like running my fingers and feeling the wind blow through it. ¬†The compliments have helped immensely. ¬†I hate this happened but I’m glad I’m strong enough to know when to let go. ¬†More than anything else – I still had my edges!

I know what my signature look is and I’m going to achieve it. ¬†The vitamins may get thrown back into the mix. ¬†It looks like I need to go back to my old ways – mixing my hair products and staying on schedule. ¬†Another old friend will be making a few appearances. Can you guess who it might be? ¬†I know it’s just hair to some of you – to me, it’s another accessory to set your look apart from the rest. ¬†Staying focused is the name of the game. ¬†The rules might change but who’s going to judge me. ¬†This one head of hair is a small portion of my own happiness – I don’t care what India Arie says. ¬†LOL ūüėČ

 

 

 

It’s been a crazy couple months for me.  I’ve taken some steps to get me closer to completion of some items on my vision board.  I’m still a long way from my ultimate goals. This quote gave peace and a reason to smile about my current achievements.


Everything I’m experiencing will lead me to my goals in the new year.  The new chapter of my life.  As we venture into the second half of the year, let’s rejoice in this time and the steps we make toward happiness.

Summer of 1998, I got pregnant.  Spring 1999, I gave birth to a son – 2 weeks early from the expected due date.  Fall 2013, I watched him walked in to MLK High School for the first time.  Spring 2016, I dropped him off to board the bus for the New Hope Black College Tour.  For the first time in my life I dealt with the idea that this is about to be my life.  In this series, I will expound on my feelings, changes and experiences I go through as we draw nearer to this moment.  I’m about to be an Empty Nester, for real!

I knew this day would come.  Hell, in those parenting conversations with other parents we joke about the day when our children leave for good and we’re “Free” again.  The part that never comes up is how will we deal with that moment emotionally when it comes.  Some of my friends have the joy of having multiple children so the time is prolonged until the youngest to eligible to leave.  In my case, this is it!  This moment comes a lot sooner for me than many of my friends.


I got my first experience to life without him during spring break this year.  We decided he would go on the black college tour to experience HBCUs.  I really didn’t want him to go to one in the beginning then I changed my mind.  It may be in his best interest to be around “his people.”  Here’s a partial look at the itinerary:

I had created a full list of things I would do while he was gone.  This included going back to dance class and catching the ballet.  I cooked like a gourmet chef for myself and didn’t concern myself with closing the door to get dressed or shower.  This was a comfort I wasn’t use to but it felt freeing.  However, I kept wondering when I would talk to him.  He called me Tuesday morning while I was at work.  We chatted for a short time before he boarded the bus for the day.  It warmed my heart to hear his voice and see his face.  He was off to see Fisk University and get on with the rest of the tour.

We texted one evening while he was on the bus and no more until he was in Ohio returning home. I felt myself becoming excited as time got closer to him being back.  I needed to see him.  There is definitely strong connection between he and I and it showed its head several times while he was gone.  I missed having him around to talk, watch sports and do the things a mother asks a son to do.  Even though, I didn’t need to take that trash out until he returned, lol.  The juice stayed plentiful and my snacks remained in the cupboards all week.  I came to realize he takes my mind off being unmarried, not having more children and a very limited social circle.  

When he got in the car, all he could think about was Coney Island and seeing his home.  He spoke to the gate that shields us from some of the Detroit ills, our building in the complex and his bed.  I was happy to have him home and made note of my feelings.  I’ve been his mother everyday for 17 years (minus my vacationing hours). Even then I picked up items to bring him back from my travels.  Back before TSA became the CIA of the airport, he would run to me screaming “Mommy” and I would melt.  He’s grown over the years and thanks to great genes and prayers- he’s become the tallest person in my immediate family. That’s huge because the tallest use to be Shawn at 5’11”.  Now, he yells “Ma or Mom” when he’s trying to get my attention.  He’s become a young man and I witnessed the whole thing.  


Revelation: I need to create a healthy balance of activity to fill the void I will feel. 

It all began with a call regarding my usage of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. ¬†After 2 years, 8 months and 17 days, I transitioned into my newest position within the corporation. ¬†The 1st few weeks have been filled with learning and getting more familiar with the individuals I support. ¬†I am truly happy with this career move and looking forward to it exposing me to different areas of the business I’d like to learn more about for the future.

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It really wasn’t a sad day when I left the SoMe team for my new placement, I’m literally around the corner from them. ¬†That was cool for me because I didn’t have to learn a new space or faces. ¬†After getting settled into my work station, I jumped right into the job. ¬†Trust me it seems easy from the outside but it’s real work being in charge or three director calendars. ¬†They all have been very helpful in teaching me new things and rules to adhere to in the organization. ¬†Every day I think to myself, let me learn something new that will help me succeed within this position. ¬†True to form, my prayers are answered.

So far I’m enjoying this opportunity and will keep you posted if anything changes. ¬†How many of you knew this was going to be number 1?

 

 

One of the things I like most about myself, is my ability to find the lesson I was meant to learn through each experience.  This year I learned how to never give up.  There was one financial emergency after another all year.  The lioness in me finally came out roaring instead of allowing others to win battle via my forfeiture.  I wanted to control my life.

I’m going to be honest with you. ¬†I was very nervous about this post but I couldn’t accept running away from a major point in my story this year. ¬†This spring I received a phone call from a creditor with regard to a vehicle I signed for to assist a “friend.” ¬†The loan was suppose to be paid off in July of 2014 and they wanted to know what I was planning to do to resolve the debt. ¬†credit-score-factors-checklist-and-bad-credit-repairAfter numerous calls to this person to find out what we were going to do, I kept receiving excuses and lies. ¬†I had become frustrated with the whole ordeal and went to a really dark place. ¬†Why, you might ask? ¬†I just wanted this whole thing to be over with and because this person still believes we have a friendship after everything that I have been through. ¬†I do not want anything to do with this person after we transfer this title out of my name. ¬†A 25 year friendship gone down the drain thanks to them not honoring their end of the agreement and paying the remaining $2,500. ¬†I worked so hard to establish my credit and this entire situation has ruined it. ¬†The world isn’t over and I will repair my credit. Lesson – never include myself in the credit issues of friends.

In the summer, I received a notice stating I was being garnished for another unresolved debt from my past. ¬†This company had filed the information and sent it to my old address from 2012. ¬†I never received any notice except from my employer. ¬†After multiple times of trying to file with the courts for a different payment, I was unsuccessful. ¬†This was due to my need to retain all money from my wages to pay the rent and take care of my household. ¬†I may not have told you all this but I’m very prideful. ¬†The struggle was the realest I’ve ever seen. ¬†I went to specific institutions for help during this hardship and was denied. ¬†That’s when I realized I was not going to give up on this battle. ¬†The reduction in funds caused a few non-payment of rent slips being placed on my door. ¬†Our electrical supplier had left a disconnection notice on our door. ¬†A few years ago, I would’ve packed up and moved back to my mom’s but I refused to give in. ¬†Through continued communication with all parties involved even The Kid, I managed to keep everything operating as normal. ¬†Lesson – never be afraid to communicate your circumstance to those involved.

Fall came around and I was still making ends meet somehow.  Still fighting the fight for my family and stability.  I got the call about the new job and I knew things were on their way back up.  four-goals-for-your-first-work-week-at-a-new-job_447_392711_0_14082996_500I focused on clearing balances and doing some nice things for The Kid because he went through this with me and reassured me always that things would be alright.  I was regaining a sense of normalcy.  However, after everything that I had been through, I needed to be smarter and more discipline with the money I was earning.  Lesson Рthe end is always closer than you think but be prepared for rough times if they arise again.

The last three quarters of the year allowed me to grow as a provider and communicator. ¬†My responsibility is to make sure the well-being of my family is foremost. ¬†There is a serious need for me to become more structured with regard to my financial situation. ¬†This has turned me to seek out professional help to re-establish my credit and grow my savings. ¬†This post wasn’t as hard as it seemed but I feel freer by sharing my story with you. I shed more than my share of tears during this time but they all fell to help me appreciate my victory dance. ¬†ūüôā

My home is mine. ¬†I’ve never shared a space with a male outside of my kid on a permanent basis. ¬†This is due to this brain of mine having several reoccurring queries. ¬†Can you ever share your space with someone? ¬†Do you truly want to be married? ¬†Within three months of 2015, I had my answers.

I’ll never forget the day, I was at work and I received the call requesting me to come down and talk to him. ¬†As always, I hopped on that elevator and went down for what had become regular for us due to my late schedule. ¬†He suffered a tragedy that displaced him and wanted to know if he could stay with me. ¬†Of course I said yes, I wasn’t going to leave him in his uncomfortable state. ¬†After getting off work, stopping at the store and laundromat I came home to the man I love. ¬†The following morning, there were things to be done, places to go and we got up and to it. ¬†This included looking for a place and making space for his things. ¬†He also remedied a concern I was having with the tub and our 1st 24 hours wasn’t even up.

Over the next couple months, I grew to enjoy having him there. ¬†Talking into the night. Having him there to talk with the young man while I was at work. ¬†For a little while I didn’t need to double back home to get his food prepared for dinner. ¬†It was either already prepared or he went to get them something to eat. ¬†I became the woman I know I was meant to be – the lady of the house. As much as I was¬†luxuriated in this moment, I knew it would come to an end. ¬†In preparation for this moment, we had time when we would be apart. ¬†I think this helped me and the boy¬†more than anything. ¬†It allowed us to be together like we had been all this time without any additional parties. ¬†However, one day The Kid asked for him and I told him he wasn’t coming – I still don’t want to believe his face looked sad but it certainly changed.

The final days came and he took me to his new place. ¬†It was beautiful and I was happy for him. ¬†I helped him get his things together in his new home¬†and from mine (which he didn’t remove all). ¬†Moreover, over the next couple weeks when I pulled in from work – it felt as if the wind had been knocked out of me because his vehicle wasn’t there. ¬†He wasn’t there to open his eyes as I got in bed to say, “how was your day?” ¬†The Kid had picked up his television viewing schedule and Martin would be on as I walked through the door. ¬†It was on one of my¬†night conversations with The Kid that I expressed – I missed him. ¬†He told me, I should tell him. ¬†I never did. ¬†I felt it was pointless because I was spending so much time with him – how could I miss him. ¬†I missed him being here.

The answer to my internal questions has been reached. ¬†Can you ever share your space with someone – yes. ¬†Do you truly want to be married – yes. ¬†As I close on my 35th year of life, I finally have the answers that some women know for their whole life. ¬†I truly appreciated this experience and I’m patiently waiting for my life to move to the next chapter.

I’m pretty organized. ¬†Every morning I’m up early – running through the things I mentally noted that I needed to take care of. ¬†Somehow, I manage to stop at least once a day to concentrate on what I was “suppose” to do. ¬†On occasion, I remember whatever it is and other times it comes to me as I lay me head on the pillow. ¬†I’m not proclaiming that I’m forgetful but I will acknowledge when change is needed. ¬†I was determined to get my schedule in in check and become more productive.

I purchased a daily planner from target the beginning of the year. ¬†Things were on track but I didn’t have enough space to write down what I needed. ¬†So, I only used the monthly view pages, which allowed me to see when I was doing things. ¬†I needed more! ¬†A colleague (HA! – I said colleague) of mine had shown me her Day Designer Planner early this year and I never forgot it. ¬†So I thought maybe this is something I need to invest in. ¬†Needless to say, I kept going with my poor method and wasn’t maximizing my day. ¬†In this new position, I realized that I had to get some order in my schedule. ¬†I was on the hunt. ¬†I liked the Day Designer but it wasn’t me. ¬†I went to my homie, YouTube for answers. ¬†Through a few comparison reviews and unboxings, I found the one for me in the eRiN Conderen brand.


Here it is! ¬†Isn’t it lovely? ¬†If you would like to hear the details of the order and features included, please follow me on Periscope @stoical127 for the live review. ¬†Why I chose to go with this company? ¬†I like the customization options because I don’t want to walk around with the same planner as everyone else. That’s just one of my quirks. ¬†The colors were bright and changed throughout the year in the planner. There are¬†motivation quotes, sufficient space to write and the little welcome pouch was a nice way to get you to try out other products. ¬†So I ordered the planner after I finally decided how I was going to decorate my work space. ¬†I decided on¬†the Cynthia Rowley Floral office collection to breathe a little life into my cube of beige.

After some very stiff competition, I went with my favorite shade of blue in navy surrounded by flowers and we know how much I love flowers. ¬†In an upcoming post I’ll show you how I decorated everything. ¬†There are still things to hang on the wall. ¬†You all know decorating takes time. ¬†It’s never as easy as HGTV will have you to believe. ¬†Is it wrong for me to want a chic chair or should I hold of until I get my library? ¬†ūüėČ ¬†I’ll be looking forward to your feedback in the comments.

Other reasons why I went with this I like the layout. It allows me to break my day up into 3 sections that are important to me and provide room for changes. ¬†I’m not taking about morning, noon and night. ¬†My days consists of fitness, work and evenings. ¬†I’ll have some pictures after I set it up for you to have a peek into my daily life. ¬†Another unconventional criterion was the CEO‘s energy. ¬†She put a face to and voice to the products. ¬†I felt she understood what some of us busy people feel. We want to take care of everything but feel there’s NEVER enough time in a day. ¬†Some people wouldn’t have cared that she made those YouTube videos but it mattered to me.

I’m in love and have picked up quite a few tips on how I can make planning fun and personal for me. ¬†The cover is my very own (check my IG: @bmisunderstood) picture and the cover can be switched out with another. ¬†This is awesome for me because I like to change things up from time to time and like the idea that I never have to lose my cover because it’s time for a new planner.

I’ll keep you updated on how everything progresses through the year and if this method works for me as well. ¬†ūüôā