Tag Archives: responsibility

Me Time – A Voyage

I truly believe in self-assessment and self-reflection of oneself. I believe a person with strong character knows their worth and their flaws. Acceptance of oneself in all your glory and imperfections allows you to set personal goals that enhance personal growth. Some people refer to it as “Me” time. I recently went on my much needed annual vacation to somewhere hotter than Michigan. I started my voyage in South Beach and from there boarded a Carnival cruise ship to the Caribbean; Grand Turks and the Bahamas to be specific. This was my third time in Miami and probably my eighth time in Florida. But it was my first time on a cruise and my first time going to the Caribbean. No, I didn’t go with a group of girlfriends. No, I didn’t go with a man (I’m not in a relationship). No, I wasn’t afraid to be alone. I was looking forward to it. I was looking forward to digging my own space under the sunshine of the south of Florida and on the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.

My flight departed without incident, although they had overbooked the flight. My flight landed on time and my shuttle arrived quickly to take me to The Richmond Hotel. The Richmond was a nice, oceanfront, boutique hotel on Collins Avenue in South Beach. However, I soon came to the realization that I was the only person of color on the premises who was not an employee there. It started in increments. First, at check in I was asked to pay for the two remaining nights of my stay in advance, plus an additional resort fee for “incidentals”. When I asked what type of incidentals would that additional fee cover, I was told “in case you break something”. I quickly raised my voice a little too loud for their comfort and informed them that I would not be paying in advance, nor would I be throwing rock star parties and breaking anything during my stay. Yes, I was offended. I didn’t know if this request was being made because I was Black or if it was because I was from Detroit. Either way, I was offended and I let it be known. Especially since none of the other quests checking in had been asked to pay in advance. I agreed to pay the resort fee, but let them know that I wouldn’t pay another dime until check out.

Later, as I lay out by the pool, I was greeted by the pleasantly surprised faces of the Afro-Caribbean women and men, who either worked in housekeeping or as doormen. They greeted me in the hallways and at the door, everyday with big, proud, smiles. Mind you, this was not a four or five star hotel; it may have been a three star hotel at best. But “we” apparently, were moving on up like George and Weezie.

On this trip I also had to endure the weeding of my garden and eliminate individuals from my life. Without this trip, I may not have been able to identify those people. I just don’t believe it to be necessary for me to allow men to mistreat me or speak to me in a disrespectful manner, simply because, out of their ignorance, they “think” they can. So they got dismissed – permanently and without apology.

Aside for the small bumps, the Caribbean is one of the most beautiful places I’ve laid eyes on. I’m thankful for the opportunity and finances to be able to enjoy myself. I learned new things, met interesting and intelligent people from across the USA and in the Caribbean. I received inspiration from the sun, the sand and the coasts. I got some much needed rest and ate delicious foods. The best part is that I didn’t gain any weight and I looked great in my swimsuits.

As usual, I received the common question – “Are you here by yourself?” And I was proud to say ‘yes’. But that always leads to – “You don’t have a boyfriend?” The answer is ‘no’. The follow up is then – “You are too pretty to be by yourself.” I replied, ‘Thank you. Would you like to tell that to the men where I’m from?’ The truth is that I would never go anywhere if I waited to have a relationship first. I’ve been told my men and women that I don’t have a man because I’m too independent and that doesn’t allow a man to do anything for me. I think that is an excuse for men not to step up and try something new.

Personally, I’m not interested in someone who doesn’t want to leave the city they were born in, or is too afraid to board an airplane or otherwise step out of their comfort zone. I shouldn’t be expected to wait to be partnered up with a man in order to enjoy living. The idea that you have to wait to live is ridiculous. I would much rather explore this entire planet alone, than wait for someone to explore it with who may or may not exist. The possibility that I may not a boyfriend or husband anytime soon, isn’t a negative mindset; it is embracing a reality. It is a self-assessment. I refuse to be a little old lady that waited and waited to live her life, just to wake up one day and discover that her life is almost over. If that means that I travel every winter by myself, I can live with that.

I enjoyed my “me” time. I enjoyed turning heads and being rebellious against hotel’s request. I enjoyed walking on the beach, riding a horse in the ocean, wearing a bathing suit instead of clothes, and wearing no makeup. I enjoyed the shopping, eating, sightseeing and being flirted with by Caribbean men. I enjoyed my trip tremendously.

I enjoy my “me” time. I enjoy living life. I’m looking forward to doing it more often…even if I have to do it alone.

I’m An Artist

I can exhale – just briefly- but it feels good. I have gotten things accomplished and I am proud. As I prepare dinner for Christmas, I’m reflecting on what I’ve given and sacrificed, just over the last few months. I couldn’t buy Christmas gifts this year, but those who love me most, weren’t expecting me to. They understood that I had plans, and those plans cost money. I also made sacrifices for the greater good and made investments in my son’s future, as well as in my business. All of which cost money. I made a decision to move to a more financially comfortable and safer area in the urban center of Detroit. I made charitable donations to organizations and renewed my memberships to help preserve others. I spent thousands of dollars on Super Son’s current education and future college endeavors, including the sacrifice of not buying my flat screen television that was on sale for only $260. I even gave of my time and talents to help a woman, who turned around and accused me of trying to take advantage of her, and of riding her coat tails when she had no coat to begin with. I did a lot for others. And this was all during the last quarter of 2010.

So, as I put the finishing touches on my first full book, The Goodie Bag, for its release this weekend, on Christmas Day, I felt a huge weight lift from me. As I created the cover of the paperback version and watched the files upload, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. It is a beautiful book, if I can brag just a little. It’s different from other erotic fiction books written by other authors for more than one reason and I’m proud of what I’ve done. It might become somewhat controversial, but I’m ready and able to handle that. It might even bother or upset some people, but I’m ready for that, too. It’s worth it. I’m an artist. But I’m sensitive.

In a live version of what I consider to lyrically be the best women’s anthem ever written, Tyrone, Erykah Badu introduces herself by saying, “I’m an artist, and I’m sensitive about my sh*t”. I can completely relate. My art form is different from Erykah’s, but it is art, just the same. When I decided to write The Goodie Bag, and put my other book concepts on hold, I had to prepare myself for all of the possibilities that come with being an artist. Would people like it? Would people hate it? Would an ex-boyfriend of mine confront me about something he thought might be about him? Would it sale out or just collect dust on a shelf in the bookstore? What would the “critics” say about it? What would my friends and family say? Would I forever be stuck in the erotic fiction genre if people really like it? If there was a “what if”, I considered it. I contemplated it, weighed it, tossed it in the air and accessed it. Then I had to release it. All of it. All of the fears. All of the doubts. All of the worries. All of the “what ifs”. As an artist, I decided that I just needed to put myself out there and do me. I’d worry later, but for now I had work to do.

I put myself into my art – literally. I’m in every picture from the front cover to the back cover. I imagined each story, combined it with some of my actual experiences and wrote it for the whole world to read, if they want to. Some of the stories took a few minutes to write and some took months. I wanted each story to have a uniqueness about it. I wanted each story to draw the reader in, excite them, then make them want to add a bit of fantasy to their own reality. I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my sh*t. I wanted full color photos inside the pages of the book. And I wanted to be my own model. Not out of vanity, not because I’m narcissistic, but because I believe in my own vision, and I felt that no one else could capture my vision better than I could. I think I was right, regardless of anyone else’s opinion. Plus, other people had too many stipulations and demands that I knew I didn’t need to be hindered by. That’s the beauty of being an artist. You develop a bravery within your craft and you are willing to stretch yourself to preserve it.

I don’t know how many books an author has to sale to become “best selling”. I haven’t done any sales projections or set any sales goals. That is too much unnecessary pressure. With this project, I preferred to use the “if you write it, someone will read it” method. From a business standpoint, that may not be good to do, but as an artist, it allowed me to be free to concentrate on the art itself. However, if The Goodie Bag sales 100 copies in the first two weeks, I’d be very pleased. If The Goodie Bag sales 1000 copies in the first month, I’d be very happy. And if, by chance, The Goodie Bag sales a lot more than 1000 copies within a month or so, whether that makes me “best selling” or not, I’m sure I will have sold a lot more than many authors and publishers who have been at this longer than I have. I’m not trying to out-do anyone else in book sales. I just want to make my own mark and I hope you notice, read it and enjoy it. If I make a difference in one person’s life, with my blogs, my books or my smile, I’ve done well. So, this Christmas Day, which also happens to be my 36th birthday, when you buy your copy of The Goodie Bag, which is available through, Super Woman Productions and Publishing in paperback (ships to your home address by priority mail after the holidays) and eBook (available for immediate download to your computer or eReader), keep an open mind. When you read it, you might want your husband, wife or significant other present, with the kids out of the house. I’m just saying. I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my sh*t. But my sh*t is also very good.

Happy Holidays.

Handling Business

The term ‘handling business’ means different things to different people.  Business in general to some people means making money.  People that go into business with the goal and expectation of making money often end up working for someone else or fail repeatedly in their ventures.  People who go into business because of the love for what they are doing or to make a difference, often become very successful and very wealthy as a result.  But that doesn’t occur overnight.  It is a gradual process that comes about through learning and experience.  It also requires surrounding yourself with people who can assist, having perseverance and proper planning among other things.  Therefore, it can be said that whether or not a person is successful in business is greatly determined by the motivation to begin a business.  It is then heightened by their efforts to remain in business.  If you have an idea, it doesn’t mean it will be instantaneously profitable.  Many people get involved in or develop get rich quick schemes.  Some of them actually make money, but they don’t have any longevity.  Either because the scheme is illegal, immoral or it’s just not sustainable through economic changes.     

Handling business to some people also means taking care of their responsibilities.   Whether or not a person is capable of taking care of themselves is often a factor that determines if they will have success in business and in life.   If a person is heavily reliant on others for their survival or well being, we often will view that person as being immature and incapable of handling their business.  Responsibility is a huge weight for a human being to carry.  It is also a mark of a person’s character or lack thereof.  Often people prefer to make others responsible for their circumstances and failures.  They believe that this will exonerate them from any repercussions that may arise.  However, they are quick to take responsibility for success, if it comes.  Being responsible is more than about claiming the idea or the potential profits.  Being responsible requires taking that idea seriously and investing the time, energy and effort into nurturing the idea until it is successful.  That isn’t to say that a person who doesn’t take responsibility can’t learn to.  They actually can.  Unfortunately, they usually learn to be responsible through traumatic occurrences resulting from being irresponsible.

Over the last fifteen years of my life I have endured a great deal of responsibility, in business and personally.  I had my son when I was eighteen years old; I was a homeowner at nineteen and was working in Corporate America.  In business, I have co-owned a general contracting company, I’ve been a Realtor, and I’ve been a union steward.  Not only have I had to be responsible for myself at a young age, but I’ve had to be responsible for many other people as well.  It has taught me a great deal.  Every lesson wasn’t easy or enjoyable, but I’ve taken what I’ve learned and invested it into myself and my future success.  Many people assume that I’m egotistical so I just woke up one day and decided that I would become Super Woman.  The truth is that I was given the name because of what I’ve survived.  People have referred to me as “super” in one capacity or another for many years.  I didn’t decide to become Super Woman; I already was Super Woman, I just didn’t know it until two years ago.

To achieve success as an entrepreneur there are a few things a person needs to consider.  You need to have an idea, but you also need to have motivation that is beyond making money.  You need to handle your business personally because your personal life has a “trickle over” effect into your business life.  You need a team of people who will enhance what you lack, won’t just tell you what you want to hear, will tell you when you are wrong or foolish, and won’t take advantage of your dreams.  Super Woman is a company, a woman and a brand, but there’s a team of people that help to make it possible.  My team of people may be different from others, but they are people whom I know I can trust and I have built a relationship with them that goes beyond business.  I don’t take advantage of them and they don’t take advantage of me.  They know that my motivation to be successful goes beyond making money and they help to preserve that motivation.  They never force their desires on me and they are reliable and available when I need them to be.  They have individual abilities and viewpoints that enhance what I possess and make up for what I lack.  They are my Super Team and no matter how much money I make, their support is a lot more valuable to me. 

Once you can take responsibility for your own failures and success, you become an entrepreneur.  Once you become an entrepreneur, you become powerful.  Once you become powerful, you become humbled; because to whom much is given, much is required.  Entrepreneurship is a journey to humility.  Be thankful for the journey; it is a blessing.   Handle your business.

Days Like This I Need a Cloning Machine

Life is full of changes.  I’m excited by all of the opportunities coming my way, but there are some days, like today, when I wish that I had a cloning machine.  I’m preparing for a lot of different things all at the same time.  To add pressure to the pot, I’m suffering from a cold.  I earned the name Super Woman because I’m always multi-tasking and I’m able to do it seamlessly.  It’s my dream come true and more than I imagined.   However, there are days when I wish there were at least two more exact duplicates of myself whom I could delegate tasks to.  Since I’m meticulous in my approach and everything I do must be done to the best of my ability, it’s difficult for me to delegate tasks to others who may not treat my ideas with the same sense of priority.  For me everything is a priority – even if it has to be delayed, it never really is.  It’s just re-prioritized to another level to be revisited later after something else is completed.  That’s the method to my madness.

I’m not alone in my need for a cloning device.  There are women like me everywhere who have a ton of things that need to get done and who would also like to have a clone of themselves capable of helping them.  They are mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, counselors, chauffeurs, coaches, teachers, physiologists, referees and chefs; everyday all day long.  Women – we do it all and we do it well.  A cloning device would help a lot of us in our day to day lives.  Unfortunately, the technology has yet to catch up with the need.  Or has it?  That’s the beauty of supply and demand.  If you build it, they will buy.   

I have been blessed to have a tightly knit team of Super friends who are very supporting of my endeavors and they help to keep all of this crazy that is I, in check.  But I can’t take advantage of them because they also have their own families, careers, goals, and endeavors that they need to apply their own energy to as well.  That is the common thread that explains why they are my Super friends. 

On days like this I have to plan, plan, and plan some more to get things done.  I call on those who are able, and have to time to do something for me.  I barter and negotiate to get things done.  I try to remember to eat, squeeze in some meditation and prayer and try to exercise also.  I plug into my mp3 player for focus because I can’t work in dead silence.  I drink my green or chai tea and take by vitamin B12.  I operate on as much sleep as I possibly can get and vow to rest when I’m rich; preferably in the Caribbean.  Then when all is said and done I thank God, get up and do it all over again the next day.  

Until cloning technology is available, and harmless, I will continue to do what I do; put all of myself into my tasks to turn out a good product/service.  I will continue to lose sleep, forget to eat, do too much too often in an effort to do it all.  It’s what I do.  It is who I am.   After all, I am Super Woman and to whom much is given, much is required. 

…but a cloning device would really help. ♥

Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  It’s celebrated nationally with events, conferences and activities.  We celebrate the survivors and commemorate those we have lost to breast cancer, regardless of who they are, by wearing pink, making donations and getting involved.   We do good things for breast cancer awareness during this month. 

October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Unfortunately it is not celebrated nationally.  We don’t pay tribute to the survivors or commemorate those who have lost their lives, regardless of who they are.  We don’t get involved or donate to organizations that assist victims and their families.  We don’t speak out to bring awareness.  Some of us don’t even call 911 when we witness an abusive situation on the street.  We tell ourselves things like “It’s not my business.  I don’t know what she did.  She could leave if she wanted to”.  We make excuses for not speaking out and we develop arguments against the victims.  We forget that at anytime, we could be “her”.  We forget that we’ve all had those minor encounters that could have at any second, turned major and put us in her shoes. 

I have been “her”.  About ten years ago I was “her”.  I was in an abusive marriage with a man who was both controlling and cowardly.  At his hands, I had been choked to the point of petechial hemorrhage, had received a cracked rib, black eyes and numerous bruises.  I had also suffered emotional abuse and infidelity that led to a miscarriage.  After three years and too much patience on my part, I ended the marriage and never looked back.  All my dreams of what a marriage should be, were completely shattered.  As a result, I developed trust issues, and I built a wall around myself that hindered me from allowing myself to be completely loved.  To this day I have nightmares and fears associated with the trauma I experienced.  I am one of the lucky ones.  I left alive.

Domestic Violence affects more people than most of us are aware.  It creates lasting damage to individuals and families beyond what you can ever imagine.  It changes lives; just like breast cancer can do.  I encourage that while we pay tribute to those affected by breast cancer, that we don’t forget those who suffer from domestic violence.  On my charm bracelet, I have my pink ribbon charm accompanied by a purple high heeled shoe charm.  It reminds me to take care of my health, in more than one way this and every October.

NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH, 2010
– – – – – – –
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

In the 16 years since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), we have broken the silence surrounding domestic violence to reach thousands of survivors, prevent countless incidences of abuse, and save untold numbers of lives. While these are critical achievements, domestic violence remains a devastating public health crisis when one in four women will be physically or sexually assaulted by a partner at some point in her lifetime. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recognize the tremendous progress made in reducing domestic violence, and we recommit to making everyone’s home a safe place for them.

Read the full proclamation by President Obama by accessing the link here:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/10/01/presidential-proclamation-national-domestic-violence-awareness-month

   

I Want it All

I want it all.  I want wealth, good health, a profitable business, and love.  I want everything.  I want it all.  Does that make me greedy?  Someone else’s perception may be “yes” because they don’t believe a person can have everything they want in life.  Am I selfish?  Absolutely.  This is my world, my life, my goals, my dreams, my effort and my energy.  Someone else’s perception is that I am selfish if I believe that this is my world.  I’ve learned that people perceive based on their own personal experiences, not necessarily yours.  Wanting everything may be equivalent to being greedy to one person, but to me it’s equivalent to being ambitious.  Believing this world belongs to you or that it’s “all about you” may be considered selfish to one person, but it’s being aware of one’s own worth and responsibility to me. 

This is my world.  However, I share it with others.   I’m aware that any actions I take, or don’t take, directly affect me, and then residually affect others.  I am responsible for my world.  This is my life.  It was given to me to live.  If I don’t live my life fully, another human being will not give me a second opportunity to live.  There are no stunt doubles in real life.  When I die, it is very unlikely that everyone else on Earth will die with me.  Others will still remain to continue on without me.  My life is my own responsibility. 

These are my goals and my dreams.  Although other people may have similar goals and share similar aspirations, whether my goals are aligned with theirs or not, if I do not achieve my goals or dreams, it will not prevent them from achieving theirs.  I am responsible for how far I’m willing to go to succeed.  This is my effort and energy.  How I utilize my effort and energy determines what I do or don’t receive from it.  If I fail, who will fail with me?  If I fail, who will fail because of me?  I can’t name one person whose success is directly affected by mine or lack thereof, not even my child.  If I fail to work on my projects, that is my fault alone.  Others can encourage me and support me, but they aren’t responsible for doing all of the work for me.  If you don’t work, you don’t eat, right?  Therefore, if I starve, I am responsible.

That is not to say that we don’t need each other.  Every human being needs companionship, support and admiration.  It’s innate.  But we have to always be cautious not to put responsibilities on others that aren’t theirs.  No one else is responsible for making your dreams and goals come to fruition.  No one else can live your life for you.  No one else can do the work for you and expel the energy required to make your world what you desire it to be.  And yes, God, or whomever you refer to as your Higher Being, is in control of our paths and we must submit to His will.  But God’s will is not for us to fail, or suffer, or go hungry, or be unhappy.  We have to be responsible for our share.  We have to improve upon what we’ve been given.  If we don’t, we don’t have anyone to blame but ourselves. 

Everything you truly need in life to be successful, to be happy, to be wealthy, and to be loved – you already possess.  Even if someone else’s perception is that you have nothing.  Prove them wrong. 

Strive for everything.  This is your world.