Tag Archives: family

Lead By Example….Or Fail

As much as I would love to say that every experience I have with other business owners is positive, that isn’t the case. Approximately 20% of the business owners I encounter are a terror to work with.  Sadly, they have no idea. They have the best of intentions, with the worst outcomes. They consistently do the same things and expect different results. When they don’t get the results they expect, all hell breaks loose. It would be easy to act like I don’t see the issues, but I’d be contributing more to the problem, than the solution if I sat silent.

Here are the top areas where business owners fail to lead by a positive example:

1. Communication Style: 

I constantly encounter individuals with poor communication techniques. They don’t know how to address situations in a positive way so everything becomes a misunderstanding or argument when you interact with them. They talk three times as much as they listen and you often have to repeat yourself to make your point, let alone gain their attention. These individuals are very difficult to work with and often aren’t very successful, because they don’t listen well and therefore, don’t learn much.

 

2. Checking Voicemail: 

In an age where we have the best technology available to us to communicate with each other right at our fingertips, many people don’t even know how to check their voicemail. Their voicemail is full. They don’t listen to any messages left for them. And God forbid they delete messages. What’s the point in having a voicemail, or a phone, if you’re never going to use the simplest function on it?  Not checking your voicemail and/or allowing your voicemail to fill up is the easiest way to lose customers and money. It’s unprofessional and no one is that busy. Not even me.

 

3. Surrounding Themselves with “Yes” People:

Look at your team and your staff. Is everyone afraid of you? Do they all agree with everything you say? Do they sit back while you make decisions and then mysteriously have a new job working elsewhere the next day? If so, you’re surrounded by “yes” people and you’re a poor leader because of it. If you don’t have someone on your team with the courage to challenge you when you aren’t making wise decisions, you don’t have a strong team. A real leader can accept constructive criticism, listens to sound ideas based on information and data and makes decisions that empower themselves and those who work for them.  A good leader knows they aren’t always the foremost authority and they seek guidance from others with different perspectives, experiences and knowledge bases. A good leader is responsible for the failures and successes of their brand, but knows they are likely to be more successful and fail less when they have strong, decisive people on their teams who may not always agree with them.

 

4. Having Unrealistically High Expectations of Others:

Everyone’s journey to success is different. What one person deals with may or may not be similar to someone else’s experiences. Some people also have it easier than others due to the factors in their lives; parenting, environment, lifestyle, finances, etc.  A person’s gifts and talents can be recognized and appreciated by others who have been in their shoes before them. Those who recognize someone else’s gifts can also motivate and encourage them towards their purpose in life and their career. However, there are some people who believe that whatever “level” they currently are on is the same level someone else should start at or aspire towards. That’s completely unrealistic. People need time and space to grow into their gifts, and that requires nurturing, understanding and sometimes it may also require leaving a person alone to learn on their own.

 

5. Putting All their Money on One Horse In the Race: 

This is also commonly referred to as “putting all of their eggs in one basket”. I use betting on a horse instead to further drive the example home. The trifecta in horse raising is when you bet on more than one horse in the race, to place first, second and third. When a person puts all their money on one horse in the race, they are solely dependent on that horse to win. If the horse doesn’t win, the person loses. Here’s an example in business terms:

You are an independent movie producer. You’re casting a production with lesser known or amateur actors and actresses. You want someone who will attract movie goers to see your film and help you recoup your $10 million dollar budget. You can either cast one successful actor/actress in a starring role in hopes of gaining their fans (betting on one horse) or you can cast three or more successful actors/actresses to costar in the film (hitting the trifecta) and gain all of their fans. 

Not only is the trifecta a better business decision, but you will also have talented individuals in roles that can help improve the quality of performances by your lesser known actors and actresses instead of expecting one big name star to carry the entire film on their own.

 

6. Name Droppers: 

There are a lot of people who brag about who they know and who they have or can work with. Big deal. Watch those individuals closely and see if the same people they name drop are actually involved in their business when it’s time for them to show up. Chances are great that they are not around when it matters most to the business owner user their name to impress you or others.  When a celebrity believes in you, your business or your brand, you don’t have to use their name to grow, because they’re telling people all about you.  They’re sharing what you post on social media. They are giving referrals to you. They are introducing you to people who may want or need what you have to offer. They endorse you without monetary compensation. They want to be connected to your brand on more than one occasion. Remember: you can take pictures with all the celebrities in the world, but if you’re difficult to work with, unprofessional or have any of these other negative traits, they aren’t going to be bothered with you. Celebrities have a lot of other opportunities they can take advantage of that are less stressful than dealing with you.

 

7. Fakers/Instafamers/Fronters 

The only thing I can think of that is worse than a name dropper is a person who is lives by the “fake it til you make it” credo. That once worked in our lives, but it has gone entirely too far. With the growth of social media, almost anyone can call themselves anything and create a facade of being someone they are not. You know the type.

The person who is always posting their money and material possessions on Facebook and Instagram and their entire following is based on them doing so. The person who is always at an airport, but not really going anywhere impressive or didn’t pay for the trip themselves.  The person who works extremely hard to discredit others who are actually working hard to get to where they are but not bragging about it all the time. The person who tries to attach themselves to more successful people in an effort to either use them or try to demean them to make themselves feel good. The person who is always talking about what they are going to do “one day/one year/next time”, but they never do. The person who gives shout outs to celebrities that they don’t have relationships with but want to “work with”.

I call these types of people The Coming Soons and what they are doing is commonly known as frontin’. If you don’t know at least one person that fits into this category, you’re probably the one that is guilty of this behavior. Frontin’ has become nearly an epidemic. The cure is karma because the person frontin is always discovered to be a fraud sooner or later.  It’s better to live a life of positive experiences and slowly grow into success, than surround yourself with material possessions (whether fake or on credit) to make others believe you’re a success. The latter has led to the death, demise and imprisonment of a lot of people.

I hope this gives you something to think about as you go into your day-to-day lives and careers interacting with people. You can’t really avoid meeting these types of people. The only things you can do is recognize them for who they are and try not to become like them yourself.

 

Look For Inspiration In Everything

People often seek inspiration in the hope that something will hit them like a bolt of lightning and catapult them into greatness. When people don’t find the inspiration they seek, they then become defeated, never realizing that inspiration was all around them the entire time, but they were too focused on seeking it somewhere particular. When I’m interviewed or even sometimes in general, people will ask me what has been my inspiration. I don’t recall all of the answers I may have given over the last five years, but at the core, I’m inspired by life. I’m inspired to live a purposeful life, whatever that may be. I don’t have a definition for it. And there honestly isn’t a deep explanation either. But because I’m inspired to live purposefully, I don’t seek to find inspiration in a magic pill or miraculous experience.

My life before many of you knew who I was, was often filled with experiences that were sometimes devastating. I’ve had more than my fair share of near death experiences and drama. Where some of those situations would have driven other people completely crazy, they strengthened me to want to do better, live better, be happier and not rely on other people to help me get there. Not to say that I don’t have the occasional obstacle, but I have a lot less of them than I would have had otherwise. I’ve embraced my inner strength and made it an essential part of my life and my career. As a result I now have more options that I can use.

My journey has also brought me to a place where I see inspiration in everything. Everything?! Yes, everything. I don’t seek inspiration solely from other people. I find it all around me on a daily basis. Inspiration is in the sunrise every morning. Inspiration is in Jill Scott’s “Golden“. Inspiration is sometimes even in a color palette of eyeshadow on Sephora.com. I’m serious. I look for inspiration in everything I see, hear and experience on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes, inspiration is present and sometimes it isn’t. When it isn’t I don’t get upset, defeated or worried either. I acknowledge that instance was a second in time that will pass and life goes on. I’ve been inspired to reach out to different people to express interest in business with them. Sometimes I get a positive response from that person and sometimes I get a completely negative response such as a rude email. If it’s the latter, so what. Life goes on and I keep it moving. It doesn’t diminish or tarnish my inspiration. I just know that is one person I will not consider for any future possibilities. They go on the “do not associate with” list. I’m not exaggerating either, I really do have such a list. I have that list because it inspires me not to put myself in uncomfortable or compromising situations with individuals I know I can’t do business with.  Which also eliminates the potential for drama. See, inspiration can be in everything.

I encourage everyone to start looking for inspiration in everything around you, where you go, the color of the sky, that day’s experiences…everything. Do it for about two weeks and see if it changes your life even a bit. I’m not saying the all the inspiration will feel good. Some of what you begin to see inspiration in will cause you to see some things differently or make some hard choices about your life, your relationships or your career. But hard choices that you are willing to make to improve who you are as a person are never a bad thing, no matter how hurt you may feel in that moment. But first you have to recognize inspiration in different forms instead of hoping for it to come down from heaven like a dove. God puts messages in small places. We have to just be open to them.

I recently added Super Woman Productions and Publishing to Pinterest. As I was pinning and creating boards for current and future public viewing, I found images that were inspirational to me for different reasons. This prompted me to create a board titled Look For Inspiration In Everything. I hope you will check out my boards, and that you will begin to look for inspiration in everything too.

 

Super Woman Brand On Pinterest

 

Blessed and Favored

With the holidays approaching, so many people feel hopeless and depressed because of what they don’t have. Statistically this is the time of year when people are more likely to commit suicide due to feelings of loneliness or depression over what they don’t have in their lives. A woman jumped to her death from a building days ago in Manhattan, after surviving Hurricane Sandy. While most people in Manhattan at that very moment were thankful for living through one of the worst storms they’ve ever experienced, she decided to end her life. Some people have a “glass is half empty“… or completely empty… mentality about their lives. Everyday I encounter people who throw pity parties for themselves, complain about how terrible everything is in their lives and about where they live. News media doesn’t help this mindset. They spend hours of time reporting on all the death, crime and scandals and give you only two minutes of human interest stories that are positive. Even in politics the candidates spend the majority of their time trying to make the other candidate look bad, instead of telling us what makes them look good – and telling the truth about it. During this year’s presidential election between the Binders Full of Women that don’t exist and Donald Trump holding “charity” for ransom, the whole politics for personal gain campaign had gotten on my last nerves.

However, it could be worse. I could have been without my sight, or even without my hearing and wouldn’t have known about any of it. And fortunately, I know how to change my television channel.

Therefore, it can be said that I am truly blessed and highly favored. My vision isn’t the best; contact lenses keep things 20/20 for my nearsightedness that I received thanks to chicken pox when I was three years old. When the weather cools down my body starts to ache from the two car accidents I had less than a year apart. I have a few extra gray hairs in my head that I’m not so enthused about. But it could be worse. Putting my contacts in everyday allows me to work, read, drive, and see everything around me. I know people who have lost their sight, although they are blessed to still have vision. Feeling pain in my legs and back reminds me that I still have the use of my legs and can walk. Those two car accidents in 2007 and 2008 could have ended a lot differently than they did. My gray hairs remind me that I’m alive and getting older, which wasn’t the case when I was told I could die before I turned thirty years old. Now I’m headed towards forty and there’s a such thing as permanent hair color to cover the grays.

I say all that to say that perspective about life contributes greatly to how we feel about our lives. Being grateful for the small things in life that we often take for granted can make the unforeseen tragedies a little easier to deal with. I feel so bad for the people in New York and New Jersey who suffered damage to their homes, businesses and disruption to their lives after Hurricane Sandy and after the nor-easter storm that followed shortly after. I really feel bad that a woman who survived the ordeal of Hurricane Sandy didn’t see herself as blessed and favored and therefore, made a decision to take her own life. She may have had the type of life that a lot of people in worse situations would have gladly traded with her. I recently read an article about a woman who had to have her limbs amputated because she so desperately wanted a bigger booty so she got illegal butt injections. She was so beautiful and gifted before making the decision that altered how she lives the remainder of her life. But she didn’t appreciate the beauty she had and instead concentrated on the booty she didn’t have. Now she doesn’t have arms or legs.

Maybe that’s what more people need to adjust their life perspectives; a “Trading Places” type of experience where they have to literally live someone else’s life for a period of time so that they can better appreciate their own. Personally, I’ll keep living the life I have. I can think of a lot of situations that could be a lot worse than what I have going on. I’ve also learned that by persevering through any situation, I come out learning a valuable lesson and often also reaping a tremendous reward.  No one said that living would be easy… At least not anyone that I know of. Even when everything isn’t exactly right in my Super World, I’m still very thankful for everything that exists in my Super World. I’ve been without creature comforts that I once took for granted. I know what it’s like to lose children, a marriage and many other things, including nearly losing my life and the use of my limbs. Those experiences taught me valuable lessons. I don’t regret the experiences because they were meant to occur so that I can be the woman I am. I wouldn’t give up any of this to have any of that happen again.

People complain too much. Often the complaint is related to something a person wants but doesn’t have; or something someone else is doing or has done, that they wouldn’t have the courage to change in the first place.

Instead of dwelling on what you don’t have, I encourage you to be more thankful for what you DO have. The desire to acquire what we don’t have has caused some people to lose their lives, their limbs and their faith. Everything you have is yours for a reason – good, bad or indifferent; either own it or adjust to it. Likewise, whatever is meant for you will also be yours; not necessarily because of you, but in spite of you. Sometimes, we can be our own biggest hindrance to our progress with our doubts, complaints and fears.

As you go about your life wishing and hoping for more, and not appreciating what you have, be careful of what you’ll exchange in order to get something you want. Everything comes at a price, including wealth, health, beauty and success. Love yourself first. Assess the important changes you can make to improve yourself like your integrity, character, self-esteem and attitude BEFORE you go through hell to change the superficial elements. Be thankful for the family you have, instead of wishing you had different family members or more of them. Some people are literally the last person in their family alive now. Be thankful for the days you have today and ahead of you instead of complaining about each day that comes. Life isn’t promised and someone died today. Be thankful for your job instead of complaining about the people you work with all the time. You may not be the best coworker to them either, but there is someone who woke up unemployed today. Don’t complain about what other people should or shouldn’t do; instead evaluate what you can do to make your own situation better. It’s likely that you aren’t being the best citizen or neighbor that you can be. Get off of Facebook and get face time with people around you and in your community. Become more involved in something positive and you won’t have time to concentrate on the negative.

Everyday count the blessings you have and look for new ones to appreciate. Making this a regular practice throughout the entire year will put a glow of love and abundance around you during each holiday season; rum not included. 

When you want to open your mouth to complain about something, remember this: 

No matter how bad you may think your situation is, someone else on this planet would gladly take your place and your blessings instead of what they deal with.  

Be blessed and highly favored. 

Super Woman Resigns

Quitting is not an option for a superhero. At least, it’s not supposed to be. One of the reasons I’m called Super Woman is because of my persistence, regardless of any adversity. I keep pushing forward and fighting obstacles, trying to resolve issues whenever I believe that it is possible to do so. I make the impossible possible even though I can’t explain how. I don’t know if it’s because I’m resourceful or blessed, or a combination of both. Sometimes I think it’s because I’m crazy, other times I think it’s a gift and a curse. The one thing I do know is this – It’s a thankless, tiring job, to say the least. I once thought that being a parent was the most thankless job in the world. But it isn’t. Being a good, reliable person is the number one thankless job. Always being the she-ro to others isn’t easy at all, I just make it look like it is. I rarely hear “thank you” or “good job“. People rarely call me and ask if I’m okay or if I need anything. When I am tired, there is no sidekick I can call. When I’m sick, everything comes to a screeching halt. When I am in need, there’s no one I can turn to because I’m everyone else’s she-ro. On more than one occasion people whom I have “saved” have turned their backs on me in my time of need and berated me to others behind my back saying things like, “she’s nobody special” or “I never liked her“, yet they smile and tee-hee-hee in my face asking for my help to improve their lives. When I cut them off because they are ungrateful I become the villain.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of quitting like I would really like to.

Why?

Because if I quit, who is going to do it? Of course, it’s easy to say that someone else CAN do it, but the question is WILL they? Honestly, I don’t think other people would step up and do the things I do. If someone else were both willing and capable, I doubt people would ask me to complete the task in the first place. When I think about how we view our Superheroes, both “real” and fictional, I realize that Superheroes get a raw deal no matter what. Superheroes have minimal private lives. Superheroes are expected to be able to handle what ‘normal‘ humans can not. Superheroes never get a day off.  Superheroes are expected to confront villains on their own turf and defeat them. Superheroes are expected to start and end sh*t while they rescue kittens with both hands tied behind their backs during thunderstorms. 

Well, maybe I don’t want to be “super” anymore.

Being “super”  comes with the burden that people believe that you don’t need them for anything, so they never approach a situation with committment. People often assume that because I’m “super” that everyone else –  besides them –  will be there for me when the time comes, so they don’t have to. I’ve experienced this in my personal and professional lives. In my personal life, there have been many men that have told me that they never asked me out on a Saturday night because they assumed I already had a date. They never called and asked, they just assumed. As a result, I grew accustomed to going places and doing things by myself socially 99% of the time. If it weren’t for all the “honey, where’s your date?” questions from socialites and their husbands, I would be perfectly comfortable in any situation alone.

Professionally people always disappoint me and rarely if ever apologize for doing so. They think it’s okay because they assume that I can do it without them anyway. They assume that there are enough other people who will do the work or attend the event, that them not being there won’t be noticeable. That is what is happening now. Sequins & Suits is being cancelled because everyone is assuming that everyone else will attend, volunteer, assist and sponsor so they don’t have to. They assume that their few dollars won’t matter anyway, so why even try. As a result, it will take a miracle and a half to pull off the I Feel Good: Mind, Body & Soul Women’s Conference a few months from now. Which, by the way, I’m considering cancelling now to prevent me from being disappointed again later. After all, no one feels it’s that important anyway or they’d be doing something to help it come to fruition.  

People are selfish. People are hypocrites. They don’t care about anything or what happens to anyone else, until something happens to them. When something happens to them, their child, their parent, their school or their nonprofit organization they want everyone to rally on their behalfBut when someone else needed you before that tragedy happened, where were you? I was trying to adjust that selfish mindset and do so in an entertaining way. But no one cares. I was trying to do something preventative to uplift young women at an early age. But no one cares. A teacher told me this weekend that there is a 10-year-old girl in her school who is pregnant. Those are the young women I’m trying to reach before they get pregnant. But no one cares. Maybe I’m just not popular or dramatic enough for people to pay attention.

Detroiters don’t care, but want to cry and beg for help when things get worse. What were you doing before things got worse? Oh, I know. You were assuming someone else would do it so you wouldn’t have to. You were assuming that someone “super” would swoop in and rescue the kitten.  

Well, I’m not doing it anymore. This is my new manifesto:

I will not plan any charitable events or large-scale social events in the city of Detroit ever again out of the kindness of my heart, for the greater good or because it is the right thing to do. If anyone wants me to use my “super” powers and save the day in the city of Detroit, you will have to pay me to do it. I will consider planning events in other urban cities like Chicago, New York and Atlanta, but they will have to pay me too. I’ll host your Detroit event, but you will have to pay me. I’m not going to support anyone who doesn’t support meprofessionally and personally. I’m not even buying a membership to your organization if it doesn’t directly benefit me. I’m no longer investing my money, my energy or time to do anything for people who don’t care or reciprocate.

If people in the city of Detroit don’t have the mindset to see the value in what I do or what I offer, I can’t force them to. If people in the city of Detroit don’t appreciate my efforts, I can’ t force them to. Therefore, it’s in my own best interest to only do what I need to do for myself, my family and my company. I’ve prayed all I can pray and I’ve done all that I’m capable of doing at this time. When the people of the city of Detroit wake up and start caring about something more than following trends, and doing the same old fuckery they’ve always done, maybe I’ll start giving out of the kindness of my heart again.

Until then, I quit.      

Not that anyone will even notice.     

Mean Girls

Earlier this month, researchers at Iowa State University published “Frenemies, Fraitors, and Mean-em-aitors: Priming Effects of Viewing Physical and Relational Aggression in the Media on Women“. The study, which observed 250 college women, found that viewing mean girl antics such as social exclusion, gossip and emotional bullying on shows like Basketball Wives, Love & Hip-Hop and Real Housewives of Atlanta, primed viewers to be more aggressive towards each other. The part of me that believes in Sisterhood, found this surprising, disturbing and sad. The part of me that is logical, viewed this as a sign that we are weak-minded, easily influenced and lack moral fortitude. The part of me that is in entertainment said ‘here we go, blaming television for our problems again’.  When Essence Magazine first published a related article on their website, I posted the following comment:

“They say if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. The fact that a person’s behavior can be altered by watching other people’s ignorant behavior on television is very sad and disappointing. I think it speaks more to how weak-minded and fickle these women are if they begin to emulate the bad behavior they see (on television). So then my question becomes this: if they are inundated with more positive behavior represented on television, will they adapt and emulate that positive behavior also? I’m just saying, while we’re brainwashing, we should make it worthwhile.”
 

I’ve previously admitted to watching reality shows. Lately, I’ve found myself wondering “whose reality is this really“, where women are constantly backstabbing, backbiting, fighting and behaving as if they are wild animals fighting over the last scraps of prey, that they didn’t even hunt? This behavior is evident on Basketball Wives (which has turned into WWE Part 2 in Miami), Love & Hip Hop concluded their season after lots of fist fights and drink throwing, no matter what city they were in, and Real Housewives of Atlanta has turned into Sheree versus Everybody Else. Not to mention the woman who threw a ziplock bag full of flour on Kim Kardarshian while she walked the red carpet at a recent charity event. Who does that? Mean Girls do that.

I’ve never been the type of woman to surround myself with a lot of other women. I was raised to believe that you only need one really good girlfriend and a few close girlfriends, but no more than five. I’ve lived like that for almost 40 years now. I’ve learned through experience that the more women present in a room, the more problems could arise. In my younger years, I had more than my fair share of girls and young women who were jealous of me for what I viewed to be silly and superficial reasons, so I preferred to keep to myself. I believed that things would improve as women matured, and if not, that’s okay because I enjoy my company just fine. 

Then something happened.

I met a Mean Girl. Unbeknownst to me, she was already in my midst – like a snake. She is someone I’ve known for the last few years and considered to be a dear sister-friend. I was clearly wrong and had ignored her character flaws, possibly out of love or because I just wasn’t paying attention. Maybe she was just that slick. Well, recently she showed her true colors, as snakes often do. For the last few years, I’ve been so busy working on things in my life that were important to me (traveling, building the Super Woman Brand, sending my son to college, and enjoying my life), and avoiding men with hidden agendas, that I completely overlooked the woman who had come into my life with a hidden agenda of her own and envy in her heart. She flew right in under the radar and nested herself into my life for the sole purpose of getting whatever benefits were attached to being associated with me and being known as my friend. And she got away with it for years. Once she couldn’t get her way any longer, because I have my own life, goals and dreams, she began to show herself to not be a good friend, but to be a superficial, insecure, vindictive and malicious person. My life had never revolved around her to begin with, but for some strange reason, she assumed she was my only friend and that I somehow relied on her for my mere existence. I found that to be hilarious. She actually had the blatant audacity to send me a text message that said “you’re gonna need me before I need you“. For what?  When I think back, that wasn’t true, and wouldn’t be true. She hadn’t contributed to any of my personal or business accomplishments. She hadn’t introduced me to anyone of importance. She hadn’t done anything truly significant. So again, I ask – for what? She doesn’t have anything that I would covet and my only competition is myself

Just like the Mean Girls on reality television, she began to say terrible and untrue things about me (mostly behind my back to anyone she thought would listen, because that’s what cowards do). I immediately recognized this as an attempt on her part to make her feel superior because she is insecure. Strangely enough, she’s at a time in her life where she should be happy. She’s recently got married and has a beautiful blended family, bought a house and has a grandchild. So when others would be relishing in their life’s accomplishments, this woman is directing her energy into attempting to discredit or harm me. Obviously, she’s not very happy. However, I’m not responsible for her happiness and nor will I take responsibility for her unhappiness.

Mean Girls develop their own false truth. A false truth that is often laced with insecurities and judgment against others, that they persuade themselves into believing in order to compensate for what they lack as an individual. Fortunately, for me (a) I have real girlfriends (b) I have self-esteem and confidence that is virtually unbreakable by another human being, and (c) I have a life. Therefore, I’m not too concerned about this woman and the lies that she attempts to spread out of anger and animosity. No one of any importance knows her or cares about the venom she’s spitting. I’m also not too concerned about any other women like her, regardless of who they are. Personally, I believe that if she were both a mature and respectable woman, she’d have a conversation with me, face-to-face, woman-to-woman, instead of talking about me to other people behind my back like a second grader. Instead of telling other people what (she thinks) I am or not, she’d tell me directly what her problem is with me. Instead of her stalking my Facebook pages to see what I’m doing, and who I’m doing it with, she’d be enjoying her new husband and family. Instead of telling other people how much money (she thinks) I have or don’t, she’d be building her own career. By the way, if she wants to count my money and assets, she should make sure to include my copyrights, trademarks, service marks, intellectual property and stock dividends. I don’t have a lot of material possessions because I don’t need them to be happy. I have everything that I truly need; God, food, clothing, shelter, family, career … and a fabulous shoe collection.

I truly pity Mean Girls. They are so consumed with making other people miserable, being dishonest, fighting and being manipulative, that they miss out of the joys of true friendship and sisterhood. They are so concerned with the latest trends and material possessions, that they forget what life is truly about. No matter how much stuff you buy, you can’t take it with you when you die. No matter how much stuff you buy, it won’t make you a happier or a better person. No matter how much stuff you buy, it’s not going to add value to who you are, because you’re likely buying it to impress people who don’t like you very much or are just as materialistic. If a woman considers her material possessions, her mean attitude, who she’s married to, what kind of car she drives or what city she resides in to be the sole determining factors of her worth in comparison to another woman’s, she has a very sad existence.

She’s not just a Mean Girl… she’s also a Sad Girl.

I learned to be more observant of people who try to come into my life, as a result of this experience. But I still don’t have time to revolve my life around someone else’s to make them feel good about themselves. I’m responsible for myself. My goals and achievements are mine to either attain or take responsbility for if I fail. Plus, jealous words from unhappy individuals don’t hold any weight in my world. My world is already Super.  

*Those I trust most, are those who have earned my trust, by not betraying my trust* – Urban Confucius

 

Years to Remember

Tomorrow is the day. The day my eighteen year old son graduates from high school and prepares to go to college in the fall. I knew this day was coming. I had eighteen years to prepare myself for this. But I didn’t know it would feel like this. I raised him to have leadership abilities and a mind of his own. He’s always had more freedom and responsibility than a lot of young men he knows. No curfews, but he never has stayed out too late. No restrictions, but he’s never been anywhere he shouldn’t be. He’s had every opportunity afforded to him that I could financially afford, and some that I made sacrifices for so that he could have the experiences anyway. He’s been able to travel a little bit, but I often wish there were more places I had been able to take him over the years. He’s never caused me any “trouble”. He hasn’t had any incidences that would have resulted in jail time; he’s never tried narcotics and decided on his own to remain abstinent for the time being. All things that I’ve had very frank discussions with him about but allowed him to also make his own decisions about. Needless to say, I’m proud of the decisions he made for himself. I’ve never had to come up with bail money, nurse a hangover or potential overdose and I’m not a grandmother at thirty-six years old.  

There were many people who constantly said that I didn’t know what my child was doing when I wasn’t around because “single mothers never do and they always think ‘not my child’ and their child is the first one in trouble”. I’m glad I can gloat and tell those people that they obviously didn’t know my child. They also obviously didn’t know me. I’m that young mother that believes in old school discipline. Although my son hasn’t had a spanking since he was seven years old, he has a very healthy fear of his mother. He knows the expectations are great and measureable as my son. He knows that major disappointments are not taken lightly and that failure is not an option. It has been instilled in him.

One thing I always tried to teach my son was that he didn’t have to personally make mistakes to still learn from them. Life is a teacher and when you look at other people’s lives, you can learn what not to do, if you want to. My son understood this it seems because he often tells me that he is going to try not to make certain mistakes in his life because he saw what it did to someone else. I’m not sure if my son has a celebrity “role model”. After all, so many of them don’t want to be “role models”. But I think a few of their experiences have educated my son as a young black man as to how this world will treat you if you are not careful. One moment they love you and place you on the highest pedestal because you are scoring touchdowns and three point shots. The next minute they are persecuting you, taking away your endorsement deals and dragging your reputation through the deepest puddle of mud that can be found. So thank you to Kobe Bryant, Michael Vick and countless others who showed my son what not to do.

My son hasn’t had the best relationship with his father, due to no fault of his own, or of mine. You can’t force someone to love you, support you and exemplify what you think a parent should be. All you can do, is do better when your chance comes around. I never spoke ill of my son’s father to him. I didn’t have to. It wasn’t going to benefit me in anyway to do so. It wasn’t going to improve the situation at all. So I was very mindful not to engage in those kinds of conversations or confrontations in my son’s presence. It didn’t always work, because his father likes drama and enjoys being the center of attention, even when it’s negative. But I did manage to be the bigger person 95% of the time, even when I didn’t want to be. As a result, my son learned for himself, without any influence from me, the type of man his father is, and isn’t. I intentionally removed myself from the equation so that I could not be blamed (by his father) for how my son feels towards him. Whether his father sees it that way, I do not know. I honestly do not care.

After eighteen years of many sacrifices on my part, I don’t care what anyone thinks. I gave up my goals for higher education. I gave up a modeling career. I gave up a size six body. I gave up many, many, many, many men. I gave up countless hopes and dreams of traveling around the world, sipping champagne and buying designer handbags. I gave up eighteen years of many other things so that I could nurture the life of another person. There were times during those eighteen years when the thought of what I could’ve had caused me to become very depressed, so much so that I was even hospitalized for depression at one time. I suffered from and recovered from a chronic illness. I’ve had major car accidents that I was blessed to walk away alive from. I’ve lost good jobs, had crap jobs and got better jobs. With every hardship and loss, my motivation was that I had to continue on for my son. I had to show him that although life knocks you down, repeatedly, you have to get back up and keep living. I had to show him what it was to be super. And in the process, I showed myself.

I don’t know what I’m going to do when my son leaves for college. What do you do when your best friend, your anchor, your reason for persevering daily goes away to explore the next phase of his own life? I don’t know. This is my first time having this experience. Hopefully, between now and then my career will catapult forward to the point where I’ll have my own radio show, a couple more books published along with the opportunity and finances to travel. Maybe I’ll even meet my Superman. I don’t know what will happen next. What I do know is that tomorrow signifies a new phase in life for me and my son. When the sun rises in the morning, it will mean one thing to him and something else to me. When the sun sets in the evening the same will also be true. And I promise that I will try not to cry all day.

I had many years to remember with my son. Eighteen years and nine months to be exact. That’s a lengthy investment. Now it’s his turn to go forth and be super. He can do it. I have the utmost belief in him. After all, he is Super Son.