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The Gift of ME

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to YOU! 

Happy Birthday to ME! 

I am so happy to be alive to celebrate the many achievements I’ve had over the years. First, a moment of transparency: I didn’t give any Christmas gifts this year.

From where I sit, I AM the GIFT.

I have given my friendship, loyalty, knowledge, encouragement throughout this year to others, without expecting anything in return and often without any reciprocation from the receivers. I have invested my own personal funds to provide opportunities and programming for the community in which I reside. I have volunteered my talents. I have given of my time and had it wasted, and I consider my time to be very valuable. I have done a great deal more and sometimes I haven’t even been told ‘thank you‘. In spite of whatever I did or didn’t receive in return, I keep doing for others because I believe in being a blessing to someone else, because I have been blessed. Even those who have been ignored by me were being given the Gift of ME.

As a society, we have gotten so accustomed to working hard all year-long just to put ourselves in debt to make other people happy, that we have lost so much of the meaning of Christmas in the process. Yes, it’s nice to give, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to give on one day a year. If you give of yourself throughout the year to others, whether you know them personally or not, you have done well. I have literally watched people operate under pressure as if they absolutely must buy someone in particular a gift and it must be wrapped and in their hands on Christmas day or the world will come to a screeching halt. I refuse to live my life that way. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate the Gift of ME, doesn’t have to be bothered with me. To me, it’s really that simple.

When you decide that you’re not going to spend your hard earned money for the sole purpose of making others happy, a few things will happen:

1. You’ll have more money 

2. You’ll find out who your true friends and loved ones are

3. Because of 1 and 2 you’ll have less stress in your life 

4. Because of 3 you’ll be happier and healthier

You’re more than welcome to continue to brave the malls and stores throughout the month of December in an effort to get the best deals, if that is what you want to do. I actually have some investments in those stores, so I thank you in advance for your contribution to my dividends. However, before Christmas comes in 2014, I encourage you to examine more closely WHY you spend the money on the gifts you buy and the people you buy them for. If the purpose is to say ‘thank you’ to someone, there are cards for that and I’ve heard some people are very partial to hearing the words. If the purpose is to impress others, please understand that they may not be impressed or like you because you bought them something anyway. If the purpose is to make yourself feel good, you won’t be feeling so great when that credit card bill comes, or an unexpected bill comes and you don’t have the funds to pay it because you spent money on gifts to give to others.

The best gifts I ever received were items I actually needed, could use to make my life simpler, that would save me money over time, or related to an experience I wanted but might not have had the money or time to get for myself. When shopping for someone next year, keep that in mind: What do they need? What could they use to make their life better or save them time? What might help them save money over time if you buy it for them? What would they like to experience? Gifts that make people’s lives better or even saves them time could be you hiring a house or carpet cleaner for that person. A closet organizer (person or system) is also a great option. A example of product that a person can use to save money would be a drinking water filtration system for someone who buys bottled water or an at home soda machine for someone who drinks soda. I have both and they work great. I love gifts that provide an experience. A gift certificate for the movies, tickets to a play or concert tickets are thoughtful gifts because they provide an experience for a person and often don’t cost a lot of money. Your time is a great gift to give to anyone. Because we have such busy lives and so much technology at our hands, we often let time rush by us and use ‘quick’ means to communication. Calling someone instead of texting them so that you can actually have a conversation with someone is a great gift to give. It shows that you took time out for them and that they matter to you.

I’m 39 years young today. I almost didn’t make it to this age. So I’m thankful just to be here and hearing ‘Happy Birthday‘ is an awesome gift to receive for me today. Today also marks my personal countdown to my next milestone birthday in 2014 when I turn #FabLife40. I don’t want any gifts then either. I just want some of my friends and family to celebrate with me in St. Maarten. Those who can attend, will. Those who can’t attend will miss a fabulous Christmas celebration full of margaritas, palm trees and sandy beaches. Either way, next Christmas, just like this Christmas, everyone will receive the Gift of ME.

By the way, Super Woman Productions and Publishing is the official Media Sponsor for Finding My Way Home on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at Royal Oak Library.

The WRONG One

In this economy people are willing to do a lot of things they normally wouldn’t do to make ends meet. Some people look for creative ways to make money. Some people look for enterprising ways to make money. Some of those things may even be considered morally wrong. Some people even stoop to doing things that are illegal. Some people are predatory and offer “options” to people and take advantage of their need to make more money. A person’s individual boundaries are their own to live with and so are the ramifications of their choices. My boundaries are firmly set. Regardless of how much I need money, there are just certain things I’m unwilling to do. I will not rob an old lady of her social security benefits. I will not attempt a Nigerian bank scam (why do they even continue to try?) and I will not take my clothes off for men I don’t know. I have the tendency think about my future goals and aspirations and how doing certain things can deter those goals and aspirations. That allows me to keep a reasonably cool head even in the face of stupidity.

The last boundary I previously mentioned, is the subject of this blog. This week, I received a message from a man on Facebook asking me if I’d be interested in burlesque dancing with a blues shows in a downtown Detroit bar. Instantly, I was offended. I didn’t know this man from Adam. He wasn’t a Facebook friend, an acquaintance or anyone that I’d had any interaction with at all. He obviously didn’t know anything about me. I replied to him, “Nothing on my Facebook profile, or website says I’m a burlesque dancer, a stripper or exotic dance, so why would you ask me that?” That question was actually rhetorical. I already knew that he assumed I would “strip” for money because of whatever his misogynistic ideas are related to women, along with the stereotypical belief that an attractive woman  doesn’t have any brains. He also believed that women in general are willing to take our clothes off for money because times are hard. Therefore, anything he said, would definitely not surprise me.

His response was “I apologize if that sounded rude. Burlesque is classy entertainment. I thought you were affiliated with modeling or some form of entertainment”. To me that was hilarious. Here’s why. Of course asking a woman you don’t know to take her clothes off for men she doesn’t know is RUDE, I don’t care if it’s burlesque or ballet. Secondly, being ‘affiliated with modeling or some form of entertainment’ doesn’t mean getting naked for men you don’t know. We don’t all have to resort to that and many of us don’t. I told him that what I found “rude” was that for some reason he assumed that the entertainment I’m involved in relates to taking my clothes off at a bar. Obviously this small minded man thought that in order for a woman to be involved in modeling or entertainment, she must either be naked or nearly naked, in order to be considered a “model” or “entertainer”. Last I checked serious models and entertainers don’t have “I will take my clothes off in a bar” on their resume.  

I told my boyfriend about this exchange. His first response when I told him the man’s initial words to me was “Uh, oh. He picked the wrong one”. What my boyfriend knows is this; I’m not that caliber of woman and I don’t accept men saying offensive and disrespectful things to me, simply because they think they can. I don’t believe what a woman is wearing defines her character or her worth. It’s that woman’s actions that matter most. Therefore, if a woman isn’t behaving like a hooker, you can’t call her a hooker because you think she’s dressed like one. It might be Halloween or a bad fashion choice, not a profession that she’s exhibiting in her attire. The truth is, as women, it doesn’t matter what we wear or don’t. There’s always some idiot who thinks women are only good for what’s between our legs because that’s the limitation of their braincells. Yes, there are pictures of me that are sexy and sensual related to the marketing of “The Goodie Bag“, but I could have been completely covered up from head to toe in a  berka and that man would’ve still sent me the same message. Because that is what he thinks women are worth – dancing at bars without clothes for men that they don’t know.

By the way, I also told him had he done his due diligence prior to sending me that message in the first place, he would’ve discovered that I am an entrepreneur, publisher and author and the picture he was looking at was related to “The Goodie Bag” and nothing more. But that would’ve been too much like right. I think he knows I’m the wrong one. Maybe he learned his lesson. Maybe not. I do know he won’t be sending me anymore messages. After all, he wouldn’t have sent that message to Oprah and gotten away with it. There are a lot of women who would’ve been offended that probably never would’ve responded to him at all. So I spoke up for them. And there are probably some women who gleefully signed up to burlesque dance for him when he messaged them. They will probably make $250. In this economy he can’t afford to pay a woman thousands of dollars to take her clothes off. And he knows that some women don’t have the boundaries I have. That’s what makes him a predator; lurking and waiting for someone to become desperate.

Lastly, I told him he can’t afford my rates so I’ll gladly burlesque dance for my boyfriend in the privacy of our bedroom. At least I know what I’m getting into and what I’m getting out of it. I also know, it won’t deter my goals, cause me to be posted naked on YouTube or give him anything to sale to the Enquirer when I become the next Queen of All Media. That’s a boundary I can live with –  and that is priceless.