Social Media’s Problem With Privacy

Chimamanda-Ngozi-Adichie

In an interview with Financial Times, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, powerhouse scholar, author and feminist, casually revealed that she’d had a baby by turning down a cocktail due to breastfeeding. 

Wait…She had a baby?! And she didnt tell us? (us = random strangers who are fans) *clutches pearls*

Adichie says she didn’t want to “perform pregnancy,” meaning have a very public pregnancy, which is especially risky due to her celebrity. Maybe she decided not to  document her entire pregnancy and birth on social media like so many other moms do. 

“I have some friends who probably don’t know I was pregnant or that I had a baby. I just feel like we live in an age when women are supposed to perform pregnancy. We don’t expect fathers to perform fatherhood,” she explains

Let’s give her a round of applause. She’s right. Forgoing a pregnancy announcement is unheard of these days.

There are plenty of women I know personally who opted to keep their pregnancies and children to themselves for various reasons. Some are more private than others, some consider it a safety issue and others simply don’t want to enter into a dog and pony show at time that’s sacred. There’s an unhealthy expectation of women to be present at the expense of others and show and tell every step of the way from the sonogram shot to the professional photographers in the delivery room post-birth a la Beyonce. 

That made me think about how social media, in particular, has changed all of us. Not only are women expected to “perform pregnancy” in person, but also online. We’re all, men and women, expected to perform life on social media networks. What we wear, what we’re working on professionally, new relationships, ended relationships, family time–it’s all out there for your audience to see. It can be exhausting.

We suffer from what I call “social media privilege,” which has created a false “need” to know. We’ve become so accustomed to sharing every waking moment of our lives that as consumers of information, we’re also programmed to THINK we need, or in some cases, deserve to know very personal and private moments in people’s lives when we actually don’t.

Admit it: you’ve been in conversation with a friend and randomly said, “I didn’t know XX had a baby/got a new job, etc.”

Friend: Really? Did you see it on Facebook?

This is usually someone you went to high school with eons ago or a former coworker you rarely spoke to then. There’s no vested interest in the person or life event for real. If it weren’t for Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you wouldn’t have known. We wouldn’t know HALF of the things we do because it’s impossible to maintain close relationships with 500+ people.

Now that oversharing is a trend, we don’t accept these happenings as fact unless we see them on our phone or computer screens. Then we have the audacity to become annoyed when they’re NOT posted on social media networks. And don’t let someone NOT have a social media profile. If they don’t, surely, they must have something to hide.

This is the thought process of many.

Being inundated with countless photos, videos and journal entries masked as Facebook posts, it’s difficult to remember how we communicated or shared our personal affairs B.S.M. (Before Social Media). It seems like a new concept, but yes, you can live your life without announcing every milestone to the world virally if you choose. You don’t have to do it, especially if it’s to please others. It’s really okay. If you do, that’s okay, too. Sharing personal experiences can be therapeutic and freeing. 

Sure, your extended family, old friends and acquaintances often want to know and see, send well wishes and prayers. The connectivity social media provides is actually a good thing, but our lives are our own, not theirs. Give yourself permission to give and live on your own terms, even on online.

 

Distractions Delay Progress

jesse

Hey, black people, come close. Let’s chat.

You know I love us, right? So that means I have to be honest with you. The truth is we worry about the WRONG things.

Just when thought Beyonce’ and Kendrick’s performance of “Freedom” had given us the biggest dose of  black power and pride for the night during the BET Awards, Jesse Williams made an acceptance speech for the books as the recipient of the Humanitarian Award. You’ve seen, heard or read it by now.

Every word was as eloquent as it was true, and he was intentional about calling out a few things we KNOW, but don’t always acknowledge: 1) Our culture and bodies are used for commercial value and entertainment then tossed aside, dead or alive,  2) black women should be protected because historically, we have always been on the front lines fighting for justice, particularly on behalf of black men and 3) celebrities should use their influence to push the equality agenda ahead, instead of hoarding money and fame for no greater good.

We were proud that someone said in just a few minutes what we’ve been preaching, teaching, tweeting, writing, shouting, marching for what seems like forever. For those already familiar with Williams’ activism work, it was yet another reason to admire him (this ain’t his first, second or third time at the rodeo). For others, it was an introduction to the other side of the “hot guy on Grey’s Anatomy.” And others were thinking, “Who is this dude??”

Social media immediately exploded with posts from memes with my favorite line of the night, “That’s the thing: Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real,” written transcripts and essentially, electronic praise for his heartfelt words.

Here we are two days later, and it’s another story. Several actually, and I’ll paraphrase what I’ve read with my own eyes.

First…

Williams, who is biracial, complete with stereotypical features: light skin, green eyes and curly hair, isn’t black enough to make such statements on race. What racial injustice has he experienced being of a light skin tone and half-white?

Then…

Black women are going berserk over his comments only because of his looks. David Banner, Nate Parker and other “real” black men have been saying this for years. His light skin privilege is what made his speech pop.

As a result, there’s another conversation about colorism, and it’s a needed one, no doubt. Colorism and privilege do exist along the color spectrum of black people — people of color, period. No need to discuss, EBONY has taken care of those arguments (Williams has publicly acknowledged his privilege as both a light-skinned African American and celebrity with access to predominantly white spaces. So there’s that.)

Now…

It’s an attack on black women (apparently, those who find him attractive or awe-inspiring). His wife, a natural-haired black woman, is the exact opposite of the stereotypical black woman who wears weave, artificial body parts and a lower level of consciousness. No need for us to compliment his intellect or looks  because he wouldn’t want us anyway. We are beneath his “wokeness.”

*counts to 10*

Black people, why can’t we stay focused on what’s important?

There’s no reason we should be accessing someone blackness or suggesting our admiration for an outspoken activist is all for naught because we’re supposedly not desirable. I also want to point out how a great moment was twisted into a social media bashfest on black women further proving Williams’ point of black men needing to “do better” where we are concerned.

We have yet to master the art focusing on the message, rather than the messenger. When we pick apart a pivotal teaching moment or a movement with silly critiques and criticisms, that further divides us and dilutes the greater message (See also: any influential movement in the last 50 years working towards civil rights where African American freedom is at stake) Time, in turn, is lost. While we’re discussing what his wife looks like or his complexion, we’re missing opportunities to talk about his comments with our children, with friends or coworkers who turn a blind eye to both systemic and covert racism, which can sometimes be more dangerous than blatant racism. We should be  working in some capacity, big or small.

Regardless of agreement, we should atleast respect someone of celebrity who is unafraid to use his platform to speak what won’t be spoken by others. Someone who knows that his occupation is acting, but his life’s work is service. I imagine similar things were said about Muhammad Ali and Harry Belafonte, to whom he is often compared, social media just wasn’t available to spread disdain virally.

If you know someone who has a criticism, yet no solution,  deflection from the work that is being with or without them, stop them, talk to them. Ask them if it adds to the information that has been shared in a positive way? Would it be better if they closed their mouths in public spaces and forums, put their devices away or back away from the keyboard rather than spread baseless arguments to others who could easily be influenced.. Maybe that person is you. If so, kindly watch the action from the sideline. Those too busy working can’t hear the chatter of naysayers. 

Oh, I forgot…Stay woke.

 

EBONY and Why Black Media Needs Staying Power

o-EBONY-MAGAZINE-COVERS-facebook

EBONY is still here, y’all.

And I’m glad.

Not because my  byline has been inked on their pages or because Johnson Publishing Company signs a few checks that come way. I’m thankful because that magazine matters. Before I was a writer, I was a reader.

For forever, I’ve been consumed by magazines geared towards African Americans, cherishing them for as long as we’ve had the opportunity to flip their pages (Rest in peace to Suede, VIBE Vixen, Code, etc.). Searching for people of color in ads, stories or fashion spreads in predominately white magazines is still like looking for a needle in a haystack, but it’s a non-issue with EBONY and the few others left.

When a friend sent me the story, I winced at the headline, immediately feeling disappointed because another piece of us may be chipped away. As a writer and contributor to the magazine, I was crushed. A few years back, Aliya King asked black writers how they felt about writing for African-American publications only. Is there an allure or feeling of “making it” when you write for a Glamour or Marie Claire. Words are words, and I read ALL magazines, but the ones I value most are published for us exclusively. I love black people, I love black shit. Period.

I remember how I felt when ESSENCE was sold to Time Inc. At the time, there was a collective sighing and head shaking by black folks who consume stories, ideas and positive images through these publications and products. “RIP” and “Another bites the dust” were shared on reluctant fans and naysayers alike on social media.

ESSENCE is still slaying, but executive roles in publishing make a difference. Without minority ownership and leadership, there’s speculation that they might not care as much about us as we do. Remember that story about the sting of #BlackGirlMagic on Elle.com last year? The idea that it’s important for us to guide and navigate our stories seemed to resonate with their editorial team (Hello, editor-at-large, Melissa Harris-Perry!), but ownership is something altogether different.

When another company acquires one of ours, many question follow: What kind of directives will the editorial team receive? Will the brand and integrity be protected? Will its blackness be watered-down? Will they allow the creative freedom required to show the broad spectrum of us– from our curvy bodies showcased on the front cover to long-form pieces about our music icons to controversial critiques of them, while honoring how they’ve impacted us?

There MUST be spaces and outlets for us, and while it’s just as important to share our stories with groups who can’t identify, yet want to understand, protection and celebration often happens in its best form by folks on the inside, not the outside. No one loves your baby like you do.

Although I am sad that the EBONY brand will no longer legally belong to Johnson Publishing Company, I am pleased that Clear View Group, a black-owned and southern firm, will allow the editorial team to run business as usual.

What the Johnson family and company has done for black media cannot be taken away, and we are indebted to them. Here’s to the future of black media.

 

Billboard, WYD?

Prince

Since Prince Rogers Nelson’s sudden passing on April 21, Black America has been drowning itself in classic and under-the-radar music, sexy photos and funny stories about His Purple Badness. We’ve also been comparing notes on who’s qualified to cover his eclectic music in a tribute versus who would “mess it up.” Culturally, we have this inexplicable connection to music and will explode if one of our heroes’ music is thrown to just anyone. He or she has to be just right, not too much, not too little.

Remember, this isn’t a guy who could sing the Happy Birthday Song “real good.” This is Prince. He embodied funk, soul, jazz, heavy metal and gospel in one 5’2 body. He could do it all. Besides playing nearly 30 instruments, his voice was an instrument ranging from high-pitched scream to a melodic tenor or bass. So who can come close to that? Who can do him justice?

While we were brainstorming, Billboard Music Awards producers moved a little quicker, and came up with Madonna. Yep, “Like a Virgin” Madonna. “Papa, Don’t Preach” Madonna. “Truth or Dare” Madonna. She will be the one to honor Prince during the Billboard Music Awards, which will air on Sunday, May 22.

She’s a legend in her own right and a good friend of Prince’s through the years. They wrote and recorded a song or two together, but who didn’t Prince work with? Their creativity, ability to recreate themselves and push the envelope in a straight-laced America are what they share, but not music.

As an 80s baby, she, her denim jackets and tulle headbands will likely always have a small place in my heart, and I consider “Take a Bow” one of her best songs (probably because it  was written by Babyface).  But still, NOPE. I can’t put her in the same category as Prince musically. And like Bey, I ain’t sorry.

Billboard, what you doing??? Where are the black people?

Whether I’m playing the race card depends on you. I don’t believe that only people of the same race can mourn, pay respects or sing songs of others. Music is life-changing because it’s universal. It’s just convenient that mainstream forgets the hearts and souls of a person when they make it to America’s main stage. Prince’s roots were so deep in Black music and live instrumentation by James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone and Jimi Hendrix, it seems odd to suggest an Italian woman perform his tribute on an awards show.

Don’t give in to the idea that Prince didn’t identify with Black folks because his love interests of darker hues were few. Make no mistake: He was black. Like, black-black (Have you seen his performance in Under the Cherry Moon?) The son of two African American parents (Purple Rain was loosely based on his life and a strategy to promote his mystique, hence interracial parents), he was always supporting his own and was vocal about our struggles and the need to have our own, mentoring young black artists under the radar. Here’s proof and more proof.

Where’s Rosie Gaines, Sheila E., Morris Day and the Time, Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu or D’Angelo? These artists have stood the test of time even as his music evolved beyond Purple Rain. Are they not good enough or did they forget the connection Prince had to us for the sake of their own agenda and ratings?

To pay tribute to Prince Rogers Nelson on any show without African-American presence is a slap in his face. I can only imagine the shady side-eyes he’s giving from heaven. Billboard gon’ Billboard though, and they care not about our petitions and public comment. This is why we have to create our own shit to honor our people in the way we and they would consider appropriate.

The good news is, he was so iconic, they’ll be tributes for months and years to come, but what a way to begin on the award show front. I don’t expect trash, but I also don’t expect to be wowed. BET and Soul Train Music Awards, make it right.

 

 

Moving Backwards: Nicki, Malcolm and Dismissal Of Black History

malcolmxThe artwork for Nicki Minaj’s latest single is floating around the internet, and I am not happy about it. What you see is Brother Malcolm Little Shabazz peering out of a window while holding a rifle in sepia filter. Above his head is the title of the song, “Lookin Ass N*gga, in which Nicki calls out folks who have bitten her style or perpetrated a fictitious lifestyle. The lyrics have absolutely no historical value or context to be linked to such a photo. Plain and simple, it’s catchy bullshit.

In a time of Photoshop-palooza where anyone with a laptop can take a photo and spin it for comedic value, we’ve become accustomed to taking historic photos and figures and putting our pop culture stamp on it. Especially this month, you’ll find pictures of trailblazing African-Americans with captions that read, “YOLO” or “The first black person to yell, ‘Turn up!’” And now, this.

This kind of thing makes me lose faith in us. Culturally, we’ve been a people who use comedy and light-heartedness to get through the tough times. We joke, we laugh, but at what expense? This whole thing reminds me Dave Chappelle’s exodus from the limelight after a bought with instant fame. He tackled racism and sexism in such an in your face way, but he realized laughter has a duality that can affirm and dismantle us. He said in an interview, “So then when I’m on the set, and we’re finally taping the sketch, somebody on the set [who] was white laughed in such a way—I know the difference of people laughing with me and people laughing at me.” Word, Dave.

When you pair history with pop culture, we often get the bad deal morally. We don’t know our history, nor do we know where we want to go beyond notoriety or the number of zeros behind the decimal. Should you know every piece of our rich history? It’s impossible, but you should know the basics, and Malcolm X is apart of that. 

If anyone on her creative team knew the weight of our history, they’d know that photo, though the origin isn’t known, is symbolic of many of Malcolm’s principles and teachings. It’s often associated with his famous quote about the demand for justice, “by any means necessary.” He was a strong proponent of self-defense against the oppressor whomever he may be, hence the rifle in his hand. Maybe he was looking out of the window for the Ku Klux Klansmen who set his home afire or maybe those who sought to assassinate him. Perhaps, he was looking for the white men who kept him down with discriminating laws, mental abuse and violence, and yes, they called him and us “niggers.”

Again, I don’t know what Nicki was thinking. She’s not the first though.

KRS-1’s cover for By All Means Necessary was a depiction, instead he was holding a handgun dressed in a leather bomber jacket. Yo Gotti, my fellow Memphian’s latest album, I Am, depicts the sanitation strike in Memphis where strikers wore signs that read “I AM A MAN.” That strike brought Dr. King where he was assassinated in cold blood on the Lorraine Motel balcony.

Is nothing sacred anymore? We are more concerned in creating a buzz for a dollar while selling out our own history in the process. Have you ever seen a non-black person negatively depict or use a photo from the Holocaust, Pearl Harbor bombing or even 9/11 in such a public way? I’m willing to bet that they’re few, far and in between. They protect their history, pass it down by oral history, conserve it in museums or in old memory books. Their families know about prominent and unsung heroes . They talk about their journeys. In their homes, in their circles, they talk about it.

We don’t talk about our history enough. Either it’s too painful for some of our elders to rehash or white folks are telling us tumultuous events were figments of our imaginations, and if they weren’t, they didn’t matter much anyway. When we do discuss our history with laser focus, it’s during Black History Month. With every year, if you base its value on media exposure and general knowledge, it’s diminishing. Forget the fact that it’s not taught in schools. We have to fill in the blanks because ultimately, we’re responsibility for ourselves.

So thinking your fluffy, purposeless “art” has the right to be paired with events and images that represent the struggle is insulting to those who did the treacherous work from which you  now reap the benefits.

The old saying goes, “When you know better, you do better.” Maybe it’s time for us to stop and learn before we begin to do without thought. Our history and our respect is at stake.

The College Dropout: A Love Note

college dropoutToday marks the 10th anniversary of Kanye’s debut and some would say, his best album, The College Dropout.

For fans who can no longer stomach his behavior or his “New God Flow,” today is a day to bask in this album because it symbolizes the grind, the hunger and creativity that made us fall in love with him in the first place.

During his explosion as Jay’s new producer, I’d heard guys on my college campus debate which of his beats on The Blueprint was the best, but I was formally introduced to Ye while randomly looking at MTV one day. The opening scenes of “Through the Wire” made me sit in front of my TV and wonder, “Who is this guy?” The photos of his puffy cheeks after his near-death car accident made me pay close attention to his lyrics. “I must’ve had an angel cuz look how death missed his ass/Unbreakable. What you know? They call me Mr. Glass.”

It wasn’t until my first year of graduate school that I really fell for Mr. West. During a midnight run to McDonald’s, a friend popped in a bootlegged copy (don’t judge) of College Dropout, and skipped to track #10: “Kanye’s Workout Plan.” The soul clap and synthesizer a la Roger Troutman pulled me in, and I vowed that when it was really released, I would purchase it.

I bought the album today 10 years ago, and it immediately became the soundtrack of my life. With that album, he’d made an announcement to world that defiance can be healthy if you’re willing to work.  “I’m about to break all the rules. Don’t tell anybody. I got something better than school. Don’t tell anybody. My mama would kill me. I’m just not everybody.”

It was ironic that I could relate to a guy whose story was centered around abandoning formal education to pursue his dreams when I was obtaining an advanced degree to pursue mine. My favorite track, “Spaceship,” was my reality. Instead of The Gap, I worked at SuperTarget, ringing up purchases for folk who like to eat their items before they buy them and throw empty wrappers my way, who try to get over on returns and exchanges and trash dressing rooms. I too, was locked in (literally) until midnight and sometimes later when all I wanted to do was party with my friends (mostly still in undergrad) after a long week of studying, reading academic essays and fighting through boring lectures.

Even though graduate school was a means to an end, I couldn’t see the end. Working two jobs, going to school full-time in a new environment had taken an emotional toll on me. I’m not easily overwhelmed, so every morning on the way to my 7 a.m. class, I pressed play on The College Dropout. It provided a sense of normalcy in what was a brand new world to me. The interludes like “I’ll Fly Away” reminded me of hymns we’d sing at my home church.  The house music samples were reminiscent of weekend radio mixes when I was in high school. “Slow Jams” made me proud that I grew up on real love songs by Luther and Anita. I internalized his lyrics about Jesus never leaving him, “I know He hears me when my feet get weary.” How did this dude know my life? Everything about the album was so new, yet so familiar.

Looking back, I was a bit entitled during my transition into adulthood, but then, my struggle was real, and you couldn’t tell me differently.

Because he made  “like, five beats a day for like, three straight summers,” his music would eventually make believers out of everyone. Doubtful music critics couldn’t wait to see what the rapper wannabe could really do with a mic. No one imagined that he’d tell rappers, drug dealers and strippers that Jesus walks with them, too. That you could veer off of the path people told you was the only way and find your own.

His lyrics were fun and real. From songs for loved ones we’d lost to the plight of young women lost in a culture of materialism and fake fame or being the token black dude at his fancy retail job, he gave us what we’d all seen or experienced. For us, it was a mirror on record.

The College Dropout was about proving the naysayers wrong, and it is proof that in a world of Louie and Maybachs, we can still take note of and appreciate music straight from the heart. But mostly, the album is about Kanye’s individuality, something he still prides himself on today. As he danced across the stage of The Grammy’s in a fit of praise during one of his most groundbreaking songs, I screamed at the television in happiness because he was officially a star. But he was already a star to me, and to us. The young, pink Polo-wearing, arrogant producer had finally made it, and he let us in on the journey and celebration.

Today, we thank him for the ride.

Fear of Reality: Mary Jane, Flaws and All

Being-Mary-JaneBeing Mary Jane is back. The season premiere just aired, and like the movie, it didn’t disappoint. There’ll be no “unpacking” of the episode. Instead, let’s talk about satisfying consumers. My initial plan was to watch the premiere alone, meaning without texting my friends during commercial breaks or engaging on #BlackTwitter. I failed at both attempts towards the end.

As usual, Mary Jane is living her life, dealing with family, drama and moral dilemmas at work and her crazy dating life. The ending scene which consisted of a gym shower, married man and shower cap got a lot of Tweeps’ panties in a bunch. “Is she the next Olivia Pope?” Is she the next “smart” black woman who will open her legs willingly for a married man and even another? So desperate for unrequited love that she can’t stand strong against lust (or in her case, maybe love) for a beautiful man?

Yes, I, too screamed “Nooooooo!!!” at the television during that climatic scene. I wanted Mary Jane to know that could be stronger than she was. That that one act could set her back majorly in her decision to move forward without him. I also didn’t want her to get her weave wet, but no such luck.

More comments: We don’t need another black woman on the small screen degrading herself. She’s a side piece to not just one, but two men! Commercials for Oraquick, home HIV tests, aired during the show, so why is Mary Jane engaging in risky sexual behavior?

Le sigh.

We, as consumers, can be so self-righteous, especially when the characters are African-American. Mary Jane is a character. She’s not a real person, but as an effective storyteller, she has to have a life that resonates with viewers. Bottom line: This shit goes on DAILY, no matter how dirty, grimy or immoral it may be. Why are we so afraid to air our dirty laundry on television even in a fiction?

One truth about writing is a good character—one who grabs you and speaks to you, one you will remember—is flawed. Like we are. We’re all flawed in real life, so why do we get so upset when characters, mainly those who look like us aren’t perfect? That’s unfair.

It’s actually possible to have every area of your life in perfect harmony, except your personal life. You could have the picture perfect marriage and children, but be catastrophic in your financial or spiritual life. That’s what life is! At even given time, you won’t be “smart” or right in every area of your life. The pendulums always swing . Hopefully, we give Mary Jane time to grow as complex characters should and see where she needs to do the work. It’s only the first episode.

So while you may not sleeping with a man who took vows with someone else, there might be something else going on in your life that needs adjusting. It’s not your reality, but pieces of it are someone’s reality for sure. Maybe this show can help black women take inventory of our lives. Don’t let the fear of reality ruin a good story for you and chance for introspection. Oh, that goes for women and men. I see you.  .

2013: The Rundown

I missed the mark on a lot of tangible things this year, but learned a lot.

It’s true that you will go through the same situations and/or obstacles until you learn the lesson you were meant to learn. Didn’t catch the lesson? You’ll find yourself in a similar thing eventually. I’m hearing some of the exact same feedback in my current job that I did in my very first job out of college 10 years ago. All along I’d thought it was the industry I was in, the people I worked with or the environment. And it was…but those weren’t the only factors. I forgot about the biggest one: me.

I want to write. Let’s just put that out there. That’s about the only thing –for now that gets me going. In my wildest dreams I’ll make a living writing and travel abroad and maybe do television interviews about my work even though I hate seeing myself on tv. I see myself slowing moving towards something like that, but I see that I’m the one in my way. Honestly, even writing this post was a push. Self-starting and following through are my goals for 2014 and beyond.

The next thing is working on this work-balance thing. I’m a worker for myself or someone else or several someone elses at even given time. Somewhere along the way, my life disappeared. I’ve gotta unplug sometimes to change that.

TI said it best and terribly when he asked in a song, “Is you happy?” A recent segment on Melissa Harris-Perry Show about happiness stuck with me. Experts, including Gretchen Rubin who wrote The Happiness Project, suggested your relationships with others (familial, romantic, friendships, organizations, etc.) dictate happiness. Then I read A Formula for Happiness in the New York Times, which says what you do for a living (doesn’t have to be your job, by the way), not those relationships, define our happiness. To add, Myliek Teele, founder of Curlbox, posted this graph on her Instagram page last week.

images

Food for thought. I imagine it’s a mix though that needs constant fine-tuning.

While I’m on that subject, less social media and more people. No mistake, social media has provided me with some of the best laughs (until I cried), inspiration for writing and intriguing conversations ever, but half of the time, it’s just noise and ignorance. I don’t need someone else’s thoughts clouding my mind constantly.

I’m not as idealistic or naïve as I used to be. I can look at things and people with a more compartmentalized perspective and be reasonable. I won’t wake up and slide down a rainbow and throw star-dust every day. Things won’t go my way all of the time. I will have to do things I don’t want to do. Or maybe I can’t do things I want to do. T’is life.

It’s okay to ask for what you want. That’s the hardest thing for many to do for fear of rejection. You’d be surprised how your requests are granted or how that block will bless you.

It’s okay to look out for you. It’s not selfish and it’s not something to feel guilty about. Worry about you because everyone else is too busy taking care of themselves, too.

I’m dealing with change better, but it’s not easy. I’ve never liked MAJOR change. People who were in your life go away. They perish. Magazines you loved fold. Your favorite television show is canceled. They discontinue your favorite perfume or lipstick. The point is it happens and you have to push through and adjust.

I won’t be satisfied with my life every day, but I will be thankful. And that’s what’s gotten me this far. Still have a ways to go.

All that said, here’s a snapshot of my year.

  • The job. Navigating a still new job and bigger responsibilities.
  • The increase. I needed it, but it was especially dear to me because it showed me the faithfulness of God.
  • Becoming a published author of sorts thanks to friend and Cosmopolitan Cook, Ragan Oglesby.
  • Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed–beautiful writing and a life changing book
  • Finding the Next Issue app and becoming slightly obsessed with cooking (with limited skills)
  • Interviewing It Girls like Marsha Ambrosius, Demetria Lucas and Teedra Moses.
  • Making two trips to DC for my Sorority’s centennial and President Obama’s second inauguration
  • Seeing Queen Bey in concert and seeing my intellectual crush, Melissa Harris-Perry live in New Orleans
  • Bey’s surprise album. I’m addicted.
  • Finding Myliek Teele’s podcasts and Instagram. Inspiration for days.

May God bless you in 2014.