Sunday, April 23, 2017

My grandmother was the first entrepreneur I knew. I never knew her to work. As far back as I can remember she was home while my grandfather worked. She lived in a three-story house with a basement. The second and third floors were for the tenants - there was a full kitchen and bathroom on the second floor. Before I was around my grandmother owned multiple properties in the neighborhood, including the house adjacent to the one she lived in. She also owned and ran a restaurant at the end of her block. She was my introduction to strong, independent womanhood. At the time, I didn't realize that her life was not the norm for black women. Growing up with my mother I saw her go to work every day. She worked for the government of Canada. While working there she started a side business where she did typesetting for a local printer. Her partnership with the printer grew and she eventually expanded her services to include typing, data entry, and teaching computers. She eventually left her day job and opened an office downtown Toronto, starting in a small room, moving to a larger one, and then to a much larger one. I worked for her part-time and she also had other instructors teaching for her. She eventually moved to the United States permanently and was a real estate agent and then broker. These women were my role models. I am so grateful for them. Because they made these things seem like everyday occurrences, like they were not a big deal, it takes no effort for me, now, to believe I can do the same. Our experiences shape us. If I didn't have those examples, what would I have done? What direction would I have gone in? My mother worked with computers for as long as I've known her. It seemed to come easy to me. Was it really easy or did I just have one less barrier of intimidation, of naivete, of the unknown, or any other possible obstacle, to overcome than most other girls? I have strong emotions towards women who are independent thinkers, successful, impactful. Another "aha" moment for me this week was realizing and consciously recognizing my grandmother and mother as role models, and the parts they played in shaping me and subconsciously affecting my psyche. Have to give credit where credit is due.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I'm stalling again. I hate that I do that. I'll know the time is coming for me to do something I'm not particularly fond of doing, but I will do everything else before it. And I know that procrastinating only makes it worse because it then it always involves frustration, anxiety, my bad attitude, and sleepless nights as I fret the closer the due date gets, or have to work through the night to complete the task. But yet still. Here I am. Not everything can be handed off or delegated or dropped completely. Some things have to actually get done. That, or there is a price that will be paid. I have no tips on how to get out of this cycle. I know the rules: start earlier, do the necessary research, block time and complete the task. I just need to follow them.

Monday, April 17, 2017

I had lunch with some ladies on Saturday afternoon. The weather was balmy and beautiful. We sat outside on the balcony, in the light breeze, and chatted over tiramisu, banana cream bunt cake and ice cream, seltzer water and diet iced tea. Conversation went as conversations normally do with no predictable flow. As I listened and considered their words I found myself thinking further, bigger, outward. One woman recalled that another woman at church approached her and said she had always thought she was "mean." I, along with the other ladies at the table, could relate to being pre-judged. I thought, imagine, that we go to church every week, see the people there every week, see how we and others interact on a regular basis, and yet still we pre-judge and and are pre-judged. We come to conclusions without ever getting to know each other. And we are supposedly like-minded people of similar cultures and backgrounds. We already have much in common. How much more should we expect of those around us in the world with whom we don't interact on a regular basis and with whom with have no idea if we have anything in common?

I shared my thoughts with the group and we went on like that. We would talk, everyone contributing, and I would take it one step further, bringing attention to the connection of what we spoke about to the world at large. By the time we were wrapping up I had an aha moment that my gallup poll "strength" of "connectedness" was a surprising possible truth. I had never noticed that pattern about myself before.

Over the weekend I spoke to a couple of close friends about what we can do to change how minorities, any minority, are viewed. When you consider the negative images of us being portrayed it's no wonder that negative stereotypes persist. We, meaning all people, have to sit and eat with each other, and be willing to give each other a chance. And we, the ones who want to change the stereotypes, have to be proactive in making that change. We must create - create art, inventions, products, services. Create, overrun the negatives, and support each others work.

Ideas? Suggestions? I would love to read your thoughts on his.

Monday, April 03, 2017

If you spend time with me, it tells me that you care. That is the number one thing you could do to convey any feelings for me. Time is precious. That's not just a cliche. Especially as I get older I feel that more and more, as time gets ever limited and I am constantly reminded of mortality. If you're doing x then you're not doing y. Giving of time requires a sacrifice of something. Time that you can never get back. If you willingly share your TIME with me, that means the world to me. More than words.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Missing my grandparents today. Life was so much easier when my grandparents were around (and I was 30 years younger). Grandparents are such a blessing. I only EVER felt love from them. It's amazing when I think about it. I have no negative feelings associated with them whatsoever. I remember Sunday afternoon dinners at Ponderosa, driving in the big gray GMC with one big seat in the front. My grandfather was the first man to tell me, a young teenager, that he was sorry for something he did. That blew me away, that he, an adult, would be apologizing to a child. His humbleness made me love him even more. My grandmother grew up in Jamaica and worked as a nurse in England. She brought her English ways with her Canada and taught me what she could. She was about being proper, not overstaying your welcome, being a lady, and me learning to play the respected piano. I never felt that they were disappointed in me. I was fortunate enough to have been around them a whole lot. They gave me a foundation of stability that I could thrive on. I know that. I'm grateful for that.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

This one can go in so many directions. Having a talk with a friend the other day and the topic of fathers came up. It's a touchy subject that it seems like no one really knows how to talk about for fear of offending or being misunderstood. I never really laid this out before, neither verbally nor written, and I'm 42. My friend was saying he thinks it would be nice to be able to form some sort of bond before the chance is gone, if at all possible. He wasn't speaking about my situation specifically, but more for someone else. My question to him was, "But why?" Yes, it would be fine, maybe even nice if it happened. But it hasn't. It just hasn't. Why should the children have to seek it out. I know - honor your mother and your father so that your days may be long upon the earth. I know - turn the other cheek; do not judge; be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other Tell me all the verses. I know them. But I still ask why. I should do my part. But...what is my part to do? How much is required of me. When am I allowed to stop trying or stop being open or stop seeking? On many occasions,the child asks herself, "Where is he?" A little older then the question becomes, "Doesn't he even care?" Older yet, "If he could see me now, I would show him just how well I did without him!" Then the child becomes an adult and asks, "Couldn't he have cared enough to get past himself and find me. I was never hard to find. My family has been in the same place for 25 years." Finally, as a mother herself she can't understand how a parent could stay away. I could never, ever willingly leave my children. I want them with me. I want to know everything about them, now and forever. That is me though. That is not everyone. Deep sigh right here. Many people over the years would ask me what's it's like not having a father around, don't I wish I did. Honestly, for good or bad, I didn't know what I was missing so my answer was always no. I can make excuses for just about anyone. I'm the advocate for the underdog. I can easily play the devil's advocate. Seeing both sides is not that difficult. I can see both. We are all flawed and do things we feel, know, believe are not right. Sometimes doing the right thing makes us too uneasy, so we don't. It's much more comfortable to continue along the path we've always known. I do the same. I can't judge. Live and let live.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Let me tell you about being overwhelmed.... I read recently that the feeling of being overwhelmed happens when we have so many thoughts swirling around in our brains that we don't know where to start. First off, I'm back. It's been an extended hiatus. At first, for a long while, I assumed I had nothing to say. Then I realized I have so many statements and thoughts and opinions in my head, some of which I share with those close to me, but most of which I just keep to myself. I believed then that my thoughts didn't matter. What do they matter in the big scheme of things? We each have our own musings so what difference would mine make really? I didn't want to be yet another channel of noise. The other day I listened to Marie Forleo interview Seth Godin (excellent video, I would highly recommend it) and Seth said he believes everyone should blog every day. That comment, coupled with watching this short video by Ray Edwards where he challenges the viewers to think ahead to the end of 2017 to consider the body of work they would like to have created - those two ideas have moved me to action. Why I started out by mentioning being overwhelmed is because that is my life right now. There are what feels to me like an innumerable amount of thoughts in my head right now, and when I get like this then I move like molasses and I'm not nearly as productive as I should be. Instead I want to curl up under my blankets and go to sleep. But writing brings me clarity. The technique of writing with pen and paper forces me to get the ideas out of my head and once I see them I'm compelled to organize them. (Posting my thoughts, without having written them out first, is different though. These expressions, when I look back at them, I wonder who wrote them, if it really could have been me. It doesn't sound like me to me and on top of that I surprise myself with the things I claim I thought about.) Hey, what's one more noisy channel?