No More Downplaying: Period

I have a real issue with acknowledging my achievements and talents in my life.  Self-doubt has always been such a big problem for me.  It’s almost as if I think that I don’t deserve whatever it is I accomplished or my God-given talents.  Take my recent weight loss as a prime example.  I have lost over 30 pounds in the past 11 months.  That’s a big freaking deal by anyone’s standards.  But to me, seeing as though it took me damn near a year to do this, it wasn’t good enough.  My thinking was that I should have lost more in that time.  I belittled all the hard work, sweaty workouts, sore muscles and hours of meal planning I put into the process.  None of that shit was easy or fun to do, trust me.  So why do I continue to do this to myself?  I think it’s because no matter how far I may have come; I always see how far I still have to go.  Even though I have lost over 30 pounds, I tend to mostly focus on the weight I still have left to lose.  For me, this isn’t exclusive for just my weight loss.  This has translated to most of the things I have achieved and to my goals.

I have a tendency to downplay MOST if not all of my accomplishments and talents.  And it’s totally not a, “I’m trying to stay humble” thing. It’s more of a, “I sort of did it, but damn I still have so much farther to go” thing.  See the problem?  Often times I can’t pat myself on the back for doing something that I worked really hard to do.  Some things that even people who know me wish they could have done.  That’s the very thing I have been told a few times by several different people  They say this in regards to my recent weight loss and also about the things that I have written that they have read.  But since I’m nowhere I want to be and in my mind, “still have so far to go” it means almost nothing.  Career-wise, I’m nowhere close to where I want to be either.  My career goal is to be a full-time author.  To be more specific, I want to write fiction books for adults and children.  I have been doing the biggest step of all to achieve this goal and that is to simply write.  The more writing one does, the better they become right?  The negative side of my thinking always says this step isn’t shit if no one has read what I have written. But regardless of how small, it’s bringing me closer to my goal of being on the New York Times Best Sellers List.  I have been writing much more than I have been in the past few years, which is a bit of an achievement in itself.  I have been submitting my poetry to different publications and have gotten published.  That’s a big one because (as per usual in my mind) my work isn’t all that great.  SIDEBAR:  I received my first professional review of a poem I wrote.  The critic wrote that my poem was, “the first piece I return to after a long day of work to find my calm.”   Cool huh?!

For someone who doesn’t know anything about me to say that my poem was one of her top three favorites in the anthology, has to speak to my writing abilities.  I have to really start training my mind to believe and know that I have a talent for writing.  I must start giving myself credit for continuing to go after my dreams.  Whatever effort I’m making (big or small) it is getting me closer and closer to the finish line.  And I should celebrate every victory with an enthusiastic pat on the back.  I am starting to learn to accept the fact that I am the shit for even making a serious effort to accomplish anything.  The person I was a few years ago would never have attempted the things that I have recently. I think that the downplaying I still do sometimes is a bit of the old me that reside inside.  She always has something less than stellar to say.  Who knows, she may always live in the small relics of my mind.  But I can’t let her or anyone else put a damper on my accomplishments, talents, dreams or goals.  Last Thursday I had the pleasure of going to see an R&B band that I love called, “The Internet.”  I had the privilege of getting some sound advice from one of the members named Matt.  I told him that I was a writer and a future New York Times Bestselling author. Speak it into existence right?  I told him that most times I am filled with so much self-doubt I can’t see how I will accomplish my dreams. I also let him know that despite that, I know that I’m a damn good writer.  But that I have trouble remembering that all the time.  He told me that that sort of thing happens to most people, but that I had to keep positive thoughts always.  I have to be my biggest supporter no matter what.  And that I should always know that anything is possible no matter how impossible it may seem.  I knew all those things before he said them to me.  And I have thought them myself before.  But to hear them from someone whom I just met, and is a fellow artist like me put them into a direct perspective this time.  Thank you, Matt, for putting everything back into perspective for me with your wise words.

So what am I going to do to improve this pointless, negative behavior?  I’m going to start focusing on what I actually did to accomplish the goal.  If someone actually compliments me on an achievement I reached or even notices the effort given, I will sincerely take the compliment.  I will start looking at how far I’ve come as opposed to how far I still have to go.  With my writing, I will pay more attention to writing quality blogs people can relate too rather than obsessing about getting my views numbers up.  If I write good stuff and stay consistent, they will come.  It’s all comes down to how I look at things and what I focus on.  If I (and you) continue to look at how far we still have yet to go, then not only are we downplaying our achievements but we are slowing down our progress.  And trying to achieve anything is challenging enough, why add more unnecessary crap to that?  And above all of that, I truly have to remember this:  I AM THE SHIT.  Period.  I’m good at what I do.  Writing is my God-given talent.   And I have been blessed with the strength, drive, and hunger to get anything I want in this life.  So from this moment on, I’ll do my best to only look at how much I have progressed in my journey.  My advice is not to let a setback (or what you perceive as small steps) keep you from patting yourself on the back for a job well done.  Know that you’re doing your best and you too are the shit.  If you don’t think that you’re killing it at working toward your goals, then you won’t be.  And again, who needs that unnecessary crap on their minds?



Resting Bitch Face: It’s Real

(Disclaimer- I proofread this thing a dozen times and used an online site to help.  If you see any mistakes, I’m only human and not perfect.  Thanks for reading!)

According to Urban, the formal definition for Resting Bitch Face is:  “A phenomenon in which the resting face lacks animation and appears to look bitchy at all times, thus leading people to believe a person must be upset, a snob or a bitch.”

I am a sufferer of this misunderstood facial phenomenon.  Thinking back on it for the majority of my life, I had absolutely no idea!  I would get the usual questions like, “What’s wrong with you?” or “Who pissed you off today?”  Or worse I would hear later that comments were made about me to others basically saying that I looked bitchy and “unapproachable.”  I wanted to say to them, “This is just my face.”  Who knows how many dates or hangouts I missed out on because someone was afraid to talk to me.  Who knows how many times someone may have looked at me and thought I was an angry person that would kick their ass in a minute.  Now to be completed honest and fair, back in the day I was not always the nicest person in the world.  I had what some would describe as a “bad attitude” and I was a bit of a “Debbie Downer.”  And I take full responsibility for that.  But I’m a totally different person from who I used to be.  I worked really hard to be a happier person for myself and toward others around me.  But do you know for all that work I did, I STILL have Resting Bitch Face?  Smh….

On a brighter note though, having Resting Bitch Face probably kept me from having a lot of unpleasant experiences.  So that’s good!  I feel like I shouldn’t be solely judged because I’m not walking around smiling 24/7.  Who the hell does that?  You know damn well if I did, people would think that I was either high or crazy.  Before when I saw someone sitting alone minding their own business smiling for seemingly no reason, I would have definitely been leery of them.  I would have more than likely thought to myself, “Is that person up to something?  They are smiling way too hard over there and they’re sitting alone.  I better get out of here.”  I know it isn’t right, but that’s what I would have been thinking.  Deep down in my mind, everyone is the potential killer/ rapist.  Weird thinking I know, but hey it has kept me alive and well so far.  I attribute this to watching and listening to far too many true crime shows and podcast.  But seriously though, it’s perfectly ok to be cautious.  But I was judging someone in the way that others judged me. And that isn’t right.

I currently work as a Teacher’s Assistant for a living until my successfully (and very profitable) writing career takes off.  I have to say children never think I have Resting Bitch Face.  Not that they would know exactly what that is, but they don’t judge me on my lack of a happy facial expression.  They usually just see another person that they can talk too about whatever is on their minds.  Children are extremely comfortable around me. I even have children in public places start talking to me without any motivation from me to do so.  I once had cute little girl start a conversation with me in a ladies line bathroom.  I’m sure to the adults around;  I may not have looked like I was interested in talking.  But she didn’t see that.  She saw a person that she wanted to talk to about her Little Mermaid shoes her mother bought her.  And that was the best.

Since I’ve discovered that I suffer from RBF, I do my best to be mindful of it.  Sometimes though, I can’t help it.  I get lost in my own thoughts of things I have to do or want to do. And my facial expressions (or lack thereof) get away from me.  That doesn’t make me not a nice person or unapproachable.  It just means I have a lot of things on my mind at that given time.  So next time you see someone who may suffer from Rest Bitch Face, don’t judge them too quickly.  There may be nothing at wrong with them at all.  For all you know, they could be thinking about how much they really want a taco.

My job: I like it….but mostly I hate it.

Let me first start off by saying this: I feel BEYOND blessed to even have a job that I am slowly growing to hate. (Ha! Ha!)  A lot of people (including myself a number of years ago) who are unemployed would love to have a job period even if it was one that they loathed.  You ever had a job that you use to enjoy, but going there now is almost as unpleasant as going to the dentist for that filling you’ve been putting off?  Yeah, that’s me now.  I currently work a job in the education system that I actually use to enjoy.  It has since become a damn near daily, unpleasant experience.  I work with children ages 4 to 5, and for the most part they’re super cute.  But there’s always that one or two that make you question why you do this job and how you can get your tubes tied ASAP.  I don’t have kids and working this job has set that in stone for me.  (Ha! Ha!)  I try to focus on the kids that are enjoyable to be around and not the ones that if they were adults, would have gotten cussed out by now.  (Ha! Ha!)  I always said that I had more patience for kids than adults. A few kids that I work with now have me thinking that that may no longer be the case.  My patience level has be dwindling rather quickly this school year.  We are only about two months in and I’m like, “How many days until summer break?”

I try to put a positive spin on the current problem children….Oh who am I kidding?  It’s just one kid that drives me crazy.  So let me rephrase that.  I’m trying to put a positive spin on the current problem child that I have to interact with daily.  Maybe this kid was put into my life to teach me more patience for things I can’t control.  And trust me, short of me getting super stern with this kid (basically going black momma and if you don’t know what that is ask a black friend to explain, Lol) or completely ignoring them (They hate that, but it works.  Eventually they settle down and do whatever is I’m telling them to do) they are uncontrollable.  And honestly I don’t want to control this kid, or any of the others.  But what I do want is for them to follow the rules of the school (that they clearly know by now), be safe and do what you’re supposed to do.

You’re probably reading this and thinking two things:
“Why does she work with kids when it sounds like she doesn’t like them? They’re only four years old.”

To answer your first thought, I like kids.  But what I don’t like is disrespectful, rude, smart mouth kids.  And two, I know they’re four years old and can’t always control their thoughts and emotions sometimes.  But when I tell you to do something, and you look at me and smile while NOT doing what I just said to do, we have a problem.  And that’s the type of stuff that this kid does.  And that’s what makes me loathe going to work every day.  I’m sure that whatever is going on with this kid has zero to do with me and everything to do with what is happening at home.  Or not happening at home aka no discipline.  And I try to be mindful of that as often as possible.  But when a four year old is yelling in your face that they aren’t going to do something AND calling you a liar, that isn’t always easy to do. (Takes deep breaths and remembers to mediate later.)

Just know that if you are feeling the same way about your job as I do about mine, you are not alone honey. There are plenty who feel the same way we do. So until this blog takes off the way I envision, my first novel gets bought by a publishing house, my name appears on the New York Times Best Sellers List, I’m making TV and bookstore appearances and the money that I want for my art/ writing comes flooding in, this is my job. Love it or hate it.

Why do black people die in scary movies when in reality we don’t investigate shit?

In the majority of scary movies where there is a black actor in it, rest assured they are dying at some point.  And sometimes before the credits even roll!  To me it makes absolutely no sense what so ever.  I’m not saying this because I am black, I’m saying this because it is a fact.  Not for nothing but when have you ever been around a black person, heard a strange noise and had them say, “What was that? I’m going to go check it out.” Never. At best you might get a,”What the hell was that?”  We know that whatever the hell that noise was, it’s a good indication that we need to go in the opposite direction.  I remember one time when I was a teenager hearing a loud bang in the middle of the night coming from the kitchen.  It woke me up out of my sleep and I wasn’t sure what to do.  Do I check and see what it is or pray for the best and take my black behind back to sleep?  Seeing as though it was only my mother, my little brother and I in the house at the time, I chose to do what people do in movies….. I went to investigate. Now mind you, I only did this because my little brother was in the house and I felt it was my job to protect him.  If he weren’t home and it was just my mother and I, she would have been shit out of luck cause I would have run off and left her to fend for herself if someone was in the house.  Ha! Ha!  Just kidding, but I digress.  I get up and grab this super huge wooden post I kept near my bed.  I quietly opened my bedroom door and peaked out.  I looked in on my brother whose room was just to the left of mine, and then I headed down the hall to the kitchen.  I had that bed post perched on my right shoulder like a baseball player ready to hit the home run to win the World Series.  I get to the end of the hall which is the entrance of the kitchen and turn the light switch on.  I was fully prepared to do some serious damage to someone.  I discovered that the dishes that were left in the rack had somehow fallen into the sink.  I never felt so relieved in all my days.  I say all this to say, for the most part we (black people) don’t investigate anything unless a loved one maybe in danger.  And how many times have you come across a scary movie where the black person in it goes to investigate a noise to protect a loved one?  Hardly ever!

Comedian Cedric the Entertainer has a joke where he says that if there are a group of black people standing together and one of them takes off running, we all running.  He said we don’t have to know why we are running, we are just running.  Then he ends the joke by saying, “Man, why was you running?”  And the other guy answered, “I thought somebody was coming.”  Ha! Ha!  Obviously whatever is going on over there is none of our business and we are out of here.  Now don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.  I’m not saying black people are a bunch of punks who can’t defend themselves.  We will kick ass if that’s what needs to happen.  I gave an example of me willing to do just that.  But in the movies where they are boogie men, human killers, ghosts and supernatural things, we are running.  We are getting as far away from that situation as the legs God gave us will carry us.  So Hollywood, if you’re going to cast black people in your scary movies please take note.  Black people sense danger, recognize the danger and we leave the area immediately.  We are not noisy enough to die like the characters you cast us in scary movies to be.  We don’t investigate sh*t.