Category Archives: lifeLIFE

On Boundaries & Reclaiming My Space.

When I was invited to spend an evening with Marlon Wayans for the premier of his new show Marlon on NBC, I thought of every excuse not to go.

Excuse #1: For what media outlet? I haven’t touched this blog in almost 2 years. Who am I? I am no one.

Excuse #2: I’ve never done this before AND I don’t even know where the battery for my DSLR camera is. (because I’m too green to know that there would be a professional photog *facepalm)

Needless to say I went, and while I was there to create buzz around the premier of Marlon, It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t leave with a little life lesson in my back pocket.

I promise my mouth isn’t this big. Source: Alicia Renece Photography

Source Alicia Renece Photography

Source: Alicia Renece Photography

Me and Marlon! Source: Alicia Renece Photography

Those of us who relate to the world by sharing our stories, often struggle with boundaries. How do I balance sharing with y’all, and respecting people’s privacy like DJ Khaled taught me?

Marlon’s new self-titled show is loosely based on his life. It’s a family sitcom that offers a peek into the life of a divorced couple, closely co-parenting their children and still operating as a family. I took this opportunity to ask him how he sets boundaries when he’s developing his show topics. It was refreshing for him to echo the same concerns with his children and how they feel about him putting all their business in the streets. (In fact those seem like the only opinions that matter to him). My major takeaway from his response, was that you get a feel for everyone’s personal boundaries and act accordingly.

“I’ve made a couple mistakes, but you get to learn, ok–who’s sensitive and who’s not and you go from there.”

“I think everybody in my life understands who I am…My whole purpose is not to hurt the feelings of people in my life, my purpose is to extract the things that may be painful and turn those things into a smile”

And there it is. Dassit.

Life has a way of forcing you to sit still. Sometimes things happen so fast that you’re forced to just stand there and watch it happen. 2016 (and the first half of 2017) was a lot like that. Partly because I lacked the energy or inspiration to pull words together, partly because I just didn’t feel like it, but mostly because I felt conflicted about the direction my content was going in. 400-something days later and a drafts folder full of unfinished posts, I’ve realized that I don’t feel as guilty about being absent from this space as I think I’m supposed to, and it took that time away to realize that all of you come here because you like reading my stories. So I’m gonna write my stories.

My purpose is to share pieces of my life that inspire others and normalize parts of our lives that we think only we experience. Not only should I NOT feel anxiety about sharing, but I should share more, because every time I do, I’m making somebody feel a little more normal, prompting somebody to do a self-check, or showing someone something that I wish I would have known. And the responses that I get always let me know that it’s necessary.

Who knew a fool like Marlon Wayans could get me to feel comfortable enough to return to this space? If for no other reason than that (besides the fact that the show is hilarious) I’ll def be tuning in, I hope y’all will too! Check out the trailer below!

Tagged , , , ,

6 Things I’m Doing NOW to prepare for the New Year

Yes. It is merely November and I’m already out here yelling “New year, new me” for the 2016. Don’t get left in the dust! There is no better time than the present to start thinking about how you’re going to tackle the year. Here are some things that I’m starting NOW to make sure I sashay into 2016 on top!

1. Cleaning My House

Y’all know me. I’m messy. And sometimes ( many times) I let things get so cluttered that I can’t even think straight or feel comfortable and relaxed in my space. Next thing you know, the clutter is so overwhelming and it takes SO much to straighten out. In 2016, I want to work on my energy. That includes my living spaces. I want to make sure that when I get home, everything is peaceful and zen. Screaming kids are enough, I don’t need my space to scream as well. Feel me?

2. Planning to Plan

More often than not, I suffer from some form of analysis paralysis which leads to procrastination, all because I fail to plan properly. I leave everything in my head and try to unravel it later and, well…no…it doesn’t work. I spend so much time thinking about what I need to do, when I need to do it, and how I’ll do it, that I’m exhausted before “go time”. Not this year. I already said in my newsletter that I will be using a planner to get me right for the 2016. You know what they say: prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance…so we’ll see how that goes.

Get a new planner...and actually use it.

Get a new planner…and actually use it.

3. Taking Inventory

My clothes, shoes, email subscriptions, refrigerator, contact lists, EVERYTHING. If it’s not contributing to good energy then it must GO. That simple.

4. Creating Design Plans

We bought our house in July 2014. I’ve made the tiniest amount of progress on decorating, but my main problem? I just don’t know what I want. So I’m taking time to figure out what the heck it is that I want in each room, so that when I see it I can buy it.

5. Re-setting Goals

It happens to the best of us. We set goals, things shift and we lose sight. But that doesn’t mean that we can NEVER try again right? So I’m coming for everything that I didn’t carry out last year AND some more.

6. Highlighting the Positive

I think positive energy will be the theme of 2016 for me. With that said I want to try to make sure that I’m in control of my moods, emotions, and thoughts. One way I plan to do that is by dedicating some time each day to pointing out 5 positive things to focus on. I don’t want to let negative things take up residence in my space so, I’ll choose to focus on everything that is good.

Have you started planning for 2016 already? What are some things you’re going to focus on?

What are some things you’d like ME to focus on? Take the survey below to give your 2 cents on Real Life Actually 2016

 

 

Tagged , , , , ,

On Adjusting: How I deal with Anxiety.

So. I’m a mother of two now. And after three months of frolicking, in the summertime breeze with my husband and two kids, I started back at the J-O-B last week.

I didn’t even let month two of maternity leave set all the way in before the thought of going back to work killed my fun. You could say that the month of July was just one long ass Sunday.

I guess I just fell into a big worry-spell. I worried about how I would manage in the mornings, having to be at work at 7:30 after a night of no sleep with a typical 3 month old. I worried about if I would have time for the gym after work AND make sure there was a hot meal available for my husband and kids. Not that he requires or even expects that of me, but because that’s just something that I like to do. I worried about being able to supply enough breast milk. I worried about what my email inbox would look like after 3 months of not checking it. I worried about the state of my job. I worried about the cost of daycare for two kids. I worried. (I go into a little more detail in the newsletter…you subscribed?)

I’m a chronic worrier. To the point where there are physical effects. I get hot, breathing gets hard…it’s…a lot. I’m pretty sure I should be seeing some type of psycho-therapist and popping some Xanax. But I refuse to give in to this. (Or maybe I should smoke some weed…no? Ok, no.) Anxiety can be crippling.  But then I remember that I don’t have to let things consume me. Mental health is just that. Mental.

What is worrying stopping you from doing? Click To Tweet

By no means am I a therapist or liscensed to give any type of medical advice. And if you really think you should seek some medical attention, you should know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

There’s so many things you can do, to prevent yourself from going down that black hole of worry. Here’s a couple of things that I do, specifically.

Plan

How does the saying go? Prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance. Often, people stress about things because they didn’t plan. You need to be somewhere at 7? Give yourself enough time for traffic. There’s supposed to be 15 people at Sunday dinner? Cook for 25. You don’t have to speed and weave through traffic. You left early enough. you planned. You don’t need to agonize over whether or not anyone invites extras over for dinner. There’s enough food. You planned.

Be Flexible
Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. It’s ok. Recognize that. It’s ok to deviate from the original plans. You may find that its actually a better fit if you give it a try. And more importantly if things don’t go as planned, you kind of don’t have a choice but to deal. Being open to flexibility is the difference between bending and breaking.

Don’t Concern Yourself with Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda
Black ass bottom line: It doesn’t matter. What are you going to do about it right now? Everything else is irrelevant.

Adopt Unbotheredness

What is worrying stopping you from doing? If I consume myself with worry, then eventually I’ll need to go decompress. Decompress = laying in my bed, not talking to anyone and sleeping so I don’t have to think. But that’s unproductive. You could spend that time thinking about what you could do to make your situation better, and doing it. Skip the worry, do what you can, and toss the rest up. You’ll live.

and when all else fails…

Do Something Fun

Sometimes you CAN’T think of a plan, or CAN’T fathom anything other than what you planned, or CAN’T stop thinking about how you could have prevented something, or CAN’T shake the feeling of stressing out. Sometimes you just have to step away and come back later. I find that meeting up with my girls, hitting a happy hour, and acting like you don’t have a care in the world helps. If even for just those couple of hours, that becomes your reality.
The most important thing, is recognizing that you have control over your thoughts and your actions. And that’s ALL you have control over. You can’t control what anyone else does or says, you can’t control how people feel about you, you can’t control the weather, traffic, and sometimes, you can’t control the hair that grows out of your own head. But you can control what you do about it, and that’s what counts.

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Off the Record

In honor of my birthday, I’ve decided to give you, my readers, a monthly inside scoop on Real Life Actually. Because sometimes life gets a little TMI for the innanets. Because sometimes you guys ask me for secret recipes and I don’t just pass those off to ANY old body. Because I want you to be the first to know about any major announcements–and there will be. And quite frankly, because everything won’t go on the blog. But it can still come straight to your inbox real, unfiltered, and off the record. 

If this sounds like your steez–and I already know it totally is, then go ahead and subscribe to Off the Record. Promise you’ll love it! 

Tagged , , , ,

Because I Can Never Do Anything “Right”: A Birthing Story

I guess I had always imagined that when my water broke, there would be this dramatic deluge of liquid coming from between my legs. That’s how they show it on TV anyway. In reality, it doesn’t happen like that. Most people have it manually done at the hospital, like I did my first time. So color me confused when I began to feel liquid slow leaking from my nether-regions on a random Monday.

I don’t know why I couldn’t rationalize that I was in labor. Like…duh. I was two weeks out from my due date, I had already started nesting at home, and here I sit, at work clueless, waiting for the situation to resolve itself. Except it didn’t. I finally decided that my situation was getting a little too “liquidy”, and just maybe a little abnormal. So I drove myself to the OB’s office expecting to be checked out and sent home to rest or something. Instead, she sent me straight to the hospital. Do not collect $200, do not pass “Go”. As a card-carrying member of procrastinators-r-us, I didn’t have a bag packed or any arrangements made for someone to watch my son like a smart, prepared mother would, because well…me.

Three hours later, I finally make it to the hospital. I was able to relax for a quick second before my doctor and nurse came in and started explaining what was about to go down. Apparently I’d been having some pretty healthy contractions already. “Oh? Contractions that you can’t feel?” I thought to myself. This is would be easier than I thought!

You see, some of you may remember that I had an emergency c-section with my first, and I was adamant about trying for a “normal” birth this time–very risky, as is having several c-sections. So, to avoid complications, my doctor advised that I wait until I was 4cm dilated before I got my epidural. Piece of cake right? I’m already having contractions that I can’t feel, so getting to 4cm without pain med’s should be a breeze…RIGHT?!

But then…ohhh but THEN. She started talking some mess about me not being dilated at all.  The solution? A foley bulb. They attach a plastic balloon to the end of a catheter, insert that into your cervix and blow it up with saline, or water, or whatever they use. Sounds fun, huh? Not only did that process feel like hell, but Helllloooo contractions! *waves* I can feel you now! AND I can’t even get an epidural until this ball has stretched my cervix to 5cm and it falls out on its own. So I sucked up the pain for the rest of the day…and overnight…and well into the next day until the bulb fell out.

This is a foley bulb. Use your imagination.

This is a foley bulb. Use your imagination.

I was so relieved to finally be cleared to get an epidural, that I almost didn’t notice I wasn’t in pain anymore! I considered asking for the epidural anyway as a precaution, but hubs coached me to continue “thugging it out”. The pain had subsided anyway, so I tested my gangsta and held off, because I’m trill like that.

But THEN, they started me on a Pitocin drip. And this is where it got real. Pitocin is a drug that basically makes your contractions stronger so they can be more effective. Part of the reason I had to get a c-section last time is because my contractions weren’t strong enough to progress me past 8cm. You can’t push until 10.

Anyway, the pain drastically increased, but I thugged it out like hubs said, until it became unbearable. I quickly traded my gangsta credentials and asked for my epidural, complete with my own button to push when I needed an extra dose of it. All was well…for like 15 minutes until the pain slowly crept its way back in. Y’all. When you get an epidural, you’re not supposed to be able to feel anything from the waist down. I knew something was wrong when I could still feel my legs, not to mention those damn contractions. So I asked epidural guy to come back and he did, armed with another dose of epidural straight into my back. I wait and wait for the pain to go away and for the sensation in my legs to disappear. It didn’t. Guys…GUYS. My epidural wasn’t working and the pain was kicking in.  And guess what? The doctor said I couldn’t have another one. By this time, I’m like 9cm. 1 more cm to go. I had to quickly come to terms with the fact that I was about to complete my birthing experience without effective pain meds. Cute. Sure people do it all the time, but I hate it had to be me.

Maybe 30 minutes later I let the entire floor know that I was ready to push. The doctor finally comes in and is basically like “Ok girl,well prop your legs up and push.” Just like that, huh? Did I tell y’all my epidural wasn’t working?

Anyway, I pushed for about 5 minutes and out popped Monroe and that was that. And no I didn’t poop on the table, you nasties. Now give me my gangsta cred back.

That's all folks!

That’s all folks!

 

 

Tagged , , , , ,

“Morning Sickness Isn’t Just in the Morning”, and Other Pregnancy Lies.

So if you’ve missed my subtle social media hints, I’m about 5 months into the process of becoming a mother of two. Yup! I’m pregnant!

Baby #2

Baby #2

At currently 2 years post baby number one, I have to admit that I felt the slightest tinge of jealousy seeing other women basking in their pregnancy glow and getting all the attention. Looking back, pregnancy was such a fun time. I felt like a goddess and could wear whatever I wanted because, who gon’ check me boo? That super tight unforgiving jersey knit maxi? The one that usually puts your little “pooch” on display? That was my preggo uniform complete with side of belly, boobs and booty.

I would often think back to the royal treatment I remember getting. Once, Nordstrom employees bought out a chair and bottle of sparkling water for me while my husband was shopping. I also got to skip to the front of those crazy lines at the last Presidential election. The incessant compliments of how gorgeous and glowing I was didn’t hurt either.

Now that I’m doing this again, I realize that I’d been looking through rose-colored lenses. Pregnancy is beautiful thing, but it also sucks sometimes — actually lots of times. Here are some times in particular that my body has so conveniently reminded me of the second time around.

Baby #1

Baby #1

Morning Sickness

Whoever coined this term had to have been…idk high or something. First, let’s get one thing straight. Morning sickness is really “when and however long I damn well please” sickness. Personally mine would begin in the morning and camp out all day or resurface when the spirit so moved it. A condition typically reserved for the first trimester, (first 3 months of pregnancy) I found that this time, the”morning sickness” lingered until the end of month 4…which is a long time in preggo. Random bouts of nausea, food aversions, and not being able to brush your teeth without gagging is really not the move. When I say food aversions? I mean, the mere thought or smell of a food can send you into vomit city. Not cute. Or fun.

Eating for Two

Are you hungry for two? Certainly. Preggo hunger is the most intense hunger you’ve ever felt in your life. So why not just eat right? No. Part of what makes it cruel and unusual punishment, is that your tummy is now filled with baby and amniotic fluid, and your organs are rearranged to accommodate your new guest. So your stomach? Yea, not much room to expand. While you may be starving, you take two bites of that cheeseburger your new dependent so violently demanded that you eat, and you feel like your stomach is now in your throat and could combust at any given second. No relief in sight until you expel all bodily waste, aka anything that isn’t your baby. Any fart, poop, pee, or burp must go IMMEDIATELY. Speaking of pregnancy farts — you know how people say “it smells like something crawled inside of you and died”? I’m pretty sure something crawling inside of you and living, is 10 times worse. That’s how bad they are. Oh, and there’s also heartburn.

Everyone loves Pregnant Women

Well, this isn’t exactly a lie. People are really nice to you, especially at the beginning of your pregnancy. Everyone wants to know how you’re feeling and if you need anything. There are also those really sucky people too. The people out there who are wondering why it is, that pregnant women need to rest so often or need priority when there are seats around or why it’s any of their concern. I’ve even heard people say things like “It’s not my fault she’s pregnant”  — which, no it’s not your fault, but just saying. I prob need to sit more than you do now. Being that my lungs were ousted from their rightful spot, and are now competing with my intestines, heart, kidneys, liver, and sack full of baby (which as you could imagine, makes it really hard to breathe). Also, my stomach is really heavy so I can’t stand for long periods of time because my equilibrium is off for some reason, and my stomach is hanging from my body so I need to like…rest it on my lap or something. But like me, you’ll soon find that no jaun kerr.

Oddly enough, the rudest behavior I’ve experienced while pregnant was from men on the metro. I’ve had men push past me to get the available seats, I’ve had men shove past me, not caring that my skin and a little fat is the only protection that my baby has from their stiff elbow. I’ve even had other women step in to say “Excuse me she is pregnant, you need to move,” Or offer me their seat because a man didn’t. I’m not saying chivalry is dead but…basically people think its cute and great that you’re pregnant but nobody cares about your woes, B. Oh, and around month 8? Even your husband/boyfriend/baby’s father is going to get tired of you. Prepare.

What are some pregnancy myths you’ve discovered?

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

Unbothered: Easier Said Than Done

At some point during our formative years, we learn to develop thick skin. From lunchbox toting elementary schoolers, we’re taught sayings like “I am rubber, you are glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you” or “I know you are but what am I?” to empower us to not take things that people say about us to heart. By the time we reach adulthood, “not caring” has become a defense mechanism to protect us against our own feelings. But what if we allowed ourselves to feel? What if we actually acknowledge that things hurt our feelings, or piss us off? It’s so easy to brush things under the rug to the public as if they don’t faze you, but what’s the point in the façade if you still have to feel the feelings anyway? Why not acknowledge them and move on?

Over the weekend, a nasty, character assassinating comment from “anonymous” was waiting for me to approve in my comment bay. At first I thought it was spam and I almost flagged it and sent it to the trash without so much as a second glance. But for some reason my eyes lingered. I could feel myself getting hot and my hands starting to shake. This is most certainly not the behavior of someone who doesn’t care. Pissed is more like it.

I’m at home on a Saturday evening, eating my General Tso’s shrimp and fried rice, drinking that god-awful iced-tea served out of a soup container, minding my business. Here somebody is, all in my comments loud and wrong as hell about something that has nothing to do with me, is completely nonsensical, and not to mention, FALSE.

The easiest thing for me to do is act high, mighty, and unbothered. But the truth of the matter — and what many of us fail to acknowledge — is that sometimes you do actually care what people think about you. And that’s ok. No one wants false information spread about them. Even worse, no one wants people to actually internalize it, believe it, and in turn act on it.

It brings on this whole firestorm of other thoughts:

“I’m sick? The things you heard about me are sick? QUE? Heard about me from WHOM? Someone I’ve met and dealt with once? Someone with whom my only interaction has been an amicable, and what I THOUGHT was genuine hi and bye..ONCE? Ok Anonymous…Ok.”

“Wait…is she lying to add more venom to her comment? Or is someone really just using their imagination and creating interactions with me to share with their friends over a glass of Merlot? (let’s get real, it’s probably Moscato).”

Of course I won’t divulge all the details here, because that’s called being messy — at least in my world. But I think most of us can relate to being completely caught off guard by someone’s malicious intents, which happen to be loaded, cocked, and aimed at you. No, every negative comment hurled at you isn’t going to break you. Yes, its true that most people’s opinions of you DON’T matter. But there’s always that one that’s so ridiculous, yet comes so hard, that it actually breaks your thick skin. Call me crazy, but it just doesn’t sit well with me that there are these extreme falsehoods about me being put out into the universe to God knows whom.

Maybe if I were a completely soul-less and shitty person, these accusations wouldn’t sting as badly. But when you spend your time mostly minding your business and being especially careful to be nice to people, you’re not quite equipped to deal with hateful people. Its one thing to be an asshole and have people come at your neck for it. If I were in fact, an asshole, I would totally give zero f*ucks about someone calling me out on being an asshole, because duh. But no, I’m not an asshole. I’m not one of those people who pride myself on being rude or a “meangirl”. I’ve been over here frolicking in my little sunny flower patch where I don’t need an umbrella, and here you come anonymous, to place a dark rain cloud over my head. So uncalled for.

Society would like us all to default to how we “must be doing something right if we have haters” But I don’t know…I don’t want people to hate me. I’m not going to extremes and bending over backwards for people NOT to hate me. But the goal is being liked. I think that’s everyone’s goal — to be liked, or at least respected. For me, there is something starkly upsetting about the idea that there are people who have formed an opinion of me based on things that aren’t true, and are outside of my control. That’s what I take the most issue with. Hate me because I’m a bitch. Hate me because I stole your boyfriend. Hate me from a first-person interaction you’ve had with me, not because of something that someone else told you to make themselves look better or to justify their own…idk…agenda.

This is not to say that I allow comments from others to affect what I do, my self-esteem, or my self-worth. At the end of the day, I can only put my best foot forward. Anything outside of that has nothing to do with me, and I’m not wallowing in a corner crying about it. What I AM doing is acknowledging that I have emotions, and wondering why someone has so much venom towards me. But as the saying goes: One monkey (or bird) don’t stop no show.

Be blessed, or #runtelldat. Your choice. 🙂

 

 

Tagged , , ,

By the Skin of My Teeth: A Re-cap of my Life with Vision Experience

I spent my Saturday attending Dining with Bevy: Life with Vision. I’d been excited beyond reason since the moment I applied and Ms. Bevy responded letting me know that she thought my blog was funny, relatable and well-rounded. She said I was exactly the type of person she wanted at Life with Vision. I was floored that she actually read it, but more importantly it gave me a boost of confidence and reassurance that my blog was becoming exactly what I set out for it to be.

A friend from highschool, Andrea, CEO of Honeecakes Bakery, was attending as well. I couldn’t have been more thrilled that I wouldn’t have to travel to NYC and navigate alone. Even better: She had an Amtrak hook-up, costing me all of free-99. Apparently a family friend owed her tickets to NYC for her birthday, and she allowed me to cash in on them with her. (Thanks Drea!). Her connect scheduled us for an 8:10am train out of Union Station and all was well. Kind of.

We get to Union Station as the announcer is making the last call for our train. I still had no idea how we were getting on the train since we had no tickets. Out of nowhere, our connect appears, and I’m being escorted to the train with every door opened and every rope pulled aside. Apparently this connect is “the man” at Amtrak. Cool with me.

We’re walking down the empty platform and an employee enthusiastically motions for us to get on the train. “Get your ass on this train, because I will leave you” is the vibe I got. So we got our asses on the train. I look at my watch, and it reads a smooth 8:09. Had we arrived at Union Station any later we could have kissed Life with Vision goodbye.

Here begins our 3.5 hour ride to NYC. Which would get us to our event exactly at 12 most likely. I would have preferred a little more cushion time than that, but hey, I took what the hook-up-man gave me for free-99. During the long ride, Drea and I caught up, ate hummus and pretzels and played a game called “Heads Up” on her phone to pass the time.

Four hours and 15 minutes later *insert sarcastic smile* we arrive at the Greenwich Project. A cute little restaurant on W. 8th Street (food was amazing, btw). The moment I opened the glass doors, I was met with an eruption of applause coming from upstairs. “Yup, I’m definitely late” I thought to myself.  I couldn’t bring myself to feel flustered because that wasn’t going to change anything. So I checked in, poofed my hair, and headed upstairs to take my seat, hoping that no one would notice me.

True to form, as I stepped off of the last landing, I’m standing in the very front on the room, clearly interrupting Ms. Bevy’s introductory spiel.  ALL eyes were on me as she sashayed past in all her glory. I nervously scanned the room and immediately met eyes with Miss Lawrence from Fashion Queens, and Necole Bitchie.

Ms. Bevy telling us stories about her GOOD work

Ms. Bevy telling us stories about her GOOD work

“Hello!” said Ms. Bevy to my late self.

“Hi!” I energetically respond. No sense in being late AND shy.

“What’s YOUR name?” She asked.

“Chaunece!” I said with a smile.

“Oh well Chaunece, come on in and find your seat! You know what they say, If you’re going to be late you better look good, so at least you’ve got that down.”

The room explodes in “Yes Ma’am’s” and my embarrassment disappears.

I find my place card at a table full of T.V. Producers, Multimedia Journalists, Writers and Executives. I could tell she spent lots of time creating the guest list and choosing which tables we would sit at. Even still, I wondered what about me made me worthy of a seat at this table. I have to admit that I felt very small as the day unfolded, and I discovered what it was that made them all important.

“So Chaunece, what do YOU do?” I was asked by one of Ms. Bevy’s former VIBE Magazine co-workers.

“I’m a blogger” I replied, after clearing my throat.

That was probably my first time saying it out loud, and this table full of women actually sat and listened to my little old elevator pitch.

We listened to Bevy share her impressive career trajectory with us, and we asked questions of her to try and figure out how we too could dictate how our lives pan out, like she did. Ms. Bevy answered those questions with all the skill, knowledge and wisdom of a life coach, therapist, and clairvoyant all in one. She was quick-witted and could match everyone’s name with their business off the top of her head. I was so impressed by that.

Ms. Bevy and Necole after an emotional introduction (Photocred: @justkimonline via IG)

Ms. Bevy and Necole after an emotional introduction (Photocred: @justkimonline via IG)

The part of the day I was most anticipating, was hearing from Necole Bitchie, the guest speaker. I’ve followed Necole since 2007–the start of her career, and indirectly the start of mine. Seeing her succeed at becoming a blogger made me start PinkWire–my first (now defuct) blog. I’ve followed her in transition from Necole Bitchie, the entertainment blogger, to Necole–just Necole. Hearing her speak of her struggles and seeing her get in front of us, be vulnerable and cry real tears put a lot of things in perspective for me. It let me know that its okay not to have everything together or to even know which direction you’re going in–and that was important for me to hear. Especially from her. I’m glad I was able to pull Necole to the side, hug her and tell her a bit about myself. She totally made my day with how sweet she was. Couldn’t tell me NOTHIN’ *Kanye’ voice* after that.

As the event came to a close and people were handing out business cards to keep in touch, I was taken aback that people actually asked for mine, and marveled over how cute they were, and asked me questions about my life, and wanted to see pictures of my son. It was definitely a confidence booster. I even got a follow-up email the same night from someone who’s work I’ve read for years, saying that she’d checked out my blog and enjoyed it.

Myself and Necole--no Bitchie

Myself and Necole–no Bitchie

Everything was moving in slow motion as I was soaking all the amazingness of the day, when Andrea called out to me

“Hey Chaunece! 4:05!”

“Is that what time we have to leave here?” I asked?

“No, that’s what time our train is.”

I looked down at my phone for the time. 3:15. Of course. Can’t complain when you’re working with a free-99 connect though. I tried to soak in as much energy as I could before I had to whisk myself away all Cinderella-like. I gave a few hugs, extended a few more well-wishes, and just like that it was over.

We made it on the train by 3-fifty something–by the skin of my teeth again, and by 8pm, I was back in DC with yet another story to tell.

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , ,

Menace to Society

It’s about 11pm on a Tuesday night. One of the two nights per week that I actually get to sleep with my husband. Instead of  enjoying his embrace, I’m watching him sleep peacefully as I toss, turn, and incessantly scroll my twitter timeline to keep up with what isn’t being shown on the news. Straight anarchy. I’m sick to my stomach as I scroll past images of tanks, tear gas, side-by-side images of protests in the 1960’s with images from present day, and a lifeless body in the street.

“What’s wrong boo?” my husband asked, half-asleep.

“Nothing.” I said.

He’s not big on social media and he’d worked 16 hours on Monday and another 8 just that morning. I was sure he was oblivious to the goings-on in Ferguson earlier in the week, and I didn’t want to keep him up all night talking about it.

“Something’s wrong…you ok?” he probed again.

Something WAS wrong, but I didn’t quite know how to articulate it. In fact, I didn’t even know what it was that I was feeling. A combination of sadness, fear, anxiety and anger. But mostly sadness. As both the mother of a black son, and the wife of a police officer, I am sad, afraid, and angry that I have to feel those things.

Since he insists, I show him my timeline and he sits up in the bed as he too, scrolls though the blurbs and images provided by those who are protesting amidst the military tanks, rubber bullets, and tear gas.

“Isn’t that crazy?” I interrupted. “Those are the police doing that…It’s just crazy, you know? Especially now that we’re raising a black son…”

My son, at not even two years old is nowhere near able to understand what being a Black boy means for him. He doesn’t even know about race, let alone skin color. There will come a time where I will have to explain to him the meaning of the color of his skin and his Dad will have to teach him how to not look threatening, and what to do if he’s pulled over–not as a police officer himself, but as a Black man.

My absolute biggest fear is something happening to my son or my husband. Horrible thoughts run through my mind an irrational amount of times throughout the day, and this will only get worse as my son gets older. Old enough to walk to the 7-11 and buy some skittles, or old enough to be casually jay-walking down the street.

I worry about my baby brother in college in New Hampshire, hoping he never happens to look threatening to the wrong person, or hoping he never gets involved with the wrong White girl. I worry about my other younger brother here in Maryland hoping he never gets pulled over by the wrong cop. Hell, I even worry that my husband will get pulled over by the wrong cop, just praying that he knows not to reach too quickly for his wallet to show his badge, lest he be mistaken for “reaching for a weapon”. The badge that he carries in the pocket of his slightly sagging jeans, does not make him any different from any other Black man to those who see Black men as a threat.

And as of late, not only do I worry about him being a target as a Black man, but a target as a police officer as tensions rise and chants of “Fuck the police”grow stronger. I half-heartedly agree. Not that there should be a vendetta against all police officers, but there is something that needs to change when an officer is allowed to murder a child in cold blood, and then take a nice paid vacation as the entire state tries to cover up this injustice and fuel the fire for their terrorism. TERRORISM. Install the dash cams. Puchase the body cams. We need this.

Still, my heart skips a beat and my palms get sweaty as I scroll past images of picket signs calling for the blood of police in the streets. My husband is not a pig. He is a loving, compassionate, funny,  personable, father and husband. My baby boy is not a menace to society. Neither was Trayvon, or Michael, or Sean, or Amadou, or Oscar, or Eric or any other unarmed Black man gunned down by a police officer. I just wish I didn’t have to argue these facts, but I do, and everyday, my prayer will be the same–that BOTH of my men are able to return home to me.

 

Tagged , , , ,

Millenial Men on Marriage

Marriage. A golden word for some, a forbidden word for others. As society would have it, women are the only ones who obsess over marriage. The only ones who stay up at night wondering about their future. The only ones who want the 2.5 kids and white picket fence. Leave it to the twitterverse, and men are just not that interested in marriage.

But men are the ones who propose. The ones who essentially determine the fate of many of our futures in so many words — those of us who want to be married that is — Men can’t ALL have an aversion to marriage because, well…they’re getting married. So what is it? Why do people think that men in our generation aren’t concerned with marriage? And how do they really feel about it? I asked a few and here’s what they had to say:

Mr. Married:Dated his wife for 5 years, married for 2 years

Mr. Soon-to-be married: Dated his fiancée for 5 years, will be married this weekend

Mr. Committed: Involved exclusively for about 2 years

Mr. No-time-soon: Single

 

People place lots of emphasis on finding a woman who cooks, cleans, is a lady in the streets (you know the rest). But that’s not necessarily the case for everyone. How did you/will you know when YOU found “the one”?

Mr. Committed: There were many instances where I thought to myself “I think I found the one.” Cooking, cleaning, fucking hard lol … All that good shit, but there is one moment in particular that I always think of: We were laying down after a night out like any other weekend. She fell asleep first and I sat up watching TV as usual. As I’m falling asleep I hear the loudest pop followed by a never-ending hissing sound. I took a second and thought to myself… “Did this girl just fart under my covers?!” It sounded like a tire with a slow leak. Smelled like sewage juice. I didn’t get mad, I didn’t even care…I just laughed! I told her the next morning and we laughed through her embarrassment together. That’s when I knew.

Mr. No-time-soon: Although cooking, cleaning and being a freak in the sheets are good qualities, they’re standard and expected for any woman who hopes to one day become “the one”. Let Me explain. It’s like, when a woman goes on the first date with a man, she expects for that man to pay, correct? I think I will know when I find “the one” when I meet a lady that sticks with me through thick and thin ,and understands that I’m a man in progress if you know what I mean…a rider and back bone.

Mr. Married: I knew I found the one when she saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself. This made me want to be a better man. My wife’s values and morals played a major part in me choosing to spend the rest of my life with her. She is wise beyond her years when in comes to a relationship, honesty, loyalty, commitment, and love. The cooking and being my personal freak takes the backseat to those key traits.

Mr. Soon-to-be married: I think you just know when it presents itself to you. I didn’t think there would be a woman who would “cook and clean”, just because that’s not what I’m used to from women my age. Speaking for myself I really didn’t know what I wanted. I just knew she had to keep my attention mentally, physically and be a cool motherfucker (if I can say that). Life’s serious enough and isn’t fair, so it’s a blessing knowing you can find some peace at the end of all the madness. You do some crazy things when you find that person that hits all the right buttons.

 

On the days leading up to my wedding, lots of people asked me if I was nervous. Were/Are you nervous? What makes you nervous?

Mr. Committed: I don’t know if this applies to me Lol. But…I’m not nervous about getting married…and I honestly don’t know why. I probably should be lol

Mr. No time soon: Not married

Mr. Married: No, I wasn’t nervous at all. What makes me nervous is the thought of my wife leaving me. I know the type of man I would be if my marriage came to an end.

Mr. Soon-to-be married: I’m not really nervous at all. If I were nervous about anything it would just be having a spotlight on me on the day of the wedding. I’m confident in what I’m doing…I just can’t believe it. It’s surreal going through my daily routine knowing everything will be different in less than a week. I’m excited about the unknown.

 

What makes you believe in marriage, or not believe in marriage?

Mr. Committed: I haven’t always believed in marriage or even relationships for that matter. I now believe in marriage because I’ve seen it work. I’ve seen two people share a type of love that only they will ever know. It only exist between those two people. They created something only they could. That’s great to me. That’s something worth believing in.

Mr. No time soon: I believe in marriage because I think its sacred and God’s gift to Man… I think that most marriages are built on WORLDLY traits and as a result, they fail because the world is dark. So without getting too T.D. Jakes on you, build your marriage on the light and the light is none other than God.

Mr. Married: I’ve always believed in marriage, but growing up, I was afraid of it because I’d never seen what a “successful” marriage looked like.

Mr. Soon-to-be married: I was the one that said I would never get married. I was surrounded by failed marriages and men who preached against it. Now, at 28, and days away from getting married it’s a different mentality. It was a personal decision to make that commitment to her, not something that I think is cool. I’m blessed to have a phenomenal woman, who happens to be my best friend. I couldn’t see myself with anyone else.

 

It’s a popular idea that a man’s friends keep him from being committed or stop him from proposing etc. How did your friends impact your decision to commit to one woman? Did you/do you get any flack from them?

Mr. Committed: My friends have seen so many girls that I have dealt with, that when I made a decision to be with this one they doubted me at first. That kind of made me want to prove them wrong. When they saw how serious I was, I didn’t take any flack at all. They even accepted her to football Sundays occasionally.

Mr. No time soon: It’s only natural for a man to not want to be tied down. It may take a little while for his friends to adjust because they may feel like your taking their friend. I know if they’re your real friend, they will support you and love the woman like a sister.

Mr. Married: My friends never discouraged me to marry my wife. Yes, they have jokes about being with one woman and how they aren’t ready for that type of commitment, or that they can’t be with one woman. Those things didn’t bother me though because I knew what I had. I only get flack from my friends about not coming around that much since I got married. But my job plays a big role in that. I see them when I can and when we get together it’s like old times.

Mr. Soon-to-be married: I have friends that are happily married with kids, and others who are really living that bachelor life. I got slack from any and every man who found out I was engaged, but most of them surprisingly still had positive things to say. Having a mix of friends like that kind of helped, but I wasn’t about to ask my friends for permission to get married.

 

What are the challenges about your current relationship status?

Mr. Committed: Personally: The pressure to take the next step. We/ I’m reminded so much of what is expected and seen for us (me and my significant other), sometimes it’s hard to distinguish genuine feelings of wanting to do something from doing something because “it’s time” or it’s what’s expected of you.

Mr. No time soon: Not in one

Mr. Married: A major challenge about being married for me is time management. There are only 24 hours in a day. In those 24 hours I manage to squeeze in 2 full-time jobs, playing the drums on Sundays for my church, quality time with my family, quality time with my wife, and chill time with friends.

Mr. Soon-to-be married: Honestly, being a young, black, engaged man working in a super young and social corporate environment. I have to deflect slick comments, and the curious girl on the 26th floor daily. I pay it no mind, but you never know the reaction you’ll get when someone learns you’re engaged. Some think you’re a soon-to-be daddy, on death row, or your balls are in glass case somewhere.

 

Many people feel like you should wait until a certain age before marriage. Why do you think that is?

Mr. Committed: Maturity is more important than age. Age means nothing to me. There are some 35 y/o kids that got married. Probably didn’t work out. As long as two mature adults make that choice, age shouldn’t matter.

Mr. No time soon: I think you need to experience life before committing for life to one person…if you don’t you may wish you would have done things or worse — actually do the things you “missed out” on.

Mr. Married: I think that age has nothing to do with it, but your mind-set and maturity. Marriage is more than just getting some jewelry on your ring finger to show off to people. More often than not, people now-a-days see marriage as a fad, not for what it really is.

Mr. Soon-to-be married: There’s no perfect age, it’s more of a culture and maturity thing. Society is quick to label and apply rules to everything, but every culture looks at marriage differently. I think marriage is a sensitive subject and people don’t want see a young couple make a potential “mistake” by getting hitched too young.

 

Anything else to add?

Mr. Committed: Nope. I do like your posts. They’re very interesting. Shows me things from a perspective I would have never noticed. Say nice things about me! Lol