Purple Rain

In August of 1983, I was probably only 3 months old but in Minneapolis, the artist known as Prince was recording the title track from his film Purple Rain that was released the following year. It would be several years later as an adult that I would first hear and fall in love with this song. Yet, it would still be several more years before I would fully understand and make the connection that I have with the song now.

During my undergraduate studies, I became great friends with a woman that I considered to be my best friend. She was like a sister to me and I truly adored her. She was the first to really introduce me to Purple Rain the film and we bonded over singing several of the songs and the title track of Purple Rain together. As our friendship went through ups and downs, I began to change and shift from all that I thought I knew to start of journey of true self discovery. Unfortunately, my friendship with her came to an end. An end that I felt to my core and that took me years to overcome. I felt like I walked through a divorce and not only lost my friend but my family. My mid 20s mind couldn’t grasp what my 30s mind knows now that relationships, whether friendship, romantic, business or the like, all have expiration dates. And whether I liked it or not, that relationship’s expiration date had arrived. And it had to end in the manner that it did for our paths to go the directions that they have.

When that friendship ended, I didn’t realized beautiful nor magnificent my connection with this one singular person was. It took an emotional toll on me that could only be soothed by Prince’s Heavenly voice and amazing guitar skills as he crooned Purple Rain through my speakers. I remember having the Purple Rain soundtrack on repeat for about six months, playing the title track at least once a day. I would ride along the interstate and sing at the top of my lungs, not understanding the raw emotion hidden behind each word I belted out. I was in my mid 20s and fully confused about my life, my path, and who I was.

Last July, one of my friends had the opportunity to attend Essence Festival. I had planned on attending but life knocked the wind out of me and I wasn’t able to. I remember telling her that if she was there, take a photo of Prince and if she could, call me when she started to sing my favorite song. Well, her phone began to die before he got to my song. However, she was able to record audio of him performing Purple Rain and sent it to me via text. In that moment, as I began to play the track, I felt like I was there. Standing and looking at the sound stage. As he started to sing, the tears started flowing from my eyes. In my moment, I realized what it was that I felt years ago. See, to me, Purple Rain represents that hope you had in another. The dreams you had in another. How failure has come in but you still want the best for them. And its because of the love, the passion you had in the midst of whatever it is you have with that person. And this freeing moment when you let everything go and just let Love guide you. That freeing “standing in the midst of rain while laughing” type feeling. That cleansing type feeling that rain can give.

You see, I cried when I lost the friendship that I held so dear to my heart but I cried because of the door that that friendship ending opened. I finally had to confront myself and free myself in order to be where I am now. I lost one of the best friendships of my lifetime but I gained myself and I could never make up for the loss, the hurt, the aftermath but its like, in that song, I was absolved of my sins. I was forgiven. I could move forward. I was cleansed and those that were close to me, that I felt that I had let down, that I had hurt, that I had failed in my promises with, well, they were cleansed as well and we both could move forward. Now, in moving forward, in letting go, it didn’t mean we may be moving forward together but we could both find that healing place if we let Love just wrap us and guide us.

And as I laid with the song on repeat, listening to the long guitar solo of Prince, I felt my heart beat, letting the last few bits of scarred tissue fall away and I realized how much I had grown. How much that in that moment, there were people in my life that loved me. That despite the mistakes of my past and my present, I wasn’t a total screw-up and the happiness I am seeking will come. I just have to let Love guide me.

So, find that song that truly connects to your heart strings, to your conscious, to your soul and let it propel you towards your healing space so that you can walk freely, guided into a higher space. And in doing so, hopefully if there is anything that you had been holding onto, you will have the strength to let it go and walk taller, stronger. More determined and able to have that peace knowing that your sins have been forgiven. They have been absolved in the Purple Rain.

Being Authentic Is Beautiful

When someone thinks of “authentic”, they tend to think original. Something that is not a copy nor fake. When I think of Authentic, I think of being original, being your true self. In the culture and society that we currently live in, people want to use the term “being real” to translate for “being authentic”. However, few people are truly authentic. Few people are truly “real”. Social media and reality TV have set a standard where being “controversial” is more important than staying true to your inner self. Being what the viewers want is more important than who you truly are. Putting on a facade, a mask, and being fake and/or a carbon copy of another is what will sustain and provide you happiness.

I had dinner with a friend Saturday and during the course of our conversation, we touched on the subject of relationships. She stated that she may be old fashioned but she doesn’t want to share of herself, of our body, of her spirit with just anyone to fulfill a pleasure. She wants friendship, companionship, and a life partner, a spouse. If a guy she meets is not willing to wait, then she is going to give him the deuces. She continued to state how our society has made “easy” the new attraction. How because men can find women who are willing to compromise, that many men are not willing to wait nor put in the work to get to know her even though they state they want a woman who is original, who stays true to her standards. Who is Authentic.

As I sat there and listened and shared my same sentiments, I had only one thought: Being Authentic Is Beautiful. My friend and I are in the late 20s, early 30s age bracket. An age bracket that a couple of decades ago, would be focused on settling down and building a life but nowadays is just focused on what others are doing and being “like them”. Society has strayed so far from what is “real”, that “fake” is seen as truth. As I listened to my friend continue to share about her desires and how she knows that she can get what she wants, I smiled because she could falter and become a carbon copy like many of the women in the city she resides but she made a choice to be authentic, to be her original self. I know that people look at her, at her natural beauty, and pass judgement. I know that people look at her and think that she must compromise herself on some level in order to have the things that she has. They look at her and believe her success is due to her looks and her personality but its her character, her desire to be Authentic as to why she is where she is. She is beautiful because she is authentic and Her Authentic is Beautiful. I applaud her for that.

As we were walking to her car, I noticed how men admired her and made comments but none of them she heard as we walked and talked. I laughed at their attempts to get her attention. She is so focused that she just doesn’t even hear them. Then a thought hit me; When you are authentic, when you are an original, your vision tends to get to a place where things that are unoriginal, fake, carbon copies of others just do not come up on your radar as you don’t have time to entertain the fake-ness and empty copies of the world. Some many consider a person stuck up/full of themselves but when an original becomes surrounded by copies, it runs the risk of becoming blended into the crowd and losing its originality.

So I say all of this to declare this: Being Authentic Is Beautiful, So BE YOURSELF. BE WHO YOU ARE AT THE CORE. DO NOT COMPROMISE. DO NOT LOSE SIGHT OF WHO YOU ARE. IF you do, then you lose because Being Your Authentic Self Is Beautiful. YOU WERE CREATED TO BE ORIGINAL. SO BE THAT! 

An Adult’s Guide To Running Away

running away

As a child, I can remember the first time that I thought about running away. I got upset. At this moment in 31 years of living, I have no clue about what. To my young mind, (I was probably 11, maybe 12, at that time), the issue felt like it was the world and I had the right to be upset. If I knew then what I know now.

So, I wrote this letter, telling my grandmother not to look for me and to tell my mother that I love her. That I was running away and I wasn’t coming back and to not look for me. I wrote it and I cried. Then I went to use the bathroom but left the note on the coffee table in my grandmother’s living room. She had the front door open as it was beautiful outside and that’s just how she was. Front door open. Screen door locked. My grandmother found the note before I could get out of the bathroom. She was outside in a panic. When I came back into the living room, the look of relief on her face stopped any and all further thoughts about running away.

How different would my life had been if I had ran away then. How blessed I really was as a child. Instead of being upset with me, she sat down with me, hugged me and asked me why I wanted to run away. I don’t remember the answer that I gave her but in that moment, I knew that I was loved and that my life mattered. No matter what else came my way, I knew that my life mattered.

As an adult, I have had more moments where I’ve wanted to run away than I ever did as a child. Its funny how the pressures of life as a child, that seemed so larger than life at that time, fail in comparison of the problems of adulthood. Yet, as I have weighed back and forth the various ways to run away. Even asking others to join in my childhood folly of packing up and just leaving to start life anew somewhere else, I have learned that the problem with running away is that the problems, the root cause of the symptoms/issues that you are having, they never truly leave you because you leave the person or environment that you feel is the problem. They are just the catalyst. The root cause is what truly propels you to want to run away. To be like Jenny in Forrest Gump and ask God to make you a bird so that you can fly, far far away.

Life, in all of its complex beauty, truly doesn’t want to punish you but wants you to realize that the only person who can change a situation is You. If you run away, you will continue to end up in similar situations until the root issue is addressed.

I had a long day that felt draining and challenging. I wanted to pack up some clothes, buy a one way ticket to Paris and start my life over. I wanted a refresh/reset button. I asked a very dear friend of mine if this was possible to do. Her reply, why not? So I asked if she wanted to run away to Paris? Her reply, One Day. In that moment I had to smile and brush off my shoulders from the dirt of my fall, then remind myself that I have to keep going because running away won’t push me forward but keep me repeating the cycle. Always thank The Universe for friends who are in-tuned with what to say to snap you back into focus.

My Adult’s Guide To Running Away is simple. When you feel the urge, admit it. Say it out loud. Even say where you want to go. Once you get it out there, then dust off your shoulders. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply and get focused back on the task at hand. Take small breaks to recharge and regroup. Don’t let the symptoms make you believe that leaving will solve the problems. Terminate the root cause of your issues.

LIVE LIFE!
You can’t LIVE if you are always running away.
FACE YOUR PROBLEMS AND ENJOY THE JOURNEY.
NAVIGATE THE FLOW OF THE CURRENT.
BE HAPPY!

WWE’s touching tribute to 8-year-old Connor ‘The Crusher’ Michalek

This is so beautiful and reminds you about humanity.

myfox8.com

Last month, an 8-year-old boy with a passion for WWE fulfilled a dream by attending WrestleMania 30 only three weeks before he would pass away following a long battle with pediatric brain cancer.

Connor Michelek first met his favorite wrestler Daniel Bryan back in 2012 after his family posted a video on YouTube. The two met and instantly bonded. They kept in touch over the next two years.

Fast forward two years to 2014. Before WrestleMania 30 on April 6, Connor Michalek and Daniel Bryan shared a special moment with all of the WWE stars. Connor interacted with AJ Lee, Stephanie McMahon and took out Triple H with a single punch.

After Daniel Bryan won his WrestleMania 30 match, Connor’s dad was hopeful he might see Connor.

“Daniel got out of the ring on our side and the very first person Daniel went up to was Connor,” Steve Michelek, Connor’s father, said. “He leaned over and said…

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Don’t Believe Me Just Watch

I enjoy all types of music. I fully believe that music is medicine to the soul just as much as laughter is. Some days I will be in a mood to listen to music that is uplifting and spiritual and other days I want to listen to music that will have me “crunk”. One of these “crunk” songs is Trinidad James’s “All Gold Everything” the Remix. The part that I like is where he raps “Don’t Believe Me/ Just Watch”.

That part gets to me because it makes me think of a conversation that I had with a friend. I was talking to her about how Actions speak LOUDER than words. Our conversation dealt with the words that people say and how many people want to hold someone to their words but never really examine their actions. I was telling her how one of the truest things a friend could tell me was that Actions speak louder than words and that my words didn’t matter if my actions always fell short.

I was telling my friend that this is how smooth talkers get into your life and manipulate situations because people are so focused on words. Words have power but your actions have greater power. Sometimes it is the silent actions that make the most impact. I can tell you that I love you but if I never show you love through my actions, then what does it matter? I can tell you that I am going to do the work and have done the work but if I haven’t produced the actual work, then my words don’t matter.

A person could say that they are committed to your marriage, to your relationship but if they don’t show their spouse, their significant other that they are committed, if they step out on them with someone else, then their words do not matter. This is not to say that you should not listen to the words of someone but you need to measure their words by their actions. A person should strive to make sure that their words are a reflection of their actions.

Life is a journey that is shaped by moments. What will you be remembered for at the end of your journey? Will you simply be known as the “big talker” and have little to show for it or will your actions blaze a trail that speaks for generations to come, way more than your words could ever do. Take today to focus on the picture that your actions are painting and then look at your words. If they are not lining up, stop talking and just let people WATCH. Then they will see and believe the truth that you have spoken over yourself.

Don’t believe me? Just watch!

Write It Out & Then Don’t Send

I have watched how the atmosphere at my current employer has shifted over the last year. I started over two years ago and was excited and a little apprehensive of the opportunity. It would be my first time truly working in Corporate America and I wasn’t sure if my lack of experience and professionalism would show. It was not my first full time job but going from the restaurant industry to internships with Congressman to public education to now working at a consulting firm in my actual graduate degree field was definitely intimidating to say the least. However, I committed myself to learning and jumped in. What a learning curve I’ve had as I quickly saw how this environment had been similar to previous positions I have held over the years. My willingness has always found me in jobs that I had no clue how to perform them and had little to no formal training on but I figured out a way to make it through and performed the duties to the best of MY abilities. It may not have always been the correct abilities but they were all performed to the best of my abilities. 

I believe heavily in training. If you want someone to perform a job correctly, you have to equip them with the right tools for their task. If you want someone to perform the duties of a Store Manager, then you have to train them HOW to be a Store Manager. You cannot give them a crash course and expect them to get the job as they go. I mean, you can do that but if you want the job to be performed at the standard level that the company expects, then some training has to be involved. I remember I once worked for a video rental company. They have not been in business for years but I was hired a second time by them to be a senior level customer service associate. When it came time for me to learn how to perform my shift leader duties, I learned how to close the store over the phone all in 5 minutes. I was grateful that I knew most of the duties already but some things you shouldn’t talk someone through over the phone. This was one of them but I did excellent and I became proficient to the level that I was training new shift leaders at other stores. 

Despite how well that situation went, I have had other “Crash Course” learning situations that haven’t went so well. My current employer is a prime example. I am the only one in my position. My position is somewhat a hybrid position. As I have worked in this position for a while, I have learned that I am not necessarily the first person to be in this position but I am the first person that may have the longest longevity in this position. I am a hands on learner and all of my training has been a “trial and error” type training. I haven’t complained but some times I feel you should have more direct involvement and with me being the only one in HR, its a little difficult to get that “One-on-One” that I have wanted since my first day. My supervisors work remotely and do not work a consistent schedule. Needless to say, it can be very frustrating to say the least. 

Over the last few months, I have grown increasingly frustrated with my environment. Normally when my mind begins to wander, I know that it getting close to that time where I have to sit down and evaluate where I am and either leave my current company or buckle down and get over the hump so that I can be the most productive employee that I can be. When I really feel that I am troubled and can’t make a decision, I will write out the pros and cons of my situation and then write a letter addressing what I feel the solution will be. In my current case, I drafted a letter of my resignation. I also drafted my responses for the Exit Interview. I wanted to get everything out of my system. Once I wrote these things out on paper, I saved them and stored them away. I felt better, lighter, free in a sense. 

Writing things out can help you place your emotions into the places that they need to be. My frustration and lack of motivation cannot all be blamed on my current employer. Yes, the environment has changed but until its that time to leave (which I know is coming) I have to put forth my best effort daily. I was so focused on my unhappiness that I was allowing it to stop me from performing my best. I was neglecting the fact that my faith in God states that I work for Him and not man. So, I have to give Him the first fruits of my labor daily and in turn, He will change my environment or change me and take me to a new environment. So, writing my resignation letter allowed me to get out the emotions but I didn’t turn in the letter. Have to have a plan in action before I do that. 

I have learned that you have to seek that happiness within and if something is hindering your happiness, it is either you or them. You may not have the perfect job but you should have a work-home life that is balanced. If it is not balanced, then you need to figure out how to make that balance happen. Sometimes it takes you writing it out but you don’t have to always mail it. 

Be Better

Walking with God takes a daily commitment. You have to make a conscious effort to simply “Be Better”. Sometimes I wonder what this whole “Being Better” really means….

One of the gifts that God gave me that I struggle constantly with is the ability to love and see people as how GOD created them to be. Not who they come across as being. Not who they think they are. But as who GOD made them to be. The person that walks hand in hand with who they are at their core.

Do you know how frustrating it can be to see who you truly are and then to have my eyes have to look upon who you currently “THINK” that you are and thus want to continue to be? Its maddening sometimes and it has caused some friendships/relationships to end. Having someone like me love someone like YOU at that level is frightening and I have had people walk away out of fear and others simply have to be yanked away because they abused this type of love.

For years I always thought something was wrong with me. I never understood why it was so hard for me when it came to love and many of the friendships that I thought were genuine to survive and then one day, it hit me like a switch had been turned on. Here I am, complaining about how people are treating me when my relationship with people is a direct mirror of my relationship with God. Here is the Divine One, loving on me and I am ignoring Him to love on His People the same way that He is loving on me. Yet, the difference between God and I is Christ. Christ covers God from seeing who WE THINK WE ARE and allows God to see WHO HE CREATED US TO BE. 

How beautiful and amazing is that?! Mind blowing right?! Who God created me to be is in tuned with God’s eyesight but I have to seek the ONE who died and covered me, to learn how to be able to walk this path. I guess it goes back to my original prose at the beginning, what does this “Being Better” really mean?

For me, Being Better means that I wake up and I consciously make an effort to Love not myself but Christ/God first. Making that effort to stop looking at my problems and thus look to the One who has the Blueprint to my life, I’m able to let the problems that I think are there to fade away from my view and I can build the only relationship that matters and that’s the one with my creator. For when I learn how to love the Creator, then I can love myself, and then I can love His Children without the frustration because Love is the Answer. And Love is the Key. And through Love, lives can change for the better and people can learn how to see who God sees…. it takes work but who doesn’t want better for their lives?