Fearless Friday 6.12.2015 (The Bawse Follower)

I like to think I'm the leader when it comes to this one, but sometimes I don't know...

I like to think I’m the leader when it comes to this one, but sometimes I don’t know…

It takes courage to follow.

Everybody knows that it’s great to be a leader. We applaud leaders for their vision and courage, but like Derek Sivers talks about in the TED talk below, starting a movement is really about the first follower. A leader isn’t a leader if no one is following. Once that first follower believes in the leader’s vision and jumps on board, the other followers come soon after.

Know that there’s nothing wrong with being a follower when you’re trying to create change or do something positive. Sometimes we might want to get involved with something, but our ego tells us that we don’t need so-and-so to show us how to do something or we want to do our own thing instead of having to compromise with someone else’s way of doing things.

This concept makes me think of how there are almost too many churches to count within a 5 mile radius of where I live. I wonder how much more effective they would be in having a major presence in the community if people united together as one body to start a movement. As the saying goes, “too many cooks spoil the broth.” Just my 2 cents.

Following humbles us and forces us to put our egos in check so that we can be leaders ourselves. On this Fearless Friday, have the courage to follow a leader for the sake of a great cause. Then tell me about it in the comments or on Facebook 😉

 

Fearless Friday 6.5.15 (Being About It)

dunes with quote
I’m declaring this summer to be the summer of “not just talking about it, but being about it.” Not to be confused with being “bout it bout it” because that’s something completely different.

So I told you all about how I enjoyed the lotion-making class I took at Magalie Naturals last weekend and about a bunch of the stuff I learned about the lotion-making process and various ingredients, but I did not dish on all of the emotions that surrounded the whole ordeal. You may say, “Okay…so you went to a lotion-making class, what’s the big deal? You want a cookie?” But, it was a big deal for me because I almost didn’t go.

When I stumbled on the class by doing a google search, I was excited, but only put the class on my radar. I had to let the idea marinate for a few days, do chores around the house, watch Game of Thrones, google a bunch of random things, then assess my financial situation to see if the $35 for the class was manageable. Seriously, for some reason I came up with a bunch of excuses why I couldn’t or shouldn’t go to that class. Who’s going to babysit? Who’s going to go with me? Will I be the only person of color there and feel awkward? A few days before the event, I simply told myself that I would do it. I would go alone and expect to have a great time and learn a lot of new things. And whatdoyaknow? That’s exactly what happened.

Sometimes we, by “we” I mean “I,” can psych ourselves out of doing something for no other reason but that it’s something we’re not used to–it’s an unknown situation outside of our comfort zone. Well, I’m tired of staying within my comfort zone. I’m tired of telling myself black girls don’t do [insert the blank] or I can’t do [insert the blank] by myself. I’m tired of trying to stay within a box that has never fit me anyway and I’m tired of making excuses for why I can’t do new things. I’ve been telling myself that I want to make changes in my life and that can’t happen if I never change anything that I’m currently doing.

This is the summer of being about it–being about living the Popped Black Woman Blog Affirmation, trying new things, and meeting new people. So all of this should mean that I will be checking off a bunch of things on my 101 Things in 1001 Days list and have lots of stories to report back to you all by the end of summer! Guess I better get to planning 😉

Who else will be living positively optimistic & powerful this summer and not just talking about it? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook!

Fearless Friday 5.29.15

Happy Fearless Friday Loves!

I will just leave you all with a quote to ponder as you wrap up your fearless week…

Validation
This week I’ve been reflecting on the incredible feeling of power that comes when we truly don’t need other people to validate our choices. Some of us are blessed with a wide and deep support system that encourages us no matter what we do or don’t do. Some of us are lucky to have 1 or 2 people in our corner. Regardless of where we stand, there is unstoppable power when we have enough inner strength and momentum to plow forward regardless of other people’s opinions.

Happy Friday!

Fearless Friday 5.22.15 (Being)

Happy Fearless Friday Folks!

I would like to congratulate Dee from The Understanding of Dee blog for winning On Becoming Fearless by Arianna Huffington! Thanks so much Dee for reading my latest “Popped Books” post and participating in the giveaway! If you all haven’t checked out her blog yet, get your life together and see what she’s up to! I’m lovin’ her “30 Things by 30” series!

This week…

I’ve been thinking a lot about appreciating the tiny joys of life. I think my daughter helped me learn this.
london with her stick backyard
Right now, she’s really into sticks…more specifically, tree branches. I love the excitement on her little face when she finds a stick and how she just can’t stop saying, “Stick” over and over again as if she loves to say the word just as much as finding one.

The things that adults consider ordinary or even trash, toddlers find awe-inspiring. They appreciate the so-called “little things” and they live in the moment. They don’t carry the burden of obsessing over the future like most adults do.

Of course, there are times to put your big girl pants on, be serious, and take care of business, but I think that most of us could use a little more childlike wonder and joy in our lives.

I’ve been channeling my inner Little L this week, learning to just be…and be grateful; learning to be content in the moment and grateful for every part of the journey instead of obsessing over the next phase. It really hit me this week that if I don’t appreciate what I have at this moment, nothing else that I do or receive in the future will ever be enough.

Today…

Just be. That’s enough. There’s nothing wrong with striving and climbing, but it can’t hurt to stop and reflect on the view from where you’re at every now and then.

Cheers to being both aware and grateful for each moment, especially those with our loved ones!

Stay fearless…and popped 😉

Fearless Friday 5.15.15 (Okay to Not be Loud and Sassy)

Me and London Dunes with blog address
Happy Friday, my beautiful positively optimistic & powerful people!

This Fearless Friday, I don’t necessarily have a fear to share, but I do have more of a realization that came to me today after I found what’s sure to be one of my new favorite blogs, Sophistishe, via a post that I was reading on another one of my fav blogs, Dear Dumplin.

The professional lifestyle blogger behind Sophistishe is Sheena, who describes herself as “a free spirited mama, dreamer, and wannabe hippie.” She’s been in the blogging game for over 10 years according to her bio and it shows. She’s an ambassador for many brands and is clearly racking in the advertisement dollars. Her blog and the snippet of her personal journey that she shares in her bio are inspirations for me; they just make it abundantly clear that you can be yourself and still make your dreams come true…you just have to put in the time and work.

It’s a pretty simple realization, but for most of my life, I believed that I couldn’t be myself and still be happy or successful. I remember feeling like I was already doomed because I was born a girl. Too many times to count, my father would talk about how women are dumb, useless, and inferior to men. Even though he would sometimes say that I was the exception, I still felt like I would never be good enough in his eyes. Clearly, he had some personal issues going on that began long before I was born that created that type of misogyny, but that didn’t make it any easier to ignore, especially as a young girl.

Whether it was because of my home life, my natural disposition, or a mixture of both, I’ve been introverted plus extremely shy and self-conscious for most of my life (fyi not all introverts are shy and self-conscious). Even though I’ve always known (even if I didn’t know how) that it’s possible to build confidence and self-esteem, it’s been harder to let go of the belief that my  natural tendency to listen more than speak and observe before jumping into the action was a major handicap. After all, it seems like we live in a loud-spoken, fearless person’s world. Although I’m amazed at how far I’ve come in being more confident, assertive, and self-assured, I don’t think I’ll ever be an Oprah Winfrey. I don’t have that natural confidence and boldness that just exudes from everything I do without trying. I have to continually work at it…hard. blog address

On top of all of that, I’m far from the typical girly girl. I can’t remember the last time I had my hair and nails professionally done (I’d LOVE to, it’s just not a priority) and shopping is definitely not one of my favorite activities (because of other childhood trauma lol). Better yet. I’m far from the stereotypical black girl. As I more than hinted at earlier, I’m far from loud and sassy–well, I guess I am a little sassy once I let my guard down ;).

Yet, even with all of my calmly sarcastic quirkiness, I’ve realized that there is a place for me. There’s a place for everybody. Whether we are the “free spirited mama, dreamer, and wannabe hippie” like Sheena from Sophistishe or the party-loving professional who’s never seen without make-up and Louboutins, guess what? There’s room for all of us to lead happy and successful lives just by being the most confident versions of who we are. We all make the world go ’round. We’re all necessary.

Tell me all about any realizations you’ve had or how you guys and gals are staying fearless this week in the comments or on Facebook! Happy Friday my popped loves 😉

Fearless Friday 5.8.15 (All Funked Up)

It's time to get FUNKY, FUNKY, FUNKY...FUNKY, FUNKY, FUNKY.

It’s time to get FUNKY, FUNKY, FUNKY…FUNKY, FUNKY, FUNKY.


This week…

I’ve been funk-y. Not the I-need-a-shower funky or the Cha-Cha Slide funky, but the I’ve been in a funk funky.

Over the past week, I avoided blogging like the plague. I was afraid of writing something that revealed the dejected frame of mind I’ve been in. I haven’t been nearly as positively optimistic and powerful as I would’ve liked to have been. Instead of dealing with my feelings, I’ve been using TV as a crutch—binge-watching Game of Thrones and wondering why I couldn’t find a bottle of wine in the house when I needed one.

My funk made me avoid reflection at all costs. I just wanted to stay distracted. But, I knew that I couldn’t keep running. I had to take the first step and at least acknowledge that the funk exists and it has to go. I can’t be funky and fearless at the same time.

The funk has not gone away, but now that I have acknowledged it, I have to reflect on it. The thing is, I can’t pinpoint what caused this funk of mine; it just feels like all of my past fears and frustrations have come back to visit me. I just feel stuck and I have no idea what to do to get out of it.

At least part of this funk has to do with mapping out my next steps; my 4-5 year plan. I felt like I was starting to get some clarity over my purpose and the direction over my life earlier this year. Now, I feel clueless again. (I swear I’ve been having a quarter-life crisis since I was born.)

Many of us have been trained to view life in terms of the stages of schooling. Once you graduate 8th grade, you move on to high school. Once you spend 4 years in high school, you spend the next 4 years in college. After that, unless you stay in school forever, life doesn’t follow a strict 4 year plan. It’s up to us to map out our journey from there, which can feel liberating but downright frightening as well.

I’ve been struggling with mapping out my own plan. Over the last few years, it seemed that once I started on one plan, reaching goals and milestones on the way, I started to second-guess the entire plan and create a new one. Part of the problem may be that I’ve been searching for THE plan as if there is only one that is the right one. Sometimes I start to think that there is no right one, but then I look around and some people seem to just know THE right plan for them.

Today…

I choose to take action steps to get out of this funk so that I can set some goals for the next few years. (Hey, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail or so they say.)

1. Get back on track with my blogging schedule. Blogging/writing is the one thing that makes sense when so many other things don’t.
2. Stop peeping over fences and comparing the neighbor’s grass to mine. It will always be a different shade, which doesn’t mean it’s better.
3. Pray and reflect. I have to be still and in a positive state of mind in order to draft a new plan. I have to understand that it will need to be edited from time to time, which is OK.
4. Enjoy the moment and the journey. This moment is all that is guaranteed.

Tell me about your week and any funkiness you’ve experienced. How’d you get out of it? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook. We gotta keep it popped no matter how funky we feel 😉

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Fearless Friday 05.01.15 (Speak Up)

This week I was afraid of…

Speaking my mind and voicing opinions that may be unpopular.

I’ve heard before that there are two things that you never discuss in polite conversation: politics and religion. These two topics can be very divisive. I think part of the reason for this is because our thoughts on these topics reach down to the core of who we are. These topics tap into our personal experiences, perspectives, worldviews, and the issues we care about. Listen instead of Talk Quote

Arguing about hot-button issues never seem to do any good. Either people don’t want to engage in these types of subjects or they are so entrenched in their own beliefs that they stop listening to those that think differently from them. When engaging in debates about issues we care about, we often focus on our next rebuttal instead of listening and seriously considering what was just said to us–at least I know that I can be guilty of this.

Sometimes, I’m afraid to really touch on those unpopular topics whether it’s on this blog, on my personal Facebook page, or in person with someone I care about that feels differently. Even though I love a good debate, sometimes I still feel like that little girl on the playground that can’t stand confrontation.

Today I remember…

It’s important that we tackle the hard topics if not for any reason but to learn how to empathize with those that have different perspectives than us. I don’t think any topic or political issue is more important than loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Whether or not my opinions are popular or unpopular, it is my duty to voice my opinion. Positive change doesn’t occur by accepting popular opinion or the status quo without question. Yet, we all must remember that it’s even more important to listen than to speak.

Let me know your fears and how you conquered them this week! Share in the comments or on Facebook. As always, stay popped 😉

Fearless Friday 4.24.15 (Don’t Let Your Past Limit Your Future)

It’s Friday! It’s Friday! You guys and gals know what that means…It’s FEARLESS FRIDAY!!! Turn all the way up!

Since I already addressed some fears/concerns/things I’m working on this week in my last post, “The Chubby Tummy Chronicles,” this post will be short and sweet.

On this Fearless Friday…

Do not let your past make you doubt that there are amazing things awaiting you in your future.

Last May, my family and I took a very local trip to Gary, Indiana to visit the home where Michael Jackson and his siblings grew up before the Jackson Five signed their first major record deal with Motown Records in 1969.

Michael Jackson grew up in a 672 square foot house with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom with 8 siblings. His father worked for a local steel company and a local food store. His mother was a homemaker.

Michael Jackson is recognized as one of the greatest entertainers of all time. His siblings have their own share of fame and success.

Why can’t you pursue your dreams regardless of where you came from–regardless of the hand you’ve been dealt? I truly believe that life is not about where you came from, but about where you’re going. And where you’re going starts in your mind.

Be fearless.

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Fearless Friday 4.16.15 (We’re All Good Enough)

Source: Rosie the Blogger by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com, after J. Howard Miller, 3/9/09 via flickr

Source: Rosie the Blogger by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com, after J. Howard Miller, 3/9/09 via flickr

This week I was afraid of…

Not being good enough.

I’ve really been on my blogging grind this week. I joined Brown Girl Bloggers last weekend and have been requesting friends, reading a lot of great blogs, and reaching out to other like-minded bloggers. There are so many phenomenal blogs out here that I wish there were enough hours in the day to sit and read them all several times. I’ve been inspired by so many twenty and thirty something women creating a name for themselves and making cash money from their hard work. They’ve shown me that it’s possible to use my writing to build brands, community, and bands (the type that makes some people dance).

But of course along with that inspiration came that green-eyed, snaggletoothed fool otherwise known as Envy. She took over my brain and put dirty little thoughts in my head. I don’t have as much style, talent, [Insert the blank] as this blogger or that blogger. I wish I was more like them.

Then after snaggletoothed Envy came her sister, Insecurity. What if these fantastic bloggers really do check out my blog? That would be great, but what if they don’t like it? What if they think it’s poorly written or even worse…just plain boring?

Today, I remember…

Instead of letting the fear that I’m not good enough permeate too much of my mind, I choose to meditate on the Popped Black Woman Blog Affirmation.

II. I am more than a conqueror over obstacles, anxiety, fear, and self-doubt. They will not prevent me from pursuing my dreams.

V. I will not compare my shortcomings or achievements to those of others. My journey is mine.

VI. I will only compete against the person I was yesterday.

If I keep working hard at becoming a better writer, encourager, and community builder, I can’t go wrong. Each post that I write helps me become a better writer and blogger. It’s not fair to me when I compare my success as a writer or blogger to someone that has been putting in work for years.

I just read a great blog post by PHAT Girl Fresh about the current Miss Jessie’s Blogger Book Tour. The entire post is great, but I especially love the short backstory on the Branch sisters. It took Miko and Titi Branch 7 years to transition from salon owners to owners of a popular hair care line. Then, it took another 10 years for their brand to be what is today, a household name for every natural-haired girl worldwide and popular enough for them to publish their success story. Even if you’re a natural gal who has never used their products (I haven’t), you’ve at least thought about it, or at the very least, heard of it. It took them decades to accomplish this. Again, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

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What were your fears this week? What did you do to become fearless? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook.

Fearless Friday 4.10.15 (Change Starts with Us)


This week I was afraid of…

The evilness of humanity and the fact that we are all capable of evil.

I’d been trying to avoid any articles or video footage of the Walter Scott shooting, the shooting of an African American man in South Carolina by a Caucasian police officer last weekend, but it became unavoidable when my husband brought up the incident and I couldn’t allow myself to run away from it any longer.

I first saw the news coverage of the shooting on a mute TV screen in the gym. I read the captions, but didn’t dare listen to the commentary. I didn’t want to feel anger, disappointment, and fear yet again because another unarmed person of color is dead at the hands of law enforcement. As the public and family of Walter Scott seek justice for what seems to be a senseless murder, the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been a hot topic in the news as well. Dzhokhar, the younger brother of the duo that committed horrible acts of terror by setting off bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon, has been found guilty of 30 charges and awaits sentencing of either life in prison or the death penalty.

When I think about the evil in the hearts of the men that carried out these crimes, my insides fill up with fear. I fear for the world that my daughter has to grow up in–a world where her life is of lesser value because of the color of her skin and where people use religion to terrorize others.

Today I remember…

There is no avoiding the evil that is present within each of us. In fact, we can look at Officer Michael Slager, the officer who has been charged with murdering Walter Scott, or Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and think that we are somehow better. We are not better. None of us are without fault.

Just yesterday, I felt a moment of fleeting hatred for another driver that cut me off on my way home from the gym. I wanted do every horrible thing imaginable to them for doing something that I felt jeopardized my life, but most importantly, the life of my 1-year-old daughter in the backseat. In my mind, harming that driver (or worse) would be justified for something as trivial as not allowing me to merge into a lane.

Imagine if my life circumstances were different. If I’d grown up believing that other people were beneath me. If I was sheltered from the realities of racism, classism, and sexism. If I was taught to believe that one race really is superior to all others. Imagine if I felt outraged that my people were unjustly persecuted by America. Imagine if I felt like I was at my lowest point and had nothing to lose. What would I do? (Not to say that I know the motivations of Officer Michael Slager or Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and definitely not to justify their actions in ANY way. Just trying to see things differently here.)

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I must remember that change starts with myself. There are no excuses for the injustices of Walter Scott’s murder or the Boston marathon bombings that altered the lives of hundreds of people. However, one of the things I can do is to not allow hatred to fester in my heart for any reason. I can try to become the change I wish to see. It’s not the complete solution for a better world for my daughter, but it’s a small start. By truly believing and acting like all lives are valuable in my everyday life, I can conquer fear by at the very least not being part of the problem. It’s just one step of many to fight injustice, but it’s something.

Share your thoughts with me and the Popped Black Woman Blog Community in the comments or on Facebook