Bazinga! 39 x 39 – Day of Rae, My Blogaversary and An Announcement

Hi Loves!!

How are you?  Today is my birthday aka #Raeday!!!

Bazinga!!!!

Wooooh!  I’m thankful and excited.  I love birthdays.  It’s an honor and a privilege to see them.    *cue “Never Would Have Made It by Marvin Sapp.  It also happens to be my two-year blogaversary!!!  Which I can’t really believe.  From Rae with Love, the Little Blog that Could, is two years old.  It’s been two years!  So much has happened since I first began writing From Rae With Love.   Funny enough, I’ve only shared a handful of the stories with you.

In my very first post this time two years ago, I shared some lessons I’d learned as of my 36th birthday and then I wanted to share a few thoughts I had on turning 37.  This year, I am going to do something a little bit different.  I want to share 39 things I want to do before my 39th birthday.  Not only does the number of years I’ve spent on this earth astound me, it’s also interesting to see how others handle and deal with it as well.  I’ve been watching people who are farther(further? why worry) along on their journey.  Some of them are handling the aging process better than others.   Mostly I think many of us just weren’t mentally prepared for how the time flies.  Not to mention, according to so many others and the rhetorical bullshit that spews out of someone’s mouth, as we approach 40 that’s supposed to mean we’re old? I don’t buy into it.  I never have.  Aging and growing older (and hopefully wiser) is a beautiful process.  From what I can tell, it’s about how we each choose to see it.

I have a who shitload of stuff I want to do over the next year.   They haven’t been listed in any specific order.  Each of them is critical to me and the next year.  Without further adieu, here’s the 39 x 39:

  1. Use the mixer my mother got me last year – more..which means I’ll be baking, or making pasta, or grinding meat.
  2. Create a series of You Tube Videos.
  3. Submit these short stories for publishing in literary journals.
  4. Write the short stories I mentioned in #3.
  5. Relocate.
  6. Take more photos.
  7. Lose 20% of my current bodyweight.
  8. Purchase a DSLR camera.
  9. Create a short film.
  10. Write a script for a show treatment.
  11. Tour DC with my friends and act like a tourist.  [I’m wearing the colored protective visor and Tevas and shorts and shit]
  12. Increase my income by 50% + get a new job.
  13. Eat from 30+ new restaurants (read includes dives, mom & pop stops and food trucks – that’s where the best food is)
  14. Take a series of photos worthy for a gallery exhibit.
  15. Add 1000 new followers on twitter.
  16. Create a new series of blog posts.
  17. Bake from scratch.  [I owe a series of zucchini loaves to a very close friend]
  18. Cook 25 new dishes I’ve never cooked.
  19. Purchase and successfully meal plan around a crock pot.
  20. Journal.
  21. Buy new furniture that meets my actual home-style now.
  22. Build a home theater system.
  23. Create a logo for the website.
  24. Attend a writers workshop.
  25. Research (info, interviews etc), write and publish an article or podcast for a major publication.
  26. Get a tattoo.
  27. Participate in new twitter chats.
  28. Have a conversation with a published author I admire.
  29. Publish a series of stories on Amazon.com.
  30. Be consistently happy.
  31. Be less fearful of trying new things.
  32. Publish one blog post that scares the shit out of me.
  33. Be on a major panel as a guest.
  34. Live. Like really have more to tell you so y’all can be all up in my business.
  35. Be able to achieve certain yoga poses.
  36. Write handwritten letters and notes to my close friends and family.
  37. Sew three (3) new projects and create a few new pieces of jewelry.
  38. Him.  [Redacted No. 38 about Rae’s love life]
  39. Pray more.  Hear more.  See more. Be more. Love more.  [I cheated here but IDC]

Whew!!! There it is – my 39 x 39.  Doable?  Yes.  Now let’s see how much of it I can get done effective immediately.  It’s not just about a mad rush of checking things off of a proverbial list, it’s about living and improving my quality of life.   There are also so many other things I plan to do within this next year – like buy some skates and roll around the city!!  Which brings me to my next announcement…..

I need to take a creative hiatus (aka a creative furlough, a creative retreat).

Relax.  Don’t freak out on me and get crazy.   The blog isn’t going anywhere.  I’m not really going anywhere.  I just won’t be posting for a while.  For the record, I don’t exactly know how long a while means, however, I do know it will be through the summer.

When you have a personal blog, it becomes increasingly difficult to share certain things.  Hills, valleys, good news, life changes and events and whatever else may come along means life tends to take over.  Life has taken over which means, I need to just live.  That’s what’s most important.

I’m still going to be here.  You can still find me on twitter @fromraewithlove.  I’m on twitter daily.  Otherwise, catch me on the Facebook page for the blog or if you really need to get deep, you can email me at fromraewithlove at gmail dot com.  So see, it’s not really that bad.  I can be located.  I just won’t be blogging.

So you’re wondering what am I planning to do with all of the time I don’t spend blogging?  I still plan to write.  I have a number of writing projects I need to complete.  I have new projects that are just taking off, that I can share later this week.  I’m also on the Dr. Vibe show monthly.  A few of my blogging friends and I have started a series of Google Hangouts. In other words,  I’m still here.

I know I’ve slowed down in the last months.  That’s mostly been because I am at a crossroads as a creative, as a writer and as a woman.  I’m not in a space to post everything.   I also have so many other things planned for the blog, for my life.  So basically, it’s time to live and get some things done.  Where else do all of these wonderful posts come from?  LIFE.

As the good 39 x 39 list reflects, I have a lot of work to do, a lot of living[loving] to do and quite a bit to organize, shift and put into motion.

Check in with me.  I still need want to hear from you.  I love emails and tweets.  See info above….

BTW, I’m always watching.  Trust and believe.

Mother loves you,

Rae

How I Forgive Myself (Continually)….

Today, I had an amazing conversation with a sisterfriend I have been introduced to on twitter.  It came down to talking about forgiving ourselves for the mistakes we make.  For the wrong decisions and the consequences.  For the missteps we didn’t or couldn’t want [ to] see.  For the relationships.  For relationships that have imploded in our faces.  For the wasted time.

By the way, all of the things I’ve listed above, I’ve dealt with in some form and had to process over the last few years.  Over the years I’ve had to walk away from someone who I believe was the greatest love, I’ve had to watch another great love get married, I’ve watched them choose other women over me a few times over.

But it’s okay.

I’ve been mad at them but I’ve mostly been angry with myself. So now, it’s a campaign to forgive myself.

How?

  1. I realized most of the relationship decisions I’ve made are the result of chasing that great love.  Hoping I will find it.  I have seen it once for sure in my lifetime.  It seems I may have seen it thrice even based upon how things develop over the years.  But I had to forgive myself for dragging myself through all of the mayhem and allowing people to get over on me.  I allowed it.  So, forgiveness is granted.
  2. I decided/realized/am accepting (it’s a process) I am worth every bit of the love I desire and the love I give out. And the lack of someone acknowledging that value isn’t my fault.
  3. Value. I’m valuable.  Hello, my name is Rae and I matter. I am worthy and I am priceless.  It sounds like a stupid thing to say but go to your bathroom mirror and look yourself in the eye and say it five times and mean it.  What happens? Were you able to say it?  Do you believe it? Now go and say it again five more times.  You should believe it.  I wanted someone else to see my value (as in a man) and give that to me.  Only God can give that to me.  Only I can decide it’s really the truth.
  4. I decided to stop rescuing others and rescue myself.  I’m worthy of all the effort I put into other people (read men).  If he’s a fixer upper and not ready to commit, not able or willing to give me the things I need in a relationship, I’m walking away.
  5. I am turned all of the love I’ve given away and donated over the years back onto myself.  This one is key.  If you’re the type of person who’s always giving away your love, well, this is for you.  I’m donating to myself.   I’m writing my bucket list.  I’m not waiting.  Stop waiting for someone else to love you.  Give yourself the things you want.  Cross the things off your life list you most want to do.

I think forgiving myself is one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced.  It’s about not being ashamed of my choices, not being ashamed of my desires and the things I most want to do in life.  It’s about accepting all of the pieces of me so to speak.  How else am I am to share all of this with all of you?  Had I not fucked things up, so to speak, so royally along the way, I couldn’t share or teach.  I couldn’t relate.

And guess what, I’m still making mistakes.  That’s ok too.

Seriously, we have to get this.  If we don’t we remain in the SAME place for years.  Get past it.  Forgive yourself.  Also, by now if you’re reading my blog on a regular you know Jesus and I have a personal understanding.  So if He can forgive me and still want to relate to me, can’t I forgive myself and relate to me?  How about forgiving myself so I can realize I’m WORTHY of the life I keep thinking about, wishing for, praying for, working for.

Without forgiving myself, I’ll make the same mistakes over and over thinking I DESERVE what’s happening to me.  Hmmmm….

Take a minute.

Nope.

Putting myself in situations I think I deserve because I’m not worthy or because I’ve messed up so much.  Girl, bye. (talking to myself).

That the kind of man I want won’t want me.

That because I’ve got debt and credit blunders no one will want me.  You laugh, but Viola Davis admitted the same thing when she was dating her husband.

That my past will be an issue later.  Well, you know what?  If I forgive myself and have evolved into a better person, then why should I be afraid?

Y’all it’s deep.  We need to really get a hold of this issue.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t forgive others.  We should.  But a lot of times we’re mad at them and our self-anger gets projected to them when mostly we’re mad at ourselves for letting someone get over on us, hurt us you know?

Or at least I know that’s been me.  So now, I can just admit it when I’ve royally fucked up.  I try to make amends where and when I can.  I then may have to be upset for a while and that’s fine but I’m not going to sit around and punish myself. Listen, I have seen some of these men negroes I’ve dated forgive themselves for all of the mayhem and havoc they have caused in lives of others…why can’t I?

Why can’t you?

You can.  I can.  We will.
Love you,

Rae

For Those Ordinary People Longing to be Extraordinary

i am a regular girl.
no, no really I am
i mean i can get fancy – this make up, my love of wine, food,  art (in that order)
but I am a regular woman
phenomenally regular.
beating a consistent beat
daily
the bap bap bap bim bap bap bap bim
sounds of a regular and ordinary day
like the sound of rain beating on a tin roof
and it’s sound of comfort

i have longed to be exotic and amazing
to be noticed by someone special for how unusual I am
for people to “get” my vision
and the truth is, I wasted all that time
waiting
wishing
hoping

that someone would see me for the unnamed star, undiscovered
a burning white hot star
but we, the ordinary people are often the invisible ones
the ones that keep the lights burning
and the cars running
and make all of the visible, extraordinary people
extraordinary

but my ordinariness, is what makes me that extraordinary

that i shine silently, brilliantly, beautifully

even when no one else is looking

and that is the definition of character

who am i when no one else is looking?

i rather think God’s partial to the ordinary woman or man
blessings, honor, nobel movements, a fight for fairness, a call to arms, come through ordinary people who felt an extraordinary calling

for my parents and my grandparents, my great aunts and their mothers and fathers

all ordinary, everyday people

who were extraordinary to me and in their pockets of the world

but they planted the seeds of something extraordinary inside me

i thank you

i owe you the gift of causing extraordinary and divinely inspired shift & change in the world

even if it means I am kind to someone when they don’t deserve it

or just follow what you told me to do and fulfill my dreams

or maybe it’s that I’ll be that mother someday

or the wife

or just comfort those in need

or maybe I’ll just write

but I will be sure that you and all of those before you are remembered

and this is what happens when ordinary people discover they’re not really that ordinary,

and listen to the vision calling inside of them for excellence

 

be who you are

 

On Attitude aka Sometimes I’m Not Sweet, or Nice or Appropriate and It’s OK

I have been told no less than a million times (seriously) how I am the queen of being appropriate.   I enjoy doing right by people, making things right between folk (yeah – folk) aka reconciliation  and generally trying to do the right thing. I have a spirit of service and “helps” as the church folk like to say and you know, when I’m operating at full speed with all of this, it makes me feel like I am right on target and doing what I’m supposed to do.

But, sometimes, Sweet Baby Jesus, I fall short.  Lord knows I have been falling short as of lately.  I have been telling people about themselves.  Failing miserably at being all extra sweet and honorable.  And I feel bad about it.  Well, confession time – I feel bad about it at first!!!  And then I realize it’s perfectly acceptable.  Mostly because they had it coming.  Then I don’t feel bad about it. Because I’m flawed. I am human (with the exception of my mutant powers).   I don’t feel bad about it because there are times when you need to set boundaries.  I wished I had done this in my twenties.  Things might be different.  However, I maintain I am right where I need to be, in the exact place that leads me to those key destination points in life.

I’m also writing this because, increasingly, I’m seeing that my people who are always sweet, kind, giving and just generally happy-go-lucky are being tried in many forms – including myself.  The not-so-nice side has been rearing its head and they (I) feel bad about it.  I’m really just now arriving where I recognize this is ok.  It’s fine to push back.  We can’t live by this all the time, but we should be able to be open and honest with people.

I haven’t apologized for telling people off recently.  However, in most of these situations, again, said party had it coming.  They needed to hear what I had to say.  They had been crossing boundaries and gettin’ a lil too jiggy with their entitlements.   I’m not feeling sorry for them.  Mostly I’m feeling for myself because I allowed them to:

  1. Get me to this point
  2. Take me there
  3. Run all over me to the point where I had to set them straight
  4. Didn’t set the appropriate boundaries or standards for treatment in the first place

For all my Hunnies, the ones who are sweet without comparison, doesn’t it get like that sometimes?  We’re human.  We cut up and act crazy too.  Sometimes we just fall short.  Not an excuse.  A fact.  Many of us are also push overs.  There, I said it.  It’s out in the open and well, everyone knows it now.  We’re soft at heart and we’re always trying to do right by people.  When do we realize they’re not always trying to do right by us?  Usually after they have take too many liberties at our expense and then we just go off.

First, don’t change.  You’re created to be who you are.  It took me a long time to come to this realization.  I refuse to be anyone less than who I was created to be.  I am supposed to be Rae, the open-hearted, sweet, giving and nurturing creature that I am. At the same time, this means also being able to stand up for myself.  Everyone who shows up doesn’t mean right by you.  The sooner we can discern this, the better our lives will be.  We will learn who to help and how far we’re supposed to travel in helping them.  It means that sometimes you’re only meant to give some crazy (enter choice descriptive inappropriate word) a smile and keep it pushing.  Others, they might be able to get a sandwich out of you and a hello and that’s it.  Seriously…if you figure out these boundaries and how thoroughly people should be involved in your life and how far you should delve into theirs, life will be much higher quality.

I have worked so hard over the years to be able to handle situations appropriately – with tact and couth.  During this time, I’ve become too permissive of other people’s bad behavior towards me.  I stopped defending myself against villains and the mayhem and fuckery all in the name of being “appropriate” and sweet.  I normally just forgive, peace out, then forgive again if needed and well – everyone is happy – but me.  There comes a point when you need  to push back, stand up, defend yourself and speak a few choice words to someone.
No more mayhem – definitely time to set boundaries. Set standards for treatment.
Sometimes people really are asking for it and there’s nothing else you can do but to give it to them.

By no means am I condoning being hateful or mean or acting like a bully.  I don’t believe in that kind of behavior.  I abhor it. I will fight that sort of evil foolishness 24/7.  However, when someone ends up being hateful, mean and acting like a bully there are some ways you can handle the person:

  1. Ignore them and act like you didn’t hear anything or see anything (“Silence is often misunderstood but never misquoted”)
  2. You can choose to nicely tell the person how you feel – this may at times involve a heated discussion.
  3. You can let it build up (you know where they continue to do dumb shat and you don’t say anything or have chosen to have a few ‘talks’ with them) and then cuss them out.
  4. Leave said party the hell alone if they keep “taking you there.”

I recommend trying to resolve it with steps 1 and 2 and if not, just skip to step 3.  Some people just take you to step 3 from the break.  Those people automatically get moved to step 4 for me.

Step 4 is a last resort because frankly we can’t “break-up” with everyone so to speak. There comes a point in time when you just have to set people straight.  It’s all about learning to communicate. You can’t run, you can’t break off the relationship – especially when it’s family, close friends or a business partner.  We have to get better at choosing relationships and who we involve ourselves with and then learning to discern which ones we’re supposed to quit and which ones we will fight for and with.

I think I had to come to the realization that I’m not always going to be all sugar and cotton candy and rainbows and unicorns AND that it’s OK.  No one is.   However, I am still a lady and will conduct myself as such at all times.  Oxymoron?  Yup – but I’m still a lady.

The only thing that matters is how God sees me and whether or not I believe what He says I am.  The next is do my idea and His idea match?  Do others see it?  I pray they do and can.

And well, in the end, when I’m not all sweet, I remind myself I am “more than a conqueror” – even on those bad days when my attitude is less than stellar. You are too.

Love,

Rae

On Bullshit, Mediocrity and Other Important Matters

I had really planned on writing long before now.  However, I have been on some shit – as sometimes is the case, and well, things get slack around here for that reason.  Hence this post.  This post is about being on some shit and realizing that and being able to call yourself out and get yourself together.  I have to tell you though, this year has been challenging.  I will have to go over a recap of events more towards the close of the year.  Right now, it’s too much to update at one time.  And truthfully – it will get better, it has gotten better, so the story is not over.

I wanted to talk about bullshit (herein referred to as BS for general purposes) today.  And how I’m tired of it.  Mostly tired of my own.  Mostly because I find I procrastinate like hell and then things turn to shit.  Do you know what I mean?  I mean, when you don’t really pay attention to things and ignore them and well, things just go wrong.   Like that parking ticket that you ignore and it doubles or a project at work that goes all wrong or that person you were meaning to call and never do and then before you know it, well, you can’t reach them. Or being late to work, or not really paying attention to the people around you that mean the most.

I really had to ask myself – What is the foundation of mediocrity? I mean, where does it come from and why is it we find ourselves settling into it? Not doing our best, not giving our best, accepting less than we should, not thinking highly of ourselves or other people?

Note: Clearly, when you even get tired of your own BS then you know a breakthrough is right there staring you in the face.

What brought me to this point?  Other people’s BS –  mostly in how they handle their lives and business.  Here I am getting upset with some of the things people do – especially when it involves me and then I had to take a look at who and what I’m allowing into my space.  In other words, I’m allowing for people and their BS to take up all of that space.  It stops.   I do control all of that right?  Sure I do.  I really had to take a deep look and get it together.  Authors note: I have also had to take a deep look and set some people straight aka the Rae-get-u-in-line-convo. More on that later.

I know now it’s really a matter of reaching the point where you can’t stand your own mess anymore.  You get tired of hearing yourself say the same things and giving the same excuses.  I also know deep down – not only do I deserve better, but I can do better.

Really, that’s what it’s about.  Getting up during the day and finding yourself in a place where you’re ready to approach things from a point of excellence and not some half-assed, half-cocked idea of just getting by.

What’s this mean?  Glad you asked (smiles at how willing you are to read further).

It means the following:

  1. If you are not actively pursuing the things you want to do, then you need to get on it.  Time flies.  No more excuses.  Aren’t we all too busy, broke, lazy, caught up, or whatever? People who are succeeding aren’t making any excuses.
  2. If you hate your job and are doing a half-assed job AT that job you hate, you should get yourself together and do better.  It’s a job. No one ever said you had to like it, but you should be good at it. If you find you can’t pull yourself together to do this, find another one.  I also give the disclaimer that you MUST should find another one before leaving.
  3. You have to be willing to look at how you’re living.  Honestly. No holds barred. Are you content?  Don’t want for anything else?  Well, then maybe you’re ok.  But if you’re constantly talking about how much more you want and aren’t making any moves, well – clearly you’re excited to be in the current state of mediocrity.  You can’t complain and not make any moves.  It’s not logical. I found myself trapped in this cycle for years.  But when I started to get honest with myself, some real work was put in and changes have been made.
  4. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  All the wishing and the intention in the world won’t get things done or make any changes for you.  You actually have to deliberately change and it means some actual work.  Better to start earlier with this than later.  It’s difficult & challenging – but not impossible, to break yourself from the hum drum mayhem.  It’s difficult to be extraordinary.  Some of it we receive as gifts.  Other things we work at.  True excellence requires hard work and time – gifts or not.
  5. Some self-defeating behaviors – may have to go or get set aside. I won’t even go into this fully.  It could be something like being late all of the time.  But if there is something you’re doing or not doing and it’s holding you back from everything else, then maybe it’s time to look at that and work on it or cut it back totally.
  6. Be prepared for the ugly.  in trying to make these changes and break free from sub-par-ness, you’re going to encounter a kick back.  Either from yourself or others.  Note from Rae: the haters will show themselves sooner or later.  Keep it moving! This is where a Rae-get-u-in-line-convo may be needed.  You’re either on my team or off the team.
  7. Hope. It’s the lack of vision or hope leading us right into a mediocre, just getting by lifestyle.  I challenge you to find it.  I always know I have hope.  It’s typically a small blue flame and not a roaring forest fire, but a blue flame is next to one of hottest right?  I’d rather have a powerful flame opposed to a lot of smoke.

I am openly challenging myself.  I challenge all of you who are reading this blog.  It’s important we come to a point where we decide how are lives are to be and we get deliberate about our business of living.

Love,

Rae