Category Archives: Millennials

Friend, Foe or Frenemy…

My millennial struck again.

She called filled with concern, that she was growing apart from a friend who she had previously shared common interests and time with, and wanted to know what to do.

She had to ask… so here goes!

Friendships can be full of exhilaration and life! You spend hours on the phone talking about all kinds of things, you see eye to eye about mutual interests and concerns, and you pledge to have each others backs, no matter what. Weeks turns to months which turns to years, and it seems this will be someone who will be around for a lifetime. And it may very well be.

But what if it isn’t? The reality is this- MOST friendships do not last forever because interests shift, growth happens and your friend or you, aren’t always able to adapt or grow at the same pace which creates a chasm of discomfort no matter how hard we try to do otherwise.

When our mommas said that we are blessed to have one, maybe Two good friends, she was not lying. Rare is the person, that can withstand the ebb and flow of life with you into a ripe old age.

The added pressure of knowing what your purpose is and going full steam ahead while your friend is content to float along the river of life, makes for an interesting conversation down the road too.

So here are my two cents worth of advice-

  1. Stay honest first with yourself and then with your friend. When you feel distance happening, have the conversation, not from a place of accusations or guilt. It will be uncomfortable but it must happen.
  2. Don’t fester and make assumptions with forced small talk. A true friend will not want to anchor you with a rope of guilt so they can feel better about sitting sedentary while you have goals.
  3. Cry. Sometimes when the separation comes, it fills you with hurt and a sense of loss. Let the tears flow and keep walking in love.
  4. It could get ugly, because some folks do not know how to use their adult words to express that they are hurt and will instead lash out to make a clean break. That is messy in a way, neither party may soon recover from so see #1 again.
  5. Know that your journey in life will not always have someone by your side and be okay with that too. The wilderness walk is effective in allowing us to become more in touch with ourselves without the well intentioned distractions of opinions.
  6. What you put into the world, will come back to you, so as you grow and change, others will be sent along the path, to meet you where you are in that period
  7. Our job is to never carry the burdens of others who refuse to carry their own. We must rid ourselves of the notion that it is okay to push, pull and tug in an effort to not “leave” folks behind. They have feet. They can either walk with you or stand back.

I hope this helps because Lord knows, it is a journey we must all take, one way or another. How you both handle it, determines if have a friend, foe or frenemy.

Walk in the light-

Deuces and mad love,

Diva

Advertisements

SPEAK UP MUCH?

I have a mentee that will periodically text me about a subject matter she wants to see addressed and the second I saw her note this morning, I knew I would be right here writing about it..

Buckle up and hold on..

In recent weeks, I found myself traveling and commiserating with folks from around the country and in usual form, I am open, kind and share my thoughts as needed. Well the one evening, we had to all get in formal wear  for an event and the minute I strolled through the door, my friend saw one of the attendees throwing all kinds of “shade”  my way by rolling her eyes and whispering something to the person next to her.  I didn’t see her because I have learned how to block that kind of negativity from my line of vision.

I knew what her issue was  though.

Name Every -ism women face, and she had me pegged for it. My boldness and bravery made her feel inadequate and she then tried to transfer that feeling to ripping me to shreds with condescension. She didn’t realize that though. She thought she was within her rights to be jusgemental.

How do I know this? It is what I am told by women all the time who often try to coach it around offering “advice.” 
Aside from this being a total waste of energy and space, it is counterproductive to fall in line with them so they can feel better about themselves.

My response? Maybe if we were not so conditioned as women to “know our places,” not be “overly confident” for fear of being seen as bragging, or being labeled as “bitchy” when we dare to speak up for ourselves, we would see the benefits in speaking up and out.

As a direct result, women often lose sleep about demanding a position they are clearly over qualified for,suffer heartburn at the thought of requesting compensation that befits their value, minimizing the ones who step out on the ledge in an effort to find financial freedom and seeking to destroy the few who dare to do what they won’t.

I can’t even begin to discuss how it messes with personal relationships across the board. We hold on and fester about things we can and should discuss, until it becomes toxic and explodes the wrong way from us.

What do you have to lose but your sanity in trying to fit in to what society deems we should or shouldn’t be? Here are a few things that worked for me in removing the “do as I told ” models from my head-

  1. Speak your truth kindly but firmly and do not waver with eye contact. Prep yourself with calming deep breaths.
  2. Trust yourself. No one will trust you more than you. Your gut instincts are there for a reason.
  3. Be okay with not having a ton of fearless people with you as this is often a singular journey of faith.
  4. Celebrate the wins and extract the lessons from the losses.
  5. Keep the naysayers out of your ears. Lord knows they will try too. People who worry about all that could go wrong, never see what could indeed go right.
  6. Find mentors who have already walked the path you are on and heed the advice that feels right to you.
  7. Authenticity is worth more than silver and gold. You may not be appreciated on the moment, but you will be respected long term.
  8. Know when to step up and pull back. Everything doesn’t always have to be a battle.
  9. Collaboration works wonders. No one is an island. Learn to be okay with saying “I was wrong.” Pride goeth before….

All of that and a few more will give you the freedoms and joy to simply BE..
Dueces and mad love.

DivA

Outdated in a 10 second society..

I can’t STAND shopping. I despise Shopping malls even more. Yes, I am indeed a girl, and yes, the statement above probably makes me an anomaly, but there it is.

So imagine how I broke out in hives at the mere  THOUGHT of having to enter a mall recently and here is the culprit- my FIRST generation IPad that I was hoping to get “tuned” up because it was acting sluggish.

.

The poor Apple tech looked at me like I was crazy and informed me slowly and gently, that my machine was just OLD.
So old in fact, that it wasn’t compatible with the new micro processors they are currently using and all she could suggest was that I give the thing a proper burial or hold on to it for posterity sake.

As I looked on lovingly at my device and then at her young and chirpy face, I suddenly felt old too and wondered if as I aged, I would become disposable like so many of the elderly around us.
Here is the deal- we all eventually slow down and while our memory may not continue process at the speed of sound,  there is a definite amount of wisdom that comes from living to a certain phase in life that many could tap into with loads of benefits. History and it’s contextual meaning serves a purpose that will help us to garner lessons and avoid certain pitfalls. That comes from the folks who lived long enough to recount what books and historians don’t always capture.

Not only that, we could practice patience and empathy and kindness when dealing with the seasoned members of our society because one day, should we be so lucky to live a life of length, we too will need it.

So as I snapped back to miss chirpy in the Apple Store describing the newest machine and the slice of my liver it would cost to upgrade, I chose to hold on to my ancient  device until it decides it has had enough of me.

It’s the least I could do. Don’t judge me. Just smile and cluck at my sentimentality and wish me and my outdated machine well.
Dueces and mad love,

DivA.

Good Googa Uber!!

So I had to get an Uber for several Days  in a row and I have come to the conclusion that many of those drivers listen to people confessing their souls while giving up a few confessions of their own

Chile listen… it ran from the ridiculous to the scary but this one dude made me gasp, smile and shake my head all at once.. 

When he got to my door and saw my infirmities, he hopped out his car, got my crutches and bags and was just wonderful in a way that told me he was special. His Hat was on backwards and when I got in his car, I noticed the back of his seat was almost reclined to a sleeping position.

He slid in and sat up with his seat just that way. I didn’t question because I have seen it way too much with young guys driving around in Philly.. they will keep chiropractors in business with that mess but I digress..

After asking if he could call me Miss Andrea and my answering in the affirmative, he proceeded to tell me that he was originally from Ohio but was transplanted to Reading at a young age and after feeling like he had too few opportunities, he moved here after meeting a young lady online and had been here in Philly now for a few months.

As he shared his life story, he said “you know, people judged and asked why I was making these moves and taking these risks and I told them I am the author of my book. I didn’t ask for editors and I am writing the story the way I see fit.” I damn near high fived the back of his head for those profound words of wisdom!

He went on to say,  he was filled with nuggets but had a hard time taking his own advice.

Then it got real. 

He said he would always choose women for their bodies and what was between their legs instead of what was between their ears and that he realized he was choosing Shallow intimacy over substance because he didn’t want to put in the work it required to have a good relationship.

He is so into this new woman who, from all accounts is so smart, he wonders Why she is with him, that he made a pact to NOT have intimacy with her for a year. He is coming to the end of that year and swears he loves and appreciates her all the more because they spent time learning about each other and doing things beyond the bedroom. 

Well I’ll be. 

His lesson and the way he chose to go about changing his habits, showed up this way and who am I to judge?  He truly believes in the power of intention, following ones passion and hard work, after he met the owner of a Car dealership while being his waiter and the owner found him to be so personable, he offered to train and hire him to sell cars.

He went from making $7 an hour to 60k per year AND he Ubers on his days off! I love it!!

The tenacity of the human spirit is something else. 

When we got to my destination, he took my stuff to the door of the building, shook my hands, thanked me for listening and odd he went.

I learned so much from him, not the least of which is to not stay stuck in your circumstances and to take bold leaps even if you can’t see where you will land.

We don’t get to judge people in their journey because it’s different from our own- our oath is simply that. Ours.
Dueces and mad love.

DivA

The eggs dropped by the birds nest for a little love 

A few days ago, my eldest child flew home to visit albeit briefly, so we could see each other before he went off to handle his real purpose for being here- his fraternity and the brothers he formed a deep bond with. I was with him for less than 12 hours but we squeezed priceless moments within and my soul and heart were full when he left.

I wrote about this son a while back in a post where he had an encounter with a police officer https://lawfultrainer.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/innocence-of-a-child-forever-gone/

Even as we worked diligently to be certain he was okay and told him to keep achieving, he continues to defy and exceed any expectations anyone could have of him.

Quite simply, he’s determined to succeed and writes 5 and 10 year plans to keep his purpose in the forefront always. So earlier this year, 2 weeks before his 24th birthday, he had already graduated from college, works for a Great company that values and relocated him to another state and after just 11 months of living in said state, he closed on his very 1st home.

As remarkable as that was, he also bought that home with no financial help from his father and I. In fact, he insisted it was something he wanted to see if he could do and he did. We couldn’t believe how disciplined he was to save by not buying a new car when he graduated from college even as his peers were stunting with new rides all around him. He paid his bills on time and kept his credit score in a place many adults do not have and he stunned the banks when they saw he really saved and had a stable job at his age. Once he bought that home though, I flew in and helped him to furnish and buy appliances. He smiled and said I was “such a mommy” as if that was an insult!!😂😂😂

He is now 24 and as I listened to him discuss what his next set of plans entailed, I teared up remembering all he had gone through to get to this point and that his adversities only made him grow to the place where he is an incredible advocate of his rights and can see things from a point of view most miss.

He is a really quiet and profound cat that I am so proud to call SON. I caught a brief glimpse of his need for parent love when he walked up to hug me and just laid his head on my chest for a good two minutes. It was cathartic and healing to us both.

He credits his tenacity to having parents who aren’t afraid to work hard and achieve-he astutely learned certain traits we carry that he found to be beneficial in business and life and built upon that. I have no doubt we haven’t fully begun to see what he will accomplish. and while the house was filled with both my children and all their friends, when the nest emptied and those birds flew back to where they came from, they all left a piece of their love joy and peace with me..

Parents- raising children is the most challenging thing we will do and it never ends. We want to protect our children from danger and harm while we coach them on being able to thrive in environments away from us. If we could, we would shield them and keep their innocence firmly intact but life doesn’t work that way. 

On this day, I pray you have the courage and strength to do what you know is right for your children and to seek advice when needed.

Those babies we carried and nurtured will one day become adults. How they get there depends upon you in those early years of learning and growth.

Dueces and mad love,

Diva 

when the oldest comes home for a visit

Cutco oh oh..

There a few things that I love and aside from hubby and family, chief among them are cooking and young people striving to earn money honestly to pay for tutition etcetera.

But honey, someone at Cutco did a profile on what would make people buy their products and I swear, one of those avatars has my face on it.

Stay with me here.

I got a call recently  from one of the young people I love who wanted to see if she could come to seee me and do a Cutco demonstration on my home.

I already knew the deal because I have Cutco products in my kitchen that I use daily so I was prepared that my pockets would squeal a tiny bit so that I could support this “baby.”

Well Damn.

We are flipping through the pages and I saw a set of silverware that interested me and asked for a quote. The 5 place setting was $1,400 and plenty coins!! Did I say I was looking at the 12 place setting though? I told her never mind, collected myself and kept flipping those pages.

Whew!!

We decided on a few pieces in the end but I continue to be struck by how expensive those pieces are!  They are more costly than pieces of jewelry and probably brings more joy if you love to cook like I do. That cleaver slices through bone like butter but it requires mortgaging your kidney to buy it😂

Chile listen. At the end of the day, if you don’t like being in the kitchen much, save those coins but if you want an experience with cooking tools that makes creating meals a joy and your pockets can support it, go for it as they are worth every penny. 

For the rest of you who buys cutco simply as a status symbol in your house while they gather dust because you couldn’t find the stove knobs if you tried, cutco has an avatar with your face too. It’s called the label/status symbol junkie😂😂

For the record- while that child left my house with a sale firmly in hand, don’t yall send no more children to my door because it’s easier to just write a check to support their college fund. Ya dig? They are hard to resist but my pockets will force me to say no by hiding behind my door quietly when they come

Knocking 😂😂

Dueces and mad love.

Diva 

You a lie and the truth ain’t in you

One of the millennials I simply adore, texted recently and made the suggestion that I should blog about why men lie, and after chuckling to myself, I immediately called the first person I ask everything- Mister.

I knew he wasn’t going to be ready but when is he ever? I’m like that kid who asks a thousand questions from the time I wake up until I fall asleep- I was born inquisitive much to his everlasting consternation but it’s part of the package he signed up for.

So I called him with a soft and sweet greeting to get his guard down and pounced before he could take a good breath.

Me: babe, why do men lie?

Him: *deep deflated resigned sigh* because it’s often easier than telling the truth.

I gave the phone my deepest side eye but kept my voice on an even keel because the poor man hasn’t done a thing wrong but here I was asking him to explain men in general everywhere.

Me: that’s it? It doesn’t go beyond that? Why does it seem so easy for guys to lie?

Him: babe, because it’s you and I know we can talk about everything, the truth is really what I said above. 

Me: what causes the breakdown that leads to the lies? What are we missing? Do men usually leave their wives for other women or is that a myth?

Him: when men lie about cheating, it’s often because someone excited them or gave them something different from the norm at home. The intention is to never leave the woman they are with because he loves her. He Just wanted some variation. But that comes from not communicating wants or needs in a way that both parties hear.

Me: then why get married or be in a relationship if you know you can’t be faithful? Why not just hang out then?

Him: babe no one in their right mind spends that kind of money to get married thinking they will divorce. It all comes back to respecting each other, and I cannot over emphasize communication.

Me: why did YOU get married AFTER all that time of being single?  you certainly had enough hoochie mamas waiting in the wings judging by the side eyes I get from Some of them when we run into friends of yours🙄

Him: simple. I met the ONE Person who I immediately wanted to give up any vices for. The one woman who I would throw away everything for to see a smile on her face, the one woman who made my heart happy just thinking about her, the one woman who I would share anything with, the one woman who is a daily reminder that I am a blessed man and to never forget it. That is the FIRST time in my many years in earth, I felt this way fully about any woman. 

Me: wow. So you don’t lie to me?

Him: I tried lying a few times about stupid things like putting stuff in its right place but it seems you knows me better than I know myself and those blazing eyes of yours told me to quit before it was too late😂😂 

Which brings me back to men lying to keep the peace. It doesn’t come from a malicious place.

Me: good lord. 

Him: men KNOW babe, if a woman is someone he can see long term or if she is just isn’t.  We of course don’t tell her that because it’s fun while it lasts.

Me: so what if a woman lies about cheating etcetera- does the double standard applies?

Him: yup. A man is a playboy, the woman is a whore. Men are ultra sensitive about their women being with anyone else. 

Me: well I’m more confused than ever. 

Him: don’t be. It really just boils down to this- we were conditioned as boys to not hurt your feelings and so we learned to lie so you could always feel good. By the time we became adults, we polished those lies to perfection to keep the peace and we are still horrible at it because we inevitably get sloppy and get caught. When we love you- fully love you- we resist the temptations and urges to be anywhere else but our mates. Women are Wily too.. Do you know how many times I have seen married women in relationships with other men? It’s an alphabet soup of cheating out here. Bottom line? The propensity is there for us to all lie. It’s called being human.

Open communication keeps that madness away but we get caught up in life, stop talking and then, well, we lie.

My Mister- always open to the deep conversations. If this didn’t answer the age old question of why men lie, lay down, take 2 common sense pills and chase it down with mature water and call me in the morning..
Deuces and mad love,

Diva 

Dangerous meanness.. 

Allow me to preface this piece by stating the obvious- I don’t know everything, cannot solve everything and am still learning, sometimes moment by moment.

What I do instinctively know? When you spend your very existence choosing to do major shifts that ultimately becomes all about yourself, the price for that is incalculable.
Let me stop speaking in a parables and tell you what’s brewing on my mind.

There is a phenomenal person who  took it upon themself to bring a solid vision they had to life and has had some successes with said vision. Almost immediately though, despite being supported by large swaths of people and organizations so this vision could continue to grow and bear fruit, this person alienated many by dismissing their efforts and making it all about themselves and that they did all the work etcetera.
Just mean, cold and nasty in a way that left a distaste for said person and folks began walking away.

What is even scarier though, are the “yes” foot soldiers who sees all of this happening but say nothing and continues to support the mission despite the abuse because it’s one that supports and empowers impressionable minds.

The problem with that? When you leave that kind of behavior unchecked, it becomes a monster and now even the impressionable young minds are complaining about being marginalized and emotionally abused at the hands of said person, and parents are questioning the meaning of it all.

So, I am speaking now not just to self serving leaders but those who follow them even to their own peril- woe unto YOU because nothing you put into the universe comes back to you void. You will find no peace until you make right, the behaviors that continues to destroy from the inside what looks glorious on the outside.

Find your center-do your work with intention and speak up followers when you see your leadership going down a path that isn’t healing. Your silence is not golden and you should never fear anyone to the point where you cower and continue to allow the dismantling of fragile children to keep the peace.

Because at the end of the day? The stifling of what is right to be likable or not rocking the boat because you don’t want that level of meaness  aimed your way, means you too will be held accountable for those lives. One way or another.

So what’s it gonna be?  The price is to pay is too steep and there will come a day when you will have to balance that account.
Mad love and peace

Diva.

The lesson that came in a small package

I tend to hum all day. 

Like seriously. 

It is not unusual for me to break out into some random song because of a word someone said or I just simply make humming sounds as I move about without realizing it.

I know I need help and it amuses Mister to no end,  But stay with me here…
Hubby and I were invited to the birthday party for a one year old cousin and aside from being shell shocked at the amount of babies running or crawling on the floor like human ants, I clearly recognized that we are officially in the “seasoned” category of life, because I was so unable to can with the over stimulation of visuals and sounds in front of me.
My brian cells were not computing what was happening. At all. The baton clearly had been passed to the younger crew who were now popping out babies and starting what we had happily finished years ago. The only thing we desired to do, was babysit and send those human ants with sticky fingers and toes,back to the incubators they called parents.
So there I was writing quietly  in a safe corner and probably humming because out of nowhere, this darling little girl was sitting next to me. What she said next, made me perk up and pay attention..
Her: you can sing!

Me: maybe. Who is asking?😂

Her: sing something for me please?

Me: like what? How about “happy birthday?” I do have one rule though; you must sing it with me. Deal?
She agreed and we began singing softly. I could not believe what came out of that child’s mouth!! She sang soprano like an angel and while I didn’t stop, my mind was clicking as we wrapped up.
Me: How old are you?

Her: eight

Me: my goodness!! Your voice is amazing.. Please keep singing as it is a gift. My husband loves to sing but he sounds like a belting frog on a good day!
She laughed and said with conviction, she was going to become a nurse. I ain’t mad at her. She can do anything she desires.
She was a wonderful example of what is possible when we nurture our children to their best selves.
In that sea of little people, I was able to connect, sing with and learn from one of them.

The lesson here for me?
Never judge a book without at least cracking the cover.  No matter how small it may seem. Inspiration and lessons comes from a word, deed or even a behavior. We miss them when we choose not to see beyond what we tell ourselves. Limiting beliefs lead to limiting attitudes. See the possibilities no matter where you find yourselves.

Deuces and mad love,

Diva

The millennial minimalists in our midst

I have often been a harsh critic of the my generation for not taking millennials under their wings to mentor so that they can have a solid foundation to stand on as we eventually stand down.

It was in that spirit, that I decided along with some accomplished people in my network, to begin fully mentoring young people in their mid to late twenties, with the hope of staving some of which they have been craving from us.

I have been in this process for a few years now and something has become glaringly evident; a few of these new leaders are becoming the very system they spoke out against by looking out for their own interests and not helping to lift each other up. It leads to lying and pointing fingers at others in an effort to detract from the real issues at hand.

Added to the madness, is the minimalism. Some are so busy trying to promote their names and organizations in headlines, they forgot there is actual work to be done. When asked to produce some work, I get minimal to no effort with a bunch of excuses attached.

Quality work, when done consistently, is the backbone of real success so when I watch those who aren’t producing what is written on paper, while looking for the next place to have their names recognized, it gives me serious pause and speaks volumes about what hidden deals may be done, in an effort to keep giving shoddy results.

There comes a time when a name is just not going to be enough to keep one afloat and if it is thought you can be ” bought and sold” for ego, then you will be.

Are you willing to work while others yet sleep? Are you willing to learn the key ingredients for presenting oneself- that is, grooming, speech and preparedness?
At you willing hold fast to the ideology around your work without cutting corners? Are you willing to listen to sound advice from those who were there before you?

Then you are ready to do what it takes to succeed. Everything else is just window dressing clothed in laziness and a recipe for disaster.

Stand for something. Be about something other than yourself. Have some integrity and be your brothers keeper because you can’t rise alone. Treasure the time and efforts of your mentors and work hard not to burn bridges.

Most of all, leave the minimalism at the door so you don’t become a younger version of more-of-the-same.

You better believe, people are watching and nothing destroys a reputation faster than word-of-mouth by key powerful individuals who know real success when it’s presented to them.