How You Doin’?

How you doin’? What’s up? How are you? How are ya? How you be? How’s it going? How do you feel? What’s the deal? What’s the dealio? What’s the deal pickle? What’s the haps? Are you okay? You good? You straight? You cool? You a’ight? How are things? All is well? Need anything? Want help? How you holding up? What’s wrong? What’s going on? Everything copacetic?


All of those questions take a whole heap of courage to answer, and a big dose of compassion to ask. Sidenote, I am not a component of complaints or complainers. I absolutely do not prefer complaints, but opt for the company of those who can constructively, and honestly express their feelings, emotions, situations and scenarios in a healthy and hopeful way that leaves room for needed change, miracles even. I digress.


Back to the message at hand…I do believe each of us deserves to be able to honestly answer any of those questions, and even more, deserves someone to ask it of us no matter how challenging the challenge on either side of the coin. This is so regardless of status, age, association or perceived position. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about how we really feel. Sometimes it’s hard to care enough to ask how someone really feels and hang around to hear it, really hear it, especially in spite of how we may feel. And still, we must do both in order to get better.

So, how you doin’?



Don’t Look Like ‘No’ Sexy Secretary

This morning I woke up tired. I’m talking tired as in spent. I’m talking as spent as a refund check in the hands of an eager college co-ed at the Capstone. I am beat! The (leftover) red stained lips, less than cascading curls and puffy bags under my eyes compliments of resting at 12:17am and rising at 4:40am are proof of my struggle. The struggle is real.

Last night, I threw normal caution to the brisk and whisking wind and went out on a work night. I can hear you laughing as even I see how I can sound like an old lady as I write this, but humor me. With the exception of a few, not-to-be-named, issues the Lord is working out of me, I’m usually pretty calculated in my day-to-day goings on, especially at night. I appreciate a good routine like a baby appreciates a good nap. If something isn’t broken I definitely don’t try to fix it, often to a default as it leaves me stuck in what was good enough then, but could be made better now. So breaking my habit of being tucked in and squared away early on the night before the start of what is to be a busy workweek was a hard habit to break.


Anywho,  about last night. I was fortunate enough to go see the Forever Charlie Tour featuring Charlie Wilson, Kem and Joe. It was amazing!!!! If you’ve been wondering where real music has been, let me just say it’s been held hostage by these three sanging (with an “a”, not an “i”), performing, crowd-captivating, get your monies worth entertainers. Baby, they left it all on the stage at the BJCC! And their debonair outfits and seasoned swag were about as smooth as their vocals. For four FULL hours they gave us their all…their absolute all! I’m still swaying at random times when I reminisce about the romantic interludes, party anthems and good, ol’, “grown folks” music they were serving up to nearly packed house. With that said, and back to the message at hand, it is very rare that I would ever think of going somewhere on a night before a day when I have to stick to my routine of rising before dawn and heading out of the house before the same. But I did. I’m so glad I did.


Like a self-professed creature of habit, I was hesitant about going to the concert because of the lateness in which I knew I would return (and I live far from Birmingham’s City Center). I was also hesitant about the cost of the tickets my generous concert companion paid. I was definitely hesitant about my outfit, as it too, was a bit of a sassy break from my old outfit’s norm. To help with my outfit trepidation I plucked a cute, black, peplum jacket from my closet to serve as my safety net, while realizing that hesitation can sometimes hold me up, and life is too short and too long to be held up when I don’t have to be. So I  went to the concert, jumpsuited, peeped-toes, late-night and all. I had a BLAST with a capital B! Snapping a picture before heading to the house, that picture somehow ended up making its way to my sister’s phone. Like a little sister who often thinks she’s the wiser sister she called to offer these words of wisdom that sealed the deal for me, “You look nice. Now go and enjoy yourself. Have a lot of fun and take that jacket off as soon as you get in that building so aren’t walking around looking like ‘no’ sexy secretary!” So I did and I did.



Welp, That Didn’t Go As Planned

“It’s Friday, and I’m ready to sing, pick up my girls and hit the party scene….” Those were the melodious words belted out by famous superstar Aaliyah on her hit single Back and Forth. (#RIPAaliyah). On days like the Friday I had, songs like that tend to dance around in my head in preparation for what is to come. Or so I thought.


Too bad for me, on a particular I’m home alone pecking out a post. May I just say that that day didn’t go at all like I planned. I woke early to head to work only to find out Internet was not working and I needed it to be working badly. So instead of working from work I left early to go home to do work, which prompted me to check the mail and find a reminder about bill and an unexpected check. Next, I spent almost a combined hour on the phone with Apple after having stopped by the AT&T store to try to figure out what was going on and wrong with my dysfunctional iPhone, which is not properly receiving calls, email, text messages or Facebook posts. This absence of my phone-norm caused me to be in a rare form of social media hibernation/isolation and end up falling asleep in the middle of the day instead of watching The Chew and The Talk like I’d planned.


The cocktail sauce on the proverbial shrimp came in the form of a bit of wintry mix in my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama which ushered in early school closings, grocery store runs, backed up traffic for some and cancelled plans for my girls and me. You see, as I typed this post I was supposed to be at a Scarface or Good Fellas-styled table surrounded by my family and friends cracking up, and cracking crab legs, devouring prime rib, inhaling chicken salad, wiggling in my seat as I popped popcorn shrimp in my mouth and indulging in all kinds of culinary delicacies at the seafood buffet of a not-so quaint little hotel in Wetumpka, Alabama (Google it:)).  But instead, I had to save the money I’d planned on dishing out for the buffet and save the gas I’d filled up in my car to opt for the consolation prize of going to the FREE all you can eat wings and taco bar at the local Alabaster happy hour haven spending only $12 for two glasses of wine for my dining buddy, three tacos between us, six expertly fried, cornmeal battered oysters, too many free wings to write about, spicy popcorn and three straight from the tap super strong Co-Colas (I know I didn’t spell it correctly. Hey, I’m from the south and that’s how some of us say Coca-Cola.)


As if I should be in control of this thing called life, from early that morning I’d had a bit of a ‘tude (also known as attitude) about the unexpected interruptions to my plans for my day. I felt my lip turn down like a spoiled baby a few times, and I’m grown enough to say so…LOL!  Like most, I don’t like disappointment, no matter how familiar disappointment tries to become with me. I want what I want, especially because I typically don’t want a lot. You’d think by now I’d get it. And I do, when it comes to the big, important things. I’m not easily rattled by the big things anymore. Life has taught me to roll with the punches and prepare my cabbage patch victory dance in advance. I guess grappling with the big things and learning to be okay and that I will be okay in the midst of them is why deep down I feel like the little things could at least go my way. It’s those little things like no Internet, missing out on a multi-bar buffet or not being able to wear the heavy food intake, figure-forgiving outfit that has been hanging for two weeks that tend to shake me. That is, until I thought about how my plans going awry netted me an early exit from work, a sweet check in the mail, a delightful nap, reserved gas for my car, a practically free meal, saved money in my pocket, no driving 180 miles, some Friday night people watching, giggles with my sissy and a great blog post about finding the good in things that don’t go as planned. In the grand scheme of things, regardless of what I’d planned, those alternate plans (as they often do) ended up not being so bad at all. #Grateful



Regrets? What Regrets?

A telephone conversation with a friend about college days, fueled by the beautiful backdrop of the local Birmingham, Alabama radio station’s throwback marathon of some of the 90s finest bass-laden, hair sweating songs (think if you dare of Uncle Luke, KP and Envyi, Kilo Ali and 95 South) prompted me to ask my friend if there were any regrets in how this person’s college career was spent. The answer, almost before the question, was a loud, resounding “NO”!!!  There were possibly other words said that I won’t say, but you get my drift.

Since that conversation I’ve thought about regrets, especially from college and whether or not I had any. Sure, there were choices I would have made differently if hindsight were foresight, but it’s not. It is what it is. I’m growing to know that each and every thing that happened or didn’t happened, those things that hurt me, scared me, shocked me, disappointed me, delayed me, even knocked the proverbial wind out of me…especially if I was the orchestrator of the situations that allowed them to unfold, helped make me who I am and for that I can’t regret.


The poor choices made me wise. The sad moments revealed my support team. The immaturity made me grow up. The bad guys made me recognize and appreciate the good. The struggle made me stronger. The missed opportunities made me available for the ones assigned to me. The questionable fashion choices, often of few fabric and plastic Payless shoes, made me compassionate toward today’s young lady who too bought into the less is more mindset. The mismanaged funds make me creative. The failed friendships made room for the lasting ones. Even the 1.8 GPA my first semester of my freshmen year made me hustle oh-so-hard to finish school and finish big with 16 internships while in college, and so on and so on and so on.


It’s often so easy to live in the wonderland of regret, then wonder why we can’t ever fully exist and thrive in the wonderful land of the present. I prefer the present. Not that I’m always proud of my actions (or reactions, especially during the days of the red Geo Metro drive-bys slowly zooming past a certain fraternity house), but it happened, and there’s nothing I can do about anything I’ve done except not regret it. I can learn from it, move past it, share it, avoid it in the future and laugh at it, especially when nudged by the gentle reminder of songs starting with the words “Come on, ride the train, hey, ride it, woo woo”, but I can’t regret it.



Bitter Better Say “Bye Bye”

The word bitter has so many meanings and even more potential to harm. There’s nothing like carrying the sting and stench of hurt, disappointment, rejection or pain that allows it to turn into bitterness and allows that bitterness to turn you (and those around) you into a person (or people) you never saw coming.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Bitter as: marked by intensity or severity: a : accompanied by severe pain or suffering

c : exhibiting intense animosity d (1) : harshly reproachful (2) : marked by cynicism and rancor

e : intensely unpleasant especially in coldness or rawness 3: expressive of severe pain, grief, or regret


Just typing those words made my fingers tingle as I reflected on, and thought about the potential for widespread damage being bitter can bring about. One secret about bitterness the devil doesn’t desire us to uncover is not only how it affects us, but how it can be strategically implanted and imbedded in our family and friends simply by their association with us. No matter what happens, no matter how it hurts and how long it takes to heal do not get bitter. Do not allow what you’ve gone through to define you, and potentially destroy those around you. Your bitterness can affect and infect people for generations to come. Don’t believe me? Look around to those you know who have been dealt difficult lots in life (as we all likely have), but have succumbed to the weight of it, becoming hardened, defensive, cynical, standoffish, judgemental, or angry, rather than going through the process of healing, rejuvenation and freedom. Take a look at them. Look again. Then take a look at those around them to see the effects-by-default which they’ve come to carry, possibly even mimicking some of those same actions and reactions. You ever wonder who some people end up the way they are? Ever look closely at those who reared them or invested in them and quickly found the answer?

If nothing more than to spare your loved ones of the pain you’ve endured, especially when it comes to not passing your pain on to your children, allow the Lord to free you completely of any bitterness and any thing it might have brought along with it. Do it for you. Do it for the ones you love. Now’s a good time to tell bitterness “bye bye”! Your bloodline will thank you.



Can I Talk to You?


I spent so much time as a teenager on the phone that I think it scarred me as an adult. Not your average, teeny-bopper phone talker, I was a bona fide, professional, across town Bellsouth communicator. I loved talking on the phone! Don’t believe me? Just ask my little sister who had the privilege of sharing a room with me. My heart goes out to her now as I think of her enduring my late-night gabfest to the backdrop of New Edition, Guy, Kwame or Anita Baker blasting from my boombox in the background. I could “chop it up”, “chew the fat”, “chit-chat” and “rap” with the best of them on the phone, sometimes until the wee hours of the night/morning. I’d mastered the “hide under the cover and pretend you’re asleep but still talking” technique and worked it until I actually did fall asleep, or until I felt my Mama jerk the 50 ft phone cord that originated from her room, or even worse, heard her stern voice intercept my conversation of sweet nothings with the intense words, “Michelle (my middle), hang up that phone NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!”


Fast-forward a few decades and I’d grown to become as anti-phone as could be. I simply didn’t like talking on the phone. I would say this to people, many of whom did not believe, some of which thought I was treating them differently or indifferently than others when really my anti-phoneness was an equal opportunity avoider. I just didn’t like it anymore. Of course, during the times I was dating I would relish in the sound of the heightened baritone or bass on the other end of the receiver from whichever gentleman captured my attention, but soon that feeling would fade. Yes, I partook in the occasional fiber-optic conversing with friends and family, but nothing to the extent as before. The advent of texting and other forms of social communication further fed my increasing appetite for alternative forms of talk other than talking.  In hindsight, I partly blame my career as a catalyst for my breakup with my boo, the telephone. So much of what I do and have always done has involved talking to human beings whether as a television anchor and report, or in marketing, public relations or sales, working in ministry full-time and now in a sweet mix of social justice and human resources. It gets overwhelming sometimes, especially as an introvert. My life had begun to be dictated by talk to and listening to others. Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. So phone talking took a back seat and had settled in there just fine.

This morning I had a great conversation with a dear friend since college. Talking of nothing major, just the hearty laughter, catching up and random bursts of “girl, are you serious?” reminded me of the good old days when I liked the phone a lot more. I’d missed the feeling of hurting cheeks from chuckling, and wiping little droplets of tears from my eyes at the same time.

So today, I’m reigniting my relationship with the telephone, opting to be more personable, taking more time to talk to real, live human beings on the other end. It will be a challenge. I recognize that from the jump. But I’m up to the challenge if it means growing closer to those who matter.



Learn How to Leave

Life Gets Better

Recently, I was surprised to learn of an associate who was offered another job. It wasn’t the fact that this individual was leaving a company with which a long, rewarding career had been granted. What shocked me is the fact that, after making mention to the direct supervisor, this associate embarked on a quest to share this news personally, and first, with a few key people who had been instrumental in helping along the way. I thought that was honorable, respectable and most importantly smart. You see, while this person’s focus was certainly on the new journey about to be embarked upon, there was also a keen awareness of the importance of tidying up things presently before fast-forwarding to the future. I made a mental note when I heard of it to do better at learning how to leave.


Leaving can be so hard to do. Whether it’s going…

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Don’t Ditch Your Dreams

Hey You,

Don’t ditch your dreams! Why? Because if it were over it would be, well…over. And it ain’t.
(I did say “ain’t”)


So go ahead, and WAKE UPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!! (in my best possible Laurence Fishburne’s “Dap” voice from School Daze). Pick yourself back up. Dare to innovate. Be done with fear. Tune out the haters. Put off procrastinating. Prepare to hustle. Accept the challenge. Go back to the drawing board, vision board or board room. Speak your dreams like they’re already alive. Look the part like you already live it. Be bold enough to hope. Find some mentors. Save some money. Set aside time. Set your sites on some pertinent scriptures. Have faith and work it, chile. Practice your victory dance and plan your celebration party. Instead of throwing in the towel use it to dust yourself off, get back on the saddle, round up your posse and ride this thing called life on out to see what the “quit” was really trying to get you to give up on.


Again I say. It’s not over. But don’t just take my word for it. See for yourself how just the thing you wanted to walk away from, run away from, back away from, or wish away is just the thing that’s that thing that makes all other things past and to come make sense (and possibly dollars and cents).