Hey Girl, What’s Your Secret?

Have you ever seen something of another woman’s and wondered how she does it? Have you ever wanted to desperately find out more about it whether it be her outfit, how she keeps her house clean, how she’s stayed married, how she landed her career, what she does to stay fit, how she made it through her tragedy, how she reared successful children and stayed sane, how she manages her time, how she forgave, how she keeps both her marriage and her meals hot and fresh, or how she manages to slick down her hair ever-so-gently over the partial weave she rocks?

Have you ever wanted to ask her, “Hey Girl, what’s your secret?” but didn’t ask because of reasons deemed rational, but which are likely irrational? I know I’m not the only one who’s thought if I inquire I’ll come across as comparing, coveting, nosey, or even worse, trying to “bite” her style.


Next time you’re faced with a desire to know more about someone you admire just ask. Simple and plain. Ask. We are here as each others guides through this wild ride called life. No sense in going it alone when someone has the secret which can help make our journey more delightful.



#IAmMaryJane (Are you Lisa?)

I woke still thinking of a fictional television character, of whom, up until lately, I was not too attached. The #UglyTruth episode of hit drama Being Mary Jane dealt with the suicide of the title character Mary Jane Paul’s oldest friend Lisa. Over the last year, and especially in the last couple of episodes, the relationship with the two had been strained, to say the least. It was filled with drama, betrayal, insensitivity, hurtful words, envy, dysfunction, toleration, avoidance and blame. Their friendship culminated with an epic revelation, and gut-wrenching dismantling of a sisterhood which had spanned decades. Mary Jane’s friend Dr. Lisa was smart, accomplished, a philanthropist and beautiful, flaws and all. Yet, Lisa committed suicide in the opening scene after years of depression and bi-polar disorder, lack of fulfillment, unrequited love and following a time in her young life of sexual abuse, all leaving her feeling alone and unloved. Even though their relationship was strained, again to say the least, Mary Jane was left with the task of planning her friend’s funeral, and was asked to offer words by her estranged parents. She did. Boy, oh boy. She did.

Not to reveal too much more for those who have yet to watch this moving piece of cinematic call to action, I will just say that my emotions were all over the place following the episode’s end. It hurt for Lisa, and those like her in life who feel death is the solution. It also hurt for Mary Jane, and those like her in life who are left to deal with death, especially when there are questions of “what could I have done differently” attached.


Mental illness is real, and it affects persons of every walk of life. The end of the episode offered help for those who feel suicide, for whatever reason is the option. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) offers help for those in need. What struck me most, however, from this episode was Mary Jane’s cutting and raw eulogy which challenged others to do more for those who are in need, by simply letting them know they are loved.

I don’t know of many personally who have taken their own lives with the exception of the young boy who lived around the corner when I was growing up who hung himself one day in the 80s and a former co-worker from the 90s.  After watching that episode I started speed-walking through my mental rolodex to scan my list of friends, family, acquaintances and colleagues who might be like Lisa and I’ve simply been too busy to see or too consumed with my own concerns to care as much as I should. #IAmMaryJane  Wow. That stung even typing it. I pray to Jesus that no one in my circle of life is or has ever pondered suicide, but I must, we all must, do more to be there. Think about it. We all likely have the friend whose name is mentioned and words like “he’s crazy”, or “she gets on my nerves”, or “he needs to get it together”, or “she just needs to get over it” come to mind. I hope I’m not the only one who has avoided the phone calls of someone because I simply didn’t want to hear the complaining, blaming, or negative talk because of what I had going on or what I didn’t want to be involved in, if nothing more than to offer a listening ear. We’ve all possibly had that person, who, when we met them or shortly thereafter, we realized something wasn’t quite right, especially regarding their friendship and relationship matters, or past hurts, and we tolerated them until those same things we tolerated turned on us.


So what do we do? Again, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is here for anyone who sees death as the way out. If this is you, know that you are loved and there is always HOPE and a reason for living. But for those of us who are in their lives, we have to, as Mary Jane said, let them know we love them, we really, really love them. We must do this not through judgment, not hampered by our personal frustrations with their situations, not making light of the trials of their life, not to make us feel noble or good, but simply because they are human beings as we all are, deserving of love, support, empathy, sympathy, counsel, listening ears, open hearts and assurance that their existence matters especially when they are in the fight of their lives, for their life.



If We Must Be Botched…

A quite afternoon at home left me channel surfing landing on a new reality show called “Botched”. At first, I must admit, I was going in with my judgment glasses on planning to see a bunch of gasp-inducing people and subconsciously preparing to draw my own conclusions on them and the cosmetic surgery issues with which they were dealing.


I watched the episode featuring a former reality star with stage name derived from a city and state I hope to visit in June to see Brandy on Broadway as Roxie in Chicago. I digress. This starlet’s nose and girly issues were troublesome, however not nearly as severe as the other two people featured on this particular episode of the show. The plastic surgery mishaps they’d been living with did not disappoint in the gasp-induceness I expected. I can only imagine how they must have felt each and every day of their lives they’d lived with these issues. It was actually gut-wrenching to know that, for whatever reason, be it their own or another, they’d been living with surgical mishaps which had not only affected them physically, but emotionally, socially and a bunch of other words ending in “ally”.

So I watched “Botched”, like the former big, bad “it takes a lot to shake me”, “if it bleeds it leads”, “show me the blood” newsie that I used to be. I watched not having to turn my head, settle my stomach or cover my mouth in disbelief. I watched “Botched”, eyes full-on my flat screen with baited breath to see what wonders the plastic surgeons could work. I won’t spoil the episode talking about any wonders that may or may not have been performed. What I will focus on instead is the side story to the botchedness of it all, and that’s the supportive family and friends.


Here’s the tea. We all are, or were botched at some point and in someway, meaning that something we thought was going to go right went wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy wrong. We may carry our signs and scars on the outside like the people in the episode I watched, or we may carry them internally, which can often be worse. The worse of the worse is to carry our wounds, lumps, bruises, disfigurements, ill-adjustments, sags, bags, mistakes, hazards, “you (you, not you’re) a mess” and all that other stuff on the inside and/or outside, and to be alone while doing it. There was a beautiful underlying story to the gory that was “Botched”. A colorful array of family and friends who obviously had been there through the botched days were there front and center to celebrate the better that was ahead. Tears, cheers, (and yes, a few cocktails and beers) were paired with genuine, visible, overwhelming support and joy, which must have meant the world to that not-to-be-named reality starlet and the other subject featured on the show.


So, I’ve decided, if we must be botched we shouldn’t be by ourselves. We all deserve a “go along group” to be there on the front-lines and with back-up support in the times of jackedupness and certainly in the times of joy.