By now you’ve probably seen it, heard about it at the least, and spent more than a few minutes “ooo-ing and ahhh-ing” it from every angle at the most.

Yes, I’m talking about Solange Knowles’ wedding dress. No, I don’t really spend much time writing about pop culture, but this particular topic fit within the frame of something I wanted to explore.

Fierce, honey!

 

A few months back, a reader hit me up on Twitter and asked me to write about how not everyone wants that white, picket-fence life,  and how there are other life choices out there beyond getting married, popping out kids, and doing the “typical thing”.

I pondered it. And had this been a few years ago, I probably would have been down to ride out, and roll over those picket fence notions, but instead I’ll do something different: challenge you to define your relationship state for yourself.

In terms of what you want, what you never wanted, what you feel pressured to aspire to,  what hasn’t worked out, and what you are afraid of.

Back in the day no one questioned the validity of choosing to go about your life in the way the ancestors have mostly done it. It made sense, and the options were few.

Now, we have more access to more choices. We can travel further, delay commitments, and control so many aspects of our fertility.

And this has caused some chaos.

Debates around traditional versus non conformist choices seem to turn into some kind of odd boxing match as each side fights to validate their life choices.  We’ve been sold on specific ideas of what each state should look like, and the truth is that it causes some anxiety for all.

And that’s what made me think about Solange. Although she did something very traditional, the way in which she did it, speaks to the uniqueness of her spirit. A wedding dress with a cape? Bicycles instead of a cheesy limo?  A tableau of fierce women as the main wedding picture?

Homegirl just switched up the game. She defined her wedding her way, and made it what she wanted it to be.

And I think if we approach our life choices in that fashion, defining them in our own way rather that trying to squeeze them into some pre conformed notions, we can all fly free, ring or no ring, babies or no babies, fences and open spaces be damned.

 

I’d love your thoughts.

 

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I have a confession: I am often so incredibly uncomfortable about over the top announcements of personal life business on social media.

Not because I am anti joy or happiness, or bitter, or any of those negative words that brings to mind a person who poo poos on the positivity of others. Not at all.

I’m not a fan of them because I always wonder why the “the shit has hit the fan” events don’t get the same treatment or bravado.

Why is it okay in this culture of over sharing, that we only show one dimension of ourselves?

I just wonder if we are determined to make our lives a public spectacle, is it fair to ask for honesty when shit goes wrong? Can you update everyone on the bumps in the road too?

If we did this, would Facebook turn into a place for compassion rather than comparison?

What would social media look like if we kept it real? If we used it to explore a side of our vulnerability as humans? What if we talked about the highs with the lows, or if we showed who we really are without any filters?

Would it humanize us? In this time when over sharing can lead to under caring, and it feels as if social media robs us a little of human connection daily, would an exercise in abject honesty make a difference?

I wonder these things when I realize yet another engagement has been broken without a sound, another spouse’s photos erased seemingly in the middle of the night. Jobs lost without a how and why status-style update to provide our friends with a new life lesson learned.

Why is it that only the successes of life find their way into the curated online space, but not the many ways in which we’ve failed, or been disappointed, or hurt?

Is it an effort to keep it positive, or just an avoidance of keeping it real?

I’d love to know what you think.

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balance-new

I wrote this at 5 something in the morning. Not because I can’t sleep. Please, believe me when I say I CAN sleep. But because if I’m not up writing now, then writing doesn’t get done. And when writing doesn’t get done, I don’t feel good. And the sleep that I am so obsessed with getting? It becomes tainted with the anxiousness of thoughts of what I could be doing with the precious minutes gone by.

A few months ago I wrote about battling the burnout that many creative entrepreneurs experience, and while I feel that I am on the other side of the hump of that struggle, the battle I face now leaves me just as tired.

It is the battle between balancing the duties of my real life, and trying to create all of the things that feed my ambitious soul.

Am I the only person who gets weary when trying to decide to write a post, or go shopping for the week’s groceries?

Am I the only creative who wants to run and hide from the intense focus and discipline that it takes to produce things?

Am I the only person who wishes that I had more time to allow my mind to wander freely? Who feels icky when I’m stretching for words, but completely at a lost when trying to find time to meet with people that inspire me to keep writing?

There are some days when honestly, creation seems like this big sacrifice that I never wanted it to be. I have trouble believing that I can truly ‘create’ when it feels as if the product has to be so intentional because I only have 15 minutes to spare. Where is my time to explore, to learn, to discover?

When do I get to play?

I’ve always been a day dreamer. I was the kid who looked out the windows during class, and imagined a life elsewhere. I’m the one who can look at something on the street that appears to be trash, and imagine a new use for it. If you’re into horoscopes, I’m a Pisces, and I stay in my head.

But these notions and these thoughts, do not, have never, and will never, mix with the sense of ambition that drives me to reach for more in my life.

We often hear that the dreamers in our society will stay hungry, while those that are more action-oriented will always be on a never ending treadmill towards something, anything other than what they see now. Moving fast to acquire, yet never slowing down to appreciate what they already have.

I am somewhere between the two. Trapped between my notions of a right to daydream and wander, and a deep desire to plan out every moment of my day, so that I don’t miss a minute.

There are times when I stare at the clock, and beg it to stop, to freeze time, to let me squeeze a few more minutes out of the day. There are moments when I feel guilty, because I think I am neglecting the people I care about, and moments when I feel guilty because I want to will them to stop speaking, to leave me be so that I can get back to checking things off of my “to-do” list.

I’ve read damn near every article and (many, many) books on trying to find work life balance, and I finally have the guts to say it:

“Work life balance is an effing myth.”

For balance to happen, two things have to be equal on the scale. They have to add up to the perfect measure, and one cannot shadow the other.

In life, that rarely happens. There will always be more times when you have to sacrifice one thing, for something potentially awesome. There will always be moments when the pursuit of that awesome thing drives you to tears and guilt.

There is no balance, but there are plenty of choices and decisions.

To get my nails done, or write.
To cook, or work on a book.
To hang out with friends for that extra hour, or go home and catch up on work.

 

Question: Do you think it’s possible to have balance in life?

 

 

 

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I spent a good chunk of yesterday watching episodes of “Mork and Mindy”, and not knowing whether to give in to laughter, or give in to the tears that have been threatening to fall since Monday afternoon when I heard that actor Robin William committed suicide.

On a personal note, when I was a kid I used to watch reruns of Mork and Mindy with my mom, and each time a tragedy happens that reminds me of some memory I shared with her, I take it hard. She’s been gone now for 14 years, but these tiny things are sweet memories of the time I had with her, and each time one goes ( Robin Williams, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson) it cuts into the sweet end of the bittersweet and it makes me sad.

But the other thing that prompted the sadness in me was thinking about the discussions I’ve been having lately about how being a creative, artistic person means that at times it can become easy to wander too far into the dark side of your inner, artistic light, and how the feelings that enable you to share so richly, and deeply, can allow you to stay in that space for far longer than you really should.

I read a piece on Slate.com from a writer who suffers from depression who said that “knowing how much you are loved” doesn’t allow depressives to shake the diseasse. And that was the other thing that horrified me about the passing of Robin Williams.  He has three kids, a wife, and it didn’t stop him. All of that love didn’t stop him, couldn’t stop him. When I try to grasp the amount of pain he had to have been in, the air is taken out of me and my heart hurts.

A Light Heart1

 

Robin Williams’ death has put a public face on it, but depression is lurking all around us. Invisible, because it hides inside of the psyche, undetected to most human eyes. It is a pain that gives way to a sense of tiredness and feelings of just wanting things to stop, and it festers because no one really talks about it.

As a society we have not really been taught to face depression. We try to mask our pain with a happy face. Our culture is saturated with platitudes such as “buck up,” “think about the good things” “ get it together” and that makes space for shame, not healing. We are not raised to take our mental health seriously. We aren’t raised to listen to the voice inside, and to get still to see what it’s saying. We’ve been raised to shut it down, and shut it out.

Originally I wanted to write about listening to your voice when it is telling you to try something new in the spirit of believing in yourself. A piece about not listening to the little voice inside that tells you when you can’t do something, or asks who are you to attempt something great.

I fear it is also this voice that echoes the feelings of worthlessness and pain that rings through when depression takes over. It is this particular voice that needs to be battled.

But please remember, it can’t happen alone.

 

 

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Share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear them, and chat with you.

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 “If you hold on to your history, you could lose your destiny.”

Pastor T.D. Jakes

I’m not very religious. Every now and then I pray, and light a candle to reflect on life, but I’m not the bible-toting, scripture-quoting chick that my Southern roots dictate that I should be.

However, a few days ago I got my daily dose of inspiration via TD Jakes, the megachurch pastor who tends to bust out into song mid sermon.

Singing aside, the video I watched was called, “The Seven Steps To Success”, and out of the seven scripture-based tenets, “wash your face” spoke to me the most.

So what does it mean to wash your face? It’s a metaphor for leaving the past behind, and facing the day with a new outlook focused on moving forward, and not clinging to the things that happened to us on yesterday, or yesteryear.

 

WHAT YOU WANT (1)

 

When I started writing this, I felt uncomfortable because I remember how much I’ve struggled to push down the hurtful feelings that used to bubble beneath my surface when I thought about the mistakes I’ve made.

It has taken a lot to learn that letting go of the past is “learning to live with” and “move beyond.”

That said, this is a reflection of the journey I am still very much on. I have some good days, and on others I have some hills to climb, but on my weary days I try to contemplate (on how to keep it moving)  rather than complain, and I want to share that thought process with you all.

So, what have I learned about letting go of the past?

 

1. To Recognize When my Angst Is Caused By Needless Comparisons

A lot of the angst I have felt in the last few years has come from pushing myself to live up to the invisible expectations and standards of others.

The battle to define happiness and success on your own terms is always going to be threatened by our human desire to compare and contrast ourselves with everyone we know. I am lucky to be surrounded by so many incredible people, but I’d be lying if I said I never looked at some of the journeys that I see and wish that mine had taken some similar detours in certain spots.

It took awhile, but now I’m seeing that some of the crazy shit unique things that I’ve been through have seriously made me into the woman I am today, and built the muscles I needed to be able to step into certain points of purpose in my life.

 

2. That Forgiving Yourself Is Hard

If you’ve ever held a grudge against yourself, you know how nasty it can feel. I remember having days when I wished with all of my heart that I could go back in time and do something, anything, differently to deliver myself from the place of pain I was in.

In life, there are bound to be some lessons that you just learn the hard way. The trick is to see it for what is is, and focus on seeing how going through the situation can make you stronger rather than dwelling.

That said,it ain’t easy to forgive. Part of letting go of the past is recognizing that you are human, and that you’re bound to do something that’s not in your best interest from time-to-time.

 

3. Challenging Your Mindset Is Mandatory

Straight up: you really are what you believe.

This goes beyond just willing yourself to think positive. How do you talk to yourself? What is the story you tell yourself about who you really are? How do you feel about your past, and if the feelings are mostly negative, what is the narrative you are holding on to?

Last year I gave a lot of my mental energy to dwelling on things I wish I had done differently, and where do you think all of that wishing and hoping got me? That’s right, nowhere!

Switching your mindset is really about remembering that you have choices. You can choose what happens next in your life, just as you can choose to see the silver lining in the bad things that happen. Plus realizing that you have the power of choice feels GOOD. It puts the power of your life back into you hands, and allows you to see the big picture.

 

Talk to Me↓

How hard is it for you to let go of things that happened to you in the past? Do you think holding on to your angst could be holding you back?

 

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