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Book of the Month: Becoming by Michelle Obama

Okay. Book of the month: Becoming by Michelle Obama. I am so stale. I know. I can't believe I'm just now reading Obama's Becoming. It is really hard to make this the a book of the month because, how do you write about a book so phenomenal and truly profound? But then again, this book had to go on the record as one of my favorite books. I do generally love memoirs; I have mentioned that before when I wrote about  Trevor Noah and Susan Rice's memoirs. But Michelle Obama's memoir is up there as one of the best, most personal, most heartwarming, and amazing books. The one thought that ran through my mind as I read it was that I did not want to finish reading the book. I just wanted to keep hearing about her life and so I read it sooo slowly; I digested her words page after page;  I consumed it intimately because I did not want it to end. All of this is to let you know I enjoyed reading about Michelle Obama tell the story of her life. I should stop here, and just implore you to read the book. But if you need more convincing, continue below. 



First of all, this book packs a lot into it. But there is a refreshing honesty that seeps through every page. The book starts with her very humble beginnings, in which she describe her upbringing with fondness and love. This is also where we first learn of her father's declining health. In this first part, she takes us all the way from Euclid Avenue through Princeton, Harvard, fancy law firms, public service, hospital administration, and all the way to The White House. Memoirs present the perfect opportunity for people to tell their own side of the story, to clear up the air, and she did that by punctuating with some interesting junctures of their political career. Most notably, she describes the media's portrayal of her as an "angry black woman", "emasculating" and just how frustrated she was with being misunderstood. There is often a profound stupidity of the American media. I mean calling a harmless fist bump between a loving couple a "terrorist fist jab" is so blatantly stupid, so idiotic, I don't even want to give it energy. Moving on.


We also get a glimpse into how hard she tried to maintain her own identity and not be eclipsed into all of her husband's ambition, even despite politics taking over their lives. She reminds us often how little interest she had in politics. Apart from being a political memoir, this book was truly brilliantly written. She wove words together to tell, for instance, the story of her parents' marriage. In her description of how she came to fall in love with her husband, I don't know if it's the cynic in me but I often paused, wondering if truly their love is as beautiful as she describes. I actually think it is. At some point, she describes her husband as this incredibly cerebral man (which is true!) but also he stays up at night thinking about income inequality? LOL c'mon! But yes, it's not all roses and ice cream; they dealt with their fair share of challenges too (including infertility) and she shows how no matter how much you love each other, marriage can be crazy. This perfect, most brilliant, most beautiful husband suddenly chose to head off to Bali (alone!) six weeks after their marriage. 


One other notable thing that sticks out in the book is how she brings us into a world that was just as foreign to her as it is to us. And so she tells the story from the perspective/ position of humility. She describes the awe, the humility, the grandiose that she felt when she first encountered those experiences. It's not altogether surprising that she is this way. The one thing that they did in their administration was to open the White House as The People's House. A lot of people had access to that House that never did in previous administrations. In reading her memoir; whether it was meeting the Queen for the first time or living in a mansion built by slaves; or visiting the great wall of China; her fascination reminds you that this was not the world she ever expected to find herself in. It's exactly what draws you in to this memoir from the very first page till the end. 


How does a girl from the South Side of Chicago—who  grew up in a cramped apartment on Euclid Avenue —get to the halls of Princeton, Harvard, and of course to The White House?


She and Jesse Jackson's daughter, Santita Jackson, were very close buddies when they were young. In fact,  Santita Jackson was eventually Michelle Obama's maid of honor at her wedding. Anyway, Santita of course grew up with Jesse Jackson being her father, and once in a while Michelle Obama would follow her to her father's rallies. As Michelle Obama tells the story, at the time,  she used to marvel at the idea of being the child of a political figure like Jesse Jackson. While reading, I thought, if someone ever looked at Santita Jackson and Michelle Obama and wanted to guess, say, which of the two girls would likely end of living in the white house. No one would have bet on Michelle Obama. That's how wild life is. 


So much is packed in this book. I mean, I didn't even get into her beautiful relationship with her brother; how much of a hard-worker she is;  how proud she is of being a black woman; nor did I mention the high school counselor who told her she wasn't Princeton material. I can't imagine if she actually let that nonsense dissuade her from pursuing her goals. Too often, we give power to people who don't even matter. The woman planted a seed of failure in Michelle Obama before she could even try to succeed. 


"Failure is a feeling long before it's an actual result." - Michelle Obama


You WILL have doubters in this world. But like Obama says in her memoir, you must learn to live with it. Live like you have all the advantage in the world.


Love,

I


I Got a Ph.D.! How I feel About Defending my Ph.D. Dissertation

This year has been a LOT. A whole LOT for so many reasons. But, I can also say this year 2020 is the year I completed the most difficult task of my life. Exactly one week ago, I defended my dissertation and became a Doctor! 


I wrote on Instagram and Facebook that I was speechless. And I think I still am. I don't know what to say because the past five years have been a combination of torture, anxiety, anger, hard-work, resilience, grit, and extreme grace. Let's recount a little of what it took to get here: a dissertation of exactly 245 pages; a two-hour defense of said dissertation; a harrowing (and soul crushing) proposal defense a year ago; two brutal comprehensive exams two years ago; an oral exam two years ago; a qualifier defense two or three years ago (everything is a blur at the moment); tons of classes. But none of that matters now. What matters is that I PhinishedD. I have a freaking Ph.D. I said on all my social media that my amazing family was there for me so this degree is for all us. I meant it. 


The day I defended, I spoke with a lot of people over the phone. My family, my friends, a lot of people called (or messaged) congratulating me. One conversation stuck. It was with my aunty; my dad's older sister. She mentioned that my grandmother must be rejoicing in heaven that day. See, my grandmother had no education as both my dad and aunty reminded me. Not great grandmother, not some  far fetched ancestor, but my father's mother. She didn't get an education not because she wasn't brilliant but because her own parents could not afford to give her an education. It wasn't even a possibility. And then I got a Ph.D. 


We truly are our ancestors' wildest dreams. 


To be clear, I'm not the first in my family to get an education or even to get a graduate degree. My parents are educated. My siblings are very educated. My cousins are educated too. We are Nigerians after all lmao. I'm not even the first doctor in my family. And by the grace of almighty God, I won't be the last.


I'm saying I don't think any of my grandparents on either side, no matter how wildly they dreamt, could have imagined any of this for their progenies. And that truly blows my mind. I have been thinking about that a lot. 


Anyway, the good thing is I now have some time for some of my passions now and if Covid ever leaves (Lord!) I owe myself the most luxurious vacation. I really do. The best part is just having time. I just have time. I feel light, free, relieved. My gift to myself these past few days has been to wake up without an alarm; I only wake up when my body is ready to wake up. I eat my meals slowly, I luxuriate in almost everything but more so while eating. I love it.


I also can now write more about academia and be much more honest. I've never lied but sometimes, I've had to cool my jets. I already have a reputation for being *ahem* let's not complete that. So I couldn't risk getting in my own way.


But now, ohohohoh LOL


Seriously, though. 


I'm hoping to write more. About academia (sure) but also about everything else. I'm hoping to focus more on this blog and all the other things I rarely had time for. 


But if I'm missing in action in the next few days, please forgive me. So much is still happening as you might expect.


A normal person would post all the celebratory pictures from the defense, right? Right.  Turns out I'm not that normal. You would have to head over to my personal Instagram page for that. I don't know why posting my pictures anywhere (even on my PERSONAL page) comes incredibly hard for me. I'm not anonymous so you can definitely find me on the interwebs if you're curious as to what I look like. 


This is a full on ramble now.


TLDR: I did a thing: I got a Ph.D. I will blog more (I hope). And I have a serious problem with posting pictures online. 


Good recap.


Love,

I

Dealing with Hypocrisy and Hubris in the Church and Among Christians

I hate the new blogger interface. There, I said it. 

Something else: this is such an interesting period of time. I can't believe how lackadaisical people are during a global pandemic. I get not wanting to worry, but to just constantly continue to live like [insert whatever insult here] while ignoring the reality that this pandemic is literally killing people, continues to amaze me. People are throwing all kinds of parties, going to restaurants, pretty much living life as they did before Covid. And I don't just mean the regular ignorant ones that protest mask wearing, I mean people like you and me. Scientists, even. My Instagram feed is revealing y'all. It's such a shame. But okay.

Let's move on.



I recently read Matthew 23. It's not my first time reading it, and I am almost certain I have blogged about it before (currently too lazy to look for it Lol). But like most great things, this is worth repeating. The main question at the forefront of my mind is, why don't pastors talk more about this passage? I'm looking at you, Nigerian pastors. I think it's because this chapter was basically Jesus throwing serious shade at them. Yes, contemporary, modern-day pastors. Let me explain.

So, the disciples were just chilling. 

No one:

Quite Literally No one:

And then,

Jesus: These teachers of the religious law and these Pharisees who are official interpreters of the law of Moses never practice what they preach.

Like okay, read them, Jesus! Read them. Basically, Christ was irritated by the fact that these teachers of the Law crushed people with "unbearable religious demands" and never tried to ease the demands. It's almost machiavellian. It felt like they took pleasure in seeing people struggle with these mostly man-made, arbitrary rules. They made noise about rules and laws that they themselves could never obey or comply with. Does that sound even vaguely familiar?

But Christ was not done. Everything these teachers of the law did was for show. They pray for show. They *ahem* post quote upon quote from the Bible for show. They perform their religion for the sake of appearing pious. They post all kinds of scathing social media posts to remind you how you are not being a good Christian, and only ever post themselves in a good light. They only ever share how they have never sinned, or how good they are at reading the bible, or how amazing they are at recognizing the distinct voice of God. Yes, shade. For them, it's never about the heart. For them, it's a lot about receiving the accolades. Like the Pharisees and the Teachers of the religious Law in Jesus's time, too many people, too many pastors love to sit at the head table at "banquets". They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk around.

"Yes, pastor sir!"

"Yes, Daddy!"

They love when everyone kneels or bows or idolizes them because they are pastors. They believe they are above reproach.

"Touch not my anointed," they and their sycophants always readily say. 

They, as in the Pharisees, love the flattery, the adulation. 

The similarity was staggering. It felt like Jesus was here and now and calling these people out. It's becoming worse because it's moving from real life to followers on Instagram. They love being the authority on everything "Christian". They are the only ones with the manual on being a true Christian. Christ warned against titles for they can easily create separation and superiority in the church.

"Don't let anyone call you 'Rabbi' for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don't address anyone here on earth as 'Father' for only God in heave is your Father." 
- verses 8-9

I mulled and mulled on these verses and it occurred to me that a lot of pastors would never ever agree to being equal to their congregation. Somehow, over the years, either by themselves or from others, a lot of men of God have elevated themselves as higher than the rest of us. I am not kidding. It's why many revel in being called "Daddy" or "Father".  Except, clear as the day Jesus says to not call any of them father. 

Which brings me to, what is the rationale behind calling your pastor Daddy? I don't get it. Never have. Probably never will. And if you call your pastor "Daddy",  I truly truly want to hear from you. 

Why have people chosen to exalt themselves? The way of the world is to put yourself first, to exalt yourself, and brag "on yourself". The way of the world is pride and arrogance. But the way of Jesus is anything but. Time after time after time, he showed us true humility. Why, then, is it that Christian leaders find it so incredibly hard to humble themselves? Why do they exalt themselves in a way Jesus frowned upon? Jesus was counter-cultural in many ways and maybe even slightly confusing in some, but he was clear on what and who he stood for. This is how I know that to be a follower of Jesus is to care about justice. about mercy. about faith. 

"What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens,[a] but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things" v 23

Since I started writing this post, a LOT has happened (it's 2020 after all).  The point being you cannot enforce stringent, meaningless rules over dress codes under the guise of so-called modesty and then you turn around to post a picture of yourself with your pants unzipped [breaking the very rules you decry students for breaking]. Which brings me to: you can't call yourself a party of "family values" and vehemently endorse and back a person with numerous wives who boasts of grabbing women by the pussy. You can't be pro life because it's what Jesus would do and then turn around to lock little kids in cages. You can't be the Christian party and deny people healthcare. No, you can't. You can't do both. You have to pick one. 

I want to stop here now because this is reading like a full on rant and I did not mean for it to be that way at all. I have to be careful. People's hypocrisy can never be an excuse for me to be hypocritical myself. So while there is anger, there is hopefully no judgement. I don't know that these pastors will see this, I can only hope they do.  It's so easy to judge the Pharisees/Teachers of the Law as hypocritical, but the truth is they genuinely thought they were doing what was right. They actually KNEW the law, all of it. So they must have been completely sure they were on the right side of things and I find that so humbling. SO completely humbling. It's very easy to think YOU are on the right side of history even if you're not. This is why it is incredibly important to always evaluate yourself. Be sure you are not just having mere hubris.   I too get angry at that hypocrisy, but then I wonder, in what area am I being a hypocrite myself? Because again, the hypocrisy of others is not an excuse for your to be hypocrites. BUT

If your righteousness is just for show, if it's just for others to see, then what is the point? Ask yourself that.

Again, it's worth asking, do modern day pastors ever read Matthew 23 and feel guilty because, yikes. Christ went IN. He called them fools, hypocrites, sons of hell. To be honest, Christ continually reminds us that it is sometimes okay to be pissed, to be direct, and to not mince words when it comes to impropriety. So if you're mad at nonsense and someone says is that what Jesus would do, say yes. Christ was passionate. Christ was angry at hypocrisy.

So how do you deal with hypocrisy? Like Jesus did, call it out. But while we seek to act like Jesus did, ultimately we are *not* Jesus. We are not perfect like Jesus. So we must tamper our actions with mercy.  I will leave you with my most recent favorite quote, by Robert Madu:

Grace without truth is meaningless
Truth without grace is just mean


Love,

I

Book of the Month: Daughters Who Walk This Path By Yejide Kilanko

Hello and welcome to the book of this month!

I'm always so excited to talk about these and I hope y'all are just as excited. If you are, please let me know and/or share with others. It encourages me a great deal :-)  This month's own is a miracle on it's own because I almost lost my laptop and everything in it so praise God with me. 



Alright, let's dive in: the book of this month is by Yejide Kilanko called Daughters Who Walk this Path. 
Not that it was planned, but I realized that this year, most of the books have been by black women and I'm even more proud of that hehe. I hope I can keep this up so if you have any recommendations, feel free to put them in the comments below, okay? 

The book is a coming of age story of the main protagonist, Morayo. The book tells us how she went from a charming, carefree, and intelligent girl who grows up surrounded by a loving family and friends in Ibadan, Nigeria to one who is eclipsed into trauma, shame, and a cloud of oppressive silence. All of these occur because  the adults around her have completely let down, in my opinion. But one person stands out in her story and that's her cousin (aunt?) Aunty Morenike, who having walked the path before her was able to guide Morayo through navigating this path too

The author is a master storyteller and I an tell you for a fact that from the first pages, you hardly want to put down the book. A book that draws you in like so is certainly brilliant. This book is feminist, it's powerful, it's a masterpiece and I don't know why the book or the author is not more mainstream or maybe they are and I just don't know. There was something about the way she narrates the book that makes it so real, so visual, and you don't have to have lived in Ibadan to know the descriptions were apt. The characters are so relatable, especially Aunty Morenike. I loved, loved her. It's touching in so many ways.

I'll be honest, it's told in first person and so the earlier parts came across as a little too...juvenile. But as the story progresses, the storytelling starts to mature. All of these make sense in hindsight because as the pages turn, the protagonist grows older. 

My biggest peeve with this book is that it deals with too many issues. On the one hand, that's freaking amazing: to deal with such complex themes within the context of Nigeria. We are talking child abuse, shame, the mother-daughter dynamics, albinism, political violence, sex education...But on the other, it sometimes felt like the author was given a laundry list of themes to tackle and it was all about forcing every single one of them unto the pages of this otherwise fantastic book. But then again, these are topics often not discussed in Nigeria so it was refreshing to hear it said.  

But if you are African or at least Nigeria, the story is one that you're familiar with, especially as a woman. We know how the adults around often choose silence rather than the discomfort that occurs from truth telling. It's funny because one of the biggest events of this book, you could have seen a mile coming. And you keep hoping it doesn't happen but it does. And you are angry at the [redacted] because how could they let that happen to their [redacted]. Then you realize that's real life too. That's precisely how it occurs in real life.  Again, the particular thing that struck me is, this book does NOT pander to "the western gaze". That's what I loved the most about it.

It's a brilliant book so I hope you read it. When you do, please let me know what you think!

Love,

I

Are Men Too Emotional for Politics?

News broke recently that some republican congressman found AOC on the capitol steps, accosted her, yelled at her, and called her disgusting for saying poverty and unemployment are increasing crime in New York City during the pandemic. Any moron would know that this is in fact the truth, and not just in an American city like New York but even in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria. But no. He called her disgusting, crazy, dangerous...

"You are out of your freaking mind!" He yelled at her. She responded that he was being rude and left to go cast her vote on the floor.

According to The Hill, he was coming down the steps and she was ascending the steps when it all happened.

A few steps down, he called her a"fucking bitch". He called a seating Congresswoman a "fucking bitch". It's all too familiar and quite frankly, trite. Women know this language, we recognize this; men hurling insults at us in public to intimidate us.

In his ridiculous non apology, he said he could not apologize for his passion.  Instead of offering a genuine apology, he chose the cowardly way out: making excuses for his behavior.  I'm incredibly glad AOC did not let that ridiculous, pitiful apology slide.  He used his own wife and daughters as shields for poor behavior. The age-old "I have a daughter, wife" spiel that men like him never get tired of using. Because men like him have a hard time seeing a woman as a human being. They can only see women as daughters, wives, mothers. To give some perspective, AOC is two years younger than his youngest daughter. Two years. That's who he called a fucking bitch because they disagree on policy. Ladies and gentlemen, this man is what we call ÀGBÀYÀ where I come from.

When AOC said thankfully her father is not alive to see this man disparage her like so, it broke my heart. But then when she followed up with the fact that she was not raised to accept abuse from men, I screamed! Because, you BET she wasn't.

And then of course, the part that infuriated me the most in his ridiculous non apology was that he mentioned he could not apologize for loving his God. How in the beautiful name of God does harassing your colleague at work demonstrate your love for God? But that's not why we are here today.





The wildest part is that despite rubbish like this, women are the ones branded as too emotional for politics. Even though time and time again we see women calm, reasoned, logical, hard at work, and fiercely advocating for the people they serve. The countries that have successfully tackled the Covid-19 crisis have been almost predominantly led by  women. Women get the job done. Period. Yet one of the most pervasive myths out there is the stereotype that women are more emotional than men.

On the other hand, men throw tantrums, they post unhinged tweets, they declare wars when they are in terrible moods, they lack basic empathy, they are erratic, people still never declare them emotionally unfit to hold elected and leadership positions.

Several months ago when this country had to sit through the testimonies of Dr. Christine Ford and Bret Kavanaugh. One person, who suffered through an unfortunate event that has haunted her almost all her life, was measured, calm, focused, respectful. The other, about to be sworn in as a supreme court justice yelled, cried, spat, berated people, screamed about loving his daddy and of course, beer, and was generally a whole mess.

We continue to let these gender stereotypes permeate our society and people use all kinds of language to rearrange their prejudices. People argue that men are the more calm and capable leaders. Take a moment to take in this most recent story I narrated above about AOC. Imagine a woman being so irritated with her coworker that she accosts him on the steps, yells at him, and then curses at him. Ask yourself what would that woman be called? It would definitely not be passionate.

This is why I always say language matters. What we say and how we say it matters, from when boys and girls are little. The languages we use for girls that force them to be timid are not the same for men that cause them to assume an inherent superiority.

I want to say that being emotional is not the problem. In the words of Amanda Seales, emotion is the language of our soul. It's that we label men's emotions different from women's. This type of double standard must stop at every level but especially at our highest offices.

In her now famous response, AOC said she has tossed men out of bars while waiting tables for this same behavior. The same thing a seating U.S. representative did. She said she has encountered this type of harassment riding the subway. And the fact that such behavior is condoned and normalized is what breaks my heart. Republicans have continually bullied, harassed, dehumanized and tried to silence AOC. It only demonstrates how afraid they are. So we must let them know that there are many more where she came from. That us, young, gifted, smart  black and brown women [ACROSS THE WORLD] will not keep silent. Where our mothers may have tolerated all manners of abuse, where society has continually uplifted powerful men who brag about abusing women only to turn around to remind us they have daughters and wives, we are different. We will bring the fire. We will destroy the culture of the old white boys club. So they and all their stupid emotions better be afraid. We are the true daughters of our fathers. Of our mothers. We are here to stay.

I love love how AOC said by refusing to apologize he has given other men the permission to do to his daughters. Her speech was powerful in many ways and also the best reminder of why we need more women in politics. The cadence, the delivery, the substance, no man could ever. NONE.

Finally, men, you can have daughters, wives, granddaughters, you can call on God from now till eternity and still be deeply misogynistic, and still accost women, and still call women "fucking bitch" without any remorse. You can be all of these things; you can be a tongue lashing, firebrand christian, and when given the opportunity to apologize for your mistakes, squander it while using your daughters, wife, passion as shields. I mean, what a coward!

"Having a wife does not make you a decent man. Treating people with decency and respect makes you a decent man. And when a decent man messes up as we are all bound to do, he tries his best and does apologize, not to save face, not to win a vote, he apologizes genuinely to acknowledge and repair the harm done. So that we can all move on." - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

SHAME on you, Mr. Yoho. Shame on you, for using your wife, daughters, and the name of God as a shield for terrible behavior. Àgbàyà oshi!


And so to answer the question, are men too emotional for politics? It appears so.

Love,

I

Redefining Dreams, Goals, and What Success Means to You

I listen to Dave Ramsey a lot [on YouTube]. I have to caveat that with I don't agree with everything he says, but I quite enjoy his shows and I learn a lot about living financially conservatively from him.  Someone recently called in about her husband who has a $700k debt (!!!!) they have been ploughing through for a while. To be clear, this was not debt that was used for the family; it was just his personal debt that I think he used for his business or something. Still, together they have been on a debt journey for about 7 years. In fact, they have paid it down to 60k (an incredible feat). So why was she calling? Well, she was still angry.  I would be too. But she wan't angry for reasons you might think. She resents him because her dream was always to be a stay at home mom but because of her husband's terrible decisions, she wasn't able to. She had to work because they were so deep in debt, they needed to both be working to solve the crisis. She is exhausted mentally and emotionally and is about ready to give up on the marriage. Completely confused, Dave confirmed again "You said you already paid this down from SEVEN HUNDRED thousand to sixty?"

"Yes," She said

"So what's the problem?"

"I guess I have run out of gas," she said, breaking into tears.

Again, I would be furious. In fact, as soon the call began, I was like yappp divorce his stupid behind.
But pump the breaks. Let's be fair here. This man did not do ANY of this in secret. She knew about it. When they doubled down on working hard to pay back the debt, he did not refuse. He joined in. He is as committed to financial freedom as she is. Yet she is angry.  So understandably, Ramsey and his cohost (Dr. John) were obviously perplexed. And so was I till I realized the problem

Resentment.

Oh?



Now, I KNOW a lot about resentment. Ooohhh chile. I know it all too well. You know what the problem is? She is angry at him because one of her greatest dreams—to  stay home, take care of her kids, and be a homemaker—could not be achieved because of him. Now it's too late because her youngest kid is 20 and is now in college.

Sigh.

The one thing Dr. John told her that I loved was, at the end of the day the decision to hang on to this resentment is her choice. But more than holding on to resentment, she has refused to let go of that particular dream.  I used to be like that too; I would have one dream, and do all but literally worship that dream. I would hold on to it as the almighty ideal. It's not my fault though, neither is it the fault of the woman above. We have been told in many ways to have a dream, visualize it, and hold on to that dream no matter what.  I know better now; I now know dreams come and go. TD Jakes once said what makes you feel like you have lost your life after some form of loss is that you have lost what you had in mind for your life. This means that you need a new vision for yourself. Things and plans fail, and it has to be okay.

"We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to welcome the life that is waiting for us." - Joshua Campbell.

When Hodgins, a character on one of my most favorite shows (Bones) had an accident and became paralyzed, he went into a deep depression and was angry at everyone. Bones confronted him about his anger which had turned into hatred and hostility. He told her it didn't matter if the whole world was supporting you, sometimes success can be just as hard to reach. Her reply to him changed my approach to many things. She said, then success must be redefined as that which can be accomplished.

Whether it is with a freaking global pandemic or loss or uncertainty or all of the above, we have to be willing to let go of some dreams, welcome new ones, and redefine what success means to us. The woman that called Dave Ramsey was literally crying and tired. So far be it from me to trivialize her concerns. But you know what though, what if she was a stay at home mom and completely DESPISED it? I hate to use cliches but we never know what God is saving us from by making some of our big dreams unattainable. Even if it would have been the best thing to happen to her, the fact is it is now a road not taken. And she can never know what would have come off it. This is why she must learn to let go of that sole dream if she is going to thrive in her new reality. Did her husband make a mistake? Absolutely. But it's time to draw a new vision. It's time to conceive a new dream. We are incredibly multifaceted and wonderfully complex. Yet, we fall for the trap that we have to be one and only one thing.

And don't get me wrong. It's not magic. You don't just turn a switch off and it's all gone. Sometimes you have to live with remnants of old dreams laying around your life. This woman has been working two jobs to pay down debt. She went from wanting to stay home to working two freaking jobs. Any sane person would be mad. She made a statement that drove it home for me:

"we are both working really hard to achieve his dream but mine never mattered"

So in her case as with most of us, it's a long, arduous, painful process.  One that has to begin with open communication, either with ourselves or with the people in our lives. After lots of disappointments from friends, I sat myself down for a one-on-one and I told me that if I couldn't give wholly and fully without expecting back then I would not give. Fin. I would do what I can for people, but set very low expectations of return. That way I could rid myself of the resentment that had been building up due to me giving and giving but never getting back. I don't even mean material things. I mean everything else. And now I'm at peace with myself, not angry with anybody, and doing the best that I can. It's the same with some dreams.

So what dreams, expectations, goals are you forcefully holding on to? Because life is too fleeting to think you have to only be one thing. In these especially troubling times, reevaluate, redefine success, dream new dreams, create new visions. Whatever you must do to not hold yourself to standards you unrealistically set eons ago because mommy and daddy thought you were good with math at age 5 so you had to be an engineer. Even though 30-year-old-you knows that your heart belongs to writing and drawing and creating? Ooohh I hit a nerve lol.

Seriously though, your dreams are not supposed to hold you hostage and terrorize you. Set yourself free today.

Love,

I

Friday Reflections

1.) We had none of these in June. Yikes. My bad.



2.) 74 things white people can do for racial justice.

3.) Tayari Jones, author of one of the best books of this decade,  An American Marriage, always believed she would never catch up.

4.) Chemical versus physical sunscreen: the actual science.

5.) Ladies and gentlemen, please wear sunscreen.

6.) I say this about my favorite shows but really, Madam Secretary was one of the best shows on TV. I don't know why it wasn't more mainstream. I recently watched the series finale and it was amazing.  It was such a good show. The pace. They storylines. Plus, it never tried to be anything it wasn't.

7.) The New York Times agrees with me.

8.) My favorite part was how Elizabeth McCord was portrayed: reasoned, calculated, but filled with incredible empathy. Oh and her marriage; she and Henry were the best couple ever Lol.

9.) Okay here's another review: "Madam Secretary was not perfect but it was hopeful."

10.) This is the best and most fun way you'll ever learn about investing whether during Covid or just more generally. The way she breaks down very complex terminology is a talent, for sure.

11.) Happy July 4th, people. Our celebration this year must be centered around the fact that a woman was peacefully in HER HOME and then she was shot dead by the police and they still have not been arrested or held accountable in any way. That is not true freedom. And if all of us aren't free, then none of us are.

12.)  So don't forget to continue to advocate for Breonna Taylor.

11.) That's it folks. Have a great weekend..