Tuesday, December 31, 2013

LOST FILES: Out with the old, In with the new!

Out with the old and In with the new
tired of dealing with all the things I've been through
tired of hearing that same ole song
of how if this ain't right, you'll be wrong
all day long
of how the loving's so good and you can't get enough
yet it just ain't enough for you to go pack your stuff

and get away from the one of whom you're so tired
you say she ain't on her job yet the bitch still ain't fired
so I quit, baby, cause the pay ain't shit
tired of being your temp cause it ain't covering no rent

That's why it's...
Out with the old and In with the new

got a dude who's willing to do things you won't do
got a dude who is ready to make moves not just grooves
not just talking the talk but ready to show and prove
got a man whose not only commanding my attention
but he's got my respect and oh, did I mention

he's confident, ain't worried one minute about you
ain't asking no questions, ain't searchin' round for a clue
cause he's so sure of himself and his power within
he knows you and your history ain't no match for him
cause I told him about you....how I was so feeling you
but it's a new year, boo.......had enough of you

That's why it's
Out with the old and In with the New!!

c. Sameialika Tarver 2005

BFLY'S TOP TEN.....Lessons Learned in 2013

There are many things I've learned throughout this year,
but this is a compilation of the top ten.
These lessons were eye-opening and life-changing......

1.) DO WHAT IS BEST for you. I felt so much guilt for wanting to move out of my home and my hometown, leaving my daughter, granddaughter and grandmother behind. One part of me believed it was selfish of me to take my support away from them but the other part of me needed to be selfish, in order to give myself the love, care and support I desperately needed. I'm glad I made the move; my spirit has been so much better for it.

2.) MENTAL HEALTH is of the utmost importance. Losing my brother to suicide and battling my own depression has brought the issue of mental illness to the forefront of my life. This year, I became stronger in my fight and more optimistic about my future. I am very conscious of the way I think and behave towards myself. I must maintain a healthy mental outlook, and I aim to do so, by any means necessary. 

3.) GOOD PEOPLE do still exist. Early this year, I took a much needed leave of absence from my job. At the time, I only had a few days' worth of leave credits I could apply towards my 30 days off. The amount of potential income loss was significant, but it was worth the stress relief I'd get from not having to go to work. I applied for our time donation program (where coworkers could donate their own leave credits towards my absences) and hoped I'd receive a few days, at least. About a week into my leave, I received a document stating that most of my leave would be covered by coworkers' donations and I would only lose a day and a half of pay. My God, my God......what a blessing that was!

4.) EVERYTHING HAPPENS for a reason. I was reconnected with someone I hadn't seen in over 10 years. He wasn't anyone I had ever had any romantic interest in but, I opened myself up to the possibility. I developed an intimate relationship with him and believed it would be a long-term partnership. We had good, fun and meaningful, times together but they would be short-lived. When I realized it wasn't going to work out between us, it took a while for me to accept it. I was disappointed but I knew I had to walk away. My hopes for us were shot down but I knew the reason for his coming into my life had been met. I left the relationship as a stronger and better person; and grateful for the lesson the experience taught me.     

5.) LETTING GO is mandatory. As parents, we worry that our kids are not listening to us; that they will not heed our advice or follow our good examples. So we tend to hang on to them, for dear life, fearing that they cannot live productively without us. Sometimes, our children choose paths we wouldn't necessarily choose for them, they do things we don't agree with and they disappoint us in various ways. Even so, they do listen; they make good choices and do things we approve of and, even, are proud of. One of things I worried about most was my daughter being on her own with her baby. I thought I'd be getting frantic phone calls from her, or relatives, saying I need to get back because she just can't do it. But, I haven't received one such call since I moved. I've been visiting with them for the holidays and, I see for myself that she is doing well. I am proud of the mother she is, the young woman she is becoming and the personal growth she displays. Her housekeeping and home management is on point and I can return to Charlotte knowing my daughter is doing A-ok without me.

6.) FAMILY/LOVED ONES are not to be taken for granted. The drama and chaos that often comes with being part of a large family or circle of friends can cause one to want to get away and stay away. When I moved, it was a relief to be away from it all. I wanted to be one of those relatives who only returned home for holidays and special occasions. I wanted people to miss me when I was gone and appreciate me when I come back around. Now, I see that being away from the drama and chaos also means being away for the love, support, camaraderie, friendship and fun. Them missing me means I'm missing them and the appreciation goes both ways. While I am glad to be distanced from people & situations that have been stressful in my life, I'm not so sure if I want to be that loved one 'reserved for holidays and special occasions.'

7.) LOVE is an action word. This, I already knew but things that happened this year made it clearer. I've experienced. or witnessed, the love lie in many ways, from individuals I didn't expect it. Friends who have been around for decades and relatives who have been around for life have shown up (or not) this year in very unloving ways. It's sometimes hard to accept that the people you want in your life are not good for your life; that the people you thought would be around forever have now run their course; that the ones you'd give an arm for can hardly give a damn for you. They may say they love you but those words don't mean a thing if what they do says they don't.

8.) LEAPS OF FAITH are necessary for growth and change. Deciding to leave my job of 7 years (which provided a decent paycheck and good benefits) and move to a new city/state with no new job lined up required much thought, a good plan and strong sense of faith. Though this decision was one of the riskiest (and some may think, stupidest) I've ever made, I submitted my 2 weeks' notice with no worries. I packed up my belongings with no hesitation. I drove down the highway, away from my hometown of 40 years towards a place I had only been to once in my life, with no fear. I've lived in Charlotte for almost 5 months now, and though it hasn't been smooth sailing, my life has changed for the better. Being in my new environment has been conducive to my continued personal growth and has strengthened my resolve to take another leap of faith and another and another......

9.) ONLINE DATING is not for me. There are many people who have found love via an online dating site so I know it is possible. However, the virtual dating scene isn't for everybody and I'm one of those it isn't for. Through my experience, I learned that my time and energy would be better spent on face-to-face interactions.

10.) SPENDING HOLIDAYS with family is something to be cherished.  I was dead wrong when I said, spending holidays with family is overrated. This year, I was set on 'doing something different' for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had shared those times with the same relatives all of my life so I figured it was time to change it up. But, when the holiday season approached, there was nowhere else I wanted to be than with my family and friends. Thanksgiving was full of so much love, good times and laughter and Christmas Eve/Christmas Day was filled with incomparable joy. Although I may 'do something different' in the future, I will never again discount the value of spending the holiday season with the family I love and friends I cherish.

What are some of the greatest lessons you've learned this year?

Monday, December 30, 2013

It's a Beyonce World!

I hear Bey's new album has got a few people's granny panties in a bunch. HMPH! Yes, some of her lyrics are raunchy, videos damn near soft porn but GUESS WHAT? Beyonce Giselle Knowles is a groooowwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnn woman! Not only that, she's a young, sexy, married and madly-in-love grown woman. She's singing these songs to/about her husband and I am feeling every hum, growl and yeeeeeessssssssuuuuuhhhhhh! It seems, people think she has 'changed,' been 'turned out' or greatly influenced by her husband, rapper Shawn 'Jay Z' Carter but I beg to differ.

Beyonce was a young girl when she hit the music scene, so of course her music was tame. She came out in a group and did things a certain way. Eventually, she became a solo artist and started doing things a bit differently. Over the years, she has grown and shown the world different sides of herself. She grew up, she branched out, she matured, built up her self-confidence and became a woman. Although a part of her has always been a bit on the shy side, demonstrated by nervous laughter, smiles and girlish tone of voice; another part of her has always been bold and wild, demonstrated by her stage presence/performance, earlier videos and song lyrics. She has always been sensual and even sexual in her music and performances. It's just that, this time, she added a huge dose of raunch to it.... and the haters critics went wild! "Beyoncé is trying too hard! Beyoncé is trying to be hard! Jay-Z turned Beyoncé out! Bey is competing with Rhi! Why she gotta be so nasty! She's a mother, how dare she?! What does her mother think?! What will her father say?! Who does she think she is! Beyoncé has degraded herself.....she's no longer a lady....she has no class....blah blah and blahflippinblah!" Since when does becoming a parent render you sex-less? No fun? Boring? Plain? Vanilla? Why isn't she allowed to grow up, blossom, explore, experience and enjoy life on the next level? Chile please! But let me shut up.....Beyoncé can tell it best.......take a look/listen

Saturday, December 21, 2013

'Twas The Night Before Christmas: A Mistress' Tale

'Twas the night before Christmas, I felt like a fool
I had given away one of my most precious jewels
my heart was taken with lies and wet kisses
I was seduced into playing the role of his mistress

Our days were filled with mystery and hot passion
not thinking of his family or consequences of our actions
I told him I loved him, he told me he cared
he bought me gifts aplenty, deep secrets we shared

He spent nights at my house, most days I spent alone
staring out the window, listening for the phone
Upon his arrival, I'd run to the door
welcoming and delighted in being his whore

The night before Christmas, I heard a terrible noise
out on my front lawn were his wife and two boys
she screamed and she yelled, she wanted to fight
he ducked behind the door, trying to stay out of sight

She approached me and roared, "Bitch, get out of my way!
I came for my husband, with me he's gon stay!
'Get out here' she demanded, as she lunged for the door
 He came out from hiding and I knew she had scored

I looked at him, pleadingly as he looked away
straightened up his clothes and walked out
to my dismay
I stood there shocked in spite of what I already knew
he had a home and his family he was returning to

As he got in the car and drove off with his wife
I stood frozen as the pain cut like a knife
I shuddered as reality suddenly set in
I'll  be spending the holidays alone
once again

c. Sameialika Tarver 2005

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jesus is the Reason for the season

The Christmas holiday season (November 1 - January 2)  is my favorite time of year. All the holly, jolly goodness that gets spread around warms my soul. The decorations, the music, the smiles on people's faces, the shopping, the cooking and of course, the wonderful gifts (given and received) bring joy to my heart. People look forward to spending time with family, traveling, eating, drinking and having a merry good time. However, what often gets lost, overlooked and ignored is the true meaning of Christmas. Then there are those who don't even know why the holiday is celebrated but they celebrate anyway. Some children are brought up in families where Christmas is a day of the year on which they get to wake up and receive beautifully wrapped presents, for no pparticular reason. Not much, if anything, is said about the birth of our Lord Jesus, who is the reason for the season.

I believe in Jesus Christ and He is, indeed, the savior of my soul. Growing up, I was always involved in Christmas programs, at church and in school. My maternal grandparents and paternal grandmother provided me with a strong, spiritual foundation. I attended Sunday school, went to church, sang in the choir and recited many a poem and scripture. I learned bible lessons throughout the year, but especially during sacred holidays. Christmas involved the participation in several programs and celebrations where the story of the birth of Jesus Christ was told in various ways. I was taught and have always known that Christmas is the day we celebrate our savior's birth.Yet, when I became head of my own household, His story took a backseat in my holiday celebrations.

Imagine that. It's your birthday yet all of your guests receive gifts and party while you are left sitting in a back room. Or worse, you're not invited to the party at all. 

Christmas is a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, a son God sent to atone for our sins. He performed miracles that provided healing and relief to people. He used his life for the betterment of the poor and less fortunate. Jesus Christ was a perfect, shining example humanity. This holiday is not only meant to commemorate Jesus' birth but, also to remind and  inspire us to be more 'Christ-like' in our ways. It serves as a reminder to be thankful and grateful for who we are and what we have; to be stewards of love, kindness, compassion and understanding....not just on Christmas day but all year round. The Christmas season is a time to give more of one's self for the happiness & benefit of others. It's a period when offerings of service, skills and time are just as (if not more than) appreciated as material gifts. There are many people who will be alone at Christmas; families whose homes are not adorned with beautiful decorations and sparkling Christmas trees; parents who can't afford to buy their children gifts or even a holiday meal; men, women and children who don't have a place to call home. So, as you indulge, enjoy and partake of all the wonderful things you have been blessed with this Christmas season, please remember those less fortunate. Please share your bounty and give of yourself and your time. Pass on the story of Jesus Christ to your children and fellow man; teach them that the spirit of the season is to not only count your blessings but to be a blessing. Remind them to wish the savior a Happy Birthday, in deed and word. Celebrate Christmas in a new way this year; invite Jesus into your heart and home. It is then that you will receive perfect love, joy and peace that only He can provide, the kind that will sustain you, on Christmas day and all the days of your life.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For: UPDATE

What a HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME it was! 

As promised, my sister (who I will refer to as 'NT' going forward) had a few great surprises lined up for me. My birthday agenda started off with a manicure and pedicure; then we proceeded to a local chain restaurant, where we had dinner and drinks with a couple friends. During this time, NT informed me that the surprise she had scheduled for 9:30 pm wasn't going to pan out. That news  immediately took me from a happy place to a frowning face. She asked me if I had anything I wanted to do and, of course, I didn't. As I mentioned in my previous post, my funds were limited and the clothes I was wearing were not fit for much more than (a place similar to) where we were. I did have on some beautiful, leopard print Michael Kors booties that I ordered a few weeks ago, as a gift to myself. But, the outfit I put together was very casual. Cute, but not fabulous as it should have been. Anyway, believing my night was going to end just as I was starting to feel good, I was ready to go home and park myself in front of the TV (as usual). Then, one of the ladies I was with convinced me to go to the next spot (which was a bar/restaurant that I had no desire to go to). As soon as we arrived, I was pissed. The place was packed, which would have fine if there was a table available for me and the ladies. We had to walk around and wait for over an hour before we were able to get a table. By then, I (and another person I was with) was ready to call it a night. But, we didn't. After having a couple more drinks, my mood improved and I was ready to party. Since this place isn't exactly a 'partying' spot, I settled for dancing in my seat and in the aisle with NT's boyfriend. Then, out of nowhere, one of my sisters & my brother in law (who flew in from our hometown that evening), his cousin and another guy I know from my hometown walked in! Ooooohhhhhhh chile, was I surprised and happy to see them!! My mood increased by a 1000....and so did my alcohol level. As soon as they arrived, they ordered a round of shots for everyone....then another....then a round of drinks.....and another. By the time we were ready to leave that place, I was way over my limit. I went home that night, feeling drunk off of love and liquor!

NT had something planned for me the next day, as well, so I had to deal with the hangover in order to make it to my next birthday surprise. It was a struggle for me to get it together but it was definitely worth it. I was treated to a 90 minute, full-body massage and sugar foot scrub. Can you say, 'heavennnnnnnnnnnn!' It was my first time getting a professional massage and it was everything I imagined it to be plus more. My massage therapist was a woman, with a very sweet voice and strong, skilled hands. At first, her touch felt a little suspect (light feather touches over the legs and buttocks that seemed to be unnecessary) then I realized it was just part of the process. I found it difficult to fully relax, in the beginning but before I knew it, I had completely surrendered. I woke myself up, several times, from my own snoring. At one point, my snoring was so loud, I scared myself! I was so embarrassed. However, I learned that a client's snoring is actually a compliment to the massage therapist. It lets them know that their client is fully relaxed and, likely, satisfied with their treatment. I was. After the massage, I had to go shopping for something to wear to the birthday party we were planning to attend that evening (in honor of my brother in law's sister).

The shopping trip was an emotional one for me (unbeknownst to my sis) because, for some reason that I haven't figured out, I experienced an 'Aha! moment' that hadn't hit me before. For me, shopping has always been stressful. I could never wear the things I wanted to wear and when I did find something I liked, in my size 20, it was almost always either too expensive or too matronly. When I walked in the store yesterday, I went straight to the plus-size section, as I usually did. I found nothing there and I started to leave the store, disappointed, but stopped to think maybe….just maybe…I could find something in the ‘regular’ sized section. Mind you, it's been a good while since I've lost weight and have been able to shop and find nice things in the regular sections so, I don't understand why this time, I hesitated. I looked, timidly at first, then I saw something I liked. I figured the leggings I chose would fit because they’re stretchy but I was skeptical about the shirt. Imagine my joy when I tried the outfit on and not only did it fit but I looked damn good in it! That motivated me to find some nice jewelry to match. I found a set in gold and silver so I bought both. Having those items and knowing I was going to look great boosted my enthusiasm to go to the party that night. Usually, I’m the party pooper; the ladies can’t stand me because I almost always opt out of partying with them. But, they don’t understand (or even know about) the anxiety I feel. Although we're not in competition and I know I can hold my own, I have to admit that, hanging with the glammed out divas has been difficult for me, at times. It's not always easy finding clothes that make me feel & look like a million bucks (like the divas always do) instead of the overweight auntie that a lot of plus-sized clothing made me feel & look like. Before we went shopping, I wasn't too excited about going out again but, after getting my outfit and accessories, I was looking forward to it. I went home, took a good nap (in an effort to sleep off the lingering effects from the night before) and when I woke up, I felt rested and ready to party. I got dressed with 100 % enthusiasm and 0% anxiety. I went to the party feeling good and enjoyed myself to the fullest (complete with more shots and drinks....omg).  

On Sunday, I woke up with a happy heart and smiling face. I enjoyed breakfast and conversation with NT and 2 friends. That evening, NT made one of my favorite meals and our sister joined us for dinner. We spent some quality time together before it was time for her to return home. 

My birthday weekend was more beautiful than I imagined it would be. Not only did I have a great time but it was one of those times that was great because it included activities and people that made a significant mark in my personal history book. Spending my first birthday away from 'home' was truly a wonderful and memorable experience! 


Friday, December 6, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For......

Today is my birthday. I'm not excited and I'm not shouting it from the rooftop (as you can tell from the letter case and punctuation I used) but I am happy. I'm blessed to see another day and to have made it another year. However, I will admit that I feel a bit bummed.

In my family, birthdays are a huge deal and whenever possible (which is almost always), we celebrate in a significant way. We can't/don't always have big parties but a gathering of family & friends with cake, food, drinks and even a few cards/gifts are always on the agenda. This year is different. This year, I am 1200 miles away from the people I usually spend my birthday with. I am 1200 miles away from my personal stylist (sister, who makes sure my hair and wardrobe is right for the occasion), my cheerleaders (daughter & grandiva, who make me smile on the wakeup), my partner in crime (sistercous, who I could count on for a manicure/pedicure) and my crazy clan (of sisters, cousins and friends) who make sure I have a wildly fun time! Just as I wished to be, months ago. Before I came to Charlotte, I longed for a calmer atmosphere, less crowded holidays & turned down celebrations. I couldn't wait to 'do things differently.'  And different, they have been.

Last night, while watching our usual Thursday night TV programs, my sister surprised me with a beautiful, delicious red velvet cake along with a very cute birthday card, which informed me that I should be dressed and ready to rock 'n roll by 5:00 pm this evening. She said she has a few surprises in store for me, which put a smile on my heart because I just love surprises (and great greeting cards)!  Still, I find it a struggle to get excited. I'm in a new city, with few relatives/friends and limited finances. I am unable to enjoy the sweet touches that usually come with my birthday and, more importantly, I do not have the people (my daughter, siblings and mother) around me that I cherish the most. Sure, I have a sister here (that I do love & cherish) and even a few other good women that I enjoy the company of. I know my sister is going to do her best to make sure I enjoy my evening....and I'm pretty sure I will. Yet, it's just not the same. I know this comes with the territory of moving away and believe me, I thought about it.....a lot.... before I made the move. I just really didn't think it would be such a big deal being away from my family & friends on this day. But, it is.

To some of you, I may sound ungrateful and/or immature. There are folk who regard a birthday as 'just another day' or believe that birthday expectations & celebrations are for kids. You may be thinking, I should be happy I'm still alive (I am), I should appreciate my sister and her efforts (I do), I should embrace where I am now  (I have) and I should get over being away from my hometown loved ones (I will). It's just that, this is my first year not being able to celebrate with my usual crew. The first year I won't be able to enjoy their big laughter, crazy antics and loving gestures. The first year I celebrate without my favorite people. But, as the saying goes, there's a first time for everything.