Monday, November 22, 2010

Quotes of the Day: On Adversity

Today some developments came up that have me reconsidering the direction I want my career to follow, and whether I want to remain with the real estate company I'm with or go for broke & work strictly for myself once I get my broker's license next year. Until I can think a bit clearer to write a post that actually makes sense, I'm trying to lift myself up with some quotes instead...

“Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” Arthur Golden

“Things that were hard to bear are sweet to remember” Seneca

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Henry Ford

“Seeds of faith are always within us; sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth.” Susan Taylor

“There is in every true woman's heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.” Washington Irving

“Opposition is a natural part of life. Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition - such as lifting weights - we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.” Stephen R. Covey

“Adversity is the diamond dust Heaven polishes its jewels with.” Thomas Carlyle

 (all quotes courtesy of

random: i want

i want to teach business; real life business skills that people can use.
i want to instill a hunger for business and entrepreneurship in little black kids.
i want to be successful in real estate.
i want to work for myself.
i want to sit on my butt and let great real estate investments take care of me.

i want to paint.
i want to write.

i want to love.
i want real love.
i want a real, lasting love that doesn't end with me asking "WTF?"

i want a house.
i want a house that i can decorate and where i can throw cocktail parties and intimate sleepovers.
i want a home.

i want knowledge.
i want to know a little bit of everything.
i want to share wisdom with the world.

i think i want too much.

i want it all.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Talk--America's Doing It Wrong

Did your parents ever sit down and have "the talk" with you?

When I was 16 my parents asked if I had any questions about sex. I didn't. There was no discussion of how it works, methods of preventing pregnancy and STDs, the emotional issues that go along with it. They simply reminded me that sex was "wrong" and "don't do it." Yeah, I knew that I'd been told sex was bad (but magically became good once you say "I do") but that didn't stop me from doing it-- two years prior to the non-talk "talk."

I've asked a couple of my friends, and none of them recall having the notorious talk that parents are supposedly so scared of. (Maybe they're so scared that they skip it altogether?) There was the "don't do it" speech for most of them, and the "we're just gonna put you on birth control & hope for the best" move for a few others.While this passive approach may seem like the answer for apprehensive parents, how is it working out for the kids?

Well, it looks like it's not. Not for teens in America, at least. Research recently done by sociologist Amy Schalet compares the difference in approach to teen sexuality in America and European countries. In her article, "Sex, Love and Autonomy in the Teenage Sleepover," she states, "American adolescent sexuality has been dramatized instead of normalized."  The results of this? A high rate of teen pregnancy, abortion, and transmission of STDs. Advocates for Youth provide these figures:

Schalet cites two main reasons for the stark differences in approaches to teen sexuality: religion and economic security. As a whole, the U.S. has a tendency to be more devout than our counterparts in the Netherlands, hence more conservative views and beliefs. As far as economic security, she reasons, "Like most European countries, the Dutch government provides a range of what sociologists call 'social' and what reproductive health advocates call 'human' rights: the right to housing, healthcare, and a minimum income. Not only do such rights ensure access, if need be, to free contraceptive and abortion services, government supports make coming of age less perilous for both teenagers and parents.

What are some of the differences found in approaches to sexuality?
  • Adults in France, Germany, and the Netherlands view young people as assets, not as problems. Adults value and respect adolescents and expect teens to act responsibly. Governments strongly support education and economic self-sufficiency for youth.
  • Research is the basis for public health policies to reduce unintended pregnancies, abortions, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Political and religious interest groups have little influence on public health policy.
  • Youth have convenient access to free or low-cost contraception through national health insurance.
  • Sex education is not necessarily a separate curriculum and is usually integrated across school subjects and at all grade levels. Educators provide accurate and complete information in response to students’ questions.
  • Families have open, honest, consistent discussions with teens about sexuality and support the role of educators and health care providers in making sexual health information and services available to teens.
  • Society weighs the morality of sexual behavior through an individual ethic that includes the values of responsibility, respect, tolerance, and equity.

 I find it ironic that our society is still so conservative about some aspects of sex even though sex is everywhere, 24/7. Is it that we've demonized our natural sexuality to the point that we are in effect helpless against its power? By not looking at sex/sexuality for what it is--a natural desire that can be both healthy and fulfilling when done/used responsibly--we have left ourselves open to a myriad of problems that can be prevented.

main source: Consequences of U.S. and Dutch Approaches to Sex

Monday, November 15, 2010

Planning, Preparation & Payoff

At the beginning of the year I wrote a post about 2010 being my year of planning, preparation and payoff. There were several things that I wanted to accomplish and I was determined to either start or complete this year; some personal, some professional. Many were goals that I wanted to reach within the year, while others (the "planning" and "preparation" goals) are stepping stones to much grander goals. Thankfully I can say that I am on track with most of my goals!

I'm all set for graduation in December if this macroeconomics class doesn't kick my butt. Be prepared to see Tori D., MBA all over urrythang I touch from then on!

I've pulled together a great group of young black professionals to start work on chartering a Jackson, MS chapter of the National Black MBA Association. (By the way, if you're in the Metro Jackson area and interested, email me at Thaaaanks!)

My real estate business is taking off. This is especially big to me because, as I've stated before, this is not just a job but a career for me. And for me to be doing any business at all with the economy like it is and with my limited resources... it's huge. God's favor is all over that.

Despite my flightiness and lack of focus, I've come up with a career plan that would make retirement within 15-20 years a possibility. That way I could focus on my non-profit and do some creative work, all while bringing in passive income--which is the best kind of income there is, IMO. Now if I can stick to the plan, instead of suddenly deciding I want to do something else, that will be a true payoff in and of itself!

I've been able to completely rid myself of some dead weight. I'm talking exes, old "friends" who really did nothing more than bring me down, old hurts and disappointments that slowed my progress. Strange how I actually feel lighter now that I'm done with all of that. That lightness is both a payoff from learning to be honest (brutally, sometimes) with myself and others, and preparation for "the next best" whatever to come along.

But of course, not everything has gone as planned...

I didn't stick with my workout routine. The payoff was supposed to be shedding X number of pounds by my cruise in June. Didn't happen. I stayed fat and happy. Found another "workout" though, and it feels good to "work out" on the regular. What? O_o I'm all about the exercise over here...

I have yet to get and stay organized. This is an ongoing thing for me, but I haven't given up on it!

I didn't stick with the plan to focus solely on myself... For the entirety of this year I've been more or less (okay, really more) booed up. I said I was going to take a break from relationships and such, but this current one just sort of happened. But this time, seriously, once it's over, it's all about me, myself and I. There's no potential-beau in the background this time, so I guess that means it'll be time for that break... IDK.

So there you have it! I'm happy to see the progress that I've made and I can't wait to see even more growth, progress, and positive moves. What upward motion have you made this year? Share it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

#thingsblackgirlsdo and other self-depricating bullshit

Most of the people I e-interact with know that I'm on Twitter a good deal (although not as much as of late), and while it's definitely not enough to base a thesis on, watching TTs (that's trending topics for you non-tweeters) has lead me to a conclusion that I'd like to discuss.

Many of us have "drunk the kool-aid." We've bought into the negative stereotypes of ourselves. The following are some of the TTs and tweets I've seen:

#doesntmeanyourblack [sic] (I know it should be "you're" not "your" but that was the TT...)
#blackfolks "want an iPad but haven't paid their car note, rent or child support"
"black people: child support. white people: house note"

The the majority of people perpetrating the stereotypical foolishness are the same ones that these TTs target. The offending TT de jour is #thingsblackgirlsdo. And folks are having a field day with it. Observe some of the tamer tweets:

try to have kids wit a nigga coz he got "good hair"
get emotional on twitter and be wanting to fight over words that disappear smh
go to the club lookin like a million bucks but be broke as fuck lookin for a nigga to buy her drinks!
get foodstamps sell them for more than they worth
get loud in any public place
drive to a destination to go fight

 Now there are a lot of people trying to put some positivity out there (among my favs: #thingsblackgirlsdo ROCK!!) but overall... SMH. And of course the onslaught of negativity brought about another TT:

With no Job Experience or Education gets pissed cuz they cant find a Good Paying Non Factory Job
could tell u everything about the Lebron decision...but couldnt name one major court decision in American history
sell weed so they aint gotta get a real job
try every way possible to get around the law
hav 3, 4 baby mommas an call all of dem hoesm.. [sic]
have side chicks fighting/hating each other and the main chick don't have a clue what's goin on....

My main issue is that it's us dogging us. Of course it would be upsetting to see "others" going in on us, but to me it wouldn't be as surprising. But for blacks to dog each other out for the whole Twitterverse to see is disheartening. Even if it is in jest--after all, there's some hint of honesty in every "joke" someone makes. Some people are believing the things they type. And by no means am I saying that everything is all roses with us as a people. Many of the tweets about what black people do can be applied to any other group of people (because each group is diverse and encompasses both good and bad). But the fact that everyone seems to associate black with the bad traits shows that we have bought into the lie that society has pushed onto us. Black is bad, wrong, negative, ugly, evil. We've been bombarded with that sentiment for so long that it's seeped into our collective psyche and now we are regurgitating it back into the universe. And not just on Twitter, but in our every day lives. So many of our people have a defeated outlook... They believe the negativity that swirls around them and it becomes a self-manifestation.

Instead of falling in line with that, how about we make a conscious effort to represent ourselves, our people, and our culture in a positive light, and then reflect that positivity in every aspect of our lives.


Quote of the Day

“Don't rely on someone else for your happiness and self worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can't love and respect yourself - no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are - completely; the good and the bad - and make changes as you see fit - not because you think someone else wants you to be different.”

Stacey Charter

Monday, November 8, 2010

Shoe Porn: Purple Passion

It's been a looooong time since I've done a shoe porn post! But due to recurring events, I felt it was needed.

Over the past two years or so, I've fallen in love with many pairs of purple pumps, boots, sandals, etc. Purple has become my favorite color for the time being (purple and blue always fight it out in my mind, while pink sits back comfortably in 3rd place) so I want to get shoes that reflect my passion for purple. Unfortunately I've only managed to buy ONE pair of purple shoes... which I don't get to wear often, since they are too big. (Side note: what the heck is up with Jessica Simpson? I had to give away my size 10 because I literally lost the feeling in my foot, they were so tight. Then I got these purple shoes in an 11 and they slip off my feet!) So anyway, this post is an ode to the shoes I've lusted after but never could make my own.

This is the shoe that started it all: Nine West Hamptonesk. 2008. Lawd, y'all don't understand how bad I wanted these shoes! I was calling all over to see if any stores had them... The few that had the style didn't have the purple. Then I finally call customer service and the lady tried to tell me they didn't come in purple! What the deuce?! I know what I saw lady! I saw love... in shoe form.... *le sigh*

This year's obsession: Vince Camuto Amber. It was lust at first sight once again when I spotted these in Dillard's a few weeks ago. I wanted to snatch them up then and there, but I was trying to be frugal and the price tag wasn't working for me. Then I got wonderful news: the price was marked down to $80! I ran to Dillard's as fast as I could. They did not have the purple in my size. I decided I could settle for the blue, since they had that in a 10, but I'd need to try it on first just to be sure. It did not fit. -_- So I figure, no biggie, I'll just order an 11, and since I'm ordering, I can get the purple! Um, no. This style was not available in an 11. Woe is me!

To ease my pain, I went to and searched for purple shoes. I was determined! I found something that would do the trick: these Gabriella Rocha shoes (style: Arria). These were great! Flashy, attention grabbing... so me. But wouldn't you know it, this color doesn't come in a 10.

And then there were these. Alexander McQueen heart toe pumps. $725.00. Enough said.

Systematic Apathy

Although this post is not really about the mid-term elections held this past Tuesday, that was the impetus for this post. What I'm about to say is not necessarily because of the results of the elections, but the comments I've heard and read concerning them.

Somewhere between the Civil Rights movement and today, we (yes this is a generalizing, collective "we") as African-Americans have gotten waaaay too comfortable. Lax. We "just don't give a f***."

No, let me correct that. We give a f***, but about the wrong things.

On Tuesday, I saw a lot of tweets and Facebook posts about voting. And I saw a whole heck of a lot of posts about not voting. Not just saying they hadn't vote, but boasting that they wouldn't. I'm sorry, when did not voting become the "it" thing? Oh I know, since there were no superstars this election. It was great that the coolest candidate for POTUS eva motivated people to get out and vote in 2008. But like so many other fads, once the celebs stopped talking about it and the "cool" wore off, people lost interest. The proof is in the low turnout by young voters and minority voters.

But this isn't just about politics and voting. It's about a lack of concern and misplaced priorities that seem to be rampant in our community. So many youngsters that I know--and ones that I don't know but have observed--place so much interest and emphasis on the latest dance, what a celebrity is doing/wearing/saying, becoming the next (insert hot athlete here), or becoming a dope boy and so little on getting an education and making a future for themselves. Many are enthralled with being sexy and having sex, without regard to how their lives could change as a result.... But hey, you can't fully blame the kids when many of the adults--the people who should be role models--are acting the same way!

I know this isn't new; the same thing was going on back in my day. (God, that makes me sound old!) But just because it's been going on for years doesn't mean we can't turn it around, does it? We as a people have too rich and too great a story to be done in by our own laziness, sense of entitlement and failure to recognize what is truly important. We cannot let apathy take us back to what we once fought so hard against.

P.S.: For anyone with the urge to say "Well white folks are doing the same thing and you ain't saying nothing about them," lemme address y'all now. No hate towards anyone, but white folks aren't my folks. What they do to their own detriment is not my concern. If you want to follow down a destructive path just because "white folks are doing it," then we're in an even sadder state than I thought.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

On Going Crazy

Last week I feared my crazy had run off the new beau for good. It was a rough week emotionally, although logically it really shouldn't have been. It was his birthday week and I'd done a pretty good job of holding it all together, indulging him and putting on a happy face from Sunday up until late Thursday evening. Then came a serious shift in mood, stemming from perceived lack of attention. (And yes, I knew it was irrational; even while pouting about it my more rational side was sitting there like "Really? You know this is BS right?")

Then Friday... *sigh* What should have been a great day--homecoming weekend, day off work--was a series of disappointments. In and of themselves, these would have been so inconsequential... but in the throws of my insanity trip, it ended up being the culmination of all that was wrong in my world. Essentially, it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I was at his house and out of nowhere I started crying--sobbing, really. Of course, he figured it was the latest little frustration that sent me over the edge and tried to fix it but... it was no use. I was mentally, emotionally, and almost physically down for the count. I went home, didn't call him like I said I would. When he called late that night after work, I was afraid to answer the phone. I was embarrassed, and sure that he didn't want to deal with me anymore. My little speech was all prepared and ready to go, but all I got out was "I'm sorry." He interjected and said, "It's cool. I know you're stressed right now. You just need to relax. Maybe talk to someone about it."

I knew exactly what he meant when he said "talk to someone." I've considered it. I know people who have said talking to a psychologist or counselor or whatever was helpful. I'd never knock it, but I don't even know what I'd say. "I'm almost finished with my 2nd degree, have a really good guy in my life, and two decent jobs. Woe is me!" I feel petty, and think anyone I talked to would think the same. And considering the fact that I really don't know what the problem is, how could it even be fixed? Logically, I should be happy as hell! And usually I am pretty happy on the surface. Stuff kinda simmers under the surface and usually it dies down... or boils over like it did Friday.

My attempts to control my crazy aren't getting the best results, but could someone else really do better?