Friday, May 23, 2014

Flaws.... I have a few

It's hard for those of us who want so desperately for everything around us (and inside of us,) to be perfect- to actually admit we have flaws.

I hate my flaws.

Or do I?

I got to thinking about what a flaw is. How does it define me, and just how much does it affect my self esteem.

If I look up the definition of flaw, it states:
noun: flaw; plural noun: flaws
a mark, fault, or other imperfection that mars a substance or object.   "plates with flaws in them were sold at the outlet store"
synonyms:defect, blemish, fault, imperfection, deficiency, weakness, weak spot/point/link, inadequacy, shortcoming, limitation, failing, foible;

I suppose the next step is to take stock of my "imperfections." Recognize and admit that yes, I do indeed, have several flaws.

Let's start with the superficial ones, shall we?

1. I have ugly toes. (I blame those years of dancing in pointe shoes.)
2. I have a big belly.
3. I have chubby thighs.
4. I have hair I have to color every 6 weeks or I would be gray.
5. I have a bad pinky nail on my right hand. (Old infection, from over 20 years ago, dead nail.)
6. My teeth are stained from drinking too much coffee.
7. I have skin tag scars from having some removed under my arm.
8. My boobs are entirely too big. (I wear a G. Yes, you read it here.)
9. I have a huge bottom.
10. My forearms develop a rash when I am under a lot of stress.
11. I have an indention in my cheek when I smile - all from falling down some stairs when I worked in television, face first.
12. My toes have such severe arthritis from years of dancing, it's hard to move them most days.
13. I have splotchy freckles on my face.
14. I have love handles.
15. The skin on my heels is oftentimes dry, no matter what I do!
16. My eyebrows are developing gray.
17. My hair is prone to frizziness.
18. I'm short, and apparently shrinking.
19. I have dark circles under my eyes.
20. I have deep crevice wrinkles on my forehead.

Or I could keep going...

Now for the interior stuff:

1. I am extremely moody. One minute I am happy, the next I want to bite your head off.
2. I talk too fast. (Though my theory is people just think too slow.)
3. I am extremely sarcastic. I used to say cynical, but I don't think that's true anymore. But I have a very smart mouth and it gets me in tons of trouble.
4. My face is very expressive - I can't hide my emotions very well.
5. I may seem aloof when I meet new people.
6. I have a very sharp tongue. It's never good to tangle with me, I am not easily intimidated by anyone.
7. I think most people I meet are not as smart as me. (That's just horrible... isn't it?)
8. I can't spell. (which totally screws up #7.)
9. I suffer from word vomit.
10. I'm actually more sensitive than I would like to admit.
11. I do not trust very easily.
12. I tend to attract opportunists.
13. I do not process emotion quickly.
14. I am terrible at math.
15. If I like something, I will over indulge.
16. I'm scared sometimes to try things I really want, for fear of failure.
17. I do not feel loved. Ever. I mean... ever. 
18. I would not sacrifice myself for anyone else. So yes, I'm selfish.
19. Money burns a hole in my pocket. I do love to shop.
20. I am incredibly critical of myself.

Again.. I could go on all day long.

Now that I have identified my flaws - how can I learn to embrace them?
After doing a little research on the subject, I have to say that I am pleased to see one of the first sentences on Mind+Body+Green website say:
It takes a remarkable mental, emotional, and spiritual maturity to own up to your own faults, a maturity than cannot be bought or sold and does not come with age but rather circumstance.

Wow. Okay, that feels good.. I think. Many years ago, I went to a therapist to work through some issues, and he said, and I have to say it was the best advice ever, "Nicole, it's not about fixing yourself. It's about being self-aware. Understanding why you do what you do." 

I suppose some of the items on my list can be changed. Like the weight issues and learning to think before I speak, but overall, some of those items may never be changed. What I have to do is understand why, accept it for what it is, and simply live my life. If I am my own worst critic, then I need to fire that critic and replace her with a cheerleader. I've come a long way in life - from that shy scrawny kid, to.. is it wrong to admit it... a strong, successful, intelligent, and mildly beautiful woman. 

Are you able to see your flaws? Are you self aware enough to admit it and move on? 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Why I Write

my desk
Some of my friends think I am absolutely out of my mind for writing a blog. They don't understand why I would share my thoughts, feelings, issues, and adventures with the world - especially when I am notorious for answering the question, "How are you?" in person with, "I'm fine."

But for me, writing is cathartic. I need to write. I have to write. Why? Because my head is constantly swimming with ideas, memories, and sometimes... I just feel and care too damn much. 

I wish I could just decompress by watching mindless reality tv or a glass of wine. I can't. I have to get it out, and talking to other people is really not an option for me. I do share some things, but honestly, I cannot express myself verbally the way I really need to. 

The girl with the communications background has a hard time with communication. The girl with the Broadcast Journalism degree is more comfortable observing and reporting.

I read an excellent article today, it was titled, "How to think like a writer." The funny thing is, all of the things it suggested are things that I do naturally, without anyone telling me this is something I should do. 

According to Carolyn Gregoire, a writer should:
- Study the greats
- Observe everything
- Daydream
- Write from your own truth
- Make writing your top priority
- Find your creative inspiration, wherever it may be
- Know what you are getting yourself into
- Find space for solitude
- Take it one day, one sentence at a time
- Compete only against yourself
- Just do it... and do it with joy

When I look over that list, I see many of my very truths - my essential habits. I am sure many of you who are writers do the same. 

I think the most important thing to remember is- a writer comes in all forms. I like to document what I see, hear, feel, and believe. Some of you may create make believe worlds. Some may express through rhyme, while others do it lyrically. It doesn't matter how it is done, as long as someone does it.

It took me years to realize that I had a voice. When I found that voice, I was able to find a way to express without sounding callous (a terrible habit of those of us whose sense of humor is very dry and sarcastic.) Here I am able to express, not repress and be who I really am.

Thanks for traveling on that journey with me. I'm not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but at least I am doing what I love. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hard Conversations

That girl to the left is me - age 20 or so. I was sitting on the front campus of Georgia College & State University, already a junior in college, studying to be a journalist.

I wanted to change the world. I wanted to complete my degree in Broadcast Journalism and travel the world, exposing injustice and highlighting life's little miracles.

I'm 41 now, a whole other lifetime later - and I still want to change the world, at least my little corner of the world. Try as I might, I can't quite seem to walk away from exposing my community's injustices and little miracles.

I did achieve that journalist's dream, and later I transitioned to work in nonprofits. At 39, I was able to mix two worlds I loved - art + nonprofit. As many of you know, I am the Director of Sales & Marketing for the Tubman African American Museum.

Aside from that title, I am still just a girl who wants to make a difference. I am incredibly lucky that I get to not only make an impact on my community, I get paid to do it. 

Unfortunately, I find myself backed into a corner. My museum was hit with some very hard information and it could potentially cause serious problems.

We've seen it time and time again - government and corporate spending/donations dwindling away. I understand that. You can't work in nonprofit as long as I have and not fall victim to this. I've also experienced life unemployed - both are absolute dark times, for certain. 

My museum just found out that the Mayor has proposed cutting all money to the museum. That means $250,000 would be eliminated in about 6 weeks. That's 40% of our operating budget. (that's what helps keep the doors open.) Let me repeat - this decision will be voted on in 6 weeks. As wonderful as we are, we are 99.9% not likely to raise a quarter of million dollars in just 6 weeks.... unless our commissioners vote in favor of reinstating this money.

Not only is it terrifying for me personally - it's terrible for our community. It's such a short sighted move. I'll tell you why - this community NEEDS the museum to not only contribute to the quality of life, but there is a definite need to promote the art, history and culture of the African American community.

How many African American museums can you name? How many serve as broad an audience as we do? How many are located in the thick of where the Civil War - Civil Rights - Integration - and a whole slew of activities took place? If we don't tell the story... who will? 

So many people do not value the arts, and it all goes back to education and exposure. I can assure you, if you took music, art, theater, dance, and a list of other amazing activities, there would be absolutely no reason to live. When I say music - I mean even the music you listen to on the radio. When I say art, I even mean the clothes you wear, to the jewelry you buy, to the very design of your car. When I say theater - I mean the movies you watch, the tv shows you are addicted to, and when I say dance - I mean the most exhilarating movement you can possibly use to express. Of course I mean the classics (art/live theater/orchestra/etc,) but I want to drive home that message that you are SURROUNDED by art. It's all a part of the creative process, and if my museum does not survive this, a piece of that creative process dies.

Our museum was founded by Father Richard Keil. Richard has since left the priesthood, but it was the priesthood that was the catalyst for events he would witness that would create this museum. He was a farm boy from Wisconsin, and eventually was assigned to rural Alabama/Mississippi during the Civil Rights era. He saw atrocities, he witnessed injustice, he made a decision early on that human rights were for all people, regardless of color. When he was moved to Macon, Georgia to work as the priest at St. Peter Claver, he eventually decided to put his money down on an old dilapidated building downtown, and turned it into a museum to celebrate the culture of African Americans. 

Did I mention he was a white man? Yes, he was - but that doesn't matter.

30 some years later, here we face a potential issue. Of course, as with everything, it goes back to money. I can only raise awareness so much - but I can't make you care. You might think, "Hey... we are like 40 years past the Civil Rights era... let's move on." If that is true, why did I receive hate mail at work after a television interview? Don't remember? Let me show you - click HERE.

It still exists - which means we have a looooooong way to go. How better to tell the story of the struggles and triumphs of this issue than with a museum dedicated to it. We have to understand the past so that we don't repeat it. 

Again, I can't make anyone vote a certain way. I can't make you write to your commissioners. I can't make you buy a membership, or organize a rally, or even read this blog - but I can ask. 

Do what you can .... with what you have.... where you are. 

If you want to understand what I am talking about... click HERE. (That's detailed info.)

Personally, I'm trying really hard to fight like hell. I want this museum to succeed, with or without me. I want this community to succeed - but a decision to pass this budget without reinstating the $250,000 would be detrimental.  I will be fine... I always am. But for once, it's time to roll up our sleeves and decide what's important. 

Where do you stand, and are you brave enough to stand up and fight for it? 

PS - though I may work for the museum, this is in no way the reflection or opinion of the museum. This is me - just sharing what I feel is the right thing to do. No one has permission to use anything I have said as a response from the museum, because it is not that. This is simply a Macon-Bibb County, tax paying resident voicing her opinion on a personal blog. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Read Any Good Books Lately

I love my Kindle. Everyone who knows me, typically know my Kindle is not too far away from wherever I am sitting. I simply love to read, and to write. However, the past couple of weeks, I have not been able to do either.

Nothing is wrong - I'm just distracted.

Each night I open up my Kindle and begin one of the five or six books I have tried to start, and unfortunately can't get into. They are all delightful books, just none are holding my attention.


It's frustrating. Heck, even when it comes to the blog, I simply cannot think of anything to share. Nothing even remotely dramatic is going on in my life (and no, I am not complaining,) and the few things that might be bothersome are not things I can discuss (like work or personal relationships.) Which, btw, are not bothersome... just trudging through a heavy work schedule and trying to navigate the waters of dating/relationships at 40.

Then last night, this person I know asked me if I were a work-a-holic. Seriously.
Now here is what you need to know about me - Yes, I work and sometimes I have to work events and other things, so it looks like I spend a lot of time working. However, I am the queen of saying no and doing what I want to do, versus what someone else wants me to do. Sooo.. I have to say I was incredibly put off by the comment. Yuck.

Back to the books...

Here is what is currently open on my Kindle (with a few chapters being read of each:)
- A Religion of One's Own by Thomas Moore
- Reshaping It All - Candace Cameron
- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer - Seth Smith
- Lean In - Sheryl Sandburg
- Cult - Warren Adler
- My Booky Wook - Russell Brand
- The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho


Can't seem to get far with any of these books.

What are you reading so far?


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