Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Heart Felt Moment

There are moments when what you do for a living are a lot bigger than you. Currently I work at UC Berkeley in the Undergraduate Housing office. The students that I am responsible for assigning housing to are, the freshman and transfer student athletes, the students in the Student Health Worker Program and the students with Special Needs and Accommodations. These students have been the most challenging and the most rewarding at the same time. In some cases, they have Helicopter parents who are super involved in their students' life. In all cases, these students are fighters and have the most determination I've ever seen.

Throughout the school year, I work with students who need accommodations for everything; diabetes management, quadapalegic, chronic illness (including HIV/AIDS), learning disabilites - just everything. One student I worked with had I believe a leg length discrepancy as well as some other life challeneges. We had been working together to get everything in order because he was an incoming freshman and it was first time away from home. I had worked getting him the best housing assignment to benefit him and his condition. We got him into our dorm on the Northside of campus which seems to be a good fit for him because his classes were on that side of campus.

Long story less long, the student just came in today and gave me a gift and card of thanks and appreciation. I was so moved by this act. In the midst of dealing with finals and wrapping up his first semester, he took time out to walk to my office and drop off a nice card and gift for me. That really touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

Thank you CV, that was really sweet.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Soul Revealed - Lesson #1: Life Support

So like I said earlier this week, I'm taking some me time out for me to figure out what's going on in my life, what direction my life is going in and how to take better care of me. I'm reading Souls Revealed: A Souls of My Sisters Book of Revelations and Tools for Healing Your Life, Soul and Spirit. Each section of the book talks about different things that we as African American women do, their justifications and how these things can be incredibly dangerous for our health. At the end of each section, there are questions that you answer based on your own experiences and reflections. They are called Soul Revealing Questions. My hope is to read two chapters a night and write about them (on my blog) the following morning (if that damn thing called work doesn't get in the way...)

So chapter one - Life Support:

What are the emotional, spiritual and material needs in your life?

I'm not big on material things. For the most part, I'm pretty plain Jane. I have a few Coach bags but that was because I was working for Coach and often purchased their overpriced merchandise for 65% off. For 65% off, you'd have a few Coach bags too. Most of the "good stuff" that I've bought, I get at a discount. I buy classic items and hold on to them for a REALLY long time. I'm not big into things, maybe that's the tomb boy in me that won't leave my spirit.

Speaking of spirit and spiritual needs, since I've been back home I've been really involved in my church. That was something that I was lacking while living on the East Coast especially my life in CT. Being home, I'm quite active in my church. I sing in the choir, I'm part of the Prayer Ministry (the Prayer Posse) and unless I'm out of town, I'm in church EVERY Sunday and at rehearsal every Friday. Outside of what I do Friday and Sunday, I'm lacking in the spiritual connection department. I don't pray every day but I'm working on it, I don't read my Bible often but I'm working on it. I don't know why it's not part of my everyday life but I want it to be. There are people who have been doing it for years and years and it's second nature to them. In terms of my own spirituality, I'm relatively young, I'm still growing. I want a good, strong, solid relationship with the Lord and I am trying to be His humble servant, but it's hard with the temptations of the world make it a challenge.

My emotional needs - that's tricky. I am such an emotional person. I feel everything. I don't know how or why this is the case but I am. I need to be loved, cared for, listened to, trusted, I want to be everything that a woman is. There is so much that can be done through emotions. That's how you say what you need to say without saying anything at all. There is so much through emotion and if you understand that you can truly understand me.

Where do you go to get those needs met?

For my material needs, you can find me at the MAC store on Fourth Street. I have more MAC than the law should allow...that's another blog for another time.

My spiritual needs, I'm at church and trying to be better in prayer.

For my emotional needs, no one is really around to fill that void. I'll have moments when I want to talk to someone and I'll call three people in less than a minute. By the time I make the fourth phone call and I am on the phone, in a conversation, someone will call me back. When I tell them that I'm on the phone, they're like "damn, you just called me". When I have moments, I move quick. If you aren't available, I move on to the next person. There are times when I think that I'm ready to be in a relationship but I believe that some of the emotional challenges that I have maybe a turn off for some guys. It's not something that I hide, I'm pretty upfront about it. At the same time, I kinda understand it and am coming to grips with it. I do feel alone at times and most times feel like I don't have anyone to really reach out to. I try but most of the friendships and the relationships that I have, have reached their potential and there isn't anything that I can do about that, except take it for what it is and just let it go (read the blog).

Who provides support to you? Who can you call on in a moment of crisis?

More times than not, I feel pretty alone. There are times when I reach out to those in my community, work or church. Mostly the elders because they have more wisdom than I could ever imagine. There are some friends who have wisdom and advice, but more times than not I reach out to people, but it doesn't usually help.

Who do you look to in order to share the truth of your life?

No one really knows the TRUTH about me. Maybe because I'm in denial about my truth, maybe I'm afraid of my truth. But I've always heard keep some secrets. My complete truth - no one knows. And to me, that's fair. No one knows the complete truth about me and I don't know the complete truth about anyone.

Describe your emotional stability. Are you at your tipping point? Why?

I'm not completely emotionally stable right now. I've dealt with some trauma recently and haven't really had the time or the outlet to really deal with them. I've gotten by, but the reality is - no I'm not completely stable right now.

What does it take you to trust?

It takes so much for me to trust. I've been hurt and disappointed by so many things and so many people In addition to that hurt and disappointment, I've dealt with pain. The pain is what I associate with trust. I don't know why. Time is what it takes me to trust but at the same time, I'm not a great judge of character and that gets me in a lot of trouble.

When have you chosen a life of less?

I don't think I've chosen a life of less. I just haven tapped into my potential. I think I'm afraid of my potential.

What are you most fearful of in your life?

I'm afraid of my potential. I'm also afraid of losing those close to me but I also understand that's part of the circle of life. I'm fearful of rejection. I know that it happens but I don't like it and I'm kinda afraid of it.

Are you bitter? What are the circumstances?

I don't think so. I've been jaded at times and may be jaded still but I don't think bitter is a word to describe me. Frustrated and disappointed are better words that would describe me. Frustrated and disappointed with the state of my family, the state of my health...frustrated and disappointed with alot. But bitter, no.

How comfortable are you with yourself?

I've gotten better with it. I'm pretty accepting of myself, flaws and all while still understanding that there's room for improvement. I have my days where I don't feel beautiful or even cute, but I'm sure everyone has them. Whether or not they're going to own up to it is something else.

How do you express yourself and your needs? How can you improve? times I'm passive/aggressive. Other times I'm very direct. The problem is that I don't know when to be what. The best way to improve on that is just taking more time when trying to express myself and my needs. What I want, my needs, they're important and it's okay that I take my time and make myself clear.

What values are important to you? How do you incorporate them in your life?

Monogamy is important to me (given the state of my personal life, I think it's interesting that I pick that one first). Respect and responsibility, honor and love, trust, honesty. These are values that are pretty important to me. The same things that I value are what I live by. Sometimes I fall short, but more days than not, I give it my best effort. Self expression and self awareness are important to me too.

I think there was a lot of truth to that chapter (you gotta read the book). I'm not on Life Support. I have the disease to please and I may be running a fever. But that's what this time is about, my personal, spiritual checkup. Now that I know what's going on or not going on, I can know how to deal with it and move on. (Let it go....I'm on my way)

Just Let It Go

I'm an emotional person. I try not to hold grudges. I really do mean to forgive people most of the time. The problem is when I associate the bad emotions associated with the person I'm trying to forgive. That may sound like a grudge but in my mind it's not. It's only the bad feelings that hold me back. If I spent more time remembering all the feelings, both good and bad, I would be able to let go and move on.

That's what a part of this journey is about, being able to move on and let go. My friends will tel you that I need some "F*ck it in me" or that I need a mean streak. There may be some truth to that. But today...I taken a big step. I decided that there was something going on that wasn't really worth being upset about and decided not to be upset anymore. My life wasn't over, I didn't suffer any serious trauma. I just had my feelings hurt and my ego bruised. Okay, it happens. Deal with it, let it go and move on...That's where I am. Just moving on....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

People Are Amazing

People never cease to amaze me. What also keeps me giggling is the fickleness of men and the naivety of women. I am moved to talk about this because of something that happened today. Part of the reason I am in a funk and moved to somewhat drastic measures is because of some silly boy.

This post began on 12/15...since then there have been additional developments.

So our relationship was full of shots and sexual tension but then we fell out over a BIG misunderstanding and an even bigger assumption. We know what happens when you assume...blah blah blah. We hadn't talked in a while and part of that was because I had just about written him off...he's too flaky for me. So then recently we've been moving back to how things had been in the past but at least on my end, it was kinda fake. That's my mistake, I'll own that. I should have just kept it where it was and been done with it. That way there's no confusion about what is or isn't. So yesterday it was almost like the good ole times. Like we hadn't just fallen out two weeks before.

Insert new development here...

I get a phone call this morning asking for a favor. I told him that it wouldn't be a good look. He asked me if we're cool. I said not really. I was pretty rude to him. I was so rude that I felt the need to call him back and apologize. The call back resulted in another disagreement, two long text messages and a long email.

At this point in time, I've decided to just let it go. It's not worth fighting about, it's not worth holding anything against. No grudges, no hurt feelings...just let that $hit ride.

People are still amazing but it's about how WE deal with people which is more amazing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Clean Slate

In October, I had the awesome opportunity to participate in our Women's Day weekend at my church. The weekend started of with a women's retreat. One of the exercises that we as a group participated in was called the "Clean Slate" exercise. It basically created and opportunity for people to say somethings that they haven't said but equally important it gave people an opportunity to hear somethings that they haven't heard. As a group, we discussed how we as women may be able to use it outside of the setting of the retreat. One young lady, who is full of life and spunk, said something very powerful. She talked about how helpful the exercise was and how it felt to get somethings off her chest. But she also talked about needing to have this conversation with herself. I totally agreed with that. I thought about it a little bit but never really gave it the attention that it needed.

Recently I had two clean slate conversations with the same person of the course of a week. The content of the conversations on my end (not saying they weren't on his end) were completely honest and 100% genuine. But I realize in the midst of all that I am going through emotionally and personally, I needed to take time out and give myself a clean slate. What better time to do it than during the holidays!?!?!?! It's kinda like New Year's Resolutions but much more genuine. It's an honest conversation with yourself (some people may call that a monologue). It's evaluation about you and what better person to give you that evaluation than yourself. No one knows you better than you know yourself. You understand the importance of being honest with yourself - you don't benefit anything lying to anyone ESPECIALLY yourself. So why not give yourself a clean slate - you deserve it.

So here's the way the clean slate works: It is made up of five parts; I love you for...Forgive me for...I forgive you for...Thank you for...and a blessing. I am going to put myself on 101st and Front Street and put myself on blast. I know at least one other person who reads this blog but maybe eventually people will be able to be honest with themselves and do the same thing. So *big sigh* here goes nothin'!


I love you for your personality. You have your moments but you are certainly a good person. You aren't perfect but none of us are. You have a special touch for friendships and a lot of people rely on you for some sort of support. You have lots of solid rock moments which is part of what makes you a good friend. For the most part you are trustworthy, honest, sincere and devoted to those you love and care about. That combination is a challenge to find in people and you pull it off pretty well. I love that you are consistently striving to improve, not to perfection but to improvement. You're not afraid to take a look at something and see what you can do to change it. You find beauty in most things and in most people. I love you for your inner beauty which is so much more than your outer beauty. You want to believe that people are good and good natured. You work hard and try to make sure that all the kids who are playing in the sandbox can play together - especially if they are playing with you. You're daring and open to try new things from time to time. In short, I love you for being you.

Forgive me for not being a stronger voice of reason. There have been times when you have sought out answers from other people when the answers were right here within you. Forgive me for being weak and scared. There have been times where you have made decisions against your better judgement and paid a dear price for them. What hurts more is that you paid a price when you didn't have to. That was my time to share, my time to be there for you and I dropped the ball. I fumbled. I got caught looking when the game needed me to come through with a big hit. I disappointed you, I failed you. Forgive me for not have great follow through. You have great ideas and great potential if you could channel them. That's where I come in. You could be doing so many great things if you were able to follow through on them. Forgive me for not being the strength you needed, the motivation that you needed. Forgive me.

I forgive you for your self doubt. You second guess and doubt yourself when you don't need to. You are a child of God. He has kept you in His favor for quite some time. He has sustained you when you couldn't sustain yourself. In that sustenance, in His will, somehow you've developed this self doubt, this low self esteem. Boo boo, you need to get over it. That is nothing but the devil trying to get a hold on your life. As a believer, you've got to KNOW and BELIEVE that God's got your back. You are much stronger than you give yourself credit for. I believe it, now it's time for you to believe it. You need to tap into your franchise player. I forgive your for your denial. There are things and situations where you have denied yourself the truth. You know what they are...the guy you started dating when you came home in '05. That on again/off again relationship you had through undergrad and the first year out of it. Those guys you like from two different spectrum. You have lied to yourself about a lot of things and denied the truth. I don't know why you've done it, I don't know what you hoped to accomplish from it, I don't even understand it. But it's not my place to understand it. That, much like your self doubt and self esteem issues, you gotta get over it. I know that it's hard but you've got to find a way to get over it and move on. The franchise player needs that money man! I forgive you for lying, not only lying to me but lying to yourself and lying to others. Those lies may be why you're in the situation that you're in. You need to own that.

I thank you for your energy. You have a special gift. You know the power of a hug, kind words, prayers and blessings for friends and family, a smile (even though you hate doing it sometimes), an innocent or not so innocent flirt with that guy that could turn into something (again) or start something new with another. You have the gift that make someone's day. You have a unique enthusiasm for the strangest things. And honestly, that's okay. It's good that you have a passion about something no matter how obscure it is. You like to see happiness and do your part to create some part of it, in and around you. I thank you for your energy. Keep it up.

Camille, I bless you in the name of Jesus. I pray that your heart and soul heal in a time frame made especially for you. I pray that you find that love that only you know about, I pray that your precious "home" welcome only those who truly deserve to reign there and grow there. I pray that the Lord continue to keep you and sustain you. I pray that He continues to give you the strength and courage to deal with all that life and death throw your way. I pray that you tap into your true beauty and let it shine because it is beautiful as you are. I pray that you learn how to deal without compromising yourself or without denying yourself. I pray that you tap into all your special gifts and talents and continue to leave your mark on the world. The world is a great place with you in and I bless you for all that you will contribute to it. These and all blessings I ask in the name of Jesus, Amen.

I'm Alright

So I'm trying to get better at this whole blogging thing, as I have said times before. I'm taking a new approach to something. For a WHOLE week (or until I finish the book Souls Revealed and possibly Listening for God - it's a little ambitious for me to read two books in one week but I will give it the ole college try), I'm not talking on the phone (unless it's an emergency or business call), I'm not talking to anyone on ANY instant messenger, I'm not on Facebook or MySpace and I will limit the number of times I check my email. Why am I doing this? Because I need some serious ME time. It seems that I have time for lots of people and lots of things. During this process, I have neglected the MIP - Most Important Person - ME! Now as conceited as that may sound, let me clarify. My "sister" and dear friend recently told me that humble people have a hard time being selfish. When I asked her if she thought I was humble, she said yes. I've thought of myself as a humble person but I longed to be more selfish. I would break into tears because I wanted to be more selfish at times because I was tired and frustrated with being everyone's everything. I longed for someone to be for me what I am for so many people. It ain't happenin'. I am always giving so much of myself and getting so little in return. I recognize based on a conversation with a young man (who I am extremely attracted to) that my being selfless was my blessing. I'll own that. The flip side to that is that it is also my curse. So how do I get rid of my curse and still keep my blessing? You take a little ME time. I am taking some time to heal my heart and my soul. I know that may seem a little dramatic and it may be. There was a point in time when I was considered to be a Drama Queen. There was some truth to that in high school and in undergrad. I would like to believe that I have outgrown it but there are some that would disagree. For the disagreers I say, whatever...ya'll do what you do.

Why take this course of action? Why cut off your lifeline? I'm kind of looking at it as a Fast. People of Christian faith know what it means to fast. You abstain from it and during that period, you take the time to grow closer to God. Fasting doesn't only happen during the Lenten season. You can fast at anytime when you feel you are suffering from spiritual blackout/brownout/burnout. Anytime you feel challenged in your faith or any challenges period, take your concerns to the Lord. Let Him work it out for you. In that process, take a moment (or some time) to grow closer to Him. Understand the plan He has for your life, understand the role He has in your life. Strengthen your faith, strengthen your relationship with Him. It can only lead to better things. When you are in a great relationship with the Lord, you can have a better relationship with your soul. When you have a great relationship with the Lord and with yourself it can also help you have better relationships with other people.

That's what part of this is about for me: building better relationships with people. In order for me to build that better relationship with the next person, I need to have a great relationship with myself. This process will be very challenging for me because it will cause me to take a real, honest look at myself, accepting responsibility for my successes and failures, owning what I've done right and even those I have done wrong. It means forgiving those who have done me wrong and dirty and truly moving on with the rest of my life. I've never really been one to hold grudges, but at the same time, it is very hard for me to heal my heart. A young man (who I am also fond of), wondered why I had such a hard time with trust. It's because for me, I've been betrayed and disappointed by those I trusted and cared for. For me, that's not something that I bounce back easy from. I am an emotional person and when my emotions take control of me, it takes a while for me to get them back. I acknowledge that there is a process that we all go through when something happens. My goal is to change my process and change the way I deal with disappointment, heart break and betrayal.

I recently read the book Souls of My Sisters - really good book. I would encourage others to read it, whether you're going through something or not. It helped me with some things and I believe it'll help others.

So my plan of action for the next week, read more, write down what I'm feeling and what I'm going through as unrated, unapologetic and as untamed as it happens. No more sugar coating. Time to get really real with myself. Time to really start taking care of myself. It's time for me to BE alright instead of just saying it. And what better time than the present!