It is birthday TIME!
You didn't think I would NOT write a post on my birthday, did you?
And it is a long one. It is a doozy!!
It is past the blog post stage. It is a MANIFESTO.
A long letter to myself about my year, and my thoughts on the year.
There were 30 points to cover. But that would be around 50 pages long. So I cover 9 points. That is still long. I left out some of the more darker and more sensual items.
I make it long like that for a reason. I know people don't read long posts, and won't read them. This is not for you.
Alas, this is a long letter to myself.
It is a birthday gift to myself... Along with that pair of fresh kicks in that last post, man!
Don't forget to comment all week for a chance to win a $43 gift card in the birthday sweepstakes.
Everybody need a little free cash, right?
You can comment or text. Some people prefer to text. If you dont have my cell phone number then that's your problem, not mine.
So without further adieu, here's my birthday manifesto. You get my fully ebonic self. It is too long to go back and correct. I have been working on this post for 5 hours. My laptop overheated and now I am on the netbook. This little sucker is holding it's own.
If spiritual things are too much for you, get on somewhere. That's what I think about 90% of the time. That's just my personal reality. The rest of the time I'm borderline ratchet. Just scroll down and comment.
I am working on making corrections to this post. So bear with me if you see some mistakes.
Happy Birthday to ME.
Today I turn 43
Today I am 43.
But I think I should be more specific.
Today I am 516 months old.
Today I am 2,243 weeks old.
Today I am 45,707 days old.
Today I am 376,968 hours old
Today I am 22,618,080 minutes old.
Today I am 1,357,084,800 seconds old.
That is how old I am.
No I didn't make that up. There are websites that calculate all that up.
But it is an interesting visual, isn't it? Especially when we get down into my age in days, hours, minutes, and seconds. Very interesting indeed.
I have been pontificating, contemplating, and waxing nostalgic for the past couple of weeks. I am always like that around my birthday. I spend time thinking about what has transpired this year and how I've grown. And where I need to grow.
And what's interesting is that I really can't look that much at the past year without it melding over into what has been going on with me for the past two to three years, i.e., the years since I turned 40.
Someone once told me that once I hit 40, my tolerance level for mess was going to go way down. I was gonna be having conversations with people and those convos would be so ludicrous that it will just all get funny to me... as in "I can't believe that I am standing here listening to your BS. This is hilarious."
The hilarious part really is that I can't believe I am listening to craziness.
So I have been examining myself, and thinking about a few things. I thought I would list some of that out.
1. One of my blog sisters posted something very interesting yesterday on her blog... She tends to have a better way with words than I do. So I asked if I could borrow it. I hope that's okay.
"One of my goals for this year and life going forward is to really give attention to the relationships I value and to move away from those that I don't."
I have been going through that. I just didn't know how to word it.
I do notice that I have moved away from relationships that I don't value, mostly because they bring about some form of mental and emotional chaos in my heart.
I have noticed that I have removed all traces of negative people from my life. All traces.
I mean, I just can't tolerate it anymore. I just can't. You have to LEAVE and you have to leave NOW with all that negativity.
Does that make me a jackass? It probably does... to the negative people.
And that's fine.
And it's been like a thick fog has lifted from around my head. All that negativity (and I lump complaining and gossiping and backbiting in that word) was getting in... getting in my heart and sticking there. I was pondering and meditating on it all subconciously.
I pray a lot. And I knew something was wrong when these pontifications would be showing up in my prayer life. And that wasn't good. Really interesting things began happening, where whatever mess I was praying about would get shut down by my just so happening to run into the "truth" later that day. That in itself is shocking. ("I spent so much time thinking about that and letting that bother me and it was some made up mess??") It taught me a good lesson. So much of that had to go.
And like I said, it was like a thick fog lifted from around my head. What I find particularly interesting is that when the fog lifted, I was able to focus on my own issues and see them more clearly and began to deal with things that were going on with me. And that right there is a GOOD thing.
A painful thing, but a good thing indeed.
2. With all that said, I must pay more attention to my friendships. This has been a terribly difficult area for me because I really don't like to bother people. Me and my best friend are okay, but over the past few years, life has gotten in the way, and she has a lot of people and situations pulling her hard in different directions, and I refuse to be one more person pulling on her and stressing her out.
And that is one of my worst idiosyncracies. I truly hate bothering people. I just really don't want to be a bother. I was texting with one of my favorite readers the other night, one who I love to talk to, about it. She's that way too. As a matter of fact, a few people I adore are like that. They don't like to bother people.
And it poses an interesting question: How many rich conversations and interactions have I missed out on because of this fear of bothering people. (Yes, let's call it what it is... a fear).
I have no idea, and I probably will never know. I just know it is something that needs to be corrected.
I notice that ratchet folks and folks steeped in tomfoolery don't have a problem bothering anyone.
It's the quality folk that are overly respectful of people's time and space. Interesting.
I have to do better. I will do better.
3. With that said, I must say that I have noticed that my relationship with my sister has become really great and something that I deeply cherish. It has become like a lifeline to me. It has quickly become one of the most important relationships in my life.
I would have never seen this coming. I remember being a stubborn teenager, and my sister being 3 years old and us sitting in the middle of the living room floor and my trying to teach her the alphabet. I got mad at her because she couldn't get it right. (And I was angry because I wanted to go somewhere, but our mother made me sit there with the toddler to help her with her alphabet).
I yelled at her. And she started crying. And I remember thinking "This girl gonna be stupid the rest of her life."
Come on now. I was a teenager. And you know how teenagers are: interested in themselves and their personal agendas.
Fast forward to some 28 years later...
I was on the phone with her sometime last week and I said, "Gal, I done talked to my sister today. I sure enjoy talking to you. I feel better and I get so much insight from talking to you. When I hang up the phone, I feel like I've grown up a little more in my heart! You sho nuff alright with me, gal!"
She groaned. I could hear the frown on her face. "Eww. I don't see how that is. We've been discussing my issues lately."
Yes we had. I'd been checking on her daily. She was having a man issue and a workplace issue. I had to make sure her head was straight.
But I told her that it was through talking to her and watching her work things out that I get inspired and motivated in dealing with my own issues. I mean, she pray about things and gets some amazing answers and revelations that literally take care of stuff quickly.
And I got the long ear... I am listening closely to every word. Every single word. And learning from it. Yes I am.
She is 10 times quieter than me. But that girl know she can talk. She takes introspection to a whole nother level, she does. And she's 31 years old. If she keeps it up, she may become like me someday.
LOL. Now I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I hope that's a good thing.
Don't be like me. Be better than me. That's what I say. Because I have a long way to go.
4. One thing I truly love is when people follow their dreams DESPITE outside criticism. I love when people make the decision not to condemn themselves, DESPITE people all around them condemning them. I love when people aren't crushed by weight of judgment from others.
I love that.
I see it all the time. Especially in the news, and with celebrities.
Let's face it... as much as people look down on Tyler Perry... thank goodness he kept moving forward. He would still be homeless and sleeping in a car if he listened to all the criticism. Spike Lee been busting on him for years. Tell me... when was the last time you saw a Spike Lee film you really enjoyed. I arrest my case right there.
Barack Obama wouldn't even be president if he believed what people said about him.
Ya'll all upset with Ray Lewis. Whatever happened, happened. The man isn't condemning himself despite condemnation from others. That is what is key.
Look at that Beyonce. That chicken is worth $300 million and folks hate on her something terrible. Really. Hey, I don't like her music, but i congratulate her on doing what SHE wanna do. Go girl. That is all.
And the examples go on and on.
It is one of the MAIN reasons that I support people's dreams. I am big on hollering "Go on girl! That's what you wanna do, then do it!! And don't talk to suckas who say you can't do it."
And don't let me be able to sow some seed behind that. Do NOT give me an opportunity to throw a piece of change at somebody's dreams, man. I am QUICK to do that. QUICK.
Let me tell you something: I have paid for a little cheap notebook, a test somebody need to take, a plane ticket so somebody could get somewhere to do something, a cab ride, a roll of yarn and a needle, and all kinds of other stuff. I am QUICK to throw a piece of bread or some action behind somebodies dream.
And if they have been praying about it?
Awwwww suki suki...
I'm getting in on THAT. Big time. I want the vapors of that blessing when it hit, because it's gonna hit hard.
Let me calm down... I just got TOO spiritually deep on you. Deep off the pages.
I love that, when people share their dreams with me. It is such an honor. I am like a wide eyed child behind that. You know why? Because we are crushed under the force of people saying we can't do something.
You know why people do that? Because they have failed in their own pursuit of their dreams. So now they don't wanna see others reach for their own dreams. That's all that is.
You won't get that from me, babes. I ain't gonna bring you down because I have jacked up things in my life and wouldn't know a dream if it bust me upside the head. Nope.
5. With that said, I notice that that there is a piece of advice I give out very often these days. I seem to be giving it out more and more. I was having a long convo with the nice fella doing the emissions on my cars about it the other day. He'd been an engineer for 32 years and was laid off from his job and was having to look for other employment, as old as he is. But he saw it as a great thing because he wanted to do something else. He wondered if I thought something was wrong with that.
My advice: It's alright to want to do something different than what you are doing. It is okay to want to pursue other dreams.
We talked about chemistry. You know that I am a chemist. I have the doctorate and everything. I am Dr. LadyLee. I have a title. That makes me an EXPERT in my field.
Here's my problem: I have been doing chemistry related stuff since I was 16 years old. So I've been involved in chemistry for 27 years. I published my first scientific paper in organophotoelectric chemistry in a major journal 21 years ago. I have a BS in chemistry with distinction. I have a Masters in organic chemistry with emphasis in organometallics. I have a Ph.D. in organic chemistry with an emphasis on organic synthesis and drug design. I did a post-doc that involved entomology (study of bugs), analytical chemistry, toxicology and microbiology and bug nutrition. For the past 11.5 years I have been a food residue chemist... and most likely, some of the tomfoolery crisis you have seen on the news involving anything related to that, well, I have had the chance to work on it.
Nothing worse than putting your bra and panties on in the morning and some mess come on on the world news... and you know you're going to be pulled into some planning meeting that day. (I scream UGGGGH at the top of my lungs. Scares Oscar-T something awful).
I am WELL accomplished.
Yet I'm not interested in chemistry anymore.
And that is alright.
If you look closely at my paragraph of accomplishments above, you will notice that I don't stick with the same areas of chemistry for too long. And I think my favorite job was the post doc, where I learned other areas such as entomology, microbiology and toxicology and even something so strange as bug nutrition. I don't like doing the same thing for too long. I have the attention span of a flea. I try to keep myself mildly interested in what's going on. That is hard, though.
Listen. I've hit ALL my milestones. I have done a lot of incredible things in my area of work. I mean, I never thought I would be working on some crises issues. Never in a million years.
Yet, I don't like it anymore. It's tolerable. I make a PHAT check (and management will be quick to tell you that that is the only reason I am there).
I like to write. That's what I am interested in now. That is what I want now. Chemistry is old news to me. Old like some socks with holes in it.
I like Chemistry on paper. And I love consulting and discussion of it. Don't come ask me for help with something, or a chemical question. I'm going to explain it and give you something to read on it. And my boss likes to do this.
"Yo, I'ma draw something out for you, and I'll bring it right over."
"No, that's alright, LadyLee."
"No man! I'ma hook you up. I'll give you something that explains it!"
*a glassy-eyed lee sliding a piece of paper full of words and structures to boss lady*
HA HA! I do that to a bunch of folk. HA!
Yes, I like that type of thing. So that's just the teacher in me. But I don't care for it as a whole.
And that is alright. I've begun pursuing some of my writing ventures. This should be interesting!
But I have been having this convo with more and more people lately.
And I have had to tell them... Chemistry is my talent. NOT my purpose.
There is a HUGE difference. HUGE.
6. I get a lot of interesting answers to prayers. I really think about those, sometimes for months before I fully understand the answer. We had our church anniversary this past week an a minister allll the way from India preached a whole sermon on some answer I got a few years ago. A WHOLE sermon. O_O.
But the most important answer I got this year... after worrying EXCESSIVELY about other people's problems and issues...
The key word here is worrying... about stuff that don't have a THANG to do with me.
An interesting recurring answer:
"You sitting up worrying about what's going on with people... when you don't even know what's REALLY going on. People don't tell you the whole story, you know. So why are you worried?"
Why am I worried? I have had to explore that very intensely.
Look. I just like to see people happy and doing okay. I can't stand to see people going through. People will discuss their problems with me, and I want to be of help in some way. Many times, there is nothing I can do. When I can, I do.
Worry is an interesting thing. I've read up a lot on it over the years. It is first cousin to panic, which is groundless fear. Worry is me thinking that God won't do what He says He will do. Worry is a lot of things. None of them good or positive. So it doesn't need to rent space in my head.
I rarely discuss my problems with people. Rarely. You will have to be around me a lot to detect when I am having a difficult time. You would really have to pay close attention to me to pick up on it. And a lot of that is from childhood, and getting in trouble for having issues or feeling hurt or being depressed. I got in too much trouble so I keep my stuff to myself. Even my best friend will tell you that getting anything out of me is a long process of dragging it out of me. She is O_O whenever I open up about things.
Yet people open up to me about things. Listen, I aint gonna judge you. I know the pain of judgement. I just want to talk it out and maybe we can figure something out.
But this year was strange. I couldn't help with stuff. Just stand by and watch the train wreck. And that hurts me something awful. Got me all crying and snot flying in my prayers.
And it always come out that I don't know the whole story. Just like that answer to that prayer says.
I have have had to deal with it, as I deal with my own issues. Pray and keep it moving. God knows more about it than I will ever know, and will take care of it all. Amen. Goodnight. Holler.
No more worrying myself silly about other peoples problems. It is going to be okay.
I will pray about it and be thankful in advance for the solution like I do with my own problems. And keep it moving.
7. I go to a huge prosperity church. I think it is one of the largest in the country. Yeah, yeah... I've gotten busted up for that over the years. People HATE my pastor. Oh my goodness. Just hate him something awful. That's odd to me because he has been good for me over the past 11 years. I think I've grown alot under his pastoral care.
"All your pastor do is talk about money! You give him all your money!"
Really? And it has been hilarious over the years because people get belligerent. To the point where they stop speaking to me.
Folks reading this and figuring it out will stop speaking to me.
Come on, man. It's me. LadyLee. Your friendly neighborhood Oldgirl! We can still be friends, right?
I still love you even though you suddenly hate me! *kiss,kiss,kiss,kiss,kiss,kiss,kiss*
I give all the pastor my money. Wow. *looking at bank statement*
Hmm. I put up more money in the past couple of years than I've ever had. And that's different, especially since my income has been frozen for the past 3 years. Even went into a Lexus dealership and bought the car that's been my dream car since 1999... paid in full, no car note.
Hmm. Don't sound like somebody who gives the pastor all their money.
Anybody that does that is STUPID. Yeah I said it. STUPID.
You stupid. You just got conned. Don't blame nobody but yourself!!
But I don't want to talk about that. Well yes I do.
If I went to the store and purchased a prosperity pie, and they gave me the box, and only one slice of pie is in the prosperity box, then I'm gonna be mad. Because that is not what I wanted.
Money issues is one slice of that prosperity pie. Sorry, but it is what it is.
Let me be clearer... I will use one of my readers Ginae as an example. I do that because I know she would get a kick out of it.
Imagine (hypothetically), that she is my homegirl and we shoot heroin together. We broke and poor as all get out, and we get out here and sell azz on the corner and we make enough to get our heroin fix. Yes, we got our scheme and we're working it.
One of us goes and buys a lotto ticket. Lo and behold, that lotto ticket is a nice winning ticket. We some multimillionaires now.
We prosperous now! We living in prosperity! We got all this money!
I look at her.
She look at me.
We both got that look in our eye.
And we got that junky itch, too.
We gonna go get that GOOD heroin now. Yep. We chartered a plane to Hawaii. Got us a phat penthouse. Bought all the good heroin we can stand. We got some nice gold tipped needles.
And we shoot up with that good stuff we're not used to. Because, you know, we don't realize that stuff we do back home is only 3 to 5% heroin, and the rest is foot powder or something like that.
And we both OD.
And we both die. Right there in that penthouse. With all the financial resources necessary to live a great "prosperous" life.
Now you tell me how one equates money and prosperity, in the sense of it being the sole meaning of such?
If anything, it magnifies the problems we have. Lord help us if they are "secret" problems. You remember taking a magnifying glass outside when it was sunny and burning leaves with it. That's what happens when money enters the picture with some problem.
Fascinating. If I could figure out a way around that principle, I would. Believe that.
You know I'm telling the truth. Look at all these superstars looking crazy right now. They got all that money, and they have all those problems.
"If I had the money they have, I wouldn't be going through all that!"
You's a lie. You'd be going through that and much more depending on what recurring issues you have right now.
I would stand up and tell my pastor to shut up my ownself if he talked about money too much. He himself will annouce when he's gonna talk about it. "So ya'll negroes that don't wanna come to church can do something else."
If anything, I have appreciated when he has talked about money. That is the main reason I found the courage to save for my home. And I learned from him that there are people in my family and friends who are struggling that need some legitimate help, and my broke tail need to straighten out my finances just in case I want to help someone. Just in case.
For the past 4 years I believe, I've been able to take care of my grandmother's meds, all her groceries, her gas money, some bills (if she want. I am tired of fussing at her about that), and all her "running around" money.
This summer, I had to take her back and forth to the doctor. (Never mind that she has children of her own around. I'm the grandchild. I closed my book of cuss on that subject). On one particular visit, her medicare wouldn't take care of the problem. Man... that bill was so high that they had to take me in a room and talk to me. Maybe they thought I was gonna go ballistic or something. Who knows. I remember peaking in the room to ask if she was alright and she was laid back in the chair with her eyes closed.
I left her alone and paid the bill on a credit card because I didn't have that much money on hand.
And sat in the waiting room while they performed the outpatient operation.
And I cried. Over the chunk of money I paid. Because it was shocking.
But moreso over this: I was in the CORRECT place at the CORRECT time to be of some help.
Still shocked over that. That is one of the most important things that has happened to me all year.
I always want to be in the correct place at the correct time. Always.
I went home and transferred the money out of an online savings account I have. And just like that, it was taken care of.
My sister needed some help a couple of months ago. I just happened to have an emergency debit card for myself where I transfer some miniscule amount of money from my main account. (trust me, it is some litte funky amount that I don't notice going away. Another thing I learned from my pastor). I told her to come get the card. I happen to look at it and it had more than she needed. She did what she had to do, and said she would pay me back.
I just wanted my card back when she got paid. CowgirlCre heard me talking to her on the phone in the cubicle. I hung with my sister and called her right back. I remember her saying that she was at the gas station.
"Fill up your tank on my card, not your own. Then come on my way, and we will go to dinner like I planned."
CowgirlCre looked at me and was like "Wow."
When my sister came over I told her... You don't have to pay me back.
I was in the CORRECT place at the CORRECT time.
I was cheesing hard. My sister was looking at me with a raised eyebrow.
That right there is prosperity to me, when it comes to money issues.
You can hate all you want. I like my church. It may not be good for everybody, but it works for me. At this point and time in my life.
I'm just like you. Lord knows I don't want to hear a pastor talk about money everytime he opens his mouth. That aint nothing but a scheme.
I don't know about you, but this Oldgirl LadyLee is who she is when no one is looking. I have real problems. There are areas in my life where I am not prosperous. I need a pastor to speak on that. Please and thank you.
8. I think this is my last point. But like I said, this is a manifesto... So it is LONG.
This point relates to the point above concerning prosperity.
I think, some 3 or 4 years ago, I had a really interesting day. Unless I go back in my diaries and see what happen, then I don't know what happen. I know it involved helping someone with a problem. Nothing monetary. But it was something where we talked about an issue and that person initiated some things and it all worked out.
I just remember being very happy that day about that. I was happy a few days.
I remember praying that I wanted that type of thing to increase 10-fold in my life.
And that's a bold prayer. That's a lot to ask for.
I wanted that ability to encourage people in someway. No matter what it was. The ability to listen. To listen well and encourage. And anything and everything that goes along with that.
Now I think that prayer was some 3 or 4 years ago. I forgot about it. I wrote it down, but I forgot about it.
But I been thinking about it for these past couple of weeks. Part of my birthday pontifications and review of my year.
And I realized something interesting: Not a day goes by where I am not being of some encouragement to someone. And more interestingly, someone is showing up with encouragement and solutions to my issues. I wish I could write it all down in a journal somewhere, but I tell you, there is not enough time in the day to write all of that down. Not in the least.
Now THAT is an area that I have my prosperity.
And that's with me being a "lone wolf" type of chick. I am very much a loner.
I will ponder and continue to ponder. Hopefully I will grow in that area.
9. Last but not least... can I just tell you I love to write?
I may even have some things coming out this year. People have been asking me about the book covers in the margin of the blog. Heck man, i didn't even think anyone would notice those. I only put those up so I can see them daily. It is my bootleg way of tacking papers on the walls of the House of LadyLee so I can be encouraged to work on polishing up my stories.
Right now I am doing some rewrites and editing. I am not a perfectionist but I want to be fully satisfied with what I offer. I have several ebooks I want to put out there (sorry yall, but hand held books are going away. I will bet the house on that). But I want them to be my best writing possible.
One of my best experiences so far is the story Jawbreaker. It's a young adult story. My blog sister Mzinspiredmind has a little girl who reads on a college freshman level, and she's the same age as the protagonist in this 27 page story (age 10). I remember her asking her mother to ask me if I had anything that she could read, and I told her that I had a little story that she could read.
She agreed to read it.
You know what I did? I replaced the main character's name with her name. You know how easy that is to do. And I sent the manuscript to her mother. Her mother printed it out and gave it to her.
Little Ry really liked the story. She even understood the themes and various layers of the story. I asked her to consult with me on the book cover. She was O_O about that. She suggested the doll for the pillow. Which was a good thing to do. Ties in well with the story.
Yes, I know how to ask for help.
"You know," her mother said, "Ry keeps the story on her bookshelf with her other books. I see her reading it sometimes."
She had to do a book report for class, and she did it on my story. I mean she worked on posters for it and everything. And she got an "A" on it.
The teacher asked where she could get a copy of the story.
Little Ry said, "It's not available. The author is a personal friend of mine, and she gave me an advanced copy of the manuscript."
LOL! I know that teacher was O_o.
HA HA! I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, you don't know how proud that made me. I was so proud of that. That someone liked my story enough to read it and use it as a part of class. I know Tayari has used one of my stories as part of her creative writing class. (Yeah she is my mentor, but she don't read my stuff. It feels strange for her eyes to fall against my work. ugh).
But let it be known, some writing is officially coming out real soon from me. Really soon.
So... you made it to the end of my manifesto... Good for you.
No telling what you think of me now. And if I would've put up all 30 points. You would need a drink by now. A drink and a blunt.
Happy Birthday to Me.
Today I turn 43
Today I am 43.
But I think I should be more specific.
Today I am 516 months old.
Today I am 2,243 weeks old.
Today I am 45,707 days old.
Today I am 376,968 hours old
Today I am 22,618,080 minutes old.
Today I am 1,357,084,800 seconds old.
That is how old I am.
It is interesting how when you break it down to those days, hours, minutes and seconds... how fast my age changes.
It reminds me of how much I am changing... and how much I am growing... with every passing year, month, week, day, hour and second.
I am looking forward to having yet another prosperous year.
I Always Know What I Want, but I Don't Always Know What I Need - The sweetest thing just happened. Kayden was literally running around the house and I walked in the room where he was and sat down on the floor and said, "...
2 days ago