Morning With Sunni

My landlord, Sunni, wanted to stop by today to pick up something she left at our place. She's really great but is Asian and our language barrier makes it difficult to communicate. Today when she sat down and seemed as if she wanted to talk a bit. She's older so I didn't want to be rude ... I recognize sometimes older people just want to talk and its not like I was busy or anything.
We began to talk about the election. Sunni shared with me that she had moved here in 1969 and how the country was back then. She told of the way minorities were treated ... not just blacks which I've been exposed to, but also how Asians and even the Irish were treated. She spoke of how she was sat down by older friends who had been here longer to tell her how to be in America. She painted an ugly picture that I know is the fabric of my country.
But then she spoke of hope. And how this election was huge for all Americans, not just minorities. She spoke about how it is an example of how quickly America can change. She said that '69 is less than 40 years ago and look how much the country has changed. Sunni spoke of hope and change so clearly and with such focus that our language barrier was gone. I could really hear her and the intent behind her words. And the joy she felt when she spoke of what she hoped would happen on election day. She also shared with me her hopes for her grandchildren who are 4 and 7 and how she wants the country to be when they grow up. I always thought Sunni was sweet but today I got to see a deeper side of her.
My morning with Sunni reminded me of what hope does ... it gives us joy and connects us all.

I's Is Free

Marion Jones was on Oprah today. She spoke openly about her ordeals with her federal indictment and steroid use. She spoke of her 6 months in prison. When Oprah inquired if prison was like what she saw on shows like "Lockup", Jones was honest and said no. She did say that the thing about any prison is that people always tell you what to do and you have no freedom. Oprah paraphrased a comment from Toni Morrison's "Beloved". She said that freedom is being able to do what you feel, when you feel it.
I have always been one for rules - some beneficial, but all of them limiting.

I have to go to bed early because I have to get enough sleep for work.
I can't act certain ways because people might see.
I can't behave that way anymore because I'm over 30.
I can't _____________ because ___________ (fill in the blanks, I'm sure I've said that at one time or another).
I was reminded tonight that there is such joy in freedom. This realization came in the simplest, most "random" way (I of course don't believe in random).
I got up VERY early today to go to the Price Is Right (they didn't call me to come on down) and my normal schedule of spending time at home was thrown off. I took a nap around 5 or 6 and woke up around 7ish. I had to take some meat from the freezer and wait for it to defrost to cook dinner. I didn't begin to prepare my meal until around 9:30pm. This is a rarity for me - when things are "normal" I generally cook my meals for the week on Sunday. If I do cook during the week it is early - the latest being around 7:30. I like to be in bed by 10:30/11 at the latest. I'm not sure why I do any of that - it is just how it is. I have a friend that I'd call at night and she'd always be in the kitchen preparing some elaborate meal ... I'd say things like, "Dude, it is too late to be cooking that way!" But why?
When I think of freedom, I generally think of big things like not being enslaved or having civil liberties. Leave it to Oprah to remind me to see things in a bigger scope. Being free is having the option to do what we please when we please without anyone telling us what to do. I'm free and I realize that now more than ever that I have nothing that MUST be done.
Freedom is precious ... ALL types of freedom. Even in the form of a lovely, homemade dinner for 1 prepared AFTER 10 pm :)


I Don't Know Ok!

I would imagine that being unemployed has fun points- you get up when you feel like it, have no where to be and my personal favorite - you don't have to get dressed, shower or comb your hair if you don't feel like it. Yep, you do your thing and it works out fine I suppose. The non-fun part is that it is hard to make plans ... especially plans that cost money. Unlike working, unemployment checks come when they come ... you just have to wait for them. So I've learned to make plans that don't involve spending.
Today my plan for the day was to pick up my tickets for Price is Right on tomorrow and to go to a writing class (FREE writing class) at the library. The class was at 12:30 and I had to grab the tickets on the way. I'm working on being positive and being fine with my situation - finding ways to enjoy my life regardless you know.
My day got off to a different start. My phone rang at like 6:15 so I turned off the ringer. Because I did, I missed the landlord's call saying she was bringing people to see our place (she didn't leave a voicemail). When I woke up at like 9:45, my back hurt really bad and I was going to silently lie there until my roommate left. I heard her leave but quickly return - the folk the landlord spoke of had arrived. Since I want to do my part to get our apartment rented, I get up, brush my teeth and try to look presentable. It goes well - the girls rent the place. Now I know firmly that regardless of what I do next, I won't be living here anymore after Nov. 21. I'm fine with that and was fine with all the things that went along with getting rid of the place. What I'm not fine with is I feel bombarded with questions I don't have the answers to.
I think I'm going to stop answering my phone and change my voicemail to the following:
Hi, I'm not available but if you are calling to ask me where I'm going to move
to, what I'm going to do about a job, how do I feel about anything related to my
current situation or anything related to anything in the future, the unequivocal answer is I DO NOT KNOW. Additionally, if you are calling to say if I were in that situation you I'd do blah blah blah, I don't know what I'd do, it'll work out, this will never work out, do what you feel, you can't just do what you feel, get a job doing something else, be a substitute teacher or any other tidbits of advice, thanks but no thanks - I'm simply unable to process it at this time. I'll let you know what I figure out when I figure it out.

I guess since I job hunting, that might not be the best phone message to leave though ...
ANYWAY, my writing class was great - it is all about writing life stories and I have been trying to come up with ideas for some sort of memoir project. The writers there were really good and seemed like people who just have an interest in writing just to write. Also, it was a great distraction from the constant questions - no one asked me anything in the writing class and that was perfectly fine with me!


Our Vote Determines Their Country Too

It is easy to say to people remember to vote because if not you will not have a say in the next four years of this country. Today at church, I was reminded about the children of this country who are affected by our decision at the polls. They can't vote but this is their country too. The children's choir at my church recorded the following video. ENJOY!


Blame It On The Coffee

I wanted a sweet treat so I went to Crumbs and got me a yummy cupcake for my Friday night treat. They had a promotion and were giving away free coffee! I hadn't had a good iced coffee in forever so I opted for one with soy milk. It was great! But since I this was at 7pm and I came home and took a shower, washed and twisted my hair and did a few other things before completing the sugary treats, I'll be up for a while. I decided to do a little blogging. One of my favorite bloggers kay from apartment, tbd etc FKA I'm Really Not A Diva has a list of 100 things about her. I'm feeling self reflective and open, so here's my list of 100 things about me.
  1. I was raised in Plaquemine, Louisiana - a city with a population less than 10,000.
  2. I now live in Los Angeles - a city with a population of over 3 million
  3. I was born on the astrological cusp of Cancer and Leo - it means I can be contradictory in nature (Cancer/Leos are a handful)
  4. I'm just becoming okay with being a handful - I'd rather be neat, nice and easy instead of hard to understand, moody, emotional and sensitive. Easy would be to fit into a box and I simply don't.
  5. I am very nice.
  6. One of the nicest gifts I ever got as a result of my niceness was an autographed copy of "The Power of Nice" from one of the authors because I was so kind to her when she'd call the office I worked at.
  7. I am extremely educated - I graduated from college and law school
  8. I only went to law school to make me more prepared for a career on the business side of entertainment
  9. I guess that makes me disciplined
  10. I am also very persuasive - I can persuade myself into doing or not doing things all the time
  11. I am currently persuading myself to be okay without a job
  12. I love working - when I have a job that is on my career path that is exciting or fulfilling to me, I go above and beyond - it becomes my life
  13. I have always had jobs that were not typical 9-5's - I've held some "interesting" job positions (I've been a valet parker, cocktail waitress, bartender, schoolteacher, Hollywood assistant and a sports information director)
  14. When I have a job that I love or enjoy, it is my most important relationship
  15. I am currently ready to have a love relationship - a real one based on mutual love not just sex, control or ego based needs.
  16. I've fallen in love in the club on several occasions ... darn that Usher for making light of what it means to REALLY have love in the club.
  17. Because I didn't fully know what it meant to be in love, I did research on what it means to be ready for a relationship. Some friends and I started a book club and dedicated 7 weeks to the book "Calling In The One." This is week 7 :)
  18. I enjoy group activities that promote growth or some sort of transformation (I also did The Artist's Way and the quantum wellness 21 day detox).
  19. The activity I want to do after this is to compose a list of 35 things to do before I turn 35 and then begin doing them.
  20. It would be amazing to be on the Hollywood Reporter's top 35 under 35 list.
  21. I like being recognized for doing great works, whether I've done the good deed or someone else.
  22. Recognizing and celebrating the talents of others is one of my favorite things to do - I want to have a home big enough to host intimate talent nights where all of my friends come over, eat a great meal, have drinks and everyone has to share their talent.
  23. My talent would be to make the amazing meals and host the evening.
  24. I'm anal about planning events - even if it is having a friend over for drinks. I have a vision of how I want things to go and when they don't go that way I don't react well.
  25. I have an A type personality and am attracted to other A types. My worst A type behavior is when I'm bothered is to purse my lips, take a deep breath, say OK then iterate whatever it is I have to say. (I've been told it makes the people I'm speaking to feel stupid.)
  26. As much as I enjoy socializing and social activities, I relish in my time alone.
  27. My favorite alone activity is watching TV - it has always been my thing.
  28. When I was little I like TV so much that my punishment when I was bad was being sent outside to play.
  29. My favorite tv shows of all time were Ally McBeal and The Practice - I think David E. Kelly is a beast!
  30. I've loved to read since I was young as well - my favorite all-time book is "To Kill a Mockingbird."
  31. I really enjoy John Grisham books too ... maybe that is why law school was so appealing.
  32. Now a days, I have been reading quite a few non-fiction books dealing with spirituality.
  33. I have concluded that I'm at the apex of my spiritual journey - you know the high point where all of my journeys come together to this pivotal point where I grow into the full potential I was created for ... so I try to remember that when it gets crazy.
  34. Now that I'm unemployed I'm taking time to do and focus on things that truly make me happy.
  35. I have 2 tattoos and really want a new one - they really are addictive.
  36. I have had 5 body piercings (not counting my regular earring holes) but they are now all closed up. I miss my nose ring the most and it is the only one I'd get again.
  37. I change my mind alot about my appearance and have gone through many "looks" over the years - but my general day to day is quite laxed.
  38. I've had a bunch of hairstyles too - my favorite being super dooper long during high school and my least favorite a super short cropped natural died auburn.
  39. I love having my picture taken- I think I'm photogenic.
  40. While the music business is not as strong as it used to be, I think the amount of talent that is emerging is exciting and interesting.
  41. I'm feeling this rapper/singer/actor named Drake right now.
  42. I think the internet is the best invention ever because you can find anything or anyone in an instant.
  43. I had a pen pal in grade school - Summer from Denham Springs.
  44. I have an e-pen pal that I'm convinced is on my spiritual journey - Robin from ATL.
  45. I am highly intuitive and I'm learning how to make rather allow the intuition to work for me.
  46. In college, I was in a pageant I said "I keep it real" and became known as the "real" or "keep it real" girl ... damn that JLo for making a song from the pages of my life.
  47. I think in her hayday JLo had the best look around - she was the fiercest in my opinion.
  48. While I think it is the biggest blessing in the world, sometimes having a baby can end your career.
  49. But if being I could look like Halle Berry after having a baby, sign me up!
  50. I am so in awe that a qualified biracial man could be President of the United States in around two weeks.
  51. I am also in awe that some many people are clouded by racism and bigotry.
  52. I want a new hobby but not sure what I want to try.
  53. I want to learn to swim very badly - I literally have dreams at least once a week where I'm swimming and floating.
  54. When I was a kid, I'd fantasize that I was switched at birth and my real family was extremely rich and would find me one day.
  55. I convinced this kid Peter that I was biracial and the bastard daughter of the bad seed in the family that owned a huge department store near my hometown.
  56. I had quite the imagination and I now recognize it is creativity.
  57. As a creative outlet, I make clip art books (I clip things from magazines and do layouts to tell stories in photo albums).
  58. I have kept a journal consistently since junior year in college.
  59. I've felt a connection to Brazil for quite some time.
  60. I enjoy traveling and want to get more stamps on my passport as soon as possible.
  61. I one sister, LeAnna. We are 16 years apart in age. We have the same mother but different fathers. I have an older sister on my dad's side but since we weren't raised together I often forget ... that makes me feel shady since I generally say I have one little sister.
  62. LeAnna has a sister that is AMAZING and I claim her too as my sister because when my mom dated her dad, they treated us the same. I guess I forget my sister on my dad's side since we were not raised as sisters.
  63. When I was younger, I always wished for an older brother.
  64. I can't say that I always or never do anything - I don't have absolutes like that. I try but once I realize I always do something I inadvertently stop and if I realize I never do something else, I try it or am forced to do it.
  65. I owe a fine at the public library I need to pay.
  66. My grandmother had 6 grandchildren - 2 of them were from my aunt Brenda who was adopted. The other four of us are all 8 years apart.
  67. My grandmother has survived a lot of deaths among her love ones - she's buried her parents, a brother, a sister, a husband, a son and a granddaughter (Gloria died in August).
  68. My grandmother's father and brother opened a funeral home. When they both died, my great uncle's wife became owner and operator which I think rocks. At an older age, she went to school for funeral director and managed to keep the business alive.
  69. I enjoy stories where people are able to make something seemingly impossible possible.
  70. I have never broken anything or had any surgeries.
  71. When bad things happen, it feels like it is the end of the world.
  72. When good things happen, I'm not sure it feels as strongly.
  73. I've lived in 4 states - Louisiana, Indiana, Texas, California.
  74. Ironically, I had the most fun and well balanced life in Indiana.
  75. I worked in the sports information department at Purdue when Drew Brees was quarterback and now he's the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints - I think that is pretty ironic.
  76. I watch sports and enjoy it.
  77. I think that is going to be a huge plus when I do fall in love.
  78. Among my many good qualities as it relates to a mate, I think my future hubby will be happy that I'm an avid sports fan and enjoys cooking and having folk over the game ... as long as that game isn't baseball.
  79. I have to go watch baseball live - I love going to baseball games but will not watch a game on tv.
  80. I have never had a train ride but want to soon.
  81. I have not gone to San Fransisco yet but want to go to Northern California before I move away from here.
  82. I have a strange infatuation with the mafia - I'm fascinated by it.
  83. I used to want to be a mafia wife.
  84. I also used to want to be Vanity who is now a preacher. There's some irony because I love to speak at church and church events.
  85. I've been in two official book clubs, one in Indiana, one in Cali'.
  86. My favorite read from the Ind. group was "Plain Truth" and from the Cali' group was "Perfume" ... both were eventually made into movies.
  87. I recently saw "The Secret Life of Bees" another book to movie. I truly enjoyed it.
  88. The first time I heard Alicia Keyes singing, I knew she'd be around for a while because her voice was so great.
  89. I don't have a favorite singer because I can't narrow it down to just one.
  90. Frasier is on Lifetime right now and it is laugh out loud funny.
  91. I was in a sorority in college.
  92. I am a fan of sudoku.
  93. No matter how much I weigh I generally wish I could lose or gain 5-10 pounds.
  94. I can be a bit nit-picky.
  95. I am practicing gratitude.
  96. I'm embracing each moment as it comes.
  97. I'm practicing compassion with myself.
  98. I'm loving myself more and more each day.
  99. Now Golden Girls is on which is also making me laugh aloud.
  100. I've got a sip of my coffee left.


Let's Enjoy This

I've been kind of down since I got laid off a couple weeks ago. I was kind of inadvertently punishing myself because I don't have a job. Work has been and remains extremely important to me. I am sort of lost with no job to do day to day. I kind of just sit here - I look for jobs first thing during the day, apply then wait. I watch TV and eat.
Today I decided to do something else. Since I moved to L.A., I've been working all the time so I haven't had a chance to do any daytime activities. After talking with my friend Alicia, I realized there is a lot I can do in this city that won't cost a lot (since I am of course unemployed, I have to be careful). Most of the museums are are free on certain days or after a certain time - which of course are all during times I'd normally be working. I've also always wanted to be a contestant on The Price Is Right - well now I can try that by going to the show taping. I love the park and now I can go at my leisure. Basically, I can do mostly everything at my leisure and that feels good - it feels free.
Losing my job has reminded me what it feels like to be free. I'm trusting that all will work out and resting in the knowledge that it already has worked out. This situation is only temporary but now I'm enjoying the space ... after all, aren't we supposed to enjoy EVERY experience?



I am afraid.
I admit it. I accept it.
I'm scared.
I am lost - in fact, I keep dreaming about how I'm literally lost and can't get directions. This lets me know that I don't know what to do and I must make the decisions. I'm in control.
Now that I know what it is, I can take it from here. Courage can come in at this point. My strength can now kick in. The opportunity to move onto the next level in my life is at hand ... I've just got to go through and pass up the fear.
Not going to let the fear take over, just gonna deal with it.


Homecoming Recap

I had the pleasure of attending my college homecoming this past weekend. It was really fun - I got to revisit my past - I had not been back "on the yard" in 10 years!!! So hard to believe. I have definitely evolved since then. I got sick on Saturday evening at some point so my festivities were cut a little short, but I got to see pretty much all of my old buddies who were in town. AND I must say so myself, I was looking pretty cute! (This is a shot from the Friday night mixer DJ'd by Drack Muse.) Going back was really good but now it leaves me a bit melancholy ... what am I going to do now? I'm at a pivotal crossroads in my career I feel, well actually in my entire life, and I'm not sure what is going to happen. We shall see as it all unfolds!


Leaving Los Angeles ...

There are things about Los Angeles that I love - the weather is usually simply amazing and there are so many random and fun things to do all the time. I always wanted to live in L.A. but I'm convinced that at this time it is not the place for me. It is time to move on and I'm happily excited about that! I think I'll be gone by the end of November and in the meantime, I'm going to hang out in the meantime. This is a new for me - I'm totally open with no idea where to go next. I'm allowing opportunities to show up. We shall see ...


Ummm, I'm Going To Go w/Jesus ....

I have always found myself drawn to certain people thatseem as if they have nothing in common. When I really think about and explore the connection between these people, I find the common thread between them all is their eccentricity. As I grow and learn more about myself, I realize that I have been searching and seeking in them the things that I already am. Today someone brought up one of my biggest differences - I was raised in the South and have an accent and they felt this accent makes me sound less intelligent. I took that in but I also realize that just because someone doesn't feel something about me, doesn't mean I have to change it. This made me think of some of my idols and how successful they are and the things people have said about them ...

I absolutely LOVE Andre 3000 and think he is one of the most talented rappers ever but clearly he doesn't fit the mold of the typical rapper. And people accept it - and when they didn't he broke 'em off properly on "Return of The G" on the Aquemini album. Outkast is only one of three hip hop acts to reach Diamond status with their record sales, Andre is finding success as an actor and is tauted as being a fashion icon. And I don't believe he's at home trying to figure out how to "fit in".
Oprah is amazing - she is a true inspiration. She uses her celebrity to promote her ideals - regardless of how it is received by the media and the world. When challenged by the beef industry, she didn't fold on her position - she fought back. When she found a politician she could believe in, she stood behind him in a very vocal and obvious way. When she realized that certain metaphysical principles have provided her with a better life, she decided to share them with the world. While doing all of this, she was not always praised or well received - in fact, there are often groups that are calling for boycotts of her show and magazine. She doesn't quit though, it seems like she pushes harder.
Okay, if I'm going to speak on folk who broke the mold, didn't follow set standards or practices and did not care about what people thought of him, how could I forget Jesus! I was raised as a Christian, so by definition, I follow Christ. When I was attending a more traditional church I would get so caught up in the church ways and they way the church thought but the whole point (in my opinion) is to act as Christ acted. I chose to deviate from the religious aspects and seek the spiritual truth for myself. In coming to the truth, I had to resign myself to follow Christ ... to follow Christ's ways ... to find the Christlike qualities of myself. Remember the Bible stories? Jesus hung out with ALL the people, including the undesirable, spreading love and goodness no matter what his enemies said or did. Jesus was not concerned with his image among others. Jesus didn't get caught up in their thoughts or ideas about how he should behave or who he should be. Jesus was focused on the bigger picture - he was focused on his destiny and what his life was about.
I must focus on me.
So what if I speak with an accent?
So what if I don't do this or that the way other people have done?
Who cares?
How bout I just do me?
The way I want ...
Unconcerned with the world.
Focused on what I know to be true.
This feels better already.


Girl You So Different

I am in a group that is reading a book, "Calling In The One". It is quite amazing - the author says in 7 weeks you will be able to attract the love of your life ... your one. For 49 days you read passages and complete activities that enable you to become more aware of how you have behaved in love and those hidden, subconscious things that are stopping love from entering into your life. It is not a religious book but it does contain tons of spiritual quotes and tasks. I'm really enjoying it.
One of the group members is a friend from college. We've been friends and sorority sisters for about 11 years and we lived together briefly when I first graduated from college. She's a great friend and we've also come to the conclusion that we're on a bigger journey than just random people that met at college. Alicia and I are great sounding boards for each other in all areas of our spiritual and growth as people. After one of the activities, she called and left me a message that really touched me ... especially as I prepare to return to my alma matter for homecoming to celebrate having graduated from college 10 years ago.
She simply said "D, we don't want regular things because we aren't regular people."
This was a huge statement. I've always felt "different" than everyone else. I always dressed differently, always spoke differently, and always looked differently than anyone else. I even always had a different thought perspective than most people. For the longest time, I just wanted to be regular. There can be comfort in regularity - it allows you to act as the group and do things as the group would do. You become like everyone else and that seems comforting for me. As a kid growing up in a small town, being different was hard. I just wanted to fit. Fitting wasn't necessarily on the platter for me though.
I didn't have typical goals after high school - I literally just wanted to move to L.A. and bartend at night and "get discovered" during the day (I was never quite sure what I wanted to get discovered as). But my family had different plans - I was quite smart so I had to go to college. I went to Southern University but unlike my peers I lived on campus (my hometown was 20 minutes away from campus so most people commuted). Living on campus allowed me to have a true college experience - and I got into a little of everything! After school, I fulfilled a lifelong ambition and taught school. I was different than all the other teachers and was REALLY good at it. I only left because I didn't like the administrative side (a reason I think a lot of young teachers end up burning out on the education system). In a random twist, I ended up in Lafayette, Indiana working at Purdue in the athletic department. I had some of the most AMAZING times there. Not only did I meet friends for life, I was able to become fully integrated into my work. I worked A LOT - pretty much 80-90 hrs a week from August to around May. And I loved it! I really thrived there but something deep inside wanted more.
I went to law school in Houston in an attempt to actualize my dream of moving to L.A. I felt a law degree would help get me in the door here. No one quite understood why I needed to invest $60,000 before coming here, but it made perfect sense to me. And now I live in the City of Angels. The last three years have been very "not regular". I've had amazing experiences and the opportunity to work with the industry's cream de la creme. Right now I feel like I'm in transition but I'm sure it will work out ... it always does. In a way that supports and reconfirms my different-ness.
I am now in a place to embrace my different. It is just a part of who I am. Those differences have allowed me to create a rich and full life that has been filled with colorful and unique opportunities. My story continues to grow and expand beyond my wildest expectations. I have no idea what the future holds, but I'm positive (and optimistic) that it will continue to be "different".


The Customer is Always Right?

My experience just now at the ATT store.

Me - Hi! How are you?
Her - I'm fine, how may I help you?
Me - I just need to pay my phone bill. May I do that here?
Her - Sure, we have an automated machine right there.
Me - Great. Does it take cash?
Her - Yes but you need exact change.
Me - Hmmm, got change for $100? I only need to pay $80.
Her - Umm no.
Me - Ok, may I just pay you?
Her - Yes but it will be an additional $5.
Me - Huh?
Her - ATT has a policy if a customer comes in to pay their bill it costs $5.
Me - So let me get this straight, if I pay in the machine it takes my entire bill but if I pay you and can get change it is an additional $5 that won't go toward my bill. I don't get it.
Her - Well they charge $5 because it takes away from the customers in the store.
Me - (As I look around at the empty store) What I'm not a customer?
Her - Shoulder Shrug
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