Getting My &*#@ Together Series: HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

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This week’s blog was going to focus on the importance of establishing a routine, but I forgot tomorrow IS VALENTINE’S DAY!

So instead of sending myself flowers to my job with a heartfelt “I love you, Erin. From Erin” written on the little card, I’ve decided I’m going to switch gears.

On this man made holiday smack in the ass crack of February, we’re supposed to celebrate the beauty of L-O-V-E.

And while there are many who will be relishing in the feeling, we all also know LOVE can suck donkey balls through a coffee stirrer. Come to think of it (and I’m writing this over a glass of wine so forgive me if I’m mistaken), it’s the only thing in the world that can simultaneously fill you up and drain you; feel like heaven and hell; be so warm but so cold; simply occupy such polar opposites that it’s maddening.

I think that’s what’s behind our attraction to love.

As much as it can hurt, we all know how good it can feel. Regardless of what we tell ourselves or post on our social media platforms, we all want to be loved.

What we fall into sometimes on this day, however, is the trappings of our idea of romantic love – and lack thereof.

Whether it’s societal, familial, or personal pressure, the weight of romantic love and its perceived importance on Valentine’s Day can push feelings of inadequacy to the forefront when we aren’t greeted with flowers and candy at some point during the day.

IF this is something you struggle with, this year …

…  I want you to remember two things:

  1. In less than 48 hours, all of that delectable chocolate is going to be 50% off.
  2. A partner doesn’t validate your existence or somehow translate into completeness. For those who have them and are in healthy relationships, they’ll tell you it’s more like a bonus; like the gumbo was already bomb, but their partner just added the right amount of cayenne. Don’t let anyone or anything make you think you need another person to have fire sauce, folks.

Until next time, be kind to yourself.

Love and light,

Erin

 

Mouth watering for more of my BS ramblings, check out last week’s blog at: https://theladywrites82.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/getting-my-together-series-its-ok-to-cut-people-off-living-your-truth/

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Getting My &*#@ Together Series: It’s OK to Cut People Off / Living Your Truth

There are probably millions of witty memes floating around about cutting people off.

Clearly, it’s becoming a popular thing to do.

But unless you’re one of those people who believe everything they read online, you know that what’s popular isn’t always productive.

What we’re doing when we are cutting people off in this sense is isolating ourselves because some people just aint *&@$, not an elimination of “noise” to focus on self. But that latter is what we should be doing.

I remember starting on this journey and not even knowing what the hell was going on. I just knew I couldn’t be around other people too much because the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and energy of the people around me was stifling my thought process and, by extension, my growth.

So for two months, I decided I’d do nothing but work,

come home,

and take care of children;

no talking to friends,

no social media,

and limited interaction with family (we’re very close, so they would have kicked my door down if I didn’t answer their calls).

I just felt like I needed to be alone, with only my thoughts; free from the input and impact of the people around me.

I called it a cocoon.

When I came out on the other side (and I’m still not sure if it was because I’d become accustomed to being learning to enjoy my own company), I didn’t have the desire to connect with people who didn’t bring out something good in me; that I didn’t feel good around; couldn’t be my true absolutely self with or learn something from. It almost physically hurt to be around people who didn’t “feed” me in some way.

Can you imagine how difficult that made getting through a work day? I mean co-workers are cool and all, but the majority of them are not doing anything to contribute to any positivity in my life.

That removal process was surprisingly easy. What I hadn’t expected was that I, too, would be removed.

Let me tell you another story (if you haven’t guessed by now, I love telling a story to illustrate a point).

The TRUTH is absolutely necessary for growth of any kind, it also is about as pretty as a cheap lace front.

The more I grew in this way, the more honest I was being with myself and those people I still allowed in my space.

A few months went by and I found myself getting estranged from what I considered my best friend for 20 plus years. She literally stopped answering my calls one day. I tried to reach out to her a few times and while we connected, I could feel her energy toward me and our friendship had changed.

Eventually we lost touch. <Insert your sad face emoji here.>

At first I was hurt, then I realized one of a few things had happened.

Maybe my change and growth showed me in a light she had decided wasn’t right for HER journey.

Maybe she didn’t like the person I was becoming.

Or maybe through her growth she realized she never liked me in the first place …

because just like me, others are growing too.

Regardless, of the reasoning, I have come to realize everyone is not meant to come with you on your journey. Whether you’re the one separating yourself or the separation is forced upon you unexpectedly, the outcome is still the same.

Your journey is your own.

I’d stripped myself of everything, except for my basic needs and responsibilities, looked at myself in my truest form and rebuilt from there worked for me. It involved confronting my best and worst qualities, then deciding what I could live with and what I felt was getting in the way of living my best life and being happy.

It was only then that I could attempt to restructure my world around what I saw currently and what I saw for my future.

This restructuring takes so much dedication and focus that some people just won’t fit anymore. And that’s ok. But it’s this structure that took me to the next phase of my growth, but more on that next time folks.

Until then, be kind to yourself.

Love and light,

Erin

 

 

 

 

A Few Things We All Can Learn from Our Sister Mo’Nique

 

 

Monique

By now we’ve all heard about Mo’Nique’s plea to boycott Netflix.

Before I launch into my take on the situation, let me first say that I applaud sis for standing up

for herself. As women, we live in a world that tells us to be invisible; not to speak too loudly. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard someone say, “yeah, she (insert name of beautiful woman here) should just stand there and be pretty.” It takes a lot of courage to stand on your convictions and be unafraid and speak your mind. So, for that I give her a standing ovation.

On the other hand …

I think Mo’Nique has missed the mark because she apparently has failed to understand a few things.

  1. It’s all about the money.

Mo’Nique is asking a people who will never see a half million dollars in their lifetime to boycott Netflix for not paying her the same amount of money. To the average, working class person, that’s life changing money so we really can’t identify with her turning down that check. Not to mention, most people are either too broke or too cheap to have their own Netflix account and are therefore piggybacking off a relative’s log in, so there really isn’t a financial investment coming from the consumer’s end.

  1. Knowing your Worth?

Mo’Nique has clearly been able to quantify her worth in her mind. What she hasn’t done, however, is much in the public eye lately to demonstrate that her vision is worth good old physical currency. Hell, I’m worth all of the money in the Federal Reserve to me, but unfortunately for the both of us, we have to put the work in every day to build enough loyalty with an audience to demand this kind of money. I’m not saying that she isn’t worth it, but I haven’t seen Mo’Nique since she was on TV complaining about “Oprah n nem” and let’s just say that wasn’t her best moment.

  1. Starting Over

While I haven’t seen Mo’Nique in a while, one can’t deny her body of work (especially that retched, swine of a whore she played in the movie Precious). But sometimes, when we haven’t been practicing our craft for a bit, we have to take a step back to take one forward. The climb is a bitch and I can attest to working so hard that you burn yourself out and have to take a break. But once that battery gets put back in your back, you can’t be upset when your audience has moved on to whatever else is bubbling. You just have to take the L, get back on the horse, and ride that bitch to the mountaintop.

  1. The Real Deal

Lastly, and I think most importantly, sometimes we don’t have to say something is riding on our spirits for it to be apparent. Call it angry, an attitude problem, or just plain bitter, sometimes it’s not our words, but the way we speak, communicate, or bend our faces that tells the real story. I’m watching this sister articulate herself and couldn’t help but feel the anger, pain, and slight sense of entitlement behind the words she was speaking. Her outer appearance was poised and confident, but I could see the fire burning behind her eyes. This is the most important lesson for me in all of this because it’s a reminder to make sure my intentions are pure and that I’m speaking, acting, and behaving from a place of honesty and truth, not just pure negative emotion.

All in all, I feel for Mo’Nique. I can understand exact how she’s feeling, but I think it’s time for her to pull up at the table and eat a slice of humble pie. It tastes like shit going down, but I think she’ll be better for it.

On another note, the sad part is that even if people were on her side, this Netflix boycott would last a smooth two days until a new binge worthy show came on (see also, Shea Moisture, the NFL, Dove, and H&M).

IJS

 

Single in the City: Three Types of Guys I’ve Encountered in My Single Life

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To say it has been a while since I posted anything would be the understatement of the year. And while that may be a more impactful statement a few months from now (being that it’s still January), I still think it says a lot. But to the subject at hand: dating is a huge bag of dicks sometimes.

That’s right; I said it: DATING SUCKS. I mean getting to know people can be fun and it’s supposed to be an exchange of information; likes, dislikes, ect. But Babeeeee, when I tell you that idealistic notion of what’s supposed to happen and what actually happens are two completely different things.

So for my newly single friends or my attached friends who just want to laugh at my misery, I proudly present to you the three types of men I’ve run into while dating in this urban jungle.

  1. The Self-Employed, Starving Artist

He’s adorable; just completely adorable, his slightly disheveled hair falling slightly over his eyes when he laughs his full bellied laugh. He’s also smart and ridiculously creative, two qualities you love to have in a man. Then to top it all off, he’s ambitious, but in a very Hamlet kind of way. We all remember struggling through that book in high school and while we may not remember all of the intimate details, we know the moral of the story was that the main character’s ambition caused him to do some horrible things. The self-employed, starving artists I’ve run across have this same issue. Now I’m all about following your dreams and doing what you love, but there has to come a time when you also have to understand that we all have to do fancy things, like eat. But seriously, I’ve run across some men who are so hell bent on following through with their dreams that they completely neglect their day to day responsibilities. Case in point: the self-proclaimed “professional protester” I dated that refused to hold down a regular job or even a place to live because he needed to “be gone at a moment’s notice to fight for the cause.”

*Insert the biggest eye roll ever known to man.

  1. The Married, but Single in his Mind Man

He’s kind, gentle, and incredibly patient. He shows up for dates with flowers and candy and always opens doors. You keep pinching yourself, like “damn sis, he just might be a strong contender.” You casually mention a restaurant you’ve been wanting to go to and he surprises you one evening by pulling up in their parking lot. You’re smiling ear to ear as you have a great conversation over a wonderful meal and cap your night with the sweetest kiss at your front door You have to finally admit to yourself that you are absolutely fucking smitten until your phone rings ten minutes later. His name pops on the screen so you put on your sweetest voice and say “Hey baby.”

 

“Baby?!?!?!  Well, this is (insert the fuckery’s name here)’s wife. And I was just calling you to speak to you woman to woman.”

 

WHHHHHHYYYYYYYYY????

 

  1. The Man Boy

This one doesn’t last very long for me because it doesn’t take long to sniff out their stench. So yeah, I don’t have a long, drawn out description to set the mood for this type of fuckery. If I have to explain to you what income taxes are, how to open a bank account, or any other basic shit that has to do with being a marginal adult, I’m not interested. By no means do I have all of my ducks in a row, but I can at least do my best impersonation of an adult on a day-to-day basis. Sheesh!

And ladies and gentlemen, that is it and all for this edition of the dating chronicles. Go ahead, laugh at my pain. I don’t mind. It’s all a part of the process. And while there has been some antics and shenanigans in these dating adventures I’ve been engaging in as of late, there have been some decent dudes I’ve run across. Just have to take it all with a grain of salt, while trying not to end up salty.

Peace and blessings until next time.

 

The Top 5 Things That Annoy Me about Working in an Office

 

In honor of … well, there isn’t actually a holiday to correlate with this blog, so let’s make something up.

 

Ahem …

 

In honor of The Annual I Just Feel Like Complaining Celebration, I humbly present to you …

 

Drum roll please …

 

The Top Things That Annoy Me about Working in an Office

 

  1. The asshole who drinks the last of the coffee and doesn’t make another pot.

 

I counted the other day and it literally takes 35 seconds to empty the filter, rinse the pot, put in some fresh grinds, and press the “on” button. The only way the coffee machine manufacturer could have made it simpler is if the contraption flew to Madagascar, picked the beans, and ground them on the flight back home. So please, please, please explain to me why you just fill your cup and walk away. I can see by the pep in your step and paranoid looks over your shoulder during your departure that you know you’re foul.

 

Or perhaps you think that just because there’s still a trace of brown liquid in the pot means you’re in the clear.

 

Either way, all it will take is half a minute to correct your awful office faux pas.

 

Just remember Dear Sir, “If it’s not enough for a cup, fill that bitch up!”

 

  1. The women’s bathroom.

 

Women are supposed to be these tidy, demure creatures, right? Um, yeah, NO. If nothing else will convince you of this fact, take a trip into the women’s room at the office. It’s a vile, disgusting place filled with a sour mixture of aromas, bodily fluids, and unflushed toilets. I’ve seen boogers on the walls, finger prints in smeared poo, and unflushed concoctions in toilet bowls that would rival anything seen in any bar on the East Coast. I often overhear my co-workers saying things like “if these people treat this bathroom like this, imagine what their bathrooms look like at home.”

 

But I think that’s the crux of the problem. If your bathroom looks like a foreign dungeon in the privacy of your own home, have at it. You’re the only one that has to clean it up. But that’s obviously not the case at the office. To leave the bathroom in such a state of disarray is not only disrespectful to oneself, it’s disrespectful to the poor soul that has to clean up that mess. If I use the bathroom 6 times during a typical work day (I drink a lot of water), there’s something questionable going on in the stalls during at least half of those trips.

 

Let’s face it. I’m a woman, I understand how things go, but there’s nothing going on that can’t be cleaned up with some tissue and wet wipes (a must have for everyone). Get it together, ladies!

 

  1. Not being able to talk about our differences.

 

While I understand WHY we should be talking about topics such as religion and politics at work, there’s a small part of me that doesn’t. Looking at the average American workplace, you’ll find all kinds of people, of all kinds of backgrounds. There was one point where to the right of me was a middle aged Jewish woman and to my left, a 22-year-old recent college graduate from Poland. In front of me was a 30-year-old Puerto Rican woman from the inner city who also happened to be a Jehovah’s Witness and behind me was a 25-year-old young man from the Caribbean. Talk about a melting pot! There were so many different things we could have learned from each other. From food to cultural norms, understand who you’re communicating with and gaining insight into how they think could prove to have far-reaching, positive impacts. Our strengths, weaknesses, points of views are all a part of who we are and it’s all important, especially when a group of people are working toward a common goal. And if nothing else, it would be nice if when describing someone (ie: another employee whose name is escaping you) you didn’t have to whisper, “You know, the tall black guy” out of fear of sounding “racist”.

 

 

 

  1. Not being able to tell the truth.

I am by no means advocating the elimination of “little white lies”, like telling your boss you had to make a phone call when you snuck out for a quick cig break. What I am advocating is just an elimination of all the BS. Why can’t you tell your boss they’re getting on your nerves if they really are? Why can’t they tell you your desk looks like the shred box threw up on it? Why are we walking around adding all these extra words to our sentences because it’s simply not polite or professional to tell your co-worker their breath smells like shit? In my opinion, if you’re interviewing for another job in another department, you should be well within the confines of acceptableness when you say, “Listen, you know my boss is really irking me lately and I want to come and work for you for a few months or years until you start to irk me too.”

 

Simply put, I really wish we could just cut the bullshit.

 

 

  1. Being considered lazy or lack ambition because you don’t want to stay after 5.

 

Companies all over the country talk at length about how they provide environments that foster good work/life balances for employees. What they don’t say, however, is that if you’re in that parking lot at 5 p.m., you’re fall in the ranks of the slackers.

 

I’ll do whatever is asked of me (as long as it’s legal) from the hours of 9 to 5, but I have to draw the line somewhere.

 

Has anyone ever thought that the employee still present at 7 p.m. doesn’t manage their time effectively? Better yet, ask someone who consistently works 12 hour days for someone else without compensation — because they’re salaried — if they’re happy. I bet you $100 more times than not the answer will be “no”.

 

I am away from my family for the majority of the day. If you see me running to my car in the parking lot, I’m not running away from work, I’m running to my family!

 

 

 

Life Sucks! So What?!

We live in a world saturated with images telling us we aren’t good enough.

The magazines tell us our skin is the wrong color to be considered beautiful; that we’re not thin enough to be sexy.

Pictures on social media tell us our butts aren’t big enough if they don’t drag on the floor when we walk.

There are pictures of “relationship goals”, which usually consist of some perceived financial success. There are professional goals, which usually consist of the same.

Articles on how to love your kids better, telling you too much of “this” and too little of “that” will make them permanent residents of a therapists couch in their 30s.

There’s religious pressure. “If you don’t accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior you’re going to hell!”

What the hell!?!?

The newspaper is plastered with stories about bad people doing bad things to children, leaving you scared to death of letting them go outside to play on the front porch, let alone down the block.

History reminds you that, as a woman of color, it wasn’t long ago that your body was not your own, but a tool used to tend fields and your “owners” deviant sexual desires.

There are roles you assume within your family. Some of us are caretakers, taking on everyone else’s problems as our own. Some of us are punching bags, taking the hits for younger or lesser equipped siblings. Then there are our friends. “You’ve changed. We never hang out like we used to.”

There’s so much.

It all piles up sometimes, the pressure, the expectations, the  perceptions about what you’re supposed to be and be doing and it clogs up your pipes. And sometimes the blockage gets so bad that nothing can get through. Not even hope, happiness.

The sun could be shining, right in your face and you still wouldn’t be able to feel its warmth.

And these are the times when it seems like it would be easier throw up your hands and say “Fuck it!”

But be still. Be still and listen to the world inside you – not the world around you and its biased, contorted view.

You have to fight harder. You are good enough. You deserve better; better than you can ever begin to imagine.

There is meaning.

Meaning to it all.

And while it’s not your battle to fight to discover the truth.

It’s your battle to fight to live your own truth.

Find what makes you happy.

Do it.

Then do it again.

Then do it every day for the rest of your life.

Even if it’s as simple as listening to your favorite music …

Or playing in your hair …

Or staring at the sky.

Keep doing it.

Happiness is subjective, self-defined, a picture you paint yourself.

Praise yourself for creating such a unique piece of art.

Erin T. McMillon, MSM entered into the publishing industry as an advertising copywriter. She has written for numerous magazines and online media outlets in the U.S. and abroad, including an award-winning music magazine.

Her short story, Writer’s Block was featured in the summer 2014 of The Horror Zine. Erin is also the author of The Becoming of Us, Vol. I: Love and The Becoming of Us, Vol. I: Lust and What’s Hiding in the Dark?: 10 Tales of Urban Lore and They Eat: An Episodic Zombie Thriller.

Find her on Facebook at facebook.com/theladywrites82 and on her blog at http://www.theladywrites82.com.

Three (Yes, Three) Things I Learned from Love and Hip Hop: Hollywood

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What?!?

Don’t fret, I’m clutching my pearls too as I type this.

I mean what can one really learn from a scripted television show, posing as a candid look into the lives of young hip hop artists as they gallivant around Los Angeles punching and humping each other into professional purgatory?

A lot, dear Watson … a whole hell of a lot.

So, without further ado, I present to you, my dear subscribers, the top 3 things I learned from Love and Hip Hop: Hollywood!

Drum roll please …

Famous People Can be Just as Broke and Miserable as “Regular” People
1. From the outside looking in, the life of a celebrity can seem like the stuff dreams are made of. They appear to have money and they get to hang out with other famous people and do, I don’t know, famous people stuff. While I’m obviously an adult and I know it’s all a facade, watching this show confirmed that many of them are miserable … and in some cases, quite broke. It’s not an indictment. It’s the truth. There’s talk of rented cars, needing roommates, the embarrassment of vaginal cream thrown in faces, and exposure about sleeping with men for money. All of these things, every last one of them, is done to keep up with appearances. It’s all very sad actually, but what’s even sadder is that people (some of the general public) want to be like these people. There’s a tendency for us to be conditioned to want what they have when the truth is many of them would kill for what we have. Sucks (for them), but it brings me to my next point.

Fame is the New Cocaine
2. While many people in the limelight wish for a simple existence, not many of them actually take the steps to live a normal life because their on a drug called fame. Think about it. You’re 16. You have a ton of disposable income. You get to travel all over the world where hordes of people are screaming your name. No one, not even your parents, tell you “no”. Now imagine it all stops. As suddenly as it all began, no one knows who you are. Even worse, imagine people still do know who you are, but they constantly berate you, telling you you’re a “has been” or posting pictures online of you photographed in the same dress twice. That has to be a tough pill to swallow, so I can see how they would be tempted to chase fame and “relevance”, even if it is fleeting.

Men (scratch that) People Can be So Damn Shallow
3. Last, but not least, I’ve learned a little tidbit about men. Now, let me add the disclaimer that I’m not talking about all men. I’m talking about the men I’ve seen on this show and I think it would be safe to assume that there are many others out there like them. For these men, it doesn’t matter how many men you’ve “dated”, how many sex tapes you have, how dumb or smart you are, or if any part of your body is real. As long as you have a pretty face and a “nice body”, they’ll take you home to momma. Some would say I shouldn’t be as shocked and appalled as I am, but it’s difficult to watch. I thought BBD taught us all to never trust a big butt and a smile, but some people obviously skipped that lesson. It’s not the end of the world. It’s just a little disturbing to see people with empty brains and full siliconed boobies and booties rewarded for well, nothing. Makes me depressed every time I look at my student loan bills while clipping my coupons.

Le sigh.

Welp, that’s it for this edition of what’s going on inside the randomness of my mind.

Until the next time I decide to blow the dust off this blog, good night!

Check out my books, “The Becoming of Us, Vol. 1: Love” and “The Becoming of Us, Vol. 2: Lust” on Amazon.