A Blue State of Mind

"The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams." Oprah

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Location: The Western U.S, United States

I spent 48 years caring about what people thought of me. I'm not spending the rest of my life caring about that anymore!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


When I was young, I couldn't wait for tomorrow. Back in those carefree days when my only responsibilities were studying for exams and wondering how to ask my parents for money for school supplies or Spring Break travels, I didn't worry too much about tomorrow. Tomorrow was coming and with it would come bonfires, college football games, all night study sessions, talking on the phone 'til one of us fell asleep.

After college I got my first real job. I had planned on staying at the entry level position for six months then moving on up the corporate ladder. After six months I saw the people going for the same few jobs and knew they would beat me at getting the jobs. They were taller, skinnier, knew the right people and had stronger skills than me. The fact that they were not Black, in my opinion, guaranteed their promotion.

Every six months I'd tell myself that it was time to find other jobs. By now I was as qualified as the other candidates, plus I had a degree, surely that would account for something right? Well, in my small little mind I still couldn't make the grade and so I'd put off being promoted for that other job, the one that would fall right in my lap.

Six months turned into two years, two years to five, five turned into seven at an entry-level position. By this time of course I had begun interviewing and finding mentors that could help but for whatever reason I was never promoted and for seven years I accepted it as my fate. If I could just be taller, thinner, straighter teeth, lighter skin THEN I could be promoted.

People liked me. I had a reputation for getting difficult jobs done within dates and correctly done. I was friendly but quiet, I was never in a clique but I understood the company's vision and business model and could communicate it at every level. The only thing I couldn't communicate was the message to my heart that I deserved better. My head told me that I was just as good -if not better than every other Leader or Manager on the floor- but the message that my heart heard was I was too fat, too black, too ugly to go for those positions Each of the pictures on the Leader wall showed young thin men and women with perfect teeth. None of them came close to resembling me, but the lower workforce at my level reflected me in their pictures.

So, seven years turned into ten, ten turned into twelve and I was promoted to a Leader at an entry level position. I worked hard to be a great leader, I have the scars to prove it. But it's been nine years and I want to do something else. I want to be promoted but I'm too scared to go for the jobs. The workforce has changed in twenty years. These new Leaders are younger, thinner and taller. Fresh out of college wearing their $200 messenger bags, swilling Starbucks or Monster and sharing intimate details of their dating lives in elevators.

Tonight I was sitting outside thinking of all the things I've wanted in life and didn't go after because I let fear paralyze me.

Tomorrow I'm going to sit down, take a piece a paper and in two columns I'm going to list the things I want right now. The other column will list everything that's stopping me from getting those things.

Tomorrow, 75,000 people who won't wake up. Their opportunities and chances of realizing their dreams will be over.

Tomorrow, if the Lord blesses, I will wake up and go through the same drudgery and routine I've gone through for the last seventeen or so years (some of those years have actually been pretty good) but tomorrow I'm going to put in some applications at my job into higher management level because one day, my tomorrow will not come.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In The Mood

Have you ever had one of those days when your emotions run the gamut from happiness and excitement down to nostalgic and sad then across to excitement and anticipation? That's what I've endured today.

Today began as an ordinary Sunday but rather than being excited about going to church (shhh), I was excited that regular football season started today AND the Cowboys' game would be televised in Phoenix! So off I go to church and I'm excited because the pastor is already up delivering her message and it's not even 10 o'clock! Then! Then I turn my iPhone to ESPN mobile and find out I can get play by play action! Shut up!

Now before you start tsk tsking me about watching the game in church, allow me to say I accidentally stumbled upon that ESPN site. I had read the Scriptures for today's sermon (Matthew 18:19) and just wanted to get a quick score update and bang! Play by play action. And Pastor's done and we're out of church by 10:45. This never happens! GOD LOVES ME!!

While I'm ordering lunch I get texted by my niece Michelle LeNair that her sister Anna's water broke and she's at hospital. This is bad news because the baby's not due for another two months. Her doctor wants to put her in hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy or at least in enough time for the baby's lungs to develop. The baby is a boy and Anna plans to name him Jeremiah.

Finally get home in time to watch the Dallas v Tampa Bay game. It's tense, back and forth in scoring drives but finally 'dem Boys break through, take the lead and stay there. I love 'dem Boys!!

I call and speak w/my aunt in Boise and she tells me she's leaving Boise for good. Her eldest son is coming this Friday to move her to Washington state. She's sure she won't be back to Boise to live because of her burgeoning health woes. She is our matriarch and we are all reeling from this change of events.

Tomorrow, although at the same company, I will begin reporting to a new Director. I will have ten persons reporting to me, about a third of them I've worked with before. I'm excited and scared about this new position. I know I'll get along just fine but those first day butterflies are swooping around in my stomach, even with everything that's happened today.

I love to sing. I love music, all types. I grew up on Gospel and Country, they are my first loves. No matter the emotion, I have a music type to fit it. Right now, there's this old Gospel song that seems fitting for everything that's happened today:

We cannot see in the future
We cannot see through dark clouds
We cannot see every pitfall
But we can march on by Faith each day.
On Monday, march on!
On Tuesday, march on!
Let Jesus be your guide.
He's able to carry the load
He can see way down the road
March on by Faith each day.

There's nothing I can do to help 'dem Boys win this season. The only thing I can do for Jeremiah and his mom is pray. There's nothing I can do help Aunt Mary because I can't stop time and its treacherous treatment of the human body. And the only thing I can do with this new team and boss is go in everyday working as hard as I can and doing the job as unto the Lord.

Everything else is in God's hands. He can see further down life's road than I can anyway.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Demise of A Civil Society

Are there no more polite Americans?

Have we become a nation of Jerry Springer audience members?

When did we become so rude? I know how hard it is on a fat person in America. I'm still surprised how nasty John and Joan Q. Public can be to fat people, and (un)fortunately (depending on your view) so do Health Care Reform town hall attendees. It is amazing, ludicrous, disappointing, mind-blowing and completely distasteful how Americans are behaving at these town halls! One guy gets a piece of his finger bitten off, an official is booed off the stage, freaks in Phoenix (oh joy, something else to add to my "I'm not proud to be a Phoenician" walk of shame) praying for President Obama to die and go to hell, and just today CNN reports a woman in a wheelchair is heckled.

What the heck?

It used to be you could expect to find hecklers at comedy shows or sports games. Or, you could safely heckle anonymously on the Internet. With the recent decision by Blogger to release identities of bloggers, even that's come under fire. "Let us heckle in private!" the public roars. "We have the right to our opinion be it nasty or nice. And we can do it anonymously!" Or, if you're FoxNews, you can heckle 24 hours a day.

Remember when "shock jocks" could cause stirs because of their controversial comments? Now we have shock jocks appearing everywhere! When is it going to end? When someone is beaten to death because s/he voiced their dissenting comments at a town hall?

Given our rate of uncivilized public behaviours, I can see these scenarios in the very near future:

-college professor is heckled during class by students who don't agree w/his manner of teaching, or his selection of textbooks

-pastor or priest is heckled during church services because of their teachings/beliefs

-hecklers disrupt courtrooms due to the judge's rulings

I'm not naive. I know that hecklers have been here since Henry James began his career as an author. It's just that lately it seems to have gotten out of hand. Every time I turn on the TV there's coverage of some street brawl. How soon before we read about these brawls and they become permanent fixtures?

Shaking my head.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

This & That Thursday #3

A short summer storm rolled in tonight, and just as quickly rolled out. A short rainfall, maybe six minutes, is all we received. That's just enough water to moisten the dirt on your car and settle any loose remaining dust.

As I was leaving work, I noticed the spectacular lightning show in the East Valley. By the time I got home we were in one of those slow moving dust storms. If there's a choice between which type of dust storm to be in, this is the best kind. These types of dust storms turn everything foggy and the sky takes on an eerie burnt orange glow illuminated by the city's bright lights struggling to shine through the thick haze of dust. The wind doesn't blow hard or strong enough to blow the dust, so it just swirls around irritating your sinuses and eyes if you're out in it.

Being in a dust storm is the equivalent of being in fog, only a dust storm generally moves at a rapid pace while fog just lays there, dangerously paralyzing highways and street traffic. I can count on one hand the times I've been stuck in fog in Phoenix. Each time I found them enchanting but that's because the sun had burnt it up within a few hours.

My family and I are going out of town for a few days. This has been a year full of travel for me. I don't remember this much traveling in a very long time. It's just that everything, and everybody is in another state so we have to leave if we want to see everyone.

My aunts are doing miraculously well, thank the Lord! Of course, this will require new responsibilities to my family to provide care to them as they may never fully recover. I just hope I can help out whenever and however I can.

I think this is all on my mind tonight. I'm wiped out. Two long work weeks and staying up 'til 2a last night w/BFF has caught up w/me and I'm gonna turn in early. That pic is of my two nieces and brother in Vegas' Chinatown.