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.