Life

Hello Sunday

Gratitude

Appreciation

A simple “Thank you”

Last night I watched the movie, “Malcom and Marie,” which was a 2-hour dialogue between a couple who had just come home from an awards ceremony. Malcom had won an award for a movie he produced about a 20 year old model/aspiring actress who had overdosed on drugs. Marie.. well.. I don’t care how many ways Malcom tried to spin the story.. Marie was his inspiration behind the movie. I’m not going to give away too much of the movie. I want to give you a chance to watch it because, I don’t know about you, I hate spoilers. So, I’ll just leave you with this:

Most women are nurturers. When we love someone, we tend to put their needs and feelings before our own. From the macaroni scene, to stifling her feelings, until the end, Marie was that woman. But did Malcom notice? Do men notice? Like Marie, most of us suppress our feelings, smile and keep going like we’ve never been hurt or bothered. Is it right? Heck, no! But it’s what we do. It’s who we are. Like most women, Marie didn’t want to steal Malcom’s shine. She just wanted to feel appreciated.

Hmm… Wonder what would happen if we started putting ourselves first?

Women, nurturers, Queens, thank you for your selfless acts of love. For acts that go unnoticed. For the things you do that are second nature. Thank you for holding households together while trying to maintain your own sanity. Thank you for your unconditional love. Thank you for loving hard even when it’s hard to love. Thank you for pressing forward through your tears. Thank you for being that rock. Thank you for the sacrifices you make so that others can excel. Thank you for being you. In my Tupac voice, “You are appreciated!”

Gratitude

Appreciation

A simple “Thank you”

Enjoy your Sunday!

Life

Hello Sunday

Today’s one of those days that I just don’t feel like writing. Honestly, I’m tired. I’m emotionally and mentally drained. The events that took place on January 6 at the U.S. Capitol did a number on me. I anticipated a few fights, maybe some vandalism of local businesses, but I was not prepared for the rest. What happened hurt my heart and soul. It wasn’t only the insurrection that took place, but the brutal reality that racial inequality still plagues our nation and people still seem oblivious to it. How can they still not notice? It was on display for the whole world to see. Never would a peaceful protest by Black people (yeah- I’m ONLY focusing on Black people) been met with such niceties and respect. From here on, I have nothing for those who choose to ignore the racial inequalities and inequities in our country. Nothing! I will no longer waste my time and energy trying to get people (Whites and Blacks– because there are a few) to understand the injustices Black people face on a daily basis. I’m done!

As you can see, I’m pretty emotional and hurt right now, so I’m going to end this. Yeah, today isn’t a good day for writing. Today I plan to disengage from social media and surround myself with positive vibes and love on my kids. I’m remaining hopeful that most people want change.

Next Sunday will be better. Please enjoy your day!

Shaun

Life

Hello Sunday!

A little late with writing today, but all is well. I actually slept a good 6-7 hours. Which has not happened in ages. Guess I wore myself out cleaning out storage bins. Y’all, I am an organized mess. Lol! The bins look nice and neat until you lift the lids. They are filled with items from my military career, undergrad and grad school, bills, letters, pictures, magazines, books, movies, etc. When I say I keep everything, I keep EVERYTHING! Ugh!! I rarely throw anything away. Which is funny because I found a letter from one of my sisters that was written in 2001. She sent me a picture of my nephew and wrote, “I’m sending this to you because you keep everything.” Wow! That’s what I do.

I guess I should attempt to explain why I hold on to so many things. First of all, I shouldn’t refer to all of the items as “things,” but memorabilia. The majority of the items I don’t believe I’ll ever throw away. I have letters from friends and family dating back to 1980s. Last night I found cards my granddaddy sent me for holidays and birthdays. Something I will always cherish. These came from someone who spent his entire life trying to live up to his reputation of being this hard, cold individual. But later in life he would call just to say hello and tell me he loved me, and he would send cards. Then there’s my military memorabilia. I have uniforms, orders from different assignments, awards, evaluations. You name it, I probably have it. Will I part with them? Probably not. As I mentioned, I have work from undergraduate and graduate school. I worked too hard on some of those projects, I just can’t throw them away. My magazines! My magazines date back to the 90s. I have Jet, Essence, Ebony, Sister-2-Sister, Time, Legacy, Sports Illustrated, Beckett Sports, and a few others. I have local magazines. Newspaper articles of events or people I know. Honestly, I do not know what I’m going to do with all of these things. I told my kids that when I buy my forever home, I am going to have a room where I can display everything. I can see myself walking through the room with my grands (children, nieces, and nephews) telling them stories about all of the items. To me, that’s heaven.

Okay, as usual, I got a little off track. I also have pictures.. tons of pictures! I took pictures of everything!! I have pictures from high school. Pictures from basic training. Y’all, I was in there just snapping away. Lol. I have soooo many pictures. Right now I have over 17,000 images stored between my phone and cloud. I just can’t seem to bring myself to delete many of them. They are so much more than pictures. They’re memories! They represent times, places, and feelings. As a child, whenever I would visit family, all I wanted to do was look at old pictures and ask questions- “Who’s this?” “Where was this taken?” Those questions usually led to great stories. Now I have my own stories.

Anyhoo.. as you can see this Hello Sunday is very random. Just felt like sharing. I’m going to glance over it to make sure it somewhat makes sense, but I’m not going to do much editing. This is how I typed out my thoughts so I’m going to leave this as is. Authentically me.

Have a blessed Sunday!

Shaun

Life

Hello Sunday

We matter!

Another week down. Moving on to the next. Last week was a bit much. It began with another shooting of a Black man by police officers. Another one! Just thinking about it is stressing me out again.

Last week I could barely concentrate for crying. I actually became physically ill. It was too much. I was mentally and emotionally worn. I kept asking myself– Why are we, Black people, still fighting for equality? To be seen as worthy? Why is it that our Black men are viewed as a threat at first sight? Why are we, Black women, “angry,” when do not feel like smiling, or are having a bad day, or just simply being? Why are little Black kids handcuffed for acting out? Why are we not loved? Why are we not valued? Why do we not matter?!!!

Last week, Doc Rivers, a former NBA player and now head coach of the Los Angeles clippers, voiced what we have all been feeling. Emotionally, he said, “It amazes me why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back.” I felt that. Just thinking about it now makes me want to SCREAM! Doc Rivers’ Interview.

We have been used, abused, and murdered. Yet, we still love our country. We have fought wars and given our lives for this country. Yet, we are seen as animals (usually monkeys), second class citizens, dirty, nasty, unworthy, illiterate, thieves… Believe me, I could go on and on! No matter what we accomplish, or how pleasantly nice we are, we are never good enough. We are never quite there.. Ha! Almost there.. but not there.

So for those still wondering why we are screaming, “Black lives matter!” it’s because, unfortunately, our lives do not matter!

Praying for a better week– a safe week– a week without tears (unless they are happy tears).

Be Blessed

Shaun

Life

Hello Sunday!

Moving forward.

Yes, it is Sunday again! Seems like time is passing at warp speed (Star Trek- lol). I would love for it to slow down a little. I need time to process a few things.

Woke up thinking about the turn of events over the past month or so– personally as well as professionally. Even though I have been blogging since 2018, it was not until May of this year that I was ready to share my blogs with the world. In May, I also started volunteering again. It had been ages since I last volunteered. And, when I woke up this morning, I logged onto my professional social media accounts and began updating them. Also, this morning, it finally dawned on me why I had neglected those accounts for so long. Y’all, I did not want to be that person anymore.

Okay… moment of full transparency.

It all began two years ago. Whew, I never thought I would talk about this. At the beginning of 2018, I was asked to do a presentation for an association that was having a conference in Mississippi. I was so honored and hyped about it. I was given a topic, asked to come up with a few objectives for continuing education credits, and told I would be working with a local chef on a menu and food demonstration. Y’all, it was like a dream come true! It was everything I imagined I would be doing at this point in my career. I was ready!

The first hit I took was when I found out the association I was presenting for was not a diverse association but a national, all-Black association. Some would say I should have been honored. However, it was like receiving a blow to the heart. You see, I was asked by a predominately (99%) white company to deliver the presentation.

Just to give you some background on my relationship with this company. For several years, I had been invited to attend their sponsored events. At that time, I knew the state and regional directors well enough to contact them personally whenever I needed a sponsor for one of my events, educational materials for health fairs, or incentives for community projects. So when asked to give this presentation, I automatically assumed it was because they valued our relationship, not because they needed a Black registered dietitian to present to an all Black audience. That stung!

The second thing that happened was they changed my entire presentation. I was initially told they wanted the session to be fun and interactive. Which was right up my alley. I hate boring presentations! Well, after submitting my presentation for review, it was returned to me butchered. Y’all, the entire flow was all wrong. They kept the objectives but added random information. Even the fonts were inconsistent. They also added pictures that did not go with the text. Now, I might write crazy things in my blogs, and make all kinds of grammatical errors, but when it comes to my professional work, it has to be almost perfect before I present it. Honestly, I felt like my work had been sabotaged. Y’all, I cried.

The third thing that happened, and what finally made me question if I even wanted to be in that space anymore, happened during the night of the event. As I said– FULL transparency. This was a month and a half before my hysterectomy. My cycle had just started. Which meant I was extra irritated, cramping like crazy, and blood was pouring out of me. I wore a navy blue suit, and put on an adult diaper lined with two overnight pads, to hide or prevent any accidents. Y’all, I did not want anything going wrong. Well, I arrived at the venue and EVERYTHING was white. I mean— EVERYTHING! The floors were white. The linens were white. And ALL of the chairs were white– white cushioned chairs, that is. Talk about anxiety!! All I could do was pray– “Lord, please don’t let me have an accident on all of this white.” I kept thinking, what would I do if I stained one of the chairs? I tried to remain calm, but I was all nerves. So when I got up to present, no matter how professional I tried to be, it did not happen. Here is how the night went.

When my audience arrived, they were tired from attending hours of educational sessions. I was later informed that they thought my presentation was supposed to be entertaining. HA…so did I! Y’all, they had access to an open bar, and boy did they drink. Some, a lot more than others. Needless to say, I was giving a presentation to a room full of tired, tipsy people. As I said, my presentation had been changed. What I did not mention is that I had only received the revisions a day or two before the event. Which was not ample time to thoroughly review the changes, so I felt unprepared. I also did not have a microphone so I had to walk the room so that everyone could hear me. Funny story- There was this elderly lady that kept yelling, “I can’t hear you!” The night was a mess. When I tell you this crowd asked questions I had “zero” answers to! LOL! Funny, but sooo not funny. Y’all, I felt like a failure. Most of the night I deferred the questions to our host, the one who revised the presentation. At one point I stopped presenting because a few people would not stop talking. Y’all, one thing I hate is rudeness. And when the entire audience can hear your conversation, you, my friend, are being rude. So I stood there and glared at them until they stopped talking. Was I unprofessional…HECK YES! Y’all, I was fed up, I was sick, and I felt humiliated. I felt like an imposter– WOW! I just pinpointed when I began feeling like an imposter.

After that night, I swore I would never attend another one of their company’s events. That was also the last time I really posted anything of worth on my professional pages. I went into my shell and never wanted to come out. Honestly, I had given up. I had lost my confidence. That was two years ago.

As I mentioned, May was my turning point. Slowly, I am regaining my confidence. Maybe I did need two years to Reflect, Regroup, Refocus, and Rebuild. I do believe I am wiser and better prepared to handle the unexpected. I am also working on the way I deal with my imperfections. Recently, I attended a Zoom call with a lot of unknown attendees. At first, I was not going to turn on the camera. You know, leave the nice, edited picture displayed. At the last minute I was like, why not! I did not have on makeup. I had on a t-shirt and my hair held back with a headband. And my lighting was bad. But, I decided to show the world me. Part of my personal and professional growth is about me becoming comfortable with my imperfections. Slowly, but surely, I am growing.

Y’all, I am so grateful God loves me. Moving forward.

Shaun

Life

Independence Day 2020

Freedom is not free. What sacrifices are you willing to make?

What legacies are you passing on? What will your descendants say about you?

Please watch NPR’s YouTube video, Frederick Douglass’ Descendants Deliver His ‘Fourth of July’ Speech, and please, please share. Note: The actual speech is titled, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?

Here are my thoughts after watching the video:

I believe Frederick Douglass’ descendants reading his “Fourth of July” speech is just as powerful as the speech itself. It is up to us to continue the difficult conversations surrounding racial issues, even on Independence Day.

Honestly, I considered not sharing this video. I did not want to interrupt the happy celebrations. But are the celebrations truly joyous? Because after the fireworks, BBQs, SAFE social gatherings, and “Happy 4th of July” pictures and posts, racial inequality remains. I mean.. only a few days ago Mississippi finally removed its racially divisive flag— in 2020!! What year did the United States gain its independence? Umm..1776. What year was slavery abolished in the United States? Supposedly 1865. And what year is this, again? Hmm.. 2020 in the 21st century.

Y’all, we cannot continue to pretend everything is okay, because IT IS NOT. Change is happening NOW, and WE must keep up the momentum. We cannot sit back and wait for another great leader to come along and tell us what to do. They have already done that. They have already equipped us with everything we need. Now it is our time to follow through. Not tomorrow or next month, but NOW!

Who’s with me?!

P.S. Be sure to watch the commentary at the end of the video. POWERFUL‼️

‪#HappyFourthOfJuly‬

Shaun