I love how I set out to write one thing and moments into writing I decide to change directions. Whatever I was going to write can be written another time. It’s not like it was something spectacular. Lol!
Yesterday I reposted a Facebook memory from 2018. It read-
Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the same exact place next year as you are today.
Yeah, failure isn’t that scary. Failure means at least I tried. However, being stagnant.. not moving forward.. not taking chances.. means waking up 20 years from now realizing I allowed opportunities to pass by because I was too afraid to try. Now that’s scary!
Just know, this time next year I will not be in this same exact place. I will be somewhere different. Not sure where– not even concerned about where– but I know it won’t be here. I have work to do. Goals to achieve. Moving forward is not an option, it’s necessary.
Laying here thinking. The first of three scheduled presidential debates happened last night. No, I did not watch it. I already know who I am voting for. The debate would not have changed my mind. Even with knowing who I am voting for, some would say I should have watched the debate anyway. But why? Only to feel as hopeless and discouraged as those who did watch it? If anyone has followed the two candidates over the past several years.. not months, but years.. you would know their character. Their character has not changed. Then you add age. I believe as a person ages their true character surfaces even more. It is as if the older a person becomes, the more prominent their “I don’t give a ______” attitude becomes. Am I right, or am I right? If you have ever spent time with older adults, you know what I am referring to. Sometimes they are very amusing. However, when it comes to leading our country, amusement is the last thing we need.
So… the reason behind the title. As I was reading headlines and social media posts, I began to feel hopeless, and even fearful. I felt like what was the use of even hoping for a better outcome when this is all we have. Is our country doomed?
Then God reminded me that He is still in control. He is hope. You see, the goal of the enemy is to create fear and chaos. To get us to take our focus off God. Once we have done this, he has won. Y’all, I refuse to let him win. Hope will win. Love will win. Kindness will win. Peace will win. God will always win.
A few days ago, I decided to check my website (TheResearchDiva-RD.com) to see if I was ready to pick up where I left off two years ago. As I wrote in my most recent version of Hello Sunday, two years ago I allowed one bad experience to discourage me from moving forward.
Story time… and as always, full transparency.
So, not even six months prior (October 21, 2017, to be exact) to my botched presentation, I introduced my new business to the WORLD!! Well.. not to the world, but to fellow registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) at our annual conference (FNCE). That year was special because our association was celebrating its centennial. It was also special because I got to celebrate it with my best friend, Shawn. Needless to say, I was HYPED! New business.. 100th year celebration.. and hanging with my best friend.. PRICELESS! Oh! And not to mention, the night before I got to see the premiere of Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween. Bae-bé… you couldn’t tell me nothing! I was on cloud 9! That first day, I handed out my fancy business cards like I was a celebrity. Y’all, I was happy.
Then April 2018 happened, and it all went down hill from there. After that presentation, I began second guessing my worth, my credibility. Then July came. After celebrating my birthday with friends, I decided to apply to a doctoral program. I was eager to– 1) enhance my career and 2) prove my credibility. I felt like it was something I had to do. Was my heart in it? Honestly.. no. Recently, my sister and I had a conversation about my decision to pursue my doctorate. She said that she wondered if my failed experience led me to the doctoral program. The answer was “Yes.” Y’all, I could not lie. How could I? She already knew. Transparency.
I have written all of this to say, my two year hiatus (I like to refer to it as my sabbatical) was much needed. I can truly say I needed that time to make mistakes, expand my knowledge, and rebuild my confidence. I cannot say that I am fully where I want to be, HOWEVER, I am back on track.
Right now, I am sitting here smiling as I think about how God works. He actually builds us through adversity. I have already noticed that I am a much stronger person than I was two years ago– mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially, intellectually and somewhat physically (work in progress- lol). Y’all, it was worth it.
Now, on to moving forward. Please check out my blog below, Pursuing My Purpose. I wrote it on this day, two years ago. It is the last blog I wrote under A Research Diva’s Journey. Destination– The United Nations.
I used to believe we chose our purpose. However, I have finally realized our purpose chooses us. Today I embark on a journey to fulfill my purpose– …
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.
This new normal seems to be wearing on me. It is becoming harder and harder to stay focused. I am so tired of online meetings and conference calls. They seem to disrupt my days. I always have to regroup afterwards. My To-Do lists have been replaced by completing tedious work logs, which have added another level of stress to my life. I seem to spend most of my time thinking about how I can show that I am being productive than actually being productive. Ugh! Talk about stressful! All I want to do is, do my job. I want to work without the added pressure.
Then there is the lack of face-to-face interaction with others. I am a people person. I live for saying “Good Morning” as I pass others on the way to my office. It brightens my day. I miss my morning trips to Starbucks and Einstein Bagels. Again, because I get to interact with people. Y’all, I miss having real conversations with colleagues and students. Yes, I am having a difficult time. And I realize others are too. I just wish I could adjust, already!
Anyway, yesterday I had to take a step away from everything and remind myself to breathe. I had to remind myself that after the work day was over, it was OVER. No thoughts about what I had not completed. I had to let it go. After shutting everything down, I gave my 16 year old, who I feel like I have been neglecting, my undivided attention.
I remembered that this is also a new normal for him. He has been out of school for two months. He also misses his friends and teachers. This new normal has to be just as difficult for him. Last night he told me school ended last Friday. How did I not know this? I do not remember receiving an email or text from his school. I wanted to cry. This new normal is anything but normal.
Going forward, I am going to be a little more lenient with myself. I am going to focus on what matters most, my sanity and my children. Life is too short to continue focusing on stressors. So, whenever I become frustrated, I must first remember that I matter; I am loved; and God has me in His hands. Then I can focus on others and work, too.
Two years ago, on April 7, 2018, I wrote in my journal that I needed to – reflect, regroup, refocus, and rebuild. It took me a minute to get here, but I’m here. Finally rebuilding.
I can’t believe I spent so much time reflecting. Reflecting on what could’ve, would’ve, and what I believed, should’ve happened. I was forever living in the past. Chastising myself for making a mess of my life. For the mistakes I hadmade. It was a while before I realized I was supposed to use those reflections as stepping stones for my future. The mistakes I made were lessons, not a place for self pity. After I realized this, I was able to move on to regrouping and refocusing.
Had to get myself together spiritually, emotionally, mentally and financially. Y’all, I was a mess. As I began to regroup, my focus changed. Instead of being all over the place about future endeavors, I finally narrowed them down to focusing on the things I love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not where I want to be, but I know where I’m headed.
Now, it has taken a while to get to this rebuilding phase. Well, I’ve actually been rebuilding for some time. However, I was so distracted by my reflections, and trying to refocus and regroup, that I didn’t notice God rebuilding my life. Yeah.. He was doing it all along. See, I was so focused on how long it was taking that I didn’t pay attention to what God was doing along the way. Not only was He teaching me patience, but He was teaching me how to – have faith, totally depend on him, take leaps, and manage my finances. Oh.. and I can’t forget, how to forgive myself and move forward. I’ve always heard, God doesn’t take you straight to your blessings. You have to go through a few things before you get them. Didn’t understand this concept while I was going through my trials, but I do now.
As I stated before, I’m not where I want to be, BUT I’m finally moving forward. Finally rebuilding. The light at the end of the tunnel is so much brighter.
Now, TRUST! Trust is my next hurdle. Especially when it comes to trusting in love. That’s a BIG one. We shall see what happens with that. Lol.