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

Uncategorized

Praying . . .

Today is June 1, 2020. It is the first day of my birthday month. Although my birthday falls towards the end of the month, I am usually celebrating right now. Everyone who knows me knows I love my birthdays! Y’all, right now I should be happily planning my celebration and counting down the days; however, I am not. This year, for the first time since I was a little girl, I am not excited. Do not get me wrong, I am grateful.. very grateful, but not excited.

Honestly, how can I celebrate while our county is in turmoil? We are outraged about the murders of our black men and women by the hands of those who swore to protect and serve our citizens. We are angry about injustices black and brown people face daily due to systemic, overt, and subtle racism. We are angry because we are angry! Believe me, this is not the country our forefathers imagined. They would be devastated to know that we are still fighting for civil rights in 2020. When will it end?

So, this year, instead of spending time planning my celebration, I am going to spend it praying for our nation. Yes, I believe in the power of prayer because GOD is still in control. My prayer is that God places His arms of protection around our families, friends, and neighbors. That He breaks down ALL negative barriers to include hatred, racism, anger, and divisiveness; and that He unites our nation through love and peace. Y’all, I truly believe, with my whole heart and soul, that love conquers all. I am not saying that bad things will not happen or evil will never exist. However, I do believe that there is more good in this world, than bad. I refuse to believe otherwise. Praying. . .

Shaun

Uncategorized

Breathe

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.

Breathe.