Learn to see yourself as God sees you, His beautiful creation. What you consider flaws, He considers flawless. What you see as imperfections, He sees as perfect. Be mindful of how you treat yourself. What you say about yourself. When you disrespect yourself, you disrespect God.
Hello! Here is a Facebook memory that I thought I would share. It was written on August 11, 2019, after a year of being in the doctoral program. This past March I decided to take a leave of absence, again (details included in the memory). This time it was the uncertainty of COVID-19 that had me stressed. I just could not focus on school. So I decided to take a year off. As I did last time, I have questioned myself about my reasons for pursuing this degree. Is it something I truly want? Glad I have a few more months to decide. Then we shall see what happens.
Here’s the memory (unedited):
Good Morning! No social media find this morning. I just feel like sharing.
Today’s the last official day of class. It’s been a year that I’ve been in the DrPH program. I’m not sure why I thought it would be easy. I’m still puzzled about that initial phone interview with my advisor. I was just so chipper. Why???🙄 I work at a university. I’ve seem so many students struggle through their doctoral program. Yet, somehow I thought things would be different for me. What was wrong with me?😩
A few days ago I finally really looked at my degree plan. Yeah, I never really reviewed it. I just started taking classes and going with the flow. When I saw how many hours I had left, my heart sank. The thought crossed my mind, “Will I ever have a life?” Y’all, this program is about to consume ALL of my time. I’m not going to lie, so far I haven’t been disciplined at all. I started off really disciplined. Had everything scheduled down to my “Tyler Perry Tuesdays” tweet time. Yeah, one hour to watch and tweet during the show and 1/2 hour afterwards to reply to tweets. I was serious. Then, life happened. It’s amazing how one little thing can shake you and your whole system crumbles.
I began to realize I used social media as a way of coping with the things happening around me. Whenever I wanted to get away, I would log on and mindlessly scroll down my timeline. Social media is a great distractor when you don’t want to deal with reality. At the time, I was going through the divorce. Somehow, in my little mind, I thought it was going to be a piece of cake and it wasn’t. Also, things at work were becoming stressful. It was just a lot. Then, on top of that, I had school. I had to post and respond to discussions every week. Honestly, it was all taking a toll on me. I finally realized I couldn’t take anymore and sat out the spring term.
During my break, I did a lot of soul searching. Was this program for me? Could I fulfill my purpose without the degree? Was my purpose even worth the struggle? Why couldn’t I just let everything go and just enjoy life like everyone else? I mean, I’ve already retired from the military. I’m sort helping my community through my research projects. Why not sit back and enjoy life? Why do I always have to make things harder for myself? Well, because that’s exactly what I do. I love a challenge. Something inside of me, no matter how hard I try to fight it, wants the adventure. So, when my advisor called me before the summer term began, and asked me if I was returning to school, I confidently told him I was going to finish the program.🤦🏽♀️🤷🏽♀️
So, here I am. This time I’m really serious about being more disciplined. I’m trying to narrow down my use of social media to things that will help me along this journey. I’ve discovered that the Twitter accounts I follow on my ResearchDiva site reflect were I’m going (UN in Geneva☺️). I’ve been able to use some of the information I’ve come across for my discussions and assignments. My Mississippi Thriving IG makes me feel like I’m still supporting my community. My blog, It’s Shaun’s World, gives me an outlet for sharing my random thoughts. And this page… y’all make everything worth it. I love logging on and seeing your smiling faces. Y’all keep me grounded.
I know this was long. I needed to get it out. So, if I miss posting a few social media finds, or showing you love, it’s not because I don’t care, I’m just trying to stay focused.
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.
I have this love-hate relationship with Twitter that is driving me crazy. I created my first Twitter account a little over six years ago to follow other registered dietitians, celebrity chefs, people in academia, and a few colleagues. Slowly, I began adding celebrities, television shows, and began following my followers. About a month later, I recognized I needed another account to separate my professional life from my guilty pleasures of tweeting during my favorite shows. Sadly, those two accounts have transformed into five accounts. Yes, I have five Twitter accounts. This is where the love-hate relationship comes in.
I love Twitter. Y’all, it is my favorite social media platform. I love it because the interaction is constant, especially while live tweeting during shows. Also, unlike Facebook and Instagram, I only know a handful of my followers. Which is what originally drew me to Twitter. I saw it as a place where I could freely express myself and not worry about being judged. Hmm… So I thought. Here is where the hate comes in.
So, why do I hate Twitter? Well.. not necessarily hate, because hate is such a strong word, so dislike.. why do I dislike Twitter? Twitter seems to magnify my insecurities more than any other platform. Honestly, I feel like I am always being judged or scrutinized based on my tweets, replies, and retweets. Since about 90% of my tweets are related to my shows, I feel like an imposter (yes I suffer from imposter syndrome) when attempting to tweet something serious and meaningful. This has really affected the way I interact with followers on my professional accounts. Anytime I attempt to tweet something of worth, I feel like I am being judged. I also have to admit (being very transparent right now) this is one of the reasons I stopped blogging professionally. I began to feel like an imposter.
Right now, I feel like I am at a crossroad. Like I have to decide between professionalism or my guilty pleasures. Tweeting during my shows is my outlet. It is when I unwind. It is where I feel most comfortable being myself. However, I realize it is hindering me professionally. I need to start tweeting more from my professional accounts. I need to start blogging professionally, again. I have so many decisions to make. Is it possible to do both and not feel less authentic? Life…..
Hello! So I have been blogging for two years now. Well… on this particular site. My other site was professional and way too boring. Lol! At the time that I created this site, I was on this transparency kick. I needed people to be transparent. I was so tired of the fake–glorious–perfect social media posts. Ugh!! The frustration was real! So I decided if others could not be transparent, at least I could. Below is the blog I wrote two years ago. It is very transparent. Enjoy!