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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Quit making excuses!

I don't know about you, but I can find an excuse for anything. 

My latest centers around the need for a laptop. My justification for my inconsistent blogging is that I don't have a laptop. Never mind I have a perfectly acceptable albeit slow computer on the lovely desk in my bedroom. It's just that after sitting behind a desk all day at work, the last thing I want to do is neglect the boyfriend and spend my evenings at a different desk.

See? An excuse if I ever heard one.

Thing is, I'm tired of my own excuses. So, I took matters into my own hands:

Enter the most ghetto-fabulous writing station on this planet. I laugh just looking at this photo, but it works. I finished out the Women I love series from the comfort of my couch while Keith watched a movie. We were able to sit and talk while I did what I love most:


As humans, we're problem solvers. We see a need and we fill it. In our lazy culture, we look around for a new material possession when we have a need. In my experience, the possession is the crutch. If you have passion and intelligence, you have the tools to be successful. Period. 

Do I still want a laptop? You betcha. But, I want to write for a living more. Even if that means I write at my janky computer "desk" until the kingdom comes.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Women I love - Part III

This post is part of my Women I Love series. Read more about it here


Successful women deserve celebration. I'm not talking about success in it's traditional, narrow definition. I'm talking about women that determine what they want out of life and put in the work to make that happen. This seems like the theme of my little Women I Love series. 

I often struggle with my box as a woman. Though I identify with many of the cultural stereotypes and expectations of my gender,my blood boils when I feel constrained by what I should be "focusing on" at this point in my life. I hate the questions about babies and boyfriends and mortgages. I feel frustrated that I don't move forward at work simply because of my female status. I want to hate fashion and baking because I think that I should spend more of my energy on things that matter, whatever that means. 

Women like Beyonce prove that I need not fret too much about how everything is going to come together. She seems to have spent her time and energy on whatever she most wanted in that moment. She gave her everything to Destiny's Child, her solo career, her marriage, taking over her management and, these days, motherhood. 

I know there are trade-offs to it all. I acknowledge that it's always going to be hard to find balance as a women in this culture, no matter what stage I find myself in. 

What I'm taking away from this little writing series on Women I love is that I find myself so afraid of having to make those difficult choices that I avoid making a choice at all. 

I'm scared to be funky and fearless and relentless in the pursuit of my dreams because I'm afraid to fail. I'm also afraid that it's not the right thing for me. That, somehow, I'll find myself on the path I've always wanted and then determine that I didn't really want that at all. I'll be looking around for the stable, boring desk job again and complaining about the frustrations of the life I've carved for myself. 

Here's the thing: I'm done with the worries. They just bring me down. 

I'm going to continue to go for my writing career and put my everything into building this blog. I see what I want for myself very clearly and I'm going to go for it. A la Nicki Minaj, I know what I want, so GET OUT THE WAY. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Women I love - Part II

This post is part of my Women I Love series. Read more about it here


I'm pretty sure most women of the world won't agree with me right now when I say I just love Ri-Ri.

I totally get it.

I'm as mad as you are about her recent collaborations with Chris Brown.As a woman that swam through the murky waters of domestic violence and is now, finally, drying in the sun, I hate to see her diving back in.

But, that can't stop me from loving her. Even though this probably makes me sound like a celebrity-obsessed loser, I can't help myself from saying that Rihanna is everything I wish I could be.

Which is:
  • Fearless
  • Unconcerned with what people think of her
  • Relentless in pursuing her dreams
  • A tad tacky
  • Funky
  • Real
So, I'm pretty sure Rihanna will be on my Women I love list for a bit. Please don't let it come between us. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Women I love - Part I

I have no interest in pretending to be worldly and cultured and high-minded.

I'm pretty messy. I oversleep most mornings. I procrastinate. I rarely cook. I love popular music. More specifically, I'm apologetically obsessed with rap and hip-hop and R&B.

It's no surprise, then, that the my current girl crushes happen to be musical powerhouses. Here's the first.

Note: I intended this to be a single post, but I had too much to say. It has now become a series. Why? Because this is my blog and I DO WHAT I WANT. 

Nicki Minaj

Why do I love Nicki? Let me count the ways:
  1. She's a BOSS and she owns it - She's a professional, hardworking lady that doesn't quibble with sharing her opinions about anything. She goes after what she wants with gusto and doesn't stop for anyone. Get on the train or GET OUT THE WAY. 
  2. She has a signature sound and look that is, uh, unconventional to say the least - She lets her freak flag fly and she stills sells records. My kinda girl.
  3. She pauses to say thanks - I wouldn't call myself a #barbie, but I do find her twitter exchanges with her fans hilarious. You can have your opinions as to whether or not this is just clever marketing or a true connection with her supporters. I, obviously, think she really cares about reppin' and empowerin' the average girl. 
  4. She doesn't need a man - I sorta love that she isn't constantly "rumored to be with so-and-so" all the time. She's working hard and not attaching herself to a man for additional publicity. I like that all of her success is attributed to her hard work. 
  5. She's part of Young Money - Okay, I should also disclose that I'm a die-hard Weezy fan. I love that he signed and promoted Nicki throughout her entire rise to the top. Out of all the rappers out there signing new talent, I feel like Weezy's done the most for his artists. 
Did I miss anything?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Be Kind. All the time.

Dear people of the world,

I know you recently watched a movie with a line that tugged at your heartstrings. It went something like this:

You is kind
You is smart
You is important

I saw your eyes tear up in the theater. Those words resonated with you for some reason. Maybe you need someone to tell you more often that you are infinitely important. That your ideas are intelligent and worthwhile.

They are and you are. 

But, please don't gloss over the magic of those first words. 

You is kind.

Are you, actually, kind?

Do you give a heartfelt thank you to your partner or your assistant for the innumerable things they do for you on a daily basis?

Do you pause a moment to give a sincere compliment before providing feedback on an important work project?

Do you think about the way you speak to your child before responding to their questions?

Do you ooze love from your entire being?

My honest answer? 


I just scanned through my recent outgoing emails and text messages and found very little kindness. I thought back to my recent interactions with the people I love most and didn't find a lot of true kindness. I considered a recent email from my boss with valid and necessary feedback on work I poured my heart and soul into. Her email stung because it wasn't enveloped in kindness. 

I know we can do better. 


We are kind 
We are smart
We are important

and I think it's high time we started acting that way. 

This is my motto:

Will you join me in making it yours?


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Out She Goes

I put the finishing touches on an article for a local magazine tonight. I'm writing about a local poetry event and I'm proud of how it turned out.

I feel like I'm on the cusp of some huge life changes right now, giving everything I have to living the life of my dreams. 99 percent of the time, I want to pinch myself to make sure this is actually real. I'm scared to death, asking myself things like "what about insurance?" and "do you really think you're good enough for this?" more than I'd like to admit.

Then I remind  myself of how happy I feel to write an article without pay on a Saturday night. I think about how alive I feel when I'm putting words to paper and I know that this is worth every single risk.

I'm worth the risk.

Here are some images from that night. I'll post the link when the article goes live.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I'm choosing joy

Trust me, I hate the phrase "choose joy" as much as you do.

I've always been puzzled by it, really. I mean, if it's just a matter of choice, then why the hell is there such a thing as clinical depression?

Why do we go through the hullabaloo of sadness if there's some sort of magical switch we can find inside ourselves to flick on for 24/7 happiness?

Those were my questions.

Unfortunately I still don't have any answers. What I do know is this: it really sucks to duck out of your office at work to walk around the block and cry your eyes out. I also blows to see your boyfriend after work and have the poor guy scared to even talk to you.

I've written before about how I'm struggling with situational depression right now. Basically, I hate my job. I used to hate where I live, but I fixed that last weekend. I'm working on the job situation, but I'm going to be here until at least April 15th.

I was in crazy town yesterday afternoon because I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that April 15th is about sixty days away.  Sixty days seems like an awfully long time to spend alone in my  office.

On my way to work this morning, I decided that the next two months will be another life lesson for me in finding joy and contentment even when I'm not happy. It's no secret life is hard, but I want to package and bring happiness with me wherever I go. I want to be kind and loving and happy even when life isn't going the way I want. 

To do that, I need to find a way to shine my light. I know I have one buried under all my negativity of late. And so from here on out, I'm going to let that thing shine like a mo fo.

If you grew up in the church like I did, my light analogy might remind you of a little song that went something like:

this little light of mine
I'm going to let it shine
let it shine
let it shine
let it shine
let it shine

Look at me shine:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Why

After two months of inquiries and follow-up emails, we finally sat in the cold conference room directly across from each other. I felt nervous to be the focus of the conversation. 

I had gone above and beyond enough that I knew I didn't have to worry about losing my job, but a performance review wracks my nerves every time. It follows the same format for me:

"It's impressive that you did this and that. 


*sucks in breath*

you need to stop caring so much about the work you do. 

Don't take it personally when people don't follow-up or care about your ideas. 

Try to separate yourself from the work so that you're not emotionally connected to the outcomes so much."

To the corporate and non-profit world, this is my failing:

I care too much about my work.

That's why I feel like a misfit. Like I'll never really be happy in a 9-5 because the why matters so much to me. It's the reason I tend to start strong and fizzle out when I have trouble putting my name in front of an organization because the work they do doesn't align with my personal ethics. 

Thankfully, I finally accept that I don't fit. 

Instead of forcing my round self into a square box, I'm creating my own template. I'm growing my freelancing and writing and starting a new website that focuses on healthy living. 


I believe that we're all capable of much more than we're doing for ourselves, but we have allowed others to strip us of our power. 

We're scared. 

We need a normal someone to show us by example that we're capable of great things. 

I want to use my words and my life to be that example. 

I care too much about it to waste my time doing anything else. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Boyfriend of the year

I think the true litmus test of a relationship is how well a couple copes with stress. In my previous [v. unhealthy] relationship, anything remotely stressful like taking an afternoon trip to a nearby village almost always involved a fight. 

This weekend, my man helped me move back to Modesto. I think it was the least stressful move in my personal history. We practically skipped into the UHaul office at 8am and finished the entire process (including the final deep cleaning of the old place) by 1pm Saturday. 

He even endured my new landlord's racist question of whether or not he was "The Help" with a dignity and grace I can only imagine. 

He was crazy enough to join me for a seven-mile long run Sunday afternoon with very little training. Having someone on the trail with me was nothing short of amazing. While running, I reached out to pinch his cute little booty, not realizing that my actions were witnessed by a little girl and her mother behind us.


I'm sure it wasn't the best thing for young eyes, but I just couldn't resist. Sometimes there's nothing else you can do when you're in the presence of boyfriend of the year. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Just Keep Running

Not long ago, I determined to make a third attempt at a half marathon. Like most things Michelle, I started out gung-ho, balls-to-the-wall, or whatever you want to call it. Training killed me the first couple of weeks, but I powered through even though I spent nearly every work day pinching myself to keep from falling asleep at my desk.

I'm finishing the fourth week now, officially at the half-way point.

Honestly, all I want to do is quit.

It takes a supreme act of will to change into my running garb and scoot out the door or into the gym six days every week. I've been convincing myself that I don't care about the race any more. That I don't like running at all. That I'm not meant to be a runner.

But, this sunset.

This sunset changed my mind.

If I hadn't committed myself to this training program and told everyone and their mother about my participation, I can guarantee that yesterday night would've found my ass firmly planted on the couch.

I'd be watching Bones or Law & Order: SVU or something equally terrifying, guaranteeing a difficult bedtime hours later. Or, I'd be reading beautiful blogs that make me feel like a waste of space on this planet. I might even be reading Rolling Stone while burning a healthy dinner.

I sure as shit wouldn't be outside, dragging my bones across the pavement. I wouldn't log 2 miles with excitement for the moment I finished my "out and back" and had the opportunity to turn around and actually run into the sunset.

I swear, every day teaches me something.

I'm losing focus on crossing the finish line, but I'm learning that the reward of actually completing something doesn't always come in the anticipated ways. Opening my eyes to actually see a beautiful sunset is an accomplishment in and of itself.

It's only a bonus that I happened to be running while my tired eyes feasted.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Not sure where this is going

I attended a webinar a few days ago that still has me thinking.

Thankfully, I realized that I have no interest in spending all of my time building a blog that helps people become a freelance writer. I thought I did.

I did have a huge epiphany, though.

An idea I brushed off a year ago as impossible isn't impossible at all.

I have an idea that will change the world.

So, I think I'm going to spend my time developing that instead of doing photo challenges or writing a blog about becoming a writer.

It doesn't necessarily mean I'll never write here anymore,

but it is certainly an about-face from the direction I was heading.

Finally, I'm starting to realize that doesn't mean failure at all. It's just another stop on this wild ride I call life.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Photo Challenge: Hands

After a few months dipping my toes into the minimalism movement, I've determined that I need balance.

I staunchly believe that we accumulate too much crap in our culture and find myself in a bit of a financial pickle due to my own poor choices. But, a life with a severely restricted wardrobe and no allowances for feminine pleasures like up-dos and fiery red fingernails?

That, my friends, is not the life for me.

This photo is part of the February Photo Challenge by @fatmumslim. Learn more about why I'm participating here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Photo Challenge: words

Words give me life. Reading a book, writing a blog post, receiving a loving text message from my mom, endless hours with my google reader. I devour anything written.

Lately, I'm determined to derive my living through words. I'm overflowing with so many ideas, I often find myself coming home from work and furiously etching out businesses plans on the dry-erase board hanging in my kitchen. Below is yesterday's revelation.

The real challenge, though, is living by my word

That involves taking responsibility for making my carefully-laid plans a reality. 

It involves sticking with my ideas even when they're not popular. 

It involves huge risk, because underlying all of the plans is this promise:

I will live a meaningful life, on my own terms. 

This photo is part of the February Photo Challenge by @fatmumslim. Learn more about why I'm participating here

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Photo Challenge: My View

I considered finding an artsy angle to photograph or snapping a sunset picture on my run today for this initial photo in the challenge, but let's be real here.

This is my view for way too many hours every day:

I sit in my fishbowl a midst sounds of the shredder directly across from my door. I'm often confused as the office secretary and I rarely interact with a soul.

Such is the corporate life, I guess.

This photo is part of the February Photo Challenge by @fatmumslim. Learn more about why I'm participating here

Fear and being consistent

Last week, this blog welcomed its first readers. Positively Meesh goes down in my personal history as my first comment.

So, what does Michelle do when people actually start reading the words she writes?

Clam up, of course.

Damn you, fear! I started second-guessing everything I wanted to say in my typical fashion. Radio silence on the Michelle's a Writer interwebs for pert-near an entire week.

Thankfully, I had a bunch of inspiration last night and have a slew of posts in the works. This morning, I was thinking about how I'm going to overcome my fear and be a consistent blogger. I decided to create an editorial calendar and do some pre-writing to have my posts at the ready.

And then, I came across this:


I've never done a photo challenge, but February seems like a perfect month to give it a go. I'm excited! See you later today with a picture of my view.