I just have not taken the time to write out my thoughts. My time was being consumed with other projects, the holidays and travel.
Oh but boy do I have time today!
By the way, Happy Valentine’s Day Good People! I love this day because I love love. This day often gets a bad wrap because so many people spend ridiculous amounts of money on gifts in an effort to prove to the one that they love that they do indeed love them.
Love should be celebrated. Every day. And if whoever wants to create a day to highlight love then yes, let us celebrate! I just do not believe you need to spend thousands of dollars on flowers and roses on February 14 when you can get them half priced on February 15.
Anywho, that is not why I am here. Well the day of love does tie into the whole premise for this post so let me begin.
You know what time of the year I am referring to cause you have seen them all up and down your timeline for the last two weeks.
Time for all the ‘New Year, New Me’ posts. Or the things I’m doing different in the new year posts.
But check it.
A lot of these posts are from the same people that posted the same thing before 2015, 16 and 17 rolled up in here.
Now first, let me just say I am not knocking anyone who has a desire to make certain changes in their life. The first step is admitting you need to make those changes. However, I think a lot of people miss a very important step which almost ensures they will be in the same position at the end of the year that they were in the beginning.
I am tired of hate. I am tired of prejudice. I am tired of oppression. I am tired of profiling. I am tired of privilege. I am tired of scare tactics. I am tired of racism.
I am tired of conversations about why Colin Kaepernick chose kneeling during the National Anthem as a form of peaceful protest. I am tired of debates about why Kap is not on an NFL team. We all know why. I am tired of discussions about the flag. I am tired of telling people that are so pro-flag that they should scale a flag pole the next time they see one flying while it is raining. Flag code violation. I am tired of dialogue saturated with demands. I am tired of of people “wagging the dog” every time the narrative takes a turn back to its original intent.
Many of you have watched me take a stand against injustices I see and encounter. Many of you have read my thoughts about what has been happening in this world. Many of you know I have no problem expressing how I feel about certain situations. So many of you may have been expecting a different blog title than the one you received.
Listen, everyone knows I love football. Not just like. I love it. Always have. Always will. Youth. Middle school. High school. College. NFL. I love it all. It is an escape for me. It is a place of solace in this crazy world. It is something I look forward too every September. And they are the reasons why I will be in front of the tv tonight.
Let me be clear. My love for the game is not greater than the desire I have to see things change in this world as well as effect change. However, here is the reality. The National Football League has long been a corporation that expects its employees to behave a certain way, follow certain protocols and always put the interests of their team, first. No different than most businesses, right? Well the difference here is the NFL has long been a corporation that rarely practices what it preaches. It wants to protect the shield but it has not been willing to do what needs to be done to make sure the shield is presented in a continuous, positive light.
A few weeks ago, I had an urge to write about one of my favorite athletes – Venus Ebony Starr Williams.
I was on vacation but I woke up early that Saturday morning to watch Venus claim
what I just knew was going to be her sixth Wimbledon title. But it was not meant to be. However, my urge to write about Venus was still there.
But then I got back home and life happened, as it always does. A day turned into days and they turned into weeks and then I looked up and it was September.
The great thing about this though is the fact that Venus, as she always has been, is worthy of having this blog post written about her.
I wear many hats. I am a freelance writer. I am a certified personal trainer. I am a group exercise instructor. I am a community servant. I am an advocate. I am a DJ. I am a public relations consultant. I am a marketing specialist. I am a youth development coordinator. I am an event planner. Add to that my dedication to my family, healthy living and my love of eating and what you will find is a person who is grinding in her purpose but is still struggling with finding that happy balance in her life.
One of the best decisions I ever made, well God made it for me, was to move back to my hometown. I get questioned all the time about why I moved back. I used to find myself giving this long explanation but now I simply say because this is where I am supposed to be. Moving home has opened so many new doors of opportunity that it would take all day to list them. I am grateful for all of them. However, now I find myself having a dilemma. How do you balance it all when your plate is full and you still want to put more on it and you know more will be put on it but you are currently struggling to find a place for it all?
In eight days I will be 36 – I know you are counting down with me – and I have made it my personal mission to find a balance that works for me in my new year. For the past few years, I have put a lot of time and energy into my branpire(brand + empire) and not enough time and energy into myself and those that I love. I understand my grind and most of those close to me understand it. However, that does not mean operating at this current level is acceptable.
A few months ago one of my close friends, who grinds just as much as I do issued me the reality check I needed. It was early one morning and I was still up working on a project. We were texting and I made the mention of being #TeamNoSleep. I promptly received a reply telling me to go to sleep as I was chastised for such ridiculous goal. My friend then proceeded to remind me how important sleep is no matter what our goals are.
I was shocked because the texter would routinely be up until 3 and 4 o’clock. I had the texts to prove it. But something had changed. That last text that was sent was simple but on my end it was powerful. I was running on fumes and my mood sometimes reflected it. I found myself being irritable, annoyed and had little patience for certain situations. I knew something had to give.
I live a great life. It is very fulfilling. However, I want more of what makes me happy. I want more time spent with my family and friends. I want more time spent reading under the dogwood tree with my feet firmly planted in the grass. I want more time spent running. I want more time spent traveling. I want more time spent writing leisurely. I want more time spent on adventure. I want more time spent resting. I want more time spent eating pizza. I want more time spent laughing. And we all know how much I like to laugh and eat pizza.
As the years have rolled on, I am appreciative and thankful of the fact that I am constantly in a state of growth. I am learning so much about me as I embrace exactly who God created me to be. I know that everything that worked for me at 30 will not work for me in the coming years. I know that I am living out my purpose even if certain circumstances do not reflect that currently. I know that the best is yet to come.
And I know that in Year 36, I am going to get what I want. Watch me.
Back in November, I had an idea. I decided I was going to write a letter to President and First Lady Obama. I knew it would be a longshot that they would actually get a chance to read it as I am sure they receive thousands of letters a day but I wanted to try anyway. Well I procrastinated and now we are two days away from the end of his presidency and the letter still resides inside my heart until now…
Dear Mr. President and First Lady Obama:
In 2008, I was a young 26 year old on a path to finding my purpose in this world. I was searching high and low for meaning and movements I could support. I had begun to take more interest in the political landscape of the country. I was not sure what I was looking for exactly but I knew there had to be something or someone out there that could offer up the inspiration I was looking for…I then discovered you two. I will admit, initially, I was not sure that you all could pull off this monumental challenge. Not because I did not believe in you but I was not sure the country would. But I wanted to know more about the platform you stood on so I went to a rally. It was in April. The rally was held at my beloved alma mater, North Carolina State University. The speaker was Michelle Obama.
At the rally, First Lady Obama, laid out plainly the morals, values and standards that you, Mr. President, govern yourself by daily. She detailed the desires of your heart to see this country support equality for all as we pushed for change in Washington. She shared personal stories of triumphs and tragedies that shaped the man that you are today. I have heard plenty of speeches before in my life but there was something about her speech that my spidey senses picked up on and it was the honesty in her voice. I could tell she was genuine. I could tell she was not making this up. I could tell she was not being a politician.
I knew that evening that there was something different about you.
In total, you all would visit the triangle of North Carolina four more times before the election and each time I was in attendance. I even took off work to attend an event. Not to worry, my then boss understood and gave me her blessings. As I listened to you speak six days before being elected in 2008, I had hope.
We are now two days away from your transition and I have always hoped I would get the chance to say some of these things in person before you left The White House. I am still hopeful, I will one day get the chance to say these things to the both of you but for now I hope this will suffice as I want to say thank you…
Thank you President Obama for stepping out on faith and running for the office of the President of the United States.
Thank you President Obama for providing hope to billions across the world.
Thank you President Obama for always exuding class at all times when most of us would have understood if you did not.
Thank you President Obama for having the courage to face your opposition head on.
Thank you President Obama for marrying First Lady Obama.
Thank you President Obama for choosing Vice President Joe Biden to walk side by side with you.
Thank you First Lady Obama for the beauty and grace you brought to The White House.
Thank you First Lady Obama for caring about us enough to encourage us to move more and make better food choices.
Thank you First Lady Obama for being a role model that all girls and women can be proud of.
Thank you First Lady Obama for taking on this position and making it your own.
Thank you First Lady Obama for being all of our BFF’s in our head.
Thank you First Lady Obama for saying yes to President Obama.
Thank you President Obama for being a role model for young boys, especially black boys.
Thank you President Obama for being comfortable enough to express your feelings through tears.
Thank you President Obama for leading the country from the brink of the second Great Depression.
Thank you President Obama for leading this country to record job growth.
Thank you President Obama for Obamacare.
Thank you President Obama for shining a light on the problems with our judicial and prison system.
Thank you President Obama for visiting with the populations who are often forgotten about.
Thank you First Lady Obama for welcoming so many people in your home.
Thank you First Lady Obama for being a leading voice for girl’s education.
Thank you First Lady Obama for not shying away from the tough questions.
Thank you First Lady Obama for always letting the real you shine through.
Thank you First Lady Obama for affirming women who are strong, intelligent and ambitious.
Thank you First Lady Obama for your support of military families.
Thank you President and First Lady Obama for being an example of what love looks like.
Thank you President and First Lady Obama for sharing all of your parenting knowledge as you have raised two beautiful daughters, Malia and Sasha.
Thank you President and First Lady Obama for being so fly.
Thank you President and First Lady Obama for recognizing the talents and gifts of so many people, from so many different walks of life.
Thank you President and First Lady Obama for being so down to earth.
Thank you President and First Lady Obama for speaking up and defending so many of us.
Thank you President and First Lady Obama for believing and seeing the good in the world.
Thank you President and First Lady Obama for inspiring me to become more involved in my community especially on a grassroots level.
Thank you President and First Lady Obama for loving on our youth.
Thank you President and First Lady Obama for being so cool.
Thank you President and First Lady Obama for “Slow Jamming the News” and dancing with Jimmy Fallon, for showcasing your admiration of each other, for keeping us optimistic, for fist bumping, for smiling, for dancing, for jokes about dad jeans, for being authentically, unequivocally you.
You are appreciated. And you will be missed. Tremendously.