It’s About Every Hour

As I get deeper into this journey launching Brown Betty into a real live business (gulp), I’m working hard to just keep moving.  Moving, producing, doing.  If I stop, I say a quick prayer, and get back to the moving, producing, doing.  Because when I stop the uncertainty of it all begins to ring in my ear like a warning.  I know enough to not listen, trust my vision, walk this out and be true to my journey.  But why let the fear grow legs and run around my head?  Umm, no thanks. 

I spent 40 years living a life diluted.  Each time inspiration struck, I put it on a shelf for a “better” time and continued to go through the motions.  So stupid.  I mean, I was cute.  Always cute, but stupid as hell.  Deceived by the promise of tomorrow.  I’m not there anymore.  I’d be lying if I said there was a single moment of clarity, some epiphany laced with tears and a string section.  There wasn’t.  Rather, I simply decided to stop waiting. It was a good decision because for once my anxiety was based on something that excited me versus something based on unsubstantiated worry.  I mean, if you’re going to be scared let it be for the thrill of a success well earned, or even a failure undeserved.  I need to walk away from this without regret so the outcome is so much less important than the experience.  May sound corny but it’s real. It’s real for so many of us to grow weary of postponing passions.

A wonderful component to this journey is participaitng in the Spaceworks Creative Enterprise program. Amazing, passionate entrpeneurs. Great training, mentors and experience. Most importantly, an additional community to hold me accountable, share the scary, and celebrate the risk we are all taking. Look at these fabulous folks!

  
As part of the process we’ve read through Doug Richard’s book for creative entrepeneurs.  Lots of visuals, deymstified jargon and strategy, a real comfort to my newbie ass. I came upon this list and loved it.  Have a look see:  

I think they are all clever, but I love #3.  Adjusting my focus to every hour vs. day, week, year long goals  provides a feasibility and an urgency that makes this business a strategic chaos I can manage.  Navigating 60 minutes at a time brings me immediate answers to the bigger questions.  I may not know the exact market share I want to secure, but I know how I can leverage the next hour to design, produce and execute products that matter to my customers.  I can talk with women needing natural skin care that is luxurious but affordable.  I can make sepia, chocolate, peach, and butterscotch skin glow and smell like heaven.  I can turn a phrase to remind ssomeone that they are loved and important despite their flaws. And I can make myself a cocktail, sit down and design a piece that lights you up from the inside out.  One hour at a time. That I can handle.

Which one resonates with you? What risks are you taking right now? 

Online shop launches April 1st…I sure hope you join me in the next chapter of BB.

When You’re a Girl

When You’re a Girl

When you’re a girl, something is inherently public about you. Directives, mandates, unsolicited advice and demands are your life. Give him a hug. Fix your hair. Straighten your hem. Be nice. Be sweet. Be happy. But none of these things will ever make you happy.  They didn’t make me happy. I was quite sad in fact.  No, angry.  I was angry at the barrage of opinion. Though I was small I was put off and pissed at the world’s determination to craft, frame, and mandate all of what I felt was precious about life:

Food.                   Fun.                      Frock.girls

Food

When you’re a girl, food is something you cook but don’t eat. It’s what you use to establish your place, prowess and power in a house you rent. It’s how you find a niche to get invited to parties you actually loathe but must attend to ensure you are invited to more parties. Food is a skill. Food is the language we speak without voices in the kitchen. We speak through seasoned cast iron and bamboo spoons with cracks down the middle. With the scratched grease stained pyrex. This is only dish in which you are allowed to make Muh’s cobbler. Ever. Sometimes new stuff is best.  Other times, only old will do.  This is truth and law.  And it is annoying.

Fun

When you’re a girl, fun is redefined a revised a thousand times for you. And you must keep up. Keep up with what’s up. It’s fun for girls to have fun.  Girls just want to have fun.  That’s what the song says, see. Fun is girls only. No boys allowed. But it’s fun to talk about boys. Want them. Attract them. But not fun to fuck them. Ever. THAT is the opposite of fun. If you fuck them, you’re fucked.  Your girlfriends unfriend you and you are left alone to find your own fun. No fun.

Frock.

When you’re a girl, you dress out of consideration of others. Like with manners. Like elbows off the table and napkin in your lap. But instead of a salad, you are dressing your body.  But it’s kind of like their body.  And they want your/their body to remind them to not look at you.  Because you are a girl. Girls can be the death of a boy. And girls like to chase boys. It’s fun. See, sometimes fun and frock meet in the middle of a girl.  This is where it gets interesting. You and the girls go shopping (fun), and find fashionable yet modest outfits that remind boys not to try (frock). Exasperating.

When you’re a girl, you sit. You sit for so many things. At desks and church pews poised for instruction. Waiting for curls to set and for the doctor to return. You sit at trials to defend your son and yourself. And you learn very early to sit in judgement. Mostly of other girls. Girls are the worst. I want to be a woman.

 

Gratitude: One Way I Stay Alive

I came across this question:
What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?
That caused me to pause. It caused me to wonder:

What would you have? What would you miss? And in that absence, what would be the first things you’d try to rebuild?

Regretfully, I must admit that I don’t always show gratitude for my children. The circumstances of their conception, their birth, their upbringing led me to look back and focus on what should or could have been, the troubles, the mistakes, the pain. And in reflecting on this question, if I woke up and they were gone, I know that I would surely die.

 

Betty as a New Mom in College and Baby Brown

 
Gratitude is not evasive. It is ever present, always there. Persistent. Determined. Ready to respond. And yet, our attention often remains on what is not there, rather than cherish what is.
We are socialized to think of gratitude as a state of submission, a virtue of the meek and mild, something only achieved by our world’s saints and martyrs. But I would argue that gratitude is the gateway to power. There is power in acknowledging our joys. Gratitude brings fullness to our lives, and honors what God has given us.

The bible uses the word contentment. Contentment is not a destination, or a landmark to be reached. It does not lie just past a college degree, or just beyond debt. It doesn’t arrive at your doorstep once you fall in love or get married. It is a choice. It is a choice that demonstrates God’s love. And the irony is, as a society, we love choice. We love our triple grand, half-caf no foam vanilla soy latte. We want the dressing on the side. Cheddar instead of swiss. Window or aisle. But when faced with the choice between contentment or complaining, we often go with the latter.
God tells us there’s great gains in contentment. 1 Timothy says we brought nothing in this world and will take nothing with us out of this world. So we must choose gratitude for everything in between. Contentment detaches us from ego and connects us to our soul, our joy, our collective lives as God’s people.

And so I am thankful for my unpredictable, untidy life. I bless the interruptions, I practice contentment with the trials. Because when I forget to choose gratitude, if I am frivolous with my blessings, I will surely die.

Sight: Sensory Series 1

Hi Loves,

Missing our time.  So Imade time to reach out to you. I am exploring our senses. Directly and indirectly, through their aestheitcs or function; individual recounts or oral interpretations.  I’ll post a piece each day which highlights one of the 5 senses:

Monday – Sight

  Tuesday – Sound

Wednesday – Touch

Thursday – Smell 

Friday – Taste

I welcome your comments, feedback and input!. Be sweet and wise.

BB

  
Sight

I can see.

I am not blinded by the failures:

Mine, 

yours

theirs. 

They are not the marrow…Or the bone. 

I am solid. 

Fragile heart,

Heavy hair. 

chesnut eyes. 

I hurt and weep; seethe under the crumbs hate leaves me. 

 I drink. 

 To stay out of jail I drink. 

And pray. 

For a break;
a pause in the pain. 

And while I wait, I smell every flower I see.

Because  they remind me love lives 

despite death,

and the evil that feeds
on our fear.            

Humility Amidst the Hustle

  Burgeoning by Tamara Natalie Madden

In my circle of deep, solid, soul searching folk, humility is a cherished virtue. Despite its definitive modesty, us servant leaders see humility as the goal to which you must always strive.  Humility is the root in which to plant your dusty, persevering feet.  It is the there in the Staples’ Singers anthem, “I’ll take you there.” Yes to accomplishments, reconciliations, awards and accolades. BUT, you must always accept and appreciate the kudos by baptizing them in Lake of Humility. It is similar to the process of checking your Halloween haul for razor blades, poison, or other never-named threats: each treat had to be touched by a trained inspector who could neturalize the potential of evil that lurked amongst the goodies. Like quality assurance, humility grounds your feet, keeping your big head from floating away in a haze of arrogance.

Sometimes in life though, there’s is a fine line between humility and humiliation. Sometimes, what keeps you grounded also rubs your face in the dirt. Case in point; 2015.  thus far 2015 has served to remind me that the universe remains unimpressed with me.  Landmarks leading to Humble Pie Boulevard include:

Grad school DENIED

Poetry submissions DENIED

Writers’ workshop application DENIED

Fellowship proposal DENIED

This, all while coaching my daughter to empowered sexuality and college admission, preaching gender equity and basic hygiene to my pubescent son, inefficiently managing choices that manifest as bills, and fending off emotional eating and functional alcoholism. Actually, I’m writing this while sipping homemade sangria and sucking on M&M’s so I suppose I’m not committed to life without high calorie vices.  Rejection stings and often wants to deceive you into apathy.  It wants to drain the color from your lips, infect your eyes with a cataract that diminishes blessings to entitlement.  It hardens you to hope and discourages gratitude.  But only if you let it. And frankly, it’s difficult to get pruny swimming in self-deprecation when you feel compelled to love others out of their own.  

I know I live life with a limp.  But I refuse to love with one. Rejection not only keeps the sweet scent of humility in my nose, it helps me celebrate the non-negotiable, consistent yes’s in a hot sticky sea of no’s. My health, though mired by the cruelty of the BMI scale, my blood pressure is stellar and I can dance my ass off (even on an extended remix). My mind, still tormented by what I can’t control, remains sharp and able to mill through the complex world around me.  And my heart!  My extravagant, burning heart, is scarred and bruised like a ballerina’s feet. Sometimes I think it wants to stop. It wants to stop trying because trying hurts; trying and hoping is risking and believing in things for which there is no proof. And that level of risk is excruciating when you don’t win.  I rarely win big. But my hearts hopes I will. And that is enough to keep it beating another long day. So although my afro might hang low, my hope rides high. I work hard to love my self enough to stay humble. But I won’t ever stop the hustle.