Lose the List

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What up? What a friggin’ life. It’s only Tuesday, and I am OUTDONE. The shit to do and the time in which to do it are grossly misaligned. What’s a Betty to do? What do you do to make the most of each day. I’m finding the older I get, the less I feel compelled to complete everything on the list cuz guess what? That bitch is endless. Real talk, there will always be something you could, should, might, and want to be doing. Why? Cuz no one handles shit like we can. At least that’s the lie we tell ourselves. I might suggest training up some others to share the load. I’m trying desperately to work on this myself. It’s challenging though, right? Somehow, we tell ourselves that no one can rinse the bits off dishes before placing them in the dishwasher like we can, or crank out the report like you, or knock the wrinkles out of that shirt like you, or determine the perfect meat to potato to veggie proportion on the baby’s plate like you. Add to this the pressure to keep your feet soft and polished (big ups to P.T.), achieve a kick ass smokey eye, cling to some remnant of a figure, and you have your self a white hot ride to the middle of Bitter Bitchville. We can’t have that, can we? I’d like to offer a mantra that has stood the test of time for me. Ready? Here it is:

Fuck it.

Now you say it. No really, go ahead. Ok, I’ll say it with you. Uno, Dos, Tres: Fuck it.

Wasn’t that a little fun nugget of naughty liberation? I’m whittling my have to’s down to exclude those things that don’t reek of sexism, domesticity, or are found in any infuriating reflective on “having it all”. Right now, in this moment, here are my have to’s:
1. Shower (I wish more people had this on their list)
2. Love (God, myself, my babies, my city)
3. Write

No, it’s not as poetic as Eat Pray Love, but it’s a list to which I’m actually happy to commit. Your turn. Pick your 3 essentials for happiness. For reals, if your world were devoid of expectations, reality tv, regrets, and fear, what are the 3 things you would have to do every day? Please respond as I’m dying to know what feeds your fire. Because that, my lovelies, is everything.

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A User’s Guide to Inadequate Women’s Syndrome

In our culture of categorization, there’s no shortage of diagnoses offered to a myriad of situations.  We’ve read about Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, Battered Women’s Syndrome, and even Munchausen and Stockholm Syndromes.  I’m here to drop science on a new one: Inadequate Women’s Syndrome, or IWS for short.  This bullshit has tried to claim me as a victim.  I work. I mother. I drop off. I pick up.  I purchase. I mail. I arrange. I tidy. I sort. I write. I laugh. I lie. I sign. I meet. I groom. I read. I report.  I nurse. I fry, sear, simmer, scramble, stir, and strain.  This all, generally before 6 p.m.  I then move on to the demands of the evening: homework, laundry, the few friendships I’ve been able to maintain.  And the events, causes, campaigns, and headlines that keep me connected to the world around me.  This pool will never drain, people.  Nor should it.  There will always be more work, needs, tasks, terrors, surprises, and sales than one superwoman can handle.  And our pasts, as well as our present, feed us the lie that we must complete the list, cook the dinner, host the party, aspire to the promotion, attend the mixer, read the story, master the smoky eye, and of course, either snag, keep, and/or please your partner.

Really?!

Yes, really.

And the tragic part is we believe it.  We believe it, we chase it, and we literally get sick over it. Every day replaces the last as the stuff you didn’t get to.  Each project is completed only to begin planning the next. You are dumping your energy in a bottomless well.  The goal is never fulfilled.  There’s an ache, albeit dull and quite possibly tolerable, but something ain’t right.  These are the symptoms of IWS.  Feelings of inadequacy robbing you of the ability to treasure, celebrate, and more importantly, sit your gorgeous ass down and soak up your swag.

In the words of MC Lyte: Naw, I’m not havin’ it.

Here’s a little diddy that is the double-edged sword of empowerment vs. self-imposed neuroses:

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE Chaka.  This is a classic female anthem.  But we take it too damn far. I am SO not every woman.  And it most definitely is NOT all in me.

To chip away at the stinky, smelly, stubborn, veil of inadequacy, I’m devoting the next month to strategies to overcome IWS.  We will look to cause, character and community to fight back and re-claim the joy of our everyday lives.   I solicit your engagement and your input.  I don’t claim expertise, but I do commit to passion and persistence.

My lovelies, as I alluded in Healing: Part 2, our best is the mutha f@c$in’ bomb.  However, our definition of best is where we get caught up in the game.  The fault lines in our hearts become filled with the doubt and self-destructive goo that fuel the fire of inadequacy.  I know so many women who are unconvinced of their successes.  They almost chronically refuse to celebrate themselves.

Brown Betty ain’t havin’ it.

We are flippin’ that shit.  Finna do it on ‘em.

Here are some teasers on inadequacy (and the havoc it wreaks) that run the gamut from funny to spiritual.  Chew on ‘em for a spell, and join me for a ride I hope will help you destroy IWS forever.

Finding some damn peace (and quiet)

“To be at one with God is to be at peace …
peace is to be found only within, and unless
one finds it there he will never find it at all.
Peace lies not in the external world. It lies
within one’s own soul.”
—Ralph Waldo Trine

Peacemaking will always begin at home for me. And when I say at home what I mean more specifically is that when I seek peace, I must first seek to find it in myself. I believe the battle for peace within drives the causes, movements, relationships, and interactions we seek out—or conversely, the ones that we don’t seek out or even avoid. I find that the very thing that has the potential to fill the cracks in my heart is precisely the situation from which I withdraw. What is it within us that causes us to deny ourselves peace; why do we ignore the opportunity to heal? The opportunity I speak of is the one to engage with the world around us. Not simply offer commentary on global news or the latest YouTube sensation. But to actually step across the line to bump against, comfort or be comforted, laugh with, empower, learn from or teach, the kid with the cornrows, the refugee, the entrepreneur, the single mom, the holy and the fallen—these acts of faith in our humanity create space for peace to grow where fear and pain once dominated. It need not be a mission or an elaborately planned expedition across the world. Look right out your window, across the hallway at work, and on the sidewalk of every neighborhood in our city, and you will see a need for peace. More importantly, look in the mirror, and be honest about what you see. Set aside doubt and divisiveness, and put trust and inclusivity in its place. Reserve judgment and see the potential in the most unexpected place: within. Fear and the drive to individualism allow us to forget that we need each other for peace to be a reality. The gift of peace cannot be fully experienced if we keep it to ourselves. Peace cannot be achieved apart from community. The sweetest surprise, however, may be that the key to peace within is submitting to the interdependence of our community and owning our place in it.

Stay up, sisters and friends.  Fight for your peace.  I’m with you all the way.

BB