Wednesday, June 30, 2010

When the student is ready the teacher will appear....

If you've been reading this blog you've probably figured out that I'm on my journey toward self improvement; mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, etc. All of these things are equally important , but money even more than my weight seems to be a challenge. I've done OK financially and it seems like the more i make, the more i spend, and the less i have to show for it. It's been so long since I've lived frugally (late teens early 20's), I question - Can i live that way again? I've decided that i can and made a strict budget for myself out of necessity and a willingness to change.

I decided to cut my spending allowance to $40 per week or $160 a month. I'm going to pay my bills, allot a portion to debt, and save - end of story. I love to read and it's funny how this budget is changing the way I read. I'm at Barnes & Noble reading a chapter of my current book of interest durning lunch ( everyday). I'm also combing my bookshelves for books that I haven't read and reading them - a long way from my book a week allowance. I think twice about things that were never an issue; eating out, movies (inexpensive), going out for drinks even during happy hour, impromptu bus trip, etc. The point is within the confinement of this budget, I now have to analyze the true value of things I want in my life. I know this may sound corny but have a better appreciation for life as well.

I'm learning alot about what I find important , finding free entertainment in NYC ( not hard), cooking more, working out , and have become more productive in a short period of time. The universe is also conspiring to help me. My Ex - boyfriend called and suggested Simply Mobile a way to cut my phone bill in half; unlimited text, phone, web for $60 versus the $125 per month, i currently pay. I turned on the TV and found The Best Of Oprah; Debt Diet part 2 and 5, admission of debt, committing to changing, steps taken to change, and the end result - twice in a week. The most informative and amazing thing about watching the debt diet episodes was the way tackling this burden affected the families. They became closer from having to work together and figure out ways to bring in extra cash, save money, entertain themselves, etc. Different couples discussed being on the brink of divorce due to money fights , horrible communication, etc , post debt diet now described their marriages as stronger than ever - quality of life improved. I also picked up a magazine and ran across an article proclaiming " money doesn't buy happiness nor do things" - duh. All of these tools and tidbits are keeping me motivated and excited about my lifestyle change.

I'm getting so much help along the way; suggestions on money saving websites ( Pulse, and, invited to a home cooked dinner twice this week, offered groceries, took the initiative to volunteer at the local YMCA and was offered swim lessons, inspiring shows, etc. The teacher has appeared and I'm appreciative. The funny thing is I haven't told anyone that I'm doing this , this blog that no ones reading doesn't count :). I'm afraid that I'm not going to be able to keep this up but God knows that I'm trying and taking this one day at a time. I'm feeling confident, inspired, and renewed. I hope you catch the bug too.....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fear Of Success

The song off of Drake’s mix tape “Fear” really resonates with me because it’s raw, honest, and I can relate.

Fuck all y'all.
We ignore feelings here.
Premature millionaires.
Welcome to my realest year.
I swear that we making a killing here.
I should be on top of the world here just chillin' here.
But it's funny having fans.
Who find you before anybody ever has the chance, and build you up so You could be the biggest in the game.
And realize when you're there,
Sometimes the shit don't feel the same.
And plus things are just surreal at home
People think I've changed just because my appeal has grown
And now security follow me everywhere so I never actually am alone, I just always feel alone.
I think I'm scared of what the future holds.
I was wishing for some things and now am used to those.
Every girl I meet thinks I'm fucking groupie hoes.
The honesty of my music has left me too exposed.
All my old friends think I got a new crowd.
And people seem to notice every time I do smile.
I guess that mean they come few and far between.
Even though am living out what you would call the dream.
And my uncle ain't even messaging me.
And him missing in my life is kind of messing with me.
I hope this isn't one of those forever things.
It's funny how money can change everything.

- Drake

The verse above isn’t about money, fame, or music but about success. Put more aptly, fearing success; familial / friendship bonds weakening, being unable to find authentic love through the haze of fame, image (not being seen), dealing with inaccurate perceptions, loneliness, being out of tune with oneself, things not being what one expected, and not finding happiness after completing the journey. I’m sure that everyone wants to be successful but can only speak for myself. I’m smart, capable, sociable, hard working, and diligent yet have trouble finishing the tasks that are most important to me. I can do most things with relative ease, am confident in my abilities, and know with 100% certainty that I can do anything I set my mind to ……so, why?

Although, my biggest fear is not living up to my potential which is enormous pressure, I believe that I’m capable of a lot - I’m also afraid of succeeding. I’m afraid of my relationships changing, success not bring me happiness, things not turning out the way I expected , and of the hard work/ sacrifice required in order to complete the journey.

I want to be healthier; financial, physically, emotionally, mentally, etc. so that I can contribute to the world and make a difference. But, I tend to make ridiculous excuses and convince myself of their validity when I’m feeling especially lazy.

• I want to eat like everyone else ……………………...63.1% of Americans are overweight or obese.

• I don’t have time to work out ……………………… yet, never miss my favorite TV shows.

• Everyone isn’t meant to be rail thin…………………. never had a weight issue when I ate healthy and was active.

• Paying off all my debts will take too long ………… saving large sums of money in savings and 401K gave me a wonderful sense of security a few years ago.

• It’s impossible to live off less ………………………. I’ve done it while traveling and living more.

• I have too many bills to pay…………………………. me and everyone else who lives in the tri state area.

• I work full time so finishing school will be hard ………maintained high grades while exceling at the most demsnding job of my life.

• Relationships aren’t the same as they were in my parents day …………….yet meet great people on a daily basis (men/women) so settling isn’t an option.

Saturn return is forcing me to face my fears and envision life after accomplishing my goal – both positive and negative aspects. Some of my goals may be scratched off the list because certain goals with all its side effects (negative/ positive) may take away from more important goals. The important thing is to examine my fears, so that I can address them (accept/destroy), and not unconsciously undermine my efforts by avoiding the necessary steps needed to succeed. Fear shrinks under examination making it easy to take action. 2010 is the year that I address my fear of success and encourage you to do so as well.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

Harriet Tubman

Monday, June 28, 2010

Can women be both great mothers and successful career women?

I read an article written by Daniel Lippman titled “More American women not having children: report” and felt a bit disturbed afterward. Personally, I believe that a woman’s reproductive organs are her own and the right to bear children or be barren is completely hers. I don’t represent some archaic belief system that strips women of their reproductive choice or sees children as necessary to validate a woman’s worth. However, I personally love children, feel even difficult ones have redeeming qualities, and refuse to willing leave this earth without one of my own. I’m sorry; I don’t necessarily understand why a woman wouldn’t want to have children. It’s not my place to judge or question and I generally don’t. But,The story above gets under my skin for a couple of reasons. Childlessness is becoming a trend and the article blames it on; children not being seen as necessary for a successful marriage, education, and career goals. However, I completely disagree and urge everyone to peel back the layers, and investigate the workforce environment which forces women to choose between motherhood and achieving career success in the 21st century.

Education shouldn't be a reason a woman doesn’t have children. It’s been proven that educated mothers have children who have higher cognitive abilities, are better behaved, increased vocabulary, and are more likely to encourage their children to seek higher education. Female education ensures many inter – generational benefits. So, I’m confused as to why higher – educated women overall are less likely to have children because of how it benefits our community and future generations. The only logical solution is to seek out the correlation between being an educated woman with a career and determine how bearing / raising children relates to her life. The article points out “Economist believes that women have more to gain economically from prioritizing their career compared to less educated women. They also tend to marry later and postpone childbearing compared to less educated women.

“According to High – Achieving Women, 2001, between 33 percent and 43 percent of women are childless at ages 41-55 - only 14 percent of them by choice. The percentages are even higher amongst women of color. In addition, the study found that large numbers of highly qualified mothers opt out of the labor market completely. The result; too many women are forced to sacrifice; either family or career. Only a small portion of women feel that it’s likely that they can “have it all” in terms of career and family but feel that men fare better on this front

The findings in Daniel Lippmann’s article based on the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey supports the High – Achieving women’s study. High - achievers are defined as those who earn $ 55,000 -$ 65,000 depending on age, Ultra - achievers are defined as those earning over $100,000. High potential women are highly qualified women who left their careers for family reasons (younger group age between 28-40 and older group 41-55).

The results are as follows; the more successful the women , the longer her hours ( 50+ per week ), part time careers are not currently available for women wanting to get back to work after expanding the family, women who maintain their careers and joined companies which offers work/life benefits and utilize these benefits recognize that chances of getting promoted are slim to none, Only 60 percent of high achieving women in the older group are currently married ( figure falls to 57 percent in corporate America versus 76 percent of older men and 83 percent among the ultra achievers), 33 percent of high achieving women are childless at ages 41-55 ( 42 percent in corporate America and 43 percent in academe versus 25 percent of high achieving men and 19 among ultra achieving men), 29 percent of high achieving African American in the older group were married in 2001 ( 48 percent of African American high achieving women are childless at ages 41-55), 55 percent of the younger women were childless at age 35 versus the 38 percent of older women who were childless at that point, women still take prime responsibility for the home and children - earning powers has no affect even where wives earn $100,000 per year ( only 8 percent of husbands take prime responsibility for helping with homework, and 4 percent take prime responsibility for cleaning the house), child free employees often resent parent “ perks”, few high achieving women believe they can have it all (16 percent, women think men have it better and 39 percent feel men can have it all), and women entrepreneurs do a better job balancing their lives than women in corporate America ( self employed high achieving women are less likely to be childless than women in corporate America , women lawyers, doctors and professors(22 percent versus 42 in the older group) and are 10 percent more likely to get married. – Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s “creating a life”

It appears that society hasn’t adjusted to the strides women have made in the 21st century and reproduction (family) is suffering as a result. I think it’s important that companies maintain and encourage a work/life balance. In days past, when men were the sole providers and primary bread winner this mindset made sense, since there was someone running the household - usually a woman. As a nation we are trying to move toward equality where everyone is treated equally regardless of gender, race, and sexual orientation. If that’s truly the case shouldn’t we modify the rules of workplace? I don’t want to have to choose between having a baby and being successfully Nor should I because I have so much to contribute to the world as do many other beautiful, smart, talented women. Women we need to raise our voices and speak against inequality or be forced to make impossible choices.

Friday, June 25, 2010


My friends and family can all tell you that i'm an insatiable reader and can gobble up to 3 good books per week. Yes, that means you can expect many book inspired posts. However, poetry has never been a strength of mine so i tend to steer clear. Asking me to decipher certain poetic texts would be like ,asking a baby to read a road map and provide usable interpreted directions for a road trip - (I'm imagining the sunglass wearing baby in "The Hangover")- laughable.

Yet, I'm trying to grow and replace my distrubing puzzled expression with appreciative serenity while engrossing myself in this wonder of the literary world. Saturn is forcing me to break out of my comfort zone and start expanding my horizions. I found a poem that brought a smile to my face while perusing books at Borders today.

Now all my poeticlly inclined readers, please refrain from laughing or spitting out your drinks or snacks. I'm not sure if this is too basic to post. All i know is that I loved it and hope you will too :) Enjoy!!!!

CHARADES by Edward Hirsch

We waited on two sides of the subway tracks.
You were riding uptown and I was headed downtown
to a different apartment, after all these years.

We were almost paralyzed, like characters
in a Beckett play, and then you started
to pantomime, as in charades.

First, you touched your right eye
and then your left kneee
and then you pointed toward me.

I made a sign of understanding
and then the train suddenly roared
into the station, and you disappeared.

I love it and hope you do too......

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Debere (to owe)....

Sorry for posting so late.

I guess I'm apologizing to myself since I'm the only person following this blog :)It's OK, I'm holding myself to the same standards. I've decided it's not OK to let myself down anymore. It's important to listen to my voice and take action that will improve my life.

The first course of action is to be honest with myself and admit that I'm in debt. Debt or Debere Latin for (to owe) is terrifying. I worry constantly about my future; Will i ever stop renting and qualify for a mortgage?, Can I break free from drone , drab, cubicle world, and actually find a job that I love (money not being an issue)?, What will happen if I lose my job ?, How long will i have to work to pay off student loans before really enjoying my paycheck?, Will i always think about money?, Will i continue to use money to keep up a mask ?, etc. The worst part is most of these questions only surfaces after I've made a whopper of a mistake or did something so completely irresponsible that I've shocked myself.

I won't give you an itemized breakdown of what I currently owe. All under the guise of sparing you the embarrassment and "privacy" - of course. However,I'll say that I'm in the ball park of $20K at 29 years old, 50% of which represents student loan debt, and the ironic part is I don't have my degree yet. Saturn Returns is forcing me to address the truth which is I've done this to myself with my "you only live once " mentality.I'm a bit disgusted with myself and proud of it. My eyes are now open, my view on only living once is all wrong. I'm now willing to own it.

I'm only going to live once, so am going to try my best to live an authentic life. My journey begins with trying to figure out what makes me truly happy versus spending money on things that boost my mood temporarily. I love shoes and feel a certain jolt collecting them , pairing them with or without an outfit *wink*, makeup,etc. However, I know that I shouldn't need external things to make me feel sexy, happy, or pretty .Hell, even that's hard to admit within our consumer driven culture.

No matter - it's time to change. Have you ever notice that all the bad things that are bad for us interconnect? I bought these fabulous shoes, now need a great dress, a new hair do to complete the package, and just for kicks will accept an invite to an overly hyped up party. Once at this overly hyped up party which turns out to be not so great and comes at a cost; drinks, cover charge, etc. I'm usually left at the end of the night with a lighter wallet, calculating how to burn off excess sugar calories ( blame it on the alcohol), heading toward some greasy spoon , and full of regret - 3rd time within a month. I'm usually thinking game night,a home cooked meal, my girls, and calorie regulated drinks would have been so much better.....

I'm coming to the realize that although I love dancing, cocktails, and music. I'm a bit over that scene and might enjoy other things more. It's time to go through that list of a million and one things that I want to do and narrow it down and find things that truly make me happy versus going with the the status flow :)

I've been reading this great book Cheapskate Next door (at B&N) which is changing my whole approach to spending.I have also beenintroduced to this great website (free shit galore) in my city _ NYC. In additon to it being summer, which means free movies and concerts in the park. I'm excited.

I'm not perfect and expect to slip but will pay off all my debt, live below my means, and become happier as a result.

Stay tuned.....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Saturn Returns - New Beginning’s

My ex- boyfriend introduced me to the astrologer’s term “Saturn Returns” which occurs every 29.5 years. Saturn completes its cycle through your birth chart and returns to the spot it occupied when you were born – that’s how it got its clever name. The first Saturn returns between the ages of 28 -30 years old, a person leaves youth behind and enters adulthood. Second cycle occurs between the age of 58 -60 and represents maturity. The final cycle unless you’re lucky and live to be 118 years old, occurs between 86-88 and represents entrance into wise old age.

The first period is considered one of the most important times in a person’s life. It’s similar to shedding skin, a time of endings and new beginnings. Skye Alexander wrote a great article on this period - Saturn Return: The Twenty-Ninth Year

“Saturn strips away illusions and points out limitations, allowing you to view yourself in a harsh, often unflattering light. At the same time, it endows you with prudence, practicality, and the perseverance to work hard toward achieving your purposes. Consequently, this is a good time to rearrange your career or lay the foundation for a new one.

Saturn Return almost always requires some major adjustments in lifestyle, attitudes, and relationships. Anything you have outgrown, or have tolerated but not found satisfying, must end now or be altered to meet your emerging needs. According to Hand, "Consciously or unconsciously, you are pruning your life of everything that is not relevant to what you really are as a human being."

Often interpersonal relationships are deeply affected by Saturn Return. Gail Sheehy writes in Passages: Predictable Crises in Adult Life that during this period "Almost everyone who is married will question that commitment." The U.S. Census Bureau lists the peak divorce years as ages twenty-eight to thirty. Some people experience more subtle or private adjustments in their patterns of relating, such as shifts in responsibilities. Many couples decide to become parents, not only altering their relationships but their financial obligations and perhaps their vocations as well.
If a relationship is sound, based on mutual respect, honesty, and sharing, it will probably survive the test of Saturn Return and become even stronger. But a relationship begun before the partners knew what they really wanted is likely to fall apart. Relationships that start during this period may have a "fated" or "karmic" quality about them.”

I’m going to be 30 years old in six months and 2008 -2010 has been the most intense years of my life; my fiancee and I broke up, I moved out of our apartment, started a new job, ended toxic friendships, doomed/reinvented myself financially, experimented with hedonism / restriction, endured major changes within with my family unit, tried new things, felt an intense desire to explore different religions, question my beliefs, etc. Things I believed a couple years earlier have been challenged and it’s all been for the purpose of creating a better me. Lessons that I was supposed to learn about trusting my intuition that I chose to ignore have been reiterated in painful ways. I decided to start this blog to document the final months of entering adulthood.

The books, movies, people, experiences, political stances, community issues, and gray arrears that are currently affecting me and shaping the woman – I’m becoming. My transformation has been frustrating, painful, scary and a test in faith but I’m growing and only in growing do we achieve true happiness – right?

So, enjoy the ride……