Tag Archives: Life

Andrea’s Book List: Winter Reads

Since I was young, I’ve always had a passion for reading. When you get into a really good book, you can learn, or get lost… maybe both. Reading opens so many doors, and I think it’s a lost art.

Now we’re still in the early stages of a new year. Maybe some of you noted that your goal was to read more. For you, I have a list of winter reads that will help get you started. Continue reading Andrea’s Book List: Winter Reads

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sorry, your goals aren’t enough.

2013 was an interesting year for me. A number of things happened, which I won’t share too much of in this post, because over the course of the next few posts, I’ll be sharing some things in detail. Over all, however,  if I could give 2013 a theme, it would be: preparation.

In 2013 I turned 25. While I’m not necessarily sure that your life randomly changes at milestone moments like birthdays, I noticed that over the course of the year, I had developed a level of maturity that I didn’t have previously. I can now comfortably hold a mirror up to myself and fairly take a look at the things that I need to fix, but also, just as important, I can see the things that are really great about me. I’m grateful for that. Everything that happened to me last year was preparing me for the things that are coming my way in the near future. Continue reading sorry, your goals aren’t enough.

The Benefits of Silence

Confession: I have been struggling. The struggle is real in my life, and I can say that now. At one point in time, I probably wouldn’t have been able to admit that, but with experience comes growth. 

If we’re all honest, none of us are perfect. There are things that each of us know that we can improve on, but for whatever reason… the change is hard to bring to fruition. We work around change. We try to find quick fixes and easy routes to avoid taking a hard look at ourselves and putting our best foot forward to make them happen. No one really wants to work hard at something if there’s an easier way, and if you say you do… congrats on being superhuman. Continue reading The Benefits of Silence

Elevators vs Stairs

Imagine seeing your success at the top of a set of 100 stairs. You want it, but looking at those steps… you find yourself getting a bit discouraged. You’re thinking to yourself that there must be another way…and that’s when you look to your right, and see an elevator. BINGO! You hop on, trusting that it will get you to where you want to go. Everything seems well and good, but you hopped on so quickly, that you didn’t notice the “out of order” sign on the door. You push that button, and it carries you to the place that you wanted to be, but…the door only opens wide enough for you to get a peek before they close again. Before you can figure out what’s going on, you’re back to the ground floor. You try again; once, twice, three times, until you realize that it just won’t work. And you’re back at the base of the stairs…where you started… begrudgingly lacing up your kicks to take on those dreaded stairs. It’s not the route you wanted, but… it’s the only sure fire way to get to where you want to be. So you do it, one step at a time, and keep your eyes on the prize the entire trip. In the time you wasted trying to take the elevator, you could have been at the top of those stairs…right?

Ambition.

It’s a nice trait to have. Great actually. If you let our culture tell the tale… not only is it a necessary key, it’s also an attractive one. They’re going to love you for your ambition, because everyone loves an ambitious girl, right? But what happens when that ambition is just not enough? What happens when that ambition begins to cripple you, where it should be the catalyst that propels you to success? If you can imagine, this happens more often than not. Having all of the ambition in the world with no real push behind it will lead you down the shortcut to nowhere land, and back again. Trust me, I know this first hand.

I have the vision part down pat. I see what I want. Anyone who knows me knows that I have always had big dreams… and up to this point, I’ve done a pretty good job of making them happen. To be honest though, I don’t know that I ever really, truly challenged myself. Success was what I knew, and I made sure that I knew how to attain it. That’s not to say that I didn’t work for the things that I have, because I did. I just had a tendency to choose things that I knew I would be good at…you know, playing it safe. Being naturally gifted in some areas made things a bit easier for me, but as I’ve gotten older, I’m starting to see that as one of the things that could be detrimental. I don’t by any stretch of the imagination believe that anything should be just given to me. I know the value of work, but… that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve had to constantly remind myself that anything worth having is worth the process. I don’t like to wait, and I want what I want.Patience. It’s a hard pill to swallow, especially when you’re used to things coming together with nothing more than a little brain power & finesse. When that doesn’t suffice, you have to switch up the game plan. In that moment, you’ll realize that it’s the work ethic that winds up being the last bit of fuel that powers your quest towards greatness.So, if you’re like me, and you’ve had to face the bottom of that stairwell after you tried to take the easy way out… just do it, and don’t worry about what anyone else has to say. Failure is humbling. It builds the character that you’ll need to tell the story of how you made it to the top. No one wants to hear a story from someone who’s always won. The most engaging and motivating accounts are from those who’ve fought back from adversity and rose to the top despite their odds. Which will you tell?

Five Lessons From 2011

This is me in Italy... May 2011

It’s been a while, but… I’m back!

The new year has arrived and, like many of you, I took a little time to reflect on the last year before the new one began. I am of the opinion that you can not stay the same year after year. There’s no way that you started 2011 in the exact same place that you started 2012. Things have changed, and experiences help you grow. I came up with this list of five lessons that I learned in 2011, that I hope will be the foundation to prepare me for even higher heights in 2012. Here they are: Continue reading Five Lessons From 2011

The Jordan Year

Michael Jordan is often regarded as the greatest basketball player to ever step foot on the court. Everything he accomplished in his career, from league leading stats and his signature style of play, to his footwear and trademark tongue wagging swagger, has been replicated by thousands of players with dreams of being the best…most of them, to no avail. Even the best current NBA player, Kobe Bryant (sorry LeBron fans) has not been able to escape being held up to the standard of Jordan. All of the championship rings, MVP awards, All-Star nominations, endorsement deals and multi-million dollar contracts, coupled with an innate knowledge and passion for the game made the name Jordan synonymous with one overarching theme: dominance.

Continue reading The Jordan Year

On Baby Mamas and Baby Daddies

Today as I was perusing my normal blogs for the latest news, I ran across a link to a blog written by one of my former favorite rappers, Bow Wow. A little back story: For months he has been adamantly denying rumors that he fathered a child with his ex-girlfriend, video model Miss Joie. In the wee hours of this morning, he posted a note on his blog, finally sharing with his fans that he does, in fact, have a beautiful little girl named Shai.

I was ready to applaud his decision to acknowledge his role as a parent, that is, until I got to a point in the note that gave me serious pause. Read it for yourself below: Continue reading On Baby Mamas and Baby Daddies

You Are What You Say You Are

Every week, without fail, I come across something that could be considered a negative or a knock against something a woman is doing, or incapable of doing. Whether it be in my daily trek across the world wide web, or some report on the news, There is not a week that goes by that something doesn’t come up and try to block some girl’s shine.

In past times, I was the girl who would get riled up over the ignorant statements of lame-duck rappers, and other random male “experts” who had anything to say about women and the way we conduct our daily lives. Because…hello! Guys just don’t seem to understand how hard we have it! We’re held up to impossible standards because of what’s presented in the media. We’re constantly told we “can’t be” whatever because we’re too fat, or too skinny, or because we don’t look a certain way, or simply because we have ovaries and tend to openly express our emotions…thus making us the weaker of the two sexes. [insert sarcasm here]

Specifically, as women of color, we take extra blows to our ego, whether it be our complexions, decisions on the way we manage and style our hair, the size of our hips, butt, thighs and whatever else can be scrutinized. I mean, we have heard it all. And while some of these things may be true, at what point do we stop internalizing them?

While watching a trailer for a forthcoming documentary called “Dark Girls” I found myself feeling sick after the first 3 minutes. By the end of the clip, I was just mad. Not so much about the issues that the ladies recounted in their interviews, but more so at the thought of the adverse effects this clip might have on any little girl who may see it. What happens to the child who, before seeing this, never thought anything was wrong with the way she looked? Does she become self-conscious and then take on a feeling of inferiority? Or vice versa. I am in no way denying that the struggle is real. We are all faced with challenges daily, some of those hurdles are placed in front of us based on things that we have no control over, but that does not change the fact that we allow things to get under our skin and alter our perception of life too easily.

Anyone can try to sell you anything. But you don’t have to buy it. That same concept can be applied to the media. You believe what you want to believe. At the end of the day, the only person that you should be listening to about who you are is God (if you believe) and yourself. As people, we have the power to bring things to pass with the power of speech and belief. But if you’re always on the negative, you’ll never see a positive result. If you truly believe you aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, or strong enough, then you aren’t and you won’t be. That is, until you change your mindset.

You are what you say you are. So what are you saying about yourself today?

Reflections From The South Of France Pt. 1…

We all have moments that help define our lives. Most of mine have come at a time of transition. Being dropped off at college…and never looking back. Graduating from college, on time, with honors…and now, this.

This moment came at a strange point. I was 30,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, midway through a nine hour flight from Houston to Paris… when I had a moment of clarity. I realized at that moment, that I could do ANYTHING that I put my mind to. I was embarking on my first international trip, alone, not quite sure exactly what I would be getting myself into. The uncertainty of it all had me anxious, but I didn’t stop. Just like all of the other defining moments in my life, I forced myself to jump in…and go. All I had was the faith that God would protect me from anything crazy, and that I would make this an experience to remember. There were times when I didn’t know if this would even happen, mostly behind self-imposed barriers.

Have you ever just sat back and taken a personal inventory? I mean really sat back and examined all of the things that you have in your life? It’s a humbling experience that everyone could benefit from. As I sat on that plane, I took into account all of the things that I had to be grateful for. Not that I had ever been ungrateful, but sometimes you just take things for granted. Immeasurable blessings were the steam that I used to propel myself past the fear of the unknown.

Since I’ve been here in Cannes, France for the Cannes Film Festival, I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet and connect with many movers and shakers, but I’ve also found benefit in the conversations that I’ve had with the people who are like me, hustling their way to the top. Encouraging each other, suggesting different ideas, and offering our own unique skills once we go our separate ways has given me the inspiration to write so many new ideas…things that will help me once I do make it back home.

The environment here is motivation in itself. Taking a peek into the luxury stores, cars and yachts, having white sandy beaches and endless tuquoise blue water flowing in to the shores, and rubbing elbows (literally) with everyone’s favorite stars will entice you to work harder, so that you’re able to come back, and do bigger and better things in the next year. And I will be back.

There have been ups and downs. I’ve experienced racism, class-ism, and flat out ignorance since I’ve been here. One thing I’ve learned, however, is that adversity builds character, and handling these situations with class has made me a better person. All in all, I’m winning.

Sometimes, the only thing that really keeps us from achieving at the highest level possible is ourselves. We let other people’s ideas of success and purpose determine the paths we choose. So you choose. You can stay in your same patterns, or you can do something you’ve never done. I’d suggest the latter…and you won’t regret it.

For Auld Lang Syne & Cloud Covered Mountain Tops

I started off 2011 in a fit of tears.

You know the kind. You try to choke them back until they overpower you, leaving you emotionally open and vulnerable to the world that surrounds you? Yes. That was me. Standing in a room full of people, but alone with God. At that moment, I felt more peace and solitude than I had felt in a very long time.

The tears, were flowing from a place at the bottom of my heart; much deeper than the joy of seeing a new year. I was filled with gratitude for all of the things I had been blessed with in 2010, namely, my first degree…the people I met…overall health and general happiness. But along with the gratitude, I felt a slight twinge of insecurity.

I have been climbing this mountain toward success, but I’m at the point where the clouds are covering the peak. I have no idea where my foot will land next. It’s that unsure feeling that can really take you to a dark place of fear, that is, if you let it. It’s very similar to that feeling you get when you’re about to fall over, and you find yourself desperately flailing your arms and grasping for something to hold on to… to steady yourself… for security. Continue reading For Auld Lang Syne & Cloud Covered Mountain Tops