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New Beginnings

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While this isn’t the most exciting or thought provoking entry, I know I will regret it if I don’t post it. I know I will look back on this entry for many years to come. 

Last week I attended new student orientation. Many things about the experience struck me. One is that I have now experienced 3 very different calibers of colleges/universities. The first was a small, religious-based historically black institution. A place that nurtured both my mind and my spirit. I formed friendships there that I know are everlasting. I left that place a drastically different person than I was when I started. There will always be fond memories in my mind and heart for that experience. While I never had ANY challenges with much of anything in re financial aid, class registration etc. with my undergraduate institution, I know that I am in the minority. Three years later I attended a public, state university. Different experience altogether. While I met some great people and was fortunate to have an advisor who nurtured and supported me endlessly, the comparison in re “soul work” is nonexistent. However, I remember the resources and ease of getting things done; the caliber of both students and faculty; and access to external resources – all of which varied from my undergraduate institution. And now seven years later (look at those numbers: 3 & 7 :-)) I am attending a private institution that many consider to be an ivy league of the south. I am blown away by how they courted me all summer: sending notes, little trinkets such as water bottles and decals and almost weekly emails welcoming me to the school. The resources are phenomenal: free shuttles going to and from almost anywhere; faculty lectures uploaded to iTunes!; student lunch and learns almost every day of the week; and libraries that literally blow my mind (I am a book junkie). I haven’t even started classes yet and can see where all the money goes J. While this institution has a less than flattering reputation when it comes to civil rights and the inclusion of people of color in its formation, I still see value in being afforded an opportunity to study here.

My excitement is met with a small bit of anxiety. I am not a techy – but of course, everything “i” that one could have was in abundance last week: ipads, iphones, ihats, ishoes, iwatches :-). During sessions I could hear fingers clicking away typing notes (few handwritten notes in sight). In that regard, I feel a little out of place. Students opting to purchase their books in e-version vs. hardcopies – who does that?!?! What happened to wanting to write in your book … highlight sections? I guess those days are long gone.

But this anxiety is minute in comparison to my excitement of being back in the formal and structured learning environment. I LOVE school. I LOVE learning. I ADORE reading and books are my mistress. I am honored to be able to participate in this process. My graduating class will coincide with the 100th year anniversary of the school – making us that much more special in my mind. I am excited about this new beginning … just needed to make sure my blog has a place to honor this significant time in my life.

 

 

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Give Me My Flowers Now

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Picture: Bouquet Gift Circa 2008/2009

I went from having nothing burning in my heart to blog about to having too many options. I even contemplated a 3—for—one mini post to incorporate all the thoughts I had. On the list were: the value and importance of honoring your word; the joy of seeing and spending time with friends who have known you for years and you feel genuinely connected to; and the meaning of relax — what happens when we are instructed to relax all the while thinking that’s the very thing we were doing. But then I went to see “Sparkle” and was sold on a separate and prominent idea. I decided to write a letter …. One of which I will print and mail, but also wanted to share.

Dear You,

I could lie and say that I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write this letter. But the truth is I know exactly why: because it has taken me a little while to really, really appreciate all that you are and add to my life. We got off to a bumpy start. Distance didn’t make things easy. Couple that with me making some choices that you didn’t understand and you making some choices that I didn’t agree with — as if you needed my approval — and any relationship can be strained.

But yesterday as I sat in the theatre, I cried because I realized that your love is like no other I have ever known. You are the ONLY one who has loved me in spite of … As an adult you have stood by my side without judgment on every single decision I have made. Even when you didn’t understand or may not have agreed, you have encouraged me. During some of my lowest moments I still call on you and you are ALWAYS there. To know your love — to feel your love — is truly to know what it means to love someone unconditionally. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for being proud of me. Thank you for trying your best and giving your all even when I didn’t appreciate it. Thank you for loving me in spite of …  I finally realized I need to give you your flowers now.

Love,

Me 

The Facebook Matrix

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It took me a LONGGGGG time to (re) join Facebook. The first time around I was making the transition from MySpace (remember that) and found the whole concept intriguing. After a short period, I didn’t find it as fun or useful so I deleted my page. I told myself that my real friends still made time to pick up the phone OR at least send a text message to check on me. They still sent pictures via snail mail and made time to connect — if only every couple of months. I wasn’t sold on the idea of the “innocence” of FB. I thought of it more along the lines of people showcasing how fabulously wonderful their lives were — endless pictures of themselves, family vacations, new articles of whatever etc. I wasn’t too sure about 1k plus people knowing that I am away on family vacation and our home is empty or that I just bought a new car. I just didn’t get it.

But life happens and I found myself in a temporary predicament with limited external social interaction — FB to the rescue! This time around seemed so much more fun; it was the typical “everyone else is going it.” I found myself reconnecting — as many of us do on FB — with people I hadn’t spoken to in years. I love(d) the updates, jokes, inspirational quotes, moments of sincere sharing and encouragement! It was great! I told myself I would limit my page to only a few intimate friends and some exceptions for associates who I am quite fond of. I said I wouldn’t get excessive about posting pictures; I wouldn’t spend hours rummaging through people’s pages; I wouldn’t blah, blah, blah.

Fast forward again some 7 or 8 months later and I find myself in the Facebook Matrix! Checking posts and updates between meetings and during breaks throughout the day. Reading endless posts about things I really don’t care about. Indulging in mindless debates via FB! Accepting requests, only to block people for realization that I really don’t want them looking at my 5 pictures anyway! Or that we never really spoke in high school, college or wherever I knew them from and I didn’t think we’d start now. Last week I realized I was caught in the FB Matrix! So what did I do … I am glad you asked :—).

I am making an attempt to regain control. I have made it a point to only check a couple times a day looking at my inbox, personal update log and the 1 or 2 current posts. I posted much less last week (except via Twitter) and am proud of that. I realized that, not only was I keeping caught up in posting miniscule details of my own life, but I’d somehow become in tangled in the minute details of others’ lives. And for what?

I still enjoy FB and don’t have intentions of deleting my page. I still enjoy the warm moments of inspiration and positive affirmations/sharing. I love “seeing” my friends across the country and keeping in touch with distant relatives. But I have to keep it under control. I have seen too many relationships destroyed over FB. So often I am out with friends and they are so busy in the FB world that they can’t focus on the moment we have right before us. So I making an effort to step out of the matrix … have you? Can you? Will you?

Promise Yourself

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Promise Yourself.

The Letter

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Photo: Old Fashioned Typewriter from District 6 Museum

This week I finished What I know Now: Letters to My Younger Self by Ellyn Spragins. I can’t remember the exact number of letters captured in this book, but the author succeeded in including a great deal of variety and diversity; women who shared advice with their younger selves on everything from family, dating, marriage and career to self—esteem, simply enjoying life and stopping to smell the roses. Quite naturally, once I finished the book I began thinking of what I would write to my younger self. I am including some of the things that initially came to mind in the post. I am asking my readers to chime in: what would you say to your younger self? What do you wish you knew 20, 10 or even 5 years ago? If you could only go back in time what would be the 1 thing you’d want your younger self to know? Here we go … a letter to my circa 13/14 year old self.

Dear Sabrina,

You’re beautiful. You don’t hear that nearly enough now — but you are. You’re beautiful, smart and even this early in life — you’re determined. You will meet lots of people along this journey called life and it’s okay that you won’t be just like any of them. Embrace the diversity that you find in your friendships, you will need to take a little piece from each one to help you along the way. Embrace the uniqueness you see in yourself — it will always be this way, so better start now or pay for it later. Don’t try to be like anyone else — you’re perfect just the way you are. Even when good grades come so easy to you, aim for great grades — it will help you when you apply to colleges. Don’t get distracted with the boy stuff — they’ll always be there. With a few minor bumps, you will do okay. Actually you’ll do great and experience things you never, ever imagined. If I told you know, you wouldn’t believe me. Always remember to follow your heart, but do so with compassion. It’s okay to go for what you want but don’t do it at the expense of another’s heart. Considering someone else may not change what you do, but how you do it. Just in case you were wondering, you will have an incredibly fulfilling life. Your true friends will stick around for the journey and you’ll continue to embrace the person you are. Your life will throw you some hard balls, but the determination to follow — or pave — your own path will keep you sane and at peace. One last thing — your mom will become your number one cheerleader!!!

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