Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ten Reasons Men Should Stop Telling Women to Smile

This is my face.  It's a regular face, I think.  I love my eyes.  My lips are awesome.  I have my Dad's big nose.  My eyebrow has a cut on it from a childhood coffee table accident.   Do you notice something special about this face?  What about the fact that I'm not smiling?

I just look like this.  When I'm walking down the sidewalk, shopping, watching tv, or just pondering the universe, I use this face.  I have this face right now.  See? 

I recently celebrated 32 years of owning this face.  For some reason, men (and one holy roller woman who felt like she needed to remind me that Jesus loved me at her hot wing place.  The wings are delicious but I'll never go back.  That's another story.) find it necessary to tell me to smile.  So, I thought it'd be fun (and by fun, I mean the complete opposite of fun) to share reasons that you should not tell me or anyone else to smile.

1. It's rude.
 Barking commands at someone is NEVER polite.  Much like my dog, I don't respond well to verbal commands, without treats.  By treats, I mean money.  I take orders from my employer. 

2.  It's creepy.
Why would you want to see someone walking down an aisle grinning like the joker?  No thanks. 

3.  It's sexist.
This one grinds my gears the most.  If you aren't telling other men to smile, don't you dare say it to me! 

4.  It's lame.
I'm on to your game.  Don't tell me I'm to pretty not to smile.  Apparently, it's working for me, just fine.  You're just using it as a way to strike up a conversation with me and attempt to find out if I'm married, happy, or a willing cheater.

5.  It's annoying.
I'm usually doing things when I encounter other humans outside of my family.  My stop at any location is usually to check off another item on my to do list.  I'm focused when I'm out.  I don't have time to entertain some buffoon thinking he's helping me by telling me to smile.

6.  It doesn't work.
If your goal is not to date or bed me and is indeed to make me smile, know this: I'm not going to smile when you tell me to.  I'll probably scowl.

7.  It's my face and I don't want to.
This is the MOST important of all the reasons.  I own my face, not you.  I'm not here to make you feel comfortable with my face.  If I feel compelled to smile, it's because I want to.  So, stop it, okay.

I've decided that I'm going to start saying uncomfortable things to people who tell me to smile.  Here's a list, feel free to use it.

1.  The system's broke, yo.  (I know the English is horrible but it's important.)
2. No.
3.  You, first.
4.  Tell me a joke.
5.  Tell me two jokes.
6.  I've only been given 50 smiles and I'll age 10 years if I smile.  It's kind of like the Benjamin Button thing but with smiling. 
7.  Have you seen Benjamin Button?
8.  Pffffffffffttttttttttttt. (That's a raspberry.)
9.  No words (Insert finger in nose)
10.  Shhhh, they'll hear you.
11.  Did you know as we speak, the ozone layer, is depleting itself?  Who can smile?

Let me go ahead and clear up a few things.  I'm a happy person who doesn't hate men.  I LOVE men.  I'm married to one.  My dad is one and my brothers are also men.  That was my attempt at humor.  See, I'm funny!  I also have a male cat, named Mark Anthony, who never tells me to smile.  Well, I guess he doesn't count because he can't talk but if he could, I know he'd never say that to me.  He's a gentleman.  He knows how to treat women. 

I know this off the subject but look at that precious face!!

He'd never be so insensitive!  Also, please note that I'm smiling in this photo. 

Also, I've been told that I should feel flattered when men talk to me.  Contrary to popular belief, sometimes, we aren't attempting to attract a mate.  Sometimes, we just want to buy a box of tampons.  Sometimes, we just want to be left alone.  Sometimes, our Dad has been in the hospital.  Sometimes, we're just tired.  I know you can't know all those things.  I know that it takes a lot of courage to approach a woman.  I get it.  But, that doesn't entitle you to any part of us, not even our smiles.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Silly goose questions

Today, I'd like to address a silly, goose question, that we're often asked.  I don't think the people who've asked me this question read my blog, or anything else, for that matter, so there's a slim chance, they do, but again, they have an option to press the magic x in the top, right hand corner.  (I kid, I kid.)

We go to a United Methodist Church.  It is predominately white.  As, many of you know, we're not white.  (Cue dramatic music.  Wait, let me find a clip.  Here we go: )

I'm sorry.  I had to take a moment to stop laughing at that hamster.  The interweb can be hilarious and scary at the same time for someone like me. 
Back to my story, a few years ago, a church sponsored an amazing camp that encouraged girls to explore engineering fields.  I happened upon one of the church's leaders and we started chatting.  I mentioned that I went to blah blah blah church and his face went limp.  This is a TRUE story.  So, when I say these words, know that I was just as shocked as you are that he said them.  He said, "I don't think different races should go to church together."  I stared across the table.  He hands me brochure to the school that the church owns and continues talking.  They'd love to have an amazing child like the medium, person, and blah blah blah.  (I know I've given to much away about the place.  But oh, well.  People need to know what they're endorsing.)  Needless to say, a certain family member of mine, (My bossy preacher brother, hahahahaha) just LOVES this church and encouraged my family to go there for a visit.  I simply stated, "I'm good."  We tease each other often about me being a Methodist because I grew up very, very Baptist.  Hahahahahaha.
So, that brings me to the silly goose question I get about my church.  I often post photos of my daughter and her confirmation group.  They happen to all look nothing alike.  (I'm just being silly.) The medium person is the only brown person.  We're one of a few, brown families, at a large church.
I've had at least 9 people ask the same questions.  "What brought you to a white church?  There are so many black churches and there's two black United Methodist churches in Jackson.  Why didn't you go there?"  The short answer, "Because I do what I want to."  The nicer answer, "We walked into the doors and felt a reverence for God that we've felt no where else.  Our church isn't judgy.  They're not making a list of all the times we miss.  (Which is more often, these days, because Sundays are sometimes, the only days, we just get to look at each other, with no interruptions.) We can wear what we want.  I felt like I was among friends.  It sounds morbid but I knew that I wanted to grow old with the people in my Sunday school class.  I want to tell them about my arthritis. 
Now, I'm sure we can get those same things at a black church.  But, my church happened to be on tv.  I thought one of the pastors was beautiful (that sounds horrible once I type it) and the content was always amazing and spoke to me. 
One day, we went to vote for governor, in a church near my home, and my daughter wanted to know why we couldn't visit churches closer to home, instead of driving 20 minutes to get to the other United Methodist Church (the black one) that I mentioned earlier.  My mom, who happens to love when my daughter asks uncomfortable questions, chuckled.  "Well, aren't you going to answer her," my mother asked, barely able to contain her laughter.
I didn't answer.  I didn't want to tell her that I'd never set foot in a white church.  That churches were still very segregated places.  Defacto, unfortunately.  So, that Sunday, we loaded into the car, put on our Sunday best, and went to our church.  I found the perfect pew in the middle.  I've been sitting there since.  (I mean, I get up to go home.  But, you know what I mean.)
We haven't looked back.  Our church is far from perfect.  Neither are we.  Sometimes, they make me mad, when they don't do things my way.  They plan things to make stuff convenient for everyone, and usually, that isn't convenient for me.  Sometimes, I make them mad when I don't read the emails and call and ask questions that were clearly in the email.  I also, forget the dates that they take hours typing in different calendars and mail to me.  (Actual, paper mail!) I still forget.  That, sounds like a perfect match, right?  It is.  Perfect for us.
The level of pastoral care we've received throughout my Dad's illness has been amazing.  They've done an amazing job of showing God's love for us.  I rarely cry.  It's not my thing.  Can't explain it.  It's kind of weird but the first true tears I shed about my father's illness were with my Sunday school class.  They're my family, as much as anyone else is. 
So, I guess that's the answer.  Maybe, I'll start handing out business cards with a link to this blog when I'm asked again.  Haha.
I'm still a runner, ya'll.  And a biker, now!  Whoohoo!
I just have to play that hamster, one more time.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

It's 2015 and it's not going to suck.

2014 is officially over and I couldn't be more thrilled!  I love the opportunity to start afresh with new habits and a new attitude.

I'll be honest, 2014 stunk for me.  Yes, I smile like an idiot all the time but I've spent the majority of 2014 battling depression and ADHD.  There, I said it.  The truth is, black people, (gasp, I'm black, if a few of my readers didn't know) don't say things like that out loud.  We usually try to pray everything away.  I'm not saying prayer can't help, but I also think God knows that a few of his kiddos need a little extra help.  I'll go deeper into my theories about mental health care in the black community on another day.

 My dad was diagnosed with leukemia in January and went through tons of chemo.  He ended 2014 with leukemia. So, while, still amazing, he wasn't cured. No matter how many alternative types of care, we've explored, he's still sick and his mortality really reminded me that having aging parents is hard.  Illness can often bring conflict.  Conflict that may stem from years of not talking.  Or just not understanding each other.  When it comes to my parents, I'm in constant protect mode.  If I sense you're out to harm, I turn into a horrible beast.  Doesn't matter who you are, it's just what I do.  

Professionally, I've just had a dreadful year.  People I work with and for are probably reading this but well, it's no secret.  I've over promised and under delivered.  My office is a mess and I haven't filed anything paper in 2 years!  The truth is, I have a hard time disappointing people so I overextend myself.  Everyone wants an answer from me.  Add to that a crap ton of turnover in numerous positions.  Then, I spread myself thin and end up making tons of mistakes trying to make everyone happy.  Lots of advice on how to make me better and you have the craziness that is my part time job.  Yep, part time.  You know the craziest part, I love it. I'm addicted to the chaos. I'm a masochist, I guess.  In the end, no matter how many applauds or unsolicited suggestions I get, I have to accept that I will never catch up.  It's just not that type of place.  

My home life isn't exactly rosey either.  We lost a pet this year that we'd only had for a few days.  My house is a mess.  I have more dirty clothes than I have clean.  While, I love cooking, I just haven't had the desire that I once had to do it.  My husband and daughter have been amazing throughout this entire year.  But, I've severely neglected them.  Yes, we take a lot of pretty pictures.  People like to look at us. But, whew, I'm not the glue that holds us all together.  

I've eliminated a few relationships this year.  Relationships that have been around for decades.  People who have hurt me or were, in some way toxic to my family.  I even changed the way I deal with a few relatives.  I can't point fingers on this stuff.  I'm wackadoodle crazy and hard to deal with.  I get that.  So, there's that.

You're probably like, "Get to the New Year, New Me stuff, Kim!"  Well, I'm not.  
Let me instead share what I've learned about myself during this year.  

1.  I'm here.  Yep, I made it through.  I'm a mess but I'm still around.  That speaks loads.

2.  I'm surrounded by people who love me.  I don't mean pretend love.  I mean unconditionally love me and put up with my crap.  People, who, after they read this, are going to call me, my parents, Bryant, or even each other to inquire about this post.  This is NOT nosey love. This is, "Let me help you, love."

People love me so much, that they don't resent me for not calling them for a year.  They aren't angry that I don't reply to texts for months.  People who get that I'll never remember their birthday.  I won't buy them cards and it's possible that when I give a gift, it'll be in a Dollar General bag.  But, they still love me.

I've acquired this amazing group of folks through many means.  Church, school, Facebook, work (yes, work!), family (not a given, but I have some awesome kin folk), and just life.  

People who only met me when my Dad got sick have been so amazingly loving to me through this year.  

3.  I love human beings.  I mean, I just do.  We've had a few deaths this year at my job.  The way people have come together to support each other has been so beautiful.  Yes, the place can be challenging but in the end, I do see a group of people who love each other very much.   A community that shares a faith and loyalty to their mission.  I've felt blessed to watch it, even in tragedy.  I may not understand the purpose of many behaviors but I can't question love.  From feeding each other to just volunteering to set up chairs for events, that place cares greatly for it's members.

4.  I hate two things on this planet.  Bananas and rude people.   I just pretend they're going to get abducted by aliens soon to get through conversations.  It's awful but I'm acknowledging it.  No matter how much money you have or what position you hold, I think it's important to be polite to others.  If you think I'm stupid, that's fine, but don't be ugly to me.  Sheesh.

5.  Sometimes you love people,even if you don't want to.  I told someone this year that I didn't want to make anymore room in my life for new friends. Haha.  That I didn't want to be their friend because I'd lost enough.  Well, I'm friends with this person now.  They've offered me awesome advice and even come to love my family through our friendship.

6.  I actually like the work part of my job.  It's rewarding.  I want to stay hidden from now on, so I can enjoy that part of my job.

7.  Sometimes apologizing is all I need to do.  So, if I've wronged any of you reading this, I'm sorry.  

So, what am I going to do to make 2015 not suck?  Welllllll, you all know how much I love lists:

Work: I made a work schedule.  I'm sticking to it.  I'm focusing on the work portion of my job, not the people portion.  I'm being realistic and honest with my superiors and myself.  I'm refraining from action until I'm given clear written instructions that I understand and I'm cleaning my awful office!  I'm taking things day by day.  If I don't finish things, I have to be honest with myself about why.  I've made this beast and now I'm ready to tame it.  I'm done going backwards.  I'm going to do my very best every single day to get caught up and if that's not good enough, I'll feel just fine going home. No more excuses, just the truth.  Take that work beast!  Boundaries for them and boundaries for me.  I'm not going to get angry anymore when I don't get a response to emails for weeks.  People have other stuff to do besides answer me, right? Right.  No one's universe revolves around me and my questions.  I'm not going to answer emails at night anymore.  Twice a day at 10:00 and 2:00.  I've also scheduled a vacation this year! :) They're getting organized Kim and I hope they're ready! :)

Home: We now have a command center for the house.  Thanks to the husband, everyone's calendar is visible.  Hopefully now, I won't forget to pick up my child on early release days.  Our meals are even listed on the calendar.  I've already started taming the laundry monster and I have a huge bag of donations.  I'm purging my coupon stockpile and giving it to friends.  My house will be organized, Dangit!  Come heck or high water.  We cancelled our cable.  Partly, because I'm a cheapskate but also to focus more on our family during the week.  My medium person starts public school this semester and has confirmation at church.  We are going to have a new and exciting year with lots of events to attend.  We(meaning I) just need to focus and reality tv is a huge distraction for me during the week.  

I've also given up Redbull and wine.  Both are expensive distractions that, in the end, make me sleepy.  

I'm also not going to be making any more plans without letting the husband know.  

Family: I'm going to reply to every single "happy new year" message I get.  Even though I hate those.  Haha.  I'm just going to be more understanding of these folks who share my blood.  :) We're a wild lot and I have to remind myself that people still see me as the baby, even after 31 years.

I'm subscribing to one of those card service things to send people cards on holidays and birthdays.  It's not personal but Dangit, I'm trying!

Friends: I'm going to try to be less crazy, this year.  I hope I can do you all justice.  I'm going to love harder and more often.  
I'll answer phone calls and texts this year, I promise.  

Me: I need to run again.  I do.  I need it badly.  So, I'm going to.  I'm going to work on repairing my body, soul, and mind.  If I determine that I need to shake things up to repair myself, I'll do just that.  I want to suck less this year.  Sounds awful saying it that way.  But I do.  I just want to be a better human.  

So, there's my answer, for my 2015 not to suck, I have to make it not suck. 

By the way, I'm on a no eating out financial challenge in January, but that doesn't mean I can't eat out with any of you if you're buying!  Hahahaha.  Just kidding. (Not really)

Happy new year ya'll.  ;)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Break throughs

A few weeks ago, I wrote about praying for a sign that I needed to make some serious changes in my life.  I also wrote that those signs had come and gone with flashing red lights, and that I constantly ignored them.

On Sunday, I finished a huge meeting that took weeks and weeks to prepare for.  So, it's kind of like it's my new year. 
Everyone knows what happens with the new year!  Resolutions....

I usually don't make resolutions.  But, this year, I'm kind of a mess and need to diligently work on being a better human being.  Here goes:

1. I'm done overpromising on deadlines.  If you ask me about how long it'll take me to do something, you're getting an honest answer plus 2 days.  

2.  I'm going to respect my family time more.  No one has any obligation to my family except me.  Not friends, not managers, not coworkers.  I have the obligation and I have the duty to give them the best of me.

3.  I'm working a set number of hours each week.  After that, I'm going home.  I'm not going to dwell on what wasn't done and I'm not going to make my family feel bad for needing me.

4.  Sundays are completely reserved for my family.  No exceptions.

5.  Social media limits.  I broke my rule about social media and started sharing again.  Nope.  I'm not going back to that.  I've decided to hide my social media from people who aren't close friends or family.

6.  Date night: I've decided that I don't want my spouse to leave me this year.  We need date nights.  I need to put on makeup more than twice a year.

7.  I'm not going to talk on the phone in the car with my daughter anymore.  She doesn't need to know anything about my endless reports and/or meetings about the memo about the meeting.

8.  I'm limiting phone conversations.  People tend to forget what they've said.  For that reason, I'm going to encourage people to send emails to request things.

9.  I'm going to know when to fold em.  Ha.  Seriously, I'm no longer agonizing over decisions.  If something or someone makes me unhappy, I'm getting rid of it.  Life is precious and we all deserve to be happy.

10.  I'm going to smile more and yell less.  Especially when it comes to my family. They've done nothing but love me and my jumbled mess that I call my life.  They deserve to get the best of me and not the leftovers.

That's it, folks.  :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Self Absorbed Confession Post

Here's where I am...

Yesterday, I came home, took off my shoes, and sat down on my closet floor.  I spent 10 minutes crying while watching Mr. Roger's videos on my laptop.

I've been dealing with an extremely challenging issue for a few years that I've just decided to accept will never change.  I can't go into explicit detail but here's what I will say:

1.  Humility is the most valuable asset any of us can have.  
2.  Being kind in private and in public is free.  It costs nothing.
3.  Telling someone they are "just" anything makes them angry.  (Example: Oh, you're just his (blank), therefore, your feelings are blah, blah, blah.)
4.  Wealth does NOT always equal inferior intellect.
5.  Saying, "Oh, that's just (insert name here), that's just how they come across," does not exempt anyone from bad behavior.  I don't care how many times you say it.
6.  We mess up sometimes.  Being human means we're allowed to make mistakes.
7. Sometimes your concerns, even if true, just don't matter and that's ok.

A few months ago, someone approached me in my Sunday school class and told me I seemed different, changed.  It wasn't a compliment.  Suddenly, I knew what they meant.  I'm a shell of the person I was 5 years ago.

I've prayed for signs about what to do and I keep ignoring them.   Day after day, God sends me reminders of the truly valuable things in my life.  He's given me opportunity after opportunity and I've often let them slip through my fingers because of fear and self doubt.

Well, today's the day, folks.  I'm moving forward.  No more crying on the floor.  God's given me a sign with big flashing lights and I'm finally ready to listen.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

I'm Breaking Up With Facebook

I'll admit it.  I'm an oversharer.  I love posting random thoughts and nothingness.  I guess I just really like hearing or seeing myself talk.  Ike is the opposite.  He's a man of few words.  When he speaks, people tend to take notice and listen.

I share my recipes, joys, sorrows, and mostly things about my amazing medium sized person.  I joined Facebook in 2007 after Ike, of all people, began telling me about all the people from college who asked about me.  What?!  People missed me.  I had to get in on this mystical world that my husband belonged to that I didn't.

Here's my "Dear John" letter to Facebook:

Dear Facebook,

We've had a great run.  You've given me views into people's lives that I'd otherwise never have seen.  I've volunteered, partied, cried, laughed, and even argued with so many amazing people and it's all because of you.

The thing is, I'm bored.  Yes, you're a plethora of excitement and change daily.  I think that's what bores me the most.  I share things and people laugh.  People share things and I laugh.  People talk about politics and religion.  I complain about people who talk about politics and religion.  I comment about the joys and sorrows of life.  People try to figure out exactly what brings me joy and sorrow.  It's the same thing, day after day.

You've crippled me, Facebook.  I've gotten lazy.  I no longer have to make an effort to maintain relationships.  I can just send them a quick message on Facebook or comment on their status to let them know I care.  That convenience, at first glance, seems to make life simple.  I tend to be of the opinion that it actually complicates life tremendously.  You see, life during the time I'll call B.F. (before Facebook), if I discovered someone was annoying, I'd just not talk to them.  I'd avoid them and their phone calls and eventually they'd get the point.  The same thing could be said of people and their relationships with me.  Life was simpler.  I didn't feel attached to people because I didn't have to look at pictures of their amazing children or great lives daily.

Now, I'll acknowledge that I'm to blame for this breakup as well.  I didn't realize that when you overshare on social media, people tend to expect you to overshare in real life.  When people approach me at work, church, or the grocery store and ask me how I feel and I say "fine,"I expect to be able to carry on and not have to explain why I changed my profile picture to a bear eating a picnic table with a look of rage on his face.  I know that I've created this super fun happy go lucky character that never gets down.  I'm silly, witty, and sometimes a tad bit sarcastic but ALWAYS upbeat.  Not everything is related to a certain event, sometimes I just feel like crap.  I'm allowed that being human and all.  Lately, I've felt down more often than usual.  It's not something I want to share with the world but I do drop tidbits of my though process throughout the week.  You can usually guess what I'm feeling by looking at my profile picture.  I love being surrounded by supportive people.  Support doesn't mean I want to explain myself over and over again.  (Especially to my parents who don't even have a Facebook account, but always seem to know what I write.) That's another story in itself.

I don't want you to think I don't appreciate all you've done for me.  I've reconnected with people that I hope to continue to engage in real life.  I've also befriended people from my past that I never would have gotten the opportunity to know otherwise.  I am forever grateful for a place to express myself.  You led me to blogging and reintroduced me to my love of the written word.

I'm not deleting you.  I'm going to try have a ghost profile, so I don't lose my posts and pictures.  I'll also still post links to my blog and my coupon shopping trips.  In the upcoming weeks, I'll be reaching out to friends and family to get their personal email addresses.  I'm going to make an effort to cultivate relationships with people that I feel value me and my family.

 I want to be completely honest with you, Facebook.  I've been using Twitter and I like it.  It'll never replace what we had but it's a great platform to push my blog and future writing endeavors.

Life will be different as we transition into a different relationship.  Now, when I see a turtle running across my yard, I'll not race to get my phone to record it for Facebook, I'll simply enjoy the turtle running across my yard.

Carpe diem, ya'll. :)

P.S.  Follow me on Twitter @kimhatesfootbal (One l folks.)

Monday, August 11, 2014

An Open Letter to My Butterfly Chasing Daughter

Today, my medium person entered middle school.  Yes, folks, I have a 6th grader.  Instead of crying and lamenting the gradual loss of my baby, I’ve decided to offer her advice with cat pictures.  :)

You’ll grow into your nose.  When I look back at old pictures of me at my parents house, I understand why I begged to wear makeup.  I was one ugly duckling.  J  It changes, I promise.
Some friendships will last and others, will fade.  That’s ok.  As we grow up, people sometimes grow apart.  Your mom’s 31 and still trying to figure out friendships.

You’re human.  Your parents are human.  That means we’re allowed to make mistakes.  The best part about having  human parents is that they will love you and help you learn from your mistakes.  Your dad and I made enough mistakes for your entire 6th grade class.  (Mostly daddy though.)

It’s ok to want to be a little girl.  I know that you’re surrounded by people who want you to like what they like.   You don’t have to.  Play as often as you’d like and for as long as you like.  I’ll be here to supply you with an endless amount of toys until you no longer want them.

People who tease are usually jealous.  I know everyone says this but I can assure you it’s the truth.  You’re extraordinarily smart, beautiful, and loving.  Expect there to be a few naysayers.  Know that the teasers ALWAYS find you on social media as an adult to tell you how awesome you are.

Being a girl is not a pass for mediocrity.  If I hear one more person use the words “like a girl” as a way to insult someone, so help me, okay, okay, whew, excuse me, I got off track.  I refuse to let anyone say that it’s ok for you to bring home average grades in math because, well, girls aren’t good in math.  Bullhockey.

You’re an amazing human.   You walk this planet and sincerely believe that you’re going to make it a better place to live.  I thought you were just idealistic and silly the first few years of your life.  Now, I freaking believe it.    

The world’s already better with you in it.   If anyone tells you differently, know that I’m always nearby to wipe the floor with them.

Have a great year sweetness.  J