It's my birthday yall!!
And I feel like celebrating!!!
You know what that means... writing party!
Writing is one of my favorite ways to celebrate.
*cue my brother telling me "that's lame"*
If you read last year's birthday post, you may remember I'm long-winded. I enjoy re-reading it, and wonder where that girl is the other 364 days of the year. Is my courage an annual holiday?
So this year, I'm pushing myself... to be honest. More courageous.
I haven't been lying, but there are "whole truths" and "half truths." And before you judge me for admitting my half-but-still-honest-truths, pause... I know you can relate.
Like many of us, I'm guilty of sharing the highlights-only, and I hate that, lol. I'm excited to share updates that make me proud, but for every yin there's a yang. There are highs and lows worth acknowledging. And I want to share more of both.
I'm not saying I'm "right," I'm just sayin...
A list of 10 Random Things
1. First up, a confession... *insert deeeeep sigh*
l really want to be more authentic. I wrote it
down, it's an actual real-life goal.
But this is petrifying, and has taken
months of mental preparation.
You may or may not know this about
me, but... Personal attention gives me
severe anxiety... that includes everything
on the internet. Most of what you see
from me is likely connected to a
message #ForTheKids, #ForTheCulture,
or awareness for a cause or event.
(spoiler - most of that is automated.) Beyond that, I hate logging onto anything for anything, and do anything to avoid it. Social media & personal attention make me nervous. I want freedom, not fame. Not sure where this lowkey-fear-of-internet came from, but I think it's connected to my awareness that...
Everyone I look up to has been or become a target. (Biko, Mandela, Medgar, Malcolm, Martin, Huey, Nipsey , Sebi, missing Ferguson activists, & Jesus to name a few.) Whether they were wanted by law enforcement or eventually assassinated... the warriors I know who survive and finish their work are... anonymous. That sh*t is scary.
It's 2019 though and I'm serious about our ecosystem. I'm a "work in the dark to serve the light" kind of person but I think the internet and I need each other. *insert eye roll*
I'm wealthy. You don't know it yet, neither does my bank account... but I'm talking about people. I don't know how or why I was blessed with this international network of family, friends, geniuses, angels, & RNs... but shoutout to God for sending me each of you. I really, actually, truly, but for real for real... love a lot of people. And my inability to engage and do right by each one... reaaaaaalllllly bothers me. Omg the guilt. You have no idea. So...
2. Quick shoutout/roll-call.
If we crossed paths any of these places... I love you. Networks, not names, I'd hate to forget anyone.
Trying to do this chronologically (*clears throat*)... Shoutout to my parents, grandparents, and each city that made you (Memphis and New Orleans), your childhood friends from the neighborhood & gradeschool, and everyone from there who loves me as an extension of you, our families in LA, TN, GA, Cali, NY, TX, AK, DC, the Carolinas, my parent's Atl friends from work and life, & mom's friends from Clark... who according to cookout rules are officially recognized as "aunts & uncles" with offspring referred to as "cousins." Shoutout to my networks from Brown, MMMS, LHS, CCPS, Emory, Nu Alpha, TLCD, metro-Atl college life connections at GA State, the AUC, & Greek Life, South Africa, Khayelitsha, the University of Cape Town, TFA Miami-10, Jessie J McCrary Elementary & every human who blessed our classrooms, UM, all things Nola family, ed, & justice, BAEO, TFA Atl, LEE, the 2016 State House race, the 2018 School Board race, the Edunomics team & my cohort at Georgetown, LA DOE, Black Futures Lab, friends abroad, every student, every teacher, every parent, and all of the organizers & leaders throughout our country, region, state, & South Atlanta.
Yall made me. I'm your PROOF. And that's the roll call that wakes me up in the morning.
3. There's so much to celebrate. It's one of my favorite times of year & all I can muster is gratitude. Here's a quick list of milestones!
PROOF is turning 3
I sat on stage as an elected dignitary at my
HS alma mater
I shook hands with over 3,000 grads who
earned a total of $74 million dollars in
I analyzed, questioned, and voted on a
$750 million dollar budget for a school
district (that includes a minimum $3,000
raise for ALL teachers)... in my hometown
I researched, drafted, and tracked legislation
for a State Board of Education
Our board received exemplary status during the annual GSBA convention
I was accepted to the Atlanta Regional Commission's new RLI cohort
It's June and I've achieved 4/5 of my personal finance goals for 2019
4. But for every yin there's a yang. I effed up in the following ways:
I started a project strong and finished weak... twice! My inability to delegate and say "no" caught up with me in at least two major ways in the past few months. As hyper-vigilant as I am about my narrative, I feel awful about those loose ends, and for not saying no or asking for help when I should've. Those people probably hate me, and I still owe apologies.
I hate throwing around the d-word, but as we de-stigmatize mental health... *raises hand* I do get depressed. This gets hard, lonely, and...
I (still) miss everything. From celebrations & turn ups to losses & grief... I'm out of town, on a deadline, or preparing to go out of town or meet a deadline. I miss my humans. I'm excited to slow down the pace, and see more of them.
Sometimes, I over-commit and under-deliver. Meetings, deadlines, etc. Largely connected to the previous two bullets.
In general, I suck-at-life sometimes. Now that that's out of the way...
5. Microcosms are macrocosms. Little things are big things, and vice versa. It's my mindset, like Ubuntu for physics. As I reflect on my recent failure(s), I want to find the lessons. God makes no mistakes, I'm supposed to learn something. So I've drawn the following conclusions:
5b. Unless you're in the arena,Eff your feedback. I'm not one to go around quoting old white presidents, but this spoke to my soul recently.
I crave feedback, sometimes too much. It's important to listen, but it's ok to prioritize certain voices. (ex. all kids... and the adults with me shooting in the gym.) Everybody can't come.
6. Struggle doesn't make you righteous.
Micro - For some reason, I believed that I couldn't fight hard for hard things unless I has having a hard time too. If I didn't "share your struggle" how could I fight for you? Not sure where that flawed logic came from, but it was a lie anchored in scarcity. After I decided to moved back to Atlanta (without a job & ineligible to teach without local certification) it was hard. Next, a personal trauma & lost election... whew. So like all good Southern Black women (sarcasm), I went to the Bible. I've always loved the story of Job and I began to call the tough time my "Job period." God was ambiguous about how long Job suffered, and I love that. But one of the main points is... eventually, his suffering ENDED! Shoutout to my cousin who was like "stop feeling sorry for yourself!" lol. Welp. Yea. Big hearts don't pay the bills, and I've had to learn that's it's okay to prioritize this shmoney (and my mental health). I'm still learning but I am proud of my progress. The revolution will not be funded, nor will I help it kill me.
Macro - In the spirit of abundance, the budget falls under one of my three roles as a school board member. If you're new to government finance or contracts... let me put it this way: We have an operating budget over $700 million dollars and we spend at least $200 million in procurement for "stuff" or "services." Too few of those dollars stay home, and I'm passionate about ensuring some of it exclusively goes to small, local, women, minority, and veteran owned businesses. "Some people" understand, but every time I bring it up, most people say "we're trying but they don't apply for the contracts." They think ya'll don't want this money and I beg to differ. Please come get this money and prove them wrong.
7. One way I'm coping with failure is by studying the research about risks. There's mathematical evidence that you "win some" & you "lose some." Ratio wise, more risks = more rewards AND more losses. I expect NOT to do well at EVERY thing EVERY time. I get that part. My problem is forgiving myself afterward. In some cases, the people we've disappointed already moved on. Admit it, give yourself grace, and do the same. Basically... boss up. Stop being a lil b...
8. There is a difference between "self-absorbed" and "self preservation."
Common self-care advice is "say no more often"... but few people believe it should apply to them. Critics will judge us no matter what. Never around, too around, etc. For those of us facing hidden challenges, or on a mission of faith and purpose, we seek enlightenment. God sends us cheat codes. It is right to be still, silence the noise, & eliminate distractions. I'm ready for the ten-fold part of my Job story. Don't let people make you feel bad for saying "no" to them and "yes" to self and God.
9. I used to tell my students "Don't rush for an 'F,' take your time for an 'A.'"
But the same goes for us as adults. "No" and "not yet" aren't synonyms. Delay is not denial, & excellence takes time. When people don't believe that, just stop talking. You can show them better than you can tell them.
10. Personal courage and professional courage are two completely different things. I end here because this is something I'm working on right now. Professionally, I feel courageous. I take risks and reap rewards for our children and community. But personally, I have some work to do in the courage department.
I don't share this because I owe it to you, but because someone somewhere has been watching, and is wondering how "this" feels. Or is looking up to me and thinks I have it all together. This is for them. He/she/they need to know that I'm "like this" and every day is a struggle to do better than yesterday... just like them. If we're the same, what can't you do?
Thanks for listening to my birthday rant!
I love you so so so much.
PS. You're all invited to my birthday party. I didn't
have one last year. Here's to progress and an
"A" for effort! lol.
Onward & upward.