Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Advice For The Teenage Tater Tots (Part I)

Over at, Champ posted two very insightful pieces on advice he would give to his teenage son and daughter. As I read, I started to think about what I would say to my own children in that crucial coming of age moment.

One of my favorite quotes reminds us that we stand on the shoulders of greatness, so I fully expect my children to be greater than me. With that in mind, here is the first of two lists I put together for my babies.

I don't even have them yet and I already want them to be teenagers!

Dearest Journey (or Sydney...or whatever name I come up with between now and then):

1. Step out on faith.

This world can be a scary place; but what's even scarier is the mental roadblocks we tend to place in front of us. When you are faced with an opportunity to do what you've never done or go where you've never been, take it. Trust that if God brought you to it, He will bring you through it. Never let fear keep you from living your dreams.

2. Find your true-blues.

These are the people who've seen you at your best, but still love you at your worst. They are the ones who you can call at anytime and they will come running. They hold you accountable for your actions...and sometimes, they make you mad because they are so right. Cherish them. Thank God for them. Most of all, give back everything that you have received from these beautiful relationships.

3. Don't fight.

There is never a good reason for you to lay hands on anyone else. If you are having a disagreement, solve the problem with your words and not your fists.

3a. Don't put yourself in a man's position.

If you do, you better be prepared for any consequences that result.

4. When it comes to rejection, shake it off.

Look, every man won't like you. But guess what? You won't like every man! Don't be offended when a man tells you that you are not his preference; be grateful that he moved out of the way to make room for the one who is supposed to capture your heart.

5. Get a pedicure. Often. Especially in the summertime.

Cracked heels are not the business.

6. ALWAYS practice safe sex.

Now, I am a huge advocate for abstinence. Sex creates far too many adult emotions, decisions and consequences. BUT, if you're going to do it, use a condom EVERY TIME. And if you're too scared to ask a man about protection, you don't need to be having sex at all.

6a. You do not have to be polite when it comes to your body.

You don't owe a man anything. If you do not want to have sex with a man, you say NO and mean it. If he can't take that no for an answer, just call me. I'll help him remember the definition.

7. Keep a journal.

It's so awesome to look back and read your life story in your own words. You will laugh at some of the things you thought were super-important; you'll be grateful for the growth you have experienced. Writing in a journal is the most uncensored you will ever be in this life, so take the time to get it all down on paper.

And leave it there.

7a. Don't post everything online.

PLEASE don't be that girl who chronicles every broken heart/argument/crisis/mundane activity with a Facebook status. People might "like" it, but they'll grow tired of you and your antics.

8. Love yourself.

Don't look to the world to define your beauty--write that definition for yourself. Love every part of your mind, body, soul and spirit. You are one of a kind, fearfully and wonderfully made by God Himself. Celebrate who you are, always.

8a. Love your hair!

I have had every hair color ever invented (except blonde); I've had a relaxer and I've gone natural; I have shaved off every strand and let it grow long. And yes, I have experimented A LOT with weaves and extensions. At the end of the day, I love this thick, unruly, sometimes curly and always nappy stuff on my scalp. It's what God gave me and I sure do appreciate it!

Oh, and don't worry if you mess up along the way. It always grows back.

9. Never stop learning.

Knowledge is more than sitting in a classroom, reciting facts and listening to lectures. Everyday, you will be afforded the opportunity to learn something that will shape your morals, ethics and even your faith. Take advantage of it. Take notes too. In life, the quizzes are always open book.

10. Know that I love you.

Even if you disregard everything I have mentioned, I will never stop loving you. When you fall, I'll catch you. When you cry, I'll wipe your tears. When you smile, I'll smile harder. You are the one I've dreamed of and prayed for all the days of my life. Whatever you do will make me proud to be your mother.

Even if you go to OSU. *cringes*

11. Be Encouraged.



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pieces Of Me

So when you look at my face
You gotta know that I'm made
Of everything, love and pain
These are the pieces of me

--Ledisi, "Pieces of Me"

Yesterday, I went out to lunch with my brother...which turned into dinner because we run our mouths way too much, but I digress. As we blabbed about everything under the sun, the topic turned to the way people perceive me. My brother said something that stuck with me for the rest of the day:

"There's your forward personality--quiet, laid back, relaxed vibe--almost shy. But there's this other side of you that eventually comes out--outgoing, sarcastic, all of that stuff. It really does take time to get to know you."

I can't stand it when he's right.

The truth is (no Fantasia), there are times when I feel like I have to be tough. We'll call this side of me Sheba. Sheba does not take any nonsense from anyone. She walks into the room and dares anyone to disregard her presence. Sheba is arrogant--she knows she has a lot to offer, so she expects respect in every setting. Got something to say? You better say it good. The very second you pause to take a breath, Sheba will swoop in and cut you down to size. Sheba just doesn't have time to play games with anyone.

Then, there's Tender Heart. Tender Heart just wants everyone to be happy. She goes out of her way to make sure people know they can count on her. If you need something done and Tender Heart's schedule is completely booked, she'll find the time to do it. She doesn't like to let anyone down. She DESPISES confrontation. She's easily offended. She's even a little insecure. Tender Heart cares what people think about her, perhaps too much.

I realize I'm no different from the millions of people who inhabit this planet. If you're honest with yourself, there are at least two sides to your personality. However, my problem lies in my inability to mix and match so people get an accurate depiction of K. Marie.

Translation? Lately--in my career, friendships and ESPECIALLY in the dating process--I feel like I've shown too much Sheba and not enough Tender Heart.

It used to be quite different. Back in the day, Tender Heart ruled me. I allowed people to use me up until there was nothing left. I found myself in a pit of depression so slippery and treacherous, I wondered if I would ever break free. When I did, I promised myself I would never go back to that place.

Sheba seemed like the answer to my prayers. I would just use my abrasive side to prevent people from getting close to me. I would hurt people before they could hurt me. To be honest, I would have probably kept going on this path had it not been for a conversation with one of my newest friends. He referred to me as The Mean Twin, and I took offense.

"You're way off base, homeskillet," I replied. "I'm the nicest person you will ever meet."
A small, still voice in my heart offered its own reply:

If that were true, you wouldn't have to say it. Your actions would show it.


I'm on the playground of life; Tender Heart and Sheba are on the see saw. Most days,they know how to balance themselves. Sometimes, they don't. One gets an urge to go higher than the other one. When that happens, I don't yell or get upset; I just call the ORIGINAL manufacturer and ask to speak to The Carpenter. After all, no one knows the product better than Him. I explain my situation--the sides won't stay balanced. He patiently listens and then tells me the solution: adjust the settings in the middle. Turn it to the left for forgiveness; to the right for patience and understanding. Soon enough, everything is the way it's supposed to be.

To those I have offended, I apologize. To those who have hurt me, I forgive you. My name is not Sheba or Tender Heart, it's K. Marie. That's who you should get to know. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Be Encouraged,