Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just So You Know:14 Facts About Moi

Tell me about yourself. 

Whether on a date or a job interview, these four words strike terror in the hearts of the best of us. You want your answers to be humble, but self-assured. A chuckle is a great response; a blank stare, not so much. And how much do you reveal while keeping that air of mystery about you?

I'd like to say I've figured out how to do this, but the truth of the matter is it still makes my knees shake. Since the best way to get over a fear is to confront it, I've decided to share 14 things you may not know about me.

Plus, every true blogger knows this is the go-to post when you've run out of provocative topics for the week. Enjoy!

1.I like my coffee black. No splenda, no Vanilla Cupcake Frosting Creamer, just black. My theory: it's not supposed to taste good, it's supposed to wake you up.

2. To date, I have murdered three cars with my careless maintenance practices (RIP to Jameisha Jeep, Granny the Grand Am and the Canyonero, i.e., the Trooper). Thankfully, I've grown older and realized it just make sense to take care of what you've got. That and Appalonia reminds me when her oil needs to be changed.

 2a. Yes, all of my cars have had names. Appalonia got her name because she's petite, passionate...and really, she kind of looks like an apple from a distance.

3. El Debarge was the first love of my life. From the moment I saw him on Soul Train, I knew I wanted to forever dance to the beat of the rhythm of the night. But if he doesn't show up in Dallas next month, we're through. My heart can't take it!

4. I dislocated my shoulder at a bowling alley. When someone tells you not to cross the foul line, I suggest you listen.

5. I used to have this non-romantic fantasy about living without electricity. I thought it would be an adventure to survive on my own merits. That fantasy crashed and burned during the Great Snowstorm of 2002. I have no survival skills....and I still want to know how one can make Chicken-Fried Steak without electricity.

6. Lysol commercials make me sick to my stomach. In fact, the smell of Lysol makes me nauseous. I think it's because I remember it being sprayed at the day care to cover up the stench of dirty diapers. *gag*

7. Everyone who knows me knows I have always been a die-hard Pistons fan. Well, I'd like to officially announce our decision to part ways. This year, they looked like a junior high JV team on the court. I'm positive my three year-old nephew could drive the lane better than them.

8. My handwriting is weird. I start out writing in cursive, but I end up writing in print. When I'm mad, I underline everything and press so hard it bleeds through the pages. And because I'm left-handed, everything smudges.

9. I have the most sensitive skin on the planet, but I love buying the smell-goods. So, I have dozens of bottles of barely used laundry detergent, body wash and lotion. I would give them away, but I always convince myself that my skin will adapt. Thirty minutes and an itchy stomach later, I know I'm wrong.

10. Neither one of my parents were cheap, but I am. I still haven't traced the source of my penny-pinching ways.

11. I sleep with a stuffed animal over my head. I know a pillow would probably be more adult, but Roscoe just fits perfectly between my neck and my shoulders.

12. My dream vacation spot is St. Lucia.

13. The way I relate to people--and the way relate to me--is really as simple as which name they use to address me. It goes as follows:
        My given first name: These people know really know me. They get the uncensored version, which is both good and bad.
         K. Marie: This is the radio edit. The song is basically same, but you're left wondering why those lyrics don't exactly rhyme.
         Kay-Kay: If you value your life, you won't use this. Ever.

14. I prefer even numbers, so I'll end here. It was supposed to be twenty facts, know. A sista needs to leave y'all wanting more.

Be Encouraged,


Feel free to leave random facts about yourself in the comment section. It's even better if I don't know you from Adam! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Aftermath

For some reason, I felt nostalgic yesterday. I was looking through my bookcase for a book which would cleanse my literary palate of the abomination that is 50 Shades of Grey when I happened upon my senior scrapbook. I found so much I had forgotten--ticket stubs to Kirk Franklin concerts; birthday cards from my old pastor; even one of my mom's old business cards. It made me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.

I was about to end my trip down memory lane when a picture fluttered to the ground. I picked it up and my face grew hot. It was me, sitting on top of my first car in my favorite outfit at the time--a Calvin Klein sweatshirt and Adidas sweatpants. Cute, but everything was in a size XXL and they were both skintight. I looked at my face and I saw that girl I used to be--lonely, scared and fat. And all my insecurities came rushing back to me.

My real-life friends could tell you the story: my senior year of college, I got fed up with not being able to shop at the same stores as my friends. So I bought the Tae-Bo tapes, stopped eating as much and hoped for the best. I went to see my doctor over Fall Break and she told me I lost 19 pounds. 19 became 50, 50 became 75. By the time it was all said and done, I had lost over 130 pounds. To quote one of my favorite movies: "That's like a whole Backstreet Boy!"

What no one ever talks about is the aftermath. For those of you who have recently decided to live a healthier lifestyle (congrats, btw), here are are a few things I learned in the process.

Losing weight didn't give me my "happily ever after."
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I believed that losing weight would make me irresistible to my crush at the time. Surely, he would finally see that the sweet homegirl could also have a bangin' body. I'd be a modern-day Cinderalla; he, my Prince Charming. Of course, it didn't happen. Though he was impressed with the weight loss, it didn't spark the chemistry. He still saw me as a homegirl, albeit a  smaller version. When I got over my disappointment,  I had to remind myself that losing weight was one of the most selfish things I have ever done, with good reason. I did this for ME, not for a wedding ring.

My body is not perfect and never will be.
I hate those infomercials. You know the ones I mean. In fifteen seconds, people go from marshmallow goo to the most chiseled person you've ever seen in your life. Abs, legs, butt, arms--everything is just perfect. And then I look at my own body. No matter how many tricep dips I do, I'll still have that jiggly action when I wave goodbye....which I wish could be transferred to my behind, because no amount of squats will give me the kind of perfectly round derriere that haunts men in their dreams.

But that's okay. For every imperfection, there are things that I've grown to love. Like, my neck. Or my collarbone. Or my legs, which look Tina Turner fierce in the right heels. They aren't perfect either, but it's all a part of me. Flaws and all, I love me some K. Marie.

I'm scared I'll go back.
Statistics say that more than eighty percent of people gain back all the weight they've lost (plus some) within a year. It's been around eight years since I started losing weight; give or take ten pounds, I've stayed in the same range. But that damn Trauma DJ haunts me. In my mind, I am just one order of fries away from blowing up; one extra helping of spaghetti away from those super-tight sweat pants. And that terrifies me.

Look, I know some larger women who look FANTASTIC at every size they have ever been. I mean, they shut down the fashion game even when they are just running to the grocery store. But that wasn't me. I didn't look good at my previous weight and I didn't feel good. And though my self-esteem is not based on the scale reading, I know I would be far less confident if I experienced a significant weight gain. So I'm always mindful of it. Always*.

Exercise is my passion. 
Over the years, I have tried everything--running, kickboxing, pole dancing, yoga and more. I love them all. Aside from the physical benefit, it's an emotional thing. When I am exercising, I can't think of anything else. I have to be in the moment, concentrating on reps or distance or breathing. That means for at least an hour a day, I'm not worried. I'm not stressed out. I'm just in the zone.

Don't get me started on endorphins. If I could bottle up that feeling and sell it, I'd be a billionaire.

Healthy food is just awesome. 
I remember being in elementary school and hearing my teachers bemoan their latest diet. Everyday, they would eat a salad and drink iced tea. No deviation whatsoever. They looked so miserable--and snapped at us kids so much, I actually felt bad for them. Almost made me want to share my Teddy Grahams with them.

Today, the possibilities are endless. I never had a mango or papaya  until I was an adult. Now, I crave them.  Ground turkey is the single greatest food creation in the 21st century, followed closely by spaghetti squash and mashed cauliflower.

I just wish they had never invented Red Velvet Ice Cream. Now THAT can lift up a bowed down head.

It's not a race--it's a journey. 
Everyday, I find something new to motivate me. I am consistently challenged to go beyond what I think is my breaking point. I am inspired because I have inspired other people. Sometimes, I do get discouraged, but I don't stay that way. There's always tomorrow--another chance to do better, work harder and make sound choices.

That's the great thing about journeys. They never end.

Be Encouraged,


*Except at Bam's house. I'd eat a fried shoe over there just because she made it. LOL

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

No Ordinary Love

This morning, I found myself listening to the incomparable Sade while rereading my thoughts on love, dating and relationships. I came to the conclusion that I don't know much.

Well, let me not say that. As I have grown older and experienced men on a personal level, my definitions have changed. If love were a Wikipedia entry, I’d be clicking that broom everyday.

 It’s not about showing off to my family and friends; nor is it about posting pics on Facebook or even filing my taxes with someone else. The recurring theme in my musings is that I want to be with someone who sees the real me.

The problem? I don’t really know who she is.

But everyday, I’m learning more. I actually bought and wore a red dress--it looked good on me. When I don’t feel like going out, I say that. When I do, I leave my insecurities and baggage at home. I have loved and lost. And I survived. I cry freely, knowing that tears are not a sign of weakness. Rather, they are nourishment for my blossoming heart.

I  won’t run anymore.  If I do, that would make me typical. Ordinary. You can use a whole lot of adjectives to describe me, but ordinary isn’t one.

And neither is my love.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Church Hurt

There's no hurt like church hurt.

I've heard this phrase over and over again in my life. And it makes no sense. Some might even call it an oxymoron. In the one place that should be filled with love, peace and understanding, why would the phenomenon of mean-spiritedness become so widespread....we have to name it?

Because it's true.

At times, I have found myself leaving the church parking lot with tears in my eyes. I would drive down the street, feeling heartbroken and replaying the offensive comments in my head. Maybe I'm wrong, I would reason. Maybe I'm just too sensitive. Maybe they were just speaking the truth in love.

Yet, I'd come back to this sacred place and find no apologies. Just more finger-pointing and shaming. These people who claimed to love me treated me more like a schoolyard bully. What's worse, I couldn't defend myself. If they were in my age range, this could have been settled in a come to Jesus meeting after morning worship. But these were grandmothers--my elders--who felt they had the right to kick me while I was down.

It left scars on my heart. That's the definition of a church hurt.

After church today, a dear friend came up to me with tears in her eyes. Before she even opened her mouth, I knew what had happened. Church hurt. Those same people who say they love you and want to help you, but use their mouths to tear you apart. To make you feel less than. My anger reached epic proportions as I listened to her story. It's been a long time since I've experienced church hurt, but all those feelings came rushing back to the surface. I wanted to march right back in the church, find the offenders and tell them off. It would start with how dare you and end with....well, some not so Christian words.

But I stopped myself. To tear them down would just be perpetuating the cycle. In fact, I actually feel sorry for the Senior Mean Girls. They probably believe they are doing the right thing. Someone in a previous generation probably talked to them the same way, so they think that's the way you're supposed to help people. 'Cause it obviously works. I mean, that's why people come back to church Sunday after Sunday--to experience verbal abuse, right? *sarcasm*

I will say this until I no longer have a voice: there is a way to say things. You have to treat people with the same dignity and respect you would want for yourself. And if you want people to talk to you like this...well, you probably need more help than I can give.

I know there are no specifics in this entry, but does there really need to be? We've all been there. Someone doesn't like the length of your dress or the way you wear your hair. This person thinks you should have been married by now and that person wants to know why you haven't had any kids. That one wants to know why you never speak to her. Maybe it's because she spends her days cursing your name to other members. The one in the corner thinks you try to run everything; the one at the front thinks you aren't doing enough. And the one on the right thinks you need to lose another twenty pounds....and tells you so every chance she can get.

What would Jesus do? Not this. Definitely not this.

Be Encouraged,


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Welcome To The Comfort Zone

I notice I've been getting a lot more blog hits recently....and I haven't written a fully detailed post in a few weeks. That makes me uncomfortable, like when one of your homeskillets shows up at the house on Saturday afternoon and you're wearing a shower cap and Eeyore pajamas. 

Since I'm all about challenges, I am challenging myself to consistently post here. I would say every single day, but let's be honest--it's playoff season. I doubt I can write award-winning entries while screaming obscenities at my television. 

As always, feel free to leave comments. 


You know what makes me uncomfortable? Talking on the phone. I am beyond grateful for the technology which allows me to type my thoughts instead of saying them. In my mind, I am incredibly witty in those 160 characters. On the phone, I suffer from what I like to call Peanut Butter Mouth Syndrome. There I sit, with my tongue to stuck to the roof of my mouth, nodding my head like the person on the other end can see what I'm doing. I use every excuse in the book to get off the phone as quickly as possible. 

Nope, I wasn't about to go for a run. I was still three blocks away from church. And my cell phone coverage was just fine--I just got tired of talking. Sorry. 

While we're on the subject, I hate when someone sends me the "I'm calling you in five minutes" text. Just call me. Don't make me sit there for 300 seconds, agonizing over what I'm going to say. 

Yes, it's really that bad. 

But, it's all in my mind. It's the same way I feel about public speaking, another one of the things on my uncomfortable list. Inside, I am a ball of nerves. I'm afraid I'm going to say the wrong thing or fall flat on my face--literally. I'm clumsy like that. Yet, every time I finish a presentation, people walk up to me and remark on how calm and self-assured I look while speaking. Likewise, I have friends who, for some unknown reason, think I'm just fantastic at phone conversations. They actually ask me to call them more!

Y'all sure you're talking to the right K. Marie?

The point is, we all have something that makes us supremely uncomfortable. While mine is talking on the phone, yours might be wearing shorts. Or eating dinner alone. Or applying for a new job. Or showing interest in someone of the opposite sex. But that topic requires a whole 'nother blog entry.

Whatever it is, just remember that perception is not reality. What you find nauseating, others find enticing. Overcoming your anxiety could be the push someone else needs to face their own issues. Your misery may very well become your ministry.

Like Tweet, you can call me. 

.....Unless it's after 11. 

Be Encouraged, 


Monday, May 21, 2012

Beef, Chicken...or Me?

What dollar amount do you spend on dinners before you start to expect a little sexual return on the investment? Or when you go out on dates, do you let them know that steak, lobster and shrimp are on the "sex tonite" part of the menu? 
--Facebook Status


By now, I've had my share of first dates. Through all of the hits and misses, my attitude towards food has always remained the same: I only order what I would order if I were paying for myself. Since I haven't had a steak since college and I only eat lobster in Shreveport (where it's all you can eat, thank you very much), I usually order chicken or pasta. 

From a fiscal perspective, I do see why men grumble when a woman he just met orders the lobster tail with filet mignon on the side. Times are hard for everybody...didn't I see you ordering water with extra lemons so you could make ghetto lemonade? Exactly. 

But, I digress. 

When I was younger, our church youth group used to have car washes to raise money for our summer activities. On the posters, we would always put "tips are ACCEPTED." One day, someone got a little confused and put "tips are EXPECTED." That day, we didn't raise nearly as much money as we had on previous occasions. Why? Because people enjoy having a choice. 


Anyway, I want to hear from you. What are your thoughts on this subject? Somebody help me understand!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Right To Grieve

It was Mother's Day, 1996.

I went to church because it was Youth Sunday. We sang all of the cute Mother's Day songs ("M is for the many things she gave me/O is only that she's growing old...") and I was fine. The greeters read a Mother's Day poem and handed out gifts to all of the mothers in attendance; I was good. Just before the sermon started, we were to leave the choir stand and go sit with our mothers--something we had always done.

Of course, everyone understood my situation. I could have sat with any of my friends' mothers. I could have sat with my Sunday School teacher. Even though my dad was in the pulpit, I know he would have been more than willing to sit in the congregation with me. And yet, my eyes were drawn to a seat on the right side of the church, about six rows back. A seat that had been vacant for about two months. I could almost see her sitting there, wearing a brightly colored hat and matching suit. I could almost smell her perfume--Red Door. I could almost see her smile as she reached out for me.

It was more than I could handle. A tornado of emotions swept through me. I tried to make it out of the sanctuary before the tears started, but just as I reached the back wall, violent sobs overtook my body. I wept--for the moments we shared and the moments we never would. For my sisters and my dad. For her. For me.


In America, we have what is known as the Bill of Rights--ten constitutional amendments created by our forefathers, giving us the freedom to live our lives without fear of retaliation. A lot of excellent points are covered: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to a speedy trial and the right to bear arms. However, if I ever had the opportunity to stand before Congress, I would argue that we need an additional amendment.

Arguably, we need more than that--but today, I'm not talking about politics.

You have the right to grieve.

You have the right to protect your heart from additional wounds. 
Some years, I go to church on Mother's Day. Most years, I don't. For me, Mother's Day is just one of those occasions that has been difficult to publicly acknowledge. I make no apologies for handling it my way--you shouldn't either.

You have the right to cry. 
If you've ever found yourself on a grief journey, you know that some of the strangest things will bring you to tears. Once, I was at a barbecue and I cried because the potato salad reminded me of my mom's. Let the tears flow.

You have the right to take your time.
We live in a world of instant gratification. Modern technology has allowed us to speed up everything from cooking to communication. But there is no shortcut for grief. You have to allow yourself to feel everything--the hurt, the anger, the sadness and even the guilt--before you can find that place of true acceptance.

You have the right to laugh.
The beauty of grief is that it is not always sad. There are moments when I laugh so hard about some of my mom's quirks, which seem to have become mine. I write in the margins of books. I can't braid hair at all. I am a really bad driver, though I've never come close to taking out a gas pump. I have more pens in my purse than I will ever need in a lifetime...and I ALWAYS lose my keys. I am definitely Regenia's child.

You have the responsibility to help others. 
In the ninth grade, one of my favorite teachers sent for me during lunch. She asked me to talk to another one of her students whose mother had just died. I was nervous. What could I say that could possibly help this girl? I sat there for awhile, collecting my thoughts. Eventually, I started talking...and talking.....and talking. When I stopped, she didn't say anything. I was kicking myself for making the situation worse, but then she reached out and hugged me. In the midst of that hug, the lightbulb above my head clicked on and I finally understood.

In the past sixteen years, there have been times when my heart ached so much, I wanted to die.  I just didn't think I could handle anymore heartache and pain. But I made it--not because I'm so great or perfect, but only because I serve a God who loved me enough to save me from myself. My gratitude is in my service to others. I will always write about this. I will always talk to those who are going where I have already been. I will always lift up in prayer those who are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

I will always encourage, because I have been encouraged.

Whatever loss you are dealing with today--a family member or a friend; a job or a relationship--be encouraged. From one battered (and healed) heart to another, you can make it. That's your right too.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Show & Tell

I am so guilty of reading all of these silly articles, studies and tips about how to analyze a man’s behavior.

 If he stands on his right leg and rubs his belly four times, that means he likes you. If he blinks once, winks twice and whistles "Yankee Doodle," he's going to ask you to marry him by the end of the year!

Silly example, right? Well, that’s the way most of these articles actually read. We are bred to believe that a man is incapable of showing true love and affection; we must read between the lines. We become Love Detectives, searching for the no that really means yes.

Sound crazy? It is. 
Cosmo is making us nuttier than a fruitcake at Christmas.

Do me favor: the next time you're on a date, really listen to what he's saying. Look past that dazzling smile; try not to get blindsided by his cologne (Lord, help if it's Prada....) and really listen to the words coming out of his mouth.  Chances are, you'll hear one of the following phrases:

I’m not really looking for a relationship right now.
If you’re over the age of consent, you know exactly what this means. You can either accept his terms or gracefully bow out, because you are looking for a relationship. And sorry, sis--as great and fantastic as you are, you will not change his mind. He might want a relationship….eventually….possibly….maybe….

Just not with you.

I’m just having fun right now. A passive-aggressive variation on the first statement. Even though we know what this means (inbox me if you don’t), I like to play clueless to see if he’s going to admit it.

Fun? You mean we’re not having fun right now? *Blank Stare*

I don’t see myself getting married.
You can take it as an issued challenge if you want to, but odds are good that you will end up being The One Before The One. That, dear friends, requires a separate blog entry.

I don’t think children are for me. 
Self-explanatory….unless you just have an all-consuming desire to meet Maury Povich in person.

I don’t have any children. *three weeks later* So, I was taking my son to the zoo….
No. No. No. I happen to know a lot of fathers---older and younger; black and white; wealthy and not so wealthy. The ones who are involved in their childrens’ lives? Honey, you can’t shut them up. They show pictures, tell you what they did in school…everything you could ever want to know. Why? Because real dads are proud. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met.
This is one of the best compliments a man can give a woman(or vice versa). Graciously acknowledge it and move on. Don’t ask for a bulleted list on why he made that statement. That puts you right back in the everybody else category.

I’ll call you.
Trust me--no secret formula exists. If he says he’ll call you and he does, then he is indeed a man of his word. If he does not, he just showed you who he was. Believe him or not.

SN: Men who pick up the phone instead of hiding behind text messages will always have a special place in my heart.

I love you.

Not to be confused with:

Love ya.
Luv u.
I *heart* you.

Not sent in a text message.
Not posted on Facebook or Twitter.

 Real love. Cue Mary J. Blige (No Burger King, please).

 Be Encouraged, and feel free to add on to this list in the comment section.