Thursday, May 22, 2014

while this generation is playing XBOX, candy crush, or their favourite iPhone app, i'm sitting here reminiscing about the good ole days when we used to sit around the table and play board games. games like monopoly. risk. hungry hippo. scrabble. [insert your favourite game here].

remember clue? colonel mustard? miss scarlet? the conservatory?

i was baffled by the weapons mentioned in that game. i understood the revolver and knife thing; i could even make sense of the rope and the pipe, but the candlestick? i still can't wrap my mind around it. you better watch out; i'm gonna kill you with this ... tiny flame? and maybe, if you're lucky, hit you over the head after with this long piece of wax, even though the wrench [?] would make for a better option, or the revolver a quicker one.

of course, if the game were invented now, we'd have a whole slew of weapons we could add to the list. chainsaws. machetes. bombs. poison ...

our tongue.

what? our tongue? that's more absurd than a candlestick!

maybe. but while weapons have the power to take someone's life, a tongue has the power to kill one's self-esteem and damage their spirit.

proverbs 18:21 tells us that "the tongue has the power of life and death". in other words, what we say has the power to 1) tear down, or 2) build up.

1) [don't] tear down.

if your tongue was made of glass, would you watch what you say?
what if i told you that the words that you speak can cut any way?

yes, sticks and stones may break our bones, but names and words will hurt us, too.

i've been the subject of some pretty harsh words lately, and let me tell you that it takes a lot of work to combat what people say sometimes. there have been days like yesterday where all i keep reminding myself of is that famous "it's not the critic that counts" quote by teddy roosevelt. [if you haven't heard it, i suggest you look it up]. the truth is, there will always be critics. there will always be those people in our lives - or outside of them - who can't help but stick their nose in our business and critique anything and everything we say and do, people who misunderstand you, are jealous of you, or are driven by insecurity and have nothing better to do than make themselves feel better by putting you down.

truth be told, no matter how 'strong' you are, it is incredibly difficult to stop a negative word from affecting you. think about that the next time you're tempted to use your tongue as a weapon. [as always, i'm speaking to myself here, too].

2) [do] build up.

i know, i know. encouraging someone can be awkward and uncomfortable, but we have to be intentional about doing it any ways.

when's the last time someone looked you in the eye and spoke life into you? sent you a text saying how much you mean to them? wrote you a letter [a lost art] and let you know what they see in you?

for those who can recall the last time, how did it make you feel? like you were on top of the world, right? don't you want the people around you to feel the same way?

and for those of you can't remember the last time somebody encouraged you, you need to find different friends. kidding. but for real though, start today by encouraging yourself [YOUR words have power, too], and then move on to encouraging someone else.

the world would be a much better place if we all stopped using our tongues as weapons and started building each other up instead.

so what are you waiting for? get out there and encourage someone today!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

take a trip back with me to the end of 2013. i was sitting in jack astors with my bff and her kids and we were talking about what we expected in 2014; it was during this conversation that we all came up with a personal word that we wanted to adopt for the new year.

i chose the word ameliorate, which means, 'to make something unsatisfactory better; to become better'.

little did i know that this would mean that i would soon have to let go of a few unsatisfactory things in my life, in exchange for [soon to come] better things. [sometimes you have to let go of the good for the best].

so, a few months later, i quit my job.

truth be told, without going into too much detail, my job sucked the life out of me. working 50 hours/week, often until 3 or 4a.m. drained me, as did the demands of the job itself; it got to the point where all i did was work, and sleep, and work and sleep some more. so i quit, and i did so without having anything else lined up.

i've spent countless hours since job hunting, pounding out cover letters, filling out applications, emailing my resume, making calls, and showing up for countless interviews, and ... nothing has come of it. i can't wrap my mind around this, either. not only am i qualified for the jobs that i have applied to, but i have yet to walk away from an interview where i didn't connect with the interviewee and make him or her laugh in the process.

it's tough, you know. i've battled regret, wondering if i made the right choice in leaving my other job. i've wrestled with feelings of failure and rejection. i've stressed over money, been driven crazy by the boredom and loneliness that i feel on an almost daily basis, and i've relentlessly fought through a good share of hopeless days, and bouts of depression.

i was reading through a few of my journals today and oddly enough i came across pages upon pages of entries that were written during times similar to the season i find myself in today. now, while on one hand it's important to recognize patterns and cycles in our lives, grow from them, and do what we can to stop them from repeating, it's equally important to remind ourselves of the very fact that we got through them, too. and if we got through them then, we can get through them now.

"we assume life will go a certain way, and then it doesn't...and we find ourselves in a place we never would have imagined on our own. and so it was difficult and unexpected and maybe even tragic - and yet it opened us up and freed us to see things in a whole new way. suffering does that; it hurts, but it also creates..."

coming soon: part two: suffering creates.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

let me bring your attention back to a facebook status i posted in light of the most recent NBA/sterling scandal:

"no, sterling, NBA doesn't stand for 'No Blacks Allowed'. you're out of your league...and now you're out of ours. see ya. you've been clipped"

though a clever status if i do say so myself, i ended up taking it down a few hours later due to the fact that i felt like a hypocrite.

that's right, a hypocrite.

please hear me out. racism is wrong, very, very wrong. and so is what sterling said, but if we're all being honest, we all struggle [or have struggled] with some form of racism or prejudice towards people who are different from us.

maybe it's not 'as extreme' as what came out of sterling's mouth. maybe it came out of yours when you got cut off from a certain race when you were driving to work the other day ["certain races shouldn't be allowed to drive"], or for my serving friends, maybe your comment came out of your mouth the minute you saw a certain race sit in your section ["they shouldn't be allowed to eat out if they don't learn how to tip"], or maybe, just maybe, you fall into the "i bet he's a terrorist" category, or the "i'm going to cling to my boyfriend's arm when a certain race walks by at night" one. i don't know. but what i do know is that throwing stones isn't going to get us anywhere. especially if it prevents us from doing a heart check of our own.

is sterling's mindset off? absolutely. was what he said/implied wrong? for sure. but let's not forget that what he said was taped without his knowledge or permission. after all, how many of us would be in trouble if our thoughts were exposed for the whole world to hear, or if someone we knew backstabbed us like his girlfriend did him?

look, i know that this is a sensitive issue, not to mention a controversial one; my point in writing this blog isn't to make light of racism, or downplay what recently happened in the NBA, but to make us think about how quick we are to point fingers, and how slow we are to self-reflect.