Author: like black butterflies

Book 2: Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person-Shonda Rhimes

I just finished Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, and it took me all of a week to do so. I probably could’ve sat down and read it in a couple days if it weren’t for those pesky responsibilities like classes, running errands, walking the dog…But the point is, IT WAS EVERYTHING! I read this book at just the right time, as I’m just starting my own “year of yes” of sorts. It’s not really the same thing, but I decided to make the end of my twenties a journey to the start of my thirties, and I set some benchmarks for myself. So really, it’s nothing at all like Shonda’s “year of yes,” except in the regard of saying ‘yes’ to myself more often–as in prioritizing myself and the things I want and need. But one of these benchmarks is to read 30 books by 30, all Black women authors, hence the title of this post (I should probably go back and write something about Book 1, because it too was excellent). Anyway, I …

Don Miguel Ruiz, Agreement Two

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering -Don Miguel Ruiz, from The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) Certainly words to live by…if only they were so easy to embody.

That time I KonMari’d My Life…

In February 2016 I came across The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, aka the KonMari Method, reading it during my ample daily down time. I don’t remember now what compelled me to try it, but doing it was absolutely worth it. First of all, I don’t think I realized how many things I had. I live in a pretty small house and it’s not as if my belongings were all over the place, but I still had far more things than I actually used, and many that I really didn’t like once I had to actually consider her central philosophy: does this bring me joy? I followed the directions almost exactly as they were laid out: looking through clothes first, then books, papers, and miscellany/komono in the designated order  (CDs/DVDs, skin care, makeup, accessories, valuables, electronics, household equipment, household supplies, kitchen goods, other).  And I also did as told, to collect all the spare change I find and put it one spot to count later. The discard/donate process went fairly quickly, it was reorganizing and …

Excerpt: “Shifting, Chapter 3”

Much of the shifting that Black women do is motivated by a wish, sometimes conscious, sometimes not, to confront, transcend, and hopefully defeat the ugly myths and stereotypes that so many in society continue to hold about them. Many women have developed ways of acting, talking, and dressing that conform to White middle-class norms of behavior and thus may help debunk and unravel discriminatory myths. Many feel pressure not just to meet White cultural codes but to exceed them. A number of women, for instance, talk about how educational achievement is a way of reversing the myths of inferiority. They say that they constantly emphasize their academic and professional achievements in order to be taken seriously by White people. —Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America, pp. 67-68; Charisse Jones & Kumea Shorter-Gooden, PhD

Letting Go of “I’ll Show You!”

Being an overachiever often means an inescapable feeling of inadequacy. Couple that with being a Black woman in the US, and you’ve got a recipe for pathologically setting unrealistically high expectations followed by harsh self-criticism when you inevitably don’t meet those expectations. As a kid, being an overachiever usually meant reaching a predetermined goal that everyone insists is the most important thing to focus on: get a high GPA, get a grade level ahead in certain subjects, get high scores on the state test, get involved in extracurricular activities and become the leader of at least one of them…I could go on. And the way to achieve those goals were straightforward: you read this book, memorize those facts, learn that equation, conjugate that verb, study for that test, etc. etc. There was no mystery, one step followed the next. There was pretty much only one path forward. Is this a gross oversimplification? Sure, but for me, this was as uncomplicated as it got. Do ABC and get XYZ. But, the feelings of inadequacy always came, because …