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Putting the CL on that ASS!

A Bernie's Daughter Thing

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Where Are You Lacking?

Happy Friday!  It’s been said in a really important book that before you remove the beam from your neighbors eye, try removing the plan from your own eye first.  I always thought that was a caution to refrain from judging others. While I think it is, I’m understanding now that it’s also about recognizing that what you see in another just may be a reflection of you.

I was reminiscing with a friend about how my dad had a time reconciling that he had money and didn’t have to scrape to make ends meet.  It was funny watching him until I really empathized with him.  I understand that he struggled because while he had become financially well-off, he was still mentally in a space of lack. I also recognized that while I didn’t do that financially, I did do that in my relationships.  It’s interesting to see where that lack mindset shows up–and it does show up for a lot of us. Where has it shown up for you?

Moving on to Peace

Hey! How ya doing? Good to see ya.  Glad to be here.  Sorry it’s been so long.  And let’s not forget, Happy Friday!  I know it’s been a long time.  And honestly, I really want to get better at being more consistent.  It’s been an interesting journey through life thus far.  I keep finding myself in these stages of growth and when that happens, I need to take steps back and process.  So that’s what I’ve been doing.  But I had to share this video because I got a lot of feedback (unexpected feedback at that) about something I said on Wednesday.  Wednesday was the 9th anniversary of the day my dad died and I said something about that day and people really seemed to resonate with it so I felt led to share this.  I hope it helps whoever needs to hear it.  Enjoy your day and your weekend!

This Is Us Really Is Us

So can we talk about last night’s episode of This Is Us?  I have long since become a huge fan of the show and I am not ashamed to admit that I cry at every single episode. Every. Single. One. Each episode touches me in a way that makes me think they can’t possibly make me cry any harder than I did on the previous one.  Yet, they prove me wrong each time.  They did not fail to up the ante yet again with last night’s episode titled, Memphis.

In this episode, we found our beloved Randall taking a cross-country trip (even though he’d told his wife it wasn’t a cross-country trip) to take his ailing biological father William to his old stomping ground of Memphis.  It was significant for both of them because William was dying of Stage 4 stomach cancer and this is on the heels of Randall’s nervous breakdown from the previous week.  If you follow the show, you know that Randall was adopted by Jack and Rebecca because William and Randall’s mother were drug addicts, so William left baby Randall at a fire station.  They reunited in the first episode when adult Randall showed up unannounced on William’s door step.  Since then, we’ve watched their relationship evolve from strangers to a more intimate father/son relationship.

Last night’s episode was so moving for many different reasons but for me, it was a beautiful vision of what I wish I could have had to experience with my father.  Death is an interesting part of life.  We all know it’s going to happen, yet we are ill prepared when it does occur.  I loved that Randall was able to spend his father’s dying days with him, learning about him, growing with him, and even usher him into his dying breath.  It was so beautiful.  And it brought me to tears.  I was a blubbering mess in my bed.  I cried sad tears for Randall because he was losing another dad, and right when the getting was getting good.  I cried for William because he got to end his life on a happy note.  At the end, he told Randall that he didn’t have a happy life, yet the two things that were good to him were the person at the beginning and the person at the end.

And through all of my tears, I couldn’t miss that there was a part of me crying for myself. Entertainment can provide us with such a gift, and that is the ability to shine a light on some of the realest, most intimate parts of life.  I can think of no more intimate part of life than death and dealing with the death of a loved one–particularly a parent.  The writer of This Is Us gave us all (well let me speak for myself) me such a gift because it provided a glimpse into a real  moment of a relationship.  We got to see a father and a son have honest, yet difficult dialogue about life and death.  It can be so difficult to have those conversations, but I truly believe that they are so worthwhile.

While watching, I recalled the moment my father died and I wished I could have had those moments with my dad. For a long time, I felt that I was robbed of that moment.  My dad was feeling under the weather one day, went to the doctor and next thing I know I was getting a call that he was on a ventilator after going through sepsis.  He remained on that ventilator for three weeks.  He was sedated for the duration of those three weeks as well.  We never got a chance to talk.  I didn’t get to ask him questions or tell him how I felt.  The closest we came to that was during week 3 when he awoke for a moment.  He was still on the ventilator, so he couldn’t speak, but he mouthed the words to me, “I’m dead.”  I didn’t take him seriously because he would speak like that when he was sick.  I brushed it off, but he shook his head No and mouthed the words again.  He even went limp to show me what it would look like.  I laughed because I didn’t want it to be true.  While I always say I didn’t realize he was warning me, if I’m honest, I’ll admit that I knew he was telling the truth.  But I wasn’t ready then to admit that so I dismissed him and hoped he was wrong.  He died two days later. He didn’t get to die surrounded by mom and me.  No, instead he died alone in a room with doctors.  He didn’t get the peaceful transition that William received.  He crashed several times, was revived each time, until that final one where he just would not return.  That haunted me for years.  I wanted closure. I wanted to have been able to hold his hand, kiss his cheek, and tell him it’s ok.  Since I never got the chance, I have envisioned how our final conversation would have gone if we’d been given the chance.  I feel like it would have gone something like this . . .

Dad:  Well Boops, it’s been real. But I gotta go.

Me:  Wait, don’t go yet!  There’s still so much more I want to talk to you about.

Dad:  Now what did I tell you? Be strong. I’ll always be with you.  You’re going to be fine. Take care of my granddaughter. Watch your back and be strong for your mama.  I’m counting on you.

Me:  Wait, you’re dying and THIS is what you have to say to me?  Not I love you.  Not I’m proud, but be strong?

Dad: I just can’t do right by you. Can I, Je’Niece?  I’m dying and  I still just can’t do right by you.  I told you before, I’m a hard man and I don’t make no bones about that.  Now I said I gotta go.   

Me:  Well dang, fine!  But don’t be a stranger.  And since you won’t say it, I will.  I love you, Man.  

Dad: I love you more.  

But I never got that moment. So I’ll have to live vicariously through Randall and William. It was a beautiful moment so I can live with that.  Thank you to the writers of This Is Us.  I cried some of the ugliest tears I’ve ever cried, but you gave me such a gift with each tear.

Silencing My Inner Critic

A very warm and joyous Friday to you!  I am still riding my high from the weekend and I’ve decided to consciously choose to live on this high for the rest of my life.  I say that with the full understanding that life is going to happen and every moment won’t necessarily be a pleasant one.  However, I recognized that allowing myself to get overwhelmed to the point that I need a get away doesn’t serve me well.  I recognized a lot this weekend.  One of the things that became glaringly obvious to me was the way that I speak to myself.  I caught myself and I actually cringed.  I asked myself, Why do you speak this way to yourself? and I recognized that it was my inner critic speaking.  My inner critic was a harsh one.  But I had to have a sit down with her and I think it was the start of a beautiful ending of a relationship.

 

Better Late Than Not At All

There is a tremendous amount of pressure that exists to “have it all together.” A huge part of having it all together lies in having a career. And if that pressure wasn’t enough, just wait cause there’s more!  Yes, there’s even more pressure to have all your stuff together by the time you reach adulthood–which  depending on whom you ask, can be anywhere between 18-30. The 20s can be an incredibly stressful time because many spend this time trying to have it all together while simultaneously figuring themselves out. There is a pervasive belief that one should definitely have it all together by the time one is 30. So it can be incredibly disheartening to find oneself at 30 (or beyond), still hoping to “arrive” at this place. I understand it all too well. I’m 37 and I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. And for a long while, I placed a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to have it figured out. I expected that I should have this glowing career by now. And for a time, I felt inferior to others because I didn’t.  Well, I now know that one of my first missteps was operating under the should mandate. You know that mandate. That’s the one that dictates how you are to conduct yourself as an elite member of the Worldwide Federation of Adulthood.

Unfortunately, we don’t realize that we’re setting ourselves up for extreme disappointment by hanging on to this mandate. By believing and abiding by the shoulds, we make it easy to become disappointed, depressed, and down right despondent with life. I know, because I’ve been there. I was depressed for years, due in part to the fact that I hadn’t arrived yet. I finally forgave myself and allowed myself to recognize that there is no place to arrive. As a wonderful woman I know said, “I am in a race with no one but myself.” And while that doesn’t mean I have all the time in the world this physical life has to offer, it does mean that I do have some time to figure things out and make them happen. Circumstances are so temporary, and where I am today is not necessarily indicative of where I can be a year or so from now.

It got me to thinking. Since we are all more alike than we allow ourselves to recognize, I figured I couldn’t be the only person in the world to gain success or walk into my passion later in my life. And you know what? I’m not. So here’s a list of fellow late bloomers.  These are some people who are considered extremely successful in their line of work, and they all have a very common trait.  None of them actualized this so-called success until later in their life.

Julia Child didn’t learn to cook until she was in her 40s and she didn’t star in her famous cooking TV show until she was in her 50s.

Alan Rickman (film star probably best known for his role as Snape in the Harry Potter movies) didn’t get his first film role until he was 46.

Stan Lee wrote his first comic, The Fantastic Four, right before he turned 39. He didn’t start writing his most well known comic books until he was 43.

Toni Morrison published her first novel (The Bluest Eye) at age 40 (and she was a mother who was single).

Morgan Freeman got his break out role (Glory) when he was 52.

Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when “Little House on The Big Prairie,” the first installment of her highly popular children’s books was published. The last book of the series hit shelves when she was 76.

Rodney Dangerfield’s big break didn’t come until he was 46, when he was booked as a last minute replacement for an act that cancelled on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Vera Wang didn’t start designing clothes until she was 40, after she had “failed” at a figure skating career, and even as an editor at Vogue magazine.

J.K. Rowling was 32 when Harry Potter was published. And this was after she was rejected by 12 different publishers.

Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get an award-winning role (Jungle Fever) until he was 43.

While Steve Jobs formed a successful company in his twenties, he was booted from it. He didn’t find success again until he was in his mid thirties.

Actress Jane Lynch didn’t receive a noticeable role (Best in Show) until she was 43.

Harrison Ford was a carpenter who was hired to make cabinets for George Lucas before he was cast in the lead in Star Wars. He was 33.

Gene Hackman starred in his breakout role (Buck Barrow in “Bonnie and Clyde”) when he was 37.

Lucille Ball wasn’t popular until she created the “I Love Lucy” show at the age of 40.

Estelle Getty didn’t become a household name until she was 62, after starring as Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls.

Kathy Bates was 42 when she starred in Misery and garnered mass attention for her acting skills.

While she’d been acting on Broadway for years, Phylicia Rashad didn’t gain notoriety as an actress until she was cast as Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show at the age of 35.

Larry David was 41 when he collaborated with Jerry Seinfeld to craft one of the most iconic TV shows  (Seinfeld) in television history.

Phyllis Diller was 37 when she started her stand up career.

Duncan Hines was 55 when he wrote his first food and hotel guide. He licensed the right to use his name to the company that developed Duncan Hines cake mixes when he was 73.

My Daddy.  Oh how could I not add my Dad to this list?  My dad was 33 when he appeared on Def Comedy Jam for the first time.  He was 34 when he appeared the second time to perform his now famous “I ain’t scared of you!” routine. He didn’t begin his acting career until a year later at 35. And he was 42 when The Bernie Mac show made its television debut.

So if you’re reading this and you were feeling a bit down about your place in life, fret not. You are not alone. And you should count yourself fortunate.  You have some pretty good company with you.  I hope this helps you to remember that all is certainly not lost, as you are probably exactly where you need to be. Your place today is simply a stepping stone for you to create the life of your dreams.  And know that you absolutely CAN go on to create the life of your dreams. So here’s to us: The late bloomers. Better late than never, my friends. Cheers!

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