Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"Love them...but don't live for them"

Isn't it a trip how we can spend so much time running towards (or away) from something/body and get so caught up in running that you don't realize that you've been going in circles? And when you do acknowledge your situation, you become aware that you are TIRED and DISAPPOINTED. Ever felt like that? Well if you have, you'll agree with me that it's not a laughing matter at all.

That is how I felt before I left for Thailand (vacation recap to be posted soon). I've NEVER been that far at the end of my rope in the family or professional sense, and I never want to go there again. Thankfully the peace, tranquility, and good times of the Thailand trip got me thinking a whole new way about how I'm going to maintain balance in my life.

I'm going to finally follow the advice so many people have offered me this past year. My wise friend Tarrance summed it up the best. Borrowing from the one and only Whitney Houston (who is the last person who should be quoted for self improvement but sista had it ON POINT with this statement):


THEM refers to a selection of people that I deal with amongst my family, friends, and professional career that, either unintentionally or maliciously, mercilessly drain my energy and resources with...for lack of a better term...bullshit. Immature, remedial, wasteful bullshit and drama. Basically, the people in your life that are messy as hell but you have to deal with anyway. Well, they all got together and decided to whoop my ass for a good while.

They (as in THEM) appear comfortable doing the same ol' shit on a different day, while I am all about making changes until I find that right formula that will afford me growth, peace of mind, and success. They can't understand why I can't be at their beck and call 24-7, and I can't understand why the hell they expect me to put my life on hold for grown ass people that refuse to take some initiative and handle their shit. Trying to be so much for so many people (without reciprocity) has caused me to suffer. My romantic life is nearly buried...grad school placed it on cardiac arrest, and messy family drama threatens to lower it into the grave. The friends and colleagues who have enhanced my life with affirmation and I enjoy spending time with have grown frustrated with me because I never have time for them. My body, both spiritually and definitely physically, has been repeatedly neglected. And for a period of time I wasn't very happy at the end of the day. I finally realized that I cannot continue to exhaust my efforts on others and expect to hold myself down in the process.

If I continue to live for them...they won't live for themselves.
If I continue to live for them...they will expect and demand more.
If I continue to live for personal life will always be a distant priority.
If I continue to live for them...I risk the future prosperity I've worked so hard for.
If I continue to live for them...I'll feel obliged to "be there" when I really can't.
If I continue to live for them...they are gonna wear me out!
If I continue to live for them...I'll forget to live for myself.
If I continue to live for them...I'll resent them in the end.
If I continue to live for them...I'll hate them for holding me back.

Instead of playing the helpless victim or lashing out in anger, I'm gonna take middle ground. I'm going to LOVE THEM, BUT LET THEM LIVE. What that means is, I'm going to continue being supportive and a source of encouragement, within very strict boundaries. Unrelenting boundaries. Not to be a bitch, but to ensure I attend to my own affairs first. No more sacrificing my basic needs and essential wants (ie. healthy food, sleep, exercise, social interaction) to "run to the rescue". If a true emergency surfaces, I'll put on my cape and blast off. If it's not a life alterating drama or catastrophe, I'm gonna keep my distance and FALL BACK. Give advice from afar. Let the chips fall where they may. And if I do decide to jump in the fray, it will be done per MY discretion and MY circumstances. I will not feel obligated to do anything just because "you're the smart one" or "I don't know how to deal his/her triflin' ass." If it ain't crucial, HANDLE IT YOUR DAMN SELF, and call me for reinforcements.


In addition to that, I'm gonna make taking care of me a #1 PRIORITY. I've learned the hard way that putting oneself first is not selfish, but very SHREWD. I mean, how the hell can you expect to shoulder the responsibilities and shortcomings of others if your foundation is weak? From this point forward, I'm dedicated to once again strengthening my foundation. My life has so much potential right now, but I'm not running at 100% right now. Sure, I have plenty of valid excuses....grieving, adjusting to school, new family responsibilities, and the like. I recognize this, but is it really keeping me from BRINGING MY A GAME? I think not. So now, it's all about building Jammie for greatness. Attack school and research with TENACITY just like I did before I got a nice cushy fellowship and got just a teeny bit complacent. People are watching me, so it's time to really SHOW THEM what I'm working with.

Master my biggest nemesis....TIME MANAGEMENT.

Use the time that you have to do what you have to do. If I have 5 hours of work scheduled, I focus on my tasks for 5 hours then it's a WRAP. None of this putting in 1-2 extra hours per day nonsense...I don't have time for that, and clearly these tight wallet assed UCLA folks are not paying for extra so they gets none. If I have 3 hours of study-time after dinner, finish your work in 3 hours then carry your ass to bed! None of this going until 1:00 or 2:00 am bullshitting on YouTube and expecting to just wake up hella chipper at 5:00 am to go the gym. Stop playing. The snooze button is not there for you to press 8 times, and you're trying to get back in 'college' shape. If I have successfully endured a notorious hours-long study jam on a Saturday afternoon and got my work done, there will be no half hearted attempts to pick it back up after dinner...YOU'RE DONE! Get in the shower, lotion up them ashy elbows and ankles (it's crucial, trust me :)), put on some fly evening attire, call up the kids, and get the hell out. Away from Westwood. The club, concert, poetry lounge, drumming class, whatever. Just use that time AWAY from the Mac Book. Have your behind back and under the covers by 2 am though because there will be no sleeping in most Sundays. Yeah yeah yeah, self-imposed micromanagement sucks, but hey I'm trying to be FABULOUS so there are sacrifices one must make.

Next thing is BE RESPONSIVE. If somebody calls me, I will call them back in a timely fashion. Even if it's a microwave conversation, recognize folks are looking out for you and exchange the gesture. If a guy shows interest and you are feeling him (or vice versa), DON'T PUNK OUT. The whole "I'm busy with school" schtick is TIRED. Answer calls, respond to e-mails, and if you get an opportunity for a date, you better JUMP ON IT (get into the double entendre)! I think we all know desirable men don't grow on trees, so you'd be a damn fool to sleep on a quality dude, I don't care how busy you THINK you are. Pull out that schedule and make it work!

So yes, it's time for me to step it up several notches . I love THEM, but I cannot live for them. I need to start living for ME. And what a greater time to start than NOW.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Almost there....t-minus 11 days to FREEDOM

Lord pray for me...cuz I'ma need some strengf right bout now...

It's official, UCLA has literally broken me down like an unsuspecting vixen in a Brian Pumper movie. It is really a mess actually. Mondays through Fridays, let's not include weekends, are all dedicated to not mastering my assignments and academic activities, but just to stay AFLOAT. Pretty much everything 'extra' (sleep, working out :(, social activities, my non-academic friends, family time) have taken a very distant backseat to this beast known as the Ph.D. monster (I like that, I think I'll keep it from now on).

So there we have it...I've gone toe to toe with the Ph.D. Monster for over 9 weeks, and I'm still standing. I've been performing quite well in all of my classes and my research, but I feel completely unbalanced. With 7 days of the academic quarter left and 4 days of research and other responsibiliities remaining, it's really CRUNCH TIME. I have no friggin' clue where this extra 'crunch' is gonna come from, but it's gonna go down and I will WIN!

One thing to look forward to though....i'll be enjoying my FREEDOM overseas for the winter break! Ya boy is headed to THAILAND! Yes sir, the vacation I've been waiting 3 years for is finally within grasp! I'll be spending 2 weeks and both winter holidays in subtropical Southeast Asian bliss! I'll post the itinerary at some point so y'all can gag, but keep in my that I have not had a REAL vacation in over 3 years and have saved all of my discretionary funds to make this trip happen. Don't hate! But yeah maybe I can get some tips from those of you that have been there before...cuz I know my behind hasn't even seen a rice paddy up close before, LOL.

But first, I must go 11 more rounds with the Ph.D. monster. He almost won tonight...I fell dead asleep after dinner and now have to start studying at 1 in the morning. See what I mean by this whole 'plantation' schtick? Whether it be 9 am, 2 pm, (or in this case) 1 pm, if you got work to do, you must step up and get it done. And if you don't get it done, somebody is gonna whoop your ass something fierce...Sigh...pray for me y'all.

I do know one thing....I will have some serious planning to do next quarter to ensure my life stays in proper balance. It's amazing how inconsiderate of your time certain people can be, and now I see that every moment is precious and allows no room for unnessary bullshit and tombfoolery. But that's another post all by itself. In due time.

Ok, gotta hit it and hit it hard! I was serious about the prayers, y'all! I'm sitting here clutching my rosary beads like a queen would clutch his/her pearls and I'm not even a CATHOLIC! Cah-learly it's crucial!