Monday, December 17, 2012

ARCHIVE: I Like Metaphors.

The one thing constant in my life over the past few years has been my poor judgement in selecting friends. I wrote this slightly passive aggressive post earlier this year that speaks to a few friendships I had at the time---metaphorically.

originally posted here on April 26, 2012 

I’ve noticed lately that I have more accessories than staple pieces. Instead of filling my wardrobe with the essentials (jeans, the classic white shirt or black pumps), I was out here racking up on accessories (necklaces, flashy rings, bracelets..that neon clutch that will only be useful a few times). But then again, who likes shopping for jeans? Not only do they cost you more money, but you also have to invest the time to try on several pair (to ensure they fit). On top of that, you may even have to go to several stores.  
Whereas with accessories, they tend to be significantly less expensive and are easily replaceable when broken. Lowkey, they’re a bit more fun to shop for. The downside however, is that although you may find that really cute ring that seems to go with every outfit…you know, eclectic enough to give a boring outfit some life but tame enough to wear to work. The problem is that after awhile it gets a little tarnished. 
Being the kind of person I am, I’ll still try to rock it but then it gets so bad that sometimes I’m like, “Alexis, really?” From a distance it still looks good and then if someone gets a little too close you’re now trying to hide your hand in your pocket. Not only that, but it grows so dingy that it doesn’t even match with the gold hoops you originally bought it to go with. So, although you and this ring had some good times, it’s time to say goodbye. No hard feelings, you just buy another cheap ring (probably from F21) and keep it pushing.
I said all that to say, I’m over all of the cheap trendy accessories. I’ve decided to invest in something of higher quality…like a new pair of jeans.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Philanthropic Obligation?

As a piggy back to my post the other day titled, Everyone Feels Entitled To Respect These Days...

I had a random thought today about how people feel entitled to hand outs from big corporations. There's always this discussion around businesses that don't do enough for the communities they serve and I just what Better Business Bureau handbook does it say companies have to give x% of their revenue to a charitable organization? My thought would be that taxes cover their debt to society.

Now, before I get hate mail--- as touched upon in my Pay It Forward post, there should be some internal feeling of obligation or duty to serve your community. However, this should not be mandated and people should not judge companies based on what they do outside of their actual purpose.

Charity (n): The practice of charity means the voluntary giving of help to those in need who are not related to the giver. Wikipedia
The keyword being "voluntary." Unless a businesses is in the business of charity. It is not their job to give back to their community. It's nice. But, if you're in the business of selling's your business to sell cars, not get behind the cause for drunk driving (for example). Forcing someone, or a company in this case, to donate takes away the sincerity of the act.

I don't really have an extensive opinion on the matter, at least not one that I care to share. This has just been something that's been bothering me lately. I feel that businesses are often times held to this moral compass and maybe it's just added confusion that comes from this trend of humanizing brands.


Monday, December 3, 2012

It's Not What You Know, It's Who You Know

I had a brief chat with my Uncle this evening and in explaining some new ventures, this phrase came up.

I've never doubted the validity of this statement. I mean my career was jumpstarted by this very fact. I think I've always just needed to work on 1) tapping into my network and 2) being more social in order to increase my network.

I oftentimes pass up the opportunity to be out and social and who knows how many doors have been closed from my failure to mingle.

I was inspired recently by the Cole Haan #dontgohome campaign. On the trains here in New York, there is a series of ads with sayings like, "No good story ever started, 'It was cold, so I stayed inside...'" And my personal favorite, "You didn't move to NYC to stay home."

It made me think. I've always been one to tell people that my New York experience is not permanent, yet here I was forgetting that there's been this imaginary clock ticking away this entire time.

It brings to question whether I'm fully utilizing the city for all that it has to offer. I think of how when people come to visit they jam-pack their 3-4 day trips full of activities because they never know if or when they will come back. Whereas, here I am taking the fact that I live in this city for granted when just like them my stay is not intended to be permanent.

Ive always wondered how people from New York can be anything less than great. This city is full of untapped possibility and an endless flow of resources. My degree of separation from all the people I've ever wanted to meet or work with has literally gone down to 2 degrees, in some cases 1.

Yet, I fall victim to this never ending pattern of complacency and speak mediocrity on myself--convincing myself that I'm not where I need to be to close the gap on that 1-2% of separation.

As stated in the subject, it's not what you know it who you know and I need to craft a plan to get out of my own way and become the person I set out to be when moving here.

Jill Scott's "Golden" randomly began playing while I was writing this. The signs are everywhere. It's my season.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Complete Your Work In Me: Gospel Motivational Playlist

I decided to share ten of my favorite Gospel motivational songs to accompany my previous post:

  1. Striving - Dave Hollister
  2. Triumphant - VaShawn Mitchell
  3. Complete The Work - Florida A&M University Gospel Choir
  4. Encourage Yourself - Donald Lawrence And The Tri-City Singers
  5. Go Get It - Mary Mary
  6. Praise Him In Advance - Marvin Sapp
  7. No Defeat - Hezekiah Walker & LFC
  8. He's Able - Kirk Franklin and Family
  9. Joy Will - Pastor Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Choir
  10. We're Blessed - Fred Hammond & Radical For Christ

The full playlist is available here on Spotify. Enjoy!

My Ambitionz As A Writer

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." - James 1: 2-4 

I've taken the route of being raw with my readers. No holds barred.

A lot of blogs I read tend to beat around their own personal truths and give hypothetical scenarios. But, I want the people who read what I write to connect to my journey and in order to do so, it needs to be truthful. You never know who you might reach with what you put out into the universe. I feel we all experience trials and tribulations in order to not only make us wiser and stronger, yet to also have a testimony that makes us relatable to others.

I wrote a post a bit back on the shock of the expenses that come from living alone and it seems every time money comes in, more is having to be shelled out and I just am not understanding. I received a pay increase a few months back and seeing the number on paper is about the only impact I've seen from said increase.

In my industry, the norm tends to be to hop around in search of higher pay. But, I've tried to remain faithful to the philosophy of doing what you love and the rest following. Also, I actually like my job and I haven’t wanted to sacrifice that for more money.

In addition to that, I'm also a spiritual person. So, I often have talks with God. One of my number one prayers (outside of good health and well being for my family, friends, and myself) is financial stability and general understanding in regards to life.

I like to think that I'm a go-getter and that I work for my blessings, yet I'm not sure if that's true. Actually, I know that it's not. I've been getting a multitude of signs and I’m interpreting that to mean that I am not taking the proper actions to fulfill my destiny. I feel that as a result of that, I’ve been dealt these hardships in an effort for God to break me from a cycle of complacency.

From the outside, people tend to believe I'm doing well for myself. I have a good job, I make a decent income, I took a leap and left home for the “big city”, I'm living on my own and whatever else people who look at my life think is an accomplishment. And for the average 24 year old, I think the above is great. Yet, for Alexis, it’s just a nice start.

I don’t want this to come across as me believing that God punishes us to get his point across, but I think he reaches us in the ways he sees most effective. I'm a hustler (by nature)...being with nothing motivates me to do better. Yet, in recent years, I’ve had the basics sort of lined up for me. The average level of success is something that has typically always come easily. Yet, the journey to greatness is exactly that. A journey.

Prior to the increase mentioned above, I had a severe level of dissatisfaction with my career. I found reason after reason as to why I could be, should be, and needed to be better. I began carving different avenues that would help me to be great and then the increase came along with some slight changes in my work situation and I accepted that as my reward. I dead ended all of the avenues I was once pursuing and now looking back I realize that hindsight is always 20/20. I now believe that I could have potentially been baited back on the path of complacency.

A lot of this thought stemmed from the rapid succession of people in my life turning twenty-five. It reminded me that my own birthday is just around the corner. It also reopened the floodgates of the pressure I felt on the eve of my twenty-forth birthday (reposted here):

For the past twenty-three years of my life, I was afforded the luxury or time and it’s been socially acceptable for me to take baby steps and watch my life just happen. But now, I feel like time is gone and if I don’t make things happen in this next year of my life that it’s never going to happen and I’m risking being just another person who once had a dream but did nothing about it. 
I don’t know how many chances we’re given in this life to succeed or get it right. I just know that I can’t continue on the path that I’m on and I’m thankful for my current struggle for being a the push I needed to get my act together.

There’s no resolve at the conclusion of this post. I’m just sharing where I am on my journey and the lesson’s I’m learning in the process. If you’re reading this, I hope that you are able to take inspiration from it and be able to apply it to your own situation. I was recently inspired by a Youtuber that I subscribe to, D3zira3. Although her current struggle is not my own, I was able to apply it to my own situation and reinforce that...

“...weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” - Psalm 30:5

ARCHIVE: 24 Candles

originally posted here on February 21, 2012 on the eve of my Twenty-Forth birthday

I’ve felt so much pressure with this approaching birthday. Every minute that has ticked away on the clock has brought me closer to twenty-four. Just typing this makes me feel old, unfulfilled, and pressed for time. I’ve been living my life based on a timeline of events/milestones I should hit by a particular age (most falling around the twenty-five year mark) and being that I feel as though so much hasn’t been accomplished it has me feeling a ridiculous amount of anxiety.

I was watching Bethenny Ever After not too long ago and she talked about how she was finally living the life she had always planned for herself at forty. FORTY! I don’t want to live life as I’m living it now for the next ten + years! And you know what someone reading this is thinking right now? If you want something to happen before forty, you need to start doing things and making away for yourself now. Which embodies why I suddenly feel this insurmountable amount of pressure. Pressure to be great, to not let my dreams die, to have impact on society, to not fall victim to complacency and allow myself to be pigeon holed in a direction I’m not necessarily trying to grow in, etc. etc.

The issue (well, challenge) is that in order for the above to play out, there is so much that is required of me. For the past twenty-three years of my life, I was afforded the luxury or time and it’s been socially acceptable for me to take baby steps and watch my life just happen. But now, I feel like time is gone and if I don’t make things happen in this next year of my life that it’s never going to happen and I’m risking being just another person who once had a dream but did nothing about it.

Tomorrow, I will be twenty-four. Sigh.

The Little Things In Life

New York living has definitely fostered within me an appreciation for the "little things" in life.

1. Doing Laundry 
To think, I would throw a fit when my mom would ask me to carry my dirty clothes from my bedroom to the laundry room.  Today, I would wash the laundry of someone other than my own, if doing so would allow me to trade in a three minute walk, train ride, calloused hands, and $12 dollars just to complete my linens and 1 load of clothes.

2. A Seat During Transit 
I used to complain having to travel 30 minutes to visit my friends who lived across town. Now, it takes 15-20 just to meet up with some 2 avenues over and around the corner. Not only that, but at least I had a seat on my previous 30 minute commute. Whereas now, I have to play the role of a gentleman and stand the entire trip because people in New York obviously weren't taught to give up their seat for the elderly, disabled, or women & children.

3. Grocery Shopping 
My mom dragging me to the grocery store was miserable. Since it was just her & I, outside of Publix trips (someone accompanies you to the car), I complained 6/10 times about having to load and unload the car.

Oh, how I wish that was all I had to do nowadays. Trips to the store now entail me figuring out how to rig a shopping cart to go outside of the radius before the wheels lock up. In the case I have money to blow - hustle my way into a cheaper cab fare. If not, a repeat of my public transit struggle - take into consideration however far I had to travel to get there. Then, once I arrive at my destination, not only do I have to unload a car (or walk 4-5 blocks from the train). I am also tasked with making multiple trips up and down two flights of stairs.

4. Chipping In On Gas 
This could start the biggest of arguments! Don't let one of your friends ask you for $5 to travel with her/him all the way across town to a friend's house to pregame, then downtown to go to the club, the back across town to Waffle House, then to drop you back to your house.

It costs me $40 alone just to get from midtown Manhattan to where I stay in Brooklyn. It's roughly $20 just to travel 15 minutes within Brooklyn. So, if someone were to ask me to "chip in"to go somewhere...I'd probably tip them and pay their cover for the club.

5. Going To The Club
The DJ could play all but one of the songs I wanted to hear (probably some random track from whatever mixtape I'd been listening to) and it would put a damper on my whole night. Now, I'm lucky to hear a song by someone from the South period! Not to mention, when they do play snippets of southern classics (for example: Back That A** Up), they switch the song before the best verse (using the same example, Wayne's verse) comes on. Yet, they can play the entire Junior Mafia album from start to finish including the interludes.

I used to be annoyed at guys running up on me to dance. Now, not only do they not dance at all, but they creepily lurk until you finally sense an eerie presence and look in their direction.

Having to pay a cover to get into some place is one thing, but now I get hit with mandatory coat checks --because clearly I control the weather and decided to make it 13 degrees below zero outside.

These are just a few examples of the joys of living in New York City. All I’m saying is, the grass isn’t necessarily always greener.