“…nobody would fall because everyone would be each others’ crutches.” –Jay Z, “Feelin’ It”

Hi.

Let me start by saying this…I’m not going to promise to post more often. I’m not going to say that I’ll do this and this or that and that. I’m not going to offer excuses or explanations. I’ve been living. When I feel inspired and life slows down enough for me to write, I’ll write. If it doesn’t, I won’t. I’m going to stop making that promise.

Now, on with the show.

I’m happy.

I could end there, but that wouldn’t be much of a post would it. Let me start again, 30 owes me nothing. If everyday from here on out until 31 was filled with bologna sandwiches and Scandal-less tv, I wouldn’t complain (well…hopefully. I shouldn’t complain. That would be more honest). I’ve had some wonderful things happening in my career (which I’m not at liberty to share), I’m honestly happy with myself as a person, and I’m in a relationship that feels nothing like I’ve ever felt, and I feel blessed by it all. God has kept his eye on me, and I am forever thankful. 

But this isn’t what is making me ultimately happy.

I mean sure…it’s 90%. But what is making me happy is that my friends are finding their happy too. We have seen each other at some interesting lows, and seen glimpses of what highs look like. It’s awesome that I have a friend making waves in her dream, another who is a semester away from hers, another who can probably kick through a door legitimately if need-be, several bosses in their careers, and more awesome mommies and talented chicks than I can count. I’m happiest that the people I’ve chosen to be my family – my friends – are coming up too. Even if some are still climbing their mountain, they should know someone else has got lemonade on chill for them, right?

Even though I won’t tie this to a specific episode of Sex and the City, this is ultimately what the entire show is about: being there for your friends through it all. Happy in their happies, and wiping tears in their sads. Seeing in them what life has blinded them to in themselves, and throwing the confetti when that picture comes in HD. So I could talk about love and have a laundry list of things I’ve learned about myself and why he’s the best ever, but this moment is not the time for that particular revelation. I’m happy. I’m happy for me. I’m happy for them. I’m happy for us. And this “us” is my friends.

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Love you ladies.

–V

Yep…I didn’t complete the #31WriteNow challenge…but more on that another day. Today I want to talk about what has been on my mind all day.

One of my favorite (non-hair) blogs is VerySmartBrothas. Last week, one of the site’s contributors shared a 100-word insight on love that he originally posted on another blog.

Please go read it. I’ll wait…..

Read it? Good.

Language aside, it was one of the most poignant and truthful things I’ve ever read. I can completely understand. One of the things I’ve found that came with this all-encompassing happiness from the relationship I’m in wais an ever-present dreading. It feels scary to love someone so much that you become obsessed over how you would deal if they were no longer there. I literally think things such as, “A random drunk driver could change my life and I don’t know how I’d bear it.”

That sucks.

It’s like, I could have an awesome day, a wonderful weekend, and as I’m thinking about it in happiness, this random thought creeps in where if he says he’s about to run to the store for peppermints, I’m dang near hyperventilating. What the what??! This has never happened before. I understood concern for someone taking flights (“Text AS SOON AS you land!!”) or road trips (“Stop texting me and drive!!”), but I’ve never been concerned about Target. Or an outside run. Or lunch (who knows what really leads to cancer these days…). It’s mind-boggling.

What amazes me is that I’ve been in four relationships before now…only two of those being serious…and I’ve never felt this way before. I’d never had this level of concern. Yeah, everyone gets the obligatory “be careful” if they are doing things that requires carefulness, but not the “Please don’t fall getting out of the shower and hit your head on the toilet and black out” type of concern. I imagine that new parents feel the same way.

the-domino-effect-1024In Season 6, “The Domino Effect”, Carrie spends an evening with a visiting Big. He mentions over dinner that he’s in town for heart surgery, and without controlling it, she bursts into tears. It happened again when she visited him in the hospital, and again when she mentioned the reason for his visit to her friends. It was probably the most telling of any relationship she’d ever been in…and she technically wasn’t in one then. She genuinely cared, and the thought that something could happen to him had shaken her to her core. She normally only reserved that type of emotion for the girls. But Big was Big. And he got in. Even though the end of the episode left a lot to be desired on her part, Carrie knew where her feelings were…where they always had been.

I’ll say this, it’s not my hope to start worrying about if caterpillars will mutate and suck the life out of my beloved, but I do know that this is a tell for how much he means to me. Only God can protect him, so I have to let Him do just that. But, one of the best feelings in the world is when I see him walk in the door, and I know he’s safe……………. and with me.

Have you ever experienced this? WHY DIDN’T YOU WARN ME?? How did you handle it? Let me know!

Love,

–V

I haven’t forgotten about you. Between turning 30 (which was awesome, and thank you so much for the spectacular well wishes!), work being back in session with a vengeance, a legion of meetings outside of my teaching responsibilities, church activities, and having the time to stop and enjoy my relationship…ya girl has been busy. And sleepy. Very very sleepy. So I took seven days off from writing, but I’m still here. Say, “Hello Atlanta!” Lol, ;-)

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But trust me…I am still one happy girl. I’m happy with where I am. I’m typing this from my phone in a meeting, taking notes and asking questions, but still wanting to express myself. Yesterday, a friend sent a song to me that she said reminded her of myself and my road to 30. The song is “I Choose” by India.Arie. Check the chorus:
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Preach India! This reminded me of when Carrie turned 35 with a less than positive outlook. She had to admit something from her heart that her mind wished wasn’t truth: that she wanted a special man to celebrate with. Having her friends made her life wonderful, but they didn’t fill that companionship void. It wasn’t until Big showed up with champagne and red balloons that she felt better (here’s a Vivienne note: this is when I figured they would end up together. I’m pretty sure I’ll make this a post.)

Then I thought about when one of my closest friends turned 30. She wasn’t looking forward to it and she has a wonderful husband and beautiful children. However, her career wasn’t what she wanted. This is when it occurred to me that this song was relatable. Authenticity to who you are makes a difference. What is important to me may not be as valuable to someone else. But if it’s important to me…it’s important. Pretending it’s not just leaves feelings of discontentment. You can’t forget about yourself and YOUR values. And you can’t judge what’s important to you by what is important to others. Choose.

So… I’m choosing. Choosing to focus on being my best self. Choosing to want to be the best Vivienne, daughter, friend, girlfriend, future wife, and/or future mom that I can. Because I started thinking that way, I embraced 30 with open arms and snacks, lol. I love that life started falling into place and allowed me to see me clearly. I won’t forget about V.

Any areas where you’re choosing your best you…or want to? Share.

Love,
-V
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Today is my birthday. That is all.

#Hello30.

Love,

-V

Today was the first day of school. It felt different. I didn’t have the random 2-2:30 am wake up that I normally have at the start of every – my clear indicator of nerves. I didn’t spend the previous night deciding what outfit would make me look professional and jazzy – an ideal I wanted conveyed to my students. I didn’t try to fall asleep earlier than I have been all summer – which, granted, has been earlier than the 4 to 5 AMs of summers past. I ate my final piece of birthday cake (yo…that thing was good. Pretty…and good), drove back to my side of town, watched tv, and laid it down for the night.

As I got to work 5 minutes early, I didn’t feel the intimidation of several new faces. I didn’t even freak out when I saw that my classes were bigger than they normally are for this time of year (I don’t teach at a traditional high school). When the copier broke down, I just created a plan B. I clarified certain things with my administrator with my heels clacking all the way. New and newer teachers sought me out to ask last minute questions, compliment my outfit choice, or to help them calm down. It was then I realized something: I was a veteran.

I remember when Carrie met her mentee Laurel Harris and how all of her questions and enthusiasm, while sweet, seemed worlds away from the life she understood (Season 2, “Twenty-Something Girls vs. Thirty-something Women”). She seemed awed by Carrie’s confidence that had developed over time, fascinated by the ease with which she met new people, and just generally wanted to be in her presence. Laurel painted Carrie’s toenails, shared her idealized (though non-practical to Carrie) views on relationships, and gushed over her clothing. Carrie’s regular happenings were news to this bloomer. She probably didn’t realize how much time had passed since she herself had been in the phase where Laurel resided until there was someone reminding her daily that it seemed extraordinary.

That’s how I felt today. People came to me just to ask how I relate to students. Students who’d already been to my class were saying in other classes that they felt I’d be their favorite. They wanted to know how I “did” me. I realize now that this is the confidence that comes over time as you do what you’re called to do. Sometimes it comes out as remarkable to those just wading in their calling. And I feel honored. Honored that they see or saw something in me that they wanted to know more about. Soon…they too will be veterans, and the cycle will start again. I’ll wish them well!

For any teachers reading, I hope you have a wonderful school year!

Love,

-V

P.S. I told you my cake was pretty! (He did good :-) )

30th Birthday Cake

I had absolutely nothing to write today. I was thinking hard. Because I had a great weekend celebrating my birthday, I wasn’t really focused on finding connections. And also…I was cheating on Carrie with the new love of my life – Olivia Pope. BET showed a Scandal marathon, and I got caught up in it. It was like Law and Order for a second…if I didn’t hurry and change the channel, I was going to get caught up for the next 14 hours and miss my birthday dinner, lol. But as I re-watched Season 1 on Saturday and parts of SATC2 tonight to try and find inspiration for something to write, I realized something: Carrie and Olivia have a few things in common.

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These are two seemingly very different women in exponentially different personal spheres. What could they have in common? Here is what I thought: First, they use their avenues of influence as personal therapy. Carrie’s column took the brunt of most of her “in my head” analyzing. Olivia’s relationship issues turned out to be her best advice to her clients. Everyone remembers the advice of the century to the guy who was in love with his brother’s wife…and the best line ever?

scandalstolenmoments“Stolen moments aren’t a life.”

I remember saying out loud, “Encourage yourself, girl…speak over yourself.” Then I thought…it’s very similar to what Carrie said to Aidan when he realized she was “cheating”. Cigarettes became the allegorical symbol for her infidelity.

Second, neither of them could make what they knew was right stick. How many times did both Carrie/Olivia say they were done with Big/Fitz? Eventually, Carrie and Big married, but when things got too happy and comfortable, she lived for the spice up. They made an entire storyline out of that for the Sex and the City 2 movie (Really? She was bored. That was all that happened for her in the second movie. She was bored.) For different reasons, Olivia won’t let she and Fitz get to their happily ever after. She pulls out at the end each time. I’m pretty sure this just makes the show work, but work with me here.

Third, even with the ideas of their fathers, I remember when the guy who worked with Carrie at Vogue told her she spends her whole life asking questions about men because her father left without answers (Season 4, “A Vogue Idea”). I wonder how Olivia’s relationship with Rowan affects how she interacts with guys. She couldn’t make the relationship with Edison work. You could argue that he was like Carrie’s Aidan. Additionally, you can’t refute the effect that both shows have had on women. Pope’s power is the new Carrie’s fashion. I swear when I went to DC this summer, I just wanted a white coat so I could walk around posing by things. With gloves. Totally with gloves. In a heat wave. That’s the kind of nerd I am.

scandalLastly, the thing they have most in common is that they are flawed. Very flawed. Carrie is there for her friends, she’s a successful writer, and had wonderful shoes…but she didn’t have the greatest moral compass. Same with Pope…smart and powerful with a fly wardrobe, loves the family she created at OPA, but finds it exceedingly difficult to turn away from One Minute moments. Olivia’s very emotion-filled “I don’t show up to places just because you want me,” was convincing, but short-lived. Same with Carrie’s “You can drive up this street all you want because I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE!” (Season Six Part 2, “An American Girl in Paris – part une”) only to find herself laughing with him on the floor of a Parisian hotel.  That’s women. That’s people. We are flawed. We’ve announced to the world, our friends, or at least to ourselves that we are done with some person/place/thing only to answer a text, be caught in an Instagram photo, or have it in our hands again. we mess up. Maybe not on the scales that get to be discussed incessantly by bystanders who claim they’d NEVER be in that situation, but we do.

I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between two of the most discussed woman characters on television of past and present. I love both of the women, but I appreciate that the characters are flawed. That’s life. Big had to travel to Paris and Fitz had to wait out a clock, but the stories and cycles are similar.  I’m curious as to how Pope and Fitz’ stories will turn out. Carrie got married and her happy (ish) ending, but I doubt Shonda will let it be tied up with that pretty a bow.

Come on October 3rd.

Do you watch Scandal? Do you see any other comparisons? Shout ‘em out.

Love,

-V

Butterflies… Stomach Flips… All used to describe the happy anxiousness that is the crossroads of something you’re looking forward to with the unknown. Carrie called is Zsa Zsa Zsu at the end of Season 5 (“I Love a Charade”). She describes it as the feeling you get when you meet someone you really really like. That sort of lovey, butterflies feeling when you just want to be with someone. Her actual quote was:

zsa-zsa-zsu-carrie“‘How do you sustain a relationship without the zsa zsa zsu?’
‘The what?’
‘That butterflies-in-your-stomach thing that happens when you not only love the person, but you gotta have them. Isn’t that what gets you through the years? Even if it fades, at least you have the memory of the zsa zsa zsu…'”

Interesting concept. But I’m finding as I’m zeroing in on thirty during this #31WriteNow challenge that Zsa Zsa Zu doesn’t always have to be romantically linked even though that’s usually what is being discussed. As I come to know myself more and am clearer about the things I want, the things I need, and the things that are non-negotiable, I realize Carrie has a point. A lot of relationships may last for a long time without a butterflies feeling, but do you want that? Would you have an issue knowing that someone you love didn’t mind being with you, but didn’t necessarily want you? (How many relationships do you know of that fit that description? I can think of several.) In fact, how many relationships have you been in for that EXACT REASON?

I’m finding Zsa Zsa Zsu moments everywhere. Teaching isn’t glamorous (at all), but have my Zsa Zsa Zsu/Mr. Feeny moments every time I see the light bulb go off. When a child sees enlightenment in a concept I’ve taught them (in or out of the textbook), I get the butterflies. Those butterflies stop me from leaving the profession at particularly low moments. My friends provide Zsa Zsa Zsu moments over the years when I’ve felt particularly lonely in a new and bigger city than the one in which I grew up. The rest of that episode was interesting…truly one of my favorites. Miranda realized how important Steve was to her while Charlotte stopped with her ideal man list to realize an ideal man was in front of her.

Carrie had some truly poetic dialogue in this show. My favorite lines were at the end …

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“When it comes to relationships, maybe we’re all in glass houses and shouldn’t throw stones. Because you can never really know. Some people are settling down. Some people are settling. And some people refuse to settle for anything less…than butterflies.”

Word.

I’m deciding that’s true for anything that truly matters to me. And I truly feel blessed that those things are coming into fruition in my job potential, my friendship circle, my family, my faith, and the man in my life. The things I hold close to me are important to me because I want them…not just because they are there and available. Settling was a true possibility. When you settle, you’re always hoping for something different while being indifferent in the now. So as I get ready for my birthday dinner party…I’m truly happy for butterflies. :-)

Where have you experienced (or at least hope to experience) your Zsa Zsa Zu?

Love,

-V

Today I was at work – minding my own business because I finished putting up my classroom decorations and completing my lesson plans – when I realized that my phone battery was getting low and decided to put it on the charger while I went to a round of afternoon meetings. I come back about an hour or so later to several notifications on my phone. I look at the various social media sites and see that I have a message from Patricia, the owner of GlobalCouture, a wonderful website that is about loving your own hair (She’d interviewed me earlier this summer). Her message said, “I have a surprise for you!!! You are featured on Curlynikki.com today!!!”

Shut. The. Front. Door.

I started pulling up everything I could. I was ecstatic. I’ve talked about my hair and the natural hair community here before, but I’ve never focused on this as a natural hair blog. This is just my way of combining my nerdy-fandom, love of writing, weirdly great memory, and favorite show in a therapeutic way. When I saw my feature, I can carriebradshaw460imagine how Carrie might’ve felt when she met her two fans in Paris (Season Season, Part 2, “An American Girl in Paris – part deux”). She was in a foreign land, wanting a bit of normal, and unknowingly walked into something that made her really happy.

When I saw my feature, I was so happy I yelled in my classroom, ran into the hallway to tell someone, but no one would know what I was talking about (Which is what I actually screamed, lol). That’s when I realized that most of my close friends either live away, moved away, or aren’t as easily accessible due to life changes. None of this is a bad thing, it’s just different. Similar to Carrie, she was excited to see her book in a window with no one with whom to share her glee. She had Petrovsky, but he didn’t understand the same way that her friends would.

I’m happy to have several differences from Carrie. My man is no Petrovsky, that’s for sure. He understood and was happy for me. And, my friends are a phone call away and I don’t even need a calling card. ;-) All in all…that’s a blessing. And I’m pretty sure it’s high on the non-romantic-interest best days ever of 2013.

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Have you had a day that you would consider epic? What happened?

Love,

-V

Last night when I was trying to find something to write, my boyfriend suggested that I watch an episode to see if it sparked anything. (Seriously? Made of awesome. I know.) While getting one idea, something else jumped out at me: Carrie’s relationship with her Vogue editor, Enid Frick (Season 4, “A Vogue Idea”).Enid Frick Enid seemed to be very withdrawn, only focused on work, and not very polite. She even got mad at Carrie once for not telling her she invited her sometime-man…something that Carrie would’ve had no way of knowing because she and Enid had not really developed a personal relationship. It got me to thinking about Work relationships.

Unless your last name is Gates, Winfrey, or Zuckerberg…odds are you probably have to go to work tomorrow. Hopefully you love your job (I love my career). However, no matter how much you love your job, there’s probably one person there who works your nerves. They either don’t appreciate your professionalism (or lack thereof). They don’t like how un- or overly social you are. Your natural overachieving nature or simple mediocrity grinds their gears. All without you even trying or caring. Sometimes you try to make that relationship improve…other times you just focus on making sure you do your job and do it well.

School starts back next week, and my one work friend – the friend that I have who jumped out of the “work friend” boat to simply friend (the work is only there so if I’m telling a story, people who don’t know her name still know exactly to whom I’m referring) – got a new job all of a sudden. It was a promotion, and while I’m ecstatic for her……it dimmed the bulb of returning. My response, especially when you tend to be in a highly gossip-y environment, is to stay to yourself. Even then, the gossip goes: is she anti-social? Is she hiding something? Does she hate us? I mean, you can’t win sometimes, it only depends on whose doing the talking to what the story will be.

And this isn’t specific to just work. It can apply to any place where you have to have a working relationship for a common goal. Whether it’s church, social clubs, mutual friends…it happens everywhere. (And if it hasn’t happened…trust me…you’re working someone’s nerves and they haven’t admitted it, lol.) How do you address it? Carrie tried to be overly polite to Enid even when it was never returned unless she needed or wanted something. I, on the other hand, focus on whatever the “work” is and try to disregard anything that doesn’t affect that. What do you do? Let me know :-)

Love,

-V

I’m six days away from my 30th Birthday. (Yes…Birthday gets a capital B. I’ve decided it’s a proper noun.)

As I alluded in the first post for the #31WriteNow series, I’ve had lots of things I’ve concerned about. Life…Love…the Pursuit of Happiness. It seems that the closer I get to this major milestone birthday, the more I start giving consideration to things on a more long term scale. I also get very definite about the things that I am NOT giving consideration to on a long term scale…or short term for that matter. I’m slowly but surely coming into my own about who I am, and who I’m not for that matter. I know I’ll make mistakes, I’ll have great ideas, I’ll laugh (probably a lot), and cry. I’ll have arguments, and I’ll be woman enough to apologize when I’m wrong.

satc_season5_episode71_514x330_032920041251_thumbThis reminds me of Season 5’s “Cover Girl”, the first fight on record between Carrie and Samantha. Carrie made the statement that she believed it was time for women her age to cover up, she admitted judging the one friend who had never judged her, and out rightly said that she was uncomfortable with the looks suggested to her for her book cover and didn’t bend on it. And like my line sister so eloquently used Beyonce’s newest full version song to explain, that is some Grown Woman ish. She refused to cover who she was.

I’ve noticed about myself that I am less likely to do things I don’t want to do just to make some group happy, or to ensure that others don’t judge me. I also address people head on. I don’t fake it when I’ve been hurt or wronged,…and then, well, please refer to the previous sentence. It takes a lot to decide who you are in spite of the world. Even more to not have an issue to admit when you’re wrong. Even more to know and even welcome your shortcomings. I’m happy to be embarking on my Grown Woman. I’m also refusing to cover up, hide, or refute who I am. I’m a Grown Woman.

What are your signs of growing up?

Love,

-V

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