Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On the Road Again

On the Road Again

Goin' places that I've never been
Seein' things that I may never see again
And I can't wait to get on the road again

As a toddler, it was common knowledge that my son, Brandon would fall asleep within minutes of riding in a car, any car. There was just something about the calmness, coziness and comfort of riding in the back seat that lulled him to sleep no matter how rambunctious he was minutes earlier.

Brandon would courageously fight against it, but with heavy, drooping eyelids betraying him, within minutes he would give in to the pull of heavenly sleep.

My son inherited this condition honestly. Look at his mama.

I don't fall asleep when I ride in a car or heaven forbid, when I'm behind the steering wheel. However, early on in my life, I made a fascinating discovery. I do my best thinking, dreaming, reflecting and decision making when I'm driving, especially long distance drives on the open freeway. I've always adored driving. Long distance driving doesn't bother me as it does some people. In fact, I long for those trips. When I was younger and carefree, it was common for me and a group of friends to scream out, "Road trip." And off we went, as far as our short money would take us.

I could clearly relate to parts of the movie, Thelma and Louise, because I identified with how getting away makes situations appear much clearer. I wouldn't have taken such drastic steps, but clearly by the end of the movie, they knew exactly what and who they were. And they knew they couldn't go back to the life they had left behind.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Jacksonville, FL, to visit a book club. I drove the 5 and a half hours distance from Atlanta. There is no other feeling like taking to the open road, alone with yourself. So, if you don't like yourself. . . oh well, now that's a problem. I've never been one to need a crowd around all the time; personally, I prefer my own company. So, I was as happy as a fat kid in an ice cream shop.

I turned off the radio, let down my car windows, sipped on my ice cold Cola Cola, ate my barbecue chips and leisurely cruised the miles away, small town by small town. Being alone with your thoughts is a wonderful thing. It's a feeling I relish because it is so rare for me. I think some people are afraid of being alone with themselves. Myself, I delight in it.

My drive was very therapeutic and I resolved some issues that were bothering me and were unclear at the time. During the course of my drive, by simply being able to listen, really listen to my spirit, some important decisions were made and closure was finally surrendered on others.

My senses were wide open and all over the place. The drive along 75S is by no means an exciting ride unless you enjoy passing through city after city declaring themselves the peach city, the pecan city, the magnolia city, seeing a giant peanut, signs for adult sex stores, billboards for miles and miles directing you to pull over and buy Georgia pecans or the one about thousands of books, all for only $3 each. I was tempted to pull off the exit to check out the books for $3, but I've also seen too many horror flicks that focus on road trips and horrible things that happen to the lone female. Same reason I don't stop at rest stops. . . but I digress.

At the time, that drive was exactly what I needed, excitement or not.

I saw, smelled, listened and embraced everything within my sight, all within the confines of my medium-size car. After making some overdue decisions, shortly afterwards, I passed a rural church sitting back off the interstate, in a country field of wild flowers of every color under the rainbow. At first I thought I was imagining things, even as I slowed to a crawl to observe it, because in it's simple, rustic appeal, it didn't seem real. It reminded me of a painting. A small country, white church with a steeple in the shape of a large white cross. It set quiet, strong, and defiant. It took it as a sign from God that I had indeed made the right decisions.

There is nothing like getting in touch with your spirit---away from the daily grind and distractions that clog and clutter our inner voice. Open the sunroof, let down the windows and hit the open road in search of your truths. It works for me. So. . .

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Making a Difference

"Congratulations on your Black Expressions Feature!"

Have you ever heard the expression that the smallest gesture can make the biggest impression? It is definitely true. You never know what a smile or simple gesture will do for a person. It could make all the difference in their world.

Currently, I'm going through my manic-depressive state (I'm just kidding people; I'm not really a manic-depressive person. I do not want to get any rumors started. No, Pilar from Diary of a Stalker isn't based on me):) My self-imposed label stems from a private joke my friends and I share. And I certainly understand the serious nature of the disease and do not mean to make light of it in any shape, form or fashion. However, I tend to have periods of great moods and then suddenly, I become "Miss Moody, Leave Me the Hell Alone." Lately, I haven't been functioning at my best from a professional standpoint.

Ask any author, we all have our extreme highs and low lows. We pray that the highs outweigh the lows. In my case, the lows have lasted a little longer lately. For those of you who follow me, you know that I have shed some tears, vented about "woe with me, poor me". . . how I'm not at the level I'd like to be. . . how I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of the politics and changes of this industry. . . how I'm burnt out with the constant hustle of marketing and promoting. . . how I'm fed up with people who present themselves as your friend, but who really aren't. . . how you have to always keep your name in the forefront. . . how you always have to wear a thick skin. . . I vent about the cliques, the constant struggles and the pretentiousness. I vent about the store closings. . . I vent, vent, vent.

Then I take to my bed and simply sleep my troubles away. That's how I deal with stress. Covers over my head and blessed sleep. I have a straight out fabulous pity party and invite anyone and everyone to attend. You are courtesy invited to my "Life Sucks and Then We Die Party." Come as you are because no one really cares or gives a fuck.

I'm usually positive and upbeat, I thrive on that (I'm the affirmations queen), but sometimes life brings me the blues like anyone else. Reality is: Sometimes you simply can't make lemonade out of lemons. Sometimes if it smells like bs, looks like bs, then guess what, it is probably bs. Eventually I pray about the situation, count my many blessings, try not to sweat the small stuff which seems large gigantic stuff at that time, pick myself up, dust off my wounded ego and move on. After all, life doesn't stop for my woes. And who am I kidding? I couldn't and wouldn't give up writing any more than I could give up breathing.After all, writing is my connection and lifeline to the world. I don't want to lose that and be placed on life support. Writing makes up some of the best parts of who I am. And the majority of the time, I like, hell I love, who that person is.

But, I digress. . .

In the midst of my pity party, in the eye of the storm, imagine my surprise and delight when I received a simple text from an "A" list, New York Times bestselling, fierce author congratulating me on the accomplishment of the Black Expressions feature. I will not mention any names, but I thought that was such a grand, classy gesture. The author did not have to take the time, energy or a minute out of her day to send me that text. Just the fact that she did---took a moment out of her busy schedule (I know for a fact she was trying to meet a book deadline), made all the difference in the world. It was even more special because I personally admire her talent, success and beauty, both outside and within. I've followed her career from day one and marvel at her successes and humbleness.

Her simple gesture placed a smile on my face for the remainder of the day and she probably doesn't even realize it. But that's what it's all about, touching lives and not expecting anything in return. However, as are the laws of the universe, when you give unselfishly, eventually you do receive.

And just like that. . . that simple gesture successfully lifted me out of my funk and inspired me to keep on keeping on. People are taking notice of my hard work, dedication and passion for what I do. That is the one thing that is in my control. . . to keep the fire that burns deep within, alive. . . one word at a time.

"To often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word. . . when I awake I know I have one more day to make a difference in someone's life." ---author unknown

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