New Year, New Elle

2015 is here!  This weekend, I had a few friends over for a vision board party. (You chicks left all your fatty foods and wine for me to eat!  Don’t worry-I’ll find something to do with it!)  I didn’t finish my board as I was making sure my guests had a great time.  Instead of just going through magazines and cutting out pictures and quotes that I liked in previous years, I know EXACTLY what I want to include as I know the goals that I want to accomplish this year.

Over the past few weeks, different things have been shared with me to make me reflect on things and to help me establish what goals (I don’t do resolutions) I want to accomplish in the new year.  My main goal is to focus on me-spiritually, emotionally, financially, and physically.  On the spiritual aspect, I’ve joined a local church (FINALLY!) that I love!  I missed my church during the two Sundays I was in SC for the Christmas holiday and thoroughly enjoyed the NYE service.  I can’t wait until they start Wednesday Bible study again in a few weeks.  In the spirit of being transparent, I’ve thought about seeing a professional, specifically in dealing with the death of Southern Mom.  I know that it is something that I will have to endure for the rest of my life, but I want to make sure that I am taking care of me first.  I’ve started working with a financial planner, and even though I feel like he has put limitations on what I can do (although he really hasn’t-I just hate budgeting), I know that his assistance will benefit me in the long run.  Lastly, I need to take care of my body-point blank and the period.  I need to eat better.  I need to start working out.  Not to sound vain, but I think I’m a cute girl.  And I feel that I can be even cuter once I start taking care of myself.  In short, I don’t want to just survive-I want to live.

I hope that in the next 360 days, I become a person that I am proud to be and that is better than the person I am today.

So what are your goals for 2015?

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

I Haven’t Blogged in Forever

I haven’t blogged on a consistent basis in a long time.  Many factors are to blame.  I lost my last surviving grandparent in April, which hit me much harder than I expected, and for the better part of the summer I was chilling.  I haven’t dated since “The Potential” got stationed to Hawaii, and that has definitely been by choice; I needed a break.  And my life has been somewhat boring….well what I consider boring.  I’ve purposely been laying low trying to get myself in order.   Most important, and what I consider to be exciting and fantastic, is that I have a new job.  And it’s in education.  And it’s in DC.  Although it’s still new, I love going to work everyday.  Seriously.  My commute is SUPER short (well, compared to where I’ve been going for the past two years), and I can finally do stuff in the city after work.  I was pumped at first because I was able to metro and walk and get a little exercise.  But then it dawned on me that when it gets cold and starts to snow, I’m going to have to walk in that…and that’s when I decided to drive.  I may metro next week since it’s the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference…we’ll see.

Oh, I’m super excited that “Scandal” is coming back in 5 days…but I’m super sad Harrison won’t be there (Darn you, Columbus Short!!!!).  I have been keeping my eye on this Ray Rice situation.  Now, while I do not condone domestic violence in anyway, Ray was honest with the NFL in February when reports first came out about him hitting his then fiancee’ Janay.  And the league decided to suspend him for the first two games of the season.  Now since there’s a tape, they changed their tune.  As a friend on Facebook pointed out, it’s double jeopardy, like getting charged twice for the same crime.  I truly hope Ray and Janay were/are getting the help they need.  I’m not going to even touch Adrian Peterson and all these other NFL players that are coming out of the woodworks for being charged with domestic violence disputes. And no one wants to talk about Judge Mark Fuller who was arrested last month on a battery charge for assaulting his wife.  Well, some people do.  Three U.S. Senators are asking him to resign because he violated the trust the people of Atlanta put in him.  (Bravo to you guys!) I mean, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

Back to me-now that I feel like things are falling into place for me, I’m starting to take stock in my life and work on the areas that need improvement and updates. I’m purging my house (it’s a slow process, but I’m getting there; I have WAY too much stuff), and I’m rejoining a few organizations that I left by the wayside for a few years.  While I didn’t become a complete hermit, it’ll be good to enter the land of the living again and to start embracing the Social Butterfly I naturally am. 🙂  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

I Need To Diversify

Over the past few months, I’ve realized that most of my friends think and/or look like me.  But I shouldn’t be surprised.  I went to an HBCU.  I’m part of a predominantly African-American sorority.  And most of my closest friends come from those two communities.   I’ve come to the realization that I need more non-Black friends.

Growing up, most of my friends were white.  It wasn’t until I got to high school that my best friends were black.  In middle school, I remember praying for black friends when I got to high school.  And that’s what I got-for the next 18 years.  And don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not complaining.  But when you have friends that think like you and agree with you on pretty much everything, it sometimes gets old.

Of course I’m Facebook friends with a number of the white kids I went to elementary, middle, and/or high school with, but we don’t hang out or do brunch or have dinner together.  (I actually take that back. I do have a white girlfriend that I have known since 6th grade and every time I go home, we see each other.  And we even did dinner when she came to DC last year with her students.)  I did reach out to one of my high school classmates that lives in Northern Virginia for brunch about a year ago.  We weren’t necessarily friends in high school, but it was great to see a familiar face from home in DC.  And there is another friend that I went to high school with who was my buddy.  He lived in DC for about a year, and we went out to dinner (with his now ex-girlfriend) while he was here.  And I’m happy that he came out to help me celebrate my birthday when I was home in April.

At the end of the day, one off dinners and lunches, and friends that live 8 hours away, don’t necessarily count.  Well, they do, but I want more.  I want non-Black friends in DC that I can hang out with on a regular basis.  Those that I can talk to about my life and who have a genuine interest in getting to know me.  And I want to take an active role in their lives-celebrate their monumental moments and do fun things with them.  I also truly believe having a diverse group of friends will make me a better person.

But, for now, I will cherish the friends that I do have.  And look for opportunities to expand my DC circle.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

What’s Really Important

Everyone has become obsessed with Donald Sterling and his racist remarks (which is nothing new) and the elevator fight seen ’round the world with Solange and Jay-Z.  But in the grand scheme of things, these things don’t really matter.  Sterling being a racist is nothing new, based on a housing discrimination suit brought against him.  And the perfect façade the Carters have built has crumpled slightly – boo hoo.

I have talked about missing girls before on my blog before, specifically Mitrice Richardson.  I have failed to talk about the 234 missing girls in Nigeria, who have reportedly been kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram; the group has threatened that the girls will be sold as wives, if they have not been already.   And I have loved seeing the world, specifically Americans, come together to help rescue these children.  Unfortunately, we do not do the same with girls in our own country.

According to The Covering House, human trafficking generates $9.5 million each year in the United States, and the average age of children forced into prostitution is 13-14 years old.  The top areas in this country for human trafficking include Las Vegas, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, and Washington, DC.   Unfortunately, there are not enough resources for underage victims to receive help and assistance if they are able to leave these situations.

Let’s not forget Relisha Rudd, the 8 year old girl who was last seen on March 1.   She was reportedly with Kahlil Tatum, a custodian that worked at the homeless shelter where Relisha lived with her mother and three younger brothers.  Police believe Tatum killed his wife and then killed himself.   Unfortunately, authorities are not close at all to finding Relisha.  They are still looking for her and treating it as a recovery mission.

While I applaud all of us for bringing attention to these girls in Nigeria, let’s not forget that there are girls, and boys, in our own backyard who may be victims of kidnapping and/or human trafficking.  To help end human trafficking in the US, you can contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center to find out about organizations in your city, learn the red flags of human trafficking, meet with your local or state government officials, organize a fundraiser, among other activities.

The only way to end it is if we stand up and are united.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

I Am Not Mary Jane

Tonight is the season finale of “Being Mary Jane”. This show has sparked much conversation in regards to black women and how we are portrayed on television. Some people are impressed with the strong heroine, admire her for having a great job and being a career woman, for helping her family in their times of need-despite their bad decision making, for being financially independent, and for just being a go-getter. On the other hand, you have those who are disgusted, upset, and pissed off with this character. As I stated in my review of the movie that premiered last summer, I was happy to see a character like her…but at the end of the movie, I was totally disgusted when she saved David’s sperm. And that was just the beginning of how any similarities between MJ and myself began to deteriorate. She began making awful decisions. From going back to Andre, her married boyfriend, to having a pissing contest with Avery, Andre’s wife, I realized that I am not Mary Jane (despite BET’s attempt to encourage women from all walks of life to send in videos proclaiming “I am Mary Jane”).

But, let’s not forget this is a fictional show; though, suffice it to say, I’m sure there a few people out there that can relate to a few scenarios. Let’s be real for a second. We put SO much pressure on writers and directors and producers to show black people in general, black women in particular, in positive lights. There was even a post how the world has evolved from Claire Huxtable to Mary Jane Paul. We slam these women on “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Basketball Wives” for fighting and cursing and basically just being an embarassment. We villify them for not setting positive examples and being roles models for young girls and young women. But…shouldn’t WE be doing that? The woman that goes to work everyday. The woman that volunteers with non-profit organizations in her city. The woman that teaches Sunday school. The woman that serves on the city council. The woman that teaches chemistry and math and English. The woman that is a great neighbor that speaks to everyone and helps keep the streets clean. My point is, if we, the women that these children see and interact with everyday, are doing what WE should be doing, these young women would not look to a tv character, whether she’s on a scripted show or a “reality” show, to figure out how to become a woman and a lady. She would view you-her mother, her mentor, her teacher, her neighbor-to decide what makes a woman. Yes, we are all flawed, and that’s fine. But should our aim in life be to become a caricature character we see on television?

I mean, I am not Mary Jane Paul; but I am not Claire Huxtable, either.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.