Re-Inventing Elle

Commence means “to begin:start” (thanks dictionary.com).  I had my fourth commencement ceremony almost two months ago.  And while it was a very joyous occasion, after all of the pomp and circumstance (see what I did there???) was over, I felt like something was missing.  I was asking myself, “What’s next?” And if I can be honest with you all, I was a little disappointed.  I had this great plan that once I finished, I would get promoted and begin a new sojourn professionally.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  So I felt lost, alone, and somewhat empty.  We all know that commencement ceremonies not only show an end to studies but they are also to serve as a beginning of something new.  And with my not getting my promotion as soon as I would like, for me, I felt like there was nothing new for me to do.  Not only did I no longer have to read books or write papers or do group work (thank GOD!) but I felt as if I didn’t have anything new to look forward to, either.  And that was very disheartening.

After I got over my little pity party, I had to do what I tell my students-come up with a Plan B. So that’s what I did.  Just because I didn’t see the promotion I wanted at this particular time didn’t mean it was never going to come.  So I created a plan to better myself so that I can be ready when the time comes for me again to apply for a promotion.  In addition to getting myself ready professionally, I knew there were some other changes I wanted to make personally.  I’m eating better (yes, even during the summertime with all these cookouts and trips), I’m getting more exercise, and I decided to change my hair, which for me is really nothing new.  But the change I’m seeking will be a little more permanent than my previous changes.  I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Additionally, for me, especially growing up, it was important to me that people liked me.  And I hate confrontation/arguments, so I would say “Yes” to a lot of things that I didn’t really want to.  Or not speak when I didn’t like something because I hate dissension.  Welp, the new Elle is speaking up more, being more assertive, and making sure that I take care of No. 1 first! I have to protect myself and my feelings (no one else will).  And if that includes telling people “No” or doing things for me, then so be it.  Will people be mad?  Probably.  Do I care?  Not really.  Just as others put themselves first, I MUST start doing the same!

Oh, and my love life??? Meh, but of course old flames start rising again during summer time (I’ve had two old beaus reach out within the last two weeks).  We’ll see what happens, but if I can be honest, I’m trying to live a Hot Girl Summer!  And I think you should, too!

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

Taking Care of Self

The first time I went to see a therapist/counselor was three months after Southern Mom passed away.  While dealing with the grief of losing my mom I was also dealing with the loss of relationships with certain members of my mom’s side of the family.  I saw the therapist a few times, an older white woman, who was pleasant enough but not very helpful.  After my third session, she and I mutually decided (I think she guided me to this stance more than anything) that I was dealing with my grief appropriately and I should contact her anytime I felt the need to come in.  Needless to say, I have not seen her since.

About 10 months ago, I decided that I wanted to see a therapist.  Not because anything was wrong, but because everything was going right. But the therapist had to meet certain criteria.  She had to be black. She had to be a woman. And she had to be on my insurance. After doing some research, I found a consortium in the city and made a phone call.  At the time, they did not have anyone available that was accepting new clients.  So I waited a little over 5 weeks for them to call me and tell me they had someone available.  Since then, I’ve seen her a few times and she’s been awesome.  She’s had me open up about my familial relationships, dating, and other things that are going on with life.  She makes me think outside of the box.  She has me think about things a lot differently that I have in the past.  And for that, I appreciate her.

Now some of you may think I’m crazy for stating that I wanted a black woman therapist, but I respectfully disagree.  First, it’s my therapy, and if there is a particular person that I feel comfortable with, that’s going to be my request.  Second, I knew that a black woman would understand certain things that I may encounter in life because we have race AND gender in common.

I haven’t seen her in sometime (we have an appointment tomorrow), and I almost cancelled my appointment.  Not only because I have things to do, but because it’s hard to talk to someone about your most intimate thoughts.  Even if you have a relationship with them. Even if you feel comfortable with them.  It’s hard to honestly, really, and truly take care of yourself.  Yes, we may travel, hang out with our friends and family, go out for cocktails, or read a book.  But making sure that we are mentally fit is an important component of self-care.

This summer, I have pledged to live my best life, inclusive of having fun, taking breaks when needed, and talking to my therapist to work through stuff or just to say “Hey, girl!”

I kindly advise that you all do the same!  Figure out what not only makes you happy but what you need to do in order to stay healthy.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

PS The podcast is going GREAT!  To catch up on all the episodes, you can find us on, The Femme Noir Files, on Google Play, iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!  Be sure to subscribe, rate, and share! 🙂

It’s a Brand New Day

Greetings, all!  It has been awhile since I’ve written a post.  Honestly, I feel that blogs are becoming outdated.  (Maybe I’m wrong. More about this in a minute.) But also, as you know, I haven’t had a lot of time because of graduate school.  Well, I have great news!  I’m officially done!!! I graduate next weekend, and to say that I’m ecstatic is an understatement!  Southern Dad flies here in a week. (Can I just say that getting him here and trying to convince him that flying is the best is SO hard?!?!  And these recent plane crashes have not helped!) For those of you that pray, please pray that he has a safe flight and that we have a fun week while he’s here!

So, back to my thinking that blogs are becoming outdated….I think that more folks are using media in new ways to create news and express themselves. The latest way to do that? Podcasts!  I think I started listening to podcasts a few months ago, and I have a small list of ones that I listen to regularly.  I listen to them mainly for entertainment purposes.  After listening to a few, I thought, “Elle, you should have a podcast, too!” But then I thought that maybe I wasn’t interesting enough by myself to have one (which lightweight isn’t true since I have cultivated a great community with my readers).  In order to have different perspectives, I recruited two of friends to join me!  We are currently in the VERY early stages of production.  So far, we have a name (that took some work), logo, a consultant, a part-time producer, and we have a few recordings under our belt.  I can’t wait until we begin releasing episodes!  I believe we have a strong, solid concept and I think you will like the voice that we have created for ourselves.

With Mother’s Day coming up, it’s made me think a little more about my relationship with Southern Mom.  I miss her everyday, but when Mother’s Day, her birthday, and the holidays roll around, she’s on my mind even more.  A friend shared on Facebook that she and some friends are visiting a medium on Sunday.  She did something similar before and talked about the positive experience that was had with other people.  For a split second, I thought going.  But then I hesitated. One, because I don’t fully believe in psychics or the like. Two, if this “reading” is real and Southern Mom “speaks” to me, I don’t think I would be emotionally able to handle it.  Although she’s been gone for 4 1/2 years, it still feels like yesterday.  Three, the “reading” is NOWHERE near DC.  And if you know me you know how I feel about driving too far out of the Beltway. Four, it’s also a grip.  And since I’ve planning for graduation (and my upcoming trip), my disposable income is almost spent.  Maybe one day I’ll be in a space where I can do it; but that day is not today.

After Southern Mom died and definitely after I started graduate school, I no longer kept my rotation.  Who knows why… but I am happy to say that that feeling has finally left!  I am currently speaking with/talking to two guys (with a possible third) and it’s a great feeling!  I started seeing a therapist a few months back (whom I love) and she definitely encouraged me to have fun and not take everything so seriously (I’m still working on that). So far, I have no complaints.  We’ll see what ends up happening.

Now that I’m done with school, you may be asking what’s next.  Honestly, I don’t know.  I can tell you what’s NOT next-a PhD.  Though most of my friends have hinted (loudly) that I should continue on, I’m good (for now).  I did say that I would re-assess my life in 10 years to see where I am and I may reconsider.  The first week after my classes were over I did feel that I should be reading a book or writing a paper but that feeling is starting to subside.  I have decided to be more social, so I’m going out more and traveling more.   I have two trips planned at the end of the month, one trip planned for June (although it’s for work), July, and October/November!  And some fun things in the DMV are sprinkled in for good measure!  I may even start updating the What’s Happening page again! We’ll see!

In any event, I hope you have appreciated my little life update.  I should probably start keeping up with pop culture and news for real so I can go back to having topics to discuss!

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

2018 Has Been a Year

It has been almost a year since I’ve blogged.  I’ve stopped, well slowed down, for a number of reasons.  One, my job.  I’ve had this job for 4 years, and I love it.  And apparently I’ve been doing a great job, because my supervisor keeps adding on and giving me more responsibility each year.  -_- Second, I’m in graduate school.  The extra time I had is now consumed by reading and writing papers.  Thankfully, I only have one more year to go. Woo-hoo!  Come on May 2019!  Third, I’m also an advisor for my sorority at a local university.  I love it.  It’s a lot of work, but I love my younger sorors and helping them do the work of and learn all about our beloved sisterhood.

Also, 2018 has seen me take my 2nd international trip!  Once my Internship for the summer was complete, I took a 5 day cruise with some friends.  I had a ball!  It was a great trip, I got a tan, and I brought back some alcohol! 🙂

2018 also had the appearance of an old beau.  Someone I dated many moons ago (before Southern Mom passed) reached out, said he was going to be on the East Coast and said that he wanted to see me.  We hung out one weekend, and aside from one minor spat, everything went well.  But now I am regretting that decision.  Just when I think things may start working out in my love life, that’s when sh*t hits the fan, and then I decide that I’m never going to find someone because all the men I meet are jerks.  Or something to that effect.

In any event, I’m in the part of the cycle where I’m over men.  I think I should just stop doing this to myself. Especially since I have so many positive things going on in my life right now.  And honestly, I feel great about everything in my life, except I am not satisfied with being single.  Don’t get me wrong, I would definitely rather be single that be in a toxic relationship; however, it can’t be that hard to find someone that wants what I want and wants me and I want him.  But apparently it is because here I am.

In any event, I’m back at the point where I’m focusing on me.  Which is sort of ironic since about this time last year I was in this same place.  Ah well, such is life.

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

Moving Forward

It has been almost 6 months since Southern Mom passed.  Some days are great.  Some days are not so great.  Last week was rough since I had to go to home to handle some business on her behalf.  (I took the shortest trip home I’ve ever taken this weekend.)  And while it was rough, especially Sunday, I am moving forward.

There have been some upsides and positive things that have occurred-I presented at a workshop this weekend related to education.  I received an email earlier today about speaking at an engagement this weekend.  I started a book club.  We’ve met twice so far, and these ladies are a trip!  We have so much fun together.  And, most importantly, I bought a house.  In DC.  (My soror/friend/road dawg Original Najeema suggested I blog about that.)  Let me say that was not an easy process.  And I definitely thought it would take me at least a year to do it.  But I did it.  And I love my house.  Now, I will be brutally honest with you-while I LOVE my house, I was hoping that the seller would have assisted with the closing costs, but that didn’t happen.  And while I definitely could have walked away, I didn’t.  And for a number of reasons.

One, I love that house.  It is completed renovated and has the amenities/updates that I wanted.  Two, I was tired of house hunting.  Sure, it was fun in the beginning.  But every house, with the exception of one, that I put an offer on or was interested in, someone beat me to the punch. (LONG on that first house…)  I got tired of finding gems that other people found before me and watching them take possession.  Third, it was EXACTLY what I told my realtor I wanted.  So why wouldn’t I keep it and move forward???  Lastly, I had to tell myself that while I was putting up all of the money upfront, it would still be MY money, going towards MY house, and benefiting ME in the long run. So, earlier this month, I became a homeowner!  My realtor took a picture of me at the last walk through (where I was VERY animated), and of course, I celebrated with a happy hour.  What’s super funny is that Southern Dad called it.  His words two days before I closed?  “Ok, Elle, when you close, it’s not the end; it’s the beginning.  And don’t think you have to go out and celebrate with a happy hour.”  O_o Color me shocked!  How did he know my life???  Needless to say, I didn’t tell him until the day I closed that he was right about the happy hour and that invitations were sent the previous week.  We both got a good laugh from that one.

While I’ll always mourn my mother, I can’t become stoic.  I have to keep moving forward.  I know that’s what she would want.  And I thank God everyday for my family and friends for their continued support.  I know I couldn’t do half of the stuff I need to do without them willing to lend a helping hand.

I read an article this weekend when a friend shared it on Facebook.  While I don’t like the term “Motherless Daughter”, it was SPOT ON with all of the thoughts that I have when it comes to my mother and how to deal when people ask about my parents or how to deal with a potential mate in the future.  And even now, certain things happen that make me think of memories I have with my mother (that time we would sing Sisqo’s “Got to Get It” just because of a particular lyric in the song, that time I heard her curse for the first time because I spilled Dr. Pepper in her car (I was floored!), how she would tell waitresses to call her by her name and not “Hun” or “Sweetie”).  She was such a dynamic person, and I hope that I have made her proud.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

My Life is NOT Boring!

Yesterday at a meeting, I told my friend that my life was boring when she asked me what I’ve been up to.  For a long time, I used to associate my dating life with whether or not my life was interesting.  Yeah…I’m glad it took me 30 some odd years to come to my senses.  On the contrary, my life is far from boring.

First, let’s talk about my job.  Some folks don’t like their jobs.  But not me.  And I’m not just saying that.  I love what I do.  Some of my co-workers find it hard to believe when I say that I’m glad I’m there. Don’t get me wrong-there are definitely aspects that I wish I could change (nothing’s perfect).  But on the grand scheme of things, my job is pretty snazzy.

Second, I’m still super involved.  I serve on a few boards, I’m becoming more involved with my local sorority chapter, and I’m heavily involved with part of the planning for the DC Black Theatre Festival (which I always love!), that is scheduled for the end of June.

Third, I have a social life.  Just this weekend, I went to happy hour, the Wizards/Bulls game, AND an NFL playoff watch party.  I had fun!  I hung out with some old friends and met some new folks.  And I played Spades, which I haven’t done in awhile. And though my partner and I didn’t win, I know if we had kept playing the second round we would have redeemed ourselves!

Lastly, I actually DO have a hot date this Friday.  It’s someone I’ve known for awhile, and I’m glad this opportunity presented itself for us to hang out so we could get to know each other better.  We’re going to hear one of my FAVORITE artists.  Oh, who is it, you may ask??? Well, it’s me!  🙂  It’s been awhile since I’ve taken myself on a date, unless you count me sitting on my couch watching “Scandal” and “The Walking Dead”.  To be honest, I definitely thought about inviting my friends to go with me…but I decided not to.  It’s been way too long since I’ve gone out by myself and enjoyed my own company.   And in an effort to take care of me in 2015, I feel like I can be a little selfish.

So, as you can see (and you being me), my life is far from boring.  I have stuff going on.  And my social calendar for January is continuing to fill up as we speak…well, as I type this.  In any event, I charge all of you to take yourself out on date.  If there is something you enjoy doing, go do it.  Don’t invite your girls, your boys, or your boo.  Go by yourself.  And rediscover how great of a person you are.  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!