Learning to Let Go of "Them" and Get the Love and Happiness I Deserve

Sometimes you gotta let people go: fake friends, toxic folks, energy-sucks,  drama-full family members, fuck boys, former loves, friends with (few) benefits.

Sometimes you gotta let things go: phone numbers of former love interests, clothes that haven't fit in 3+ years, overstretched hair elastics, broken electronics, worn out shoes, not safe for work or grandma's eyes sexy pictures of your former bae.

Sometimes you gotta let energies go: long-held hurts, emotional scars, old ideas, grudges, bad habits, doubts, insecurities, drama.

As much as I have grown personally and professionally this past year of my life, I have realized that I still have a lot of things that I need to figure out. One of the things I need to figure out in 2017 is how to let go of people who cause me nothing but unnecessary stress and heartache and whose presence in my life do not benefit me or give me the love and appreciation I want and need.

But I have a hard time letting go of the select people that I let into my heart. I am very protective of my heart and my personal space, so when I let people in, I hold onto them fiercely. I love hard. Even when these people I love show me how easily they have let me go, I hold on. I continue to care. I check in. I wish happy birthdays. I extend congratulations and well wishes. And, I rarely get anything back but hurt feelings.

To deal with my "letting go" problem, I have decided that I need a detox---a life detox.

There are some people whose phone numbers I delete and re-add and then delete again that I need to  keep deleted. Some Facebook friends I unfriend and re-friend that I need to unfriend and keep it that way. 

LET. THEM. GO....Close my eyes and inhale.... and then exhale them all out. 

In order to Grow. to Evolve. to Change. to Heal. to be Happy. to be Sane. to be Healthy.

5 Tips For Dealing With (Race-Based) Mental Trauma

Mental health is very important. Just as important as physical health. With all that has happened this summer, I have created my 5 tips for dealing with mental trauma due to loss, race-based violence, and frustration with current US affairs.

I made this video after the news of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile's murders at the hands of the police. This is in response to the hurt, anger, exasperation, and frustration I noticed among those most affected by these senseless and unjustified state-sanctioned murders.

What I Am Reading: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

It's a new new year, time to add a new book to my reading list. New Year.  If you have been following my "What I am Reading" series here on Figure Out Your Life blog, then you know that during the fall I began a movie-to-book themed reading series---that is, reading books that were the source material for movies that I have seen. I ended 2015 with the page-turning, and amazingly well adapted-to-a-movie, book "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn. Check out my other book reviews



In the spirit of starting off the new year right, I have decided to change up things and read an inspirational book. My first book of the year is "Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person" by creator of tv shows "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal," and "How to Get Away with Murder,"and queen mother of #TGIT (Thank God It's Thursday) on ABC, Shonda Rhimes. 

I am at the very end of this book and I love it. It is funny, insightful, and inspiring. Shonda brings us in her world and holds nothing back, as she recounts her one year journey of saying "yes" to everything that made her scared, nervous, and uncomfortable. During that year, she lost 127lbs, made the commencement speech at her alma mater Dartmouth College, got closer to her family and friends, shed some toxic friends, covered magazines, to name a few of the things she did once she stopped saying "no." My favorite chapters are "Say Yes to No" and "Say Yes to Who I Am." I have already bookmarked those chapters and I am sure I will going back to them over the course of this year when I need a boost. Highly recommend this book!!! Get it today---the ebook, paperback, hardcover, or the audiobook. 

Book Summary: 

In this poignant, hilarious, and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder reveals how saying YES changed her life—and how it can change yours too.

She’s the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today:

Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder

. Her iconic characters—Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating—live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes, the mega talent who owns Thursday night television (#TGIT), is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could


public appearances? That she hugged walls at splashy parties and suffered panic attacks before media interviews so severe she remembered nothing afterward?

Before her Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes was an expert at declining invitations others would leap to accept. With three children at home and three hit television shows on TV, it was easy to say that she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. Afraid of cocktail party faux pas like chucking a chicken bone across a room; petrified of live television appearances where Shonda Rhimes could trip and fall and bleed out right there in front of a live studio audience; terrified of the difficult conversations that came so easily to her characters on-screen. In the


, Shonda’s introvert life revolved around burying herself in work, snuggling her children, and comforting herself with food.

And then, on Thanksgiving 2013, Shonda’s sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms:

You never say yes to anything.

The comment sat like a grenade, until it detonated. Then Shonda, the youngest of six children from a supremely competitive family, knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.

This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life


her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood creating imaginary friends to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her (like Cristina Yang, whose ultimate goal wasn’t marriage, and Cyrus Beene, who is a Republican


gay). And it chronicles her life


her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage, appearing on

Jimmy Kimmel Live

, and giving the Dartmouth Commencement speech; when she learned to say yes to her health, yes to play and she stepped out of the shadows and into the sun; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.

This wildly candid and compulsively readable book reveals how the mega talented Shonda Rhimes, an unexpected introvert, achieved badassery worthy of a Shondaland character. And how you can, too. 

**book summary taken from: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Year-of-Yes/Shonda-Rhimes/9781476777092

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How to Deal with Judgmental Family Members During the Holidays

In this episode of "The Read,"Crissle gave one of the dopest reads I have heard this year. Because she said it so well, I am going to use her words unfiltered to give a special message to some of my friends and my family for this holiday and for the new year (note: if you feel like I am talking to you, I probably am. Take note so you don't get the wrong end of my holiday cheer this year. Or, disown me, unfriend, delete my birthday, and keep my name out of your mouth).

Here is an excerpt of Crissle's read for family members that may want to open their mouth to make you feel small or less than because they have a problem with how you live your life:

"Do not let anybody start shit with you this year. A lot of us are encouraged to keep quiet, be nice, and just get along or don't say nothing, or respect elders--that's a big one. Or don't rock the damn boat. And don't be like this on Christmas and don't make it awkward. No, fuck them. Niggas shouldn't make you feel awkward. It's not your fault for retaliating. It's they fault for having the nerve to say something to you in the first fucking place. It's not your fault. You not wrong. You should not be admonished for say 'hey fuck you, I'm a grown ass adult and I'm going to do whatever I want. I like my body. I like my hair. I like my life. And you don't get to tell me that it needs to be any different.' Fuck them niggas. Don't let your uncle, aunty, grandma, niece, nephew, play cousin, don't let nobody try you this year. Cuss them niggas out and let them know you are not the one."

(The full episode for your listening pleasure)

Quit the Job You Hate & Find the Right Career

"It doesn’t matter how far you might rise...At some point, you are bound to stumble. … And when you do, remember this: there is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction."  -Oprah Winfrey

Sometimes It's Okay To Cry At Work....

Most of my family and close friends know that I am a cryer. I cry at the movies, graduations, baby showers, funerals, weddings, family functions, and the election of the First black President of the United States. I  am not an overly sensitive or emotional person. I don't cry if I bang my knee or cut my hand. I don't cry, if someone insults me or hurts my feelings (unless they are one of my parents or closest friends). I don't take any pleasure in crying in public or in private.  I don't cry to get attention. Being known as the one that cries is extremely embarrassing. But, for as long as I can remember, I have always had a hard time holding back tears when I see others cry, in person and in movies/tv. I was the kid that cried when Little Foot's mother died in The Land Before Time or when Kevin saw his mother at the door on Christmas morning, after praying for her and his family to return. I cry when I see others cry and/or when I see others suffering and in pain.

From kindergarten, I became accustomed to the hot feeling behind my eyes when tears start to form. The feeling is as natural to me now as the feeling of stomach grumblings when I am hungry. As much children do, I learned that being seen as a cryer is not a good thing. The kids that cried when they bump their knee or was teased were seen as weak. They were the wimps and the crybabies. And I was too strong willed to labeled as one of those kids. So, I learned how to hold back my tears. I take deep breaths and start thinking about silly or mundane things to move my mind and my feelings away from the emotional or tense matter in front of me. I drink water. When those things don't work, I have learned how to mask my crying by acting as if something is in my eyes or as if my allergies are acting up. When I got to college and started taking course for my Psychology major, I realized that I was empathetic. Not to be confused with sympathy (because I do not shed one tear when a homeless person holds a sign stating their misfortunes), empathy is the ability to share and understand the feelings of others. Add on the fact that I am a thinker and habitual dweller, my empathetic heart goes into overload when I see someone in pain. 

So, when one of my students started to tear up and eventually cry in my 8:30am Social Deviance class, during a discussion of labeling theory and mental illness, I felt that familiar burning feeling behind my eyes. But, instead of pretending my allergies were acting up, I let my tears fall and assured this student and the several other students,who bravely discussed their experiences with anxiety, depression, and mental illness, that I understood what they were feeling. It took me a few minutes to get my tears to stop falling. I engaged my "stop crying" techniques: wiped my eyes, drank water, and took a couple of moments to redirect my thoughts away from the stories my students shared and back to my lecture.

I never had an experience like that before in one of my classes. Crying in front of my students was never on my list of things to do in my life. But after it happened, I felt like God was giving me a wink  telling me that I was exactly where I was supposed to be and I was given an empathetic heart to better help my students both inside and outside the classroom. Depression and anxiety is a real problem on college campuses that often gets brushed under the rug as exam-related temporary occurrences. But the truth is, there are more than 1000 suicide deaths on college campuses per year.* Since the 1950s, suicide has been the second leading cause of death for college students.** 

I really care about both the well-being and the intellectual growth of my students. Thus, if crying in front of my class showed them that they could take me about any issues that they are dealing with,  and prevent them from letting their issues turn into severe depression, anxiety, or suicide, then I am okay with being known as the person who now also cries during class lectures. 

*inforetrieved from http://www.emorycaresforyou.emory.edu/resources/suicidestatistics.html

**info retrieved from http://www.nndc.org/perspectives-on-college-student-suicide/