Lemme Get This Off My Chest: These Dudes Ain't Loyal

You want me flawless

You want me patient and sweet

You want me willing

You want my honesty

You want me to be

Appreciative

Respect your space

Ignore your fears

You want spontaneity

A good girl and a freak

You want loyalty

You want something that you’re not, willing

To be

You want something that you’re not, willing

To be

Expecting me to be loyal

Expecting me to be faithful

You want something that you’re not, willing

To be

--Willing (interlude) by Jill Scott 

Lemme Get This Off My Chest 4.0: Is Trump Trying To Make America Great Again With Segregation?

I'm going to start calling this #TherapyThursdays because I always feel better after I get these things off my chest.

This week on "Lemme Get This Off My Chest," I try to unravel the enigma wrapped in a turd wrapped in ignorance that is Donald J. Trump, particularly his popular campaign slogan. What does he mean by "making America great again"?

Lemme Get This Off My Chest 3.0: I Hate Stacey Dash/Stupid People

Actress Stacey Dash showed her

whole entire ass on Fox News

, calling for getting rid of BET, BET Awards, NAACP awards, and BLACK HISTORY MONTH in the name of racial integration. I couldn't go into the weekend with this fire on my chest. This is me letting go and letting God deal with this stupid woman.

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

here

.

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

avoid

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

before

, 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

before

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

and

gay). And it chronicles her life

after

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

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

How To Be Happy At Work: Be Authentic

In an earlier blog post, I talked about the

importance of living in your truth.

 I specifically discussed how I decided to be more authentic at work, in the classroom with my students. I was really tired of splitting my energy between presenting a professional image of a college professor (that was very much based on a socio-historical/cultural image of college professors as "old white men") and being myself. When I first started teaching at my current university, I was so worried that the students were judging me based on my youth, race, and gender that I developed a

severe anxiety

 about my teaching (despite this being my third university teaching job). I was afraid of my students viewing as "the unqualified, bad black female professor." So, I over-prepared and carefully chose my words when I spoke. And, if I misspelled or mispronounced something, I internally freaked out and then beat myself up about it after class. I hated going to work. I was miserable, severely anxious, and deeply depressed. This way of being was not healthy and limited my capacity to put forth my best work. 

Though things got better as I got used to teaching at this university, I still had a bit of anxiety about my teaching. This all changed this semester; I decided that I was going to stop "playing professor" and just be myself all the time---smart, young, loud, opinionated, quirky, emotional, a bit fearless, and #veryblack. I wore my "

Notorious BIG

," "

Hillman College

," and "

Because of Them We Can

" sweatshirts, and 

Nola Darling shirt pins

, with my dress pants, skirts, and shoes. I didn't back down from talking about racism, sexism, homophobia, police brutality, islamophobia, xenophobia, and other social ills happening on campus and across this country. I let go of my insecurities and "kept it 100" (as one of my students said). I stopped worrying about their evaluations of me. I talked to my students the way I talk to everyone else in my life. I challenged my students and myself to be honest, open, and authentic inside and outside the classroom. I admitted when I was wrong or didn't know something. I laughed at my spelling mistakes and brain farts. I allowed my passion for teaching take up 100% of my energy and focus while I was in the classroom. 

After doing all of these things, I can honestly say I no longer feel anxious. Instead, I am now happy at work. And, I am getting the respect and praise that I wanted, needed, and deserved. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here are the responses I received (in the form of notes from some of my students and a special message from the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs) after I decided to "be authentic" at work: 

Professor Tavernier, I thank you so much for all the work you have done and all the care you have taken for your class this semester.  You can see what a difference you are  making.  How lucky we are to have you teaching with us.

To all of you, thank you for all you do.

Thanks,



Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs

thank you for teaching this semester and making my brain work. 

Happy Holidays,

Akira

Hope you have an wonderful christmas break Dr. T.

It was a pleasure having you as a professor, hope to see You again soon.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Thanks, 

Crayton

Professor, I would just like to thank you for an incredible semester! I learned a lot and I hope we can stay in touch. Have a good break and happy holidays!

-Gregory

I really enjoyed our class this semester and I hope that you have a great break.

Thank you, 

Amber

Thank you for a great semester!

Hope to see you soon,

Joleen

i wanted to thank you for an amazing semester and experience have a happy holiday and wish the best for you in the future.

Sincerely,

            Rony

I had a wonderful semester. I will easily try to take another one of your classes. i hope you had a great holiday, and Happy new year!

Kenneth

Thank you for being such a great influence on me this semester. You have taught me more life lessons than probably anyone. I appreciate you so much and am truly going to miss you. I am going to visit you next semester so please send me your office hours! Have a fabulous winter break and a very Merry Christmas! Don't forget about me!  <3 

-Maddy 

Thank you for a great class. You really opened my eyes to alot of things and I learned alot as well. 

Keep keepin  it real

Thanks again, 

Timothy

Thank you for teaching our class. I truly enjoyed it. Have a good break!!

-Samantha

Professor, 

Thank you for a great semester!

   -Olivia

It was a pleasure being in your class.

Thank You

Alex

Thank you for a fun and interesting class. I feel it really helped me learn a lot about things that are super important to me.

Thank you!

Jace

I hope you have a great break and thank you for being a great teacher. I look forward to taking another class with you in the future!

Thanks again,

Bobby

I just wanted to say thank you for this semester. You were one of the best teachers I've ever had and I am looking forward to being in your class (white collar crime) in the spring semester.

Enjoy the holidays,

Sydney

Hello Professor Tavernier, 

I Just wanted to say Thank you for all your help and support during the class it was greatly appreciated and I learned a lot and I definitely keep in touch! Have a great break 

Hi Dr.Tavernier,

‪I really enjoyed your class.You made it fun and a real learning experience.I wish the best to you and your family for a happy and joyfull holiday. 

Dan

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)