Category Archives: Life

Chances Make Champions,Right?

My current place of employment is going through a transition and we are switching to a new management company. Throughout the initial process the new company has been somewhat secretive of their plans. They recently offered me a position and it has been a great debate about whether or not I should accept the job.  For those of you who don’t know, I work at a high school. The new management company is basically starting an entire new program that is K-12 opposed to 9-12. I haven’t the slightest clue what the curriculum or model of the school is going to be, that has yet to be disclosed. On top of that I believe everyone else at the current school was offered a slight raise with the new company and I was not, but that’s beside the point.

This might sound crazy, but I legitimately want to turn down the offer. It’s not about money or their secrecy. It’s about taking a chance on myself. My entire life, I say that as if I’m 65 years old and ready for retirement but you get my point…I’ve worked job after job, always exhausting my energy and never applying pressure to myself to make my dreams flourish. Is it risky business turning down a job in this economy, most certainly but is it even more risky to dedicate yourself to a job instead of living up to your potential,absolutely.  I have until May 5, 2017 to accept the offer and I’m honestly at a loss here. To sign or not to sign, that is the question. I don’t know if I should gamble on myself and not take the job and see where life leads me or continue being content with life working a mediocre job that pays the bills.

In my heart of hearts, I want to be that bold person that leaves the offer on the table to bet on myself, but do I have enough guts to actually do that? Not accepting the job means moving back to Michigan to live with my parents. I’m not too keen on living back with mommy and daddy. Declining would also mean working a job that I probably dislike, but I would have more time to dedicate myself to other things. Then there’s the fact that what if I don’t take the job and still don’t dedicate myself to my goals. Like WTF!? I know I’m being indecisive and I have to make a decision and live with that decision,but damn! How do you make a decision when you don’t know what decision is best in the long run? I wish I could have a glimpse into the next six months of my life, that would make my decision much easier.  Do you rely on stability, or do you take a chance? It’s not like I’m 19 years old and don’t have any bills. I’m 26 going on 27 with a car note, student loans and a costly AT&T bill that will be with me whether I have a job or not. At this moment, being an adult is overrated.

In the end, it is a matter of walking in faith or walking in fear.

 

Pity-Party

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Have you ever felt defeated and just drained of the last ounce of hope and patience that you have? That’s how I feel today. I’m just tired. Tired of the redundancy of my job. Tired of school. Tired of not being appreciated. Tired of living a life that I don’t enjoy. Tired of waking up everyday dreading going to work, thinking of the task that I may be forced to face.

Maybe I’m writing this because I’m in a rather shitty mood,but everything I say is true,despite the fury in my words at the current moment.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for all that I have, even my job regardless of how much I currently dislike it. And yes, I’m aware that changing my life is in my hands, but that becomes  rather difficult when all the effort that you put into making a transition doesn’t seem to ever go in your favor.

Now I was fine this morning. My morning started with blueberry muffin and a coffee from Starbucks. I had my music blasting and enjoyed my Starbucks on the way to work.  I was even fine when I walked through the door at work, even though 99 people walk by one another and don’t bother to speak, but whatever! Then I got a missed a call. A call basically informing me that I didn’t get the job that I applied for.  It was one of those, please call back to discuss the next step of employment. I already knew it was a no, but my co-workers kept trying to convince me that I was wrong. I called back and that’s exactly what it was.

I can deal with not getting a job, but it pissed me off because I’m an internal applicant and they knew from day one that they weren’t going to hire me, but instead they put me through hoops giving me the illusion that I was eligible for the position. I understand formalities and all of that, but are you kidding me? Let’s just keep it 100 and not waste anybody’s time. The job was in another state and I think I just wanted so badly to move and to start over that it all together crushed my spirit and irritated the depth of my soul. After all this is the second time they’ve led me on about a job. I know what you’re thinking;Amber maybe you just suck. Nope,I got exceeds expectations on my last performance review and I’ve gotten three awards since being employed. I do my job, and I think I do it well. As my mother said, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.

Despite that shit storm, in general nothing seems to be going my way. Every job I’ve applied for, denied. Every query letter I’ve sent for my books, declined. I even suck at being in college. 120 credits but my residency requirement hasn’t been fulfilled;degree declined. Let’s not mention the fact that Donald Trump won the presidential election last night. That alone has me ready to dive off of a cliff. Like what theeeeeee fuck!?!

Let me have my 60 second pity party, y’all. I’m going to pull it together and I know things could be worse. I know that I don’t have it that bad and I know everyone has shitty days. I know that sometimes life just kicks your ass and you just have to rise up from the ass beating. I know, I know, I know. This isn’t my first storm and it won’t be my last, but it never makes the fall lighter or easier to rise up from.

So, in closing I leave you all with this and myself as well. Be patient. Everything that is meant for you will always be for you. You can only be defeated if you give up. Keep hanging on, keep floating, keep trying. One day, the very frustrations or troubles that you are facing at this very moment will be almost comical. Stay strong and keep fighting the good fight.

Sincerely, one pissed off person to another.

Self Check

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I apologize that it has been a while since my last blog. For quite some time, I temporarily gave up on blogging and recording YouTube videos. I felt it necessary to reestablish my focus and my purpose for blogging and speaking to my YouTube subscribers. Heck, even my purpose for writing books and everything else that I find myself taking part in. My goal has always been to share my experiences and perspective whenever I blog or record videos. Nonetheless, lately  I feel as though I’ve been playing an adult game of Hide and Seek with my personal and career goals. One moment I’m in full force, prepared to take on the world and accomplish the impossible; the next, I’m stalled out, tucked away in my apartment contemplating exactly what I want to do in life.

I’m finding “adulting” to be really difficult at the moment. I appreciate having a job, but I’m struggling to find purpose in my position. While what I do brings some kind of fulfillment it is not what I want to do for the rest of my life, even though I’m not sure what I want to do for the rest of  my life with my life. Just going through life, repeating the same things daily has created a void. I wake up almost everyday dreading the thought of even having to be up before 6 a.m.and before I know it I’ve hit snooze six times. I always manage to pull myself together and face each day head on with a smile, but I can’t continue to go through life like this.

I mean, if we’re being honest, I would like a billion dollars and the ability  to travel the world, blog about the people, experiences and food that I encounter on my travels. I guess that’s not the most realistic thing, or at-least a billion dollars magically being placed in my possession is a little far fetched.

As I approach the age of 26 I’ve been taking a great interest in setting new goals and making adjustments to goals that I’ve already established. I’ve been reading books about truly being who you are, without trying to meet the expectations that the world has placed on your shoulders. I’ve been working on stripping myself of all of the negative thoughts that both myself and others have cursed me with. That sounded strange, basically what I mean by that is breaking myself free my negative thoughts and words that have been spoken over my life. Removing all of the doubt from my mind that I can’t do certain things. Reminding myself that I am beautiful and that I am deserving of love, and support. I’ve had to not only take ownership of my flaws and face the woman in the mirror, but I’ve also have had to face the reality that I need to change some of these things about myself. Change the way I think, the way I behave, the way I react. I realize that I am sometimes very passive aggressive, I often times hold grudges and among other things, I allow fear to bully me out of things that I truly would like to do. I’ve learned to take ownership of my mistakes and to move beyond them. There is no point in holding onto what you don’t have the ability to change.

Overall, I want to live up to my own expectations, whatever those will come to be. I have to let down my guard and not be afraid to step into the woman I’m destined to be.

Searching

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Who am I? 

I know what I like to do. I know what makes me happy.  I know my strengths and my weaknesses, but what is the driving force behind the very things that define me?

I’m a daughter, a sister,an aunt, a student and a writer, but in the end none of these things define who I am. They add substance to my being and they contribute to who I am, but still they do not define my identity. I believe that who we are goes far beyond what we like to do and the titles that both ourselves and others label us with. Defining who we are includes how we treat others when they can’t do anything for us, how we act when we’re angry, who we are when people aren’t paying attention, and a variety of other things.

Discovering who I am has become a priority, but it is my opinion that self-discovery is a virtue and not a  destination. As we grow and as we change, we define and re-define ourselves. It is important to remain true to our character as we do so. Character is the foundation of our moral and mental qualities. I want to find and understand my purpose. I want to exude positive vibes and live up to my own metrics of success. I want to break down barriers of who I thought I was and focus on personal growth and new experiences.

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I complied a list of things that I believe to be important in finding yourself:

  1. Understand past events that have helped shaped you into the person that you are presently.
  2. Distinguish your thoughts from the thoughts of others.
  3. Find your confidence.
  4. Overcome bad habits and forgive yourself for your mistakes.
  5. Organize and prioritize your life. Put things in perspective.
  6. Remove pressures created by the rest of the world.
  7. Question yourself and the world around you.
  8. Be courageous. Understand that failure is apart of the journey.
  9. Lose yourself to find yourself, in the words of Gandhi.

 

 

“Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?”

-Danielle LaPorte

Don’t Shoot

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If you use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or simply watch the news, I’m sure you’ve heard about the killing of yet another unarmed black man, Alton Sterling.  The officers were caught on video by civilians in Baton Rouge. The video shows the two officers killing Sterling in cold blood. Sadly, this is probably another one of those incidents where the legal system will pull an excuse out of their ass as to why the killing was justified. Within the first three months of 2016, police killed 250 UNARMED people. What has been done? In most cases, nothing.

I can’t justify whether the police were TECHNICALLY right or wrong in the case of Alton Sterling,but time and time again it is proven that police apprehend black suspects completely different than white suspect.

As an African American Woman I feel like I have a target on my back. I know that all police officers aren’t racist and all police officers aren’t going to shoot without just cause, but they don’t come with warning signs on their foreheads. “There aren’t bad officers just bad people with badges”, as Dr. Jesse Jackson III stated. Whenever I see a police officer behind me in traffic I get nervous, not because I’m doing anything wrong,but because I don’t have to be doing anything wrong for them to pull me over.

Let’s discuss a few facts and statistics:

Education

Education is suppose to be an equalizer,right?  African  Americans are twice more likely than Caucasians to not finish high school. It is also more difficult for African Americans who graduate from college to find a job compared to Caucasians with the same level of education.

Legal System

Let’s say a Caucasian man kills an African American and an African American man kills a Caucasian man. Both crimes were committed in the same manner, in the same state. The Black man is more likely to be charged with felony murder. Black youth are also more likely to get charged as adults than White youth. But, White privilege doesn’t exist, right and the justice system is equal,right?

I hate walking into a store and being followed because the owner is under the assumption that I’m going to steal because I’m Black. I hate being spoken down to because people assume I’m not intelligent because I’m Black. I’m tired of working ten times as hard to earn something that was just handed to someone because they are White.I’m tired of being scared for my life because I’m Black. It’s almost as if Black people are being hunted. We get harassed if we’re in certain neighborhoods because people think we can’t afford to be there because we’re Black. We get pulled over and searched simply for being Black.

I try to tell my family members, friends and social media followers not to harden their hearts to an entire race of people. I try to keep people uplifted, letting them know that we can’t harden are hearts and exhibit hate. It is important now more than ever to pray for one another, to look out for one another and to speak up for ourselves and for others. In case you haven’t realized by now this is why the movement #blacklivesmatter is so important. Not because our lives are more important than others, but because they are equally as important and we do not deserve to be shot down in the middle of the street like dogs.Our lives matter because we are HUMAN-BEINGS. I would also like to add that while I understand that we need to highlight these meaningless killings, I do not agree with making a video of HOMICIDE go viral. Have we forgotten that people like Alton Sterling have children and family members?  While police brutality and these deaths are no secret, I don’t believe that we should sub-tweet,re-tweet, Etc these gruesome videos in respect for ones family.

April 30, 2014: Dontre Hamilton (Milwaukee)
July 17, 2014: Eric Garner (New York)
Aug. 5, 2014: John Crawford III (Dayton)
Aug. 9, 2014: Michael Brown Jr. (Ferguson)
Aug. 11, 2014: Ezell Ford (Florence)
Aug. 12, 2014: Dante Parker (Victorville)
Nov. 13, 2014: Tanisha Anderson (Cleveland)
Nov. 20, 2014: Akai Gurley (Brooklyn)
Nov. 22, 2014: Tamir Rice (Cleveland)
Dec. 2, 2014: Rumain Brisbon (Phoenix)
Dec. 30, 2014: Jerame Reid (Bridgeton)
March 6, 2015: Tony Robinson (Madison)
March 31, 2015: Phillip White (Vineland)
April 2, 2015: Eric Harris (Tulsa)
April 4, 2015: Walter Scott (North Charleston)
April 19, 2015: Freddie Gray (Baltimore)

30-Day Challenge

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There are a lot of 30-day challenges floating around these days. As you all may know,well if you frequently follow my blog you are aware that I completed a no meat challenge back in February 2016. This month through June, I’m trying something a little different. On May 22, 2016 (yesterday) I started a 30-day journal challenge. The challenge will run through June 22, 2016. The goal is to journal something everyday. The journal entry needs to be your 100% raw (unfiltered thoughts/feelings). Literally, no holding back! At the end of the 30 days you are supposed to go back through the entries and reflect.

I usually journal every night, but those entries are more so prayers. I have two notebooks that I already use as journals; one is for prayers and the other is for scriptures and Bible notes.  I purchased a simple spiral notebook that has 30 pages,if I need more space, I’ll buy another notebook. I think this challenge will be good for me and I’m hoping that it will help me sort out my thoughts and regain my focus on my actual book writing. I initially thought about making it a 30-day blog challenge where I publicly wrote the journal entries as blogs (I’m not sold on that idea).  By the end of the 30-days I’m hoping to have learned something about myself and to have overcome some of the day to day issues that I seem to struggle with. This shall be interesting.

 

 

The Publishing World

 

 

I would like to extend my apologies for taking a little under a month to write a new post. My head has been in the clouds lately. We’re almost half way through 2016 and I feel stagnant. I’m standing on my faith that God has a plan for me, but I nonetheless feel out of sorts. Between work and school, most days I just want to cuddle with my imaginary boyfriend, eat snacks and watch old episodes of Law and Order SVU.

Back to your regularly scheduled program…

As some of you may know, I recently published my third book,”Twenty Something.” I went the route of self publishing all three of my novels, but I recently realized that I just don’t have the gusto to promote myself and my work. That is pretty evident with my lack of blog exposure. I have attempted to utilize my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, but have been unsuccessful in my attempts. Maybe I’m too lazy, or maybe I simply lack marketing knowledge. In all honestly, probably both.  Nonetheless, I have decided to try an alternate route. There are several self-publishing companies that offer marketing services. For about $1,000 or more, these companies create press releases and several other author and book exposure propositions. I have been researching these companies and looking into authors who have published genres similar to mine in hopes of gaining a better understanding of the overall process. I also have looked into larger published companies such as Harper Collins, but most of these companies do not take unsolicited work. I finally realize that I can’t do this on my own. I’ve tried to write, edit, sell and promote my books on my own…it’s too much. I just want to focus on one task which is writing.

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen just how vicious the publishing world can be. I’ve sent out several query letters and so far I have been declined twice. It can be a bit discouraging, especially since publishing companies and/or agents don’t give you advice or an explanation as to why they chose not to accept your work. I know I have talent, but when you are denied back to back you begin to question yourself and your abilities. Regardless of the doors that have slammed in my face, I am still hopeful. My plan is to reach out to Simon and Schuster and see what their services entail. My one desire since I decided to write a book has been to be on the New York Times Bestseller list and alone that isn’t happening I’m very hopeful that one day I will be… Stay tuned for updates!

If you are interested in reading more about my books and/or making a purchase please visit my website www.amberjgraham.com