Category Archives: Self-improvement

Dream Career

There is a difference between being good at what you do and loving what you do. On rare occasion, I cross paths with someone who both loves what they do and are good at it. I also believe  that having a career and having a job are two different things.

It has been rather difficult for me to find my dream career because I have no clue what I want it to be. I know that I’m great at a multitude of things, but I don’t think I’d want to make any of those things into a career. Better yet, a dream career. I love writing, but even with that, I don’t see it as a dream career. If I had time to focus only on my writing, then perhaps I could better visualize writing being my dream job. Writing has always been a passion, but I feel that as a career it would be way too much pressure and take away from the joy of doing it.

I’m also extremely indecisive . One day I want to be a lawyer, the next day I want to own a food truck. Maybe I haven’t experimented with enough job avenues to know what I want my dream career to be.

I can say without a doubt that my dream career has something to do with being my own boss. I do not want to be a slave to a 9-5 job for the rest of my life. I want to make my own hours and not have to answer to a boss.

At 26, I’d hope to have this shit figured out.

 

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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.

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

What is Life?

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At twenty-five years old most would think that I have a clear plan on what I want to do and how to go about doing it. Nope, not at all.

I know writing is a passion, but trying to figure out what to do with my writing abilities is a task in itself.

I love cooking, but I don’t think I want to be a chef. I already succumb to way too much pressure simply trying cooking for people that I know. I guess I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to cooking and baking. I once baked the same cake four times trying to make it perfect.

I’ve thought about being an actress, but I probably couldn’t amuse a group of children reading Little Red Riding Hood, so I think that’s out as well.

Some days I consider selling all of my worldly possessions to travel,but I think considering how much student loan debt that I have, I better chill with that idea.

I considering being  an English teacher, but I don’t have the patience to learn the appropriate way to use commas and other forms of punctuation. I can’t teach others to misuse punctuation. What can I say,I write, I don’t edit!

Often times I have considered starting a publishing company, but I don’t think I would last in that arena.

I’ve pretty much had the same type of jobs since I graduated high school and I haven’t explored other options outside of volunteering and personal trial and errors. I haven’t found anything that I’m like,yeah I could do this for the rest of my life. I get confused and often redirect my attention to new goals and new plans. Perhaps I try to bite off more than I can chew, which has prevented me from tapping into my full potential. I have so many great ideas in my head,but sometimes I struggle acting on them. I often times don’t know where to end or where to begin. I know I can come off as a cluster f%#k, but I’m trying to figure things out. I’m trying to define my own meaning of life instead of being jaded into societies definition. I finally came to the realization that it’s okay to not know, it’s okay to be a work in progress. It’s okay to not be  okay.

Day by day, I try to be better than I was the day before and that’s all any of us can do. I had to learn to stop comparing myself to other people. I had to stop measuring my success next to other people. I had to strip myself of labels and define who I am. I had to understand that despite my age, I’m still growing, I’m still transforming.

What is life? Well that’s entirely up to you!

…be successfully you

 

 

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.

 

 

Show Time

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I’ve finally decided to put my big girl panties on and have a book signing. Since I wrote my first book,When the Past Comes Knock’N, I have wanted to host a book signing, but I was too shy and fearful to do so. Since authoring and publishing my first book, I’ve written two more,”Legit and Twenty Something. It is simply time to get my feet wet and it is time for me to step into the true essence of the life of an author. I can’t be scared to step out on faith and I can’t keep delaying the process.

I’ve looked into a few venues (free spaces). I intend to look into libraries near my home and as a last resort I plan to speak with my employer to see if I can host my event at our school.I don’t want my book signing to be thrown together, but I’m defiantly aiming to have it sometime over the Summer. My friend suggested that I ask my guest to bring a plus one to help add to my audience. I would like the book signing to be intimate seeing that it is my first one,but nonetheless still want it to be professional. This will be my first time hosting an event and it will be my first time speaking publicly about my book. I’m nervous, but this is something that I need to do, its a step in the right direction towards not only achieving one of my goals as well as overcoming a fear. I’m excited and I’m hopeful that this will be one of many book signings. I’ve done some research about how to host a book signing, but in the end I can make it what I want to be.

My friend keeps reminding me that I’m an author, that I’ve actually written books and have them published. I spend a lot of time discrediting myself and not taking pride in my accomplishments. I’ve never been confident in announcing that I am an author, that’s a constant battle.I’m working to over come my doubts and fears in myself and with that, I hope this post serves as a boost of confidence for someone else. I know how scary it can be to follow your dreams, but you just have to swallow your fears and walk in faith. Even if you fall, God will catch you. Even if you fail, at-least you tried.

It is time to be fearless and claim the victory!

 

 

http://www.amberjgraham.com

Skin Deep

 

 

It’s February, which we all know, whether you like it or not is Black History Month. I debated about writing a post like this for several reasons. Black History Month, slavery, race, the Black Lives Matter movement, etc. are very controversial topics/issues among Americans. Nonetheless, let me go ahead and exercise my First Amendment Right, FREE SPEECH.

I’m sick and tired of people asking me,”are you mixed”, “what are you”, are you foreign”. These are some of the most ignorant questions I’ve heard people ask. My birth certificate states that I’m African American but the history of my families roots is a different story and frankly, it is nobody’s business, unless I choose to make it their business. I hate when people pose the question “what are you?” I’m a human. What are you? I’m fully aware that ignoring race is a part of the problem but I can’t help but to stop and think… why does race pose such a problem and/or create such a threat?

Some Caucasian people look at me funny because they think I’m too dark to be White and some Black people look at me funny because they think I’m too light to be Black. Can’t I just be Amber? Why is it that we are so color struck despite the obvious history of our country? I truly don’t understand. I wasn’t raised to judge people based on the color of their skin, or appearances in general. I hate being judged because I’m a Black woman and it’s not always by the White community. I feel as though someone always wants me to prove my blackness, or as if I always have to validate my intelligence because of my blackness…it is exhausting.

I find it interesting that people still use terms such as “The White Man” as if the entire race of white people is still trying to oppress Black people. I understand where the term came from but come on! As a Black woman, I have broken myself from the institutionalized  chains that “The White Man” controls my every move. I will not be intimated into thinking I’m “less than” because of my Black skin. I will not be forced to feel inferior because of my Black skin. I will not behave a certain way because of my  Black skin. I will not like anything any more or less because of my Black skin. And I certainly will not let who I am as an individual be charged to who people think I am because of my Black skin.

As people, I think it is important to recognize our difference and rejoice in them.  We need to start conversations. We need to address race as an issue. We can not expect to move forward if we constantly sweep everything under the rug and act as if praising Black people for one month out of the year compensates for the years and years and years of oppression that our ancestors were forced to endure in this very country.And I speak for myself when I say this, Black people have to learn to free themselves. If the system won’t educate us, we must educate ourselves. We must learn to invest in ourselves, we have to free ourselves from the illusions that we can’t own businesses or be doctors and lawyers. We have to free and rid our children and our generation of statistics. We have to free ourselves from this mental imprisonment that we were once forced to take ownership of.

Now…I’m curious as to when we’re going to come together and create a better tomorrow for our children? When are we as a community going to unite and stop allowing these police officers to kill our babies? When are we going to unite and teach our babies not to kill our babies? When are we as a human race going to show compassion and understanding towards PEOPLE…regardless of their skin color. In case you didn’t come to this conclusion…we as PEOPLE have a lot of work to do both separately and collectively.

I’m tired of being hated simply because of my skin color. I’m tired of being uncomfortable in certain areas or around certain people because of the color of my skin. I’m tired of being told I’m acting light skin. I’m tired of being told I’m acting White because I speak proper English. I’m tired of being forced to fit into a bubble because of the skin I had no choice in choosing. I’m tired of reversed racism and I’m tired of being tugged at. I hope that one day and it might not be any time soon but one day I can just be Amber. Amber the author. Not Amber the light skin girl, not Amber the “I think, she thinks,she’s a white girl”,Amber. I just want to be Amber, not being judged by my skin, not feeling forced to prove myself in every arena of my life because of my skin and not being pressured to live up to someone I’m not because of my skin.

 

I leave you all with this question,”Can you laugh at yourself without attributing it to your race…Can you own up to good/bad habits without attributing it to your race?”