chasingwonderwoman

Archive for the tag “Freshman”

Branded

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A few weeks ago I squeezed in attending a workshop for a handful of people within my organization selected to be a part of an inaugural protégé/mentoring program.  The workshop was titled “How to Brand Yourself” – – well it probably wasn’t really called that because that conjures up images of a branding iron and either horses or slaves, so I’m going to guess that they called it something else, but you get my meaning.  I arrived about 30 minutes late to the virtual workshop but what I caught was really very good. I wrote down on one of the hundreds of post-it notes that are scattered all over my dorm/office a challenge from the presenter … Fill in the blanks: “I want to be known for being ____ so that I can deliver _____ to _____.”  He dared us to complete that sentence as we attempted to discover our personal brand.  Moreover, he said, we could use it in both our professional and personal lives.

It’s been over 4 weeks since I attended that workshop and I find myself at times, looking for that scrap of paper so that I make sure I don’t forget to fill in those blanks.  You see, I really want to fill in the blanks.  It feels like something that not only I should do, but that I really need to do.

For the past 15 months, I have spent so much time being an over achieving employee, a bewildered student, a so-so mom, an elderly care-giver and let us not forget a jilted ex-lover that branding myself in a good light has been non-existent.  Week after week, month after month has gone by and I think to myself that I am grateful because my life is better than most.  But in my heart I feel like very little to rejoice over and I wonder what happened to my joy?  I believe I had it at one time, at least I think I did.

Since the time of Aristotle (throwback to last semesters’ Ethics course – – yikes), man has been asking the question that I now ponder of myself, why are we here, what’s the meaning of life, what’s my brand statement. Well maybe the great thinkers of all time weren’t quite thinking about the latter, but I believe they are all loosely tied to one another.  One day soon (I anxiously await), I will finish this undergraduate degree and I will put it behind me.  One day even sooner (sadly), I will stop having to baby my 17 year old.  She will be making grown up decisions on her own.  Sure, she will always need her mother, but not in the same way as today.  And someday soon (please God, sooner rather than later) I will stop being a Sourcing Manager for this nightmare of a position and I will advance to other work.  When all these things, that are so much a part of me now, wrap up, what will I look back on and say? Will I have found joy throughout the journey, so that when they come to an end I will say it was all worth it and I’m a better person because of it?  About seven years ago I dated a man who I believe was the one true love of my life. I remember saying to him, in his cozy condo, over large glasses of wine and even larger plates of pasta, “No matter what happens, no matter if this ends terribly, I will never regret one moment I spent with you. This was the best feeling I have ever had, exactly what I had always dreamed of, and I’ll never ever be sad it happened”.  I have dated a lot of men before and after him, and I’ve never said or even thought it with any other.

Makes me wonder, what else I feel that way about.  Being a mom? Of course, no brainer, my daughter is the most amazing person and the sole reason I haven’t tossed in the towel years ago.  Returning to school?  Yes, despite how much I hate the homework, and the expense and the juvenile classmates, I will never regret the decision to come back to college and finish my degree.  My job? Yes, even that.  Despite how much I absolutely hate pest control, office politics, and multi-client RFP’s, I will never regret the path that I took to get this role because I wouldn’t have advanced to this level without it.

I think the joy is there, underneath the layers of self-doubt and sadness I often feel, it’s there I just have to dig for it a little deeper some days, some months.  I have to be careful not to let my joy get over shadowed by the perils of a life unbranded.  So in that respect, I took my first stab tonight at my branding statements.  I think they may need a little tweaking and massaging here or there, but it’s a start. Let me know how you do with yours….

Professionally, I want to be known for being highly competent and trustworthy so that I can deliver positive, common sense results to people who trust and depend on me.

Personally, I want to be known for being worthy so that I can deliver joy and happiness to special people (and one day a special man) who loves me.

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Sometimes I’m Proud

More often than not, if I were to say how I feel on any given day, it would be Sometimes I’m Overwhelmed or Sometimes I’m Filled with Self Doubt or Sometimes I Think I’m Super Fat.

Fortunately for me, the key word is “sometimes” — I don’t feel that way all the time or even often.  But every once in a while those nagging feelings of what I think I can’t do come to the surface and take hold like hungry ticks on a fat lap-dogs’ belly.

lifelineA few weeks ago I hoped that someone or something would throw me a lifesaver because I couldn’t breathe.  I am happy to say I found it bobbing up and down in the waters of my mind and I made it to dry land.  I do believe that writing this blog provides me with much-needed therapy.  I started this journey, not because I wanted to become a famous blogger, but because I felt it would motivate me and keep me from quitting.  That’s what it does.  Every post I write and every reply from one of my dear friends; every email I receive that someone new is “following me”, or “liked” my post is like a virtual hug that I feel here in my little “dorm room/office“.  I crave those hugs, I need them.  Sometimes I think I’m In over My Head but I know there are people reading this who believe without a doubt that I’m not; that “I got this”.

The good news is that I signed up for class again this semester! This is a 100% on-line class which fits in perfectly with my hectic life.  I’ve also taken a mental “chill pill'” when it comes to my new job in the new year.  I had to because I was quite literally  making myself sick with worry.  I am learning to say no to some things and how to say, I’m the boss and this is the way I want it to be done. Words I would never have thought I could say, never mind would feel the confidence to believe in after I say them.  But I do.  It’s empowering and it helps me get through the day and start to feel these small glimmers of, dare I say, — success (okay let’s just say, ‘not failures’).

Although its 22 degrees outside and a winter storm is blanketing my home like a scene from a snowpocalypse movie; technically its Spring in the world of academia.  So today its Spring for me too! This semester begins with a renewed sense of hope and a deep sense of gratitude for all of you who, whether you knew it or not, tossed me the life lines I needed.  I have to admit, I didn’t think I would be writing this message this way.  I thought it would be an explanation of why I had to take a short break, and filled with promises that I would return and not let myself down. But that’s not today’s message.  Today I’m still here, I’m still on this journey, and as I look back on the last few weeks, I have to say Sometimes I’m Proud Of Me.

…PS, I Miss You…

I seriously cannot believe that summer is coming to a screeching halt.  Here in the Northeast it becomes amazingly apparent that fall is rapidly descending upon us.  Now at 8pm it’s just about dusk, by 8:30 it’s pitch black!  It seems like yesterday the sun was still high in the sky even as late as 9:00 at night.  But it really wasn’t “just yesterday” it was about 60 yesterdays’ ago.

…I miss summer already…

I mentioned that I decided to take this summer off from college classes.  I have to admit that at first, I felt a little guilty about it.  Especially since my partner in crime, Pez, who’s on this journey with me, did take a summer class. As I type this blog, sipping an extra yummy Cabernet, she is enduring her twice a week, 3 hour lecture! Tonight’s topic…single parenthood.  We both half-jokingly agreed that when we finish our degree we could and should teach that class!

…I don’t miss summer sessions of college…

Dorm Room

My “Dorm Room”

This summer has been an interesting one.  Besides my trip to Italy, the other monumental event that took place was opening my home to my 70-year old mother. She has now been living with my daughter and I since May.  It was necessary. Living alone was becoming increasingly concerning for everyone.  I couldn’t see how she could stay in her own home the way things were going.  Around April, after a very upsetting call where my mom was certain her neighbor had graduated from stealing her hot water to stealing her church offering envelopes and triple A batteries, I made an executive decision.  During that call I said, “Pack your things mom, I will be there in 30 minutes to pick you up.”  She has not slept in her apartment since that day.  With the help of some truly life-savings friends, we packed my mom up in a weekend. The following week, I gave away my bedroom furniture to make way for her set. I moved upstairs, turning my office into an office/bedroom which I now refer to as my “dorm room”.  This seems incredibly appropriate given my “back to college” themed life.

…I don’t miss worrying about my mother…

When I bought my home 3 years ago, I was thrilled that I had done it “on my own”.  I had a lovely bedroom with a master bath and sliding glass doors that led out to my dream deck overlooking (from a distance) the water.  Now, my new 11’ x 8’ dorm room houses a ton of clothing, shoes and purses (imagine the storage boxes),  my work desk, my 3 drawer legal sized

file cabinet, a recently purchased full size bed, a printer/fax and a 26” box style Panasonic television.  Some people say I made a sacrifice but it doesn’t feel like that to me…it feels right.  Believe it or not, I like it – – a lot.  Sharing a floor and a bathroom with my 16 year old teenage daughter has gotten increasingly easier and I think has made us even closer.  Everything happens for a reason and maybe the reason is that this time next year I will be sobbing when I send my daughter off to college. I will be grateful that I had this year with her on the same floor, sharing the same small space.  Last night, she crawled in beside me to watch the television show, Arrested Development on Netflix.  I wouldn’t have had that moment if my mom hadn’t come to stay with me.  Everything happens for a reason.

…I miss my daughter already…

As summer closes, of course, fall commences.  I am all signed up for class which begins in 2 weeks – – PHILOSOPHY 101.  I

See I wasn't kidding!

See I wasn’t kidding!

can only imagine the plethora of material that it will provide to feed this blog!  I actually wanted to take two classes this fall but financially I just couldn’t swing it.  I refuse to go into debt getting this degree.  I’ve worked too hard on building my credit score to throw it all away now.  The truth is, between me and you, I had to make another very important purchase this summer.  Hopefully those that read the description of my dorm room noted the 26” BOX television and cringed at the very thought of such an egregious situation. Yes, I know, I know.  But never fear, after months of online bargain comparison shopping, I settled on an LG 32” LED flat screen from Amazon.com.  It gets delivered tomorrow.  So what can I say?

Something had to give….only one class this semester, BUT I get to watch the final season of Breaking Bad in HDTV.  Priorities people!

…I’ve missed real pixels on television…

My summer wouldn’t be complete without one final reflection.  My world, my life, my heart is what it is because of the people I share it with.  I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for the beautiful, wonderful female friends who are a part of my life and keep me sane day after day, week after week, year after year despite everything which comes along.  And, along the way, there have been some ‘menfriends’ who I am often shocked and amazed by how much they mean to me and how integral their support is to everything I do.  For ALL of those in my life this summer, THANK YOU for being there for another memorable season of ups and downs.  For those who were not here but who, in my heart of hearts, I wish were…

…PS…I miss you…

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Lastly, this post is in memory of Jackson Boudreaux BoJangles Berry-Beckham, who passed away to doggy heaven this summer.  ...Jackson, we all miss you baby.

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Smarter than Me

The brain

The Brain

Recently I have adopted a tag line that I have felt for some time. Simply put, I don’t think anyone is smarter than me.  I guess that can sound a little conceited and self-important especially when spoken by someone who is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.  Millions of people across the globe can already boast the degree status that I’m seeking and even higher, MBA’s, PHD’s, etc… etc…  But I’m not talking about college smarts; frankly I’m not even talking about street smarts, because I would probably lose that battle against any two-bit scam artist.  After all, I grew up in a very small, rural town, complete with dirt roads and an actual “general store” (remember Little House on the Prairie! Yes, like that).  My greatest street cred includes being the fastest kid to run away from a bee’s nest after we pelted it with rocks.

What I mean when I say “no one’s smarter than me” is that after 42 years of living I have found that there are few people (strike that “no people”) who I believe have anything to hold over me in terms of basic intelligence and that more often than not even the most learned person that I have interacted with is a complete idiot about something very rudimentary in life.  For instance, I worked for a man once who is truly bright.  Well-educated, smart, sensible, direct, good leader, sense of humor but when it came to raising his 11-year-old son, he was an idiot.  The things he shared with me that he and his wife were letting their son get away with were simply moronic.  I would listen to him and think, what is wrong with you, this kid is going to be a mess and you’re letting it happen and thinking it’s going to somehow miraculously all work out.  Another friend of mine is a professor at an Ivy League college.  He holds multiple degrees and speaks three languages.  He’s been divorced three times and each marriage and interim girlfriend is worse than the one before.  A relationship black hole is what I equate getting involved with him to be like.  He professes that each one of these women is 1,000 times better than the one before and boasts pictures and texts messages and those uber annoying Facebook “selfies” showing how very happy he is with his new special woman.  You can set a watch for the downfall.  Within 6 months it’s already unraveling, inside of 9 months there’s a third party muddying the waters and before the clock strikes the one year mark it’s over in a Chernobyl style melt-down. And even before the nuclear dust has a chance to settle, he is back at it again with the next contestant making the same mistake time and time again.

BUT, even knowing all that and seeing the flaws in my friends, there are many times, like today, when I wake up and question whether or not I know what I’m doing and whether the choices I’m making are indeed…”smart”.  Sometimes I have to admit that I start to believe that the answer is “not so much”.

What I’m trying to learn through this journey is that I need to believe in me, see things from the broader perspective, understand that, I, like everyone else will mess up and make mistakes. I will muddle through them; I will learn from them; and I will commit not to continue to make them over again.  For the most part I live that way but I struggle with giving in to fear, self-doubt, other people’s opinions and their confusing double talk and mirrored intentions.

There are plenty of people who know more than I do about certain things but EVERYONE has what I like to call dumbbell baggage, the stuff they just aren’t good at and weighs them down.  So that being the case, how then could I ever think anyone else is smarter than I am?  I can’t.  Frankly, you can’t either.  Yes, I am still working on this degree, and will be for a while longer.  I know that in no way is it a reflection on my worth at my work, my intelligence, or what I deserve and should expect.   Yes, I often do things that make me shake my head in wonder and say, why did I give that person my phone number, why didn’t I cancel that appointment earlier and avoid late fees, why am I so indecisive about simple tasks.  I know that it’s just me carrying some extra heavy dumbbells that day.  I’ll unpack them, lighten the load and I’ll move on.

Today is a day, I needed to reaffirm “THEY are not smarter than me”…

…I got this…

In case anyone else needed to hear it ….this posts’ for us…you got this too.

Summer or Bust

Summertime is here and I have officially decided to take an official school break. In May, I decided not to register for classes during the shortened summer break, even though it is a good time to take a class in half the time.

The last six months have been a whirlwind for me at work and in my personal life and frankly I needed a break. I haven’t shared it much but my mother has been struggling with some issues that center on being elderly and alone. It became apparent that I needed to take her into my home so that she would be cared for in a manner my entire family felt was necessary.  Moving her into my home and getting her world merged with mine was, to put it mildly, a challenge.  I don’t regret a moment of it and I feel an amazing sense of calm now when I glance over at her and know she is safe and happy.    Each time I hear her laugh at an episode of “The Golden Girls” my heart literally leaps because I am so incredibly grateful and at peace.

However, despite my unwavering love for my mother, I have to admit that I was in no way planning to have a 75-year-old “roommate” at this time of my life.  I am about to clear my house of my 16-year-old “roommate”/daughter who will ship off to college next year. Truthfully, I pictured the next few years with me finishing this college degree, getting promoted to a mind-blowing, internationally based position at work, and yes, finding my Mr. Right.  Ah, Mr. Right…a dashing, debonair, worldly, wonderful man who would sweep me off my feet and bounce me across the globe.  We would go on countless adventures, one more fabulous than the next.  All of them framed in a haze of one more fantastic bottle of wine than the next.  And all of it would be completely possible because I would be unencumbered – nothing holding me at home!  Yes, I know it sounds a bit like a cross between a sappy Lifetime movie, an AA meeting and Season 5 of Sex and The City but hey that’s what I had envisioned…don’t judge me!

Well, needless to say, my daydreams have gotten a slight cramp but it’s early in the summer yet and my hopes are not yet completely dashed.  After all in these first six weeks of summer, I have managed to keep myself busy with what I consider the highlights:

  1. Mowed the lawn 35 times
  2. Cut the hedges 1 time then passed out in the hallway from heat exhaustion
  3. Killed no less than 15 yellow jackets (nasty bees we have here in the Northeast) that somehow manage to get into the upstairs bathroom despite every attempt to keep them out
  4. After everyone goes to bed watching with wide-eyed adoration and horror all four seasons of the A&E series, Breaking Bad on Netflix in my new bedroom/office with the door closed, AC blasting and wine bottle in reaching distance
  5. Travelled to Venice, Florence and Rome ITALY with my gal pal partner in crime, Bonnie, for a 9 day European holiday

Clearly the most significant of those experiences is #5 but don’t think the rest of the list wasn’t without its special moments either. Yes, Italy was breathtaking and I plan on a special post with photos but less I skip over items 1 through 4.  If you’re not watching the show, Breaking Bad, I will just say, you NEED TO BE. Some of you may remember that I tried to watch this a few months back but didn’t like the first episode.  I blogged about it and promised myself to give it another try in an attempt to break some of my own bad habits. I am soooo glad I took my own advice this time around… I really do know what I’m talking about sometimes!

Bottom line….summer’s only half way over and there is still plenty of time to add what I hope are at least another 5 items to that list that don’t include sweat lodge style labor or screaming like a maniac while I flail around the bathroom with a rolled up newspaper trying to kill creepy flying insects. I feel compelled to perhaps do something just slightly more adventurous.  So I am officially welcoming any ideas, suggestions, or even offers from potential Mr. Rights.

No shortage of Mr. Rights in Italy! Viva La David!

No shortage of Mr. Rights in Italy! Viva La David!

Merely Freshmen

So today was the first day of my online class, Principles of Marketing, and I didn’t even go online.

I tried, really I did.

I have been up since 6:45 am and now at 10:00 pm I am just finishing working and drinking “a” glass of wine and listening to singles from Bronson Arroyo’s “Covering the Bases” album on You Tube.  (Don’t ask why, but It’s actually pretty good).

I have been working like a crazy person all day and after no less than 5 hours of conference calls, 2 hours of fire drills and countless hours of spreadsheets, action plans and meeting scheduling, I am finally catching my breath.  The last thing I want to do is jump on line, act like a freshmen and start studying.  Sorry.  I know more dedicated students would probably pull an all nighter and start reading chapters and working on the new class, but I have to tell you ‘relentless diligence’ is not my middle name…  it’s just ‘Yvette’.

My plan is to dig into this class tomorrow.  Yes, Scarlett, I know that sounds cliché, but it’s all I have for right now.  I consider the fact that I am blogging about my failure to kick the semester off with a blast as the proper motivation to not be a slacker just because it’s an online class and not a traditional classroom setting.  After all, if I do poorly, I will have to share it with my legions of chasingwonderwoman.com fans – –  all four of you who follow my blog!  The horrors!

Adding to my predicament is that this weekend I am booked solid…. I have a 5 hour hair appointment (black women never spend less than 5 hours in the hair salon, especially on a Saturday); two birthday parties, one work-related going away party, one Wine Fest, and one housewarming party.  I am NEVER this busy – – never.  Most weekends, I plan diligently how to not watch too much TV and not drink too much wine so that it doesn’t appear I have a problem with either.  I carefully monitor the amount of time I spend wallowing in post break-up self pitidom and I balance it with contemplating ways I would spend lottery winnings that will likely never come my way because I don’t buy tickets.   That’s typically how I spend my weekends.  Now on the debut of the spring semester, I am faced with a work load that is exploding and a social life that appears to be turning the corner… if this is any indication of what the next three months are going to look like, then it will be an interesting ride.

When I woke up this morning, I was thinking about what I was going to write in my blog.  Am I the only person that lies in bed and makes numerous plans for the day, most of which never transpire?  Well, my morning musings included a truly wonderful, prophetic message to share with everyone about not getting disheartened and following your path.  It honestly was going to be great; I had quotes and jokes and clever phrases I was going to include.  Now at 11pm at night with””three” glasses of wine and 12 hours of work guiding my fingertips, all I can offer in the way of advice is to stay warm, drink more wine, and don’t take yourself too seriously – it will all be there in the morning, when you wake up and re-invent your day all over again.

Oh and PS, if you haven’t checked out Bronson Arroyo, you should, he’s pretty cool.  Thanks SB for tipping me off and see you at the birthday party.

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Kalia Kornegay

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