Why I Write: Celebrating National Writing Day

For most writers, me included, writing is a release. It’s our art. We do it because it’s our talent and it makes us feel a certain way when we do it. In addition to that, though, here’s a few other reasons why I write:

I write because I have experienced things in my life and I like to share those stories for people who can relate. I like to offer solutions and a different point of view for those seeking insight. I want to inspire millennial women to speak up for themselves, recognize their worth and demand the respect they deserve.

I write because America elected a president who’s inexperienced, disrespectful and unwilling to see beyond his own disturbed mind. I want to show the uninformed Americans that he preys on by spreading “fake news” and encouraging rage, hate and prejudice that they made a mistake and it’s time to correct it.

I write because I know how to score a good bargain and I want to share that information. I want people to save a little cash and still look great. I want people to know to walk to the back of the store, check the clearance first and if they don’t find something with a red tag that they love, then they should work their way up to full price. Duh! 🙂

I write because I want people to know it is possible to care about pop culture and politics. It is realistic to have a passion for both.

I write because I want moms to know that it’s okay if they’re not perfect, it’s okay that they may lose it every now and then and that it’s okay to throw their hair in a messy top knot and handle business in a pair of leggings. #LikeABoss

I write because I want people to know about the shows I watch, the influencers I love and the music that gets me going. They may just love it too.

I could probably write a whole book about the reasons why I write but I’ll stop here. You guys get the point, I’m sure. Writing is something to celebrate and whether writing is your profession, your art to share with the world in your free time or something you do for yourself in a private journal, today is your day! Happy National Writing Day!

-D.O. ❤

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“Why you call it Late Registration? Cause we takin these muh’f*ckers back to school”

Kudos to those who get my Kanye reference! ❤

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Me in Clark Kent Mode

Anyway, I’m going back to school! Attaining a Master’s Degree is something that has always been a goal of mine but I was never sure of what my concentration would be. I thought about Journalism or English. I definitely have a passion for writing but didn’t really see the value as my undergrad is enough to pursue a career in those areas. An MBA has much value but my heart isn’t in the subject of just strictly Business. I knew I wouldn’t perform well. I hit a road block. Without knowing what my concentration would be, there was no way to move forward.

It finally hit me after this very confusing election, Political Science!

Now, this does not mean that I’m knowledgeable in the subject but I find myself wanting to know and understand more. We had a huge problem this election year with propaganda which led to misinformation and ignorance in American voters. As awful and confusing as this was, it inspired me. I want to be a resource to people who are looking for facts.

I want to do that in a couple of different ways;

  • Freelance Writing. I never thought Political Journalism would be something I’d want to do. I always thought I’d focus on fashion, beauty and entertainment. I’ll still write about these subjects on my personal blog, of course, but I’m definitely striving to also be a contributor for a political publication.
  • Teach Poli Sci courses. I’d like to teach students while they’re young, high school age to freshmen/sophomores in college. They’re either about to hit voting age or between 18 and 19. I want to influence young voters to think for themselves and research facts prior to casting their votes. I’ll need my PhD to become a professor and a teaching license to teach a high school class so, more and more school is on the road ahead.

Now that I’ve decided on a concentration and possible career paths, a few things need to happen before I even start;

  1. I have to take both Microeconomics and Macroeconomics as they’re prerequisites for the Master of Arts in Global Interactions (MAGI) program at my college of choice. MAGI is their version of Political Science. (I took both economics courses in my undergrad but we’re not even going to talk about what grades I received lol. I was more of a Communications course type of gal!) So, this will be round two for me. I just enrolled in Micro and will start January 17th!
  2. Cross reference the classes I took in my undergrad to make sure I have all other prerequisites. Literally crossing my fingers that I do or else I’ll have more classes to take before I start.
  3. Take the GRE and score in 50th percentile or above. I just got my Kaplan study guide and will be cracking that puppy open very shortly. It’s huge and overwhelming but I’m ready for the challenge.

I’m so excited to get going on this very big goal. I’m nervous as well but I know all of the hard work and stress will be worth it. There are quite a few female politicians right now along with Hillary Clinton, of course, that are so inspiring to me. Politics is male dominated and not to mention, lacking diversity. As a minority woman, I’m excited to add to that diversity. You might not see me running for any political office but hopefully you’ll see my words published and my name on a class schedule 🙂

My experience in deciding to go back to school is proof that it’s never too late. I graduated college in 2009 and here I am stepping back into the classroom setting. If you’ve been wanting to go back to school and aren’t so sure or may feel discouraged, please do not hold yourself back or stand in your own way. You can definitely do it! “Better late than never, it’s orien-tation!” (More Kanye 🙂 )

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please do not hesitate to contact me (My customer service attitude is showing there 😉 ) Or, If you want to share your back-to-school story and/or any advice, I’d love to hear from you.

-D.O. ❤

 

 

11 Pictures That Prove Hillary Clinton Is Cool AF

The election didn’t go the way that I, along with 59,814,017 other Americans, had hoped but I still admire Hillary Clinton tremendously. She worked hard, ran a tough campaign that was free of hate and her intelligence is inspiring. Hell, she won the popular vote! You go girl!

She makes me want to know more…to do more. Hillary proved that women can do anything they want to do as long as they put their minds to it and make the effort. #GirlPower

As a Life + Style blogger, I typically try to not speak politics but many who know me are aware of my feelings as I am an open book. Regardless of the outcome, #ImStillWithHer.

Now let’s look at some cool ass flicks of Nasty-Woman-in-Chief, HRC!

Dats Bae

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To The Windows! To The Wall!

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Oh, put your freakum dress on!

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Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of.

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New Phone. Who Dis?

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Ladies Is Pimps Too, Gon’ Brush Your Shoulders Off!

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Girl, Bye.

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Hey, Girl, Hey!

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Ponytail on Fleek

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Big Baller, Shot Caller…

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Uh-oh, running out of breath, but I
Oh, I, I got stamina ❤

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“Don’t give up, I won’t give up.”-Sia

-D.O. ❤

 

 

 

An Open Letter to Women Who Don’t Respect Other Women

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Dear Ladies,

Being a woman is so empowering. We’re strong, ambitious, and wear many hats. I mean, we make humans, take care of them, handle the household and go to work! Impressive! I am so proud of my gender and enjoy every minute of being a woman. We want so badly to be understood and demand respect from men but I think a good fraction of us are missing something. We need to remember to respect each other as well. With that being said, I want to address women who lack respect for other women.

There are a few different types of women who are blatantly disrespectful to other women and I want to confront them here. I want unity within our gender. We must put a  stop to/stop being these girls:

The Competitor

Are you always trying to one-up other females. If so, read this one carefully. I love a little friendly competition every now and then but to never be happy for your friends’ accomplishments and continuously try to show them that you’re better? Not cool. That behavior doesn’t make you a good a friend and it’s telling the other person that their achievements are not enough but yours are. Be proud of other women.

I came across this quote; “Girls compete with each other. Women empower one another”. This speaks volumes as it explains that it’s not only a respect thing, it’s a maturity thing. It’s time for us, as a gender, to grow up and congratulate each other. Support and celebrate other women. If you do this, you will get it in return, thus creating healthy friendships. Nothing but good can come from this.

The Other Woman

Not only is being the other woman disrespectful to the wife or girlfriend, it’s disrespectful to oneself. Motivational speaker, Tony Gaskins stated, “Don’t be the other woman! Why settle for half-a-man? If he’s cheating with you, he’ll cheat on you. Karma is real; so please give the next woman’s relationship the same respect you’d want her to give yours”. That quote is loaded with great points, let’s dissect it;

  1. You’re knowingly sharing a man with another woman. How highly do you think of yourself if you’re willing to do that?
  2. If he’s cheating with you, what makes you think you’re the exception? He is a cheater so there’s a good chance that even if he leaves that woman, he will do the same to you.
  3. Karma is real. Look at Brad and Angelina. Karma does not have an expiration date. If it starts bad, there’s a good chance it will end bad. Do things that create good karma.
  4. Treat others how you would want to be treated. You know you would not want this to happen to you so why are you doing it?

This applies to flirting, texting or calling someone who is taken while knowingly having bad intentions. You don’t have to do “the deed” in order to be considered disrespectful. I urge you not to go this route and do not support friends who are doing it either. Supporting this kind of behavior is just as bad as doing it. Speak up.

The Critic

If you find yourself constantly downing the way another women look, you fit “the critic” profile. Commenting or laughing about other women’s weight, body type, face or style is not okay. Men already do this to us, let’s try not to join them. We have heard Donald Trump, a presidential candidate, on tape calling women pigs and discussing a former beauty queen’s weight gain. He’s said on record, “Take a look at her… I don’t think so,” in response to a woman coming forward about him interacting with her inappropriately. If we are disgusted by him speaking in this way about women, we should be disgusted when we do it as well.

Women come in different shapes and sizes, we come from different walks of life and have different style. If you don’t like the way someone looks, keep it to yourself. You can’t control your thoughts but you can control your words. There is no need to be cruel.

Celebrities get this much harder than we do. Just recently, Chrissy Teigen was criticized on Twitter for the way she was holding her baby. This is quite ridiculous. Chrissy is not one to keep quiet though.

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This is the definition of petty. Stay humble because there’s someone out there who doesn’t like your body type, style or the way you do things. Who are you to judge?

The Non-believer

Times are changing at a rapid pace and it’s for the better. Women can do anything men can do. Unfortunately, there are women out there who don’t believe this. If this is you, stop! “That’s a man’s job,” should never be spoken. I see it a lot more now that Hillary Clinton is running for President. I’ve actually heard women on camera say that the role of the President is a man’s job. Says who?

We have women construction workers, weight lifters, engineers, architects and the list could go on and on. Don’t be a non-believer. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” If you’re a woman who strives to be something that society believes is the role of a man, remember what Eleanor said. When you allow others to shape your beliefs on a woman’s ability to achieve certain goals, you are consenting to oppression. Don’t take that from men or women.

Spread love, show respect and empower one another because only we can truly understand what it’s like to be a woman. Imagine how much stronger we can be when we rally together.

ts-squad

Sincerely,

❤ D.O. & all other women who want respect ❤

#WCW: Shailene Woodley

I have been a fan of Shailene Woodley’s since Secret Life of an American Teenager premiered on ABC Family back in 2008. I was then so excited to see her cast in the Divergent Series. She is such a bad ass in those films! Let’s not forget to mention her amazing performances as Hazel in The Fault In Our Stars and her Golden Globe nominated role in The Descendants.  There are many other reasons beyond her filmography that make her so admirable and that is why she is my #WomanCrushWednesday.

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She stands up for what she believes in. Shailene is all over the news right now for her role in the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protest. According to the Orange County Register, the DAPL is a project that will carry crude oil from North Dakota’s oil fields through South Dakota and Iowa to an existing pipeline in Patoka, Illinois, where shippers can access Midwest and Gulf Coast markets. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has taken legal action against the project as they are afraid that it will impact the drinking water for the tribe and others who rely on it downstream.

Now that you have the back story, Shailene joined the many peaceful protesters this week, which resulted in her arrest and later being charged with trespassing. The footage was caught on her Facebook live.

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Photo via BBC.com

Her mugshot is on fleek, though!

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This still did not silence her. She spoke out via Instagram after being released.

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You go, girl!

She can rock a pixie cut like nobody’s business. I don’t know about you but the thought of chopping my hair, freaks me out. She S-L-A-Y-E-D.

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Photo via WeHeartIt

She stays true to her herself, regardless of the risk of being judged. Shailene is quite private about her love life but in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she made a vague yet powerful statement, “I fall in love with human beings based on who they are, not based on what they do or what sex they are.” #LoveIsLove

Her positive attitude toward being diagnosed with scoliosis.  She had to wear a plastic back brace 18 hours a day for two years. “When I first put on the back brace, I said, ‘I can do this.’ My only real issue was I needed a new wardrobe,”she told US Weekly. It takes resilience and self-confidence to respond in such a way and I dig her for it!

She learned to kick her insecurities to the curb. In an interview with Marie Claire, Shailene stated, “My whole life I’ve been so self-conscious about being skinny. And just recently I don’t care anymore. All insecurities are projected because of what you think others are saying about you, but they don’t really matter at all.” I cannot wait to reach that level of self-confidence!

She rocks. Plain and simple.

 

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Photo via WeHeartIt

-D.O. ❤

 

 

 

5 Ways To Be More Empathetic

My last post, 6 Reasons Why Women Should Stop Apologizing For Their Feelings, got me thinking about ways to communicate with someone who does decide to communicate their feelings with us. How should we react so that they are not inclined to apologize to us. What can we do to help?

It got me thinking about empathy. When we share our feelings with someone or are on the receiving end, the key to a successful conversation is exercising empathy.

This term is not to be confused with sympathy. In our customer service training at work, we watched a simple three minute cartoon narrated by research professor, Dr.Brenè Brown, that explains the difference between empathy and sympathy. They are two very different things and understanding that difference will completely change the way we communicate.

Empathy Defined: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Sympathy Defined: feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.

What Dr. Brown says at the very end of the video is that when she shares her feelings with someone, she’d prefer them to say, “I don’t even know what to say right now, I’m just so glad you told me.” She then goes on to say, “Because the truth is that rarely does a response make something better. What makes something better is connection.”

So how can we all get to the point where we can drive connection in these situations with our friends and loved ones? Here are five ways we can exercise empathy:

  1. Put ourselves in their shoes. We need to try not to respond with only our perspective of things. Everyone is unique and outlooks are naturally going to different. If we genuinely care about this person, why should we make them feel worse by pushing our views on them when they are the ones who are upset or feeling hurt. We can’t let our annoyance with the conversation, defensiveness or sympathetic mindset get in the way.
  2. Listen. We should let this person first, finish what they have to say without interruption. Remember that he or she is the one who is upset here. We should also be listening to understand, not listening to respond. Avoiding defensive reactions will make the conversation go much smoother. Ears open, mouth closed.
  3. Pay attention to non-verbal cues. Is this person fidgety and appear to be nervous? Do they have tears in their eyes? Are they fearfully avoiding eye contact? Pay attention to these cues to determine their temperament and mood. If we don’t show empathy, we could make them even more upset and we don’t want that, especially if we care for them.
  4. Hold back judgement. We shouldn’t make fun or belittle someone’s feelings and emotions. Remember tip one. We wouldn’t want someone to do that to us so let’s show the respect that we would want if we were in their shoes.
  5. Ask them what they need from us. Someone is coming to us for a reason. Either something we did bothered them or they may even just be venting about something unrelated us. Use the statement Dr. Brown suggested, “I don’t even know what to say right now, I’m just so glad you told me,” and follow up with, “What can I do to help?” Again, a response rarely makes someone feel better but offering to be there for them may just do the trick.

My purpose of this post is to encourage myself and others to be the support system that the people in our lives need. We should allow them to be vulnerable with us and try to understand that it took them courage to approach us and open up. We shouldn’t give them even more fear by lacking the empathy and support they deserve.

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Photo via WeHeartIt

-D.O. ❤

 

6 Reasons Why Women Should Stop Apologizing For Their Feelings

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I am noticing in my own life, as well as in the lives of other women around me, that we tend to apologize too much for our feelings. Whether it’s with co-workers, significant others, friends or family; we as a gender are so quick to say “sorry” when someone doesn’t react well to what we have to say.

A study done the by the University of Waterloo in Ontario found that women actually have a lower threshold for what qualifies as “offensive behavior”. Should we raise this threshold when it comes to this subject? I say, yes! It’s time that we stop asking for forgiveness, start standing firm in what we feel and demand the respect that we deserve.

When we’re in this this situation, I urge us to remember these six reasons why we should bite our tongues and suppress our yearn to express regret for speaking up.

  1. Once our feelings have been rejected, we may feel as though we are being oversensitive. One might even tell us that we are being too sensitive. We’re not. Our feelings are important and if someone in our lives dismisses them, that is not our fault. We should try our hardest not to let this rejection make us feel bad about ourselves. Continue to speak up.
  2. Remember that feelings are uncontrollable. We don’t get to choose the way we feel, as much as I wish we could. If we do not express them out of fear, we’re not being true to ourselves.
  3. If we do choose to hold our hurt or bruised feelings in too long, we may cause an even bigger problem by blowing up and communicating them in a completely incorrect way. At this point, we would be in the wrong and should apologize for not communicating our feelings effectively. It’s much better for both parties to put out small flames as opposed to one huge wildfire.
  4. Sharing our feelings shows people what we will and will not put up with. I’m not saying to aggressively demand a certain kind of treatment from others. Merely informing someone that their words or actions hurt or bothered us could prevent them from doing the same thing in the future. No one can read minds. They will not know unless you tell them.
  5. Are we even genuinely sorry or are we just afraid that we pissed them off? This is something I personally need to ask myself.
  6. Telling someone how we feel, simply, just is not something we should apologize for. We’re not intentionally wronging anyone by doing this. The fact that we are sharing these feelings shows effort to want to make this friendship or relationship work. It shows that we want to clear the air and work through a potential issue and I don’t see any harm in that.

I do want to mention that I am not encouraging anyone to nitpick others unapologetically. While this may not be a conflict, we still have to use the “pick your battles” mentality. Take time to yourself and if something is really weighing on your heart and mind, speak with that person. If they dismiss you, do not apologize. Give them some space. Hopefully, they will realize that you meant no harm and reach out to you to repair things.

We shouldn’t belittle ourselves and minimize our feelings to please others.

-D.O. ❤