When Busyness Seems to Spin Out of Control, It’s All Just A Distraction!!!!

Happy New Year!!! I know it’s been a long time since I have been able to chat but things have literally been spinning out of control and my focus has been on everything except for writing. There just seems to be so much going on at one time that for awhile I didn’t even seem like myself. It was almost as if I was beginning to morph into this other individual that I did not recognize, I did not know, and quite frankly nor did I care for her very much.
I was finally beginning to see the result of my overactive lifestyle and the product of my busyness. Now don’t get me wrong during the last 6 months I have learned a lot about myself and all about how creative of an artist I really am and have grown a great deal in that area. I took some time to explore my other creative talents such as beading, crocheting and learned how to make jewelry. I even opened up my Etsy store RBD Designs this morning, but I haven’t been doing is writing. I have not written one word in well over a month. I work and I craft and then I go back to work. I try to sleep a little in between once in awhile but I’m still not very successful at that. Oh and then, of course, there is family and other personal obligations, plan making, self-discovering, the I’m getting too damn close to 40 to be single woes, and the list goes on and on. Then recently I looked in the mirror and saw a very tired, worn, reflection staring back at me.
That’s when I realized that this new image that I was seeing of myself was not me, but a shell of me of who I used to be. I know longer go out, shop for shoes, get dressed up just because, get my nails done and very rarely wear my full face of Friday night make up on Tuesday afternoon just feel perky. My busyness had finally taken control of me I was always drained and unhappy to where I didn’t even have a desire to write. Somewhere in the midst of my busyness and normal life hiccups I have given up. I had given up on my likes, my wants, and my desires. I had given up on me! And for a brief moment giving up almost looked like growing up, but it isn’t. It’s a deterrent, it’s a distraction. When the busyness and other life factors seem to completely take over and run your life, it’s often a sign that we are running from life. Things will come up, life will change, schedules will change and we will change. However, we can’t lose ourselves in the process or run from it. We will grow and we will learn, but is an essence of ourselves that is so deeply part of our making trying to change that part will only make us unrecognizable. Now please don’t get me wrong I enjoy the new skill set that I have developed and you will be seeing a lot more of my new creative ideas very soon but it is not a trade in for the other parts of me. I’m not ready to trade in my sexy for a skein of yarn just yet or my writing for beads. These things are part of my essence, my core and I am here to embrace them fully. I can no longer run into the busyness.

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Magical Women

Believe it or not this is a wonderful time to be a Black Woman. Now there are times when it won’t feel like it and honestly it should always be a wonderful time to be yourself, but there has been some beauty in the horizons. Starting with the Emmys Viola Davis’ amazing speech last week made it very clear that we are doing some amazing things in areas Black Women were never taken seriously. We may not be doing everything that we wish we were or have climbed to the top of the game as we would like to but we definitely are making some major moves and have started to be recognized for our achievements. This demonstrates one very important thing- Our voice is starting to be noticed.

As black women our voices have been smothered, silenced, and even beaten out of us. Remember when Celie decided to leave Albert in Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple”- ” Who you think you is? You can curse nobody. Look at you. Your black, you’re poor, you’re ugly, you’re a woman, you’re nothing at all!”  As I’ve gotten older I realized how much emphasis he put in that statement and that her being a woman was the worst on that list and her blackness was the first of her nothingness. How many times have any of us experienced this type of labeling just because we are black women? We see it in the media, in the workplace, even in our families and intimate relationships. We have even seen it amongst other women. But the beauty in this scene in the movie was no matter what Albert said to Celie he couldn’t undo her realization that she too was a magical woman she no longer stayed stuck in the box that others had put her in her entire life. Like Celie many of us get boxed in we are just little girls.

This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing Black Girl: Linguistic Play by Camille A. Brown and Dancers at the Joyce Theater in New York City that focused on just that us being girls. The show celebrated the magical power of being a being a black girl from the games we play, the bonds we make, through our discovery of self with the rhythms and gestures of childhood. It was a wonderful demonstration how we grow, play, and evolve into something bold and unstoppable with our voices only growing louder and more powerful where we can longer be ignored.

Artistic Rejuvenation?

For the last month I have been working nonstop. Last month I did a pretty big book signing (though it never really feels like work I had to put in quite a few hours in planning) and I been putting in a ton of overtime at my 9-5 so it has been an exhausting few months for me. However, since I have been working on a part 2 to Passion & Turmoil (available on Amazon, Kindle, and redbutterflypublishing.com) I really need and artistic boost of energy. I have been doing so much that I don’t feel like my brain ever stops for a nap, so since its so awake and active I need to rejuvenate it with some art, love, and sensuality and my go to place was what I really expected.
So I took a day trip to the City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia), where is my go to when I just have a few hours to escape. I started my day early enough to spend some time in the park, take a stroll around Center City and do a little people watching. I even made a few pit stops on Chestnut St. to do a little shopping. Though a few new items play with always thrill me, it still was not helping my case. Off to the park I went, first I went to Love Park to see if I could glimpse a few couples strolling through or see any artist outside playing and their was the usual tourist taking pictures, skateboarders, and a few locals just hanging around. No groups mixing each one separated into their own corner. It was kind of sad there such a dryness in many of the individuals especially the locals and it was heartbreaking. Even the fountain was turned off and drained. There was such an obvious difference between the two groups while the tourists where happy to take pictures the love statue the locals seemed to be barely existing. The atmosphere was very thick and heavy, which is a huge example to so many things that are going on and so many changes that needs to be made, then my mind started spinning, working, and wondering. Then I remembered what this trip was for, though it gave me so much to write about it just not what I was look for today.
So went across the street and outside of The Sip with a Love Park Lemonade and watched two toddler boys play in the shooting water, laughing, splashing, and running. And there it was, innocence! Carefree innocence, the stuff your not allowed to have as an adult, that’s why its such a precious gift for a child something the must have an opportunity to have. For some reason, at that thought I relaxed then and calmed for a bit and allowed myself time to just be in the moment. Which is sometimes hard for me. I am glad that I took the time to take a break from everyone and everything. However, though I didn’t come back home with a new spring in my step or a super amazing love poem I did see a lot to write about.

See you Soon,

Lou Hargrove

photo by: Yolanda Hargrove

Monday Motivation: Know Your Power (guest post)

We often second guess ourselves in an attempt to make excuses of why we can’t accomplish any of our goals. Whether the goal is a career change, a scenic change, even financial stability, there is always a huge excuse standing in the way. Don’t deny it, we all have been there. Too many woman believe that they are inferior. Now, I’m not trying to be the next Stacy Dash, but I wouldn’t be considered so open-minded if I didn’t take into consideration some of the points she made, or at least what I felt she was “trying” to make. I felt as though she was saying, as a woman, even though statistics are against her, she is still in control of her future and will not let anyone put a limit on what she could achieve. Yes, the execution of her statement was a bit shaky but don’t sleep on it.
Women are powerful beings. Unfortunately, many of us tend to forget this because of what we are told. But, today is a new day. Today you must remember that your accomplishments have no limits and the big excuses standing in your way are just a figment of your imagination.

To help get things started here’s my top ten quotes, spoken by powerful black women, to help inspire change this week. Jot them down and place them in places you can always refer back to when you need that little extra boost.

1. “Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.” – Alice Walker

2. “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” -Oprah Winfrey

3. “Always be smarter than the people who hire you.” -Lena Horne

4. “No person has the right to rain on your dreams.” -Marian Wright Edelman

5. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” -Maya Angelou

6. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” -Alice Walker

7. “I have a lot of things to prove to myself. One is that I can live my life fearlessly.” -Oprah Winfrey

8. “The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.” -Ruby Dee

9. “Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without it, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.” – Mary McLeod Bethune

10. “Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face.” -Carol Moseley Braun

Sources:
http://www.forharriet.com

Yolanda Hargrove
Follow her blog at beyoncepostermain (2)Simply Stated yhargrove.wordpress.com

Monday Motivation: My First Book

Actually I’m not quite shore if this is Monday motivation or a personal post, but I hope it motivates someone just the same. This weekend I announce the release of my first book of poetry Passion & Turmoil a collection of love poems. I am so excited because this is not only a book release but it is also the official launch of Red Butterfly Publishing and this is just the beginning. I am amazed at how much you can accomplish if you just believe in yourself. I know have full understanding now when people say “God isn’t going to bless you until your ready.” During time it took me to get the nerve to write this book and publish I admit I have grown so much as a woman, writer, business owner, and individual. We all get to a point in our lives when we realize that we must do what we were meant to do in order to be happy. So just as a moment of reflection I want you to think about what are things that make you happy or what is the career that you want that you keep putting on the back burner? Those still small voices are inside of us for a reason and we have to take the time to stop and listen.

Lou Hargrove

Year End Reflections…

We have finally approached the last week of 2014 and though I am not attempting to rush life I am actually pretty glad its over. Though overall I have a pretty good productive year. It has also been a struggle. Emotionally I have realized a lot about myself over the last year though some of its lowest points. But I have realized that self discovery doesn’t come without some heartache. However, I have realized that these are the situations in life that grow us into the selves we were destined to be. I have lost some friends this year, seen some other people for who they really are, and even had my heartbroken by some of these situations, but I have also became a partner in a new business venture, started this blog, was published in an anthology that will be published this year, finally started the process of publishing my first book of poetry.

These are some amazing opportunities that I have been blessed with this year, and doesn’t even begin to scratch the service of who I have become this year as a woman. This success is great but to have people in your life to share it with is also great. I realize now that I had to let go of people to make room for some new ones in the future. I have also began to see and love myself in a whole other way that I was use to by taking the time to remove my weaves and nail tips for awhile. That adventure alone was a rollercoaster ride but I am so glad that I was able to do it. Now I still get my nails done from time to time and these winter winds have me considering some ever coverage on my head, but they are no longer a necessity to me. I can be just as creative and beautiful with out all of the extras. Now I still have some insecurities but it just means I am human. These processes are all important to my individual growth.

Walking into a new year should be like slipping on a new dress. It’s always done with a new excitement and usually proceeded with caution. For the new year to come I am learning how to move forward and start making decisions that are going to benefit ME and my future. I am still learning about me but the will be a life long journey. The same it is for all of us. That is why it is so important to reflect on the things that we have done to grow and the things that have gotten in our way over the last year. As 2014 ends and 2015 begins I know that I have to make changes to get changes. For example, I want to see a lot more beauty and love in my life, so I am going to take the time to reflect on the changes that I need to make to attract these things. And as I have mentioned before, I am a workaholic which leave a lot of time for me to invest into personal relationships. I know this is something that I know I need to change. So take the time this week to reflect and restore it will be so worth it.

Have Blessed and Happy New Year,

Lou Hargrove

Monday Motivation: Don’t Allow Fear to Hold You Back!!!

OK. I know that this has been said so much that it has almost become a cliche. But it speaks so much volume into the importance of living life on the other side of fear. I for one am a complete scarey cat, and I allowed fear to control my actions for so many years that it is ridiculous. I wasted time and energy that could have used becoming the force in this world that I know I can be. I lost precious time not living the life that I truly deserve and one thing is for sure lost time is something that you can never get back. Life is about taking chances and not taking those chances only leave you with regrets and the never ending shoulda, coulda, wouldas. Which we all know are never cute or cuddly. I remember reading awhile ago that when it comes to realizing your dreams the bigger the fear the larger your reward. Even if things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to no experience is ever lost. I have learned the most about myself during the times that that may have been considered failures to most. Now I realize my only real failures are when I don’t do anything at all. Not acting on the things that I have burning inside of my spirit, not allowing myself to grow into the women that I was meant to be is not only a disservice to myself but also to others. We are not put on this earth only to serve ourselves. God puts us here for a purpose and that purpose will always relate to something that is deep down inside of you. I have found that many times in helping others I have also helped myself. When I started doing stage performs I scared to death, for awhile when a friend of mine asked me to do it I wouldn’t until I realized that the performances weren’t about me. The content and the material being received and the message getting across was what was important and that motivated me to step further outside of myself.
So right now I am currently in the process of writing my first book of poetry about love, passion, and broken hearts. A lot of these poems are about some very personal experiences to me, so it feels like I am putting my soul on paper for the world to see. Many things of these poems are composed of words that I have been too afraid the say in person to those that I am writing about and that resulting in failed relationships and a lot of hurt feelings. So you can see why the concept of actually releasing this book petrifies me. At times it is almost paralyzing, so much so I have been working on this book since 2008. There are a lot of poems that I am not going to include because in the being I was so scared my writings came across as scared, and there were a few years in between that I didn’t write at all. Then I heard a speech about fear and one of the things the speaker said in regards to unrealized dreams is “not to die with that book still inside you.” The truth is I don’t know how this book may sell but if it reaches someone who needs it that’s all I really want. Of course I would like it to be a success but I will be a lot better when I get it on a shelf and know I did not die with this book still inside me.
Whether your fear is of heights and its keeping you from taking that dream vacation or writing your first novel. You will never know what is on the other side of fear until you do it. You will not have what that experience will bring into your life. You have to think positive, listen to your instincts then do the things that are stirring within you. You’ll never know what the outcome will be.
Lou HargroveIMG_1972.PNG