Hall Monitors

Some of you may recall the school hall monitor. This person was assigned to sit in the school hallways and ensure that students were not roaming the halls unauthorized. Or, to ensure that visitors did not lose their way trying to locate a class, etc.

Some people or even situations in our lives serve a similar function as a hall monitor. Let’s go through some examples, begining with your career or job.

One day you wake up and you realize that you have outgrown your job or career. Perhaps there are no meaningful opportunities for career advancement, or there are no positions that you are genuinely interested in. Or, it could be that you need to make more money however your pay structure is fixed, so there’s no negotiating a larger raise, higher commission, or bonus. Aside from these issues, you convince yourself that you can go along with the flow. You persuade yourself each day to “just push through,” or, “just get through the shift.” You’ve learned to grow complacent and even low-key fearful of making the changes that you know you need because it seems like a foreign concept. More than likely you were raised by parents who passed on their “golden watch” mentality on to you. You know, the obligatory mindset of working for the same employer, or in the same job for 20 or 30+ years, only to retire with a commemorative gold watch.

No shade against them for sharing life lessons that kept them and us safe, fed, clothed, with a roof over our heads. However, times have changed, and your needs may be different today. You continue to ignore the signs for whatever your reasons until you meet the one coworker or boss who changes everything. The one who is unlike the others. The one who seems to challenge your very existence and who seems to be intent on making your work-life miserable. Maybe they are overly critical, volatile, difficult to communicate with, disrespectful…or just toxic with a capital ‘T.’ This person is your hall monitor.

Unlike your previous bosses or coworkers, the ones who made your work life tolerable, this person (or people) have come to disrupt the pattern. Truthfully speaking, they have no idea that they are serving you in this capacity. They are legitimately doing them. This is how they show up in the world, and the odds are their unacceptable behavior are not intended to singularly target you. However, you may feel this way because as I pointed out in the beginning, you always knew that it was time for a change. But you became comfortable and you were supported in this complacency until you weren’t. You could make this about them, and figure out ways to deal with them, or avoid them. Or, you could recognize their subconscious role in your life and make the changes that were evident a long time ago.

Next example…relationships. You have convinced yourself that you have a “type.” You are resolute in your convictions about dating this specific kind of person exclusively, whether it be based on their physical attributes, financial or social criteria, etc. Despite having dated this type unsuccessfully in the past, we continue to demand these common traits until we meet the one who is not actually “the one.” It’s the hall monitor. This is the one relationship when everything clicks. You sell yourself on this individual based on their potential. For example, you may convince yourself that this person is successful and has great credentials, despite the fact that they also have the personality of a tick. Or, because they are aware of their ‘high-profile’ status, they flagrantly ignore your value of monogamy by sleeping with everyone possible. You value communication and honesty in a relationship; they consider your desire to talk things out, or perceive your tendency of becoming emotional as intolerable or weak. The time has come that you must accept the fact that the two of you are incompatible, or that your attraction to this person is superficial at best.

This relationship forces you to acknowledge that you need more. Coupled with the fact that you have a room full of reasons and examples which prove this type of person is unavailable, and cannot give you what you need. There is no therapist or preacher that can change the reality that the two of you simply want different things from a relationship or life. Everyone is entitled to the relationship or arrangement that suits them. And because you are the person who is unhappy with how things are going, you may have to be the one to walk away. Or, stop chasing after the other person (e.g., hall monitor), when they attempt to walk away.

The hall monitor shows up to remind us of our intended purpose or path. They alert us when we’re heading in the wrong direction. As illustrated in the previous examples, hall monitors don’t always show up in the form that we recognize because they often bring with them some kind of pain point, or “issue” that we must resolve. We can distract ourselves by focusing on the “personality” of the hall monitor or we can acknowledge their underlying purpose for showing up in our lives. Hall monitor situations often highlight specific areas of opportunities, or circumstances that we can no longer tolerate. The hall monitor or situation may not offer the solution, but they definitely unveil the possibility of finding one. So instead of cursing the situation or person, see them literally as a blessing in disguise, doing a tremendous service to you in the long run.

Pinched Fingers

When I was a little girl (maybe around 5 or 6-years-old), I had a stroller for my baby dolls. I called it a baby buggy. It was an “inherited” item from some other little girl. The buggy was made of metal and was a cheerful pastel yellow or some other appealing color to a child and her dolls. I used to love pushing my dolls in the buggy just like my mom did when my little brother was a baby. I took a lot of pride in having my own “baby” to push down the street too. The buggy was foldable so once I was done playing with it, it could be collapsed and stored away until the next time. In my early efforts to assert my independence, I learned how to collapse the mechanism without Mom’s help. On the few occasions that I did, I would get hurt. As I was closing the buggy, my little fingers and hands would get pinched between the collapsible parts, breaking my skin, causing me to cry. My mom warned me that because I was getting hurt by the buggy (apparently there was a piece that was broken), it was going to need to be thrown away. She reassured me that she would get me something better. But I wanted that one. It was mine.

One morning, as my mom, little brother and I took a shortcut through the alley on route to my school, I saw a familiar sight.  There were three kids who looked like they were a few years older than me, having way more fun than I was on the way to school.  They were ahead of us so I could see them and what they were doing clearly.  They were running and laughing pushing what looked like…

It really looked like they had my…

Wait…

Was that my…?

Was that my BUGGY?!

I did not want to believe my eyes. The kids WERE IN FACT playing with MY BUGGY! How did they get into our house to take my baby buggy?

My mom clearly made good on her promise to throw it out.  My cherished treasure was thrown away with the trash.  How could she do this to me? Who does this to a little kid?  

What I couldn’t understand and what made me instantly cry was clearly the buggy was not garbage. If it were garbage, then these other kids wouldn’t be able to play with it…to enjoy it as I had done. They couldn’t possibly love the buggy as much as I did. Look at how they were rough-housing with it and pushing it like a toy race car from one child to another. This was no race car or go-cart! This was the transportation vehicle for my dolls. It was MINE, and now they have it. And there was nothing that I could do about it. That buggy had been around as long as my young mind could remember. It was there before many of my baby dolls arrived.

For some odd reason to this day I slightly feel some kind of way about losing something that I loved and wanted to keep. It didn’t make sense then and maybe it doesn’t make sense now, why I had to lose something that I thought that I needed. I definitely wanted to keep it. At the time it seemed unreasonable and unfair that I was forbidden to play with a toy because it was broken and could hurt me. If it was indeed broken, why were those other kids running, playing and having fun with something that belonged to me? If the toy was so dangerous for me, why wasn’t it too dangerous for them to play with? My young mind could not reconcile the injustice of something being taken away from me involuntarily, only to be forced to watch another person have the very thing that I wanted.

I was clearly too young to comprehend that no matter how much you think you want something, if it is broken and it hurts you, you may have to let it go. In hindsight, that would be the first of many valuable lessons about giving up something (or the idea of something, that I thought that I needed and would die without), in exchange for the promise of something better ahead. And to give it up before a suitable replacement was identified.

This lesson would serve me well in numerous facets in my life. Whether it be in the past relationships that I thought I could never live without (not literally, but you probably get my point.) Or, the jobs I was certain I was qualified for only to receive a response informing me that, ‘we have decided to pursue another candidate whose experience is more in line with the position.’ Or, that it took me four attempts before I was able to buy a house. In each one of those scenarios, I was confident that I had found “the one” and there was no suitable alternative or option. This was it.

Until it wasn’t. Each time destiny proved me “wrong”, I revisited the feelings of the little girl whose childhood toy was taken away for someone else to enjoy.

What I have learned is that when something is right for you, the process or overall experience is effortless in comparison to the other situations. If it is a relationship, you no longer need to embark on a solo treasure hunt to locate the other person’s feelings or intentions. You are clear about where you stand; you know your place in the other person’s life and vice versa. There is a level of transparency and honesty that was basically non-existent and essentially off limits in the other relationships. When you find the right house, you’re not immediately thinking of all the ways you will need to settle in order to live there. You know that you have found the right job when your contributions are valued, supported, and recognized.

You rarely if ever have to question whether something is right. Because it will feel right. You will have evidence and facts to support those feelings.

Sometimes you have to let go of things so that you are available for your better. You have to avail yourself to realize your destiny. Destiny needs a receptive vessel to attach to. One that is free of distractions as well as the tradition of holding onto circumstances (or even people) that we have outgrown.

My mom kept her promise and eventually bought me something else that was better than the broken buggy that used to pinch my little fingers. She knew that I deserved better.

Life would eventually prove to me that she was right.

Deep Inside (All We Need is Love)

Earlier this year (pre-COVID or so we think), I took a creative writing class. The following is a short story that I wrote for this class. Let me know if you’d like me to share more of this type of content. Enjoy!

“I’ll have a rum and Coke”, says The Girl to the stranger who just offered to buy her a drink. The place was called Roxie’s, a pub-like club with a lounge area in the front and dance floor in the back. Roxie’s was one of the few night clubs in the city that hosted “college night”, blessing college students (albeit underaged), aspiring club-goers, with the opportunity to party among the young and hippest adults in the city.

Truth be told, The Girl was actually in the club legitimately. She had a valid college I.D., that belonged to her, thus certifying her eligibility to be in the club. The list of club rules did not specifically state that said college student should refrain from voluntary underaged drinking. No harm, no foul; she could pass for 21 (or some thought.) Besides, The Guy was being polite and most likely was not trying to get into her pants. The two of them danced to a series of Crystal Waters, C&C Music Factory, and Deee-Lite songs, which were being churned out by a hyped DJ who was dancing, fist-pumping, and gyrating to the music along with the crowd.

And then it happened. “Deep Inside” by Hardrive came on.

The song pulsates throughout the club from the substantial speakers that were strategically staged around the dance floor. The Guy continues dancing as he slides and shimmies to the bar to secure refills of The Girl’s rum and Coke, and whatever he was drinking. The Girl continues dancing by herself, rocking her hips upward left, and then to the right, “Deep inside, deep inside,” she sings as she twirls around. As she continues to dance to the beat and musical movements of the song, she proclaims this as her “club song.” Meaning that anytime this song comes on, it is mandatory that she dance to it. It is settled.

The Guy returns with The Girl’s drink. The Girl doesn’t particularly like rum, although she enjoys Coca-Cola. She takes a sip and starts to wonder how this combination became a thing in the first place. The Girl had been coming to Roxie’s for a few weeks and actually began detesting the taste of rum and Coke together. However, because she was an underaged-you-have-no-business-drinking-in-the-first-place minor, this was the only alcoholic drink she knew to ask for. The Girl was an amateur who was afraid of getting exposed and thrown out of the club for being…well, a kid. Think about it. If a guy asked her what she wanted to drink, and all she said was “Coke”, or “Sprite”, he might detect her teenaged status, blowing her cover.

The Girl finally sits down to relax and cool off when she glances at her colorful, Picssso-esque Swatch watch. It’s 9PM on a Thursday (also known as a school night.) The Girl jumps up, grabs her jacket and scurries out of the club. The Girl is panicked by the hour-long train ride that awaits her. Her Mom would be home from work at 11PM. The Girl knew better to show up home after her mom and smelling of alcohol. The Girl makes a frantic stop at a McDonald’s across the street from the club before boarding the train. It was a refuge for club goers, commuters, locals, and underage minors who need to sober up before making their way back home.

Back in the High Life (Again)

I don’t know about you but I’ve had to do some serious filtering these past several weeks. Everywhere you turn, we’re talking about sickness and death…literally.

2020 nearly kicked off with a global pandemic that would invariably shut the world down for weeks, or months actually. There was this invisible enemy among us that was making our family, friends, and communities sick. In some cases, this virus claimed the lives of countless people who were just like us, or reminded us of someone we knew. We were in uncharted territory.

Until we weren’t.

As weather temperatures warmed up, and people started venturing outside of their homes socially, there was a swell in racial tensions. We were now dealing with a familiar enemy that has plagued America ever since these lands were “discovered.” It seemed as if you couldn’t escape the news reports, social media stories, and Tweets that highlighted the crimes that seemingly belonged to another era. Certainly we weren’t living in a civilized society-present day, in which regular citizens were intentionally weaponizing law enforcement. And there is no way that in the 21st Century, that any law or elected public official would dare engage in malfeasance that was common place decades ago.

But it was and is happening. And it’s disgraceful. It seems like everyone needs to take or retake some criminal justice, civics, and humanities classes…STAT!

If you judged our society based upon how we were showing up on social media, you have likely decided it is time to ring the alarm. Or as a character in Spike Lee’s movie, “School Daze” yelled towards the end of the film, “WAAAAAKE UUUPPP!”

We all have to decide how we should show up in support of equality and justice for all. However, we must take care of ourselves and our families, loved ones, and communities first. The world will always need helpers, activists, community leaders, etc. If you’re alive right now, you are also needed to fulfill a distinct and unique purpose. And you can’t do it-you won’t do it if you don’t protect your heart, as well as your own best interests.

You may need to take an adult timeout.

Turn off social media or the news for as long as you need to. Read something that invigorates and inspires you. Curate content for its mental and spiritual nutritional value. If the information doesn’t serve you or encourage you in becoming your best self, or help you feel good about your station in life…let it go. Seriously. Drop it. Close the screen, video, book, or whatever in preservation of your health and overall well-being. Limit interactions with “the sky is always falling” people or rhetoric. And if you happen to be the one who has found yourself in a negative headspace, perhaps consider adopting a form of social distancing, by limiting contact with others until you’re able to better process your feelings.

If you’ve been on a quest to find yourself. To reconnect with your purpose and values, I think now is a perfect time to start or continue this journey. If you desire peace or peace of mind, it is yours for the taking. Or, you can allow others or external forces to disturb your zeal. Happiness is literally a solo project. Others can lend a helping hand by making positive deposits into our lives, but the discovery of actual joy-is an inside job.

Be well and be careful out there.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Arthur Ashe, Tennis legend

Living in America

Just maybe when racism no longer takes on a living and breathing form, there will be minimal, if any need to protest or march “on behalf of” anyone.


We don’t need anymore examples of racial disparities. No family is willing to sacrifice a family member or loved one in the name of a movement. In exchange for a street renamed in “memory of”; for candlelight vigils, colorful murals, and “in memoriam” T-shirts.


After someone dies (e.g. murdered) so tragically and inhumanely as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Armaud Arbery, Sean Bell, and Emmett Till to name a few, the spotlight is on. Their names become slogans as communities lift them and their families out of obscurity. These victims no longer belong to their families, as their legacies quickly become co-opted, revered, and even scrutinized.


Who would want this?


We don’t want anymore of our family members, friends, neighbors, or coworkers to Rest In Peace before their time. We would much rather LIVE in peace.


Anger takes on many forms, most of which are unhealthy, unproductive, and destructive. Yet and still anger is a response. It is a bellowing distress call or a plea for help. When past attempts have been ignored. I support peaceful protest and lawful civil disobedience as necessary. I shouldn’t have to state the obvious but because some of us are acting “brand new”, there will always be those among us who capitalize on the opportunity to engage in lawless behavior. Who exploit the misfortune of others, who take advantage of vulnerable situations and people, those who are devoid of any human decency and lack a moral compass.


We can focus on them…those who represent a small percentage of the population because they give those who refuse to believe that water is wet, causation to deflect from the real issue(s) at hand. It’s a “yeah, but.” Or, “see! Told you!”


When someone breaks the law, you arrest and charge them if required. What you don’t do is kill them in cold blood on the street, or in their home, or in their car.


Patriotism is simply defined as the love of one’s country.


This extends to her laws.


This extends to her People.

Same As it Ever Was

Please stop interrupting my grind!

I didn’t plan on posting about the woman who attempted to weaponize 9-1-1, when she called to report a black man for harassing her (read: who asked her to place her dog on a leash in Central Park, as per the posted municipal signage.) In the Central Park, where five young black men lost their freedom for a brutal and horrific crime that they did not commit.

I didn’t plan on writing about the Minneapolis black man whose body, namely his head, was intentionally affixed to asphalt by an individual who literally detained the defenseless man with his knee. The man later died after being publicly asphyxiated by an officer who took an oath to protect and serve him. I cannot imagine a scenario that justly warrants a law enforcement agent in an effort to fight crime, commit another one in order to do so.

Same as it ever was…

I wanted to celebrate other things. Like how M.A.C. Cosmetics ProLongwear concealer is a treasure with its flawless coverage and stellar performance underneath my face mask (with proper application and setting techniques followed!) Or, about how much I love attending Zoom birthday parties and events.

Unfortunately, these happier, more pleasant experiences must take a back seat to what seems to have become a dangerous penchant, or fixation on a time in our country’s history when my ancestors were considered property. Non-human. A blemish on our nation’s history that neither deserves to be accentuated or celebrated. This pronounced mindset, when you think on it, seems rather peculiar given that many longing for such an environment, never actually experienced this despicable crime against humanity first-hand. So please help me to understand how some people yearn for the days of old, when they weren’t even born to experience, let alone relish in it.

It’s essentially the equivalent of me yearning for the days when I danced in Paris alongside a young Josephine Baker in her hey-day, or sang “Careless Love Blues”, for W.C. Handy, and before Bessie Smith made the song an American standard.

On the contrary, the effects of my families’ enslavement are very present in my experience today.

Some may question, “why is everything about race?” Or the moment that a PoC (Person of Color) references race, it is often presumed that they (we) are seeking to invoke guilt, shame; are engaging in reverse racism, or maybe even seeking to garner the upper-hand during the discussion. Not at all. I would rather people see me for me. I would like to believe that my race is among the last characteristics people notice when I walk into a room.

I would rather you notice how my red lipstick is poppin. That I’m wearing carefully selected accessories, and did you peep these Circus by Sam Edelman graffiti pumps and matching bag that I’m rocking?

Yet some people won’t allow me or others to be great. Literally. And that makes me very sad. Especially when someone believes that they could know anything substantive about me or my experiences, and even potentially judge whether I’m permitted to walk away from an exchange on my own free will…or live, solely based on the color of my skin.

Or yours.

More Peace, Please

The proverbial “cat” has gotten my tongue this week, dear Readers. I have been in full relaxation mode and you know what? I needed it.

I have been going non-stop these past several months. Actually for more like a year. I’ve been bravely resilient. I have held my tongue when necessary, and spoken my truth to advocate for myself when situations demanded it. I have mourned; I’m still in one of the multilayered stages of mourning. I have been working, adulting, and living my best life and in the midst everything…

COVID-19 happened to the world.

The timing couldn’t have been worst and yet it couldn’t have been better. I think we all needed a temporary reset and reprieve from the ordinary. What none of us needed was the uncertainty, frightening headlines and real life stories detailing the lethal impact of this virus. We didn’t need to lose, friends, loved ones, or strangers to this pandemic. And for the fortunate ones, the COVID-recovery was a gift after an unimaginable, nerve-racking experience for all concerned.

I am blessed that I have remained healthy physically and mentally throughout all of these experiences. Stress, worrying, and sadness can compromise your immunity and overall well-being in untold ways. I don’t have time for that. I would venture to say that you don’t either.

So, I’m in reset mode. I’ve been putting my online and cable subscriptions to good use, among others. I will get around to finishing some of the actual books that I’ve previously started and stopped. I am always writing. I’ve also managed to enjoy the outdoors sans any food/grocery shopping excursions, or running errands. I’m doing me…

(And food shopping, running errands, and household chores.) Yup, still also me.

This must be what peace feels like. I love it! As I raise my hands up to the Universe, “more peace please!”

Thanks for stopping by today. Trust me, I have plenty of good content left to share.

Maybe nothing to blow your hair back on today though.

Until next time, stay safe and be careful out there.

The Proper Care and Treatment of Others

As businesses continue to reopen, I hope a climate of mutual patience, gratitude, and respect returns. Especially as we attempt to coexist in public spaces.

As colorful “Thank You”, or “Heroes Work Here” banners are prominently displayed everywhere, (pseudo love letters to essential workers), these colorful “PDAs” will have zero meaning if customers return to stores and businesses ready to mistreat these very same people. We customers need to be prepared to manage our expectations and check our self-entitlements at the door. Expect that everything has changed, and the customer-facing person is often not, and has no direct access to the decision-makers, or owners of the entity with whom we are doing business.

If there is constructive feedback for the employee, remain calm, let’s adult and find our words. And, if the opportunity avails itself, intelligently communicate this information to the individual. Which is often far more effective than firing off an email to “corporate.” Why? Because you want a resolution; you believe the employee could (or should) have handled the situation better. Some of the best coaching I have received when I worked in customer service positions, actually came from my customers. Please also recognize that working with the public is extremely stressful and can be difficult. Read: You/I can be difficult sometimes. It’s also worth remembering that some individuals take service-oriented jobs because they are arguably easier to secure. And let’s be honest with ourselves by not pretending that this is the first person we’ve ever met who has taken a job that is incompatible with their personality, or career interests.

Please try to know the difference between a customer service (person) issue, versus your disagreement with rules and procedures that this same company is paying its employees to communicate and enforce. Think on it this way…if you have minimal autonomy to change meaningful rules and procedures in your own job, or organization, how much agency does the frontline person you’re prepared to berate have?

And last but not least, to my customer service/facing brethren: Do consider picking up a copy of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz. Read it often and carry it with you. I highly recommend working with the Agreement, “Don’t take anything personally” first. This is the best advice that I can offer you, if you intend on successfully working with the public, in the workplace, or in business in general.

People are capable of being cruel and some will be straight-up disrespectful. You will likely witness tantrums and meltdowns that a room full of sleepy and hungry two-year-olds would never exact on anyone. Ever. There will be people who are tired, lonely, hungry, miserable, jealous, and just plain rude, who will find their way into your store, your line, your route, and into your work life. It’s an unavoidable fact that we can chalk up to human frailty.

On a professional or personal level, you cannot afford to take someone else’s bad behavior personally. And you definitely should not let anyone impact you financially. You are being paid to act as an agent of the business in your assigned role. That said, the corporate position is to “love” the customer (read: their money.) What this means is you must at the very least “like” them. Think on it this way: the company is “renting” your professionalism, service, and behavior while you’re being paid to interact with/support their customers. It’s not about what you would do, or how you would handle the situation had you not been at work. Though it’s easier said than done sometimes, try to keep your goals, plans, and dreams at the forefront of your mind, especially when Mr. or Ms. Rude shows up.

Resist letting your ego get the better of you. By all means reject the temptation to do battle with an individual who clearly has nothing to lose, and clearly has nothing better to do than provoke and insult strangers. Alternatively, there are ground rules and exceptions to customer care. When a customer/team member exchange becomes unproductive, abusive, threatening, or otherwise unsafe for the customer or team member, the next level of management must intervene immediately. Full stop.

COVID has literally changed everyone’s way of life. All of us are going through a period of adjustment that is going to require significant patience and understanding. None of us will have emerged from this crisis the same. We are literally returning to a world that is dramatically different and unrecognizable to some extent. Some people have been physically isolated from loved ones, involuntarily unemployed for months and thus struggling financially, some are recovering from COVID; have been caretaking, and others have lost loved ones and friends to this horrible virus.

These are the issues that people are bringing with them as things reopen. This is what people are bringing with them as they return to work. Ever present are the burdens of sadness and devastation that lie beneath the facial masks that we all now wear to simply live today.

Reciprocal compassionate treatment of humanity is the new essential as we return to an existence in a post-COVID world.

You Already Have the Answers

Growing up, I’d often ask my mom for advice on various topics such as friendships, or how to handle certain dilemmas I encountered. Depending on the situation, she would share her sage motherly wisdom. And other times she would listen carefully and respond, “You already have the answer.”

Huh?

To my dismay, this would be her advice…despite the fact that I poured my heart out to her. A little dramatic, I know, but I digress. Yes, she heard me and I am confident that she felt my pain every time. In some instances, I’m certain that she would have gladly transferred my pain onto herself. However, I didn’t understand why she wasn’t helping me, which was frustrating. I remember wanting to say to my mom, “If I had the answers, I wouldn’t need advice!” Sounds pretty logical, right?

What I know now that I didn’t know then is that my mom was preparing me for life.

Recently, I have spoken to two separate “experts” about a current situation that I’m managing. As I spoke to each of them, I quickly realized that I was the expert because the matter at hand concerns me. Not to discredit them, but I am most familiar with the so-called issue. I have all of the facts preceding this moment; I know what I have tried, and am willing to try to resolve the matter. At the end of the day, it will be my action(s) or inaction that will ultimately move the ball down the field.

Often times when we’re seeking advice, we really want to be affirmed. Sometimes we just want to vent and rant. We want to feel righteous and justified in the presence of another. We want someone to witness our pain or suffering and agree with us. Or console us. In reality, we know that the other person is powerless.

Besides offering a few well-meaning platitudes, there is nothing that the other person can “do.” Rather, another person can “be” a sounding board, a resource, or a confidant. But what more can another person literally do to affect meaningful change in another persons life?

Sadly, very little.

I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t seek advice from family and friends. Or, seek the assistance from qualified experts as needed. I think it’s healthy to gain a different perspective. However, new ideas, or outlooks are only as effective as the other persons willingness or ability to implement them. Sometimes we have to be willing to change, versus expecting other people, or circumstances to change because we think that they should.

Which brings me back to my mom’s life lesson of “you already have the answers.” My mom was empowering me to be an independent thinker. To know that she is there for me, but not to rely on her, (or anyone else), to tell me what to do-when I already know or have an idea about what needs to be done. To learn how to become still and become clear about the entire issue. And most of all, my mom taught me how to trust myself. Many times we reach out to experts because we are second guessing ourselves. Sometimes a secondary, or tertiary view point is necessary, and sometimes it isn’t.

There will be times that you need to know that while you may not be an expert on some things, you are the expert as it relates to you and what you need. No one has this thing called life fully figured out. Everyone has an area of their life that needs work. So know that you’re in good company.

Learn to trust yourself as much as you are inclined to trust the opinions, perspectives, and even qualifications of others.

Thanks Mom.

Let’s (really) talk about healthcare

My health care story goes like this: It’s often difficult to find and maintain a good doctor. I have had four good doctors in my adult life; three of whom were gynecologists. The fourth doctor was my primary care physician. All of them were women, and they “got” me. I felt comfortable talking to them. I knew that I could be candid. I felt that each doctor had my best interest at heart. She listened to what I had to say; in some cases heard what I tried to sweep under the proverbial rug. I always felt that any recommendations were medically sound with my best interest at the forefront that advice.

I had to switch two of the above mentioned gynecologists because I relocated. My awesome primary care physician relocated. And my now former gynecologist switched practices-(I’ve posted her picture on lamp posts throughout the city), please call me if you find her.

Bedside manner is critically important to me. I have to feel safe, heard, seen, and respected by my doctor. Period. I think most if not all of you would agree with me.

In light of the numerous changes to our health care system, it seems that health care has become “corporate.” With the exorbitant costs of malpractice insurance, many physicians have opted to leave private practice, to join medical groups, or hospitals. Which usually translates to a more structured approach to doctor’s visits, e.g., timed one-on-one sessions with your doctor. In some cases, patients spend more time in the waiting room to see the doctor, than they do with the doctor.

Most private businesses provide their employees with consumer-driven health care plans. Which is customarily defined as an insurance plan that allows its members to use a HSA (health spending account), to pay for qualifying healthcare costs. There are many other key components to these plans that take time to learn and understand, in order to use healthcare effectively and economically. Some people are able to delve into this information easily, while others use their healthcare insurance more passively. For many employer-provided healthcare plans, it’s also the responsibility of the consumer (you/me), to do our due diligence in advance when selecting our health care providers. For example, knowing whether a particular doctor or practice is in or out of network, versus asking the general question of whether a doctor or facility “takes my insurance,” is key.

Health care is a personal necessity that is increasingly requiring a higher degree of business acumen or savvy on behalf of the consumer. Some of us have a better understanding of our healthcare benefits than others. It is also easier to execute when can plan when and how you will you use your healthcare. It’s even more helpful if you can consult with your primary care physician, on what’s the best option(s) for your case. In emergency situations, however, and namely during unprecedented times such as this current pandemic, health insurance coverage, co-insurance, and deductibles becomes a secondary, or tertiary concern.

So when we as a society enter into discussions on why certain demographics are seemingly more at risk, or disproportionately seem to suffer from pre-existing health issues (e.g. diabetes, obesity, hypertension, asthma, etc.), it is imperative that we pan out to see the big picture. A community is only as healthy as the viable options that are offered to, and serve that particular community. This includes proper food and nutrition sourcing, access to safe, clean recreational facilities (e.g. parks, fitness centers), in addition to the availability of local resources, information, and most importantly, quality healthcare facilities, and providers that serve and respect these communities.