26 Questions

1. I was asked by my fellow blogger at https://edifyingthespiritblog.wordpress.com to answer the following 26 questions about me:

2. Who are you named after?

The 70s film star Raquel Welch.😊…Yup.

3. Do you like your handwriting?

I do, actually. I have always been told I have great penmanship.

4. What is your favorite lunchmeat?

I don’t really like lunchmeat but if I had to choose I’d probably go with Boar’s Head Chipotle Chicken (the one with low sodium).

5. Longest relationship?

The Ex…Dated 4 years and was married for 4 years. Total 8!

6. Do you still have your tonsils?

I think so. 😁

7. Would you bungee jump?

I won’t even go on a roller coaster at Six Flags so that would be a hell no!

8. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

Am I the only dork that will answer yes to this? I have seen no one else do it but yes I do untie my laces before taking off my sneakers.

9. Favorite ice-cream?

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!!! Also, love Pralines and Cream from Baskin Robbins. I wonder if they still make that?!

10. What’s the first thing you notice about people?

Their posture and their shoes. I am constantly looking at how people stand and carry themselves; after that, my eyes go right to their shoes.

11. Football or Baseball?

Cricket! Hahaha…I’m only playing…If I’m going to sit down and watch a sport my first choice would be basketball.

I do go to (or host) a Superbowl party every year though but that’s only for the hype.

12. What color pants are you wearing?

Not wearing any. It’s after midnight and I’m in bed. Don’t judge me!!!!!

13. Last thing you ate?

Chocolate covered almonds.

14. If you are a crayon what color would you be?

Red!!!! Bright and bold…I love anything red. Red cars, red dresses, red lipstick, red fingernails, red pumps. Even one of my bedroom walls is painted red. Bring on the red!

15. Favorite smell?

The smell of cakes or bread being baked in an oven.

16. Who is the last person you spoke to on the phone?

My husband.

17. Hair color?

My natural hair color is black (might even be grey now, who knows) but I wear hair extensions all the time and right now I am channeling my inner Beyonce and rocking a mixture of chestnut-brown, blondish, dark brownish colored hair extension.

18. Eye color?

Dark Brown.

19. Favorite food to eat?

Chicken – Baked, fried, roasted, sliced, diced, barbecued – I love chicken.

20. Scary movies or happy endings?

Neither! I mean everybody loves a happy ending but I’d rather get engrossed in a suspense whodunit thriller…..I am also a big fan of comedies.

21. Last movie you watched?

Blackkklansman.

22. Favorite Holiday?

My birthday – They need to make my birthday a national holiday so everyone can get the day off to party with me. Hahahaha. Since that won’t happen I’ll take Christmas. I am like a kid at Christmas with the decorations and the baking and the presents and the lights and the ugly sweaters. Man, I love Christmas!!!

23. Beer or wine?

Wine – specifically red. Cabernet Sauvignon is my fave.

24. Favorite day of the week?

Fridays. I always look forward to the start of the weekend.

25. Three favorite bloggers, you want to learn about?

Awww man, why do I have to only pick 3 (pouting) I have so many favorites on here. Aw well, since I can only pick 3…

https://hopelesslyheather.com

https://bottomlesscoffee007.com

https://riversworld.live

26. The added info you didn’t know you wanted…

I am tall – 5’10 but I still love wearing heels.

Bonus Question: Who’s your favorite superhero?

Thor – God of Thunder, from Asgard. He’s arguably the strongest Avenger (don’t get me started on that stuff). 😊

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Let’s Go to the Movies!

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I love going to the movies! My love affair with the movies started with Saturday Night Fever, which is the very first movie I ever saw at the cinema. As silly and juvenile as it may sound I thoroughly enjoy the movie-going experience, from the freshly popped buttered popcorn to the reaction of the other movie-goers when something exciting happens on the big screen, its sheer joy for me to sit there in the dark with complete strangers and get transfixed with the plot unfolding on the screen. I try to get to the movies at least 4 to 6 times a month but this Summer as work and deadlines came at me expeditiously I realized to my dismay that the summer was ending, a few summer blockbusters had come and gone, weeks had passed and I hadn’t gone to a single movie. Gasp! The horror! 😃

I decided to remedy that situation and for the last 2 weeks I took advantage of a not too demanding work schedule and saw not 1, not even 2 but 5 movies and I enjoyed each and every one. Nothing is more disappointing to me than when I hand over my $15 at the box office and the movie falls short of my expectations, and might I add that I’m not the type to actually walk out of a movie because I always sit there hoping it will get better. 🤦‍♀️ Thankfully, I was happy with all 5 choices recently – The Wife, Searching, Crazy Rich Asians, Juliet, Naked and Blackkklansman – five completely different genres of movies that would appeal to different types of audiences for varying reasons yet all five movies appealed to me and left me with some deep-seated thoughts. There is nothing like a well-scripted, thought-provoking movie.

The Wife

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She’s back, folks! Glenn Close, who rose to fame playing the diabolical one-night stand in Fatal Attraction is back with a truly brilliant performance in The Wife; it is the story of a devoted and loving spouse who walked away from her own fledgling career as a writer to wholeheartedly support her husband’s writing career instead. While being the devoted and sensible wife Glenn Close’s character, Joan, manages to turn a blind eye to her husband’s infidelities as his fame grows as a great American novelist.

The Wife had me thinking about the patriarchy and the general sacrifices so many women make in their own lives, happy and content to stand in the shadows of their husbands, being the perfect spouse instead of being great for themselves.

My favorite line in the movie was delivered by Close when she warns her husband that “Nothing is more dangerous than a writer that has been rebuffed”. I love that line because it is an excellent reminder that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. A fantastic film that every writer should see.

Searching

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Searching was shot in an entirely digitized manner, from the face time calling conversations, to the movie’s plot unfolding on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, this movie serves as a reminder that what we see on social media are oftentimes not the way things are in real life. Things may look one way and be entirely the opposite. The person with over a thousand “friends” on Facebook could very well be the loneliest person in the world, who doesn’t even have one real friend. Further, how do we know who we are really talking to when we engage in online conversations with strangers?

John Cho, who is known for playing Harold in the Harold and Kumar films, plays a father whose teenage daughter goes missing. He uses social media to try to track down his daughter’s last known whereabouts and as he investigates her mysterious disappearance he comes to the sad realization that he really didn’t know his own child.

This one had me thinking about my own 14-year-old and how much do I really know him. I almost invaded his privacy after watching this movie. I wanted to go into his phone and his laptop to find out who he has been talking to online and what they have been talking about. I restrained myself though and instead tried to have a conversation with him about the perils of online communication with strangers. What I got from him was some serious eye roll and a comment that I should lay off of the movie watching with my paranoia.

Crazy Rich Asians

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This movie had me believing in love again. Are you in the mood for a feel-good movie? Well, Crazy Rich Asians is it. Admittedly, when I first saw the promo for this movie in the Coming Attractions I was like WTH is this garbage. Yes, I was judgemental because the title totally turned me off. It’s like saying “crazy rich white people” or “crazy rich blacks”; it just sounds off-putting and wrong.

The fact that this movie remained #1 at the box office for 3 weeks in a row, seriously piqued my interest so I figured I would go see what all the hype was about. I loooved it! It was such a romantic, almost fairy-tale like film that you can’t help falling for it and rooting for Rachel, the female lead, played by Constance Wu. Rachel, who is Chinese American and lives in New York meets and falls in love with her Chinese boyfriend, Nick, who hails from Singapore. They are a year into their relationship when Nick has to go home to attend his best friend’s wedding. He invites Rachel to go back to Singapore with him and she does. What ensues is everything fairy tales are made of. Rachel discovers that her Nick is not just rich but “crazy rich” and is snubbed by Nick’s mother/family/friends because not only is Rachel from a working-class family but she is American, and doesn’t and will never fully understand the real Chinese culture or fit into their world. So so good. The opulence in Singapore was superfluous and astounding and had me thinking how lucky is Rachel.😉 I wanna be Rachel, just for a day. Ha!

Juliet, Naked

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Who doesn’t love Ethan Hawke?! Such a great actor with a list of box office hits to his name. Such a natural on the big screen, you sometimes forget that he is a movie star and feel like he is the guy next door that you can chill with in the backyard and sip on a cold brew. He is so cool and cool he is in Juliet, Naked.

Hawke plays a washed-up rocker, Tucker Crowe, who disappears from the music scene decades before the movie takes place. He still has a following though and one obsessed fan, played by Chris O’Dowd, with his heavy, sexy Irish accent has an online fan club that idolizes Hawke’s character. O’Dowd’s character, Duncan, is in a relationship with Annie, who absolutely cannot stand the obsession her boyfriend has with this washed-up, has-been rocker that no one has heard from or seen in a million years. As the plot develops, a series of events unfold (no spoilers here) and Annie ends up meeting Tucker Crowe, the has-been rocker himself. The film also contains a few sub-plots that come together to make this a super cute, relatable movie that encourages second chances and forces the movie-goer to examine one’s own life and answer the question. “If I had a chance to do it (life) over, would I make the same choices?”

Blakkklansman

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Directed, co-produced and co-written by Spike Lee, Blackkklansman is the incredible true story of how the first African-American police detective in Colorado Springs was able to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. Unbelievable! It spins an embarrassing tale (embarrassing for the KKK, that is) on how seemingly easy it was for a Black man and his Jewish partner to go undercover and uncover, and later reveal the plots and plans that the Colorado Springs Chapter of the KKK had to murder innocent black students, who spoke openly against white supremacy, police brutality, and racism.

The hate that spews from the characters who play members of the KKK against Blacks and Jews made this film hard to watch. Luckily, Spike Lee punctuated what could have been a potentially dark and heavy film with moments of humor and ridicule at the Ku Klux Klan thus illustrating the stupidity and simplemindedness of even the highest member of this hate organization making this movie enjoyable, despite its outrageousness. Blackkklansman, which was set in the early 1970s, left me with the raw thought that the more things change the more things remain the same. The sad reality is that the United States is even more divided today than it was in the 1970s.

I can’t bid you adieu without mentioning that Blackkklansman stars John David Washington, who is the son of Denzel. His acting was phenomenal in this his first feature film and I wouldn’t be surprised if he embarks on an illustrious acting career comparable to that of his famous father.

What are your plans for this weekend? How about grabbing your favorite person and heading to the movies to see one of the five mentioned above. Wait, what’s that? You have no one to go with…Then go alone. Three out of these five movies I saw alone and of the two my husband saw with me he fell asleep in one of them. I won’t tell you which one though. 😉

So how was your week?

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There Is Enough to Go Around

I was recently at a conference when I met a friendly young lady and we started talking about our careers, she told me she was an attorney, as well and that she was getting ready to do the Bar Exam in a few months. We continued chatting for a while, exchanging pleasantries, when another young lady came over to us and joined in on our conversation. Since the conference could also be considered a networking event it wasn’t strange that the other young lady had randomly joined in on our conversation.

Turns out that young lady #2 was also an attorney, an entertainment lawyer, she said. She posed the question to me and my first conversationalist about our areas of practice and how long had we both been practicing. I told her. Young Lady #1 explained that she was getting ready to study for the Bar Exam and that she was currently employed as a patent attorney.

“You haven’t taken the Bar yet?” Young Lady #2 said incredulously to Young Lady #1.

“No, but I’m studying for it now, I take the exam in…” Young Lady #1 was interrupted by Young Lady #2. “Well that means you’re really not an attorney then, if you haven’t taken the Bar yet, I mean you have to be licensed first before you can call yourself a lawyer.”

The two women kept going back and forth for a minute. The first young lady explaining that since she already graduated law school and was currently employed as an attorney with a law firm that she was, in fact, a lawyer, while the other young lady kept telling her in a somewhat condescending tone that she was not, in fact, a lawyer until she had passed the Bar Exam and received her law license.

I really don’t know what the proper protocol is in order to call one’s self an attorney. However, what I got from the conversation or should I say debate between the two women was that it seemed that Young Lady #2 was somewhat threatened by the prospect of another young female attorney coming aboard the legal train and was determined to let her know, in no uncertain terms, that she is not “one of us” until she had gone through certain rigorous training, which Young Lady #1, might not even be able to complete. Young Lady #2’s conduct was uncalled for and unkind and, in my opinion, just plain boorish.

My Light Does Not Dim Yours

Here’s the thing – My light, no matter how bright it shines, does not diminish yours. There is room enough for all of us to succeed and be great without anyone feeling threatened. Your success does not affect mine, nor does it happen the other way around either, my success certainly does not affect yours, even if we are in the same industry. We could even be interviewing for the same job and the fact that you may get that job does not mean that I won’t get another job, equally as good. How I see it is that particular job wasn’t really meant for me if I wasn’t the selected candidate.

There is no over saturation in any field or profession, where they won’t be room for another success story. People die, unfortunately, or retire every day, therefore there will always be room for others. Always!

Discouragement

Years ago when I first decided to start my own law practice I was still wet behind the ears, only a few years out of law school, but it was something I wanted to do. I remember speaking to a successful solo practitioner, someone who was somewhat of a mentor to me, telling him I wanted to go out on my own and asked for some advice about what I should expect initially. I was surprised when he advised me not to start my own practice. He asked why I would want to give up the security of a salary to work for myself? He told me that it would take years and years and years to build my practice to the point where I would be comfortable enough to turn over a profit.

My response to him was, “I better get started then since it’s gonna take so long.”

Honestly, I was shocked at the lack of encouragement. Here I was thinking that he’d be gung-ho at his protegé trying to go out there and make a name for herself, sort of following in his footsteps, but instead, he was trying to talk me out of it. It seemed as if he thought little ole me was going to be some kind of competition to his already thriving practice. I took his words with a grain of salt and still went out on my own because I knew that if I never tried it I would spend my life wondering, “What if?”

A few years after I had started my own practice and was doing okay for myself when my mentor and I were having lunch and he admitted to me that “new, young fresh blood and brains” is always a threat to the older folks who had been “grinding for all these years”. Wow! My first thought was what about the opportunity to teach? What about the opportunity to impart your knowledge upon these “new, young, fresh blood and brains” coming into the industry? The older generation will always have more expertise than the new kids on the block. Why not seize the opportunity to impart your knowledge and expertise in a positive way? Lead, by example. Encourage! There is enough happiness and blessings to go around for everyone to partake and be content. Always!

Competition

Personally, I don’t like competition. There is a theory that a little healthy competition never hurts. That might very well be true but the only person I am in competition with is myself in an effort to be better today than I was yesterday. I admire those who inspire and motivate but competition only pits one person against the other and builds misplaced resentment. We each move at our own pace as individuals and what might work for you today might not work for you tomorrow and that goes for all of us so getting cutthroat and competitive, in my humble opinion, is a waste of time. Have that healthy competition with yourself, not with others, and become the best you can possibly be.

We have to get rid of this scarcity mindset, that there isn’t enough of a good thing to go around, because there truly is. We should be happy for others when they elevate themselves, especially when well-deserved through hard work. We should promote, encourage and cheer each other. I truly believe that when we uplift others it does something for our psyche that allows us to grow as individuals and make us better people. Someone else’s gain is not your loss, the successes of others, if anything, should be evidence that we can all be successful too. Believe me when I tell you there is enough to go around for everyone.

Blogger Recognition Award

A huge shout out to https://bottomlesscoffee007 for nominating me for the “Blogger Recognition Award”. I am so excited (🎼singing in my Pointer Sisters’ voice). This is so cool.

So here are the rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog (see link above).
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select 15 or more fellow bloggers for this award.
  6. Let each nominee know you’ve nominated them and leave a link to your post.

How I Started Blogging:

Interesting stuff is always happening to me, I mean the real storytelling type of stuff. Either with my cases (I am a lawyer) or in my personal life, it happens so frequently that my paralegal used to always say to me. “You need your own reality show. You just can’t make this stuff up.” Whether the things happening were comical or inconceivable the fact is they were interesting and needed to be told.

Well, since a production team isn’t trying to sign me and follow me around so I can tell my story on a reality series I decided to write my little anecdotes myself in the form of a Blog. I tend to be pretty funny, so I really wanted to create humorous, light-hearted content devoid of commentary on social, economic and political issues for people to read and enjoy. However, I realize that “my stuff” isn’t always fun or light or even comical. My experiences are sometimes sad and “heavy”, but in order to be true to myself, I have to write with credibility and authenticity even if it paints a ‘not-so-perfect’ picture of my life.

When I was in my twenties, I used to think that I would be the woman who had it all together by the time she reached her forties but the reality is that I am not; and this fact has become even more evident week after week when I sit down to write my personal expositions for my blog posts. I have been told, however, that my blog pieces are inspiring, even though that was not my objective when I started I am very glad I can inspire, especially unintentionally. So here we are instead of being laugh out loud funny, I’m being inspiring instead but I’ll take it.

I also I have a wild and crazy dream about one day writing a bestseller, I figure I could hone my writing skills right here while blogging in preparation for that lucrative book deal. Who knows? It could actually happen.

Two Pieces of Advice to New Bloggers:

I posted my very first blog piece on July 14, 2018; which means I am brand new to the blogging arena so who am I to give advice on the art of blogging? I am still learning myself as I go along. However, if I were to point out the two things that work for me and might also work for others interested in the art I would say discipline and authenticity.

DisciplineI have so many things going on in my life, all of us do, that I have to be disciplined with my blogging. I can’t just do it whenever, if ever, I feel like it. I have to be disciplined in setting a schedule and sticking to that schedule, which hasn’t been easy.

I am a weekly blogger, not a daily blogger or a few times a week like most so I carve out the same time every week to write which is on a Friday night. I oftentimes end up editing all the way into the wee hours of Saturday mornings before I hit publish. This schedule works for me since it is the end of the week and the start of the weekend but there have been a few Friday nights when I have wanted to just lay on the couch in front of the TV with a glass of red wine and binge watch The Good Wife instead of writing; this is when I have to exercise that discipline. I have to pretend not to hear the remote control calling my name and open my laptop instead. It’s been tough at times but I make myself do it because I want to stick to my schedule. I want my readers/followers to know when they can expect to hear from me. Therefore I have created a schedule and in turn, developed some amount of discipline in an effort to stick with it.

Authenticity The dictionary describes authenticity as the quality of being authentic. For me, that means being genuine, true and real. My second bit of advice would be after you’ve developed the discipline to sit down and write then you need to be authentic. Your voice should be real, true and credible throughout your posts. Authenticity goes a long way in that people want to read posts that are relatable, they want to feel like they know you, the writer, despite not having met you. I once had a reader tell me that after reading my piece, 5 Lessons I Learned from my Divorce, she felt like she knew me and wanted to be my friend. To me, that was a hell of a compliment. If you’re not authentic, especially when delivering personal expositions or even opinion pieces, then no one will want to read your words.

My Nominees Are:

I nominate the following 15 bloggers to participate in this prestigious Blogger Recognition Award, there’s nothing like being acknowledged and recognized by one’s own peers (drum roll please 😃):

https://beingauntdebbie.com

https://hopelessleyheather.com

https://charliecountryboy.wordpress.com

https://bitchininthekitchen.org

https://myplace3187.wordpress.com

https://aponderingmind.org

https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com

https://faithlovelifeandstyle.com

https://sunshinysasite.wordpress.com

https://edifyingthespiritblog.wordpress.com

https://literarylemonades.com

https://parkashpenciapoetry.wordpress.com

https://pointlessoverthinking.wordpress.com

https://simpleula.com

https://roshonadanblackman.com

If I have nominated anyone that has been nominated by someone else before please send me the link to your post that contains your response to the nomination.

Looking forward to reading all the responses. Thanks again to https://bottomlesscoffee007.com for the recognition. You’ve made my night, really!!!

The Struggles of Dating/Marrying a White Guy

Last week my husband and I were in the DMV, seated right next to each other on a bench waiting for Hearing Room # 3 to open when a guy walked by, looked me dead in the eyes winked at me and smiled. Greg, my husband, saw the entire thing and shot the guy an annoyed ‘Dude, I dare you to try it’ look. I just shook my head. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that this is something that happens to us all the time, despite sitting or standing next to each other, somehow people never ever think we are together; simply because my husband is White and I am Black.

I know this guy wasn’t being facetious, he just assumed, like most people do, that Greg and I were not a couple even though we were actually physically together. No matter how close we are to each other, even when we are in deep conversation, short of us holding hands or being loving with each other, people will assume we are not a couple. The dating and marrying outside our race have brought with it a mixture of comical, unbelievable, amusing sometimes even inconceivable experiences. It’s been 5 and a half years in total since we’ve been together and the weirdness still persists.

No One Ever Thinks We’re Together

It has become quite comical to us that no one ever thinks we are together, but depending on the situation it can also be annoying that people refuse to ask the pertinent questions but instead will just go with their assumptions.

Recently Greg let me off to go into the doctor’s office while he went to park the car. After checking in with the receptionist, letting her know who I was, I went to the ladies room. Greg arrived inside the doctor’s office less than 5 minutes afterward, he looked around the waiting room and didn’t see me so he asked the receptionist if “his wife” had just walked in. The receptionist without even asking Greg his wife’s name or asking for a description of his wife said, “No.” Greg asked her, “Are you sure, she should have just come in?” The woman again said, “No.” I walked out of the ladies’ room saw Greg at the receptionist desk and said, “Hi Babe, you found a parking spot fast, huh?” The receptionist turned bright red with embarrassment trying to explain herself. What I really wanted to ask her was why she would choose to go with her ignorant assumption that I was not Greg’s wife instead of asking him his wife’s name; but Greg wouldn’t let me, he told me to behave myself and let it be, after all, we should be used to it by now.

Things People Say to Us

The most common one we get is the inquiry as to what our respective families said or thought when we first started dating. Honestly, nothing. My parents thought nothing of me bringing home a white guy and vice versa. It really was not a big deal. My parents liked Greg because, according to them, they could see how much he cared for me. My mother liked the fact that Greg hung onto every word I said and looked lovingly at me each time I spoke and my father liked the fact that on the numerous occasions we all went out that weekend Greg paid for everything despite him (my father) being there. They embraced and love him.

As for my mother-in-law, sometimes I wonder if she even notices that I am not white. She has never mentioned anything about the color of my skin to Greg. She has been nothing but warm and kind to me from the very first day I met her, which was a few months into our relationship. She is extremely sweet to me and always ensures that she sends me a birthday card every year with nice handwritten message inside.

People also ask us a lot about procreating, even strangers. The most common query we get when people do realize that we are in fact together is about babies. People are constantly asking us if we have any children together and when we say no then the next question is usually when are we going to have one, followed by the statement that we would make “some beautiful babies”; and yes they are very certain about this. Apparently, interracial couples never make unattractive babies.

One Sunday afternoon as we rode the subway into the city, an elderly woman sat across from us. I caught her staring at us several times so I finally smiled at her and that’s when she spoke. She commented on how nice we looked together, asked how long we had been together and advised us to have a baby. Before she exited the train she told us that she hopes that when I get pregnant it will be a girl because “she would be absolutely stunning”.

Then there are also the “jokes” bordering on snide remarks that people make. The one about “why couldn’t you date a black man / white girl instead” or the assumption that we could not find someone who is our own race, makes my blood boil. Are you kidding me? My husband and I have amazing chemistry that’s why we are with each other. Not because a guy is black does not mean I will have chemistry with him and it goes the same for my husband with his white female counterparts. The worst jokes and remarks though are the ones with the negative stereotype. Or the one about our time together having an expiration date because either one of us must have a “fetish” or might be going through “a phase”. Yeah, people go there, especially when one or the other of us is not around and they perceive that we are close enough to them for them to go there.

Not Black Enough

Apparently, there are varying levels of being black and I am not black enough or can’t possibly be down with the struggle of my people because I am married to a white man. Yes, people have said that. It’s harrowing how much people think they know about you based on who you married. I can assure you that my being married to Greg doesn’t make me any less vested in the issues that affect my community. Guess what people? I can still be “woke” and love my caucasian man. I will continue to speak out against oppression and racism and fight the good fight, and trust and believe my husband will be there right alongside me fighting with me. I am 100% sure of that! I didn’t lose my love for my race and my culture because I fell in love with someone who is not black and the implication that I did is ludicrous. Again, ignorance!

Greg and I are a strong, confident couple, who are able to stand up to the social biases that still prevail in our society even though it’s the year 2018. We are open-minded, compassionate people, who embrace each other’s differences and idiosyncrasies. Whatever squabbles and or disagreements we may have are the usual disagreements that occur in same race relationships, like why in the world he won’t bring the toilet seat down after he uses it, that still irks me. Similarly, it boggles his mind and annoys him when he has to wait for me because it takes me 2 hours to get ready whenever we are going out. We are the same as any other couple and the sooner society’s naysayers recognize that the sooner we can eliminate the struggles that seem to automatically comes when one dates or marry outside one’s race.

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Growing Old Gracefully (or not)!

The alternative to aging is death, so obviously I’ll take aging any day over being 6 feet under but hello why must the process be so damn hard. A show of hands, please, from those who wake up every day to some kind of mysterious body ache or pain. Oh, not you! It might be only me, then. Well, I am not ashamed to say that within the past few years I feel like my body has been slowly breaking down. From no longer being able to just run up a flight of stairs, to holding onto the arm of the chair when I get up from a seated position, to that mysterious ache that has somehow, over the years, moved from my left knee to my right knee back to my left knee again and even more recently back spasms; I am here to say that aging sucks!

It took me years, (clears throat) who am I kidding? It took me decades to finally fall in love with my body. I’m sure, like me, you grew up bombarded with images of what the perfect body should look like from the perpetually ‘high school skinny’ female models to the muscular, rock-hard bodies of their male counterparts plastered all over bestselling magazines, it took me a while to accept my thick thighs, my not so buxom bosom, my huge behind, my very wide, child-bearing hips and of course my belly. However, as soon as I started accepting my body, all of it, even the cellulite; as I settled into being comfortable with my imperfect weight to height ratio; here it is that my body has slowly started to let me know in no uncertain terms that I am not young anymore.

Active Lifestyle

I’ll be 45 on my next birthday, which happens to be next month, and I have always lived a pretty active lifestyle. Do I run marathons? No, I don’t. I’m the girl who can’t run a full mile without becoming out of breath, but I can walk 10 miles without stopping at a fairly fast pace. Am I CrossFit / Insanity type fitness enthusiast? Nope, not at all. All that jumping coupled with the incredulous amount of burpees aren’t for me; but I can keep pace with the best of them in any regular aerobics, step, spin or boot camp class. I actually like to exercise and have been doing so consistently since I was in high school. Plus I have had always had a gym membership since I started College so, I can’t for the life of me, understand why my body has started to feel like someone who has never enjoyed the benefits of exercise. Isn’t it supposed to be that the more active you are the younger and fitter you will feel despite your true age? I was under the misguided impression that was how it worked. Thankfully, I look younger than my age but I’m certainly starting to feel every bit of the 44 years that I have been around.

Aches and Pains

It began with the left knee, a few years ago, that suddenly started hurting out of the blue. I went to see a doctor, had an MRI done and I was told that I had a torn cartilage. Alright, fine, that happens to the best of us. I followed the doctor’s orders and consistently did all the exercises required to strengthen the muscles around the knee in order to prevent joint instability and further damage. I can’t remember how long it took but soon I wasn’t feeling any pain, not even a minor ache; than a couple of years later the same pain came back again but this time the pain had mysteriously moved over to the right knee. Like, WTH?! I went through the entire process again with the doctors and the MRIs but this time I was told that the MRI didn’t show anything wrong. Really? Well, why does my right knee hurt then? “Age, perhaps!” was the response from the doctor. Wait! What?!

Over the years the pain in both my left knee and my right knee kind of just comes and goes. I will go months and not feel any pain in either of them and then out of nowhere one will start hurting for a couple of days, then the pain will switch to the other knee or just magically disappear. It’s the weirdest thing, but I suppose that as long as both knees don’t hurt at the same time I think I can live with it.

The Metabolism

It’s a known fact that the older you get the more your metabolism slows down. Well, my metabolism has not only slowed down but it has freaking stopped! It’s like I cannot lose that extra 10 pounds no matter what I do or how hard I try.

When I was younger, all I had to do was think of losing weight and the pounds would just miraculously melt away. Once, when I was in College, I purchased a dress 2 sizes smaller than my regular size (the store didn’t have my size and I just had to have that particul dress) to wear out the following weekend. I was confident that I could drop enough weight in seven days to fit into that gorgeous red dress, and guess what? I did! I went on what was called the Cabbage Soup Diet for a week and lost even more weight than I had anticipated. It was just that easy! Yes, it took tonnes of discipline to only eat/drink that horrid cabbage soup for an entire week but I hung the dress on the door to my dorm, where I could see it daily, as a way of motivating me and I did it. I was able to slide into that little red number on the very following Saturday night, despite it being 2 sizes smaller, just a week before, when it was purchased.

Now, I’ll exercise the same discipline I had back then by spending even more time, weeks on end, eating fruits, and vegetables, and drinking green smoothies; I’ll even amp up my workout at the gym and I still won’t lose a pound, not a single pound. If I’m not careful, I might even gain a pound or two, even on a strict regiment. Why? You guessed it; because of aging.

Doctors

For years, as an adult, I only had one doctor, and that doctor was my gynecologist. At the time, I only needed one doctor to maintain my health and vitality, just one. However, as I have gotten older my list of doctors has grown significantly and I now need a team of doctors to help me stay healthy and to assist in the fight against the aging process. It is truly a phenomenon that I have gone from only having one doctor that I would see annually to now having 5 doctors – an orthopedic doctor, a chiropractor, an internist, a radiologist and most recently a dermatologist – that I see on a regular basis; and I am a reasonably healthy woman. A team of doctors is now needed because I just happen to be getting older. I mean, who would have thought that having not visited a dermatologist in my entire 44 years on this planet that in recent months I would have had to go to the dermatologist, not once but 4 times. Apparently, there is something called adult acne.

The truth is I am healthy, and I am very lucky that whatever little bit of aches and pains that I may feel is minor; but I can’t help but think back to only a decade ago to the things my body could do effortlessly and painlessly without much thought. These days I won’t do certain exercise moves without first thinking about whether or not I might inadvertently pull something and, or, wake up with that brutal after workout pain that causes me to walk and flinch for the next 24 to 36 hours.

Having birthdays and aging is indeed a privilege but growing old gracefully, well, that is a matter of choice. What will you choose? As for me, I choose to fight the aging process. I will continue to cover my greys with Clairol Nice N’ Easy hair color, I will still wear my high heels, who knows, I may even go dancing in them too; and when I take my selfies, I’ll make sure to use a selfie stick and hold it as far away as possible, so that my laugh lines won’t show in the picture.

5 Lessons I Learned from my Divorce

“I got another woman pregnant.” Those were the words uttered by my then husband to me that fractured my seemingly perfect world on July 3, 2004.

Not long after he said those words I was looking for an apartment and filing my own divorce. To say I was devastated was an understatement. Every day for weeks, perhaps even months, I woke up wishing that the moment I had heard those words was just an extremely bad dream, that I could rewind the hands of time and that those words would not, in fact, be my new reality.

My reality was that I was a brand new mom, at the time my son was a mere 7 months old, still being breastfed. I had just started my law practice, which meant I had no money and my entire world revolved around my then husband. I had been living in the United States less than 3 years and I hadn’t yet gotten my permanent green card. I was still, according to the United States Government, “a temporary resident”, and my entire life was falling apart.

I think I cried every day for about 2 weeks straight. I remember crying in the ladies’ room of the Courthouse just minutes before I was scheduled to go on the record to make oral arguments on behalf of a client. To this day I still can’t believe the remarkable outcome I got in that particular case; it was nothing short of a miracle.

It’s been 14 years since those devastating words and in retrospect, I realize that I learned a hell of a lot about myself, relationships and marriage, in general, as I went through the absolute worst phase of my life.

1. Lessons in Finance

Try looking for an apartment in New York City without a few thousand dollars stashed away somewhere. I wasn’t making a lot of money, to begin with. I had recently started my practice on May 1st of that same year and I only had a handful of clients.

However, whatever I did earn, no matter how small, some of it could have been put away for a rainy day; but in my world, at the time there was simply no need to do that since I had a husband. It’s not that I wanted or expected him to take care of me, Lord knows that was not the case, it’s just that I felt comfortable. Nowhere in my head did I ever think of opening a savings account solely in my own name and putting away even a small percentage of any retainer I had earned.

I am almost embarrassed now thinking of how financially naive I was. My broken heart and wounded pride made me want to take my newborn and get the hell out of Dodge. I wanted to leave but I had no money to leave. Talk about being stuck!

2. Lessons in Victimhood

I quickly learned that I don’t do very well with sympathy. Word of my Ex-husband’s infidelity spread very quickly among people we knew, and after word got around, I would typically be greeted with one of either two looks – either one of sympathy or the ‘Thank God I am not in her position’ look. Oh, how I hated those looks. I was always a proud, confident woman, so having people feel sorry for me was the absolute worst. Those looks served as motivation though, for me to be strong, or at the very least, try.

I remember having dinner with a friend, less than a month after my Ex’s revelation, and she was amazed that I was doing so well. The reality was that I wasn’t doing well at all. I was dying inside! Really freaking dying inside, but every day that I made myself get out of bed and get dressed for work I thought about my baby boy Blake and how much he needed me. It sounds cliché, but I felt like I needed to be strong for him. He needed a strong mother, who was about to become a single parent, to raise him, guide him and teach him life lessons, and I would be damned if I was going to let him down.

So every morning I got up, got dressed, adjusted my crown, remembered who I am, put my high heels on, kissed my baby boy goodbye and stepped out into the world with my broken heart because I was determined to fake it until I could make it.

3. Lessons in Co-parenting

To this day I am very proud of the way I left my Ex. The day had finally come when I had enough money saved to make my exit. It was a regular Tuesday morning when he left for work and as soon as he was out the door I started packing. I had organized a group of friends to help me and I had all of my and Blake’s belongings out of his apartment before he came home from work that afternoon.

I would have paid good money to see his face when he opened the front door to his condo that evening only to find that we were gone. He blew up my phone for several days after that, and I refused to answer when finally he left a voicemail message threatening to call the police on me for kidnapping his son.

Oh really?! How about you bring the National Guard too while you’re at it!

I am not ashamed to say that I was not above being petty in refusing to tell him where we had gone and not allowing him access to Blake. Yeah, it was my way of trying to hurt him; but after 8 straight days of just me and Blake I answered one of his phone calls and agreed for him to come and pick up our son. The truth is I was tired and needed a break from the baby. However, It was at that moment that I realized that I couldn’t do it alone. The reality was that Blake also needed his father, as strong a woman as I am I had the wherewithal to realize that there were things that my ex-husband could teach Blake that I couldn’t. A woman can’t teach a boy how to be a man. He needed his father for that. I had to learn to co-parent with him despite how I felt about him. The truth is that even though my Ex had been a terrible husband he was a great father to our son. I couldn’t allow my desire to be petty to jeopardize his relationship with Blake. It wasn’t worth it; because in the long run, it would only end up hurting Blake too.

4. Lessons in Letting Stuff Go!

When your entire world comes crashing down around you it is extremely difficult to convince yourself that the best way to move on is to let go of the desire to punish the person who caused your pain. It’s human nature to want to hurt the person that hurt you, its human nature to want to see them suffer but the truth is that only cripples you; at least I know it crippled me. Trust me when I tell you that there is no moving forward when you hold on to the hurt.

I had to make a concerted effort to just let the shit go. It was much easier said than done though, but I had to make myself do it. I had to tell myself that I had a choice. I could choose to feel sorry for myself, talk about the heartbreak all day everyday to anyone who would listen and spend my time plotting and planning some kind of stupid revenge on my Ex, or, I could find something to do that would occupy my time and perhaps make me a tad less emotional over the entire ordeal, if that were possible. My saving grace was my budding law practice, I buried myself in my work and my cases. I also joined the gym and found a new love for a new dance exercise that was emerging at the time called Zumba.

5. Lessons in Forgiveness

It took months, maybe even a year, for me to be able to communicate with my Ex in a decent manner, you know the one where you actually talk in a civilized tone instead of saying everything with contempt and derision. The first year following our split was an extremely tough one in which I could never have seen myself forgiving his infidelity; but as time passed and I let go off of the hurt, I was able to move on and it became easier to move towards forgiveness.

It has now been 14 years since my Ex uttered those words to me, words that I thought were completely unforgiving; but life has a way of throwing things at us that we had no idea we were built for.

My Ex’s infidelity, despite being something I could forgive years later, will never ever be something I can forget. I will never forget the way I felt at that moment when I heard those words. I will never forget the time; the date; what he was wearing (a white T-shirt and plaid boxers); what I was wearing, where we were, and even what the room smelled like at that moment. I will never forget how his actions, changed the course of my life; but I have forgiven him and that ability to forgive has allowed me to let go, move on, and set me on the path to what, in retrospect, has allowed me to live my best life and allowed me to be the very best Racquel.