BLOGGING FEARS

ballpen-blank-desk-6065416570611003309879240.jpg

Photos courtesy of Pexels

Earlier this year, I came across an article, a letter that had been penned by a young woman named Holly Butcher, who was dying of Cancer, she was only 27 years old. As I read what she wrote from her deathbed I was brought to tears by her message. This young lady obviously didn’t want to die, she hadn’t done all the things she wanted to do, she thought she had all the time in the World to pursue her goals and dreams, like most of us do, yet her time here on Earth was unexpectedly cut short.

We always think we have time, so much time, but who knows how much time any of us really have left.

At the time, when I came across Holly’s article, I had been toying with the idea of writing a weekly Blog. The more I thought about it the more I wanted to do it but I was afraid. I had so many fears about all kinds of things, some of which were justified; while others were downright silly and completely unwarranted; but then I thought about this dying girl and how she will never have the opportunity of doing anything she wanted to do ever again so I decided to do what one of my favorite quotes postulates – “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Fear of Oversharing

In this day and age, where everyone shares everything on social media; even the dark and very personal, I sometimes feel old school in thinking that not everyone needs to know everything about me. I am not fiercely private (not like my husband) but I don’t broadcast everything either.

One of the things I discovered in my research about blog writing is that as a blogger one has to have a niche, something to blog about that you’re actually good at and can give expert advice on. So we have our beauty bloggers, our fitness and health bloggers, our fashion bloggers, travel bloggers, lifestyle bloggers; a plethora of blogs are out there with something for everyone.

However, the only thing I consider myself an expert in is my work and myself. I thought damn I have some really interesting cases but I can never write about them for fear (there’s that word again) of trampling on the attorney/client confidentiality clause. So I was left with my only other area of expertise, which meant writing about myself, my life, my very own experiences and that’s where my fear of oversharing came into play.

One should always be authentic with one’s writing; but where does one draw the line between authenticity and telling too much? Let’s face it, some of my stories, despite being heartfelt, are downright embarrassing, for example, this one 5 Lessons I Learned from my Divorce. However, if a writer desires to remain authentic then he or she must speak (write) openly and honestly about all experiences despite the fear of the embarrassing overshare.

Fear of Being Trolled/Stalked

I once had a stalker. I said “once” because I sincerely hope that he is in the past. Believe it or not, this stalker came from my work website. He was never a client nor a potential client but he must have liked how I looked in my pictures or whatever it was that I had to say on my work website because he proceeded to send me weekly emails and leave daily (sometimes several) voice messages on my work phone. This freaked me out!!!

It started in May 2015. At first he would send one email weekly, then it grew into a few emails per week overtime it became a few emails per day. I never once wrote back because based on his emails the guy was a loony. So after months of unanswered emails, he started calling my work phone. I immediately blocked his number, but he still got my voicemail whenever he called so it gave him the opportunity to leave a message and he oftentimes did. He was unintelligible and rambled on and on about nothing or some old cases or problems that he had. He always left his phone number and asked me to call back. I never did. After a while, he must have realized his phone number was blocked because he then went back to his non-sensical emails.

He would take a break from the emailing and phone calls for a month or two then he would suddenly reappear, and start his incessant emailing and calling again. It was nervewracking.

The sporadic email stalking went on for 2 years, which was way too long; before I finally called my web-designer and told him about it. I had no idea my web guy could go in and see where the messages were coming from and block any future messages from coming through to my website email from him. When stalker guy realized he couldn’t email me anymore then he went back to calling. He even left a message alerting me to the fact that something was wrong with my website because he could no longer send me any emails. I kid you not!!!

Anyone remembers how John Lennon got died? He was killed by a crazy stalker who flew all the way from his home in Hawaii and waited outside John Lennon’s apartment building in New York City and shot the Beatles group member to death as he entered the building. The murderer, since then, has done a few interviews from his prison cell, where he gave no real reason for committing the murder more than he was influenced by the book, The Cather in the Rye.

During those 2 years of weird emails and voicemail messages from stalker guy, John Lennon’s story was prevalent in my thoughts. Obviously, I don’t have John Lennon’s fame and harming me will not bring anyone any kind of notoriety but people are certifiable crazy and you never know who is who.

The only thing that made me feel somewhat safe is my husband’s reassurance that he “wouldn’t let anything happen to me” (yeah, I know; but I believed him) and that based on the guy’s voicemail messages and emails he was “probably harmless” but I live in a world of ‘you never know’ so putting myself out there in the form of blogging is a major deal for me because ya know; you never know.

Fear of Not Being Read

Let’s face it, every writer wants to be read. What’s the point of writing if your words aren’t read by others. Unless, of course, the writer writes for therapeutic purposes only; but once the writer hits “publish” he/she wants his writing read.

Most writers want to know that their writing doesn’t suck, or at least I do. We all want to captivate our audience. I won’t speak for all Bloggers, but as for me, I want every word of my piece to be read, from beginning to end; the views are not enough, I want people to actually read what I write; and appreciation of my written words validate me and makes me want to continue to tell my stories.

The fear of not being read at all almost prevented me from ever starting my blog. What if no one cared to read what I had to say? What if people thought I had nothing interesting to say? What if I said it in such a way that I wasn’t able to excite curiosity or attention? What if I couldn’t evoke emotions from my readers? What if I really couldn’t write as well as I thought I could?

All of these fears almost crippled my attempts to start a Blog and almost prevented me from putting myself out there. The truth is, writing has always been my first love, above the practice of law and anything else I have ever attempted, writing is and will always be my first love. I have been writing since I was in high school, and even though I had stopped for a while because the responsibilities of life took over and I pursued other goals, I had never given up on my first true love.

I am sorry that Holly Butcher died but I am glad that the letter she wrote from her deathbed gave me enough inspiration to feel the fear and to do it anyway; to sit down at my laptop, punch those keys and gave me enough guts to hit “publish” afterward.

Thank you, Holly!

business-computer-contemporary-6699965551276221751287294.jpg

Birthday Shenanigans

It was a stabbing pain to the left side of my forehead, my temple throbbed, as I opened my eyes and blinked and tried to focus on my husband, who was standing at the side of our bed with a tray in his hand.

“Wake up…It’s your birthday breakfast, Sweetie.” He said as he smiled and handed me the tray with the plate of bacon and eggs. “It’s your favorite.”

The left side of my head was throbbing unmercilessly. “My head hurts…Noooooo…Not today…Babe…Motrin, now, please.” I rubbed the left side of my forehead as I sat up in bed.

I couldn’t figure out why today of all days, on my birthday, I woke up with a headache. I was not amused as I looked up at the ceiling and issued a warning to the imaginary Gods of the Universe. “Today is my day and you’re not going to screw with it. I will enjoy MY day!”

Damn, I’m Determined

My husband suggested that it might be the “wine from last night” that was causing my headache. My thoughts went back to the night before; we certainly started the birthday celebrations off with a bang. Greg, my husband, took me to see the Donna Summer Musical on Broadway, which was excellent. I was singing and dancing with the rest of the audience, especially with the gay couple who sat directly in front of us and who were having the time of their lives. By the end of the night, one half of the gay couple and I found ourselves in the aisle of the Lunt-Fontanne Theater dancing up a storm to Hot Stuff and Last Dance. Oh, what a fun time it was!

After we left the show we walked the 6 blocks to Gallagher’s Steakhouse, me in my high heels strutting my stuff pretending not to feel the start of the inevitable high heel ache that comes on after a few hours of wearing stilettos. Oh, how I miss my youth! I used to be able to rock those babies all night long; but not anymore. I made a mental note to slip into my sandals as soon as we sat down in the restaurant, but for now, the birthday girl in her birthday outfit needed to keep moving along gracefully in those 5-inch heels. Yes, people, I walked 6 NYC blocks in 5-inch heels! My Mom always said, “Beauty feels no pain.” Someone should have added to that saying “until the next day.”

20181010_2149276863267778798951002.jpg

The high heel wearing ache was nothing compared to the migraine that was trying to force me to spend my birthday in bed. I wasn’t having it though, I swallowed some Motrin and hopped out of bed and started getting ready for the gym. Greg thought I was crazy. I tried explaining that for the past decade I have been going to the gym on my birthday every year and I wasn’t about to break the tradition. Besides, my gym gave away a free protein shake to everyone on their birthday. I had waited 365 days for my free shake and I was going to get it.

Greg looked at me like I was insane!

“It’s my birthday, Babe. I have to go to the gym. How else am I gonna see my gym buddies so I can get my well-wishes and birthday hugs? Greg just stared at me in disbelief and walked out of the room. He was clearly fighting a losing battle trying to convince me to stay in bed until the headache subsided.

So I donned my birthday button and left for the gym. πŸ˜ƒ

20181010_2217057112159945087077396.jpg

I have been wearing my button every year for longer than I can remember. It’s so much easier than telling everyone I run into that “today is my birthday.”

By the time I arrived at the gym, the Motrin was taking effect and I was feeling good.

At the start of the Aerobics Step class, the instructor had the class sing “Happy Birthday” to me. I loooooved it!!! It was a scene right out of grade school, the only thing missing were the cupcakes. I couldn’t be happier. The day was headed in the right direction.

As I walked out of the gym sipping on my free protein shake I noticed the morning clouds had cleared, the sky was a gorgeous blue and the temperature was a lovely 75 degrees. Afternoon showers had been predicted but the Universe knew it was my birthday and gave me the best day weather-wise.

20181010_2001248763355847687699457.jpg

The Crash!

Greg and I had planned lunch and the movies – since going to the movies is one of my favorite pastimes, what better way to spend the afternoon. (Check out my blog piece on the movies here Let’s Go to the Movies!)

As we sat having lunch at the restaurant across the street from the Cinema, I felt the migraine coming back. Truth be told I felt the headache trying to make a comeback while I was getting ready to go out to lunch, but I refused to stay indoors, I refused to take more painkillers and go back to bed. I was fighting the good fight, I wanted to be out and about on my birthday. I tried helplessly to ignore the throbbing pain on the left side of my temple. Then it happened – A cough followed by a sneeze and that’s when I knew I had no more fight left in me.

“Take me home,” I whispered to my husband.

The poor man look worried. He could not believe his ears. No, I did not want to go to the movies anymore. No, I did not want the “birthday” chocolate mousse dessert I was offered by our nice waitress. Yes, I was sure I wanted to go home. Then I sneezed again and I almost cried. I was getting sick…On my goddamn birthday!!!! What kind of cruel joke was this?

I had dinner plans that night with my best friends, another birthday tradition. I couldn’t afford to be sick. When I arrived home I got under the covers swallowed some flu medication and dozed off to Kavanaugh’s voice vehemently denying the allegations levied against him. Yes, my birthday was the most historical day of the Senate Judiciary Hearings.

Never underestimate the power of a nap! I woke up a whole new woman, got dressed and headed out to meet my girls for my birthday dinner. It was a fun evening of great conversation and loads of laugh but I dare not touch a drop of alcohol because I could feel the migraine waiting in the wings to make a nasty comeback.

20181010_2337248330185055492102867.jpg

The Birthday Party

I am sure it doesn’t come as a surprise that I have a birthday party every year. This year the party was planned for the Saturday night, 2 days after my birthday.

The day after my birthday, that is the eve of my birthday party, I spent most of the day in bed. I was miserable. The day should have been spent delightfully running around doing last minute prepping for my party, which thankfully was a small party, a very intimate affair, this year; but instead, the flu-like symptoms came on full force and I spent the day in bed cursing at the untimely onset of my illness and trying to decide whether or not I should cancel my party.

I was sneezing and coughing and headachy for most of Friday but woke up on Saturday morning, the day of the party, feeling like I could conquer the World (thank you God for Tylenol Flu and Cold tablets). The party was on, and when Greg came home with my birthday cake the party vibe hit me even more.

I spent the better part of Saturday busying myself with party preparations, I thoroughly enjoy doing stuff like that, and was content with hanging balloons and strategically moving around stuff in my house to facilitate my guests until the endless coughing and sneezing came back just 4 hours before my party was supposed to begin. I was livid! What made it worse was every time I coughed or sneezed, the cough or sneeze triggered a ruthless headache that lasted at least 10 minutes.

I even tried to bargain with God, I promised him that if he would keep me in good spirits for the rest of the evening he could make me bed-ridden all of next week. God wasn’t having it though and at 3:30 I had to crawl back into bed even though the party was scheduled to start at 7 pm.

Again, never underestimate the power of a nap. I still wasn’t a hundred percent when I woke up but I took a look at my cake and my dress (one must draw inspiration from wherever one canπŸ˜‰), turned on some Donna Summer music while I was getting ready and willed myself to feel better; and oh yeah took some more of that magical Tylenol Cold and Flu tablets.

20181010_1945081792653899567795768.jpg

20181010_1954205060734433769401511.jpg

In the end, the party turned out to be a success, I remained “fierce and fabulous” in true Racquel form for the entire night. However, this birthday taught me that I can’t do it like I used to, now I need to take naps in between in order to keep going. πŸ˜ƒ After all, I am a year older; but I won’t give up though, I will never settle into being old, I will never readily concede. I am never ever going down without a fight.

20181011_0041371319515725068413500.jpg

One love, Racquel!!!!

Birthday Alert!

Today is my favorite day of the year because today is all about me. Today I get to be unapologetically selfish since today is my birthday.

I love birthdays because it’s a time of celebration and reflection. It’s an excuse to celebrate yourself and to examine strides you have made, no matter how small, and to plan goals for your next 365-day orbit around the sun.

One of the things I like to do on my birthday (or during the week of my birthday; since the actual birthday itself is always chockful of activities) is to write down all the things I am grateful for that occurred during the past year followed by another list with a few goals I would like to achieve during the upcoming year. Doing this gives my life intention and even though things may not go exactly as I planned all the time it does give me some purpose and a lot to look forward to.

My husband loves my enthusiasm surrounding birthdays and has confessed that his birthdays have gotten so much better since he’s known me.😊 I not only make a big deal about my own birthday, but I also make a big deal about everyone else’s. I use to wake up my son with a dozen or more balloons every year on his birthday (while singing him “Happy Birthday” in my tone-deaf off-key voice) simply because when he was little he loved balloons.

I cannot emphasize how special it is to experience a healthy, stress-free birthday. Life should be celebrated. Always! We get so busy with our everyday existence and obligations that we run the risk of not celebrating ourselves. The least we can do is to take a day – at least one day – where we indulge ourselves with our whims and fancies; and what better day to do it than on your birthday. You are so worth it!

To each his own, but as long as I live I will never understand those who tell me that their birthday “is no big deal, it’s just another day.” Yes, of course, it’s another day but it’s your day a day that should be acknowledged, recognized or celebrated even if in the smallest manner.

My celebrations started last night with the Donna Summer Musical on Broadway followed by a nice dinner with my Love. The birthday is off to a great start, and I am truly excited to continue celebrating, not only today but also the remainder of the week. Happy Birthday to Me!!!!! πŸŽ‚πŸŽ‰πŸŽ

20180927_0357311665890965019759847.jpg

Remembering Jason

20180923_1751476366720589404439011.jpg

September is a bittersweet month for me. Living in New York I love the change of the seasons that September brings, transitioning from hot and sticky to nice and cool, but not cold, is always a pleasure. September is also my birth month so it gives me an excuse to celebrate my life. However, as I celebrate my own life my mind also goes to my baby brother, Jason, who died unexpectedly on September 10, 2012, just a month shy of his 29th birthday.

When my cell phone rang at 1 o clock that afternoon and I saw my Mom’s number on my phone screen I got an inexplicable eerie feeling. I had just talked to both my parents, who lived in Jamaica, earlier that morning so why was my Mom calling again?

I answered my phone, I recognized my Aunt’s voice. My Mom’s phone but not my Mom on the other end of the line, the eerie feeling grew and I pulled over, something told me I shouldn’t keep driving.

“Jason is dead.”

“What?” I was certain I hadn’t heard properly.

“Racquel, I’m so sorry! Your Mom just came home and found Jason dead.”

“What’d you mean by dead?” Suddenly, I didn’t know what the word meant and I was sure my Aunt didn’t know what she was talking about. “Let me talk to Mommy please.” I refused to believe what I was hearing.” I started shouting. “Where is Mommy? Lemme talk to my mother!”

My mother came to the phone and she was belligerent with grief. I couldn’t understand much of what she was saying because what she was doing wasn’t even crying, she was howling. Howling in pain and disbelief.

What I do remember is that I hung up the phone and immediately called my father, who had just heard the news and was racing home from work. He instructed me to call my other brother, who lived on the other side of the World, and I did.

I drove straight to my son’s school, Blake was in the 4th grade at the time, I signed him out of school and while we drove home I was sighing so much, he kept asking me what was wrong but I had no idea how to tell him. Blake had only just gotten back from Jamaica the week before, where he used to spend all his Summers; and he was extremely close to his Uncle Jason.

In the days that followed; the autopsy report revealed that Jason was born with a heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which led to his sudden death. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy otherwise known as Cardiomegaly is a condition where one has an enlarged heart. Apparently, Jason was born with this genetic condition so as he got older, his heart grew and grew and grew and kept growing to the point where his heart got too big; so big that the heart could no longer work effectively or efficiently and one day it just stopped. Jason’s death was just as simple and uncomplicated as that. A simple death for a simple, uncomplicated life.

None of us knew that Jason had this heart condition because he was never sick. For the entire 28 years that he lived, he was physically healthy. My Mom does recall that in the weeks leading up to his sudden death he had complained a few times about being extremely tired. She would suggest that he get some more rest, that perhaps he was doing too much. Maybe he needed a vacation, some rest and relaxation; but his complaints were never serious enough to warrant a visit to the doctor.

The fact that Jason died of an enlarged heart is ironic because he really did have a big heart. He was one of the kindest, most compassionate people I knew. During his short life he gave and gave; of his time, his possessions, his love, his money; just about everything. Have you ever heard the saying “kind to a fault”? That was Jason! So incredibly kind and always doing for others without any expectation of anything in return and it was no big deal for him to inconvenience himself to make others comfortable. He was as affectionate as he was compassionate and I am not ashamed to say that of my mother’s 3 children he was the most loving.

This year on the Anniversary of Jason’s death I lit a candle in his honor, it’s not something I had ever done before, and I am not even sure why I did it but it’s just something I felt like doing. I lit the candle and what I did afterward was weird, at least for me it was – I spoke to him. Yes, I spoke to Jason as if he was seated right next to me. I was alone at home at the time and I thought to myself what if I heard a voice answer back. What would I do? Then I thought to myself I wouldn’t even be scared because Jason was so harmless in life he would certainly be harmless in death. Then I thought to myself why are we so afraid of the dead?

Jason didn’t respond as I spoke to him, not that I expected him to. Also, there were no signs that he heard me; the curtains didn’t mysteriously blow through a windless window, no chairs moved, or a radio or TV didn’t suddenly turn on by itself but I got a sense of inexplicable peace, almost as if he heard me. Yeah, weird…I know!

I don’t know what happens to people when they die, and I have no theory or beliefs on the subject but the sense of peace I felt from having a one-way conversation with my dead brother was one I have never really felt before and his memory have not left me for weeks thereafter.

I find myself thinking about him endlessly, thinking about the fact that he loved music and he used to blast Linkin Park all the time. One of his weekly rituals was to head out to a music store and pick up CDs. It was his thing, he wasn’t much of a singer and I’ve never seen him dance but he still loved his music.

He was also into astrology and had an unbelievable knack of remembering everyone’s birthday – everyone’s. You only needed to tell him your birthday once and he’d never ever forget it. He enjoyed analyzing someone’s personality based on their zodiac sign. It was just something he got a kick out of. When he passed away I couldn’t believe how many books I found on astrology as I cleaned out his bedroom.

Jason also enjoyed having conversations with people who were much older than him, he would sit and talk to my grandmother for hours. He visited with her regularly and she loved it. The young usually don’t have much patience for the elderly but Jason sure did.

It’s hard to believe that it has been 6 years since I last heard his voice, 6 years since he left us so unexpectedly. It’s so hard to come to terms with the fact that your own life actually moves on even when someone you love doesn’t exist anymore. It makes you wonder where they are and what exactly is going on with them? Sometimes memories of him come to me out of the blue and I smile.

Jason was a good kid. My only regret is that being 10 years older than he was, I didn’t spend as much time with him in his teenage years, as I would have liked to, I was out of the house and away at College when he was experiencing those awkward teenage years. When I was around I did try to be a good big sister though, and I only hope that in his last moments, as his entire life flashed before his eyes, he remembers me as such.

20180923_1752297453836334776070820.jpg

Jason: October 7, 1983 – September 10, 2012

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). 😊

20180914_0005306947821386808068360.jpg

Let’s Go to the Movies!

architecture-building-business-4364138245701128752915538.jpg

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! πŸ˜ƒ

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. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ 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

20180907_2119406000353450149319302.jpg

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

20180907_2126003768510606067011140.jpg

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

screenshot_20180907-212742_google2739100314007287059.jpg

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.πŸ˜‰ I wanna be Rachel, just for a day. Ha!

Juliet, Naked

20180907_2336176175070366565385525.jpg

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

screenshot_20180907-213212_google155840531079773230.jpg

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. πŸ˜‰

So how was your week?

architecture-building-business-4364139078639223667633770.jpg

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 protegΓ© 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.