I DID IT

It was quite an experience. My dealings with life insurance have been negative. A man tried to coerce me into purchasing a policy at my place of employment. When my no was not enough, he began bullying me. After I reported to my boss that I did not understand how this man got my personal information to begin with and was doing this at my job, he ceased and desisted due to her immediate actions. Since then, I steered clear of anything remotely related to the subject matter…..until now.
The information that I had to learn was overwhelming. There was a lot of it and it was so terribly foreign to my existence. However, I told myself that my two degrees prove that I know how to study. I applied myself like never before. Highlighters, notes, note cars, sticky notes in various colors all took over my multi-purpose table. An affirmation wall was created so that I could look at it whenever I began to doubt myself. Day after day, I would schedule time to take the class. I would pour over my notes. When I needed a break, Netflix would be summoned. It was not a straight shooter. Bronchitis was an obstacle but not a stop sign.
My endeavor was not announced to the world. It was a personal goal. There was no room for another voice or two in my head. Under the guidance and encouragement of my manager, I entered the test room as prepared as I was going to be. The pass signified the reward for challenging myself and having the courage to get out of my normal interests. It was celebrated and acknowledged. It felt wonderful.
This is only the first step. I get to find out what I can do with this new found knowledge. How am I going to apply it and educate others on proper choices for their final wishes? As a result of this experience, I am now able to make better decisions regarding my own policy. It is a comfort to know that I can know make a truly informed decision about what to do for myself. Such a feeling is absolutely priceless.

The Bubble: Part II

There I sat. Many people were wearing the green shirts which represented their association with the company that is hiring me. How I longed to have one of those shirts. Introductions of all of the guests were first on the agenda. It felt amazing for me to be congratulated by complete strangers. People pulled me to the side to share their heartfelt, “Hey, you did it.” Meanwhile, there are people in my personal life that I am unable to share this news with. I watched as certificates were presented to people that hit a certain mark of production. This presentation happens on a monthly basis to encourage producers and to show appreciation. I am not accustomed to such gestures. It was concluded with actual food and fellowship. People held genuine conversations without checking FB.
While eating the amazing rice, my thoughts reflected upon all of the encouragement and pointers that were shared over the last two hours. It was the perfect continuation of the early glow that I had. (Upon review of the scale, the consumption of rice or cupcakes was not in my best interest but I can eliminate such celebratory practices this weekend…)
Training begins next week after my fingerprints. I have learned so much in a short period of time and have seen the support that awaits me. I am officially an archer. My bubble that has entrapped me for so very long will be popped. It is a good feeling. How long have I known that a change was needed. There is a business card layout to discuss with a graphic designer to be discussed. I too shall dawn a green shirt.

The Bubble: Part I

The bubble has entrapped me for ten years now. The same never ending cycle of working on behalf of an agenda that is not my own. I tire of following decisions that are not in my best interest accompanied with a schedule that does not allow me bathroom time. Thirty minutes for a meal is an inhumane gesture.
While hiding my arrow to pierce the illusion that I call a daily routine, my coworker made her escape. Antoinette Brazzle threw all types of caution to the wind and resigned; not a transfer, not a leave. She quit her job as a beloved primary teacher. She would visit the school wearing a wonderful green shirt which displayed her new role as a funeral life insurance agent. My words were never hello or how are you but, “Talk.” There was a reason why she left. Her stress level dropped. Her schedule is her own. She has as long as she wants to taste her food, chew and then swallow as opposed to the nausea inducing inhalation. A smile would cross my face at the mere fact that she found a way out. She popped the bubble and did not look back. If only I could do the same.
Someone suggested following her. I thought it would be a band aid to a larger issue. Is that what I really want to do? Wear a green shirt and sell a product? No, not really. As time went on, my situation remained the same. The bubble is a suffocating place. Nightmares often perturbed my mind as well as bland coffee. A little voice started thinking of..I wonder if I could. Fear stopped me from asking questions but my curiosity remained.
She looked so happy and was really making moves with her transformation. It made me so very happy to watch.
However, the nightmares continued even while I was awake. It was time to deal with my fear and approach Antoinette. How can I work for you?
She arranged a meeting with her manager. It was a morning of sheer inspiration . I registered for the class and started the next day. Post its were purchased and matched to the corresponding highlighters. My printer continued to produce notes for me to study and analyze. My voice would be heard asking questions, while writing down key words on note cards. The information was foreign and often overwhelming. It was not long before I realized that in retrospect, I could have applied myself more in school. This was a true throwback to my days of pure academia. However, the class kept emphasizing progress. I learned so much and felt robbed because it was not included in my collegiate studies; not my undergrad, not my graduate.
The day of the test found me in a bit of a mode. What was going to happen here? When would the results be ready? Am I as prepared as I could be? I prayed. I thought about supportive people. Antoinette called me the morning of to wish me well; it made me feel so very incredible. The results were ready as soon as I completed the exam. The word pass appeared to the left of the paper. An inner glow began to spread. This signaled the opening of a whole new world. My arrow is no longer in hiding. The bubble is going to be pierced.

Antoinette Brazzle
Funeral Life Insurance Agent
E: antoinettebrazzle@gmail.com

Yoga: The Study of Energy

Lately, I have been crying hours after yoga has ended. It is a normal occurrence which intrigues me. Having experienced a wide range of side effects due to such a practice, this one intrigued me. The frequency of it alerted me to a deeper process that was perhaps taking place within me. A serious healing was taking place and gently coming to the surface. A healer described it to me as energy pathways being opened up as blockages were being removed hence the emotional cleansing. The clarity of thought and conclusions being drawn have been immense. The interesting thing is that these thoughts happened during my self practice which I have never done before.
In an effort to gently introduce my body to the day, I started doing a few yoga poses upon waking. My eyes would well with tears and different sensations in my body would happen. Understanding my own body and what was taking place was tremendous. The changes were not hidden to me. The opening of what I did not even know was closed was apparent and all of this took place without pain. Naturally, some discomfort was present but this is when you are pushed out of that zone.
My instructor would always encourage me to dig just a little deeper during class which is something that I would avoid. I thought it was enough for me to simply show up and attempt to go through with the movements. However, on my own, her words rang in my ears as I felt myself able to hold the pose a little longer. This is a far cry from the person that thought yoga was boring over a decade ago.
It is a Sunday morning, and my body is sore and open. There is a palpable diagonal line that connects me to the Earth. The soreness is not overwhelming but strong enough to make me remain in reflection mode. My renewed curiosity about crystals makes sense now. Energy is something that must constantly be studied in its various vehicles, with my own body taking priority. It is a journey of questions and discoveries. It is a journey that I intend to pursue with a new intention and an expanded mind. My world has been alerted.

My Heart Says No

I want more. The boss laid it on the line. It was not a threat. It is more of a push for my department to get more people involved. My heart sank and burned to ashes. The wind came and blew them away. After discussing the predicament with my coworker, she responded that she wanted to retire. My response was that I need to resign. My heart is not in the game anymore and has not been for a very long time.
These days, my interests lay in inspiring women. It has always been there since the very day this blog started. As my life lays before me with hard decisions and cold coffee, the matter of my day to day living still looms on the horizon. How the hell can I support myself all of the time with health insurance on my own? It has been difficult with a regular 9-5, but I have paid a heavy price for the convenience.
This is not the decade where college was yesterday and Starbucks was life. My forties have brought up new questions that have to have answers sooner than later. My life has gone through many a transformation over the last few decades. What is it going to take to make me feel as if I am living my purpose?

Hope Through the Tears

I read through my old journals last night and saw how my life formed itself to the present moment. One page stuck out in my mind, and I decided to make it public via my blog:

Sunday, July 13, 2014@6:45pm
Sometimes, the emotional pain is so deep, the only thing that you can do is cry. The tears help to relieve the pain that is invisible to the naked eye but quite recognizable to the heart.
While you may envision yourself healing, the daily journey will face obstacles. You have to face it by engaging yourself in activities that help you to connect with yourself.
One day, I will be whole again. Until then, the only thing that I have is hope. This song expresses my vision of a happy day when my smile radiates through my entire being.

Present Day
I do not remember what actually happened to the song but this entry shows my mind set shortly after my father left this life. It was apparent to me that a process was taking place, and time would have to pass before I felt like myself again. As of 5/30/16, smiles cross my face all the time. A cup of coffee is currently the cause.

Lover of Poetry

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The first time I ever saw Spoken Word Poetry was on HBO in 2000. The center stage was taken by the Punany Poet herself, Jessica Holter. After seeing and performing in a few shows open mics in Miai, I felt myself rather at home as a captive audience member in the local poetry community. After my friend and well known poet Will Bell was murdered, I vanished from all poetic activity. There was no interest or desire to even lurk in a dark corner to remain captivated by a story as it unfolded in a secy atmosphere surrounded by complete strangers. This year seems to be my poetic re-entry time. Between Thou Art Woman and Girl Talk, poetry has surrounded me once again. Let us not forget how I met the delightful Crystal Chanel the MOC at ArtServe. Poetry was presented there as well and now it seems as if there is a limerick waiting for me every week. Familiar faces now appear at my new haunts. Another favorite of mine, Red Writing Hood has become a regular at my family functions. It is wonderful to see different poets and experience different literary flavors. Some words tickle while others strike a chord. I am happy to say that everything has come full circle and it was wonderful to be back where it all started….admiring my favorite poet, Jessica Holter.

Vieiwing

The seats in the back of the room were perfect for me. The big cushions would allow me to sink and simply hide. I signed the guest book and wanted to simply exist for a few minutes. I did not see my new friend but still wanted to be supportive. There I sat listening to the old fashioned hymns that were being piped into the room. Her mother had passed the week before, and I wanted to attend the viewing. Here it is the morning after and all I can think about is how she must feel. I think there is more to it than that.
My mother is my remaining parent in this lifetime. Once Daddy passed away, I realized that one day my mother would join him. That is a thought that causes a pause in me. The two people that created me would one day be amongst the very spirits that communicate with me now. The transition is easy to type but harder to live. You do not simply get over the passing of your father. You do not simply get over the death of your mother. You learn how to handle your grief and continue living your life.
My presence at the viewing was not long. The sight of the grandmother dressed in pink knitting outside was my cue to get to my next engagement; she was not visible to the naked eye. Here it is the morning after and all I can think about is my friend. Tomorrow is not promised to us. We must be thankful for each moment that we have in this lifetime and celebrate it by truly living.

Tomato Sauce is the Anti-Publix

A friend invited me over and showed me a food documentary. I already knew that soda was poison and do not consume it. What I did not know was the alarming amount of sugar that sits in tomato sauce is absolutely ridiculous. After dropping $100.00 in Publix last night, and not having a pleasure once again, my foot came crashing down on the ground. This morning, Publix refunded me $50.00 for the merchandise that I returned. $30.00 went towards my oil change, and I figured that the rest would be complimented by my debit card while shopping at the Farmer’s Market. Imagine my shock when the debit card was not necessary.
Upon entering, the place smelled like Whole Foods. It is a welcoming smell that I am unable to describe. My feet carried be down new aisles as my eyes became acquainted to my new surroundings. After a couple of laps, it was safe to bag some veggies and fruits. The store was small and there were not a lot of policies. The cashier was only aware of a two rules. She told me that meat could be purchased across the street at Aldi.
You have to pay for bags and the use of a cart. However, there was enough cash for me to cover my food and still have change. WHAT?! While my tomato sauce did not come out the way that I thought it would, the new taste of actual hot tomato sauce was a new experience for me. Is my tongue a virgin to tomato sauce without gallons of sugar? Apparently, it was. Instead of drinking fruit juice from Ocean Spray, I juiced the cheap oranges & grapefruits. It tasted fresh and had texture. My goodness, what has been going on all of this time? Convenience? From what, a busy schedule that does not actually encourage a life>
Something this simple deepens my questioning process. Why are we in a rush? What the hell is so damn important where we can not cook a meal from scratch? If the convenience equates to high medical bills, aren’t we defeating the purpose to begin with? This has been a most enlightening experience.

Bellydance Does A Complete Hip Circle: The Conspiracy of the Universe

IMG_1021 It was 2010 when I hung up my hip scarf. My last hafla performance was in Orlando in a lovely red dress that shimmered from head to toe. Days before, I graced the stage at a holistic conference in Miami Shores. I sat behind a desk in shock at the amount of money I made in 20minutes vs. my regular job. My class at the shelter was given to another instructor. I walked away from it all. The costumes, shimmying, shows, haflas….all of it. It was over for me. The better part of my costumes were sold with the exception of two. My life went in other directions. It was fine. That was five years ago.
Lately, my radio has played the music of the Middle East. My English cousin arrived for a visit, and I planned a dinner in her honor at a Mediterranean restaurant that I used to frequent. The house dancer got me up to perform with her. My scarf, which was bought in Egypt, was wrapped around my waist. That was all she wrote.
Days before my shimmy, an event planner called. Crystal, that bride is having her anniversary party, and it is a Moroccan theme. Can you send me estimates for a bellydance performance? In the blink of an eye, the world that I left so long ago came knocking at my door. The same English cousin wrapped a present for me prior to arriving in America. When I opened it, finger cymbals & a book fell out. It was about bellydance.
When the universe conspires to take you down a path, if you are aware of the signs, you follow it. In this case, there is a gentle push for me to reconnect with something that brought me a great deal of happiness for a long time. I wonder what it will be like now that I am older. Will I perform again? Has my dance identity changed? What about classes, will I teach? A lot of new questions now lay on my plate.