105th Street

Good morning!! Waking up to the sounds of chirping birds….and kids yelling, sirens, car horns, school security yelling “let’s go, let’s go”, car doors slamming….did I mention, birds chirping? I think I hear them….or maybe it’s pigeons? Do they chirp? I know they shit…. lmao

As I stare outside what use to be my childhood home window, I am quickly reminded of my youth. My elementary school, my friends (many of whom I still have a relationship with nearly 30+ years later); my teachers; Ms. Tilson (who sent me to the principals office for sticking my middle finger out at her…lmao – still remember seeing my mother walk up the block to get me), Ms. Rivera (the sweetest and most caring 1st grade teacher ever), Ms. Balmaseda (who often used a ruler to smack your hands when you mis behaved – my friend Ernie always got his), Ms. Velasquez (I remember spending the night at her home with her kids; she was so amazing. This was her way of getting inner city kids out and exposed to other areas of the city – she lived in Brooklyn..lol), Ms. Phillips (toughest teacher yet – no words for her, just tough), Ms. Figueroa (2x)….flawless! Funny how I remember all my teachers but can’t remember to finish my taxes!

The park – while it’s had it shares of makeovers to cover up graffiti stained walls & steel swings & slides (I received about 4 stitches in my forehead because of those damn swings), I can’t help to remember the 105th Street Jams. A close family friend would gather up his equipment and with the help of the street lamp post & an extension cord, he’d plug his equipment in. “Let the music play”…..and the break dancing & battles begin! Those were the days! My 1st exposure and new found love of House Music and R&B!

Then there’s Grosvenor Neighborhood House! This is where my love for sewing began. I learned to make dresses, skirts, and to organize fashion shows. I took dance classes with the amazing Denise – i remember her saying: point & flex! I took photography classes with Chuck who quickly gave me the nickname “cheeks”! There was so much to be learned and I embraced it all!

People often ask, would you change anything in your past! My answer is always NO! I truly feel that your past, your upbringing, your experiences, the people you meet along the way – all of it shapes and mold who you are today; and I am a pretty amazing woman if I should say so myself! Why the hell would I want to change that?

#NYC #105Street #mamadukeshouse #myelementaryschoolisrightacrossthestreet #pigeons #memories #childhood #fun

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Scale of Justice – finding balance

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It’s been some time since I’ve written. Life has been super busy! From the daily happenings of a new job, to the daily happenings of life outside and inside of home – it’s been a constant juggling act. As I lay in my bed staring outside my window I realize that life is really about balancing it all, and how well you balance it can mean the difference between feeling stressed, consumed and unsure, to feeling at peace, relaxed & balanced (for lack of a better word).

Much like a “scale for justice”, there are days and moments when certain priorities outweigh others; sometimes there isn’t enough room to add more on the scale – causing it to trip.

But for me, and many others – the goal is often about balancing rather than trying to decide which is more important!

Life the past couple of months have been testy to say the least. My children have challenged me in ways that I often don’t understand but yet I “get”. It’s forced me to take a deeper look into my parenting skills/decisions; in some cases required me to raise my tolerance level, and in some form & fashion – forced me to take a step back and say “I can’t fix or change everything”! I’ve done my best, and some things are just meant to happen – for it provides experiences that shape our thinking, values, and decision making process! It even provides for a clearer definition of “accountability”!

My job has challenged me to think creatively & strategically! To realize and understand my pep peeves; to raise my tolerance level, and to help me to understand my own strengths and weaknesses! It’s given me a new found appreciation of what it means to manage, lead, empower and change. I realize that my skin is a lot thicker, and I am a lot smarter than what I give myself credit for!

Balancing it all is truly an art form. Takes time, practice, resiliency, endurance and even then, there is no perfection! Something will always come up that will make the scale shift! In a perfect world we’d like that scale of justice to stay equal on both sides…. But truth be told – we live in an imperfect world!

Wishing you all inner peace & continued balance ~

L>

To Love All

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I’ve realized that some people do and say things just to be accepted.

They need to tell the world that they are okay, that they love life, that they love you, that they love community, that they love it all – love is the answer!!

For some, this is actually true – kudos to you! These are the people whose actions speak louder than words!

But for many others, however, they are not okay with “self/love”, and this is the scary part because the only disservice they are doing, is a disservice to “self”. Saying and acting otherwise, really fools no one but yourself.

In fact, it can be perceived by others as fake, untruth, not genuine, not a real friend – a story teller.

It’s totally okay to say that you’re not good, you’re not feeling well, and while you want the best for others (love all), that perhaps you’re not in the right place.

This is not about telling the world that life is not perfect, that perhaps there are some things in your life that are not working the way you want them to be, or that perhaps your heart and your life isn’t as fulfilled as you let the world know it to be, but rather being true to you.

Like I’ve stated in other posts, other writings, and in conversations that I have had with some; before we can preach love, act love, live love, we need to “self” love!

I created this blog for many reasons, those reasons are in my bio – those reasons are explicitly stated in the dozen or so writings I’ve shared. But as life continues, and lessons are learned, I continue to grow and experience some real hard lessons – life.

I don’t mask with “love all” but rather challenge you, empower you, challenge the mind with thought, remind you all to be strong, to fight those inner thoughts that can often cloud your judgement, and finally, to love yourself first!

Don’t confuse the word “love” with “self-infatuation”! But more “love” in lenses of reflection, actions, behavior, problem solving…

#lovingmefirst

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Self-Love

Self-love sometimes requires a good-back-flip-kick-in-your-own-ASS!

Now, we all know we are often our worse critic! We look in the mirror and find every flaw. Something goes wrong and we blame ourselves (after we finish blaming others of course..lol). Perfectly natural to do these things; but we’re often told “we mustn’t be so hard on ourselves because we are perfect, or we tried our best”!

Blah blah blah…sometimes, we need to look in the mirror and say “shame on you, you dropped the ball, you f’ing messed up….”!

We need to read the words in the pictured quote below, own up & realize that we are not perfect, give yourself a hug and keep it moving! Moving after you’ve kicked your own ass of course (I dare you!). Because folks, sometimes with self-love, comes self-destruction! We are our worst enemy!

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Now that you’ve attempted to kick your own ass (by the way, how did it work out? Did you fall on your ass? That works too!) I want you to repeat this mantra over and over again (before you go to bed). Let’s imbed the words it speaks, let’s feel it, let’s own it, let’s believe it!

Peace, love & soul my peeps!

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2014: Mind, Body & Spirit

Yes! Only you can take care of your mind, body & spirit (soul). Those you let into your inner circle are suppose to nourish it & never bruise it!

As you begin to finalize your goals for the new year, I encourage you to make room on your list of ways to put yourself first!

These acts of selfishness are totally necessary. It’s the only way you can assure that you are balanced!

As I reflect on this past year, I realize how blessed I am to have an amazing family, an uber-amazing life partner, and a circle of friends that have aided in my growth as a woman!

There have been lapses in judgement, and I’ve let people in who have done a disservice to my soul; nonetheless, as I look ahead to 2014, I know that these things were suppose to happen. I realize that things happen for a reason, but that ultimately, I am the one in control of my mind, body & spirit!

I will only allow in those who fuel my fire, not throw water at it! I will only allow in those that feed my brain with nutrients that add to my growth as a woman. I will only allow in those that make me happy! I will follow my gut (my soul, my spirit if you will) – for it will never steer me in the wrong direction!

I will owe no one an explanation for my decisions – because my decisions are what’s right for me & my soul. I will stay true to my core, to my values, to my true friends, to my family, to my career!

I will continue to love me first, for you can never truly love others if you don’t love you first!

#lovingmefirst

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Day #7 Reflection – “what & who were you most proud of in 2013?” My Hubby!!

While the quickest response would be “me” ….lol (cuz I am proud of my triumph), as I lay here in my bed and look over, I realize that I am most proud of my hubby!

My hubby, this past year, has surpassed all my expectations of what a real man, father, husband and friend can be. His personal growth has been mesmerizing, and his happiness has been contagious!

He’s become an effective communicator, and a great listener! He gives amazing, practical advise. He loves unselfishly & gives of himself to not only his family, but to his work. He is both a leader and a manager, and not many can be or do both. Fact is that I have learned so much from him this past year.

So who am I most proud of – Juan Carlos Villarroel – for his undying commitment to his family, for his sacrifices, for the willingness to work on him to make us work, to his wanting to share all his new-found fortune of inner peace and balance with his fellow men, to taking me out dancing and being my dancing partner, to cooking & cleaning, to being a daddy and father to his children, to being a provider, to being my best friend!

Here’s to my hubby! I love you dearly and am eternally grateful for your presence the past 25 years! Can’t wait for the next 50!

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Day #6 Reflection – “what was the hardest habit for you to get rid of this year & how has it been good?”

Day #6 Reflection – “what was the hardest habit for you to get rid of this year & how has it been good?”

Simple answer: Toxic people – those that suck you dry or make you feel less than or who really don’t value your worth or place in their life.

While I have to admit that I am blessed to have amazing people in my life; I’ve also realized that there are some people you let in for one reason or another (work, hobbies, friends of friends, etc.) and the reality is that they really have no place in your life.

It’s important to realize (such as I have), that people come in and out of our lives for a reason. Once the reason is realized, it is important to let the relationship run its course – even if that means that the course extends the present. If you hold on to a relationship that has run its course – then you’re setting yourself up for a relationship that can perhaps be one-sided, disrespectful, etc.

So this year, as hard as it was on so many different levels, I’ve let go, walked away, and separated myself from individuals who didn’t care for me the way I care for them.

I’ve learned to put me first, to love me first and when times are rough, to remember that I am fierce & fearless!

I’ve also realized that those who are still around are the one’s who have been there, who have been loyal & have loved me unconditionally!

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