Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 Highlights, Achievements and Lessons

I can and can't believe that in a few days, 2015 is over. This has been a roller coaster of year. As you can tell from the picture above, I did it! I finally finished my graduate program on December 12th. I have officially earned my Master's in Public Administration. Although the program was only 18 months , it was a long road mentally and emotionally. However, I thank God that it is over and I can move on to the next chapter of my life.

If  you have followed my blog or any of my social media sites (especially Facebook), you know this Master's Degree is so special to me because of my plight of single motherhood; working full-time, raising four girls, helping my oldest with her daughter, ( single nanahood), running a household and keeping my sanity all at the same time. I've been a mom ever since the age of 17 years old. And while I've been legally wed twice, I've never had a real marriage. My girls and I lived in a homeless shelter for a couple months some years ago and we are survivors of Hurricane Katrina from our hometown of New Orleans, La. People doubted me at times; didn't believe that I would overcome stereotypes of the black, single mother and do something with my life. For me, my accomplishments are not about proving anything to anyone who didn't believe in me. They are to inspire someone to believe in themselves.

In May, I celebrated my 20 year high school class reunion with old friends and classmates. It was a weekend I will never forget. My classmates are beautiful, genuine, kind and great people. I'm so proud of them individually and all of us collectively. We partied literally like we were back in 1995. The spirit of unity was overwhelming. I could not have been a part of a better class. We danced together, literally took thousands of pictures together, sang together, ate together and prayed together. We also showed our love and respect for our classmates who have gone home to be with the Lord. And, it was also my birthday weekend which completely added to the awesome sauce of it all.
In August, I had the honor and the privilege of serving as a co-host of the first ever "What If" Women's Conference in Jackson, MS. I am a part of an amazing group of women who participate in quarterly experiences that uplift, inspire, and encourage one another to reach and achieve their full potential. The organization's founder named the group "Stilettos On The Pavement." The What If Conference simply means . . . " What If" we as women support one another with actions instead of tearing one another down with our words? "What If" I support your business? "What If" I encourage you to go back to school? And so on. . . Amazing things can happen in our communities by simply asking "What If"? It was an extraordinary day of revelation, rejuvenation, unity and growth. I was honored to be a part of something so moving and uplifting.
I've shared some of my most memorable highlights and achievements of the year. I've learned some valuable lessons this year as well. I'm all for being a continuous learner in and out of the classroom. In my last blog I talked about getting out of my own way; about how I over analyze everything in my life. I am still working on that; however, I feel as if I've gotten so much better. I've learned to pace myself, and not sweat the small stuff so much. I'm learning that I can't be great at everything; at least not in the beginning. I'm truly enjoying rediscovering newness about myself in my singleness. Yes, I'm still single, although, I have a nice long distance friendship with a guy who has managed to keep my attention for some months now. He encourages me, makes me laugh and he has stimulating conversation. And guess what, I can live with that. Also, I'm learning how to not think that I'm a failure as a parent every time my kids do something I don't agree with or when they make a mistake. You guys won't believe the things that truly "unbothers" me at this stage in my life. Maybe it's a sign that I'm getting older. Whatever it is, it's working. I am learning how to pray, give them the word of God, tell them right from wrong and allow them to make their own choices whether they are good or whether they are mistakes. I have noticed by me doing this, my hair is not graying as fast anymore (seriously). This does not mean they get to do what they want in my household or in my presence; it means that I can lead the horse to the water but I can't make them drink. And, furthermore, it means, I can still be their mother and live my life on my terms no matter what they are doing.

I am not going to get all cliché on you guys with the "New Year" jargon about 2016. I have goals, dreams, and plans for the new year; and you guys will read all about it (if God says the same) as it all unfolds. Until then, thank you so much for coming to my space and entering my world. I wish  you all blessings and prosperity in the new year ahead.

~Tasha Mac

Friday, October 9, 2015

Being Your Own Worst Enemy

It's Friday night and I'm supposed to be studying and doing homework. This is my last semester of graduate school. And, yes, while I'm super excited about that, I can't do anything I'm supposed to be doing at this moment until I get some of my other thoughts out of my head. There's so much noise going on between my two ears right now, until I hardly know where to begin with this blog. However, y'all bear with me as I proceed to get some of it out. 

Last night I realized something very profound about myself. My overthinking nature has finally caught up to me. I have always been a very risk averse person. The only time I am not is when it comes to going back to school. I will jump into that full throttle. That's because with school, I feel as though I have no other choice, it's now or never, do or die. I now wish I felt that way with everything else in my life. Although, my risk averse, overly cautious nature is the culprit of many bad decisions in my youth. So, now that I'm nearing 40, I'm carefully weighing everything, making sure all the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed before I make a move. And, while I'm doing that, life is steadily passing me by and God Himself is even growing weary of my cautious behavior. Whenever I'm not moving fast enough on instructions He has given me, He pushes me into a 12 foot pool of water and tells me to swim because He is guiding me and has given me a life jacket to not drown ( this last sentence is a metaphor. I hope y'all know that.) 

For me, timing has always been everything. I always feel as though I have to wait until the right time, when things are just right to make a move. And, that is so silly because the time will never be right to do anything. Hello, this is life, right? Murphy's law was designed to make us miserable. But instead of taking the good with the bad, and do what I want to do and make cupcakes, I'm still waiting for the good to mix with the great so I can bake a strawberry cake. ( Did y'all like that? My attempt at humor to dry some tears.)

So, let me give y'all the good, messed up part of what I call my illogical fallacy way of thinking. I met a guy who was/is totally awesome sauce by the way, but the setting wasn't perfect, the timing sucked due to circumstance, and whatever other excuses I made up in my mind to sabotage it, When, the two most important factors for me existed and I overlooked them: He has a great relationship with God ( not a fake one) and he totally LOVED me. Yes, I said loved in all caps in its past tense because it's not there anymore. We live in two different states and I allowed that in itself to come in between us. It's not like we lived on two different continents. But, I over thought the situation entirely way too much. And guess what now.... WAIT FOR IT.... When I realized I was so happy with him ( even with us being in two different states) I tried to do something about it, but IT'S TOO LATE. He has moved on and in love with someone else. And guess who's stuck licking her wounds, and nursing a broken heart and bruised ego? That would be me. But I have no one to blame but myself. All of the reasons I told myself why I couldn't be with him, I don't even  care about anymore. But, like I said, it's too late. He is happy and over me. The kiss of death was when he professed his love for his new lady and told me I'm a wonderful lady, yada, yada, yada... I had never felt so rejected and abandoned in all of my life. And believe me, I've felt that way before, but not like this.  However, as for me, (inserts sarcasm) well I still have my career, my education, my kids ( who are growing up and some are grown) and.. there is no and. That's it. Don't get me wrong, all of those are wonderful to me and give me great joy, but I got in my way, when I could have had more. But, I'm glad for the lessons that God has been showing me through all of this. It's just like God to teach me in order to reach me. 

I never realized before how much I was holding myself back from true happiness. I don't just mean with a guy, it's everything, I will talk about a vacation all day and night long, but will be afraid to go if I don't have just the right amount of money. It's good to be a planner, I just don't want to get to a point where I'm over analyzing everything. Being a great analytical thinker has gotten me far in my career, however, it has been hindering me in my personal life. 

The point I'm making is don't get caught up in the trap of over thinking and being too risk averse, you just may miss out on something wonderful. Another Mac lesson learned. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Great Debate! Natural Hair versus Relaxed Hair

It's the new great debate: natural hair versus relaxed hair. This new war in the African American community seems to be the new dark skinned versus light skinned. For years, dark skinned women of color versus light skinned women of color was always the driving tool men used to separate African American women when it came to beauty, dating, etc.. Now there is a new culprit that seems to have taken shape as of the last five years. It's the war on hair. Every day I am seeing a status on Facebook from African American men about how us Black women need to "get back to our roots", " we need to accept ourselves as we truly are" and my personal favorite ( with much sarcasm) "non-natural sisters are enslaved in their minds or brainwashed by the slave-masters" because we refuse to conform to their Neanderthal idea of beauty. Please give me a break.

If you haven't guessed it by now, I am a non-natural sister. I relax my hair and I wear it in a jazzy, style. I do not love myself for this reason any less, nor do I think I am any less "natural" than a woman of color who chooses not to relax her hair with chemicals. Don't get me wrong, I know a lot of women who do not relax their hair and they are beautiful. The whole debacle with men thinking women who choose to use chemicals in their hair are brainwashed or in some ways "less black" than other women is so ridiculous to me. And to make it even more interesting, the men I see posting their opinions are the so-called, pro-black, power to the people kind of guys. But, how are you for the people when you are a part of the problem? What I mean is, some guys are the first ones to talk about how black women aren't loved, respected and cared for the way we should be. However, you are adding to the list of those who are saying that we are not good enough, and never will be enough for whatever reason. Just because some of us choose to chemically treat our hair does not mean we are any less natural than a woman who decides not to. We are not trying to be like any other race or deny who we are as black women. We simply are doing what we WANT TO DO with our hair that makes us feel good about ourselves. Furthermore, every ounce of pain, pleasure and our purpose has been very natural to us.

Also, most of the guys who are so concerned about what a woman does with her hair are the same ones who are less concerned with their health and taking care of their temples. These same guys who are posting about a woman's hair are the same ones who are offended when someone tells them they should eat healthier and exercise regularly. I understand we all have a preference. I get it. However, the problem comes in when men start saying that a woman doesn't know who she is, or she's conforming and/or confused about herself because she relaxes her hair. It's degrading and very insulting. Guys, please stop with this foolishness over who's more natural and black because of hair. We as black women have enough to deal with as it is. We need y'all to love us, and accept us for who we are. Our minds are strong and we need y'all to help hold us up not try to bend us and we certainly don't need you all trying to pit us against one another. This foolishness is just another tool to divide women and pit them against one another. Help us to come together to be a movement for ourselves, our families, and our communities.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I'm Not Your Daddy

I have realized something within the last two weeks. Father's Day is the most controversial holiday on social media I've ever seen. For the last two weeks leading up to Father's Day my social media friends and associates had been posting memes and making statuses bashing single mothers and anyone who wants to celebrate a single mom on Father's Day. I mean it was just down right vicious. And, I have to be honest, I've only seen this behavior in the black community. I mean honestly, I think some people may have a better chance at getting along with an atheist on Christmas Day than they would at getting along with social media on Father's Day.

It's no secret that I am a single mom with four girls ( Yes, I'm still single). I have been a mom ever since I was 17 years old. For a long time I identified myself as both mom and dad on Father's Day. That's because it was so hard, and difficult and I was frustrated a lot and at times angry. I thought I was both mom and dad, not just on Father's Day but every day of the year. And, for total transparency, it was just only a few years ago when I stopped feeling that way. It's not because the social media community made me do so. It's because I have evolved and grown. I've let go of that past anger, and bitterness. Although, I'm at a different place in my life spiritually, mentally and emotionally doesn't mean I am upset at anyone who chooses to celebrate a single mom on Father's Day nor am I mad at any single mom who chooses to celebrate herself. I still get the Happy Father's Day texts from people who are close to me who have witnessed my struggles and pain. I don't expect nor desire anything on Father's Day. And believe me there has been some hurt and pain there from childhood to adulthood, but guess what? Now it's all good. One of my daughters sent me a meme via text the other day that said... when your mom isn't rich but she still makes stuff happen. And she added a note thanking me for everything I do for her and her sisters. I was so moved at that lovely sentiment. I didn't feel like I should be celebrated on Father's Day or repost it on Father's Day as a tribute to single motherhood.

Most of the bashing I've seen from people over the course of the past two weeks have been from men and women who do not know what it's like to be a single mom. Let me say this, if you have never had to make a dollar out of fifteen cents to feed your kids and yourself, please leave that woman alone. The life of a single mom is something to behold and to be told. And, I know many people will say but she slept with him, she knew he was not about anything when she was with him and much, much more. I understand all of that. However, now it's time to raise the child. You see, a single mom has to go find it when the father says he doesn't have it. And in most cases, he's not trying to look for it. It's that mom's job to make every day life happen, buy school clothes, and make birthdays and Christmas happen. And folks wonder why she hasn't let go of that pain and hurt yet. I say, give her time to heal. That's a pain that doesn't go away overnight. It's a process. Trust me, I know. I have been there and have the T-shirt. Instead of bashing her for likes and retweets, pray for her. Let her know it's okay and God will bless her and her children. There are way more important causes that we as a community can and should wage war over. But, the fact that a single mom wants to celebrate herself on Father's Day shouldn't be one of them. I am not trying to take away anything from the guys on Father's Day. You all deserve your gifts, hugs, kisses, and accolades just as much as moms on Mother's Day.

And ladies, don't fight fire with fire and don't fight satan with satan. Don't be on social media talking trash about your children's father. And it may be true. However, it isn't helping the situation. Put that in God's hands and do what you need to do for your children. And not letting the kids visit their father's (as long as it's a safe situation) is not helping the child either. Kids need so much more than money to survive. Do your best to have a co-parenting relationship with the father. The last thing we all want is for this cycle of children without fathers to continue.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Doing The Right Thing Isn't Always Easy

I would love to start this blog off by telling you all that this has been the best year of my life. However, it would be more than just a slight fabrication. I don't want to sound drab, but the truth is I've been dealing with some trials, and I've faced my fair share of challenges. But, that's all a part of living, right? Of course it is. If you've read any of my other blogs, you know I'm no stranger to trials and tribulations, but I'm no quitter either. With all of that said, it's mid-April and this year alone, I've dealt with the loss of two very important people in life. They both transitioned within three weeks time. So, I have a void in my heart that has left me feeling a little empty but the love I have for them keeps me going knowing they are both resting well in a better place.

Some days my plate is so full, the load gets so heavy, and I get overwhelmed with my responsibilities, tasks, and routines. There are days when I want to go off on social media, I feel like cussing, and I want to do whatever is going to please my flesh. Yes, I do feel like this at times. However, I'm at the point in my life where I am thinking before doing, more often than I did when I was in my 20s or even five years ago for that matter. Although, I want to sometimes run away from life and create a new satisfying one for however long, I know that a temporary "fix" will not fix anything. It's easy to say to yourself and to others, "do the right thing." Believe me, I say it a lot to myself, my kids, and to others I'm close to. I guess because, there was a time in my life where it seemed as if I constantly gravitated towards doing the wrong thing. Those decisions caused a great deal of suffering for me. I learned a lot of lessons the hard way, and some decisions have had lasting effects.  Don't get me wrong, I still have to have talks with myself ( and certainly with God) about staying on the right path. Temptation is everywhere and it knocks on my door harder when it seems as if my world is topsy turvy. But that's just like the devil, isn't it? There was a time in my life where I wouldn't have thought twice about doing some of the things that I steer clear of doing today. Some would say that shows my growth and maturity. And , I will agree. However, I just know that those wrong decisions I made NEVER WORKED OUT for me. I seriously think about what will I gain if I do this or that. And more importantly, what will I lose and/or miss out on if I do.

Doing the right thing can be an uphill battle. And it's hard when you see those you love on a path of destruction. You know nothing good will come from the decisions they are making, but they won't hear what you're saying. The hardest thing to do is let go, let God and let them go through it. I had my epiphany on constantly making wrong choices, and I'm glad I did. Wrong choices leads to feeling empty, lonely, despair, uncertainty and it disconnects you from God. I try as a parent, and as a leader to those around me, to instill positivity while being transparent as much as possible. However, we are all individuals and we all know that experience is the best teacher. I just pray and hope that my experiences and those of my loved ones comes from making wise, healthy choices.