|Posted on August 4, 2018 at 12:10 AM||comments (0)|
When we break, we break- Ced the Entertainer
Whoa! I’m back from my social media fast. Did you miss me? I sure hope so, because I've missed you! Without warning, I fasted from all things social media for 30 whole days. God knows I am a self-professed selfie social media queen. Since coming back from my Myspace hiatus in 2011, I’ve spent countless hours uploading, checking in, and updating my statuses sharing the good, the better and the best parts of my life. (Never the ugly) Being on this fast gave me a revelation though. If you’re not careful, social media can be a parasite that will eat away at your insecurities. It can make you question your self-worth, your marriage, and your complete existence in life if you get caught up in noise.
Time is of the essence…
Social media can be full of superficial appearances. We greet each morning with a scroll instead of a prayer and nod off each night looking at the display screen. We live by it, like it, share it, quote it like it’s the Bible, screen shot it and send it to friends to get a reaction. Here’s my reality. I wake up daily at 5:30 AM but struggle to get anywhere on time. Why? I had to come to grips with my truth. My phone and I made passionate love every morning before my feet struck the ground. Before I knew it, a 5 minute quick check lasted longer than 30 minutes. Precious time wasted that I’ll will never see again. Now, I’m rushing to get to work, doing my make up in the car, hollering at my son and mad at traffic on the freeway because it’s not moving fast enough. Yeah, yeah, yeah! I know you get it. That's been my narrative for a few months. Something had to change. I had to put the phone down and focus on what matters.
On July 1, my pastor made the announcement at the end of service after a soul stirring sermon. This fast was a part of a congregational commitment. He challenged us to be more Christ like and centered with our lives. I sat there in a daze of confusion as I scanned the audience. Surely, I couldn’t have been the only one feeling like “What the hell” in church. I looked at members of the congregation, my social media friends, who I knew loved social media just as much as I did. They too wore the haze of confusion on their face. At first, I didn’t want to participate because I was worried about my brand. Then I remembered, obedience is greater than sacrifice. Fasting helps us realize just how fragile we are and how much we depend on things beyond ourselves. 30 days was not going to kill me and needed to do this for myself. How things were unfolding in my life I really needed God to bless me in a mighty and miraculous way. More often than not, we subject ourselves to “look” happy when we are broken with the weight of the world on our shoulders. Truth be told, I wasn’t happy. Life was kicking my ass. I struggled to keep my head up. I needed a break that included some personal and spiritual growth.
Too much of anything is never good for you…
Fasting is a religious exercise that requires you to abstain from something that you love. It’s a meaningful gesture of self-denial out of your love of God. Never in my wildest dream did I think that I was going to partake in a fast of this magnitude. Food fast, I’ve tried and failed. No radio fast, tried and failed. No alcohol, tried and failed. No sex until I am married, tried and failed. This fast seemed simple enough to commit to. I’m not going to lie, the first few days were a challenge. I didn’t realize how much time and energy I spent on social media. As hours turned into days, I craved that 4 by 7 display screen in my hand that connected me to the inside scoop of my favorite celebrities, friends and family. My scroll game grew weak as I disconnected from the world. No Twitter, Facebook, IG, or Snapchat. Instead, I busied myself with my life. I put my face in books and articles, chatted with my friends over dinner and drinks, spent quality time with my son, snapped pictures and videos thus creating new memories that I will laugh at for weeks to come.
The last of the real ones…
There were some lessons in the break. Sometimes we think that our lives cannot fully function without the help of social media. Then, I remembered I was a 1980s kid where the essence of the human spirit was alive and well. There were no cell phones (unless you could afford air time) so you called and checked on your friends instead of liking their status, everybody didn’t have computers to Skype so you actually communicated and engaged with people in person or by letter, and your pictures weren’t shared until you had them developed at Eckerd’s. (Remember that!)
Here’s some powerful points that has changed my life in the last 30 days.
1. Everybody doesn’t need to know your every move- Everybody business is no body's business. (Let that statement marinate.) I’ve traveled, fallen in love, met Cynthia Bailey, and attended events without sharing my every move. Not being able to upload and share did not take away from my experience. I was present in the moment and enjoyed every minute of it. Sometimes we can share too much and give people an invitation to ridicule and judge our lives. Save some for yourself and let others wonder what’s going on with you. Move in silence and make announcements later.
2. Comparison is the thief of joy - The overused sentence that irks me the most on social media, “My husband/bestie/Momma is better than yours.” Guess what! They should be. That’s your connection and if your connection is not electrifying you, that’s a problem. Social media has tainted our views on what our lives should look like. Perfect has started to be the new normal. So much so, it has clouded our view on what our reality is. We wake up flawless and everybody is the perfect size with the perfect family. NOT! It’s all stunts and shows. You will find yourself comparing your life to others if you are not careful and that’s unhealthy.
3. Time is valuable- Time is the most expensive treasure that we cannot afford to lose. How many times have you said when deadline was near, “I wish there were more hours in the day.” Do not waste your time worrying about somebody who is not worried about you. Get the job done and play later. My goal from now is to get on and get off. I am reclaiming my time! I have better things to do.
4. Likes doesn’t validate you and your friendship- “You didn’t like my picture.” Friendships have a different meaning now. Sad to say, our life is now being defined by likes. Because I didn’t like your post, doesn’t mean I’m not your friend. Listen up when I say this… Friendships don’t trend. Trending on social media doesn't make you popular it means your picture was cute. The truth of the matter is, I didn’t like your picture because I probably didn’t see it. The more “friends” you have on social media the more people show up on your newsfeed. Social media runs on analytics not friendships.
5. My productivity level increased- I have planned my 40th birthday party, someone else’s 40th, booked travel, designed a new brand, cleaned up, and uncluttered my life. Being off social media freed up some time. An extra hour in the morning and evening made a difference.
6. Obedience is sacrifice- It gets greater later. Right now, I desire a spiritual breakthrough. Our spirit and soul experiences joy because of fasting. It’s a decision to momentarily die to our flesh to fulfill the greater things of a mighty God who seeks us. When we deny our carnal nature in order to fulfill the desires of God, he is pleased. What He wills for our lives can be found through fasting and prayer.
7. Very busy but are you a blessing- When is the last time you blessed someone’s life and didn’t want anything in return. We are so busy looking the part but not playing the part. I cleaned out my closet, gave bags of clothes and food to the homeless, and helped friends in need without making an announcement. Talk without action is merely nothing. Be a blessing instead of a scroll troll. Your time and service is needed.
8. Be in the moment- We barely want to talk to each other anymore. Learn to be present mentally and physically. Put your phone down and interact instead of scrolling. Ask your children or significant other “How was their day,” to begin a meaningful and engaging conversation. People want to know that you really care. We scroll to pass the time or because we feel bored. Ask yourself this, “Why go and if you can think of better things to do?” If you can think of better things to do, then do that. Don’t waste their time or yours.
9. Use social media for what it intended for- There are benefits of using social media. You can connect, network, engage, and build a brand. Social media allows us the ability to communicate with each other on the level that I never foresaw. You literally can run your life from the comfort of your home, video chat with friends and family in far places and have friends all over the world. The connection can be powerful if it is utilized properly.
10. It’s all in our mind- It’s truly mind over matter. What I thought was impossible turned into possibility. You can do whatever you want to do. It’s all in your mind. Turn down the noise and find your center.
Guess what! I survived. All because someone is silent, doesn’t mean that they are asleep. Even though the fast is over, I will continue to monitor what I feed my soul. (I discovered a new love for podcast too.) I am adopting a healthier lifestyle for my mental state. I want to feed my body content of substance that will allow me to grow and develop into the person I desire to be. We all want emotional and mental well-being. But are we practicing conscious mental consumption? Don’t get caught feeding your mind with junk food that has no nutritional value. We have a choice about how we take care of our mind—we can feed it junk food or wholesome fuel. Wholesome food fuels our mind with positivity while junk food feeds our mind with limiting thoughts and behavior and we are so much better than that.
#fastingandpraying #socialmediafast #charliemarcol #myrealtruth #myjourney
|Posted on June 12, 2015 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
Yellow, Red, Black or White... They are precious in his sight. Question? Are we still trying to pass the brown paper bag test in the 21st century. After all, it's 2015 we have made significant strides. Our First lady is a real sister. Lupita Nyong'o, Gabrielle Union, Tasha Smith and countless others have landed roles in Hollywood, but some of us are still enslaved in our mind. Especially within our own culture. Color complex reigns supreme. At a video shoot the sign read, "Only 8, 9's & dimes can apply," heaven forbid if a dark skinned girl shows up at the audition. She does not have a fighting chance before the cameras begin to roll. This type of attitude is deeply embedded in some that "light is right" and "dark skinned people are just ugly." This concept dates back to 1712 when Willie Lynch shared his theory on how to control the slave colony. This concept brainwashed slaves to believe in color hierarchy. It is a legacy of slavery and plantation society that placed white slave-owners at the top of the top of the social ladder, followed by those who were mixed race/lighter skinned and as your color went down the ladder the worse you were. If you were dark you were inferior. Sadly, it's 303 years later and the knowledge he shared on that dreadful day still lives on. (Go read on it, it'll blow your mind) Where is this coming from Charlie?
While standing in line at the bank this week an elderly African-American woman turns to me and said, "You're cute for a dark skinned girl." What? Did this old woman just throw some shade at me? The look of bewilderment on my face probably said what I wanted to say. Grant it, I was beat to the Gawds with my floppy hat, sundress and shades, but still. Did we just just step back on plantation? That's not the first time I've heard that from someone in the generation before mine. I've even been question about the thickness and growth of my real hair. I figured their assumption was I was wearing weave or my hair can't grow that long because of the color of my skin. My question is, what does that mean and why I just couldn't be a pretty girl? Why add "dark skinned." I didn't stick around to ask her but politely smiled with a thank you. I already knew where it was coming from. Willie Lynch's theory indoctrinated an entire race of people to believe that having melanin in your genetic make-up was despicable. Now, we are conditioned to believe that yellow bones are bad and dark skinned women aren't allowed to be attractive. It's called Colorism. Colorism was seen in the mid 21st century with the introduction of the brown paper bag test. Paper bag parties were African-American social events at which only individuals with complexions at least as light as the color of a brown paper bag were admitted. The term also refers to larger issues of class and social stratification within the African-American population. Ok, that's dandy and all but this practice is totally subjective. Honestly, we are the Baskin Robbins of culture. We come in all different shades and flavors. Chocolate, mocha, vanilla bean, and in my son's case French Vanilla Chocolate. That's what I love about the African-American race; the variety of color shades are numerous. I can't decide the color I want to be, however other cultures can. If someone doesn't except you for your skin tone, then that organization or person is not for you. In 2015, I refuse to believe this is still happening but I'm not oblivious to the fact.
Here is the greater question. Have we become culturally oppressed to believe that we are not beautiful as a collective whole? This attitude has descended into this generation. Just like that woman in the bank couldn't believe beauty could come in dark skin this same perspective effects the dating world. Some men will not date or marry a dark skinned woman. If that's his standard that's fine. Rappers rap about yellow and red bones as if they are colors in a crayon box that they can use at their discretion. It's his opinion and a person is entitled to feel the way he wants to. I personally find it very superficial but it that's what that man wants go for it! I've meet some beautiful light skinned women with funky attitudes and blank upstairs. She depends solely on beauty to get her wants she wants, but we all know that beauty fades with time. Real love sees no color especially not skin tones. I tend to think that I'm a strong minded individual but for some women they will change themselves to fit the standard. The Beyoncé look is what is hot right now. In turn, these women will add, enhance, put on or lighten up something they can not change which is DNA. I can not change how a person feels but I don't have to grow accustomed to people's opinion about my skin tone. Either you like it or not. No man or elderly woman cashing her Social Security check will make me doubt the skin I am in. If it's not your preference just move around. I am not worried about being a dime, because I am a dollar. It takes 10 woman to make up the totality of me and what I can offer. I know my worth! but ok... Here is one thing I do know... My melanin is on fleek. Now take that one to the bank and cash it.
|Posted on January 11, 2015 at 12:10 AM||comments (0)|
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. So about last night... I am so happy! I participated in a vision board party at my dear friend's home with some amazing women. The weather outside was frightful but the fun inside was so delightful. It was truly a blessing to be around warm & positive spirits who are just as determined and driven as I am. We encouraged, helped, laughed, assisted, drank, ate and laughed some more. That made being out in the cold weather so worth it. What a powerful way to end the first week of January! I believe last night will make a major impact in my life for 2015. What is a vision board you ask? A vision board is a powerful visualization tool that you can use as inspiration for your journey toward your ideal life. By cutting, creating & pasting what I envision for my life, through my hard work and prayer, I truly believe God will make those things happen if it is HIS will for my life. Futhermore, having a vision board will help you to remain focused on your goals but most of all it will hold you accountable. Speak those things into existence. The word of God tells us to delight ourselves in Him and he will give us the desires of our heart. I want my dreams to come to fruition in 2015. The vision board party forced me to set aside time to draw positive things into my life. Doubtless you have heard it said that most of us never get what we want because we don't know what we want. Well... I do! Making a vision board is a wonderful way to bring clarity to that general desire and turn it into an achievable goal. I challenge you to do the same. There’s no “right way” to arrange your images because this is YOUR vision. Act like Nike and just do it. Remember my motto for the New Year... Give birth to your dreams in 2015. Nothing comes to a dreamer but a dream, you must but your vision into action. Why not start today.
Here are the things you’ll need:
- a posterboard, cork board or small canvas
- a stack of old magazines
- markers or paint
- glue, tape, thumbtacks or pins
- a photo of yourself (optional)
- Decorative items such as ribbon, tulle, and/or construction paper
Set aside ample time to complete your vision board. It takes a while. Go to a quiet space in your home where you can concentrate on yourself for a little while. Ask yourself some important self-reflection questions such as... Where do you see yourself by the end of 2015? What are the ultimate goals you want to achieve?
Create a relaxing atmosphere. Put on inspiring or upbeat music. Light a few candles if you want. Close your eyes and take a moment to reflect on your big goals and dreams. What do you want your ideal life to look like?
Cut out images from magazines that represent the life you want to live. For example, if you want to become a fashion designer, you might clip photos of models wearing designer clothing on the runway. If you want to find a great romantic partner, you might snip pictures of happy couples smiling at each other.
Place the photo of yourself in the middle of the board (optional). Then, paste or pin your magazine images on your board. You can fill the board with pictures or just have a few posted all over on the board. I tried my hardest not to leave any open space. I want to remain focused on my goals.
Use your markers or paint to write your personal mantra or other favorite quotes onto your vision board. You can also just cut out words or phrases from the magazines to paste on your board that remind you of the life you want to live.
Display your vision board somewhere you’ll see it every day and feel inspired! If you like, you can also frame your vision board and hang it on your wall.
And there you have it – an easy, step-by-step process for creating a vision board to help you reach your goals. I hope it’s useful to you!
If you found it useful... please leave a comment and share.
|Posted on January 5, 2015 at 5:40 PM||comments (0)|
Happy 2015. Where did the time go! 2014 is in our rear view mirror and now we are walking into a new year. Did you know that 2014 was a year for double completion? What did you complete this past year? Did you live your life with purpose and fulfillment? Did you allow God to lead you & surrender to his will & his way. I tried it this year & for the first time in a long time, I feel complete. Did I go contrary to HIS will at times. Yes, I did. I'm human. But honestly, I'm not longing or wanting anything. God supplied all my needs plus more. He gave me some wants, made dreams come true define my purpose & helped me find my passion. Thank you God! This week has been bitter sweet, well more like melancholy because 2014 was wonderful to me despite the ups and downs. I accepted it all; sometimes with tears in my eyes, a bowed head, broken heart and spirit. I look forward to the blessings that God is going to bring in 2015. As it is written, Eyes has not seen, nor have ears heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the GREAT things which God has prepared for them that love him.
Sooo.... C'est la vie c'est la vie 2014. You were absolutely wonderful to me. I completed some task that I did not think I could accomplish. I learned to love myself, I wrote a book, I became debt-free, I learned to look in the mirror and self reflect! My new motto:: Give birth to your dreams in 2015. I challenge you to live your life with purpose & promise with God as your captain. He knows the plans that He has for you. Be blessed and a blessing to others.
#purpose #livinglikeitsgolden #onwardandupward
|Posted on November 12, 2014 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Let's pour up some tea...
Basketball Girlfriends, the Fake Housewives of whatever county, Keeping up with The K’s, Lust & Bebop... Yeah, you got it? For legal purposes I will not mention their name, but we know who they are. To be honest, reality television has put a sour taste in my mouth. It disappoints me how reality television has impregnated the minds of impressionable people. It has given birth to a false sense of reality. We sensationalize, idolize and elevate these women to the position of BFF’s in our head. We know what their characters represent; they are topic of conversation on Facebook and Twitter, in the elevator, and at the salon. We read about their business on gossip blogs and we follow them on social media but yet some of us have not decided to follow Christ. (I digress) I could be wrong about this, but reality TV has messed up our discernment about friendships, marriage & relationships. The sad thing is that the majority of these shows are produced by women that is more concerned about dollar signs and fortune and less on women’s empowerment. These women have entered our homes religiously on Sunday nights to give us the “tea” on issues that don’t affect us, our city, our paychecks or our home. We are more consumed on what is going on in ALT than our own backyard. For some, it has affected the perception of who we are because we have allowed these women to become our role models influencing our self-image and self-worth. Nothing is real about these woman, nothing! From the hair in their head, the catty made up fights, the cars they are driving, to the lavish condos and houses they are parlaying in. It is for entertainment purposes so stop carrying them into your reality. What happened to goal oriented, career driven, professional woman that had morals & values being represented on TV. The TV wives of yester year, loved and respected their husband & his opinions. These women cared for their children & took care of their husband’s needs. Granted those shows were scripted too, but each show had a message. Man, I miss television shows in the 80's. There was a plot, theme, empowerment & progression that dealt with real life issues. Children went off to college, friends enjoyed living single in a brownstone, people actually left the ghetto and moved up to the Eastside to high rise apartments. Now our black boxes are filled with ratchetmess, male bashing, adultery and a bunch of debauchery. All of it has embedded foolishness into our lifestyle but we are trying to keep up with them. We are living above our means, putting unrealistic expectations on relationships. Reality TV is as phony as a Canal Street Prada bag for $40.00. You can see how fake it is from a distance. It's scripted, timed, & full of drama. It's junk food feeding our hungry souls. We are looking for some entertainment that will give us true nourishment about real happiness, friendships, or how neighbors can come together to support one another in life. I guess Archie Bunker was right. "Those were the days." (I just told my age)