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No matter how far along I get in life, I'll always refer to myself as "That chick that grew up poor in the drug-filled streets of Port Arthur, Texas." Always a bad ass!

Right now, I'm going through a top-down transformation. I'm starting with my hair - taking it from processed to natural; and so far I'm loving it. Get updates on my process on newtonatural.com.

Monday, November 18, 2013

You do not know me if. .

Over the weekend, I realized that there are some people I've had in my circle for YEARS, who don't really know me. To make it easy for you to tell whether you really know me or not, I decided to take a few moments to put together a list of traits for people that may think they know me, but who really do not.

You really don't know me if. .
1. You pronounce my name the way it's spelled.
2. You knock on the front door when you come to my home.
3. You come to my home uninvited, and expect me to answer the door.
4. You think that my baby boy I'm always referring to is less than 10 years old and 100 lbs.
5. You think because I smile and speak to you, I'm flirting with you. I really believe that when you smile, it adds just an extra glimmer of hope to the world.
6. You call and I don't answer (ever), and you think I don't know that you called.
7. You think that I'm always happy when I'm smiling. I'm a lady. I was not raised to say something negative every time it comes to mind. Refer back to #5.
8. You think that I have to not love you to cut you out of my circle.
9. You think that I don't love my kids to death. I do. I do. I dooooooo.
10. You are constantly recommending that I watch a new TV show. I'm not into TV. How about you recommend what I'm into? A BOOK
11. You think that I have forgotten a lie you told me and I caught you in. Forgiven (maybe), but not forgotten.
12. You think I don't notice and appreciate the little things. . and expect you to do the same.
13. You say really negative things about people I cherish and think it doesn't make me dislike and distance myself from YOU.
14. You think that when I say I forgot, you can hint me into remembering miscellaneous facts. Look, generally when it's gone, it's GONE. But I do remember the important stuff.
15. You think me walking away while we were in mid-conversation on a meaningless topic means I wasn't listening. Mmmmm, I was. . that's why I walked away.

OK. I've made it easy. Now, let us both stop pretending.

Monday, October 7, 2013

You just never know who you touch

Today is a rough Monday. I guess it's typical for a Monday, but I was getting so caught up in frustration that I almost forgot. . This is the norm. It's supposed to be crazy after you've had not one but two virtually stress-free days to recover at home with the ones you love.

I had just arrived at the point when I asked myself, "Why am I doing this?" and "Why do I care?" when I looked up and saw this little gift from a patient. This little adorable package was sitting on my keyboard when I turned on the lights this morning, but it didn't really have weight until I started to feel unappreciated. As soon as I realized that someone I've served thought enough of me to spend her time and money on me, I got all teary-eyed. Honestly, I cried.

Once I pulled myself together, I called T to thank her, and here's what she said.

"Anasthia, I come in there sometimes on the brink of giving up, and your attitude is what saves me. I don't know why, but just the way you care about me reminds me that I'm worth it. Don't stop Anasthia. I need you."

So, you know me. That's all I need to snap out of this funk. Back to work I go. . with a smile on my face. . that will (hopefully) inspire someone who's having a worse day than I am to keep going.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Behaving as half of a whole is HARD work for a runner

Today has been a tough day. Nothing has gone the way I've wanted it to, but for some reason my other half thinks it has.

Let's see.. The mortgage consultant called me today and told me that we have to come up with another $3k to close on the house. My boss told me that the position I'm interviewing people for, and have determined who I want to fill it, he is also doing his own personal interviewing and screening for. My other half has blown all out of proportion a response that I had at seeing an old pic saved on my laptop of a dear friend. {Yes, he's over there MAD right now. Ignoring me and focusing on his new iPad. . when he knows I'm an attention hog.}

I became so frustrated when I got off of work, I grabbed my tennis shoes and was about to do my thing.. escape.. run.. separate myself from the world that's drowning me.

In the past, my single days (and honestly the entire (brief) marriage, too) on days like this, I would pack a bag, pick a location, finish my work day and go. . leave. . disappear. But I don't have the luxury anymore.

I'm connected to someone else who expects me to behave as half as a whole. I promised him that I will not run until he can run with me. . but today I want to run from him, so putting my word into practice is SO HARD for me right now. And today is a really hard day. I'm just DROWNING.

For six years I've trained myself in the art of escaping. I've perfected it. So today, I feel so trapped, overwhelmed, imprisoned, confined, and anxious. I just want it to be over. What IT is, I don't really know. But I can't deal with it.

The great thing is that I knew where I was before I hit this patch in the road. My better half and I talked about marriage, and I agreed with him. We aren't ready. I didn't say exactly why. But deep down I know that I can't seal the bond with another human being until I can figure out how to stop running. And today I really don't know how.

But right now. . I JUST DON'T KNOW HOW. I feel so immature to not be able to figure out something that I think should be . . well. . natural. This thing of sticking it out. . making it work. . latching on to someone else until the storm passes. . it's just the hardest thing ever for me. . today.

I'm praying that if I can just make it through the night, I'll wake up a little stronger. able to sustain the storm.. and maybe rest my heels for just one more day.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"White is Right" is wrong

Why is it that when black people do well in an area, it's defined as "White?"

- "You talk White" means you speak well.
- "You living like White folks" means you have a nice home with little stress.
- "I want that White man credit" means I want to actually pay my bills on time and not live beyond my means.
- "You better stop treating your kids like the White folks" means you better start verbally abusing your children, and physically abuse them when they don't listen.

I've heard them all. And have heard each of these phrases multiple times at one point or another throughout my life. It goes into one ear and out the other. But now my kids are starting to complain that they are hearing "You talk White." And they don't understand what it means. .

Oh boy. . Here goes.

Here was how I explained it to my ten year old today.

"Some Black people are convinced that we (Black people) are not good at anything. So, when someone of color is good at something, they relate it to a white person because somewhere in life they've learned that all good things come from white people. So, it's your responsibility to be even better than you would naturally be. . so somewhere along the line. . that person will have at least one example of a person of color who was just as good or better than the vision of goodness they have created for whites. "

But when I was done with the Mommy talk I had to shake my head. It just makes me sad.

Damn! It's 2013 and racism is still alive. Black on black racism is still rearing its ugly head.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

What I'll Never Know: The Last Lesson My Heroine Taught Me

Every now and then I hear myself saying, "My momma taught me that. .," or "My momma would always say. . " When I do, I always take a little pause after that sentence to let the sadness pass. . and to blink through the tears that rush to my eyes.

I've pretty much gotten over the fact that my momma is now in heaven, so I will not have the luxury of hearing her voice or seeing her face on the tough days. But what I can't seem to get over. . the one thing I can't seem to shake is that when my momma left this world she took with her some really amazing sayings and some helpful lessons that I now will never receive.

I feel the greatest loss because of that.

It is NOT true. You CAN miss something you've never had. . especially if the other things you've received are SO beneficial that you know that the best is yet to come.

Elizabeth Ann Francois just taught me SO much. She gave me all the tools that have gotten me this far in life.

- Thank God for the good and the bad. Oftentimes they serve the same purpose; to build your spirit.
- You can't love all your children the same. They are not the same. Your job is to treat them like the individuals they are; and love them the way they need you to love them.
- People will use you, abuse you, and confuse you. LOVE THEM ANYWAY. But when they hurt you, do it from a distance.
- Being rich has nothing to do with how much money you have in the bank. It's about how able you are to help others.
- Always forgive. Not to help the person who hurt you; but to help yourself.
- When you can help someone else, do it. You never know when you are going to need someone to come through for you.
- When you do your best you never have to brag on yourself. People will take notice and spread the news about your awesomeness.
- A no good man is just that. You cannot change him. That's God's job.
- Being Christian has nothing to do with your church or how frequently you show up in your best Sunday attire, it's about allowing the spirit of Christ to shine so brightly within you that people can see him in your walk, talk, and act.
- You have to be IN LOVE with yourself before you can fall in love with anyone else. Once you build yourself up you don't have to look for someone else, they will find you.

I could fill a blog directory with all of the lessons my momma taught me. I was blessed for 32 years to have her in my life, and if I try hard enough I can probably recall a thousand nuggets of wisdom she placed with me.

So, I'm sure you're wondering why I now feel like I left some cards on the table? Well, at the end, I just didn't take the time to sit at her feet and allow her to add to the wisdom she started planting with me..

That has to be one of the most painful admissions ever.

My momma was SO strong and so unrelenting in the most difficult situations. Honestly, I thought she'd kick cancer's butt, and we'd have a laugh about how the Devil tried to take her out again.

That's just who she was. She was a conqueror.

So, when I learned she was sick, I asked her to be straight with me. "How sick are you, Momma?" As always, she said, "I'm OK, baby." So, in my mind I thought, " I'm gonna take the next few months to wrap up these work projects, and bring Momma to stay with me this summer." Even after I went with her to chemo and saw how tired she looked, I just KNEW this was just one of those tests she had to endure so she could impart upon me the lessons she had learned.

Well, I'm sure you've read her obituary. She passed November 6, 2007.

That's the day I learned the lesson people speak on, but don't really understand unless they LIVE it. Tomorrow is not promised: not even to the strongest of warriors.

So, my life has changed. I don't let a day go by without telling my children I love them. I call my siblings as soon as the thought crosses my mind. Work is work. There's a time for it; but I'm not consumed by it anymore. And I've decided to be the best friend to my best friend. . not only in words, and cards, and on holiday. EVERY DAY.

I can only be grateful for this final lesson my momma left me with: the reality of my own mortality. It's been a hard pill to swallow, but still I have to say thanks.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Trading Places - I'M going to be a gentleman

I'm in LOVE! And I kinda suck at this sorta thing.

Mmmmmm. OK, I'll be honest. Scratch kinda and you got me dead on.

So, I want to try something completely different. Since I have grown a serious disdain for Valentine's Day, I'm gonna take it - or at least the Friday after - as my opportunity to romance my man.

Here's my idea.

For Valentine's Day, I'm gonna woo my beau. Here's how I will be a GENTLEMAN.

#1 - Flowers
#2 - Card
#3 - Stuffed animal
#4 - Candy
#5 - Opening the car door
#6 - Opening the door of the restaurant
#7 - Letting him walk through first
#8 - Paying for the meal
#9 - Compliments (Which isn't hard at all. He's gorgeous!!)
#10- Pulling out the chair

This is going to be really hard for me. I acknowledge that. I'm a complete sucker for a gentleman. I need that in my life. But this man that I'm in love with IS a gentleman. He's wonderful. He's really changed my life. And Usher's song, Trading Places has inspired me to think outside of the box when it comes to showing the man I love how much I appreciate the things he does to spoil me.

I'll let you know how it goes as I try to be a gentleman.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Know your consumer rights; especially when you are at WalMart

I purchased Claritin tablets yesterday, and realized this morning that I should've gotten the Liquid Gels. I HATE to return anything but didn't see the point of being out of $20 more when I've spent several hundred at Walmart over the weekend.

So on my way back from my son's basketball practice I brought the Claritin, as I had purchased it, and the receipt to the Customer Service desk.

Since there was a line, I figured the best use of my time would be spent reading the return policy. By the time my turn came up I was familiar enough with the 5 or 6 paragraphs on the sign to feel prepared.

I told the lady, I want to exchange these Claritin tablets for Liquid Gels, and what did she say??? A LIE!!!!!!

This ignorant redhead looked me in the eye and said, "Walmart's return policy will not allow me to return or exchange those."

As an informed consumer, I asked her what any informed consumer would ask. "Ok, where is the policy because THIS WalMart policy doesn't mention it."

Next lie. "This policy is specific to the pharmacy, so it's on a sign in the pharmacy."

Fortunately, I'm not AT ALL lazy, so I walked the 20 or so steps to the pharmacy and looked on EVERY shelf and wall. Nothing.

So I walked back to the Customer Service desk and asked the same lady to come show me the sign. I said, "I want to take a picture of it."

She said she was busy, so I stood in line and asked the other lady behind the desk the same request. Poor thing obliged.

This time the two of us walked the 20 or so steps back to the pharmacy, searched every shelf and wall and found no sign.

So, she walked up to the pharmacy and asked the pharmacist. Not the tech, but the woman in charge that should know better.

The pharmacist said, "It is not a Walmart policy, but a pharmacy policy. Would you want to purchase medicine that was opened? If we let you return it, we have to throw it away."

"No. I understand that. But as a consumer, I have rights," I replied. "For instance, I have the right to know BEFORE I purchase a product that I will not be able to return it. So, show me the sign or give me my money."

She sighed. She rolled her eyes. She stared at me. But wrong is wrong, so when she was done, she instructed the lady from customer service to refund my money.

I didn't want it. As I initially intended to, I just returned the tablets for liquid gels. And walked my 9 year old, who was with me during all this, through the lesson of "When you are right, you don't have to be ugly, stay calm, and stand your ground."

I'm a little disappointed by what happened at Walmart. I spend WAY too much money there, and will rethink that decision. I don't want to support a company that would try to pull a fast one on me.

Like the title implies, you MUST know your consumer rights, and exert them.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Light at the end of a long, dark tunnel

I've just arrived. . I'm now able to walk in the light after an 11 month walk in a VERY long and dark tunnel that was filled with embarrassment, frustration, discouragement, anger, sadness, grief. . Just bad.

Here's what I've learned about the journey.

Yes, life is short, but take your time. Good things truly come to those who wait. And on the other side of that, BAD things come to those who rush.

Quick recap in case you missed it. . like I did.

When you're about to get married you feel all sorts of things: Happiness. . Butterflies. . Fear. . Excitement. . Anxiety. . but more than anything LOVE.

Now, that I am officially divorced - don't get all shocked, it's a WONDERFUL thing - I went back and read the last post I wrote before getting married 11 months ago, and I noticed something SO profound, I wish I would've caught it then. - http://lifeasitdoes.blogspot.com/2012/02/tomorrow-is-day.html.

I never said I felt loved. . or was in love. . Which is good. . at least, I'm honest, right?

I actually read all the posts I wrote to chronicle the path I took to the altar:
- http://lifeasitdoes.blogspot.com/2011/11/my-short-journey-to-altar.html
- http://lifeasitdoes.blogspot.com/2011/11/my-short-journey-to-altar-part-1-frank.html
- http://lifeasitdoes.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-short-journey-to-alter-part-3-hes.html

None of them. . not a one mention love. . or anything significant enough to justify the wrong path I took.

I'm still a little embarrassed. . but more relieved than anything. . It's over. . And today's a new day. .

Here's how I feel about this thing. EVERYONE makes mistakes. Just like everyone sins. You can judge me, but since I don't really care about your opinion, you may want to save the effort. I've already judged myself, and determined that I'm WONDERFUL. Imperfect, but wonderful all the same. You can't talk me out of it.

What you CAN do is to live life a day at a time. And like my Momma use to say, "Just keep saying good morning."

Today, I'm just thanking God that I lived to see morning. . where the joy is.

Hey, stay posted. I have a lot more dumb shit to do now that I've crossed this one off the list. . and hopefully a lot more good.