Tag Archive | Change a Life

Dreams. Impossible?!

“A slipper made of glass is just a shoe, and dreamers never make dreams come true” ~ Whitney Houston as Cinderella’s Fairy God Mother

I was sitting here watching Cinderella; the remake with Whitney Houston and Brandy Norwood, and I began to think about all of the Disney movies I watched as a little girl. My cousins and I had an uncle who would buy us Disney movies for every holiday. I had my own Disney collection: Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, The Fox and the Hound, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 101 Dalmatians, Pinocchio, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast… The list goes on. I also had non-Disney movies like Thumbelina, All Dogs go to Heaven, and Charlotte’s Web.

I enjoyed watching these movies as a child. I was captivated by the characters, and I became intertwined in their animated lives. They had dreams, and their dreams came true. The impossible became possible. The movies made you believe in something more than what was right in front of you when you turned off the TV. I wanted to live happily ever after – like Cinderella and the Mermaid. I wanted my dreams to come true like Pinocchio. I wanted “hakuna matata” like on the Lion King – no worries for the rest of my days. Those were the days…

The thing is I didn’t realize the struggles that the characters went through in order to get to their “happily ever after”. I didn’t realize the struggles I would have to go through to get to my happily ever after. Bad grades. Lost friendships. Broken heart. Unemployment. Family problems. These are just a few of the many struggles I’ve endured over the past 27 years.  Hakuna matata hasn’t been so true for me. I found myself getting emotional when watching Cinderella [I know, I know] because now I understand what she was talking about. Impossible – sometimes things seem impossible. You have dreams, but somewhere down the road you start to feel like they’ll never happen; like they’re impossible. Like Cinderella, there may come a time when you just want to run away from it all – give up. Not so quick though…

Look at this conversation between Cinderella (Brandy) and her fairy god mother (Whitney Houston)…

Cinderella: If impossible things are happening every day, then why shouldn’t I have impossible hopes and dreams – even something as impossible as going to the ball?

Fairy God Mother: Then go to the ball Cinderella. Go. No one’s stopping you, but you.

Cinderella: But, I have no way to get there.

Fairy God Mother: Hmm, you have a point there.

Cinderella: God mother, I’ve been wishing as hard as I can.

Fairy God Mother: I know you have Cinderella. Go on, stand over there…

** She does her magic. Last, but not least, she turns to Cinderella who’s looking at herself dressed in rags**

Fairy God Mother: Spin around. Don’t make me do all of the work.

Impossible – Brandy and Whitney Houston

Looking back over my life, I can really relate to this scene. We all go through hard times where we wonder if our dreams will ever come true, or if they’re just impossible. I know I did, especially after being laid off. When you open your eyes – and I mean really take a look around you – there are people who will help you. The thing is you have to be willing to help yourself first. Have a dream. Wish upon a star. But, don’t let that be all you do.

I had no idea what I wanted to do after being laid off. I was lost. All I knew was I wanted to help people. When teaching didn’t work out, I chose counseling. I applied for the program and went from there. Since then, I’ve sought help from family, friends, professors, etc. I’m open and honest about where I stand and I’m not afraid to ask for help. I try and help myself first though, and I believe that’s why others are so willing to give me a helping hand.

I know at times [we think] we don’t know how to help ourselves; how to get started. Don’t give up and get discouraged though. Write out your dream and seek out ways to make it happen. You can start by researching how others in your area of interest got started, set goals, research educational programs, etc. that will enhance your knowledge in that area. Ask for help. Be open to receiving help. Sometimes, the only person stopping you is you…

I can’t remember where I heard this, but I wanted to share. If you look at the word impossible you’ll see that it spells out “I’m Possible” just the same. So, never stop believing in your happily ever after. After all, impossible things are happening every day. It all starts with you!

There is Music in You – Whitney Houston

“You know the trouble with most people is they sit upon wishing for something to happen instead of just doing something about it” ~ Brandy as Cinderella talking to the Prince

~ Ciara Walker

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Resentment – My Journey

Earlier today, I was browsing Facebook and came across a friend’s link to Beyoncé performing her song Resentment. Now, I recently got the CD and I’ve listened to most of the songs, but I haven’t really listened to all the lyrics yet. So I listened to the song all the way through, and it really struck a nerve with me. Not just because I could feel Beyonce’s performance as she got deeper into the song, but because I could relate. I could relate to the thoughts and feelings along with the situation she described in the song. Being lied to is not an easy thing to overcome; and being betrayed by someone you love makes it even harder to do.

After watching the video, I went about my business and didn’t think much more about it. For some reason though, the word resentment was stuck in my head. I was thinking of how I understood what the song was saying about how hard it is to forget and move on from something, but I never thought that the reason was because I was holding on to resentment. Hmmm. I’m thinking that I had forgiven and, even though I haven’t been able to forget, forgiving was all I needed to do – for myself. I had done the hard part and forgiven those who hurt me, so why haven’t I been able to fully move past the hurt?! Could it be that I’ve been carrying resentment around with me?… I didn’t think or feel like I resented my Love. I just never thought about my feelings in that way. After listening to the song though, I realized that’s what’s been going on.

For those who don’t know, according to Merriam-Webster Resentment is: a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury. Sound familiar anyone? It did to me. See forgiving is a good first step, but forgetting is hard. It’s even harder though when you’re full of “displeasure or ill will at something [or someone] that/who is wrong, insulting, or hurtful”. Make sense? So now I’m wondering does it mean you haven’t really forgiven someone if you feel resentment… Part of me is thinking “no” because you can forgive someone and still dislike what they’ve done to you. I think what’s unhealthy and damaging is when we carry those negative feelings around with us instead of letting them go. And letting go can be challenging – I know. It is possible though – I believe.

When I realized my truth about dealing with resentment I began to see how it has affected some of my other relationships. You see, many times we feel wronged by family, friends, co-workers, church members, etc. [all the above for me] and whether we address those people or not we tend to hold on to the hurt and pain – or “displeasure and ill will” – we feel towards them. As a result we shut down, avoid them, lash out, etc. In the end, we’re left with relationships more damaged than when the damage was done. I know – this is my truth. What about yours?

As I said earlier, letting go isn’t an easy task, but I do believe it’s so worth it in the end. The first step is realizing and admitting what’s going on. Sometimes when we think we’re on the right path to happiness, we wonder why we keep hitting roadblocks. Many people say roadblocks are lessons to make us stronger/wiser along the way – I agree. I say, the other few are stumbling blocks falling out of the load we’re carrying with us – so let go of your load.

~ Ciara L. Walker

“Holding a grudge & harboring anger/resentment is poison to the soul. Get even with people…but not those who have hurt us, forget them, instead get even with those who have helped us.” ― Steve Maraboli

Job Searching – My Journey

Searching for a job is a JOB itself! After two years of grad school, I’m back to where I started in December 2006 after graduating with a Bachelors and where I found myself in March 2009 after being laid off from my first “real” job after college. It took me ten months to land that job too, and it was my “dream” job – working at a magazine. At least it was my dream at the time. Ten months of completing applications, making follow-up calls, going to interviews – many times with no feedback or response from employers – whew, just the thought.

It was worse the second time around after being laid off and spending about a year job searching. I thought surely I’d find a job with my experience, but to no avail. Once again, I was submitting my updated resume, completing applications, making follow-up calls, and going to interviews – and the phone, it barely rang; my inbox, it rarely got a response email; me, I was barely making it. I was 24 and unemployed with bills to pay. I hit a low point. I withdrew from family and friends – I just wanted to be alone. Thankfully, I was blessed to be living with aunts who understood my plight and helped me along the way – as well as other friends and family members. Nevertheless, I knew my journey had to continue. After the first six months of job searching, I decided it was time to go back to school. I had thought about getting my Masters and now seemed like a good time to do so. I began by looking at alternative routes for teaching that offered an advanced degree. When those didn’t work out, I decided to look into Master Programs. Within the next few months I had decided on a program, moved home, applied, interviewed, and gotten accepted – but, the job search continued.

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THANK YOU for the INSPIRATION

This has been an interesting school year. In my last post I was entering the last year of my Master’s program and beginning practicum/internship. I had no idea what was in store for me. Great things. Great people. Granted, there were a few hiccups along the way due to differences in communication, but when looking at the “big picture” I can truly say I had a successful year overall. My purpose was to help others and that’s what I did. I spent the last year working with a university program for students on academic probation and with the university’s counseling center. It was a little stressful and time-consuming at times [the admin part], but most of the time it was fun, interesting, uplifting, eye-opening, and INSPIRING!

I worked with students ranging from freshmen to 2nd-year seniors of all ages, races, majors, socio-economic statuses, etc. They were all different, but they all had one thing in common: In their own little way, they inspired me. You see, I was there to help them. Life had thrown them a curve ball and they were picking themselves up and dusting off while I was there to help them find their way to first base. In the process [on the way to first base], many of them shared the details of their struggle [the curve ball] and I was inspired by their strength and their determination. Now, if you were to ask them about this strength and determination that I speak of some would probably deny its existence. But, I saw what many of them were unable to see – what many others don’t take the time to see. I saw them from the inside out – and I was truly inspired.

Today, I just want to say Thank You – not only to my students, but also to the students around the world that they represent. So…

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Waiting to Exhale! part one.

And finally…I Exhaled!

One of my favorite movies!

It’s been a long time coming. For the last two years, I’ve been inhaling and inhaling – the disappointment, the hurt, the pain, the negative urges… Oh, the things I wanted to say and the things I wanted to do – but never acted on – well, except for those few times I allowed myself to stoop. Those were the times I exhaled a little. But those exhales weren’t filled with relief; they were filled with the hurt, pain, and anger that I wanted to release. And yet, I still  found myself hurting. And so goes my journey to truly exhale…

I was hurting on the inside from something that was done to me. Initially, I responded in a positive way, but somewhere along the [communication] lines things got negative. “What about my hurt and my pain,” I thought. “What about the things that were said and done to me”? “Did anyone think about my feelings”? “Did anyone care”? I believe that actions speak louder than words. First, the actions were foul – and now, so were the words. So, I retaliated [verbally].

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If You Really Knew Me

“If You Really Knew Me” is a TV show about breaking down barriers between students in high schools. It inspired me to write this post. What if we, as young men and young women, start working together to break down the barriers between us?! What if we start being the change that we want to see in generations to come?!

Looking at a situation from different perspectives and considering another person’s feelings is not always easy – especially when our own feelings are involved. However, after going through my own experiences and starting my journey as a budding counselor, I know that it IS possible! I’m aware that some people will be with me on this, and some people won’t. That’s Okay! My purpose in writing this is to give you something to think about. And I’m doing it in my own special way, so… Enjoy!

*Try to personalize this. Read it from your perspective, and then read it from another person’s perspective (maybe someone who has caused you pain OR who you’ve caused pain). It may not have the same effect on everyone, but hopefully it’ll get you to thinking…

If You Really Knew Me!

We are all different
And yet we’re still the same
We laugh
We cry
We have feelings
And we feel pain

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My Black is Beautiful, and so is Yours!

As I sit here and write this, I am watching the Tyra Show and today’s topic is “Bleaching for Beauty”. She’s talking to six Black women who bleach their skin because they are a darker complexion/dark skin and wish to be a lighter complexion/light skin. They feel “ugly” and inferior because of the color of their skin.    

Beauty and what it means to be beautiful has been an ongoing issue with people in general, but more specifically with women – from young girls, to teens, to young and older women. Well, for some women in the Black community this issue runs deep – skin deep. To them, beauty is defined by the complexion of their skin. And according to the women on Tyra’s show and many other women in our community, Black is most beautiful when it is a lighter complexion, complimented by a “good” grade of long hair and a set of light-colored eyes.    

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