Are you always on time? Early?  Do you turn in your projects weeks before deadline? Are you the person who has their Christmas shopping done with the presents wrapped by October? Do you plan meals out for months in advance?  Do you follow your budget?  Are you disciplined?

Then this post is NOT for you.  It’s for the procrastinators such as myself.  But if you’re orderly, we still love you. In fact, us procrastinators need you in our lives.

Hello, my name is Raegan Mathis and I am President and Founder of the Negro Procrastination Society for Colored Folk.

I accepted this position last week after God and I had a talk.  Actually, we were boxing – I box with Him a lot.  I lose all the time, but I’m like Jacob in that way.  We have regular talks about blessings.  This time was no different – I still lost. I win, because I lost.

Mostly because I felt convicted about the areas of my life where I’m slacking.  There was this realization I’m giving too much attention to the wrong areas of my life.  It’s more so that the priorities I have are being set out in the wrong order.  Period.  I have priorities.  However all of them aren’t in first place for attention.  Not only that, but I’m not working at my best possible potential and I need to figure out why.  Is it fear? If so, of what?

Really, it comes down to compartmentalizing and focusing respectively on things in a more efficient and satisfying way than I have been.

In other words, it’s time to go hard or go home. It basically comes down to the fact that I need to stop that shit.  At this point in my life, there is too much at stake to lose something because I sit on the opportunity until the last minute,  then want to cry and lay out because I missed out.  I have control over seizing those opportunities or not.

What’s interesting is I don’t know where I get this procrastination gene from.  Both of my parents are mad organized and in fact have OCD to a certain extent about how they want things, about being on time, about planning early to the best of their abilities. I am really crazy about certain things – like the bathroom and kitchen being clean, my bedroom being clean, no dishes in the sink, whether or not I turned the stove off (I’ve been known to come back home and check it), I check for my phone, keys and wallet all the time.  I know.  But when it comes down to work – job, blog, book, apps for opportunities, business things for life, I clock out sometimes.  I wait until the very last minute to make things happen.

I think it’s because I’ve gotten away with it too many times.  There have been so many times, I’ve been able to “pull it off” so to speak that I’m exhilarated by the rush I get when make things happen.  But why do I have to be like that? That whole – let me leave at 3pm when I know I have a flight at 5pm and it might take 45 minutes to get to the airport, but I’ll make it business…is not the business.  It’s almost like I’m daring myself to see if I can do it.

It’s the wrong attitude.

I don’t want to keep testing the waters on things.  I just need to get busy and at the very least, do the work I need to do.  Be on time, be early.  Get the work done I’ve set out to do or have on my plate.

I mean, how else do you succeed? Sure there are people who receive everything just handed to them – but there’s a cost.  There’s always a cost.  Procrastination has a cost too.  And I can definitely say I’ve paid the price for it over the years.  I was thinking about two things – Marianne Williamson said, if I may paraphrase it to read as I understand it – that God basically holds your blessings for you.  They are yours.  So it’s not like He’s out here giving away your book deal or that house you have your eyes on.  Then there is the other side – how many times was God ready to give me something but I wasn’t ready?  I hadn’t done the necessary work to even handle what He was going to put on the table.   So I’m the one who’s holding God up?  How is He going to give me anything else when I’m not properly caring for what He’s given me now?

Yeah, I need to get myself together.

As we watch people succeed and get the things they want out of life, it’s not that they’re smarter or better.  Maybe they are better at what they’re doing than others, but mostly it’s because they are working.  And they’re working hard.  They’re working when we’re procrastinating.  They’re up making designs and plans.  In other words, excuse my french, they’re not fucking around all the time.

Procrastinators are a unique group.  I’ve read something to the tune of us being perfectionists.  We wait until the last minute because we know we won’t get it just the way we want it.  Again, my theory is that I’m bored and not using my gifts in the right way – mostly why I started this blog.  This for sure happens at work where I have a project that has 7568 parts to it or more and I’m like ohhh, lemme just wait one week until it’s due and I have to stay up all night, all week, in order to get it done. Who does that? I do.

I also believe many procrastinators are at damn near genius level.  Like how else, besides for the grace of God do we manage to pull things off? That’s a blessing.  That’s ingenuity.  But we’re using that power in the wrong way.

It should be used to get ahead – not keep up.

I know if I stopped procrastinating, I’d win more.  I wouldn’t have room to be upset.  I’d know I had put forth my best effort. Procrastination is self-sabotage in it’s worst form.  Mostly because it’s a silent, slow way to sabotage our own success.

Fact: Did you know that ONE(1) hour of proper planning will save you 200 hours of correction?

I want you to think about it.  How many hours have I spent chasing my tail all because I was too lazy, too afraid, too nervous, too whatever to do the one hour of work I needed to do that would change my life?

Look, planning and preparation and the non-slack for whatever it is I want to do will not only bless and honor my life, but it gives me the chance to bless and honor the lives of my family and friends.  I get to help them when I have time and money.  I love my life and I love myself.  When I’m procrastinating all of the time, it doesn’t show the love.  When I procrastinate, I’m saying things aren’t important enough, I’m not important enough, to handle these things in advance.

I call foolishness and bullshit.  Because we know better.  I’ve been out here doing what I want to do, when I should be doing what I’m supposed to do.

Sidenote: I started reading Judy Smith’s Good Self, Bad Self and it’s about managing your good and bad qualities (self) to avoid crisis. She says the very qualities that make us successful are the same ones that can take us down.  The quality in itself has both a good property when managed correctly and a bad one when not – opposite sides of the coin.  That thing right there sat me down and made me think.  I’m still reading and still thinking.  Like – if I know by waiting until the last minute will produce nothing but a headache and possible failure, why do I do it?  Is that a quality I can turn on it’s head?  What’s the opposite side of this and how do I get to it? When I get the answers – because I will – I will report back.  Wayment – do you know the answer to this? Leave me a comment below.

One other thing, sometimes, procrastinating makes us feel better.  Having to actually DO something may mean it’s not something we hate or dread.  In fact, maybe we know it’s going to be painful.  Hence why we’re ignoring it.  Hmmmm….but maybe it still needs to be done.  There’s too much to list on all of the things I don’t want to do, but I will say when I do the things I’ve been avoiding, I feel better about myself and it causes less worry.  Avoidance doesn’t make the matter go away. It’s like hiding under the covers as a child from the monsters in your closet. If they really are in there do the covers save us?

So today, if there’s something you’ve been putting off that you know will benefit your life, let’s stop right now and spend one uninterrupted hour just doing that thing.  It may be research, a phone call, looking for something you’ve lost, prepping your family for something, putting in that job application, going to the doctor,  searching for new opportunities or brainstorming.  It could also mean, just cleaning your house so you can see the floor and actually use your kitchen.  I’m just saying.

What’s been your experience procrastinating? Any recovering procrastinators out there? Any advice on how you managed to change?  Comment below or tweet me @fromraewithlove.  If you’d like to join the Negro Procrastination Society, just tweet me and let me know.  We’ll have to keep an eye on each other.

I’m going to do better.  We’re going to do better.

Love,

Rae

My name is Blossom
I was raised in a lions den
My name is Blossom
I was raised in a lions den
My nightly occupation
Stealing other womens men
I’m an evil evil woman
But I want to do a man some good
I’m an evil evil woman
But I want to do a man some good
I’m Gina Lola Bridgietta
I ain’t red riding hood
If you don’t like my peaches, baby, why do you shake my tree?
If you don’t like my peaches, baby, why do you shake my tree?
Get out of my orchid, baby
Let my peach tree be
Now don’t you ooh skoodla doo skoodli dee
And I won’t ya ya doo doo
If you don’t ooh skookdla doo
Then I won’t ya ya doo doo
So don’t you ooh skoodla doo skoodli dee
And I won’t ya ya doo doo
Some men like me cause I’m happy
Some think I’m snappy
Some call me honey
And some think I’ve got
But Grey Brown told me that I was built for speed
You put them all together
Everything a good man needs
You put them all together
Everything a good man needs

– Blossom’s Blues

The titles says it all.  Do you understand what it really means?

In my version, it asks what does it mean to really have someone who’s interested in you?  Or not.  I mean, in other words….

If you’re not interested, why are you steaming up my tail???

It may be Blossom’s Blues, but damn if I don’t know what the hell she’s talking about.

Ever been with someone who is hot one day and cold the next?  I can’t.  I think I used to be able to tolerate it, but at this point in the game, I can’t handle it any more.  So, if you’re shaking my tree, you better be loving these peaches.

Was just listening to this song the other day coming home thinking about all of the places and stages of being I’ve been in with relationships.  You’re into him, he’s not into you.  He’s into you, you’re not into him. The two of you are just friends with benefits.  You are getting benefits, he’s getting none.  He’s getting benefits…you’re getting few.  Y’all bye.  I can’t!!!!  Does anyone feel me?

I think about this time last year and I was in a totally different dynamic than I am now.  In fact, I feel bad for that position that I was in at the time.  It wasn’t something I would take on now.  I should have been in a very different position altogether.  While I wouldn’t do it again, I am thankful for the lessons it taught me because it launched me on to other lessons that needed to be learned during 2011 so I could move on to the goodness of 2012.  And trust me — 2012 is shaping up to be beautiful.  I am thankful for all of God’s blessings.

Funny how God allows you to go through certain things, plow through the fields and the layers in order to get to your best self, your best life, your best “crop” so to speak.

I say all that to say, I’m working on a balance as we speak.   Accepting grace.  Putting it all together.  Preserving my peaches.  No more tree shaking for me.

Where are you in this year?  Allowing people to shake your tree? Collecting and preserving your own peaches?  I mean, tell me…how are you?

Some golf clubs impose dress codes on their patrons. They usually prefer players to wear collared shirts with plackets instead of shirts with V or U-shaped necks. If you’re planning to buy golf shirts, they can be purchased in shops selling sporting items. They are also available in online stores offering golf equipment.

Looking for these shirts is easy, but searching for the one that suits you best can be a little bit tricky. You must consider certain things when buying golf shirts so that you’ll be able to find the right one.

To know more on how to buy these shirts, here are the factors that will help consumers locate the perfect shirt for them.

Size

It’s very important to find a shirt that fits. If you will buy one that doesn’t fit, you won’t be able to feel comfortable when playing a game. It will be hard for you to move and that can definitely affect the way you play golf.

To avoid these things from happening, make sure to measure your body first. You should know the right shirt size for you. Get a measuring tape and start measuring your neck, chest, and arms. To ensure that you’ll be able to find a shirt that fits perfectly, compare your measurements to a particular seller’s size chart. If your measurements are closer to the large one, start looking for L-sized shirts.

Sleeve Length

When buying golf shirts, it’s important to consider a shirt’s sleeve length as well.

Aside from the regular short sleeved ones, there are shirts that have ¾ or long sleeves. If you want to protect your arms from the sun, you can go for long sleeved shirts. They are also ideal for places with cold weather. Short sleeved ones, on the other hand, can be worn in areas with tropical climate.

Material

Take note of the material used for making the shirts. Golf shirts are usually made from materials like cotton and polyester. Cotton shirts are very soft and comfy to wear but they are usually prone to shrinkage and wrinkling than polyester. They are also more expensive than the other.

Polyester shirts, on the other hand, is durable and not prone to shrinkage. If you’re the type who sweats frequently, these shirts are not recommended for you. They are not breathable and it will take time for them to dry when wet. Polyesters are also not ideal for those with skin allergies. Manufacturers usually utilize various chemicals to make these materials.

Shirt Seller

When buying shirts, don’t forget to consider the seller as well. Look for a seller that offers original products. Go for the ones with good reputation. To avoid scams, make sure to check online reviews about a particular seller. An ideal store should also provide important details about its products.

Brand

To ensure that your shirt is of excellent quality, buy a shirt that is made by a famous brand. If it’s made by a trusted brand, it will be easy for you to look for more details about a certain shirt model. You’ll know if it’s suited for golfers or not.

Price

As much as possible, get an affordable shirt from a reliable brand. Check the online stores for sales and discounts. You can get a polo shirt for as low as $12. There are also shirts that cost around $20-$30. Prices usually depend on the brand and material used for making the shirts. Rockbottomgolf are provide best quality  material and affordable golf shirt.

Design

Don’t forget about the shirt’s design. Go for a shirt that features your favorite color or pattern. Just make sure that it’s comfortable and durable.

Residents and businesses, at some point in time, have the tendency to accumulate a lot of stocks that are bulky and take up a lot of space in their homes or offices. The space used up by these extra items could have been used for a different purpose. Some businesses may also call for extra storage or office space, especially when there is a renovation or transfer to a new location underway. Moveablecontainer are provide the best storage or office space.

One option is to store these stocks in a self-storage facility or physical warehouse being leased for a certain period of time. However, these are fixed locations that cannot afford the advantage of easier transport of items. If there is a need to move to a different location, the items need to be removed from the storage by batch and transport them to the intended destination. In some cases, they will even be put in another self-storage facility. This is a rather expensive option in the long run for both residents and businesses.

Different Storage Need Of Storage Containers :

This is where our ground-level storage containers come in. Our storage container is a more practical and cost-efficient method of storing excess office stocks, compared to leaving them in a self-storage facility. Getting items from and storing new stocks in ground-level containers are easier with no more need for cranes, ramps, or other specialty equipment. A ground-level container also has the additional advantage of easy transport from one place to another. It simply needs to be attached to the back of a flatbed truck and driven to the intended destination.

 

Items stored in these can be delivered in one go, compared to the usual method. The per-batch system companies usually call for multiple trips to the storage facility or warehouse – requiring a fleet of trucks to perform and additional expenses. A single storage container can easily do the work of multiple trucks when it comes to transferring and delivering stocks from one place to another.

Storage capacity is never a problem with ground-level containers. One storage container can easily hold about twice, thrice, or even more than the usual capacity of a conventional self-storage unit in any given location. While it cannot match the larger capacity of a regular warehouse, a ground-level container offers the portability and ease of travel that a physical structure cannot. For land travel, storage containers can be attached to the back of flatbed trucks and driven as mentioned above. It is also suitable for oversea travel, by simply loading it onto a marine cargo vessel or tanker.

It’s no wonder why consumer goods shipped to other countries are loaded inside a storage container. In fact, a common sight in trading ports all around the world are storage containers stacked on top of the other – being transported to different portions of the port by a crane. The advent of storage containers and their widespread use in the shipping industry has contributed to the affordability of international consumer trade and the introduction of new products in various markets. Today, these containers are set to revolutionize the warehousing industry by serving as an affordable and portable alternative to the storage needs of customers.

 

Our ground-level storage containers are the best storage options for office remodeling and renovation. They can simply be locked for security and left near the construction site, so that the items stored inside can be immediately brought in once the construction phase is complete. The windproof and waterproof qualities of our storage container can protect valuable stocks from the elements, and a mechanically sound construction enables the integrity of the items inside it. We offer containers with massive storage capacity and, coupled with a large door opening, these items can accommodate both large and small goods for safekeeping.

Another novel way of utilizing our ground-level storage containers is to convert them to temporary office spaces. These mobile office spaces can withstand the elements, thanks to their excellent container construction. Businesses are assured of continued productivity without any structural issues or physical setbacks during your use of the container despite lacking the luxury of a permanent office space.

However, some customers have hesitations when it comes to making use of ground-level containers for their excess inventory – which is understandable. However, with a dependable container, which is something that you can get from us, these fears can be allayed. Our storage containers are made of metal, which is leagues stronger than any other packaging or storage material in the market today. We make sure that our containers provide sufficient protection from external elements, reliable security against potential theft, and structural integrity to maintain the quality of the goods kept inside them.

People who wish to buy research chemicals should be aware of some basic information. Compounds termed as research chemicals are simply substances that have not been tested thoroughly. Most of them have not been used by humans. While some companies use these chemicals for pure research, some of them have been used as stimulants, psychedelics, and depressants. Despite what other sellers claim, research chemicals are not herbal medicine or safer alternatives to dangerous drugs.

Inquire information

Complete and unbiased information on all research chemicals can be difficult to find. Fortunately, there is still enough information about them which can greatly help you if you wish to buy research chemicals.

Internet searches can greatly help you understand about each chemical that you wish to buy. You can also look for experts that have enough knowledge on the subject. Medical journals, academic conferences and discussion forums can also help. However, be wary that not all information is equal. It is also possible that other scientist and doctors are not aware of a particular chemical that you are looking for.

One of the best places to start your search is TiHKAL and PiHKAL. You can then proceed to literary search if you want more scientific results. You can also try using public law searches to see if it is covered by any existing laws in your area. Do this as a precautionary measure since the use of certain research chemicals can be limited in accordance to law.

Also, it is important that you acquire more information about the research chemicals beyond their effects. You need to investigate their sources and how they work on different organisms. You should also be aware of how the drug is administered and metabolized in the body. Conduct a research on basic chemistry, pharmacy, and scientific balances.

Most chemical journals are fairly accurate on their publications. However, there are no guarantees about the information posted by those who make ‘trip reports’ or state personal opinions about their experiences. One testimonial can be fact or it can be a hoax. Also, everyone has different biochemistry so the applicable dosage of one person may cause severe side effects to another. Individuals who buy research chemicals and ingest them do not really know the exact amount of what they are ingesting.

Acquiring compounds to research

In the past, most people buy research chemicals in the United States through online transactions. The compounds are widely sold and are have a generally high quality. Any research chemicals made from commercial lab with a completely analysis is considered to have the highest quality. It should be wise to conduct as composition test to verify its purity.

Also, you have to consider that even if the research chemicals are legal in the country you are it, suppliers may still be wary of selling research chemicals to non-institutional researches. Ordering from a different country can also pose complications. Packages with powders and pills are often scrutinized by the customs. Even if there are no charges brought to you, they can still be seized by authority. Paying in different currency can also be challenging since both parties may not agree on a price.

Verify the compounds

Some manufacturing companies are willing to conduct their own synthesis or may partner with an independent laboratory to test the chemicals. Some countries also have harm reduction policies that can provide you with some testing. Remember that compounds like pills and blotter can be more difficult to verify than others. Never assume that the amount stated in the label is exact. You can measure the mass 5-10 times and take the average.

One-Drop

I’m fairly sure writers and other artists lie and tell the truth at the same time. It’s a game of survival when we feel most vulnerable.  We say it’s ok even when it’s not. We say we’re ok when we’re not.  Mostly because we often have a story to tell, a job to do.  We channel it through our writing, our photos.  It happens unexpectedly.

While I’ve talked about writing and the struggle to write about a personal life when you’re not sure of the stories you can tell, I also know you can tell quite a bit from the things people aren’t saying as well as what they choose to show.

Writers-and-Truth

The stories we choose to tell are just as important as the posts we choose to write.  It’s not easy.  The coating and all of the layers we wear makes us wonder what color the story was at the beginning.

I myself can tell you, often there’s a hidden meaning or a hidden story behind every post.  Every photo.  Sometimes I know what it is upfront and other times I see it later.  It happens as a “oh that’s why I was feeling that way” or a “wow I didn’t realize the connection when I took this photo or wrote this down.”

What’s more interesting is how photographing my life has been life-changing over the last few months. I’ve been known to take thousands of photos on my phones over the years. I just never shared them.  I was reading Karen Walrond’s blog Chookooloonks and love what she said:

I think a great photograph reveals almost as much about the photographer as it does about the subject of the image.  ~ Karen Walrond

Over the years, taking photos has helped me pay more attention, hone my eye for the things I love and I’d rather say see things differently.  Not to mention – I’m STILL learning about myself with a new camera and the things I’m able to capture.  About the things I find amazing and beautiful.

Capturing photos has truly been a way to tell the story.  To tell a story that I may not have seen was there before.  Capturing images also relieves a writer from having to bear his or her soul when they can’t put the words on the page that day.

I dare say, it’s brought me closer to myself and God.  I get to notice the beauty He creates along with the challenge of capturing it the way my eyes and spirit see it.  I’m relieved to have the camera.  It’s been the best gift I’ve bought myself in possibly ever.  It’s forcing me to peel back the layers and stay true to myself.  Funny how something seemingly so simple can cause the largest shift.  Something that should have been obvious was hidden to even me.

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Layers

Journal-1060-1024x682

When you’re blogging, how much do you suffer through in the attempt to tell the truth?  How much do you reveal to people?

As a writer, who blogs about her life, I’m often at odds with how much I can actually tell, what I can actually share.  It’s one of those conundrums where we reach an intersection of the “let me maintain some privacy and not embarrass my family and friends” x “I feel trapped because I can’t share these things that happened.”

I mean, I could talk about the dates I’d gone on some years ago, past relationships. Most of that stuff has expired. The situations that didn’t work out and why.  I can talk about the things that happened in my twenties.  But what happens when I want to tell the story of a date that failed – recently?  Honestly, some of the best blog moments and juiciest tidbits have happened in the last few of years. It’s when life became even MORE interesting and fabulous.

What about working through some current personal issue and how complicated it is? I find there is really only space for that sort of cathartic writing – in a journal.  The one that will only be published after I’m dead.

I met a man on the train sometime last summer.  He lives around where I live, a few blocks actually.  Handsome, tall. We stared at each other on the platform for a while.  When the train came, I sat in the second seat from the one open to the aisle.  He sat in front of me.  I knew him.  But you know, DC is small.  Small small.  If you start going out, attending events, go out long enough, it shrinks.

Within a few minutes as the train went from in the darkness of the tunnels across the Anacostia River, we were talking and exchanging the usual pleasantries.  I found out he was best friends with someone I went to high school with in Alabama.  Mind you we’re in DC.  I realize he knows a lot of the same people I know.  There was a moment of hesitation because you’re guaranteed that he will ask this person about who you are…and I wasn’t the girl who was popular in high school.  I mean I was there.  I had friends, I was present.  But I wasn’t part of the “in” crowd. College and a stint of sitting out of college led to many nights out between Birmingham, Huntsville and Atlanta.  Also small.  It all shrinks.  But still… sometimes you still wonder how you were perceived then.  How you’re perceived now even. By now, because we know the same people, there’s still some kindred.

When I gave him my card, there was a hesitation.  ”Oh, you’re a blogger.” He quipped.  I asked what do you mean by that? He said “well, I hate bloggers.  They never have anything good to say.”

And there it was.  It’s not the first time I’ve heard this come from someone’s mouth.  It won’t be the last.  It’s the bloggers who have no concern for what they write and who or how they write about the person or the event. [see certain articles about certain bloggers who have recently been in the news]

But the damage was already done.  We talked for a bit longer and but you could tell he would be reluctant to say anything else to me.  It’s unfortunate.  I never did speak with him again.  I figured I’d see him around in the neighborhood.  Most who know me, come here to read the blog know I’m against embarrassing people.  I know how it feels to have the rug pulled out from under you.  I don’t ever want to be the “blogger” or the woman people don’t want to be around for fear that your story, something you said to me in confidence will end up on the web.

I’m of the rule, that if you upset me, I will most definitely write about it.  It just won’t reach daylight for the eyes of others.  I also may just use it in a short story or novel somewhere changing a few parts.  Maybe that’s not fair – but no one will ever know who the person of offense was.

One of the tenets I go by is if I want to tell someone else’s story on here, I speak with them about it first.  If it’s OUR story together, then I also try to make it plain it’s from my point of view. Which means there will always be some bias because it’s mine.

More days than I’d like to admit, I suffer and struggle, teetering on the edge of what I should tell and what I shouldn’t.  What I should discuss and what I shouldn’t.  What if such and such reads this?  What if my father decides he wants to Google me today and comes across this specific post?  More of it is am I ready to stand with what I’m publishing here on the blog today?  I realize, even as a blogger, I’m one who chooses to protect others.

Mostly, I ask myself – what am I trying to accomplish?  What do I accomplish by speaking negatively about someone or an event?  What would be the point in that?  What impression am I trying to leave with others?  While I can’t control how people view me, I know I have full control of what I release and put out into the Universe and onto the net.  Anytime I press publish or schedule a post, I am fully aware of what I’m doing.

It doesn’t mean I can’t speak about difficult subjects or topics.  It doesn’t mean I can’t talk about others.  But when I know them, there’s a process.  If I don’t know them, I try to take a full view of the situation.

I also realize, no matter how well-intentioned some posts are, there are people who misconstrue and warp what I’m trying to say.  People who will say “that’s not true!” Or people who will say “this doesn’t seem right.”

It’s not my job to control interpretation.  It’s my job to write.  It’s my job to be fair, to inspire and to encourage.

If my friend from the train, many months ago reads this, just know I heard you.  I want other bloggers to hear you too.

IMG_0946-1024x682

Chambray.  I have a well-known adoration for the fabric.  It’s the fabric that looks like denim, but feels like heaven.  It’s soft.  Sidenote: I’m always looking for new items in chambray. But the history of the fabric is even more interesting than my love for it.

Chambray was the fabric used for official Navy uniforms during WWII and became a staple of factory and defense workers – along with all of those doing manual labor.  Hence why the term “blue collar” worker arose.  The fabric and the shirt are synonymous with American workers.

I realized this would be a grind year. I dubbed it the “Blue Collar Work Year” far ahead.  Mostly because I know what needs to be done. A lot of work. Good and necessary work – still a lot of it.  Some of the work won’t be pretty, but it’s absolutely necessary.  It’s like ordering a Sears house kit and having to build a little bit every night when you get home.  You call your friends over to help you build the house.  You work on it daily. You may even find you have to hire people to help you build it.

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The Sears Kit house. My love for bungalows also knows no bounds.

This little house is so perfect.  It would have been the house I would have ordered, wanted to build.  I still want to build it honestly.  Peep how the description of the house reads “This design embodies strength, dignity and gracefulness.  It presents a most pleasing appearance and is of a character that will long retain popular favor.”  I want my life to read like this.  I need my life to reflect these qualities.  I’m well on my way.  However, the Sears house kit and chambray pretty much symbolize my life.

Yup – it’s that sort of year.  The work where you find you’re tired but satisfied because you can see progress and the progress keeps you motivated to do more, be faster, do better.

I’ve had fires turned up under my ass as the years have gone by.  Deadlines, relationships, wanting to impress other people.  It’s part of the process of being young at times.  But this year feels different.  Because it is.  I’m not focused on the same things as I used to be.  But it happens like then when life gets real.  I lost my the tolerance and care for the bullshit. I even call bullshit on myself.  I mean who gon’ check me boo?

I’ve also let a lot of things slide over the years.  Work needing to be done.   Sometimes it’s the things that are biggest on the list.  The things that need to be done but you’re afraid to accomplish, tackle, deal with – whatever it is.

I keep talking about it because it’s something each of us has to deal with – I mean, if you’re not dealing with it and haven’t had to – then you and I need to talk.  You’re not afraid of anything? There’s nothing you put off?

I think of my grandparents often.  My grandmother used to work in a defense plant here in Maryland.  She and her sister would ride across the Delaware line to work every day. My grandfather worked in a tire plant, making tires for over 30 years.  My parents have worked extremely hard.  When I was telling my Dad it was about to be a blue collar grind year, he chuckled and said “I know about those.”  This space is just a year where things that need to change, are changing and being changed.  It’s a process.

It used to be that houses took a year or more to build.  Possibly because people were ordering Sears house kits and needed to start from scratch, or at least with a solid foundation.  I’m heading back to the old model of structuring my life.  Maybe that’s why the houses have lasted through the years.

I’m thankful for the ability to plan, work, build and the hope of a lasting product and a good life.

What’s your year look like?  Is it a year of work?  A year of reaping the benefits?  Strategizing? Planning? Building?  Loving?  All of the above?

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In this photo above are you focused on the branch or the sunset?  Yup – hard to decide isn’t it?  That’s how it feels when you’re writing and trying to avoid distractions.  Some days I’m not sure what’s easiest to focus on. The branch, the sunset or the branch against the sunset.

I, Rae, the owner of this blog should be writing at this time.  I am – technically. I’m writing this post.  In the midst of making coffee, I realized I might be avoiding the obvious. Actually sitting down and writing.  When I heard the amazing Berniece McFadden talk about her ways of avoiding sitting in the chair and writing in 2012, I didn’t feel as alone anymore.  Here I was thinking I was fearful and lazy (when it comes to writing anyway).  Come to find out, that’s not really the case.  It’s something most writers do.  I’m not sure if painters, sculptors and the like do it as well, but I can see where depending on the art, the avoidance may be different.

I thought I would take a moment to talk about it.

The Avoidance Tactics

Writing this Blog Post

Listen, when I can’t sit and write stories – which seems to be an issue at this time, then I just end up here on the blog and jot a few notes down.  However, it can be a time suck because the MOMENT the publish button hits, then most of us are looking to see if there are any views, feedback, comments, etc.

Feeding the Birds

I sat here for a good while and watched the birds as I put out food for them. I have a lot of blue jays that appear here.  Who would’ve figured back here in the hood? But the way the trees are on my side of the building it seems to be an area, the birds, cats, possums and whatever else happens to enjoy.

Taking Photos

While this isn’t a futile endeavor, I keep staring out the window at this shot I want to take of the raindrops on the tree.  Then I devise that I might want to use various lenses.  Then the tripod comes out.  Tuh!  You get the idea. Note: that’s not to say I won’t stop and take the photo if I need to.  I realized the other week when @socamom and I were out shooting still shots in the city, it’s important to get the photo when you see it.  The light, that moment, that thing may not be there again. I’ll also add, the photos are the most productive distraction to date.  I still got that photo though.  I just snapped.  Through the window.  See how pretty and sparkly the rain drops are? You’d be distracted too.

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Cleaning | Cooking | Domestic Behavior

I went into the kitchen, made coffee and started the dishwasher.  But somehow, as I looked around I was thinking to myself – I should clean the table off.  As I type this, the table is yelling at me from behind.  I can’t stop thinking about it.  Or the laundry.  Or how I want to re-arrange the books then go and take my closet apart and re-arrange it too. Or I start looking at recipes.  Which could then result in me going to the grocery store.

The Innanet | “Research” | Social Media

Listen. I can sit and do “research” for days.  Can’t most of us?  I’m not immune to it.  But it’s some bullshit sometimes.  Then as I wanted to start a story, I found myself thumbing through my Kindle wondering how other authors started their books.  I’m obsessed with the first pages of novels.

Comparison

The moment I start looking at stats, looking at sales, looking at hits.  Yeah.  It can bring me to that moment of wanting to believe I’m not good enough. Which then leads to the proverbial ‘fuck it.’  I work hard not to compare.  But every now and again, it’s difficult not to do.

The Solutions

No Social Media | Electronic Communication

I can’t tweet, email or do anything while I’m writing.  I need to sit here for a few hours and comb through my stuff.  Or comb through all of the snippets of unfinished stories I’ve already written. Some are stuffed in email (many) so I’m allowed to go through my drafts folder.

Alerting Others

I tell everyone I’m writing.  Basically in Rae-speak that means – I’m not available.  Unless you’re dying – or someone we know and love is dying – please leave me alone until I come up for air. Writers need an extraordinary amount of solitude.  I also have loved ones who will check in and ask me if I’m writing or working, how many words I wrote today.  You know. Basically a writing overseer.  What?  It really keeps me honest.

Reading

There are approved forms of reading material.  For me this may be starting a new novel or reading a short story.  It may mean going back to a previously read novel to re-read something that inspired me.  Sometimes, the reading is more of a case study than it is an escape. You may just need to look at how someone else did it just to find your voice.  That’s ok too.  I read a lot of content on other writers, publishing, etc.  Those are productive for me.

No TV

I have banned myself from turning on the tv and trying to write.  I’m one of the people who can write with music (a pre-designed playlist) or I can write in silence.  But TV?  Nope.  I’m guaranteed to be off watching it for hours.

Writing this Post

I’m about to sound like a hypocrite but, well, you know…. listen.  I wrote.  This post is currently 900 words.  Give or take.  I got some writing done.  I identified where I’m having issues.   That being said, I feel like I did something I was supposed to do.

What are your avoidance behaviors?  How do you fix them?

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[Eiteljorg Museum + Central Canal. Indianapolis 2013]

As 2013 winds down with just days before the New Year begins, I thought it would be great to do a post mash up.  First, if you’ve been reading From Rae with Love, I’m thankful for you. Each and every one of you.  All of you who comment, email, tweet, RT, watch the Stepsisters Blog, encourage me, talk with me off line and who I have grown to know and love – I really and truly am grateful.

The blog was born out of what I’d like to consider the smouldering ashes of a life needing examination.  Add the fact I was secretly writing and not ready to share anything and well, there was a ready platform for a blog. I never knew what would happen and if anyone would read it.  Turns out, more of you read it than I thought.  It also turns out, that I have a high percentage of male readers – who knew?  I wouldn’t have known unless I was paying attention to Google Analytics (also why it was important to move to a self-hosted blog).  Honestly, that anyone chooses to read any work and finds it great, amazing, inspiring is a honor and it’s humbling. The fact you’re reading my work and find it interesting is a blessing. Again, I can’t thank you enough.

Here are the Top 10 Posts of 2013 on From Rae With Love:

1.  29 Blog Prompts for Inspiration

2.  Lifestyle Blog? Meh

3.  21 Things Bloggers Do When You’re Not Looking

4.  Thousands of Hours: The Search for Love – Changing Woman

5.  The Art of Guarding Your Heart

6.  From Rae With Love: 2014 The Year Ahead

7.  Too Easy to Date: The Promise Not to Struggle Date

8.  The Close of 2013: Reflections on the Year

9.  Wrong Love – Get Your Ass Together

10. Fight for It: Fight for What You Want

Funny enough, many of these were written after I moved the blog.  So what was written before now, while I count it and could still check the stats, this is what you’ve been reading since that time.

This year, honestly, if I look back on it, has been truly phenomenal for me.   I came to terms with more of who I am, the things I want to do and the person I really want to work towards becoming.  I became much less apologetic for wanting the things I want and living the way I want.

I learned my level of expectation needs to consistently be turned inward.  To expect something of myself and from myself is the best gift.  Placing those expectations outwardly on others isn’t fair.

I learned in order to encourage people to be themselves, you have to be yourself.  Fully. There’s no half-stepping here.  Trepidation doesn’t bless you in that way,

For full and open communication, you have to offer an environment that can support it.  I don’t need or want anyone to walk on eggshells around me and I don’t want to have to do it around anyone who is close to me.  I had to learn to be more open to different conversations – as well as get better at listening to people’s truths – even if it was something I wasn’t going to like.  Truth isn’t often convenient for us.  But if we let it, it will bless us.

I’ve learned collaboration is beautiful.  I’m an only child. I don’t like to share.  I don’t typically like group projects.  But my Stepsisters: Eva, Shai and Tanisha have taught me when you have the right chemistry and the right co-conspirators collaborators all sorts of amazing things can come to fruition.  We encourage each other, laugh and come up with great ideas regularly.

I do know, as I’ve said many times before, this year was so difficult!  So many things happened but it’s as if the difficulty factor also allowed for the amount of goodness to exponentially increase.  I mean, why is it I was thinking anything good was going to come without some heartache or real work to it?  It doesn’t normally. There’s always work to be done.  There’s always something we will have to work on.

I’ve said it before, but it remains even more true today – if someone can outwork you, they don’t need to be more talented than you.

That being said, for me, this year coming up will be a year of “doing more and talking less.” Less time will spent comparing myself to others and all of the things they’re doing and more time with my nose spent to the grindstone to chisel, sharpen and produce a beautiful body of work.

I want to wish you an amazing close of 2013 for the remaining hours and days.  I want to wish you an amazing 2014. Choose your goals wisely for the year, but most importantly truly LIVE your life. It’s not promised and it’s meant to be lived – fully, well and unapologetically.