Life Outside the Roles

This week was interesting. One of my closest friends reached out to me for a status update on my social media-less life. She was the fifth person to text me and ask “How are you?” I responded to her message the same way I did to the others because they were all people who KNOW me – I’m not well and my life feels like it’s in shambles but I’m working one day at a time to find peace and joy. 

I could sense my friend’s troubles through the text message, so I threw the question back to her in hopes of an honest response. She spilled her innermost thoughts to me and revealed that although she seems to have it together as a mom, wife, employee, etc., she felt waves of unhappiness. She was unfulfilled and had stuffed her feelings away from friends and family. Like me, she was stressed and on the verge of breaking into pieces. We spent the next hour taking with each other and finding comfort in our mutual feelings. 

She wanted to know what I thought and I only had one piece of advice for her – find a way to define yourself outside of your relationship with other people or what you do for a living. This is the most efficient path towards feeling “whole” as an individual. Most people answer the “who are you?” question with their roles in life – mom/dad, sister, wife, etc. but those titles have nothing to do with who you are and focuses on what you are to other people. The same goes for a job title – it’s what you do, but it doesn’t define the rich, complex, and brilliant essence of your life. When I said this to her, I was talking to myself as well. 

I have the same roles as my friend – mom, sister, daughter, and wife. I work in banking during the day and I write at night. But my life is more than my roles. I am the sum of my beliefs, quirks, dislikes, private thoughts, and passions. I’m a continuously evolving combination of energy, light, love, darkness, and confusion yet I’m always and forever me. And being me is enough. I will continue to seek an adequate answer to define myself and it will change as I gather new information and experiences. Right now, I’m diving into The Four Agreements and my definition of self might shift after I complete the book 😊

Who are you? It’s a challenging question with no right answer. I hope you ponder on it this week. Live well and I’ll “see” you on Wednesday 💕
-Tai Gooden 

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Respect My Right to Unplug

Happy Sunday!

I have had several people ask me why I don’t speak more about police brutality against Black people and other issues like transphobia and street harassment. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I do voice my opinion on these issues. One time, I voiced my thoughts on what it feels like to be a Black woman on this blog. But, why do I typically steer clear of them on this particular space?

The answer is simple: I have the right to unplug from the world around me and immerse myself in what makes me happy. My life is extremely busy: I work in the financial industry, write, and I have a family. I don’t get a chance to blog as much as I would like to so when I do come here, I want to use my voice to uplift and encourage others. I also follow witty and engaging blogs on WordPress. I have made a conscious decision to avoid negativity here and I won’t change. Every time I log onto Twitter, I am bombarded with horrific images of brutality, racism, sexism, and all other types of horrible crap. I can’t turn a blind eye because it is real. It is our life, our world, and whether we want to accept it or not, it is HAPPENING. I retweet and often join online conversations to spread the word and stand up for those who need support.

So, respect my right to unplug. I can be invested in #BlackLivesMatter and still enjoy #DoctorWho. I can build my own personal brand, achieve my professional goals, and still make time to watch Empire and Scandal. I can write about my suicide experience and also write about celebrity drama. And, you can do the same as well!!

Don’t let anyone make you feel some type of way for enjoying “trivial” things. Sometimes, we need an awesome TV show or a hobby to keep us sane in a crazy world.

-Tai Gooden

3 Lessons I Learned from My Father

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Happy Father’s Day!

This weekend, I was fortunate to see my oldest daughter graduate from Pre-K. We now live away from our family and friends, so we didn’t expect anyone to come out to the short (and hilarious) graduation. But, my dad decided to make the drive out to spend time with my family for a couple of days. I don’t get to see him often, but I always enjoy our candid conversations.

So, to honor my dad on Father’s Day, I want to share 3 Lessons I Learned from Dad:

Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude:

My dad has always told me that I am aesthetically beautiful. But, he encouraged me to invest in my inner beauty. Because of my Dad, I celebrate diversity, treat others with respect, and I understand how to be an advocate for my cause without bashing others in the process. I truly believe that how you approach situations and how you treat others will determine the goals you can reach. I also believe that an open mind and an open heart will lead to open doors. And, I have my dad to thank for the way I view life.

Slow Down and Enjoy the Moment:

Anyone who knows my dad knows that he never moves fast. Ever. I remember when I used to rush to work or school and he would tell me

“Tai, if you are late, then your are late. That building is not going anywhere. They can get another employee, but I can’t get another you. Drive careful.”

Although I have not fully adopted his snail pace in all areas of my life, I have no problem taking a Saturday morning to sit down and veg out with my family. Sometimes I get in my daughter’s tiny bed with her and we talk about random things. Other times I sit up with my infant baby girl and play with the tiny curls on her head. I live a very busy life, but I always remember to take time to slow down and enjoy those fleeting moments. 

Stop Making it Complicated:

My dad’s advice is straightforward. If you want to learn something, close your mouth and listen. If you want advice, seek it from someone who is in the position you desire to be in. If you want something different out of your life, then do something different. If you don’t want people to know when your home is not happy, then don’t tell them. If you want to waste time worrying, then don’t waste time praying. If you want peace, then look to God. If you want people to know how you feel, then tell them. 

Life does have its complicated moments, but there are many things that we have the power to control. 

Thanks for all of the lessons, both negative and positive, over the years. I love you Dad!

-Tai Gooden