Forward Movement with the Four Agreements 

It’s been three days since I gave up social media and started to focus more on my spirit and surroundings. I have done extended social media breaks before but this time feels different. When I left social media in the past, the first few days were filled with anxiety because of FOMO – FEAR OF MISSING OUT. I would wonder what hilarious hashtags were trending on Black Twitter or if I missed some big news on Facebook. Eventually, I would settle in to my social media-less existence but I always felt slightly uneasy. I have built most of my freelance career and connections on Twitter, so it was always hard to sign out and delete my app. 

The past few days have felt incredibly liberating. I haven’t given social media a second thought and I don’t want to sneak a peek at Facebook or Twitter (the only two social apps I use because I’m an old lady). My creative juices are starting to move from a trickle to a light stream as I do more research and world building for Orion’s Chains – my upcoming science fiction/fantasy novel with a Black woman protagonist. I’m mapping out and creating rules for her world. It gives me indescribable joy to create this body of work and I hope to be finished by Summer 2018! 

I am also spending more time reading. I just ordered Don Miguel Ruiz’s best selling book The Four Agreements. The novel is an Oprah fave and discusses beliefs that limit our potential and cause us to live less joyful, fulfilled lives. I have heard about this book for years and now I’m finally going to give it a try! I’ll be posting my thoughts and the connections I make with my own life here. I found this handy chart of the agreements on the book’s website fouragreements.com: 


My meditation and prayer practice has made a triumphant return and I feel less stressed overall. I have a big writing assignment due at the end of this month, so meditation before bed has helped me wind down after my nightly writing sessions. 

My goal for this blog is to post on Sundays and Wednesdays…for now. Hopefully, more people will become invested in my journey and I’ll have time to squeeze in an extra post 🙂 
Have a great day and live well ❤️

-Tai Gooden 

Advertisements

The Story of my (2017) Life

 

Hey hey everyone! I’ve been missing from this space ALL YEAR LONG – even after I said I was going to do better. I’ll admit to my big ole lie and honestly say that I prioritized other things over updating my blog. In many ways this has been great – I’ve had a chance to write for new places like Syfy Fangrrls and I’ve continued to do coverage at conventions in several states. But in other ways it has been awful because I am paying for this URL name so I need to utilize it and share my work on this space. I can’t use my own website as a solid reference point when I am seeking new work and that is NOT okay!

Are you ready for my true life confessions aka word vomit? Here it goes…

I went to Vegas in July and had a great vacation with my husband, sister, and brother-in-law. But when I returned to Virginia, I found myself in a constant state of unrest. I felt like I was slipping in several areas of my life. My finances were not where I wanted them to be, I felt spiritually broken, and I was not satisfied with my progress as a writer. I looked around my home and it was a cluttered, disorganized mess. Yes, I have two small children so I don’t expect it to look like a magazine cover. But, there was too much stuff everywhere I looked and it reflected how I felt in my mind and spirit. I was confused, disheveled, and on the verge of shattering into a million pieces. There had been some major changes at my job, so I quickly contributed all of my problems to work and kept pressing forward. I had a lot on my plate there and I was gearing up to do DragonCon coverage for BlackGirlNerds. I marched through August in a proverbial haze and went through the daily motions of life. I worked, cleaned, ate, slept erratically, and prepared to make my way to Atlanta.

DragonCon was a blast as usual. It gave me a few days to escape my mess of a life and focus on doing what I loved – taking cosplay photos, interviews, live tweeting, and writing panel notes. I came home feeling exhausted, but living on a convention high until I returned to the reality of my life. It’s funny how running away, even if it is for my freelance work, didn’t change a damn thing at home. I became even more in tune with the issues in my own world. In the middle of rolling out convention coverage, I sent my oldest daughter back to school and began to adjust to her new life in a gifted student program. I grinded hard at work to keep up with the never-ending changes in a fast-paced environment. I filled large black trash bags with clothes and things we didn’t need anymore and gave them away. I started tuning into podcasts like Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday to try to find something to satisfy my soul. I started feeling like I was healing, but there was still this wave of unhappiness under my skin and I could not shake it. I confided in my husband and he had no answers, but he did present me with a few interesting questions.

He asked me what I needed to take away and add to create the life that I wanted to live. I spent some time thinking about it and I came to a few realizations. First, I wanted to feel like I had a living and (writing) work space that reflected who I was as a person. I looked around and my house didn’t feel like a home. It was just a sleep and hangout space filled with things that didn’t reflect who WE were as a family. I realized that I needed to do more than purge – I needed to organize and rearrange spaces to add my personal touch to them.

Next, I knew I wasn’t where I needed to be as a writer because I wasn’t investing in my craft. I was sporadically working on a book that made me well up with excitement and passion when I thought about it. I was trading that passion for articles and other writing assignments that put some extra cash in my pocket, but weren’t helping me grow and develop as a writer. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed doing them but I needed new challenges. I wanted to dive more into content marketing and move away from website work. I wanted to dedicate more time to my book and take more courses to help me learn how to become better at world and character building. I wanted to stretch my wings and do different things, but I was too comfortable and afraid to allow myself to take the chance.

I realized the combination of a stressful work environment and displeasure in my writing and home spaces were all contributing to my spiritual downfall. I was falling in bed at night like a zombie and forgoing prayer. I woke up frantically in the morning after missing multiple alarm clocks and I would shelve my morning meditation as I rushed to barely get to work on time. I was leaving my spirit malnourished and it was beginning to chip away at my patience and overall health. Persistent headaches, dizziness, and random nausea became a daily part of my life.

Today is October 1st, 2017. It is the start of a new month and the last quarter of the year. I am stepping away from things that distract me and often disturb my spirit, including social media and several people. I love a good live tweet, but I have to do this for my own life. I am going to focus on my book, Orion’s Chains, and spend more time making my house feel like a home. I’ve tapped back into my prayer/meditation life and I am reading, learning, questioning, and growing as a woman. I want to document some of my journey here and I hope you will follow me. Let’s talk spiritual, TV, pop culture, and Pinterest projects!

With Love,

 

Tai Gooden 🙂

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

Hooked on Social Media but Unable to Socialize

This week, I have seen the same scenario at least 3 times. I see groups of young people walking beside each other, yet they are not walking together. Instead of engaging in conversation, their eyes are cast downward and focusing on their mobile phones. Or, they pop a set of earbuds in to avoid interaction. 

And it saddens me when I see them occupying the same space but not sharing their lives with each other. I remember walking home with my friends in middle school and having the craziest conversations. A few years later in high school, we would have three-way phone conversations for hours and chat about everything and nothing simultaneously. As a woman in my late 20s, these nostalgic moments are not too far in the past.

And, as technology pushes forward at an insane pace, both young and old people are hooked on social media, yet they are unable to socialize. Hearing the cadence of a person’s voice has been replaced by quick texts and DMs on Twitter. Girls walking and giggling in the mall on a Saturday night has turned into a group of people indulging in their own tech worlds. People having dinner at a restaurant can barely order their food or share stories with others because they are trying to keep up with their Facebook timeline.

Do I like social media? Absolutely. As a freelance writer and blogger, it is a vital source to my success. But, I also love handwritten letters, laughs on the telephone, and sitting back on the couch and letting topics of discussion ebb and flow any way they please. Is there a true balance between being a social media junkie and a true social butterfly? I think so. 

So why do I see a lack of balance between both worlds? 

Why You So Mean Though?

The Internet can be a wonderful place. I love using Facebook to connect with my family and share pictures of the kids. My friends are scattered across the United States and social media is a great way to keep in touch with them. In addition to Facebook, Twitter has been a great way to meet people from all over world. And, as a writer/blogger, I have discovered some great opportunities via my active online presence.

But, I hate what the security of hiding behind a computer screen does to people. Every day, someone is constantly belittling another person simply because they can get away with it. Without face to face interaction, some folks get bold and feel like it is their right to spew malicious venom at any random person. 

How would you feel if someone called your baby ugly? Or if they said your spouse looked disgusting? Or if they made fun of your family member with a learning disability?

Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I know I surely have mine. But, it is not necessary to trash others or promote trash.

Why you so mean though??