75 days ago, on November 17, 2011, I had the esteemed pleasure of talking with and interviewing Ms. Phylicia Rashad.
During that conversation, I quickly realized that she was just as I had envisioned…A strong, phenomenal woman secure within herself…A force that pulled you in with loving authority for the purpose of imparting wisdom…A woman, whom through her journey of self-discovery, had evolved into a wise, regal beauty…A humble spirit, accepting of her flaws, desiring continued knowledge and growth. And thus, I quickly realized that she not only embodies much of what I hope to attain but also paves the road which I have chosen to travel.
I was interviewing Ms. Rashad for a magazine article that will appear in the February edition of Living Roots Magazine. So, our conversation began quite professionally, as most freelance jobs do. Before long, we were sharing personal stories and memories of life growing up in Louisiana. After discovering that our families are from neighboring towns, I felt a more personal connection. ~Yeah, she was my homegirl, now!~ (insert chuckle here)
As we exchanged stories about life as a woman with a husband, children and a career, she gave me a very timeless, precious and priceless piece of advice. With a tone ladled in experience, she affectionately said the following:
You have to carve out some time for you. You’re a creative person…a little bit more time and a little bit more thought, goodness only knows what you’ll think to write. You have to have time for yourself. Just see it, and don’t wait!
Though you may be thinking, “Well, this is no different from what women are told to do all of the time,” it was different for me. It wasn’t different all at once. It has taken time. 75 days of time. Time to sink in…Time of feeling burnt out…Time of feeling flustered and frustrated…Time of hearing her words again, from memory as well as the live recording…Time of reflecting on those words and seeing, over and over, the results of NOT following her advice.
It has even taken me looking back on my last blog post [And then it hits you], and thinking, “Recognizing the need to build a network of supportive ladies is all well and good; however, ACTING on that need…Now that’s the key!”
And then, I took it a step further. In the last 75 days…75 days since I received the gift of friendly advice…what have I done for others, and what have I done for myself?
In the past 75 days I have:
Prepared 3 meals per day for 9 people (my husband and 8 kids)…That is a total of 225 meals during the last 75 days, which equals 2,025 individual servings!
Prepared 2 snacks per day for 9 people…That is a total of 150 snacks, which equals 1,350 individual servings!
At the very least, I wash 2-3 loads of laundry per day. That’s at least 188 loads of laundry!
I have provided chauffeur services to and from countless basketball practices, games and dance classes.
Checked and helped with a multitude of homework assignments.
Broken up thousands of fights and arguments! THOUSANDS, I’m sure of it!!
Heard “MOM!”…”I’m Telling!”… “SHUT UP!” … and “QUIT” so many times that I have literally said “SHHHH” (very loudly) when no one was even saying a word!!! Yep! I was the one who looked like the crazy fool!
This list goes on!
In the last 75 days, here’s what I’ve done for myself:
Had my gray roots colored TWICE
Went to the nail salon ONCE (1st time in almost 2 years)
Went on ONE date with my husband
This list unfortunately, does not go on. However, one thing that must not go on is this constant placing of ourselves on the back burner. Ladies, how many times have you felt guilty for entertaining the thought of spending time with a girlfriend? How many times have you planned to do something only to put it off to accommodate someone else?
I fall into the guilt trap all of the time. I still have a gift card in my purse for my favorite clothing store that I received from my husband for Christmas. Why? Why do I constantly view time for myself as some type of extravagant luxury, when, in fact, it is a necessity. I must begin to view myself as a priority.
I have been working on my February calendar, and I intend to treat myself as a just that…a priority. I will follow Ms. Rashad’s advice and “carve out some time” for me. And, if you’re anything like me, you should do the same.
It’s time to include personal time in our regular routines. That way, we’re being proactive. We’re recharging our batteries before they become too depleted.
Doing so will enable us to always deliver our best selves to those around us. I want my family to have a woman in their lives whom they would describe as being Bright and Blissful, not Bitter and Broken. I want to always be that woman who is Sassy, Spunky, Shining, Social, Sweet, Sincere and Sophisticated, not Scornful and Scarred.
Women have always passed on recipes to loved ones. Recipes for savory dishes and succulent desserts. They’ve carefully perfected and passed down the exact measurements and fool-proof methods to create satisfying dishes. What about the recipe for life? More specifically, the recipe for a happy life? And even more specific than that, the recipe for a happy life as a Woman?
We are creating life recipes and handing them down…just as our mothers did, and their mothers before them did…we just don’t realize it. And many times, we don’t realize what type of recipe we are creating until it is too late. Our children, as well as all those we influence, learn our life recipes through our actions, our demeanor, our levels of happiness. I want to pass on fantastic recipes like Living Life Out Loud, Struttin’ Through the Stress and Finding Love and Laughter Even In The Most Unexpected Places.
I don’t want my loved ones learning the recipes for resentment, sadness and despair.
The only way we can perfect these recipes is by spending time in our “test kitchens,” discovering and revealing all that is good within ourselves, and concocting a perfect medley of our personal flavors! A concoction that we would feel proud to pass on to others. I actually talk about this in my first blog post Secrets in the roux! Funny how you come full circle.
Interesting…if you take a moment to look at it…when you take the time to do for yourself, you are, in essence, still doing for others! Undoubtedly, that’s a win-win! No guilt in that!
For the next 75 days, I will be spending some much-needed time in my test kitchen. Each day, I will “carve out some time” for me.
I’m going to give unto myself so that I may, in turn, give to you!