My First Paint and Sip Party

Yesterday was my friend’s 26th birthday and we went to a paint and sip party (an event where you paint a picture the instructor sketched as you drink wine). I never been to one before, so it was exciting to participate in one. The picture we painted was of a voluptuous black woman with long flowing hair. She was beautiful. As soon as I saw the sketch I knew what I wanted to do.

I wanted my painting to be colorful and whimsical, so I used yellow and orange as the background. Then I added streaks of brown to give it some contrast and an earthy look. Next, I was inspired by Avatar, because of the Omaticaya clan’s beautiful blue skin—so, I decided to paint my woman blue. Afterwards, I wanted her hair to resemble a tree and painted it green.

Once I finished and took a step back, my painting looked a little flat still. Then I looked over and saw the person’s next to me painting and she was putting gold streaks in her woman’s hair. That motivated me to not only put gold streaks in my jungle woman’s hair, but red and silver as well.

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When I saw the finished product of my painting, I was in love with it. My woman was wild, bold and absolutely stunning. It totally resembled my personality.

All in all, the paint and sip party was great even though I didn’t get home until after eleven at night, but it was totally worth it. I’m grateful for being able to celebrate my friend’s birthday and meet some new people too. I’m looking forward to the next time.

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Lessons from Watching Zootopia

I love cartoon movies. I think they’re cute and humorous, but have life lessons undertones. The most recent cartoon film I watched and am watching as we speak is Zootopia. It’s about a bunny named Judy Hopps that grows up and becomes a cop. In the city of Zootopia predators are attacking other animals, and Judy teams up with a con artist fox to figure out why. Although the movie is entertaining, it’s chalk full of lessons for anyone at any age:

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  • Try and Persevere. Despite her obstacles and everyone (even her parents) believing that a rabbit couldn’t be a cop that didn’t stop Judy. Being a police was Judy’s dream ever since she was a young bunny, and throughout her trials, tribulations and doubts, Judy continued pursuing her dream and became the first bunny police officer. Only by trying (any and everything even if things doesn’t go the way we want) we discover our potential, who we are and are not; what we like and dislike; what works for us, what doesn’t and what can be done differently.
  • Acceptance. In Zootopia, there are many predators and non-predatory animals living together, but there were some that are looked down upon. Among this group includes Hopps, because she’s small and the first rabbit cop. Then there’s Nick Wilde, a fox who’s automatically perceived and treated as a criminal, because of fox’s mischievous nature. Throughout the movie, we see this paradigm shift from judgmental and intolerant to accepting. The human world is the same where we have preconceived notions about a person or certain group of people and behave differently towards them. When we learn to accept others, we accept ourselves. Accepting a person or people who is different from us doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything about them, but to respect each other, which is essential for human interaction and connection.
  • Forgiveness. It’s amazing to see how fundamental forgiveness is for us to move forward. At some point in the movie, Hopps and Nick look down at each other, because of the stereotypes they’re subjected to, due to past encounters. Holding grudges and dusting things under the rug helps no one, especially yourself! Forgiveness frees you from the negative energy pent inside of you. It doesn’t mean you like what happened, but it means letting go of the resentment, anger, hurt, disappointment, etc. that was developed and carried afterwards. We all deserve to be forgiven (that includes forgiving ourselves), so let go and forgive whatever it is that’s being held onto. We owe it to ourselves.
  • Don’t assume. Judy thought she had it all figured out when she believed night howlers were connected to wolves, because of words, such as “night” and “howling.” Who would’ve thought they actually happened to be the flowers that caused the predators to go rogue. Keep an open mind about a person or situation and go beyond the surface of things, because what you think is true might not be.

I highly recommend watching Zootopia for a family movie night or even by yourself. Let me know what you think and the lessons you get from it.

When a Seemingly Bad Day Becomes an Amazing One

This past Saturday I had to meet up with my team to go over our class project. We decided to meet at a restaurant called Tweet. When I got there, I had to pay for parking, which was no big deal. But, what became the big deal was when I opened my wallet and both my driver’s license and debit card wasn’t in there, and I had no cash either!

My immediate thought was, “Dang, I left everything in my other jacket at home, which is almost an hour away. How can I be so careless? Now, I don’t have any money to eat or pay for parking.” Swiftly after that, I had another thought, “Breathe, it’s okay. I’m human. Mistakes happen. Don’t let this ruin your day. It won’t ruin your day. Just ask your team members if they can lend you some money for parking and to eat.” And, that’s what I did. Thankfully, they both offered to help me out and I’m so grateful for that.

The food was amazing as well as the drinks and the owner was incredibly sweet. She even gave us some extra chocolate chip bread with caramel sauce as we did our work and it was freaking delicious by the way. We covered some important ground for our project and even had a mini photo shoot afterwards.

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I dropped them both off downtown as I headed to an event in Hyde Park at the Promontory. I initially had planned to go with a friend, but he cancelled at the last minute, which put a bad taste in my mouth, because we had made a commitment to go, plus I already bought my ticket. So, for him to break that commitment was unfair, disappointing and even disrespectful.

Learning to set healthy boundaries for myself and asking for what I want and need, I told him how I felt about the situation and expressed that moving forward when we plan to do something to communicate with me in advance if he decides to cancel or don’t commit at all. He agreed and apologized. As I continued to drive to Hyde Park, I became hesitant on whether or not I should go, because I’ve never been to any event by myself. But hey, I took it as a sign from God that maybe I needed to learn how to have fun by myself.

Armed with my college ID (because that’s all I had on me), I went right in and the rest was history. I was greeted with love and treated to drinks. I ran into old faces and new ones and danced the night away. I even lost my phone, a ring and an earring (I found the phone and ring, so 2 out of 3 isn’t bad).

Moral of the story is whatever situation is presented to you, make the best out of it. I could’ve had a crappy attitude when I discovered that I didn’t have my license or any money or not have gone to the party when my friend cancelled on me, but I chose to do the opposite. And, I wound up having an amazing day!

 

WHEN I DECIDED NOT TO WAIT

Yesterday, fear had knocked on my door. I opened the door and said, “hey, how are you? I was just getting ready to leave, so I can tell my story.” Fear responded with doubt, but I kindly told it “thank you for trying to protect me. But, if you don’t have an alternative other than not to speak, I’m about to get ready and do this. You’re more than welcome to come, but you won’t be driving, controlling the radio or riding shotgun.” And, I left.

This message was inspired by both Elizabeth Gilbert and an experience I had when I decided to share a story about self-satisfaction at a storytelling event on Thursday in Hyde Park called Grown Folks Stories. I was excited about speaking all day, but as I headed there from work I began to think about the story I wanted to tell and began to worry about if the audience would like it. In that moment, my excitement had quickly turned into fear and I immediately felt small, and no longer wanted to do it.

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When my friend and I got to the event, it was crowded, but the vibe was amazing! Some of the stories that people shared were heartfelt while others were downright hilarious. This motivated me to get up and speak, but I was still scared…until the host said the last storyteller was coming up. After that, I thought I missed my opportunity and had to wait until mid-November to do it (because Grown Folks Stories occurs every third Thursday of the month).

Then a part of me said, “no! I will not wait until next time. I’m going to do this now. I just want to share a story of mine that I think is funny and if they don’t like it, oh well.” I walked right up to the host and asked her if I’m able to share a story, and I signed up. Within 5 minutes, it was my time.

I expressed to the crowd that I was nervous, because it was my first time, and they were very supportive. I took a deep breath and began. Every thought of doubt and fear that filled me was gone. I was energetic, clear, filled with life, and had the audience bursting with laughter. After I finished, a guy walked up and complimented my story.

I left the event proud of myself for not letting fear control me. I felt empowered and am looking forward to the next Grown Folks Stories. I wonder what story I’ll share next.