Why Tunnel Vision Might Not be a Good Thing

People have often said that one should have tunnel vision in order to achieve their dream. While focus in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, having a limited view is. It is possible to zero in on a target so much that your peripheral vision is skewed. For instance, say you’ve had this particular dream all of your life, and you’ve put all of your time and energy into pursuing it. Then life happens forcing you to change your plans. Instinctively, you want to fight it because you don’t want your initial pursuit to be in vain. However, instead of fighting it, perhaps you should just flow with the change.

Suppose God wanted you to discover a gift that’s been inside you all along and take you down a different path? You shouldn’t you just write it off because you’re focusing on accomplishing what you initially set out to do. Further, suppose in some shape or form He uses that recently discovered gift to build a platform for what you were originally setting out to do? And even better, suppose He uses that recently discovered gift to be the very thing that distinguishes you in your field, perhaps drawing even more success to your original career path?

God is not in a box. He’s not limited to our miniscule way of thinking, nor our miniature plans and curriculum. Don’t be so bent on accomplishing one goal a certain way if God could be taking you down another route. He may not necessarily want you to give up on your initial goal, but He may paint a different picture as to how you reach it. Let Him write out the story to your dreams. It may be hard to come to grips with initially because the things happening around you may not be anywhere near what you envisioned. However, He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we could ask or think, and because of that promise, we should let His hand be the hand that guides us.


Nine Gems of The Black Panther Film

Wakanda Forever! The Black Panther movie was A+mazing and I left the theater beyond inspired. Don’t worry. NO SPOILERS here, but I do plan to speak on topics generally. The film deposited several gems throughout each scene, allowing the audience to excavate each one and bury them within the subconscious. I would like to unearth those priceless gems within this post, dusting them off, shining them up, and bringing them to the forefront of your mind. Journey with me as I uncover the intoxicating beauty of Black Panther that is guaranteed to inspire and influence dreamers of this generation and generations to come.

Gem 1- Women Rule!

Yes, I know that Prince T’Challa, aka the Black Panther, is a man, but the empowerment of womanhood can be felt throughout the film. I just had to point out the head nod and the respect the film gave to women throughout the entire picture. The fact that the film embraced women in multiple roles as powerful leaders, more so than any other film that I can think of, speaks volumes to little girls everywhere who do not realize their power. There’s a certain degree of edginess that can only be embodied by women taking on leadership roles. She is able to instinctively transition a nurturing heart into a fierce capability to protect. How awesome is that?!

Gem 2- Loyalty, Loyalty, Loyalty

It is important that you have a great team around you when trying to build and maintain your empire. Black Panther characters showed us the importance of loyalty, trust, and support within your inner circle. They were the ultimate #squadgoals.

Gem 3- Slay While You Get Paid

The team behind the makeup and costume designs is to be commended. The vibrancy, the color, and the attention to detail—it was all astounding. The film did a great job of balancing the characters’ ability to possess both style and allure all while maintaining a seamless execution of combat and battle tactics. It just goes to show you that you can still look fashionable and fierce while performing your duties with the highest degree of excellence. You can walk in purpose and Prada. You don’t necessarily have to sacrifice the “slay” while you get paid. We can each walk boldly and beautifully into our individual callings. I know personally that it can be hard to put a look together when suffering from Sunday night blues. I found this film inspirational partly because on those days when I’m just not feeling it, this gem helped me to see that I owed it myself to provide the world with a good presentation of myself.

Gem 4- Young Innovation

Never underestimate the power and innovation of young minds. Oftentimes, the older generation tends to brush off the ideas that younger people have to offer. The Black Panther film confronts this notion head on. It is the Black Panther’s younger sister, Shuri, who is the lead innovator of many of the technological advancements in Wakanda. She was definitely a scientific force to be reckoned with. It was wonderful to watch a film that let a young person invent, and it did not allow her age to be a disqualifying factor from the ability to possess knowledge.

Gem 5- More Than Just a Pretty Face

The way that the film captured women as beings who weren’t one dimensional, but rather individuals who were both beautiful and brilliant, was phenomenal. It was empowering to see women characters not limited to their physical attributes, but rather embraced for their minds and their character. Whether leading warriors or creating innovations within a science lab, the film allowed women characters to challenge the notion that women could not be as capable or more capable than their male counterparts. If you’re in a field that is within a male-dominated industry, do not let that discourage you. You still have the potential to be the best. Keep studying. Keep working hard. Continue to build the skill within your craft. Your talent can blur the lines, eliminate barriers, and shatter glass ceilings.

Gem 6- A challenge is not over until it’s over.

When you’re going through the fire and all hope might seem lost, don’t give up. You never know when things may take a turn and you’ll come out swinging to finish on top.

Gem 7- The Bold and the Beautiful

The women characters of the film so tastefully exhibited a wonderful balance between power and strength along with femininity. These women were not just leaders, but they were also love interests. These women were able to carry out their duties with such passion and zeal, and still be able to capture and soften the hearts of the men in their lives. Too many times, both in film and the real world, women are bombarded with the idea that you can only achieve power and leadership by capturing the brashness of men. I beg to differ. (See Gem 1.) The characters in this film provide a stark contrast to that stereotype. These women were authoritative and compelling, but yet warm and benevolent. Capturing both ends of the spectrum without sacrificing one characteristic for the other takes enormous talent and I can respect that of ability of both the director as well as that of the actors. The reality is that the women throughout our lives have been amazingly able to show the balance, and this film capturing the essence of that—brilliant.

Gem 8- Give Back

Without giving too much away, I want to take a moment to emphasize the importance of giving back to the community. There may be people out there who look up to you, but aren’t blessed with your access. Always take your knowledge and resources and use it to build up the community for the greater good. Use your privilege to help build future leaders.

Gem 9- My Black is Beautiful

Given that it’s Black History month in the United States, I’d be remiss not to talk about all of the melanin magic that was in full effect on the big, silver screen. No, the color of someone’s skin does not determine the content of her character. However, that does not mean society is without discriminatory systems and prejudices. For example, colorism is “prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.”  For years, Hollywood has failed at inclusion of various shades of blackness that reflects the true representation of the black community. The fact of the matter is that blackness in America includes people of African descent from the lightest of light to the darkest of dark tones. Nevertheless, Hollywood has continuously focused on displaying only one end of the spectrum. Consequently, the lack of representation of dark skinned individuals has contributed to the self-hate and the low self-esteem of many.

History has shown us the powerful effect that representation plays with the psyche of an individual, particularly that of a young person. In the 1940s, the famous Doll Test was conducted in order to show the effects of segregation on black children. Children were presented with a white doll and a brown doll and were asked a series of questions in order to determine which doll they thought was better. The test showed how children held biases towards lighter skin. And in 2010, when the doll test was recreated, the biases were still evident.

While not always done so overtly, society bombards us with images that promote stereotypes and promote superiority and inferiority amongst specifically targeted racial groups and specific skin tones. Given the history of colorism within the black community, it was breathtaking to see so many main characters possess darker hues. Children need to see individuals who look like them as they grow because representation carries with it a sense of pride and self-confidence. It impresses upon youth that the opportunities are endless. Black Panther helps black children, especially children with darker skin tones, to realize that not only can black be beautiful, but black can be smart and powerful too.


How I’m Taking on New Year’s Resolutions like a Boss

I’m so tired of making New Year’s Resolutions just for the sake of being trendy and joining in on conversations. If I create a goal, then I actually want to accomplish it. Why is it that so many of our resolutions fall by the wayside?

 I saw a friend’s recent Facebook post asking about who would be heading towards the gym starting January 1st. I commented by saying that I would not be attending an actual gym until March because I was waiting for traffic to die down. (Hahaha) Why? The reality is that as a society, we typically don’t stick to our New Year’s resolutions. You’re typically off to a strong start in the beginning of January, and then you start to back off a little towards the end of the month. Once February hits, only the strong survive. And come March, it’s back to our regularly scheduled program called, “Life.”

 Well this year, I did not want that to happen to me. By the end of this year, I want to be able to have several accomplishments checked off my list. After several years of failed attempts, I know that I will not be able to do that on willpower alone. I need a plan—a rock-solid, concrete plan.

 This is my Boss-like approach:

  • I’m going to write down general areas in my life that I would like to see changed.
  • I’ll pray for wisdom and guidance in tackling these areas.
  • I’ll take a few minutes to research how others have taken practical steps to build those areas of life.
  • I’ll come up with specific target goals for myself (ex. Have X amount of dollars in my savings by the 2nd quarter).
  • I’ll develop practical strategies that will help me to knock out my goal in bite-sized chunks (ex. Set $____ aside this pay period).

Yes, it may indeed be a tedious process to take some time to sit down, write out goals, and strategize how to take them on. However, I cannot neglect this feat. Most successful people that I admire have taken the time to write out their goals. As a result, the aftermath has been phenomenal. So now, I am off to join the ranks of other successful people who have gone before me as I journey on the road to not only be a chaser of dreams, but a catcher of dreams as well.

 What are some practical ways that you approach New Year’s resolutions?

Last Minute Christmas Gifts to get the Struggling Millennial

As youngsters, many of us never realized how difficult adulting would be because the Baby Boomer generation made it look so easy. After approaching many adulting hurdles in my own life, I’ve created a list of useful Christmas gifts that would make this adulting thing easier for the average millennial.


1. Offer to pay a bill. Now before you go on your rant about entitlement, let me explain why this is a nice gesture. If you’re of the older generation, then you should remember how tough it was for you in your young adult years. You tried to create some stability for yourself and become your own person. While you may have struggled to pull it together, getting a little help during that struggle was like a breath of fresh air. Because millennials are facing the pressures of debt unlike any other generation before them, helping to relieve some of that pressure is a big deal. I am in no way saying to begin taking on all of your loved one’s expenses to the point of enablement. I’m just saying that it’s an awesome Christmas gift that suggests, “Hey, I see you’re working hard. Good on ya.”


1.5. Pay something on their loan interest. Now this suggestion is if you’re feeling         EXTREMELY generous. Because the interest rate percentages appear to be steadily increasing, it can be financially burdensome on the student borrower. Any relief of that burden is greatly appreciated.


2.  Treat them to a spa day. I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, I’m the one who could use a spa day.” True. Here’s the thing. Everyone deserves some relaxation time after much hard work, don’t you think? Just think of how much sunshine you could bring to a millennial’s life with a spa day. A nice Swedish massage is perfect for relieving those tense shoulders that spent the majority of the year hunched over a textbook. A facial can help clear some of that adult, stress acne. A pedicure can turn those unsupported arches into instant happy feet after trekked around campus for an entire semester. And if you want to spend time with that loved one, the spa may even provide a two-for-one discount so you could get in on the action. How’s that for a deal!


3.  Create a nice care package. Millennial loved one can’t make it home for the holidays? How about putting together a nice box of elements you know they’ll love in order to remind them of home. The elements of the package need not be expensive, they need only contain the elements of your loved one’s personality. For the movie lover, buy a super-soft throw blanket, some popcorn, and a few new releases from their favorite genre. For the music lover, buy memorabilia of their favorite musical artist/band and offer to pay the subscription for a streaming music service. For the makeup lover, head over to your nearby make up store and ask the sells rep what is the hot makeup item for this year. (Note: if you don’t want to risk getting the wrong thing, purchase a gift card from a makeup chain like Ulta, Sephora or Mac. You won’t have to go through the hassle of figuring out their shade or taste. Plus, they could order online if there isn’t a store located near them.) Still not sure what gifts your millennial loved one could use? Keep reading!


4.  Practicality is the way to go. When in doubt, be practical. This is perfect if you’re pressed for time but you want to be sure to get your loved one something useful. Young adults won’t despise you for getting them things that they need but don’t necessarily want to spend their own money on. Gift cards for things like gas, groceries, or even coffee can go a long way.


5.  Money, money, money, money . . .MONEY! (<- I just wanted to quote the O’jays. You’re welcome.) If you don’t want the hassle of figuring out what to get them or pinpointing exactly what they need money put towards, just give the money to them. However, should you select this option, keep in mind that you shouldn’t micromanage how they should spend it. After all, if you’re giving the gift of money, let the receiver decide what to spend it on. Whether they want to take care of some responsibilities and adult some more, or whether they just want to use it as an opportunity to have fun, let the individual decide what he/she wants to do with the money.


Hope these tips help you to finish tackling that Christmas list. As for my family members and friends reading this who may still be struggling as to what to get me, please review the former six paragraphs.  🙂

Our State of the World

So, about last night . . . I attended my fourth Janet Jackson concert ever, and I had a blast to say the least. Janet comes alive when she’s on stage, exuding so much energy throughout the entire show (not to mention her radiation of constant “SLAY-age”). Her performances have always been a must-see. However, the sweet icing on the cake becomes not only her ability to entertain, but to also captivate and pierce the hearts of many with the message on social justice. The messages Janet sends throughout her show, be it through visual art, performance art, or with the lyrics themselves, are guaranteed to provoke thought and inspire action. Those who think that her shows only provide mesmerizing melodies, they’re simply wrong. Janet has a message heavy on her heart to send, and it echoes more loudly than any guitarist ever could.

Last night, I stood there in awe of her brilliance, not only in the execution of intricate dance moves, but also in her artistry of promoting justice. The “State of the World” Tour has a title that is catchy yet significant. Though the tour is named after a compelling song on 1989’s “Rhythm Nation” album, it is extremely relevant given the current toxicity of society. A portion of the lyrics state, “What is happening to this world we live in?  In our homes and other lands?” It is evident of the disheartening contrast of how far we’ve come but how far we’ve yet to go.

I remember the first time I saw the movie, “Separate But Equal,” the film classic starring Sidney Poitier depicting the Brown vs. Board of Education case. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow. This is the reason I’m pursuing a career in law.” I longed to be an advocate and play my part in the fight for justice. Truth of the matter is we all have a part to play no matter our career path or unique talent. Janet captures the message in her art. I try to capture the message in what I do. We all have a role.

We must take action. We cannot be silent. We must find a way to promote truth and stand up for what is right. Send the message of justice, be kind, and give love—the state of the world depends upon it.

So excited!
My shero.
The Queen. The Legend. Ms. Janet  🙂 #SOTW

Faith Over Fear

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God….” -Marianne Williamson
I can not simply depend on my own ability, for I am weak.  As a child of God (see John 1:12, Romans 8:14-17, and Galatians 3:26), I must learn to depend on Him for my strength to move forward, for His strength is made perfect in my weakness. It is a struggle but I am determined to let my faith outweigh the fear, especially when it comes to my dreams.  I will continue to move forward. How about you?  Let your faith be bigger than your fear.

1 of 86,400 Seconds

Thanksgiving is around the corner and people will begin to post more about what they’re thankful for. That’s great. However, after some careful self-reflection, I cringe at the lack of gratitude that I’ve shown to God recently. If I’m taking an honest evaluation of my behavior, I have complained, groaned, eye-rolled and just plain ole’ threw adult-sized tantrums. I’ve shaken my fist at God over my displeasure and discontent with what I lack. I may have spoken the words, “I’m grateful,” but have my actions really shown it? Probably not.

I have had thoughts of entitlement, and I have shown the rage of my ego. The nerve of me focusing on what I haven’t yet received instead of honoring God for what He has given me now. I have breath. I have loving, caring people around me. But more importantly, God, who is the epitome of graciousness, has loved me through all of it. He’s had so much patience with me as I pouted, grimaced, and whined.

Whenever life gets tough, I blame Him, instead of praising Him and taken in the moments of calm that He’s allows me to have. Right now, I just want to take a moment to say, “Thank you.” Thank you God. Thank you Lord for your refuge, your peace. Thank you for your stability. Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for being gracious. Thank you for your mercy—for not giving me what my actions deserve. I know that I could never thank God enough, but acknowledging my gratefulness in the moment can’t hurt.  🙂

Food for thought:  What are some things that you have to be thankful for today?  Take a moment today to show gratitude…  No, seriously.  Go forth,  and take a moment.