Share My World

Hey my virtual friends! It has been a minute, eh?

I took a brief hiatus away from my keyboard (to post via this blog), to think about where we go from here.  Should I continue blogging; is it time for an upgrade? What would the upgrade look like…when, how, etc.  I have been taking the necessary time to consider all options, some of which I think many of you will be pleased with, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, let me share something really epic that happened to me recently.  Before I do, I have a question for you…

When was the last time you were called on to be an “expert” about something?

I was asked by a friend a little over a month ago to participate in a panel discussion about beauty…specifically make-up! What?! I remember when she called to ask me, holding my phone in one hand…getting up from my chair and began pacing the hallway of my house.  I felt winded as my quadricep muscles began to heat up, as if my legs were going numb.  “Who me? What?! OMG”, I said clutching invisible pearls. I can be a little dramatic over regular things but this was not regular at all.  Before I had time to talk myself out of it, or “think about it” further, I said, “yes.”  

It was done.  

I gave my word which meant that I was now committed to follow through.  During the weeks leading up to “showtime”, I had to have a heart-to-heart with myself.  The first priority was learning how to be comfortably-uncomfortable outside of my comfort zone.  

I’m a beauty expert to my friends.  I’m known for my makeup or if nothing else, for wearing red lipstick with the same level of commitment to wearing shoes outdoors. I was the expert when I stood in front of customers applying make-up on their faces, or giving consultations on everything from lipstick colors; the proper way to apply blush, to whether to wear foundation, etc.  I was an expert in those settings, but was I “really” an expert in real life?  And then I thought, “who is the authority on who or what an expert is?”  

If you use social media as a barometer, everyone with an Internet connection is essentially an expert in something…albeit self-proclaimed in many instances.  Some will even go as far as charging professional-level fees or requests for donations for…well, the basics, or common sense information.  I digress…who am I to halt anyone’s hustle?  

Back to my participation in the beauty panel discussion.  We were now down to “d-day”…e.g., under a week before I was supposed to film my piece of the discussion.  I should clarify that the beauty panel discussion was recorded via Zoom, and this pre-recorded video was scheduled to play during the beauty segment of the conference.  The fact that I was able to film my piece at home made me feel slightly less anxious.  I talked to my friend (the one who graciously extended me the invitation to participate), to get the logistics, as well as narrow down the focus of my piece.  Beauty or make-up is such a broad subject, and given my experience with making presentations, I knew that having a targeted message was essential.  Once we decided on the appropriate topic of focus, I began to strategize how I would present or package my information.  I decided that I would prepare a quick video. 

The decision to create a video opened the floodgates of self-doubt namely in the area of me becoming fixated on what I didn’t have…from a technical standpoint.  I thought about all of the IG and YouTube beauty influencers, make-up artists, and others who live in front of a camera.  This is not me.  I use my camera to take selfies, scenic photos, and screenshots of epic memes, or quotes. I take pictures of moments and people I want to remember. I’m an expert in using my phone to create blog posts, et cetera.  I have not used my phone the way Steven Spielberg uses his movie camera to create films like Jurassic Park.  I don’t have tons of editing software; I have an 11-year-old Macbook Pro; an iPhone 10 with limited space for large files, and make-up that I work hard to pay for, versus products sent to me gratis for promotion. 

And after all of that mental gymnastics, I finally told myself to snap out of it.  And I did. 

I’m a former make-up artist and beauty expert.  I am not an expert on creating online content beyond what I already do well…contributing thought-provoking copy via my blog, and creating online content that I am proud of.  With that being said, I hit record on my phone’s video option and I let my instincts direct me from there.  The result was a short yet instructive video of me executing a quick make-up tip, which effectively illustrated my point.  And you know what? That was the point. Yes, I could have written about how to appear camera-ready for video conferencing in minutes, or I could demonstrate it.  I opted to show my audience as well as tell them.  

On the day of filming my video segment, I felt confident and strong. I enjoyed the experience more than I thought that I would.  Why? Because I was talking about something that I love.  I was afforded the opportunity to share some of the knowledge that I have learned along the way, which makes me feel helpful and good for doing something positive for others.  Which brings me to the overall point of this post…how often do we get the opportunity to share useful information, or get the chance to talk about what we know?  Or to tell people about what we have learned? Beyond interviewing for a job, when do you have a chance to showcase your strengths? How often do you sell yourself? 

Confidence comes from being proud of ourselves. It’s okay to be proud of legitimate accomplishments.  

This opportunity was rewarding for me because it reaffirmed what my heart already knows.  I am very clear about who I am, and what I am passionate about.  I am so much clearer about my “why” than I’m willing to admit.  I am not an expert in the area of beauty or makeup because I am better than anyone else.  I am an expert because of my passion and experience, which gives me all the credibility I need to stand alongside the best of them. Confidently knowing that I have something equally as meaningful, valuable, unique, and worthy of sharing.  

There is someone who could benefit from your knowledge also.  There are people who would learn something they deem valuable from you.  

You are an expert in something worth sharing. I believe you owe it to yourself and the world, to find out what that is. 

And then share it. Share your world.

“Hope Springs Eternal”

So how’s everybody doing?

For me, it’s been emotionally tough lately. If you know me, I’m a pretty resilient cookie. So this proves that even the strongest among us grow weary sometimes. Even you; even me.

This past week has been especially mentally exhausting, not to mention unspeakably heartbreaking, with the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman. I also learned that a consultant and influencer who I greatly admired, succumbed to her battle with PTSD.

People are walking around with struggles that are often undetectable. We must do a better job of putting things into proper perspective, namely as it relates to the consumption of media stories, or the Internet in general. It’s not that the Internet is “bad.” “Bad” people have become masterful at dominating social platforms to spew their negativity, divisiveness, as well as their selfish, evil agendas. We must be smarter than them. And dare I say, we mustn’t allow ourselves to become them.

History is merely repeating itself. The saying that goes there is nothing new under the sun especially rings true today. People have been fighting wars since the beginning of time. The war starts within ourselves, before it becomes a contagious disease which infects others. History has already proven what happens when groups of people feel the strain of having their backs against the wall. History has also proven what happens when marginalized and oppressed people decide “no more.”

Humanity began the slow erosion into our lower selves when we felt the need to place labels, value, and even price tags on human lives. There is no need to label me if you believe me to be just like you. Or, you, just like me. Labels work best for advertisers or for marketing purposes. However, they do little to effectually improve the overall quality and meaning of a human life.

We live in a society where everyone wants to be seen at the same time. We would rather splinter off issues and jockey for position, versus working in solidarity on behalf of common issues. Collective work or Umoja doesn’t seem “enough”. Ideas and agendas have a better chance of success when there is unity. There is only one reason why unification is detrimental. Each of us is smart enough to surmise why, or to understand who or what benefits when we live like adversaries versus neighbors.

If we look within our own circles, most of us will realize that our families and friendship circles are rich with the fullness of diversity. Whether it be diversity in terms of race, religion, social class, ideas, and experiences. This is the point of living-to share the beautiful tapestry of our cultures, languages, traditions, food, and music with others.

When you meet someone for the first time, you assess whether there is a level of comfort, commonality/camaraderie, which could possibly lead to compatibility. Will we be able to hold a decent two-way conversation; are you sane and rational? Relationships (platonic, romantic, etc.), start at the most basic levels. Who you are matters more than what you are.

I encourage each you (of us), especially during these turbulent times, to be brave enough to engage others having a different point of view than your own. So long as there is mutual respect, two opposing views can be shared not for the purpose of a debate, but rather in the name of understanding and constructive dialogue. I will add a disclaimer to this recommendation by stating that we should only engage individuals capable of having a safe, mature, intelligent, and mutually respectful exchange of ideas. There is nothing to gain from vitriolic trolls, having minimal intelligence; ill-prepared, and only armed with inflammatory rhetoric that adds zero value to a healthy interaction. None of us should take on the responsibility of attempting to persuade or influence persons over the age of 18. As Earl Nightingale once said, “a man has right to be as wrong as he wants to be. It is not my place to correct him.”

These are challenging times, dear readers. Each of us are here at this very moment because we have the chutzpah to handle it. Please do not let strangers influence who or what matters in your life. Never give away your right to the manifestation of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Be well, and be careful out there.

“And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”