Another Realization, Another Transition

I had training again this weekend, and during a casual conversation that two of my colleagues were having amongst themselves, I realized that I am behind the power curve careerwise. One of them works for GE and the other works for Coca-Cola, both are in IT in some fashion. The conversation started when one of them began talking about a certification that is good to have (one that I’d never heard of), and they began talking about different skills that they needed to learn for their jobs. While I am not directly in the IT field, I work for a technology company, and I was almost embarrassed that I didn’t have at the minimum a working knowledge of what they were discussing.

When they were done talking I told them how I felt; listening to them speak made me realize how far behind the curve I was and how I may need to leave my current job if I wanted to learn new skills (and actually use them). We then discussed the comparison between working for smaller companies versus more prominent organizations; explaining how you can get “lost” in a larger company compared to how you can shine in a smaller one. While the points raised were valid, I still felt as though I would need to move on. I will have to educate myself first because the skills I think I need are not going to be practiced or used at my current organization. I speak with my supervisor about my career regularly, and he understands how I feel so he knows that I’m going to start looking soon, but I think he is just holding his breath at this point because he doesn’t know when I’m going to pull the trigger.

I am not even sure myself.

I know that I need to do more and I know that I need to do better, but I don’t understand what I’m holding on to or what is stopping me from moving forward. Whatever it is, it’s my issue, and this is something I need to work on. I need to figure out why I keep procrastinating and holding myself back. I like to say that I don’t always have time, but I think I need to learn to get better at managing my time. Sometimes I stress myself about having a career when all I really want to do write. It’s the only thing I think about during the day; taking writing courses, going to conferences, publishing my first book. I still don’t know what my book will be about but it’s in my head somewhere, I just need to get it out.

I will have to stop saying “someday” and “one day” and make it TODAY.

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Back To Natural: 1 Year Update

 

So around this time last year I did my own version of a “big chop” by letting my friend Sequena cut my hair. Sometime in the fall of 2017 I messed around and straightened my hair myself and used a blow out lotion to help; but I used way too much and left it in way too long, ruining what was left of my already weak curl pattern.

I thought that I was doing fine since I would only get my hair straightened once a month but I realize I was mistaken. From October 2017 to February 2018 I didn’t use any heat on my hair, so when my friend came to trim my ends she noticed I had 2 different patterns. Thus my decision to chop.

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Before

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During

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After

In the past year, I’ve noticed that the curls in the front of my head were almost nonexistent while the back curled with no problems. I learned that my hair doesn’t like coconut oil or rice water, but it does like shea butter and Wild Grow. I’ve used various products from Design Essentials, TGIN, Cantu, Lotta Body, Curls, NaturallClub (I found that one on Instagram), and some others I have forgotten. I went through 5 bonnets and 3 satin pillow cases. I’ve used Jamaican Castor oil, Jojoba oil, Almond oil, Avacado Oil, Vitamin E. I even got to a point where I would mix a bunch of the oils and just use them all at once. I buy hair gel by the tub full. My sister introduced me to the Denman brush. And even though my hair is short, it still takes about 2 hours to do and I only know about 3 hair styles.

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Hardly any curl definition

Over the year, I’ve noticed how much fuller and longer it has gotten in the back. The front part of my hair is curling like the back now and I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten rid of all the dead ends. My hair is almost as long as it was before I cut it (almost). I’m really glad that I did this and I’m excited to see how long it can get. I can actually get my hair into a ponytail if I tried.

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Now, more defined curls

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One of the 3 hair styles I know 🙂

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Front is starting to curl

 

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My sister wants me to stop with with wash and goes and embrace an Afro; I guess I’ve been avoiding it because I just LOVE seeing my hair curl up. It looks like waves to me; I’m almost addicted to it. If my scheduled allowed it I would have taken more time to document the process. But for now I’ll just continue to scroll Pinterest for style ideas that I’ll never do and products that I probably won’t buy. And I’ll go to YouTube for tips and information that I may only consider after I’ve consulted with my personal hair gurus (my sister and my friend).

I will be try to be better with documentation, even though this year has been a trial and error year and I’m sure I was going a lot of things wrong, I’ll share the journey.

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Fro’ for good measure

First Trip Of the New Year

Lorenzo and I are always discussing plans. Plans for our money, plans for our family, plans for our careers, and plans for travel. Sometimes we take walks and talk about them, sometimes when we’re riding in the car together. The point is, that these are continuous conversations that we have pretty much every week.

The one that I look forward to the most is traveling. I love going to different places and seeing what the big fuss is about. As much as I talk about planning trips together they don’t always come into fruition. With both of us being in the military, training can really get in the way. For example, I would’ve loved to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras this year but I have my training. Lorenzo has training right after Memorial Day so this year is another year where we can’t celebrate our wedding anniversary OR his birthday because he won’t be back in time. Anytime we get invited to go away with friends, it’s always a drill weekend, and sometimes he has to go to planning conferences throughout the year so they eat up all his vacation time. We can’t seem to win.

There are those random occasions where we can sometimes manage to escape so we’ll do small things like ride out to Myrtle Beach to see his mom or when he took me to Destin, FL for my birthday last year. This year one of his friends, Bird, from Albuquerque was in Charlotte for the week so we drove up there to have dinner with him and his friend. The drive was 4 hours but it really felt like 2. We really didn’t get to see much of the city, but that was okay because we were able to just hang out and catch up.

We stayed at a small hotel called The Ivey’s, which was decorated very nicely and was French themed. I liked that they had free wine and cheese for 2 hours in their library and was directly upstairs and next door to two different restaurants, even though we only visited one. There where a good amount of restaurants in walking distance of the hotel but because it was restaurant week and a few corporate events going one everything was booked. We had to find a place about 20 minutes away (thank Goodness for Uber). Because this was a catch up trip for Zo we really didn’t do much besides eat. Lorenzo and his friend were catching up and telling us all the crazy stories of the guys they used to hang out with in Albuquerque, mostly young military guys. It’s been almost ten years since Zo left New Mexico do there was a lot of catching up for him.

Lorenzo promised me more trips this year but I won’t get my hopes up too much until we’re both out of the military. Things change so much so that you can never be too sure. I hope I’m wrong about it though.

During Tragic Times

I had to take a break this week due to the passing of a family member last week. My mother’s oldest sister passed away last week due to complications with her heart. A group of my family and I made our way back to New Jersey from Georgia and North Carolina for her funeral and I was able to get back home by Saturday morning.

Y’all want to hear something crazy? This aunt is 16 years older than my mom and my mother wasn’t the youngest in the family. My grandparents had 17 surviving children (out of 20) and of all of them only 2 didn’t have children. Some of my aunts are great-grandmothers, and my grandmother was able to meet 2-3 of her 4 great-great grandchildren.  I probably have over 60 cousins, their children included. Parties used to be lit growing up, I’m just saying.

Anyway, my aunt that passed had 2 sons, both are older than I am but I’m not sure by how much. As a kid they were always “adults”, and I used to think they were my uncles. The last time I remember seeing them in person, I was probably 14 or 15 (I’m almost 40 if it helps with the math). My aunt was always a nice person. She was always smiling and making jokes with me and she was one of the few that was really happy for me when I decided joined the military.

Not going to lie, I was a little nervous about seeing my family in that setting after such a long time. Members of my family have a history of not getting along, especially if something happened recently and tensions are still brewing. Other members also have a history of not “knowing how to act” so I was a little nervous about some drama. But, fortunately things went well. The repass didn’t last too long because it was so cold out and some people had little kids who were getting cranky. One of my aunts brought some pictures from our childhood (some that I don’t even remember taking) and we were telling our younger siblings some of the background stories behind the photos.

Even though it was a sad time, it was a good day. I told Lorenzo that I would love to host an event for my family so that it doesn’t mean that the only time we see each other is at funerals. This will be a task within it self (completely on my dime) because my sister tried this a few years ago and very little participation. Maybe it will be something I consider for next year.

What About Your Friends?

You know what I realized the other day? I have some pretty great friends. It took a little bit of trial and error for me to get here, but I’m here. I was never the type of person who always had a lot of friends growing up, I was super shy and introverted so I used to find myself getting attached to one person and it was usually the most extroverted person in the class.

I never found myself being friends with the “mean girl” I always found myself wanting to be around nice people. Being in the military you didn’t have a choice, you were stuck with who you were stuck with for the most part. Some friendships workout there while others did not. In college I had 2 friends whom I was very close to; one I stopped being friends with by the time I graduated and the other was a few years later.

I noticed that in my 20’s I held on to people longer than I needed to. At the time I didn’t want to picture my life without some of those people knowing that deep down I didn’t like the way I was being treated and that something wasn’t right. Letting my friends from college go was pretty hard for me, but honestly it had to be done. I stopped being so dramatic about our relationship and realized that a lot of my feelings were one-sided and learned to move on.

Now I have women in my life who are smart, educated, driven, fun, and ambitious. One lives in New York but is in transition to Virginia, one lives in Miami , and two of them live here in Georgia with me. I don’t get to see them often or even speak to them everyday but I am happy they are in my life and I love being friends with them. They are not messy, “shady”, competitive, jealous, negatively dramatic, and they genuinely are happy for me and want to see me happy (and vice versa). This is important, especially when you find yourself at different points of success in your life.

Sometimes in order to move on you have to make a conscious decision to say that you are fed up sometimes toxic behavior and will be better off without them. It will be hard, especially when you end up missing the better parts of the relationship, but it means that you leave a space open for someone better. I let go of 2 people and a few years later I gained 2 more, so think everything worked out in the end.

You Know Really What Grinds My Gears?

You know what really grinds my gears? People who try to make me feel like staying in the military is the only option I have to be successful in life. I get this from civilians, current, and ex military people. Its bothered me for years but this particular flair up was caused by one of Lorenzo’s retired First Sergeants. Lorenzo decided to have company to watch some college football games and I had some online classes to do (for the military). Lorenzo stepped out to the store so I entertained his guest until he returned. This guy has been in the Marine Corps for 27 years and just retired earlier this year. I was telling him that I plan to retire next year because its no longer benefiting me to stay and he sat there and made a case to disagree with me!

While I get that it has really benefited a good amount of people over the years, how can you sit here and try to act like its beneficial for ME when you don’t even know what my career plans are???? Once I talked about my goals, I guess it made more sense but COME ON. My experience is MINE to judge and if I say I’m done, I’m done. My father used to do this to me too and it really gets under my skin. For example, I will say something like “I will hit my 20 year mark in 2019” and he will follow up with, “Yeah and then you’ll do 10 more”. Um, excuse me Sir? You’ve never served a day in your life and you probably don’t even know what I do in the military but yet you want to tell someone to stay? Please go have a seat. Or the people that I currently work with or used to work with will make comments like “You’re going to stay”, “You know you’re not going to leave,” “don’t you want to get promoted,” “Its easy money why would you give that up?”, “don’t you want to do this MOB?” No, no, no, no and Hell NO!

untitledI really don’t understand why people do that. If someone told me they wanted to go I was usually the one encouraging it. Yes its the reserves, and yes its only once a month but it can really take a toll on your private life. I recently showed my sister the military pay chart and she was actually pissed that I stayed in for as long as I have. The first thing she said to me was, “You mean to tell me, all these years you’ve missed with us and this is all they were paying you?” Well, technically I was getting paid less, but that’s neither here nor there and this job really isn’t about the money. I just hate when people try to make me feel like my decisions aren’t my own. Hell, if I would’ve listened to other people I wouldn’t have joined in the first place! And now that its almost time for me to leave people are telling me to stay; this is so backwards.

Patrice is going to do what is best for Patrice, period. I can’t let other people’s opinions direct my life because more than half the time they don’t even know what they’re talking about. The only opinion I’d ever asked for was Lorenzo’s and he supports my decision, so that’s all the validation I need to move forward.

Y’all need to leave me alone.

A New Year Means New Opportunities

At the end of every year people all over come up with “resolutions” or goals they want to accomplish for the upcoming year, the main ones I can think of are: lose weight/ go to the gym, eat healthier, quit [insert bad habit here] or start [insert new good habit here]. Then there are those of us who opt to skip the resolutions altogether because we know full and dog on well that we are going to give up on said resolution by mid-January; “stop cursing” was at the top of my list for so many years that I just gave up on trying.

So no resolutions for me, only one goal and a theme for the year. My goal is to get a job in my career field and my theme for the year is: Execute. I will admit that I have a huge problem with procrastination. It was another thing I “resolved” to overcome and failed miserably numerous times. I decided to put a new spin on it and tell myself that I need to A: be more productive and B: stop putting things off until the last minute. Being productive includes knocking out small, menial tasks and getting them out of the way so that leaves time to accomplish bigger things. If I continuously remind myself that I need to execute instead of sitting on things I will free up more time to get other things done. This will also be a test to my time management skills. I can’t be a project manager if I can’t manage my own time.

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My goal is a professional goal. There is no time frame on it, so if it doesn’t happen in 2019, no worries, I am going to spend the majority of the year building towards it anyway. I’ll take additional classes or certifications if I need to in order to make myself more marketable. I still plan to retire from the military next year, so that will definitely free up so much time for me. Its 1 am and I’ve just spent about 5 hours working on a class for the military and I’m no where near done. Its a Saturday night and I should’ve been enjoying my weekend, but instead I am doing online classes and training for the military- training for things I won’t be using a year from now (that’s why its frustrating).

But I digress. Next year will be good for me. I know that I can plan things and can do the research, I just need to get better about pulling the trigger or “executing” the things that I say I want to do. I have a white board in my home office with my weekly, monthly, and yearly to do list. Some of that stuff has been on that board all year and I haven’t attempted to do them. Its time to start crossing these things off.

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