All posts by Shay

I am simply just me. I am an open book ready to be read by those that are interested.

When I Speak

This poem does not reflect where I am, but it does represent the space that many of us live in daily. Learn the signs of mental distress. Ask the questions and be a part of the solution. I have included a few resources below if you or someone you know is struggling and need assistance.

They say “it’s all in your head” right before they pray for me.
I respond with, “I know that” but knowing is not helping me.
I’m crying out for help while I’m facing this insanity.
I’m hoping that this feeling does not cause the death of me.

I shed tears in silence because sharing them makes me weak.
I have tried to talk about it but no one hears me when I speak.

I am living life like a robot, just going through the motions.
Everyone watches my actions but they don’t consider the notions.
I am trapped in a place where everything I do is wrong.
When I try to escape, the hurts and pain come along.

So I shed my tears in silence ’cause sharing them makes me look weak.
I have tried to talk about it but no one listens when I speak.

I am taking matters into my hands since my actions are what opens your eyes.
But I am not sure how long I can hold on for I am slowly reaching my demise.
I try to keep fighting but I still find myself in this space.
I don’t want to live here, but I am stuck in this dark place.

But I still shed my tears in silence because sharing them will make me speak.
I have tried to talk about it but you don’t see my struggle, you just see me as weak.

If you know anyone that is going through something, reach out to them. Talk to them. Help them. So many people are resorting to abuse, suicide, and homicide to deal with their internal issues. We all go through rough patches in life. Our journeys are all different. Nonetheless, we need one another to survive! We have to be active in the villages of one another.

Take care of your mind! Take care of your heart! Take care of your soul! Take care of one another!

National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline: 1-800-950-6264 www.nami.org

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 www.thehotline.org

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673 www.rainn.org

What Stops You From Asking For Help?

Recently, I commented on a post and shared my thoughts regarding lessons learned and how to help one another. The main thing that spoke to me was the fact that many of us do not ask for the help that we need. I must admit, I am one of the many. I am not prideful or anything like that. I just prefer to do as much as I can on my own. If I ask for help, it usually feels like the end of my option list.

We, as human beings, all need help more than we ask for it or even realize. Although we don’t ask for help as often as need it, we offer it constantly. We actually help each other on a daily basis. We utilize services from one another, we conduct business with one another, and most of us have jobs that even require us to help others. Helping is a way that humans operate in the world.

Since helping is a natural part of life the way that it is, I cannot help but arrive at the question, Why is it so hard to ask for help?

I called my sister and asked her the question. We talked about it for quite some time. She described an incident that caused her to ask the same question. When she told me about the experience that she had, I asked her if she felt that our background had anything to do with it. Needless to say, we both do. As the conversation progressed, we reviewed our individual experiences in life as well as childhood memories. We talked about the lessons that life taught us and what those lessons mean.

One of the things that came up was the fact that we are often conditioned to feel like asking for help is a sign of weakness. We are often shunned or told to figure it out when we turn to other for help. Some people feel that if you cannot accomplish something on your own that asking for assistance is an easy way out. People may even refer to you as lazy because you asked for help but criticize you if you make a mistake because you didn’t ask for help.

We also talked about how those reactions make asking for help extremely difficult. It makes accomplishing tasks and goals that much harder as well. When someone makes you feel bad for doing something so natural, it will cause you to question your actions in the future. I can remember asking questions and being ignored or told to be quiet. My sister shared a few of her experiences with me. Her experiences did not differ greatly from mine, there were just different people involved. By the end of the conversation, we discovered a few things that keep us from asking for help.

1. People don’t ask for help because they are afraid of the response.

It can be extremely difficult to ask for help if you have been shut down or chastised for it in the past. It is easy to understand why you would be reluctant to ask for help. However, everyone is not the same. Situations may repeat themselves but the people will be different and so will the response. The way to overcome this is to know who to ask. There is no reason to set yourself up for rejection by asking for help from someone who you know will speak more than they act. You will never be able to predict what someone will say, but you have the choice to choose a person that you feel will act accordingly. Usually, it is someone who has been there for you in the past and proven themselves to be reliable. You will never know what will happen if you do not ask for help.

2. People don’t ask for help because they are afraid of how they will appear to others.

Perception is everything when it comes to growth and development. Although we cannot control how others will respond to or receive us, we give them so much weight on our life scale. There are some people who are concerned with how others will look at them if they ask for help. I am sure that “others” are not considered when things are going well so they should not be as important when assistance is needed. Focusing so heavily on what others will say or do if we ask for help removes focus from actually accomplishing the goals that we set out to accomplish. Asking for help does not make you look bad, it makes you look smart. If you never speak up and ask questions or get help, you will remain where you are.You should build a support team of people who will guide you when you need guidance so that you can focus less on how others will view you and more on how you can move forward.

3. People don’t ask for help because they are afraid it admits failure.

Admitting that you are wrong is a hard thing to do. It is one of the things that most of us avoid at all cost. More times than not, when we admit our wrongs it causes us to face the facts of a situation and accept that we made a mistake. In addition to that, when it comes to asking for help, we tend to see failure as a stop sign rather than a u-turn sign. There is nothing wrong with making a mistake. Mistakes are actually how we learn. Asking for help can prevent us from making the mistakes that we try so hard to hide. When we get to a point of uncertainty, it is wise to seek guidance and assistance before we move forward. It is better to make an informed decision rather than an uninformed one.

We are hindering our growth when we don’t ask for help, regardless of the reason that keeps us from asking. It would behoove us to learn how to move past these stumbling blocks in order to be more successful in our daily activities.

So, what stops you from asking for help in your personal life, business, or both?

Pack It Up – Working on the move

Anyone that is a creative person will agree with me when I say that there is nothing like finding your groove. If you don’t know what the groove is, I’ll tell you. It’s the moments generated from uninterrupted passion and exploration. The groove is the place where the magic happens for creatives. It’s a great place to be. I enjoy my groove very much. It can be very difficult to find your groove at times. For that reason, I am extremely annoyed when my groove is interrupted. I also understand that as a single mother and a rising entrepreneur, I have to make adjustments and create new grooves whenever and wherever I can.

I have been a single parent for roughly 6 years and I can say that the struggle with that never ceases. At the same time, I can say that the response to the struggle can make all the difference. We can affect the outcome by focusing on the positive lessons that can be learned from each experience. Some of the struggles that affected our lives was my work schedule, workload, and the time I spent away from home. I knew that some things needed to change but I did not know what to do.January 2016, I lost my job and decided to start my business. August 2016, I started homeschooling two of my children.

During this process of starting a business and homeschooling, one of the major lessons I have been learning is how to create a groove on the go. I have to be able to take my notebook, or my laptop, or my phone with me so that I can work while one child dances, one runs, and one plays softball. There are also field trips and educational outings that interrupt our days. This is not to mention the regular flow of life like grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, and general errands.

I have had to learn how to be productive in my entrepreneurial endeavors all the while being a mommy. I cannot lie and say that is was not hard in the beginning. I can’t even say that it’s not hard now. I do know that I have learned a lot since I started. I was always getting frustrated with having to stop right in the middle of what I felt was greatness. I would feel like my kids were not letting me be great. Once I started to think that they were the reason that some tasks had to be postponed, I had to look closer at how I was prioritizing my time.

Of course, there are things that require devoted attention partnered with peace and quiet. I am not attempting to replace those moments. I am, however, interested in making better use of the moments when I do not have those luxuries. I had to not only look at myself, I had to include my children. I was making so many decisions around them without even taking into consideration how they may want to be involved. I had to learn to make their moments mean more just as I was attempting to make my moments matter.

I wanted to know how I could get things done and still be available to my children. I stopped guessing about what they wanted and asked them. They told me that they would like to be more involved with what I do. They want to be on my schedule for more than extracurricular activities. I listened to what they wanted and decided to devise a schedule that works for us all. It provides me with the space I need at times, allows me to accomplish my tasks, and keeps home school running smoothly as well.

In an effort to help keep me prepared for these interruptions, I started keeping “tools” all around me. There are notepads and pens in the car and in every room in the house. I have created a “to-go” back for my computer and notebooks that’s easy to grab and very functional. I have also synced my phone to my computer so that I can transition smoother. I use multiple apps to keep me organized and focused even when I have to pack it up and work on the move.

Beautiful Surprise – Short Story

It was the darkest shade of red that I have ever seen. It was so dark that it almost looked black. It was not quite a pool or a puddle, but the amount of blood was still enough to make anyone uncomfortable. The depth of the color could not mask the smell. The aroma was reminiscent of my brother’s armpits after track practice. It was unbearable, yet and still, I stayed.

This did not seem real. I thought that it was weird but I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t. My mouth was open but there was nothing coming out. I was still standing there; frozen. It was over but my legs would not move and take me away. My mind was as clear as a hookah bar and I was focused. I was focused on what was in front of me. The fact that this was actually happening to me and this was my reality paralyzed me in disbelief. I was heartbroken and relieved at the same time.

Nonetheless, I was not expecting my night to end this way. We had a beautiful celebration ahead of us. I spent hours getting ready so that I would look perfect for this special occasion. The evening was set up so that we could thoroughly enjoy the presence of one another. Two years and counting was the hashtag on our social media pages. This was going to be the night that we took things to the next level. Apparently, the next level was not the same for both of us. Everything changed so quickly.

If only things could have gone according to the plan this would not have happened. We were going to have a great night. I set up a night of fun and adventure for us. We were celebrating our connection, our union, our love. With open hearts and empty stomachs, we headed out to begin the evening. Most of it was my idea; I was the one that usually planned our activities. We both love food and music and art. Dinner was the first stop. The location was our favorite place.

We ate our favorite meals and drank our favorite wine. It was so wonderful. Something like a scene from the sappiest chick flick ever created. The setting was perfect. I felt like the night was going to be as amazing as I planned. The service was great and everything seemed to be going well. Dinner ended with dessert and a thank you kiss on the center of my forehead. There was a live band playing at the lounge a block down from the restaurant. Our footsteps led us to our next destination.

We arrived at the lounge and entered with our very own vibe. With our hands intertwined and our memories growing, we share another moment. It was such a beautiful moment. Our eyes were locked on one another. We were not two people in that moment but two souls. His hands moved across the small of my back as my hips swayed to the beat of the music. The rhythm of our heartbeats is what our souls danced to. It was such an amazing moment. Our love could be felt in the atmosphere.

This simple, sweet, and innocent moment was so beautiful. A moment that I will always cherish. That beautiful moment was also our last moment together. The music played and my love danced away. In that second I was left all alone. Heartbroken and stripped of my partner, my best friend, my lover. It was all over. The moment that I never saw coming met me on the dance floor. We were ripped apart from one another. The smooth flow of the evening abruptly halted. This was not a part of our evening plans. This celebratory moment was quickly transformed into a tragedy.

My feet are still planted here in the spot where I last danced. I see her there. She was the reason why my feet stood glued to the floor. I remember seeing her. The moment I looked at her I felt pain. I felt so much pain. I felt the bullet although I was the shooter. The next thing I remember is being handcuffed. Her final steps were taken along with the love of my life. I was his lady but she was his wife. He told me about her. He said that she did not want it to end.

I loved him more than he will ever know. I guess she did too. She came here. In the middle of our dance she appeared. I was enjoying my moment with him and I didn’t see her. She stood a few steps away. She came up to him and whispered in his ear. I heard her voice tell him that it’s over. I saw her reach down into the pocket of her jacket. I watched her take away his life. I simply returned the favor. When she reached down, I reached down into his pants and grabbed his gun. She was faster than me.

I couldn’t stop her from taking him away. I tried to save him but I was too late. There was no one to save her. Two guns released two shots, which produced two bullets, and led to two bodies. She laid there mixing her blood with the man she wouldn’t let go of. She achieved her goal of having him forever. Finally, my feet moved. I walked over to her and before I could say or do anything, I heard him calling my name.

“That must have been some dream you were having honey. It looked like you were fighting in your sleep” he said. My eyes flooded the bed with tears. His chest held a portion of my sorrows. I told him what happened and he comforted me. He reminded me that I am the only woman that he has ever loved. My discontent was eased by his caress. I was so thankful that he was there to pull me out of the worst night of my dreams.

Make It A Nice Ride

When I first started driving for Uber, I was excited just to have some flexibility in my schedule. My main goal was to do as many trips as I could and then go home. The more that I drove, I learned about some things that could make the ride smoother and more comfortable for the riders. Making the rider more comfortable can increase rider ratings and tips.

Uber does suggest that drivers turn down tips the first time that they are offered. Do what you feel you need to do if a rider offers a tip.

Shortly after I started driving, I had to take a few long trips. I noticed that I was thirsty on the drive so I thought that there may be riders that are thirsty when they get into the car. So, I added the option to enjoy a bottled water on the trip. Riders began to say how thankful they were for the complimentary drink. I included a few chewing gum options as well to round off the light refreshments.

One day, a rider asked me for some lotion and I didn’t have any to offer to her. Later that day I went to the store and put together a rider kit. The kit includes kleenex tissue, altoids mints, hand sanitizer, lotion, and an info card for riders to follow my blog. The bottom side of the rider kit is for trash. There have been many riders that have taken advantage of the rider kit. Some have even been compelled to tip based on the effort that I put in to make their ride more comfortable.

Since I am also a freelance writer, I have copies of my books in the car for riders to read while they ride. Two copies of each book, I Will Not Be Afraid and The Book About Life. Inside the books is information on how to order the book. There are other engaging items around the car that gets riders involved in the ride. In the event that they want to strike a conversation, there are plenty of conversation pieces to choose from.

Having these items have improved my ratings, increased the amount of tips I receive, and changed the attitude of every rider that enters. I have made my car into a comfortable lounge on wheels. Riders not only feel safe and secure in the car, they also feel welcomed and valued.

Think about the things that you like to have on a trip. Take the rider into consideration and make the ride as comfortable as possible. Your efforts will lead to rewards. Stay safe and until next time…keep being #UberDope.