My Funny Valentine

Sunday, I picked up the most adorable designer Valentine’s day card and got it autographed by its lovely and talented artist, Bella Pilar.

I’m giving it to myself.

You’re welcome.

Whatever. To the outside world, it may appear a little sad, desperate, and perhaps even certifiable… but I promise it makes perfect sense.

For starters, the card was free… scored it at the Papyrus stand at Fashion Week. The marketing guy appreciated the genuine enthusiasm my friend and I have for custom stationery. What can I say? We’re traditional girls who like sparkly, decorated cards that pack a punch no text or email could ever give.

Next, I think I’ve been an awesome date to myself lately. I’ve taken me to a hot concert, the inauguration, a spa, the movies, a chocolate tour, and an aerial circus class; where I gracefully dangled in the air like that kid in the Dreamworks logo.

And finally… why shouldn’t I declare love for myself?

I gotta say that’s a nifty departure from what had steadily become the norm of waiting. And wanting. And hearing things like “I used to give my ex-wife flowers so I don’t do that anymore” or “I don’t do Valentine’s Day” by guys who probably would not have liked to hear me say “I used to do that , but I don’t do that anymore.”

Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the concept of St. Valentine’s Day. The massacre part intrigues me more. I feel like it grabs us by our privates and forces us to declare affection for people whether we love them — or like them just a little — literally and figuratively at our own expense. For loving couples, it’s an adorable addition to their romantic routines. For the rest of us, it’s akin to being eight years old and having a relative command you to go hug the urine scented elder, when you’d rather be climbing trees or playing “hide and don’t seek” with said unsuspecting relatives.

Either you dread the idea of spending absurd amounts of money on dinners, fragrances, themed underwear that does not have pictures of Spiderman on them, jewelry and whatever you haven’t thought of, or worse… you dread acknowledging that you have no one to get or give anything.

As a result, you’re now confined to your home to avoid being that person in a theater or a restaurant without a plus one. You become that salty person who gets annoyed by the PDA of couples and (sometimes) quietly predict their demise. You contemplate going places where you know there’ll be heavy V-day activity because single people occasionally garner pity from the staff and you feel affirmed by their inquiry as to why you’re single and shower you with compliments to make you feel (and tip) better. You will yourself not to scream, or cry, or punch someone in the face because someone actually thought it was a good idea at the time to show them in the corniest… sweetest… most imaginative way… that the recipient of their “valentine” is ostensibly the owner of their heart.

So this year, I’m proud — no, excited — to say I am the sole owner of my heart… and as such, I feel the need to express it in the silliest, cutest way imaginable. And if that means I get a sparkly card… then dammit, it’s gonna be the BEST sparkly card EVER!!

Did I mention it was Papyrus? Did I mention it was free? Do you KNOW how much those babies go for? It’s like the Tiffany’s of greeting cards!

As sociopathic as it may be to give oneself a card inscribed “XOXO from me to you”, it’s not as crazy as never having the kind of self adoration where you realize it’s okay to fly solo. It’s better than being with someone who makes you feel alone.

Love who you are. Love who you’re not. Celebrate your kindness. Your compassion. Your humor. Your intelligence. Your individuality. Your bravery. Your quirks. Your generosity.

And if you’re an asshole… celebrate your ability to not give a fuck.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Love,

Me

 

 

In Slave

It’s February already.

The shortest month of the year, and the only one where you could run into timekeeping issues with your age if you were born at the very end of it during a Leap one. Thankfully, my dad dodged that bullet by a day… although sometimes I felt it would’ve explained a lot of his behavior.

It is also most notably Black History Month, which used to mean reports and special school plays in honor of famous people of color during my childhood.

Today, it means I spend the weekend watching the NAACP awards, frying shrimp the way my grandmother taught me in Savannah, catching “Django Unchained” finally, and taking to Twitter to read and review commentary on the performances and ads during the Super Bowl while simultaneously trying to watch the game and contain my audible reactions to the game. All in that order.

Like most New Yorkers, I went into watching this game more for the ads and Beyonce’s halftime show because the Giants weren’t in it and could therefore care less who won. I moderately appreciate football as a sport, but fully enjoy the uniforms and the use of words like “tight end”. I’m crass. Get over it.

That said, it turned out to be an awesome game.

But the NFL went full-on “Sista-girl power” with a line up that began with Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys, and ended with that fem-bot Sasha Fierce leaving no questions about live performances… or why she now performs without the other members of Destiny’s Child. It was like a precursor to the Essence Music Festival.

Anyway, back to the point of this story…

The NAACP awards turned out to be emotionally overwhelming. After tearing up from the story of Vice Admiral Michelle Howard, I was then struck by the iconic moment of Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte standing on stage together, as the former presented the latter with the Spingarin award in recognition of his tireless charity work. That’s when the cosmic shift in the room occurred.

Mr. Belafonte is no stranger to calling out black celebrities for not taking a more active role in enriching the lives and opportunities of the black youth. But on this particular night, he used his moment in the spotlight to challenge all of them to use their influence to make and be the change needed in the communities to ensure kids today are educated instead of incarcerated. His speech was so moving, it jarred Jamie Foxx to the point of getting him to stray from his rehearsed speech of the season (only briefly, unfortunately).

For me, it sparked thoughts of the days when black actors were “actorvists”, and entertainers were outspoken in their community and in turn the community responded. Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Poitier and Belafonte, Paul Robeson. All walked alongside the legendary Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcom X. Today, the number of celebrities willing to get their hands dirty are few, with exceptions such as Don Cheadle, who after making “Hotel Rwanda”, began campaigning and co-authored a book in efforts to end genocide in Darfur. The going trend is now to sign large tax-deductible checks or make photo-scripted appearances to boost one’s PR.

His speech stayed with me as I watched “Django”, which, when one isn’t focused on the graphic and gratuitous violence or the use of the N-word, you can appreciate for what it is: a good — no, great — revenge fantasy. Just like “Inglorious Basterds” before it, this movie takes a very real and very traumatic page in history for a race of people and asks the question “what if the tables were turned?” If you go looking for inaccuracies or expecting to be offended, you completely miss the true story buried within; the one where slaves were whipped, torn apart by dogs, put in “hot boxes”, and subjected to numerous atrocities — least of which is being called an N-word — worst of all being conditioned to betray and mistrust each other for their own survival.

And there it is… centuries later, we’ve become our worst enemies .

As Mr. Belafonte calls for an end to the penitentiary mindset that has been steadily crippling our communities over the last few decades, the city of Chicago has just tallied over forty homicides just in the month of January. Before the ball dropped to mark the end of 2012, they had notched over 500 murders in total for the year. Crime in minority neighborhoods have risen with the desperation of those who see more opportunity in guns, drugs, and professional sports than with degrees or specialized training for careers that can’t be outsourced.

It’s become customary to point the finger of blame at our lighter-hued counterparts for the lack of progression in our community, but we are squarely to blame for it. When we fail our children by denying them basic things such as quality education, stable and healthy home environments and just a strong sense of pride and self, we set up the future generations to follow suit.  When we put programs on where our women fight over men and money, put out songs that glorify violence and misogyny, and teach our kids at a young age to value expensive, high-tech and designer items they can’t possibly afford  — we are mixing a recipe for disaster. We are enslaving ourselves.

I’m sure they’d be remiss to admit it, but if Spike Lee had done that movie instead of Quentin Tarantino, they would be hailing him as a genius for sparking a conversation about slavery that hasn’t been explored since “Roots”. Personally, I think Spike should have done the film, so more people would be talking about it instead of fixating on a word.

It’s great that we celebrate the achievements of accomplished people of color. It would be even greater if we didn’t just allot a month out of an entire year to make them feel special. It’s almost akin to picking one day out of the other 364 to express your love for someone (hmmm… coincidence that it’s the same month?). It would be fantastic if we could make a habit out of excellence, instead of pointing people out like zoo animals, but I guess in some way it inspires one to aspire to something more.

But enough about this.

How about those Super Bowl commercials?

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time…

These days, the art of reflection has become a constant source of amusement to me.

We’ve all had them… those “WTF?” moments where we questioned our judgement and motivation in retrospect post incident, or two… or fifty.

The night of tequila-based drinks that ended in the ruin of both your purse and dignity in the eyes of a unknowing cab driver.

The time you tried desperately to fit in and divulged your deepest personal secrets to a bunch of women with superiority complexes.

That guy you met outside The Strand.

That chunk of time fondly referred to as “my Twenties”.

Okay, those are my moments of reckoning, but as long as you were able to fill in your own blanks with equally humiliating and regrettable tidbits, then my work is done.

But the key is to recall them with a lightness of heart that can only be matched with the feeling of your feet dangling in the air — because you’ve fallen off your chair laughing at how stupid they are now.

There are so many things that hold such importance in our lives to the point where we feel lost without it; material things, status, relationships, appearances. If we lost any of these things tomorrow, would it really be that big of a deal?

Is it that important for you to have that lifestyle at the risk of breaking your bank?

Do you actually give a shit if people don’t accept you for who you are, or support what you do if they don’t consider you on “their level”?

Would life really end if that person didn’t love you back?

When we read it, it seems absurd to even contemplate any of these notions. But in the heat of a moment, when phrased differently in our minds, we answer a resounding “yes” more times than we care to admit.

If we didn’t, it would be a perfect world where people didn’t go deeply into debt, succumb to insecurities to be part of a group, or feel like a breakup is proof we don’t deserve loving and respectful partners and friends.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t take anything seriously. In fact, when we reflect on how badly we cocked up a situation in our past, it should ideally give us pause and perspective on how we can get it right in life the next time.

These days, I find reason to smile even when my thoughts turn to tragic things. If I’m unable to find a funny instance in the moment, then I find comfort in knowing that whatever it was… it’s over and I survived it.

This frame of thinking might have made high school and college significantly smoother transitions, but hey, better late than never.

Happily, my relationship with tequila has since improved… vastly.

Sometimes laughter truly is the best medicine.

 

 

Assume the Position

In life, it would appear role play isn’t simply relegated to the bedroom.

This thought came to me as I considered the idea of making New Year’s resolutions. Normally, I detest this practice because it sets me up to make promises that I have zero intention of keeping, which then creates a domino effect of self-effacing for the remainder of the year; what begins as a noble introspective attempt at creating a better me suddenly morphed into an analysis of how and why we seek certain changes in our lives. I then began thinking about how in so many aspects of our being, people adjust or conform to whatever societal norm to either fit in or survive.

After it occurred to me that I’ve been steadily drinking my way through the month of December, I realized I was thinking way too much… but by then my mind locked onto the concept that — whether consciously or subconsciously — men and women desire “titles” or “positions” for status. Manager. Director. Boss. Girlfriend. Boyfriend. Wife. Husband. Mother. Father. Best Friend.

Which finally brings me to the point: It’s all well and good to be that person… if you really want to be that person. Unfortunately, we willingly demand these positions while being unwilling to do the work required of them.

Many of us have encountered a situation or two where our workplace has had less than effective management, so it’s easy to relate when we hear someone isn’t doing the job they pushed, pleaded and schemed to get (hell, politicians are providing some of the finest examples right now). But rarely do we acknowledge how we do that in relationships with people… and even ourselves.

Recently, it occurred to me just how dishonest I’d been with myself when it came to the “positions” I’ve (allegedly) wanted. For the majority of my years, I’ve accepted jobs, boyfriends, and other things simply based on the fact that they were options presented at that moment… instead of taking the time to assess whether mutual needs and desires were being met. I always hated disappointing people, and in my twisted logic felt compelled to remain in unpleasant situations despite the stress it would ultimately incur. Needless to say, I remain unfulfilled, but these days I’m more at peace with disappointments and find them to be fantastic lessons as I pursue my true position in this world.

Most importantly… I also take less shit.

As this year — with all its trials, tribulations, tragedies and transitions — comes to a close, my hope is that 2013 brings about an awakening of our minds, bodies and souls… allowing people to become more accepting of themselves and others for who they are. The tolerance of intolerance has produced disastrous results in the form of racism, bullying, homophobia, political unrest, and overall disparity between genders, class and even the mental and physically disabled. The new year requires a new perspective, to say the least.

It all starts with being true to ourselves and others… because the simple truth is, what we receive in this life is intrinsically connected to the effort we put into it. And if we’re not giving our best in any role — be it in work, play, and general existence — we set ourselves up to not just fail as an individual, but also those we affect through our actions.

Besides, there isn’t a more gratifying feeling than a job well done.

 

As Time Goes By…

I’m not sure why… but years ago, I used to give decorative wall clocks as wedding gifts. Ironic, seeing I was often “punctually challenged” when it came to being places by force.

Anyway, these large timepieces would always be accompanied with poems I’d written about time being spent together… or something or another.

To this day, I’m not sure if the intent was to be clever and thoughtful about getting them to cherish every moment in each other’s company, or if I was just giving them a very large stopwatch to count the minutes before they decided they made an error in judgement.

In any case, my gifts these days tend to veer toward monetary contributions and an occasional “honeymoon accessory”.

For some reason, back then, I was more obsessed with how other people used their time on this earth, and less focused and ultimately more wasteful of my own time on this planet. As people grew up, grew stronger, grew apart, grew to know more and grew to care less… I grew jaded, fearful, and distant from everything I wanted in life.

Not to say a whole hell of a lot has changed — I’m still a work in progress — but I’m chipping away new things every day. There is a certain freedom and pleasure in knowing and being true to ones self, and not being afraid to go against the grain to become the masterpiece you always knew you could be. I’m just more cognizant of the fact that there is, in fact, a timetable to make it happen. Whether we like it or not. We all have a deadline.

As I stare down the barrel of the shotgun that is my impending 37th birthday, it’s becoming clearer to me why elders are often more ornery and impatient; the older you get, the more precious time becomes. Why would you want to waste any minute of your life doing things you don’t want to do or be around people who don’t respect you, share your views, or make your life easier and more pleasant to endure?

This past Thanksgiving was special for me in the realization of just how fortunate I am, and how valuable each moment is. To commemorate this re-devotion to making every moment count, I’ve been opening my mind to new things once again. I signed up for a race with some girlfriends, and thanks to the good people at LivingSocial, I’m going to shoot a gun and take an aerial circus class. I’m also trying to recruit my cousin in Philly to jump out of a plane with me, but if she chickens out, I’ll have an extra photographer for when I do it (or someone who can immediately contact our relatives from the scene to alert them of my demise).

The point is, as I get older, life get shorter. Perhaps I may live a long healthy existence well into my golden years, but each passing day is one less (and more) opportunity to do something different and new to create fabulous memories. Granted, I’ve already amassed some great moments in my lifetime thus far, but there’s always room for another.

After reading “Grace: A Memoir” by Grace Coddington, I realized that I’ve got another thirty years before I can become the comfortably settled woman the fiery Ms. Coddington has become. Which means I have plenty of time to spend many nights at crazy parties with a cast of characters in the fashion, art and entertainment industry and shack up with dubious men of foreign descent.

Oh wait… I’ve already done these things.

Let’s just start with the race, the plane dive, the air twirling and the gun, and see where the rest of the new year takes me…

Either way, I’ll embrace every minute as if it were my last.

Stormy Weathered

“In Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire… hurricanes hardly happen!” – Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Dolittle in “My Fair Lady”

Yesterday at work, I found myself wishing I was in one of those places… but instead I was catering to the needs and calming the nerves of displaced hotel guests who were either stranded by a cancelled flight, evacuated from their homes or having their luxury experience interrupted by mother nature’s wrath in the form of Sandy.

It all began innocently enough. Throughout most of the day it was just windy with a little rain. Locals spent the day typing productively away on their laptops, playing board and card games, and indulging in a cocktail or four. As the day progressed, the energy took a very different direction. The jovial, yet cautious vibe soon became more frustrated and frightened.

This is of course when things truly got interesting…

All the disaster movies and TV dramas in the world don’t prepare you for the range of emotions you go through when you’re in a situation where you are completely powerless. When you have to turn away frantic people who need a place for the night because they can’t stay in their own homes because you have no room. When you are expected to remain calm and overall pleasant when a demanding mother makes numerous outrageous requests. When you find yourself sleeping in a room full of strangers, and someone who shared theirs with one they know asks for their room to be cleaned. When you must find a way to keep children entertained and calm and unaware of the destruction and chaos occurring outside. When you find yourself walking through a hallway and staircase that’s pitch black and using the last of your battery life to illuminate your path. When you must endure an increasingly unpleasant odor that you can still detect in spite of blowing your nose until the skin is raw. When you watch someone attempt to plug an iPad into a generator, as a number of people just want to charge their phones enough to make or take a phone call once service resumes… It makes you wonder.

There came a point in the night — amongst the emergency generated light and candles — when an impromptu piano performance by one of the servers made me unexpectedly weepy. (It could have also been the two and a half hours of sleep I’d gotten prior to working twelve hours with almost no break.)

In any event, I began thinking of the reality of the moment more than the severity; I’d once again found myself working in an industry where myself and my colleagues forgo normal existences where we could be passing those stressful hours in the company of loved ones, to essentially babysit the privileged. Hearing one housekeeper use her colleague’s phone to assure her family in Mandarin that she was fine, and another get an early morning call from her relatives updating her on the news she couldn’t access while the power was out (I need their service carriers) — it was all too clear what sacrifices were made for the needs to support their families. That there were people who took that for granted with absurd requests made me march to the bar, request a “Dark and Stormy”, and retire straight to bed.

It is in moments like those you realize just how fleeting life is. How lonely you are. How important it is to have people who appreciate and enrich you instead of use and take advantage of you.

If you’re anything like me (God help you), you find yourself wishing for someone to weather the storm with. A plus one for all occasions. Someone willing to fight for you like they would their own spawn when you can’t stand up for yourself.

…You also find yourself thinking you’re in a scene out of “Titanic”, which may have precipitated your hasty exit more than the drink and disgust fueled by anxiety and exhaustion.

In a matter of hours… trees and buildings fell, homes and possessions were submerged under water, and people sat in darkness literally and figuratively waiting to learn their fates.

As the daylight began to clear the dark skies and thoughts, I found myself aching to make a call I couldn’t. In the midst of attempting to place guests in other hotels that had power and hot water, my desire to go to my own home grew stronger. When the clouds finally provided an opportunity, I made my escape with pained eyelids, an unforgiving sinus headache, and overworked legs to begin a very long walk home to rest, recover — and start over.

Of course, in that moment of clarity, it struck me around mile three of the six required of my journey, that my African/Native/Scottish migrant lineage was too far removed for me to complete that walk with two bags on my shoulders… and immediately hailed a cab. On my way home, I chatted with the driver — who assured me he was going to be home by nightfall, and made sure to tip him extra.

We don’t all have the power to save trees, buildings or lives — nor can we make people behave in such a way that there’s never disparity toward their fellow human being. But we can control what we build or break with our own words and actions. While observing the hotel manager calmly diffuse an irate guest, that gem of a life lesson was my final takeaway after a very introspective experience.

Some people just get cabin fever. I get philosophical and a fever.

Would rather have Nyquil or Mucinex.

Something Old…

Every now and then, something that looks lovely on the outside can be a major pain in the ass to hold on to.

My grandmother, an elegant lady with a mind as sharp as her tongue, had an appreciation for beautiful things. One of those things happened to be a sterling silver tea set. Like her name, Elizabeth, the set is fit for a queen.

How it ended up in my possession is anyone’s guess. That an item fitting a lady of the manor came to be with an urban misfit in a rental continues to baffle my mind. (Maybe my Anglophilia was drawn to it.) Don’t get me wrong, I love and appreciate nice things, but if I have to pay for it, it stays in the store!

When my father bestowed it on me, he did so because everything else was about to be lost, and of all the grandchildren, our personalities were the most similar. Like her, I’m headstrong, quick-witted and tempered, and oddly drawn to men with good intentions but very bad habits.

I’m also like her in a sense that she too never took to cleaning the damn thing. My silver polishing experience started out impressively but ended in an epic fail. My plantation days would have been numbered. It was apparently a chore best reserved for my Uncle John, her younger brother who bore a striking resemblance to Ron Isley.

In any case, here I sit with the only family heirloom in existence, and I couldn’t be more ambivalent about it. The memories that are conjured by it aren’t as warm and sentimental as they are cold and distant. Where most grandmothers teach their granddaughters essential domestic skills and share stories about family history, mine forced me to watch soap operas and had my hair relaxed one summer because she refused to deal with combing it. Up until I attempted cleaning it, I’d never in my 30-plus years touched the set, or even seen it uncovered by plastic.

To me, the set is a symbol of all the things that hurt me about my upbringing. It signifies a childhood filled with isolation and experiences that ended it too quickly. It reminds me of a time when the people I looked to for love and stability let me down in such a monumental way that the scars haven’t truly healed decades later. I could say it made me stronger and more self-reliant, but that’s just BS speak for someone groomed for a very lonely existence.

For some, antiques are fascinating and exquisite pieces of history that give a home flair. Most people proudly display them somewhere in anticipation of passing along a tale of family triumphs and tragedies.

Then there are folks like me, who see them as something best kept in museums or homes that have no connection to its true history… The better to create their own stories and memories. I personally would prefer reminiscing about a time I went to a market in a faraway land and picked up a vintage mirror than recall the day some drunken relative nearly walked into it. But that’s just me.

Not since Alice’s trip to Wonderland has a tea set been immersed in such dramatic mental dialogue. That a thing of beauty, preserved for decades, could be both a strange symbol of endurance and a spacial and emotional burden — is perplexing.

Suddenly, the thought of having a cup of tea just stressed me the hell out.

No Comparison

In my lifetime, I’ve managed to amass an absurd amount of girlfriends who are not only beautiful inside and out, but they tend to be ridiculously successful professionally and highly accomplished and world traveled.  If not for the tremendous amount of love and respect I have for them, I would systematically pick them off with an assault rifle.

Like most women, every now and then my insecurity gets the better of me, and I find myself envying my friends and their lives.  I’ve even been overcome with feelings of inadequacy when I would hear their latest news and see pictures of their latest adventures… thinking that my own life wasn’t nearly as exciting, and longing for the days when I could relate to their experiences.

Naturally, this is silly and unproductive thinking, but if none of us succumbed to the occasional complex, we wouldn’t have consumption, commerce, or politics.  When you think of it, the cosmetics, fashion, and even the automotive industry are amongst the many that thrive on our inner fears and desires to “keep up with the Jones'”, which has sadly now been amended to pop culture’s newest standard, the Kardashians. 

…But I digress.

The point is, sometimes I get so caught up in other people’s lives that I forget how great my own has been, and neglect to see the potential it has to be even greater.  The best part is, it’s still going, so that leaves for plenty of opportunities to see and do more with each passing day.  

Comparing oneself to others is a colossal waste of time for no other reason than the realization that you’re cheating yourself out of the joy you get in celebrating the differences that make you and the people around you so special.  And yet, somehow, you found a common ground.  You found enjoyment and comradery.  You found a support system.  You found each other.

Nothing can compare to that.

Can You Stand The Rain?

There is nothing more soothing than a steady rain.

Sitting here looking out at the gray skies and watching the puddles on the rooftop across from my window swell and splash with new drops of water, I’m taken to a place of perfect peace.

Of course, that’s mostly because I’m inside, as opposed to being directly in contact with the elements… then it’s a whole ‘nuther story.  These days, I can’t cope with rain drops unless I’m wearing the appropriately bougie ensemble consisting of my Burberry jacket and Hunter wellies. Despite not having the kind of hair that would frizz in such conditions (or any hair, really), I still feel violated without a decent umbrella.  If my body’s demands are not met, the rain pretty much holds me hostage for its duration, and frankly, that’s only permissible if I’m absolutely comfortable and have nothing too pressing to do, or if I happen to be in good company. 

Any other time, I feel as if I’m missing out on some tremendous opportunity to do something. Anything.

But beyond that, I ask myself: “When did I become so afraid of rain?”

As a kid, I’d spend hours outside splashing barefoot and attempting to drink the drops that streamed down my face.  To me, it was cleansing ans refreshing.  It didn’t matter that I was blinking profusely and practically blinded by the mix of hair grease that washed from my head straight into my eyes, my friends and I were content in the coolness of the Summer storm, and would only retreat if we saw lightning or heard our names being beckoned by some adult who wouldn’t be caught dead out there without the appropriate ensemble of London Fog or whatever the hell was big back then.

The older me misses the younger me’s fearlessness.  Back then it never occurred to me that I could catch a cold if I stayed out there too long, nor did I worry about my clothes or shoes being ruined.  The rain wasn’t toxic and didn’t need to be filtered before consumption, and a plastic poncho — heck, even a trash bag with a hole cut in it — was good enough for me.

But the fears start to go beyond water falling from the sky.  Soon you realize everything has become the rain, metaphorically. Relationships, work, and life suddenly become more scary and challenging, and rather than simply weathering the storm, we go into protective mode or run for cover. 

Just as the New Edition song says, “Sunny days, everybody loves them. But tell me baby, can you stand the rain?”.  We all want life to be perfectly sunny and for the most part drama free, but how do we handle things that aren’t so perfect?  Do we acknowledge that there is even a storm? Do we wait for it to pass? Does it really matter if we get a little wet?

Then I realize that at the end of every storm is a fresh new beginning… and even a rainbow to remind us of the beauty that comes with starting over.  

It also helps that for a brief moment, the smell of rain in the air and on the sidewalks offers a welcome respite from the pungent odor often affiliated with Summer in New York.  Let’s hope Bond No. 9 doesn’t bottle that scent!