All posts by Lady in Yellow

About Lady in Yellow

I’m a family gal, attorney, and aspiring yoga teacher. Sharing what I’ve learned about life, love and everything in between.

How to become unstoppable

I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me that I can’t do something.

I’ve been told not to talk, not to think, not to try, not to believe in myself. . .

But, the most consistent, negative voice in my life towards myself is my own. I tell myself that I can’t do.  I tell myself that I shouldn’t aspire for certain things. I tell myself that things will never get better.

About five years ago, I’d allowed my self talk to run completely amok.  I abused myself all day every day.  As a result, I constantly felt lousy.  One day, I looked in the mirror and said to myself, “You’re a bitch.”  And I think it was the sound that made it real.  I think it was hearing myself tell myself something so ugly, out loud.  If someone else had said that to me, it would have caused a real problem, but I had allowed myself to talk about myself like this for so long, I didn’t even realize that I was abusing myself.  From that moment on, I made it a point to be really aware of my negative self talk.

self-worth-quotes

Thoughts are not real.  They are just thoughts.  If I conform to the “box of thoughts” that others apply to me and my life I wouldn’t be married, a mother, an attorney, working in my current employment. etc.

One of the things I’m learning from my yoga practice is that there is a difference between ourselves and our brains.  Our brains are here to serve us, not the other way around.  But so often, we let our brains run amok, and tell us what to do and who we are. You can create your own prison through your thoughts. In the yoga sutras, Patanjali makes a distinction between the seer and the seen, and explains that by focusing on God, rather than material things, we can transform our minds, and become more like God.  See Yoga Sutras 2.20.

The same concept is explained in the bible.

 

 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Romans 12:2

By changing the way you think you become unstoppable.  You do this by isolating the voices in your head, stepping back and observing the messages you tell yourself.

Do you tell yourself that you aren’t loveable?  That no one likes you?  That you are always wrong, or poor, or stupid?

Those thoughts can stop you from reaching your potential. The first step is to recognize the voice. Listen to what you tell yourself, about yourself.  Often, the only thing stopping me from reaching my potential, is me.  So, how do you change your mind?

GRATITUDE.

I’m going to write more about a gratitude practice, because my gratitude practice is helping to transform my mind. When I hear a negative thought, about myself or about someone else, I now consciously attempt to change it to a positive thought.

So, if I walk pass someone and find myself judging them, I stop, and tell myself, Thank God for that person. I bet they are a mother to someone, a father to someone, a source of joy for someone in their life. Who am I to judge?

For myself, if I find myself frustrated with my lack of progress or overcome with anxiety, I stop and say, “Thank God for my life. Thank God for my family.  Thank God for the opportunities I have been given to provide for them and myself. Thank God for the opportunity to study, and a mind and heart that constantly wants to improve.”

So, that’s the practice. That’s how you become unstoppable.  Transform your negative thoughts through gratitude.  Or at least, that’s what works for me.

Namaste,

Lady in Yellow

P.S. -Do you have negative self-talk? Have you ever been paralyzed by the negativity? How do you overcome it?

 

 

 

On Growth. . . and Real Karma

Sometimes, growth happens quickly. Like, you look up after a month and your jeans are too snug.

Other times, it happens so slowly, we don’t realize it happened at all. Or at least, I didn’t realize it was happening.

I’ve been working on myself.  Really.

Everything in the world in the last month has me down. The violence breaks my heart.  Work is intense.  The baby always needs her mama.  My husband needs me. And so, I find myself going from month to month, reacting rather than acting.

I wasn’t living.

get your life

I have been practicing  asana (yoga), practicing meditation, practicing mindfulness.  And I’ve realized that in all of my work, I wasn’t enjoying myself.  I created a situation where there was so much pressure to be better, to improve, to become this sage yogi,  that the expectation of change and what change should look like paralyzed me.

I wonder, why am I not there yet? I’m not writing on my blog.  I’m spinning my wheels on my endeavors. Or, at least I thought.

One of the concepts we are learning about in my yoga teacher training is the idea of karma yoga. Karma involves action, but without attachment to results.

My duty is to work on being a better me, even if I don’t feel like it’s working.  I still lose my temper. I still talk too much sometimes.  I still struggle with anxiety and depression.

But, I’m doing the work.  I’m doing my work.  I’m trying to be more mindful of my interactions with others in conversation.  I’m trying to be a better, more patient mother to my daughter, who watches mama closer now than ever.  I’m working toward creating a healthier, more efficient body with which to carry around my soul, so that I can be at my best every day.

James Altucher says in his book Choose Yourself!- that once we decide to change our lives, and choose ourselves,  we aren’t required or expected to be perfect all at once.  He points out that one of the things that creates an obstacle to personal change is this belief that we have to figure everything out in one day, or one week.  But, that’s not realistic or true.  James suggests trying to improve yourself 1% every day.  Just 1%.  That’s not a lot.  That’s choosing to eat a sensible lunch, maybe meat-free.  That’s choosing to take a walk in the evening rather than sit on the couch and watch the depressing news. That’s sending a friend a message to encourage them, and let them know that you appreciate them, rather than sitting around feeling sad about the fact that you haven’t been out in awhile.

So, fear not! If you haven’t seen the fruits of your labor, that just means it’s not harvest time yet.  If every time you planted a seed, you expected fruit the next day you would be sadly disappointed.  Give your seeds time to grow.  Let the sun bathe your leaves.  Enjoy where you are in your journey.  . . Because the journey is what this life is all about. Do your work.  Practice. . . and all is coming.

Peace and Blessings,

Lady in Yellow

On letting go of those things that no longer serve you

About two years ago I found myself overwhelmed and over-extended. I had too many activities, and not enough time.  I had leadership roles in everything, including as Chair of the Board of Directors for a large non-profit organization in my town. This dilemma  was complicated by the fact that I didn’t really like the people I was surrounded with, and it was pretty clear that a number of them didn’t like me. So, over the course of the last two years. . . I’ve quit.

cut off

I quit the Board.  I didn’t step down as chair- I quit the entire thing. After being harassed, and bullied by the president of the organization, who refused to work equitably with me, and insisted upon treating me as though I were an incompetent child, I left.  ONE OF THE BEST DECISIONS I MADE LAST YEAR.

You know why?  Because by letting go of those things that didn’t serve me, I opened up the room in my life for the things that DO serve me.

letting go

Credit: tookapic

I discovered yoga.  Rather than spend my time working on projects with people who aren’t pleasant, I’m working on my business plan, and toward starting my own business. I can focus better at my day job, free from the craziness of constantly running around to meetings.  I have time to practice yoga, and spend my precious Saturdays with my baby girl, rather than sit in meetings where I endure passive aggressive comments, one-upmanship, cattiness, and leave mad.

I joined an organization that my mother and grandmother joined before me. I now have another connection to my mom and Grandma that is very special to me. I attend meetings and do community service  with my mom, and I get to work with mature, professional women, who are encouraging and appreciative of my contributions.

Sometimes, the best way to connect to the things that are truly important to you is to identify those things that do not serve you and get rid of them.  Just like that. Quit that group you hate.  Walk away from that job that is causing you health problems.  Stop speaking to that toxic ass “friend” who is always trying to see what you have going on so they can hate; or who draws you into gossip.

What’s keeping you from living a life you enjoy? Do any of you have activities or people in your life that may be keeping you from making the meaningful connections that can really improve your quality of life? How are you coping, and have you thought about just quitting? Sometimes, the answer is just that simple.

Leave the bad relationship.

Quit the bad job.

Drop the negative friend.

Pull back from activities where the environment is toxic.

When you make room for the things that honor your true self, you raise your vibration. The universe can’t help but to respond to that. Like attracts like.  So, if you were waiting for permission to get out. . . here it is.  DROP IT. No need to have long drawn out conversations about why.  When your body, and mind tell you that something is not good for you. Listen.

And let it go. . .

queen elsa

Namaste y’all

Lady in Yellow

 

 

Childhoood

Honeysuckle innocence

Walking to Shawnee park, avoiding cars, unsupervised

Running to get the merry go round to go really really fast

Fleeing neighborhood dogs

Purchasing candy, (or a hamburger) from Andy’s-which is no longer there

I remember walking around campus with my beautiful mother. I thought everyone’s mom was called Doctor. 

I didn’t drink koolaid. No sugar in my cereal

Just hamburgers and milk- and chocolate chip cookies…

On Purpose. . . and perseverance

I had a bad day.  (I know. . .it’s been that type of year.)

I got angry, and wanted to quit. But, after speaking with my  mom, I realized . . . it was just a bad day.

I am here for a purpose. I often think it’s crazy how I got to my current position.  I find myself constantly surrounded with people who are “officially smart.” (And know it. . . and don’t want anyone to forget it.) Those who do what I do generally had the best grades in law school, and were real standouts.

Not, the girl who just gets by academically, (at least my first year- my grades improved significantly after that, but the funny thing about law school is that your whole trajectory is often determined in your first semester, and cemented by the second)  spending her free time with her boyfriend and at the school’s dance studio, taking all the dance classes she can fit into her schedule.

I was literally Elle Woods from Legally Blonde (minus the blonde, privileged, sorority life- and the good grades in law school)- I woke up one morning, decided I was going to law school, and then, I went. I had no idea what I was getting into, or really, what I was going to do. That lack of focus followed me into my first year, and the results were less than stellar- but nonetheless I finished law school, graduated, and started a job as an assistant prosecutor in my hometown.

So, here’s my point. We don’t always know why we are doing the things we feel compelled to do.  Sometimes, along the way we find ourselves having REALLY bad days, having to re-adjust our goals and our focus, and we may ask ourselves, why am I here?  Why am I doing this?  Well, I believe we are where we are for a reason.  That everything comes together for our good and for us to cement our purpose here on earth.

Literally, every experience that I have had from law school- including the experience of not getting great grades, has served to help me help another person. I can explain to students that I know what it’s like to study really hard, and still struggle- and how I overcame that experience. I used to explain to clients that I understand what it’s like to make a stupid decision- and look up and realize the consequences took me down a road that I never anticipated- where I hurt others- and was called to the carpet to atone for my actions. I can look back to where I was, and where I am now, and realize that I never imagined that this is where my life would take me- but I am so blessed and fortunate for it all.

So, I’m still finding my purpose.  But, I move forward optimistically, and with flexibility- on purpose.  I purposely strive to be a better me- every single day.  Even on bad ones. . .

Namaste

Lady in Yellow

 

to the man who raped me (f*** Bill Cosby)

I am not less than because you violated me.

What once was freely given now drily observed and consumed

I have no voice, screams dissolve in deaf ears, muted by rough hands and a baritone voice making it known that resistance is futile

I am not less than, but I am not the same.

Forever stained with the knowledge

that my will is not enough

my no is not enough

my heartbreak is not enough to stop hands that would take from me that which is most sacredly mine to give.

I am not less than because I tried to pretend it did not happen, going through motions until I collapse under the shame and pain- the gargantuan weight of the memory

of rough hands that would take

that which is not yours to consume.

-Lady in Yellow

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/angry/”>Angry</a>

(c) Lady in Yellow, 2016, All rights reserved.

 

On body ownership and autonomy

What makes me angry?

I’ve lost weight.  I practice yoga three or four times a week, sometimes at the studio, sometimes at home. People started commenting, “you look good! What are you doing? ” “Yoga” I would say. “Lots of it, you should try it, it’s awesome.” (I was a yoga convert, fully engaged in my yoga evangelism.  Yoga for everyone!!!! ) Often the person would smile and say, “ok.” Or, “I tried yoga back in the day.” But, too often, the response is, “Stop losing weight.” My response:

robert downey jr

Excuse me? I like my body.  I like myself big, and I like myself small. I’m at a healthy weight for my somewhat petite frame.  My clothes look good on me.  I’m not dieting. I split oreos with my two year old,(and I shouldn’t but you see, she likes the icing and I like the cookie, and we fit together perfect like that, me and my Nay) more often then I  should.  I drink Dr. Pepper every. single. day. I do not, and have never counted calories- even when I was at my biggest.

And that paragraph above?  That right up there. . . is a part of the problem too.  Why do I have to explain to someone who does not pay my bills, medical or grocery, about my own body?  Why do I have to justify my body to my “friends.” Look, when I was bigger, people would make fun of me- sometimes outright, but mostly little comments and digs.  They would comment on an old picture that I don’t look like I used to, (all skinny and stuff), or they would make subtle digs to imply that I wasn’t as fine as I thought I was. . . (like I said, I think I’m sexy regardless of my size. . . can’t tell me nuffin). . .

im-sexy-and-i-know-it_813

Now that I’ve lost weight I’m still getting digs, “When are you going to stop losing weight?” “Why are you losing weight?” “Don’t lose any more weight.” And it’s really ticking me off.

Why is it okay to comment on another woman’s body to their face?  No, really?  Why is it okay to say to a bigger woman, “You need to lose weight. You aren’t healthy.” I’ve seen it happen- in public. Why is it okay to say to a smaller woman, “Don’t lose anymore weight.”” Why are you getting so skinny? ”

And the commentary doesn’t stop with weight.  Before I was married I was constantly asked, “when are you going to get married?”  Then, we married, and I was constantly asked, “when are you going to have a baby?” and, “Dang, Bunmi, You don’t have any kids yet?”, Then I had a baby, and now its, “When are you going to have another baby? You know you need to give Nay a sibling.”

My sweet, sweet girl gets the ownership thing right.  She is quick to tell you, “No, my hair.” When she doesn’t want her hair touched, and   “No, my hand.” when she doesn’t want her hand held. She will not kiss you just because you ask.  She will not hug you just because you ask.  She will not speak just because you speak to her. (Okay, I’m working on the last one. . That’s just rude.  . but baby girl knows herself, and what she’s about, and she ain’t studying most of y’all.)

She is just learning that she is her own person, and that she doesn’t have to sacrifice her body or feelings just because someone else would prefer it. She speaks up for herself, but I wonder, how long until she gets the message that as women, in this country, our bodies are not really our own?

You see, in our culture, women are constantly placed on pedestals of scrutiny.  Not only are people who are relative strangers often comfortable commenting on a woman’s weight, appearance, or intelligence, women are often judged and admonished for the choices we make.

Wear a short skirt and something bad happened to you- You shouldn’t have been wearing that skirt.  You are advertising-What can you expect?

Wear a hijab- You’re being oppressed! How dare they make you cover your hair!

There is a lady I follow on instagram-Amber the Activist. Amber was traveling in South Africa to raise awareness about rape, and invited a “friend” to take a shower with her.  That “friend” raped her. The response- How dare you take a shower with a man, and then complain of rape!!! You don’t have the right!!!

So, rather than condemn her rapist, she is blasted for her choices.  As a woman, how dare she believe that she is free to be herself, and to have a non-sexual consensual nude encounter with another person.  I say, what the hell is wrong with society?

Why can’t women be free?  Free to be whatever weight I want.  Free to love whoever I want.  Free to be free from unwanted touch and commentary about our bodies and choices?

Have you had this experience?  What’s the loving way to deal with someone’s overt judgments about your body, or your decisions?

 

Le sporting-club de Monte Carlo (for Lena Horne)-James Baldwin

The lady is a tramp
        a camp
        a lamp
The lady is a sight
        a might
        a light
the lady devastated
an alley or two
reverberated through the valley
which leads to me, and you
the lady is the apple
of God’s eye:
He’s cool enough about it
but He tends to strut a little
when she passes by
the lady is a wonder
daughter of the thunder
smashing cages
legistlating rages
with the voice of ages
singing us through.