Wise Words from Craig Stokes

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Image courtesy of Craig Stokes’ Facebook page.

I was recently introduced to Craig Stokes through his #ImABrand webinar, sponsored by iBlack, the leading lifestyle portal for Black professionals in the DC area. Stokes is a phenomenal, multi-talented TV host/personality (“Style Minute” and “Craig Stokes Presents: The Show”), lifestylist, and motivational speaker. Throughout his presentation, Stokes shared several bits of motivational wisdom in the form of #StokesNotes. After doing some additional research, I came across several #StokesNotes that left a great impression on me (especially the one shown above).

When we talk about our self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence, the focus is often on the external factors (such as family, friends, our community, our environment, our culture, and the media) that have negatively influenced how we feel about ourselves. Too little focus, I believe, is given to the part we play in these beliefs.

As humans, we have the tendency to get in our own way. We thwart our own progress by not looking within…by not first believing in ourselves. How can we expect to achieve our dreams if we don’t think we’re worthy of them? It’s time to take back our power. Our dreams have value. They matter. We have value. We matter.

For more #StokesNotes, go to Craig Stokes’ Instagram and Facebook pages.

Happy 2nd Anniversary to “Prevail!”

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I cannot believe it’s been two years since the release of my first volume of poetry Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics. Seems like it was only yesterday when I saw the email that the book had gone to the printer. And roughly 10-14 days later, it was available to purchase. Seeing my work published, especially this collection, was a major milestone. I went through a lot to get to that stage. And my what I’ve learned in the time since it was published.

I was trying to do everything when Prevail came out. To maintain the little bit of sanity I have left, I had to pump my breaks. I realized that if I broke my goals up into smaller pieces, execution wouldn’t be as difficult. This allowed for quick wins, which in essence brings you closer to achieving your ultimate goals (versus trying to attack everything head on all at once).

My goal this year was increasing visibility in the DC metro area (i.e. attending more events, performing, and making connections/building relationships). I went after some opportunities, while other opportunities came to me (all of which I’m extremely grateful). I’m in the process of planning for events for the latter half of the year (I’ll be sharing news about this soon). Aside from releasing my next two projects, the goal for 2015/2016 will be increasing visibility in other regions of the country.

After going through the publishing process with my first project, I feel like I could teach a course or two. There’s no need to spend a lot of money buying packages through an on-demand or vanity press when you don’t have to. Doing it yourself may be a more cost-effective option, especially if you have access to the right resources. Whether you self-publish or get picked up by a publishing company (indie or mainstream), you will still be on the hook for marketing/promoting your work. At this stage, I’d rather have more control over the finished product and how its marketed/promoted.

Information about my next two projects is forthcoming. In the interim, be sure to check out my previous posts about Prevail. And if so inclined, buy a copy of Prevail, write a review, and tell a friend!

Thank you for your support. Until next time… Peace, love, and many blessings! ~ BuddahDesmond

Buy Prevail from: iUniverse | Amazon (Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle) | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million (Paperback | Hardcover)

I Was Too Blind To See – Latest on MUSED

Young man thinkingImage courtesy of MUSED Magazine.

Ever been in a situation, be it a relationship, friendship, or job, that was no good for you?  Everyone other than you knew you could do better and encouraged you to move on.  But for reasons that were oblivious to you at the time, you remained.  I’ve had my fair share of experiences such as these.  In my latest article for MUSED, “I Was Too Blind To See,” I talk about a past relationship that had run its course.  I ignored all the signs.  Yet, I stayed… And paid dearly for it.  But as I say in the article, “I’m grateful because that experience was crucial to bringing me forward.”  To learn more, read the article on MUSED.

Major thanks and props to Drew-Shane Daniels, Neo Huxtable and the MUSED family for featuring the article!

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Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

A Personal Reflection on Father’s Day

Father’s day has always been a strange day for me.  I grew up in a single-parent household with a mother who was more than capable of holding down the roles of both parents.  My father did not take an active role in my life.  With the exception of visits and phone calls here and there, he was a quasi-presence, an oddity, an elusive figure (still is).  After 31 years, I must admit that it’s a shame when you still don’t know your own father (and he doesn’t know you either).

I’m at a point now where the hope of any real relationship or bonding with him is somewhat faint.  If it happens, great.  If it doesn’t that’s fine, too.  Sad, but fine.  Guess when the child grows up it becomes harder for the parent to relate after being away for so long.  Or maybe they’re apprehensive or scared to connect because they feel you may reject them.  Maybe it’s guilt.  Or the scars that linger from their own father’s absence and abandon that prevents them from doing the right thing with their own child/children.

I’ve had countless discussions over the years with my mother about why my father was rarely around.  And she always gave me her honest answers, without bashing my father in any way.  Most importantly, she did not want me blaming myself for his absence.  As a child, it was still hard not to feel this way because I didn’t yet understand all of the reasons why.  No matter what, a bit of pain, sadness, and anger remained.  As I mentioned in a previous post, my insecurities, feelings of rejections, depression, and thinking I wasn’t “good enough” stem from my father not being around.  I’ve spent an extensive amount of time working on this over the years.

The last time I spoke with my father was about three years ago.  He began telling me what he thought I wanted to hear about why he was never around, but not what I needed to here.  He said he wanted to try to have a real relationship with me, or in other words “start fresh.”  Honestly, I was taken aback.  First of all, the phone call was out of the blue (as they always are).  And second of all, the whole scenario was giving me the “here we go again” feeling.  While I was open to the possibility, I wondered if he actually meant it.  Did he truly want to reconcile?  Would he actually follow through?

The memories of my father saying he was going to do something and never actually following through with it are the ones that cut the deepest.  I remember how I felt during those times, and I knew that I did not wish to go back to feeling that way ever again.  And now three years have gone by, and we’re still right back where we were three, five, seven, ten, fifteen years prior.   

Maybe one day, things will change.  Maybe they won’t.  Maybe I’ll have to extend myself even more (than I have over the years) to try to move things along.  Sometimes people do need the extra push and encouragement to make change happen.  But one does have to ask, at what point is enough enough?  I welcome the chance to reconcile as long as my father is serious about it.  I have no intentions however, of being strung along anymore.  That’s pain I don’t need.

Whatever happens is destined for reasons that only divine knows at this point.  Realize, I hold no grudges.  I’ve forgiven my father (and myself) for it all.  I wish nothing but the best for him in all things.  And I just wanted to say, Happy Father’s Day!

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Happy Father’s Day to all fathers!  Never underestimate the role you play in your child’s life.  Never take for granted how pivotal you are in your child’s growth and development.  Your presence (physical and emotional), involvement, guidance, and support is more powerful and significant than you may think.  Be engaged.  Be committed.  Be present.  We need you.