6 Word Memoir

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By:Shaun Nickens

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You Are A Hot Mess! (Introspection piece)

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The other day my family was getting up and ready for the days activities. I watched my fiancée take the last pair of draws from the dresser  (“draws”=underwear.) I felt bad because laundry is one of my chores. We share the household responsibilities. I made a silent oath to head to the laundromat before work.

When I got there, there was a woman with a plastic caddy. It had disinfectant wipes, bleach, detergent,  fabric softener, and dryer sheets. She wiped down the folding table with the wipes. While she waited for her laundry she put a minimal amount of makeup on. When her laundry was completed, it was immaculate. It was drop off service worthy. She smiled with pride and carried her laundry to the car.

I thought to myself, “When did I stop folding panties? When did I start throwing socks into the bag and praying a match would be found?” I used to work retail. I KNOW how to fold clothes. I know how to make them look beautiful with limited wrinkles.

When did I become a hot mess?

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There is a car wash I like to frequent  (when I have some extra cash.) A petite hispanic man is the guy who welcomes you when you come in. He smiles a bright genuine smile with one gold tooth. Then he says, “Hola angel!” He gives you your ticket and he moves quickly and with exuberance. One night I was passing by on the way home. I noticed him getting on his bicycle.

I thought to myself, “Would I be able to be that professional and kind? Could I take such good care of peoples automobiles when I don’t have one of my own?”

When did I become a hot mess?

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On Saturdays I like to go to Zumba class at the gym. It is so much fun! It’s a good way to let loose. My Zumba instructor is fantastic! She looks like Jessica Alba in the movie “Honey.” She has so much energy! She is always smiling. She seems to organically LOVE what she does. She always remembers peoples names. She gets in front of you and dances with you when you are beginning to become exhausted.

I watched her yesterday and thought, “How sensational it must be to get paid to do what you love. What a blessing it is to be able to dance for a living.”

When did I become a hot mess?

I think I know the answer.

I became a hot mess when the innocence of being bedazzled by brilliant simplistic intrinsic happiness was stripped from me. Children are so happy when you get them a 50 cent sticker from the vending machine. They love a new movie or ice cream. It can literally make their day. That was stripped from me. You have to make an effort to regain that. Sometimes you will make the effort and it will go unnoticed. It may seem trivial to others. You have to keep trying. You have to believe that what you say and feel matters but somehow prevent it from defining you. Every interaction is an opportunity to change someone’s life…especially yours.

Today was hard for me. Knowing the amount of effort I invested will put me to sleep (that and Tylenol PM.) 🙂
Seriously though, I think know that effort and the redefinition of innocence will give life some new seasoning. It will make challenges easier to swallow. It will make me less of a hot mess.

By: Shaun Nickens

Respect the Process

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I saw a good friend of mine a couple days ago. She had surgery on her knee recently and she is currently undergoing physical therapy. She’s on disability and recouping, getting back to normal. She’s getting stronger and she has her own signature walk that shows the confidence in her knee. It’s not a limp. It’s a walk that says I am in the process of being better. People ask, “What the hell happened to you?” She simply responds, “I had surgery but I’m okay.” She acknowledges her past, admits that she is still damaged, and claims her recovery.

I once heard a TD Jakes sermon when he said, no one would ever buy tickets to hear a musician play the scales. It’s not impressive. *People want to hear the finished product. The process is not alluring. There is no decadence in process and procedure and patience. It’s hard and annoying to perfect something or attempt to perfect something.

People like instant gratification.

One of my favorite quotes from Lauryn Hill Unplugged is:

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I am a blogger and I am on Twitter mainly for the purpose of promoting the blog. Sometimes I can find writing competitions or some decent spoken word videos. YouTube is great for tutorials on EVERYTHING. Of course there are benefits to social media. However, I think there are a lot of downfalls to it as well. Children are bullied, ADULTS are bullied, and we are surrounded by people who only show/post/bulls*it the best parts of themselves and their lives. There was a time when you would meet someone in school, you’d graduate and never see them again. You’d meet someone at work, change jobs and never see that person again. You weren’t a bad person. They weren’t bad people. Life happened. Now with social media, people from your past post their new cars and titles and model children and filtered bodies every day. . .all day. Does that affect you? Does it make you feel inferior? 

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Huffington post

I’ve been poisoned by socially acceptable standards of beauty predicated by celebrities. I find myself comparing and contrasting. It’s dumb because these people have teams and an entourage to maintain and enhance both their looks and their brand. I have aczone, blistex, shea butter, and some argan oil. Is that an excuse? Aren’t some of them just naturally drop dead gorgeous?

The obsession just inhibits my own process. As a writer and a poet, I have to be able to tap into the ugliness of people. I have to touch them in the places they try to hide. I have to expose that. I have to marvel in the unloved parts. Being obsessed with what society says I’m supposed to be is keeping me captive in mediocrity.

Get a signature walk. Strap on a brace of confidence. Deal with the ugly parts of yourself. Accept those things. Love them up. Decide what you want out of life and then decide when you’re going to get it, not how. Trust the way you would want to be trusted. Love the way you would want to be loved. Get stronger. Don’t limp but its okay to broadcast your process. Maybe people will be more compassionate. I like when kids stand for the pregnant lady on the train. I like when people open doors for the elderly. It proves they respect the process. Respect the processes of others. Respect your own process. See you in the winners circle.

By:Shaun Nickens

To hear the TD Jakes sermon please click the following link:

Put Your Big Girl Panties On!

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My two year old is potty training.  We have officially taken her off the pull ups (except for bedtime) and she is wearing her “big girl panties.” I’ve been thinking about the symbolism in that milestone.  When you are transcending into something great or just different, have you made the necessary adjustments?

1. “Bo Bo’s Aren’t Forever”- It’s time to get rid of the pacifier. Translation: Get rid of your vices/your addictions. Let go of the things that have power over you and your state of mind.

2. ” Take Your Fingers Out Of Your Mouth” – Translation : Be as articulate and as diplomatically verbal as possible. Don’t let other people speak for you. Don’t let others assume your thoughts. Express yourself.

3. “Are You Whining?”- Translation : Stop complaining and bi*$hing! If you’ve been cutting corners, it’s time to accept what it is and do what you can to change what it could be! Take responsibility and push your personal limits.

4. “Do You Want Time Out?!” – Translation : Time Outs, Thinking Corners and even Pow Pows are just forms of discipline. They are a way of grabbing the reins in chaotic situations. Sometimes you may have to give yourself some meditation. You may need a prayer group to be a part of. You need a vacation. You need an hour to yourself at the library. You need to unplug.

5. “No More Diapers”-Translation: The safety net is gone. If you have an accident or you make a conscious mistake …you will have to be accountable for your SH*T! You have to flush away foolishness and wash your hands of excess, waste, impurities, and most importantly. ..the past! It will be difficult. You will error but you shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed of the process. Trying isn’t failing. Every time you succeed you should celebrate! Everyday is an accomplishment.

It’s time to put your big girl panties on!!!!

By:Shaun Nickens