Thursday, August 28, 2014

Help Wanted

"I need your help, please!" 

"Can you help me?"


I must admit to you that it was a lot easier for me to type those words than it is for me to express them when I am in need of assistance. This morning, I started searching my soul to figure out why it is so hard for me (and women in general) to ask for what we need when we need it.

I am not talking about the "Help a sister out!" or "Hook a sister up!" mentality of people who want something for nothing, I am talking about getting the type of support that helps you to get more done in life. Whether it's managing a household, raising your children, working towards a dream, completing a big project at work or school, breaking free from a toxic relationship or avoiding financial disaster, there are times when we need the assistance of others, but we don't always ask for it. Why is that?

Fear of rejection. 
Fear of ridicule or judgement. 
 Not wanting to appear weak. (Aren't all "sistahs" supposed to be "strong" black women?) 
Thinking that we are the only ones who can do it right.
Feeling ashamed or embarrassed.

While I know that it is better to give than to receive, we have to be willing to ask for and receive a helping hand from time to time. By not doing so, we add stress to our days which impacts the overall quality of our lives.

Today, I challenge you to ask someone for assistance: at work, at home, at church or within your community. As the saying goes, "Together, everyone achieves more!"


P.S. I could use your assistance with taking Brown Girl Collective to the next level. Support the cause and help spread the word! #BGC5Project

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Introducing Marcie L. Thomas: 20 Things You Didn't Know

It's so hard to believe that I started out 2014 with plans to write on this blog a few times a week and just now find myself getting back to it. But isn't that how life is for many of us? We come up with these outstanding goals and tremendous plans, but somehow find ourselves getting distracted by the things that seem to scream for our attention vs. listening to the quiet whispers that tell us that it's time to make a change.

Don't get me wrong, we have to tend to our jobs, our families, our churches, our pets, our friends, our communities and all of the other things that go along with the people that we are responsible for. But what about us? Are we really doing as good a job of self-care as we proclaim? Probably not.

For me, writing on this blog is a form of self-love that I choose to share with the world, yet I tend to put it to the side, just like I don't always eat the right foods or get enough exercise or sleep or put the right amount of effort towards pursuing my dreams. Writing is a form of love because it allows me the opportunity to put my thoughts and feelings on "paper" and work through my joys, pains, triumphs and tragedies, without fear or apology. It's easy to get so caught up in the pursuit of a purpose that you forget to do the basic things that nurture your body, soul and spirit. If I am to be the best that I can be for all of you, I have to be the best Marcie that I can be.

Recently, I let the Brown Girl Collective Family know about my desire to share more of their stories as a means of encouragement to other women and girls who may be facing the same challenges that they have faced. However, I realized that it isn't really fair of me to ask others for transparency when I haven't always offered it. Most people who follow the BGC Facebook page don't know who is behind it nor do they realize that it is a solo venture at this point. (Yes, I do ALL of the work and I have a desire to do more, with your help.)

As time moves forward, I will share more of my personal journey, along with my thoughts and feelings about the things that are happening in the world that surrounds me. In the meantime, here are a few things that you probably don't know about me, Marcie L. Thomas:
  1. I was born on September 26, 1966 in Cleveland, Ohio, but spent most of my youth growing up in Cleveland Heights. 
  2. I am my parent's only child and I have been spoiled with love. Though my folks have been apart since I was 13, I am still close to both of them and speak with them daily. 
  3. I have no children of my own and I have never been married. I have finally learned how to enjoy my status, though I wouldn't mind having a Chocolate Adonis to call my own. :-) All of my children have been furry with four legs, whiskers and a knack meowing and taking long naps.
  4. I attended three high schools: one in Hinesville, GA (my mother's hometown and my current locale), Cleveland Heights High, and Dreher High in Columbia, SC, where I was a member of the Class of 1984.
  5. I spent my first year of college at Michigan State, went back to Cleveland for a couple of years and then joined the Air Force, where I served for seven years. 
  6. While in the service, I graduated from Campbell University in North Carolina and also earned a graduate degree from Webster University (both degrees were in business). I have second Masters degree (in Interactive Marketing) and a bunch of credits in other areas, to include education and Christian ministry. (I am like a real-life Lynn from "Girlfriends" in that regard. It took me a while to figure out what I want to do with my life, but I don't regret the learning process. Education is never wasted, in my opinion.)
  7. I am a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. EEE-Yipp!
  8. I have lived in several cities besides the ones that I have already mentioned: Madrid/Torrejon, Spain; Fayetteville, NC; Richmond, VA; Carol Stream, IL (Chicagoland); and Southfield/Detroit, MI. I've got at least one more move in me, since I am not really a small town person by nature. (ATL, I'm looking at you!)
  9. In addition to all of the cities that I have lived in, I had the chance to see a lot of Europe when I was stationed overseas: England, Germany, Italy, Turkey and France. I fell in love with Paris, so I am super excited about going back there next year with One Brown Girl in Paris. I Heart Traveling. 
  10. I have worked in a number of fields: restaurant, retail, insurance, telecommunications, and automotive retail. By day, I still work in the automotive industry, in social media/reputation. (Only until I make the transition into being a full-time Brown Girl in Charge of a multimedia corporation.)
  11. I have always had a desire to write and I love to read. I especially love biographies, memoirs, human interest stories and novels with historical flavor (surprise, surprise). As a child, I cut my teeth on Right On!, Essence, Ebony, Jet and Black Enterprise. Reading about great women and men of color sparked a desire to create an Afrocentric magazine of my own.
  12. I am a big lover of music, especially old school, neo-soul and the early days of hip-hop. I also enjoy jazz and gospel music and I am beginning to listen to some opera as well. (Studying our history has taught me a lot about some of the best opera divas in the world.) My favorite artists are Jill Scott, Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Stevie Wonder, Mint Condition, Prince and Earth, Wind & Fire. I have been fortunate enough to see them all in concert, with the exception of Mint Condition. Stokley, I am coming for you real soon!
  13. I almost went to school for radio and television broadcasting, but life got in the way. Though I would love to be able to share my favorite records on the air one day, I truly enjoy interviewing great people on The Brown Girl Collective Talk Show
  14. I enjoy watching movies and have become a real fan of documentaries and independent films. In my opinion, some of the best stuff never makes it into wide release, which is unfortunate. For those who have asked about a Brown Girl line of films, that is on the list of future goals, so stay tuned.
  15. I enjoy cooking. (Or shall I say collecting cookbooks and kitchen stuff.) I don't do it that often, but I do have some skills! As far as eating goes, I enjoy seafood and sweets above everything else. :-)
  16. I can walk a country mile, twice, but have never been much of a runner. I connected with Girl Trek to walk more and I actually lead a team of trekkers in my local area. I plan to connect with Black Girls Run! to prepare for a 5K in March of 2015. I have already registered for the run, so ya'll pray for me!
  17. My wardrobe of choice has always been a dress or a skirt with a nice blouse, along with some cute shoes. I LOVE being a girl!
  18. My favorite color is red, with orange and purple coming in as second and third. Lately, I have been enjoying shades of brown a whole lot more. ;-) 
  19. I have been natural since December 31, 2011. It has been a journey, but at this point I don't think that I will ever go back. I love the fact that we have options.
  20. My heart beats for serving Black women and girls, which is something that I have done in various capacities for the majority of my life.  It can be difficult at times, but I can't see myself committing to anything else. There are so many things that make us awesome, yet we live in a world that does all that it can to make us feel like we are not. It is my mission in life to do all that I can to tell our stories and share our true reality.   
Thanks for taking the time to learn a few basic things about me. I look forward to sharing more of my diaries with you.