Monday Notes: 7 Questions

I have seven questions I want to ask you because they’ve been on my mind for a while. Normally, I’d write a story for each, but this time, I’ll follow-up with a brief anecdote instead. I hope you’ll participate and answer one or two.

Here goes.

  1. twitter-292994_1280Do you think children should be able to use a device when at the dinner table? I notice this every time Dwight and I eat out. The last time, there was a young child, no more than eighteen months old. As soon as she finished her meal, the mother propped up her cell phone and had her watch a video. At the adjacent table, a boy around seven-years-old had stared at a tablet for the duration, only stopping to eat his nachos. Something just doesn’t seem right about these scenarios.
  2. Is it rude to be on your phone during work meetings? I don’t mean talking on the phone, but you know, your phone vibrates or lights up. You check it and send a quick text or email response, and then return to the business at hand. Is this rude?
  3. Do you think people who don’t wear their hair in its natural state have self-esteem issues? Some people might think I’m only referring to African Americans and their afros, braids, etc. They’re included under a broader umbrella. I dye my hair because I’m not ready to face the world with gray edges. I don’t think I have self-esteem issues, but at the same time, I don’t like my self with gray edges lol Is it a preference or a deeper thing? What say you? child
  4. Should children be forced to offer a greeting in social settings? This seems to be a more recent trend. When I’ve encountered children under the age of ten years-old, and they don’t say “hello,” their parents offer up something like, “Oh, John is shy. He doesn’t like speaking to people.” Then, the child trots off having never acknowledged there are other people in the room.
  5. What should people do if they have different love languages? For example, my youngest daughter’s love language seems to be quality time, but mine is predominantly receiving gifts. Should I plan to spend time with her as a way to honor her love language, or should I give her a thoughtful gift and hope she appreciates my effort?
  6. What do you think about lawnmower parenting? I personally think this is the cause of our new generation’s anxiety. Some of them rarely experience challenges, and when there is one, they don’t know how to deal. Sometimes this leads to a full-on spiral. Of course, I’m no expert on the subject, but I am curious about others’ opinions.
  7. What is the purpose of familial relationships? I believe the purpose of these types of relationships is to relate to another person in some way, not just to be related. But in families, I’ve noticed people don’t seem to be trying to relate to one another at all. Parents, siblings, and the like tend to think they already know you, so they don’t have to get to know you. Consequently, they never really try to relate; they’re just content with being related.

Mmmmkay. Let me know what you think!

Monday Notes: 5 Suggestions Before Asking Someone to Follow Your Business on Social Media

A few months ago, a friend asked me to follow her on social media because she’s re-branding and doing new things. Of course, I obliged because she’s my friend, and you know that’s what some friends do in the 21st century…support to increase the person’s social media platform in the beginning stages.

Following her, however, has prompted a few pieces of advice about maintaining a social media presence as a business or nonprofit:

Know your social media handle. As soon as she asked, I clicked on my Twitter icon and proceeded to look for her.

Me: Is it this one? @friend19_74?

Her: Oh, let me see…nope, nope, not that one. Try @friend1974.

Me: Is this you?

Her: Oh, naw, naw. Try @1974friend.

Me: So, this looks like you because your picture is here.

Her: Yes. Yes. That’s the one.

twitter_marchKeep your social media current. Once we found the correct account, I scrolled through, as is customary for me to do with strangers. I want to see what the person has posted recently. I want to get a feel for what they typically share. You know. Do they troll people? Do they engage in Twitter arguments just for the sake of being seen? Do they say mean and inaccurate stuff about celebrities or news? When I scrolled through my friend’s page, her last retweet was from seven months prior. Even at the time of my writing this, her last tweet was two months ago. Why would I follow a business that tweets infrequently?

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my baker cousin’s cupcakes

Make your social media relevant. My friend’s business is very niche. Let’s say for the sake of example that she sells cupcakes. When her IG photos pop up in my feed, there is information about cupcakes in the Bay area. If I don’t live there, or even on the West coast, then seeing cupcake info doesn’t interest me. But maybe if you post about those yummy cupcakes you just made, or link to a vegan cupcake recipe that I just have to try, or post a video of yourself making the cupcakes, then at the least, I’ll want to double-tap, and at the most, I’ll look for the website, friend or not.

Choose one site you really enjoy. Nowadays, people will have you to believe that business owners should be actively engaged on every social media site available. If you’re Nike or something, maybe. But, if you’re a small startup, I don’t think this is true, and I believe it’s caused people to burn both ends of the candle, so to speak. For example, a friend suggested I use Periscope when it first launched. I never did because I knew I didn’t have time to learn the inner workings of yet another site. But also, I was comfortable participating in what I was already doing.

Consider this, if you’re not really a photo/video person, then maybe you shouldn’t have an IG account. If you have more to say than will fit into 280 characters, then forgo Twitter. And if you despise FB so much, then let it go. Your social media presence will thrive when you engage in ways that you value, not because someone told you it’s a business requirement.

Do you all have any other advice for business owners who use social media?

Monday Notes: 3 Ways I Prepared for a Family Visit

A week or so ago, I revealed that there was some anxiety surrounding my upcoming visit with my brother and sister-in-law. For months, and all the way up to the moment we drove to their home, there were three specific things I did to prepare.

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#1: Let go of all grievances! Like many people who have had challenging relationships, I had a list. The list was mainly comprised of interactions with my brother-in-law. They spanned from 1993, when Dwight and I first met through 2015. Everyday leading to the visit, I thought of each act where I felt mistreated. I actually saw the sentence in my mind on a piece of paper, until there was a list. Next, I crumpled up the list and threw it in a fire (in my mind). Because I believe that we’re all energy, I knew that I couldn’t possibly go into their space with a twenty-five-year-old list of everything I was angry about. I couldn’t bring that negative energy with me because it would be disruptive and it would cloud how I engaged. I’d be speaking and functioning from a space of hurt, pain, and suffering, instead of love, which was my ultimate intention.

LOVE_june#2: Love them the way I would anyone else! Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that if I like, love, or care about someone, then I interact differently. For example, if I care about you, then I look you in your eyes, ask you about your well-being, and fully participate in conversation. If I don’t, then one of those actions is missing. For this trip, I knew it was my sister-in-law’s birthday, so I decided to act as I would if I was visiting a friend and it was his or her birthday. Dwight had already planned to buy a bottle of wine, but I also suggested bringing enough gourmet cupcakes for her and her family of six. We’d also chosen a beautiful card to accompany her gifts.

 #3: Visualize positive interactions! Law of attraction and creative visualization have undergirded the last two decades of my life. If you’re not familiar, at the base of these teachings is the idea that emotion and images create the life you want or the life you have. As I mentioned before, I intended to bring love to the situation; accessing that emotion was no problem; however, visualizing it in their space was challenging sometimes. I imagined myself ringing their doorbell and both of them opening the door. I created an image and a dialogue where I was very excited to see them.

I’d planned to say, “Heeey Happy Birthday!”

She would then say, “Thank you so much.”

Then, I would hand her the box of cupcakes and she would be very appreciative.

I’m sure there’s some scientific name for this, but visualizing positive interactions was hard to do because my brain kept reminding me of the old story. It goes like this: even if they knew it was my birthday, they would probably never bring me a gift. Then, my brain reminded me of something on the list: one year my brother-in-law convinced his father that my birthday was two days later, which was hurtful. When that happened, I reverted back to strategy number one, removed the act from the list again, and continued visualizing. I imagined holding an in-depth conversation with my oldest nephew, and even though I didn’t really know my younger nieces and nephew, I saw us laughing and playing games.

These three things worked for me, and as promised, I will update you on the actual visit tomorrow.

Written for Debbie’s blog and #ForgivingFridays.

Monday Notes: 4 Ways to Function in Extreme Heat

chicago_skylineDwight and I went back home for about ten days. When I say “home,” I mean Detroit for him and Chicago for me, where we were both born and raised, respectively. While there, Midwesterners experienced extremely hot conditions. For them, this meant mid-90s, with 50% humidity. For Dwight and I, who’ve lived in Florida for over twenty years, it meant…summertime.

All jokes aside, we really were not uncomfortable and as I began to observe everyone else, I could understand why they were. There are certain things you probably should do when it’s unbearably hot.

#1: Wear shorts and stuff. I’d packed several pairs of shorts and tank tops because that’s how I dress during summer months. In fact, my father-in-law off-handedly commented about the size of my shorts. “That won’t take long to iron,” he said. And I thought, yeah…cause I’m dressing for the weather. However, others weren’t. You wouldn’t believe how many people I saw walking around with black jeans and dark long-sleeved shirts complaining about how hot they were! I was taught long ago not to wear dark clothing during the summer because it absorbs heat. But I’m not so sure everyone learned this rule. Trust me. It might make the weather more tolerable.

#2: Exercise indoors. When we arrived to my aunt’s house, I was happy to see her in some above-the knee clothing, but when I complained to her about the guy I saw during his midday jog, she had this to say, “We’ve been waiting all winter for warmer weather. We want to be outside!” I get it. But jogging outside around noon, under the blaring sun is not what’s best. Use your gym membership. Get your run in when it’s sundown, or better yet, when it’s sun rise. The weather’s cooler and you might not suffer heatstroke.

#3: Turn on the air conditioner before it gets hot. The primary reason we were in Detroit was for Dwight’s cousin’s wedding. Her nuptials took place in a humungous church. You know the kind of brick building that takes up an entire city block? Well, the wedding was beautiful, but our sweaty faces and underarm pits were not. It was hot as hell in there! Can I say that about a church? They hadn’t turned on the air conditioner until the morning of the wedding, and given the size of the church, I’d say it probably wasn’t cool until Sunday school. The same thing happened at the reception. In fact, her cake began to melt and lean to one side, all because the air wasn’t turned on in an appropriate timeframe.

#4: Drink lots of water. One year, my best friend visited and asked me, “What’s up with the bottle?” She was asking about something that I’ve done for several years now, carry bottles of water everywhere. No matter what, you’ll always see me with a bottle of water either in my car, on my nightstand, or in my hand. I drink water all day long because it’s always hot where we live. And at the risk of sounding like a PSA, “drinking water helps replenish the fluids lost by excessive sweating. If you don’t get enough water, you may become dehydrated, and the combination of hot temperatures and dehydration can lead to serious heat-related illnesses” (Very Well Fit).

And in the immortal words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

I know I’ve partially made light of extreme weather conditions, but seriously, if you’re in a part of the world that doesn’t normally see high temps, take heed to some of these rules. They just might save your health.

3 Ways to Engage with Bloggers

You’ve probably heard that a major part of blogging is not only providing interesting content, but also engaging with other bloggers. But if you’re like me, then sometimes interacting can feel like a part-time job. If you’re also like me, then you already have a full-time job where you make money and another job called “parent” and “spouse.” However, I’m sure you recognize that it’s worth it to invest time to those who support your art.

But how?

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#1: Wait for someone to follow, like or comment. I average approximately 30-40 interactions per day. When a WordPress blogger follows, likes or comments, then I read one of their recent posts and do the same. If I’m not already following, then I check out his or her “About” page and browse around. Most of the time, I find something I like, unless it’s a blog about nuclear physics or something. In that case, I read a post, like and comment, and keep it moving. It takes me about two hours a day. You might be wondering where I find two hours a day. The answer is that I don’t watch Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy or the show about the zombies. Instead, I choose to engage with people who genuinely support me and it’s well worth it.

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#2: Keep a Twitter blogger list. Many bloggers link their WordPress sites to Twitter. So one of the first things I do when I first follow them is search for their page, follow, and then add them to my WordPress Blogger list. The list serves as a filter. I spend about twenty minutes checking Twitter each day. One day I may read the first ten writers. Another day, I may read every other person’s. Either way, it helps me to see the people who haven’t followed, liked or commented on my articles. I squeeze in Twitter time while I’m standing in a long line or waiting at a doctor’s office. If you choose to use this method, then also be sure to like, re-tweet, and add hashtags to posts that you want everyone else to see. It’s the name of the Twitter game.

#3: Check my WordPress reader. This is my least favorite. I check my reader once a month. Like many of you, I use the filter “Blogs I follow.” From there, I can catch up on bloggers I’ve added through WordPress, but not email. Other times I search for topics that match my own categories, such as “quotes” or “inspiration.” This ensures that I follow people who will want to engage with similar content. I’ve found quite a few blogs using this system.

I know it’s hard to keep up with FB, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and also WordPress, so I hope these tips help. How do you blog? What do you do to keep up? Please let us know so we can all become more efficient 🙂

3 Reasons the Blogging Community is better than Social Media

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I’ve been blogging for about three years now. And one thing has become pretty obvious. The blogging community is not only different than social media, but it is also better.

Here’s why:

Bloggers are readers. Most writers are. I’m willing to bet almost anything that no matter how many WordPress bloggers you have, they read what you write. It’s because they find reading enjoyable. It’s also because they want people to read what they’ve written as well. Social media doesn’t always yield readers. There have been times when I’ve commented on a person’s post, only to realize s/he hadn’t fully read the link themselves.

Bloggers reciprocate activity. If you read, like and comment on their words, then they’ll probably read, like and comment on something that you’ve written too. There’s a shared experience that invites empathy. Writers know the painstaking task of finding just the right phrase to convey just the right message. It can take hours! Consequently, if you took the time to write it, then a blogger will take the time to read it. Seemingly, the quick culture of social media, coupled with an imbalance of newsfeed updates from all several hundred of your social media friends and followers makes it difficult to reciprocate reading/liking activity.

Bloggers post thoughtful comments. Similar to number two, your blogger-followers have probably written, deleted and re-written their comments to express like, love and support for your posts. Sure, some only use the “like” button, but more than not, your blogger-followers have sought thoughtful words to communicate their feelings about your content. Social media friends and followers do not always seem to honor the “thoughtful” part of commenting. Whether it’s the use of text/IM language or the more recent and popular posting of memes as communication, social media comments just don’t seem to be as considerate or attentive.

What did I miss? Do you enjoy social media better than the blogosphere?

Monday’s Notes: UPDATE

When I first began Monday Notes, I had 221 thoughts written down. In fact, I began Monday Notes for that very reason. I thought it would be a way for me to purge and delete. Well, months later, as of the day that I’m writing this post, I have 358 notes. That’s 137 more than what I began with!

Here is what’s in these notes:

img_5198#1: Remembering things that we want to buy. Dwight and I recently purchased a home and realized that certain furniture must go, like sofas and such. Of course, that means that new furniture must be purchased. Eventually, it gets to be too much, and I whip out my phone and start taking notes. Maybe I should’ve just added them to a Pinterest board.

img_5199#2: Future Facebook posts. There are a lot of passive-aggressive, petty people on social media. They range from the chick who broke up with her boyfriend and kinda wants you to know, but doesn’t want to tell all her business, to the guy who wants you to know that he makes a lot of money, so he shares an image of his check (real story). I don’t want to be like that, so instead of posting my first thought about my life, I just write a note.

#3: Current projects. I always have something that I’m working on. Currently, it’s an anthology that includes all women writers, who share similar challenges. My notes section helps me keep things straight, such as who needs a revision, who hasn’t responded, where the copy editor is, and when I’ll begin marketing. I’ve seen apps for these types of things, but I just can’t stand to download one…more…app.

#4: Students who do not participate. Three of my classes are online. As I evaluate work, I also keep notes on who hasn’t participated so that I can see if there’s a pattern of behavior that I need to mention to them. For example, if Suzie hasn’t completed Quiz #1 and Discussion #5, then I reach out to her and remind her of these things. I could just filter the online gradebook, but I find keeping notes way easier. I just have to remember to delete them when the semester is over.

img_5201#5: Blog ideas. Oftentimes, I read other blogs and become inspired by what they’ve written. This happens frequently. In order to actually ponder and write about it, I keep notes on what was said and by whom. My intention really is to write as an extension of their thoughts, but it rarely happens.

img_5202#6: Numbers. To be honest, sometimes it’s a password. I know. That’s bad because someone who wants to steal my identity might hack into my phone, and then they’ll know my passwords, and then my life will be in shambles. But probably not. Because most of the time, it’s just a number. Like this. I have no idea what 8097 means now lol

africans#7: Stuff people have asked me to read, watch, or listen to, like this YouTube channel/show my oldest daughter asked me to watch…in August. It’s called Africans, African Americans, and West Indians. I wrote it down, with the best intentions, but here’s the thing. People are always suggesting I read, watch, or listen to something. Many times, I just don’t make time to do it. I’ll either get better about actually doing it, or better about telling the person, I’m not interested. Either way, I need to delete the note.

Do you use your Notes section or something similar? I’m starting to feel like a digital hoarder. Is that a thing? As you comment, I’ll be cleaning out the 2,000+ photos I have stored on my phone.

♊44 Lessons♊

 

Today is my 44th birthday! You might remember this from last year. I’ve added a 44th lesson: 

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  1. Pay attention to nature. 
  2. Some friends don’t last forever. 
  3. Physical life doesn’t last forever, but death will continue to surprise you.
  4. If you don’t like the life you’ve created, then make steps to create a new one.
  5. Be yourself. 
  6. Love yourself. 
  7. Be nice to people you don’t know. 
  8. People will let you down. Learn how much letdown you want to tolerate from any one person.
  9. Learn when it’s time to let go.
  10. Learn when to hold on. 
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Change. ©2016. K E Garland.

11. You always have a choice.

12. No one owes you anything.

13. You don’t owe anyone anything.

14. Sometimes friends act more like family.

15. Be honest with yourself and others.

16. Kids are not a do-over. They are individuals with their own experiences.

17. If you want more love, compassion or empathy, then give more love, compassion or empathy.

18. You can’t make people like you.

19. It’s never too late to grow.

20. Change is inevitable, whether it’s biological or spiritual.

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Change2. ©2016. K E Garland.
21. Be grateful for all the so-called bad stuff that’s happened.

22. Apologize.

23. Accept apologies.

24. Folks will fill in the blanks of your life AND make up their own stories about it; so what?

25. Mistakes are inevitable; try anyway.

26. Institutions look out for themselves.

27. You will attract people and experiences that reflect how you feel about yourself, whether you believe that concept or not.

28. Treat people the way you want to be treated, even if you don’t think they’ve done the same.

29. Nothing is finite.

30. Recognize how you feel in situations.

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Crescent Moon Love. ©2016. K E Garland.
31.You can’t blame your parents forever.

32. Wisdom doesn’t always come with age.

33. Listen to your children. For a long time, they are a reflection of you.

34. Don’t try to convince people that their belief system is wrong, stupid or inaccurate.

35. Fear nothing.

36. Know yourself.

37.One way to avoid manipulation is to be clear about who you are and what you want.

38. Judging does not equal caring.

39. Treat the homeless as you would your own mother.

40. Exercise so you can continue to move your body in ways you enjoy.

41. Learn something. But figure out if you need to pay for the knowledge or if you can Google your way through.

42. There is no correct way to live life. transient2

43. We’re all connected.

44. Be of service.

~kg

Monday Notes: 10 Songs that Depict Black American Culture

I wanted to write this two years ago when I first started blogging.

Initially, the idea was to post in honor of Black History Month. February came and went. Twice. To be honest, I wasn’t sure about how “black” I wanted to be on my blog. Two years ago, I was tired of being the “black hire,” the “black prof,” or the “black colleague,” and my blog felt like a place where I could just be, no matter my racial identity.

Somewhere between Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland, I decided that if I was going to have a platform, then my black experience would be an integral topic every now and then. February 2017 would be the time when I would finally post specific songs that I listen to because they represent voices of understanding.

There were only two challenges. The first is I wanted to share a few lines from each song, but then that made everything too long. The second is I couldn’t think of a good title. The songs don’t really inspire me as much as they illustrate through great lyrics what some of us have observed or experienced being so-called Black Americans.

So without further ado, here are the ten songs I’ve chosen, with the artist, the title and a few lines. Of course, if you want the full effect, you’ll have to click the links.

Janelle Monáe Tightrope
“When you get elevated,
 They love it or they hate it
 You dance up on them haters
 Keep getting funky on the scene”

Kanye West Spaceship
“I’ve been workin’ this graveshift and I ain’t made shit
I wish I could buy me a spaceship and fly past the sky”

Solange’s F.U.B.U.
“When you know you gotta pay the cost
Play the game just to play the boss
So you thinking, what you gained you lost
But you know your shit is taking off, oh
When you’re driving in your tinted car
And you’re criminal just who you are
But you know you’re gonna make it far, oh"
Talib Kweli Get By
“We sell crack to our own out the back of our homes
We smell the musk of the dusk in the crack of the dawn
We go through episodes too, like Attack of the Clones
Work ‘til we break our back and you hear the crack of the bone”
Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) Umi Says
“My Umi said shine your light on the world
Shine your light for the world to see
My Abi said shine your light on the world
Shine your light for the world to see”
Angie Stone Brotha
“You got your wall street brotha
 Your blue collar brotha
 Your down-for-whatever-chillin'-on-the-corner brotha
 Your talented brotha, and to everyone of ya'll behind bars”
Erykah Badu Other Side of the Game
“See me and baby got this situation
 See brother got this comlex ocupation
 And it ain't that he don't have education
 Cause I was right there at his graduation
 Now I ain't sayin that this life don't work
 But it's me and baby that he hurts
 Because I tell him right he thinks I'm wrong
 But I love him strong”
Janelle Monáe (featuring Erykah Badu) Q.U.E.E.N.
“Hey sister am I good enough for your heaven?
Say will your God accept me in my black and white?
Will he approve the way I’m made?
Or should I reprogram, deprogram and get down?”
Common Misunderstood
“She thought back to when she was at Howard and
Dreams of doing scenes with Terrence Howard and
Broadway plays and dancin with Alv and them
The ones that make it ain’t always the talented”
Kendrick Lamar Mortal Man
“Do you believe in me? Are you deceiving me?
Could I let you down easily, is your heart where it need to be?
Is your smile on permanent? Is your vow on lifetime?
Would you know what the sermon is if I died in this next line?”

That’s my list. What or who would you add?

10 LIKES & 10 DISLIKES

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Afthead invited me to participate in this challenge. I am very excited to create a list. But I’m not going to tag anyone else because I’m unsure if these challenges really work. So feel free to compile your own list and pingback to me if you want. The challenge is to list ten things that I hate and ten things that I love. Here goes.

Hate is such a strong word, so I decided to describe 10 dislikes and 10 likes. Beware though; there’s a bit of judgment below.

#10: I dislike screaming/crying children in public restaurants. As far as I’m concerned, if a child is screaming or crying, then that means something is wrong. And if the child’s parent is nearby, then that means the person should know something to do, a tactic, if you will. I know this sounds terribly judgmental, but really and truly, a screaming/crying child wrenches at my core soul. I want to go save the child and offer help. But usually I don’t. My #10 like is children who know how to eat at a restaurant without screaming or crying. These children must have practiced at home or something.

#9: I dislike team-building games, a lot. I don’t want to catch you and I don’t expect you to catch me. We’re co-workers. I don’t want to create a Haiku in five minutes (last year’s ice breaker) and I don’t want to listen to someone else’s Haiku. My #9 like is getting to know co-workers in more natural settings: lunch, coffee, hanging out, etc. I’ll look out for Bob because I know he has a wife and three kids to support, not because we feigned catching each other <sigh>.

#8: I dislike analogies. When I taught high school, I had to read a book called Who Moved My Cheese? The purpose of this book was to get people acclimated to change. It was an entire parable about what happens when you don’t change with the times. Guess what happened to the mouse that couldn’t find the cheese? That’s right. He died. Isn’t that awful? This leads me to my #8 like, which is just tell me what you want me to do and let me decide if I’m down or not.

#7: I dislike indirect interactions. I’ve learned this is strange. I’m a pretty direct person. For the most part you’ll know how I feel about you and what you’re doing. It seems that quite a few people are indirect and passive aggressive. They’d rather spare your feelings; they’d rather spare their own feelings. People would rather do anything other than simply tell you the direct truth. And I dislike this. Consequently, my #7 like is people who are direct. I surround myself by these witty, tell-it-like-it-is folks.

#6: I dislike Florida’s bugs. We’ve lived in this state for nearly 20 years. Here you’ll find something called Palmetto beetles, but if you Google them, you’ll see that they’re part of the roach family…just BIGGER. Much bigger. That’s just one example. All of Florida’s bugs are entirely too big, thus scary and messy if you kill them. My #6 like is regular sized bugs. Seems strange because I don’t necessarily care for bugs at all. But if there are gonna be some hanging around, then I’d prefer them to be small.

#5: I dislike dependence. Interdependence is one thing. Independence is totally self-sufficient. But if you’re physically and mentally capable, then dependence seems unnecessary. Kind of like #7, I’ve learned that I’m more independent than most, but still I think that everyone should be able to do something that shows self-sufficiency. My #5 like is independence. Maybe you won’t be 100% independent, but I think you should be able to take pride in knowing you can do one thing by yourself.

#4: I dislike the countryside. Trees, grass and streams are all well and good for a while. I admire different dialects, local cuisines and diverse people. However, my #4 like might come from being born and raised on the West side of Chicago. I like cities. Big ones. Small ones. If your city thinks it’s a city, then I like it. I like the noise. I like the diversity. I like the energy that a city brings.

#3: I dislike reality TV. And then I got caught up in RHOA. Suddenly, I couldn’t wait to watch R&B Divas Atlanta, then LA. And it got more ridiculous and eventually redonkulous with each episode. It seemed more and more staged with each feigned minute. So I stopped watching. I’m down to one, The Braxton Family Values. This leads me to my #3 like: OWN. That stands for the Oprah Winfrey Network. I watch Super Soul Sunday. Oprah had a series called Life Class. And there was Master Class. Either way, I felt as if I was becoming a better person with each show.

#2: I dislike the idea of binge watching TV. I wrote an entire satirical post about the binge-watching phenomenon. I refuse to watch more than one show at a time now. In fact, I figured out a way to watch Orange is the New Black without bingeing: I watched one show each day for 13 days. And I still saw the entire series in less time than network offers. Think binge watching bothers me because it shows a lack of self-control. My #2 like is finding something else to do, other than binge watch TV.

#1: I dislike excuses. Whether it’s why you cannot reach a dream, or why you treated someone badly, excuses are no bueno. An excuse is an excuse, is an excuse. And no one wants to hear them. They want to hear how you plan to succeed. People want you to own up to your part of treating them poorly. No one wants to hear an excuse. My #1 like is taking ownership for who you are in each situation. You chose to do “X,” so you have to temporarily live with consequence “Y.” It’s okay. You can own up to it and then choose a different action.

Can’t wait to see what your list looks like!