Live to Let Go

Something amazing happened to me yesterday; I taped my episode of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. It’s been on my bucket list for a while, and I finally sat down for the quiz, it’s 30 questions long. I passed. After that, there’s a short interview and after that, if they like you, you get to do a video interview. Then there’s the waiting period. And then, for the lucky few, a postcard starting with the word, ‘Congratulations’. I got a call earlier in the month. And they wanted me for September 4th and 5th. I called my husband, he said, let’s do it and we did! I, of course, can’t divulge what happened, but I learned an important lesson: you have to live! No regrets. There will always be coulda, woulda, shoulda, the things that could have been done differently, but I’m letting that go and giving it to God and I instead choose to say, ‘thank you for this AMAZING experience.’ Sitting there with all the Millionaire hopefuls, I wondered who would do well, how much we might win…then I realized, a lot of this is luck which is out of my hands. The producers encouraged us to leave whatever strategy we had at the door and advised us to, ‘play to win, not protect.’ Meaning don’t  play to try to hold on to money because it’s all a gift, but that’s easier said that done. It was, however, the right advice. This is one of the coolest things I have ever done and one of the best things I have said in theory, but ‘get’ now in practice, live to let go because we can’t take it with us.

Oprah: A Lesson in Self-Promotion

Last week, news broke that Oprah Winfrey had experienced racism at the hands of an Italian store clerk while shopping in Switzerland. She simply chalked up the incident to prejudice, saying, ‘‘I’m in a store and the person doesn’t obviously know that I carry the black card and so they make an assessment based upon the way I look and who I am.” The internet was a buzz about how things like this can still happen to Black people despite a tremendous amount of wealth and mainstream success. After apologies from the store owner and the Swiss tourism board, Winfrey later stated that she regretted mentioning the incident at all. It all seemed a bit familiar. As far back in 2005, Winfrey made similar claims when she wasn’t allowed into a Hermes store after it had closed, and according to the staff, was being organized for a private event. I was surprised I couldn’t find many articles from the sales clerk’s perspective. Though the owner offered apologies, she did add that there was likely a language issue rather than malice on the part of the clerk and after reading an interview in a  German newspaper with the clerk (who wished to remain anonymous), I’d have to say I agree. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that an Italian speaking English might not have accurately conveyed what she meant, but that doesn’t make her a racist. It’s also not so far-fetched to think that Oprah, with a movie to promote, offered up a tasty soundbite to get her name trending. I think it’s terrible it comes at the expense of this woman who feels she needs to hide for fear of humiliation or  worse. It’s a shame that someone as learned and as well traveled as Oprah would make the assumption about this woman’s character and exploit her in national and international media.

Why Huma Got It Right

There are some people who look at Huma Abedin and think she’s crazy; others think she’s crazy like a fox. I don’t fall into either camp. Based on what I can tell from her resume, she appears to be an intelligent woman: graduate of George Washington University and long-time aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton. Since the second scandal with her husband, mayoral candidate, Anthony Weiner, people have been asking ‘why’ non-stop. Why would a common sense woman forgive her husband after committing such an egregious act? Publicly embarrassing her, not once, but twice? And worse still, making her look like a liar (to some, co-conspirator), cheerfully posing in People magazine as a ‘normal family,’ while he continued sexting. Some have posited that Abedin has political aspirations for herself and for her family that trump the stain of any scandal. That doesn’t make much sense to me. She’s been in the political world long enough to know how hard it can be to come back from minor missteps, let alone major ones and to do so twice is practically unheard of. No, I think this is a woman who is married to a man who has a problem, possibly an addiction, and has decided to stick it out. This is admirable to me, but mine is the minority voice in the court of public opinion.

Apparently, you’re only supposed to forgive your spouse interminably for minor offensives: the sporadic snide remarks or forgotten special occasions. But the big stuff? The painful stuff, the actions which test the concept of unconditional love, that’s the stuff you kick them to the curb for. Marriage is incredibly difficult, not just because of the merging of two separate lives, but because of the commitment to love this person, ‘for better or worse.’ What does ‘worse’ mean? And once you define it, can you love someone through that? And whatever your ‘worse’ is, would you want someone to love you through it?

Down with Tipping!

The best thing I've ever seen on a bill!
The best thing I’ve ever seen on a bill!

Sushi Yasuda, in NYC, is the only place that I know of which doesn’t allow tipping. That’s right, doesn’t ALLOW IT AT ALL. Staff and chefs are salaried employees. And no sneaky service charge either, which is just synonymous for mandatory tipping. The food was good (though a tad pricey), service exceptional and the tip-independent system is one that should be copied nationwide.

My Name’s Excuse Me, But You Can Just Call Me Move

I read an article today that woke me up to a very stark reality…I’m am a recovering people pleaser. Sure, I knew that I like to make others happy or comfortable, but the wake up call was when I started assuaging others to my own detriment. Nodding along with the co-worker taking credit for something she had no hand in, pretending that the joke thinly disguised as a insult was no big deal…There have been more times than I would like to remember where I held back because I didn’t want to make someone feel bad or because I was too embarrassed to say something. My family would undoubtedly find it hard to believe, but in my outside relationships (platonic and otherwise), I was selling  myself way too short. Crazy to say this now, considering that I’m in my 30s, but I had no clue how to speak up for myself and still be a good Christian. I was stuck in scripture that taught me to turn the other cheek, that celebrated self-control and doing onto others as you would have them do onto you, but at what cost? My self-esteem? I am much better than I was, but I am haunted by ghosts of years’ past, the things I should have said and done; I find myself reliving moments like if I was in a time machine, maybe I can go back and do things ‘right’. But these ghosts are dead, only occasionally revived by by twisted need to torture myself. And for what? People-pleasing doesn’t please me; it doesn’t please God; it doesn’t even please the people I’m trying to please…so now what?