Archives for September 2012

Monday Dare: Embracing (t)hug life: Part hood. Part good.

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. Click on the link if you’d like to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Less hood. More good.

It’s a little disconcerting to me that I still haven’t gotten a handle on this whole parenting business. I’m not even talking about the really hard dilemmas like “teaching your kid that violence isn’t the answer” or “getting them to school on time every goddamn day.” I’ve got those covered. Mostly. Well, maybe “mostly” is overshooting, so I’m just going to downgrade it to “sometimes.”

Only “sometimes,” because if I’m being honest, violence feels awfully rich and satisfying when used at the right moments. I don’t know about you, but the High Road is a lonely barren place filled with potholes and those sticky burrs that cling to your socks and won’t come the fuck off. The Low Road is lush and green and heavily populated by lots of interesting characters. I like people watching. Sue me.

I’ve gotten pretty good about making sure Cal gets to school on time. I still don’t understand why children have to go to school five days a week though. What is there to learn? Once you get all the important lessons out of the way like “Don’t smoke crack,” “Always have an extra $20 in your sock in case shit goes down and your backpack gets stolen,” and “Don’t put mentos in a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke,” the rest seems a little superfluous. Nice to know, but not essential for day-to-day living.

Also, I tell Cal to read a lot of thick books because when someone asks me a question I don’t understand, and I can’t be bothered to say “Come again?” I just quote a famous dead person. Then, the other person is confused, and I’m off the hook from answering. You can use this tip too if you want. I try not to be selfish with the valuable gems I’ve uncovered.

I think Cal has harbored suspicions for a while that her mother may not be, uh, what’s the nicest way to say this… sane  responsible  normal perfect. I can’t be sure, but it may have something to do with those times I made her eat oatmeal for breakfast while I ate a generous handful of Funyuns. Or that one time I interrupted Harv in the middle of a conference call to ask, “Do you think Tupac and Dre had real beef, or is it just cuz Dre didn’t go to Snoop’s trial?” (By the way, Harv didn’t know the answer, so I’ve pretty much dismissed him as useless, and he won’t be privy to my hip-hop questions anymore.)

Perhaps it happened over the weekend, when I tried to convince Cal that (t)hug life was an excellent choice for my 7th tattoo. She said, “Stop.” Now that I’m replaying it in my head, I don’t even think “stop” is a valid answer choice.

I wrote it out for her in case she didn’t get the significance of the parentheses. “I’m not all thug, Cal. I’m part hood, part good.”

But she still said it wasn’t a good idea, something I would regret when I’m older and wiser. I don’t want to accuse my own kid or anything, but maybe she just steered me away so she could use my idea herself. I ended up getting a different phrase tattooed on my arm (posted on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page).

I’m going to be less hood and more good this week, more of a traditional, normal mom. Whatever the fuck that means.

Are you an out-of-the-box parent? Did you have traditional or non-traditional parents?

P.S. Big ups to y’all for the wonderful interview suggestions as I embark on yet another yearlong project. Everyone who commented was entered into the giveaway for the mass of goodies BlueQ sent my way. Janette Romero and Leanne Koh, please email me your mailing address at flourishinprogress at gmail dot com.

P.P.S. If you’d like to feel smarter than at least one person every single day, then let’s get connected on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page. I can make that happen for you.

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Shit. Another yearlong project? Kill me now. (Giveaway!)

Fuck. It’s the first time in 105 weeks that I’ve missed posting on Monday. I want to punch myself in the face. But as you know……

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. Click on the link if you’d like to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week year: Attempt another yearlong project

I thought about writing this post three days ago in a celebratory “Errbody raise your pimp cup and let’s get crunk in honor of this blog’s two-year anniversary. We done did it!” It seemed like a nice idea, but if I’m being honest, it was only a very brief half-thought. The anniversary coincided with my birthday AND the wedding of my best homegirl. Also, I was drunk for most of the day. I see the way your eyes just narrowed a little bit. Gosh, Elizabeth may have a drinking problem. No, ma’am. I was drinking wine and champagne. That doesn’t make me an alcoholic. It makes me a goddamn socialite. Please refrain from passing judgment unless you are well-versed in these nuances.

Learn from me: Never start anything on your birthday. Well, if you’re like most people and quit projects around Day 13, then sure, go ahead and attempt any damn thing you want. I started Flourish in Progress on my 30th birthday to stay accountable during my yearlong shopping ban. By having a blog, my friends and family could keep track of every mistake. Then, at the next potluck, they could shame me and beat me into submission with the green willowy branches of a young sapling.

I wasn’t too worried, even though I bruise easily and have a deep fear of Tree Branch Death. With my strengths (nothing) and weaknesses (everything), it was pretty clear that I would start The Project, write a few weepy self-pity posts about privileged people problems, and then wake up on Day 13 with a “Fuck it, ain’t nobody got time for this bullshit revelation and immediately run to Target to spend a grazillion dollars. End of Project. End of blog. Body saved from Bark Devastation.

Then, some weird shit starting happening. A small sense of satisfaction took root in my heart. I started to feel happy. And proud. My confidence puffed up a little bit. I made friends. I talked to good people. Writing regularly about my life forced me to be honest. And not just with you. For the first time, I was really being honest about myself to myself. That shit’s not so pretty sometimes.

I used to think: I’d rather keep deceiving myself because it’s easier. But I wasn’t happy then.

I am happier now. Maybe your set-point for happiness is naturally high, so that sentence didn’t hold the weight it would to a person who has a naturally low set-point for happiness. Like me.

I am happier because I gave up something that was profoundly impacting the quality of my life and ended up getting more, way more, than what I gave away.


Once a month for the next year, I’m going to interview someone who embodies a quality or virtue I admire. Without giving away the entire list, a few I’m currently working on are: Hustle, Persistence, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

I’ve reached out to rappers, comedians, actors, authors, athletes, activists, and fashion designers. And I’ve already locked down a few.

Y’all are the reason I’m able to sit down at my desk and turn on my computer sometimes. It takes me 5-10 hours to write these stupidly short Monday Dares because I had never written anything longer than an email before I started blogging. You give me my best ideas and more love and support than any motherfucker really deserves. Thank you.

So think about who you’d like to see as part of the 12-part series and what quality or virtue they might encompass for you.

Thank you for loving me when I didn’t love myself.

P.S. When Cal asked what I wanted for my birthday, I told her a pimp cane was #1 on my list. She said that since I only gave her $8 a week, I needed to keep it real. Fair enough. But, my friend Mike, DID get me a pimp cane. And I posted the picture on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page. “Like” the page to see more original content not featured on the blog.


When Sara of BlueQ reached out several weeks ago with the kindest words of support and love, I was immediately smitten with this homette. I didn’t get to meet her during BlogHer, but she saw my Voices of the Year reading and totally didn’t think I was crazy. I don’t know if this means I have low standards, but anyone who doesn’t think I’m crazy is automatically part of the Best Friend category in my book.

I LOVE BlueQ products. About 80% of the time, I carry this pack of gum around in my purse:

You know, in case I need to give it to someone. I like to be prepared for these kinds of situations.

Sara and I chatted a little and I told her I felt a little fucked in the head about turning 32. A few days later, I received a ridiculously large box from BlueQ. A SMALL portion of the goodies is pictured below.

I SWEAR TO GOD I DID NOT ROB THE BLUEQ WAREHOUSE. The card that Sara included with the box is one of the best birthday cards I’ve ever received. Inside, she wrote simply:

I hope you make it to see 33. I really, really mean that. Love, Sara.
I can’t keep all grazillion dollars of this pimptastic stuff for myself. I’m picking two winners to share in this bounty.
TO ENTER: Just leave a comment below with your suggestion(s) on who you’d like to see as part of the interview series. They must not be dead or currently incarcerated. ONLY comments left on THIS blog post will count. No Facebook. No Twitter.
image via pinterest