Do others see you how you want them to see you?

Greetings followers! I know it has been far too long since we’ve spoken. I think it’s only fitting that I return with an introspective sort of blog. So hold on tight…

Earlier today I was thinking (really more like wishing) my life had a soundtrack. Not the kind of soundtrack where you always have dramatic music in the background, but rather just sound clippings to express my thoughts. I myself have fallen guilty of the notion that I’m very happy people can’t read minds. However, lately, I’ve really been wishing I could express everything that comes to my mind because I think others deserve to know it. This got me thinking what has changed about me as a person. I realized that what’s really important is whether or not others see it.

I can say that I am much happier now than I was even just a few months ago. This got me wondering whether or not other people are able to see it. There are those that tell me they can see it, but what about those that can’t? What about those that didn’t really know me until I was this happy all the time? Do they still pick up on it? I really hope so. I am pleased I am happier– that means my life is in a good place. However, far more importantly than that, it means that I am impacting others positively which is something I’ve always *worked* to do but never just done.

So let me ask you good people if you can say the same. For those things you want people to see in you, do you try to make sure you show it? At the end of the day, when you go to bed at night are you pleased with the impact you left on the world? How many moments do you look back on and wish you could change because they disappointed you? How many moments do you look back on and wish you could have done better? How many moments completely satisfy you?

In reality, we’re always completely satisfied then we are never going to grow as people. Therefore, there is some good in feeling like you fell short of a mark. However, there is also a lot of good in going to bed proud of your accomplishments instead of worrying about your failures. A healthy mind facilitates a healthy body more than the other way around.

So what is it that makes you stand up on a mountain top and shout to the world?


You is Kind, You is Smart, You is Important

In the middle of a hectic beyond hectic week, I had to find someway to keep myself going. I thought about books and movies that have inspired me in some way. In particular, I was thinking about those that really made me stop and think about my identity. The one that spoke to me this week was The Help. It not only made me think about my roots, but also about where I’m meant to go in life.

You is Kind

Having a genuine heart and great intentions is a key to success. Nobody admires the self-righteous, self-centered success story. People admire those who touch others and spread their legacy through leading by example. Being kind really doesn’t take any special effort. Being kind is simply a way of living simply. When you’re consistently kind, you tend to avoid conflicts and people tend to respect you. Both of these factors eliminate major sources of stress brought on by other individuals. Beyond this, it’s just the right thing to do.

You is Smart

This is the strongest element for me. I am not in a field by any means that allows me to rest my brain. I am constantly being pushed to think harder and beyond the information provided for me. Honestly, there are times I get downright sick of this. I spent hours manipulating equations for my homework this week. Those are hours I truly wish could have been divided among other things. There are other way  to be smart than adhering to professors’, bosses’, etc. expectations. For example, being knowledgeable about current events around the world. The UK is going through something absolutely enormous right now. I know there are people too caught up in academics and other things they hold highly to notice and I will admit I used to be one of these people. Being smart isn’t all about grades and knowledge. It’s also about using judgement to make decisions. It’s about choosing to live in such a way that not only works for you but also helps you advance. There are innumerable ways to become smart and innumerable areas to become smart in. There’s no right or wrong choice; there’s only what is best for you.

You is Important

You are important to somebody. Hopefully, you’re important to a lot of people. Regardless of how many people you are important to, your self-worth does not depend on this. Your contributions to the world– including those from being kind and smart– may magnify the number of people aware of you, but they don’t determine how important you are. Take famous people for example. Most of them are only regarded as important in one field. However, every one of these people is somebody’s child. Many are also siblings and spouses, parents and grandparents, nieces or nephews, aunts, uncles, or cousins. Think about how different your relationships with these people are and what that means about your importance to them and vice versa.

Don’t sell yourself short on being kind or smart or important. The things you do permeate well beyond hat you are able to see. Never forget that what you do speaks volumes. People will remember what you did– or didn’t do– for them. You show others the magnitude of your kindness, intelligence, and importance constantly and it always means something to somebody.


I apologize for my lack of posts. This week got really hectic and I just didn’t find the time to sit down with my thoughts. When I finally did think about what I wanted this week’s post to be I realized identity was a big factor in my adjustment to a new city, university and schedule.

When I think about who I am, I almost always think in terms of where I’m going. I work backwards from where I want to be to where I am now. But it makes me wonder how who I am today influences who I want to be. If circumstances of my present were different, would I still want to get to the same place in my future? Would I still look into the future and see the same person or would I be looking at someone completely different? When I thought about these questions, I had no difficulty answering yes. However, it made me wonder why this is the case.

Our experiences, particularly those in childhood, shape us tremendously. As we get older, our experiences polish pieces of our identity we have already established. The person we seek and find as we “grow up” was always there. However, our experiences help us tap into these elements to make us more self aware and understand who we are and what that means. In other words, these experiences open and close the doors that lead us to the destiny that has long been in place. If I look back on my life through this lens I can see how this has panned out for me in more ways than one. For this reason, I believe I would be on the same track in my future if I was presently in a different situation. Understanding that my fate is fixed based on what I want it to be is a key in understanding my identity.

I like to define themes for consistency because abstract words have different meanings to different people. This is true regardless of the agreed upon definition(s) one might find in a dictionary. I often struggle with writing a clear definition for many ideas just because there are so many ways to describe ideas that seem right. Identity is no exception to this, and in fact, it can be even harder. In my opinion, there are more identities than there are people on this planet. I don’t believe every person has one distinct identity that fits them. I also don’t believe any two people have the same identity. This means that there are more than 7 billion identities on this planet and how dare we create a definition that fits all of those?

We need to focus solely on our own identities. This begins with looking at what identity means to us. This includes how we see ourselves, how other people see us and how we want other people to see us. Asking this is no small task and that’s why people are constantly searching for who they are and what they want. Mid-life crises are a perfect example of how a mistaken identity on any level can perpetuate far into our lives. I chose this topic because I feel like I’m at a time in my life where it’s a huge issue and I know it is also an issue for people near my age, both younger and older. And in investigating the topic, I realized that there’s no shame in searching because everybody is always searching for something. It may not always be a piece of their identity but the once found it is fairly likely that it will reveal something about the person’s identity.

Regardless of whether or not we are actively seeking to learn more about ourselves, we will find out more about ourselves. However, when we are seeking this form of knowledge it’s important to remember not to feel ashamed at the lack of information. It’s important to open ourselves up to whatever we find out because it is important. It’s also important to note our reactions to what we find out; if we discover something we don’t like then that’s something that needs to be addressed. If we discover something that we do like, that needs to be addressed differently. Finally, when we have sufficient information for our current situation, we will feel somewhat at peace with ourselves and that is a great feeling.

Spread Your Light

  • There are two ways to spread your light by being the candle on the mirror that reflects it
  • Life’s a dance you learn as you go, sometimes you lead and sometimes you follow
  • Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.


These quotes have been circling me recently for various reasons. As a new school year is starting I think it’s important for all of us whether we are students, educators, parents, mentors or perhaps none of these, to look at our potential. New school years bring about new tensions, opportunities, and challenges. Because of this we must remember our potential, what we’re capable of, and how we can spread our light.


It is in our strengths that we are best suited to improve ourselves and others. When we take the time to recognize our strengths we feel comfortable in any situation we can use them. On the other hand, when we focus on our weaknesses we tend to feel vulnerable instead of empowered. We need to feel that we are good enough to excel; that we are not inadequate but powerful beyond measure.


Sometimes in order to become better, more confident, stronger, etc. we need the help of others. We can’t be ahead of everybody else all the time and never look back. There was a time when we struggled and had to work to get ahead and while we can hope we’re never back in that position, we’re not helping ourselves by leaving others in those places. It’s often really easy to forget what it was like when we were novices but we need to be aware of the feelings of others in order to help them.


In order to help people effectively we also need to be aware of what we’re good at. If you know your strengths aren’t in a certain area don’t try to be the hero. Find someone else who’s better than you, which requires admitting that someone else is better than you. Not only will this act humble and ground you, but it can also bring the other person up to realize his/her strengths and chase his/her potential.


There is much more to this issue than what I’m putting in this post since I am really trying to work on shorter, more focused trains of thought. I encourage you as a reader to think about what your potential is, however you define it. I also encourage you to think about what strengths can help you achieve your definition of your full potential.

Encouraging Our Youth

How soon do we start encouraging people to reach their full potential? When I look back at my life, I can’t remember a time when my mother didn’t tell me I could be doing better even though what I was doing was already great. I know this isn’t the case for everybody and with new opportunities to be a form of encouragement for younger people it got me wondering, how early does it start?


I’ve dabbled with some of the metrics on the success of minorities and females in school and the common agreement is that by 4th grade we can already see who’s falling behind. In my opinion, that’s far too young to count anybody out. However, it’s also far too old to start setting the groundwork for encouraging these kids to improve themselves. So then I ask you, when is the right time? Is the right time from the moment they are born? To encourage them that their height and weight is good, but it could be better? I’m being facetious, but the point stands. How early is too early and when is the right time?


I don’t think it matters if we start at conception, birth, or when baby starts to show signs of development. However, we absolutely must start when we integrate baby with peers. I think this is important because human beings are inherently competitive. Competitive drive varies between individuals, but there is a part of each of us that wants to be better than someone or something else to prove our worth. I’m not saying that we should encourage competition among these children, but I am saying that telling a child their finger painting was great and they should keep practicing or that they kick a ball around really well but they could kick it even farther if she/he keeps practicing. I think these are important things to teach early.


I also think we need to do away with gender and racial stereotypes in relation to performance. In some areas, such as sports, there are individuals that have clear advantages because of their body types. Body types have a great genetic factor which includes race. However, there’s no reason that this should carry over into the classroom. There are things different people are going to enjoy and people harbor different strengths—these are necessary for us to fill different vocational services. However, there’s no reason we should steer a female into a care position such as nursing and steer a male into a science position just because of their sex.


I have never felt like I’m bound by my gender identity. I can’t tell you the number of times a day that I think or say something and feel like I need to follow it with, “I’m a woman, I swear.” So I know I defy stereotypes constantly, but I also know that in realizing that I defy stereotypes means I’m all too aware of them. I didn’t choose to enter a male dominated field to defy a stereotype—I chose it because it would make me happy. Likewise, I don’t encourage younger girls to enter engineering because I want them to defy the stereotype, it’s because I want them to realize that it is something they can do. All too often I encounter girls who will admit they like math and/or science but feel like they aren’t supposed to.


Someone outside of the home, from the community, from the school, what have you, needs to step forward and encourage a child, or children, that aren’t their own. This is particularly true when someone can be a positive role model for success in life. In the past 3 months I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) to encourage middle school girls, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) to encourage grade school aged children, and take the beginning steps to volunteer with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. In those opportunities that have been completed, I was able to see kids who were truly excited about science and engineering and felt like they had a lot of potential in these areas. For SWE I think this was largely because these children had positive influences in their lives in the form of scientists and engineers. For NSBE I think it was largely because the people teaching these kids got them excited and brought out their potential. Whatever the reason, this is exactly what needs to happen. I’m glad that organizations like SWE and NSBE, among others, have programs out there to promote science and engineering. However, we shouldn’t need programs to promote science and engineering.

Justice and Awareness

First order of business: Ferguson Shooting
I’m really trying to separate myself from this discussion. I realize that some of this separation comes off as me looking like a stuck-up bitch, some may come off as me looking like I’m better than that, and to some it may even look like ignorance. But here’s the truth: I’m sick of people pointing out our differences

When I got home yesterday evening a middle-aged white male stopped me on the steps outside my building to “express solidarity” with me. My head was spinning, I have never seen this man before, I’m not even sure if he lives in my building or if he was visiting someone in my building. I appreciated him being vocal about his feelings because ultimately that’s what it’s going to take to quiet the people who breath injustice. However, if I had been any other color, this conversation would never have happened and that strikes me as a problem.

I was at an orientation yesterday afternoon and I was sitting at a table with 5 other people, all of us from different locations both around the country and around the world. However, I picked up more on how crazy it was that there were only 6 of us sitting around this table and every one of us found something we had in common with someone else. We are all connected and there’s no reason that we need to separate ourselves based on where we were born. Why does it matter? I understand that regional differences have a large affect on people’s attitudes, but if we’re ever going to breach those differences, we need to stop focusing on how we’re different and focus on how we’re similar.

So, since I bolded “Ferguson Shooting” I will say a piece on that before I digress. I think the loudest, largest question surrounding this event is “why did it happen?” This question is the exact reason I want to separate myself from the discussion. It doesn’t matter why anymore because it happened. A tragedy has occurred and what caused the tragedy is a matter for the justice system. As the general public, whether we are inside or outside that community, the question we need to worry about is: “what are we going to do about it?” It’s over, it’s done with. How do we prevent it from happening again? How do we minimize the outcry that comes in the wake of a tragedy? When I look back to other tragedies that faced this nation in recent years, I can’t find much in my memories regarding what we did to make the situation better. I can’t remember how I came together with my community except September 11. The only exception to this was the Purdue shooting last winter, and I have never needed to wonder if I would have felt a sense of community if I didn’t know the victim. I wouldn’t have.

We need to figure out how we can come together, overcome our differences, be bigger people who don’t see ethnicity, race, color, gender, profession, etc. in order to eliminate these tragedies and that is the only thing that matters to me at this point in the discussion.

Second order of business: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
I have seen a lot of skepticism on my Facebook page surrounding the ALS Ice bucket challenge in addition to a lot of people accepting the challenge. The one thing I have been most impressed with is the few people who have come out and said they’ve researched other organizations in their communities as well or they donated to a community that was already important to them, but not one they actively supported. So let’s talk about the challenge, ALS and charities.

The Challenge ( The ice bucket challenge was started to raise awareness about the disease and money for the ALS Association The organization has reported that funds have greatly increased in response to this challenge which is absolutely amazing. It is remarkable how what seems like a social media craze can also generate positive results for a lot of people.

ALS: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has never gotten the attention it deserves as a disease. A lot of people know it as Lou Gehrig’s disease and my love for baseball is in fact what introduced me to the disease. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s a horrible degenerative disease that not nearly enough people know anything about. This is why I’m happy to see the ice bucket challenge spreading whether people are donating or not. The act of sharing your story and challenge and spreading that forward to other people helps it reach the right people who will donate for the right reasons and that is what needs to happen.

Back when I wrote fiction more frequently, I did start a short story on ALS because I felt that awareness needed to increase. I looked back through my computer files today to see just how long ago that was and see how far I got. The file was created in November 2007. This is completely insignificant except to say that if I recognized that long ago that this disease needed attention, why did it take skepticism over a challenge created to increase awareness to remind me that it existed? I stopped writing that story because I didn’t know enough about ALS. I did my research and I still didn’t understand what it could do to people. And therefore, I think it’s important that no matter what challenges fall into our laps or what diseases hit close to home, we take the time to not only understand what the acronym means, and what the disease does to its victims but what the disease does to those who care for a victim.

Charities: I am a person who donates to several charities that have hit close to home every year around Christmas time. I don’t give a lot, but I do give something. However, seeing this challenge sweep the social media scene has made me wonder if I should be more public about my donations. I am a private person and I donate to these charities because it means something to me not because I need it to mean something to others. But now, as I look at what a difference awareness makes I’ve started wondering if I should spend more time advocating on these organizations’ behalf in order to raise awareness and really make a difference. After giving it some thought I have decided that I will. So, I’m going to start a new blog page devoted specifically to raising awareness about organizations that I am currently or have been a part of, and charities that I actively donate to as well as others I choose.

The link for my new page is: I hope to get it up and running over the weekend.