not aware of or not concerned about what is happening around one.

“she became absorbed, oblivious to the passage of time”

synonyms: unaware of, unconscious of, heedless of, unmindful of, insensible of/to, unheeding of, ignorant of, incognizant of, blind to, deaf to, unsuspecting of, unobservant of;

Oblivious. This is how I perceive many decision makers of the ethnic majority that hold leadership positions in large influential companies. It is a consistent pattern I have noticed over my three-plus decades on the planet. Certain issues are simply not on their radar, and often, the lie entirely beyond their realm of reality. For them, issues that affect those of us Of Color are nonexistent.  I could also generalize and include people at or below the poverty level and other “invisible” groups. The truth here is that all of us have a box of normalcy in which we reside and build blinders over time. And before we know it, we are completely ignorant to issues that are just out of reach of the edges of our Safe Zone.

And before we know it, we are completely ignorant to issues that are just out of reach of the edges of our Safe Zone.

Due to oblivious screenwriters, I passionately rejected TV shows like Friends, Seinfeld, Sex and The City, (and reluctantly slightly snubbed 90% of my beloved sci-fi/fantasy epic adventures) because not one of the main characters looked like me. I intensely avoided several apparel stores in the malls – which is hard to do as a teenager! – because people that looked like me or were shaped like me were never in their promotional images. These writing, editing, marketing and advertising teams were oblivious to what I needed to relate to for role models, life scenarios, entertainment, and fashion.

Even Hollywood leaders are sorely clueless. While much of Hollywood boasts forward-thinking inclusive agendas, when it comes down to actually taking notice of and rewarding our Brothers and Sisters Of Color, we still don’t seem to make the cut. They are oblivious to their inherent exclusion – unless a Person Of Color flawlessly portrays a character trapped in a nauseatingly negative image of blackness (i.e., abusers, slaves, servants – these roles are rewarded, glorified, honored).

While much of Hollywood boasts forward-thinking inclusive agendas, when it comes down to actually taking notice of and rewarding our Brothers and Sisters Of Color, we still don’t seem to make the cut.

This is why I write. This is why my characters are brown. This is why The Hibouleans Series is for all the little brown girl epic-adventure-lovers that have yet to see one of us take a Chosen One role in a bestselling novel or on the big screen. So what images, then are my little brown girls being shown?

A NYTimes article circulated on Facebook today, naming the recall of A Birthday Cake for George Washington (now of course a #1 Bestseller).

The book sounds cute enough. It sounds harmless enough. It even sounds like it might just be educational, too.

But when you’re a little brown kid reading a book about our first president’s slaves happily baking him the best cake ever, it is a subliminal suggestion that paints a sunny – jovial, even – façade over the disgrace and horror that was slavery.  Not only is it confusing because it implies slaves might have taken pleasure in being nonhuman objects of possession, but it also implies that everyone is still OK with that image today.

As an author, writer, illustrator, feverishly hoping to one day live on my book sales, I know the steps involved in this incredible process – from the twinkle of concept to hard copies on shelves.

What I find most disturbing about this whole thing is that not only is the book’s tone and feel a product the author is proud of as one of her creative babies (and honestly, congrats on having a concept, most people don’t even get that far) but through the hands of a DIVERSE team of beta readers, editors, illustrators, contributors and publishers, not one of them thought “hmmm this might be a bad idea…”

“hmmm this might be a bad idea…”

And yes, a diverse team let this happen. But according to NPR, this isn’t the first time a book depicting happy slaves made it this far, only to also be pulled; that one by a team of Ethnic Majority. Perhaps this second attempt was pushed to be produced by a more diverse team as if to get a “pass” with the public? If so, FAIL.

Did they really have no clue how this would affect readers? Were they that inconsiderate? Or did this one slip through the filter around their world of what is appropriate? Were they as oblivious as the college president that couldn’t acknowledge the mistreatment of his students until the issue cost him his job?

It takes exceptional leadership. And I mean truly extraordinary leadership – to be able to connect and empathize with their team, their partners, and ultimately, their audience to foresee issues that adversely affect those they are actually trying to serve.

The option to abort this project could have been enforced by several people at any point over the probable year-plus it took to bring this book to life. And not one of them spoke up.

So while I shake my head in disappointment at Scholastic leadership for letting this work slip through the net, I still applaud the company for responding to the public and accepting that the depiction of happy slaves is vibrantly destructive to the America of tomorrow.

Maybe they can further redeem themselves by publishing a foreshadowing book where 60% of Fortune 500 companies have Leaders Of Color by 2030

People, take off the blinders.  You have to TRY to NOT be oblivious to the pain of others. Compassion and understanding take real effort.






not limited or restricted in terms of number, quantity, or extent.
“the range of possible adaptations was unlimited”
synonyms: inexhaustible, limitless, illimitable, boundless, immeasurable, incalculable, untold, infinite, endless, bottomless, never-ending 

    (of a company) not limited.
    (of a problem) having an infinite number of solutions.

Today I am embracing my inner Elphaba Thropp. I’m defying gravity.

Responsibility, obligations, change, debt, delayed dreams and transforming relationships all have their claws in my flesh, yanking me downward at 9.8m/s.

That is my gravity. But today, today, finally I am defying it. I am unlimited.

I have options. I have choices. I have a voice. I can stand up for myself and what I truly want in life-relationships-and I have infinite options!

And so do you. Your gravity may be different. It could be a terrifying diagnosis, a death in the family, the death of a relationship…

Today I hope you, too learn to release the restrictions of shoulds (stubborn), fears (fearless), embrace your inner super-self (invincible) and defy your gravity.






the quality of being clear, in particular.

the quality of coherence and intelligibility.

“for the sake of clarity, each of these strategies is dealt with separately”

synonyms: lucidity, lucidness, clearness, coherence; formalperspicuity

“the clarity of his account”

the quality of being easy to see or hear; sharpness of image or sound.

“the clarity of the picture”

synonyms: sharpness, clearness, crispness, definition

“the clarity of the image”
Today I am feeling like Neo. Like I can see The Matrix. Tiny pieces of my life that seemed like isolated randomness, glitches, flukes, are now resurfacing as defining moments in the shaping of Me. 

Every decision I’ve made has meaning. Every interaction with another soul is transformational. Every moment matters. 

Never forget that you matter too. Everyday. And you are also impacting someone else’s life for the better-or worse…

What kind of instrumental role will you play in someone else’s life just by being you? 






  1. lacking fear.

“a fearless defender of freedom”

synonyms: boldbravecourageousintrepidvaliant, valorous, gallantplucky,lionheartedheroicdaringaudaciousindomitabledoughty;


There are so many clichés that teach us to blame ourselves for things not turning out just quite right.

They all sound pretty similar: the one thing standing between you and your dream/success/future/achievement/fulfillment/fill-in-the-blank is you.


get out of your own way


Everything you want to do is on the other side of fear.

My prayer for this year is to be brave.  Fear not. Do not be afraid. Fearless. To stop talking myself out of what I want most. And to keep my list of not sorrys going strong enough to ignore my fear of others opinions of me. And to stop making excuses for falling just slightly short of the mark.

We only get this one shot at life – at least with this consciousness – and I don’t want to look back on my deathbed wondering, “why didn’t I just go for it?”

“why didn’t I just go for it?”

I mean, honestly…what am I afraid of? What are you afraid of? Failing? But what if you don’t fail?








move rhythmically to music, typically following a set sequence of steps.

“their cheeks were pressed together as they danced”

synonyms: swaytriptwirlwhirlpirouettegyrate; More




(of a person) move in a quick and lively way.

“Sheila danced in gaily”

synonyms: capercavortfriskfrolicskipprancegamboljig; More




a series of movements that match the speed and rhythm of a piece of music.


In an earlier post, I should have added: I’m not sorry I dance ALL.THE.TIME.

I can’t help it. Dancing is my happy place. It is my zone. It is my worship. It is my oneness with nature, the universe, God. It is my me time. My therapy. My healing. My drug. It is the intersection of time, space, and energy. It is freeing. It is my most natural state of being.

I just left a dance rehearsal after a few weeks off for the holidays, and I realized I’ve felt a little dead inside. I miss my sorority of dance. I missed my girls. I missed the studio. I missed being the choreographer’s paint on the studio-canvas.

And I love what other people say about dance…

//life isn’t about waiting for a storm to pass; its about learning to dance in the rain//dancing is like dreaming with you feet//human (empty check box) dancer (checked box)// never miss a chance to dance//dance is a conversation between body&soul//wherever a dancer stands is holy ground//

…especially the Bible (Me: puts on good Christian woman hat, preaching face and shakes old lady finger)

You know the Bible mentions dance or dancing 27 times? And all of them are either in reference to a fact or instructions on praise. Not one word instructing: sit ye down and move not thine bodies.

My fave passage is found in both Samuel and Chronicles and it talks about David prancing around in his skivvies because he just couldn’t not dance in worship. Picture that. A king. Dancing. Nekkid. Because he just couldn’t help himself.

14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

16 As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.


The passage also mentions how much Saul’s daughter hated David’s joy. His leaping with a hot and thriving case of the Holy Ghost pissed her off. Why?

I went to a high school that had formal banquets instead of school dances. Why? Because dancing makes you FEEL.

It makes you feel all kinds of good that is so good Those People figured it must be bad. And Those People that insist on being miserable and not experiencing the miracle and freedom of dancing despise those that are free.

Those People, suffering in a world without dance! Forcing themselves to restrain, inhibit, bottle up all the amazing energy – positive God-given energy – that flows and churns within our bodies.

Dance energy is transferred from one body to another, too. It is a deliciously infectious groove. God gave us dance and it is more blasphemous to God not to dance than to abstain from it because it makes us feel the feels.

Feel it, people. Fear not. Let go.

Dance your heart out. Dance for your life.


(c) Better Looking Photography



  1. (of an animal or plant) spend the winter in a dormant state.
    synonyms: lie dormant, lie torpid, sleep;

    “bears hibernate in winter”
    • (of a person) remain inactive or indoors for an extended period.
      “the pilots who have been hibernating during the winter months get their gliders out again”
      synonyms: hole up, escape, withdraw, retreat, cocoon

      “he wanted to hibernate in front of a fire for the night”









a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.

“he had stood in front of it, observing the intricacy of the ironwork with the wonder of a child”

synonyms:          awe, admiration, wonderment, fascination; More



desire or be curious to know something.

“how many times have I written that, I wonder?”

synonyms:          ponder, think about, meditate on, reflect on, muse on, puzzle over, speculate about, conjecture; be curious about

“I wondered what was on her mind”


feel admiration and amazement; marvel.

“people stood by and wondered at such bravery”

synonyms:          marvel, be amazed, be astonished, stand in awe, be dumbfounded, gape, goggle; informalbe flabbergasted

“people wondered at such bravery”


Sometimes in winter, I trace frost patterns and try to remember every snowflake shape I can capture. Mmm fractals…

Isn’t it amazing that we’re made of the same elements as snowflakes? As the stars? As the flowers that will pierce the ground in a few short weeks? 




  1. having or showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so.
    “he accused her of being a silly, stubborn old woman”







Today – and as I grow, heal, mature, and hopefully evermore – I am stubborn. Being the peacekeeping, balance-loving, diplomatic Libra that I am, I usually believe there is always a compromise and solution – we just need to explore the possibilities and find it. But there are some things I have learned are nonnegotiable. Some things are what they are – some people are who they are – and I’m finally learning to be unapologetically me.

So, Sorry. I’m not sorry. The list below is my final farewell to things about myself I have learned to love, despite others’ – yes real people’s – strong suggestions to change, eliminate, or “correct” – and yes, I said “correct” with a side-eye.  Skip you. I’m not sorry.

I’m not sorry for having a wide nose.

I’m not sorry for having full lips.

I’m not sorry for having brown skin.

I’m not sorry for having dark scars.

I’m not sorry for having dark brown eyes.

I’m not sorry for looking like Vanessa Williams.

I’m not sorry for having a bubble butt.

I’m not sorry for having a lisp.

I’m not sorry for having a crooked smile.

I’m not sorry for having brown gums.

I’m not sorry for having bulging eyes.

I’m not sorry for not talking how you think I should talk.

I’m not sorry I’m independent.

I’m not sorry I’m not attached to my phone.

I’m not sorry I didn’t want a second date.

I’m not sorry I passionately want to explore all my talents.

I’m not sorry I want to be a working mother.

I’m not sorry the laundry isn’t always clean.

I’m not sorry the house isn’t always spotless.

I’m not sorry I hate shaving my arm pits.

I’m not sorry I get hair bumps when I do reluctantly shave them.

I’m not sorry I also hate shaving my ahem…

I’m not sorry I don’t shower every day.

I’m not sorry I have thick, coarse, self-knotting hair.

I’m not sorry I have short nails.

I’m not sorry I have rough palms.

I’m not sorry I love everyone.

I’m not sorry I love white people.

I’m not sorry I love black people.

I’m not sorry I’m black.

I’m not sorry my pelvis isn’t flexible.

I’m not sorry I don’t always enjoy chicken wings.

I’m not sorry I’m allergic to watermelon.

I’m not sorry I defy your stereotypes.

I’m not sorry I have stripy stretch marks after carrying four children.

I’m not sorry I will never look the same in a bikini.

I’m not sorry for wearing a bikini.

I’m not sorry for being vulnerable.

I’m not sorry for speaking freely.

I’m not sorry for having ideas.

I’m not sorry for talking.

I’m not sorry for speaking up.

I’m sorry for singing.

I’m not sorry for refusing to work for free.

I’m not sorry my name is hard to pronounce.

I’m not sorry I’m afraid of the dark.

I’m not sorry I’m a slow reader.

I’m not sorry I don’t enjoy deep analytical conversations.

I’m not sorry for walking away from an abusive situation.

I’m not sorry for exiting an abusive conversation.

I’m not sorry for refusing to participate in gossip.

I’m not sorry having a tattoo.

I’m not sorry for wanting a hundred more.

I’m not sorry for liking tattoos.

I’m not sorry for being attractive.

I’m not sorry for dressing well.

I’m not sorry for not giving you my phone number.

I’m not sorry for not smiling when I don’t feel like smiling.

I’m not sorry for following my dreams.

I’m not sorry for loving karaoke.

I’m not sorry for enjoying TV.

I’m not sorry for loving a day on the couch.

I’m not sorry for having abstract ideas.

I’m not sorry for being creative.

I’m not sorry for not fitting into your box.

I’m not sorry for not being Michelle Obama.

I’m not sorry for having goals.

I’m not sorry for laughing too loud.

I’m not sorry for dancing too much.

I’m not sorry for being silly.

I’m not sorry my feet stink some times.

I’m not sorry for farting.

I’m not sorry for slacking on my pedicures.

I’m not sorry for having a sweet tooth.

I’m not sorry for having three children.

I’m not sorry I refused to be talked down to.

I’m not sorry for being intuitive.

I’m not sorry for being right.

I’m not sorry for making mistakes.

I’m not sorry for being happy.

I’m not sorry for being sad.

I’m not sorry for needing help.

I’m not sorry for falling in love.

I’m not sorry for changing my mind.

I’m not sorry for believing in magic.

I’m not sorry for being Christian.

I’m not sorry for looking for the truth in all religions.

I’m not sorry for saying, “No.”

I’m not sorry for being strong.

I’m not sorry for being brave.

I’m not sorry for not counting calories.

I’m not sorry I’m finally starting to know my worth.

I’m not sorry for being Octavia.




  1. 1.
    able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
    “be patient, your time will come”
  1. 1.
    a person receiving or registered to receive medical treatment.
    synonyms: sick person, case; More

  2. 2.
    the semantic role of a noun phrase denoting something that is affected or acted upon by the action of a verb.


I misspelled this word in my 5th grade spelling bee. I’ll never forget it again.

I wanted to share this word earlier this week but I felt so overwhelmingly LOVED, I shared that word first. I patiently awaited the best time to share PATIENT. And so, in my best Rafiki voice from The Lion King,

It is time.

I saw this picture on facebook yesterday, which was breathtakingly relevant.

I used to pray for patience. I wanted to learn how to quietly and calmly wait. It is not an easy skill to learn. But I learned from the best. One of my godmothers taught me one of my first lessons in patience.

She showed me the beauty of shutting up – how simple it is to keep your mouth closed, when you so desperately want to put someone in their place.

She led by example in this too. “Aunt Marcy, why aren’t you talking?” I’d ask with a mischievous grin.

She would simply smile and shake her head.

As and adult I now know what this meant:

It’s better to say nothing at all than to rush into spewing words you cannot take back.

I also learned patience with others. This was an acquired lesson over time that I patiently pieced together from my own experiences:

Relationships cannot be rushed. Careers cannot be forced. We cannot change others, only our expectations of them…

And patience with myself: Instruments cannot be mastered in one sitting. Concertos cannot be perfected with cram-practicing. Watercolor masterpieces are muddied with haste. Binge studying is worthless in the end. Grieving the loss of a parent or the death of a relationship takes …t  i  m  e

Friends, Rome was not built in a day. And nothing in nature blooms all year. Breathe deep. Calm your mind. Soit patient… whatever it is you desire most and wherever it is you want to be – these things will come to you when the time is right.


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