Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful: A Tribute to my Mom

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My Mom passed away on May 2, 2017.

We were very close. She knew most of my secrets. She gave me great advice. We kicked it. We laughed. We cried. We shared so much that no one else will ever know. She was one of my best friends and favorite people ever. Like…ever.

My Mom was an amazing woman of strength. She endured an adulthood full of sickness, yet she accomplished so much in her time here on Earth. She told me that she was going to get a college degree. She did. She said that she was going to become involved in the community. She did. She said that she always wanted to help young people. She did. She said that she wanted to touch people with her story. She definitely did.

To know my Mom was to love her. She was a fun-loving, easy-going nerd who enjoyed learning and who reveled in having a good time. She enjoyed giving…she remembered birthdays like a pro and always came up with something for the birthday boy/girl. She remembered things that people liked and she was also so conscientious about the things she gave. Her thoughtfulness is something that I’ll always treasure and will spend the rest of my life trying to emulate.


Mom and my little brother, Zac

In her honor, I want to share with you some of the lessons that she taught me and that I, prayerfully, will pass on to my daughter.

1) Enjoy Life.  Through all of her struggles with sickness, my Mom made it a point to enjoy her life. I remember when we were discussing New Years 2016 plans and she said “I wanna see some fireworks.” I was surprised because due to her seizures, she couldn’t tolerate bright lights and flashes. I said “Are you sure?” She nodded and we made plans to go to Opening Night in downtown OKC. Earlier in the day, she called me and exclaimed loudly “You ready to go, girlllllll?” I laughed…her excitement was so infectious! We bundled up and headed out. She enjoyed the live band and even though we were absolutely freezing, she kept commenting on how much fun she was having! When it came time for the fireworks, she put on some dark, pink-rimmed sunglasses and turned her head to the sky. She watched the entire show with a smile on her face. I was so busy staring at her, in awe of her strength, that I missed a good portion of the show. She made me so proud that night.


Opening Night…it was sooooo cold, but we had SO much fun!

No matter what she was going through, my Mom made it a point to find a silver lining and she made sure to celebrate her victories.  She celebrated life. She enjoyed living. She wanted to get the most out of her existence that she could and I sincerely believe that she accomplished that.


Livin it up at her graduation party!

2) Create Your Own Peace. Peace is 100% in your hands. Mom would always tell me that there’s nothing wrong with staying to yourself, by yourself. She would say that she’d rather have peace than a life full of drama any day. I believe she felt that way because with everything she went through, finding and enjoying peaceful moments was her way of coping. She truly had the kind of peace that surpassed all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). She shied away from strife…she wasn’t a fan of unnecessary arguing and pettiness. She enjoyed her alone time because it allowed her to exercise her faith, strengthen her fortitude and reflect on her life. My Mom didn’t tolerate foolishness simply because she wasn’t interested in it. She wanted peace. Regardless of her feelings or opinion on certain things, she often left situations alone because she didn’t see how inserting herself and her opinion would change anything. People are people, she would say. People are who they are. I apply that to my life in many ways. I shy away from unnecessary conversations and confrontation because my intentions are often misunderstood. Rather than try to explain myself (or change someone else’s mind), I allow the other party to do and say whatever they like. Why? Because I know that I control how I react to them and I won’t allow anyone to mess with the peace I have worked so hard to get.


3) Chase your dreams. This one is pretty self-explanatory. My Mom always supported my goals and she was at every celebration, graduation and speaking engagement that I had. She was always telling me to set goals and celebrate my accomplishments. My Mom had a way of being happy for people without inserting her personal feelings into their celebration. Her support was unique in how genuine it was. She clapped, cheered and rooted for those close to her and she made it a point to be at every happy occasion possible. Her happiness for others was so unselfish in its purity; many people could learn from this. In short, celebrate people without consideration of your own feelings of perceived inadequacy. I think the reason that my Mom was so happy for other people because she knew that she was accomplishing things of her own and that it would be her turn to celebrate at some point. She wanted people to return the same happiness for her that she gave to them.


4) Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful. My Mom was gorgeous, physically. That’s for sure. Yet, her unique brand of beauty didn’t come from her beautiful eyes, her full lips or her high cheekbones. Her beauty came from resilience, strength, generosity, meekness, endurance, happiness and love. These things enhanced her special beauty. She always encouraged me to make sure that my inside was beautiful. She continually reminded me how physically beautiful she thought I was, but she always told me that she appreciated who I was on the inside. She referred to me as her “Mini-Me” in more ways than physical. I definitely inherited some of the traits that I listed above, but the life that she lived enhanced those traits and so much more. Everyone has their own exclusive kind of allure that is made up of who you are, what you’ve been through, what you’ve learned, what you’re willing to give others and what you dream of. To me, my Mom was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known.


I could spend the rest of my life blogging and I would never find enough words to express how thankful I am to God for allowing me to have someone as incredible as my Mom in my life for 34 years. I miss her beyond words, but I am so incredibly honored to have come from her and to have been loved by her. Mommy, thank you for everything you did for us. We could never repay you, so instead, we choose to honor you by sharing and cherishing the lessons and memories that you’ve given us. I pray that the things you have shared with me will live forever in my heart and that they will last for generations to come.


I learned to be a great Mom because I had a great Mom.

Until we meet again.

Love, Meka


On Luther Vandross & How I’m Losing My Hopeful Romanticism

“I need to have you next to me, in more ways than one. And I refuse to leave until I see the morning sun…”

I love Luther Vandross.

Those close to me know that my admiration for his talent knows no bounds. I remember listening to him croon from my mother’s radio when I was a little girl. I didn’t know what he was singing about, but I knew that whatever he was singing about touched my mother to her innermost being. She played him so much that I had many of his songs memorized before I could fathom the tales he wove with his voice.

Now that I’m much older and have experienced a few things in life, I better understand why she played him so often. Luther used his gift to bring happiness, joy, excitement and comfort to millions and although he is no longer with us on Earth, his music will last generations. His voice continues to evoke feelings of adoration, sadness, longing and desire through his songs.

As I was listening to the Luther station on a platform which I will not name (they aren’t writing me a check and I’m not trying to get sued), my mind went to my former romantic relationships and how it’s quite possible that I have an unrealistic view of love and romance.

I’ve been spoiled by love songs.

“Anyone who ever loved…could look at me, and know that I love you.”

I pondered whether or not I could really relate to the emotions that Luther Vandross seems to elicit out of others. That’s not to say that I haven’t been in  love before; I think I’ve been in love one and a half times. Yet, I can’t say that I’ve felt the “never too much” kind of love. Now, I’m not naive enough to believe that a partnership is solely Luther-esque love. I have gone through enough to know that lasting love takes commitment, sacrifice, communication, vulnerability and tons of effort. It’s just that when I really sit and think about it, I can say that I honestly relate to songs about heartbreak (a la Mary J.) much more.

Why  is that?

Part of it could be that I have unrealistic expectations of love. I’ve heard thousands of love songs over the years and my desire to have one smidgen of emotion that the artists awaken in their listeners is indescribable. I have to wonder if it is possible at all. I have loved deeply. I loved someone with what I thought was every feeling that I could muster. Yet it ended in disaster. I knew, in my heart, that he didn’t feel the same way. If he did, he wouldn’t  have hurt me in the ways (and number of times) that he did. Does that mean I shouldn’t count that experience, or perhaps I should cherish it as being as close to this feeling I’ve longed for?

At the same time, songs are often based on the writer’s experiences and brought to life by the entertainer’s expertise and flair. This means that someone has experienced this love and lived to write about it in the hopes that someone else could relate to it. So, I should be hopeful, yes? There have been too many incredible stories and accounts of lifelong, deep, unimaginable love. It has to be out there.

“It’s so amazing to be loved. I’d follow you to the moon in the sky above.”

I used to be the ultimate hopeful romantic. I would daydream about the man who would move my heart so much that I would play Luther and smile because this man made me feel the way Luther melodically murmured in his music. I did my best to treat my partners in a way that made them feel cherished, desired and adored. What I didn’t realize is that not everyone I was in a relationship with wanted those things, not even if/when they expressed those feelings. Some weren’t ready. Some just flat out didn’t want that love and used my offering of such to take advantage of me in other ways. I can look back on that now and take responsibility because it took years for me to realize that not everyone is worthy of that love. In the same vein, I’ve never had a man beg for me to come back to him and give him another chance. I’ve never had someone tell me that they feel lost or incomplete without me in their life. Does that mean I haven’t added that kind of value to someone else, or does it mean that I have but that person was too prideful/angry/ashamed to ask for me to return to them? I’m not sure.

“Hearts get broken all the time. Never used to worry about things like this. But the trouble is…this time, it’s mine. This one is mine. (See, the problem is) the heart is mine.”

What I also understand is although I came to that realization, it would be much harder for me to scale back that affection. However, I know that it’s imperative for me to do so. It’s a matter of self-preservation mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If you continue to pour from a cup without being refreshed, the cup will eventually empty and that’s the last thing I want to happen (that’s how bitterness is birthed). The desire is still there indeed, even though it has diminished. But I am hopeful. I wonder if mothers like my Mom let their sons listen to Luther and how many of them long for those feelings. I wonder if I’ll ever come across one of those sons and he’ll have those feelings for me. Until then, I’ll continue to let Luther fuel my faith in love and hope that I get the chance to give a Luther-inspired love a try.

“Darling, have a heart. Don’t let one mistake keep us apart. I’m not meant to live alone; turn this house into a home. When I climb the stairs and turn the key, oh, please be there saying that you’re still in love with me.”


*Featured image courtesy of AllThingsJazz

So, Umm…Yeah. I left Oklahoma…

Unless you have me hidden on social media, have been on an Internet fast or just flat out didn’t care to know, most of you know that I left my small town in Oklahoma and moved to the big(ger) city of Denver.


View of Downtown Denver

I packed up my house, threw the Kid and the dog in a U-Haul, hitched my car up to the back and drove 11.5 hours, over the course of two days, to Denver. I completely uprooted our comfortable, small-city life and traded in the plains for the mountains.

I was terrified through the whole process. I still am.

The main questions I get are why, how, when and what’s next. Some of those are easy to answer.

Why: I was presented with a job offer that I couldn’t refuse. It made sense to me career-wise and financially to accept the offer. It isn’t that I was unsatisfied with my old position. It’s that I was unsatisfied with where I saw my career going IF I continued living in my state of birth. Quite frankly, I didn’t see myself thriving and accomplishing much if I stayed in Oklahoma. That’s as raw and as honest as it gets.

I didn’t just move for career reasons. I felt stuck in Oklahoma. I felt discontent and flat out unhappy. Of course I love my home and I love my state. However, one thing that I realize is that sometimes,  you have to leave home to know what you’re truly made of. Sure, some people stay where they’re born and are completely happy. I’m not one of those people. Since I finished my undergraduate degree, I’ve had dreams of leaving the Great State of OK and spreading my wings somewhere else. It took me 12 years of dreaming, planning, wishing, hoping and praying for me to get the courage to finally go. *Note: Don’t let this be you. Sure, I started my career and got my daughter off to a pretty good start at life and such, but never, ever put off your dreams for that long. Life is so uncertain…you don’t want your final thoughts to be full of should haves, could haves and would haves.

My biggest fear is that some of the demons that haunted me in Oklahoma will follow me here (mainly financial…oohwee!). However, I know that I have the power to change that. So, I’m working on it!

How: I consulted with the Kid, my parents and my friends. I was looking for job postungs related to my career, but I was looking more for information purposes. I didn’t intend on moving just yet. However, I found a job posting that I really liked. I applied. I was interviewed twice. I was offered the job.. We left. U-Haul, boxes, dog…we left.

You may be interested to know that when I drove to Denver for the second interview, I had a panic attack in our hotel room (I brought the kid and dog with me to town…road trip!). I felt dizzy. I couldn’t breathe. I just couldn’t believe that there was a strong possibility that I might be moving. It took two or three minutes for me to calm down and mentally prepare myself for the interview.

When: I accepted the job offer during the first week of December. We were in our new place in Colorado by January 4th. Yes, in pretty much less than a month, I made the decision to move, packed up, found a new place and physically moved my family to a new state where I know less than 7 people.

What’s Next: The only thing I have planned right now is to do well in my new position, meet some new people, get the kid finished with high school and on her way to her next step and skiing. Definitely skiing.

Now we’ll get to the fun stuff…questions from my Facebook friends. I actually got quite a few questions, so I’m really excited to answer these!

Question: Exactly what are you doing in Denver? I am the Senior Librarian at a public library. In short, I am the supervisor for the public library floor of our building. A typical day involves me answering questions from customers, handling personnel matters, arranging meetings, etc. It’s very different than my former position because I have a larger staff to manage and public librarianship is a bit different than academic (University) librarianship. I answer less research questions and more general library help questions and book recommendations (I love that part!). I chose this job because of the history behind the library and the opportunities to expand my skills in programming, reference/research and management.


Mural in my library

Question: Do you like Denver? I do! I am in awe of so many things…the mountains, the crazy traffic and the huge variety of ethnicities of the people I’ve seen. Denver is much more ethnically diverse than Oklahoma, or at least where I live. The main similarity between here and where I’m from is that there isn’t really a “neighborly” feel. I don’t know any of the people who live around me and they don’t seem interested in knowing me, either.

Question: Is it just you and The Kid? Do you have other family there or friends? If not, then what is it like being away from your home and ‘village’? Yes, it’s just the two of us (and our dog lol). I have three cousins who live here, but I haven’t met up with them yet. I have like 3 other friends in the vicinity, but again, I haven’t met up with them. And no, I haven’t met any of my Sorors yet, but I’m sure that I will soon! I did make a new friend and we’ll probably hang out pretty soon. She is really nice and outgoing and suggested us trying some new places to eat (she’s new in town, too! It’ll be fun to have an exploring partner!).

It has been very hard to be away from my family and friends. I’m used to seeing my Daddy pretty much every week and being with my Mom’s family at least once a month. That’s one reason that I’ve been begging and pleading with people to video chat with us because that helps the homesickness.

Question: How is The Kid doing in school? She’s adjusting very well! I got a message from her Advisor that stated that she’s doing very well in her classes and doing a great job at completing her homework. She has also made new friends…I’ve seen girls hug her when she gets out of the car when I’m dropping her off! We will be looking into extracurricular activities pretty soon so that she can expand her network and make friends. She also video chats and keeps up with her home friends via social media.


I think she’s adjusting well!

The other questions are pretty funny! No, I haven’t found a new sushi place. Yes, there are some handsome men here, but no, I’m not looking to date. I’m really excited to go to the mountains and see some spectacular views. My favorite thing about living here is the convenience of everything. There are tons of places that are within walking distance, so I’m looking forward to exploring our neighborhood more!

I want to leave you with this thought: moving away from home is an expensive, terrifying and exhausting process. However, the growth and experiences are worth it. I miss my family and friends and I can’t wait for them to visit. Until then, I get the pleasure of sharing our life with them through digital means. The homesickness gets overwhelming at times, for sure. Despite that, I realize that taking control of our future wasn’t meant to be comfortable, but it was definitely necessary.

As always, thanks for reading!

My Time at Rare Book School: Part 1- My Class Experience

Today, Jamekab excited! This blog post has been in the works for a while and I’m super excited to finally get it out to the world! Warning: This post will contain lots of pictures and information. Just read it…you won’t be disappointed!

As many of you know, I am a librarian. I am proud to be a librarian and I love my career and what I do very much! As a constant learner, I’m always looking for professional experiences that will enhance my skills and abilities and allow me to learn as much as I can.

Earlier this year, I learned about a fellowship program offered by Rare Book School (RBS). I know you’re thinking “There’s a school for rare books?” Yes, there sure is! But the great thing about Rare Book School is that it covers a vast array of topic relating to rare books, including dealing, donating, librarianship and some more technical topics (preservation, etc.). *Side note: I’m trying to not use to many librarian-ish terms so that my readers who are unfamiliar with the more specialized terms in the library and book world. Bear with me, please!! 🙂 For more information about Rare Book School, visit the Rare Book School website here.

I applied for this really competitive fellowship called the IMLS-RBS Fellowship for Early-Career Librarians. In short, this is a fellowship opportunity for newer librarians who come from diverse backgrounds or who work in a place that caters to a diverse population. The purpose of the fellowship is to increase diversity in Rare Book School attendance and in special collections librarianship as a whole. The fellowship grants the awardees full admission to the Rare Book School course of their choice and full expenses for the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) Annual Conference. I really wanted this fellowship because I work in a specialized area of librarianship that focuses on rare and old materials in libraries (again, trying to keep it simple lol) I knew that Rare Book School and the conference would be opportunities for me to learn more about my area of librarianship. Here is more information about the fellowship.

Well, after weeks of chewing my fingernails and checking my snail mail, I learned that I was accepted into the fellowship program! Yay!!!!

Can you spot my name? *cheesy grin*

Can you spot my name? *cheesy grin*

Acceptance was the first step. Next was choosing my course to attend. I selected a course entitled Developing Collections: Donors, Libraries and Booksellers. I chose this course because 1) I work in a library 2) I deal with donors 3) I wanted to learn about other options for obtaining rare books and other materials for our library. In order to attend the course, you had to apply for admission (wowzers!). Once again, I was accepted!

My course was offered at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. I admit that I was extremely nervous about attending. I knew that I would meet fellow librarians and other professionals, but I was worried that my experience was limited. I’ve been in special collections for going on three years, but I admit that I am still learning. However, I soon learned that I had nothing to be nervous about!

The professors for my course were Tom Gongalton (bookseller), Johan Kugelberg (bookseller and rare materials expert) and Katherine Regan (librarian). I liked that we had a mixture of perspectives to learn from and that really made the course amazing. We learned a lot of technical stuff that I won’t go into detail about, but I will share a few pictures from my course.

My favorite part of the course was the fact that everything was hands-on. We touched and examined some really incredible documents, pictures and other memorabilia.

Johan teaching us about memorabilia

Johan teaching us about memorabilia

We learned how to spot forgeries and understand that sometimes, a copy is still valuable in many cases.

We learned some basic tips for spotting copies and forgeries

We learned some basic tips for spotting copies and forgeries

As a part of the class, we had team projects that were due at the end of the week. The project was to evaluate the items in a mystery box (one box per team) and decide a value, provenance (where the items came from, authenticity, etc.) and whether or not you would include these items in your collection (whether you are a librarian, a donor or a bookseller). My partner, Jason, and I had a box of hip-hop memorabilia. Incredibly, we deduced (correctly) that it was a part of the hip-hop collection that hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa donated to Cornell University Libraries! I definitely had a fangirl moment while sifting through the box. While I am no hip-hop expert by any means, I had definitely heard of Bambaataa and was thrilled to be evaluating some of his items! Here are a few things from the mystery box (reposted with permission):

Picture of Sly Stone, one of Afrika Bambaataa's influences AND one of my favorite musicians of all time!

Picture of Sly Stone, one of Afrika Bambaataa’s influences AND one of my favorite musicians of all time!

Pic of Bambaataa and Soulsonic Force

Pic of Bambaataa and Soulsonic Force

A picture of Afrika Bambaataa and James Brown, another influence of his.

A picture of Afrika Bambaataa and James Brown, another influence of his.

Each team had to present their mystery boxes at the end of the week. Every team presented their box in a different way. Jason & I decided to give two different viewpoints and act as if he was a dealer who was selling the box to me. Sorry I don’t have pictures of that, but I figured it would be inappropriate to grab a selfie while we were presenting lol

The variety of materials was just amazing! Here are a few pictures of the other presentations:

My classmates presenting on Tart Cards, which were small flyers used to advertise prostitution and escort services

My classmates presenting on Tart Cards, which were small flyers used to advertise escort services. Ooh la la!

More classmates presenting their mystery box

More classmates presenting their mystery box…I think they had a WW2 journal

Hmm...should we buy this item or not?

Hmm…should we buy this item or not?

As you can see, we were quite a spirited group! It was really enriching to hear from all types of professionals. Once I realized that I had experiences and information to offer, I felt a lot more at ease and less like my brain was exploding.

Outside of the classroom, there were other activities that I participated in. I got to see a little bit of Charlottesville and the UVA campus is beautiful. I really liked seeing Jefferson’s Rotunda, even though it’s currently under construction.

Jefferson's Rotunda

Jefferson’s Rotunda

Another highlight of my week was being asked to participate in a Rare Book School promotional video. Myself and a fellow fellow (ha!) Aaisha, were asked to do an interview about the fellowship, our experience at RBS and what we do in our professional positions. The interview was fun! It was my first time in front of a green screen and wearing a microphone. Of course, being on camera was pretty nerve-wracking, but it was a lot of fun! I can’t wait to see the finished product!


Me in front of the green screen!

Me in front of the green screen!

I learned SO much during this week. It was the equivalent of cramming a semester’s worth of information into 5 days, but it was very rewarding. I would recommend not only this course, but Rare Book School as a whole, to anyone who has an interest in anything pertaining to special collections librarianship, rare books (dealing, collecting, etc.) and really, books as whole. The variety of courses offered is very diverse in interest and expertise. I had a great time overall and I am looking forward to my next course. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like to hear more about my experience!

Before I conclude this post, I MUST give major props and kudos to Danielle Culpepper, who was our point-of-contact for the Fellowship. She answered all of my crazy questions and weird requests with humor and grace. I really appreciated her encouragement and just overall attitude of helpfulness during this week. I also have to shout out Michael Suarez, who is the Rare Book School Director. He was very personable and accommodating and made everyone feel welcome with his pep talks during our breaks. He made sure to introduce himself to me and I really felt honored and appreciated by that. Lastly, I want to say thanks to my C-30 classmates and professors. I learned tons from you guys and I appreciate your willingness to teach and to learn. You guys helped make my experience awesome and I look forward to continuing the development our professional relationships!

A few of the IMLS-RBS fellows at dinner, along with RBS Staff Member Danielle Culpepper (I kinda took her pic lol)

A few of the IMLS-RBS fellows at dinner, along with RBS Staff Member Danielle Culpepper (I kinda took her pic lol)

Tomorrow, I will post my experience at the RBMS (Rare Books and Manuscripts Section) Conference that was held in Oakland & Berkeley, California! Stay tuned and thanks for hanging in there with this long post!

Ya'll remember my post about Scrapple? It was during this week that it was trying to be force-fed to me in sneaky ways! lol

Ya’ll remember my post about Scrapple? It was during this week that it was trying to be force-fed to me in sneaky ways! lol

Navigating Unpopularity: How to Handle Not Being One of the Cool Kids

In today’s post, JamekaB….reflective…

I’ve never been “popular”

As a kid, I was a loner. I was into books and was always reading. I didn’t really have friends and honestly, I’m not sure why. It wasn’t until junior high that I had friends, but being friends with them caused me to modify my behavior. I realized that wasn’t friendship, so I left that group of friends. I ate lunch alone, went straight home after school and didn’t really socialize for months. Then, a group of girls from choir invited me to sit with them one day at lunch and that was the start of some amazing high school friendships. Finally…I felt like a part of a group! I felt like I had a place somewhere and with people who wanted me around! It was awesome and I cherish those memories and those friendships to this day. Yet…I was the only Black girl in our group of friends. That had its challenges. Being called a White girl by family and classmates really hurt. I struggled with an identity crisis about this for years, but I masked my pain with smiles.

These ladies were the first to really accept and love me for all of my goofyness lol!

These ladies were the first to really accept and love me for me…in all of my goofyness lol!

In college, I wasn’t popular. I was involved in student organizations. I was an honor student. I even joined a sorority. But I wasn’t popular, at least not long-term. My popularity increased by way of gossip and scandal surrounding my pregnancy, but who wants to be the subject of rumors? I didn’t like that brand of popularity very much and I still harbor some resentment at that whole experience (just being honest).

As an adult, I am ashamed to admit that I often compromised my personal code of ethics for the sake of “popularity”. I changed my core self to fit in with those around me. While that made me belong to certain groups, it also resulted in my motives and intentions being horribly misunderstood. That’s the price of fake popularity, I suppose.

As a kid, a teenager and an adult, I changed who I was in order to fit in. Frankly, that sucked. It sucked because the energy that I spent faking it could’ve been used on the people who actually cared about me. I am so happy to have a core group of friends and family who have been there forever, but I was so busy trying to be “popular” that I didn’t realize that I was neglecting those relationships. It isn’t worth it.

I'm popular with these gals!

I’m popular with these gals!

I’ve realized that if being “popular” means changing who you are or doing things you aren’t comfortable with, then you are selling yourself short. I’ve learned that I’m not ever going to be wildly popular. I am not going to be highly sought-after or in demand. I have a unique brand that is all Jameka. And Jameka is ok. You see, there are people in my life who actively seek me out. They want to be around me. They invite me to their special moments and want me to be there for them. They absolutely love me and love having me around. There are people who totally get me. They know what I’m good at and invite me to display my talents and abilities. Does it matter if it’s 7 people and not 700? Not one bit. I’ve discovered that being loved and appreciated by a few for WHO I AM will always overshadow being asked to places by those who only appreciated a shadow of who I am. By being genuine and real and unapologetic for being JamekaB, I’ve found a way to weed out the undesireables. And I love it. It’s so peaceful without the noise of false popularity. Is it lonely sometimes? Yep! Do I give a side-eye when I see something on FB that I feel I should’ve been invited to? Sometimes. But then I realize if I was wanted there, I would’ve been asked there. And since I wasn’t asked to be there, I wasn’t wanted there. And ya’ll know what? That’s ok! I’m finally realizing that it’s ok! It’s so freeing to just be able to be me without pretenses and faking and to be welcomed into the lives of those who really care. I am fortunate to have incredible friends and family and to be a part of them is an indescribable feeling!

I've never had to compromise who I am in order to belong with these chicks! And I love them for that!

I’ve never had to compromise who I am in order to belong with these chicks! And I love them for that!

So what’s the takeaway here? It’s ok to not be one of the cool kids. Being you is the coolest thing you can be. But if you have to change who you are in order to fit in with people who really don’t care about you any way (see the movie Mean Girls to catch my drift lol), then you are missing out on an opportunity to be genuinely and lastingly enjoyed. Just be you and those who love you will be revealed. There’s freedom and coolness in being able to like yourself and be comfortable in that! That’s the coolest thing ever!

One of the groups of people who think I'm pretty darn cool!

One of the groups of people who think I’m pretty darn cool! My amazing family!

Happy Father’s Day, Mom?!?!?!?

Ok, JamekaB tired of this foolish phenomenon!

The marketing team at Angel Soft (yes, the toilet paper people) have released an ad where adults wish their single mothers a Happy Father’s Day. You can see the ad here: Angel Soft Father’s Day to Mothers.

This is all types of WRONG. Allow me to explain why.

In this country, we horrifically devalue fathers and fatherhood as a whole. Since single parenthood has increased, the value we place on fatherhood has decreased. It’s sad that we now see good fathers as a unicorn, when in actuality, it’s the NORM. I expressed this when Hallmark’s “Mahogany” division released greeting cards expressing the same thing. No. Not ok. (and this was especially bad because there wasn’t a “regular” version of this card release. It was only released by the “Black” division, but I digress….don’t drink the poisoned Kool-Aid)

Father’s Day is for fathers. Men. Males. Period. I am an amazing single mother. I am the primary provider for my child in every way (and thank God I have a superb support system!). I have helped her climb trees, I’ve kissed scratches, I can change my own flat, I know where to put the oil, I kill the big bugs, I take out the trash, and a host of other “manly” things. But I am not a Dad.

I will never understand why anyone would try to take the shine from fathers. I understand being angry about an absentee father. I totally get it. There’s no sentiment regarding absent parents that you can express to me that I haven’t felt myself. But I refuse…I absolutely REFUSE to take away any acknowledgement from amazing fathers on THEIR day. On FATHER’S DAY! I come from a family of single mothers and I have never (and will never) tell any of them “Happy Father’s Day”. I don’t want to hear the tired excuse of “I’m Mom & Dad, so give me both days!”. Yes, I said it. That is tired and disrespectful to the fathers who deserve their accolades on Father’s Day.

Mother’s Day is for mothers. Father’s Day is for fathers. Don’t let Corporate America (I’m side-eyeing YOU, Angel Soft and Hallmark) or bitter thinking brainwash you into thinking any differently. Be smarter than their marketing ploys. For Father’s Day, we should celebrate all of the amazing fathers out there, as I will be doing. I have an incredible Dad, wonderful Uncles and fantastic friends who are spectacular fathers and I refuse…I absolutely refuse to take anything away from them on their day.

As an early celebration, I am sharing links regarding amazing fatherhood. Click and enjoy!

The “Other” Food Group

In this post, JamekaB confused as heck!!!

Both sides of my family have very interesting food tastes.

My Dad is an All-American woodsman. If it has legs, he’ll shoot it (legally, of course). He’ll cook it and make gravy out of it. Living with him, I had my fair share of wild animals including (but not limited to) rabbit, deer, squirrel, snake, etc. Needless to say, I learned when his hunting weekends were and made sure I had alternative nourishment in the fridge. My Mom’s family is from Mississippi. 1950’s and 1960’s Mississippi. Growing up, we had the option (sometimes) to eat hog head cheese, souse, liverwurst, chittlins (sorry, chitterlings for the proper people), pickled pig’s feet, etc.

Based on that information, you would think that I would have a fondness for things that may not appear on the Food Pyramid or on a nutritionist’s list of things we should eat often. Uhh…no. Just…no. Don’t get me wrong…I love trying new foods and things that a lot of people don’t like, such as sushi. But those things listed up there are not a part of my diet at all. AT. ALL.

I have friends around the country and they love to tell me the tales of some of their local foods that I find hilarious. Which brings me to Scrapple.

Yes, Scrapple.

Apparently, Scrapple is considered a delicacy in some parts of the United States of America (the North and East Coast). I have heard my friends describe Scrapple as “plantation food” and “stuff that’s worse than Spam”. On Wikipedia, it says “Scrapple is typically made of hog offal (innards…intestines), such as the head, heart, liver, and other trimmings, which are boiled with any bones attached (often the entire head), to make a broth. Once cooked, bones and fat are removed, the meat is reserved, and (dry) cornmeal is boiled in the broth to make a mush. The meat, finely minced, is returned to the pot and seasonings, typically sage, thyme, savory, black pepper, and others are added. The mush is formed into loaves and allowed to cool thoroughly until set.”

No. Just….no.

Over the years, hearing my friends’ stories made me laugh and I hadn’t encountered Scrapple on my travels. Until last week.

Picture it: Virginia, 2015. An eager, young librarian is excited to be attending a course at Rare Book School. She’s excited, but nervous. On the morning of her first day of class, she went downstairs to the free hotel breakfast. The smell of pancakes and eggs wafted in the air and she figured a nibble of sausage and eggs would help calm her nerves. She grabs a plate and lifts the lid to the buffet dish. Her eyes widened at what she saw….a loaf-like concoction that smelled like watery cooked meat. She immediately knew that wasn’t sausage. She had encountered the elusive beast…she had encountered SCRAPPLE!

I am that eager young librarian. And yes, friends; I encountered Scrapple. It was just all wrong. Wrong, wrong wrong. I hoped that the hotel wouldn’t be serving Scrapple all week. The next day, I was delighted to see sausage links. The following day, I went downstairs and was greeted with the smell of biscuits. I was excited! Yay biscuits (one of my vices…if I could give up bread, I promise you I’d be at least 392 lbs. lighter….well, bread and Braum’s ice cream, but I digress…)! Opening the buffet lid, I saw that my biscuits were being served with sausage gravy. Yay gravy!!! I heaped a spoonful of gravy onto my split biscuit, grabbed some orange juice and sat down. I thanked the Lord for this breakfast that was gonna stick to my ribs and I took a giant bite.

WHAT IN THE WORLD!?!?!?! That was NOT sausage in my gravy. It was….it….it was SCRAPPLE!!! (see the picture on this post)

So many things ran through my head. I had questions. 1) What made them think this was ok?!? 2) Why were they insisting on me eating Scrapple? 3) What did those biscuits do to deserve this? I threw the whole thing away and just shook my head in disappointment.

Ladies and gents, I would love for someone to explain to me why Scrapple is so great. I’m just not seeing it! Have any of you encountered Scrapple? Do you like it, or do you run the other way when you see it? Should I give Scrapple a chance, or am I right in my refusal to taste it?