Love in the Now: 10 Things I Love Right Now

Hey Ya’ll,

It’s truly been a while since I’ve blogged. I created my personal Blog Planner of Awesomeness to help me stay focused and on target for Being Starkey. However, things happened that prevented my success for February. It’s truly okay because they are all a part of my Write Block Wednesday prompt of the 10 Things I Love Right Now.

  1. God
    I am working to improve my spiritual relationship with God. I’m participating in a spiritual boot camp. The leader LaKia Barr gave the participants some awesome tasks including creating a spiritual vision board. I consider myself to be a pro-vision boarder, but I really thought and examined my relationship with God when I created it. The boot camp has definitely helped me to see clearer and love God even more than I already do.
  2. Me
    One of my goals on my vision board is to put me first. I can honestly say that I’ve been doing that. I started budgeting to get my hair and nails done at least once a month. I am making more time for Crystal versus everyone else. I love the woman that I am.
  3. Magic Lessons
    Elizabeth Gilbert is completely awesome! I read Big Magic, and I was absolutely inspired to go and be creative. I was researching different podcasts and stumbled upon it. I love every episode of it. When I just need an extra boost, I tune it to an older episode and get energized.
  4. Daily Navigation
    At the beginning of the month, I shared a part of the first chapter of my book. I received great feedback. I love it when my readers actually enjoy what I wrote. My goal is to finish Daily Navigation within the next month. I love every part of it, and I can’t wait to see the finished product.
  5. My Career
    This past year, I’ve worked so hard to prove my spot in the big world of CES. I love my career especially program development and finding/exposing the youth in the program to new opportunities. Today, I conducted a training for a school enrichment program for a group of teachers. They loved it, and in turn so did I.
  6. Sewing
    For Christmas, I decided to make some DIY easy throw pillow projects for some people. I absolutely love sewing. It helps me to relax. This simple hobby is slowly becoming a potential monetary opportunity. I am currently addicted to going into craft or fabric stores looking for new ideas and fabric styles. Stay tuned for more information on Sew Starkey.
  7. Grad School, well sort of
    Yes, I’m back in grad school. It took a long time to find the best program that was best suited for my purpose. I love attending class and interacting with my classmates.
  8. Winter TV Lineup
    Baby Daddy. Blackish. Here We Go Again. Born Again Virgin. I’m excited! I love watching great sitcoms.
  9. Girls Scout Cookies
    Two Words: Thin Mints
  10. TWH
    He’s complete awesomeness! ❤ ❤ ❤

Black Girls Rock: Top 7 Moments

 

Last night, black girls and women gathered around the television screen to watch the Black Girls Rock! which is an awards program that honors female trailblazers who have made an exceptional contribution to the lives of those in their community and beyond. This year’s event featured the following honorees: Marian Wright Edelman, Queen Latifah, Mara Brock Akil, Misty Copeland, Ameena Matthews, Venus Williams, and Patti Labelle. I don’t know about you all, but I was empowered and ready to shout to the mountain top “Hey, I’m a Black Girl and I Rock!” by the end of the show. You couldn’t help but be moved after hearing such great speeches and performances.

 

Therefore, I decided to share with you all my top 7 moments from the Black Girls Rock, and hopefully it will move you just the same.

 

7) The “Girlfriends” reunion. I was definitely singing the theme song while they appeared on stage to honor Mara Brock Akil.

 

6) Kelly Rowland brought in Sevyn Streeter and Eve! I hope Eve is ready for a comeback. That was dope! I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who was looking for Michelle Williams and Beyonce’ to appear on stage. I just knew they were the special guests. Great teaser BET! Great teaser!

 

5) During Ameena Matthews’s speech, she shared a reflection where she told her daughter that they would be Black Girls Rock one year. Her daughter nodded her head with tears streaming from her eyes. Matthews said that she’s the Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman of today while fighting for freedom in the streets of Chicago.

 

4) Misty Copeland, the 3rd African-American soloist in the American Ballet Theatre, was honored. She said, “Black girls do rock….Black girls can be ballerinas.” I also loved her opening to Patti LaBelle’s selection “You are my Friend.”

 

3) Mrs. Marian Wright Edelman is history, period. She started the Children’s Defense Fund and a civil rights activist. She was a member of the freedom riders. She sought for equality. I cherished it when she said, “Don’t let anyone else define you.”

 

2) Mara Brock Akil accepting her award. She said, “Even if no one else sees you, I see you.” “We are worth protecting. We are worth loving. We must continue to rock,” Akil continued.

 

1) Beverly Bond’s speech where she said, “We must life as we climb.” Everything we as black woman do is a part of a platform which can make a difference in the lives of the young black girls. Bond told us to rebuild our village and create a healthy sisterhood.

 

What moments made you want to get up and do something after watching Black Girls Rock?

Just Say No (at least for right now)

 TEAMNOBABIES

 It’s safe to say that last week was the best form of birth control ever. I’m not having baby fever today, but it definitely served as reassurance that I’m not ready for any kids just yet.
I am a single 28 year old living on my own. My daily habits are established. I wake up around 10 a.m. Spend 15 to 30 minutes (an hour really) getting all the latest news via social media. Prepare and cook dinner. Get ready for work. Leave out the house in enough to make it to work by 2 p.m. I get home from work and check my emails and do homework. Pray. Turn out the lights. Good Night.
However, last week I agreed to let my niece and nephews stay with me for the week, and it was an interesting adventure. I felt like Insta-Mom- you know the woman who closed her eyes and poof there are four kids looking at you. All you can think is where did they come from? That was me last week. I picked them up Sunday night and instantly my role changed from the auntie who only sees them when I’m visiting Summerville to Insta-Mom (even if it was for only six days).
I was in for an awakening. I quickly had to adjust to cooking breakfast and dinner, grocery shopping for multiple people, finding activities, and nurturing them. I woke up around 8 a.m. to cook breakfast even though they probably stayed up well past 2 a.m. I fed them and assigned little chores to keep them busy. I got to work late twice the first two days. I almost turned around in mid-transit to work because my nephew couldn’t turn off the stove. I walked in the door after work and was welcomed to 50 million Auntie Crystal’s questions and information about their day. I have watched them before, but never with my oldest nephews watching the younger two while I was at work. I texted and called frequently to make sure my place wasn’t on fire or nobody was hurt. Honestly, by Friday I thought I had it together until I walked through the door when I got off and my niece gave me a noise complaint from my apartment complex. What in the world?! So I need to make sure they are quiet as well because I do not want to disturb by neighbors. Kids play. Kids make noise. They definitely weren’t used to worrying about neighbors complaining because the closest neighbor is my uncle who lives next door from their house. At that moment, I was ready to ship them back to Summerville and quick.
The week with my niece and nephews weren’t all bad. I love them dearly, and we did have some great times. We talked about school. We laughed at their mom, my little brother and I old school pictures in my yearbooks. We went to the library to check out some books and movies. We even saw Smurfs 2, which was hilarious by the way.
Overall, I won’t say this past week they drove me insane, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for this type of experience. But then again, are parents ever prepared for parenting? Oftentimes, new parents have this perceived notion of what it will be like raising a child, but it may not turn out that way. There is no instruction manual for raising children although we may want one. I definitely question if parenting was really like this or was I just spazzing out for no reason?
I thought parenthood consisted of feeding the kids, loving them, nurturing them, making sure they are bathed and in bed in a timely manner, getting them dressed and finding some form of entertainment for them. It was so much more. It was establishing order in hopes they will actually listen and understanding flexibility because although you planned it doesn’t mean it will happen that way all while making sure they were taken care of in all aspects.
I must say after this experience, I truly do have a new respect for parents especially single parents. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like doing this on a daily basis (at least not yet). My misconceptions of parenthood quickly changed this past week. I was thrilled to drop them off, but I do miss them a little bit. I’ll travel down soon to see them for a quick dosage, but leave them there this time.

Dear Young Crystal: Personal Reflection

image

Dear Young Crystal,

I’ve been contemplating how I would begin this letter to you, but I knew I needed to write it especially with the 10 year class reunion coming up tomorrow. I can’t help but to reflect on the experience and life journeys, you’ve embarked on these past ten years. You’ve experienced love, heartache, tons of fun and somethings you may never share with many people.

I can truly say that there are four main lessons that you learned that will forever stand out.

Lesson 1: Throw out that damn timeline.

Your idea of getting married by the time you graduate college and having kids shortly after quickly faded by the end of your freshman year of college. Focus on setting realistic and career minded goals. If love, marriage, and children come into the picture, they will eventually fall into its own place. If you kept with your timeline, you may not be working towards actually making your dream into a reality today. Trust me you are not missing out by waiting. There are plenty of children who will enter your life to nurture and guide. Don’t get me wrong. It is okay to dream, hope, and aspire, but make sure it’s what you want to do.

Which brings me to my next lesson…

Lesson 2: Don’t do it for anybody else, but yourself and God.

You spent so much of your middle and high school years trying to fit in with the crowd and do what wasn’t necessarily something that interested you. You tried to please so many people without realizing that some never really had your best interest at heart. Everyone wanted you to teach so yes, you’re on going to Winthrop University for an English Secondary Education bachelor’s degree. However, you are going to be in for a rude awakening darling. You will bounce around for a few years trying to find a career, but it will all lead you back to where you started – writing. It’s your voice. It’s how you best express yourself. It’s how you make movements in this crazy quaint world we live in. You will meet some great people in college who will encourage your writing movement through PHREA. (You will learn about that a little later.)

Lesson 3: Good friends are hard to come by.

Of course by now, you’ve realized that your circle is slowly getting smaller. The friends you’ve known for nearly a decade will drift apart, but the true friends will always stand by your side. You will realize that it’s probably more circumstantial versus purposeful. You are about to leave for college, and some of your friends are staying in Summerville to pursue education, work, or raise a family. You will meet more people in college definitely who will help shape you into the woman you are today. You will network with great individuals because of the friendships you will develop in college. They will nickname you “Starkey” or “Starkes” since apparently there’s too many Crystal’s to keep count of at Winthrop University. These friends also include six great ladies who you will develop a strong sisterhood with who will become more than just friends, but also your new sisters. The seven of you all transcended your entire college experience from the community service to the late night drives from Charleston back to Rock Hill without your parents finding out. Good friends are truly hard to come by, and you can’t help but be thankful for them coming into your life.

Lesson 4: Cherish the time with your loved ones

You won’t realize it now, but there will be a time when you long for conversations with your momma and granny. Yes, you will be upset that immediately after college you had to go back to Summerville, but it was God’s plan. He wanted you to go back to your roots and spend time with your mom and granny. Yes, it’s not the happy part, but it is the part where I learned the most. You have to cherish those times while you can.

Overall, Young Crystal, I just want to tell you to continue to work hard towards your goals. You are beautiful, despite your flaws and awkward hair days that you will eventually shy away from. Wow, it’s been 10 years since high school! I love you Young Crystal!

Misadventures of Starkey

System Down for Repair

System Down for Repair

Being Starkey is always an adventure waiting to happen. At least an adventure in my perspective, but that’s my opinion. I’m sure others may think that I am just this goofy nerd that loves writing and doing community service, but I digress from the Starkey stereotypes.

I’m currently working at my full-time job, but I am beyond distracted right now.

2:00 p.m. – clock in and on time.

3:00 p.m. – it’s time for the benefits meeting to discuss the merging benefits plans between my previous company and the new company. Oh the joy of benefits. There were a lot of numbers and explanation about information that I never really understood. I literally always chose the cheapest option and ran with it for the year. I barely ever changed my selections. As a black female in my late-twenties, I should actually start paying more attention to the process.

In the meantime of the hour long meeting, I’m getting texts from my sister about my little cousin that throws me leftfield.

4:00 p.m.—I’m literally sitting in the lobby trying to debrief myself from the mayhem going on in Summerville.

I need a shot of Jose straight. No chaser.

Luckily, some laughs and conversations with my co-workers keep me distracted from the craziness on the home front.

I go back to my desk to try to process some background checks. Yes, I fulfill background checks. No, I don’t check the backgrounds of the different men who enter in and out of my life (unless he gives me a reason to that is).

5:30 p.m. — the system goes down. What in the world!? So I pull out Demetria Lucas’s A Belle in Brooklyn to read until the system decides that it’s ready to function properly again. I’m currently on chapter “Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired,” which is actually quite fitting based on my current mood. Lucas basically discussed how we, as black women, need to stop being so bitter and angry. I can admit that I was there while reading a few pages of the chapter to help clear my head. I decided to relax and just do what I do best – write.  So needless to say, I’ve been writing for the past hour and it’s refreshing.

6:30 p.m.—everything is smooth sailing. Lord knows I hope it stays this way until I get off at 10:30 p.m.

Lessons of Being Mary Jane

“Take a look at my life and see what I see…”
Mary J Blige’s “My Life” was a great opener to Being Mary Jane, which aired last night on BET. The one and a half hour premiere captured the life of Mary Jane Paul, a raving news anchor, and her life as a single black female.
The movie explained that 42% of black women never get married. 42% is nearly half. As a 28-year-old unmarried educated black woman that statistic struck a nerve. It was a sharp one to be honest. I saw myself in some of her situations.
Yes, more black women are focusing on their careers and education before working on their relationships to build a marriage and family, but it doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen. For the most part everyone wants some form of companionship without admitting it. It’s human nature. Mary Jane wanted the approval of her family and friends as well as the comfort of lying next to somebody at night.
Mary Jane was hopeful thinking homedude really loved her. He loved her enough to sleep with her and let her cater to him while he threw up in her tub. She felt betrayed and hurt hence the “ho-bath.” Yeah, he became “that dude” who instantly became Never Answer #2 in her cell phone.
Mary Jane fought to get her spot on the show, and she was willing to get what she wanted even if it meant stealing sperm and storing it in a baking soda container.
Being Mary Jane wasn’t every black woman’s story, but I’m sure it made some of us think about some situations we experienced in our lives. I definitely learn some valuable lessons from watching Being Mary Jane.
Lesson #1: Although your makeup is flawless, doesn’t mean you are. The outside can portray this well put together person, but inside you are still human with a load of dirty laundry needing to be cleaned. There is no feeling like being free!
Lesson 2#: If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to get it. I’m not saying go steal somebody’s sperm to make a baby. Don’t give up on your goals and aspirations.
Lesson #3: If you don’t have anybody else, you have family. Despite the dysfunctions of your family, they still will always love and support you.
Lesson #4: I need to purchase a water hose just in case I need to give a guy a ho-bath. LOL.
Lesson #5: Data can change. Although 42% of black women never marry, it’s not definite data. We are learning that more men desire a relationship. Boaz is out there just don’t miss the opportunity meeting him.
Sidebar: As I was writing my blog post, my soror Tyler at sheistyler.blog.com was writing hers about Being Mary Jane as well. It’s two different perspectives, but it is great. We Sigmas do think alike.

Enjoy!

❤ Starkey

Through Starkey’s Eyes

Another Bonus Shot! I couldn't resist!

Greetings,

I knew I wanted to begin working on Being Starkey and Always PHREA as a brand. I have my list of everything that needs to happen per my list of goals for both of the sites which included new photos. Through Starkey’s eyes, I knew I wanted the photos to capture my passion for the outdoors and writing.

A few months ago, I saw Q, one of my old Winthrop University classmates, at Troy Spry’s Xkulsive Conversations in Charlotte taking photos. Q started his own photography and graphic design business called Prolifik Photography & Design. I saw his photos and knew I had to hire him to take my photos.

Last week for two hours in heat and near a serious down pour of thunder storms and rain, we had my photo shoot. I wanted primarily headshots and images of me as a writer. I love what came out of the photoshoot. Out of more than 30 shots, I have too many favorites. However, I was able to narrow down my choices to my fav five. And they are…..**drum rolls please**

Fav #1

Fav #1

Fav #2

Fav #2

Fav #3

Fav #3

Fav #4

Fav #4

Fav #5

Fav #5

Bonus

Bonus

I will share the others on my Facebook page at Crystal Starkes and Instagram at Being Starkey tonight (hopefully)! Stay tuned for the next phase of Being Starkey and Always PHREA’s branding adventure. Thanks Q for capturing my vision!

Give Moore Book & Toy Drive

I love learning about different organizations and businesses. I found about out this one business by chance. I’m sure you all have heard that things happen for a reason and people enter your life for different seasons. I met the Founder and Director of Loose L.E.A.F. Learning Center Whitney Woodberry while working at a local non-profit. I had no idea that we would form such a close bond. She truly became one of my new friends. Her learning center officially became another project of mine. I enjoy writing, painting, lending an ear or hand. I just wanted to take the time to share with you all about their recent book and toy drive.
This past week, the organization launched its Give Moore Book and Toy Drive in lieu of the tornadoes in Oklahoma. There were schools and homes destroyed after the tornadoes. Therefore, the learning center decided to sponsor the drive to put toys and books back into the hands of the Oklahoma children affected by the storm especially with summer approaching.
The book and toy drive will end on June 29. The organization is requesting gently used toys and books donations. Another option to give is to purchase a toy, book, and games via Whitney Woodberry’s Discovery Toys at the Loose L.E.A.F. Learning Center. Individuals will receive 10 percent off their purchase and the items will go towards the cause.
“Oklahoma was hit really hard,” Woodberry said. This is an opportunity to give back and reach out to those children in need.
The drop off locations for the Give Moore Book and Toy Drive are at the Loose L.E.A.F. Learning Center’s location which is 236 Northpark Drive Suite 102, Rock Hill, S.C. and Williams & Fudge in Rock Hill, S.C. The staff of the Loose L.E.A.F. Learning Center is also able to pick up items donated by different organizations and groups.
Loose L.EA.F. Learning Center is focused on helping students with special learning needs through personalized instructional services for grades K-8. The special learning needs include ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, dyslexia, and others. The center operates year round from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, please visit the Web site at http://www.looseleaftutors.com or e-mail Woodberry at loose.leaf11@yahoo.com.
If you are able to give, I believe this would be a great opportunity to do so for the children of Moore, Okla.

Tested Purpose

I’ve been writing for some type of publication since the fourth grade. I became deemed “the writer” by the teachers and my fellow classmates. It was actually pretty cool actually. I made that mark. However, I do not believe I truly understood my writing’s value until I became an adult and started back writing again. I wrote articles about events, disasters, but I was most interested in profile pieces.

I remember during my internship at a weekly newspaper, I was an anxious rising senior at Winthrop University with an interest in learning all of the ins and outs of the newspaper. I wanted to watch the layout process and deciphering what was newsworthy and timely news to feature stories. I wrote some interesting pieces including my first assignment which was a profile piece about a volunteer firefighter who grew up in Great Falls and helped during the former J.P. Stevens mill fire in 2006.The man explained that the majority of the people of Great Falls moved to work at the mills between the Great Depression and the New Deal. He was filled with so much wisdom. I was in total awe. I was excited to write my first profile piece for an actually newspaper. I remember submitting the article to the editor, and he pretty much gave my article a period from all the red markings.

I knew the information received was not meant to hurt my feelings, but to provide me with insight that I would be able to use in my future career. Due to the constructive criticism, I am able to write profile pieces that I hope to give the readers a glimpse in the person’s life. It’s why the PHREAdom Leaders installment exists. I definitely didn’t understand it at the time, but I appreciate the exposure, experience, and the red pen. It was definitely a test of my purpose and value of my work.

❤ Starkey