thought of the week: love what you do

last night, i had a meeting with my seamstress who is creating this gorgeous gown for me for my godsister’s wedding where i am maid of honor.  before we got down to business, we talked at length about our journeys in life (in terms of work) that have led us to where we currently are.  when i tell you this woman is resilient and awe-inspiring, i mean it to my core.  it then made me think more about my own work and how it is more than just a job, it is a career that fulfills me.


there are some jobs that i absolutely loved that just weren’t meant to be a career for me – everything from teaching swim lessons and senior citizen water aerobics classes to being the customer relations manager at a car dealership.  i loved that i was doing and the people i was working with but for me, there was something that was missing.  because i knew these jobs were not going to be my longterm career, i did not mind.


what i did know is that long term, i needed a job where i felt fulfilled every single day.  i needed a job where i was truly making a difference.  then, i needed to make that job into a career.


growing up with two parents in law enforcement, law always intrigued me.  from the time i was five until my junior year of high school, i was determined to be a lawyer.  my dad has his jd and i knew it was a profession i could enjoy while also helping people.  as i got older, i realized that there were aspects of that career path that did not particularly appeal to me and wondered if it would still be doable.  i was still planning on majoring in law in college until i took a psychology class as an elective.  i had the most amazing teacher (who i now get to work with every single day since i work at my old high school as a counselor) and realized psychology was a field that totally captivated me and would allow me to help people.


listening is something that has always come naturally to me.  it is also something i have always enjoyed doing.  even as a child, i really took pride in listening to my friends when they had an issue because oftentimes, i knew that i might be the only person they could share with openly without any judgment.  when i realized this was something i could do as an actual career and that it would improve the recipient’s mental and emotional health, i knew i had to become a therapist.


fast forward through undergrad, grad school, countless part time jobs and research projects, and here i am – able to give back to an amazing community of young women (mostly of color) and let them know that their feelings matter.   knowing that they feel both heard and understood makes me feel like my presence in their lives matters.  it makes me realize that i have more than just a job.


that brings me to my thought of the week:




“to love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun?” -katharine graham


i could not think of a better quote to describe how i feel about my career choice daily – even on the days that are absolutely gut wrenching.


do you love what you do?  do you feel that it matters?  i would love to hear about it below.



k. tap

international women’s month

in trying to decide what to post about in honor of international women’s month, i went back and forth between a few options.  one idea was to feature 31 phenomenal women (who i know personally) and what their presence meant to me; that would be far too lengthy.  one was to pick a famous woman like maya angelou and cover her greatness while highlighting my favorite quotes from her; while maya is my girl, that seemed a bit too predictable.  the last idea was to find a quote that encompassed my experiences as a woman; it is like my classmate from scu, chinae, heard this even with us being close to 400 miles away from one another.




“one time someone told me i was intimidating and rebecca looked at them and said, ‘is she intimidating or are you intimidated?’ and from that moment on, i refuse to take responsibility for how others react to my presence.”


first of all, i am so grateful chinae posted this.  secondly, i tried to find ayanna on twitter but think she has either removed her profile or changed her handle.  third, shout out to whoever this rebecca woman is.  she somehow was able to capture how i feel pretty much daily in a concise enough way to fit into one tweet.


okay.  let’s unpack this shit because from where i am standing, there are layers on layers on layers.


intimidating is defined by merriam webster as causing a loss of courage or self-confidence: producing feelings of fear or timidity.


i felt it necessary to post this definition because in rereading it myself, i realized how it is misused even more frequently than i originally thought.


when i think about the number of times i have been called intimidating, it must be over one thousand times.  you might read this and think it is an exaggeration but that is a word i am all too familiar with.


over the years, i have tried to figure out all of the reasons i have been called intimidating.  as a child, i was frequently one of the tallest and heaviest kids in my class.  once i switched schools in third grade, i was also one of the only black kids present.  if the interactions between black youth and law enforcement (and the media) has shown us anything, it is that black kids are seen as older and more threatening at a much earlier age than children of other races.  the current president of the united states has multiple children who are adults in their 30s yet in the media, they are still referred to as “just being kids.”  so the first thing about me that is intimidating is something i have absolutely no control over – the color of my skin.  the second thing is my height.  the third thing is my weight.


as i got older, i was told that my voice was intimidating.  now if you know me, you know it is rare for me to yell or scream – that just isn’t in my disposition.  my voice has been described as intimidating because of how deep it is.  there is definitely some bass to it.  i have no problem singing along to barry white.  even still, the word intimidating has always felt like a bit of a stretch to me.  but by this point, i had heard it so often that i just rolled with it.


once i reached adulthood, there were a whole other host of qualities about me that were referred to as intimidating but the one that i was reminded of the most was (and is) my education.  i have two degrees – a bachelor of science in psychology (with a philosophy minor) and a master of arts in counseling psychology (with a marriage and family therapy emphasis); both are from santa clara university.  whether it was from family friends who would mock me or people in the workplace who would tell me how taken aback people could be by my degrees, after awhile, i realized i was carrying around this small sense of shame.


why the actual fuck was i carrying around a small sense of shame for being a bright and beautiful badass plus-sized black woman with a deep voice and two degrees from a prestigious university?


while i decided some time ago that this was not my baggage to carry, i never knew exactly how to word why or how that shift occurred.


after stumbling upon this quote posted by chinae from this mystery woman, rebecca, i had this aha moment.  i am not intimidating just because someone is intimidated.  me being comfortable in my skin and being unapologetic about said comfort does not stop anyone else from being able to do the exact same thing.


so the next time someone calls you intimidating, before you start to retreat, apologize or shift the way you are operating, ask yourself are you the actual cause of someone losing courage or self-confidence or were those issues they were battling long before you stepped on the scene?


have you been called intimidating?  if so, why?  i would love to hear more on this topic.


while we might be wrapping up international women’s month, on this blog, we will celebrate women today and every other day of the year.



k. tap


17 years and counting

words cannot express how relieved i am that it is finally friday.  typically, i am happy on thursday nights simply because i know the next day is a short work day that trails into the weekend.  last night, i was a little uneasy about how i might be feeling today.


today marks 17 years since my uncle squeaky’s death.




my mom and my uncle pretty much grew up like twins since he was less than a year younger than her.  i was closer to him than any other man in our family, my father included.  you know how you can communicate without words with your best friend, laugh for hours on end and simply feel understood at every turn?  that was my uncle for me.  i often wonder what he would have to say about what i am doing now in life and just about how i turned out as a whole.  i would give anything to have had the opportunity to be friends with him as an adult, especially since he passed just a month after my 12th birthday.


every single year, this day feels a bit different and as someone who loves consistency and predictability, not knowing how the day might go is a bit anxiety inducing.


i knew the relief was coming both from knowing that i would be spending this afternoon road tripping to vegas with my mom and reuniting with some of my best friends – my work wife, reens and her amazing boyfriend (who is now part of my family), sam.  *random side note: his photography skills are incredible so go give him a follow on the gram.


even with me knowing that i would get some quality time with people who truly understand me, love me and have seen me through some of my darkest times, i still dread this day because it is a day where i know i may not have any real control over my emotions.  but guess what?


that is more than okay.


i have talked before about my bravo reality tv show obsession and one of the shows i watch religiously is real housewives of beverly hills.  about a month ago, lisa rinna said something so profound about grief:


“grief is a process that no one teaches you how to go through.”


when we are in preschool and kindergarten learning the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors and about all of the animals, we are soaking up all of that information.  and not to say that information is not important, but rarely is death something that is discussed with children.  i have found in working as a therapist that death is even rarely discussed amongst adults – that is, until someone loses someone close to them.  but here’s my issue with that: it is a little late to start having the discussions about death and grief once a person is already going through it.  i think that is why lisa rinna’s quote really struck a chord with me.


as someone who has multiple degrees in psychology, i have not only taken classes on grief, loss and trauma, but i have led grief, loss and trauma therapy groups.  i have seen someone go through every stage of grief and not just the standard five that you often hear about (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance).  not only are there more stages than this but people (myself included) often circle back to  a stage that perhaps they initially thought had been conquered successfully.


today, i reread my uncle’s obituary.  i carry multiple obituaries of loved ones i have lost in my MacBook case in the event that i ever just want to look at photos or read memories about them.  i realized i had not read his since before the holiday season.  i teared up a bit just looking at his smile and thinking about his laugh.  we still have half the day ahead of us so there might be more tears.  i am allowing myself that space.


while no one taught me about grief before college, what i have learned is that time does not necessarily heal.  you can have a day that is just as tear filled in year 20 after loss as you had on day one.  i do think that time has allowed me to reflect and deeply appreciate the connection i shared with my uncle.  i have chosen to try and channel his energy as often as i can as he was one of the best and most authentic people i have ever known.  i have learned that no two people experience grief in the same way, even if they have lost the same person.  i would even go as far to say that each person i have personally lost, i have grieved differently.  with grief, i have learned to expect the unexpected.


a piece of my heart will always belong to my uncle.


what is something you wish someone had told you about grief?  i would love to hear about it.






witches of weho potion no. 1

if you have been reading along, you know about my struggles to get my hands on the witches of weho potion no. 1 (basic witch pinot grigio) from nocking point.  because of how insane the snowstorms were in washington state, there was a huge delay.


well, let me tell you – it was well worth the wait.




it is ridiculously smooth.  so smooth that i drank the first bottle in place of dinner (unintentionally) the week it arrived.  it has an alcohol percentage of 13.5% which is higher than most of the whites i typically drink and there was absolutely no hangover whatsoever.


i would describe the taste as incredibly fresh and subtly sweet.


i am a sucker for an aesthetically pleasing bottle, especially if it has something catchy written on it.






now, if you are an avid bravo reality tv junkie like myself, then you know that this wine is produced by three wild women from vanderpump rules – stassi schroeder, kristen doute and katie maloney schwartz.  stassi is one of the most sarcastic people i have ever seen on television and i thoroughly enjoy her humor.  the line, “i’m not really sure what i’ve done to you, but i’ll take a pinot grigio.” is a line she said to a waitress and frenemy she used to work with at the vanderpump restaurants, scheana.  the part of the bottle i enjoy most is the line dedicated to ingredients – their pinot grigio is made from “the tears of your exes” – if that isn’t clever, i don’t know what is.


they, like myself, enjoy a wine that is easy to drink.  part of why they chose a bottle with a twist top is to make it that much more easy to enjoy.


tonight, i split the bottle with my friend rebecca over dinner.  we paired it with my savory southwest salmon salad and of course, we watched bravo while enjoying our second glasses.  it would be sinful not to.


if you are looking for a pinot grigio that is absolutely delightful to enjoy or looking for a gift for your friend who loved bravo, especially vanderpump rules, as much as i do, this would make the perfect gift.  the witches of weho potion no. 1 can be bought here.  i am hoping to see them produce more potions, especially a rosé.  fingers crossed!


what is your favorite white wine at the moment?  let me know in the comments below.



k. tap


p.s. for those of you who either don’t watch the show or are not from la, weho is an abbreviation for west hollywood, which is where the bulk of the restaurants owned and operated by lisa vanderpump are.




thought of the week: continuously working on strengthening my spiritual muscles

earlier this month, i was out celebrating my dear friend gracelyn’s birthday and we were talking about both religion and spirituality.  she asked me do i consider myself to be either of these things.  now, while i was raised in the baptist church, have only ever attended religiously affiliated institutions and have worked at both a jesuit university and a catholic high school, i would not consider myself to be religious.  i find religion to be a bit too binding for my liking yet respect my friends from various religions.  if i absolutely had to label myself, i would classify myself as agnostic.  there are definitely things about this world that i do not feel can be explained just by science.  now, in terms of being spiritual, that is something i closely identify with.  i am more concerned with the goodness of a person’s soul than whether or not they follow the rules of a book or leader from a particular faith.


with me being concerned most with the goodness of a person’s soul, i try to channel that energy inward and look at my own soul.  how am i treating myself?  how am i allowing other people to treat me?  am i truly in touch with my spiritual self?  how have i been strengthening my own spiritual muscles?


while the start of the year might have been a bit tumultuous for me, march has been substantially smoother.  i have been told at least a dozen times that i have this glow.  now, while i have to give credit to months of intermittent fasting per my godbrother’s suggestion, the rose water my friend carolynn recommended to me when i am rocking a bare face or to lilly galichi’s lashes (courtesy of my twin, anj) when rocking a made up face, i truly need to give credit to myself.  i have made a major shift in my life this year and while some might consider in controversial, i consider it to be absolutely necessary.


i cut out all contact with a member of my family.


i went back and forth about whether or not i had made the right decision.  i think that is common to do when making a decision that is truly life altering.  and then, i came across this quote while scrolling through the gram…




“no longer responding or reacting to people who trigger you is one of the ways you strengthen your spiritual muscles.”


when i asked myself how i was treating myself, i thought the answer was good.  i currently have a job that is actually a career, i have been more active, i have been tracking my eating, i have been making time to spend with people who mean a great deal to me (whether that be in person or over the phone or FaceTime) and i have an apartment that feels like a home – one i have worked hard to create.  i realized that all of these things are in fact good but that is not the only thing that matters.  when i asked myself how i was allowing other people to treat me, the answer was not as confident.


i have allowed a member of my family to get away with treating me like shit and i gave them a pass because they were family.  while i love my family because they are family, that does not mean that i have to like them.  it also does not mean i am simply supposed to tolerate bullshit or disrespect.  if being in contact with someone is triggering me, why was i still in contact?  here is the controversial statement i am not supposed to say but am going to say anyway:


i am not going to allow someone the blessing of being in my orbit simply because we share a bloodline.  i did not get to choose the family i was born into, but i do get to choose who i invest my time, energy and love into.  time, energy and love are things that should be reciprocal.  i deserve nothing less.


that is me truly tapping into my most spiritual self.


it has been just over a month of absolutely zero contact and the best sleep i have gotten all year has been since cutting off contact.  and the glow people are talking about?  that is radiating from the inside out.  my spiritual muscles are strengthening by the day.


how do you work on strengthening your spiritual muscles?  i would love to hear about it below.



k. tap