Hiatus is over in August!

As you may have noticed, things have been quiet for me over the past month. I have released a few “timely” episodes, but the truth is, I was starting to feel the burn. Talking about the underbelly of society has sometimes left me feeling “some type of way” and every now and then a sister needs a break. I haven’t been wasting this time away from the podcast. I have put a lot of effort into improving my content to reach a wider audience.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDkcs0l7_ZqWL7e43sY4KWw

I have done a few technical things, a few aesthetic changes, and a whole lot of listening to the best podcasts out there. I am preparing to release video versions of the show along with the audio only version. I’ve got a YouTube channel- Sinister Silhouettes. My plan is to make it impossible for my show to be ignored!

At this point in history, a lot is being made of being inclusive and allowing Black and POC voices to be amplified in all mediums, including podcasting. I want to be sure that Sinister Silhouettes is the best show I’m capable of producing so I’ll get some recognition. I want my unique way of storytelling to be noticed, not only because marketers need to fill some “quota”, but because I belong in the conversation.

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Being totally candid, I am not formally educated by any institution of higher learning. I write for fun, and to ensure that I am using everything I learned in K-12 to stay sharp. I listen to audiobooks, watch videos, and listen to podcasts for entertainment and to also learn things I wasn’t taught in school. I learn new words, new philosophies, new skills- all of this because I believe information is POWER. I don’t horde what I learn because everyone with a desire to improve should be able to.

I struggle with the topics I speak about at times- true crime isn’t for the feint of heart. The goal is to inform and leave my audience with something to think about. Some meaningful way they can apply what they learn from whatever sordid tale we may be discussing. Because I sometimes feel the mental load is heavy, I believe wholeheartedly that the struggle should be rewarded!

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I don’t think I’m going to quit my day job or ever be able to tour the country like other well known hosts. Those are things that may be out of my reach. I do believe that I should be invited to the conferences. Representation matters, in all things. I want the piece of the pie that I pay for in research, writing, editing, and producing a piece of free, but quality, entertainment.

All that being said, I really enjoy doing this. I LOVE when the audience reaches out to tell me how episodes make them feel. I light up when my work is shared and reviewed. I’m proud to feel like I am making a difference to people all over the world. So, be prepared for level 3 of Sinister Silhouettes next week- I’ve planned 12 weeks of shows (including Saturday LIVE streams).

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

I hope that you enjoy the Level Up and will share my content with friends, family, associates, and enemies. I want to be amplified over the next three months. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, and watch at least one video. I hope I can count on your help and continued support. Before I get out of here, let me remind you-

STAY OUT OF THE SHADOWS!

Peace.

Born For Greatness Mantra 8

I’m still sick.

Being in this predicament made me think of how poorly I treat myself. The few minutes I take to put my thoughts down have become exponentially important to me. In these moments, I force myself to think about ME. Well, not only to think about me, but to consider alternate ways of doing the things that matter. I get to imagine a life that has me earning money doing what I love, taking better care of my health, and maybe even falling in love (who knows?).

In years past, it was admirable to put any and every one first. Single mother, doing everything I could to raise my son. People actually congratulated me for that when I should have been taught to balance parenthood with placing some priority on myself. Now that my son is grown, I find that the only thing I know how to do is be “mama”. Of course, I am coming around to again finding out who “Tasha” is through creative outlets like blogging and podcasting. Oh- and being ill. I have had an abundance of time to figure out what I like, dislike, and everything in between.

So as my favorite First Lady put it: I’ll take control of my time. I’ll take control of my life. I will prioritize myself. I will put myself at the top of my list.

Born For Greatness Mantra 7

Today, I feel like crap. I spent the whole day dragging, my body very sore, and longing to crawl under my covers. Like many others, I have an immense amount of anxiety surrounding Covid-19. I believe that I have fixated on this disease so much that I have begun to manifest symptoms. Now, I have to stay off work (my symptoms aren’t severe enough to be tested), and assume that I have this thing that I fear.

I guess I shared that because this is going to be a lazy post. It also reminds me about the power of suggestion, the power I give a thing or thought. Covid-19 isn’t imaginary, it’s a real enemy. But, I can’t tell you how many times I handed fear my power. How many times I allowed myself to be paralyzed into inaction.

Even the movie “IT” ended with the Losers finding out that Pennywise the (horrific) Dancing Clown was only so terrifying because he fed off their fear! I read the book, watched the miniseries, and later saw the movies. I NEVER applied the “moral” to myself. I continued to power my personal demons with my fear. My demons are quite gluttonous as well- I fed them big Thanksgiving feasts, yet they were never full.

I realize that I can simply stop giving my monsters my energy. I need to face my fears and recognize them for what they are. Pennywise was just a clown. The things I fear hold no power. Tangible or intangible, I give everything permission to either help or hinder my growth. Fear is power- I will be afraid, but I must evaluate those fears and devise a way to overcome them. Lazy post over.

Born For Greatness- Mantra 6

“You become what you believe.”
My goal is to become a professional content creator by 2022.

How could I talk about success without mentioning Oprah Winfrey? I can’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, and won’t! I remember watching Oprah as a child on a show called A.M. Chicago. Even then, her personality was enormous. Her presence was magnanimous. A young black woman with ambition. I was inspired by her journey from morning anchor to mogul. I saw myself when I saw her.

Oprah Winfrey When She Was On A.M Chicago | Channel 7 News Chicago ...

Somehow, along the way, Oprah stopped being an extension of me. I stopped believing that I could follow in her footsteps. In fact, the responsibility of “expectations” began to weigh heavily upon me. I didn’t know its name, but anxiety was still my constant companion. I actually intentionally underachieved so I wouldn’t be expected to do more. I always thought I was lazy, but I now know that I was afraid.

Fast forward 30+ years- Oprah is a self made billionaire. She imagined herself as the queen of a media empire, believed it would happen, and executed accordingly. In the same span of time, I talked myself out of chasing dreams. I did raise a son, work in different fields, and learn a lot. As far as believing I had the tools necessary to do what I love full-time, I didn’t.

Suddenly, I realized that I have to take a leap of faith. I wanted to start a podcast and I actually followed through! In November of 2018, I launched “After the Snap”. There are about 70 episodes in the archives, but I discontinued after I started True Crime: By The Book. I also have “Gifts of My Ancestors” as a third show idea. I have been talking myself out of attempting to revive “After The Snap” or start “Gifts”. I realize now that my inner voice is telling me that I can produce three podcasts. Now, I have to convince the rest of me that I do have what it takes to generate $35000/yr through podcasting. I know it won’t happen tomorrow, but I need to start laying the groundwork today. My goal is to become a professional content creator by 2022.

“You become what you believe.”

When you believe something, you move like you have a purpose! I’ve shared my long term goal; it’s time to break down what smaller steps I need to make to get there. By 4/12 I will have outlines to determine what I have to do and when I have to do it. I have to begin to believe that I can podcast for a living. Everything else will come.

Born For Greatness Mantra 5

I am.

I am.

That’s what jumped out at me when I saw today’s mantra. That could honestly just be the post.

I am.

I am enough.

I am present.

I am smart.

I am beautiful.

I am funny.

I am loved.

I am LOVE.

I am safe.

I am a leader.

I am a nationally ranked podcaster.

I am a teacher.

I am a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend.

I am where I need to be.

I am the right person.

I am possessing the right gifts.

I am here at the right moment.

This is my time, simply because I AM. When I really meditate on being, everything looks different. I feel bad about not loving myself when I center on not just WHO I am, but THAT I AM. I am is a complete thought- a noun and a verb. I am a complete person. I have come to realize that all the things I conceive I can BE. I am here because this is where I am meant to be. I will achieve what I am meant to achieve. If it’s for me, it will be mine. Simple shit, right. I can unburden myself of worries and self doubt.

I am.

Born For Greatness- Day 4 Mantra

We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.
Maya Angelou

Today’s mantra is a continuation of yesterday’s. It piggybacks so nicely on the idea of allowing myself to have a choice. Many times in the past, I have stumbled into situations. All kinds of things would happen to me and I would chalk it up to having no choice. As I reexamine my thoughts and feelings, I believe that I felt defeated. Each set of circumstances led to another life TKO. Before I knew it, I’d be faced with a new fight that I was untrained for and lose again.

I think of how many times I saw Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis change their fight strategy in the ring. The moment I read the mantra, I immediately thought about boxing. I used to watch a lot of fights as a youngster and I admired the tenacity of the pugilists. I would yell at the TV “Get up!! GET UP!!”, and cheer them on as they came to a wobbly standing position. They lived to fight another round!

Now, I marvel at how little I learned from them. I gave up on a lot of things way too soon and plain old didn’t start others because I was conditioned to be defeated. Every chance I got to extend the (life) fight I offered my chin, threw the towel, or took a fall. Even with familiar foes, I didn’t lean on my fight plan.

This quote from Maya Angelou reminds me that all of my prior defeats were the early rounds of a prizefight. I am able to lose rounds but still win the fight. That requires a plan. I have to study my opponents “tells” from the early rounds- and armed with this new data- adjust. Every setback is a setup in this type of fight. I must study the opponent, develop a plan, execute, and adjust. Each new round is a chance to fight again. I have to protect my chin, bob, weave, roll with the punches, and counter.

Going forward, I will remind myself that it’s not over til the fat lady sings. I won’t just stumble into decisions or indecision. I want to get to know my opponent- whatever form it takes. I will very likely lose some rounds but I won’t allow myself to give up fighting.

If this sounds familiar let me know in the comments. If you have any encouraging words for an old lady searching for herself, I will appreciate them. Just yell, “Get up, get UP!” and watch me rise like a phoenix! Later, Bookworms!

Born For Greatness- Mantra #3

Feeling stuck in relationships, my hometown, jobs I hated- all that fell under the “I have no choice” umbrella.

Today’s mantra is a little something I heard in the season 1 finale of Star Trek: Picard. Just like every other iteration of Trek, there are some pearls of wisdom to be found in this series. I can’t count how many times I’ve gone about life letting things happen and copping out with “I have no choice”. The truth is, there’s always an alternate choice.

I may have been presented with two options in 1999 and my present lot in life is a result of the decision I made, but I had a choice. There is a proper way to look at the choices I made- I mean, I just took the scenic route to success. Had I not chosen the I did way back when, I may have forgone the lessons that I’ve learned. I chose an indirect route to TODAY. If I could recalibrate and start the journey over I’d definitely choose to do things differently, but I would also lose the knowledge that I have gleaned from making “mistakes”.

I have let the phrase “I have no choice” become an excuse for not daring to dream. It’s a lazy person’s wild card. Feeling stuck in relationships, my hometown, jobs I hated- all that fell under the “I have no choice” umbrella. I understand that there is a difference between making things happen and things happening to me. Now that I have learned the lesson, it’s time to put the knowledge into action.

How do I turn the lemons I’ve been handed into lemonade? With the right ingredients and a little imagination. Releasing my limiting belief that “I have no choice” transforms me from victim to hero. Today, I will dare to take the first step in improving my life by using my imagination. Even in this period of global uncertainty, I can choose to put pieces in place to assure success. I DO have a choice.

This particular mantra jumped off the screen and into my heart. It truly felt as if Jean Luc Picard was speaking DIRECTLY to me when he (oh, so elegantly) uttered these words. I wasn’t even sure why it meant so much to me in the moment, but I wrote the phrase down and pondered over why I connected with it. I’m sure I can come up with more interpretations as it pertains to my life, but knowing I have a choice makes me feel empowered.

Does the phrase “To say ‘I have no choice’ is a failure of imagination” inspire you as much as it did me? Do you at times recall limiting yourself with these words? I hope you’ll share. Catch you tomorrow for Day 4!

Later, Bookworms!

Born For Greatness- Mantra 2

I don’t have to go FAST,
I just need to GO!

Mantra for Day 2- Born For Greatness!

Every time I think of the phrase “Push yourself”, sports or physical exercise always comes to mind. The truth is, this applies to many areas of my life. Sometimes I need a little nudge to quit playing out scenarios in my mind and jump into action. What I have done in the past is set up all the hurdles but never run the race! I’m still exhausted, yet have gained absolutely NOTHING.

When I think of the mantra I chose for today, I’m reminding myself that this is not a sprint. I am in a race of one. And just like any other race, I won’t win if I don’t GO. That means getting out of my own way, stop thinking of everything I assume will go wrong and believing that any obstacle I come across can be overcome. I recognize that these limitations are self-imposed. I set the hurdles up, so I can also take them down. I don’t have to build Rome in a day but I do need to lay the first brick.

This week I plan to get at least 1 bonus episode of True Crime: By the Book uploaded to Patreon. Not 17, just one. It may sound simple, but I’ve been obsessing over how many patrons I DON’T have instead of creating content to attract them. I don’t need to go fast, I just need to go.

If you’re following along, how do you overcome paralyzing anxiety? Do you think today’s mantra (and applying it) will be the kick in the pants you need? I’ll share my progress with my first challenge by 4/6/20. If you set a goal, I would love to hear when you achieve it! Catch me tomorrow for day 3 of Born For Greatness.

Later, Bookworms!

Born For Greatness- Mantra 1

I’m almost afraid of success, yet I chase it. I want to elevate my thoughts. I don’t have to chase success if I BELIEVE it’s mine for the taking!

Today’s Mantra in “Born For Greatness” journey.

I’m challenging myself to rise to my potential. This is (and isn’t) a personal journey. Allow me to explain: this is a path I feel is necessary for me to build self-confidence and recognize my strengths. A lot of times, I’m my own worst critic and the effects are crippling. So, I’m embarking on a journey to change the conversations that I have with myself. I want to shed some of the beliefs I have that are limiting my growth. Yes- I have flaws and weaknesses but those aren’t the totality of who I am. I know this, but do I BELIEVE it? The answer, if I’m being honest, is no.

Even as I pursue interests (such as my podcast) that I’m passionate about, I second guess the impact I’m having or that I am likely to have. I’m almost afraid of success, yet I chase it. I want to elevate my thoughts. I don’t have to chase success if I BELIEVE it’s mine for the taking! No one said that I wouldn’t be afraid- I just can’t be STILL.

As I said earlier in this piece, the journey is personal, but it doesn’t have to be lonely. If you find yourself in a rut, lack self-confidence, or are overly critical of yourself I invite you to join me. If you have felt this way in the past and are willing to share experiences or wisdom, I encourage you to reach out to me or others (God knows I need a cheerleader!). Today is day one of “Born For Greatness” and the mantra I’ve chosen reminds me that I have a ton of qualities to offer the world that are unique to ME. Hiding my voice and procrastinating on my dreams is depriving the world of MY impact. I know it sounds narcissistic, but this whole thing is about empowering myself to be the person that I was BORN to be.

I’ll share mantra 2 tomorrow. I’m a mantra ahead on Twitter, if you want to know what tomorrow’s piece will be about. If you want to join me, tell me what today’s mantra means to YOU. What steps will you take within the next week to “Advance the World”. You have so much to offer- I hope you take me up on the challenge of being kind to yourselves. Meet you back here tomorrow!

Later, Bookworms!