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Riff Raff, StreetRat

I had a realization the other day. Not a stunning one, but a realization nonetheless.

One that occurred as I was viewing photos on Facebook,especially when I look ed at the people that live in the city, the friends and colleagues I will be associating myself with;

The life I am going to be leaving  and the madness I am going to be stepping into:

I am not rich.

I was not born rich.

I do not have well off parents that can provide rent, “extra money” just in case, credit cards, and shiny things.

If anything, all the hard work put into getting me through school has been in the aspiration that one day I will be able to help the family with so many other expenses, and give my parents a well-deserved  break just in time for retirement.

With unemployment, being laid off, and other things- this is a dream of mine that has been within my grasp and  lost, and I believe I am well within it once again with the new opportunities that have been bestowed upon me.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a hardworking mother, stepfather, and when he was alive- father, that have shed blood, sweat and tears to put me through my college education.

If I was a rich girl, la la la la la la la

Of course, having rich parents or not is not a necessary attribute for success.  As I was reading on WSJ –http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/rich-parents-dont-matter/ – there’s so much more to life that being raised among the wealthy, country club hopping, never knowing what it is to not have whatever you want or choose between a pedicure or lunch for the week, people of the world.

But it sure does help.

I find myself worrying about :

not having enough clothes

shoes

accessories

outfits

to thwart off the very much true fact that I will be on my own, fending for myself, in a world of fast paced intellectuality, that, more often than not, is also influenced by  one’s aesthetic.

Expenses in New York City are no joke.  The lease on an apartment alone will be a major financial issue. Not to mention the investment of  winter clothes- something I have never had to worry about  after  living in Miami for 16 years. It adds up, these little things.  And yes, it may sound crass, to be worried about my wardrobe-but as professional woman approaching her 30’s in the next couple of years, there’s a certain place I think I should be, and a certain representation of myself I should have in the workplace or when meeting clients.

So, what can I do?

Options considered are :

winning the lottery

learning how to sew and making my own clothes

Writing to Oprah

Having one of  you submit me as a candidate on “What Not To Wear”.

Bring Potato Sack Fashion Back.

Oh, the things they would do to my clothes.

I  was never savvy ( or coordinated) enough to learn to do my own mani/pedi without looking like I just dunked my hands and feet in fingerpaint. Straightening my own hair? I look like I am having a seizure trying to hold the brush with my left hand while blowdrying with my right.

Tally up the costs of these normal luxuries we, as women, give ourselves to keep ourselves prim,trimmed, and sparkly.

Now- subtract that from …0.

or from deciding whether to pay your student loans, rent, groceries,gas,cell phone, internet- with whatever income you’re getting.

So, this is my fear.

With work getting into full swing- I am searching for the places that won’t make me feel like I could’ve spent the money better elsewhere, than on myself getting my nails done,hair done, everything did. Or solutions. ( “do your own nails” bootcamp, anyone?)

“Be a Woman. Powerful business when done correctly” – Mad Men

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I have always prided myself on being a little self-less. My last job was  not a
“dream job”-if anything it had absolutely nothing with what I went to school for, and left  me feeling as if I am contributing nothing towards society. Unfortunately for me, I am one of those people that are bred to work towards the greater good.

In the process of rebuilding, I discovered something quite wonderful.

Team in Training is a non-profit organization where groups of people from around the country get together to train for a marathon,half-marathon, or even triathlon. Pick your event, they got it for you. As you train, you are fundraising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

 

They're either still fighting or have lost the fight.Their struggle pushes me forward when I think I no longer can.

 

I jumped into this not quite knowing what I was getting myself into. And I don’t just mean giving up Friday nights so I can wake up at the crack of dawn Saturday morning to train. The goal for my particular marathon is $2,600.00. 75% of that goes towards research, the doctors we sponsor here in South Florida, and towards our honored teammate, a sweet little five year old named Dominic with whom I had the opportunity  to run for during my first season of TNT last summer. His father is also a member of one of the South Florida teams, and the word he used to describe us, me, strangers to him-was self-less. And suddenly what became something I was doing to give back to society, to better myself, to lose weight-it became so much more than what I wanted it to be for me.

 

the best way to run

 

And I mean that in the best way possible.

With the help of my amazing friends and family, in my first two seasons of  TNT I raised over $6,000 in donations. That is alot of begging, lots of repeat donations from friends who gave and gave with every ounce of good will in their body.
The struggle to get donations is probably the hardest obstacle ( other than the hike up on the causeway that is waiting for us).

For every friend who gave and gave- are 5 friends who never gave  donating a second thought.
Of course, who I am to get upset?Or tell people what to do with their money?

It makes me fight even more, for I figure-if Dominic can endure at such a young age grueling medical treatments, I can bite my prideful tongue, and continue to ask for help from those around me.

This summer, I am seeking help from local businesses and group events, as to continue the fight,without having my friends and family open their wallets, as they have done so many times before.

 

Erica,(left) a great friend, former Teammate and 2 TIME cancer survivor. Badass

 

I will never forget one time, last year,I heard the DJ on y100 exclaim how Oprah had been sending President Obama’s dog,Bo-cashmere sweaters and blankets. And although I love Oprah ( have her magazine subscription to prove it) I couldn’t help but once again get lit up over such an silly expense for an animal who probably has  ridiculous luxuries already. And here I was, joe schmoe,(Jane Schmoe?) hassling corporations and my own friends for 10.00 to save a child’s life-yet furry little Bo gets cashmere from Oprah.

With that being said, Oprah is an amazing philanthropist, and a woman I greatly admire. After my inital complaint I remembered how much of herself she does give, and the want/need to write her a letter explaining my plight diminished with the thought that it would just get lost amongst the thousands of other letters of charitable donation requests she receives. Perhaps it is still worth a shot? $2,600 is chump change to her-but it’s kinda like being shy to ask your rich aunt for money just cause she has it. Just cause she has the money, doesn’t mean she is obligated to spend it on me.

So where do I go from here? Fundraising during these  pressing economic times is proving to be the real endurance training. I am hopeful that the closer it gets to my event ( October 17,2010) that more those around will support the cause. I’ve got  until August 1st to make my goal.

Until then, less writing,more running ( and begging).

If you would like to donate,and for more  info:

http://pages.teamintraining.org/sfl/nikesf10/meesh


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