Passion Meets Purpose: Jimmeka Anderson


I’m a very lucky girl. I don’t know how it happened, but over the years I’ve met some pretty remarkable people who are very passionate and goal oriented. They had desires and dreams then found the means to make them come true. I will profile them in a new feature called Passion Meets Purpose. It is my hope that their stories encourage and empower the rest of us to do the same.

This week we speak with Jimmeka Anderson of I AM not the Media. I was introduced to Jimmeka in 2005 when she became a member of The Nu Rho Chapter of Alpha Kappa AlphaSorority Incorporated (Skee Wee!)


I was instantly impressed with her generous spirit and dedication to service. It came as no surprise that she has dedicated her life to serving her community and empowering youth. I hope you enjoy our first Passion Meets Purpose profile of Jimmeka Anderson.

Name: Jimmeka Anderson

Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Current town: Charlotte, NC

What’s your passion?

Writing, Poetry, Empowering Youth, Motivational Speaking

How long have you been at it?

I have been writing since I was about eight years old and I have been working with youth for the past 10 years. I launched my non-profit organization, I AM not the MEdia, Inc. in January 2012 and in our first year we served over 700 teens through free programming that empowers youth through media literacy.


When did you decide to pursue your passion?
When I realized it was what made me smile in the morning; When it did not feel like work; When I was at peace and proud of myself.



How did life prepare you to follow your dreams?

I thank God for bringing phenomenal and inspiring men and women in my life that served as mentors to me and sparked the fire for me to achieve my dreams, made me believe that I could do it. These people made me realize I am more than just a woman, more than just black, I am an instrument crafted by God to fulfill a purpose here on this earth beyond what the world sees or expects, I am greater.


Was fear a factor? If so how did you overcome it?

Fear of people use to be a factor for me. I cared too much what people thought of me, how I talked, my ideas and who I was a person. When I started believing more in myself, my talents and gifts that God gave me, I started to care less what people thought because I began to realize they were no better nor different from myself. Now, I am not afraid to share myself to the world and speak out loud confidently. I love who I am.

If you could look back and give yourself any piece of advice what would it be?

"Fear is a choice" or "Quit trying to please everyone Jimmeka!"



What’s a typical day like for you?

I wake up, play music while I get my daughter and myself ready for school and work...sing in the shower...hum out the door...Go to work at ImaginOn in downtown Charlotte and plan events in the city for teens...Get off work...sing in the car...pick up my daughter...head to my non profit's office...WORK!...Sing In the car...Come home and cook...Eat and Write...Pray and Go To Sleep

Who or what inspires you? Ambitious Youth, Wise Elderly People, and those that serve mankind

What’s next? I am in the process of publishing my second book of poetry and currently writing a novel. My non-profit I AM not the MEdia, Inc. is expanding and opening a chapter in Atlanta, GA which is very exciting!


Where can we find you? Facebook, In the community at Youth Events!
Website www.iamnotthemedia.org | www.chaospoetry.com
Facebook www.facebook.com/jimmekaanderson
Email jimmeka@iamnotthemedia.org

No Fear: My Oprahversary



Today’s my Oprah-versary! If you don’t get down with Lady O you might want to tap out right now because this post is all about my experience on Lifeclass one year ago.



Remember how I wrote an entry about going to see Oprah’sLifeclass then I fell off the blogosphere? It is because I couldn’t find the words to express what the experience was like.


Since I was a little girl Oprah was my person. Not an idol or role model, she was my person. That person who I thought truly got me and embodied the values, dreams and passions that fed my soul. Yes I had passion and an interest in my soul at an early age. Don’t believe me? Ask my momma.

I never had the guts to even attempt to be on her show. I would sit back and watch all the Favorite Things episodes and the Live Your Best Life shows from my couch wishing I was there to witness and participate in the work that was being done there. 

I call it work because lives were changed on that show. People worked through their issues in front of millions in hope of moving forward and getting through the emotional mental and sometimes physical gunk of life. I’ve been working on me so hard and for so long I think I deserve a W-2! 

I didn’t think I was worthy. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that I thought I wasn’t worthy to be in her presence, it was more like, “Why me? I’m not that special. My story isn’t that interesting.” So I sat back for 25 seasons and never sent one letter or email to get on the show (until the final season when all I wanted was a ticket to the grand finale.)

Over the last 15 years, life has been indescribable. Not all bad, but the struggle was REAL. Failed relationships (romantic, platonic, professional and family,) financial issues, health issues and insecurities played a major role in my inability to live my best life. 

On the flip side, my career was taking off, I bought a home, I had a wonderful circle of friends and the most important person in my life, my mother was always a phone call away. Things were back and forth, up and down all over the place and bittersweet.

 It took a while but I finally got on the path to feeling “worthy.” I began to travel, I went on trips and vacations with loved ones. I cultivated meaningful and healthy relationships. But while everything seemed to be all good on the outside, I was hiding a HUGE secret. I was miserable. I was depressed. I was pissed off because I finally knew my worth yet I wasn’t living a life that was worthy of me! I know it sounds confusing, but it’s my truth.

I was so afraid of confessing my feelings because I didn’t think anyone would get it. My job is to be funny and upbeat 5 hours a day 5 days a week. Being a Debbie Downer was not an option so I put on my happy mask and cracked jokes. I ignored the aches of my heart and soldiered on with my day to day.

Dewaynia getting the coveted tickets!
Fast forward to March 2012. Oprah’s Lifeclass went on tour and I scored tickets with my sister-friend Dewaynia. You can read all about that here. When I learned about the topic “Living your life on purpose,” I was beyond excited. I knew something was off and I knew something was missing but I didn’t know how to express it or pursue it.

I want to go through and give you all a play by play of the trip, the outfit and the entire show but I know y’all have stuff to do so I’m going to get to the good.

Like my outfit?


The show was 2 hours long and for 90 minutes various people stood up and spoke on how they found the courage to let go of their pasts to pursue their dreams. I started to feel a certain kind of way. 

Why was it so easy for everyone else to pop up and tell Oprah about how they quit their jobs, let go of fear to find their purpose. Sorry I got bills, I don’t have a financial back up plan. I wanted to know how to get my happy!

So during a commercial break I looked at my friend Dewaynia and I said, “I’m not feeling this. I am not getting the answers I need.” It wasn’t that TD Jakes and the other guests weren’t effective, it was just that I needed some specifics. So while Oprah sat on stage getting her hair and makeup retouched, I stood up and said “I have a question!”

 

What the what? Why did I do that? What if I ticked off Oprah by yelling at her? I was frozen with fear and hope and the same time. As soon as the words escaped my lips, Oprah replied “You in the pretty yellow dress, we will come to you after commercial.”

Huh? That’s all it took? I’ve been waiting 25 years to talk to you and now I’m about to be on TV after standing up during commercial break? Me? One in a thousand?  Lifeclass got real. A guy with a microphone came my way, a stage hand made me step up on a wooden box (I’m kinda short) and I stood there waiting for my moment. Then this happened:


Audience Q&A: How Do You Find the Courage to Follow Your Purpose?
During a live taping in St. Louis, an audience member asks how to push past fear to find your purpose. Find out why Bishop T.D. Jakes says baby steps and resisting your fear will help you live the life you've dreamed about.

 

 Did y’all just see that? Me talking to Oprah and TD Jakes? Crying on national television and telling the world that I needed more and that I was afraid? I’ve had people ask me why I was crying and if it was because I was talking to Oprah. No, that wasn’t it. I cried when I met her at Sweetie Pie’s the day before.


These were tears of relief and hope. I wanted to share my secret and I wanted help! Just like Ricky Bobby said. “Help me Oprah Wini-frey!” Side note, if you haven't seen this video PLEASE watch Dewaynia's retelling of "The Day We Met Oprah"


 

I asked that question and I zoned out. I heard their replies but I wasn’t really capable of processing the words. I had just confessed on national television that I was afraid to pursue my dreams and my heart’s desire. Deidre “I got this” James unedited and on Front Street.

I haven’t watched this clip in its entirety until today. The truth hurts! What is wrong with me and why can’t I ask for what I want?  The one thing I took from that moment was Rev. T.D. Jakes saying “Resist your fear and your faith will get bigger. You either resist your fear or give up your destiny.”

So here we are, one year later. Did I do it? Did I resist my fears? YES I DID!

See, I learned your purpose isn’t always your paycheck. I was conflicted because I loved my job but something was missing. Who am I kidding, it wasn’t something, I knew exactly what it was!  So I applied for a volunteer position with an organization that made my heart sing. I was accepted into their program and for the next 6 months I lived a life that brought me so much joy and purpose that if I never do anything else, I would be ok because I made so many connections and I made a difference in my community. 

Yes I’m funny, but honey, don’t think I can’t run the world. I put it down and I was successful. I didn’t do it alone, my friends and family helped tremendously and I would not have made it through that time without them.

It was scary and I took many risks and I loved every second of it. It was something I did for me. It had nothing to do with my career, my friends or anything else. I took a chance and it paid off big time.  Those super close to me know the details of my journey and that’s how it should be. I resisted my fear and my faith carried me through one of the most trying and rewarding times of my life.

Now don’t think that I’m done. Nope, I’m not even close. I’m not done fighting those fears. When something or someone is important to you, you have to face your fears and deal with it. Maybe you’re afraid to pursue a hobby like dancing, or maybe you’re afraid to tell someone you love them. Whatever it is, resist that fear! It is a prison and I refuse to live that Shawshank life.

So thank you Oprah, TD Jakes and especially Dewaynia. I’m done with fear and I will live in my truth as often as I can for as long as I can. I’m fearless. I’m a fighter and I have faith and that makes me unstoppable.  When I forget it that I am all those things, I have an awesome circle of loved ones who remind me that I got this! We all have it in us, and we are WORTHY. Don’t waste any time thinking you’re not.
Until next time!



Beast Mode Part 1


Hello Dee-talers! Heads up, I'm writing this on the fly from my phone so we might have a gang of typos and I'm gonna need for you to get past that and focus on the bigger picture here ok?



You ever been sick and tired of being sick and tired? I realized I have been in a physical funk and after losing a good amount of weight and living a healthy lifestyle, I was back on Team Fluffikins.

Sipping wine, eating cookie butter, watching Series 3 of Downton Abbey like it was my job. Man I was up to no good! But who wants to work out??? Why do I have to sweat!? Pass the cookie butter and leave me be!




Then this happened...





Dang Superbowl Halftime Show. Dang Destiny's Child Reunion. Dang Beyonce's  gyrating. And Dang Kelly Rowland's ridiculously cut arms!!





Wake up call!!  I called myself learning the break it down part to End of Time and almost collapsed a lung. Not cool!

 
So fine. I will never be a member of Destiny's Child. I will never wear a python onesie in front of 100 million people, but can I get my lungs to hold enough air to get me through a song please God? Can I live!!??

Ok I'm being dramatic (again) point is its time to get off Team Fluffikins and work my way up to being a starter on Team Fly As A Mugg. I've been easing into things. A class here and there, waling and eating better but it's time to get turnt up!

So today I am attempting to kick start my efforts by doing 4 yes 4 workouts in one day.

Now listen I ain't stupid. This won't be an everyday thing, but I'm looking at it as my Get it Right Inauguration. I Deidre James hereby do solemnly swear to dedicate my time and efforts into being well, fly as a mugg!

So I'm going to keep track of every activity and hopefully I can complete all 4. No skipping ahead alright? Ok let's go!





photo by Level 5 Studio


Workout #1: All Them Mocha Lattes You Gotta Do Pilates

12:15 PM
I went to Level 5 Studios for my very 1st Pilates class.
I met my instructor who was tall blonde  beautiful and very kind. The class had 4 other Pilates Pros and I was the thickest most out of shape newbie in the bunch.

The class was challenging but I felt comfortable in the company of the other class mates. The instructor modified the moves for me, took time to correct my poses and even challenged me to do some advanced moves.
I will say at one point when we were in children's pose. I thought I was going suffocate myself with my breasteses!
At the end of the class, everyone congratulated me on not giving up and I took a bow. I have a loooong way to go before I'm anywhere close to being as good as my classmates, but I still give the experience an A!



Tips: wear light weight breathable clothing, if you're busty, lock those chesticles down and wear a crew neck shirt. No v-necks! Also make sure your feet don't look like a smashed up bag of Fritos. No shoes, no socks, so grease up those ankles!
Invest in a comfy mat. You will spend a lot of time on it and you will sweat!

Work Out #2 Show Me What You're Twerkin With

Confession, I can't dance like I used to. I mean I can dance as in I still know the moves to Janet Jackson videos and I can bust out the routine to Bell Biv Devoe's Poison but umm as far as the dances that are popular today, I'm a straight up old lady. So I googled YouTube video tutorials on some of today's moves like the Dougie, Twerkin, the REAL Harlem Shake and the Cat Daddy.




Maaaaan that was just sad. I don't think my Lord and Savior wants me to be Twerk Team Captain because I swear on my last jar of cookie butter you will never see me twerking in public. The movements, the sounds, the facial expressions. I quit this workout before I could burn a single calorie. I don't want to dance like this. Didn't break any kind of sweat, but I did break my own heart. That was just sad. I give that an F!!


Ok this post is getting long and I have to get ready for my other work outs. Do I have it in me or will I stay on team Fluffikins?

To be continued...

Oh Baby Baby: Britney Spears Femme Fatale Tour

Last night Raleigh, NC had its face rocked off by the awesomeness of Britney Spears and her Femme Fatale Tour. 



If you know me, you know I've been down with Britney since she was a brunette in track pants doing flips at car washes in her Baby One More Time video. My love is true. I even saw that movie Crossroads opening night when it hit theaters.




When Justin Timberlake dissed her in that Cry Me A River video, I defended her. I mean c'mon did she really cheat on him or was JT trying to get some press for his debut album?




Then came the K-Fed years and that God-awful reality show Chaotic. The head shaving, crotch shots, babies, lawsuits, me and Brit-Brit have been through it and not once have a missed a tour. I will travel across state lines and skip a cell phone bill, to support my Britney habit. 

Don't get it twisted, just because I work in radio I'm never guaranteed concert tickets. I had to creep on Craigslist for last minute deals hours before the show and got a pair of tickets in the nosebleed seats and a friend willing to pay for their own ticket (shout out to Kerry!)


Eventually we made it to the concert and not only were our seats horrible, they were so high up, I would have had a hard time enjoying myself  and jamming sitting so close to Jesus in the sky. Luckily we got upgraded to lower level seats right next to the stage! 


My sweet Britney brought it so hard. 90 minutes of up tempo, sometimes cheesy, sexy, fun music. Home girl actually sang y'all! I know she's supposed to sing but let's be real, we don't love Brit for her voice, and her latest stuff if techie auto-tuned jams. But I'm not there for the vocals, I love the beats, the songs, the dancing, the spectacle of it all and I make no apologies. I know she isn't for everyone. There isn't a lot of depth there, but you know sometimes you just want to see pretty people doing pretty things in pretty pink clothes! 

Oh what you want pictures? Boom , I got ya! I caught Britney in all her glory with the camera I snuck inside the arena. Enjoy!





The set list had a great mix of her older hits and the new stuff. I was floored by her performance of "I'm A Slave 4 U." She it all the moves, and it was great seeing her re-create the 2001 hit. Yep, it's been 10 years! 


The crowd was a mix of all types of people. Gay, straight, adults, teens, and the outfits were amazing. Since cameras were illegal I couldn't get as many photos as I wanted but I hope you liked the few I have.  What was the last concert you went to? Did you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Brit Brit? Discuss!

Until next time!
Dee

Keep Breathing

Still Breathing by Brianna Martray
To say the last month has been a difficult one would be a gross understatement. I’ve had to deal with some pretty hardcore issues over the last few weeks. Good, bad, ugly and downright debilitating issues that have kept me from posting as often as I want to.

Professionally, things couldn’t be better. I’m lying, having a show syndicated in major markets would be better, but that’s a discussion for another time. What I know for sure is day after day we have fantastic shows. I know better than to wear mascara in the morning because most likely I will stain my face from crying and laughing. The energy is there, the chemistry is on point, and I am so proud of the work we’ve been producing on air.

Socially, I’m like the Energizer Bunny. My calendar and datebook are filled and I’m pursing new interests, enjoying the people I’m meeting, the company I keep, and the laughter and joy they bring me. 

The one thing I haven’t been so vocal about is my physical alignments and the way they changed me. A few posts ago I wrote a light hearted entry on being sick and staying at home resting. I down played my sickness because I didn’t want to come off as whiny and exaggerated. Truth be told I was at the most vulnerable and frightened place I’d ever been. I was literally breathless. Air struggled to get in and it was excruciating to breathe out. Our most basic human function, the thing we do in our sleep and without thought was the one thing I wasn’t able to do without experiencing severe pain and discomfort. 

This really did a number on me. I didn’t know why I was ill, I didn’t know how to get better. Doctors poked and prodded me for days and still weren’t able to give me the answers I needed. They took my blood, x-rayed my chest, medicated me, and still I wasn’t able to breathe normally. I don’t know if I will ever be able to fully express how helpless it made me feel. 

Then the paranoia set in. I couldn’t sleep from fear of not being able to breathe. I was scared that everything around me was making me sick. My house, my clothes, my friends, I suspected everything. My medications had side effects that altered my mood, personality and energy level. I felt trapped, no paralyzed from the neck down. My brain was functioning but my lungs and body were not.

I am much better now and although I’m active again, I diligently take time each day to rest and allow my lungs to heal. I’m back to doing the things that brought me joy until the sickness took them away. Things like singing, working out, even laughing. Can you believe I couldn’t laugh without enduring pain? 

I’m ashamed to admit that I let the sickness get the best of me. It was only for a short time, but it happened. For a brief moment I gave up and even thought about how much easier it would be to just let go and disappear. No more pain, no infection, no sickness. The battle was too much for me, or so I thought. 

I’m officially closing that chapter of my life. I’m not going to dwell on that pain, that fear, and that feeling of helplessness. I am better. I won. I’m breathing. 

Some of you have shared that you are going through your own “sickness” right now. Something is blocking you from being your authentic self, something is paralyzing you or taking your breath away, zapping your energy and will to move forward. Push past it, move on, you deserve better, you are better, you will get better and you’ll come out of it so much stronger. I promise the sickness will leave. And if it won’t go, breathe, gather and fight like hell to find your way to your own healing. 

Now excuse me while I go outside, give thanks, and  breathe in some fresh air. I so deserve it.

Until next time, 
Deidre 


You Oughta Know: Jen Chu

If you’ve ever been in my home, you know it is a huge work in progress. I have an idea of what I want my house to look like, but the execution has been challenging for me to do, especially on my own.

I am always looking for inspiration, and affordable design ideas online and I think I may have found my home interior DIY Yoda. Her name is Jen Chu and she is the truth! She refers to herself as an "Asian Martha Stewart, minus the prison activity". I stumbled across her blog last week and found out she was also featured on Apartment Therapy for a room makeover she did for a friend in Brooklyn.

From what I can see, Jen likes to ball on a budget, meaning she can bring a room to life without breaking the bank. A lot of the items in the room came from pocket friendly stores like Ikea, and Target, and she isn't afraid to hit up a flea market to save a buck or two. I think it would be awesome if she had her own TV show for real people, with realistic budgets, and I'd love to be her first guest!

Check out some of the pics of Jen's work below:








(all images from Apartment Therapy)

What I love about this room is how Jen uses everyday items and displays them in a way that it looks like art. The scarves, the purses, and hats seem more like room accessories, instead of fashion accessories.



 (Images from jenchudesign.com)

I love her style, it is so clean and chic! I also admire that she does a lot of the handy work herself, something I hope to be able to do one day. Who needs Ty Pennington when you can hang your own light fixtures? Who am I kidding, I wouldn't turn Ty away but you get my point!

To see more of Jen's work, including original art and learn about her career as an Art Director for Project Runway check out her blog.


Until next time!

Deidre






Sludge

I woke up this morning feeling like I had been drinking all night long. Not a good start to the day and now I'm feeling really icky. This sucks because I know I need to get off my butt and work out, but how do you push through when you feel bad?

I'm a little nervous because I feel like I'm slipping back into my old habits. Laziness, late night snacking, and watching too much television. Is it the heat?

What do you do when you're having an off day? I'd love to hear your suggestions. Seriously, you guys encourage me to get out there and make better choices. This isn't a weight loss thing, this is a lifestlye thing. How do you get out of your rut?