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!



"O" Happy Day!

Y'all...
You know it's serious when I start with a "y'all." OK, something so major, so epic, so monumental, is happening in less than 30 days and I am about to burst with excitement and joy.


No, I'm not getting married, I'm not moving, but I will fulfill a dream that has been 25 years in the making.




I'm going to see OPRAH!!!!!!!






Her legendary talk show came to an end nearly a year ago and I thought I had missed my opportunity to see Lady O do her thing in front of a live audience.  As promised, she hasn't gone away, but she's started a new chapter on her OWN Network.


On March 26, she's filming an episode of her powerful series Lifeclass at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis with Rev. T.D. Jakes, and I will be in the audience!


Season one of Lifeclass blew my mind. Each night, Oprah revisited the most unforgettable topics from the Oprah Winfrey Show and how those stories, and guests can serve as teachable moments to help you live your best life. 

Last week it was announced that season 2 was in the works and Oprah was taking the show on the road.Tickets were given away at random via an online lottery process and my dear friend and Lifeclassmate, Dewaynia scored a pair! I can't think of anyone I'd rather go with. We have spent countless hours in my room, with notebooks and Kleenex consuming the life lessons and applying them to our personal goals. Now we get a chance to see Professor Oprah in person and together.


So now we play the waiting game. Tickets have been booked, hotel is set. I think Dewaynia has her outfit selected!  I will keep you updated as we receive more details, but for now I hope you will set your DVRs and tune in.





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 


Dee-Style: Paula Patton


New mother and actress Paula Patton looks amazing in this simple and classic ensemble.  I picked her for this week's look for less because I think this is a look most women can wear no matter what size you wear. The jacket and dress combo is flattering to all body types and can remixed with other items in your closet for a different look.

 Here is the look for less in both plus and straight sizes. I will do more style posts like this because right now I'm smack dab in the middle. It is frustrating at times to be in between like this, but I'm learning to deal with it, and support designers and stores who promote size diversity and make clothing for women of all shapes and sizes! 



Here is the look in straight sizes







And here is the look in plus sizes




My point is don't let ANYONE tell you that your styling options are limited because of your size. With a little effort, creativity, and confidence, you can find items out there that work for your body!

Until next time!
Deidre


 













Go Your Own Way

Long time no blog huh? Well, it has been a busy week for me and I have neglected my blog for far too long! What has it been, like 3 days? Well I am back with a Do It Yo’self project that should take most people about an hour to complete. However I am special and it took me a heck of a lot longer because I was distracted by the Lifetime Movie Network, wine, and a few miscalculations.

Little known fact, I was the art teacher for an after-school program when I was in college. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Helping kids explore their creativity was such a beautiful thing to witness. They taught me that you don’t have to be skilled in sketching or watercolors to make your very own masterpiece. All it takes is the willingness to allow yourself the freedom to experiment with different materials, and to not be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t turn out the way you envisioned it.

This project was very personal to me. It combines my love of music, as well as some personal issues I’ve been struggling with over the last few months. As I write this I am struggling with just how in depth I should be about what drove me to make these choices, because it was very complex and I know you love me, but who wants to read this all night?

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a fan of Fleetwood Mac. It probably has a lot to do with my mother who exposed me to all types of music at a young age. I remember being a little girl spinning around in my living room while singing along with Stevie Nicks (especially her solo hit Stand Back).

Their 1977 album Rumors is probably the album that has influenced me the most. Every song on that record speaks to me on levels I didn’t quite understand when I was younger but now, as an adult it is crystal clear to me why I fell in love with these songs and lyrics.  Songs like Landslide, Songbird, and Don't Stop. Second Hand News and Never Going Back Again break my heart every time I listen to them.

Rumors was my first love. It taught me everything I needed to know about relationships, with your friends, family, and loved ones when they’re good, and especially when they go bad.

One day I was listening to “Go Your Own Way” and I don’t know if I can explain it to you, but I was moved to express myself through those lyrics, and I didn’t know how. These words stood out to me: 

Loving you isn’t the right thing to do 
How can I ever change things that I feel?
If I could baby I’d give you my world 
How can I, when you won’t take it from me? 

At the moment I was living those lyrics. If you’ve ever been in a place where you felt like no matter what you did, the object of your affection wasn’t open to or willing to allow you access into their world, then you know how I felt listening to this song. If there is someone standing between you and what you really want, in life and all it would take for you to achieve your goal is for them to listen to you and let you do your thing, you know how I felt listening to this song. If you’ve ever tried over and over again to tell a dear friend that their reckless behavior, and poor decision making was only making their life more complicated than it needed to be, guess what? You know, how I felt, listening to this song. 

You can go your own way 
You can call it another lonely day


I needed a way to tell this to a few people in my life, but how? I can’t sing or play an instrument like Lindsay Buckingham. I for damn sure didn’t have the courage to say it to these people who were blocking me from my happiness at the time, especially when some of us weren’t even on speaking terms.

So I thought of another way to express myself through these lyrics. I chose a way that would remind me each and every day that even though I want to have a certain type of relationship with some of my friends, family members and associates, I am not in control of what they do or how they see me, so I made this.


I took a map and detailed the places I’ve been, where I want to go, and the people who have helped or hindered me in the process. 

All it took was a map, alphabet stickers from a craft store and a frame. Easy right?

At first I was all worried about the alignment, and spacing, of the words and letters. Then I realized, like real life and relationships, it is far from perfect. Nothing is ever aligned exactly the way we want them to be when it comes to the people we care about. So instead of letting the ruler guide me, I went my own way.


Thanks to my good friend Zach for helping me find my way and the courage to do so.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Hi! I'm Deidre and welcome to my blog! I've been wanting to do this for so long and I finally got the courage to share my thoughts via the web. I have so much to talk about, so many things I want to share, I don't even know where to begin. Basically I want to be heard and I want to listen and learn from you guys. I'd love for this to be a place for me to share my world and get some things off my chest. That has been a running theme in my life.

I pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated in the fall of 2001. I earned the line name “Ace VENTura” because throughout my process I’d often start conversations by saying “Umm I need to vent..” Working in such a large group with my sisters and trying to get things accomplished was difficult because everyone wanted to be heard. So I’d bite my tongue for as long as I could, my head would begin to throb, my chest got tight, and when I couldn’t take it anymore, I’d stand up and say those words “Umm I need to vent” and everyone knew it was going to be a very long night. Everything I’d held onto was about to be unloaded. But hey we all want to be heard right?

I guess I still felt the need to be heard because since 2003, I’ve been the co-host of a morning radio show geared towards men. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job but I’m the only woman on a show with 4 guys. It’s like The View with man meat and I’m the odd-chick out,the Elizabeth Hasselbeck of my show. You know how Whoopi, Joy, Sherri, and Barbra Walters lean to the left politically and Lizzy is the Lone Republican Ranger? Well on my show I’m very vocal about my support of President Obama, gay marriage, and most liberal topics. Our audience leans toward the right and is male oriented so yeah sometimes I struggle to get my point across. I enjoy and encourage the healthy dialogue on our program with my co-hosts and listeners but sometimes even after talking to thousands of people for 5 hours each day,I still need to vent. That is why I started this blog.

I’m also going through a major physical transformation. I packed on a ton of pounds (I stopped counting around 100,) as a result of poor choices, health issues, and some wicked steroids and hormones I took to “get better.” Let me tell you it SUCKED ass and I wanted it gone. That rapid and massive weight gain did a number on my body and health so I had weight loss surgery (lap-band,) because my doctors agreed carrying all that weight on a small frame was doing even more damage than my prior health issues. See:


Since I try to avoid cameras at all times, I don't really have a full body "after" shot but I took this photo 3 months ago:


So all is good right? Dee got a quick fix and the weight is just gonna melt off in no time and she will finally get her sexy back? Hell to the no. Anyone who tells you surgery is an easy out is grossly uninformed and needs to shut the hell up. It is more like a tool to kick start your lifestyle change. It worked for me I knocked off about 30lbs in no time. After that initial drop the hard work begins. You have to worry about portion control, working out, making sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need, and blah blah blah. This shit requires commitment. But I don’t want to get into all of that during our first encounter. If you stick around you’ll hear all about my process, and the ups and downs of my weight loss. For now I can tell you I’ve lost 80lbs in 8 months and I would love to lose about 50 more.

I’m also an HGTV ho’. Seriously, I’d sell body to get on Design on a Dime, real talk. I have a love jones for Vern Yip. I’ve been stalking him since his Trading Spaces days. He completes me. I even got to meet him once see!



Don’t we look good together? I was crushed when I learned we could never be. He kissed a boy and he liked it. Liked it so much they adopted a kid together. If he’d called me I would have been honored to carry his little Yip in my womb in exchange for a bathroom makeover. Ok that sounds creepy, of course I wouldn’t do that. I’m lying I’d totally get knocked up by Vern to get a whirlpool tub!

See here I go just yammering and going on, getting off track! Let me wrap up this intro. So yea my name is Deidre, I’m a dj, trying to lose weight, get my house together, find love and happiness, and while I’m at it, I’d like to end world hunger. Welcome to my blog! I hope you come back soon! *Insert pageant wave*