Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Sometimes I Don't Want to Hear That Sh!t

Every Friday on the Cocoa Fly Facebook page I post a "Do Something for You" note to my followers. I encourage them to treat themselves to some ME-time over the weekend because we live busy lives and often put our wellness on the backburner. Between family visiting from out of town and a memorial/life celebration for a dear colleague, I was trying to figure out what I was going to "do for me" this weekend. Then this happened…

I'm relaxing after an 11- hour workday, meetings and cramps (#womanhood). All I want to do is check my Tweets and go to sleep. My relative calls to chat. Somehow the conversation turns into complaints about the violence in Oakland and how the city feels unsafe. All of this is very true. Oakland is out of control. I hear the shots and sirens at night. And I see girls working the streets.  But this relative brings up these conversations often. I told her, respectfully, that I didn't want to hear it.  She sarcastically replied, "Just stay in your world."  She said it as if I live in a bubble. Within the last year I've been to four funerals. I recently found out that a young man who appeared on a show I produce was shot in the neck.  After 2+ years of being unemployed, I'm just starting to get on my feet again. And did I mention I have cramps?  My world is far from unicorns, Disneyland parades and rose gardens. It's just that sometimes I don't want to hear that sh!t. And tonight was one of those times.

Complaining can be a good thing. Hell, I'm doing it now. Sometimes you have to get stuff off of your chest. I understand it can be therapeutic. I was just talking about this with a colleague today. She said she tries not to complain when things get tough. I say it's okay to complain sometimes and get your stuff out.  But eventually figure out a way to make things better if possible.  Complaining and not taking action to change the situation keeps you stuck.  Or after complaining, try to look at the good in your life.

Now, for the one listening to the complaining, sometimes they just don't want to hear that sh!t. And that's okay too. Tonight, I didn't want to hear it for my own mental wellness and peace. I had a long day and needed to relax.  I've complained on and on about things and sometimes I could tell the "listener" didn't want to hear my sh!t.  It hurt, but I got over it and called someone else who would listen. Or I vented in my journal.  Also, there have been times when I didn't want to hear the sh!t someone was complaining about, but because they were a friend I listened. 

I don't want to talk politics this weekend. I don't want to hear about so-and-so's crazy-cheating husband that she knew was a crazy cheater before she married him. I don't want to hear about the same family drama that's been going on since I was a fetus, yet no one tries to resolve it. I don't want to hear about his dramatic baby's mama that he knew was a hot mess before having unprotected sex with her. I don't want to know who is messing with who at church, at school, at their work. I don't want to hear how you can't find a man when you never leave the house. And I don't shive a git what she wore and how her hair looked.  I don't want to hear any of that sh!t this weekend.

So do something for you. If you don't feel like hearing the sh!t, close your ears and move along the conversation. Or if things aren't going right, spend time this weekend strategizing how to possibly make things work out.

This weekend I won't be listening to any sh!t I'm not in the mood to hear.  I'm going to see Ava DuVernay's film "Middle of Nowhere."  I'm planning to enjoy spending time with my sister, while celebrating the life of an mental health advocate. He was a colleague who would probably understand where I'm coming from in this post. A girl's gotta take care of her wellness.

Have a great weekend!


  1. I completely understand a lot of times I don't want to hear that ish either especially when it's complaining just for complaining's sake. It's draining to your spirit and you don't have to take all of that into your spirit out of obligation. You did a good thing by putting down your boundaries, if that person doesn't like that, that's their issue not yours. You're not responsible for their feelings. You're responsible for taking care of CocoaFly. Have a marvelous weekend.

  2. Thank you Flaming Star. I love what you said. Sometimes I forget to put me first. And I think as women sometimes we do feel obliged to listen to others when we don't want to. Women are listeners, But I had to take care of myself the other night.


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