Sunday, February 21, 2016

Futuristically Speaking...

Director Michael Bay has made some pretty awesome movies.  I'm a Transformers fan all the way!  Yall know yall love Bad Boys and Bad Boys II.  I'm not really down with the horror flicks, but I know a few of you love them.  Then there is one that I absolutely adore...Armageddon.  This movie came out in 1998 and it is one of the first movies I can remember going to see without parental guidance.  

If you were attentive in your science classes, you will quickly discover a lot of the things happening in the movie is not possible.  Most notably, the fire happening in space.  It's just not going to happen.  But, let's get back to the year - 1998.  That year, I would have been leaving 7th grade and entering the 8th.  Here is why this is important to you - it was my 7th grade year when I truly fell in love with writing and I started paying attention to movie lines instead of the graphics and the background noise.  

Let's get back to Armageddon.  You have to wait about an hour to get to this point, but there is a speech given by the president that is, in my opinion, absolutely awesome.  Now, we all know I did not write this, but I wanted to share it with you. 

I address you tonight not as the President of the Unitied States, not as the leader of a country, but as a citizen of humanity.  We are faced with the very gravest of challenges.  The Bible calls this day "Armageddon"; the end of all things.  And yet, for the first time in the history of the planet, a species has the technology to prevent its own extinction.  All of you praying with us need to know that everything that can be done to prevent this disaster is being called into service.  The human thirst for excellence, knowledge, every step up the ladder of science, every adventurous reach into space, all of our combined modern technologies and imaginations, even the wars that we've fought have provided us the tools to wage this terrible battle.  Through all the chaos that is our history, through all of the wrongs and the discord, through all of the pain and suffering, through all of our times, there is one thing that has nourished our souls, and elevated our species about it origins, and that is our courage.  The dreams of an entire planet are focused tonight on those fourteen brave souls traveling into the heavens.  Any may we all, citizens the world over, see these events through.  God speed, and good luck to you.

So, this entire scene is just under two and a half minutes.  It is full of amazing shots of the president, the 14 brave souls going into the heavens, flashes or their families, locations all over the world, and even various language translations.  

Ok - I have to share it with you!  Thank you to the person who posted this to YouTube because I really needed it.  Presidential Speech in Armageddon 

To date (almost 20 years later), it is still being called one of the greatest presidential speeches ever given in a movie.  Honestly, I cannot argue with that.  I may be a bit bias because I love this movie or maybe it was just out at the right time I started focusing on my writing.  I'm not sure what it means, but I know as a teen, I was moved and as an adult, I am still moved by that scene.  Then I do some more reading...

Michael Bay doesn't particularly care for this work of art.  I had to find this quote and I hope it is really close.  In an interview in 2013 with the Miami Herald, Bay is quoted as saying this:

"I will apologize for Armageddon, because we had to do the whole movie in 16 weeks.  It was a massive undertaking.  That was not fair to the movie.  I would redo the entire third act if I could."

How could something we think is so amazing be so hated by the person who helped create it?  Honestly, I think that answer is quite simple - maybe the movie wasn't for you!  Maybe the very thing Michael Bay had in his mind was to be used for something else 18 years down the road (yep, I'm talking about this post).  Maybe it was supposed to be used to inspire someone else to grow up to be a director and have them bring in someone who knows how to write and create an awesome speech for a movie.  Maybe it wasn't meant for you to least not at the moment.  

I cannot tell you how many posts I have written and I think this sucks.  But then I keep going because maybe as bad as it sucks to relieve whatever made the post possible, maybe someone else needed to read it to give them a little bit more strength.  I don't know, maybe it is just the extra push that someone else needed.  Like I said, maybe I'm just biased because of the time this movie came out and the time I was just getting into my writing juices - but isn't it great to think about how your work has inspired someone along the way and you have no clue?  I hope I can be that person to someone someday.  But until that day comes, let me just say Thank You to Michael Bay for getting out this movie, even if he doesn't think it was his best work.  

Now, am I saying Bay has been my only inspiration?  Absolutely not.  You can look through several of my posts and realize that people around me inspire me each day.  But let's really think about this - I haven't been doing this blog that long.  Then, some days, I don't feel like writing.  Every single year in October and November, I seem to go through a drought.  Then when the new year comes, I'm all ready to write again.  Things happen and constantly change, but I love what I do.  Bay doesn't think he had his best work, but I'm not the only person he inspired and I'm sure that I won't be the last.  

So, now I bet you are thinking, what does this have to do with the theme of this blog?  The answer is simple - EVERYTHING!!!  When I'm gone, this blog is still going to exist.  It may not have anyone writing in it, but the words I leave behind are going to inspire someone - even those posts that I didn't want to write!  The point is this, even when you don't feel like doing anything, do something.  You never know who is going to look at your work and think I can do that.  You may never get famous or have your name in a million households, but if you can be a motivation for just one person, isn't the writing, the drawing, the long nights, the long days, the crazy hours, all the drafts, and the messy sketches worth it?  I think so.  

Saturday, February 20, 2016

My version of me

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you have realized one thing - this blog is my baby!  I love this blog.  I pour a lot out in the blog.  This blog has helped me to step out of my comfort zone.  The blog has allowed me to be more of myself (even if I am not using my government name). This blog lets me be Shayla Em and I love that!  I knew that when I started this blog, I was going to have to get used to being in the public eye.  I didn't set out to be famous (but bring it on), but I did set out to have a great blog.  With greatness, things come your way and I am excited about that.  I've been invited to events, I have the chance to write for other publications, but my favorite thing has been me taking a chance on my blog and trying to do new things.  Do they all work?  Nope, but it's a learning process and I am absolutely cool with that!  Quite frankly, if you talk to any blogger, I think they invent themselves until they are comfortable and when it's time, they do it again.  

I love reading other blogs!  I have subscriptions to several other blogs and I love getting the emails about new posts.  Why?  You probably think I'm scoping the competition.  You probably think you're just going to steal and idea.  Nope!  I subscribe simply because I love supporting other bloggers!  We can't do this by ourselves and some of us have many of the same readers.  It's about being a community and working together.  It's having having each others backs.  It's about learning from other people.  There is nothing like the blogging community and I love it!  But here's what I don't love - when people don't even take the time to write in a journal (which I do also), but want to tell me what I should be posting about.  

I write about what I know.  Here is what I currently know about - I know about being a plus size woman with natural hair, while trying to be myself in a corporate life because I work for state government as a civil engineer.  On top of all of that, I know about being a Christian and trying to spread the love of Christ, but not offending my readers that are not Christian because I have a respect for religion and religious freedom.  Then on top of that...well, just take a look at this blog and you can see what I know about.  Again, I write about what I know!  

I ask my readers for suggestions all the time - not necessarily in my posts, but on my twitter feed (hit the button on the right of your screen or just find me @TheShaylaEm).  I like to communicate and hear what you want me to share.  If I know something about it, I'll do it.  But here is what I will not do - I will NOT conform just to fit into your box of what you want me to fit it.  I don't want to be in a box.  Even when I die, I want to be cremated because I don't want to be in a box.  I like the blogger I am right now.  When I'm ready for a change, I'll make that decision.  If you like it, great.  However, if you don't, it has been a pleasure having you as a former reader.  

People grow and change.  That is how life works.  I don't know, one day maybe I won't be plus sized and I'll have to change the name to The Skinny Diaries.  I don't really see that happening, but if it does, it just does.  I'm OK with that!  For right now, I'll keep writing The Plus Diaries and taking your suggestions.  What I will not do is change and turn into something I'm not.  My writing integrity just isn't work it.  

Monday, February 8, 2016

Image is everything!

I was in church Saturday afternoon.  I got back out to my car and twitter was blazing.  Well, I decided to wait until I got home so I could see everything on my beautiful wide screen laptop.  When I finally found the correct video for Formation (because there is definitely one going around that is not it on YouTube), I was really feeling the art Beyonce was creating.  However, one small thing has bothered me about the video and it is not anything Bey did, it's what everyone is picking out.  

So, there is the spot in the video where Bey is flashing both her middle fingers.  Do I get the image?  Yes.  Is that the only image in the video?  No.  There are so many other powerful images in the video (hell, the entire video is a powerful image), but why has that been the image I've seen most often on my Twitter and Instagram feed?

Let's take a looks at some of the images I wish I was seeing more often!  What about the beautiful young ladies wearing their natural hair loud and proud?  Those dancers are fierce!  This whole natural hair phase (yep, that's all it is for some of you) hasn't been going on that long.  For Bey to showcase those women being their natural selves was really awesome to me.  And let's not forget about little Blue!  I love the lyric and I love her hair!  I absolutely wish my mom would have let me be natural as a child, but I'm also glad I made the decision as an adult to be natural.  It's not easy, but I love it!  

Here's another image - what about the little boy standing in front of the police, but the police had their hands up?  They said a picture is worth a thousand words, but that one might have been worth a million.  Keeping with the same subject, what about the tag on the side of the building that said Stop Shooting Us?  

How about Beyonce on top of the sinking police car?  I would love to hear a discussion about that image instead of hearing about how many of you are going to take your men or side boos to Red Lobster.  There is so much we could say about the lyrics, but that's for another time and probably for another person to write.  

This is all I'm saying - all the powerful images and all the powerful lyrics and the only thing most of you can love about the video is her having both of her middle fingers up in the air?  Beyonce did it and I guess in her own right, she can.  However, I'm pretty sure most of us were raised knowing that was disrespectful so why is the most disrespectful or negative image the one I am seeing most often?  Spread the positive.  Teach your children our culture (I don't have any yet).  But most important, be proud of who you matter what you are! 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Save me!

I seem to always have the greatest shopping adventures when I go to a store looking for only a few items.  Today, I went to Lane Bryant specifically looking for boy shorts and a sweater.  By the time I walked out of the store, I had left with several pairs of boy shorts, other Cacique selections, 2 sweaters, a bright shirt, and a peplum top, and a skirt.  Again, absolutely awesome customer service and Gabby (I hope that is how you spell it) was too amazing and patient.  I went to another town to go shopping because they have a much larger store than the one of my side of town.  I guess since they have a bigger store, it was meant for me to come out with more than a few things.  

So, check out that partial receipt.  In between my real women dollars, my coupons I had got in the mail, and my coupon on my phone, you see how much I saved.  By the time I walked out the store today, I had spent less than 100 dollars.  My mom taught me how to bargain shop, but she also taught me how to find nice things on a budget.  For instance, the skirt I bought today was originally 70 dollars.  I refused to pay that because I figured if I really wanted to, I could make it myself for a lot less.  However, today since it was under 20 dollars, I was OK with it.  Sure, I'll be a season late, but I'll also have spent a loss less money.  

Let's talk about these bright colors.  I bought an orange top today that I can wear with my jeans and leggings.  I also tried on a pair of bright yellow pants.  You can see them in the photo.  I've been telling you for years, step out into some color.  Black clothes are beautiful, but they are not the only color that is flattering on bigger ladies.  If you're confident enough to wear it and it looks good on you, have at it!

Now, I can already tell you these pants are going to pose a problem.  First, they are look long.  Don't worry, I have a wonderful lady that does my alterations and I know she can make these work for me.  Second, I have to wear solid black panties.  I had on printed ones today and I could see the fabulous design through the pants.  I can't be walking around the office like that!  Third, these are wide leg and because of my height (I am just under 5'4"), I have a problem with wide leg items.  However, these were flattering on least I think they were.  

I didn't make this purchase today, but I can see these being part of my wardrobe.  Like I said, there is nothing wrong with adding a bit of color.  As far as bright colors are concerned, I don't have a favorite, but I will admit that I do wear more yellow than anything.  I already have a pair of yellow jeans from another store, but you can never have too many bright colors.  

I also found this gem while shopping.  It's a grey sweater with a hint of shimmer in it.  Very pretty and also something I can wear with jeans or leggings.  I hear all the time, big girls shouldn't wear stripes, but stripes have never bothered me and I think I wear them well.  Plus, in my opinion, it adds a little something more to the outfit than just having a solid color.  

Sorry for all the dressing room photos, but this is the best I could do since I went on a solo shopping adventure.  

Here's what I learned today.  I will definitely be taking more trips to the Lane Bryant store in the other town because their selection is epic compared to the one on my side of town.  Shopping with coupons is a must!  Have fun while shopping.  There were several of us in the store and while we were trying on clothes, we would come out and get each opinions from other people.  We'll probably never see each other again, but it was still a good time being around people with a common goal - finding an outfit or outfits that look best on our bodies  

Now, I know #ImNoAngel and I am cool with that.  Lane Bryant has beautiful clothes and they are definitely my place when it comes to underwear selection, since I had my falling out with my previous favorite bra store.  They are not the only place I shop at because I just cannot wear their jean, but I love the store!  There's nothing wrong with being a plus diva, you just gotta dress it right! 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

#TPD100: Let me re-introduce myself

On May 25, 2013, I started this blog.  I didn't intend for it to be anything fancy, but I did want it to be a safe and fun place for people to interact.  Well, that part has happened.  I love getting feedback on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr (all @TheShaylaEm) and it makes me so happy to know people are interested in what I have to say.  

I said I wanted to mention some celebs and I have been able to do so.  This year, I started doing features and this month, I will feature my second person.  I'm too excited about these posts and as far as this first one is concerned, it has gone really well.  

I really don't think I have to go through all the formalities.  You know I'm Shayla Em and you know that isn't my government name.  I don't still like to be kept in a bubble or in a box (that's why I'm asking to be cremated).  I'm still a plus-size diva and I love me!  I don't love me every single day (if you are honest with yourself, neither do you), but my good days definitely outweigh my bad days.  

I'm no longer writing for Vyzion Entertainment or Manik Magazine, but I am truly thankful for the opportunities these businesses gave me.  More important, they gave me the confidence to be able to break out of my shell and write this blog!  For that, I am grateful and everything I learned from them, I have been able to use to write this blog.  

Some new things have happened since I started this blog.  I've worked really hard to learn to do makeup and I've had the pleasure of making a few clients look and feel amazing for their big days!  Just like last year, I'm looking forward to working with The Cinderella Project to help make less fortunate teens looks amazing for their proms.  Honestly, that was probably the highlight of my year!  I used to be a business owner with Motives Cosmetics, but due to my regular job and me wanting to focus primarily on this blog, I decided to let that part of my life go.  It's not that I didn't enjoy it, but I've learned to become more focused on the things that are really important to me - my job, blog, and being a makeup artist / stylist is extremely important to me.  

Well, I guess you want to know what my day job is.  Let me start with my college degree - Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. That's probably a bit of a shock to many of you.  Engineer by day, writer, MUA, and stylist by night.  I admit it's a pretty giant extreme, but I like it.  During the day, I'm on a team that designs roadways and bridges.  I'm on the hydraulic team.  I've learned so much about water and it has definitely earned a lot more of my respect.  I feel truly blessed because I am actually getting the chance to use my degree and I love it.  It's not adventurous on most days, but it is good enough for me.  

Want to know about my personal life?  Well, if you said yes, you missed a key word - personal.  I've learned to keep that part of my life off social media.  I've also learned this - all those smiling couples we see on social media are probably not that happy.  I don't have time to front.  If you are going to see me (us), you are going to see the good, bad, and ugly and those three things don't need to be all over the internet for me to never get my privacy back.  Besides, the person I'm dating (if I'm dating someone) didn't ask to be put in this spotlight - not that I'm trying to keep it for myself, but I'm not going to give the public any extra ammunition.  

If you've been with my from posts 1 - 99, you know I love me some Jesus!  However, I've never tried to persuade you to be a Christian and I've always respected other faiths.  If we could all get a handle on tolerance of all things, I think this world would be a lot better place.  Ok, let me get back to what I'm doing.  

There are so many more things I want to accomplish.  I've set a goal to do at least 36 posts this year.  Why that number?  I have no clue, but I'm going to do my best to make that mark.  I've also set a goal to lose some more weight this year.  Last year, I maintained a certain size, but this year, I want to lose weight - if I drop a size, that's cool with me.  Another thing I want to do is be more open.  It's not the easiest thing, but I think I can make it happen.  

As with the very first post in this blog, I feel like I have forgotten something.  I probably did and by this time this posts, it will be too late.  However, there is always time to celebrate post 200.  

Let me know what you think of the blog!  I love hearing from you!  All of you are awesome and this blog would not be a success without your support!  

So, if you could, please do me a favor.  Once you have read this blog, please tweet me @TheShaylaEm and let me know you read this post using #TPD100!  

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The lost boy

This is one of those posts that may be three paragraphs long or I may just lose it and go in.  Either way, one thing for certain, it is going to bring up something that happened to me 11 years and 3 days ago.  

January 31, 2005 is one of the dates in my life that changed the person I was and shaped me to be the person (and writer) I am today.  Not ready to go into so much detail, but let's just say I lost something I can never get back and it cannot be replaced.  

On that day, I lost something, but I also gained so much more.  I didn't realize the gain until a few years later, but at least I realized it.  I learned I'm a lot stronger than what I thought.  The people I needed most spent so much time being upset at me they forgot I had lost something.  When they were ready to talk, I was already dealing with it in my own way and I'm okay with that.  However, that doesn't come without having bad days.  That date is always a bit rough and this year, it was rougher than normal, but I got through it.  I'm still getting through it.  

It doesn't matter how many years pass and it doesn't matter what you say to me, the fact is I experience pain differently from any of you and you experience pain different from me.  It's OK.  It's another way that we are different and I love it.  Another thing I love?  Having a community where I feel comfortable enough to share this little bit of my story with.  One day, I'll be ready to dive all the way in - even though I think my wording, even down to my title has helped you figure out what I'm talking about.  One day...but, tonight just isn't that night.