MyMixedBagLady2: My Mixed Bag, My Mirror, My Me, Part II

So in My MixedBagLady1, I introduced the concept of Purse and Its Content as Metaphoric Mirror, a PURSE-sonal Journal of sorts, Content as Context.  Ladies, and Man-bag-toting Gents, have you considered what your things tell you and others about, well, YOU? The YOU you ARE, the YOU you’ve BEEN, the YOU you aspire TO BE, the YOU that OTHERS SEE? 

In the 1st post, I examined the lovely Asian tote I often carry. It has no inner organizing compartments but provides a canvas-like beautiful facade to my Erika Badu-esk Bag Lady Dilemma…” You Can’t Hurry Up, You Got Too Much Stuff…”

For this second part of the series, I’m checking out the phone and related accessories I use to haul MY STUFF.  Having dumped and organized the myriad morsels on my mattress, the shot below is from a point in time never to be recaptured, meaning, the cargo is ALWAYS changing. But alas, on to the introspection afforded by this pictorial. Let’s begin with a haiku…

Siri Serenades

Aftershoz Our World Rocks

Encase, Ensconce, Ease

After finishing my UCLA MBA in 1995, as I headed off to be a (somewhat misguided) A.T.Kearney consultant, I acquired my 1st smart phone, a Palm Pilot.  I scarcely remember its initial case, but I do recognize 2 things about the experience of having this “personal digital assistant” or PDA nearly 20 years (GULP!) ago: 1. I was apparently one of the early adopters of this advanced touch screen technology, and 2. I would have only a relatively brief (OUCH!) love affair  w/my oh-so-chicly-expensive Monte Blanc PDA case!

 My phone cases these days are fairly inexpensive (more carefully-watched benjamins, due to entrepreneurial pursuits, including Znuggle Up, Home of Comfy, Cozy Cool), compared to that MB one: a black leather-trimmed nylon,  another, pink leather crock-embossed, both with cross-body straps. Perfect combos of function and form! The whimsical one of a CoCo-Chanel-perfume-bottle-wanna-be case is less utilitarian, with no separate compartment for biz/credit cards or cash, but it works well when I’m at ATL to greet and escort some high-flying, high-profile travelers towards their deliciously dashing destinations. I hang it around my neck like the sexiest badge holder you’ve ever seen, never have TSA probs when you roll like a trusty, tricked-out travelista! The cute strawberry is actually ANOTHER bag, cuz, you know, I may need to grab some groceries, and as a mindful environmentalist, I gotta have a re-useable bag, eh?? My glasses case holds my contact case, spectacles and make-up, so that jimmy’s doing triple duty! Fashion Forward Full Functionality is a clear requirement in Jewel’s World!

 And I’m just thinking, my Blue Tooth headset is in this second shot above, cuz I must’ve been wearing it when I snapped the original bag-dump pic. This cool back-of-the-cranium-wrap ditty is a bone conduction device from AfterShokz, another early adopter tinket, that keeps me jazzy, jiggy and jubiliant w/banging beats and dialog deets on safe streets.

Now back in the day, the Palm, didn’t speak, but it did have a touch screen and decent doodle interpretation capabilities.  These days, I’ve dubbed my iPhone Siri Silly cuz she sometimes mispronounces my contacts’ names, disses my dictations and wrecks my requests despite my attempts to train her. Alas, after some not-so-lady-like expletives from me, she may simply give up and apologize for her inability to help me.  I wonder if maybe this is others’ experience of me when they solicit my assistance?  Mirror, mirror, in my bag, who’s the tamer in this tag?

I have come to terms with the fact that , as a self-styled shape-shifter, I am typically on the leading, and often BLEEDING edge of technology and change, an Unintentional Trailblazer of sorts, inadvertently enduring much pain and growth (I think I need a BLIND TRUST HUG) to move to places others don’t even realize exist. Such is the path I now knowingly illuminate for myself and others. I intend to slow my roll, be patient with myself and those around me/us, as a way of tranquilizing my/our many transitions. I endeavor to make my/our path more smooth and filled with grace and ease, discomfort as a minor distraction to the joy of being vibrantly vrai (that’s true en Français, ya’ll!), living life on my/our own terms. Please do follow if you dare, or better still, show me/us the light from y/our sparked and sparkling sojourns!

MyMixedBagLady1: My Mixed Bag, My Mirror, My Me, Part I

I’ve been pondering my various and sundry totes, handbags and other accessories designed to keep me well-organized while on the move.  Having worked as a Brighton Collectibles sales associate and product ambassador, I’ve acquired quite the (addictive) habit of procuring pretty purses.

I appreciate, really demand, that this particular accoutrement to my clothing ensemble always compliment AND provide just the right amount of space and place for my necessary, and nice-to-have, things.  The challenge is in

PURSE-SONAL Journeys - contents could be helpful or hazardous!
PURSE-SONAL Journeys – contents could be helpful or hazardous!

the change…you know, presto purse reverse, that handbag haul out, then in.

On this occasion, as I dumped the whole thing, I began to think, “Why so Much STUFF? What’s THIS all about? Why can’t I travel more lightly?”  After all, a hefty handbag, filled with this and that, can become quite the liability to the shoulder, back and even other body parts, eh? Having emptied my tote, a gift generously given by my global-galloping sister, I  decided to organize and examine its contents; then perhaps find answers to these quizzical questions as a self-reflecting search for inner truth.

And with goal in mind, this post marks the 1st installment of a 3-part series haiku series.  I’m anxious to know what we’ll discover on this PURSE-sonal journey. I invite you to candidly comment on what you see, PURSE-EVE, and PURSE-U, as we search for ourselves in one another…

Pretty Perks

Glimpsing geisha girls

Parasols, painted pouts, pearls

Toting tighter twirl

Tale of Treasured Trash

Treasured Trash

Treasured Trash

Listen my peeps and you gone check

Sleep-slumbrin’ ‘hoods, ’bout to get respect.

Between the weeds and tires dumped

lies precious metals, mem’ries slumped.

Layered paint over dreams deferred

Scarred yet stronger, now goan be heard.

Drop the pretense & its weight

Sun shower, shimmy, foundations shake.

Hearth and heart, no more to roam,

Ancient acres rolling, home.

Speak Hear See Evil No copyright 2014 Julie Andrea Borders

Sights & sounds in the ‘hood /
We say we’re all good /
Then why neck hairs stood /
Like tiny soldiers wood / 4real doh?

Ghetto birds circling /
College girls twerkin’ /
Veterans beserkin’ /
Hip-shackled brahs smirkin /
FDR’s dole ain’t workin’ / no moh!

Sirens tear thru the nites /
Winter wind homeless mother bites /
Howling hounds hit new heights /
Who needs Kruger fright /
When real life hand slight /
Cuts deep, sleep tight /
Restless slumber creep /
Jail house promises to keep /
Thru crib slates peep /
Incarceration odds steep / 6-ft ‘lo, yo!

Legend calls for do-over /
Harken back to Red Rover /
Change of heart, 4-leaf clover /
Evolving our head game /
Broken, mending, losing lame /
Excuses, abuses, obtuses same /
Clear decks, hand checks, re-frame /
New life, no strife , happy wife /
No Husband trife /
Barney Fife entertains / No wall remains /
Rose-colored lens /
Happy En-
Dings /
Fah reel, Fah real /
Fah Ever, Always & Love.IMG_1948-0.JPG

MARTA as Mobility Method AND Metaphor: 5-14-12 Board Mtg Public Comment

Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, distinguished Board Members, Dr. Scott, other dedicated MARTA staff, fellow concerned MARTA stakeholders.  My name is Julie Borders and I am a 2nd, really 3rd generation public transit rider and advocate.  I say 3rd gen because my grandfather, Rev. Wm. H. Borders, Sr., fought for desegregation of Atlanta’s street cars even before MARTA was a twinkle in the City’s eye.

In the last two years of his life, my physician father, Dr. Wm. Borders, Jr. was a para-transit rider, making his way to life-sustaining dialysis 3 days per week. He passed away in Sept.  2010.  I carry his memory with me, wearing his black & white silk pocket square almost daily.
For the approx. 2 years, I’ve been car-free and using MARTA as my primary mode of transportation.  I currently work for airport concessions company The Paradies Shops (TPS) @ Hartsfield-Jackson Int’l, in its Brighton Collectibles store.   TPS generously provides me w/a MARTA monthly pass as part of its benefits package.  So you see I have multi-generational love, respect and appreciation for MARTA.  In fact, I consider MARTA an essential fabric of my life. Cotton ain’t got nothing on MARTA!

I’m here to speak with you today because I see this MARTA fabric becoming more tattered, torn and worn every day, even as you contemplate increasing fares while reducing service because of budget constraints. To use a more shocking analogy, one related to my father’s unfortunate bi-lateral amputee condition, for me, it’s as if we’re well beyond cutting to the bone and are now cutting off limbs, and wondering why we’re bleeding. But how could we not be?  We cannot just cut our way to wellness and prosperity.

I had the misfortune this weekend of spending the night in the W. End Citi-Center Kroger because the last #71 bus didn’t run. I was unable to find friend, acquaintance or even cab to ferry me home. I was notified by another disappointed patron that no bus was coming as I stood at a bus stop near Culberson and Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. This experience was ANOTHER rude awakening to how unreliable the system is becoming due to funding issues.  If we continue w/business-as-usual, hacking like Freddie Kruger, prospects are looking pretty dim.

I would submit that business-as-usual is the last thing we need at this critical point in MARTA’s history.  Instead, we must use out-of-the-box thinking, sensible risk-taking and pragmatic, creative, inclusive problem-solving.  I stand before you now ready, willing and able to add my best positive energy, thoughts, actions and HEART to mending MARTA.

I’ve submitted some simple, low-cost social media-enabled suggestions for engaging riders in improving MARTA safety, but they seem to be falling on deaf ears.  Seems I get push-back accompanied by vague, off-putting explanations/excuses at every turn.  But I am undaunted cuz THIS IS MY MARTA and she’s like my Mama driving carpool. I know she can do better, even w/the budget constraints she faces day in and day out.

I love this MARTA fabric, and I refuse to let her go.  I know she has untold greatness in her; she’s
a world-class transit system in waiting.   I promise to work long and hard for her sake, until my hands are bleeding and/or arthritic, if necessary.  That’s my word to you.
But I need your help. We need open honest discussion. We need willingness, even courage, to change and seek unconventional solutions.  I trust that you’re willing to play seamstress, no better still, tailor with me, not really mending OR ending OUR MARTA but TRANSFORMING her.  I hearken back to our resourceful slave ancestors who created underground railroad-directing quilts with the castoff fabric scraps from their masters’ homes. Won’t you stand on their shoulders with me and make MARTA all she can be??

Shot Clock

It seems I’ve developed a penchant for sudden ejections, like a misbehaved WNBA star, mouthing off to refs with truth sometimes too assaulting to absorb but difficult to deny, or using an unnecessarily rough body check, with brutal language that beguiles.  Correction, more akin to NBA stars, like Andrew Bynum, cuz the ladies hardly ever get ejections, but then I digress.

One of my wing gents Sharath Mekala once told me, “You need the [24-second] shot clock rule!”  By this declaration, I suspect he meant that my (over)zealous self-expression overwhelmed him like a full-force verbal fire hose, took too long and left him feeling hurt and unheard, instead of informed and inspired.

Apparently, on this court of life, although I COULD become a highly skilled player, more than likely I won’t get any playing time or achieve acclaim if I don’t learn to work the rules to my advantage.  Even more threatening, I soon won’t have any team mates or opponents with which to hone skills. Given these bleak prospects, I see the serious need for change.

I sincerely regret that my uncivil, disrespectful behavior has driven some of you out of the arena of our relationship.  This game ain’t even fun anymore without you. I miss you and want you back.

For those who’ve experienced my exuberance as exhibitionism instead of excellence, my zest as zaniness instead of Zion, my opinions as obstacles instead of opportunities, I sincerely apologize. I ask that you please forgive my self-absorbed, self-serving schemes, my brash and baby-ish banter of the past.  I also request that you call me out during any future lapses, whether large or small, and hold me accountable for cleaning up any harm/damage I unwittingly do.

I trust you’ll be patient while I seek and destroy residual “LOOK@ME!” demon roots, pull them like pesky weeds in an otherwise Eden-esk Garden I’m endeavoring to make of my life.  A simple sign will do: just say “SHOT CLOCK” or make a buzzer sound and I promise to pause and hear you out, then take some self-imposed quiet time on the bench, after getting counsel from The Coach.

I therefore commit myself now to being a “good sportswoman,” more attentive, flexible, respectful and open, less argumentative, opinionated, judgmental & irreverent.  Now won’t you come back to the game?  Let me practice my new “playing well with others” techniques?  I trust when you’re ready, we’ll all be better players having had these sometimes painful growth experiences. I anxiously await your generous and gracious return.  Namaste.

Charity As Commerce

I am constantly amazed at human ingenuity and ignorance. Give us a mammoth problem, and we’ll give you a magnificent solution; then we forget it! We hide our bright lights of hope under bushes of –isms: Nationalism, Racism, Sexism, Color-ism, Ethnic-ism, Age-ism, Sexual Orientation-ism, Disability-ism.
Cases in Point: Charity As Commerce (The New/Old Concept of Making a Way Outta No Way)
About 50 years ago, my grandfather, William Holmes Borders, Sr. embarked on a project of parochial community investment that became approximately 30 acres in downtown Atlanta of housing, retail and banking assets unparalleled nationally. The project stands as a testament to what can happen when a few good people take a seemingly insurmountable problem, e.g. 1950-60s African-American Poverty & Segregation, and transform it into something spectacular, e.g., Wheat Street Gardens, Towers & Credit Union, a Cinderella story of “Urban Blight to Bright.”
In 2010, the 22-acre Wheat Street Gardens apartments, a low-income housing community, were replaced in part by a 4-acre farm, this in response to the Food Desert challenge in the area. The project, brainchild of Rashid Nuri, founder of Truly Living Well Center for Urban Agriculture, has been recognized in the media, but I’m wondering how long it’ll take before this brilliance will be forgotten. Will history revisionists leave this story out because many of the project volunteers are white? Will African-Americans continue to shrink from such an empowering initiative for food sovereignty because of residual slavery associations, or as Dr. Joy DeGruy would suggest, Post-Traumatic Slave Disorder?
Two years ago, an architecture competition inspired amazing ideas for resolving Jakarta overcrowding and waste problems, the winning entry involved building housing over trash dumps and using unemployed neighbors to recycle the waste. I digitally stumbled upon this gem and can see its applicability to my own community, but will it be discounted because it WASN’T INVENTED HERE, but by a firm in The Netherlands for an Indonesia drowning in people, pollution and paper?
Can you imagine where the world would be if we could get out of our own way?? See through our fears and prejudices to an unbelievably bright future? I think we’re infinitely capable of such greatness, and we can begin with each of us seeing bold change AND THEN being that change. I invite you on this tempting, titillating & tumultuous journey with me. Where and how will WE continue together?

Sankofa: Our Rembrances, Our Rituals, Our Selves

What a cool Sunday I had yesterday! It seemed to be all about Sankofa: looking back to go forward. My graphologist (handwriting seer) Rev. Mother Sharon speaks of it often, mostly in ancestral terms, like going back to the Mother Land, tracing one’s roots in search of the sources of one’s ghosts, gifts & greatness. I’m thinking of it in those previous generational ways, but also in the context of my own lifetime. Sunday was a day for recollection and reverence but also progress and prosperity.

It started with a rousing service at Impact V1, the hip & happening, doing-church-differently spiritual collective launched by visionary Olu Brown, formerly of Cascade United Methodist Church in the SWATS (that’s SW Atlanta for you uninitiated folk). He brought an uplifting message entitled, “What Do These Stones Mean?” based on Joshua 4:4-7 (http://www.impactdoingchurchdifferently.org/sermon/what-do-these-stones-mean-). As I listened to his talk, I began to re-cognize the significance of the wisdom of the ages, and the faith of our ‘foreparents’ in our everyday challenges, the YES WE CAN (Obama & will-i-am style) available to all of us because WE ALWAYS HAVE.

How odd to have him speaking about this topic, since I’d journaled along similar lines that morning, in thinking of my plans to take on the Grady High School Stadium stairs that afternoon…a Sankofa experience. You see, when I was a grad student at UCLA (http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/) in the mid-90’s, I had a crew of female classmates intent on getting bathing suit bodies. So we set out every Saturday on an outbound tour past-Golden-&-Kurt’s-beach-crib-to-Santa-Monica-stairs then return through Downtown-Santa-Monica-city-route sojourn in pursuit of this blissfully fit state. And we’d always stop mid-way at Canyon Beachwear (http://www.canyonbeachwear.com/) for a browsing session as added incentive to stick with our rigorous program. MBA/JD student and type A personality Tsan (http://campcobalt.com/tsan-abrahamson.html) came up with this crueling, yet scenic workout, and tricked us into it the 1st time out. Anyway, more than 10 years later, I now have Cigna director Cerise to thank for inspiring a similar ritual in 2008: weekly stair-climbing at one of our finest Atlanta Public Schools, named for local icon Henry Grady. SanMo Stairs Remix!

This particular Sunday, I had a Wing Dude (instead of Chick), Harvey was good sport enough to be my playmate on this playdate; back in the day, he was one of my younger brother Eric’s crew. So after the inspirational message from Olu, and fellowship with other Impact enthusiasts, some of whom we’d known since high school or before, off we went to Arden’s Garden (http://www.ardensgarden.com) for a carb boost, then to the imposing concrete Grady stadium stairs. After a grueling set of trips up & down, we jetted to join a Jack & Jill (http://national.jackandjillonline.org/) touring of the Courage exhibit at the Atlanta History Center. Another looking back to go forward, from SC-spawned Brown vs. The Board of Education to 2007’s overturning of that ruling. Another set of high school or earlier reconnections, with parents who’d participated in Jack & Jill as children, now bringing their own kids through a similar rights of passage.

I am so grateful for this intellectually, emotionally, spiritually fulfilling day of village-wide remembrances. It can do no less than catapult me forward, on my workout, on my friendships, on my life’s work, all these, my passions. I can see the synchronicity in occurrences both large & small, historic and everyday. How about you? Have you recently had a déjà vu remix-type experience that hailed from your past, a past life or a previous generation’s? Did it leave you awed and inspired? If not, I trust you’ll be on the lookout for such experiences, because I suspect we can see them all around us, if we only take the time to notice. I wish you great inspiring memory hunting this day and always.

Head-Turner-in-Chief


So my blog title may make you think of our 44th president’s boyish good looks or understated, classic wardrobe, but what I’m talking about is his ability to turn silly arguments on their heads.  I adore that he is such a master of this tricky art!

Consider his Philly race speech.  The Rev. Wright firestorm would have taken any other candidate out, but not BO! Instead, he transformed this potential debacle into a racial divide/harmony teaching moment.

Now there’s the ASU speech. Instead of ignoring the flap about his ‘lack of a significant body of work,’ he made this supposed weakness/insult the crux of a commencement speech and captured the students’ imaginations with suggestions for creating a body of work that positively impacts their world.  Wow! I ain’t even graduatin’ and I’m inspired!

I’m anxious to see what other game changers BO has in store for us.  For all you haters, keep the barbs coming, cuz My President’s got a way of turning them into golden moments. Thanks for providing him the platform to make us all the best that we can be, in his role as Educator/Facilitator-in-chief.

Any guesses on his next turn-the-argument-on-its-head scenario? More False Choice 101 lessons, anyone? My money’s on Notre Dame Commencement-Pro-choice flap, but then there’s the  Transparency vs. Nat’l Security Torture pix/memos flip-flop. What do you tthink?  Let me know your thoughts!

Do No Harm 2

dnhlogo-do-no-harmBeing ME…

What does that mean?

I sometimes catch myself

Unconsciously thinking of me

In static terms,

As if ME is who I’ve always been,

Or whom I’ve become

After that last hurtful scene,

The one that had me

Put one more brick

In that wall that’s suppose to

Protect ME from IT/THEM,

That thing/those others

Out to get me.

But what if I’m like water

Subtle but strong

Flexible but true,

Live-giving, and fatal,

Depending on my mood?

Then no wall can forever

Protect or hold me.

Boundless me.

And maybe, just maybe,

Them being out to get me

Is a figment of my imagination,

A FEARful hallucintation,

False Evidence Appearing Real,

Fully Fooling me.

They don’t mean no harm!

Or if that’s how they feel,

It’s only a defense spiel,

With secret code, disarmed.

So who AM I, me?

Am I the main attraction

Or background scenery?

The quiet calm

Or bold, brassy melody?

Point is, I/me certainly

Is NOT static.

Au contraire,

I can be quite erratic,

Unpredictable, whimsical,

Invisible or blindingly bright,

In your face or just plain outta sight.

Or some middle ground,

Not so easily found,

For now…

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