Jamie Mayes, AOE

Archive for December, 2013|Monthly archive page

There’s a Lesson in Every Experience

In Uncategorized on December 31, 2013 at 8:56 pm


Alas! The  year is drawing to a close and 2013 has certainly had a set of challenges for me! The year befittingly coincided with the title of my short story collection, Bitter Lemons, Sweet Lemonade, which was released this past summer. In the midst of the craziness of life, I saw my personal growth and new strength and as a result, I sprung forward with resilience allowing very little room for wallowing in life’s misfortunes. Though rough at times, I managed to find the beauty of every situation, whether it was learning to cope with death throughout the year or flying in an airplan for the first time.

As I reflect upon the year, I must share with my readers some the best lessons I learned this year. They have truly made me a better person and perhaps they can help you, too!

1. Love is a beautiful experience, so don’t agonize over the future or be haunted by the past; instead love in the present and enjoy every moment.
2. Motivation is not enough to have success…you need to master your skill and be committed to your goals even when it seems there are no results and there are big setbacks.
3. Find your calling, not somebody else’s.
4. Take a chance or two or three.
5. Break your own rules sometimes; it might be worth it.
6. God is bigger than your fears and your FAITH should be, too.
7. Faith is REAL and so are the blessings it yields!
8. Quality is better than quantity, but quality quantity is even better…aim high.
9. Life is short and some lives are shorter than others…make your time count.
10. Learn the enemy to overcome the enemy.
11. If you are wanted you’ll know it; if you aren’t wanted you’ll know that, too.
12. ENJOY LIFE because there are no do-overs, edits or resubmissions!


While many of these are things we’ve heard a million times, clarity and true understanding of these lessons certainly became more apparent this year. I send well wishes to you and the hope that this year will be prosperous for you!

Kisses and love,



Molding Our Little Gifts

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2013 at 9:05 pm

When I was in about the sixth grade, my mother came to parent night to pick up my report card. There was a list of complimentary remarks for each class period, but in addition to that there were at least three teachers who also wrote “student is quite talkative in class.” I cringed at the sight of these words for I knew it meant big trouble for me. I watched my mother’s facial expression change when she saw the comments, and I knew she was not happy with the remarks. Yet, she made no comment about them.

As we went from class to class, I noticed that my mother’s temperament did not seemed the same as I had seen it on other occasions when my teachers complained about my little chatterbox habits. I tried to drift to a different area of the classroom while my mother talked to my teachers, but eventually I decided to hang around and listen to the conversation between my mother and my teacher. Each teacher started off with a list of positive things (as good teachers do), and then one would usually say, “We only have one small problem-she can be a bit talkative in class.” My mother sighed (she was probably praying for the Lord to help her deal with a motor mouth), apologized to my teacher and then asked a few questions: Was I disrespectful? Was I failing to complete work? Was I misbehaving? To these questions my teachers would respond that I was never disrespectful, I finished my work on time and I didn’t misbehave; for several of them I was actually one of  their favorite students. I just talked…about anything, including the lesson and my class work. (Yes, I am a nerd.) With the most important questions out of the way, my mother apologized and explained to my teachers that she had a little talk-a-holic on her hands. She had spent years trying to gain control of my talking habit; I had been threatened and punished, but it just didn’t seem to work. I just loved to talk, as a matter of a fact; I even talked in my sleep on a regular basis. The admission of my problem made me feel a little embarrassed; I had never seen my mother render herself powerless over any situation. I was fearful, for to see my mother avoid a threat on my life and apologize to my teachers on my behalf only increased my worry of what repercussions were to come.

I nervously anticipated the ride home as I tried to figure out why she was so calm. I was surprised though, when my mother handled my issue in a very basic way. She told me she realized that I was talkative and that none of her methods had worked; she wasn’t going that route this time. She was proud of my grades and my teachers had good things to say about me, and that mattered most. Whew, I thought I was off the hook. She concluded the discussion by reminding me that it was okay to like to talk but it was not okay to talk during class, especially when teacher asked me not to do it. My mother agreed to let me have a “freebie,” but if I had the same problem during the next six weeks I would be in bi g trouble, and honey, I knew she meant it! Between the guilt and fear I felt and a lot of hard work and struggle, I managed to learn how to save my talking for outside of the classroom.

This situation returned to mind as I held a conversation with a few parents about schoolwork over the weekend.  So many parents today are much different than what parents were like even fifteen years ago. While it is true that children should be allowed to be creative and free-spirited, it’s also true that they must be molded and taught the importance of responsibility and obedience. Just because they don’t enjoy certain things and quite often, neither do the parents, does not mean that children should not be held accountable for responsibilities and rules. While my mother knew talking was a sort of hobby for me and I hated that I had to be quiet, I had to learn how to become an orderly and obedient student so that I could become a functional member of a society that does not issue sympathy based on background experiences and or my mama taught me.

My passion for talking never left, as a matter of a fact; it became a basis for my passion as a writer and speaker. However, I had to learn that my gift had to be molded and used appropriately so that I could be the best person I could be and my gift would lead to long term success. In addition, learning how to put my gift to proper use helped me establish my own guidelines to perfect my passion. While I enjoy talking and speaking, there are some things that I highly oblige as a professional:

  1. I don’t like for people to talk while one is taking or presenting.
  2. I don’t like enjoy gossip or talking about matters that will not help or correct a situation.
  3. I listen closely for the quality of a presentation and substance of any type of public presentation.
  4. I think effective communication is essential regardless of one’s profession.

These preferences are largely a result of learning to understand the boundaries of my own gift and the etiquette of proper behavior. Had my mother not emphasized the importance of self-disciple and respect regardless of my personal preferences, my gift would be loud, unethical, non-impactful, and useless.

I find myself worried about the current generation for we live in the era of parents as friends and the mentality that we should only do what we want to do. If the child disagrees, the parent disagrees. If the child is upset, the parent is upset. While it is important to have a good relationship with one’s children, it is most important to remember that children must be trained to be self-sufficient and functional when parents are gone. There is a saying which I heard for many years as a child, “You can do what you want to when you are grown.” However, I beg to differ. As a matter of a fact, adulthood is when we follow more rules and guidelines than ever. One’s ability to function in society and follow the rules is contingent upon how one is reared during the most important time of life- childhood. Failure to teach children to do give their best, even when it’s something they prefer not to do, can only set them up for failure and mediocrity or something less.

One of the women of my conversation told me that when I have children I will change. I pray that such is not that the case. I was taught that I had to push outside of my comfort zone in order to attain excellence, I hope that is the same timeless lesson that I teach my children; for they deserve the best I can give them, too. Sometimes the best one can give is filled with smiles and hugs and happy faces, it’s filled with pushing, pulling, and molding your child so they can make the most of their gift.


In Uncategorized on December 11, 2013 at 10:20 pm

By Jamie Mayes
©2013 by Motivational Inspirations
Found everywhere from the bottom of your pocket
To the rough and tough projects of the inner city
that have become high-end condos of the surburbs.
And it cannot be avoided
One must struggle with or fully accept change
Handed to you or thrust upon you
For change is what makes the cheapest of things
so grand.

Has change ever brought or bought something you
thought to be valuable only to discover it was valueless?
Not worth the price?
Or a change which should have been rejected?
Yet, on the other side of change is
Success, pride, optimism, transition
Most importantly, something new.

And to get what change pays for
You must give your all and risk
Losing the perceived value
To understand the real value of change.

Sharkeisha: Hood Hero or Criminal-in-Training?

In Uncategorized on December 4, 2013 at 6:23 pm

The other night my cousin and I had a great and very intense conversation. We had both caught wind of the Sharkeisha situation via social media and were late getting to the video clip. However, after watching it, we had a similar reaction. What was funny about this situation?
It disgusted us as black women, a mother and a former teacher, and people who had dealt with bullies at some point in our lives. The instant perception of Sharkeisha should not have been that she was some glorified hood hero; instead, she is possibly a convict in training whose violent ego is being promoted by society. It angered me to see the number of parents and adults who laughed at this fiasco and posted comments about the situation in a comical manner. I considered how differently this situation could have been and should have been handled. Perhaps, an even bigger concern is society’s general inability to see the seriousness of this situation.
I first considered Sharkeisha from a black woman’s point of view. One of the most common misperceptions about black women is that we are all angry ticking time bombs ready to go off about the most insignificant things. While I could not understand most of the content of the video, judging from the situation I am quite sure that was not one that rendered such violent acts. Judging from some of the lines at the end the video, it seems to be a classic case of a girl who is angry about a boy. Yes, yes, that’s who we are women, raging maniacs who will fight about a guy, who seems in this video, to be no where around anyway. Sharkeisha has become, in essence, a global example of how black females deal with anger and men. She is the reason that white women cringe in discomfort when black women enter the room and white men assume that assertiveness equates anger in a black woman. She is the reason black men try to justify the degradation of black women through terms like bitch, trick, and hoe. And though some will try to say my conclusions are extreme, multiply Sharkeisha by the millions and you have only a portion of what has been portrayed across society. All hard working, degree obtaining, loyal black women, you may take you steps back thanks to this video.
Next, my cousin and I considered this video from the aspect of a parent and a former teacher and people who had dealt with bullies at some point in our lives. My cousin has two daughters; one who is a pre-teen and another is 8. She admitted fears of her children being bullied and her constant attempts to keep communication open so she can know if her girls are in situations where they become the victims of violent acts such as the one in this video. As a teacher I described to my cousin the numerous times I had to intervene in situations where a student was being harassed, bullied, and cyber bullied by other students. I can recall walking a young lady to the office after she said she wanted to die because her former friends were slandering her name on social media. I recalled a situation last year where one of my students began spending every lunch period in my class. When I asked him if anything was wrong he told me about a boy and girl who were more than double his size and had done things like slap his lunch tray on the floor, shove his head into the lockers, and hit him. The problem had gone on for almost two months before he spoke up. And here, we have Sharkeisha, following a young lady who is obviously trying to avoid the situations while her friends record the public humiliation. Yes, parents and teachers, this is what we should created pic collages and hash tags and make funny comments about after we replace Sharkeisha and her victim with the faces of our students and children.

I was able to find a follow-up interview with the victim and her mother. They flashed pictures of her black eye, busted lip, and bruised face, and as suspected, it was all about a boy. Sharmichael’s mother talked about the public humiliation her daughter faces and the fame that the victimizer has gained at the expense of her daughter’s health. Watching the short clip angered my and made my stomach turn. I recalled my experiences of being picked on by others for my appearance, skin complexion and looks as a child. I thought about times when I got beat up by girl in my neighborhood, until I finally stood up for myself. Yet, there’s no guarantee that everyone has the same emotional strength to bear these burdens, especially when one becomes a laughing joke by the world. What happens if the victim Sharmichael isn’t strong enough to withstand the constant ridicule she faces? How many of us will send flowers to her grave?
Ultimately, hardly anyone has seen this incident for what it truly is- a possible look into Sharkeisha’s future. Applauding such monstrous actions will only promote the increase of such behavior. Perhaps, she will be given television time to talk about her “issues.” Oh, no, no, she’ll be given a reality show where her feisty fight skills will be highlighted! Still, with all the glory she will receive, she will make a few very real discoveries as she gets older. The friends who recorded the drama are not really her friends. All the attention she gets will be at the expense of her peace and sanity. Lastly, this video will follow her for a long time, even when she is no longer the beast that is glorified in this clip.
However, it’s not Sharkeisha who upsets me most, for she is young and, apparently, not being steered in the right direction. I am disappointed with society for promoting and parading this foolishness and taking it to be a joke. I wonder how hard you will laugh when it’s your child.

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