Monday, April 15, 2013

Domestically Cursed E-book Download Available!


A Story on Partnership Violence
by Renair Amin

Get Your Copy TODAY!!

(Portion of each sale goes to a LGBT Partnership Violence Service Provider)
(Name withheld at the discretion of the organization.)

This empowering eBook chronicles the author’s personal experience of being on the receiving - and later, the giving – end of domestic violence/abuse in a same gender loving relationship.


You lost me yet kept me within your grasp
Crashing my face with your fist
I am a witness to the damage you can do
How does it feel to have a black eye looking back at you



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Stop, Drop, and Roll out of the Elevator with that Dead Body

I know that was such a long title but I did not know how else to name it. It's a long and crazy as that moment in the elevator!

Lifestylers, I have to be honest with you: I never, ever, never, ever (did...I…say…never) thought I would find myself in the situation that happened last week. My close friends know that there are three things in life that could cause the people with the white jackets and hooks to come to my door: 1) a nervous breakdown 2) an encounter with a tarantula or 3) a dead body.  However, recently I found out that I could actually survive two of those (partially)…LOL

To take care of the “take-care-of,” I am presently temping in a hospital in Jersey. So last week, my co-worker, “Janice,” decides that she wants to take the side-bank elevators down to the cafeteria. Now I seldom take this particular set of elevators because it is the least convenient.  Since I am a temp, I was not given the new employee guidelines and instructions, so I was not aware the rule that says when a patient is loaded on to the elevator, everyone must vacate. 

Needless to say, here we are on our way to lunch when we pull on to a floor and a girl begins to wheel in a gurney covered with a white sheet. Totally oblivious, I begin to think “Wow, that patient is knocked out. That’s some serious anesthesia.”  Janice is trying, according to protocol, to exit the elevator but the girl is pushing the gurney is too fast. Again, I am just standing there with a bunch of thoughts swirling through my head. As the doors close, and the gurney is now less than an inch away from my body, I stare at the sheet perplexed as there is no movement at all and wonder was I out like that when I had surgery years ago. I glance at Janice. My lovely Ecuadorian coworker is now turning every shade of red imaginable and is two seconds from taking flight INSIDE the elevator. It hits me! This patient is SO NOT SLEEP! 

As if the rest of the elevator is realizing that Janice is totally about to freak out, people are trying to hold laugh. I start to panic.  The doors open and Janice followed by myself are the first two out. We laughed hysterically.

Later that night as I reflected over that day, I realized something: I was actually calm UNTIL Janice began to react.  Totally oblivious to anything that was going on, I had no reaction. Even once, I realized that the patient was on their way to the morgue, I was still alright. I mean, don’t misunderstand I was not about to do the Macarena (yep..they still do that somewhere) but I was holding my own. However, when she freaked…I freaked.

I began to ask myself how many times I had allowed someone else’s response to infiltrate and become my response. A lot. I want to say “Well, I am human,” but sometimes that becomes a permission slip to too much foolery in my life. *smile* How about you? Have you ever been having a great day and receive a phone call that left you with the emotions of your caller. All of a sudden, you are angry, upset, sad or one of the other myriad of emotions that were subliminally left in your subconscious. Ever walk in the house in a good space and the atmosphere of your spouse, friend or even your child becomes your new breathing space. The question is how do you remain calm in the elevator with the dead body when the rest of the world is freaking out?

The next day, I told my coworker of my revelation. She thought about it agreeing as to the domino effect that had taken place. I have concluded the next time I feel myself getting saturated in the emotions of another that I would do like they tell you when your clothes are on fire: Stop. Drop. Roll.

I am going to STOP and think about what is exactly going on. DROP any preconceived notions or desires to commiserate with my counterpart and ROLL with what I know. Had I applied that concept to the elevator, it would have looked like this:

Stop:  What is happening? There is a body on the gurney. Can it harm me? Can I see her/him through the sheet? How is it affecting me really?

Drop: This is not a movie. Right now, I am in no immediate danger.

Roll: Okay, I will be fine for the next 5 seconds that it will take me to get off of this elevator.

Now, I will be honest and say had the elevator gotten stuck, we might have been dealing with a whole new set of methods *lol* because once it STOPPED, I would have DROPPED and then been ROLLED out on my own gurney.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Get In Where You Don't Fit In!

Last week, I was on a crowded train when I found myself in an usual predicament *gasp* NO SEAT! Now, I am sure that almost every New Yorker reading this is like “that ain’t no predicament…that’s New York!”  On a regular day, I would have to agree but on certain days, my muscles get very inflamed causing me to be in severe pain. Basically, I have arthritis. I hesitate to talk about it. I used to talk about it often until one day I found myself on a call with my 79-year-old my mom talking about whose-what-was-hurting-worse-because-of-the-rain. That was the moment I knew that things had gone too far and that I needed to watch my conversations…LOL

I was standing  right over two women when I happened to notice there was a seat between them. However, smack dead in the center of the seat was a pole totally messing up the possibility of my comfortably getting into this seat. I had totally erased "doing unto others what I hate having done to me" -- squeezing in a tight seat/space -- until an announcement came over the loud speaker, “Due to train traffic ahead, the train is being held in the station.” On cue, a pain shot through my body, and my typical 35-minute ride began to look a lot different especially from a standing position. I eyed the seat from every angle. Which way could I enter this seat? Either way, one of these women would be very annoyed and subject to my entire backside  as I twirled around this pole. I just took a deep breath, and swung in from the right. Epic fail! Now I was sitting on a weird slant and it was apparent that I had made a very bad decision. However, I refused to move. Everyone had watched my acrobatic entry and I would not try it again.

The young woman on the left turned to me and said “You’ll probably be more comfortable if you sit on this side.” I said, “You’re probably right.” With that, I got up and re-positioned myself on the other side of the rail which was smaller but less awkward. Truthfully, it was a very tight place that under NOTHING but duress should I have attempted. However, in that moment, something became more important -- MY PAIN.  Turns out, one of the ladies was getting off shortly thereafter so I wasn't uncomfortable for too long. 

When I first heard the concept of being “uncomfortable,’” I thought to myself, “who in the world wants to be uncomfortable!” Now, I get it: Sometimes the greatest moments come when you do something that normally would cause you to feel strange/awkward/different/uncomfortable. All the times I felt "uncomfortable” in my life was usually when I...

  • Did something that I never thought that I could!
  • Spoke openly and lovingly about my feelings to achieve an understanding
  • Took a new class or went back to school  or 
  • Stepped out on faith...

But I will be honest and say -- Those times were also the catalysts to very memorable and life-changing experiences. I grew in ways that I never could have even imagined! So I say to you - sometimes you gotta be willing to get in where you DON'T fit in...Swing around that pole... And have a seat! 

LifeStylin' Disclaimer: Please don't follow my example and try to fit on a bus or train seat that could cause you some offline problems. LOL Use your best judgment when you trying to implement this lesson literally LOL.)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bacon in my Pocket

I went away this weekend with a private group as part of a business collaborative. My job was to life/relationship coach and talk from the perspective of how we see ourselves. Many people don't know that for most of my twenties, I struggled with my weight - at one point tipping the scale at a generous 285 lbs. Even today, I still have to watch if my weight begins to climb.

Experts say when you lose weight to get rid of your old clothes. The last time I dropped like 15 lbs. I did just that! That way, when I can't get into my clothes and have nothing to wear, I have no choice but to get a grip. If we are not careful we will find ourselves going back to what is comfortable.

Truth be told, I am now and always been a foodie. For most of my life up until my early 20s, I was thin.  My favorite thing to do especially when I am away is to eat all the foods I don't regularly eat. That hasn't change.  So back to the retreat---There were some “Cookers!!” I mean, Good Ole’ Throw Down Back Home, Tear-Up-A-Kitchen Cooks! They were throwing DOWN and I was throwing IN! I stayed full. To make matters worse…lol…I found out while on the road that I really like Taco Bell’s Doritos Chicken Tacos.

Anyway, on the way home, we stopped at the bathroom and right next door is Taco Bell. So I decided for my final "hoorah" to make a run for the border. As I reached in my pocket to get money, I was met with an aluminum foil packet full of Turkey bacon. I had forgotten that I stuck it in my pocket in the car because they needed the bag. Laughing hysterically, I turn to my friend and say-"You know you really got 'fat girl' issues when you walking around with turkey bacon in your pocket while you are entering a taco bell. I need help.” We laughed until tears rolled out our eyes. Then I got a weird thought:  Sometimes when you reach, you may find something you least expect. Last week, I reached in my pocket and found $10. The other week, I reached in a pocket and found a pair of earrings.  How great is that! So, this week I am going “Reaching”. I do not mean that I am going to go and raid everything that I own with a pocket. I am going to reach believing that I will find something! Reaching for my dream! Reaching for the unbelievable! Just reaching!  Who knows I might find something that I thought I lost...  or maybe another surprise package of turkey bacon.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Break Barriers!

This weekend I had the amazing privilege to be invited to the East Catalyst Conference which was basically a conference full of and sex[uality] activists, educators, etc.  It was a place for voices to come together to teach and discuss topics as well as be informed around everything including sex and spirituality, homophobia, Measure B and more.

I was part of a panel on Homophobia in the Communities of Color.  As a licensed minister, I am often asked to speak from the perspective of homophobia and religion. I was joined by phenomenal artists such as Slam the Poet, Regie Cabico, and Mo Beasley, who was also the moderator and the visionary for bringing us together. The experience was full of so much that I am still basking in it today!

But here is the CRAZY! Lifestylers, I had a massive Murphy’s Law explosion Friday morning before I left. Murphy’s Law says “whatever can happen…will,” and folks, it did. I lost my keys right before I left the house and spent 3 hours trying to reach my spouse to see if she could come home and lock the door. Since I was waiting to connect with others about my leaving schedule not only did I almost not have a bus ticket but they actually got to the bus station before me. A bill came out of nowhere needing to be paid that day. (It actually wasn’t out of nowhere, I had forgot to pay it.) All of a sudden everything that I had planned all week went up in smoke in about 3 hours. To top it all off, I missed my bus. I was freaking out! (Yea…the LifeStyler freaks out occasionally LOL. I’s human!)

I called my Jackman (from my Spiritual Pit Crew) – which is the person that lifts me up so that the work can be done. We talked for 1 minute. (It was really one minute.) As soon as the lines were disconnected, I was alright. I knew I had called the right person. She did not commiserate with me; she basically said GET ON THE BUS! (#Lesson) texted her: It must be a powerful trip.  I immediately discern I was being stopped from something powerful.  I say “discern” because you have to be able to tell the difference between a barrier and warning. One you need to take heed and the other, well you need to break through!

I decided to break through! I remembered whenever I experience a great challenge there was usually a greater experience on the other side so I pressed forward. I ended up still connecting with everyone when I got to D.C. simply because their bus was over an hour and half late! I made it to the hotel in time to make all the opening ceremonies. My keys were found at home and I had gotten paid from a freelance job which affording me to be able to make my travels.  Just because you slowed down for a second, doesn’t mean you can’t win the race! Now looking back, I had truly spoken the truth: It WAS a powerful trip.

Break barriers…

Because Life is a POWERFUL TRIP!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Leaping into a New Season!

Sometimes in life, we find ourselves at a *pause* and need a second which is exactly where I found myself. I needed a make-over and quick. I was reverting! Here I had moved into a new neighborhood and kept sneaking into the old one! What do you do when your mind keeps flipping the switch back to an old way of being? Here I was LifeStylin' but I couldn't shake the desire to revert that same-ole-technical-routine-self. Blame it on the lawyers and my legal background! Just joking! I know that I have the full POWER to be exactly what I deem myself to be! The saying says, "If you believe it, you can achieve it." I would like to add "and if you keep saying it, you will keep staying it!"

I worked in law firms for over 15 years and TRUST ME when you work in an corporate office for a long time even your regular, every day, conversations start to sound all technical: "Therefore, I conclude we ought to eat lunch now whereas our intended arrival at the movie theatre before the airing of the previews will still be possible".   My first book had to be re edited so it didn't read like a deposition. Either way, I realized that I had rebuttoned the top button on my collar and my life!

So I decided to take on a new opportunity that would not only add funds to my wonderful bank account, but help to strengthen my interpersonal skills.  It is in Jersey City so for the next few months, I will be commuting between Brooklyn, and New Jersey. It is only about an hour and fifteen minutes which is nothing. I could do that traveling from Brooklyn to the Bronx on a Sunday morning :)  So I get to see the most amazing people, and experience the "crazy" that is a daily commute. I am learning to get excited when I get new challenges because I know that new knowledge is right behind it.

As I prepare for the time to spring forward, I am making a DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME SPRING FORWARD holiday! Who doesn't love a good party? Therefore, I am claiming DSTSF as the day that I LEAP into a new season of my life! What do you think? Are you ready for something new, too? You wanna leap with me?

I am ready...

Let's Go!





Monday, January 14, 2013


I so missed you guys. At first, I took the end of December off into the New Year just as my way to spend some time preparing for the amazing entrance of 2013. I later saw that this year was going to begin a little different than I expected.  In the beginning, I was very upset.  That was my initial reaction. However, during this time I have been given some amazing insights and topics to share with you!

Now looking back, I feel like it was simply a reminder not to let the little things get in your way or disrupt your day.  There is a reason that things occur even if we do not see it at the moment. As complex as life can be, there is also a place of simplicity. At the end of the day, if we are able to release our expectation of how things should go, we can have a better experience. This applies to people as well. I recently found myself in a situation where had to realize that I had placed some unreasonable standards on someone in my life. Not only did they not ask to be in the position I put them, I neglected to tell them that they had that place in my life.   It is almost like hiring someone for a job for which they did not apply nor ask to be hired but yet you fire them for not doing the work.

Changing this mindset is not an easy thing but it is doable. It takes a lot of work.  However, first you must be willing to look at why you expected that from them in the first place.  When you have a void or unfinished business in your life, it is easy to try to heal an old situation with something new. For example, if you lose touch or have a fall out with your brother or sister, you may try to create another “sibling.” You did not even tell the new person that you have selected them as your family yet when they do not act like what you need, you are upset and offended. The best way to heal the situation is to work to deal with the issues around your actual family thereby exonerating anyone else from living up to that standard. Also, if you have responded in a way that has ruined the relationship with your "replacement," then you may need to 'fess up. No one desires to be mistreated because of your baggage.

The past often holds us captive. It is worse when the original issue is with someone who is deceased or unwilling to speak to you at all. Closure becomes unobtainable that creates a desperation.  The one thing to remember is that often times desperate actions lead to desperate results. You may have to seek outside help but you have to get to a place of letting the issue go. Once you release the expectation, the expectation will release you.