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Protect and Serve
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Me and the police.

I’m very very agitated at the moment.

The continual disregard for the lives of Black Americans makes me physically ill.

I had a conversation with Matthew recently about how angry it makes me that ANYTIME I see police, I become nervous and I have done NOTHING wrong.

We were getting gas in McGhee, Arkansas a little while back on our way to Biloxi, Mississippi.  When Matthew finished pumping the gas, he took a phone call.  He was pacing around the car and speaking in an agitated tone.  Next thing I see is a police car pull up behind us he sat in the car for a while, got out and fiddled with his wallet, got back in his car, and watched Matthew.  Then, another police car pulls up beside the first and they sit there, both watching Matthew.  I got so scared, I drove to the other side of the parking lot to get Matthew to follow and away from the police.  We left and the police followed for a while (my assumption is that they were running my tags) and eventually they turned off the highway.

Why was my heart racing? Why was I so afraid for Matthew??

Because I know that because he is a Black man, he is an automatic target.  All they needed was a reason to approach him and that could have been ample reason to detain, arrest, harass, assault, and possibly kill my husband.

SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE.  We are human.  We should not have to beg not to be shot by police whose job it is to protect and serve.

Rest in peace to Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Oscar Grant, and the countless other innocent victims of overly aggressive, ill-prepared, untrained, inhumane police officers who have no regard for human life.

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I’m fat.

So over the last few years, I’ve gained quite a bit of weight.  My normal weight is 130-138. I’m 5’3.75″ (yes, that’s 3 3/4 inches- lol).  My current weight is… Yeah right. Let’s just say it’s more than an upward fluctuation.

I believe there are 4 contributing factors:

1. A health issue that makes it quite difficult to lose body fat
2. I eat WAY more than I did before I got married (Matthew eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner- and is an AWESOME cook.)
3. I am not as active as I was before I got married
4. I am traveling for work 3-5 days a week so I eat at restaurants quite a bit

I used to be able to give just a little effort and see results quickly. NO MORE.

I sometimes feel sorry for myself when I look at myself in the mirror.  I’ve worked out like a mad woman, taken the fat burning pills, juiced, fasted, changed my eating habits, etc. etc. etc. and none of it has made any major dent; at the most I’ve lost 5-8 pounds.  Is it because of the proverbial “Curse of the 30’s” ?? [[SIDENOTE: I know I’m not young anymore.. I am so annoyed by most of the pop culture to which I thought I’d always be able to relate]]

When I living in San Francisco, I lost about 15 pounds.  I attributed that to not eating (i.e. sweet pickles and applesauce for dinner) which I was fine with- I generally eat to live when it’s just me AND I walked at least 3 or 4 miles each day total (not having a car is quite common there and public transportation [BART, MUNI, Caltrain] are the mode of transportation of choice for most.)

Me in San Francisco

Me in San Francisco

How I feel now

How I feel now

Sometimes I forget how much weight I’ve gained but the tighter my clothes get, I can’t deny it. I feel like I am the same but when I look at my old pictures, it’s very telling…  and miss that metabolism lol.. Oh well.

So looking forward this year, I’ll be proactive about getting back on my medication, managing my food intake, be excited about working out again, and updating this thing with a new post entitled: “I’m not fat anymore.” :)

 

Cheers.

m.

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Christmas and the demon of failure.

Two days until Christmas.

For the last few years, as a family we have had some financial hardships.  Ups and downs.

But it seemed that each year, around Christmas things became really difficult and we would have to scale back on our Christmas giving plans.  This year since we lost our house and are chipping away at these projects it seems even more pronounced.  I have been doing well, being positive and keeping Matthew positive as much as possible.  Even when things seem the most grim, it’s not difficult for me to see where the positive is.

But today…

Today, I woke up feeling super positive.  I only slept a few hours but I felt really good when I woke up.  I said- “Something great is happening today”.  I can feel it.

But after I got out the shower and into the car- Matthew told me we had $240 to get Christmas gifts for all the kids.  (That’s 5)  I immediately began to feel defeated.  I thought I was frustrated, but it was more of a deflated feeling.

As we drove, I decided that I needed to go back to Shammy’s house and get my computer so I could do some work and earn some more cash.  We got to Starbucks and Matthew asked me what we should do to help lift my spirit.  I said nothing.  I knew in my head, and my mind was saying “Please pray for me!” but there was something more powerful controlling what was coming out of my mouth.

We sat at the table and he was trying so hard to help me, but I realized that it wasn’t just frustration or the blues. I had a demon on me. It was the spirit of failure, inadequacy, and giving up. He was controlling my mouth- not my thoughts.  He wouldn’t allow me to say that I needed Matthew to pray for me.

What I did say is that I wanted to drink- a LOT. I wanted to get drunk and be dark.  Go to sleep and wake up and drink more.  Of course, Matthew rejected that idea.. I got enough strength to tell him that I was trapped inside my mind and that this demon was controlling my mouth.  Tricking me into believing that I was powerless to stop him.  Matthew asked me again what should we do.

I excused myself to the bathroom.  When I got there, I looked in the mirror; I saw my face but I didn’t recognize myself.  There was this look of- “ha. I’m in control and you can’t do anything about it.” It was him and it was down right scary. I had to cover my eyes.

I remembered that recurring dream that I have had since I was a kid (about my home -usually in Grady- being possessed by demons) and found the strength to do what I needed to do!!

I looked at myself in the mirror and rebuked the demon and the devil himself in the name of Jesus who died for my sins and Jehovah the Most High God! I repeated myself and immediately felt that demon depart from me.

THIS IS STUFF YOU SEE IN MOVIES AND I SWEAR THAT I’M NOT EXAGGERATING!!

I have to look into this and figure out what to do.  I’ve always had a very REAL awareness and connection to this spiritual world but I wasn’t sure what it was or what it meant.  I’m beginning to see now.

Maria Hampton
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Meeting… Chance meeting.

Saturday morning I woke up with a purpose.

Since Friday I failed at my plan to go out into the world and work remotely, I decided to get up early and GET GONE.

Carolina emailed me and asked if I wanted to meet at 1pm in Oakland.  PERFECT.  So I get moving.  I used a public transit app (that shall remain nameless) that did okay but really left me guessing quite a bit.  First, I walked to the wrong place, missed the first bus, and then it left me hanging after getting to Embarcadero.  The description had touted that it would navigate me through MUNI as well as BART.  Well, it lied.  I was still able to get where I was going though.
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Because of all the confusion and delays, it took me so long that it was closer to 2pm by the time I got to Oakland.  Carolina would have to leave at 3 but I was determined.  When I arrived at the Merritt Lake BART station I called Carolina, she gave me directions to get to Merritt Lake Park- which turns out is the same place we were at the night before at the party.

She wanted to meet me at least to make sure I went to the right place (and avoided the wrong ones lol).  We met at the lake and walked to a cute little coffee shop (Merritt Station Cafe) right across the street.  I had the dirty iced chai tea and it was beyond delicious.

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We ended up talking until a quarter to five.  Her insight as a former investor and founder herself was gold.  She also suggested that I use the HOPSTOP app to navigate back. We wrapped up and I began my trek back to the BART station.  I strolled leisurely around Merritt Lake, enjoying the beautiful weather, when I heard someone say, “Maria!”

Wait. What?  I’m in OAKLAND.  Okay… maybe they are talking to someone else.  “MARIA!” I looked up and saw Morgan- the lady we rode up on the elevator with the night before.  She was slacklining and invited me to give it a shot.  It was addictive, though I had to hold her hand the entire time I was up.  She offered to give me a walking / driving tour of Oakland.  OF COURSE, I accepted.  So for about an hour and a half, she drove me around- top dropped on the car- showing me all the non-touristy things she could think of.  I was in heaven!

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She asked me detailed questions about what I do and my views on certain issues that others in similar fields faced.  The conversation was great.  She took me to the BART station and offered her phone number to keep in touch.  Cool!

As I waited on the train back to SF I noticed a poster for a Filipino festival.  It was the one I saw at Yerba Buena Gardens one of the times I got confused by that horrible first app!  It was for Saturday and Sunday only, but I had to get on back before dark so I made a mental note to get back there before it ended.  Cool.

My ride back to the apartment was easy- since I went back pretty much the same way I came.  All was well and I was most definitely glad that I made the trip.

My chance meeting became the second dot that will become a line! :)

-mrsmh2

Beans the Pig Working
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Everyday kind of day? Not so much.

So, it’s a regular work day… kinda.

I had planned on working remotely- but everything kept me from getting away from the office.  Frustrated? Just a little.  Anyhow, we got an email from Angela (NEW ME Accelerator founder) informing us that we had all been invited by an impact investor to a small party over in Oakland.  Cool…

So around 4pm I headed out with two of my colleagues here- Brit and Charleson who both happen to be from the Memphis NEWME  Pop-up.  Brit had to go to Best Buy and replace her laptop which had bit the dust the first day here. After we left there, we headed over to Oakland.  The plan was to find some food first.  We went to find the location of the party- the area was Merritt Lake and it was beautiful.  We scrambled to take pictures from the window of the car.

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After exploring a bit, we didn’t find food in time and went ahead to the party.  We rode up in an elevator with a really cool chick named Morgan who was going to the same place. There were a few people there at first but as the night progressed, the room filled quite a bit.  It was an easy atmosphere- everyone was super approachable… Which was great for me since I usually sit in a corner and let Matthew ( #MrMaria ) do the networking.  I felt my little chicken wings stretching out. It felt really good knowing that I could hold my own, on my own.  Still, I wished Matthew was there to experience what I was experiencing.

The view?  I felt so dumb that I attempted to take a good picture from the car.  It was absolutely breathtaking.

View of Oakland

YES- I took that picture with my phone.  Here’s one that was taken by one of my fellow NEWME founders-

Me on the 25th floor balcony

Toward the end of the night, the host (who’s home it was) called our attention and directed each of us to introduce ourselves to the group.  QUICKLY. lol-

With a room full of brown faces (there were a couple non-minorities also), I realized that we were standing among a group of African Americans who had created, bought, sold, and funded companies far into the billions.

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Yes, BILLIONS.

More than ever I wished Matthew was here!!  Continuously I felt gratitude and excitement. More than I can really describe.  I met some very extraordinary people and by the end of the night, my feet ached- even though I was wearing Sperrys.

We said our goodbyes and headed out.  We all (6 adults) packed in this Nissan Altima and began our trek to San Francisco.  The trio- Bryan, Jarrett, and Kwame were going out and only needed a ride not far across the Bay Bridge.  Little did we know, we’d be stuck in this sardine can for about 40 minutes with all the construction we encountered.

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Once we finally made it to downtown San Francisco, the trio exited and we wandered a bit.  This turned out to be yet another fantastic voyage.  We haphazardly found some of the most stunning views.

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I felt like a little kid as we all sang the Full House and Rice A Roni songs. lol- It was great.  Finally we decided to go to the apartment, order some GrubHub, and watch Netflix.  We realized we were going the WRONG direction when we saw the Golden Gate Bridge coming closer and closer.  I had been wanting to see it and BAM. There it was. Bad news was 1. We didn’t see an exit to turn around 2. There is a toll and we had no cash.  CRAP.

Just as we thought all was lost, we saw the Presidio exit right before the bridge. We turned off and found the viewing spot and hopped out long enough to snap some photos.  It was super cold by the water.

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(Just to prove I was actually there and this isn’t a stolen picture)

Me and the Golden Gate Bridge

By the time we got back in the car and up the road, I knew I wasn’t going to be watching Netflix. I fell asleep in the car and as soon as I got home, I laid in the bed.  My plan was to lay there and wait to take a shower after Brit.  Well, the next thing I knew, it was 10am. lol- so much for that plan.

That everyday- day turned into yet another unforgettable experience here.  I think back on when I was crying on the plane from MEM and praying to God- “I trust you.” Hmph.  Yep, still do. :)

-mrsmh2