A Walk in Their Shoes


Photo: Friends and I at the OneOrlando Fund Run/Walk for the victims of the Pulse tragedy.


A month ago, Orlando was changed forever after the City Beautiful was attacked. I am still in a fog over the reasons why. It is so hard to understand the deep hatred that someone can have towards another person just because of their lifestyle. When do you become so bothered by the way someone lives, you feel the need to kill him or her. I feel sorry for you and your internal battle.

I understand what it is like to be gay. I have lived through my brother’s eyes for many years. It could have been him dancing at the Pulse nightclub that night. It could have been me dancing with him.

My brother lives in NYC. He lived through the 9/11 attacks. One of the first texts I received from him said, “I’m sorry that your city was attacked, and he understood how I felt.” Are you kidding? He understood! I could not have imagined receiving a more heartfelt message from someone who has endured prejudices most of his adult life.

No, he did not choose to be gay. My Mom did not hand out different boxes of cereal, and he decided to pick “that” box. Yes, he was born that way. It could have just as easily been my sister or me. Honestly, no one would decide to live a gay lifestyle because he or she enjoys all the negative attention that comes from naive people.

My brother told us how he felt in the late 80’s. It was never an issue for my family, as we love him no matter his preference. However, society did not provide these same open arms. Back then; I could barely say the word “gay” to anyone for fear of not being accepted. I went from saying nothing to speaking up when I heard the bashing. Yes, I take it very personal because I have listened to years of gay jokes, comments from so-called friends, coworkers, and even family.

I am especially over the religious mindset from those who think he will go to hell for being gay. I have witnessed family members tell him this. They are no longer considered family. I know my God loves everyone; you will not convince me otherwise. I know my God believes you should treat everyone with dignity and respect. I will live my life this way no matter what others think. In the end, we will see which one of us is begging for forgiveness at the pearly gates.

Today is certainly more accepting than twenty years ago. The City of Orlando has come together in ways that have made me proud to live here. There is still a long way to go. We are now dealing with insane people who believe their life is worth more than ours is, no matter our race, religion, color or beliefs. It is going to be a long battle.

I sent this article over for his approval, and this is what I received back. “Thank you for the thoughtful blog. I am sure what happened in Orlando weighs heavy on you, as did 9/11 for me. Terrorism stays with you and maybe never leaves. My earlier text to you was more about how terror can change your city and destroy so many lives. While this was a gay thing, it could have easily been a school or office thing, so ‘I’ did not take it so personally. Thank you for taking it personally.”

Those words speak volumes, and we can all certainly learn from his positive demeanor.  Think about the way you talk and treat people in general. Imagine if your brother, child or family member came to you and told you how they felt inside. Would you turn your back? Would you want that done to you? All they want is to be accepted and love whomever they choose. Try to walk in their shoes for just one day.

Do you have a Facebook Business Page?

Who doesn’t these days? Many of you own small businesses, therefore this will be especially helpful for you. I recently read an interesting article by HubSpot that explained 13 great tips for businesses using Facebook. You can even download an ebook, How to Attract Customers with Facebook. I hope you find this useful!

thumbs-up-facebook-business-page.jpgPhoto credit: Hubspot

Do you work from home?

I get that question a lot. I am also not surprised that telecommuting has increased 103% in 10 years. After the birth of my first son 14 years ago, I decided to leave my corporate marketing job to start freelancing. I had this unexpected desire to spend more time with him. After my three-month maternity leave, I went back to work full-time for five months. I was miserable and cried every night when I put him to bed. I decided to propose to my employer that I contract some of my job duties and work at home. They accepted my contract and became my first client. That was very progressive thinking on their part for 2002.

Honestly, it has not always been the best financial decision. We gave up one full-time salary at the time. Working from home does not mean my house is clean, nor is dinner on the table at 6 pm. If fact, working from home is hard. You must be discipline and deal with constant distractions, work late into the night or early in the morning. It is nearly impossible to walk away from your work at the end of the day.

However, I still say all the struggles have been well worth the time spent with my now three children. I’ve had the chance to work on a variety of different projects and recently went back to school for my Masters. I love that I have been able to spend more time at home and use my brain at the same time. Most importantly, I thank my husband. He never loved the idea of me saying, “if we have to eat beans, I want to stay at home and work” however, he has always supported my decision.

Years ago, it was hard to find legitimate remote jobs. I am excited to see the variety of opportunities that are now available. I recently read that “50% of people will work remotely by 2020.” If you have ever considered it, I encourage you to take another look.


Photo credit: Flexjobs.com

How do I write a blog?

This was one of the most asked questions I received during my visit with Full Sail University students last month. Second, “How do I brand myself?” I recommend reading this article by MarketingProfs.com. It provides some great tips on writing for your business blog. However, I feel that many of the tips can apply to a personal blog as well.

Photo credit: MarketingProfs.com

Three years ago…

This day always reminds me of how lucky I am and how short life can be.


Forever changed!

(Originally Published on: Mar 3, 2013) One month ago, I found out I lost a dear friend at the young age of 44. She has been on my mind constantly. Her 11-year-old son never leaves my thoughts. I pray that he gains the strength to cope with his loss. I can only image how he feels and how her family is dealing with their loss. I want to call, email or text her like we did (almost) everyday. I can’t take her name out of my phone.

Our friendship had just reached a deeper level. I feel justified that I did the right thing for her. I stood up for her when she needed me and I did what I believed was right. I’m so glad she knew this before she passed away. She actually thanked me for it. Today, I went back to find that special email:

“Hopefully you are feeling better and non-stressed today.  I’m not so I don’t want you to be either. But thank you for being such a caring, good and supportive friend.  If they want this league to go under then let it, but it is not due to us trying to make it better but their unwillingness to see things as better but wanting to control.  It’s all personal but I will prevail in the end.” – Brinda

I realize now that she did prevail. It’s not in the way (or timing) we all wanted but she is in a better place. For all of us that really knew her, we understand the great loss. We will have to figure out how to live without her. It won’t be easy but I can hear her telling us right now to “move on!” Heaven gained one tough but lovable guardian angel on Feb 2nd. I know that she has my back now.

For those that chose not to get to know her on a personal level, well, it’s your loss! I can only hope that her death has taught you to not be so hypocritical. Life is way too short for that nonsense!

If I could send her an email today, it would say:

“Brinda, we’ve already moved our families to a new league and football family, in your honor. You guided us there, I know it. I’m also moving forward with the next phase of my professional life. You and I talked about it often, especially since your boyfriend Colten was born. It’s only fitting that my first inspiration of writing is about you.  I want to thank you for your friendship! You were one of those special people who came into my life for a reason and I am forever changed!” – Mechele