What is “Living the Dream?”


During my morning peruse of Facebook posts I came across a very inspiring post from a fellow poet about landing the VP of Marketing position at a major American bank. Immediately, I was super happy for her! To see a woman, a black woman, rising in corporate America is always something I celebrate. I was going on a “liking spree” of all of the comments that congratulated her. One comment in particular made me pause. It read “congratulations on living your dream.”

I thought, “hmm, is this her dream? Like THE dream?” It is a mark of success for sure. It is a great accomplishment that deserves many praise, congratulations, and continued acknowledgement. But was it her dream or perceived as a dream come true from the person commenting? Whether it was her dream or not doesn’t affect how amazing it is. Even though I am mentioning this post and I’m overjoyed about her success, this blog post is NOT about the beautiful successful black woman. It is more about the idea of “living the dream” and what that may mean to people.


Living the dream begins with knowing what the dream is. In reference to actual dreams, there are many times you wake up and can’t remember what you dreamed. There are many times where your dreams are half scenes of abstract symbols. Life goals as dreams can be the same. Who are you? What are your dreams? Who makes the call on whether or not you are living your dream?

Living the dream vs. Dreaming the dream

An artist on Myspace (super long time ago) said to me “at some point everyone must wake up.” Dreaming the dream is pretty, it’s whimsical, it’s being lost in possibilities. Living the dream is work, it’s building, it’s starting, it’s risky, its focused, and it can be scary. Living the dream starts with actually living it. Living day one of it. Laying the first brick. Taking the first step. Living it and arriving at the ultimate goal of the dream are two different things. No matter what obstacles come your way if you are taking intentional steps inside of your dream, you are still living the dream. It’s the difference between walking under a cloud and into the fog. The difference between walking beside the river and swimming it. Which one are you doing?

Can unemployment be living the dream?

In part of said post the author mentioned  “…I hope y’all didn’t think I was going to stay unemployed?” I thought, “when was she unemployed?” She has been so fierce and confident in her posts that unemployment never even crossed my mind. In my initial response I wrote “a woman with a boss mentality is never unemployed!” Pay attention to where you are. Being unemployed means you’re not committed to building someone else’s dream. Working for someone else is not America’s wealth building model. However, there’s a layer of fear placed on people of a certain class and/or race/ethnicity to believe that the “American Dream” will always be just a dream to them. If you have the will to live your dream you will recognize unemployment from a traditional job as an opportunity to kick start your dream. If you have the will to live your dream you will find a way regardless of what traditional employment or conservative America says.

Marks of success

Immediate wealth was never a part of my dream. In fact, the idea of immediate wealth has held me back from my dream more times than not. Money is not the ONLY mark of success available. Assets, board membership, network growth, product growth, production, and brand establishment are all marks of success. Power is probably one of the largest unidentified marks of success. Many wealthy people have filed bankruptcy. Not because they are broke per se, but to maintain the power over their assets. Media prophesies to consumers that wealth is ONLY money in the bank. That’s not true. Wealth is credit, assets, and memberships.  Being able to afford something is all about how resourceful you are.

I am inspired

In August, I was laid off with over a month’s pay, insurance, and approval of unemployment (which is not automatic for everyone).  I have support for my townhouse. I have a support circle for my sanity. I have a vision for my next move. I am living the dream! My dream!


  • Founder and ED of Women Writers Rock which includes programming, housing, and products for self-identified women and their children.
  • No 9-5 to suffocate my goals under.
  • I am present with my children.
  • I am learning to operate a TV Studio.
  • I am networking with filmmakers and volunteering on their projects while working on my own.
  • I am applying for fellowships in Media and Arts.
  • I am writing plans for business acquisitions and rental properties.

What have I been sobbing about? Being unemployed? I’ve employed myself to build my dreams! I just needed to tweak my perception to see the path. This is one of the few days where a Facebook post and comment were awesome additions to my day!

Thank you for reading!

10 Steps to Getting Out of Your Feelings

let me help you out of your feelings








The phrase “in your feelings” is often used to describe the overwhelming feeling that something is bothering you and you can’t let it go. Some things are easy to brush off while others require some type of action that will help you move on with your life. There’s nothing wrong with being “in your feelings.” You are human and allowed to feel whatever whenever you like. However, being “in your feelings” is like swimming in quick sand. While the sinking feeling may feel like something you can swim through, you are surely sinking to a place of suffocation.

Here are 10 steps to getting OUT of your feelings: 

Step 1 – Ask yourself “Why am I in my feelings.”

Step 2 – Evaluate if being in your feelings is productive.

Step 3 – Evaluate how productive you want/should be.

Step 4 – If being “in your feelings” is affecting where you want/should be take a moment to recognize that.

Step 5– Sit in your feelings for no more than 7 minutes.

Step– 6 do 10 jumping jacks in your feelings while repeating “I am in my feelings.”

Step 7– Get water and repeat one last time “whew, I am in my feelings!”

Step 8– Evaluate how productive the jumping jacks were.

Step 9– If you’re life has not been made better in the hour that it took you to do steps 1 – 9 repeat “let it go [add your name] 10 times.

Step 10– Continue the rest of your day and if the urge to get back in your feelings happens do jumping jacks or simple repeat to yourself “let it go [add name].

If these steps don’t work there is no hope for you and you should just sit in your feelings then repeat “let it go [add name]” all day till you get over it.

Just Called To Say I Love You

A few weeks ago in a blog post about how much I miss my grandma I wrote about an Aunt who disagrees with my sexual preference for religious reasons. I detailed an experience where my girlfriend at the time, Mary Bowman, traveled with me to Durham, North Carolina. We had been to Durham plenty of times, yet I had never taken her around my family. At this point my family knew of my decision to date women mainly because of social media. My family is large but the word spreads like wild-fire. As soon as one person sees someone else’s post they will call their parent or closest cousin to say “did you see what…said on Facebook.”

Anyway, after we visited my aunt’s house Mary tells me that my aunt gave her a nasty look. I didn’t want to believe it but it was confirmed by my other aunt a few weeks later. This Nasty look thing happened a while back and since then I have gotten over it. I decided to just brush it off and keep it moving by keeping my distance. I figure if God is going to judge and punish me why settle for the judgment and punishment of humans as my fate. Since God obviously doesn’t think like us I would rather just let God decide. Well, last night my aunt called me and said the best thing she could have ever said….”I apologize, I am not ready to accept your lifestyle, but I love you.” It was like birds started chirping and the sky moved from dusk to dawn in a lifetime. I appreciated this so much. It was the moment that I needed from her. It was the “chile don’t worry about that” that I couldn’t hear from my grandmother. I told her how much I appreciated that and that I loved her back. The conversation ended there. No explanation of why I chose this or why she didn’t like that. It was the peace that passeth all understanding. Forgiveness and love at it’s best. The beat goes on, but this time it’s more melody then single instrument.

Pura Vida,

Follow this blog by clicking the “follow blog” button on the right of the screen.

Tell Me Your Secrets pt 2

Last year I was inspired by a friend of mine to do a video revealing my innermost secrets using music, body language, and words on paper. As soon as I saw her video I was immediately inspired to do my own. From there the concept spread. I encouraged people on Facebook and twitter to do one. 10 people created video responses and posted them. Over 15 people created them and never posted them. Well, I am back again encouraging freedom of expression and unapologetic movement in all people. The Liberation Movement is the name I gave to this phenomenon of learning to live….period…just live!

Below is my new video. Check it out! “LIKE” the Liberation Movement on Facebook by visiting http://www.facebook.com/theliberationmovement. Create your own video and upload it as a video response to mine on my youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/iamshellybell. #GETFREELIKESHELLYB Let’s go 2012!

My Love Note to New…

December 15, 2011, the post in the “Regret Nothing | Write Everything” Facebook group was Today’s interaction: If you were to write a love note to your partner, spouse, or friend. What would it say?

In response was a love note to new….

Dear New,

Optimism is  our daily dose of reality.
Intoxicating embraces chased by maturity.
I have never been sure of the definitions of love.
I have never been sure of the definitions of friendship.
never been sure of the purpose of defining intangible things,
yet humanity is obsessed with giving this feeling a label,
so let’s do that.
Let’s call this,
the evidence of novelty.
the corridor to the next room.
the space between yesterday and forever.
Let’s just be new.

you arrived 12am after old,
grinned and hugged my human nature.
I confess,
I was surprised.
I let old stay 2 hours too long.
let the half-moon light my window
but like a shift in tide,
rocked my whole notes,
played a jig on flat lines.
made the ocean flip on its head.
new knowing each other.

you are too good to be true,
because life says nothing that is truth can ever be too good.
however, I would be lying to myself if I ever claimed this as bad.
every thing real remains unpredictable.
I can’t caution myself against something I can’t predict.
so I wish upon lucky nights for good mornings with you.
Old gets older by the minute
and my new gets newer by the second.

ps. this means I like you a lot.

Pura Vida,

FOLLOW THIS BLOG by clicking the button that says “follow this blog” to the right of your screen. Thank you for reading!


Up ↑