Put Your Big Girl Panties On!


My two year old is potty training.  We have officially taken her off the pull ups (except for bedtime) and she is wearing her “big girl panties.” I’ve been thinking about the symbolism in that milestone.  When you are transcending into something great or just different, have you made the necessary adjustments?

1. “Bo Bo’s Aren’t Forever”- It’s time to get rid of the pacifier. Translation: Get rid of your vices/your addictions. Let go of the things that have power over you and your state of mind.

2. ” Take Your Fingers Out Of Your Mouth” – Translation : Be as articulate and as diplomatically verbal as possible. Don’t let other people speak for you. Don’t let others assume your thoughts. Express yourself.

3. “Are You Whining?”- Translation : Stop complaining and bi*$hing! If you’ve been cutting corners, it’s time to accept what it is and do what you can to change what it could be! Take responsibility and push your personal limits.

4. “Do You Want Time Out?!” – Translation : Time Outs, Thinking Corners and even Pow Pows are just forms of discipline. They are a way of grabbing the reins in chaotic situations. Sometimes you may have to give yourself some meditation. You may need a prayer group to be a part of. You need a vacation. You need an hour to yourself at the library. You need to unplug.

5. “No More Diapers”-Translation: The safety net is gone. If you have an accident or you make a conscious mistake …you will have to be accountable for your SH*T! You have to flush away foolishness and wash your hands of excess, waste, impurities, and most importantly. ..the past! It will be difficult. You will error but you shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed of the process. Trying isn’t failing. Every time you succeed you should celebrate! Everyday is an accomplishment.

It’s time to put your big girl panties on!!!!

By:Shaun Nickens

I feel you


There I was in Old Navy and a woman was on line completely embarrassed. Her toddler was having a crisis about a Spiderman toy conveniently placed on the end cap near the registers.  As a former retail slave I can appreciate how the strategic placement of add-on/upsell items can help your total sales for the day. However, it’s a parent’s worst nightmare! This kid was rolling all over the floor, he was emitting blood curdling screams,  and he was bright red. Dear distressed mom…I feel you. 

I used to hate people who parked their cars all the way in the back of a corporate parking lot.  It’s indirectly arrogant.  First, you’re implying your car is way too nice to be parked next to my Kia. Second,  why aren’t you trying to park closest to the entrance like the rest of us? Are you in need of additional exercise?  Are you not running late like I am? Now I kind of feel like I want to be segregated from the mundane reality of parking in my appointed stable! I want to come to work early so I can afford those few minutes to walk from the car in the back of the lot to the entrance door. So Mr Mercedes Benz… I feel you.  
Did you know that negativity is contagious? It might be time to realize that although you Clorox wipe your car interior, office and you hand sanitize after touching the gas pump, you still have to build an immunity to other things. Your mental health is important!  Your attitude determines your potential. Have you noticed the villain in almost every film is trying to steal “super powers”? Don’t give away your God given power. You are loving.. you are good…you are selfless and you are powerful!  Once you let someone else influence your good intentions,  you sacrifice your power. What does power give you? Strength.  Without strength you are weak. When your immune system is weak what can happen?  Dear Paranoia…I feel you.

I squeeze my toothpaste from the bottom of the tube. I didn’t always do that. It aesthetically looks better but that isn’t why I do it. It reminds me to get everything I can out of my resources and tools (i.e: education, employment etc.) I dry clean valuables.  A lot of things are about presentation. What is toothpaste for? Preserving your smile, your brand, and your health. Dear Colgate…I feel you.

We grow and change every day and that’s okay. Embrace who you are becoming and allow others to slowly have the time to adapt to the new you. Pray for those you can’t reach with words and hope that you can affect them through action or example.

Is there something you used to hate that you can now relate to? I’d love your feedback.  Leave a comment or tweet me @shutyamouthnow.


Whats Your Malfunction?


I received a letter from the Schomberg Center For Research in Black Culture.  They thanked me for my regular contribution and support. They also enclosed a survey about ” The Future of Black America.”

I breezed through the questions effortlessly (but who made me an expert on black people?) As I read each question about education,  progression,  current challenges, I answered honestly.  Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’m the right person to submit that feedback.  Obviously,  I’m aware of the issues if I’m already a supporter. If I’m on your mailing list then I’m receiving the necessary information. Shouldn’t we be trying to get feedback from people who dont have easy access to the issues?

I would imagine it would be more prudent to send mass mailings. I would imagine a guy in jeans with hundreds of surveys in a big bag slung over his shoulder.  He should walk up to random people of color and give them the survey to complete on site in real time. Its like blatantly saying, “Hey! What’s your malfunction? ”

I am sometimes offended by the misrepresentation of blacks in places of esteem and the jaded picture of us painted by media.  A week ago there was a report on New York 1 that more black women have had terminations this year than live births.  All I could think was “why are we highlighting black women? What are our counterparts of other ethnicities doing? This is not a ‘race’ issue! PEOPLE are broke and unemployed and scared to start families!”

I read a great book recently called “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.” The author notes the three elements that she thinks define the title: vacant esteem,  ever present anger and racist socialization. (P184)


With statistics like the one blasted on New York 1 and the continued statistics on the prison population (ex: The inmate population was eighty five percent African American in 2004.)  Present day we still make up 12% of the general population but 1/2 of the prison population. 

Just as a bonus…” 1 in 56 men of Hispanic origin are behind bars (p103.)
Just in case you thought you were exempt from bigotry and intolerance! Yea you over there! 😉

So if someone came up to you questioning the issues of your presumed ethnicity? If they asked you questions that offended you but showed you statistics you couldn’t deny and asked you to be a part of the solution. ..
What would you do?
Most stereotypes are either magnified or exaggerated truths. Some are completely manifested by fear. 

So you..
Yea you over there…

What’s your malfunction?

-Shaun Nickens

Its 2013! What are you swallowing?

Happy New YearHappy new year and all that. Hope you’re not the same person you’ve been for all the years that preceded this one.  I hate to be cynical but usually by the time you stop doing this –>  2012    , you’ve already broken those resolutions. Why’d you make them?  What do you have to prove and who are you proving it to? At the end of the day we need to be making a consistent effort to improve.  Your other option is to commit to being the same scumbag you’ve always been, wear your flaws on your fitted hat, be strong and wrong and tell everyone to “Shut Ya Mouth and Call Me Ugly.”

It’s not easy to improve.  You may see old habits creep in.  The stealth of habitual hatred or just the act of being stagnant is clinging and clandestine.  You won’t notice what you do to piss other people off!  I can almost guarantee that! It’s natural to you…its organic.  You won’t know you’ve upset them until they’re screaming or silently sobbing.  For a writer that’s an intense response.  One of my favorite writers in Edgar Allen Poe.  In “The Philosophy of Composition” he says, “Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears. Melancholy is thus the most legitimate of all the poetical tones.”  In plain terms, Poe is saying you’ve succeeded as a good writer when you can make someone feel something, more specifically sadness.  That’s great if you’re a writer but as a regular civilian, I don’t think a lot of people will want to be around you.  You’d be the dark cloud.

I am truly making an effort to change.  I’ve got my Pandora set to Marvin Sapp.  I’m back to my church services and my devotions.  When my schedule clears, I’m diving head first back into my ministries.  I don’t use profanity as much.  I reached out to old and gold friends who’ve always added quality to my life.  I drink more water and all that.  At the same time, I’ve never been a “holy roller” or a “pew tosser.”  I love art and literature.  I am a very passionate person.  I’m a people watcher.  I’m an undercover comic.  Being an artist requires a certain level of “worldliness.”  So where do I stand?  You’ll always have to maintain a balance.  You’re a parent?  You have to be the person you are that was chosen divinely to bring new life into this world. Still you may welcome the time alone when the baby is with grandma and you can listen to Kendrick Lamar, watch Pulp Fiction and have a “77” (vodka and 7-up.)  It doesn’t make you a bad person.  It makes you human.

Leave the resolutions for Lucille Roberts commercials.  Just be your best by bedtime each day.  If you fail, try again tomorrow.  As long as you’re trying, you’re not failing.  Medicine usually doesn’t taste good but it usually heals whatever your ailment is.  Are you only swallowing what satisfies a stationary lifestyle?  Are you swallowing seduction and sex and ignoring love and intimacy?  Are you swallowing stereotypes?  What are you swallowing? 

Happy New Year. Bless!


-Shaun M Nickens