Self Reflection? The Soul Searching Power Of A Checkers Game

How one match of checkers turned into a very valuable life lesson

One rainy Sunday morning, I stopped by my Uncle’s house for some coffee, breakfast, and a game of checkers with my Grandmother. Being the reigning checkers’ champ in my own home, I had no doubts whatsoever that I would walk away with the “W”.

Four games later, my Grandmother had four consecutive flawless victories.

No matter what strategies I tried I couldn’t beat her. I was making moves that I felt were clever, adept, and unsurpassable yet and still, my Grandmother was always 1 step ahead of me leaving me awestruck and dumbfounded. Throughout our games, she’d give me helpful tips: pay attention, look at the board before you make a move, and most importantly, concentrate. Seemed like easy enough advice to follow but, try as I might, I kept goofing up.

“You don’t concentrate,” my Grandmother told me, “there were times when you came close, and I was sure you had me beat, but you couldn’t see it because you weren’t paying attention”. Her feedback tripped me up because I was truly and genuinely oblivious to this fact. Of course, I was paying attention! Well, wasn’t I?

Valuable Life Lessons

This experience made me realize that I have a lot of growing to do. You see winning streaks have a tendency to stroke the ego and, for a long time, I was undefeated in the game of checkers. Then, my Grandmother came along and revealed all the chinks in my armor.

She showed me that:

  • I’m overly confident
  • Anxious
  • And quick to rush to judgment

These tips go beyond our checkers’ games. In life, one false move could make or break you. Taking your time and concentrating before executing your movements could be the difference between success and failure. I’m certainly guilty of moving too fast or not doing my best due to my anxiousness, but they say slow and steady win the race, something I should have taken into consideration during our checkers’ games.

The Bottom Line

Look, there’s always going to be someone bigger, better, faster, or stronger than you, but please don’t take it personally. Being beaten at your own game is not a testament to how much you suck, but instead of how much learning and growing you have to do. Therein lies the difference. Don’t cower away or let a bruised ego get the best of you. Instead, use these moments as opportunities for education. Internalize them and ask yourself,

  • Where are you going wrong?
  • How can you be better next time?

I’ve always been told that, in order to be the teacher, you have to be one hell of a student, to be a leader you have got to learn how to follow, and to beat your Grandmother at checkers, apparently you have to pay closer attention.

There are a lot of people running around with unchecked egos and, I personally think, nothing is more dangerous or damaging to your mental growth. Once you give up on learning and growing as a person, you stunt your own potential.

Remember that there is always room for improvement and life moments like this are a reminder of that. Do you feel that you can grow and improve as a person? If you answer no, I’d recommend doing some self-reflection. Pay closer attention to your errors and mistakes, notice any patterns?

Do you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over? Start there and see where it leads you.

As for me, my Grandmother and I have another match of checkers coming up. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Find Your Spark: The Findings of a Lost Soul

Read on to find out how I went from being a “lost soul” to suddenly finding my spark

I was 31 years old when I got my spark. For those of you who have NOT yet seen the movie “Soul”, a spark is your life’s purpose, your inspiration and reason for living. It happened when I was watching HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”. This episode featured a young couple who were looking for their first home together. The coffee shop owners found a home for less than $100K and used the remainder of their budget to renovate their home and give it the personal touch they needed to make the home REALLY theirs. Your girl Joanna did her thing, like always! During the last shot of the couple in their home, they were welcoming friends over and telling the camera crew how delighted they were with their starter home, and that’s when I felt it, that twinge of “I want that“. The feeling of “this would make me happy” was shocking to me, you see because I always thought my life’s purpose was Writing.

By the time I was a teen, I knew I wanted 2 things out of life:

  1. To make enough money to live in one of the most expensive cities in the World
  2. To entertain people.

I have been on a quest of fulfillment ever since. That quest has caused me to start working at age 13. Since then, I’ve made my way through five industries and 12 jobs, all of which left me feeling unfulfilled. It didn’t matter whether they were reputable (some of them were) or if they helped me move out on my own (some of them did), none of them made me happy. That’s because I was making moves for all the wrong reasons. Your job isn’t supposed to be your happiness. Your happiness should exist outside of external instruments. Your life should make you happy and your life should not start and end with your work.

It took me up until now to realize a life of working isn’t living and it’s all I’ve been doing up to now. Investing all of my time and energy into my work and having no air around me. No time for fun, friends, or family just duties and then one day you look up and realize it’s all you have. I don’t want a life of completing tasks. I want to be able to conduct science experiments with my daughter, or to lay in bed with my Husband and talk about the theories of the Universe, or call my best friend and laugh and talk for hours, or visit my Grandmother on a Sunday morning and play checkers while we have our coffee. THIS is living folks. These moments are life.

I’m not telling you to quit your job, I’m encouraging you to make sure you exist outside of it.

Hey, we all have to make a living and frankly, I quite like being a Writer. I enjoy helping and entertaining people with my words but it’s not my life’s purpose because working isn’t living. Rapping JCOLE’s “Can’t Get Enough” with my Husband off of our terrace at 1 in the morning is an example of living (that’s a hook right thurr). Talking to my Mom about recipes I found on Pinterest is living. Reading books with your children, catching up with friends, and taking walks outside are all examples of living. Take the time to be alive. I hope you’ve found your spark. And if not, no worries! As the lovely George Eliot once said:

It’s never too late to be what you might have been

George Eliot

Dear Weirdos: I Love You <3

I found this My Hero Academia hat in Midtown Comics

In a world full of sheep, be a Unicorn

In my 20+ years of living, I’ve searched the World and have yet to find another being like me. I reached out to Dr Strange, asked him to search the endless combinations of all the possibilities that ever were, and I can safely conclude: there’s no one else like me.

You’re looking at a real life Unicorn (actually, I’d like to think myself a Wizard. I’ve got a Hogwarts letter to prove it.)


Sure, there are similar humans. They may resemble me, share a fraction of my personality traits but I have yet to find another person made up of the same facets I have.


I used to think this made me crazy or a freak but then, I came to realize that this just means I am in an island all by myself.

For a while this made me sad.
I walked throughout my life feeling like a black sheep and, as I’ve mentioned, a lack of representation can really make you feel like there’s no space for you in the World.
As a result, it made me uncomfortable in social settings. After all, how do you socialize when you feel like you can relate to no one?
OMG ESPECIALLY WITH WOMEN!
Because my interest in geeky things (i.e anime, video games, cartoons, etc) is always viewed as categorically “male”, I found myself relating to, well, mostly males. This has been a thing for me my entire life.
It’s very rare, and few and far between, that I meet other women with genuine similar interests. I mean honestly, 8/10 our similarities start and end with us being Moms. That’s not to say that I don’t LOVE to talk about my kid, I would just much rather talk about the PS5 launch titles… and the cool accessories Sony’s releasing…and this anime I watched last night…


This, I realize makes me a weirdo to most people.

Hey guys, I’m a weirdo. Nice to meet you!

Weird- a person whose dress or behavior seems strange or eccentric.

Yup, this describes me pretty much perfectly. (They might as well have finished with “whose hair is green and is named Kysheeta”.)

What used to cause discomfort so much so that I would hide aspects of myself from people, is now something I embrace. I love my weirdness. And you know what? You should, too. Your weirdness is not a disability, it’s a Superpower.
Don’t look at yourself as the odd one out, view yourself as the life of the party!
Us weirdos are the light in the room, the talk of the town, the breath of fresh air; I know that’s true for me and I appreciate being known and loved for being 100% me. I want you to feel loved for being you, too! If cosplaying, roleplaying or having rainbow hair brings you joy EMBRACE THAT SHIT! Life is too short to be anything but happy <3. If you need an extra boost of confidence and reassurance to feel comfortable enough to be yourself, look no further than this post. Below, you’ll find a love letter to you.

Until our next adventure…
-Kaillaby

Dear Weirdos: I Love You. A Love Letter

Hey you! Weirdo!
I’m talking to you!
You’re loved, appreciated, trendsetting, and tradition breaking. You’re innovative! Unorthodox! You shake up the town and while you’re at it, paint the town red. You’re a rebel marching to the beat of your own drum.
Do you realize how brave you are?
Look at you, fucking shit up despite it being taboo. Oh, so you’re just going to be out here living your life and minding your business? It’s “fuck-what-a-hater-say”? Ok, I see you!
Look at you, being brave enough to be yourself.
How do you do that?
Walk around with your head held high with not a care in the World?
It feels good, doesn’t it?
Don’t let anyone steal your light, sunshine!
You’re probably an Artist staying up late nights just to impress people with your expressions of existentialism,
or maybe you’re a Scientist picking things apart trying to figure out how things tick just because it fascinates you,
or maybe you’re still in hiding, dressing the part of someone else, walking the walk and talking the talk because you’re still too afraid to be yourself.
Either way, I want you to know that you, yes YOU, are my favorite kind of person.
Why?
Well, it’s because of you that people view the world differently.
You represent you like no one else can and because of your unrelenting willingness to be yourself,
you inspire thought and conversation
which inspires change…which inspires people….which inspires movements!
So keep that freak flag high! And make sure that head follows.

Dear Weirdos: I love you.

I told you I had a Hogwarts letter! Any other HP fans?

Dream In Art

I swear, if I were a Pokemon, I’d be a Creative type ❤

Does anyone else dream in art?

In my daydreams, I see flash mobs. Every time I hear one of my favorite songs, I picture myself dancing. But not just me fuckin’ it up on the dance floor.

Na, it’s a whole extravaganza. A visual. It’s lights, a stage, background dancers performing whole routines (ON TIME); it’s beautiful, symmetrical, and breath-taking. It gives me chills. It brings tears to my eyes. It puts a smile on my face. I can’t help it, I love to express.

I feel like I have so much to say and where words fail, it comes out in the form of art: Dancing. Writing. “Singing” (which is what I claim I do when I karaoke. But BITCH when I karaoke you can’t tell me I’m not Whitney) whatever the form, I love to express. Perform. I stopped being afraid of an audience a long time ago. That thing that people have that makes them feel embarrassed? Whatever part of the brain that is, I’ve done away with it. Numbed Overrode it. (which is a dope nod to how awesome my willpower is).

Art makes people happy, or at the very least, inspires emotion! Seeing a dope canvas, hearing a poppin’ song, watching a thought-provoking movie! I, too, like to make people happy and people experience happiness when they’re entertained. I am willing to be the jester at people’s expense. People who are willing to put themselves in front of an audience just to make people feel good are my favorite kinds of people. This reminds me of a story…

A Trip Down Memory Lane

In 2019, my family and I went on a family vacation on a Carnival Cruise Line (The Liberty; back when it wasn’t controversial to do things like that) and it was the last night of the vacation.

Our very boisterous, extremely entertaining cruise Director Cookie managed to gather the ENTIRE cruise ship in the main deck lobby for a night of trivia and sing-alongs. That’s. How. Good. He was at his job. Cookie for president is all I’m saying… anywho, so there we are. In this luminous, glossy, regal decorated lobby standing together as one, 4 songs in, when the song that comes up next is Whitney Houston’s “I’ll Always Love You”.

There stood Cookie on the bar top with his best rendition of Whitney Houston’s iconic “Body Guard”. Whitney hit us with the “And above all this, I wish you love…”. He asked for participation from the crowd…

We all showed up, showed out, and at the top of the lungs we let out an “And Iiiiiiiiiiiiiii”.The entire cruise rang with the sound of our voices. It was beautiful. Like something out of a movie. Or a concert. We gave the performance of our lives. We gave it everything we didn’t have. Riffs and all. And for a moment, nothing else mattered. It was just us, Cookie, the music and the wide-open ocean. I cried tears of joy. It will go down in history as one of the best experiences of my life. This is what art provides for people: once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

All of the greatest showcases of art started off as dreams. That dream turned into an idea. And that idea was manifested and displayed before you. Someone’s dream is now your favorite: song, musical, movie, book, tv show. This very blog was once a dream of mine; I dreamed of using my words to reach people by vocalizing my thoughts and feelings because I just knew in my heart of hearts that there must be people in the world who share them! I have more dreams that I will turn into art someday in the form of books, scripts, and choreography to name a few. It’s just a matter of putting these dreams into words. So far all of my artists with their heads in the clouds: keep dreaming! Keep hope alive! Somewhere there is an audience for you waiting for you to pour your (he)art out.

What are some dreams of yours that you can’t wait to turn into reality? For me, it’s writing my first book ^.^ Share your dreams in the comments below >>>>