Toot That Horn, Bae

In this empowerment age we have progressively gotten better at empowering others by sharing our testimonies, encouraging them to push forward & supporting their endeavors of success. However, we got so good at doing this for people (yay!) that we spend a lot of time waiting for people to do the same for us. But when they fail to do so, we end up feeling immensely disappointed & unsupported. Therefore, I am reminding you that it is totally ok to toot your own horn. Doing so does not diminish your humility instead, it empowers us to keep going even if no one acknowledges us.

The older I get, the more I realize that validation from anyone, regardless of how great it may make me feel, should not be needed. Sometimes we have to just keep sight of our vision & push forward. If I have learned one thing, people do not always agree or see the vision until it is put into fruition & reaps results. People are not known to walk by faith & to teach them can be harder than you intend it to. However, it is not your obligation to show them how. You simply owe it to yourself to keep living & keep striving. The people meant to support you will show up. Those who fail to, well… *shrug*

Imagine the degree of unhealthy relationships (sexual, professional, emotional) that could be dismissed if we stopped putting so much weight on what people say. I was a rebellious teenager. I often heard from other people the failures that my life would take— well, two masters degrees & a career later all that shenanigans does not matter. I thank the lord that I did not need anyone’s validation to define my abilities. Though I still struggle doing so, I have accepted that I can relish in my accomplishments before they happen, celebrate once they become a reality & share my testimony in a positive way. It is so hard to talk about ourselves in a positive light because we have been conditioned to do otherwise, however, it is our right to empower ourselves. Learn to accept & appreciate the encouragement from others when you receive it but understand that if it is not received, it is just apart of the process. The power is in what you believe.

After all, they did say, “empowered people, empower people“. They just never said we could not empower ourselves.


Beauty in Self-Patience

The logo for Nickkie&Co. is a butterfly woman who is slightly looking back at what she has come from. Who took the time to let life take it’s course in order to acquire her wings while moving forward to what appears to be a transition into more of her potential. To me, a butterfly is symbolic of the evolution we take as a women & as human-beings. Butterflies do not originally start as the bright, vibrant & beautiful creatures we recognize them as. They spend a large portion of their lives ugly, disgraced & undesirable only to later evolve into something mesmerizing to the human eye. You see, people see the beauty of the butterfly & forget… the butterfly was once a caterpillar & before that larva & before that an egg. Had it not been for the fine tuned patience of that very butterfly to persevere, evolve & invest in itself we would never see such a prepossessing miracle. See, had the butterfly not been naturally conditioned to relentlessly endow itself in its potential, we would be missing out on a wonder that is so symbolic of a woman’s beauty. Beauty that is enhanced when she takes the time to patiently invest in herself & her journey.

The life cycle of a butterfly can take up to a year for full evolution. However, it is steadfast & consistent in its process because the bigger picture (reward) is ahead of it. It’s patience is to be admired & its ability to be isolated (cocooned) for an extended period of time should be sought after & replicated. In the butterfly’s  patient isolation is when the magic happens. That is why today I urge you to be patient with yourself.

Embrace your journey & allow yourself to make mistakes. The scars you feel make you ugly, in fact, contribute to what makes you beautiful. Life is about maneuvering through our transitions with patience. We are not supposed have all the answers for everything – right away. It is a process of growth & investment. Too often we are so hard on ourselves by imposing standards that require us to move too fast & avoid the scenic route. Life does not have to be a hectic drive on a busy highway. We need to begin to relish in the experience as we keep our focus on the bigger picture. It is amazing what is noticed/taught when we take the time (a second) to stop & smell the flowers along the way.

Mommin’ Ain’t Easy

Welcome back another SUNDAY! Today I am honored to share with you Guest Inspiration, Taneesha. I have watched Taneesha raise her children with such love & precision that I appreciate her realistic description of motherhood & the sacrifices mothers make for their babies (you know all the stuff that people do not talk about- lol)! This memoir is laced with satire & sacrifice. If you’re a mother you will resonate with her testimony & if you are the child, this memoir will have you looking at your mother saying- “Thank you for loving me, regardless of how tired you have been.” So, let us welcome her with open arms & appreciate what she has depicted below. 

So there you are pregnant with your first child and super excited, yet nervous about every little thing. You keep up with all the mommy blogs, register for the best items on the market and pray you have it all figured out. Fast forward to birth and OUCH, not just the physical pain but also the mental. As a new mother, you have to heal from labor and figure out motherhood at the same time – not easy. This being your first baby, everyone wants to see the human you created and just like that… you don’t matter anymore. There’s no “hey, how are you doing?” it’s “where’s the baby?”, “how’s the baby?”, “”can I come see the baby?” scratch that, more so, “I’m coming to see the baby.” After a couple weeks, when all the hype dies down, it gets real. Your life consists of feeding, changing, comforting, repeat. But as soon as you get into the swing of things, behold! You have a crawler and soon after a walker. Mobile babies are ruthless! They want every little thing their little fingers can grab and don’t you dare try to stop them. Everything is going straight to their mouths too so you really have to watch them like a hawk.

Fast forward to running and talking toddlers. Chase that baby if you want to, they will cross you over as if they’re the greatest NBA player in the league. That little baby that you couldn’t wait to start talking, now talks and their favorite word is NO. “No mommy, no! I don’t want it, I can’t do it.” They’re so negative. Bedtime becomes your favorite part of the day. They have the nerve to be the cutest when they are sleeping; as if they didn’t run rampant in your home just hours before wreaking all kinds of havoc. You think you know what messy is, but a toddler will give you a whole new definition of the word. Now you’re at a crossroad— “do I clean this up or go watch my favorite night time drama?”, the latter always wins for me. You clean up just for the little rascal(s) to do the exact same thing, again. It’s never ending.

So they grow up a bit more and life is smooth sailing now. You got this mom thing down. It just all got easier. I suddenly didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to get his sippy cup. The separation anxiety had stopped. Being able to take a nap while he watched his favorite cartoon was pretty awesome too. My son has always been a pretty easy going kid. Quiet like his mama, calm and cool. I get all the compliments about this one. People even offer to take him off our hands because he’s such a delight. Even though he’s not so high maintenance, mothering is still hard. I still worry and get frustrated like the best of them. I still get tired, but I have to carry on despite having worked a full day. We have extracurricular activities we have to attend to. School routines, ugh, as much as I love him getting away to learn, I hate it too. Having to get up and take him when I don’t have to be out the house sucks and homework…. [every cuss word that exists, insert here]…. most days I just CAN’T. I do, but I just can’t.

Then it comes… yup… that feeling that stupid feeling. The thought pops in, “I should have more.” Now, pause sis, really think long and hard about that. Remember breastfeeding and pumping, teething, diaper blowouts, all the outfit changes while potty training, how long it took him to sleep through the night, all of your sleepless nights. Remember? That is usually the revelation when some people say “nah, I’m good”, but silly ol’ me, disregarded what I knew and said “it’s ok, it’ll get better later, I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel. My child needs a sibling now!”

After having to convince my husband and making sure finances were good, baby number 2 became a reality instead of a dream. Labor was better, breastfeeding was better, I didn’t experience baby blues, I was more knowledgeable… the greatness stopped there. All those visitors I had the first time didn’t happen again, thank God though, they were annoying. Baby number 2 threw me for a complete loop. She was and still is a crybaby. A crying child will drive you completely insane, it’s draining. However, here I am with this beautiful child I hoped and prayed for— who was said to be hard to conceive but here we were and I was not happy. Luckily, I remained sane. She’s 2 now and still cries and whines, but not as much. I have mastered shutting it down now. Thankfully, I go to work and it’s my escape. As much as I complain about her I love her dearly. She’s my life size doll, dressing a girl is so much fun. She doesn’t like getting her hair done too often but I enjoy it when she does. I enjoyed our 19 month breastfeeding journey, surpassing my son’s 12 months. She’s funny and super smart. She walked at 8 months and you know the saying ‘they’re moving fast to get out of the way for the next’, well it was true. Three is coming and I have to go through the ups and downs all over again. But I will always remember and never forget, while it does get better, it ain’t easy.

Neesh
“I enjoyed our 19 month breastfeeding journey surpassing my son’s 2 months”
Taneesha has started a free prenatal & breastfeeding support group for mothers, “The Camden County Breastfeeding project- Sistahs Who Breastfeed”. Support services are provided in Pennsauken, Voorhees & Sicklerville & is opened to everyone. If you know anyone who is breastfeeding or are expecting, please share this resource. Please see their brochure below. Sessions start in March. 

The Power of Perspective

Today, it is important to speak on the concept of perspective & how having a positive outlook could be one of our most powerful superpowers. Studies have shown that those who work diligently to have a positive mindset thrive in areas of love, stress management, social interactions, work performance & life expectancy. It is the power of our outlook that determines how well we overcome the inevitable obstacles that may deter, disappoint or discourage us from our goals. However, it takes practice to use this power to its maximum ability. Regardless of how much I advocate for a positive perspective, I sometimes require reminders because, lord knows, it is a heck of alot easier to think the world is falling off its axis at the first sign of discomfort.

Well today, as I have said before & will continue to say time & time again, there is power in your mindset & a positive perspective can do more for your well-being than anything negative you may think, feel & manifest. When you think positive with a firm understanding that any & everything will work out in your favor; you have the potential to make mountains crumble in front of you. If you are not careful, a negative outlook can have you looking at some blessings like a curse & harping on situations because they could be better. A few years ago my uncle passed away from stage 4 cancer & although it hurt like hades to have him leave us, I coped with his passing better than I imagined. Why? Because it was one less day that he was suffering, one less day that he was tired, one less day that he had to cope with preparing to leave us & one sure day that he gave himself to God. Because of this, I know where he is & that I will see him again. Now, every time an anniversary of his approaches (sunrise & sunset) I do not wallow in sadness, instead, I rejoice that he found his way home & his life of torment is over. It is this perspective & this reversal of understanding that I try to practice in my day-to-day. I encourage you to do the same.

Life is so much more than being crippled by experiences that have the potential to take us out. We must not let them. It is all a cycle: what we think influences how we feel & how we feel influences what we attest out of our mouths; what we say out our mouths is heard by the unseen. Therefore, even when you feel it is all falling apart around you keeping a positive mindset is the key. The positive mindset, despite how you feel or your circumstance, is a testament to your faith.

Faith unwavered is a strength to be seen.