Move in Silence

One of the most powerful lessons I have learned through out my life has been that everyone does not need to know my every move. Some things are really better left unsaid. It was a hard lesson, but the fact is, everyone is not ready for the things you are ready to show the world. Either they cannot envision your vision or their ego can not take it. Because of this, you must be mindful to identify these people around you– protect your dreams & ensure that you never, ever, ever become one of those people– if by chance you are one of those people, it is time to make some changes.

Your dreams & desires are too valuable to leave the fragile details in the wrong hands of the wrong people. Sadly, the story is the same– aspiring dreamers have expected support for their vision & in turn were disappointed because it was mocked or taken from them. You do not deserve that. You do not deserve for a mockery to be made of your goals. You do not deserve to lose motivation for something you believe in. You do not deserve to second guess because someone told you it was not good enough & you surely do not deserve to feel betrayed because someone went on & made a replica of what you outlined for them. Your vision is your treasure & it is the action you put into that vision that puts it in fruition. Remember that & act accordingly. People will spend their lives trying to do what you do therefore, the people you trust with the gems of your dreams should be chosen wisely.

You inspire someone every day & people will not gracefully tell you. I cannot tell you the amount of people who did not want to support Nickkie&Co. However, I did not give up on what I believe this brand could be. Once they saw what the brand was capable of, I have been able to recognize who has been inspired by their actions & statements, whether they mean for me to know or not. I have said before & I will say it again, people’s behavior will tell you clearly who has been watching & who is inspired (whether negative or positive). Therefore, keep dreaming & investing but protect it with all your might. Your dreams are your seeds to plant into the earth, it is up to you to harvest it. Although it is not a competition, what you dream up is your investment & yours alone. Protect it.


Claim Your Power

I have always been considered an emotional person. To some degree, I can agree. In both my personal & professional life I tend to be an emotional thinker with a high likelihood to respond the same way. As of recently, I have learned the importance of taking a “chill pill” & processing situations accordingly. One of the most important lessons I have been learning is that my reaction to anything that happens is my responsibility & my responsibility alone. There is skill in learning to be a master of your emotions. However, despite how much progress I have made, that is a goal I know will take a lifetime to fulfill & I am ok with that.

I lost so much time being angry at people who have offended me; thinking I was proving a point. In fact, the only person who lost was me. They went on with their lives, forgetting how I was feeling while I was left losing time I will never get back. I want us all to consider this as we encounter new people & situations that may be less than ideal. We cannot control other people’s behavior but we can surely control our own. Many of us do not work for ourselves, but work for an employer who dictates the terms & arrangements of our employment. In this relationship, we often find ourselves with little-to-no-say in how it effects us. Therefore, the sure thing we can promise ourselves is checking our emotions at the door while remaining empathetic to those around us. People will do & say things that will get us out of our element, but it is up to us to ensure they do not know the power they have to effect us & influence our behavior.

We have all reacted in ways that have given people power over us. Whether we were mad, sad, angry or depressed— but it is important that we bare in mind that no one is deserving of that from us; especially not for an extended period of time. If we can lose time festering on horrible experiences & horrible people, we can surely invest the time on other productive things like empowering ourselves out the experience & motivating others who find themselves in similar situations. After all, it is true what they say, “life is too short to be anything but happy.” Therefore, the first step to ensuring we remain that way is to control what we can & let go of the things we can’t. It is not up to us to change people but it is our job to change ourselves.

Put The Idols Down…

Our day-to-day activities can be influenced significantly by the phone in our pockets, unlimited access to the media & the our personal pursuit for wealth & “nice” things. We have gotten so caught up in this that we have become distracted by the influence these things have on our lives.  We work endless hours, we lose out on time with our loved ones, we lose time for ourselves, & put our spiritual pursuit on the back burner believing that it will all be there when we see riches. The thing about riches is that once they are obtained, the grind MUST continue in order to keep them. So in pursuing such goals, the likelihood that the things we neglected will still be there diminishes as time passes. Therefore, today my question to you (me too) is what has our full attention? What is serving as a distraction that inhibits us from having unforgettable moments with the people we love the most? When did we start idolizing our cellphones, cash & cars before we have taken the time to care for ourselves? At what point do we decide it is too much & it is time for a break? 

The sad truth is that we have come to idolize material things over taking the time for ourselves, our families & our spiritual growth. We are desiring more for our lives but fail to take a moment to step away & fast from the things that are distracting us. Idolizing is not limited to worshipping a false God but is anything that is over consuming our time that does not allow us to grow in other aspects of our lives. So today, I challenge us to recognize what may be crippling us from doing better & taking precious time away from us. Whether it is our phones, our jobs, our cars or what we aspire to have, we must do something about it. There is no way we can truly be our best selves in all areas of our lives if we become slaves to the things we have & don’t have. It is totally normal to want & strive to have nice things but we must aspire to have a healthy balance. The time we don’t lose is worth so much more than having all these things with no one to share it with.

The older I get, the more I realize how short life is. I reflect on the people I lost & wish life gave me more time. More time to tell them how much I love them, or to spend one more hour with them. Loss is inevitable but lost time due to distraction can be prevented. So, let us put the phones down a little more, go on social media hiatuses or plan a staycation with our families. Whatever it is, enjoy the moment, time is of the essence. We can not afford the distraction.

Reset & Recharge

Emotionally, this week has been extremely trying for me. It was not until a few days ago that I realized that I have been walking around suppressing frustrations & functioning in a whirlwind of disorganization– for months. I did not realize that I was barely functioning until a snowball of unideal situations presented themselves in front of me & I lost control. I could barely grasp or articulate what it was I was feeling & I struggled to understand what was happening. The only way I could express myself was in tears. Instead of taking time to address what I was feeling initially, I continued to push what I was feeling aside under the pretense that it will pass- eventually.

Despite how true that may have been, things do not usually pass unless you deal with them. This time, I was forced to. So, although there is character built through adverse situations & functioning outside of our comfort zone; it is extremely important not to get so caught up in what is happening around us that we fail to take a moment to assess & address what is going on within us. Self care, as cliche as it has become, is taking the time to check in with ourselves & acknowledge when we are are not doing ok. It is easy to forget what we are feeling while neglecting that we need a day or two to disconnect & recharge. I was forced to come to that realization this weekend & the overflow of emotion was severely overwhelming & crippling. But it forced me to do what I was avoiding – accept, reset & recharge.

See, life has a way to force us to deal with things even when we do not want to. So I encourage staying in tune with what our body is telling us. If we need more rest, we take it. If we need to cry, we cry. If we need a break, we take all the time we need. We were not created to be on GO, continuously. Empty vessels are just that… empty vessels. We can not pour into others when our own well has run dry. We cannot be who we need to be to our loved ones if we do not take care of ourselves first. So, if you need a moment to recharge, take it. You work too hard to just be moving through life barely functioning. You do not have to be perfect always but YOU do have to be YOU. So the best thing you can do for you is to take care of YOU.

March For Endo

Welcome back Conglomerates,

Happy mid-week check-in. Pardon my impromptu post that is outside of the typical Sunday schedule. Almost a year ago, I had a courageous Guest Inspiration who stepped forward to talk about her journey battling a condition that MANY women battle with daily; ENDOMETRIOSIS. Being that March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, I felt it was most important to recirculate her memoir to share with women who missed it & may be experiencing the same thing. Therefore, please click the link below & read the memoir from my dear friend & Endo Warrior, Eugenia.

Endo Warrior

#WeWearYellowForGeenii

We’re Gonna Make It… Regardless

Shout out to us !

At 29, my peers (older & younger) & I have spent most of our lives with the generations before us chastising the way they believe we would make ends meet. For whatever reason, since our way of living & surviving does not look like theirs, they are fearful of what will come of us & the generations after us. This is likely due to our unconventional way of defining success, way of obtaining income & our reliability on technology. Although I understand the importance of doing things with our hands & can appreciate someone who can fix a car or do home repairs; we, nonetheless, have done amazing things with what we have in front of us. Our generation has learned to conform with the times & contribute to the world by maximizing resources that others regard as irrelevant.

As time progresses generations differ significantly. Some changes may not be so noticeable, while others are as clear as a firework show in July. Our parent’s generation had different aspirations & utilized different skills. Going to college/mastering a trade, securing a well paying job, & having a balanced family is how they quantified success. Our generation comes on the scene & we want that … + we want more. Not to say to say that was not the same for our grandparents & parents, but we came for it all & we came for it our way. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is something to be admired.

I have watched our generation go to college, incur thousands of dollars in student loan debt & still find the means to use our God given talents to bring in extra income. Many of us have mastered entrepreneurship just from working social media to our advantage. Life coaching, blogging, photography, real estate, etc. have been embraced with confidence because we have been driven to make the times work for us. Many of us would much rather go through the struggle of working for ourselves then sticking to something we know does not suit us. We have come to learn & understand that there is always an option. What use to be the end-all-be-all for our parents just may not mean the same for us. There are always options. We have learned to be resilient & tenacious even in the midst of our chaos. We know enough to understand that what worked before may not work now & we are ok with that. We are ok with figuring it out, we are ok with doing it our way.

So as you navigate through life, I encourage you to keep the same momentum. Embrace the rebellious achiever in you & learn from the examples who strive for the same around you. Use the stories & experiences of your sisters/brothers & know that you are destined for greatness; even if it does not look like it right now. There is greatness lined in tenacity, stubbornness & resilience. When those characteristics are cultivated & coupled with the desire to survive exceedingly above all expectations the WIN IS YOURS, always.


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.