You Owe Yourself Patience

Good morning, Loves.

As we prepare to start a new week, I want to encourage you all to be patient…with yourselves. Often, we set these timelines of expectations & beat ourselves up when we do not reach those expectations. We often fail to take into account the things that may have restricted us from reaching our goal or recognizing the that the initial timeline was unreasonable. We are also extremely critical of ourselves. We allow ourselves little space for errors & fail to recognize that the mistakes we make always serve as opportunities to learn something & readjust.

So before this week, I want to remind you– just as you strive to be patient with your co-workers, your employers & family members, be mindful to include yourselves in that group of people. Patience is one of the ingredients to being compassionate. Therefore, I ask you, why does everyone else deserve your compassion except you? Why don’t you recognize that just as someone may need a moment to readjust, so do you? Make conscious steps to take it easy on yourselves. Give yourself some leeway to not be perfect & allow yourself to accept that “your decided” failures are reinforcements that contribute to making you a better version of yourself- spiritually, productively, personally… in every aspect.

The thing about life is we never know what we are doing & how what we do impacts us in the future. But I do know, mistreatment & the lack of love we give ourselves does not create a positive trajectory we can look forward to later. Understand life, will have it’s loops & turns. Many of the setbacks we experience, can very well get us to our desired goal. If we show ourselves patience, compassion & gentleness–we are guaranteed to be better people overall, not only to ourselves but to others, as well.

Have a great week.

Let’s Talk About Trauma.

Good morning! Happy Sunday!

Trauma. What is it?

In sum, it is a response to a distressing event we experience. It has an effect on our ability to navigate through situations & has an impact on how we may cope or overcome unfavorable circumstances. Trauma, unfortunately, is inevitable. Despite how cautious we may be, simply navigating through life & interacting with others; makes us susceptible to experiencing trauma in some way, shape or form. Many times, we do not realize that our survival or recovery from certain life experiences has left behind remnants that will require us to work hard to get past it.

Getting older has given me a new perspective on this; as it should. However, it has also allowed me to not only recognize my own trauma but the trauma enabling or effecting other people. For instance, anyone that knows me personally, knows my mom was suuuppper strict. Although, I would differ in the approach, I can look back now & see that a lot of the hold & reluctance my mother had on my life had a lot to do with what she did for a living (not to mention her own individual life experiences that may have contributed). My mother is a CPS worker. She has seen too much of what happens when children have been left unattended, with “friends”, with “family members”, etc. So, if to her, I am her prized possession, how can she not allow the trauma she experienced on a daily basis impact the reigns she had on me & my life? Helping other people navigate through their own traumatic experiences infiltrated into becoming hers; which can, if I am not careful become my children’s.

Because the truth is, on a consistent basis, we see & survive many things. How we choose to cope with that, if we are aware of it, is entirely up to us. But I can say this for sure- trauma left untouched, not dealt with & suppressed will effect you in every aspect of your life. It will keep you from arriving to who & what you are destined to be. Instead, you will be running the same never-ending race of unfillment, dissatisfaction, discouragement & regret despite your life’s accomplishments & victories.

I am unsure if the effects of trauma truly ever go away. But I do know that God never intended us to suffer & that he will trade our ashes for his beauty to make our own. I also know that wounds, with time & dealt with properly, do heal. It may take some time, but they do. Marinate on what I am about to tell you. Your trauma has a purpose. Once it is over & you have been able to emerge from the negativity of it; use it to fuel your purpose. See, without trauma, I believe that it will be extremely difficult to figure out how to pour into ourselves & others. You see, it is our experiences that allow us to do so. The good ones, the bad ones & the ones that cause indifference.

If I remained silent every time someone told me to shut up, Nickkie & Co. would not exist. If I did not attempt to advocate for myself when I felt an injustice, I would not be here. I would not be the self-reflective, advocating woman I am today in my career, my personal life & in my purpose (Nickkie&Co). If I allowed my own trauma to win, if I stayed quiet & always did what I was told; or “suppressed” my emotions like they told me to; my testimony would not exist. Whatever words I have written or said that helped someone reflect or shape themselves; would not have reached them. I truly believe, it was my trauma, my experiences, that allowed me the wisdom, courage & ability to come forth & share it.

Though it does not define us, our trauma is part of our testimony. It will serve as the beacon of light not only for ourselves but for someone else too. Many times our fight creates the pathway for someone else to walk on & get to meet us where we are. To help them arrive too.

Do not let your trauma keep that.

Intentional Lifetime Promises

Welcome to 2021! Many of us has just pushed through one of the most challenging years of our lives (collectively). Many of us have lost loved ones, income, assets, encouragement, faith…the list goes on. Many of us are dragging into 2021 exhausted & eager for a break. This year is the year many of us are looking to rebuild, reestablish & reimagine what is ours. However, before you do anything, make sure you do one thing before all else-

Pour into yourself & do it with intention.

After the year we just had, we spent much of our time surviving & helping others to do the same. But we cannot deny that we have come out of last year beat up & eager to bounce back from some of our less than ideal situations. Although, 2020 had its shining moments, that allowed us to see who GOD is; it was also unrelenting for many of us. So many facets of our lives that have been effected & are requiring us to lick our wounds while we re-adjust. So while we re-adjust, let’s stray away from unrealistic, short-lived, NY resolutions & make intentional promises to ourselves.

Let us look at the bigger picture. Where do we continue to sell ourselves short? Where have we failed to deliver for ourselves? When have we put the care & love of others, before ourselves? What steps are we willing to make to ensure that next year, we see ourselves the way we want to see ourselves? What are our hard-nos? Where have we sacrificed our boundaries? When have we accepted less than we deserve? Think about all of that & make your intentional promises. These are not promise anyone but promise for yourself. I You have heard it before, empty wells cannot pour into others. So with these promises, ensure that they fill you up abundantly that pouring into others only adds; not depletes.

Happy New Year, Loves & Happy 3rd Birthday to Nickkie & Co.

“What is the most important thing? To love yourself and the world. In that order.” -Yoko

Who’s Holding You Accountable?

Hello Ladies! Happy Sunday!

We often discuss the need to have supportive friends that encourage us & inspire us to strive forward. However, today I want to discuss the importance of having friends that hold you accountable, as well. Friends that are “supportive” & friends that hold you “accountable” are not always one in the same. However, it amazes me how often people have this misconstrued. We often think because a person is supportive that they are capable of holding us accountable. However, that is not true & it is important to evaluate what that means for you & your circle.

It is easy to have people in your corner that show you the various ways they support you. Though we always appreciate the ones that show up for various events, cheer us on when we are doing well, & encourage us when we are feeling low; it is different to have a friend that can look you in the face & say “listen, you’re effin up, tighten up”. An accountability partner should be someone who’s opinion you value, who truly has your best interest in mind & someone who is not afraid to hurt your feelings. Having someone who can hold you accountable is a blessing & is the secret weapon behind your road to success. The will naturally ensure that your performance in the various facets of your life (professionally, educationally, spiritually, culturally, financially, etc.) will improve. Not to mention, they will deliver faithfully when you fail to do so.

Their role is to push you out of your comfort zone.

So far out of your comfort zone that you have no choice but to get comfortable where you’re not comfortable.

Do not settle for lack luster accountability partners that are unable to hold you to a standard that will ensure your success. In fact, recognize the various streams of support in your network; if one of these essential secret weapons are not in your team I urge you to find one. I guarantee you, the trajectory of your goals will have a positive impact that would have been significantly more difficult for you to see on your own.

We spend so much time refusing to accept that anyone is able to be unproductive & inactive. However, we have to remember every boss has board they have to answer to. That board ensures that the boss is in line with the mission, purpose & vision of their organization. Find yourself a like-minded individual & get to work!

You will not be sorry. Trust me.

Taking On More…

Sometimes it feels like we are biting much more than we can chew. I know many times we feel like we are running a race on a hamster wheel, against ourselves. Because when one thing is sorted out; another thing happens. I personally have been feeling that way lately & it has been extremely uncomfortable. These past few months, I have been very transparent about being in one of the most unique & uncomfortable faith tests of my life. If I were to be honest, I hate it. But my faith (hence, the current faith test I am in) tells me it will all be sorted out & God holds me near. I am sure, with the current times, many people are feeling much like I am; especially with the holidays close & our inability to gather in the ways we are use to.

Normally, I will start talking about how we are going to get through this time & that God will not put us through anything we can’t handle. Although that seems promising & sounds good; I recently heard a different perspective on this. Pastor Tony Evans told his congregation that often times, God gives us more than we can handle because it helps shape us into the very person we are supposed to be. This resonated with me because every time, in the mist of my chaos, God met me. Every time, when life was too much, God has shown me that he was able to relieve me from the stresses that were too difficult for me but never too difficult for him. My drama has taught me empathy & has molded my ability to encourage those who will be where I am; after me. Because the truth is, our testimonies are not for us. They are for someone else. Someone who will be in the same place we are in now; who is having a difficult time getting through, moving forward & functioning solely on faith.

I am able to write these memoirs every week because they are MY experiences meant for YOU. Life is a classroom; sometimes you will be the teacher & many times the student. We just have to be willing to accept the role we are assigned in that particular time of our lives. Our ability to be the teacher to someone else comes from being the student, failing the test & trying again. Therefore, along with the theme of every other memoir, I am going to remind you that this obstacle is temporary & that your life has purpose. To give up & to lose faith is not only a disservice to you but to the lives of those that will follow after you. Even when life gives you too much to chew, know that you are not chewing alone. There have been other people where you are now & God stands with you in the midst of it all.

You are history. You are a story. You are a trailblazer. You are power. You are strength. You are light. You are life. You are love.

Beautifully Imperfect

Hey, loves! Today is a pretty exciting day! Nickkie&Co. has not had a Guest Inspiration in quite a while. However, a long time friend & fellow woman in Christ, Quiomayra Figueroa, has offered her Testimony to share with us today. She brings forward the conversation that religion & a relationship with christ are NOT the same thing. In fact, relationship is so much more. Tune in & check out the brief summary of her journey. It might sound a lot like yours. Thank you Quio for your testimony.

My name is Quiomayra Figueroa and I am 31 years old, born in Camden and raised in  Pennsauken, New Jersey. This is my story of a born sinner saved by an awesome father God in heaven. 

I knew who God was but never really had a “relationship” with the Lord, it was more religion than anything else. I grew up in the Catholic Church; that’s where the foundation started but it didn’t continue. The seed was planted in me by my parents to know who God was and that Jesus died on the cross but never really experienced or understood the importance of having a relationship with God, to understand why Jesus died on the cross for us, and to be thankful and devoted like I am now. Back then what I knew about being a Christian was to “do this do that” and “if you don’t follow these rules you are going to hell and God is going to punish you”. Because of that, I didn’t have a desire to seek the Lord because I thought I had to be perfect. I didn’t fully understand why God allowed things to happen in this world and why I had to be a part of it; I didn’t believe it at the time because a lack of understanding.

I then started to do things my way. I went to college to do something that I was passionate about to help people and the community I grew up in; I went for criminal justice. In my college, I didn’t really experience the partying scene in school but I experienced it outside with the group of people I grew up with. I did what I wanted and what I thought was “living life”. I was partying, drinking like crazy,  and going out to the clubs all the time. Looking back now I basically got myself into a lot of situations that I could’ve avoided that were dangerous. Thank the Lord he had me covered. I was also not in the best relationship.  I don’t blame the person I was with because we obviously weren’t meant to be and that’s okay. I remember after graduating college I  was in a relationship for four years with a man I thought I was going to marry. While we were together I started to seek the Lord with a couple of my family members due to situations in my family; we decided to go to church and I loved it. I kept attending and curious about God; wanting more. I was baptized and I made that declaration to the Lord that I was going to follow him and change my life around but I wasn’t fully dedicated. At this point in my life I became a “luke warm Christian” with one foot in and one foot out. I didn’t want to let go of my old lifestyle; not fully trusting the God. I thought my life was good; I had a boyfriend, we lived together, working in my field of study, and got a dog. In reality though, things were following apart. 

Just like on social media, people post what they want you to see. Who post’s up their failures or what’s going on in their life? My relationship with my boyfriend at the time failed, just like  people in my life that love the Lord and prayed for me, said it would. I am not bashing the person I was with; but our situation. I knew that I was doing things out of God’s order. The relationship ending helped me to take the rose colored glasses off my eyes. I was able to be like you know what God “ I’m TIRED of how I’m living, TIRED of the partying and the drinking, TIRED of the failed relationships, TIRED of being mad at the world with different situations, trying to be in control and not getting good results. I decided that day to just say “I’m done” and I started to really seek the Lord a different way; on his terms because in the past I didn’t handle problems well my way.

When I was in high school during my senior year and part of my college life I handled situations so differently, unhappy and depressed. I would literally shut myself from the world, not wanting to be bothered by anyone. I would lock myself in the room, sleep all the time and I wouldn’t have an appetite. I remember my mom knocking on the door in my room to check up on me and  I would not let her in. I went from weighing 135 to 105 real quick; at my worst. At a certain point I snapped out of that depression in which God delivered me from and I decided to leave it in God’s hands! Once I made that decision to follow Christ wanting his peace and his joy, I ended up finding another church home; not because where I was wasn’t a bible preaching church but because I needed something different. Where I attend now has helped me to grow in relationship with the Lord and not just what people call “religion”. I get to learn who God is as our father and our friend. I have a community of family who know and love the Lord just like me that I can be accountable to. Because let’s face it, nothing is ever going to be perfect; we are human with real problems. Just because we are followers of Christ doesn’t mean we are not prone to trials in this world because we decided to take this step. That’s a promise from the Lord that we will have to “face troubles but to take heart because he has already overcome the world”(John 16:33) when he died on that cross for us. That’s the beauty of it! We are going to fail in some way, shape or form. I feel true conviction when it happens which is good, but as long as we continue to trust the Lord and give it to him, he will help us, he will show up and he will change our lives like never before! 

God wants to meet us where we are; that’s where he can work in us. We don’t have to come to him perfect. He tells us to draw closer to him and he will draw closer to us (James 4:8). Because of that decision I made a long time ago, to accept this invitation from the Lord to follow him, my life has never been the same. Life’s purpose that he has for me and you is to encourage people, to allow them to see the love of Christ and to tell them the good news about him. It’s the whole point of life, to love God and love people. 

I didn’t desire to seek the lord because I thought I had to be perfect.

Toss The Loss.

Life has a funny way of making us grow in the midst of our discomfort. Despite the various ways in which I experienced this; 2020 has had a special way of confirming this. Granted, in spite of all the chaos, God has blessed me immensely. However, I can recognize the various, uncomfortable experiences that served to be learning opportunities that contributed to making me more resilient.

I know things have been significantly difficult this year. There is one obstacle after another & very little time to recover. But this year has taught me something significant about human-beings; we are survivors. We survive, keep surviving & then we thrive. We have a natural instinct to keep fighting even when the odds are against us.

Love, I may not know exactly what you are experiencing right now. But I do know that this message is for you. Sometimes we need things to occur by happenstance to motivate us to move forward. Understand that you reading this memoir today is not a coincidence. It was meant for you.

It is no surprise that things have been quite difficult lately. All the external factors, coupled with managing every facet of your life, is adding significant & unwanted stress to your already hectic life. Whatever the circumstance, you will get through this. Throughout your life you have overcome setbacks & loses; this is no different. You have lived & survived while managing the various roles & maintaining a life you have set out for yourself. In all the chaos, you have become multifaceted; a forced to be reckoned with. Take the time you need- reflect & readjust. Believe that what you want is yours. It is all apart of God’s divine plan. Trust the process. The journey will get you to where you are supposed to be. But I can assure you, a loss is not waiting for you at the finish line.

You just have to believe it.

Little Girls Can Shatter Glass Ceilings

Good morning! Today is a new day & we are able to start the new week with a new perspective. If yesterday’s election results showed us anything, it showed us that the numbers matter. When people come together fueled by a passion to contribute to change, we can shift the trajectory of outcomes! But this is something, unfortunately, we already knew– we just fail to practice it as often as we can. Furthermore, there is now clear representation set before us! As women, mothers, daughters, sisters & minority women; there is someone that looks like us bypassing restrictions & showing us what is possible.

Now little girl’s know that becoming a person of power in a world not necessarily made for them, is a very real possibility. Their ability to shatter glass ceilings is something all of them will be able to do. They no longer have to accept the narrative someone else has written out for them. Why? Because something amazing happened. Our little girl’s can look at Kamala, & even if they don’t get it now, see that she is them. They can set new standards, & be the first, all & everything because of the representation set before them. I can not even begin to express how important that is.

We all grew up hearing what we could not do because we were “girls”. Whether it was playing with the boys or expressing ourselves in attire- it was all based on what someone decided we should do because of our gender. Our career decisions were guided by those who love us in ways that ensured we remained lady-like. However, for whatever reason, jobs that afforded us too much power, was outside of a woman’s place. Now people’s outdated standards for the lives of women, will no longer have the ability to take precedence. Have the conversation with your little one’s. Use the opportunity to empower your little girls to go for it & talk to your little boys so they are never the reason little girls have to fight harder for the spots they have earned.

Let what happened yesterday begin to change the narrative– forevermore.

Their Business, Not Yours

In life we will go through various circumstances that require deep reflection but provide the same epiphany. Despite the unfavorable situations I may have experienced, a person’s sentiments or motivations behind what they have done is none of my freakin’ business.

I had to force myself to understand that what a person does, how they choose to live their lives, or treat others has nothing to do with me but everything to do with them. Unfortunately, I just got caught in the crossfire of whatever turbulent &/or toxic life experience they subjected themselves to. Alas, many people only know how to communication with toxicity. But again, that is not my fault or the fault of anyone else but that person. My only job is to ensure that I do not give it forward but ensure that light is what people encounter when they have an encounter with me.

So today, I ask you to let the burden go. Stop wondering what if. Stop wondering what you could have done to make the situation better. Stop putting their BS on your plate to swallow. Trust me, they will have to deal with the consequences of their actions without you even having to interfere. God is not about to play about his so let him do what he promised he will do & work on healing.

Healing is yours. Do not give anyone the luxury of keeping that from you.

Promise Yourself…

Promise yourself a few things before you start the week:

You will believe in yourself.

You will not be dissuaded by doubt.

You will give yourself time to process before a response.

You will not commit to engagements you do not want to do.

You will take periods to reset.

You will give yourself a few minutes a day to talk kindly to yourself.

You will put 1 hour aside to work on something you are passionate about.

You will combat negative thoughts with deliberate words of empowerment.

You will acknowledge immediate & new stress & eliminate the stressor.

You will love on yourself how you love onto others.

You will be ok with saying “no”.

You will say “yes” to yourself more.

You will address at least one thing that you have been avoiding.

You will invest in you in the best way you see fit.

You will address & provide for your needs.

You will love you, in a way only you can love you.

You will begin to accept that you are a better you than anyone else. You are important.