Be-YOU-Tiful

Society has conditioned us very early on to be content being everyone but ourselves. Our true selves. In one way or another media reminds us that who we are & who we want to be is not enough. Unless, of course, it fits their idea of perfection or success. In many direct & indirect ways, we are told how to dress, how to talk, who to love, how to love, what to like, what to dislike, what is important, what to dismiss & what we should do based on what society thinks is important. This has resulted in so many of us unsure of who we are, what we believe in & what we represent. Well today, I encourage you to start the journey in learning exactly who you are, what you stand for & what is important to you because despite what you are conditioned to believe –there is not one single person that is on this earth just like you. You were made special, as one of a kind, limited edition — that is the beauty that is you.

The most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed is a person who found true, genuine joy because they were willing to be rebellious for the sake of discovering themselves. They live in joy because they outgrew society’s standards & are living outside of such restrictions. So many of us are walking around with a mask that perpetrates us in a different way than who we really are. This is dangerous to our self-care because we are too busy living for the likes of someone else– so much so, that we forget who we are & dislike ourselves in the process. To be ourselves unapologetically is the best gift we could ever give ourselves & to the world. We spend so much time of our lives being loyal to other people & we do not realize that being loyal to ourselves & our identities is even more important.

Remaining yourself, regardless of the circumstances you face, is a miraculous talent to have. Even under the worst situations you still remain true- true to you. That is the quality to having a good life that will impact, not only yours, but the lives of others. Like I said, there is no one like you, once you are gone there will never be another you. There is no one better at being you than you — embrace you. That is the least that you can do for yourself. Be you, always, all the time, regardless– Forever.

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You Are…

I usually struggle to write about topics like this out of concern of appearing bitter, irrational or unrealistic. Anyone that knows me, knows I have been through my share of heartbreak; some more crippling than others. However, the truth is, people (notice I said ‘people’) need to hear this. On a regular basis people are living tied to toxic, dysfunctional & unhappy relationships. They find themselves lost in the antics & associate with insecurity, discomfort, uncertainty & defeat. So, today, regardless of my own reservations it will be said. Despite what people think, this situation is beyond one individual person, as there are people that need empowerment before & after leaving relationships that no longer suit them.

I will be the first one to tell you that I have walked away from relationships still in love. I will also tell you that regardless of how visibly stubborn I have been; internally I struggled with whether or not I made the right decision to preserve myself & walk away. Truth is, I wanted so badly to believe that someone can change & that under the right circumstances they can change because of me. Too often, afterwards, I ended up raising an amazing man for someone else to enjoy. This often left me disappointed, heartbroken, angry & remorseful for the time I invested & lost. My story is not one of its own. In talking to other people, circumstances may differ but the situation is very much the same. So this memoir is for the person having a hard time getting away. For the person who looks at their partner & wonders what happened & who looks in the mirror & is unsure of themselves. This memoir is for you— because, I have been there too.

I will not tell you why you should get away because realistically, we leave when we are good & ready to. All situations are not just cut & dry. Some situations are more complicated. However, what I will tell you is this– you are not stupid for staying. You are not a fool for forgiving. You should not be ashamed for being hopeful things will get better. Instead if you do not understand or believe anything again in your life– resonate with this– you are powerful, mighty, worthy, beautiful, a gift & a blessing. Anyone who takes that for granted is unworthy of you. You are deserving, you are admirable, you are amazing, you are smart & you are blessed. Anyone willing to risk that does not deserve you. You are breathtaking, you are creative, you are endearing & you are phenomenal. Anyone who can not see that has already lost you. You are strong, you are smart & courageous. If YOU cannot see that, you have already sold yourself short.

See, you are a gem to be loved & cherished. Sadly, we do not always find ourselves tied to people who understand that, however, that still does not negate our worth. You are loved & cherished by the most high. You are loved beyond compare & there will never be anyone to grace this earth like you. You are you, miraculously & wonderfully, you. No one can ever take that from you. With each passing obstacle you become more resilient, more notorious & more victorious. Please believe the words as I wrote them. I do not have to meet you to tell you. I was you. I have been there. We are cut from the same cloth. Drape yourself in pride & confidence, love. The rest will follow. As I always say, you are deserving of all that is coming for you. It is yours & yours alone.

Until next time.

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Treasure in Risks

Happy New Year Conglomerates! Writing for you, loving into you & encouraging you has been a fun & empowering journey. I am so grateful you have been with me & I pray that I can continue to empower you one year at a time. I can not express my gratitude in words, but I thank you from the depth of my heart for joining me & sticking with me.

Don’t forget to subscribe to partake in the Nickkie&Co. Birthday Giveaway!! Details are in my previous post.

We hear often that life is all about taking risks. If we fail to take risks than we fail to truly live. However true that may be, I for one like to play most things safe. I am a very consistent person & any changes too far off from the grid make me uncomfortable. It is interesting because regardless of how extreme in nature I may be, risks & I usually do not come hand-in-hand. However, it was not until the last year or so (2017-2018), that I learned the importance of taking chances on myself, even if the risk does not initially make sense.

For the most part, I did things the way it was expected I should have. I graduated high school, went to college, excelled, had enough graduations for a lifetime & always had a job to make ends meet; whether I was happily employed or not. So, one can only imagine my discomfort when I decided to leave my well paying job with awesome benefits, & an amazing schedule for a job that imposed a $5,000 pay cut & a commitment of more days (possibly long hours) all for the sake of experience. I struggled often with the decision & spent the first 5-6 months of my employment concerned that the risk I took was in vain. Well today, I tell you that taking the risk was one of the greatest things I could have ever done for myself. Exactly one year later, I was promoted to a position that affords me peace of mind, given a salary that surpasses what I left & opens me up to so many opportunities that will elevate my career.

So please listen when I tell you, risks are a necessary part of life. Risks showcase the magnitude of your faith & is an unexpected, yet empowering example of self-care. All risks do not make sense & they often are not suppose to, but if you can envision the road in the long run than it is likely worth taking the chance. From my experience, what you envision does not even scratch the surface of what God has in store for you. Sometimes it simply takes a small leap of faith & a whole lot of courage. Every week, I take a risk when I send out a memoir for public review & scrutiny — leaving myself exposed to unwarranted comments, grammar & spelling corrections & recommendations on how “said memoir” could have been better. However, the good far outweighs the tedious & elevates my heart from the fruits of my labor. But I would never recognize this if I was not willing to take the risk each & every week by making myself vulnerable & accountable for the chances I am willing to make.

Do not place limitations on yourself out of concern that a risk will not work out in your favor. There is always a way out of no way & you are worth the investment you put into yourself. Life has many lessons to share with you & it is not limited to negative experiences. There is magic in keeping a little faith & treasure hidden in your risks. Claim it & I can promise you that what you risked will be small in comparison to what awaits you. To obtain our hearts desire it requires a willingness to stand firm in what we believe in & a high jump for the opportunity. Life is way too short to have to sit around & wonder “what if”. “What if” is beneath you.

“Take the risk or lose the chance”

– Fritz Chery


Birthday Giveaway

Hello Conglomerates,

Happy New Year! Just popping in to share with you the details of the very first Nickkie&Co. giveaway!!!! I am super excited!

To commemorate Nickkie&Co.’s first birthday ··· Nickkie&Co. has teamed up with @imancosmetics to give two amazing subscribers a special gift for their support. For 2.5 weeks, everyone has the chance to subscribe in order to win 2 high quality, luxurious highlighters & 2 bold, long lasting lipsticks to have for a special or not-so-speacial night out. This is just a token of appreciation for your support as we tread into the new year with enthusiasm. By subscribing with your email to the website you’re immediately entered into the drawing. Winners will be drawn and announced on 01/20/2019 🙂 

In the meantime, don’t forget to wish my baby a happy 1st birthday. 


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Magic in Vulnerability

Emotional vulnerability is the ability to emotionally “exercise openness”. People often think that being emotionally vulnerable is a bad thing. Society has conditioned us to think that the exposure of too much emotion is in fact a negative attribute that no one should aspire to have. As a result, we are forced to live our lives amongst people who lack the ability to express themselves- resulting in a slew of dysfunctional relationships & misunderstood behaviors. I, for one, was one of those people. Growing up in the city taught me some very flawed ways of communication, which in turn severely effected how I maintained my relationships. Aggressive behavior was praised while any expression of vulnerability was chastised & frowned upon. So to avoid being the subject of ridicule I embraced this perspective. So much so, it became natural for me to behave in ways that hurt others while rejecting those who did not act as I did.  

It is no secret that I have made some unintentional, yet welcomed changes as of the past year. My ability to reflect on my past & change of perspective has allowed me to recognize the flaw in my previous way of thinking. I can say to you with certainty that the benefits of allowing myself to be emotionally vulnerable have truly surpassed the benefits associated with how I was living my life before. My willingness to accept my emotions, how they affect me & how I manage them has been the biggest saving grace in my life. My outlook & perspective has done a complete 360 & I say pridefully that the things I took for granted are now appreciated beyond measure. I now realize that people are not disposable. People make mistakes. If I am unwilling to recognize this, then I allow myself to miss out on amazing experiences with amazing people. I find beauty in the most minor things, live a life full of genuine joy & find substance in simple day-to-day activities. I have taught myself better ways to communicate & I love freely without condition. This all would not be possible if I refused to allow myself to succumb to my feelings without being ashamed. My willingness to embrace my emotions (good or bad) along with my ability to think logically has opened so many doors for me that I know would not have been opened before. 

Many of us are looking for a drastic change to occur in our lives. We wait forever for the “ah-ha” moment that will reshape things for us. However, sometimes our inability to fully embrace what is going on around us keeps those moments from happening. I have learned that our perspectives have a big influence on the way we live. Therefore, the best way to live is to allow ourselves to feel so that we may experience life’s little blessings. Today, I encourage you to stop shutting down your feelings out of fear of being vulnerable. Start allowing yourself to feel, engage & relish in the moments that makes life great. Life is too short not to feel all of its wonders. There is magic in the freedom you will have once you let yourself be free—without constraint. Give it a try.

Be Accountable

You have to be mature enough to understand that you have some toxic traits too. It’s not just the other person.”

These are the words etched in a meme I discovered on Instagram this week. Of course, I reposted it because the substance in those two sentences can not & should not be ignored. Weekly, I advocate the importance of preserving our energy & recognizing when certain people or situations do not work in our favor. However, I have never addressed the importance of being accountable for the things we may have done to others. I, for one, can recognize that I am not perfect. I understand that in pursuit of finding myself & navigating through the different stages of my life I have caused pain to others; whether intentional or not. I would be utterly naive to believe that I am the only person who has walked away from negative situations hurt. I must even recognize that I have hurt & caused pain or damage to others I am unaware of. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge the roles we have played in someone else’s pain. As adults, we must acknowledge the facts – we are not perfect; nor were we created to be. However, acknowledging that we have had a hand in the experiences of other people, whether good or bad, would give us the most realistic platform for self-reflection.

If we fail to be accountable for our actions & the roles we play, we still leave those we love susceptible to pain while further crippling our own ability to grow. In hurting others & failing to remain accountable, the cycle of pain is never-ending because the opportunity to learn from past behavior will becomes non-existent. Furthermore, those interactions & experiences have the potential to ignite a plague of dysfunction that spans through the lives of many people if not dealt with appropriately. So the last thing we should want is for our behavior to have lasting negative effects on people that inhibits them from evolving past negative experiences they may have had with us. People, regardless of how amazing or horrible they may be perceived, deserve the right to heal. More specifically, from pain we have foisted upon them.

As I write this, I am able to reflect on my healing process & what I needed to receive in order to heal sooner. Although I could not identify it then, in hindsight, I realize that my struggle to fully move past what was done to me (without anger) was significantly hindered by my inability to accept the other person’s disinterest in recognizing the role they played in my dismay. Though I have learned that I have total control of my healing in it’s entirety; in those phases of my life, I would have appreciated solid recognition of the situation instead of the offerings of sweet nothings, broken promises & cruel & dismissive behavior.  

However, please recognize that in being accountable, I do not prescribe that we carry the burdens of someone else’s pain like bolders on our shoulders; nor do I believe that we should drag them behind us as if they were shackled to our ankles. We should never be slaves to our past. However, if given the opportunity (directly or indirectly) it would be most conducive to growth if we understand that some of our traits are toxic too. Having toxic traits does not make us bad people, it simply just makes us human. We owe nothing more than that to anyone but ourselves. We are not required to be anything more or anything less than– human. Not perfect. Not a superhero. Just human. Just the best version of human we can be.

Relishing in the Small Wins

From youth we learn the importance of setting goals to achieve success — “when I grow up, I want to be...” In return, we are given the steps needed to achieve these goals, — “to be … You must first…” So, early on, we recognize that life is about goal setting & that some simulant of work must be done to obtain these goals. However, I recognize that we often just celebrate the large wins; the big milestone wins that significantly propel us or gets us to our goal (i.e. becoming a doctor, lawyer, writer, etc). It was not until starting Nickkie&Co, where success was in the 1 follower I gained or the 50th memoir that I wrote, that I realized that in some way, my original conditioned way of thinking was flawed & sends the wrong message. It truly was not until recently that I learned to celebrate the small wins. Small wins allow relishing in the moments & enjoying the things that makes life worth it.

Usually, it’s the journey to the goal that allows us to feel accomplished when the large goal is achieved. Regardless of the overall goal, the small wins are just as important to celebrate because a win, regardless of it’s size or significance, is still a win! A win we should be proud of. Any accomplishment & any step that propels us closer to our goal, or an unexpected triumph is something to celebrate. So often we get caught up on the final prize that we discourage ourselves from being proud of what smaller steps we have accomplished to get it. News flash! Every step, every movement in our journey contributes to what is to come of us. We have to stop minimizing what has been done or how far we have come & start standing firmly on what has been accomplished. The expectation to achieve large goals contributes significantly on us being so hard on ourselves. Today that comes to an end.

Let’s start practicing — speaking life & praise on our accomplishments (regardless of the size) until it becomes second-nature, naturally. Let’s make conscious efforts to toot our own horns, often. Let’s celebrate the slaying of our giants & triumph like David did. Let’s appreciate all our accomplishments because life is too short not to relish in the small wins & too long to ignore them. Let’s stop beating ourselves up when we are not where we want to be, when we want to be. Let’s stop focusing on where we fall short & start focusing on where we don’t. The days where we feel like failures are long behind us. Because as we acknowledge the wins, the right sentiment follows; We are champions, always, regardless & forever!

The New Year is approaching, instead of making this a temporary resolution let’s make this a permanent way of life. We are powerful, victorious & we WIN always– regardless

 

Poverty in America

The epidemic of homelessness dates back to before the implementation of unfavorable policy changes, financial depression, & the decrease of resources. In January 2017, the national estimate of homelessness in the United States was 553,742. Regardless of the political environment, homelessness is a pandemic that is not easily eliminated. Even though, since 2007, 36 states have reported an overall decrease in homelessness, it is still a pervasive issue that plagues the lives of others. Sadly, despite the assistance in place for these individuals, there is not enough supply for the demand. Regardless of the events that have led to their homelessness (drug addiction, abuse, natural disasters, etc.) it appears that the homeless, if not seen regularly or in large quantities, are an easily forgotten population. For instance, we all know that those less fortunate than us exist & we understand that this is an issue; however, many of us hold true to the “out of sight, out of mind” way of processing. We often become so overwhelmed by our own problems that we are oblivious or immune to the struggles of others. Unfortunately, since there are some beliefs (true & untrue) in regards to the lives of homeless people, many of us would rather help “model” people who we believe have “temporarily” fallen down on their luck before helping people who may have contributed to their lives turning out the way they have.

Understanding this, Nickkie&Co. pursued another philanthropic mission to help the homeless, despite their histories, their errors or their shortcomings. Instead, of trying to figure out why they got where they were, Conglomerates & I looked at the individuals & how it would feel to be in their shoes for a day. Though we understand that we cannot fix the problem in one instance, we understand the importance of seeing a warm smile accompanied with a kind gesture. Therefore, together we raised 31 blankets to give to the homeless living in tent city on Lehigh Avenue in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, there were more homeless people than blankets. However, their appreciation was evident. What surprises me is not just the amount of people living without roofs over their heads but the amount of impoverished people who struggle daily to truly make ends meet. The 2017 Census recognizes that 39.7 million people were living in poverty. So, for a family of 4, the federal poverty level was 24,600. There has been an increase this year, however, these numbers are eye opening. 

Since I have started Nickkie&Co. I often hear different stories of people struggling & it baffles me. Some people truly wake up every day wondering how they are going to survive– unsure if they will eat that week or if they will have a warm place to sleep at night. It hurts me. We live in the “land of the free” that thrives off of materialism & self-preservation, however, we have people barely getting by; barely living. So today, I advocate that we begin to acknowledge a problem when we see it, spread awareness to teach others & if we cannot do anything else, we remain empathetic & kind to those in unfortunate situations. But I must say that the first step to making a difference is to acknowledge that a problem exists & that a difference has to be made. We cannot begin to contribute to eradicating a problem if we fail to recognize that it exists. In order to care for each other, we have to be willing to advocate, teach each other & speak up for those who may not be able to. We have to work together in love so that we can lift & build up those in less than ideal situations. Small strides in the community can go a long way because usually it takes one bold person to take a stand & the rest will follow. Advocating & being kind provides that glimmer of hope so many people need. So shine & make a difference. Make your imprint on the world & make it deep enough that it is not covered in dust long after you are gone. 

  

**Statistics from endhomelessness.org, census.gov, peoplekeep.com***

Social Media: Our Lives on Public Display

Social media is an experience many of us relish in for entertainment. With the right momentum, social media can significantly propel our dreams into unforeseen heights, spread awareness at extremely quick rates & contribute to movements that link you to other like-minded people. However, as with many things, social media has a nasty side many of us see all too often. Just as social media contributes to positivity it can, in turn, magnify negativity. Social media is an implosive avenue that allows people to put their mental health, emotions & relationships on display. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I am grateful for the opportunities & benefits that social media makes available to our generation. I have been able to watch social media morph the lives of “regular” people into “celebrities” practically overnight. Hashtags & profile layouts have become the new “resume” that aid in propelling an entrepreneur’s popularity on the specific platform they use. Just as one’s success can multiply over night; the nasty, yet private aspects of our lives can do the same. From experience & observation, I have learned that negativity spreads faster than positivity, especially when fueled by pain & aggression.

Therefore, we must be mindful of the areas we share with the world until we are truly ready to share it. Social media is fun but once people are invited into the entertainment of our lives they will likely never leave. This will make it more difficult to heal & move past difficult phases of our lives. I have experienced this first hand with breakups or friendships that have gone south. Giving the world access during these phases of my life simply added more fuel to the fire & has caused more damage than it needed to. Over the years I have learned to be private in my affairs while dealing with my sadness intimately. Instead of sharing it with the rest of the world, I have taken that time to reflect & love into myself in a way I never knew before. As a result, it has done so much more for my self-preservation than I ever could have imagined. In fact, using that time to reflect & grow is why I can share personal testimonies with you every week on this platform.

I often promote sharing testimonies in order to heal & empower others. However, more than anything, I promote putting our health (physical, mental & spiritual) first. Often times, during extreme periods in our lives, we showcase our pain for the world to see without taking into account that it just may be too early for us to process what these periods mean for us. If we are still processing & healing from our trauma’s having the space to process alone without the prying eyes of others can be most beneficial to us. I believe in full transparency (in due time), however broadcasting our lives when we are most vulnerable leaves us susceptible to hurtful retaliation, negative statements, & abrasive actions that are not conducive to our healing. Granted, our profile is our expression & we should never have to filter who we are or how we feel for the likes of other people. But the truth is, it is not about other people. It is about us. There are certain phases of our lives that people should not be privy to on LIVE. Our lives should never be on display for people to tune in to every week. If it does not add to our growth, spread awareness, or propels our mission live updates are not required. Preserving ourselves for a better version of ourselves is most certainly ideal. After all, caterpillars always morph into butterflies in private leaving the world in awe of their beauty.

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No IS Yes

In pursuing our goals, it will be ideal for us to have the favor of the person who has the ability to say YES, right away. However, life would have it that “yes” may not always be what we hear. In many instances, we will hear “no” more often. Unfortunately, until we have proven ourselves, or peak someone’s interest, it will likely remain that way. We will spend much of our time trying to get people to see & believe in our vision in order to invest, promote or support us. However, the most important thing we could do in our pursuit has everything to do with how we receive “NO” when it is delivered to us. Many of us have become accustom to receiving it, accepting it & abandoning our pursuit off the basis that one or two people said no.  Many times, if we hear it enough, we begin to question ourselves in our abilities & the worth of our journey. Our experiences have programmed us to believe that one person or one group of people have the end-all answer; the answer that will either make us or break us. Well today, I want to share with you a new perspective & it is important for you to hear this: one person’s no is another person’s yes.

Therefore, I urge you not to stop believing in yourself based off of what someone else may tell you. Life is all about overcoming adversity in order to acquire your dreams. Dreams are to be pursued, executed & overcome. Despite what you hear, the courage you use to keep going is what truly counts. I cannot tell you how many times I have been told “no” & have been placed in a better situation as a result. Always remain tenacious in your pursuit, aggressive in your beliefs & humble throughout your journey. You will be rewarded for it. You are the protagonist in your story; do not allow the antagonists to keep you from reaching your goal. At the end of the day, you owe it to yourself to keep believing in yourself. If you take no risks there will be few things worth living for. If there is anything I am right about it is this, you are worth taking the risk on. So the next time you hear no, reflect & keeping going because yes, is just a few “no’s” away.

Keep Striving Babe, You Got This.

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