Survive Through Bitterness.

Let me tell you.

I have had my share of unfair relationships. You know, the ones that require you to put more in than you get out, where you are the lover & the best friend, the confidant, the unbiased advisor & genuine supporter. The relationship that drains you until the person you were before the relationship is almost unrecognizable. I been there more times than I would like. However, because of these experiences my perspective has changed significantly.

With each time I had to build myself up after a relationship, I did so begrudgingly. My pain came with a cost & I waited until the moment those who hurt me came to grovel back so that they can feel a small fraction of the pain they caused me. I allowed them to have too much power over my pain & what I did with it. I allowed myself to become bitter instead of taking the lesson for what it really was; a lesson. In some weird way I thank them, now. If it were not for what they have done & the grace of God; I would not understand that all things that have been placed against me – painful or harmful – will be flipped for my gain, my win & my favor.

Now I encourage you to to do the same. Reclaim your power. Do not bow your head down in shame or resentment. Look at these hurtful experiences as opportunities to grow; to be a better version of you for you. No one deserves the credit of what you become. No one deserves your happiness. With each one of these experiences, a part of you chips away but not forever. It hurts badly, but it is up to you to make it work for your benefit. It is your life to claim; make all the moments count.

It will get better.

2019 Can Keep My Depression

Hello Babes!!! Happy New Year!! It is only 5 days into the New Year & I am extremely eager to see what the rest of 2020 has to offer (despite how cliche’ that may sound). Because these past 5 days are a complete turn around from what the last 6 months of 2019 showed me. The truth is, I spent that last 6 months of 2019 anxious & depressed. Both feelings I promised I would not allow myself to succumb to ever again. I struggled severely with keeping my feelings under control & not letting the heavy burden of depression take me out. I look back today, still fighting my own battles grateful that I was able to recognize the signs & act on them before this battle became significantly harder for me to win.

I lost the desire to live. I sacrificed the philanthropic missions of my brand, I stopped praying, struggled to read & meditate on the word, go to church, failed to engage with my loved ones, avoided social gatherings, stopped going to the gym, did not eat, did not want to write memoirs & lost the desire to do all the things I loved. It felt like the internal battle that told me to “give in” & the other that told me “not to give up” was going to take me out one way or another. Because it is so much easier to give into negativity than to keep fighting when the positive seems so far away. It was in that moment that I realized that I needed reinforcements.

Reinforcement that did not include bogging my friends down in my sorrow. Because although they are supportive, I was fearful to dump the extent of my issues on them. So I sought help. I reached out to a spiritual, African American therapist who understood my desire to be replanted spiritually & who helped me manage my anxiety & attack my depression with strategies. With her encouragement & my tenacious desire to see the end of this, I have progressed significantly. I also became apart of the mentorship program at church- which helped me continue to stay rooted spiritually & reminded me that God did not leave me but is instead walking right along side me.

Although I still have a way to go, I will not take from the fact that I am significantly further in my walk than I was when I first started it 7 months ago. I laugh now, I am reading again, driven & motivated to see tasks through & my schedule has been booked with social gatherings with the people I love. I made it; I am making it & I pray that you see my testimony as a means to see that you can make it too. Depression is not your friend & it is not something you should get use to living with. Do not be ashamed to seek help. We get use to coping with our trauma & experiences a certain way that we do not understand when those coping mechanisms do not work anymore. Sometimes we need to be able to just dump that on someone trained & skilled to help us master new ways to cope. As we get older we need to be able to find new ways to survive.

Do not be ashamed. My proudest moment in all my life is that I was able to recognize when enough was enough & seek help. I fought for my life back & although some days may be difficult I do not accept that those difficult moments are more than just that – moments. Do it for yourself. You will be grateful you did it in the end. Trust me.

Buh Bye 2019… Hello, 2020

As we leave 2019 & embark on new adventures with 2020; I want to encourage you to remain humble, be grateful for your blessings & make time for the people you love. Leave behind old grudges, be open to new experiences, make new friends & tackle the goals you have kept putting off. Although we look on to the new year with optimism; we often carry in the old baggage from the year before. We express excitement initially & eventually fall into old habits. However, we deserve more than carrying the things that do not bring us joy into the new year. Despite being unaware of the lessons, challenges & losses the new year may bring us; we must live it to the best of our ability. Because it is ours to make worth while.

Welcome it with open arms.

You deserve all the GOOD it has to offer. Be ready to embrace it.

Outgrowing Others

As we go through life, we have experiences that force us out of our comfort zone & that inevitably requires us to grow. However, sometimes our experiences cause us to evolve in ways that require us to outgrow things we were once interested in & people we couldn’t live without; without any apparent reason. Many times we recognize when this is occuring & feel guilty for feeling this way. But today I am encouraging you to accept this part of the journey when it happens.

Our lives go in different directions & unfortunately everyone can’t go. Sometimes keeping the company you once kept will keep you in a box you have long outgrown. Because the truth is, as your life changes so will your circle. But if you limit yourself to only your “day ones” you will likely limit the opportunities & experiences that will further promote your advancement. As harsh as this seems, the truth is, we outgrow people who are not growing. You can still love them, wish them well, pray for them, be kind when you see them but their lack of growth should never limit yours. You must be mindful of that.

This occurrence is normal. We all experience it & it is nothing to feel guilty about. As we get older our perspective changes along with the way we receive & process things. Sometimes it takes recognizing that some people need a little more time & we can’t wait for them. Where your life is going may very well not be the same direction they are going. That’s ok! Love them for the time they contributed to your life but love yourself more to let it go.

Exodus 14:14; Be Still.

Two Thousand Nineteen is rapidly coming to an end & although I am not a “New Year’s Resolution” person; the lessons I have learned this year have equipped me to focus on building a skill that otherwise I have never put into practice my whole 30 years of life.

That skill is to BE STILL.

I am not & have never been the most patient person. I struggle when things do not appear to go in the way I expected & I become extremely inpatient when things happen at a slow place. I realize that my need to react quickly & control various aspects of my life has caused me to settle or find myself in less than ideal situations. But what I learned is that the reward for being patient is always more beautiful if I just remain still.

This week a friend & I had a conversation about waiting & letting God do his thing. We discussed how difficult it is for us to accomplish this sometimes & then she received confirmation in such a beautiful way. She had a potted plant outside that she brought in her home from the harsh winter weather. In the plant was a cocooned caterpillar going through the evolution to become a butterfly. When I think of the butterfly, I instantly think of process of evolution to become so beautiful. However, what she said to me resonated significantly with this part of my life I am currently in.

The butterfly is significant in that it knows how to be still & let nature take its course until its done! Like you said… it doesn’t come out a second sooner. Such is with God’s timing. We want things to happen on our time or work on something & expect immediate results. Not so! Sometimes (we) just need to be still & let God work for (us) & through (us) instead of trying to do it (ourselves) or rush! There are alot of lessons to be learned from caterpillars & butterflies. In watching them develop, it would appear that they’re not “doing anything”. But we know once the transportation is complete that they have been doing a lot of internal & still work. It takes a lot to be still in this world that pushes people to be constantly engaged in activity & to “take the bull by the horns” etc.

So with that loves, I encourage you to take this example & apply it to your life. Assess when it is a time for you to act & when it is not meant for you to remain still. Be patient with yourself & the process. Our lack of ability to just be still can be insulting to God & I am starting to understand that. Because it implies that we much rather believe in our plan than his infinite plans for our lives. So when you feel the need to make rash decisions, remember the benefits of being still. After all, he did promise that he will fight for us, we need only to be still.

Spread Joy…

The holiday season has arrived & Christmas is quickly approaching. Stores are promoting sales, lines are long, packages are delivered in shorter time frames & traffic is everywhere. But along with these things we have been conditioned to accept; there is something else that is inevitable with the holiday season- depression. I hate to put a damper on such a cheerful time of the year, however, this season is not so cheerful for everyone & seasonal depression is real.

I know we can get caught up in our own lives but please take the time to reach out to your loved ones. Many people struggle silent battles, especially during this time of the year. What is meant to be a joyous time decorated with lights & bliss is a dark abyss for others. Therefore, we have to be sure that we do not forget them by letting them know we are here.

Small gestures go a long way- phone calls, text messages, loving pop ups, friends-mas get togethers, movie times, etc. Sometimes it is not about talking about the issues, it is just feeling that someone is there. So if you have not heard from a friend in a while, please just take a few moments to check in on them, tell them that you love them & make your presence known. The possibility that they have been busy is there; but in the off chance that it has been a struggle for them; you have just become a glimmer of light in their dark tunnel. Remember, the holiday season calls for togetherness & inclusivity not just gift giving & holiday hustle. Use this time to empathize & spread the joy others may be missing.

A Time To Be Thankful

To be thankful is to feel or express gratitude. During difficult times & the hustle of the holiday season; it is easy to lose track of the “simple” things that have been afforded to us that we often take forgranted. It is easy, especially during the holidays, to fret over superficial things that will not necessarily matter in a few weeks. We get caught up in the sales advertised by retailers & bound up by the financial burden of purchasing gifts for loved ones. So today, I want to inspire you to be thankful even when your desired situation appears bleak.

As cliche’ as this may sound, every day truly is a gift. Every day we have our health & sound mind is an added bonus. Anything aside from that is an opportunity to start each day over; to make it better than the last. Having a thankful mindset will have a significant impact on our day, our perspective & allows us to be more aware of the little blessings that make each moment worth living.

So I urge you not to get caught up in what you don’t have & appreciate what you do. You woke up today, have the means to read this memoir, have love to give, are loved by people who matter to you & are given new mercy every morning you open your eyes. So don’t stress over the unknown. Don’t become overwhelmed by what you lack or the things that will make your life easier. God will provide relief. So in the meantime, as I always say, relish. Relish in the moments, the opportunities & the possibilities & be thankful for them. Because a thankful heart is a blessing to itself & those around it.

Kindness For Sale

Kindness is the act of being friendly, generous or considerate. Since I started Nickkie&Co I have been an advocate for kindness, humbleness & humility as a default response. However, today, I still advocate for the the same thing but want to stress the importance of being kind without the need of the public eye. See social media, with all the wonderful things it has allowed us to do, has also made acts of kindness feel CHEAP.

With social media, it appears people may be more inclined to express random acts of kinness, however at the cost of exposing the need of the other person. Our generation has picked up the habit of recording our highest moments while showcasing the lowest moments of someone else. The temporary praise from acquaintances is so short lived that I wonder if it is even worth it. Because to pump up our own egos, we put the spotlight directly on an individual who would likely rather be invisible in their current state.

So today, I urge you to be mindful of this. I ask that you continue to be kind but do so just to make someone’s day a little easier or to put a smile on their face. Do not expose people’s hardships for a few cheap minutes of glory. Because life has an interesting way to humble us & at the lowest moments of our lives we would not want the world watching us on LIVE. Be kind because it is the right thing to do. Be kind because your heart inclines you to do so & be kind enough to make a difference for those who may need it without expecting anything – glory, praise or blessings in return. Because at the end of the day, it is you who has to lay down & live with you. Make sure you like who you presented yourself to be that day. Be kind without a cost.

Kindness & Dominoes

During my adolescence & early adult years I had a severe chip on my shoulder. I was aggressive, impulsive & very, very defensive. I never gave people a chance to get to know me nor did I give myself the opportunity to get to know people. I saw people at their worst & I kept them there. I did not believe that people could be nice “just because”. I was convinced kindness always came with a price. I believed, that if you were too kind, you left yourself vulnerable & susceptible to being misused, mistreated & taken for granted. I allowed my own pain to dictate how I viewed my relationships. Many people, unless they proved otherwise, were very disposable to me. It is sad, but I believed that before I was kind to anyone I had to put them through hell first. My love was like a thorned rose; beautiful to see but abrasive to the touch. I felt that being “hard” was an attractive quality & that the people meant to stay around would stay; regardless. I was popular & had quality friends who I loved dearly. However, my love often was a bit sour in it’s delivery. Being raised with tough love made me believe that tough was warranted in every & any situation; even though that was not how tough love was delivered to me.

I am twenty-nine now & it took me to be twenty-eight years old to realize that how I was is not at all how it is supposed to be. It is ok to be kind to people even when they are undeserving. It is ok to be kind to strangers even though I do not know them. Most importantly, I learned that it is never ok to allow the people who love me to be the direct recipients of my pain. I have learned to appreciate the people who have stuck around even when my internal scars were expressed in my behavior. I can not imagine where I would be if people always treated me the way I deserved to be treated. I appreciate the kind gestures people have afforded me even when I was less than deserving. It is because of those kind gestures I have been able to make a conscious effort to exude what the Nickkie&CO. platform represents– Love, Kindness, Graciousness & Jesus.

I am proud that I can look back at who I once was & see growth. It is amazing what a few months did for my life & what the following months continue to contribute to my growth. I am more appreciative to those around me. I smile often. I have been open to learning to forgive & I walk up to strangers reminding them how beautiful they are & their importance in this world. All things I would have never done or considered before. Today, as a flawed person still trying to figure it out, I tell you that being kind is a habit that can be easily embraced & replicated. It can make the world of a difference in our lives & the lives of others. We all struggle differently, so contributing to making the world a better place, simply by being kind, can stand out significantly to someone who has lost hope in people; like I once did.

Being kind not only helps improve the lives of others, it is beneficial to us in many ways. Kind gestures feel good. They make us happy, empathetic towards others & it is the most empowering thing we can ever offer someone. Keeping this in mind during your daily interactions will open you up in new ways. You will not get it right all the time nor will you be perfect. Even as I strive to be a better version of myself, I acknowledge that I am not always my best self at all times. I err, & am not always the best representative of kindness when my emotions get the best of me however, I understand that it comes with time. If we join together in spreading love & kindness there will be less people like my adolescent-self & more people making conscious decisions to brighten someone’s gloomy day simply based off of a kind gesture they received from someone else. After all, kindness does have a domino effect– touch one heart to reach many others.

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Leaving A Legacy

At some point of my life, up until recently, I always had, what I believed to be a clear understanding of what success is & what it looked like. Now that life has had it’s fun with me by showing me many times that life would never be what I expect it to be; I have a different understanding of what success is. Naively, I believed success equated to a career, the large house I would live in, the luxury car I would drive, the amount of money I would have in the bank & the picture perfect marriage with happy & healthy children. But I realize now, that success is so much more than what I once believed it to be. I am a firm believer that success has less to do with monetary values & more to do with the things that are free.

Success for me is the ability to live a spiritual & joyful life that makes me so high, I will always find the positive in whatever negative thing life may throw my way. Success is the positive & healthy relationships I build with my friends, family & loved ones that are full of support, understanding, knowledge & laughter. It includes accepting myself as I am, loving myself enough to know when I am being mistreated & being ok with removing myself from the equation because I have learned to put myself first. Although, acquiring material riches are not my motive, I understand that success includes leaving behind a legacy for my family to enjoy once I am no longer here to enjoy it with them.

Through this pursuit, I understand that I am not living this life for me alone. I understand that, god willing, there will be generations started from me that will live on this earth long after I am gone. Though I strive to reach my pennicle of success, I understand that my actions can surely effect my bloodline. Hence, why I strive to be my best self now, so that I could be my best self for them when it is time. I understand that being the best version of myself for them includes dealing with intergenerational shortcomings that may have been passed on from generations before me. My ultimate indicator of success is not to have a perfect family, but a family that is conscious & aware of their inconsistencies & are willing to deal with them. I want to contribute to experiences that do not haunt them & drag into their own interpersonal relationships. Because the truth is, the way they will love, will have everything to do with the way they are loved. I strive to not curse my family so that they have the best chance at their best life; in which ever way they choose to acquire that. I want to ensure that when they reflect on who I was & what I did for them they understand that, although I am not perfect I have done all things with them in mind. Who knows, maybe my great grand children will one day find this Nickkie&CO. platform & get the best understanding of who I am, who I strive to be & if I have done so successfully. I will never know, but I do know that what I leave behind for them is the best thing I can offer them.

We are getting older, people pass on & life continues whether we are her to enjoy it or not. So, it is important that we leave the generations after us something that will allow them to spread their fruit unto the earth by leaving something that can contribute to their quality of life. Life is so much more than what we can do for ourselves. Though we should strive to enjoy every aspect of our lives, it should consist of more than temporary financial riches & unpaid debt. Significant life lessons & true assets can do more for the livelihood of your family than the reflection of what once was or what could have been. Invest in them in ways you would have wished to be invested in & let the rest of your work & sacrifices manifest.

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