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.
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.
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
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.
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.
“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.
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.
I am excited to announce that another Guest Inspiration has come forward to share her testimony with us. Ms. Subhana Wrights is a warrior who is surviving, serving & slaying daily with a condition that causes her immune system to attack her own body. She is a shield-maiden that takes her condition, Psoriatic Arthritis, head on while still LIVING! Her condition can leave her susceptible to skin lesions, unwanted stares & comments, joint pain, stiffness. swelling, etc. on a regular basis. Although there is no cure for her condition, she has not allowed herself to be defined by it. In fact, she has done the exact opposite. She has defined what it is to LIVE, SURVIVE & CONQUER despite what challenges may discourage her. She understands the weight of her testimony & has chosen to use this platform to share with others. Please read & share this young woman’s testimony & recognize her for her courageousness. Subhana, You ROCK (allat) girl, thank you simply for being you!
“If you were looking to be accepted from the world and everyone in it, after what you’ve been through, then you were sadly mistaken & the sooner you come to terms with that, the better”-Subhana Wrights
Deciding what to wear or what not to wear, which scares to hide and which scares to show. Finally, I got it! I’ll wear this orange off the shoulder dress. It’s not too revealing but revealing enough and I still feel sexy. I get dressed, lay down my edges, put my faux locks in a high bun and head to my best friends hotel. Ding Dong! I’m outside, ready to have a good time. As I walk in “wow you’ve lost so much weight, are you ok? What are those scars on your body?” Yes I’m ok and I’m stronger than ever. These scars are just symbols of the journey I’ve been through and the strength I have to overcome. These are questions I wasn’t prepared to answer, this was the first time I put on a revealing dress since I’ve been diagnosed.
In October 2017, my body was 80% covered in black and brown lesions from head to toe. My scalp was covered in dandruff which causes build up. For example, if I were to wash my hair, within 6 hours my scalp would be covered in flakes and the itching caused hair loss. Going from having a head full of hair, acne free skin and a blemish free body sent me in a mental spiral. The lesions on my body itched 24/7 and burned at night when I tried to get comfortable enough to sleep. My ankles had become so swollen it hurt at night to walk or to even stand for a long period of time. All in all while going to work day in and day out. A lot of people saw the lesions on my face and thought then said, “OMG! What happened?”, “Did you use a different soap?” All questions I wasn’t able to answer because I didn’t have a diagnosis yet to what was wrong.
In November 2017, I was finally diagnosed with psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis. I finally had an answer but the journey to recovery was like no other. By the time I was diagnosed I already lost 50lbs and my hair was so thin and brittle with two bald spots due to itching and build up. I was told I still had to wait for treatment to see if my health insurance would approve it. Two weeks later I was notified that my insurance was not approving the treatment due to it being too expensive. One injection alone cost 13,000 dollars which was only a piece of the treatment needed to begin my recovery. Soon after, I was notified of the possibility to be eligible for free treatment through a medication program but I would have to apply first.
During the waiting time my condition worsened and depression started to settle in. My ankles and joints became so swollen that the skin around it felt tighter and tighter every step I took. My liver became enlarged which is a common factor patients with psoriasis. Getting out of bed everyday was a struggle for me. I was contemplating the purpose of living with this condition and if I was going to be limited. In my mind this condition was the worst thing that could happen and since it was passed on through genetics, why not kill myself to prevent it from being passed on to future generations. This was my silver lining, suicide and ending it all. I went from being a lifelong athlete to being frozen in life. Everything stood still. Each day went by slower and slower. Every day I woke up waiting for a phone call with an answer and every day I didn’t get it drew me closer to ending it. My outlets in life were always going to the gym or playing sports but when my outlets caused more pain than relief I had to let it go too.
In the process of letting go I had to find something to hold on to, to keep me present. I began to dig deep, past my thoughts and my depression. I had to go beyond myself to save myself. While being frustrated about the problems with my chronic condition and the lack of answers; I began to create hope not only for myself for the others suffering in silence too. I decided I can’t be the only person going through this pain, although it’s not a common condition there are other people out there who share the same pain as I do. This is when I decided to fight. The biggest battle I’ve had to conquer yet, the battle of myself.
Every day I woke up I verbally told myself to get up and fight. One step at a time, sit up, stand up, brush your teeth, and take deep breaths then fight. I decided to put my mind to use on something positive to keep my mind occupied to fight depression. I created a charity called ”Bhana’s Purple Meals on Wheels”. The Purple Heart represents Auto Immune Disease Awareness. The meals provided were home made by me and were sold for no more than $10.00. Proceeds went to research for people suffering from Auto Immune Diseases. I decided to be the voice I couldn’t find, I decided to shine the light I never had, I decided to fight.
Also, while in the process of letting go, I drew closer to my passion for writing which brings me into sharing a piece I wrote while in this journey but first, here’s what writing means to me. Writing is like painting to me. I can’t paint with a literal paint brush but with my words I can create the reality of which I wish to paint only using words. Every word is a stroke, every placement of my words is an accent. Every statement is a stamp. A stamp with the pigments of my imagination attached. Pieces of my mind painted with words that flow as times goes. The more time moves forward the more pieces of the past I paint using my words of color bringing life to my thoughts, experiences, hopes & prayers and words of wisdom. I hope you enjoy and know that you’re all stronger than you think.
If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, feel free to email me at : firstname.lastname@example.org
The Process of Being Submerged
The process of being submerged
To reemerge taller, stronger, wiser
Having the darkest of days
Trying to find my way
Questioning my way
Thoughts of ending my way
Forced to choose crush or be crushed
Finding the voice
Emerging the voice
Making a choice
A choice to end the battle with me
A choice to carry this battle with the voice I have seen no one have
The strength to carry mountains
Mountains of silence by the millions carrying this
This voices of those who are currently silent, I choose to carry it
I choose to bring life and strength, and light to darkness
I choose to fight with the power of millions silently behind me
See, through this all I’ve realized none of it is about me at all. I was the strength that was chosen to carry this with my natural fighting spirit
I was chosen to fight, punch, and kick, with the power of them behind me
I’ve always questioned my purpose and why I am the way I am before all of this began and now, now it’s all so clear
I’m here to fight
Happy Self-Love, Self-Care Sunday Loves!
Each week I write a memoir in hopes that someone will be able to relate to the topic or knows someone who can. However, today I have been inspired to empower you in a different way by discussing a topic I am certain we can all relate to. While you read this memoir, whether it is something you have experienced before or something you are experiencing now, you will be able to reflect humbly on this period & hopefully feel empowered to get through, consistently- every time. Today, my heart has been moved to speak to someone who may be suffering, who is “undergoing pain, distress or hardship” in their own way. Today, I am shouting to you that regardless of the adversity, circumstance, shortcoming, disappointment, heartache or loss you are experiencing — you are fierce, strong, powerful, able & will overcome. Despite what you feel like today, tomorrow or next week, I can assure you that your suffering is temporary. In the pits of your hell you will triumph. Adverse situations, despite how debilitating they may be, are created in your favor. Like a diamond you morphed under pressure becoming something more valuable to be desired.
As I write this, I am unaware of what you may be experiencing. However, I am a walking testament of someone who has suffered & has watched the people I love suffer all the same. Though our suffering may not look the same & have lasted different periods of time– all suffering, regardless of the cause, is relevant- including yours. As someone who has fought through storms, who has wanted to give up & who has overcome; I encourage you to have faith & keep pushing. I encourage you to find the glimmer of hope that resides in you & push it forward. The promise is your pain will not be permanent. Any obstacle placed before you will not outlive you. It does not have longevity. What you believe to be your strongest battle has & will work in your favor. The magnitude of the pain you feel does not even scratch the surface of the joy that will come your way. Again, I reiterate — you are fierce, strong, powerful & able. What was created to debilitate you will lose momentum. What was created to defeat you will not find victory. What was created to keep you out of the race has put you in first place because anything you will feel on this earth does not have the strength to take you out. You are anointed & protected by the most high. There is no way you can lose.
The day will come in which you would reflect back on this time & though all pain does not go away, your ability to become resilient will manifest. What once seemed to cause havoc on your life will be meek in comparison to what you have become. What almost took you out before will crumble in your presence & what will come of you after this will amaze you. You can not even begin to imagine the force you are about to become once this is over. You have no idea what testimony you will testify or the people you will inspire. You just have to keep pushing. Not for anyone else but for yourself. Your storm is almost over, you must not give up. What will come of your life, what will become of you is depending on it. After all, as God promised, …”when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the clouds; & I will remember my covenant which is between me & you & every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh” Genesis 9: 14-15.
In sum, there is no storm placed before you strong enough to take you out. You got this!