A Word on Gossip

I am excited to announce that we have another Guest Inspiration, Susan (Susie) Wood, who is with us today to share with us her thoughts on gossip & what impact it can have in the various facets of our lives. I personally have watched Susie evolve in her pursuit of self-reflection & it has been such a beautiful journey. She has mastered the art of reflection & has done an amazing job at sharing what she’s learned about herself & the actions of others in a way that helps us understand our own individual circumstances. Therefore, today, I am honored to have her here on Nickkie&Co. to share with us her thought out analysis on Gossip.

Have you ever been the target of unkind gossip at work or other communities? Have you ever been the source of it? Chances are you’ve experienced both sides to some degree. I usually don’t care what people say about me and prefer not to waste my energy on self-defense. Usually it’s best to let people draw conclusions from their own observations because my behavior speaks for itself and my conscience is clean. What others say usually only reflects poorly on the gossiper in those cases. However, I did recently become targeted by someone at work that I considered a friend, and it felt particularly vicious and public. It led me to explore a lot of questions beyond just our personal relationship, but about the broader topic of gossip in general and why people do it. Entire industries are built on this guilty pleasure. We all know how painful and damaging it can be, so why do we persist? Why do we even lend a sympathetic ear?


There are different kinds of gossip and it isn’t all bad. I’ve learned a lot of valuable work-related information over the years through a game of whisper-down-the-lane as a result of poor, spotty communication on the part of management. But it’s also valid and useful in preparation for interviews, for salary negotiations, or for keeping your guard up around a known sexual predator. Women may tear each other down with gossip, but we also protect each other from the Harvey Weinsteins of the world. We just need to consider carefully the information and its source, and discern which kind we are hearing.

This recent work experience was of the malicious, personal variety, and it was painful. It led me to read about some of the neuroscience research by Naomi I. Eisenberger on Social Pain (e.g., resultant of public criticism, rejection, exclusion, being shamed, etc.) She found that social pain will trigger a response in some of the same neural pathways in the brain as physical pain. This has been proven on fMRI scans in many different studies over the last decade of research. Certain drugs that are prescribed for physical pain, like opioids, have comparable outcomes on relief of social pain. Similarly, antidepressants which are prescribed for anxiety and depression, have also been shown to reduce physical pain. There is an undeniable overlap. Social rejection is arguably worse than physical pain because it can be experienced repeatedly each time an event is recalled in your mind. You can relive the pain ongoingly if you don’t have a healthy outlet for your stress and learn to move on. Ann Betz, CPCC and international executive coach, also wrote an article on the neurological effects of too much stress. It leads to functional impairment of the pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for high-level thinking. She wrote that acute, chronic stress leads to foggy thinking, poor impulse control, poor memory and decision-making, and lack of empathy. It’s not difficult to understand why, then, the biggest gossipers tend to be the most high-anxiety individuals.

When faced with any problem, it’s good practice to have enough self-awareness to be willing to ask yourself how you may have contributed to the situation you find yourself in. Even if it’s only 5% your own doing and 95% theirs, you can learn and grow a lot from that 5% that you owned and make better choices next time – especially if any part of that mean gossip was true. I concluded that this work friend was in pain and that I compounded it by saying something hurtful during an argument. This was her way of hurting me back, creating alliances, and protecting herself from potential professional consequences.

The next time you are tempted to share something mean, personal or private about someone, ask yourself why: What need am I trying to fulfill by sharing this information with this person? What might be the consequences? Is there a healthier way I can meet this need without hurting anyone? There almost always is.
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What am I trying to fulfill with sharing this information with this person…Is there a healthier way I can meet this need without hurting anyone?

Inspire

To INSPIRE is to fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something.

Every morning I wake up with the deliberate intent to inspire someone. I understand that every encounter I may have with someone (stranger, friend or foe) is an opportunity for me to do so. I recognize that many of us are walking around aimlessly, uninspired & without purpose. So the greatest blessing I feel I can offer anyone is to inspire them. Because in inspiring them, they come into realization of their abilities & the potential to pursue all the dreams they never imagined they could make a reality.

As women going places, it is imperative that we keep this same mindset, at all times. Unfortunately, with all that is going on, people feel incapable to make their gifts & talents work for them. They need to be inspired, to have something to strive for, something to give them purpose. Life is too beautiful to just be in it living aimlessly. We need to make it work for us. We need to inspire & be inspired. Once we realize the way this can impact the lives of others we MUST share it with the world.

So wake up. Take on the task to inspire the world.

Lovin’ My Melanin

You can’t play with us, you’re too brown.” Those were the words of fair-skinned, 4-year-old, Ashley. I wanted to be friends with her so badly. However, according to her, the shade of my skin did not make me an eligible prospect for her friendship or that of any pretty, light-skinned girl in my kindergarten classroom. Before you get bent out of shape about little Ashley, I want to preface that at 4-years-old, her statements were not a reflection of her. Instead, it is important to recognize that this way of thinking was something she was taught.  In my experience, children, unless taught otherwise, are a blank slate & are molded by their experiences, as well as, the behaviors & morals of those who have a hand in raising them. Whether we realize it or not, the adults that have the ability to influence children in this way, have a significant influence on the way we view ourselves; especially during impressionable ages. It was not until a few years ago that I was able to acknowledge that skin, regardless of how light or dark it is, is beautiful; equally.

Nonetheless, before I got here, before I could look in the mirror & find beauty; I unfortunately, allowed statements, like those of Ashley’s, to dictate my life. I let the world tell me I was ugly by what they showed me was beautiful. What I saw as beautiful did not look like me. My skin complexion added to so many insecurities that took me years to get over. Until recently, I believed I was too dark to date anyone lighter than I was. I convinced myself that anyone lighter than I was would never be interested in me based off of my skin complexion alone. I would avoid wearing certain colors that made my complexion look darker or brought too much attention to it. So my brown skin coupled with what I believed to be nappy hair, had me doing everything except loving myself, as I was.

Now, all women, including the brown ones, are Coming Out & are showing the world that whether big or small, slim or thick, dark or light, tall or short, we are all worthy. Regardless of what we look like, we now acknowledge all these features make us who we are but do not dictate what it is we can offer the world. Now, I say without a shadow of a doubt that I absolutely love my melanin. I am brown, (N)happy & no longer allow myself to believe that certain things are closed off from me because of my skin complexion. I look in the mirror today & acknowledge my beauty. I look at who I am & I see the roots of my ancestors. I see royalty.

The days of being ashamed about it are long behind me & I apologize to myself for ever feeling that who I was took me out of the race. The epiphany of my understanding is important to convey to those who come after us.  We can not fail them by not doing so. We have to empower our little girls to realize that regardless of the message portrayed to them, they are beautiful, smart, strong, fierce, amazing, capable & enough. My hope is that they would never have to learn to love themselves like many of us had to. I hope that we can start to paint their blank slate with so much color it makes them so vibrant that they never feel the need to dull who they are for the likes of someone else. We have to teach them that loving themselves, as they are, is the greatest gift they could ever give themselves; even when the world appears to tell them otherwise. Teach them now that they are perfect as they are & no one will ever be able to dictate who they are in the world.

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**I do not own the rights to the song linked to this memoir**

No Need For Competition; I Am My Sister’s Keeper

We have been raised up in a society that puts women against each other to later call those very women, conniving, cunning & b*tchy. We see it with celebrities & we see it with regular, degular women like ourselves. For entertainment purposes, we are encouraged to face off. This in turn causes us to question our talents & become intimidated by the talents of another. I have watched people do horrible things to each other & end friendships under the pretense that we can not all win doing the same thing. It is horrible. It is shameful. It is disheartening. It is discouraging to someone who needs the courage to start a new endeavor & most importantly, it sends the wrong message to our little girls. Because truth is, we can all eat together & become full doing so. We can all pull up chairs to the round table & have a feast. When women come together we can feed ourselves & feed the masses.

Every week the memoirs are woven together by the same thread- empowerment, strength & togetherness. I have advocated for team work & working together to contribute to making the world a better place. But in order to work on the world, we need to form a united alliance that signifies cohesion & fellowship. Instead of trying to be better than the next, it would behoove us to raise up one another so that we can reach others. This includes sharing resources, providing advice & sharing experiences in order to ensure that the next woman gets through without the same errors, set backs or shortcomings you have. Instead, many of us do the opposite. This in turn results in unnecessary distractions & deters opportunities that may become available. We have to be nicer to one another & recognize that we are fighting the same fight while trying to figure out what works for us. Ignoring insecurities, being humbly transparent & praying for the next woman’s success can open a plethora of blessings over our lives because a kind heart, is a heart that is rewarded.

We have made efforts to thrive in a world that taught us to be ashamed to tell another woman she has inspired us. Instead, we have become fooled into shaming other women for just trying to get through their existence like the rest of us.  Being inspired by another woman is an amazing experience that unites us in unimaginable ways. When we keep these moments to ourselves, we in turn, fail to inspire & empower another woman who can benefit significantly from hearing so. I would be lying if I said I am not inspired by other women when I write my memoirs each week. When I write, I do not just envision my own experiences, emotions & improprieties. I see the faces of others who have shared their own histories & knowledge with me. I keep them in mind. Women are the epitome of love. So to love one another whether we “like” one another is irrelevant. When one woman fails, we need to take it personally. The success of one woman contributes to the success & the shattering of glass ceilings for other women. If we go through the day recognizing that what is for us will not miss us; we will recognize that each encounter we have with someone affords us the opportunity to bless, empower & eradicate how we have been taught to behave to one another. No success in the world is worth sabotaging the “come up” of someone else. If we really work together without allowing our insecurities to show themselves, it will become so much easier to say we got this; with action.

Besides, the equation is quite simple.

When one wins, we all win.

1+1= MORE

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Q&A ***Bonus Memoir***

My favorite blogger, Black|Burgundy received the Blogger Recognition Award & asked her subscribers to comment our responses on her blog. However, when I was typing my responses I realized these are responses I can share with my subscribers. After all, to some people, me becoming a blog-her was a surprise. Therefore, here’s a bonus memoir that allows me to give direct responses to direct answers & allows YOU to get to know me.

When did you start blogging? Why?

Well, I officially started blogging on January 1, 2018. I was in a place in my life where I suddenly had so much free time & I felt inadequate. I knew I wanted to do something that inspired others however, I never thought blogging would be how I would do so. Blogging was free with minimal risk. I just had the be willing to put myself out there. I shared the idea with my best friend who is an entrepreneur & she motivated me to give it a shot. Once I started, I realized that in trying to find a way to inspire others, I stumbled upon my purpose & I absolutely love doing this.

How’d you come up with your blog name?

I think I initially was desperate & wanted a name before I launched for the New Year. I played with the name & then I just kind of stuck to it, because it worked. ···· Nickkie&Co aka Nickkie & Conglomerates embodies exactly what the brand/blog represents. “Nickkie”, being myself, is the “mouth piece”/initiator while the “Co.” (Conglomerates, Community, Company) encompasses group unity which helps drive the momentum of Nickkie&Co; team work for a common cause. It is understood that one person cannot do it alone but more than one can have a large impact on inspiring & empowering others.

Do your friends and family read your blog? Where’s the support?

My friends & loved ones try to be as supportive as they can. Though I would love them all to read, I do not obligate anyone. But I will say, the support I have received has taken me by surprise. Whether they read or contribute to Nickkie&Co.’s philanthropic drives, the support has been surreal. My loved ones have been Nickkie&Co. advocates through word of mouth since I started. From what I hear, direct support in regards to reading is not always received so much by loved ones, that has not been the case for me. Even if they do not read every week, they eventually take the time to binge read the memoirs. So, I am definitely blessed. Also, I have noticed that strangers have recently started to ride this empowerment wave with me so that’s really dope.

Who or what inspires you to write?

Anything, really. I can be walking down the street and be inspired. I can be hit with an impulse at any time. Since I’ve started blogging I have left myself open to receiving inspiration & content from anything that speaks to my spirit. I trust my instincts so that I can continue to deliver what I believe to be quality content.

Do you ever think about saying eff it and throwing in the blogger towel?

Actually. No. Not only do I love doing this, becoming a blog-her has made me really aware of myself. It has allowed me the ability to understand how I am feeling, how I am triggered & how I can help others. Besides, what is of God you do not dispose of.

What do you do for inspiration during those creative lulls when nothing seems to come out right?

I don’t give up, I reach out to my tribe for prayer & empowerment & give myself time to walk away & revisit.

What are some of your favorite topics to speak on?

Anything & all things women empowerment. However, men can read a memoir & relate too 🙂

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So there you have it. Do not forget to check in on Sunday & read the new Memoir. Thanks for reading.

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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Blooming Above Domestic Violence


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Welcome back Conglomerates! Today, we have another brave & courageous Guest Inspiration, Tejal, who opted to share her testimony with us as a domestic violence survivor. Despite what her story looks like she exudes self-love & loves the skin she is in. She is forthcoming with her story to remind others that they are not alone & survival can be accomplished. It is with much gratitude, appreciation & respect that I present to you today, Conglomerate Tejal…

Hello my name is Tejal also known as the makeup artist, lifestyle blogger, @brightdollface & writer of BloomingKiss Poetry, @bloomingkisspoetry. I recently ended my eleven year relationship with my ex-fiancé about two years ago. I was twenty-five years old at the time. I met him while I was dealing with my parent’s situation at home with domestic violence (D.V.).  I came from a household of alcohol not drugs. When I met him; he was seventeen years old & I started dating him at the age of fourteen. I decided to share my testimony as a domestic violence survivor because I know this will resonate with someone, somewhere.

When we began our relationship I recognized that he would smoke cigarettes but I did not know of his drinking nor of him smoking marijuana. I was never exposed to drugs so I was naive & was not able to comprehend the use of substances or the consequences other than alcohol. When I began to notice his heavy drinking and marijuana use, I became upset & told him he needed to stop using. I realized it was a coping mechanism for him to deal with his life issues — being an undocumented immigrant without hardly any family here & helping his family back in Honduras, Central America.

In the first couple years of our relationship, he was sweet & kind. But then he began to use cocaine, which I did not realize until later on when we moved from his father’s apartment to our own; in the next building over. I began to notice he became angrier & aggressive but I questioned why if I did nothing but help both of us out. I remember one night he became so angry, he must have been high; all I could recall was being on the floor in my kitchen crying with him on top of me. He hit me & the next day he apologized. I blacked out in that instant. I sustained an injury by him. My neighbors overheard & they wanted to call the police but I did not want to because he was undocumented & I did not want to see him deported. I forgave him because I loved him & I could not go back home to the situation with my parents.

As we moved back to his father’s, I could see that something had changed in him for the worse. This was when I was almost finished with my bachelor’s degree in 2013. I could tell he was using a stronger substance. Subsequently, I then noticed he would be out late for hours & I assumed he was cheating. He confessed one night & told me he was not cheating; he was addicted to Crack Cocaine. He then lost his job as a Baker & was out of work for two years. I graduated from College with my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology & minor in Sociology in 2013, despite the struggles & issues I faced overall in life –at home & in our relationship, but most of all throughout all the abuse I succumbed. I obtained a fulltime job in social services as a Case Planner in New York City at a foster care agency. I was able to remain resilient despite being verbally, physically mentally & emotionally abused. It became harder & harder to leave him.

I maintained us both for those two years until I decided to leave one night. He had hit me so hard while I fought back because he tried to steal my cellphone, once again, to pawn it like he did my engagement ring, my jewelry my father gave me, tablets I had to purchase multiple times & my computer I needed while in Grad School, etc. I had family support & left to my other father’s home in Queens. I remained there until I obtained my own apartment in Jersey. Throughout his addiction in the last four to five years of our relationship, the first two years were the worst, it felt as if I was in hell, literally. He would take my cards, my money, steal my phone, tell me drug dealers were trying to kill him if he did not pay. I did not know how the streets functioned regarding drugs so, I believed him. I lost so much money but I lost him the day he began addicted to crack & I lost him even before as he transitioned from alcohol to marijuana to cocaine and to crack.

But my life was more important to me than losing him. I had lost myself so deep over the years. I hated who I had become. I was angry & I had hurt myself by overeating. I believed every word he would tell me. I was angry that I was abandoned by my parents & had to fend for myself. I entered such a toxic relationship after leaving a toxic home where I needed the love directly from my parents & no one else. I ended our relationship so many times. I moved away & he moved with me to the new apartment & so forth, but this time it was for good. I enabled him so much & I relied on his presence. I became so co-dependent on him which resulted by him always manipulating me, even when it came to my friends & family by making me think they did not care for me. It took time to heal. It took everything to fight to be here today, to love myself whole heartedly, to love who I am & not be ashamed (because boy, oh, boy, was I ashamed of myself for staying in this relationship). I was ashamed of being a domestic violence victim like my mother who stayed with my father until he passed away 7 years ago due to his alcoholism.

I broke the cycle & I say that with so much courage & bravery. It took me to unlearn everything I became & all the negative learned behaviors & thoughts to be here today. I was in therapy during & after leaving the eleven year relationship. My support system–  my previous supervisors, friends & family would tell me to leave. I tried but I thought he would change for us & for him but he could not. He had me believe he would but he never did. He tried, we went to Narcotics Anonymous groups but he stopped attending. He believed he could become sober on his own but he just could not. I had to become “sick & tired of being sick & tired” of hurting myself & staying in that relationship.

It took so much strength that I had to find within me & my faith in God. I prayed every night for strength to continue on. I felt so trapped. And here I am. Tejal, shining bright. Using her voice to tell her testimony to remind you all that YOU CAN OVERCOME. I believe in you! Understand that it will take time to heal. You must put the work in for YOU because at the end of the day, this is for YOU. Leaving a domestic violence situation is never easy but know you have support even if you feel alone. Trust, I felt so alone especially because I hardly have family that are not toxic.

So if you feel alone, please contact your local precinct or the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. Please know, you are important, loved & not alone. I use to think this only happened to me until I met a woman in Graduate school who also went through the same as I did, as a domestic violence survivor. My nurse at my clinic also disclosed that she too, was/is a domestic violence survivor. As I began to speak up & tell my story,  I no longer felt alone.

Today I stand before you as Tejal, a recent graduate with my Masters Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University, graduating class of 2018. Living & breathing in peace. and No longer living in chaos, as well as,  loving myself so much harder each every day than ever before.

Love & Light to you all, beautiful souls

XOXO.

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“Leaving a domestic violence relationship is never easy but know you have support, even if you feel alone… You are important & loved” – Tejal Parekh

Be A Blessing…

Good morning Conglomerates,

We are here again, together, for another week. I can not express how much I appreciate your willingness to stay with me on our self-love pursuit. Today, I want to discuss the importance of loving & being a blessing to someone else.

Since I was young, I have always wanted to contribute to helping & making a difference in the lives of others. I thought I could save the world by helping everyone & making the people on this earth happy & healthy. As I got older & real life situations started to take place in front of me; I realized that obtaining such goals, alone, was more difficult than I ever thought it could be. Nonetheless, I did not negate that every little contribution counted significantly. That is why I started the Nickkie&CO. platform. I wanted women, as the significant figures we are, to come together, educate & speak life into one another so that we can each be empowered & inspired to inspire one another.

As time progressed, I began to see the influence the weekly memoirs have had on people, which convinced me that I could do more with this platform. Not only did I want to whisper, shout & yell empowerment for those who need it; I wanted to follow through with action. As a result, I now proudly present myself as a philanthropist who acknowledges a need & contributes to a solution. I do this because I find significant importance in being a blessing to someone else other than myself. I realize that I can not be so willing to accept favor from those around me without paying it forward in some way. I need to try to make a difference in the lives of others the way favor & blessings have made a difference in mine.

So often we leave our arms wide open to accept the blessings that rain down on us but often we forget to share those blessings with other who may need it; especially if we do not know them. In this life it is apparent that I can not be a “gimme-gimme” type of person; I am not built that way, though sadly some people are. But if we lived in a world where people gave freely, in different aspects of our being, it is my belief that it will be small strides in the right direction. In a world that constantly reminds us that it is cruel & selfish place to be, it is easy to forget that there are kind people that still grace this earth. I was reminded of this yesterday.

Up until the end of today, I am hosting a book bag collection for the children of domestic violence survivors, who are in safe haven shelters, for the upcoming school year. Personally, I made a Nickkie&CO. goal of ten book bags but in such a short notice & with the remainder of the day left, that goal has been surpassed. Together we collected twenty-seven (& counting) book bags. All, will be one less thing these parents need to worry about for their children. I am moved by the people who came together to contribute & I can not express how truly amazing it feels. What seems like a small sacrifice to us can surely be a BIG blessing to someone else. I am so happy to know that good people saw the vision & contributed to the cause.

Granted, all blessings do not require price tags because you can be a blessing to someone else without having to spend a dime. Love is a universal language & it is expressed in so many ways. Kind gestures, sweet hellos, small reminders, smiles, prayers or even an encouraging word or two all allow you to be a blessing to others. Blessings also do not have expiration dates so you can give it forward at any time. Though you may be in a place where it seems impossible – finances are tight & emotions are off- making a daily practice to add a little sunshine in someone’s life can significantly have an impact on the way you feel through out the day; in some odd way, being a blessing to someone else, will bless you, threefold. Just as our friend, Ms. Karma comes around for the negative, she is very consistent with the positive. So be someone who exemplifies what the contributors exemplified to me; that good people, in one way it another, still walk this Earth & care to make a difference.

Until next time.

**As of 8/28/2018, Conglomerates raised 42 filled bookbags for the families in DV shelters. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed.**

Ephesians 4:29

No EvilWelcome to another self-love Sunday, Conglomerate. I appreciate you joining me another week to kick off your week on a positive note. This week I want to address a topic I am certain has effected more than a handful of us. Most of my life, specifically during my adolescence, I had to deal with people dictating the outcome of what my life was going to be. Whether I disagreed with a directive or expressed myself in a way they did not agree with; they would often tell me I would not amount to anything. I was often reminded that instead of making a difference in the world I would be a pregnant teenager (as if that is a death sentence) or end up in jail. Granted, I was not always the most friendly but I was far from malicious. I would be the first to admit that I was DEFIANT & I gave the same respect that I felt was given to me. If I felt disrespected or threatened, I would talk back, defend myself, & seek to humiliate who I believed to be my aggressor. As adolescent teenagers, for some of us, behavior like I had is all apart of the process of growing up & falling into your role in life. The growth process takes on many facets even if it is not the most glamorous. So for the life of me, I can not figure out how my adolescent behavior warranted such definite assumptions of who I was destined to be; a girl whose life will be short-lived because she would “shamefully” end up pregnant or in jail.

Now that I am an adult who has turned out to be everything they never believed I would be; I recognize that people tag negative expectations on the lives of others based on their own standards of living. In my evolution, I have learned that people prefer to influence through negative affirmations instead of the opposite. They would rather remind you of all the things you have done wrong instead of pointing out the things you have done right. They rather point out characteristics they find less appealing instead of pointing out the beauty in them & they prefer to attack your self-esteem by pointing out your flaws instead of teaching you how to use them in your favor. So today, I want to express the importance of speaking power into people, especially our young people. Collectively, we need to help others realize their worth by speaking positive affirmations over their lives; despite what physical & mental state they are in. People are not always resilient to negativity & if exposed to it enough, they can easily believe it. I reflect often on the things that were said to me & I cringe at the possible effects people’s negative statements could have had on me. I am grateful today that I did not believe what they believed I would be.

Let us not be like those people; the same people who hate something so much in themselves that they would rather impose it on someone else instead of uplift them. As we get older, time changes & our roles in life shift, let us not forget that life is a process of growth. Though we should encourage maximizing one’s potential, we should never encourage someone to reach & settle at their highest potential as it enforces limitations on them that require them to stop evolving, learning & being. That being said, let us not dictate someone’s potential because that gives the message that someone can never be more than what we said they can be. Let us speak light where there is darkness & life where there is none. Let us not contribute to breaking down someone else’s character & forgetting to look at our own flaws. In the same way we look in the mirror & speak life changing affirmations on our lives, we must do the same for others. Never be a part of the reason that someone believed they were not good enough. Someone will always remember you for being the one person who believed in them in contrast to the many that did not. Kind gestures & words reap so many more benefits to the world than those that hurt. Make the difference. Be kind.

Kindness is free, sprinkle that sh*t everywhere.  

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Ephesians 4:29- Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (NIV).