Lion-heart

Being brave is the ability to endure unpleasant conditions or behavior without succumbing to fear. Unfortunately, with all that is going on around us, it is extremely important that we recognize the times in which we need to stand up & go against the grain; even if it is not always the most popular opinion.  It is no secret that there are many injustices that happen on a regular basis. Thankfully, technology & social media has helped significantly with the exposure of unjust, inequitable & preferential treatment; so much so, that the things that use to be swept under the rug are now the red kool-aid stain on your white rug & extremely hard to ignore. 

When we see these actions, we instantly ban up together, express our distaste for  a few weeks & allow our hashtags to take the social media world by storm. However, human nature does better at talking about the issues when there is a group of people around us with the same mindset. But in the event we are alone & witness the foul treatment of someone else, can we all truly say that we will remain fueled the same way? It is easy say ‘yes’ now, but as life would have it,  under the right circumstances & situations our ‘yes’ can easily turn into a ‘no’. Shock & fear can bring out characteristics in us that are far from what we portray ourselves to be. That is ok, it is actually quite normal. Besides, you are not required to be anything more than human. However, the trick is to do what’s right in non-adverse & adverse situations; regardless of the fear that tells us to remain dormant & to do nothing.

We have to attempt to be brave- always. All situations are not always extreme but they do matter. We should never be dissuaded from standing up, with & next to what we believe in. Our ability to define ourselves & our integrity is rooted in that. Therefore, be brave when pursuing all your goals, be brave for your loved ones & strangers when they can not be. Be brave enough to speak out against injustices, be brave enough to love even when you are hurt. Be brave in the face of adversity. Be brave enough to implement change for the generations after you & be brave enough to make those before you proud. Be brave & break generational curses. Be brave enough to fight the fight others are too tired to fight. Shed light on what is hidden in the dark & be brave enough to admit vulnerability. Be brave enough to pray & to cry. Be brave to laugh when it is hard. Be brave to combat mental illness & brave enough to seek help when you need it. Be creative in your bravery & tie your bravery to your integrity.

With audaciousness there is nothing you cannot do. There is no giant you cannot slay. 


I can never forget-
Happy Mother’s Day

Your Money, Your Power

As an adult, I reflect often on the topics we discussed in school. I realize that schools, in some way, do not really equip us for real life. You know, with the stuff that really matters, like- how to invest, the importance of having good credit, the benefits of saving early & budgeting accordingly. It is almost like we weren’t geared to fully live our best lives without debt & excess. We were told to desire to be rich but were not provided the proper resources to teach us how to be. It was ingrained in us that the sure way to live comfortably is to finish school, get a job with a high salary, & to save our money in a standard savings account. We were not told the other options to help us “get rich” or to be financially independent. In fact, the advice given to us initially, in my opinion, was pretty bad advice. College is a large reason why many of us are in debt, high paying jobs are not easily accessible & a standard savings account gives you zilch for interest as your money sits there & does nothing but be the same amount you deposited. That advice made us ill-equipped to thrive comfortably without understanding the struggle first.

Now, we have to force ourselves to figure it out on our own. We have to force ourselves to research the options & not fall into the trap of incurring tons of debt that is impossible to pay off. The days of living above our means & incurring debt we cannot pay is long behind us. Living paycheck to paycheck was not God’s intent when he placed us on this Earth to thrive. Therefore, we must prepare to change our mindset & keep those days behind us. The days of living above our means in order to keep is now over. We must begin to welcome a life that prohibits struggling in retirement & working ourselves to death without being able to experience our loved ones. They deserve to have us there while having access to our legacy after we are gone. We must learn to work this financial system to our advantage so we never have to remember what it is to struggle again. Because the truth is, we all want nice things, but the picture is bigger than that.

We need to obtain & utilize resources that allow us to familiarize ourselves with what is available to us. Learn the importance of investing, monitoring, book keeping, accounting & financial advising. Although they seem out of reach, they are services we can utilize now for our benefit. We cannot continue to have a billionaire mindset with an impoverished lifestyle because at some point the well of desire will run dry & we will begin to make irrational & unhealthy financial choices that we cannot afford to. Please understand that the financial choices you make now do not only effect you, they effect the generations after you. Living a life plagued with debt is a generational curse that we do not need to succumb to. We can break the chain of discomfort & teach our children the same thing. No one wants to end their life paying back debt that could have been avoided. Furthermore, no one wants to leave the burden of suffering on their families so we need to think smart- NOW.

Start doing the research. Start paying off your debt now so you do not have to worry about it later. Start budgeting. Monitor your trends in spending & sacrifice what you need to cut back on. Start investing your money & teaching your children the value of a dollar, teach them the pros & cons to credit scores & explain how interest rates work & do not work in their favor. Teach them to live with as little debt as possible so that after you are gone you can be sure that if you taught them anything, you taught them money. Our lives & their lives are too valuable to miss this knowledge like we did. Share it abundantly. The generation needs it.



Tips: Dave Ramsey’s literature on the Debt Snowball is very helpful. That information you receive coupled with his EveryDollar app can get you well on your way to living debt free & building up your savings.
Also, the most recent episode of the Jesus & Jollof podcast, “Scared Money, Don’t Make Money” is very informative without feeling overwhelming. It defines much of the terminology that was mentioned above & will stimulate you to think of your money differently.

After all, your money is your power.

Bet on Yourself

Every week, I discuss the importance of believing in yourself, advocating for yourself & being inspired enough to make a difference. However, this stuff will be quite difficult to do if you are unable to bet & take risks on yourself. We are in an age where many of us aspire in different ways to provide for ourselves & our loved ones by our own means. The most interesting part about this is that many of us have already evaluated the ways in which we can do so but we lack the confidence to just do it.

Today I tell you to be proud. I encourage you to have the confidence you need to take the big step & pursue the things you have always wanted to do. People think that in order to chase after dreams, to pursue new aspirations or to tread new waters they have to sacrifice everything. That cannot be further than the truth. We are muli-faceted creatures capable of living, doing & focusing on multiple things to fulfill our heart’s desire. Daily, we multitask & work hard fullfilling the dreams & visions of someone else. Therefore, you owe it to yourself to fit your desires in your hectic schedule; by your own means, at your own time. I started Nickkie&Co. knowing that one day it will have a larger mission than empowering people through an empowerment blog. However, this is the foundation & I am totally content with where it is right now. I am on my own timeline & what will come will come. I simply had one job & that was to take the risk. Now that the risk was taken, the rest will surely follow.

Today, I ask you to reflect a little bit. Has there been anything you always wanted to do? Something that can transform your life in a way that will give you a joy you have never felt before? If you woke up tomorrow & had the opportunity to invest in ONE thing that makes you an even better you, without thinking of finances, or comments from nay-sayers, what would you do?

Now I ask you-

What is stopping you now?

Today will be the last day you compromise on you.

Anointed to Profess & Receive

Last week I have come to the hard realization that in order to truly be my best self & represent Nickkie&CO. in excellence, a hiatus was needed. Other than posting these memoirs, I have turned myself off from all social media platforms, answered less phone calls, engaged in less draining conversations & just wallowed & embraced what I needed to to ensure that I can get my mind right. Although, I am still processing much of what I have been feeling, this hiatus has allowed me significant time to reflect, re-wire & process what I have been feeling & what I plan to do about it. As of the past few months my well of overflow has been draining tremendously (significant life changes tend to do that to you), & I recognize how much more difficult it is to function in a world where you want to give but are feeling too empty to do so. However, I know how important it is to me to make a difference, sprinkle a little kindness through out the world & practice loving everyone without conditions. Therefore, despite how I have been feeling, I still find it important to share my truth & reflection while offering transparency. 

It was not until I took this hiatus that I realized that despite what I have been advocating for– I have been recently guilty of this too– most of us are living a life to just live it & we have not put much thought into how we do it. We have been just striving to survive. We get out of bed everyday without wanting anything more than to get through the work day, provide for our families & start over the next day. Many of us have not given ourselves much more to look forward to aside from the weekends. That is unacceptable. We should & are capable to want more than that because the truth is we are not limited to only having what we have but in fact, we are entitled to have more. We should want to get up with the intention to leave a legacy behind that is worth talking about when we are gone. We should strive to profess things out of our mouths that will come to pass & we should be comfortable wanting more so that we never get comfortable settling. This coupled with the kind of energy we put out into the world is a definite recipe to success. 

Life is not about just scratching the surface of survival. It is about obtaining the prize & then sharing that knowledge with those who have not learned this effective way of thinking. So many of us go through life just accepting what life has dealt us instead of recognizing the power we have to influence what is going on around us. We are divine beings put on this Earth to do more than just create an impact for ourselves. Our success is significantly influenced by what we think, how we speak, what we listen to, what we read & how we spend our spare time. There are 24 hours in a day which gives us 24 hours to do something effective that can propel our lives in a completely different direction. Unfortunately, we all have our vices, but none of these vices are significant enough to keep us out of the race. We have to claim & strive for greatness, whatever you give out into the world is guaranteed to be returned to you. So be positive, be productive, be kind, be empathetic, & be impactful. There is not one thing on this earth that can resist you if you claim it for yourself. There is not one thing on this earth that you are not deserving of & there is not one thing that you have learned that you cannot teach someone else.

I have done amazing things by professing out of my mouth the things I want to claim over my life. I have claimed healing on parts of my body that have been hindered, I have professed overflow of funds when my finances have been at stake & I have professed happiness over the lives of others when they were in a dark place in their lives & I have seen them all manifest. There is nothing we are not capable of because we are truly mighty. There is naturally an anointing over our lives that make this mindset effective if we follow through with action. Therefore, starting today, I challenge you to do more than just live. Strive, profess & confess what is yours & what you plan to do about it. With positive energy & a positive mindset there is not one thing that can be kept from you. It may not work out in the timeframe that you want it to but I can guarantee it will be yours if you claim it.

April Showers…

This week has been a specifically hard week for me. Actually the month of April is always a bit much for me emotionally. I spend much of April being mindful to stay busy so that I do not sit around idly thinking about why April is so difficult for me. However, this week, I was forced to slow down a little & address emotions I have spent the past 6-10 years avoiding. April signifies a sad period for me. Every year I am faced with the realization that in 2009 & 2013 I have lost 2 people very dear to me to gun violence. Both were too young to not be walking this earth so many years later. Although they were not perfect or without sin, they both were overall amazing people. Neither one of them lived a life that was expected to turn out this way; however, both lived a life that was left behind for those who loved them to mourn over. As often as I have tried to move past it; oddly enough, the recent death of an impactful visionary, rapper & community activist opened up the wound of emotions I had barely scabbed over all these years. To be honest, the passing of a loved one is always hard on those left behind but there is a different type of emptiness & vulnerability when the person is murdered. It is as if someone has robbed you of more time, more memories, more interaction– a feeling that never goes away. I would never wish what I feel on my worst enemy because although life does go on; so do the unanswered answers to questions on how it could have been prevented What is crippling though, is that this violence that often leaves families in mourning, children without parents, lovers without love & parents burying their children will never end.

My heart aches.

There are not enough rest in peace t-shirts, social hashtags & media posts to erase the reality that too often there is “another front step with flowers” & too many premature tomb stones to be visited. Despite this, the message does not appear to come across clear enough that we must stop killing each other. This violence has to stop. Someone’s life is being taken as easily as it is for most of us to wake up & breathe each day. There is no regard for the lives of others or those they leave behind. We are losing each other for things that can be settled outside of irreversible violence & definite ends. There are too many egos and broken spirits walking around, sharing & spreading that energy. We are a broken generation that only knows how to be broken & to pass it on. When a life is taken there is a continuation of generational misfortune– the children of the murderer & murdered both have to experience their lives without their loved one, which forces them to be influenced by other examples that are not their parents; both sides of the family lose someone to gun violence whether the people directly involved were the victim or perpetrator. Why does this keep happening to our babies & our families? Why must this be the example set for our communities? It crushes me to my core that the only solution to correcting a disagreement has been to take someone’s life. Someone’s life, no matter how sh***y they have chose to live it, is still valuable.

Oh, so valuable.

I can assure you that the people left to mourn for them agree. Because my goodness, the riches I would pay just to bring them back to live their lives the way they were supposed to has no max. I would pay the financial price, if I could– even if it put me in debt. Unfortunately though, there are no shortcuts in heaven & someone decided to take it upon themselves to send them there early. This continues to happen. I am disgusted that this is what it has come to. I am discouraged because no matter how many “stop the violence” messages are shared, the impact of these messages are temporary. I mourn because as my life continues, there is another part of their lives that they will never get to see. I thank the lord that this is not an experience I have felt often, but others are not so fortunate. As this continues to happen more people are faced to live their lives without someone they never imagined they would have to live without. Yet some how the realization that we are oppressing ourselves continues to be missed. We cannot take a moment for granted. We have to pray hard over our loved ones because they will never tell us everything they experience, the interactions they may or may not have or the people they encounter on a day-to-day that can end up being the reason we have to say our goodbyes. The ache I feel as I write this weakens me. I struggle because the realization settles in reminding me that this behavior is not going to get better. People are barely even living their lives before seeing the inside of a casket & we act as if this is the normal. This is a disgrace! We should want more! We deserve more! They deserved more!

As a people, we have more to do with our time on this Earth. Yet, some are not even allowing people to get into their purpose or make the impact they could before deciding their time is up. We have to diligently encourage others to do better- to want more, to make strong impacts while they are here. We have to remind them that their life is not only for them but that — we, as their loved ones, live for them too. We need to work on generational healing– depression, poverty imposed hardship, PTSD, toxic masculinity, deep rooted aggression, failure to recognize worth, egocentric desires— by promoting — talking about our issues, seeking help from capable professionals, & reminding each other that it is ok to love & walk away.

Most importantly, we need to understand that all actions do not require a reaction, especially reactions that are so definite.

Rest in Heaven:

Sergio Rivera
(2009)
&
Alvin Tyree Cushion
(2013)


“They hope the example I set ain’t contagious”- Nipsey Hussle (2019)

I am sorry that someone did not value your lives like the way we, who loved you, did. You deserved more than what you received.

Move in Silence

One of the most powerful lessons I have learned through out my life has been that everyone does not need to know my every move. Some things are really better left unsaid. It was a hard lesson, but the fact is, everyone is not ready for the things you are ready to show the world. Either they cannot envision your vision or their ego can not take it. Because of this, you must be mindful to identify these people around you– protect your dreams & ensure that you never, ever, ever become one of those people– if by chance you are one of those people, it is time to make some changes.

Your dreams & desires are too valuable to leave the fragile details in the wrong hands of the wrong people. Sadly, the story is the same– aspiring dreamers have expected support for their vision & in turn were disappointed because it was mocked or taken from them. You do not deserve that. You do not deserve for a mockery to be made of your goals. You do not deserve to lose motivation for something you believe in. You do not deserve to second guess because someone told you it was not good enough & you surely do not deserve to feel betrayed because someone went on & made a replica of what you outlined for them. Your vision is your treasure & it is the action you put into that vision that puts it in fruition. Remember that & act accordingly. People will spend their lives trying to do what you do therefore, the people you trust with the gems of your dreams should be chosen wisely.

You inspire someone every day & people will not gracefully tell you. I cannot tell you the amount of people who did not want to support Nickkie&Co. However, I did not give up on what I believe this brand could be. Once they saw what the brand was capable of, I have been able to recognize who has been inspired by their actions & statements, whether they mean for me to know or not. I have said before & I will say it again, people’s behavior will tell you clearly who has been watching & who is inspired (whether negative or positive). Therefore, keep dreaming & investing but protect it with all your might. Your dreams are your seeds to plant into the earth, it is up to you to harvest it. Although it is not a competition, what you dream up is your investment & yours alone. Protect it.


Claim Your Power

I have always been considered an emotional person. To some degree, I can agree. In both my personal & professional life I tend to be an emotional thinker with a high likelihood to respond the same way. As of recently, I have learned the importance of taking a “chill pill” & processing situations accordingly. One of the most important lessons I have been learning is that my reaction to anything that happens is my responsibility & my responsibility alone. There is skill in learning to be a master of your emotions. However, despite how much progress I have made, that is a goal I know will take a lifetime to fulfill & I am ok with that.

I lost so much time being angry at people who have offended me; thinking I was proving a point. In fact, the only person who lost was me. They went on with their lives, forgetting how I was feeling while I was left losing time I will never get back. I want us all to consider this as we encounter new people & situations that may be less than ideal. We cannot control other people’s behavior but we can surely control our own. Many of us do not work for ourselves, but work for an employer who dictates the terms & arrangements of our employment. In this relationship, we often find ourselves with little-to-no-say in how it effects us. Therefore, the sure thing we can promise ourselves is checking our emotions at the door while remaining empathetic to those around us. People will do & say things that will get us out of our element, but it is up to us to ensure they do not know the power they have to effect us & influence our behavior.

We have all reacted in ways that have given people power over us. Whether we were mad, sad, angry or depressed— but it is important that we bare in mind that no one is deserving of that from us; especially not for an extended period of time. If we can lose time festering on horrible experiences & horrible people, we can surely invest the time on other productive things like empowering ourselves out the experience & motivating others who find themselves in similar situations. After all, it is true what they say, “life is too short to be anything but happy.” Therefore, the first step to ensuring we remain that way is to control what we can & let go of the things we can’t. It is not up to us to change people but it is our job to change ourselves.

Put The Idols Down…

Our day-to-day activities can be influenced significantly by the phone in our pockets, unlimited access to the media & the our personal pursuit for wealth & “nice” things. We have gotten so caught up in this that we have become distracted by the influence these things have on our lives.  We work endless hours, we lose out on time with our loved ones, we lose time for ourselves, & put our spiritual pursuit on the back burner believing that it will all be there when we see riches. The thing about riches is that once they are obtained, the grind MUST continue in order to keep them. So in pursuing such goals, the likelihood that the things we neglected will still be there diminishes as time passes. Therefore, today my question to you (me too) is what has our full attention? What is serving as a distraction that inhibits us from having unforgettable moments with the people we love the most? When did we start idolizing our cellphones, cash & cars before we have taken the time to care for ourselves? At what point do we decide it is too much & it is time for a break? 

The sad truth is that we have come to idolize material things over taking the time for ourselves, our families & our spiritual growth. We are desiring more for our lives but fail to take a moment to step away & fast from the things that are distracting us. Idolizing is not limited to worshipping a false God but is anything that is over consuming our time that does not allow us to grow in other aspects of our lives. So today, I challenge us to recognize what may be crippling us from doing better & taking precious time away from us. Whether it is our phones, our jobs, our cars or what we aspire to have, we must do something about it. There is no way we can truly be our best selves in all areas of our lives if we become slaves to the things we have & don’t have. It is totally normal to want & strive to have nice things but we must aspire to have a healthy balance. The time we don’t lose is worth so much more than having all these things with no one to share it with.

The older I get, the more I realize how short life is. I reflect on the people I lost & wish life gave me more time. More time to tell them how much I love them, or to spend one more hour with them. Loss is inevitable but lost time due to distraction can be prevented. So, let us put the phones down a little more, go on social media hiatuses or plan a staycation with our families. Whatever it is, enjoy the moment, time is of the essence. We can not afford the distraction.

Reset & Recharge

Emotionally, this week has been extremely trying for me. It was not until a few days ago that I realized that I have been walking around suppressing frustrations & functioning in a whirlwind of disorganization– for months. I did not realize that I was barely functioning until a snowball of unideal situations presented themselves in front of me & I lost control. I could barely grasp or articulate what it was I was feeling & I struggled to understand what was happening. The only way I could express myself was in tears. Instead of taking time to address what I was feeling initially, I continued to push what I was feeling aside under the pretense that it will pass- eventually.

Despite how true that may have been, things do not usually pass unless you deal with them. This time, I was forced to. So, although there is character built through adverse situations & functioning outside of our comfort zone; it is extremely important not to get so caught up in what is happening around us that we fail to take a moment to assess & address what is going on within us. Self care, as cliche as it has become, is taking the time to check in with ourselves & acknowledge when we are are not doing ok. It is easy to forget what we are feeling while neglecting that we need a day or two to disconnect & recharge. I was forced to come to that realization this weekend & the overflow of emotion was severely overwhelming & crippling. But it forced me to do what I was avoiding – accept, reset & recharge.

See, life has a way to force us to deal with things even when we do not want to. So I encourage staying in tune with what our body is telling us. If we need more rest, we take it. If we need to cry, we cry. If we need a break, we take all the time we need. We were not created to be on GO, continuously. Empty vessels are just that… empty vessels. We can not pour into others when our own well has run dry. We cannot be who we need to be to our loved ones if we do not take care of ourselves first. So, if you need a moment to recharge, take it. You work too hard to just be moving through life barely functioning. You do not have to be perfect always but YOU do have to be YOU. So the best thing you can do for you is to take care of YOU.

Beauty in Self-Patience

The logo for Nickkie&Co. is a butterfly woman who is slightly looking back at what she has come from. Who took the time to let life take it’s course in order to acquire her wings while moving forward to what appears to be a transition into more of her potential. To me, a butterfly is symbolic of the evolution we take as a women & as human-beings. Butterflies do not originally start as the bright, vibrant & beautiful creatures we recognize them as. They spend a large portion of their lives ugly, disgraced & undesirable only to later evolve into something mesmerizing to the human eye. You see, people see the beauty of the butterfly & forget… the butterfly was once a caterpillar & before that larva & before that an egg. Had it not been for the fine tuned patience of that very butterfly to persevere, evolve & invest in itself we would never see such a prepossessing miracle. See, had the butterfly not been naturally conditioned to relentlessly endow itself in its potential, we would be missing out on a wonder that is so symbolic of a woman’s beauty. Beauty that is enhanced when she takes the time to patiently invest in herself & her journey.

The life cycle of a butterfly can take up to a year for full evolution. However, it is steadfast & consistent in its process because the bigger picture (reward) is ahead of it. It’s patience is to be admired & its ability to be isolated (cocooned) for an extended period of time should be sought after & replicated. In the butterfly’s  patient isolation is when the magic happens. That is why today I urge you to be patient with yourself.

Embrace your journey & allow yourself to make mistakes. The scars you feel make you ugly, in fact, contribute to what makes you beautiful. Life is about maneuvering through our transitions with patience. We are not supposed have all the answers for everything – right away. It is a process of growth & investment. Too often we are so hard on ourselves by imposing standards that require us to move too fast & avoid the scenic route. Life does not have to be a hectic drive on a busy highway. We need to begin to relish in the experience as we keep our focus on the bigger picture. It is amazing what is noticed/taught when we take the time (a second) to stop & smell the flowers along the way.