Stay Encouraged…

It’s very difficult to look at the bright side of things when everything around you seems to be falling apart. However, although things may not be the way you have desired them to be it is important to stay encouraged, have faith & keep yourself encouraged as things get better. Despite any obstacles or inconveniences you may be facing; keep these affirmations in mind to boost your morale when things get a little tough.

I will not over extend myself.

I will determine what needs my immediate attention & plan accordingly.

I will not take on anyone else’s emergencies as my own.

However, I will be available, as a friend, if I feel I am capable of doing so.

I will feed into myself spiritually when I feel “off” & spend time with myself to process how I am feeling.

I know that whatever I am going through currently is temporary.

I know that people will come through for me when I need them.

I understand that “you are not alone” is not just a statement. Most people will step up in their capacity.

I am loved immensely, even if I may not feel like it.

I will not diminish my accomplishments because things are hard now.

I will not let social media define my success.

I will not let my employer take more from me than I can give.

I will be deliberate with putting time aside for myself.

I will listen to my body when it tells me I need a break.

I will not take life so seriously that I can not take in the moments.

I will cry if I need to but I will laugh in fullness.

My problems are resolved in advance & this time will pass.

People may not know what I am experiencing but they will understand that I need time.

What I have put back into the earth will come back full circle & I am blessed for that.

I am my own superhero & that’s all I need to be.

But just like any superhero, I am entitled to some time to rest.

I am in charge of my emotions.

They are not in charge of me.

Therefore, today, I am choosing…

To be happy…

To be optimistic.

I understand that all things happen as they should.

All things have a divine order.

I will not beat myself up for not keeping up.

I am going in the speed I am supposed to.

Life will turn out to be better than the way I ever imagined.

I will buckle down, have faith & love the journey.

The journey, although not always how I want it to be, is mine.

It is beautiful.

Nourishing Isolation

Sometimes life takes a lot out of us. Especially with the drastic experiences we have encountered. there is no wonder why so many of us are drained & exhausted. We get so caught up with the hustle & bustle of every day life that we tend to forget about our needs & desires in the process. Lately, I have been relishing in positive isolation. I have specifically set aside time to isolate myself that allows me to pour into myself, recharge & regroup.

I wholeheartedly believe that we were not created to run ourselves to the ground, yet so many of us do. So many of us are functioning to get by & failing miserably at our purpose. We are to make a difference in this world while having experiences that make our lives full. We were never destined to wake up & dread what lies ahead. Life has so much more to offer than that. Instead most of us have been forced to take the route that presents “burn out” as a reward. Work harder, strive harder, go harder & all life’s promises are yours. We got so accustom to this process that we fail to realize how toxic this process is & that most of us contribute to this toxicity that drains us, kills us & keeps us from our loved ones.

Sometimes, we just need a moment to ourselves. Sometimes we need to isolate so that we can come with a new perspective. We need to understand that life will go on after we are gone; therefore we MUST make life give us its very best instead of the opposite way around. We do not need to kill ourselves to get to the finish line. But what we need to do is give ourselves the time to receive what life will offer us. If we are running ourselves ragged, we will likely miss the opportunities presented to us.

Sitting in isolation, processing our various experiences & being still can be the most wholesome thing we can do for ourselves. Isolation is a loud expression of self care.

Allow yourself the new perspective & enjoy life’s guilty pleasures that allow you to be the best version of you for you! Stop pouring into others without pouring into yourself. Give yourself the same love, the same affection & give yourself grace. God is good. Let him show what time set aside for isolation will do for you. I promise you, you will not be disappointed.

Your Employer Needs Boundaries Too!

I want to preface this memoir by stating that this is not a memoir on quitting your job or changing your streams of income without a plan. In fact this memoir, is about maintaining a healthy work-life balance that allows you to establish boundaries, empowering you to put your self-care first while being a productive contribution to your employer. Do not get me wrong, I admire the bold tenacity of the person who said, “eff this” & created their own standards of their employment. However, as a person still subscribed to the 8-4, 9-5 work schedule & probably will be for a while; I can only speak from my experiences & those like me. So instead of challenging the choices of the bold entrepreneurs (all of which, I know, have been successful in their businesses); I urge you to identify the organizational behavior of your employer & determine if you have allowed it to put restraints on your life.

Many people wake up every day with crippling anxiety unsure of what awaits them. Others have sacrificed the time spent with their families & loved ones to be able to manage the high demands of their jobs & salary employees spend many nights working past their scheduled time to ensure they can, at minimum, meet their daily expectations. Often times, we discuss establishing boundaries in our personal lives but fail miserably with establishing in our professional career. I am not oblivious– I understand that most of us, if not all– rely on our employment to pay our bills & provide for our families. But how good are we to our families, if we allow the stress of our employer to leak into the various facets of our lives that make us, us.

It is imperative that you advocate for your self care. Because if you have nothing else, your self care is what will allow you to keep giving unto the world in the capacity that you want to. Too often, we lose ourselves in our jobs. We become disgruntled, unhappy, anxious, disconnected & unmotivated trying to keep up with a race that we did not agree to run in. If you ran yourself to the ground, your employer (hopefully) will leave your position unposted for a week but once the demands of that position require fulfillment; you better believe that you become a memory. People will mourn you, show face at your funeral, give their condolences to your family but the job must go on. All the work & time sacrificed will not matter anymore a month in to the position being filled. So be mindful of this. Pour extra time into those that love you. Reserve that time for those that will mourn you long after the first week of your passing. Give them more opportunities to create memories with you by creating your boundaries.

Boundaries are not simply for the people in your personal life. Boundaries can be respectfully established & enforced in your professional environment & you do not necessarily have to explicitly state them. Many of these boundaries you have to enforce, coincide with the employee handbook they provided when they were trying to convince you that you were working for the best place on earth. How effective is working late, if you still have to face the problem tomorrow? Detach when needed. Use your mental health days. Take your hour lunch. Clearly communicate your needs & stand on that with expectation. Show your families you love them by giving them the best thing you can give them- your time. Most importantly recognize when the boundaries you establish are being violated & move accordingly. There are so many opportunities out there, you do not need to restrict yourself to mistreatment or anything that is not conducive to your evolution. Remember- YOU first. YOU deserve to be FIRST.

Recognizing Your Anxiety.

As I was reflecting on my week and thinking about this week’s memoir topic – I realized that it was imperative that I discuss a topic that is very personal for me. In fact, it’s quite personal for many of us. For as long as I could remember, I have had  difficulties with anxiety and managing it. It wasn’t until a few years ago, that I began learning to identify it & take the necessary steps to tend to my individual needs.

 Anxiety effects more than 40 million adults in the US. But I didn’t have to look up statistics to know that more people live with anxiety every day than those who don’t. I also don’t need scholarly articles to tell me that few people recognize when they’re experiencing an episode & even less know how to manage it &/or deal with it appropriately. Far too many of us have been conditioned to believe that that “feeling” we can’t name; is a normal way to live our lives. However, I tell you today that god did not anoint us to walk around combatting anxiety. Our lives are so much more purposeful than being concerned with what could happen today or tomorrow. Society has conditioned us into believing that being unprepared & unknowing of the future is a disservice to ourselves. As a result, life has us running a race that will kill us before we even get to the finish line. 

To put things in perspective for you, anxiety is over thinking. It’s obsessing over things outside of our control. Anxiety is the aggressive or emotional person that people often misunderstand. Anxiety is holding your breath without realizing it or feeling out of breath because you held your breath for so long. Anxiety is that tight feeling in your chest that feels like a heart attack. It’s that need to remain active because being still makes you uncomfortable. Anxiety is the stress we fail to do anything about because “this too shall pass.” It’s the discomfort felt before any social events with people & the desire to leave once you arrive. 

Anxiety is a different picture for everyone but is the culprit for us all. If we don’t begin to handle, recognize, address & treat this; we will make our anxiety generational and pass the message that “anxiety is ok” to our children.

Through the various stages of my life, anxiety has looked different. I’ve had crippling fear, I’ve cried, I’ve laughed uncomfortably, I’ve lashed out, I’ve gotten physically aggressive, I’ve isolated myself, I’ve obsessively inquired & even tried to explain my anxiety away— all very unhealthy ways of managing & dealing with anxiety. Thankfully, I’ve learned to reflect, seek out the guidance from friends, received treatment from a licensed professional, temporarily was on medication, continued to write, pray and reflect. Now that I do these things, I am able to express myself in a positive way, recognize when I’m feeling anxious & identify the cause of my anxiety. Although, it isn’t perfect, it’s a positive stride & that matters. 

Mental health concerns are coming to the surface. It’s important to learn your triggers & understand your anxiety. Recognize the signs. Address them. Seek help & learn to rely on the genuine things that bring you joy. Don’t compare your anxiety with against the anxiety of other people because it won’t always look the same. However, learning what anxiety means for you will allow you to seek the best ways to manage it. This past month, my anxiety looked different. However, had I not taken the time to study what anxiety looks like to me; I would’ve failed at eliminating my stressors & speaking about it with people I could trust. If anxiety goes unchecked it will be detrimental. Anxiety, like stress, is the gateway to many other negative feelings & experiences & is very real for many of us. Therefore, we need to be understanding with ourselves, but MORE vigilant with finding the solutions to our mental health disadvantages. We are beautiful, “flaws” and all; but if we can target this we can help make the world beautiful too. 

This Week’s Formula…

I think today calls for some reminders to get through the week—

Literally, the start of each day, is a new beginning.

Every problem has a solution, even if it isn’t evident right away.

The world will not always understand your perspective, still stand by it.

Being misunderstood is about perspective; use it to your benefit.

Be compassionate. Compassion makes all the difference.

Give yourself grace. You will not execute perfectly; every time.

Love without conditions; do it freely.

Make sure what you say has substance. Your word is your bond. If you fail to deliver on that word, what else do you will have?

Money is nice but it should not be your sole interest. Seek peace.

Having emotions is not the problem; it’s how you express them.

Don’t stay in any situation that makes you uncomfortable.

Pick and choose your battles, but feel confident advocating for yourself.

Never allow discouragement to keep you from playing the game. The outcome will surprise you.

Be confident. However, be mindful- there is a fine line between confidence & arrogance.

Stop second guessing yourself. Trust your instinct.

Be ok jumping in the unknown. It’s going to all work out.

When negative thoughts surface in your mind; profess with your mouth the opposite.

Ask God to give you wisdom before making decisions & be patient. He will answer.

Be ok with feeling how you feel; use it to reflect.

Stop using horoscopes to predict how your day will go; YOU set the trajectory of the day.

You really are in charge of your destiny; do it one step at a time.

Make the best out of this week. You got this.

Suppressed Childhood Traumas…

Hey ladies, Happy Sunday.

Hmm…

Let’s talk about childhood trauma & how important it is for us to deal with it. As children we have a variety experiences that contribute (to an extent) the type of adults we will be. However, many of us have had positive & negative experiences that we carry around with us– whether we know it or not. Like I said in the memoir I wrote a few weeks ago, “Let’s Talk About Trauma”, if we do not deal with what we have dealt with, we will never reach the pinnacle of our very best.

Let me give you an example. Like many people I know, I was raised by a single mother. I was abandoned by my biological father before I was born & I spent a large portion of my childhood feeling discarded. That later began to trickle down into how I handled my relationships with love interests, family & friends. I found it better to discard of people before they could discard me. I left very little room for errors & I never looked back. It was not until I began to deal with some of my deep rooted issues of abandonment that I started to recognize my own toxic behaviors. Had I continued on that course; I would not have been able to maintain the wonderful relationships I have now. As I have said before, I am grateful for the people who loved me even when I was not so pretty to love.

You see, many of us walk around everyday with the facade that what happened is irrelevant. We suppress without realizing that in doing so we allow negative behaviors to surface. We have to recognize that in denying ourselves the correct outlet to heal; we give our trauma the victory. Address it. Talk about it & then work on forgiving yourselves. Because trauma, especially those brought to us in childhood, creates a gateway that causes us to blame ourselves for what has happened. The truth is, we have been raised by people with their own trauma, had interactions with people that suppress theirs, encountered people who cause distress as a result of their own & we have contributed to the trauma of other people. However, when we make a conscious effort to deal with the wounded child, teenager & adult– we make positive strides to ensure that we stop contributing to the negative experiences of other people people. We clear the slate to raise people without our own trauma in mind & we further work on ensuring that we end those generational curses we often hear people talk about.

Life is absolutely too short. Wouldn’t you want to have a positive experience with it where you set the standard & create that trajectory. Life really can be beautiful. We just have to give it permission to be.

See you next week.

You Owe Yourself Patience

Good morning, Loves.

As we prepare to start a new week, I want to encourage you all to be patient…with yourselves. Often, we set these timelines of expectations & beat ourselves up when we do not reach those expectations. We often fail to take into account the things that may have restricted us from reaching our goal or recognizing the that the initial timeline was unreasonable. We are also extremely critical of ourselves. We allow ourselves little space for errors & fail to recognize that the mistakes we make always serve as opportunities to learn something & readjust.

So before this week, I want to remind you– just as you strive to be patient with your co-workers, your employers & family members, be mindful to include yourselves in that group of people. Patience is one of the ingredients to being compassionate. Therefore, I ask you, why does everyone else deserve your compassion except you? Why don’t you recognize that just as someone may need a moment to readjust, so do you? Make conscious steps to take it easy on yourselves. Give yourself some leeway to not be perfect & allow yourself to accept that “your decided” failures are reinforcements that contribute to making you a better version of yourself- spiritually, productively, personally… in every aspect.

The thing about life is we never know what we are doing & how what we do impacts us in the future. But I do know, mistreatment & the lack of love we give ourselves does not create a positive trajectory we can look forward to later. Understand life, will have it’s loops & turns. Many of the setbacks we experience, can very well get us to our desired goal. If we show ourselves patience, compassion & gentleness–we are guaranteed to be better people overall, not only to ourselves but to others, as well.

Have a great week.

Let’s Talk About Trauma.

Good morning! Happy Sunday!

Trauma. What is it?

In sum, it is a response to a distressing event we experience. It has an effect on our ability to navigate through situations & has an impact on how we may cope or overcome unfavorable circumstances. Trauma, unfortunately, is inevitable. Despite how cautious we may be, simply navigating through life & interacting with others; makes us susceptible to experiencing trauma in some way, shape or form. Many times, we do not realize that our survival or recovery from certain life experiences has left behind remnants that will require us to work hard to get past it.

Getting older has given me a new perspective on this; as it should. However, it has also allowed me to not only recognize my own trauma but the trauma enabling or effecting other people. For instance, anyone that knows me personally, knows my mom was suuuppper strict. Although, I would differ in the approach, I can look back now & see that a lot of the hold & reluctance my mother had on my life had a lot to do with what she did for a living (not to mention her own individual life experiences that may have contributed). My mother is a CPS worker. She has seen too much of what happens when children have been left unattended, with “friends”, with “family members”, etc. So, if to her, I am her prized possession, how can she not allow the trauma she experienced on a daily basis impact the reigns she had on me & my life? Helping other people navigate through their own traumatic experiences infiltrated into becoming hers; which can, if I am not careful become my children’s.

Because the truth is, on a consistent basis, we see & survive many things. How we choose to cope with that, if we are aware of it, is entirely up to us. But I can say this for sure- trauma left untouched, not dealt with & suppressed will effect you in every aspect of your life. It will keep you from arriving to who & what you are destined to be. Instead, you will be running the same never-ending race of unfillment, dissatisfaction, discouragement & regret despite your life’s accomplishments & victories.

I am unsure if the effects of trauma truly ever go away. But I do know that God never intended us to suffer & that he will trade our ashes for his beauty to make our own. I also know that wounds, with time & dealt with properly, do heal. It may take some time, but they do. Marinate on what I am about to tell you. Your trauma has a purpose. Once it is over & you have been able to emerge from the negativity of it; use it to fuel your purpose. See, without trauma, I believe that it will be extremely difficult to figure out how to pour into ourselves & others. You see, it is our experiences that allow us to do so. The good ones, the bad ones & the ones that cause indifference.

If I remained silent every time someone told me to shut up, Nickkie & Co. would not exist. If I did not attempt to advocate for myself when I felt an injustice, I would not be here. I would not be the self-reflective, advocating woman I am today in my career, my personal life & in my purpose (Nickkie&Co). If I allowed my own trauma to win, if I stayed quiet & always did what I was told; or “suppressed” my emotions like they told me to; my testimony would not exist. Whatever words I have written or said that helped someone reflect or shape themselves; would not have reached them. I truly believe, it was my trauma, my experiences, that allowed me the wisdom, courage & ability to come forth & share it.

Though it does not define us, our trauma is part of our testimony. It will serve as the beacon of light not only for ourselves but for someone else too. Many times our fight creates the pathway for someone else to walk on & get to meet us where we are. To help them arrive too.

Do not let your trauma keep that.

Taking On More…

Sometimes it feels like we are biting much more than we can chew. I know many times we feel like we are running a race on a hamster wheel, against ourselves. Because when one thing is sorted out; another thing happens. I personally have been feeling that way lately & it has been extremely uncomfortable. These past few months, I have been very transparent about being in one of the most unique & uncomfortable faith tests of my life. If I were to be honest, I hate it. But my faith (hence, the current faith test I am in) tells me it will all be sorted out & God holds me near. I am sure, with the current times, many people are feeling much like I am; especially with the holidays close & our inability to gather in the ways we are use to.

Normally, I will start talking about how we are going to get through this time & that God will not put us through anything we can’t handle. Although that seems promising & sounds good; I recently heard a different perspective on this. Pastor Tony Evans told his congregation that often times, God gives us more than we can handle because it helps shape us into the very person we are supposed to be. This resonated with me because every time, in the mist of my chaos, God met me. Every time, when life was too much, God has shown me that he was able to relieve me from the stresses that were too difficult for me but never too difficult for him. My drama has taught me empathy & has molded my ability to encourage those who will be where I am; after me. Because the truth is, our testimonies are not for us. They are for someone else. Someone who will be in the same place we are in now; who is having a difficult time getting through, moving forward & functioning solely on faith.

I am able to write these memoirs every week because they are MY experiences meant for YOU. Life is a classroom; sometimes you will be the teacher & many times the student. We just have to be willing to accept the role we are assigned in that particular time of our lives. Our ability to be the teacher to someone else comes from being the student, failing the test & trying again. Therefore, along with the theme of every other memoir, I am going to remind you that this obstacle is temporary & that your life has purpose. To give up & to lose faith is not only a disservice to you but to the lives of those that will follow after you. Even when life gives you too much to chew, know that you are not chewing alone. There have been other people where you are now & God stands with you in the midst of it all.

You are history. You are a story. You are a trailblazer. You are power. You are strength. You are light. You are life. You are love.