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).

“Snipping” it in The Bud

Gold scissorsHappy Sunday Conglomerates. Today I am excited to announce that we have another guest inspiration, Lashonda Simpson, who took the time to write for us today. She was severely intimidated to write this memoir but put what she believed to be her limitations to the side to share with us. She is another amazing individual who believes in the Nickkie&CO.’s motive to empower, uplift & push women to their maximum potential. She has been a constant supporter & an advocate for valuing our self worth & addressing things that may threaten it.

Good morning Conglomerates! Today’s topic is on “nipping things in the bud”. Some people, including myself, depending on the situation, allow things to bother them and effect their day wondering how or if they should have responded differently to something that has occurred to them earlier. When things are not dealt with immediately they have the potential to linger. Nipping things in the bud is the requirement to face & deal with things right then and there. This keeps things from boiling over & nagging you until you are over consumed by it. Being over consumed by something keeps you from dealing with things more deserving of your time.

This concept or mentality can pertain and be used in your everyday life. For instance, day-to-day responsibilities such as paying a bill above your current means can be addressed with the same approach. Instead of putting the situation off until the last minute and not paying it, nipping the situation in the bud would be contacting the company to set up a payment arrangement that does not overwhelm you. Dealing with it directly, you do not have to worry about paying a large amount of money that you did not budget for or deal with harassing phone calls from the company or collection agencies. Dealing with these situations directly eliminates unnecessary stress.

Other, more common scenarios, include verbal and physical communication with other people that you may or may not agree with. There are instances when people will say or do things that offend us and we opt not to rebuttal under the pretense that “that is just the way they are” but the error in not dealing with the matter at the time gives them permission to continue with offensive behavior. When people are out of line and we allow them to continue with the behavior, we send the message that they should feel comfortable being rude to us. No one should feel comfortable being rude to us. Therefore, we must nip it in the bud.

This can be done in a way that is not rude or aggressive but expresses to them that they have offended you & you should be respected. Dealing with it keeps from continuous behavior & avoids the build up. Also, in this, it is not anyone’s place to tell you that their behavior was not offensive. Whether it was intentional or not, how you feel is how you feel. If you feeloffended it is your right to feel that way. If you are uncomfortable with their behavior; deal with it. I have been there myself. I have allowed individuals to say anything to me and I have really let it to bother me. As I have gotten older, I have leaned how to express how I feel at that very moment and I have felt good about doing it right then and there.

So if we practice nipping these situations in the bud, we will have more energy and time to devote to the joys and excitements in our lives. When we allow things to linger over us, we become consumed with stress that keeps us from enjoying all the beauty that life has to offer us. Though addressing certain situations may appear intimidating, no one wants to deal with them days, weeks, months or years down the line. That is a long time to allow something to manifest when other things can be explored or experienced within that time span. Whether it is a bill or an interaction with another individual, as women there are an array of things we face on a daily basis that could be eliminated if we deal with them directly. Officially, in pursuit of advocating on our self worth, we should keep this in mind. Use the extra time and energy toward something more deserving because we face too many situations when we are not heard nipping things in the bud should not be one of them.

 

XO.

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Shonda
“It is not anyone’s place to tell you that their behavior was not offensive. Whether it was intentional or not, how you feel is how you feel. If you felt offended it is your right to feel that way”. -Lashonda

Live for Your Dreams

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For years many of us have gotten it mixed up. We have spent our whole lives going to school to pursue careers we were told would provide us happiness & financial comfort. We have been taught that financial comfort opens the door to happiness on our lives. We have been brainwashed to believe that our passion & purpose are correlated with the 9-5 we aquire after we go to college. Though I am well-educated & am a fan of education, some educational structures have placed limitations on our minds & what we are capable of. In many educational settings, we are taught to believe in the dreams of someone else so that we acquire jobs that entail contributing to those dreams; dreams that are not our own. I am not opposed to contributing to the dreams of someone else, but I am opposed to not pursuing our own dreams & our own purpose out of fear, discomfort or indolence. However one chooses to live their life is completely their prerogative but life is too short. Life is so much more than waking up, working, sleeping & dying. Life is a realm full of experiences that contribute to who we are, how we live & what we feel (passion). It is our passions that will propel us directly into our purpose; whatever that may be. Just know that we were not placed on this earth to live a mediocre life that warrants us the same boring routine with limitations on our full potential.

It is important that in life’s journey we find the fuel that pushes us to reach our highest potential. It is easy to sit back & take the easy route but it will not be gratifying. There is a difference between doing what we have to do & doing what we are called to do. We need to pay attention to the “nudge” that keeps telling us we are not doing enough; we have to do more. Finding out what in this life speaks to us will have us reaching the peaks of mountain tops we never imagined we would see. We do not have to be famous or rich to be fulfilled, we just have to believe in ourselves, take risks on ourselves & take action. It has been said, that those who find their passion & actively engage in them are happier than those who do not. We deserve this happiness & we have to actively pursue it. Today we have to vow to invest in our own dreams so that we never have to wonder “what if”. Dreams are real but they only stop being dreams when we make them a reality. It is about that time. The risks can be made in baby steps but they need to be made. The way technology has evolved, foundations have been planted that allow us to take small steps toward our dreams while we tend to what we need to do. At this point, social media & word of mouth can open a realm of opportunities. Whether it is opening our own businesses or providing us the resources to pursue new endeavors; it is all obtainable. Things that were once out of reach have now been placed right in front of us so there is no reason to remain stagnant.

Whatever your dreams are invest in them. Despite how small it is or unsure you are, take a risk & try it. Had I allowed my own self-doubt to get in the way of pursuing my desire to empower, Nickkie&CO. would be nonexistent today. Though I have a long way to go, all it took was a little faith & one step in the direction of my dreams. Slowly it is all coming together. I want the same for you. I am slowly pursuing my dream while dealing with what I need to do. So it is possible. Regardless of what awaits you remember,  the rollercoaster is worth it & when it is your time to go (a long time from now) you will be able to leave the imprint for future generations after you– that despite what anyone conditioned you to believe, you chose to believe in yourself; first.

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Image: https://tinybuddha.com/blog/10-mistakes-to-avoid-when-chasing-your-dream/

Daddy’s Little Girl

Father’s Day is today & I will be honest enough to tell you that until recently I really did not know how to celebrate Father’s Day. Aside from buying my mother a card & a small gift or wishing my uncles a Happy Father’s Day; I never thought much more about the day because it never has had much significance in my life.

As you have read in my memoirs, Accepting Failure & The Best Side of Me , I was raised by a single mother who for a good while posed the role of “dad” in my life. I cannot tell you what it is like to have my biological father love me, love into me, protect me or be an example of the kind of man I should marry. Though in the past I have tried to, I have failed to recognize if any of his features look back at me when I stare at my reflection in the mirror. Even if it was possible, I would not even know what feature of his to compare it to because his face is not a face I have seen in my lifetime. But even in his absence certain things are very clear to me. Though I cannot visualize a face to his name, he has given me a clear visual of the type of man I would not want to be the father of my children or the kind of man I will not raise my son to be. Though in the past it often left me feeling unwanted; I am totally ok with his absence. Because if I told you what my heart feels you would understand my lack of curiosity.

Despite not having a father in my life, I do know what it is like to be loved by someone who did not have a hand in physically creating me but has had a significant impact on the person I am today. I know what it is to be reprimanded through love & given advice by someone who looked at me (though not his) as a little girl who was worth it. I know what it is to have someone remind me every day that blood is not always thicker & love means more than any last name I could be given. I also know that it takes a special person to look at me, regardless of the times I have attempted to throw him away & still claim me as his.

Even if he is not my biological father you can not tell me he is not my dad. As an adult I can reflect on the lessons he has taught me. It is because of him I am honest. He taught me that I must be accountable for what I say. I know it is because of him I am a realist because all things are not always just black & white. He taught me how to throw my first punch & he was on my side when I finally told Mom that I no longer wanted to wear cartoon characters on my clothes (she was crushed). Even as I transitioned through my life the lessons have never stopped coming.

Up until May 2017, my mother & him have not seen each other in over 15 years. Yet, somehow, he & I have maintained our relationship. A relationship that truly grows stronger as I get older. I am older now & do not take for granted how blessed my life has been with his presence. It was not until I turned 25 that I started to call him dad & that is the only sure way I can tell him I love him just as much as he loves me.

I struggled growing up without a biological father. I was hurt that my family did not look like others & I was bruised because I could not understand why my biological father did not want me. I learned really early on though, that it had nothing to do with me but everything to do with him & his inability to accept himself which in turn made him unable to accept me. In his absence though, I have learned the most valuable lesson I could ever learn all my life. Take heed to this lesson as it will save you from blaming yourself from the things you cannot control. This alone will remind you that you are worth more than what someone else may have overlooked. You cannot change the minds of the people who choose not to stay. In turn, you should always value the people who have chosen to stay even when you have made it hard for them. I learned to be grateful for the people God has removed from my life because I can only imagine what I have been protected from. I believe God removes people & places people in your life because he knows the impact their energy can have on you. I promise I thank God often for placing a “stranger” in my life when I was two & making him one of my very best friends at twenty-nine. Life is all about experiences that mold you. What others see as a sad story is actually a success story for me. There are not many people who are as “rich” as I am. Despite the odds they said were against me, it is so lit to have someone who has invested in me so much that even my mom cringes from the similarities (lol). I have been blessed beyond compare & I thank him so much for choosing me. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

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Image: https://www.stfinnbarr.org/apps/news/article/684582

Sacrifices Are Necessary

Good morning Conglomerates!! Special thank you goes out to you for joining me another week. The constant feedback & support has surely kept me motivated to continue on this Nickkie&Co. venture so- THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

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Today, I feel a discussion on making sacrifices is a necessary discussion to have because sacrifices make final goals that seem out of reach feasible. We all do it, no matter how big or small it is; we do. If you are a parent or guardian of another human being you most certainly do. Regardless of how small or large your sacrifice; I am here to tell you, it will be worth it. Society treats sacrifice as a form of deprivation. Nickkie&Co. on the other hand recognizes that a sacrifice is a promise you have made to yourself in order to reach a final goal that allows you to be your best self while living your best life.

For as long as I could remember, I have made sacrifices in order to afford myself opportunities that I may not have if I did not make the sacrifices I did. My whole college career was based on the promises a sacrifice has afforded me. Despite how trying the sacrifice has been, I have always attempted to keep my eyes on whatever the final goal was; the prize. Even now, temporary sacrifices are still evident in my life in hopes that in the long run it will be worth it. Aside from reaping the rewards sacrifices have afforded me; I am sure to keep in mind, especially as I write this memoir, that patience is key. I have learned first hand that sometimes moving too quickly & forgetting what you did it for will have you forgetting the whole purpose; the promise you made to yourself.

So today Conglomerate, I want to remind you to stay focused on your goals & be mindful of your sacrifices. Regardless of how big or small they might be they make your overall goal obtainable. Sacrifices are TEMPORARY & I can not stress the importance of not giving up to you enough. We make sacrifices everyday, whether it is a weight loss challenge, a financial challenge or professional challenge; the lingering lesson in it all is that your patience is the key to crossing the finish line.

I can relate to the disheartening feeling that visits when the reward does not even appear to be peaking over the horizon. I can also vouch for feeling discouraged when progress is compared to the progress of someone else. It kills your momentum & it crushes your self esteem. Do not allow it. Do not compare yourself to the success, progress or advancement of other people because their journey is not relevant to your journey. Your story is not their story & their story is not yours. The paths laid out for your lives are different & you must make due with what you have. The irony in this is someone is looking at you doing the same thing; wondering how you have it all together even though you know the opposite. So do things your way, at your pace; the best way you know how. I understand it gets frustrating. I also understand that at times, in the process of living through our sacrifices that mistakes are made; that is totally ok. The idea is to pick up where you left off. No one said you had to be perfect, you just cannot give up. You owe yourself everything you are striving for & you are more than deserving.

Ok, you need to sacrifice a little financially so you can become a homeowner? Do it. Think about the equity you build for yourself instead of the equity you build for someone else; all because you chose to make a sacrifice. Tempted to eat something you feel you shouldn’t so that you can lose that final 5 pounds? Do not do it. Imagine how accomplished you will feel when you finally reach your goal. Life is all about taking little steps to get to the destination. It is a struggle now but once you arrive the sacrifice does not seem as painful.

All the goals you set for yourself are attainable you just have to believe they are. You have to trust yourself to do right by yourself because YOU conglomerate are capable & worthy! Do not get discouraged. Keep making the sacrifices, you will cross the finish line before you know it. Once those goals are slayed you open up the opportunity to create new sacrifices & new goals to make your life more than what you want it to be. You were not created to be stagnant or mediocre & you surely were not created to not believe in yourself. The world is yours. Act like it.

XO.

Image obtained from: http://www.cambridge.elim.org.nz/sermon/love-sacrifice-part2/

Dealing with Loss

Dealing with LossIn one way or another we hope that at some point in our lives we do not have to experience losing a loved one. Though it may cross our minds briefly, one never truly is prepared to deal with losing someone dear to them. In 2009, I had my first experience. I lost a friend to gun violence at a local community center to someone he never met a day in his life. In 2013, I fell into a deep depression when I lost a brother figure to another senseless act of violence. In December 2016, my family dealt with it’s first blow when my uncle lost his sudden fight with stage IV cancer exactly a week after his birthday. Though I can say I have been blessed not to have a lot of final losses in my life; it still hurts me just the same.

In all three of these scenarios I have gone through what they call the grieving process; however the order of the process, I have been through it. As ugly as it has been, I am getting through it. Because truth is, from my experience, the grieving process never ends. As life goes on without my loved ones, I have learned to accept that they are no longer with us. Though with time it gets a little easier & I may not think of them every day as I did initially; their absence rings loudest to me during celebratory events they are no longer here for. Eventually pictures of them start to age & all we have left are the memories. With that being said, in all 3 scenarios, at some point, I was riddled with regret wishing there was more time to spend with them & tell them that I loved them with a wish that I could have done something to prevent the inevitable.

In life, unfortunately as we get older we start realizing that death is not so uncommon & that loss gets closer to our hearts. The passing of our grandparents, friends, siblings, parents & children start to plague us but some how we are expected to get through the day. Our jobs gives us 3 days & we are told by whomever, with whatever letters behind their names, that generally the true grieving process, from start to finish, takes about a year. Bless the soul this is true for because it surely is not true for me. Sometimes I am crushed thinking of the experiences they may never get to experience or the things they will never get to see. I get moved to melancholy or joy when I hear certain songs or if the weather is a certain way.

I tell myself often that had I known I would lose them when I did I would have prepared myself. I would have cherished every moment & though I was as good as I could have been while they were here on earth, somehow I often feel I could have been better. But then I realize, I truly gave them the best version of myself I could have because what I gave them was me; genuinely. They got all of me even if it was for a shorter period of time. They saw the real, the raw & the ugly. They have seen the good & the bad. Shoot, sometimes they even felt it. But it was authentic. They got the sides of me that I do not believe they would have seen if I prepared myself for them leaving so soon.

So today, I tell you that if you have not dealt with loss yet, sadly, one day you will. If you are dealing with loss please keep this in mind. Despite what may cross your mind, I want you to know that there is nothing you could have done to prevent this. I also want you to know that regardless of how hard it is you can not stop living because they have; they would not want it that way. Instead, we have to live in their memory. Live for them. Have the experiences they would not be able to have but relish in your moments to your fullest. It is not realistic of me to tell you not to be sad & I will not bore you with cliches telling you why you should not be sad. Instead, I say be sad; feeling every emotion, whether sad or happy, it keeps them alive. It is ok to feel out of sorts & it is ok to miss them. It is also ok to wonder if life’s little miracles are small gestures from them telling you they are ok. It is ok to be hopeful that they are with you & watching over you. Most importantly, it is ok to LOVE them more each day they are gone because it is YOU who keeps them alive. I urge you though, do things at your own time. Do not rush your healing by the timeline of someone else. Instead, accept the pitfalls & the lows. If you need assistance getting through the hurdle it is ok to seek it. Strive to do anything that allows you to be your best self, even if your best self seems so far away. You will come around. It is hard now, it will be hard later but it is how you evolve in these moments that will make those who have passed on proud.

XO.

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Knowledge is POWER

Growing up we obtain the majority of our knowledge from relationships we build from adults & our peers, school, books (if we read) & TV. As we get older the avenues we use to obtain our information may vary a bit but regardless of the source; information is retained that molds our beliefs & understanding. Some information is ingrained in our brains permanently; others not so much. Conglomerates, in order to live our best lives for ourselves & our families we must never stop learning & be open to resetting the information we may have obtained over the years. This fact remains true regardless of how old we get, how our experiences effect us or how generations shift. As people get older, a shortcoming many people have is that with age they fail to realize that new information is available to access. Usually they are unwilling to reset what they have learned due to generational ignorance or an inability to accept that with time information changes as well. It is most helpful if you continue to learn new information as it becomes available while keeping your span of your knowledge fresh & renewed.

As I age, I have learned that some of the information I learned as a child has become outdated or has just been plain out wrong. Though the wisdom behind the information may not have changed directly, how it applies to life may have. With age, experiences & time are not the only variables that make us wise. Instead, having the patience to keep up with new changes such as technology or being humble enough to recognize that some information that you have learned in the past may very well be wrong; will always make you wise beyond your years. The retention of information is generational. Therefore if something continues to be taught incorrectly or out of context, we risk passing on ignorance to our loved ones that may hinder them long after we are gone. This in turn contributes to a blood line of generational ignorance & inconsistencies.

I come from a family in which some people just fail to accept that some of the information they are sharing is no longer correct based on the time or era we are currently in. Granted, I know this is not intentional & I understand that they have grown up in a time when challenging information was unacceptable but I have seen first hand how roles have shifted. From being the “go-to” person everyone ran to for answers they eventually shifted to the person we go-to sometimes because they have opted not to advance along with the information that once upon a time held true. As my generation in our family gets older we no longer accept that things should be done a certain way or is fact because someone older than us told us so. We have the ability & readily accessible resources that challenge our way of thinking. We acknowledge its importance & we take advantage of what is available to us so that we are never limited by what we do not know. It is acceptable to challenge what does not make sense but we must be accepting of new information & research what we do not know. Most importantly, so that information does not die with us, we need to be open to share what we learn so that no one will ever be taken advantage of on the basis of what they do not know.

Sadly, so many of us strive to live our best lives but we will fail to do so if we allow ourselves to stay behind the grid. Knowledge truly is key & it does not have to come from expensive tuition rates & outdated text books. Knowledge is attainable to anyone who wants it. If the goal is to live your best life, never allow anyone to dictate what information you should have access to. Never allow yourself to shift from the “go-to” person to the “sometimes” person because you failed to teach yourself new things & reach your full potential. Understand that as long as you are living, you can never know enough. Understand that what you do not know does not take away your worth but gives you an opportunity to learn something new & may open doors for you that you did not think you had the keys to. Do not be the cause of your limitation & the generational limitations of your family. Understand that there is power in knowledge & why it is important that we have it.

Historically, failure to access knowledge bred oppression. Laws were passed to prohibit access of knowledge to slaves partly because once it is obtained, it at minimum allows us equal footing to those who do not find us worthy. We are worthy! Knowledge makes us fierce & learning this is an essential step to living the life you always imagined you could live. Over the years the avenues in how we access & gain information has gotten more creative & more readily accessible. Teach & learn. Be hungry for it. Hunger for knowledge is the one sure way to guarantee your survival & your ability to live your life; by your terms, your best way.

XO.

Conquering Lupus

Good Morning Conglomerates! Today we have another courageous Guest Inspiration here to share her story with us for LUPUS AWARENESS MONTH. Tiger is another fierce conglomerate who is using her experiences to remind you that regardless of the circumstances it is going to be ok! She shares with us the importance of self care, perseverance & finding your strength within your “weakness”. #Nickkie&CoWearsPurpleForTiger

Hi Ladies! Anyone who knows me calls me Tiger; if this is our first-time meeting, it’s truly an honor & thank you for reading.

I’m almost 25 years young but almost every day I feel as if I’m twice my age, trapped in someone else’s body. I feel robbed, I feel betrayed, & quite frankly; I used to be angry as hell.

I started this journey with my autoimmune disease right around my 21st birthday. I was in a draining relationship, working 3 jobs and putting myself through college when my whole world came crashing down. I had simply been feeling “off” for a while. I got random rashes that would come and go. I was always a woman that ran so my joints hurting wasn’t uncommon either. Even when my hair was falling out it seemed normal to me. I had become so out of tune with myself that I really didn’t notice anything at all. However, my various blood tests over the months is what made my doctors dig deeper. A few weeks after what should have been one of my biggest birthdays, turned into an everyday struggle to affirm “Your story doesn’t end here”.

I suffer from a disease called Systematic Lupus Erythematous. To simply put it, my body attacks itself at random and is unable to defend or maintain. My symptoms can vary but, most commonly I’m extremely fatigued, I may develop rashes on my body, I’ve lost a lot of my hair, my organ systems can shut down & it’s incredibly hard to move around without feeling extreme pain. Every single day is difficult for me.

When I was first diagnosed, I cried for hours. I locked myself in my room, laid back in bed & pretended the last few days were just a bad dream I needed to wake up from. I was overcome with the thought that I was dying. To hear that there wasn’t a cure & not a lot of research, was what really knocked the air out of my lungs. I couldn’t just live a normal life & once again, it seemed the devil was robbing me of my light. I HAD PLANS… I was going to practice medicine, I was going to open my sneaker store, I had to see my siblings graduate & I was going to be the rich auntie that sent money filled cards & traveled the world. I couldn’t die yet. I wasn’t done living! I spent more time in various doctor’s office than anywhere else. I had about 6 pills to take everyday and those pills changed every few months when they stopped working for me. It seemed like my rheumatologist (doctor who specializes in Lupus) would only have bad news. I had to cut my hair off, I dropped about 15 pounds &  it looked like life was being sucked out of me.

I fell into a deep depression. I refused to let anyone help me, I didn’t want to talk about my feelings & I certainly didn’t want to go see any of my various doctors. I figured if I could ignore my pain long enough it would simply go away. I had no idea what self-care was nor, did I understand anything about mental health. I was raised to suck it up & keep moving because there was no time to feel & healing could happen along the way. The finish line was moving every single day & if I stopped even for a minute, I’d never make it to the end. So, exactly what do you do on the days when your body is telling you to rest but the world refuses to let up just for a moment? YOU TAKE CARE OF YOU FIRST!

You must understand that direction is much more important than speed. Don’t allow yourself to run blind & fast. I desperately wish someone would have told me this & stressed the importance. As women we naturally put ourselves aside in the name of business. But if you keep teaching yourself to put yourself last, how will anyone ever learn to put you first? Self-care is absolutely something everyone needs to learn. I still struggle with this but after learning that healing looked different for everyone, it became easier. For me, I listen to a lot of podcasts; specifically, Elevation Worship. I learned to listen to my body so, I’m a plant-based Vegan. I write music, I dance terribly, I love purely & intensely and seek God relentlessly. Living with lupus at such a young age isn’t easy but I don’t walk around defeated. Some days I don’t have the strength to lift my head, other days I’m putting on makeup to cover up my scars & on all those days I’m thankful to still be here. What I want to stress to anyone reading this is, it’s going to be okay. Whether you have lupus or another autoimmune disease, or any problem at all, you’re going to make it. We will all die someday so while you are here; don’t forget to enjoy the view. My world crashes in pieces everyday but I’ve learned to continuously build a new one out of the pieces I have left. What I’m trying to tell you is to simply breathe & find your footing. Even on the days that seem dark, make sure you keep at least one person around as your lighthouse to guide you back home. I promise you, you can endure more than you think.

If my story touched you in anyway please feel free to rock purple any day this month in solidarity for those who have Lupus. If purple isn’t your color, that’s fine too! However, I challenge you to make a list of three methods to self-care for Mental Health awareness month.

I’m rooting for you.

Take care.

XO.

“We will all die someday so while you are here; don’t forget to enjoy the view.”

The Best Side of Me

Good morning conglomerates! Happy Mother’s Day! Today I want to take a different approach to today’s memoir. In honor of Mother’s Day, I would like to dedicate it to my mom. I hope that in reading this you will be able to identify the similarities of greatness between our mothers &/or mother figures.

I mentioned my mother in a memoir previously & in Accepting Failure you were able to catch a small glimpse of how much she means to me, the type of impact she has had on my life & how much I have aspired to be just like her. Even as an adult, I take pride in knowing that I am evolving into the woman that makes her proud.

My mother has contributed significantly to my self-love pursuit, even before I knew that loving myself without conditions was a pursuit I would pursue. Despite the personal “complexes” she harbored throughout her life, she ensured I did not carry the same. Despite our differences she thought I was beautiful. My mom is what I believed to be the ideal woman growing up. She is a native of Dominican Republic with light-skin, manageable hair, a small figure & a tone of voice to die for. My mom is an achiever. She is driven & really just all around amazing. I wanted to be JUST LIKE HER.

In a world that taught me to loathe my brown skin & despise my unruly hair, my mom was a strong advocate who reminded me to love the skin I was in, to love the hair I was given, & to love the person I was becoming. She reminded me endlessly that these characteristics, together, made me who I am; they made me uniquely divine. The type of devotion she put into loving me is unsurpassed. Even as I try to endlessly love into myself how she loved into me, I reflect with affection the sacrifices she has made for me.

See, my mother is a single mother whose SOUL priority was to provide for me on a physical & emotional level. We were poor, but I did not know it. Though there were financial hardships we were rich by other means. In her love & sacrifices, I never wanted for a thing. She taught me the value of working hard & being a good person even when I did not want to be. She taught me to be honest (even though at times my honesty goes beyond what she intended it to be) & she taught me to be generous by exemplifying the heart to give even when there is not much to give. My mom allowed me to remain passionate but reminded me the importance of respect. My shortcomings were never beneath her but always an obstacle for us to overcome– together.

Aside from an abundance of christmases & birthdays; the time my mother put into what she believed were little gestures of affection are what stands out most to me. I remember my mother would make her own oils that added radiance to my skin complexion she loved so much. She would take time ensuring that my skin was free from scars or imperfections. The hair I hated, the hair that was so thick, long & would kink up at the first sign of water was taken care of too because she had natural products she created to love into it, to nurture it & to make it more beautiful than she already believed it to be. But what stands out to me most are the HOURS she would put into washing my hair every Sunday. I would cry, I would be exhausted from the fight to tame my wet hair & disappointed that I could not be more like her with the wash & go hair & a lighter skin complexion. I never took into account then how she may have felt after our 10-plus hour ordeal but I can say this with confidence, she never complained because she thought I, her “prieta”, was worth it.

This is a small testament to the kind of person she is. She worked so hard for things she did not have to do for herself. Despite how exhausting or time-consuming the task, she made sure she had the strength to do it for me. She is the reason I feel beautiful now; emotionally & physically. I would even go as far as to say she is the reason why I can write memoirs for you today. She taught me to love a language that came second to her so that I would NEVER have to be ashamed to speak up for myself. She forced me to look up words when I did not know them & taught me to fall in love with reading so my knowledge would never be limited to what appears on the TV screen. As I got older, her sacrifices surely did not go unnoticed instead they came with a larger price tag. It is because of her I have those 5 letters behind my name. The first 4 years of my college career was on her back & even as I pursued higher education guess who allowed me to stay in her house, rent free?! Her only request; make me proud.

So as I sit here, master of criminal justice & master of public administration & maybe one day, Dr. Burgos, I can look myself in the mirror & recognize that I am who I am because of what she poured into me. Which now leads me to the point of this memoir. If you are a child keep in mind that there will be a point in our lives when the roles will switch & we will have to take on caring for our moms. I hope that in having a good mother figure that it has led you to be an example of the kind of person you should be to her when she is less capable. I am not always so patient with mine. But it has nothing to do with the amount of love I have for her. Many times, recently at least, it is because she has & still puts so much love into me she forgets that it is time to love into herself. If you are a mother, I want to empathize, not as a mother, but as a child that you never know what stands out most to your children, the influence you may have on them or what a gesture will mean to them when they are older. But keep in mind that although you have been awarded a very thankless job, the gestures you hardly notice you do for us also speaks volumes to us & molds us to be who we will be. Though it feels your hard work goes unnoticed, you honestly would probably never know what has stood out to us unless you are told. My mom would likely never know unless she reads this memoir & even this does not even begin to scratch the surface. My mom knows I love her but I do not think she understands how, what she believes to be small sacrifices, resonates with me even as an adult. So moms, you will never, ever know the impact you have on your children & you will never understand the magnitude of the gratitude that we have for you. As parents you wish for us to live a happy life & though we may not always understand why you do the things you do; I know for certain, regardless of how you have impacted our lives, our lives will never be the same without you. Happy Mommy’s Day!

XO.

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“They ask me what’s my best side, I stand back & point at you”

 

 

Power of Affirmations

confidence-affirmationsWelcome back conglomerates! Today I want to discuss the importance of your words, along with the significant impact they can have on your life & the lives of others. Your words are so much more powerful than your ability to tell someone off. Not only can words be used to advocate for yourself, words can have a significant influence on your mental, emotional, & physical abilities. If you recite strong affirmations in your life I can guarantee you that you will notice a change in how you think, what you invest your energy in, how you process & how you think of yourself. As you continuously speak positively you will feel that energy envelope around you. In fact, words you choose to speak to yourself have such an impact that you will notice a difference in the type of people you attract. You will see that even their vibes, energy & lives are positive as well.

For the most part, I am a faithful person. Regardless of how bad a situation may get for me, how miserable I may be; I truly remain faithful. See, most people’s faith tests come to them at the lowest point of their lives & I can say during my most difficult life encounters I have always known that something better was coming for me. The more defeated I became the stronger my faith & positive my self affirmations have become. I spoke them out loud & I spoke them often. I know factually that remaining positive has protected me on levels I can not even imagine. The last thing I want in these situations is to believe what I feel because often what I feel is temporary. That is not to say that I do not have negative moments. Honestly, sometimes I can not stand to even hear myself think because there are times I am negatively influenced by an environment of negative people that in turn influence my own thinking. Some days are harder than others & sometimes I have to consciously remind myself of the whole purpose of this memoir– there is power in my words & even more strength in my affirmations. Therefore I am consciously aware not to verbalize negative thoughts about myself that may haunt me.

What you say & how you talk to yourself is important because it will have an influence on your life. Therefore I suggest making a conscious effort to recite positive affirmations– always! Especially when you do not feel like yourself, when you are sad, angry or feeling worthless. Remind yourself that you are one of a kind. No one on this planet was created like you. You are good enough & regardless of the situation, the outcome will work out in your favor even if it does not feel like it now. Positive affirmations give you something to believe & something to look forward to. If you fail to speak positively into yourself, in a world that never fails to remind you that you are not good enough, you are truly selling yourself short. So often we hear compliments & praises for specific character traits & we fail to acknowledge them but allow one person to tell us one negative thing & we are unable to move past it.

This is also the very reason why I suggest not vocalizing negative thoughts that may cross our mind. The moment we speak them they become a reality & we begin to believe them, regardless of how rational or irrational our thoughts may be. We can actively combat or ignore a comment someone else may say about us but it becomes increasingly harder to do so if we begin believing what they say. It is all a process –“such-and-such” says we are not good enough > we attempt to justify why we are > in silence we let “suck-and-such’s” harsh words manifest > we start obsessing about it, thinking about it > vocalizing it (whether to ourselves or others) & finally we start believing it. In vocalizing & believing it, we then make it a reality. Therefore, if we make constant affirmations reminding ourselves of our worth we will learn to accept compliments & swat away criticism.

We need to stop being so hard & judgmental of ourselves. We need to learn to swiftly accept compliments & become slow in accepting the negative statements others may say to or about us. Remember that what ever is going on that effects us is all apart of the process. Nothing is worth diminishing our self esteem especially in the form of negative self talk. So it is time we accept, praise & positively work on our individual imperfections while recognizing our growth. In our growth we would continue loving into ourselves by reminding ourselves who we are, why we are here, & what our overall goal for our lives are. I am not naive enough to think this change of behavior happens instantly. I am aware that it takes time but initiating the requirement for positive vibes around us is worth it. If we can not practice the behaviors for ourselves, we can not expect others to do it otherwise.

Therefore Conglomerate, remember you are:

Amazing

Fascinating

Worthy

Beautiful

Powerful

Strong

Phenomenal

Smart

Deserving

& Most Importantly—

You!

 

Until next time conglomerate!

XO.

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Conglomerates, here’s a quick tip:

I tend to write positive affirmations on mirrors in the house I use often as way to ingrain them into my brain purposefully or subconsciously. Dry erase markers are perfect for this project & it causes you to think proactively about your strengths. It is a fun & creative project that you can make according to your heart’s desire. I personally like to change my affirmations every couple weeks to keep them fresh. But of course, it is totally up to you!