I spend so much time thinking about the various aspects of my life where I have once been passionate & have now become lukewarm or complacent. I often give myself a hard time trying to get back to the feeling I once had that had me on fire. However, today I had revelation. As hard as I am on myself & as hard as you are on yourself about things like this; everything has it’s time & it has it’s season.
Sometimes we spend so much time trying to hold on to a past feeling or experience that we forget to relish in the experience that we are experiencing right now. Even if it does not feel the way it once felt; this particular moment in time is relevant & it matters. I am coming to the realization that we are not supposed to be on fire all the time; we need moments that appear “bland” to reflect, recharge & give ourselves the mercy we often withhold from ourselves.
These are the opportunities that were created to give ourselves grace. These are the moments that make us remember that we are human & that although we desire more, every moment is not for obtaining but sometimes it’s to abstain. However, keep in mind, as hard as we are on ourselves, what we consider as our lack of effort is inspiring to someone else. We have put in so much work during the times we are motivated, that most people do not even notice when we have plateaued into complacency. As much as we would like to keep going, our battery runs out & we owe it to ourselves to be ok with not “going” all the time.
Just like platonic & romantic relationships experience seasons, the different phases of our lives are much like seasons too. Each year we experience special conditions that will either ignite something new in us or require us to dead something old. Too often, we are too stubborn to accept the transition & we blame ourselves during these transitions because we continously fail to accept that this is a normal occurrence of life. So if you spend more times than not feeling like me; I just want to remind you today to be gentle with yourself. What is meant for you will not miss you & every single thing has divine timing. You may be late getting there but I promise you, the breaks, the setbacks & the distractions have been accounted for on your journey. As long as you find the time to give grace in the process– you are doing just fine.
Hey loves, happy Sunday!!! It has been almost a month since I have made one of the biggest commitments of my life; I became a home owner. However so, I am still adjusting to the changes & getting acclimated with what new bills look like since this is an endeavor I decided to take on my own. While in the process, I am amazed how much I did not know & how much other people want to know. So I decided to, of course, share what I learned & show my realtor (Hey Aspen!) some love. Her contact information will be included at the bottom of this memoir. Thank me later because she’s ahhh-mayyy-ziiiinnnnggg!
It is never too soon or too late to see where you stand financially. Many times, what we think we know about our finances varies in the mortgage process. If homeownership is a goal of yours, it does not hurt to speak to someone (loan officer) to determine if homeownership is a goal you can accomplish now or later. If now is not the time, don’t feel bad. I inquired last year about my status; last year was not the time for me. However, I knew exactly what I needed to work on so I could be prepared now.
Good credit isn’t enough. Your debt-to-income ratio can be a pain in the butt when trying to get approved for your loan. Your loan officer not only ensures that your credit is sufficient; they also ensure that you can own your home. They don’t like risks.
Savings are important but there are grants out there that can help minimize the upfront cost on your end. You will never know until you ask! For instance, after speaking with my loan officer, it was determined that FHA wasn’t the best option for me in the long run. So she found some Conventional Loan options that suited me best.
Once you get approved for a loan, the home searching process begins. Understand, you can be approved for a loan that is higher than what you want to spend on a home. That’s ok. Don’t spend what you do not feel comfortable spending.
Ask all the questions you need to ask. This is a huge commitment. I drove my realtor & loan officer crazy because I apologized so often for asking questions. They like questions. That want to be sure you are sure about what you are committing to. So, the more questions you have, the more likely you are to vocalize concerns.
When actually looking for a home, the best thing I did in this process was write a list of my non-negotiables (must have or must not have) & my flexible desires. This allowed me not to get distracted when looking at various homes. If you share your list with your realtor, she/he will keep you focused.
Once you find your home & the offer has been accepted it moves quickly. Most realtors attempt to close within a month or sooner after the offer has been accepted. I closed in 3 weeks.
Upon offer acceptance, there are other expenses that you pay to protect yourself such as: a Good Faith Deposit ($1000-1500 deposit to the seller, committing to purchasing the home; no worries you get it back at closing), Lawyer for contract review, Termite inspection, home inspection & home appraisal. All these things ensure that you get the best deal when purchasing your home. In fact, these can give you some negotiation power.
You sign a lot of documents throughout this process but if you are efficient, it makes it easier for all the parties involved trying to see this deal to the table.
Getting to the table is the easiest part. Because it’s done. If you do what I did, you sign all e-documents before you get there & you sit at the table all of 10 minutes then you take cute selfies. lol
Being scared is normal. I am almost a month in & I am still scared. Just enjoy the ride. This is a big accomplishment. With the right people, you will not be stirred in the wrong direction. God will not give you anything you can’t handle recognize the blessing & continue on.
Revelation 5:10 (KJV) confirms that God made us kings & priest to reign & rule on this earth; in every encounter- EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Therefore, today, as you begin the Monday morning hustle & bustle; keep this in mind. Be mindful of your voice & your actions. Do not submit to any of the behaviors that compromise your position & make you anything less than what you are; royalty.
With the political & social climate we are currently in, establish your position & stand firm on it. Use your words to speak life into yourself & others. Use your actions to show love & use your experiences to be a testimony to someone else. Times are difficult. But they are not difficult enough to defeat us. However, now more than ever, it is imperative that you be what you were created to be. Do not coward when times become less desirable. Do not zip your lips when you see injustices & do not run when you witness adversity.
Your strength is needed. Your wit is desired. You intelligence is required. Use it.
Anyone that knows me on a personal level can vouch for what I am about to say. I am an extremely emotional person. If you break down the façade of my “tough” exterior you will see that I am a big softy. I am extremely empathic & it leaves me vulnerable to feel significantly the pains & joys of other people. A quality that I hated so much about myself; that often made me feel insignificant or dismissed as invalid has now been embraced & accepted as a strong quality that contributes to who I am today.
Although early on society told me that being emotional is a weak characteristic, is only associated with irrational women & should be discarded; I have learned to disregard what I was conditioned to believe so long ago. Because being emotional has allowed me to make an impact for those who need it, be genuine when I receive good news & has propelled my professional career in ways I never would have imagined a year ago. The importance is in how we channel our emotions & that we use it for good. After all, being emotional or emotionally driven is different than being an irrational person. We currently live in a world that laughs in the face of emotions but encourages dysfunction. But because of our emotions, we are great mothers, amazing friends, nurturing to our spouses & efficient in our jobs.
Therefore, today, I want to tell you that what you feel matters. What & how you process what you feel matters. How you express what you feel matters & the fact that you feel matters, significantly. Do not allow the world to tell you this is unacceptable. Do not let them muffle it out. Your emotion is the flame that ignites your voice. It allows you to stand up for injustices when you see them, give words of encouragement when you recognize the need, whisper loving words to your children at night, hum sweet nothings to your spouse during intimate moments & allows you to advocate for yourself when you are told to stand back. To allow someone, anyone, to disregard what you feel, creates suffocation & dullness in multiple facets of your life where it is needed.
Unfortunately, in order to become who we are meant to be, pain is apart of the process. That being the case, I have had my share of pain that has been inflicted by rejection, abandonment & disappointment. As time progressed, I learned how to not allow what hurt me to cripple me from advancement & that beauty is morphed from my pain.
I was born a fatherless child to a young single mother who harbored her own pain. Although I did not know it then, I carried that pain for a long time & used his abandonment as an excuse to distrust & dislike people. I chose not to live my life or engage with new people out of fear of becoming a familiar friend to abandonment & rejection, yet again. I had a personable personality, but put the people who loved me through hell to ensure their intent was genuine. As time progressed & I loosened the reigns, I began to trust the wrong people. People who were less than worthy of my time. People who reminded me of what it felt like to be that little girl who was rejected by her father. People who took advantage of my vulnerability & my new attempt to forgive & disguised it as love. People who made it difficult to trust when amazing people who are worthy step in.
As I pursue new adventures with new people, I hold certain lesson extremely close to my heart. For instance, putting people under strict confines, not only made me a sh*tty person, it is asking for people to screw up. There is a clear difference between bad people & people who make a mistake & just because someone makes a mistake, does not make them a bad person. Being anti-social does not hurt the people that hurt me, but instead limits me from reaching my potential & engaging with people that can offer enjoyable experiences & lasting relationships. Some people are not supposed to be around forever. Sometimes their season is to serve a purpose & to go on their way. However, I learned to appreciate the people who stuck around even when I was not worth sticking around for. Although I still work through my trauma, I am healed enough to know that it is important to take ownership of my pain, regain my power & live my life.
The aftermath of my pain has given me the ability to empathize with those that are hurting & has allowed me to speak life into those who need it. I encourage you to do the same. People need your testimony. Your pain alone gives you a story to tell. A story of a journey consistent with perseverance & healing. Pain, although the effects can be long lasting, was never meant to be around forever. It’s purpose is to make a bad situation a positive transformation. What we gain from the experience, we are to help pour into others. We should never get it mixed up – pain is temporary. YOU are FOREVER.
Emotional vulnerability is the ability to emotionally “exercise openness”. People often think that being emotionally vulnerable is a bad thing. Society has conditioned us to think that the exposure of too much emotion is in fact a negative attribute that no one should aspire to have. As a result, we are forced to live our lives amongst people who lack the ability to express themselves- resulting in a slew of dysfunctional relationships & misunderstood behaviors. I, for one, was one of those people. Growing up in the city taught me some very flawed ways of communication, which in turn severely effected how I maintained my relationships. Aggressive behavior was praised while any expression of vulnerability was chastised & frowned upon. So to avoid being the subject of ridicule I embraced this perspective. So much so, it became natural for me to behave in ways that hurt others while rejecting those who did not act as I did.
It is no secret that I have made some unintentional, yet welcomed changes as of the past year. My ability to reflect on my past & change of perspective has allowed me to recognize the flaw in my previous way of thinking. I can say to you with certainty that the benefits of allowing myself to be emotionally vulnerable have truly surpassed the benefits associated with how I was living my life before. My willingness to accept my emotions, how they affect me & how I manage them has been the biggest saving grace in my life. My outlook & perspective has done a complete 360 & I say pridefully that the things I took for granted are now appreciated beyond measure. I now realize that people are not disposable. People make mistakes. If I am unwilling to recognize this, then I allow myself to miss out on amazing experiences with amazing people. I find beauty in the most minor things, live a life full of genuine joy & find substance in simple day-to-day activities. I have taught myself better ways to communicate & I love freely without condition. This all would not be possible if I refused to allow myself to succumb to my feelings without being ashamed. My willingness to embrace my emotions (good or bad) along with my ability to think logically has opened so many doors for me that I know would not have been opened before.
Many of us are looking for a drastic change to occur in our lives. We wait forever for the “ah-ha” moment that will reshape things for us. However, sometimes our inability to fully embrace what is going on around us keeps those moments from happening. I have learned that our perspectives have a big influence on the way we live. Therefore, the best way to live is to allow ourselves to feel so that we may experience life’s little blessings. Today, I encourage you to stop shutting down your feelings out of fear of being vulnerable. Start allowing yourself to feel, engage & relish in the moments that makes life great. Life is too short not to feel all of its wonders. There is magic in the freedom you will have once you let yourself be free—without constraint. Give it a try.
“You have to be mature enough to understand that you have some toxic traits too. It’s not just the other person.”
These are the words etched in a meme I discovered on Instagram this week. Of course, I reposted it because the substance in those two sentences can not & should not be ignored. Weekly, I advocate the importance of preserving our energy & recognizing when certain people or situations do not work in our favor. However, I have never addressed the importance of being accountable for the things we may have done to others. I, for one, can recognize that I am not perfect. I understand that in pursuit of finding myself & navigating through the different stages of my life I have caused pain to others; whether intentional or not. I would be utterly naive to believe that I am the only person who has walked away from negative situations hurt. I must even recognize that I have hurt & caused pain or damage to others I am unaware of. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge the roles we have played in someone else’s pain. As adults, we must acknowledge the facts – we are not perfect; nor were we created to be. However, acknowledging that we have had a hand in the experiences of other people, whether good or bad, would give us the most realistic platform for self-reflection.
If we fail to be accountable for our actions & the roles we play, we still leave those we love susceptible to pain while further crippling our own ability to grow. In hurting others & failing to remain accountable, the cycle of pain is never-ending because the opportunity to learn from past behavior will becomes non-existent. Furthermore, those interactions & experiences have the potential to ignite a plague of dysfunction that spans through the lives of many people if not dealt with appropriately. So the last thing we should want is for our behavior to have lasting negative effects on people that inhibits them from evolving past negative experiences they may have had with us. People, regardless of how amazing or horrible they may be perceived, deserve the right to heal. More specifically, from pain we have foisted upon them.
As I write this, I am able to reflect on my healing process & what I needed to receive in order to heal sooner. Although I could not identify it then, in hindsight, I realize that my struggle to fully move past what was done to me (without anger) was significantly hindered by my inability to accept the other person’s disinterest in recognizing the role they played in my dismay. Though I have learned that I have total control of my healing in it’s entirety; in those phases of my life, I would have appreciated solid recognition of the situation instead of the offerings of sweet nothings, broken promises & cruel & dismissive behavior.
However, please recognize that in being accountable, I do not prescribe that we carry the burdens of someone else’s pain like bolders on our shoulders; nor do I believe that we should drag them behind us as if they were shackled to our ankles. We should never be slaves to our past. However, if given the opportunity (directly or indirectly) it would be most conducive to growth if we understand that some of our traits are toxic too. Having toxic traits does not make us bad people, it simply just makes us human. We owe nothing more than that to anyone but ourselves. We are not required to be anything more or anything less than– human. Not perfect. Not a superhero. Just human. Just the best version of human we can be.
From youth we learn the importance of setting goals to achieve success — “when I grow up, I want to be...” In return, we are given the steps needed to achieve these goals, — “to be … You must first…” So, early on, we recognize that life is about goal setting & that some simulant of work must be done to obtain these goals. However, I recognize that we often just celebrate the large wins; the big milestone wins that significantly propel us or gets us to our goal (i.e. becoming a doctor, lawyer, writer, etc). It was not until starting Nickkie&Co, where success was in the 1 follower I gained or the 50th memoir that I wrote, that I realized that in some way, my original conditioned way of thinking was flawed & sends the wrong message. It truly was not until recently that I learned to celebrate the small wins. Small wins allow relishing in the moments & enjoying the things that makes life worth it.
Usually, it’s the journey to the goal that allows us to feel accomplished when the large goal is achieved. Regardless of the overall goal, the small wins are just as important to celebrate because a win, regardless of it’s size or significance, is still a win! A win we should be proud of. Any accomplishment & any step that propels us closer to our goal, or an unexpected triumph is something to celebrate. So often we get caught up on the final prize that we discourage ourselves from being proud of what smaller steps we have accomplished to get it. News flash! Every step, every movement in our journey contributes to what is to come of us. We have to stop minimizing what has been done or how far we have come & start standing firmly on what has been accomplished. The expectation to achieve large goals contributes significantly on us being so hard on ourselves. Today that comes to an end.
Let’s start practicing — speaking life & praise on our accomplishments (regardless of the size) until it becomes second-nature, naturally. Let’s make conscious efforts to toot our own horns, often. Let’s celebrate the slaying of our giants & triumph like David did. Let’s appreciate all our accomplishments because life is too short not to relish in the small wins & too long to ignore them. Let’s stop beating ourselves up when we are not where we want to be, when we want to be. Let’s stop focusing on where we fall short & start focusing on where we don’t. The days where we feel like failures are long behind us. Because as we acknowledge the wins, the right sentiment follows; We are champions, always, regardless & forever!
The New Year is approaching, instead of making this a temporary resolution let’s make this a permanent way of life. We are powerful, victorious & we WIN always– regardless.
I am excited to announce that another Guest Inspiration has come forward to share her testimony with us. Ms. Subhana Wrights is a warrior who is surviving, serving & slaying daily with a condition that causes her immune system to attack her own body. She is a shield-maiden that takes her condition, Psoriatic Arthritis, head on while still LIVING! Her condition can leave her susceptible to skin lesions, unwanted stares & comments, joint pain, stiffness. swelling, etc. on a regular basis. Although there is no cure for her condition, she has not allowed herself to be defined by it. In fact, she has done the exact opposite. She has defined what it is to LIVE, SURVIVE & CONQUER despite what challenges may discourage her. She understands the weight of her testimony & has chosen to use this platform to share with others. Please read & share this young woman’s testimony & recognize her for her courageousness. Subhana, You ROCK (allat) girl, thank you simply for being you!
“If you were looking to be accepted from the world and everyone in it, after what you’ve been through, then you were sadly mistaken & the sooner you come to terms with that, the better”
Deciding what to wear or what not to wear, which scares to hide and which scares to show. Finally, I got it! I’ll wear this orange off the shoulder dress. It’s not too revealing but revealing enough and I still feel sexy. I get dressed, lay down my edges, put my faux locks in a high bun and head to my best friends hotel. Ding Dong! I’m outside, ready to have a good time. As I walk in “wow you’ve lost so much weight, are you ok? What are those scars on your body?” Yes I’m ok and I’m stronger than ever. These scars are just symbols of the journey I’ve been through and the strength I have to overcome. These are questions I wasn’t prepared to answer, this was the first time I put on a revealing dress since I’ve been diagnosed.
In October 2017, my body was 80% covered in black and brown lesions from head to toe. My scalp was covered in dandruff which causes build up. For example, if I were to wash my hair, within 6 hours my scalp would be covered in flakes and the itching caused hair loss. Going from having a head full of hair, acne free skin and a blemish free body sent me in a mental spiral. The lesions on my body itched 24/7 and burned at night when I tried to get comfortable enough to sleep. My ankles had become so swollen it hurt at night to walk or to even stand for a long period of time. All in all while going to work day in and day out. A lot of people saw the lesions on my face and thought then said, “OMG! What happened?”, “Did you use a different soap?” All questions I wasn’t able to answer because I didn’t have a diagnosis yet to what was wrong.
In November 2017, I was finally diagnosed with psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis. I finally had an answer but the journey to recovery was like no other. By the time I was diagnosed I already lost 50lbs and my hair was so thin and brittle with two bald spots due to itching and build up. I was told I still had to wait for treatment to see if my health insurance would approve it. Two weeks later I was notified that my insurance was not approving the treatment due to it being too expensive. One injection alone cost 13,000 dollars which was only a piece of the treatment needed to begin my recovery. Soon after, I was notified of the possibility to be eligible for free treatment through a medication program but I would have to apply first.
During the waiting time my condition worsened and depression started to settle in. My ankles and joints became so swollen that the skin around it felt tighter and tighter every step I took. My liver became enlarged which is a common factor patients with psoriasis. Getting out of bed everyday was a struggle for me. I was contemplating the purpose of living with this condition and if I was going to be limited. In my mind this condition was the worst thing that could happen and since it was passed on through genetics, why not kill myself to prevent it from being passed on to future generations. This was my silver lining, suicide and ending it all. I went from being a lifelong athlete to being frozen in life. Everything stood still. Each day went by slower and slower. Every day I woke up waiting for a phone call with an answer and every day I didn’t get it drew me closer to ending it. My outlets in life were always going to the gym or playing sports but when my outlets caused more pain than relief I had to let it go too.
In the process of letting go I had to find something to hold on to, to keep me present. I began to dig deep, past my thoughts and my depression. I had to go beyond myself to save myself. While being frustrated about the problems with my chronic condition and the lack of answers; I began to create hope not only for myself for the others suffering in silence too. I decided I can’t be the only person going through this pain, although it’s not a common condition there are other people out there who share the same pain as I do. This is when I decided to fight. The biggest battle I’ve had to conquer yet, the battle of myself.
Every day I woke up I verbally told myself to get up and fight. One step at a time, sit up, stand up, brush your teeth, and take deep breaths then fight. I decided to put my mind to use on something positive to keep my mind occupied to fight depression. I created a charity called ”Bhana’s Purple Meals on Wheels”. The Purple Heart represents Auto Immune Disease Awareness. The meals provided were home made by me and were sold for no more than $10.00. Proceeds went to research for people suffering from Auto Immune Diseases. I decided to be the voice I couldn’t find, I decided to shine the light I never had, I decided to fight.
Also, while in the process of letting go, I drew closer to my passion for writing which brings me into sharing a piece I wrote while in this journey but first, here’s what writing means to me. Writing is like painting to me. I can’t paint with a literal paint brush but with my words I can create the reality of which I wish to paint only using words. Every word is a stroke, every placement of my words is an accent. Every statement is a stamp. A stamp with the pigments of my imagination attached. Pieces of my mind painted with words that flow as times goes. The more time moves forward the more pieces of the past I paint using my words of color bringing life to my thoughts, experiences, hopes & prayers and words of wisdom. I hope you enjoy and know that you’re all stronger than you think.
If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, feel free to email me at : firstname.lastname@example.org
The Process of Being Submerged
The process of being submerged
To reemerge taller, stronger, wiser
Having the darkest of days
Trying to find my way
Questioning my way
Thoughts of ending my way
Forced to choose crush or be crushed
Finding the voice
Emerging the voice
Making a choice
A choice to end the battle with me
A choice to carry this battle with the voice I have seen no one have
The strength to carry mountains
Mountains of silence by the millions carrying this
This voices of those who are currently silent, I choose to carry it
I choose to bring life and strength, and light to darkness
I choose to fight with the power of millions silently behind me
See, through this all I’ve realized none of it is about me at all. I was the strength that was chosen to carry this with my natural fighting spirit
I was chosen to fight, punch, and kick, with the power of them behind me
I’ve always questioned my purpose and why I am the way I am before all of this began and now, now it’s all so clear
Each week I write a memoir in hopes that someone will be able to relate to the topic or knows someone who can. However, today I have been inspired to empower you in a different way by discussing a topic I am certain we can all relate to. While you read this memoir, whether it is something you have experienced before or something you are experiencing now, you will be able to reflect humbly on this period & hopefully feel empowered to get through, consistently- every time. Today, my heart has been moved to speak to someone who may be suffering, who is “undergoing pain, distress or hardship” in their own way. Today, I am shouting to you that regardless of the adversity, circumstance, shortcoming, disappointment, heartache or loss you are experiencing — you are fierce, strong, powerful, able & will overcome. Despite what you feel like today, tomorrow or next week, I can assure you that your suffering is temporary. In the pits of your hell you will triumph. Adverse situations, despite how debilitating they may be, are created in your favor. Like a diamond you morphed under pressure becoming something more valuable to be desired.
As I write this, I am unaware of what you may be experiencing. However, I am a walking testament of someone who has suffered & has watched the people I love suffer all the same. Though our suffering may not look the same & have lasted different periods of time– all suffering, regardless of the cause, is relevant- including yours. As someone who has fought through storms, who has wanted to give up & who has overcome; I encourage you to have faith & keep pushing. I encourage you to find the glimmer of hope that resides in you & push it forward. The promise is your pain will not be permanent. Any obstacle placed before you will not outlive you. It does not have longevity. What you believe to be your strongest battle has & will work in your favor. The magnitude of the pain you feel does not even scratch the surface of the joy that will come your way. Again, I reiterate — you are fierce, strong, powerful & able. What was created to debilitate you will lose momentum. What was created to defeat you will not find victory. What was created to keep you out of the race has put you in first place because anything you will feel on this earth does not have the strength to take you out. You are anointed & protected by the most high. There is no way you can lose.
The day will come in which you would reflect back on this time & though all pain does not go away, your ability to become resilient will manifest. What once seemed to cause havoc on your life will be meek in comparison to what you have become. What almost took you out before will crumble in your presence & what will come of you after this will amaze you. You can not even begin to imagine the force you are about to become once this is over. You have no idea what testimony you will testify or the people you will inspire. You just have to keep pushing. Not for anyone else but for yourself. Your storm is almost over, you must not give up. What will come of your life, what will become of you is depending on it. After all, as God promised, …”when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the clouds; & I will remember my covenant which is between me & you & every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh” Genesis 9: 14-15.
In sum, there is no storm placed before you strong enough to take you out. You got this!