April Showers…

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

My heart aches.

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

Oh, so valuable.

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

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

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

Rest in Heaven:

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


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

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

Move in Silence

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

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

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


Claim Your Power

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

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

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

Reset & Recharge

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

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

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

We’re Gonna Make It… Regardless

Shout out to us !

At 29, my peers (older & younger) & I have spent most of our lives with the generations before us chastising the way they believe we would make ends meet. For whatever reason, since our way of living & surviving does not look like theirs, they are fearful of what will come of us & the generations after us. This is likely due to our unconventional way of defining success, way of obtaining income & our reliability on technology. Although I understand the importance of doing things with our hands & can appreciate someone who can fix a car or do home repairs; we, nonetheless, have done amazing things with what we have in front of us. Our generation has learned to conform with the times & contribute to the world by maximizing resources that others regard as irrelevant.

As time progresses generations differ significantly. Some changes may not be so noticeable, while others are as clear as a firework show in July. Our parent’s generation had different aspirations & utilized different skills. Going to college/mastering a trade, securing a well paying job, & having a balanced family is how they quantified success. Our generation comes on the scene & we want that … + we want more. Not to say to say that was not the same for our grandparents & parents, but we came for it all & we came for it our way. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is something to be admired.

I have watched our generation go to college, incur thousands of dollars in student loan debt & still find the means to use our God given talents to bring in extra income. Many of us have mastered entrepreneurship just from working social media to our advantage. Life coaching, blogging, photography, real estate, etc. have been embraced with confidence because we have been driven to make the times work for us. Many of us would much rather go through the struggle of working for ourselves then sticking to something we know does not suit us. We have come to learn & understand that there is always an option. What use to be the end-all-be-all for our parents just may not mean the same for us. There are always options. We have learned to be resilient & tenacious even in the midst of our chaos. We know enough to understand that what worked before may not work now & we are ok with that. We are ok with figuring it out, we are ok with doing it our way.

So as you navigate through life, I encourage you to keep the same momentum. Embrace the rebellious achiever in you & learn from the examples who strive for the same around you. Use the stories & experiences of your sisters/brothers & know that you are destined for greatness; even if it does not look like it right now. There is greatness lined in tenacity, stubbornness & resilience. When those characteristics are cultivated & coupled with the desire to survive exceedingly above all expectations the WIN IS YOURS, always.


Mommin’ Ain’t Easy

Welcome back another SUNDAY! Today I am honored to share with you Guest Inspiration, Taneesha. I have watched Taneesha raise her children with such love & precision that I appreciate her realistic description of motherhood & the sacrifices mothers make for their babies (you know all the stuff that people do not talk about- lol)! This memoir is laced with satire & sacrifice. If you’re a mother you will resonate with her testimony & if you are the child, this memoir will have you looking at your mother saying- “Thank you for loving me, regardless of how tired you have been.” So, let us welcome her with open arms & appreciate what she has depicted below. 

So there you are pregnant with your first child and super excited, yet nervous about every little thing. You keep up with all the mommy blogs, register for the best items on the market and pray you have it all figured out. Fast forward to birth and OUCH, not just the physical pain but also the mental. As a new mother, you have to heal from labor and figure out motherhood at the same time – not easy. This being your first baby, everyone wants to see the human you created and just like that… you don’t matter anymore. There’s no “hey, how are you doing?” it’s “where’s the baby?”, “how’s the baby?”, “”can I come see the baby?” scratch that, more so, “I’m coming to see the baby.” After a couple weeks, when all the hype dies down, it gets real. Your life consists of feeding, changing, comforting, repeat. But as soon as you get into the swing of things, behold! You have a crawler and soon after a walker. Mobile babies are ruthless! They want every little thing their little fingers can grab and don’t you dare try to stop them. Everything is going straight to their mouths too so you really have to watch them like a hawk.

Fast forward to running and talking toddlers. Chase that baby if you want to, they will cross you over as if they’re the greatest NBA player in the league. That little baby that you couldn’t wait to start talking, now talks and their favorite word is NO. “No mommy, no! I don’t want it, I can’t do it.” They’re so negative. Bedtime becomes your favorite part of the day. They have the nerve to be the cutest when they are sleeping; as if they didn’t run rampant in your home just hours before wreaking all kinds of havoc. You think you know what messy is, but a toddler will give you a whole new definition of the word. Now you’re at a crossroad— “do I clean this up or go watch my favorite night time drama?”, the latter always wins for me. You clean up just for the little rascal(s) to do the exact same thing, again. It’s never ending.

So they grow up a bit more and life is smooth sailing now. You got this mom thing down. It just all got easier. I suddenly didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to get his sippy cup. The separation anxiety had stopped. Being able to take a nap while he watched his favorite cartoon was pretty awesome too. My son has always been a pretty easy going kid. Quiet like his mama, calm and cool. I get all the compliments about this one. People even offer to take him off our hands because he’s such a delight. Even though he’s not so high maintenance, mothering is still hard. I still worry and get frustrated like the best of them. I still get tired, but I have to carry on despite having worked a full day. We have extracurricular activities we have to attend to. School routines, ugh, as much as I love him getting away to learn, I hate it too. Having to get up and take him when I don’t have to be out the house sucks and homework…. [every cuss word that exists, insert here]…. most days I just CAN’T. I do, but I just can’t.

Then it comes… yup… that feeling that stupid feeling. The thought pops in, “I should have more.” Now, pause sis, really think long and hard about that. Remember breastfeeding and pumping, teething, diaper blowouts, all the outfit changes while potty training, how long it took him to sleep through the night, all of your sleepless nights. Remember? That is usually the revelation when some people say “nah, I’m good”, but silly ol’ me, disregarded what I knew and said “it’s ok, it’ll get better later, I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel. My child needs a sibling now!”

After having to convince my husband and making sure finances were good, baby number 2 became a reality instead of a dream. Labor was better, breastfeeding was better, I didn’t experience baby blues, I was more knowledgeable… the greatness stopped there. All those visitors I had the first time didn’t happen again, thank God though, they were annoying. Baby number 2 threw me for a complete loop. She was and still is a crybaby. A crying child will drive you completely insane, it’s draining. However, here I am with this beautiful child I hoped and prayed for— who was said to be hard to conceive but here we were and I was not happy. Luckily, I remained sane. She’s 2 now and still cries and whines, but not as much. I have mastered shutting it down now. Thankfully, I go to work and it’s my escape. As much as I complain about her I love her dearly. She’s my life size doll, dressing a girl is so much fun. She doesn’t like getting her hair done too often but I enjoy it when she does. I enjoyed our 19 month breastfeeding journey, surpassing my son’s 12 months. She’s funny and super smart. She walked at 8 months and you know the saying ‘they’re moving fast to get out of the way for the next’, well it was true. Three is coming and I have to go through the ups and downs all over again. But I will always remember and never forget, while it does get better, it ain’t easy.

Neesh
“I enjoyed our 19 month breastfeeding journey surpassing my son’s 2 months”
Taneesha has started a free prenatal & breastfeeding support group for mothers, “The Camden County Breastfeeding project- Sistahs Who Breastfeed”. Support services are provided in Pennsauken, Voorhees & Sicklerville & is opened to everyone. If you know anyone who is breastfeeding or are expecting, please share this resource. Please see their brochure below. Sessions start in March. 

The Power of Perspective

Today, it is important to speak on the concept of perspective & how having a positive outlook could be one of our most powerful superpowers. Studies have shown that those who work diligently to have a positive mindset thrive in areas of love, stress management, social interactions, work performance & life expectancy. It is the power of our outlook that determines how well we overcome the inevitable obstacles that may deter, disappoint or discourage us from our goals. However, it takes practice to use this power to its maximum ability. Regardless of how much I advocate for a positive perspective, I sometimes require reminders because, lord knows, it is a heck of alot easier to think the world is falling off its axis at the first sign of discomfort.

Well today, as I have said before & will continue to say time & time again, there is power in your mindset & a positive perspective can do more for your well-being than anything negative you may think, feel & manifest. When you think positive with a firm understanding that any & everything will work out in your favor; you have the potential to make mountains crumble in front of you. If you are not careful, a negative outlook can have you looking at some blessings like a curse & harping on situations because they could be better. A few years ago my uncle passed away from stage 4 cancer & although it hurt like hades to have him leave us, I coped with his passing better than I imagined. Why? Because it was one less day that he was suffering, one less day that he was tired, one less day that he had to cope with preparing to leave us & one sure day that he gave himself to God. Because of this, I know where he is & that I will see him again. Now, every time an anniversary of his approaches (sunrise & sunset) I do not wallow in sadness, instead, I rejoice that he found his way home & his life of torment is over. It is this perspective & this reversal of understanding that I try to practice in my day-to-day. I encourage you to do the same.

Life is so much more than being crippled by experiences that have the potential to take us out. We must not let them. It is all a cycle: what we think influences how we feel & how we feel influences what we attest out of our mouths; what we say out our mouths is heard by the unseen. Therefore, even when you feel it is all falling apart around you keeping a positive mindset is the key. The positive mindset, despite how you feel or your circumstance, is a testament to your faith.

Faith unwavered is a strength to be seen.

Making America “NOT SO” Great…

If you have been following Nickkie&Co for some time, you know I generally do not discuss politics or riveting current events unless my heart is moved to do so. However, I would be naive to ignore the suffering that has occurred to Americans within the American border. Although we received notification that the government shutdown has ended, the truth of the matter is, the government was still shut down for over a month. This resulted in over 800,000 people effected & a US deficit of 6 billion dollars. Based on conversations I have had, it is evident that regardless of our own individual political views, the concensus amongst us is disgust. Disgust because there was an attempt to prove a point on the backs of Americans. Someone’s hatred/distaste for one group resulted in the oppression of US citizens.
 
For weeks, government workers have had to struggle with maintaining the livelihood of their families. The shut down not only effected their income, it effected health insurance benefits & the various ways that people have ensured the survival & advancement of their families. There was a political massacre taking place at the expense of the American people. This is utterly unacceptable because regardless, a hardship was deliberately placed amongst us by the very person in place to unify us. Although better days are coming, this does not erase what has occurred to these families & the steps that would need to be taken to pick up the pieces. There will still be a delay in the repayment of their funds & this will always linger over the heads of American people. Therefore, it is now more than ever that I urge you to come together in kindness. Let us exemplify what it is to be united even if our “leader” is attempting to divide us. There was a total disregard for how it effects us as a nation. Therefore, our best bet under these circumstances is to rely on each other because together, we can enforce change.
 
As a Philanthropic organization, I struggled with ways to assist due to my own lack of knowledge & my inability obtain access to resources that can really help people. Therefore, this time (praying this is the final time) I can offer word of mouth, encourage people to seek resources, & extend my individual hand for assistance. If you are a family effected by this political uproar, I encourage you to reach out to food banks & local churches for food, resources & benevolence packages that can help you get on your feet. This is a time in which you should speak up & watch God place you in the path of people who can help you. Below, I have included a link that directs  you to resources in NJ able to provide assistance. Although, some of you may not be located in NJ, if you reach out, I’m sure there is someone who can direct you to your state equivalent in some way. Under these circumstances, do not be discouraged, prideful or embarrassed. Allow us to show you what we can do for you. The best of people comes forward during times of distress. We are here. Obtain the resources created for your utilization & be empowered by faith.  ♥️
 
 



 

Be-YOU-Tiful

Society has conditioned us very early on to be content being everyone but ourselves. Our true selves. In one way or another media reminds us that who we are & who we want to be is not enough. Unless, of course, it fits their idea of perfection or success. In many direct & indirect ways, we are told how to dress, how to talk, who to love, how to love, what to like, what to dislike, what is important, what to dismiss & what we should do based on what society thinks is important. This has resulted in so many of us unsure of who we are, what we believe in & what we represent. Well today, I encourage you to start the journey in learning exactly who you are, what you stand for & what is important to you because despite what you are conditioned to believe –there is not one single person that is on this earth just like you. You were made special, as one of a kind, limited edition — that is the beauty that is you.

The most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed is a person who found true, genuine joy because they were willing to be rebellious for the sake of discovering themselves. They live in joy because they outgrew society’s standards & are living outside of such restrictions. So many of us are walking around with a mask that perpetrates us in a different way than who we really are. This is dangerous to our self-care because we are too busy living for the likes of someone else– so much so, that we forget who we are & dislike ourselves in the process. To be ourselves unapologetically is the best gift we could ever give ourselves & to the world. We spend so much time of our lives being loyal to other people & we do not realize that being loyal to ourselves & our identities is even more important.

Remaining yourself, regardless of the circumstances you face, is a miraculous talent to have. Even under the worst situations you still remain true- true to you. That is the quality to having a good life that will impact, not only yours, but the lives of others. Like I said, there is no one like you, once you are gone there will never be another you. There is no one better at being you than you — embrace you. That is the least that you can do for yourself. Be you, always, all the time, regardless– Forever.

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You Are…

I usually struggle to write about topics like this out of concern of appearing bitter, irrational or unrealistic. Anyone that knows me, knows I have been through my share of heartbreak; some more crippling than others. However, the truth is, people (notice I said ‘people’) need to hear this. On a regular basis people are living tied to toxic, dysfunctional & unhappy relationships. They find themselves lost in the antics & associate with insecurity, discomfort, uncertainty & defeat. So, today, regardless of my own reservations it will be said. Despite what people think, this situation is beyond one individual person, as there are people that need empowerment before & after leaving relationships that no longer suit them.

I will be the first one to tell you that I have walked away from relationships still in love. I will also tell you that regardless of how visibly stubborn I have been; internally I struggled with whether or not I made the right decision to preserve myself & walk away. Truth is, I wanted so badly to believe that someone can change & that under the right circumstances they can change because of me. Too often, afterwards, I ended up raising an amazing man for someone else to enjoy. This often left me disappointed, heartbroken, angry & remorseful for the time I invested & lost. My story is not one of its own. In talking to other people, circumstances may differ but the situation is very much the same. So this memoir is for the person having a hard time getting away. For the person who looks at their partner & wonders what happened & who looks in the mirror & is unsure of themselves. This memoir is for you— because, I have been there too.

I will not tell you why you should get away because realistically, we leave when we are good & ready to. All situations are not just cut & dry. Some situations are more complicated. However, what I will tell you is this– you are not stupid for staying. You are not a fool for forgiving. You should not be ashamed for being hopeful things will get better. Instead if you do not understand or believe anything again in your life– resonate with this– you are powerful, mighty, worthy, beautiful, a gift & a blessing. Anyone who takes that for granted is unworthy of you. You are deserving, you are admirable, you are amazing, you are smart & you are blessed. Anyone willing to risk that does not deserve you. You are breathtaking, you are creative, you are endearing & you are phenomenal. Anyone who can not see that has already lost you. You are strong, you are smart & courageous. If YOU cannot see that, you have already sold yourself short.

See, you are a gem to be loved & cherished. Sadly, we do not always find ourselves tied to people who understand that, however, that still does not negate our worth. You are loved & cherished by the most high. You are loved beyond compare & there will never be anyone to grace this earth like you. You are you, miraculously & wonderfully, you. No one can ever take that from you. With each passing obstacle you become more resilient, more notorious & more victorious. Please believe the words as I wrote them. I do not have to meet you to tell you. I was you. I have been there. We are cut from the same cloth. Drape yourself in pride & confidence, love. The rest will follow. As I always say, you are deserving of all that is coming for you. It is yours & yours alone.

Until next time.

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