Your Employer Needs Boundaries Too!

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

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

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

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

Recognizing Your Anxiety.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toss The Loss.

Life has a funny way of making us grow in the midst of our discomfort. Despite the various ways in which I experienced this; 2020 has had a special way of confirming this. Granted, in spite of all the chaos, God has blessed me immensely. However, I can recognize the various, uncomfortable experiences that served to be learning opportunities that contributed to making me more resilient.

I know things have been significantly difficult this year. There is one obstacle after another & very little time to recover. But this year has taught me something significant about human-beings; we are survivors. We survive, keep surviving & then we thrive. We have a natural instinct to keep fighting even when the odds are against us.

Love, I may not know exactly what you are experiencing right now. But I do know that this message is for you. Sometimes we need things to occur by happenstance to motivate us to move forward. Understand that you reading this memoir today is not a coincidence. It was meant for you.

It is no surprise that things have been quite difficult lately. All the external factors, coupled with managing every facet of your life, is adding significant & unwanted stress to your already hectic life. Whatever the circumstance, you will get through this. Throughout your life you have overcome setbacks & loses; this is no different. You have lived & survived while managing the various roles & maintaining a life you have set out for yourself. In all the chaos, you have become multifaceted; a forced to be reckoned with. Take the time you need- reflect & readjust. Believe that what you want is yours. It is all apart of God’s divine plan. Trust the process. The journey will get you to where you are supposed to be. But I can assure you, a loss is not waiting for you at the finish line.

You just have to believe it.

Little Girls Can Shatter Glass Ceilings

Good morning! Today is a new day & we are able to start the new week with a new perspective. If yesterday’s election results showed us anything, it showed us that the numbers matter. When people come together fueled by a passion to contribute to change, we can shift the trajectory of outcomes! But this is something, unfortunately, we already knew– we just fail to practice it as often as we can. Furthermore, there is now clear representation set before us! As women, mothers, daughters, sisters & minority women; there is someone that looks like us bypassing restrictions & showing us what is possible.

Now little girl’s know that becoming a person of power in a world not necessarily made for them, is a very real possibility. Their ability to shatter glass ceilings is something all of them will be able to do. They no longer have to accept the narrative someone else has written out for them. Why? Because something amazing happened. Our little girl’s can look at Kamala, & even if they don’t get it now, see that she is them. They can set new standards, & be the first, all & everything because of the representation set before them. I can not even begin to express how important that is.

We all grew up hearing what we could not do because we were “girls”. Whether it was playing with the boys or expressing ourselves in attire- it was all based on what someone decided we should do because of our gender. Our career decisions were guided by those who love us in ways that ensured we remained lady-like. However, for whatever reason, jobs that afforded us too much power, was outside of a woman’s place. Now people’s outdated standards for the lives of women, will no longer have the ability to take precedence. Have the conversation with your little one’s. Use the opportunity to empower your little girls to go for it & talk to your little boys so they are never the reason little girls have to fight harder for the spots they have earned.

Let what happened yesterday begin to change the narrative– forevermore.

Their Business, Not Yours

In life we will go through various circumstances that require deep reflection but provide the same epiphany. Despite the unfavorable situations I may have experienced, a person’s sentiments or motivations behind what they have done is none of my freakin’ business.

I had to force myself to understand that what a person does, how they choose to live their lives, or treat others has nothing to do with me but everything to do with them. Unfortunately, I just got caught in the crossfire of whatever turbulent &/or toxic life experience they subjected themselves to. Alas, many people only know how to communication with toxicity. But again, that is not my fault or the fault of anyone else but that person. My only job is to ensure that I do not give it forward but ensure that light is what people encounter when they have an encounter with me.

So today, I ask you to let the burden go. Stop wondering what if. Stop wondering what you could have done to make the situation better. Stop putting their BS on your plate to swallow. Trust me, they will have to deal with the consequences of their actions without you even having to interfere. God is not about to play about his so let him do what he promised he will do & work on healing.

Healing is yours. Do not give anyone the luxury of keeping that from you.

Promise Yourself…

Promise yourself a few things before you start the week:

You will believe in yourself.

You will not be dissuaded by doubt.

You will give yourself time to process before a response.

You will not commit to engagements you do not want to do.

You will take periods to reset.

You will give yourself a few minutes a day to talk kindly to yourself.

You will put 1 hour aside to work on something you are passionate about.

You will combat negative thoughts with deliberate words of empowerment.

You will acknowledge immediate & new stress & eliminate the stressor.

You will love on yourself how you love onto others.

You will be ok with saying “no”.

You will say “yes” to yourself more.

You will address at least one thing that you have been avoiding.

You will invest in you in the best way you see fit.

You will address & provide for your needs.

You will love you, in a way only you can love you.

You will begin to accept that you are a better you than anyone else. You are important.

Your Spirit Ain’t Their Spirit

Here’s food for thought, everyone does not have the same intention, spirit or heart as you do. We see the signs, ignore them & attempt to provide justification to why our spirit (intuition) is in dismay. But the truth is, sometimes there does not need to be justification. Sometimes, people’s spirit simply does not align with ours & it is best to handle that person or situation accordingly.

Many of us assume that the people we interact with have the same heart as we do, that they mean well, & their intentions are pure. However, I am sure many of us can attest, after many heartbreaks & disappointments — that couldn’t be further than the truth. We have an innate instinct rooted in us to protect ourselves. We have been blessed with the ability to discern when something is not good for us. However, more often than not, we choose what we want to see over how someone or something is making us feel. That is when we fail ourselves & leave ourselves susceptible to mistreatment, disappointment, discouragement, distrust & emotional anguish.

I have become familiar with the practice of accepting what & how I feel without needing rationalization as to why I feel that way. Because of that, I am able to reflect & acknowledge that when I listened to that feeling, I was always better off. However, when I didn’t, there was hell to pay & the recovery was painful. Therefore, I encourage you today to avoid the unnecessary by listening & trusting your instinct. We were created to preserve ourselves & take heed to the people & things that may not have the intention we hope for.

If you feel uneasy, accept & acknowledge that. If that guy makes you anxious; take it serious. You are not anxious for no reason. If you have a hard time believing what is coming out of someone’s mouth (without proof) believe what you feel. If someone’s actions say one thing but you feel something else, take heed. The world is too short to ignore the signs. Your discomfort is the sign. If you cannot pinpoint the problem but you know there is one, that is sufficient justification. We spend so much time giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, that we do not give ourselves the same benefit. Don’t allow your mistrust in other people or things, keep you from trusting yourself. You are in this for your own self interest, your own preservation & your own deliverance. Regardless of what happens, all you have is you.

You are your own best friend. Pay attention.

Know Your Place…

Today’s a simple memoir written to remind you of your place in this world–

You are amazing.

You make positive imprints on the earth.

You add rays of sunshine to those all around you.

You overcome & succeed.

You laugh with intention & spread joy to those who need it.

You stride with integrity, honor, hope & honesty.

You assume attention when you walk into a room.

You are noticed.

You are appreciated.

You are an inspiration.

You are muse.

You embody survival & perseverance.

Negative statements on your character lack manifestation.

Generational curses have no precedence over your life.

You create positive pathways to guide generations after you.

You are unforgettable.

The rays of your energy is desired.

You are the color that is needed in a black & white world.

You add shine to all that is dull.

You are the epiphany someone was lacking.

You are the hope someone was looking for.

You make in difference in your counters.

You are the difference.

Apologizing to Self

Good morning, Loves!

For the past few months, I have been extremely hard on myself trying to keep off the “quarantine-15” I gained a few months back. Though the progress is evident in the stats, the fact that I can’t “see” the results have caused me to lose patience & not appreciate what has been accomplished thus far. My inability to enjoy the process has caused me to be a little less than kind to myself. However, my perspective changed significantly, when I was hit with a stomach bug & had to marvel at the process my body takes to bounce back.

I actually found myself apologizing to my mind & body for not accepting what it does every day to keep me alive & in good health. I wake up every day with a sound mind, a joyful spirit & a body that pumps healthy blood through me every day. Although, it may take longer for me to physically get the results I want; underneath it all my body is working.

But the truth of the matter is- we are all guilty of this & we all owe ourselves an apology.

Too often we fail to love ourselves the way we need to. We are so much more forgiving to other people than we are to ourselves. We push ourselves to unreasonable limits under the context that we need to work harder. We maintain very abuse relationships with ourselves (physically, spiritually, mentally) & then we fix our mouths to call it “self-care”. We allow negative thoughts to invade our minds & then tell ourselves we are not doing enough. Our body tells us to rest & we still overbook ourselves & say that we are being a good friend, sister & lover. We are there for everyone but ourselves.

But what we need most, is to consistently be a good steward to ourselves. Self care does not only entail taking a bubble bath & drinking wine on a Sunday night. In fact it has everything to do with how we treat ourselves, how we talk to ourselves, how we set boundaries (even for ourselves), how we put time aside to rest & how we pay attention when any aspect of our body speaks to us.

We only get one “US” while we are here.

Love her.

She loves you & she proves it every day.

Millennial Way of Living

We grew up in a society that presumes that the millennial generation has no true understanding of life & what to expect. For years, generations before us have attempted to dictate what success, relationships & family life should look like for us. However, when we refused to conform to that image, we lacked drive. But the truth is, we saw how life works & we concluded that life does not necessarily deal fair cards & we did something about it.

Instead of allowing the system to dictate our value, we let our creativeness take precedence. Entrepreneurs is an understatement with the talents & standards we have begun to unlock & monetize from. However, those who do not get it, will never understand why we find it ok to do things our way. As women, we have decided that our family can constitute our friends without having to marry & have children; if we do not want to. We set standards in our romantic relationships that those before us may not have had the confidence to set. We decided that we can have our own businesses doing things that generations before us did for free. We have learned to make social media work for us & have ran down the walls of universities grabbing degrees & opportunities that were withheld from those before us.

We are making it known, what worked for our parents is not the only way to ensure life works for us. Despite what many people think, we have drive. It just may not look like anyone else’s. Instead of settling, we have decided we want it all & we are coming for it. That is not an unrealistic expectation. It is an understanding that life is not limited & we can get it all with strategic planning. Most importantly, we can have fun doing it. However, just as a path was paved for us, we have created a platform for those after us.

So if you’re millennial reading this, keep those creative juices flowing & set the standards for what you want life to look like. Ignore the noise. Do life your way.

After all, it SHOULD be done your way. It is your life to begin with.