Exodus 14:14; Be Still.

Two Thousand Nineteen is rapidly coming to an end & although I am not a “New Year’s Resolution” person; the lessons I have learned this year have equipped me to focus on building a skill that otherwise I have never put into practice my whole 30 years of life.

That skill is to BE STILL.

I am not & have never been the most patient person. I struggle when things do not appear to go in the way I expected & I become extremely inpatient when things happen at a slow place. I realize that my need to react quickly & control various aspects of my life has caused me to settle or find myself in less than ideal situations. But what I learned is that the reward for being patient is always more beautiful if I just remain still.

This week a friend & I had a conversation about waiting & letting God do his thing. We discussed how difficult it is for us to accomplish this sometimes & then she received confirmation in such a beautiful way. She had a potted plant outside that she brought in her home from the harsh winter weather. In the plant was a cocooned caterpillar going through the evolution to become a butterfly. When I think of the butterfly, I instantly think of process of evolution to become so beautiful. However, what she said to me resonated significantly with this part of my life I am currently in.

The butterfly is significant in that it knows how to be still & let nature take its course until its done! Like you said… it doesn’t come out a second sooner. Such is with God’s timing. We want things to happen on our time or work on something & expect immediate results. Not so! Sometimes (we) just need to be still & let God work for (us) & through (us) instead of trying to do it (ourselves) or rush! There are alot of lessons to be learned from caterpillars & butterflies. In watching them develop, it would appear that they’re not “doing anything”. But we know once the transportation is complete that they have been doing a lot of internal & still work. It takes a lot to be still in this world that pushes people to be constantly engaged in activity & to “take the bull by the horns” etc.

So with that loves, I encourage you to take this example & apply it to your life. Assess when it is a time for you to act & when it is not meant for you to remain still. Be patient with yourself & the process. Our lack of ability to just be still can be insulting to God & I am starting to understand that. Because it implies that we much rather believe in our plan than his infinite plans for our lives. So when you feel the need to make rash decisions, remember the benefits of being still. After all, he did promise that he will fight for us, we need only to be still.

Spread Joy…

The holiday season has arrived & Christmas is quickly approaching. Stores are promoting sales, lines are long, packages are delivered in shorter time frames & traffic is everywhere. But along with these things we have been conditioned to accept; there is something else that is inevitable with the holiday season- depression. I hate to put a damper on such a cheerful time of the year, however, this season is not so cheerful for everyone & seasonal depression is real.

I know we can get caught up in our own lives but please take the time to reach out to your loved ones. Many people struggle silent battles, especially during this time of the year. What is meant to be a joyous time decorated with lights & bliss is a dark abyss for others. Therefore, we have to be sure that we do not forget them by letting them know we are here.

Small gestures go a long way- phone calls, text messages, loving pop ups, friends-mas get togethers, movie times, etc. Sometimes it is not about talking about the issues, it is just feeling that someone is there. So if you have not heard from a friend in a while, please just take a few moments to check in on them, tell them that you love them & make your presence known. The possibility that they have been busy is there; but in the off chance that it has been a struggle for them; you have just become a glimmer of light in their dark tunnel. Remember, the holiday season calls for togetherness & inclusivity not just gift giving & holiday hustle. Use this time to empathize & spread the joy others may be missing.

A Time To Be Thankful

To be thankful is to feel or express gratitude. During difficult times & the hustle of the holiday season; it is easy to lose track of the “simple” things that have been afforded to us that we often take forgranted. It is easy, especially during the holidays, to fret over superficial things that will not necessarily matter in a few weeks. We get caught up in the sales advertised by retailers & bound up by the financial burden of purchasing gifts for loved ones. So today, I want to inspire you to be thankful even when your desired situation appears bleak.

As cliche’ as this may sound, every day truly is a gift. Every day we have our health & sound mind is an added bonus. Anything aside from that is an opportunity to start each day over; to make it better than the last. Having a thankful mindset will have a significant impact on our day, our perspective & allows us to be more aware of the little blessings that make each moment worth living.

So I urge you not to get caught up in what you don’t have & appreciate what you do. You woke up today, have the means to read this memoir, have love to give, are loved by people who matter to you & are given new mercy every morning you open your eyes. So don’t stress over the unknown. Don’t become overwhelmed by what you lack or the things that will make your life easier. God will provide relief. So in the meantime, as I always say, relish. Relish in the moments, the opportunities & the possibilities & be thankful for them. Because a thankful heart is a blessing to itself & those around it.

Kindness For Sale

Kindness is the act of being friendly, generous or considerate. Since I started Nickkie&Co I have been an advocate for kindness, humbleness & humility as a default response. However, today, I still advocate for the the same thing but want to stress the importance of being kind without the need of the public eye. See social media, with all the wonderful things it has allowed us to do, has also made acts of kindness feel CHEAP.

With social media, it appears people may be more inclined to express random acts of kinness, however at the cost of exposing the need of the other person. Our generation has picked up the habit of recording our highest moments while showcasing the lowest moments of someone else. The temporary praise from acquaintances is so short lived that I wonder if it is even worth it. Because to pump up our own egos, we put the spotlight directly on an individual who would likely rather be invisible in their current state.

So today, I urge you to be mindful of this. I ask that you continue to be kind but do so just to make someone’s day a little easier or to put a smile on their face. Do not expose people’s hardships for a few cheap minutes of glory. Because life has an interesting way to humble us & at the lowest moments of our lives we would not want the world watching us on LIVE. Be kind because it is the right thing to do. Be kind because your heart inclines you to do so & be kind enough to make a difference for those who may need it without expecting anything – glory, praise or blessings in return. Because at the end of the day, it is you who has to lay down & live with you. Make sure you like who you presented yourself to be that day. Be kind without a cost.

Strangers Add Value Too

Happy Sunday!!! I will be honest enough to tell you that there was almost no memoir for you today. Not because my heart was not in it but because I was out late spending some time with like-minded individuals that I just met yesterday. It was truly amazing. We talked about any & everything under the sun from relationships, finances, marriage, friendship, goals, aspirations, etc. However, I need you to see the important part in all this–

I just met these people yesterday!

Sometimes we spend so much time being anti-social or reserved that we do not realize that strangers can add something of value to our lives- a lesson, confirmation to what we know or to be a living example of something we believe or aspire to have happen for our own lives. If we stay secluded, avoid events where people we know are not attending or limit our circle to our immediate circle of friends we lose out on the opportunity of encounter. We gain something new from every interaction & yesterday further confirmed that for me. In talking, laughing & interacting with these individuals yesterday I am elated because not only was it a great time, it was further revelation that my friends & I are not crazy for the goals that we aspire to have. There were married couples, parents, students, career professionals all sitting in one place sharing point of views, dropping gems, being ourselves & giving me, a single career woman, who wants to one day be married, a glimpse into what my social life with my future spouse can very well look-like.

So today, I encourage you to socialize more with strangers. At events sit next to people you do not know & start talking to them. Do not limit your interactions to solely the people in your circle. Network, meet new people, encourage someone, be encouraged, have an unexpected time with unexpected good people -you will be surprised what you will get out of it. Some new encounters can evolve to forever bonds, guarantee a great time every time you link up or be an encounter that will stitch a lesson into your memory you will never forget.

Give it a try. It is worth it.

You Are Valid, As IS.

Too often we allow people (other than ourselves) & things to validate who we are, what we have to offer & what we are worth. Despite how much I do not want to admit it, the truth is, I am guilty of this too. We have allowed letter grades, yearly salaries, hourly wages, romantic & non-romantic relationships, negative interactions, employment, & material things to have too much weight on how we view ourselves & what we believe we can offer to the world. For forever, the world has told us what success looks like & that is one of the main reasons we are too hard on ourselves.

Success is what we define it as. It has nothing to do with monetary gain, the romantic or non-romantic relationships we maintained or how we advance professionally, because we all know– despite how well we appear to be doing in life– these things do not add true value to it. We can be doing well & still be disappointed in the person we see in the mirror. The more we allow the perspective of others to hold weight on our lives, the less value we see in ourselves & the worse we feel.

As someone who recently felt unworthy, I am here to tell you that you are more than worthy– YOU ARE PRICELESS. Your accomplishments or your possessions do not make who you are. Instead, it is the content of your character. If you are kind, how you make people feel when you have encounters with them, your positive perspective on life, how you treat people, etc. Because the truth is, when you are gone, these are the things that people will remember; not how much money you had in the bank or the nice car or home you had. So make a conscious effort- everyday- to ensure that you do not give so much rank to these things in your life. Instead just love yourself the way you are. YOU as you are, is the only thing that deserves any validation in your life.

Durable Rejection

Rejection…

We have all been there before. Regardless of how well we live our lives, how well we may or may not treat people; we are not exempt. We have all experienced rejection from people we love, employers, strangers & associates. However, it is important that we understand that it is inevitable & one ‘no’ is another ‘yes’ down the line. Unfortunately, rejection hurts & could have crippling consequences that we can carry around with us forever. In the face of rejection, the greatest indicator of our character is how we stand up after we are forced to look it in the face.

I, myself, struggle with rejection. I am typically a very confident person. I know what I am worth & I know how hard I worked to get to where I am now. But I would be a liar if I said rejection did not sting when it has happened; some times more than others. But please believe me when I say that rejection does not say anything about who you are. In fact, it is just a reminder that a better opportunity will present itself. Do not let the these moments make you feel like less than what you truly are. In fact, these are the exact moments that will be a testament to your strength.

To encourage you further, please take a few minutes to watch the two videos below. I believe they could do for you, what they did for me.

In the meantime, never forget this- rejection’s only strength is in building you up. All the other side effects are obsolete.

Growth in Discomfort

Throughout our lives we have been through different situations that have caused us discomfort. Regardless of how long it took, we can all reflect back on that time & recall how we felt & the specific circumstances that surrounded that discomfort. However, as the time passes on we can acknowledge that we are not in the same place we were then & can be proud that we are past that point of our lives that we likely thought was going to take us out.

We have all been there. We have all felt first hand the effects discomfort inflicted on us from school, work & interpersonal relationships we encounter along the way; all of which, has molded us into the women we are today. Our experiences have made us wise, empathetic, strong, fierce, relatable & resilient. All these qualities make us better suited for our own situations & geared for the situations of others who may call on us. Therefore, if you are currently in a state of discomfort, such as myself, remain positive. All of what you are experiencing has come before you with the betterment of YOU as the the result.

Sometimes it is difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But you have to KNOW it is there. As you go through it, reflect on the lessons & take note of your evolution. If that proves to be a little harder than intended, just reflect on the more difficult times of your life that you got through. Because what you thought was going to take you out has had no longevity in comparison to you. It was difficult but short lived & in no way has rank over all that you are destined to be. Every situation that restricts you, that makes it increasingly more difficult for you & causes you to stumble is just that. They are not permanent. They are simply the water used to water you into full bloom. Embrace it.

Just Breathe

For as long as I could remember, I have always had unreasonable expectations on how to maneuver through life. In doing this, I failed to keep track of what was important. I would get so caught up in what had to be perfect that I never prepared myself for the possibility that things may not go as planned & if I keep trying to fit it in a box; I will miss out on how truly amazing it is to just live. As I get older & get more comfortable talking about this with my peers; I have learned that the sentiment that I once thought was mine, is a sentiment shared amongst all of them, as well. Because the truth is, so many of us are asymptomatic for depression & anxiety because we have all imposed these crappy expectations on ourselves that make it impossible to just relish in the moment & allow life to present to us what it may.

This must stop. We have to accept that this life thing does not come easy. In fact, sometimes it is extremely difficult to get through & when we think we have it all figured out, whoop, we don’t. That is totally ok. No one told us we had to have the solutions to all the conflicts that are presented to us; we did. When the truth of the matter is, all we really need to do is survive & enjoy ourselves while we do so. In fact, we just need to make sure that at the end of the day, we are decent human beings that leave some type of positive imprint on the world. We need to keep in mind that there are no specifics in how we do it; we just really need to do it our way; the way we choose how to.

I believe many of us cannot enjoy life the way we were meant to because we allow the pressures of our lives to make us automatic & responsive. But sometimes, if we sit still, in peace, in quiet & focus on the soothing noises around us, we will find more opportunities that allow us to just breathe. Opportunities that allow us to just sit back & recognize that we are not doing so bad, after all & we just need a little moment away.- to get our thoughts together; to get our minds right. Life does not come with a manual & quite frankly, it would not be any fun if it did. So take from life what you can- experiences, moments, joy, happiness, sadness- & make of it what you can. Life is more than short, it’s worth it.

Beautifully Broken

As you may have saw last week, I have had to take a minute away to recharge. Initially, I believed in only giving you content when I have made it through a storm. However, I am currently in an emotional battle & I recognize that life must still go on. Life stops for no one & the best way to get over & past things is to attempt to bring your life back to some type of normalcy. I have advocated for self care on a public platform for well over a year now & somehow forgot that in advocating for self care, that there will be instances when I will need to acknowledge that my own journey needs a moment or two for a little tender, love & care.

It has been a little over a week that I have not felt like myself. I have been struggling to be productive & struggling to see the bright side of things (which is really not like me). As someone who has sat side by side with depression, I can recognize that I am not there but that something will need to change before I get caught up sitting with my “old friend” again. So today, I decided to live up to my promise to always remain transparent & tell you all that I am struggling. Nonetheless, I will also follow up with this statement by telling you, that it is ok to be totally honest with ourselves when we are. Sometimes we get so use to looking like we have it all together that we are hard on ourselves when we don’t. Sometimes things just don’t make sense and it effects us. Sometimes things sting more than we anticipated & sometimes life just does not seem fair. But if there is anything I learned in the three decades I have walked this earth– the difficult times do not last forever.

Sadness will eventually be turned to joy, tears will turn to laughter & anger will turn to peace because our lives were not meant to be a relay race of obstacles we cannot overcome. In fact, our lives are about the victories. A bunch of small & large wins that enable us to reflect back on those trophy moments & be proud. So if you are like me & having a more difficult time than normal, remain encouraged. Remain positive that this too shall pass. After all, we do not have to be everyone’s superhero, we just have to be our own.