Happy International Women’s Day!!! Any day to celebrate women is something worth shaking my tail feather for (lol). However, a day specifically set aside to celebrate the advancements of women gives me a feeling of triumph. It forces the world to keep “US” in mind. It forces them to remember that as an oppressed demographic; we still get it done regardless of what legislation or parties in place to tells us. We have shown the world that together we are a force. We stand firm & we are proud. However, this celebration is not for one day. This celebration is everyday. We should be proud of what we have done as a unit – EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Because the advancement of one is an accomplishment for us all.
I urge you today & every day to keep this in mind. The advancements we have made in history; coupled with our own individual achievements should give us the fuel to exude pride; always. They have made us who we are as women & made us even stronger united. Your sister’s story is your story & your story is hers. From one sister to another. From one friend to a friend; one mother to another & one daughter to a daughter. We are our sister’s keeper. Her sorrow is ours. Her joy is ours too. Her hopes & desires are rooted in us.
Today, I woke up in such a grateful state of mind; it is refreshing. The past couple weeks have been quite difficult for me professionally & spiritually. However, I am amazed at my ability to not allow what is going on around me to warp my perspective. I look at my life & am eternally grateful for how far I have come despite the challenges- my health, the love that surrounds me & all the opportunities that encourage me to be a better person.
Circumstances can easily make us forget the grace & favor placed on our lives. Because of that, it is amazing that the realization of how protected I am hits me harder as I get older. Of course times get difficult & I find myself in less than ideal situations but I am breathing & still have the ability to love & be loved. My heart tells me that nothing I am facing now will last forever & that alone is something to be appreciative about.
So today, my goal is to encourage you to think of 3 things you are thankful for. If you can change your perspective even for a brief moment & pin point the specific things that make your life whole this memoir has done it’s job. I challenge you to do this every day. Every day write down or mentally note 3 different things that fill you with gratitude & keep it at the forefront of your mind as you navigate through the day. Eventually, the chaos going on around you will seem insignificant in comparison to the things that give you joy- genuine, unprecedented joy.
We give people too much mandate over our lives. We act as if what they say truly determines the outcome of our lives. We give people too much credit- we treat their opinions as if they are a true testament of our character; as if their positive or negative experiences put the final stamp on who we are destined to be. That can not be further than the truth.
In my spiritual pursuit I learned something extremely valuable; it has already been written. Our lives have been envisioned before we even came to be. However, we have the ability to make choices. No man can influence the overall outcome of our lives by the negativity they try to sprinkle over our magic. Knowing this; move accordingly. Walk in purpose, pursue your passion & claim your destiny. You have the final say over what your life turns out to be & the footprint you leave behind on this earth- no one else.
I have experienced this first hand from those I loved & those I have cared little about. But they all had the same affirmation- I would not amount to be the very person I am today. They decided that what they had to say about my life carried more weight than what I wanted for my life. They were wrong. Yes, I have made mistakes. Yes, I was not always the best representation of myself. But when I decided that I was going to lead a life I would be proud of- I did just that. Their opinions, their negative affirmations held no weight & as I continue to pursue this life of mine, their words still lack substance. What matters is that I know it has been written & what has been written will not change.
You are the true narrator of your life everyone else; bystanders.
Women are capable of many things. We bare children, we keep up with our homes, our families, careers & our social lives. We we wake up everyday, throw on our capes & start the day without skipping a beat. We continue our day with a tenacious “I got to do, what I go to do” without even a second thought. However, if there is anything I believe we fail miserably at is our ability to accept compliments.
Give a woman a compliment & she does not know how to receive it. If she isn’t skeptical, she has a story or a negating comment behind every “thank you”. Somewhere in our conditioning, we have decided that despite what we do, compliments are not ours to keep. That ends today.
We have been conditioned to take the negative before we can ever accept the positive. We work hard. Yet, somehow someone noticing that we do, that we look nice, that we are enough; is not warranted. Honey, you are worth every compliment & more. Start receiving & accepting with a bright smile & a confident “thank you”. Becausd what they say, does not even begin to scratch the surface of how amazing you truly are. You are capable of many things – let tooting your horn be one of them.
I have had my share of unfair relationships. You know, the ones that require you to put more in than you get out, where you are the lover & the best friend, the confidant, the unbiased advisor & genuine supporter. The relationship that drains you until the person you were before the relationship is almost unrecognizable. I been there more times than I would like. However, because of these experiences my perspective has changed significantly.
With each time I had to build myself up after a relationship, I did so begrudgingly. My pain came with a cost & I waited until the moment those who hurt me came to grovel back so that they can feel a small fraction of the pain they caused me. I allowed them to have too much power over my pain & what I did with it. I allowed myself to become bitter instead of taking the lesson for what it really was; a lesson. In some weird way I thank them, now. If it were not for what they have done & the grace of God; I would not understand that all things that have been placed against me – painful or harmful – will be flipped for my gain, my win & my favor.
Now I encourage you to to do the same. Reclaim your power. Do not bow your head down in shame or resentment. Look at these hurtful experiences as opportunities to grow; to be a better version of you for you. No one deserves the credit of what you become. No one deserves your happiness. With each one of these experiences, a part of you chips away but not forever. It hurts badly, but it is up to you to make it work for your benefit. It is your life to claim; make all the moments count.
Hello Babes!!! Happy New Year!! It is only 5 days into the New Year & I am extremely eager to see what the rest of 2020 has to offer (despite how cliche’ that may sound). Because these past 5 days are a complete turn around from what the last 6 months of 2019 showed me. The truth is, I spent that last 6 months of 2019 anxious & depressed. Both feelings I promised I would not allow myself to succumb to ever again. I struggled severely with keeping my feelings under control & not letting the heavy burden of depression take me out. I look back today, still fighting my own battles grateful that I was able to recognize the signs & act on them before this battle became significantly harder for me to win.
I lost the desire to live. I sacrificed the philanthropic missions of my brand, I stopped praying, struggled to read & meditate on the word, go to church, failed to engage with my loved ones, avoided social gatherings, stopped going to the gym, did not eat, did not want to write memoirs & lost the desire to do all the things I loved. It felt like the internal battle that told me to “give in” & the other that told me “not to give up” was going to take me out one way or another. Because it is so much easier to give into negativity than to keep fighting when the positive seems so far away. It was in that moment that I realized that I needed reinforcements.
Reinforcement that did not include bogging my friends down in my sorrow. Because although they are supportive, I was fearful to dump the extent of my issues on them. So I sought help. I reached out to a spiritual, African American therapist who understood my desire to be replanted spiritually & who helped me manage my anxiety & attack my depression with strategies. With her encouragement & my tenacious desire to see the end of this, I have progressed significantly. I also became apart of the mentorship program at church- which helped me continue to stay rooted spiritually & reminded me that God did not leave me but is instead walking right along side me.
Although I still have a way to go, I will not take from the fact that I am significantly further in my walk than I was when I first started it 7 months ago. I laugh now, I am reading again, driven & motivated to see tasks through & my schedule has been booked with social gatherings with the people I love. I made it; I am making it & I pray that you see my testimony as a means to see that you can make it too. Depression is not your friend & it is not something you should get use to living with. Do not be ashamed to seek help. We get use to coping with our trauma & experiences a certain way that we do not understand when those coping mechanisms do not work anymore. Sometimes we need to be able to just dump that on someone trained & skilled to help us master new ways to cope. As we get older we need to be able to find new ways to survive.
Do not be ashamed. My proudest moment in all my life is that I was able to recognize when enough was enough & seek help. I fought for my life back & although some days may be difficult I do not accept that those difficult moments are more than just that – moments. Do it for yourself. You will be grateful you did it in the end. Trust me.
As we leave 2019 & embark on new adventures with 2020; I want to encourage you to remain humble, be grateful for your blessings & make time for the people you love. Leave behind old grudges, be open to new experiences, make new friends & tackle the goals you have kept putting off. Although we look on to the new year with optimism; we often carry in the old baggage from the year before. We express excitement initially & eventually fall into old habits. However, we deserve more than carrying the things that do not bring us joy into the new year. Despite being unaware of the lessons, challenges & losses the new year may bring us; we must live it to the best of our ability. Because it is ours to make worth while.
Welcome it with open arms.
You deserve all the GOOD it has to offer. Be ready to embrace it.
As we go through life, we have experiences that force us out of our comfort zone & that inevitably requires us to grow. However, sometimes our experiences cause us to evolve in ways that require us to outgrow things we were once interested in & people we couldn’t live without; without any apparent reason. Many times we recognize when this is occuring & feel guilty for feeling this way. But today I am encouraging you to accept this part of the journey when it happens.
Our lives go in different directions & unfortunately everyone can’t go. Sometimes keeping the company you once kept will keep you in a box you have long outgrown. Because the truth is, as your life changes so will your circle. But if you limit yourself to only your “day ones” you will likely limit the opportunities & experiences that will further promote your advancement. As harsh as this seems, the truth is, we outgrow people who are not growing. You can still love them, wish them well, pray for them, be kind when you see them but their lack of growth should never limit yours. You must be mindful of that.
This occurrence is normal. We all experience it & it is nothing to feel guilty about. As we get older our perspective changes along with the way we receive & process things. Sometimes it takes recognizing that some people need a little more time & we can’t wait for them. Where your life is going may very well not be the same direction they are going. That’s ok! Love them for the time they contributed to your life but love yourself more to let it go.
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.
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.