Tender Care…

We continue to praise overworking ourselves for a desired outcome instead of giving ourselves tender care when the need for a break has been identified. We often prioritize the needs of the world over our intentional & often necessary self-care; making it last on our priority list.

We owe ourselves fuller lives by ensuring “break times” BEFORE our bodies & our mental health require it from us. Because once our bodies start requiring it; it already too late.

This week, I affirm that—

I will be gentle to myself as I maneuver through the week.

I will be kind to others, but most importantly to myself, when things don’t go as planned.

I will give myself grace even when I feel undeserving of it.

I will take time to realign myself when I feel unbalanced & take heed to my needs.

I will remove myself from the things that do not serve me purpose & limit me from being my best self.

I will be deliberate in how I use my time & how I share my energy.

I will not engage in the things I know drain me but will make intentional efforts to engage in activities that fill my love tank.

I will tap into the things I use to love & see if they still have a place in my life.

I will take time to unwind from the activities of the day, let go of the things I could not control & make efforts to start new tomorrow.

I will give myself the time I need to be who I need to be for me — every single time.

I will stop putting everyone before myself & be deliberate with making healthy choices for me each & every day.

Time Manage Your Self-Care

Morning loves! It’s been quite a while since I’ve checked in with you all. Frankly, I have no other explanation other than, lately, I have been struggling significantly with time management. I have been so caught up in my responsibilities & commitments that other things have fallen off my radar. Therefore, today, I am putting the time aside to remind you to never get so caught up with life that you lose time doing the things you like to do &/or are passionate about. Life is too short to be caught up with nothing but commitments. Life is suppose to be experienced.

Many of us have gotten so use to advocating for self-care when it comes to loved ones & friends; but have forgotten to practice it when it comes to ourselves. Life gets busy. That’s an obvious observation but it really doesn’t take much to pencil YOU in the schedule. Social media has turned self-care into an overly elaborate exercise that requires a lot of time & money that many of us DON’T have. But in actuality, self-care doesn’t have to be any of that. Just make sure it’s something you enjoy, something that makes your heart full (even for a few minutes a day) & the rest will fall into place.

Make an active decision to put YOU as a priority. I recognize that first isn’t always an option but being an option must always be. Don’t only make time for your daily hustle & bustle because those things become monotonous routines that easily make us forget that we are alive; that we are more than someone’s mother, paramour, sister, friend or daughter. Consciously choose to do the things that make your heart excited; the things that inspire you. Make your life count, if not for anyone else, for you anyway.

We can live for a million things but if we can’t live for ourselves too, what else is there to enjoy?

Sunday Morning Jumpstart…

Let’s start the week off with some affirmations!

I will devote the first 15 minutes of my day preparing myself mentally, spiritually & physically for the day.

I will be gentle & kind to myself when I make a mistake.

I will embrace each error as an opportunity to learn, readjust & reflect.

I will show up for myself, in my best state, every single time.

I will vocalize & remove myself from situations or things that make me feel uncomfortable.

I will not walk in shame & I will stand firmly in my truth.

I will laugh often, anger slowly & rationalize before reacting.

I will be proactive & engaged in the things that matter & benefit me.

I will evaluate what self-love means for me this week because I understand that it varies based on my current state.

I will not accept mediocre engagement but will open myself up to new opportunities.

I will be the best version of myself, for myself, first & foremost.

I will evaluate how each situation makes me feel but I will not dwell on the things I cannot change.

I will radiate the energy I am deserving of.

I will find balance between my spiritual, business, financial & social life.

I will find time to do something to enjoy myself even when it doesn’t appear possible.

I will listen to what my body tells me & I will take heed to what she needs.

I will not receive the negative projections people will try to put on me. However, I will recognize that many things we experience are often larger than us.

I will be kind & will make a positive influence in every room I walk into.

I will stand firmly on my no’s & confidently on my YES.

I will live my life confident in who I am & the light I shine in the world.

& lastly, I will love freely however my heart sees fit.

Mental Health, First. Success, Second.

For forever we have been told the standards in which we should gain & pursue success. Whether it is to go to school, start our own business or obtain a 6 figure job someone has always projected the image of what success should look like for us. Despite the various avenues we take to obtain that success; the overall expectation appears to remain the same– work yourself to the ground, because if you don’t, you don’t want it bad enough. But let me tell you, this way of thinking is outdated & it doesn’t respect you as an individual.

Unbeknownst to many of us, we push theme often because the message is everywhere. It is even in the “inspirational” memes we continuously repost on social media. But today, I am telling you to define your own success & how you obtain it. Narratives that shame you on how you utilize every waking hour of your life is probably one of the most toxic narratives you can receive. Because as you’re hustling to keep up; your mental health is depleting & the reason for your hustle gets forgotten.

What value does your success offer if you lack wholeness? How much can you contribute to your purpose if you are mentally & spiritually depleted? If achieving success at the expense of your mental health is the only option you have, have you actually achieved it?

I say the same thing over & over throughout these memoirs. Live your life by your standards & do not feel bad when you live outside of the confines someone else has imposed. There is nothing wrong with working hard. However, if working hard requires that you sacrifice everything- including yourself; I urge you to re-evaluate your steps.

Life is meant to be lived fully. We are supposed to enjoy the journey we take to get where we are going. If our noses are to the ground & we do not take a moment to enjoy all beautiful things around us; we lost the thing that’s most important…

US.

Nothing, not purpose, not finances, not anything is worth that.

You are the priority.

Imposter Syndrome

Let’s talk about Imposter Syndrome. There have been many times I have experienced this in my lifetime. However, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to recognize that the feelings I had associated with this actually had a name. Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon that causes people to doubt their abilities enough to make them question if they belong at the table they are seated. These emotions are often feelings that cause people to invalidate their successes as if their hard work was not enough for them to be deserving of where they are. So many of us work so hard throughout our lives to ensure we provide the life we desire for ourselves and our families. However, despite how hard we work or how prepared we are; many of us combat (at some level) the anxiety associated with imposter syndrome.

Today, I am here to tell you to avoid succumbing to this warped perspective & claim the things you worked so hard for. You don’t have to work harder than the next person to prove you belong there. The fact that you are there, sitting at the same table, in the same room is all the confirmation that you need. You are not there by coincidence or happenstance but because God’s favor opened the door you chose to walk through & that’s enough reason to be where you are; doing what you’re doing.

Baby girl, those late nights & early mornings you invested were not for nothing. The education, the brainstorming & the creating got you there. No one knows the sacrifices you have made to be where you are & no one lays down at night being accountable for your choices and actions but you. Everything you ever wanted & received became a manifestation that you worked for. Don’t take that from yourself.

They told you the world is yours. Don’t doubt it.

This Week’s Formula…

I think today calls for some reminders to get through the week—

Literally, the start of each day, is a new beginning.

Every problem has a solution, even if it isn’t evident right away.

The world will not always understand your perspective, still stand by it.

Being misunderstood is about perspective; use it to your benefit.

Be compassionate. Compassion makes all the difference.

Give yourself grace. You will not execute perfectly; every time.

Love without conditions; do it freely.

Make sure what you say has substance. Your word is your bond. If you fail to deliver on that word, what else do you will have?

Money is nice but it should not be your sole interest. Seek peace.

Having emotions is not the problem; it’s how you express them.

Don’t stay in any situation that makes you uncomfortable.

Pick and choose your battles, but feel confident advocating for yourself.

Never allow discouragement to keep you from playing the game. The outcome will surprise you.

Be confident. However, be mindful- there is a fine line between confidence & arrogance.

Stop second guessing yourself. Trust your instinct.

Be ok jumping in the unknown. It’s going to all work out.

When negative thoughts surface in your mind; profess with your mouth the opposite.

Ask God to give you wisdom before making decisions & be patient. He will answer.

Be ok with feeling how you feel; use it to reflect.

Stop using horoscopes to predict how your day will go; YOU set the trajectory of the day.

You really are in charge of your destiny; do it one step at a time.

Make the best out of this week. You got this.

Suppressed Childhood Traumas…

Hey ladies, Happy Sunday.

Hmm…

Let’s talk about childhood trauma & how important it is for us to deal with it. As children we have a variety experiences that contribute (to an extent) the type of adults we will be. However, many of us have had positive & negative experiences that we carry around with us– whether we know it or not. Like I said in the memoir I wrote a few weeks ago, “Let’s Talk About Trauma”, if we do not deal with what we have dealt with, we will never reach the pinnacle of our very best.

Let me give you an example. Like many people I know, I was raised by a single mother. I was abandoned by my biological father before I was born & I spent a large portion of my childhood feeling discarded. That later began to trickle down into how I handled my relationships with love interests, family & friends. I found it better to discard of people before they could discard me. I left very little room for errors & I never looked back. It was not until I began to deal with some of my deep rooted issues of abandonment that I started to recognize my own toxic behaviors. Had I continued on that course; I would not have been able to maintain the wonderful relationships I have now. As I have said before, I am grateful for the people who loved me even when I was not so pretty to love.

You see, many of us walk around everyday with the facade that what happened is irrelevant. We suppress without realizing that in doing so we allow negative behaviors to surface. We have to recognize that in denying ourselves the correct outlet to heal; we give our trauma the victory. Address it. Talk about it & then work on forgiving yourselves. Because trauma, especially those brought to us in childhood, creates a gateway that causes us to blame ourselves for what has happened. The truth is, we have been raised by people with their own trauma, had interactions with people that suppress theirs, encountered people who cause distress as a result of their own & we have contributed to the trauma of other people. However, when we make a conscious effort to deal with the wounded child, teenager & adult– we make positive strides to ensure that we stop contributing to the negative experiences of other people people. We clear the slate to raise people without our own trauma in mind & we further work on ensuring that we end those generational curses we often hear people talk about.

Life is absolutely too short. Wouldn’t you want to have a positive experience with it where you set the standard & create that trajectory. Life really can be beautiful. We just have to give it permission to be.

See you next week.

Taking On More…

Sometimes it feels like we are biting much more than we can chew. I know many times we feel like we are running a race on a hamster wheel, against ourselves. Because when one thing is sorted out; another thing happens. I personally have been feeling that way lately & it has been extremely uncomfortable. These past few months, I have been very transparent about being in one of the most unique & uncomfortable faith tests of my life. If I were to be honest, I hate it. But my faith (hence, the current faith test I am in) tells me it will all be sorted out & God holds me near. I am sure, with the current times, many people are feeling much like I am; especially with the holidays close & our inability to gather in the ways we are use to.

Normally, I will start talking about how we are going to get through this time & that God will not put us through anything we can’t handle. Although that seems promising & sounds good; I recently heard a different perspective on this. Pastor Tony Evans told his congregation that often times, God gives us more than we can handle because it helps shape us into the very person we are supposed to be. This resonated with me because every time, in the mist of my chaos, God met me. Every time, when life was too much, God has shown me that he was able to relieve me from the stresses that were too difficult for me but never too difficult for him. My drama has taught me empathy & has molded my ability to encourage those who will be where I am; after me. Because the truth is, our testimonies are not for us. They are for someone else. Someone who will be in the same place we are in now; who is having a difficult time getting through, moving forward & functioning solely on faith.

I am able to write these memoirs every week because they are MY experiences meant for YOU. Life is a classroom; sometimes you will be the teacher & many times the student. We just have to be willing to accept the role we are assigned in that particular time of our lives. Our ability to be the teacher to someone else comes from being the student, failing the test & trying again. Therefore, along with the theme of every other memoir, I am going to remind you that this obstacle is temporary & that your life has purpose. To give up & to lose faith is not only a disservice to you but to the lives of those that will follow after you. Even when life gives you too much to chew, know that you are not chewing alone. There have been other people where you are now & God stands with you in the midst of it all.

You are history. You are a story. You are a trailblazer. You are power. You are strength. You are light. You are life. You are love.

Beautifully Imperfect

Hey, loves! Today is a pretty exciting day! Nickkie&Co. has not had a Guest Inspiration in quite a while. However, a long time friend & fellow woman in Christ, Quiomayra Figueroa, has offered her Testimony to share with us today. She brings forward the conversation that religion & a relationship with christ are NOT the same thing. In fact, relationship is so much more. Tune in & check out the brief summary of her journey. It might sound a lot like yours. Thank you Quio for your testimony.

My name is Quiomayra Figueroa and I am 31 years old, born in Camden and raised in  Pennsauken, New Jersey. This is my story of a born sinner saved by an awesome father God in heaven. 

I knew who God was but never really had a “relationship” with the Lord, it was more religion than anything else. I grew up in the Catholic Church; that’s where the foundation started but it didn’t continue. The seed was planted in me by my parents to know who God was and that Jesus died on the cross but never really experienced or understood the importance of having a relationship with God, to understand why Jesus died on the cross for us, and to be thankful and devoted like I am now. Back then what I knew about being a Christian was to “do this do that” and “if you don’t follow these rules you are going to hell and God is going to punish you”. Because of that, I didn’t have a desire to seek the Lord because I thought I had to be perfect. I didn’t fully understand why God allowed things to happen in this world and why I had to be a part of it; I didn’t believe it at the time because a lack of understanding.

I then started to do things my way. I went to college to do something that I was passionate about to help people and the community I grew up in; I went for criminal justice. In my college, I didn’t really experience the partying scene in school but I experienced it outside with the group of people I grew up with. I did what I wanted and what I thought was “living life”. I was partying, drinking like crazy,  and going out to the clubs all the time. Looking back now I basically got myself into a lot of situations that I could’ve avoided that were dangerous. Thank the Lord he had me covered. I was also not in the best relationship.  I don’t blame the person I was with because we obviously weren’t meant to be and that’s okay. I remember after graduating college I  was in a relationship for four years with a man I thought I was going to marry. While we were together I started to seek the Lord with a couple of my family members due to situations in my family; we decided to go to church and I loved it. I kept attending and curious about God; wanting more. I was baptized and I made that declaration to the Lord that I was going to follow him and change my life around but I wasn’t fully dedicated. At this point in my life I became a “luke warm Christian” with one foot in and one foot out. I didn’t want to let go of my old lifestyle; not fully trusting the God. I thought my life was good; I had a boyfriend, we lived together, working in my field of study, and got a dog. In reality though, things were following apart. 

Just like on social media, people post what they want you to see. Who post’s up their failures or what’s going on in their life? My relationship with my boyfriend at the time failed, just like  people in my life that love the Lord and prayed for me, said it would. I am not bashing the person I was with; but our situation. I knew that I was doing things out of God’s order. The relationship ending helped me to take the rose colored glasses off my eyes. I was able to be like you know what God “ I’m TIRED of how I’m living, TIRED of the partying and the drinking, TIRED of the failed relationships, TIRED of being mad at the world with different situations, trying to be in control and not getting good results. I decided that day to just say “I’m done” and I started to really seek the Lord a different way; on his terms because in the past I didn’t handle problems well my way.

When I was in high school during my senior year and part of my college life I handled situations so differently, unhappy and depressed. I would literally shut myself from the world, not wanting to be bothered by anyone. I would lock myself in the room, sleep all the time and I wouldn’t have an appetite. I remember my mom knocking on the door in my room to check up on me and  I would not let her in. I went from weighing 135 to 105 real quick; at my worst. At a certain point I snapped out of that depression in which God delivered me from and I decided to leave it in God’s hands! Once I made that decision to follow Christ wanting his peace and his joy, I ended up finding another church home; not because where I was wasn’t a bible preaching church but because I needed something different. Where I attend now has helped me to grow in relationship with the Lord and not just what people call “religion”. I get to learn who God is as our father and our friend. I have a community of family who know and love the Lord just like me that I can be accountable to. Because let’s face it, nothing is ever going to be perfect; we are human with real problems. Just because we are followers of Christ doesn’t mean we are not prone to trials in this world because we decided to take this step. That’s a promise from the Lord that we will have to “face troubles but to take heart because he has already overcome the world”(John 16:33) when he died on that cross for us. That’s the beauty of it! We are going to fail in some way, shape or form. I feel true conviction when it happens which is good, but as long as we continue to trust the Lord and give it to him, he will help us, he will show up and he will change our lives like never before! 

God wants to meet us where we are; that’s where he can work in us. We don’t have to come to him perfect. He tells us to draw closer to him and he will draw closer to us (James 4:8). Because of that decision I made a long time ago, to accept this invitation from the Lord to follow him, my life has never been the same. Life’s purpose that he has for me and you is to encourage people, to allow them to see the love of Christ and to tell them the good news about him. It’s the whole point of life, to love God and love people. 

I didn’t desire to seek the lord because I thought I had to be perfect.

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.