Be A Blessing…

Good morning Conglomerates,

We are here again, together, for another week. I can not express how much I appreciate your willingness to stay with me on our self-love pursuit. Today, I want to discuss the importance of loving & being a blessing to someone else.

Since I was young, I have always wanted to contribute to helping & making a difference in the lives of others. I thought I could save the world by helping everyone & making the people on this earth happy & healthy. As I got older & real life situations started to take place in front of me; I realized that obtaining such goals, alone, was more difficult than I ever thought it could be. Nonetheless, I did not negate that every little contribution counted significantly. That is why I started the Nickkie&CO. platform. I wanted women, as the significant figures we are, to come together, educate & speak life into one another so that we can each be empowered & inspired to inspire one another.

As time progressed, I began to see the influence the weekly memoirs have had on people, which convinced me that I could do more with this platform. Not only did I want to whisper, shout & yell empowerment for those who need it; I wanted to follow through with action. As a result, I now proudly present myself as a philanthropist who acknowledges a need & contributes to a solution. I do this because I find significant importance in being a blessing to someone else other than myself. I realize that I can not be so willing to accept favor from those around me without paying it forward in some way. I need to try to make a difference in the lives of others the way favor & blessings have made a difference in mine.

So often we leave our arms wide open to accept the blessings that rain down on us but often we forget to share those blessings with other who may need it; especially if we do not know them. In this life it is apparent that I can not be a “gimme-gimme” type of person; I am not built that way, though sadly some people are. But if we lived in a world where people gave freely, in different aspects of our being, it is my belief that it will be small strides in the right direction. In a world that constantly reminds us that it is cruel & selfish place to be, it is easy to forget that there are kind people that still grace this earth. I was reminded of this yesterday.

Up until the end of today, I am hosting a book bag collection for the children of domestic violence survivors, who are in safe haven shelters, for the upcoming school year. Personally, I made a Nickkie&CO. goal of ten book bags but in such a short notice & with the remainder of the day left, that goal has been surpassed. Together we collected twenty-seven (& counting) book bags. All, will be one less thing these parents need to worry about for their children. I am moved by the people who came together to contribute & I can not express how truly amazing it feels. What seems like a small sacrifice to us can surely be a BIG blessing to someone else. I am so happy to know that good people saw the vision & contributed to the cause.

Granted, all blessings do not require price tags because you can be a blessing to someone else without having to spend a dime. Love is a universal language & it is expressed in so many ways. Kind gestures, sweet hellos, small reminders, smiles, prayers or even an encouraging word or two all allow you to be a blessing to others. Blessings also do not have expiration dates so you can give it forward at any time. Though you may be in a place where it seems impossible – finances are tight & emotions are off- making a daily practice to add a little sunshine in someone’s life can significantly have an impact on the way you feel through out the day; in some odd way, being a blessing to someone else, will bless you, threefold. Just as our friend, Ms. Karma comes around for the negative, she is very consistent with the positive. So be someone who exemplifies what the contributors exemplified to me; that good people, in one way it another, still walk this Earth & care to make a difference.

Until next time.

**As of 8/28/2018, Conglomerates raised 42 filled bookbags for the families in DV shelters. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed.**

Nickkie&CO. Soiree’ Recap

Nickkie one cupcakeGood morning Conglomerates!! This morning, this memoir is going to be slightly different from any other memoir I have written. Last Sunday, Nickkie&CO. had its first intimate Launch Soiree. I spent months planning this event & I cannot think of a better way it could have been executed. Many successful women came together to celebrate the current successes & the future vision I have for this brand. In that, I can not express to you how beautiful it turned out to be! Approximately, 40 different women from all walks of life with different backgrounds, were able to sit in one room, enjoy each other’s company, network & have a good time without any drama. It was amazing. People contributed in many ways to ensure that the event was a success just because they believed in me. Whether they provided advice, contributed by sharing their craft, donated to the cause or showed up as a guest; the love was surely felt & encouragement was at an all time high.

When conglomerates arrived, I asked them all to sign little wooden hearts painted red, pink & white. They were to place their signed heart in a glass frame so that I can commemorate the day. After approximately an hour of mingling & eating treats fit for royalty, Conglomerates played a few icebreaker games. One, Conglomerate Bingo, was a competitive game that required women to walk around & get to know each other. The bingo squares were listed with different quality traits that in one way or another described all the women in the room. When a woman in the room qualified for one of the squares in bingo, they would sign the square & the search continued. The first two women to shout BINGO won cosmetic jewelry sponsored by Urban Kleopatra. Afterwards, the women were asked to speak amongst themselves & present the name, occupation, unique fact & the passion of the woman to the left of them to the rest of the room. Women were open & willing to share intimately & it was breath-taking. It was evident that I was surrounded by a group of god-fearing women who came together & were not ashamed to express that.

The MC that hosted the event was much like the women that gathered in the room that day. She presented myself & the brand with so much passion that it was evident that she was supportive even before Nickkie&CO. was formulated on paper. She presented me as the young lady I once was who transformed to the woman who sat before them. A woman who thankfully has found her purpose. I formally thanked everyone for coming, taking a risk on me & for believing in my dreams. It was unscripted & raw. As I write this, I pray that the women could feel how moved I was by their presence & how determined I am to make them & other women around the world feel empowered & capable. It was an unspoken agreement amongst us all; we live our lives striving to win. I recognized Guest Inspirations for their courage in using the Nickkie&CO. platform to tell their story by giving them a special Nickkie&CO. mug with logo & catch phrase along with a copy of their written memoir. Shortly after a different type of excitement filled the room, as the women waited to see if they would win the prizes prepared for them.  A door prize of positivity pens was given, raffles were presented that consisted of more Urban Kleopatra jewelry & a prize of  (3) meal preps created by Healthy Bites by Julie found their way into the hands of conglomerates. Throughout the event, women filled out little gold envelopes & placed them in a decorative bird-cage to raise money for “Women’s Aware” Domestic Violence Shelter. Together, we raised $300 for the women & families in that shelter.

In the end, it all wrapped up beautifully– A toast for the milestones that have been accomplished & for the milestones to be surpassed. The brand logo was revealed & the grand finale; a butterfly release, that was symbolic of the evolution of the women in the room, as well as the brand. All Conglomerates went home with a sheer self-love parting bag that contained my business card, Nickkie&CO. self love affirmation card, Essential Oil, Essential Oil information sheet, Lipstick & Eyeliner sponsored by Jay Manual Cosmetics & a travel size hand sanitizer. It was really a beautiful event. The pictures & the description fail to give it justice. The amount of encouraging words I have received afterwards has been uplifting. Women left the event feeling empowered, renewed & ready for another one next year; which I will surely deliver.

But in all this, the most beautiful thing about the event has nothing to do with the decorations or the celebration of Nickkie&CO. What made the event so beautiful was that despite what people say about us, women can join together in a room, get along well enough to share our stories, network & encourage one another. I always say, especially under the right circumstances, women can do amazing things. Women do not always need to be in the limelight to celebrate another woman & most importantly women can sit at a leveled table knowing that they all can contribute something for the “win”. Women are not the mischievous back-stabbers reality tv makes us out to be or the hormonal psychopaths that often comes up in jokes. Women are sensible & striving to better themselves every day. That was evident on Sunday. If there was a takeaway from this event, I want women to feel comfortable stepping out of the box. I want them to understand that everyone may not always see their dreams, but people who believe in them will surely support. Passion is the determinant to how people feel about them & what they represent. I can almost guarantee that, if someone did not see the vision, they surely saw it Sunday. It is evident in the way people have reached out to contribute to other Nickkie&CO. missions. It only takes a little effort to empower someone & it goes a long way. I truly believe god was in that room that day & I saw him in all the faces of the women who sat down before me. So, thank you to everyone that took the time out of their busy schedules to spend with me. I appreciate it. Even if you could not make it, I still appreciate any effort you made in the background. There will always be next year.

Until next time Conglomerates.

Nickkie Endo warrior

Finale: Butterfly Release

Thank you all again for a wonderful time!

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Ephesians 4:29

No EvilWelcome to another self-love Sunday, Conglomerate. I appreciate you joining me another week to kick off your week on a positive note. This week I want to address a topic I am certain has effected more than a handful of us. Most of my life, specifically during my adolescence, I had to deal with people dictating the outcome of what my life was going to be. Whether I disagreed with a directive or expressed myself in a way they did not agree with; they would often tell me I would not amount to anything. I was often reminded that instead of making a difference in the world I would be a pregnant teenager (as if that is a death sentence) or end up in jail. Granted, I was not always the most friendly but I was far from malicious. I would be the first to admit that I was DEFIANT & I gave the same respect that I felt was given to me. If I felt disrespected or threatened, I would talk back, defend myself, & seek to humiliate who I believed to be my aggressor. As adolescent teenagers, for some of us, behavior like I had is all apart of the process of growing up & falling into your role in life. The growth process takes on many facets even if it is not the most glamorous. So for the life of me, I can not figure out how my adolescent behavior warranted such definite assumptions of who I was destined to be; a girl whose life will be short-lived because she would “shamefully” end up pregnant or in jail.

Now that I am an adult who has turned out to be everything they never believed I would be; I recognize that people tag negative expectations on the lives of others based on their own standards of living. In my evolution, I have learned that people prefer to influence through negative affirmations instead of the opposite. They would rather remind you of all the things you have done wrong instead of pointing out the things you have done right. They rather point out characteristics they find less appealing instead of pointing out the beauty in them & they prefer to attack your self-esteem by pointing out your flaws instead of teaching you how to use them in your favor. So today, I want to express the importance of speaking power into people, especially our young people. Collectively, we need to help others realize their worth by speaking positive affirmations over their lives; despite what physical & mental state they are in. People are not always resilient to negativity & if exposed to it enough, they can easily believe it. I reflect often on the things that were said to me & I cringe at the possible effects people’s negative statements could have had on me. I am grateful today that I did not believe what they believed I would be.

Let us not be like those people; the same people who hate something so much in themselves that they would rather impose it on someone else instead of uplift them. As we get older, time changes & our roles in life shift, let us not forget that life is a process of growth. Though we should encourage maximizing one’s potential, we should never encourage someone to reach & settle at their highest potential as it enforces limitations on them that require them to stop evolving, learning & being. That being said, let us not dictate someone’s potential because that gives the message that someone can never be more than what we said they can be. Let us speak light where there is darkness & life where there is none. Let us not contribute to breaking down someone else’s character & forgetting to look at our own flaws. In the same way we look in the mirror & speak life changing affirmations on our lives, we must do the same for others. Never be a part of the reason that someone believed they were not good enough. Someone will always remember you for being the one person who believed in them in contrast to the many that did not. Kind gestures & words reap so many more benefits to the world than those that hurt. Make the difference. Be kind.

Kindness is free, sprinkle that sh*t everywhere.  

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Ephesians 4:29- Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (NIV).

Give, Give, Give Relationships Are OUT!

Give & TakeAs women who maintain & juggle different relationships throughout our lives, our natural instinct is to nurture & invest in the relationships we build with others. To be nurturing is one of the many things that makes us so special. This ability allows us to be amazing mothers, friends & spouses. This quality in us ensures that the people we care for are taken care of. Often, what we take for granted is, with the ability to be nurturing to others comes great sacrifice; even if initially we view our sacrifice as an investment. Our natural instinct is to pour whole heartedly into our relationships because we water & feed what we want to grow. But unfortunately, pouring too much, too often, too soon can result in unreciprocated action & a drain in emotions. 

There is so much pressure to prove ourselves worthy in our romantic relationships that we try carrying the weight of two worlds on our shoulders. Aside from just being a good woman who provides advice, motivation & support, we move in ways, whether intentional or not, that ensures we are unforgettable, reliable, consistent & better than the last. Eventually, in doing this, we spread ourselves too thin without the slightest idea that the person is worth it. We get tired when 6 months has passed & we have no more to give because in our gestures of affection we have created leeches. Today, I write this knowing that I AM GUILTY of this. I know many others much like myself who invest entirely too much, too quickly. We give people all the benefits of having a spouse, many times without even the slightest effort or promise of a long-term commitment. At this point in my life, I have come to the realization that holding back a little is a sure way to still put myself & my needs first. I can still be transparent while establishing clear boundaries in regards to what a person should or should not receive from me. From experience, I have learned that everyone is not worth the sacrifice & all relationships do not warrant the same level of commitment whether it is romantic or not. I have played roles of “step-mommy”, bail bondsman & Uber driver far too many times to count without the slightest “thank you”. Roles I have taken on became expected of me, so “thank you” & “I appreciate you” became obsolete. So instead of “courting” me, I courted them. That is a problem.

Society has stigmatized the foundation of solid two-way relationships so much that unfortunately, we provide benefits in a shorter amount of time to love interest than we do with friendships that have been established years before. Granted, the elements of the relationship may differ a bit but in safeguarding ourselves we make sure our friends are trustworthy before we begin to disclose or establish a true bond. We need to use that same momentum with those we are interested in romantically. There needs to be a paced, two-way street where both parties in the relationship give & receive. The dating process is just what it is; dating. Dating does not obligate us to do anything more than have a good time & enjoying each other’s company. The whole, “proving ourselves worthy far too early in advance”, mentality is over today. Building foundational relationships happen two-ways, always. What we teach people early on becomes the standard for the rest of our relationships. Mastering the ability to give in moderation & as warranted allows us to further recognize our self-worth & gives us less pieces of ourselves to pick up, if by chance things do not work out. It is an easy to fix to a constant behavior & one of the biggest gestures of self care that we could ever give ourselves. After all, loving ourselves first should always be first.

Until next time conglomerates, keep living your best life, the best way you know how.

 

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“Snipping” it in The Bud

Gold scissorsHappy Sunday Conglomerates. Today I am excited to announce that we have another guest inspiration, Lashonda Simpson, who took the time to write for us today. She was severely intimidated to write this memoir but put what she believed to be her limitations to the side to share with us. She is another amazing individual who believes in the Nickkie&CO.’s motive to empower, uplift & push women to their maximum potential. She has been a constant supporter & an advocate for valuing our self worth & addressing things that may threaten it.

Good morning Conglomerates! Today’s topic is on “nipping things in the bud”. Some people, including myself, depending on the situation, allow things to bother them and effect their day wondering how or if they should have responded differently to something that has occurred to them earlier. When things are not dealt with immediately they have the potential to linger. Nipping things in the bud is the requirement to face & deal with things right then and there. This keeps things from boiling over & nagging you until you are over consumed by it. Being over consumed by something keeps you from dealing with things more deserving of your time.

This concept or mentality can pertain and be used in your everyday life. For instance, day-to-day responsibilities such as paying a bill above your current means can be addressed with the same approach. Instead of putting the situation off until the last minute and not paying it, nipping the situation in the bud would be contacting the company to set up a payment arrangement that does not overwhelm you. Dealing with it directly, you do not have to worry about paying a large amount of money that you did not budget for or deal with harassing phone calls from the company or collection agencies. Dealing with these situations directly eliminates unnecessary stress.

Other, more common scenarios, include verbal and physical communication with other people that you may or may not agree with. There are instances when people will say or do things that offend us and we opt not to rebuttal under the pretense that “that is just the way they are” but the error in not dealing with the matter at the time gives them permission to continue with offensive behavior. When people are out of line and we allow them to continue with the behavior, we send the message that they should feel comfortable being rude to us. No one should feel comfortable being rude to us. Therefore, we must nip it in the bud.

This can be done in a way that is not rude or aggressive but expresses to them that they have offended you & you should be respected. Dealing with it keeps from continuous behavior & avoids the build up. Also, in this, it is not anyone’s place to tell you that their behavior was not offensive. Whether it was intentional or not, how you feel is how you feel. If you feeloffended it is your right to feel that way. If you are uncomfortable with their behavior; deal with it. I have been there myself. I have allowed individuals to say anything to me and I have really let it to bother me. As I have gotten older, I have leaned how to express how I feel at that very moment and I have felt good about doing it right then and there.

So if we practice nipping these situations in the bud, we will have more energy and time to devote to the joys and excitements in our lives. When we allow things to linger over us, we become consumed with stress that keeps us from enjoying all the beauty that life has to offer us. Though addressing certain situations may appear intimidating, no one wants to deal with them days, weeks, months or years down the line. That is a long time to allow something to manifest when other things can be explored or experienced within that time span. Whether it is a bill or an interaction with another individual, as women there are an array of things we face on a daily basis that could be eliminated if we deal with them directly. Officially, in pursuit of advocating on our self worth, we should keep this in mind. Use the extra time and energy toward something more deserving because we face too many situations when we are not heard nipping things in the bud should not be one of them.

 

XO.

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Shonda
“It is not anyone’s place to tell you that their behavior was not offensive. Whether it was intentional or not, how you feel is how you feel. If you felt offended it is your right to feel that way”. -Lashonda

Live for Your Dreams

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For years many of us have gotten it mixed up. We have spent our whole lives going to school to pursue careers we were told would provide us happiness & financial comfort. We have been taught that financial comfort opens the door to happiness on our lives. We have been brainwashed to believe that our passion & purpose are correlated with the 9-5 we aquire after we go to college. Though I am well-educated & am a fan of education, some educational structures have placed limitations on our minds & what we are capable of. In many educational settings, we are taught to believe in the dreams of someone else so that we acquire jobs that entail contributing to those dreams; dreams that are not our own. I am not opposed to contributing to the dreams of someone else, but I am opposed to not pursuing our own dreams & our own purpose out of fear, discomfort or indolence. However one chooses to live their life is completely their prerogative but life is too short. Life is so much more than waking up, working, sleeping & dying. Life is a realm full of experiences that contribute to who we are, how we live & what we feel (passion). It is our passions that will propel us directly into our purpose; whatever that may be. Just know that we were not placed on this earth to live a mediocre life that warrants us the same boring routine with limitations on our full potential.

It is important that in life’s journey we find the fuel that pushes us to reach our highest potential. It is easy to sit back & take the easy route but it will not be gratifying. There is a difference between doing what we have to do & doing what we are called to do. We need to pay attention to the “nudge” that keeps telling us we are not doing enough; we have to do more. Finding out what in this life speaks to us will have us reaching the peaks of mountain tops we never imagined we would see. We do not have to be famous or rich to be fulfilled, we just have to believe in ourselves, take risks on ourselves & take action. It has been said, that those who find their passion & actively engage in them are happier than those who do not. We deserve this happiness & we have to actively pursue it. Today we have to vow to invest in our own dreams so that we never have to wonder “what if”. Dreams are real but they only stop being dreams when we make them a reality. It is about that time. The risks can be made in baby steps but they need to be made. The way technology has evolved, foundations have been planted that allow us to take small steps toward our dreams while we tend to what we need to do. At this point, social media & word of mouth can open a realm of opportunities. Whether it is opening our own businesses or providing us the resources to pursue new endeavors; it is all obtainable. Things that were once out of reach have now been placed right in front of us so there is no reason to remain stagnant.

Whatever your dreams are invest in them. Despite how small it is or unsure you are, take a risk & try it. Had I allowed my own self-doubt to get in the way of pursuing my desire to empower, Nickkie&CO. would be nonexistent today. Though I have a long way to go, all it took was a little faith & one step in the direction of my dreams. Slowly it is all coming together. I want the same for you. I am slowly pursuing my dream while dealing with what I need to do. So it is possible. Regardless of what awaits you remember,  the rollercoaster is worth it & when it is your time to go (a long time from now) you will be able to leave the imprint for future generations after you– that despite what anyone conditioned you to believe, you chose to believe in yourself; first.

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Image: https://tinybuddha.com/blog/10-mistakes-to-avoid-when-chasing-your-dream/

Recognizing Pain in Others

rose spot lightFrom youth we all experience & are influenced by certain things that mold our behaviors for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, there are some things we carry around forever despite how much we say we are over them. So today, I want to discuss the importance of recognizing when healing is needed & empathizing with the parts of people that may not have healed yet. Many times we look at people’s behaviors instead of looking at the possible underlying issue that may be a prerequisite for their behavior. Though we should not be open to mistreatment the truth is; hurt people, hurt people. They need healing just as much as we do.

I will use myself as an example. I was an adolescent that was severely misunderstood. In retrospect, I do know that I am accountable for the way that people viewed me. When I started highschool I was severely aggressive & untrusting. My behavior was an example for how I was feeling inside. I was taken from an enviornment that taught me to be guarded & aware of my surroundings & placed in a new location that I knew nothing about. I instantly felt like a target. I had friends & I was popular but I expressed myself through negative verbal & physical communication (confrontation). I was tagged as a nice girl with a horrible temper. No one took the time to recognize that, though I did not vocalize it well, something was effecting me. I was scared, untrusting & my world was turned upside down at a time when most social “cliques” have been said to be set in stone. On top of that, I had to learn people all over again. I had to learn who I could trust, who I could not trust & I had to keep learning about myself. In-school suspension was my homeroom & very few teachers actually wanted to take the time to get to know me. Without tagging me as a troubled kid; I was tagged as a troubled kid. Luckily, by the time I graduated, many teachers, despite my flaws, were able to see qualities in myself that I could not see. My entire high school career was a journey on finding myself & evolving past the person that walked through those doors that first day, 3 years prior.

Through my own experience & as I have gotten older;  I have taught myself to identify the necessity of healing in other people; even those in my family. Though I may not know all the dynamics of each situation, I know there is no such thing as a perfect person. I also know that people heal & cope in their own way regardless if the stories look almost the same. For instance, my mother loves a clean house. If we have visitors & the house is not to her standard she will either prefer no visitors or apologize profusely for the home being, what she believes, unkempt (I assure you, it is never that bad). So, if the house truly is a mess, it is a huge indicator to how she may be feeling inside. I have been around her long enough to know this but I would entertain the fact that she likely does not notice this detail about herself. So, if the house is a mess, I know that my mom just may be experiencing something she may not know how to express. So in turn, my own behaviors may change just so that I can alleviate some of what she is feeling like.  I become more gentle & understanding as I have taught myself that this is one of the ways she copes.

In telling you this, I hope you can look at what you consider to be flaws in your loved ones with gentle understanding. Your mother who shops too much or great-aunt who tends to hoard may be using these behaviors to deal with what they feel internally; even if they realize it or not. Be mindful of addictive, aggressive & regressive behaviors in people so that you look at them with empathy, understanding & a little less frustration. We all have our own coping mechanisms that may very well be cumbersome to someone else.  Truth is, we are all healing organisms working to move past things that may have happened in our histories. Despite what that can be, we are not inferior to the things that have happened to us. We are not what happened to us & there is nothing that we can not overcome. We have been taught to live in a world that tells us to get over things & move on. Nothing about simply getting over it is conducive to healing. We need to learn to cope in healthy ways so that we can heal & not pass our pain & unhealthy coping techniques through the generations in our family lines. Healing is possible. Acknowledging that there is pain is appropriate. We are all healing in one way or another & sometimes multiple people on the mission to heal themselves can help heal each other in ways that all parties fail to comprehend. Having someone there who is kind & attempts to understand, can make the world of a difference in the life of someone who is in desperate need of healing. Just be mindful of this as you have your day-to-day encounters. As always, continue to live your best life.

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Shine Bright

Happy Sunday Conglomerates! Earlier this week something dawned on me that I felt really needed to be addressed. So often, despite what we believe to be true, we downplay our accomplishments in an attempt to remain humble or to keep from offending someone else. Though it is important to have some social intelligence; we should never dim our own light so someone else’s can appear brighter. We should never minimize our worth to save face for someone else. Under the right situation everyone can win! As women, we are multifaceted & we wear many hats. We are friends, sisters, mothers, daughters, co-workers, entrepreneurs & so much more. We care for our loved ones, run our own businesses & even when we do not want to; we make sure we keep up with our day-to-day responsibilities. The issue is, when someone asks or recognizes our abilities,  we treat the hard work we do as if it is not a big deal. Today, Nickkie&Co. is putting an end to this. Conglomerates, we work too damn hard to keep pressing the “dismissal button” on ourselves & all that we do! Sadly, I am guilty of this too.

But today, that all comes to an end. Today, we have to make a promise to ourselves. We will no longer silence our success & accomplishments out of uncertainty of what to expect from other people. Not allowing ourselves to fall through the cracks & living in someone’s shadow contributes significantly to our self-love pursuit. It is ok to be proud. We do not lose humility because we are proud of who we are & what we have overcome. We can still be kind while acknowledging that we are all that; plus some. We worked hard to get where we are today, so why should we act like it does not matter? If we do that, how can we expect someone else to act like it does? We can’t. Unfortunately, we live in a world where we have to teach people how to treat us. So, if we continue to dismiss ourselves; they will too.

Being proud does not mean we are boastful & it surely does not mean we have it all together. It just signifies that we have overcome what we once thought was impossible. It means we get through & do the things that many people do not & we allow ourselves to be human. We allow ourselves to make mistakes, acknowledge when we have done something well & overcome adversity. We need to start celebrating ourselves more. We so quickly rather toot the horn of someone else instead of our own. This must stop. We can toot her horn & toot our own as well. In this we can set up a platform where we build each other up while reminding the world that we “got it going on” too. Every day we do something amazing; even if we do not realize it. Some of us save lives for a living, many of us love unconditionally, most of us live a life where others depend on us & we most certainly love others sacrificially. What we believe is a typical gesture is in fact a superpower to others. We were not placed on this world to be average or mediocre but somehow we place ourselves in a running race that only allows us to be ranked as average. If we do not acknowledge what we do all that we will ever be is average & we are so much more than that. Average is an insult when it comes to a world full of possibilities. Especially when we continue to smash barriers like we do.

There is nothing mediocre about what we do everyday but we limit ourselves by not showing the world who we really are. Today is day one to the beginning of FOREVER.

Let’s SHINE!

Image obtained from: http://advancednutrition.me/bright-light-alters-metabolism

Check On Your People

RoseGood morning conglomerates! Happy Sunday! Today I want to touch base on a topic I have been wanting to discuss for a few months now but I was unsure how to approach the topic. Today, I decided the message has to get to someone & awareness needs to be spread. A few years ago, beloved actor/comedian Robin Williams committed suicide. On June 5, 2018, fashion designer Kate Spade did so as well. A few days later, a 61 year old celebrity ended his life prematurely. Although not new, the revelation that celebrities are commiting suicide has taken social media by storm. Suicide is not a new pandemic but in a society like the one we live in, it is treated like a taboo. Suicide is a topic that is not discussed or remembered unless it is committed by a figure in the public eye.

Today, I want to remind you that suicide is VERY real. It is not a situation that only occurs to people we do not know or on television. Sadly, suicide can hit really close to home; even if we do not know it. The thought to commit suicide plagues the lives of people often. A few months ago, I wrote a memoir reminding you all to Nurture Your Mental Health.  I expressed the importance of not being ashamed to speak up when you are not feeling like yourself or if assistance is needed. I encouraged you to ignore the judgemental statements of those who contribute to the ignorance of society.  I asked that you mindfully & gently put the care of yourself & your loved ones first. I reminded you not to be ashamed of your mental health status & to remember that despite how you feel or your diagnosis that you are “normal“. Sadly, people’s mental state has led them to  pursue a definite & irreversible fate, if accomplished. It is heart wrenching that the only way people feel they can pursue peace is by making such a final decision that does not allow them to keep living.

To give you an idea:

  • Nationally, 44,193 reported suicides
  • Rate 121.1/day
  • 33,984 of all male deaths were by suicide
  • 10,199 all female deaths were by suicide
  • A person has committed suicide every 11.9 minutes
  • For every one suicide, there have been 25 attempted suicides
  • Though men are 3.5 more likely to successfully commit suicide than women, women attempt 3 times more than their male counterparts

So to fullfill our moto & live our best lives we have to understand that living our best lives does not only apply to our own personal lives but to the lives of our loved ones. Today, I ask that a group effort is made to actively check in on one another. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives that we forget that people are fighting internal battles that they may not express to us. What we may see as outlashing or withdraw may actually be a cry for assistance. Often, those who are suicidal feel they are a burden in the lives of others & fail to reach out on their own. Therefore, we can save them, what seems to us as a a small step, & reach out to them instead. Many times we allow our pride to get in the way. We write a person off as “attention seeking” or selfish when we do not hear from them. We never stop to think that maybe their struggle has nothing to do with us but everything to do with their inability to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Though we have not all had suicidal ideation; we have all had periods when we have felt alone, unloved & unwanted. So gently checking on them can save us alot of heartache in the future & get them the help that they need in the long run.

Though the signs may not always be evident. Certain indicators can alert us that an individual is in acute danger & may urgently need help.

  • Talks about wanting to die or kill themselves
  • Expresses feelings of hopelessness or having no purpose
  • Expresses feeling trapped or being unbearable pain
  • Concerned they are a burden to others
  • Increase in substance use (alcohol & drugs)
  • Anxious, agitated or reckless behavior
  • Little or too much sleep
  • Withdrawing & feeling isolated
  • Exhibiting rage or expresses a need to seek revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

With that being said, make a conscious decision to “drop a line” to someone you have not heard from in a while or you feel may be acting differently. Though their behavior may effect you negatively or you simply may be overwhelmed with your own life; some people have a harder time doing stepping away from their misery. Although they may not thank you now, I have no doubt that they will thank you later. You never know how your small gestures can help someone finally see the light they are so desperate to see. Calling in & acknowledging we are thinking of them can be the first step to the intervention they desperately need. For this purpose, I will ensure to include resources at the bottom of this memoir if you feel they can help save someone’s life.

Now, if you are the person who I am referring to in this memoir & you feel that there is no way out of your predicament; I want to assure you that you can get through it. Though you may not feel like it, the world will be a very different place if you were not here living in it. Your life is valuable. You are not a burden & there are people on this Earth that love you & will miss you desperately if you were gone. Your story & your life matters. Despite feeling how you feel, you are worthy of happiness. Unfortunately, joy & pain are realities of life so please try to understand that your pain & sadness will come to an end. Even if it feels like it, it will not last forever. You are a SURVIVOR & capable of so much more than you think. Seek help. There are people who are trained to care for you & provide treatment that is made specifically for you. Please do not give up. Do not be ashamed. You deserve everything you want for yourself & more. YOU ARE WORTH IT! Please refer to the resources I have included below. There is someone that will be more than willing to help you.  To remind you that your life is worth living, I have included the story of a suicide survivor who describes feeling much like you do at the lowest point of his life. Use it to remind yourself that you are not alone.

Kevin Hines, Suicide Survivor

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Please be advised, if assistance is needed you can receive initial assistance from your primary care provider. If there is an urgent situation, calling 9-1-1 can assist you with getting what you need immediately. Also, other resources to assist are listed below. Please feel free to reach out to them for assistance.

SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline, 1‑877‑SAMHSA7 (1‑877‑726‑4727)

Get general information on mental health and locate treatment services in your area. Speak to a live person, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1‑800‑273‑TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat

If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your confidential and toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals.

I know many of my subscribers are located in NJ. I have also included resources that are available in the South Jersey area.

NJ Hopeline Call Center 1-855-654-6734

Camden County Screening Center 1-856-428-4357

Gloucester County Screening Center 1-856-845-9100

Second Floor Youth Helpline 1-888-222-2228

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Image obtained from: https://www.owlcube.com/products/beauty-and-the-beast-rose-easy-3d-diy-diamond-painting-kits-owlcube-canvas-wall-art?variant=52901646724

Statistics: Foundation For Suicide Prevention: More Than Sad

Daddy’s Little Girl

Father’s Day is today & I will be honest enough to tell you that until recently I really did not know how to celebrate Father’s Day. Aside from buying my mother a card & a small gift or wishing my uncles a Happy Father’s Day; I never thought much more about the day because it never has had much significance in my life.

As you have read in my memoirs, Accepting Failure & The Best Side of Me , I was raised by a single mother who for a good while posed the role of “dad” in my life. I cannot tell you what it is like to have my biological father love me, love into me, protect me or be an example of the kind of man I should marry. Though in the past I have tried to, I have failed to recognize if any of his features look back at me when I stare at my reflection in the mirror. Even if it was possible, I would not even know what feature of his to compare it to because his face is not a face I have seen in my lifetime. But even in his absence certain things are very clear to me. Though I cannot visualize a face to his name, he has given me a clear visual of the type of man I would not want to be the father of my children or the kind of man I will not raise my son to be. Though in the past it often left me feeling unwanted; I am totally ok with his absence. Because if I told you what my heart feels you would understand my lack of curiosity.

Despite not having a father in my life, I do know what it is like to be loved by someone who did not have a hand in physically creating me but has had a significant impact on the person I am today. I know what it is to be reprimanded through love & given advice by someone who looked at me (though not his) as a little girl who was worth it. I know what it is to have someone remind me every day that blood is not always thicker & love means more than any last name I could be given. I also know that it takes a special person to look at me, regardless of the times I have attempted to throw him away & still claim me as his.

Even if he is not my biological father you can not tell me he is not my dad. As an adult I can reflect on the lessons he has taught me. It is because of him I am honest. He taught me that I must be accountable for what I say. I know it is because of him I am a realist because all things are not always just black & white. He taught me how to throw my first punch & he was on my side when I finally told Mom that I no longer wanted to wear cartoon characters on my clothes (she was crushed). Even as I transitioned through my life the lessons have never stopped coming.

Up until May 2017, my mother & him have not seen each other in over 15 years. Yet, somehow, he & I have maintained our relationship. A relationship that truly grows stronger as I get older. I am older now & do not take for granted how blessed my life has been with his presence. It was not until I turned 25 that I started to call him dad & that is the only sure way I can tell him I love him just as much as he loves me.

I struggled growing up without a biological father. I was hurt that my family did not look like others & I was bruised because I could not understand why my biological father did not want me. I learned really early on though, that it had nothing to do with me but everything to do with him & his inability to accept himself which in turn made him unable to accept me. In his absence though, I have learned the most valuable lesson I could ever learn all my life. Take heed to this lesson as it will save you from blaming yourself from the things you cannot control. This alone will remind you that you are worth more than what someone else may have overlooked. You cannot change the minds of the people who choose not to stay. In turn, you should always value the people who have chosen to stay even when you have made it hard for them. I learned to be grateful for the people God has removed from my life because I can only imagine what I have been protected from. I believe God removes people & places people in your life because he knows the impact their energy can have on you. I promise I thank God often for placing a “stranger” in my life when I was two & making him one of my very best friends at twenty-nine. Life is all about experiences that mold you. What others see as a sad story is actually a success story for me. There are not many people who are as “rich” as I am. Despite the odds they said were against me, it is so lit to have someone who has invested in me so much that even my mom cringes from the similarities (lol). I have been blessed beyond compare & I thank him so much for choosing me. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

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Image: https://www.stfinnbarr.org/apps/news/article/684582