Move in Silence

One of the most powerful lessons I have learned through out my life has been that everyone does not need to know my every move. Some things are really better left unsaid. It was a hard lesson, but the fact is, everyone is not ready for the things you are ready to show the world. Either they cannot envision your vision or their ego can not take it. Because of this, you must be mindful to identify these people around you– protect your dreams & ensure that you never, ever, ever become one of those people– if by chance you are one of those people, it is time to make some changes.

Your dreams & desires are too valuable to leave the fragile details in the wrong hands of the wrong people. Sadly, the story is the same– aspiring dreamers have expected support for their vision & in turn were disappointed because it was mocked or taken from them. You do not deserve that. You do not deserve for a mockery to be made of your goals. You do not deserve to lose motivation for something you believe in. You do not deserve to second guess because someone told you it was not good enough & you surely do not deserve to feel betrayed because someone went on & made a replica of what you outlined for them. Your vision is your treasure & it is the action you put into that vision that puts it in fruition. Remember that & act accordingly. People will spend their lives trying to do what you do therefore, the people you trust with the gems of your dreams should be chosen wisely.

You inspire someone every day & people will not gracefully tell you. I cannot tell you the amount of people who did not want to support Nickkie&Co. However, I did not give up on what I believe this brand could be. Once they saw what the brand was capable of, I have been able to recognize who has been inspired by their actions & statements, whether they mean for me to know or not. I have said before & I will say it again, people’s behavior will tell you clearly who has been watching & who is inspired (whether negative or positive). Therefore, keep dreaming & investing but protect it with all your might. Your dreams are your seeds to plant into the earth, it is up to you to harvest it. Although it is not a competition, what you dream up is your investment & yours alone. Protect it.


No IS Yes

In pursuing our goals, it will be ideal for us to have the favor of the person who has the ability to say YES, right away. However, life would have it that “yes” may not always be what we hear. In many instances, we will hear “no” more often. Unfortunately, until we have proven ourselves, or peak someone’s interest, it will likely remain that way. We will spend much of our time trying to get people to see & believe in our vision in order to invest, promote or support us. However, the most important thing we could do in our pursuit has everything to do with how we receive “NO” when it is delivered to us. Many of us have become accustom to receiving it, accepting it & abandoning our pursuit off the basis that one or two people said no.  Many times, if we hear it enough, we begin to question ourselves in our abilities & the worth of our journey. Our experiences have programmed us to believe that one person or one group of people have the end-all answer; the answer that will either make us or break us. Well today, I want to share with you a new perspective & it is important for you to hear this: one person’s no is another person’s yes.

Therefore, I urge you not to stop believing in yourself based off of what someone else may tell you. Life is all about overcoming adversity in order to acquire your dreams. Dreams are to be pursued, executed & overcome. Despite what you hear, the courage you use to keep going is what truly counts. I cannot tell you how many times I have been told “no” & have been placed in a better situation as a result. Always remain tenacious in your pursuit, aggressive in your beliefs & humble throughout your journey. You will be rewarded for it. You are the protagonist in your story; do not allow the antagonists to keep you from reaching your goal. At the end of the day, you owe it to yourself to keep believing in yourself. If you take no risks there will be few things worth living for. If there is anything I am right about it is this, you are worth taking the risk on. So the next time you hear no, reflect & keeping going because yes, is just a few “no’s” away.

Keep Striving Babe, You Got This.

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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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“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/

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

Sacrifices Are Necessary

Good morning Conglomerates!! Special thank you goes out to you for joining me another week. The constant feedback & support has surely kept me motivated to continue on this Nickkie&Co. venture so- THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

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Today, I feel a discussion on making sacrifices is a necessary discussion to have because sacrifices make final goals that seem out of reach feasible. We all do it, no matter how big or small it is; we do. If you are a parent or guardian of another human being you most certainly do. Regardless of how small or large your sacrifice; I am here to tell you, it will be worth it. Society treats sacrifice as a form of deprivation. Nickkie&Co. on the other hand recognizes that a sacrifice is a promise you have made to yourself in order to reach a final goal that allows you to be your best self while living your best life.

For as long as I could remember, I have made sacrifices in order to afford myself opportunities that I may not have if I did not make the sacrifices I did. My whole college career was based on the promises a sacrifice has afforded me. Despite how trying the sacrifice has been, I have always attempted to keep my eyes on whatever the final goal was; the prize. Even now, temporary sacrifices are still evident in my life in hopes that in the long run it will be worth it. Aside from reaping the rewards sacrifices have afforded me; I am sure to keep in mind, especially as I write this memoir, that patience is key. I have learned first hand that sometimes moving too quickly & forgetting what you did it for will have you forgetting the whole purpose; the promise you made to yourself.

So today Conglomerate, I want to remind you to stay focused on your goals & be mindful of your sacrifices. Regardless of how big or small they might be they make your overall goal obtainable. Sacrifices are TEMPORARY & I can not stress the importance of not giving up to you enough. We make sacrifices everyday, whether it is a weight loss challenge, a financial challenge or professional challenge; the lingering lesson in it all is that your patience is the key to crossing the finish line.

I can relate to the disheartening feeling that visits when the reward does not even appear to be peaking over the horizon. I can also vouch for feeling discouraged when progress is compared to the progress of someone else. It kills your momentum & it crushes your self esteem. Do not allow it. Do not compare yourself to the success, progress or advancement of other people because their journey is not relevant to your journey. Your story is not their story & their story is not yours. The paths laid out for your lives are different & you must make due with what you have. The irony in this is someone is looking at you doing the same thing; wondering how you have it all together even though you know the opposite. So do things your way, at your pace; the best way you know how. I understand it gets frustrating. I also understand that at times, in the process of living through our sacrifices that mistakes are made; that is totally ok. The idea is to pick up where you left off. No one said you had to be perfect, you just cannot give up. You owe yourself everything you are striving for & you are more than deserving.

Ok, you need to sacrifice a little financially so you can become a homeowner? Do it. Think about the equity you build for yourself instead of the equity you build for someone else; all because you chose to make a sacrifice. Tempted to eat something you feel you shouldn’t so that you can lose that final 5 pounds? Do not do it. Imagine how accomplished you will feel when you finally reach your goal. Life is all about taking little steps to get to the destination. It is a struggle now but once you arrive the sacrifice does not seem as painful.

All the goals you set for yourself are attainable you just have to believe they are. You have to trust yourself to do right by yourself because YOU conglomerate are capable & worthy! Do not get discouraged. Keep making the sacrifices, you will cross the finish line before you know it. Once those goals are slayed you open up the opportunity to create new sacrifices & new goals to make your life more than what you want it to be. You were not created to be stagnant or mediocre & you surely were not created to not believe in yourself. The world is yours. Act like it.

XO.

Image obtained from: http://www.cambridge.elim.org.nz/sermon/love-sacrifice-part2/

Dealing with Loss

Dealing with LossIn one way or another we hope that at some point in our lives we do not have to experience losing a loved one. Though it may cross our minds briefly, one never truly is prepared to deal with losing someone dear to them. In 2009, I had my first experience. I lost a friend to gun violence at a local community center to someone he never met a day in his life. In 2013, I fell into a deep depression when I lost a brother figure to another senseless act of violence. In December 2016, my family dealt with it’s first blow when my uncle lost his sudden fight with stage IV cancer exactly a week after his birthday. Though I can say I have been blessed not to have a lot of final losses in my life; it still hurts me just the same.

In all three of these scenarios I have gone through what they call the grieving process; however the order of the process, I have been through it. As ugly as it has been, I am getting through it. Because truth is, from my experience, the grieving process never ends. As life goes on without my loved ones, I have learned to accept that they are no longer with us. Though with time it gets a little easier & I may not think of them every day as I did initially; their absence rings loudest to me during celebratory events they are no longer here for. Eventually pictures of them start to age & all we have left are the memories. With that being said, in all 3 scenarios, at some point, I was riddled with regret wishing there was more time to spend with them & tell them that I loved them with a wish that I could have done something to prevent the inevitable.

In life, unfortunately as we get older we start realizing that death is not so uncommon & that loss gets closer to our hearts. The passing of our grandparents, friends, siblings, parents & children start to plague us but some how we are expected to get through the day. Our jobs gives us 3 days & we are told by whomever, with whatever letters behind their names, that generally the true grieving process, from start to finish, takes about a year. Bless the soul this is true for because it surely is not true for me. Sometimes I am crushed thinking of the experiences they may never get to experience or the things they will never get to see. I get moved to melancholy or joy when I hear certain songs or if the weather is a certain way.

I tell myself often that had I known I would lose them when I did I would have prepared myself. I would have cherished every moment & though I was as good as I could have been while they were here on earth, somehow I often feel I could have been better. But then I realize, I truly gave them the best version of myself I could have because what I gave them was me; genuinely. They got all of me even if it was for a shorter period of time. They saw the real, the raw & the ugly. They have seen the good & the bad. Shoot, sometimes they even felt it. But it was authentic. They got the sides of me that I do not believe they would have seen if I prepared myself for them leaving so soon.

So today, I tell you that if you have not dealt with loss yet, sadly, one day you will. If you are dealing with loss please keep this in mind. Despite what may cross your mind, I want you to know that there is nothing you could have done to prevent this. I also want you to know that regardless of how hard it is you can not stop living because they have; they would not want it that way. Instead, we have to live in their memory. Live for them. Have the experiences they would not be able to have but relish in your moments to your fullest. It is not realistic of me to tell you not to be sad & I will not bore you with cliches telling you why you should not be sad. Instead, I say be sad; feeling every emotion, whether sad or happy, it keeps them alive. It is ok to feel out of sorts & it is ok to miss them. It is also ok to wonder if life’s little miracles are small gestures from them telling you they are ok. It is ok to be hopeful that they are with you & watching over you. Most importantly, it is ok to LOVE them more each day they are gone because it is YOU who keeps them alive. I urge you though, do things at your own time. Do not rush your healing by the timeline of someone else. Instead, accept the pitfalls & the lows. If you need assistance getting through the hurdle it is ok to seek it. Strive to do anything that allows you to be your best self, even if your best self seems so far away. You will come around. It is hard now, it will be hard later but it is how you evolve in these moments that will make those who have passed on proud.

XO.

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Knowledge is POWER

Growing up we obtain the majority of our knowledge from relationships we build from adults & our peers, school, books (if we read) & TV. As we get older the avenues we use to obtain our information may vary a bit but regardless of the source; information is retained that molds our beliefs & understanding. Some information is ingrained in our brains permanently; others not so much. Conglomerates, in order to live our best lives for ourselves & our families we must never stop learning & be open to resetting the information we may have obtained over the years. This fact remains true regardless of how old we get, how our experiences effect us or how generations shift. As people get older, a shortcoming many people have is that with age they fail to realize that new information is available to access. Usually they are unwilling to reset what they have learned due to generational ignorance or an inability to accept that with time information changes as well. It is most helpful if you continue to learn new information as it becomes available while keeping your span of your knowledge fresh & renewed.

As I age, I have learned that some of the information I learned as a child has become outdated or has just been plain out wrong. Though the wisdom behind the information may not have changed directly, how it applies to life may have. With age, experiences & time are not the only variables that make us wise. Instead, having the patience to keep up with new changes such as technology or being humble enough to recognize that some information that you have learned in the past may very well be wrong; will always make you wise beyond your years. The retention of information is generational. Therefore if something continues to be taught incorrectly or out of context, we risk passing on ignorance to our loved ones that may hinder them long after we are gone. This in turn contributes to a blood line of generational ignorance & inconsistencies.

I come from a family in which some people just fail to accept that some of the information they are sharing is no longer correct based on the time or era we are currently in. Granted, I know this is not intentional & I understand that they have grown up in a time when challenging information was unacceptable but I have seen first hand how roles have shifted. From being the “go-to” person everyone ran to for answers they eventually shifted to the person we go-to sometimes because they have opted not to advance along with the information that once upon a time held true. As my generation in our family gets older we no longer accept that things should be done a certain way or is fact because someone older than us told us so. We have the ability & readily accessible resources that challenge our way of thinking. We acknowledge its importance & we take advantage of what is available to us so that we are never limited by what we do not know. It is acceptable to challenge what does not make sense but we must be accepting of new information & research what we do not know. Most importantly, so that information does not die with us, we need to be open to share what we learn so that no one will ever be taken advantage of on the basis of what they do not know.

Sadly, so many of us strive to live our best lives but we will fail to do so if we allow ourselves to stay behind the grid. Knowledge truly is key & it does not have to come from expensive tuition rates & outdated text books. Knowledge is attainable to anyone who wants it. If the goal is to live your best life, never allow anyone to dictate what information you should have access to. Never allow yourself to shift from the “go-to” person to the “sometimes” person because you failed to teach yourself new things & reach your full potential. Understand that as long as you are living, you can never know enough. Understand that what you do not know does not take away your worth but gives you an opportunity to learn something new & may open doors for you that you did not think you had the keys to. Do not be the cause of your limitation & the generational limitations of your family. Understand that there is power in knowledge & why it is important that we have it.

Historically, failure to access knowledge bred oppression. Laws were passed to prohibit access of knowledge to slaves partly because once it is obtained, it at minimum allows us equal footing to those who do not find us worthy. We are worthy! Knowledge makes us fierce & learning this is an essential step to living the life you always imagined you could live. Over the years the avenues in how we access & gain information has gotten more creative & more readily accessible. Teach & learn. Be hungry for it. Hunger for knowledge is the one sure way to guarantee your survival & your ability to live your life; by your terms, your best way.

XO.