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My Summer Self Care Plan 2020

Summer is everything. It’s the moment everyone is waiting for to have fun, be free, and enjoy the things that are only meant for summer.

Unfortunately, this summer has been rough for all of us. I personally have been struggling with my mental stability. And I know I’m not the only one, especially with COVID-19 plaguing our minds and pretty much everything in our lives and the unrest in the country stirred up by inequality towards Black people, people of color, and the LGBTQ communities.

When everything around you is seeming to break down, you have control over yourself and how you handle that. A good way to do that is to build a routine or plan to help you get back to a healthy mental space. I’ve come up with a short list of things I do to get me to a safe mental space when I’m feeling particularly low.

1. Get Outside

The power of the sun on your skin and a breeze in your face is unmatched. Sometimes when you’re in a low point, getting outside really helps to lift you up. This is the easiest and most versatile one for me because I can make it simple and just get some fresh air by sitting on my patio for a few minutes, I could read or blog outside, I could exercise, and I can do all of this in so many places outside. The parks and beaches are open now and fresh air is free. Just stay safe and hydrated.

2. Reading

I am an avid reader and I feel like I haven’t been able to crack a good book open in so long. This summer has opened that up for me because everything that I had planned was tossed aside so I had all this time to do what I love and that’s reading. Reading is also a nice escape from everything that’s going on and could also be a good way to educate yourself and improve on something.

3. Sleep

Sleep is so important and sometimes in the day to day hustle, we forget to really give this part of our lives some TLC. Not only is sleep important but a healthy routine and environment for sleep. If possible, set yourself up with a bedtime and rise time to ensure you get adequate sleep. Make it reasonable for your routine because your body will quickly fall into this. Then watch your activity before bed; scrolling on Twitter is one of my bad habits before bed and it leaves me wired. I recently started reading before bed and it knocks me right out and I’ve been sleeping more peacefully. Also making sure your bed and/or room is inviting and enticing for sleep. Take time to decorate or clean up your space so it’s comfortable and welcoming. That might mean new sheets or using essential oils, or whatever makes you feel comfortable.

4. Journaling

Journaling is a good way to get those overwhelming thoughts out of your mind and really see them. Facing those thoughts is actually how you get rid of them. Once you address them and let them ride out, you will find that they have less or no more power over you. If you find this practice to be lame or difficult, check out Pinterest. Sometimes journaling doesn’t have to be just writing your thoughts out, there’s so many ways you can make it work for you.

5. BONUS: Therapy

I know from experience; therapy is expensive. But it can help to see a professional to get some thoughts out and get some healthy solutions to the unhealthy things that have been happening to you. If expense is an issue, try BetterHelp.com; they give a free 7 day trial for an online therapist where you can message or video chat with them. They also offer a discount on their service if you ask. There are also other apps and services out there that provide therapeutic support, such as meditation, to help you be at your best. Hit up google and check around.

I hope you all are staying healthy and safe this summer; it’s almost over so make the most of it and enjoy what you can!

Personal reflection and Growth, Spiritual/Religious

I closed my own heart…

I think I’ve gotten to a point where I locked up my heart so tight, that I can’t even reach it anymore. I’m working on becoming more open to what life is giving me, such as relationships, experiences,  the highs and lows, successes and failures, the good and the bad. In avoiding the bad, I realize that I also, unintentionally, avoid the good.

I’m so afraid to be crushed, that I miss out on the good that comes from being rebuilt. I have realized that it is so hard for me to allow myself to be open. I don’t like to have my heart too open, because I have been hurt from various different reasons and experiences and I just don’t want it to happen again.

But, in all those lessons, I realize that I haven’t been open to much in a long time. Now, in my realization of that, I want to open my heart up again, and it’s hard. In fact, it’s much harder than I imagined. In trying to not get my heart broken by the world, I realize that I’ve broken my own heart many times.

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Photo by Akshar Dave on Pexels.com

I’ve broken my own heart.

I never imagined that I would be my own worse enemy at this moment in my life, but I have been. I am the only one who has been damaging my heart lately by not opening it up and letting life in. I often wonder how many times I’ve missed out on so much love and light because I was afraid that whatever I was reaching for wouldn’t turn out the way that I wanted it to. I can’t imagine how many times I wanted to get up and start a new project and didn’t because I was sure it wouldn’t be amazing. There are so many relationships that I may have ended before they began because I was sure that they wouldn’t bring me any real joy. There are times when I didn’t allow myself a chance at greatness because I didn’t believe that I could do it or that I would be worthy of the success that could come with it. There is so much that I’ve missed out on.

It’s so hard to be vulnerable and to allow yourself to venture out in deep waters when you don’t know what’s in the water. Now, I am finding it difficult to dig through all the muck that I have allowed my heart to gather up. I want to be open, but now it won’t be simple. I locked my heart up and now I have to find the key.

I have to rebuild what I have allowed to be broken. I am the only one who can revive my heart.

It’s true self awareness to realize that most of the things that you have been doing to protect yourself have actually been more of a hindrance to your life. Now that I know, it’s time to put in the work.

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Open up my heart and take risks. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to fall.

 

 

 

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Two Truths…One Lie.

Two truths and a lie. I’ve played this game many times in my life. It’s a game where you give 3 statements about yourself; two being the truth and one being a lie and people have to guess which is the lie.

I was just thinking about social media and how we use it as a society and I started to think of what people share and post as a big game of 2 truths and a lie.

People have various reasons for why they post what they post. Privacy, entertainment, to actually be social, political beliefs, business, etc.

From my experience, I see most people post the good stuff. Sometimes people share the bad, and by bad I mean the real struggles. The things in life that bring you to your knees. And yes some people do share that stuff, but generally, not very often. Social media seems to have become a place of entertainment and real, raw struggle is not entertaining.

And again, this isn’t the truth for every person. Some people truly allow social media to be a platform of truth for them.

To clarify, people are 1000% entitled to post whatever they want, however they want, but I wonder what social media would be like if we chose to be honest ALL the time on it.

Which parts of what you post are true and which is the lie? In keeping with the math of the game, I would guess that maybe 2/3 of what people post is the truth. That 2/3 is most likely all of the successes, the joy, and basically all of the good in their life.

The maybe 1/3 of what people post is shrouded in mistruth. Just a guess. 🤷🏾‍♀️

I’ll put the spotlight on myself. 2/3 of my social media is always about me as a mom, my educational journey, and maybe my love life mixed with the typical millennial problems.

The truth… I am living all off those things. But it sucks a lot of the time. Or sometimes all of the time. I’m drowning. I wear too many hats in life and I’m very overwhelmed. I’m lonley. I hate it here. I can’t get to a place where everything is together all at once. I’m exhausted in various different aspects. I won’t post that. At least, not for real. Maybe only in meme form with a laughing emoji.

The lie….I try to make everything seem great and it’s all amazing all of the time. My kid is smart and eat all of her veggies, my classes are just the right amount of stressful, and I’m barely struggling to date successfully, and adulthood is hilariously hard, but bearable.

mlmI can only speak from my own experience, but everytime I want to tell the truth I can only bring myself to force comedy into it so it seems okay. So no one knows how much it really hurts.

I also wonder, while I have almost 700 friends on Facebook or almost 300 on Instagram, who actually cares? And that’s not a pity thing, more of a mental note saying, “Get off of social media and go actually fix your problems. No one here can help you.”

I don’t know, maybe I’m not the only one who thinks that way or maybe I am. Maybe I am trying to escape my truth by lying and transforming my struggles into entertainment for social media because I do enjoy it and find comfort in it and I’m okay with admitting that.

So now, here’s two actual truths about me and 1 actual lie…guess which is the lie.

1. I have wanted to be a nurse since I was in kindergarten. 2. I have a degree in creative writing. 3. I won a short story writing contest in high school.

Dating/Love life

Dating while….(insert characterization here)

Just a Saturday afternoon thought as I sip on my second cup of coffee….

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Do you ever think that the one thing that makes you unique, the one thing that makes you powerful, the one thing that you are most proud of is the one thing about you that makes people not want to date you? I am proud of all of the traits and characterizations that are a part of me: mom, teacher, a little weird, Christian, writer, coffee drinker, etc.

But what if someone looks at one or more of those parts of me and thinks ‘there is no f**ing way that I would want that girl’?

I’m not actively dating at the moment, but I know that the dating scene is rough these days and I personally know some amazing people out there who just can’t seem to find a worthy companion. I often wonder what amazing part of them does someone else find repulsive? What trait or what slice of their life does someone not want a piece of?

When I was dating, I found myself trying to play two different people: the real me and the date-able me who could be exactly what the person wanted. It was too much and I’ve realized that no matter where I am in life, I no longer want to be in spaces where I can’t be me or feel as if I can’t be me. It’s not healthy to try change who you are for the benefit of others.

I am a HUGE Sex and the City fan and look to the somewhat outdated (the show premiered in 1998) pieces of advice and bits of wisdom to apply to my own life. Carrie Bradshaw, the main protagonist of the show, has a memorable quote that sticks with me:

“You shouldn’t have to sacrifice who you are just because somebody else has a problem with it.” 

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Photo by Felipe Favacho on Pexels.com

That is so real. If you are dating while (insert characterization here), then own it and be honest. Sometimes we change who we are because we THINK the person won’t like who we are without even letting them decide that for themselves.
Or we only show the ‘easy’ parts of who we are and hide the strange that’s inside all of us in varying levels. Just be who you are and carefully put it all on the table (it’s okay to spread this out over time) so you or the other person can decide to move forward with each other or to move on with someone else.

If a person doesn’t like you, at any time you can stop seeing them and keep swiping left (or right?)  until you find someone who embraces all of you. While dating, you are allowed to keep your options open and your dating profiles up and active unless you and the other person, TOGETHER, decide otherwise.

Aside from toxic behaviors that harm yourself or others, I honestly don’t you should EVER change for anyone.  Any person who you have given your trust and your love to will accept you for all the parts that they love, like, dislike, or even hate. And if you do decide to change something about yourself as a relationship progresses and gets serious, then that’s your decision.

But real love is when someone accepts you for what they love and what they don’t like about you and still love you.

Another Carrie quote that I love:

“The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” 

Find someone who loves you just like you love you and the relationship may just be FABULOUS. Happy dating. ♥♥♥

 

 

 

 

 

Personal reflection and Growth

It’s Okay to Cry (You sure? Yes,I’m Sure)

I HATE crying. I personally feel like it does nothing for me. I don’t feel any less stressed, any less upset, or relieved after I cry so I just don’t. And I have a history of not getting a positive response either when I do cry. However, I am surrounding myself with more positive people and that has changed. I also just live a life where I’m moving so fast throughout each and every day that I often don’t stop long enough to address the emotions and the moments that would make me want to cry. When I do get to that point, I push it down so far that it is hidden deep enough where I don’t have to deal with it.

Crying, however, has been proven to reduce the effects of emotional and physical pain alike (I did my research, it’s true). Aside from my personal reservations, I know that crying can be good; it’s okay to shed some tears. I think when you allow yourself to let go that much, and to me that is truly letting go, you can allow yourself to heal from whatever you may be going through or at least address what it is that you are going through and make plans to find a solution.

I am a person who uses humor and smiles to mask what I am going through. When that doesn’t work, I turn to isolation. I don’t want to emotionally struggle out loud so I either smile about it and brush it off or hide it from the world. That tends to allow so much to build up until I am left with an emotional break down. I’ve built up such a big wall around allowing myself to let go and release all of those responses, that it hurts to do so.

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Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

That’s no bueno.

I cried at work yesterday during a meeting, I’m still traumatized and embarrassed by it, but it happened. I was feeling the pressure of everything push at me and I cracked. I was surrounded by people who lifted me up and made me feel good afterwards.

I realize that when I do cry, it’s because I’ve allowed myself to let go and to show emotion in a space that is safe, or I’ve gotten to a place where holding it in is no longer an option. Either way, I’m trying to tell myself it’s okay to cry. It is okay to show emotion and let emotions out. It’s okay to be vulnerable.

 

 

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Alone

I love being alone. I went to see a musical by myself. I was in the theater and I was literally surrounded by hundreds of people and I was okay, in fact I was more than okay. I was happy. There was a time where I went out with friends and they all left, but I sat at the bar and had two more drinks by myself. I remember going to a restaurant after work once and getting a table for one and enjoying a meal by myself. And of course, I LOVE shopping by myself. In all of those moments, I was content, I was at peace. I have been single or by myself for a while now and I think it has been the best thing that I can do for myself.

If I had the option, I’m sure I could have tons of friends that I interacted with on a daily basis and maybe a significant other but I don’t want it, at least not now. If I’m honest though, some days are really hard and I feel lonely and more than anything, I crave the attention of someone. But relationships, especially these days, seem to require so much effort. They require so much of you giving yourself to the other person with often nothing in return. Some people want all of your energy and all of your time and they want to have a certain level of control in your life. I’m not down for that. I have a thousand things going on in my life at any given time, I am a single mom, and I can’t allow someone to come into my life and try to take over.

For so long, I’ve lived my life working to please someone else. In my personal relationships, in my career, at school, and I have gotten to a point where I am tired. I have exhausted myself and have given so much of myself and at one point, I was emotionally and mentally reduced to nothing. I felt empty and had nothing left in my cup. A year ago I made a decision that was the first step in taking steps to invest in myself. I decided that I would focus on filling my cup instead of filling others. The biggest part of that journey was learning to being alone and being selfish. Sometimes that means ignoring calls and texts and breaking plans. That means finding out what I love and what I like to do, going on dates by myself and spending time doing what I like without the reservations of someone else. 20181016_122348

People will try to make you feel some type of way if you’re alone like something is wrong with you, or that no one wants you. It’s okay to be alone. For me, being alone means solidifying who I am within myself so that when I am ready to not be alone, I will invite energy into my life that I want and that is right for me.

“I am confidently lost, I don’t need you to find me….” –Confidently Lost by Sabrina Claudio.

 

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Self-sabotage

I am at a stage in my life where I’m starting to take a long look in the mirror and see all the things that I have done to put me right in the place where I am. In my self-reflecting, I have been asking myself a crucial question, what are all the ways that I hinder my own self growth and journey?

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Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

I often think of the greatness that I could achieve if I didn’t practice so much self sabotage and simply just believe in myself and my gifts. Sabotage, by definition, is to “deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something)”. In taking a mirror to myself, I realize I tend to engage in some unintentional things that cause myself sabotage. There’s two main ones for me.

Verbally and Mentally Doubting Myself

I do way more doubting of myself that I care to admit. This manifests itself in various ways depending on your style of self-sabotage. For me, I will flat out say or think, “I can’t do that”, “I won’t be successful”, “I can’t do this under these conditions”, “There is too much/this is too hard”. More commonly for me, I tend to question when I am told by others that I did well at something or that I am capable of something. My first response is to become suspicious and overthink about the complement. Was it genuine? Were they just being nice? What is the intention of this person? Or, I brush off their praise and instead begin to list all the things that I did wrong and make that space of praise an uncomfortable one with my doubt.
Thoughts and words are so powerful and saying or thinking them, sends messages to the brain that it really can’t be done. It’s simple, and sometimes cliche, but believing in yourself and saying it in your mind and out loud will change the game for you.

Anything that you want to be, anything that you want to achieve or become can be spoken into existence. When you do that, you open your mind and allow the universe invite the exact energy that will be needed for you to have the success that you desire

There’s this quote by Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, that says,

“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”

Procrastinating

Some people take pride in the fact that they wait until the last minute to get things done and are able to get them done with success. Some even say that procrastinating gives them a thrill and the pressure allows them to produce their best work. That’s fine! What works for some won’t work for all. I know for me, waiting until the last minute to take care of or complete something, causes me so much unnecessary stress, anxiety, fear, emotional turmoil, etc.

The main thing is that I can’t do my best work when I’m in a stressful state of mind. I always feel regret at would could have been when I wait until the last minute to complete a task. I often am so stressed at the task, that I develop this lackluster attitude and care more about getting it done, than getting it done right. I know for a fact that my best work requires time and TLC that comes with putting in work way before the deadline. Yesterday with my students, I used the expression that Rome wasn’t built in a day to get them to see that as writers, they have to treat their writing as empires and work carefully to use the tools correctly and take their time to write. Sometimes greatness takes time and it’s about being honest with yourself and realizing if waiting until the last minute every time is going to allow you to reach true success.

What Next?

The first step is to be honest and to acknowledge the ways you are blocking your own blessings. What it is that YOU do that you realize is slowing down the momentum on your journey? Once you identify those things, address them. What can you do to build better and more positive habits that allow you to have unprecedented success?

I have started with speaking my goals out loud and writing my goals as it gives me a visual and verbal reminder of what I need to do and I can “eat the elephant” one bite at a time.

My other method of growth mindset is using affirmations, they really work. Start small, even this morning I was thinking negative thoughts and I stopped myself and said out loud, “I can do, I WILL do it”. In doing that, my goal is to speak and welcome productive and positive energy into my life. What ways will you undo your self-sabotaging?

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Happy Birthday Brooklyn

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To my dearest Brooklyn,

Happy 3rd Birthday!

You came into my life exactly when I thought I didn’t need you. You came when the skies were so blue, that I didn’t see the clouds rolling up the distance. You have shown me how to work hard, how to love unconditionally, how to humble myself, how to work hard, how to be brave, and how to be a woman.

In the 3 years of your life, you have been the sun in the bluest of my sky, and the moon and stars when its at its darkest. You have so much love and light in you. When God made you, he definitely took his time and showing the world what good is. When you smile, you send everything bad away.

You are so smart. You are so brave. You are so adventurous. You are all a recreation of all the good in me and you have become all the good in my world.

To many more birthdays, my love.

Interests/Hobbies

Inspired or obsessed?

So if you’re a theater person, you’ve probably heard of the musical phenomenon by the name of Hamilton: An American Musical by Lin Manuel Miranda. If you haven’t, in a nutshell, it’s an amazing retelling of the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the USA’s founding fathers, using rap, hip-hop, jazz, and blues, in the most spectacular way.

Now, this isn’t a review, but I must say if you have the chance to see it, go see it. It is UNBELIEVABLE! It came to my lovely city of Milwaukee and I had the privilege to see it twice within a week and I am currently still on a Hamilton high in this very moment as I type these words. I have gone down the rabbit hole of looking into the careers of the actors that were in the show, the company I saw and the original Broadway cast, following them all on social media, looking up anything and everything to do with Lin Manuel Miranda, and anything of the like. I saw another show written by Lin Manuel Miranda last year, In the Heights, but Hamilton took me over the edge.

I left the show, particularly the first one, with a full and heavy heart, a busy mind, and empty pockets. My heart was heavy but full with the intricate stories and the lives of the characters, my mind was busy with possibilities of trying to understand how someone could write something so damn genius, and my pockets were empty because I spent so much money on my ticket as I wanted to make sure I got a good ass seat and I was so close to the stage that I could see the spit spray from the actors as they sung/rap. It was spectacular.

I had never heard the story of Alexander Hamilton, as history was never my favorite subject, so I never knew how amazing of a man he was and the journey of his life as he fought for America and for legacy. He is the guy on the $10 bill, by the way. I will say this, if every history lesson I had could’ve been told as Miranda told Hamilton’s, history would have definitely been my favorite subject. I was inspired by his fight and one HUGE thing I took away from Hamilton was that he was a writer! Everything he did from being the right hand man of President George Washington to his financial plans and essays defending the new constitution of the United States after the Revolutionary War, was done with a pen in his hand. He literally wrote himself to success, at least in my eyes. Now as a writer myself, that’s a POWERFUL message.

My relationship with my writing has been all over the place, we love, hate, abuse, ignore, neglect one another constantly and if you look at the date of my blog posts, this post that I’m currently writing is the first thing I’ve made to post in 3 years! I haven’t been so bad a lover to my dear writing though, as I’ve started a lot of things on my own in my own space and time, but not here. This blog is something I started to share with the world and for a long time I never thought my writing would be worthy enough to share with others, until Hamilton.

Now, you may be thinking, was Hamilton that good or is this girl just obsessed and it’s manifesting into a different type of crazy? Well, it’s true, it was that good and yes, I am obsessed. I am obsessed with the artistic ability of everyone that has been involved with this show. I am obsessed with the idea that I went to a musical and watched Black, Asian, Hispanic, and non-white actors and actresses play white historical figures and rap, sing, use slang and cuss words, twerk (yes, they twerked), break dance, and retell stories in such a dynamic and energetic way. Here’s an example, there’s a scene where Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton perform in a rap battle to convince George Washington of action to take based off a a treaty with France. It was dope AF. I am obsessed with the fact that I learned something (no really, I did), and that I’m actually considering reading the biography of Alexander Hamilton and have been googling shit about the American Revolutionary war! THAT’S NOT LIKE ME!! I always hated history.

 

*The first photo is after the second show where I got two of the actors to sign my poster and the first is me at the first show.*

 I’m obsessed with the fact that right now, I’m writing in my blog. I’m obsessed with the fact that I’m really going to start posting things and sharing on my social media so I can share my art. One of Hamilton’s famous songs in the musical is “My Shot” and the first line of the song is, “I am not throwing away my shot” so this is me, getting inspired (obsessed), loading my gun, and NOT throwing away my shot. 

 

 

 

 

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In Technicolor

 

Somehow we live our lives in black and white. There has to be an ‘answer’ to every thing. An immediate solution to the problem; a prayer promptly answered; an ultimatum given without thought. You either have to be in or out. Up or down. Right or wrong. They say if you don’t chose a side, then you stand for nothing and will fall for anything. 

But what about the color? The bleeding reds of a crying heart. The cool blues and greens of a depressed mind. The bright yellow of a smile not often seen. Or even the 50 shades of gray between the far left and far right. 

When did we lose our ability to live in technicolor? When did it ALWAYS have to be one or the other? When did it become wrong to live your life in the middle?