Dont be Bitter be Better: 3 Reasons Why I Chose to be Single

Reading the heading of this post, I know you’re wondering why would one choose to be single.-Let me explain.- I found myself in an odd place. I was in a situationship that ended on good terms, we even decided to still remain friends. Even after the romantic phase was over, we would meet up for drinks and still text as friends. One day, I found myself blocked and ignored. This was someone who I had a fifteen year friendship with so to be suddenly cut out of their life was odd. I would speak when I saw them and nothing, not even a hello back. The need to know why I was suddenly being treated this way was growing inside of me. The more it happened the angrier I became. –I know what your thinking why did you continue to speak?- A part of me was all kill them with kindness, but another part felt it was probably agitating them that I did– that was the petty part of me.

Privately, I was very hurt by losing the relationship and the friendship. – I was hurt hurt. Mariah Carey’s breakdown ft Bone-Thugs and Harmony has never made more sense than that moment in time

The guy a dated after that 5months into the dating phase –not relationship but casually dating– he got engaged to someone else. Yes, you read that right, engaged to another girl while we were dating, and to add insult to injury I found about it 2 weeks later from someone who didn’t even know I knew him, let alone was dating him.- the audacity, tuh!-

I felt myself becoming bitter. I didn’t want to shut love out, but at that moment I didn’t know how I could continue to be so open to something that was literally ripping my heart apart. I prayed to ease the pain and bring me understanding. In the past, I had taken a break from dating before and dated myself, but I was still open to invitations. Initially when I took the first break, I was a 20 something year old who was lost. My 20s were rough and flew by. I am now a 30 something who has experience. I’m more settled now, I feel wiser like I have a new lens on life. I don’t feel so desperate to get to a finish line of a goal, until I started comparing my life to where I thought I should be for my age. So this decision didn’t come lightly. This time I decided to decline any interests. No dates. I didn’t entertain someone who was interested in dating. If they weren’t pre-existing non-romantic friendships, I wasn’t available for it. I wanted to completely focus on me and pour into myself. My prayers were eventually answered, but in praying I realized a few things about myself and how I approached dating:

1. Relationships were the goal
My goal was to be in a relationship. That’s it. That’s all I wanted. I had no clue what I was going to do after I got into one, but as someone whos never been in one, that was my goal. Somewhere along the way I began to be desperate to be in one. To be claimed, chosen, picked from the bunch. The older I got the more important it became. Towards the end of my 20s dating began to feel more of a hassle than fun. Dating was supposed to be the time of your life, but for me it felt like a means to an end.

If you listen to society, being single will have you feeling worthless. You cant possibly be anyone of value if you’re not in a relationship or married, your advice is worthless, you don’t understand anything as it relates to relationships and you can’t hang around the couple crowd if you are single. I have lost so called friends for being the single one. To be deemed “worthy” by society, I needed to be in a relationship.

I started to look at every possible love interest as “the one”. After the initial contact, I daydreamed about our life together. -if I really found you attractive.- I had an unrealistic expectation for every man who entered my romantic life. I was never in the present moment. I never saw it for what it was until it was over, and I was heartbroken, more so by the possibilities than by missing out on the person. –cause lets be honest, if relationships weren’t my goal there is no way I would have been with some of the dudes I entertained. They were definitely “what were you thinking?” type of guys, especially the 2 mentioned at the opening- I focused very little on the person and more on the end result.

2. Dating with Intention.
I investigated my dating history and they were all pointless. There were no clear intentions or standards set in the beginning. They were all “I like you, you like me, lets see what happens”. – 4 words no woman should fall for-. There were no clear boundaries. No clear communication. It was all unhealthy. Not only were the relationships not clear, but neither was I. I had no clue what I wanted in a relationship. I didn’t understand the value of what I was bringing to a relationship and what I should be receiving from one. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I had no clue how relationships worked. Sure, I had examples, but they all seemed to be unhappy or settling for things that didn’t align with their morals or values. –and I did not want to be one of those people.- Even though I knew what I didn’t want, I still wasn’t clear on what I did want.

I’m a researcher, I have to have understanding. The “why” must be answered. So, I did what any researcher would do; I read. I read books, 4 specifically; The Conversation– Hill Harper, Relationship Goals– Michael Todd, Judge This Cover-Brittany Renner, and The Game of Desire– Shannon Boodram.

I have read The Conversation many years ago. I remember it being so packed with gems, that I wrote notes in the margins and highlighted sentences throughout the book. I decided to reread it. The gems were still valid. It is, however, geared more toward people already in a relationship, but it gave me insight.

I loved the Youtube series Relationship Goals so much! It was actually the first thing I watched while struggling through the pain of losing the friendship. I learned a lot by watching the series. So, when Michael Todd wrote a book, I brought it on preorder. The book was so different from the series, which I loved, no one wants to read something they’ve already heard verbatim. There were some parts of the book I disagreed with, but he does speak about all kinds of relationships as it relates to God. I had to keep reminding myself that the book isn’t just talking about romantic relationships. Also, every relationship doesn’t have to work according to someone else’s interpretation of the bible. Overall, I enjoyed the book and got a real grasp about faith in relationships.

Ill admit, I was a little reluctant to read Judge This Cover by Brittany Renner. Brittany Renner is a social media star who is best known for her sexy photos and fitness on Instagram. She has made a name for herself by posting workout videos and promoting fitness products. Brittany has been known to date some very famous people. It is said that most of the relationships she refers to in her book are about those famous people, although the names have been changed in the book. I was really shocked by how insightful this book was. I related to her and her struggles with dating. Though she was a little more free in her sexuality, I admired her willingness to bare it all in the book. She also gave a different perspective and some great advice. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone. Most people I know that did read it, did so to be nosy about her life, but ended up loving the book for her insight. I’m telling you it was a great read!

Lastly, I read The Game of Desire. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. If you’re not familiar with Shannon Boodram, she is a certified intimacy educator who teaches people to be more competent and confident as it relates sexology. My judgement of the book pre-reading it was that it was going to be mostly about sex. While there is, of course, sex talk in the book, the book is mostly about you. Discovering who you are, your love language, your personality traits, your intimacy language etc, and how to use that to be present in your dating life. There is a workbook you can fill out prior to reading which I highly recommend. I learned more about who I am as a person reading this book, than I did about dating. I honestly wished I would have read this book first. This is a book I highly recommend everyone read.

“Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

3. Self-Love
You knew we were going to end up here! I preach this. Every time I think I have finally obtained the highest level of loving yourself, I find something that could use extra work, a little extra love. When it came to intimacy and body positivity, I lacked majorly. I noticed in the bedroom or times of vulnerability; I was very mean to myself. –You know the talk “suck it in don’t let them see you have a gut, eww” “wear something to cover your arms no one needs to see those Hammocks” “ you want to wear shorts, have you seen your thighs??” “Make sure it’s dark when you take your pants off gotta hide those stretch marks, that’ll be a major turn off”.– Being sexual with some one may have felt good, physically, but mentally I was beating myself up with negative talk the entire time and after was worse.

I have struggled with my weight ever since I took the depo shot. My body has been through a lot. I have gotten trainers, changed my diet, taken weight loss pills, different diet fads all to try to lose weight. I cant remember a time in my adult life that I actually loved my body. There were certain things about myself I wanted to change, and I would, only to gain it back. Doctors would tell me to change my diet or to eat smaller meals more frequently and if I got sick they would say it was just a stomach flu. It wasn’t until I landed in the ER twice with the same doctor that pointed out that something wasn’t right; did I really start to find answers.

After getting diagnosed and getting a treatment plan together, I really began to focus on my health as a whole. I began to make the correct changes and my body actually responded. I began to look more and more like the person I saw in my mind. My self-talk became positive. Sure, there are still somethings I’m a little self-conscious about, but the positive outweighs the negative. The negative is what I strive to give the most love to. Constant reminders that we are regular people and look like real people. We don’t have tiny waists and giant asses. Our breast will have a little sag to them. Stretch marks are a part of growth your body is constantly changing, and facial hair is a thing, almost everyone has it. Society and social media will have you out here changing who you are to fit their standards of beauty rather than loving the way God created you. No knock to plastic surgery, if that’s a path you want or need to take to love who you are, more power to you, go forth and do that, but make sure it’s for you and not for the world. “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I have been purposely single for a year. Every now and again I’ll feel alone, but I’m not lonely. I have found less of a desire to be in a relationship and more of a desire to be comfortable with who I am before inviting someone into my space; my peace. I’m more understanding about my love life and what I need and require to continue to flourish and grow. I’m no longer feeling bitter…. I’m better.-does my tagline make more sense to you now?-

Would you take a year off from dating to learn yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

As always, remember,

Don’t be Bitter,

Be Better!!

Coping with Quarantine

This has been an interesting time for America.COVID-19 has come in and interrupted our lives. We have been halted and moved around. Most of us made plans for 2020 that we now have to change or forgo completely. We are learning to be flexible and how to go with the flow.

 

This time has felt stripping. We are forced to put into perspective what matters. We have been stripped down to necessity and thrown into survival mode. I don’t know about you, but I feel like my people, black people, have been training for this our whole lives!

I am a natural homebody, so when the stay at home orders went out; it was a cakewalk for me. I continued doing what I always do.

I am fortunate that my plans/life didn’t halt, if anything they kicked into overdrive. Both of my jobs offered more hours and I am very blessed and grateful for that. I haven’t really had the time to relax, and that’s ok. That is my mood for this time period I feel grateful. –I am also grateful forthese sales, but well get to that later lol– 

I am a believer that where you are, is exactly where you are supposed to be. When I am in a tough spot I always ask, what am I supposed to be learning form this? In our toughest moments that’s when we learn the most. Instead of griping and complaining aboutwhat you’re not able to do, focus on what you are able to do. When I got laid off from my job in 2016, I panicked for a moment, but once that moment passed and faith kicked in, I realized I now had the opportunity to create. I had never had the time before and now I did. And here we are. I would not be blogging if it weren’t for that layoff. –I also started a YouTube channel; more to come on that later wink wink

It kind of drove me crazy listening to people complain about having to spend time with their family and the frustrations from losing their employment- trust me I completely understand– but some times perspective is key. Focus on the positives and continue to thrive on those.  Here are some of the things im grateful for:

  • You guys know I am a shopaholic so im thankful for these sales! I have had my eye on some big ticket purchases and these sales have allowed me to buy them for next to nothing! Allowing me to get what I want without killing my bank account
  • Speaking of bank account, before quarantine I would treat myself to eating out, and I still do thanks to uber eats, but the price has been much cheaper thanks to zero delivery fee and the alcoholic beverage that im not able to enjoy. I actually haven’t been drinking during this time.
  • I have been natural most of my life so I have been doing my own hair for years. As for my eyebrows, I had a bomb threading lady that moved about 10 years ago and I had her teach me how to do my own as well. 4 years ago I made the decision to get acrylics and now when the nail shops closed I have been back to my natural nails and I realized how much I actually like them. 
  • Is it me or have people been extremely kind during this time? I know there are some cases where its not, but for the most part when I do have to get out for essentials people and employees have been sweet and kind.

I have been seeing a lot of post saying that you should use this time to be productive come out of quarantine with that business plan you’ve been thinking about, start that blog, make that YouTube channel, and if you have the will, time, and drive by all means do it! However, if you use this time to be still and rest that is ok too. A lot of people have been using this time to clean, purge, and organize and that is also ok. There’s no right or wrong way to do this and only you know what’s best for you. I know some of us have it tougher than others, but lets try to be grateful for the moment and focus on the positive that this quarantine has created.

working my second job

Also, let’s keep in our thoughts and prayers the people who are suffering from this illness, the people who are fighting for their lives, and the people on the front lines working tirelessly to combat this virus.Im not on the front lines but work in the environment and guys its serious. Let’s do all we can to overcome this. Do your part. Use discernment.

How have you been doing during this time? What are some things you are focusing on during this time? Lets talk about it!

Until next time!

Don’t be bitter

Be better!

Tips and tricks for working from home

 

I am fortunate to work for a company that allows me to telecommute. When I first started, we were only allowed to work one day from home. I soon got a promotion that allowed me to be full time work from home.  I’ll admit, I was the laziest work from 

home employee. I would get on my laptop at the last possible minute and would wastemy breaks by scrolling through IG or Facebook or napping. And you guessed it, my production fell soon after. I learned pretty quickly that it was important to get a routine down for working from home. I didn’t necessarily need to do the routine I had for when I had to go to the building, but I had to get some sort of routine together, so I wasn’t rushing to get to work and struggling to make it through the day.

I Youtubed a lot of work from home videos, but everything was very entrepreneurial, where people didn’t start their workday till 10am. i have to be at work at a certain time and i am tracked at work so most routines didn’t work for me. I needed to do something that was tailored for me. I needed a routine that would work for my work schedule. I took little tips I saw in previous videos or blogs and it looks something like this:

How to start your day:

It’s weird to think that you need to get ready to go to your living room, but I needed structure in my work life. I started with a time I wanted to go to work. One perk of my job is flex time we can get to work between 6-9am. While I was working in the office, I would get to work between 730-8 am. So, naturally I shot for getting to work at 8 am while working from home. This allowed me to wake up between 630-7am, allowing me enough time to get ready for work and do things like shower, brush my teeth and make my bed without having to rush. I’m an intermittent faster, so I don’t eat breakfast till 10am, fortunately for me I have a conference call that allows me the down time to make a quick meal while still working. Since I am on a special diet for my health issues, I usually have toast, hard boil egg and orange juice for breakfast.

What to wear:

Next thing is clothing. I absolutely hated working at a desk all day wearing jeans. They were just so uncomfortable! One thing I hated more than jeans was pajamas. Ifound that while wearing pjs I was unmotivated to work. I just wanted to lounge aroundand be lazy. On the days I would need to leave work early or come to work late, I would get dressed and I felt more motivated to work. I looked at a couple of options, and ultimately decided to buy some cute 2-piece lounge sets. They were stylish enough that I could wear out the house, but comfy enough to, well, work in while sitting at a desk. While I’m not a huge make up wearer, I do have to comb my hair, even if it is to put it back into a neat top knot and look presentable. This helps me show up ready to work.

 

Break time:

While working in the office, I would go for walks on my fifteen-minute breaks and for my thirty-minute lunch. That ceased when I became a telecommute. I would either nap or lay around, which was nice during that time of the month, but soon became a nasty habit. I have a little toy poodle and a neighbor who has a large hound mix, I walk them on my lunch or late break if the weather permits. This allows me to get some fresh air and a little exercise.

Work time:

During the workday I am chained to my desk, but there are some perks. I have my desk set up next to my balcony windows so I can see outside. I do get distracted easily so I try to watch things that I can follow easily on my iPad. YouTube is mostly playing. A few channels I enjoy watching are, Raven Elise, Patricia Bright, The Real Daytime, Jayla Koriyan, The Glam Twins, and more recently Living to DIY with Rachel Metz –her room make overs are everything!– when I’m not on YouTube, I’ll most likely be catching up on my weekly shows on Hulu or bingeing a loved show on Netflix. Occasionally, I’ll have a concert and sing my heart out or listen to a podcast. A few podcasts I have been loving are – in no particular order -Happy Hour Necole XOXO, She and I podcast, Force of Habit with Shantel Taylor, Small Doses with Amanda Seales, and My Favorite Murderer. I also listen to audible, but I have found that this is hard to do for fantasy or science fiction books as my imagination takes over and distracts me. I mostly will listen to biographical or self-help books. I really enjoyed Gabriel Union- We’re Going to Need More Wine, Brittany Renner- Judge this Cover and Shonda Rhimes- The Year of Yes, just to name a few. 

 

Before I know it, my workday is over, and I can resume my usual at home activities. I have found that this routine keeps me motivated to work and feeling good at work. If I do overtime-which my company has been on a mandatory overtime for a little over a year, this I have to limit myself to certain hours for the day or else I burn out 12 hour work days are a one time thing, however 10 hour shifts are doable. Its important to break down my overtime vs doing it in one lump on a Saturday like I used to especially with working a second job. I will usually do my 8-hour workday and then add 2 hours of overtime a day for the week. If I have more than 8 hours to do than I will do the rest on the weekends or I may 3 hours extra during the weekday.

I hope this helps anybody who is new to the telecommute life or anyone looking for an easy routine to get them started! 

I’d love to hear your routine or tip and tricks for working from home, leave them in the comments below!!

As always,

Don’t Be bitter,

Be better!

 

A Toast to the Last Decade

As we reached the New Year, I’ve been deep in thought about the last decade. I’ve watched as everyone posted his or her accomplishments, or the highlight reel, over the last decade. Most people posted the typical American story finished college, met the love of their life, got their dream job, got engaged, got married and had kids. As much as I wanted to be involved, I couldn’t come up with anything remotely close other than the fact that I survived.

I enjoyed reading everyone’s highlight reel, but a piece of me was infuriated. Did everyone, but me have an awesome success story?? Was no one’s decade as awful as mine? Were we not being real with ourselves?? I know we don’t like to dwell on the negative, but really it can’t all be positive all of the time.

For me, the past decade was whack. I’m talking wiggity whack. It was the worst. It was also my 20s so there’s something to say about that –the struggle years, I like to call them lol– When they ask you were do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15 years, my answer was not where I am today. So when it came to the end of the decade, I felt renewed.  I was honestly ready for this New Year, new decade; simply put I was just ready for new beginnings.

The beginning of the decade, 2010, started off bad. My mother broke her leg and had to fight workers comp to approve to get it fixed.  It took 3 months and it healed incorrectly in the process. It took 2 years to get through that. I was 25 when I filed bankruptcy, the first time. Medical bills plus no steady full time income and having to help my mother, well it was a lot financially. I managed to graduate, but owed over 25k in student loans. I was almost homeless… 5 times.  I was laid off from my job, twice. I dated nothing but fuck boys-one even proposed to someone else while we were dating, tf?!-I became very ill and the doctor’s cant figure out what is wrong with me. That’s not even half of what contributed to that terrible decade.

Believe me I got stories for days and we’ll get into them. Even through all that bad, I guess some good did come from it, though not the tangible kind. I’m a stronger person. I am more resilient. I’m more patient when getting to know someone. I learned and I’m still growing in my financial literacy. I’ve learned to love and trust myself.

The last decade prepared me for life. Most people didn’t live the life I did growing up. It was difficult. My mother struggled to provide for my brother and me. We lived in the hood and both went on to have to learn to provide as adults.

No one taught us or prepared us for adulthood. We didn’t have any handouts, nothing was given to us we had to work for everything, and fail many times to get it right.

I grew up this last decade. The hell I went through-and the hell I didn’t mention– made me all the things I am today. I don’t regret a thing, not even the pain. I learned a lot about myself. I matured.

Now that we are well into the New Year, I feel prepared. I’m ready to do life.  To apply what I’ve been through and what I’ve learned, and use it to better myself going forward.

How was the 2010-2019 decade for you? What are you most looking forward to accomplish? Let’s talk about it!

And remember,

Don’t be bitter,

Be better!

Let’s Talk About it

As a blogger I talk about real life situations and use my real life experiences to expound on the point being made. There’s a level of difficulty that comes with it because often times these experiences include other people.

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When writing I try to be as delicate, but truthful as possible. I also try to write from a removed space. Meaning, I never post about something that I’m currently going through because it’s fresh. Those wounds aren’t scars yet. I have to heal first in order to talk about it. 

I’m extra conscious about what I write to the point where it’s taken the joy out of writing. I focused on other topics about health, purpose, and self care because the references are stories that only involve me. While those are important topics, I don’t feel as though I’m giving you me. It’s relatable content, but it doesn’t really speak to who I am or my life experiences. This transitioned into my acting work. How can I tell the story if I am too afraid to tell my own? How can I be relatable on camera if I’m not open to being relatable with my life?

I enjoy doing what I do because it has helped sooooo many of you. I see and try to respond to each email and comment. It truly feels good to know that I’m helping.

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The backlash that comes with that is not everyone likes to be the villain in my stories, even when there’s no malicious intent. –But I mean if you didn’t want to be the villain, maybe you should’ve treated me better– and they have the right to express that.

This is the risk I take by being so transparent and open with you all about my life and what I choose to share. I wrote a piece a couple years before I actually posted it,- before that couple actually started dating (the first time)– that I revised a million times before actually posting it because it was a delicate situation. That post to this day has helped a lot of you. I still get emails from it and it’s been years since I posted it. Though I felt my intentions were in the right place, the backlash from that was losing someone I considered a friend, a lot of unnecessary drama, and made out to look like a person who was trying to take someone’s man. –The irony of it, right?-

I’ve come to realize it’s not my loss though. It’s my truth. The things I wrote in that post were made clear long before my writings were even made public to the world. I have the choice to entertain the drama or simply pay it no mind. I’m making the choice to be brave enough to continue to share my gifts with the world. One bold truth at a time. 

I hope you all are ready to ride with me on this journey!

Don’t be bitter

Be Better!

Time for a Change

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So lately in my community of people we’ve all had this theme in our lives where we feel lost, but we know where we are going. We arent exactly sure how to get there or if we should keep straight or turn left or right, but we know whatever we choose we’ll be ok. We’ll get to where we need to be.

I’ve been staying that course almost all year.  I’ve been purging. I feel almost like I’m shedding skin. I don’t know if it’s because ya girl is knocking on 30s door or what, but I’ve been in the spirit of “this shit has gotta go” and so it’s been going. However, lately I had been feeling cramped and cluttered even though I had purged everything I thought I possibly could. I just wasn’t happy. Now, as a Libra it’s in our nature to be indecisive, but I literally couldn’t make a damn decision. I was supposed to be finalizing birthday plans that I just couldn’t decide on. I’ve been going back and forth on things that should’ve be a piece of cake to decide on.  I didn’t realize anything was wrong until I was on my way to do something I had absolutely no business doing. As I was driving I just thought “why do I keep allowing this? Why am I acting like a passenger when I’m clearly in the driver’s seat???” -Now I will say what I was on my way to do influence this sudden revelation.- It was my “ah ha” moment. It was the push of anger I needed.

meditate-01-giphy_0I swiftly turned around and went home. While sitting in my driveway –where I do some of my best thinking– I decided to delete social media. Usually when I take a break, I just put the apps in a folder and put them on a page by themselves, but during my break I may cheat and look. This time I straight deleted the apps. No cheating. I honestly was tired of reading y’all opinions and thoughts. It’s some of the best peace I’ve had in a while. I honestly thought I would miss it, but nope. Not at all.

Around the 5/6 day of my break I decided to clean my dream/goal journal out and rewrite my notes so they were more organized and I discovered I’ve been writing the same goals/dreams for years. Every year, same.fucking. goal. I went ahead with what I was doing, but this bothered me. That night while surfing YouTube I ran across what I like to call “adulting” videos; Financial and minimalist videos. Your typical ‘things I don’t buy’ or ‘10 ways you’re wasting your money’. All of these videos resonated with me because again I’ve been purging and feeling cluttered. The more I looked around the more I just saw…. stuff. Just a lot of stuff that I really don’t need/don’t use. I hold on to stuff people get me just cause I don’t want to feel bad for letting it go –when in fact they probably don’t remember gifting me it anyway– so the more I watched the more I became invested.

The next day I woke up in what my mom called a “Katie rage”. My grandmother, Katie, will get in these moods where everything has to change and change right then because she’s tired of saying it and she fusses and complains until it’s done. Whether it’s cleaning the house or redecorating it’s getting done TADAY! -yes that’s right, ta-day– Now I must add that I was sick with an upper respiratory infection so I had been off work during this social media break and I had a lot of time to sit with my thoughts. So that day I woke up with a clarity I haven’t had…. possibly ever? My mom and I purged, cleaned, and redecorated which I’m soooooooo happy with. I work from home so I have wanted my space to be nice, ascetically pleasing. I’ve been focusing on just my bedroom for a while, but it was a lot of stuff in my house that had been in my house since I moved out of my mother’s house which was… 7/8 years ago? I was just tired of looking at it. I literally threw what seemed like half the apartment away. Sa la vie! -la vie!-

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I will say my thoughts have been clear and focused, but I can’t seem to shut them off. I feel like I’m on a drug at times, but the results have been good so I’m kind of ok with it –lol-I won’t say I’m a minimalist. I dig the concept. I take some of their lifestyle and apply it to my own because we as Americans do over consume. Families in need probably wouldn’t be if some of us just learned that less is more. We don’t need a lot to survive. While I LOVE my closet –and awesome fashion sense wink wink lol- I don’t need all the clothes in my closet and could probably dress a whole 2/3 people and still be able to dress myself with my entire wardrobe. We really do live in excess. However I can’t let my closet go- even if I can’t wear half of it lol-, but I can control what I buy. Going for the structured quality items vs the fast fashion or getting Pyrex containers that are multipurpose vs. buying Tupperware. -environmentally better too

Maybe it was time for a lifestyle change, No no it was definitely time for a more adult lifestyle change. As I go into my 30s its time to let a lot of my old habits go. Those same habits can no longer serve me where I’m trying to go.

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What are some things you could let go?

Lets talk about it!

XOXO

And remember

Don’t be bitter

Be better!

 

 

Breaking the Cycle

Have you ever felt like your life was stuck in a pattern or a cycle that you just can’t seem to figure out or get out of? Like maybe there’s a lesson you’re not learning so you can’t move on. I’ve been thinking about where I am in my life and though I feel like I’ve made strides I still feel like I’m standing still. I can see the vision of where I want my life to go, but somewhere between the vision and where I am, something is not connecting. For me personally, I always end up getting sick, burnt out, or something sets me back that takes a while to recover from –like the car breaking down THE absolute WORST!-

In the past, I’ve tried to break this cycle by overworking, first with my jobs. I thought if I worked overtime and got a second job that I would get myself to a level of financial stability that I could handle the setbacks next time, but this only lead to burn out and health issues from stress and exhaustion.

Then I thought if I focus on my passions, writing and acting, that everything would flow naturally because you’re told so often that when you do what you love or what you’re called to do things will just happen or fall into place-who came up with this lie??– Ok I won’t say lie, but they definitely don’t happen in your time –if you know what I mean– and they don’t happen without hard work and good lessons.

I read self-help books, I meditated to find my inner voice; my center, I prayed that my steps be ordered and began to wonder is this what I am supposed to be doing??? I seriously thought well maybe I am just supposed to work this 9-5 and die. I always talk about wanting to quit and find some way to push through and keep going because that’s life. Things will happen that will make you question if you are supposed to be on the path you’re on and it got to me this time. I actually gave up and I felt terrible!!! I didn’t feel like myself anymore I felt empty. I cried all the time. So, if this wasn’t something I should be doing then why do I feel so empty??

It came down to a couple of things for me-In no specific order

Discipline

Comfortability

Priorities

Planning

The funny part is you hear this all the time. The self-help books, testimonies, in interview from people we consider to be successful. We hear it all the time, yet we are so determined to find the secret they are hiding or a way around that that the message goes completely over our head. In her documentary Beyoncé stated that she prepared for 8 months for 2 shows at Coachella. –I can’t even plan my week out– I needed to make some serious changes if I wanted to see any positive results.

Imagine the disservice it would be to the world if you gave up on you dreams or passions.

Discipline

I am the least disciplined person I know, I may even be the laziest person I know.-at least that’s the harmful talk I have with myself – I lacked discipline bad. I couldn’t even stick to a routine for a week. If I had a plan and it was something I didn’t really want to do I would swap it out for something that served no purpose to my life, like watching a movie I’ve seen a thousand times. I had to change my habits. I started with something simple, like making up my bed every morning.-because yes, I was that person who stopped making the bed the moment I moved out of my mothers’ unless I was leaving my house for a few days-Since transitioning into a work from home employee I barely made it to work on time. –of course I slept till the last minute possible are you kidding me??– I changed that by setting a morning routine every work day. That meant setting a set time to wake up every work day. –I did begin to question how I made it to work on time with an hour drive; it was hard enough waking up at a decent time to go to the next room lol- These small changes helped add more structure to my life and helped me allow for scheduling and planning.

Comfortability

I have recently been reading Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes on Audible. In the beginning, she talks about how she was perfectly comfortable with how her life had been going up until that point that brought her to the year of yes. I really thought about my life and how it compared and while I always thought I wasn’t comfortable with how my life was going, it turns out I was. I was perfectly comfortable with getting off work and hopping in the bed and chilling for 3 hours, mindlessly scrolling through social media and playing games until I fell asleep, and waking up the next morning and doing it all over again. I was in a routine of doing things that were, simply put, pure laziness. It wasn’t adding any value to my life. I was wasting precious hours that I could be putting into my work. Nothing was going to get accomplished from me lying around. While mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, I came across a person I went to high school with, while I’m sure they love their life, it wasn’t the life I pictured for myself, and the sad part is we weren’t that far apart in what we were doing in life work, home, and party when you can. I had to go back to an old strategy I preach all the time, 3 goals plan. I implemented 3 realistic goals and broke them down.

Priorities

If I couldn’t prioritize to do some work over lying in the bed, how the hell did I ever expect to make it in anything I was trying to pursue?? Not only that, but my financial priorities completely screwed. I have an impulsive shopping addiction. Retail therapy islandscape-1447712172-online4 my jam!! Clothes were the #1 priority. How did I expect to get where I needed to go if I’m constantly buying clothes. –you know what they say though turn a habit into a hobby coming soon wink wink– I had to get serious about what mattered to me. My job was unnecessarily stressful and after working 8+ hours all I wanted to do was lie in bed and relax. What I found is that I would do things that added no value to my life, like switching through Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat for several hours or playing games on my phone vs reading a script or writing. So I prioritized. If I could focus on writing or read for 1 hour every night after work then my reward would be doing the things that added no value, because that was my guilty pleasure. I found that if I focused for the hour, I often went over and ended up going straight to bed after I was done.

Planning

One of the things I noticed early on was my lack of planning. As mentioned earlier in this post, I couldn’t even plan my week I usually just winged it. So I got myself a planner and I used my Iphone calendar to help me stay on schedule and remain flexible. I have always followed my 3 goal plan, but it was never structured for me to actually follow it. I never broke it down in steps for me to use. I could plan to write 3 times a week, but if the inspiration wasn’t there I just couldn’t get it done. Rather than forcing myself to be locked into something I felt I had to do, I needed to replace it with something that could spark inspiration. So rather than block off 2 hours for writing , I blocked it off for reading and if inspiration hit then I would write within those 2 hours and if it didn’t I would read for an hour or so depending on the book and the other time was free time or planning for the next day. It worked out perfectly, especially knowing I get to indulge in my guilty pleasures after.

So in a nutshell, I couldn’t quit, imagine the disservice it would be to the world if I gave up on my dreams or passions. No, no I have to keep going, if not for you all, for me. I let a lot of things stop me and a lot of obstacles hinder me rather than navigate around them. I also let excuses become justifiable reasons. There are roadblocks on every road of life, you can either let them stop you or navigate around them. As the saying goes, if you really want to pursue something, you’ll find a way; If not you’ll find an excuse. Maybe that’s the lesson I needed to learn. –Another saying a hard head will make a soft ass, aren’t you tired of falling on your ass because of your own way?-

What is stopping you? Let’s talk about it!

Don’t be bitter

Be BETTER!

 

XOXO

Love Drought

This was not the blog I planned on writing and I was so disappointed and upset to the point where I was going to skip it and write when I felt like I could talk about the blog I originally planned.

I so much wanted this blog to be about love, and not self love which I’ve been harping on and still believe that is a huge part of love in any capacity, but I wanted to talk about intimate love, the kind that gives you butterflies and when your phone goes off you can’t help but run to see who it is, the kind that the mention of their name puts a huge smile on your face and makes you daydream of the moments you spent together, the kind that gives a glow to your skin and gives you flashbacks to intimate times- if you know what I mean-

But this is NOT. that. blog.

This is about keeping hope alive even when it seems impossible, this is about knowing that destiny is going to treat you kind and your vision of love is going to be all that you dreamed it to be and more, this is about lovers scorned who fight every single day to stay in love and not let hate win or turn them cold, this is about loving yourself because that is the first way to show anyone how to love you.

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I don’t have all the answers sway, but I do know it will work out. Maybe not like it does in the movies, or maybe it will. 

I like watching videos or hearing stories of happy couples and how they found the love of their life. More importantly the advice of how they maintained that love.

It gives me hope.

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Which is important because remaining opening after you’ve been broken is such hard work. Every day it feels like you’re just going through the motions. It is a literal fight within your mind everyday to not resort to being bitter or petty, . Its constant affirmations that you are fine, you are loved, you are worthy, you will get through this and you will be much better for it.

giphy (1)After I was broken I found myself questioning why?! Why is this happening to me? I couldn’t understand all these people telling me I’m beautiful, I’m such a strong, hard working, ambitious, independent woman, I set the standard, even the one who broke me told me I was who he compared everyone he dated to. Oh? Well why am I and why have I always been alone? If I am to believe everything people say I am- and I know I am– why hasn’t anyone taken a chance on me?- Very dangerous line of thinking because that my friends led me to a knock out cursing match with God and the universe. –

I literally sat, drank, and cried my heart out till my face was swollen, and cursed God because I just couldn’t understand, not even a test run?! 28 years and not 1 serious relationship or at the very least a test run?!

But lean not to your own understanding. 

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Sometimes while you’re sitting there thinking why is it happening to you, it’s happening FOR you.

After that fight with God and the universe I declared I would never let myself feel this way again.

The funny thing is, the next day I began to notice that people were coming to me, as if they were being sent to me, because the things they were saying were the very things I was cursing the night before about.

Someone was listening, I suppose.

I went back and had a much calmer conversation with God and the universe. Again because I realized it wasn’t happening to me, it is for me and whatever battle I’m being prepared for I needed to be much stronger than I am now. Let’s be honest the only way to get strong is to know weakness and the only way to change is to know growth.

Its uncomfortable and it hurts.

Will Smith talked about fault vs responsibility. –if you don’t follow him on Instagram you are doing yourself a huge disservice, he drops gems!– Remember it happened to you but its not your fault, it is however your responsibility of not letting it become you or define you.

img_7869Case and point: My father abandoned me. And I have been blaming him my whole life for doing that to me. I have subconsciously found him in every guy I have ever really cared for and they too have abandoned me. But it’s my responsibility to deal with that. It sucks. But I am the only one that can heal myself. Its my heart, not theirs –and when I say abandoned I mean just quit talking to me (I would insert “out of the blue” here, but I dont believe anything happens out of the blue, it happens for a reason unbeknownst to me) blocked me on social media, won’t respond to my texts as if I did something or there was a huge fight when it wasn’t—I also had to learn that the way they treated me had nothing to do with me and everything to do with them.

I’m not here to bash my father, I love him. I have a relationship with him now and because that happened I have a better understanding of who he is as a person and I love that he took responsibility and corrected his actions from the past.

But that still didn’t stop me from finding men just like the person he used to be, why? Because I didn’t take responsibility for my own healing. Savvy? It’s not my fault that people abandon me the way they do for whatever reason they choose to do it. I can’t fix a problem you don’t share with me.  I can’t point my finger at them and say it’s your fault fix it because that’s asking for them to take responsibility for my own healing. It is my responsibility to heal, take that hurt, learn and grow from it.

You’re the magician. Pull me back together again, the way you cut me in half. Make the woman in doubt disappear. Pull the sorrow from between my legs like silk. Knot after knot after knot…

Sometimes when we are hurting it’s easy for us to forget our worth. It’s easy for us to blame ourselves and think we have to fix what was broken. Love is about being your whole self and sharing that with another person who is fully whole themselves. Being happily content with who you are “Being 2 whole people on two individual paths, choosing to walk your separate journeys together… and finding and taking responsibility for your own happiness individually and presenting it to the other person”-Will Smith –I told yall GEMS!

I believe love is about balance. 1st and foremost I believe you should fall in love with yourself and share the very best version of you with someone while also still giving yourself to you if that makes sense. Love is like a muscle that must always be fed nutrients and worked out, love is an endless journey that you agree to take with someone hoping that it won’t ever end but understanding the experience will take you both to new heights as well as through deep lows. When I love you I must be accepting of your growth and not content with your present. Just as you pick up on positive and negative energy I must be so in tune with you that I can pick up on your frequency waves as they move, I want to be able to hear your cry out when you hide it behind your smile. Love is understanding that to get to that point you must start it one day at a time with communication and interactions.”

A very special person to me gave me his definition of love, beautiful right? When he first told me this I was watching love fade between 2 people who used to be so in love, and I myself, was hoping love could grow with said special person.  It gave me inspiration for a series I initially wrote, but life throws you and I landed here, hurt, broken, abandoned, but healing. –somehow I know this is exactly where I was supposed to be-. In a way I feel this post is about love. How complicated and all consuming love is. How love grows. How love fades. How love hurts, but we learn from it, heal and continue our search for it.

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So let’s talk about it, what is your relationship with love?

Until Next Time!

XOXO

Self Care: Why You Need It and How to Obtain It

I don’t know about anybody else, but the holidays have been draining for me- even though I was a self proclaimed Grinch seriously it was the first year I did not put up a tree and Christmas music was driving me insane! Lol- After gift shopping, holiday parties and celebrating the New Year I’m exhausted!

This year, like most, I have set some goals for myself; 3 specific goals. If you refer back to my very first video, I talk about keeping the goals to a minimum of 3 and elaborating on them. Too many goals split your focus or can become overwhelming-and I am already overworked! – try to do things to work toward your goals daily, weekly, and monthly. For instance, if your goal is to write a book; write a little each day, set a goal of a chapter a week by the end of the month you should have 4 chapters and that much closer to completing your book.

As I’ve gotten older, I have become a bit more private about the goals I set; they are very personal to me-and hello boundaries! – But I do want to share one I think everyone should be doing in some shape or form: Self Care.

Towards the end of the year things got super crazy for me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. One thing that falls to the side when things get crazy is taking care of you. This is definitely a moment to be selfish. My grandmother always tells me you can’t take care of other people if you can’t take care of yourself. It starts with you. You can’t pour into other things if you’re empty. Self care is more about working on the inside rather than outside- but don’t get it twisted keep it cute on the outside too boo-

Creating a stress free environment and setting boundaries are definitely important steps for self care. I believe your job plays a major role in stress. I personally decided to make a role change at one of my jobs. I was an admin to a director which was great for my resume, but super stressful, not at all flexible and I was slowly becoming unhappy. I took a promotion to processing behavioral medical claims. Even though it’s considered a promotion I will be doing much less than what I was doing in my other role-which I am super excited for frees up time for me to do things I want to do- also, I was being constantly consumed by work thoughts that it was clouding my mind!

Your peace of mind is yours and yours alone! It’s especially important if you suffer from mental illnesses or disorders. After my last flair up with PMDD I decided that my peace of mind was most important. I practice meditation which I get into later, but I haven’t been incorporating those tools into areas of my life outside of the physical act of meditating. I think practicing mindful meditation would help with dealing with stress throughout the day. You should be protecting your peace of mind at all cost. –Boundaries people boundaries!- 

So going forward in 2018 here are some things I am incorporating to help me protect my peace of mind and continue to work on my self care.

  1. Meditation and Reading

I talk about meditation a lot in my blog, but it’s so good for you! After a meditation session I feel refreshed. I feel mentally relieved. –Like when you got to take a nap in kindergarten – it’s totally brings the focus back to the forefront. I do my meditation sessions at night right after doing yoga and sometimes during my breaks at work. However, it’s not something I practice constantly.

After the last PMDD episode I had, I found that I was having constant anxiety and mini anxiety attacks – and for myself I want to learn how to deal with it naturally vs. taking medication, that’s just for me– I researched ways to deal with the anxiety thoughts throughout the day and one of the things I found for practicing mindful meditation. Meditation is the act of clearing your thoughts; mindful meditation is the act of training your thoughts. So whatever I’m thinking about that is causing my anxiety, I’m training myself to be aware that I’m having those thoughts and redirect my thoughts to more positive thinking.

I read books… and I’ll read you if you try it!

Reading is another way I train my mind. I lovvvvvvveeeeee to read- I’m especially attracted to books about magic and wizardry– but I will read almost anything. Reading provides me an escape that nothing else does. –That feeling when you get caught up in a good book, it’s nothing like it! – I’m particular about how I read as well. I prefer physical books over reading on my phone or a kindle –and it’s something about the smell of a book– since I love to read so much I decided to create a space in my house that I could read.

So for 2018, I’m in the process of converting a corner in my bedroom into a reading nook. I’m getting a big comfy chair, pillows, and a comfy blanket, light, the whole 9. I will be sure to keep you guys updated.

  1. Yoga and Exercise

Yoga and meditation go hand in hand. Practicing meditation is a part of yoga, which is why every session ends in a 10 minute meditation-but don’t you leave feeling relaxed and refreshed?!-

Exercising is just great for you period. –Do I really need to tell you all the benefits from exercising? – I will say I like to end a great workout in the sauna for 15-20 mins. If you have asthma like myself this helps your lungs after an intense workout. The sauna is great for colds/sinus as well. I also like to put a deep conditioner in my hair and sit in the sauna-yes with my bag on my head daring anyone to say anything! – But it’s so good for your hair and really helps the product work.

  1. Nature

Hitting the gym is great but I prefer to run outside. Something about physically being able to see how far I’ve actually ran and see nature rather than the person’s butt in front of me or smelling that sweaty gym smell- you know what I’m talking about! – A walk in the park, a hike, walk a trail, ponder life at a stream, or bicycling around the city, fresh air is definitely another good way to clear your mind, focus on your thoughts, and gain some clarity.

  1. Spa Day

Specifically a at home spa day- because we ballas on a budget over here! – I believe pampering yourself is essential. Manicures, pedicures, body butters, massage oils, massages, eyebrow threading, waxes, I need all of that. ALL. OF. THAT.

I do have a nail tech that I go to for my nails– shout out to Venus K. at Nail Lounge in the Boro! She keeps my nail in check- I also hit up the European Wax Center in Brentwood for any waxing I get done. Other than that I mainly do everything else myself. Yes that’s right, I have learned how to do my eyebrows and my own pedicures, every now and again if I’m feeling fancy I may go and get a pedicure done but I never let anyone touch my brows!!- I had 1 bad brow experience, learned my lesson, and taught myself!-

When I was younger I constantly made everyone in the house mad because I was a bathroom hog! I loved taking long hot bubble baths and listening to music- and you know singing along to all the songs- unfortunately we lived in a 3 bedroom 1 bathroom house sooooo naturally if I was in the bathroom for hours on end no one else could use the bathroom –muahahahaha- As I got older and busier, I settled for hot showers over baths and occasionally took bubble baths. This year I am bringing them back! the goal is for 1 to 2 nights out of the week dedicated to a night of relaxation. A glass bottle of wine –or cherry juice– candle lit bubble baths with neo-soul radio station. –I mean how could you not?!?!

  1. Therapy and Journaling

In case you haven’t notice blogging is kind of like a therapy for me. Of course it’s condensed but none the less. Therapy helps me work through my problems the best. It’s a nonbiased opinion. My therapist suggested journaling because I have a hard time with my thoughts as far as tracking them or remember certain things especially if my anxiety has kicked up.

Thinking about something isn’t enough for me I have to get it out, write it down, and say it out loud, let my thoughts flow until I can figure it out or work through it. The longer it stays in the more it festers, the more toxic it becomes… –let that shit out

Boundaries, self affirmations, living stress free, and protecting your peace of mind are so vital in the day and age. How someone treats you is what you allow and no one will treat you better than you treat yourself! Make sure you are at the top of your list because like I said you can’t take care of others if you can’t take care of yourself. So be selfish with you, your energy, your time, your attention.

What are some things you do for self care? Let’s talk about it!

Oh wait before you go, I have updated my closet on Poshmark and dropped some prices, you can download the app here and shop my closet- @lilvee08 or you can click the link on my home page titled “shop my closet”

Until next time!

XOXO

Respect these F*cking Boundaries

The latter half of 2017 was really rough for me, personally, spiritually, and mentally.

Words I would use to describe it; reckless, passionate, irresponsible, wild, unhealthy, unrequited, challenging, contradicting, and confusing just to name a few.

Since turning 28 I feel like I am stepping from a woman to a grown ass woman and all the universe is pushing me towards something. –has anybody else had this feeling before? Usually when I hear people talk about this it’s at the 30 mark, but baby I’m telling you I feel different!?  943fbd8450531a4095b8fb1f05972b5883433736_hq

I’ve talked a lot about vulnerability, navigating and figuring out what worked best for me- and I’ve brought you guys along this journey as I figure it out– while doing some research, I came across some blogs that really brought some things into perspective. BOUNDARIES. Something that was so simple, yet very much needed. While figuring out being vulnerable I had to figure out what my limits are and what I will and won’t allow. Unfortunately, everything is trial and error and boy was it trial and error-and is still a work in progress– but ultimately it’s about knowing yourself and having standards.

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Set the boundary, live the boundary, respect the fucking boundary. Boundaries teach people how to treat you. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that people will only treat you how you allow them to. Boundaries are not only important to have in your personal life, but in your dating and career life.

Dating

Having standards and boundaries while dating or in a relationship is very important. I’ve talked about my dating lifeor lack thereof– before and how I’ve never actually had a legit boyfriend, I think the last time I had one of those was 8th grade? Does that even count? NO! Every since this “talking” or “we not together but we know what it is” phase it seems that people are more interested in that rather than having an actual relationship- I can go deeper into this on another blog, but for now I digress– while in high school and a bit of college, I too, dabbled in it – it’s very convenient for that period of your life– but damnit after 25 if you’re still on that move far away from me. I’m at the point now where I want something real, someone I can grow, build, and explorer exclusively with – not knocking anyone that prefers to “talk” or “be together with no title” I just realize it’s not for me, it’s too confusing and way too many open questions for me and if you read my last blog that’s just asking for a panic attack I don’t have time for that, but to each its own right?-   I’ve been on a few dates in the past, but as I began to really analyze my dating life, I began to question do I really know how to date?suits_403_jeff_jessica_boundaries

Dating feels hard confusing not fun right now. I’m the single friend, so getting advice from my girlfriends that aren’t dating like me was hard, so naturally I looked for reading material and articles online. I have read The Conversation by Hill Harper before, but the details were a bit foggy to me. So I took the dust off the book and reread it. I instantly remembered why I loved the book so much. I even made notes and highlighted areas the first time I read it. –I read this book when I got out of my last “we not together but togetherrelationship– I also came across a blog post on XO Necole which came back to boundaries. I loved the idea of treating everybody of the opposite sex like a friend until it’s crystal clear that they want something more. I could go deeper into this, but honestly the post says everything I would say, take the time to read it if you have the chance. Between the book and the article, it definitely put things in perspective and gave me some things to keep in my arsenal when it comes to this dating game.

Career

I’m always going to be very vocal about purpose and passion, I feel like I was dead before I found it. Its hard work when your purpose and passion don’t make you those coins to stay alive, however. I talked in a post about how unhappy I was in my job because the job itself is stressful and it was taking away from my purpose and passion, which I care deeply about.  I decided for my sanity to take a step back out of management–although it’s considered a promotion– but it’s just a simpler job and it offers me more benefits, such as working at home.  Your job is such a huge chunk of your day, you should be happy doing whatever it is right? For someone like me it’s a means to an end, but I also need to be happy and not stressed doing it so I am able to do my passion and purpose. It’s a fine balance to it. It’s a boundary to it.giphy (1)

I follow Halfietruths’ blog -and honestly if you don’t you should, she’s amazing!- and she did a video over boundaries, where she talks about  what boundaries are, why to have them, and how to set them. One of the things she talks about in the video is how setting boundaries protects your energy, which for me is why boundaries are so important for me right now.

I’ve always been very open about suffering with PMDD I will be doing a video on this soon so keep an eye out- Fortunately for me, I know I’m very sensitive to hormones, so taking birth control with hormones in it, Plan B, or anything with added hormones will trigger a “crazy” lady – seriously shit gets REAL!- So setting boundaries helps protect this very important space for my sanity.

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It’s also so important for you and others to respect the boundaries you set. I’ve been guilty of setting boundaries and then going back on them to please someone or to please myself.-temptation is a bitch am I right?–  How confusing is that right? If I show I don’t even respect the boundaries or standards I set, how the fuck am I supposed to expect someone else to respect them?

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Going into 2018, I challenge everyone to really get to know who you are. We are ever evolving beings and we are constantly changing and one day you look up and you realize you don’t know who you are anymore. I challenge you to be the best version of yourself daily. I challenge you to find you purpose and your passion and go for it, but live in the moment and enjoy the journey. What is living if you’re not having any fun? Have fun. but also RESPECT THESE FUCKING BOUNDARIES with positive vibes only. tenor

Let’s talk: What are some boundaries you’re setting for yourself in the New Year?

Until next time,

Happy Holidays!