I know that this can be a problem for everyone. No one is safe from battling their emotions. I think we all can agree on that. Personally? I am an OCD/Egocentric/Analyzing freak. And that’s putting it lightly. You know what helps me? Facts. Numbers. Math. Science. So, if I am upset about something, I am going to analyze it to death until my pain goes away.

Just Kidding, It doesn’t work that way. I mean, I have a tendency to do all those things, but they don’t help. At all.

What I want you to know, is that one – we are all human. But two, how you handle your feelings is a choice. First of all, what do you do when your negative feelings start bubbling up? Do you cry? Get mad? Want to talk about it? Bottle it up? Fire off an email or text? Do all of those things at the same time? That was my go to. LOL!

I challenge you to do this. When you have negative emotions, start by saying a small prayer. You will see, that through that prayer, you can calm yourself. Mine goes a little something like this, “God, Please help me understand this and respond appropriately. Don’t let me lash out or carry around unwanted or unwarranted resentment. Help me calm down, and speak the kindest way I can.” This grounds me in a way I can’t explain. Maybe it is just knowing that God has my back and is always there, I don’t know. But, it works.

When to Speak Up

Now, there are going to be times when you are going to have to make a decision on your emotions in a split second, ammirite? If you feel unsafe, physically or mentally threatened, or scared for others – go with your gut. Run, Call the cops, slam the door, etc. It’s always better to err on the side of caution, and look crazy later – than end up in a grave. That’s facts. But an email? An angry text? An argument with your boyfriend? Those things can wait a second. Just take a moment. A moment for yourself. It takes a lot more discipline and grace to wait, than fire off.

What happens when you wait? A lot. Clarity. I strongly believe in writing it down. Pen to paper. Get it out. And when the time is right, speak up. Write the email. Mail the letter. Whatever needs to be done. I am not saying to be a doormat. I am saying, just make sure you say what you mean, and mean what you say. I know in the heat of the moment, if I don’t stop myself – I can wield an emotional baseball bat that can take your knees out.

And if you are struggling with feelings of insecurity, self esteem, or other ‘internal emotions’. Sit with those also. Believe it or not, I use to be one of the most insecure people walking the planet. I still have insecurities, but not about myself, per se. I know who I am. I know how I love. I know I work hard. I know I am a good mom. I know I am loved. I am chosen. I am blessed. When you pray about your insecurities, and just ask for help, you might be shocked as to how quickly they begin to resolve. And now? I will sit down directly beside someone who doesn’t like me, and say “Hey Girl.”

Listen, we all have choices. We can choose to deal from a place of sadness and low self-esteem, or a place with divine guidance. I don’t know about you – but this southern girl chooses Jesus everytime. He ain’t let me down yet.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

I was called “Man-ish”. It was meant to be insulting. And hurt my feelings. And guess who said it – Another woman.

I was a little shocked by that. I mean, the person who said it has some serious issues, so consider the source, right? But – nonetheless, this is what she thought would be hurtful to me. First, let’s get one thing straight. Can we – as humans – stop with the name calling. It is ridiculous. Luckily, I have amazing people in my life, who build me up everyday. So, her backhanded comment didn’t affect me negatively, it actually made me think. It made me wonder, why would ‘man-ish’ be considered an insult?

If you have seen me, of all the things I am not, is man-ish, in the derogatory way she meant it. I am a girly girl. I wear all the makeup, I love dresses, pink is my favorite color, and lace is a must in my life. That being said, I am a manager of a bodyshop. I love to do wood working. I am a mom of three kiddos, who support them. I also sew, crochet, and am teaching myself to weave. I love my jeep, and doing modifications. I love facials, and spa days. I have short hair and a routine to get it this color that only one woman on the planet can create. (Plug for Michelle definitely inserted here).

So what was meant by Man-ish? I am sure it was the few things in my life that are considered more of a typical “male” role. Which, I don’t even want to address just how problematic that level of thinking is. Problematic, archaic, and ridiculous. I was talking about this with a couple guys at work, and asked them their take. First, they all laughed at me being called “man-ish”.

But, I believe one of the guys nailed it on the head. He said to me, “It’s her anxiety, I bet. I find that the most female on female criticism actually stems from feeling inadequate in an area of life they admire about you. You are the head of the house. It’s only you. You are the breadwinner. The provider for your family. You have given them a great life. Your kids love and adore you. You are involved. You give them freedom to live. She probably wishes she was half that. “

Maybe that’s true, I like to think so, anyway. But my main point is this. Before you hurl insults at someone, make sure it’s them that’s the issue. I am so lucky that my confidence game is strong. I am happy. Completely happy. I love my job. I love my co-workers. I love being a mom. I love my crazy busy life. I love my relationships. Ask anyone who knows me, the last 6 -7 months of my life, have been the best I ever had.

I had some real conversations with those I love. We are a focused team. Same goes at work. Things are clicking. So, I am going to allow my “man-ish” self to be taken out to dinner. And I am going to allow my “man-ish” self, to have the door opened for me while we go. And when I get home? I might pour some concrete and make a super hip stool. (All those really happened, by the way. Literally exactly like that.. LOL! I can post a pic of the stool later.)

So, when you are named called, consider the source. But also, remember how wonderfully made you are. You are valued. You are needed. And pray for the ones who call names. Below. I’ll some pics of my “Man-ish” Self. Doing some “Man-ish” Things.

OH! One more thing, Stay Classy. Hot mess doesn’t look good on anyone.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

A few weeks back, on my personal facebook page, I posted the below :

You wanna know why that’s funny? Cause it’s true. This new year, I have been quieter. Well, this whole holiday season, (see the last blog). But I was still here, reading, and lurking… LOL! And I saw a little bit of everything from folks. From “New Year, Same me” to “Almost time for the gym to get busy” to “Make New Year’s Resolutions- but not about your body!” (I really saw that one, too!) And all of this made me think, about my own take on the new year.

I like it. Is it just another day? Sure. But is it a block of time? It is. I also like the beginning of a football game. I am a huge Baltimore Ravens fan, and there was nothing I used to like anymore, than Ray Lewis coming onto the field and doing his chicken dance. I loved it. And why? Because you knew that the game was about to start. Race on. It’s my starting line.

I am a Virgo. Competitive by nature. So it was no shock to my own self when I realized I was making baby goals in my mind. And some were big and some were small. Then I was thinking about how to achieve them, and then it hit me. Like a ton of bricks.

Last year was a tough year for me – mentally and physically. I realized in late September/early October, there is a difference in being a doormat and standing up for yourself. I am so lucky that I have some amazing people around me – who supported me – and talked me through this – and even encouraged me. Now, although I am not comfortable with it, I am trying to do it more often. It isn’t my nature, you understand – my nature is to be a people pleaser. So often times, I shut up and take it. Just not to make waves.

Sis, that’s just ridiculous. I have learned that you can stand up for yourself without being a raging lunatic. You can say “Stop.” You can say, “I am not going to allow you to speak/treat/talk to me that way.” You can create boundaries. And you can forgive the whole time you are doing it. I am realizing that disagreements, along with standing up for yourself, doesn’t mean the person hates you – or that you are killing a relationship. It just means, you are saying, this doesn’t work for me.

I am not a ‘wave-maker’ now, but I am heard. There’s a difference. I feel like, I have a right to be heard, as do you. And we should be able to express ourselves, exactly like that. I also believe, that if someone is doing something good, we should be supportive, right? As humans, all doing this life thing together, we should be nicer. I literally just said, we should be nicer. Why, oh why, aren’t we nicer!?!?

Well, and there was my answer. In 2020 – and from this point on – I am going to work on being more consciously grateful. Consciously Kind. And also, maintain respect for myself. And if I can do that? Well, I would dare bet – a lot can change, right? And notice, I said that I am going to “work on it.” I might not do it great, I might have days where I fail miserably. But what I do know is this – I can always do a little better than I did they day before.

I put this photo on here, because this was definitely – my favorite day this year.

So, join me on this gratitude journey. Try everyday, to think of a few things that you are thankful for. Big or Small. Then write it down. And here’s the key- don’t make it the same three or four things. Because then it becomes reciting, not feeling and thinking about it. And I am making my own rule here, My top two – will never make the list – and I say that because consider it unspoken. I am thankful for God and my faith, and for my kids.

So, I will start us off.

  • Love. I am grateful for love. Being loved. Loving others.
  • Modern Medicine and Alternative Medicine. When you have some of the health issues, I have had – you learn to appreciate both.
  • Having my best friend. A tell all. Another human to do life with – that gets you without judgement.
  • Coffee. I love coffee. I love the habit of it – the way it starts my day off.

So, big things, little things, and things in between. Tell me, what are you grateful for? Maybe, I am taking something for granted, that I need to appreciate a little more!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

Well, this is gonna be short. I didn’t plan this blog, she just kinda flew out my fingertips. I have had a good day. No major issues. Hiccups. All good. Then, out of nowhere, “WHAM!” I got slammed by a flood of emotions that I didn’t see coming. Long story short – in a previous blog I wrote about the best friend break-up. (You can click the underlined part to read that if you haven’t). Well, some of their social media popped up in my world – and it was like I was stabbed all over again. I guess, I should just feel blessed that I don’t know how you do that. How you just drop someone for literally no reason/no explanation.

Anyway. That sucked. Tears were burning my eyes. I shut my office door. I cried for a second, cause my feelings were re-hurt. And then I did it. I made a phone call. I called and I cried. And guess what !? I wasn’t made fun of, I was listened to, and I ended up laughing at the end. So I say all that, to say this. I am so grateful. In a moment of yucky – I realized that I have so much to be grateful over. And guys, when you are upset, let it out to someone you trust. I started off feeling crazy for being emotional. I ended up receiving understanding and a deeper connection with them? Why? Because I got vulnerable and showed emotion instead of choking it down. So, try it. Let it out.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On. Sat nam.

It’s worth it. For real.

I mean, honestly. Boulders and clubs might . But sticks and stones? Nah.

Tonight while surfing the web, I got a great idea for a blog.  One that has affected me my whole life.  And something that I haven’t conquered – but is a work in progress.  You know the old saying, “Sticks and stones can break by bones but words will never hurt me?”  Well, that’s a big fat lie. First, I am gonna self admit – I have done a whole lot more damage with my words than ever with my fists.  I have had my fair share of run ins with sticks and stones… from falling down hills, playing sports, you name it.  But, I can honestly say – that not one single stick or stone has broken a bone. Ever.  Maybe made a bruise, but nothing that I can even really remember.  I am just sure in the course of my life so far – it has had to happen.  

Words on the other hand, can break your heart.  Words are something that can only be forgiven – no guarantee forgotten.  You know, looking back on old photos and videos – I can remember a lot of conversations – funny little things that I had previously forgotten.  But I remember those words.  Now, in the age of social media – it seems so much more prevalent. People will trash talk their spouses. Make fun of other people. Critique someone’s clothes, makeup, or even a birth mark.  People can say anything they want to someone, because they don’t have to look them in the eye.  My term for them, are internet gangsters. Here is a rule of thumb — if I wouldn’t say it if they are sitting in front of me – I will never type it.  And that goes in all areas  —  I’ve been hurt enough by words – I am sure we all have — so I don’t ever want to do that to anyone else.  

This week- THIS FREAKING WEEK – I was upset, and I said something I didn’t mean. I wasn’t even mad at the person I was talking to, I was just all up in my own feels. When they told me that they were hurt – It broke my heart. My mouth did it again. I couldn’t do anything but apologize. And this person, is super gracious, said that they understood, and accepted my apology. Now, I need to work a hundred times harder – to show that person that I meant it.  

I have even made the mistake my kids.  When you say, “You are grounded until you are 100!” — well, we know that’s not gonna happen.  I mean, I don’t normally say 100 . I do though, make more dramatic statements of punishment, than what would actually fit the crime. So then, when I calm down, I have to explain that I was angry, that was dramatic, and here is the actual punishment. I have had to do this more than once.  You get what I am sayin’, I’m sure. 

Let me tell you something, the word “whatever”, “nothing”, ‘I’m fine”….  I used to say it all the time. I know its a joke that when a woman says, “Nothing is wrong..” – that means something is.  Honestly, isn’t it sometimes so much easier to say those responses?  Like, it’s easier to say that you don’t care – than to explain all the reasons that you do. And why? Because if you don’t want to be vulnerable and show how you really feel.  And I know I feel that way sometimes.  That being said, if something is wrong. Say it. Don’t scream it. Maybe you know you are being moody – preface it with that. Because let me tell you -everyone has been moody. Everyone. Wouldn’t you rather someone tell you what’s wrong ? I know I do. Then you aren’t guessing. Worrying. Do everyone and yourself a favor.

Here’s my challenge to you. Watch your words. Tell your truth.

Be kind to each other.  Life is too short. 

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On. Sat nam.

Well. I ghosted for a few days. Figuratively and almost literally. I’m gonna share more than I normally do – just because it is something that I think needs to be addressed. Because if I am dealing with it, I know I’m not the only one.

I am the picture of health to most people. I go to the gym. I run. I do yoga. I meditate. I am proactive about my health. But it isn’t because I am health nut- it’s because I have to be. The past two years my poor body has been through the ringer. It’s been one of those things where I really say, what’s next.

Sunday. I got sick. Super sick. The type of sick where you really get scared. I was vomiting uncontrollably. It went on for about four hours. I slept in the bathroom floor for awhile. I went to bed, and woke up once to puke again. I woke up, saying “I’ll be better today!” And guess what. I wasn’t. I tried to talk myself into it. Although, I had quit puking. I felt like crap. My whole body ached. My feet hurt when I stepped on the ground. I figured after a good nights sleep, I’d feel better.

Lies.

I woke up the next day, and to be honest, I knew there was something off. I call the doctor- and I am instructed to go to the Emergency Room. So, off I go.

I was ashamed. Ashamed I was sick. Ashamed there was another problem. I was mortified that I would miss another day of work. Let me state- that in the three years I have been employed there- this is the fifth day I called out sick. So, as of last Sunday- 3 days In three years. And please know, my employers are fantastic. Two of those days- they forced me to take off. Because they knew the problems I was having. So it’s self induced- the panic and shame I feel.  It isn’t from them.  It’s from me. 

I associate, and I think a lot of people do, being sick with being weak. This association is only for myself though. Not others. I feel for others with health issues. I encourage rest, doctors, talking, time off, take care if yourself. But for my own self? Complete shame. I feel like if I was stronger. If I did something different. Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten sick.

Well, this day- it was a ‘cardiac event’ stemmed from dehydration. To break it down- my heart was angry because I was dehydrated. I was given a million bags of iv fluids- and I am on the mend. It’s amazing how fluids can make such a difference. Who knew.

Guess who I contacted? Only the people I absolutely had to. Why? Because I don’t want people to pity me, or think – ‘now what’? Because listen. I’ve heard the tones before. When you have a weak moment and you tell a friend about what you are going through, and they seem- judge-y. It sucks. The “WOW. That seems like a lot.” Or “it seems like it something different every week. “

You are right, Karen. It does. And it doesn’t seem like something. It is something. But all the little issues all started with the big one. But please, tell me more about the person who had 14 items in the 10 item or less checkout. And keep being dismissive.

Yes. That was bitterness you detected. But this why I just keep my mouth shut. Shame. I was shamed once and became self conscience. So, I really kinda ‘suffer alone’- not even trying to sound dramatic. I could have asked a number of people to come sit at the hospital with me today- and I was scared. But I refused to ask. Why? Shame. Don’t want to bother anyone.  And I am so not kidding.  I literally have a list of people who would have came.  But because of one statement, by someone that I am not even really friends with at all, it clammed me up. 

So, if your loved one has health issues. Or you even know someone who is just struggling, health or not, and you are in a good mental place – Call.  Text them.  Reach out.  Let the speak freely.  It’s hard to be by yourself.  And just because someone is married, has kids, great parents – doesn’t mean that they don’t feel ashamed.  Autoimmunity, cancer, flu, or just a string of bad luck- let them know it’s okay to call them. It’s a lonely world when you feel shamed. This isn’t a fact that I have no one – I do. This is just me saying openly- it’s hard to let people in sometimes- especially when you feel like a broken human.57832145616__5040EA94-B9FE-440F-B011-59641F411E6F

Because some days. I do feel broken.  I understand.  It’s hard.

Then I gotta remember – God’s doesn’t let us be broken.  And then, I talk to my tribe and they reassure me.  That they love me.  They just love me.  And everytime, they tell me that.  A little bit of that wall comes down.  

And I am so grateful. For my health. My home. My family. My friends. I am a lucky one. 

First, let me start by saying, I do have a day job.  And – as far as day jobs go – I am very thankful for my job – and the folks I work with.  My teammates are some of my closest friends.  My supervisor, is awesome.  He backs us, helps us – I couldn’t ask for more.  Now, that being said – I was on vacation the week before last – and it was amazing.  My best friend from VA was here – and we had a great time.  A time to decompress, catch up, and relax.  We both have a lot going on in our lives – both moms – jobs – and busy.  So just to sit and enjoy one another was a huge blessing.  I ended that week with a new sense of purpose.  Relaxed.  And a new mindset upon my “day job”.

The week went pretty much like normal, and I was smiling the whole time ( that part not necessarily normal).  But I had decided to be grateful for my job.  My co-workers.  My supervisor.  And when things rose up that would normally stress me out, I took a deep breath, and I was good.  I went through the week feeling amazing.  Until the last day of the work week.

I know it could be risky writing this, but – I feel like I have to.  If I don’t – I am being fake.  And my hair, nails, and tan might be fake – but my heart isn’t.  So I am going to be vague to protect myself.  But just hear what I am saying.

I witnessed corporate bullying.  Not on myself – or my co-workers – so no worries there, but nonetheless.  I saw it.  And I never have seen such a spectacle in my life.  I have never been so shocked – embarrassed and hurt for the people it happened to – the level of empathy I had was out the roof.  And I thought bullying was something that kids did in a school yard.  Not in a workplace.  So I write this, to say this.  If you ever partake of “corporate bullying” – you are no better than a child in a schoolyard.  In every environment that I have ever worked in – people discuss business like people.  Intelligently, calmly, with action plans in place. To me, that seems to be the right way to do it.  Never is public humiliation, or bullying an acceptable plan.  Ever.

So I am writing this, hoping to change one heart.  Just one.  If someone reads this who believes that is a proper form of business – reevaluate.   You will never gain the respect of other people, by public shaming.  Because guess what?  Not one person will be on your side.  Every single person will feel for the person visibly shaking and trying to maintain a businesslike composure.  That is the people who are classy – the ones when provoked – who stood firm.  I don’t know if I could do the same.  To be honest, I am sure I couldn’t.

And if you have experienced bullying as an adult or child – remember – It is not you.  They have something, within themselves, to where that is the only way they feel powerful.  And if you can keep from screaming, feel bad for them.  I wish I could say I feel bad for them – but not yet – I am still mad.

I’m ending this with a video of my vacation – because it was awesome – and remember what relaxing and being thankful is about.  And remember – you never know what someone is going through – use your words carefully.