Self Lovin

This month’s Motivation was came to me as we were recording our upcoming episode “ Pretty Hurts”. The episode was inspired by Beyonce’s song and we talked a lot about body image and how we perceive ourselves. If you know me you should know that I am a huge advocate for self love and self care and that is why I wanted to highlight a few self love/ self care influencers. 

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First influencer is Alex Elle. I discovered her Tumblr a years ago and was immediately drawn into her writing. I also follow her on Twitter where she shares a lot of affirmations and Instagram where she has migrated her moments of transparency for others. She is an author and has a few books out that I'll link at the end of this post. Her writing creates a space that Black women can find comfort in, however it is not to be consumed exclusively by Black women. Alex shares journal and aspiration challenges across her social media platforms and has a podcast "hey, girl" where she talks with people that inspire her. I chose to share Alex because I've saved a few of her affirmations and have hung them up as well as participated in her challenges and I deeply appreciate the vulnerability in her writing. 


Next up is Francheska aka HeyFranHey.  Fran is one of the OG natural & wellness youtubers. I discovered her on Tumblr as well. Every post of hers that came up on my dashboard were super informative and simplistic I was like "let me just follow this chick and see what she is about." I briefly met her about 5 years ago at a "Those Girls are Wild" event here in NYC. Since then I've watched Fran become a significant digital influencer all while contributing to inform her growing tribe on all things wellness. She Cohosts a wellness podcast called " The Friendzone" where they discuss various topics to promote mental health and awareness. Like Alex she shares journal prompts, reflections and various exercises for the listeners to do. Fran is such a giving person that shares so much information, resources, products and knowledge, I continue to learn a lot from her. Fran is like THE definition of self care. 


Lastly, I have forever friend in my head Andrea Lewis. I've been a fan of Andrea since her Degrassi days and when I came across her tumblr I was ecstatic (clearly Tumblr was the plug). I then learned that she and a friend had a youtube channel series called "Those Girls are Wild". I loved it. They were just like my friends. Whenever they had events in NYC I made sure to attend. Since then Andrea as grown to create 2 webseries "Black Actress" and "Beyond Complicated". With all of this going on she also launched a more personal youtube series " Self Love Saturdays". As you can imagine every Saturday she drops a gem for us. I strongly advice watching these three videos if you are starting your self love journey. If you're further along in your journey then maybe these can be a jumpstart for you . 


- Resources -

Alex Elle

Website: alexelle.com

Instagram | Twitter | Podcast | Blog

HeyFranHey

Website: heyfranhey.com

Instagram | Twitter | Podcast | YouTube

Andrea Lewis

Website: missandrealewis.com

Instagram | Twitter  | YouTube


- Reflections -

  1. What does "self love" & "self care" look to you?
  2. How do you practice each?
  3. What are some ares you can be show more love & care to yourself?

That's Me, Ms. 20 Something

Like many others I have been listening to Sza's CTRL album non stop since she released it. Although it is hard for me to pick a favorite or top 3 or 5, with my birthday approaching there is one song that amplifies my usual birthday reflections and that is "20 Something"

In short Sza shares on this song that she hasn’t “accomplished” things that she probably should have by now as well as expressing concerns of losing friends and life after one’s 20s

I love that my birthday falls at this point of the year. It provides me with a mid calendar check in. This month’s motivation I will be reflecting on this last year as well as setting out some intentions for my new year ahead.  

What have been the high and low points of the past year?

Highs - Hands down traveling to Greece & Costa Rica. Two beautiful places where I grew as a person and gained a deeper understanding of self. I met my new baby cousin, we had a successful podcast event.

Lows - experienced some lows in dating that took me out of character a few times. I also experienced health complications and a few family scares.

What kind of maturity or experience have you gained throughout the year?

I have had to really pick and choose my battles this year. I had to practice speaking up for myself in the moment as well as discernment. Though I felt that I always owned my actions this past year I really had others hold me accountable for my actions in ways that forced me to reflect on my communication habits and how to be better. 

What are your intentions for next year?

My main intention is to not settle for anything thats half assed. I don’t want to half ass anything and I don’t want to keep that vibe. Im ready to push my art back out there and to let it drive me for a bit. 

In various ways I thought I would be a bit farther than I am now, that I would have had certain experiences by now and that I would’ve obtained certain things by now that I haven’t The “lack” of these things trips me up often, SPECIALLY around my birthday however I know that for the most part this is apart of being a 20 Something. 

Below you can check out Sza’s song and reflect on some questions as a mid year check in. Thanks! 


Reflections

  • Where has the time gone? What have you spent the most time doing?
  • Are you living up to your potential?
  • How does another year sound?
  • What are your intentions for next year?
  • What would I like to have happen in my life between now and my next birthday?

When Things Don't Go As Planned

I'm not sure if I'm a type A or B personality or if there are even more letters to it than those. I'm not sure if it is a "cancer" thing, an INFJ or some other kind of personality identifying thing. I'm a planner. A lot of my friends are also planners and my mother is a "just in case something happens you should be prepared" kind of woman. This is a double sided sword of a trait to have. In our recent episodes with Candace of Little Miss Entertainment podcast I shared the contrast of my college expectation to its reality as well as my expectations for post college life and how it actually turned out. Even in my last Mo•tivation post I shared how my expectations for the healing retreat differed from what I experienced.


My mom has raised me to be PROACTIVE instead of REACTIVE. One of the slogans for being a girl scout is to "Be Prepared". When it comes to writing Mo•tivation I always draft and outline and finesse the structure. I usually have 3, 6, 9 month goals as well as 1yrs, 3yr and 5 yr goals. I sound a little excessive right? Maybe? I like to have a general idea of where I'm going and I like to feel reassured that I have what I need to take me there or that I'm on track to acquire it along the way.


Most recently, I've been planning a trip since Nov 2016. I was working with a travel agent, and every few weeks sending out information to everyone I invited. This week I bought the plane tickets only to cancel them within the 24hr grace period. I concluded the trip had fallen apart. There are family things going on and to force this trip knowing some members would not be able to make it thus not being the trip I planned, I had to give it up. I had to accept that there were a lot of moving pieces that were not in my control. If I wanted to have the experience I wanted it was going to have to be at another time. I was sad and disappointed however I took the L.


Depending on how off track things end up going, I usually have some kind of meltdown or I shutdown and withdraw from communication for a bit. In these moments I try to breathe and remind myself that is in't the end of the world. This is not something easy to do but it helps me to at least focus my thoughts when I feel like I have too many swarming around. I went to my homegirl Google for some times to share with you on how to deal when things do not go as planned.

Here are a few reminderss from 18 Reminders You Need When Things Don’t Go Your Way

  • Flexibility in life is crucial.  Sometimes the best moments happen unplanned and the greatest regrets happen by not reaching exactly what was planned.

  • Unexpected events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering.  Emotional resistance creates suffering.  Stress happens when your mind resists what is.  Thus, the only real problems in your life are your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds.

  • Wonderful gifts are rarely wrapped the way we expect.

  • Life will inevitably surprise you again… in some unimaginable way.  So at the very least, don’t assume that you’re stuck with the way things are right now.  You aren’t.  Life changes every single moment, and so can you.

And here are some things to do to keep you going from When Things Don’t Go As Planned: Transform Disappointment into Action

  • Explore your original expectations surrounding the goal.
    • was this expectation realistic? Was it well thought out? What was motivating the desired outcome to begin with? Did we do the steps that one might reasonably expect to do to experience this desired outcome?
  • Make a decision.

    • continue on the same path despite outcome? change the path to get to desired outcome? change the outcome?

  • Install some new expectations.

    • ake sure we toss out the old expectations and replace them with new, updated, and perhaps more informed (or more realistic) versions.

Reflection

  1. How do you handle when things don't go as planned?
  2. What's one thing you used to do that you've stopped doing?
  3. What is one thing that you picked up that has been effective for you?

Healing...

If I can be completely transparent with you, the first quarter of 2017 was pretty rocky for me. In short, I experienced a heartache that sent me in to a bit of an emotional spiral (I mean I was Petty Wap and the Twitter fingers stayed ready!). That, combined with wanting a “break” from the typical millennial in metropolitan city hustle and bustle encouraged me to jump at the opportunity to go on a healing retreat in Costa Rica last month.

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I was inspired by Cadacia to give up my personal social media for Lent. When it was over I was able to see how I was reverting to social media as an outlet for personal experiences. I  was also reminded how much idle time I wasted on social media. It was like as soon as I had my phone in hand I defaulted to Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr and would just scroll for far too long. Having this healing retreat within Lent allowed me to be deeply present in life in ways that I found hard to do at "home". I was not posing for the gram or snapping for the chat (well not that much). Although I could receive text messages I was able to remain very disconnected from the social media aspect of my phone.

I found the retreat back in October when Antoinette from Around The Way Curls posted pictures from the same retreat but in October. I’ve met her a few times at natural hair events in NYC and I can say I’ve been following her blog and social media for the last 5 years so I trusted her word on this. Just like that I booked another not so “solo” trip.

During the course of the retreat we did yoga and meditated every morning (my first time actually doing yoga with an instructor and not an app), we had vegan breakfasts and lunches, which was great to experience. I do not see myself becoming vegan but I’m down to have vegan meals more often than not. In the afternoon and some evenings we had workshops which for me, scratched the surface in our “healing” journey. Although I feel this way I’m sure some of the other ladies appreciated this as a good start. In the evenings we’d break off into groups and explore Puerto Viejo. It’s a lovely area. Its where a lot of the Africans and other Blacks within the West Indies moved there to work on the Panama Canal so in various ways it felt like Trinidad and Venezuela for me.

 
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Healing from experiences is just like everything else in life, a journey with no real definitive end.  I found myself in a space where I felt like I had to go to away in order to come back to who I am and the woman I want to continue growing into. I went to the retreat expecting more of a  "Iyanla's Fix My Life type" of experience and although the retreat did not meet that expectation for me, I did learn a lot from conversing with the other women and the workshops peaked my interest on societal behaviors as well as healing crystals and meditations. I'll probably follow up in future posts.

In conclusion, it seems like the best way for me to heal as I continue to experience unfamiliar events, is to be still and reflect/ mediated/ pray on it. I'm learning that I have to give myself breaks and continue to practice self care. Make it a habit, make it a ritual. I wont always be able to run off to a foreign country so I have to make the most of the resources I have here. I've also learned I have to be more transparent when I feel that i have been wronged because it will be like a scab one picks at at wont thus not allowing it to heal properly.

I want to heal properly.


Reflection

So with that being said, how do you handle healing from experiences.

Are you still going through the motions? 

Have you forgiven yourself/ other?

Comment below or hit me up on twitter

Have you forgiven yourself/ other?

Comment below or hit me up on twitter


To learn more about the Women of Color Healing Retreat click here

Put Them Bags Down

Hey hey! After talking with a friend about some challenges she was facing with her family, reflecting on my recent dating experience and listening to Bag Lady by miss Erykah Badu, I decided that this month I wanted to talk about boundaries. 

"Bag lady, you gon' hurt your back, draggin all your bags like that"

My friend is always available for her family, always says yes and is always constantly doing above and beyond for them. She was giving so much of herself without much (positivity) in return. We can say she is reaching a point where she is pouring form an empty cup at this point.  In this same moment she is taking on their responsibilities. She fills up bags with their problems and carries them with her. They are weighing her down. I've been reflecting on my most recent dating experience. I've can now see how the lacking of defining and committing to boundaries worked against my well being. Metaphorically, I was carrying everything I didn't want as if it was welcomed to roll with me. MY bags were heavy with doubt, fear of the unknown, dishonesty and resentment. I dragged them with me for too long.

"One day all them bags gon' get in your way"

As my friend and I continued to express our growing pains to one another it was becoming clear to me that we were tripping over ourselves and making a mess. I was definitely starting to make a mess bit by bit. Here we are trying to maintain, accommodate and be who and what we think the people close to us want us to be. We had acquired bags filled with things that weren't even ours to carry. No one asked us to do so but we did. 

As we concluded our heart to heart I shared with her some ways that she could begin to implement  boundaries slowly with her family. As for me, it was too late for that. I now have a clearer understanding of my boundaries, why I shouldn't cross them  or allow other people to and why it is imperative that I communicate them with others as well as uphold them.


Reflection

  1. What are some of your boundaries with friends and family?
  2. How do you practice maintaining them?
  3. What advice would you give to someone who is struggling?

Here are some resources for setting boundaries and putting them bags down