Thank you to the wonderful women who answered the call to be interviewed. It takes a lot to open up about who you are. You are who you are and this process can be a little intimidating. Thank you to all of my volunteers. As women we all have unique situations that vary but collectively we go through much of the same things. Not just for this month or for the #METOO movement, let’s all bond as one.
Purchased her home at the age of 19
When back to school during a separation with my then husband
Bouncing back from having to file for bankruptcy
Having the means to support my daughters alone
Working for the same company for 23 years and I am only 40 years old
Instilling in my daughters the meaning of faith
Working my way up to a Co-lead for a team at church
Stayed focused on my weight loss. About a little over a year ago I was a size 24 (extremely tight) and now I am wearing a 18 -20.
Continue losing weight and getting fit for myself. There are things that I want to do but have weight restrictions. I don’t want to be restricted of nothing I want to do.
Work on my bucket list which would lead to enjoying my life
Be in a position in my career were there is still passion and have it not be just work
Utilizing my event planning skills to plan family trips as family time is so important to me
I read a lot of inspirational books such as a Woman’s daily prayer, Too blessed to be stressed, and a moment for your soul. There are many days that I feel down and out, wondering why me, or when will my prince charming come. These books remind me of my purpose now and to remain focus on today.
I have a journal that I am writing to my future self. In the book I write things that I want to do but afraid to do, mistakes I did today that may affect tomorrow or areas that I want to change that will benefit the future me, Honestly it helps me stay focus on doing things for me today because I don’t want to let down the future me.
I try to exercise daily and make conscious decisions when eating because the more weight I lose the more I feel good about myself.
Thank you to Erica for pushing through when life knocked you down many times, raising your daughters with respect and love, and making sure that while you are there for others that you keep yourself your priority. Good luck on your continued blessed journey!
Yes I have and it was so super brief not many people knew. I wasn’t trying to hide him either. I have zero problems with dating outside of my race if the vibes are right. I have never been one to discriminate against it. All of my life I have made it clear I like cream in my coffee. I just never tasted enough cream in my coffee to make any waves. I understand some people’s issues with it and that’s their issue. So it was in college after the breakup of my college sweetheart aka my current husband. I did not go out seeking him either. He was white. He was in one of my core classes. He had a lot of the qualities I liked, tall, funny, beautiful spirit and good-looking. He had been giving me the sexy eyes for a minute and I denied him since I was in a relationship. He saw me in class with a hoody on looking all kinds of depressed and tor up. Yes tor up and sad. He swooped in with the what’s the matter talk and our conversation shifted since I was back on the market. We hung out, we studied but it never went any further because into our second official date, he stated he couldn’t date me because he was afraid of what his parents would think. He asked me to date him privately and that wasn’t then nor has that ever been my thing. So I let him go. I was upset but knew I had dodged a bullet.
I might have been able to go the distance in my mind with the college guy had he been open. But I have always been any one I dated cup of tea and I wasn’t about to turn down my melanin to suppress his dad’s preferences. So there you have it. Yes I dated outside of my race extremely briefly but I did it.
The only time we talk about gratefulness is around Thanksgiving. You hear everyone repeat what they are grateful for. If you come from a big family as I do, by the time Aunt Sally speaks her gratefulness you’re almost tapped out. Do you know the power of speaking what you are grateful for out loud? It refocuses what you have and less on what you don’t. It will renew your mind to go after what you don’t have without negativity. It will allow others around you to get good vibes as well. When you see grateful people they seem to smile more. There lives may be in shambles but they know that trouble don’t last always. They seem perkier. They seem almost too unreal. The reason they seem unreal is because the world is full of life suckers and negative vibes. Choose to be the light in a dark world. Sometimes a simple smile can do it for someone. I watched my kids energy in a simple Snapchat video and it reminded me to slow down and relax. Or when I see my daughter accomplish a goal she thought she couldn’t its gratefulness that makes me stop and reflect. I look and see the Vegas devastation and some of the stories of heroism or the stories of how a man lost his wife but he was grateful for her smile everyday. Can you say the same? Will someone look back at the time you were here and say, they were genuine and loved life? If not you can change it. Life sucks no doubt, but if you change the lens you will be able to conquer anything thrown.
So I’ll start it out for you, what are you grateful for?
I am grateful:
- My life
- My health
- My husband
- My kids
- My job
- Good credit
- No debt
- Ability to love
- Ability to receive love
- This day
- My friends
- For my grandparents still being alive
- For my nieces
- My siblings and siblings in love
- My parents
- For working my marriage
- For good food in my home
- For the ability to have gas in my car
- For healing
- For a sound mind
- Loving love
- Being quirky
- For loving to celebrate daily days
- Being an organized person
- For being creative
The list can go on for pages and pages, what are you grateful for? Speak it and sit back and enjoy the blessings that God gave you as you speak it and list it. It changes you when you learn to live from a grateful heart. Be grateful!
Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news or good news depending on how you see it, but a new Year is coming soon. I know everyone will wait until after Christmas to start their new me, new this and that but wouldn’t be nice to do things a different this year?
Instead of waiting, actually put an action plan in place. How many years have gone by and you say the generic I want to do (insert desire) but you say it but don’t make a sure plan to do it? I am sure quite a few. It’s time to change that mentality and actually make a real plan. Get things in order. Get your house which can be the place you lay your head as well as your personal house the place where your soul and heart dwells together too.
Either way its time to do and not just talk. I am serious. Anything worth having is worth some work. I know we are used to instant. We want an update, instant. We want food, drive through-instant. We want to shop-instant. Now you can shop without even having to get out of your car to pick it up. We are used to the right now. Let’s take that same mentality and put some action behind it. For my house we do a vision board party. We go and get some supplies, use my old magazines and get it done. Some people are visual like me and it helps to see what I need to do. So for instance my house has their vision boards in their rooms. So we look at it often and talk about what we can do to complete a certain goal. We have completed quite a few individually and collectively. Yes the kids have their own too. Now for them it may seem more of an art project, but can you imagine them getting in their spirit now how to get a plan and work their plan? They are going to have the potential to be great in their own rights. It’s never too early to get the little people thinking in the right direction.
So what say you? You spending time only getting things right for the holidays? Your future can wait right? Nope. Get a jump-start now. For instance the dreaded lose weight that people want to do yearly. You only go hard for the first 2 weeks maybe month in January but that’s it. Why not hang your ideal wish outfit at your eyesight. Get a new gym bag and actually pack it. Get you a new water bottle. Get you some indoor videos or work out gear so that when it snows or rains you can still push. Hope about use the holidays the time to get it. Catch the sales. Give others who ask your list and go from there. Again you can work it if you are about a little action. Get a new work lunch bag that you love. It will help you plan ahead so you can begin packing healthier snacks instead of change for the vending machine or not eating at all. See how that works?
How about the new job plan? Have you had someone take a fresh pair of eyes to your resume? Have you printed new copies to go into your padfolio for the upcoming interviews you are going to score? Have you gotten a new interview outfit and shoes? Sales people. Use this time wisely. Even if you hate the holidays you can still love these discounts. Have you updated the many useful job search websites? Have you gone to a few networking events that are held now during this holiday season? No. Then you have not exhausted all of your means. Finding a new job is sometimes a full-time job. You need to be spending your time working a new plan now and not wait until the influx of resumes start loading up on New Years day. Will people hire during the holidays? Not necessarily but they so start looking and putting their plans into place.
This new way of thinking can be applied to all areas of your life. So its time to get moving towards your new future. It’s all in how you create it. One can’t simply pray without works. What are you worth? I hope you see the value in yourself so others can see the same thing. Put your action to where you mouth is….
So when I graduated I was the happiest person in the world. I thought about every stressful situation, every heartache, every defeat, every victory and it made me realize just how strong I was to get through it all. I was happy to finally have my degree. The very next semester I cried walking in a Walmart because there was no more school. I know I am a rare person most folks would have rolled over and slept or even just went to work but I didn’t. College had really been so much fun and a place for me to learn about myself.
I literally wouldn’t be the woman I am had I not gone through the experience. It helped me to see others for who they really were too. One of the biggest things I got from Penn State outside of the education was a lifetime supply of friends. College isn’t for everyone. I don’t look down on anyone who hasn’t gone. It seems like a party all the time but it’s not. It’s hard work. There are many students who start out and don’t finish. I would be lying if I told you that there were many days I wanted to quit. I cried a lot. I was stressed. I had disappointing times. End of the day it was something that I wanted so I fought and won. If you want to take the journey into college whether that’s community classes, a big or small university or college it’s your choice to make. Make sure to be clear what you want and if you decide to change your mind that’s fine too, but be sure and prepared to do the work to graduate. To some college is just a piece of paper but I call it the proving grounds. If you are a graduate of higher education do NOT let anyone make you feel bad for attending. You did the work and like me may even be a first generation college student. I had many people tell me how stuck up I was. I had people say I thought I was too good. I wasn’t. I simply made my plan and with detours in the way made it happen.
To incoming freshman embrace this new life you are about to embark on. It is the most challenging and most rewarding one yet.
My last key things to remember:
Breaks: It doesn’t matter if its Fall, Spring or Holiday breaks take them. Try to spend time with family but also go on one trip with your new friends. It is the time to have a blast so don’t waste it sitting on campus unless you are working getting your coins.
Meal Plans: I had one of the biggest meal plans but like most colleges they have places off campus where you can use them and of course they eat up your points. Try to do this every now and again or prepare to eat Ramen noodles and spaghetti O’s.
Refunds: It seems like a big check in the beginning but once you account for all of your needs during the semester which will also include entertainment try to budget especially if you don’t have a job or work-study.
Off Campus Apartments: Make sure you either have a reliable car or get familiar with the bus system in your town. Make sure that you pick convenient living arrangements.
Roommates: Do not always choose your closest friends to live with. I did and had no issues but just because you are friends does not mean you can live with one another. I have seen friendships end fast. You do not know how another person lives. I was a neat freak it drove my roommates crazy but we were able to live together.
Romance: If you read my college blogs you know that I ended up marrying my college sweetheart but not everyone ends up with that love story. Make sure the one you decide to make public and date on campus is on the same page. Dating should never interfere with your grades. So if you are dating someone who is encouraging you to let your grades slack you already know what to do. You both came to get an education so get it. Be balanced. Yo do not need to be joined at the hip. Separate us time, me time, friends time, school time, and maybe work time. This is practice for when you get into the real world or get married its the same expectations. If you were interested in certain activities continue them. Keep the campus folks out of your business. Rumors spread faster on campuses so be aware of what you allow out.
Laundry: Many students do not take laundry into account. Most campuses have machines that take cards, points or some type of monetary exchange. Please consider the options. Mom and dad love you but no wants to see a semester worth of clothes coming home.
So yes as I stated in my other college related blogs I didn’t start drinking until at least end of sophomore or early junior year. I won’t name my supplier since I wasn’t of age. Now this is where all parents fear comes in the most. Kids and alcohol don’t always mix. Let me say off the bat that drinking responsibly is drinking of age and not to get drunk. Let me say I didn’t follow those rules so let me tell you some of the things that I got into as a result of that. This is anti drink message. This is a make your own choices message. This is a be in control of yourself message. I’m not about to tell folks what they should or shouldn’t and I know me and my freinds have stories for days about the things we all did while drinking. Drinking is a personal choice but be prepared like with all things to handle the responibilities and consequences of drinking.
Let me reassure any friends that this is not a time for me to drop dimes. Keep in my mind this will come only from my perspective but for the rest of the world I didn’t drink alone. Now that we got that out in the air, drinking at first was to taste the alcohol. I really did enjoy alcohol. I was a baby drinker. I would order when it came time for me to order and ask for pina coladas, rum and cokes because it was something I could order and not look inexperienced even though I really was. The first time I drank I was on campus and the intention was for me to get someone else drunk and it didn’t work. She kept her cool and to be honest I don’t even think she drank that night. Me and another friend did and did and did. We weren’t sloppy drunk but we were drunk. Now let me hip freshman and newbies to what could have happened. We could have been caught drinking under age in a campus dormitory and gotten into serious trouble. Thankfully we didn’t.
There were many stories of times where I drank to get totally wasted. I mean like couldn’t fully remember what happened. That put me so many bad situations. Shout out to my friends who definitely had a system where one of us had to be semi sober to keep the others in line. I hadn’t heard too many stories between friends where women were being raped while the other friend was there and was too drunk to see what happened. Drinking and over drinking to the point of getting drunk seems fun to a certain extent. I never needed alcohol to have a good time. Let me be clear I enjoyed dancing and socializing without out. However I played many a beer pong games, and other college related drinking games so I’m not about to front on that. As I got older I still drank but it wasn’t the same level. I as an adult can’t remember the many times I drank to get drunk like I did in college. Again it was my choice and a choice where I had to be sure I could handle the responsibilities of that choice. Looking at it now I could say yes but reality is if I was arrested or put off campus I would have been devastated.
If you are a parent talk to your kids about being safe while on campus. You won’t be there to stop them from drinking but you can instill in them the dangers that can happen if they do. If you are a student make it up in YOUR mind what you want to do. Never drink to please a man or a woman. Trust me if someone is pressuring you to drink they are going to pressure you for other things such as sex. So be careful. Be your own person. I was with friends who didn’t drink because that wasn’t their thing. Outside of us attempting to get our one friends drunk, we didn’t push the issue. If you were one who went to college and didn’t drink kudos to you. Drinking or not drinking is a personal choice. I wouldn’t look down for either choice. However there are many pitfalls such as getting addicted or drinking to have fun. If you have to drink to have fun that’s just whack. You are a wonderful person. You don’t need drinks to make you more beautiful, more energetic or to be more social. Learn what you like before you allow alcohol to enter the picture. Then it becomes a choice and not something you do just to be fun. Fun is in your mind and how you engage. Remember beer goggles are real. Beer and alcohol goggles are what you use to see things and trust the vision is always distorted. Many men for my ladies will prey on you. They see easy written on your face. Always have a system in place. Never let yourself get too wasted.
One important thing is date rape. I spoke briefly on this before but please ladies realize that a man can and will take advantage of you. I’m not saying all men but some will. Do not take drinks from someone who didn’t make that drink in front of you. I don’t care how much you can trust them. I know on college there is always big tubs of drinks already mixed so you take a risk but be careful. I went to a party that served Ever Clear in a baby pool. No lie it was in a baby pool where people were just dipping their cups into it and drinking. I literally watched as some people appeared to just drink and then others were adding things. How do you add anything to Ever Clear? Like it seriously was already a strong drink. So be careful. I drank what I wanted and moved right along. Keep in mind too that baby pool had everyone’s hand in it. What I told myself and my friends know that my rule is alcohol kills the germs. I don’t know the realness of that statement but it’s what I lived by.
College is designed to encourage drinking. There are many specials on campus that cater to students. I remember many wonderful drinking establishments that only my Penn Staters would know and I still go and get even to this day and they are nice and cheap. College kids are broke people. So that is why many get together to combine funds to get the alcohol. That doesn’t mean just becuase you put in with someone that they have to be the ones that pour. Also on campus will have drinks for like $2 a piece. On Penn State campus alone if you got $10 you can get a pitcher of long island and some Pokey sticks and be good for the evening. Drinking does add up so be aware of that.
Be aware that you must know where you stand on this topic before you go. You can and will change your mind if you want but always keep safety as your number one forefront. I would suggest the following:
- Always have cab fare or now Uber and Lyft. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. You can still be assaulted even in a cab.
- Get drinking friends who are accountable. Meaning its more than just a designated driver but a designated watcher that kind of keeps everyone in line. It’s almost like the Bad Boy movie, we leave together we come home together.
- Drink and know your limits. I would attempt to overindulged when I was in a safe place that if I did fall asleep it was with close friends that we had already discussed their house being the safe haven before hand.
- Watch who you take drinks from. If possible get your own drinks. Do not allow anyone to make you drink anything you do no want.
- Safety is first. Always have your own back. Make sure you are ready to accept the responsibilities of drinking before you start. Don’t think it can’t happen to me because it can and will.