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.
I have unfortunately been around a lot of people who have had life changing occurrences in their lives. It could be that they are sick, they were at the brink of death, or sadly have lost their life. The one thing that resonates with all of them that NOW is the time to live. They want to live their best life because their life is in a balance. The time to live is everyday you wake up.
No life isn’t perfect. It’s not supposed to be but if you have a bucket list, don’t wait until your moments away from kicking the bucket to live. Live on purpose now. What are you waiting for? If there is a trip you want to take, start actively saving. How much will it cost? Research all aspects of the trip. What can you cut to get you there? Is it a few Starbucks trips, or maybe it’s spending less on others. Whatever it is, be active towards those goals. Wake up every day with purpose. Wake up with direction and desire to be better than the day before. Today is the best motivation you can get, start now to do what you need for you.
You have life. You are here for a purpose. Don’t sit idle waiting for greatness to drop out of a sky, take control and crush your goal list!
Self love will look different, sound different, taste different, etc to different people. Self love means by the very definition is about loving yourself. The broadest definition of self-love is learning how to care for you, what you need, how much you need, and being okay to not limit how often you love on yourself. How you achieve the goal will be the unique marker for each individual person.
If you are in a relationship and you are finding that the person that YOU selected isn’t loving on you the way that you want, do some things about it. For instance, if self-love looks like you taking some me time, that’s what you need to do. In relationships we all need our own time but when you don’t have enough self love and aren’t being active in your self love, the second your mate isn’t doing what he or she needs you get upset. What you haven’t recognized is that you may not have loved on yourself and therefore what you lack isn’t love from an outside source but from yourself. Your personal love cup is empty.
This is a new journey that I am taking. When you start to love yourself even the mundane everyday interactions that you tolerated before will cause your eyes to open. You start setting limits on how much time you are in one place because you see that the person or location no longer serves you. This is the by-product of loving you. Our society always seems to put more on an emphasis on what others do, how they do, and when but not enough on what you require, how often, and when. Change the way you look at yourself.
When you self-love you can see your flaws, work towards making them better, but still embrace them. Self love isn’t always a come to Jesus moment either. Self love also involves making some drastic changes and changes that sting and hurt in the beginning. For instance, how can you love on you but don’t care what you consume? These type of bad habits have to stop when you love on you more. Tap into what YOU need and not what people have set limitations for what THEY think you need. If a part of you needs to finish school so that can be a goal that you cross off for you, than do that.
I was walking in the store this morning. I heard a woman tell the cashier how her husband doesn’t like it when she reads. First thing that came to mind was what in the unholy hell is that? How can a man tell his wife that he doesn’t like her reading. Then I stopped because I have no idea what is going on in their home, if it’s a cultural thing, or if she really is in an unsafe environment. What I did hear is that she said that what he wanted didn’t stop her. She gets up early almost an hour before he does and reads anyway in another room. She takes books to her job and uses her lunch time. She uses her E-reader to read and he thinks she is web surfing. I could go in on her oppressed like home, but she did something about it that made her happy in spite of the environment she was in. What about you who aren’t living in an oppressed environment. Are you willing to get up early, stay up late, change your schedule, make yourself temporarily uncomfortable to give YOU what you need? I mean apart of the process of self-love is learning how to tune out the negative thoughts that come from you and those who you seem to want approval from.
Self love should be the first love you master and re-master over and over again. This will take loveless relationships and end them fast. You can’t dip yourself in love and allow someone to give you less than what you give yourself. Maybe you need to re-check your self-love meter. If you compromise on you than don’t go off on someone else who does what you allow them and you to do to yourself. Have you ever been asked what makes you happy but don’t have an answer to give? I am not talking about winning the lottery. I am talking about the type of things that make you happy that money can’t buy yet when asked you go blank. Your self love bank is empty and you need a refill. What makes you happy? What are your passions? What makes you at peace when the world is going to hell in a handbag? I am going to clue you in even as a wife and mom although I love my titles, it’s going to have to be more than changing some diapers and loving on my husband to make me happy. Relationships change and kids grow. Simply and only being caught up in either title will leave my self love meter empty. Why do you think the divorce rate is high when couples get into the empty nest phase. One they may have not put in enough energy in their relationships or themselves. However it rolls out to be, self love is the MOST important love you will ever encounter.
So how often do you dream? Not just the type of dreams where you write down your heart’s desire. I am talking about the type of dreams where you lay down and visions come to you. Often times if I am dreaming it’s about little quirky stuff and most of them I do not remember. However this past weekend that wasn’t the case.
I had something on my heart and mind and it had been bothering me all day. So when I went to sleep I expected the same as I’ve always had and that was just to go to sleep and nothing more and nothing less. This weekend I had a dream where I was visited by influential people in my life who all had a message about self-preservation. I mean it was vivid and I can still remember all of the details and specifically the conversation.
The dream wasn’t about how I can get another person back but how to get me back on track. I don’t feel as if I have fallen off the wagon but I do know that I have had severe moments of allowing my environment to dictate my attitude. The whole house can then be subjected to how I feel. So in the dream the message was simple, find out what is making me unhappy and deal with it. Don’t deal with it to evoke change in the other person but deal with things that will evoke peace in my personal life. We all have moments where we allow the lack of change we see in others to deter our spirits when in reality we need to be the change we want to see.
This message can be applied all over in so many different ways. Stop allowing others to move you to the point where you give them the very ammunition to be able to say the negative things that you actually do. For instance stop allowing others to pull on you to the point where you have an adult tantrum. Then get mad and say well they are judging you. No. They aren’t judging you. You are showing them your behind because you couldn’t get your way. You have an ugly disposition about you. You are all ruffled up over things you can’t even change, just stop. It’s time to keep your sense of wit. It’s not easy to allow things around you to happen and feel like you have no control. I know I am a control freak but that makes others around you feel a certain way. Do not keep allowing people to change your atmosphere. You really can’t control everything but there is one person that you can and that person is in the mirror. You can control your responses. You can control your attitude. You can control how you interact with others. You got you. Oh by the way I definitely felt a thousand times better when I woke up. I had fallen asleep on the couch which is not what I would have generally been happy about except I felt so super rested that it didn’t matter. I wanted to do the running man after gettting the very answers and how to proceed in my life.
I swear to you when I woke up from that dream I thought I was in a total different location. It was so super real to me. However it was all a dream in my Biggie voice. That dream was one of the most defining moments in my life this week. It is the drive that will get me to complete a few goals. What do you have answers for? Where do your answers come from? If you are open often times, the answer are right inside of you. You know the answers it’s just a matter of making it happen. What are you going to do?
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.