Re-evaluating my 2017 Goals: Half the Year is Over!

Happy second day of June!!!!  It’s officially the halfway mark for 2017.

I’ve been analyzing how the first half of my year went.  It started off a little rocky with the death of my grandmother, but I have been able to cross some of my goals off my list.  At the beginning of the year I made a list of goals of what I wanted to get accomplished in 2017.  The main one was to focus more on writing, get my writing published on someone else’s web site and get paid for it.  I was able to cross that off the list when I started writing for an online publication in April.  Other goals include paying off debt (which I’m still working on) and evolving into a better me.

I recently turned 33.  A friend of mine asked me how 33 is going to be different from 32, which made me think…….I need to rewrite and come up with new short term goals for the second half of the year and long term goals for the next few years.

Its super important that you have goals that you work toward and hold yourself accountable.  I like to write mine down because if I don’t I’ll forget and not actively work towards them. Each week I write down a plan that will help me reach my goals.  I’m a very visual person so I like to make lists so I can cross things off as I get them done.  It makes me feel gook, knowing I’m being productive.  I encourage you to do the same!  What do you want to do?  How are you going to get there?

Here are a few of my goals for the second half of 2017:

  • Keep focusing on writing and get published on at least 2 more platforms, not including my own.
  • Generate at lease 2 more streams of income through writing and/or makeup/esthetics.
  • Establish larger brand identity.

What happens if you don’t reach your goals?

If I don’t reach my goals I don’t beat myself up; I start over with a new set.  Maybe the first goals weren’t realistic.  That’s ok.  Having something to work towards that will make you a better person keeps you motivated and gives you something to be exited for.

What are your goals for 2017?  Have you met any of them so far?

3 Things You Should Never Say to Someone With a Mental Illness

Whether you realize it or not you know someone who has a mental illness.  Some people are very open about it, while others (especially in the African American community) suffer in silence either because of denial or lack of a diagnosis.  Regardless of whether or not someone is open about his or her mental illness there is still a lack of empathy for those who have it.  A great way to overcome this is to be more mindful of the things you say.

I’m not an expert but I, myself having been diagnosed with anxiety, pay close attention to the things people say and what they have said in the past.  People are unsympathetic, lack compassion/understanding and can be downright mean about such a serious issue.  I have had to put some distance between myself and some people because of some of the ignorance that has come out of their mouth.

Here is a list of things that you should not say to someone with a mental illness:

1.“Get over it.” There is a difference between someone being a little extra dramatic every now and then and consistently over reacting.  If you know someone who gets extremely angry at the smallest instance, there is a chance there is more to it.  Consistent extreme mood changes and excessive anger are sings of untreated mental illness.

What you should do:  Recognize that there is no way on Earth to just get over a mental illness.  If you think someone you care about has an issue talk to them about it and let them know you are concerned.  There is a chance that they don’t know they have it or are in denial.  You coming to them could be the step that helps them realize they need to seek help.

2.“Just pray about it.” Black folks are known for saying to this to everyone about any and everything.  I do believe that you should seek guidance from whatever higher power you believe in, however, mental illness cannot be prayed away.  If ignored or left untreated it will get worse PERIOD.  Help can be in the form of medication, meditation, therapy, change in diet, or a variety of other methods.  Prayer alone will not make it go away.  If someone tries to talk to you about mental illness, or anything for that matter, saying “Just pray about it” or “Give it to God” is very dismissive.  It’s as if you’re implying that it’s something temporary when it is so very permanent and deserves and requires to be detected and handled properly.

What you should do:  You can pray with and for them.  If it’s someone you really care about, first acknowledge that you understand it’s not easy to talk about something like this & help or encourage them to research how/where to get help.

3.“I can’t help you.” If someone comes to you asking for help or tells you something that is a clear sign that they need help…..help them!!!  Depression and negative/suicidal thoughts are things that go hand in hand with mental illness.  If someone is brave enough to share something with you or ask for help, try your best to help them as delicately as possible.

I went to a friend during a very hard time and that was pretty much her response.  I don’t know if things will ever be the same because letting someone I trusted know that I needed help was hard enough. This type of response is pretty much a “friend” rejecting you and your feelings.

What you should do:  Let that person know that everything is ok.  Ask why they feel that way and get them to open up.  Help them realize that you love them and so do their friends and family.  Saying “I love you” may seem small but can mean the world to someone who feels unloved. Mental illness will have you believing that no one on this Earth gives a damn if you live or die.

I know having a friend or family member with a mental illness can be a lot; it can be exhausting but if you love or care about someone you will help them fight the fight.  That’s what life feels like sometimes, like you’re constantly fighting something.  What that something is is the negative thoughts that can take over the mind.

If you feel you’re not strong enough or just don’t want to be bothered with anything I’ve described, you should kindly remove yourself from that person’s life.  I’ve had to distance myself and just not talk to certain people because they give me anxiety.  I used to feel bad, but not anymore.  For the sake of my health I do what I have to do to stay as healthy as possible.  Everyone deserves to do the same.

Jessica’s Story of Postpartum & How She Beat It

Today I will be featuring an awesome young lady who is no longer scared or silenced by her mental illness.  I just want to thank Jessica from the bottom of my heart for helping me to bring awareness to mental illness, especially in the African American community.  She’s a regular person who could be your friend, cousin, aunty, church member, or even you.

Here is her story:

I’m Jessica. I’m a serial entrepreneur and a divorced, homeschooling mom of three.   I’ve always been pretty mellow, emotionally. I definitely am more on the rational side. And, like most black women, I had internalized that idea that “strong” means you don’t cry, and crying or expressing emotion was “out of control.”

So imagine my surprise when, after the birth of my first child, I often found myself crying in the shower, fantasizing suicide and cutting myself.

Yeah…It was a lot for me to process, too.

To make matters worse, I was in a toxic marriage at a time before people were even talking about Postpartum Depression. Neither he nor I knew what was wrong with me. We both thought I was “crazy,” “weak” and “losing it” and of course we thought it best if we don’t tell anyone. Without us explicitly discussing it, it was somehow obvious to me that it was something I needed to try to hide, something shameful.  So I coped by cutting, because physical pain was easier to treat than the vague, suffocating, emotional pain that had no real source. And eventually got better.  That is, until my second child was born.

In the wee hours of the night, while trying to breastfeed, I found myself crying again for no reason. This time, I knew better than to let my unsupportive husband know or see. I soothed myself by playing out the different ways I could end my life…trying to figure out the least messy, least melodramatic. However, this time, the topic of Postpartum Depression had just entered our cultural consciousness. I didn’t talk to my doctor about it because, y’know, shame…but I felt like it was something I should look into.  When I got pregnant with my third child a few years later, for the first time a doctor just asked me outright “Do you struggle with any mental health issues? Any self-harm or anything like that in your childhood?”
“Uh, well. Yeah I was a cutter after I had my first child.”

The doctor’s eyes were full of concern. She questioned me further and we decided that what I was suffering from was Postpartum Depression. Together we made a plan to get ahead of it. I went to counseling throughout my pregnancy to develop behaviors to help when I felt myself slipping and I was giving and prescription to Cymbalta for after my daughter was born.   And it worked, she was the only child who got me at 100% because this time I was healthy and had the support to deal.

That was ten years ago.

Since then I have had two bouts of depression. Only this time, I didn’t stay silent. I understand know that depression is not about personality, strength, or weakness…it’s about physiology. It’s science. This is something my “rational” mind can understand. If changes in my body can create illness in my lungs or stomach or heart, why not also the brain? It’s an organ like all the rest. No need to make it personal.

Now, I am very open about seeking counseling or therapy when I feel imbalanced, mentally. I am extremely more mindful of my diet and take self-care seriously. Especially now, juggling being a single, homeschooling mom and business owner, my self-care has never been more crucial. People often tell me I look like I have it all together, or that I make it look easy.  I am very quick to tell them “well, that’s just because I unplug from Facebook during my bouts of depression!” I never ever want to hide that part of myself from people again because, hopefully, by being candid, I can show people that it’s okay to acknowledge that sometimes you can’t out-think your body’s chemistry.

Mental Health: It’s a Real Thing

Mental health is something that affects society and has for a long time.  I think it’s time we start educating ourselves about it instead of just acting like it’s something so foreign that it doesn’t affect you.  Well, let me tell you something…..If you know someone with a mental illness (and I’m sure you do) it affects you.

Here’s an article I wrote for Syllabus Magazine and the stigma on mental illness.  Click here to read the article.

Dating Over 30: Don’t Ask for My Social Media

Happy first day of May, my birth month!!!!

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Now that that’s out of the way I have a series I’m thinking about starting about dating as a woman over 30.  Here’s a story about a recent encounter…….

So I went out the other night with a friend and her boyfriend.  We went to a local bar that has a lot of adult games like Jenga, Corn Hole, pool, etc.  The atmosphere was super laid back and everyone was having a good time.  My friend and I were playing corn hole and by this time had had a few drinks so we were feeling good.

This guy was watching me and my friend play corn hole and asked if he could play me.  After a while he bought me a drink.  My friend’s boyfriend went with him to the bar because I’m super cautious about taking drinks from strangers.

We talked for a bit and at some point he asked me to walk with him to his car to get something, can’t remember what because I was indeed pretty tipsy by this point.  Before I could answer my friend and her boyfriend let it be known that was not going to happen.  As we’re talking a friend of his, KiKi, interrupts our conversation and they speak in code.  Sounded like an illegal transaction of some sort.  As she walks off he’s like “Oh, that’s my friend KiKi.”  I didn’t really care so I was like ok.

Then he asks me for my instagram name.  My IG is for business and I’m not huge on social media.  The only platform I post personal stuff on is Facebook.

I was a little confused as to why he asked for it.  Apparently that was his way of wanting to communicate with me.  I looked at him like he was crazy.  I had to know his age because this is some new age young Millennial type crap.  He’ll be 30 in July…..too damn old to be asking for my snapchat and IG.

Sir, I’m grown.  If you want to get to know me you’ll need my number.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve started paying more attention to the small things that let me know what kind of person a guy is.  Here’s what I came up with for this guy.  I can’t remember his name but that’s not important.

  1. He has an issue with communicating.  I wish like hell I would communicate with you through DM…..yeah right dumby!
  2. Regarding the interaction with KiKi……right before we left he was talking about how he wanted to get to know me and has nothing to hide.  That’s why he introduced me to KiKi.   STOP!  You didn’t introduce us.  You told me who she was after she walked off with her rude ass, interrupting our conversation.
  3. Why was he talking in code with this girl?????  The conversation between them that was obviously hiding something and the random trip to his car let me know you’re doing something I don’t have time for.
  4. He talked about himself way too much.  There were things I said more than once and each time he acted like it was the first time I said.  He wasn’t listening.

I haven’t gotten a DM and if I do I won’t respond.  But am I tripping?  Y’all, let me know!

 

Can a Cheating Boyfriend/Fiancee Turn Into a Faithful Husband?

Obviously my answer to this question would be hell no!!!

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via Giphy

 

But I’m a woman and that’s the answer most women would give, at least that’s what I’d like to think.

I was having a conversation with this guy I’ve known for quite some time and he recently got married.  I was a little surprised because he was never faithful to his new wife prior to the marriage.  I asked, with #noshade, if he would be able to be faithful in the marriage being that he hadn’t been faithful to her at any point in their relationship.  This fool actually got offended.  That was a little humorous to me.

He went on to say that he didn’t have to be faithful to her because she was just the girlfriend before.  Apparently in his mind girlfriends don’t deserve fidelity.

This absolutely blew my mind.  Once it’s established that both people want to have a future with each other shouldn’t the relationship be “practice” for marriage?

I’ve talked to several guys in their early to mid 30s who are or have been married who get married mainly because of love, not knowing or thinking they can be faithful.  Since when was that excluded from marriage?  And these are guys who have witnessed their parents have long term marriages.

I hope this isn’t the mentality that is the norm because the way my crazy is set up infidelity will put a dude in the hospital.

But I know there are also females who know and are ok with being cheated on as long as the guy is discrete about it.  One guy friend told me that he and his wife went to a sex therapist because she wasn’t a sexual person.  I always was curious about how that worked because he’s very sexual.  The outcome was they agreed to give each other a “pass” once a year where the other could have a sexual encounter with someone outside of the marriage. And it was the idea of the therapist.  Clearly even that didn’t work because they’re getting a divorce now.

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via Giphy

I know marriage is about way more than sex but it is a big part of it.  If the sex isn’t good or non-existent it can lead to one or both people cheating either physically or emotionally.

I really want to start a conversation on this.  Comment down below.  What do you guys think?  Can a cheating boyfriend/fiancee become a faithful husband?  Would you accept your boyfriend or husband cheating?

Don’t forget to share this post!  I’d love to get a lot of opinions on this topic.

Until next time!

 

Anxiety At its Realest

This is Us is one of my newest favorite shows.  If you haven’t seen it you have to go check it out!  It comes on on Tuesday nights on NBC.  I’m #teamnocable so I catch it on Hulu.  This is season 1 so it’s a great show to binge watch to get caught up.

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The most recent episode resonated so much with me.  Sterling K. Brown, who plays Randall, is a perfectionist with everything.  He wants to be the best employee, the best father, brother, husband; he wants to be able to solve everything for everyone.  But dealing with his homosexual biological father who he just met (and also moved into his home and is dying of cancer), his mother who lied to him his whole life about said father, his self absorbed brother, and morbidly obese sister who just found love is more than he can handle.  Oh, and he’s the black adopted son in a Caucasian family.  It’s a lot but this show is AMAZING!

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The Cast of This is Us

 

The most recent episode concludes with Randall having a panic attack alone in his office. He makes a phone call probably not even realizing his hands are shaking.  By the end of the scene he’s sitting on the floor (and seems to have been there for hours) and can’t move or talk.  He’s just sitting there staring blankly, in a trans barely able to see,  with tears streaming down his face.  The stress of realizing that his biological father is dying before his very eyes, dealing with a new guy in the office trying to take his spot as top performer, and other family issues is just too much.  It’s like he feels the perfectly built walls are crumbling down on top of him.

That’s how it is in real life.  Sometimes we take on too much or put too much stress on ourselves, not realizing that we’re neglecting ourselves and putting our health at risk.  You may not know that you’re doing too much until it hits you.  Sometimes your body tries to warn you but you ignore it.  I’ve been there.

Randall, it appears, has been dealing with anxiety for quite a while.  He’s extremely smart, like boy genius smart, and has been putting on a facade of perfection almost his whole life.

df0c23ac4e38d3e4_1 Just a little background if you don’t watch the show….. Back in the 70s Rebecca and Jack are pregnant with triplets.  One dies during birth; at the same time a drug addict drops his newborn baby boy off at a fire station and disappears.  While Jack is admiring his 2 healthy babies and mourning the other, he notices this baby who has no parents.  He takes this as a sign and he and Rebecca adopt the baby, only he’s black.  But the 3 kids are raised as triplets:  Randall (the black one), Kevin and Kate.

The show also does flashbacks to when the triplets were growing up.  You’ll see one in the clip (below) with Kevin and Randall.  Pay attention to Kevin’s present day reaction to Randall’s phone call in the end.  He knows something isn’t right with his brother and instead of ignoring it  or listening to Randall who says he’s fine, like a lot of people would, he takes immediate action.  He skips out on his big stage play debut and goes to check on his brother.  Everyone who has ever experience something like this needs a Kevin in their life, because it could be a matter of life or death in some cases.

 Click here to see the full clip of Randall having a panic attack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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