I'm just a Illinois born, Army brat, military spouse, mommy, friend, overthinking, depressive anxiety sufferer, and woman celebrator that's trying her best to heal from a childhood no one knows about and a lot of self inflicted scars. I have lived in a mental prison for to long its time to fly and telling my story is how I will do it....
I have to be honest with you guys and tell you that it took me a while to finally watch this documentary. Not because I didn’t want to watch it but because I knew that it would trigger some deep-seeded emotions inside of me. I’m 37yrs old so this album dropped when I was young and at the most vulnerable. I mean this took me back to a place that I thought I left in the past. Back when I was just a lost little girl trying to survive a world hellbent on destroying me, well at least that’s how I felt back then.
My Life hit the charts in 1994 when I was 11/12 years old and let me tell you it has held my emotions hostage ever since. That album, her voice, her look, and her pain poured out of my cd player and was like a light and darkness in my life at the time. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this world but it would also nurture the bitterness and hurt that was already slowly brewing inside of me. It would be the birth of the version of me that was angry and overly protective. I would spend years fighting anyone and everyone that I thought was trying to hurt me. When I first heard it, it felt like she was singing directly to my pain and loneliness. Now don’t get me wrong I’m a huge fan of ALL of her albums but “MY LIFE” would be the album that would become the soundtrack to the darkness that plagued my own life well into my 30’s.
It’s crazy that at that time, my actual life was being dismantled by the adults that were supposed to protect it. My parents had broken up and I watched my mother go through a public heartbreak from a relationship that I think she didn’t want to leave even though he didn’t deserve her. I watched her pick up the pieces of herself that my father broke but at the same time be in love with him. I was always confused by that! Growing up in this environment didn’t do anything for me but make me want to NEVER fall in love or get married. I was a kid living in an emotionally neglectful home dealing with some real adult situations and no one to talk to.
So after years of feeling like I was always on the receiving end of my mothers’ anger and the feeling of abandonment from my father music became my escape. With this album, I was able to fly away from my tiny space. A space where I wasn’t acknowledged or in control of my surroundings to a place where I’m strong and in control.
A place where I could be loud and over the top!
A place where I could be quiet and not be told I have an attitude!
A place where I didn’t feel like I was being punished for my existence!
Even though I know that Mary J was going through some heavy shit when she recorded and released MY LIFE it still spoke to me. Spoke to every emotion I had at the time. Listening to how she would use alcohol, drugs, and music to survive her own life was like a subtitle to my own. I can remember not being able to even be around myself if I wasn’t high on some substance. I didn’t have a relationship that mirrored hers and KC’s but boyyy was I a piece of work on my own. I was so hurtful, defensive, angry, uncompromising, and a downright mess. I actually thought I was being protective of myself when I was actually just abusive. I’m so happy to not be that person anymore.
As I got older, I always wondered does she (MJB) know what this album has meant to so many people over the years. Like does she know that it has saved lives and relationships? As I watched her fans get emotional just to be in her presence and tell her how much the album meant to them I could see the uneasiness on her face. You could literally see the discomfort in her body language. I mean if you know anything aboutMJB’s story you have to understand her awkwardness. That has to be an emotional heavy feeling to know that the album that you dropped to help release your darkness and bitterness is something that your fans listen to so they can feel better. An album made when you were at a place in your life that you don’t want to be reminded of is also a place that your fans want to say THANK YOU for. As I walk this journey to find myself through writing I know for a fact it’s a message in our mess and it was a message in that album that will live on forever. I feel like this album should have made me feel sad but in actuality, it made me feel safe and understood.
It amazes me that the lyrics in MY LIFE literally say…
“When you’re feeling down, you should never fake it. Say what’s on your mind and you’ll find in time that all the negative energy. It will all cease. And you will be at peace with yourself”
It took me years to put action behind these words and from the documentary I’ve learned, so did Mary…
Being miles and miles away can be so dreadful sometimes. Still, it can also bring a more profound friendship connection. When you’re in the position where you have to water your “ships” through phone calls, social media, and care packages, you can see the actual bones of that relationship. It makes you appreciate every little moment and memory that you all share. Visits mean the world to you guys because you’re not only trying to reminisce your past laughs, but you’re trying to add new ones to the pot so you can have some to think about while you’re away. Those are what you call connections of the soul. Where you guys don’t see each other, don’t always get to talk on the phone, and because of the time difference, don’t even see each other’s posts until hours, sometimes days later BUT when y’all do,” it’s easy like Sunday morning.”
You try to catch up with everything in a few hours on the phone. Those “ships” will be there for you forever, and they will mean the most to you, make sure you treasure them. Distance doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be present in the lives of the people that mean the most to you. It just means that you have to mean it a little more, show it a little more, and take full advantage of the time you guys get to just BE. So try not to beat yourself up for those moments you didn’t call, but you could have, the dates that y’all could have fit in a visit, those celebrations you forgot to call, and those painful moments you happen to send your condolences two days later.
Y’all friendship is something special, built on love and understanding. So yea, it’s ok to be late, just don’t ever forget. If it’s a “ship” made in heaven, your call or love will always be right on time…
A few months ago, I walked around the store Burlington and as I’m walking down the aisles with my caramel frappé with extra caramel in my own little world. I come across this pencil holder, and it said, “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” Let me tell you something. As soon as I read it, this chill went down my spine. The words spoke to me that day. But for some odd reason, I didn’t buy it. I would spend the next week or so thinking about that pencil holder and regretting not getting it. So, one day I wasn’t feeling very confident in my purpose, and that dang pencil holder popped in my head. So, I got dressed and made the 25min drive just to see if it was still there. Yea, I know I could have gone to Amazon, but I wanted that one from that place. The place that gave me that tingling feeling. I searched the unorganized shelves for what felt like forever, and then there it was. I grabbed it this time, and I would not let it go. I didn’t even want to give it to the lady to scan it. I resembled a kid when you’re about to purchase them some candy, lol. You may be wondering why I made such a big deal of this THING, this pencil holder. I must share with you how anxiety works for some people. Anxiety is chaos in your brain. The kind of chaos that will make YOU break yourself down slowly. That will have you constantly thinking the worst of yourself. So, when you come across something or someone that gives you life, you don’t let it go.
“Small steps in the right direction can turn out to be the biggest steps of your life.” ~unknown
After all the years of dealing with self-inflicted abuse, I found out that writing and inspiring others set my soul on fire. I didn’t even know that about myself. From a child and on into adulthood, I have repeatedly told myself that because I didn’t have the credentials or the educational background, my story isn’t valid. I felt that my words aren’t worthy of being heard. That I wasn’t deserving to be in this space. Now even though I’m currently pursuing the education that will match my passion and experience. I have to acknowledge that my lack of formal education doesn’t change the fact that I have lived with what’s in those very textbooks’ professors teach from for 36yrs!
I have fought many mental battles alone! I have smiled in the faces of loved ones while secretly wanting to die! I have consoled and hugged people with the same arms I’ve hurt in secret! I know how to make the whole world think that I’m ok! Now I want to BE ok!
As a woman and most defiantly as a BLACK woman, we all will water down any and everything about ourselves, so others aren’t uncomfortable with our greatness. But that must stop now!
Their discomfort isn’t our problem!
I have that pencil holder sitting where I can see it as soon as I wake up because I can’t let anxiety win any longer. I must be fearless, and so should you. You must explore the priceless artifact that is YOU. Work your way through those many layers of self-doubt, childhood trauma, adult trauma, abuse, and self-inflicted abuse until you get to your fearless layer.
The layer that helps you conquer it all! The layer that helps you overcome all of the hurdles!
It is in this layer that you will find your power. Your DOPENESS is your power, and it is powerful! you have to tap into that DOPENESS and thrive in it (Thrive in your DOPENESS!!!) because that’s where your strength resides and it’s what separates the old you with the best version of you. We all have it, and we all get to define what it looks like individually. I have to be fearless while I pursue what sets my soul on fire because I have laid dormant entirely too long, and I almost let myself take ME out of the game of life. I owe it to myself and the people that I inspire to never sit quietly again.
“I’m Strong because I’ve been weak. I’m fearless because I’ve been afraid.” ~unknown
It time to make some noise and move some mountains! Pursue that DOPE version of yourself fearlessly…
Remember that in some cases, a friend isn’t selfish when they finally express that “you have been acting funny” or if they decide to just deal with you from a distance.
It’s not always about the quantity; it’s about the quality, and a TRUE friend ALWAYS picks up on the difference. They just chose not to play dat shit anymore, lol! This person KNOWS you’re going through something, this person KNOWS you have a lot on your plate, and this person KNOWS that shit has been real AF for you, BUT please understand that that consideration has to go both ways for it to be a worthy relationship for both parties involved. (That might have gone over your head, lol)
Basically, step up your communication and your consideration! The things you’re going through isn’t an excuse to emotionally dump stuff on your “ships” but be emotionally unavailable when it’s convenient. Understand that a “ship” can be understanding of what you’re going through but also want to protect themselves from the up and downs of your emotional rollercoaster.
Stop playing with folks that love you!
Stop telling people how to take your distance and unavailability!
Stop making folks feel bad because they want consistency from their “SHIPS.”
Stop using memes as an excuse for your shitty behavior!
Grown folks know it’s not about them. It’s actually about US! That shit is abusive, and that’s what some of y’all are in denial to admit. You want the emotional support and physical backing but also want to be able to check out when you feel like it.
I can’t believe it has been a year since I launched Fabulously Flawed and Tryin. It’s also the anniversary of my first blog, THRIVE IN YOUR DOPENESS.
As I sit here reflecting on the personal and professional gains I have made throughout this year I have tears coming down my face. I’ve worked very hard to be the person I am today, and this blog has helped me with my growth. I have learned so much about myself and the people around me since I started blogging. Now this journey hasn’t been all roses! I have had plenty of moments that I thought I wasn’t on the right path, but the love and appreciation I receive from so many people have made those thoughts quiet. It confirms that my words, my story, and this space is needed.
I’ve used FFandT as a place to talk about vulnerable/difficult subjects that could spark needed conversations and possibly inspire someone to speak openly about the battles they fight alone. Well, at least that is my goal! I’m so excited for the future of the blog. I hope it leads to the opportunity to inspire as many people as possible, to motivate people to take control of their mental health, and to show that therapy is self-care.
So come celebrate with me!
So as I celebrate the past by rereading past entries (Scared Mommy, My letter to a friend, why can’t I just be okay, 20 tips to living free, and my worry is different), we will also look to the future. I’m looking forward to the many opportunities, speaking engagements, valuable connections, and future business endeavors. So let me know some of your stories of inspiration and motivation! Let me see those #thriveinyourdopeness pictures below. I would love to hear how this blog, this saying, and my words have helped you. I appreciate all of the encouragement and love you all have shown me over this year. I’m super excited for what’s to come of FABULOUSLY FLAWED AND TRYING in the future. From my heart to yours… Be blessed and be a blessing💎
Being a mother during these times can be confusing and scary. We all pray that we’re giving our children all the information and preparations they will need to succeed. But is that enough? I remember speaking to my grandmother about raising a black son in the 70/80’s in a city like Chicago. It’s crazy that her fears weren’t any different from what I fear for my children today. Then to later find out that my uncle, my grandmother’s son would find himself at the end of a pointed white finger accompanied by the famous words “that’s the guy” that would land him locked away until the day he died. I would later find out some of the gruesome details of the crime, and I was shocked, even though I don’t even remember my uncle. I guess I was shocked that someone in my family was accused of something so horrible. One day I asked my grandmother did she think he did it, and with the most sincere voice, she said, “ I don’t know, but back then, it didn’t matter. If a black man wasn’t where he should be in the middle of the night, they could place him wherever they want. I swear that statement means more to me now than it ever did back then.
Listening to the stories of today and recalling my questionable encounters with the police along with my grandmother’s statement, we have to accept that LIFE just isn’t valued, especially BLACK and BROWN LIVES. This isn’t anything new, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why this is so shocking for some. Whether it’s been fatally or by mass incarceration, lives are being taken away at an unsettling rate. Some with a life-changing decision that we make on our own and, in some cases, a decision that wasn’t even ours at all. Yes, I know that without a doubt, no matter your color, you can find yourself on the receiving end of police brutality and excessive force. But, that’s a conversation some people aren’t ready to have yet. I have friends that are cops, and I have friends that may break the law but neither deserve to die. It scares me to the core to know that some people genuinely believe that an OCCUPATION should have the power to end life without consequences. I don’t want ANY HUMAN with that type of power. Do you understand the arrogance that this type of power brings? Ending life should NOT be that easy…
”Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
As my family and I prepare to move from overseas back to the states, this uncertain yet familiar fear comes over me. Living overseas has given us this unrealistic opportunity to live in a bubble. It’s such a different feeling to walk around and not FEAR anything. Now I’m not naïve like its crime-free here in Japan, but I will tell you that I’m not looking over my shoulder every time I see a police car behind me. Growing up in a not so safe neighborhood outside of Chicago to living a carefree life here in Japan has me on edge with the thought of moving back stateside. Then to be moving to a state that doesn’t have the best reputation in the RACE department scares the crap out of me, having a child that’s of driving age scares the crap out of me, and having a black family in a land filled with people with hate in their hearts scares the crap out of me. My husband and I have to have these deep conversations with our little sheltered children, and it breaks my heart while also infuriates me. As parents, no matter your race, we have every day “harmful and dangerous” things to warn them about, but for BLACK and BROWN people, we have some fine print we have no choice to discuss on top of that. Having this genuine fear for my family is a sad reality for a lot of BLACK and BROWN families. Not only do we deal with anxiety and uncertainty living in our own neighborhoods, but we also have this unspoken fear of the police officers that patrol the very communities we call home.
”MY SKIN TONE IS NOT A THREAT!!!!!!”
Growing up in the bubble my family provided me with, I didn’t understand that some people in this world would take my skin tone as a threat. That’s heartbreaking and quite belittling actually! To know that no matter what we do with our lives and no matter what we accomplish, we are a THREAT simply because of our skin tone. How do I explain this to my children? How would you describe this to a child? How do you explain to a child that some families TEACH HATE? How do you skate between encouraging caution without sparking fear? I’m here to tell you that it is not an easy task at all. Everyday BLACK and BROWN families are having the kinds of conversations that our counterparts could never imagine having with the young people in their lives. Can you imagine having to practice how to interact with a “real” police officer and trying to explain what to do when they encounter a “bad apple” police officer? LOL! I have to shake my head at the “bad apple” rebuttal because, for some insensitive reason, you “bad apple” preachers think you can tell the difference. HA!! Whelp, I’m here to tell you that you can not, and in so many well-documented situations, it can be too late before you figure it out.
The year 2020 has been a roller coaster. From protests, riots, and a pandemic with the Covid-19 virus, it’s like we’re in a terrible predictable movie. But, I will say that it has also sparked some much-needed conversations about police brutality towards EVERYONE and the unjust murders of entirely too many BLACK and BROWN men AND women in this country. It has brought together people that just a few years ago were arguing about taking a knee during the National Anthem. As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend, I have to have hope. Hope is the only way I don’t react out of anger, even if it’s justified. Hope keeps me encouraging my husband, my father, my brother, and my friends to stay positive while fighting for a country that only SEES them when they’re in uniform. Hope keeps me letting my children experience life even though I want to lock them away from the ugliness in this world. I have to hold on to my children and the people around me tighter than I ever have. People who know me personally know that I was never a hugger, but I am now. I will hug anyone because I’ll rather have a genuine embrace to be my last memory with the people I love.
“When the world is a unhappy place, I just need you to hold me”
As an empath, the last few years have slowly taken a toll on my mental. I had to put a screen up so I wouldn’t go crazy with all this mess coming so fast and so bluntly. Now, I know that as a community, we have a fight on our hands as we DEMAND our right to live, so for me to be ready, I knew I had to stop SOME of the engagement. I had to change my reactions so I can prepare my children better. My words and conversations were so emotional that they weren’t getting the information they needed from me. Now I’m still telling people about themselves (lol). KNOW DAT!! Just not as much! I also had to be selective with the videos I watched because the constant visuals of death and brutality was beginning to have a negative impact on me. We all have to continue to fight for each other and ourselves. Some people are finally listening, so we can’t stop now. But don’t forget to disconnect every now and then. Take a break to just be in your happy place with the people who care about you. Trust, you can still be “WOKE’’ and take a pause. Love on the people that genuinely LOVE you, SEE you, SEE your COLOR, SEE your HISTORY, and ACKNOWLEDGE your current frustrations. I pray with my whole heart that everything that’s going on in the world today, the conversations that are taking place, the policies that are being implemented, and the incredible unity that I have witnessed with my own eyes will have a positive outcome for the generations after me. That we will FINALLY be able to look back and see progress…
We have to be the community we want, and we have to work hard to get it. Our children and their children’s lives depend on us getting it right.
Heyyyyy boo! ( I mean that’s how I talk lol ) I have been thinking about you lately. Not sure why but you have been heavy on my mind. I was thinking about the person you use to be before this whole “situation. You were this amazing energy! With everything you go through along with what you have been able to accomplish, it’s nothing short of extraordinary. I’ve always wanted to ask you, “ How did you find your purpose while living in such a toxic relationship”? In the past, I didn’t think people could do that, so I admire that you were able to pull something beautiful out of a not so beautiful bag. You have changed my whole outlook on the subject. I’ve watched you become a butterfly within a storm, and I must admit it has been both motivating and sad to witness. Even though I’m proud of you, I hate that you live in such a draining atmosphere. I’ve listened to you cry and heard the heartbreak in your voice, but I’ve also witnessed your dreams come true. It breaks my heart to think the person you love is purposely breaking you down. But, what to do when you notice some of his “good” qualities helped you find your light and your purpose. Weird huh? Witnessing you find your muted voice while living in what you thought was a great connection just to watch you fall mute again as he snatched it away is devastating. Watching the growth and progress, you have made while in your complicated union leaves me torn but also inspired because we can’t deny the fantastic things you have accomplished.
Yes, this complicated relationship birthed businesses, children, properties, degrees, and a mountain of other things that brought stability, but it left your happiness in the wind. So as a friend, do I encourage you to stay, or do I help you pack? Are those things an even trade for your unhappiness? That is the real elephant in the room. Some folks are 100% okay with putting these things on the negotiating table against their happiness. Honestly, I don’t think it’s worth it, but that’s just little ole me. It infuriates me to see him encourage you but belittle you, help you to get degrees but don’t want you to use them, and boldly don’t care if you’re happy or not as long as you don’t leave him. The way I see it, this person is saying and showing you that you can get out there but not “tooo” out there, you can position yourself to succeed, but don’t forget that I put you in the position to do so, and I will take every opportunity I can to let you know your place. Please don’t take my words as though I’m trying to beat you while you’re down because that isn’t what I’m trying to do at all. I know it’s not for me to understand, yet for some reason, I wish I could. Watching you lose your smile was a disservice to everyone around you because you have the kind of smile that lights up a room, and you have the most unbelievable personality to match. But, I want you to know I saw your smile on video chat today, and it was a blessing to see. I’m so happy that your beautiful and carefree smile is slowly coming back. Your skin is even looking more vibrant. I understand that you’re scared of what’s to come, but I want you to know that that’s not fear you feel. That’s adrenalin! It’s pumping through your body, getting it prepared for the much-needed battle that you will soon face. All of the pain you have endured were lessons, but this moment is your TEST. So don’t waste all that study material you have in your vault. GOD already made your happy place!
Love Fabulously Flawed and Tryin
“Broken Girls Blossom Into Warriors”
I have a feeling you all are looking at my letter like “OH MY” that was deep. You could also be wondering if I’m talking about myself. I will NOT tell (lol)!
I wrote this “letter to a friend” to show you that friends who truly LOVE you hate to see you hurt or beatdown. We will take it personally and want to protect you. I also wanted to show that there is a lesson in every storm, even the ones you think you won’t be able to escape. Those moments when you might have sold yourself short, in the beginning, can ironically turn into something worthwhile and purposeful in the end. Mistakes in love happen all the time, and that’s ok. But, it isn’t ok to ignore the red flags. Love can sometimes make us blind to those flags and, in some cases, could put our lives in danger. Love is an array of different emotions, but it should NEVER break your spirit. Notice that in the letter, this friend was able to find her light within a horrible storm, and so can you.
Remember, you have people who care about you and know when something is off with you. It’s not always about someone being a hater but someone noticing that something that was once bright is now dark. So remember, troubles never last forever, and you can overcome any obstacle that comes your way. If you’re in a relationship you know isn’t showcasing your worth and muting your voice, you just take it slow, confide in a friend, build your confidence, and realize that you’re worthy of genuine happiness. Compromise is love; control is not. So be blessed and know that it’s not the end of the world if you happen to choose the wrong one to love as long as the result of that mistake is you finding self-love. Trust the process and trust the lessons.
When you have been trying to deal with your emotions properly and the lack of self-love all your life it can be very hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Trying to make the moves to living my Best “FREE” life has brought on so many twists and turns that I wasn’t ready and it left me winded. From starting therapy, being more open with the people around me, starting the blog, and being more understanding of my mental health I truly thought that I was on the path to feeling better. Then BOOM here I am back in my hole. Maybe I got too big for britches(lol). Being in limbo of my healing journey has made me feel like a failure because I fell back into my old self-toxic behavior. I have come to understand that these are the tests that will periodically show itself on my journey to help me get stronger and I have to work hard to fight the urge to not fall back into my comfort zone of depression. Understanding that every day for the rest of my life will be a choice to get better and deal with life in a healthier way has been the hardest part of this whole journey. I thought I could just WANT my way to happy and after this past month, I have come to the realization that that’s just not possible. The proper steps matter during this time because they will make you stronger. Skipping steps and getting overly confident has left me overwhelmed and now a few steps back. I still have lessons to learn and I need to take baby steps to learn them. I mean I have been my worst best friend for 36yrs so now I need to take my time and trust the process. I may feel like a failure right now but unlike before I know that I’m NOT a failure. I’m just a woman that is learning how to deal with life in a healthier way after dealing with it in such an unhealthy way for so long.
‘’SUCCESS IS NOT FINAL. FAILURE IS NOT FATAL. IT IS THE COURAGE TO CONTINUE THAT COUNTS. –WINSTON CHURHILL
WHY CAN’T I JUST BE OK???? I have literally been killing myself trying to answer this question since I was a child and when I can’t seem to find the answer I was left feeling even more defeated. Well, now I don’t! I AM okay even when I’m not okay and so are you. If you just so happen to FEEL things differently, have the ability to empathize with people a little deeper than others, or you have the ability to wholeheartedly always be understanding then you, my friend are more than okay. You’re rare! It’s not a lot of us walking around this earth my love, trust me. Be proud of the unique way you look at this world and the people in it. Yes, we may feel hurt deeper than others but that is what makes us special. Even with our hurtful story or wearing our feelings as body armor we still find a way to empathize and sympathize with people we know and with strangers.
I know that there are many negatives when you deal with anxiety and depression but we have to acknowledge that this life isn’t completely horrible when you have the right support system. With the right support system, you can be exactly what you were put on this earth to be. You are the medium to the chaos, the voice of reason, and the one that can always see both sides. We’re needed and a necessity in this world. Please stop looking at your mental hurdles as only a negative and start celebrating the things that make you, YOU! I use to think that what I was going through was a curse but now I put a spotlight on my positives also. I’m still a blessing and so are you! I’m still trying to utilize the gifts I have been blessed with and finding myself in the process. I know that when you feel things deeper than other’s it can be draining but with a loving support system that understands what you deal with and will genuinely be there to help replenish you, when you have a caring therapist in your corner that will help you dissect through all the emotions that flow through you, and when you find your passion to help others that is when you will see why GOD gave you the gift to FEEL.
So yes I may have had a little stumble back but I refuse to stay back or fall back. That foggy place isn’t worth my gifts anymore because I found my purpose in my life and it all depends on me staying on this path of healing. I appreciate the steps now and I will take every lesson to heart. I don’t have all the answers and maybe not the credentials some people need to feel your words are valuable. But, what I do have is the experience that no book could ever teach. I wanted to die just a few short months ago and now look at me. I have been able to stop an oncoming panic attack, I have revealed my secret battles for the world to see, and I have been handling myself with the kind of gentleness that I never have. Even in my setback, I’m further than I was before. Just know that you’re 100% capable of coming out of the fog, I promise. You’re capable of living a fulfilling life even with your mental hurdles because you’re NOT DEFINED by them you just live with them. Coming out of living mentally unhealthy to living “FREE” won’t be easy but it will be rewarding. I can’t wait to see what we accomplish when we learn to live with our hurdles instead of trying to make them disappear. You’re greatness, we’re greatness, and we will do great things. Continue to Thrive in your dopeness QUEEN!!!!
I have been putting this list together and working on implementing it into my everyday life since this past summer. As you all know, I deal with depression and anxiety but I have been working so hard to not let it hold me captive anymore and in the process of that this list emerged. I know the whole “living my best life” thing everyone shouts but this is something a little different. I added “FREE”! I had to personally add free because feeling and being FREE matters the most to me. When you have been living in a mental box your whole life you want to live as free as possible. I want to take full advantage of every single day that I have on this earth and I want to enjoy my time with everyone that I love the most. So let us get to this! Now, this is a personal list for ME to live a free and happy life. Maybe reading my list will inspire you to come up with your own list…
Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better!!!!
20. GET UP AND CLEAN HOUSE BOTH PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY… Clutter can make you feel overwhelmed. The disarray of your home and mind can spill into your outside life. Now, don’t get it twisted I’m not speaking about those clothes you need to fold and put away because no one needs that kind of negativity(lol). But everything and everyone else, clean that up. Delete everything and everyone from your social media and inner circle that make you feel down and/or make you feel the need to compromise your growth.
19. GET A THERAPIST/COUNSELOR… You already know why this is so important. If you want to finally live a free life on your own terms you have to talk to someone about the things that were blocking you from living free in the first place. We all need one, even you “normal” folks.
18. CONFIDE IN THE PEOPLE THAT LOVE YOU… Did you know that vulnerability brings freedom? Letting your support system actually support you is a healthy way to not only give you the opportunity to free yourself from past issues and feelings but it will also solidify a deeper connection with the people you love that’s built on trust and openness. Who doesn’t want a “ship” that everyone involved can be open and honest in. Be honest with them and let them be honest with you. Make sure you guys laugh and laugh as often as possible. You want healthy “SHIPS” around you.
17. BE OKAY WITH NOT GETTING CLOSURE... Getting physical closure to a situation is a mental roller coaster that you shouldn’t even put yourself on because you might not get what you’re looking for. Some things you should just write on a piece of paper and let it blow in the wind.
16. Learn to pray with your heart and grace. Find comfort in your faith let it fill you up and give you peace.
15. READ… Read your bible or whatever book that brings you spiritual balance. Read books that help you see the world, see yourself, help you be more present in your life, and books that challenge you to become a better and happier version of yourself.
“The only way to live free, the only way to live your life as an offering of love, is to feel everything fully and open…
14. STOP BLAMING YOURSELF FOR YOUR CHILD AND ADULT TRAUMA… Know that you ARE a victim so your emotions and your cautious behavior is valid, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You have to find a way to stop holding yourself hostage to what happened to you. TAKE BACK YOURPOWER!
13. FIND PEACE IN THE MISTAKES YOU HAVE MADE… We all make mistakes and sometimes they can have some detrimental consequences but that’s a part of life. We have to learn from those mistakes not beat ourselves up for them. Yes, you may have handled things in a not so great way but as long as you look back and see where you could have done something different, you’re ahead of the game. Make sure you apologize to who you hurt including yourself and don’t forget to change the behavior.
12. JOURNAL, JOURNAL, AND JOURNAL SOME MORE… Get a journal and write things out but here is a little added bonus, LET SOMEONE READ IT! Yep, you read it right. You can’t keep telling your side of the story to yourself. Sometimes you have to get it out in the open where you can hear it out loud and discuss it with someone. Doing this gives you the opportunity to HEAR where you were wronged, where you wronged someone, where you can improve, and possibly give you a clear head to talk it out in a mature manner. Now don’t just write about the bad stuff. Write down the things that inspire you and the things that you have talked yourself out of over the years. Write down all your dreams, research and connect with someone with knowledge in that field, and start knocking those goals off your list. Be the motivation you need.
11. STOP BEING PRE-UNDERSTANDING OF EVERYONE’S SITUATION… Pre-understanding (yes I made it up lol) is a horrible habit to break once you start doing it. I define pre-understanding by giving people the benefit of the doubt before you even tell them something is wrong. For example; you will say to yourself about a person who actually hurt you that “they’re are going through something right now and they didn’t mean it”, you will literally forgive them without ever expressing your feelings. Now once you start doing this it is very hard to stop and you will be doing this for everyone in your life, which will leave you drained and feeling unloved. You have to give people an opportunity to fix their wrongdoings even if it’s a simple “I’m sorry”. Speak up for yourself! Now does this mean shout out your issues over a dinner party, NO. This means that you talk to the person that hurt your feelings, ask them when is a good time to talk about something that’s important to you, let them know that you understand that they’re going through something, and in a compassionate manner tell your friend how you feel. If it’s a true friendship they should want to get to the bottom of it. This goes for family also!!
10. TAKE TIME TO YOURSELF… Take yourself on walks, go on a hike, and find time to meditate. Being next to water can be very calming and freeing also. So I encourage you to take a stroll next to ANY body of water to calm yourself and to just appreciate GODS work.
9. BREAK UP AND BREAKAWAY… You have to get rid of anyone that isn’t in the cheering section of your healing, growing, and manifesting. Your whole circle should be this bundle of support that every single one of y’all feels like they can accomplish anything in the world. You all should be patting each other on the back during celebrations and holding each other accountable when it’s needed.
8. BE OKAY WITH YOU… You have to find a way to be madly in love with yourself because when people do things out of love they tend to stick to it and it will become a lifestyle change. Your weight, skin, hair, and even career choice are all things that can be changed so why beat yourself up for them. All the gym memberships and degrees won’t make you happy until you become happy with yourself.
7. TRAVEL… If you can travel somewhere new on regular bases, GO. Now if you can’t just take a trip whenever you want I say explore right where you are. Get on google and become a tourist right there in your hometown or go on a quick road trip. Just get out in the world and out of your comfort zone.
6. DONATE YOUR TIME… Donating your time to charities or programs that cater to either your hobbies, mental challenges, or career endeavors can really bring a feeling of fulfillment over you. Just being around people with the same interests and/or maybe similar mental challenges can be healing and therapeutic for everyone involved. Helping others can sometimes mean that you’re on the path to your healing.
5. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF… Speak your mind even if it’s to yourself. You’re tired, you have had enough, you’re ready to move on, you want more, or you aren’t satisfied. You don’t want kids, you don’t want to be married, or you love differently the list can go on and on. It does not matter what it is, just know in order for you to be comfortable in your skin you have to first be able to look at the skin you’re in and love it.
4. DO WHAT MAKES YOU UNBELIEVABLY HAPPY… Dance badly, sing badly, paint, or anything that you do that makes you feel carefree and creative. Learn something new and see how it speaks to your soul. Just do it and make sure it makes you smile from your heart.
3. GET SEXY AND DO A PHOTO SHOOT… What better way to see yourself in a brand new light than in a grown-up photo shoot. I’m talking get a photographer and let yourself be free and extra AF!
2. DATE AND MAKE NEW FRIENDS… Either date yourself or someone else, either way, get out there in the world and get to know someone while getting to know yourself. It’s always something you can learn from someone you just have to get out there and let them see how amazing you are.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…..
1. BRAG ON YOURSELF… Don’t be ashamed to brag about yourself to yourself. Be the best hype man you know. You should wake up and while you’re getting dressed for the day give yourself a super bowl speech about how DOPE you’re. You can conquer anything, your fears included. Don’t let your thoughts, self-doubt, or your doubters make YOU think you aren’t a FABULOUS BEAST that can conquer ANYTHING…
This list has helped me over the months and I hope that you can find motivation in it also. We all have battles and insecurities that we have to work through but sometimes when you get the right tools, some of those battles just don’t seem so unattainable anymore. You have to build your armor so strong that those rough moments and those moments meant to leave broken will be nothing but a speed bump to a giant. You will look back and wonder what took you so long and that you’re stronger than you thought. You’re a force to be reckoned with and the greatness thrives in you. All you have to do is believe it…..
Wow, I can’t believe I’m sitting here writing my 2nd entry on MY blog. With such a light subject on the first one, I thought I would follow up with a truly transparent look into WHO I AM to give you an idea why LIFE and THRIVING INTO MY DOPENESS mean so much to me.
When you hear the word “worry,” I believe the definition that comes to mind is something out of concern or out of love and care. The actual definition is, “The give away to anxiety; to allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.” (SMH) Just typing the word ANXIETY, I can feel my chest tighten up. This word has been a pain in my side since the day I found out that it was a mental hurdle and that I suffer from it. Being told when I was a child that I have a “stank” attitude, but not once did anyone ever ask me, “What’s wrong?” Was very counterproductive. I believe that was the death of my self-worthiness, and it would take me years to find it again. I always felt that I was left to figure life out on my own. In the household I grew up in, I felt invisible, and that wasn’t very important. This started me on a lonely and emotional path filled with some not-so-great visions of myself. Okay, HOLD UP! Let me get back on the subject.
“A day of worry is more exhausting than a day of work”
My worry has been my friend, enemy, and downfall since I was 7 years old. Now, for me to sit here as a 36-year-old and to do the math, that’s a hellava a long time to think that you’re not worthy. I grew up confiding in my worry/anxiety over the years. I mean, since all the grownups were at each other’s head, I became my own best friend. I felt like my worry was protecting me from everything that meant me harm. I was Miss “I have a gut feeling,” looking back, it wasn’t a gut feeling at all. It was just my anxiety letting me know that my place in this world would forever be emotionally alone but always emotionally available for others. Walking around in a constant state of worry in an unpredictable world made my minor crazy seem crazy as hell. One of my most significant issues with how I dealt with my worry is that I always trusted it and never asked any questions for clarity or ever thought that maybe I’m not that bad of a person. Nope, I would just exist in the fog of worry filled with overreaction, anger, isolation, and/or blame. Let me let you in on a bit of a secret a person that deals with anxiety that may seem cold. WE FEEL EVERYTHING to the core, and it can actually make us feel physical pain and this intense feeling of wanting to die just to make that pain go away. It never hit me until I was grown that this thing would interfere with my daily life and relationships.
“Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure out everything all at once. Breathe! You’re strong. You got this. Take it day by day.”
I would belittle myself for not being able to turn it off. To just Stop! I promise you that if it wasn’t for my granny I would not be here; she saved my life and she doesn’t even know it. I genuienly believe that the only reason I didn’t kill myself is because I couldn’t make her sad. But everyone else, I wholeheartedly thought I didn’t care. I would try to justify my dangerous thoughts with “They will be sad on the day I do it and maybe holidays.” I truly felt in myn heart that their 3/4 days of sad was an even trade for me to end my 365 days of sad. This was such an unhealthy way to not deal with shit and let my life be a sponge to my own toxic thoughts. It’s crazy when you’re living in this kind of fog you will justify anything and everything. I would harbor situations, alter the story in my head, and I would always make myself out to be the bad guy.
You deserved that hurt!
You deserve to be alone!
You don’t deserve to be here!
These were the statements I said to myself that almost led ME to take ME away…
The root to our human frustration and daily anxiety is our tendency to live for the future, which is an abstraction”
How can I live with my anxiety and can anyone love me?
This was one of the questions I started to ask myself at the beginning of my healing. I had never asked myself such questions I knew that something was shifting inside of me. I have worked so hard every day to pull myself out of a that constant state of worry. I had to figure out my triggers and get an understanding of why they are my triggers in the first place. I also had to accept that I feel emotions deeper than most people and that it doesn’t have to be a dreadful thing. I just need to learn how to protect myself a little more, even if it’s from myself. I had to get to the bottom of my “why”. Why do I care so deeply for others that bluntly don’t care for me? I needed to figure out why I’m so gentle with everyone but myself. I needed to figure out why I will go above and beyond for people but will be so accepting of the bare minimum for myself. It’s like I had this overwhelming feeling that I didn’t want to be alone so I would take any form of love given to me. Since I know how it feels when you feel unloved, I would try my best to make sure the people close to me would always feel an abundant amount of unquestionable love. Then, I would turn around and believe with my whole heart that I wasn’t worthy of the same. But why? Like, who abandoned me in the love department that I would be ok with being unhappy and unfullfilled. My husband would always say to me “You can be so critical” and of course I would get defensive, then after a bad anxiety attack and the death of my grandmother, it hit me. I’m not critical because I think he isn’t good enough; I’m actually being belittling because I don’t think I deserve him, his love, or our happiness. I guess it’s easier to say “I knew you were gonna leave me” instead of “I pushed you away”.
These last 7/8 months I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve learned that I’m worthy of the same kind of love that I put out in the universe. Now don’t get me wrong I have hurt some people that i genuinly loved and I wish I could give them all the apology they deserve. I wish I would have been more open and trusting because I truly believe hurt people will hurt people. I can be a really tough person to love. Through therapy, talking, and finally confiding in the people that love me, I have really begun to love life and have the strength to fight for it. On this journey, I haven’t experienced a negative thing from being vulnerable, which is funny because I have been fighting vulnerability my whole life.
You have to find your reason to live and to LOVE life. That reason can’t be for anyone other than YOU. YOU have not to want to die, YOU have to want to be free of your toxic thoughts, and YOU have to want to experience the feeling of loving yourself with your whole heart.
The moment you start the journey of healing the sun shines differently and you can actually hear the sound of life on this earth and it will make you smile from your heart…
Tips on how to start your journey to heal…
THERAPY– Please get with a therapist or a counselor that you connect with, and that can help you get to the bottom of your “why.” They can help you decipher through your past story so you can focus on your future informed. This can help you be accepting of who YOU are and who you were!
ACKNOWLEDGMENT- Being honest but not brutal with yourself is an excellent start to falling in love with you and the unique way you love. Finding out who you are, your flaws, accepting the things that make you who you are, acknowledging the things you need to work on, and accepting your story even if it’s not the greatest. You have to love yourself and want to be around YOU because if you can’t hang out with you, why should anyone else.
VULNERABILITY– You have to be honest with the people that love you and stop being toxic to the people that genuinely want to be around you. Be open! Tell them about yourself, about your day to day struggles, share your story, let them see YOU, let them be there for you, and let them love you the best way they know how without push back. Know that if they truly love you they will be there to cheer on your growth, but if they dip out just know that they weren’t worthy of your precence anyway. This is about you showing yourself that you’re capable of love and worthy of being loved.
MEDITATE– SAT YOSELF DOWN somewhere quietly and breathe for 30 minutes. You have to go beyond your mind and experiences. Find that inner place that is filled with peace, happiness, and bliss. Meditation can help calm you, diminish stress or pain, help get you through a crisis, can help you in the middle of a panic attack, and allows you to find a spiritual balance.
FIGURE OUT YOUR TRIGGERS– Figuring out your triggers and how they affect you can be the most liberating part of all this because it can help you not feel so NOT in control. Now, you can’t truly avoid all of your triggers but you can be prepared and not let them overwhelm you. You will notice when you’re approaching an unavoidable trigger and implement the things that calm you so you can stay in control. You can grab your journal, your bible, your favorite affirmations, and breathe through it. Eventually what used to cause you pain and anxiety attacks will no longer make you stumble, it will just show you just how strong you really are.
MEDICATION– Medication is NOT the enemy! If you’re in a place that you can’t pull yourself out of, or the fog gets too thick. Please seek help and discuss medications with your doctor and loved ones.
I had to find my worthiness and speak up for myself, SO DO YOU! We have to always demand well-balanced “ships” in our lives with family and friends. We have to move with a genuine heart, so our space is always protected. We may not be able to rid ourselves of worry and anxiety but what we can do is take away the power and control it has over us. If we take off the cover that we have put over suicide it wouldn’t be able to run rampant in our society anymore. Suicide thrives around us because the people that battle it feel ashamed, and shame makes them keep secrets. We have to know that we deserve to experience that feeling of unquestionable love… WE ALL DESERVE IT!!!!!