The Pursuit of Happiness

I can't help but wonder if human beings are ever truly satisfied. It's difficult to not let my mind trick me into thinking that I'm trying to do too much in such a short period of time. I constantly feel as if I'm racing with the clock, even though I always tell others that there's time to achieve their goals; it's never about who finishes first. Even if I achieve everything I've ever wanted, career-wise, what if I still end up feeling unfulfilled? What if, 5 years from now when I'm sitting in the house that I've built for myself, my children snuggled up under me and my spouse working his dream job, I still feel as though something is missing? Will my accomplishments matter if I don't feel complete?

My educational goals have always been to zoom right through school and begin a graduate program immediately after graduation. Now, there's not necessarily anything wrong with that, but when you speed right through instead of enjoying the journey, sometimes you don't give yourself enough time to grow and fall in love with what it is you are pursuing. I had always viewed nursing school as an obstacle that I needed to get through in order to pursue my REAL goal of becoming a nurse midwife. I didn't have any concrete expectations for nursing school; all I knew was that I needed it to be over and done with so that I could begin my journey to becoming a midwife. I think I can for sure admit that I was not expecting to love nursing the way I do now. That is important; after all, as a nurse midwife, I will always be a nurse first. It was through this "falling in love" phase that I came to understand what it truly means to appreciate every aspect of one's journey. That's not to say that I still don't have days where I am ready for nursing school to be over, but I believe that this is all a part of the "learning and loving" process. Be passionate about your goals & allow yourself to open up to the possibility of appreciating your journey. Don't get so caught up in the race against time that the fire you once had for your passion begins to dim.

 My one true fear is that I'll always be going after "more," that I'll always be searching for something better; that my desire (or greed, depending on how you choose to look at it) for something "better" will cause me to miss out on the things that truly matter. 

    Lord, I pray you help me to understand that happiness is not a destination, but a state of mind. Help me appreciate every stepping stone in my life. Help me to unlearn any selfish ways in my life so that I may be able to impact another person's life in an unimaginable way. Amen.

The Coldest Summer

        June 15th, 2015 at 8pm, the moment I had been anticipating since I was four walking into kindergarten. I would be strutting across the stage, graduating with honors. I would be the first female on my dad’s side of the family to actually graduate high school and go to college. To top things off, I had a full-ride! Everything was completely paid for all I had to worry about was getting through the summer without having a heat stroke and preparing for the best four years of my life-college! Summer was going to definitely be lit, but the fumes to that fire quickly burned and adulthood hit me the moment I walked out of the coliseum to search for the piece I always seemed to be missing-my mother.  

      She was and still is my mom, despite it all she will always be just that. I’m not sure about you, but when I hear the word mother, I always associate it with a loving and supportive woman, regardless of if she gave birth to the child or not, a mom is supposed to love you right? Always be there to support you right? Embrace you with open arms after one of the most monumental moments in your life thus far right? Well she didn’t.

     Our relationship has always been rather unconventional. “Yall are the exact same person, that’s why y'all can never get along,” my grandma’s favorite line to say whenever things would hit the fan. Little did she know, I wanted to be absolutely nothing like her daughter. As a kid, I always witness my mom manipulate people and treat everyone as if she were God himself. I never knew why but I always felt a sense of hatred from my mom towards me. At six years old, my nightly prayers consisted of asking God to make my mother love me.

I was born into the typical family arrangement in my community, a single mother with multiple kids who worked multiple jobs just to make ends meet. The thing about my upbringing that was completely different from my three siblings is that, I was fortunate enough to have a father who lived up to his title and until high school, I had never lived with my dad, but he was always there. He made sure he was in attendance at all of my school award ceremonies, cheerleading competitions, track meets and anything that mattered to me.

It may sound crazy, but my mom hated how much my father did for me. She would casually make comments about how she felt as if she had to compete with my father. She hated to be around the two of us. I never understood it because my father was a great man. I’m sure most girls say their dad is a great man, but my dad was the greatest of them all. He provided for me and my three siblings. Whenever one of my sister’s needed something that my mom was not able to provide, she would call him and he would make a way for them to have it. For her to hate a man who constantly helped her out was crazy to me.

     Although, he wasn’t there for one thing, my graduation cookout. You might suspect that I was flat out heartbroken due to his absence but I wasn’t, my mom was. I knew beforehand my father would not be there and to be completely honest, I didn’t want to be there myself. My mom had took it upon herself to throw me this extravagant graduation cookout. I’m talking about bouncy houses, horseback riding lessons, a professional DJ and everything. It was nice, but it wasn’t what I wanted. The clubhouse was packed to capacity with people I had never seen or heard of, and I hated it. When discussing the graduation cookout, I told my mom I wanted an intimate gathering with my family and friends, but this had become one of the parties that looked as if it were promoted on Twitter.

      The entire graduation cookout my mom kept asking where my dad was, and I kept trying to ignore it until she finally she pulled me to the side and said, “Where is that dead beat father of yours?” I’m pretty sure the people behind me heard my mouth drop, I was so shocked. How could she possibly refer to my dad as a dead beat, when he is the only one of her baby daddies that actually stuck around and held his weight? I was pissed! “He is sick, therefore he won't be able to make it,” I covered for him. She rolled her eyes and began to chuckle, I was speechless. “You’re gonna realize how little he does for you one of these days,” she stated before walking away.

    That was the last conversation we had before my big day. I knew she was mad my father didn’t show, but honestly I did not care.

     The day of graduation was extremely hectic. I received a text while in the nail salon, it simply read, “Find your own ride to graduation.” The tears began to form in my eyes. I said a quick prayer and asked God to allow my mother to find forgiveness in her heart and for us to be able to come together as one that night.

 Like most of my prayers that dealt with my mom, God didn’t seem to answer it. I remember pushing through the crowd looking for her. I checked inside and outside, when I got tired of searching I called her. “Hey Ma! I’m outside looking for you and I can’t seem to find you, I was wondering where you were.” My voice shook. “I been left.” She quickly replied with absolutely no feeling involved. Click! She hung up. At that exact moment, I would have preferred to been hit by a bus. I started spinning, and I felt myself drowning in my tears. Luckily for me, everyone was crying so I blended right in. The only difference was my tears were not from excitement instead they were from the total opposite, emptiness.

   “Don’t worry about the people who aren’t here, be thankful for those who are and who have continuously showered you in love and support,” my dad states as he tries to soothe me. I understood exactly where he was coming from, but at that moment I did not care. I wanted my mom to be there like I always did. I craved her presence, I wanted her to be there for me like she was there at my older sister’s graduation. I wanted her to congratulate me, I wanted her to be my mom for once.

    Two days after graduation, I was almost homeless. My mom decided she had enough of me “choosing my dad over her,” and said I couldn’t live with her anymore. Instead of moving with my dad and looking for a new job, I chose to stay in with my aunt. Although my aunt lived five minutes up the street, I didn’t hear from my mom until it was almost time for me to leave for school.

At the age of seventeen I finally ended my quest. I stopped looking for what I never seemed to find, not because I didn’t want it, but simply because I was hurting myself. I used to always think that if I tried hard enough, my mom would want to come around, but after graduation I soon realized that it didn't matter what I did, my mom had her mind made up and I couldn’t change it.

 Looking back, I would tell six year old self to not pray for the acceptance of others, but to pray for the ability to accept myself as I am. Self acceptance is something we all struggle with at times simply because, everyone wants to be accepted by others. Unfortunately, some of us want to be accepted so badly that we lose ourselves. I spent so much time craving the love of my mother that I often overlooked the ones who only showered me in love.

 

 

 

 

 

Footnotes

Lit- a slang term that means exciting or enjoyable.

Good Morning Good Girls!

What do you do when you first wake up? Other than groan at your phone’s alarm and struggle to get out of the bed. What does your mind do when you first wake up? What do you think about? There's something that I do every single morning, a series of questions that I ask myself. These questions wake me up, get me thinking, and they set my mood for the entire day. Incorporating this daily routine into my life, might seem like a tiny ripple, but it has been a very pivotal part of my journey to self acceptance, and self love. I wake up every morning, go to my bathroom, and read these questions aloud. 

What are you grateful for this moment?

 This is an important question to ask yourself each morning. The answer can be as simple as “ I am grateful for waking up this morning”. Taking the time to be appreciative of something you have before your day even starts, kicks off a positive and grateful attitude towards the life that you have. I love to quickly reflect on what I have that others might not. This humbling action is the key to your individual success. Always appreciate what you have before you look into getting what you don’t. There is nothing wrong with wanting more for yourself, but you will never be  happy until you love and appreciate what you already have.

How can you make yourself smile right now?

Many times when I ask myself this, I think about the day ahead of me. No matter how long or short the day may be, or what things I have to get accomplished, I like to think of what I can do to make myself happy. One of the best answers, for me, is simply going to my favorite song or playlist and singing my heart out. Enjoying some good music while I get ready for the day, gives me a little kick to get going. Crazy how something so simple can actually brighten your day. 

Is what you’re doing right now benefitting you and worth your time?

Now, this question is a bit different. If you’re still struggling to get out of the bed, then you might not be using your time efficiently. However, sometimes I look deeper into the question and I really think about what I’m doing in life and if I feel like it’s helping me grow positively. For those of you feeling unhappy if you’re stuck with a bad job, relationship, or environment, this could be the realization you need to change it. Noticing that something or someone is not benefiting you and not worth your energy is empowering. It shows you your worth. Sometimes, this simple question might give you the strength to pursue greater things and abandon any dirty laundry you might have, once and for all. 

Those three questions are my go-to "get me up” questions. By taking the time to ask myself these every day, I get a better realization of what I’m grateful for, what makes me happy, and what I feel like is genuinely worth my time. I start to humble myself and appreciate my worth all before the day gets started. Over time, these habits have naturally fallen into place. Repetition is key.  I encourage all of my lovely ladies to use these questions as part of their daily routine, or create your own!

 

Good Girl Care Kit

After all of the hustle and bustle of summer school in an accelerated nursing program, it feels
really good to just...be. School has consumed a great deal of my life, and while my initial goal
was to do well in my program, my only goal now is to find a healthy balance between school and
my spiritual life. Taking care of every aspect of my well-being has been my priority for just a few
short months, and although I don't touch on every aspect all the time, I wanted to share some of
the things that help me stay at my best. Everyone has their own way of taking care of
themselves, & while I know this won't be all-encompassing, if one person can take something
from this, then I've accomplished my goal.


1. At the very top of my list would have to be managing my sense of space. My space is
EXTREMELY important to me, and I get very uneasy when people try to impose on that.
This may seem a bit selfish, but if I'm not comfortable, then other people tend to pick up
on that energy and the environment becomes different. It is never my intention to make
other people uncomfortable at my expense. These days, it's as simple as me reminding
myself of how imperative it is to maintain my well-being. I allow myself the freedom,
minus the feelings of guilt and selfishness, of deciding what and who I accept into my
space. I never ignore my gut; if someone or something doesn't feel right to me, then I do
what I can to make sure they don't have another opportunity to share space with me.
You can't ever get your time back, so focus your energy on cultivating a space that
allows you to consistently be your best you. This goes a long way for me and the
encounters I have with others.


2. I spend A LOT of unnecessary and pointless time on social media. And I'm not
embarrassed to say that, because I know other people do the same. In the past year
alone I've spent a lot of time checking for people who are more than likely not checking
for me. It has made me realize how much more I could have been adding to my life had I
known how to better allocate my time to more substantial areas. Use your time wisely.


3. This kind of ties into number 2, but I felt like it needed to be addressed separately. These
days I’m finding that so many people are creating voices for themselves through art
whether it be through music, poetry, drawings,etc. People are also using social media as
a medium through which to get this art across to others. And while I do love that this is
happening, I also know my limits. I take social media breaks from time to time, which can
sometimes mean deleting the apps from my phone for a few days or weeks. It really
helps me center myself and remain grounded. I also try to refrain from checking my
phone as soon as I wake up, and won't use my phone unless I absolutely have to. I'm
not 100% where I'd like to be with that yet, and whenever I feel the need to scroll through
Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook, I have to gently remind myself that these
apps are just an excuse for my boredom and desire to know what everyone else is up to.
Know your social media limits! These sites can be very useful and have positive effects,
but they can also cause a lot of unnecessary heartache, misery, and envy.


4. I've never been an "in between" kind of person. I often find that I sit on opposite sides of
the spectrum in most aspects of my life, hardly finsing myself in a "gray" area. When I'm
happy, I'm really happy, and when I'm angry, I'm fuming. Although I know I have a great
deal of happy moments, I tend to readily recall my angry and sad moments more. I
struggle so much with holding on to anger, something that I'm no longer afraid to admit.
It can be really difficult to let go of something that can so negatively impact your life.
Ironic, isn't it? I'm such a "do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" kind of
person, so when I feel like someone does me dirty, my blood boils and I can feel angry
and betrayed for days on end. Overtime, I've come to realize how much holding onto
bitterness has robbed me of realizing my blessings. Whenever I get angry, my first
thought is always how ugly my anger makes me. My biggest flaw is forgetting that
people are human and are not free from flaws or mistakes. That has helped me a great
deal to more easily let go of my anger and try to perceive things from a place of
understanding, rather than a place of anger and judgement.


5. A few weeks ago I read a quote by Alan Watts: “Stop measuring days by degree of
productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence.” I spend a great deal of
time obsessing over my future, about who I'll be in the next 5 years, and daydreaming
about any and everything that I could be doing to propel myself towards the woman I
envision myself becoming. I struggle all the time with whether my desire for "more" and
my desperation to "get ahead" makes me greedy. It's so important to appreciate the
stepping stones in your life and to be present in as many moments as you can. Love the
bad times as much as the good, and enjoy the journey. Comparing your life to that of
someone else will only serve to intensify that feeling of "not doing enough." Social media
will have you believing that everyone else's achievements come with a tiny amount of
hard work on their part. Stay present and understand that your story won't be the same
as anyone else's. Stay consistent with your goals and how you achieve them, but don't
allow them to overtake your life. The goal is to complete your endeavors, not get achieve
them the fastest.


6. I had forgotten what it means to be intimate with myself. Women sometimes tend to be
caretakers for everyone but themselves. For my first two semesters of nursing school, I
was commuting over an hour to class or clinical everyday. I won't lie, it was ROUGH.
School was consuming so much of my life, and I wasn't nurturing myself like I should
have. I was absolutely wearing myself thin, and although I had good grades to show for
it, internally I just felt empty everyday. Take 30 minutes or an hour out of your day
everyday to connect with yourself, whether that means going to the gym, watching a
movie, listening to music, meditating, reading, whatever. Although I enjoy being by
myself more than I enjoy being with anyone else, putting this into practice was difficult
because my 24 hours just NEVER felt enough. To salvage my mental health, I had to
ensure that I fit some "me time" somewhere in my schedule everyday. For me that
meant taking breaks in between studying for exams, stretching deep breathing before
going to sleep at night and upon waking in the morning, and reading my daily devotional
at times when I felt overwhelmed. Take care of yourself, and don't ever feel like wearing
yourself thin is the only way to ensure that you finish the race. Constantly running on
empty will leave you depleted once you get to the finish line. Intimacy with yourself is just
as important, if not more, as intimacy with a significant other.

Protect Your Vibe

The best piece of advice I’ve ever heard was from a total stranger, while I was standing
in line at the bookstore. We were making “small talk” and right before she proceeded to check
out she told me “protect your aura, vibes transfer.” When I first heard this I didn’t think it
applied to me. I was a freshman in high school and I felt like I knew everything. I was under
the assumption that the people whom I entered high school with would remain my friends
through senior year. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I realized not everyone is
meant to have a permanent spot in my life because of their toxic nature.
I’m sure some of you have heard of the woman who urged her boyfriend to commit
suicide. On July 12, 2014, Michelle Carter repeatedly encouraged her boyfriend, Conrad Roy to
kill himself through text messages. He eventually commited suicide by inhaling carbon
monoxide. Although both teens had a history of mental illness, prosecutors state that Carter
wants to portray herself as the “the grieving girlfriend” in order to get attention and sympathy.
She took advantage of Roy’s vulnerable state and used it for personal gain. The aggressor in
these types of relationships often manipulate others to make it seem as if they are being
treated poorly. There are many other situations similar to the Carter-Roy case, many having
tragic results. In my case, the toxic relationship resulted not in death, but the end of a long
friendship.
For me, the Michelle Carter was my best friend. Our friendship started off great. We
would hang out, stay up late talking and just vibe together. I remember one of our FaceTime
calls that lasted six hours! We didn’t even talk about much because we honestly just enjoyed
each other’s company. As the friendship continued, she began to be less supportive and would
constantly put me down. During our junior year, I remember working really hard on a project
that got approved. One of the first people that I told was her and all she responded back was
“cool”. After all of the times that I would encourage and congratulate her, I was heartbroken
that this was all she had to say.. Here was the girl I constantly supported, and when it was time
for her to be there for me she wasn’t. It got to the point where I started feeling like I was being
too needy because I wanted her to care for and support me. She had a way of turning her
incompetence as a friend on me, to make it seem like I was problem. She would tell me that I
expected “too much” out of our friendship. Our tense friendship made it hard for me to keep
the relationships that I had with other people healthy, because she began to rub off on me. I
found myself not trusting people who I’d been friends with for years. I had built up so much
hurt that I would “pop off” on anyone. It was almost as if I had this giant storm cloud hanging
over me.
Eventually I had to cut her off, which was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to
do. I was so scared because she had become such a big part of my high school experience and I didn’t know what it would be like without her. Even though she was my right hand girl, I had to stop trying to keep a dying friendship alive. I needed to stop putting effort into someone who neglected my feelings. Though it was hard to do, I can say that it was a blessing. Letting go of our friendship pushed me to grow. Don’t just stay in relationship because it’s what you’re used to. If the relationship is toxic or holding on by a thread, let it go. I know it might be terrifying, especially when you’ve invested so much time and energy into that person and the
relationship, but it’s better for you and everyone around you if let the toxicity go. You’ll feel
yourself grow and you’ll be able to achieve so much more!

Travel Girl

See the World, Queen

Experiencing the world is one of life’s greatest gifts. There are so many reasons why traveling is important for women, especially women of color. Some of us are unaware of different cultures until we take the time to educate ourselves. One of the best ways to educate ourselves is through traveling.  Although traveling overseas may seem exciting, there is so much diversity, here in the states, that some of us are blind to.  Have you ever traveled to another state and thought about how different so many things were? Whether it was someone accent, the food or simply the way of life… we miss out on a lot of these experiences.

Now I know what most of you are thinking… traveling is so expensive! You want to enjoy the world but at what cost? Traveling has become more affordable than you may think. There are many different options that make taking a trip more economical. For starters, there are many resources to choose from like the many black travel bloggers such as “Black and Abroad”, “The Globe Getter”, “One Girl One World”- whose websites include travel plans that allow monthly payment options. These bloggers take multiple trips throughout the year, and are reputable.

A few examples on Instagram:

Also, lodging has become easier with sites such as Airbnb. If you are someone who has read about black women being discriminated and not being able to book via Airbnb, please do not let that discourage you. Not everyone has a bad experience and it truly is worth a try. However, if you simply don’t want to support Airbnb, there is an alternative. Innclusive.com was created with you in mind. Same concept except it is catered to and is known as the “black Airbnb”.

If you are traveling within the states and want to sightsee, CityPass.com is an amazing option. This website combines selected cities’ most popular tourist sites for one low price. I myself have used a city pass in New York, Atlanta, Houston, and San Diego. I highly suggest looking into this option.

WHATEVER is stopping you from seeing and experiencing the world, don’t let it. Invest and take time to research and you will realize that traveling is not as intimidating as it may appear. Looking forward to hearing your successful travel stories!

 

Best Show on TV

 

HBO's Insecure by Issa Rae is my FAVORITE show on television for SO many reasons! First, its so dope to me that she’s the creator of the entire show and the main character in the series, that takes impeccable talent to do both so exceptionally well.

The writing of the show its SO relatable to black girls everywhere. Issa said she titled it Insecure because “its this narrative going around, that’s awesome, that black women are fierce, strong, and flawless; but I don’t know that life and my friends definitely don’t know that life, so I wanted to center a show around “weak” black women and the uncertainty that they feel on that journey to get to greatness, its like the prequel to black girl magic.”

She started with a youtube series called The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl in 2011, which is what Insecure is partially based on.  Rae and her team make sure they tie in issues the black community face everyday in every episode. For instance, showing infidelity not being one-sided by just accusing the man, the stigma that black men have to appear super masculine, under the table racism in the workplace, on top of the typical insecurities women face on a day to day. The jokes within this comedy aren’t your typical play on the common notion that black people are either “ratchet or stuck up” instead it depicts the "in between" that’s never shown.

If I had to rate the show I would give it 5 stars lol seriously please watch it! It took me less than a day to watch the whole series it's only eight 30 minute episodes, once you start you won't turn it off until its over.

P.S ISSA I adore you, you inspire me as a writer. This is pure gold. Good Girl of the year for this one here girl.

New Year's Challenge

 

My sister sent us a text that said,

"I know this may be a lot to ask.. but I'm asking all of the people that are closest to me and I love the most to give me a character trait that I could use some work on.. I know it will come from love.. but be honest with me. I truly believe that the most powerful form of love transforms the weakest parts of you because you are most vulnerable. I don't just want love that makes me comfortable- I want the love that's grows me, strengthens me & evolves me so that I am better for myself, you & ultimately my purpose. "

I thought this was an amazing idea! So I challenge all of my good girls to do the same thing! Send this text to all of your close family and friends, that genuinely know you, and see what they say! This is a perfect new year's resolution, the journey to becoming a better you starts now! It's time to get real, get free, and be GOOD.

#SilverLiningChallenge

I’ve struggled with the spirit of negativity. In the past, I’ve been let down so many times that I developed the mindset of not having hopes or getting excited about anything, so if it doesn’t work out it won’t make a difference. It's reflected on other people's moods and when they would tell me something they want to do that doesn't sound "realistic" I'll shut it down to prevent them from heartbreak (in my mind), and I was too on the realism side that it stopped me from dreaming, myself, but I realized. … you are what you speak, and being realistic is the most common way to mediocrity.

I’m also not a sensitive person, so sometimes it was hard for me to empathize or understand why people were crying over something so minor. But I had to realize just because it was minor to me doesn’t mean its not a big deal, and if you care about a person whatever they deem important should be just as important to you. I feel some of the events I’ve been through in my life I chose to go to the side of closing myself off, not expressing my feelings, pushing everything to the back burner instead of facing my inner demons. I’m not the most social person, some people don’t know that about me, I’d rather be to myself ,but I think God gave me the ministry of people. My dad and I say, “ we don’t like people, but we love people.” Meaning I don’t really want to go out and mix and mingle but I have a deep love and passion for humanity. Like I honestly, as cliche as it sounds, wholeheartedly want to change the world. I want the best for every person, I see the goodness in everyone, hence "good girl", even if I don’t know you I want you to succeed. & Best believe, if I can do anything to help your success I will. So I realized if I want to help others I have to come across more approachable and warm or I can't help anyone, especially if they don’t feel comfortable enough to even talk to me. So I started to pray everyday and went on a strictly water fast. "God help me to come across genuine, I don’t want to come across unrelatable or fake, but I want them to feel me for me. I don’t have to be everyone's best friend, but I do need to smile more. I want you to help me cultivate other women’s minds, help them understand they are more important than anything & their self worth is invaluable, so they never have to experience the dark space I was once in." So God gave me the platform “Bring Her Back: The Good Girl Movement” and girls have been coming up to me left and right about their aspirations and dreams and I nearly shed a tear every time because this is what I prayed and fasted for. Nothing fills me more than helping black women reach their goals. Now, I'm helping other girls to help others and its just ongoing cycle, and it all started with a vision God gave me. & I couldn't be more thankful that He chose me.

A Seat at the Table

Entering this Holiday season seeing your families again everyone gets asked the famous questions, “How’s school?“What are your grades?” “Do you have a boyfriend?”

It’s time to re-shift our focus to a different conversation…

Let’s talk about our family health history.

It's vital to know your risk for developing heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. According to the Center for Disease Control, a study conducted showed that 96 percent of Americans believed that knowing their family history is important, but only one third have actually gathered their family history.

Your family health history can be instrumental in determining which tests and screenings are best for you. Screenings are so important, because the earlier a disease is caught the earlier it can be treated.

For example: If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, start having your mammogram 10 years younger than the age that relative was diagnosed, OR at age 40, whichever is younger. So, if your mom had breast cancer when she was 44, you should start having your mammogram at age 34.

Also, knowing you history helps you determine the kind of lifestyle and behaviors you should adopt. How important is it for you to have a nutritious diet and exercise early? Taking part in those activities can delay or in some cases prevent disease.

Recording your family health history is simple. Start by writing it all down in place. Once you have gathered all of the necessary information, you can easily take it with you to doctor appointments. Be sure to keep updated information.

There are several important elements you should gather when gathering your family health history:

Gather information from three generations of biological relatives.
The age they were at diagnosis and the age and cause of death of diseased family members.

Warning signs when researching your family health history include:

A family member gets a disease earlier in life than expected. 
Several close family members have the same disease. 
The disease is usually uncommon for that gender. 
Certain combinations of disease in the family, such as breast and ovarian cancer or diabetes and heart disease.

In 2008, the death rate for African Americans was higher than Caucasians for heart diseases, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

In 2008, African American women were 10 percent less likely to have been diagnosed with breast cancer; however, they were almost 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white women. 

Let's be proactive instead of reactive.
If you would like to have a seat at the table visit:

https://familyhistory.hhs.gov/FHH/html/index.html

Reprogram Your Thinking

Reprogram your thinking…

 

Have you ever wondered why when one bad thing happens to us during the day then the rest of our day just spirals down? 

It’s most likely the law of attraction. 

The law of attraction is the concept that we are responsible for bringing both positive and negative experiences into our lives. The key is to understand that where you place your focus can have an intense impact on what happens to you. If you spend the majority of your day thinking about your fears and mistakes, you’re likely see more negativity appearing; but if you look at the bright side of things, then positivity will be the result. Even thoughts like, “OMG I can’t be late to work” can be problematic. Even though it’s a good thing to want to be on time for work your, focus is on the negative. Instead say, “I won’t be late to work, God please look out and let the traffic go by smoothly and give me parking favor.” We have to realize thoughts become things. What we believe determines what we make true and through your beliefs you form your reality. So if you’ve been told all your life you’ll never amount to anything or if you think becoming wealthy is out of your reach then that is the mind script that is welded your subconscious. The goal within this theory is to be able to take control over how your future develops and shaping it into whatever you choose. 

It all starts in our mind. We have the power to achieve the unthinkable, we just have to stop being stagnant and closed minded. You are a black Bill Gates in the making. Speak it into existence and act accordingly. 

Daily Devotionals

Daily Devotionals are life-changing….

 

My roommate’s mom bought her this book called “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. She bought it from Barnes and Nobles for only $20 and it’s been the best addition to our household. 

They encourage you to apply God’s word to your life daily.

It helps heighten your faith & reminds you God is always on time.  It’s crazy because the “Word of the day” is always in line with what I’m going through right at that moment.  It’s not just generic sayings like, “Treat people how you want to be treated” but they are eye-opening, instructional messages that actually give you “one-on-one” instructions to living a life closer to God. 

 

During the summer, Tae (my roomie) and I heard a sermon saying, it’s vital to not only take care of yourself physically, by working out in the gym, but taking care of yourself spiritually is just as important. 

So we started working out in our apartment gym three times a week and immediately after our workout we would read our daily devotional together, along with the bible verses that follow each message. Then we would discuss what stood out to us individually. 

 

It was so empowering from beginning to end. Even though I was drained physically after the workout, I felt re-energized after reading the devotional.

 

It cleansed us in every aspect of our lives and left us wanting to cleanse any and everything that’s not positive or progressive… Leaving the rest of our day just filled with “good” vibes. I highly recommend purchasing your own daily devotional, it’s the best gift I’ve ever received. 

Don't Hate

Don’t Be That Girl

Why is it that when a woman walks in a room, we are checking to see if her weave and concealer are properly blended, and if her eyebrows are over-drawn?  Just to murmur to our friends, “Mm… she looks a mess”. Then the next woman walks in; she’s very well put together, hair laid, eyebrows snatched, but she doesn’t have a smile on her face, so we hate her, too, because apparently she’s “stuck up”. Lastly, the average girl walks in, and speaks to everyone in the room with the biggest smile on her face, but we decide to label her as “fake”. It’s NO winning with us. We need to cut each other some slack.

You don’t know what the first girl had to endure before you sized her up. For the second girl, I know for me, I’m not going to walk in an unfamiliar place and smile and speak to everyone in the room unless it’s a job interview. As long as we don’t have a toxic attitude, we should be able to walk in a room silently, and pulled together, with a genuinely relaxed face and not be labeled “stuck up”. Now I agree, we do need to be cognizant of our “relaxed faces” and make sure they don’t give off a negative vibe, but don’t always assume the worst of one another.

Lastly, the girl that actually did exactly what you wanted, which was speak to everyone, and give out numerous compliments is now “fake”. Just because that’s not how you operate, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. We should actually be taking notes from the last girl because we want to light up the room as black women of God, exuding the kindness God destined us to have. Compliment more; if you think she looks bomb, then tell her. You never know, one small act of kindness from you can be exactly what she needs to press on.

Everyone isn’t the same, and that’s perfectly fine.

I understand there will be some women you just don’t get along with, and that’s okay as well, but it needs to be for a valid reason not “just because.”

I’m not saying we need to go around trying to be everyone’s best friend; just be genuine. We have to start checking ourselves, and our friends as well. When did it become cute to be “petty”? We, women…especially black women, desperately need peace. We are going through enough in life. It’s time for us to wake up to the fact that our problem isn’t between us; it’s with the people that are trying to turn us against each other. And frankly, they seem to be winning.

God made women to be genuine, loving, and kind. Its time to re-shift, redefine, and put our energy into building our communities, pouring into our young girls, and breaking the cycle!

We need to stop seeking out each other’s flaws, and embrace our differences that make us each uniquely beautiful. “I’m not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it.”-Erica Cook

 

 

 

 

 

Etiquette Quiz

Etiquette Quiz

How Much Do You Really Know?

 

1.     You’re sitting at a dinner at a restaurant and your phone rings, what do you do?

A.     Check the phone in your lap, tell them you cant talk

B.     Say excuse me answer make sure its not emergency

C.     Your phone shouldn’t even be visible…

 

Correct answer: C

Your time allotted should be time for your guest… the majority of the time its not an emergency, especially because most of us aren’t mothers so whatever it is can wait.

Quick Tip: Talking on speaker or being on facetime without headphones in public is a huge no-no. No one wants to hear your conversation.

 

2.     You and gentlemen are approaching a door together, what do you do?

A.     Open the door

B.     Wait for him, politely

Correct answer: B

The problem is sometimes we don’t allow gentlemen to be just that, which is a gentleman

 

 

3.     Its your first date, the boy texts you saying, “I’m outside.” What’s your response?

A.     Come outside

B.     Tell him to come to the door

C.     Invite him to come inside

Correct answer: B

I know a lot of us feel like if we don’t know him that well, that he doesn’t need to meeting our parents/guardians, but for safety purposes he doesn’t have to come all the way inside for the “grilling interview process”, but someone close to you needs to be able to recognize his face for emergency purposes

 

4. If you’re crossing a street (walking) or getting over into another lane (driving), and a car stops for you, what do you do?

A.     Wave thank you

B.     Continue without acknowledgment

C.     Tell the car they can go first

Correct answer: A

Just thank them nicely and keep it moving

 

5. If your out for brunch and you order pancakes, how do you eat them?

A.     Cut the entire thing at once beforehand

B.     Cut one piece at a time

C.     Don’t cut it at all

Correct answer: B

Proper etiquette states, you should cut one piece at a time.

 

Now some table etiquette...

6. Which drink is yours the one on the right or left?

A.     Right

B.     Left

Correct answer: B

Quick Tip: Use your utensils from the outside in, and always have your napkin in your lap

 

7. If you’re on a date with a guy how do you order your food?

A.     Speak very nicely to the waiter and place your order

B.     Take forever and ask the waiter to come back once you figure it out

C.     Tell him what you want, and he orders it

Correct answer: C

Proper etiquette says he should order your food for you since he’s the one paying for it. You tell him nicely what you would like and he places both of your orders at the same time.

 

Source: Etiquette and Charm Specialist, Letricia Loftin

 

As a result,

People treat you the way you let them. How are we teaching them to treat us? How are we presenting or carrying ourselves to be treated? First, we have to check ourselves. We need to make sure we are acting like the queens we want to be treated like. For example: You can never say, “thank you” too many times.

We need to realize there’s a difference between being feminine and strong. Allow our men to be the men they desire to be. Sometimes they don’t act like gentlemen, in our eyes, because we don’t allow them to. We are too busy trying to do everything for ourselves, while it’s amazing to be independent, don’t make it hard for him to treat you how you deserve.

 

 

 

 

As Women We Have To Stop...

As women we have to stop giving him everything too early, so there’s nothing for him to work for…

 

Let’s speak as if relationships were jobs. In most cases, in the work field a major accomplishment/goal is a promotion…

Why would a company promote someone that’s already doing the job exceptionally well with no pay?

 

Sometimes in relationships we have to gradually do things. We expect more from them because we start the giving in the relationship too early expecting them to eventually return the kindness without our asking, but when it never happens we get mad...Then it turns into years down the line and nothing changes and that's because we set up the relationship to be that way...off rip.

Why would he start stepping up to the plate if he never had to? Its like when a new principal comes to a school she starts off a little more stern to get everyone’s respect, then she relaxes once they understand her role but if she started vice versa no one would take her seriously …same kind of thing… if we start off doing everything we can’t be upset when they don’t step up.

As women we show in our actions how we feel about the person…

Ask yourself this question, “Would he ever do this for me?”

Trust, I’ve done this too and ended up irritated once I realized that I wasn’t quite sure of the answer…

Keep it a stack with yourself… We have to start taking hints. In most cases these “aint ***t niggas” show themselves true way before we really realize… Pick up on the hints.. from the way he texts and calls you.. and his sense of urgency to see or talk to you.

Is his phone always attached to his hip? Is he always on social media?

Some people can look it as over-analyzing, but its just trying to really understand the type of person you’re dealing with, so down the line you aren’t wasting time… of course no one is perfect but there’s certain things we shouldn’t have to put up with.. .we are too young… and we aren’t married so we don’t have to stick it out… but at the same time, sometimes I confuse myself with when is enough enough or when is it too early to throw in the towel? Its hard because we are young trying to mature and find our way together, but as soon as your happiness is being compromised its time to let go. If you feel like you're losing yourself its never that serious. You have to save yourself first, before your relationship. Choose you.

No man is more important than your sanity.

Be careful because its dangerous when you start feeling depressed letting this man be able to ruin your whole day by just one statement he said. Or maybe he’s making you lose sight of your wants and stop thriving to dream. … You have to always be in control of you..

How does he treat people that he doesn’t have to be nice to, things like that shows their true character? How does he treat waiters and retail workers?

Is he only nice to people who can do something for him…

God has made it so everyone has an assignment, and you need everyone no one is more important than anyone else.. For example: how disgusting would life be if we had no sanitation workers…

Does he post his whole life on social media but you never make the cut? I know people say “its just IG” but is it really? In our generation social media is the way we connect.. the way we see what’s going on in the world around us… its important to us.. so if we are exclusive enough for us to be participating in “exclusive activities”  you should be able to show me off to your friends and family like the pair of shoes you just shared on your feed…Social media is a big deal and don’t let him twist your mind into feeling otherwise… how important are you to him?

We can’t expect him to “wife” us if we are already doing wifely duties without having the title. He won’t ever “promote” you because for what? And technically, that means you're bending over backwards for someone that’s allowed to have their cake and eat it too…

Again: we also have to check ourselves because sometimes we only want to see their flaws and we don’t wanna see our own

What do you bring to the table?  Also, what you bring to the table may not always be good. All of this goes both ways…

 

 

 

How To Get Over Someone Checklist

1.    Find something to consume that new allotted time, something freshly new or an activity you just thoroughly enjoy.

**Adding new things in your schedule makes for new beginnings instead of feeling like a huge part of you just went missing

 

2.    Rearrange your furniture, change your normal hairstyle something that makes you feel new and refreshed.

 

3.    Don’t go out looking for an immediate replacement (rebound).

**Now, I also understand you’re going to get bored and lonely…

My friends say to me, “Just be alone.” Which of course is true, learn how to be independent, but at the same time we are human and we have needs and wants. So I say you can absolutely entertain others as long as you do it in a healthy manner.

 

4.    Give yourself time to “grieve”.

**When women love, we love hard. So just know its okay to not be okay

 

5.    Surround yourself with amazing company; family and friends preferably that aren’t mutual friends of your ex.

 

6.    Write it out or talk it out with a friend, therapist or best of them all God.

**We can’t expect humans to always know the answers to our problems, sometimes talking to people only makes you feel worse… so running to God is always the best solution... He already knows what you're going through no need for a backstory

 

7.    Cut out the lurking on social media!!

** It only makes it harder for you to get over them, and seeing him live his life like nothing happened will only irritate you more

 

8.    If you are really serious… cut out all communication because honestly what is there to talk about at this point?

**Don’t stay up all night, that’s when you think about them the most

 

9.    Stand by your decision. The going back and forth helps no one, accept it and move forward.

 

10.    Never lose yourself.  If anything, pull yourself together even more than you did before.

 

11.  ****Grind. So you're so bomb it’s clear letting you go was his biggest mistake.***** 

Of course, grind for yourself to be the best "you" there is but its always nice for someone to say to him,  “Sheesh you used to go with her?! You tweaked.”

 

Then finally, I’ve always been the type that hates to marinate on the problem but what’s the solution?

 

1.    Learn from the relationship.

2.    Understand what you did wrong and what you did right.

3.    Take away what you wont tolerate in your next relationship and don't ignore the signs God showed you "off rip"

Time heals all wounds. Give yourself time.

 

 

 

 

Black Girls ROCKED The Miss USA Pageant

Miss District of Columbia, Miss Georgia, and Miss Virginia all landed a spot in Top 10 and all black women! All represent a different essence of our blackness, but all capture exactly what it means to be a queen.

Miss Georgia: TOP 3! Her genuine spirit and smile radiated the stage. Thank you for showing us we can rock our natural bob cuts and stand apart from the bunch. Thank you for reminding us “Confidently beautiful means knowing who you are, loving yourself for who you are, loving yourself no matter what your flaws are because your flaws are what make you beautiful.”

Miss Virginia: TOP 10! A host noted during the swimsuit competition that Williams had “been the most overall consistent competitor during rehearsals. The other contestants would always stop and watch her whenever she took the stage.” And that’s the Hampton way. Williams serves as director of the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute, holds a doctorate of physical therapy and bachelor of science and health degree, and currently works as an assistant professor of physical therapy all at Hampton University!! She was crowned Miss Hampton University in 2010. Williams stated during her introduction video,

“If somebody would’ve approached me five years ago and said you’d be in a doctoral program teaching at Hampton University and you’d be competing in Miss USA, at that point in time I couldn’t even dream a dream that big.”

Thank you for being the perfect combination of poised, confident, and sexy & my personal favorite…a true Hampton woman.

Miss District of Columbia: Our newly crowned MISS USA 2016!  An Army Reserve officer and IT analyst tweeted, “Attention: First Lieutenant Deshauna Barber is reporting for duty as #MissUSA 2016.” This melanin goddess graced the stage with such unforgettable confidence and discipline, never letting us forget for a second who she was and who she served, “As a woman in the United States Army….’ We are beyond proud that our Miss USA is a black HBCU graduate from DC, with an “unconventional” name.

Lastly, I can’t forget to highlight my favorite moment of the night… Which was the special congratulations Miss Virginia gave to the former Miss DC. It was the definition of how women should always support and congratulate each other, genuinely. #blackgirlmagic at its fullest potential.