She Blogs

CHOOSE!

This morning upon checking my email, I realized that my timeline is filled with a bunch of… mess! Celebrity news & gossip, ratchet video footage, enhanced asses in Fashion Nova outfits, exposed boobs, grey sweat pants and more! I decided to go through the accounts that I am following and as I went down the list, I began to erase, or unfollow, a few of the ones that stood out to me as “mess.” I discontinued following about 40 or so accounts. Why?

The why is very simple. In fact, the results that came from those deletions, left me with a clarity that inspired this entry. You see, all of those accounts that I one day CHOSE to follow and just CHOSE to unfollow, served no real purpose for me. They didn’t inspire me or serve me in any way. They didn’t provoke positive thoughts and change nor move me in anyway. They really just filled my feed making it harder for me to get to the good stuff. I guess I can call them distractions. Guess what happened when once I ridded myself of some of these distractions? My timeline IMMEDIATELY changed for the better. The first post wasn’t about Nicki Minaj & Safaree. It wasn’t about bundles of hair or someone taking a photo of their food with a Gucci belt and Chanel bag sitting right beside it AS IF the latter two weren’t supposed to be the real focus. Nope, it was motivational quotes and videos. It was positive news and images of travel and beautiful families. It was current events that, though are not always positive or desirable to read, are real and in some way effect us. It was photos of beautiful locs, black entrepreneurship and positive policing. That was after only 40 accounts. I will delete more later.

Quick intermission. My food is getting cold. Awwww mann!

Okay I’m back!

Avocado, Egg White & Spinach (Panera Bread)
This sandwich from Panera Bread REALLY makes my soul happy!  You HAVE to try it! You will have to make it there before 10:30 though! It’s a breakfast item.

Now of course this post isn’t simply about Instagram and followed accounts. That is just the vehicle that brought me to my main point. That same process… that same way of thinking has to be applied to our every day lives. Just as we CHOOSE the accounts to we follow on Social Media, we also choose the people in our lives. We CHOOSE our circle. We CHOOSE the environments we place ourselves in. We CHOOSE the things, people and thoughts we entertain. Guess what’s on the other side of that? Yep! You guessed it! CHOOSING the things and people we DO NOT want in our lives. Just as we get to decide what we will accept in our lives, we also get to decide what is no longer accepted in our lives or welcomed in the first place. As we continue to grow into the people we were meant to be, these things WILL change. Your CHOICES WILL change. The content you found to be so entertaining yesterday, may make you cringe today. The conversations you took part in last year, you have no interest in this year. It’s called growth. At some point, those accounts I followed, entertained or interested me in some way. Today I changed my mind.

I will leave you with this. Take a REAL inventory of the people in your life. Take a REAL observation of everything in your life. All parts of your life. From things, to places, to people. What is it/they doing for you? Does it/they bring you fulfillment? Does it/they assist you in your growth? Does it/they inspire you? Does it/they make you happy? Does it/they motivate you? These are just some of the questions that I am asking myself. You can choose your own questions for yourself or feel free to use mine!

Disclaimer: I am in NO WAY knocking Fashion Nova. I actually shop there! I also follow The Shade Room (a celebrity news blog) and will continue to do so. However, too much of anything will kill you, so I will let the other ones go. I am in no way knocking any of the accounts that I unfollowed. I just made an executive decision for my account.

Queen of Soul

I grew up listening to Ms. Aretha Franklin. I woke up to her early Saturday mornings with instructions on what had better get cleaned that day.  We played hide and go seek in the back of the house as her vinyl spun on the turntable in the living room. Cards hitting the table and loud trash talking exchanges between “the grown folks” could not muffle her sound. Her voice. So soulful. So powerful and strong. That’s not something you can learn. It can’t be taught. That voice came straight from God. If I had to name a handful of artists who played a part in my love of music, she would be one.

In light of recently released news of her health condition, I thought it would be fitting to make a playlist with just Aretha. As we extend our deepest prayers her way, we can be reminded of why she was crowned the Queen of Soul. Here are some of my favorite Aretha songs.

Mommy Confessions

5:30 a.m. – The alarm goes off.  lol Yeah right! What was I thinking? SNOOZE!

6:00 a.m. – I wake the kids up with my eyes still shut. I’m exhausted, but time to get back to the program, but… after one more snooze. SNOOZE!

7:00 a.m. – Grrr…! Okay I am up now, but the exhaustion is all over my face. The kids and I walk out of the house by 8:20 a.m. headed for school, but not before the first day of school pics that the kids hate, but know that the quicker they get it over with, the quicker they can be on their way to school.  SNAP! SNAP! SNAP and… a few more SNAPS!

The kids and I head to school ready to start the 2018 – 2019 school year off. The boys are overly excited and Autumn tells me that she could use a few more weeks of summer. lol I bet! On the way to school, I did as I do every school year and ask them about their goals for the upcoming school year. I speak a few affirmations into them and I drop them off at the school. I realized that I  had let them out of the truck without my usual, “Be great” in which they know to respond with an, “I AM GREAT!” So I yell it out of the window. The boys are happy to respond and Autumn’s eyes get as big as a soon to be hit deer and hesitantly, but swiftly responds so it can all be over with. lol She didn’t want me to say it again! I have to to admit I got a small amount of enjoyment out of that moment. lol

After leaving the school, I headed to the park and walked my 3 miles. I came home, showered and started working in my office. So, now that I have pretty much given the details of my day to this point, let me confess.

MOMMY CONFESSIONS:

I do not miss my kids. I love them to death, but I don’t miss them at all. lol It may sound bad as hell, but it’s my truth today. This is the FIRST year that I have sent them off to school without being the slightest bit emotional about it. Nah. That’s not my story today. I was happy to send them off to school and I will be happy to pick them up and hear about their days. HOWEVER, this summer felt like the LONGEST summer ever! At the end of last year I was seriously contemplating homeschooling and truthfully, I still am, but I think I’m just gonna think on that a little bit longer. You know. Take it slow. Okay. I got it out. I feel better now. Feel free to judge away! In the mean time, I will be regaining my focus back as it will be so easy to do in this quiet house!

Oh wait, another confession. Every year, my kids have always waken up to a hot breakfast on the first day of school. Yeah… that didn’t happen this morning. Guess what else? I did not feel bad about it. Cereal had to suffice today, but tomorrow they will wake up to the smell of bacon, eggs, grits and toast. Okay… I might have felt slightly bad about breaking that tradition!

 

 

 

 

Cincinnati

After several flight delays, my daughter, niece and myself FINALLY made it to Cincinnati at 12:13 a.m. THIS MORNING. I have now made it safely back home in less than 24 hours. Talk about a turn and burn! Wait. Is it “turn and burn” orrrr “burn and turn?” lol Whatever. I went there and came right back. How’s that?! I showered and am now in bed sharing my experience with you!

Our hotel was actually in Florence, Kentucky which is RIGHT across the water (The Ohio River) from Cincinnati. We Ubered from the airport and to the hotel where we met my best-friend and her 8 month old identical twin daughters. The twins were asleep when we arrived but, that didn’t last long and as you learn to do with twins, I had a baby for the night and my best-friend had the other. Meanwhile, the two big girls were fast asleep. As for us, sleep was hit and miss and at about 9:30 this morning my face was being slapped by “my baby!” Since we pretty much were on their schedule, that was our official alarm!

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First stop… TARGET! I literally find a Target everywhere I travel. They all have different things and I just love Target! Growling stomachs cut our trip with the bullseye dog short. The goal was to find a restaurant serving brunch with mimosas. We found one which we were pretty excited about but, once we arrived, we realized that it probably wasn’t the most kid friendly place to be so, we walked in a different direction in search for another option. We decided on a restaurant called The Eagle for lunch which was referred to us by a police officer in passing. Great choice! The service was exceptional and the food was really good. If you ever go there, you HAVE to try their brown sugar bacon. Oh! Oh! Oh… you also have to try their Kale and sausage dip! Listen… They both made my soul happy! lol

There was a market going on called Second Sunday on Main which we passed in route to the restaurant. After feeding our faces, we stopped back through. And no, it wasn’t because I saw a food truck that said “Deep-Fried Oreo cookies” or that my daughter saw “Funnel cakes” on that same truck. Of course not! lol The deep-fried oreos and funnel cake were pretty tasty though! Oh back to the market! It’s a neighborhood festival that features various venders and even live music every 2nd Sunday of the month. The festival is held in an area full of shops, restaurants, galleries and bars. It had a really great feel to it. It was very cultural which I’m so in to. A lot of diversity in the crowd. I thought the the overall vibe was pretty dope and homely. It was very reminiscent of times I’ve spent in both Philly and New York. I dug it. Oh yeah and it wouldn’t be in typical Ebony form if I didn’t make friends with random strangers! This time I actually shared one of my fried oreo cookies with one! Awwwww mannnn! Gotta love me!

Welp! Time waits for no one! It was time to make our way back to the truck. I got an email alerting me that my returning flight had been delayed by 40 minutes, so we killed time doing a little more shopping and then it was time to go. Hey, did you know that the Isley Brothers were from Cincinnati? Neither did I! And guess what played AS SOON as I got in my truck at the airport? THIS DID! The irony!

I just looked at the time and it is now 12:02 am August 13, 2018. I started writing this at 11 p.m. August 12th and I am still in the 24 hour window of my trip!

Cincinnati I will be back!

Very Light Rant…

“I’m woke.” It sounds good, but are you really? Are you “woke” or does it just sound good in a Facebook post? Look good on a shirt? Listen, I love, love LOVE my black people. I love us and I take great pride in the skin that I am in. I am black and truly proud. Does this mean that I dislike white people or people of any other race? No, not at all. It means just what I said it meant. I am black and I am proud of this skin that I am in, but we HAVE to do better.

So… it’s “Madden season.” How many of “us” ran out to support an organization that does not support us? Nope! Don’t hide your hands now. As a matter of fact, raise the hand that you swiped your card with or the hand that you handed the salesperson the cash with. Do you know that every time you make a Madden purchase you are ALSO supporting the NFL? I just thought I would throw that out there for anyone under the impression that John Madden is the only person gaining from a Madden purchase. Ignorance is bliss.

I won’t go into to too many details as there really is no need. However, I will touch on a few thoughts circulating my mind.

  1. The best… MOST effective way to promote change, is to hit people where is hurts, so now we are talking pockets. If we want our constitutional rights to be honored, why do we STILL support an organization that refuses to do so? Are we not now a part of the problem?
  2. The love of fantasy leagues, Madden, jerseys and other NFL related things seem to have taken precedence over the most pressing matter at hand. We are supporting a league that does not honor and respect our rights as American citizens. I keep thinking about Donald Glover’s video for “This is America.” We are so distracted by the forefront (in this case being the love of the game) that we are losing everything that is taking place in the background. The NFL continues of rob us of our basic freedoms of speech and protest while we are paying them to remain powerful enough to do so without charge.
  3. other races support one another in ways that African Americans have just not mastered. Sadly, we do not stick together until it is convenient. We do not actively involve ourselves until we are personally affected. We get fired up about the issues affecting our community when the cameras are on. That is the sad truth.

I will stop here as this was just a random thought that I wanted to share without getting too deep. I will leave you with this. Being “woke” for the sake of a good conversation is not enough. Being “woke” for social media likes is not enough. As a matter of fact, stop saying you are woke. It is a highly overrated, over USED and misused phrase. Just BE. Let your actions speak louder than words.

Okay. Rant over. = )


Expired Cologne & Breath

I am writing this post from the backseat of an Uber. Let me apologize beforehand for any typos. During a typical Uber ride, I’m pretty chatty. I’m inquiring about the driver’s experiences as an Uber driver and we pretty much go from there. Yeah well, not this trip. I am… mute. A few things…

  1. I requested to be picked up in front of the Avis car rental area. He came to the front lobby. Cool! No biggie. I messaged him (as I could see his location) and informed him of my location. Crickets. He doesn’t write back and I notice (from the tracking on the app) that he isn’t moving, so (again) no biggie! I walk to the lobby entrance.
  2. When I open his door I was IMMEDIATELY hit with what smells like loud, expired cologne. Ugh…
  3. I take my seat and on top of last night’s cologne, I smell breath. Lol. As I type I am taking very shallow breaths trying not to inhale too much of it all. I am definitely not speaking, because I don’t want any of that to get into my mouth! Lol awwww mannn! Ugh.
  4. It hits me that this is a VERY familiar smell. The breath and the… old spice? Lol

I will wrap this up as I want to press publish before I reach my destination which is rapidly approaching. Our senses have a way of reconnecting us to some of our best memories. They also bring us back to places we never would want to revisit in neither body nor mind. This smell took me back over 15 years sitting inside of the car of a man who eventually tried to rape me. I found myself angry for a moment. Disgusted and frankly wanted to call another Uber. I had to get myself together, because the events of my past should not have so much control over me today that they could change my entire mood. I was almost upset with the damn driver who did absolutely NOTHING to me. Well, he could let these damn windows down and let some air circulate, but um yeah… Anyway, here is my take away.

It is most important that we take back the control we’ve allowed past experiences to rob us of. Our past should not be able to creep back into our lives as it pleases and interupt our good day. Sure, much easier said than done. Writing this entry is actually assisting me with my mood change… as well as keeping me distracted from this awful smell. And violá! Just like that… I have a new association for this smell!

Growth, Self Love & Power

My best friend and I were having a conversation in which she was expressing her not so happy feelings towards her stretch marks she’s gained since having 3 kids. Two of them and her latest, being a set of twins which not only left her with stretch marks, but also a little extra skin. I found myself chastising her, as I want her to see her body the way that I am now able to see mine. My body is beautiful, amazing and it is magical. This wasn’t always the the way I would describe my body. In fact, it wasn’t until very recently that I learned to fall in love with myself.

I never really bought into the articles I’ve read in magazines, speeches from public speakers or social media posts confessing their appreciation and love of their physical flaws. I guess I kind of felt that these were just examples of how people sometimes say what they feel other people need to hear or want to hear. I mean let’s be real. How the hell can you really love the extra weight you carry? And can someone PLEASE tell me how you can possibly even ACT like you love those stretch marks! Lies you tell! Those thoughts came from a woman who lacked a certain self-love that would be required in order for her to find appreciation in these “imperfections.” It would require giving the same unconditional love that I had given to others, to myself. With unconditional love, I would find patience, forgiveness, understanding, kindness, . Yes, the same things that I have given to others, I would have to give to myself.

It took me 35 years to get this. It took me 35 years to love myself just as I have loved others all of my life. Better late than never.

On Stretch marks:

Years ago, I grew an appreciation for the not so pleasant things that had happened in my life. I guess you can say my perception changed. Previously, I could only see the associated pain and damage caused by these events. As I grew, my point of view changed.  I no longer took the position of victim. Instead, I crowned myself as a survivor. When I think of the term victim, the first thing that comes to mind is to be without power. Powerless. When I think of the term survivor, I see power. Powerful. I am not without power.  I have the power to allow the things of my past to make me a better person.  I have the power to allow the events of my past to help others become better people. I have the power to further heal myself and others through their own issues. I have the power to inspire and teach. Through my experiences, I have also gained wisdom, strength and discernment. All in which I am thankful for. Surely, if I had it my way, I would have gained these attributes in more pleasant methods, but we don’t get to control every detail of our lives. Once I understood and accepted the truth in that alone, I was able to move out of the victim seat and into the survivor’s throne. So… what does ANY of this have to do with stretch marks?

Just as I had to grow and eventually see the most hurtful events of my life in a different light, the same holds true for my love of self. I wasn’t born with a set of genes that included a higher metabolism allowing me to avoid weight gain issues.  These genes didn’t include my body naturally snapping right back after childbirth. Again, all things that are out of my control. Once I accepted those things, I also accepted what it all meant for me. It means that I had to work harder to get the weight off. It means that I may never be a size 4 (which by the way, I have no interest in being) It means that I have two choices. I can either hate myself for all the things that I am not or I can love myself enough to accept what I myself as I am. The things that I happen to have control over, I can work on IF I SEE DESIRE. It means seeing the beauty and power I possess being a woman no matter my genes. I have birthed 3 beautiful babies that I carried to full term. In which time, my body transformed right before my eyes never to be the same. This, I have not only accepted, but I have also grown a great appreciation for my body. I brought life into this world. That is truly amazing. How can I not appreciate and love the vessel that has performed such miracles? The weight gain…the stretch marks they are all words to a very beautiful story.  A story that I hope to one day add to yet again. The unconditional love that I have been able to give to others, I am finally able to give to myself. Sure, I’d love to have a flat stomach free of stretch marks. I’d love to go back to a size 8 or 10 with a little less jiggle in my step and maybe I will get there one day, but for now… for today, I am loving myself as I am. There is power in self love.

My previous inability to understand how someone could truly love themselves in an imperfect state (as if one truly exists) was a result of my inability to love myself in this way.

Embrace yourself. Love ALL OF YOURSELF as you are. Understand, both, the things that you can change and the things that you have no control over. Find appreciation in all the things that are beyond your authority as you work on changing the areas that you have the ability to do so. Even then, love yourself through the process.