Things To Consider Doing While Under 30 and Single.

At 28, I realized I still have my whole life ahead of me.  For some reason I had been feeling like I wasn’t where I should be in life.  Then I realized I was basing that off of other people and their accomplishments.  Owning a home, having kids, getting married, all seemed to be happening around me. But the more I talked to everyone in these situations they told me the same thing, you have time…or don’t do it, haha but that’s another story.  Time moves with or with out us so what are you doing with it? Are you setting goals for yourself, long or short term? While I try to convince myself not to become the scary cat lady pre-maturely, there’s a couple of things I say do before you turn 30.

Travel: I don’t know what to say other than, what are you waiting for? This may be harder if you have a family already, but it’s not impossible. If you don’t have a partner and don’t have children then book that flight tonight.  Okay, maybe not that quickly but when I started to travel I found a whole new love that I continue to yearn for.  The adrenaline you feel when you land in a foreign place and the curiosity that scrambles your brain trying to figure out what to do first has become the best feeling in the world to me. If this isn’t something you can do by 30 then do it in your lifetime, even if it’s only once.  I read somewhere that the worse thing we can do is deny ourselves an adventure, so become adventurous.

Going back to school: This has been heavy on my mind now and starting the process has been nerve wrecking.  Whether it’s advancing in your career, continuing on a graduate program or finishing something you started a while ago, I think that while you’re under 30 and have the time then go for it.  I’m fully in a phase to invest in yourself and education is one of the best ways to do so.  As much as I’m going to hate myself for the long nights becoming longer-er, going back to school and getting my graduates will help me reach those many goals I have in my career.  No one can take away from you the knowledge you gain.

Building your credit: This one is a little over the top even for me.  I early on started to think about my credit and how to build it.  My parents got credit cards after I did and my mom has never brought or leased her own car soooo figuring out credit scores was a learning experience we had together. If you have bigger purchase goals in the future than trust me, like most of us you need to start building a line of credit.  Speaking from experience, the sooner you think about building your credit and what can affect it, buying a home or any big purchase can be easier.

Dating Online: Unfortunately we’ve come to the era of the internet and there’s no going back.  Most of us stay connected daily by our social media.  Even if you meet someone in person at a concert, the gym or grocery store it never fails that the question “what’s your Snapchat” or something similar will come up.  So, instead of fighting it, give in.  You’re young, single and can now search for a date from the comfort of your couch in your pajamas.  Don’t completely give up all regular social interactions but take advantage of social media to mingle and get out of your comfort zone.

Feed into your impulses: Only the positives ones.  This is simple, I feel like if you are single, have no kids, then buy the shoes. Period. Okay, so what I mean by this is take advantage of that freedom you have to splurge, to move to another state and just do what you want.  This really could be that time to do it because later on it’s not going to be just you.  Later on you have to think about how it affects the family.  For me, getting this out of your system makes it easier to make those sacrifices for your family and children with no regrets.

Save and budget now: Yes, I purposely put this after impulses.  Again this is easier to do as a single person.  You can opt to live with a roommate to split the cost of rent. I personally opt to stay with my parents because I’m a single woman with no life haha…only half true.  But this helps keep my cost of living down and paying a portion of rent instead of the full amount on my own. I also try to put aside money into my savings and emergency fund at the maximum I can allow each paycheck.  Realistically, know that sometimes that cannot happen but the practice will be beneficial later on in life when you have discipline.  I have a budgeting app on my phone as well as an Excel spreadsheet with a layout of my bills. This is how I’ve managed to travel, splurge and put aside money while still taking care of my responsibilities.

Fall in love: This can be found in so many different forms. Whether it’s with someone else, your job or yourself find that unconditional love.  For some people falling in love may be after you turn 30.  For others maybe you fell in love and it didn’t last.  What we all should try at this point of our lives is try to find that self love.  Get to know what that deep connection feels like and reciprocating it to the world only spreads more love and you’ll be able to know how you want others to love you.

Of course I’m going through life just like everyone else so I am by no means an expert. But, I hope all my young, single people are seriously taking into account that you’re in a great time in your life.  In the middle of being young and thriving remember to move at your own pace and take advantage of the possibilities.

A Sprinkle of Gym, Therapy and Yoga: How This Career Girl Learned to Fight Her Depression.

Well the title says it all, I have depression….Okay so it’s a little more than that I guess. I definitely had a lot of traits of depression for as long as I can remember. The anxiety of crowds or the outside world in general, check. Using lots of sick days to sit in the bed because nothing seemed worth getting up, double check. The lost of any excitement or joy of anything, still working on it. Try being a person who sets high goals and wants to see the world but is petrified of it all at the same time. The good thing about me is that I was too curious and needed to know how I could fix me. And boy did it turn out to be a lot of work. For me, I had to stay busy. Since my thing was to hide away in my room I had to stay out of it.

Staying out of my house was no problem when you’re a social worker because you spend more time in the office or with other families than your own. One thing the working world tried to teach us was self-care as a social worker. The problem is they never tell us how we’re supposed to find the time for self care and still get our work in before the deadline. So here is where the gym came in. My first year as a social worker I found myself 20 pounds heavier. AND I HATED IT. I was in the office first thing, then out way past lunch hours and grabbing the first drive thru meal I could find.. This was not good. But I was a career woman. I love what I do and I loved that I was good at it. What I didn’t like was the extra weight and an ex-boyfriend calling my body “squishy”.

I don’t think anyone needs more motivation than being referred to as squishy by a grown man. Haha.

I don’t think anyone needs more motivation than being referred to as squishy by a grown man. Haha. The first of the year I signed up for my membership and I tried it out. Here I am six months later and any given time you can find me at Chuze 5:30 in the morning. Slowly working through my issues with crowds, the evenings were not particularly fun for me at the gym and I found my solace in the morning with the few regulars. Having a purpose to wake up and get out of bed was the gym. I started feeling more confident and the more I saw results, or didn’t see results, made me change other things in my life.

You’re probably wondering where Yoga came in to all this when I was already doing the gym. Yoga is a totally different and definitely more inviting scene. In yoga there is no competition that you’re unknowing apart of in the gym. You don’t have to fight for a machine or weights. In a given class there can be 5 to 20 people but I always go in and feel like I’m completely alone. The room is dark, there are no phones allowed and no talking besides the instructor guiding you. Yoga tests your inner strength as well as your body. Everyday you’re given a message to remember as you sweat, stretch and focus your breathing. I fell in love with yoga because I forgot the outside world for that hour. All my stress, worries and fears are forgotten in that room and when I leave, nothing seems as big a deal anymore.

As a black woman I felt some stigma that I was losing my independence relying on someone else to help fix me.

And then there was therapy. This is fairly new to me and honestly the hardest to talk about. As a black woman I felt some stigma that I was losing my independence relying on someone else to help fix me. Then I realized that in all the Tyler Perry movies, the women always waited too long to seek help. I was ready to let my guard down after many years of not. I’ve been going for about a month now and the words, all my hurt, secrets and trouble spilled out like a faucet that had been clogged for years. Everything came out as if I was obligated to tell this person when I had never told a single soul even closest to me.

I’ve been the most selfish I’ve ever been in my life now because I had to.

I combined everything together, the gym, yoga and therapy and it’s been working for me. I needed to stay busy so I stayed busy with things that helped me from the inside out. I wrote this because I sat in my room one day and looked over at my vision board. I realized in the center of it I had cut out a piece from a magazine stating “make this the year of YOU”. I’ve been the most selfish I’ve ever been in my life now because I had to. I was in autopilot for years just going through the motions and not paying attention to what I really needed. It’s a scary process to be self-centered but I wanted things to change around me and that would only start with me. I think to myself, how can I expect others to get to know me if I didn’t even know me. How can I ever expect to set balance to other people’s lives as a social worker if mine is in chaos. How can I love and show appreciation in the world when my own self love was low. My journey is different from yours but we all have one.

“Life is a challenge, meet it”.

New Year, New Me?: How Experiencing Love, Lost and Life All At Once Shaped The Start of My 2018

What better time to reflect than when you are lying in bed with too much time on your hands.  Time you rather spend doing other things like being active, or in my case working…but I like what I do so I can’t be the example for everyone because not everyone is as crazy as me.  So I have a few things to get off not only my chest but my heart and my spirit.  Since I’ve graduated college I reflect at the end of every year. Did I do what I said I would do? Did I better myself in even the smallest way? Did I take that trip? I ask myself these things now more than ever because at the end of 2017 I dealt with lost.  And if you are one of those people who think “new year, new me” is silly then here is why I think you should reconsider.

What did I lose? First, was who I thought was the person I would the rest of my life with. This man who I’ve come to be neutral about where; some days I still like him and some days I’m really petty and smirk at the fact that he’s not getting paid by the government shut down.  But why? Because this is part of the test of bettering myself. If I didn’t feel these very natural feelings then I wouldn’t be learning anything at all.  I’ve argued with this man now months after our breakup, we’ve called each other names, I’ve even judged the new girlfriend because at the time it made me feel better, but it didn’t make me better.   The fact is I loved that person and I was dealing with lost.  And honestly, I’m still dealing with that lost. That was the first time I loved, in my own way, whole-heartedly and it failed.  That doesn’t mean I stop loving all together but I definitely need a break.  I’m working on my bravery to tell you the full details of this love story but that’s for another day. What I’m taking into my 2018 year is learning that I will love again but we do lose it sometimes.

This man who I’ve come to be neutral about where; some days I still like him and some days I’m really petty and smirk at the fact that he’s not getting paid by the government shut down.”

The second and most devastating lost of my 2017 was the passing of my grandmother.  You really want to see your life take a hit, try being heartbroken then losing someone that was really meaningful. To say my Nana helped me and loved me like no other is an understatement. It was almost like when things were tough or I had questions about what I was doing and where I was going in life….she called.  Whether it was the answer to her cross word puzzle, her trying to fuss at my mom about something random or her sending a birthday card to my same address I’ve had the past four birthdays, it was like she just felt me needing her.  Yesterday I found the last birthday card she sent me with the quarter and two pennies in it and that made me realize my other lost wasn’t so big.  I cried and cried and am still currently crying thinking about it.  We get those few people in our lives that give that genuine, unconditional love where a card with a few coins in it turn our whole world right side up because it was from them. That was the love where I knew even if I never did anything right for the rest of my life I knew she would always be there to support me no matter what.  What I’m taking into my 2018 year is that that kind of love will stay with you a lifetime even when that person is gone.

“We get those few people in our lives that give that genuine, unconditional love where a card with a few coins in it turn our whole world right side up because it was from them.”

So now what? What do you do now when you’ve loved and lost and lost a loved one. Well, honestly, I don’t know.  I’ve had days when I didn’t want to get out of bed, and didn’t.  I’ve had days where I’ve smiled this huge genuine smile and meant it.  But since the close of 2017 where I dealt with my relationship ending and my Nana passing I couldn’t tell you how I what my emotions would be like in the next day or even the next hour.  I do know that it’s shaping my 2018 to go for what I want.  I want to love again when it’s right and I want to honor my Nana by living each day, good or bad, with a purpose.

You’re smiling different, you are loving different, you are working different.

YOU are different.”

When you lose anything, even small, you reflect on it.  How did I lose it? Was it important? How do I recover from that lost? I went through all those questions and many more to say that I am a different person.   How could I not change? Every small detail changes you so even when you think you are doing your same routine every year, you’re not.  You’re smiling different, you are loving different, you are working different. YOU are different. Love, lost and life go hand in hand.  Whether we love forever or not that’s life.  And experiencing lost is hard part of life but that too is still life.  The next time you go through any of these things, even if its a bad investment or losing a dollar, I challenge you to think of how that ultimately changed you and what you think now and moving forward.

 

Smoothie Style Weekend Cleanups

Some of the hardest times for me to eat healthy are the weekends. This is usually when I go to the movies and have a large drink with pretzel bites or have date night at one of the popular burger joints with lots of sugary alcoholic beverages (drink responsibly, and only if your 21 and older). Recently I decided that I wanted to try reducing my bad eating habits during the weekend and just flush out my system after a long work week. I have already been successful during the week but my weekends could use a little work.

One of the easiest switches I made was subbing most of my meals for smoothies. I usually

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Snack option- Boiled eggs with pepper and light salt

have a smoothie in place of breakfast or lunch during the week while at work so this wasn’t a completely traumatic experience. For the weekend I started subbing most of my meals for smoothies and snacking throughout the day. The first weekend I started this routine I made a smoothie for breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacked on fruits, dry cereal, and boiled eggs throughout the day. Every snack I have I finish one bottle of water, to help feel full and flush as much as possible. Now realistically I know that I will still have my dinner or movie nights but this is do-able as long as I am still keeping the majority of the day on track with my smoothies and healthy snacks.

My smoothies throughout the day:

Typically my breakfast smoothie is filled with fruit on top of fruit. After a shot of ACV mixed in water I make this smoothie to follow.

1/2 cup of frozen blueberries

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My morning smoothie with ACV shot and vitamin mix

1/2 cup of frozen mangoes

1/2 cup of frozen strawberries

1/2 cup of frozen pineapples

1/2 of  a banana

Fill half way with choice of:

Orange juice (lots of pulp), V8 juice or Soy milk

Fill other half with Coconut water

Drop in your multi-vitamins and others that you take daily

Blend for 30-45 seconds (really make sure those vitamins are blended in)

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Snack option-apple slices with peanut butter

For my lunch time smoothie, I try to make something heavy that will stick.

Peanut butter and jelly smoothie

1 1/2 cups of frozen strawberries

1 1/2 cups of peanut butter

2 tablespoons of chocolate (to cheat a little)

Fill with your choice of milk

Blend for 30-45 seconds (until smooth texture)

 

 

 

 

To see my dinner time smoothie watch the video below (Note that I only put the vitamins in once a day, I happened to make this smoothie in the morning that day):

 

The Destruction of Social Matters by One Dress

We are in an age of turmoil. We have reached the point where we are so lost that even our presidential candidates  have forgotten it was a political race and are more focused on bashing one another. But let’s not stray too far from what is important at hand. What this is about is the continuous social inequality based on race, sexual orientation, social economic status and more. When there is a mass shooting or a string of individual shootings done on a specific minority where is our outlet for speech. In a time of crisis we either look for a leader or an outlet.

Too many times I’ve seen an outlet being formed and successfully shared while leaders trying to lead peaceful demonstrations are being followed by too few. Now even our peaceful demonstrations are being disrupted by unexplainable tragedies. While these protests are shut down it makes way for apps and games and the newest mysterious picture to build it’s popularity off of.

But what can you take from all this?? Whether or not a dress is one color or another. How you can spot imaginary animals on your phone screen by checking into a location. As a black woman I am insulted by it all. As much as I want a positive distraction from the endless sadness I am seeing on the television, remaining ignorant to it all is not the answer. It is hard for me to fall into these fads when I have a father, 7 uncles, 3 brothers, a nephew and countless other family members who could easily have been the victim in the routine traffic stop or the one selling CDs on the side of a small convenient store.

The only “distraction” I have is to be prepared on the day I decide to have a child and what speech I will have to prep for. To my little boy I will have to inform him that he for whatever reason may be seen as intimidating if he walks around with his hood on for too long. To my little girl I will have to instill in her that education is the most amazing beauty she will ever possess. To either child that they are free to love whom ever they want to love while never having to answer to anyone for their choices or sexual orientation. That it is not important to go to school with the latest trends, rather go to school and focus on the material and gain knowledge that no one can ever take from you.

So I am sorry I am not sorry for calling out social media and applications on these distractions. My frustration stems from the fact that news time lines will share the details of the arrest of protesters in Baton Rouge while also sharing right below it a story of a non talented reality TV show family and their latest publicity stunts. Today I choose not to get into a debate on which lives matter because ALL life is precious. Today I am choosing not to use social media as a distraction but as a platform for those who are trying to make a difference. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s just ignorant. Choose to know.

The Laws of Detachment: Why Losing Friendships Along The Way Is Okay

Have you ever had those times where you just randomly think about people who you were friends with and wonder what they are up  and what was it that made you guys lose touch? There are a lot of different reasons and I think  the common denominator comes down to….Life happened.  Whether it was a good or bad ending these lost friendships remind you of the journey you are on in fixing yourself.

Growing up my family moved a lot and I went to different schools from the time I started to the time I graduated high school. I would get close to someone then we would move.  And this was before Myspace, so keeping in touch was basically non existent.What I do appreciate about this aspect of my life though is that I had to learn to value friendships. I wasn’t a good friend because I didn’t know how to be one. Since there was that constant uprooting and transferring schools I think I lacked that compassion for others because the only constant people around were family. I was involuntarily losing these friendships in a way and when they all ended, these were times for me to reflect on the friendships and how I needed to improve.

I remember one girl in particular who I fell out with in college and how that loss was for the better. She was one of my roommates and this friendship ended badly to where we had an all out brawl with one another (Yeah I know, not lady like at all), and of course it was over a boy. But the thing was the argument didn’t start over a boy but when everything was said and done she had finally said everything that have been bothering her about our friendship. She had been harboring ill feelings about me and I had kind of played into it not knowing was the real problem was. I came to terms with that friendship never working out because she had her internal struggles going on and so did I. I wasn’t at a point to be a good friend to her when I had issues to fix as well.

End the end, its okay to lose friendships along the way because you first have to learn to be a good friend. Everyone has things going on and plans and goals, and sometimes other people might not fit into that chaos. But then there are the ones that do. My closest friends now are the women I met while in college. These are the ladies who I didn’t necessarily have a lot in common with but we all brought something to the friendship that balanced us out. We have good conversations due to our different views, beliefs and backgrounds. We had to grow to appreciate one another and learn that we would always be different. As I am getting older I am realizing that quality over quantity applies to quite a bit if scenarios in life, friendships included.

Nappy Roots: The Journey Of A Black Girl and Her Hair

So where do I start. Hair is a pretty complicated subject, and my hair can get extremely complicated. It kinks, it curls, there are naps and twirls. It takes much more moisture and a lot of patience to keep it from drying out. But getting to the root of black hair would take a lot longer than I can write in one session. There are a few journeys that happen with a black girl and her hair, and these are things that can easily be overlooked by other women but may just hold a higher meaning to a black woman.

Black women go through a period in time when we are young where everything around tells us our hair is not right. Magazines, television, and even depending on where you go to school there are very few number of individuals you see that you can say “she looks like me”. Even within the black community, there are differences in hair textures. As that young black girl you question what is wrong with your hair. We see our full or thin, short or long, and curly hair then we see everything around us as straight and tamed. That early confusion causes us to treat, relax and manipulate our hair to the point where we destroy the beautiful curls we have to learn to appreciate.

Now picture today, those little black girls are now black women who are able to see more women that look like them on the covers of magazines and playing the lead roles on television and big screen movies. Although there has been a shift in the media there is still that internal struggle. That doubt black women hold when they decide to wear an afro to the office. That doubt when the young black girl decides to stop getting relaxers and goes through the transitioning process. This doubt is built off of the lack of support we see in our surroundings to say that our hair is just fine. In my own community the beauty supply stores biggest selling points is the long flowing hair to weave onto my head but products to care for my natural hair take up a small corner of the store.

As someone who has done it all to my hair I will say that there is that draw to these things because of the versatility of it. To be able to change the color of my hair, without actually changing the color of my hair (wig or weave), and being able to go from short to long hair overnight, from braids to twists, there’s just so much that can be done but ultimately I had to recognize at the end of it all my hair was still going to be my hair.

I remember growing up and my hair being a big deal. I admit my parents, both mom and dad, were particular in what was being done with my hair and how it was cared for. This is a part of my history instilled in me now as I am sure with so many black women today. We are taught you have to take care of your hair. This hair business for us is a part time job. And the more you work the better you get at it. As I got older and went through these different styles I also learned to not forget about my hair underneath it all.

Here today I can say I am not completely okay with my hair. This isn’t something that happens over night. I recently watched the Black Girls Rock program and I remember Rihanna saying “…the minute you learn to love yourself you would not want to be anybody else.” I believe that journey involves loving everything about ourselves…Our hair included.

XOXO