Worth Fighting For

Have you ever experienced something so traumatic you didn’t want to move, get out of bed, talk to anyone, eat, sleep, shower? The most you wanted to do was roll over and go back to sleep hoping that one day the nightmare you were experiencing would just be that. How do you get yourself out of that type of depression? How do you move past that experience? Do you ever? 

On November 15, 2016, Dr. Tiffanie Williams life changed when her first-born child, Liam, came and left this earthly realm. Her pregnancy was already difficult and then to experience such a loss, changed her life completely. Falling into a deep depression, it was as if her life had been taken that day as well. So how did she overcome this time in her life?  

She didn’t. 

She simply turned her pain into her purpose. From the pain of losing Liam, she birthed Liam Lives Foundation, Inc., “a faith based, non-profit, charitable organization, which seeks to provide counseling and supportive services to families who have suffered from pregnancy and infant loss due to early miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, neonatal, and post-neonatal death.” Because of her organizations community involvement and bringing awareness to these issues, many women and families have had some type of solace while dealing with their losses.  

One may wonder, how does someone with the pain she endured have the capacity to help others with that same pain without continuously inducing pain onto herself?  I wondered the same thing. Although Dr. Williams is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, has provided mental health services for over 9 years and continues to provide counseling services through her practice MasterPeace Counseling Services, she still experiences the pain of her loss 3 years later.  

Which prompted the birth of her book, Worth Fighting For

I had the honor of attending Dr. Williams, or how I prefer to call her, Tiffanie’s, book launch on August 3rd. What a blessing it was to be in the presence of so much love and support. You felt it as soon as you walked into the room. Although, many of us already knew what the book was about, hearing Tiffanie read excerpts and answer questions regarding her experience, was as if I was getting to know my friend all of over again. I mean you truly never know someone entirely but with this book Tiffanie made it possible to see inside her heart and her soul. After getting my signed copy, I read her book and could not put it down. It was written in such a meticulous and emotional way that it drew you in. It made you feel like you were right there by her side throughout the entire journey. I mean, I wanted to fight “Brandon” from the beginning till the end of this book! You have to get your copy and read for yourself to know what I am talking about. And when she was having difficulties and then ultimately lost Liam, I cried. I already knew the outcome but this time, I experienced it with her. I was there. I saw what she saw and felt what she felt.  

No matter what you are going through, even if you haven’t experienced a pregnancy loss or know someone who has, this book touches on all aspects of how to deal with trauma and how to get through it.  

Worth Fighting For is definitely worth getting! 

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Dr. Tiffanie Williams

Dr. Tiffanie Williams

Tiffanie  and I at her book launch!

Tiffanie and I at her book launch!

Liam’s actual foot!

Liam’s actual foot!

Get your copy  here!

Get your copy here!

The beautiful author taking photos in front of her banner!

The beautiful author taking photos in front of her banner!

Masterpeace now has an Aromatherapy Collection! Check it out  here.

Masterpeace now has an Aromatherapy Collection! Check it out here.

I'm Not A Snack...I'm The Whole Damn Meal!

What is your definition of beauty? Does someone’s weight play a role in how you view their attractiveness?  

Be honest. 

I have listened to quite a few conversations where it seems like many of us equate beauty or someone being attractive to how fit they look, how small their waist is, or if they have abs. Nothing is wrong with that if thats what you like but are you cognizant of the parties that are amongst these conversations?  

I am a plus size woman. I am very confident in my body but I have not always been. Especially since I have not always been plus size. I was very slim. Had some abs peeking in and all chile! I worked out every day. Sometimes two and three times a day. I had a personal trainer and a gym membership. It was my addiction.  

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Then I moved back home and enjoyed home cooked meals every day. I now weigh the most I have ever weighed in my entire life. At first, I was in shock, I was depressed, I developed an eating disorder, Bulimia Nervosa aka Bulimia, and I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. If a guy expressed interest, I just knew they were playing with me or I was the butt of some joke. I was looking for Ashton expecting to be punked. I didn’t think I was pretty and honestly a lot of those insecurities stemmed from what I saw not just in myself but what I saw when I watched tv, when I scrolled my timelines on social media, even when I was around groups of friends or co-workers. When you have society, social media, magazines, media, advertisements, and people in your own life all portraying that beauty is being slim, you tend to look at yourself differently. My co-workers talk about weight every single day. No exaggeration. They judge what you bring for lunch or if you buy food. They judge if you don’t walk. They judge everything. No one in this group is slim now. We all have some things we would like to change but when your lifestyle is constantly being scrutinized under a microscope, you become self-conscious.  

 I don’t eat lunch with them or walk with them as often anymore.

When you are amongst people who are slim and you have multiple people complimenting everyone on how “small” they are or how “slim” they look, you think “well damn, am I not pretty if I’m not small or slim?” Even when I was small, my ex told me I didn’t look like a supermodel.  I had an online company ask me to model for them. Did the photoshoot, got paid and they even posted me on their website and page. They altered everything about me though, all the way to flattening my stomach. They posted both pictures on their page, months after each other.

Before.

Before.

After.

After.

There still lacks representation of plus size women in media. Some brands and boutiques have implemented a “plus size” section to their websites and stores so that’s a step but let’s be honest. Sometimes those clothes are very old fashioned like big women can’t be fashionable or can’t wear two-piece swimsuits. Sometimes I find a boutique I like and don’t even see a size larger than large or extra-large so I be like “I’m good.” A bih is fluffy. What am I going to do in a large...A LARGE? Stop playing in my face!

What I do love is that there are more plus size artists and influencers who are coming out and saying “I’m a bad b***h too!”  Shout out to Lizzo!!

Sometimes it’s not so easy to think better of yourself when you literally have everyone telling you your size is not okay. You don’t see much representation of yourself anywhere so how is one suppose to believe that “I AM beautiful regardless of my size”?  

One day, right before my 30th birthday, I decided enough was enough. I was going to love myself. I was going to stop worrying what other people thought of me and only care about what EYE thought of me. So, I got naked and sat in front of the mirror. I looked at myself up and down and my goal was to affirm what I saw. I just started to cry. I cried my eyes out. That ugly, uncontrollable cry.  

I cried out all of that negative energy I felt about myself. 

I cried out all of the shame and guilt I felt. 

I cried out everyone else’s opinion of me. 

I cried. 

Then I stood in that mirror and told myself I was beautiful. I rubbed on myself (in a non-sexual way) and felt all of my rolls and stretch marks. I affirmed to myself that I was enough and if anyone tried to make me feel like I wasn’t, then they aren’t good enough to be in my life. I started to cry again because this was the first time I actually started to truly love myself...and it felt so good!  

Now, please understand I still have some insecurities. I am human. We all have them. But also, please believe what you see is what you get! My confidence is through the roof and I love every ounce of me! If I want to get a large fry and a coke, I WILL! If I want to eat a salad, I WILL! If I want to wear a two-piece bathing suit, I WILL! I do what I want now because I stopped caring about what others think.  

Side note: If you see me a year from now and I’m smaller, its’ not because I don’t love myself now. I just know I do want better for myself and that starts with my eating habits and my workout regimen. I just don’t want nobody coming for me because y’all know how y’all are! 

Another side note: If I say I’m fat, don’t tell me I’m pretty. I said I’m fat, not ugly. K bye.

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Just a Brunch of Friends!

“What other University you know have a National Brunch Day in all the lit ass cities with dope ass turnouts? I’ll wait... #Noles #Trendsetters”  @Myri_F_Baby

I could NOT have said it better! Florida State University Black Alumni National Brunch Day 2019, #FSUBABrunch, was a success! I can only personally speak about the Jacksonville location but from looking at the pictures and videos, all the cities had a great time! New friends were made, old friendships were rekindled, good food was had, and time was well spent! What started as just an idea, became a reality for Chris Evans. Last year, he had the brilliant idea to have a brunch for all alumni, in different cities, on the same day and at the same time. Just thinking about it is probably giving you a headache! But for the second year in a row, hundreds of black alumni came out in each city and broke bread!

People truly love FSU and Chris to volunteer in each city to plan these brunches...for nothing! Yes! FSU Black Alumni representatives and volunteers organize and execute these brunches for FREE! Seeing everyone come together across the country is payment enough!

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Jacksonville didn’t just brunch, we partied! Not just any type of party neither. We partied like we were in Bajas or Top Flite! You remember those days! Don’t front! Greeks strolled like it was Union Wednesday. We literally relived our Tallahassee days thanks to DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Twan da Guy! Knees were cracking trying to K-wang with it and Whoop! I aint never seen a bunch of old folks getting down the way we did! Haha! But it was so worth it!  

Major shout out to fellow Nole and the photographer  Stephanie Jones !

Major shout out to fellow Nole and the photographer Stephanie Jones!

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And a special shout out to our friends from across the tracks, alumni of FAMU, who came out and showed major love!  

I cant wait to see everyone Labor Day weekend for the season opener against Boise State here in Jacksonville. If you havent gotten your ticket to Chop & Brunch, get it now and bring that same energy!  

Want to get involved? Follow  FSU Black Alumni  and if you are in Jacksonville and surrounding areas,  FSU Black Alumni JAX  for more information!

Want to get involved? Follow FSU Black Alumni and if you are in Jacksonville and surrounding areas, FSU Black Alumni JAX for more information!

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Be The Change

You’re at a restaurant and your baby starts to cry. It’s the “I just pooped in my diaper and I need you to get this thing off of me now” cry. You gather your baby and diaper bag and haul it the nearest bathroom. You walk in, look around, and see nothing but sinks and toilets. No changing table. “What place doesn’t have a freaking changing table” you think in your head as your baby is continuously crying because they don’t care there’s no changing table. They just want this diaper off of them and their butt cleaned. So now you are faced with a dilemma. What to do to get this diaper off of this screaming baby? Do you walk to your car? You don’t want your child laid across the dirty sinks and you don’t want to sit on the toilets because you know...germs. So, what do you do? 

Most women don’t know what it feels like to walk into this situation because most women’s restrooms are equipped with the basic necessities to properly clean their children. But men, fathers, don’t have that luxury. Donte Palmer ran into this issue when he patronized a local restaurant last year. He walked into the men's restroom and quickly noticed a changing table was not readily available. His creativity and quick thinking, led him to squat. Yes, you read that right. Donte squatted with his one-year old baby, Liam, and got to work. His oldest son, Isaiah, was the diaper bag holder and decided to capture this moment. #SquatForChange was created to “get a reaction from family and friends, not having any intentions of going viral,” Donte told me. “I posted it one Sunday evening and the following morning my wife woke me up saying check your phone, its going viral, it’s doing something.” 

The original post and caption that made Donte go viral.

The original post and caption that made Donte go viral.

Doing something was an understatement. The next morning Donte and the picture of him and his son were already on a few outlets. At this point, he wondered, should I do something with what is happening? He started to see that many fathers had the same experience as him and saw it was a chance to seize the opportunity. He was surprised to be receiving messages from fathers all around the world. Fathers from India, South Korea, Taiwan, Uganda, West Gambia, United Kingdom, Brazil, and of course, the United States and celebrity fathers such as Ashton Kutcher and John Legend were all trying to achieve one common goal...to be able to live in a society where gender doesn’t dictate one's responsibility especially when it comes to parenting.  



“Regardless of background, religion, skin color, or financial status we all can agree on one thing and that’s us trying to be great fathers.”  



Since this outpour of support, Donte’s and his family’s life has changed. He has been featured on several news outlets, has done several interviews, and started a non-profit. He now has a partnership with Pampers and Koala Kare to install 5,000 changing tables in the U.S. and Canada. But it doesn’t stop there for him. Because his initiative reached men globally, that is where he wants to continue to see and extend the change. His next stop to aid in parent equality is the United Kingdom! Donte and I have been friends for a few years now and this motivation is not a surprise! Donte was already a very creative and ambitious man. He has this spirit about him that is welcoming and his personality is infectious. He is a super dad in every sense of the title. However, since all of the attention, he has adapted, what he calls the “Barack Obama attitude.” He describes this attitude as approaching every situation with good character. With all of the media coverage, one has to be careful with how they are portrayed especially since his campaign is centered around children.  



“It's really made me a better man, a better husband and also a better father. I look back on my life ten months ago and see how much I’ve grown. My attitude has changed, the way I look at life has changed, the way I even worship God now has changed. I think a lot of my doubts and fears are exiting out of my mind and out of my life because I see how God works. I opened my mouth; I demanded something and it returned back to me one hundred-fold, plus more.” 

Donte, his wife, Lakeisha, and their three boys, sharing an emotional moment on their wedding day!

Donte, his wife, Lakeisha, and their three boys, sharing an emotional moment on their wedding day!

Knowing someone like Donte and his family is truly a blessing. Donte saw a change needed to be made and charged people to be the change they wanted to see. Because of his tenacity, that is exactly what is happening! Check him out and all of his amazing work on his website https://squatforchange.com/home/ and on Instagram @3boys_1goal and tell him Brittany sent you! Check out the commercial with John Legend below sponsored by Pampers! Proud of you brother!



The Palmers’ three boys gifting Donte with a fathers day gift!

The Palmers’ three boys gifting Donte with a fathers day gift!

Donte front page of the The Florida Times Union!

Donte front page of the The Florida Times Union!

Donte interview ready!

Donte interview ready!


Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Yusef 

Kevin 

Antron 

Korey 

Raymond 

“Boys will be boys. When they say boys, they not talking about us. They talking about boys from other places. When do we ever get to be boys?” 

The answer is never. Well not for Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Korey Wise, and Raymond Santana that is. Their childhood was taken from them unjustly. What happened to them was cruel, disgusting, inhumane, and downright illegal. Their innocence was stolen. But let Linda “Fair”stein tell it, everything was done by the book.  

So, interrogating minor children without their parents' permission is by the book? 

So, hitting and threatening children to intimidate them and scare them is by the book? 

So, coercing confessions is by the book? 

So, promising things you know you won’t deliver on is by the book? 

So, holding kids in a small, secluded room for 42 hours with no food or water is by the book? 

These were CHILDREN!!! In every sense of the word. Should they have been acting up in the park that night? They were kids so “boys will be boys”. Why can’t our kids just ever be fucking kids? One night of them literally just being kids turned into a lifetime nightmare. And for what? Some power-hungry prosecutor wanted to finally win one. Instead of being practical and looking at the facts, she looked at their complexion. She had her mind made up that these “thugs” will pay. Her hatred for black people superseded her purpose in her career to do what’s right. Their future was determined the minute she laid eyes on them. Ms. “Fair”stein didn’t care about the woman who was assaulted. She didn’t care about finding the true attacker. She didn’t care about facts. She didn’t care about justice. She only cared about herself. This will make a name for me and my department. Period. You see she went off and wrote a handful of books and was on the best seller list. A handful of books based on this case. This case is what made her successful. That’s what’s wrong with so many people in these positions but that’s another blog for another time chile. Ironic her name is “Fair”stein, because she was far from fair regarding her actions towards these boys. 

And let's not talk about the detectives that mishandled this case. They were “Fair”steins henchmen. They literally told their own narrative and fed it to children for them to regurgitate for their own benefit knowing damn well they had nothing to do with this woman’s attack. They lied to those kids and their parents. They physically and mentally abused those kids. They set those kids up to fail in a system that was already created against us. Want to know the sad part about this whole situation? There are people who work in the injustice system doing the same exact things today to kids who do not belong in the system. Would things have been different if the parents and the kids knew their rights? 

Yusef’s mother marched right into that precinct and not only read that pale-colored woman to filth but demanded to see her child. She then took her child with her because they had no probable cause to keep him. He wasn’t under arrest and his confession was coerced and under duress.  

 

Give👏🏾me👏🏾my👏🏾child👏🏾neooowww👏🏾. 

 

What if all of the parents demanded the same thing? 

What if Antron’s father hadn’t convinced him to lie? 

What if Korey would’ve stayed with his girlfriend? 

What if Kevin would’ve gone with his friend to play basketball? 

What if Korey decided to not go with Yusef and the cops? 

What if Raymond’s dad didn’t have to go to work? 

What if they had better attorneys? 

What if they would’ve stuck to their truth about not having any involvement? 

 So many questions ran through my mind while watching this and how one decision can determine the rest of your life. The biggest what if of them all is “what if the people who had a duty to serve and protect just would’ve done their got damn job correctly in the first place?” And with absolutely no evidence or DNA to tie them to the crime, they were convicted. 

Not only were those kids lives ruined but so were their families. They struggled emotionally. They struggled financially. Some couldn’t find jobs. Some turned on each other. The ripple effect was never ending. The massive destruction was continuous. This also shows how tragedy affects everyone differently. There is no one way to process emotions when dealing with trauma. Take Antron’s family for instance. His father convinced him to lie to the police so ultimately Tron blamed him for his time in juvenile detention. Like father, like son. His parents became estranged and when Tron was released, he and his father were also estranged. Then you have Kevin and his family who were stuck together like glue. They remained close and never allowed their circumstances to change their family dynamic.  Families were still strained, never to regain the normalcy they once had, and their lives were changed forever. 

While all of their stories hurt, the one that made me cry, made me angry, made me emotional the most, was Korey’s story. He had three things against him that they used. 

Black 

Male 

Learning disability  

Because he was sixteen at the time, he was legally allowed to be questioned by the crooked detectives without parental supervision. Because he was sixteen, he was sentenced as an adult and sent to Rikers which has the reputation of being the roughest and toughest prisons in the country. People go to Rikers to die. Either they are killed by the hands of other inmates, by the hands of the correction officers or they kill themselves. So just imagine a sixteen-year-old, disabled boy going to this place. Korey was a child in an adult prison where he didn’t belong. They target the vulnerable in places like that. Although Korey’s story of his imprisonment is mentally challenging to hear and digest, some amazing life lessons derived from his experience. One of the biggest lessons is to always stay true to yourself. Korey was eligible for parole. The only thing he had to do was admit his involvement. That’s it. Had he done so, he could have been released to never see another solitary confinement cell again. But he never did. Not even to be free.  

 

“They don’t want to hear my truth. I don’t want to waste my energy.” 

 

Because Korey never folded, he met the man who ultimately would free him. The very person who wasn’t a suspect to begin with, is the very reason they were able to become exonerated, Korey. The ACTUAL attacker confessed and after DNA evidence proved his confession to be true, they were exonerated. The justice system didn’t do that.  

Reading about it was one thing. To actually see it portrayed made it more real in a sense. We could never experience what they have but it felt like we did. The tears you cried, the anger you felt, the lump in your throat, you holding your breath, that was all real. I watched the series and it took me a week to write this. Every time I tried, I cried. Then I got angry again. It was a recurring cycle of emotion because as much as it wasn’t us, it still could be. I can see ME in THEM. Because the justice system isn’t just when it comes to us.

 

“People are literally afraid to watch a movie about the justice system. It’s a horror film to us. Let that sink in. Watching When They See Us IS A HORROR FILM TO US.” 

We knew the story.

We know the story.

This is OUR story.

They are no longer the “Central Park 5.” They never were. 

They are the Exonerated Five and they have names. 

 Yusef 

Kevin 

Antron 

Korey 

Raymond 

 

How May I Help?

Owning a business and perfecting your craft isn’t easy. It takes time. It takes energy. It takes money. It takes resources. But some times you just don’t have the time, the energy, definitely not the money and definitely not the resources. But you need something for your business or brand NOW and the only thing you have to offer is your talent or gift. 

Have you ever thought about trading a service  you are good at or a product you’ve created for something you may need? 

bar·ter

/ˈbärdər/

exchange (goods or services) for other goods or services without using money.

I attended a brunch hosted by Women at Werk, a women’s networking and mentoring organization, called Barter Brunch. Now initially, I was just going to attend to support my friend who is the founder of this amazing organization. I was going to just eat and drink! I mean I’m always down for a good meal chile! I don’t have a business to promote so I didn’t think I would have anything to really talk about or barter for that matter. I was just going to be there for support, which I know I am good at! 

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Yea, that didn’t happen! Writing is a business and it’s a skill many don’t like or have the ability to do. Especially when it comes to entrepreneurs and finding the time to market their services or items, they would rather have someone else do it. It has crossed my mind a time or two to review products and services like you see other influencers do, in an effort to market their business. Sitting at this table and listening to these other women speak about their needs, I was quickly reminded that my gift can help others and to stop selling myself short.

Word of mouth and connections are two of the biggest things entrepreneurs rely on when having a business(besides money of course!) It can be hard making connections though. Let’s be real. 

•The market may be over saturated. 

•May be new to a city. 

•May just not know where to start. 

•May not have the opportunity. 

Women at Werk created a space where women can have these connections. Not only has it created a space to connect with other women but events such as the Barter Brunch, creates the opportunity and the tools needed to better your business and your brand. 

I went there thinking I had nothing to offer and left with women telling me they needed me. ME!!! Whew chile! Listen! If you missed this event, you missed out! I wouldn’t miss the next one if I were you! 

What services or products would you exchange with someone if you had the opportunity and what would you like in return? Share with me in the comments! I may know someone who knows someone! You never know! 

Pictured front to back:  Bethany: Owner of Shaped and Polished a Nail Studio and Barbies Beauty Room. Instagram: @shapedandpolishedanailstudio @barbiesbeautyroom  Dr. Jackie: Psychologist and Addiction and Trauma Specialist  Me!  Stephanie: Founder of Women at Werk and Lifestyle Management Counseling. Instagram: @womenatwerk

Pictured front to back:

Bethany: Owner of Shaped and Polished a Nail Studio and Barbies Beauty Room. Instagram: @shapedandpolishedanailstudio @barbiesbeautyroom

Dr. Jackie: Psychologist and Addiction and Trauma Specialist

Me!

Stephanie: Founder of Women at Werk and Lifestyle Management Counseling. Instagram: @womenatwerk

Pictured left to right:  Alisia: Founder of Uzurimas and future consultant. Instagram: @uzurimas  Me!  Dr. Jackie: Psychologist and Addiction and Trauma Specialist

Pictured left to right:

Alisia: Founder of Uzurimas and future consultant. Instagram: @uzurimas

Me!

Dr. Jackie: Psychologist and Addiction and Trauma Specialist

Pictured back to front:  Jerrika: Founder of Lavish Touch Photos. Instagram: @lavishtouchphotos  Antinese: Licensed Esthetician and owner of Glam Beauty Bar & Spa. Instagram: @glambeautybar_spa  Me!

Pictured back to front:

Jerrika: Founder of Lavish Touch Photos. Instagram: @lavishtouchphotos

Antinese: Licensed Esthetician and owner of Glam Beauty Bar & Spa. Instagram: @glambeautybar_spa

Me!

Alisia, myself, and Jackie!  Flower wall decor: India of Modern Giggles Event Styling

Alisia, myself, and Jackie!

Flower wall decor: India of Modern Giggles Event Styling

Myself and Bethany!

Myself and Bethany!

Myself and Jackie!

Myself and Jackie!

Doing what I do best…running my mouth!

Doing what I do best…running my mouth!

Table decor: India of Modern Giggles Event Styling Instagram: @Moderngiggles

Table decor: India of Modern Giggles Event Styling Instagram: @Moderngiggles

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The grits with blackened shrimp was amazing!

The grits with blackened shrimp was amazing!

Prayer Just Ain’t Gonna Cut It

So I am not about to sugar coat anything. The black community has some SERIOUS issues. Some of these issues are due to oppression and not being awarded the same opportunities as our white counterpart. That’s a whole nother’ blog. But a lot of these issues are internal issues. Issues stemmed from individual trauma that because they aren’t cared for and handled properly, or at all, they manifest into other energies. What was a personal issue is now an issue you’re taking out on your friend. Or you’re so mad, that you took something that guy at the corner store said the wrong way, you pulled your gun and shot him instead of rationalizing your emotions. We have so many issues as a community because we don’t tell our story. We don’t tell our story because we think we are either:

 

 1. Alone in that situation and no one else will understand;

 2. We are too embarrassed to talk to anyone;

3. Any time we had an issue we were only told to just pray about it instead of actually working through the problem and addressing it head on.

 

We hold these things in, we push them to the back of our head, we harbor those emotions, and then when something else upsets or hurts you then boom…all hell is unleashed but most times, toward the wrong entity. And praying is good and all, don’t get me wrong, but even the Bible says prayer without works is dead. After you pray about it, do you work on yourself? 

Everybody has gone through some type of struggle. Everybody. If someone tells you they haven’t, they’re a liar and the truth ain’t in them. Why do we think our trauma is unique? Yes, WE may have never experienced it but that doesn’t mean someone hasn’t or isn’t. Not saying every persons problems are going to be the same but someone’s personal experience is probably very similar to yours. But we would never know because we don’t open up and talk about it. 

 

“Our well being is really a 360 degree experience. One thing doesn’t work without the other.” Christina Rice

 

Other parts of your life will suffer because you have not taken care of one aspect of your life. Because you are so stressed you start to call out from work, which leads to you getting fired, which leads to you not being able to pay your bills, which leads to your car being repossessed, which leads to you not being able to go grocery shopping, which leads to you not being able to eat…you get my drift. All because you were stressed out and didn’t tell anyone or get the proper help you needed to help handle that stress. And no, it’s not easy to open up. It’s not easy to talk about your trauma. It’s not easy to tell someone you’re hurting on the inside and you don’t know what to do. But it does get easier. But you have to make the first step. 

 You want to know what I think the biggest issue is regarding getting help or talking about our issues? (Yes, Brittany I do!) I think we don’t talk about our issues because we are so complacent with our trauma. If we talked about it, we would have to deal with it.

 

 Whew👏🏾Chillay👏🏾

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 We don’t want to deal with our own mess so we would rather stank up other areas of our lives and possibly somebody else’s and make things ten times worse. What sense does that make? None. Yet we continue the cycle of unnecessary and problematic behavior and expect people to just deal with it. “That’s just who I am” was my favorite go to line when I did some shady stuff and knew it was a problem. Basically, if you don’t like me for being an asshole then that’s your fault. 

 

NO MA’AM!!!

 

I mean I’m still an asshole if you let some people tell it but it’s actually warranted now! I’ve learned to check myself before blaming someone else. I don’t allow what I’m going through or what I’ve been through to dictate how I treat someone else. It’s a pretty shitty thing to do. So why do we do it? Why do some of us choose to live a life where our emotions have control over us? Aside from medical conditions and diagnosis, many of us choose to remain in the state we are in. The question is simply why. I can promise you, you aren’t alone and you shouldn’t be embarrassed about anything you’ve survived. There are so many resources out there that can aid in our breakthroughs. Resources that are free or minimal costs. Literally, just talking to a friend is free. I’m no therapist but I have been to therapy and let me tell you how enlightening, scary, eye opening, gut wrenching, relieving(I could go on and on about my experience!) it was to finally talk. Just talk. Not be interrupted. To cry uncontrollably. Yell if I needed to. Display an array of emotions without someone thinking I’m crazy. I had a breakthrough. I had MY breakthrough. Yours is waiting to happen. All you have to do is take the first step. 

A lot of us live by the quote “actions speak louder than words” but some times your words are your actions. Talking is an action. Speaking your truth is an action. Set yourself free by releasing all of that toxic energy you’ve been harboring. 

 

Your breakthrough is on the other side.

Your healing is on the other side. 

A better you is on the other side. 

 Change won’t happen until you are willing to change. 

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” Leo Tolstoy

Resources that may help:

 Talkspace.com

therapyforblackgirls.com

Calm.com

 

 

 

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Just Say No No to Nene!

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So, I have been watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta since the inception of the show. Judge ya mammy! I have seen castmates leave and return. I have seen castmates fight, argue, and makeup. I have pretty much seen it all. This isn’t really about the show though! This is about Linnethia Monique Johnson aka Nene Leakes. Well not really. This is about “friends” like Linnethia. Nene is a habitual offender in trying her friends and then playing the victim. During the first few seasons, I’m not going to lie, I did feel like some of the woman were coming at her a little too hard for no reason. But as the seasons went on and she became wealthier, she became nastier. You know what they say, “more money, more problems.” And she is definitely problematic Chile.

It just seems as if being this individuals’ friend is egg-haust-ing. Whenever she falls out with someone, she gets on social media to defend herself and her toxic behavior. You see her talking on YouTube channels or during interviews on the show about how much she has done for said person and how said person should be grateful etc etc. You get the point. It never fails. It’s the same for each and every person. Like girllllll, stoppppppp. You…are…the…problem.

 At some point we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and be like “WHAT AM I DOING?” Everybody isn’t targeting you. Everybody isn’t attacking you. Everybody isn’t your hater. Everybody ain’t out to get you. It’s YOU sis! And what’s crazy, is the “Linnethia’s “KNOW they toxic. But because people have allowed them to get away with their behavior for so long, they think its okay to continue to be this way. They don’t give a crap about their mental health, so they definitely don’t give a farfanugen(trying to stop cussing😇) about yours. So, what if you’re a “Cynthia” with a “Nene” friend? How do you recognize when you should just let go?

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1.     When you get into a disagreement with them and they always throw something they did for you in your face. Like do you keep a checks and balances sheet of what all you’ve done for me and what all I’ve done for you? “I was the only one that was there for you when no one else was.” That type of energy. If it’s so easy for someone to just start rattling off every single thing they’ve done, then that means they are keeping score and I don’t want or need to be in competition with my friends. Period.

2.     When you hear them talking about you behind your back to other friends.I don’t mean talking to another friend in an attempt to resolve things or get another take on the situation. I mean calling you out your name, degrading you, calling your character into question etc. “She is so weak.” “She is so fake.” All that negative stuff. If you and your “friend” get into an argument and they can easily call you all types of names other than a child of God, that’s how they have always felt about you and probably always will.

3.     When they try and make you feel like your feelings aren’t valid or warranted.If they never take the time to listen but always find the time to argue, they don’t care about your feelings, they only care about themselves. That’s not a friendship, that’s a dictatorship. Their way is the only way. 

4.     When they use whatever they are going through to always excuse them of being a shitty person.So much for me not cussing smh. I understand everyone has issues and personal things they go through that some can’t quite organize their feelings in a manner to verbally express it, so you may be the brunt of misplaced emotions. I get it. I’ve done it. But…not…all…the…time. 🙄You are no longer someone going through something and just being shitty. You are a shitty person that is just going through something. Miss me. I’ll pray for you…over there. People are not obligated to put up with you mistreating them as a result of you processing your personal issues and trauma.

5.     When they make everything about them.Every event they show they ass. Every conversation is about their issues or successes. They don’t ask how you’re doing. They don’t check on you. The only time y’all talk is when you call or when you text. When they do show up to support, they are negative and nasty. So, they honestly could’ve just stayed they raggedy ass home. They don’t like the shine being off of them, so they take it back at any given moment. 

 

Listen…we all have toxic traits and tendencies. Don’t lie. I can list a few of mine off rip. But having toxic traits and actually displaying those toxic traits are totally different. We all make the conscious decision to react to each and every situation the way we do. Sometimes we allow our emotions to get the best of us but once is a mistake, twice is a choice. Displaying toxic behavior is a CHOICE! You want to know what else is a choice? Being friends with these toxic people. Stop choosing toxic people to remain in your circle. Stop allowing them to reap the benefits of your dopeness. This may be cliché, but it still holds truth, from Muva MS.(please say the Ms before all of the ancestors come and slap you in the mouth) Maya Angelou, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

  Losing friends is hard…sometimes. Sometimes because some of these mofos need to get the boot and was taking up too much space and time in the first place. But for the ones who you were hanging on to and then have to come to grips that you have to let them go, will hurt…probably like hell. But what is more important? Keeping someone that’s toxic to you as a friend and constantly messing up your energy or keeping your mental health in check and your energy consistent by ridding your life of toxicity? I’m choosing me every👏🏾single👏🏾time👏🏾.

 

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Let me know if you’ve had a friend that was toxic or maybe you were the toxic friend in the comments!

 

 

Silenced By Society

Black eye.

Busted lip.

Bruised arm.

Broken ribs.

Patches of hair pulled out.

 

One night while packing my car to leave Tallahassee and go back home, my ex approached me and beat me to a pulp. He was abusive and I had finally found a way out but that didn’t stop him. He followed me to college and stalked me. Unbeknownst to me, he was watching my every move including that night. He waited until I wasn’t paying attention and surprised me with a punch to the face as I turned around from my car. He grabbed my shoulders and slammed me up against my car repeatedly until I felt like my back was about to break. As I fell to the pavement, he began to kick me while yelling that he loved me and I shouldn’t have ever left him. I remember him saying “if I can’t have you, no one will.” I thought I was going to die that night. I must’ve let out a scream because a neighbor came outside to see what was going on. He kicked me one last time and ran. I don’t even remember letting out a scream but it saved my life.

 

I filed a restraining order and charges. To my knowledge, he is still behind bars.

Some people aren’t so lucky. Some remain in an abusive relationship and never make it out. Some leave, like myself, and are still fighting for their lives. You see it’s not so easy to “just leave” like so many people like to throw out at people who seek help. No, we aren’t allowing the abuse to happen by staying. In actuality, some of us think we are helping the situation.

 

If we stay, maybe they will stop.

If I stay, maybe they won’t hurt my family/friends.

If I stay, maybe I can live.

 

Many times, an escape plan goes through the mind of a victim. How to get out? Where to go so they won’t be found? How to get money to survive? How do they protect themselves and their family and friends? “Just leave” is not an option. And even when you do finally find a way out, sometimes it’s not the end of the abuse. Unless you have been in a relationship where you are emotionally, physically, and mentally abused, your suggestions on survival aren’t really viable because most of the time, they aren’t coming from a place of understanding. There is a difference between “just leave” and “don’t be afraid to leave.”

 

If you know someone or see someone being abused, be their ear. Be their shoulder. Let them know you are there for them. Their abuser has told them, they are the only ones there for them. Their abuser has told them that they are the only ones that love them. Their abuser has manipulated and played on their emotions so much that they start to believe it. Then they log onto Facebook wanting…needing to talk and see their “friend” sharing an article about a local woman who was killed by her estranged and abusive husband saying, “Well she should’ve just left. She chose to be there.” And all of those moments their abuser told them no one would care, was now a reality.

 

Many victims and survivors don’t talk about their experiences because of the way they feel they may be perceived in society. So many times they’ve been told it was their fault and a piece of them starts to believe it. So it doesn’t help that everyone places the blame and responsibility of the victim to do better. Society is real quick to tell a victim ways to avoid being in this situation but never provide advice to the abusers to not put their hands on people. It’s easy to say what we would do without ever actually having to do it. But when you live it, when it’s your truth, it’s completely different.

 

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Pushed against the wall.

Thrown on the floor.

Head banged on the coffee table.

Punched in the stomach.

Food thrown in your face.

Choked just enough not to pass out but still feel dead.

 

A message to survivors:

 

You are not alone. There are others who have gone through what you have and need to hear your story. Someone’s freedom is within your testimony. There is a purpose behind your pain. If you are currently in an abusive relationship, don’t be afraid to leave and get help. There is a community of people who stand with you, behind you, and beside you. Don’t give up. Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

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