A Healthy Change for Myself…

We talk a lot about body positivity here and loving the skin you are you in. However, this post shares a few moments of weakness when loving the skin you are in isn’t enough, because it can’t cure health problems. I wholly believe in that there are unrealistic expectations put out in the universe (facebook, twitter, or any kind of media for that matter) that causes people to obsess over having the perfect body and that doesn’t work for everyone. It causes a lot of pain and suffering mentally for some, but this isn’t one of those posts. Well, I don’t want it to be. This post may not be for you, and I understand, but this is my truth.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been telling myself that I need to get back in the gym. That I need to start eating better. That I should probably be more mindful of my health overall. Not because I’ve been hearing it from others. Not because I’ve seen other people go to the gym on a regular basis. But because my doctor told me I’m close to having pre-diabetes. Because I have family that is now going to a class to help keep pre-diabetes from becoming full fledged diabetes. Because I’ve started to run out of breath walking up my stairs. Because I keep finding clothes that I love that no longer fit… among a lot of other things.

Yes, I’m all about being comfortable in the skin you’re in. That’s part of living a happy life. But when things start to affect your health, it becomes more than just loving your body as it is. I’ve hit the heaviest I’ve been ever in life, but I’ve been happy with life for the most part (Maybe not in the relationship department, but that’s another story for another time…). Not really caring about what I’ve been eating, because food is bae. I’ve just been really reckless with how I’ve treated my body. The whole while I knew what I was doing. Fast food and restaurant foods for most of my meals during the week. Beers and Liquor almost every day. I’ve been “living it up”.

I’ve never been the “biggest” person. Other than being tall, people used to think I was skinny for the longest, and I still get comments about not really looking “big” to this day. I don’t know if people were just being nice, or actually felt that way, but it did help me feel more comfortable with myself and my weight, because at one point I really wasn’t comfortable with it. I still have problems with it but I’m aware of my situation and that I need to control it before its too late. Back in the day, I used to follow all of these crazy unrealistic Instagram pages who seem to lose weight in like 5 seconds. Looking for the miracle workouts to make me lose weight faster. But over time I got over that after I realized that this was damaging to myself. I realized my worth and my sanity wasn’t worth it and I started focusing on loving the skin I was in. But as time went along, I gained more weight, and it made it harder to love the skin I was in. Not because I didn’t look like a model, but because I knew I was not taking care of myself properly.

So, as of today, I’ve made a promise to myself to work towards a healthier lifestyle again. To get back in the gym, and eat better overall. This is a process to be a better me and ensure that I live to be 150 years old; or try towards it anyway :-). I don’t only want to lose weight and look better. I want to get my health back in order. That is my top priority. I don’t care about the six pack abs or the hard rock pecs. I just want to not feel tired all the time and not die sooner rather than later in life. Thankfully though, losing weight is a wonderful by-product of living a healthier lifestyle and additionally, I get to do something I thoroughly enjoy, which is working out (^_^).

This blog will never be a fitness blog and I don’t want it to be. Sure, while I go through the process of being healthier, I will share my successes and most likely rant about my setbacks, because that’s a part of the process. As you all know, I usually blog about my life and my journey as a whole and this is a part of it. So while I restart this journey of becoming more healthy, I will also work more to love myself flaws and all, because only I can guarantee myself that. But I will also strive to become a better, healthier, and non “getting tired while walking up on flight of stairs” person as well. Because I want to love the skin I’m in for a very long time.

I’m Tired of Myself Not Showing Up and Out for Myself

A few days ago I posted a pic of me in a pink jumpsuit and everyone was kind enough to give me compliments about it out the wazoo. I almost didn’t post it, because I thought I looked ugly and fat. Last week, I posted a post about how my spiritual journey is not what most people expect and my beliefs don’t align with majority of the people I know. I almost didn’t post it because I was fearful of rejection. I am making some major life changes and am doubtful at every turn and tell little people about it because I’m afraid I look stupid or flakey. I set boundaries that are healthy for me and then feel immensely guilty because people don’t agree. I don’t want children because it isn’t for me, but feel constant pressure to explain why, and so I never talk about it, missing out on opportunities to inspire others because I’m worried about others opinions or being seen as less desirable as a romantic partner.

I could go on and on with examples like these. But what I really want, is to never have another example like this in my life. I am beyond done with not showing up and showing out for my own damn life and living it on my terms. My whole job as a therapist is centered around telling others to show up for themselves, why the hell do I not do this for me? I am tired of being bound by shit that has no positive or fulfilling purpose in my life.

My body image has held me back for years. I don’t pursue the men I want, I sometimes don’t wear the clothes I want, I avoid pictures, and I have spent too many days crying over fat rolls, doing only certain exercises to decrease fat, apologizing when I eat a donut, ans comparing myself to beautiful women. Today, I declare myself beautiful, with fat rolls, and worthy. Fuck your beauty standards I’ve internalized. I can be active and overweight and healthy and eat donuts.

I’m tired of playing small in every aspect. I will assert my truth, I will not stop talking about Black things, I will not stop talking about equity, I will not stop when you are uncomfortable, call me an angry Black woman, tell me to be sweeter. I will not stop sharing my ideas. It’s not me to be quiet or small. It’s not my soul. It kills me when I do it. I will not commit soul genocide anymore.

I’m tired of settling. I will go for jobs in my career that invigorate me, challenge me, and call me to step into the leadership position that I am called to be. I won’t be anyone’s entry level anything anymore. I will walk in my strengths humbly, but not self deprecatingly.

I will not settle with men. I deserve what I want. My body will not be used for pleasure unless I say so, and I will not settle for a man that does nothing less than challenges me to be better, loves and cares for me, can hold his own, and also is what I want. No more nice guys with potential, and certainly no more fuck boys here to waste my time. No more half committed, empty words, me chasing you, you being too cool. Stand beside me, be ready to commit, or get to walking. Also, this isn’t only your descision; I actively get to choose. I’d certainly rather be alone than to deal with any BS.

Listen. I’m ready to show up and show out for myself. I am tired of playing it safely and diminishing my light. I am soft and fierce and courageous and change maker and I no longer have a choice but to live up to this. And I’m excited AF.

So please know, I am showing up for myself in a big way and I hope you join me. But if it makes you uncomfortable, IDGAF.

To all the women…

To all the women, like myself, who saw this meme and realized we were a “Ford F-150 extended cab 4×4 with pro Tow Package…

To all the women who are still trying to lose pregnancy weight 12 years later…

To all the women whose stomach sticks out further than their boobs or butt…

To all the women whose waist is not shaped like an hour glass…

To all the women who get super excited when they see unaltered images in your Lane Bryant emails

But even then feel self conscious because your body doesn’t even look “that good”…

To all the women who know there actually is an answer to this question…

And you fall on the wrong side of the scale…

To all the women who have made them self sick from dieting and exercising with little to no results…

To all the women who judge them selves harsher than anyone in the world ever will…

To all the women who know that very few people in the world respond this way

But you hold out hope that one day you’ll find someone who does…

For all the women who have been offered random fitness advice by people you don’t know or barely know…

To all the women who hate the gym…

To all the women who bought gym memberships in January but haven’t gone back…

To all the women who struggle to fit in airplane seats…

To all the women who crave chocolate cake during their period and afterwards…

To all the women who consistently give into cravings…

To all the women who know the pain that is “chub rub”…

To all the women who have decided they aren’t good enough based on something someone else has said or done…

Know this

And this

And we are gorgeous just the way we are.

The problem with being overweight in an environment that doesn’t think you are…

When I say I’m fat, I’m not saying it just for kicks. I’m not saying it to hear someone reply back to me “no you’re not”, just so I can feel better about myself . I’m not saying it because it makes me feel better in certain situations.

I’m saying it because it’s true!

Sure, “fat” is a harsh word, but it’s the truth. Overweight, of course, is the better choice of word here, but in any case, it’s a problem that I need to deal with. I just love the fact that when I say I shouldn’t be eating something because I need to lose weight, I get so many interesting, perplexed even, looks. Looks from people who may be bigger than me that says “You are not fat, I’M fat”. Looks from people who are smaller than me saying “I wish I was your size, I can’t gain any weight”. Looks from people that literally say “You’ll be fine”. Looks from people who’ve said “Well, it’s because you’re tall!”.

And yes, while some of these things are true, this still doesn’t negate the fact that I am overweight; Height considered and all. But, of course, I give into the idea of being perfectly fine because I have no willpower. Invite me to go fast food, I’ll go along with all the dinner plans. Mostly because 1, it’s convenient and 2, I can’t eat healthier foods when I see friends are going out and ordering terrible foods. All in all, I’m glad that my weight isn’t a problem for you, but my weight IS a problem for me, and I intend to address it.

I had a enlightening moment the other morning, attempting to put on a pair of pants that I probably have worn no more than a year prior with ease, and I could no longer button them. All of my favorite shirts are starting to “shrink” and I have to buy things in 2XL out of necessity, and not choice (like we used to do back in the college, over-sized shirt, days). It was an eye opener.

The problem with being overweight in an environment that doesn’t think you are, is that you’re surrounded by well-intentioned enablers. Even if it’s on purpose or by accident. This is my reality, plain and simple. No I may not be your definition of overweight, and that’s part of the problem. People around me don’t truly understand that I need to do something about my health before it gets too late. And the “you’re fine the way you are” comments make it seem like people are disregarding my feelings about my self, my health or my general happiness. Being close to being pre-diabetic will have you thinking about these things.

But you know, I can’t blame my environment. I can only blame myself. I should have the willpower and wherewithal to be a healthier person, but in certain situations, that’s easier said than done.

Temptation is a bitch…

I should definitely have more self control…

My appetite laughs hysterically at both of those statements. I can’t control it (how many people are rolling their eyes at this); And I feel that it’s getting worse as time goes along. So when I make these statements, it’s because I’m trying to train my brain into wanting to be better. Trying to tell myself that hey, you might want to catch this before you get too crazy. Before it’s too late. So yeah, I might not be your definition of fat, but my physical from the doctor is saying I’m headed on the wrong path.

And yeah, for the people who knew me when I was in the gym 5 times a week, working out regularly and keeping up with it pretty consistently. I enjoyed that I was getting stronger, but still not dropping most of my fatty weight. It was kind of the trade off muscle for fat thing going on, but the reason for this happening was because I was still eating like a pig. So then i got to a point where I stopped working out, and lost track of my progress, never to find it again. I stopped working out, but kept eating like I was still working out. A recipe for disaster.

This started due to the fact of going through a mild case of depression during the end and after my last serious relationship, which kind of led me to just not really being into ANYTHING other than food. Eating was a comfort zone for me, instead of hitting the gym harder. It’s known to be a common coping method for many people, and I ended up gaining about 20 or some odd pounds (after already being like 30 pounds overweight). I wouldn’t say that I am addicted to food, but more so addicted to unhealthy food. And even though I’d like to think that I’m technically out of that depression phase, the eating continued and I just started not caring. Then when I got back to the point where I wasn’t happy with my weight and vocalized it, the majority of people I’ve hung out with or around has always asked me why I was so worried about it. Well, because I am, in a word, fat. I’m owning it and will continue to until I do something about it. Hopefully the path I’m taking now will lead me back to the track that I once wandered off of, but I can’t say for sure at this point.

It will be a process.

Life is tough. No sugarcoating it. You will be beat up by it time after time. I don’t think I was ever taught that officially until college. I had to learn on my own, and this is just another battle I’m trying to take head on. And if I’m being honest to myself, I haven’t been trying hard enough, I know that. So if I say I’m fat around you, it’s because I am; And I need to do something about it. I might be annoying…sure. Just ignore me. I know that just saying it does nothing about it, but just know that I’m working on it. This is just me trying to get my mind back to the point where I NEED to force myself to be better. Hopefully this is the beginning of another era of working towards health.

The Initial Descent of A Depressive Episode (Caution: Rough Landing Ahead)

The plane ride was an okay one, but a relatively long one. There had been a few disturbances, of course. The rough air from the bouts of anxiety caused by storms and clouds, the crying child and cursing man, representing the worse parts of my ego trip, troubles with my carry-on almost not fitting in the overhead bins, held for only the right amount of trauma and PTSD, and starved from lack of nutritious meals,  like friends missed and connections lost on this long flight. But there were also hours of smooth sailing, similar to a Mercedes Benz S-Class, expensive to maintain, fueled by mindfulness practices, victories, and self growth. Smiles and nods of affirmation and shared experiences, friendly exchanges shared by strangers on the plane, destined to share this ride with you unbeknownst to you both; strangers who became friends, even for this one trip. And some who will take other trips with you, both purposefully and accidentally in the future.

There was hope. A destination is always hopeful and exciting, even when you’re unsure where this trip may take you.

The initial descent of a depressive episode came without warning. I thought I had more time on this plane, to endure the flight, before this happened. I always knew the plane would eventually have to land. And on those hours of rough air that made me sick to my stomach as I tried to reason with why I even fly, unable to throw up in a barf bag, from fear of looking inexperienced and pitiful, I guessed that the descent may come, but brushed it off. And yet, the initial descent into my unknown destination, came with a familiar pit of stomach feeling as the plane begins to descend into a dark cloud, followed by the turbulence of anxiety, rocking the foundation of this plane.

I quickly remind myself that planes are made for flying, made for turbulence, disruption, worry, sadness, crying, isolation… People like me, I mean planes, strong, steel reinforced, impenetrable, weatherproof (from the wetness of the tears from the storms of course) can handle this landing, this turbulence.

We are only at the initial descent. So we all know that means 30 minutes, 30 more hours, 30 more days – who knows long this descent will take?

I want to trade the strange acquaintances I made, with the familiarity of people on the ground, at my home, that I love and hate. Fear has a way of making us crave the familiar – dysfunction and all. The flight attendants announce that we are closer now, but this descent gets bumpier and bumpier, and I become more afraid and afraid. I fear I’m going to die in this descent. I just close my eyes and wait, pray, beg, for the moment we touch the land, when I’m grounded again.

I think we are closer yet again. I’m not sure though. The storm has made my descent into a foggy hell of depression and sadness, and I can’t make out the destination anymore through my raindrops of tears stained window. I’m even more afraid of the landing now, because well, anxiety mixed with depression is a tornado. And tornadoes make landing dangerous. I am positive that the air masks should have dropped by now and allowed me to breathe more easily. But they never come to my rescue. And I can’t remember how to access the life saving float under my seat as we fly over the wide river heading into the airport, that I’m sure I will drown in – we seem so close to the sorrowful water. I wonder if it’s as cold as I feel? Or as hot as my cheeks flushing?

Who said planes could weather storms anyway? I remember now. My old classmate who was a pilot and lost his life – to himself. I wonder if he once had a rough landing, and it frightened him so much that he wasn’t sure he’d survive his own landing on the other side of the storm?

At some point, we begin the final descent, and I am deep in the clouds and I am not sure whether or not we will make it, and I become numb to it all and tune it all out. I fall back asleep, hoping to not have to move for awhile. I prepare myself for the crash that is inevitable. I don’t talk to anyone and it seems the baby’s cries have completely disappeared, but when I look around his mouth is still open, so clearly, I’ve gone numb, dumb, and deaf to everything. I hope someone remembers my mask after they assist themselves.

The plane jerks. Except, it’s not a jerk. It’s the wheels. We are close to my destination.The sound of wheels is like the sweet, sunrise of a new day. It is the sound of survival and arrival. “You made it,” I whisper silently to myself.

I prepare myself for the abrupt and fast skidding of the wheels across the runway of destination and growth, and brace myself as we brake to take a break, from flying. And I see that the rain has stopped at the destination, the baby is cooing, and the cursing man, eager to make his next connection, has taken to talking excitedly about how he has to get off the plane first.

Arriving to the gate, I wait my turn as those who were fated with me for this ride, take turns in an orderly, yet rushed, fashion to exit the plane. I let the rushed man go by. I can’t help but wonder if that descent was just as awful and crazy for them or if they think I was the crazy one on the trip or was I simply a figure, that set the stage for them in that trip. I will never know, because at that moment I take my carry-on which contains the luggage of my life that I carry with me, exit the plane, and look towards my final destination.

Until the next plane.

 

The word “No”

No

It has become apparent, that the definition of word “No” has, all of a sudden, been forgotten in the English language.

Let’s review:

1. not any.
ex: “there is no excuse”
2. used to indicate that something is quite the opposite of what is being specified.
ex: “it was no easy task persuading her”
3. hardly any.
ex: “you’ll be back in no time”
4. used to forbid or reject something.

ex: “No Smoking” signs.

That last one is very important.  Why? you say? Because there’s a population of people who don’t seem to understand that when this word is used, that it’s not being used for fun and that a decision is made about something and all conversation should cease at that moment.

No, is simply that.  “No”, and if you don’t like it, then tough cookies, because at that point, you begin to beg and begging is not sexy. If you come on to me, or ask me if I’m interested, and I say “No”, that should be respected and you shouldn’t try and convince me otherwise.  If you ask me for a piece of candy and I say “No”, don’t ask me again.  If you ask me anything and I say “No” as a response.  That it.

I hate repeating myself.  I should only have to say “No”, once.  You are not a dog.

But for some reason, humans (men specifically) seem to have this thing about obtaining things they can’t have.  So they continue to pry, and beg and whine (yes it starts to sound like whining after a while) until they finally get what they want or, in some cases, finally give up.

There’s an issue with this. Because if someone tells you no from the beginning, THAT is when you should give up and let it go.

I’m tired of saying “No” and being ignored. I’m tired of being asked “Why” after I tell someone “No”.  I’m tired of being asked “Why are you so mean?” after telling someone “No.  I’m tired of just being expected to give into YOUR wants. STOP IT.

So, if you notice that you’re starting to be ignored by me.  Just know that I’m finally over it.  And it’s most likely because I’ve told you “No”, but for some reason you’re still trying to avoid that reality that I’m denying you. This should be respected in all facets of life.

 

 

Reflections of 2017

It’s New Year’s Eve, and for me this is a day of reflection (and later, celebration). I truly believe in the power of reflection as a learning and growth tool, that is necessary for humans to really understand their lives. And so, as I sit on my brother’s couch (who the hell told him he could grow up and have a whole apartment and wife by the way?), I hope to try to make some sense of a pretty rollercoaster of a year and share my learnings with you.

1) I learned that I equate suffering with “goodness” in myself. I am sure this stems from a very conservative religious doctrine that characterized much of my early religious experiences and also from some complex traumatic events. It is unhealthy and damaging no matter how I look at it though. Staying in situations, jobs, etc to prove to people who do not value my well being, that I am worthy or “strong” is damaging. It kills my soul, ups my anxiety, and deepens depression. It also reinforces a faulty idea that I hold that I’m not good enough. It literally kills me. I am still working on how to combat that, but I took some brave steps against that belief this year, and have at the very least, realized that martyrdom won’t make me happy or make others see my worth.

2) Love did not knock on my door this year, but actively dating did teach me a lot about myself. Dating was an integral part of my journey this year. I further refined what I want, who I am in a relationship, realized patterns, and continued to try to understand how to balance doing enough with too much. I learned that no matter how wonderful you are, if a man isn’t on the same wavelength as you, he won’t come around to you. I learned that I bathe in self loathing and blame when rejected, and that destroys my soul. And so I learned to reframe the self loathing a tad more so as to protect my soul from that damage. I learned that I am jealous that I have friends who can easily make men love them, and seem to find beautiful men who are interested, even if short lived or forever. I learned that I hate being jealous, but it is hard. I am not sure if I am anyone’s cup of tea to be perfectly honest, and I also realize my standards are high. I realized that first dates are exhausting and to trust my instincts more, because my intuition is hella good.

3) I learned about loneliness – again. Living in NYC has been one of the most thrilling and loneliest adventures of my life. I’m perfectly comfortable being alone, eating alone, exploring; I actually quite enjoy it! But I’ve missed true and deep human connection, which in all of my travels, I’ve never seemed to lack in. But in NYC, connections seem fleeting, sometimes superficial, and often non existent. I am not used to not having close friends and coworkers around. I have learned or perhaps, deepened, my understanding that introversion has nothing to do with not wanting real relationships and connections, but instead means that in order to effectively reach my full potential and happiness, I must engage in meaningful relationships. I am still really not sure how to do this in a city like NYC, but I’m working on it.

4) I learned a lesson that constantly replays in my head. I am not perfect, can’t be perfect, never been perfect, and shouldn’t be perfect. This lesson is one that I’m always in a constant state of learning. I saw a beautiful quote that said “self care is… learning to forgive yourself for not measuring up to your impossible and damaging standards of perfection.” This is totally something I need to master in 2018. Expecting perfection in work, dealing with my emotions, my body, my health, as a daughter, friend, sister, relationships, and mentor is literally the most insane and hurtful thing I can ask of myself. I am literally asking myself to live in a constant state of shame and depression. I am torturing me. So now that I have learned that, the hard part is learning to extending grace to myself.

5) You get older. The years fly by. You develop aches and pains, your genetic lot of diseases, you have to eat better, move, manage past trauma, parent your parents, pay bills, plan for the future, hangovers get worse, and learn to live with it all. You also get wiser, more confident, develop more fuck it in your system, drink better wine, become more patient, and your sex drive and game gets stronger. Getting older is a blessing and privilege, not extended to all.

6) My siblings are amazing. I know this isn’t true for everyone, but I’m so blessed. I learned to lean on them more. So happy to bring in 2018 with them.

7) I am really, really, really angry. Maybe I’ll write a post about that one day. But I learned I have a lot of pent up rage in my body and mind. I am afraid to express it because it is so strong. I’m hoping 2018 will help me express and manage that.

8) You can be loving your job and career in one second, and the next, be in a state of exploration, trying to figure out what is next? I also learned that my worth is very much tied up in my professional success. I often feel that is all I am good at, and when that part of my life isn’t fulfilled, I feel like a failure. I have spent a lot of 2017 feeling like a failure. But along with that lesson, I learned, you can always make another decision to transform your professional life (or any life). And people will judge you, and that has nothing to do with you.

9) I learned to turn off the news and social media. That there are people who hate me because of my skin and gender, but I cannot indulge in that all the time, as it will kill me. That the world is scary and heartless, but I don’t have to be. And that to be black (woman) and conscious in America is truly being in a constant state of rage, but I have to learn to take care of myself if I want to help others.

10) I only have so much emotional energy to expend. Spend it wisely. Turn off your phone. Spend your time with people who fill your energy account as much as you fill theirs.

11) Despite all my flaws, I’m a badass in my own right. My flaws are not even flaws actually, they are me and what makes me glorious and human.

I plan to to into 2018 with these lessons in mind and do my best to build upon those, while also fully aware that I may have setbacks. But my hope is next year, I can write about a further step I took, a new lesson realized, and a little happier.

May peace and love follow you into 2018.

Happy New Year!!