Posted in self care

Who Are You?!

SPOILER ALERT! If you watch “This Is Us” and you are not caught up on all episodes, STOP right here. There will definitely be a few revealing things referenced here. Let’s get into this. In the last few episodes before break we see Beth and Randall in their relationship, we get how they met, how life has been since they met and then up to this point with all the arguing they have been doing recently. This note right here is about our BFF Beth and how she has compromised her entire relationship with Randall and she is finally all out of compromise. In a heated argument she says they have been having the same argument their entire relationship and she chose to be the bigger person and cater to him. WOW, can you image always being the person to give in, to never really feel heard but to keep the peace you just go with the flow. I know too many women who feel this way. We tend to just want to make everything great for everyone else and we never consider how that will make us feel. Then one day like lava building in a volcano we explode and whoever is in the area of that flame better just watch out. How dare they not realize all the sacrifices we have made for them, canceled plans, missed out wine time, hair that looks crazy, but at least little Johnny had cupcakes for his class that he told me about at midnight. We can be real life super heroes sometimes. As I watch Beth have her moment I realize there is someone to blame and it’s not Randall or the kids, or all of the other people she put before herself, the only person to blame is Beth. So guess who I’m going to blame for your identity crisis???? You got it, YOU!

Don’t roll your eyes sista! Come on in the upper room, grab your tea cup and allow me to pour. Have you ever just looked at yourself in the mirror and described who you are? Not just the wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, co-worker, but who you really are. We get so caught up in the role we play in other people’s lives we tend to forget to show up in our own. We tell ourselves that someday we will but someday never manages to come and then like Beth one day we just cut loose like a tornado destroying whatever is in it’s path. We feel justified in letting loose because we held back so long, this moment was inevitable, right?! Wrong! We owe it to ourselves to be true to who we are, we owe it to ourselves to demand time for ourselves, we owe it to ourselves to heal, to laugh, to say no, and to just be. We forget that we have to show up for us! Instead of doing that we play roles in the lives of those around us and I’m sure sometimes it’s roles we are happy to play. When we overextend ourselves and we cater to others needs without thinking about how it will impact who we are, we lose ourselves. This right here is the greatest form of Identity Theft!

Guess what? You can reclaim who you are. You may have lost your way from you for a moment, but you have the road map back to who you were or who you want to become. It always amazes me that I can carry the tools to make Nanekia the best version of herself. It is my divine destiny to walk this life fulfilling my purpose and you are to do the same! We don’t have to keep playing roles we don’t want to play. We can rewrite the script and allow for us to lovingly, actively pursue our greatest purpose. Right now look in the mirror and say I’m coming for you, I’m claiming joy in your life, I love you! Now, I’ll be honest when you start to show up for you some people will get mad, they will not be use to this new found love you have for you, they won’t recognize you. That’s okay because you may not recognize you but you will learn and so will they.

How do we cope with identity theft? Well, just like the bank tells us, stop access to all of your funds, stop all the access to you. Do not give yourself so freely to others if you cannot afford too. If you cannot afford to put energy or effort into a situation then don’t. Now I can hear some mom or wife, “my family comes first”…I get that, but if you are not right with you how will you be of any service to them. Think about if you have ever flown what does the safety video tell you?! I’ll wait…SECURE YOURSELF FIRST! There is a reason for this, if you try to help someone else first and they don’t know how to help you, you risk losing consciousness and not being secured at all. If you take the time to secure you first you can help those around you and who knows the number of lives you might save. Secondly determine what you do and don’t like. Personally I’ve spent enough time doing things I did not enjoy for people all because I wanted to be considered loyal, a good person, worthy of them. Listen (read) carefully, you are worthy even if they never acknowledge your worthiness. You do not have to live a joyless life, in joyless moments. Be honest with your people, I don’t like baseball honey, I like spending time with you but I hate baseball, Johnny you should have told Mommy you needed cupcakes earlier, it’s midnight and the stores are closed, I would love to babysit for you, but this is my only day off and I need to be with me. You not only teach people how to treat you, but you teach yourself how to treat you. Know your worth and don’t be afraid to flex it!

Do you feel like you have lost yourself? Do you feel like life is overwhelming and you may never figure out who you are? My friend I bring you good news, you can begin right now with the decision you make for yourself today to reclaim who you are! You have the power to tell a different story where we see you happy and healthy loving you and those around you. Reclaiming your identity starts with you! How are you going to do it?

If you’d like to hear more on this topic tune in to the Just One Hot Mom Maternal Self-Care podcast, “Identity Thief” Episode 3. Don’t forget to Like, Share, & Subscribe!

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Posted in parenting, women

Colorism?!

colorism blog postIn last week’s episode of Black-ish (Season 5, Episode 10) The Johnson family was faced with what many families of color are faced with, the topic of colorism. What is colorism you might asked, well it is defined as prejudice or discrimination against individuals with darker skin tone, typically among people of the same ethic or racial group (dictionary.com). Now you may wonder how can people of the same race be prejudice against each other, but trust it happens especially in African-American families where there can be a variety of shades, light, brown, honey, caramel, dark, black people come in all colors. While we are told to be proud of our brown skin we are the very same people who will tease, bully, harass each other about being too dark, too light. It’s a sad but true fact we can hate each other all because of the color of our skin, the thing that we fight against in so many other arenas we fight with each other with as well. Go on over to ABC.com and check out Black-ish which airs Tuesdays at 9pm, especially this most recent episode if you’d like to delve into the topic on colorism.

Recently in our home we had the topic of colorism come up, which makes the timing of this episode extra special. As with every night before bed I apply my facial cream to remove the residue of the day. As I was standing in the mirror Anissa asked if she could apply some. I explained to her that this was for mommy to remove her makeup and that her skin was gorgeous and she didn’t need the extra, I saw the disappointed look on her face and inquired as to why she looked sad. She explained to me that my cream was making my skin lighter and prettier and that her darker skin didn’t look like mine. GASP! Anissa is 6 years old and I never thought that one she didn’t think her skin was pretty (we always talk about how beautifully black girl magic she is) and I never thought that she thought I was trying to lighten my skin. Just to give you some background I am the lightest skinned member of the household, I just dyed my hair black and I get extremely pale in the winter, which attributes to my lighter tone. I get teased about this all the time, how can I go from tanned to light bright. It never really bothered me because I’m comfortable in my skin no matter what color it turns. But in this moment I felt uncomfortable, I would have given anything to have a tan and stand with Anissa in her honey glow. I explained to my sweet face girl that I was washing my face not getting lighter and that she was gorgeous that her tanned skin was something other people would pay for, then I showed her pictures of me in the summer (optimal tan) and then we looked at me in the mirror now. We both agree that I need a tan and then we pointed out the beautiful things we notice about each other.

In that moment I thought about other little girls and boys and the questions they might have about their skin color, about them being teased, and about them feeling uncomfortable in their own skin. How do we as a community address this issue? Why do we discriminate against each other? How can everyone begin to love the skin they’re in?

Well here are some tips (simple but it’s a start)

  1. As a family stop bullying, teasing, joking about skin tone. Although it may seem like it’s all fun and games we don’t know the real seed that’s being planted for someone to learn to not love themselves. As long as we allow this to go on we nurture the seed that allows some one to think one shade of skin is better than the other.
  2. When children have questions about skin tone and why they look different don’t brush it off, ADDRESS IT. We have got to start having conversations that teach our children to love themselves, this is a lesson that we should all want them to learn at home and not out in the world. If we start the conversations in our homes, then we at least give them the tools and preparation to handle these conversations out side of out homes.
  3. This is a big one for me so agree or disagree, but children should have toys in all shades, this more so falls in the category of baby dolls. Anissa has dolls of all shades and they are all beautiful to her. We as families have to set our own beauty standards and teach our children to do the same.

The tips I gave are something you can do right now to help your children learn to appreciate who they are. Whether you are black, white, yellow, brown, or purple, you are beautiful. Embrace that beauty, appreciate the beauty, then get to the business of letting the world see you walk in that beauty.

How will you handle the topic of colorism if it comes up in your home? Don’t wait start the conversation today.

To hear more about this topic tune into Episode 3 of The Parental Guidance Counselor Podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe.

Posted in parenting

Positioning Yourself To Win!!!

positioning yourself to winIt’s the start of a new year!!! Every year we make promises to ourselves to do better, to live our best lives, to prosper more this year then last year.  We are hot and heavy for the first few months and then BOOM, something happens and we get less and less enthusiastic about accomplishing our goals. Why? Why can’t we keep winning all year-long? I’ve discovered the answer to this question. We don’t take the time to position ourselves to win. We have the vision board, we have the calendar, we have the map yet, we forget how to implement the tasks to keep pushing forward. So, how can you keep winning. Check out the steps below:

  1. Preparation is key! What are you trying to accomplish? Setting clear goals for what you want to do may seem easy to do. How you prepare to reach those goals is what will make the difference. Each goal requires a different plan, mapping out these individual plans will help you maximize your vision. You must first set the goal, then create the plan. With plan creation you must list out the step-by-step process, this will keep you on track and hold you accountable.
  2. Do the work! Of course when someone else is doing it, it looks easy, but honestly you don’t know that it’s easy for them. Focus on what you are accomplishing and set your mind to doing the work to achieve your goals. Nothing happens by chance, putting in the work to be successful is a major key in positioning yourself to win.
  3. Realize Rome wasn’t built in a day. Timing is everything. Most of us need to realize that our timeline is very different from those around us. Instant success is very rare! Making it a priority to realize that it may take time to achieve your ultimate goal will help you be successful. Think of your vision like giving birth to a baby (it really is) it takes time for the baby to form, to make connections, to come to the age where the baby is ready for birth, and then once the baby is born there is still more work to do. While you may accomplish one part of the goal there is still time needed to be put into nurturing that goal. All of this takes time. When you come to grips that everything may not happen instantaneously, you will learn how to best utilize your time.
  4. Create time & space. You need to stay focused, but how can you, there’s laundry, school projects, dinner to be made, babies to be changed, date nights, the list can go on and on. In order to win you must create a space where you can focus on accomplishing your goals. Whether at home, the library, coffee-house, the park, wherever you need to go to have a space to concentrate you need to make getting there a priority. Once you find the space dedicate time to working in that space on your goal. This is where preparation plays a major role. If you are prepared with the steps you want to complete in the time-frame allotted you are paving the way to achieve that goal.
  5. Connect with like-minded people. One of the things that stumps us in the winning process is getting stuck. So many ideas, maybe no ideas, we tend to get stuck and stay there because we can’t figure a way out. Having people who are going through goal achieving processes as well will help you. They have been where you are and may be there now, encourage each other to keep going, take breaks and enjoy life with each other. You need to find your tribe, people you can call on in those moments you want to give up. This group may be different from the friends you have had for years, the purpose of this tribe is to keep you focused on accomplishing your goals. (Guess what? It’s okay to have multiple tribes)
  6. Start & then start again! The first step in winning is getting started. You have the vision, you have the plan, now let’s do something with it. Most have no problem getting started, it’s when life happens and we get thrown a curve ball that derails our plans we STOP! Guess what winning requires you to know you may have to restart the plan at some point. You are not a failure if you have to restart, you only fail when you quit. How many times you restart is based on you. I will say this if you are restarting in the same area each time re-evaluate your plan and see where you need to implement change.

Hotties we can be winners all year-long as long as we determine we want to win. It’s up to you, you have the power, now use that power to start WINNING today!

How do you document your goals? What advice would you give to someone who’s stuck? Let’s help each other keep winning!

Posted in parenting

Our Adventure In CANDY LAND!!!

Hey Hotties! Last Saturday Anissa and I took a little Christmas journey to Candy Land at the Penitentiary Glen Reservation. Growing up Candy Land was one of my favorite games. The colors and different characters allow you to transform into a world of gumdrops, lollipops, and dreams. I don’t know who was more excited to go on this adventure myself or Anissa. After about a 30 minute drive where my partner in crime fell asleep we arrive to the magic…

blog 12.3We were greeted by forest rangers who gave us our magical game box. Inside the box were cards just like the game with each flip of a card we were told which space to go to next. We enter the gates of Candy Land and there we find Christmas replication of one of my favorite childhood board games. Anissa is ready to play, I on the other hand want to take in the life-size model of the game. Instead I play, we flip a card and find our square, we continue to flip and find our next move until we reach the end of the game. But guess what, that wasn’t the end for us because we played 6 more times. It was great seeing my little lady enjoy the game as much as I did as a kid. Once we tired of hopping squares we turned in our magic box for our next adventure.

blog 12.3-1At the ranger station we were given a clipboard and clues. Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt. We were gifted with two scavenger hunts one for outside and one for inside. As we explore the inside fo the building we begin to notice things we hadn’t before. Each clue gave us access to another room/exhibit that we were seeing with new eyes for the first time. With our explorer hats on we touched and read about the animals there and the history of the center. We had an amazing time and learned so much. We started to head outside and then found a craft center. We Hotties love crafts so we enter. We were given the choice to either make a S’mores Bunny or Turtle. What?! We get our craft bag and inside we have materials we need to use to create this ornament. What a great time we had.

To go outside or not to, that is the question. As we put our coats on for the outdoor scavenger hunt it begins to rain. A little rain won’t hurt us, but as Anissa pointed out no one was looking forward to wash day (our hair) so we opted to stay in and grab a snack. We ventured into the gift shop where we found great treats, educational materials and a few furry friends. We decided ice cream treats for the day and a new snake to take home and prank Jamiel.

If you are interested in going on the Candy Land goes Wild adventure click here and take your own journey. What are you all doing to celebrate the holiday season and create new traditions?    blog 12.3-2

Posted in black women, health, women

Being Nanekia…GirlTrek A Walk To Self Discovery!

nik girl trekA little over a week ago thanks to #BlackGirlsInCle I had the opportunity to attend Girl Trek Cleveland Edition. I was excited 1. to find out more about Girl Trek, 2. To get out of the house on a Friday night for a little me time. Go on over and read my review of the event on www.blackgirlincle.com. The space, the vibe, the sisterhood was overwhelming and as with each experience I get to learn more about myself. So what did I learn this time around…Keep reading!

I’ve been living this outside my comfort zone lifestyle for a while. I’ve been many places alone, which no longer bothers me, this experience was different, it took me to a new level of being uncomfortable and I was completely there for it. I’ve had to do a lot of self reflecting and soul-searching lately, this was a decision I did not take lightly as in order for me to become better, to be available to encourage others to be their best selves, in order to live by example, I can’t be bullsh*tting myself. If there was any of that left, the #girltrek experience pulled it all out.

  1. All the ladies in the room were told to stand silently against the wall and leave all judgements including judging ourselves outside the room, there were a lot of ladies but we manage to do it. Then we were told to really think about ourselves and be honest with the answers we were giving. Step forward if you have improved your healthy living lifestyle, step forward if you have left an abusive relationship, step back if you remain in an abusive relationship, this went on with multiple questions until we were uneven. As I gazed around the room I saw women who were just like me, standing on my own in life figuring things out. I’d experienced some gains and losses and I wasn’t alone.
  2. As we remain in silence we were brought to a circle to do a rhythmic dance exercise. Honestly I had no clue what we were about to do, but the spirit in the room was refreshing and inviting. There were so many melanated faces in the room as we looked at each other the music began. First there was a slow beat, which we swayed to, then the build up and as the music began to heighten we were instructed to dig, scooping low (floor) then releasing at the top (above our head) as we scooped the sound was one of great pain from each person, but then the release was a roar, like we had found freedom and we needed everyone to know. The more we scooped the greater the release until you could feel the humming in the room get louder and louder with every release. Not sure if my description is giving you the full picture, but imagine being weighted down and you feel like you can’t get up, but then you manage to get up and now you can’t even feel the weight of what you were carrying. I felt all the pressure of that day being removed from me, the issues with co-workers, kids not cleaning up, missing date night, loss of friendships, too many meetings, goals not reached, the weight of all the issues I’d been having I could no longer feel. What did I feel? I felt my sisters carrying me, I felt with each hum of their voices they were helping me release. This was magical because let me tell you, a girl was extremely tired of carrying that weight!
  3. The Wonder Stories of Wonder Women! This part of the evening was amazing. You all know I like a good story and these were stories of women right here in my community, sharing defeat and triumph. With each shared story I felt closer to these women I did not know. We experienced joy, pain, laughter, anger, so many emotions and so many divine connections made. Once the stories were over we were told to grab a sister, hold her hands and look her directly in her eyes. No smiling, just studying her face and seeing her story in her eyes. Have you actually ever looked at another woman? Not her outfit, make-up, shoes (we know I love shoes), not her smile, but what’s in her eyes. Staring into this strangers eyes I began to notice things I hadn’t about her and we had been sitting next to each other for at least 2 hours. If you are so inclined really look at someone, and you will see their story. This was magical for me and I’m not going to lie the tears began to flow, because I knew my story, that behind my smile, behind the jokes, I was crying my eyes out tired and I didn’t see rest in site. That sister hugged me so tight I felt my body go limp and finally rest!
  4. Finally we get to the walking part, LOL! I mean all this emotional stuff and now you want me to walk. If you read my #blackgirlincle article then you know that 137 black women are dying each day due to preventable diseases. For me personally I know stress correlates directly to some of my health issues. Being able to relieve some of that stress and set myself free was amazing. So what does walking have to do with this? It’s a form of self-care we should start taking advantage of. When I’m angry, take a walk, when I’m sad, try taking a walk, when I’m happy take advantage of that boost and take a walk. Our ancestors found freedom in walking and you can find it too just take your first steps.

Girl Trek is on a mission to get a million African-American women to join the movement by 2020, I’m one of those women! My road to travel in getting me together started when I decided to take that single step, to live a life that defines me and no one else. What will your walk look like? Will you join us?
onika jervisOnika Jervis, Chief Engagement Officer. Girl Trek

Veronica VeryVeronica Very, President & Founder, Wonder of Women

Morgan DixonMorgan Dixon, Founder & CEO, Girl Trek