The Beauty of Being Yourself

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In 2003, I looked in the mirror and realized I didn’t like myself. I had to confront the fact that who I was pretending to be was making others happy but making me feel unhappy. My world was falling apart because I was collapsing on the inside. I had no clue to who I was because I spent too much time running from myself. If you ever felt like this it is time to face the inner turmoil and heal.

As an ex-people pleaser, I realize how saying yes was my favorite addiction. It was hard for me to say no to people because I desired to make other people like me. However, I realize making others happy cost me a peace of mind. It takes courage to step out of the crowd and be different. Our differences are what make us beautiful, flaws, and all.

Here is the link to listen to this episode on The Inspirational Corner Podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WowJvLuKyuI

 

 

Why Being Basic Won’t Do…

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The Corona Virus issue has made us feel so many emotions with the ebb and flow of uncertainty; staying at home has become the new normal. This new normal has caused America to put everything on pause where being still is the cure. Many schools have closed around the world, people are now working from home, and some people no longer have a job. Although it can seem to be an uncomfortable time for the world, confronted with the reality that this is the time to let go of things no longer serve our lives.

In America, we are taught that being busy and living life on auto-pilot is acceptable. We choose to operate in a world encumber with a fast-food mentality, a microwave vision for our lives. The self-quarantine gives everyone a chance to slow down, saunter, and come to a shimmer. We no longer can follow the crowd but is challenged to do something different. I believe in this time of  the shutdown, we will not go back to normal.

This transformation will cause us to become a better version of our self. We can start by self-reflecting in every area of our lives. For me, it has taught me the valuable lesson of living in the present moment.

People’s lives are being transformed because we are now finding our passion, spending time with family, connecting with friends, and doing things we were too busy to do. When the curtain rises off this center stage play we call COVID-19, how will we move forward? Will everyone go back to being “basic” or will we embrace our new normal?

Below are three ways we can release ourselves from the “basic life” to the “extraordinary life.”

1. Write The Vision. While being at home, this is a perfect time to write a plan for yourself to make some changes in your life. (Ex: If you decide to start your business now is the time to create your website, draft a business plan, etc.)

2. Execute. There is no time like the present to start being intention by putting action in your new life. Use this time to start capitalizing on not being at work. (Ex: If you are working from home, let your paycheck build up, so when all this comes to an end, you will have enough saved to live your job.)

3. Live. Before the Corona Virus, many of us were going through the motions of life; however, with the shutdown of social events and going out; we will be more present in our lives. We will have more fun living life versus existing in it.

In the end, I am optimistic the self-quarantine will bring out a better America, where we are healing, there is more joy, peace, kindness & love to spread!

 

Pursuing Your Dream

Pursuing Your Dream

 

How many times have you looked at your life and realize you are not living the life you desire? Did someone tell you that your dream was unattainable? Or did you let society dictate to you what was more important in your life?

When we are children, we believe we can be anything we desire to be in life. No matter how ridiculous our dreams may seem, as a child, we believe in our thoughts. As we shift into the teenage years, we start to let society dictate to us which journey will be profitable. We begin to focus on reality instead of the desire of our dreams.

The child inside of us starts to disappear because reality becomes more important than our childhood dreams. Our lives no longer hold enthusiasm or passion; instead, our adulthood has made us apathetic. We begin to forget about the vision we had to live a life full of wonder, passion, and excitement. Our dreams have become faint whispers needing a fresh breath. What can we do to resuscitate our passion for pursuing our dreams?

  • The first step to pursuing your dream is to reconnect with your childhood dreams. When I was young, I enjoyed writing, and I remember my Uncle Dave would always tell me I was going to be a famous writer. I remember in 2003 while living in Sicily, my love for writing reignited when I read Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman” for open mic night. Four years later, I published my first poetry book. The little girl on the inside of me reconnected back with my lifelong dream to become a writer. It was up to me to answer the call!
  • The second step is to write a list of the the things that stopped you from pursuing your dreams. After you recognize the roadblocks begin to write a list of possibilities of following your dreams. (For example: Roadblock: I stopped pursuing my dream of painting because I didn’t think I was a great artist. Possibility: I can start taking art classes at a local gallery to brush up on my artistic skills.)
  • The last step is to surround yourself around people who are living your dream. When you surround yourself around like-minded people you are building a community of support. When you have a support system it fosters a life filled with enjoyment, creativity and success.

So pursue the life you desire instead of burying your dreams. Dreams are meant to be lived out loud!!!

Be Raw, Be Flawed, Be You!

Be Raw, Be Flawed, Be You!

When you look at a rock you see nothing exciting or beautiful about its features. A rock has no human form, people would consider it to be cold and aloof.  Yet a rock is apart of God’s creation just like a flower. However, we may say that a flower is more beautiful than a rock because of the outside features.

Nonetheless, just like a rock some people are hard on the outside yet beauty lies within. You never know what transpired in their life to make them bitter. Their bitterness is an accessory expressing their hurt.

I remember a period in my life where I accessorize bitterness. My heart was harden by traumatic experiences that happened. I was tired of life disappointing me over and over again. So, I created walls around my heart. I thought if I became emotionally unavailable then I would not get hurt. My elusive behavior kept me from love & fully living.

As I look back on my life I realize I was who I needed to be at that time. I understand that regretting who I was in the past does not serve me. I was raw, flawed and me. Those who saw me as a mess didn’t understand I was a rough draft. My blueprint of greatness was still pending.

Many times we judge ourselves for the raw version of who we are instead of being gentle with ourselves. When you are raw it forces you to be real; unrefined and unpolished. For instance, when a new singer produce their first album it is appealing because their vocals are unfiltered. Once they become commercialized they lose their authenticity; the record label want them to go with an image or sound that sells records versus talent. Growth is a beautiful thing but I never want to lose the thing that makes me relatable.

So, I urge you to be raw, be flawed & be you even if it is ugly right now. Don’t regret the rough draft you are at this moment. As you pursue a better version of yourself you will begin to peel back the blueprint so people can see you….the masterpiece!

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The End of An Era……

The End of An Era

Wow, I can’t believe next week Sunday is my birthday. My 30’s journey has been a beautiful evolution of “self”. I have been able to spend the years of my thirties facing issues of my past, closing the door to my past, making intentional changes to my life and most of all becoming the woman I desire to be.

As a single mom I have endured many hardships and personal setbacks but my 30’s have been my years of reflection, refreshing, starting over again and creating the life I desire.

I have become comfortable in my own skin. I love the woman I have evolved into at this point in my life. However, I know the journey is a continuous process. I am excited about my future ahead.

Since, I am commemorating the last year of my 30’s, I am sharing 39 lessons with you I learned during my 30’s journey.

Here are the 39 lessons I learned in my 30’s:
1. Confidence. Confidence is something that starts within & it is something you work on everyday.
2. No validation needed. You are grown,stop asking for permission.
3. No is a complete sentence. Stop explaining yourself.
4. Mind your own business. It never matters what others are doing. Stay focused on your life.
5. No deprivation. Stop depriving yourself of the things you love & desire.
6. Know Your Worth. You have to know your worth to know what you deserve then you will stop giving discounts to people who undermine your quality.
7. Self-care is important. Self-care is about preservation. You have to put it into practice for all areas of your life (mental, emotional, financial, physical & spiritual).
8. Trust God. 
9. Get out your own way.
10. Ask for help.
11. Be gentle with yourself you are doing the best you can.
12. Stop procrastinating.
13. Do it afraid.
14. Get out your comfort zone.
15. Be your own best friend.
16. Speak up. You have a voice use it.
17. Stop chasing. You don’t have to chase a man, friends, people or dreams. All the things meant for you will come at the right time.
18. Travel somewhere new. 
19. Date yourself.
20. Believe in yourself.
21. Do what is best for you.
22. Be unapologetic about your greatness.
22. Set boundaries.
23. Spend time with those that celebrate you not tolerate you.
24. Celebrate yourself.
25. Be patience.
26. Saunter through life.
27. Let things flow.
28. Detach yourself from the outcome.
29. Stop the comparison. When you learn to value your life you will feel no need to compare your life to others.
30. Have faith.
31. Smile often, Laugh more.
32. Have fun. Include more bliss, pleasure & enjoyment in your life.
33. Be ok with not being ok.
34. Be vulnerable.
35. Live life. Don’t just exist live your life alive.
36. Reinvent yourself.
37. Reflect.
38. Pursue your dreams. No matter how old you are you can always pursue the things you desire.
39. Be limitless. Don’t put limitations on your life.

A Seat At The Table…

Table

In a world full of people pleasers it is refreshing to be yourself. When you choose to be yourself magic happens in your life. You no longer settle for mediocrity but you embrace the extraordinary. It will ignite a spark in you to do life in a different way.

Fireworks are created when you no longer follow the crowd but decide to become the life of your own party. When you choose to walk in your power everyone will not accept you. However, learning to be you bravely takes courage.

In this journey you will understand that everyone will not get an invitation to the party of your life. The people you use to entertain will no longer get a seat to the table. You will  gravitate towards people who empower, inspire and encourage you. They will be the ones who become your tribe because you deserve a life filled with those celebrating your existence.

So, today I encourage you to reevaluate the people you have seating at the table of your life. Ask yourself this, “Is this person celebrating me or tolerating me?” You deserve the support, love and joy you give freely to everyone else.

 

Would love to hear your thoughts so chime in below!

 

Be Uncommon

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When you find out who you are you stop running. All the illusions you once believed about yourself begin to fade away. You realize chasing others for external validation was never needed because you found out the truth. The truth was that you were always amazing.

When you are introduced to the real you then your life will change. How do I know?Well, it took me 37 years to find the real me beyond the layers of inadequacy. I spent seven years going through my “authentic journey”. To be honest, the journey has just begun. 

All those years in my life where I felt inadequate and wanted to fit in, I never realized it was never meant for me to fit in. Freedom came when I let go of the stigma of pleasing others & embraced loving myself. I believe when people truly start being themselves then we would have a world full of originals  instead of copycats.

So, today I challenge you to embrace the passionate, weird, quirky and funloving you. Because you my friend need to be the original AMAZING masterpiece you were created to be!

 

Lose To Win!

On April 9th, 2016 at 10:00am in the morning I was sleeping comfortably until I got a message from my family that altered my world……

On April 9th, 2016 I was confronted with reality when my oldest brother called to tell me about our dad. He spoke in a shaky tone telling me my beloved father was pronounced dead that morning at the hospital. My whole body went numb after hearing this news and I screamed throughout my house. This could not be real for me to fathom, I no longer would be able to see my dad or hear his voice. In some crazy way I thought is was surreal like a dream but, it was not a dream. It was an unexpected nightmare that now haunts me.

My mom was distraught, the man she was married to 42 years was now gone. I grieved for her and my entire family. The only question I wanted to ask myself was “how were we going to move on from this trauma ?”. My brothers and I all shared a special bond with my father; he was truly the King of his castle. He taught us how to love unconditionally, live unapologetically and most of all how to have a relationship with the Lord.

The wound is fresh, the tears are new and the pain is relevant in our lives. However, through this abrupt interruption of my dad’s departure we continue to carry on his legacy. Losing someone that you love is never easy but bittersweet. Yes, spiritually we know he is with God but we will always miss his physical absence…. his smile, laughter and joy it brought to our lives. After losing my youngest daughter nine years ago and now my dad it has taught me how precious life is now. I am no longer waiting on a special moment to do what I desire or live the life I want. Now, I have an urgency to live life to the fullest, experience every great undertaking and live it on my own terms.

The greatest things that I have won due to my loss of loved ones are courage to live my life on my own terms, do what is best for me, letting go of the need for permission and understanding I do not need validation to be who I am.

In some strange way I feel like this has helped me involve into a better version of me, living life unapologetically!

Picture Reference: Pinterest www.stevemaraboli.com 

Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number!


Age is not a deadline it is the beginning of a new era! ~Stylicia~

It is funny how we live in a world that gives us a particular age limit to have kids, get married and all the other superfluous stuff. However, I believe putting limits on yourself due to your age can literally handicap your future. I do understand age is important when it comes to the regular things such as driving, drinking and understanding the fundamentals of life. However, we should not put an age on our dreams, success or living the life we desire.

I remember when I told God if I am not married and have another child by 35 then it was a wrap for me. Now at 36 going on 37 I laugh at my ultimatum that I gave God. I realize there is beauty in embracing every stage of your life at every age. I am not married at this point in my life and I definitely don’t desire another child. I never knew that my 30’s was a time for me to explore my authenticity, heal from my past and embrace newness. We live in a society that can sometimes be caught up in the numbers but as we progress America is realizing age is simply a number!

After 36 years of living I realize I can be who I want to be and I can do what I want to do at any age. The only thing that will limit me is my mindset. You can get married at 50, have kids at 42 or go back to school at 60. Age is not the determining factor in your life from succeeding…..your mindset is! When you put a deadline on how much you can accomplish due to your age then you limit your potential. We all have the potential to be great but some of us choose to wait until a certain time to achieve the things we want to do.

Have you ever thought about retiring at 30, 40 or even 50, if so what is stopping you? Absolutely nothing! It is time to get rid of the deadline in your head and start living again, start dreaming and pursuing the life you desire. Yes, it’s true with age comes responsibility and wisdom but also with age comes grace to appreciate life a lot more. I can attest to this because the older I get the more I appreciate life and all it has to offer. If you started to put deadlines in your head I want you to take a step back and erase those pesky things. Watch and see how amazing your life can be if you start to embrace the moment at any age because in reality age ain’t nothing but a number!

Beauty Has No Face!

In a society where we place a shape, color, size, and name to beauty it has distorted the self-esteem of many women in the world. As I become more of an ambassador for my own personal beauty I realize beauty does not have a specific appearance. Beauty has to be defined on our own terms not by the majority in America. When I think of beauty I began to think of the eclectic style of Erkyah Badu, Solange Knowles and Rihanna . These women have set their own standard of what beauty feels like and look like to them. It feels amazing to go through a journey to find what fits me as a woman because in this journey I am finding my beauty. Many African American girls struggle with the idea that their dark skin, dark hair is not beautiful because they are faced with the idea that pale skin and blue eyes are the ideal beauty. White women struggle with the illusion of being curvy is considered to be fat when curves are the epitome of womanhood, the gratitude of beauty.

Beauty has no name, shape, size, color or texture however it is the hidden secret of what a woman holds inside. When we can tap into our own inner beauty then we can unlock a glow that can radiant externally. I look at women such as Lupita Nygon’o who has been such an inspiration for women of color because she has broken the barriers of what beauty could be if we look beyond the surface. We are raised in a society where it is encouraged to change the way we look to be accepted by the world but God created us in his image; perfect. In the May issue of Essence Magazine Solange Knowles stated, “As women we have the choice of how we want to look and how we want to feel and that’s the beauty of being a woman.” We should not allow society to have a voice on how we look, feel or define our beauty. Many women deal with low self-esteem because what they see in magazines. However, Beyonce Knowles song Pretty Hurts discuss the standards society places on our beauty but we have to be willing to understand beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. It is time for us to look in the mirror and remove the mask of the wrong self-image of who we are to kindly replace it with an image of how we define beauty. Beauty has no face it is truly established by what we say, see and speak about ourselves. Let us strive to replace our negative views with positive affirmations of our own personal beauty because in the end beauty truly has no face!

Reference:

Essence Magazine May Issue
Picture reference: www.searchquotes.com