Let’s Check-in:

As I was brainstorming what to write about this week, Courtney B. asked me two questions, 

“Where are you right now, as in mentally?”

-and- 

“What is something you’ve been thinking about often?”

So, here’s my response: 

I am actually in a great place right now. I’m surprisingly happy, excited and feeling empowered/motivated…mostly, but there’s the occasional anxiety, stress, and fear. However, the other emotions overpower the negative ones.

I say “surprisingly” because there are so many things going on in the world that are out of my control. However, I’ve decided to focus on the things that are in my control, and I just roll with the punches on anything else that comes my way. I’ve been working on not overthinking or stressing, and just living in every moment as it is. Nothing more, nothing less. That has given me a sense of peace. I am content. 

I’ve also found myself grateful for the small things more. 

Like a sushi date with my boyfriend on the back of his truck. 

Like being able to work outside while the sun is shining and  

Like being able to drive to my moms house whenever I want to (I haven’t lived this close to home since I graduated high school). 

But I’m also grateful for the bigger things that I took for granted before 

Like being able to pay all of my bills on-time 

Like being in good health 

Like having a strong support system. 

To the second question, I have been thinking about MANY THINGS! I’m thinking about new passion projects that I am very very excited to share with you all. I am thinking about ways to empower others and support our community, which is partially being done by showcasing and supporting black businesses on this blog and in real life.

Although we are in a very uncertain time, I am very excited for my future. I’m excited to see what’s to come for me, my family, my friends, and my community. I’m excited to see how far we’ll go. 

Because of this extremely determined state that I am in, I am the hardest on myself right now, so some days I have to give myself gratitude. You shouldn’t wait for praise from others. Give yourself the credit that you deserve. Pour all of the energy and love you give to others, into yourself sometimes, because you deserve it. 

Lastly, be kind to yourself. Something that I have been learning to be okay with is imperfection. If you are “perfect” at everything, you have no room to grow. There is no up from there. You have nothing to look forward to. Also, some days you are going to be at 100%, you are going to feel motivated, determined, and happy. But some days you are going to feel lazy, unproductive, and you’re just going to want to sit on the couch, watch movies, and eat pizza; and that is okay too. Self-care days and moments that you are working at a slow pace, are not signs of defeat. They are necessary in order to work at the speed you work at every other day of the month. 

Just don’t let those days keep you down. If you have 2 days this month where you’re “not-so-productive”, guess what? You have 28-29 more days to be on your sh** and that my friend is a win. You should feel proud of that. How much has that improved from last month? From the last six months? From the last year? Recognize that progression and applaud yourself for that. Keep growing, you are doing amazing! 

My two goals/self-care practices this month are: 

#2 : To read 30 minutes everyday for my pleasure. Right now, I am reading “We’re Going to Need More Wine” by Gabrielle Union. It is best paired with a glass of wine and a burning candle. I will be reading “Becoming” by Michelle Obama next month. I was also gifted her “guided journal for discovering your voice,” that I am very excited to start working in.

#2 : Complete the Toffi (I’ll explain more about what Toffi is in a later post) July 30 mile challenge. I was challenged by a friend to run a total of 30 miles this month. It is definitely holding me accountable. 

“Where are you right now, as in mentally?” and what are your July goals? Let me know in the comments!!

LIVE.LAUGH.LOVE yourself first. Until next time. Mwauh 💋 -Alex

This is America

This past week has been emotionally and mentally draining. I keep saying that it’s super crazy and weird that I’m here to see what’s going on in the world at this moment.

As we know, George Floyd died at the hands of the police on May 25, 2020. We saw what this man went through on camera like many other black men who have been killed by cops. Just like so many other videos I’ve seen on social media, it really enraged me to see that this shit is still … STILL  going on today !

I want to say t0 every black man in my life right now, I love you. It hurts my heart to think, well to know that my brother, my cousins, and my black male friends, who are my brothers as well, can easily be killed for no reason at all. They could literally be cooperating with police or just standing there and the police officer could just kill them instantly (without a care)…that there- doesn’t sit right with me. This is America.

This is America…and just how our black men matter…our black women matter…our black kids matter…So many women have been killed by horrible police that are still free.

Sandra Bland (July 13, 2015; TX)

Korryn Gaines (August 1, 2016; MD)

Deborah Danner (October 18, 2016; NY)

Pamela Turner (May 13, 2019; TX)

Emerald Black’s unborn child (June 2019; CA)

Breonna Taylor (March 13, 2020; KY)

Epa is an Adinkra symbol (handcuffs) for slavery, equality law and justice.

We have to come together and keep fighting for equality. BLACK LIVES DO MATTER. No JUSTICE ? No Peace. No JUSTICE? No SLEEP.

Black man.. Black woman.. be strong and keep the prayers high at all times. It could easily be you or a loved one.

I love you all.

Chavon🖤✊🏾

Constructive or Destructive?

“This friendship is beginning to have an impact on my mental wellbeing, but that’s how true friendship is supposed to feel sometimes, right?”

“I feel negative energy around my friends and I am beginning to mimic their negative traits, but I can’t stop hanging out with them because we’ve been friends for so long.” 

“I am putting so much into ensuring that we maintain our relationship, but that same energy is not being reciprocated. Oh well, they are family and family is allowed to hurt me as many times as they want and still be forgiven.” 

“I can’t see myself marrying this person, but nobody else is going to put up with me?” 

“I have not been happy in this relationship for a while and my partner does not give me the love that I deserve, but I don’t want to start the dating process over again. I should just stick with it, right?”

 If you’ve ever had thoughts similar to these, chances are you’re in an unhealthy relationship.

Before we get started, I want to preface this post by stating that how I navigate, and my perceptions of healthy and unhealthy relationships are based on my personal experiences, and what has provided me the peace I need. This advice and perspective can be utilized when navigating many types of relationships, such as significant others, friends, family, and even friends you consider family. For the sake of time though, I would like to mainly focus on romantic relationships because I have a lot to say. So, let’s get into it. 

Romantic Relationships 

I would say this is probably the hardest relationship to navigate due to you basically having to “interview” various people throughout your life, for one, hopefully long-term, role. Yes, when I say interview, I mean dating. Once official, and sometimes before then, it starts with the honeymoon stage…I know yall have heard of this. It’s when everything in the relationship seems to be perfect, including your partner. There are minimal arguments and it seems like they have everything you have ever wanted in a person. Unfortunately, this is when red flags tend to be overlooked. This is when you only compare them to your Ex, and as long as they are an upgrade from that, you’re satisfied. Just because they do one thing that you like that your ex never did (like getting you flowers) doesn’t mean that cancels out all the things that they do that you would have never tolerated before (like being talked down to). You may want to ask yourself a few questions: 

“Am I altering myself to fit into what this person wants me to be?” 

“Am I losing sight of my goals and aspirations to fit into this box in order to not outshine my partner?”

“Am I genuinely happy in this relationship?” 

“Can I see myself married to this person?” (if that is a goal for you)

DO NOT SETTLE and recognize your worth. Evaluate your partner on what they bring to the table rather than the potential of whatever you’ve imagined. I firmly stand behind the saying, “actions speak louder than words.” It’s important to recognize that what you’ve been given, may not be what you deserve. 

However, you may have to re-evaluate your role in the relationship. Are you giving it 100%, or are you just taking from it. If the roles were reversed, are you someone that you would date? In my opinion when relationships do not succeed, it is for one of three reasons, y’all are not compatible, one individual is not ready to be in a committed relationship/commitment levels are not equivalent, or one of the two individuals are not presenting their best selves. If you find yourself questioning if you are at-fault for your failed relationships, you need to spend sometime working on yourself. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but I know for me, I had to spend some much needed time learning and loving myself, as well as improving the “not-so-delightful” qualities that I have developed along the way. 

I am still a work in progress, but let me just tell you from experience, when you present your best self to the world, good things are attracted to you. What you put out is what you receive, and I must be on the right path because I am very blessed.

Another strategy that led me to being in a healthy relationship now is recognizing those red flags and learning from my failed relationships, as well as those that I have observed throughout my life. If you are able to pinpoint things that you know you will not tolerate, qualities that you would like your future husband or wife to embody, and are able to communicate when you feel a relationship is heading in a negative direction, steps could be taken to change that direction or it will allow you to weed out those that don’t deserve you, leading you closer to, or to, your forever partner. I am no relationship expert, but this has seemed to work for me in incredible ways.

Other Relationships

Because of my ability to be able to recognize unhealthy relationships, and the realization that I’m in control of who I allow in my space, I now know and I am able to articulate the things I will not tolerate. I am able to communicate when I feel I am being taken advantage of, whether it be big or small; and I know my worth. I am also able to step away from friendships that are not aiding in my growth, or holding me back. I walk away from relationships that I do not believe are meant for me especially when there is an inequality in the distribution of give and take. However, I communicate my reason prior to that because sometimes communication is just what the relationship needs. Sometimes that leads to a stronger relationship, and sometimes that leads to a permanent removal, but I have become okay with that. I do not settle in any other aspects of my life, so the same remains for relationships. I ensure that I am surrounding myself with positive people for the sake of my mental wellbeing. For the friends that feel like family, I accept them for who they are, but continue to love them from a distance. 

“A healthy relationship doesn’t drag you down. It inspires you to be better”

Mandy Hale

LIVE.LAUGH.LOVE yourself first. Until next time. Mwauh 💋 -Alex