I didn’t know what I wanted the focus to be and I had no guidance. I was a young college student and all I knew was that I wanted to write. I wanted to share stories about myself and give people a glimpse into my view of the world.
Now, if you’re an OG subscriber, you remember the days back when I used to go by “thatwonderwoman”.
Thatwonderwoman.com was a bit all over the place (kinda like I was at the time). There was no direction and no real brand. It was just pure passion.
I changed the name a few years back to shelbohemian.com because I had started building a brand as “shelbohemian” and that was who I wanted to be known as.
That name is me embodied and was well…cute. It is a mixture of my nickname, “Shelbo”, and the word “bohemian” because that is my style.
I was finding my freedom of expression at the time and wanted my website to reflect that. I wanted the blogs to be a little more vulnerable and a little more expressive. I wanted to dig deeper and convey different sides of myself. Shelbohemian.com was about me and my life.
However, I’ve realized that I want to now build a brand about others and not necessarily about myself. I want to still share my stories and my experiences, but I primarily want to hear from YOU now.
I want this to be YOUR website.
As I transition through different phases of my life, I learn a lot more. What I have learned in this phase is that it is far better to serve others than to serve myself. I’ve also realized that it’s better to share experiences amongst one another so we can build a better sense of community.
Bipolarnotbroken.com is a platform for people of color to communicate their feelings about their own mental health and the factors that affect it.
The name “Bipolar Not Broken” was created because of my experience with bipolar disorder. At times I felt lost and lonely as I suffered through manic or depressive episodes and felt like there was nobody that looked like me with whom I could talk.
A mental illness does not mean that you are “damaged” or “broken”. You can still be whole and your story can influence others to feel whole as well.
I will always be Shelbohemian. Same person, different website.
Let’s talk about our trauma and work through it together. Let’s fight like hell to normalize the discussion of mental health with people of color.
I have a bucket list of things I want to do/ try before I…well…kick the bucket.
One of those things on the list was to get a psychic reading and honeeeey…
It was not disappointing.
The readings that I had intertwined with the words of my therapist have brought me to such a peaceful place.
For many years I’ve heard the phrase, “You teach people how to treat you.”
You know how you hear phrases, but you don’t internalize them? That was me with this saying.
It wasn’t until my therapist said this to me and told me that I have taught people that they can mistreat me or use me and I would stick around and take it. She said that since I’ve taught people that I’ll always stick around no matter what, when I stand up for myself, it seems like a betrayal or a way to provoke a negative emotion.
She was right.
I’ve always been a pushover. I know this.
So then it got me thinking about what else I’ve taught people.
Then that got me thinking about what others have taught me about how I CAN treat them.
I used the word “can” instead of “should” because we don’t always treat people the way we should. Myself included.
This sentiment was echoed when I spoke with a psychic.
“I can tell that you are a huge empath. You are always there for people to dump on you. I’m showing that you have even made a career out of it. You allow people to put their dirt on you everyday and you take it without even cleansing yourself of it.”
She was right, too.
Sometimes I have no capacity to hear what others need to discuss, but I am the person that always makes room. I thought it was just being a good friend, but I didn’t realize the damage I was causing myself.
Do we really need to dirty ourselves up to be considered a good friend?
My therapist told me that I need to start telling people when I don’t have the emotional space for their concerns that day.
Have I implemented this yet? Not quite.
Leave me alone. I’m human. lol
But I have at least considered it every time.
The best thing we can do for others before dumping on them is asking, “Hey, do you have space for my issues right now?”
We have to allow people the opportunity to say “no.”
I was also told by the psychic that there may be conflicts in some of my relationships and I am making the right decisions by taking a step back and focusing on me.
She recognized that I had been doubting myself and feeling guilty for actually practicing self-care. She told me to stop caring what others thought.
There were plenty of other things shared, but a lot of it is stuff that I would like to keep personal.
I just say all this to ask you a question…
What have you unknowingly taught others about how they can treat you?
Have you taught them positive things or have you taught them that you can be taken advantage of?
Be mindful. Be kind. Be aware.
P. S. I’m in the midst of working on a new project for people of color that are bipolar. Contact me for more information!
Firstly, there are not enough ways to say “thank you” that could express the gratitude for the love I received after my last post.
I am a pretty private person when it comes to certain things, so you guys will never understand how hard it was to speak up and speak out about the mental “low” I was having.
There are certain things about that time that I still have yet to share with anyone, but even just telling a little of my story has helped. 🙂
I’ve found myself smiling more and laughing more.
I’ve found myself giving myself a little more grace and discovering the real me.
I’ve found myself loving myself just that much harder and being okay with the space that I’m creating.
I’ve found myself.
I may not have had the prettiest journey and I may have had some people choose not to take this ride with me and that’s okay.
Mental illness can be a lot to deal with and ya girl knows that.
Sometimes when you have a mental illness, you feel the urge to apologize to others for being an inconvenience on their lives. You feel like a burden so you withdraw and distance yourself.
I was talking to my therapist last week and she was sharing with me that it takes a special kind of group to stick around and check in without being prompted. It doesn’t mean others don’t care. Sometimes others just aren’t capable, so there is no need for apologies.
Nothing I say nor anything I have done has been the cause of any one person and I need everyone to understand that. Nothing is ever directed at one person either.
I am slowly finding my way and I am just sharing my thoughts as they come.
Although I miss being able to sit and have some human interaction at times as a distraction, I have enjoyed spending this time with just myself (and my cat).
I’ve had so many “aha!” moments about who I was, who I am now, and who I am attempting to become.
I will not tell anyone how to spend their time during this quarantine, but I will say to use this time for whatever you need to get out it. If you want to sleep, workout, catch up on your work, mentally check out, spend time with your kids, WHATEVER. Do what you want and what you mentally need during this time. Don’t listen to the chatter of others saying what you “should” be doing.
I know that I’ve been gone for a little while, but life has been a bit of a struggle lately.
As I so publicly share, I am bipolar, which has highs and lows.
For about 2 and a half weeks now, I have been experiencing the lowest “low” I have ever had.
I shut down. I stopped answering my phone. I deactivated half of my social media.
I have now started seeing a new therapist and a new psychiatrist and I am slowly resurfacing.
I had to share with them both the thing that I had been too ashamed to say to anyone else:
That I had spent 5 days in row not wanting to be on earth anymore. Thinking of ways I could disappear without putting anyone else in harms way.
I also wasn’t sleeping.
I remember being up at 2am, searching on the internet places I could go check myself into because I knew that my thoughts were not ok.
I was literally afraid to be alone with myself.
I just kept thinking how everyone would say, “No, not Shelby. I didn’t see this coming.”
I went to work everyday, helping others and putting a smile on my face, but no one knew deep down inside that I was falling apart.
Someone asked me, “Why didn’t you tell anyone?”
The answer is simple: because I thought the people in my social circle wouldn’t care and because I didn’t want my coworkers to stop me.
My therapist asked me what words came to mind to describe how I felt at that time. The first words that came out of my mouth were “unloved” and “unimportant”.
“Unloved” because I felt that I invest so much of myself emotionally into my friends and family and I feel as though it is not equally reciprocated.
“Unimportant” because I share the details of my life with the people with which I choose to surround myself, yet they are capable of choosing to take time apart from me or keep from me the important things that may occur in their life.
“Who is the most important person in your life?”
When my therapist asked this question, it hit me. I told her that I knew the answer should be that I am the most important person, but it wouldn’t be true if I said it. I have always put others before myself. Hell, I even made a career out of it.
(Shout out to not being able to close for the coronavirus.)
I’m learning that I don’t have to do everything at one time and that I can take it day by day. I’m learning I need to find specifically what I enjoy and implement that as self-care. I’m learning that it’s ok to take a step back and meet people where they are without sharing as much of myself with them. I’m learning that I can tell people what I need from them and confront them with the truth about how they have made me feel.
I was told that I have no compassion for myself and it’s true. I’m trying to find my way daily. I’m trying to figure out what I need to keep myself healthy and sane. I’m also learning to find my voice and that I can’t always be a “fixer” for everyone else and neglect myself.
I want to be the most important person in my life and that means not hiding anymore.
I’ll be honest in saying that I’m still not ready to talk to everyone again or ready to answer questions about my current mental state. I’m slowly trying to merge my life back with society, but I know it will not happen immediately and that’s alright.
If you or someone you know is struggling right now, please get help. There are hotlines, online resources, etc.
I’m not one to be consistent with pills and prescriptions. It’s a horrible trait, but I stand in my truth.
Due to my struggle with commitment (and I mean that in so many ways, honey), I looked into other ways to deal with my anxiety and depression. I began typing this post a week ago, but something told me not to post it quite yet.
This past Sunday, we suffered a huge loss. The death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna Bryant, has stunned the world and left everyone an emotional wreck. I have struggled to stay on social media longer than 5 minutes at a time due to the emotionally draining posts.
Between the start of the new year and the untimely death of Kobe and everyone on that helicopter, I thought I would share some alternative methods I have tried or methods that I am planning to test out to help cope with stress, anxiety, and depression.
DISCLAIMER: Ya girl does social work for a living. I’m clearly not a doctor. Drink your water, take your meds, and talk to Jesus about what you should or shouldn’t try.
Aromatherapy: I’m not even going to lie to you guys. I have diffusers out the wazoo. I keep one in my office at work and I keep a couple in my apartment. Different essential oils can trigger different moods. If you want to read up more about how oils work and what scents can give you what you may need at the moment, click here.
2. Color Therapy: So, it’s no secret that I’m a bit of a hippie. Hell, I mean just check out the name of my website. It should definitely not come as a surprise that I believe in the 7 chakras and our ability to manifest different emotions and outcomes through these systems. Color therapy is the idea that you focus on the color of the chakra that you want to align and, in doing so, you can help to heal some of your own physical and emotional problems that you may be experiencing at the time. In order to better understand the colors and the different chakras, feel free to refer to the below chart:
3. Weighted Blanket: No joke. I got a weighted blanket off of amazon a few weeks ago because there was a bomb discount code (shout out to Fat Kid Deals!), and it has been some of the best sleep I’ve ever gotten. You can get different weights for the blankets depending on your size and preference. The pressure of the blanket helps to recreate the feeling of a hug which can increase serotonin levels. Some of the other listed benefits are:
1. Eases Insomnia
2. Helps with Sensory Processing Disorder
3. Reduces Anxiety
4. Fights Back Against Stress
5. Improves Focus for ADHD
6. Eases Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome
7. Helps Fibromyalgia Pain
8. Improves Sleep Quality
9. Boosts Mood
10. Promotes Calm
11. Encourages Focus in the Classroom
12. Eases Pain without Drugs
13. Eases Travel Anxiety
14. Helps the Elderly
15. Addresses Symptoms of PTSD
16. Decreases Anxiety in Pets
17. Soothes Symptoms of Panic Disorder
18. Helps Manage OCD
19. Manages Autism Symptoms
20. Recreates a Hug
4. Dieting: People always say, “You are what you eat.” Yeah, right. Like I’m going to magically turn into a big ass piece of broccoli? Jk. I totally understand that phrase completely now. What people mean when they say that is that what you put into your body can affect you mentally, emotionally, and physically, of course. The word “diet” is not to be mistaken with the word “detox” (which will be mentioned on the list later). When I say diet, I do not mean starving yourself and being miserable so that you lose weight. I mean treating your body to foods that help to sustain you. Getting the right nutrients and eating the right things that your body needs can truly be a mood-changer. For example, I’ve tried being vegetarian, pescatarian, keto, etc. Not all of those dietary restrictions have worked for me or for my body (except keto). Listen to your body’s needs and monitor the different things that you are putting into your body. Are you eating to sustain or for personal pleasure? Don’t worry, guys. You can do both. 🙂
5. Yoga: Yoga is one of those things with which I am very much an amateur. This is something on the list that I definitely want to expand upon and dig into a bit more. Check out this TED Talk about the connection between yoga and mental health:
6. Alexander Technique: I know what you’re thinking. “What the hell is that?!” I was the same way when I first read about it, but it’s basically moving our bodies in a meaningful way that requires the least amount of energy, so that we can invest that energy into other things. The alexandertechnique.com describes it is as “a method that works to change (movement) habits in our everyday activities. It is a simple and practical method for improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support and coordination. The technique teaches the use of the appropriate amount of effort for a particular activity, giving you more energy for all your activities. It is not a series of treatments or exercises, but rather a reeducation of the mind and body. The Alexander Technique is a method which helps a person discover a new balance in the body by releasing unnecessary tension. It can be applied to sitting, lying down, standing, walking, lifting, and other daily activities…” Seeing that I have experienced some physical pain since my car wreck, this is for sure a technique that I would want to try.
7. Reiki: This is for sure something into which I have looked. Ya’ll, I even went on to groupon and found some deals for visiting reikis. lol “Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing.” (https://www.reiki.org/faqs/what-reiki) A reiki will work to transfer positive energy into your body based on what area is troubling you the most. I’m not going to lie, I don’t know how well this works, but I will for sure be trying this out!
8. Meditation: There are two primary forms of meditation: concentration meditation and mindfulness meditation. Concentration meditation involves focusing in on one particular thing. It could be your breathing, a visual item in front of you, melodic music playing in the background, etc. Mindfulness meditation is acknowledging the different thoughts that cross your mind but not settling in on just one of them. It is observing your pattern of thoughts, but not getting stuck on any particular one. My favorite thing about meditation is surrounding myself with silence and opening myself up to thoughts I had previously suppressed.
9. Sleep: Sleeping is my favorite past time. I’m sure you all have heard the benefits of sleeping for years so I won’t really get into too much detail here. All I have to say is that the whole “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality is dumb as hell. You’ll be dead a lot sooner if you don’t sleep. Just because you like to get your nap on, doesn’t mean you’re not grinding. Sis, take your ass to bed so you can be rested for work tomorrow. Let your body rest!
10. Massage: This is another one that can help you to escape what’s currently weighing you down. The power of physical touch (even in a nonsexual manner) can be one of the most effective ways to release stress. I don’t really have to explain to you all why massages are bomb because I’m sure you already know. If you have never gotten one, treat yo self!
11. Acupuncture: I have legit wanted to try this out FOR YEARS. Can I be honest with you guys for a second though and explain why I have yet to do so? No lie, back in the day, I saw an episode of “1000 Ways to Die” and a girl was doing acupuncture and fell off the bed reaching for her cell phone and died, y’all. SHOOKETH TO THE CORE I WAS. But this is on my bucket list to try this year. Acupuncture is known to help with headaches and seeing that your girl has a seizure disorder and gets headaches and migraines on a regular basis, I can’t wait to see if this actually works.
12. Natural, Healing Spaces: I feel as though most people don’t realize how important it is to surround yourself with an environment that is beneficial to your mental and emotional well-being. Only you can determine what that environment may be that works for you. For some people, it is being surrounded by nature, for some it is simply being with family, for others it is the calmness of their own home. Now, I’m a big believer in feng shui and try to practice as many principles as I can from this concept. Feng shui is the idea that the positioning of your furniture and the layout of your space can modify the flow of energy in your home. To read about some of the standard practices of feng shui, check out this article.
13. The Arts: Find your niche. That’s all I can say. Whether it’s drawing, writing, painting, dancing, etc. That creative outlet can be your way to express yourself if you can’t find the exact words to say in a moment. Writing for me is my outlet. I also sketch. I also like attending musical performances and going to art shows. Just surrounding myself with creatives that have poured themselves into their work is relaxing. Get involved with the arts if you’re not and create a space that you can freely be yourself.
14. Hypnotherapy: Do you ever have a glimpse of a memory that you can’t fully recall? Well, it happens to me sometimes and I would love the ability to explore those memories on a deeper level. Hypnotherapy is a trance-like state of concentration conducted by a hypnotherapist. Hypnotherapy helps you to look inward and can help to relieve anxiety and stress and can even help with any sleeping issues. I really want to try hypnotherapy to see if it truly feels any different than simply meditating.
15. Mindfulness: This one is very simple. It is literally making yourself aware of your 5 senses. I don’t know about you guys, but I get really bad anxiety at times, so this coping method is one that people don’t even have to know is happening. As you feel your anxiety rising, look around you. What do you see? What do you hear? What can you feel with your hands? So on and so forth. Focus your attention on your surroundings and your senses and you will then begin “grounding” yourself.
16. Herbalism: This is the idea of using plants and plant extracts as medicine. There can be healing principles, not only found in the various plants, but also is caring for the plants. Working with plants is known to have a calming effect on people. As far as the herbs, themselves, different herbs have been thought to prevent and/or heal different ailments. Click here to read up on some of the most common medicinal herbs.
17. Detoxing: All I’m going to say is to prepare your stomach if you want to try a detox. I have used detox teas, detox pills, apple cider vinegar, etc. Although detoxing is a good way to reset your body, I usually do detoxing to help me clear a little mental space, as well. Detoxing helps me to really pay attention to what I am letting into my body and it challenges me to commit to something (y’all know your girl has commitment issues). My detoxes usually last 5-10 days and every time I complete one, there is a major sense of accomplishment that I feel. It gives me the feeling of a fresh start every time. You can detox through juicing, eating only certain types of food, only eating raw foods, etc. Try challenging yourself.
18. Sensory Deprivation: Now, I don’t know if you guys have ever heard of this, but this is something I found via the blackhole that is youtube…and I can’t wait to try it. A sensory deprivation tank is literally you laying in a soundproof tank of water, floating around. You are only left with your own thoughts and have no choice but to reflect inward. I don’t know anyone that has actually tried this but it looks pretty damn cool so I’m all in. According to verywellhealth.com, “sensory deprivation tanks are also known to promote muscle relaxation, lower anxiety, and improve depression.” To read up more on how these tanks work and their benefits, check out this article.
19. Binge Watching: This can actually be a good thing or can completely fry your brain and have you looking like Rue from “Euphoria”. If you don’t get that reference, then IMMEDIATELY go binge that show after you finish reading this blog post. Now, like I said earlier, I’m no doctor and I don’t the real stats on this, but all I can say is that binging shows takes my mind off of what else is going on with me a solid 9 times out of 10. There is one downside of binge watching shows: wtf are you supposed to do with your life when the show is over? Solution: FIND ANOTHER SHOW. *kanye shrug*
20. Reflexology: Reflexologists believe that applying pressure to certain areas of the hands, ears, or feet can have certain health benefits in relation to certain organs and body systems. I’m sure you guys have seen those little shops around certain neighborhoods that offer these services. This is something that I’ve seen advertised at a fairly affordable price so this is something I will challenge myself to try within the next couple of months or so. Check out the chart below for the different parts of the body that reflexologists believe can be effected by applying pressure:
Have you guys tried any of these methods? If not, which one do you think you would be down to try? Leave a comment and let me know!
Don’t forget to subscribe so you can get the #WriteOnWednesdays posts that I release every other Wednesday right to your email!
P.S. This is just another reminder that Immortal WhIIskey will be released 2/2/20 so be on the look out!
The older I get, the more I realize that Erykah Badu was really onto something.
“Bag lady you gone hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold onto, is you, is you, is you”
After getting into my car wreck back in October, I realized how much baggage I had.
The mental, the emotional, and the physical things around me all just seemed to weigh me down. Everything felt so heavy and ya girl was TIRED.
As I began to work through some of my emotional trauma, I realized how unimportant many of the material things I had were.
“One day all them bags gon’ get in your way…so pack light”
So I started thinking about the literal baggage I had. The “stuff”.
I began looking into minimalism and what exactly that meant.
“Simplicity”. That’s all I wanted.
During my depressive episodes, I have a hard time with cleaning and putting away my clothes so you can only imagine how many mounds I had in my room and on my closet floor. I’m sure my cat enjoyed it, but life can’t always be about Ziggy.
I remember looking at all the stuff I let accumulate around my room and thinking, “Why the hell do I have so much stuff?!”
I immediately went to the closet and began to rip items off the hangers. I took shoes from the shelves and tossed them in a box. I went through my drawers and threw out those bras that fit too small (I’ve finally accepted the fact that these thangs ain’t going nowhere).
Think I’m joking about donating most of my closet?
As I pulled crap out of my closet, I began to feel lighter.
The more I embrace the minimalist lifestyle, the more I realize the emotional and mental effects of living this way.
I cringe at over-indulgence now.
This also means don’t look at my photos too hard because you guys are going to realize I wear the same things over and over again. lol
I want to live in such a simple way that I don’t have to worry about the haziness of “things” getting in the way.
I am a strong believer that energy can be tied to items. So, letting go of things that were from ex-friends, ex-boyfriends, ex-family members, etc. helped me to also release that negative energy that may have been weighing on me emotionally.
“Girl I know, sometimes it’s hard and we can’t let go
Oh when someone hurts you oh so bad inside”…
“If you start breathin’ babe
You won’t believe it, it feels so much better”
I’ve said all this to say:
GET RID OF THAT EXCESS SHIT, SIS.
If you don’t need it, why do you have it?
That applies to people, things, whatever.
Look around you and only keep the essentials. Keep what doesn’t distract you.
Just because there’s an attraction, doesn’t mean it’s not a distraction! (Damn, I need to add that line to my next book)
Basically, Badu says it best:
“Bag lady, let it go let it go let it go let it go oh
Girl you don’t need it
Bet ya love could make it better”
Stay blessed, my friends!
P.S. Immortal WhIIskey (the second installment of my Immortal Whiskey book series) will be released 2/2/20. Check back next week for more details on the book!
I remember seeing the glass collapse into my backseat like a runner who had lost their strength.
I sat there looking into the cars facing me in disbelief. Frozen and confused.
I was in a car wreck on 10/30/2019 and it changed my life.
In 2018, I was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder with psychosis. I had known something was off since childhood, however I never knew what it was.
I spent a year on meds to control my symptoms, but I did exactly what I was told not to do…I stopped taking the pills. (What can I say? Y’all know I’m a little hardheaded lol)
No lie. Had I listened a little more, I probably wouldn’t have had as much internal conflict as I did through the most recent months.
After my wreck, I struggled hardcore with PTSD and depression. I felt completely alone and isolated. Basically, honey, I was giving everyone a major side eye who wasn’t there for me.
Every night I replayed the wreck when I closed my eyes to go to sleep.
Watching the truck slam into me from my rearview mirror.
Remembering my eyes trying to focus as my car was spinning around.
In case you didn’t know, mental illness and trauma don’t exactly go well together.
I remember staying up at night so I wouldn’t have to keep reliving what happened. I would literally ask myself, “Why can’t I get over this?”
After several weeks of trying to cope (and failing miserably I might add), I finally went to go speak to someone.
Wait…let me not lie. My coworkers STRONGLY encouraged me to go speak with someone.
Thank God for having therapists as coworkers, huh?
I met with a clinician who broke it down for me and explained to me how a person with a mental illness can be completely fine up until a traumatic event happens because our brain processes information differently. Sometimes it takes people with bipolar disorder a little longer to understand and accept a traumatic event that has occurred.
Something about that conversation changed things. Something about hearing the logistics behind my mind made me feel better. Close friends shared words of encouragement, but they didn’t register.
Me hearing that my mind works differently and processes things differently only proved that what she was telling me was true.
Basically, I discovered myself after all of that chaos and, sis, I was shook.
I really feel like after I left there, I came into myself.
Everything has been completely clear since then. The limitations of my friendships, my goals, my needs, and what I wanted in the future.
Yes, having to go to physical therapy multiple times a week sucks, but the place to which it has brought me has been beautiful.
I feel stronger in being my authentic self. I feel like more of me than I have in many, many years.
Hell, y’all. Ya girl has started blogging again! That obviously means something is going right…right? 🙂
Anywho, I wrote this blog to say that shitty things happen sometimes, but it only matters how you move forward. My biggest battle after my wreck was looking at everyone else who had been through something similar and forcing myself to try to heal at their time.
That is the ultimate set up for failure.
HEAL AT YOUR OWN PACE.
You owe it to yourself!
Stay blessed, friends.
P.S. Thank you for all of the support with my first book, “Immortal Whiskey”! The second edition of “Immortal Whiskey” will be released 2/2/2020 so be on the look out for more details soon!
Today’s subject is one of great importance. It’s about something that I know all too well: being Black.
Now, of course I have non-Black readers, so this is not to be exclusive, but to be thought of as a glimpse at the internal conflict that a Black person may experience.
Have you ever had someone question your Blackness? Have you ever had someone ask you why you “talk White” or “dress White” or do anything other than be Black? Where do we get this?
Why do we do this to each other?!
Sometimes it seems as though, within our own community, if you don’t dress or talk a certain way, you may not be seen as “Black enough”. Step into a predominantly White community and regardless of how you dress or speak, you’ll definitely contain enough Blackness.
I remember being in high school (a predominantly Hispanic, DISD school) and telling everyone that I got into SMU. A lot of their responses: “Oh you seem like you would go there.” “Yeah, you would fit in perfect there.” “You act White anyways.” And these responses were coming from Black students.
Ask me the ethnicity of most of my friends at SMU. Here’s a hint: they’re mostly the same color as me (and not from over-tanning either). I honestly feel as though the SMU Black community is comprised of all of the “White-Black, Black-enough, I-speak-proper-English-but-I-can-still-be-ignorant, sorry-I’m-awkward, Let-me-make-this-inappropriate-joke, we-real-Black, but-still-can-put-on-my-proper-voice-for-the-phone” type of people.
Going through college, I met so many other Black students that shared my experience of growing up as “other”. I thought it would get better after graduation, but I have noticed that the categorization of the black experience is just as predominant in the working world with other adults.
To this day, I still catch hell from certain people for speaking in a proper manner.
Here’s the thing, beloved, I have an ENGLISH degree from one of the most prestigious universities in the US. I’ve pretty much mastered the whole code-switching thing.
Now, I can only speak from my experience because that’s all I know, but I feel as though it is one that transcends over time.
If you’re not living under a rock, you are probably aware of the many Black lives that have been lost over the years due to racially charged violence.
We must stop separating ourselves into categories of light-skinned vs dark-skinned, relaxed hair vs natural hair, proper English vs slang, etc.
We must acknowledge our similarities and stop dwelling on our differences.
The irony of black and white is that black is created to be less visible in certain settings.
However, if properly placed, black will always dominate.
We wear solid black when we want to evoke thought. Evoke emotion. Evoke power.
We have a target placed on our face, on our heart, on our back.
We are tinted and dipped in different shades of the sunlight, but a target nonetheless.
We all thank God when cops don’t follow us or when it wasn’t our very own brother that was shot.
You are black on a white backdrop. You are a bullseye.
You are an aim for empty practice. A broken piece of wood that so happens to leak blood.
Like a bullet hole in a body or in a target, what was behind you never becomes visible until a bullet has been through you.
Your past of drugs, alcohol, and sex was nothing until you were dead and defenseless.
Until we could see through the holes.
We are all the same black body. The same black voice.
I used to be a huge tv junkie. I’m not so much into television these days, but when I do look for something to watch, it’s either a show that is no longer aired or a movie that was made years ago.
As I’ve gotten older and developed into this self-defined feminist that also stands in all of my blackness, I’ve realized how unwittingly influential the women I’ve watched on television have shaped my mindset about who I am and the power that I contain.
I’m sure there are plenty more influential women of all kinds of colors that I have missed out on, but these are just some of the women whose characteristics have had an impact on my own life.
1. Original Aunt Viv of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Although she may have a first class seat on the petty train these days, no one can ever deny that her character on Fresh Prince wasn’t the shizniyee. The depth that she gave to that character was not a role. You could tell that she believed in every stance she took on that show. From educating prep school students about Black History, to standing on her on as a woman and mother, to dancing her butt off against a younger group of women, Janet Hubert was it, honey. She lived a comfortable life without forgetting from where she came. She embodied the element of balance and grace (all while wearing some baaaad suits, y’all). Before “Aunt Viv Lite” or “Aunt Viv (The Remix)” came along, this character had power. She taught me that it’s ok to have a dominant personality, voice my opinions, and demand respect from my peers. So shout out to you, girl.
2. Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show: Now, listen. To this day, nobody is touching the ever-so-fabulous Claire Huxtable. She was an educated, bilingual lawyer, with about 17 kids (ok that was a bit dramatic) and was still getting down to her business without breaking a sweat. Now, I know you all remember that infamous scene where she told Elvin about himself. She was clearly a woman with a feminist mindset, but still had an element of softness and warmth to her. Growing up, there were so many negative connotations I heard that went along with the word “feminism” that I was afraid to participate in the movement. I felt as though the impression was that if you are a feminist, you hate men and you’re not open to love from the opposite sex. Claire was a factor in breaking that barrier for me. She was so clearly in love with Cliff and would have done anything for not only Theo, but the spouses of her daughters. She helped to show me that feminism is not about “coping” with manhood, but that it’s about trying to live your best womanhood. She showed us that you can stand in your belief and still be full of love.
3. Maya Wilkes from Girlfriends: I’m completely obsessed with the show Girlfriends. I watch all of the episodes on repeat as I fall asleep (either that or The Office). The more that I watch, the more I admire all of the women in their diversity of black sisterhood. More specifically, Maya Wilkes was such an advanced character, that to this day it still shocks me. Although she is constantly poked at for being the “teen mom” of the group, she manages to hold her own. She goes on to attempt to go back to school while raising her son as a single mother after her divorce. She then finds her calling in life to be a writer and eventually pens a best selling book, entitled “Oh, Hell Yes!” Her character had humor, yet so much depth. Aside from Joan, we connect the most on an emotional level with Maya. We experience her getting kicked out of her home after her infidelity, her dealing with a teenage son, and even experiencing the loss of her baby and book deal simultaneously. Maya was the everyday woman who fought to make a name for herself. She was a reminder to me that we may have many adversities and things may not always come easy, but eventually hard work pays off.
4. Maxine Shaw from Living Single: Can we get into the force that is “Maxine Shaw, Attorney-at-Law”? Listen…she had the original undercut along with dreads and was still killing it in the corporate arena. Hell, I want some goddess braids right now, but I’m afraid to take that into Corporate America. Maxine was a fierce force with which to be reckoned. She did a great job at being a lawyer and even went on to make the decision to have a child on her own (which coincidentally ended up being Kyle’s). Max was a free-thinker with a healthy appetite and she was never apologetic for it. She stood strong in her beliefs but was still a woman of the people. She made me feel as though it’s ok to be strong, independent, and self-established, and still have the emotional capacity for love and family.
5. Jaleesa Vincent from “A Different World”: Jaleesa, Jaleesa, Jaleesa. Where do I even start with her character? She was a divorcee that returned to college to better herself. She pushed herself to do her best in all of her classes, while still trying to experience the college life at a later age. Her character was so charismatic and well-rounded. She had the work ethic and determined mindset in school and in the workplace that I always wanted for myself. She was not afraid to say that love can wait while she focused on her career. She was driven to be the best, but was still vulnerable enough to share some of her insecurities as she did in the episode where she was too nervous to share her paper in front of the class. Jaleesa Vincent was a motivated individual but she constantly cared. She was the woman that everyone respected because she demanded it.
6. & 7. Florida Evans & Willona Woods from “Good Times”: Yes, of course I gave my favorite show of all time 2 slots. *kanye shrug* Florida Evans was the epitome of poor, black mom goals. She constantly did what she could to make a way out of no way for her family all while making sure that they were equipped to stand on their own. She pushed them to keep their faith in God and knew that better days would come for them. No matter how hard things may have seemed with James and his “temporary layoffs” (I know you sang that in your head), Florida still made sure that James never felt emasculated. She only pushed for everyone to do their part and she did hers. She was the true backbone of her family. Mom goals, indeed.
Now, let’s talk about my girl, Willona. Single goals AF. She was so proud to stand in her singlehood which was unheard of back then. She dated whoever she wanted and never put pressure on herself to get married again because others thought she should be. She even went on to adopt Penny (shout out to young Janet!) by herself. She did what she wanted and was unapologetic. She stayed fly in her outfits from the boutique and always had her best face forward. In other words, Willona was an all-around baddie!
8. Lisa Landry from “Sister, Sister”: Hear me out here. Lisa Landry’s character was so slept on. She was a single mother that uprooted her life for the sake of her adopted child and twin sister. All the while she was there, although invasive a lot of the time, she made sure she fulfilled the mother role to the best of her ability for both children. Even in doing that, she still never lost who she was in the process. She came from a rough background, but still chased her goals constantly. She went from selling clothes out of the trunk of her car, to having a cart in the mall (despite it eventually catching fire), to ultimately getting to dress prominent people like the councilwoman. I admire her because she was constantly on the grind. She did what she could to have her own despite the fact that she was living with someone that could have handled everything for her. She never toned down her personality or who she was no matter who was around. She spoke and dress how she felt comfortable. Lisa was the cool mom who never got enough credit.
All of these women had something to admire about them. Whether it was Lisa’s willingness to flaunt her sex appeal or Maya’s constant desire to become more than just a secretary. Every woman was their own definition of black womanhood. Every woman left a mark on my personality, my goals, and even the way I dress.
Like I said before, I’m sure there are plenty more but these are some of my faves. Who were some of your favorite/ most influential tv characters?
Both sides of my family are from the country. My mom is from Natchitoches, Louisiana and my dad is from a little town outside of Houston, TX called Needville.
The thing about growing up with a country family is that everyone learns how to drive at a really young age. We were all behind the wheel by the age of 10, driving through country gravel roads and stretching our necks to see over the steering wheel.
Fun fact: I had a car by the age of 19 (a silver ’97 3-series BMW that I was obsessed with and named “Bullet”), but I did not actually go and get my license until I was 23. * gasp *
The crazy thing is that I am now 26 and I have yet to ever get a speeding ticket. * knocks on wood *
But one of the main things I remember my oldest sister telling me when I would be driving was, “You’re not only driving for you. You’re driving for everyone else on the road too.”
Basically she was saying that any mistake I or anyone else on the road makes, it affects ALL of us as drivers, so we must all be careful.
But I’ve really been realizing lately that that’s how life works overall.
Especially in a time when we have a President whose decisions are literally changing the standards of our daily lives.
We are all technically “driving” for one another.
Not to say that you should base your life decisions off of what others tell you, but we must consider how our actions might affect others.
We can’t get on a dark road and swerve across both lanes and assume others will be ok because it was fun for us. Consideration is a key element to any functioning relationship. Key word: FUNCTIONING.
We are all so disconnected right now because so many are only thinking of personal gain and not using their blinkers to warn others that they are trying to get over.
I’m not just talking politics.
How many times in the past year did a friend do something to hurt or offend you or did a business partner or colleague do something for their own personal gain?
Sometimes our actions don’t match our intentions.
We may be trying to stay in our own lane and focus on our destination, but not realize the traffic that’s behind us.
I’m definitely guilty of it too though.
Sometimes I just want so badly to disconnect from the world and from life for a bit that I tend to block out others. It’s not even because something negative is happening in my life. Sometimes I just need space and to center myself.
But in the eyes of others, they usually tend to take it personal and think that they’re the only ones I’m blocking out, as if I’m angry or something.
The other day I was listening to the Black Girl Podcast and one woman shared how she sat down one day and just wrote down her accomplishments. (I suggest everyone to do this by the way because sometimes we spend so much time focusing on what we need to improve, that we end up not giving ourselves any credit.)
In reflecting on this exercise as I was driving, I realized that the main accomplishments I am proud of, are ones that I did alone. Not to say that I don’t work well in teams, but I’m realizing that I’m so used to doing things for myself, that it is basically second nature at this point.
Now this may not seem like a big thing. Initially you would think it would be good to show my independence, but the more I looked into it, the more I realized that there was only one thing on my list that I finished as a team and it didn’t feel right.
I realized how much this mentality carried over into my personal relationships. It’s not so much an issue with my friends, but with my significant others. I’m realizing that it’s probably the reason I question if I ever even want to get married. Subconsciously, I feel as though I don’t need another to be great.
In order to bring this full circle, I find myself “bulldozing” through and over guys because I’ve never felt like I needed a passenger. I had to look back to realize that it’s potentially affecting my future.
We have to make sure that our paths and methods of getting from Point A to Point B aren’t forcing others off the road or even causing us to get ourselves lost.
When was the last time you really looked over your life to make sure that your life is helping to benefit others in some way?
Don’t just drive for yourself. Drive for others, as well.
Stay blessed, people.
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I come from a big football family.
I’m talking about everything from people who used to play professionally to my mom and my sister battling it out over their fantasy teams to me playing the role of a football girlfriend for 4 years while I dated a guy who was chasing his professional dreams.
One thing I’ve always noticed throughout every rough tackle, every injury, every flip that lands a player on their back, there’s one phrase that constantly gets yelled out by the hardcore fans and coaches: “Shake it off”
Now I’m not the most emotional person, but when I see someone laid out on the ground, my first thought isn’t “shake it off!”
But I also had to realize that I hadn’t been at the practices or following the players’ history that closely enough to know if they have had issues with these same injuries before or if that player is more prone to needing a second to recover then being able to bounce back
That’s how it is with us and our relationships with God
Sometimes we go through things that hurt so bad or seem impossible to get through, but we hear our coach (God) in the background yelling for us to “shake it off!”
I mean…you’re literally laying on the ground, staring up at the ceiling, unable to think past your current pain and the person that is supposed to be helping you is yelling at you to get up and telling you that you’re OK.
At certain moments, it can seem impossible to get up, but you have to remember that God was there for every practice, every previous injury, every cramp, EVERYTHING
He knows how much you can take
If your coach was really scared that you were down for the count, he would be running out on the field to help you
Everyday we play on the field of life
Some days we get injured and some days we make big plays and score touchdowns
Some days we get an audible called and have to change our original route
Life isn’t always easy, but never forget, if God hasn’t stepped on the field, He knows you still have some fight left in you to finish the game
Keep fighting, friends.
Earlier today I was at work and saw a student sitting in the corner of the hallway almost hidden behind a white board that had been placed against the wall, eating her lunch. I observed that she was a bit overweight, but looked at her meal and noticed her eating a salad.
You ever feel like God just pulls you towards certain people sometimes?
“Aren’t you almost getting squished by that board?”
Her response was that she didn’t really have any friends and that was a comfortable place to eat.
At that point, the school officer came around and told her that she shouldn’t be eating in the hallway, so I told her to come sit in my office and eat (something that I never let students do).
I started talking to her and eventually found out that she’s a senior who just transferred into the school where I work due to bullying. She had been bullied because of her weight and for not wearing any makeup her 9th and 10th grade year so badly that she felt that she could not return to that particular school. She transferred to another school her junior year then eventually came to my school for her senior year.
Believe it or not, I saw so much of myself in her.
She said she liked being alone now and having her music. I loved being alone growing up with my sketches and my poetry.
Speaking to her made me think back on how we all have these little portions of ourselves that we only reveal at certain times.
It’s as if we are buildings and our personality, character traits, and ideas are all little rooms.
Hence, my new poem: Hotel Innward.
I met a mall full of Me’s today
A large shop full of Shelby’s
The hair shop held a high top hell storm of all the smiles
I had thrown about over the years
Freely casting sun rays upon broken fixtures of darkness
A vitamin shop of vagina monologues
A diet pill of body dysmorphia
A protein shake of unprotected women’s rights
Don’t forget your lifetime supply of lies and daily dose of a broken heart
I drifted slowly into the fragrance shop of memories
A quick whiff of the smell her makeup used to leave on her sweater, the stench in his shirts from his 5am hooping sessions, the fragrance of fufu encapsulated in the gifts of dashikis and head wraps, the sweet smell of organic oils dripping from his dreads
The summation and accumulation of life’s events, but
It was painful, but
it was beautiful
I broke free and found me
Standing in the doorway at a little boutique
The lights were off, the walls were dark, but
the store was full
It was full of clothes. Full of me.
I gathered a hand full of shirts to try on in
the unforgiving blackness, using nothing but the flashlight on my phone as a guide
Each shirt labeled with only one word
I stood there for hours in that shirt
In the darkness. In that store.
Feet planted in blocks of cement surrounded by more words of similar stance
The clothes were cheap, yet overpriced
The material was raggedy
The customer service sucked, but
that was my favorite store
I wore that shirt that deflected love as I continued to bounce around throughout the other stores
Other eyes of myself looking upon me
Judging myself for allowing others to create these shirts, but
the I that is me, the one that is supposedly “free”,
put it on so willingly
I paid for these shirts with someone else’s label
Right then and there, as I rubbed my afro hair,
I decided it was better to leave the store naked and exposed
When I was little, I remember we used to play this game called “Say Uncle”.
You and another person would play fight and when one person would get the other in a painful state of submission, the person being dominated would have to “Say Uncle” when they couldn’t take the pain anymore.
I remember always thinking how strange it was that, as children, we would play a game that starts off with just playing around, knowing that it would end in pain and with someone ultimately having to give up.
That’s how I feel about life sometimes.
You walk around laughing, smiling, and optimistic until something holds you into submission and makes you cry out “Uncle”.
A twist of an arm, the pinch of a leg, the bend of a finger.
All things the person does until you either give up or they get tired.
The question then arises…are you the person that does whatever it takes to end the pain or wait it out, knowing the pain will eventually end?
You see, here’s the thing about the game: 9 times out of 10, if you’re playing Say Uncle, it was by choice; it’s with someone you trust, it’s with someone who won’t actually break your bones or rip your skin.
If you’re genuinely fearing for your safety at that time, you’re not playing a game, you’re being attacked.
But life…life is not out to get you. Life is not an attacker.
God did not give us life so that we have to walk around bruised and broken, calling it “playtime”.
Yes, we all have hard moments. Moments that hurt like hell, but just know that you can tap out and “Say Uncle” or you can stand your ground, knowing that you have a choice to still be here, and fight back.
In the end, you’ll feel better being able to say that you didn’t tap out. That life didn’t defeat you.
Life is not your attacker. It is not against you.
I remember when I first started having seizures last September and was diagnosed with epilepsy. I was constantly in and out of the hospital and I was miserable. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t drive, I could hardly eat, and my hair was falling out.
I wanted to give up so badly but I stayed in the fight.
And so should you.
Whether it’s your health, your dreams/ goals, your relationship, or anything else that’s kicking your butt right now, stay in the fight.
It’s not to say that what you’re doing at this moment is the right thing, but don’t just give up on yourself. (Of course you should walk away from any unhealthy situation.)
You may have to adjust your arm a little or twist your ankle into a different position to make it hurt less, but by no means do you ever let yourself go.
Do what you need to protect yourself, but never walk away from YOU.
If you truly know me then you know I have a guilty pleasure for reality tv. You name it, I probably watch it now or have seen it.
I like to live vicariously through the ratchets. *kanye shrug*
The other night I was watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta and, once again, I heard the punch line in an argument of “go find a husband” or “at least I have a husband”.
I DO NOT COMPREHEND THAT AS A VERBAL JAB.
Not to say that women who have a husband need the validation of a man because I do aspire to marry one day (meaning a day YEARS from now), but why the need to use your husband as leverage over someone else?
Who said that your relationship status makes you superior to me?
I constantly get asked by men, students, etc.,”How are you not married?”
Translation: How has no one chosen you to be their wife yet?
Once again, who said that I’m attempting to “get chose”? That also implies that women are incapable of making their own decisions when it comes to a relationship. It makes it seem as though we are merely pieces of fruit waiting to get picked or plucked and those of us who are not chosen go bad and expire.
Not all single people are unhappy or seeking out a significant other at the moment.
A relationship doesn’t define a person or make them better than someone else.
People look at single men and say, “He just must be enjoying his life and singlehood.” People look at a single woman and think you’re either a whore or something’s wrong with you since a man doesn’t want you.
*Checks mirror* *Plays with celibacy ring* Nope. None of the above.
(Then again a woman who explores her own sexuality doesn’t automatically make her a whore, but that’s a feminist rant for another day)
If I wanted to be in a relationship right now, I could easily do so. I have chosen to be single at the moment.
Why do we put this pressure on “the singles” to join in on the partnership world even though many are not ready?
Especially as a black woman. It is so often and so openly assumed that, as a black woman, I am seeking the large ring, the big house, and the million dollar bank account. I constantly get told that, based on my appearance, I look like I would be high maintenance, but once they get to know me that is not the case at all.
It has also been assumed that I “must have a bad attitude like black girls always do.”
Seriously…who comes up with this stuff?
A black woman does not equate one thing. We are many. We are all. “We lit”. 🙂
A single person is not someone who needs saving or to be set up unless they have requested that of you.
I am not sad. I am not lonely.
I am choosing to no longer settle for liars, cheaters, players, or insecure men. I’m choosing me in this moment.
I remember seeing this episode of Sex and the City where Carrie sarcastically poses the question, “They shoot single people don’t they?” As much as I laughed those years ago when I was in a relationship, now that is exactly how it feels to be single in my mid-twenties.
“How are you single?” BANG.
“At least I have a man.” BANG.
“You must still want to party.” BANG.
“I couldn’t imagine STILL being single.” BANG BANG.
and the ultimate “bae” posts all over social media. HEADSHOT.
Why is there this negative connotation with the word “single” for women, but so much excitement for a man?
I am young, single, educated, with a good job and no kids.
For a woman, I sound like I’m either selfish or ugly.
But, listen here….read that description again and tell me people wouldn’t flip twice over if that was a man and say “Oh that must be his choice”.
Hell, most of the men that read my blog are in their mid- to late-twenties and single with no kids.
Take heed to the things you say. Your own relationship status does not put another person in an “other” category.
Just live your life, people, and let others live theirs.
We are all on our own paths and journeys and we cannot expect the timing of our lives to be relevant to someone else’s.
The other day I remember seeing this CRAZY video on Facebook.
A guy had recorded his ex-girlfriend destroying his car and breaking out the window to his house.
The whole time I watched the video I was amazed at how calm the girl looked while doing it (she even waved to the camera at one point).
During the recording, he states that the ex-girlfriend, Terri, has a restraining order out on him.
Now, from the looks of things, he’s the one who needs a restraining order on her.
Like the looney tune that I am, I, of course, go read the comments on this video to see if people were as shocked and astonished by this girl’s erratic behavior as I was.
And true to form, like facebook always is in the comments section, there was an overwhelming amount of disagreement.
Most of the men were along the lines of “That chick is crazy.”
While the women were more into “You guys don’t know what he did to her before this video.”
*insert stale face here*
I always hear some variation of the phrase, “Behind every b*tch is a man that made her that way.”
Women, why do we give men that power?
Why do we say to them, “Hey, you determine for the rest of my life if I’m going to be bitter and hateful or happy and loving.”
A woman’s worth does not depend on a man.
Child, Terri was mad and disturbed in that video because Terri had some issues. She almost ran that man over with her car.
Don’t think that no man has ever pissed me off or that I just don’t understand at all. It’s not like I haven’t been through things.
I’ve witnessed things at the hands of men since childhood. I’ve seen domestic violence firsthand in plenty of instances throughout my family and friendships. I’ve been in a 4-year relationship and found out the person I was looking at engagement rings with had been seeing someone else for well over a year.
You think these things don’t make me angry and create emotional issues to work out? Of course!
But I will never give another person enough credit to say that they were able to control me like that.
It’s one thing to feel some type of way in a moment because of what someone did, but once it becomes an extended period of time, you have given that person domain and residence in your head space.
And NOBODY is about to live rent-free in my mind.
We must learn to move past what others do. We can not control their actions, but we can control our reaction.
You become someone else’s puppet when you let them control your actions and your emotions.
When we defend women like Terri by saying “You don’t know what he did first!”, you’re excusing her.
You’re right. We don’t know what he did first, but what do we know now?
We know that Terri has gone viral on the internet looking like a maniac busting up his car and breaking his windows.
We can’t keep breaking ourselves down like this.
It’s 2016. Why are you still holding on to things from 2006? Why are you still thinking about that old relationship that didn’t work out? Why are you still using your fatherless home as an excuse?
WE HAVE TO MOVE ON.
Especially us women and men of color. We carry too many other things on our shoulders to dwell on our own pasts.
We’re having a hard enough time trying to reach the future.
You can’t say that 2016 is your year and still be dragging around baggage that you’ve collected from every year since birth.
Don’t allow yourself to become the public joke because you couldn’t walk away.
Whatever anyone has done in the dark will eventually come to light, so we can not afford to stop our lives to try to bring justice to them.
So…this post will be a little darker than usual because it’s about a very intense subject: mental health. Not only mental health though, but mental health in the black community…among black women.
I realized from dealing with my own seizure disorder and brain issues, which really effect your entire mentality, that nothing going on with the brain is really addressed in the African American community.
Every time I visit the neurologist, I have to complete a survey that has questions like “Have you had any sudden emotional outbursts?” or “Have you had any thoughts of suicide?”
I have to do this EVERY. TIME.
That’s how common it is and how prone I am to these things.
I was watching “Being Mary Jane” (such great topics on that show!) and one of the leading female characters committed suicide. She had issues that she was dealing with from her past and had tried getting help, but life still became overwhelming for her.
This is more common than we realize.
A suicidal person never completely rids themselves of those thoughts.
We can tell someone they “just need to go to church” but thoughts of suicide mean they also need other methods of coping.
We have to look at the people in our respective communities and encourage them to feel comfortable enough to talk about their problems and not put on a front like everything is ok. Depression is real. Mental illness is real. Suicide is real.
To any of my friends/ readers who have considered suicide, you are valuable and each one of you has something to bring to this world. Just hold on to life.
In honor of lives lost to suicide, I wrote a monologue from the perspective of someone who has attempted suicide in the past and is talking to God as she tries once more:
Dear God, I hate it.
A few times I hated being Black.
A few times I hated being a woman.
A hundred out of a hundred times I hated when I told people my story and I would get that sad head tilt and soft change of tone.
Dear God…I. HATE. IT.
Yes, I was raped when I was 8 years old, but I mean…it’s basically a right of passage these days, huh?
My father was absent, my mother was an alcoholic, blah blah blah…
I hate the pity more than my past.
You know that feeling when you’re so angry that you start crying?
I hate that too.
I don’t want them to think I care. Those tears are only there because I let them tap into the vessel of my emotions and the strongest one was able to seep out.
I love You, God, but I hate it.
Like..like..those people that are so intent on loving you so they have someone to hurt.
…or those people you’re so intent on hurting but they keep giving you love.
I hate them too.
You know what else I hate?
I took SEVEN sleeping pills. SEVEN. Yet I survived.
I hate ropes.
I hate the manufacturer of whatever BS brand I bought because as soon as the chair tipped over, the damn thing snapped and I fell to the floor.
Now I’m still here with a broken arm and a huge cast.
I hate that too.
And guns, God? Really? You might as well take all those back.
Mine jammed twice.
I hate it, God. I hate it all.
Or how about when I get dressed and change my hair but he doesn’t notice?
Or how I grew up hating my body because I was told to be ashamed of it, but now when I feel comfortable showing a thigh here or a breast there, I’m a whore “thirst-trapping”.
OH. MY. GOD.
Why must you put me in a world of things I hate?
I don’t want to have a son because someone make look at him as a thug because he is black and hate him too.
Why am I here?
“Black people don’t go to therapy. Black people go to church”, they say.
I hate that I can’t openly say I do both.
I hate that I hide behind false smiles everyday to maintain my job. I hate that everyone looks to me for advice when I don’t even know what the hell my next move in life is.
I hate that I hate everything.
I also hate that I can hardly see my screen as I type this in the darkness, hoping for more love in the next lifetime.
I hate that I will be doing this to someone and forcing them to live with regret because of how much I hated this life.
I hate that as I step off this curb, I will never truly know if you got this message.
I remember when I was a kid and I used to tie a towel around my neck and jump off furniture and hope that maybe, just maybe, one day I would actually stall in the air long enough to feel like I was flying. That never happened.
I would jump then I would fall, but the funny thing is that I would always go back and try again. Still hoping to fly one day.
I haven’t blogged in so long because I’ve had a lot of changes happening in my life. Some people use working out as their therapy (I can’t really do that too much anymore), some people sing (I have a terrible singing voice), and a special breed, like myself, have to write to get it all out.
Not for sympathy. Not to get noticed. Not for any other reason than the fact that once it’s put on paper and it’s staring you in the face, you can not deny it.
I am currently on medical leave for work for 2 months. I will not go into details, but I will say that my whole life is changing and it’s happening fast. I can no longer legally drive and I can not live by myself.
As a woman who was raised to be independent, this has been challenging for me to accept. I actually have to start relying on other people. I actually have to look in the mirror sometimes and say “Shelby, you can’t do that.”
I still want to try sometimes. I still want to fly.
Many people do not know why my blog is named after Wonder Woman or from where my obsession stems.
She is the epitome of womanhood to me. The idea of feminism in a leotard.
She makes me believe that I can still fly no matter what.
People are always so enamored by the fact that I stay positive and crack jokes all the time, despite how I’m feeling. People always tell me that they love my upbeat personality despite the fact that I basically live in hospital rooms now.
I don’t do it to put a front on for other people. I do it for me.
No matter what has come my way, God has brought me through it. My family and I have been through some major things and to this day I get to see how all those things worked together for my good, just as the bible says it will.
This, I know, will have the same ending. This is my testimony, y’all.
When I look back years later and this whole thing is over (it will be because I’ve claimed it), do I want to tell a story of how down I was and how much I doubted God and “Woe is me! Something’s wrong with my brain so I’m a victim”?
I want to tell a story of how my faith got me through. I want to tell the story of how neurologists, nurses, and other people effected by serious seizure disorders such as I am, saw God in me.
You know what I think about in my postictal state of paralysis (a period of time when you can not speak or move after a seizure)? First, I try to make myself aware of what’s going on around me and try to remember where I am, then I pray.
My body feels so light in those moments. I have no choice but to lay there. As scary as those moments are with all my stillness and all of my muted words, I fly.
I’m no Wonder Woman. I am THAT Wonder Woman. I am the one that smiles through the pain and prays through the darkness. I am the one that, despite having moments of short term memory loss, I always remember to put on my cape, go to the edge, and jump without fear.
No matter what is happening in your life, no matter who has hurt you, no matter what people walk out on you, you can’t stop flying. You can’t give up.
You have to let go of things and be free. You have to forgive people. You have to smile more.
You cant fly with a burden on your back and chips on your shoulder.
Remember who you are and remember who God wants you to be.
As of a week and a half ago, my summer break started. As it got going, I started thinking about all of the things I wanted to do this summer.
The more I thought about what I wanted to do, the more I thought about the “Bucket Lists” that so many of us spend time working on. We write down all of these things we want to do before we die, but never really think about what we can do right now.
Now, I tried to think of a catchy name, but there was only one word that came to mind that rhymed with “bucket”. *sips tea and gives you side-eye realness*
For the sake of not getting a little TOO real with you guys, I decided to just call this my “Summer Goal List”.
Basically, I comprised a list of all of the things I wanted to work on this summer. I believe that we should spend more time focusing on some short term goals and not waiting until we’re about to die to really start living. I mean…how do you know when that will be anyway?
Anywho, here’s my list:
1. Develop my relationship with God.
– As you can see, this is the first item on my list. My relationship with God is the most important thing in my life and there is always room for improvement. I want to spend more time reading my bible, going to weekly service more, and journaling more. If you need a spiritual facelift too, you can check out my church online at http://www.ibocchurch.org!
2. Write more.
-Before my last post, I hadn’t posted to my site since LAST YEAR. I had even lost my original domain name. I want to get back into blogging and writing poetry more. I really do love it and believe it to be one of my callings.
3. Practice pole fitness.
-One of my sisters is an OUTSTANDING pole fitness instructor and she’s always encouraging me to try out pole fitness. Now, I love working out, but I’m a runner so poling is something that is out of my normal comfort zone. If you follow me on snapchat, then you probably have seen my sister and I clowning around and me trying this out! Check out her site and sign up for her online studio for only $9.95 at http://www.polebunnyfitness.com (you don’t even need a pole!)
4. Sign up for adult ballet classes.
– Little known fact: I took ballet when I was a pre-teen and I. Fell. In. Love. I’ve been obsessed with everything ballet since (performances, tv shows, etc). I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t just try it out again, seeing that it came pretty naturally for me.
5. Mend broken relationships.
-Life is way too short to hold grudges. I want to forgive people, but I don’t want to be naive. I’ve already tried reaching out to certain people. I have not necessarily gotten a proper response, but I can say that I know I’ve done my part and I’m content.
6. Let go of outgrown relationships.
-Life is way too long to constantly try to spend time trying to hold on to people that are pulling away from me.
7. Exhale negativity.
Bury the negative comments of the past. I need to know and understand my worth. I remember somebody once told a guy I was talking to that he could basically do better than me. I never realized how much that bothered me until recently, but now I know that I am a great person, a great friend, and a great catch. I have to stand by that belief.
8. Inhale positivity.
-I will only allow the positive vibes that people breathe into me to settle in my spirit.
-I REEEAAAALLLY need to get rid of the old/ unnecessary things in my life and start to appreciate the things that I do have.
10. Save money.
-I need to cut back on my spending and actually really develop my savings account this summer.
-I want to get out of Dallas at least once this summer and out of TX at least once.
12. Practice foreign languages.
– I used to be quite fluent in Spanish and have lost most of it. I need to get into practicing the language again. I was also previously self-teaching myself Russian which has completely gone out the window. lol
So what are your short term goals? What are the things you can go ahead and do right now to help improve your quality of life?
Also, I will be updating you guys at the end of the summer on how many of these things I actually got to accomplish from my list!
I don’t mean this in a cocky way, but to say that I’ve made a lot of observations about the way men think it’s ok to approach a woman.
Whether they initially came direct and stated their intentions or if they waited a little bit and let me figure it out myself, there has been an outstanding amount of men that have ultimately wanted the same thing. This is by no means a way of me saying that men only want one thing or that all men are the same, but this is just what I have experienced with a lot of guys.
It’s so funny to me because so many dudes have spent time attempting to know me physically. Their go-to move is to state what they can do for me in the physical sense. I just laugh to myself and think “I’m so going to write about this later.”
NEWSFLASH: That is not what I’m looking for when I speak to a guy. I don’t want a physical relationship. That’s not what I’m interested in at all.
You want to connect to me? Stimulate my mind.
Tell me something that I don’t know and make me think further into myself.
This is something that I realized I haven’t really experienced with a guy. I have yet to meet a man that makes me take time to really wonder about life or want to do a little more digging into a foreign subject.
For the most part, I’ve only encountered men who kept me guessing…in a negative way.
Monday night, I took time and made a list of all the qualities I want in my “Man of God” (it was 2 pages long, y’all). I thought about all of the things I was lacking in my past relationships and guys that I had “talked to” and I realized that, along with guys not recognizing my worth and appreciating me, there was no serious mental stimulation. No, no, no. No shade. No shade. *Nicki Minaj voice* *sips tea*
Seeing that I’m not seeking a sexual experience, but a mental and subconscious one, I wrote a poem as if an intellectual conversation was just that: sex.
Now, this may get a bit awkward because of some of my readers (Hi, Mom!) but I think the purpose of the poem, if understood, is a very dope concept.
He walks in,
lights dim and soft music playing.
Candles are lit and he looks over
at me with desire in his eyes.
He caresses my mind,
giving time for it to adjust to his touch.
It’s my first time and I hope he’s gentle.
He leans into my thoughts.
Kissing them gently,
Opening his mouth to expose a little tongue.
“You’re so beautiful”, he whispers.
Eyes meet. Brain cells start shifting faster.
This is it.
Alliteration, autonomies, and articles from the past begin seeping from his lips.
My head tilts back and my left eye involuntarily winks as my dreams begin free-flowing and leaking about.
He uses every drop of knowledge to push deeper into conversation.
He can tell that I don’t know what to do next
so he directs my intellect.
He blows softly on the windmills of my curiosity,
while heavily stroking the depths of my spirit.
He spreads my inner fears and
secures me with his confident dialect.
I try to do for him but
his tongue dances back on to the topic of myself.
I feel a sudden rush.
Almost like refilling a water bottle and momentum is gained once the top is reached.
I begin holding my breath.
My toes start to curl.
My grip tightens.
I close my eyes as hard as I can.
I begin sweating.
I let out a loud moan.
as my legs began to shake because the peak of my love and admiration had been reached…
He prayed for me.
And we sat there,
completely covered in each other’s words,
awaiting energy to grope one another’s thoughts yet again.
I deleted my facebook, Twitter, and snapchat recently.
I also went through and deleted over 500 photos from my instagram.
This was not some act to be dramatic or for attention or for people to seek me out and ask me what’s going on in my life.
Actually, I thought I would be able to rid myself of social media and nobody notice for a while.
Some of you may have seen somewhere/ heard somehow that I was hospitalized about 2 weeks ago for 3 days. I hate being the center of attention or feeling like I’m trying to gain pity so I planned on remaining pretty hush about the situation, but I feel as though God has told me to share. This is my current story. This is my current truth.
I won’t go into details (honestly because I’m too lazy), but on the morning of December 9th, I began not feeling well at work. That ultimately turned into my blood pressure going up and then I began showing signs of a stroke (numbness and complete immobility in my arm). I was also having tremors. A little in my arm and a lot in my left leg.
At the hospital, I was put on “stroke alert” and given all of these tests. Long story short, it wasn’t TECHNICALLY a stroke.
I apparently have a condition that causes me to get spontaneous headaches that then turn into stroke-like symptoms. Oh…and those “tremors” I was having? Actually isolated seizures caused by this condition.
I’ll be honest with you guys. It’s been physically rough on me.
I now have 3 prescriptions I have to keep on me at ALL TIMES. I have to make sure that I don’t get worked up about any situation ever because any headache can set off an episode.
I can also have an episode at any time without any warning. I had 3 last week. 1 happened in my sleep and 1 happened at work.
I have to call someone if I start feeling bad while I’m driving just in case I go into an episode and have a seizure while driving. It’s “suggested” that I leave my office door open at work in case I go into an episode. Some nights I’m afraid to sleep because now I know I can start seizing in my sleep. I also just moved and I have people questioning if I’m truly capable of living by myself.
It’s scary to know that something in your brain isn’t functioning properly. It’s scary knowing that you’re going to have to go back and visit with several neurologists in the near future for more testing. It’s just all new and unexpected…and scary.
On the other hand, I’ve found such a place of zen and peace. Since my body will not allow any stress or negativity, I have no choice but to live in light.
I’m not sharing the status of my health for pity or so that I can play the victim. I’m sharing it because, if I don’t, it is like denying who I am in this space of time. It is like living in shame and I refuse to be shamed by my truth.
I have nothing but love for everyone. I have found my peace even if it was forced upon me. Although I have come to realize that not everyone will love me the same or love me at all, I know that I cannot carry their burden.
We have to start living, y’all. Not even in the selfish way that we think that phrase means. Living is doing what we can to keep each other alive as much as we can without depleting ourselves. Living is loving each other and walking in truth.
So why did I delete my social media?
Because I found myself having a beautiful moment in life and feeling the need to share it…instead of living in that moment. By the time I checked in, snapped it, and tweeted about it, my moment was gone.
I wanted to start living. Feel free to live with me. 🙂
I know I haven’t posted in a while (work has been kicking my boo-tay), but I am back to share a poem with you all!
Lately I’ve been dealing with a lot of things with different people. Situations that have been more emotionally upsetting than anything.
I’m a pretty optimistic person. I have no serious issues with or have any ill-wishes towards anyone. I am trying to live my life in a positive manner and focus on the tasks I have at hand, but of course, situations in life factor in to how we live our daily lives.
This poem is about people having a misconception about me or only seeing what they want to see, which causes them to act a certain way towards me, even though it may be based on something that is a misunderstanding. My attempt in life is to stop altering and censoring myself out of fear of my perception to anyone that is not my God.
Hello, Goodbye (Waves)
I am an island
Not in the sense that I am alone or isolated
But this fact wages on the truth that my heart’s been weighted and what’s in me has been dated
My heart beats slow
Everlasting desires of reaching new heights that YOU required
And so I did…
You, I became your work slave
You, I became your love slave
You, I became your slave partner
Unwashed wishes of a greater tomorrow placed in deep fields of sorrow
As your approval my soul seeks to borrow
100 nods of yes and 3 shakes of no
Have me praying to let go of the chains that withhold
My lone foot wrapped in bold
…chains with no locks
You kept seeking more because I gave you so much without you ever asking
I’ve had this post in mind for weeks now, but it is honestly so raw and stripped down that I’ve hesitated to put it up. I’ve had all these things I felt as though God wanted me to share, but I had been secretly terrified to expose some of my most intimate flaws that I had spent years lying to myself about.
Anywho…to the actual post:
A few years back, I had a conversation with one of my coworkers at the time. He shared with me that he was starting his own fashion business and that it was bound to be something big.
I was so ecstatic and instantly yelled out, “I’m so happy for you! You deserve this!”
He stopped me right there.
“I hate that word ‘deserve’. That word sounds like a sense of entitlement and the world isn’t going to give you a d*mn thing. Either you EARNED it or you didn’t. I don’t deserve this. I earned it.”
That conversation has stuck with me for all of these years. I believe that what he said applies to life in general and not just work or employment.
Lately I’ve had a lot of my friends stopping and asking me if everything’s ok or if I’m doing alright. I hadn’t understood what so many people are seeing about me that seems “off” lately.
I honestly just think that I have been caught up in my own little world. Trapped in my own thoughts.
I’ve been reflecting on my life a lot lately. I’ve had a lot of things going on currently that have forced me to look back on things in life that I’ve never shared with people and how me suppressing those things have affected me today.
There have been a lot of things that I have spent years being ashamed of sharing. Things that caused me to feel like I maybe didn’t “deserve” some of the blessings that I have been receiving.
Recently I’ve been feeling compelled to share more of my story.
I used to live in denial about a lot of things.
One full story that I’ve never shared with anyone is how I secretly had a breakdown my sophomore year of college.
Keep in mind, I’ve dealt with anxiety since high school. I remember having my first panic attack in the 9th grade. I remember sitting in the back of my Pre-AP Bio class and freaking out because I didn’t know we were having a test that day (I was a stickler about my grades).
Fast forward to the Fall semester of my sophomore year in college.
It was my first college semester being single, I was living on my own, my classes starting getting more challenging, I was working 3 days a week, and I had a lot of personal things going on.
I kept lying to everyone and myself. I kept saying everything was ok and that I could handle everything. Slowly I saw myself pulling away from everyone around me. I found myself not answering my phone and staying cooped up in my apartment. I found myself alone.
I had no idea that others recognized that as well. I’m not even referring to my friends. I’m referring to my professors.
One day, I received a concerned email from one of my professors. He stated that he had seen a decrease in my work ethic and attendance and that he would not allow me back into class until I spoke with a therapist in the health center. He even CC’d my advisor in the email.
The next day, I went to the health center. After meeting with 2 therapists and a psychiatrist, I was diagnosed as severely clinically depressed. I was precribed three different prescriptions of anti-depressants.
A few people are aware of this, but what I never told anyone was that I was also told that I should be checked for the early stages of schizophrenia and was also put on a 24 hour suicide watch by the university.
I walked out of there feeling like a crazy person! I was ashamed to think that I wasn’t normal and that people would begin looking at me differently.
I eventually went back to class after being gone about 2 weeks. People would ask where I had been and if I was ok.
All I could tell anyone was that I had been “sick.” I was still lying. I’m not sure if it was for them or for me, but I still couldn’t be honest.
After that, I saw a therapist once a week for the next year and a half.
I’ve been through a lot of things in life. Private moments that I’ve never shared with anyone.
But I overcame.
Yes, there are some things that I’m still learning to speak on and be real about with people, but this right here is a huge step. Writing this right now and admitting my past is therapeutic.
I’m trying to learn how to use my words more wisely and more positively because I know some of the things that have hurt me that I have lied to myself about and let build up.
I never tell people that mention when my skin breaks out that those comments actually hurt because my acne was so bad at one point that it has always been an insecurity of mine.
I haven’t been able to openly thank people for complimenting my recent haircut yet. Not because it is out of vanity, but because it was not a haircut I chose. I went to go get my hair done last week because my hair had been coming out at the root and when I did, the stylist found a bald spot in the back of my head. Cutting off my hair again was the only way to hide the bald spot.
I don’t share that it bothers me when people make jokes about how “I don’t like to eat” because I’m skinny now. I’ve lost about 35 pounds and I’m proud of that, however, it was rough being reminded of my weight when I was overweight and it’s still rough now that I am constantly being reminded of my weight in a negative way now that I am fit.
We all have things in our lives that we are telling half truths about. We all have moments in life that we hide from even ourselves and say “it’s ok.”
I’m starting to really immerse myself in my blessings.
Why? Because I’ve EARNED it.
I’ve earned the right to a decent job. I’ve earned the right to have nice things. I’ve worked and prayed for them.
The biggest realization that I’ve had is that I’ve earned the right to have a healthy, loving relationship.
I’ve spent so much time saying “I don’t want a boyfriend”. Possibly because I had that whole insecurity about what I “deserved” in my head.
People spend their whole lives looking for something genuine. Looking for someone they can laugh with, share their emotions with, pray with, and even just relax with.
I don’t want to be the person that is so stubborn and stuck in my ways that God brings that person in my life one day and I’m sitting here saying, “No, I don’t want a relationship.” I don’t want to look up 10 years from now, wondering why I “deserve” a good man and he’s nowhere to be found when God had sent him years prior and I pushed him away.
I am open to love and being loved because I have earned it.
We have to stop lying to ourselves about things of our pasts because everything is meant to be used as a stepping stone towards where God wants you to be.
We have to stop sitting back and waiting on the things we believe that we “deserve” to come to us. We must live in the life that we have EARNED.
Stay blessed, lovers.
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I’m convinced that I have the world’s craziest cat.
I have scars all over my arms and hands from her flipping out and attacking me at random times.
I used to always try to fight her back. Try picking her up and tossing her across the bed and running off. However, all that did was make her want to attack me more. She would chase after me and wrap herself around my ankles.
I hate cats. I always have.
Yet and still, 10 years later, she’s still here…curling up to me at night…sometimes laying on top of the scars that she forgot she created.
That’s what life is like to me.
It’s moments of intense pain, but also moments of tenderness and love that make you not dwell on the pain so much.
We all go through hard times. We all suffer in some aspect at some point in time.
We can either live in that negative moment or fear of a moment like that again or we can accept that moment for what it was and learn from the lesson within it.
There is always a blessing in the storm.
I’ve always been a huge hippie. Everyone knows this.
I’m always about peace, happiness, and self-awareness. I try to teach myself to live in light and love.
I’m now starting to realize more and more that at some point I allowed my light to be dimmed. That positive, upbeat hippie mentality that I had developed got lost along my journey of discovering myself.
I’ve always had this crazy obsession with elephants. I use to have a lot of elephant jewelry and trinkets with elephants on them (once I got to college I didn’t discuss my love as much because I did not want people to think I was attempting to be Greek-affiliated).
My love for elephants stemmed from my childhood though. It was oddly enough from a story that my pastor told in church when I was in the 6th grade. It was not a story of an elephant who triumphed or did something gracious.
He told us a story about how they would train elephants in the zoo.
He shared that when elephants were young, zookeepers would put a chain around the ankle of the elephant. This way, when the animal would try to roam off, he would only be able to get so far before the chain would pull him back and keep him from going elsewhere.
As the elephant would get older, he would become more and more used to the bounds of that chain and more and more aware that there were limitations on how far he could go.
In turn, when the elephant had fully grown up, they would take the chain off of the ankle of the elephant.
I remember being a kid and always lighting up at this part. Finally, the elephant was free!
But that was not the case. The chain would come off, but the elephant had known nothing but the boundaries forced upon him for so long that he still would stay within that same area, afraid to go any further because he thought he would get stopped by the chains that weren’t even there anymore.
I fell in love with elephants out of sadness. I fell in love with them out of pity.
I fell in love because I was scared to be that very thing. A person who looked out and only saw the places that I would never be able to reach because chains had been wrapped around my ankle years prior.
Stop living your life inside of a box.
Yes, life is hard sometimes, but you can’t let that negative thing that happened wrap itself around your leg and latch on.
I miss always finding the happiness in a sad situation.
Very painful things have happened to me in life. People told me that I should be angry. People told me that I should be hurt. People said it was only natural to act out a little. People said I had the right to get upset and show it to the world.
That is not really me though. It’s become too much of a burden to carry.
This weekend I had to let go of old friendships that were causing too much heaviness on my heart. I had to send out some of the most painful messages I’ve ever written in my life. I counteracted that pain by then sending out a few “thank you” messages.
We should learn from our pain. Not dwell in it.
Find your peace. Find that moment that cuddles up at your feet at night, covering your scars from the previous day.
I remember how the ages of 21 and 22 were all about how many guys were texting me and asking me out and telling me how beautiful I was.
Those were the ages when I built a lot of my self-confidence off of how many men desired me.
Every since I can remember, my mom has joked with me about how guys “fall over me” (this is not said to be cocky, but to just be real) and how I’ve always been so smug and nonchalant towards the opposite sex doing so.
It was not because I was arrogant or self-centered. It was because I knew I possessed a lot of qualities that males wanted.
I’ve always been the type of girl that guys look at and see “relationship”. Never casual dating. Never side chick.
This sounds great in theory, but it also worked to my disadvantage in several of my past relationships.
I have always been told I’d make “the perfect wife” or that I am “the perfect girlfriend”.
The negative side of those ideas and beliefs was that being with me forced guys to think about the future and settling down with one person, which none of them were ready to do at the time.
In my very early twenties, I was not able to understand how I was so “perfect”, but still alone.
Now, let’s be real here. I come from a family of all women. ATTRACTIVE WOMEN.
I’ve always been the quiet one of the group…BUT…I am my mother’s daughter therefore I know how to play the game better than most men out there. So that’s what I did.
I began treating men like commodities. Always replaceable. Always able to be moved around as needed like game pieces.
I can’t even lie and say that I was miserable at the time because I wasn’t. I always had somebody to text. I always had somebody to hang out with. I always had somebody to compliment me and boost my ego everyday.
But now, after growing so much in Christ and really learning myself, I found that I was doing all of that out of fear. I was afraid to be left alone.
Despite always being told how pretty I was growing up or how gorgeous my hair was (I had really long hair most of my life), I always struggled with my confidence.
I loved having people constantly boost me back then because I was feeding off of those reminders.
I’ve always had a strong relationship with Christ, but I have really IMMERSED myself in Him lately (I even took out my nose ring. *gasps*).
In doing this, I am able to look at my past self, in relation to my heart, and realize how foolish and immature I was.
Last night, I went to a party in Ft Worth. I did a little very light flirting, but for the most part, I kept to myself and I was perfectly happy with that. I did not feel the need to walk in and have every guy talk to me.
For the more mature Shelby that I am now, simply knowing that I could have a lot of guys approach me makes me feel way more sexier and attractive than actually having to interact with every guy and exchange information.
I am genuinely dedicated to focusing on myself. We all say it from time to time, but are we actually doing it?
I realized before that I was still guilty of leading guys on and still spending too much time talking to guys I knew I was not trying to be anything more than friends with.
Recently, a male friend and I had a conversation about being friends with people of the opposite sex and them “catching feelings”.
He said, “If I tell a female the truth about not wanting a relationship right now and she stays around anyway, that’s on her.”
Initially, I agreed with this statement.
But as I have started planting seeds in church for God to bring me healthy and stable relationships, I feel as though He has convicted me of the unhealthy relationships that I have placed on other people.
I realized that it is not completely on that person to walk away. If they really do have feelings for you, it is challenge enough to let go. Especially if you are spending time with them, texting them, and flirting with them, how can you expect them to walk away?
That is why I have taken it upon myself to clarify situations with people. I have not been 100% straightforward with every male that has expressed interest in me and that is my fault that they are still around with hope.
Maturity of the heart requires a conscience. It requires us to not only recognize our worth and when it’s time to walk away from certain people, but it also requires us to ensure that we are not doing anything to anyone that we would not want done to ourselves.
When you first started learning to drive, did someone ever tell you, “Always stay alert because you’re not only driving for you, you’re driving for other people.”
It is the same with emotions. Be careful because you not only have to worry about protecting your own heart, but you are responsible for the protection of other people’s hearts in regards to you.
If you want to be in a relationship, put yourself out there and do things that would be steps toward a relationship. If that’s not what you want, then don’t do the same things you would do if you were “talking” to someone.
I’ve made the mistake of letting guys treat me like their girlfriend only when it was convenient for them and it is not a good feeling.
Know your worth (both males and females).
I feel as though within the recent weeks, God has held a huge mirror up to me so that I could see myself and my life.
Do I think that I am just the hottest thing out in the world? No.
However, after studying myself, I see that my value is out of this world.
I am a woman of faith, substance, beauty, intelligence and I have a will to better the world, yet I’m able to be down to earth and joke with just about anyone about anything.
Like I said before, I don’t think that I am just the ultimate pinnacle of womanhood, but I honestly do believe that I deserve the best that life has to offer.
Although I may not fully understand all of the guys from the past (boyfriends or not) that have said I am/ would make “the perfect girlfriend” and then isolated me for someone less, I have grown enough to recognize that this happens sometimes because we get into our comfort zones and would rather settle for someone who will not force us to be better or demand us to be more than what we currently are.
We can no longer be afraid of something incredible.
If you know me, you know that I am goofy and I clown as much as the next person, but at the same time, I’m now looking for something different.
I am single and truly embracing getting to know ME because I am figuring out what specifically what I want and what God wants me to have.
We should all be looking for someone whose top priority in the relationship is challenging us to do more for God and develop as a person. I want someone who, not only acknowledges what he has, but will not do anything stupid to mess it up or so frivolously let something so “perfect” go.
Decide what you want, ask God to help you grow and mature into that, but also, until you get what you desire, KEEP. YOUR. HEART.
Most people know that I am a very private person, so this will probably be one of my most revealing and personal posts to date.
In case you hadn’t noticed or haven’t read my last couple of blog posts, I’ve been talking a lot about improving myself and doing what I can to better myself.
It has been a long, emotional road to say the least.
Over the last several months, I’ve had at least 3 of my students come to me, nervous and saddened, saying that they have had dreams that I died.
Once again, this post will be personal and full of moments and memories that you may not understand and things that I have never shared with anyone.
I can recall growing up and hearing stories from my mom and both sisters that they all, at some point in my lifetime, had dreams that I had passed away as well.
Could you imagine hearing about a dream from a family member that you were trapped in a burning building and everyone but you got out?
That’s why I try to make the most of my life. That’s why I know that every day that I have here is something special and a true gift from God.
About a week ago, I woke up shaking and afraid. I had just woken up from a nightmare that I had a seizure in my sleep and died. Mind you, this is all of 2 weeks after another one of my students came to me saying they had another dream I died.
What’s even scarier about all of these nocturnal events? 2 days after my dream, I ended up in the hospital.
As I have said before, many people know I am a very private individual.
Some of my best friends did not even know I was in the hospital in 2011 for pretty much the same issue.
This time, however, was a bit worse. When you’re sitting there, barely able to move, looking at an IV in your arm, it is definitely an eye-opener.
I had time to reflect on everything. I thought about friendships, I thought about my choices in life, I thought about who I am trying to be.
I died in my sleep and 2 days later I was in the hospital.
I do not believe in coincidences. I believe in God. I believe in His divine plan for my life.
I caught myself, sitting in the ER, checking up on my other friends who I knew were going through things instead of focusing on myself. Some of those friends that have yet to contact me first to check on me since I’ve been out of the hospital, but that’s besides the point. *sips tea*
The day after I was in the ER, it happened again.
Another dream that I had died in my sleep, except this one was different.
There were two of me this time. I was laying in bed, looking at myself. Same clothes, same everything.
I was in pain before I went to sleep; pain that I could still feel in my dream.
Only one of me survived the pain though. The other one died and I watched everyone prepare for her funeral.
A funeral that I, myself, didn’t even attend.
I woke up a bit panicked and confused.
“Okay, God. What are you trying to tell me?”
Another personal revelation: I interpret dreams (as if you didn’t think I was a big enough hippie).
I prayed to God for clarity. I did not understand how I can tell everyone else what their dreams meant, but I couldn’t figure out my own.
And then it came to me…
I remembered my pastor always saying, “You have to die to self.”
I never truly understood that until now. You have to let go of the earthly you and get back to the true spirit that God has placed in you.
Me dying in my dreams was not a sign of my literal death, but the impending death of the me that I no longer wanted to be.
It was a sign that my true commitment to God is being noticed and that soon everyone will view me as a new person.
I am shredding the old me and my old ways. It is a signal that once the old me is gone, that Shelby cannot come back.
I do not have a lot of friends, so I spend a lot of time by myself.
The good thing about this? I have a lot of time to focus on my relationship with God and I’ve grown so much spiritually.
I’ve learned how to no longer be the crutch for people. I usually tend to put everyone before myself and it’s a completely unhealthy quality of mine.
As I’ve said before, if you give your everything to everyone else, without receiving anything in return, you’re then left with nothing, while they’ve gained everything.
We have to learn how to willingly let ourselves go and submit ourselves to Him in order to be greater.
I’m not saying that we all have to be perfect, but I’m saying that we should all be willing to do what we can to help develop ourselves and those around us. This way, we can build stable foundations internally and help bring up future generations that know their worth.
Yesterday was my last day working at the apartment complex. It was my last day working with the children that I care so much about.
Many people do not know the troubles that I had been having at work. Basically, it got to the point where, after I announced that I got a new job, pretty much everyone completely stopped speaking to me. I even came in yesterday to find my desk had been moved and my office had been swapped. My drawers had even been cleared out and nobody had even asked if I was doing ok health-wise (they all knew I had been in the hospital).
I say this, not to gain pity, but to juxtapose the actions of the children. My children all told me how much they missed me and all told me how much they wanted me to stay. They asked where my new job would be because they all wanted to follow me. They all said they were going to wrap around my legs and hang on to my car so I couldn’t leave.
The old Shelby would have focused on the negativity of the office, but this “new” Shelby, this “dead-to-self” Shelby, she focused on the love and positive energy from the children.
After I left the hospital the other day, I stopped by Target to go get my prescriptions. A woman stopped me in the parking lot on my way out. She instantly tells me, “I can tell you have such a beautiful spirit. I just had to stop you and tell you that I see so many positive things coming up in your future. I’m a psychic and people usually pay me to do readings for them, but I just had to stop and say something to you. Something about you just stands out.”
That right there was confirmation for me that, as long as I let my light shine, no matter how much darkness attempts to surround me, it only helps my God-given light to stand out more.
P.S. I would love to give a HUGE shout out to my readers all over the world! I have readers in 24 different countries!! I am so blessed that you all are sticking with me and actually care what I have to say! I LOVE YOU ALL!!