Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Discovery Period - Part 3

We have reached the final installment of this blog series.  I've never done a blog series before.  I heard that it was a lot easier to do a few small posts than to try to do a dissertation.  Here's to another first in The Plus Diaries.  Wow, 2016 hasn't been too bad for this blog and I am looking forward to 2017.  But, let's continue as to why I've gathered you all here.  

I am definitely going through some early end of year and super early birthday changes.  If you have missed anything, let me catch you up - this blog is growing, I'm making changes to my social media, #TPDchat is coming to a screen near you soon, new Facebook page arrives on January 1, I'm in a relationship, and I have never been closer to my parents than I am right now.  Two posts, one long sentence.  Without further ado, let's dive into part three.  


The scariest part of this period is the fact that I can actually see it happening.  I can't remember a time in my life when I was changing and I could see it so vividly.  Everything has always been so subtle, but right now it's front and center!  The hardest part I'm going through right now is my transition to find a new church home.  Hard?  Yes.  Very hard.  I've met so many wonderful people there and it actually hurts to leave a place that did so much for me in a time when I felt like I was at the very bottom.  No, I'm not talking about them giving me any type of money.  I'm talking about them giving me something money cannot buy - the tools I needed to keep my head about the water when I feel like I'm drowning.  

I wrote earlier that I was not ready to tell you what I was looking for in a church.  However, now, I feel this moment and this post is a better place to explain myself.  Growing up, I attended a traditional church.  Nothing fancy by any means, but it was just certain things I enjoyed.  I liked the fact babies were dedicated because you grow up learning that you must raise your children right.  That baby dedication, to me, is a covenant between the parents and God to do just that.  I grew up having communion every first Sunday.  I grew up in a church where marriage counseling was happening (and still happening).  As I get older and I look to more adult things, I see those traditions meaning a lot more to me and I need to be at a place where those things are carried out.  

Another scary thing - I know I'm losing friends.  Truthfully, I know I'm losing friends because of this blog.  I've been asked why do you write so much or would you really call your blog work.  Well, I write so much because I want to and yes, I call it work.  It's hard work.  These posts don't write themselves and these graphics, I'm still learning how to make them perfect for what I'm trying to convey and the vibe I want people to feel.  Photos?  I can't even begin to tell you how long it takes to edit a photo or look for a stock photo because it just has to be perfect.  If you had started a blog, a business, or even reading a book, wouldn't you see it through to the end and put in the work for that to happen?  If you answered yes, well, I think you understand.  If you answered no, what could you have accomplished but not willing to put in the work to make it happen?  Friends - true friends - accept every aspect of you, even those parts that are absolutely weird and ridiculous and seem to be working all the time.  True friends allow you to shine during your greatest moments.  They also allow you to sulk when the day hasn't been so great.  Find those friends.  Believe me, they are few and far between.  

But remember this one thing - do not confuse friends with associates.  In my opinion, associates are there to take from you.  They take your energy, they take your happiness, and they take until you have nothing left to give them.  Once you are of no use to them, they are gone.  However, after they are gone, they've used you up to the point you have nothing to give yourself.  That's a tragedy.  Those people, keep them at a safe distance.  Keep them just close enough that you can keep an eye on them because you need to be able to see them coming.  

Finally, I'm trying new things!  This part is exciting for me because new things bring new opportunities to be epic.  If you are following me on Instagram, you have seen a lot more makeup photos, #ootd (outfit of the day) photos, and selfies in general.  Why?  Well, I can't just hide behind the computer screen and only let you see me after a photo shoot.  I'm human and most days, I'm not getting up early enough to wear makeup.  I'll always have something on my lips, even if it is just a moisturizing balm or a gloss.  However, don't be surprised if some blue lip color shows up on your feed soon!  

You see me with a naked face more times than you see me with a full face.  As for natural, you also get to see my natural hair journey and how many twists and bantu knots I have to put in my hair to achieve certain looks.  Oh, it's not cute at all during the twisting stage, but the final results are awesome.   

I think I'm taking new risks.  Although people find it very hard to believe, I am an introvert.  I am highly selective about places I go and people I am around.  Honestly, I can be at a friend's house and if the vibe changes to something I'm not cool with, I'm leaving.  It's just that simple.  My introvertedness (yup, made that all the way up) is part of what makes me who I am and I am perfectly fine with it.  However, I am stepping out of my comfortable box and making an effort to go out more, but there is nothing like peace, quiet, and knowing I am in the same space as my memory foam mattress on my beautiful queen-size bed (that I basically hijacked from my parents).


Well, there you have it!  It's a weird time, but I'm having a blast.  This purge (yep, I call it that) has come a lot earlier than normal, but I'm cool with that.  It's not like I can control the time or anything.  I ask you, if you feel like your life is changing, don't try to stop it.  Instead, go along for the ride and see where it leads.  Who knows, you might end up in another city, with a new job, or with the chance to travel the world.  Whatever it is, embrace it and enjoy the journey.  As you enjoy the journey, remember key parts because one day, someone is going to need your help and you get to tell them all about your experience navigating this life.  It's not like we go through what we go through to not help the next generation. 

What new adventures have you taken so far this year and how have they changed you? 

Now, I will end this post the way the show Heartbeat ended one night.  Although it only lasted one season, I did learn some powerful lessons and that was enough for me.    


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Discovery Period - Part 2

Well, we've already discussed the discovery period I'm having in my blog.  If you need an update, here we go - The Plus Diaries are changing, you will start seeing the hashtag #TPD, a new Facebook page is coming, and #TPDchat starts in January.  I think we covered it.  Now, let's move on to the other part of my life that is evolving - my life in general!  



I'll be the first one to admit my life is absolutely crazy sometimes.  Whether I'm coming or going or anything in between, it can be a weird thing.  But, I accept all the twists and turns (even when I do it with my resting brat face).  The most intriguing thing about my life right now is my relationship.  

No, my relationship isn't crazy or anything.  I think the fact that I'm in a relationship can seem strange to some people.  It wasn't that long ago I was calling love EVOL.  I had been so hurt and so messed over (that's another blog for another day) that I didn't even want to be in a relationship.  Honestly, I had prepped myself to be alone because it had to be easier than getting hurt.  →Sidebar: God has a interesting sense of humor because he sent me the person I wanted, just not in the way I expected.←  I've been in a relationship for almost as long as I have had this blog and if I can offer one piece of advice it would be this (whether you agree with it or not) - you have to think like a unit.  If you are not in the relationship thinking long-term, then what are you doing?  I'm too old for hookups, one night stands, and whatever fleeting feeling that can be had.  I need something solid and long term and we're working towards something for life.  Will it work out?  Only time will tell.  But I can tell you this - I didn't go into it looking for something that was only going to last a few months.  Also, relationships take time...and I'm just going to leave it there.  Remember that whole privacy thing I mentioned before?  Yep, my relationship is off limits! 

I have an awesome family.  When I say family, I mean I have awesome parents.  I think I've mentioned I'm an only child before, but if you didn't know that, now you do.  Before you start thinking she's spoiled, let me go ahead and make something very clear.  My parents were never nor are they afraid to say the word "NO" or any variation thereof.  In fact, when I had to ask my parentals for help this year, they knew I really needed it because that's not something I do.  If I'm asking, they know it's urgent and they usually add a little bit more because they know I only ask for the bare minimum.  In fact, my dad offered to drive the two hours it takes for us to get to each other to bring me the money.  He knew it was serious.  My parents are truly wonderful.  In fact, I would argue that this is the closest we have ever been.  

There comes a point when you find a balance of I respect you as my parents, but I'm an adult too and you'll always be my baby, but you have grown up.  Once all parties get there, things start to go a lot smoother.  Then there are my cousins.  

This is when you are probably expecting me to spill the tea and tell you who beat me up, who watched, and who laughed when I was younger.  This is not the time or the place.  What I will say is this - there are some relationships that are ripped and some bridges that have been burned.  When I'm ready, I'll let them back into my life like it once was before the rift.  However, I will also let you know that I will keep them at a safe distance, if need be.  



This brings us to the end the second part of my discovery period.  Part 3 will arrive shorty...and by shortly, I mean tomorrow.  

We all know family can be a chore.  Don't even act like it's all rainbows and butterflies at every family gathering.  How do you deal with your family when the family drama starts?  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Discovery Period - Part 1

I feel like I am going through a very interesting season in my life right now.  Life is shifting, relationships are changing, and the year is coming to an end.  I know I typically go through end of year changes (we all do), but my major changes usually come around my birthday.  I decide who is going to remain in my life.  I decide who is going to remain in my circle, but at a distance.  I decide what family members get their branch cut (just a bit of a joke I have with my mom, but it's true).  I also make an effort to see how I can improve at life because I am definitely not where I need to be.  I know that.  I own that.  I am woman enough to admit that.  It's just right now, I'm really feeling some type of way about what I am experiencing because to me, it's too early for this to be happening.  However, because I know my faith, I know that His timing is always perfect.  

So, as I go through this period of discovery, I'm at least happy I was able to realize it.  It hasn't freaked me out or anything, but it has made me take a better look at the things happening around me and to me.  Honestly, these changes I'm experiencing have even effected my blog posts because I have some rather interesting things on my mind.  At least, I think they are interesting to me.  However those interesting things have brought on some positive changes.  



Let's just start off with the obvious change that you have been able to see recently - my blog!  Saturday, I spent an extensive amount of time making some changes to my blog and making it fit more of what I wanted it to feel like.  The most obvious change is the new heading...even though it will probably change just because I like to keep you on your toes.  I also changed my sidebars a great bit because I just wanted to have a better flow.  I hope you, my wonderful readers, like the changes I've made to the blog page itself.  If I can make it easier to navigate and it not seem as cluttered, I am really happy about that.  

Other than those obvious changes (because they are happening on the page you're looking at right now), there are some really great things happening behind the scenes.  I know I've told you about a few because they are part of the umbrella, but I feel like I can share a little bit more right now.  

As you know, I have a love - hate relationship with Facebook.  In my opinion, that has turned into the social media site that is strictly to be nosey.  In my private life, I like to keep a low profile, so you won't see me posting a lot.  However, I am smart enough to recognize that if I use Facebook in the right way, I can have another blogger community on there.  For this reason, the new Facebook page for The Plus Diaries is currently being completed.  I'm working on the graphics and learning a lot at the same time.  I've taken suggestions from a Facebook group I was invited to join and I think it is making life a bit simple because there have been so many wonderful ideas.  The page will be available December 1 and have a few things on it.  However, it will be official on January 1.  My old Facebook page dedicated to this blog will be available until January 31.  

Another change coming soon - I've been using #ThePlusDiaries as my hashtag.  It's the name of this blog, but it is a bit long to keep using as a hashtag.  So, you will start seeing me use #TPD more often simply because it is shorter and it gives me a bit more space on Twitter.  I mean, I only have 140 characters to work with, so I need to use them wisely.  But that also brings me to something I am so excited to introduce in 2017...

I love participating in tweetchats.  I've been doing it for years because I use to participate in #HautiesTalk with Manik Mag.  You probably wonder why I mention them so much so let me go ahead and tell you.  I used to write for the online publication and it gave me the confidence I needed to go on and develop my blog into what you are seeing now.  I will be forever grateful to them for the opportunity.  But let me get back to my news - starting in January 2017, #TPDchat will start!  Yes, I've done a few impromptu chats to see what times had the most traffic and I've been paying attention to the times of the chats I participate in myself because I don't want to not get to enjoy them.  Yes, I've already decided on days and times, but you will have to be on the lookout on my social media sites.  Today, I started working on the graphics so I can post them in the upcoming weeks.  Let me just stop right there before I get a little too excited and tell too much.  

With all these changes in my blog, it means one thing - The Plus Diaries have been growing!  For instance, I had a rather big weekend for my blog.  Not really sure why, other than the fact I was promoting it like crazy and I did three tweetchats.  To get support, you have to give support.  The major thing that grew this year was the number of times I blogged.  I have blogged more in 2016 than I have blogged in the past three years of the existence of this blog.  It was a proud moment for me to post my 100th blog post of the year.  Now, I probably won't blog that much next year because I want to get myself on somewhat of a schedule.  However, if the inspiration comes, I will blog until my heart's content.  As this blog grows, that means my social media game has to step up.  

I'm trying really hard to be more visible on Instagram.  It's basically my life in photos, so I guess you want to see who is doing all this writing.  Of course, I'm always on Twitter.  We've already talked about my changes to Facebook.  But, another place I am going to try to do better is on Periscope.  I have discovered that sometimes, I want to tell you about something, but I don't really want to blog about it.  For instance, I had something happening over the weekend I really wanted to share with you, but this place just wasn't the place for it.  Also, had I really been thinking about it, I would have shown you my neighbors party before the police showed up...I digress.  

Basically, I want to use my social media so you can get to know me!  I'm more than the words you read on your screens and I hope to share more of that side of my life with you.  However, I will keep a level an confidentiality when it comes to certain areas of my life.  Just because I'm showing you my life doesn't mean you get to see everything that happens in it.  Plus, I suspect you really don't want to see every little thing about my life anyway because it will eventually get boring to you.  

Here's one thing that will continue though - I will keep live tweeting my TV shows.  Unless something really urgent happens, you know I am going to be tweeting #TGIT!  I do my best to not miss that!  Also, I have a new TV love by the name of This Is Us.  Although I cannot live tweet because we are all watching it at different times, but when I binge watch TV shows on Netflix, you will know about it.  I probably tore up a lot of nerves tweeting about The Crown because it is a Netflix original, but it was an awesome show.  I watched the first season in two days.  Binge watching at it's best!  



Well, this is where we're going to take a break.  This completes the first part of my Discovery Period.  Don't worry, parts 2 and 3 will come very soon.  

So, with the extra thing you are doing in your life (whether it is your regular job, a side gig, or something else), how has it changed over the past year?  




Sunday, November 20, 2016

Wet Eyes

I woke up at 5:30am today and I hit the ground running.  I was so productive and I was so happy because of my productivity.  However, during one of my store adventures, something stopped me dead in my tracks.  Like, if I would have been driving, I would have slammed on breaks and left tire tracks in the road.


  
I was checking out at one of the places I went to this morning and the sweet lady who checked me out asked, "Are you Christmas shopping"?  I told her I wasn't just yet, but I had made my list and just scoping things to buy for the people on it.  The next thing she said to me, although wasn't bad at all, just shocked me.  In her sweet and cheerful voice she said, "well, just wanted to let you know we have toys on sale".  I simply told her thank you for the information and she continued with checking me out.  

I was sort of thrown off because I have no ring on my finger, but I do accept the fact that I'm of childbearing age (actually, I feel like I'm heading towards the outside edge of childbearing age).  However, I think I felt some type of way about her making that assumption about me.  I wasn't mad, it was just yet another reminder of the child I delivered, but never got to bring home.  


I wholeheartedly admit the holiday season is still tough for me when it comes to the loss of my son, even though it happened over a decade ago.  I still look at the Christmas bibs and wonder what he would have looked like in them.  I pass by all the Santas and wonder if he would have been scared of him or if he would have actually smiled in his photo.  I wonder what it would be like to have the high chair at the table during Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  I think about if my parents would have gone back to having a live tree full of all the decorations he would have made in school.  I wonder how overboard I would go with Christmas shopping just for him to love the box it came in even better.  Truth be told, I'm surprised I didn't just start bawling while I was checking out, but I somehow managed to keep it all together.  And my biggest surprise of the day is that I never even cried.  I teared up a little bit writing this post, but my face wasn't wet.  

I know she was doing her job, but you have to be so careful what you say to people.  Not  because people are so sensitive, but because some people have really gone through horrible experiences.  I'm not saying walk on eggshells, but just think for a moment.  I don't know what else she could have told me to ease the pain, but maybe that is why I didn't lose it because I knew she meant no harm.  On the other hand, maybe I've gotten this bit of madness out of the way so I can fully enjoy my holiday season.  Everything happens for a reason, right?  

Photo via Visualhunt 
Photo via Visual Hunt

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Faithfully

Disclaimer:  I have to talk about my faith right now.  I'm a Christian.  I totally understand if you do not wish to continue with this post, but it's my truth to write.



I'm getting ready to say something that some people have a hard time saying, let alone admitting.  My faith has taken a hit over the past few months. So, I've been going to church.  I've been enjoying time with my small group.  But that's just it - I shouldn't just be going and enjoying.  I should be all in and more involved.  I'm not just there right now. 

I can sit up here and easily tell you, I've been busy.  My job went through a drastic change and hopefully, it will easy up in the next couple of months.  I do this blog - and blogging is time consuming.  I'm trying to take care of my umbrella, but even that is getting ready to get reduced.  Then I'm on this fitness thing and I do my best to make time to workout.  I've been meal planning and that is also time consuming.  

It's been a few months that I can actually tell you I enjoyed the church service.  When I brought my mom to church with me July, I wanted to be all in during the service and I just wasn't.  I really wanted her to see me excited, but that wasn't the case.  If you want the honest truth about it, I was more excited about my dress I had on that day.  Seriously, I can still tell you which Old Navy original it was. 

So, you're probably thinking "you should just be enjoying the word".  Well, for me, church is a lot more than that.  The music puts me in the mood to worship.  I hear my worship music while I'm driving, but a lot can happen in between the car, the parking lot, and the front door of the church.  I expect to hear music to get me in the spirit of receiving.  For me, it just hasn't been happening lately.  Then, let's talk about the message itself.  I love how the message is in the same series for a few weeks.  Quite frankly, it makes it easier to follow.  However, when I'm not really connecting with the person delivering the message, it really doesn't help me.  I hate to say it, but it doesn't.


Let's get to what I think is the meat of this problem - tradition.  My life two years ago is a lot different than what it is today.  My mindset is different.  My dreams are different.  My place in this world is different.  What I worry about today is not the same as what it was two years ago.  Without telling what is on my mind (simply because I'm not ready to talk about it yet), you just have to understand that I'm looking for something that my current place of worship cannot give me.  It's not the leaders' fault, it's just some of the practices of the church is not what I'm looking for or apparently needing right now.  

I went to another church on Sunday.  I plan on visiting another one next Sunday.  My prayer and hope is to be in a church home the first sunday of 2017.  Like, I may not be joining that day, but I want to be somewhere where I can say this is it and know it without a shadow of a doubt.  

Seriously, 2017 is already starting off strange and it's still 2016.  I'm ok with that though.  I'm not saying new year, new me.  I'm saying new year - let's see what I can get accomplished?  I would love to knock off be rooted in a church off my list next year, but time will tell.  



I know we don't talk about this often, but I really had to get it off my chest.  Here's to hoping

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

(Y)ou (O)nly (G)ive (A)ll

I guess last night was a big night for me.  I had made up in my mind before I even went to work yesterday morning that I was going to work out.  Honestly, I had made up my mind Sunday what I was going to do because I had already prepared my living room.  However, it wasn't until yesterday morning that I had this idea.  

Let's go ahead and get this out of the way, I truly adore Jessamyn.  I don't know her personally, but I respect her photos and I truly respect her because she is so body positive when it comes to doing yoga.  I see her photos and to me, she is so brave to show off her plus yoga body.  In my eyes, she's crazy flexible and she is yoga goals, as far as I'm concerned.  

Well, yesterday, I decided to pick up yoga again!  I use an exclimation point because I'm really excited.  When I lived in Charlotte, I was practicing yoga three times a week.  It was just what I did and it had turned into a pretty awesome lifestyle.  Other than being flexible, I felt like I had a balance about myself and I had breathing techniques to fall back on anytime I felt stressed.  Keep in mind my stress level was different because I was working three part-time jobs and going to college full-time.  It was a fun, weird, and exciting time in my life, but yoga helped to keep me grounded and stable.  

I popped in my video and I started.  By the time I finished, I felt like I had been going for an hour, even though the TV class only lasted twenty minutes.  I was sore because I was using muscles that I hadn't for a very long time, but I also felt accomplished for two reasons.  The first one is simple - I started doing yoga again.  The next reason though...well, for me, it's a bit more complex.  

It's not secret this blog is about my life as a plus diva.  Even when I get down to the size I want to be, in the United States, I will still be considered plus.  Don't worry, this blog will never get to be called The Skinny Diaries or any variation there of.  I admit I still have body issues.  Believe me, it's no big secret.  I have my days where I feel perfect and then I have my days where I wish I was in another body.  That's just how life goes.  But yesterday, I took a GIANT step out of my comfort zone (and decided to continue with the trend today).  I decided to work out in my unmentionables.  For my 90s peeps who had the blessing of being able to watch Family Matters, you know what I mean.  But just so I can get everyone on the same page let me translate - I decided to work out in my underwear.  


Yep, I did yoga yesterday and I did another work out today in my boyshorts and a bra.  Actually, I enjoyed it.  I was in the comfort of my own home, so I could.  Plus, since I make an effort to look at myself to make sure I'm in the correct yoga position, it was actually quite helpful.  Now, don't expect to see any photos of me in my boyshorts and bra anytime soon (or maybe even ever), but just know that this is what I'm doing.  Why?  

The fact of the matter is, this is my body.  There's just a ltitle bit more of it than what people would like to see.  I have rolls, lumps, crevices, dimples, stretch marks, moles, and scars.  I have even been bold enough to describe myself as an elephant when I sit (which is why you hardly ever see photos of me sitting).  I know what I look like and an elephant is what I decided to go with.  So, since I already know what I look like and have to look at it every single day when I get out of the shower, why not be free in my own home?

I don't know, maybe I will reach my yoga goals and my workout goals and want to share with you on my Instagram.  But for right now, just take my word for it and maybe I'll keep doing this.  Hey, I'm supposed to give my all during workouts anyway, right?  

What do you do that you consider brave when it comes to your body?    

Photo credit: Andrew Kalat via Visual hunt / CC BY-ND 
Photo via Visualhunt 
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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Clean, Clear, Control

The past two weeks of my life have been so different.  The first week, I was out of town and enjoyed a beautiful vacation at the beach.  That time alone also gave me plenty of time to do some thinking and believe me, I really needed it.  This second week, I believe all the thinking I did forced me to make some decisions.  Well, maybe all that thinking made me look at the bigger picture and see some things for what they were.  From there, I was able to make some wonderful decisions! 

Each year around my birthday, I take a good look at my life.  I take stock of the things I've done the past year of my existence.  I look at the people around me who have taken far more than they have given.  I look at the people who said they were listening, but were only gaining ammunition.  I also take a look at the humans in my life who turn on me for the smallest things, when I have tollerated so much more from them.  But it isn't just people who get a second look.  All the nouns get a second look.  

I admit there are some places that no longer need my attendance and I will no longer be there.  There are also some things that no longer need my attention and I will be moving away from those as well.  For some reason, I'm having a harder time than expected when it comes to this because I let myself get attached.  However, I know it is time to make a change and a move is in order.  

The first part of this move towards better health starts tomorrow.  Health?  Yes, this is all for the betterment of my health.  I have my mental health, physical health, and spiritual health that all need attention right now.  However, I feel as if I can get my spiritual health back in line, I will be okay.  Unfortunately, that means letting some of the nouns go.  That's for another post, but I feel like I will be able to explain a lot better in the next few weeks.  Who knows, you might even see some photos on my Instagram page starting this week.  
So far, I'm happy about the decisions I've made.  I'm even more excited that my eyes have been opened just a bit more.  For my mental health, not only will I continue to take my anxiety medications, but I plan on working out more (which is also great for my physical health), and I plan on picking back up yoga.  I will also do my absolute best to pick back up meditation before bedtime. 

I'm looking forward to the change I'm getting ready to make.  Well, I'm excited about the changes I'm getting ready to make.  Right now, I'm just looking for ways to make things better.  I'm looking for ways to constantly enjoy life.  I'm looking for ways to keep my sanity, even when it feels like everyone around me is trying to make things so hard for me.  It's just time for a change and if that means purging a few months early, then that is what I shall do. 


Photo via VisualHunt.com
Photo credit: kennymatic via Visual hunt / CC BY
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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The vote is in...

Well, it's Election Day in the United States of America (aka USA).  Kids enjoyed a day out of school, some employees enjoyed a few hours off to go vote, and if you are like me, you're a nervous wreck waiting for these results...more so than any of the other times we've voted in the 2000s.  I didn't come here tonight to talk about politics.  If you look at my Twitter, I've already told you that I don't do politics and I know when to stay in my lane.  However, I do come to you tonight to talk about one giant thing - voting.  

Earlier this year, the WORLD watched as Brexit happened.  Not sure what that is?  Go look it up because I'm not going to tell you here.  I would like to use that as a learning experience.  People did not like it when it happened.  Heck, some of the people who voted for Brexit had voter regret.  But guess what?  They at least voted!!!

I gladly supported EVERYONE who voted today.  If I follow you on Instagram and I saw your "I voted" sticker, I liked your photo.  I'm sure I didn't catch everyone, but I liked all that I saw.  (Just so you know, you didn't see me post mine today because I voted 2 weeks ago, but it's on there before all the beach pics).  I didn't care if the hashtag was #ImWithHer or #Trump.  I was just happy to see people doing what they have the right (and for some the privilege of doing), voting!  

We cannot complain if we do not vote.  Just because our candidate didn't win or just because an issue we were really wanting didn't pass, it doesn't mean that we didn't do our part.  If anything, it may help you want to be involved a little bit more.  Again, I do NOT do politics.  I will go to a few meetings and events, if and only if invited.  However, just because you don't see me out voicing my opinion doesn't mean that I do not have one.  

There are some things in my life I choose to keep private.  My vote is one of those things.  The two people who went half on me don't even know who I vote for, so why in the world do you think I'm going to tell you?  Sorry, just not going to happen.  But I will tell you this - I VOTED!!!  If we want change, we have to keep trying for change.  

In the USA, women didn't just get the right to vote until 1920.  Hundreds of people fought for years to get that to happen.  It didn't happen overnight and neither will anything else we are working for.  In the USA, African-Americans didn't just gain the right to vote in 1965.  People literally died to get that to happen!  

We are blessed beyond measure to be USA citizens.  It's not perfect.  We have a crime problem.  We have a culture that believes women should be able to prevent their own rapes.  And we have countless of homeless and hungry children that need good homes.  But we do have this, the right to vote.  Do you realize in some countries, women are still not allowed to vote?  Do you realize in some countries, there are some citizens fighting for the rights many US citizens take for granted?  

When I went to vote 2 weeks ago, it took me 30 minutes to vote.  I had left work early, so that is what I did with some of my time.  Parking was horrible, but I stayed until I found a space and voted.  Today, my love went after work and it took him about 10 minutes.  Several friends of mine said it only took them an hour.  A gentleman in my office said it only took him an hour and he still made it to work on time (8am).  There is absolutely no excuse for you to not go vote.  

Don't have a car?  I know several people who took their own time and gas to take people to go vote.  By the way, Uber and Lyft are also options.  No excuse!  Don't have the time?  If you have the latest iPhone or most popular shoes that I know people were waiting in line for, you have time to vote.  The shoes are going to be out of style by next season and a new phone will be out next year, but tonight, there are 4 years on the line, people.  No excuse!  You don't have anyone to babysit your children?  This is a good civic lesson.  Take them with you, just don't let them take a photo while you are voting.  No excuse!  You don't think it changes anything?  Didn't I just tell you things take time?!  Think about the future generations of your family!  No excuse!  I have so many more, but I cannot flood this post with that madness.  Just remember - you have NO EXCUSE! 

As I watch my Twitter feed tonight, I'm not surprised about the reactions from my tweeps in other countries.  They are watching us!  More important, our kids are watching us.  For those of us who do not have kids yet, those unborn babies are depending on us to do the right thing.  For those of us not feeling the whole mother role, think about your nieces, nephews, little cousins, and just the children in your life that you love.  They are watching you.  

Voting is important.  Let me just put it out there.  In case you haven't noticed, I'm African-American or Black or whatever the little bubble is that I identify most with.  I'm also a woman.  I have a double whammy.  As a woman, I've had the write to vote in the USA for less than 100 years.  As an African-American, I've had the right to vote for 51 years.  Let me spell that out for you.  My parents are 61.  They were 10 when they earned the right to vote.  10 years old - legally not old enough to vote, but they also shouldn't remember getting the right to vote!!!  It should have been happened.  

Yet, in the second paragraph of the Unites States Declaration of Independence, it reads all men are created equal.  If that were really true, then how come my maternal grandmother couldn't vote until she was 43?  How come a few of my grandparents' brothers went to war to fight for our country, but when they got home, they couldn't vote?  

Don't get me wrong, I know the elections may not go the way I want them to.  Someone and something (an issue) has to lose.  But it is not only my right, it is my HONOR to vote because there are people in my gene pool who never got the chance, died trying, or died in a war for a country that saw them as less than human.  I vote for the children I may have.  I vote because I was born in a time where I've always had the right, but my parents did not.  I vote because it matters.  I vote because people are depending on me.  I vote because I would be mad at myself if I didn't       

Your turn!  Let me hear why you vote and why it is so important to you.  You don't have to tell which political party your affiliate with or who you voted for.  I really don't care.  I just want to know why you voted.  I also invite my non US citizen friends and readers to tell me why they vote.  If you are in a country where you don't have the right to vote, I want to hear that too.  Let's start a dialogue about this.  

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Stalled Out

I am happy to announce that I only had one anxiety attack during the month of October.  Typically, I share with you everything that happened to cause the anxiety attack, but I can't right now.  Not because I don't want to tell you, it's because there is a portion of it still going on and I won't know the outcome until the powers that be figure that part out.  Basically, I've gone through this part before and I know how this goes, so I am ok right now.  However, this attack wasn't just caused by this particular situation.

The attack itself happened about two weeks ago.  It wasn't good.  It wasn't good at all.  I like my anxiety attacks a lot better when they happen behind closed doors.  I particularly hate them when they happen while I'm at the office.  Quite frankly, I think the attacks at the office are worst because I'm worried about who can hear me cry or is someone going to check on me when I don't want them to or are they going to think I'm crazy.  I am so happy I had my glasses with me that day (yes, I have forgotten them) because they cover my eyes very well.  They're cute and no one thinks anything different because they know I wear them periodically.  I actually like my glasses because they are great tear hiders

So, let's discuss this attack.  Earlier in the morning, I had a conversation with someone and then it continued via text.  It didn't go well and I was aggravated because I felt like this person wasn't making an effort to listen to what I was trying to say.  I felt like the only thing they cared about was making their point.  Not only did that annoy me, but it made me feel a bit inadequate because my voice didn't matter.  Part of this conversation did happen at the office and then the madness at the office started to happen.  

I sit at my desk with my headphones in the majority of the day.  I enjoy the fact my office is pro radios, iPods, phones, and whatever other device we have in order to listen to music.  Well, just because my headphones are on, it doesn't mean I cannot hear.  I mean, I have to be able to hear my boss!!!  

Someone came in to chat with my boss.  They were discussing something that had the potential to do with me.  Now, my boss has to play politics and I get that, but the other person just wouldn't shut up.  In my opinion, they kept trying to get something out of my boss about me and it was quite annoying.  I know they thought I couldn't hear, but that wasn't the case.  The more he talked, the more anxious I got.  The more anxious I got, the more I couldn't control the anxiety.  The less control I had over the anxiety, the faster my heart started beating.  The faster my heart started beating, the more the tears started to fall.  The faster the tears fell, I knew I had to get up.  


I ended up in my favorite hiding space in the office - the restroom stall!  I didn't get the stall I wanted, but I at least had a place to get myself together.  I've been working on breathing as a way to cope with my anxiety attacks, so I did a breathing exercise I use during meditation.  After a few minutes, I was back to normal (as normal as I can be after an attack), but I couldn't wait to get home because I just wanted to be in my space.  My house is my safe place.  

As my day progressed, I was continuing to get better.  I went out to lunch.  I stayed late to get a project worked on.  I didn't go walking because I was just ready to go home.  And when I finally got home, I was just happy to be in my place of refuge.  By the time I got home, it was like the attach had never happened.  

Out of the 31 days of October, this was by far my worst day.  However, I consider it a win because I didn't have to hide in the office for 4 hours.  Yep, that has happened before and I'm so thankful to work for an understanding organization.  

Anxiety, for me, is just taking it one day at a time.  Some days, I have no issues.  But there is always a possibility of some madness causing me to freak out and I just have to be ready to deal with it.  One day, it will all be better.  Until then, I'll just do my best to cope.  By the way, yes I'm still on medication.  

Photo credit: shawnzrossi via Visual hunt / CC BY 
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