Categories
black women Health and wellmess Uncategorized weightloss women

Yassss, Queen! Meet Tara Jackson McDow: Conquering Weight Loss 1bs At A Time!

Here’s the thing, I’m always sharing my story but so many of my friends have such amazing stories to share that I thought, “Hey! I can spotlight my friends!”

As many of you know, I meal prep and I workout. I get lots of messages encouraging me to keep pushing and posting because what I’ve been sharing has encouraged a few. What you guys don’t know is that so many of you inspire me more than I inspire you!

One of my inspirations is my Big Sister/Soror Tara Jackson McDow. Her weight loss journey is definitely one that needs to be shared, but because she is shy I am highjacking her story and telling it for her! Lol!!

Last month after we returned from our sorority convention she texted me and shared her story as to how she started losing weight. I won’t share the details because that’s for her to do. I will say that after season of grief she found herself using food as a way to cope with her emotions. She decided it was time for a change, and she has lost 37 lbs in 4 months!

I was impressed! “How did you do it?” Her success has been a team effort. Tara’s husband supports her by grilling her meat on Sunday. Along with her grilled meat and vegetables, she limits carbs and sugars. That’s it. No magic wand.

In addition, she walks everyday. We follow each other on our Apple watches and I get the alerts! I see it and it motivates me to move too.

One thing she has reinforced with me is CONSISTENCY! When we were in New Orleans at Cafe DuMonde, I think she was the only soror who turned down a beignet. I, however ate two! Plus, a cup of hot chocolate. 😬

I am so proud of her! I wanted to spotlight Tara because she deserves to be celebrated for her HARD WORK and DEDICATION!!

Congratulations, Tara! Keep up the good work!

Categories
black women health and wellness mental health Uncategorized women

Girlfriend, What’s Really Going On?

“Why you look so mad?” “Man, you are mean.” “She’s so unapproachable.” “Put a smile on your face.” “Y’all know she’s sensitive.”

It seems for the majority of my adult life that is how people have described me. In one way or another, people always found a way to say there was something wrong with me. Some days I didn’t let it bother me, other days I wanted to scream. What people didn’t understand is that most days I felt like I was in a fight that I was continuously losing. It felt like I had no one to look after or take up for me, so yeah, I was probably mad a lot of days. It’s hard walking around feeling alone and feeling like you are your own hero. Sometimes a girl just wants to be rescued.

Then one day after a horrible break-up and full-blown meltdown in the deli section at the local Walmart, I decided to get some help before I went to jail. Fortunately, my meltdown in Walmart happened before going viral was a thing. I’m so grateful. Had I got caught on camera blessing out the folks in the deli because they didn’t answer me in a tone I found appropriate or courteous enough, I would have surely lost my job. You see I felt disrespected, and I’d had enough of people disrespecting me. I had spent two years working as a parole officer, and after that, I worked 10 years in inner city schools where kids made the school in the movie Lean on Me look like daycare. Every day I had to be ready to defend myself. I couldn’t let my guard down—kids sense weakness and take full advantage of it. If I wanted to survive, if I wanted to be successful, I had to be strong, tough, and mean. No tears, unless I was mad, and I was mad often.

On top of that, my financial outlook was bleak. I made decent money, but not in relation to my student loan debt. My salary didn’t align to the cost of my education (that’s another post for another day), so, as they say in my family, I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. But, I did as I was taught: pray about it, shake it off, and keep going. Fast forward a few years, a few bad relationships, family drama, and people you love dying and you have me in the middle of the deli SHUTTING 👏🏾IT 👏🏾DOWN👏🏾. “What you not gone do is disrespect me! Where is your manager?” He showed up and I let him have it too. Over what? Because someone’s tone was a little snippy, short, snarky. “T, it’s not that serious. Calm down,” I tried to tell myself,” but I couldn’t. I couldn’t let go of my anger, my fury. I was big mad!

I left the store that night knowing something was wrong with me, and I couldn’t fix it by myself. I cried that night and went back to my tried and true solution: I prayed about it. This time I listened for an answer.

God reminded me of something my line sister had shared with me years earlier. She told me that she had gone to counseling for several years. I’m not sure what we were talking about that made that bit of information stick, but I do remember thinking and telling her, “I can’t afford therapy.” She told me, in her matter of fact way, that most people’s insurance companies would cover up to 25 sessions per year. She said, “You should try it. You pay for it anyway.” I wanted to try, but I never did because in my family talking to someone, a therapist, about your problems meant you were crazy. When I was a kid we called it “having a nervous breakdown.”

I wasn’t crazy, but I was hurting. I was scared, afraid, and I was grieving. There was a heaviness on me that I couldn’t shake. I was tired of the battles-those in my life and those in my mind. I needed help and I decided to get it.

I researched black, Christian therapists near me. This was prior to Therapy For Black Girls Podcast and Directory, so it was harder to find a therapist that was both Black and a Christian. Having a Christian therapist was more of a priority for me at the time. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I was doubtful in the beginning and sometimes throughout the process because it was awkward at first discussing my problems with a stranger. Who am I kidding? It was always awkward. I never got fully comfortable talking about myself; however, working with my counselor allowed me an opportunity to breathe. In talking out my problems, issues, and concerns, with a professional, I gained a new perspective. I learned that the anger that I was feeling had built up over time. It wasn’t just one issue. It was a series of triggers that happened over time that I had never dealt with, that I tried to bury but was now manifesting themselves in the form of outbursts and a negative attitude. However, talking out my problems wasn’t the only benefit. I was also able to learn practical strategies to have difficult conversations with the people in my life. My counselor was also able to show me in scripture what God said and how He felt about the things that I was dealing with.  Over time, I learned to apply both the strategies and the scriptures to my issues, and I started to recognize and deal with my triggers quickly before they turned into a behemoth of emotions that I couldn’t control.

We disagreed sometimes on my homework assignments, but for the most part, my counselor started the process of my ongoing healing. And the interesting thing is, the thing that I thought was bothering me, I barely talked about.

I discovered so much more about myself than I realized. I learned that being brave isn’t walking around pretending that nothing is wrong and then moving on. Quite the contrary, being brave means being vulnerable, honest, and transparent. When you operate in these spaces, there is a sense of peace and freedom that can’t be matched. It’s like no one can hold anything over you because you have already removed any ammunition that might be available.

I remember when I decided to share with my family that I was going to therapy. I don’t know why I decided to tell them, because no one had to know, but I wanted to. I can’t remember what I said, or how I said it. I clearly remember their reactions though. They laughed! I think it was more of an awkward reaction than ridicule. Therapy allowed me the freedom to see their reactions for what they truly were and not what I perceived them to be. I laughed too, and I think I said, “Y’all asses need to go too.” It didn’t matter how they reacted though because I was ok with them knowing. I just needed to be free from the weight I was carrying around everyday and sharing who I truly was with my family was part of that process.

There are so many women today struggling with so many things, and we have no recourse in managing the burdens we carry daily. Do you wake up every day tired? How often do you find yourself frowning? Check the wrinkle on your forehead. Do you feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed…all the time? Do you find yourself at the brink of tears or overreacting to the smallest things? Ask yourself what’s really going on. Don’t let it fester. Seek counseling.

If your friend is struggling, ask them what’s going on. They may not want to tell you. Most people don’t want to feel judged as weak or fragile especially in communities of color. Typically, there is a perception that we can handle anything. And we can…with HELP! Our villages are strong, but it is ok if your village includes a professional counselor.

So the next time you blow up at your kids, your husband, your friends, the manager at the deli ask yourself, “Girlfriend, what’s really going on? Then, go figure it out with a therapist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
black women Uncategorized women Working

10 Things You Should Appreciate at Work

It’s Friday. I just got paid. And it is one of the rare occasions that the weather in Texas is pretty decent. I feel great!
Yet every day isn’t like this. If you are like me, you sometimes dread hearing your alarm go off. It is the signal that the peace and quiet that you have so carefully cultivated in your bed is about to come to a quick and dreadful end. It is time to get ready for work. If you are like me, you wake up with one consistent thought every day: I just want to be left alone. And, if you are like me, you know that is likely not going to happen. As you wash your face and choose which shoe works best with your professional style but also won’t pinch your right pinky toe, you know deep down that someone is waiting on you to arrive to help them solve a problem that they could have solved themselves two days ago. You also know that someone is waiting at work with the work-ethic of a snail. You know that there is a millennial waiting in the wings to tell you all of the ways that they are smarter and more efficient than you, the Gen-X relic, who is out of touch with reality, but yet, they still need your help to get their project done which, in fact, could have been done three weeks ago if they had just listened to you the first time.
If this is you, don’t give up! Focus on what is good and right on your job and I promise you will have a better time of it. Here are 10 things to appreciate at work that will help you have a better day. Enjoy!
1.) It’s so nice when you walk into work and the first thing someone says to you is GOOD MORNING with a big, bright smile! They aren’t waiting at your door ready to ask for something before you can even put your lunch kit down.
2.) Shout out to the people who show up to work and do what you ask them to do without complaining. They are the real MVPs!
3.) If I had a dollar for every time someone said let me help you with that or let me get the door for you, I would be a rich woman. Thank you so much. You are appreciated (in my Tupac voice).
4.) FLEX TIME is like manna from Heaven. 🙂
5.) So are lunch breaks! If you’ve ever worked in education then you know the value of being able to sit down and eat a nice sandwich in relative quiet for even 15 minutes. It’s more than a breath of fresh air. It’s an oxygen tank for a low capacity lung. I. Can. Breathe! And, guess what, I get one every day. LOOK AT GOD!!
6.) My kids steal books! What a blessing!!
7.) Note to self: when you feel like you don’t belong, remind yourself that you do! You got this!
8.) Special shout out to my colleagues who leave a friendly restroom. It’s the small things that matter most. 🙂
9.) I appreciate a person who gives me so much consideration that they give me at least 48 hours notice when they want me to give them some pertinent information. It lets me know they appreciate my time. And guess what? When you appreciate my time, I try to appreciate yours. You get the info early!
10.) It’s just good to have a job you like going to every day. Thanking God for His deliverance and covering!
P.S. When your day gets rough, make sure you turn on the Essential 90’s playlist on Google Play or Hip Hop BBQ on Pandora. They are fire! 🔥🔥 (I’m Dreamin’ by Christopher Williams makes it all better. He’s my boo! 🥰).
*the many faces I wear to work (educator, author, servant, and prayer warrior). 😊📚🙏🏾📝 💻
Categories
African American Sororities black women friendships relationships sisterhood sororities Uncategorized women

In My Feelings

This past weekend, my line sisters and I participated in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area Joint Founders Day Celebration for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. We, along with more than 100 other women, were honored and we celebrated 25 years as members in the largest and one the most influential African American sororities in the nation. This was a pretty awesome day. Well, it should have been awesome. There were so many positive things happening, but the only thing that I could really focus on was the negative conversation in my head. As you read this post, please don’t think that I am looking for sympathy. That is not my steelo (for all of my non-90’s readers, that’s hip hop lingo for style). I guess what I am trying to do is process what I am thinking and feeling so I can end the conversation in my head and move on.

Anyway, what should have been a glorious and grand day was almost a bummer and it was no one’s fault but my own. You see for most of the day all I did was criticize myself in my head. My outfit didn’t fit right. The braids on my hair were awesome, but my edges wouldn’t stay down. My hips were on full display, and not in a good way. It didn’t matter if I turned to the left or to the right, whether I crossed my legs or stood straight, none the pics I took were flattering.  I should have picked the other pair of shoes. My pearls weren’t pretty enough. When I walked I could feel myself waddle. I even ran into the back of my line sister during the processional. I was soooo over the day. I just couldn’t feel what I should have been feeling. I should have been excited. Yet, all I could think about was how out of place I felt. Not because I was in a room full of bosses and change agents. Not because I wasn’t smart enough to be there, or that I hadn’t worked hard (well…for a few years I took a vacation). Not because my line sisters and chapter sorors make me feel bad or judge me. Nope. For the most part, they think I’m pretty dope. And, I think they are amazing! We have no problem gassing each other up. It was simply because I let negative thoughts cloud my thinking.

You see, I’m my own worst critic. Some would say I am self-deprecating. I’m not sure if that is the correct word, but I am definitely hyper-critical of myself. Yesterday, it almost got the best of me. I can honestly say that even listening to the keynote speaker, one of my Founders granddaughters and my national chaplain, THE Vashti Murphy McKenzie, tell me emphatically to “SLAY IN MY LANE,” I couldn’t shake that feeling of…dissatisfaction. I just knew I wasn’t happy with myself and it sucked. 

So on a day that is filled with some fantastic memories of being with some of my very best friends for 25 years, some pretty amazing big sisters and mentors, some of the sweetest neos (my little sisters), celebrating a huge milestone, and in addition, celebrating my line sisters 50th birthday party (it was EPIC), I allowed myself to focus on stupid shit.  Stupid shit like feelings of inadequacy because my dress didn’t turn out like I had imagined because my hair hadn’t turned out like I imagined, because I don’t walk like I think I should walk, or because my stomach was protruding. You see inside, I’m still just an insecure little girl wanting to fit in and be best that I can be. 

My first lady said in Sunday school yesterday that when we think of leprosy we usually think about the disease in the Bible, people with open sores and living in isolation because they are contagious. She talked about the idea that if you think of leprosy in a spiritual way then you will understand that anyone can have it. In a spiritual sense, leprosy is anything that is toxic that overtakes your life and isolates you. We all have it in some way. My leprosy is judging myself too harshly especially in comparison to other people. It almost ruined my day. Almost

So right in the middle the Soror Mackenzie again telling the crowd to “slay in our lanes”, I decided to focus on why I was in the room and instead focusing on what I thought I was or wasn’t. I was there because in the 8th grade I decided I wanted to be a member of a group of women who were powerful, women who changed the world. Women like Barbara Jordan, Lena Horne, and Shirley Chisholm. I was in the room because when I got to the campus of UTA I saw a chapter of young ladies who were involved in the community and who were leaders on campus. Like we used to say back in the day, “The Deltas ran the yard.” I was there because when I decided to apply, my friend was a regional officer and she wrote my letter of recommendation at the last minute because the person who said she would write my letter originally wouldn’t even answer the phone. I was there because on April 15, 1994, I crossed burning sands with 11 other women who were excited and eager to no longer be pyramids but full-fledged Deltas. We didn’t have to practice throwing up the pyramid in the room or softly saying oo-oop so no one else could hear it. We could say it out loud! We could work and serve our community with other powerful black women. I was there because I wanted and I was a change agent.

Luckily, I spent about three years in therapy, learning to recognize negative self-talk. Luckily, I have developed a few strategies to help me focus and redirect such toxic thinking. ANNDD, I know Jesus and I could hear Him speak to me and say, “You are my child so you are worthy and you are beautiful. Then I heard my granny call down from Heaven to say, “Look, little girl! Ain’t nobody thinking about that shit but you!” 

I was in the room because of the sisterhood! We have been through so much together! Graduations, babies, marriages, divorces, health problems, money problems, and career changes. Chapter meetings, state meetings, regional conferences, and national conventions. Lord have mercy, even lemon squeezes (Deltas knew about Lemonade well before Beyoncé) because our is grand but so are our fights. You name it, we’ve been through it! It has been a journey.

When people get married they say they do life together. I “do life” with my sorors. My friends. Don’t get me wrong, I have three blood sisters that I adore.  No one can take their place. But you know what? When God gave me my sorors, he showed me “sisterhood amplified.” My sorors are there right along with my sisters to support me on this journey, and I would change it! 

My mind was playing tricks on me. It was lying to me. But being with my sorors changed the game. We shut it down!!! We partied, laughed, danced, and celebrated my line sister who is aging not just gracefully but phenomenally! She is sweet, supportive, smart, and successful! My other line sisters and sorors too! We held the 25-year debate of who was the meanest, Kiphani or Misty (I promise you, we will have this debate at our 50th. SMH). It was a day that I needed. Joy…I just had to take the focus off myself and enjoy the moment, enjoy my friends.

I think it is called imposter syndrome, and I write this because there are women that feel the same way. We talk ourselves out of experiencing and feeling joy. We smile, but inside the struggle is real. If you feel this way at times remember, there is more about you to celebrate than to criticize. Know that you are not alone. Fight those feelings of inadequacy and flip the script in your head. Take the focus off yourself, embrace your sisterhood, celebrate life, and live in the moment with your friends and family. Fight it, Sis. I promise you, it is worth it! I am so glad I did. One of the BEST DAYS EVER!

P.S. Kiphani and Misty, it’s a tie. You are both nice-nasty! 🥰🤣

Categories
black women business education Uncategorized women Working

Random Thoughts While Working

  • If we don’t have a personal relationship, DO NOT use my first name. Neither in person nor an email. Please and thanks.
  • How do I say you are getting on my nerves professionally?
  • If your job requires that you have great customer service skills and you don’t like people, please find a new job. I really don’t appreciate the attitude that you give me when I am simply asking for something that requires you to do what you get paid to do!
  • Just because you don’t like me doesn’t mean that no one likes me. When you talk about me behind my back someone WILL tell me. Stop it. It’s childish.
  • I’m not a morning person and I don’t drink coffee. I’m really not in the mood to talk until noon. Keep that in mind when you approach me about random bullshit and the sun is barely shining.
  • I pray. Everyday. It’s for you. But it’s for me too. So. I. Don’t. Cuss. You. Out.
  • It’s a blessing to have great bosses. Shout out to my current bosses, who shall not be named, and to those that I have had in the past! You know who you are. You make (made) coming to work worthwhile and enjoyable. Thanks for allowing me to do my job without the hyper-scrutiny. For listening to me and respecting my knowledge and skill set. For trusting me with projects and assignments that I didn’t think I was capable of doing successfully. You guys are G.O.A.T and deserve more than you have been recognized for. Bad bosses should pay attention and learn!
  • My job needs better mental health benefits. If they had them, people wouldn’t take so many sick/mental health days…LIES! We would still take the days. LOL!!
  • Stop snitching. For real. Just talk to your co-worker first before you tell the supervisor. That usually solves the problem and they will probably respect you more for coming to them straight up rather than tattling.
  • Every day I think about retiring…
  • People are going to read this and think that I hate my job.
  • I actually feel blessed to do what I do, where I do it. Hopefully, the Lord will use me.
  • But if I had a nickel for every time a grown-up called my name to do something they could do themselves.
  • Then I think, “At least you are needed!” Darn it, Baby Jesus! Sometimes I just want to be bitchy. Lol
  • I only wrote this because I know someone somewhere is having the same thoughts. Now, let it go and get back to work!

Finally

  • Per my last email…(Y’all know what that means). 🙂

***How many more days until Christmas Break?

Categories
black women black-owned business business Christmas friendships shopping Uncategorized women

Gifts for the Homies❤️🎁

I know that many of you are still out shopping for Christmas gifs. Some of you are just getting started. Before the hustle and bustle of the holidays gets you so frustrated that you decide to give up and decide to write all of your friends and family $20 checks just be done, consider buying a gift or two from a local, small business. Not only would it show that you put some thought into your gift, but the person you buy it for will probably appreciate the special attention. 

Get creative this Christmas.  Creativity need not require large amounts of money. If you are shopping on a budget you can still give great gifts and support your local economy. Instead of heading to Walmart or the mall, try perusing social media. If you are skilled at arts and crafts, Pinterest is a great place to get ideas on making gifts by hand. Amazon is also a great place to get reasonably priced gifts, but honestly, try looking at some of your friend’s pages. The rise of social media has fostered opportunities for new and upcoming entrepreneurs. You would be surprised at the number of people that you know who are business owners and would appreciate your support.

I want to highlight two businesses in particular that I think are super dope! 

First, if you need a graphic tee, check out Be Fly Designs (BFD). BFD operated in Fort Worth, Texas and it specializes in providing creative and compelling tees that empower African-American and female communities through fashion.  It is owned by my friend and soror, Beletra Thomas, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Beletra’s t-shirts offer inspirational, motivational, political, and sometimes comical messaging in a way that allows you to wear your activism. My favorite shirt says “Faith Eliminates Worry”. Sometimes when I know I am facing a tough day at work, I wear that shirt to remind myself that everything will be okay. Coupled with some slacks and a blazer, I’m professional and ready to take on the world. I wore it this summer to my sorority conference and got lots of compliments on it. I also love the shirt that says, “FLY (First Love Yourself)” because sometimes I have to remind myself that I need to make myself a priority. I am waiting to buy the “Gangsta Napper” shirt because sleeping is my specialty. But don’t take my word for it head on over to http://www.beflydesigns.com to see for yourself. Oh…BFD offers great sales too! Quality product at great pricing; you can’t lose! 

My friend and Soror, Erica, rocking the “Spread Love” tee from the BFD collection!

Now that you have a cute shirt, you gotta add some dope accessories. Ava Michele Jewelry is the place to go. Earrings, necklaces, and some really fly arm candy! I love Ava’s pieces and not just because I’ve known her for almost 30 years (she’s also a Fort Worth native), but because she really takes her time to design and assemble pieces that men and women would love. In particular, her stacked braclets are cool, elegant, and super classy yet you can wear them for any occasion. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Ava Michele ensures that each color of the Divine 9 is represented in her pieces, but anyone can wear them! Follow Ava on Instagram @avamichelejewelry. You won’t be disappointed. 

Custom stack from Ava Michele Jewelry. LOVE!

And if you think its too late to order, it’s not. I contacted both of these ladies and said, “This is what I need. How can you help me?” They both came through! More than anything, they offer quality customer service.

So stop reading, pull out your laptop or cell phone, and start shopping!

Be Fly Designs: http://www.beflydesigns.com

Instagram: @beflydesigns

Facebook: @beflydesigns

Ava Michele Jewelry: 

Instagram: @avamichelejewelry

Facebook: @avamichelejewelry

Categories
African American Books African American Fiction Black Books black women books contemporary fiction fiction reading relationships Uncategorized women

Ratchet Review: An American Marriage

Ok. I know I told you guys that I don’t write book reviews, but dang it, I have to share what I read with someone.  I finally finished An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, and personally, I’m a little pissed. First let me say this, there is a reason that I don’t read the books on the Oprah’s Book Club list. Auntie Oprah tends to go for content with suffering and tragedy. Me, not so much. When I read, I want to escape my day-to-day existence. I want to laugh. I want mystery. I  want love. Intrigue, drama even. Basically, I want a reality show in words. Not Oprah. Oprah likes downtrodden and forlorn on an intellectual level, and honestly, I am not that smart. Self-deprecation aside, I just don’t want to be depressed when I read, and I find that Oprah selects books that leave me feeling like I need to book therapy appointments for the next year. I. Can. Not. Deal. Which brings me to An American Marriage. I had hope that this book would be different. Boy was I wrong. 

Enter Roy and Celeste, star crossed lovers who marry a few years after they meet in college.(Side note: another reason I don’t like writing reviews is because my summaries tend to be too long; I’ll try to keep this one short). Roy is a country boy who made it big and Celeste comes from black royalty…well not royalty, but her family has a little paper. She’s wealthy. Kind of like Dre and Bow on Black-ish. Roy is doing his thing in the business world of Atlanta, and Celeste is an artist finding her niche making poupees, dolls made of fabric. They visit Roy’s parents in the small town of Eloe, Louisiana when Roy gets arrested and falsely accused of rape. Celeste tries to hold Roy down (stand by her man for regular folks) while he is locked up, but soon finds herself feeling like she and Roy don’t have the commitment level needed to maintain the marriage. Celeste decides to leave the marriage and starts caping for Roy’s best man and her friend, Andre. Needless to say, Roy gets ghosted and Celeste shoots him the deuce (she leaves him in the jail cell he’s stuck in).

Now, that is the gist of the story, but in the words of my pastor, “Let’s start over and see what the Lord is telling us today.”

The Lord told me that Celeste was trifling! She vexed my spirit for the entire book! She was selfish, self-absorbed and immature. She didn’t understand what commitment truly was. Commitment is staying with your husband when he is in jail fighting a rape charge. She was his alibi. She knew he was innocent. When the rape happened Roy was with Celeste. I really wanted the author to explore what it would have taken to stay. Instead, she wrote a character who was cliche. Don’t get me wrong, if she wasn’t already married to Roy, I would understand her shooting dude the deuce. However, they were already committed to each other and she basically said, “Nah, bruh! I’m out.” 

Next, Roy was stupid. He had this false humility thing going on. “Don’t wait for me,” but he really wanted her to be ride or die. Then say that! She can’t read your mind. Then she wrote his ass that Dear John letter and the truth came out. He was pissed and was like, “Don’t write me no more…but can you keep putting money on my books…and keep having your parents pay for my attorney to beat this case?” Really ______?!!! I could see that happening in real life. LMAO!

Oh and don’t forget Andre. I won’t waste too much time on him other than to say that Roy gave him a much needed ass whooping that Andre’s daddy told him he deserved! That was my favorite part of the whole book!

Is it a good book? I guess…Oprah says it is. It is well written. I think, in my humble opinion, the book really took a look at how communication can make or break a relationship. It showed how adversity reveals the true character of a person. Love and commitment happen when the butterflies fade and the sex stops being bomb. When you are arguing and fighting and trying to figure out how to navigate the world together. When your kid is sick and you don’t know what to do. When the month is long and the money wrong. The person standing beside you is the person that truly cares for you.  If someone runs from you when trouble starts, they aren’t meant for you. It doesn’t mean you are going to like each other all the time, but you are committed so you CHOOSE to stay and love that person through the good and the bad. That is an American MARRIAGE. The book doesn’t give too much hope for hopeful romantics. So, I will give it a 3.5 out 5 bookmarks because I was hooked on the story, I just hated the characters and I was in my feelings! It was good…I want my money back though, but I borrowed it from a friend.

Categories
aging black women Exercise Fitness Health and wellmess weightloss women

The StairMaster is my B*tch! #30430

September 13, 2018 I told my trainer, “I think I want to do the StairMaster for thirty days straight.” He was all for it. “Good! Thirty minutes, everyday. Let’s go!” I wasn’t ready. It was Thursday and I had a plan to start on Monday. ANDDDD, I was only going to do 15-20 minutes. In true fashion, I started negotiating-Can I wait til Monday? Why do I have to do 30 minutes? This isn’t your goal, this is my goal! We went round and round until he said, “Stop trying to get out of it. You’re starting today! Let’s go!” So I started. It has been a journey.

Five days in I got sick. Sinus or allergies or something. I didn’t know what to do. I knew if I stopped I would have to start over or it would extend my time. I refused to stop. If I didn’t have a fever or I wasn’t dizzy, I went. I just blew my nose a lot. And for those of you who are wondering, I wiped down my machines REAL GOOD! I developed shin splints too. Those sucked, but I put a little bengay on my legs and kept it moving. Some days it was really hard to do because of other commitments I had, but I didn’t use that as an excuse. When I don’t workout with Chris, Planet Fitness is my go to gym, so I would just roll into PF at 9 or 10 o’clock at night to get in my 30 minutes.

Ten days in I asked myself why I was doing this. The answer was simple. Because I didn’t think I could. I decided then to give myself a reward once I made it to day 15, a nice little pair of cubic zirconia earrings from Target! They cost me $19, but I love them. Hey, I ball on a budget. Maybe when I reach my goal weight I will buy a real pair.

This was the point where I knew I couldn’t stop. I had people cheering for me. My friend Price, “Cass! I am so proud of you!” And there is always my Soror Kiphani, “Thirty minutes on the stair master? Girl, you are a beast!”  I had to keep going, but I needed a change. So, I started adding minutes. Some days I would do 35 minutes, and on Wednesday, two days before my deadline, I did 60 minutes. It was TOUGH! sometimes I would hit pause, but I realized that prolonged my time. I got slick though and started lowering my intensity level to so I could breathe for a minute and then I would go back up. No matter what I didn’t stop and I never went under 30 minutes.

Saturday, October 13, 2018, I finished! Level 6 for thirty straight minutes! I didn’t stop or lower the intensity level! This time I will allow myself to say, “I’m proud of MYSELF.”

I still don’t like the StairMaster. It is not of Jesus. But God will make your enemies your footstools and so he did the stair master! I feel a lot better. My energy level has been really great. My attitude has definitely changed for the better. I think I leave my stress on those steps. Each drop of sweat is a worry, a burden, that is no longer on my shoulders. My joints feel much better too especially my hips!

One of my goals was to lose 10lbs. I only lost 5, but hey that’s a half bag of potatoes! In the words of my niece, “I ain’t tripping.” I hear some of my friends balk at the StairMaster and I don’t blame them, it’s not easy at all. But, if you want to master that thang and make it your b*tch too, here are a few tips:

  • Sip water as you are working. Even if you drink it regularly. Trust me it helps!
  • Have a couple of pieces of chewing gum. Keeps your mouth moist. I like two pieces  because the water dries the gum out. I switch out half-way through the workout.
  • Bring two towels. One for sweat and one to wipe the machine. The sweat stings my eyes and I can’t take it. A wet machine gets slippery. I refuse to go viral falling off a StairMaster…can you imagine?! LOL!!
  • Start low. I finished at level 6, but I started at level 4. Start where you are, even if that is level 1 or 2. No one knows but you!
  • Bring an extra shirt. I think I got sick on day 5 because of that BIG ASS FAN at PF. My shirt was wet and I went outside in it. The next day I was sneezing, so I started changing into a dry shirt afterward and I’ve been fine ever since!
  • Get you a bomb ass playlist. If you are hype, the time goes by just a little bit faster.  Sometimes I just play MJB and I feel that girl power blow through my speakers! #YASSSQUEEN! But I really like ratchet rap…you know the kinda music where people will wonder if I’m really a 47 year-old professional! #hehe Here are few of my favs: Blow the Whistle, Too short; Ante Up, M.O.P; Pull Over, Trina, Rubber Band Man and Motivation, T.I.; Big Pimpin’, Jay-z; Drip, Cardi B; Southside, Lil Keke.  I have about 50 songs but those are tried and true!

Anyway, it was super fun and I’m glad I did it. Now, I can walk by the StairMaster and give it the side eye like, “Bihhhh! You ain’t ready for me!” 😉 Don’t judge me. It’s how I have to psyche myself out! Now, let me go get my reward for finishing, rest up (I’m taking a week off), and plan my next challenge! #30430 #stairmasterchallenge #befearless

P.S. Thank you, CHRIS! Stop by EveryBody Fit Personal Training Studio in Arlington, TX. Maybe if you come to class he will give me discount. Hehe! 🤣

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Big Willie Style!

Today is October 1st! It is officially my birthday month. If you know me, then you know that for the next 31 days I will be doing THE MOST. My birthday is one of the few times of the year that I make things all about me. The month is no longer October nor is it Libra season. It is officially “Tracy Cass Awareness Month!” I have no shame! Don’t judge me.

Each year I try to have a theme. One year it was all about exercise. Another year, I wanted to try as many new restaurants as I could. And then, other years I focused on things I could do with my family and friends. Theme or no theme, I try to always have a great time doing things with the people I love and care for most. This year I have struggled to find my focus…until Will Smith’s bungee jump over the Grand Canyon for his 50th!

In an interview, my fellow Libra said that when he was a child, he visited the Grand Canyon, but he was afraid of walking to the edge so he stayed back, too afraid to take in all of the beauty. But now, a fully grown man, Will was challenged by some YouTubers to face his fears. In response he said, “I’ve made it a point in my life to attack anything that I’m afraid of.” So he did it, and I watched in amazement thinking, “That fool is crazy!” But is he?

After some mild alcohol induced contemplation,  I thought how liberating it must feel to face the very thing that has you paralyzed. Surely, it must be amazing to experience that sense of freedom. I knew then that I had to do the same thing and face my fears.

So this month is about being fearless. As I inch closer to the half-century mark, I realize there are so many things that make me clutch my pearls and stop in my tracks. Most often they aren’t things that are as adventurous as bungee jumping. Emotional and relational jumps are my biggest hurdle. People don’t believe it, but I’m actually very shy…a forced extrovert. I’m outgoing because I have to be, not because I want to be. Meeting new people makes me want to vomit. I become frozen in fear not knowing how people will receive or, more importantly, perceive me. Oftentimes, the bravado I so easily project is my defense mechanism so people won’t know how afraid I really am. So, I am on a quest to be just a bit more friendly. Seems small, but to me it’s like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro! 

I really don’t have an agenda as grandiose as Will’s; I just want to have new experiences. Some online dating perhaps. Because why not? I need a few hilarious dates in my life. If I hug you or smile at you, don’t run…or frown…or ask me what’s wrong. Usually when I’m nice to people, that is the first thing people say, “What’s wrong with you?” Nothing, damn it! I just want to be kind. LOL!! I might even let you hug me first…trust me, it’s a thing. When you are hugging me I am screaming on the inside.

But, I need to give myself permission to be vulnerable. Low key, writing this piece feels like exposing my inner organs. 

Anywhoo, I’m looking forward to this month and turning 47. Maybe, when I turn 50 I will celebrate the whole year (I did when I turned 40). I don’t know. All I know is that, life is a gift meant to be shared so I might as well take the jump and dive right in. Let’s see where this takes me! #livinglife #bigwilliestyle #willsmithchallenge #befearless

P.S. Comment with a suggestion or two about what I should try. Or, try facing a fear of your own and tell me about it. Shoot me an email at everybodyshomegirl11@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from your or reading your posts. 

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black women dating friendships relationships Uncategorized women

Some Girls Be Like…😒

As I sit here, half-past 10 PM, eating a sandwich and chips and listening to J. Sullivan, I recall the first time I knew that he liked me. My friend of eight years, who was about to get married in six months sent me a message on Facebook. I had just signed up, browsing the page on my day off. He hit me up in a chat saying, “I’ve always had a crush on you.” I panicked; I was scared, excited, and…angry. Why would he tell me now when nothing could be done, could be pursued? I didn’t remember what he said next, just some flirting back and forth. I should have ended the conversation, but something about the forbidden excited me. We were cool acquaintances before, but now, it seemed like more. It felt like we were connected, even though I knew we couldn’t be.

I don’t think most people start out having affairs with one decision; I think most indiscretions start out innocently. Something small happens, small but inappropriate, and then, gradually, it progresses into something more. At least, that was the case for me; first, we were chatting, then texting. I remember clearly how we “linked up,” as he liked to call it, for the first time.

I had to chaperone a football game, and afterward, I had dinner with a co-worker. However, I was distracted because he had been texting me throughout the game. I told myself that he was keeping me company, keeping my mind off of the fact that I didn’t want to be at work on a Friday night with a bunch of disrespectful, bad-attitude-having-ass, high schoolers. As I sat at dinner, the conversations continued. The frivolity of it all, in hindsight, is so absurd, but in the moment, it was…everything, romantic, fun, and intriguing. Most of all, it was seductive.  I remember telling him about my favorite singer, Jill Scott, and my favorite song at the time, “Come See Me.” He responded, “I want you.” I grew warm inside. My heart and my head were all over the place, and I needed to understand what we were doing. Why was he saying these things now? What did all of this mean? Was he not going to get married? I’m not booty call material; I’m an all-or-nothing type chick. I sent him a message around midnight when I was leaving dinner: “We need to talk.” We were only going to talk, I rationalized. He responded, “I’m on my way.”

It was one in the morning when he arrived. In my mind, it made sense because I was strong and in charge. He walked in, looking and smelling good. We sat on the couch. “What’s up?” he asked. “The question is what’s up with you?” I needed to understand where all of this attention was coming from six months before he was to be married. His answer didn’t even matter. The real question was, what made me decide to play with fire? To entertain the foolish thought that this was nothing more than a conversation. To meet inappropriately after midnight with a man who was clearly unavailable.

I thought I was strong, and in the beginning, I was. I said emphatically, “This can’t happen. I will look like the other woman who stole somebody’s man. Nothing will happen to you. And, in the end, we will not be able to be friends again.”

He chuckled, “I have more to lose than you think, and we will always be friends.”

“If you have so much to lose, why are you getting married?”

With a slight shrug of the shoulders and the smirk that made my heart melt, “It’s just time.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything. We had been talking for at least two hours. I don’t know how we ended up in bed together, but there he was holding me, but not touching me at the same time. I was still trying to convince myself that nothing was going to happen between us if I could just get through the night. He didn’t try anything; he just held me. He didn’t kiss me or caress me. The only thing he did was pull me closer to him when I tried to move away. He pulled me close, like I belonged to him, like he had claimed me. His breath on the back of my neck and his heart beating against my chest felt good. It was satisfying just to be claimed, and I was starting to believe the lie. Maybe he will change his mind, maybe he won’t do it. “Just be patient,” I told myself. I should have understood that I wasn’t being claimed. I was just a warm, breathing body next to a man with his eyes closed, eyes closed to the fact that he wasn’t ready to be married, and he was using me as a distraction.  If I had allowed myself to accept that realization, I would have saved myself some heartache.

He didn’t change his mind, about her or me. I kept saying no, but he kept calling and texting, and we kept having our visits. He continued keeping me company on my late nights at work. I’m not sure when I started to become that chick, that crazy chick. That chick that rationalizes her bad behavior, the one who is happy one minute and crying the next. I think I knew in the end I would be left out, but I couldn’t pull back. It wasn’t so much that he had a hold over me; it was more than that. This was all about me. I needed to see what would happen, what could be, or what should be because in my heart I knew…he was the one for me. But he knew differently. He liked the idea of me but not the reality of me. I required too much, and I was his choice and his consequence all at the same time. His decision to see me, to love me, to care for me, meant that he needed to face the reality of who he was. He was a cheater. An adulterer. But in his mind, “I’m not married yet,” made a difference. To me, it didn’t, but I climbed down that rabbit hole anyway because one night over hot dogs and tater tots, he kissed me. He kissed me long, deep, and strong, and that kiss held a promise that one day he might love me.

He never did. I don’t hate him though. We shared a lot, an intimacy that I had never experienced before. In my mind, no one knew, but on the real, everyone did. We were connected. When we were in the same room, the energy changed. He was too attentive to me, and I tried too hard to ignore him. Looking back, I’m sure it was obvious to everyone but us.

I learned a lot, too, like what strength really means. It means picking yourself up when you are devastated, and you have no one to blame except yourself. It means smiling when tears are all you have. It means recognizing how scared you are of being alone and that you are willing to be second in someone’s life. I was desperate for love and craving attention. I was willing to sacrifice my integrity and lower my expectations for fear that I might miss out on knowing what it means to feel loved. I was willing to accept videos and hot wings so we didn’t have to go out, and secret meet-ups at Alvin Ailey because it seemed romantic and illicit and because I thought he loved me but was afraid to call it off.

Strength is accepting responsibility for your part in the destruction of a relationship. It is understanding that walking away when you know something is wrong is the only answer. It is writing this piece with the understanding that he might read it and know that it is about him, but not caring because you know it is time to release whatever guilt you are holding on to. It means letting go and moving on even when standing alone. There’s an old adage that says, “The best way to get over a man is under a new one.” I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it. Yet, I knew that would only make things worse. Make me worse. I needed to heal. I wanted peace. I wanted to stand tall on my own. It took a while. More tears. Some alcohol. Some “come-to-Jesus” sessions with my girls and a few ratchet dates. But, here I am.  Strength is learning never to say never. I had never been the side chick. But there I was. I will never do it again, even if it means being alone. I’m worth more than that.