Believing I Am Beautiful

I remember being teased a lot for many different reasons.  I was teased for being a church girl, not having a perm, my hair being short, being dark, being chubby, not wearing the flyest clothes or having a boyfriend all the time.  Do not feel bad for me.  I did my fair share of teasing and it was not just in defense of myself, but as a way to mark my territory.  I was very good at hitting you where it hurt and laughing about it loudly in your face.  Despite being teased all through primary school, I think the words that always hurt the most were those that came from my father.

My father would say things like, “I hope you don’t think you are cute, because you are not?” or “You are so fat.” or “No one will ever want you.  You are going to turn out just like your crackhead mother.”  or  harsher words that cut much deeper and left internal scars that took years to heal.  Looking back at my pictures, I was actually pretty thin.  I was in ROTC and the marching band, which forced me to workout a lot and we never had a lot of food to eat, so it wasn’t like I over ate.  He said those things to hurt me and to control my perception of myself.  His words always stuck with me.  When I looked in the mirror I saw someone who was ugly, fat, and never good enough.

I was the late bloomer.  I was shaped like Taylor Swift my freshman year of high school but the following summer the Lord saw fit to allow me to blossom.  As I started to become more shapely, my father’s words became harsher and cut deeper.  By this time, my stepmother had moved back to Connecticut and I only had my girlfriends to help me get through these fragile years.  Thankfully, many of them had older sisters and their words of wisdom helped me to appreciate the young woman I was becoming ,but that only helped on a superficial level.  I understood that I was physically changing for the better but my self-esteem remained the same.  Low.  The foundation of your self-esteem is built at home and my home was filled with destructive words instead of words of love and power.

I never realized how hard I was on myself until my sophomore year of college.  I cannot pinpoint the moment or the exact set of events that led up to my epiphany, but I remember being in the car with my friend and she turned to me and said, “You look different.  You look very pretty.  I don’t know what it is but you look good.”  I remember that moment so vividly and I looked in the mirror and there wasn’t anything different about me except the fact that I had decided to just be happy.  I made the conscious decision to stop being so critical of myself and pointing out all of my flaws because I wasn’t going to change.  I learned to accept myself and find the beauty in my being.

My journey towards a happier me was slow and riddled with pitfalls, mistakes and setbacks.  I reached a pinnacle of happiness the year I prepared for my friend’s wedding.  I set a weight loss goal and focused on cleaner eating.  I worked hard at my job but I was also having the time of my life.  That year was amazing from start to finish and I vowed to only go higher from there.

When I look in the mirror I still notice my flaws but I don’t use them to deconstruct myself down to the studs.  I see an issue with my skin, I go and find a treatment regimen that will clear it up.  I don’t like how I look in my clothes, I prepare a workout regimen or set a running goal and stick with it.  If I am ever unhappy, I try to get to the root of the problem and deal with it accordingly.  This is the new me.  The me that arrived in 2005 and believed that I was beautiful because I am.

Our words changes lives.  Our words empowers.  Our words destroys.  Use your words wisely.  Build up yourself and those around you.  Be proud of who you are and work hard to be better each day.  Believe that you are beautiful.

Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

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Manage Your Stress Successfully

I deal with my stress in many ways.  I run, I read, I sleep, I cry, I do yoga, I eat Talenti, I tweet, I blog, and I call my friends or my family.  Sometimes when I am extremely overwhelmed I scream so loud that my throat itches afterwards.  That always makes me feel better but I don’t use that method too often.  Some of these methods are great means of managing stress, while others are not so great.  The most content people in life are those who are able to manage their stress successfully.

I am a high-strung, Type A, Virgo.  All of this makes dealing with stress important because I find stress in very minor things.  For example, I hate that my husband does not put away his clothes that I have sorted, washed, folded and placed in his room.  This brings me so much anxiety because I want everything in the right place all of the time.  I understand that may not happen with kids around and I have dealt with that by putting all of the kids toys in the basement.  My husband does not see the big deal in clothes being in a basket for weeks at a time and no matter how many times I explain my feelings on it, he still does not see the big deal.    I had to come to grips with our different outlooks, close the door to that room, and put that at the bottom of the list of things to worry about.

I always stress about not being a perfect parent.  Some things that helps me to be a better parent is to count down before reacting.  This allows me the time to assess if it’s really worth getting worked up about.  Many times I have to remind myself that children will be children and they don’t mean any harm by throwing your iPad on the floor when they are upset.  They really think it is fun to just jump off the last two steps onto a wooden floor and they don’t know that they could crack their skull.   There are plenty of books but not enough time to read so you live, learn and call your friends who have older kids and can help you through these rough patches.

The only way I can properly work through my daily stressors and the others that life may bring is by digging deeper into each situation and finding appropriate solutions to each problem.  The simpler issues I can resolve quickly but others take a lot of thought and time.  I can easily (took a few years) not worry about the basket of clothes but I have to actively work on being more patient with everyone around me.  The stress of life can show up in your health and in your lack of success.  Stress kills physically and will kill your dreams if you let it.

Life is full of stress and we have to be prepared to deal with it in order to get the most out of each day and every moment.  The time we spend stressing could be used in developing ideas and plans to get you through the current phase or to get to the next level.  The stress we allow to build up inside of us can cause digestive problems, fertility problems, urinary problems or a weakened immune system.  Finding a healthy way to manage stress will enhance your life and your positive perception will create better outcomes to situations that could have ended disastrously.

I am actively working on managing my stress and making the best of every situation.  We are all a work in progress but learning how to address certain aspects of our lives will help us in the long run.  This is an individualized journey, so how you best deal with your stress may be completely different than mine but having readily available methods will ensure your progressive success.

Find your inner peace and work hard to stay there.  Rid yourself of negative energy, people or situations.  Be positive.  Stay encouraged.  Encourage others.  Be kind to others.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Every Year Aint Your Year

In 2012 I got engaged, bought a house, got married and had a baby. It was my year.  Everything that could go right, did go right and I was so excited. I got hundreds of likes on my Facebook page (that’s how success is defined amongst the millenniums) and despite the minor bumps along the way, I had very little to complain about.  I have always been blessed, but I have been through some tough times along the road, but 2012 was different. The year 2012 gave me things I never dreamed of and brought me so much joy and happiness.  It was MY year.

I did not start off 2012 feeling particularly blessed.  I had just found out I was pregnant a few weeks earlier, halfway through my first year of law school.  I had not planned this, but I did not resent the idea of having a child.  I felt that I was not ready at that moment and that I had not done everything I wanted to do prior to settling down.  I was also super sick and extremely tired.  The beginning of my pregnancy took a toll on my body that was not conducive to being in law school.  But through it all I had a great support system, great friends, and a great partner.

I did not know what 2012 was going to bring, but I knew that I had to prepare myself for what was to come.  After we planned to stay in our apartment another year, our landlord suddenly decided that he wanted to reclaim his apartment for his personal use.  This surprise left us scrambling trying to find an affordable and safe space in DC.  Anyone who has ever looked for an apartment in a rush, in an expensive city knows that is no easy task.  We weighed many options and decided to test the housing market.

We had a great realtor and everything seemed to fall perfectly in place.  We found a home, had a settlement date, and moved in  within 2 months of beginning our search.  We decided to get married before we had the baby and then awaited his arrival in our new home as newly weds.  No one could have predicted how my year would turn out and I basked in its glory.  I did not claim 2012 as my year but everything I had worked for up until that day seemed to perfectly work together for my good.

I went into the following year and went back to work, building on my foundation and preparing for my future.  I came into 2014 with a plan and goals.  I had a vision and it did not involve anything but being in a better place at the end of 2014 than I was in the beginning of 2014.  I expected that this year would be tough.  I did not expect to still be searching for a job this late into the year, but here I am.  Despite my minimal expectations, I am still content with knowing that I am where I am supposed to be and doing what I am supposed to be doing.  My next full-time position will hopefully be the position that I want or one that will lead to greater opportunities.

Many churches and pastors proclaim that “This is your year!”  They say this every year and people are let down many times because every year aint your year.  Some years you have to go through some things to grow.  Some years you have to learn patience.  Some years you have to prepare for what is to come.  After another few seasons, after you have gone through some things, you finally hit your geyser moment and everything you have endured, prepared for and prayed through finally culminates and your season of harvest arrives.  The window of heaven opens up and floods you with blessings.  This season may last a week, a month or even years.  Through all of this you still may go through some tough moments and the next year may bring tragedy or heartache because that is life.  You just have to believe that greater is coming.

Our expectations of only great things does not help us prepare for those moments when things are not so great.  We are here praising instead of preparing.  Sometimes we have to learn to listen, to meditate or to just keep pushing.  We have to learn that pain and pressure will come and we have to have appropriate coping mechanisms to work through those moments.  I believe in dreaming the unimaginable but I also believe in being firmly being grounded in your truth.  You know how hard you have worked, how much you have prepared and how much you have endured.  The road to success is not a straight line of nothing but great moments, but one riddled with failure, loss of support and dreams deferred.  The payoff is worth sticking with the process.

Dream big dreams.  Live life out loud.  Be great in everything you do.  Know that today may not be your day, this month may not be your month, or this year may not be your year but YOUR moment is coming.  Until that moment comes, you have to do everything that you can to be prepared.  You can miss out on your blessing by not being where you are supposed to be.

Every year aint your year.  But when it is, know that we will celebrate with you as you have celebrated with others.  Proclaim it.  But more importantly prepare for it.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

It is No Longer Just the Cost of Living but the Quality of Life

I am getting older and I am longing for a change of pace.  Although I live in the “suburbs” of DC, I still feel the pressure of the rat race every single day and it is exhausting.  I am longing for a simpler life that we can afford.  I want to expose my son to everything the world has to offer, including being apart of a tight knit community where people know your name.

We have been discussing moving to Houston even before we had our son and now it comes up in conversation more and more.  Houston is a great place if you have never been but what I love most is how every neighborhood has everything you need.  You drive outside of your suburban community and you arrive at the shopping center that houses your needs in a 4 block radius; Target, Krogers, Marshalls, Nail salon, Chuckie Cheese and great food! Although these seems like nothing, it helps to center the activities of that community into one central location.  You go to the same grocery store every week and you begin to connect with those who work and shop there.

I love DC and all it has given me over the past 11 years but something here is missing.  I know that every where we go there will be traffic, weather to complain about or disconnected aspects of a community but DC does not give me a feeling of being home.  The growth of the city is focused more on the young, hip and rich and less on working class families.  At one time I felt like I did not belong any place else, suddenly I feel completely out of place.

Some of it has to do with having a kid.  Strollers don’t fit into these cute shops and restaurants and people aren’t interested in hearing your baby have a temporary melt down in their cool, chic eatery.  Some of it has to do with having student loans.  I owe a mortgage in student loans and the pay off date doesn’t exist in this decade or the next or anyone close to that.  Some of it has to do with coming full circle.  Although I was born in Connecticut, my formative years were in Houston and I still have so many friends there.  I felt home when I was there and when I go, it always brings a breath of fresh air.

At this point in my life I am no longer focused just on the cost of living but on our quality of life.  Even if Houston is not our next stop on our journey, I know that our current location is coming to an end sooner than later.  I have accomplished more in these 11 years than I could have ever dreamed but there is so much more in the world and I think I could get a better view from a different place.

The book of life is full of chapters and subchapters.  This chapter of my life in DC has been long and filled with so many amazing memories.  I sense that it will be closing soon with all of its many subchapters finally coming to a complete end.

A new beginning is on the horizon and I am ready.  I don’t know when.  Maybe not today or tomorrow but soon.  Be you.  Do you. Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

A Purposely Driven Life Requires Patience

A constant reminder of the virtues we must possess to become successful.


We are so used to the right now narrative.  The feeling of instant gratification.  The reward of instant satisfaction.  But when you are living life on purpose, driven by your purpose and fulfilling your purpose, you must remain patient.  All of the unimportant things (bills, others perception, or your personal disappointment) do not matter if you do not have sound mental, spiritual and physical health.  All other things can be remedied later, but right now, you have to simply be grateful for the things that are easily lost in the quickness of life.  A friend had to remind me today, not my will but God’s will.  Which also means His time.

In due time.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Why I Have a Food Insecurity (abbreviated)

This developed out of a conversation on Twitter where people were discussing poverty over various subject areas.  Someone’s tweet struck a place in my spirit so I decided to share. Here is the Storify of my Tweets:

https://storify.com/DestinedNurse/my-food-insecurity

I started to write a blog about the entire situation and it got too deep for me to share. I unpacked too much too fast and it put me in a really emotional place so I decided not to share and table the in depth story for another time. In summation, I have a fear of going hungry or not having enough food, despite being removed from this situation for over 12 years.  I cope with this issue by shopping at Costco and always having a full fridge.  Although this seems simple, it goes so much deeper.  One day I hope I will be strong enough to share the entire story.

In due time.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Follow me: @DestinedNurse @QualityNC