Marriage Matters: What Marriage is Really Like 

When I first got married I thought that I had failed and made the wrong decision. Everything was so difficult to get through and we argued about everything, and by everything I mean everything.  I would ask, “Can you take out the trash?” He would respond, “The trash doesn’t seem to be full.” I would take his response as him saying, “No,” instead of it being a simple observation. I would explode into a firestorm of criticism about how I don’t ask him to do anything and all he had to do was take out the trash. He would respond in kind with, “It wasn’t that serious,” and shoot a firestorm of criticism at me. It was an intense time and things only got better once we realized it was miscommunication and not pure evil. 

On the other hand before we got married if I asked him to take out the trash, he would do it without any questions. Hence the bigger issue of just being together and being married.  There is something about the bounds of marriage that intensifies everything. I think there is a fear that if you let go of this one issue then you will lose every battle in the future. As silly as this sounds, the fear of being controlled by another person is a valid fear to have. 

After catching up with a long term friend and having many conversations with my girlfriends about their marital journey, I realized that many of us are going through some of the same things. No matter who our husbands are, where they have come from, or what they do for a living, there is a common thread that connects us all to the struggle.  Marriage is hard and either we talk about it openly or we assume that we are the only ones going through it and feel worse than we need to. 

A group of friends who were engaged or married discussed our biggest issues and we settled on trash, dishes, and laundry. Although these things seem so minimal, they ended up in very explosive discussions and tension between each couple. Things build up over time and something that may be so small can be overly analyzed because we refuse to back down over something completely unrelated. Our strength comes from being patient with our spouse and ourselves.  This thing takes some work! 

I am very excited to launch this new Google Hangout Series, Marriage Matters on March 3rd at 8:30c/9:30e. http://youtu.be/wpBBaJ3gudY.  This series will feature a very open discussion with women who are married, engaged, deeply committed, and divorced. We will be discussing our biggest issues, our reactions, and how we deal with issues as they arise. The maximum is 10 participants and everyone must be set up for Google Hangouts prior to that day.  You can also watch live and comment throughout the discussion. 

I am expecting great things to come from this discussion. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms. 

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Topic Tuesday: Therapy

I have shared many times before that I went to therapy while in undergrad and it was a life altering experience.  Honestly I wish I had received some type of therapy right after graduating from undergrad, while in law school, after law school, before we got married, and I wish that I was receiving some right now.  Therapy is not a bandaid or a sole solution to any problem, but a process that helps you categorize and properly place experiences in a comfortable place in your mind.  Many times we overemphasize a situation in our life that may hold little value or minimize a situation that needs to be held in a different light.  Therapy helps you step outside of your silo and see how each experience has played a role in your life without judgment and external pressure.

I am so open about my experience because I truly believe therapy saved my life.  My anger sent me on a destructive path and caused me to mistake realness with being hurtful and mean.  Much of my anger was displaced and targeted people who had characteristics of the person who hurt me the most.  My coping strategies were ineffective and unhealthy.  I found myself in a cyclical process that I wanted to escape from, but I did not know how to reach the exit.

During my assessment for clinical services the director interviewed me and asked me one question, “Tell me about your parents.”  I immediately began to sob and cry.  I could not formulate my thoughts or my words.  She looked at me, looked down at the paper and agreed that I needed services.  I walked out of the building in disbelief.  This woman broke me down in less than 5 seconds.  I was fragile and broken.  I needed more help than simply believing that everything would get better.  My sanity required more than someone to listen to me, but someone to help me.

I have always been very open and honest so I told all of my friends that I was in therapy and they were happy for me.  Over time they started to see the changes in me and that encouraged me to continue with the process even when I felt that I no longer needed help.  I knew that being in that building held a stigma, but my future could not be derailed because of the fear of being judged.  I do not know where I would be if I never took the final step to seek help.  I do not even want to think of where I could have ended up.

I want everyone to know that there is someone qualified to listen and help you organize your thoughts and emotions.  Life is hard and will never be without bumps.  We have to accept that life will come and we need effective coping methods to properly deal with those overwhelming things.  Although I had two amazing experiences while at Howard, I had a not so great one when my husband and I went to sort through our issues.  Despite her failings, I know that there are some amazing therapist out there who will help us refocus our perspective.  Do not let one experience define your future in obtaining the things that you need.

We need more than coaching, we need therapy.  Take a moment and find time.  Get a referral and follow through with an appointment.  Get the help you need. Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms. #BeExcellent

Getting to Your Destiny

This week has shown me that I am where I am supposed to be.  I started my new job and met some amazing people, cared for some resilient patients, and sat across from remarkable families.  I am happy because there is so much room for growth and many opportunities to learn from my co-workers, patients, and the organization.  Despite me desperately wanting a job, I prayed and was very specific about what I wanted in my next position.  As I drove up to my job on the first day, I realized that all of my prayers had been answered.

Over the past few months I started to discuss how much I missed being involved in patient care.  I have so many great memories from my experiences with my patients and co-workers.  The camaraderie that comes with  trying to save a life every day is indescribable and life altering.  I loved the spontaneity of my day and being able to meet so many different people.  I do admit that the hospital environment was not perfect, and lacked much of the autonomy and respect that experienced nurses deserved.  So stepping into a position in which I have extreme amounts of autonomy, a self-set pace, and the flexibility that most desire is a direct gift from God.

There is no perfect place, position or person to work for or with.  All life gives are opportunities that you have to make the best of, learn from, and grow beyond.  As a true millennial, I desire to create my own parameters, my own lane, and make things better for the next generation.  I have accepted that I am here because I am supposed to be here, but I have not accepted this place as my final destination.  On the road to your destiny are growth points and tunnels that you have to go through to see the broader picture of things that have always been working together.  You have to believe that every lesson that you are learning is necessary for your future success.

Many times we become frustrated because we are not where we want to be, but if we reflect on our choices it is only because we were not ready.  The path to our destiny is not straight or free of any detours, bumps, or bridges.  We have to go through it all to appreciate our destination.

Be confident in your journey.  Stay the course.  Stay focused.  Stay encouraged.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

I AM Where I AM Supposed to BE

It is easy to say that you are in the right place at the right time when you are in a positive position.  We can easily declare that we fought our way to be right here or sacrificed enough to achieve a certain status when things feel great, but what about the times when we find ourselves in a valley.  Many of us pat ourselves on the back for our successes and beat ourselves up for our failures.  We should not do either.  Our success is not always triggered simply by the things we have done recently, but usually manifestations of seeds we planted long ago.  Our failures are not always a result of recent missteps, but a bump along this road called life.

We can easily look at ourselves and say we deserve to be where we are, except if we are in a bad place.  Although we may not deserve it, many of us need to go through that valley to be prepared for the next level. The glory of our greatness is balanced by the reality of our limitations.  We can only be great as the weaknesses we recognize and work through.  It is easy to highlight our strengths, but it takes courage to expose our weaknesses and transform them into foundational characteristics that lead to a better us.  We excel naturally through our strengths, but we build character by  converting our weaknesses into lessons of power.

Accept that you are in the right place at all stages of life.  Learn all of the lessons the first time around so that you are always moving forward, even when you are going through growing pains.  I am where I am supposed to be right now and I was where I was supposed to be weeks ago when I was in a dark place.  I had to go through that tunnel to get to the light.  The tunnel taught me how to focus, how to fight, how to listen, and how to learn even when it feels like I am stuck.  I never want to go back there, but my next tunnel will be full of new lessons and help me to be better than I was before I entered it!

I am enjoying the light and preparing my mind for my next valley or tunnel.  I want to grow and reach greater heights and I know this will take me through many valleys, over many mountains, and through many tunnels.  Basking in the glory of His goodness and accepting that the days behind me helped me be where I am today.  I am blessed.  I am grateful.  I am where I am supposed to be.

Your steps are ordered.  Live Excellently.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

My Advice to Future RN/JDs: Keep Your Foot In All Doors

A student from Howard School of Nursing called to ask me to donate and I politely declined because in the words of my Twinnie, “I ain’t got it!”  She followed up with a few questions about becoming an RN/JD and 20 minutes later I had given her advice that I wished someone would have given to me.


In the end, I would not have done things differently, but I would have done things better.

1.  Keep your job in healthcare, even if it is just PRN.

If I would have kept my previous position, I would have had 6 years of active nursing experience instead of just 3.  I also would have had an easier time finding a position in that current healthcare system as a long-term employee.  I could have increased my hours after I took the bar, to help me in my post grad transition.  I quit my job because it was difficult balancing school and work initially and the administration convinced me that I could not work and do well my first year.  Do not listen to that.  Staying busy sometimes helps you focus and properly prioritize your time.

2. If you have a specialized career path, go to a school that has the resources to assist you with breaking into that field.

Although my law school had a previous RN/JD & have quite a few alumni in healthcare positions, I did not connect with them until I was in the middle of my job search.  There are a few law schools that have health care law certificate programs, concentrations in health care, or a course load that allows you to get more in-depth knowledge with policy and healthcare.  I did not think that my path was that special or that I would need a lot of assistance in obtaining a policy or healthcare associate position, but a different school could have possibly expanded my potential opportunities.

3.  Make time for extracurricular activities that can connect you with people in your future field.

I cannot make any excuses as to why I was not more involved in the ABA or other organizations that had a host of healthcare lawyers.  Although I was encouraged to join them, I did not feel that I had the time.  One thing you forget in law school is how to balance and in doing so, you can miss out on very important connections that you may need in the future.

4. Your career path is special and you should highlight that often.

One thing I could have done better was highlighting my transferable skills clearly.  Many people see my resume and do not understand why a nurse would want to be a lawyer, despite the millions of current issues that intersect with healthcare, policy, and the law.  People need to understand the why although you think that it is obvious.  Being able to have practical patient  experience that involves very calculated decision-making and collaboration is key to being in policy or in legal positions.  Do not shrink yourself to seem normal when you are not.

5. Do not be afraid to ask for help from those who have been hired to help you.

I made the mistake of not reaching out to Career Services until I had put in over 60 plus applications.  I thought that I would be able to land a position with the resources I had.  The Career Services Office is there to help you and connect you with the right people.  It is all about who you know, even more so in this current job market.  Although you may look great on paper, people may not even look at that paper if they don’t have a reason to pull your resume.

6. Keep an open mind.

Although my back up plan was to go back to nursing, I never though that I would really go back into nursing.  I know that some people may see this as a step backwards, but financially it is 10 steps forward and now I am apart of a healthcare organization that may be able to use all of the skills that I have obtained over my 8 years of schooling.  Do not be afraid to take an untraditional path to the right position.  You will always be a nurse and your  skills will always be valued.  Make sure you don’t keep yourself from a great opportunity because you have a plan that you do not want to deter from.

I wish someone would have told me a few of these things.  I may have listened or learned on my own but I want the next person to know better and do better.

Keep your foot in all doors.  Always think ahead and of the potential issues that can arise.  Maintain your nursing license.  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.

How to Raise the Perfect Child

At every major stage or milestone of my son’s life, I always call another parent who has just experienced this stage or a parent who has experienced it multiple times with their own children, to hear their thoughts on how I should proceed.  I go in expecting to get very sound advice, specific steps on how to get through this stage alive and advice on alternative methods.  Generally, I find that my expectations of myself and my son are too high.  The reality of what is to come is something that cannot be pinpointed to any particular plan that will make the next few weeks or months easier or perfect.

I asked my friend about potty training and she advised me that children will do anything for one M&M.  That put my entire experience and expectation into perspective.  Potty training is not easy, or a science and different for all children.  I realized that I just have to find what will push my son to go to the bathroom consistently and eventually he will form a habit that will become his norm.

The more I talk to other parents about their experiences, I realize I have to just relax.  Children are very smart, but they have not figured out every little thing just yet. Duh.  It takes time to get them to fully comprehend things that we assume we learned easily.  Everyone is looking for the answer to questions that have no answers to them.  What works for one family, may not work for you because the dynamics in your household is different, or your schedule is different or your child is just on their own timeline.

I see a friend’s daughter who articulates so well and suddenly it is my mission to get my child to articulate well.  Someone tells me that their child was potty trained at 18 months and suddenly I am on a mission to get my son potty trained before his 2nd birthday.  I hear of a child who has learned 4 languages by four and suddenly my son needs to be put in an intense class to make sure he has another language on his baby resume. There are specific skills that your child needs to acquire to ensure that they are hitting their milestones & that they are ready for the next stage in their life, but much of that comes with time, patience & allowing them to evolve naturally.

All of these anxieties come with trying to raise the “perfect child.”  We want our son to experience everything that we did not and give him opportunities we wished we had growing up.  In the haste to make his life experience greater than ours, we have to make sure that we are letting our child be perfect in his own right.  Everyone thinks that their child is perfect because they are.  They are all special in their own right and it is the little things that make you smile that makes them perfect.  That is why this little gift was sent to you.  Not for you to control their every move but for you to watch the beauty of life evolve through their eyes.  Their perspective on life and things are so different and the hope that they inspire for a better tomorrow is what we all need to survive some of our hardest days.

My child is already perfect.  The person who needs to work on becoming a more perfect person is me.  Be you. Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Advice to My Little Cousins

“What do you want to be when you grow up” is a common question posed to younger children and young adults.  Instead of simply guiding our children toward careers we have have a duty to guide them towards their purpose just as aggressively.  We should be asking our children, “What is the job or activity or hobby that you could do happily everyday for the rest of your life?”  That is essentially their purpose.  The difficulty comes in the means.  How do I make my purpose profit?  Some are able to follow a “traditional” path; get a degree and work your way up the ladder.  Others may have to save up or find investors and then take that leap of faith.  Many people find their purpose in the field they are working in.  The road to finding your purpose is full of twists and turns but once you find your purpose, you have to nurture it.  Educate yourself, read various articles or other blogs on the topic, do a market analysis, find a mentor, reach out to others who are doing what you want to do.  There is so much more to life than those who you see on the main screen.  The production team is the one with the most power.  In every industry we assume the money is with the face of the project but in reality it is in the background, leading up to the grand finale.  Choose your position and play it well.  Perfect your craft, be professional at all times, be strategic, stay humble, don’t be afraid to work hard to get to the next level.  It is important to have a career but it is equally, if not more important to find your purpose.  You owe it to those who came before you and those coming behind you, watching your every move.