The “Before”

I’m conducting an experiment. For the next year (whew, freaks me out to dedicate myself to a year) I’m going to pray, meditate, journal and read every morning. Rather I want to or not and regardless of where I’m at.

My theory: focusing on doing this daily will help me materialize my vision without forcing it.

I spent all of 2016 forcing and trying to change so I can move forward in life. By the end of the year, I had seen very little change where I wanted to see change.

I ended up changing in a way that took me further away from my goals and deeper into depression and addiction. I was struggling for realz. I was exhausted, disconnected, foggy, and lost.

The last two weeks of 2016 I had an epiphany of sorts. Making 2016 actually a pretty cool year. I sat my ass down and prayed. I meditated. I wrote about it. And I read one of my favorite books on opening the soul.

I did this every morning for a week. I came to the conclusion that 2016 wasn’t a failure at all; it was a bomb ass lesson and the perfect “before.”

Plus I was astonished by how quickly working on my thoughts changed things around. They didn’t change a lot, but I was back on my grind.

My mindset went from “poor little ol’ me” to “2017 bout to be lit.” Much better feeling.

What I’m hoping to do here is live healthier, happier, and more productively without forcing myself to get there. My vision will begin to materialize and I’ll share with you all my results and insights along the way.

I’m also hoping to inspire other black women lost in a heap of “trying” to give self-care and wellness routines and practices a try.

How my first year in the thirties went

Not a major milestone but whoah, I turned thirty-one on December 23rd. Thought I’d be married, celebrating my second anniversary, and planning for my second child by this age. Harty har har. Jokes. I still get the same “why you single” questions I used to get in my twenties. It was cute and a bit flattering back then. Now I’m like…

Thirty was a trip. Here are a few things that happened during my first year in the thirties.

I established a few concrete “hell naw”s 

Struggle love, going half on dates, and “chilling” became a concrete “hell naw” for me. “They” say helping a “brotha” out and lowering standards is how black women can increase their chances at finding love. Chile’ please. I went for that during my twenties. That’s how I ended up feeling taken advantage of and tired by thirty.

Distancing myself from such headaches has done a lot for my health. I am more focused on me because there is less drama. There is less stress in my life over “love,” which makes more time for me to show myself love, care, and patience.

Another “hell naw” was allowing myself to take crap from others because I’m afraid I’ll be viewed as mean or angry. I’ve likely been running from the “angry black woman” trope since I was a little girl being told I had an anger problem. I didn’t like being called angry or mean because to me it implied I couldn’t control my emotions and I was irrational for how I felt.

Holding in anger and not being honest about how I felt gave me headaches and tension behind my eyes. I’d stew on something repeatedly in my thoughts until I actually developed headaches. Releasing anger and being honest enough to catch issues as they happened, allowed me to think about other things. And the anger headaches stopped. It also helped me deal with anger in other areas of my life.

The last crucial “hell naw” I established during my first year in the thirties was forgetting my burning desire. I never want to forget my burning desires again. Thirty was the year of internal conflict for me. I spent a majority of it confused, disconnected, and a bit lost. I knew what I wanted, but I always found a “better” way to pursue it, which left me with not much done.

Closer to the end of the year, I realized my missing puzzle piece was the thought of my burning desire. I wasn’t jumping out of bed with it on my mind so it wasn’t motivating me to keep the big picture in mind. It was hard to focus without remembering my burning desire.

I prayed to learn more about myself 

The decision to pursue freelance writing full-time has been a straight-up catalyst for self-discovery. I discovered I questioned my abilities as a writer. I discovered I had a hard time making progress because I feared heading in the wrong direction for too long. And I found out I used planning and preparation as excuses for hiding my work and not stepping out there.

I also learned more about myself in the context of weight management. I’ve accepted that I’m a food addict with a tendency to overeat. I also realized I’ve been dieting or “eating crazy” since I was 15-years-old. There hasn’t really been a between where I just eat to live without worrying about how much or feeling guilty. That tripped me out.

The beauty in learning more about self is becoming aware of those thought processes and actions that often go undetected because they’re subconscious or done in autopilot. Once aware of them, you can change them. I love that.

I prayed to learn more about myself so I can give myself the tools to fully live during this period in my life. I am childless, single, creating freely, and working towards a lifestyle I truly desire. Bringing more of myself to the surface in the process has done wonders for moving me forward.

My thirties are about to be lit. #BlackGirlMagic

I learned to value the experiment over the results 

When I decided to pursue freelancing full-time, I was focused on results. The problem I often times hit was not pursuing something authentically, or at all, because I cared more about the results. I did a lot of changing of the mind because I worried more about the results. I worried more than living and enjoying the process.

I realized this after listening to Black Girl in Om’s podcast, episode #13: Emotional and Spiritual Empowerment 101: A Chat with Tracy G. Girl, when I say Tracy snatched my damn edges, she woke my game all the way up. I almost envied her freedom to just create and put it out there. She explains being able to do this because she considers her work social experiments. Not projects with an end or gain in mind.

I wish I could say the minute after the podcast was over I started valuing the experiment over the results. I’m still working through it, but being patient.

My first year in the thirties was dope overall 

Yeah there was pain, confusion, disconnect, and some realizations I’ve cried over, but I also value all the growth I’ve experienced. And finding out what work needs to be done.

I’m looking forward to another great year in the thirties.


Learning to stick with it

I used to be a serial blog murderer. Well, I’ve allow my own blogs to whither away into pitiful existences of old posts and inactivity. It’s a sad sight, but being the woman that I am, I couldn’t allow a few dead blogs stop me from starting another. And another. And another. I kept trying. Searching for answers that’ll transform me from a half-assed blog starter to a fully committed blogger and influencer. That’s my heart’s desire. I know this because no matter how often I move on, I come right back to the same idea.

This inability to quit has also been a part of my weight loss and health journey. I’ve started diets and quit diets before reaching my goals. When I quit, or fall off the wagon, I don’t give up. I head back to the drawing board to find another method that’ll work for me. I don’t accept defeat and internalize it. I search for the solutions that’ll fit me.

Through this method, I eventually found a lifestyle that works so well for me that “quitting” has been diminished into the occasional, yet rare and much shorter “break” from my new normal. I feel so out of whack with that break that I’m quicker to get back to my healthy routine. It’s finally been set in my head that my health goals and healthy lifestyle is my set point.

This is the point I struggle with getting to when it comes to blogging. Pumping out content regularly has to be my new normal that I can’t, and won’t, go without. It’s proven to be tough for sure, but I’ve been researching what methods I must implement in my life to reach my goals. How can I make this my new normal?

Form the habits that coincide with the goals. Although I found a diet and routine that worked wonders for me, it took changing my habits and mindset as well as practicing strict discipline and consistency to truly make it work.

So that is the plan this time around. Finding my commitment juice by working on my mindset, setting some new habits, and practicing strict discipline. Maybe it’ll work. No. You know what? I’m setting my expectations here that IT WILL WORK! We’ll see how this goes as I share my thoughts regularly here on my blog.

Try the same method for getting healthy. If you know you really want to be a healthier person, don’t give up and believe a healthy weight and body just isn’t your thing because you’ve “failed” a few times. It is your thing if you’ve desired to have it. Keep at it. Do your research. Find a routine that makes it easier for you to stick to. I’ll also share the foods, routines, and mindsets I used to finally stick to my new lifestyle. We can do this!