Dear Fellas,

Dear Fellas,

I’ve been sitting on this letter for a couple of weeks because I had to meditate on what I wanted to say to y’all. I reached out to a couple of men I know and I asked them a simple question, “Do you love yourself”. Ideally, I thought for sure many of them were going to say that they did, but the honesty I received was mind blowing. It made me dive into the work I know I was set out to do. It made my decisions that more clear. My path was lit and I knew all I had to do was to continue on.

Here it is:

I want to say thank you. My relationship with men have been interesting to say the least. I think I’ve learned too much from the men in family that benefitted me, but also kept my eyes wide open to all the bullshit I would encounter. I don’t want to say trained, but I was trained not to put up with the bullshit. I was trained to approach situations just like YOU. With that being said, I want to say its ok to let go. I did. I know, I’m a female and the expectation of me is to be emotional and expressive, but you are allowed too. Let go of what is expected of you and just be you. There are too many of y’all trying to be who society wants you to be. I think I’ve played a part in wanting men to live up to societies standards because my own conditioned thoughts. I had a lot of unlearning to do to realized that there are things that no longer serve me and the well being of my loved ones.

Your continued strength in the face of a world that wants to continue to break you down is phenomenal. I’ve seen so many of you rise above the bullshit and that’s commendable. I’m here to lend an ear, a hand, and give a hug to all of you that need it. There is so much pressure put on all men, but specifically black men. Not only are conditioned black women placing these pressures on you, but everyone else as well. The stereotypes that society expects you to live up to, but also penalizes you for is one of the many reason why I am saying thank you. Be you. In every way, be you.

To the men/boys still out there fighting for your own mind… keep going. I’m here for all of you. None of us are perfect. Some of you can’t break free from the box that they’ve put in, but keep fighting, keep grinding, and you’ll laugh about the journey later.

I’m sending my love, my hugs, and strength to you all the men out there fighting to be better. I pray for you nothing but love, light, and a clear mind to do and be who you are.

 

Love your sis,

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Vulnerability…

I feared the word once upon a time. I don’t know why to be honest. Maybe its because we were to think it means to be helpless, defenseless, powerless, weak etc.

vul·ner·a·ble
ˈvəln(ə)rəb(ə)l/
adjective
  1. susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.
    “we were in a vulnerable position”

I never pictured myself opening up authentically to humans (LOL). Vulnerability meant being over emotional to me. Living in your feelings and expressing your feelings all the time, but I’ve learned what it means to be genuinely vulnerable. Positively vulnerable.

 

Allowing yourself to feel without judging yourself is vulnerability.

Giving yourself the space to be open about your emotions is vulnerability.

Creating different healing tools so you don’t live in your feelings is vulnerability.

Being able to express your feelings in a healthy manner is vulnerability.

 

I noticed I wasn’t vulnerable because my friends were authentically vulnerable. My friends would wear their hearts on their sleeves and honestly I would judge them for it. They allowed space for someone else in their life romantically and I didn’t. Once I started developing romantic feelings for someone it was time to abort the mission. It was extremely unhealthy because naturally I am a romantic person. I have the ability to feel so deeply, but I’ve ignored my emotions for far too long.

 

I can’t say that I’m 100% vulnerable and I won’t ever be… that’s unrealistic. However, I am open to receiving how others feel and I am able to express how I feel without judging others in the process. I am as balanced as I can be in the vulnerability department and it makes me happy.

 

I want to make it clear that vulnerability doesn’t mean you have to express every thought with people. It also doesn’t mean that people are entitled to know if they’ve hurt you. It means that you have to make the right decision on whether or not to share with those people. Will they be receptive to understanding where you are coming from? Will it bother you if you don’t say anything? Not everyone will understand you and that also has to be ok. Give yourself time to open up to yourself about yourself and you’ll notice all the things that you need to work on become easier and easier over time. Its a blessing. 

 

BE POSITIVELY VULNERABLE. Don’t settle for what the dictionary tells you vulnerability is…

vul·ner·a·bil·i·ty
noun
  1. the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
    “conservation authorities have realized the vulnerability of the local population”

be able to expose yourself in a healthy way so you’ll know who to be vulnerable with.

 

Hugs & Kisses

 

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Unleash Your Inner Child

When loved ones come for your character because they disagree with who you are it inspires self-reflection. I had a friend tell me my reaction was childish which led her to feeling uncomfortable about our friendship. In hindsight, I still feel like that’s her prerogative. However, it got me thinking about why we aren’t letting our inner child out to play. We’re so caught up with our adult life that we become miserable towards childlike things or we play differently. Which leads me to my thesis… if men and women spent more time enjoying themselves freely like a child we would have less men and women playing games with each other. I know its a reach, but let me explain. 

As a child, we tend to be very honest with ourselves and people. Trauma can change that, but for the most part we live carefree lives. We eat when we’re hungry, not when we’re bored. We don’t lie, unless we feel threatened (getting in trouble by a person in authority). We PLAY! We make FUN from the smallest things. 

I don’t have any kids, but I’ve been fortunate enough to know a lot of women with kids, and blessed to see those kids grow beautifully. Kids are so honest, its refreshing. My weight gain was told me to by my cousin and goddaughter who were both 5 at the time. Both of them telling me in their own ways and at different times that I gained weight. I couldn’t get upset because they were being honest and they weren’t being malicious or trying to hurt my feelings. They were observing and letting me know what they saw. True honesty comes from within, its our inner child coming out to play. Our childhood stays with us forever if we let it. That person you are as a child is probably the most authentic person you’ve ever been. 

Have you ever seen a bored child? 

Think before you answer…

Maybe one of these electronic kids, but again the kids I know have an equal balance of electronics and creativity. My friends’ son enjoys hanging on cupboard doors, that is what he considers fun. My friends’ daughter was excited to help me move things from upstairs to downstairs. Children appreciate the LITTLE things in life. There is so much to learn from them. PLAY is something that if we’ve lost, we can be reminded through them. 

Okay, my thesis. There is a cloud of people who enjoy the dating GAME, which could be fun and exciting, but we also need to know when to stop playing (THIS IS NOT SUPER MARIO). There isn’t ANY LEVELS TO THIS SHIT. There is humans and human emotions. Its that simple. People continue to get their feelings hurt because we’re so caught up with work, school, church/temple/mosque that we neglect our PLAYTIME, which should be used to unleash and wind down. Instead we use it to find significant others and not even lifetime partners; we use our PLAYTIME to play with human emotions. How fucked up are we?

Think about why recess was created in the first place. In elementary school, I had 3 recesses, in middle school it was an hour lunch, and high-school was the same. As we get older, our time became less of our time and more of getting caught up in work, school, and religious practices. All these things are great, but playtime is also mandatory. We can argue that people are able to go on vacations for 3 weeks out of the year or more. Most people get two days off from work to relax, catch up on their favourite shows, see friends, participate in activities (if they have the funds), etc. With that being said, we need to remember that PLAYTIME should happen everyday. We should embrace PLAYTIME as adults. Fuck self-care (for a millisecond), its deeper than self care. Embracing playtime means unleashing your inner child. Unleashing your authenticity, your boldness, your honesty, your creativity, your individuality. Don’t let that go.

Let’s step out of our shoes for a moment and assess all of times we played games with human emotions because we were bored with life. 

Okay, now step into your shoes and reminisce about all of the times you were playful and if during those times you were playing with human emotion. 

I want you to really think about it before answering out loud to yourself. 

I say all of that to say this, do not neglect your inner child because that is the person you were first. I, too, neglected my inner child, but now I embrace her with open arms. I dance! 

Adult playtime activities/hobbies

  1. Dancing
  2. Playing a sport you LOVE 
  3. Knitting
  4. Gardening 
  5. Swimming
  6. Reading
  7. Designing 
  8. Singing 
  9. Sex
  10. Painting 
  11. Acting 
  12. Archery, laser tag, paintball (group activities)
  13. Night out with friends 
  14. Vibezing to music
  15. Enjoying nature
  16. DIYing 
  17. Hobbies (fixing cars, bikes) 
  18. YOGA… and many more.

It all boils down to being active and expressing yourself. Unleash your inner child and see how your life changes.

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HEALING/DEALING WITH YOUR SHIT

I’m guilty of being that person working on their healing and trying to force people to work on theirs. Unfortunately, I’ve walked into many roadblocks amongst my peers that have made my healing journey troubling. No my experience isn’t based on theirs. However, trying to convince people that there is power in healing and dealing with your shit becomes annoying and quite draining for someone who has made tremendous growth. I’m not trying to brag, but me 6 months ago and me now are the same person and not at the same time. I’m a force on my own and nothing can break the bond I’ve found within myself. God and my loved ones have really helped a sister out. I still have so much work to do in terms of controlling myself when I’m triggered, but I’ve always been in touch with my emotions so its harder for me to hop out of my feelings. I’m a queen in training… sue me.

The most amazing feeling is when you are working on your growth and people acknowledge it. Especially people who have been in your life for over 10 years and know the ins and outs of all the drama, heartache, anger, happiness, and trauma that you’ve experienced. Healing does not mean that you won’t have good and bad days, but its about being able to control those feelings that I and many others still need to work on. I know that I have most of my emotions in check, but I’ve had to do a lot of unlearning to find what works for me as an individual.

Healing also means acknowledging your flaws and deciding if you want to tweak your flaw or abolish that shit. We need to be in touch with ourselves in order to list our pros and cons with confidence. A flaw of mine that I’ve been tweaking is impatience. I believe meditation will help with this, but as I work on my impatience, I am learning that its ok do show up alone. Its actually something I learned this week. Its better for me to show up alone than to wait on people in order to show up. I’ve mastered being patient with myself, which I also had to learn because I have big plans for myself and I’ve always had big plans for myself, but experiences led me to fall off track. Still, I am thankful for all the lessons learned.  

The biggest lesson I had to learn during my healing process is that some people will never understand the power in healing their shit. They will continue to ignore their pain as a characteristic they’ve picked up. Unwilling to unlearn what they’ve been taught their whole lives and that needs to be ok. Some people are not ready to face their bruises or chasms because its too painful for them to handle and that’s ok. Everyone needs time, but people also need to want it for themselves – BIGGEST LESSON YET – because what I want for them doesn’t matter if they don’t want the same thing.

There is a list of things that I’m currently working which mainly involve how I interact with people whom I love who are not willing to take the plunge into their healing. Its detaching myself from stale, negative, judgmental energy that seems to be harder than I expected. With that being said, I am working on abolishing judging people. My cousin said something to me that resonated with me, “I realized that I’m not like everyone else and not everyone is like me. What I’d do in a situation could differ from someone else. But because their choice is different from mine, it doesn’t mean that they chose right or wrong. In their mind it was the best decision for them to make.” My little cousin led me to a LIGHTBULB moment y’all.

It is however, a great feeling when people are eager to work on their healing. THAT PART makes me jump for joy knowing someone else will experience the euphoric feeling of self-love and self-solitude. Whatever you need healing from, I pray that you find the inner strength of your ancestors and LEVEL UP *in my CICI voice* from your shit.

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FRIENDZONEDDDDD!

Why are we always making the friendzone a bad thing? It would make a lot of relationships different. Think about this with me… If I friendzone you why not accept that and keep it moving. Friendzone me too nigga. It doesn’t always have to be weird. 
EXAMPLES:
Boy friendzones girl
Girl still wants boy so she tries harder 🤦🏾‍♀️
Give it up sweetie. If its suppose to happen THEN it will. 
Girl friendzones boy
Boy accepts it and friendzones girl
Girl starts acting weird cause she feels like its awkward cause he LIKED her. 
No honey, he shot his shot and you blocked that shit.
Theres more girls in the world. 
Girl friendzones boy
Boy pretends to accept it, but actually is madly in love with girl
Girl asks boy if they’ll be cool going forward and boy says yes, but means no. 
Boy lives his life loving someone who doesn’t want him hoping that he’ll one day love him.
STUPID! Don’t do that shit to yourself!!!!!!!!! Why would you want to be left behind? Why be the friend if you don’t want to be a friend? I don’t get it..
Move on playa!
LETS WELCOME THE FRIENDZONE INTO OUR LIVES SO WE CAN STOP THIS DEBATE ON WHETHER OR NOT MEN AND WOMEN CAN BE FRIENDS. 
Let me be clear on what I mean by friendzone. Personally, I don’t think if a sexual exchange was made that you can be friendzoned. I just don’t. You’re welcomed to think differently 🤷🏾‍♀️. However, if the friendship/relationship was explored minus any sexual exchange then men and women can be friends if we work on what we’re jealous about. 
My opinions though… any thoughts? 
FYI: I chose the sunflower because it represents growth AND healing for me and I think we could all use some.
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A Toxic Love Story

I recently wrote a post on Instagram reflecting on my growth within the last year, which led me to this point right here. *Teenage Fantasy plays in the background by Jorja Smith* Its time to tell the story of my first heartbreak and how it took me losing my virginity to realize I didn’t want to be with him anymore.

When I first started this blog I was writing stories about people and their lives and it never occurred to me that I had many stories of my own that I didn’t even think of telling. This story in particular is a direct reflection of why I WILL NOT settle and why I’d rather people assume I’m a lesbian than bring any guy home to meet my family.

I met him at church when we were still in elementary school. I couldn’t tell you exactly what age because I’ve blocked out most of my memory of him, which is probably why I never thought to write this story. His name was all over my notebooks and I was talking about him to my closest friend at the time. He seemed shocked that I was even interested him, which made me shy. However, it led to us talking on the phone every other Friday or so. Those were the days when you had to call another line to speak to someone who lived in a city an hour away from you. My cousin and I had to do it all the time. That’s how we got to know each other better and of course msn.

We were always on and off. Every time we were on, I would tell someone different. First it was my friend from church, then it was my sister, then it was my cousin, then I started telling my friends from school because they never knew him, then it was people who didn’t know our history. I gave him a lot of power because he fit what I considered handsome at the time.

When we started dating it was a secret from anyone who didn’t know we talked. I wasn’t allowed to be in a relationship and I had a lot of family who went to church. It was best for the both of us to keep it quiet. He could cheat peacefully and I didn’t have to hear shit about dating the male slut of the church. It didn’t last long because we were young and a secret relationship with someone you couldn’t be seen with when you could see them didn’t make sense. Plus, at that time he started asking for sexual favours from me. That was during a time when giving fellatio was not accepted. My cousin snitched to my older male cousin and that led to our break up.

You would think that was the end of whatever was going on between us, but it was just the beginning. On my 14th birthday I got a call from two of my friends at 1am in the morning. I thought it was a HAPPY BIRTHDAY CALL, but it was more of a birthday slap in the face. He planned on ruining my birthday by telling me about his summer fling with my friend. She got worried about losing our friendship and confided in our mutual male friend who convinced her to tell me. Great birthday! When they broke down how it all happened I didn’t shed ONE tear. I acted like I wasn’t phased at all. I cried like a bitch to my best friend at the time. I forgave both my friends and moved on, but never really moved on until years later.

Fast forward to 6 months later after finding out, I was kind of forced to attend a masquerade ball my cousins were organizing at church. We saw each other and the cycle continued. We were probably on the phone for 15 hours the next day. I woke up to his call and went to sleep after hanging up. A month later after my church lost an INTENSE basketball game where most of our good players were ejected we started dating. Our relationship was public amongst the young folk.

The thing is he wasn’t all bad. During this time, I got to see the good sides of him. He showed me his vulnerability and eventually I used that to my advantage and played him because he hurt me. I did love him, but we were toxic for each other. He taught me about self pleasure, which led us to getting caught by his mother. If he cheated, then she definitely knows. I was a virgin and he was experienced. I told him he had to wait until I was 16, then it was until I’m ready. He didn’t pressure me, until later. I think he was cheating and as his feelings started developing more he didn’t want to cheat, but also couldn’t wait to have sex because he was constantly sexually aroused. That’s my theory!

He took my virginity. He fell deeper and I fell out.

The sex didn’t make me forgive him for all the shit he did. He probably thought I didn’t know about the girl who gave him head at a party, but I did. What my friend and him did to me still weighed heavy on me. Plus, my family didn’t like him and their opinion mattered a lot to me then.

I looked like a “bitch” because I broke up with him, but he broke me. I told him it wasn’t working and he said “Ashley, its your call, but if you break up with me we’re done. There’s no getting back together after this.” I guess he tried to show me that he loved me, but like I said we were toxic for each other. He sent me emails that started with “I love you’s” then it was “you will never forget me; I took your virginity.” After that, he showed up to places I would be. I’m pretty sure my friends told him where I’d be because he was trying to use them to get me back. Again, I never asked my friends and didn’t care to know. I never told them I was going to break up with him. I just did it.

Our relationship continued to be toxic (on and off) for another 8 years in secret. We always said we’d explore with other people, but eventually we’d date again. When he was ready I wasn’t and when I was ready he wasn’t, but I eventually cut ties with him because our friendship was no longer serving me. He also made it seem like his family was not a fan of me.

I’ve grown tremendously since then and reflecting on this era of my life made me realize that I NEVER want anyone to have that much power over me. I’m NOW living in my feminine power and will no longer accept intimacy from toxic energy, which I believed I learned many moons ago, but didn’t know how to express that. He taught me a lot about myself so I am forever grateful for our relationship/friendship. We developed a bond that unfortunately had to be severed due to a difference of lifestyle.

Although losing my virginity to him made me realize I didn’t want to be with him long term, I still held onto the thought of him always being there when I needed someone sexually. Its crazy cause our story started at such a young age, so you would think that a puppy love relationship would have ended when it did. Unfortunately, it didn’t, but I learned lessons that have helped me today. I know what I want and what I WILL not settle for from a man.

I think its very important for people to learn how to heal from toxic situations. I’ve been on my healing journey for the past year and I knew this post was one of many that had to be written. I want to express my deepest gratitude to ** for all that you’ve taught me. If you ever read this, thank you!

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I did the Water Cleanse!

Earlier this year, I embarked on one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. My family and I had a weight loss bet and I had one month to win so I decided to do the water cleanse. I did extensive research (youtube lol) on the cleanse to help me prepare for the struggle. I wasn’t able to complete the full 7 days without eating some crackers, but I managed to lose 16 lbs. The bet was called off because no one wanted this shhhmoke. Owww *Cardi B Voice*!

Although, I originally did the cleanse to lose weight my decision to do the cleanse again was purely for its benefits only. I didn’t care about the weight loss because I knew I’d gain the weight back. I needed to do the cleanse because it shocked my system and cleansed my system of all the rotten food that I was eating (No ones perfect).

My second experience with the water cleanse was a lot different than the first time because I had the time to relax. When I originally did the cleanse, I was working and didn’t want to take the time off to complete the cleanse, which was a suggestion from many Youtubers. Reflecting back on my first time trying to cleanse made me realize working made it a lot harder for me. I was able to focus on my personal healing and my cleanse the second time around. The first 5 days of the cleanse were easy for me. I was doing most of my regular activities like going to the gym, running errands, and walking my dog. I also lost 13 lbs in the first 5 days. On day 6, I felt my energy levels getting low; I tried to go to the gym, but it didn’t help or hurt me. I also didn’t drink enough water, which resulted in a 1 lb loss that day. On day 7, I was in bed all day. I couldn’t get out of bed because I had no energy.

I made it to day 8 before deciding that I was not going to continue to cleanse. I was nauseous all day long, and my head and neck were in pain. I considered juicing once my cleanse was over, but I needed food in my system after drinking a detox tea. (FYI: Don’t take any detox teas on a water cleanse… you will feel like death is knocking at your back door). I was down 13 lbs when I completed it, but like I mentioned before I didn’t do this cleanse the second time around for weight loss. Also, not having a end date helped me through the 8 days.

The days after the cleanse consisted of lots of fruits and vegetables. It is very important that once you break your fast you are eating small portions; I suggest only eating fruit and vegetables for at least three days. After the three days you can incorporate healthy carbs, but you should still stay away from meat and dairy products for another 4 days. You will avoid a lot of bloating and constipation.

Side effects of the water cleanse:

  1. Lethargy 
  2. Dry mouth
  3. Headaches if you don’t drink enough water
  4. Rapid weight loss
  5. Muscle weakness
  6. Bloating
  7. Unable to have a bowel movement

What I will say about the water cleanse is you shouldn’t do it if you are unable to spend time alone. People will judge you for your choice because they are either unable to do it themselves or they don’t know the benefits of doing the cleanse. I spent most my time alone, which helped me complete the 8 days of my water cleanse. The cleanse will also make you feel extremely connected to yourself. The only mistake I made was not meditating enough, which is why I plan on doing the cleanse a couple more times this year, but for 3 days only.

The benefits of the water cleanse:

  1. Weight loss
  2. Beautiful skin
  3. Lower blood pressure which equals less stress
  4. Less digestive problems (HUGE benefit for me)
  5. Emotional and spiritual strength
  6. Healing process for your body is much better (muscle pain from the gym)
  7. A boost to your immune system due to a better cell resistance

There are other benefits of the water cleanse that has helped individuals who suffer from various illness and diseases, but these benefits have personally helped me. I will continue to do the water cleanse and promote its benefits to all my loved ones to try. My challenge to you is to try the water cleanse for ONE DAY. Water has so many healing benefits that we’ve taken for granted, its time to retire the unhealthy drinks and drink more water (a God given drink).  

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