News Flash: We’re Moving!!

Growing up, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else besides Washington, D.C. It’s home and all I know. Of course, I’ve visited parts of Maryland and Virginia, but I wouldn’t dare move there. I’m a city girl, my family is here, and I’ve experienced so much here.

It wasn’t until my senior year of high school, like many others, where my mind was opened to being some place other than D.C. It was time to apply for college. In the beginning, I only considered places that were closer to D.C.—Virginia, Delaware, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. I had a full scholarship to a university in Oklahoma, but I could NEVER be that far from my family. Fortunately, I was granted the opportunity to go on a college tour with my friend and her mom in Florida. That trip changed my perspective on being further away from home. After that, I had my top three school choices selected. Miami, Florida, University Park, Pennsylvania and Greensboro, North Carolina were the places I wanted to be. Foolishly, I passed on the full scholarship.

My father really wanted me to stay home and attend a school in the area, but I refused. I wanted to break free. I felt like staying home would keep me in my comfort zone, and give my father the opportunity to spy on me. Sometimes I wish I stayed to have more time with him, but everything happens for a reason! I ended up attending Penn State University. It was away from home, but not too far. PERFECT choice.  Although being away for those four years gave me some of the best experiences, after my college experience, vacations would be the only times I would ever travel away from my home.

My husband on the other hand, yearned to move away. When my he became a truck driver, I cringed every single time he talked about it. From the very beginning, he said where we lived wasn’t trucker- friendly. I insisted on staying. I refused to be in a new place alone with our daughter and with no help. I also couldn’t imagine leaving my mother. When I left for college, two months later my father passed away. I always feared the next time I moved away, something would happen, or I would lose my mother. I talked to him about my fear and he compromised for as long as he could.

I eventually began to lighten up to the idea of moving to another state and gave my husband my list of needs. The main points were that we must visit the potential place for at least a week in order to see the area in depth and explore the school district in person. I also didn’t want to be too far into seclusion where it would be difficult to find help if there was an emergency. But still, I would always do my best to avoid the topic as a whole because I wasn’t ready to move.

As time went on, we compiled a list of places, and put a plan into action where we would we would both research different aspects about the place, and then we would go visit. It was a concrete plan, and I was very happy that we were both working toward the change instead of it feeling forceful or like an ultimatum. It was a way for us to both get what we wanted. 

In the mist of our search, both of our families experienced loss. We loss four people that were very dear to us in one year. Family became that much more important, and it reignited my desire to connect with my family in South Carolina. My father was born and partially raised in South Carolina. When he passed, I was able to meet his brothers and sisters who still lived down there for the first time. It was an indescribable feeling. They looked exactly like my father. Ever since that day, I wanted to get to know them. For years I would search online for them and try numbers, but they never worked. 

More recently, I pulled out my father’s obituary and went into private investigator mode. I searched all over and collected possible numbers for each sibling. I discovered one of my aunts passed away, and I immediately became fearful that I had missed out on connecting with the others. I felt like if they all died, my father was really gone. But I finally hit the jackpot. I found a working number for one of my aunts and I was filled with so much joy. She said that she lost our number after my father’s funeral but had been searching for us the entire time as well. She then passed my info along to one of my uncles and I was able to talk to him a little also. 

Soon after connecting with them, the opportunity for our family to move to South Carolina dropped right into our laps. While I wasn’t ready to move away, I felt like it was a sign from God since I wanted to connect with my family there. By this time, I had already made the decision to homeschool, so moving was more realistic for me at this point. South Carolina was also a great option because of the cheaper cost of living, space for our children to be free and play, and it’s not too far from DC where my immediate family is. At the max, it’s an hour and a half for a flight. 

So, we’re moving! It’s time to say goodbye to the DMV as my residence, but it’s truly only a “see ya later” because it’s forever my home. I’m still praying that once my mom retires that she’ll move down with us, but that’s a work in progress. She’s lived here for 61 years, so moving would be a huge adjustment for her. That’s the only thing that makes this move difficult. My mother is my heart. My truest and oldest best friend. But I know for sure that our hearts will forever remain connected, and her grandchildren will continue to see, visit and love on her as much as possible.

I have a sturdy circle of friends that I’m confident will remain through this distance also. They range from childhood, motherhood and business and I’m grateful that God made that shift in my life to prepare me for this new phase. I can finally say, I’m officially ready for this new season in life. Earlier this year I blogged about stepping out of my comfort zone in Comfort Zone: Contentment vs. Complacency, and it’s been happening ever since. This is major for me. Major for my family. 

Breaking Generational Curses Through Affirmations

For years I suffered from low self-esteem. It began when I started middle school and heightened in high school. During my first pregnancy it grew stronger, and after I gave birth, my low self-esteem issues had reached its peak. I remember crying every time my husband and I would discuss workout plans and weight-loss goals. I would start the conversation, but every time he agreed and continued the conversation with me, I thought that he viewed me the way that I viewed myself. I didn’t love myself and grew to a place where I hated mirrors, taking pictures and shopping. I knew my lack of self-esteem had gotten the best of me when I told my husband I no longer wanted to join our friends at a fight party because I didn’t want them to see me.

I remember watching MTV’s True Life a long time ago and it followed a girl who had body dysmorphic disorder. She looked completely normal, but when she looked in the mirror she saw someone totally different. That’s who I’d become. I would have one pimple on my chin, but saw a face full of pimples, dark spots and imperfections when I looked in the mirror. I would go through a series of outfits before finding one that didn’t make me look overweight. Once I finally met up with my friends, that one outfit I grew to like would turn into to a strong dislike because I didn’t feel it looked as good as my friends.

I’ll save the story of where my lack of self-esteem came from another day.

The way I saw myself began to take a toll on my marriage. Every complement my husband gave me, I rebutted with “you’re just saying that because you feel like you have to.” I would wear shirts to hide my postpartum belly during sex and cringed when I had to change in front of him. He noticed. He would try reassuring me that I was beautiful and that he loved me, but it didn’t make a difference. There wasn’t anything he could do. This was a “me thing” that I had to handle with God.

My breakthrough came after my first corporate fast with my ministry Queen Esther. It was a mixture of what I had been learning in my classes and the peace I gained from God during that fast that helped me. I cried from the relief, and prayed that no woman felt the way I once felt about myself. That meant I needed to start with my little girl. She witnessed my mess first hand, and I refused for it to be passed down to her and generations to come.

I started out validating her on a daily basis. Whenever she would become defeated in her abilities or seek compliments from others, I would reaffirm her. [Read my blog post Mommy I Can’t See, It’s Black to get some background on why it was important that I started her young with affirmations.] Once I noticed that she was great at memorization (between 2 and 3), I introduced affirmations. One of my downfalls was speaking negativity and failure over myself. I knew that the power of life and death was in our tongues so I began teaching my baby to speak over herself. To speak love and power over life. I knew she didn’t understand it just yet, but it was a start. Once she mastered writing legible English, that’s when I introduced writing the affirmations out. She was older so, once she wrote them out, we would talk about each one together.

Now at the age of 7, I simply tell my daughter to either write out 5 affirmations, or say them aloud. She knows that she must explain why she chose each affirmation. I stress to her the importance of not just saying the affirmations because mommy tells her to, but to believe in them. She is required to speak loud and clearly when telling me about herself. I do this because I want her to be confident when speaking the things she know to be true about herself. The feature picture for this post was our affirmation session from yesterday. I was proud for a number of reasons. First, she spelled each word correctly. Second, her handwriting wasn’t bad at all. Third, her reasons behind the affirmations.

  1. I am beautiful-“Because it’s my middle name and no one can make me feel ugly.”
  2. I am magic-“Because when I pray for people they feel better.”
  3. I am one of a kind-“Because just like snowflakes, I was made different from everyone else and I’m my own design.”
  4. I am cute-  “Because I’m adorable.”
  5. I am Taniya- “Because everyone else is taken, so it’s best being myself.”

My heart was so full. I’m still on a high. My baby get’s it. She’s understanding! I’m already changing the trajectory of the path my family was headed down. I’ve cried to my husband many times fearing that I would lead our daughters to destruction.  What I’m teaching my oldest daughter will surely rub off on my youngest. I am healing through raising my daughters, and proving myself to be an example. Yesterday, Taniya made me agree to give her a list of my own affirmations as well “so that I am reminded of how awesome I am.” You see that?… God is using my daughter to challenge me to continue to grow.

Lack of self-esteem was my own demon. I defeated it by not allowing it to trickle down to my children and generations to come. My job isn’t done yet though. There are other generational curses that stem from years of brokenness and lack of help in my family that I intend on breaking as well.

Jada Pinkett-Smith mentioned on her show Red Table Talk, that our children will need therapy regardless. I’m hoping that my children’s therapy sessions are simply ways for them to vent and sort through their thoughts. Not because I failed to show them that they are enough. Not because I failed to show them that they are important, and that their words and feelings mean something.

I hope that this helps someone 🙂

Relationships & Friendships: Emotionally, They Are Indeed Similar (Throwback Thursday)

As life continues on, we [hopefully] mature, our priorities change, and we meet and establish new friendships as well as watch some deteriorate. For many of us, we also find ourselves searching for love or have established it, but in return was given a broken heart. You may have found or find yourself putting so much effort into making the relationship work because you feel like you’ve invested so much of your time and no one else deserves that person in your mind. You continuously have thoughts about the great moments you had with that person and how well you both connected, learned each others likes/dislikes, and even fought, but at the end of the day you two were there for each other. If you really sit and think about it, some of those same moments you find yourself experiencing in a relationship, you experience in a friendship as well.

It is certain that change is inevitable, but in my opinion there are some things that don’t necessarily have to change. They can evolve. A good friend of mines said, “Some things you can’t control in life, but control the things you can.” I most certainly agree with this quote! I believe it applies to both friendships and relationships. Let me provide you with a few examples.

At the beginning of many friendships and relationships, you may find yourself on the phone with the person a lot, making time to see one another, having fun doing absolutely “nothing,” learning about one another and expressing your every emotion to the person. As the months or years go by, you experience several events that you couldn’t have handled on your own [the friend or boyfriend/girlfriend was there for support], and when it was the other way around you did the same. At this point, you’re thinking this is “forever” and I can trust this person.

Then there comes a moment when you find yourself constantly texting and/or calling the person, no reply. In your time of need, they are nowhere to be found, BUT as soon as something “horrible” happens in their life you’re there for them at any time of the day/night. You observe how you guys no longer go out or do the same things as before and when you do, things just aren’t the same. The conversations have long and uncomfortable pauses, both of you are on your phone the entire time and an array of other things.

You begin to think to yourself, “I know I’m not the only one who knows things are changing.” So you bring it to the person’s attention. You both then agree that in order for things to go back to the way they were or to get better, you both needed to make an effort. At the end of the day, you find yourself making all the phone calls, sending all the texts and always finding ways to spend time with the person.
It is true, as we grow things change in our lives and our relationships with people also change. You may not have enough time to go out like you used to, or talk on the phone as much, but there are ways of allowing relationships to evolve into something that works for both people and not let unnecessary changes occur. It is a shame when you text or call the person and don’t get an answer, but as soon as you log on to Facebook or twitter you see their status changes are done from their mobile phone.

Now for some people, it’s easy for them to get the picture and to just simply “cut” the person off. But for others, they continue to think about the good times and don’t want to let go because of the things they experienced with the person. You become tired emotionally in either a friendship or relationship when you’re always wondering will things go back to normal.

There are signs and actions that these people give us that clearly shows us that keeping a healthy friendship or relationship is the last thing they are thinking about. We have to learn how to re-evaluate situations and really think about are we hurting while this person is out “doing them?” Are you being a better friend, girlfriend/boyfriend than they are being? Ask yourself these questions and more.

It comes to a point where we have to understand that some relationships and friendships were formed specifically at a time in our lives for us to grow and have the person there in that time period. It’s easier said than done, but if you’re constantly trying to make a friendship/relationship work and there has been no changes or more importantly progress, it’s not worth your time. Sometimes it takes for you to actually let go, or to not care for the person to truly realize your worth and come to YOU. Once you realize your worth first, that same person will realize it as well in the future and the next person after that. Stop running around trying to catch your tail, it’s behind you for a reason. You may find yourself getting close to catching it, but it is very rare that you will. On a dog, he is able to see and depend on his limbs, nose, eyes, etc. But his tail is behind him. He knows it’s their and may pay it some attention from time to time, but there is so much in front of him and beside him that he doesn’t focus on what’s behind him. Look at what’s in front of you and whose beside you. What’s behind you will always be BEHIND you if you let it stay there instead of chasing after it.