#MindOverMatter. Emotions play an enormous part of any and everything we do. It’s a cycle of sorts leading to the next behavior. We feel sad, so we don’t want to get out of bed – that leads to a doom loop in our heads about being in this state forever – which leads to not eating or overeating – which leads to self-doubt and insecurity – and so on, and so forth.
This six-part series will focus on chapters seven and four (yes, in that order) of the Life in its Rawest Form Companion Workbook.
So how do we effectively manage our emotions? Having and using the right tools and resources is essential in this quest. I didn’t always deal with my emotions effectively, sometimes resulting in an unfavorable outcome.
Here are 5 ways to help you when you’re emotional, but first, just know that it is okay to have emotions or to become emotional at times. In fact, you should be concerned if you weren't. The key is controlling and managing your emotions effectively in effort to minimize unfavorable outcomes.
Him… (Page 157 of Life In Its Rawest Form) and not the “Him” you may be thinking.
Having my son as a teen, I had to grow up fast. In the first post, part 1 of the current #SelfLove series, I discussed not knowing what love I was looking for in life and in my relationships. I was confused by the things that were going on in my life and around me. Having my son, although I was only 14 years old when I carried him in my belly, helped mold me and not only did I have to love myself, but he was an extension of me. Before he was brought into the world I realized I had to adopt an entire new understanding of the love I needed. He was and is LOVE. He has opened my eyes to seeing the love I deserve. True, unconditional love.
Thanks to this epiphany, I am able to see love more clearer now. No more #Foggylove. I have somewhat of an example and foundation to build from. The love I feel and have for my son (complete joy and happiness) is in some ways the love I want overall for myself and with anyone else. This clarity has prevented me from making the same choices I've made in past relationships that I talk about in post 1 of this #Selflove series, when I didn't have a good sense of the type of love that I was looking to gain from the relationship.
I want to encourage you to be whole and happy with yourself, so that you're open to recognizing and receiving the love you deserve. #SenseofSelf #SelfLove
Why waste precious time on something we feel isn’t going to grow? #FailedLove
My approach in the past for overcoming a failed relationship was, if I could overcome the letdown and disappointment caused by two of the most important people in my life (my parents), then it should be easier to overcome a failed relationship. Having this mentality worked for me and helped me to move on without thinking much about it.
Over time, I have grown mentally and psychologically and I’ve been able to deal internally with some of the things that affected the way I coped with specific circumstances in the past. I now have a different perspective on how I manage certain situations, #failedlove being one of them. I’ve learned that the healthier I am mentally and physically, the more I am able to see things from a healthier perspective and make better decisions. Dealing with the pain from my past helped me to get to a healthier mind state to make better decisions when dealing with circumstances that are more challenging...
For a while my life was consumed with finding love and companionship. I felt like I had to make up for lost time. When I started out on my journey of building a better life for my son and me, I put relationships on hold while I focused on being a mother, finishing college, and building a career. Establishing a serious relationship was just not in the cards for me during this time. After I finished Grad school, I felt like I needed to catch up, meaning find love. I had everything else, but that.
I don’t regret shifting my focus, because a better me means a better and healthier relationship. However, I realize now the importance of finding a good balance for the important things in life. Although my son, education, and success have always been my top priority, I’m proud to have finally gotten to a place now where I have a healthy balance for all the important things that matters to me, including #love.
Just when you think things couldn’t get any better… They don’t! That feeling of happiness, peace, and serenity when we began dating was suddenly gone. #FadingLove
I learned of his infidelities while I was pregnant with our son. It broke me. This wasn’t supposed to happen. He was a ray of light for me in my dark gloomy world at the time. He was a pleasant distraction to my life at home. It’s like we met at just the right time because things were chaos in my home and I didn’t know how much more I could endure before I ran off to escape. My mother’sdrug addiction had only gotten worse, and I was just in a foster home a year or so prior.
When he and I started dating, he became a breath of fresh air, so when this happened, it felt like a pretty hard blow to me physically and mentally. The hurt, the deceit, the disappointment—it all felt like I had been in this place before.
I made a decision to stay with him for the time being. I couldn’t raise my son under the circumstances at home, so I had to set all hurt and anger aside for my son’s sake, but his actions changed me and I was emotionally unavailable to him.
After a while, I moved on and dated someone else. We had known each other since we were kids, and we quickly grew fond of one another again. He ran the streets, had money, was “powerful”, but his success was not earned in a moral way.
Although I enjoyed being spoiled with lavish gifts and getting whatever I wanted, I didn’t want to risk my life for it, and condone ruining the lives of others. I also didn’t want to expose my son to such lifestyle, so I knew I had to make some changes.
I talked about changes with him, but his lifestyle caught up with him before change could happen, resulting in him being sentenced to 17 years in prison.
That experience taught me a valuable lesson. It had shown me the path not to take in life and helped me to appreciate the hard work I put in every day to make a better life for my son and me. Waking up to earn a legit living, going to college to further my education, and putting in the work to better myself is far greater than the fast, street life. I rest easy at night and I never have to worry about looking over my shoulders, expecting my life to be over at any given moment.
After reflecting on my experiences with love, I realize now that I may have been placing too many responsibilities and setting too high of expectations on my past relationships. I understand now that I may have been looking to the men in my life to fulfill a void that had been created by my parents, particularly my father. As I look back, I believe I was so broken up by my son’s father infidelities because my expectations of him ran deeper than him being just a companion to me. The pain I felt when I learned of his infidelities ran deeper than the average person suffering of a broken heart. It was pain of familiarity. One that I had been exposed to before. I realize now my pain just wasn’t about him and his actions, but about the feeling of abandonment, disappointment, neglect, and deceit. Everything that I had experienced from my father, or lack thereof.
In part 1 of the self-love blog series I talked about the misconception of love and how some people may seek love to make up for something that they’ve lacked at some point in their lives. I will be the first to admit – I’m one of those people. Looking back, I’m not sure I was looking for love for the right reasons. #FoggyLove - I had never gotten it from the one man who should have given it to me unconditionally and endlessly, my father. Knowing what I know now, I’m not sure if I knew then what true love was. Unfortunately, I was still longing for the love of my parents, so I’m not sure how capable I was previously of giving and receive true love. Subconsciously, I was expecting my relationships to fulfill that void.
Seeing other girls with their fathers was always painful while I was growing up—and still is occasionally. Who would have thought that a sight so beautiful (healthy father and daughter interaction) could cause someone hurt and pain? As I grew older, I suppressed my hopes and dreams of having this type of love and affection with my father. I learned to cope with the fact it wasn’t going to happen, resulting in me becoming more anxious to be loved by someone.
Early in my relationship with my son’s father, things were great. I was comfortable with him, I trusted him, he was also a great friend. I thought I found what I was looking for…. (to be continued in Part 3)
February, Valentine’s Day. You either love it or loath it. Sadly, a day of such beautiful color and purpose can be a treacherous nightmare for some. There are people who feel the need, on this day, to be loved by someone in order to feel validated or whole. This especially tends to penetrate deep for those who grew up lacking in the love area from their closet family members.
This five-part series is driven by chapter 19 of my book, Life in its Rawest Form - The Fallacy of Love.
I was inspired to write this chapter of my book by my misconception of love. I used to get confused by the type of love I was looking for or expecting in a relationship. I’ve been in relationships where I thought I was really into the person for who they were. Only to find out later that I wasn’t, resulting in me always aborting ship… It took me a while before I finally realized this was happening. I guess you can say I had an epiphany.
#WhatisLove. There are various reasons people look for or need love from others. Some use it to fill a void, mask pain, or because they feel it is the only way to be whole and happy - hence why Valentine’s Day can be bittersweet for some.
Can love truly be recognized and felt if you are broken? I have yet to find the answer to this question. I suppose, like anything else, one would need to know what love look and feels like in order to recognize it, I think. If one’s first encounter with love, which usually occurs at an early age, is that of trauma (neglect, abuse, sadness, or completely lacking it all together), then that may be one’s perception of how love is (I could write a book on this one statement alone, but I’ll save this topic for another blog).
Growing up, I had an insatiable hunger for love. It’s hard to know which type of love I longed for and wasn’t getting enough of. Back then, I thought the love that I longed for was in the form of a relationship with a male companion. I thought in order to feel loved, it meant having a significant other that provided that. So, days like Valentine’s Day would suck for me if I weren’t seeing someone at that time.
As I matured, I’ve learned that love actually comes from within. The love that I have inside of me is the first and foremost love that I need in my life on any given day. Knowing this makes days like Valentine’s Day feel like any other day, whether I’m involved with someone or not. Valentine’s Day should be a celebration for all love (self-love and love for others), and Valentine’s Day should be celebrated every day!
Today we honor Black Girls Code Founder Kimberly Bryant as a #BlackButterfly. There is still a cultural isolation in the Tech Industry. I applaud Kimberly Bryant for her vision with Black Girls Code, and hope to be of service to her mission one day.
In the past, technology wasn’t a common field or career in most African American households. There were very few people of color working in Computer Science fields than there are today. Especially, for women of African American decent. According to a study done by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), in 2015, women held 57% of all professional occupations, yet they held only 25% of all computing occupations. And the numbers are even lower when considering women of color; for example, Latinas and Black women hold only 1% and 3% of these jobs, respectively. With the help of people like #KimberlyBryant, we can help shorten this huge disparity of African American women in IT careers.
As a child, I wanted to become a teacher when I grew up. I really enjoyed learning and teaching others. I thought it was fascinating. But, life, be it as it may, changed for me when I became a mother at 15 years old. At that point, I had to reconsider my career goals and strategize to come up with a plan where I could earn a quality living to support my son and me. I had to pick a career that would afford me opportunities to excel, rapidly. It was no longer about choosing a career that interests me, but more so one that would allow for rapid growth and higher compensation. My circumstances at the time caused me to completely alter my goals and ambitions of becoming a teacher.
One day at school, I attended a career fair. I was in my 12th grade year of high school. One group of guest speakers/career professionals were IT Professionals. As they talked about their day-in-the-life as an IT professional, I was intrigued. They got my attention! Shortly after, I was fortunate enough to go on an informational visit of their company. I got to see firsthand what went on in the world of Information Technology. I left feeling inspired and empowered to take control of my destiny and follow my dreams of becoming an IT professional, in particular, a Software Engineer. I did more research on the major itself and learned how competitive IT can be, and how broad it was in terms of growth opportunities - the compensation wasn’t too shabby either. I later applied at a local college and obtained an Associate’s degree in Networking and Administration. Shortly after, I transferred to a University and obtained an undergraduate degree in Computer Science/Information Technology. I started my career in on the hardware side of technology where I supported servers, LAN/WAN, PC’s, helpdesk support, etc. Later, I transitioned to the software/information side of technology where I started as an entry level programmer. I quickly learned to program in various software languages and continued to progress. Today, I am an IT Leader in Software Engineering, and I continue to thrive each day.
I’ve worked in IT for over 18 years and I realize that technology isn’t gender or ethnic based, but more so individually driven. It is a field where ideas, mathematics, and science emerges into something world changing. Regardless of race, gender, or creed technology is a place where everyone belongs. Organizations such as #Blackgirlscode are a stepping stone to bridging the gap between African American girls becoming Software Engineers. Growing up, I never would have imagined myself here. There were very few Kimberly Bryants where I’m from. All that this has taught me is that Anything is possible!
Our Ancestors would be so proud.
#Blackgirlscode #QianaHickscode #codingchangedmylife #KimberlyBryant I solute you!
Today we honor Dr. Maya Angelou as a #BlackButterfly.
Suffering sexual assault as a child, Maya Angelou went years without speaking. In time she found her voice and the world would be blessed with her words
Have you felt silenced, or reverted into a state of hopelessness? You too can speak and live again.
Writing can be your voice, as it was for Dr. Maya Angelou. Writing allows you to put down things that have been trapped inside with no way out. For me, writing was that voice. It gave me a sense of freedom to express how I felt, and it allowed me to reflect on the things that were going on internally. As I got older, I realized I had been harboring trauma from my past that had never got addressed or dealt with. Somehow I was able to suppress them for some time, not realizing they were growing with me. Eventually, those things came to surface and affected me in different ways.
Writing became a form of help or therapy in that it was a light in dark places. With writing, I’m able to see things I hadn’t been able to discern before. It has become my saving grace and I can only imagine this is the case for so many others.
Your story, your voice may be the help that you or your loved ones need. It can also be a voice of reason for others facing similar circumstances. #MayaAngelou paved the way for all of us to feel inspired to use our voice. This can be done in many forms. For me, it was writing. I was able to capture my full story in my book Life in its Rawest Form.
What will be your story? How will you use your voice?
Today I would like to honor THE Black Butterfly (quite possibly the monarch) Ms. Oprah Winfrey.
My personal childhood closely mirrors that of Oprah’s – both suffering abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
The poor, urban lifestyle had its negative effect on Winfrey as a young teenager
Winfrey said her father saved her life. He was very strict and provided her with guidance, structure, rules, and books. She would also have to go without dinner until she learned five new vocabulary words each day.
There should be more fathers like that of #Oprah. Creating a strict learning regimen creates a strong work ethic that will set children up for success as they go through school and life. Like so many #BlackButterflies, I wasn’t as fortunate as #Oprah. I had to create my own strict regimen that helped me successful get through school, graduate from college, and build a successful career. It wasn’t easy, but it was very rewarding. I taught myself discipline and it paid off. I also enforced the same strict regimen upon my son.
For the #BlackButterflies that aren’t has fortunate to have a father like #Oprah, you can create your own strict learning regimen that will help you be successful throughout your years in school and life. And hopefully some day you will pass these same principals and values down to your children.
Kudos to #Mr.Winfrey for the values he instilled in his children. We know what a great impact Oprah has had on our society. Looking at her raw roots, you would never know what she overcame to be who she is and where she is today.
Oprah, #QueenMonarch Butterfly, I salute you
In honor of Black History Month, I am honored to highlight Black Butterflies. Black Butterflies are women of color who overcame hardships and blossomed beyond expectations. To kick things off, I’m going to start by celebrating myself. We women don’t do that often enough.
The Black Butterfly Series is close to my heart, because there was a time that I thought I would always be stuck in the trap or cocoon, and dreamed of the days I would be free to flourish.
As I was running to the gym one day, I almost ran over a little caterpillar. Thankfully, I didn’t as I wouldn’t want to impede on this beautiful creature reaching its full potential. Something that we all have in common with this little fellow is, as we start out on our path to creating a brighter future, we go through various transitional phases before we reach our destination or full potential. Just like this caterpillar, we, too, will blossom into something even greater, if we stay the course.
This inspired #BlackButterflies. Today, I can look back on my metamorphosis, and am proud to be the Black Butterfly I am today.
My journey is one of poverty, neglect, and abuse, to healing and triumph.You may be somewhere on this scale, but wherever you are, remember each new day brings a new beginning. You too can fly.