Let’s Talk: Body Image

It’s been a little quiet around here lately and for that I do apologize. I’m simply having a bit of time management issues juggling self care, my big girl job and running a blog. As soon as I begin to think “yes! I finally got this adulting thing down,” the universe hits me with a curve ball and throws my whole agenda off. I’m still here though.

The other night I was on tumblr and I saw a post that made me really start thinking. I can’t remember the exact wording of it, but it addressed body image. It went something like, “Imagine being born into a body and just liking that body; feeling at home inside of it. Feeling like it’s yours. People like that exist. What is that like?”

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Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Working Out

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Gyms are intimidating but I finally did it. After months of going back and forth, I cracked down and purchased a gym membership. I signed the dotted line on my contract and began mentally listing my fitness goals; Toned arms, legs of steel and a butt to die for. But behind the excitement was a little voice of doubt.

“Do I know what I’m doing?”

“Am I going to stick to this?”

“Will I see results?”

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Practicing Gratitude

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My aunt is one of my favorite people to vent to. She allows me to complain, comforts me, but also reminds me that things can be a lot worse. She would say, “Manta, The universe is trying to teach you something. Be grateful and listen to it.”

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Getting Out Of Autopilot and Other Discoveries

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Lately I’ve just been going through the same motions; work, eat, stress over finding time to complete a task from my to do list, sleep and repeat. Most evenings I would lay in bed and think where did the day go?! It’s like I’ve been on cruise control or autopilot. And don’t even get me started on linking up with friends. Life is such a blur sometimes that if we do find time to chat, I dread that one question: What have you been up to? How do I make my life not sound so monotonous!?

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Three Things I’m Giving Up To Make Room For Happiness

happiness flower

This morning I had a rough start. It took me much longer than usual to get out of bed and even after I got the ball rolling, I couldn’t stay on task. Nothing in particular was wrong but anxiety doesn’t always need a concrete reason to flare up. It made me think really hard about happiness; What it looks like to me and what I need to do in order to consistently feel it. We’ve all heard that one saying before. Happiness is a choice. Unfortunately, knowing that bit of information isn’t always enough. You have to be aware of the negative behavior or thoughts that are holding you back from happiness. So without further ado, here’s three things I’m letting go to make room for more happiness.

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Coloring Club STL

urban chestnut coloring

A couple of nights ago, I was scrolling through the events tab on Facebook. Normally I just like to poke around and see what’s going on near me. I never usually attend anything, but one event caught my attention. There’s a coloring club that meets three nights a month at the local Urban Chestnut for brews, coloring and stress relief. Before I could talk myself out of going, I went to the the event page, bought a ticket for the coloring club and patiently waited until Tuesday.

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April Recap

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This year is going by incredibly fast and April is no different. This was a month of growth and independence. I went a lot of places alone. I tried new foods and opened myself up to exploring the city. This was a month of loss and facing my fears head on. I’ve spent a lot of time auditing my relationships and thinking “What value does this person bring to my life?” 

I’ve backed away from some friends and found support in the unlikeliest of places. Who knew my team members loved me so much!?(I mean, I think I’m great but I’m not always sure if other people can see my light) I learned a lot about what is really important to me. Snuggles with Cat. Phone calls with my boy. Encouraging text messages. Crossing off things from my personal goal list.

I faced set backs but used them to find new purpose. (Hey promotion!) I feel alive and so full of love. I am finally living my truth and growing into the woman I am suppose to be. I’m thankful for all April has brought to me.

I plan to continue this upward transition through May. I want to be more spontaneous and adventurous. I’ve been making an effort to say yes to opportunities placed in front of me rather than turning them down out of fear. I want to continue taking better care of me. I’m going back to therapy. I’m writing again. I’m letting myself be free to do what feels right to me. May, I’m ready for ya!

How was your April? What are your goals for May?

xo

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Update

update

It’s been a bit of a ghost town here as of late and I apologize! I’ve felt so guilty about leaving my blog on the back burner while I handle personal matters, but I’m still here guys and with an update! A couple of weeks back, I talked about feeling overwhelmed with figuring out my next move and what I’m doing with my life. I have all these dreams and goals. There’s so many things I feel like I am good at, but I felt so flustered trying to figure out which path I should pursue. I decided to bite the bullet and jump at an opportunity that was presented to me and your girl is officially an ATL at my Whole Foods Market.

It’s a really big deal because I was full of doubts. Am I ready for this position? Do I have what it takes? Am I emotionally stable enough to handle the stress that can come from a leadership position such as this one? I was constantly comparing myself and my progress to the other candidates. At the end of the day, it was my team members who vouched for me and encouraged me to blossom into this leadership position. I am so excited but most of all, I have never felt so cared for and supported by a group of people I work with. I am so thankful. So so thankful and ready to take on this challenge.

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“Is That Your Real Hair?” And Other Microaggressions

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When I moved out to the midwest, I had no idea what to expect. If someone were to ask me what I thought it would be like, I’d ignorantly say fields full of corn, farmers with straw hats and plaid; lots and lots of plaid. Obviously that isn’t true. St. Louis is a major metropolitan city! But unlike the ones I’ve called home in the past, I deal with a lot of microaggressions here.

Simply put, a microaggression is behavior that unconsciously or consciously insults a marginalized group. I’ve tried to write it off as a lack of knowledge or unintentional ignorance on our white counterparts, but it happens so frequently that this subtle form of prejudice is literally driving me insane. Here’s three things I wish white people would stop doing.

Stop saying “I don’t see color”

I am a woman. I am also black and I wouldn’t have it any other way. When you say you don’t see that very important part of me, it isn’t a compliment. Not seeing the color of my skin pretty much erases my identity, my culture and the way I experience the world. Look, no matter how dismissive you may want to be about race/racism, it still exists. Seeing color isn’t bad. Judging someone based on that one premise is. (Also isn’t it funny how the same person who’ll go on and on about not seeing color will quickly mention that one black friend they have if someone even hints at them being racist? Hmm.) Which leads me to the next thing.

Stop mixing black people up with each other.

There are three black women on my team at work, including myself. Even though there’s a small number of us, coworkers constantly confuse one of us for the other. We don’t look anything alike. We have different styles of hair and body types yet every morning I am called by someone else’s name. It isn’t a isolated incident, even clients would do it. When you can’t tell the difference between a few black women but have no problem identifying the 30+ other white ones on the team, there’s a issue. (side note:I read an article about the other race effect” that kind of explains why this is a thing. To sum it up, it basically says that if you spend most of your time with only people of your own race, you’ll have issues identifying people from other cultures/ those who do not look like you. It’s a cool read if you have a second.)

Stop denying your privilege. 

When you go to a salon to get your hair done, you can almost guarantee that everyone in the salon is knowledgable in regards to your hair type. If you go to a makeup artist, you don’t worry about that person having the right shade of foundation. These are both privileges. When people hear the word privilege, they get on the defensive. I’ve had to work for everything I own! Nothing was ever handed to me! Privilege doesn’t always have to pertain to wealth. Having constant and multifaceted representation of your race in society and media is privilege. Being apart of the dominant group is a privilege. There’s no reason to feel guilt when these points are brought up because honestly, we all benefit from privilege in some way. But how can we level the playing field if there is a denial of it being tilted towards one groups advantage?? (Franchesca Ramsey talks about privilege a lot better than me on MTV’s Decoded.)

Some microaggressions are so subtle that neither parties may realize what is going on. The stranger who asked me if my hair was real (and was shocked when I told her yes) probably didn’t think anything of asking such a question, but I am left feeling as if I am abnormal. I have a feeling if I was another race, I wouldn’t of been asked that.

Have you found yourself on the receiving end of a microaggression? Let’s chat.

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You’re Right Where You’re Suppose To Be.

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This week I did something I haven’t done in seven months. I went running! Well to be really real, it was actually a walk-jog. I got injured a couple of months ago and I’ve been too scared to put my all into running again in fear of re-injuring myself. This post isn’t really about that (mini) success but rather how barren it was outside.

Everything in the park was dead and I didn’t see another person for miles. I think I counted maybe three people in total while I was out there. The last time I went running along this trail was late July-early August of last year; before the trees fell bare and the grass tinged a straw-like yellow. The desolate vibe I was getting from my surroundings made me think of a quote I saw floating around on Tumblr. I’m not sure of the exact wording but it’s along the lines of: Be patient with yourself. Nothing in nature blooms all year long, so do not expect yourself to do so either.

straw-like grass

It was a much needed reminder to be easy with myself that I feel I should pass along to my readers. Periods of dormancy is so necessary. Sometimes we get so caught up with life that we forget to take care of ourselves. We forget that we don’t have to do it all. We forget that nothing blooms all year round and we don’t have to either. In a couple of weeks, everything will be green and the tulips and dandelions will be back (hopefully the love bugs wont get the memo). Stop living in the past and don’t worry about the future too much. Take care of yourself until it’s time for you to bloom again.

When you’re feeling stagnant, do you beat yourself up?

(hint: you shouldn’t)

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