Never Give Up

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I can remember, as a kid, hearing older folks say “Life is like a bed of roses.” This statement has never felt truer to me than now. Honestly, these days, I am able to smell and see the beauty of the flowers. But for me personally, it’s mixed with the prickling of the thorny stem. I was thinking very deeply about life yesterday and I realized that at this point, most of my life was lived as a survivor. In the last 6 years, I’ve been learning the gloriously painful lesson of thriving. I’ve been learning how to really enjoy the one life that I’ve been given.

I actually have a very large appreciation for life. As a child, I had a very unsafe and violent upbringing. Many times, I wasn’t sure that I would survive the night. I didn’t live in the projects. I didn’t live in places that were perceived as dangerous. I lived in what could be thought of as a nice warm house with a nice warm bed. But almost everyday, I had to fight for my life. I had to watch every word, every gesture, every everything for fear of being brutalized. It’s funny how the people that see you often, don’t even know you or your story. Many people had no idea that these things were happening regularly; that we were regularly running out of our house scantily clothed at late and early hours just to save our lives from the monster living in our home. But, I survived.

Survival is one thing I know how to do very well. Too well. It’s a very familiar friend. But, over the years, I’ve come to realize that although I’ve fought so hard to save my life, I lose it by not living it. This is partially why I started this blog. I wanted a  place to share my heart, the things that I love, the things I’m learning, and the adventures of an ex-survivalist.

I was talking to a young girl at school in the recent past. She was vulgar, inappropriate, and did many things for attention. Yet, she was the first person to greet me when I walked in the door. For a few days, I watched her. I watched her say things to get a rise out of people. I saw her perform less than what she’s capable of because deep down, she was convinced that this was all she could be. The moment that broke my heart was when I heard her say “I’m bad. I’m just bad. I’ve always been bad,” as she shrugged and grabbed her cigarette. She said this in response to another girl talking about the experiences she had in high school. With tears in my eyes, I told her, “I don’t believe you.” She said, “Don’t believe what…?” I said, “I don’t believe that you’re a bad person. I think something in your life has convinced you that you’re a bad person. You might have even done some unsavory things in your past, but we all have things in our past that we’ve done.” She began to tell me about her childhood and how difficult it was. She had a very tough time at home and at school. When you grow up in a tumultuous situation, it can be difficult to realize the brighter truths.

When you’re younger, many things seem like the end of the world. Life can be extremely difficult for some. You might’ve been in a situation similar to or worse than mine. But the truth is, if you’re able to make it beyond 18, you’ve walked into an amazing opportunity. When you turn 18, everything you choose to do with your life is your choice. My turning point was when I decided that although I was abused for all my life, I wasn’t going to take over and continue the abuse to myself and to others. It hasn’t been easy going through this transformative experience, but it has been worth it.

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I’ve decided to embark on a journey of living. I’m choosing to be vulnerable. I’m choosing to dive into the things I love and to share life in all of its challenges and triumphs. I’ve decided to be loving, beautiful, and present. I’ve chosen to do, become, and treasure what I love whether trivial or deep. Although the rugged moments still happen, I’m going to continue to choose these things. I will never give up. I will never give up on myself. I will never give up on my goals and dreams. I will never give up on the people I love. I will never give up faith and hope.

Someone in this extra large tiny world loves you more than you know and treasures you beyond what you could imagine. You are worth trying for. Don’t give up.

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Sunshine Award

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I was nominated by Candidly Carol for the Sunshine Award.

“This is an award that goes to writers who brighten other people’s day.”

The rules are:

  • Include the Sunshine Award icon in your post
  • Link to the blogger who nominated you
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers to receive the award
  • Link to your nominees and let them know you nominated them

Here are my answers to Candidly Carol’s 10 questions:

  • Why do you blog?

I blog for a few different reasons. I love people and being in community. No person is an island and I believe that we learn so much about ourselves and about life  in the context of community. I also enjoy sharing my journey, my passions, and my heart with others.

  • What are 3 things that inspire you?

1. Good music.

2. The kindness of strangers.

3. Freedom.

  • What is your favorite color?

I don’t have one favorite color. I have a group of colors that I love: teal, grey, pink, yellow, and white. I know…grey and white aren’t colors. Oh well.

  • What are 3 traits of your favorite Television character?

My favorite TV character (for now) is Crazy Eyes on Orange is the New Black. My 3 favorite traits are that she’s uninhibited, passionate, and hilarious.

  • If you had to live on one meal for the rest of your life what would you choose?

Anything Jamaican.

  • What is your favorite time of day?

My favorite time of the day is either early morning or late night.

  • How do you feel about clowns?

I could do without clowns.

  • If you could go on a vacation now and money was no issue, where would you go?

I would go on a month long cruise that goes to all of the Caribbean and Europe.

  • What animal do you feel reflects you the best?

Probably a lion/cheetah/leopard…something in the cat family (not a house cat though…haha).

  • Do you remember your dreams?

Most of the time.

I nominate (in no particular order):

1. Peacock Under Pressure: I LOVE seeing her words and quotes of the day.

2. Miss Ayo Délé: She posts a variety of fun things and I enjoy seeing her family posts.

3. Harmony with PCOS: Always inspirational and honest.

4. So Many Lovely Things: She always posts so many lovely things.

5. Plus Addiction: I love that she always posts about positive body image for plus sized women.

6. Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright: Her positive name says it all.

7. Love Thy Introvert: She has some really great posts about natural hair and the beauty of introversion.

8. Two Take On Style: This awesomely adorable mother/daughter duo shows their equally beautiful takes on personal style.

9. Night Owl Kitchen: She makes me feel like I can cook…anything.

10. My Digital Kitchen: She makes paleo and gluten free recipes that are to LIVE for.

My questions for you all are:

  • Why do you blog?
  • If you had one clothing item that you had to wear for a month, what would it be?
  • What is a song you love that would surprise your friends?
  • Are you a coffee or a tea drinker?
  • What is your favorite thing about blogging?
  • If you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • What are 3 things that you love about yourself?
  • Do you ever dance or sing in public?
  • What is your favorite movie of all time?
  • If you had unlimited money to purchase ONE item, what would it be?

Good Things Happen

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Fairly recently, Jason and I went to a late showing of Superman. We were pretty excited to be out together since we’d both been working a lot. Next thing you know, the screen started going crazy and the sounds didn’t match. We waited for almost 30 minutes for them to fix the situation. We looked at each other with the ummmm…it may be time to get up out of here and get our money back face. Next thing we knew, they gave us free movie tickets. Forward to today. I went to buy a few things at Walgreens and guess what I found? Those movie tickets! I tucked them away in my wallet so I wouldn’t lose them. Well, I didn’t lose them, but I totally forgot they existed. I reminded Jason and we both resounded with a synonymous “DATE NIGHT!!!!” Then we committed to a high five.

My only point in sharing this is that good things happen. And then we forget. But when we remember, it’s all the more sweet! I’ll be randomly sharing things like these because I think that it’s important to both remember and acknowledge the good things that happen. It’s way too easy to complain. So I want to make a habit of gratitude.

What good things have happened for you this week?

30 Day Strict Paleo Update

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Yesterday, I had to do the Lord’s prayer MANY times in order to stay on course. Particularly the “lead us not into temptation” piece. There were so too many things that I wanted to throw in the towel for and devour. Some of those temptations were (but aren’t limited to): Girl Scout Cookies, Cheddar and Sour Cream Chips, Mike & Ikes, Rice, General Tso’s Chicken, Shrimp Tempura, Green Banana Porridge, Natural Cheetos, and Fruit Snacks. But I am glad to report, I was on my best behavior! Instead, I ate a pear, 2 bananas, a plum, and scrambled eggs.

As I looked at myself in the mirror, I began thinking about how and why I make the food choices that I make. I am really feeling the freedom in choosing what I want to eat. I am determined not to live life as a compulsive consumer, but to treat every decision as a liberated choice. If I am eating healthily, it is because I want to empower my body to be the best version of itself. If I choose to indulge, I am choosing to enjoy the treat while feeling completely in control over that decision.

I’m pretty sure that there will be a moment or moments where I will fail, but this will always be my goal. I can never look back after this. Now that I’ve been given this particular diagnosis, I am responsible to myself and to my family for how I care for myself.

Our job isn’t to be or to strive for perfection. Just do the best you can.

xo