Get You A John

Life is full of daily challenges, obstacles, highs, and lows.  We as humans are constantly evolving in some aspect.  What makes that a good thing is because it’s a true indication that we’re growing.  There are infinite reasons we have to grow.  One contributing factor could be the people we have in our life.

The people we have in our lives serve a special purpose.  They are going to teach us something.  Some are just flat out no good, some will challenge you in the best ways possible.  They’re in our lives for a reason.  No matter what the reason may be, the end result is growth for you as an individual.

In my 30 years of living, I’ve learned of various types of people you need in your life. One constant I’ve come to know is a john.  Yes, john.  Like the name.  Let me break it down for yall.

The first John I think we all need in our lives is a John The Baptist, let’s call him J.T.B.  If you’re not familiar, John The Baptist was Jesus’ ride or die.  John was with Jesus as He hung on the cross. Now I ask you, if you were currently nailed to a cross to be crucified and you did a best friend roll call, how many of your friends would you see standing below you?  Remember, Jesus had 12 disciples.  However, JTB was there.  We can ALL relate to this.  Simply put, we’re all going to go through something at some point.  Be sure to evaluate your circle to ensure you have a JTB who will be there.

The second John, is Ron Johnson.  If you don’t know who Ron Johnson is, then stop reading and go do your Googles to find out.  Ron was Dwayne Wayne’s roommate/ best friend/ brother.  Ron showed us all he had Dwayne’s back, literally.  Ron held it down by stopping three ushers from throwing him and Dwayne out when he confessed his love for Whitley while she was at the altar with Byron.  Don’t believe me, then go watch that episode.  Again I ask, who is your Ron Johnson? Here’s a piece of golden advice, if any of your friends don’t know who either of these people mentioned are, cut off your entire circle and just start over, okay?  Because they will not have your back.  If there isn’t one person that will have your back in this manner, they’re not real friends.

The last John is a true trailblazer.  History maker.  Genius.  A black woman.  Katherine Johnson.  Again, if you’re asking who this is, you’re excused to go complete another Google.  Due to the way I was raised, I have to call her Mrs. Johnson.  Mrs. Johnson was a fearless individual who is known for using her skills as a physicist to help send astronauts into space.  The struggles she overcame was being a black woman working in NASA.  In overcoming her hardships she is now a well known figure who is no longer hidden (Did you get that?).  If you can’t find your Mrs. Johnson in your friend circle, then perhaps its you!  Perhaps you are the one who will overcome the hardest of struggles to excel and be great.  Use Mrs. Johnson as inspiration to keep you motivated.  Imagine if she’d quit NASA, or chucked the deuces after running clear across campus to the colored restroom.  Had she allowed that to hinder her, she wouldn’t be the iconic figure she is today.  If Mrs. Johnson did it given how the world was in the 60’s, surely you can be great today.  Honestly, not much in the world has changed.

I hope this helped you in evaluating not only yourself but your tribe as well.  As you can see, a John is a necessity throughout the course of life.  In utilizing your John, you are able to see how you can grow.  As the saying goes, you are the company you keep.

I said all of that to say this, get you a John.  The benefits will be life changing.  You can’t go wrong with a ride or die, I got your back, trailblazer, trendsetter person on your team. If you have your Johns, you’re sure to prosper.

Be blessed!

 

~Elle

Febreeze Sister Circle

In honor of National Best Friend Day I’m here to tell you about two of my BFF’s.

These two women verbally attacked me about three months ago about how I haven’t mentioned them on my blog.  And they were right.  So I made a note that night while on our conference call that happens once every eclipse (LOL!) that I would write about them.  Therefore, I dedicate this post to the two who help complete the Febreeze Sister Circle, Dee and Kandi.

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These chicks were my college roommates while we were students at Coastal Carolina University (C-I N-O!)  Now let me give a quick run-down of how I came to know these eccentric, beautiful young ladies.

I first met Dee one day after a psychology class we both had together.  I was sitting outside of the building waiting on the shuttle bus.  Dee offered me a ride.  I proudly accepted.  In that ride back to my off campus apartment is where Dee shared she, too, was a psych major.  Yes we both were psych majors.  No we do not analyze people…all the time.  Now mind you, I had no clue who Dee was before she offered me a ride.  I’d never paid the girl any amount of attention.  The vital moment I knew we’d have a life long friendship was when I recognized she was playing Jay-Z in her car.  I was and still am a huge fan.  She had all his albums.  Turns out we had everything else in common, from movies to food.  As the semester was coming to a close, Dee asked me about being a roommate with her and her friend, Kandi.  I had no clue who Kandi was, but felt that if she’s a friend of Dee, she’s got to be good people.  And so it was.

I met Kandi….probably a few times before we moved in together, but I can’t remember. So we’ll start here:  I met Kandi.  She was my roommate.  And the girl was/is hilarious. She wasn’t mean at all.  She was very sweet and all around kind.  Kandi ran track.  My expectation of her was, she’s a track star so everything she does is in quick time.  Nope! Total opposite, absolutely not.  This is what I admired most about her.  Kandi moved at her own pace.  She was patient about things.  Not one good damn was given about what anybody else thought about her.  To this day, I’ve never seen her in a rush.  This was the moment I knew we’d be life long friends.  And so it was.

Although I haven’t reached a decade of knowing these ladies, there are infinite stories I can share of us laughing, binge watching The Game (yeah, we were binging way before Netflix), that infamous road trip to Greensboro that took 12 hours, or the random singing and crumpin’ outbreaks that occurred.  But I won’t.   Instead I’ll praise my best friends with words they’ve never heard me share.

Dee, the inquisitive one.  Not once have I heard you complain.  What I enjoy the most about you is your fearlessness.  Your strength is like no other.  Your willingness to go above and beyond for other people makes you stand out.  Thank you for being a friend….Ha!

Kandi, the tenacious one.  Your personality is unique.  Your confidence is enormous. When your mind is set, it’s set.  The fact that you’re not easily influenced makes you the special individual that you are.  Stay patient because I draw that from you.  You got a friend in me….Ha!

I’m anxious to see what the next phase of life has in store for all of us.  I love how we can’t get it together on a good time to have a conference or Skype call, but when we finally do, you’d never guess we all currently reside in 3 different states.

Happy National Best Friend’s Day, Ladies.  I love you gals!

P.S. What we doing next?

Coping, No Doping

This is a post about a struggle I have on a regular, semi-regular, kinda, sorta, almost consistent basis.  I can’t remember exactly when I got the idea to write this, but as I stated in a previous post, 15 Facts About Elle!, it wouldn’t be fair to expect you to read my posts, if I’m not honest about who I’ am.

So, as the infamous orange soda fanatic put it,

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As some may know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Per the World Health Organization, ‘one in four people are affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.’ Mine happens to be anxiety.  Anxiety is the feelings of worry, or fear that can become so strong it interferes with daily activities.

 

I was officially diagnosed with anxiety in December 2014.  The signs had always been there.  I remember feeling really, extremely overwhelmed numerous times for what seemed like no apparent reason.  There were times where I would be getting out of the shower, and would have to literally sit and repeat my name, birth date, favorite color, and my address because my breathing was so heavy I swore something bad was about to happen to me.  But it never did.  There were days where I would wake up and have to say out loud what I was doing in a soft voice.  I’d be walking through the house going, ‘Now we’re going to have breakfast.  Breakfast is good.  You like breakfast. Then you can take your vitamins.  Then you’ll shower.  Showers are good’ (Actually, I still do this).  What pushed me to see a doctor was the day I was with a coworker who was visiting a client.  I was standing but all of a sudden couldn’t be still.  My breathing was getting heavy, or at least I thought it was.  I felt like Craig when he told Smokey he could hear his heartbeat…..minus the weed part.  I felt like I was fighting to get outside to fresh air, but somehow couldn’t move.  When I finally made it outside, I took the deepest breath and I felt….chaos.  I knew something bad was going to happen, I just couldn’t tell you what.  But I was 100% certain there was something bad coming.  It was my coworker who was able to describe everything I was feeling and thinking.  And she was right.  I couldn’t believe that in all my seasons of watching ER, Grey’s Anatomy, and House I’d missed that diagnosis.

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My doctor told me flat out, looking me straight in both my eyes, ‘You have anxiety.  I can prescribe you…’ *insert needle scratch* I stopped listening.  You know that part where you tell the medical professional, whose advice you need what you’re not going to do? Because you heard what was said, and still believe, ‘Not I.’  What’s that called?  Oh yeah, denial.  Breaking news, it’s not just a river.  Can you believe my doctor went on to tell me my blood pressure was a little high, and I was fat.  Well he didn’t exactly say the F word, but you know how they do.

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Needless to say I was prescribed something to help me relax and to sleep at night.  I took the meds for about a good month.  And it was working.  I was feeling better, no more talking to myself in a soft voice about what I was doing, I was sleeping at night, and it was good!  Nothing seemed to bother me.  Deadlines at work would be approaching, my response, “It is what it is.”  When I tell you absolutely nothing could bother me or change my mood, nothing could.  What I found to realize was even though I was so carefree about everything, I was only reaching this feeling because of the anxiety med.  I didn’t like the fact that I was growing dependent on this pill to give me a euphoric high.  Nerp! Something had to change ASAP, no rocky.

 

I figured if I had been dealing with anxiety at least a year before the diagnosis, then surely I can find coping mechanisms and ways to relax myself.  So I started running. What better way to relax yourself than to workout?  Don’t get it twisted, I’m no marathon runner or anything like that.  Although, that is a long term goal.  But, that’s my therapy. What makes me feel good is the feeling I get after finishing a run.  Whether it be 1 mile or 6.  Just seeing myself accomplish that makes me want to do it more.  So my workouts became consistent. I also began changing how and what I eat.  Incorporated more fruits and vegetables, even more water, and rest.  I had to tell myself it was okay to be tired, because my body has to reset.  I went back to the doctor about 2 months later and was told my blood pressure was down, my heart beats were good and strong, and I looked rested. And that was the last time I used meds for anxiety.

 

I decided to research more of anxiety and how to deal with it.  I found that even though the meds were great, that wasn’t the option I wanted.  It wasn’t working for me.  After some self research, I was able to identify the triggers that sets off my anxiety.  A few things are sudden changes, not finishing a to-do list, not being organized, and Sunday nights.  I tend to do better when I have some type of routine when it comes to certain things.  Like with Sundays, I meal prep, lay out work clothes, pack my gym bag, and try to have all of this completed no later than 7pm to give me time to relax a little.  I’m still working on this by the way.  I also found that painting my nails helped ease anxiety.  I think it’s the pop of color and the fact that my hands look so neat and organized.  Try it and watch a boost in your confidence and self esteem.

 

I will say the absolute worst thing to say to me, in the midst of an anxiety rant, is to ‘calm down.’  That’s like telling an exploding bottle of soda to put the cap on.  IT! DON’T! WORK!  One tip is to give me some space.  Be there, but give me space.  Empathize, even. And don’t you dare expect me to blow it off.  It’s not that simple.  Be mindful, anxiety is that uninvited person to the party who assumes their invitation just got lost in the mail and they show up anyway.

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I don’t see a counselor or anything, yet.  Honestly, this is something I’m still pondering over.  I do, however, have a circle of friends and family that understand my struggle. They don’t judge me for it, either.

 

My last fight with anxiety was just last week.  I was on-call for work, my to-do list was growing, and there just weren’t enough hours in the day.  I was a mess.  I was working at the office, then coming home to do the same thing.  On top of that, I was sleeping 5 hours every night.  I even had an orientation to attend for a part time job I was starting.  How dare this all happen to me, right?  So I turned to my ultimate option and I prayed, which still works by the way.  I thanked God for blessing me in advance and for being the God of His word and not putting more on me than I could bear.  After I said Amen, I remembered who’s I was.  And here I’ am.

 

So with all this being said, I say thank you! Yes, you! I appreciate you for taking the time out to read my posts, comment, like, call, text, all the above.  It really means a lot.  I just had a talk with my mom earlier today, who had no idea it was my blog posts I was bringing her to read.  Reading comments on what you guys think, makes my smile so huge.  So again, thank you.  The feedback I get is what pushes me to post again and again.  And if you’re one of those who struggle with anxiety, I encourage you to find your niche.  Everything I do is what works for me.  Remember anxiety is highly common, and you’re not the only one.  Also, there will be some people who judge.  Why?  Because that’s what people do.  But, when you become so engulfed in your own world of self care, you won’t have time to worry about what other people are saying.  Trust me.

 

~Elle

Love Yours

Hi guys!….gals too! Now that we got that out the way, let’s go over some quick housekeeping rules and or tips:  This blog….right here…is comprised of my thoughts and how I feel.  Some of you will be able to relate, some of you won’t.  Then some of you may not read past this part.  And that’s okay!

I was literally sitting at my desk eating hot cakes and sausage scrolling Twitter and Instagram.  IG was still full of pics of mom’s and the usual Monday motivational posts. Twitter on the other hand, was showing the exit of the third shift tweeters and the first shift tweeters’ entrance.  I couldn’t help but recognize majority of the posts and tweets I was seeing were those of women praising their children.  A lightbulb went off and I asked, do people praise their mate/husband/significant other/bae as much as they praise their children?

I, again, will say I do not have any children at this current time.  However, I believe children are the best miracles that walk this Earth.  I mean, are you aware of how challenging it is to bring a whole person into this world?!  Its incredible!  I can’t wait to experience this one day.  Until then, I don’t mind waiting.

We are all familiar with the #MCM and #WCW pics and posts.  How many of those are actually genuine?  I’m not talking the celebrity posts where you’re all hashtag friendly. I’m talking about those sincere posts where you see the person responsible for those kids or happiness one may be experiencing being praised.  I’ll give you a minute to think.

I know a person, married with children, who only praises her children.  I’ve never once heard her say anything praise worthy of her husband.  I just can’t understand how some of us fail to give credit to other people.  I’m sure she didn’t make those babies by herself.

Now, to y’all with baes, boyfriends, or men, have you told him ‘thank you?’  Have you posted about that significant other saying you appreciate them for giving you butterflies? Making you smile, or just simply being there.  If you’re single, I know you have a best friend or something.  Everybody has somebody.

But you know what?  In this day and age, we don’t give props, praises, credit, or anything to others where it may be due.  And given social media has a bigger influence in daily lives, many won’t or don’t post.  And that’s fine.  It can be a quick phone call of even a text.

So, in conclusion….That sounded real professional, didn’t it?

The moral of the story is, a man who sleeps on the floor can’t fall out of bed.

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Nah, for real, let’s look to those who have helped us obtain that sprout of happiness, whether it’s children, a blushing face, or love on Cloud 9 and appreciate them, too.

 

~Elle

Be Where You Are

Here we are, the two of us together….Isn’t that a song?  ANY WHO! that’s not why I’m here.  This is not a post on my best karaoke tips.  I know you’d love to have them, because if you ain’t know, your girl can shut down a karaoke room, okay? Ask that table of old ladies from Orlando, summer 2K15. On a serious note, this post is more of a reminder. I’m here to share how my mood went from sugar to shit and back to sugar in a matter of minutes, as a result of over thinking.

I was sitting in my women’s group and we were discussing having kids, growing in God, reaping our harvest, and things of that nature.  We got on the topic of comparison and how it can kill your joy.  That was when the question came about if we can recall a time we found ourselves comparing our harvest to another person’s.  Immediately, all hands went up.  Then we all began to share.

My story was from a recent experience.  Like to hear it, here it go:

If you don’t know me by now (see what I did there?), I’m a social worker.  I love what I do, and am constantly looking at ways I can grow in my career field.  I work in an office setting with majority of women.  And we women are all from different backgrounds, and ages.  I not only know this from observation, but also from engaging in various conversations and discussions.  There’s always a random moment of laughter from something that is the absolute most random, yet funny at the same time.  But in my line of work, you have to laugh to keep from crying.

Sugar.

Majority of those who work around me are either married, with kids, or without kids.  I fit into not a one of those categories.  I don’t know exactly when the comparison critters moved into my head, but all within a day I found myself asking questions.  Why am I not married?  Will I ever get married?  Here I’ am 30, and why don’t I have kids?  Why am I not coming home to anybody?  Listen guys, I was getting so bogged down in their stories, I was failing to see how good I have it.  I was literally sitting and entertaining these questions.  All the while, inviting every negative notion and feeling to come in and make itself at home.  Next thing I knew, I was all in my feelings.

[SIDENOTE:  I only allow myself to be in my feelings during the hours of 1-4AM].

Shit.

I’m sure we all can relate to a time of being in our feelings.  I’m not saying don’t acknowledge those feelings, but please take responsibility in recognizing that you are the only one who can put you in that place.  I believe if I can get into something, I can also get out of it.

So I made a list.  My list was comprised of things that make me happy, and things I currently have to be grateful for.  In making the list I noticed the exact things I was upset over are on my To Accomplish List.  My list was a reminder to be happy in my current season, with my current harvest.  Just because I don’t have a baby growing in my belly, or a child running up to me as I enter into my home from work, or Michael B. Jordan running my warm bath water with rose petals and bubbles, doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.  It’s just not my season…..Yet!

Back to sugar.

I laughed at how I forgot the simple, basic rule of being grateful for my now.  I have to be where I’ am.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in what the next person is doing, or what they have.  All the while, not knowing their struggles behind what they have.  I realized I’m not lacking in anything.  What is in store for me will come when it’s time.  I can’t sit here and act like I don’t have bad days or haven’t seen hard times.  I have them, and I’ve been through some things.  I’ve come to find out we all struggle, they’re just from different places.

In me sharing my story, one wise woman in the group said, ‘You never know how many people have made comparisons towards you.’  And she’s right, I don’t know.  So, with that being said, stop comparing!  It. Kills.  Remember where you are and be grateful for that. Just as sure as the seasons change, just know your season is coming, too.

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~Elle

 

 

Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Sunday

What is it about Sunday? Growing up for me, Sunday was the day that you went to church. Afterwards, you’d come home eat that good home cooked meal then fall victim to the ‘itis.’ Don’t act like you don’t know what the itis is. You know it’s that euphoric feeling that comes over you after your belly is full, and all you can manage to do is unbuckle your pants or loosen that belt then suddenly you find yourself waking up from a peaceful slumber.  It gets so bad, you can’t even talk. All you can say is *deep exhale* ‘Oooh!’

 
Now that I’m in my 30’s I still see Sundays as that day. I spend my mornings in church. Thanking God for bringing through the week, and re-charging my faith for what’s to come. And to be honest, if I don’t, something doesn’t seem right. I spend my afternoon cooking or meal prepping in some way. Sometimes I may even do laundry. (sshh!..don’t tell my grandma). Most importantly I look forward to spending the day preparing for the week. I’m journaling, and filling out my Passion Planner (this excellent tool allowed me to see where my time was being wasted). I can’t exactly describe the mood, but I love the feeling. The day brings me peace, stability, and a sense of ready. As long as my Sundays are well spent, my week will start off content. Does this happen every week? Absolutely not. I have times where I’m just flat out lazy, and I don’t want to do anything. I’m human, that will happen from time to time. As long as I don’t let that laziness take over completely, I’m fine.

 
Just being able to lay my head down at the end of a Sunday, knowing I’ve prepared to the best of my ability brings me a feeling of accomplishment. As for the troubles the week will bring, that’s not my monkey or my circus.  I don’t worry about that. The world has troubles already set in place. That doesn’t mean I have to react to it. Not everything requires a response.

 
I’ve never understood how people always drag out of bed and into work with the Mundane Monday Blues. How, Sway? It makes me want to stop and ask if they were even aware that after Sunday comes a Monday. And if your Monday starts off with the blues, you’ve allowed that to carry over from Sunday. Uh-uh bag lady, can’t sit here! I don’t have time for those types of people. I’m a firm believer that you have to find your happy in what you have. Find it in your current, or present. Embrace that. Trust me when I say that feeling is phenomenal. Once it’s acquired you’ll find you won’t have time for the blues.

 
I could party from Friday sunset to sunrise Sunday morning and am still anxious to have my Sunday spent prepping for the week. Whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. I’ve always seen it as the last day of the week, yet a jumpstart to a new week. To me Sunday is that quiet stream David talks about in Psalm 23. And that kind of peace can’t be taken for granted.

You Betta Step Awf (Off)

The word boundary is defined as many different things.  The main definition is something that indicates bounds or limits, (Dictionary.com).  As a person who is constantly in contact with people, I had to learn to develop boundaries.  Understand, the boundaries I have created are for my personal sanity.  It was not created to cause any hurt or harm towards others.  Instead, I created them to save the lives of others.  Trust me when I say, its in their best interest.

One boundary is rather basic.  Don’t stand too close to me.  You may ask why.  Because it’s none of my business to be able to decipher what fragrance you’re wearing.  If I can tell that, you are too damn close!  Back it on up, you all in my bubble.

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Plus, you don’t see the look of uncertainty.  I know that look is all over my face.  And, that you can see it.  Take heed to this facial expression.  It’s a clear indication you’re entirely too close.  I have this issue with people wanting to be all up in my bubble.  Don’t!

You know those types of people that don’t care what they ask you?  You can have a death in the family, and before you know it they’re in your face asking you what happened.  They seem more interested in gathering facts rather than offering condolences.  This is my second boundary, shoo fly!  Its none of their damn business.  These are what we all know as nosey people.  I can’t deal with these people.  And some of them feel like you’re supposed to tell them things.  Uh…..no!  Get a load of this, I’m a nosey person.  However, that’s part of my job description.  Therefore, I get paid for it.  During working hours is the only time you can guarantee I’m being nosey.  And 10 times out of 10, I don’t care to be.  I just never understood how people can simply thrive off knowing full blown details of everybody else.  What do the ‘nosey’s’ gain by being nosey?  Are they writing a book?  Are they undercover police officers?  Do they work for a major media outlet?  Newsflash noseys: Nobody is entitled to tell you anything.  Stop prying to find out.  Bad enough you’re not the most liked person due to you being CEO of Nosey, Inc.  But, becoming pushy about it, makes me double dislike you.

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Another boundary I have is more of a personal matter.  I hate for my cell phone to go off in public settings.  If I’m at work, I keep the volume turned down.  Even the volume on my computer stays low.  Also, the music in my car.  Don’t get me wrong, I play any and everything at ignorant levels but let me pull up at a red light, along side another car.  I immediately turn my music down.  Light turns green, music goes back up.  Why am I like this?  I don’t like to disturb other people around me.  I wish I could be that person that didn’t care if my phone is going off while I’m on the other side of the office.  I can’t!  I guess that stems from the microscopic soft part of my heart.  Which is mainly why I’m wearing earbuds majority of the time.

It amazes me at how I constantly come across people who seem to have no boundaries. And some of them are just as sweet as can be.  Me, on the other hand, I aint with all that. However, I feel no remorse when I have to hit them with that famous New Jack City line ‘You betta step awf, Graaampa!’