Latest Posts

Product Review || Lone Natural Bodycare

 

I have not been using antiperspirants for years. Although I am a heavy sweater, I would much rather soak through some clothes than put chemicals on my body to block my sweat ducts. Lone came into my life when I was super funky. I was using Dessert Essence (and another deodorant that I can’t even remember right now) but nothing was cutting it. I was at work, dripping in stress sweat (which is THE worst) & I was super stinky!

I put it out there on IG that I needed some brands that I could trust, being super natural & all, & Lone came swooping in like a light in shining armor!

I am an extreme skeptic, but I will ALWAYS try something first before casting it away…luckily, I didn’t have to do this with Lone Deodorant!

In my package came 3 deodorants and 2 lip balms. Each deodorant was completely different from the other so I got a pretty good variety. The three scents I got was “unscented”, “citrus”, & “mint” in the BOLD collection. First of all, you can totally smell the essential oils in the scented deodorants, which is a good thing. They all smelled natural. The mint deodorant smells like straight up peppermint oil. The lip balms also smelled press juicy!

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I tried citrus deodorant on first and that literally lasted me ALL day, even at work. I didn’t need to reapply once. The citrus scent did wear off (as does natural oils), but I did not smell the funk afterwards. Low key, I was extremely happy because if you are in the natural world, you know how taxing it is to find good deodorant that actually works! After a few days, I switched to the unscented deodorant and it also performed well under pressure. I tried the Bold mint last just because it looked more serious and I feel like that is what you break out when you know you are about to be battle dancing out in 100 degree weather to save you life. The mint deodorant definitely passed the test!

I will say that these deodorants are on the creamy side, so if your used to something more solid, do not be caught off guard. (I only say this because when natural folks are out here reviewing things, they don’t warn you about the little things & that can turn people aware because they weren’t prepared for the texture). The mint scent in the BOLD collection is the creamiest out of them all, but probably the most effective. I will also say that a little goes a really long way. You do not have to apply with a heavy hand as you would with a “regular” deodorant. I usually just dab the deodorant underway arms until there is an even coat and if I can, I wait a minute or two before putting on my shirt. Needless to say, I’ve barely turned the knob on the bottom and I still have a long way to go before I have to re-up on my supply!

A few more good news about this brand:

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Although I use the lip balms less than I use the deodorant, they still work wonderfully & they don’t leave my lips crustier than before I applied it. My favorite is the Honey Vanilla because who doesn’t love their lips smelling sweet! Lone body is definitely a GO in my book. I will be supporting them as soon as my deodorant stash runs dry!

*super side note, I LOVE their labeling…y’all know me and presentation!

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Get yours at lonedeoderant.com.

Xo

Product Review || Aroma Foundry

Aroma Foundry is a small business that specializes in essential oils.


When I received my shipment, I absolutely fell in love with the packaging! Everyone knows that I am a sucker for presentation and fine details. The boxes that the oils came in had loads of information on them. Literally, no corner of the box was left untouched.


What I really like about Aroma Foundry is that the oils are distilled in small batches and they are hand bottled in California. The cool thing about these oils is that on every box, it tells you which country the oils directly came from.


I received 9 oils: Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Sage, Tea Tree, & Ylang Ylang. I will be honest and say that I have not used all 9 of the oils yet (as of how my life is set up, I do not have the extra resources to buy carrier oils, butters, diffusers, etc), but I definitely plan to. I cracked open the tea tree, sage, and lemongrass, & I was most definitely satisfied…more than satisfied actually. The scents were very crisp and strong. I put a couple drops of lemongrass on to repel mosquitoes & boy, I didn’t expect for the scent to be that overwhelming with just a few drops!


Either way, Aroma Foundry definitely gets two thumbs up from me! I will definitely be updating everyone on my uses on IG once I have the other materials & ingredients that I need to utilize them to their full potential!

 

Grieving the Loss of Yourself

Lately, I have been feeling cranky. I have been extremely irritable and way more introverted and anti-social than I would like to admit. Something was/still is off and I could not put my hands on it. On paper, things are great. I have a place that I call home. I have a job that pays me well. I have a loving partner that is the most beautiful person in the world…..but something was not sitting well with me.

I came across the beauty that is Ashley of @sacredfem while I was looking for future posts for my organization We Heal Too and was instantly drawn to her page. Sure there are plenty of pages with crystals and women of color, but this one felt different. This page spoke to me and I knew I had to interview her for my organizations segment Honoring the Healer: Heal Thyself. Luckily, Ashley was more than open. A few weeks after I sent the interview questions, she sends her answers.

I was not expecting to receive a message, let alone a message in the capacity that it hit me in. Ashley said this in her interview, “Our culture often pushes grieving to the side which then shows up in other ways (anger, hate, fear, resentment, guilt) so it’s important to me to always allow for grieving, even in the most subtle sense. Loss can show up in many ways.” When I tell you that hit me right to my core. I stopped reading and called my lover over. I told him, “Oh my goodness, I am grieving and I didn’t even realize it!”

I know that I am going through a transition period, but never did I consider that it was also a period of grief. Never did I consider that I was losing parts of myself, losing people I thought were close, losing a lifestyle that I once had, losing ideas that I thought my life should be like. The loss of my old self. The loss of my old life. I was/am losing. I was/am grieving. I never thought that I was experiencing loss in the way that I am.

I had never considered that I would feel like this at this point of my spiritual journey, but Ashley was right, we do not give too much thought to the idea of grieving in the process of healing. It is often just “release the old, accept the new.”, but why does no one talk about what happens in the in-between stage? Why does not one really talk about the transition phase? That is the part where most of us feel the worst in. That is where the “stuck” feeling sneaks in. The feeling of “I shouldn’t feel like this because I have everything and I am living in the now, so why is this emotion presenting itself?”

I guess it is much easier to mourn a person or animal that has died and transitioned or it is easier to mourn losing something tangible. We can talk about that. But what is not so easy to talk about, let alone explain, is how we feel when we completely lose ourselves, lose our mind, lose our identity. How we can feel whole while at the same time feeling empty. How we can feel accomplished, yet in the same breath feel like our world is disintegrating.

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I looked up the Five Stages of Grief & I saw many of the emotions that I have been feeling for the past few months listed. Right now I am on an upward trajectory. I am honestly grateful for my spirituality because I would have surely slipped, lost it, and fell into a really deep depression.

Even thought I accept what things are, I cannot deny myself the feeling of loss. I cannot deny myself the right to feel pain or to grieve.

So tonight. I grieve me. I grieve the loss of myself. The loss of what was. The loss of my mind. The loss of life as I expected.

Tonight I grieve. I will cry and bathe myself. I will be loving towards myself. I will allow my lover to love me. I will allow myself to feel how I feel and I will allow myself the right to grieve until it is all out. Then, I will allow myself to heal. I will allow myself to grow.

Book Review | The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie

Adichie delivers yet again with this book.

I purchased this book years ago. At first, I was not excited about reading a collection of short stories, but I am glad that I picked this book up, again, and gave it another choice.

Adichie is probably one of the best fiction authors I have come across. Her words paint vivid details of each story, each individual, each point of view. Each story pulls you in and captivates you. I literally do not know how she does it!

The stories made you think. Her process of building the story is just about perfection. She doesn’t start every story in the same fashion. Sometimes you jump in the middle of their lives, sometimes you start at the beginning, sometimes you catch a glimpse of what is happening & then circle back to understand the circumstances that are unfolding. They are all different and you literally cannot guess what words are about to come next.

These short stories are indeed fiction, but they almost make you think that these are memories or someones recollections of past situations. The way Adichie writes, it makes you think that she sat down with her aunties and sat there with a pen and paper, writing and recording everything that came out their mouths. As if the person retelling the story was in a deep like trans, reliving those very moments again in the present, unaware of your surroundings.

The only “bad” words I have to say about this book is that I wish some of the stories continued. I was so caught up in each story line that I wanted to know what happened next. I wanted to know how the story ended. To me, they were all cliff hangers. Even though I really wanted Adichie to complete each story, that left room for me to imagine how each character reacted next, what actions they took. I guess that is the work of a good author, where they take you on a journey and then put you on cruise control or let you take over the wheel to finish the journey at the destination of your choice. Still, I would not be mad if Adichie drew out each story line (or added to the “beginning” of the story do get deeper into the character’s minds) to create complete books telling the lives of each created character.

All in all, I would, of course, recommend this book and this author to anyone. No matter what your background is or what your heritage is (even if you are not of African decent) you can appreciate the skills and creativity of this book.

On Self Love || The Book

This book has truly been a work in progress and it has been a long time coming.

Back story.

If you have known me in real life, or via social media, for the past few years, you know that I co-wrote and released a book called Her Crown in 2014. It was the love of my life and I was beyond proud of myself for releasing a book at such a young age. Who would have known that things would have turned out the way they did.

*everything that I am about to say is from this point on, is from a place of observation and reflection, not judgement.

I was young and naive. I genuinely did not know what I was doing, I simply had a calling, a push, from Spirit, I followed through, and I learned as I went along (as with everything I do in life). I did what I was capable of doing at that moment, but it was not good enough for the other person. I will say that that experience taught me so much, even through the tears and the pain. There were so many valuable life lessons that were learned.

As much as I did not want to give up on or release something that I worked so hard on, I had no other choice. All in all, I had to let that go. It hurt me to my core to have to let my first book go, but it was something that had to be done. With no compensation from book or product sales, I walked away and cut ties with the woman that I thought was my friend. I cried SO much over that book and the negative energy and situations that were unfolding.  I am not even mad at her anymore, really. I learned some more things recently that made me come to peace with what had occurred.

I let Her Crown go and funnily enough I was asked to work on another book project with a friend and a woman that I thought was my friend at the end of 2016. I will not get into full details of this “partnership” either, but long story short, I started to notice that this woman, who I thought was my “friend” started to display behaviors that mimicked the woman that I co-wrote Her Crown with. Actually, these behaviors may have been a bit more amplified being that I was actually in that persons space (living with them) for a period of time. I noticed these things and at the same time, I was going through a major life transition. I had to pull away from that project for numerous reasons, and needless to say this woman hated me for it. She hated me for standing up for myself and standing up against her need to control me. She still hates me to this day, but I am perfectly alright with that because I see past the facade that she puts up.

With both of these situations, every time I stood up for myself, I was countered with projections or an attempt to guilt me or invalidate my feelings. I realized that both of these women attempted to make me feel like I was no one, I was nothing, and could not do anything without them and their “resources”, basically feed off of what I could give/my creative energy while making me feel as though I needed to depend on them for any kind of success. I had to learn through experience I that I am, indeed, enough.

Last year (2016) was truly the catalyst for my real self-love journey. I realized that although I was claiming all of these wonderful things, I did not fully and truly believe them (even though I really wanted to), therefore, I could not embody them.

I was doing so much for other people, I was giving so much of myself that I felt completely naked, exposed, and drained. I was, and am still, going through one of the roughest patches of my life. So many things were stripped from me and I have not been comfortable since I moved to Georgia….but in the space of discomfort, the best growth happens.

I had to go within. I had to isolate myself. I had to be quiet and get still. I took breaks from social media, breaks from people, breaks from the outside world. I spent so much time with myself, I still do. I learned so much about Who I Am as a Spirit, and who I am as a person (those are two different things that my spirit sister Hasnaa helped me understand, which I will expand on at a later date).

In this silence, I channeled everything into writing. I wrote every day for months. Old, unresolved, and pent up emotions came up for me. I wrote about it. Things were happening in my present moments, I wrote about it. I was hurting. I wrote about it. I hoped for so much love. I wrote about it. I was so quiet, I heard God/Goddess, I heard myself, and I wrote all of that down too. I wrote about my thoughts on life, love, the sun, the moon, the stars, depression, my future, the pain, the joy….I. Wrote. It. All.

In the midst of the releasing, the title came to me, On Self Love. Literally, it just came to me, while I was sitting down on my bed one morning, out of nowhere. I wrote it down on my whiteboard and thought nothing of it. As I kept writing the downloads, the thoughts, the messages from the universe, the cosmos, my highest self, I felt like I was remembering who I was. I was remembering who I was based off of the situations that happened, which helped me remember that which I am not. My revelations and downloads were “oh, yeah!” moments for me. That is where the subtitle, The Remembering, came from. The more I wrote, it was like this amnesia was being lifted, slowly but surely. My book is literally a compilation of thoughts and words that helped me navigate back to the knowing of Who I Am, it was my way to help me remember me.

The words that fill the pages of this book are very raw. They come straight from my heart, straight from my soul. There are no filters. There is no making things pretty or acceptable to the majority. This book is literally me. It is an extension of me and my mind, me and my spirit.

As I was remembering, I started to record videos of my downloads and uploaded it to my youtube channel. Some people resonated with what I was saying, some people tried to come for my life, but I am okay with that. Most people react vert negatively or aggressively when you challenge something that you have been or known your entire life.

Also through the remembering came the amplification of my love to help people remember to love themselves. I started making herbal blends and bath salts to help people put some kind of ritual in their lives to honor themselves. At this moment, I had to stop since I decided to follow Spirit and uproot and replant back in NY. Everything will resume once I set up my own place to reside.

All in all, it has literally been a journey. Many ups and downs. Many tears. Many moments of uncertainty, doubt, and fear. Many moments of depression and anxiety. Many moments fighting to stay true to myself while everyone wants me to conform. Many enlightened moments. Many instances of pure love and direct connection to Source. Many things have happened in the past year and a half, but they were absolutely necessary.

This book is necessary. It is necessary for me. I wrote this book all by myself. Drew out the cover. Figured out how to arrange and lay out words and pages. This book is proof to myself that I can do things by myself (with the help of others of course). This book is physical proof that I AM ENOUGH.

 

PoC Book List

This list was created from suggestions from the people. It has not been altered to reflect any personal preferences. The authors will be ordered by last name.

Please feel free to explore other works by the authors listed and/or suggest other authors and their works.

 

Chinua Achebe

There Was a Country

Things Fall Apart

Arrow of God

 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Americanah

Half of a Yellow Sun

The Thing Around Your Neck

Purple Hibiscus

We Should All Be Feminists

 

Dr. Llaila Afrika

African Holistic Health

Nutricide: The Nutritional Destruction of the Black Race

 

Queen Afua

Sacred Woman

 

Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow

 

James Allen

As a Man Thinketh

 

Ra Un Nefer Amen

Metu Neter

 

Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

The Heart of a Woman

 

Gloria Anzaldua

 

Christin Armstrong

Wash Day

Cut Day

 

M.K. Asante

 

Machado de Assis

Dom Casmurro

 

James Baldwin

If Beale Street Could Talk

The Fire Next Time

The Devil’s Work

Native Son

Another Country

Go Tell it on the Mountain

 

Key Ballah

 

Rodolfo Benavides

Dramatic Prophecies of the Great Pyramid

 

Brit Bennett

The Mothers

 

Bereolaesque

Gentlewoman

 

Baba Kali Bhujangi

Haile Selassie and the Concept of Enlightenment

 

Charles Blow

Fire Shut Up in My Bones

 

Carleen Brice

Orange Mint

Tea

 

Gwendolyn Brooks

 

Cupcake Brown

A Piece of Cake

 

Octavia Butler

Kindred Spirits

Fledgeling

Parable of the Sower

Xenogenesis Series

Wildseed

Soz

Lilith’s Brood Series

 

Bebe Moore Campbell

Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine

 

Ernessa T. Carter

32 Candles

The Awesome Girls Guide to Dating Extraordinary Men

 

Kim Cash Tate

 

Sandra Cisneros

The House on Mango Street

 

Upile Chisala

Soft Magic

 

Deepak Chopra

How to Know God

Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

 

Pearl Cleage

What Crazy Looks Like on an Ordinary Day

 

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me

The Beautiful Struggle

 

Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist

 

Patricia Hall Collins

Black Feminist Thought

Black Sexual Politics

 

J California Cooper

Family or Real Anything

 

Edwidge Danticat

Breath, Eyes, Memory

Krik Krak

 

Angela Davis

Autobiography of Angela Davis

Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement

 

Joy DeGruy

Post Traumatic Slave Disorder

 

Achak Deng

What is the What

 

Junot Diaz

This is How You Lose Her

 

Eric Jerome Dickey

Sleeping with Strangers

Waking with Enemies

Milk in My Coffee

The Other Woman

Drive Me Crazy

 

Rita Dove

 

Frederick Douglass

 

Sharon Draper

Copper Sun

Tears of a Tiger

 

W.E.B. Dubois

The Souls of Black Folk

 

Tananarive Due

African Immortals

Between

 

Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man

 

Frantz Fanon

Wretched of the Earth

 

Karen E. Fields and Barbara J. Fields

Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life

 

Antoine Fischer

Finding Fish

 

Lauren Francis-Sharma

Till the Well Runs Dry

 

Obba Funmilayo

Obba in her Daughter’s Words: A Journey of Healing, Forgiveness and Love

 

Roxana Gay

 

  1. Gibson

Flowering Woman

Yaa Gyasi

Homecoming

 

Nikki Giovani

 

Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers

The Tipping Point

 

Donald Goines

Kaffir Boy

 

Sam Greenlee

The Spook Who Sat by the Door

 

Alex Haley

Roots

 

Hill Harper

Letter to a Young Boy

 

Bell Hooks

All About Love

Sisters of the Yam

 

Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner

A Thousand Splendid Suns

 

John Howard Griffin

Black Like Me

 

Tamara Winfrey Harris

The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America

 

Melissa V. Harris-Perry

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

 

Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Moses, Man of the Mountain

 

George Jackson

Soledad Brother

 

George G.M. James

Stolen Legacy

 

C.L.R. James

Black Jacobins

 

Marlon James

The Book of Night Women

 

N.K. Jemison

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

The Inheritance Trilogy

 

Ben Jochanan

Africans in Origin

Major Western Religions

 

Umar Johnson

Psycho-Academic Holocaust: The Special Education & ADHD Wars Against Black Boys

 

Imani Josey

The Blazing Star

 

Rupi Kaur

Milk & Honey

 

Jamaica Kincaid

Annie John

 

Audre Lorde

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Zami

 

Nelson Mandela

A Long Walk to Freedom

 

  1. D. Mason

One Day I Saw a Black King: A Novel

 

Ebony McAllister

Words Don’t Teach: Affirmations to Stimulate Your Consciousness

Angels Everywhere

Perfectly Flawed: 7 Secrets to Healing From the Inside

 

Nathan McCall

Makes Me Wanna Holler

 

Bernice McFadden

Sugar

 

Diane McKinney-Whitestone

Tumbling

 

Terry McMillan

Mama

Disappearing Acts

 

Tracye McQuirter

By Any Greens Necessary

 

Zakes Mda

Black Diamond

 

Mary Monroe

Mama Ruby

 

Monique W. Morris

Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

 

Tony Morrison

Sula

The Bluest Eye

Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination

Beloved

Song of Solomon

Jazz

 

Walter Mosley

Always Outnumbered

Devil In a Blue Dress

 

Elijah Muhammad

Message to the Blackman in America

 

Credo Mutwa

Indaba My Children

 

V.S. Naipaul

Miguel Street

 

Gloria Naylor

Mama Day

 

Pamela Newkirk

Spectacle

 

Huey P. Newton

Revolutionary Suicide

 

Lisa Nichols

Abundance Now

 

Flora Nwampa

Efuru

Girls at War

 

Davis Olusoga

Black and British: A Forgotten History

 

Gordon Parks

A Hungry Heart: A Memoir

 

C.P. Patrick

The Truth About Awiti

Dear Ancestors

 

Phyllis Perry

Stigmata

 

Delores Phillips

The Darkest Child

 

Sidney Poitier

The Measure of a Man

 

Issa Rae

The Misadventure of an Awkward Black Girl

 

Claudia Rankine

Citizen

 

Jason Reynolds

 

Shonda Rhimes

Year of Yes

 

Jewel Parker Rhodes

Douglass’ Women

 

Toure Roberts

Purpose Awakening

 

Cedric Robinson

Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition

 

Walter Rodney

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

 

Don Miguel Ruiz

The Mastery of Love

The Four Agreements

 

Charles R Saunders

Imaro

 

George Schuyler

Black No More

 

Ivan Van Sertima

They Came Before Columbus

 

Assata Shakur

Assata: An Autobiography

 

Ntozake Shange

Sassafras

Cypress

Indigo

 

Warsan Shire

 

Iceberg Slim

Trick Baby

 

Robert C. Smith

We Have No Leaders

Zadie Smith

White Teeth

 

Patrice Malidoma Some

Of Water and the Spirit

 

Sista Soulja

The Coldest Winter Ever

Midnight

No Disrespect

 

Zoe Spencer

Murda Misogyny Mayhem

 

Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy

 

Keeganga-Yamahta Taylor

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation

 

Ula Taylor

The Veiled Garvey: The Life and Times of Amy Jacques Garvey

 

Bryant Terry

Afro-Vegan

The Hood Health Handbook Vol. 1 & 2

Vegan Soul Kitchen

 

Latham Thomas

Mama Glow: A Hip Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy

 

Trisha R Thomas

Nappily Series

 

Baratunde Thurston

How to be Black

 

Omar Tyree

Leslie

Fly Girl

 

Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Questions for Ada

 

Iyanla Vanzant

Peace from Broken Pieces

 

Alice Walker

The Color Purple

Temple of My Familiar

 

  1. Wakefield & S. Shakespeare

Xaymaca

 

Jesmyn Ward

The Fire This Time

Salvage the Bones

Men We Reaped

 

Alice Walker

Possessing the Secret

 

Rebecca Walker

Ade

 

Dr. Francis Cress Welsing

The Isis Papers

 

Cornell West

Race Matters

 

Isabel Wilkerson

Warmth of Other Suns

 

Chancellor Williams

The Destruction of Black Civilization

 

Tia Williams

The Perfect Find

 

Carter G. Woodson

The Miseducation of the Negro

 

Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming

Another Brooklyn

Show Way

 

Richard Wright

Black Boy

 

Malcolm X

Autobiography of Malcolm X

Zane

Dear All Lives Matter

Please before I go ALL the way in, let me state that this post is not directed at my lovely friends and followers who happen to be white and understand REAL history, know what racism is, want to help stop oppression, do not agree with white supremacy, and/or can sympathize/empathize with the plight(s) of people of color in this day and age.

Also, let me disclaim that “I don’t see color” and “we are all one race, the human race” doesn’t apply here because in the real word, I am judged FIRST based off of my skin complexion and my afro hair. Also, if you “don’t see color” you also don’t see “my problems” there by deeming me inadvertently crazy or reducing my experience to an overactive imagination.

As we proceed to give you what you need.

Dear “all lives matter” let me break it down for you a little bit. I understand that a person born of a certain social construct and skin complexion are taught certain things from birth. You are taught that you inherently have access to everything, every thing is within reach to you at all times, and that everything is expendable/replaceable. (Still not fully comprehending how in the range of “everything I should be included in” even covers oppression…………………….) I get it. I get it (sorta kinda). But I am not here to cater to anyones egos nor am I here to play into anyones dramas. I am here to help you…..this may hurt a bit. So get your Neosporin, band-aids, and kisses ready.

“All lives matter” was created by racist people who want to feel included…yes even in a movement created around oppression. Have a problem with racists white people who support & uphold structure of white supremacy. All lives didn’t matter to you when people are starving in third world countries. All lives didn’t matter when animals are being poached, tortured, and eaten. All lives didn’t matter in Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan (only Paris because Paris has white people). All lives didn’t matter when the Amazon was being torn down at ridiculously fast rates because trees have feelings & its f-ing up the ecosystem. All lives didn’t matter as people were dying over blood diamonds, oil, and cacao that makes your beloved nestle chocolate OR even the farmers in Ethiopia that get damn near nothing to reap coffee harvests for you oh so loved Starbucks (who totally swiped their logo from a Yoruba Ifa goddess Yemaya…but we shall go there another day). Needless to say “all lives matter” didn’t matter until we said Black Lives Matter. Then y’all changed your “all lives matter” to “blue lives matter”….but I thought all lives mattered…..? Do you see how you got a sista looking at you like wheeeeeeet? So the operative word that irritated you in the first place was “BLACK”….got it.

I understand that living things do not kill something they do not fear. So for some reason, besides racist power hungry officers being subconsciously afraid of the communities they police, “all lives matter” attempted to “kill” Black Lives Matter by doing their damnedest to overshadow them, ridicule them, & even went as far as asking the White House to make BLM a domestic terrorist group (no seriously….who does that. All the while “all lives matter” still won’t recognize the KKK as a domestic terrorist group who actually DOES have a history of domestically terrorizing….*look at my eyes…roll em*)

Clearly there are bad apples in every bunch, there is no one group of people that has all “good” within their lines. There needs to be “bad” or there to be “good”, but seriously “all lives matter”….you don’t own one mirror? You cant see how over HISTORY (again, real history not the cockamamy BS they force feed you in the American school system) people of color have been the ones receiving the short end of the stick? How colonization and exploitation did not benefit anyone but the INVADERS? THAT THE WORLD IS RUN BY CRY BABY SCARDY CAT WHITE SUPREMACIST RACISTS?????

So at this point I’m sure someone is getting angry & saying “Jaz is racist! While we are on that subject, I’m also going to need “all lives matter” to stop calling black people (and other people of color) racist in America, THAT DOES NOT EXIST. We have NO power in this county to oppress you. We cannot set up shirty laws to make you life hell. The only people who call people of color racists…are people who have NO idea what racism is. My people didn’t steal your people, force them to do your dirty work to build a nation, & systematically oppress them, kill them, jail them, plant drugs & disease, & break up family after we freed them. My people cannot instill laws to purposely keep you down on the economic scale. I cannot systematically disease and weaken your people, secretly scientifically test on them, and even send your children straight from middle/high school to prison. We don’t have the power to break you down mentally so far as to make you feel as though you are inferior and that we are superior from the earliest age of comprehension. We cannot do any of that, THEREFORE WE (people of color) CANNOT BE RACIST! Period.

Insert pics from 60s. We call you Becky & express our feelings as to why you’re with Tyrone (*most (not all) of y’all fetishize black men, women and their body parts. Most (no all) of you care NOT about real issues such as BLM) & you call us racist. You don’t get to use that word because your feelings are hurt. In America, A BLACK PERSON CANNOT BE RACIST. We (and people of color) can be prejudice. We can discriminate. BUT WE CANNOT BE RACIST. We cannot systematically fuck up a whole other race’s life & make them feel like less than a human. Have several seats and come again.

Allow me to show you the carfax breakdown of what racism REALLY is.

reagonomics1 atv-mass-incarceration gentrification-620x350 14d24bffc23edae319037c72a024ea38 SlaveSale Negroes images-4 hqdefault 1391729860000-BHM-Southern-1 6931800_orig Clifford Vaughs, another SNCC photographer 59b78d635a1f8de0c6ac943cc379f340 fc3922ed0a61021f43c0766ed9f8ffb4 Little_Rock_integration_protest-P c744f002-98e3-4581-b8da-7a413280c4a1 images-3 images-2 Screen shot 2010-03-17 at 9.17.17 PM m-3767 620-freedom-summer-1964-civil-rights-signs.imgcache.rev1403113568564.web_ keepourschoolwhite-1 kkk-rally Duluth-lynching-postcard

A sign in Jackson, Mississippi which reads 'Waiting Room For Colored Only by order Police Dept.', 25th May 1961. (Photo by William Lovelace/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

segregation

If you STILL don’t get it after reading this and seeing these pictures, then poof be gone because you don’t want to get it therefore you will never get it. Go read up on & watch some Jane Elliot videos & look up American history. The real American history that involves plenty of bloodshed & violence (because you all seem to forget that you didn’t become a free nation through peaceful negotiations and then want to bring up Martin Luther King Jr when Black folks get angry). *I’m not sure how far my eyes can roll back, but they’re pretty far right now* & while you’re at it digging through Encyclopedia Britanica online, make sure you grab the edition that involves black people & doesn’t make slavery seem like a vacation.

You all somehow cannot grasp the fact that 50 years later, all we are asking for are basic human rights…you know, the same rights you have. The same rights for proper education, the right to live in good areas, the rights to have solid work/pay, the right to live in an environment that isn’t laden with drugs & violence that the government scammed, the RIGHT TO LIVE & NOT BE AFRAID TO DIE BY THE HANDS OF THE PEOPLE YOURE SUPPOSED TO CALL WHEN SOMETHING IS WRONF. The rights to have reproductive freedom & not be afraid for your child’s life before they take their first breath. All lives matter seem to care more about the life of a dog, or hell a gorilla, than a black person. Because for the past 500 years, you looked at us as inferior. You as the superior race, and we were 3/5 of a person at one point….but you thought Hitler was bad. The only difference between you all & Hitler, is that your process was a little more thoroughly planned & dragged out/sustained over the course of time. His was more fast paced & extreme….but you all seem to be following in his footsteps quick fast & in a hurry *summons ya man Donald Trump*.

To those who are still delusional after all this here good schooling, you cannot or will not grasp the fact of the truth because “when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression”, but seriously….its time to wake up from your sweet little fairy tale dream.

richardson1

not today Lucifer

This post was originally written last summer when I was getting really upset with all of the trolling fools.

How to Practice Self-Love While Dealing With Depression + Anxiety

For a long time (up until last year) I thought practicing self-love was impossible while dealing with depression and anxiety. I had no idea that you can experience both simultaneously. Practicing self-love & self-care during these rough patches are not full of frills and glamor, but are very subtle and extremely important. Showing yourself love at your lowest is what you need the most. It is imperative, actually. Dealing with mental health issues (which include more than just depression & anxiety, but may expand out to bipolar/manic-depressive disorder, schitzophrenia, etc), they do not give you a hand book on how self-love can be an integral piece of your coping mechanism(s).

I figured I would share a few things that I extend love to myself. The ways that I still practice self-love whenever I go through a depressive phase or have an anxiety attack are:

1. I do not beat myself up about it. I say, over and over in my head, “Do not feel guilty about dealing with these things. There is no need to be ashamed for what you are going through. It happens, and the happening is okay.” I do my best to practice gentleness with myself. Even though I would much rather NOT have to deal with this, I tell myself “In this moment, it is alright.”

2. I do my best not to fight it. What I have learned over the years is that fighting the depression/anxiety, trying to keep it bottled in, only makes it fight back and manifest in a worse way than it originally would have. I succumbed to it. I go with the flow. If the depression wants to rear its ugly head, I allow it. If tears want to fall from my eyes without ceasing, I allow them to come freely.

3. I listen to what I need. What my Spirit needs in that moment. I do not force anything. If I want to lay in bed, I do that. If I want to cry, I do that. If I feel extremely nauseous & don’t want to eat solid food, I do that. If I need to scream or growl, I let it out. If I do not want to be bothered with people and watch Grey’s Anatomy all day, I do just that.

4. I allow myself to feel. In the society that we live in, we are taught that we have to cope with stress, triggers, and the unpleasant by seeking things outside of ourselves. Often time we turn to other substances (alcohol, marijuana, drugs, food, ) We distract ourselves and dissociate from the pain, the discomfort. We force ourselves to be numb. How are we supposed to know how to maneuver through and out of what we are going through if we do not ever allow ourselves to go through it? I allow myself to feel everything.

5. I express what I am going through, genuinely. I explain to people what I am dealing with. Close friends, managers, family. No one can read my mind so if I do not tell them what is going on, they will not know. I let them know that I may be really quiet to day, I may not want to talk, or I might just cry again.

6. I do not rush my recovery period. I do not try to bounce back faster than I need to to make other people comfortable. I do not force my mind/body/spirit/soul to come back to “normal” before it is ready to do so. This means that sometimes I only need a few hours or a full nights sleep. Sometimes it means that I need days or weeks to withdraw from the world and recuperate.

7. I remind myself that even in my lowest and darkest times, I DESERVE LOVE. I still deserve love from myself and love from those outside of myself. Just because I feel week, I feel tired, I want to give up, and I can’t seem to find the sliver lining…that does not mean that I should not continue to be surrounded and lifted up by love. Most times when we go through a depressive or anxiety filled phase, we tend to think that love is some far off distant thing that cannot be near us because the negative energy that surrounds us dispels it. Love, in fact, surrounds us even when the negativity seems like a dense fog. Love never leaves. The depression and anxiety only makes it appear that love has left. Depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders are like wearing shades, a sun hat, and and umbrella all at once. Even though it seems darker, the sun is still shining, we just have a few things in the way that prevents us from seeing/experiencing it. Remember,  LOVE NEVER LEAVES.

Also, I have been hearing a few key words as of late, which have been “Be soft” or “Be gentle with yourself”. They have meant a lot to me because I had a tendency of getting upset with myself for having an anxiety attack. For not being able to breathe, falling into a state of paralysis, and being out of commission for days when I came back. For being in a depressive state for longer than I wanted to because it was inconvenient to my life and those around me.

I will say that having supportive people around me has helped. I got rid of the toxic people  who would make me feel worse for being in the state of mind that I was in (hello boundaries). For the past year or so, I have managed to have an inner circle that understands (to the best of their abilities) what I go through and do not force me to “just be happy”, not be depressed, or “stay positive”. All they do is hold space for me if I need it. At times, they simply sit there and listen, they give me their ear to listen or their shoulder to cry on. They do not make me feel like an inconvenience or a burden. My support team simply does not allow me to fall. They let me rest when I need to, take a break, cry, complain, shake, and yeah…but they NEVER let me fall.

Of course my usual herbal blends, baths (or just me sitting in the shower for up to an hour while the hot water bathes over my skin), & delicious meals help out, but the practices that I have listed are all things that I can do at any time because I do not have to look outside of myself or wait for a particular time or location to put them into use!

I hope that the few things that I do to show myself love and compassion through these times resonates with someone. It is not the easiest thing to do, but it is surely effective. Please do not forget that your dark times are when you need to be showed the most amount of love. Do not wait on someone outside of yourself to show you love, gentleness, or compassion first. People will only show you as much love as you show yourself. As you show yourself love, you learn what you like and do not like, what works and does not work. In doing this, you can effectively help others when it comes to helping you through your rough patches.

03.21.17

I wake up & before I open my eyes, I know that it isn’t going to be a day filled with sunshine & rainbows, even though I want it to be.

I lay in my bed for hours. It feels as though my body is disconnected from my mind & no matter how much I will myself to get up, read, do yoga, etc, my body refuses to move. So I lay there.

All of the thoughts come to my mind at once & I try to sort them out. I really would like to prepare a delicious & healthy meal. I feel as though I have hypothyroidism, but I cannot get that confirmed by a doctor because I can’t even afford the co-pay & even if I had to go back, my health insurance runs out in less than a month.

I check my bank account $9.36. I let out a “ha”. I check my email & I see that WordPress withdrew $99 from my PayPal balance (which I was saving for purchases for my brand, On Self Love). I check to see how much money I have left in my PayPal balance because the supplier for my bottles sent me an email to say they will be withdrawing the money from that purchase, $31.40 to be exact. My PayPal balance reads $0.31. My car payment is due in 4 days & my insurance is due in a week. I still have to find a way to feed myself & get to work for a few more days.

Out of nowhere, I start to laugh & cry simultaneously because this is all a joke. This is all a big joke. All I desire is to be able to take care of myself. To feed myself, to put gas in my car, to buy weather appropriate clothing, to fund my brand & my organization….but I feel stuck in this cycle.

Every time I see hope, a huge wave crashes over me & pushes me back away from the shore. I am just incredibly tired.

On top of everything else I deal with an extremely shady person in regards to my organization.

I am absolutely tired of people volunteering their services, saying they want to help & then falling through, not doing as they said they were ESPECIALLY because this is for things bigger than myself. All of this lying further strengthens my trust issues with people.
I lay in my bed & stare at the ceiling. Tears fill my eyes & then cloud my vision before they fall down my face. I manage to muster up strength to get up & go in the bathroom to take a shower. I take of my tie-head to put oil on my scalp before I go in the shower. I catch a glimpse of myself & something within me says “well at least your hair is growing & it looks nice”. I begin to hysterically laugh again & the laughter turns into weeping. Deep, from the belly weeping. I fall to the floor & use the toilet to support me. It feels so hard to breathe & I just want to lay down. I am alone in the house so I remind myself to breathe because if I hyperventilate & pass out, there will be no one there to help me. I slow my breathing, but the tears keep falling.

I get in the shower & just sit there. I keep saying something over & over again, but I can’t remember what it was at the moment. Then I say, over & over, “things have to get better. It has to get better.” All the while I am wondering why. Why have I been stuck in this stupid cycle for so long? Why can I not take care of myself? Why is it that I am almost always left with damn near nothing? When is the abundance going to manifest? When am I not going to have to worry about this money thing? When will I feel secure? 

I stand up & I feel so heavy. My legs feel like they are attached to cement bricks. I just stand there & muster up more strength to get out. When I do get out of the shower, I feel the sorrow turn into anger. This makes me more upset because I do not want to feel angry. I don’t need another negative emotion to sit in my bones or inhabit my body.

I get in the bed naked & half wet. I fall asleep. Sleep is good. It makes me feel light. I don’t have to deal with the shit & I am free. I wake up three hours later & I feel better for all but 5 minutes & everything starts to come back. 

It is 2:30 as I write this & I still have not had anything to eat. I am not hungry & still feel nauseous. 

I sit here waiting to clock in to work, writing this & I want to be far far away from here. I am absolutely over this state. I am starting to resent Georgia. I don’t want to be here anymore, but where am I supposed to go with no money? What am I supposed to do? That is what frustrates me the most, I don’t have an escape/rescue plan. Everyone spits the rhetoric “stay positive” “your abundance is on the way” “you’re going to be okay” blah blah blah…I have been following the rules & universal laws for a year & a half & I feel like I am worse than when I started. At this point, I want answers. I need to see results.

I am focused on my work. On my brand, on my organization, but I have yet to see the fruits of my labor. I have yet to see what this all was for.

I don’t want to sell my soul, spirit, or heart for the sake of money, but the freedom of the aforementioned still does not produce true freedoms or security. I just need a balance. A simple balance of doing something I love & being paid to cover my needs, to not have to live paycheck to paycheck.

This is what depression looks like. This is what one level of “poverty” looks like. Having to choose between bills to pay. Having to choose beteeen focusing on bettering the spiritual, physical, mental, or emotional.

I’m just tired. So tired. Wake me up with the joke is over.

Skinny Girls Have Body Issues Too

I have been skinny my whole life. I wasn’t even a super chunky baby or child. Growing up, and still to this day, people question if I eat or even if I have an eating disorder. Going to a (West Indian or African) friends house, I always get the passive ask/tell, “Are you hungry?” from their parents. If I say no, they ask again as if to say, “I am not asking you, take this food and eat it” and if I do say yes, I feel like I am being watched to make sure that I actually put the food in my mouth and swallow it.

I have always had a fast metabolism and I have always loved food. I can out eat most grown men if you ask me. My family used to call me a garbage disposal/vacuum cleaner because I would scarf down a plate of food extremely fast and still want seconds. Weight has never really stuck on me. In fact, when I get stressed out, I lose weight very easily. I am 5’5″ and the most I have ever weighed was 135lbs and right now I am coasting around 120lbs (probably less by now).

As I said, I always had a small frame. I was the “maaga” (Jamaican patois for meager) child. From church ladies to my elders….they never let me forget. I didn’t think it was a “thing” per say. The first time when I was actually conscious about my body was when puberty hit. I started budding breasts and my mom made a big deal out of it. I was never the one to be excited when my breasts came in, I just knew I would have them and that was that. My mom would occasionally check my budding breasts in excitement of my new changes & would tell me that I was becoming a woman. I could care less, but it made me very conscious of it. Come to think about it, I think at the tender age of 12 , I stopped wearing fitted shirts so that I would not draw any attention to my chest. To this day I wear loose-fitting shirts or black tops if I decided to put on something more form fitting. I also wished that I had a longer torso/midsection. I felt as if my breasts took up most of my mid-section and it make me look weird (short torso, long legs, broad shoulders, no hips, small behind…weird combo if you ask me). If I had a longer torso, it wouldn’t be so bad. I would wear push up bras in efforts to expose more of my midsection. I hated those things because it would make my breasts look bigger, so most of the time I would resort to wearing two sports bras to flatten my chest.

The next incident that made me extremely body conscious was that I started getting stretch marks on my hips and butt. I did not know what was happening at all. This was literally not written anywhere in the puberty books my mother got for me and no one told me that this might happen. I felt as though God was mutilating my body. They kept popping up everywhere and they couldn’t be stopped. I tried everything. Shea butter, cocoa butter, Mederma, Bio Oil…nothing stopped those bastard stripes. Imagine a super skinny child at the age of 12 having stretch marks on her butt and hips. As the years went on, I started noticing them on my breasts, knees, the back of my arm near my armpits….I literally thought they would spread al over my body like leprosy. I don’t think anyone understands how freaked out I was by this. I stopped wearing regular bikinis in the summertime. I would get shorts & even have a cover up on top of that. I hoped and prayed no one would look at my stretch marks if I decided to wear a tank top or shorts. I was so embarrassed by them.

Following that, I remember was probably around the age of 15. I had on a sports bra & I was walking down the stairs. My mom was walking up the stairs & she grabbed whatever “fat” was on my stomach & said something like “You gotta lose that pudge.” Instant “OMG Im fat” moment. I remember I scoured through every teen magazine I could find, started doing the workouts that they recommended; lifting small weights in my room & such to make sure I didn’t get fat. Also, people in my family scared me because they would always say things like, “You won’t stay that way forever, enjoy your size while you can” “You can eat like that now, but you have to be careful when you get older” or “Wait until your metabolism slows down, that weight is going to catch up to you.”. [As I am writing this, I am realizing that these are really not healthy things to say to a child going through puberty & trying to figure out who they are in general.] All of this went to my head, terrified me, & put it a fear in my heart of “blowing up” & becoming obese. Still, to this day, I do have a fear of becoming obesely fat or gaining  significant amount of weight. It is something that I have to deprogram from my brain as it was engrained & hammered in for years.

As the people around me were changing with puberty, I noticed that most of the other girls were not just getting breasts, but hips and a bottom as well too. In my head, the “perfect shape” was the hourglass. I don’t know where I got this notion from, but it has been the defining image in my head (I will admit, even until this very moment). A woman with a full B cup, a nice waist, flat and long stomach, a well proportioned bottom, and some hips! I always felt like I was a broad shouldered plank with a pair of breasts. I wanted some hips. I wanted some ass. To this day, I marvel at women with nice supple bottoms & decent hips (not the fake oversized things). When I would work out in my puberty days, I wouldn’t work out my butt because I thought that it would make my butt smaller than it already was. I would stay away from too much cardio because I didn’t want to burn off any fat down there. I didn’t want to lift weights because all of the guys at school grimaced at the thought of a muscle butt.

As I got older and would voice my bodily concerns to friends, even lovers, people would look at me like I was crazy, especially if I ever uttered the words “I need to lose weight here” or “I feel fat”. I dressed myself in a way that accentuated or hid what I wanted. I remember changing in front of a girlfriend one day & she looked at my breasts & said “Where the heck did those come from??” in complete astonishment. It was kind of funny because I hid my then small D cup so well (my breasts have gotten smaller since I moved to Georgia…I have gotten smaller since I moved). I really believe I had Body Dysmorphic Disorder because I really thought I was bigger than I was &/or clearly not seeing what everyone else saw.

Fast forward to today I still look in the mirror and envision having a more defined waist, a longer torso, cute little perky breasts, a slightly bigger butt, wider hips…an overall better shape in my eyes. Do not get me wrong, I appreciate my body for all that it has done for me, but at the same time I am not 100% completely satisfied with this vessel I was given. When I take pictures or get a picture taken of myself, I grimace and often times harshly critique myself. No matter how much a lover says he likes my butt & the fact that he can grab it and hold on to it or how much he loves my breasts, something still isn’t clicking for me. I am sure I will get there sooner than later (because I definitely want to get in the gym), but right now I am proud of myself for even showing my stretch marks or putting my body out there in general. (So for the people who were slut-shaming me for taking and posting nude art, leave me alone because I finally got to the point where I was okay with that.) It is an interesting thing, you know, learning to love yourself. Knowing that you have a beautiful mind and spirit, but not wrapping your head around the fact that your body is beautiful. Learning how you can actually come to love the shape you have & the assets that you were not born with. It is overwhelming, thinking about it; having to deal with mental health and then working on your outlook towards your physical body.

It bothers me so much when people think that just because I am slim, I don’t have, or even shouldn’t have, body issues. Only bigger people should have body issues. First of all, that is just rude towards both ends of the spectrum and second of all, to invalidate a whole group of people just because they “technically” fit in societal standards is highly offensive. One can have body issues no matter what the number on the scale reads or what size jeans they can fit in.

Also, if you do not identify with skinny, slim, slender, petite, etc, please do not constantly bring up the fact that I am skinny, slim, or slender. I am well aware & I personally know women who are conscious about how skinny they are. It doesn’t make us feel good to constantly have people comment that we have a little butt, that our legs are so skinny, or that we “have no fat to complain about”. It makes us more self-conscious about ourselves and it does not feel good.

So yes, I am working on it, but please know that us skinny girls are not “perfect”, we have body issues too.