Mirror, Mirror on the wall…

For the longest time, I felt like Mulan, like the Reflection song, wondering when my reflection would match who I am inside. I had an exact idea of how I should look to feel good and think I was deserving. It was unrealistic and I ultimately set myself up for failure.

I look at myself today and I am in awe of the woman staring back at me. I am impressed by her, she ignites my fire and makes me want to work harder physically and emotionally to be all I know I can be. The woman I am on the outside fits perfectly with who I am on the inside. It is unbelievable. I’ve become a selfie queen. Wanting to capture the smile in my face and the sparkle in my eye on the off chance it’s all a dream. I know it’s not but… selfies don’t hurt anyone.

I am seeing how my positivity energy is affecting others and inspiring them to rid themselves of negativity as well. It makes me feel important to know that my hard work is helping others now. What a wonderful motivator to continue on!

What’s more important is my kids. Man, I fight Miah to take pictures with me but, he willingly took them yesterday. Today he gave me the biggest and most sincere hug. He nuzzle into me and it took my breath away. He may be a foot taller than me but I will always be his momma. My boys, the are God’s gifts… proving that He loves me. They may not be perfect but they are perfect for me. Miah, I’ve been a bit worried about him. He’s got a lot going on in that teenage head of his but last night, I think things took a turn for the better. He was surprised by something he wasn’t expected and it filled his heart more than he thought it would. He tries very hard to be tough but, at the end of the day, he is just a kid that wants to feel loved and wanted.

I am grateful for the progress i am making in my life, for all the good that God has bestowed upon me lately. He has taught me patience and perseverance, while adjusting my priorities and what I want out of life. I should always have a goal, a destination as long as I know that life is about the journey getting there. My road was bumpy for so many years and now it looks more smooth and bright.

I’ll never give up on what I believe in. I think I’m more invested than ever. I am confident in who I am and what I have set out to accomplish. I am true to myself. What’s on the inside is what’s showing on the outside. A beautiful, smart and silly woman… a happy one at that! I love me!

Cloud 9, yes, I believe so.

I am beyond ecstatic at this very moment. I want to be jumping up and screaming for joy. Rather I am here with you and anxiously awaiting my time to speak with God. God is good to us and in due time, what’s meant to be will happen.

I was nervous this morning about the mini session I had scheduled this evening to get pictures taken. I haven’t done anything like that since the days of the mall. I am not my ideal weight and just a bit overwhelmed. Once I got back from my hairstylist and spent some time looking at these gorgeous curls, all the yuck went away. I was going to enjoy myself and at the very least, I could laugh at the photos.

Something unexpected happened. I don’t even want to share because I want to keep it close to my chest for a while. It was a marvelous thing and it changed our entire day. I haven’t seen Miah this genuinely happy in a while. Everything was that much better because of it. I think the saying that goes something like, it is well with my soul sounds about perfect here.

We shared a glorious evening filled with fun, laughter and a bunch of love. When my photographer friend asked Jeremiah if he was proud of his momma, the look on his face when he said yes, it is something I will never forget. I truly am doing something remarkable, it might now seem that way to you but I’m paving the way for my boys.

It has been a long day. It might be time for me to call it. I thought I knew what faith looked like, I thought I knew what love and pure happiness felt like and then God gifted me with abundance of it all and I wasn’t ready but, I accepted every last drop. I didn’t question or turn it away, I graciously accepted. My life is forever changed from the actions set forth today.

My happiness knows no end this evening. I am beginning to understand more about who I am. The woman I am working to become, she is pretty darn impressive. My mind is right and my thought process is healthy and in tact. I am overall satisfied with the woman staring back at me in the mirror. Today, I am rather taken by her beauty… haha. Man, it feels out of this world to see myself the way I do. Thank the Lord!

Oh, yes. Happy, sad, good, bad, near or far! Forever and Always!

Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust!

I am all over the place today and my brain hurts. I just finished creating similes, metaphors and alliterations to show that I grasp the concept of vivid imagery. I grasp the damn concept but I don’t like having to pull something out of thin air. I love using them but when I feel the need or desire and not because I am forced to at the drop of a hat. Okay, I had 5 days but still… shit is happening and I am fitting my schoolwork in when I can so, give me a break. Haha. I think I came up with some pretty good ones. All of my classmates went all out. I didn’t feel the need.

I am feeling a bit nervous about tomorrow. I have been keeping some things under wraps and tomorrow I take a big step forward with my photo shoot. I am SO excited! Once I get some pictures then I will share the news, it will make it more real then. It isn’t anything that will blow your socks off but it is something that means a great deal to me. It’s crazy how hard I have worked, I have beaten so many odds, I conquered fears and doubts and now here I am. I am blessed that I will be able to share these moments with the people that mean the most to me.

Man, it was a good day. From having a great conversation with Miah as I drove him to school to a peaceful drive home with good music and a nice chat with God. My day got busy with schoolwork before I had to get ready to pick up my boy and the bestie from school and grab a bite to eat. Those two boys are two peas in a pod and it makes me happy to see them together. My boy has a best friend that truly has his back, I know how important that is and appreciate their friendship.

I came back home and went straight to work on school stuff again and I am finally finished for the night. I am relieved as tomorrow is going to be busy as well. I didn’t have time to sit and watch shows with my Nana today. I kind of missed that. She watched movies while I was in the other room doing work. I did get her whatever she needed but now that the night is winding down and she is already in bed, I am missing that time I have grown used to spending with her. We are binge watching The Good Girls on Netflix and she kept asking if I had time to watch the ladies. I am upset that I couldn’t but I will make sure to get in an episode or two tomorrow before all the crazy begins.

So, have you learned anything from me yet? Do you see that the more I live my life simply, the better it gets? Leave complication and distraction at the door. Misery loves company but, I ain’t it. I am sunshines and rainbows even on my cloudiest day. My heart is full and my intuition has never been more on point. I am doing what has to be done and learning how to do what I want as well. Remembering that when I am truly happy, I am at my best and have more to give to my family. I also know that it is alright to have those days where I am unable to give much if anything to others. Thankfully, I haven’t felt that way in a few days but I take each day as it comes. No expectations, no limitations. I pray for the best and roll with what the day brings me. Who would have thought I’d be this person?

Smile just because eventually, it will be because your life is worth smiling about. Just need a little faith, trust and pixie dust! xo

Feeling the Pressure

You would think after the year that I’ve had, at some point there would be a reprieve. I mean, I guess I shouldn’t be complaining, this year has brought so much positivity instead of the darkness that I had grown accustom to that perhaps it is considered one. I am in no way complaining, just stating an observation as I sit here and run through everything that is racing around in my mind.

I have quite a bit of schoolwork to accomplish tomorrow, including a two-page report for my Argumentation class. I still have to figure out who I am going to do my commemoration speech on as the thesis is due tomorrow as well. I want to choose someone that inspires me and that is not just inspiring as a whole. I have someone in mind that I would love to speak on but, I think that may have to be a personal project.

Things are getting more real each day. The clock is ticking down for some big decisions I have to make and unfortunately I do not have access to all of the information I need to make an informed decision. I don’t want to act in haste nor do I want to miss out on an opportunity that I am not sure I will have the time or passion to act on again in the near future. I truly understand how much of an impact every decision I make has on my family’s life and what I am working to establish for us. I know in my heart, that there is no right or wrong answer, I have to do what I think is best, what I can commit to and it will all work itself out. Faith over fear after all.

Being responsible for my Nana is not an easy task. She is stubborn and independent, two descriptions she has earned. I understand that it feels like I am aging her, limiting her capabilities but I have to keep explaining that if she slowly recovers then she will be fully recovered sooner than if she rushes and reinjures herself forcing us to start back at the beginning. I am doing my best and I pray on it every day. I feel the duties of this and sometimes I just need someone to talk to.

I’ve already told my family that once Nana is better, I see a vacation in my future. We are going to get away for a few days and be worry free. No alarms for meds or having to roll a cart that we put her meds on into her room because I am in charge of them. I don’t mind it, I would do anything for my Nana, it is the worry if I let something slip, if I am not on my A game and something were to happen to her. It is exhausting. Just going to grab fast food now is a treat but there is also a rush to get back to her so that I know that she is good.

I keep telling Miah that things are going to be very different soon. We are going to have a place of our own and we are going to travel and just be happy. We won’t have to follow anyone else’s rules or tip toe around. We can be free to be us and live. Simple is the way to be. Oh man, I can’t wait to dance around in my room. To have all of my family pictures back up in the living room and decorate the house up. Oh, oh and to cook in my own kitchen. All of the things I took for granted before and I vow never to do again. To wake up and make my family breakfast, to hear laughter and silliness, to sleep in my bed. To love and be loved.

I know me looking to the future sounds like I am waiting to live my life again but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I live it each day. I am grateful every morning that I have been given another day. I accept where I currently am at and understand that it is in this situation that I am able to pursue my education in the manner that I have. I have complete faith that what is meant for me is on the horizon and I only need to keep my focus and never doubt God’s plan. I try to bring hope and happy thoughts to those I love and maybe even a little Stephie magic. Nothing but good radiates through me. This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…

This above all to thine own self be true. We can run our whole lives and never be able to outrun ourselves. When we stop and face ourselves, we allow the work to begin. It is then that we realize that we aren’t the enemy, no matter how convinced we were otherwise. It is our duty to love ourselves and that shadow you’re running from, it only wants to love you. Embrace it, embrace yourself and you’ll learn to love yourself the way you are meant to. Look at me, I never thought it possible and I’ve never felt more authentically me. Just sayin. xo

Feeling Beautiful!

I went to get my hair trimmed and colored today. While it did not turn out how I wanted it, as soon as she put the color on and it was more red than pink, I wanted to freak out, instead I thanked God that I had the funds to be sitting in that chair and with that, I would accept whatever the outcome may be. I can’t wait for the pink next time but, damn, it looks good! My hair is healthy and shiny and it turned out great.

This simple thing has given me an abundance of confidence within the last few hours. I loved how my hair was, that hair grew with me this last year. As it grew out, I grew. But, it was time to step into this next stage of my life in a big way and what grabs more attention than some bright hair? I am no longer a wallflower, I am not the caterpillar either, I am a full blown butterfly and I dare you to take notice.

My outside matches my inside now. And… the weight doesn’t matter. I am sexy and thick and while I plan to work on my health and fitness, I’m fine as hell and thick as f#$k, oh my Gosh, that’s my baby… lmao. I am ready to rock some family pictures on Saturday and be proud of the woman I am, completely me. YES!

Damn it! Whew! I feel like I am on top of the world. I know I keep sounding like a broken record but, I never knew I could feel like this. I never knew or expected to love myself so much. To be so in tune with my wants and needs and still have energy to dedicate to those I love. God is so good. I am blessed for the time and effort He has given me. I don’t squander it and I give thanks throughout the day. I never want to lose what I’ve fought for. I’ve earned my seat at the table.

It is the simplest things that make us happy. Life is not meant to be complicated. We are to love our people, love what we do and be kind always. Plain and simple. I’m ready. It’s my time. It’s our time. Just remember, nobody puts Baby in the corner! Haha…

Okay… enough for tonight. Thank you for your support and belief in me. I may not know who you are but, you’ve kept me going and I appreciate it. May I inspire you in the same manner. Take care and we’ll be back tomorrow. Xo

Oh… wanna see the hair?

Prioritize What Matters

So, this came up and it has been on my mind ever since. As adults, we think there is a way things have to be done. We assume that others have it all together and that we should as well. No one has it all together, let’s be honest. Everyone has areas they can improve, seriously.

So, why do we continue to juggle too many things and struggle when we become overloaded? Is it because you’re afraid of what others will think of you? If someone is going to judge you for giving your best and having the courage to know your limits, chances are, they are judging you even when you’re doing just fine. That’s pride and ego and well, it is not serving you.

What can we do? When I was overwhelmed and couldn’t juggle everything anymore, I had to decide what was important, what I had to hold on to no matter what. I held on for dear life to all of that and let the rest go. I then started giving the necessary attention to the things I kept hold of, the kids, myself, my future, my mental health, God, etc. I took my time to understand why this was my core, made sure that it all belonged here and poured my heart and soul into it all.

Once I was comfortable with juggling what I had, I looked around at what had fallen at the wayside and had to determine if those things were worthy of being added back to the mix or if they should remain out of it. If something came back into the fold, I learned to incorporate it and dedicate the time it required of me. This is all fluid and ever changing.

Through this process, I have added things that should have never returned and they were dropped again, I’ve forgotten things and had to reintroduce them. There is no right or wrong to this….except for overextending myself again. That I cannot do. I have to be self aware at all times. It is a bit tiring but, in doing so, it fills some of the dedication required to myself. Two birds, one stone. I am not afraid to admit when I have too much on my plate and I’m quick to add more if I think it possible. I am not in the rat race anymore and I don’t think I want to be. The only person I am competing with is the version of me from yesterday.

I am determined to keep moving forward, to being the best me I can be. I am not satisfied with mediocre and in the same breath, I am not okay with overloading myself to prove how much I can take on. Life is a balancing act… but, only when you’ve learned to give the appropriate attention to the things you initially chose to keep hold of. We must lay a foundation to build. A strong foundation. It isn’t a race. Try what feels right and then adjust. What’s meant to be will fit together like puzzle pieces when you’ve got it right.

This is where intuition comes into play. God has no problem guiding us as long as we are open to searching for the signs. We can’t rely on our brains because they only want to make sense of everything and some of the best things in life make no sense at all. Follow your gut, your instinct. Not sure how? Close your eyes, take a deep breath and just breathe. With patience, understanding and an open mind, you’ll figure it out. Breathe out the negative and in the positive. Give yourself grace as you find your way… celebrate the tiny victories. This is a forever thing so… take your time.

What matters to me is my family. They are my core. They are my priority… that includes me. Everyday I thank God for them, for loving us, for showing me how to love myself. You see, it all started with me. Xo

Inspiration

Who inspires me? My next speech is a commemorative one. I can choose an individual or a group of individuals to speak on. My main points are characteristics of them. This is exhilarating and nerve-wracking at the same time as I tend to overthink things. I am not sure which direction I want to take it. I mean, the people that inspire me now may not make sense to others… and normally that wouldn’t matter but, this is graded. Can I really choose someone because I think she’s a badass bitch? I’m not sure how that would fly.

I’m inspired by the underdogs. They are my kindred spirits. We’ve been knocked down, left broken and somehow we managed to pull ourselves up from our lowest lows and make broken look beautiful. I admire adversity and people that find their way out of the darkness. Those that pen their own story and have no regrets for doing so. Conformity is so boring…

I’ve noticed that I’ve become my own inspiration. I am in awe of what I am able to accomplish no matter what odds are stacked against me. Add the fact that for the most part, I maintain a positive attitude. Of course, sometimes I have the occasional slip-up and that’s okay, it makes me human. I’m planning on getting pictures taken for something I’m working on and although I’m not my ideal weight, I think I’m rather beautiful and plan to rock those photos. Probably in black…since that is a slimming color. Lol

My way of thinking about life and how it should be lived is evolving. I think I have to live more free… go with the flow and let it be. That is a way for me to honor my friend. To exude positivity as he did for so many years. I am happy. I am making every moment count. I am continously reminded that if I give my all to whatever it is I am doing, I will be rewarded. My all may be differ at times but even so… my video, was not my best but, I received wonderful remarks from my classmates. I did the best I could and God met me the rest of the way.

Speak about inspiration. HE is my inspiration. He never gives up on me. He is there no matter what is happening and He guarantees that even if I mess up, I can keep going and do better moving forward. I am blessed to be guided and protected. To have Him working wonders in my life, setting me and my family up for our happy as we continue on this journey. We are in transition. I know everything is going to be just fine. Believe it to receive it.

Look not only for inspiration but to inspire as well. Life is give and take. Accept the small victories and never lose sight of what you want.

Always at the ready

The more I am alone with myself, the more things make sense. It is easy for an outsider to label you and without giving it much thought, we cling to a label that perhaps does not suit us. Who is anyone to judge us? Why do we so willingly accept it? I’ve come to realize I am more than the boxes people have tried to fit me in. And that, my friend, is a game changer.

Thinking back at all of the times someone made a statement about me… and I allowed it. You’re too loud, you’re too opinionated, you’re never going to find a man to put up with you, you need to compromise. What? I command attention, I am passionate about subjects that I care about. I don’t want a man to put up with me, I want one that accepts me fully. I made accommodations to meet others expectations of what was acceptable while disregarding my own.

I grew up and learned what not to do from my mother. She was and is a great mom but she lacks self confidence and never stood up for herself. Ever since I was little, I vowed to do the opposite. I have no problem speaking my mind and demanding to be heard. I believe God blessed me with a talent for words purposely. I’m not quite sure when I started listening to others so much. I think it might have been after I graduated high school.

I had a hard time accepting that colleges weren’t knocking down my door offering scholarships when I made sure I was a well rounded candidate. It disillusioned me for sure. I think that’s when I lost faith in myself and figured that what I was doing was all wrong and left the door open for suggestions. I didn’t understand that the college thing. Well, that’s life and it had nothing to do with who I was. It wasn’t in the cards for me. Had anything been different, my life wouldn’t be as it is today.

I am so thankful for this last year. I made something beautiful out of this pandemic. I found myself and nurtured her back to the woman she was meant to be. I have never been more proud of who I am and what I am accomplishing. Major obstacles continue to block my path but. I am supported by our Almighty God and He isn’t letting anything get in my way. I know I am at the edge of the cliff and I am ready to jump.

I saw a man I follow on TikTok say that we aren’t supposed to deny our old self for our new self. We have to combine them just as we should with our future self. We release what is not meant for us and keep what is. I was excited to hear this. The woman of my past, she is the foundation of who I am. All of the struggles and wonderful times mixed in with some chaos and tears. I don’t want to forget her, I want to honor her for getting me here. She found the men of my life… broken and all, she found the missing pieces to our puzzle.

I don’t have it all figured out. I am a work in progress and begin with a clean slate each day. We all have the power to begin again. This evening is an energy shift and either we choose the light or the darkness. So much has happened and the darkness will always call me but, I am digging my heels in letting the light continue to shine on me. I hope to work on freeing some weight off my shoulders as well. I need to take in all that is about to happen and revel in my hard work.

Choose the light. The darkness is always the easiest choice. Who doesn’t like a challenge? After all, insanity is doing the dame thing over and over and expecting a different result. Self sabotage is so last season. Let’s choose self love, I’ll help. Be blessed!

Good Grief

Do the storms ever stop? No. But neither do the rainbows. I heard this on a show I watched with the Nana today. It struck a chord. We are never going to be able to escape bad but, typically, after a time, things get better and we forget about the bad until it appears again. So, when we are blindsided by something negative, we have to keep the faith knowing that the sun will shine again soon.

Life is different now that my friend is gone. I still haven’t wrapped my head around it. We didn’t talk frequently but, I always knew he was somewhere in the world and if I needed him, truly needed him, he would be there. It is crazy that now is when I need him, I need him to tell me this isn’t true and I can’t call him. I’m so angry about that. I never asked him for anything, I never called in a favor, but, I want to now. Damn him.

I used the day to rest up and binge watch shows with the Nana. Yesterday took so much out of me. I woke up feeling like I had gotten hit by a car. My whole body hurt. Faking a smile and forcing myself to record my speech when I was holding back tears was very difficult. It had to be done, mom kept reminding me that he wouldn’t have wanted me to jeopardize my schooling. I’m not that impressed with my speech but, my professor had mostly good comments. I decided not to share with her what was going on. Life happens and I don’t want to make excuses.

We all make decisions, some as simple as turning on a light to see or choosing which pair of pants to wear but sometimes it is more complicated like spending time with your family or partying with friends. You make the choice and even though excuses may get you off the hook, you still deliberately chose one thing over another. I have made many mistakes in my life, made some bad choices but, I’ve always chosen my family over everything and everyone, myself included. While I now understand I am part of that family and must choose me as well, I’ll never put anything above them.

The way I think is different now. What I will and will not tolerate is as well. I’ve learned to set boundaries as well as expectations. I will not be lied to or made to look a fool. I will not make excuses for inexcusable things. I’m not sure if the improved me will have more people like me or less and frankly, I don’t care. I’m not trying to win a popularity contest or gain the approval of others. I am simply living my truth. There is freedom in that! I choose to be blessed and hopefully a blessing to others.

My boys are and will always be my inspiration. They are two halves of my heart and so much Ying and Yang ☯️…somehow they both drive me crazy but I love them completely. If you ever doubt God, He knew what he was doing when He brought those two together and blessed me with them. We fit together, like puzzle pieces. All I have done for me, has been to be the best I can for them, to offer them the best in life that they deserve. I know that as long as my intentions are pure and I continue with love in my heart, He will ensure my boys live the lives I dream for them.

I have wanted to quit on school lately with Nana being sick and the other things I am dealing with. My friend’s passing, it pierced my heart. But I can feel him urging me forward. I just feel the need for a new tattoo… I need it to hurt so good. It’s like life, it hurts but it feels good and we can’t stop it. My dear friend, he loved life, he loved people and exuded good vibes. He was a hippie at heart…even had dreadlocks at one point in his life. Now I just want to share goodness with others too. As for school, I’m digging in my heels. 6 or 7 more weeks before this semester is over. No giving up now.

Still something is missing in my life. I’ll continue to pray that it will work itself out. I’ll never give up. Let go and let God, Stephie xo

Fake Smile

I had schoolwork today, I had to record my video. Was it the best? No. It took way longer than it should have. My head and heart weren’t in it. All I wanted to do was cry. I cried earlier and had to touch up my makeup. I felt like I was not honoring my friend by having to be peppy and all dressed up. I just wanted to stay in bed and cry. My body aches. Nothing feels the same. We would go forever without talking to each other but just knowing he was out there and if I needed him, he was a call or text away… now that’s gone. It feels unreal. I can’t wrap my head around it.

I am so mad at him for putting his walls up and keeping us apart. I hate what substance abuse can do to a person. I just want to reach out to him, I want to hear him gush about his son.

I was feeling super low when I got a call from Miah with some great news. To say that this kid is happy as a claim is an understatement. I am so very happy for him and that something he has been wanting worked in his favor. My heart is happy about that….

I don’t even know what to say. Tonight is one of those nights that I wish I could be held and told everything is going to be okay. What I would give…. instead I sit here alone in the silence and a sinking feeling. I’m having a hard time breathing. I haven’t had a panic attack in a long time and now I find myself fighting one off. Again, without the help of who I need. I gotta go…. I can’t right now.