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March 2021 Uncategorized

Bonus: So I gotta little boo now…

If you would have told me that I would end up meeting someone dope during a pastrami (also known as a pandemic), I would have called you a liar. However, I did. He’s pretty great.

I journeyed into the land of Bumble for what was going to be my last time (at least in 2020). I had incredibly low expectations. I had dated several men before and after the pandemic without anything substantial coming from it. After finding out that the last guy I had talked to was still married (legally separated) and had a whole 90 Day Fiance situation, I was done.

However, after attending one of my best friend’s weddings (we were masked and it was beautiful), I decided to give Bumble another shot. I usually never date younger men. However, I figured that I had nothing to lose. I lowered the age to 27. After that, he was one of the first individuals I swiped right on.

These past few months have been absolutely incredible. We dated for about a month and a half before deciding to be in a relationship. We have had so much fun even during this terrible world situation. We haven’t argued and share a lot of the same interests. He respects my opinions and I respect his.

From at-home dates to mini socially distanced day trips/getaways, we always find something fun to do and something good to eat. I can actually see a future with him which is refreshing. He treats me so well. We constantly ask each other “where did you come from?”. We live sooo close to one another and never crossed paths. I’m glad we both swiped right. I’m looking forward to creating more memories with him in the future 😊

Have you ever tried dating apps?

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March 2021

Post #16: Hello loso (low sodium) eating

In December of 2020, I received unexpected news during a routine medical appointment. My blood pressure was abnormally high. At 29, I had never experienced this issue before. I was told to come back in a month for a follow up appointment.

Due to being super busy with work, I returned almost two months later. Honestly, I had changed nothing about my eating habits. I was sure that the previous measurements were just weird outliers. However, while my blood pressure had lowered some, it still teetered between the elevated blood pressure and high blood pressure (stage 1) zone. I was devastated. My PCP discussed putting me on blood pressure medicine but I asked her for an opportunity to make some lifestyle changes.

Since college, I have gained an enormous amount of weight. I lost 70 pounds in college through calorie counting and exercise. However, I was not able to keep up this same momentum while transitioning into the working world. I would go through bouts of losing weight and working out but they would never last for more that 3-4 months.

This wake up call got my attention. Losing my mother due to congestive heart failure complications (along with other conditions) completely broke me. My depression was debilitating. It should have been my sign to cut back on salt and get back on track. However, it drove me to continue to seek comfort in food especially fast food. I rejected any thoughts of working out. Doing the bare minimum was difficult enough.

I am now in a better place due to seeking help. Being in this better place helps me to realize that I cannot allow myself to become a casualty due to my own poor decisions. I am not perfect but I want to put forth a good effort in shifting my lifestyle.

So far I have done the following things:

1. Started cooking more and eating out wayyyyy less

2. Cooking with low salt or no salt seasonings (no added table salt or salty seasonings)

3. Trying to keep my daily sodium intake to less than 1500mg-2000mg

4. Buying low sodium food options in stores ( low sodium or reduced sodium broth, beans, bacon and tortillas are examples)

5. Monitor my blood pressure by testing at least 1-2 times per day

I definitely have not been perfect and have yet to start back working out. However, my goal is to start back soon using some Youtube videos. I have a follow up appointment in 2 months and my goal is to be back in the normal blood prssure range and ten pounds lighter.

My goal is to never have to start high blood pressure medicine. Wish me luck!!!

Do you monitor your salt intake on a regular basis?
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February 2021

Bonus: My favorite perfumes

While I still enjoy a good fruity body spray from Bath & Body Works, I am growing to appreciate slighty more “womanly” scents. My top 10 favorite perfumes (in random order) are:

1. Light Blue-Dolce & Gabbana*

2. Gucci Guilty-Gucci

3. Good Girl (Supreme)-Carolina Herrera*

4. Black Opium Neon (Intense)-Yves Saint Laurent*

5. Yellow Diamond-Versace*

6. Gucci Bloom-Gucci

7. Ocean di Gioia-Armani

8. Candy-Prada

9. Daisy-Marc Jacobs

10. White Diamonds-Elizabeth Taylor

*Top Four Fragrances

What is your favorite perfume?

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January 2021

Post #15: The cost of grief

I recently viewed a video on Facebook related to the business of funeral homes. It triggered many emotions within me.

Unfortunately, at age 29, I have helped to plan two funerals for individuals close to me. When I was 15, I helped my mom plan my grandmother’s funeral in 2007. My mom was an only child. I planned my mother’s funeral in 2019. I am also an only child. These two experiences top the list of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

After I lost my mom, all I wanted to do was sleep and disappear into my bed. I didn’t want to go through the formalities of taking care of everything or trying to smile in people’s faces. My world had literally been turned upside down. Depression and grief were kicking my ass. However, I know that carrying out these responsibilities is a display of love for the deceased.

However, this display of love costs a lot of money. If you are lucky, your love one will have things in place to assist with the cost. My grandmother’s funeral service and burial totaled around $8000. My grandmother did not trust banks. Remarkably, she managed to save enough money to pay money for her own funeral. I kid you not, she hid the money in small bags in her favorite recliner. When my mother and I counted the money, it was in excess of what we needed for her final plans. I am still in awe to this day.

My mother always believed in planning at least to some extent. For the longest, I remember going with her each month to pay on a funeral/life insurance policy. Her total funeral costs totaled about $4500. She had enough insurance to cover her service as well which I am grateful for.

I shared these personal anecdotes to show how expensive funerals can be and how important it is to have a plan for yourself and your loved ones. I had nothing but a pleasant experience with the funeral home that I used for both my mom and my grandmother. It also helps that the owner and my mom went to high school together and knew me all of my life. Death is hard. However, having a plan/insurance can at least ease some of the financial burden and stress.

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December 2020

Bonus: Some things I am thankful for

Thanksgiving is usually when we highlight the things we are thankful for. However, in the last month of an insane 2020, I would like to highlight a few things I am definitely grateful for.

  • Family
  • Friends
  • My significant other
  • Hope
  • Candles
  • Sweatpants
  • Headwraps
  • Youtube/Netflix/Hulu
  • New opportunities
  • Love
  • Beautiful flowers
  • The giggles of babies
  • Puppies/kittens (pretty much any small furry animal)
  • Mobility
  • The health of myself and loved ones
  • Mental clarity
  • Closure
  • Job
  • New administration in 2021
  • Car
  • Apartment
  • Dulce de leche ice cream
  • The sacrifices of my ancestors
  • Memories of my mother and grandmother 💗
  • Anticipation of a new year

While it is understandable to grieve the experiences we weren’t able to have, we must celebrate the things we do have. Gratefulness is a daily practice

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November 2020

Post #14: Uncomfortable vulnerability

I have tried to avoid being vulnerable like the plague. All of my life, I have never had the luxury of being “soft”. The world does not allow girls (women) like me to be soft. Oftentimes, we aren’t the ones who get rescued. There aren’t fathers who are functional enough to protect us and shield us from the world. They are battling their own demons. We have to fight tooth and nail to rescue ourselves. This fact leads to the building of lifelong walls that are almost impossible to tear down.

However, I am opening up to the idea of being vulnerable. Losing my mom forced me to open up a level of vulnerability that exposed my emotions for the world to see. I’ve always believed that grief should not be for public consumption. At my mom’s funeral, I fought with everything in me not to cry at the service. I made the mistake of touching her body in the coffin. Her body was cold just like it had been when she was fighting for her life in ICU…hooked up to a ventilator. I couldn’t contain my grief after that.

As I age, I am learning to tear down walls I built in my youth. I’m more open to asking for help and admitting my mistakes. Who knows, maybe I’ll even end up letting go enough to fall in love…we’ll see

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November 2020

Bonus: Preserve your sanity…log off

Please make a mental health plan for tomorrow and probably Wednesday as well. I plan on avoiding all news outlets and social media. Here are some ideas:

  1. Paint on a canvas
  2. Read or listen to an audiobook
  3. Meditate
  4. Call a friend or loved one
  5. Clean your house/apartment
  6. Light some candles
  7. Sage your space
  8. Listen to your favorite podcasts
  9. Watch stand up comedy specials
  10. Go to sleep early
  11. Cook or bake something
  12. Journal
  13. Listen to music
  14. Put your phone on do not disturb for a few hours
  15. Give yourself a home pedicure or manicure
  16. Color in a stress relief coloring book for grown folks
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October 2020

Post #13: The politics of black hair…a bag of wigs

When I was 17, I first lost my hair. A new medication did not agree with my system. I had terrible side effects including severe mood swings and the loss of my hair. Thankfully, I was able to switch to another medication that has not given me any adverse effects in the past 12 years.

To mask my hair issue, I began wearing half wigs at 17. A half wig is a hair unit that is made to be blended with your natural hair. This blending helps to camouflage the unnatural hair line of the half wig. When I first started wearing half wigs, I would neglect my own hair. I would do almost nothing to maintain it. I would cover the front with massive amounts of gel so that it could blend into the half wig. Not a good idea. My hair went through this for years. The result was a damaged and tangled mess.

Fast forward to a few years post-college, I began wearing more full wigs. I would moisturize my hair underneath and put them in either flat twists or two strand twists. Then I would apply the wig cap and the full wig. Unfortunately, the combs found in some of these wigs and the hairpins I used created some friction with my actual hair. I would see thinning along my hairline and where the combs had made contact. It seemed like everyone else was able to grow long and thick natural hair by wearing wigs as a protective style.

Regardless of the damage, I continued to wear the wigs. I felt more attractive and professional while wearing the wigs. I would alternate between curly ones, straight ones and wavy ones. If I had a job interview, I would always wear a wig. I never thought that my natural hair was appropriate enough to wear in a professional environment. It was low density and pretty thin. No one wants to have hair like that.

In recent years, I have started embracing my natural hair more often. My hair reminds me of my mom and grandmother’s hair. I care for it by washing and conditioning it on a weekly to bi-weekly basis. I even started locs at the beginning of 2020 (I removed them after about three months due to not being able to get them redone during the COVID-19 salon closures). However, even with this appreciation, I think I will always keep a bag of wigs. I like being able to switch up the look of my hair on a frequent basis. I just want to make sure that I don’t start back using them as a crutch…a crutch all of the time

Hair, especially black hair, has always been inherently political. What is your hair experience?

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October 2020

Post #12: Check your breasts and know your family history

Just a reminder that not everyone survives their fight with breast cancer. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in the mid-90s. I was too young to remember most things. I just remember climbing into her hospital bed and asking her a million questions. Thankfully, she received chemotherapy and a mastectomy and was able to survive.

Fast forward to 2016, my mom had started having issues with her eye. At the time, I was finishing up grad school in Ohio. After being sent from doctor to doctor in Eastern NC, she finally was referred to a specialist at Duke. In August 2017, we learned that the cells found in her eye had origins in her breast. This meant that my mom had breast cancer once again that had already spread to other parts of her body. Although she had received a mammogram each year since her initial diagnosis, there was and is no commonly accepted screening practice of checking for cancer metastasis in previous cancer patients. By the time breast cancer metastasizes to your bones and other organs, it is terminal.

My mom went through a series of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Thankfully she had the best oncologist in the entire world, Dr. Jeremy Force. However, in conjunction with other complications, she lost her fight on January 2, 2019.

💕This post was made in honor of my mother and other people who have lost their lives while fighting breast cancer. There is still more work to do in terms of breast cancer care and research.💕

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September 2020

Post #11: I’m a whole 29 years old…chile

I used to think that 30 was old. In my mind, 30 was the age in which I would need to have my entire life together…professional, social, emotional, mental, romantic and financial. Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

Society does a good job of shaming people for not having everything figured out by 25. I’m guilty of pushing those beliefs on myself. I have learned in these 29 years that life is about continuous growth and development. No one truly has everything together. There’s always room for improvement. However, it is important to stop and be thankful for all that you have accomplished. Life is not always pretty. Even hard moments have contributed to developing your resilience.

I’m going to make it my priority to live and love as hard as I can. I’m looking forward to enjoying the journey. #thisis29