It Ain’t Easy Being Me

I know what you’re thinking: who the hell are you? Don’t worry, it’s not what you think.

I’m a YouTube tutorial junkie.

I literally have to force myself to stop watching YouTube tutorials after work so I can shower. As soon as I finish agonizing through the disrespectfully thick traffic home, I immediately huff upstairs to my room, throw my backpack on the floor, flop down, and pull up a tutorial of some sort. Be it travel tips, natural hair care, cute styles, fashion, and the like: I’m always looking for someone to tell me how to function through life.

I’m not here to bash anyone who does tutorials. They’re usually meant to be helpful; not the end all and be all. Plus, I offer my own suggestions on this very blog. But I can say that over the last six years, I’ve implemented about 700,000 hair regimens, suffered through vegetarianism (no shade), starved myself with intermittent fasting, packed every travel bag military style, and embarked on a minimalism lifestyle because YouTube “told me to”. At this point, I am EXHAUSTED. My frayed, frizzy ends are proof! When does it become OK to stop following tutorials and start figuring out what works for me? I’ve spent so much time copying these regimens to achieve the results of others, that I’ve completely failed myself.

This journey, these results, are mine and mine only. The natural hair gurus and weight loss experts can provide suggestions (some really awesome) but figuring out what best works for your own body and spirit is of most importance to your overall success.

You know that girl with the bomb ass twist out who only used water and oxygen to get that voluminous style that frames her head like a glowing, luminescent halo? That water and oxygen miracle may not be in your forecast and there’s nothing wrong with that. Spend some time silencing the experts and listening to you.

*Sorry for the “I” issue. Apple done effed up…

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The Joys of Travel Anxiety

Spoiler alert: there are none…

When the thought crossed my mind that I could possibly become possessed while on vacation, I knew my anxiety had reached a ridiculous level.

I love to travel. In March of this year, I embarked on my first international trip and completed an almost two week vacay to Amsterdam, Cape Town, and Johannesburg/Limpopo Province.

And, while the trip was magnificent, the weeks leading up to it were the most stressful of my life.

The fear of what could possibly happen engulfed my entire being. I sat upright in my bed most nights and drafted near impossible disaster scenarios of what was to come:

  • Our plane would be shot down. We were traveling to Turkey to get on our connecting flights. The political climate is tricky; anything could happen.
  • Our plane would literally explode in the air.
  • We would get kidnapped on our way there. There are only two of us. Someone could definitely take us down and steal our organs.
  • As mentioned earlier, I could get possessed by a spirit in our Holiday Inn hotel.

Honestly, how many times do you hear about planes actually exploding in the air? It’s not that common and flying is apparently super safe. However, I realize that the anxiety will never go away.

It’ll always be there.

So, instead of trying to make myself get rid of it, I manage it.

I think of all the beauty I’m about to experience. Whether I’ve been there or not, I know I’m going to enjoy myself

I meditate. I journal. I write out all of my fears in regards to traveling and counter those fears with something positive.

I’m an organization freak so I make lists and check, check, double check them for accuracy.

I’m just a naturally anxious person. That’s who I am. I’m going to always have this anxiety but I won’t let it keep me from traveling. The spirit of traveling, the freedom I feel while in another location, is more important than my consistent worry. I’m happy to have all of this opportunity so why not take advantage?

Why not take advantage of the opportunities you do have?

And, if I do come back possessed by a spirit, I’ll probably be able to do some cool magic shit. That’s something, right?

BBC #2 (Week One)

So…. Yeah.

This week started out strongly but eventually morphed into a wastebasket filled to the brim with failure.

I started out the week eating healthily. Meal prepping on Mondays saves me a lot of time, money, and energy. I exercised Monday and Wednesday and used Tuesday as a day to catch up on much needed sleep.

Then it happened…

On Thursday, I ventured down to the little convenience store in my office building. No bigger than a walk-in closet, the store provides plenty of items like bottled water, pop (not soda), popcorn, sugary sweets, chips, deli sandwiches, hummus, and the like. I averted my eyes from temptation; pivoting to stare toward the healthy snacks nearest the entryway. But the small wooden rack packed with plastic covered, machine manufactured food items in the back of the store called out to me. I struggled, lifted up one leg to pull myself toward the items I needed to fulfill my body. But I gave in. The culprit:

A “Greek Yogurt”Double Chocolate Chip Muffin

I put the Greek Yogurt in quotes because that’s typically only added to make the item seem healthier. It isn’t. Don’t fall for it. It’s still a packaged muffin pumped with preservatives, sugars, simple carbs, and 580 calories. There’s nothing nutritious about a packaged muffin. Nothing, I tell you.

So, yeah. I gave that muffin what it was asking for and felt like shit immediately after eating it. I tried to make myself feel better about it by convincing myself that I was taking my sweet time with it instead of shoving it into my mouth like I always do. I didn’t feel better, though…

After that moment, I had officially barrel-rolled off the wagon.

By Friday, I had already quit my workouts, ate a piece of cake that some a*clown brought in, and began overeating every meal. On Saturday night, I inhaled a batch of mozzarella sticks and a whole small pizza in one sitting before going out to a Halloween party (where, in fact, I saw my ex).

But with that being said, I know I can do this. I’ve lost the weight before; I can do it again.

Consistency is so important at this point of my journey.

Measurable goals could be what I need to implement to get me going.

I need to:

  1. Be consistent. No overeating. Eat slowly.
  2. Workout at least four times/week (even on vacation)
  3. Don’t allow this week’s vacation to throw you off balance. You’re stronger than temptation no matter the setting.
  4. Lose 1.5 pounds this week

End of Week One Weight: 239 lbs (3 pound gain)

Week Two Goal: 237.5 lbs

“I’m a Scalding Hot Mess (Depression)”

The only song playing in my head today.

I can’t get it together. I’m about to basically complain this entire post but I have completely had it…

I’m terrible at saving/keeping money. I’m up to my scruffy, un-snatched eyebrows in personal debt. I just paid $99.00 on my credit card to monetize this blog that nobody reads. Why did I do that?!

My sugar addiction is crippling. I fall off the wagon once and it’s over for me; I indulge on sugar everyday after that. I really hate my upper body and I can’t fit my pants. I think about food about 80% of my day, every single day.

I listen to a podcast (Black Men Can’t Jump in Hollywood, a great podcast, btw) and they were discussing The Mountain Between Us (that Idris Elba and Kate Winslet movie about surviving on a snow-capped version of hell that I will never see). On the episode, the hosts mentioned that the two had to survive on, like, a handful of soup for a week or something and I thought, “Oh, they probably got really skinny.” And in complete admiration. THAT ISN’T HEALTHY!

I’m in a situation with someone that I love and I don’t even know where I stand. We’re in that wormhole “we’re just dating but not monogamous” BS situation that I find myself in with every single person I date. I tend to date people with unstable, unfavorable views of monogamy when that is literally all I want. And we’re supposed to go out of the country together next week!

I’ve always wanted to write a book but I’ve started three in the past year and haven’t finished either. I won’t sit down to write because I am plagued by self doubt.

I’m bored with my job and living situation but can’t make sudden moves because I have ZERO dollars saved and the aforementioned butthole of debt I possess. Rewind to the fact that I’m terrible with keeping money.

And yes, I’ve read all the books. I know there are people out there that wish they had what I do. I understand that and empathize with them. I hear:

  1. It’s all about the journey, not the end result
  2. Stay present
  3. Keep expressing your gratitude
  4. Just let go!

But isn’t that easier said than done? I know that it’s not just me out here spiraling. I read the books, get a momentum going, get bored with it, and then crash that momentum onto the concrete sidewalk and shatter it like expensive china.

I just want to be happy, man…

I did make this really good meal for lunch this week (The Whole Wheat Pasta w/ Lemon Kale Chicken). Shoutout to Buzzfeed; even though I hate their pushy, clickbait articles. >>Printable recipe here<<

Stop Telling Me What I Need to Do, America

Worry about what YOU need to be doing…

Ok, so… this post is going to be extremely petty. To the max petty. But I get so annoyed when I’m told by publications (most notably Buzzfeed) what I “need” to be doing or “should” be doing. For example:

“Three Courses You Need to Take to Monetize Your Blog.”

“40 Restaurants You Should Be Spending Your Hard Earned Money On.”

“678 Reasons Why You Need to Worship Satan.”

Ok, I’ve never seen that last one before. I’m also not here to judge if that one spoke to you.

But seriously… relax, Internet. The sense of urgency in these titles get under my skin as well as I just simply don’t like being told what to do. On some level, I feel a sense of constant anxiety behind the underlying feelings of inadequacy based on the fact that I’m not doing what I should be doing at the present time.

The constant desire of life improvement is prevalent in today’s society. We all just want to get better, do better, and be better. But the insistent reminders of the things and activities that I’m not currently participating in that society and the media says I ought to gets to be overwhelming.

The creators of these articles and headlines need to mind their GD business. A simple suggestion is cute and all but remove the overzealousness from your title – I don’t need it.

I’m sure that may have seemed like a reach for some but if we aren’t reaching, we aren’t achieving, amiright? Plus, I warned you… I’m petty.

Meditation: A Very Basic Guide

I used to think meditation was stupid. Spoiler Alert: I was wrong.

Defined as the act of engaging in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness (Merriam-Webster, mf), meditation has become a very popular subject as modern Western society shifts into a collective mindset where self-care is made a priority. I could provide some type of scientific insight on how meditation affects the hypothalamus and enhances your overall sexual responsiveness but really, who could care?
Regular meditation has influenced my life in so many ways. It has:
  1. Allowed me to focus on the present moment rather than let my anxiety push me toward worrying about the “what hasn’t even happened yet and may never happen.”
  2. Given me permission to clear my mind in the morning to create positive thoughts for the upcoming day and clear my mind in the evening to relax for bed. As someone that used to have trouble falling asleep at night, putting my phone aside to take three minutes and focus on my controlled breathing has changed the game.
  3. Caused me to sit and chill before losing my shit on those who try my precious patience. We’ve all been tried before (sometimes repeatedly) and it’s so easy to make a snap decision to let them have the first piece of your mind. However, meditation has allowed me to develop a heavily curated clapback that the other party so graciously deserves.
When I bring up meditation to any of my friends the first response that they give is usually, “I don’t know how to meditate.”
Girl, name a human that came out of the womb already in the Lotus position and began “OHMMM”-ing to clear their baby consciousness?!

You must learn the meditation technique that works for you and practice it regularly.

This is the technique I used when I first began meditating:

  1. I only meditated for a short period of time. 2-4 minutes (or even less) is perfect if you’re just starting out.
  2. I sat on the floor of my bedroom with my legs crossed (or directly in front of me), positioned my back comfortably against the bed, and placed my palms face down on my knees. I could lie and tell you I sat completely straight but my posture is awful so I’m not going to do that. Me and My God are working on this S-back, don’t you damn worry about it!
  3. I set a timer in my phone for 3 minutes. Sometimes I turn on some calming music without words (look up “meditation music” on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) and sometimes I sit in complete silence. Both are effective. I close my eyes and begin.
  4. Immediately, I establish an intention for the meditation to remain focused throughout. Usually, my intention is to “clear my mind and begin/end my day with discernment.”
  5. I inhale through my nose for 4 counts (a completely straight back makes this easier). Usually, I try to imagine that I’m literally inhaling positive energy; like it’s a physical property that can be seen (picture it as a blue smoke if you’re extra like me).
  6. I hold in that energy for about 7 seconds, allowing the positive energy to metaphorically fill my body.
  7. I then exhale any negative energy (picturing it as a red smoke) and allow it time to exit my body. I audibly exhale from my mouth to expel the negativity. I relax every muscle in my body: from my shoulders to my neck, stomach, legs, and down to my toes.
  8. I repeat until the timer goes off. I always make sure that the alarm tone is something soothing because if it was that damn iPhone alarm sound, I’d lose my shit.
Remember:
  • I’m no expert on any of this. This is just my experience with this topic and my way of sharing it. That’s what this website is about. If you want expertise, catch it somewhere else, girl.
  • iOS apps like Headspace and Stop, Breathe & Think offer guided meditations that work well for beginners. I preferred the latter over the former for no discernible reason but, presently, I don’t use apps at all. I’ll probably delve more into guided meditation later but she’s a long one already.
  • It’s OK if outside thoughts pop into your mind during your session. I’m sure the most seasoned meditator would tell you that outside thoughts continue to invade their sessions. When it happens, DO NOT chastise yourself: this doesn’t help you to improve your skills or create positive thinking. Gently remind yourself of your intention and refocus on your breathing.
  • Meditation is a practice. If you practice regularly, you will get better. Let go of your perfectionism and allow yourself peace.

I once felt skeptical about meditation. Hell, I thought it was hippy bullshit for most of my life. However, I love meditation now. I had to go through some really terrible situationships to recognize that I needed something to clear my mind of all of the thoughts that don’t serve or enhance me.

Also, I recognize that this post is VERY long.

Happy meditating!

BBC #1

BBC stands for Bad Bitch Challenge. No, I don’t like the word bitch. The title is just funny to me.

I’ve learned that putting off goals by telling myself that I’ll start tomorrow or on any specific date that isn’t right now will ensure that I’ll never start. This is definitely not true for everyone but it damn sure is for me, ok? I have to start now.

Now, weight loss is a mind-fuck. You have to be mindful of what you’re putting into your body every time you consume something. Boss lady brings Italian food for lunch? You must monitor your consumption. You somehow find yourself in a room filled from floor to ceiling with cookies? You must monitor your consumption. I know mantras can help for some people when they’re faced with eating challenges (like “put that shit down!”) but I’ve yet to find one that works for me. Mindfulness is key to consistently eating foods that nourish your body and this is where I struggle the most.

Exercise is a little easier for me once I got past comparing myself to other’s workout habits. I can’t go from being sedentary to a cross fit instructor in two days; it’s just unrealistic. I give myself breaks and I also allow myself to only go to the gym for 15-30 minutes.

There have been times where I’ve driven to the gym, parked my car, extended my hand near the car door handle, and then subsequently drove away with my middle finger out the window. I keep myself from doing this now by ensuring myself that all I have to do is workout for 15-30 minutes. I usually end up working out for longer but allowing myself that freedom gets me in the door.

Here we go:

Current weight: 239 lbs

Goal weight: 200 lbs

Exercise Frequency: 5 days/wk

Intention: Mindful eating without OVEReating.