This piece is fitting to kick off my series of writing for Mental Illness Awareness Month


imagesWe who are darker than blue are consigned to endlessly gather our body parts, our psyches from the four corners of the earth. We have been scattered like bread crumbs and devoured as such. I can’t find a trace of me….I am in a bird’s treacherous beak, I am trampled beneath a small animals scrambling, scurrying feet. I am no where and everywhere. I am in the belly of the earth. I am hands digging and endlessly gathering. 

We who are darker than blue are forever archaeologists, searching for ourselves, our tombs..our birthplaces..our homes.

I am in no mood for dissection. To have my skull cracked like a bluebird’s egg and peered into.

I can’t find my car keys. I did not sleep well. These same nightmares that wait until dawn to unravel and leave me torn between fight or flight far too early in the morning, these same nightmares…

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April Snow

Sometimes it snows in April
Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad
Sometimes I wish life was never ending,
And all good things, they say, never last” ~Prince
When it snows in April, although it’s not a rare circumstance, it is always intriguing and startling even when it’s predicted.
I’ve been struggling with the reality of the sudden unexpected death of a music icon, a legend, an instrumental genius and lyricist, Prince Rogers Nelson which occurred on Thursday, April 21, 2016.
Prince was my first love. I gained an appreciation of rock, pop, romance as well as erotic spirituality just from listening to his music and studying the words. I was enamoured by his beauty that surpassed yet encompassed gender. I was consumed by the strong instrumental conversations that commanded as much attention as his thought provoking lyrics that sparked controversy at times with sex, love, social issues as well as religion.
I grew with Prince as a soundtrack to my life, his death has affected me more deeply than I can fully explain. As Prince evolved from a sexy rock star to a mature musician, he was never apologetic; as I walk my journey in life, I grew to understand his.
With his death, I’ve watched archived interviews with the pop, rock and r&b prince in search of clues as to how could this happen. There are so many speculations around his death, and I must admit that I’ve had my own. The bottom line is that his death forced me to face the end of an era and that we all will leave this earth either in a long drawn out exit or in a blink of an eye, and there will always be a plethora of questions as to how or why it happened.
The question should not be how or why did this happen, death is inevitable. The question should be: How did you live while you walked the earth? How many lives have you positively or negatively influenced? If indeed, you are not living in your purpose, how will you begin to? Why haven’t you taken that vacation? Why haven’t you made the phone call that you’ve been putting off? Why not start taking care of your body, health and spiritual wellness today?

I understood Prince and his determination to evolve and change unapologetically because I have followed suit. While watching a  PBS interview with the icon, Prince said something profound in response to Tavis Smiley mentioning how his music has evolved with his life, this was the statement: “…you come out and play what you want to play at that particular stage in your life and, for your true core fans, they don’t ever leave disappointed.”
Prince’s reply: “But I don’t know how any of us grow if we just tread water. The idea is that we keep growing and, like we were saying before, the fan base I have now, they’re so sophisticated they almost expect me to do the unexpected, and that gives me a lot of room to challenge myself as well as them.” WOW. Isn’t this true? Don’t we owe it to ourselves and to those around us to promote growth and not stay stagnant in life in every aspect? Wouldn’t you want to be surrounded by those who are striving for improvement and change? Prince goes on to say in the interview: “You’re going to get the audience you deserve, all right? So when we were wearing more risqué outfits, we had a bunch of [risqué fans]…” I get it! I definitely had a light bulb moment! When I was young looking for a good time partying and drinking, the company I kept was in the same mindset. As I grew, matured and my interest along with understanding of life blossomed, I have noticed the change of my audience!
I look back and I see some folk still treading water, some even running marathons on a treadmill- going nowhere fast. I can’t help but take notice of those moving forward with baby steps and strides as well. Life is what we make it! Thank you Prince!

There will be battles and struggles along the way, sometimes we lose to those battles and struggles with drugs, mental illness, self doubt, body image and finances when we give up the fight. Seeking refuge is part of gaining power above those struggles with the help of medical professionals, spiritual guidance and mentoring. Take initiative to own the rights to your life (as the great Prince fought to win the rights to his music) and not be a slave to your struggles (as he was to the big wigs in the music industry). When you do this and leave your legacy behind, it will not matter how or why you’ve left this life; but how and why you lived when you physically existed here on earth.

Sometimes it snows in April, we admire the mystic beauty of the pure falling spring time snow knowing it will not last, yet questioning “how is this so?”…..just embrace the moment and let the questions go. Be balanced. Be well. Be blessed. C’st la vie.

The introduction quote is from the lyrics of “Sometimes it Snows in April” by Prince written in 1986 and was the closing song on his album Parade.
Rest In Purple Prince.

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Stop Drop and Roll

“We live in a world in which we are dependent on others; we cannot expect to fulfill our goals while disregarding others’ needs” ~ Dalai Lama

I can remember back to when I was a child, I’ve always been a nurturer. Maybe it has something to do with me being the eldest of 3 siblings that I evolved into a mothering person, feeling as though it’s my duty to care after loved ones and their best interest. I was not expecting reciprocation, but signs of appreciation was my gratification. Maybe I was born with a helpful spirit.
Be it as it may, I am a believer that we do unto others as we would like to be done unto us. There are plenty occasions where I’ve bent over backwards to make someone feel included, comfortable, safe, happy, and even worthy (and times when I haven’t). Who doesn’t appreciate those feelings? I love to be on the receiving end of acts of kindness whether random or intentional, great and small! I also know that my blessings may not be returned by the person to whom I’d been a blessing- my mother, children or even great grandchildren can very well benefit from a simple genuine and kind gesture that I performed, and that’s fine with me.
Sometimes giving (money, time, and even a smile) can be a little uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a cheerful charitable child of God! I have a lot on my table, but to whom much is given much is required, and when I am called upon to help, I’ve learned to Stop Drop and Roll when I am chosen to be a blessing, even if it’s at an inconvenient time…I must Stop (and put myself in that person’s shoes) Drop (what I’m doing or what I believe my plan for the moment is) and Roll (with the waves and let generosity and kindness carry me to where I need to be in order to carry out His plan). And if (which is almost always the case) I am in line with the divine plan- whatever it is that I had to put on hold will come together better than I could have ever imagined! I’ve put this to the test and so should you! Be a blessing! Be well! Be balanced! C’est la vie!

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Self Love Assessment

image“You have to love yourself because no amount of love from others is sufficient enough to fulfill the yearning that your soul requires from you.”~ Dodinsky

We have completed the first quarter of 2016! This is a great time to do a self love assessment, just to be sure you haven’t put yourself on the bottom of your new year “to do” list . Look for signs of denying yourself but giving feverently to please others. It’s easy to get to a point of overlooking things that will improve yourself spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally for various reasons such as a broken heart, depression, detesting your place of employment, unhappy with your home life, love life or lack thereof. Many people find approval, acceptance and reinforcement from outside sources. Latching on to something or someone to receive the feelings of being desired, needed, wanted, that gitty euphoria or simply knowing that you’re being thought of at any cost are signs of diminishing self worth. When YOU know how great you are and i mean BELIEVE it- you don’t require this from your children, a mate, text messages or food. Here’s a little regiment to keep yourself at the top of your list of having a great year.
start your day with a daily affirmation- there’s an app for that!
visualize your day and put positive energy into how you want the events to happen
have happy thoughts ON PURPOSE- when you find your thoughts wander off to your troubles, acknowledge the thought and quickly replace them with thoughts that make you feel good:

•be GRATEFUL- offer up a few little or a big “thank you” at the start of your day, during the day, and at the end of the day

•SMILE! studies show that the simple act of smiling increases your endorphins (positive feeling chemicals in the body)

•do something great for YOU! although I encourage doing acts of kindness for others, it is imperative to be kind to yourself. Eat something healthy, exercise- a 20 minute walk after dinner, light a candle, use the good china (why let the dishes and glasses collect dust in between the holidays and special occasions?)

•say NO! when you have a “to do” list that’s only half completed, say NO to non-emergency favors that will just keep you from reaching your daily or weekly goal

•SET FEEL GOOD GOALS: meal planning, journaling, fitness, self pampering, shopping, paying off a credit card bill- but be mindful of your budget, overspending will not make you feel good in the long run once the bills roll in- the goal is to have a great year and excessive debt is not a good feeling!

•end your day with prayer (a conversation with God) and meditation (clearing your thoughts) for a good night’s rest

•change your scenery, be it a daycation, staycation, or vacation- a change of scenery clears the head, opens the heart, heals the spirit and recharges our motivation battery!

Whatever you choose to show yourself how much you love you and how important you are to you…your future self will thank you for it! Share in the comments how you exercise self love. Be well…Be balanced…Be blessed!

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Building Substantial Relationships

“As you wait for that one great life changing event to happen….you have missed one thousand…” ~angel

Our life is comprised of many small incidents that have lead up to great happenstances. First steps begin with standing, holding on and dancing, until BOOM she’s walking! The big graduation ceremony was a million experiences within hundreds of days that were filled with sweat, tears, sleepless nights, sunny days and study sessions all of which carried you up to the big day. Life’s special moments are always happening, they are created in our daily activities and we have the power and sometimes duty to acknowledge them and consciously contribute to make them memorable.
I’ve taken notice of the lack of communication among families, both verbal and nonverbal.

A mother and her infant daughter in a waiting area at an office, the perfect unscheduled time to bond with the baby but mom places a barrier between the both of them- her cell phone. She’s not speaking on the phone, although that too is an unconscious barrier, she’s using the phone as a way to entertain this infant. We create our relationships, they never just happen. A mother creates a bond with her children before they ever meet face to face and there after. Yet this mother unknowingly is allowing the precious moments to pass her by. Smiling, patting, tickling and just bouncing baby on her knee are the teeny measures that lead to the big show tunes such as prom day, graduation day and her daughter’s first day as a mother. Those special occasions will not carry the same sentiments if they aren’t supported by the seemingly insignificant moments leading up to that day.

Dad and son bonding begins with playing cars on the floor, piecing together puzzles in the kitchen, and bath time before tucking him in bed. They effortlessly build trust and admiration that a young boy should hold for his father . If these actions are missing, what would be the foundation for “the talk” that fathers have with their sons? It would be just an empty and awkwardly forced conversation.

Girlfriends relationships are more than the getaways and group photos on Instagram. Their relationships are filled with conversations, big pow wows, disagreements, sitting in on the sofa in front of the TV sipping wine and snacking, just listening to her vent and sharing stories about the kids. If those friends only get together for their annual Girl-cation, those photos have no substance beyond the poses while they were taken.

I say all of this just to bring to your attention that you hold the power to create the mold for how you want a relationship to be. Don’t wait for just the picture perfect opportunity, because each stroke of the brush paints that marvelous picture that you so desire to hang and admire! Be balanced. Be well. C’est la Vie!

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Walk Into Your Greatness

“There is a truth deep down inside of you that has been waiting for you to discover it, and that truth is this: you deserve all good things life has to offer.” ~Rhonda Byrne

“I’m walking into my greatness” This phrase carries a lot of weight! What does it mean to walk into greatness? Your greatness already exists, waiting for you to get your steps in order and the courage to march up to it…tap it on the shoulder embrace it and dance! You’ve created your ideal greatness, your dream job, the house in neighborhood where you want to live, the children you will have, your mate, those shoes and even your dream vacation! Speak it, seek it and when you reach it- relish in it!  Be well….Be balanced!

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Is It OK for Children to Outsource?

A friend of mine posed a question on social media “Do you allow your child to call adults for a ride, to spend the night, etc?”- there were countless outright NO’s, period. My response was that although my children don’t do this very often, I must have the final say and I am not against a child outsourcing help from a responsible trustworthy adult. As a child, I recall family members offering to take me here and there, do this and that or just call when I needed them (especially following the passing of my father). But when a time came that I wanted to attend a concert, I told my mother that I planned to call an older cousin who made an offer for such, and her response was not to bother anyone. As time moved on, I began to believe that asking for a ride or to visit a cousin was unfavorable. But in fact, later in life I see that it distanced me from family and friends and made me feel as though I had to depend on my single mother for everything or I’d do without so not to bug an adult. As a result I believed that everything should fall on me when I too became a parent. I wonder if this is a cultural issue? Many white suburban moms have play dates/kid swap, carpool and the children don’t hesitate to ask can they catch a ride to the party with such and such’s parents, have dinner over a friend’s or go away for the weekend with their aunts and uncles. As I began to notice that African American moms (urban and suburban) seem to feel they have something to prove, like we’re super moms, or in the back of our heads believe we can’t trust ANYONE with our precious child (remember in the beginning I mentioned responsible trustworthy adults), but it leaves us worn out, spread thin and stressed- which leads to health issues such as hypertension and migraines. This was also my truth as well as African American women from urban to suburban as well as low to high income. I have great friends who would offer to take a little off of my plate and I’d refuse. By me working every weekend, my children suffered or missed out on events because of my need to do everything. That changed one when day my daughter called her godmother for money- for shoes, I think. I was embarrassed, I’m her provider, this makes us look “poor” and I didn’t want my friend to feel uncomfortable about the call “begging” for money. My thought was changed when her godmother explained to me- “I am her godmother she can call and ask for things or favors; if I can give or do it, I will…if not I’ll say no”. Guess what? That made total sense! I was also upset that my daughter bypassed me and went straight to her godmother, I’d like to have the final say (although I’d never approve of her asking for money), but that situation brought me to realize that it’s ok for us and our children to outsource for a little helping hand, it takes a village to raise a child and to keep a sister’s head on straight! Go on and ask for help, it’s ok for your sister, friend or auntie to be a little inconvenienced if you’re really in need- that’s what true friends and real family are for! Offer help- you never know when your friend really needs support but is ashamed to ask! Be well…Be balanced!

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Travel Johnny on the Spot!

The days of “Pee Pee Anxiety” during those long roads trip are a thing of the past! I came across a gem, “Travel John“, which is friendly to the female anatomy! Yes! A messy-free-portable-pee-bag that ladies can use without a hassle! I recently put this baby to the test and I give it a thumbs up! This johnny on the spot was right on time! I pulled over on the side of the road and climbed into the back seat of my jeep (ha ha ha), the bag has a cup that fits snugly to the veejayjay which leaves no room for any leaks (holds 28 fluid ounces), 30 seconds after a deposit the liquid turns into a solid gel! Awesome! I purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond and am definitely getting more to keep handy in my console for any late night outings, road trips and as alternative to germy port-a-potties.

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Scheduling Q/T For Family

imageContinue reading “Scheduling Q/T For Family”

Avoiding Valentine’s Day Anxiety


“I am not defined by what you do to me or for me…I am phenomenal because I am!” ~Angel

Valentine’s Day historically has been a day that couples use to express their affection for one another. But where does that leave the happily content singles, the hopeless romantics patiently awaiting the arrival of Mr. or Mrs. Right or the puppy love hungry teens who have been subliminally taught that if no one is woo’ing you, you should stay home and boo hoo hoo (as movies may suggest)? I was once the teen in class wishing for a “candygram” and the young lady in a relationship believing that gifts were a symbol of affection and my worth. Honestly, even being on the receiving end of the candy and flowers, they didn’t make me feel any better about myself and not receiving didn’t make me feel bad. My perception of what should be and lack of self value is what dampened my mood. This may sound so simple that you’re going to feel silly that you didn’t think of this yourself- love all up on YOU! Yes YOU- fresh out of a relationship, YOU in a long term relationship but your honey ain’t got no money, YOU who when flowers are sent to the j-o-b for your coworker, you may feel the sting of woe-is-me! Like, why would you give so much power to one day or what a person does, doesn’t do or say, duh!? Try theses tips and take control of your emotions!
Start now with daily affirmations: “I am not defined by dating”I am powerful and loving and I have nothing to fear” “I love me and I am love”– speak these aloud while smiling (yes, smiling releases powerful endorphins that improve your mood).
•Treat yourself to lunch
•Eat off the good dishes
•Dress up and slay your face
•Light a candle and soak in a  fragrant bubble filled tub
•Compliment someone (making someone else feel good will make you feel good too)
•Host a “Happy Singles” cocktail hour
•Swap small gifts or candy pollyanna style (include the nice quiet guy in the office- who knows- you may match a couple!)

All of these tricks work, after all no one can treat YOU better than YOU. Don’t quit those affirmations on the 15th, continue them everyday, add some more and when a moment comes that may test your sense of self love you will be well armored! Be balanced and be well! C’est la vie!

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