Signals

Signals

Before I took a couple of weeks off, my body told me it was time before I did. I was feeling anxious and tired but didn’t realize the extent of it. I thought this is how it’s supposed to be while you’re juggling a day job and trying to build a career from scratch on the side. I seemed to always be in a rush. Rushing to go to work, rushing to complete a blog post even if I knew in advance what it was going to be about and my mind constantly thinking about what I should be doing to take better care of myself: Lose that weight, try that skin product, watch that video on natural healing, finish reading those books, document more, promote my E-book more frequently, submit to other publications on a regular basis and be a better daughter, sister, friend, cousin, Christian, traveler, volunteer, wife, writer, student…

So when I thought I was just going about my business, the signals my mind was sending to my body shut me down. I was not going to share this but I thought maybe someone somewhere is or was going through the same thing and if I want to be anything on this blog, it is real. I am not writing about this because it’s anybody’s business except for mine but to pretend like I took a short break “just because” didn’t feel authentic. My doctor told me to slow down and that I was having anxiety attacks. It’s a strange thing to be told if you believe that everything is generally “ok” and you’re just “busy.” I am one of those people who tell myself, even in the thick of it, that I have blessings to be grateful for but I was telling myself those things while running.

In the last couple of weeks, I have taken time to go to bed and wake up earlier, journal and pray as soon as I get up and to listen to something inspirational. I lean towards a T.D. Jakes sermon or a little of John Gray. I even joined a morning routine challenge on Facebook which has helped to keep me accountable. I also have gotten back to working out and weighing myself weekly. I decided to go gluten-free (I don’t have an allergy) for 90 days. I wanted to see if it made a difference with brain fog and I don’t know if it’s because of that or a combination of all of these habits, but it has worked.

I can’t tie this up in a nice, neat bow nor do I want to. These past few weeks have made me see things with a new clarity. I still want all of the same things but slowing down to write, pray and move myself  has strengthened my resolve to be more patient about getting them and strangely a confidence has blossomed from it, too.

All I can control is my effort, consistency and the time to take care of myself which will eventually take care of the reaching my goals aspect of my life, too.

Even if my body had to tell me before I was willing to do something about it, I am glad I did. I don’t feel like I’m running breathlessly today and all I can do is be grateful for that and set myself up to feel the same way tomorrow.

Your turn: Has your body ever told you something before you realized it? If so, what did you decide to do about it? I would love to hear your thoughts!

See you on Thursday’s post with a wellness journey update!

 

Healing

Healing

I have been thinking about what should be next in plant-based journey. I have thought about cutting out wheat, oil and finally going ahead and removing all soy-based products from my diet. It would be hard for me to stop myself from feasting on the chicken-fried tofu from Whole Foods but of course, I would survive. I can’t help but feel like there is something I am missing and something I am moving towards. In terms of what I am missing, I am missing consistent discipline with everything to be truthful. I have been able to maintain my blogging schedule, met my E-Book publication goal and will start working back on my novel and another project soon. However, when it comes to my self-care I am definitely slipping. I have not focused on doing both. I have thought about it but I would be a liar if I said I have taken consistent action. I’ve been missing dance class which I love and have been snacking late for no reason whatsoever. I wrote a piece about being scared to be empty in one of my writing classes. I could mull over the reasons why or try to develop an origin story for this fear but I would rather funnel that energy into moving, getting to bed early and forming new habits. I am moving towards a new me that is healthy and for the first time, is starting to see animals. I mean, really  value them. I even told hubby I wanted to visit an animal sanctuary. For those who don’t know me, this has NEVER been me. I have never owned a pet or particularly cared to pet an animal. It was not for me or to ever be for me but eating this way has changed me. I find myself more curious than I have ever been. I don’t know where this newfound curiosity will take me but I am willing to follow along.

A important part of this blog is to focus on my wellness journey. My healing from it all-the weight, the PCOS, the psoriasis, etc..I know I don’t write enough or almost at all about it. I post what I cook on Mondays but not much else. I think I want Thursdays to be a wellness update.

I am not sure if I will include pounds lost or skin cleared but it will be real and it will be here.

 

Defined by a Number?

Defined by a Number?

I’ve actively resisted using the word “weight” on this blog. I happily write about wellness in its totality. However, the world seems so invested in exact numbers. It’s as if people need to know exactly where to place you.

Sometimes “people” is me.

I don’t define beauty and worthiness by a number. For sure, I want to change the number but I don’t subscribe to any of those notions. I heard a podcast host (an extremely fit man) in response to his guest who is struggling with his weight loss goals say something like: Yeah, I love doughnuts! The guest said nothing about doughnuts and the host repeated it more than once.

Clearly, this is not wildly offensive. I am sure it was just an awkward attempt to relate to his guest but I was disappointed by it. For me, it fed into the notion some people have about overweight/obese people sitting around, glued to the couch and shoving _________ (insert whatever junk food you would like) down his/her gullet. I actually have heard some version of this on more than one podcast, radio station, TV show, magazine, book or film.

Since you can find overweight people sitting next to you at work, class or at a sporting event, traveling beside you on the plane or working out with you at the gym, why does this notion persist?

Maybe I feel compelled to write about it as my husband and I, who eat a plant-based diet  to heal from our conditions exacerbated by inflammation and love to be out and about, are about to undertake a serious weight loss journey. I don’t want who we already are  to be lost on those who read this or already know us. I start as someone who works, writes, dances, prays, reads, travels, nurtures and cooks and I will be that woman in a smaller body and my husband will be who he is in a smaller body, too.

Not people who are waiting to get off of the couch but people who are ready to move on to the next adventure.

Sowing Into Our Future

Sowing Into Our Future

I forgot it was Halloween when I woke up today. It’s not a holiday I celebrate so it slips by except for the cute kids costumes I see online. My husband and I were cutting up pineapple and bananas last night, preparing to make green smoothies this morning for a sale going on at his job. I was grateful to be up and busy early in the morning with the loud, whirring noises of the blenders.

And busy is a good thing especially when it is not empty. Lately, when I have started to feel some anxiety about where things are going, I remind myself of the reason. It’s because I am actively pointing myself on a path and walking it. I am sowing into my future and as a wife, I am sowing into our future.

I visited an awesome church this weekend and had one of those moments where the pastor says something and you could almost swear it was directed at you. He was talking about sowing into people, places and products with roots and they would bear fruit. And it occurred to me that everything I was investing in had roots–my husband, my faith, my writing, my writing tribe, my friends, my family and my health.

As we were blending, pouring and scurrying around the kitchen this morning, I knew there would be fruit.

I am writing this after hearing the news of the attack in Manhattan today. It was another  tragic reminder to treasure your time, sow into the people and the gifts that you have been blessed with and to stay grateful.

Celebration

Celebration

Are we wired to stay the same?

I met up with an old friend yesterday afternoon that had me pondering the question today. We had not seen each other in at least 10 years but had known each since we were 12, both of us a little young for the 8th grade. It was nothing but love and laughter. When I saw her face, I kissed her cheeks and left lipstick stains like an old Haitian grandmother. I felt a sense of sadness that we had not worked harder to keep in better touch.

It probably didn’t help that I shunned the idea of social media up until last September when I joined the School of Greatness Academy which forced me to join their private Facebook group. It opened  a new world to me I thought I wanted no part of but ended up with no real regrets about entering.

But back to my question. Are we wired to stay the same? And if we are, is it always such a bad thing? In some obvious instances, change is life-affirming like having a child, getting married, opening your own business or taking control of your health.

As my friend and I stood outside after getting our nails done, laughing, sharing pictures and the details of our realities we had carved out for ourselves as grown women, I felt our 12-year old selves not far behind..giggling in Reading class..taking long walks in the summer heat not having a single idea in the world how our lives would turn out. The core of ourselves remained unchanged. We are two women who love our families fiercely, value our independence and are on the precipice of establishing new fulfilling careers who just happened to be connected for life.

I feel blessed to be wired this way. I am ok with being unchanged if I can still yearn for and foster connection. I am ok with being unchanged if I am not too “cool” to remember what it was like to be silly and young and reminisce about old goofy pictures we took posed at a Wal-Mart.

Although a lot of what I write here is about the journey to change in regards to my wellness and writing, it is also about bringing forth and committing to what is already inside of me. As I write this, I am thinking I have to learn to celebrate that woman, too.

I didn’t think I was going to mention this here but my day did not go so well..minor setbacks that I believe is just God’s way of telling me to work harder on my writing. A message telling me not to slow down because I will be writing full-time soon. I listened and I actually submitted two pieces to a literary magazine this afternoon. I have fears around putting myself out there when it comes to aggressively pursuing my business of helping others with their vows and speeches. But how is that celebrating the woman that I am? Even though I won’t fulfill all the fantasies I had as a young girl (I won’t be soon dancing back-up for Janet Jackson), writing has always felt real, tangible and within reach.

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The young girl in me and the woman I am can celebrate that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 7

Definitely better than Day 6 but once I heard the rain against the window, I knew walking was out for this morning. After work, I was exhausted but I ate, drank water, relaxed by watching a movie and as it came to a close, I was determined to get right up and do a video. And that’s just what I did. I had a slight panic about getting a second workout in before my meeting with my writing group but I am knocking down excuses. I decided to leave early for the library where we were meeting. The grounds have a path and a small lake with water fountains. And then suddenly I didn’t care that it was raining. That’s why people make jackets and umbrellas. Besides it was not storming and a few raindrops never hurt anybody, did they?

I walked around, still a little sore from the video but excited to make my way into our writing group meeting. Meeting with these ladies (and one gentleman at times) rejuvenates me. It reminds me why I love the written word-whether I’m writing it or reading it. It also reminds me that I have so much to learn about the craft of writing. As I am writing this, I am hit with the memories of where I was last year-no blog, no writing group, no writing classes taken and no community of writers to count as friends. It almost makes me sad for the woman who stood in her own way. All I had to do was reach out despite the fear and the hesitation and be confident that someone would reach back.

But it wasn’t time because I didn’t make it time. I know now is the time for writing, connecting and committing to my craft, my community and my health. It is a time for being truly well.

Day 4

Day 4

The first day in this challenge with a schedule change. It was really Sleep-In Saturday for me. I didn’t want to leave the bed. Getting out of it was a struggle and as beautiful as it was outside today, I chose to let my body rest. I eventually got up and did another Afrifitness video. My husband and I had a signing we planned to go to for Arvat McClaine’s new book, When Black Women Speak the Universe Listens. I decided to wait until after the signing to get another workout in. In the meantime, I was able to fit in about half of my water intake for the day. As I am writing this, I still have the other half to go.

We thoroughly enjoyed the signing. It is always inspiring to watch a new author stand up and talk about his/her work, observe their nervous energy and then watch it fall away as they answer questions about their baby they’ve just birthed and are finally sharing with the world. I know my turn is coming. This challenge is teaching me I can build the discipline muscle to finish the works I have been writing and outlining for some time now. The fears I harbor about rejection don’t seem as daunting anymore.

After the signing, we walked downtown. I have been walking alone lately which I love but I always appreciate my husband’s company. Today taught me that I have to be ready for any schedule changes in completing this challenge. Adapt.

Stay tuned for Day 5!

 

Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge-Day 3

Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge-Day 3

 

I was wiped out last night but I was able to throw back the covers a lot easier this morning. My body knew what it had to do. I knew if I seriously contemplated saving my first workout for later on that a second workout might never happen. As for my water intake, that is going a lot better than I anticipated. Immediately jumping up for more water took the how I am going to drink enough question right out of the equation. I feel so much cleaner and a little less foggy. The only feeling I can compare it to is when I cut meat and dairy from my diet. After a couple of days of grogginess and fatigue, it is like I am breathing a different air and although I may not look like it, I am light as the air I am breathing.

As I was walking, I rounded the laps a little faster. It was all Mos Def, Kendrick and Jidenna in my ears today. No big aha moments. I just felt like I was right at home, feet crunching the gravel and soreness in my legs. After a green smoothie and hours at work, I came home and uploaded another Afrifitness video. This time it was two short videos, one with weights. I realized as much as I do not love strength training, I must do it. I can do cardio on my own but ask me to look at a weight lifting machine and something inside just shuts off and powers down. So, I will start with videos like these and see where the journey takes me.

I thought when I started to write about Day 3 nothing would come out. I would write a simple checklist. But a challenge is just more than just that. It is an unfolding, an unveiling, a test of character, even if it is drinking water, moving myself twice a day and writing about it every day.

Stay tuned for Day 4!

Again

Again

I was on the track walking and then I began to pick it up and jog. I heard myself breathe. Hard. Nothing polite about it. I always realize how much I miss this feeling when I start over again. And again.

To give you some background, in the early 2000’s I lost 70lbs. I ran 3-4 miles a day and I eventually became a vegetarian for two years. After a period of loneliness and depression post-undergrad, I gained all the weight back plus more. I have been fighting this battle ever since then. I have been on tons of diets, adopted a myriad of short-term lifestyle changes, only to let the old habits slide back in again. One thing I have never done or even allowed myself to think is this:

I am just going to give up. This is how I am suppose to be.

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In 2004 with my Mom.
Outside on the track
2017-Outside on the track

And when my face and body started to flake, peel and scar and the dreaded fibroids were found in my body, I began to pay less attention to numbers on a scale and more to the quality of what I was eating and imbibing. It has been an imperfect journey to say the least but I know one thing for sure. I am never giving up. I am saying yes to the whole foods, the sun, the joy that writing brings me, and hearing myself breathe hard.

Again.

And without a doubt, I hold dear the memories I have of myself in my early twenties. But that Kristina had her moment in the sun.

It’s my turn now.

 

Epiphany

Epiphany

I was invited to their inner sanctum, a darkened dance studio with poles and lush fabric cascading down from the ceiling. I sat on a leather couch, An Untamed State lying in my lap. For two hours, I watched as a group of women twisted and flexed their bodies to pop and trap, swung their figures to melody and bass. I observed women opening and closing their palms, clap clap. Lifting each other up, there was no collapse.

I spied the sinewy, willowy, muscled, curvy Beautiful slick with sweat move in and out of time.  And then my eyes burned and there were tears edging its way out of the corners of my eyes and gliding down my cheeks.

And it wasn’t about them. I think this had been coming on for a while, the tide coming in. I felt it coming when I walked out of my sister’s house and kept moving for an hour drowning the world out, even the wind whistling through the trees. And then when I held my nephew’s basketball in my hands, palms covering the leather and I raised my arms and shot over and over again.

I missed doing something just for me and my body knew it before I did. The ache went deep and as those things tend to do, it arrived on the surface.

I welcome anything else my body has to tell me as I continue on this journey.