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Rediscovering the Old and Enjoying the New

Thursday wellness update time! This past week I lost 1.2lbs which felt amazing to me. I worked hard even when I slipped up and ate too much on some days. There were many reasons why this week felt amazing to me. For one, I rediscovered some belly dance videos on YouTube I used to do several years ago featuring the Bellydance Twins Veena and Neena. I spent many hours doing their workouts and learning routines which led to classes I eventually took years later. I had a ball doing their intense Arms & Abs video. It reminded me how much is available for me to do even when we don’t make it to the gym.

Veena and Neena

Another reason is that I just attended a networking event for women at an awesome juice bar this evening. I spent the evening learning about how to brand yourself led by a photographer and business coach. Their presentation was dynamic and interactive. We even got a chance to learn about the origin story of Ginger Juice, the venue where the event was held. It was incredibly encouraging to listen to this woman recount how she left the corporate world to take the risk to found a business where she is contributing to the health of her community and spending more time with her children.

I am grateful for rediscovering old joys and having the chance to surround myself with new, enterprising women.

Your turn:

Have you revisited anything you used to love doing lately? Or had any new experiences lately? I would love to hear from you in the comments.

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Relatability

I recently read “We’re Going to Need More Wine” by Gabrielle Union and I am well on my way to finishing Chrissy Metz’s new autobiography “This is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today.” I enjoyed reading both books and one of the most powerful reasons for my enjoyment is the following: Relatability.

I know our society talks a lot about “authenticity” and “keeping it real” or “keeping it 100” but a lot of that conversation gets confused with oversharing or saying so much we end up not saying nothing at all.

Both of these books struck a chord with me. Yes, there were personal stories and moments where I felt like I was in the room with them as they were recounting their stories but I also felt like there was other stories that the reader will never be privy to and that is more than OK with me.

When Gabrielle spoke about the PTSD she still has regarding her rape or when Chrissy spoke about forgiving her stepfather for his physical and verbal abuse, I saw women who had done the work to push past the fear of sharing their stories because they knew the healing that could come from its release.

I found myself nodding as I read along. I could relate to some version of their lives: the rejection, things not always going according to plan (whether it turned out to be for the best or not), the insecurities, not fitting in, past relationship woes, standing up and standing out.

I believe readers can see themselves in the triumph and the perceived failures of Chrissy and Gabrielle. I know I did.

There were many takeaways intended for the reader but as a writer I took away a few key things:

  1. Your story is not over. As a writer/blogger, I have found that while I keep posting, submitting work, networking and taking classes, it’s easy to get impatient. When will I catch a break? Both Chrissy and Gabrielle weren’t born into show business. Both of them had to put in consistent work with no guarantee that their star would ever rise. As writers, I believe that is something we should never forget. Stay consistent. It’s not over until you say it is. And you say it is or it isn’t by your actions. You’re writing or you’re not. It may not be easy but it is simple.

2. Believe in yourself. Even when it feels like no one is reading, no one is watching or no one else even cares. If you don’t, who else will? People are attracted to confidence even if you have to fake it a little through the struggle. Sometimes, I am clinging so hard to this it feels is as my knuckles will burst through my skin. If God planted this affinity, this love, this all-consuming need to write within me, there has to be a reason, even if I don’t know what it is yet.

3. Do not be afraid to share yourself with the        world. After I read both works, I applauded      the gutsy nature of both of these         powerhouse ladies. I admired their humor and willingness to quiet the chatter of what other people say and let their voices be heard. As writers, as hard as it can be, there is undeniable value in telling the truth. It may manifest as ugly, scarred and heartbreaking but it deserves to be read in our novels, blogs, essays, poetry and short stories. We only have one voice.

Why silence it?

 

 

 

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Still Excited!

It’s been a couple of days since the release of my new (and first) E-Book: What I Love About You: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Proposal and Vows. I am having a range of emotions. The excitement of it being in the world is here, the wondering of what to do next besides talk about it and keep writing and hope–that people buy it, use it and love it. I am processing the entire range of emotions.

I know I am proud of myself and hope that those who use it, whether it be for themselves or for those whom they wish to gift it to, find it helpful and become inspired while answering the questions and reading the prompts and quotes.

Cover4_HR

It’s interesting what you picture while writing something. I was imagining men and women of all ages reading and writing at desks, on kitchen tables, in break rooms or during quick stolen moments at work or lying in bed, recapturing memories of the relationship thus far. While I was writing, I even started thinking about my own “origin story” with hubby. I believe allowing myself to remember the details of how we met, the qualities about him that still make me swoon and how it was to meet his family for the first time strengthened my resolve to continue writing this journal and better yet, captured our “why.” By “why”, I mean why we fell in love and chose to stay there.

Because loving is action. Loving is an active decision.

Your turn: What have you done lately that has stretched or excited you? If you haven’t, why do you think that is?

Please leave a comment below!

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Hope

Tonight, during my writing group, my friend and talented poet Hope, brought a green pen. She explained that the legendary poet Pablo Neruda only wrote with green pens because green is the universal color for hope. She went on to talk about how he was deemed the people’s poet and how he wept when his fans recited his poetry back to him.

It could have been a combination of her delivery of the story and my excitement of being with my writing tribe, but my synapses were firing. What must that be like? To write so passionately that you inspire nations, millions? To value hope so much that you cling to its symbolic color?

I may never have the impact of a Neruda but I can have the passion and the love of the written word of a Kristina. I cannot control impact. I cannot control who chooses to support or love me in my quest to fully devote myself to a life as a writer.

But I can control what I choose to acknowledge. I acknowledge the moments I had tonight with a group of women listening intently, brewing up ideas of collaboration with one another, expressing support and validation of our ideas.

This is what I have to offer this evening. All of my other goals talk can wait for next Tuesday. I know I have workouts to do, water to drink, essays to write and a submission to send off.

 

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Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge Day 2

All I can say is that I am glad that I am writing about this challenge or I would have stayed snuggled up under the covers this morning. Not a single drop of sunshine would have seen these cheeks before I had to go to work if it were not for that.

But I am doing this challenge and committing to writing about it so I threw those covers back and got going. I thought I would be sore but maybe my will to “feel the pain and do it anyway” masked whatever would have sidelined me. I am so glad I got out there. It comes as no surprise that there were no regrets about not just exercising but keeping my word to myself.

It was a little bit of bliss. My energy was elevated. I love when my mind shuts down and I allow whatever I am listening to wash over me. I also find that’s when realizations come to me. Yesterday, while I was working out to Afrifitness the words “Water-Workout-Write” came to mind. I knew I was going to be doing this challenge and out of nowhere W’s started appearing while I was dancing.

Today, it was Les Brown’s words floating in my ears that brought forth words I had started to let slip from an unfinished post a few weeks back. I was writing about roads not taken. He was speaking about how inaction in and of itself was a choice made.  Roads not taken in my life are not full of regret but I would be a liar if I claimed I never wondered how different my life would have looked if I had not moved to Tidewater post-undergrad or chose not to buy a home and travel more instead.

But I don’t dwell in what ifs because so many blessings came through those choices.

Doing this challenge means wonder will not occupy space in me. No inaction.

Just motion.

Watch out for my Day 3 post tomorrow!

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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.