Don’t “Should” Yourself in the Foot

Hi friends! *Big inhale* What a time it is to be alive! Only 7 months into 2020, and what a crazy, chaotic, whirlwind it’s been!

As we head into our fourth month of self-quarantine, I can’t say that it has gotten any easier. Aside from the obvious restrictions, just like the rest of the world, I have struggled with what exactly my new “normal” is looking like, both mentally and emotionally.

Just one of the many consequences of this global pandemic is that we are now all being urged to hustle harder than ever. We are given examples of Frida Kahlo, Shakespeare, Isaac Newton (just to name a few) who all thrived while under lockdown. I’ve received newsletters and read countless articles from my fave magazine subscriptions urging me to use the presumed “downtime” I now have to learn a new skill, take on a high intensity workout routine, or “simply” declutter my life.

It’s as if, every second that I am not building towards these ”shoulds,” is a second wasted.

A should is an expectation IMPOSED by us or onto us. While they might seem like motivators, “shoulding” ourselves is actually a major energy drain as it forces us to split focus. We’re forcing our minds to be in two places at once and is often wrapped in guilt and even shame. The pressure of it all is convincing AF.

Put your finger down if you ever feel like vegging out on the couch, eat everything in sight, and just do a whole lot of nothing, but then that little voice in your head tells you, “you should be more productive while you’re at home, sis…never waste a day on the couch,” so now you feel guilty mid-laze and shame yourself for not being as disciplined as others and bam…it’s no longer a day of R&R but rather anxiety just waiting to creep in … (*slowly puts finger down*)

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There’s this common misconception that if we lounge around the house, we must also simultaneously take on a new hobby, like reading, for instance.

This imposed guilt is toxic imo, so that’s why, a few weeks back, I made a commit to cleanse from this “should” with the help of @halotopcreamery and actually celebrate that feel-good feeling from setting goals and taking action on my own terms, OKURRR!

Side note: Halo Top is ya girl’s fave ice cream, so big s/o to them for working with my sweet-toothed self!

But for real, Halo Top’s formula in itself has helped chip away at this “shoulding” culture, because all of our lives, we are told that: “we shouldn’t eat the whole pint,” or that, “ice cream should be a special treat.” But hallelujah that Halo Top is known for their fewer cal/less sugar because, under the latter imposed notion, every night must be a special occasion in my house, because I go through several pints a week, and I’m not mad bout’ it, LOL!

Anyway, as the month has gone on, life has only become even more hectic with the recent global social justice movement, we’ve been experiencing.

Days seem to move a bit slower for me and now more than ever, it has been imperative that I take extra care of little ol’ me.

I realized that up until this point, I have only robbed myself of the satisfaction of real, uninterrupted, rest. Listening to all the “shoulds” of this new era, has only left me never truly in the moment, but rather caught up in a story of another choice that could have been made.

So in efforts of a healthier cycle of self-love and self-care, I have been eliminating the “shoulds” that imply obligation and expectation. On the days, I decide to veg out, I’m going to commit to just that, with an extra pint of Halo Top, while I’m at it!

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After reflecting on the heaviness of the past couple weeks, I’ve realized that now is the time to take up space and be loud! We are all worthy of navigating on our own terms, especially as the world around us, is seemingly falling apart.

So to circle back to the daunting question many of us have been asked:

“Are you going to learn any new skills during the pandemic?

MY ANSWER:

…I already am. How to cope with the pandemic, how to get through the day knowing everyone I love is sad and scared, and how to read the news and still go on.

And all that is enough. I don’t have to come out of this with new skills, new projects, new expectations, or new accomplishments. What matters is that I come out of this”  –

So the next time I hear that little voice convincing me that, “I should never waste a day on the couch,” I will reply, “or maybe, there’s never been a better day than today, to be on that dang couch, mkay!!! (BIG CLAP)

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Indulge or hustle at your own accord, sis! Because, hennieee, you deserve that right.

How Baring my Soul on Social Media Encouraged me to Seek Help

As we all know, social media has the ability to highlight only the good in life. Often times we look up to our fave influencers and fellow bloggers and ask, “how is their life so seemingly perfect?” Well, obviously, the answer is: it’s not; just people are selective with what they share. Even before taking social media seriously, I’ve always tended to be an oversharer with the friends who followed me; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

But this year, as I noticed my following beginning to grow, I made that same vow with my new followers. And as I remained transparent, I think I was able to build trust within the community I was striving to grow. As time went on, I noticed an increasing amount of messages re life struggles: anything from work, to relationships, social media, confidence, mental health etc. I’m talking anywhere from 15 messages to 125 a day! With every response, I try to use my own experiences as reference. But as the inquiries rolled in, the more they made me evaluate my own life.

The past two months, have felt really heavy for me. Nothing in my life was really making sense. So many random injuries, health issues, career concerns, and just what seemed like an endless laundry list of unfortunate events came at me all at once. I felt completely lost and as though everything was spiring out of my control. I did not feel optimal anymore. I was down and out, y’all! So, with everything going on, I was presented the opportunity of mindfulness classes aka a form of therapy. I was told that with the heavy demands of the 9-5, my social media, my family, and just the usual adulting responsibilities, I had not made myself a priority anymore.

And let me tell y’all, I was conflicted. One side of me, thought, “Ugh, I don’t have the energy to set aside for this.” And the other side, had a self-realization. In order for me to be truly authentic to myself and thus my followers, I had to hit the pause button and really dive deep into the chaos. I had to love myself enough by taking that time to explore all of these new emotions and most importantly, care after my mental health. For so long, I was doing and not sitting still to simply be. I felt like a machine conditioned to just produce, yet I did not take the time to check in with myself, especially among the uncertainty.

These classes have been SUCH a blessing. I was able to really tap into myself: my thoughts, my feelings, my actions, and learn little by little how to live in my breath, live in the moment, vs tackling of all the issues presented at once. I went in as a ball of anxiety, but I truly feel things have come full circle for me and I’ve found clarity in a sense. I also learned how to successfully meditate and relax my body, which is HUGE for me! And the most rewarding thing of it all is that these classes gave me courage to speak up on my truth and encourage others to get the extra TLC they need!

So in short, through connecting with so many of y’all and giving daily advice, I realized I was not practicing what I was preaching. Homegirl, was given a reality check! I was sharing my struggles, but not doing much about them! So, in order for me to be this “authentic” voice on social media, I had to be honest with myself in that ya girl, needed some extra loving! And remember, in order for you to be a voice for others, you must be that voice for yourself! There ain’t nothing wrong in asking for help or dedicating more time for yourself, okurrrt!

I leave y’all with these two quotes:

“I am allowed to be BOTH a work in progress AND help others grow at the same time”

& my fave….

“If you have time to feel like sh*t, complain and check social media, then you have time to meditate, write in your journal, create a list of goals, make a list of things you are grateful for and better yourself” !!! AMEN, hallelujerrr.  XO