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.

Things I Would Tell My Younger Self

Hey, hunayys! So last week on IG, I asked y’all a question that really had me thinking: “If you could give your 13 year old self advice, what would it be?!” And your responses were literally giving me life because even though we’ve all come from different backgrounds, so many of us went through similar struggles.

Middle school, man… a crazy awkward time that I think most of us would rather forget, HA! T’was brutal AF but also def the experience that changed me forever. When I say brutal, I mean, there were days where I would think to myself, “how life would be easier if I just had a different name, different identity…”

Mother nature hit me in 5th grade, so by the time I entered middle school, ya girl had hips and breasts, thicc thighs, the whole nine. At first I was excited because I was becoming a woman!! But my eager ass was surely surprised when I arrived to school feeling like a freak, why was I the only who hit puberty?! This is when what felt like a living hell, ensued. Rumors spread quickly that I lost it, where at and with who. These stories were elaborate y’all. I was even “pregnant” a few times according to these people, at freaking age 11 because of my wider hips! LIKE WHAT?! At first, I just tried to keep my head down and try not to let it get to me. But over time, I was cornered at my locker, followed home, pranked called non-stop, and called out for my clothing choices on a daily basis! I remember one day specifically, I was wearing a skirt that my mom and I went shopping together for and as I sat down in the cafeteria, this girl stood up and yelled at me, “so you think you can just walk around here with those big ass hips, wearing that skirt? You must really think you’re hot shit. Come here and show us all how “hot” you really are!” And obviously humiliation ensued. I felt so damn small. Like these hips were out of my control, like I get it, they developed outta the woodworks HAHA but like leave Britney alone!! As shook as I was in that moment, I had to wonder? When will this hell end? I fucking hated it here. I hated my body for doing this to me! Why couldn’t it just stay the same as it was before. It was bringing so much unwanted attention, ugh! If I tried to dress modest, I got sh*t! If I dressed just like the other girls in my classes, I was then somehow promiscuous. Like I could never win!! There were so many days I would eat lunch in a teacher’s classroom, or the bathroom just to limit the amount of walking around campus. In desperation,

I finally decided to ask my parents, “why do I look so different than all of the other girls in school?” With much disappointment, they advised that I only had one option here: embrace my body, period. And I remember thinking, “but how can I, when literally it has been the cause of all this bullshit I’m going through?!” But before I could even verbalize that, they continued…

Because if I didn’t, I would spend my entire life, hating a body that did absolutely nothing wrong to me. And in fact, where I went wrong, was allowing all this time to go by without standing my ground. After a real “aha” moment with myself, I finally made the decision to take my power back. I WILL flaunt what I was given, like how dare I ever hide all that I was to make others comfortable? 

That conversation forever changed my life.

I realized that if I did not accept, own, and defend who I really was, then I’d be leaving room for other’s to make that decision for me.

I may have continued to be picked apart because of my appearance, my extra ass personality, and everything in between but what guess? I no longer shamed myself for any of it!  I would occasionally still eat lunch alone, but honestly, that didn’t bother me much; my lonely ass would happily eat my food in peace. But the thing I noticed about these people, is that they were bothered that I was no longer cracking.

And that was the sweetest victory. Self-love is taking your power back! For the years following, I always made sure to remind myself about that 7th grade conversation. From 8th grade on, I was untouchable! The human spirit in strong AF! I truly believe if you learn how to be secure in who you are, no rumor, no shitty person, no event will shake you!

I am so thankful for those people, b/c of them, I discovered the necessity of self-love and hellllurrr, they paved the way for a body posi queen! Now, as I’m inching closer to my 30’s, holy sh*t, I am so damn proud of the woman I have become. I love my “big ass hips,” I love my curves, and I love my cellulite, b/c you know what? That’s what makes Jasmin, Jasmin.

Looking back, I cry for my 11-13 year-old self. I cry for the girl who looked at her curves with tears in her eyes and desperately prayed for another body. The girl who felt like a freak.

If only I could tell her, that all this BS is temporary. You will freaking flourish to a woman so sure of herself that no one can break! Just hold on a little longer boo, because your time will come! Just note, these people will always find something to talk about, hate does not discriminate! So, have freaking grit, and always remember that beauty shines from within. If you learn to love yourself now, you will live a powerful f*cking life!

So much love to all my girls who went through some ish to get to where we are now! What I’ve learned is that these trolls, these mean girls, these bitter souls will always be around, for the rest of our lives… BUT if we remember who TF we are, we will always win! Xo

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

Owning Who You Are

So, aside from this topic being close to my heart, I’ve also gotten several requests to expand on this on the blog! So, yay!

If you know me well, you’d know that I’m really unapologetically me. And although this has gotten me in soo much trouble in my life (LOL ugh), I feel blessed to have accepted and loved myself from a really young age. I mean, after alllll, we spend more time with ourselves than we ever will spend with anyone else in life.

Owning who you are is a complex matter. There is our inner and outer self. Do our inner and outer selves align? This is a huge question. Your inner self pertains to your values, personality, thoughts, etc. Where as your outer self is what we present to the world; this can include our physical appearance as well.

To me, having a strong inner self is reflected through self-awareness, knowing what you want in this life, being mindful of your feelings, and having clarity in handling them. I think a strong sense of outer self is having the ability to act in ways that avoid putting up a facade for others- aka behaving in ways that differ from what you ultimately feel on the inside. *Aligning both inner and outer self is important because I think this is where our personal happiness meets. *

Okay, so now I’d like to dive a bit deeper. Let’s backtrack to 5th grade. This year was possibly one of the biggest turning points in my life. On this particular day, my parents gave me the two options that forever changed me. Okay, so earlier that day during “weigh-ins,” my P.E. teacher was going around the circle giving everyone their weight for reference. When he got to me, he whispered my weight into my ear, and I instantly became the laughing stock of the class. But in that moment, I wasn’t nearly as embarrassed as you would think. I was actually annoyed at my teacher for attempting to exclude me from the general group practice rather than the kids making fun of me. I mean, I knew I had newly developed hips, but I wasn’t an at-risk overweight youth. So anywayyy. When I got home I remember asking my parents, “why do I look so different than all of the other girls in school?” And my parents then presented me with two options. “Well, Jasmin, you could either embrace your body and all that you are or embrace your body and all that you are. Which one will it be?” And I’m pretty sure that conversation molded my confidence and self acceptance going forward.

As the years past, I kept that conversation close to my heart. And from that young age, I did an inventory check of myself. Who was I? At the time, I gathered that I was stubborn, loud, fiercely passionate, sassy (aka extra), independent kid. And honestly not much has changed. Anyway, I attended three different middle schools. Now I would hate to use the word “bullied” (as I always stood up for myself) but lets just say, some days were torture!! I was picked apart because of my appearance, my extra ass personality, and everything in between. There were even days that I would eat lunch alone-but honestly, that didn’t bother me much; my lonely ass would happily eat my food in peace. But the thing I noticed about these people, is that they were bothered that I wasn’t cracking. Of course there were one or two times that I felt overwhelmed, but I had to remind myself about that 5th grade conversation. If I did not accept, own, and defend who I really was, then I’d be leaving room for other’s to make that decision for me. I truly believe if you are secure in who you are, no rumor, no shitty person, no event will shake you!

And I know some people may say that being secure in your own skin is much easier said than done, but I say that is the only choice you have. You can either own who you are or own who you are! There is no other option!

Believe me when I say, I’ve gotten into a lot of sh*t because of who I am (eeek) but at the end of the day, I know that my inner and outer self (for the most part) align…and hell, I know I’m a bad ass. Don’t allow comparison, shitty people, or doubt hinder your ability to own and love who you are!

If you are struggling with self acceptance, I’d advise to re-frame the ways in which you speak to yourself. Possibly list down the pros and cons of who you are, ask yourself if your actions and presentation to others mirrors what you really feel on the inside, and remember that you have to live with yourself for the rest of your life, so might as well love (clap) thy (clap) self (clap) !! Xo