#transparencysunday How this life long battle with weight has colored my life.

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I didn’t blog last week because I knew this was coming. The time has come where I really become vulnerable. With you and myself. I am putting everything on the table this year so that I can begin to make progress and finally be able to say that #imlivingmybestlife.

Trying to lose weight started when I was 9 or 10. My dad made me go walk around the block by myself for exercise because I was gaining too much weight. It was scary being out there alone and I also was sad because I fwlt like I was a disappointment. It didn’t help that my brother frequently called me a fat pig (I still cry about that ’til this day). Looking back, it wasn’t my fault that I was rather “healthy”. At that time my parents had the most control over what I ate but I wasn’t mature enough to understand tha it wasn’t my fault but theirs. At such a tender age, I begin to look at myself as bad. As not “good enough” because I was seemingly bigger than my classmates.

Recently, in one of my weekly sessions, I was sitting on that beige couch in my therapist’s office writing down the negative thoughts that plays on that tape over and over in my head.I was filling out a worksheet called “replacing negative thoughts” with 3 categories. Notice negative thoughts, reject (what thought is more realistic), and replace (find a positive truth with scripture to apply). We decided to go on a 21 day detox from ONE negative thought. Your brain rewires itself according to your thoughts so I was eager to begin. I wrote a few down:

  1. It’s my fault that I can’t lose weight.
  2. I don’t deserve to be with someone who treats me correctly (whatever that means).
  3. I can’t succeed with losing weight.
  4. I always mess up.
  5. I’m so stupid.

When I read these out loud to her, I could not believe what I’ve been thinking. I REALLY AM MY OWN WORST ENEMY. The thoughts that took me out i.e. made me break down were the ones about weight. This was a hard session where I probably used up the whole box of tissue. I wanted to run out of that room instead of sitting there and being present in my truth at that moment because my truth was scary. My truth was depressing. It felt as if my truth was sitting on that couch beside me finally up out of my conscious and alive.

My weight has been a roller coaster. I’ve lost 30+ lbs 3 times throughout my life (high school, college, and last year) yet here I am once again back at the starting weight of my last attempt to lose. I told myself that I am a complete failure. That if I can’t be consistent with conquering this one area of my life then I can forget about being consistent in other areas. My “failure” at weight loss had colored my life.

It has kept me from making the leap into pursuing my wildest dreams. It has kept me bound from trying new things. All my life I have saw myself as “bad” and undeserving because I have never lost weight and kept it off. I’ve been holding back because I believed that I needed to take care of myself first before doing anything. Not thinking about the fact that I’m healthy as a tick. NO HEALTH PROBLEMS granted being close to 300lbs!

Not being able to lose weight for good and always being a bit bigger than my classmates led me to the worst issues I believe there is to have. I DON’T LOVE MYSELF. I AM SELF-CONSCIOUS. I HAVE LOW SELF-ESTEEM. So there you go. That’s the real truth that I’ve hid so well. It has led me to always look for validation from other people because I didn’t see myself as they did. I hear all the time how I have a great personality and can light up a room. My smile is beautiful and I am too. I’m a great mom and I’m doing this thing very well. That I’m so mature and have some serious visions for my life. I think to myself yeah, so you say. I know that this stuff is true but it just doesn’t seep into my soul so I go back home and ruminate on my flaws, mistakes, and regrets.

Nothing that I do is good enough because I always thought that I wasn’t good enough (this statement is a whole ‘nother post in itself). I always thought that if only I can try harder, if only I can be consistent. If only I wasn’t this size then I would love myself. Ha. Those two things have nothing to do with each other. Small or big, it wouldn’t matter because either way, I still thought the same thing.

But that stops here. It’s time to do something different so that I will produce different results. I am now in the process of rewiring my brain and learning how to embrace Jelissa and her flaws and all. I stand in the mirror and tell myself that I am beautiful. That I am worthy. I try to compliment myself throughout the day while also giving myself grace when I make mistakes. I tried telling myself that I loved me but that did’t last long because I don’t believe it. I have hope that one day soon I will.

I can’t let myself down. Not only do I have to love myself for me, I have to do it for Mason too. I lift him up and compliment him but yet it’s rare that I do it myself. J. Cole said it best. “Love yourself girl or nobody will.”

 

Transparency Sunday: #livinmybestlife means taking off this cape!

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The day that I decided to go get help (go to therapy) was when I realized that I was an emotional eater. I walked into the office of this white guy that was experienced with treating patients who struggled with weight loss. I only went 4 times as we weren’t getting anywhere. I didn’t feel comfortable talking to him and I knew it was because I thought he couldn’t relate to my life. The next time that I went was in the middle of my last relationship. I sought out a black lady who specialized in Christian counseling. I went in there to figure out why I was acting the way I did in the relationship. I mean, those were reasons why  I went but it wasn’t the reasons that I needed to be there. I was suffering from the “Strong black woman/Superwoman” syndrome. I had no clue. If you didn’t know, this syndrome  can be deadly.

On the outside, my life looked relatively perfect. On the inside, I was slowly cracking under the pressure. I was breaking and it was not going to get better if I kept going at the rate that I was going. I was to the point where I was just stuck. Still to this day, I am fighting the battle to take this super woman cape off and keep it off for good.

The “strong black woman” persona was created as a way to overcome all of the stereotypes about us as black women and because throughout history that is who we had to be. Everyone needed us and depended on us. This came with consequences though.

Underneath my cape, I was broken, bruised, and barely able to breathe. I wasn’t moving back home because I saw that as a sign of failure. I wasn’t going to seem as if I needed help with raising Mason and I was definitely not asking anyone for money. I made my bed and I was going to lie in it.  I didn’t see that I was not alone because my pride told me that I didn’t need help and I didn’t need anyone. Here I was, in this city alone, hoping for a job in a field that is dominated by white males (where I am considered a unicorn – as told my by first boss -___-) and parenting solo. I was so determined to keep it together, to make it look easy, to show everyone that I was capable of playing the hand that I’d been dealt in life.  My life on social media was true but it was just a highlight reel. You didn’t see the ugly parts.

What makes up the strong black woman syndrome?

  1. You feel as if there is an obligation to look strong, to come off as having it all together.
  2. You suppress your emotions. Even if the world is falling apart around you, no one will see you fold.
  3. You feel as if you can’t get help and being vulnerable is something that you’re not.
  4. You have a motivation to succeed against all odds. You let nothing stand in your way and you’re gonna move forward at all costs. You don’t mind paying the price.
  5. You feel as if it’s your responsibility to put yourself last because there are people who need you.
  6. You take on everyone’s problems and their stress becomes yours too.

I had all of the symptoms. Somewhere along the way the Holy Spirit told me, “Baby girl, you can’t pour from an empty cup. You gotta get some help.”  It just wasn’t anymore left to give and as a result, I was not taking care of myself,  not eating right, not sleeping enough. I JUST DIDN’T HAVE THE TIME because I was too busy being everything to everyone and nothing to myself. Self-care was non-existent. I just keep going and going and going.

Sounds familiar?

Enough is enough! Sis, it’s time that we take our capes off. We weren’t built to move in this world all by ourselves. Here’s some tips to help you remove it for good.

  1. Learn to notice the early signs of stress. For me, it’s tension in my neck or I become very snappy. I stop and think about what’s going on to cause my reactions.
  2. Begin to manage your stress. Delegate tasks to someone else, don’t pretend to be just fine when someone asks how you are (I AM TALKING TO MYSELF!). Accept help when someone offers it. It really takes the weight off of your shoulders and no you will not be a burden.
  3. You gotta find the time to exercise, eat more veggies and fruits, and get more hours of sleep!
  4. Set boundaries. NO is a complete sentence. Tell your family no, your boss no, and tell yourself no. YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAVE THE WORLD.
  5. Create a plan for when it’s too much. For me, that’s taking more time for myself, sending Mason to his dad’s, and heck, skipping out on some obligations during the week. The world will keep going without you.

It won’t be easy. You will first have to get used to being vulnerable but I know that we got this. We made it this far, we still have our right mind, a great future ahead of us. Inbox me if you want to talk. Otherwise feel free to leave a comment saying me too if you relate. Talk soon 🙂

Transparency Sunday: I love Mason but sometimes I don’t like Motherhood.

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In the last 6 months, I’ve grown to enjoy being a parent. Before then, I looked at it as a burden & a job that I didn’t want to do. I even thought of giving up my parental rights bc I absolutely loathed it.Yeah, I know that I hid it so well.
Between dealing with so much regret and blaming myself over and over again for getting pregnant. I didn’t want kids EVER. I believe that I had post-partum depression but I denied it at every check up. As time went by, I had to do most parenting alone and I ran into money problems. I mean just having enough to pay the bills. Those issues sent me into an even darker place.
I just wanted to be alone. I didn’t want to talk or be bothered yet here was this kid that I had to care for. It was aggravating to say the least.
I decided to seek help because I knew that crying every day and wanting to be alone was not normal. It took 2 years for me to finally see progress from therapy. I did’t want to take meds because that meant that something was really wrong with me.
Then I decided to embrace it bc enough was enough. The mood swings, irritability, anger, and crying all day everyday became unbearable. Since taking meds, my mood has elevated to where I am motivated to do the work that my therapist needed for me to begin the journey to healing.
After putting in some work, I begin to change my mindset and try to see the best in situations. I went from seeing Mason as a burden to seeing him as a blessing. He brings so much joy to others and now I am not as lonely as before. He’s like my little best friend and I like to be around him and teach him what life is all about.
I never talked to anyone about how I felt. I thought that they’d think I was some evil ungrateful person. It took me so long to actually tell my therapist how I felt about parenting. I thought that even she would judge me.
If you’ve can relate to my past feeling or situation then know that you’re not alone and it’s ok to have those feelings.Have hope that it gets better.
My inbox is open to anyone who’d like to talk without being judged!
Here’s a quote from an article: “…So few mothers admit to having these feelings, but that doesn’t make them go away. Parenting is difficult, and of course it makes sense that not everyone is equally suited to it temperamentally. But the stigma of admitting that one doesn’t really enjoy being a parent is enormous, and the necessity of hiding those feelings can be a huge burden—which in itself is a contributor to depression and anxiety..”
Read full post here: Motherhood

Oh hey Mom Guilt, long time no see. You can leave now.

Mom Guilt: A sense of guilt as a mother revolves around the fear of not doing enough or not being “present” (both literally and figuratively) at all times.

I woke up this morning feeling melancholy. At first, I didn’t know why but then I remembered our day yesterday. I had a meeting with a potential client that I  thought would not choose to work with me. Especially after the way the meeting went.

Mason goes everywhere with me. I even take him to very important meetings and stick him in the corner with a phone or tablet to entertain him as I try to pretend that he’s invisible because what else am I supposed to do? After a close friend made a comment about how her child will know how to act in public places without using electronics as a pacifier, I’ve kinda been carrying a tinge of guilt since then so I’ve started to reduce the usage of the tablet because I too want to be the mom who lays down the law that her child will obey.

Most often mom guilt visits when I’ve had a long day and Mason’s behavior got the best of me. I feel as if I’ve failed because he decides to do what three year olds do. At the meeting, I was very distracted trying to keep him in place and when I was focused on the client, I didn’t realize that he was off somewhere “visiting” some one at their table. I felt embarrassed and down because I let thoughts like, “Oh if I wasn’t a single parent then his behavior would be better” or “I should punish him more so he’ll act right at all times” or “everyone else does a good job at controlling their kids” or “I need to stop working so much and pay attention to him more” or “I should get up off the couch and interact with him.”

I work 40 hours a week at my job and most times 20 more at home freelancing. I try to do work after he goes to bed but sometimes I can’t wait that long so I stick him in front of the TV. When I’m not working on the weekend, I’m on the couch not wanting to be bothered. I try my best to fight through the depression but by the weekend, I’m exhausted and just want to lay there not doing anything, not talking to anyone.

Comparing your parenting style is a trap too. I have a friend that does not allow her child to use electronics during the week. When I heard that, I worried that TV and a tablet will ruin Mason. I don’t think about the fact that those people don’t work as much as I do and they don’t deal with depression and have a set of helping hands (as I know of) so I shouldn’t compare my parenting to theirs.

I work so much because one day I want to work for myself so that I can free up time to be a more present mom. I work so that he won’t feel the lack of not having two parents who contribute income and so that I won’t be stressed which causes me to yell over something as simple as spilled milk.

My mom guilt derives from:

  • Not being able to give Mason my full attention at all times because I’m working extra or dealing with a depressive episode
  • Living away from family so he doesn’t get to see them often
  • Using electronics to pacify him
  • Not eating very healthy meals each day
  • being a lenient disciplinarian
  • dealing with depression and bipolar tendencies which causes me to isolate or have vicious mood swings

Some of that I can control but some I cannot.

If my story resonates with you, let me tell you something. Mom, you are enough. You are doing enough. Your children think the world of you and wouldn’t chose anyone else to be their mother. Don’t worry about the future of you children because it isn’t here yet and you won’t mess up your children if you have one bad day. Just because your child acts out doesn’t discredit all of the good that you do as their mother. Hold your head up, keep going knowing that you have their best interest at heart. YOU ARE AMAZING and that’s a true statement.

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You’re not hungry. You don’t want to eat!

I was on the phone with an older friend last night. He has like 3 hustles and is working on another one as we speak. Part of the conversation went like this:

Him: I got some work for you. When can I send it your way?

Me: 👀 …..

Him: Ahh, you’re hesitating. Man, you’re not hungry enough. Let me know when you wanna eat.

I couldn’t even be mad because it’s the truth. I’M NOT HUNGRY ENOUGH. I talk a big talk and dream about becoming my own boss but when the time comes, I back out.

I asked him what will it take for me to get hungry and truth be told, only I can answer that question.

2018 started out great. I made a list of what I wanted to accomplish this year and for 3 months I was on a roll.

1. Gain 12 clients (build 12 websites)

2. Eat 70% healthy meals/food

3. Take all opportunities to socialize

4. Rebuild my emergency fund.

5. Make an additional car note each month

The closer it got to April, the slower my momentum got. I’ve been dealing with depression and other symptoms that lean towards bipolar depression more than usual. I let it take over. I chose to be a victim. Heck, I gave up the fight.

Everyday is a fight, no matter if you’re not dealing with mental issues you still have to remember one thing; YOU OWE YOU.

I didn’t make that up. My favorite motivational speaker Eric Thomas spoke about it. The link to the video is below.

I could’ve got mad and never talked to my friend again or I can go back to the drawing board. Revisit my goals. Rewrite my visions and FIGURE OUT WHAT IS MY WHY. What will keep that fire burning on the inside? What situations in my life apply pressure?

Without your why, without something to make you want to get up out of that bed every morning and not hit the snooze button, without a reason to skip Netflix and Doritos tonight in exchange for getting more work done on a client’s site, I’m already down for the count.

Tonight, I will take time out to #startover and it’s ok. We haven’t even made halfway through the year so we have the time.

How have you been doing with your plans and goals?


Depression is not who I am.

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You’re just lazy.

You love to procrastinate.

You never follow-through.

Some of those statements I’ve said to myself and some I’ve heard from “friends”. You know, those ones that are supposed to support you?  They were commenting on what they saw but they didn’t know the innermost parts of me. Only Mason gets to see that and sometimes I feel sorry for him because it can be ugly. I don’t hold it against my friends that they didn’t know that they were adding salt to a very open wound. The wound that I call depression.

It turns me into this person that I’m sure that I’m not. Some days I question it but for the most part, I know that my depression isn’t really me.

I’m usually very determined and highly-motivated. I say “usually” because on the days where depression has me in a choke hold, I lose interest and motivation. Y’all don’t see those days because I isolate myself. The negative self-talk  doesn’t leave much room for me to do anything else.

On those days, I am exhausted, weak, discouraged, mad, and sad (all at the same time).  So when I skip the gym, don’t put up the groceries, or bother to clean the clothes up off of the floor, I’m not being lazy. I just don’t have that much more energy to exert for that day.

I do procrastinate. Depression often makes me put things off even the important ones like getting to work on time or making sure I’m meeting the deadlines THAT I SET for my freelance clients. It’s not on purpose. I don’t want to lose my job and I like getting my client’s work to them on time but depression makes me focus solely on how I’m feeling and  I’m usually feeling awful.

Along with feeling awful, I feel like I’m not enough, not doing enough, or trying hard enough. If I’m having an ok day, nothing can stand in the way of getting my tasks completed but if I’m not feeling well, I don’t have the mental energy and stability to be on-time. I constantly have to apologize for my actions because I don’t get things done as I should.

I mean well when I make plans or say that I’m going to do something. When I don’t follow through, it makes me feel even worse as I know I can’t really make you know that this isn’t how I am normally. I don’t like to cancel or make excuses as to why we didn’t get up. The time came and I was in a completely different head space.

So if I don’t come around or follow through or have a smile on my face, please give me grace. Everyday isn’t like this but this month I’ve had way too many more sad days than ok days. I’ve seen these four walls more often that I really would have liked to.

Living with depression is tough as it leaves me missing who I know I really am. I’m full of energy, optimistic, loving, caring, and supportive. I still try to be all of those things even on my off days but I still long to be that person 24/7.

I am not my depression.

Nope, I’m not alright.

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“How’s it been going?”

Such a simple question. Also one that I try my best to dodge because the truth is no one really has the time or capacity to take your answer seriously.

Then there are some days where the pressure is too much and if I don’t verbalize my emotions I’m going to explode so I get emotionally vulnerable and answer honestly.

“Girl, I’ve been crying everyday.” “Most days, I don’t want to do anything” “Being a parent is too much.” “Girl, I don’t want to be bothered.” “Chile, I’ve been feeling so sad.” “I have not been able to focus on anything at work. I keep losing my concentration.”

After saying one of the above lines and also revealing that I take (well halfway take) medicine for manic depression (aka bipolar), I’m certain to be met with a statement very close to, “It’s not that deep.” The feeling that I feel after stating my truth to individuals who I thought understood me most was a feeling of unwanted nakedness. Alone, ashamed, misunderstood, betrayed, and well crazy.

Not “crazy” in the way that you’re thinking but crazy in the way like well maybe I am making this up? Maybe it is ok to cry everyday, to not know why you’re feeling down, to be hypersensitive, to be angry, irritable, and never wanting to socialize. To not be able to focus at work and you end up on social media more than you do getting work done. To have a freakin’ ray of sunshine in your house (my son) that most of the time you don’t actually see that way? No longer do I think this is ok.

My journey to figure out what was going on with me started in November 2016 when I began to see a therapist. March 2017, I began taking medication. First for depression, now for bi-polar as I got comfortable with opening up to my therapist more and she could see that I was more than sad (I’m paying someone to listen to me, to help, yet it took over one year to even begin to let her beneath the surface -__-).

The comments that I got when I mentioned the ways that I was trying to help myself were incredulous. So it wasn’t long before I started to take going to therapy not seriously and I begin to miss weeks of medication which is why I cannot say that medication does or doesn’t work as I’ve never taken any of them as instructed. I myself began to believe “it wasn’t that deep” and so here I am.

ONE WHOLE YEAR THIS MONTH OF NOT MISSING A DAY OF CRYING, a day of anger, a day of sadness, a day of having no motivation, a day of fighting to not give up and succumb to watching Netflix and eating Little Debbie’s all day.

I will not go another day of carrying the stigma of mental health in our community. What I’ve been experiencing is certainly not normal and I’m going to take getting help seriously. I’m tired of wondering what it’s like to go a day not in a mood and having to fake like nothing’s wrong when all I want to do is go to the end of the Earth that is not inhabited by other humans and stay there forever. BY MYSELF.

It’s isolating being out here and not knowing anyone else who experiences depression and bipolar (and is getting help) but I will find my tribe.

So this is the beginning of my road to managing my mental health and hoping to reduce the ignorance that surrounds it in our community.

Single mom, you deserve time to yourself too.

I see you over there. Just wishing that today would already be over so that you can lay in bed to collect your thoughts. My gosh, the same thoughts that you thought about when your eyes opened this morning.

I know the struggle. That one of always being on a schedule and hoping that you have enough time, enough energy, enough strength to get through the day. Trying to do it with a smile on your face, trying to hide the stress and worry that seeks to overtake you day in and day out. Sometimes you make it and sometimes you don’t. Give yourself grace because there’s no such thing as the perfect mom.

Sometimes you yell, sometimes the only thing that you can do to keep your composure as the waves of life consume you is to stifle that cry. The kind that would make your neighbors sit up in their beds terrified if you could actually let it out. Just breathe mom because this too shall pass.

You didn’t ask to be a single parent but life wouldn’t be worth living if you didn’t get a curveball thrown at you sometimes. Keep your head up and be strong. After all, their are tiny little eyes watching you. Depending on you to keep it together, to do what needs to be done at any cost.

The weeknd comes and all you can think about is that Monday is coming once again but right now you just want to decompress. To just sit and be still, be silent and forget the heck of a week you just had. But guess what? It’s another week that you’ve conquered so be proud of yourself.

I know sometimes you don’t get to have time to yourself. Even on the weekend, you’re still on the go trying to make up for the time you spent at work and not with your children during the week. It’s ok to just rest, to be free and to be you without your mom title.

So take that time to yourself. Find a friend who will take your kids with no hesitation because they understand what you go through. I know you feel guilty for wanting to be free and having time to yourself but go ahead and take it. After all you deserve it because you work so hard. Everything you do, you give your all because the last thing you want to see is yourself fail. It’s just you that your children can depend on.

So lose the guilt mom because recharging is a part of life. Make it a priority so that you can continue being the super mom that you are.

Thoughts, feelings, and suffocation.

Sometimes I experience the most annoying feelings in the world (in my opinion).

Having a heart full of thoughts but not having the words to express myself coherently.

Feeling alone in a room full of people.

Wanting to succeed as bad as I want to breathe while having this stupid giant boulder crushing my chest but ever so lightly and slowly that I barely recognize that I’m standing still. Just merely surviving and not thriving.

What’s this boulder you ask? It’s actually made up of many things. Feelings of doubt, unworthiness, fear of failing, lack of motivation, anxiousness. Sounds a lot like depression if you were to ask me.

The question of the day (aka what I’m currently racking my brain to come up with an answer with while overanalyzing and overthinking) is how do I move this boulder off me while this passion to succeed is still burning vibrantly in me? Does the boulder go away forever once it’s removed or does it just drop in on me at random times? Is it normal to feel as if you want to go full speed ahead yet something is holding you back? Is slow progress better than no progress? I very well know the answer to the last question posed but the anxious part of me wants to ask if I should be moving much faster along than I am right now because we know the early bird gets the worm yet at the rate of speed I’m moving because of this boulder, I may never make it there.

This is my mind everyday, all day. This is also just one of the thoughts that I have but I’ll save that for another post.

Feedback, suggestions, advice would be great if you’ve been here before.

To you that is still here, let’s continue to push through. Even if we are moving at a snail’s pace.

The one thing that is seemingly so tiny but actually is monumental to our relationships.

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Support.

It’s such a simple word and we often give it more weight than it needs.

It just means to be there. To show up. From my perspective as a mom in the trenches by myself while riding this emotional roller-coaster, it would mean the world to have your support.

Sit with me. Laugh with me. Text me to check in. 

I believe the hardest part of the act of supporting is keeping the interactions sincere and intentional.

It’s easy to fill up my bank of “support” with “Yes, I can’s” or “I will’s” but when it comes time for me to make a withdrawal, will I still have your support?

Digging a bit deeper into the principle, support is a form of love. When I show up to support in any form, I often go above and beyond. Why? Because I want the person to know that I’m 100% in their corner. I know how it is to not know that feeling and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

So the next time you’re wondering if you can be of help to someone, the answer is yes. Just start with checking in on your person. It’s so simple y’all.