Self-Care Tips for 2017

IMG_5228.JPGI first learned the term “Self-Care” in 2016 while at Blavity’s first Women’s Conference called “Empower Her.” I listened intently to a group of panelist, zeroing in on Francheska of HeyFranHey as she discussed self-care and the importance of taking a break from the world when it gets tough. Some of her tips included: (1) Turning Off Your Phone (2) Meditating (3) Nice Baths – I thought it was awesome. You can read some more about her tips here in this recent article published by the Huffington Post Black Voices. Hey Fran Hey, inspired me to create 5-self-care tips of my own that I want to share with you guys for 2017:

  1. Pray (Church): First, let me address what church does for me. Even before I was a believer, I always went to church. Initially, I was forced by my mother but eventually it became a personal choice. I would go after spending all night out at a party, I would go when, I knew I was doing everything God didn’t want me to do, it didn’t matter. There was something captivating about it. The peace I had as the service ended, feeling more encouraged to tackle the cruel world eventually had an affect on me. Today, it still serves as my refuge. A place where I can lift my hands and worship Jesus through song and prayer for all he’s brought me through. As I mature in my walk with Christ, I realize that I don’t have to get down on my knees to talk to God, I can talk to him throughout the day, when I’m in the elevator, on the train, at work, in my head, out loud, it doesn’t matter, because he’s always there. Sometimes saying a simple prayer about whatever is bothering me, makes me feel better. Sometimes, reading a spiritually based devotional or the bible makes me feel better too. I feel like prayer is a very important self-care tip, if not the most important because you have the security in knowing that you are not alone. God see’s everything; he knows what you’re going through before you even say it.
  2. Limit Social Media Intake: Notice I said limit, I didn’t say get rid of completely (although for some people that works for them). For me, social media has become a part of my life. It’s where I discover news, and keep up to date with my family and  friends, in reality I don’t want to rid myself of it entirely, but I understand that if I spend too much time on it, it becomes overwhelming. I also know how draining it is to follow people who only post negative or nonsensical things. So, if you’re like me try limiting your social media intake. Spend10-15minutes on Facebook or Instagram a day. Unfollow the people who annoy you for a peace of mind and keep it moving.
  3. Read a book: I love reading so this might be a bit self-indulgent but getting sucked into an amazing novel is one of the best feelings ever. I always feel most accomplished and fulfilled after I finish a great book. It definitely helps to take your mind off of everything else.
  4. Positive Vibes: Hanging out with people who have amazing vibes is one of the best feelings in the world. Discovering a new restaurant or spot that has dope vibes is equally as amazing. Being surrounded by positivity is one of the best self-care tips I can suggest for anyone. Self-care doesn’t always mean you’re isolated and alone. It has taken on a new meaning for me in recent months as I discovered a tribe of women who I can just be transparent with, letting my hair down, discussing insecurities and imperfections and not feeling judged according to my flaws. I can’t emphasize the importance of positive vibes in everything you do whether it’s the friends you choose, the people you choose to work with, or even the places you spend a night on the town at. You make the choice, and the choice has to be one that makes you feel good.
  5. Activities: I dance in the mirror. It’s something that I do. I like looking at myself while I dance. It makes me happy. Weird quirks aside, I like to paint, take a class that builds a skill (TV Writing, DJ’ing, Cooking), take myself out to dinner or a movie, write, exercise (Don’t sleep on a Twerkout or Aerial Yoga), make collages, watch DVDs…basically, I do anything that makes me feel good. I try not to limit myself and what I do and you shouldn’t either!

What are some of your self-care tips?

New Year Notes

For New Year 2017, I decided to do something different. Rather than sending out a holiday card, which to me is kind of typical, I wanted to do a New Year email, for all of the people who’ve impacted me in 2016. This meant, I reached out to co-workers, bosses, previous bosses, friends, parents, ex’s, you name it! I had about 40-people on my final list.

In the email I shared a memory or encouraging words and a simple prayer at the end for what I hoped their New Year would bring. I didn’t do it for for anything in return but I realized how short life is. In 2016, dozens of people passed on suddenly, when we least expected it, and I believe the worst feeling in life is when you lose someone who never knew how you truly felt about them or they have no idea that you remember the kindness they once showed you. So I feel like if 2016 have taught me anything (as horrible as it was), its that we have to love a little harder and encourage others. What I least expected to happen was people sending me notes of gratitude in return, sharing the same kindness that I’d shared with them, ultimately empowering me for a great new year too!

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Venting: The State of America in MY eyes

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The content of this blog post is solely my personal views. 

In the last 2-years, I’ve had the privilege of traveling to 10-countries, from Africa to Asia, from Asia to Europe. But never, have I been more conscious of my race than when I am in America. In Italy, locals stared at my skin color, enamored. In Spain, two women were overjoyed upon hearing I was from New York. In Paris, I was told that  I was “Tres Bouge” or Bougie as we call it. In London, I was just among the crowd of other diverse locals and tourist enjoying the city. Not once, having to wear the burden of my blackness on my sleeve, but in America, I am not bougie or a sophisticated New Yorker first, I am black, the “disadvantaged” race, the one whose ancestors were slaves and hung from trees. And I am weary of what the next 4-years during a Trump Presidency will bring.

They’ve already started. “Go back to Africa” they chant. “Nigger” they say, without shame anymore, because the leader of the free world used his campaign to incite hate and bigotry. He made fun of a disabled reporter, he vilified Muslims and he said we needed a wall for Mexico because their immigrants are criminals and rapist. He called us “The African Americans” and asked us “What do you have to lose?” only making it more apparent he would never be in touch with us as a people. “Sir, we have a lot to lose with you because you don’t get it” I replied back to the TV screen, my voice unheard. But to make matters worst, his treatment of woman came out like a whirlwind and eventually  just dusted under the rug. No one cared that he sexually harassed and assaulted women, exclaiming “just grab them by the…” too explicit for my blog. As women we are already dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace at record numbers, will having a president who partakes in this behavior only make our situation worst? And after listing all of the wrongdoings of this man, on Tuesday November 8, 2016, a day I will never forget, we made Donald Trump the President of the United States. Yep, America voted and their voice was heard.

My friend asked me “Will you give him a chance?” I was initially insulted by the question. She had to feel as angry, as uncertain, as betrayed as me…didn’t she? Did they ever give Obama a chance?  They made his life a living hell. They told him no before he could present a new idea or legislation, they wanted nothing to do with the success of an African American president, it was bad enough “The African American” was in office. The republicans never went on TV saying, “Give Obama a chance” did they? They couldn’t allow a man with his skin color to be successful because it might open doors for more like him in the coming years. I’ll never forget during Obama’s first State of the Union address, Congressman Joe Wilson, screamed out “You Lie” literally calling him a liar in front of all of America, discrediting him, discrediting his power, using his white privilege to disrespect the President of the United States, because even though he had the highest title in America he was still black and the whole ordeal for lack of a better word was unprecedented. But they did it and continued to do it. Denying gun laws after the fatal mass shooting of Sandy Hook first graders, calling him a lame duck,discrediting ObamaCare, literally shutting down congress while Ted Cruise, the filibuster, read Green Eggs & Ham. I remember watching the ordeal and losing brain cells simultaneously. And, Mr. Trump, saying nasty things about President Obama from day one, including an outlandish campaign questioning his citizenship. I will never, ever forget the sacrifice that Obama made for this country despite all of the push back he received and how many people wanted to see him fail. So a question like “Will you give him a chance?” is almost insulting. My friend proceeded to say “Trump is God’s child too.”

One of the only thing’s I will say that I agree with Mr. Trump during his post election attacks on Hillary Clinton was that she didn’t campaign in the right states. On Election Day, I was filled with pride and tears, as I watched the swarms of Brooklyn locals line up to vote. We would have our first woman president; our daughters would never think it was not possible for them –hooray! It was a proud moment because I felt like America was finally progressing forward, leaving behind its stained past. It was a temporary feeling though and eventually, I had to confront the loss of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. First, I blamed myself. Maybe I could’ve done more. Maybe I could’ve campaigned more. Maybe just maybe I could’ve been more involved. But we were comfortable. No one saw a Trump win coming not even him. Hillary was more qualified. She had more experience. She was the better candidate, but for some reason she didn’t connect with a lot of people. So Trump was right, she didn’t campaign hard enough in the right states. I think her team got comfortable. They just knew they would win the same states that Obama had won, but Obama’s charisma and personal popularity won him those critical swing states. Hillary greatly suffered in the character area. People really didn’t like nor trust her. Clinton also put her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, which I understood was a cool thing, but in my opinion a bad choice. New Yorkers are going to vote democrat regardless, Hillary you needed to be in those states that were complaining from hell to high waters about how isolated they felt by Washington. Another mistake she made was Tim Kane. Tim Kane is a really nice guy, really, I like him, but he wasn’t revolutionary enough. People complained that a vote for Hillary meant a vote for the elite Washington establishment and she knew this. Tim Kane represented that too. Not the elite part, but the typical white male part. She needed a woman as her Vice President, or better yet, she needed Bernie Sanders! Again, they played it too safe, and so she lost. A terrible upset, to a man who wasn’t even close to her political and intellectual level and was well aware of that too.

Since we are talking about women, I want to finally address first ladies. In my lifetime, before Michelle, there was Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush. Hillary always seemed like she had her own political ambitions, which was very commendable to me and Laura seemed like a nice woman. But I didn’t connect with any of them as much as I did, Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama was the best first lady to date in my opinion. She was classy, down to earth, intelligent, and just a dignified and integral woman. Ivy-league educated, I remember when I first saw her brown skin on a cover of Ebony and was proud that President Obama chose her, relieved and proud that she looked like me. I know that shouldn’t matter but it did. While in office, I remember being initially disappointed in her campaign Lets Move. Obesity and a healthy lifestyle…who cares? Wasn’t she going to do stuff for us women? But then as if it were overnight, eating healthy became the thing to do, and soon I was thanking her for her initiatives because I became a victim of the freshman 15 while at Penn State. Michelle rapped about the importance of getting an education, she went on talk shows and danced, she brought the who’s who to the White House, and it felt good to see people, my age, people that looked like me, doing their thing and meeting the first family. She loved the veterans and their families, that’s one of the times you would get an emotional reaction from her. She also eventually started Let Girls Learn and Reach Higher, promoting education domestically and around the world. In the midst of all she had going on she was “Mom-in-Chief” as she called her self, raising two beautiful and amazing daughters. I am protective of Michelle Obama. I love her as if I know her and I still get a little angry that our upcoming first lady stole her speech. The whole ordeal was unreal. Only in America can a Caucasian first lady plagiarize the speech of an African American first lady and it disappears from the media mill after 3-days. But if it was the other way around, I shudder to think if that black first lady and her husband’s campaign would’ve ever seen the light of day…AGAIN. Only in America could Michelle Obama be attacked for wearing a dress that exposed her arms while our upcoming first lady posed nude for a magazine . I have literally seen Melania Trump exposed, but we’re ignoring that too. The privilege is real and I don’t want anyone to forget how hurtful this is to our community. The playing field is not equal according to your race and we still have a lot of work to do.

Now, it would be remiss, if I were making it seem like other countries are more progressive than America, because that’s not the case either. Each and every country has their issues, and each country has their “disadvantaged race or tribe” but in America it feels like race, is one of the biggest problems to date, and we choose to ignore the pink elephant in the room. It seems like race will be a bigger problem during the Trump Era as well. However, despite everything going on, I am not afraid. I am not hopeful either. But I know that being idle is no longer an option. We, who are against what’s going on, need to get out there and lobby on Washington, find our nearest elected official’s office and ask, how can we serve? We all seem to be waiting for our next leader to save us when our next leader is both you and I. We are in control of our destiny and we need to start taking ownership of our political futures. Also, we need to pray, really hard, because only God can control what’s happening.

Setting Standards: The Text That Brought Me Out of My Blogging Hiatus

The Text That Brought Me Out of My Blogging Hiatus and Why its Important for Women to raise our Standards and Keep it Up!

I’ve been on a mini-blogging vacation for 5-months, but on Thursday, during a full moon, which my astrological-loving coworker said would stir stuff up, I received the below text message and immediately knew, it was time to come back from my hiatus and write or vent (which ever seemed more appropriate) about this.

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The Back Story: I’ve known this person for years, since I was 19. It’s been on and off for the most part. Him, super handsome. Beautiful brown puppy dog eyes, 6-ft tall, mocha colored. I knew I liked him from when I first saw him. But for some reason I could never take him 100% seriously, and I never understood why. We were extremely attracted to each other, but we both couldn’t understand why our relationship attempts never worked. So we remained friends. Whenever I called he was there and the same was given in return. He’s my old faithful and I’m his. If both of us are not married by 45…what the hell!

Then this happened. I was going over to his new apartment to check it out (Of course, I helped him with his search but he would never give me credit for that) and to be quite honest who knew what would happen. Maybe we would kiss? Maybe he would complain that I was being awkward…again. Maybe I would complain that his laugh was stupid and annoying. Maybe we would cook or Netflix and chill. It was a tempting situation, I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m not a novice to these things, but I ignored God’s subtle warnings, as I made up my mind to see his apartment. It looked nice on Facetime and I wanted to see it IRL.

As work began to wind down, I texted him to follow up with our plans. He said he just woke up from a nap but couldn’t pick me up because he had to do laundry; if I still wanted to come over the choice was mine but he would go half-on an Uber with me. There were many things I wanted to say. My first thought “Go Half on an Uber?” I am exhaling as I write this. This situation showed me that we have to raise our standards. This is not only for women but for men too. When we know that a person has everything going on, is fine as hell, but the relationship is still not working, then its time to let it go. It’s so important to be equally yoked with your partner. It’s so important not to compromise yourself for someone who doesn’t even think you’re worth it. It’s so important to take heed to the red flags. I could’ve dusted it under the rug, as this type of behavior from him is not anything new, but I was angered by this situation for several reasons:

Priorities: As this man put a pile of laundry before me, my friend and her fiancée was driving to pick me up from work to take me to an event that I asked them to accompany me to. When I told them that the event was cancelled, they still insisted on driving into midtown to pick me up and take me home.When you have friends that will go out of their way for you it shows you what you’re deserving of. Yet here, I have a man, that can’t even drive 15-minutes to pick me up from my home, let alone to Midtown Manhattan. It sounds like I am being spoiled and dependent. I’m not. I am not a priority to him and being put second to laundry is a red flag that I can’t ignore any more.

My Worth in his eyes: In his eyes, I wasn’t worth a $12 Uber, only half of that. In my eyes I am worth so much more. Sometimes this is the hard truth about the people in our lives that we don’t want to see. But someone’s actions speak louder than their words and the reality check on this one was so real. I can see this situation happening when I was younger (and it never did) so as an adult, it’s almost belittling.

Not the One: Because he’s been in my life for so long I would question if he would be the one, eventually. But he’s not. History doesn’t define a life partner and a great husband, love and action does.

“Thank You” was all I could muster up as a reply back to him. Thank You for revealing your true colors before I compromised myself. I came to my senses and realized this was God’s  way of revealing to me what I refused to see before. This was him protecting me, as he did so many times in the past. This was him reminding me that my body was a temple and that my actual husband would never demean me like this. This was him telling me that I should not put myself in tempting situations and that I have to be patient with his process for me. Thank You God for always being there, as my father, my protector, and my best friend. Setting standards means knowing when to walk away from a situation that lowers your worth. I’m walking away because I know there’s so much more waiting for me, true love even.

Hiatus

To state the obvious, I’ve been on hiatus for the last 5-months. I started an interview process for a new job around August and finally started working in October, so as you can imagine it was rigorous and all of my time and focus had to be there.

Then around the same time, I partnered with my friend Kadia to create The Pop-Up Care Shop, a Pop Up Shop for homeless women. I will talk more about that in an upcoming post.

Now, I wouldn’t say I am back in full force blogging like I used to, but I will say I am consciously making an effort. The thing about me is, if I don’t feel it, I don’t write it. I can’t force myself to write when it’s not authentic and for the past few months life got in the way and I suffered from severe writers block and a lack of inspiration. So be patient with me, and enjoy this new wave of posts that’s going to come to you in 5-4-3-2-1.

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#Podbyky Epi 11 Male-Kesi Perspective

imageI will be the first to admit…I don’t understand men. I think I can figure them out, but what’s the point in guessing when I can go directly to the source and get some of my most pending questions answered.

So that’s exactly what I did. On today’s podcast, I am joined by Makesi who answers questions ranging from “Do men suffer from heartbreak” to “Do men want to be approached by woman” Hope you enjoy!

Protect Your Destiny

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Were you offended by his question? My friend asked me this one Friday evening while we were catching up. Just to give you some backstory, a few weeks prior, I went out with a group of my friends to a cool spot in Bedstuy called  Lover’s Rock, which gives off all types of Love Jones vibes.

We didn’t see each other for a while so we sat around our table and caught up. The friend that was doing all of the questioning, asked me “So what are you doing, career wise? What are your next steps…?” That’s when the conversation got awkward. If you know anything about me, I am not one to talk about everything that I am doing. I’m also not one to count my chickens before they hatch. So was it so bad when I said “Sorry I can’t share with you…”
This response piqued his interest further because he continued to pry. I held on tightly to my original sentiments…”No!”
 Maybe it came off weird to everyone at the table. Maybe you’re also thinking what’s the big deal? But sometimes when you are dealing with something as huge and significant as your destiny and what you’re going to do with the rest of your life it has to remain between you and God until the time is right. I could’ve created an elaborate story of dreams and goals and everything my “inner” heart desired for conversation sake, but what  good would that do? I’m in a season of transition, so it’s vital for me to be still and wait on God. Therefore, until the changes God has for me are revealed, I can’t be rambling to every and anyone about my plans because some people, even the ones that are closest to you may not understand and quite frankly, it’s not meant for them to. As Sarah Jakes said “Your destiny is not a democracy.”
I say this all to say, protect your destiny. Everyone doesn’t have the right to know what’s between you and God because it’s between you and God. Your destiny is not up for conversation or discussion. Be still and let God direct your life because he will reveal the perfect time for you to shine and give you peace in your heart for the people you should actually reveal these revelations to.

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Curls Blueberry Bliss Review

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I’m not big on reviewing hair products unless I swear by them and this is a product that is gradually becoming a personal favorite. There are three things that I love about this product:

1.)    The Consistency – it’s thick and creamy which is perfect for my hair. My hair twists better with a thick consistency. However it’s not too thick, so it doesn’t weigh my hair down.

2.)    The Smell – The smell is of blueberries. So yummy.

3.)    The Finished Results – I love how my bantu knots come out with this product. You don’t have to use a lot either. I like my twist-outs as well. It’s a great alternative to my favorite product which is Miss Jessies Curly Butter Cream which is almost triple the price.

Bonus: Speaking of price, it’s about $11.99 at Target for a decent sized jar.

Overall, I like this product and if you’re looking for something new to try on your natural hair give this one a try.

 

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#PodByKy Epi 10 “The Golden Age”

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On today’s podcast I talk to Kayla Brooks about The Golden Age of TV and in our lives. Kayla is a friend of mine from my TV Writing class. She’s one of those people that you know will be a future Show Runner in a few years, kind of like a next generation Shonda Rhimes. At the onset of my most recent quarter life crisis, I explained to her how I was feeling and she totally got it. We start the podcast by addressing the ups and downs of life in our twenties. We move on to talk about how amazing it was to watch our stories in the 90s on television and try to solve the mystery of why our stories have sort of been erased from Hollywood (except the ones that address slavery). The key is to be the change you want to see in the world which is what Kayla and I plan to do.

Follow Kayla Brooks

Website: Thekaylabrooks.com

Instagram/Twitter: @kay_lasoul

https://m.soundcloud.com/lifestylebyky/the-golden-age

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Contentment

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I walked home from church one Saturday afternoon, after spending the whole morning writing scripts for our Sunday school’s upcoming lessons. I passed through Park Slope and debated if I should go to my favorite Chinese restaurant, Mr. Wonton.  My stomach cravings got the best of me. I walked in and noticed a young, black woman, sitting in the corner, eating General Tso’s Chicken. She was alone. I was empowered by how carefree she was. I’ve eaten by myself before, but seeing her there, at that moment, reminded me how long it’s been since I’ve been a solo diner. I asked for a seat in back of her, not to be a lurker but her area offered the best seating in the restaurant. I ordered shrimp fried rice, and a shrimp roll. They brought over noodle chips with a bowl of duck sauce. I giddily enjoyed a delicious meal, and my fortune told me “If you can shape it in your mind, you will find it in your life…”

That simple moment, led me to think about how content I was. I am single. I’ve been single for quite some time now, however it was the first time in my life where I didn’t feel shame about my singleness or even, complain about it. I love myself. I really do, and it took such a long time to get here but I am here. I don’t want to settle in a relationship. I don’t want to attract men, with empty promises and their inability to remain faithful. I don’t want to compromise myself anymore. I don’t want to lose myself either. I don’t want to give and not get the same back in return. I don’t want to feel alone, even though I have the title of a girlfriend. I don’t want to be worried about where my man is or why he hasn’t called me all day. I don’t want to question if he will feel the same joy that I feel about my birthday or Valentine’s Day. I don’t want to push my man to make more ambitious strides with his life without the same support from him. I don’t want to teach a man how to be a man. I’ve grown tired of it all.

My table was set for two. I looked at the empty seat in front of me, but it didn’t taunt me. It represented the ghosts of the many men that came before, that just didn’t work out. It also represented the bright future ahead of me. I’ve given my love life to God. So while he does the work in me, I know there’s going to be many other times where I will be dating myself, and that’s okay. I am content in where I am right now because I know I am being prepared for a relationship that will last forever.

 

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