How To Identify A So-Called Friend

Image result for so called friends

“Some people aren’t loyal to you…they are loyal to their need of you…once their needs change, so does their loyalty.”

Passive-Aggressive Behavior

  • “Wow, you’ve done so well in life with only having a G.E.D.”
  • Saying, “I’m coming”, but never show up  #TEMPORARYcompliance
  • ..or they show up, but extremely late #INTENTIONALinefficiency
  • Saying “I’m going to kill myself if you don’t call me” #SELFdepreciation

Gossip

  • They’re constantly talking about other people. Don’t you think they’re talking about you behind your back?

 

Free-Ride

  • They will use you until you cannot be used anymore. Got a new car? I guarantee they will be asking you for a ride everywhere, but when you need help; they’re gone.
  • They will steal from you….your time, your money; they will take advantage of your generosity.

 

Avoidance

  • You may need them, but every time you call them, they’re not there or give you some bull-crap excuse on why they can’t be there.

 

 

What should you do once you’ve identified a so-called friend?

Talk to them. Let them know that you know. Encourage them to change the behavior and how it impacts you. Ignore them and move on. Why would you want that type of toxic person around you? The only way you can help them is if you show them that you don’t need that type of toxicity in your life. You’re better than that.

What’s Happening with Our Youth?

I once made a joke about how living in Philadelphia caused me to have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). More specifically, social isolation, emotional detachment, unwanted thoughts, hyper-vigilance and mistrust. I didn’t live in the most cleanest neighborhood in Old Kensington, but I lived in the cleanest house on the block. That’s what it feels like for an innocent child; the environment is so filthy but their heart is pure…until you start tracking mud inside, or leaving the screen door open so that flies enter.

What happened with our youth? Globalization. The music has changed. It once spoke about knowledge of self, love and happiness, but now? Artists are paid to brainwash our youth by talking about the “fast life” – money, sex, drugs, hate/crime. Parents are not present; they’re out working and paying bills to make ends meet and when they get home, they’re “too tired” to engage with their children. What about the ones that are home, the young parents whose priorities are jacked up…they’re too busy on social media fronting like they have a great life, while their child is out running the streets…and as soon as they get in trouble, they’re on social media posting statuses like, “Free my son!” or “My daughter is missing!”. So, what is happening with our youth?

Possible Answers: Despair. High expectations with no guidance. Lack of gratitude. Lack of self-love.

As a former at-risk youth, I know how it feels to be caught in the filthy streets of North Philadelphia. I know first hand about rape, teen pregnancy, dropping out of school, truancy, and being exposed by the worst conditions while living under God-fearing Grandparents who raised me up in church. Did I find out what I know because I was told about it? No. I experienced it. My Grandparents never spoke to me about these things and it made me angry. As I look back, I see it as their way to attempt to keep me pure. It didn’t work. The fact that my distant-parents were a part of the crack epidemic in the 1980’s didn’t make my upbringing any easier.

Pulling out the blame game will not help this issue that is increasing. Our youth that are at risk, may know they are at-risk, but they need help. You only do what you see and if you know it’s wrong, who will tell you it’s wrong and show you the right way?

We cannot build a future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

What matters? 

  1. Quantity or Quality?
    • A lot of Friends on social media or a few good friends in real life?
    • A high paying stressful job or a fair paying job you love?
  2. Are we impatient? #InstantGratification
    • Just because something new comes out doesn’t mean we should jump to it. Jumping job to job, lover to lover, friend to friend just to get that perfect outcome, and if we don’t get it…we jump again. BE PATIENT!
  3. Are we dreamers?
    • Back this dream up with hard work and dedication and this dream will be a reality. Pair the good component of being impatient with being a dream and let that motivate you to achieve it.
  4. We tend to focus on the purpose of technology and not the purpose of life.
    • Why are you rushing to do things more quicker and better?

What’s happening with our youth?

We cannot socialize properly. We choose to use Apps to communicate with each other instead of having a verbal conversation and having a heart to heart. Even when we are around each other, we are still so far away from each other.

What’s happening with our youth?

We don’t know crap about values because we live in a world made up of rules.

 

 

 

 

National Self-Care Awareness Month

Self care relies on these major components: Physical, Psychological, Emotional, Spiritual, Personal and Professional. 

Take a look at this wheel I found at Olga Phoenix.

Of course, we always hear that we should eat health, exercise, drink our water and what my Grandma use to tell me, “Mind Your Business!”. To be honest, when I don’t do these things, I feel like crap…and it’s often I feel like this and with my age increasing. I need to call it quits and focus on Self-Care.

The topic of the month is personal for me; therefore, I don’t expect you to do everything that I’m doing. Tweak it to your own standards and live…be true to yourself. The first thing is that we must evaluate:

  1. Who Are You?
  2. What Do You Want?
  3. How Do You Want To Be In Your Life?

This should be your motivation and when you get stuck or feel like giving up, go back to these three questions and push forward.

Create a Positive Environment

At work and at home, it should be positive. There are times that my work environment is so negative that I must exit and do some community work or if I can’t at the moment, I listen to music and focus on the bigger picture. There are many times where my home environment is not positive. Things like clutter and trash annoys me. Normally, I would lash out at the culprits (my husband and kids), but recently, I’ve began cleaning myself and setting standards with the goal being for them to live up to these standards (happy wife, happy mom, happy home). 

Affirmations and Gratitude

This comes in many forms. I’ve recently got into the habit of body-shamming. Not others, but myself. From being morbidly obese to now just being overweight…I allowed those standards to define who I am. I use to get mad that I couldn’t wear a size four anymore…at times I still do…but yesterday I had rude awakening…who the hell cares!? It’s not like I’m dying or really unhealthy. I have to be gracious of what I have and have those thoughts and beliefs motivate me every minute. I also have to be grateful for the past experiences; I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. Even if it’s the fact that you’re still alive…be grateful. 

Log Off / Create Time to Focus on “Me Time”.

Reasons to log off: Are you comparing yourself to others? Are you constantly paranoid, anxious, sad, mad when you’re going through your feeds? Are you spending too much time where you’re neglecting those who matter and the outside world?

With everything that’s going on in the world today, I have to give my mind a mental break before I have a mental breakdown. 

Also, “Me Time”. I use to do it all wrong. I use to be on social media for hours just scrolling and scrolling, liking and commenting, getting into online arguments because I’m trying to prove a point…I did it ALL WRONG! I saw no growth at all. Me Time consists of doing something that focuses on the 6 components above and you may want to do it for at least one hour in your twenty-four hour day. Some examples are:

Physical – Exercise for 45 minutes a day / Have safe sex

Personal – Read A Interesting Book / Foster a New Skill

Emotional – Watch a Funny Movie / Make Amends with Someone

Spiritual – Listen to a Sermon / Meditate / Pray

Professional – Take All Vacation and Sick Days – Go Thrift Shopping for New Work     Clothes (I’m sorry, but this is so hard for me, I spend hours trying to find some good cheap stuff…but it’s rewarding when I do!)

Psychological – Join a Support Group – Get some Sun

Reminder

You are not obligated to publicize what you do, when you do it, how you do it. If you’re doing such, you are not honestly practicing self care. The purpose is to be a better and healthier you and be aware of who you are. 

Spread the Word…

 

 

Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

IMG_1193Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy is a surgery and a tool to help with weight loss. In no way necessary is this route a “quick fix”. I lost a lot of so-called friends, I had my supervisor educate me on a friend of hers that died from the surgery, I had co-workers wish me well in my face and talk crap about me behind my back. No one knew my story except my husband. The hundreds of dollars I spent on weight loss items such as workout equipment, Hydroxycut, Weight Watchers and fad diets, as well as countless hours of tears and exercising to only lose a few pounds and gain it right back.

img_1249-e1500850492655.pngAt a tender age of 25 years old, I was deemed morbidly obese. I was obese my whole life and was bullied because of it. Being a mother of three and a wife, it was a struggle to run after my children and spend time outside with them due to feeling like I was going to croak over and die…and I don’t want to get into sexually pleasuring my husband…IT WAS HORRIBLE…not the sex itself, but how I felt during and after. I don’t recall ever feeling sexy. My husband use to ask me what forced me to take this route instead of getting liposuction or a tummy tuck… my reasons being:

  • BMI > 40 – I am a 5-foot-9, 25 year old woman who at the time during my initial information session on 1/31/2014 weighed 300 lbs.
  • Cost Efficient – At the time I had “welfare” insurance “Keystone First” in Pennsylvania. This insurance covered EVERYTHING! From the pre-testing such as an endoscopy, sleep-apnea screening, psychological testing, hospital stay, anesthesia and weekly post-op appointments; it was a blessing to be poor!
  • Unsuccessful attempts of weight loss – Like I previously indicated, I tried other routes to lose weight and documented all of the attempts. I was despite.

While other programs want to supervise you for 6 months prior to approving you for surgery, I was one of the lucky few who received it within a few short months. By 3/18/14, I was in the hospital prepping to get the surgery done. The two week liquid diet prior to surgery was the most stressful for me. I recall one day before surgery, licking a chicken tender and it “accidentally” slipping down my throat and crying because I ate ONE CHICKEN TENDER! I frantically researched if a surgeon denies you for surgery if you “cheat” on your liquid diet, and even calling a place somewhere in California asking this question. Silly me was too scared to actually call my surgeon and plea my case, due to fear of getting denied. Let me just say, while I was prepping for surgery, I blurted out, “I CHEATED!”. My surgeon wasn’t happy at all. I recall getting my last endoscopy and him telling me that he wasn’t going to do the surgery. I recall me crying….and next thing I notice, I was in the recovery room. MORAL OF STORY: DON’T CHEAT!!!

Recovery was hell. My husband said I cursed him out while I was in the recovery room. I’m claiming that as a lie (lol). I was discharged on the first day of Spring because I had a successful bowel movement. I wasn’t like other patients who had a taxi to take them home, or a family member to take them home, I caught SEPTA home! A 30 minute bumpy, stop and go public transportation ride from Center City Philadelphia to Northeast Philadelphia with five open wounds and severe gas pains. I walked five blocks from the bus stop to home, and the five blocks it took seemed like hours to reach my destination. I recall slowly sitting on the couch and catching my breath, all while crying and mentally beating myself up because I got this darn surgery.

Fast forward to one year later and I was happy. Starting at 300 lbs, weigh in on 3/18/14 at 272 lbs and reaching my lowest at 168 lbs six months later, I was ecstatic! I went to the gym regularly, cooked awkward but great meals, and I loved that I couldn’t even finish an item off of the kids menu. I saved a lot of money, looked great, felt great, sex life was rocketing, my kids loved me more that I engaged in physical activities with them…and then came stress and with stress…comes eating and with eating comes binge eating and then eventually weight gain. My weight went from 168 lbs to 195 lbs…then to 215 lbs.

IMG_1205I’m not here to say that VSG is a quick fix, a temp fix, or a scam…it’s a tool! I failed to use my tool effectively and let life get the best of me. I allowed food to become my coping mechanism instead of exercise and cooking healthy meals. VSG is all about behavior modification and I failed to practice what I learned. Now, I’m back to the drawing board. I’m not going to get the surgery over again, because the tool still exists in me…I just have to use it. Let’s just say, it’s a love hate relationship.

 

Advice To The Young People – Part I

Our parents/guardians told us to wait until we get married before we move in with our significant other. Every one believed that our choice to move in with each other a few short months after we met was a bad idea. Some of our “so-called” friends didn’t understand and we had multiple people trying to break us apart while we were still in the beginning of our relationship, instead of being there to strengthen us. We ignored others and went with the flow, because after all, this is what we wanted.

What we did to have a strong relationship is not for everyone.

We strongly believe moving in with your significant other helps you view their habits; the good ones and the bad ones. It helps you see them in their natural environment. You get to analyze and decide if you actually want to marry this person. Do you notice your significant other shopping regularly and not budgeting or prioritizing for bills? Do you notice your significant other leaving the lights on at night when you like a dark room? Do you like that your significant other snore or sleep rough? Being with someone you love is not all rainbows and cotton candy like love movies portray at times. What do you do after you identify what you don’t like? Do you compromise with your significant other? Do you attempt to help them with what you believe is a problem? Do you leave it alone and ignore it ,or do you walk away? Whatever you do, if you love this person do not walk away, unless the situation is imperative to your health or well-being (i.e. doing drugs, gambling, etc.; even so after you walk away, encourage them to seek professional help: Disclaimer)

A wise old person once said, when you get in an argument in private, start getting naked. We tried this once and it was very comical. We believe that arguments shouldn’t be in our home; we should be at peace in our home. We try to make it a goal to go out to discuss certain situations that may cause an argument, because we will not argue in front of people; they are our indirect-silencers and they force us to act civil.

5 Financial Topics To Talk About Before The Bells…

  • How is your current financial status? Create a visual budget.
  • How do you view money and wealth?
  • What are your aspirations? Career goals? Does it involve saving for retirement?
  • Quality or quantity?
  • How do they feel about separate and joint accounts?

 

 

Self Care – The Basics

Life…either it’s fulfilling or unfulfilling. I’m in the “in between phase”, where I have a lot to do for different reasons, but it doesn’t fulfill my drive. Thus, I’m always busy and I often neglect myself.

-Here are some self-care ideas-

  • Drink water!!! Seriously, how often do we meet the goal to drink the amount of water we are suppose to drink? How much water are we suppose to drink daily? 6-8 cups? 100oz? Studies show that we should drink half of our body weight. Therefore, if you weigh 200lbs, you’re suppose to drink 100oz of water a day. Using a straw and drinking out of a fancy water bottle or cup helps me drink water, as well as always keeping it by my side. Here’s a quick guide I found from Lifehack.com 
  • Spend twenty (20!) minutes a day to concentrate on you. Whether if it’s taking a hot bath, going for a walk, doing a hobby such as taking pictures, reading a book or roaming the internet…do something that’s just for you. I like to take short drives and sightsee. Living in Eastern Shore, Maryland, there are many back roads that lead to gems. Look forward to my future post about this. On the same note, it’s okay to do absolutely nothing…so if you just want to sit on the couch and daze off…do it!!!
  • Exercise! I hate it…but I choose to exercise than to binge eat and potentially gain weight that I don’t need or want. I find it helpful for me to workout every time I feel like crap, whether if it’s for 10 minutes or a full hour…it’s something. One thing I like doing is Zumba out of the comfort of my home with my kids and my husband. To be honest, it helped me learned how to dance (I have two left feet..lol). 
  • Prioritize and choose happiness! If it doesn’t bring some sort of happiness in your life…get rid of it.
  • Lastly, don’t be so hard on yourself. Take the time to find out who you are…what you like, what you don’t like and start from there.

Now, get out of the mindset that you don’t have time for self care…