Finding Myself in ‘Missing Richard Simmons’

For the last month, I have been keeping up with the latest buzzed-about podcast, ‘Missing Richard Simmons.’ In this six episode series, host Dan Taberski goes on a journey to try and uncover the whereabouts of the famed fitness trainer and motivational speaker with a larger than life personality. In 2014, Simmons abruptly closed his Beverly Hills fitness studio and disappeared from the public eye. Throughout the series, Taberski interviews close friends and family members of Richard, attempts to visit him and his loved ones, and wonders how Simmons could unceremoniously leave the many friends and fans who followed him. Provided with short clips of some of his work in the past, and commentary from those close to Richard, it becomes clear that Taberski is chasing one who doesn’t want (or need) the chase, and Simmons is just fine.

Listen to the podcast at missingrichardsimmons.com, or on any of your favorite podcast apps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my biggest takeaways from this series is that I totally understand where Richard Simmons is coming from. Without spoiling the series for any of you who are interested and plan to listen, we learn that Richard is a highly empathetic individual who seems to serve others in overdrive. As a person with similar sensitivities and tendencies, I’ve learned my modes are simply “off” and “on.” When I’m on, I’m everywhere: giving, serving, loving, extending myself beyond myself. “No” is not part of my vocabulary, because my main drive is to help everyone I can however I can. Like Richard, I’m a helper, a giver, a feeler. Strangers meet me and tell me life stories. People consult me for all things. My heart gets invested in people. However brief the interaction, I want to leave people better than I found them. I say yes and yes and yes and yes, and have sometimes struggled with how to balance all of my yes-es.

In recent years though, I’ve learned how this kind of over-extension can lead to burnout, and that sends me into “off” mode. When I get here, I go relatively missing. The people that know how to find me can and will, and my commitments become much firmer and contrary to what is typically expected of me. I put myself first (for once), and place all priorities on recharging and taking better care of myself. I’m taking longer showers, spending more time reading, delving into a series on Netflix, paying better attention to my health, and offering myself some much needed tlc. When here, I’m trying to find balance in a different way. The overwhelm is strong here, and I’m attempting to give myself the grace I find it much easier to extend to others before myself.

Listening to the series, I found myself livid at times (as some of my tweets would suggest). One of the questions Taberski repeats through the series muses upon why Simmons did not inform people of his need to disappear before he just did. I found myself defensive of Richard, and sometimes yelled “RICHARD DON’T OWE Y’ALL SH*T!” in the way that I will talk back to podcasts I particularly get into. How dare people feel owed something from someone who gave of himself so freely in the first place? What else did they want from him? I was outraged, and this is where I started to wonder: was I mad for him, or mad for myself?

What I have learned about us over-extended, highly sensitive people is that the drop off is never announced. I think that this happens mostly because we just try to keep puttering on for the benefit of others, until one day, the off switch has come on and taken over. Perhaps autopilot is the best way to describe it. Something inside of us that knows we need this break rises up, takes over, and gets us through the days until we’re better enough to be fully back “on.” Balance between the two modes are hard, and I am still trying to figure out the best ways to navigate between the two. This is, of course, part of a larger journey. In the meantime, I have my people (much like Richard) that I can check in with, provide updates, and be completely true to what I am in the moment, and not the more polished-up version.

Maybe in his time away, Richard Simmons has found the secret. Regardless, he has turned his switch to “off” mode on his own terms, and I respect him for it. When I began listening to this podcast, the only draw was my passing curiosity in the title character and the possible uncovering of the story behind his disappearance.  I never imagined that I would draw such parallels between myself and Simmons, and learn that the two of us are a bit similar.  I have always admired his commitment to sequins and glitter, though. Now, I believe we’re kindred spirits, trying to live our lives the best way that we can. Maybe I needed to hear this series to allow myself the space to do the same.

 

The Climb

I was supposed to share all of my insight on a new year last month on my birthday.

Obviously, that hasn’t happened yet, so instead I’ll share some insight I got by way of a dream last week. I’ll do the best I can to explain it, and let your imagination do the rest.

Imagine that one day, you’re walking and somehow fall into a hole. It’s not a terribly deep hole, and after examination, you realize you’re okay. A little shaken up, but good. You start to examine a way out and realize it’s a little tough. Your arms aren’t super strong. Your footing’s a little shaky, and there’s no ladder. Who do you call?

 

Well, while you were on this walk, there were plenty of people around that saw you fall into the hole. They may have even called down to see if you were okay, but assuming that you’ll get out like you normally do, went on with their business. You’re still in the hole. You might get a call every now and then that feels like this:

Them: “Hey, how are you?”

You: “Still in the hole, but I could use–“

Them: *proceeds to discuss their own issues*

You could geotag yourself in the hole. Check in on Facebook with the location as “The Hole. Yes. Still.” You’re signaling and signaling and time passes. You’re still in the hole. People seem to care about your predicament on a surface level, but that care hasn’t prompted anyone to toss down a rope, or at least check in to see what you need. Frustrating, right?

Well, as I see it, the last year has been me in that hole. I’ve experienced some of my lowest lows with only the company of myself to get through. I’ve tapped into a level of resilience I was pretty sure I’ve had all along, but it’s been getting worked out. I’ve always been a rather sensitive/intuitive person, but being exposed in the hole has taken me to another level of awareness of not just myself, but the world around me. What fascinates me about these hole experiences is the way that we treat people who are down  there.

If you possess or can provide relief to a situation for a person, why do we offer platitudes and prayer? I’m not saying that either or both do not have merit on their own or combined, but if I see someone hungry and I can buy them a sandwich, I’m going to give them that sandwich along with the encouraging words.  Sometimes, I feel that we overlook our own power to make a difference in someone’s life because we’re looking for grander opportunities to serve. What if those little experiences help us to be better equipped to handle the bigger ones, though? What if you’re overlooking the person in the hole for someone in a tree, and all they both need is a ladder?

The hole experience has been eye opening for me in many ways. It’s given me an unique way of looking at others and their situations. It’s challenged me in how I view people, challenges, and myself. And while I’m not quite out of the hole, I can see myself getting stronger. Doing some push-ups to get my arm strength up. Whether I get that rope tossed or not, I’m climbing out of this thing.

Besides, from this point of view, the only way to look is up, and that’s just where I plan to go from here.

Wishing you the best as you climb,

Whole30 and Me: A Journey

Look at all of this compliance.

Look at all of this compliance. Sweet, sweet compliance.

Typically we start stories at the beginning, or at some point close to the beginning. For the sake of this story, though, I’d like to work backwards.

Last Friday, I posted a photo that showed my progress since I started to make some positive life changes. I’m over 40 pounds down from where I was this spring, and have been learning so much about my body and how so many of my choices factor into its performance. The photo, for reference, is here:

So, a couple of things: 1- I finished a second cycle of #whole30 yesterday. June was my first, and I'm amazed at the things a little bit of a reset can do for you. It's easier the second time around, but I still couldn't have done it without awesome support. Learned a lot, did a lot. 2- I'm down 40 pounds and some change from where I started. I feel like I've noticed the changes all along, but seeing them compared to this picture taken in March (on the left), I cussed at myself. Progress really IS a process, and my mind and spirit have been changing along with my body. I'm becoming a better me all around, and that can't be so bad, right? 3- I'm wearing unpants as actual pants today. Almost did it yesterday but had a long talk with myself. Still unlearning some previously held notions about body image and all that. Today, no effs given, and I have a jacket anyway. 4- toot. toot. #whole30approved #whole30taughtme #weightlossjourney #journeytoself #gawtdamb #thesnatchening #evenmyforearmsgotdefiniton #imworkingonpullupsnext #stayingcute #quietgrind #iaintbuynobodysproductsforthis #butifyouneedtothatscooltoo

A photo posted by Erica B. (@beezhunny) on

All along I noticed changes mostly in what the Instagram/fitness world calls NSV’s for non-scale victories. When pants fit a little looser, I’m able to fit into clothes I intentionally purchased too small (word to the wise, don’t do that), my face was clearer, nails growing out of control, I counted those all as wins rather than obsessively taking note of how much I weigh this day over that day. I explained in a fairly recent post about how I don’t want anybody’s body to become my goals, so for me, goals have been little surprises that pop up in the form of progress.

So, how did I get from point A to point B? For me, it started with this program called Whole30, created by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. I saw a few people on my Twitter timeline talking about it, and got curious. I read the book It Starts with Food, and the big picture started to make sense. I decided 30 days was a worthwhile investment to learn more about my body and how it works, and this program was just the push I needed to get myself on the track of “better for me” decisions. Since posting my progress, a lot of people have been asking me what Whole30 is, and before I go into that, I’d like to share what it is not: 

1- Whole30 is NOT a diet. In fact, by reading It Starts with Food and Food Freedom Forever (by Melissa Hartwig), I know now that diets are essentially a a short-term plan in long-term failure. Think about it- you commit to something extreme for a few weeks, maybe a few months. Once you’re done, you reward yourself by GOING BACK TO THE SAME HABITS THAT CAUSED YOU TO WANT TO DIET. It’s a circle of strife, friends. We don’t need that. I’ve been doing a lot of “unlearning” in the realm of creating a sustainable lifestyle for myself. With that, the word diet got the boot.

2- Whole30 is not a get slim quick plan. In fact, once I read It Starts with Food, I didn’t place my expectations for the program on losing weight. My desire was to give my body a proper reset so I could start to make decisions that felt good. I wanted a different relationship with food, and the decisions I made around it. I didn’t want to take any pills or shakes or get a surgery or any of those other means you see all too often on social media. I just wanted to do better and be better, that’s it. The rules even forbid you weighing yourself during the program, and I totally support it. Now this eventual slim down that I’ve termed “The Snatchening?” It didn’t happen overnight. And it won’t. It probably won’t for you either, and the sooner you become okay with that, the sooner you can be on this road of better decisions as well.

3- Whole30 isn’t for everyone, but I still believe everyone should try it as intended. In talks with people about the different rules of the program, the first thing I often here is “So… I can’t have *insert food here*?” I get it, the thought of foregoing cream and sugar in your coffee is terrible. The thought of not sitting down with a little chocolate at the end of a tough day was killer for me. You know what, though? I did it. We’re talking 30 days. One month. The program isn’t asking you to give up essentials, like water and air. And no, you cannot tweak the program and do it in your own way. Simply put, you cannot half-ass a Whole30. If you read the book, you’ll understand why it’s important to do it as written.

With those things considered, here are a few things the Whole30 is, in my view:

1- Whole30 is a learning process.  Look, if you cut out grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, and soy from your life, you’re going to learn exactly what foods contain those things (plot twist: everything). My grocery trips became longer as I spent time reading labels, googling words I didn’t understand and sending photos to my Awesome Partner in these shenanigans on whether said product was a go or not. I learned how so many words are used to describe sugar, or sugar alcohols. I learned how sweet a strawberry could be, and how different foods I never even knew existed could be wonderful. I learned my own strengths, vulnerabilities, and capabilities in a way I was unable to hone in on until this process. I started some physical activity too- a little more running,  a little more Zumba, some stretching and yoga and dancing in my living room on Saturday mornings. I felt stronger because I was slowly becoming stronger.

2-Whole30 is just the beginning of a longer cycle. In Food Freedom Forever, Melissa Hartwig chronicles the cycle as 1-reset; 2- enjoying food freedom; 3-acknowledging when you’re slipping and begin again. The Whole30 is just the kick before the push that helps you get your food habits on a better cycle. What I’ve found, though, is that so many are afraid of making just that first little step, they continue to stick with the comfortable. This takes you out of your comfort zone. It gets a little unbearable in the beginning. Soon enough, though, a breakthrough happens and you’re able to push through a little stronger and wiser.

3- Whole30 really does change your expectations and relationship with food. Do you even realize how many memories we attach with food? We often don’t want dishes on holidays if they’re not an exact replica of mom’s or granny’s. We celebrate joyful events with indulgence. We also mourn with foods that comfort us. We eat when we’re stressed. We eat when we’re not even hungry. We eat when food is just there. We eat because we’re awake. We eat because we’re alone. I mean… I broke a lot of mindless eating while on this reset, and it didn’t hurt to do it. I often asked myself “will eating this honor the long-termchoices I want to make? Will this even satisfy me in the way I want? Am I truly hungry and need a meal, or am I bored/angry/tired/lonely?” By focusing my intentions on meal planning and construction based off of a set of guidelines, I made fewer impulse choices that would leave me feeling like crud, and found a way of living that not only maintains my life, but will sustain it in the long run. I (will eventually) have a family I want to make good choices for. Starting those choices for myself has been one of the best decisions I’ve made this year.

This is getting a little lengthy, but it’s just the beginning of what this journey has been like for me, and I hope that if you are thinking of doing the same that you will. I’m open to any questions you have, and if you need a coach/cheerleader/buddy, let me know! Share a comment whether you have or haven’t done it. I’m here for you!

Also, buy the books and read them. What are you afraid of?

Yours in Snatchening,

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PS- The book links provided through this post are through the Amazon Affiliates program, which provides me with a little compensation for your purchases. Full disclosure is in the sidebar.

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Growth in the Flood

For a while, I was not good at feelings. Showing them, expressing them, actively feeling them… I just didn’t do the feely stuff. Somewhere in my life, I decided I never wanted people to see me cry, so I didn’t. Instead of dealing with tough issues as they were, I put them in a box to handle later, except later hardly ever came. I was the strong one. The tough one. The fixer. The rock for everyone. I didn’t have time to cry. I had stuff to do, and issues to solve.

In the last year or so, I’ve realized how ridiculous that was. Not by any grand revelation or anything, but simply by crying one good time in a moment where I felt particularly vulnerable, alone, and scared (probably on the way to one of the millions of doctor appointments I’ve had in the last year or so). In the middle of this sob fest, I believe I said “I don’t like that I have to do this right now, and it sucks.” In the midst of this tear-filled haze, I had a bit of an epiphany. You see, instead of putting my feels in a box to handle later, it’s much better to acknowledge the now, no matter how uncertain the now feels. Previously, I felt like I needed the whole picture available in order to accurately evaluate and deal. That’s not necessarily needed to validate how you feel in the moment. In any moment. I figured it was about time I started listening to the advice I gave others- your feelings are valid and yours, no matter the source. Accept it all– good, bad, and ambiguous.

Here’s an incomplete yet short, list of all of the things I’ve found myself crying about in the last 10-ish months:

  • That time I tripped over my laundry basket then panicked because it could have happened in the middle of the night and I may have passed out and nobody would have known
  • Rejection from a job I really wanted
  • Rejection from a person I really wanted a better connection with
  • Good news
  • Thai life insurance commercials
  • Friends moving
  • Friends staying
  • A wedding I attended
  • A wedding I was invited to
  • A wedding I was on the way to
  • Baby announcements
  • Baby showers
  • Seeing fresh babies
  • Being surrounded by little families and realizing how much I want my own. Today.
  • Realizing that growing up with a front row seat to substance abuse has given me a very unique lens on life that I didn’t ask for
  • Slowly being okay with that and pushing aside the “can it happen to me, too?” thoughts
  • Having actual conversations with my now 3 year old niece
  • Things I can’t fix for others that I really want to
  • Things I can’t fix for myself that I really want to
  • Empath-ing all over the place and feeling all of the things when things are haywire
  • Small ponderings about whether I am, do, or have enough
  • A few books I read
  • A bunch of movies I’ve seen (the latest: Kubo and the Two Strings)
  • That time I was mentally prepared for the anxiety that accompanies opening a can of biscuits (or maybe cinnamon rolls) and they didn’t open
  • When being poked with needles for my own health
  • When being biopsied for my own health
  • When sitting in silent doctor exam rooms to check on my own health
  • Coming home and needing a hug more than anything, but being greeted with silence
  • When I wanted better for my family
  • When I wanted better for myself
  • I saw something really cute and I didn’t know what to do with myself
  • A time or twenty when I felt forgotten (#MiddleChildProblems)
  • A time or twenty when I felt overwhelming love/appreciation
  • That one time in church with the one song playing
  • Okay, maybe that 2nd-80th time the other songs played too
  • Black people getting killed constantly by the police
  • Knowing how badly I want to bring a life in this world but living simultaneously with all of the anxiety that comes with raising a Black child in 2KAmerica
  • How far I’ve come
  • The awesomeness and anticipation of what’s yet to come

Me and my yoga mat have become really familiar at this point in my life, and who would have thought at this point I’d even own a yoga mat, much less use it? Something about child pose that makes it easier– I get in a good stretch and the mat helps mop up the tears. I suppose child pose helps me tap into my vulnerability. By staring my feels in the face, searching for the roots of them, and being broken down by the “pushed aside” emotions I needed to feel ages ago, I feel myself growing. Growing and crying. Crying and growing. Learning more about myself. Releasing ideas that held me captive. Confronting my wants and fears. Shedding layers. Acknowledging myself. Acknowledging my feelings. Affirming my need to be here for this moment even if I am a puddle of tears. Feeling stronger as I stand up. I’ve needed to keep a stockpile of Kleenex for the tough stuff, and there has been plenty of tough stuff. I’ve grown to embrace my sensitive nature. I whelm in my overwhelm. I am, in gamer terms… leveling up. Unlocking achievements all over the place.

Funny enough, at the end of these sessions, after I’ve flooded my apartment with tears, and my face is all puffy and unrecognizable, I smile. Why? Because like all great things, there is growth after the flood. Once you get past the rubble, clear the debris, and salvage a little, you come back a little different but never the same, and that is awesome. If nothing else, it serves me in learning I am exactly where I need to be. Maybe you need that affirmation as well, so let me be the first to encourage you to let it out. Even if you don’t have it all figured out. Sometimes a good tear duct flushing will lead you to answers faster than stressing it out.

In the meantime, I find myself answering questions about where I’ve been with “I’ve been… being.” It’s succinct, to the point, and sounds slightly better than “I’ve been wrapped in a cocoon of emotions, being refined in tears, and am ready to emerge as a fly and emotionally adept butterfly any time now.” Maybe I should say that, though. I’m in a Butterfly Season.  Getting ready to burst forth with awesomeness or something. What do you think?

But hey. Sometimes after all of this crying, I need a nap. If I actually let you see some of this tear shedding you might just be in my circle. Who’s got some shoulders I can borrow?

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(Do) I Deserve?

 

This year, I’ve been working on my openness. Typically I’ve been the rock and sounding board for others, which left me in a place of being unable to express myself emotionally- good and bad. These practices in vulnerability have left me sometimes exhausted, sometimes exhilarated, but always growing and grateful. While working on my openness, I’ve decided to share a little something that I’ve been having trouble with lately.

Before I go into the content today, I want to do a little scene setting:

Picture it: You’re on the couch bored, and like most people, you’ll find yourself reaching on your phone for a social media break. It’s one of those seasons where good news is all across your feed- an engagement ring here, a few sonogram baby announcements there, a couple of elopements around the corner… the usual. As you add your congratulatory message among the hundreds, you see a phrase repeated in the well-wishes, and it stands out… “Congrats, girl! You deserve it!”

Deserve? This is a seemingly harmless wish, but I have some issues.

Let me be honest, I have a hard time with this particular word. I looked it up  in a few different sources like the true nerd that I am), and it’s generally defined as “merit or worthiness based on a particular action or quality.” So, as my mind does the thing, I think of how this is in great contrast to the my Christian upbringing. In faith-based communities, it is often touted that the things we have (money, jobs, possessions) are not ours, and we don’t deserve them through any acts that we’ve performed. In fact, the source of many of our #blessings is God’s grace and mercy working on our behalf. So when it comes to this world of families and relationships, where does the narrative change?

I read Emma Lindsay’s post on Medium titled “Being Single Is Hard” the other day, and some of the themes in it still resonate with me. We really do need people. My world has been changing in the last 5 years or so, with many of the friends I’ve made from birth until now going on to marry, start their own families, and do awesome things. I understand and accept the natural drifting that comes when your focus changes. More often than not, I’m perfectly fine in this. There are moments, though, when I wish there was someone around to discuss before I take on a giant purchase, or even to just discuss the (many, many, many) things on my mind. Just the idea of a presence to lean on would be comforting, considering the year I’ve had.

However, what stood out most in Emma’s piece is that one of her friends somehow suggested that she not date for a while to “work on herself.” I almost fumed at this line, because I’ve heard it (and seen it) thousands of times. Let’s be frank: I’ve spent the entirety of my twenties not in a relationship. I’ve done the soul-searching, the list-making, the fasting, the praying, the not thinking about it, the thinking about it, the being myself, the not being myself, the putting myself out there (and subsequently retreating like the colored girl I am when the creeps were enuf), the being okay with where I am, the not being as okay with where I am, etc., etc., etc… And if that isn’t considered “the work,” then what exactly is?

“Go travel,” they say. *shows pictures of my last overseas trip*

“You should learn to enjoy your own company before you invite others into the equation,” they say. I’m an INFJ whose primary love languages are quality time and acts of service. I may currently live alone, but I still thrive on hearing another voice on the other side of the phone, rather than text messages for everything. I would say I’m sorry, but I’m not a good liar anyway.

“If you don’t love you, how will anybody else?” This little bit of sad-vice been meme’d across the internet, and I blame the linen suited relationship peddlers (and their fake deep followers) for this one. I find this idea tough to grasp, too, because I find it wholly untrue. First of all, I love the mess out of myself. Mess and all. I’ve learned my quirks and embrace them. I pause throughout the day to think of things I appreciate about myself and the world around me. I’m flipping brilliant, have a heap of hobbies, and I bring my awesome humor to any situation I find myself in. Your babies and animals trust me. I know what I want in a partner, and I don’t believe in settling for any situationships or friendlationships with people that can’t make up their minds. Quite literally, the name of my game is #ShutUpAndLoveMe.

With that said, I definitely agree with Emma- being single is hard, and I’m willing to step up and admit it for myself. Being that I’ve done “the work” (whatever that is in your world), and still find myself here is most curious. Quite simply… if deserving things/events/people is solely a cause and effect based on doing “the work,” wouldn’t we all be exactly where we want to be? If we deserve things based on our efforts and self improvement, why are we not all at our jobs of our dreams and with the people of our dreams? Better yet, if you don’t deserve at least an awesomely supportive partner to be around for tough times, does that mean you deserve to experience those tough times alone?

I suppose that lovely platitude about “when it’s your time, it’s your time” is a good answer for that, but for me… it’s not enough. I have lots of questions, and plenty of time to think about them. What makes one “deserve” over another? Is it an all-or-nothing game, or one where the rules don’t count or make any sense?

Maybe everything's made up AND the points don't matter.

Maybe everything’s made up AND the points don’t matter.

I think I’ve done enough here. Maybe I do deserve, and I don’t even know it. What do you all think– am I simply overthinking this, or is there some merit to this thought? Let me know in the comments. 

XOXO,

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PS- I saved y’all from an obvious Momma Dee reference. I deserve your accolades for that, if not anything else.

Teyana Taylor’s Body Ain’t My Goals.

There are a lot of things I could talk about in this space, especially considering I haven’t stopped by this space in a while. The election season, this seemingly national debate around idolization of a flag and a song, Olympic athletes unhinged, the $5 Bonafide Box’s return to Popeye’s… trust, there’s plenty to talk about. Today, though, I want to talk about something that’s had the masses equally abuzz, though.

Sunday was the 8 billionth installment of MTV’s Video Music Awards (how long has it been since video killed the radio star? And did YouTube kill the video star? Did Vine kill YouTube? I have questions.). During this #blessed event, of which I had the pleasure of not watching and catching the highlights later, Kanye West debuted the video for his song Fade, starring a toned, trimmed, and tight Teyana Taylor. Say that 5 times fast.

Miss Taylor was giving us Flashdance, Fame-tastic, 80s style choreography in that workout room. Her moves were awesome, and considering the fact that she just gave birth to a little person roughly 9 months ago, her body looks awesome. Seriously. Mama was showing photos of a one week postpartum stomach, and had the nerve to have abs. I’m not mad at it at all. I wish I could hustle like that. She’s always had this athletic aesthetic, from her skateboarding days on My Super Sweet 16 until now. It’s pretty awesome to see her out here getting recognition.

boom kat.

boom kat.

duck walk with it.

duck walk with it.

seriously. this stomach had a whole human inside of it and is flatter than mine.

seriously. this stomach had a whole human inside of it and is flatter than mine.

 

But anyway, let’s get into the issue. With this video drop came mass proclamations of people deciding they wanted to get in the gym, exist on the crumbs and water and air diet, and do all of the reps. Teyana became the new leader of the #BodyGoals movement. I saw these expressions of admiration as cute, but there’s also been a little something nagging at me, and I think I know why.

For most of the summer, I’ve been on my own version of a “better me” journey, which I’ve recently named #TheSnatchening on Instagram. I’m making conscious efforts to make better choices about what I take in, as well as the energy I put out. It’s a whole mind, body, spirit movement. I completed a Whole30, and have plans to start one in the next week or so (spoiler alert: I cried a lot). With that, I’ve done a lot of soul searching and deep talks (okay, cries) with myself about my own goals in this– what do I want? How do I get there? How long before I get there? What does the endgame look like for me?

I haven’t been weighing myself regularly. I don’t really do any calorie counting or anything of that sort. I don’t want to get caught up in numbers (which is relatively easy for me to do as a numbers person), and potentially introducing less wise choices into my life. Most of my documented wins have been in the differences in how things fit–either I’m fitting into things I hadn’t been able to, or the things that used to fit well are falling off. Yay. Snatch. My workouts mostly happen at home, with the help of the devil… I mean, Nike Training Club. Cussing out burpees in my living room just seems to be a better waste of not showing the world my full weirdo in public, yanno? I do occasionally attend Zumba classes when it fits my schedule, and generally decreasing my level of ridiculousness so I can combat this PCOS thing, as well as this severe iron deficiency thing. I’m not looking for a quick fix, or even a pill, wrap, or surgery to jumpstart what I imagine to be a longer-term, sustainable way of living. If I shed pounds, awesome. If I don’t, awesome.

I guess the problem I have with making someone else my goals is that for me, it undermines my own efforts at a better me. It feels like I’d be betraying all I’ve gone through and done with current body, and would be immediately ready to ditch it for a new model, like a starter wife. I feel that it could do more harm than good, and cause me to set unrealistic goals and stress/obsess over not reaching them. It’s not honoring my journey, and that is definitely a top 3 goal for all decisions I make at this point. So, as I continue on #TheSnatchening, I’m becoming more aware of my body changing, and becoming more and more amazed as it does things I never knew it could. Finding ways to astonish yourself each day is pretty dopesauce, to be real. I’m working on being just as kind to myself as I am to others, which is still a work in progress, but I’m getting better. I may never look like Teyana, but I can look at being a better me day by day.

Step by step, I’m getting better.

Anyway, whether you’re new, true, or do this fitness thing, how do you set and keep your goals? Do you find any struggles particularly difficult? If so, how do you keep it all in check? Let me know.

XOXO (and let me know if you need a guest at the gym),

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Back to the World

A boomerang always comes back to its point of origin.

Much like a boomerang, I feel like I’ve been on a journey. So much has changed. I’ve learned a great deal about myself, others, and the world around me. I’ve moved, started a new job, and made acquaintance with THE CUTEST NIECE IN THE WORLD (and yes, she will get a hashtag in all caps). Even in the middle of all of the changes, there were parts I missed.

As time went on, I wondered how I would do it. When I would do it. If I still could do it. I love words, love putting words together, yet something I’ve taken so much joy in felt… foreign. Time went on. I kept putting it off. Compensating by adding to an ever-growing imaginary “to-do” list that had no progress as well. Trying out other new things, and wondering how to share. Twitter, of course, kept me occupied, but finding time (outside of livetweeting network tv) just was not working. Ask my ukulele how that’s working out.

I looked up and realized it was November. Halfway through the month, almost. The homeskillet Alise reminded me it was Tevin Campbell’s (one of the faves and you will never debate me on this, idk idk idk) 38th birthday1, and days ago, Sesame Street (another childhood favorite of mine) turned 45. In less than two weeks, I’ll be 29. Don’t look at my face; just trust me on this one. I ordered my birth certificate as the ultimate receipt.

Because I’ve been saying I’m “almost 30” since I was 25, I am really into this whole concept of carpe-ing the diem. Is it scary? Sometimes. Is it worth it? Sometimes. Is there a lesson behind it? Most definitely. Will you (meaning I) share it? Well… if I write, I will. At this current moment, I see myself at the edge of a swimming pool, ready for my first lessons2. I stare out at the pool ahead of me, and shudder as my toes hang over the line. Nothing separates me from exploring the vastness around me, except for my fluctuating willingness to get in.

After a few deep breaths, a hit of my asthma pump, and another check to make sure my cap is on, I’m jumping back in.

Need to know where to find me? Check out Twitter and Instagram, @beezhunny is my handle at both. As always, I’m working on being a work in progress, and would love some extra friends on the journey. Until next time, tell me what your favorite Tevin Campbell song is in the comments. Make a playlist (or listen to mine). Jam. It’s a celebration! Like a boomerang, I’m back!

The Box Braided Balladeer would approve.

The Box Braided Balladeer would approve.

Glad I Made it Through without a “Do the Write Thing” Pun,

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1- I set a calendar reminder in Outlook so I never forget Tevin Campbell’s birthday again.
2-Getting swimming lessons is on my “30 list.” More on that later. Kthxbai.

When the Words Wash Over You…

Many nights, I don’t sleep well.

Sometimes I start too early, then after about 5 or so hours, I pop up searching for answers. Answers… to what? Could be anything: math problems, that response I should have given at work/over the phone/ during that messaging time, did I lock the door?, people from the past, people from the present, the future in all of its ambiguity, the list could go on and on. I’m never particularly worried or stressed about things, I just… spend a lot of time thinking, sometimes planning, or thinking about planning.

Often when I wake for the morning, a thought comes to me- usually my cue that I need to take these words to heart. They sometimes come in the form of song lyrics, sometimes scripture, and sometimes encouraging, affirming life truths I just need to surround myself in. A couple of weeks in particular, one surrounded me, and I’ve not been able to let it go. It simply said, “It’s okay to want… It’s okay to wait.”

raindrops

For me, that could be any or all of the things I’ve been thinking about. Perhaps it’s the same for you. You are waiting for that next level. You want a new job, a new car, a new degree, a new house, a new life… and you’re trying to make it happen all on your own, yet forces keep stopping you. It could be that you need to slow down a bit, really map it out, meditate over it, and then try again. Sometimes forcing certain outcomes pushes them further away from your grasp. There is no shame in waiting for the things you truly want. No one should make you feel less than for deciding something you desire is indeed worth the wait. Sometimes, waiting ensures that the plan falls in place even more divinely than our own orchestration could have made it.

In the past few years, I’ve learned to trust these messages. I know they’re delivered to me for a reason, and the fact that I’m receptive enough to tune in and really think about what it all means gives me a reason to be peaceful– even if I can’t get a good eight hours of sleep. What I’ve learned to trust the most is that sometimes, when the words wash over you like that, you’ve just gotta them do their cleansing.

Does this happen to any of you? What do you find yourself into when sleep doesn’t come so easily?

The Time I Rode the Turquoise Jeep…

It’s not every day when a girl can say she met some of her favorite Internet sensations. This past Friday, though, I crossed another unfathomable dream off the bucket list, when I saw Turquoise Jeep in concert.

Who or what is Turquoise Jeep? Let’s just say this: They’ve been releasing videos on YouTube since about 2009, and a many of them are close to, if not past, the one million view mark. I’m not sure what keeps us dedicated Jeep riders back for more: Flynt Flossy’s raspy voice and dance moves, Pretty Raheem’s (always colorful) choice in clothing and smooth voice, Yung Humma’s dedication to smanging and the press and curl, Whatchyamacallit’s general aura of mystery along with sharp dressing, or Slick Mahony’s falsetto. What I do know, though, is we are loyal fans of this group, whether they’re real or not. For just a sampling of what they offer, check out the classic R&B stylings and green screen realness of Pretty Raheem in “Can He Move It Like This?”

 

I found out one day before this concert that it was even happening. Didn’t matter- I was going. The friends that totally relate with this obsession all live out of town; didn’t matter- I was going (for the TEAM). I had already made plans for dinner and to see The Butler; didn’t matter- I was going. My neighbor wanted to smalltalk with me forEVER during the little time I had between movie and concert to change and get a taxi downtown; didn’t matter- I went. Regrets? I have ZERO.

2013-08-23 21.44.41I knew I was in the right place when I saw the picture above. The last of the opening acts was finishing up with a rousing Jodeci chorus, and I happened to run into a couple of old buddies from undergrad. I was beyond excited. When they finally came onstage, I was front and center.

 

We got cavities, and Pretty Raheem grabbed my hand:

 

We fried (or fertilized, whatever your preference), and Yung Humma grabbed my hand:

We smanged:

We watched Flynt Flossy break it down for the lessers:

We watched them preview a new song, “Naughty Farmer,” which seemed to go over well with the crowd:

Once they were done, there was an announcement of where they would be for t-shirt sales and autographs, along with pictures. They didn’t leave until everyone who wanted to got a chance. I didn’t say much, except I hugged most of them (can’t remember- slightly starstruck), then took a picture with them and my new friend who knew the choreography as well as I did. 2013-08-23 23.12.13-1

I didn’t stay for any afterparty- I didn’t need to. Mission in foolery: completed.

If you ever get a chance to see them live, I highly recommend it. Check out their tour schedule here, and if you get a chance to see the Jeep live, you better know how you like your eggs. They will ask.

At Least it can Only Get Better…

from garfieldh8smondays.tumblr.com

Garfield the cat knew one thing: Mondays suck.

There’s really no way to get around it, is there? After a weekend of doing things according to whatever schedule you determine is best, it’s time to get back into the swing of things, and begin the transition to dutiful worker. Mondays are full of transitions, and just to make it to lunchtime is half the battle. This Monday in particular hit me with one too many whammies, though.

Am I too young to be able to use this as a reference?

I began work today knowing I’d begin training for a new position I’d accepted. During the first part of the morning, we learned a colleague passed away this weekend from cancer (PS- Cancer SUCKS!). People in the office didn’t take it well.  I had been up a part of the night with my baby sister who was having issues with her pregnancy (her first, and my first by proxy), and I just wanted to make sure she was well.
Keep in mind this is before I get to my own personal issues…

I’ve been dealing with the most devilish allergy attack since the weekend began, and before having to be awake and productive, had been medicating with drugs that render me useless after 30 minutes of ingestion. I’m on day 40 something-or-other of an ordeal I’d rather not call out by name, but the process and treatments in itself have been taxing on my body. Oh, and two of the six teeth I need removed started wanting to erupt more today and leave the right side of my mouth supremely tender. Joy, right?

Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Days like this don’t happen often, but I try and remember that many of these issues are not any I can handle on my own. If they were, I’d have fixed them, right? So, in those cases, you wear a smile, say a prayer, and just look for the shortest goal to accomplish. Towards lunchtime today, my only goal was to make it home. Once I got home, I hopped into bed without dinner and just rest myself to decompress the day. I do realize that things can only get better from here, and it doesn’t necessarily have to start with tomorrow. Why not now?

So, let me know: Have you ever had a Monday that just wouldn’t quit, or are you one of those freaks of nature lovely people that don’t have bad ones? Share in the comments below.

Chin up, kids. Things really do turn around.

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