Prince’s Ea’s Video about Labels

So a friend of mine, Wendy of Wendy Jane’s Soul Shake, posted this video on Facebook last night.  I am already a fan of Prince Ea, but I was yet to see this video.

Prince Ea is a rapper/spoken word type artist.  I love his videos because they are very thought provoking and inspiring.  He started the  “Make ‘SMART’ Cool” movement and you can find more info on him here or you can just watch the video below and decide for yourself.

I really enjoyed this video.  I hope you do as well.  Feel free to comment below or share with others.  Thanks for checking this out!

 

 

Turning a Negative into a Positive

I am trying so hard to keep a positive attitude in the New Year.  I was doing great the first couple of weeks.  It seems like as soon as I stopped waking up early to have my moments of gratitude and mornings full of thanks, things started to change.  I am trying so hard to not be negative, but I will tell, you it’s difficult to get out of this funk.  It’s like once you start, how do you get back?  I need a clean slate.  A fresh start again.  

Work has been good, but now the receptionist is going out for at least a month.  We have a temp to cover, but basically she is late, like hours late, every morning, and that’s if she shows up.  So who has to cover the phones?  Me.  Well, I share the duty with two of my co workers.  I usually cover the phones at lunch break as well.  It’s not that I can’t do it.  I just get in my “it’s not fair” mode.  Ugh.  Pity party!  I need to get over myself and snap out of this mood!  I need to give thanks that I have a job.  I need to realize my life is pretty damn good!  I hate being a Debby Downer.  

This past weekend I watched the movie Human: Volume 1.  If I stop and think about some of the people that I saw in this movie, I can shut myself up.  It is a documentary of sorts that I was turned on to by Tunisia Joyln.  (check out her blog here)  It is basically a series of interviews with all different people from all around the world answering all different questions.  

This morning, as I sit here, trying to check myself before I wreck myself, one woman stands out in my mind.  She says the most important thing she does is look at bottles.  She looks at bottles all day, sometimes for 12 hours a day.  She then goes on to say that she is exhausted.  Who am I to complain?  I have my own apartment, heat, running water, a car to drive, I sit at a computer all day.  I am not walking or standing all day.  I am not in the cold or snow, or even in the heat of a factory or field.  No, I have it pretty good.  Who am I to sit here and complain that I have to pick up the phone?  There is another man who talks about lifting tires and how heavy they are.  How his back aches from laboring all day.  I don’t have to life much at all.  Maybe a finger?  

The more I think about this movie, these people, I am humbled.  I realize how good my life really is.  I can sit here and find plenty of things to complain about, or I can sit here and realize how blessed I really am.  I have a beautiful, loving family, (one man talks about losing his brothers and sisters because of health, not having food), I have plenty of food and water.  I have my health.  I have NOTHING to complain about.  NOTHING!  

So that being said, I think I have reminded myself how much I really have.  How I really need to appreciate everything.  You can find the positive and the negative in every situation.  I encourage people to watch this movie.  There are 3 volumes and I have only seen the first so far.  It is a good reminder of the things that really matter in life.  To be thankful for what we have.  To remind us how to turn a negative into a positive.  

 

Photo Credit:  I do not own the rights to this photo it was found on the internet

It’s ok to Cry

We all have those days.  Those days we feel like we have failed.  Those days we want to sit in a corner and hide.  Or crawl back into bed, pull the covers over our heads and shut out the rest of the world.  Why is it we are so hard on ourselves, yet so kind to others.  Why do we not give ourselves more credit?  If only we could look at ourselves through other people’s eyes.  If only we would treat ourselves, the way we treat others.

Encouraging ourselves.  Telling ourselves, “hey!  It’s ok.  You can’t do everything in one day.  You don’t have to be perfect.  You are human!  You are not a machine.  You are not a droid or a clone.  You make mistakes.”  In fact, that is how you learn better!  If we could take the time each day, to find one thing we love about ourselves.  Be proud of what we have accomplished.  

I feel like lately I have had lots of conversations with people who are feeling down.  Having moments they want to cry.  Moments they don’t want to get out of bed or just moments of struggle.  Guess, what?  What if I told you we ALL have these moments?  Yes, even I do!

For those people who know me, who have known me throughout the years either in person or through social media, what if I told you a secret.  What if I told you that I have had these moments.

Yes, I may post statuses on facebook about how my teenager is driving me mad.  How my car was broken down.  How I didn’t want to work in insurance anymore.  But that’s not all.  There are things that I have not shared.  Moments that maybe no one even knows about.  Today, I need to share these moments.  

As a single mom, yes I have complained from time to time about not having money.  I may have felt bad for myself.  But what if I told you there were nights I cried?  Times that I felt sad and lonely.  Times that I cried in bed alone and had pity parties.  Nights I wondered why was I alone.  Nights I felt unworthy of pretty much anything and everything.  I didn’t tell anyone.  I was supposed to be a strong, independent, single woman.  I felt I couldn’t show anyone this side.  I couldn’t show anyone my vulnerability.  I would fight to hide that and get up and put a smile on my face.  I would walk around confident in public because that is what a strong, independent single mother does.

Over the past few months I have really been working through some things.  Dealing with the fact that I am sensitive.  Thinking about the fact that I try to be tough.  That is, until I realized who I was fighting.  It was me!  I was fighting myself!  I wasn’t fighting anyone else but me.  I finally realized that it’s ok to be vulnerable.  It’s ok to feel!  It’s ok to ask for help, to accept help, to feel emotions.  It’s ok to be me.  It doesn’t mean that I’m not strong and independent.  I have proven that for years.  But sometimes being strong means asking for and accepting help.  Sometimes being strong is being vulnerable.  Having the strength to ask for help.  The strength to accept help and the strength to cry, but then get up, wipe your tears and keep going.  

I am not writing this for pity, but for encouragement.  To remind all these strong independent, single women out there to know it’s ok to be vulnerable.  It’s ok to ask for help.  And it’s ok to cry.

 

This is a song by India Arie that always encourages and remind me that I can do anything when I believe in myself.  If you are having a rough day, go ahead and take a listen.

 

 

Knowing Your Worth

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What is speaking the truth?  Speaking my truth?  Speaking your truth? It’s all different.  What is true to me may not be true to you.  But what matters is that we are true to ourselves.  To our true, authentic selves. 
I was out the other night, for drinks and really wanted to go dancing.  Once I got out though, I started to get this anxiety.  I saw different people, some I’m not fond of, and realized that I immediately started hearing voices in my head.  Their voices.  I was imagining what these people were thinking of me.  Whether I was right or wrong, I was imagining them all judging me.  I started looking around the room, I started feeling small, like I wanted to hide away.  Crawl into a corner.  Me!  I always seem so calm and confident.  I am the one who will go to a bar or restaurant alone to enjoy a meal.  I don’t care what people think.  WRONG!  I realized I was sitting here thinking all these people were judging me in some way.  Feeling uncomfortable.  Feeling Insecure.  I started feeling like I wanted to run and hide. Then I talked to myself.  I stopped for a minute and said, “Elissa!  What the hell do you care???? Really?  What if they do think those things??”  I looked around the room again, observing.  Changing my thought patterns.  I started asking myself these questions, who are these people?  How much do they matter to you?  What do their opinions matter? Are these people you want to base your self worth on?  All of a sudden I felt empowered,  for many reasons.  First, I just didn’t care.  If these people were actually thinking these things of me, the ones I had made up in my head, who cares?  They obviously don’t know me.  Who were they to judge me? Then I took it a little further and thought, why am I even here? Yes, I came to meet my niece for a bit.  Yes, I wanted to hear some good music (old school 80’s and 90’s r&b) but really, are these the people, in this room, that I want to base my worth on?  Is this what I want to be doing a week, a month, a year from now?  NO! 
I looked at my just finished drink.  I looked at my tab.  I looked at my surroundings and my situation and thought HELL NO!  This is NOT where I want to be.  This is not how I want to invest my time, my money, my thoughts, my feelings and my energy.  It was like a wake up call.
Now don’t get me wrong, there were people in the room that I like.  People that are very nice, that were just out with a group of friends.  Overall, I do enjoy to go out and dance.  I love going out with my girlfriends and shaking it on the dance floor.  But, in the grand scheme of things, I want so much more out of life!  I could be spending my time and money so much better.  I could be home in bed all cuddled up with…my journal. Lol  Honestly, this is where I would rather be.  In fact, that’s what I came home and did.  Here is a glimpse of what I wrote:

Sometimes we need reminders of where we don’t want to be.  Where we came from.  To let people think what they want to.  Stop caring WTF people think!  Today is my day to say I’m done!  Done with small minds and simple living.  Done with not knowing my worth.  With placing my worth in someone else’s hands.  Done with focusing on a number.  A scale.  Who the F cares??  These people are not important in the grand scheme of things.  Not worth energy or thoughts.  I have so much more to worry about.  To focus on.  Put my energy into.  I can’t be bothered with pettiness.  I want so much more in life.  I need to focus on what I want and need in my life.  I have been so blessed already.  

I realized that I want to do something with my life.  I don’t want to live the day to day, ho hum, everyday 9-5 life.  I want to live!  I need to make a plan to get out!  I need to do something meaningful in this life. Put my time, money and energy into what I love.  Into writing, into people, into making a difference.   I need to stop focusing on losing weight.  Stop focusing on my weight at all and focus on DOING something!  Who cares what I weigh? Move more.  Eat Healthy.  Do things you love!  Dance, Sing, Write, LIVE!!  Let go of the made up critical voices in our heads telling us we aren’t worthy.
I only share this because I KNOW I am not alone.  I know there are plenty of people, (I’m guessing everyone of you has had this experience) with the voices in your head feeding you negative thoughts.  STOP!  Take back your power!  Know your worth!  Start putting your time and energy into you and what you love.  Don’t worry about anyone else.  Just be true to you.  

PHOTO CREDIT:  I do not own the rights to this photo it was found on the internet

Just Like Music

So I recently posted a Blogger’s award and nominated 10 bloggers who I follow and enjoy.  I also asked them several questions about music and decided I wanted to answer them myself.  So here are my answers to the questions I asked.

  1.  What music/musician do you find most influential in your life and why?  

I would have to say India Arie.  I think because her music has always seemed to coincide with my life at that moment.  She was there through dating, break up, to build my confidence, to help me dream, to give me hope, peace, love and beauty.  I love her positivity and I feel like she is true to herself, not trying to please everyone.  I also have to say Tracy Chapman is another fave from back in the day.  I love music that makes you feel and speaks a message

  1.  Do you have a favorite song and why?

I think I have many favorites, it’s hard to pick one.  There are many that describe different times in my life.  Over all, I would say Beautiful Surprise because it is my song for my son.  

  1.  If you could meet one artist (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

I would say India Arie mostly because she is one of my faves. I mean, we’ve been through so much together, even if she didn’t know. lol  (side note confession, I once went to a Tracy Chapman concert and wanted to meet her so bad that when she waved and drove off on the tour bus I cried.  I was embarrassed but I was also just crushed I couldn’t meet her)I did, however, have the opportunity to meet Floetry.  And even get a pic with them. That was cool!  

  1.  What current song would describe your life today?

This has become one of my favorite new songs.  Here – Alessia Cara  I can totally relate to being over it all.

“…I just came to kick it, but really I would rather be

at home all by myself not in this room 

With people who don’t even care about my well-being…”

  1.  What is a song you would consider timeless?

Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going on?” Unfortunately I feel like this song still applies to the world today.  I constantly question what’s going on this world.   

  1.  Do you have a favorite workout song?  Or a song that motivates you in some way?

Purify Me by India Arie.  It doesn’t seem like a workout song so much, but something about that song just makes me feel good!  Strength, Courage and Wisdom  by India Arie also reminds me “it’s been inside of me, all along…”

Well, those are my answers for today.  Of course, music is always changing and growing just like we do.  I really love music and the effects it can have on our attitudes, moods and life in general.  Feel free to answer some of these questions in the comments below or just name a favorite song or musician.  Thanks for reading!

 

Blogger Award

This week Honeyblife nominated me for the Blogger Award – I was honored and excited!  I really enjoy Honeyblife’s blog, she posts on healthy living.  Anything from recipes to advice.  Check her out here Honeyblife!

The rules of this tag-type article that I am doing today:
-Tag the blogger that nominated you
-Answer the questions you were given
-Nominate 10 bloggers
-Name questions for your nominees to answer
-Inform the bloggers you chose that you nominated them!

I would like to nominate the following bloggers because they are some of my favorites:

Answers to the Questions I was asked:

What does a ‘healthy lifestyle’ mean to you?
To me a healthy lifestyle means balance  Balancing work and play  Not going to extremes.  Also eating healthy, non-processed foods, exercising but not to extremes and really enjoying life
What does your ‘healthy lifestyle’ consist of? 
I’m still working at my healthy lifestyle  I am trying to find balance between work, home, exercise, fun, writing/blogging, and being social  I really need to organize my home more but I am trying to workout more so I have let some things go.  I also have been writing more and notice I am not cooking as much as I used to.
What are your current eating habits?
Well, since the new year I am trying to be better at eating “real” foods.  Less processed foods, less simple carbs, etc.  I try to buy organic when possible.  I find that BJ’s has some affordable products.  Also learning which foods you should really buy organic and which ones don’t need to be
What do you wish to achieve or learn more about being healthy?
I would really like to let go of all my issues and thoughts around weight and obsessing over the scale and food  I want to just focus on being healthy, feeling good in my own skin, being a healthy weight and feeling good about myself
Why do/don’t you want to be ‘healthy’? and what is are the constraints of being ‘healthy’?
I think being healthy is physical, mental and spiritual.  I need to be aware of what I am feeding not only my physical body but my mind and spirit as well.  It can be music, negative thoughts, trash tv, they can all affect a healthy person  I think being grateful on a daily basis, prayer and meditation are all a part of being healthy as well  Also, exercising can be good for mental health
Last cheeky question: What do you like or don’t like about my blog and what would you like to see more of, or improvement on? 
I really enjoy your blog.  I like how you have a combination of all different aspects of health.  I just started following so I’m not sure what else I would like to see, but I really enjoy it.

 

Given the recent passing of David Bowie and Glenn Frey (from the Eagles) I want to focus on music.  Also just because I love music.  I wasn’t a huge fan of either, not that I didn’t like them, I think my taste just differs a bit.  Anyways, here are my questions:

1.  What music/musician do you find most influential in your life and why? 
2.  Do you have a favorite song and why?
3.  If you could meet one artist (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
4.  What current song would describe your life today?
5  What is a song you would consider timeless?
6  Do you have a favorite workout song?  Or a song that motivates you in some way?

I may have to blog about these myself!  Thank you again for the nomination and I look forward to seeing everyone’s post!

Blogging, biking and balance

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So here I am. At the gym.  Really don’t want to be, but since I’m on week 3 of the new year, I know I need to.  I started to fall off a bit.  Most likely it was because I am that “all or nothing” gal.  I get all Gung ho and burn myself right out.  Sometimes I forget to balance things out.  That is what I really need to work on.  So many things I want to start doing so I try to do them all.  Here is a summary of my workouts so far.

Week 1 – I exercised 7 days (gym or walked)
Week 2 – I was at the gym 4 days
Week 3 – I was at the gym 2 days out of 4

All weekend I felt exhausted and lazy.  I also feel like I’m coming down with a cold. I’m pretty sure that it’s because I haven’t been drinking enough water.  I’ve been eating healthy and I’m down 5 lbs so far.  I even had my first skinny day.  You know those days when you just feel skinny, even if you don’t look any more skinny than you were the day before?  Yet when you over do it or try to do everything at once it can sometimes backfire.
Story of my life.  Almost 38 and I’ve still yet to learn balance.  Some lady actually caught me journaling in the sauna this weekend  *embarrassing*. She said it was great that I could do that. I told her I think it’s because sometimes I don’t know how to slow down.  I’m always trying to multitask. I literally have to tell myself it’s OK to do nothing.  I find myself trying to fit everything in.  I mean even now I’m on the elliptical typing this. Obviously I’m not moving too fast but I’m moving.   As an Aries, I often forget that sometimes slow and steady wins the race.  I have to remind myself to breathe, to close my eyes, slow down my mind and feel life.  Stop wishing it away.  Stop plowing through.   It’s actually like the exercise.    Did you know that you actually burn fat at a slower level than cardio? While cardio is good for your heart, the rate your body burns fat is actually slower.  Even your body needs to slow down to get ahead sometimes.   Some days your body needs rest.  Time to heal.  Time to take a deep breath and get it together so you can move ahead.
I can hear the spin class going on next door. Last week I completed a spin class for the first time in years.  Spinning is no joke.  I have a love hate relationship with it but I think I did it as more of a challenge to myself.  To prove to myself I could do it.  I did.  It was definitely not fun at first but then you challenge yourself to push through.   It felt good to know I could do it.  This week, however, I’m lucky I even got here.  I really only came for the sauna.  And right now I’m only on the bike so I can finish this blog.
Now that I look back at the fact that I have made it to the gym two out of four days, that pretty darn good.  I’ll take 50%.
Over all it has been a good week, and hey, I made it! Maybe my body starting to feel sick is a reminder to slow down.  I’m in this for the long haul.  Stop rushing and enjoy the moment.

*photo credit – I do not own rights to photo it was found on the Internet

My Son, My World (anxieties of a mother)

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One month from today my son turns 18. (Less now as I meant to post this the 14th)  This may be the most difficult year yet.  One minute I find myself in tears, grieving that his childhood is over.  My baby will be a young man.  The next minute I’m ready to kill him because I have asked him 5 times this week to take out the Christmas tree!  Oh yes, Mr. Independant, when he wants to be.  I can do it myself since he was 2.  Actually he was only 18 months when he learned to work the VCR because he would repeatedly watch the Lion King.  Of course he ignores my texts when I ask if his school work is done, have college apps been completed and did you make it to school on time this morning?  If I need to know something there is always a delay or pause in texting, but as soon as he wants something it’s the 70 thousand texts in a row followed up by a “????” text if i have not responded promptly enough.
Oh yes, it’s a fine line between teenage boy and young man.
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Wanting to do it all is great until it means they have to put down the video game controls and make themselves something to eat.  Fend for themselves through the kitchen and the diet consists of waffles out of the freezer or tortilla chips with a little cheese on top tossed in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Yes, its the that will hold me over til mom gets home and cooks meal.   I know it doesn’t help that I spoil my only child.  And yes, I’m a sucker.  My baby boy.  There is no such thing as mac and cheese in a box in this house, only from scratch for my Pooky bear.  He’s lucky I love to cook and feed people.  I will admit I spoil him.  He is my only one and for the last about to be 18 years he has been my world.  I mean I wasn’t much older than him when I had him.  I have dedicated the better part of my life to rasing him, protecting him, and providing for him.
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Maybe that is why my anxiety about him turning 18 is starting to kick in.  Maybe I’m scared he’s going to be all grown up and not need mommy anymore, but I know that’s not true.  He’s not going to turn 18 and walk out the door forever.  Maybe I’m scared that I have to get a life of my own.  I have been saying that for years and now it’s starting to happen.  I mean it has slowly happened, but as a parent, you never quite let go.  I know my parents still check in on me.  Maybe I’m scared of letting go.  The idea that he’s going to be able to make all these big decisions on his own.  That I’m going to have to let him.  I don’t doubt he’s fully capable of many decisions he will make.  In fact, he’s very capable of many things.  He is a very smart, confident, young man.   Not perfect, (but pretty damn close), and handsome. image

Whenever we have discussions, he always impresses me with his response.  He always has logical answers.  He is kind and compassionate.  I know he has well thought out decision making skills even when I think he is slacking.  He’s also pretty good at a little BS now and then too.
No, it isn’t that I don’t have faith in him making it.  Do I have fears?  YES!  I’m a parent, I can think up every imaginable, conveluded, crazy, psychotic scenario in my mind that could happen.  But maybe, I’m more scared for me.  Maybe it’s my fears of what will I do without him?  Yes, I know, I have so many dreams I have put on hold.  Yes, everyone says enjoy it because time flies by so fast.  Well guess what?  Those people are so right!  It’s like one day you are complaining about sports practices and band concerts and all of a sudden it’s like his whole childhood has flashed before my eyes.  Like you’re watching a movie.  Like all of a sudden you really understand what Jim Croce meant when he sang If I could save time in a bottleIt’s the strangest feeling.  So many mixed emotions.  Proud of the young man he is becoming yet sad and nostalgic, mourning for the boy he was.
I was texting with my best friend of about 30 years the other day, trying to explain my anxieties. It was interesting to know that she had been feeling similar because her baby is about to be 1 and she doesn’t plan to have anymore.  She shared a quote with me that helps her feel a little better.

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http://savvysavingcouple.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/back-cover-of-If-I-Could-Keep-You-little.jpg

Turns out it’s a book for parents. (And kids I guess) I’m really hoping this will get easier once his birthday comes.  I have spoken to a few friend of mine, so I know I’m not alone.  Several moms who have already experienced this have forewarned me of graduation and events to come.  They have also volunteered to be a shoulder to cry on or to lend an ear.  I know there are many more experiencing it right along with me.
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As I write this, I received a text that the christmas tree has finally been taken out and the dishes put away.  I won’t bore you with the details of how the xbox cord was confiscated some where in between and I snuck off to the gym for some me time.  As my heart teeters from irritablitly to love and back again.
No, I’m really not worried about what he will do with his life or who he will be, because whatever he does, he will be great at it.  I know I will be fine as I let him grow into the man he is becoming, and I may even enjoy my new found freedom.  I know we will both be okay.  He will still want me to cook him a grilled cheese (or 3) because, “it just tastes so much better when you make it mom!”  (I told you he can BS)  He will still kiss me on the cheek when we part ways and tell me he loves me everytime we hang up the phone.  He will still be my spoiled mamas boy, my pooky bear, and my world.
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DOWN WITH DIETS

We are barely one week into the new year and already I’m sick of hearing about diets!  It seems like somehow everywhere I go, the conversation turns into diet.  Green tea is the best, don’t drink coffee, drink one cup of coffee, cut out carbs, you need some carbs, grrrrr!!  I’m over it already!  First off, having struggled with weight loss for years, I know what to do.  I hate to tell you this, but most of the time, the people who are always trying to lose weight, actually know how to.  We have done every diet out there!  We have done Weight Watchers, Atkins, the grapefruit diet, the 2 day diet, the 17 day diet, the eat clean diet, and the list goes on.  I am over it!  Can I just say it one more time??  I’M OVER IT!

I don’t want to talk about diet anymore.  Yes, thank you for your encouragement, your support, and your offer to help me, but really, I’ve done this how many times?  I know what to do!  I know I need to stop eating crap.  I know I need to get my butt off the couch and move.  I know I should watch my portions, eat more veggies and drink more water.  I know I should cut out refined sugars, eat more fiber, do more cardio and tone with weights.  

Here is the thing, I know what to do! I may even want to do it!  But I have to do it.  People can encourage and support me. Yes, that does help.  But regardless what anyone says or does, it is my decision.  It’s something I have to do.  And even if I know what to do, even if I want to do it, I have to do it!  I have to want to do it!  Sometimes just because you want to do something, you REALLY WANT to do something, you still don’t do it!  Sometimes it takes getting out of your own way.  Sometimes it takes stepping on the scale to see that number gone too far up or not fitting into those pants you just wore last month for your brain to say “OK!  ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”  Sometimes it’s overwhelming to think about all the weight you want to lose, all the things you should be doing and all the time it could take to get to where you want to be.  So you have to stop dieting and start living healthy.  Stop looking at everything you need to take away and look at what you can add, or what you can have more of.  More veggies, more water, more moving.  Look at the little things you can change.  Look at the whole picture.  Add more of what you love.  Dance around your living room, sing loudly, write a poem, take a walk.  Whatever you love, add more of it to your life.  Just make small changes that you can live with for most of your life.  

I know for me, I’m done with diets.  I decided with the new year that every diet book I have in my house I am getting rid of.  I know what to do, I just need to decide to do it.  If I stop and think about how I feel when I eat something, if it makes me feel good, then I will have it.  I know that if I sit and eat a big bowl of homemade mac and cheese I will feel heavy and tired after.  So maybe I will have a bite or two and then fill my tummy with chicken and veggies.  I know some days will be harder than others, but I am done with diets.  I don’t want to hear about them anymore.  I’ve spent about 20 years worrying about dieting and losing weight instead of living healthy.   I refuse to continue this cycle.  From now on down with diets for me, I will be living healthy.