Many billions of years ago this celestial object we now know as planet earth came about. It is believed - and for good reason - that the human species originated in Africa thus making the Black man the original inhabitant of the world as we know it. The genetic makeup of the original man consisted of amino acids and cells that polymerized making a pigment that is now one of the most popular hashtags in social media: #melanin.
I’m not a scientist, so I can’t go much further into an explanation as to why our skin has the beautiful color it does but what I do know is, this is a part of all of us. It is who we are, it is how we are identified and it is more than a ploy to get likes on Instagram, twitter, snapchat and Facebook.
Whether your skin resembles a smooth buttercream or a bold dark velvet you should be proud of who you are. Unfortunately for our community, for many years the absence of high melanin levels caused a significant division based on superficial values, deep lying insecurities and of course the need to be accepted by American society at large. The “dark girl” stigma seems to have taken a backseat to the new embrace of our pigmented skin, however, this new “movement” comes with some questionable motives.
My skin is literally identical to a brown Crayola crayon, so yes I have heavily pigmented skin however there are many people that are darker than me by a few to several shades. Regardless, growing up I never had a problem with not having fine hair and lighter skin. This is how I was born and how I would die and I was okay with that. Like most people the older I grew the more aware of self I became and this only led to further acceptance outside, inside and every way around. I would like to think that this is the cause for the social media black is beautiful hype but knowing our generation this may not be the case. In May 2015, The Washington Post reported the number of fatal police shootings at 400 with two thirds of the victims being Black and Hispanic. Along with this fact and the historical prevalence of racism in the institution we call America I get why Black people want to take a stand. In a society, that beats us down and seeks to teach our children self hate I get why we want to praise the very and only things that separates us from others. I’m all for it.
On another note, with all this pride, we start to once again self destruct but just in a different way. Now that its “in” to embrace the skin that our people have had since the beginning of time and the hair that grew from our roots kinky and curly some of us start to pass judgment on others because of our personal choices. So because now you woke up one day and decided to be enlightened of this beauty that you’ve had all along I’m supposed to lay down my relaxer in the way I choose to manage my hair? No thanks, return to sender. You can have your twist out I’ll take my Mizani and we can both embrace who we are as sisters in our ways.
Please don’t get my words confused. I wake up every morning with brown eyes that take a look at my beautiful skin that holds my soul that exemplifies my culture. I appreciate my skin because it represents Black women and everything that we are; strength, power, intelligence, resourcefulness. These are all qualities in our blood. So if you are going to claim your black is beautiful and your melanin is on “fleek” do so because thats what you feel not because you’re imitating your homegirl or you need to up your likes to become the next social media sensation. I’m sorry but, this is not a fad, it is not a trend and its not a reason to go buy more foundation to show off your beat. We were blessed with a special ingredient that not everyone has - let’s be appreciative, lets be respectful and lets flaunt it with true gratitude. ‘Cause I don’t know about ya’ll but my melanin been popping since ’93 - I’m not new to this I'm true to this!
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged last, too long actually. Bet you can’t guess why, but then again the title of this post might give it away just a bit. One might wonder why with all the thoughts that go on in my head wouldn’t I be able to kick out some blog material – the answer to that question is simple: No, because I am an overthinker to a debilitating level.
A normal day for me consists of, but not exclusive to, playing random scenarios in my head continuously. Good scenarios, bad scenarios, most of the time unlikely scenarios. Now really, imagine how much brainpower that takes. The problem with overthinking is that it creates issues that aren’t real and aren’t necessary. Exhibit A, when writing this post I erased the previous sentence 7 times before deciding it was acceptable. Therein lies the first problem in which every overthinkers face: wasted time.
If overthinkers calculated the time they spent pondering about making a decision or not, whether big or small, we would probably have enough time to produce and begin to flesh out a handful of other ideas. Our mind’s race and become trapped in a maze of thoughts. Remember those maze puzzles in coloring books from childhood? That’s what an overthinker’s mind looks like when trying to figure sh*t out. So time consuming. Almost like a game of probability. If I do this, this will happen. If this happens maybe I can do that. If this doesn’t happen, what will happen? What will I do? It’s a struggle to overcome this vicious cycle of not squandering my time with “what ifs” and using it more wisely to invest into the necessary contemplation that will surely come.
The brain is such a powerful machine it’s amazing. We have the ability to reflect on the past and make conscious decision based on our experience to better our future. If you are anything like me, your experience is relatively rich if not up to par with where you are in life currently. Having tools such as wisdom and education only broaden your mind giving your thoughts a greater playing field. To some this may seem ideal. To an overthinker we know this can be toxic. Ignorance truly is bliss and sometimes I wish I knew a little less. Less knowledge = less thoughts = less things to stress about. That equation shows problem number 2: stress.
According to Popular Science, when you are stressed your body release hormones that are known as the “fight or flight” response. Your system reacts as if you were in danger; releasing hormones, amping up your blood pressure and heart rate, etc.
So think about it…these hypothetical not to mention unlikely situations are causing your body to work overtime therefore setting you back and off track to your end goal of solving the problem at hand. Of course it’s known that there is good stress and bad stress but in my book of categories debilitating overthinking falls under bad. Interview jitters, finding a first date outfit, all that is good stress. Bad stress puts wear and tear on both your physical and mental life. This my friend, is not good.
Exhibit B, in this moment my breathing isn’t as smooth as it should be. I’m working up the stress of getting this right, which is speeding up my mind and thoughts to an incomprehensible speed. I have a strong desire to express my experience as an overthinker while trying help myself and my readers reflect on this problem and work towards solving it. My desire to do this is strong yet I’m uneasy about it because of the possibility I may not communicate what I intend to. There I have presented you with the third and fourth problems overthinkers are plagued with: anxiety and self-doubt.
Cognitive Health Group puts all this under a greater term of “unhealthy worry.” Now my degree isn’t in medicine so I’m not saying this has any medical validity. However, I am saying that my process is what I have so far mentioned. It seems that over time my obsessive thinking has only gotten worse. My obsession with “figuring out the future” has reached a level that even sparks rumination, or obsessive thinking of past events as it relates to what may come. Maybe if I didn’t do that 4 years ago, what I’m working on now would’ve been easier because this wouldn’t have happened. A lot of should’ve, would’ve could’ve in the lives of us overthinkers. What I am sure of though, is that all these thoughts can put a hurting on anyone’s little brain. No matter how old, how wise, how smart or how strong you are everyone needs a rest. I’ve noticed that since my yoga practice has become a little lax my serenity and ability to quiet my mind has followed suit. This post may have seemingly made a sudden turn into a “why you should do yoga” type of thing but its not.
The moral of the story is though some people may have medically diagnosable anxiety disorders I for one do believe in the power of the mind. I would never disrespect anyone with mental disorder(s) by hinting my twisted over thought process to be an actual illness. For me the problem is that my overthinking is debilitating because it causes self-doubt. For others the bottom line may be different. As with any problem in life, its important to recognize it start to understand it and what triggers it and seek to find healthy solutions. Back to yoga it is!
The word of the day folks is – say it with me – carcinogen. This is a little substance that can cause cancer and it is found in many products that we use on a daily basis. Yet, somehow the FDA and the other organizations set in place to assure quality products for human consumption let them role right through. Isn’t it lovely to know the government has our best interest at heart, yeah I know.
Toothpaste, cleaning and some food products, all have been proven to contain many cancer-causing agents – all of which can be found in our homes. From a logical standpoint, I’m sure there is some type of loop hold as to why the government allows these brands to continue use of these ingredients. Probably some bull about how the amount is so minute it can’t even really be proven through testing, they use that one a lot. Since the government isn’t going to look out for us its time we take things into our own hands. Be our own eyes and ears to the products we purchase and consume. I have decided to start with deodorant. I have made the vow to put down the Powder fragranced Dove deodorant to detox my body of its chemicals in preparation for a healthier option.
In preparation for my detox I did lots of research to guide my journey – understanding why I’m doing it, what I’m avoiding and what the experience was of others who embarked on this before I had. In this research I learned a number of things.
1. The government talks in circles regarding tricky subjects and can be very indirect. This may not be news but it certainly acted as a reminder. Using terms like may, studies show, some research all so they can cover themselves when it comes out that deodorant and anti-perspirants do indeed have a direct correlation with breast cancer.
2. There is a difference between Anti-Perspirant and Deodorant. Global Healing Center says that most people use the two interchangeably however they are different. The difference between these two products lies in the process thought the goal of smelling socially acceptable remains the same.
Anti-perspirant: prevents sweating from occurring Deodorant: allow perspiration and block odor
One hinders a natural process (sweating) from happening while the other masks the process. Still in all, both products contain aluminum as an active ingredient, which is proven to be harmful.
3. Deodorant is a major endocrine disruptor. The thing is just about in life ever is an ED, its scary. I actually want to just crawl under a rock – oh gosh, here comes the anxiety. Truthfully, in today’s society so many things we consume are contrived and toxic its hard to make the decision to be healthy. The way I see it, it’s a matter of picking your battles a lesson we’ve all learned at some point in life. For me, deodorant is a battle not too compromising to my convenience and a battle that is indeed possible to defeat so I started here.
Here’s how it works. We shave our pits right? Whether we are aware or not often times we leave unnoticeable nicks behind which allows the chemicals to either seep through our skin or sneak in through openings and screw up our hormonal balances which is kept under control by our endocrine system. Let’s go folks, this is basic junior high school health class stuff.
4. What the heck triclosan is. Triclosan is used as an antibacterial agent, another ED that potential affects estrogen receptors directly (ProtectYourBreasts.org). Estrogen feeds cancer cells in the breast helping them grow and guess what happens then? One hundred dollars to anyone who can guess! Luckily for us triclosan is in lots of products that we use on a daily basis. YAY! Triclosan you rock!
Overall, I learned that the MAJOR KEY to helping yourself get cancer is deodorant. Obviously I’m aware that people have used deodorants their whole lives have not one drop of cancer in site however, I am also aware that the increasing number of cancer victims and survivors has risen to a number that gives me serious anxiety. As a logical thinker and intellectual I can only conclude that our society’s overconsumption of chemically based products has grown hence why the number in cancer cases have as well.
As daunting as it may seem I will be going 30 days without deodorant. Good deal actually, I’ll be done before the real heat hits - looks like the armpit gods were on my side. Putting on my resourceful hat I decided there has to be a way I can do this without smelling grotesque so I came up with the idea of toting baby wipes/wash cloth to do the occasional hour wash up. No pain, no gain. This is my one-week mark and 3 more to go. I’ve been smelling better than expected and when expressing this to my friends they were nothing but supportive, I have the receipts to prove it:
The moral of that anecdote: let your haters be your motivators.
I’ll be back with Detox Diaries Part Deux with my progress, medical professional feedback, and much more.
We know her from Eve’s Bayou, Waist Deep, You Got Served, Video Girl and Jumping the Broom just to name a few films. We know him, widely as Meagan Good’s husband (if you aren’t super in tuned with film industry), but formally as producer and preacher. Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin, a beautiful couple, came together with their co-author Tim Vandehey to share their journey to love and how they achieved it through their practice of The Wait. They are a delightful example of Black love and excellence and if you haven’t read the book yet you should. Besides exploring a powerful practice for finding love, you will get a great love story and hope that your significant other is somewhere in the universe just waiting to find you as you are them.
If that doesn’t sell you, then think of it this way:
Who Doesn’t Appreciate An Amazing Love Story
When I cracked open the book for the first I was at one of my favorite cafes here in LA and there I was sitting on the sidewalk eating my food with tears filling my eyes. By the time I read that DeVon told Meagan “God doesn’t show your heart to everyone, only ones he can trust it with,” I needed a box of Kleenex. The introduction alone had me drawn in after just one paragraph. I’m a rom-com kind of gal so this happily-ever-after story was one for the books, no pun intended. Hearing the background of these two love birds was like watching The Notebook, except the story is real! Knowing that there are men alive who are wise enough to know there is more to a woman than what meets the eye is refreshing. The genuine love journey of these two people is inspiring and reassuring that there is love out there for everyone even in a society - and a generation - that have some warped outlooks on relationships as a whole.
If nothing else, now you know where to go look for eligible guys in LA: Sherman Oaks Galleria, House of Blues, etc. These two places have been graced with the presence of Meagan and DeVon’s divine love so they must be good luck!
2. You Want to Find YOUR Husband Not A Husband Although the perspective of marriage has shifted tremendously over the years in our society (as I discuss in a previous post) there are still many of us who do value the sacred union. In the book, Good and Franklin explore the difference between A husband - some guy you find, think you love and marry - as opposed to YOUR husband - the man God has designed specifically for you even if he is not the man you envisioned. If you look deep enough, you will find answers - or at least provoking thoughts - as to why so many people marry only to divorce a short time later. Let me give you a hint, the answer is in Chapter 5: What Keeps Women From Waiting? It has something to do with who you choose to marry - do you want to marry anyone or do you want to marry “your partner in purpose.”
3. Woman Being Celibate, Not A Huge Surprise…But When A Man Is Celibate As described in Chapter 6: What Keeps Men From Waiting?, men are “not exactly a group of people associated with an eagerness to go without sex.” There are many reasons for this that are explored in this chapter which I find increasingly refreshing. Men and celibacy is not something that is talked about as much as it should be which leaves it in the dark corner of topics with a stigma and double standards. If a woman can be celibate and its fine then why can’t a man be as well without being homosexual or less than a man? We live in a twisted society thats why. Nevertheless, we hear from Franklin firsthand in regards to his celibacy journey and why men are so hesitant to take such a stand.
4. You’ll Learn How NOT To Wait If you are someone who is already considering or have made the decision to ‘wait’ the book gives strict guidelines as to what you want to avoid in every aspect of your life when embarking on the journey. For women especially, we have a chapter all for us that explores not only societal but internal issues which all stop us from doing the best thing for us in the name of Jesus. Whether its fear of losing your man, your friends or looking inferior to the next woman, actively reading this text will truly open you up to new perspectives and get you on the right path to choosing you and the life that you deserve.
5. Everything Makes Sense From Both Religious and Logical Standpoints
Now if you don’t know the Lord, are not interesting in knowing Him or are indifferent this book is still for you, I promise. Understand that this is a self-help book however, it is also an anecdotal memoir as well. These are two people who are being incredibly transparent with their readers in regards to the method they took to find their love. At no point in this book is it preachy or condescending. It’s simply a message from them to you spreading the word. Yes ‘the wait’ is ultimately about sacrificing for God - pleasing him in every way so that you can see more clearly His divine path for you BUT much of the practice is about finding self. True self-awareness is the key to many things in life, as I so advocate for in many of my posts. If you continue “dating with infatuation,” “ignoring your triggers,” and being obsessed with “instant gratification” there is a chance that you will never reach your full potential because you don’t know self, due to cloudy judgement. Even if you do get there it may take longer as the book so eloquently explains. In the text they compare it to dieting but I’ll compare it to driving with a dirty windshield. If you're driving and your windshield is dirty (and trust me I know because I’m often times too lazy to refill my wiper fluid) it’s going to be a true b*tch to get anywhere. Your glass is foggy, the sun glares off the dust, even your windshield blind area isn’t much help. You may arrive to your destination but trust and believe the journey there is going to be a lot more dangerous, if not fatal, than if you would have just cleaned it off. Same thing goes for your life with ‘the wait’.
6. Implements The Importance of Sacrifice Sacrifice is something that is unavoidable if you plan to live a fruitful life - and by fruitful I don’t mean only monetarily. If you want a successful relationship you will have to sometimes sacrifice your selfish ways for the common good of the both you and your significant other. If you want to be a good parent sometimes you will have to sacrifice your time to truly invest in your child. If you want a successful career you will need to sacrifice time, money, and so much more to achieve your #goals. Sacrifice is indeed the name of the game and in reading The Wait you will see the power that sacrifice possesses in life.
7. The Wait Helps You With A Successful Personal AND Professional Life Especially nowadays with social media, we are even more obsessed with glitz, glam and finer things. Some of us opt for the easy way out and some of us don’t mind grinding for it, like the Clipse song. Chapter 6 says, “Business has more in common with the discipline of The Wait than men realize.” On a personal level, sacrificing and working on self is supposed to help you find the one. If you take these same principles and apply them to your professional life you will get similar results just in a different aspect. Working on self, your brand, and your product/service will bring you the customers or followers that you want: relevant, loyal and grateful ones.
8. How To Date Whether Or Not You Are “Waiting” This is a commitment if I ever heard one. It can’t be easy to give up something that is so forefront in society that we think we need, but some people may not recognize their true strength. Needless to say I’ve recommended this book to every person I’ve talked to over the past weeks and some of those people were receptive but some were uninterested. The uninterested ones posed questions about what they’d get out of the wait, or what makes the authors credible, as well as comments about sex being too important to live without. If you are one of those people there is still a message in this book for you. Again, about self-awareness, you will be provided with new perspectives that will act as a mirror for who you are as a dater and what you are doing wrong. To speak in more positive terms what you can do better as a dater. Each time I looked at a new chapter I thought, Oh my gahhhh, this chapter is speaking directly to me - especially Chapters 2 & 5. There is very much a Steve Harvey’s Think Like A Man, Act Like A Lady vibe to this book in that it urges you to look within - its starts with you homegirl. So when you go out on a date with that guy, do you have to wear that? And if you do wear that can you really be upset if he’s significantly interested in screwing you? Are you dating with infatuating without truly getting to know him? Are you having sex with him before you know if you even really like him? Are you having sex with him because you believe whole heartedly in the saying “what you won’t do another woman will? I know you can relate to at least one of those questions in your dating life and the fixes to all those problems are right in this little book.
9. When You Want To Know “What Do I Do Next?” They’ll Tell You Say you are already celibate, or newly celibate dating may seem like a complex gray area to you. Nope not at all. Dating while celibate and maintaining celibacy in a relationship are both covered right in between the hard covers of this book. Fret no more when you are ready to mingle with the opposite sex but are unsure of how to go about it and stay true to your commitment. In a relationship and want to break it to your significant other, they’ll tell you how.
10. Who Doesn’t Love Genuine Advice From Genuine People In reading The Wait, if you do so with an open mind/heart, there is no way you will walk away empty handed whether you agree with the practice or not. “One of the keys to practicing The Wait is giving up sex,” however with a thorough read you will see that its not solely about the physical but more about how mental strength can help you reach potential in life, of course by their experience, with the help of the Lord. Having the luxury of meeting the couple and getting two autographed copies of the book, for my self and my best friend, their love for one another, the Lord they serve and passion to help others shined through. Its both refreshing and inspiring to see such a beautiful love story knowing that if you do at least half of what they have done you can too find YOUR true love. So what are you waiting for?! This book has been out since February 2nd so that means you are officially late to the party…go buy the book. It’s not about getting a book its about getting your life! So go snatch that book and go snatch the life that you deserve!
5 Reasons You Want to Have the Right Friends In Your Corner
In boxing when both opponents go to the sidelines to recuperate, they have their entourage to encourage, uplift and ensure their stability. You are a boxer in the rough game of life and your entourage should be just as strong. If there was someone apart of a boxer’s team that didn’t contribute to getting them getting that belt I can guarantee that person wouldn't be there for much longer. You should be just as selective and critical about your entourage, especially if you want to achieve the belt and become a heavy weight in life. (of course I mean that in the most figurative way possible, because we all wanna be snatched and tight…not overweight). So if this boxing analogy wasn’t enough reason to be more picky about who you allow into your circle perhaps some further explanation will.
Friends Can Hold You Back. Sometimes people are in your circle and they are doing you no good. This is not to shade anyone because sometimes neither one of you realize that its happening. If you have friends that are constantly holding you back, there’s no way you can progress. Maintaining these types of dysfunctional relationships will be like playing a board game where you always land on ‘go back 2 spaces’. Its fun, and even though your progress is being impeded on its “not that bad” because you get some laughs a long the way. Let me be the first to tell you, it is that bad. Anyone who isn’t contributing to your growth in some way, isn’t someone you want to be associating with closely. If they aren't contributing positively then there is a slight chance they can be nurturing unwanted negativity - the very negativity we should avoid when seeking growth.
Friends Can Influence & Inspire You. Everyone has someone they look up to - whether it is an older sibling, celebrity, or a parent. When you surround yourself with kings and queens your role models can be the very people you call friends, what’s better than that? If your friends are focused and on a path somewhere you can’t help but to respect their hustle. If you were smart you would recognize their moves and understand that for you to progress you need to focus on your path just as they do there’s. After all, you wouldn’t want your friends to glow up with out you, now would you? Each person has their own toolbox to aid in what they are trying to build, but if you have no concept or blueprint you probably won’t even have tools. You want to surround yourself with people who have tools or they could very well lead you to a tool-less life as well. When choosing the right company - those who have a clear path - you can use each other as a motivation and even as resources. When you see those you love doing great things its only natural that you recognize the same greatness in yourself. Let your friends excellence rub off on you.
Friends Who Don’t Have A Path or Vision Can’t Respect Yours. Every organism on earth has a purpose. Unfortunately, not every being taps into that purpose. As someone with a concept of purpose and the goals to reach yours, you do not want to be caught up with those who have no concept of greater reasons for existence. Associating with people who aren’t interested in purpose could have several potential affects 1. They will ignore your growth and the growth of others similar to you 2. They will make light of your growth and the pursuance of your goals by joking about it and trying to make it seem trivial or silly OR 3. Discourage you with negativity. You can’t expect someone who doesn’t have your vision, or a vision of their own, understand why you make the decisions you do today to affect your tomorrow. Plus, we all know the saying misery loves company. Sometimes the “friends” that are holding you back are unaware however there are times when they are intentionally malicious and demons in disguise. They want you to be just as purposeless as you are so don’t let them dull your shine baby girl. Don’t expect them to understand why you do what you do, they won’t get it and its fine because they don’t have to.
Friends Who Don’t Know Where They Are Going Can’t Lead You To Greatness. Let’s say you are not yet at the place where you know what you want to do, who you want to be, and why you want to be that. We all get to our enlightenment at different times, in different ways so that’s not the issue. The issue is, if you don’t know and your friends don’t know you all are going to be two people floating around with no direction and no clue. Think of it as a cross country road trip with no GPS. You may have heard the route but you’re not exactly sure so you're bound to get lost one way or another.
Friends Who Are In Need Will Drain Your Energy. As mentioned in #4, if your friends don’t know where they are going you being the amazing person you are, you will feel so inclined to be of help to them. While this is honorable, helping someone find their purpose in life while you are still trying to solidify yours is a full time job with overtime! Especially if that person isn’t as interested in their well-being as you are. It is your duty as a friend to be of help and a shoulder to lean on but if you aren’t whole yourself you can’t possibly help someone else. These are your selfish years after all and no one - friends, family, significant others - should be allowed to steal the energy you have to invest in self for any reason.
If nothing else treat your circle like you would treat your weave: selective of the quality, keep it tight and take extra care to keep it healthy. No matter how many times it is debated, the people you hang around not only influence you but also reflect you. With the right people by your side you can go nowhere but up because they won’t let you fall by the way side. They know the value of vision. They know the value of purpose and they know the value of you and will never let you forget it. Drake said it best, “its good to make it, better when your people make it with you.”