Today I stood still for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. It was a long 8 minutes and 46 seconds. I committed to the 8 minutes and 46 seconds in honor of a man that I did not know. I did it in honor of many men and women whom I did not know, but who have perished in similar ways. During those 8 minutes and 46 seconds I thought about how terrifying it must be to spend at least half of that time pleading for the most basic necessity and seemingly human right, the ability to breathe.
A few days ago, I couldn’t breathe. It wasn’t because someone had a knee on my neck, but it was because I was in a group discussion about someone else having a knee on their neck, which led to the discussion of several men and women, specifically black men and women, black like me, who have died at the hands of the very people who are supposed to protect. It has been happening for years.
Many of us thought that 2020 would be much better than it has been so far. Coronavirus, murder hornets, threats of war had us all rethinking that. Now the blatant reminders of the undying racism in this country are here to further rub salt in the wounds that the other traumas have left. It has got to get better.
We can pretend to be blind to the fact that in 2020 racism still exists, but I’d only be lying to myself if I did that because I have experienced it firsthand on numerous occasions. It has got to get better.
Police brutality, even if one were to factor out race, is a huge problem that needs to be fixed. A lot of people have died at the hands of police when death wasn’t necessary. The 8 minutes and 46 seconds that an officer had his knee on the neck of a man lying face down on the ground with his hands handcuffed behind his back was more than excessive. It has got to get better. There are too many names to name, however I will name one of the men who have been the topic of many conversations recently, Mr. George Floyd. My heart aches for you and your family.
The past several months have been very trying. I’m very close to my mother and now the doctors have lost all faith that she has longer than a few weeks left to live. I’m holding on, reaching, grasping for anything that might prove them wrong. My mother is a fighter. In the meantime, my sister and I have to fight for her until she is well enough to fight for herself. Unfortunately, my already shaky finances have suffered even more because it is difficult to physically care for someone who can’t care for themselves and go to work at the same time. To add insult to injury, I woke up this morning to see that my car had been repossessed in the middle of the night. It’s rough.
Back in August, I wrote a post about staying motivated during hard times. I need my own words now more than ever. To all the caregivers out there, just know that you’ll make it. I know how hard it is.
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Update: On January 9, 2020 just before dawn, my mother took her last breath. It is still hard for me to breathe sometimes knowing that she is gone. I will carry on.
UPDATE 02/20/2020: On January 9, 2020, my mother took her last breath. It is hard to move forward without her. I will, though.
UPDATE 12/17/2019: Since initially writing this post some things have changed. Doctors have lost faith that my mother will fully recover, however, my family and I are still trying to keep hope alive. As of writing this, my car was repossessed due to non-payment because of days I missed from work to care for my mother. If you feel it in your heart at all, or if you would just like to support this blog, please donate to my PayPal or CashApp using the links below. Thank you.
This is something that I’d normally post on my health blog fit2bemyself.blogspot.com. However, I figured this is a message that could apply here, too.
Life gets tough sometimes. And it is in those tough times that it is most important to take care of yourself. Speaking from experience, one of the most stressful and emotionally draining things that a person can experience in their life is watching their loved one decline and face the possibility of them dying due to health problems, some of which could have been prevented with a little more self-care.
For the past several weeks, I’ve eaten more than my share of hospital vending machine food, as if I needed any additional inconveniences to make eating healthier difficult. Watching a life deteriorate while trying to maintain my own life and bring up a child’s life is hard. Add to that financial troubles that make going to my favorite fitness classes nearly impossible. My haircare has also fallen by the wayside. How do you stay committed through all that?
Well, the good news is that things have turned around for my mother and her health has improved. My overall diet has not, but I have made a commitment to staying active, even when I can’t go to my pole dancing class or I’m not in the mood to go to spin. I hit my step goals on a more regular basis now. I try to hit my water goals every day. I take my multivitamin and probiotics every day.
Overall, this entire ordeal has made me look at life from a different perspective. My current job situation has made me more appreciative of what I’ve had before and more humble about what I currently have. I’m just glad to be alive. Today I am going to work a little harder on the hair care aspect of my self-care because both my hair and my psyche definitely deserve it. However, despite the obstacles I face attending fitness classes, I have no excuse not to move, especially since I am physically able to do so.
Ways to help maintain/achieve good health:
Stay hydrated – Drink at least 64oz of water daily but aim for half of your body weight in ounces. It makes sense because our bodies are 40-60% water.
Get plenty of sleep – Aim for 8 uninterrupted hours every night, if you can.
Eat more vegetables, less fried foods, and fewer desserts
Take a multivitamin
Walk as much as you can, if you can – If you are able to move, do so. Several of my relatives on my mother’s side have been diagnosed and/or have passed away from heart failure. However, it is possible to live a fulfilling, healthful life for many years with this condition with healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and appropriate prescription medications taken consistently.
I’ve eliminated the excuse of not being able to exercise at home because I bought my weights and yoga mat a long time ago. I also have consistent access to YouTube to find workouts when I don’t feel like making up my own. I realize that not everyone has that privilege. But if you have the luxury of the internet, use it for your health.
I know all of that is pretty basic information that many people have heard from numerous sources, but the most basic common sense information is what some of us need to hear every now and then as a reminder to do better. I’m not a doctor, but I am a certified fitness trainer and I work to educate myself through reading, listening to podcasts, and watching educational videos. I know enough about how the average human body works to know that those basic things will help keep it healthy. Every body is not the same because some people are born with health concerns or disabilities. But most of us would do well to stick to the basics without getting caught up in specific diets, fads, and methodologies.
From a personal perspective, I can speak about heart disease, diabetes, and sugar addiction. Congestive heart failure is what inspired this post today. Heart disease is not always preventable, but if you have the opportunity to avoid it, I suggest taking it. Watching my mother go through the ups and downs that she has over the past five years since being diagnosed hasn’t been fun. I’m sure if she could press the reset button on her heart and have it be strong and healthy with no worries of arrhythmias, blockages, or outright failure, she would. However, without putting too much of her business out there, some of her troubles might have been avoided had she taken better care of herself, followed doctor’s orders a little more closely, and simply loved herself more.
Take care of your hair and skin. Move your body. Stay hydrated. Take care of yourself and stay committed to keeping yourself fit and healthy.
I came across this quote today as I browsed my social media today and it was truly appropriate and on time for the thoughts that had been going through my mind today. One of my greatest fears, before I began to seriously put effort into this blog and before I published my novella Reflection in the Music, was that no one would understand what I was trying to say in my poetry and my stories and/or that people would hate it. Eventually, I had to have a little talk with myself, a talk that I have to have with myself every so often, about what I want to achieve, what it’ll take to achieve it, how to not sweat the small stuff, and how to take negativity in stride.
This year has been full of trial and error. I set some goals. I achieved some of them. Regardless of the type of feedback I receive from here on, I feel a thousand times better about myself than I did before I pressed the submit/publish button and put my heart and soul out there for the world to scrutinize in the form of my blog and my book.
I still have yet to publish Sunlight, Coffee and Roses, but it is coming soon. The agenda for January & February 2017:
Design book covers for the ideas that I have in my head for future projects.
Publish Sunlight, Coffee and Roses
Continue spreading the word about Reflection in the Music
As emotionally draining as this year has been, I’m glad to have experienced. It has been a time of growth. Indeed, it has been a time for taking steps forward into success and freedom. It has been a time for defining who I am and what I represent.–what represents me. Thankful for both the trials and the errors, I take every word I receive in constructive criticism and make improvements in how I present what I represent. I’m proud of the work I did on my books.
Though I neither wrote nor published this poem this year, the feelings I expressed when I wrote it still ring true today. Thank you for reading, commenting, liking and sharing my work. I look forward to sharing even more with you from now until forever.
Sometimes I feel like crying
Sometimes I feel like dying
At times it feels like the whole world is lying
Deceiving me, saying my dreams can come true
Work hard and pay what’s due
I work til there’s little else to do
Yet still I feel so blue
Awake day and night
With times so tough
Sometimes my work just isn’t enough
Don’t work, don’t eat
Work all the time
Defeating poverty is a feat
Low wage at old age
Times still so rough
All that I do, yet still
Love-life so lonely
Gave away my all when all was my only
Feelings that I cannot shake
My heart and mind so full of stuff that nothing
Nothing ever seems to be enough
Conquer it all
I will not stall
I will reach out and touch
Something that’s new
Someone not so blue
I will conquer
I will touch
My work, my passion is never too much
While this isn’t a work-from-home blog, this is the place where I express myself through the written word. Those words aren’t always poetic.
A little history about me:
I’ve always been free-spirited. When I was a teenager I decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. In high school I discovered that I could earn extra cash online by taking surveys. In college I learned about mystery shopping. I had tried a few internet work-from-home programs, but none of it really suited me. I loved to write, but had a hard time trying to determine how I should go about pursuing it. I came across independent contractor opportunities in a variety of industries. Several years of mishaps (and very expensive lessons) later and here I am writing this post in my living room while my toddler is dancing front of the television to the tune of a song on one of her favorite cartoons.Read More »
Hello to my beloved readers! My post frequency so far this month hasn’t been on the same level as previous months, but I’ll continue to post new material at least weekly. In my self-publishing/blogging journey so far, I have learned so much and taken on more than I realized I was capable of handling. I spent a considerable amount of time promoting my blog before I published Reflection in the Music, but when it came time to really start pushing and focusing on the book, the majority of my time went into self-promotion, which totally wore me out! Let me say, when you’re trying to network and read other blogs/books/articles and leave feedback and share/retweet/repost you can quickly lost track of time and not have any time left to work on your own projects, if you’re not careful. So for the past couple of weeks I’ve been mentally trying to regroup and focus on my next project I plan to release in the coming weeks, Sunlight, Coffee and Roses.
It is almost the close of day on the first day of the month, but I had to write something before midnight struck. It’s hard to believe that it is October already. I could’ve sworn it was just January. We, or at least I, say something to that effect every year, but this year I especially mean it. Just when I think I have gone through the toughest, bumpiest, twistiest emotional/mental/spiritual rollercoaster, I am strapped into another and my tolerance for rapid speed, quick changes and unexpected drops in altitude is put to the test.Read More »
This was something I really had to pray about earlier today. Sometimes it is difficult to stay positive when life’s troubles and responsibilities are staring you in the face. I mean, having more bills than money; wondering if you’re going to be able to meet your obligations. It’s overwhelming.Read More »