Family and Abandonment: An Open Letter

A little back story about this open letter…

I will not be clear throughout this post as to who I am referring to out of respect and privacy for the family.

A few months ago, I received a text that one of my immediate family members passed away due to COVID-19. This was an estranged family member from my mother’s side, one of many estranged members, unfortunately. My abandonment issues run deep. A large amount of my mother’s side of the family turned their backs on me, since a young age. Not all, but a large amount. I think what has bothered me all these years the most is that I had no involvement or control in their reasonings. I did not have a fair chance. And although I cannot say I am exactly disowned, I would consider myself involved in a worse scenario- ignored and forgotten. I am not really acknowledged as a family member. I have no idea where my deceased family member is buried nor was I considered to participate in a remembrance of life. It is bad enough that I have not talked to this person for over 15 years. A lot of pain and resentment sits in my heart.

When I received the news, my reaction was spontaneous.

At first, I was too stunned to give a reaction and for a split second, I felt unbothered due to my lack of connection to this person. Practically a stranger at this point. But rather quickly, the anger set in. Most of my childhood memories involved this person. This person was a big factor in my upbringing. Why was I not enough? How could anyone watch a child grow and be involved in that child’s growth and then just up and leave and never look back? I could never understand it. Ever. The anger set in when I realized I will never have these answers. I decided I was going to confront my family and I had one member, particularly in my mind.

Below is THAT letter. And now months later, I am sharing it with you all:

Hi [name of family member],

Remember this child? Do you know how long it has been since you have spoken to her? Or visited her? Do you even care how she is doing and what she has been up to the past 15 years?

I wish this conversation was more positive but honestly, I was never given a fair chance. You and [name of deceased family member] decided to walk away and stop calling. Somehow you decided that I was not your [relation] anymore. I never did anything to you. I was a child. You three including my mother, are the main reasons I do not know how to form a strong family bond with any of my family members, my father’s side included. The damage your actions have done on me are borderline irreversible. Congratulations. You did one hell of a number on me.

I was informed that [name of deceased] passed away. I am sorry to hear this and offer my condolences. I was heartbroken and resentful when I heard the news. I realized despite being angry and hurt all these years because you both decided to discard me out of your life like I was nothing to you, I still loved her. Crazy, right? So, I think it is time that I am owed an explanation. What did I do to the both of you to make you decide it was best to turn your back on me? You cannot be that cold of a person. It must cross you mind from time to time. Seriously, why? If this year has taught you anything, I hope it has taught you that time is precious and short. Too short to abandon ‘loved ones.’ I want to make it VERY clear that is what you both did to me. So again, why?

I do not even want an apology. I see no point. But if you can do one thing for me, is to please give me an explanation. For my own healing and closure.

Not that you care, but I have done well for myself despite all the toxic damage that I had to grow up with. I have managed to become an intelligent, strong, and compassionate woman. I was able to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I have a career in Human Resources. I am a published writer. I have traveled around the world. I have an amazing fiancé and we plan to marry at the end of this year. And hopefully, God will bless me with a child who I can raise and love the way I have always yearned to be loved by my mother. I can build my own family.

I would be highly surprised if you respond to this but at least I have said my peace. If you do not respond, I wish you the best in life. I hope you come to terms with the mistakes in your life. And I want you to know that it is never too late. It is never too late to try to reconcile with me. It will not be easy and the way I feel, I most likely will not be welcoming at first. But efforts do not go unnoticed. It is never too late. Goodbye.

If you are wondering…

No, I did not send it. Call me a coward or acknowledge that I chose not to for the sake of my own peace, both explanations would be correct. I decided it was healing for me to write it and that was for me alone.

I often find myself wondering if I will ever truly heal from this situation and forgive my family. It is a long, long, strenuous road. You take 5 steps forward, only to take 10 steps back. I may never truly heal from it. I have thought about going to therapy to address it. I honestly feel like I need to. For the sake of my own future child and the generations to follow. Part of my healing process has been finding awareness that a lot of my damage came from my childhood. The generational curses. I am determined for it to end with me. I have no problem carrying that cross if it means that my lineage after me will be filled with love, compassion, and awareness. It is one of my ultimate goals.

You know, reading this letter again after a few months still stings.

So much anger and resentment in the tone. I find myself feeling guilty for being so cold, especially after a death. I feel all my mixed emotions burning in my stomach as I reread the letter. But I know that this is normal. One of the biggest steps of a healing process is truly sitting in your pain and wholeheartedly feel it. I know that brings me a step closer in my journey and I am learning to find peace in that itself. We all have skeletons in our closet. Family traumas that run deep. I happen to be a little more open about it but that does not mean you have to be. Whether you keep it hidden or open, just do yourself the favor and feel it regardless. Do not ignore it. As painful and difficult as it may feel, it is necessary. If you can relate to my situation, I feel for you. You are not alone, and I am sending you so much love. Be kind to yourself. Here’s to healing ❤

PCOS Awareness Month

Don’t be ashamed of your story. It will inspire others.

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September is recognized as PCOS Awareness Month. A rather complex disorder with limited research for its cause and cure, PCOS affects many undiagnosed women.

The awareness of PCOS is not about identifying the disorder but focusing on the advantages of healthy and holistic living, and the impact it has on your quality of life to promote longevity.

I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 25. A few days before my 25th birthday, a cyst in my ovary ruptured causing extreme pelvic pain and hemorrhaging. I was unaware of what was happening and let it persist until I woke up on my birthday and realized I was forming blood clots. After speaking with my sisters in a state of panic, they told me to go to the ER and so I did. And on my 25th birthday, I spent 5 hours in the ER, received a referral to a GYN and was diagnosed two weeks later after blood work.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a genetic, hormone, metabolic, and reproductive disorder that affects 1-in-10 women. It is known as the leading cause of female infertility. Currently, the cause is unknown and there is no cure for this disorder. With an overproduction of male sex hormones, the common signs and symptoms can destroy any woman’s self-esteem.

common signs and symptoms:

Irregular periods

Excess facial and body hair

Severe acne

Small cysts in ovaries

Insulin Resistance

Anxiety and depression

Infertility

Weight gain

Male pattern hair loss

But wait, there’s more! If the symptoms are not bad enough, the lifelong conditions that may develop from PCOS are even worse.

These conditions include:

Severe anxiety and depression

Obesity

Endometrial cancer

Type 2 diabetes

Liver disease

Cardiovascular disease

But there is good news…

With the proper attention to your overall health, PCOS can be managed and I am living testament of that! Thankfully, my symptoms are not as severe as other women I have come across with the disorder. But this was not always the case. When I was first diagnosed, the main symptoms I suffered from was severe acne and weight gain. The doctor suggested that I start taking birth control and it helped me lose weight, but the acne remained, and the birth control had a ripple effect of new complications, so I decided to stop using it. Instead I started researching other alternative methods. By changing my diet, replacing dairy milk with almond or oat milk, regularly taking vitamins, and creating an active routine of regular exercise, I started noticing positive changes in my symptoms. As for my acne, I am very particular about my skin care routine and have spent years researching my skin type and the appropriate products to use for my acne prone skin.

Here are some ways to manage PCOS naturally:
Change your diet.

Some tips may include eating whole foods, balancing your carbs and protein intake, and eating foods that are natural anti-inflammatories. PS. Dairy is not your friend. It causes major inflammation.

Take your supplements.
Some supplements to consider:

Inositol- may help improve insulin resistance and infertility.

Cinnamon- also may help improve insulin resistance and regulate menstruation

Turmeric- serves as an anti-inflammatory

Maca Root- can boost fertility and libido by balancing hormone levels

Ashwagandha- balances cortisol levels which could improve stress and other symptoms of PCOS

Balanced exercise.

Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight which may alleviate symptoms of PCOS. But too much exercise or strenuous exercise can disrupt your hormones. Some exercises to consider is low impact ones such as yoga, swimming, and light aerobics. High intensity interval training may be helpful as well.

Make sleep a priority.

No sleep = higher stress levels, which is no good for PCOS. Sleep disturbances are more common for women with PCOS, says the woman who could not sleep for 28 straight hours once. To help with this, I have made my sleep routine a priority. I try to aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night and I try to wind down for bed no later than 8:30 pm (yes, I need that much time). I also take a warm shower beforehand, drink calming tea, and use a salt lamp and a diffuser by my bed. Lastly, no caffeine past 2 pm!!

Stress Reduction.

Reducing stress helps balances cortisol levels, which in turn, helps alleviate PCOS symptoms. Consider nature walks and yoga for reducing your stress levels. Also, there are other alternative methods such as acupuncture and reiki that may help reduce stress levels. Set time aside intentionally for your self-care.

There may not be a cure but with a healthy, balanced lifestyle, you can manage PCOS effectively and live a fulfilling life. But you still may have some questions…

Does PCOS go away?

Unfortunately, no. It is a lifelong condition, even if symptoms lessen over the years.

Can a woman with PCOS get pregnant naturally?

Yes, with proper health and weight management. Plenty of women with PCOS have carried pregnancies successfully and without any fertility treatments.

Can you use laser hair removal for the excessive facial hair?

There is no concrete answer for this one. It helps some women and others spend the money with little results. Laser hair removal may not leave you completely hairless, but it will decrease the amount of hair.

Male pattern hair loss??!

Yes, thinning of the hair will occur. You can try using hair products with black castor oil or adding flaxseed into your diet for the promotion of hair growth.

Does PCOS really cause anxiety and depression?

Absolutely, mainly because this is a hormonal condition. Hormone levels are all out of whack and certain neurotransmitters are blocked. Pair that with the insulin resistance and unstable sugar levels, cue the mood swings, anxiety, and depression. It is a recipe for disaster, trust me. More reason to focus on your physical and mental health.

If you are suffering from PCOS, I hope you found this post useful and informational. If you feel you may have PCOS, please get checked out immediately. It is better to know and find solutions on how to manage it, rather than prolong the effects. And if you would like to use any of the tips above, always, always, ALWAYS check with your physician first. I am not a doctor ya’ll! Sending you all lots of love! If you have any questions regarding this post or suggestions for future topics, don’t be a stranger 😊

Travel Series: Ang takes Denver!

We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us.

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Well…that was a longer break than I anticipated.

But you can’t fight it, you know? When you need to get realigned, your soul and energy will let you know. You don’t feel inspired or motivated… so in other words, a bih was just NOT feeling it! But we can save the story behind this for another blog post.

Let’s focus on the reason I am here today after my long absence. DENVER.

And Denver is everything your imagination can ever dream and more! At least in my opinion. I took a long weekend trip there with my fiancé and best friend a few weeks ago and I came home with all of this inspiration. A drive filled with the need to share my trip with all of you. 🙂

So before I jump into all the details of Denver, let’s address the elephant in the room.

Yes. I traveled during this pandemic. Yes. I practiced all safety precautions. Yes. I value the lives of others.

I understand there are mixed views regarding the pandemic and the level of severity. I respect the opinions of all. I believe it comes down to a matter of choice.

If you do not feel comfortable traveling, that is more than understandable. However, if you would like to travel, my advice is to ALWAYS wear your mask, regularly wash or sanitize your hands, practice social distancing, and always make your best judgement from circumstance to circumstance.

OK, moving on…

Denver, Colorado aka The Mile High City is located on the west coast of America and offers breathtaking views of over 200 mountain peaks. The city earned its nickname because its official elevation is exactly one mile above sea level. But Denver doesn’t only offer scenic routes throughout the city, Denver also offers a thriving art scene along with an abundance of bars and restaurants to satisfy a foodie’s wildest dreams. And as if all of that was not enough, Denver’s weather during the summer is amazing. Cool in the mornings, hotter in the afternoons, and barely any humidity!

Hear are few fun facts about Denver:

  1. There are currently more marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks and McDonald’s combined. holy sheeet
  2. The very first Chipotle restaurant is located in Denver.
  3. Denver has 300 sunny days a year. That’s more than Florida!
  4. The Denver International Airport has been the subject of conspiracy theories since the finalization of construction in 1995.

Speaking of the Denver International Airport…

Some say the airport was built by the New World Order. Others say that it houses the Illuminati Headquarters underground. Conspiracy or not, you cannot overlook the strange murals and sculptures that are assumed to tell stories of the apocalypse.

We attempted to locate one of the infamous statues, The Blue Mustang, which is a 32-foot horse sculpture with glowing red eyes. Many people refer to the sculpture as Blucifer, an acknowledgment to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful due to lack of time and lack of information offered by the employees at the airport. Coincidence? Maybe. But it seems that the affiliates of this airport are poking fun at us all. Just check out the message here. TOTALLY normal, I’m sure.

While at the airport, we picked up our car rental and was more than ready to hit the open road. So originally, I had a whole itinerary because in my mind we only had three days to explore the f**k out of this city. But you know life doesn’t work out like that. Needless to say, by the time we left the airport with our rental, we had already wasted 2.5 hours. *throw the itinerary out of the window* Seriously, just do it. Definitely research dope places to go but don’t become a slave to the itinerary. As ironic as it sounds, time and travel really don’t go together. Time never seems to be on your side and there’s always delays. I never seem to learn! But I digress. Who cares when you have the opportunity to explore a place you have never been before?? And so, Day 1 was freestyled and nothing but great vibes.

DAY 1:

Pike’s Peak

After the airport, we headed to Colorado Springs, which is about 1.5 hour away from Denver. Our first major destination was Pike’s Peak, the highest summit on the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains that offers views from 14,111 feet above ground. Read more on how to explore ‘America’s Mountain’ at https://www.pikes-peak.com/.

To enter, it’s a $15 ticket but the experience itself is worth it. You have the option of driving to the top on your own, driving mid way and taking a shuttle to the top, or hiking it. We opted for the combo of driving and shuttle because honestly going up an altitude that high not only messes with your car, but it messes with your lungs too! If you ever make it to Denver, make sure that you adjust to the change in altitude before you do any physical activity. I had such a tight heaviness in my chest and felt a bit winded until my lungs adjusted. Most importantly, listen to your body. Unfortunately, several people needed medical attention at Pike’s Peak.

The most amazing part of this experience wasn’t the views, surprisingly. Don’t get me wrong, the views are breathtaking and looks like pages ripped from a nature and wilderness magazine. But my absolute favorite part about this experience was the weather change as we went higher up the mountain. On ground level, the temperature was about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. By the time we reached the very peak, the temperature was recorded to be 41 degrees Fahrenheit and began to flurry. Insane! Snowing in July! Definitely a first for us and such a happy moment. The amazement in our eyes and voices as we realized it was snowing. My true inner child came out in that moment and my heart adored every minute of it.

Pike’s Peak is a recommended must see attraction while in Denver but I do have a few tips for you:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to experience Pike’s Peak. As I mentioned earlier, it’s about an 1.5 hour drive from Denver. Once you are there, you want to give yourself plenty of time to drive and stop along the way before the part closes at sunset. We ended up spending 5 hours there.
  • Get all of your footage of the views on the way up to the top. Once you are at the top, there is not much of a view due to construction currently taking place.
  • Layer up for the temperature change. I didn’t properly plan for this at all lol. All I had was a jean jacket and I suffered.
  • Get the donuts. There’s a café and a gift shop at the very top. Seriously, get the donuts. I still don’t understand how their old fashioned donuts tasted so delectable. I mean, it’s old fashioned donuts. I just don’t get it. BUT GET THE DONUTS.
  • Truly soak up the experience. How often do you get to be over 14,00o feet above ground with those kind of views? Be present and grateful.

DAY 2:

Denver Biscuit Company

We had a full, action packed day planned! Did we have enough time? Lol barely. But it was my fiancé’s birthday and I was determined. Our first stop was Denver Biscuit Company located in the Stanley Marketplace. For my fellow 813 peeps, the Stanley Marketplace is kind of like Armature Works. For those who still don’t know what I am talking about, the easiest way I can describe it is as a really dope flea market of local restaurants and shops.

The Denver Biscuit Company has many great reviews and is often referred to Top 10 best in the area for serving size and taste. The restaurant claims that the secret to their biscuits is love…and LOTS of butter. And they did not disappoint! Definitely come hungry. Beyond worth it and highly recommended. I ordered the shrimp and grits in a biscuit bowl [enter drooling emoji here].

See what the hype is about at https://atomiccowboy.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Stanley-MainMenu-1.pdf.

The International Church of Cannabis

After one of the best breakfast experiences of our life, we headed to another highly anticipated attraction, The International Church of Cannabis. No pun intended. After a bit of research, I quickly realized why this is such a popular tourist attraction and it’s not the obvious reason. This church is aesthetically and visually appealing as its décor focuses on the power of color theory and color therapy. While visiting, we were told that the artist, Okuda San Miguel painted the gorgeous murals inside of the church in 5 days!!! I can’t even imagine that level of dedication!

In addition to the many displays of art inspo, the church offers a guided meditation and laser light show that was really cool to experience. The meditation and light show costs $25 and gives you a full power hour of awesomeness. Feel free to check out more details at https://elevationists.org/.

The International Church of Cannabis have stated that an individual’s spiritual journey, and search for meaning, is one of self-discovery accelerated by the way of ritual and mindful cannabis use. The members of this church are known as Elevationists. Because Elevationism claims no divine law or authoritarian structure, all backgrounds and religions are welcomed with open arms. At your visit, you will not be given anything for cannabis use. The church likes to remain as family friendly as possible so the kiddos can join in on the fun of the meditation and light show as well.

Denver Selfie Museum

After our visit at the International Church of Cannabis, we headed to the Airbnb to freshen up before we went to our next attraction on the list, the Denver Selfie Museum. This was definitely the highlight of the day! As the first and only Instagram pop up museum in Denver, this place offers a selfie adventure like one never experienced before. For a $29 dollar ticket, you can access every corner of the museum that is covered in art, murals, and props for the ultimate selfie. Such a dope concept! 10/10, strongly recommended to visit if you’re ever in the Denver area.

Check out more at https://denverselfiemuseum.com/.

Punch Bowl Social

After the selfie museum, we were way overdue to grab a bite and after a bit of google searching, we came across this gem of a restaurant. Punch Bowl Social offers a scratch-kitchen menu and pairs with a fun zone of entertainment options such as bowling, life size Jenga, pool, karaoke, and old school arcade games. Due to COVID-19, they current offer outside seating only. In my humble opinion, their menu is limited. But then again, I am a pescatarian so that limits the options for me regardless. However, I opted for the shrimp tacos and they were pretty delicious. But my absolute favorite thing I tried on their menu was their Buffalo fries!

Check out the vibes at https://punchbowlsocial.com/location/denver.

Sweet Action Ice Cream

There is ALWAYS room for dessert. If you have a sweet tooth like my best friend and I, there is an ice cream shop a couple of blocks from Punch Bowl Social called Sweet Action Ice Cream. We decided to walk there after our meal. The staff are extremely sweet…again, no pun intended…and vegan options are available. With flavors varying from Stranahan’s Whiskey Brickle to Vietnamese Coffee, there is a flavor to satisfy the most eccentric taste buds. Beware of the double scoop though, it’s A LOT more to take on than you think. See what other flavors that may satisfy your cravings at https://sweetaction.com/. No pictures for this one…I was too busy stuffing my face.

DAY 3:

And so, we are on our final day in Denver! Are you guys still with me? Good. The goal for Day 3 was really about visiting as many establishments as we could, mainly to kill time. We checked out of our Airbnb around 10am but our flight was not until midnight. A full day with an ample amount of opportunities to explore. *swoon*

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery

The Mecca of Breakfast. And to think we almost didn’t make it here. We were running a little behind schedule and after finding Snooze as a breakfast option, we quickly found out just how popular this restaurant is. Please anticipate a minimum of an hour wait if you ever come here. I think the main reason for such a long wait is because they are ensuring they do not reach maximum capacity for proper social distancing (which honestly, kudos to them) and the fact that they do not allow reservations. First come, first serve basis.

We put our names on the waiting list and debated if we should actually wait. We decided no. We found another restaurant 7 minutes down the road called Syrup and placed our names on their waiting list. We were told that it was a wait of about 25 minutes. We ordered coffee and mimosas in the meantime. But 25 minutes turned into 40 minutes and before we knew it, we were receiving a text from Snooze saying that our table was ready. It was a no brainer. We ran to the car and drove straight there as we received threats of losing our spot. But we made it! And OMG, how disappointing would it have been if we did? Cause the food is BOMB.

The bestie and I always like to eat off of each other’s plates, so we strategized what we would order. We decided she would get the OMG! French Toast and I would get the Smashed Avocado Benny, along wit Abri-ca-lav-ra Mimosas to wash it all down. The most satisfying. Delicious. Scrumptious. Love of a meal that I have ever tasted, I could cry. Don’t believe me? Check out the menu here at https://www.snoozeeatery.com/food-menu/. You’re welcome.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Located in Morrison, a city just 30 minutes outside of Denver, lies a concert venue and a park wrapped in one! Here, you can see the celebrity stars and the physical ones with views surrounding you, enhancing your experience all at once. You can either purchase event tickets or you can take the cheap route (like I did) and visit the venue during daylight hours before concert operations commence. And it won’t cost you a penny, only your time. 738 acres of land and an elevation of 6,450 ft. above ground, be sure to fully immerse yourself in the rich, reddish tint of the naturally formed statues that fills the park throughout. It truly is beautiful and a great attraction to add to your field trip while in Denver.

Want more footage of the views? Check out some live cam footage here at https://www.redrocksonline.com/explore-red-rocks/live-cam/.

MCA Denver- The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

After Red Rocks, we headed to the downtown area of Denver to dive into some much needed art and culture by visiting MCA Denver. By the way, they offer free weekend access to all guests. Helloooo. Again, a no brainer. Nari Ward, a New York based artist and whose work is featured in the museum, creates his art composed of found objects from his neighborhood. With these, he highlights issues related to consumer culture, poverty, and race. We encountered so many deep and meaningful installations as we wandered the museum for 2 hours, digesting what our eyes have set upon.

If you’re ever in the downtown area, be sure to swing by their website and grab a few weekend access tickets at https://mcadenver.org/visit/tickets.

RiNo Art District

After the museum, we headed to the thriving art district of Denver. Listen…So. Much. Art. EVERYWHERE. And along with the colorful, eccentric art splashed across the walls of the buildings and streets, you will find the trendiest restaurants, breweries, and bars. It’s hard not to fall in love with this lively area that offers an escape from reality along with encountering the friendliest people you will ever meet.

Here are a few honorable mentions in the area:

The Preservery

We briefly passed by this establishment as we further explored the art district, mainly because they were closed by the time we arrived. However, the staff was so incredibly friendly and offered suggestions of bars and restaurants to visit in the area. Also, they allowed us to hang out and grab a few pictures of the urban aesthetics that seemed to cover every inch of their walls.

Want to find out more info? Check it out at https://thepreservery.com/our-space.

Lustre Pearl Denver

Ici tout est bon. “Here, everything is good.” Definitely one of our favorite bars in the area! It’s seriously a whole vibe. From the aesthetics to the drink selection, to the music that blasts into the street, to the laid back and conversational staff, it’s pretty hard not to have a good time here. We enjoyed our time so much here that as the day started to wrap up before our departure, we came back to soak up the good energy before our long flight. We didn’t eat there but I made sure to load up on the Asher Skye drinks; yum.

What drink would you choose? https://lustrepearldenver.com/drink

Dio Mio

You guyssss. I have never tasted pasta so good. I’m not even exaggerating. It was cooked al dente and everything! And I think what shocks me the most about this place, is that you wouldn’t expect a counter service pasta restaurant to be that good. BUT IT IS. Dio Mio offers a relaxed atmosphere paired with traditional pasta meals that are explosive with fresh ingredients. The portions are huge as well so you get plenty of bang for your buck. I ordered corn fritters for an appetizer and Cacio e Pepe for the main course, which is basically an alfredo pasta dish. My takeaway? Pasta heaven.

Are you a foodie who likes to read the ingredients of the meals, like me? Here, let me help you- http://www.diomiopasta.com/dinner-menu.

And so, our trip came to an end 😦

But the experiences I shared with my fiancé and best friend in this beautiful city, will forever be cherished in my heart. So many laughs, epiphanies, and great conversations, all shared while basking in the aura Denver shares with its local residents and tourists.

If I could summarize this trip in a single moment, it would be the moment as we were driving up Pike’s Peak. Teyana Taylor’s song, “We Got Love” was playing in the background and as the song began to finish, an audio clip started playing…

A lot of people define success differently

You know, for me, you can have everything

You can have all the money in the world

But if it’s not enjoyable, if it’s not sustainable, know what I mean?

If you can’t be a person of integrity while having all of these things

What does it matter? What does it mean?

The value is internal

Your value is internal

Ms. Lauryn Hill

And for a brief moment, I teared up, filled with the upmost gratitude for where I was at the moment, with two of the most important and meaningful people in my life. I hope you enjoyed reading about our trip! It’s good to be back writing for you all and can’t wait to hear your thoughts ❤

An Open Letter to a Single Father: Thank you, Papi.

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.

Jim Valvano

You know, it is truly difficult to put into words how appreciative I am of you.

I will never have enough words. Enough gratitude. Enough love to truly express how valued and respected you are.

Papi…I know I don’t always tell you. I know I don’t keep in touch as often as I should. Or visit more. I know I should do more. You are allotted a certain amount of time on this Earth and it seems like life is constantly moving way too fast. I promise I will work on that.

I know I don’t always tell you, but you are on my mind at least once a day. I know I don’t always tell you, but I pray for your safety and health. I know I don’t always tell you, but I beam when I tell others the story of how my father, a single father, raised one hell of a daughter since the age of 13. I know I don’t always tell you, but you are my hero. You truly are. I am not sure how I would have turned out if you did not play such a critical part in my upbringing. I should tell you more.

Not many people know this story…

but it is the story of our lives and I find myself replaying certain events when I reminisce. I don’t think anyone will truly understand the weight of your sacrifices to raise me on your own. All that we went through together. It was you and me, against the world. I can’t help but tear up as I write this. I owe you everything plus so much more.

Some people may hear this story and feel pity and sympathy. But at my current age, as I reflect on what has taken place decades ago, I do not feel pity nor sympathy. Because I feel this is a story of triumph. And although the story saddens me from time to time, I truly feel it has built me into the person I am today; a reflection of you, a reflection of everlasting resilience. And I pride myself on that every single day.

Nothing could have prepared us for my mother falling ill. Nothing could have prepared us for the very core of the person we previously knew her to be would change. Those years you stuck around when she was probably the most difficult person on Earth to deal with. The years I watched you pull the sleeping cot out of the closet and set it up in the living room every night. She really tried to make your life hell…our lives, I should say. She was not the same mother or wife. For years, I was terrified of her. She continuously pushed you away and you still stayed…until she left.

We were forced to pick up the broken pieces and revise the version of life we have become accustomed to.

I know that was not easy for you. I know that some days you wondered how you can provide for me. Nights you stayed awake racking your brain. The tears spilt from trying to repair a broken home. We moved into a one-bedroom apartment and you gave me the bedroom. You worked full time, yet your presence in the household never lacked. Your guidance never lacked. Your love never lacked. I never went without, ever. Every morning and evening, breakfast and dinner was made. Every homecoming and prom, you provided. You kept a close eye on me, to keep me safe. And although I felt you were overbearing during my teenage years, you never stopped me from having a social life. I just had to abide by your rules. Too many gestures over the years to name. But I remember it all vividly and because of that, I will always be thankful for being blessed with a father such as yourself. You are truly a God sent man.

Not many people know this, but I am positive that my skill of writing came from you.

I am not even sure if you know that I am a writer because I have never directly told you. This is probably the first piece of mine you have ever read…NO PRESSURE, right? I remember the time you would spend on your poems. I still question how you were able to fill up pages; I struggle filling even one page of poetry. I remember you would translate them into Spanish and English.

But writing is not the only trait I have inherited from you. I have inherited your strength. Your common sense, a term I heard frequently throughout the years. I pride myself on being resilient, but I am sure that comes from you as well. I have DEFINITELY inherited your ‘no bullshit’ attitude and mouth LOL. I question everything because you taught me to. I stand up for what I believe in because you taught me to. I do not back down. I stand my ground because you taught me to. I am honest about the good, bad, and the ugly…because you taught me to. You taught me the importance of humility and humanity. You taught me the importance of hard work, that nothing comes in this life easy or free. You taught me that the concept of gender norms is ridiculous because not only women should hold the responsibility of cooking and household chores. You taught me that the worship of God can take place in your very home, a difference between religion and spirituality. But most importantly, you taught me the importance of maneuvering through life with love, dignity, and morale. My level of respect and standards are placed on a pedestal because you taught me from a very young age that I deserved nothing less of that.

So, you see, I turned out pretty great and it is because of you. You did an amazing job and you have very big shoes to fill for fathers to come. I love you, forever and always. I can never repay you. Thank you. Happy Father’s Day. ❤

Author’s Note:

I feel fathers get a bad rep. Many people expect a father to be dead beat, absent, or clueless when it comes to parenting. Maybe the majority of broken homes have shown this. But in my case, it was far different. My mother left and my father handled this ‘single father’ thing like a champ. I felt it was important to shine light on this. For the fathers that are active and present in the parenting of their children, whether it’s co-parenting, in a happy home, or single, I see you. You are appreciated. Enjoy this day, King. You deserve the love and recognition as well.

Land of the Free?

“Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.”

Kofi Annan

I have debated heavily with myself…

as to whether or not I should write about this sensitive yet very important topic.

Not because I am blind to what is taking place, or scared. I often wonder if I am credible enough to write about this. I would never want anything I say about this topic to be misconstrued. I would never want to appear as uneducated or ignorant. I would never want to offend anyone who is greatly impacted by the disgusting hate crimes displayed in our country.

As I watch what is taking place, more recently with the MURDERS of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, I can no longer remain silent. And I hope that my voice makes a positive impact in a way that it educates the ignorant and supports the oppressed. To the Black community: I hope you read this and know that not only do you have an ally in me but a friend and a confidant as well. To the people of color who are not Black and to the White community: I hope when you read this, you feel so uncomfortable that you have no choice but to no longer ignore what has been taking place and decide to stand up and support those who need us.

I am a Hispanic woman, Puerto Rican specifically.

I am in an interracial relationship with a Black man. We are soon to be married next year. My soon to be step daughter is a young Black woman growing up and witnessing this oppression. My nephews who are half Black will be faced with the harsh realization of what it means to be Black in this country. My future child will also be a target. And although African roots run deeply in my heritage, I refuse to overlook the fact that because my skin is considerably fair, I do hold privilege in America.

You see, as a Hispanic woman, I have encountered racism to a small extent. Racial slurs and stereotypes have been thrown at me like daggers. And yes, it is hurtful. But I have NEVER been physically assaulted without a just cause. I have NEVER been randomly pulled over by law enforcement just because I look ‘suspicious.’ I have NEVER had to fear that my life would be taken because of the color of my skin. And THESE reasons is why I refuse to be blind to my privilege in America. Because of THIS, I will use my privilege to advocate and stand up for the Black community.

I have seen the hashtags #AllLivesMatter splattered on social media like sloppy ink blots. I can assume the people posting it have no malicious intent (although, I do have to be honest- I can assume, but cannot confirm). I’ve witnessed the debates as to why this statement is defended. How one race is not superior to the others. How all lives should matter. Yes…it should matter but it does not.

I have witnessed the hurtful and ignorant comments. The judgements placed on the lootings and protests that have been occurring. I have witnessed the silence. The hesitation to speak up. Speak out. To support our Black people. I am not here to pass judgement on you. Only you know why you are choosing to respond in the way that you do. Maybe your support is silent and through prayer. And that’s okay too. But if the current state of our country…the racial divide, the tension, the pain, the anger, all of it…if this does not shake and rattle the very core of your being, you have some serious digging and self reflection to do.

Let me put this into perspective for you…

For centuries, Black people have endured various forms of slavery. They have endured violence. They have endured the pain of loved ones taken mercilessly away by the hands of White supremacists. Their rights are constantly stripped away in some form. And you may think this went away once segregation did, but it has not. Even when the Black people were declared ‘free,’ they are still being passed for jobs they are more deserving of. They are still misjudged by their appearance. They are still wrongfully accused for crimes they did not commit. And they are DYING on OUR streets in OUR country by the hands of those who are supposed to be protecting the people of this country. They do not have the privilege of innocent until proven guilty. And to add insult to injury, despite many efforts to remain quiet, compliant, and peaceful, once they can no longer do this because of the complete disregard this country continues to show towards these people, they are labeled as thugs, a danger to this society. So let me ask you this, is it really All Lives Matter? Are Black lives included in this?! I would really like to know.

Black Lives Matter is a movement. It’s a stand that says, “I am here for my Black brothers and sisters. I see your pain. Your struggles. The adversity. The injustice. And IT IS NOT OKAY. Change has to happen.” This movement does not take away from the lives of the other races. It is an acknowledgement that Black people have always been and continue to be at a major disadvantage than the rest of us. It’s acknowledging that the Black community needs our support. They should no longer carry this burden alone. THIS IS OUR BURDEN. They are valuable to our country. They need air to breathe. They bleed the same. The color of their skin should not be considered a crime in a country that claims Land of the Free. We must help to ensure that the Black race are given the proper love, respect, rights and LIFE that they deserve. This is a fight for humanity.

Until Black lives matter, all lives do not matter. Actions have to show that they are inclusive in this. And in the year 2020, it is obvious that they are not. We have failed them as a country. So I’m sorry, you cannot convince me otherwise. It is blatantly and disgustingly obvious.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Beautiful Black people:

Who have contributed immensely to build this country on your very own backs, who have fought in our wars, who have evolved and transformed our culture, one of the most resilient groups of people I have ever laid my eyes on- I see you. I hear you. I value and respect you. I love you all so much. You have my full support. And I am so so sorry that you were never given a fair chance in excelling in this country. You have to work twice as hard just to receive the same chances as others. You are so powerful that a country is so adamant about eliminating your very existence. That speaks volumes. We’re way overdue for a change. This has to stop. Let’s all be a part of that change. The solution and not the problem.

Praying for America. Be safe and walk with love, purpose, dignity, and with your head held high.

With sadness in my heart,

How to Manifest Your Goals: Reflections and Tips

Author’s Note:

This is my first collaboration post with fellow blogger, Harumi!

It’s been such a cool and easy going experience working with her, as we bounced ideas around to create this post about manifesting your goals. We truly hope you enjoy it!

Intro: Power of Manifestations

Angie:

So what is manifestation, you ask? The Webster dictionary defines manifestation as “one of the forms that something has when it appears or occurs” or “a perceptible, outward, or visible expression.” However, speaking from personal experience, to manifest is to create. Therefore, a manifestation is your creation. Something that you bring to your physical life by the power of your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Every person has the magical ability and power to manifest.

Harumi:

Manifestation. This used to be a big and scary word to me. Probably because as a high schooler, I had very little idea of what I wanted to do next. Graduate, get a job, get married? Was that the narrative I was supposed to follow? I had no clue. But in came new experiences, new environments, new people and with that the concept of manifestation became much more clear. A fellow blogger and friend of mine, Angie, defined manifestation as “something that you bring to your physical life by the power of your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings.” Today Angie and I will be describing our personal experiences with manifestation and our tips on how to manifest your goals!

Personal Experiences

Harumi:

When I was in college, I had a lot of anxiety surrounding what my future was going to look like. What kind of job would I do? Would I be motivated to maintain a job? What would I be doing in 5 years? I knew that I wanted to work in the special needs, but with the little work experience I had under my belt and lack of education in special education, would I even be able to land a job?? 

Once I was done with schooling, I said to myself that I was done with being afraid of my future. I was going to manifest a job in special needs! 

I started with extensive research, worked on my resume, checked the common qualifications and took opportunities that would make me more qualified, filled out multiple applications a day, and then I waited. Suddenly, there was a pouring of e-mails and phone calls. People actually wanted to interview me! From there, I had back to back interviews and soon it was time for me to make a decision between four companies. And though the decision was difficult, I was astounded that I did what I set out to do. I manifested a job!  Fast Forward to a few years later, I am still working in ABA therapy and I am so grateful for everything I’ve learned and experienced.

Angie:

Never did I picture myself landing a career in Human Resources…I have a BA in Psychology. During college, I worked for a small medical clinic as an Administrative Assistant. Fast forward 4 years later and I am the sole person in the Human Resources Department. Please know that I use the term ‘department’ VERY loosely because before me, there was no Human Resources! And although I loved my job and the clinic, I was underpaid with very limited benefits.

I began to feel that I have outgrown my position. Upon discovering that I would never progress with the clinic, I decided it was time to spread my wings. It was time to apply to positions that challenged me and offered room for growth.

I still have the notebook entry. I specifically wrote “Between July-August, I will get a higher paying job with better benefits.” Job hunting mode in full force! I landed an interview with The Women’s Tennis Association and got the job. An increase in annual salary by $7,000. A very generous vacation and sick time package and affordable and comprehensive benefits. My start date was August 27, 2018.

Although I no longer work for the company, I am grateful for the experience because it has led me to my current position and company, in which I have an even higher salary and more generous benefits. To know that I created this opportunity for myself, makes it even more gratifying. UPDATE: I just received a promotion!!

How to Manifest Your Goals:

WRITE IT DOWN

When you write a goal down, it becomes more tangible! I’ve written goals in a journal and put little notes in my hopes/dreams box, but if writing isn’t your thing, you can always create a vision board too!

BE VERY SPECIFIC

When writing your manifestation, you want to ensure that you are writing clear and detailed specifics about your manifestation. What exactly do you want? Is there a timeframe? Vague manifestations can turn into a reality you did not really desire.  

RESEARCH

Put any uncertainties to rest. By researching, you’ll gain a better understanding of what steps you need to take toward your goal.

TIME

Time plays a major part in the journey. It’s important to recognize that sometimes things don’t come instantaneously. This concept can easily be applied to anything we try to manifest, whether that be a job, saving up for a vacation, graduating from school, etc.

PUT YOUR BACK IN IT

Making dreams happen takes a lot of heavy lifting. It means putting in the effort and work, even when challenges arise.

BREAK IT DOWN INTO STEPS

I find that whenever I look at an entire project or a task with multiple steps, I become overwhelmed. Try breaking down your manifestation and recognizing that each step matters no matter how small. 

DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP

We all know how critical we can be when it comes to ourselves. I’ve bullied myself plenty of times. But that’s not mentally healthy or productive. Acknowledge that what you’re doing now is enough!

INTENT IS EVERYTHING

I am a firm believer that whatever you put into the universe, you get back tenfold. ENERGY. Believe that this manifestation will happen! If you have any feelings of failure, failure is what is presented. I’ve been guilty of this and quickly recognized I needed to change my intent. 

Conclusion

Harumi:

Those were some of our experiences and tips on manifestation. It’s an optimistic perspective and yes, there may be hardships while trying to achieve a major goal. So acknowledge the challenges, ask yourself if this is really what you want, and put down those stepping stones towards your aspirations. 

Angie:

Further to what Harumi stated above, the power of your manifestation is truly in your hands. Think about it. Feel it. Believe it. Then watch it come to life! 

Still not a believer of manifestations? Well there’s only one way to find out…give it a try and be sure to let us know the outcome. And if you are familiar with manifestations, what additional tips would you offer to those who are not familiar? Any personal experiences you would like to share? We would love to hear from you all!

With love,

Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev on Pexels.com

Meet Harumi

A lifestyle and mental health blogger, Harumi has only been blogging for a month and a half. In such a short amount of time, she has made amazing strides in growing her audience, enhancing her site, and connecting with other bloggers. I see great things happening in her blogging future! When I asked what was the purpose of her blog, she stated, “My mission with my blog is to talk about hardships I’ve faced, heal and let go, share guidance to anyone who has gone through similar circumstances, and create a discussion.” Don’t be a stranger and make sure you show some love to her site at https://lifelivedcandidly.com/!

Mother’s Day: This Day is for You Too.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

Plato

I look inside our bedroom…

and draw my attention to the bed I made this morning. It was the first thing I did…after I sobbed upon waking up. I told myself that if I do not accomplish anything else today, at least I accomplished that.

Mother’s Day is a particularly rough day for me. Has been for years. With a strained relationship with my own mother since the age of 9, I struggled celebrating with loving intent and honor. But when you lose your own child, that initial pain transforms into a pain that feels unbearable to carry at times. With the loss of my baby last year, every holiday serve as a painful reminder, no matter how much I try to convince myself that I have come to terms and accepted it.

Funny enough, or maybe not funny at all, I almost forgot about Mother’s Day this year. Every month I organize my dry erase calendar, adding important reminders to the days of the month. When I organized the calendar this month, it did not even cross my mind. I honestly did not realize Mother’s Day was approaching until last week. I guess it makes sense in a way. How the subconscious tries to protect you from the pain lying dormant, deep within. Even after my realization that Mother’s Day was approaching, I felt fine. Realistically, most days I feel fine, even with the thought of my baby crossing my mind daily. I really thought I would be fine today.

What I forgot is grief has no expiration date.

I forgot that some days are much harder than others to operate ‘normally’ in society. I forgot how lonely it can feel in the isolation of pain, especially when it comes to loss. I understand the discomfort people feel with this topic. I understand the dismissiveness. The lack of compassion and understanding. I get it. Because unless you experience something like this, you truly do not understand the weight of this pain. How it sneaks up on you in the most inconvenient times, or especially in my case, on holidays when I should be celebrating instead of grieving. And I think the scariest part of all, is realizing that this pain may never go away. It does not get easier, no matter how much you try to adapt.

As my heart breaks with every word I type within this post, I do not ask for pity. I do not even ask for sympathy. Let this serve as a gentle reminder to give those who are grieving today a little extra love and care. Check up on them. Let them know that you are thinking of them. Praying for them. That they have a shoulder to lean on during this difficult time.

I think the biggest misconception people have…

is that it is better to remain silent when it comes to a loss like this. I am here to tell you it is not better. Do not be afraid to wish a bereaved mother a Happy Mother’s Day. Do not be afraid to contact the daughter or son who has lost her mother. Do not be afraid to send love to a woman who yearns to be a mother but has not been granted the opportunity. A person who yearns for a relationship with their own mother. Small acts of kindness such as this shows that you see this person and their pain. That they are not alone. That their pain is valid and acknowledged. For me, it means more than any of you could ever possibly know. The greatest gift that could be given to me from a loved one today is to honor the memory of my child along with me. Thank you to those who have contacted me with kind and loving words. I know I have not responded…but I will. Thank you for granting me time and space today and for not taking my distance personally.

To all of you experiencing pain and sorrow today, I am here. You are not alone. I see your pain and I am thinking of you.  It is okay to acknowledge your own pain and process it however your spirit sees fit. And know that when you are ready, you will find many reasons to celebrate and cherish a day like today. Rather than focusing on the entire day, I am going to take it hour by hour, minute by minute, and celebrate the small wins. I guess I have just accomplished something else today. Sending so much love to all the mothers and to those who may need it today. Happy Mother’s Day to all.

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A New Tomorrow: Life After Quarantine.

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.

Henry Ford

I’ve honestly lost track of the days…

At this point, I’m not sure how many weeks I’ve been quarantined. The days and hours seem to run together as I act like a mad scientist in my lab channeling different creative outlets to keep myself sane. Overall, I’ve done quite well. But it does feel strange, as this is starting to feel like the new norm. So then it has me thinking, “What will life be like after we are released from our ‘prison’ sentences?”

Tomorrow is only a day away…

I believe there has been a certain shift in the universe. The Earth seems to be healing. Broken homes are mending as well. We are addressing inner conflicts and demons, as we have no other choice due to the forced circumstances of isolation. We all have been given opportunities to turn lemons into lemonade. These past couple of months have really displayed the ability to embrace the unknown; keeping the faith for better days to come. Strangers are comforting each other and working together. Parents are starting to manage homeschooling their children effectively, while adjusting to working remotely. We are choosing video chats over texts. Conversations with substance over small talk. Love over hate.

As a collective, we have become more mindful of the things we have taken for granted in the past. The chill of the ocean when you first dip your toes into the water. The warmth of the sun as you stroll along on crowded streets. The bliss of physically embracing our loved ones. The freedom to go any place our hearts desire, without worrying about the safety of our health. The majority of us have taken so many of these moments for granted. And in a way, this pandemic has snapped us back to reality. Time is borrowed and never guaranteed. So is this good or bad?

A fresh perspective…

Many lives have been lost. Many businesses have been forced to close down and lay off their workers. Many people have been isolated and continue to struggle with immense feelings of loneliness. The air of uncertainty is ever so present. However, somehow, we have adapted to our circumstances. Humans are made to adapt and overcome. We learn from our adversities and heartaches. And I think nothing proves these statements more than what we have witnessed on a societal level as we try to combat the coronavirus. Along with the air of uncertainty, has come a wave of unity.

I cannot predict the future…

I’m not sure how life will be after quarantine. But I can tell you what I hope for…

I hope we all choose to hold our loved ones a little bit longer and tighter. I hope we continue to remain connected with those loved ones, even if it’s not in person. I can’t wait to see my family and friends again.

I hope households continue to have family dinners together. To have real conversations and truly listen and acknowledge one another. My pastor was sharing the word during one of the services this past Sunday, and expressed how amazing it felt to have dinner with his family. Something that hasn’t been done in years. I mean, truly, that is beautiful.

I hope we never allow the busyness of our lives to interrupt the nurturing of our relationships and the intentional connections to be made, inside and outside of our homes. I may be biased but quality time is a universal love language. It does the soul good.

May we never take waking up each day for granted. Or having the ability to breathe deep in our healthy lungs. A new day is a blessing within itself and I express gratitude for it each day. For this, we are blessed beyond measure.

May we continue to appreciate Mother Earth and marvel at all the beauty she continues to offer. I’m sure a lot of us have had the time to smell the roses, literally. My outside walks have literally saved me during this whole ordeal. I’ve never paid attention to the details of the trees, grass, and sky before. This Earth is vibrant in so many ways. Be present.

I hope we continue to be resourceful, even when not faced with adversity. I’ve noticed people growing their own plants, fruits, and vegetables. People have been doing many DIY projects around their homes. People have even made their own hand sanitizer with aloe vera plants and rubbing alcohol. How amazing is that?

May we continue to utilize rest and relaxation above all else. Many of us have forgotten what it feels like to simply slow down. Many of us have forgotten what it means to pour love and positivity into ourselves. This quarantine has been such an eye opener for me in this particular area of my life. It’s okay to stop worrying about all I have to do and check in with myself. It’s okay to put myself first before others. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

I hope we all continue to practice cleanliness and preventative measures… cause like, come on…we should’ve all been practicing this way before the pandemic!

But most importantly, I hope we all continue to practice compassion and keep the concept of love on the pedestal that it deserves. If we have learned anything during this pandemic is that we are all in this together, no matter the gender, age, race, or social class. This virus makes no discrimination. Let’s continue to offer support and love to those who need it most (which is all of us). Don’t waste any time on hatred. Life is too short.

Life is but a dream…

I’m dreaming of a better tomorrow where the shadow period of 2020 is a memory of the past. What are some changes you would like to see in life after quarantine? Any predictions? I’d love to hear from all of you. Stay safe, healthy, and inspired friends. xoxo

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It’s My 1 Year Anniversary!

It’s been one full year…

On April 4, 2019, I released my first blog post ever on my newly created site. I remember how nervous I felt hitting the ‘Publish’ button.

What if I was judged by what I wrote? What if this was all a waste of time? Not to mention how amateur my site looked! For those of you who have been a part of my journey from the very beginning, you know what I’m talking about! That ugly salmon color background with my childish fonts lol it’s definitely been quite the journey.

I am so proud of how far I have gotten within the past year. I took a chance and did something completely out of my character. I finally pushed myself out of my own comfort zone. Not only does it cause for celebration, it also causes for reflection on the past year. Reflecting on my purpose for this all. How far I have come. The obstacles I have encountered along the way. The accomplishments I have achieved.

The beginning…

I’ve always been a writer. When I was 11, I was in my 7th grade English class. Mr. Riviezzo, I will never forget his name. He used to make us do writing prompts with background instrumentals. We would have to create a storyline based on the mood of the music, and then change the events of the storyline anytime the mood of the music was changed. It was in this moment I realized I loved writing.

I kept a notebook of poems all throughout middle and high school. During and after college, people would pay me to write their papers in hopes of getting an A. I never disappointed. But yet despite all of this, I never had the confidence to publish my work for the public to see. I never shared any of my writing. It was my secret to cherish. My escape. And most times, my writing was so emotionally fueled. I just wasn’t ready to expose those demons.

At the age of 28, I decided to sharpen my skillset. I took writing courses. I practiced daily journaling. I expressed interest in publishing a book. It was becoming more obvious to me that this is what I wanted to do with my life; write and connect with others.

Soul Searching…

A month after my 29th birthday, my fiancé and I found out that I was pregnant. Hit the panic button! I wasn’t ready…like at all. Neither was my fiancé. But after the initial shock wore off, we welcomed the circumstances and began making plans for our future with the benefit of the baby in our minds. God had other plans…

We walked into my first doctor appointment anxious with excitement to see our baby. The excitement didn’t last long. What was supposed to be one of the happiest days in my life, turned out to be the most heartbreaking. My baby wasn’t going to make it. The pregnancy had been deemed abnormal.

After I lost the baby, I fell into a deep depression. I barricaded myself in the house for 3 weeks, unable to pull myself together to face anyone. I was grieving. I felt ashamed that my body could not do what a woman’s body is meant to do. I failed.

My journey for healing became my first priority. I worked avidly at it. I decided I needed to live my life, on my terms. I searched for peace and happiness like a person searches for water in a desert. But above all, I wanted to honor the memory of my baby.

My site was born…

5 weeks after losing my baby, I decided to create a personal blog. I vowed to always express myself honestly and vulnerably. I vowed to write about topics that were raw, no matter how painful and uneasy. I vowed to connect with others on a level that I never thought was imaginable. Something clicked. Feeling that much pain and anguish puts a lot of things into perspective. If I felt like this, how many others felt the same? Do they feel as alone as I felt during that time?

Healing does not need to be lonely. The power of healing can be magnified through the strength in numbers. Through togetherness. Unity.

Blogging journey…

I’ve made many mistakes and will continue making them. Learning how to create my site was definitely a challenge. I am not that tech savvy. I had to rehash my Myspace skills after a decade…disastrous. A lot of trial and error. Stumbling along the way, deciphering what is appropriate to promote. What is effective marketing? How can I keep my audience constantly stimulated and interested? But I truly love writing. I love blogging. I love connecting with others on a deeper level. It’s enough to keep me motivated and to continue pushing myself towards perfecting my craft.

What I learned this past year-
  • Not everyone will support and that’s okay! Seriously, it’s not personal.
  • Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers. There is no real timeline and everyone has their own journey.
  • Enjoy the process! The ups, the downs, all of it! It’s a true learning experience.
  • Connecting your site to your social media platforms makes life SO much easier.
  • Grow your audience organically. It’s a marathon, not a race.
  • Stop obsessing over statistics. Horrible for my mental health! I’m too analytical and way too hard on myself.
  • Monetize, monetize, monetize.
  • Show love to your fellow bloggers! Gain support by giving support.
What I have accomplished this past year-
  • Over 400 blog followers
  • Created a Twitter account…I never thought I’d see the day.
  • Upgraded my site and created a cleaner theme and layout.
  • Several guest column articles for a local internet magazine.
  • Growing my following on all social media platforms. Key word-ORGANICALLY.
  • Flew to France for a company retreat to present one of my articles on stepping out of your comfort zone.

What’s next for ang meets soul?

That’s a hard question to answer! Definitely focusing on providing more quality content. Looking forward to connecting with more people. Creating more opportunities for exposure. Researching sponsors and collaborations. I am open to any opportunity that might present itself.

advice to people starting a new venture…

Don’t overthink it. Don’t talk yourself out of it. And don’t expect overnight success. Anything worth having takes continuous effort, non stop research, and an abundance of time. Don’t allow yourself to be overcritical and just enjoy the journey for what it is- a learning experience. Learning is half the fun. I know that sounds cliché but it’s a super fact. But above all, keep going!

thank you ❤

From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank my supporters enough. I know I must sound like a broken record at this point but it is only because I truly mean it. Seriously, THANK YOU. I was in a really dark period in my life and all of your support has kept me above the surface. It motivates me to spread awareness on topics that matter. Because of all of you, I continue to push myself to connect with others in the most positive light that I can. You all really keep me going! I enjoy receiving your feedback and reading your comments. Please don’t ever stop reaching out to me lol. You are all beyond appreciated and I am eternally grateful. I hope you all continue this journey with me and ride it out until the wheels fall off. Happy Friday everyone xoxo.

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Quarantini: 6 Habits to Stir Up during a Quarantine.

“The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.”.

Marjorie Pay Hinckley

None of us signed up for this…

But here we are. I know there is a thick fog of uncertainty throughout the world. I know it looks grim. I know we are all anxiously anticipating when normalcy will begin to creep back in. For me personally, any glimpse of it would give me hope. And although we must process all emotions that we are currently feeling, acknowledging them, and letting them go, we must also figure out how to make good out of a pretty bad situation. This is how you keep your energy pure during a time like this. This is how you stay spiritually strapped. Also, this is how you start to find the positives in any situation, good or bad.

If at first you don’t succeed…

Ironically enough, the habits I am about to list were much harder for me to achieve when life was ‘busy.’ Before, I often struggled and rarely kept myself accountable for some of these habits. Granted, I am not a fan of this quarantine. I long for a mimosa at an actual restaurant for brunch. I long for the day that the slightest tickle in my throat or obnoxious sneeze is not sent back with burning glares from others. Just for the record, people who suffer from allergies during allergy season (like me) are NOT doing okay right now! Oh, the judgement. Regardless, the situation is here. This is our present and reality. Life continues. We have to continue with it; adapt and accept. So why not use this time to truly reflect, do some internal work, and develop healthy habits as coping mechanisms? To relieve the anxiety. The sadness. The loneliness. The stress. All of it. There’s no better time to start. A lot of distractions have been removed. Take this opportunity to reconnect with yourself.

1. Meditation and/or Stretching.

I could never develop this habit before the quarantine. But now, I find myself doing this every morning. Meditation helps with clearing your mind and energy. It’s a great way to express self-love. It’s an opportunity to cater and nurture yourself. It has become a beloved morning ritual of mine. I wake up and after brushing my teeth, the first thing I head to is my yoga mat. I light my Palo Santo, give gratitude for living another day, and grab my energy crystals. I like to throw on meditation music such as a sound bath with singing bowls, and I really check in with myself. Am I feeling sad? Hopeless? Anxious? Content? Happy? I acknowledge whatever I am feeling and I sit in it for a bit. Then I take three deep breaths and let it go. I begin my stretching and by the second stretch pose, my back cracks EVERY TIME lol…the joys of getting old! Stretching allows me to focus on my breathing. It allows me to start my day with some form of movement. And of course, gets all the knots out. Then I just stay still. I welcome the stillness. A lot of people struggle with this particular part but it is the most nurturing. You start to think of something? That’s ok. Let it go and continue to focus on your stillness. I’ve gotten so dedicated to this habit that most times, I easily do thirty minutes without realizing.

2. Daily Vitamin Intake.

I could never remember to take my vitamins consistently. And as you get older, it becomes more important. Besides your typical multivitamin, I never paid attention to what vitamins I should be taking and well…things are forced to be different now. I need my immune system to be in tip top shape, as I am sure all of you want the same! I am not a doctor in any way, shape, or form, so I won’t list all the vitamins I take and explain the benefits. However, I will tell you some of the vitamins you should consider including in your daily diet: Vitamin C, Garlic extract, and Oil of Oregano extract. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that boosts your immune system. Garlic extract not only prevents colds, but alleviates the symptoms. When you have a cold, this makes your immune system more susceptible to viruses. Oil of Oregano extract has been shown to stop the growth of several kinds of bacteria. All of these are great for your immune health and given the current circumstances, I’m sure this is top priority for many of you.

3. Daily Dose of Sunlight.

Depending on what part of the world you’re in, quarantine orders may be a little more severe than others. If you are able to step outside for a walk, I highly suggest it. There is no better feeling than feeling the warmth of the sun on your face. Sunlight is a natural source of Vitamin D. Research has shown that lower levels of Vitamin D has been linked to depression. This is another habit I have built, courtesy of quarantine life. In the past, the only time I really stepped outside was if I had to go someplace. Before the virus, I was already accustomed to working from home. But now, there is no escape at all. No gym. No in person church service. No Ross…I’m suffering without the restock of my candles! The only time I really get to give myself a break from the house is when I go for my daily walks. If you are unable to step out of the house, then open your windows and let the sunlight shine through. It will still make you happy, I promise 🙂 every ounce counts.

4. Move your Body!

Exercise has been a consistent routine of mine for the past couple of years. However, without being able to go to the gym, I am forced to get creative with my workouts. Although I am not a huge fan of at home workouts, I have been able to incorporate yoga and your standard workout routines such as squats, lunges, sit ups, etc. But my favorite workouts are outside. Sometimes I will go for a light jog. Most times I am climbing the stairs of my apartment complex with buildings that are three stories tall. It allows me to enjoy the scenery while I feel the burn. Not a fan of exercise? That’s ok. Find other ways to get your body moving and your heart rate up. You can take walks, you can dance, you can stretch, jump rope, anything! Find something enjoyable to you and apply it into your daily routine. Put the quarantine snacks away!

5. Pick up a New Hobby.

During this quarantine, a lot of creative platforms are offering several of their services for free. There are many yogis that are offering yoga and meditation sessions virtually (I’ve attended a few on IG Live). There are many online courses with waived fees that allow you to pick up a new skillset (I’ve enrolled in a 4-week Digital Marketing course and a 10-week wellness course offered by Yale…I may be doing too much). There are even artists offering paint classes virtually as well (one in particular that I can think of- @thepaintnetwork on IG; they have been doing weekly affirmation paintings via Zoom). We have an abundance of time that will be spent in our homes, so rather than mindlessly scrolling on social media or binge watching Netflix, you can use this time productively. Perhaps you want to pick up journaling? Go for it! And when all else fails, read a book. I have so many books I have collected over the years that are collecting dust…yes, I neglect reading too, even as a writer. I’m looking forward to cracking them open and getting lost in another reality.

6. Budget your Expenses.

Let’s be transparent. We don’t really know how badly this virus will affect our economy. We are getting glimpses but the reality is, it may get worse before it gets better. Now is not the time to spend your money on anything that is not considered a necessity. Many people are forced to not work because there is no proper care for their children while schools are closed. Many businesses have been forced to shut down. Many people are being laid off. Economically, we are not okay and it is very possible we might hit a recession. And I am not saying this to scare all of you. I’m simply saying this as a notice to prepare. To be completely honest, my household has been impacted economically and it’s definitely a wake up call to evaluate our expenses. Now is the time to save as much money as we can. Be mindful. Be aware. And don’t panic. Make a plan and follow through. These circumstances won’t last forever. It’s just a matter of when we will be able to bounce back.

I hope these tips help you weather the storm in the most positive way that is accessible to you. Do your best to create a routine that works for you and brings you joy. Try to stick to that routine until it becomes the norm. Actively work at it and do your best. During these times, we need to shower ourselves with love. Keep those vibrations high. And remember, that despite the negative that may be taking place in your life, you get to live another day. Some people have not been as fortunate. You have a roof over your head and food in your fridge. Some people can’t say the same. And know, that this too shall pass. Find the silver lining and hold onto it. Sending my love to all of you and pocketing some for myself ❤ Happy Quarantine.