I literally cannot

I literally cannot

Have you ever said that? “I literally cannot.” I have. Plenty of times, actually. It’s become quite a bit of a catch phrase when people do things that are ridiculously hard to believe or imagine. Or when a situation arises that I just can’t deal with at the moment (or ever, for that matter). I literally cannot. As if to say this is beyond all comprehension and I just can not spend another moment on it.

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Well in those settings, I think the statement works. It’s more of an expression than a true declaration. However, in others it may be more of an issue than you would think. How so? Well, what we tell ourselves is usually what we in fact do. And when you speak to yourself negatively (silently or out loud, who am I to judge lol), you could in fact be self-sabotaging your efforts. There are have been scientific studies that suggest our language actually shapes the way we think, and that our sub conscience really does follow the things that we say. Therefore, it’s reasonable to conclude that our words really do carry a certain amount of weight. They have power. Actual, factual power. Tell yourself you’re smart and find a way to figure it out. Tell yourself you’re stupid and chances are…

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All jokes aside, though. This is serious business. By this line of reasoning, we really have the ability (and responsibility) to tell ourselves wonderful, beautiful things. In a world where there are literally thousands upon thousands of things that we have absolutely no control over, this is not one of those things. We can absolutely control what we tell ourselves each and every single day. And in that moment, we determine how things are going to be.

Ever heard the expression “the words you speak will be the house you live in”? Well apparently it’s true. And when responding to the question of “What would make you happy?” WebMD says “A new wardrobe, a faster car, moving to a different city? People often think these things are the key to feeling good, but experts say only about 10% of a person’s happiness is related to them.giphy Much more happiness — 90% — has to do with your general outlook on life. You can learn a lot about your own worldview by paying attention to “self-talk” — the conversation you have in your head about yourself and the world around you. Even more important, changing how you talk to yourself can actually help shift your perspective, too.”

But is a shift in perspective merely just looking at life through rose-colored glasses? Is it a lie to yourself method that just makes everything seem better when it really isn’t? Critics say no. The effects are real and not just some placebo pill to sugarcoat the awfulness. In fact, Psychology Today makes this interesting analysis:

Positive self-talk is not self-deception.  It is not mentally looking at circumstances with eyes that see only what you want to see.  Rather, positive self-talk is about recognizing the truth, in situations and in yourself.  One of the fundamental truths is that you will make mistakes.  To expect perfection in yourself or anyone else is unrealistic.  To expect no difficulties in life, whether through your own actions or sheer circumstances, is also unrealistic.

When negative events or mistakes happen, positive self-talk seeks to bring the positive out of the negative to help you do better, go further, or just keep moving forward.  The practice of positive self-talk is often the process that allows you to discover the obscured optimism, hope, and joy in any given situation.

– Psychology Today

Optimism, hope, and joy. What a powerful combination. You know, in the opening pic I was really going for a super fly extended stretch on my tippy toes. Didn’t quite make it, but it was a fun attempt. I laugh now, because the shirt I was wearing at the time says “I literally cannot.” And I’m pretty sure that’s what I was thinking – there’s no way I can do this. Now I wonder if that had anything to do with my failed attempt to get the perfect shot. Considering my balance and the way my equilibrium is set up, probably not. But still… it gives me pause.

So then, what’s the conclusion of the matter? All things being considered at the end of the day? Stop talking down to yourself. Stop being so negative. Yes, things go wrong and yes, we make mistakes. Yes, Mondays are Mondays and sometimes it rains. And yes close friends hurt our hearts and we lose people in death. But the choice is always the same, regardless of the situation – what shall we say to ourselves in the early morning when we just awake? How you answer that question can truly can be the difference between a good day, and a bad day. And with the way this world is currently set up, we can use all the good days we can get.

xoxo,
La.

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Forget the mistake. Remember the Lesson.

Forget the mistake. Remember the Lesson.

I make a lot of mistakes. Like, a lot. Sometimes big, sometimes small, always wrong. Mistakes in money, mistakes in friendships… according to my stomach, that salted caramel shake last night was definitely a mistake. Like… they are endless. But guess what? I survived each one, and I’ve learned my lesson. And that is the key. Every. Single. Time.

Continue reading “Forget the mistake. Remember the Lesson.”

11/30 to be a dreamer (National Poetry Month Challenge)

11/30 to be a dreamer (National Poetry Month Challenge)

when your dreams are so big they seep into the daylight
sometimes it’s hard to sleep
stay grinding
stay hustling
stay working
stay moving
stay sister, daughter, cousin, auntie, friend
and hold a spot for lover, mother, wife
this life is not for that faint of heart

to be a dreamer…
burning that midnight coconut oil
(cause hair gots to stay fly)
don’t lose sight of your goals, girl
you smile
you cry
you pray
you laugh
you scream
there’s always room at the bottom

…but that top is mean

when your dreams are so big they seep into the daylight
sometimes it’s hard to sleep.

la.

9/30 – no I didn’t forget (National Poetry Month Challenge)

I’m playing catch up, it happens….

9/30

There is a quiet kind of courage in knowing when to quit
When losing all hope is not really a loss at all
And the idea of holding on a moment longer is worse than the fear of actually failing.
A peace as tranquil as a Sunday morning in redirecting your thoughts from ‘why me’ to ‘why not me’
And understanding yes, sometimes bad things do happen to good people.
Sorry.
There’s a certain sliver of solace in agreeing
you’re better off without him
(even if that’s not actually so)
Cause at some point you must live in the now and not the what if
And revel in the strength that some girls don’t get happily ever afters
Just happily you’ve got you
And it’s at that moment, that aha-waiter-taste-my-soup moment,
That quiet kind of courage kicks in and reminds you that you are and have always been enough.

Fluffy n Fit – My Journey to Becoming a Personal Trainer (the backstory)

Fluffy n Fit – My Journey to Becoming a Personal Trainer (the backstory)

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So I am not a size 12. Nor a 10, nor a 6, nor a 4. In fact, if you take a 1 and put it in front of that 4, that’s where you’ll find me. 14. Not Macy’s or Nordstrom 14. But Fashion to Figure, Torrid 14. And that’s when I’m not moonlighting at a 16. Cute and funny, curvy and confident (most days), active and creative. All words that could aptly describe the woman I am and strive to be. So why does a 34 years young woman who once walked in fashion shows as a full-figured model now pursue a career as a fitness consultant and personal trainer? Four words: because I want to.

I’d always admired runners. Envied those who did track and field. Long, lean bodies that moved with ease. I’d see them in the mornings as I’d commute to work and think I wish I was out there running, too. But I was a thick girl and the way my body was set up…. (cue Kevin Hart). Still, even though I didn’t run, I played basketball, football, tennis. I was active, but thick. In fact, I don’t remember ever being small. I was smaller than I am now, but never small. And that was hard growing up. I still loved me, curves and all – but I hated not being able to shop in the same stores as my smaller friends, my sister, my mom. I don’t have any horror stories of being teased or bullied about weight, but I do remember always wanting to be fit. To not have to wear suck-it-in shape-wear with a fancy dress, or to not have my thighs chaff under a sundress on a hot, summer day was a dream. And as the years grew longer, I grew wider. So I dibbled and dabbled in different diets, work out plans, gym memberships, bandwagon fads, soups, juices, pills, you know – stuff. And needless to say… (don’t make me say it.)

fb_img_1460178786408.jpgEnter the curvy girl revolution. Despite my silent battles with my up and down weight, I still remained at least from the outside looking in, extremely confident. I had become a self-published author and spoken word artists doing college tours and national features. I traveled internationally, climbed up the corporate ladder in the field of IT, developed my skills and credentials as a freelance makeup artist, held somewhat healthy relationships in love (that’s for another blog story lol), but I mean I was seemingly doing well! I even had the opportunity to walk in several fashion shows featuring full-figured women. Not just local mall type stuff. I mean real events: lights, runways, cameras, promotions, money. And it was amazing! I met some of the most beautiful, confident, strong, and talented women. Some of them I still have the pleasure to connect with, and admire. I think deep curves and wide hips are a beautiful thing, and I want my curves to stay! But when I looked back, especially at the footage from poetry and fashion shows I would do, I was always a bit uncomfortable with the silhouette I saw. I was fabulous – please don’t get me wrong. Mama stayed fly. I highly believed (and still do believe) you can look good at any size. But for me, personally, I wanted to look good at another size. A healthier size. And for me that size, fully equipped with wide hips, shapely curves, and all things lovely didn’t have a number, just a feeling.

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Embracing my curves March 2016

So I went to work on attaining that feeling. And like most journeys on the road to success, my path has not been a straight one. But in addition to working out and cutting out (or back on) fast food and sugary sweets, I came into contact with JJ Smith and her 10-day green smoothie cleanse, which accelerated my weight loss and my confidence. After about a year of teetering back and forth between her green smoothies and other health tips I found along the way, I  managed to drop a good 30-35lbs along with inches. I drank more water, my skin cleared up, and I gained muscle. And since consistency is one of the things I struggle with greatly, I probably would’ve had more progress had I stayed the course. But I say again, the path is not straight. At JJ’s health conference in the summer of 2015, I took the training to become a certified Green Smoothie Personal Coach and spent the following year helping over 20 individuals detox, have less brain fog, more energy, lose inches, and on average 10-15lbs in 10 days. I LOVED the way that felt. It wasn’t even all about the weight loss – those 10 days helped people feel better and have more confidence that small changes could bring about great results in their lives, if they wanted them. Even though I was still on my journey to a better me, I realized I could help others on their personal journey as well.

So that same year, I enrolled in the Personal Fitness Training Certification program offered thru W.I.T.S. at the local community college. I didn’t necessarily reason at the time that I wanted to be a personal trainer. I mean I was still well over 200 lbs, and still am, but I knew I wanted to learn more about fitness and how to push myself to reach the goals I had set. Can I just tell you that was an emotional 9 weeks of training? Not only was I the largest woman in class – I was the largest person in the class! Try sitting in a room with physically fit people talking about fitness and then dealing with your own internal feelings of “why are you even here?” I definitely had to overcome a few challenges to make it thru. But I did. Even with continuing to work my 9-5 and keeping up with my spiritual volunteer work, I studied hard, paid attention, and aced both my written exam and practical. The only thing left to officially become a Certified Personal Trainer was a 30hr internship with a  more experienced certified trainer and a quick class on CPR.

photogrid_1457019479400.jpgAnd here it is, almost a full year later and I have just now  finally started my internship. In fact, I have til the end of May to turn in these final requirements or my entire course will be null and void. I know what your thinking: Why did I wait so long to get it done? Sadly simple: I let my own fears and insecurities get in the way of finishing what I started. Even though I was confident in the beginning, as I backslid in my nutrition and workouts over the months, I allowed negative thoughts to creep in and remind me that fluffy girls aren’t personal trainers. Sure, I inquired of a few gyms on the recommended list – left voicemails and sent emails to potential bosses. Even reached out to trainer or too I knew personally. But when they weren’t returned for whatever the reason, it was as if they, too, were looking at all this chunky and saying to me it couldn’t be done. A bit over dramatic, I know. But it is what it is, and it held me back. The further away from my classes I went, the less likely it felt like I could be qualified to train.

However, sometimes you just have to put on your big girl panties and deal with it. Negative thoughts or not, I spent a lot of money and time and energy in those classes and I was so close to the end. I realized I had motivated a lot of people on my journey – and they were rooting for me and waiting for me to succeed. Shoot, I have a list of people right now who are waiting for me to start accepting clients. So I got on with it. I put out a call to all my Facebook friends to shout out their favorite trainers. I sent out messengers, a call for help, and followed up. And even though I still received a few no’s, that eventually led me to the awesome Patrice Jones, personal trainer at Shytimba Extreme Fitness. And with our crazy schedules, it was a rocky start for us as well now that we’re connected, she has been nothing less than amazing. I’ve already shadowed her on a few training sessions and eagerly look forward to doing and learning more.

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@Shytimba Extreme Fitness working on my Internship

So what to say to wrap up this incredibly long backstory? Follow your dreams just sounds way too corny. That just won’t do. But what I will say is set a goal and embrace the journey. Sometimes in order to get where you want to be, you ultimately will go thru a few different rounds of what you thought you wanted to be. I know I did. And that can be a hard realization. To put so much into something and then realize hey, I think I want to do something else. But it happens. It’s happening for me right now. I’m a thick, fluffy girl who loves her curves but also wants to be more fit. One who doesn’t much care for a thigh gap but wants to run a 5k without stopping to walk. I am excited. I am scared. I am optimistic. I am a lot of things. But I think what I most am is determined. And as I continue on this journey of fluffy ‘n fit, I promise to take you with me for the ride.

xoxo from your future Personal Trainer,
La.

Brussels, Prayers & an Invitation

Brussels, Prayers & an Invitation

screenshot_2016-03-22-15-01-58-1.pngIf you are like me, which multitudes around the earth are, you woke up this morning to devastating reports of another terrorist attack, this time in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Lives forever altered as bombs exploded in the airport and metro system and the injury list and death toll grew. Grows.

While in bed praying my morning prayer being sure to include all suffering from these horrendous acts, I also prayed that my friends and their guests in Belgium are still able to commemorate one of thee most sacred nights of the year (this year it falls on tomorrow, March 23rd after sundown), along with more than eight million others across the globe: the celebration of the Lord’s Evening Meal.

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Because what that celebration underscores is a time when no one will have to be in fear of terrorist attacks such as that experienced this morning in Brussels, or here in the United States on 9/11 and many times after, or in places across the world that unfortunately will never have news cameras and public outrage and flashing lights to shine on the atrocities committed there every single day.

What this special event occurring worldwide in almost every language on the evening of March 23rd focuses on is the only solution to the problems mankind faces, despite race, age, nationality, affiliation, or financial status. Everyone can benefit, and everyone is invited. It is free of charge, and there is no collection taken. Even though I will be on travel this week, I will attend in Texas. Nothing will stand in the way of my attendance as I want to reflect on the great sacrifices made on our behalf, and the promises soon to be fulfilled that we so desperately need. Regardless of your personal beliefs, I think it’s safe to say most everyone is desirous of change. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Why not do something different tomorrow and attend as well?

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To find the location nearest you, please visit www.jw.org. You will be warmly welcomed.

My heart and prayers are with those suffering in Brussels and worldwide. And I look forward to the time when the words of Revelation 21:4 will be fulfilled.

“And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

– Revelations 21: 4

xoxo,
La.

Ps. Here are a few other articles that provide answers to questions on the minds of millions on this very sad day.