Another Lonely Autumn…

I know, sounds dreadfully depressing. But I promise you it isn’t… well not really. It kinda is, sometimes. But for the most part… let’s start over.

I really love Autumn. It’s my favorite season… for real.  Continue reading “Another Lonely Autumn…”

When your card is declined… in Mexico

It’s one of your worst fears… you’re out to eat with a table of folks (in this case, folks I just met a few hours avo when we left the ship for this paddleboard and snorkeling excursion), and your card declines.

You nervously smile, furl your eyebrows, laugh and say “whaaaat? Run it again…” only to sideeye the Mexican tableside card machine as it tries and tries and once again glows declined. What in thee everloving pesos is going on here??

Continue reading “When your card is declined… in Mexico”

Been a minute…..

… yea, I know. But see, what had happened was….

LIFE! haha

Life has had me crazy busy. Good! But, crazy. I have been busy in my ministry, planning an upcoming trip to Greece (yaaasss!! y’all know I love to travel), writing like crazy to finish up a piece for an upcoming spoken word show in Philly, spending some necessary quality time with family and friends, and I’ve simplified and downsized. Sold most of my earthly belongings (read: furniture, clothes, bags, shoes, you know – the good stuff lol) and moved from my oh-so-cute apartment to a cute little bedroom in a girlfriend’s town home. So it’s three of us chicas, living it up Living Single style and I’m actually quite happy. I still have far too many boxes and bags to unpack, but I’ve put together my new bed and my dressers have arrived. I know what you’re thinking – she sold all of her furniture and then bought new stuff for her room? Well, originally my plans were different but things changed so you roll with the punches, right? So, like I said… my new dressers have arrived and now to empty these bags and boxes and set up my new spot. Aside from being tired, I’m pretty excited.

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But what I was writing about was to tell you how my workouts are going! Well… pretty darn good. Not excellent – meaning I still could be better with my consistency. But, I’m down 11 lbs and my strength and stamina is on the rise. I’m adding my video from this mornings’ session below – today was a fight. But the “never miss a Monday” mantra is one I like to follow so to the gym I went…

 

I’ve promised to do better with my blog in the past… and failed. But… here I am, like my workouts, trying to be more consistent. I shan’t give up. (I’m surprise shan’t is a word – I wasn’t sure). But aannyyyhooo…. hope everyone has an amazing Monday! I’m trying my best to do the same 🙂

 

xoxo,
La.

Cause it’s Monday…

Blah, blah, blah… it’s done.

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As I lay on my living room floor, sweaty, tired, bloated from too much sodium during my weekend of “I obviously forgot I’m in training “… I barely eek out this post to encourage someone to get up – no for real, get up- and do it.

I don’t know what it is but whatever it may be, get it done. Go to that gym, make that call, offer that apology, climb that mountain… whatever. If I  had to slink myself into spandex and lycra to swing a 40lb kettle bell 50 times, then you too have to do that thing.

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OK, I think that’s all for now. I have to crawl to the shower….

La.

PS- don’t forget to go do the thing…now.

10/30 balance. (National Poetry Month Challenge)

So as you can see, I’ve feel far from grace on this month’s poetry challenge. 10 out of 30 on the 27th of the month is rather disgraceful. Buuuuttt, I’ve been sooo busy with my full-time, and then my internship, and then my ministry, and then… well, just life! Hence, the following haiku for my 10/30 piece:

10/30 balance

too far to the left
or maybe the right, balance
was always my thorn.

haiku.

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.

for Troy… 4/30 (National Poetry Month Challenge)

This has not been a good day. Well, at least not this afternoon. Work drove me to tears, frustrated is an understatement, and well, I’ll spare you the rest but just really one of those days. Because I knew I had to pull it together fast and quick, decided to get some air (and food). Trying to stay on my healthy kick, instead of going for the sugary-chocolatey-anything-to-make-me-feel-better option, I went for the rotisserie and veggies, stuffed some of it down in the car (along with my feelings), and sat until I felt I could act like a big girl and go back to work. And then I got caught by the light. Such is life to remind me that even though I am still sitting here, frustrated with work and near tears, somebody out there always has it worse. So be thankful for what you have, even if it isn’t all that you want, and be kind to everyone you meet. You never know their struggle. This is for Troy.
 xoxo
La.
For Troy. 4/30

Second car from the light to be stopped by the red
I see you emerge
Cardboard sign in hand, ready to walk that walk
(But I’m sure not really ready)
I sigh…
Half cause I feel sorry and half cause don’t wanna be bothered
See I’ve had a hard and frustrating day
…you can probably relate

And I’m only out cause I needed a bite
you can… probably relate
I actually cried before I left out
you can probably… relate
But here you come
Cardboard sign in hand, walking that walk
And I don’t have to read it to know what it says
“will work for food” or something of the like
And I’m sorry you look so sad
And I’m sorry I looked away
And I’m sorry all I have is this
chicken-just-eaten-so-I-scooped-the-bones-out-right-fast
-and-all-that’s-left-is-rice-and-beans container
but – it’s yours if you’re hungry…
Thank you.
He says my name is Troy and that he’s down on his luck
Asks if I have work, anything will do
And that he’s just tryna make it, get back on his feet
And I have nothing.
Just this chicken-less box of rice and beans and tears eyes from teary lives
The light turns and so does he
Cardboard sign in hand, Styrofoam box in the other
Ready to walk that walk
But I’m sure not really ready.

a Travelista (with a Fear of Flying)

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Yes, it’s true. Secret’s out. This frequent flier of the clear blue (but oftentimes turbulent) skies has a deep-seated, text your loved ones goodbye, pray ten times before takeoff and seven more times in the air fear: flying. From DC to Brazil to California to Rome, each and every flight in my lifetime has caused me a guaranteed and certain anxiety. Early morning, late night, well planned out, or last minute – it doesn’t even matter. If I’m going up, so is my heart rate.

Even as I write this now, I’m nervously shifting in my 22A window seat (cue Eryka Badu) pondering my life and hoping that I’ve made Him proud. Cause what else do you ponder at this insane altitude watching the lights flicker on the earth below somewhere between Texas and Baltimore? I tried to go to sleep, as I almost always attempt to do before takeoff, but like so many times before – I’ve failed. So now I’m up, my Beats by Dre pumping NeoSoul into my eardrums, doing their best to drown out the turbulence and my own overactive imagination. They are failing as well.

The question, though, is why do I put myself through this anguish? I mean right now the ride is relatively smooth and I feel like I am in no immediate danger. But there have been flights where I have cried real tears and where the poor soul next to me has grabbed my hand to reassure me that we would live. (Yes, he really did – I must have looked as terrified as I was.) So why, again, do I do this to myself of my own free will every chance I get? It’s simple:

Because what I really want is on the other side of fear.

And isn’t that so often the case? Think about it. What would you do in this very moment if you weren’t afraid to do it? Where would you go? Who would you talk to? What would you say? Who would you become?

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And I’m not referring to the healthy fear, the one that protects us and guides us to make wise decisions. That fear of being run over that keeps a lone child from crossing a busy street. That fear is helpful. That fear can save lives. But what about that other fear. That negative fear that causes us to not go for that promotion or opportunity, to not approach that person we’ve been eyeing from afar, to not say I’m sorry, or that I love you first. That kind of fear is stifling, debilitating. That’s the kind of fear that would’ve kept me from seeing the castles in Portugal, from swimming with the sting rays in the Cayman Islands. I may have never gotten the chance to freeze my tail off in Paris or scare myself silly in London’s museum of wax.  Yes I had to nervously board a plane to attain all of these experiences, but I felt the fear and then did it anyway.

What fear are you feeling at this very moment? (Mine is that the captain just announced our descent.) But what about you? Is there something you’d like to do/say/be but an unhealthy fear is getting in the way? Why not re-evaluate and then make it happen. As I wrote in a previous post, arrange and rearrange. People often say that life is too short to be unhappy. I say life is too long. Some people go 30, 40, 50+ years carrying shoulda’ woulda’ coulda’s that  tear them up inside. That’s too long. Too long to be sad. Too long to be unhappy. Too long to be afraid. My aim is to live a determined life; to set  fearless goals, and then work fiercely to attain them: spiritual, physical, and otherwise. And as I prepare to utter my next “oh Lord, please let this plane land safely cause I don’t wanna die” prayer, I sincerely urge you to do the same. (Not the prayer part, just the goals part… though prayer never hurts. But that’s for another blog post :))

xoxo,
La

workout (clothes) all day

photogrid_1457019479400.jpgI promise you I awoke with the best of intentions. And yes, I know it’s Monday. What’s the cardinal rule? Never miss a Monday. Never. So even though I went to bed with a slight headache already fully aware I’d want to sleep past the third alarm, I knew come morning I would throw on my workout clothes and be prepared to sweat at some point during the day. I mean look at the photos… I’ve been doing pretty well. Kind of. But here it is almost 9:30 pm and I am still in these blasted workout clothes… sans sweat.

Fail.

Now why am I confessing my workout (or lack thereof) sins on the worldwide net? Accountability. A girl has goals, and missing today does not get me any closer to that for which I am striving. And, ok… if I’m going to be totally honest, my eating wasn’t on point either. I mean some of it was. I just cooked and polished off this grilled skinless chicken breast and roasted brussel sprouts and it was delicious! But the leftover mini-cupcakes and cookies from Sunday’s cook-off, also delicious, were on the menu as well and for that I pat this belly in shame.

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Oh the struggle for the thicky with goals. But I digress…

In a few days, I travel for a friends wedding and cannot guarantee I will be on my A-game. A long-time girlfriend I haven’t seen in years is hosting me for the week and she already informed me plans have been set and the wine has been bought. So rather than beat myself up on what’s looking to be an amazing trip, I have devised a game plan for once I return. Total beast mode. Nutrition. Training. Sweat. Because while I love being a full-figured cutie, health over beauty so I will tame these curves and lift those weights. It’s all set and I am looking forward to it. Truthfully.

But til then, I hang my head in sugar-coated shame and apologize to the www for missing this Monday. I’ll do better tomorrow. Promise.

xoxo,
La

I am a Divergent

138da8e51e5f8e3f61eee8d44038a6d1-1.jpgEver been on a traditionally successful path making traditionally successful money in a traditionally successful career and thought to yourself, “If I do {insert traditionally successful task} one more time, I’m literally going to  {insert traditionally non-successful reaction}??”

You haven’t? Ok, no problem. Feel free to exit stage left and read another post. You’re excused. But if you somewhat kinda maybe sorta understand where I’m coming from, pull up a chair and let’s chat.

Have you seen the movie Divergent? (Yes, I know it’s a book series but I’ve only seen the movie – sorry. It was great.) Well in Divergent, as a person entered into adulthood, they had to choose a particular faction and commit to it for life. And if you felt like you fit into more than one, you had to either conceal it or be discovered as a Divergent: a defect, a misfit, a problem.

Hello, my name is La Jones and I am a Divergent.

And while I fully appreciate the need for stability, medical benefits, a 401k, and a steady every-other-week paycheck you could set the clock by, sometimes (and these days a lot of times) all I want to do is swap it out for a writing gig near the beach, or a spot as a makeup artist on a dope set, or a fitness and beauty consultant for all my curvy ladies. All things I do now, but only as a side hustle – never the main show. It’s like I’m a computer-chained IT professional by day, but by night my creative side can flourish and play. And while it used to be satisfied as a background singer, these days it’s getting tired of doing ooh’s and aah’s.

too busy text messageMaybe it’s because the older one gets, the easier it becomes to see that time is precious. Some people are so busy being busy, but not accomplishing anything at all. And spending 8 hours a day doing something you’re less than passionate about can take a toll on the wandering psyche. After all, not all who wander are lost. Maybe just searching for something better. So I plan and I pray and I plan some more, trying to reconcile the love I have of my cute, little apartment and an income that allows me to travel with my desire to make space for the more important things and have more control of how I spend my time.

At the end of it all, I just want to be able to look back and say I made the sacrifices necessary to live a life well-purposed and designed. That is the ultimate goal. To be happy with me and the way I am living, that it reflects my goals and the things that matter most. And until I’m where I want to be, I’ll arrange and rearrange until the pieces finally fit. “Where am I moving?” you ask. “On to better things.”

xoxo,
La