Girl, what do “YOU” need?

I fumbled into a body breakdown this week. Exhaustion tackled me like a pro linebacker and laid me flat on my back, and it gave me brief moment to consider the why.

Currently, I am in graduate school, but I’m also working full time as a specialist, and also doing an administrative internship, and also working as a business owner, and also serving as a mom, and wife, and…and…and. Top it all off with some liver complications, and it makes for one tired sister.

This moment of exhausted pause helped me to see that there are a lot of people who rely on me that all have needs, and to them, every last one of those needs are an emergency.

I pondered for a moment and calculated just some of the cost of everyone’s demands.

My job:

  • needs me before work, during work and after work
  • needs me at the last minute to do “right now things” which causes me to move current “right now things” to “later things” that by the nature of the delay, will eventually force them to become “last minute urgent things”
  • needs resources, advice, guides and guidance, and for me to answer 1,000 texts and emails a day

My children:

  • Need breakfast and packed lunches and homemade dinners
  • Need washed clothes and a clean house
  • Need help with homework and schoolwork
  • Need to go here and there
  • And money…things that cost money…lots of things that cost money.

My Grad School:

  • Needs proof that I am actually working on my internship
    • and discussion boards
    • and Zooms
    • and detailed PPTs that analyze data and solves problems.

My husband:

  • Needs help finding keys, and phones, and whatever else he misplaces that somehow always seem to be right where I told him to look but doesn’t magically appear until I walk into the room.
  • Needs a wife that’s at least half-decent to look at
  • Needs food and loving and support with all that he has going on too.

Then there’s always the random calls from others asking, “Can you do this or that?”

I realize that I am giver, and one thing about takers is they will never mind taking as long as I am giving.

My body did me a favor by shutting down. It said, “Nope. No more. I have nothing left to give. I need rest.”

That rest made me stop and ask myself, “Girl, what do YOU need?” So, I took time to write it out.

  • I need help with the laundry and cleaning the house.
  • I need spa days and self-care.
  • I need frequent mini-trips where I don’t have to be mom, or wife, or employee.
  • I need to breathe to let go of what I can’t control.
  • I need to meditate.
  • I need to teach others how to be more self-sufficient.
  • I need a work-life balance.
  • I need to learn to say no without any explanation or guilt.

If you are a giver, like me, I pray that you have time to reflect before you crash. Trust me. It ain’t pleasant.

Therefore, I wish you all love, peace, prosperity, and, of course, a full-length mirror and the courage to stand in front of it and ask yourself, “Girl, What do YOU need?” Now, try giving yourself just that.

The day my body said, “No more!”

The Dirty Word: Therapy

Sometimes the blows in life come at you fast – faster than speeding bullets, subways and St. Bernards. They chase you down, run you over and what do we do? We get back up.

I’ve come to realize that I have survived all the things that could bring a woman low: abusive relationships, death of loved ones, poverty, depression, suicidal thoughts, health challenges, divorce, self-image issues, and obesity. Well, I’m still working on that one. It’s something about that middle age marker. My spare tire decided that it really wants to be committed to me until death parts us. We’re working through it.

Anywho!

I’ve realized that life has really done a number on me, but each time it ran me over, I quickly got right back up and convinced myself that I was okay, saying “Un unh. I’m strong. This will not defeat me.” While that may be true, I let my grief pile up like loads of unfolded laundry, and I let my wounds spill over into my spirit and taint my view of the world and people. I put up walls, and you know what they say about walls, right? Walls keep people out, but they also trap you inside.

So there I was, in 2019, trapped. I sat up against the walls I had built, and I battled chronic depression.

Those who follow me on social media probably noticed that my motivational videos practically became obsolete and my words of encouragement became nothing but vapor.

I knew something was wrong when I cried going to bed, I cried waking up, I cried driving my kids to school, I cried walking into work, and I cried coming home. I was surrounded my people who loved me, and yet, I felt so alone. Helpless & hopeless. Happiness no longer visited me daily, and when I asked was it ever going to come back around, and the answer was a resounding “maybe.”

So, I got help. Not from well-meaning friends. Not from family members with their own skewed views. Not from a quick Google search, and not from the Bible alone.

I sat on the cliche couch that all therapist have, and I gave voice to things that I had silenced. It was the most freeing thing I have ever done, and for the first time, I was able to tell someone, “This happened to me, and I am not okay.”

With each session, weight came off, and with each session, ghosts spoke and then said their goodbyes. I walked out of each session lighter.

Listen. Therapy is the most freeing thing I’ve done. Had I not been brave enough to go get help when I saw that I clearly needed it, who knows if you’d be reading this blog today. But here I am being strong enough to admit, I’m weak, and ironically, that’s the definition of strength.

I’ve watched so many sisters, like me, bear so many crosses and take so many shots from life, all while yelling, “I’m good! I’m fine.”

So, I’ll leave you with this…..

I don’t know what story is behind your, “I’m fine,” but I pray that even if you aren’t, that you will be.

I wish you all love, peace, prosperity, and, of course, a good therapist who will let you voice all the things you’ve silenced.

Love, Lexcee

Naked and Black

I got naked. I just took it all off and walked straight into my office as bare as I could be. No fake nails. No pedicure. No perm. I denounced it all, if only but for this moment in time where I am learning to love myself so that others learn how to love me too – in my purest and blackest form.

Black hair, in its natural state, has been demeaned and vilified for ages. From a very young age, I learned that my hair was something that had to be controlled, tamed and managed. It had to be pressed or permed so that I could look “presentable” in society.

I do need to mention that this is the same society which believed that my hair wasn’t the only thing that had to be controlled, tamed and managed. There was also culture and narratives and this little, big thing called freedom. But, I digress.

I bought into it – the “NORM” narrative – that I had to suppress the real image of me because it was deemed less than in the eyes of those who dominated and dictated the norm. So, it begs the question: do I learn the rules and play the game, or do I just flip the game table over?

It’s been a constant clash just like Washington and Du Bois: play the game or say, “Nah! I’m good, bruh!”

Black hair has been deemed “unprofessional” and less desirable since the beginning of colonization.

There really had to be a law put in place in California last year (as in 2019) to “ban the discrimination of Black hair in its natural state.” Like, this shouldn’t even be a thing, but it is and it is very necessary unfortunately. *Inserts shoutout to Cali!*

It is a luxury not to worry about if your hair in its natural state will keep you from getting a job and thus, impacting the financial trajectory of your life. Implicit bias is real. Prejudice is real. Racism is real. And, when they show up on the interview panel, all bets are off.

So, I learned the rules early.

1.) Take my braids out.

2.) Press my hair to flow like curtains on a clothesline in summer winds.

3.) Take off my hoops.

4.) Put on my mother’s pearls.

5.) Get the job, and then…

6.) Insert fro.

In the “Me” world, there is this constant struggle of give a little, take a little back. Give a little and take a little back. My blackness that is. Too much of it and people get offended, too little of it and my soul cries. Where’s the balance? Should there even be balance?

It was interesting to see who told me I was beautiful or that they loved my hair in comparison to the days I am playing by the rules. It was also interesting to see who sat in an awkward silence staring at my hair in its natural state wondering why it wasn’t controlled, tamed or managed–fearful that it would somehow crawl off my head, onto the table and bite their hands off. It’s kind of comical to watch.

Here’s the thing I’ve now settled: I’m Black. I was born Black. I’m dying Black, and I will not be asking permission another day to be what and who I already am. The knowledge inside my head has nothing to do with the hair that is on my head, and if the folk can’t see that, then they’ve lost out on a pretty awesome and educated chick. Totally their loss and not mine.

I wish you all love, peace, prosperity, and, of course, a mirror that reminds you of how deep your natural beauty runs!

Love, Lexcee

I’ve named my fro Beneatha! 😉

If this blog spoke to you, don’t keep it to yourself! Share it with your friends. If you’ve had a similar experience or can relate, I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment! 😉

Reframing Rejection

I’ve dealt with rejection all of my life, and while it often leaves a bitter aftertaste in my mouth; somehow, I have managed to keep it from turning my heart tart.

We’ve all seen it depicted in film. There’s a group of kids huddled up in a circle, and one kid is left jumping on the outside or having to crawl in-between legs because no one thinks enough of him to give him a space in their little, private world. While I’ve never been excluded from a kickball game or pushed out by a group of mean girls, I have oftentimes felt very alone–even among a sea of folk. Maybe it’s them. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s the guard I have put on my heart after being misunderstood, mistreated or rejected after choosing the risk of trusting someone. This is how I learned that rejection can be uncomfortable and unsettling if it’s not framed properly.

Whether it was a toxic relationship with men who chose other women over me (rejection), or a “friend”ship where my love and affection was swatted by a person who only wanted to knock me low (rejection), or whether it was publishing companies telling me that my work wasn’t good enough (rejection), or whether it was folks deliberately ignoring my work and my worth (rejection), it all had purpose. No matter how much it hurt at the time, it has ALWAYS worked together for my good.

Over time, I have learned that rejection isn’t always something to be mourned and lamented. I’ve learned that it’s not tied to my worth or my value. It’s not a true measure of where I am going because God has already settled that over my life. Rejection (even though what I am about to say is cliche’) is protection.

If you are like me, you tend to hold onto people long after you should have let them go. There is sign after sign that your relationship has run it’s course; they are constantly rejecting your love or your efforts and instead of thanking them for the time you spent and moving on, you hold on to them and a bit of bitterness that grows heavy and sags. It weighs you down and ironically, it causes you to reject others who may be purer with truer intentions.

If you are like me, you also probably ask why you don’t fit in. No matter how hard you try, there is something different about you that can’t connect with just anybody. You feel uncomfortable and odd among others. I mean, you enjoy short-lived moments together, but it rarely translates into a lifetime thing.

You know what I have learned?

I have learned that when you are on a journey, you pack light. You carry only what you can tote on your back and in your hand. That’s it. No more. No less. There is no room for anything that is non-essential. Drama. Hurt. Betrayal. Distraction. None of that can go with you. I mean it can, but you end up starving on the journey because you don’t have any room to pack nourishment and sustenance.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think the Lord knows that if I found just the right group in just the right environment, I would sit and stay too long, forgetting about my journey and my assignment. I need to remember that I’m going somewhere.

Now, this doesn’t mean we live life void of relationships or authentic connections. That doesn’t mean we remain loners for a lifetime. What that does mean is that seasons change, and we can expect relationships do the same. That means some will take a few steps with you in your journey, while some will go all the way. The challenge is to see value in the one (or the ones) who go all the way. Quality will always override quantity, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Rejection will hit all of our doorsteps in this lifetime, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have value. It just means that those doing the rejection were not designed to be a part of the journey at all or for long, and that, my friends, is okay.

I promise you that I hold my head a little higher now that I realize two things: God has chosen me, and I have chosen myself. Anybody else choosing me is just a cherry on top. It’s cute, but not necessary for the journey.

I wish you all love, peace, prosperity, and, of course, genuine folk for your journey!

Mrs. Ma! and Me

Even though I am a wife (Mrs.) and mom (affectionally called Ma!), I am not void of me. Before I was ever those other things, I was first me, and throughout the years, “me” got lost in the shuffle of football games, cheer meets, awards days, fixing Sunday dinners, and laboring over the mountainous glob of laundry that somehow manages to multiply with every piece I fold.

One day, I looked around and realized the following: my house is kept, my children’s needs are met, their perfect little lunches are packed, and my husband seems happy, but what about me? What about the one who existed before I was ever a Mrs. or a Ma? Her shadow sat quietly in the corner watching me give to everyone else what she needed for herself.

Even though I love the roles I play, I was drowning being everything to everyone else. Being where they needed me to be when they needed me to be there, and doing what they needed me to do when they needed me to do it. Yeah. I was drowning in expectations and demands of being the Mrs. and the Ma, and in that time, I turned to the only consistent I’ve had since the beginning of time: food.

Whether it was chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, soda pop or a Venti Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappe from Starbucks, it didn’t matter. I just needed anything that could give me both comfort and the turbo boost of energy I needed to continue to be this underrated and unappreciated 207 pound superhero.

Yeah, I said it. 207.

Two-hundred and seven.

Two. Zero. Seven.

Now, that’s my number. Not yours. No judgement here, baby! Ever. This is about me reflecting on my life and my journey.

I stood looking in the mirror one day wondering how I had reached my heaviest, and I didn’t have to think long because the answer was simple: I was taking care everyone but myself. I was supposed to, wasn’t I? Self-sacrifice for the the people I love. That’s noble, right? And, it’s also a very good excuse for creatively avoiding a thing I hate to do called working out when I don’t feel like being bothered, but self-sacrifice sounds much better, so let’s just go with that.

I would tell myself that I could find time for me later, but I never did once I erased the scheduled lunch, dinner or spa date with my girlfriends that had ONLY been on my calendar for at least six months. With every new need or event, I would fall back into this repetitive cycle of deleting the “me time” that I knew would never be reclaimed. But, I did it anyway.

For years, I ignored the advice that I have always freely given to others which is: “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” And my cup was empty. Completely. So, I did whatever I had to do to get back to me. To show myself some love, and since that eyeopening day standing in my full-length mirror, I’ve dropped the weight: some physical but most mental.

I made a commitment to juggle it all better: being the Mrs., the Ma and the Me. To find and give healthy balance to it all.

Join me on the journey of being a wife, a mom, a business woman, an entrepreneur and just me! The real me.

But, let me caution you. This isn’t a blog about how you should do life. It is a blog about how I am doing life. Sometimes, I’ll be right. Other times, I’ll be wrong, but either way, we are all humans just trying to figure it all out, and I’m glad you’re here.

I wish you all love, peace, prosperity, and, of course, some me time!

Love, Lexcee