Thank You for Your Service | #100daysofhappy

This morning, as every morning, I head in to 7-11 to grab my $.53 coffee.  I am always in uniform and I am literally known as the Army girl.  It’s kind of cute.  People always speak to me; they are always so kind to me in my community.  There is a cashier in the 7-11 who is best friends with my son and another cashier who tells me the story about his brother who served in the Navy.

There is one patron in particular who greets me just about everyday.  I don’t know his name, I have never asked.  Each time we meet, he always thanks me for my service.  I always return the gratitude – as opposed to other times when I thank people for their patriotism.  Little known fact – most of us servicemembers are embarrassed about being thanked for our service in public; it’s actually kind of weird.

I know this man – I want to call him Frank – served in the Navy because we have discussed it previously.  Our morning conversations are always the same.  He thanks me for my service and he tells me that no one thanked him when he came home.

This morning, we were getting our coffee together and he says:
“Thank you for your service. I know I say it every time I see you, but I mean it, sincerely. I served in the Navy for four years as a cook. I never starved, I’ll tell you that. But when I came home, no one said thank you to me.”

I return my gratitude for his service and shared a bit about my grandfather who also served in the Navy for four years as a cook. I feel his pain. He gave his service to an unforgiving country. It breaks my heart.I can’t imagine how that feels.  I have been supported thoroughly through my journey of serving my country.  I have now come to learn that it is a privilege to be thanked for your service and for your service to this country to be recognized and celebrated.  I thought for some time that maybe it was a race thing, but I have also come to learn that it is more of a patriotism thing.  Civilians sincerely do not understand the level of sacrifice that we endure to serve this nation – under any and all circumstances.  Each servicemember has their own reason for their service but each servicemember SERVES.

As baffled as I am about patriotism, I am humbled by this mans display of gratitude.  In all that he has experienced, all of his pain and confusion, he still has a mind to thank me for what I do.


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In an effort to hunt the good news story in every day during this #100daysofhappy, this is my good news story.  Frank is my hero today.  Frank is sincere and kind and he has become a part of my family.  I regard him with the same respect and honor that I have for my grandfather.  My heart goes out to him for his service to his country, no mater how unforgiving they were towards him.

Frank, thank you for your service.

Love & Light, Fam!

#100daysofHappy

I love these little challenges and I am so excited to bring one to you guys!!

A few years ago, I did a very similar challenge for myself, by myself.  During my #100daysofhappy, I made sure to focus on the things that were good – hunting the good news story.  Everyday, instead of focusing on the negative aspects of the day, I would celebrate the good things that were happening.

For example – instead of focusing on the traffic that I am stuck in, I revel in gratitude for having reliable transportation. Instead of being disgruntled about the rain, I focus on the growth that will follow once the rain ceases.  Instead of focusing on the crisis at hand, I dwell in contentment with my ability to be resourceful.

This was so helpful for my personal growth and development.  I wanted to change my mindset and I wanted to develop a better level of thinking for resourcefulness and success.  The success mindset – I discuss this with my clients quite often.

As I am in the beginning of a transition in my life, I am looking forward to hunting the good news story. I have now shared this experience with you guys – my Fam!!!

This 100 days will span over the holiday season and into the New Year.  We always look to the New Year to start something new, but I felt this was a different approach to take something good into the New Year.  This is especially important for me because I always tend to have a hard time struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts around the holiday season.  I am hoping that you will join me through the next 100 Days to hunt the good news story.

Make sure you are following She Lifts on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with each new day during this period.  There will be some exclusive content coming your way, so be sure to get locked in!!!

Thank you so much for going on this journey with me! I hope that it proves to be as impactful for you as it will be for me!

Love & Light Fam!!

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I think this is the single most commemorated and observed observations there is.  Even the NFL (probably the most hated sports league in America right now) commemorates this month by wearing pink gear.

Through my research I found BreastCancer.org (I didn’t even know this existed).  Their mission statement is:

Breastcancer.org is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the most reliable, complete, and up-to-date information about breast cancer and breast health as well as an active and supportive online community.”

There are podcasts published via this organization that discuss the entire scope of breast cancer from diagnosis to treatment to remission.  Here is a link to their podcast.

The site is ironclad with information and resources, but I will highlight a few here.

  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12.4%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
  • In women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women. Overall, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer. For Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women, the risk of developing and dying from breast cancer is lower
  • Some breast cancer risks include:
    • eating unhealthy foods
    • smoking
    • drinking

I won’t go into great detail about this, but I will note that prevention is key.  Please take your boobs seriously!!  Please get your annual (or in some cases semi-annual) mammograms and conduct at-home-breast exams often.  If something doesn’t feel right, DO NOT HESISTATE too contact your doctor and have a conversation about it.  It could be nothing, but it could be something and it is best to know rather than rule it out yourself and cause more problems in the long run.

Long live the tatas!!

Love & Light, Fam!!

Antidepressant Death Awareness Month

I have to be honest, I didn’t know this was a thing.  I knew that people died from overdose and things of that nature, but I had no idea that there was time that was set aside to bring awareness to this issue.

After doing some research and really doing a deep dive on the statistics I am floored.  These statistics that are posted by Palm Health Care are alarming:

  • More than 300 million people suffer from depression globally
  • Approximately 16 million adults in the US had at least one major depressive episode in 2012
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide
  • 11% of adolescents have a depressive disorder by age 18
  • 10%-20% of new moms will experience postpartum depression
  • 30% of college students report feeling depressed enough it disrupted their performance in school
  • 50% of Americans with major depression don’t seek treatment

I realized that this definitely needs to be discussed more.  And not just discussed, but we have to be willing to help our friends in need.  Its obvious that we all don’t have the answers, but the resources are prevalent.

The stat that bothers me the most, as always, is the stat regarding children.  It is beyind alarming that children are suffering through any kind of mental illness.  It has been researched and found that some children can be predisposed to some mental illnesses.  Outside of that, I have become more and more concerned with what goes on in these children’s lives to cause them to experience this ugly illness.

The last stat, which is the worst of all, is that 50% or Americans with major depressioon don’t seek treatment.  America has made tremendous strides over the last decade plus to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental health.  People like myself who seek to educate the masses and assist people in finding the proper resources for their illness are surging to the forefront.  Sadly, this is not enough.

We can discuss it until we are blue in the face, but without any action, it is just good conversation.  We have to start taking action.  We have to ask the really tough questions and remember that this is a process.  I. myself, took six months to begin to seek the help that I truly needed – that is six months from the time that I realized I needed help.  I spent a lifetime in denial.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Mahatma Ghandi

A while back I wrote an article on The Depression Tunnel and what depression kind of looks like for people who want to assist.  Us folks who suffer through depression do not require a friendly helping hand.  Standing at the end of that tunnel and encouraging me to come to the light is kind, but it is not helpful.  We much more require the sleepover kind of friend, the one who will sit and wait, be patient and understanding.  For more info, click the link above.

Additionally, we have to continue our diligent work in uprooting and abolishing the stigma that is attached to mental health and mental illness.  We have to learn to take care of our WHOLE self and not just the aesthetic parts.  Our body is only as strong as our mind.  I have said it before and I will say it again, there are trained profesionals waiting to provide the proper guidance and resources for you to beat the depression that your’e experiencing, THE SAME WAY there are trained professionals who provide guidance and resources for you to beat a physical illness or injury.  There is no difference.


Discovering that Antidepressant Death Awareness Month was an actual thing couldn’t have been happenstance.  I am thrilled to bring awareness to this issue and to shed light on those who struggle through this.

Antidepressants are a life-saver.  I was also wrapped into the mindset that anti-depressants would turn you into a zombie, or they would have you all loopy and drooling all over the place or produce a version of yourself that is not normal – medicated.  I have since learned that this is far from the case and that antidepressants, when taken under physicians care, can truly lessen the effects of depression and anxiety and firmly assist you in living a happy life.

Taking the right dosage of the right medication is supremely important.  For some of us, we find the right one the first time.  For some of us, we get lucky on the first try.  For the rest of us, it takes a few different meds, which takes time, effort and patience.  This process can be very frustrating, but it works.

My heart goes out to the people who grab a medication and roll with it and continue to try to do it on their own.  The right medication alone will not prove to be the end all be all of your depression.  It is strongly urged that you also maintain a relationship with a clinical therapist on terms that work for both of you.  Finding the right therapist is also a process, in and of itself.  This process is also very helpful.

I feel bad that so many people have lost their lives to antidepressant deaths but feeling bad is not enough.  We have to take action and stand together to prevent these deaths from occurring.

Let’s stand together.

Love & Light, Fam!

 

Moving Beyond Fear: Learning to Define Ourselves Outside of Our Fears

One of my favorite motivational quotes comes from Will Smith:

“God places the best things in life on the other side of fear.”

Smith made this proclamation during an interview during which he described his unforgettable experience sky diving with his sons.  He describes the sheer terror he encountered just moments before he jumped freely into the wind.

Floating miles above ground, he described this experience as pure bliss.

I wonder what bliss we are missing out on as we are hiding behind our fear.  Could you imagine living a fearless life?  Free from ridicule; free from opinions and full of options.  The feeling of the wind whipping past your face and you fly through the sky having the experience of a lifetime, all because your released the fear that was merely holding you and hindering you from reaching your goals.

This is one of my favorite topics to speak on and empower people through.  Fear can be viewed in two different manners:
Forget Everything And Run
or
Face Everything And Rise. 

Personally, I choose the latter, not the former.  I like the idea of climbing the mountain and icing my knees later.  The adventure that awaits me at the top of that mountains, the story that will be told of triumph and success will be far greater than wishing that I had actually done it.

Where do you stand on your fear; or is your fear standing on you?  Is you fear stopping you from tapping into your true potential, living the life of your dreams or achieving a major goal in your life?  

It is time to acknowledge it, embrace it and face it and She Lifts is here and happy to help you do just that!


If you are in the Philadelphia area, I encourage you to attend and share!!  There are limited spots for this workshop so make sure you reserve your seat ASAP!!  The information and experience are life changing and its FREE!!  Click the photo below to grab your spot now!

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FREE GIFT for anyone who registers between October 1-7!!!

Love & Light, Fam!!

Well, HELLO October!!

The months of August – October are my favorite.  They always serve for me a fresh perspective.  As we get settled into fall this month and we look forward to all the things this harvest season has to offer, I am continuously building and looking for dope ways to bring you all relatable content.

This month has a ton of celebrations, including but not limited to Halloween (if that is your thing) and Columbus Day (again, if that is your thing).

I have compiled a list of the observances that we will be observing this month here at She Lifts.  I see these as opportunities to educate not only myself, but you guys as well, hang a little tighter with family and friends and have some fun!

  • Antidepressant Death Awareness Month
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • Eat Better, Eat Together Month
  • Emotional Wellness Month
  • Health Literacy Month
  • National Book Month
  • National Depression Education and Awareness Month
  • National Domestic Violence Month
  • Photographer Appreciation Month
  • Self-Promotion Month
  • Tackling Hunger Month

Honestly, prior to looking for this information, I had no idea that all of this stuff was going on in the mighty month of October.  For a full list of all that October has to offer (and every other month, too!), click here.

Stay tuned for all of the fun and festivities this month and as always, thanks for putting your ears on it!!

Love & Light, Fam!!

Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation

Ahhhhhh mental health – the black sheep of the health family.  Why do we hide from mental health so fervently?

I am always ecstatic when celebrities use their platform for positive exposure, but this is extraordinary.  Taraji P. Henson launches a mental health foundation in honor of her father Boris Lawrence Henson.

The vision of the Boris L. Henson Foundation “is to eradicate the stigma around mental health issues in the African-American community.”  This literally makes my heart smile!

Check out the link below. Ebony highlighted her recent accomplishment.

https://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/taraji-p-henson-launches-mental-health-foundation-in-honor-of-her-father

This is noteworthy for several reasons. Henson was abused by her father. How often do you see a person pay homage to their abuser? This is a pure exemplification of survivor mentality.

On top of that, the BLHF also provides scholarships to students studying in the mental health fields. WE NEED MORE OF THIS!

I am so here for this!!!

Love & Light, Fam!

National Suicide Prevention Week

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and the second day of National Suicide Prevention Week.

I am excited to to celebrate a month that is dedicated to preventing such a tragic phenomenon.  After checking out tons of resources for this month and this week, I stumbled upon this little gem on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention‘s Website.  Their site is rich in character and content and it encourages the visitor to take a stand.  They increase the sense urgency in the vein of prevention.

I love their initiative this year: #BeThe1To

The Semicolon Tattoo

It is officially September and I always look forward to this time of year.  This is a time for change.  The weather is changing.  Things begin to slow down a bit.  The leaves on the trees begin to change colors and cover the streets with a colorful blanket.  The sunlight even hangs around less and less and we get to spend more time with the moon.

September is also the month set aside to observe suicide awareness and prevention, among other things.  This month has historically been very near and dear to my heart for this particular reason.

Suicide, suicidal thoughts and ideations and grieving after losing a friend or family member to suicide in’t something that people usually discuss openly.  This month gives us a chance to normalize these kinds of discussions.

Suicidal thoughts and ideations never just spring from one particular event and feeling this way isn’t easy nor is it easy to abandon.  Committing suicide has a painful trickling effect that isn’t seen very clearlu from the vantage point of the one who is merely struggling to stay alive.  If you are lucky, you can make it to other side, but for some of us, life ended far too quickly.


I write this article/post with a heavy heart, as a survivor.  I am not only a survivior of a dark period of self-loathing and suicidal thoughts, I also survived self-harm.  I struggled for years trying to find my place in life, my purpose.  I struggled with not loving myself and not knowing myself well enough to see all of the tens of thousands of amazing reasons I had to love myself.

I wanted to die.

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On my left wrist, I have a tattoo of a semi-colon.  This tattoo symbolizes a rebirth for me.  It symbolizes the moment that I decided to live.  When I could have ended my life, I didn’t.  I got this idea from a video I saw on Faceboook one day.  A girl got a semicolon tattoo in honor of her father who was suicidal, but decided against taking his life.  Basically, you are the author and the story is your life.

Why would you write a bad story about yourself?

I purposely got the tattoo in its place because on the opposite side of my arm are scars from self-harm.  Some days I look at these scars and the sight reminds me of that dark place that I was in.  I can remember exactly how it felt.  I can remember the thought process throughout and each and every emotion I encountered.  Sometimes, I look at them and they fill me with overwhelming shame and guilt.  Most of the time, I want to hide them, but I know that I can’t run from it.

I decided to heal through it.  This tattoo was the first step for me.  It was more than just a mere marking on my body (that some people firmly frown upon).  For me it was an outward expression of a conscious decision that I made.  I chose to live.

I am still here and I celebrate that every single day.

I began to confront my internal issues head on.  With the help of a therapist – who iis awesome an amazing in every way – I was able to really dig deep on the experiences and encounters that had caused me so much pain.  I was able to be begin healing.


Now, I freely and openly telll my story.  I want to hellp in erasing the stigma around depression, anxiety and mental health.  I want people to know that they should treat their minds the way that they treat their bodies.  We shouldn’t be abusing our minds and shoving all of these overwhelming thoughts and feelings into it without having an constructive way to get them out.  Trust me, they will find a way to release themselves – and it’s not always the most healthy way.

This month will be an amazing month for She Lifts – The Brand and She Lifts Podcast and we journey through and uncover suicide prevention.

Love & Light, Fam!