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!!

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!!

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.

014a89fcaa8b992e6fddf0bd5273fbd74c52364fe7

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!

September: Suicide Prevention Month

My my my, these statistics are startling:

01eed1b5a108f28042170275bc2f9f00fb1ec3870d.jpg

As I began my research for this month’s She Lifts Podcast series, I found these statistics hard to digest.  What is worse is the fact that this doesn’t truly capture all of the suicides in the US.  The stigma surrounding mental health and suicide (which are not always synonymous) typically deters people from reporting it.  There are families who cover up the cause of death if it resulted from suicide to uphold an appearance.

This has got to end.  We HAVE to talk about it.  Losing just one more person to suicide is one too many.  There are a ton of resources for people who are experiencing a rouhg time, no matter what the cause is.  Occassionally, the cause is clear — break up/divorce, assault or even loss of a job or loved one.  However, there a tons of other underlying reasons for suicide and suicidal thoughts and ideations including mental health disorders and certain medications.  There are trained professionals who are passionate about assisting to sift through the dust and help you find the answers.

One thing for sure – suicide is not the answer.

If you know someone who may be suicidal or who has even attempted suicide in the past, has a history of self-harm, is a danger to him/herself or others, or is simply experiencing a rough time coping with life changes, please check out the resources section on this site.  Of course, if they are in danger or danger to others, alert your local law enforcement immediately.  This page is updated periodically.  If there is a resource in your community or anything that may be missing, please submit it here for update:

As a part of your community, we all have a responsibility to one another to watch over, assist and guide.  No one person is journeying thorugh life alone.

Today, I charge you to search your heart for the compassion and kindness that it takes to rebuild from brokenness.  It is time to stop worrying about what others may think or say and focus on healing and love.

01702de3ac1e0e7fe57410926377a551e93695de6d

Suicide can be prevented if we all do our part.

Love & Light, Fam!

Self-Care: How do you care for yourself?

I struggled with this for a long time.  I try my hardest to be a selfless person.  I didn’t realize that I was standing in my own way and that self-care was far less an issue of selfishness and much more a necessity.

I began asking myself, what do I like to do?  The answer to this question seemed to always involve another person, or the role that I played in someone’s life.  The answer never quite returned with “I do this because I want to do it for myself.”  This discovery led me to really uncover who I really was.

I found that I had been defined by my role as mother, fiance, Soldier, NCO and all of the other labels and positions that I had placed on me by other people.  I was stuck in my roles.  I thought that I was being true to myself by honoring these roles when at the end of the day, there was nothing left for me to give to myself.

I was dreadfully empty.

There is so much more to me and who I am than what I am or whose I am.  I had to relearn and rethink my idea of ownership and take back my life.  I wasn’t in super bad shape, but probably because I was able to catch it before it completely consumed me.

I had to take time and redefine myself.  I wanted to be able to look in the mirror and know exactly who that girl was.  I could barely answer the question “What do you like to do?” and that was, for me, unacceptable.

Through this journey (which was part of my self-love journey) I was able to identify activities that I could engage in both alone and with others that truly brought me joy and peace.

I came across this AWESOME list and I thought it was definitely worth sharing!!  Check it out! I’d love to hear your feedback on what some of your favorite self-care methods are!

Feel free to comment below!!

 

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou

Am I Doing Enough for God?

I never ever post any religious pieces.  I try to stay away from that kind of pressure and I try to stay out of the shadows of what my calling may or may not be.

However, I couldn’t stay away from this one.  I felt compelled to write on it, at full length.

Today, I saw a movie on YouTube, which I have added here for your viewing pleasure, that was very, very thought provoking.  It fixed my heart in a way that I think nothing has ever done before.  I am lying, there have been some very real experiences in my life that were this good, but this hasn’t happened in a long time.  I was completely inspired.

The movie is centered around the rapture and the scripture:

21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘LORD, LORD,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘LORD, LORD, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”

Matthew 7:21-23

Before I watched the movie, I saw this extremely compelling scene where God had already come and the people who were left behind were shocked, hurt, confused and plain ole out of time.

My jaw was on the floor.  I felt a confusion brew in my mind and my heart.  When I set out to create She Lifts, I could have sworn that I was doing God’s work.  I thought I was doing what God wanted me to do, which was reach out to His people and give them what Gid was giving me.  I literally believed that God had given me each episode for me to share.

I know, it sounds crazy.  I thought, and still kind of think, that God wants me to minister to His people.

However, I never prayed over my episodes.  I never prayed over my business ventures.  I never thanked God for all of the insight that He had given me.  I never, not once, acknowledged God in any of my episodes.

Why? I was scared.  It was too much pressure.  I wasn’t ready for that kind of thing.  I wasn’t prepared for the scrutiny that would come my way.

I was afraid that I would be labeled.  I was afraid that people would look at me differently.  I am so imperfect.  Being myself has always come naturally for me, but being one of those “God people” hasn’t.  I am super rough around the edges.

I was also afraid that my podcast would be “catgorized” and “inclusive” and not for all people.  That it would deter people who aren’t Christians to not even listen.  I didn’t htink that was what God wanted.  I know that with bringing people to Christ, you have to meet them where they are.  Evangelism and Street Ministry has always been a strength of mine and I love being out in the community and reaching the “unreachable”.  But with the podcast, I was so afraid of being put into a box and that box wouldn’t allow me to reach the people who needed me to reach them.

But in all this fear, I  lost sight of what I set out to do.  I recorded an episode entitled Paralyzed By Fear and I think it’s time for me to take my own advice.

I have always had this idea that the work of the church isn’t always done within the walls of the church.  I always believed that there had to be foot Soldiers out in the streets meeting God’s people where they are and guiding them into church where they can access Him through authentic experience and employ their spiritual gifts.

Reviewing the scripture posted above, I  realize that, maybe I am not doing enough for God.  He requires all of me, not just the pieces I am comfortable with or the pieces that I am not afraid of, all.

I don’t think I ever asked God what it is that He truly wants me to do.  On the flip side, I don’t think I ever actually listened to what He was trying to tell me.

I wonder now how many people are struggling with this.  I wonder how many people are just screaming Jesus but not truly living for Him and then how many people want to live for Him but are afraid, like me.

This just got real interesting.

Love & Light, Fam!

Ep. 9 – Dancing in the Rain

I am a self-proclaimed rain lover.  I look forward to rainy days the same way some of you look forward to pay day.  Where is the lie?

I never see rainy days as times to complain ot find fault.  I see the beauty in the rain and all that it emcopasses.

Without rain, there would be no growth.  Plants require the rain for their life.  They simply cannot survive without it.  Rain is life giving and equally as important as the sun.

When a rainy day is soon to come, I get quite excited.  I do not dread that day at all.  I look forward to slowing down a bit, taking my time and looking inward to answers to many questions that may have been circling.  It seems that the rain typically quiets everything in its path and makes its own music.  I use this time for introspect, growth.  

However, this time is not strictly introspective.  As the rain makes its way down through the leaves of the trees and the onto thr ground below, it makes a beautiful song – a song that you can only hear if you are listening for it. A song that con only be heard from within.  I find myself always dancining in the rain, in tune with the rhythm and delighted with every drop I feel falling fresh onto my skin.

This is my metaphor for life.  There are plenty times in our lives that we are faced with rainy seasons where the rain seems that it will never cease.  We find ourselves swaying back and forth in a fight.  Oh, but only if we learned how to dance.  If only we took each step carefully through the rain and embraced each and every little drop onto our skin, my my how things would change.

In a more literal sense, there are tons of people truly suffering through rainy seasons in their life.  They have indescribable pain that no one can see.  There is help out there for those people (or maybe even you) and you are definitely not alone.  Check out the resources section for more information and links for assistance and care.

However, if your find yourself fighting with the rain and the will to push through, put on your dancing shoes and pop lock and drop it in the rain!

Love & Light, Fam!!

Ep. 8 – Don’t Trip Over Your Own Shoelaces

There are so many ways in which we stand in our own way.  Sometimes, we can sabotage our progress and our success without even knowing it.

This week’s episode explores just that.

Motivation Monday is always a good day to do a full review of what you are doing an dhow you plan to reach your goals.  Not only that, but its also a great time to uncover ways that you may actually be standing in your own way.

What are you saying to yourself?  Are you reaching your full potential?  What are some behaviors that you can change to attract success TODAY?

All great questions to build on this week!

 

Love & Light, Fam!