#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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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!

 

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.

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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!

September: Suicide Prevention Month

My my my, these statistics are startling:

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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.

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Suicide can be prevented if we all do our part.

Love & Light, Fam!

Poetry by Luki

I had the pleasure of interviewing an amazing and phenomenal young poet, educator and advocate.  Jonte Luki Barret is a Washington, DC native with a passion for poetry and education.

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Luki first fell in love with poetry at a young age when she was introduced to it by her grandmother, who is a published poet.  Words of wisdom from her grandmother, “Take it really serious” provided a venue for her to express herself and to truly be honest with herself.

With her poetry, Luki aspires to travel, taking her art form on tour perform in other cities across the country.  She also aspires to develop her own poetry curriculum that can be taught in schools everywhere.

Luki has been working with children for most, if not all of her life.  Her love for children ignited a fire in her to make it a profession.  She began volunteering at day cares and working in summer camps at a young age.  Her dreams of education have led Luki to her current position of teaching in five schools in DC and one in MD where she teaches the art of poetry.

The students in Luki’s class not only learn about poetry, poets – both contemporary and modern – and different types of poetry but they also gain confidence. Luki guides these kids on how to express yourself and boasts to provide opportunity to express their views put those ideas into rhyme form. Her instruction also assists the students interactions with their peers, self respect and interpersonal respect and all around life lessons.

Rasheed Copeland
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Orville The Poet

Luki couldnt mention her favorite poets without mentioning her favorite poem by them and the effect that it left on her.  This includes Rasheed Copeland’s  “My Mans and Em” and Orville The Poet’s “I Prayed For You”, from which she recited the first line.  A few of the other poetic influences she mentioned include: Karika, Nia Jones, Jay the Jeweler, The Truth, Nuance, Maya Angelou, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, and Audre Lorde.

When asked about her strengths and weaknesses, Luki stated that her strength crowd control and stage presence.  She feels that she doesn’t challange herself enough to write about different things.  To build that weakness into a strength she has began to branch out and write on different subjects including politcs and life experiences (other than love).  She also recently wrote a poem in two different languages.  Talk about diversity!!

Luki’s first poem ever recited was also a once in a lietime experience.  In the first grade, her class was visited by Maya Angelou and Luki had the honor of reciting a few stanzas of “Still I Rise” right in front of Maya Angelou!  I think nervous is an understatement!! I was nervous listening to her tell me about it!  Luki was concerned about reading someone else’s work and do it the right way and not stumble.  She described the esperience as nervewrecking.  Over the years, Luki has been able to memorize her poems, but her nervousness has not subsided.  She still gets butterflies and she attributes them to new faces and the worry of not knowing people may interpret what she’s about to say.

Some of the best advice that Luki noted was from a good friend and fellow poet, Lamar Hill.  He reminded her to take her time, gauge the audence and to use the stage well.  This advice has become a staple in her performances.

“It never gets easy to bear your soul.”

~Luki

Settling into her craft, Luki has found herself a lot more confident.  She has not only found poetry to be an outlet and an amazing art form but it has also been an introspective experience.  Luki states that she believes in herself  and what she writes is true to her.  She knows that she doesn’t fit in anyones box.  She feels comfortable with her poetry even though “it never gets easy to bear your soul”.  She says her poems “feel like they’re prayers to God and I happen to be talking to him in front of other people”.  Poetry has been an amazing journey for Luki, as she has learned so much about herself through her poetry.

Make sure you are locked in on Luki’s Place on FB and IG (@lukisplace) to keep up with whats going on in Luki’s world.

Closing out this interview, I had no other choice but to request Luki to recite a poem!  Catch the audio of our interview on She Lifts Podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud!!!

Thanks for putting your ears on it!!

Love & Light, Fam!

Pillow Talk Thursday: Gender Roles

So it happened!!!  I sat down with my good friend Will Stewart and we sat and discussed gender roles.

Listen, I had so many technical difficulties, but in the end it was totally worth it.  We had a great time and WOOOOOO this guy can talk!  He made some really good points and my efforts to “shoot him down” were definitely futile.

I rolled my eyes a total of 5,000 times.  If I learned anything about myself its that – FB live is more formidable than it seems and my facial expressions are too much!

All in all it was a great experience and I am looking forward to our new episode this week.

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We discussed how gender roles came about.  I’m actually 50/50 on gender roles.  Stu definitely said that women are aggressive in the DC area, which could be a double edge sword, and I defended RBF (resting bitch face)

Are gender roles even necessary in today’s society and how do they hinder our relationships?  If we as women perpetually wait on the man to make the first move, where would we be?  Are women okay with proposing to their man?

These, and others, are questions we explored and even delved into not allowing people to change who you are and communication.

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You can catch the live videos part I here and part II here (after my ipad died)!!  Also, there is an audio snippet posted to She Lifts Podcast on both platforms SoundCloud and iTunes/Podcast App!

Fam, stay tuned for this week’s episode of Pillow Talk Thursday, this Thursday at 8 pm – She Lifts Podcast FB page – WE GOIN LIVE BABY!!!

Love & Light, Fam!

She Lifts Podcast PROUDLY Presents:

Pillow Talk Thursday!!

I sat with one of my very good friends and favorite people to debate life stuff with one afternoon and he asked me how things were going.  We were catching up, as old friends do.

I enthusiastically told him all about the great and wonderful things I was doing with She Lifts Podcast and he stopped me in the middle of my sentence.  He says, “Before you go any further, I want you to know that I want to be on your podcast!”

I couldn’t have been more excited and we began planning right away.  After a few weeks of planning and preparation, research and debate, we are finally in the execution phase.

She Lifts Podcast proudly presents: Pillow Talk Thursday w/ Will Stewart.

We have ventured through murky waters of relationships and marriage and sex and all that lies beneath and we are looking forward to sharing our views with you!  However, it won’t be any fun without you guys there!!

Thursdays at 8pm we will be going LIVE bringing you an amazing battle of the sexes – or joining of forces (you never know) with full interaction with all viewers!!

Make sure you are following the She Lifts Podcast FB page to stay up to date with all new content!!

Don’t be weird and miss this!!

Love & Light, Fam!

Ep. 10 – Cash Rules Everything Around Me

What level of value have you placed on money?  How important is money to you?  Does money alter or dictate your mood?

Money can cause significant controversy.  Finances cause a huge rift in marriages and friendships.  It is discussed everywhere we go and literally encompasses all that we do and are.  Money has so much power.

But, what if we stripped the power from money and returned the power to ourselves?  How would that look? Feel? Where would we even begin?

I was very hesitant about exposing my true feelings about money and finances.  I am almost certain that I will receive a ton of backlash for my views.  I am prepared.

In this week’s episode, I discussed my view of money – that it is merely a tool.  I stated on several occasions that it is “legal tender used in exchange for goods and services”.   It is a tool to obtain the things and experiences that I want.  It is given to me in exchange for my services – legally of course (because that just sounds sketchy).

This is definitely up for debate, as it truly is my personal opinion.  I just can’t allow having money or not having money dictate how I feel about and view myself.  I see money as a tool to purchase the things that I want and need and that is simply it.  I place no power on money, therefore money can have no power over me.

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!!