Hey, You! Are you struggling or thriving through COVID-19. Well, I pray you’re thriving even through these times, but I have an announcement just in case you’re not.
Disclosure: This book is 100% my views, I was not compensated in exchange for it.
Author, Robert Uttaro didn’t decide to become a basketball or football player, neither did he choose to become a doctor, lawyer, or even a musician when he grew up. The only thing Robert knew was that he wanted to help people. And by helping people, who would have thought that it would have been as a Rape Crisis Counselor at a center, he refers to as “The Healing Place.”
In the childhood section of his book “To The Survivors,” Robert discusses him taking a knife to a bathroom, getting in the tub, and putting small cuts starting from the elbows all the way down to his wrist. When asked by a friend what happened, he informed her that he fell into some thorns, and sadly she believed him. Without even questioning the whereabouts and/or what happened to make him fall in the first place. This incident had me thinking about various people whom I’ve come into contact with over the years who were maybe not looking so well one day, or they’d come to work, and you notice a strange bruise or even perhaps that something’s off with them. You ask, “Are you okay?” they more than likely will say, “Yes, they are,” or they’d say something like, “You know I was doing such and such and slipped.” And as a society, we take their words as solid truths and not say anything else about the matter. This makes me wonder…
Could those people have really been in trouble and I not didn’t take notice? Did I miss
the signs or the red flags?
Robert’s book is that of true stories (identities and places withheld for personal reasons) and the influential individuals he’s worked with over the years. Heroic individuals who wanted to share their vulnerability and traumatic stories of violence and sexual assault.
This book is a valuable guide to read, as well as understand the different effects a survivor may be feeling. To me, while this book is regarding survivors of sexual violence. I believe the twenty-three mentioned impacts on an individual’s emotions, such as shame, guilt, loss of control, shock, embarrassment, suicidal tendencies, and many more. It can also be used for someone who experienced a terrible loss or tragedy. These symptoms are sure signs that anyone should be able to look for in an individual and offer help.
While some people may find the stories within this book hard to read due to its nature and content, others will find it inspiring and motivating. It helps you feel as though you’re NOT alone, as you may even resonate with some of the individual stories.
I feel everyone should know that there is HOPE and a LIFE after a sexual assault or tragedy. It may not seem like it because when you’re going or have gone through such a traumatic experience, it can feel like you’re the only one facing it or like the walls are closing in on you all at once. I know those feelings all too; well, I’m a sexual assault survivor myself. Moving forward wasn’t easy, but I had to see it as me surviving so that I may help someone else survive. I’m a firm believer that EVERYTHING we go through in life is not just our experiences, but we go through them to help others get through theirs, and in return, maybe they’d turn and help someone else. There’s a purpose for everything, even in damaged goods. You CAN and WILL live a healthy LIFE. You just have to chose if you’re going to allow your past or it’s negativity to KEEP you in a jail of bondage, regret, and shame over it.
You have to determine when to put an expiration date on it and move forward.
And this next word is the icing on the cake that’s going to help you move forward, and that’s FORGIVENESS! I know it’s cliché, but as we know and have heard, “Forgiveness is not for them, but it gives you Peace” Now I know forgiveness is hard, as this is another chapter in Robert’s book that really spoke to me. It’s easier said than done, trust me, I know. But forgiveness is so you can move on and let the chips fall where they may when it comes to the perpetrator. I’m also a believer in seed planting. Plant a bad one, you reap the benefits of whatever grows up from that seed.
‘To The Survivors’ is a perfect example to show that you don’t have to be from the same place as someone else. Neither do you have to have experienced the same thing they’ve experienced? As Robert stated in his book, “Often our lives go in different directions than we plan or expect.”
A road or call from God, I should say, lead Robert Uttaro to a healing place to help bring blessings and healing to others. He answered the call, and because of it, many survivors have shared their stories and have helped others become heroic in sharing theirs. ‘To the Survivors’ is a book of hurt, heroism, and healing. The heroes are the ones that felt compelled to share their stories, but the main protagonist is the man, who felt the call, listened to the request, and acted upon it. Thanks, Robert, for allowing these influential voices to be heard.
If you know someone who has been sexually assaulted, maybe it’s you, perhaps it happened many years ago, and you feel it doesn’t matter now. Well, let me tell you, IT DOES! Your voice matters, it matters for the many women and men that are afraid to SPEAK UP. Your voice could just be the chain reaction that helps someone else get the healing they desperately need.
Please reach out to a counselor, trusted friend, or family member, or call or find a rape crisis center near you. Robert Uttaro’s book “To The Survivors” is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo.
Featured Image Credit: Defendernetwork.com
Okay, say it with me…
THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH GETTING HELP!
Now that you’ve said that, let’s dig into my topic above. March in my mind is Mental Health Awareness month, now before you get all technical with me, I know there’s a mental health awareness day somewhere during the year but if you ask me? It can be anytime you realize or come to grips that you seriously need to talk to someone.
That’s the realization I came to last month. I’m always there for other people, I always take out time to listen to them, their problems, issues, hurts, habits and hang-ups and I really do listen. Once their through talking, I give my two cents on the matter, in most cases I’ve prayed with them or include them in my prayers once the convo is over and they go on their merry way. NOW, how does this all play out when I need someone to talk too???
Do you hear the crickets??..
Yes, that’s usually what I hear OR if I do talk to someone, it’ll start out being about my issue and somehow it reverts to their issue and I end up helping them through theirs without getting my issue dissected. I once was friends with someone who did this on MORE than one occasion. I’d always love seeing them and hanging out, they’ll ask me about my day and how things have been going with me and I’ll respond and the next thing you know, there on themselves, their life, their goals, their family, their business and their this and their that and the list goes on and on and on. Most times by the time they’d work their way back around to what I had to say, I’d be too exhausted to answer them and all I can get out is…
“Everything’s Just Fine” but in my head, that was a LIE!
Anywho, that’s been my life with friendships and unfortunately personal relationships as well. I’ve always put others before “ME” and last month I found myself doing that yet again and decided that enough was enough. I have to talk to someone and if I can’t find people around me that’s willing to listen, I’d find a counselor that will.
Here’s what I found out with my insurance plan in regards to mental health and some tips on how you can put yourself FIRST starting now in 2020. Because It’s never too late…
Check your insurance plan
Mental health is on the rise and I’m so happy that more and more people are discussing it, the more we talk about it the less taboo it’ll feel. It’s nothing to be ashamed of either, hey – we can ALL use a mental check. In pursuing a counselor, I googled my insurance to see what counselors/offices accept it. Once I went through the list provided, I then called my insurance company to see if these doctors were in-network or out of network. Luckily the one I chose was in-network. Out-of-network is okay just know that you’ll be paying a little more in co-pay. I also found out that my co-pay was $25 and that my plan came with unlimited visits for that amount. Now that’s a win-win, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your insurance carrier, after all – that’s what you’re paying for every month. Might as well take advantage of it.
Realize Your Limits
Maybe seeing a therapist is NOT on your to-do list at the moment and that’s okay. However, you need to realize when you’ve reached your limit in a conversation. In the past, I’ve talked to people and have gotten the worst headache/migraine afterward or just felt like – BLAH!! We have to realize and I totally believe in this, people transfer their energy onto you. While you want to help a friend, you have to think about your sanity and your Feng sui as well. It can be thrown completely off if your friend is going on and on and on again about the same old drama you gave her or him pointers on months ago. Self-care is the best care. Sometimes you just have to say, “Look I gotta go” or “I just had something to come up – can I call you back?” learn to give yourself a BREAK even in the midst of a convo. And you better believe, your sanity is awaiting to applaud you.
You Better Get Selfish
This goes into the “Self-Care” regimen. I’m learning this even now, you don’t have to respond to every text or answer every call (unless it’s life or death) at the drop of a hat because someone needs you. You need you, your body and mind need you to be able to think clearly and focus on you and your needs. If you give EVERYONE in the world your time or what little you have after a long day of work. Then what’s left for you? Oh, my bad – THE BED! because that’s exactly where you’ll be going and nobody has time to work, do family, put out fires with your friends and etc and NOT be able to stay awake for at least 2 hours to do something for yourself. Life wasn’t set up for you to be that way, but you know how life works – it goes in the direction you lead it. Think about it.
Truth brings — CHANGE
I’ve had my share of toxic friendships and relationships, the thing is I didn’t really know they were toxic until they left me broke, dry and questioning my own sanity. Our life lets in what we put out – if you keep talking to people that just don’t get it or that keeps you in a box, everything else that comes your way will be the same way. We have to learn to speak up and I’m preaching to the choir on this one, I don’t speak up enough. I let things go on and I accept people’s “ish” because I either don’t want to lose them or afraid I’m being too pushy with my standards, so I digress. The one thing I have to constantly drill in my head is, to be honest with myself as well as the people around me. If it means they’ll leave me, then let them. It just means they were out of place in my life anyway. If it makes me uncomfortable, say it. If I feel as though I’m giving 100% and only getting 20% in return? then leave! And you know what? you don’t have to give ANYONE an explanation for doing so.
** ** ** ** **
Life is ALL about making the right choices that will push us forward into being the GREAT and AMAZING beings we were created to be in the first place and if that means being a little selfish and/or getting a little help along the way to accomplish that? Then, by all means, DO IT!
Do you have a counselor or go to therapy sessions? How do you handle a convo that pushes you past your mental limit? Sound off in the comments!
Featured Picture Courtesy of The Pursuit of Mindfulness
Have you ever heard that statement before? As sure as we live and breathe I’m sure we’ve ALL heard it or unfortunately have been there and done it ourselves!
I’ve often found myself in meetings or even talking with someone and have been somewhere else. The mind is a tricky thing and a terrible thing to waste as per the UNCF (United Negro College Fund). And it’s true! The mind is indeed a terrible thing to waste but while the UNCF was referring to an education, I’m particularly talking about the mind and it’s capability of filling up with SO many ideas, schedules, goals, relationships, what someone said and how you’d wished you had said this instead; all the way to what you want to eat later that day or even two days from now – type of stuff.
The “stuff” that keeps us from being “present and available” at the moment. We miss most great moments because our mind wants to take us on a vacay of “what to do next or after” and it’s bout time to put it to rest – just for a little while.
Do you find yourself being “unavailable” due to your mind traveling west when you’re trying to go east? Here’s a couple of tips to put the mind at ease so you can focus a little clearer, literally.
#1. Cut Down That List – Like NOW!
Listen, there are only 24 hours in a day and if you put EVERYTHING you have to get done on that crazy “to-do” list. You’ll be extremely exhausted, I mean you probably already are, right? If we allow our minds to do it, it’ll make us think that everything in the world is important and has to be done right now and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s okay to schedule that oven cleaning to Thursday, it’s not like it’s going anywhere and you DON’T have to do it today.
Try to figure out what’s truly a priority vs. non priority…..what’s really important vs. not important today. Spread out the work and give yourself something to do everyday instead of all in one day!
#2. Schedule “Me” Time
I’m bad at this tip but it’s so needed. Have you ever scheduled “me time” on your to-do list? My mom would always tell us that Mondays were her “me days” – that meant, no calls and no coming over during a specific time frame on Mondays. She valued her alone times and while I didn’t always understand it because I was being the energizer bunny. Now that she’s gone, I totally get it. You need that time away from other people’s voices and faces, it truly makes you appreciate seeing them when you do. Now what she did during that time, I have no idea but “me time” is whatever you want to do without doing work or even thinking about the things you need to do. It’s a little moment to be selfish and only think about you!
#3. Put It “ALL” Away & Focus!
This one is going to take a little practice, however, remember when I said earlier that my body would be in meetings and my mind would be elsewhere? unfortunately this also happens with my children! They’d be talking to me and I’d be thinking about work, church, getting back to someone, email and etc. Not really focusing on their dilemma – in which to them, everything’s a dilemma!
Now, don’t get me wrong, tuning them out is sometimes therapy for me but when it comes to a failing grade or them having concerns in regards to a friend or teacher or themselves, those things need my undivided attention. So when cases like this happen, I’ve learned to put my phone away, sit with them and totally give them eye-to-eye attention. This way, I can provide feedback if necessary and it gives me insight as to what’s going on with them. We can easily miss serious moments when we allow our minds to time travel. Realize where you are and tell your mind that you’re going to focus on the matter at hand because, in reality, we can train our minds to do whatever we want it to do.
#4. You Need A Sleep Schedule
This definitely may sound crazy but you really do need to “schedule sleep” – if you don’t, you won’t get it and while your mind is on the go the body will shut completely down! Ever been restless at night because your mind was wondering about things you should be thinking about in the morning? I’ve been here too, more often than I’d like to admit. Most times I get up and work and others I just lay there and talk to God or just look…lol.
If you find your mind wrestling with you while you’re trying to go to sleep, try drinking some hot chamomile tea or sleepy time tea before bed (decaf of course). I also like listening to peaceful sounds such as thunder (I know this is not so peaceful but it’s calming for me). I love listening to rain sounds or ABIDE – which has sleep meditations for the nighttime. It’s also wise to put your phone on silent, so you won’t awake to every notification known to man. 30 min before bedtime, get these things in order so by sleep time – you’ll be all set to ZzZzzzzZZ.
All of these tips will not only help you be more present but more focused on what’s really important. Train that mind and don’t allow it to train you, remember YOU have control over it and not it over you.
Sanity is everything! & So is Being in the Moment! – Life’s too short not too.
Featured Photo: Ritu Sethi
Every decision we make leads us down a different path – it is up to you to decide which one.
You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can enact change within yourself if you are willing to accept personal responsibility and guidance.
There is an age-old question that plagues so many young women today and it is not a new one. It is one that has been around for decades; ever since women in the workplace became a common sight. However, as increasing demands continue to beg on everyone’s time, this ever-evolving question proceeds to grow.
The question began from whether there was really such a notion as a happy work-life balance for women. This meant addressing the conversation that women often had to choose between their personal responsibilities vs going to work and being the financial provider for their family.
In this current society, the spectrum of technological advancements accessible to us at our fingertips has meant that women are finding it increasingly hard to merely switch between each area of life unscathed. On top of this, Social Media apps do a great job of constantly reminding us of this presented requirement to have an enviable social life going spare to feel accepted, or to download the newest fitness apps as a pre-requisite for reaching a peak state of health, digital banking apps that must be mandatory if you want for a healthy bank account, or meditation as a spiritual reminder to encourage time out, self-care, and mental health awareness. Not to mention searching for added space and time dedicated to intimate relationships and family time too. No wonder so many women are exhausted all the time!
As a Lawyer, Entrepreneur, Mother, and Wife, I share my strategy for ‘having it all’. It is based on the idea of compartmentalizing all areas of your life into eight accessible sectors and understanding how to balance all these areas. My suggestions are a guide to self-improvement and I want the experience to be a personal journey for you and to encompass all there is in life, as a working woman.
‘Having It All Now’: An Inspirational Journey to Becoming Superwoman’ is my own interpretation of advisory and solution-orientated guidance for women.
You will feel empowered and equipped to take charge of each area of your life, including:
1} Self-development. Are you truly happy in yourself or should you step away for a moment and re-evaluate life objectively, just for you.
2} Finance and wealth. How much money do you need to reach financial security and increased financial freedom? How will you do this? One small saving every day (even skipping each morning’s coffee on the way to work) will help you save.
3} Have you experienced the power of intimacy and love? The passion that comes when you least expect it, one that consumes your senses? If you need a bit of guidance here, this book explores the reasons why you are good enough, the uniqueness and qualities within yourself and how to best bring them out and how to be seen.
4} Stuck in your career? After all, how do you break through an invisible glass ceiling within your professional life? You have the ability to make a conscious decision to break with the imaginary boundaries that are products of years of false conditioning and then the rewards are yours to be had. We guide you on how to exude the confidence to make it to the next promotion and reap those rewards.
5} You are your own definition of health and beauty. There cannot be just one definition of beauty in a world so vast and different, but we do know that there is a plan to enjoying total peak health. That one does not just happen on its own.
6} Love is all that a child really wants from their parents, so take 5 minutes to hug them every day, to feel the heartbeat of your child puts the world back into perspective. That support and nurturing is also a steadfast way to encourage them to embrace the world. Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect parent, so why strive to be one?
7} Your social life can only be a reflection of the choices you make, on how you choose to spend your free time, and your ability to be a good friend. We explore how you can surround yourself with like-minded friends who will boost you in your search for balance and happiness.
8} Lastly, spirituality and creativity are your subjective choice, and once you have read through how to dispel many of the demons you may now face, there will be one important light and eye-opener that will be your guide.
The results you will get is an insight into NOT putting off the ‘luxuries’ that life has to offer you for another day, and instead to make today the day to stop and reflect on your life balance and Life choices resting in the realization that you can make the subtle changes you need so you too will begin the journey to ‘having it all now’.
About the author
Ritu Sethi is the Founder and Senior Partner of The Sethi Partnership Solicitors, recently winning the Lifetime Achievement Award in Law 2019. She is also a public speaker, and her book ‘A Woman’s Guide to Having it All now’ was voted ‘Best Inspirational Book’ by IBBF. For further information and to order your copy; visit www.ritusethi.com Or www.sethi.co.uk
Featured Image – Bing
Let me share what Gal-Entines is ALLLLLLLL about take it away Leslie!
Thank you my Gal pal, Leslie. I’ll take it over from here.
Yes, there is such a thing as Gal-Entines! WHICH is to be celebrated today! So happy Gal-Entines to ALL of my ladies out there. As you can see per Leslie (Amy Poehler), it’s a celebration with your gal pals whether you’re married or NOT! Now I know V-Day is officially tomorrow and it’s a day where all the single ladies are either celebrating themselves or a little pa-turd that they’re not getting the roses and the chocolates. I get it, I used to be that way too but hey, why not celebrate ourselves right? After all we deserve it, whether you’re boo’d up or NOT!
Check this post out 👉👉👉 Beware of Coupling Season! Are You A Victim?
I don’t know about you but for the past 4 or 5 years, I’ve always treated “V-Day” like any other day. However, to celebrate the occasion, I’d always go and grab my favorite dish from the Olive Garden, get me a piece of cake from my other favorite place (Confection Connection) and go home to watch a good movie. And there you’d have it, Valentine’s Day was over…
This year, I wanted to do something a little different. After talking to other single gals, I realized that I wasn’t the only one that celebrated this way. There were a plethora of “single” ladies who weren’t boo’d up just like me. So why should I have to stay in the house? My sentiments, EXACTLY!.
I’m unsure how it’s all going to go down, but I’ve planned an event for our singles ministry this year all themed around the “Gals” – there will be arts and crafts, games, food, spoken word and hopefully a lot of laughs and a lot of good times. So, we’ll see how it pans out. I am asking for a small fee for this event (i.e $7) but you’d pay more than that eating out! The event is tomorrow although I know the official “Gal-Entines” day is supposed to happen the day before V-Day I just couldn’t let a Friday go to waste.
Another Good Read 👉 5 Common Mistakes Women Must Give Up, To Get The Man of Their Dreams
As women, we need to celebrate each other, even if you do have a boo. Gal-Entines is all about celebration and good times, something that women don’t do enough of, especially in regards to one another. I don’t know what your plans are for this Gal-Entines day or even tomorrow, but whatever you do, make sure you show the special “Gals” around you, some love and appreciation!
Plan a party, an outing or go to the movies….they have this new movie entitled “The Photograph” starring Issa Rae (Insecure) and Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out) that looks amazing and it comes out tomorrow on Valentine’s Day! (Can someone say, GIRLS TRIP!!) Anywho, no matter what you decide, make sure you get out with your best gal pals either today or sometime during the weekend to check that out or just have a really good time. Andddd It’s not too late to plan…
Listen, us gals just want to have FUN and why not do it together!! – As that’s what “Gal-Entines” is truly ALL about!