Never Forget Where You Come From

#Travel #Adventure #Choices #Friends #NeverForget

One night as I walked to one of Paris’ Metro stations, I had a conversation with a young woman who, like myself, is from a small town in her country. She was surprised that I understood her frustrations with sometimes being unable to reconcile her “Big City Life” and “World Views” with her “Small Town Upbringing.” Continue reading

How to Lose 300 Lbs in One Day (Results May Vary)

I decided on my birthday that I was too fat and wanted to lose weight. I decided to get serious about my health and started making changes. I got serious again in April and joined and gym and got a trainer. I got even more serious in August and modified my diet drastically, but with changes I knew I could sustain long term. As a result, I’ve lost a few pounds and a few inches. (It’s actually more than a few, but that’s another blog for another day.)

As I prepare to clear my closet of clothes that no longer fit (almost 50% of all the clothes in my closet), I am realizing that more than my closet requires decluttering. I need to declutter my life. Continue reading

Your Body is Your Temple

Your body is your temple. I don’t mean this in the Biblical sense. However, you can go with the Biblical meaning, if you’d like. Its one of the few things in the Bible that isn’t debatable. After all, you only get one.  Yes, science has allowed us to order replacement parts. It has also allowed us to cure many of the things that used to kill us. But the fact remains you only get one body.  It is for this reason that we must take care of the one we’ve got.

I try to exercise at least two days a week.  Sometimes I exceed this, most times, I don’t. Sometimes I fail, miserably, and don’t burn a single calorie through exercise. I don’t workout because I enjoy it.  In fact, I actually HATE working out.  I hate it with a passion! There are a couple of reasons why I workout. One reason is that I like to eat and I want to do so without weighing 5,000 lbs. All the old Discovery Health Channel shows on obesity fascinate me. I’ve joked that those shows were my diet plan. Just watching them will make you want to NEVER be in that position.  How humiliating it must be to have a wall removed from your home and have a crane or forklift come to your home to hoist you out of the hole in the house? I also workout because I know I should. Research tells us that watching what we eat and getting out to exercise, even if its just walking helps us to lead longer, healthier lives. Also, I’ve inherited the traits for some pretty ugly diseases that are linked to, or exacerbated by, obesity. Therefore, I’m trying to outrun heredity for as long as I can.

A few weeks ago, I met a woman who seemed to be young and healthy. After talking to her for a while, I discovered that she had recently been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Her diagnosis came about as a result of trip to the emergency room when she wasn’t feeling well. A check of her blood sugar levels revealed that her diet, and perhaps lack of exercise, had resulted in an extreme spike in her blood sugar levels that left her hospitalized for days. She’s the third young person I know to have had this sort of scare.

Most times, our bodies will tell us when it’s time for us to make changes. We get headaches, joint aches, we become nauseous, we have trouble breathing or we just don’t feel well. Other times, we don’t get any warnings at all.  I know plenty of people who either ignore their symptoms or excuse their poor diet and exercise habits by saying, “I don’t need to be skinny.”  It’s not about being skinny.  It’s about being healthy. I’ve had others say to me, “All of my vitals are good. I don’t have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. So I’m fine.” They’re right.  They are fine . . . right now.

When you’re carrying excess weight, when you’re eating any and everything that crosses your path, when you’re leading a sedentary lifestyle, you’re a ticking time bomb. It might not be today, or tomorrow or even next month, but the lifestyle will eventually catch up to you. If you’re lucky, it will catch up to you in the form of symptoms rather than sudden death. It’s happened.  I’ve seen it. Do me a favor and try not to be next.

How Men Love

I’m watching “Marrying The Game” on VH1. Judge me. A friend of the fiancé just said “You’re expecting Jayceon to love you the way you want to be loved versus accepting that he’s loving you the way he knows how.” The fiancé replied, “He thinks providing is loving.” The friend responded, “Most men do.”

The friend is absolutely right. I’ve had a similar conversation with my own girlfriends but from a slightly different perspective. I believe that all men need to be needed. The disconnect between men and women comes when women fail to realize that men don’t view needs the same way we do. Most men view being needed in financial terms. If they are providing for you financially, they believe they’re doing everything they need to do to maintain a healthy relationship. Conversely, they feel completely inadequate if they can’t provide financial support. What many men fail to realize is that a lot of us don’t need our bills paid. We need someone to slay the dragons!.

Another disconnect: men aren’t the best communicators. To compound that issue, women often talk a lot but say a bunch of nothing. Neither of these traits are conducive to effective communication or problem solving. So men never get the point that “yeah, the money is nice, but I have other needs too.” And women never clearly distinguish the real needs from the noise.

Maybe men really are from Mars and women really are from Venus.

Black Folks and Therapy

Something I talk about fairly often is black people and their reluctance to seek professional help for their problems. There is a huge stigma in our community as respects mental illness and therapy. I have my theories on why the stigmas exist and how they’re perpetuated. But that’s neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is that we really need to “do better” when it comes to accepting that sometimes we all need a little help. In light of the reported suicide of actor Lee Thompson Young, I thought I’d mention it yet again.

As a people we’re doing a much better job of opening ourselves up to experiences we used to be quick to say were “for white people.” One of the last frontiers for us to conquer is being able to admit that we may not be able to work through our problems alone and taking action to get the help we need. Big Mama is an amazing woman but she doesn’t always have all the right answers. Yes, you can “take it to Jesus” but like I told someone last night “God is busy. I’m not worrying Him about that nonsense.” (It really was trivial.) Our mothers, sisters, sista-friends and good girlfriends only know so much. As well as they know us, they don’t always have best answers. Many of them don’t have the skills to properly manage their own lives yet and still they try (with all best intentions) to help us manage ours.

Sometimes after we’ve prayed about it, talked to Big Mama about it and dished about it to our girls, the issue remains unresolved. There are things that we need help exploring, and resolving, in a constructive manner in order to heal from them once and for all. Too many of us are afraid to take a cold, hard look at ourselves and admit that we face challenges bigger than ourselves. We find it difficult to admit that there are problems impacting our lives and our futures that we simply cannot handle alone.

So what do we do? We self medicate. We use food, shopping, sex, alcohol, drugs (“they’re not drugs, drugs. It’s just a little weed and a few pills every now and then.”) and countless other methods to soothe our hurts and mask our pain, fears and insecurities. Self medicating is more destructive than the thing it is we’re attempting to cover up. While self medicating grants us a temporary reprieve from our issues, it doesn’t actually solve the problems. In fact, self medicating creates more problems in our lives. The food leads to weight gain which leads to health issues. The shopping often leads to financial destruction. Sex, well, while it’s fun if we’re not careful, and sometimes even when we are, can jeopardize our health. Alcohol and drugs not only lead to health problems but they can lead to financial ruin, death and a string of bad decisions made under the influence.

So how do we get our people to understand that therapy is sometimes necessary? We take away the stigma associated with it. Some of us would rather walk around glassy-eyed and reaking of alcohol (even when we’re not drinking) instead of going to therapy and risk having someong call us “crazy.” Which is better: “crazy” and alive or “normal” but dead of of Cirrhosis the liver at age 35?

If you know someone who is “going through it,” let them know that it’s okay to seek professional help. Even if you don’t necessarily believe in therapy, don’t discourage them, or make them feel ashamed if they mention it. Support their decision. The stigma wasn’t created overnight so it won’t be eliminated overnight. But please do your part to help. You could be saving the life of someone you love.