Songs To Get You Through Finals #ThankMeLater

Hallelujah, I made it! The semester ended today and I’ve never been so relieved. This semester has been my toughest thus far. To make things more stressful than usual, I had to bring the kids to class with me for the last month of school. It’s one thing to drag 1 kid to class but imagine toting 2 humans around campus! Some days, I questioned my sanity!

Every college student knows that your semester grades aren’t official until finals are taken! Preparing and taking finals is like the last 5 minutes of a 30 minute cardio session; you’re almost to the finish line yet, you’re somewhere between motivated and over it! You experience thoughts like, “Eff it, I’ve done enough running for the day!” verses, “I’m almost there; only five minutes to go!”

I like to start my day off with prayer, coffee and a bomb theme song of the day. My theme songs vary from hot mess trap music to the holiest of gospel. It depends on my mood and what I need to hear to get me prepared for the day.

Did you know that the first sound you hear in the morning, dictates the progression of your day? Science has taught us that music plays a key in mood change. Constant examples of the powers of music are in movies and commercials, music tells us how to feel—how to move.

Because I know the stresses of finals and I want YOU to be great, I’ll share my favorite CRUNK songs that get me hype before every test life throws at me!

1. Truth Hurts by Lizzo

Taken from CNBC.com

“I just took a DNA test turns out I’m 100% about to pass my exams!” Thank me later for the remix! Speak it over you life yall! Speak it in Jesus name!

2. Hustler by Cassidy

Taken from dopeboy.com

“Betta ask about me, I’m a hustler!” Yo, this song makes me feel like the Crim Dela creme, especially when I have the kids in the backseat! This song makes me feel undefeated and badass!

3.Unstoppable by Koryn Hawthorne

Taken from getuperica.com

I’m a believer of speaking things over your life! There’s power in the tongue! When the devil throws a curve ball, I remind him of who’s child I am! I’m unstoppable because Jesus says so!

4. Diva (Homecoming) by Beyoncé

Taken from ew.com

I lived for the entire HBCU themed Coachella show! I blast the album in my car while imagining myself marching on somebody’s field! This remix of Diva has the famous breakdown with O.T. Genesis’, “Everybody Mad’ “I’ve been getting too many A’s, everybody mad!” Again, thank me in advance for the remix. Call me DJ Chris. #AnotherOne

5. Follow God by Kanye

Taken from bbc.com

Call me crazy but, Ye’s new album has been a mood for the past couple of months. Follow God has simple but powerful words and my kids love the song too!

6. Before I Let Go by Frankie Beverly and Maze

Taken from Facebook.com

Besides being every black family’s traditional cookout anthem, it’s something about belting out, “before I let you gooooahahaoooo,” in my car. It’s a feel good song and immediate mood changer!

7. Knuck if you Buck by Crimemob

Taken from discog.com

This Negro spiritual makes my bones tingle! When the beat drops I feel my ancestors swaying in their graves. This song gets me hyped for any occasion! This song was on my birth playlist with Zora! No matter how old this gem is, when another person of color pulls up beside me and hears me blasting this in my car, they look over and give me a nod of approval because, they already know what time it is!

8. Ape Sh*t by The Carters

Taken from dazedigital.com

“Ima gorilla in a effin coupe, finna pull up to a zoo. I’m like Cheif Keif meets Rafikki, who been Lion King to you?” If that wasn’t the hardest line of Hov’s career, direct me elsewhere! This line alone paints the picture of my everyday life. I’m a young black queen attending a PWI. I’m fierce wisdom filled being, playing the game of life administered by my white counterparts. Aye!

9. Don’t you Worry Bout a Thing by Stevie Wonder

Taken from britannica.com

Tori Kelly’s version has taken over our home thanks to the movie Sing but I vowed to never let my kids erase the legend that is Stevie Wonder! Every so often when I need a sweet reminder to chill and let life be, I play this song!

10. If I Ruled the World by Nas ft Lauryn Hill

Taken from rap-up.com

Nas has taught us all a lot. He gives a brief history lesson all while empowering black excellence; reminding us that our lineage didn’t derive from slavery but of royalty. “If I ruled the world, I’d free all my sons;” the chorus sung aloud is me verbally manifesting the emancipation of generational curses and stagnation within my family! I also love singing Lauryn’s ad libs.

You’re the only one standing in the way of the goals you want to achieve! This semester may have started out rough, but you can end it strong! Good luck on finals! I encourage you to create your own finals playlist! Eat or get eaten! You got this!

Xoxo,

Christian

Our Ugly Reflections (Are You Ugly?)

Arguments with loved ones usually end up with both parties saying unflattering and hurtful things. We’ve been taught to excuse our loved one’s hurtful words, because they were only saying those things out of anger. Although, their maybe some truth to this theory, you can’t help, but to wonder if these “mean and hurtful words” were deep rooted truths our loved ones only had the opportunity to share when they had the “free card” to do so. So, we consciously ignore the mean words but subconsciously we dwell on them, because no matter how hard we try to deny our loved ones words, we have an inkling that some of what they said is true.

Therapy and popular social media feel good memes would say to suppress those negative thoughts about yourself, because you are light and perfect in every way. I’m calling this mindset bull crap. You are not perfect in every way. No one is. This way of thinking encourages us to live counterproductive lives in denial. In order to live truth you have to face truth—you have to hear the truth. I’m not saying everything mean said to you is right or reflects your character, but I am saying, if you’ve heard the same things multiple times, maybe there’s some validity to those words.

Look in the mirror. Accept the good parts and bad parts of you. Ask yourself is there any truth to what you’ve heard about you. Fix the broken parts of you. Love you through it all.

A recent spit made me address a part of me that I was forcing myself to ignore. Confession: I’m very critical of others. Because I’m critical of myself, I tend to judge others as harsh as I judge myself. This isn’t right and I wanted to believe that this ugly truth wasn’t true about me, but it is.

The question we should ask ourselves after learning and accepting our ugly reflections is, why? What’s the root of our mean streak?

Don’t bypass “mean talk.” Sometimes it feels mean because it’s truthful.

Xoxo,

Christian

Let’s aBREAST the Situation

October is the mecca for a plethora of awarenesses and causes, but it’s most commonly known for breast cancer awareness. We all know someone directly or indirectly affected by breast cancer. There are many forms of breast cancer and I think the different types get lost in the awareness of the month. This is unfortunate, we need clarity and understanding of all forms of breast cancer, as it further educates us and helps prevention.

I always knew breast cancer sucked but I never took the time to truly educate myself. Every year, I pass doctor’s offices encouraging women to get mammograms and breast exams but still, I figured, I was too young to entertain the thought of breast cancer. Until recently, I thought a mammogram and breast exam were the same thing.

It was this year, that I decided to change my mind. While scrolling down my Instagram timeline, I saw a picture of my friend. She had one breast. Positive that my eyes were deceiving me, I examined the picture further. My eyes weren’t deceiving me. My friend, Jaymonroe has angiosarcoma breast cancer. The idea of someone so young, so vibrant and pretty healthy; having cancer scared the hell out of me.

Jaymonroe

To make things worst, I encountered another beautiful woman, Ella, who is also fighting breast cancer( Metastatic breast cancer ) She shares a similar story. When I learned that these women suffering this horrible disease we’re all around healthy until now, it scared me. Tv and media always make it seem like the people mostly getting breast cancer are those who live unhealthy lifestyles and this just isn’t true.

I continued life after this news paranoid. “How did this happen,” I thought. I had so many questions.

I began to obsess over my own breast–a lot. So, I schedule an appointment with my doctor and she told me…

I have Fibrocystic breast disease. “What is that,” I asked? It’s a condition that causes lumpy texture in the breast. It’s non-cancerous and caused by hormone changes–like when you’re on your period. Breast fibroids can cause tenderness in the breast which is what alarmed me. It’s extremely common,especially in black women.

Turns out, my caffeine intake could affect and even agitate the fibroids so I’ve decided to quit coffee cold-turkey. I also learned in detail how to conduct breast exams on myself. I was advised to monitor the lumpiness in my breast to make sure the lumps didn’t harden, cause discoloration, change appearance or hurt.

Leaving my doctor’s office with this new news left me feeling blessed. I can’t fathom what’s it’s like receiving the heartbreaking news that, “you have breast cancer.” All I could do is praise Jesus that I and my breast are totally fine.

A lot of women don’t take their breast and their wellbeing seriously. I get it. Breast are literal lumps of fat hanging from our bodies. Other than finding the right bras to lift them, we usually don’t think about them too much. I want to change that mindset. I want to dead the idea that breast cancer considers age, race, gender, or lifestyle. Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate and I want you, us to be properly educated.

Taken from nytimes.com

“I want people to know the truth. Breast cancer is real,” Jaymonroe wrote on my insta stories.

My friend Jay, shared a couple pictures, journaling her days leading up to her diagnosis. Pictures of what looked like a bug bite filled my eyes from my phone screen. She didn’t think that bump was cancer and as the other person looking at what she saw, I could see why. It literally looked like a bruised mosquito bite on her breast.

What Jay thought was a bruise

Jay described what she thought to be a bruise on her breast as painful; so painful, she wanted her entire breast removed. Little did she know, that was already her fate.

Sharing her story and so candidly on her social media pages is beyond inspiring. Even with all she’s battling, she still chooses to help, uplift and educate others.

Ms. Ella is quite vocal about her fight on social media too. Both women speak with such love and concern for their community–they are our community’s WonderWomen.

“You never get use to the fight,” Ella said. “People think it’s a daily struggle to find motivation but, I struggle hourly.”

Ella described daily task like bathing or leaving the house as torturous. She explained that medicines and chemo are harder on the body than movies and television display.

“The water burns my skin,” Ella said. “Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed,” she added.

These are two different women with two different stories, conveying the same passionate message; “Get your breast examined!”

I don’t have a scripture or any magical quote that explains why cancer exist or why it attacks the ones we love; but I have a voice– a voice I’d like to use to say, monitor your breast! Many women who fail to conduct monthly breast exams suffer with cancer unknowingly, making survival questionable.

Get your breast checked! Conduct your own breast exams. 

Cancer is only as scary as we allow it to be. I have faith that we will find a cure, maybe even a vaccine, but for now, book an appointment with your doctor and save the ta tas!

To Ms. Ella and Jay, we lift you guys up in prayer and support! You 👏🏿will 👏🏿beat 👏🏿cancer👏🏿 and when you do, we’ll be there cheering you on!

“Cancer is a word, not a sentence.”  

~John Diamond

Xoxo,

Christian

Ay Yo Judge Tammy, What’s Really Good?

The black community is in an uproar and rightfully so. Another unarmed black king by the name of, Botham Jean was shot and killed by a police officer and after his murder’s sentencing, the chick not only got a slap on the wrist sentence but she too, received a hug from the judge!

Botham was lounging on his couch in his apartment, enjoying a bowl of ice cream when Amber Guyger walked in and shot him. Amber’s, (the police officer) argument is that after a long day at work, she walked into the apartment, mistakenly thinking it was her own and saw a strange man in her home. In rebuttal to what she thought to be a burglary, she withdrew her gun and shot Botham dead. She said that she was too delirious to know she wasn’t in her own apartment and out of “fear for her life,” she had no other choice than to shoot the accused perpetrator dead.

GTFOH!

Amber’s argument is crap, so much so, that I propose that we investigate every arrest—anything she did on the clock, because if she was too delirious to know that she walked into the wrong apartment; an apartment that smelled differently than hers, an apartment that had different furniture than hers and apartment with a half-dressed black man enjoying tv on his couch; how do we know she was coherent when she was on the job leading up to the event?

After the shooting, the police searched Botham’s home. They searched his home and not hers. This is a prime example of racial bias, making the black victim guilty for just being black—finding fault or ammo to support the racial intent. This is an example of the idealistic mindset that “all black people are bad in some way despite who they are, what they do or where they are!” This brother was in his own home minding his business and even still, he was treated as a threat, even after he was dead.

 

Amber received a 10-year sentence and was even able to argue the “stand your ground,” law because, “she thought she was standing her ground in her own home.” Do yall remember when Marissa Alexander tried to use this same argument against her abusive husband? The black on her skin caused the jury to convict her with a whopping 20-year sentence. The hypocrisy! So what’s being subliminally taught is that, if you’re black your life doesn’t matter and if you’re white not only is life deemed greater, but any crime you commit is due to accident or unfortunate circumstances.

 

I’m not shooketh at Amber Guyger’s light sentence, she’s a white woman in American. She cried in court. We all know the power of white tears! What upset me to my core is the reaction from the judge.

 

During the trial, Botham’s brother, Brandt Jean, hugged Amber and wished her well in life. He did this because, “I know that’s exactly what Botham would want.” Never will I ever tell someone how to heal. Brandt felt that he needed to forgive Amber in order to honor his brother and to heal himself. I respect that. Although, I don’t think my reaction would’ve been the same, I understand him. Brandt Jean is entitled to tackle his healing however he chooses, this incident directly affected him but guess who had NO RIGHT to display any emotion in that courtroom? The judge! Judge Tammy was completely out of line for embracing that murderer, one, in front of the victim’s family and two just in general! What was she thinking? Many people in the black community including myself suspect that she wasn’t thinking at all!

 

To hug that women was a blatant slap in the face to the family and the black community. Her hug implied that she sympathized with the plaintive and maybe even had regret for sentencing her. Her hug translated to the black community told us that she one, doesn’t love herself, her people and although she reigns in the highest position in the court, she still seeks the approval and ok of her white masses. I am angry!

On a professional aspect, how inappropriate and unprofessional to even hug anyone? As a judge, you should leave all opinions and biases out the courtroom. Realistically we know this doesn’t always happen but damn sis!

So I was already pissed at the judge’s coonish behavior but what really placed the cherry on top was the picture surfacing of the black bailiff fixing Amber’s hair? What in the Samuel L. Jackson in Django is going on? I’ll tell you, black people so low in pride, so eager to please massa, that they’d disrespect the people that look like them—even when that means the person they’re really disrespecting is the person in the mirror!

This has to stop! How do we expect white people to honor and respect black lives when we, black people don’t respect ourselves?

“The enemies are not so much from without as from within the race.”

-Marcus Garvey

Black people, we have to do better–we have to love ourselves.

Xoxo,

Christian

 

 

 

 

I Needed a Change…

Life for me has been hella hectic. I’m all over the place with deadlines, assignments, babies and bills! I’ve never been one to fall behind but I’ve recently found myself unprepared for TWO quizzes, I overslept for class and I forgot about a movie date with my family. I’ve been running off energy drinks and Jesus. My family life has been little to none since I usually find myself dead on the couch immediately after walking in the door. Pray for me.

For a little switch up and maybe even a little treat to myself, I cut my hair into what I call a “mom bob.” It’s shorter, more manageable and FRESH. I needed somethings fresh. Lately, I find myself making fresh coffee, forgetting it and then remembering it, just to have to warm it up in the microwave.

before✂️

After✂️

Surviving a Parent with BPD

This week has been surreal. It’s been filled with clarity, sadness and confusion. I’ve been conditioned as a black woman to believe that “at all times, I have to keep it together,” so this week I spent a lot of time in my car crying between classes, praying during pee breaks and calming myself down quietly during panic attacks in the hallways. I’m good a faking it til I make it.

I’ve been blessed with the power of discernment. I’d like to think that God speaks to me through dreams, feelings and even others. Last Saturday God laid something on my heart. It was HEAVY. I shared it with my husband. It was the following Sunday afternoon when I received a phone call lasting 45 minutes confirming everything I shared with my husband the night before…

I can’t say that I was in shock about the news. I felt a sense of relief, maybe even a sense of thankfulness. The person on the other end of the phone with just a couple of words had brought forth major healing to my past traumas. I felt slightly selfish for healing in the mist of this person’s chaos but I couldn’t help the feelings that overwhelmed me. This person unknowingly had answered my many questions about, “why my traumas happened to me.” As this person spoke, my mind wandered. I felt like the world stopped.

“My childhood traumas didn’t go in vain. My negative ways of thinking of myself (feeling like I’m never good enough or undeserving of good things) wasn’t random and my drama-filled childhood WAS NOT MY FAULT.” One of my parents suffered from BPD (borderline personality disorder.)

I don’t mind being transparent about this because this is something I’ve been dealing with alone for 26 years. I also love living truthfully. Putting it out there means no one can use my “secrets,” or insecurities against me. I’m free.

My parent is in denial and has been apparently for my entire life. Unfortunately my brother and I didn’t have people paying close enough attention to advocate for us. My childhood and most of my adult life have suffered at the hands of this. I could tell you some stories about what I’ve seen or even experienced but I’d like to treat my healing as delicate as possible. This is my ugly and uncomfortable truth.

This week, I’ve struggled with many emotions. I love my parent but that doesn’t erase the pain this parent has caused me. I’m confused. I’m relieved because for months now, I’ve been seeking therapy to cope with this but I too was in denial about my parent’s mental health. (In therapy, your therapist can only diagnose and treat you. In regards to your past, they’re left to only speculate what they think was going on. In my case upon my first counseling session, my therapist felt that it was very likely my parent suffered from BPD.)I struggled with the feeling of feeling violated. I feel like I’ve been lied to. I feel like I’ve been coexisting with a stranger. I feel sad. I love my parent and feel like their support system or there lack of failed them. They needed someone to lean on. On Sunday, I felt like I was meeting my parent for the first time. For 26 years I didn’t know them. I didn’t understand them. I know them now.

This is all so new to me and honestly I have no advice to share. One thing I will say is that, many people lose to the fight against mental illness. They try to ignore symptoms but mental illness lives in the brain. Our brains control our bodies. When the brain is sick, our bodies can’t function properly. Many people have been taught to think that therapy is bad thing. Because of this way of thinking, many parents are rearing their children while fighting mental illnesses.

Writing and sharing this has been both healing and scary. I struggled with doing what’s therapeutic to me while being considerate of my parent’s well-being. It’s like walking a tightrope with the world on my back. In one sense I want healing,understanding and growth but in the other sense, I understand that my parent’s situation is serious and delicate to them as well. My parent is still very much in denial and while seeking and achieving my healing I don’t want to hinder theirs. Writing this and posting this blog post has left me very feeling vulnerable. I understand that some might not fancy this post and others may find it helpful to their healing. I’m ok with this.

I ask that you pray for my family at this time. I started this blog to share and inspire. I’m sharing this because although I’m still unsure of my next move or my family’s, I wanted someone/anyone in this same situation to know that they’re not alone.

Xoxo,

Christian

Black Hair in a Not so Black World

I just dropped my son off to school for the day and my son’s teacher did something that left me feeling slightly offended. She touched his hair. I’d like to put this in context for you …

Liam has a curly Afro! He has a serious and tedious hair routine that some parents might find ludicrous but to me, it’s a very important part of his hygienic routine. I start off with shampoo and follow up with a deep conditioner. I then pat his hair dry and moisturize it with a cream. I seal that cream with an oil. His hair is really dry so his curls appreciate the extra love. Some mornings when I drop him off to school, his hair isn’t fully dry. You’re able to see some of the product settling into his curls and it may look a bit odd. Never the less, by the time I pick Liam up from school, the product can no longer be seen and his hair and curls are full of life!

I’m assuming that Liam’s teacher unfamiliar with black hair, was confused as to why his hair was coated in a tan looking liquid? She patted him on the head and asked, “did you wash your hair today?” I immediately followed up with, “yes, he sure did!” She was left awkwardly holding out her now damp hand.

A couple of thoughts crossed my mind. One, why the heck did she think it was ok to touch my son’s hair? It’s an unwritten but known rule since FOREVER to NOT TOUCH A BLACK PERSON’s HAIR. Periodt! Secondly, why did her face turn to distaste when she realized her hand felt damp? Her face looked as if she had just accidentally touched the wet rim of an overfilled trashcan.

Her face brought me back to a childhood memory. Once in 3rd grade I was practicing braiding in my Caucasian friend’s hair. This was after school and I had no combs or hair products just my 8 year old hands. I remember after finishing up with what I thought was a braid masterpiece, my friend’s mom walked into our classroom. She looked at her daughter’s new-do. My friend’s mom touched the braids both in astonishment and disgust and said, “eww what did she (me) put in your hair? It’s so greasy?” Even as an 8 year old girl I understood what that comment meant. My friend’s hair wasn’t greasy. I didn’t use any products or utensils. What her mother meant was that her daughter’s hair looked “too black,” which she felt was disgusting.

Back to Liam. So when his teacher’s face changed after running her hand through his hair my heart dropped. As a mother I don’t want my child to experience any hurt, especially hurt I enabled! I chose his hair style. This is my fault! Immediately after dropping Liam off, my mind started racing. I sped to a local beauty supply store. I had just recently changed his shampoo and conditioner and his curls had been dryer than usual which is why he had EXTRA product in his hair this morning… The hair store was closed. I thought, “maybe it’s time to give up the curls? Should I cut off his hair?” A mired of things ran through my mind. I preach, live, stress black pride in our house because growing up in a predominately Caucasian area as a child left me feeling ashamed of my blackness too often.

I ask Liam daily does he like his hair. I don’t want white society shunning my baby because his hair is different. That. That alone is enough to break my heart. So here I am sitting outside in my car with anxiety because I don’t know if Liam noticed or felt what I felt. I’m unsure of how his day will go. I’m unsure if his teacher has the gall to change his hairstyle so that it’s more appeasing to her. I’m unsure if I’m over reacting. Am I over reacting?

I decided to drive back to Liam’s school. My body wouldn’t let me do anything else. I drove back. I walked into his classroom. I walked him out of his class. I whispered to him, “You are a handsome, strong and intelligent brown boy. Your hair is the coolest hair in all the world. I love you and Jesus loves you. Do you understand?” Liam replied, “yes.” We hugged and kissed.

This moment reminded me of how impressionable children are. My experience as an 8 year old made me feel like braids weren’t cool. I never told my mom but shortly after that incident I refused to wear braids in my hair. She thought it was phase but in actuality I wanted to detach myself from anything my peers thought was bad or different—even if that meant disassociating myself from my own culture. Because my son is 3 years old, and I wasn’t sure if he understood what had just happened, so to combat any of my doubts I decided to remind him of what I’m sure he already knows– his black is beautiful. xoxo,

Christian

Don’t TOUCH My Hair! I Just Got It Done!

There’s nothing like waking up early on Saturday morning and heading to your favorite hair stylist’s salon! You arrive to their shop, you tell them how you want your hair and boom! Before you know it, you’re handed the mirror for your big reveal! Just like that, you walk out the salon as different person—- a new woman. Having the perfect hair stylist is one of the major keys of womanhood! It’s basically an unwritten beauty law. 

Since a young girl, I’ve only had 2 people to do my hair. One was my mother and the other was my mother’s dear friend, aunt Gwen. After a beauty day in the salon, I always looked forward to the first day of school and picture days! I could barely sleep at night knowing that the next morning I’d be walking into a class with a new hairdo! I knew I’d be met with big eyes and hands that couldn’t resist the urge to run their hands through my hair. I was often asked, “is this your real hair?” “Yes,” I’d say proudly. “I go to Altruistic Hair Design and Salon.”

From chic cuts, color, natural hair and relaxed hair, ya girl Gwen Bovan ALWAYS delivers! As a woman of God, not only are you met with hands that care for your hair, you’re met with a woman that loves her clients like family. Gwen is amazing! She’s a busy mommy that makes balancing work and motherhood look easy. I’m still not convinced that she’s not a superhero incognito.

I have thick shoulder length hair. My hair is so thick that people have changed their styling price after running their hands through my hair. “I can’t even feel your scalp,” a stylist once complained before starting box braids. One time, a stylist’s assistance asked for a raise after braiding my hair for a sew in. Her argument was that, braiding my hair was simply too much. “She has thick and long hair. I should get paid extra for clients like her.” That comment hurt my feelings. With all the negative connotations that have been bestowed upon black women with a certain hair type, that comment made me feel like my hair wasn’t beautiful.

Gwen never disappoints me. My hair is always so sheen, healthy and BOUNCY! After being natural for 3 years I recently decided to go back to creamy crack postpartum after giving birth to my daughter. I no longer had the time for twist outs and tedious wash days. I needed something easy—-convenient. The decision to go back to a relaxer after being natural for so long was hard but choosing who I trust with my hair wasn’t a hard decision at all. Altruistic Hair Design and Salon is hands down the best hair salon in Martinez, GA and Gwen Bovan, she’s the best hair stylist on the planet.

If you’re in the CSRA area and need a hairstylist that slays, book Gwen. Your hair won’t regret it.

Altruistic Hair Design and Salon

(706) 831-0342

Xoxo,

Christian