Generation Y

Millennials.

It takes a million milli-seconds to douse a fire set before your lifetime.
It rebuilds like an on-coming storm, overwhelming fear. Tragedy, mistakes, and hesitation over-power the timidity of fear.
Here we see again, like an old dance, once standing on our fathers toes to learn the moves,
We stand up and reach out proud & tall, Expectations breaching the clouds, beaming through like sun rays.
When it hits our faces, we smile, teeth white, in neat secure rows, defying what we’ve been told because in that moment we have a happiness we’ve never had before. This is not 9-year-old-watching-saturday-morning-cartoons happiness, this is a new kind we’ve made. Because we face this oncoming storm, waiting with the expectation of coming out on the other side.
While they’re walking, counting their pace,
We run ahead, around, and fly skywards, wind whipping around our faces.
We know we won’t crash and burn like the people before, because our hearts are more aware of their room to love, to conquer the unconquerable, to understand what others didn’t try to understand. This fuels us: this untapped potential.

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Connection In the in-between

The last I held my mothers hand, her fingers intertwined with mine. Our hands were exactly the same size. It was like holding my own hand.
I realized ,in some way, my sisters and I were stepping into a place that my mother was moving away from. Her hand was my hand and it’d never fit so perfectly before.

Since then, I’ve looked everywhere for that fit.We love those who fit the peculiar voids within us, our hollow wounds. We love to fill the spaces old loved ones left behind. This filling feeling that I feel is never permanent (though it lingers). It comes and goes in comfortable familiarity with friends or strangers, a connection brought on by raw openness and honesty, and in moments of reflection. I live for those moments, but that doesn’t mean I feel lost in the between. Seeking these moments of connection, between the spaces, is thrilling. It’s an adventure that began the first time I held my mothers hand and mine only wrapped around one of her fingers. Though, I don’t physically hold everyone’s hand that I meet, it is in that moment of authenticity and genuine happiness that I feel the warmth of the spirit of humanity’s hand, tugging mine to wander the uncharted. I will follow.

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60 pounds of self-preservation gone

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It is so easy to lie to yourself. I’ve been taking the easy way out for years. I call it “self-preservation through denial”.

After 8 years, it stopped working. Life slapped me hard and I didn’t recover fast enough. The lies I told myself for years were exposed and they couldn’t hide from my scrutiny.

Rather than facing a hard truth about myself and then deciding to re-bury it like I’ve done hundreds of times, I pushed it to the forefront. I acknowledged it as a truth. It was a brand new feeling: knowing exactly who I am at the moment and what I do not know and what I want to know.
It was a huge relief. I was tired of treading lightly in my head.

I write this to say that it is so very,very important to be honest with yourself. Feel what you feel in that moment in its entirety.

It was in these moments of honesty that I formed a new kind of preservation that was all about becoming a better version of myself. It was through this process of honesty that I changed my lifestyle. I ate more (I hardly ate food before) and when I ate food it was good, good food. Real food. I exercised often despite every excuse I made for myself. I walked, dance, kick-boxed and moved more than I had than I had in my 22 years of life. Nothing that happened in my life, I decided, would get in my way. I let go of placing blame on the people I’d blamed for my choices. This time, even with team-support from family, I did not stop when they stopped for whatever reason. I didn’t want to look in the mirror and see all of the empty promises I made myself. It was never easy, it still isn’t, but I think it gets easier. The difference between me now in 2013 and 2012 isn’t just the 60 pound weight loss:(1) I have a much stronger, more urgent need to pursue my goals, (2) I am much more grateful for everything in my life (3) I am happier because I was honest about the things that made me unhappy.

I was waiting for a magnificent change in my life. It took honesty for me to realize that I’m waiting on borrowed time.if there’s something you want, go get it. If you think you can’t get it, try to get it anyway. What’s the worst that could happen? Now that you know all of the things that could possibly happen: do it anyway. Feel the fear and go.

I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds in 5 weeks (:

Have you ever had those moments when you sit and think about your life? You reflect on the things that have happened to you, to those you love and how it has impacted you? In your self reflection, you go through high’s and low’s and it’s a roller-coaster  After you’ve reached the conclusion of your grand self-reflection,do you have some type of epiphany and vow to make a change for the better?

I’ve done this hundreds of times. I’ve made promises to myself that I made an effort to keep and then those self-commitments die away after a little while. In addition, I’ve questioned why my commitments to my own promises have faded to the back and I have answered with excuses (“I’m tired. I need to do this. I need to go here before I can do that” etc). The truth of it all comes down to one thing: laziness.

One of the hardest things is facing a truth about yourself. After trying and failing to keep a commitment, I eventually had to face the truth.

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Now, as I said earlier, I’ve reviewed my life and vowed to make changes too many times to count. So what was different about this time? What was so special about this time?

After my Step-Grandfather passed away on January 2nd, I had another of my grand reflections. But this time I decided that I would not lie to myself. I decided I would strip away all of the excuses I’ve been telling myself. You still have time. You’re young. You can put off your goals for a little longer, just watch this 30 minute show. 30 minutes won’t kill you.

I was tired of letting little things get in the way when Bigger things were happening in my life.   I was tired of letting little things get in the way when my Goals are larger than those little things.

I had to face the truth that the majority of the people who I lost in my life died from something that could have been preventable. Diabetes, High blood pressure, and other grave diseases are prevented by what I put into my body.

The difference between those times when I’ve reflected on my life before and now was that I didn’t give myself any excuse. If I felt myself forming an excuse I shot it down. What’s more important: this 500 calorie slice of pizza or living a healthy, happy life? What do you value more: this all day Doctor Who marathon or being able to run, walk, and move with BOTH legs when you’re 74?

The difference between then and now was that I had been giving myself empty promises and I didn’t want my family to bury me young for something I could have prevented. I want to give myself the best chance at life. I realized that I needed to take care of myself to eventually take care of my family. How could I think about my future, my goals, my outward commitment and success, then completely ignore my body?

I had to be hard on myself and I had to reach out to people in my life who would be honest and supportive with me. My sisters were in the same boat as me, and we’ve been working together. Having people there to support you is vastly important especially for those like me who lack self-motivation. I decided to grab that moment of motivation and hold on to it, rather than let it slip through my fingers as I had numerous time before. It can be hard sometimes and it can be fun. I’ve slipped up a few times, but this time I will not let myself fail. I learned that I must accept my mistakes and move forward  from there. It only becomes a problem if I decide to stay stuck in one place of denial or decide to go back to where I was before. I cannot allow it. I’ve tried this before and I have completely thrown in the towel after one slip up. I refuse to do that to myself and my family.

I am proud to say that through commitment, watching everything that I eat, and working out, I have lost 28 pounds over the past 5 weeks. I have fun this time around, I eat delicious low-calorie food, I do the work outs I want to do, and I stay informed. I will continue to follow what has been working for me and I will work to be my healthiest self. This is not a temporary promise to myself, it is a life-long commitment. I’m learning the value of patience.

There’s probably a whole bunch more to be said, but the one hour I gave myself on my computer is up and I  need to go running (:

-Mani

P.S. I’ve taken up hiking and it is amaaaaziing.

Hey! Brown skinned Girl!

Hey! You there with the brown skin! Read this article:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/21/us-black-women-breast-cancer-idUSBRE82K1CZ20120321

I know that some Professionals recommend getting a yearly mammogram at 40 plus, but as African American Women we are at a higher risk. Do not think that 30 is too young. I’ve known and lost too many people who ignored their bodies and go their mammograms too late.There are unknown reasons as to why Black Women with breast cancer have a higher mortality rate than anyone else, but there are correlations. There are still plenty of studies going on. One thing I think separates us is the lack of information and access. More Black Women receive a diagnosis in the later stages of breast cancer and have a more aggressive form of Breast Cancer.

What about the costs, you ask? There are organizations that offer FREE MAMMOGRAMS all over the U.S.A. For example, the Capital Breast Care Center offers free exams and serves as a great source of information for people with questions in the DMV area. Komen.org is also a great source for people looking for a source for free mammograms. It is better to be informed than uninformed!

(: