I am addicted to my phone. Seriously. After reading countless of articles on how to not check my phone first thing in the morning, or take it into the bathroom, check it at red lights, I gave up. Instead, I decided to figure out a way to include my phone in my daily routine without cluttering my head space.
There’s an app for everything. So with realizing this, I decided to search for something that would not only cancel out the need for checking my social media in the morning but allow me to balance my thoughts, too! And I know, I know. I can easily just move my phone away from the bed and journal in the morning instead, but honestly, I don’t feel like picking up a pen and writing every day like I used to. (This is by no means no excuse for you to be okay with not writing as much. Don’t be like me, be better!) With admitting that, I have to start slow and turn my vices into victories!
Here are three apps that I recommend for getting your zen on no matter where you are or what time it is:
This is my personal favorite. I used it during my pregnancy, and also after giving birth. One of my close friends suggested it, and I have been so thankful for it. If you are new to meditation, this is a great app to start with. It gives you information on learning how to meditate before you actually get into the meditations, and that is my favorite part. From there you get to choose how you are feeling and it will customize different guided meditations for you. Awesome, right?
If you’re looking for a more global approach to meditation this is the app for you. It has lots of meditations to choose from as well and the app also lets you know how many people meditated with you! Insight Timer also gives you custom options which are good for you if you are more on the intermediate side of things.
This app is worth the price that you’re going to pay. The cool thing about Buddhify is that instead of only asking how you are feeling, it asks about what you’re doing so that it can find the perfect moment of mindfulness for you. It has also helped me the most with my anxiety. It’s compatible with active lifestyles that sometimes to allow enough time to center yourself.
What are some of your go-to apps for meditating? Share them in the comments and let me know! Also, if you are new to meditating and meditation apps, please let me know if you downloaded and tried any of these apps mentioned above!
19 by Adele got me through my first break-up. Although the album had already been out for awhile, I would croon “Chasing Pavements” in my college apartment hoping it would make me whole again. It didn’t. After a bunch of dating upsets, I realized that Adele was not my Whitney, my Lauryn, my Erykah, my Mariah, nobody. She had some dope songs, but none of them liberated me. She didn’t make me feel how my mom felt when she heard “I Can Love You” by Mary J. Blige and Lil’ Kim. She didn’t bring me up from my pool of tears, ever.
However, one ironic day, my Adele Pandora station decided to let me know that Adele was invited to The Cookout by playing “Single Ladies” by Beyonce, and something clicked.
“…I cried my tears for three good years and you can’t be mad at me/ ‘Cause if you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it…”
We hadn’t even made it to the chorus yet and already my posture changed, my attitude changed, and my shackles of heartbreak were broken.
Fast forward to 2011, and Adele drops 21. Dammit, Adele. Six months later Beyoncé drops 4. Two great albums again, but one made me eat cookies in my bed crying and the other one had me feeling like J.Lo in the Love Don’t Cost a Thing video.
You can guess which album did what.
Fast forward some more, Adele’s on a sabbatical and Beyoncé is dropping self-titled hits on us like boom, boom, boom. Visual album, CD, Videos, tour, you name it. 2015 comes and Adele is back with 25, but we aren’t sad right now Adele, what are you doing?! Where is Beyoncé? You wanna know where? Creating this liberating visual for us that shows every ounce of Black Womanhood with full transparency.
Lemonade drops in 2016 and every Black woman on the planet can feel each other’s energy. We are all hugging, we are all holding hands, singing praises and surviving. Beyoncé is re-introducing aesthetics that white history had swept under the rug for years. She provided us with a body of work that allowed us to free ourselves and heal. The academy ain’t got no award for that? They really don’t. 2017 Grammy’s Album of the Year comes around and they give it to Adele who in turn, thanked Beyoncé and dedicates her win… to Beyoncé. This is cool or whatever, and the Beyhive cries because:
2) The Queen had tears in her eyes so we had them too.
She’s not mad at Adele, so we aren’t mad at Adele. It’s not her fault. And while this may be true, it leaves fans in a whirlwind of emotions. We see our favorite (Black) artists put their all into projects, share it, explain it, give us shows, merchandise, a literal PIECE of them, only to see a mediocre (Yes, in this aspect Adele is just aight) artists win and cover their mantelpieces with more stolen gold every single year. It’s funny how history always seems to repeat itself when it comes to white people and stealing shit.
If you’re an early 90s baby like me, this exact moment will take you back to when Macklemore was given Kendrick’s Grammy in 2014 and expressed his white tears via text. We didn’t accept his apology, or whatever that was. Neither did Kendrick.
For our elders, this is merely just a repeat of all the years Black artists have outdone themselves and went home empty handed. It’s an ongoing cycle of overworking ourselves to prove to a lesser talented culture that we deserve full recognition.
It is left to us to make sure that we reward our artists with things that go beyond physical keepsakes. We have to keep our artists motivated enough to keep giving us raw emotion in their music and to allow us to experience their rollercoasters of growth and transition. It is up to us to teach about it, write think pieces, discuss it, and make sure to preserve the culture that has made music what it is today. Also, while boycotting may seem like the smart thing to do, it isn’t. We jus have to accept that The Grammy’s will never be #ForTheCulture, which is why we have to be every day and all day.
With this in mind, as a culture, as Black folks, we have to understand that when we “lose” to white artists/people, we are actually winning. They can have that easily breakable gold thing for their shelves because we still have our resilience. The shock value of losing or being snubbed goes down every year because we already know The Academy can’t handle all of this culture.
As I reflect on the 13th anniversary of my Grandfather’s transition, my 25 year old new Mom self has realized that his witty proverbs, foreshadowing, and subliminal life hacks have rung to be true. I’m sure my entire family and I could compile a whole book of his idioms and quotes. Some are Caribbean proverbs that many of you may be familiar with if you grew up with island grand parents like I did, and some were just genuine words of wisdom.
Since I asked my Mom to do her own personal list, I thought 13 would be a great number for my post. I miss him dearly, and he’s really the only transitioned family member that I genuinely cry about when I’m reminded of him.
A little background story on how he passed:
He was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 1992 and didn’t tell our family until two weeks before he passed in 2003. Ironically, he lasted all of those years without chemotherapy, and after he started receiving the treatments was when he got worse. He was a Medical Doctor himself, so for him to not participate in that unnatural treatment taught me a lot about the medical industry early on. I started waking up when I was 12, lol.
Now here we are, 13 years later on September 3rd. His favorite band was The Temptations and his favorite song was “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” so for him to pass on “the third of September” is still creepily dope as ever to me. The following list is in no particular order and the pictures may not correlate either, but this is my reflection, so just stay with me.
1. It never gets easier, you just get better.
In one of the Bibles that he left, he highlighted Romans 8:18. (Did I mention that he was also a Pastor? He was Jamaican, so one job was a joke to him.) Anyways, Romans 8:18 states: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time nare not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed.
Man! If only he knew the ramen noodle struggle that I endured in college, and the “f**k I should’ve gotten my degree” broke nights at 25, he would laugh. He’s probably laughing now. However, it is true. The growing pains are beneficial for the come up. Without learning how to deal with the uncomfy, you won’t learn how to appreciate the comfort that comes later.
2. If you run out of things to talk about, you aren’t reading enough.
When I spent what I didn’t know would be my last Summer with my grandfather, he would make me read to him for two hours. I had the choice between the newspaper or a collection of poems by Emily Dickinson. After those two hours, we would talk about what I got from it. Endless conversation! The gag? I would talk to him for so long that I didn’t realize he had kept me away from binge watching Disney Channel all summer.
3. “They’re going to tell you to eat healthy, then taint your food.”
Right before the big announcement of his cancer, I noticed that my grandma was cooking healthier than usual. It was weird. After the announcement, and as he got sicker, she made whatever meal he requested. It took me back to when Keanu Reeve’s shared a story about his friends mom and quoted: “[People] you cannot hide from your poison.” It’s crazy how my grandpa peeped game early on when I really thought he was just being old, lol. “Eating to live” never really lasted long in our Caribbean household.
4. “Gallivanting” is a real word.
Every Saturday morning for as long as I remembered, we would prepare to go “gallivanting.” Until college, I thought the word was “galavantee” because my grandma always said it in her Spanish accent, but no, it’s actually gallivanting, and it means to go from place to place seeking entertainment and amusement.
5. “How can you pick a favorite place if you haven’t been everywhere?”My grandparents were travel goals. They went everywhere together. I used to say every place was my favorite place until he finally shut me down with this question, lol. I thought McDonald’s was the best until I tried Wendy’s, then I thought Subway was the bomb until I had a Publix sub. You feel me? Never know until you try, right? This question is applicable to any situation in life, and I am thankful to be able to apply it.
6. You may not like golf but you need to at least know about it because…white people.
My grandfather had one white friend. His name was Graham and he lived in Australia. He always wore shirts with inappropriate quotes, and he really said “Mate.” Anyways, other than that, the only time I saw my 60+ year old grandpa actively interact with wypipo was when he went to play golf or he was giving them a dollar outside the gas station. His golfer friends adored him. They loved him like he had always been welcomed in their circles. Interesting. After golf, he would always remind me how “they’re gonna get Tiger Woods if he gets too good” and lo and behold, they got Tiger. “That’s why you learn to play with and never play for.”
7. Everything in life is an exchange.
“Your grandma married me for my money and I loved her for her good looks and cookin.” I’m sure he was joking but even then, I was always intrigued by the chemistry between the two. They loved genuinely, and they understood give and take. It was my first example of good, genuine, black love.
8. Crazy can definitely be a destination if you make it.
Where are you going? Crazy. Wanna come? That was a common Q&A with him. That response usually meant that nobody was invited. He took time for himself and made time for he and my grandma. Space and solitude is vital to your sanity. I have been learning that not taking time for yourself can really make you “go crazy.”
9. Never trust a man that doesn’t wear a watch. (personal fave)
“A man without a watch has no concept of time, which means he has no (concept of) money, because he has no place to be.” When dating, I always look for a watch. For one, it’s a great conversation piece, and for two, time is money. I’ve never been able to take anyone without a watch serious. What if I need to know what time it is and our phones are dead? What if you need to manually check my blood pressure? These are serious questions that go through my head, btw. Watches are essential.
Be careful what you ask for and most importantly, be careful what you pray for. Once you get “it”, the only reason you don’t want it anymore is because you don’t know what to do with it. Hearing him say that proverb all of the time also helped me understand that God and I don’t have the same timing. I’m either going to be prepared or not be. Either way, I have to learn to work with what I have when I have it.
11. Fill up at half tank, not when you’re about to be on E.
Granted, I wasn’t event thinking about driving when he was alive, but I always heard him say that to my grandma, lol. And of course, I applied this quote to other aspects of my life. Don’t run out of gas, Keila.
12. Learn to do something that someone else will always need.
He was really big on education, which is ironic because clearly my laziness rewarded me with a GED and now six classes away from a Bachelors. However, I have trades for days. Need a drink? I’m a bartender. Need a hair model? I have great hair. The list goes on. Moral of the story, I know how to maneuver if technology fails us and my soon-to-be degree is no longer applicable.
13. “You can’t be as good, you have to be better than.” (Everyone’s favorite)
Self-explanatory and the the baby boomer’s version of “Don’t be basic.” My grandfather held us all in high regards not only because we were apart of his legacy, but because he believed in our greatness. An average man only gets average results. We all live by this quote in our daily walks of life. It allows us to continuously hear Georgino when we need him most.
I am thankful to have been blessed with twelve years of memories and life lessons. My daughter will know him by our stories, and his legacy will forever be present.
I love tea. I love the ambience of “ooh girl uh uh” and “no he/she didn’t.” However, when those small expressions recently came my way, I really had to evaluate my communication and topics of conversation amongst my folks. My kinfolks, friend folks, allat.
Gossip (n): casual or unconstrained conversation about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed to be true.
Gossip (n): a person who likes talking about other people’s lives.
Gossip is addicting. We knowingly enjoy some good ole juicy mess, but we often fail to realize that a mess is still a mess. Of course, nobody wants to discuss business affairs all day. Yes, everyone needs a subject change every so often. Yes, talking about people is scarily refreshing because at least it’s not us, right? Wrong.
We need to get better at coming up with table topics that engage everyone in the conversation. If gossip arises, we need to know how to swerve it. We also need to know when a conversation is over. Ending a conversation does not have to be as awkward as it seems. It is not going to hurt either party whether in person or on the phone to say “Okay, I’ll talk to you later.” And be done. Let’s stop feeling like we have to explain ourselves in order to stop talking to someone for the moment or the day.
I learned this quote in elementary school. I applied this quote in middle school. I felt this quote in high school, and in college I reflected on this quote many a nights. Sometimes, because of past situations, reactions, and scenarios, people are quick to assume that you want to gossip. You think that you have to share the tea when it’s hot; but really, you don’t have to share the tea at all. You do not have to indulge at all!
The amount of Susie’s do not have to increase.
Do y’all remember the telephone game? It was all fun until you were Susie and someone messed up what you said so badly that you barely could remember what you initially said. Well today, the telephone game still exists except, phones and social media allow us to come with receipts. #ThisIsWhatYouSaidSusie
“Now I ain’t one to gossip, so you aint hear that from me.” -Benita Buttrell
So how do we deal with the temptation of indulgence? Head on. Whether it is your closest family member or one of the homies, you have to be willing to hold folks accountable.
Let them know when the tea does not need to be shared. Our cup is not obligated to continuously runneth over with other people’s personal matters. Ask yourself this:
“If I was in so&so’s situation, would I want people discussing me without me being present to defend myself?”
No, you wouldn’t. Then, we have to really re-evaluate the Susie’s in our lives. Does Susie have some business of her own? If she does, why is she still discussing Sally’s business? How would Sally feel if she knew Susie was telling all of her business? How would I feel if I was Sally? If all you and Susie have to talk about is Sally than you need to start reflecting on your friendship.
If Susie is your kinfolk, you need to reflect on the depths of that relationship, too. Family doesn’t give anyone a clearance to be a gossip. You can’t surround your energy with people who are only focused on someone else’s demise or come-up. If Susie don’t have any business of her own then you don’t have any business talking to her.
Yes, other people’s issues is subject for great debates an dialogues. The issue comes in when we specify the “who’s”, the “he/she’s” and the “my friend.” If you MUST gossip, practice discretion. Stop name-dropping. Also, if you are caught gossiping, accept the charges pressed against you. Do not try to justify your actions, fix them. If I say something about Sally, am I able to say it to her as well? In these situations, your self-control is a huge factor. You deciding what is worth engaging and indulging in is very important.
I know that gossip is sometimes inevitable. It will catch you off guard, you will be baited and probed into participating, and you will WANT to get that tea while it is hot. I know. I am just here to tell you that you are not obligated to follow suit. It is okay and acceptable to choose a better route, and stop conversations before they go too far. It is okay to not know details of someone else’s lives. It is okay to use tact and accountability when confronting peers about their conversational messiness. If we aren’t here to learn and grown, then what are we really doing?
Let’s stop discussing everyone’s business and be sure to get some of our own.
1. Depression is still a taboo subject for Black folks.
I had to address this first, as it is bigger than what we make it. We can talk, laugh, dance, gossip, do libations, but when the subject of any type of depression arises we go mute. In our culture, we believe that enduring things such as, ya know… slavery, segregation, losing Whitney, Luther, and Michael, prohibits us from going through anything like depression. While these of course are events that some of us may have survivor’s remorse for, these are incomparable to the struggles of mental health in our communities. Especially in Black women. Especially in Black mothers.
During my spell, I reached out to the three people that I have talked to the most since having my daughter, and the answers I expected were not the answers that I received.
Me: “I’m not okay.”, “I think I’m depressed.”, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” Person 1: “You’ll be alright. Just get up.” Person 2: “Just pray about it. Talk to God. That stuff isn’t real. That is crazy.” Person 3: “Well if you feel yourself about to do something crazy, call someone to get the baby! Don’t hurt her. “
While I am all for productivity, all for praying, and appreciative of those who believe in not claiming negative things to your life, a cry for help is exactly what it is no matter if you understand it or not. We can’t always bring God into time sensitive situations. We can’t exclaim that “Black people don’t do that” or “Black people don’t get depressed” because we do. It happens, it exists, and we need to address it as families, and as a culture before we push our own to battle internal demons alone.
2. A break from technology is NECESSARY.
I spent a lot of hours in bed scrolling through my phone. I was texting my friends pretending to be happy and be busy. I also spent a lot of time on social media comparing my life to people who I barely even knew in real life. Their happy moments, their new cars, new blog posts, graduation pictures, perfect contours, and don’t get me started on the proposals; all of those were triggers that placed me deeper into my emotional quicksand. Finally, I decided to put my phone on airplane mode and “Do Not Disturb” and took time to appreciate what I had in my space. It felt good to clean, listen to music, read a book, and disconnect from cyberspace. You have to be unapologetic about taking a hiatus. The friends who notice and miss you will find a way to reach you and understand. I also learned that comparing myself to people I followed on social media was ridiculous because I do not know them or their struggles. They choose what they want to show the world; everyone is not comfortable broadcasting the hard parts of the hustle.
3. I had to stop asking for ME TIME and start taking it.
Straight up. I had to get gangsta with it, too. Although motherhood is a choice, it is not a punishment. Motherhood does not mean that my individuality has to be compromised. While spending time with my daughter is amazing, I can’t be my best self if I don’t spend alone time with myself. I used to read so many mom blogs about women “asking” and “discussing” with their partners the need for time away from baby. “Oh he works, he’s tired, he’s not used to being alone with the baby.” F**k that. R. Kelly didn’t call it half on a baby for nothin’. Please erase all thoughts of needing permission to be alone.
Yes, you may be breastfeeding, or really attached but do not think for one minute that your partner deserves more space and free time than you do. That’s why I had to get gangsta with it. If I felt nice enough, I would get all of my daughter’s food, diapers, and clothes ready, but as I started becoming more aware of how much of myself was lost, I just started leaving. What’s the worst that could happen without me? Start trusting that your partner is just as responsible, and if they aren’t…well, everything is meant to be a learning experience. I assure you that the baby will be fine. Take time for you.
4. A Little Hip-Hop Never Hurt Nobody.
Seriously. My spell ended after I spent most of my time alone in traffic listening to Gucci Mane’s new mixtape Everybody Looking. For my clear readers, Gucci Mane is vital to our culture. Why was I listening to Gucci you may ask? Because for one, he just got out of prison and he has changed his lifestyle drastically. He really did a whole 180 on us and we didn’t see it coming. This 180 included changing his diet, reading self-help books, speaking a little bit more articulately than fans were used to, and loving on his woman, Keyshia Kaoir. While I am far from your average trapper, his lyrics about his transition on each track really put me back on a path of independence. If Gucci could fight his demons, why can’t I? Sometimes rappers have a better way of using the correct verbiage instead of saying “I’m depressed.”
5. SELF (F**king) CARE.
Y’all. I let all the hair grow out. I was neglecting my Yoni. My legs. My armpits. My mustache. My eyebrows. My skin. Any time I looked in the mirror it was “Bye, Felicia.” instead of “Hey girl, hey!” Looking good goes far beyond looking good for someone else. If you look good for yourself, and learn how to turn yourself on, and appreciate what you look like before and after life happens, so many changes will occur. I thought I was okay with taking showers and brushing my teeth because shamefully after you have a baby, that’s an accomplishment, but no. Take charge of your self-care routines. If your skin is a mess, do something. Exfoliate. Shave. Lotion. Just make sure your glow is genuine. Alicia Keys is rich and she has a man that may or may not have be stolen, so that no makeup challenge is trash. Put some powder on. Cover up those bags. Put on your favorite lipstick, and slay. “If you look good, you feel good” may not be a long-term fix, but it is a step.
This transition was not easy. Every day is different. I’m thankful for the friends and family who are there to talk me off of the ledge. My fight with PPD and all the anxieties that come with it will be over soon. I know that with faith and hard work, I will come out victorious. I will leave with a video of Dave Chappelle and one of my favorite quotes by him.
Also, let’s stop talking about being great listeners and great friends and just do it. Be great to people.