Podcast. Take Two.

So……I started another podcast. The last one I started Not Sufficient for Work was very short lived. And when I say short lived, I mean one episode. A week after I started the podcast, I started teaching at a high school and I definitely couldn’t afford for my employer or my students to get a hold of it. 

The current podcast Corporate America: I’ve Had Enough of You is based on my second book of the same title. Just like the last time, I began with very little experience creating a podcast. Lately I’ve been on a podcast binge and kept hearing the same messages about the Anchor app which was user friendly for a person like me to use with little to no equipment. Writing books and blogs was much easier but I saw this as a new opportunity to challenge myself creatively. 

It’s been three years since the book was published. My story resonated with and inspired so many people to prioritize their mental health, which for some, meant quitting their jobs. 

Now here I am three years later with those same “fuck this job” feelings about my current job. It seems to be a recurring theme in my work life which is slowly but surely leading me to believe that the reason I’ll continue to have these issues in the workplace isn’t because people really suck at leadership. It’s not because communication from the top down is ass. It damn sure isn’t because diversity initiatives are including more black faces in their company photos but not actually in leadership roles (because we know that that will never change.)

Deep down I know that I’m supposed to be working for myself. Doing what exactly? I still haven’t narrowed it down. Whatever it is, I’m sure it is a combination of writing, education and mental health. But until then, I’ve been focusing on getting the bills paid the old school way.

I don’t know if it’s because of the pandemic or divine timing but lately I’ve been feeling like my book was ahead of its time and that the time is NOW to revamp my efforts in its promotion. 

For the first time in my life (after recording the first episode) I actually loved my recorded voice. I also couldn’t use my favorite excuse that I wasn’t tech savvy. I recorded the episode from a voice memo in my bathroom. I cut out all the bullshit excuses and did that shit.

The Corporate America: I’ve Had Enough of You podcast is a space for me to share the experiences that shaped my book, my current work life and a safe place for other black women to share their similar experiences.

Check out both episodes here. Review, rate and share. Thanks!

Corporate America: I’ve Had Enough of You Podcast

Mindfulness

I bought an orange today

Not just any orange

But a Cara Cara orange

Did you know that it’s a cross between a Washington Navel orange and a Brazilian Bahia orange?

Me either.

I peeled that orange today.

Not just any orange.

But a Cara Cara orange.

I peeled it like us professional orange peelers do.

Using my right thumb as the first point of contact 

I think I went a little too deep because the juices started to seep

I didn’t mean to do that

I stared at that orange today.

Not just any orange. 

But a Cara Cara orange.

I learned that the white stuff that protects the inside 

Is actually called the “pith”.

I didn’t eat it per usual

I split the orange down the center and guess what?

It looked like a grapefruit!

I ate my orange today.

It was sweeter than any orange I’d ever eaten. 

It smelled as sweet as it tasted.

How can I ever go back to plain navel oranges after this?

I had to spread the good news.

Today. 

If only but for a moment, I was fully immersed in the present, enjoying my Cara Cara orange.

And the award goes to…..

In spirit of one of the podcasts that’s kept me afloat this year, The Brilliant Idiots, I think that this quote is reasonable.

If you think 2020 was your best year ever, you’re absolutely right. If you think 2020 was your worst year ever, you’re right too.

Many of us don’t even have the words for what 2020 was. 

Nothing I did was on my vision board. 

My planner looked like a kindergartener had scribbled through it.

I started a new job as a middle school teacher. 

I quit that new job and moved to Texas. 

We got hit with the pandemic quarantine. 

I made $1000 Instacarting one week. 

I got fired from Instacart. 

I had to ask my friends to help me pay my bills.

I finally have a bed after sleeping on a blowup mattress for months. 

I worked at the IRS for 2 days and quit. 

I worked at a hospital for a month. 

I fell in love again. 

If that isn’t Oscar worthy, I don’t know what is. 

2020 showed its ass. 

I’m actually eager to see what 2021 has in store. I’m rather used to this Jordan Peele production we’ve been in for 90% of 2020. 

I’m looking forward to all of the creative ideas being birthed from this pandemic. All of the healthy conversations that are taking place. People are reading again. People are writing again. Strangers are networking. Folks are finally pursuing their passions. 

I love to see it. 

Please do set intentions. 

Please do the shadow work. 

Manifest that shit!

2020. Deuces!

Escaping Survival Mode

According to Psychology Today, “survival mode” is an adaptive response of the human body to help us survive danger and stress. 

From the outside looking in, many people would assume that I had an overall healthy childhood and adolescence. I was raised by my grandparents in the country. I got good grades. I never came off as disobedient. My yes mams and no sirs were always polished. Despite being a “good kid” raised in a super religious household, my life has never been exempt from trauma and dysfunction. I am almost certain that I’ve suffered from depression for years undiagnosed. 

I recently read and shared an article that discussed the immobilizing effects of depression. I recognized myself immediately. I wasn’t in a position to get out of the environment that I was in so I mentally became immobile. I don’t remember how I learned to control my rage. How to play along. How to seemingly “fit” into that world until I could get out of it.

Fast forward to now.

At 30. Far removed from the people, places and things that brought the trauma and dysfunction into my life, I still catch myself functioning in survival mode.

It is very difficult to escape this mindset.

I’m constantly reminding myself. I question my decisions alot. Why am I doing this? When it’s time for me to make important decisions I ask myself if I’m doing what I want to do or what needs to be done? Anything involving money and I’m asking if I’m buying an item from a headspace of lack.

Whatever helps right?

To the person that resonates with this blog:

  1. How are you or have you been working on escaping a mindself of survival mode?
  2. What has been your biggest challenge?

Old Intentions, Current Realities

Here’s my “perfect” day:

  • Wake up
  • Walk Milo
  • Meditate
  • Breakfast
  • Check accounts
  • Start work (reading, writing)
  • Lunch/Gym
  • Check accounts
  • End work (reading, writing)
  • Dinner
  • Walk Milo
  • Meditate 
  • Bed

Two years ago, I was in a completely different headspace than I was now. This was when I had quit my corporate job. I was fully convinced that I wanted to pursue writing full time and that me quitting and writing down this perfect day was exactly what I wanted for my life. I wrote them down like all the gurus said. I set my intentions under every moon in high faith that this would some way somehow become my life. You know the old cliche, if I knew then what I knew now, I would do xyz differently? Well. Looking back at these intentions and my current state of life, I’d say I’m exactly where I wanted to be. And as frustrated as I am with what my life appears to be right now, I can’t be upset at anyone outside of myself. 

Here’s why.

I wasn’t specific!

In any way, shape or form.

I left myself completely open to interpretation and influence of whatever else was going on in the world.

Ask and ye shall receive, right?

I had to mentally walk myself back through these intentions that I set FOR MYSELF. What the hell was I thinking? Why didn’t the author warn me?!?!?

I had no sense of what time I wanted to wake up or why I wanted to wake up at said time. At the crack of dawn? Catch the sunrise?  I didn’t know what kind of meditations I was interested in or even how to practice mindfulness in said meditation. Walking meditation? Shower meditation? With singing bowls and palo santo? Did I want to have enough time for a hearty homemade breakfast or did I wanna hit somebody’s drive thru line? What kind of accounts was I checking? Social media? Bank accounts? In terms of work, was it ONLY reading and writing? And did the reading and writing pay the bills? I mean, I knew I hated my job because it kept me away from my reading and writing………

BUT DAMN

Moving forward, I began detailing my goals, intentions, and prayers etc down to the number of times that I am going to have to pee each day. 

If you feel like you’re in a funk (like me), I challenge you to go find old notebooks, prayer journals and buried sticky notes and revisit some of the intentions that you have set for yourself. What manifested? What are you currently waiting on? Are you where you said you’d be? Maybe you’ll discover where you are is where you wanted to be after all. 

Although it took two years to fully manifest, this is truly the life I thought I wanted for myself. Truth be told, it’s not. I’ll preach to myself first before I preach to the masses but hear me loud and clear. 

WHEN WE ARE NOT SPECIFIC WITH OUR GOALS, ANYTHING GOES.

Damn Near Vegan…….

Yes.

My former chittlins and pig feet eatin ass is vegetarian. Damn near vegan but still struggling with cheese.

I’m on the cusp of my three month mark of missing bacon.

Growing up in Townsville, NC, I was raised on chicken, fish, rabbit, squirrel, opossum, pig feet and stankin ass (all pun intended) chittlins. All of it. You name it, we ate it. Super Southern. Smothered in gravy. Doused in Texas Pete Hot Sauce. Paired with cabbage cooked with ham and string beans. Saying no to food wasn’t an option. It was a high level of disrespect especially since I wasn’t contributing to the groceries NOR was I “big enough” to tell anybody what I wasn’t going to eat.

Despite the diet that was accustomed to as a kid well into adolescence, I’ve always maintained a very petite frame. The “biggest” I’ve ever been was a size 13 and the smallest I’ve ever been has been a 00 in high school.

I’m currently struggling to hang tight to my size 6 Levis without them trying to fall off the bone (get it? Fall off the bone? Nevermind).

My diet had been pretty much the same my entire life except for the three months that I went pescatarian. That was fun yet short lived. At the time it worked because I was kickboxing and it helped me get my abs faster. When I stopped kickboxing, I went right back to Cajun chicken trays and fried pork chops.

But then it all changed.

I moved to Texas.

Not just Texas.

HOT ASS TEXAS.

DRY HEAT ASS TEXAS.

Things were cool during the beginning of spring when I arrived and then it started getting hot. Not only did it get hot. It got hot right when COVID caused me to lose my full time job.

I decided to become an Instacart shopper, in said heat. If you’re not familiar with Instacart, it’s a grocery delivery service that allows someone to shop for your groceries for you and have them delivered to your door.

This coupled with my diet and Texas heat proved disastrous. I’d notice that I always felt sluggish no matter how much water I drank. No matter how many naps I took. NO matter how much sleep I’d gotten the night before. My body still wasn’t adjusting properly. And I ain’t like that. I just couldn’t maintain the energy levels that I needed to Instacart.

Naturally for me, when I feel like my body is off balance, the first thing that I evaluate is my diet. In my mind, everything physical stems from there. I considered going back pescatarian or limiting myself to chicken and fish. But then when so many of the employees at Tyson Foods started testing positive for COVID, I knew that meat NOR seafood was going to be an option.

The true icing on the cake was shopping for Instacart. I saw countless customers buying pounds of meat- raw, cooked, processed, soda, candy, junk food………just all kinds of shit. It started making me sick to my stomach because it was so much of it EVERY FUCKING DAY. Many repeat customers. I could count on one hand how many meatless deliveries I had or even deliveries that included fresh fruit and veggies at one point.

Talk about a weird way to fully and abruptly change up a diet right?

May 2, 2020 was the last time that I had meat. I went all out because I knew how serious I was…..THIS TIME. I ordered curried goat, steamed cabbage, red beans and rice from a nice Jamaican spot.

Since then, I can definitely smell meat from outer space. I accidentally had mashed cauliflower that had bacon in it (on accident) and some string beans that I had been prepared with ham. It ripped me an entire new asshole.

My body has never felt better. I have more energy. No more sluggish days despite the 100+ degree weather. No more catnaps. I sleep better at night. My concentration is A1 and my anxiety and depression are super manageable. Going out hasn’t limited my ability to go out to eat either as more vegan/vegetarian options are becoming available on menus.

It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add fuel to the fire. Not only did I cut out the meats, but I started doing research with the support of a few Facebook friends pointing me in the right direction (thanks Demetria).

The more I learn, the more I’m appalled, disgusted, angry and sad. The information has been overwhelming at times and at other times it’s been very encouraging. At this point, I’m trying to convince as many people as possible (especially black folks) to GET OFF DA MEATS! I’ve never met so many black vegans and vegetarians before in my entire life! It keeps me energized to continue educating people of the benefits of embracing a plant-based diet, so much that I’m actually going into plant-based education and advocacy work!

For many, it should take COVID or a doctor’s death sentence for change (although there’s a  90% chance that it will). There’s so much shit happening with our foods that we aren’t even aware of. The transition into a plant-based lifestyle inspired me to analyze how our food affects our wellness- mentally and physically especially in low socioeconomic black communities. I have ideas for launching plant-based education initiatives and even maybe launching a non-profit. Who knows? One thing I know for sure is that many unhealthy eating habits and patters have been passed down from generation to generation and my goal is to stop them as much as I can. Toxic perspectives about clean eating have also been passed down from generation to generation, and I plan to help stop that too. Plant-based diets aren’t just a “white people thing.” Hell, it’s not even a healthy people thing. It’s a simply a more conscious decision. Oh and don’t get me started on how embracing a plant-based diet is a direct approach to fighting systemic racism! That’s a different convo for a different post!

If you’re interested on learning more about weaning yourself off of DA MEATS, feel free to reach out. If you’ve transitioned and did a bit of backsliding, START OVER AS MANY TIMES AS YOU NEED TO BUT NEVER GIVE UP. Then, tell me how you feel.