One minute Nai and I were racing together in a neighborhood park, our cocoa brown arms and legs dodging in and out of the warm summer sunlight, holding hands, loving on one another as only Mamas and daughters do, and then abruptly our intimate silence shattered. I heard the sound of sirens growing louder and louder. Nai’s head turned, full of toddler curiosity, but my heart beat in a steady panic, as it always does when seeing law enforcement – particularly this summer, one year after the untimely death of Freddie Gray in the custody of Baltimore city police.
Ever since I can remember, fear has been at the forefront of my life. As a child I can remember having constant stomach pains and uncontrollable shivering all the time. My mom has a framed picture of me in her house, I was about six, and it was taken at my mom's wedding. My mom thinks this picture is so adorable with me resting my head in my hands, but I hate the dreadful picture. I can still feel the fear and sadness that myself as that little girl was feeling. My mother married a man (who turned out to be a rapist), and I was sexually abused by his son and daughter.
Being a mom is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. My husband and I have a 9-year and 1-year old, and call us crazy, but we’re thinking about having one more. While my family means the world to me, that is not the end all be all to me. I am a woman, a queen, a wife, a friend, a sister, a professional, a businesswoman, a dreamer…the list goes on and on, and I refuse to lose that about myself.
But, let’s be honest. Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem like you can be all those things; sometimes, it feels like the world always wants you to pick between your family and your career, but what about work-life balance? Can that really be achieved, or is it just a myth?
As entrepreneurs and creatives, we find ourselves burning the midnight oil a lot. Missing out on more than a few hours of sleep. Maybe even sacrificing our bodies by grabbing for fast convenient foods for sustenance because we are always “out and getting it.” But the truth of the matter is we must take care of ourselves from the inside out as well. And when we aren’t, stress and all that good stuff usually show on your skin. So while you’re making sure you’re out there getting it, make sure you’re taking care of your body and maintaining that beautiful, “I Woke Up Like This” Glow as well.
As 2017 came to a close, I decided to set aside some time to reevaluate myself. These last 12 months have been exciting, challenging and heartbreaking. I experienced some career highs in the author world. Wrote a book. Had it published and took a blogging opportunity. Picked up an internship. Upped my networking game. Connected with some awesome people. And the list continues to grow.
What’s a life of highs without the lows to balance it out? Suffering from loss, death, slight depression, wanting to give up and mental warfares took a lot out of me. My soul has taken major hits this year to the point where the only thing I wanted to do was sleep. Sleep was my answer to everything. Am I upset? Sleep it off. Am I mad? Sleep it off. Bad day at work? Sleep it off. Fighting with my loved ones? Sleep it off. Frustrated because I can’t write? Sleep it off. The minutes turned into hours and into days and weeks. Before I knew it, months were going by and the only thing that was getting fed was the negative box that I had put myself in.