Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Background for The Background

I found this image and thought, "Wow! If I were animated!".  I have been on the search for the designer of this image to pay homage and to thank them for creating art so specific to a stranger at best.  I just wanted to write a note of thank you and to bring awareness to our artist that are using their gifts in creative and timeless ways.

It is my hope that this image will bring much success and attention to whomever the artist may be.

With that being said:

I chose this image because is reminding me of my Passion.  I am speaking my Brand Consulting and Development business into existence.  I will need a team of designers, counselors, and professional developmentalist (I definitely made up that word).

I want to be amongst the companies that are helping professionals new and seasoned to take their business, ideas and brands to the highest of levels.

I want to be the water that feeds the roots of a budding contributing member in society so that they may have the support and courage to live out their dreams.

I want to be the person known for consistently knocking down mental barriers to professional and personal happiness and expression. SOON.

THANK YOU to this artist.
Rest in Power Maya Angelou

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

If you look better, you most Definitely will feel better

I love the quote:
If you look better, you most Definitely will feel better

But what if the saying was changed to:

If you feel better, you most Definitely will feel better
~Mychelle Williams, 2013

As I read through my notes and prepare my proposals for two new hypothetical groups...I took a break to procrastinate on FB and this is the conclusion I have drawn...

Maybe I should start a real group for people who despite all things positive have a special gift for pointing out the negative while conveniently looking over  of course their own less desirable qualities....

I espouse to the Cognitive- Behavioral Theory (CBT) and Person- Centered Theory, so this topic is right up my alley, what with identifying someones automatic thoughts and faulty logic and my whole "meet people where they are" approach....but I wonder how long it will take this group of people to stop being critical of each other, and probably me and allow me help them have healthier thoughts, to experience healthier emotions, to look at the world from a completely different vantage point...

It is not impossible, I do it with detainees all the time both adolescent and "older adults" and though  very difficult, I BELIEVE THAT if they can reach mental, emotional and spiritual freedom despite being physically imprisoned...than people who do not have such CIRCUMSTANTIAL limitations would be much more receptive and willing to achieve the other freedoms.

Now airing on the side of logic, the reality is the more lie the opposite of my belief.  But I have hope and I am invested.

It is the challenging people, the people who do more harm than good because they do not know any better, the people who are really in pain and struggle with overcoming it, the people that know that there is a different way but being unhappy has become too familiar to change, that fuel my passion to be a mental health travel up the ladder of academia and teach others.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I Want To Do Something Special

I am a Masters student in Clinical Counseling Psychology.
I am ambitious, determined, hardworking, enterprising and resourceful.
I am an Intern at a county jail.
The majority of my work is with young men and women,
with children, babies really.
The nature of my work is to awake in these people the qualities that they never even knew existed or maybe forgot about.
I come in with my head held high with my "theory" and my "models for change" and my "desire to help people"

This work is bigger than me,
it is much larger than them.
It is much larger than the innumerable amount of people in detention centers, jails and prisons in our country.

In them I see so much more than the nature of their crimes,
far past their backgrounds,
and through their pains and traumas.

The Reality Is
I see past the system that was never design to help them,
past the prescribed labels and barriers on and around them.

Casey Schutte in the Harvard Review summed it up like this:
 "The law does not trust them to vote. It forbids them from watching certain movies in the theater or signing up for a credit card on their own. Consuming alcohol is certainly off limits, as is smoking cigarettes. Society prescribes certain activities for these people because, the thinking goes, they lack the wisdom of age and so cannot be trusted to make informed choices. But when some children commit crimes, the calculus changes. Suddenly the legal system has no problem assigning children responsibility for their own decisions, implicitly concluding that crime committed by the young is the product of a deliberate decision-making process. These children are sentenced to die in prison."


What does that village look like? It looks like...
People who share the same values,
the values that if instilled and enforced by enough people might actually sink in.
The values that show a little boy or girl that somebody loves them,
someone is in their corner.
This village is one that sees a hungry person and feeds them.
This village is full of people who will pray for them,
pray for them in different languages, several times a day, constantly and unwavering.
In a village where people give big hugs,
words of encouragement and of comfort, any one of these kids could be catapulted in a different direction.

I wish that that had a village like mine. A village that made sure that 
their resources were my resources.
Resources that made sure that I attended Black Girls Rock.
An event that was even more inspiring, encouraging, emotional, beautiful and full of solidarity, harmony, cohesion and love than I could ever imagine.
An event that made me feel like I NEED TO DO MORE.

It is not enough that I graduated High School with honors,
or that I graduated college with honors,
or even that I am nearing the completion of my Masters degree.
I must do more.
I am an intern but so what? 
I am a student but so what?
I am a daughter, sister, friend...but so what?
I must do more.

I want to be the person that impact thousands and thousands of peoples lives,
I want to be the person that helps in the cycle of young people entering and existing in the criminal justice system.
I want to be the person that young people what to grow up and be better than.
I want these men and women to know that THEY ROCK.

Am I excited? Yes. Am I dedicated? Yes.
Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I heartbroken? Yes
Am I going to try every avenue that I can? Yes

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My thoughts and reflections on Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monáe is my favorite artist of all time, even if she doesn't make another song! 
Her Persona, 
Her Brand,
Her Hair,
Her Style,
Her Passion,
Her Creativity,
Her Genuineness

It all speaks for itself!

Numero Uno! At just 27 years of age, this young woman has created such a name for herself and has raised the standard for not only musicians but young women everywhere.  With her Black and White high fashion preference, creative genius and her petite frame, Janelle Monáe is the exemplar for the expressions "Big things come in Small packages." [much like myself]

The Uniform

“When I started my musical career I was a maid, I used to clean houses. My parents—my mother was a proud janitor, my step-father who raised me like his very own worked at the post office and my father was a trash man. They all wore uniforms. And that’s why I stand here today in my black and white and I wear my uniform to honor them,” Janelle Monáe

I personally love the black and white. I love the idea of being able to commit to something, especially if it commitment to a particular style. I have been trying to find my style, an idea that I can commit to, something that I am known for....but, until I get it, I will continue to live vicariously through Ms. Janelle Monáe.

Her insight and What it means to me in my profession:
"In he Black community, nobody goes to therapy.  You go to your Pastor or you go to the Bible. There is a stigma. But I think God blesses us with brains to find medicines, to find cures, and I don't believe in not using that. Therapist are there to listen." ~Janelle Monáe

As a rising mental health professional, of course I support people getting therapy. I love when influential people speak to the validity and benefits of seeking therapy and having a therapist. The reality of the matter is no matter how much we try to do everything on our own, or handle everything that life throws at us, it is pretty difficult without an appropriate outlet and support system. That is all I am trying to say.  We [Therapists] are here to be that outlet, to be that support, to provide that insight. We are here to absorb your pain, confusion, anger, anxiety or whatever it is that is causing even mild distress so that you do not have to struggle and carry it around on your shoulders. We provide a safe place for you to be open and honest. Being a creative genius, a mastermind, overcoming obstacles and adversity and raising the bar for musicians is a lot to handle and comes with peaks as well as valleys and I 100% support Janelle Monáe for making the appropriate steps to maintain her sanity and peace.

The Music
Janelle Monáe is in a lane of her own, and that is exactly what is working for her. As a music lover I gravitate toward the ones who are openly socially conscious, non-conformist, pro-revolution, risk-takers and super creative. So it is only right that Janelle Monáe sits right up there with Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Lupe Fiasco, and Common Sense as well as with Prince, Miguel, and Solange. She gives me some funk, r&b, and most importantly NEO SOUL. Being from Philly, Neo Soul just runs though my veins and the song YOU by Janelle Monáe takes me right there! This new album "The Electric Lady" gave me everything I didn't even know I was looking for! Like where do I begin? Well, I love "Givin Em What They Love" ft. The Artist formally known As PRINCE, and then there is "Electric Lady" ft. Solange [always gets at least 3 repeats]. Then you have "Primetime" ft. Miguel, such a beautiful ballad and the MUSIC VIDEO exceeded all that I had in mind! Cannot forget about "Ghetto Woman" the lyrics are so deep and powerful. But Honestly I love the entire album COVER TO COVER. Thank You Ms. Janelle Monáe for sharing your gift!

Her Hair!!!!!!!! <3
I am proud to say that I have tried to recreate the Janelle Monáe pompadour hair style and quite successfully If I say so myself.  I love the natural girls! Janelle Monáe is not afraid to rock the protective style nor is she afraid to share just how versatile her beautiful natural hair is. I am a Naturalista, a Natural Hair Enthusiast, a Natural Hair Consultant, if it is all natural I am all over it. I love how empowered our Black women are with this outward affection for our natural tresses and I certainly support all who promotes the movement. 
Although I have never have the pleasure of meeting her yet! I am proud of her as if I watched her grown up, I love her as if she was my sister and I relate to her because she reminds me so much of myself. And that's all I have to say about my favorite Artist Janelle Monáe

Friday, September 20, 2013

You Have Control Over Your Happiness, ONLY YOU!

....And the truth is life really isn't as bad as people make it out to be and love isn't as bad as people make it out to be.

"Above All Love Each Other Deeply, because Love Covers a Multitude of Sins" ~1 Peter 4:8

Please stop attributing negative characteristics on Love. Love does not hurt, it does not suck, it is not painful. Instead love and genuine regard for others is kind, patient, fulfilling, self-less, honest, humble, and polite.

"Love is Patient,Love is Kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it hold not record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails" ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love. Passion. Desire. Ambition.

Meeting someone who looks like you, someone who has been where you are, makes you feel great. It always feels better to know that, "I not the ONLY ONE who is experiencing this,  and here is someone who made it through it and is flourishing".

I went to a financial planning and awareness event this week. Why? Because I would like to get more information about how to get my finances in order, because there is a lot that I do not know.<-- How many people took a financial planing class? How many people know how to make residual income? How many people have an interest building savings account? Who knows what "living comfortably" even means? Can you really own your dream house and car? Can you get out of debt? Can you avoid debt? Have you started a retirement fund? What is a retirement fund? And how many people even know that there is another way to live beside paycheck to paycheck?

I did not know what to expect or what was expected of me, but I went anyway.  To my surprise, it was informative and inspirational and it was exactly what I had been looking for since my move to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, A VENUE WHERE YOUNG AFRICAN AMERICAN PROFESSIONALS OF THE AREA COULD NETWORK!

At this event, I had the opportunity to hear the stories of several young professionals. Each and every one of them learned a wealth of information from their various jobs and experiences but they all wanted more. Though very diverse they all had a common goal:


Surrounded by the wealthy and well-to-do, these young professionals wondered why they weren't acquiring wealth, why they were help the rich stay rich, and why do these people seem to have access to opportunities otherwise invisible to the majority of the United States and the World?

As a team, they plan to share their wealth of knowledge and their insight with the under served populations.  Isn't that what we all want to do? To help the under served people? That is what I am working to do!  And here I am, in a room full of humble and generous people, people who value what I value. #JACKPOT

<Time to bring everything full circle>
The truth is there are people who actually want to help other people get to where they are. 
There are people who care about greater things other than themselves. 
There are people who know that the odds set against us are ONLY AN ILLUSION. 
There are people that know that "living comfortably" is not a myth. It can be a reality.
There are people who love, you, and what You to love You too!
There are people who love seeing other people happy.
There are people that love seeing other people succeed.
There are people who love and respect the diversity in our country and in our world.
There are people who believe that they are living if they are giving back and helping others live.

Those people are exemplars of what LOVE looks like in action. They are fulfilled and energized and zealous and alive and they did not need to hurt, harm, degrade, take away from or put down others to feel this way either.

These people, people like me and people like you, find reward in just making a change for the better in someones life. And God, the Creator, Allah, Mother Earth, Karma, WHOMEVER you look to for guidance, will reward you abundantly for you humble and self-less contributions to society.

So whats the real truth? The real truth is that no one has more control over your Happiness than You. You have total control over your life, your love, your finances, your legacy, your BRAND.

Stay Tuned.

**Disclaimer** The quotes used to illustrate my perspective are only intended to be a vehicle to deliver my weekly inspiration, not to offend anyone. Also the post is to illustrate MY PERSPECTIVE. I am not representing any organization or institution **Disclaimer**

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Shop H&M Online and get your Professional Wardrobe Together!

H&M now has online shopping! This website is complete, the blog, the style tips, the inspiration. LOOK here is the link H&M . You are very welcome. We have state Fashion Ambassadors and I see some of my favorite fashion bloggers. What is more exciting is the contest! 
The prizes include a $1000 H&M gift card and a trip for 2 to New York. I have already voted for my fellow high school alum Sharontina Brightman. I mean she loves this store as much as I do and her style is unique and exciting. 

What great news to wake up to! But lets get into why this is important. PROFESSIONAL ATTIRE. H&M has a large variety of suits, blouses, skirts, slacks, blazers and accessories that are not only affordable and down right cute BUT they are appropriate for those professional settings.  Remember one of my first posts about my love for SUITS.  Most of them I found for great prices at H&M. I never stop thinking about how I can be more prepared for my professional life because many principles carry over.  My suits, I wear them as separates when I am in less formal more casual settings but I always have them for more formal, business settings.

I love fashion. I love suits. I love mixing and matching to create new experiences with my outfits and now I have the luxury of more online shopping. This inspires me to blog about BUDGETING and being FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE.



So, I have completed my first year of graduate school.
I have taken three semesters of intense and detailed courses.
I have been exposed to several different but well-rounded professionals in my field.
And again I have changed, well refined my career trajectory.

I have a plan and I think it is a pretty good one. I want to focus my elective courses on trauma and family systems so that I will be prepared to become certified to do counseling and parent training with all families especially those who have adopted. Remember my last post? Well just in case you do not here is a one sentence summary:

"People need to seek assistance/guidance before taking actions that affect other peoples lives"

Couples who are looking to adopt do so for several reasons; maybe they cannot conceive on their own, maybe they had lost a child,  maybe they want more children, maybe the want to care for a child who was unable to receive adequate care from their biological parents....ecetera. These couples seek counseling, either because it is a requirement or because they want to approach this new relationship with confidence and they need help.  Whichever the reason, I would say that they have a great idea.  Parenting is hard. Parenting is fun. Parenting is expensive. Parenting is rewarding. Parenting can be painful. Parenting can be exciting.  The world of parenting is completely unique and unpredictable and that is why seeking help before, during and sometimes after is encouraged.  It takes a village to raise a family.

As an adult, who was obviously once a child, I can reflect on times where my parents said, "I did not get a manual when I had kids! I am doing the best that I can" and I totally agree.  As an adult with colleagues who are embarking on the parenting journey, I hear them say, "I am going to raise my children differently than I was raise" or conversely, "I am going to raise my children exactly the way I was raised" and I can agree that initially those may seem like great ideas. However there is consistently a large disparity between what seems like a great idea and what is actually appropriate for the situation and this is where the counselor and the rest of the village plays a large role.

Newlyweds value the opinion of a marriage counselor and other successful married couples, just like you trust your family doctor, dentist and gynecologist to help you keep you body healthy and functioning and these are examples of your village, YOU CANNOT AND DO NOT HAVE TO DO IT ALONE. 

I will advocate  for parent training and trauma counseling for all couples looking to start a family or repair relationships within existing families.  Should it be mandated? NO, however is is heavily recommended and everyone knows that in several areas when something is heavily recommended those who do not take that extra step, submit that extra document, get that extra training often loose out on a valuable experience.

In closing, let us as a community of people who want to live happy and successful lives try to make better decisions, wiser choices and more critical thinkers before we do something that affects other people.