You Have to Fight

Standard

Life will present us with many challenges. These challenges may come in the form of family, health and financial issues. When these challenges come, we are faced with what appears to be an array of choices. In my humble opinion, there is only one choice to make – stand up and fight.

I am not talking about a fist fight. I am talking about not settling for “no” as the final answer or when they say, “it can’t be done”, you find a way to make it happen anyway. I’m talking about when the doctor says nothing can be done for your loved one but you still believe by faith that they will be healed.wisdom-and-thoughts3

We must have a ‘no surrender, no retreat’ attitude, no matter what it looks like or what someone says.

I have faced these very same challenges in life and no it was not fun. I can’t even imagine what my life would look like today if I settled in a corner and just accepted the circumstances that found a way to cross my path at various stages in my life. To lay down and die to whatever you are facing is not an acceptable response.

Quitting is the easiest thing you can do. It requires no effort to simply do nothing. You need to figure out what your why is for doing what you are doing or living how you are living. Once you have your ‘why’, keep pressing on because you now have your fuel to fight.

 

If you have lived life just settling for what people want to give you and never have challenged what you have been told, I respectfully say you have never been free. I know some of you will say, “Well, I don’t like conflict” or “it’s no big deal anyway”. I want you to know that every time you don’t take a stance and you just go with the flow or say yes to something that you don’t agree with, you are saying no to yourself.

Today, I challenge you to take a stance. I challenge you to fight.

I’m Cleaning Out My Closet

Standard

I was going to wait until Jan. 1, 2017 to give you this nugget. I want all of us to go into the New Year with our closets empty and ready to fill them with new and exciting people. Now, I know by saying people, you may be a little confused.

I am talking about cleaning your closet of mind-numbing, time stealing, always criticizing you but not doing anything type of people. You know the kind of people you make the mistake of sharing your dream or vision with and their response is ” why you want to do that?” or ” I thought that was just a hobby”. The craziest one I have heard yet is “When are you going to work a real job?”. This is because they don’t understand building your business and your brand is a job. I want you to put those folk in a figurative big green trash bag.img_4008

The next group of people we are taking out of our closet is those family members that feel you are stuck up and acting brand-new. This will be hard for many of you because it was hard for me initially. They feel this way because you no longer conform to those age old sayings of “well that just runs in our family” or “no one in our family ever……”.

The truth of the matter is your change and your success has made them uncomfortable. They don’t understand the way you think or talk and that your faith has given you the courage to jump into a world full of possibilities. Instead of rejoicing with you, they talk about you. Unless you call them or they need something like money, you don’t hear from cousin Pookie. Other folks who sometimes act this way are your childhood friends you have known since the 1st grade or close friends who you consider family. You know, the ones so close your kids call them auntie or uncle.

It’s okay; breathe! It’s a lot to digest but who said cleaning out your closet would be easy.

Now the fun part, filling your closet with people who understand you and add value to your life. It should be mutual and they should feel that you add value to their lives.  They should give you constructive feedback to help you improve your situation and breathe life into your visions. These individuals will remind you that your failures are merely data collection and push you to keep grinding until you see your desired results. They are people who will listen to your ideas and not ask, ‘why?’ but instead say ‘why not?’

I am not being cold; I’m being clear. 2017 is quickly moving in on us. We have to be ready. We can no longer give our time and attention to people and things that don’t prosper us mentally, spiritually or financially. The hard truth is that the closet people are not buying your books, attending your webinars, supporting your events or providing a simple word of encouragement. Don’t feel bad about moving on from these folks. Join me today and start cleaning out your closet.

She Wants to Be Free: Part III

Standard

It’s been 2 weeks since she and her husband spoke about her cutting her hair. What was supposed to be her coming out day, turned into the revelation that her husband was not ready to let go of her hair. HER! STUPID! HAIR!!

She slouched further down into the tub thinking to herself, “This just cannot be my life right now. What happened to us? Why is this happening to me?”

She softly sobbed, “Tomorrow is my freaking 40th birthday. Why can’t I be free?”

“I cannot believe how selfish he is being. I don’t care what he says. Do you hear me? I’m cutting my hair and you will just have to deal with it!”, she shouted at the bathroom door as she threw bubbles everywhere.

The morning finally arrived. She should be excited about her milestone birthday, the BIG 4-0. She didn’t have any plans to celebrate it, though. All last week, her girlfriends repeatedly called and texted her to let her know they were treating her to a day of shopping, then grabbing dinner and finally, going out to a concert. She told them she wasn’t feeling well – in theory, she wasn’t really lying. None of them knew what she was dealing with. All they knew was that she has the best weaves and wigs money could buy, but they didn’t know why she paid so much for them.

2f4fd226-0a45-4e00-8725-38b0c1fd1c41

My wife a few months before she cut her hair completely bald.

She is so disconnected from this day, that she haphazardly gets dressed in her favorite sweatpants and a baggie t-shirt, grabs a bowl of chocolate cookie-dough ice cream and lies on the couch to catch up on Netflix. She is seemingly numb to her surroundings and wonders if she should have just stayed in bed today.

She sees her husband excitedly walk into the family room with his keys in his hand. She rolls over on her side to give the appearance that she dozed off. “Hey babe”, he says, as he walks closer to her to plop down next to her. “Let’s go get breakfast at your favorite spot to start off your birthday”.

She lets out a defeated sigh, rolls her eyes and reluctantly agrees. She is just not in the mood to explain why she really doesn’t want to go. She is not even remotely in the mood to celebrate her birthday. Despite her husband’s attempts to pump her up and get her thoughts on the idea of going out the house today, she could care less. The only thing she wants; he would never approve of.

After much begging from her husband, she acquiesces and goes upstairs to get dressed. She stands in the mirror and runs her fingers through what is left of her hair. Out of her drawer, she grabs a beautiful head-wrap she received from her best friend for her birthday. While standing in her closet and looking in the mirror, she feels the flood of tears fall as she ties it to cover her bald spots. She whispers to herself, “Next week, I won’t have to do this. I’m going to the barbershop on Monday.”

As they drive to the restaurant her husband tries to make small talk. She pretends to be interested and says the occasional, ‘uh huh and really?’. Feeling depressed, she presses her cheek to the cold passenger window and stares out. She finds herself engrossed in watching birds fly effortlessly up in the clouds. Her mind slowly drifts to thoughts of freedom from the world’s perception of beauty.

She didn’t notice the car slowing down and coming to a complete stop. She quickly snaps out of her trance of solitude to notice they are at his barber shop. She immediately freaks out and starts yelling at him. “Really? Are you really going to get a haircut right before my birthday breakfast? This is the most insensitive thing you could have ever done to me. You know this could have waited until another day. Thank you for officially ruining my 40th birthday! I will never forgive you!” She slams the door and starts walking away. She didn’t care where she went, she just knew she had to get away from him.

Her husband gets out of the car and runs to her. When he finally catches up to her, he is out of breath. She’s puzzled because sees that he has tears in his eyes. Then she sees he has a big smile on his face. He grabs her, holds her tight, kisses her on her forehead and says, ” No, baby. We are here for you. Happy Birthday!” In the middle of the parking lot, she finds herself standing there in shock. Her brain tries to process what he just said. Her tears begin to flow. He softly kisses her on her lips and gently grabs her hand. As they walk toward the barber shop door, he says, “I love more than anything and I want you to be free”.

The why behind She Wants to Be Free

My wife was diagnosed with Alopecia in 2010. She had locs that were in the center of her back but each day another one fell out. She went to the doctor to see if it was due to stress. She told me that the doctor said she she had alopecia and that she would be receiving shots, taking pills and undergoing numerous tests. She said did not want to do any of that and I immediately told her I had her back no matter what. When she decided to cut the remaining hair off, she said,“let’s go to the barbershop”. My reply was, “If this will make you happy, let’s go.” I knew it was a painful decision, so I was right there with her every step of way. She needed my support. To be honest, I did not have any insecurities because I knew in my heart that it was just hair.  img_0066

Unfortunately, many men don’t see the women in their lives from the lens of compassion. Because of this, so many women suffer with hair-loss in silence. I’ve heard their stories, I’ve seen them cry.

I wrote She Wants to Be Free to help men embrace their wives’ or girlfriends’ decision to cut their hair and be free of drugs and wigs. I wrote this piece because I want to encourage women to have the courage to have a real conversation with the men in their lives. I wrote this piece because I want YOU to BE FREE.

 

 

She Wants to Be Free

Standard

She wants to be free of taking pills. She wants to be free of receiving shots that only God knows what is really doing to her body. She wants to be free of the vain imaginations that run through her mind of ‘what people would say?’ if they knew what she was really hiding. She wants to be free of the hot wigs and gels.

Why does she do this to herself day in and day out??? One word: HAIR. You see, she has alopecia, an autoimmune disease, where her body’s immune system mistakenly attacks her hair follicles. In laymen’s term, she is allergic to her hair and is losing or has lost her hair. She is BALD.

For years, she, like many other women, viewed her hair as part of her identity. She believed that her hair made her attractive and gave her a youthful look. She struggled with her identity as a woman because of her lack of hair. After finally coming to grips with the fact that she is more than just her hair, she met with other women who had accepted the fact that with alopecia – it is what is it. They decided that they would not let it define them as women. Alopecia would no longer make them run and hide.

With this new found confidence, she made the decision to truly be free. She sets an appointment to get what little hair she had left cut off. She is determined to embrace her new journey with poise and grace. When she gets off the phone with the barber, she is smiling deep within her soul. She is confident that the barber will complete what she feels will be her much needed butterfly transition, thus freeing her.

However, a few seconds later, she pauses in her tracks. Panic grips her and she begins to gasp for air.  In all her excitement, she realizes one thing she didn’t consider. Will HE free her?

 Visit my blog, next week, for part 2.

To learn more about making your hair/life transition, you must pick up a copy of Butterfly Transition by author Diana R. Ramsey. I can personally say, this book touched my wife, who is bald.

butterfly-transition

Butterfly Transition, Diana R. Ramsey

Counseling…Who Needs That?

Standard

When I thought about individual counseling, my initial thought was that it was a complete waste of time and that there is nothing wrong with me –  I’M GOOD. After all, no one I knew has gone to counseling to work out their “so called” individual problems or issues. I wasn’t falling apart socially or mentally, in my opinion. At that time in my life, I had some marital issues or problems with my wife, but like Biggie said, “don’t discuss ‘em”.  Most people I knew just seemed to work their way through their issues or they were doing a great job of faking it – like I was doing. I really didn’t see how individual counseling could help me in any way, let alone, help my marriage. I remember having a casual conversation with my wife about going to counseling and of course, I wasn’t trying to hear it. After a very long discussion and laying out my list of stipulations, I agreed to go to counseling.

Okay, the day finally arrived for my first official session of ‘couch time’. I pulled up in the parking lot and I must have sat in the car for what seemed to be an eternity. I realized it was game-time.  I went into the office, filled out some paperwork, answered some questions. Then, it was time to get in the game or in this case, hit the couch. The counselor was cool and from his approach, I could tell he could see my reluctance to open up and talk. He slowly worked his way into why I was there and into my personal life.  Forty-five minutes into the hour-long session, I started to open up about my life. I was all over the map from my childhood to the present, back to my childhood and then, back to my marriage. Much to my dismay, the session was suddenly over. I felt like yelling, “NO!!! I am just getting started.”

zimg_0068

Photo credit: E.Y.E. Imagery Photography

I finally realized how receiving individual counseling could improve my marriage and other relationships. The counseling helped me, first and foremost, identify areas in my life and in my thought processes that were just, for a lack of better word, ‘OFF’. You see, it is different when someone you don’t know tells you that what you are saying or thinking is just another way or excuse to stay guarded or to shift blame to someone else.

Your friends are not going to tell you the real truth like a counselor would because, real talk, some of your friends or associates deal with similar issues. I’m sure you can admit that they will even co-sign on some of the crazy stuff you say out of your mouth.

If you are on the fence about going to counseling, let me push you of that fence and onto a therapist’s couch. I found counseling to be very rewarding and liberating. There is no shame in taking positive steps to improve yourself. Stop hiding behind what you think: you’re good and that counseling is only for people with issues.  So brother, I pose the question to you once again, “Counseling, who needs that?”