It’s hard to describe my relationship with music. No word in the English language can capture the way a good song makes me feel.
How do you verbalize an entity that has brung you joy, relief, and comfort for as far back as you can remember?
I have been expressing myself through music in every phase of my life:
Pop, when I was a starry-eyed kid with my head in the clouds and all the world was a stage,
Rock when I was a brooding emo teen, and I thought no one would ever understand me,
and R&B as an adult for its chill vibes and relatable lyrics.
Since I was first introduced to this art form, my music taste has expanded vastly; there’s no telling what you might hear when you put my phone on shuffle. It could be soul, metal, trap, EDM, or an anime theme song. But no matter the genre, the type of music I listen to always echoes how I’m feeling in the moment.
That’s because there’s power in song.
Music is more than just mere entertainment; it’s a soul transcending experience.
If you’ve ever seen music live, you know what I’m talking about.
Every which way you turn, fans are in their own zone. Whether they’re dancing and singing along, nodding their heads, crowd surfing, moshing, or swaying from side to side with tear-stained cheeks and their phones raised to the sky, it’s all proof that there’s something powerful at play here.
I believe musicians are the worlds most influential people. They have a gift that unites people through emotions.
Some of the most important moments in your life require music (graduations, weddings, birthday parties). What would a celebration be without a good soundtrack?
That’s definitely true for me. The most magical moments in my highlight reel feature music: my high school prom, Bamboozle 2010, my family cruise in 2018, that time Husbae sang to me at my brother-in-laws…
But music isn’t just there for us when we’re in a good mood. It can help relieve feelings of anger, stress, and sadness, too!
I have playlists for every mood:
“Anxiety Reducing” when I need to calm down,
“Issa Vibe” when I want to chill out,
“Make Her Dance” when I want something to get me moving,
and “Dark and Brooding” when I hate everything and just want to cry in the dark (lol)
Music means the world to me, so I want to share it with you!
I created these mood-specific playlists that are designed to adhere to whatever you’re feeling at the moment.
Not just the happy ones, because sometimes we feel down, too. (You’re human. You’re allowed.)
So whether you want to keep that mood high, you’re trying to chill out, or someone just cut you off in traffic and you never got the satisfaction of flipping them off, I have the perfect song for you! To me, sharing music’s a profession of love. Let me show you how much I love you.
1. So in love
2.Let’s Dance (NSFW)
3. Issa Vibe
4. Lets Put A Smile On That Face
5. Mood. (NSFW)
If you’re like me, then music is a form of therapy. Sometimes hearing the right lyrics paired with the right tempo ignites a fire in you like nothing else could. I definitely have my days where I just need to escape, and music has always helped me. I hope it helps you, too ❤
*Don’t be a stranger, drop some of your favorite mood altering music in the comments! I love being put on to new tunes ^_^
*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^
Yoga is my favorite way to exercise. It enhances flexibility, promotes mindfulness, and encourages discipline.
These days, I get my yoga fix from my favorite Youtube channel, Yoga By Biola.
Not only has yoga been doing my body right (aowww), it’s also been having a major influence on me psychologically.
Here are 6 valuable takeaways I’ve learned by practicing yoga.
1. Yoga Taught Me Patience With Myself
I judge myself harshly when things don’t go according to plan. When I make a mistake, I can be pretty mean and impatient with myself. It’s as if I’m mad that I’m falling short of my own expectations. How many of you can relate?
This impatience stems from past experiences where I wasn’t granted the tolerance and compassion for my flaws. My mistakes would be met with punishment which caused me to set up unrealistic standards for myself. Yoga teaches me that this way of thinking is wrong.
It’s ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Allowing yourself to learn and grow instead of punishing yourself for being human is better for your long-term success and self-esteem.
In yoga, it’s less about how perfectly you can get it right the first time and more about your gradual progress.
Abiola Akanni’s practice teaches me to be patient and kind to myself, down to how I talk about my body.
In her “slow flow hip opening” routine, she speaks about observing the body without judgment. Not discrediting yourself for being tight in a certain place or having a limited range of motion, but instead making a mental note of your body’s progress and the messages it’s sending to you at the moment.
Yoga By Biola does an excellent job of encouraging people to move in a way “that feels safe” and to not be so caught up in trying to achieve stretches and bends that our bodies aren’t prepared to handle. Abiola is super accommodating and often recommends using additional accessories (i.e., yoga blocks, pillows, books, belts, etc.) in case you need them.
We could all benefit from being more patient with ourselves. Most of the time, we’re our harshest critics and our own worst enemies when really we should be our own best friends!
Be mindful of how kind you are to yourself in moments when things aren’t going right for you. Grant yourself the graciousness you give to other people, and remember to love yourself unconditionally. (Side note: It’s NOT ok to insult yourself. Even in jest. What we speak, we become.)
2. Yoga Taught Me The Power of Consistency
I started doing yoga to improve my flexibility and counter tightness in my hips and groin, a consequence of constantly sitting and not having enough movement in my legs.
At first, I didn’t see the improvement I was looking for, not taking responsibility for my lack of persistence.
When I started taking it seriously, I noticed that the more I kept practicing, the easier the bends and poses became. Each time I was able to lean into it just a little bit further, and before you know it, I was pulling off moves with ease. (Ok, nailing pigeon pose!)
This inspired me to become more consistent in other aspects of my life. Like
My work ethic
My hair and skincare routines
And relationship building.
With yoga, just like anything you strive to achieve, you have to be consistent to see the results. It helps to think of each practice as a stepping stone in your journey versus expecting results immediately.
If you want to see progress with anything, you have to be consistent.
Establish a routine and keep at it. If you commit to the process, you’ll inevitably get better over time. The hardest part is finding the patience.
Just put your energy into achieving the goal, turn a blind eye to the timeline, and the Universe will take care of the rest. T.T.P!
3. Yoga Taught Me To Dedicate Time To Peace and Mindfulness
As someone who lives with anxiety, my peace is often disrupted by my mind’s desire to constantly overthink which can cause me to lose focus and feel overwhelmed. It’s helpful to incorporate a habit that anchors me in the present and cleanses my mind of this noise.
When I’m done doing a flow, I always walk away feeling calm and alert. The state of zen does wonders for my anxiousness and mental clarity.
I even started keeping a journal nearby because sometimes, the increased alertness inspires new thoughts, feelings, and creative ideas.
This very post was inspired during *one of my daily practices.
We always make time for work, friends, and social media, but how many of us dedicate time to our peace?
Take the time to be present, and as a result, you’ll be more relaxed. It’s hard to be chill when you’re constantly distracted.
Sometimes just a few minutes of deep breathing and stretching can be enough to regain your focus and find your tranquility. Considering how much time we willingly forfeit to our obligations, we should be willing to at least spare 20 minutes for our peace of mind.
*Here’s one of my favorites:
4. Yoga Taught Me How To Use Every Part Of My Body
In yoga, some poses require you to isolate specific muscles in the body. When done right, these poses can improve posture, release tension, and increase range of motion. Yoga will have you activating muscles in your body you didn’t know you had or, at the very least, the ones you misuse. For me, that’s my upper body and spine.
I’m guilty of hunching my shoulders and not sitting upright, which can have negative effects on the chest and back. Poses like cat-cow and triangle pose are helpful for that.
Yoga by Biola offers different yoga flows that target specific parts of the body. Her routine for the neck and shoulders will give you the greatest release of tension you’ve ever felt. (Skip that massage you booked, all you need is a chair!)
Each routine challenges me to activate muscles I didn’t realize were weakened (Like my triceps and biceps. hello spaghetti arms!) or carrying stress.(It’s the shoulders and hips for me).
I take each challenge as a moment of self-reflection and check in on parts of my body that could use improvement. I invite you to do the same.
Remember to be kind and patient with yourself and try to follow the instructor’s tips verbatim to prevent injury.
5. Yoga Taught Me That Breathing Is A Thing
If you have ever attended a yoga class, you’ve probably heard the instructor tell you things like “focus on your breath” or “remember to breathe.” Typically they’ll ask you to inhale or exhale deeply depending the intensity of the pose. I’m sure you’ve rolled your eyes at this advice and convinced yourself it doesn’t work. But, really. Breathing is a thing.
I have found that the more I elongate my breath, the more space I make in my body, inviting me to sink into those really ambitious poses. Like the goddess squat, for example.
Turns out there’s a scientific reason why.
According to healthline.com, deep breathing not only helps you increase your pain tolerance but also lowers your chances of injury and helps you relax.
Now when I’m faced with tense situations (a heated argument, a setback, a vigorous exercise), I take a second to breathe, and it makes a huge difference for my threshold of tolerance and pain. I invite you to do the same.
Try this: Instead of short, shallow breaths through your mouth, try deep inhales and exhales through your nostrils which will allow you to breathe deeper.
Bonus perks if you suffer from environmental allergies. (like me!) It has amazing benefits for the sinuses, too. Happy breathing!
6. Yoga Taught Me To Embrace My Femininity
Doing yoga has unlocked new levels of femininity within me. It makes me feel strong and powerful and unleashes my inner Goddess while encouraging me to try moves in a way that makes me feel safe and in control of my body without feeling ashamed or sexualized. (like the opening of my hips, groin, and chest.)
It promotes body positivity, something I know a lot of women struggle with.
*One of the things that impressed me about Yoga by Biola was her take on woman’s sexuality with her Trap Vinyasa Core demo.
I created Trap Vinyasa to help you explore sensuality and begin identifying as a sensual vessel as opposed to a sexualized body
They say a little complaining never hurt, I say complaining never helped anyone. Here’s what you can do, instead.
Recently, I picked up my copy of “The Power of Now,” a book that was recommended to me by my therapist as a tool to help me deal with my anxiousness, stress, and overthinking.
When I arrived at page 82, under the subheading “Wherever You Are, Be There Totally”, author Eckhart Tolle goes deeper into the concept of unconscious thinking.
When asked to provide examples of what unconscious thinking looks like, he starts with the most common form: complaining.
Complaining: A Common Language for the Unhappy
“To complain is always nonacceptance of what is,” he explains, “When you complain, you make yourself into a victim.”
This line received the writer’s stamp of approval, aka a yellow highlighter, and a verbal “YES!”.
I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Tolle.
I hate complaining.
It used to be something I did a lot of, if not to vent my frustrations, definitely as a conversation starter.
It’s a common language that unites the unhappy.
Have you ever noticed how common it is for people to resort to complaining as a coping mechanism?
My problem is not necessarily the actual complaint. It’s how it starts and ends there.
Very few people seek solutions to the problems that are constantly on their lips; it’s as if they find comfort in the unhappiness.
I’m a firm believer that complaining is pointless. Sure, it may feel good at the moment, especially when others can relate, but aside from the temporary release of your pain, how else is it beneficial?
It would be more helpful to turn the complaints into a moment of self-reflection.
Time for Self-Reflection
Pay attention to the things you often complain about. It is your mind trying to tell you something: you’re unhappy.
You’re not happy with the job you’re doing, the person you’re dating, or the apartment you live in.
You’re not happy with the way you look, the amount of money you have, or the way you’re being treated.
You’re not happy with the direction your life is headed. That much is clear. But, after a while, we have to take responsibility and have ownership over our lives because anything else makes us a victim, and we are not victims.
You are in control of your life, your mind, and your emotions.
You do get to control your narrative and the direction your life is headed.
It’s easy to give up the power and play the victim. This way, we don’t have to deal with accountability. But there’s freedom in owning your life. There’s power in responsibility.
The real question is, what do you plan to do with your power?
The Only Two Options There Are
When faced with an unhappy circumstance, as humans, we are left with two choices: accept it or take action.
By making the conscious (or unconscious) decision to do nothing, you are left in a mental limbo. This is where your pain comes from.
The pain is rooted in the inactivity and continuing to leave your unhappiness unaddressed.
Try this: when complaints come up, try asking yourself, “what can I do about it?”.
If there are solutions and steps that can be taken, map them out and execute them but start right away. Sitting idly on these steps just puts you back to square one.
If the situation is beyond your control and nothing can be done to make it better, you have to accept it.
The path of acceptance is not an easy one, it will take practice and lots of mental strength. But the latter option is no better or healthier.
The opposite of acceptance is denial, and that denial is what is feeding your pain.
I’m not saying that no one cares about your feelings or to keep them to yourself; we all get down about something. What I’m suggesting is that instead of sitting in these feelings and resorting to complaining to resolve them, which could potentially snowball into bigger problems (such as declining mental health), you should instead seek solutions and ways to help yourself because you are stronger than you give yourself credit for 🙂
So the next time a complaint comes up, what do you intend to do about it?
Are you going to step up, take ownership, and find a way to improve your life and strengthen your mind?
Or will you continue to standby and be a victim of your circumstances?
The choice is yours.
*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^
A few years ago, when the trend of big butts was steadily on the rise, I was on a mission to snatch my waist and increase my muscle mass, so I sought the help of a close friend and personal trainer(sup Necye!?).
One day we met up at a local Planet Fitness to start the endurance-building regimen he created for me.
He gave me a simple task: jump over a bench. He demonstrated a few times to show how effortlessly easy the exercise was, but for some reason, when it came time for me to do it, I froze in place.
The task wasn’t necessarily difficult, but I was intimidated by the idea of failure.
I kept thinking of all the things that would go wrong:
“What if I trip?”
“What if I fall? Omg I would be so embarrassed…”
“The bench may be higher than it looks, what if I can’t jump that high!?”
No matter how many methods of encouragement my friend used (affirming words, demonstration, being assertive), my legs would not move. There I stood, frozen in place by my own fear and self-doubt, trying to figure out a way to psych myself into it.
I even got my feet to move a couple of times, but they refused to jump. I was shocked and bewildered at how little courage I had to do something so minute and knew I must’ve looked so stupid.
Suddenly, with minutes left of our hour session, I felt my defenses come down, and without warning, I ran and jumped over the bench, relieved when I felt my feet plant perfectly on the other side.
As silly as it may have seemed, that literal leap took courage, and afterward, I was grateful that I shook my fear and overcame my comfort.
When’s the last time you lived life outside of your comfort zone?
Taking Steps to Overcome
By literal definition, your comfort zone is
the level at which one functions with ease and familiarity
You know that voice that’s constantly making you cancel plans and bail out whenever you’re asked to try something new? That’s your comfort zone.
I know it’s comfortable to settle in a space where everything is easy and you’re in control, but this fear of the unknown is holding you back from your life’s potential.
Although fears can stem from evolutionary instinct and have roots in past experiences, nine times out of ten, our fears are illusions, creations of self-doubt, and lack of understanding.
Conquering your fears and stepping outside of your comfort zone makes you realize how much bigger life is than what exists inside your bubble. I know every time I step outside of mine, I come out relieved.
For example, one of my biggest fears is social interaction. You wouldn’t think so with my cheerfulness and sunny personality, but speaking to strangers is really intimidating. This is based on my traumas from bullying, lack of acceptance, and the scarring of toxic relationships. My social anxieties caused me to be over apologetic and disconnected. I was definitely the type to come up with excuses to avoid hanging out with people. (YES! I’ve got a fever! Now I HAVE to stay home!)
However, these behaviors are counterproductive to my career as a freelance writer. Networking and relationship building are CRUCIAL in the freelance world, so I had to figure out a way to be more social. It was scary as hell at first; my first couple of attempts were jumbled messes of me speaking loud, fast, and fumbling over my words, but I learned to talk calmly with confidence and self-control with practice.
Here are the steps that I take when facing a scary situation. Maybe they can be helpful to you:
I breathe it out– My experience with yoga taught me how significant the breath is. It can help you, not only through the most difficult yoga poses but also by calming your mind in the most stressful of situations. If deep breathing can help you through anger, stress, and pain, why not through fear? Give it a try the next time you’re tackling something scary.
I build up the courage– Whether it’s pacing back and forth in my living room burning sage, journaling, or talking to myself in the mirror, I build up my mental strength before doing something courageous. Although having encouragement can be helpful, no one can convince YOU like YOU can. Try talking yourself up before stepping outside of your comfort zone. You’d be surprised by how far a few “You can do it!”‘s will get you.
I take baby steps– I can’t say that I always go 0 – 100 in scary situations, especially if the fear is tied to a traumatic experience. In cases like this, I micro-dose and build my way up. If you fear open water, for example, try exposing yourself to small bodies of water first and then build on top of that until one day you’re comfortable enough to step into the ocean.
Remember: Although your fear may seem trivial or juvenile to someone else, it’s not ok for anyone to make you feel belittled or invalid. A lot of people take the tough love approach, which can make your fears worse. What you need is patience, understanding, and support in overcoming things at your own pace.
I base a lot of my life goals around stepping outside of my comfort zone, not just for my career but for the sake of personal growth.
Benefits of Stepping Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Living a life outside of your comfort zone comes with psychological benefits like feelings of empowerment and personal growth.
Let’s dive deeper into these concepts.
Stepping outside of your comfort makes you feel powerful. The boost in bravery comes from the liberation of staring fear in the face and living to tell the tale.
“When we come to personally understand that we can change our own brains, it’s incredibly empowering. We can make ourselves calmer, more creative, anything we want.”
Once you’ve hardwired your brain to be less afraid, you feel like you can do anything.
Challenging your fear builds character.
I know a lot of people who suffer from low self-esteem due in large part to self-doubt. It doesn’t help when you’re surrounded by people who are feeding into that.
Beware: People who have been limited by fear their entire lives will often try to project those feelings onto you. They’ll convince you that you’re incapable of stepping outside of your comfort zone and that what you’re trying to achieve is impossiblebecause this is their reality.
But once you start tip-toeing on your boundaries of comfort, you’ll be able to blur the lines of your capabilities.
Before you know it, fear won’t even be a contender, and you’ll be achieving new heights of personal growth.
With your new and improved fierce skin, gone are the days when fear is holding you back, allowing you to open doors you swore were closed off to you.
Look, I know the idea of facing your fears and challenging your comfort can seem scary and maybe even a long shot. But I’m living, breathing proof that not only is it possible, but there are enormous payouts.
Ask yourself are you limiting your personal life, growth, and dreams because of your fears?
How much longer will you allow your imaginary boundaries to keep you from living?
Stop getting in the way of yourself. Try something brave today.
Conquer all the fears.
*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^
Being an independent artist is one of the most soul-fulfilling careers you can ever have. After all, who doesn’t want to get paid to pursue their passions?
Although the market is saturated with millions of talented artists who are all working toward the same goal of making their dreams come true, the reality is that most people will drop out of the rat race before they ever see success.
It’s not because they’re not worthy or for lack of trying, it’s because along the way they lose sight of the two things that are absolutely necessary to achieve their goals : motivation and discipline.
I came to this realization on my own path. Less than a year ago, I decided to become a writer full-time and I never looked back.
I refused to go back to the mundane life of working a 9-5 and I’ve been on my own ever since–just me, my computer, my determination, and my endless collection of composition notebooks and notepads.
I thought it was all I needed to get by but I often found myself staring at a blinking cursor and an empty screen as if I could somehow will the work into existence.
I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. The passion was there but try as I might I still found myself falling victim to bad habits, distractions, and inconsistent behavior.
To put a stop to this madness (and to get my life together) I did what all millennials do in times of crisis, I turned to the internet.
You will never always be motivated, so you must learn to be disciplined
The discovery of this was one of the most profound moments of my adult life and writing career.
I found myself wondering:
“Is it discipline that I lack? or motivation?”
“What’s the difference?”
“Can you have one without the other?”
And last but not least “Which of these do I need more of to achieve my goals?”
After months of rummaging through articles and picking the brains of industry professionals, here’s what I learned about motivation and discipline.
How Motivation Works
You can be motivated in one of two ways: intrinsically and extrinsically.
Intrinsic motivation is a motivation that has no intentional ties to a reward or incentive, the sole purpose of you doing it is because of a passion or a strong willingness to do.
Take me writing this for example. I didn’t write this for critical acclaim, fame, or money. I wanted to write this post because I have a desire to help people. I like the idea of using my words and personal experiences to inspire others.
For you, it may look like:
Joining a dance class because you love expressing yourself through dance
Climbing a mountain because of the thrill or sense of accomplishment
Starting your own business because you want to be your own boss
If the ties to your reason why are personal, or psychological, it’s considered intrinsic motivation.
Research suggests that intrinsic motivation is more powerful than its extrinsic counterpart. According to psychologytoday.com, Intrinsic motivation is more effective because “it is integrated into identity and serves as a continuous source of motivation.”
Basically, it hits different when you inspire you.
“It hits different when YOU inspire you”-Kaillaby”
Extrinsic motivation is a motivation that’s related to an incentive or reward. This could be anything from money, praise, or attention.
I definitely have extrinsic motivations, money is the first that comes to mind. I became an entrepreneur because I wanted to live a certain lifestyle and generate a level of income I know I wouldn’t have been afforded working at my office job.
For you, it may look like:
Cleaning the house to avoid complaints or nagging from your spouse.
Getting all A’s on your report card for the praise or high status.
Going to work because you need the money.
Giving a good performance at work out of fear of being reprimanded by your boss.
If something or someone else is your reason why then it’s considered extrinsic motivation. Although extrinsic motivation has its benefits (after all, who doesn’t want to be rewarded?) it can be risky if the reward loses its luster. Once you’re no longer impressed by the bribery, you’ll lose your momentum.
It’s important to note that regardless of whether the inspiration is internal or external, for a payout or personal satisfaction, it’s always best to lead with positive reinforcement.
Inspiring through fear (like threats or punishment) or negativity (demeaning or insulting) won’t get you as far. You end up causing more psychological harm than good and it could end up backfiring.
Ruling with fear or scare tactics may be effective in the short term, but that fear will eventually grow to resentment. Once the fear is gone, *poof* there goes the motivation.
Discipline requires willpower– it takes mental prowess and structured behavior.
Think of it as the following formula:
Your work ethic x your routine + consistency = discipline.
When it comes to discipline, it’s all about commitment.
Commit. Commit. Commit. Commit.
It’s not enough to come up with a plan, you have to stick to it to achieve your goals, something I didn’t realize was preventing me from achieving success.
Take my skincare journey for example.
I suffer from acne and hyperpigmentation.
I found a skincare system called Curology that I was convinced to try after viewing their ads and reading their testimonials online.
When I first tried it, I thought it wasn’t working because after a few weeks I wasn’t seeing much of an improvement in my skin. My impatience almost persuaded me to quit and try something else.
Instead, I reached out to one of their skincare professionals and asked them when I should expect to see significant results. Turns out, I wasn’t committing long enough. They told me it could take up to 6 months to see the results I was looking for.
The conversation motivated me to give it another shot. I stuck around, committed to the recommended routine, and low and behold: I’ve been seeing better results!
A lot of people underestimate how much commitment is required to achieve their goals, this can be said for anything from losing weight, to gaining fortune and fame to eliminating debt.
The internet age has us addicted to instant gratification and everyone wants to see results right away but, the reality is, you may not see any results at all for months. Maybe even years, depending on what your goal is. I know my impatience tends to be MY downfall.
It’s important not to be deterred just because you don’t get what you’re after right away.
Before you admit defeat, ask yourself:
Are you being consistent?
Have you created a routine and stuck to it?
If the answer’s yes and you feel like you’ve hit a wall or a plateaued:
Are you working around it?
Are you coming up with new, inventive strategies?
Use your motivations to keep your eye on the prize and continue building on your discipline until you get to where you’re going. Sure, it’s easier said than done but stunting your process will result in prolonged success.
What’s the difference?
When it comes to accomplishing a goal, think of motivation as the why and discipline as the how.
What separates motivation from discipline is action.
Motivation is what brought you to this post. Discipline is what will put these words into practice.
Although motivation will give you the wind beneath your wings, it is the discipline that will propel you forward.
Another difference is motivation doesn’t have to be consistent, it can be sporadic and can strike at any moment like lightning in a bottle but discipline will require commitment and consistency.
After all, the entire basis of discipline is rule and order.
Motivation is the energy you need to achieve your goal but discipline is the strategy that you’ll need to take to get there.
Can You Have One Without The Other?
It is possible to be motivated without being disciplined.
Who else is guilty of just sitting on a load of passion with no direction or plan to execute it?
You can also be disciplined without being motivated by just living your life according to rules and structure but lacking the drive or passion behind it.
Having one without the other is counterproductive to success.
If you want to achieve a goal, you’ll need to find a balance of both.
Which Of These Do I Need More Of To Achieve My Goals?
Although having both is best, in my research I’ve found that you’ll get nowhere without motivation.
I spoke with Mrs. Ivelisse Villalona, MSW a social worker in the NYC D.O.E who had this to say about the significance of motivation
“Professionally, when I work with kids, for example, it’s difficult to work on changing their behaviors if it’s not something they are motivated to do. So I can talk to them about making better decisions but if it’s not something that’s internal, like if the motivation is not there to make those good decisions, what I’m saying is it’s not going to work.” She continued “You can be disciplined but not necessarily reach your goal unless you have the motivation to do so. So unless the motivation is there, no one can-I feel in my professional opinion and personal, no one can influence your desire, your will to do something.”
Ivelisse Villalona, MSW
Even if you have the structure and plan you need, if you’re not motivated to stay on track there will be no movement.
The Bottom Line
If you’re having trouble reaching your goals, I recommend doing some self-reflection.
Therapist Jenny (Jinhee) Lee, LCAT, ATR-BC agrees! She recommends “finding a greater purpose to the goal and meditating on the purpose daily for reminder of what the work in one’s motivation is for. Having a greater purpose outside of the self can help motivate oneself to get through the process.”
After months of seeking, I got my answer: what I was missing was discipline.
Now, I’m fine-tuning my routine every day and I’m happy to say I’ve been finding success! But, I won’t stop here. I’ll keep using my passions and aspirations to feed my commitment and build on my routine until I reach my finish line. Cue Keni Burker’s ‘Risin’ To The Top’.
*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^
How one match of checkers turned into a very valuable life lesson
One rainy Sunday morning, I stopped by my Uncle’s house for some coffee, breakfast, and a game of checkers with my Grandmother. Being the reigning checkers’ champ in my own home, I had no doubts whatsoever that I would walk away with the “W”.
Four games later, my Grandmother had four consecutive flawless victories.
No matter what strategies I tried I couldn’t beat her. I was making moves that I felt were clever, adept, and unsurpassable yet and still, my Grandmother was always 1 step ahead of me leaving me awestruck and dumbfounded. Throughout our games, she’d give me helpful tips: pay attention, look at the board before you make a move, and most importantly, concentrate. Seemed like easy enough advice to follow but, try as I might, I kept goofing up.
“You don’t concentrate,” my Grandmother told me, “there were times when you came close, and I was sure you had me beat, but you couldn’t see it because you weren’t paying attention”. Her feedback tripped me up because I was truly and genuinely oblivious to this fact. Of course, I was paying attention! Well, wasn’t I?
Valuable Life Lessons
This experience made me realize that I have a lot of growing to do. You see winning streaks have a tendency to stroke the ego and, for a long time, I was undefeated in the game of checkers. Then, my Grandmother came along and revealed all the chinks in my armor.
She showed me that:
I’m overly confident
And quick to rush to judgment
These tips go beyond our checkers’ games. In life, one false move could make or break you. Taking your time and concentrating before executing your movements could be the difference between success and failure. I’m certainly guilty of moving too fast or not doing my best due to my anxiousness, but they say slow and steady win the race, something I should have taken into consideration during our checkers’ games.
The Bottom Line
Look, there’s always going to be someone bigger, better, faster, or stronger than you, but please don’t take it personally. Being beaten at your own game is not a testament to how much you suck, but instead of how much learning and growing you have to do. Therein lies the difference. Don’t cower away or let a bruised ego get the best of you. Instead, use these moments as opportunities for education. Internalize them and ask yourself,
Where are you going wrong?
How can you be better next time?
I’ve always been told that, in order to be the teacher, you have to be one hell of a student, to be a leader you have got to learn how to follow, and to beat your Grandmother at checkers, apparently you have to pay closer attention.
There are a lot of people running around with unchecked egos and, I personally think, nothing is more dangerous or damaging to your mental growth. Once you give up on learning and growing as a person, you stunt your own potential.
Remember that there is always room for improvement and life moments like this are a reminder of that. Do you feel that you can grow and improve as a person? If you answer no, I’d recommend doing some self-reflection. Pay closer attention to your errors and mistakes, notice any patterns?
Do you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over? Start there and see where it leads you.
As for me, my Grandmother and I have another match of checkers coming up. I’ll let you know how it goes.
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Read on to find out how I went from being a “lost soul” to suddenly finding my spark
I was 31 years old when I got my spark. For those of you who have NOT yet seen the movie “Soul”, a spark is your life’s purpose, your inspiration and reason for living. It happened when I was watching HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”. This episode featured a young couple who were looking for their first home together. The coffee shop owners found a home for less than $100K and used the remainder of their budget to renovate their home and give it the personal touch they needed to make the home REALLY theirs. Your girl Joanna did her thing, like always! During the last shot of the couple in their home, they were welcoming friends over and telling the camera crew how delighted they were with their starter home, and that’s when I felt it, that twinge of “I want that“. The feeling of “this would make me happy” was shocking to me, you see because I always thought my life’s purpose was Writing.
By the time I was a teen, I knew I wanted 2 things out of life:
To make enough money to live in one of the most expensive cities in the World
To entertain people.
I have been on a quest of fulfillment ever since. That quest has caused me to start working at age 13. Since then, I’ve made my way through five industries and 12 jobs, all of which left me feeling unfulfilled. It didn’t matter whether they were reputable (some of them were) or if they helped me move out on my own (some of them did), none of them made me happy. That’s because I was making moves for all the wrong reasons. Your job isn’t supposed to be your happiness. Your happiness should exist outside of external instruments. Your life should make you happy and your life should not start and end with your work.
It took me up until now to realize a life of working isn’t living and it’s all I’ve been doing up to now. Investing all of my time and energy into my work and having no air around me. No time for fun, friends, or family just duties and then one day you look up and realize it’s all you have. I don’t want a life of completing tasks. I want to be able to conduct science experiments with my daughter, or to lay in bed with my Husband and talk about the theories of the Universe, or call my best friend and laugh and talk for hours, or visit my Grandmother on a Sunday morning and play checkers while we have our coffee. THIS is living folks. These moments are life.
I’m not telling you to quit your job, I’m encouraging you to make sure you exist outside of it.
Hey, we all have to make a living and frankly, I quite like being a Writer. I enjoy helping and entertaining people with my words but it’s not my life’s purpose because working isn’t living. Rapping JCOLE’s “Can’t Get Enough” with my Husband off of our terrace at 1 in the morning is an example of living (that’s a hook right thurr). Talking to my Mom about recipes I found on Pinterest is living. Reading books with your children, catching up with friends, and taking walks outside are all examples of living. Take the time to be alive. I hope you’ve found your spark. And if not, no worries! As the lovely George Eliot once said:
It’s never too late to be what you might have been
*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^
In my 20+ years of living, I’ve searched the World and have yet to find another being like me. I reached out to Dr Strange, asked him to search the endless combinations of all the possibilities that ever were, and I can safely conclude: there’s no one else like me.
You’re looking at a real life Unicorn (actually, I’d like to think myself a Wizard. I’ve got a Hogwarts letter to prove it.)
Sure, there are similar humans. They may resemble me, share a fraction of my personality traits but I have yet to find another person made up of the same facets I have.
I used to think this made me crazy or a freak but then, I came to realize that this just means I am in an island all by myself.
For a while this made me sad. I walked throughout my life feeling like a black sheep and, as I’ve mentioned, a lack of representation can really make you feel like there’s no space for you in the World. As a result, it made me uncomfortable in social settings. After all, how do you socialize when you feel like you can relate to no one? OMG ESPECIALLY WITH WOMEN! Because my interest in geeky things (i.e anime, video games, cartoons, etc) is always viewed as categorically “male”, I found myself relating to, well, mostly males. This has been a thing for me my entire life. It’s very rare, and few and far between, that I meet other women with genuine similar interests. I mean honestly, 8/10 our similarities start and end with us being Moms. That’s not to say that I don’t LOVE to talk about my kid, I would just much rather talk about the PS5 launch titles… and the cool accessories Sony’s releasing…and this anime I watched last night…
This, I realize makes me a weirdo to most people.
Hey guys, I’m a weirdo. Nice to meet you!
Weird- a person whose dress or behavior seems strange or eccentric.
Yup, this describes me pretty much perfectly. (They might as well have finished with “whose hair is green and is named Kysheeta”.)
What used to cause discomfort so much so that I would hide aspects of myself from people, is now something I embrace. I love my weirdness. And you know what? You should, too. Your weirdness is not a disability, it’s a Superpower. Don’t look at yourself as the odd one out, view yourself as the life of the party! Us weirdos are the light in the room, the talk of the town, the breath of fresh air; I know that’s true for me and I appreciate being known and loved for being 100% me. I want you to feel loved for being you, too! If cosplaying, roleplaying or having rainbow hair brings you joy EMBRACE THAT SHIT! Life is too short to be anything but happy <3. If you need an extra boost of confidence and reassurance to feel comfortable enough to be yourself, look no further than this post. Below, you’ll find a love letter to you.
Until our next adventure… -Kaillaby
Dear Weirdos: I Love You. A Love Letter
Hey you! Weirdo! I’m talking to you! You’re loved, appreciated, trendsetting, and tradition breaking. You’re innovative! Unorthodox! You shake up the town and while you’re at it, paint the town red. You’re a rebel marching to the beat of your own drum. Do you realize how brave you are? Look at you, fucking shit up despite it being taboo. Oh, so you’re just going to be out here living your life and minding your business? It’s “fuck-what-a-hater-say”? Ok, I see you! Look at you, being brave enough to be yourself. How do you do that? Walk around with your head held high with not a care in the World? It feels good, doesn’t it? Don’t let anyone steal your light, sunshine! You’re probably an Artist staying up late nights just to impress people with your expressions of existentialism, or maybe you’re a Scientist picking things apart trying to figure out how things tick just because it fascinates you, or maybe you’re still in hiding, dressing the part of someone else, walking the walk and talking the talk because you’re still too afraid to be yourself. Either way, I want you to know that you, yes YOU, are my favorite kind of person. Why? Well, it’s because of you that people view the world differently. You represent you like no one else can and because of your unrelenting willingness to be yourself, you inspire thought and conversation which inspires change…which inspires people….which inspires movements! So keep that freak flag high! And make sure that head follows.
Dear Weirdos: I love you.
*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^
Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on or a person to turn to for emotional support. Here, I give my take on sadness and how, at times, it feels like a burden or an inconvenience.
Ever had a moment where you were breaking down and in need of healing? There you are in your dark place and you think of reaching out to someone so you draft a text. You re-read your outcry and pause only to delete it.
Or worse, you find the courage to call and don’t get an answer?
I feel like there’s never a convenient time to be sad.
I’m not alone.
A lot of people feel their sadness is a burden.
A Tragic Tale
A year ago, my brother committed suicide. I still remember the day I found out: It must’ve been 7 o’clock in the morning because I was getting my daughter ready for school when I got a phone call that my brother died. The caller found out through a series of reposts, shares, and “r.i.p”s on Facebook. I was numb. I didn’t couldn’t react.
Part of it was the shock of disbelief. The other part was holding out until I could confirm what happened to him.
I thanked the caller and reached out to the only person that I knew would have the answers: my father.
I remember making my way to the kitchen and asking him what happened and that’s when he told me my brother, Ronald, had shot himself.
I managed to let out an “oh my God, what!?” and then I completely lost it.
All of my calm, cool composure completely melted away; it didn’t matter that I was a Mom or that it was a weekday, or that I had plans for my morning. I completely lost myself to my heartbreak.
Suddenly, my daughter walked into the room and asked what happened and her voice brought me back to the reality that this was not the time and place to cry and break. I had a child who was watching and this was not a convenient time to be sad. I tried to ask for space or privacy but it was too late, the mask had melted away and she had already been a witness.
Losing a loved one to suicide leaves you with a lot of unanswered questions and doubt:
Did I love them enough?
Should I have tried harder to make them feel loved?
You’re left wondering where you failed and what you could should have done better.
I always think about his life leading up to that point. Being a male of color, I would imagine that it was hard for him to find a space for his sadness.
I wonder how many times he tried to reach out or confess his sadness only to be rejected or overlooked.
So many people are suffering and they keep this suffering to themselves out of fear of being a burden or not being taken seriously. How many outcries are ignored only to lead to substance abuse or worse: suicide? I feel like this is especially true for men of color whose portrayal of masculinity is ofttimes chucked up to maintaining a tough exterior; they are raised to believe that feelings don’t matter. Emotions are considered “feminine” and a sign of weakness. In my experience, they are taught that emotion threatens the idea of “being a man”.
But nothing is further than the truth.
Allowing yourself to feel takes bravery. Anyone can pretend. It takes courage to stay true to yourself. It takes courage to reach out for help.
Life Through Brand New Eyes
Since this experience, I take sadness/depression a lot more seriously and have noticed that people take the sadness of others very personally; being angry or peeved when they don’t hear from people on their time all the while not knowing what’s happening behind closed doors.
Or rolling their eyes whenever there’s a shift in tone and someone tries to vent about what they have going on.
This can impact a person negatively and lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment, making them feel like they should keep their feelings to themselves. I realize that it’s hard for people to think outside of their existence and being empathetic is a talent too few possess.
In a time where I was struggling with my own crisis’, I have lost friends due to my absence and lack of communication. I wish they would’ve taken the time to reach out instead of assuming it was an attack on their character.
You’re Not Alone
Whether it’s one in the morning or one in the afternoon, I hope that you have someone you can turn to. Everyone should have at least one person: whether it be your friend, a relative, or a licensed professional. When things are really bad? Use as many lifelines as you need. Depending on the severity of the crisis, I may reach out to all or a combination of the 3. Because I’m not alone. Life exists outside of those moments of turmoil and it’s important to be reminded of that.
So keep your head up! Put your best foot forward and in the event of sadness, know that you’re not a burden. Your feelings matter and you have options. There are people that will/can/do love and support you.
*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^
I swear, if I were a Pokemon, I’d be a Creative type ❤
Does anyone else dream in art?
In my daydreams, I see flash mobs. Every time I hear one of my favorite songs, I picture myself dancing. But not just me fuckin’ it up on the dance floor.
Na, it’s a whole extravaganza. A visual. It’s lights, a stage, background dancers performing whole routines (ON TIME); it’s beautiful, symmetrical, and breath-taking. It gives me chills. It brings tears to my eyes. It puts a smile on my face. I can’t help it, I love to express.
I feel like I have so much to say and where words fail, it comes out in the form of art: Dancing. Writing. “Singing” (which is what I claim I do when I karaoke. But BITCH when I karaoke you can’t tell me I’m not Whitney) whatever the form, I love to express. Perform. I stopped being afraid of an audience a long time ago. That thing that people have that makes them feel embarrassed? Whatever part of the brain that is, I’ve done away with it. Numbed Overrode it. (which is a dope nod to how awesome my willpower is).
Art makes people happy, or at the very least, inspires emotion! Seeing a dope canvas, hearing a poppin’ song, watching a thought-provoking movie! I, too, like to make people happy and people experience happiness when they’re entertained. I am willing to be the jester at people’s expense. People who are willing to put themselves in front of an audience just to make people feel good are my favorite kinds of people. This reminds me of a story…
Our very boisterous, extremely entertaining cruise Director Cookie managed to gather the ENTIRE cruise ship in the main deck lobby for a night of trivia and sing-alongs. That’s. How. Good. He was at his job. Cookie for president is all I’m saying… anywho, so there we are. In this luminous, glossy, regal decorated lobby standing together as one, 4 songs in, when the song that comes up next is Whitney Houston’s “I’ll Always Love You”.
There stood Cookie on the bar top with his best rendition of Whitney Houston’s iconic “Body Guard”. Whitney hit us with the “And above all this, I wish you love…”. He asked for participation from the crowd…
We all showed up, showed out, and at the top of the lungs we let out an “And Iiiiiiiiiiiiiii”.The entire cruise rang with the sound of our voices. It was beautiful. Like something out of a movie. Or a concert. We gave the performance of our lives. We gave it everything we didn’t have. Riffs and all. And for a moment, nothing else mattered. It was just us, Cookie, the music and the wide-open ocean. I cried tears of joy. It will go down in history as one of the best experiences of my life. This is what art provides for people: once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
All of the greatest showcases of art started off as dreams. That dream turned into an idea. And that idea was manifested and displayed before you. Someone’s dream is now your favorite: song, musical, movie, book, tv show. This very blog was once a dream of mine; I dreamed of using my words to reach people by vocalizing my thoughts and feelings because I just knew in my heart of hearts that there must be people in the world who share them! I have more dreams that I will turn into art someday in the form of books, scripts, and choreography to name a few. It’s just a matter of putting these dreams into words. So far all of my artists with their heads in the clouds: keep dreaming! Keep hope alive! Somewhere there is an audience for you waiting for you to pour your (he)art out.
What are some dreams of yours that you can’t wait to turn into reality? For me, it’s writing my first book ^.^ Share your dreams in the comments below >>>>