Mind. Body. Spirit.

I spent the first week after the kids left for Minnesota doing absolutely nothing.  I had so many plans and ideas that I wanted to do, but my body was telling me not at this time. I rested for a whole week and as much needed as it was, I couldn’t sit still for too long. So, last Sunday, I woke up energized and ready to put in work! I went to the gym, had a great workout, and decided from that day forward I would focus on being a better person. . . mind, body and spirit. To be honest, I didn’t have a real plan on how to get started; I just knew I had to start from somewhere. I had an empty fridge, no workout plan, no nothing but, I also didn’t have any excuses. I got up, got going, and it felt great.

Throughout last week, I pushed myself beyond my comfort level, but I’ve also been listening to my body. After a couple of days of working out, my body was so sore that I could barely walk.  I just knew I needed a rest day but, I quickly realized (with the help of a kick in the butt from my husband) that being sore doesn’t mean stop, it means push through! If your muscles are sore, then you’re probably doing something right. You’re activating those muscles that you likely haven’t used in a while (or ever).  Remember, when you choose not push through the pain, you will continue to go through the “sore phase” every time you start over. It won’t be easy, but keep going. Your body will thank you, and it will tell you when you’re doing too much, so trust yourself!

muscles

 

Now, I realize that a great workout is not enough. It really requires a complete lifestyle change to challenge your mindset or at least question what you are putting in your body. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Your body is a temple,” well, I believe this to be true. Think about the times you’re body didn’t agree with certain foods that you refuse to give up because you love them so much. How do you feel after eating it? I’m not big on sweets, but I absolutely love ice cream. My husband and I would often eat Dairy Queen blizzards for dessert but, I always feel uncomfortable and bloated afterwards. My body was telling me that this delicious dessert is not good for me but, I chose not to listen, until now.

Now, I’m far from an expert on nutrition, but I’ve been challenging myself to say no to the tempting food that not only increases the fat around my waistline but also increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease, among other life-threatening diseases.  My body has been begging me for a shake up for some time now and although I don’t have any major illness, thank goodness, I always seem to have some form of unexplainable ache or pain every day (literally). I’m pretty sure if I treated my body more like a temple it would be one, and I would probably have less pain. So, as I transition to healthier lifestyle, I’m working towards becoming vegetarian. To start, I decided to give up pork and red meat. This will no doubt be a slow process, and I promise to keep you updated on my transition.

So, let’s talk. Are you connected to yourself mind, body, and spirit? Are you listening to your body when it speaks to you? Are you taking time for yourself to figure it out?

Listen, I’ve only just begun on my journey but remember, you have to start from somewhere. With the kids on vacation, I’ve been so blessed with the opportunity to spend time with myself, listen to my body, and figure out what it needs. Even if you have a hectic schedule, find at least an hour a day to connect with yourself. As a working mom or even just as someone with a busy life, I know from experience that this will be easier said than done, especially for me when the kid return. But, you have to be good to yourself first before you can be any good to someone else.  I found that Yoga is a great way for me to relax, build strength, and stay centered. Give it a try! Or find something that makes you feel more comfortable and happy. Remember, it’s all about being your best self. So, whatever you do, don’t give up on yourself and, keep going because you are worth it!

💜 Tiarra

 

 

 

 

Something New Coming Soon. . .

Wow! It’s been a while since I last blogged or blogged consistently for that matter. I missed y’all! Every once in a while I would get an idea that I wanted to blog about, but honestly, those ideas were few and far between.  I just didn’t feel inspired enough to write. What I later realized is that my priorities have changed. When I started Tiarra Talks, I was lost trying to find my voice . . . trying to find myself.  Well, let me tell you, she has arrived! Don’t get me wrong, I will never stop growing, but I’m no longer hiding in the shadows trying to figure out my purpose.  She is here!

Over the past few months, my friends and even some strangers were constantly reminding me that I’m “responsible” and “safe.” It bothered me that people only thought of me in that way. “I can be fun. . .well, I used to be fun,” I thought. It annoyed me that people would always call me out during my “responsible” moments.  My last straw was when I was picking out new frames after my eye exam and the manager was adamant that I needed something more “fun,” because she thought the frames I picked were boring.  I played along with her trying on frames that I would never pick for myself, then finally, enough was enough.  I’m good lady, I know what I like as I chose the “boring” frames that I initially picked.

It was in that moment that I realized, I am who I am.  If that means I’m responsible and safe, then so fucking be it. It was time that I embraced me for who I am and own that shit. I swear to you, a new version of me instantly emerged. Then, my recent trip to Atlanta just solidified the confident, refined version of me that was hiding under my layers of wife, mommy, and HR professional all along. I felt so free just loving on myself and finally loosening the hell up.  I know I can be uptight sometimes, so it felt amazing to just live.

So, let’s talk. Have you had your a-ha moment about yourself yet? Were you finally able to release and live your best life? If not, what are you waiting for?

Listen, now that I’ve freed myself from being so tightly wound, I can truly focus on other things that I’ve put on and off for years, like weight loss. I know y’all probably sick of me talking about it. Hell, me too! But, my perception is different now as I’m looking at myself with a pair of new lenses (literally and figuratively LOL).  I believe you have to be in a certain head space to focus on something that requires complete dedication and commitment such as weight loss and, until now, my life has been too damn hectic for me to focus on anything else.

My platform, Inspire. Speak Loudly. Be Your Best Self, is unchanged, and I will continue to raise questions that challenge us to live our best lives. But, right now, I feel so inspired by family and friends who have challenged themselves to live healthier lives that now it’s my turn to do the same. I hope that you will follow me on this journey and feel inspired to do the things in your lives that make you feel happy and whole! My revamped site Tiarra Talks: Weight loss and Motherhood goes live July 2nd. See you then!

💜 Tiarra

Working Moms. . .It Absolutely Takes A Village!

Until you are a parent, I don’t think you can really understand the magnitude of the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well let me tell you, it absolutely take a village! Whether you have one child or five children, if you are a single-parent, married, co-parenting, it doesn’t matter.  Being a parent is nothing short of amazing and exhausting all at the same time, and in order to provide for the little ones we’ve created, we have to work. So, who’s taking care of our children while we are putting in these crazy hours? Our spouses, child’s mother/father, our parents, grandparents, teachers, daycare providers, friends. . .I mean, should I go on?

For me, being a working mom is especially stressful and has sometimes made me question if I should step away from my career to stay at home until the kids are all in school.  From the time I wake up until my head hits the pillow at night, the amount of stress and pressure I’m under as a wife, mother, and professional sometimes is just too much. Seriously, you have to get yourself together, then make sure your children are dressed, groomed, and fed before heading off to work for at least 8 hours. Then, you have homework, dinner, bedtime routines, and if you have a significant other, time for them, too. Oh yeah. . .don’t forget to squeeze in a second for yourself (literally a second because if you have kids like mine, that’s all you get).

Let me tell you, 2017 was a tough year for me, and lately, I’ve had to depend on my village more than I’ve ever had.  The kids all go to separate places and have to be picked up at different times.  My husband’s schedule varies from days to nights every week, so coordinating our lives/schedules isn’t always the easiest. Travis is in a program for children with Autism, so he rides the school bus to his school outside of our neighborhood. Ethan attends the neighborhood school in a half-day pre-k program, and  Logan attends daycare full-time.

But, thank God for my village! When my husband or I can’t be there to get Travis off the bus, or when Ethan needs someone to take care of him and get him to and from school, or when Logan needs to get to and from daycare, my village is there! Picking Travis up and taking him to my mom’s home until I can get there, walking Ethan to school in the cold, rain and snow, making sure Logan is taken care of, or even traveling from a different state just so I can get a break. I am so blessed!

So, let’s talk. Who’s in your village helping to support your goals and your family? Have you thanked them lately? Do you realize how blessed you are?

Listen, my husband knows first hand just how much of a complainer I am, and I really complain more than I should. However, my job is stressful, managing the daily responsibilities of parenting is overwhelming, and still putting it down on my husband (on the regular) takes work. But, I wouldn’t be able to do any of it without my village, and for that, I am grateful.  So, thank you to my husband, my mom, my mother-in-love, and my dear friend, Givonya for being my village lifting up my children when I can’t be there. You are the reason I am able to not give up and continue to reach my goals.

💜 Tiarra

 

 

 

 

 

10 Tips to Sharing an Office

So, I started a new job about 6 weeks ago, and I’m sharing an office for the first time in my career.  Because it’s a new employer, new processes, new everything, I was actually happy to know that I would have my peer to lean on as I transition into my new role, but there was some apprehension. Privacy is out of the window and everything I say or do can be judged or scrutinized. However, I remembered that we come to work to do a job, and we just need to be mindful and considerate of each other. It’s about an awareness of the space you share. Now, I’m not saying to go out of your way; I’m saying be courteous. I mean, we spend more time at the office than we do with our own families, so it’s important to respect each other as colleagues as well as individuals.

So, let’s talk. Are you sharing an office space or have a cubicle setting at your workplace? Need tips on how to thrive in this environment? My 10 tips might just help your workday go a lot smoother.

1. Always say hello.  Be courteous to each other.  Remember when your mother would say, “I didn’t sleep with you last night. You speak and say good morning.” ?? The same concept applies here.  Start the day with your best foot forward, coffee or tea in hand, and a hello to your peers.

2. Phone etiquette is so important. When taking business calls, of course, do your job and handle your business. That’s why you’re there.  Personal calls, however, need to be handled accordingly depending on the level of privacy required. There’s no harm in letting your office mate know when you’re making a personal call, so they’re not caught off guard, and if it’s too personal, go to a more private area.

3. Small talk makes the day go by faster. Some people say, I’m here to work not to make friends. True. But, you’re working with someone for at least 8 hours a day, and developing good business relationships are important. There’s nothing wrong with getting to know your peers and sharing information that you both can relate to. You don’t have to share your deep darkest secrets or even be friends, although some life long friendships are started in the workplace.

4. Silence is okay. On the other hand, every moment doesn’t need to be filled with noise.  There may be long periods of silence and that’s normal.  You’re working after all, so there won’t always be time to talk.  Don’t get offended if your office mate doesn’t have time to small talk at the moment, respect that.  Trust me, there will be time to spill the tea.

5. Be considerate of smells, sounds, etc. Be mindful of smelly foods, crunchy carrots, and Snapchat videos. A quick, “Hey, I’m eating fish today,” would be a nice heads up, so at least your office mate can prepare for the fishy smell that will probably linger in the office for the rest of the day. Also, who doesn’t cringe at the sound of someone crunching and chewing on noisy food?  And, let’s be honest,  we all scroll through our social media feeds from time to time and come cross a video that grabs our attention. Put your headphones on or turn the volume down when watching your favorite videos, so you’re not creating  a distraction. Or share the video with your office mate! Don’t be rude laughing and giggling while leaving your colleague wondering what the hell is so funny.

6. Support each other. Have each other’s back! If your office mate is on a call, takes a meeting, or steps out of the office, help them out if someone has a question or needs direction. You don’t have to do all the leg work, but taking a message or giving some information to support your peer goes a long way.

7. Let your office mate know where you’ll be, send a quick email, or leave a note if you’re leaving the office for an extended period of time. No, they are not your babysitter or supervisor, but again, it’s a courtesy. Especially if you someone is looking for you, it avoids the questioning of your whereabouts, and also avoids your office mate feeling like you’re a disappearing act.

8. Leverage each other. You share a space for a reason. Even if you working on different projects, assignments, etc., you and your peers have knowledge and insight that can help each other, so take advantage! (But, don’t abuse it).We learn something new everyday, so don’t be afraid to ask their opinion or to your offer yours.

9. Before you leave, offer to help. If you’ve had a light workload and a few minutes before you head home for the day, offer to help.  Most times they’ll probably tell you they’re fine and will be right behind you, but they will absolutely appreciate that you offered.

10. If you don’t like your office mate, at least be polite. Sometimes personalities clash.  We don’t always get along with everyone and that’s okay.  The key to remember, especially if you don’t get along , is to be polite or at least respectful.  Collaborate when necessary, be mindful of the tips, and don’t throw each other under the bus.  Avoid creating tumultuous relationships where you’re consistently out to make each other look worse.  It’s a complete distraction and causes havoc in the workplace.

I hope this helps!

💜 Tiarra

Colorism and Raising Our Daughters

So, while reading Gabrielle Union’s new book, We’re Going to Need More Wine, she tackles the age-old topic of colorism. For a little background, her mother is of fair skin and her father of darker complexion. Gabrielle obviously resembles her dad. She grew up in predominantly White Pleasanton, California, who one of very few Black people in Pleasanton, did her best to “blend in.” In the book, she leads the chapter with the famous phrase . . oh, you know the phrase, “You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl.” Ugh! I loathe that phrase!

If you don’t know, colorism is when people within same race are treated differently because of their skin tone. The idea that those whose skin tone is closest to that of European decent or White are somehow superior, prettier, better off and those of darker tones are inferior, ugly, poor, etc.  But! Sometimes there’s a unicorn in the bunch and someone with a darker skin tone is actually “pretty” because being dark-skinned and pretty is apparently a rarity.  (I hope you can sense the sarcasm in my tone).

Don’t get me wrong, colorism isn’t just a “Black thing.” It’s world wide. But, it is our community that gets the most scrutiny and probably has suffered the most hardship because of it.  If it’s not our complexion, it’s our hair, or our eye color; I can go on. It should come as no surprise to know that this oppressed mentality dates back to slavery and this internalized racism that we continue to perpetuate more than four centuries later is old and tired.  Moreover, “You’re pretty for a fill in the blank ” absolutely needs to be left behind once and for all.

And, not that it matters, I’d say my shade of melanin is somewhere in the middle.  But, my baby girl has beautiful brown skin, and although she’s only two, I remind her everyday just how beautiful and smart she is. I know that she will grow up in a world where she will be judged more for her looks and less for her brains, so it is my job as her mother to help build her self-confidence and self-esteem.  People often say to her, “Hey chocolate,” or “Hey, Logan, with your chocolate self,” and I’m not offended. I know it’s mean’t as a compliment in the most positive way, but it’s also that internalized racism that forces us to reference color and beauty together.  My fear is that she will only see herself as “pretty for a dark-skinned girl,”  but it’s important to me that she loves every part of herself from the inside out.

Recently, I had a conversation with my husband about colorism and what obstacles Logan may face when she gets older, especially because of her skin tone. I told him we have to make sure that she knows that she is worthy because of WHO she is not INSPITE of. Do you know he looked at me like I was just making this all up? He himself who prefers a lighter-skinned woman.  And I’m not judging him, but I found it necessary to educate him, so that we can educate our children together.

So, let’s talk. What are your thoughts on colorism? Have you ever experienced disparity or preferential treatment within our community because of your skin tone? How do you encourage and teach your children, especially daughters, to love themselves in a society where they are judged by the very people who look just like them?

Listen, I love me some melanin! And, I been working my ass off to love every inch of me (including these extra rolls, Jesus) so that I can be the best example for my daughter. I want to believe that as she gets older, colorism will be a thing  of the past that she will never have to worry about, but we all know that’s not going to happen, no time soon anyway. Much like Gabrielle Union, I worry that Logan may grow up wishing she looked more like me and less like her dad.  I hope that she never tries to “blend in.” Instead, I want her to stand out and be proud of who she is! I want her to embrace the melanin that she’s been so blessed with and not allow colorism to weigh her down, because who she is is so much deeper than the color she sees in the mirror.

💜 Tiarra

2018: Live Purposefully & Slay Goals

As we wind down 2017 and prepare for the new year, I’m sure many people are planning their new year resolutions or in other words, letting social media know who and what they’re leaving behind in 2018.  I’ve never been one to get caught up in resolutions making promises to myself that are never kept. I know me, and if you know me by now, then you know I have commitment issues. Generally speaking, I honestly can’t remember any goals that I’ve set for myself besides weight loss. I’ve never been a goal setter, and I don’t know if that has helped me or hurt me in my 30 years of living, but I’ve never even thought about it until now.

I didn’t set goals on what my career path would be or when to start a family. Those things just happened during the course of my life. I’ve never had a desire to do something or achieve something by a specific age or anything like that.  I mean, I’ve accomplished some things in life that I’m damn proud of, but there were no goals in mind that I can contribute to those successes. I mean, I worked hard and life happened.

For example, as corny as it sounds,  I didn’t choose human resources as a career; it chose me. I had a Walmart scholarship for business, got a B.A. in Marketing, and was promoted from intern to Assistant Manager at Walmart right after graduation. But, it was the two years during my internship that I spent most of my time working with the ladies in Personnel (because the sales floor team really couldn’t be bothered with me) that jump started my HR career.  Could my career have gone a different path if I didn’t have that scholarship? Or for any other reason? Maybe, in fact, most likely.  I never imagined a career in retail management.  Even as an intern, I knew retail was not a good fit for me, but when I was offered an opportunity right out of college, I couldn’t pass it up. But truthfully, I’m not sure what kind of job I would have had after college had it not been for my internship. Hell, I only accepted the internship because it paid more than my campus job. I really had no plan, y’all.

My husband and I started our family very early on in our relationship. . .and without a plan. It was that one time we made the decision not to take precautionary measures to prevent getting pregnant that we conceived. And, it wasn’t until after our first son was born that we really began to make a plan for our family.  But listen, what a blessing we received! And, 8 years later we have been married 5 years with 3 healthy, beautiful children.

Finding this new sense of self has really opened my eyes to a life that I had not realized I was living, but now my eyes are wide open as I’m just beginning to understand what it really means to live purposefully.  I find myself thinking differently, setting goals, requiring more for myself and from others, and establishing an agenda that propels me to higher heights of personal success and happiness.

So, let’s talk.  Are you goal slayer or one that accepts life as it comes? Has that helped or hurt you in the past? Any resolutions or plans for 2018?

My stance on new year resolutions have not changed.  I won’t dictate my life goals based on society’s time frame, but it would silly for me not to acknowledge that the new year is symbolic for the chance to hit the reset button. So, with a feeling of such liberation, 2018 will graciously yet unapologetically be the year of ME! I will be focusing more on my writing, health & fitness, and reading. I see so much zen and bliss in my near future that I get goose bumps just thinking about it! I’m shifting all of the negativity that surrounds this world to focus on the moments that bring me joy.   I’m slaying goals and living purposefully. So, what say you? What kind of year will 2018 be for you?

💜 Tiarra

Raising A Middle Child

So, I have three children, Travis, 7; Ethan, 4; Logan, 2.  As the oldest, Travis is very independent and responsible.  He knows what he likes and doesn’t like; he’s also autistic.  If you can imagine, that sometimes comes with a lot of challenges, which requires a lot of time and attention.  Logan is the baby girl.  She’s the youngest and the only girl; she’s also full of personality, so of course she’s the center of attention.  Then, there’s my middle man Ethan! He’s so chill, sweet, and sensitive and a true definition of middle child, if there is such a thing.

Ethan looks up to his big brother, so much so, that it has been difficult for Ethan to find his own identity.  He wants everything  Travis wants. Now, Travis is an amazing brother, but unfortunately, because of autism, his behaviors hasn’t always been the best example for him.  Travis didn’t talk much during his very early years and his vocabulary was limited.  Ethan watches everything Travis does and literally repeats everything Travis says. . .I mean everything. It’s weird but also interesting to watch.  Travis will say something, anything, and Ethan will repeat him word for word to his best ability.  And, Travis doesn’t even acknowledge that Ethan is repeating him.  It’s like that’s what he’s supposed to do. Ethan hasn’t been around other kids much besides his siblings, because he never attended daycare or preschool until this school year, so when he was learning to talk, his best example of speech and language was his brother, who was still developing his own language skills, and although Travis is a chatty Charlie now, Ethan is still just learning how to express himself with words.

I remember when I was pregnant with Logan; I was so sad for Ethan because I knew he would have the middle child syndrome.  I tried so hard to give him all the attention I could before baby Logan arrived. I knew being a middle child would be difficult for him, because he was already so quiet and just followed behind his brother.  Now, he wants to be as independent as his big brother, but he also wants to be babied like his baby sister.  If I or my husband are playing with Logan, he’s right behind screaming “My turn!” But, at the same time, he’s trying his best to do everything that Travis is doing.

Last week, he was so sad that the tablet needed to be charged, so I asked him if he needed a hug.  Now, Ms. Logan does not like it when her brothers get attention, especially Ethan, so when I stretched out my arms to give Ethan a hug, she jumped right into my lap, laid her head on my chest and gave Ethan a little smirk (like ha ha this is my Mommy).  Ethan was so mad! I told him I could love on them both, but he wasn’t having it.  He pointed to her to move, but she wasn’t budging.  They then went into a kissing war fighting over who would get the last kiss with Mommy.  It was funny, and we all laughed, but I knew Ethan really wanted to have his own moment with me.

So, let’s talk.  Does your middle child have the syndrome? Are they often fighting for attention or still trying to figure out their own identity? How do you help them through this?

Ethan is absolutely my personality twin because he’s very quiet and sensitive.  He has a tough time speaking up, and he’s so shy around other kids.  Often times he’s overshadowed by his brother and sister, and not just because Travis is autistic and Logan is the baby, but because they talk A LOT, and go after the attention they want.  They bug the hell out of me all day long, and Ethan will just stand there with the sad, pouty face, because I can’t read his mind.

However, I am deliberate in helping him to overcome this syndrome by spending one-on-one time with him so that he knows I love him and that he is important. I require him to use his words instead of his pouty face, and I use different techniques to help him expand his vocabulary.  I encourage him to talk and play with friends while we’re waiting for school to start, so that he can become more social and develop friendships. I buy him different toys than I buy his brother that peaks his interests and help him to find his own identity.  Most importantly, I love on him as much as I can, because I never want him to feel neglected, unloved, or forgotten about.

💜 Tiarra