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Thank You Mom

Happy Birthday Mom

 

Today is my mother’s birthday and I just wanted to take a moment and express how much she means to me. I can honestly say that I would not be alive today if it wasn’t for my mom. Growing up I had a difficult time in school fitting in. I was painfully shy and I wasn’t allowed to wear pants because of our religion which basically made me an easy target for bullies.  She instilled in me the courage to be myself and not conform in the face of adversity. Regardless of how worthless others tried to make me believe I was she was always there for moral support, a shoulder to cry on, sage advice, or just an attentive listener.

She sacrificed her life to ensure that my siblings and I had the best chance at succeeding in life. Even though she was a teacher, she managed to attend every play, award presentations, games, etc. Not to mention juggling all of our extracurricular activities without very showing an ounce of disdain. She didn’t hang out with friends or have girl’s night. There was no break because we were her life. Her selflessness taught me what it means to truly love someone and how devoted she was to being the best mother she could be to her children.  Now that she’s retired I’m so thankful that she gets some much-needed and deserved “me time” to do whatever she pleases.

I respect her for always being honest with me. Some women have tumultuous relationships with their moms, but I thank God every day that my mom has always been my best friend. Anytime I ask for advice she gives me her undivided attention and tells me what I need to hear in a tactful way. Most people would tell me what I want to hear because I’m sensitive and they’d be afraid of hurting my feelings; not my mom. I appreciate her giving it to me straight because ultimately you’ll never learn or evolve as a person if you only have yes people in your life. No matter what issue I came to her with I never felt judged. She understands my need to vent and is the only one that can decipher what I’m saying if I’m crying profusely. At the end of the day, I know that she has my best interest at heart and only wants what’s best for me.

Her strength and faith during difficult times never ceases to amaze me. She’s had countless surgeries, accidents, and health scares that would make the average person fall apart. For example, the whole world stops when I’m sick. I’m basically rendered helpless. My personal motto is that I have a zero tolerance for physical pain. Case in point, when I had my wisdom teeth taken out in high school I was out for 2 weeks. I have never felt pain that excruciating in my entire life. My face was super swollen, it hurt to breath because you felt all the muscles in your mouth throbbing, and I couldn’t talk so I had to write everything down on a notepad. My mom was nice enough to sleep with me the first couple of days because I felt like I was dying and she nursed me back to health. However, she handled every illness thrown at her with such grace and poise. Not once did she ever complain or ask God why me. She just held strong to her belief that “if he brought me to it, he’ll bring me through it.” It’s tough watching your parents get older and seeing their bodies start to decline. Seeing her in pain was gut wrenching and I was an emotional wreck at times. However, her confidence and perseverance made it a little easier to deal with because I know she knows God is able and as she always says things could be a whole lot worse.

As a speech therapist, she helped several children improve their communication skills, but more importantly as my mom she helped me find my voice. I embrace anything that allows me to utilize my creativity, so as a kid I was constantly drawing or writing short stories. When I was contemplating not take honors English in high school, my mom convinced me to not take the easy way out and challenge myself to become a better writer. My senior year I had the English teacher from hell. Every paper I submitted she hated and would constantly ridicule me in front of the class. I have never lost such respect for a teacher. I believe teachers are supposed to help you grow and encourage you not discourage and make you feel like an idiot. When I told my mom I wanted to step down to regular English (because that class was killing my GPA), she told me that’s fine but to not let her hatred define me as a writer. My teacher was just one person that didn’t like my writing and believed I was not smart enough to go to college. Long story short, not only did I graduated from college, but I got “A’s” on every English paper I wrote! Had I listened to my teacher I would have never believed I could succeed in college or writing and this blog probably wouldn’t exist. My mom’s unwavering faith in my potential allowed me to silence the negativity with success.

My mom has never been materialistic, but if I could I’d shower her with everything her heart desires. Until then I’ll just give her something more valuable than “things”, my eternal respect, admiration, love, and a piece of my heart. They say you can’t pick your family, but even if that were possible I’d choose you every time because you’re the best mom anyone could ask for and I’m so happy that you’re mine! Here’s to celebrating your life, the wonderful person you are and all the sacrifices you have made. I love you more than you’ll ever know. Happy Birthday Mom ❤

Forgetting What’s Fair and Accepting Life for What It Is

Happy New Year

I know it’s been awhile since my last post. The past couple of months have been difficult for me and I just needed some time to myself to reflect. As I look back on 2014, I am filled with a mixture of emotions. I am thankful for the courage to confront my demons and allow myself to live a more authentic life.

When I wrote my first blog, I wanted to show how I overcame my depression in hopes of helping others that struggle with this horrible illness. In reality, that just wasn’t the case. It took a while for me to accept that depression wasn’t an obstacle to overcome, but it was a part of me. This was one of the hardest things I had to accept because as a Christian you are taught that God will not give you more than you can handle. I struggled with finding a healthy way to cope with an illness that was all consuming and taking me over the edge. I prayed every night for God to take the pain away. The techniques I learned from therapy helped, but unfortunately no amount of therapy or praying can save you from life. It happens whether you are prepared or not.

My darkest hour came this summer when I experienced several deaths back to back and I couldn’t shake the guilt. Why did I feel guilty? When you have had moments where you contemplated or attempted to take your own life, you never forget it. By the grace of God I was able to fight off those urges and feelings of emptiness that led me to believe that was my only option. Seeing people that I loved and cared for lifeless brought back all those feelings. Why did their lives have to end? Why didn’t I spend more time with them? Why were they taken instead of me? I am not important; no one needs me. I don’t have a family that depends on me to take care of them. If I died sure people would be sad, but they would go on with their lives.

Two of the people that died were parents and one was a child that barely got to experience life. I would have given anything to take their place because it hurt me to my core to see the ones they left behind grieving. They were the heart and soul of their family and I couldn’t believe they were gone. Their sons and daughters will have to grow up without their mom and dad. The innocent child that passed away had health problems throughout her entire life. She was deprived of going to middle school, falling in love, getting her driver’s license, buying her first house, etc. No parent should ever have to bury their child. It wasn’t fair. They didn’t deserve the cards they were dealt.

I have always been a sensitive introvert that feels deeply. When I say I love you or call you friend, I mean it. I take all my relationships seriously. Once I let you in, you’ll be in my heart forever. I don’t throw words around because I understand their power. No matter how hard you try there’s no escaping your thoughts or feelings. The highs of life are breathtaking and the lows are devastating. I have never felt more sorrow and despair. Making progress was short-lived because it only made me feel guilty for moving on. I also envied them a little because they were free from the horrible world that we live in full of hate, bigotry, and no regard for human life.

As I mourned, it became clear that I was looking at the situation from the wrong perspective. There was no point in comparing or determining whose life was more valuable because every life has value and is precious. Isolating myself from people and beating myself up for still being alive would not bring them back. In addition, the people that died would not want me to wallow in my sorrows. They would want me to be happy and live life to the best of my ability. This tragedy gave me a better appreciation for life and forced me to let go trivial things. It allowed me to refocus my attention on what matters and mend relationships with people that were once estranged to me.

Living with depression is a daily struggle. Some days I wake up feeling fine and other days I am saddened that I have lived to see another day. I want to stress that admitting that doesn’t make me any less of a Christian. I believe that sometimes God gives each of us our own cross to bear. Depression is mine. You wouldn’t tell a person dying from a disease that if they die or are never cured it is because of their lack of faith. So telling a person struggling with depression to simply get over it or stop being sad is just absurd and cruel. I would argue that having a mental illness is just as hard as a physical illness because there is no quick fix or pill that makes you all better. You have to make a conscious effort to figure out what method of treatment works for you and even then there are no guarantees. Robin Williams received a lot of criticism for committing suicide. So many accused him of being selfish and having no reason to be unhappy. All I could feel was empathy and compassion because I know it was the hardest decision he ever made. We are all in the pursuit of happiness and no amount of money or success can make you whole. You are the only person that can unlock the key to a fulfilling life. I encourage everyone to be more understanding and less judgmental. I thank God everyday for giving me the strength and desire to be happy. I know that bad things will happen in life and no one can save you from them. You have to take the good with the bad. I want to embrace my sensitivity and give myself the freedom to feel emotion without shame or fear of society’s disapproval.

In 2015, I want to let go of last year’s baggage. I’m at peace with who I am and where I’m going. I appreciate everyone that supports and encourages me. Writing is very therapeutic and I gain more confidence every time I share my truth. My goal is to start writing a post at least once a week, so get used to hearing from me! Meditating and focusing on a scripture or inspirational quote helps me start the day off right on a positive note. So I will definitely start sharing more of those in the future. I’ll also post more TV recaps and movie reviews.

Happy New Year everyone and I pray this year will be prosperous and memorable ☺

No Valentine, No Problem ;)

For the first time ever I’m actually happy on Valentine’s Day! Could it be because I actually have a Valentine? Nope. I ‘m just genuinely happy with life right now.  After years of feeling sorry for myself and wondering what the heck is wrong with me, I’m finally got fed up with the swan song.

The old me would have been embarrassed to admit that I’m 28 years old and have never had a Valentine.  However, the new me is completely comfortable with ALL of my truth. No, I don’t have a special someone in my life, but that doesn’t make my life any less fulfilling.  I actually enjoy getting to do what I want, when I want, without having to answer to anybody, but me myself and I!

Don’t get me wrong; if the right guy came along I’d be more than happy to settle down.  Just haven’t met him yet. In the meantime I refuse to sit around and wait for him. I have one life to LIVE and it’s not gonna live itself. I think too many women obsess over defining themselves through a significant other instead of realizing they were already significant to begin with.  I want a partner in crime not a validation that I’m not “alone.”  If you don’t know you’re a beautiful person inside and out before the guy, trust me it’s not going to change with one.

Being single basically my entire life has given me the pleasure of knowing what type of person I am and what sort of mark I want to leave on the world. In a nutshell, it all comes down to LOVE. I want to make sure everyone I care about knows how unabashedly I adore them. I never want to settle for any relationship (friendship or romantic) whose negatives outweigh the positives.  I’d like to be a beacon for the outsider/loner types and let them know that once you silence the negative voices in your head that cloud your mind, you’ll truly experience a freedom like no other. Love yourself and everything else will fall into place.

I wasn’t the Homecoming queen. I didn’t get invited to one dance ever.  I didn’t go on my first date till college. But don’t cry for me Argentina. Save your pity for someone that needs it! I kind of prefer the road less travelled.  Just because I haven’t yet found someone to ride shotgun on my journey doesn’t mean that it won’t happen at all.  Everyday has the potential for something great to happen.  In the meantime, enjoy your life and do whatever makes your heart race.

I had a great day today! I got home from work and my dad had flowers waiting for me on my dresser. He’s done it every year that I can remember and I love and appreciate him for it. Not every girl is that lucky and I feel like an idiot for having to remind myself of that. I truly have a phenomenal group of people in my life that keep me grounded, give life meaning, and put things into perspective.

It's the little things that truly add up;)

It’s the little things that truly add up;)

Instead of mopping around, I spent my evening with two of my favorite people doing my favorite pastime…. Going to the movies!!! I went with my parents to go see the “About Last Night” remake with my buddy Kevin Hart. Laughed my butt off and finished the night with some Coldstone Oreo Overload ice cream! That stuff is so addictive :0

So funny :0

So funny :0

I know some may view my Valentine’s Day as pathetic or sad, but it was perfect to me. As long as I got to spend the day with people I love, then that’s more than enough for me;) In conclusion, if you were feeling lonely or more aware of your “singledom” (yep just made that up), cheer up buttercup! I’m sure you have plenty of people that love you too. Besides, tomorrow you can stock up on candy for super cheap!

Happy Valentine’s Day

xoxo

Weathering the Storm

The absurd events of the past 48 hours have given me much to reflect upon. I started out my week on a sour note. Waking up to a massive sinus headache, lower back pain, and stomach cramps is not my ideal way to begin the workweek. Needless to say, I called in sick from work and spent the rest of the day popping pills and catching some zzz’s.

Before I went to bed, I prayed that the Lord would give me some relief since I really can’t afford to miss any work right now. I woke up that afternoon (yes, I love to sleep and when I’m off I don’t wake up until sometime after 1 PM at least. I’m single with no children and I take full advantage of it!!) to a wonderful surprise snow!!!!

This was the glorious view from our front door.

Snow 2

Let it snow!

Being born and raised in Powder Springs, GA, you come to the realization that snow is few and far between, so when we get it you have to enjoy it while it lasts because it’ll probably be another decade or so before you see it stick again. Lol Seeing all the other states get snow recently made me extremely jealous. Yesterday was bitter sweet because I still didn’t feel well enough to enjoy the snow, so I was reduced to admiring it from my window. Little did I know the chaos that was about to ensue.

While I was moping around my warm, food-filled house, thousands of people were scrambling to get home. I turned on the TV and shortly realized that regular programming didn’t air due to the storm coverage. The meteorologists were advising people to be careful coming home because the storm was going to get progressively worse throughout the day. As school closings began to form at the bottom of the screen, I thought to myself “Why were they in school in the first place? Georgia has cancelled school for circumstances less severe than this.”

Before long, I logged on to Facebook to see several of my friends complaining about traffic and frantically trying to get home to be with their families or worse, pick up their children from school. As each hour went by the situation went from bad to unthinkable. I couldn’t believe my eyes. All the accidents and traffic was like nothing I had ever seen, nor would want to see, in my lifetime. I felt so selfish for complaining about being sick. While I was wallowing in self-pity, people were having real, life-threatening problems like being stuck in the cars for 15+ hours with no food or water and no refuge in sight.

IMG_20140130_005904

Unfortunately, it always takes moments like this to realize how blessed you truly are. I work in downtown Atlanta and had I not cut my hours to address issues I’ve been having with my back, I could have been one of those people. It’s amazing how some things you think are a trial turn out to be a blessing in disguise. I felt so helpless watching all the news stories about children and the elderly stuck in their cars or school buses. I did the only thing I could do PRAY.

Once I finished, I was pleasantly surprised to see all the goodwill being shown throughout the state. I commend all the people that opened up their homes, businesses, and more importantly their hearts to assist all the people affected by this storm. Several websites and news stations did an excellent job of keeping the public informed about the progression of the storm, where to find shelter, what numbers to call for assistance, and last but not least, educating the rest of the country about the seriousness of what happened once we were declared a state of emergency. It’s quite remarkable how the world can make a jaded person like myself believe in humanity again. For all the negativity that has transpired, its nice to know that good prevailed.

Since the people of Georgia did their part by coming together and helping each other, now it’s time for the government to do theirs.  I was absolutely disgusted to hear the excuses being given by the Mayor, Governor, and GDOT. Not to mention, the gauged towing costs and unnecessary car damages.  You can’t tell people to stay off the roads only to penalize them financially for not moving their cars. I don’t feel that the patrons should have to pay for the mistakes of their representatives.  Anytime children are stuck in school for more than 24 hours, people have to sleep in gas stations, abandon their cars, and/or walk home alone in the middle of the night is unacceptable!

I have the utmost respect and admiration for all the teachers, doctors, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, etc. that worked overtime and sacrificed being with their families to take care of others. You should be publicly acknowledged and compensated for your efforts. My mother is a retired teacher so I know first hand the sacrifices you make day in and day out. I hope one day your salaries will reflect the tireless work you do every year.

This is my opinion based on my personal experience, but I’d love to hear your reactions to the Snowpocalypse. Feel free to comment or share your thoughts, pictures, video, etc. !

(News articles and videos courtesy of WSB-TV, 11 Alive News, and CNN.)

Finally Woken

It’s a new year and I think its time for a new me! For a while I’ve been obsessed with figuring out how to become the successful, independent woman I had always envisioned. Unfortunately, I got to the point where I lost myself and realized that my aspirations for the future were depriving me of the present. There is nothing worse than being alive, but not truly embracing life; merely existing without living.

As a child, I always believed that I could do anything I set my mind to as long as I put forth the effort and commitment. Every goal I set I accomplished. I was always on the honor roll, graduated high school with a dual seal diploma with honors, kept the Hope Scholarship every semester, and made the Dean’s List several times in college. It wasn’t till after graduating from college that I was faced with the harsh reality that sometimes no matter how hard you try or how much you believe some things just aren’t meant to be.

After graduation I felt that all of my sacrifices would be worth it because I was going to land a good job in broadcasting/communications, move out, and embark on this great journey called life. Boy was I wrong!!!

I landed a reporting internship with an online news publication that I hoped would be the first step toward my journalism career. The experience was rewarding because it allowed me to enhance my interviewing, writing, and time management skills. However, (being an unpaid internship) enriching your life with experience doesn’t pay the bills, so I wouldn’t be able to ditch the awful life of retail until I found a job that pays.

I’ve never been afraid of hard work and I understood that I would have to fight my way to the top, but I didn’t anticipate that the journalism market would decide to downsize when I graduated. Perfect timing right?!?!? Finding another job and/or paid internship became virtually impossible. I went on interview after interview only to be rejected with the same response: “You’re really talented and have a great attitude, but we went with someone with more experience.” How was I supposed to gain experience when no one is willing to give you a chance and even the entry level jobs require at least 3 years of experience?

The next thing I know 5 years have past and I’m still in the same place I was after graduation. The only difference was that the ridiculously hopeful woman I was withered away and all that was left was a defeated, jaded, and lifeless person. Every aspect of my life was depressing. I hated that I was a college graduate still working the same job I had since high school. All of the people I graduated with seemed to be making it happen in one way or another, so what was wrong with me. I used to have all the confidence in the world, but now I questioned if I was as special as I thought. I was the person that was the overachiever and most likely to succeed. The one that everyone (including myself) thought would change the world, make a difference. Why did it feel like the world stopped believing in me?

I got to the point where I isolated myself from everyone because I couldn’t bear to answer the inevitable questions: “How are you and what have you been up to? I couldn’t lie anymore and mask a happy disposition. The truth is I was sad… lost … depressed… angry and ashamed. I had fallen from grace and I didn’t know how to be myself or pick myself up. A person can only take so much rejection before they break.

I was at a crossroads. I needed help, but I had rejected all who attempted including my family and friends. Finally my parents convinced me to try therapy. Being a private person, I felt anxious about divulging my feelings to a stranger. However, it was better than the alternative of continuing to wake up everyday wishing it were my last. It turns out therapy was the best thing for me. It saved my life.

I spent so much time creating this perfect persona and being the person that everyone thought I should be. I defined myself through my accomplishments instead of things that mattered like my compassion for others, my quirky sense of humor, or my selflessness. It took hearing it from an absolute stranger for me to realize that my life was worth living and it’s never to late to start over. It’s important to have goals, but they shouldn’t consume you. My ambition wasn’t the problem; I just needed to narrow the scope. Instead of worrying about the future, I take life one day at a time. I also stopped being afraid to speak my truth… thoughts…. and opinions. I started to embrace all aspects of my life good and bad because each experience was necessary. I needed to be beaten down to my core to realize how strong and resilient I truly am. I no longer strive for perfection. I just want to be the best version of myself and not repeat mistakes, but learn from them. I also had to concede that I couldn’t continue to worry about things I have no control over. Life happens. You just have to roll with the punches and keep your head up. My faith in God has been renewed because I know that the only reason I’m alive to tell my story is because of the countless prayers from family and friends on my behalf. It means the world to me to know that so many found my life worthy when I believed it was worthless. I was able to see who my true friends were and words can’t express my gratitude for every single one of you.

It took a couple years after therapy for me to truly exercise the techniques I acquired. I’m proud of myself for sharing my struggles because it’s something that I never would have done because I put more value in other’s opinion’s instead of my own. We all go through internal struggles and no one knows the depth but ourselves. It’s imperative that we acknowledge our emotions and not judge each other. Life is not black and white, but various shades of grey. If you only focus on the negative, then there’s no room for positivity to flourish. It’s always darkest before the dawn rang true in my case. Self-discovery is a beast, but it helped me conquer my demons and gave me a more realistic perspective on life.

I’ve let fear run my life for so long and I’m sick of it. I may not be where I want to be, but I know I’m closer than I was yesterday. In 2014, I want to open myself up to new experiences and people. I want to be the difference in the world I aspired to as a child. I want this blog to reflect all the aspects of myself that I’m passionate about and spark my interest like film, television, fashion, communication, faith, etc.

I recently created a profile on a video networking website called Tiffany Ignited and it will have the official launch soon!!!! The purpose of the site is to provide a one-stop shop to becoming a savvy communicator in today’s market. Throughout my life I have acquired numerous techniques for effective communication and now is the time for me to share these skills with the public through this innovative platform. I aim to take the negativity out of the communications industry by promoting positivity within the world and encouraging every person to give back by sharing the knowledge they acquire. The site will include videos to help people effectively market their business and skills through social media and networking. It will also include interviews, panel discussions, tutorials, and a platform to highlight people giving back to their communities. I’ve been blessed with this vision and come hell or high water it will be a success. I believe that if more people helped each other instead of focusing on self-preservation the world would be a better place.

The future is bright and I can’t wait for you to join me on this mission!

Who’s with me?!?!?!?

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