Radical Selfcare

Photography by  Cocoandclick

Photography by Cocoandclick

This is it! This is what I've been mentally preparing for all year long. Christmas is but 2 days away and i feel like i've been studying and preparing all year for this final test. All of my #hicoselfcare efforts has been to survive the holiday season. Iโ€™m usually hella depressed and tend to hibernate from Christmas Eve to New Yearโ€™s Day๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ. Not even exaggerating! I used to cry so heavy i'd be drained and needed days worth of sleep to recover. This year is the first of 33 years of life that I actually feel the mythical holiday spirit! ( correction i just celebrated my 34th birthday here and here ). Family members may say otherwise but for self preservation reasons, i don't have a single positive memory from my childhood pertaining to Christmas. Last year I got a tree reluctantly ๐Ÿ™„. Wasn't my idea ,but i didn't want to be a grey cloud and wild rain๐ŸŒจ over other people's holiday cheer.  This year I gave myself a migraine from how excited I was to get a tree. What a difference a year of self care has made.  

I was reading the holiday posts of one of my new favorite blogger, Ondia J, and answering her prompts got me to thinking about how far i have come on my Mental Health Journey. In an effort to both document this milestone as well as share my testimony i wanted to share my thoughts to some of the question she asked her readers about their holiday experience. So, how did i get to this destination of Joy and Holiday cheer you ask?

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Well first off, it is not a destination. I haven't arrived at a magical latitude and longitude that unlocked a hidden realm in my life. I've spent the past few years reading books, challenging every negative thought, changing the conversations i have with myself. Constantly editing my moods. Heavy Heavy Lifting! Ugh! What has impacted me most is my Practice of Gratitude! Learning that you have to go beyond having just a attitude and instead taking every opportunity to practice gratitude was the pivot my logical mind needed. Being grateful for every single thing every single day keeps my mind busy long enough to not rest too long on a negative thought. It allowed me to take responsibility for the role I play in my own unhappiness. I may be a victim of my childhood but as a grownup I no longer have to identify myself as that unhappy child. Reaching that point of self awareness allowed me to intercept, when i found myself bored and stirring up bad memories to entertain my mind. Playing the victim game and replaying the highlights. I realized i had become addicted to the internal conflict. Trapped in the cycle of playing the victim, expecting to always be taken advantage of and forever waiting on the day to be rescued or for things to magically BE better. Till i read *The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle. He reminded me that i am already whole. A complete being. Lacking nothing. I challenged myself daily to believe that. It changed my mindset. If i am attracted to something in other people it is because i am what i attract. It starts with me. I am who i was waiting for to rescue me. 

With both my constant practice of gratitude and believing whole heartedly that i am already whole; i found myself experiencing the magic of the holiday with a new sense of celebration. With the fog of my depression lifted, i was just so grateful for life, being given another day to live.  I was even able to recognize some elements of the holidays that i didn't realize brought me joy. 

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Christmas is all about the tradition of lights, decorating a tree, and exchanging gifts. Things i've always thought were so cliche. Till last year i was given a hand made chunky wool throw i had been obsessing over and raving about on my instagram. The victim in me always has me feeling like no one really listens and pays attention to me. So when that special someone presented me with that thoughtful imperfect hand made gesture that she had dedicated hours to making, i shirked with joy! I didn't even know i was capable of such a startling sound. I was beyond shocked! My frozen heart was flooded with warmth! I couldn't have asked for a better holiday present. I am so grateful that in that moment i was present enough to allow that experience to awaken the joy in me. It set a new precedent for the holidays. One that i hold on to with everything in me! 

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So this year we got a tree the day after thanksgiving! Postponing the joy of decorating it till after my birthday, only heightened the intensity. Its not a "pinterest worthy" tree but what it symbolizes is far greater than what can be captured by a camera. For years and years and years I've felt like a victim of the holiday season. Reminded of what i never had growing up, hoping one day things would get better. Wishing i had some holiday tradition to feel normal and validated. Now i do. I've had it all along. I just had to stay out of my own way long enough to make the connection. As Eckhart Tolle said "The past cannot survive in your presence" .

Today i plan on gathering my ingredients to make myself some Rum PoPo (Belizean version of Eggnog), and wrapping the gifts to put under my tree. I hope this feeling carries over to the years to come. And in the event it doesn't i will cherish this memory just the same! How do you cope with the holidays?

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P.S. In an effort to be more about what i say i am about, i want to share and show support to a women that i am inspired! And i do hope you check out Ondia J on her blog or her instagram @theondiaj. She is so so talented, truly! 

*The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle is a book that has singlehandly transformed my life! I do intend to go into greater detail in my upcoming posts. Its impact has been so powerful that i couldn't possibly summarize it on a single post. I do hope you decide to sign up for my email list so you are notified of my upcoming posts. Thank you so much for your continued support!

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Who is Keisha Nicole? (20 Insane Facts About Me) Part ll

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So i went and counted the eggs before they hatched. In other words i announced the part two before i even recorded the dang gone video ๐Ÿ™ˆ. Please forgive me and i hope you find my part two video worth the wait. You guys know i love love love to interact with you so feel free to comment on the shenanigans that has occurred in my life. And while i have you...what do you think of my little spot i got here? Take a look around! Till next time 

Who is Keisha Nicole? ( 20 Insane Facts about me)

Hey there!  So its my Birthday today and I am feeling Blessed and oh so Grateful for...just LIFE!!!!!!! To commemorate the event i decided to do one of those 20 Facts about me tags but with my own little spin on it. I love reading these because i get to see if the general perception i have of a person is accurate compared to traits in the trivia they share. Fun! I enjoy sharing my stories but often feel like they are such heavy topics. I thought doing a post like this could be a lighthearted way to share some unique and interesting things about me that i don't mind talking and laughing about. Its a  side to me i don't often show. Leggo!

โ— First off, I don't like the name Keisha. Idk, i just don't feel like a "Keisha". Sometimes when a person calls my name to get my attention there's a delayed response. Like huh? You talking to me? I've always felt like this, but it wasn't until today that i finally figured out how to articulate why i dislike my name. I was on instagram a couple days ago and saw a post saying " The Mayor or ATL name is Keisha y'all!" and it hit me. Having a name like that precedes you, and often gives off the impression that someone named Keisha is not expected to make it to high places. It's usually decided at birth to give a child a name that will help him/her get a good job. On the contrary, Keisha is the name used for ratchet characters referenced in every song you can think of ๐Ÿ™„

โ— I was in a Jenny Craig commercial with Mariah Carey. Thee single worst experience of my life ๐Ÿ˜ฉ. It took me two years to be able to tell this story without tears and snot bubbles. Let me know if you'd like to hear the details of this story. Of course there was a grand lesson i learned from the experience that has proved to be invaluable. 

โ— In Junior Highschool i painted my nails every day.  I would choose colors  to match my clothes, and do simple and geometric designs using whatever tool i would find around the house ( toothpick to make polka dots, cotton swaps to give a cloudy overlay effect to the polish). I now know that it was my Anxiety about fitting into my new school ( I was new to the country) that gave me Insomnia. So to pass the time i would paint my long natural nails with  intricate freestyle designs on both hands  to coordinate with my outfits. I got so good people thought they were stencils done by a professional.  So now you know the origin of #hicopaintjob. Which brings me to the next fact

โ— A rollerblading accident left me ambidextrous. I was probably about 10 years old when i tried rollerblading for the first time. It took all of 5 seconds to bust my ass on the freshly waxed laundry room floor of my grandmother's building. I broke my right wrist. I wore the cast for what felt like forever (was actually about  three  to four weeks) while on vacation in New York, but couldn't bear the itching once i returned to the tropical weather in Belize. While my mom was busy in her Shop doing a client's hair i snuck away with a bucket to go fill it with water. I soaked the cast to soften up the mold then proceeded to beat my arm against the concrete wall to deepen the cracks till i was able to rip it apart and pull my arm out. Needless to say my wrist wasn't completely healed and my right arm hurt so badly when i tried to use it. To avoid getting into trouble i hid the pain from my parents and caretakers and taught myself to write with my left hand instead. It had to be neat and undetectable cause my godmother didn't play when it came to proper homework. 

โ— My favorite color is Chartreuse. I fell in love with the vibrant color and became obsessed with it once i realized how the color commands your attention. When you see it you're left trying to decide if its more green than yellow or if its a dull neon shade. Upon first time hearing the name, a request to repeat the pronunciation almost always follows ๐Ÿ˜„ and if the spelling wasn't provided above you'd have a hard time asking google. This color is me in a nutshell! Not to mention whenever i recognize the color anywhere a flood of endorphins rush my system and perks up my mood immediately๐Ÿค—

โ— Growing up my mother allowed us to have any pet we asked for. At different times we had rabbits, a duck who acted as a guard dog and wouldn't let strangers enter our yard ( often times even me), a parrot who only spoke to us in spanish, several dogs, and even a crocodile tied up in the back yard. I don't remember how she acquired a crocodile but i remember her threatening to get one to scare my little brother. He was a terror growing up and nothing scared him. The strategy backfired on her and having a croc only made us cooler in our friends ' eyes. I took no parts in caring for any of these animals since i was terrified of all of them and only visited on the weekends.

โ— I don't like Bananas. Well not so much that i dislike them, more so i avoid them. They taste good but the texture is a trigger for me. I was only given healthy snacks as a kid. Always a banana or raisins ๐Ÿ™„. I grew bored of eating bananas so i would leave them in my backpack till i was able to throw them away on my way home. One time i forgot to throw it out. After a week of being squished in my backpack it quickly got brown and moldy and disgusting. For years i would gag at the site of a banana, the trauma is still vivid in my memory. ๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคฎ

โ— I don't have any tattoos, but I've always had piercings. First piercing was my tongue ring my freshman year of high school. I did it without my mom's knowledge and it was quite out of character for someone like me that was very conservative. Once my mom found out it wasn't a big deal. I had it for two years though, and no one outside my household knew i had it unless i told them. Not even my little boyfriend at the time ๐ŸŒพ ๐Ÿ‘€๐ŸŒพ

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โ— I went to 4 different high schools in 3 different boroughs before i graduated. Twas a struggle...( read Social Anxiety overload) but i was determined to finish and get my diploma. By my junior year of high school i had like 9 credits. The high school i attended last was an alternative one that held classes at night and didn't offer electives. I was able to double up on classes and go to summer school, do extra credit term papers to make up my 40 credits? i needed to graduate. When i completed my requirements i was so done with school i didn't attend graduation and didn't pick up my diplomat till like 5 years after. School is super triggering for me ๐Ÿคช

โ— I was the runner up in a beauty pageant. I was in Infant 2 in Belize, which i guess is like kindergarten or 1st grade here in the states, when i decided i wanted to participate in my school pageant. When i initially asked my godmother Genny for permission, she agreed. However the date of the pageant conflicted with an upcoming trip to the states she was taking. I exploited her original approval and got my aunt to sign off on my permission slip when Genny, my godmother, was out of the country. I lied to my mom, dad, and teachers to keep my cover. My mom was a beautician so i got her to do my hairstyle in shirley temple curls for the pageant without any question. The dresses i used for the different segments were all custom made and extravagant, curtesy of my mother for easter and birthdays. Only thing missing was my talent segment. I wanted to sing, but i also wanted to win; so i opted to dance punta as my talent instead. The contestant before me danced punta as well, but i got so energized by the applause she received i went up after her and killed ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพthat๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ stage๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ! I danced till my sides ached and did an encore. My lies got found out and i had to leave before i was given my sash. But it still counts in my book. 

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Lordt was i a sneaky child ๐Ÿ˜‡. My mom called me earlier today to wish me a happy birthday. To verify some of these stories  i asked her if she remembered some of events. She did not and thought i was telling Anancy Stories . Those of you of carribbean decent knows that those are folklore stories and she thought i was making these up. I have quite a few more but i decided to put the rest in a video. Let me know if these stories support any assumptions you've made about me. Be sure to subscribe to my youtube channel here if you aren't already and hit the bell so you're notified when i upload the rest of these insane facts about me! hahahaha

Thanks for spending a little time with me on my birthday. I appreciate you 

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