Wellness Wednesday: Choose You

Vallejo Times Herald photo“As you become more successful and further down the road of purpose, more opportunities will come your way. It doesn’t get easier to decide between each one but the wisdom gained along the way makes it easier to know which one(s) are best for YOU.  Choose you” ~ Rhachelle Nicol’

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Progress Is The Goal

I have been writing this blog in my head for the past few months. At first, I was beating myself up for not writing as much as I had been. But with progress being the goal, I must admit that I have made a lot of progress in other areas of my life. On December 23, 2014 I finally made moving back home to California a reality. Though it still feels like I’m just on an extended vacation, I snap out of it every Monday while I sit in traffic headed to work. Yes, in that 2 month time period, I received 3 job offers. Not to mention that during my first week of work my boss informed me he was signing me up for B-school with Marie Forleo.

My Scars Chat - SFSU

My Scars Chat – SFSU

And if relocating and starting a new job isn’t enough progress, I was also planning the first My Scars Chat of 2015. I was so honored this past Wednesday to be back on the campus of my Alma Mater, San Francisco State University, along with my undergraduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc and host a My Scars Chat with young women and men that were eager to learn and discuss the impact of domestic violence. And they showed their scars! They opened up and discussed some of their life experiences. They talked about the concerns they had for friends and I am confident that they left empowered and will continue to show their scars so that others know they can heal.

So no I have not been vacationing and over-indulging in free time but progressing forward. I have clients that I am also working with and bringing their brand messages to life through t-shirts. One thing is for certain I am content with where I am and I am going to find a way to celebrate myself very soon. I am learning not to be so hard on myself. Every seed that I plant is not going to blossom overnight but if I keep taking steps towards reaching my goals one day they will be achieved. “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

Erica Campbell Showing Her Scars

Erica Campbell Showing Her Scars

And then there is that moment when you receive a text from a friend of a picture that she saw on Instagram of one of your favorite gospel singers and half of Mary Mary, wearing a My Scars shirt. Then you’re told by your Sorority sister that Tina Campbell wore hers on the Mary Mary reality show and you catch the promo clip. It reinforced that fact that, I may not be “busy” (doing stuff just to pass the time) but I am definitely making progress. What goals have you set? What are you doing to achieve them? Are you making progress? Do you need an accountability partner? I’m listening!

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

Did You Know That I Was A Professional Runner?

Female runner legsOkay so I’ve never ran in the Olympics or anything.  Actually, I’ve never even ran on a track team.  Okay I did attempt the track team once after being told that I was built like a runner but the way my lungs are set up, it didn’t work out.  I became a professional in running away from my problems.

In my 20’s, I always worked multiple jobs and kept a savings account that allowed me to live on my terms.  When I didn’t like a job, I quit.  When I had an issue with a roommate, I decided to live alone.  When I started having problems with my mother, I moved out.  When my relationship was falling apart, I left.  I had put in so much time at one particular company, the manager would allow me to explore other opportunities but always kept an open door for me to return to my position.  The behavior had started when I was a little girl and I don’t think my parents saw it as a problem.  I took piano lessons for a little while.  When I stopped liking piano, I was able to quit.  The same was with tennis, ballet and any other extracurricular activity I showed a short lived interest in.  The problem was that with all the quitting, leaving and running I never learned true discipline, how to speak up for myself or get what I knew I deserved.  I allowed others to dictate how far I could go and where I would go or I just sabotaged it myself.  Well one thing is for certain, you can’t spend your entire life running.

7 years ago, I ended up in Las Vegas because I was running away from a relationship.  It was probably the best run that I ever made but I’m realizing I gave up so much of my power; power and strength that I didn’t know I had.  My situation had drastically changed from when I was in my early 20’s.  I wasn’t surrounded by family or friends and I couldn’t work 2 and 3 jobs so I didn’t have that savings that had provided me a way of escape in the past.  I finally had to face my STUFF.  I had to come to terms with me, what I wanted out of life and stop running from what I didn’t want.  I was attracting everything I didn’t want in life because that’s where my focus was, I honestly didn’t know what I wanted.

It didn’t happen overnight and even these past few months have proven that there is still a little bit of a runner in me but I am learning how to surrender.  I literally had to be left without a penny to my name in order for me to stay put this past month.  But it was the best situation for me in order to stay on the path of living out my purpose.  If I had ran a month ago like I wanted to, I would not have ran into Le’Andria Johnson and discussed The Le’Andria Johnson Collection a couple of weeks ago or had the opportunity to work the red carpet at the Soul Train Awards on Friday (November 7, 2014).  Both of these have been goals of mine, I would have literally been forfeiting my dreams.  I am retiring my running shoes for some stilettos, I think I’ll look better in them walking through these open doors.  I don’t want to be down to my last anymore to recognize all the blessings that are literally chasing me down.  I am ready to receive all that God’s has for me and I am going to continue watering where He has me planted.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

#WhenILeft I Found Strength

Over the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on the impact of being in an unhealthy and abusive relationship. The relationship affected so many areas of my life, my health, communication and interpersonal skills, challenged my faith in God, made it difficult to maintain employment, etc. It took me awhile to recognize the affects but it has allowed me the opportunity to work on them instead of run away from them. I found my strength when I was able to confront the women I had become and vow to do what was necessary to heal.

7 years ago, I left California in order to start over and rediscover the woman that I had lost; I have definitely found her. Now the thought of returning back home is not as fearful for me as it was years prior. I didn’t think I was strong enough. I thought I would end up back in the relationship I fought to leave. But I’m definitely returning as a new woman, a better woman, a healed woman. I’m ready to live out all my dreams and aspirations unapologetically.

There are so many things that I have learned about myself over the past few years.  So many lessons and necessary tools that I will be applying to my life during this leg of my journey.

The power of my “no” I realized that I have a hard time saying no even if I know that it will cause me a great sacrifice by saying yes.  I have sacrificed my time and finances because I would not say no. In most situations, I have walked away feeling violated, used and empty. I realized that the times that I knew I should have said no were mere distractions disguised as opportunities. If you’re not careful your intimate and business relationships will re-victimize you.

Setting Boundaries  Everyone does not need or deserve full access into your life. Establishing boundaries, communicating those boundaries and then sticking to them is very important.  Established boundaries will also make it easier to say no when it’s needed.

I am pursuing the career/business that I want and not the one I need. I am clearer than ever about what I want to do and/or the job that I want to have. I understand my purpose and desire the work that I do to be reflective of it.

I am removing the dimmer from my light in order to shine brighter than ever.

I am finishing everything that I started.

I am living my life on my terms.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

Almost Homeless

homelessI have been planning my departure from Las Vegas for what seems to be forever. My plan was to relocate during the summer before my children started back to school. It seemed like a doable plan. I had interviewed for a position back in June in California and they seemed to really like me. Everything seemed to be going fine. I had moved to the final hiring stage, submitting permission for them to request my background information, motor vehicle report and references. I was confident that the position was mine. I mean who digs into a person’s background without an intent to hire. I put in my two weeks notice. It was finally happening. I was finally moving back home. Then I made the call to follow up and make sure they had received what they needed. I was given excuses and to my dismay, they had offered someone else the job. What would I do now? I wasn’t going to ask for my old position back. So I relied on plan B. Just do it.

I went to California anyways. It was mid-July, which would give me plenty enough time to get situated and figure out the school my children would attend. I was already planning events out there so I might as well be there. But it wasn’t that easy. I was still locked into my lease in Las Vegas until October.  I was staying with my sister in California. So the minute an issue came up, I was like “well I have an apartment to go to”(I’m a professional runner, I run away from confrontations).   I didn’t want to be made to feel as though I was someone’s burden.  I get that often being the youngest of four.  So I packed up our bags and we returned to Las Vegas.  I enrolled my children in school and we went back to our normal routines, except for the fact that I didn’t have full time employment or full time income for that matter. The cost of planning the events was draining the makeshift budget I had created for the move and my savings were dwindling.

By the end of September, I had to give up my place and there was no way I was renewing my lease. I had thought about it but given the circumstances there was just no way for that to even happen.  Fortunately, my oldest sister (there’s a 14 year age difference so she is like my mother) that resides in Las Vegas allowed my children and I to move in with her. As crazy as it all seemed, it was actually forcing me to be clear as to what I wanted in order for God to do what needed to be done. I could no longer waiver in my decision to relocate.

Since my sister lives 30 minutes away from my home and my children’s school, I decided that when I dropped the kids off to school, I would just stay on my side of town in order to save on gas. I would eat lunch in my car parked in the shade. My youngest son has afternoon kindergarten, so we would spend our mornings running errands, shipping off RN Brand tees (nice plug) and hanging out at the park. Our bathroom breaks were taken at the park or the grocery store. We made it work. The weather in Las Vegas was still nice, actually hot, so we always had plenty of Capri-suns and juices in the car. By day I felt homeless. But I also felt some sort of freedom. When we would arrive at the park some of the homeless people would be packing up their possessions in order to avoid getting a ticket from the police. But during this time, I could focus completely on my brand and children, not bills, a job, etc. but what I really love. I was able to write more and I even got more clarity on the type of job(s) that I wanted to apply for. And one thing I was certain of is that my time in Las Vegas was coming to an end.

When I would return to my sister’s house in the evening, I would search for jobs, send off my resume, homework with the little ones, eat, shower, sleep, etc.  If I hadn’t given up my place or quit my job, moving back home would have been a thought never acted upon. After being in Las Vegas for 7 years, this was the first year that I said I couldn’t take it anymore.  I need my family; my children need their family.  So many things have been happening behind the scenes and I can’t wait to share how being almost homeless got me exactly where I was suppose to be.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

#WhenILeft Anger and Rage Followed

AngerThe very person that I said I never wanted to be like was the person I was becoming.  If things didn’t go his way, he got upset.  He argued. He lashed out.  He yelled. He cursed. He was full of anger.  I thought that if I just did things right the first time he would be happy.  But I soon realized that nothing that I did would ever be right or enough for him.  So I joined in with the screaming and yelling.  He raised his voice, I raised mine.  He cursed, I cursed.  Hurt people, hurt people.  Now we were both hurt, hurting each other and I had become what I said I would never be.

I didn’t realize how much the relationship had impacted me until I left.  I had a hard time expressing myself when I was upset.  I was even having difficulty communicating with my children. I could go from 0-100 in 2.5 seconds.  I found myself always complaining or finding something to complain about, even if I was complaining about something that I had the power to change.  I was on the defense even if there wasn’t an offense.  I even settled for the, “I’m just being me” excuse for a while.  But the truth was the relationship changed me. Abuse changes you.  I was no longer being me.  I don’t even think I knew who I was anymore.

For a while, I beat myself up over the person I had become because I didn’t know how to get back to being the person I had been.  I realized I had to do some soul searching when the inner turmoil I was feeling became the hell I was living.  My life was falling apart.  I was running away from a relationship but still carrying all the baggage.  I had to learn how to surrender.  I was fighting to regain control over my life but the fighting was just creating more battles.  I had to give up everything I had learned to learn something new.

I began reflecting and writing.  I finally gave myself permission to feel the pain of my experiences.

We get angry because it makes us feel in control because we are afraid to go into the hurt.

You are never angry for the reason that you think that you are.

Rather than be angry, try going deep into the hurt to actually feel it and be vulnerable to it.

That is how you go through the pain and can come out on the other side to find the love.  

(Iyanla Vanzant on Anger)

When I became vulnerable to the pain the wounds were able to heal.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

#WhenILeft Financial Abuse Followed

Financial abuse is present in many domestic violent relationships.  Financial abuse is often characterized by a victim having limited access to financial resources by not being allowed to work or being forced to work and hand over their wages.  My situation was a little different.  He would refuse to work whenever we got back together, losing his job almost overnight each time.  I didn’t have to hand over my paycheck, but everything went towards paying the bills.  He would even ask to borrow money knowing he had no means to pay it back.  I was left with nothing quite often for myself.  I remember when I finally made the decision that I had endured enough.  I had lost my job and we had been evicted from our apartment.  We had been leaving in a weekly motel.  I had found work but it was just enough to keep a roof over our head temporarily. He still wouldn’t look for work.  In fact, he would leave to go hang out as soon as I got home and stay gone until late at night.  I realized in my heart that whether I was with him or not, I was still doing everything on my own.

Post relationship he refused to provide any financial support, working off and on then quitting so I could not get child support.  Unfortunately sometimes the aftermath of leaving an abusive relationshp is what puts women back in an abusive situation.  I want to paint a realistic picture because some people still don’t understand #whyIstayed, why so many others have stayed and why some are still staying.

There were many nights that I went to sleep wondering how I would provide for our children.  The only solution that he would ever provide was that I send the children to him.  I couldn’t imagine living without my children.  But I also didn’t understand how a man that wasn’t working and refusing to pay child support could possibly provide for 5 children.  It was just another way to make me feel inadequate and as if I wasn’t doing enough.  I allowed it to get to me for a while.  But then I realized that I was doing the best that I could with what I had and I was continuously striving for more.  I wasn’t going to continue to allow him to beat me up emotionally or beat myself up.  It was just another way for him to try and maintain control.

The abuse didn’t stop because the relationship was over.  It didn’t even stop when I moved to another State.  It stopped when I no longer looked to him to provide something that he was not capable of, support.  He was not able to do anything that in his mind gave up any form of the control he wanted or thought he had.  Has it been easy providing for my children alone? No. But the peace that I have found makes it all worth it.  I know that the journey is not easy and at times you may even feel discouraged but don’t give up.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

 

#WhenILeft Isolation Followed

I know who I am

Oftentimes isolation is discussed in the context of a domestic violent relationship.  Isolation is one of the ways that an abuser maintains control, keeping their victim away from family and friends.  Isolation also makes the victim feel as if no one cares.  It may be subtle in the beginning; the abuser may say that they don’t want to come to a family gathering or night out with friends.  Then escalate to not allowing the victim attend such outings or using guilt trips so that the victim will decline.  Subsequently, the victim begins to turn down the invitations, until in some cases the invitations stop.

I experienced all of that and more within my relationship.  But even after it ended, the isolation seemed to have followed.  I was a single mother, in a different State, away from family and friends, 5 children, maintaining a home and work. Just as easily as he had packed up and moved to Las Vegas, NV with me, he had packed up and returned back to CA to live with his mother.  Packing up and just leaving to go back to CA was not an option for me.  Where would I go?  When I left CA, I walked away from everything in an attempt to leave him and the relationship so there was nothing to return to.

I was putting the pieces back together in my life.  I reached out to friends and family but speaking on the phone was not the same as the gatherings I had once organized.  I was happy that after 7 years the relationship was finally over but I found myself feeling alone. Since I was the sole provider, I spent most of my days working and my nights with my children.  I had a hard time developing friendships with people because I just didn’t have the time and a babysitter was not in the budget.  The invitations I received to hang out with my co-workers were once again being turned down.  I knew that my circumstances could make me vulnerable. I didn’t want to return to the relationship I had fought so hard to leave and I didn’t want to end up in another one just like it.

He made sure not to send child support so that I would not have extra money for ME.  So not only was I still dealing with feeling isolated, I was still dealing with financial abuse. I did my best to re-engage myself in some of the hobbies that I had given up. I began writing. I also made an effort to interact more with my peers.  I didn’t get to go hang out after work but I made sure that I at least enjoyed their company on my lunch breaks. This was very important in order for me to break away from the isolation that had followed me.

If you are struggling with feelings of being alone, reach out to someone, rekindle old friendships.  It may take a lot of effort on your part but it will be worth it.  A support system is very important to leaving an abusive relationship.  Over the past few weeks, men and women have taken to the internet to share with people “Why they stayed” in their abusive situation.  It’s not easy to stand in your truth while the world hides theirs and judges yours.  Stand anyway.  There are so many dynamics involved in each and every situation but if leaving was as easy as some try to make it so many more would leave.  It may not be easy but it is possible.

If you are in the Oakland, CA area, join myself and a wonderful panel for My Scars Chat. My Scars Chat is a live panel discussion on the impact of domestic violence on families, children and the community; a conversation between men and women about verbal, financial, sexual, spiritual and physical abuse.  Join us as we explore effective prevention methods, the road to healing and using one’s scars to bring awareness.

SCARS are those lessons that we learn in life that seem unbearable and come at a greater cost.  But the scars let us know that we survived it and healing is possible.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

My Scars Chat – Oakland

My Scars Chat Oakland

Wow!! In just two weeks, I will be in Oakland, CA for another My Scars Chat. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. The feedback from My Scars Chat – Sacramento was amazing. I want to give a special thank you to Michael Minnick of WEAVE Inc., a local domestic violence organization in Sacramento, that not only volunteered his time to speak on the panel but also provided brochures.  Every My Scars Chat has been different thus far. Resources vary from City to City and State to State. However, I am thankful that I have been able to get so much support from various community resources in each City.  Someone reached out to me and asked if I could live stream the upcoming Chat and it looks like we are going to be able to make that happen.  So stay tuned for details about how you can view My Scars Chat – Oakland from where you are.

We have some amazing sponsors that are supporting our efforts of getting the word out. Make sure you take out some time to visit Divas With A Purpose a great community of women, empowering, inspiring and motivating one another. There is definitely a little bit of Diva in us all. Also, make sure to visit Butterfly L.U.V. for all of your lipstick and lipgloss needs. Lets kiss domestic violence away!

If you are looking for ways to get involved during October, domestic violence awareness month, here is a list:

Contact you local domestic violence shelter and consider volunteering

Wear purple. Purple is the color for domestic violence awareness.

If you are a survivor, break the silence and share your story.

Support a cause that is bringing awareness.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.rnbranddesign.bigcartel.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning

What Happens In Vegas Shouldn’t Stay In Vegas

7 years ago, I arrived in Las Vegas, NV with a suitcase, my 3 oldest children and one on the way. I was broken, feeling hopeless and at the point of giving up. I was trying to move away from all of my emotional baggage but I soon discovered it had joined me on my journey. In those 7 years, I dealt with homelessness, being terminated from not one job but two, lights being turned off, losing my car and the list goes on. However, in the midst of all the pain, heartache, shame and loss, I found and established a relationship with God.

I didn’t realize when I boarded on that bus that I was embarking on not just a physical journey but a spiritual journey. I was away from everything and everyone that was familiar; it was just my children and I. I could no longer point the finger and make someone else responsible for the pain that I was experiencing. I can remember one day just crying out to God. I said “Lord show me my heart, show me those things that are causing me to continue to self-inflict pain”. Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it. God began to show me the condition of my heart. Not only did He show me the condition of my heart but He began to teach and show me His truths and through the teaching my heart began to heal.

I felt like a new creature. The weights were being lifted, my peace was being restored and I finally had joy within my heart. But I had no idea that God was preparing me for something greater than me. My story of transformation became Sunday Mourning which some of you may be familiar with but it didn’t stop there. I began signing each copy of Sunday Mourning with “I show my scars so that others know they can heal”. Each time I signed those words it was like an affirmation that God was going to do more with my pain than I ever could by holding on to it. Those words soon became a shirt and have connected me with so many men and women across the Country that are willing to allow God to use their scars to encourage and minister to someone else.

Today I can say, I’m leaving Las Vegas lighter than ever and no emotional baggage will be following me on this next leg. I’ve learned so much about myself, allowed God to heal the wounds that were threatening my life and purpose and now I’m freer than ever to “Show My Scars”. I am excited about what God has in store for me. You never know where God is going to have me “Showing My Scars”.

I show my scars so that others know they can heal.” Someone needs to see your scars!

Have you liked the Showing Our Scars Facebook Page? We are “Showing Our Scars”!

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingOurScarsMovement

You can also order your “My Scars” Tee!

http://www.christiantees.storenvy.com

Find out more about the story behind “My Scars”

Sunday Mourning