I started my own nonprofit organization to serve fighters of breast cancer after losing my own mother to breast cancer. On her birthday this year, she would have been 63 years young. Since starting my nonprofit organization, I realized that everyone in my field was typically male, caucasian, over 50 years of age, had an advanced degree, and was considered pretty wealthy. I knew my nonprofit would struggle so I had to strategize this accurately in order for my nonprofit to survive. I decided to go back to school. I could not decide between getting a degree in the communications field (Masters in Mass Communications) or something else. I looked up schools inside the United States and then I knew my next step. I would obtain my Masters in Public Administration concentrating on Nonprofit Management. I already had the communications skills I needed. I needed to grow in dealing with the various public entities as this is what I would be doing with my nonprofit organization. I also knew that I made some simple mistakes that could have been avoided in the start up process if I only had a mentor or personal experience in the nonprofit sector already. I was accepted to the University of Central Florida and did not even wait for the other letters of acceptance to come through. My GRE was waived because of my field experience in the nonprofit sector. I made one visit with my sister and knew this was the right decision. The traveling back and forth between two states began to weigh on me but I could not give up. I was on my way to becoming a better me for my nonprofit strategically. When there are things we truly want in life, we make the sacrifices to make it happen. People ask me all the time how to start a nonprofit organization and want to start one on their own. Most do not after they realize all the work, time, money, and dedication it takes. This is my purpose. Higher education is key. What are you waiting for? AP
Here is a throwback for you. The photographer who took this photograph died from prostate cancer a few years ago- may he forever rest in peace. I was modeling for a few years and boy, was that an interesting adventure. I never dreamt of modeling when I was a young girl because I was a tomboy. I could never be a high fashion runway model because I did not have height or the figure. I was always “thicker” than your average girl growing up and was very athletic. So where did that leave me? I was naive when I started in the business but I got smart real quick. Several “opportunities” for videos and overtly sexual magazines, were easily presented to me but I turned them down. I wanted more. I did not want to be just another woman displayed as “just” a “sex object”. I easily grew tired of the “cat calls” and overt disrespect.
Some women and men began to call me “up tight” and said I should learn to relax, which helped me realize that this was a deeper rooted issue. My modeling career was going no where. I began to see so many women settle and lower their standards as women with dignity. Some sold their bodies competing to be the next “sex object” for another man to touch himself to in a magazine or a music video.
I wanted out. I wanted more. I was tired of being told that models do not speak their minds, they just sit there and look sexy. I remember reliving all the experiences in my Gender and Communications course in undergraduate school in college and that is when it hit me.
I not only joined the military to serve and do something great but another reason was to prove something. I had to prove that I was more than just a pretty face. Beauty in the “eyes of the beholder” had to know me more than just externally. While serving in the military, male soldiers asked me what I was doing in the military as if I did not belong. Often times I was told “you are too pretty to be in the military” as if only women who were considered less than beautiful by “societies standards of beauty” were in the military.
Let us change the way we think. It must not only start with changing this culture and society norms but we have to elevate our women to have more self esteem and pride. This will not come overnight. Lack of equality is also an issue. Women can be great, women can do more, do not settle for less. Reach out to me if there is anything I can do to help. I support you.
I live life by the principles to reduce as much stress as possible. A positive vibes only kind of lifestyle that incorporates physical, mental, and spiritual bliss. We all have stress and all stress is not bad stress. Some stress helps us grow and move mountains. Some stress truly gives us the necessary tools we need, like those ethical decision-making skills we need in life.
How do you incorporate a reduced stress living environment? For me… I like to start with self. What am I tolerating around me that I need to stop? Could it be people, job (not career), some family members (we all have at least one), or simply daily habits that we would like to stop because they add stress to our lives (like bad eating habits)? It could be all of the above. You need some sun and some relaxation. There are studies that show people who have access to sun are more happier people. Ask me about the studies so that I can share them with you.
Try traveling more often. I love traveling. The ultimate stress reduction tip for me is traveling, that could be a number one for most, but not for all because we are all different but I would recommend it for all. Travel more often! Take that trip that you think you are unable to afford. There are countless ways to have a great trip and not break the bank with all the savings that are out there today. Living Social has some great trip getaways for a low costs as well as other sites out there. Travel with groups. Groups discounts can help everyone save. Stop putting it off. Put it in your calendar and book it now so you can stop making excuses.
Every year I plan at least one international trip and three domestic trips. I went on a seven night cruise along the Western Mediterranean after spending a little time in Barcelona and was able to visit Marseille, Monte Carlo, Pisa, Rome, Sorrento, Pompeii, Capri, and more. The years prior I had a fabulous time in Toronto, Bahamas, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and always enjoy a visit to Puerto Rico and St. Croix. I am looking forward to some great trips lined up for this year.
In the end of the day, you work hard and deserve a break. You have to take it for yourself to reduce stress in your life. Come back refreshed and reenergized ready to conquer all of life’s obstacles and then we can work on those bad habits and other stress areas in your life.
She was beautiful, beyond measure. Her eyes were so captivating. A deep transparent brown. Her scent was NOT to die for- it was to LIVE for. She always wore that pure essential oil called blue Nile. It was a deep royal blue that pulled you in wanting more. Like the separation of the various colors of the salt water and the deeper you went, the darker the water became pulling you in deeper and deeper.
I wanted her to hold me once more. Just one more time I needed her to smile at me. Although, her teeth may not have been perfect to the average persons view of perfection, her smile was perfection from my vantage point. She could light up any room she entered the second she step foot into it. She was perfection. The kind people often thought did not exist. For her existence was short lived physically. I needed her to be with me. For her to call my name. While I waited, I envisioned she was coming right around the corner. A kid in the candy store, full of excitement. She would appear in no time because she knew I needer her. I wanted her.
I began to feel that I was not the only one who wanted her. You see because she touched many hearts. She touched many nations, many religions, backgrounds, origins, variations of races, genders, and sexes. Some simply, did not even know it yet.
Her hair flowed with large waves to her derrière. Her lips were so pink and luscious. Her complexion was slightly kissed by the sun but could easily be burned. She was tall and curvaceous and when she spoke, there seemed to be several accents combined. Some could not really tell where she was from and I did not really care where she was from. She was international perfection. All that mattered was if she could hold me once more.
I needed to curl into her nurturing arms at this very moment and it was this very moment that hit me. My dearest mother would never return in the flesh. Breast cancer took her and the only world I ever knew. I was five years old and I could no nothing but stand there and cry. Lost with tears flowing like waterfalls with enough to make oceans for they dropped for years and years. Deep blue tears.
Here it goes… (silence)… you see I have kept a private life for so long. I mean super private.
And now… the world is involved. How would you feel? Taking on a journey that fills your purpose but puts you into a place that you have never been before? I mean masks come off… the bare naked truth is exposed. A large open space, full of light shining bright on every dark cave, every dark hole, every dark spot. A place where no one hides because there is no where to hide. A place no one runs for cover. The covers are all off. And you simply stand there, because you are naked with nothing to cover your scars, your battle wounds, no sleeves to hold your feelings. Bare naked skin. Flesh. Exposed. And in this moment you can be 100% true to self, and love self, and people will love you for who you truly are. So… who are you truly? For once you find out who you truly are, you are that much closer to being free and being able to live your life on purpose.
Do you have a mentor? Did you choose them or did they choose you?
Having a mentor in life helps. Not only can mentors add valuable advice but they can help in various aspects of your life whether you may be looking for a new job, working on a new project and need some additional resources, or looking for a spouse. Yes, a spouse! Why not go through people you know who can recommend someone they know versus taking a risky chance on someone who no one knows? It makes sense.
Mentors are powerful people. I have associates who met their spouses through mentors. I have friends and associates who have met their new employers through mentors. You should choose your mentors because… they are powerful people. If a mentor chooses you and you do not choose them back, it has a high chance of not being a successful mentorship. Dr. Bernice A. King, Dr. Kings daughter, once said in a speech that, “we can diminish poverty with educative mentorship.” Now, that is powerful!
During my service in the military, I did not get a chance to choose a good mentor. Do not miss that opportunity. They might be someone closer to you than you think, take the time to take them out to lunch and start building that rapport. You just may end up meeting your new spouse or new employer from that mentorship.
I think I was born in the salt water. It makes sense because I am a water zodiac sign. I love the water in every shape, fashion, and form, as long as it is clear ocean (“salt life”). Really? So how could I love every shape, fashion, and form of water? I though I did, until I moved to the states and pretended to swim like a mermaid in the pool and scraped the top of my face to the bottom of my face along the bottom of the pool. Yes, those were nasty scars for everlasting days. Every island person played the “mermaid” game growing up at the beach, but few played this game in the pool. Lesson surely learned.
I remember having countless meals of sand and believe that is how my teeth became so strong. Perhaps I will find some studies on that and get back to you. Those were the days. My early days on the beach of St. Croix when mom was alive. I miss her dearly and often feel she is with me spiritually. I used to think about what life would have been like if she were still alive. If breast cancer did not win that battle. Where do you think I would be if that were the case?