G.I.G. – LETS HEAL

G.I.G. – LET’S HEAL

Last Saturday I was honored to attend G.I.G. – Let’s Heal Self-Love Day Retreat. It was hosted by Valaencia Thompson –  a Houston native, Blogger, Influencer, content creator of FROREALDOblog, and founder of G.I.G. live  event series.  I actually wasn’t going to attend at first, because the tickets sold out too quickly for me to purchase. However,  Allah/God, had a better plan. 4 days before the event, I won one of 3 giveaway tickets. And girl, when I tell you I was happy, I want you to understand that I was highly favored, haha! I’ll explain why. To begin, I didn’t take many pictures, and didn’t use Instastory at all – which is VERY rare for me. But honestly, I wanted to enjoy myself and take it all in without having to worry about getting the footage. There was a photo booth set up right at the entrance that took care of my selfie itch, so I was good. 
G.I.G. - Let's heal
I think I had too much fun at this photo booth. At first I was a little shy, but as you can see that feeling quickly faded. I was like, but first lemme take a selfie!

WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND AT LEAST 1 G.I.G. EVENT

Firstly, because Valaencia puts her heart and soul into each event, and you can see the passion she has for helping others when she speaks. Secondly, she isn’t just talk. Whatever advice she gives, it is because she has already done and experienced said suggestion, or intends to in the future. Lastly, these empowerment events are to inspire women to be the best versions of themselves, and that alone is a good enough reason to be present. 
G.I.G. -LET'S HEAL
Valaencia Thompson is the founder of FROREALDOE, a social media platform and hub for all things geared toward lifestyle and inspiration.

3 TAKEAWAYS

At the end of last year, I established a new habit. For any event I attended, I would write mini occurrences that stood out to me, and I labeled them my “takeaways.” Sometimes I share them, sometimes I don’t. But the purpose is to always be in a state of growth.  You can read my first written example in an older blog post here. But I digress.
When I saw “Self-Love Day Retreat,” I thought to myself, how are we really going to get any healing out of a 4 hour retreat? Is that realistic?! Girl, listen to me! It was MORE than enough time to mentally and physically decompress. Below are a few nuggets I took with me. 
G.I.G. - LET'S HEAL
This event WAS Squad Goals

1 – SELF CARE/LOVE


As Valaencia speaks into existence often, this event was centered around the concept of loving each other, as well as oneself. Taking time to pamper yourself and recharge, both mentally and physically, is just as important as taking care of your loved ones. As women, we oftentimes put our children, job, husband, etc. before ourselves, and end up an empty vessel at the end of the day. That is not the business, and essentially, we’ve got to do better. In order to love others wholly, we must first love ourselves.

G.I.G. - Let's heal
What Squad Goals really look like

2 – SEXUAL EMPOWERMENT


Eliza, a relationship & sex therapist from Melanin & Mental Health – spoke about what it means to be a sexual being, healing from sexual/emotional trauma, and how to be comfortable with your sexuality. There were so many things I took from her session, but one main point that stuck with me was this.  Growing up we are taught to be “sorry,” have shame and or ignore our sexuality. Once married, there’s an unspoken expectancy to miraculously know our bodies, and understand our place during intimacy. The messaging (or lack thereof) is confusing – contradictory even. It lacks depth and insight, leaving us at a disadvantage. We must begin to empower our daughters with these conversations, and share this wisdom early on. I don’t want to be the ‘everything is taboo’ mom. My daughters will be equipped with the proper knowledge to navigate through life.  

G.I.G. - LET'S HEAL
Eliza @trswcofhouston with Valaencia Thompson

3 – POWER OF POSITIONING

Seneca Dunmore outdid us all with her personal story. She is a motivational and transformational speaker who uses her personal, near death experience, to uplift others. In her account, she warns to be aware of criticizing the turbulence in your journey. Struggle isn’t always a sign of punishment, it may be the power of positioning yourself for greater things. Allah/God takes you through trials because He is preparing and positioning you for your next climb. Now let that sink in…

G.I.G. - LET'S HEAL
Seneca @seneca.dunmore

4 HOURS OF HEALING

After the intimate discussions, we had massages with Courtney of Rainy Day Spa, and Tausha of WWAM Mobile Massage. Ultimately ending the night in an hour-long yoga session with two dope Yogi’s. Alicia of Afro Yoga, and Leticia. I am still full of good vibes from this experience. Each time I see a picture of G.I.G. – Let’s Heal, I mentally relive the moments. Every hour brought a new feeling, perspective, or emotion. And all 4 were nothing short of empowerment and inspiration.

G.I.G. - LET'S HEAL
@FROREALDOE

G.I.G. - LET'S HEAL   G.I.G. - LET'S HEAL

G.I.G. - LET'S HEAL
@mobilemassage_diva
G.I.G. - Let's Heal
Pictures by @capturedbybcoleman

G.I.G. - Let's Heal  

We laughed, listened, learned, shared, relaxed, and rejuvenated.  It was a day to remember, and I’m ever thankful.

 

 

GUIDING WORD FOR 2018

Guiding Word

WHAT IS YOUR GUIDING WORD FOR 2018?

I know we’re all familiar with new year resolutions, but are you familiar with your guiding word?

WHY I DON’T LIKE NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

To be honest, I haven’t ever liked new year resolutions. I’ve participated periodically over the years, but I feel I should always be in a state of growth. Hence, don’t wait for the new year to make life-changing decisions. Also, it seems resolutions can be so overwhelming to choose and stick to, causing more harm than good.

Additionally, I’m a Virgo, and have the worst time following the lists I often write. There’s just so much chaos that exists in my head. If you’re reading this and are a Virgo, I know you can relate. We’re control freaks. So even though I may have written the list, I might be reluctant to follow it because I want to follow my own rules (it’s twisted, I know). Consequently, when you don’t stick to them, guilt and shame overshadow the fact that you even tried. Sigh.

2018 Guiding Word

GUIDING WORD

Rather than putting all this energy into coming up with a long list of things you feel intimidated by, just decide on one guiding word. It has the same importance, but it’s much more efficient and realistic.  This will connect all the dots in your life. Not to mention, less is more.

THE INSPIRATION YOU NEED

To be sure you do this right. Here’s a quick list of ways to arrive at your guiding word.

  1. Make a list of words that align with your current goals – Do not filter or pick and choose what goes on this list. Whatever comes to you, write it down without thinking about it!
  2. Stay realistic and practical about your list – Don’t be too hard on yourself, you can achieve anything you set your mind to, so don’t be afraid to write it.
  3. Analyze the list and find common themes among the words – The mind works in mysterious ways. You won’t know there are synonyms on the list until this step. Once you see it, your heart will move.
  4. Pick your top 5 words after analyzing – These will propel you towards your guiding word.
  5. Create a vision with your word – Put your word everywhere around you. Keep it relevant in your life. Place it on your mirror, in your car. Make it the screen saver on your phone (just came up with this on the spot and I’m currently changing mine haha). Computer wallpaper. Place it on your vision board (A MUST).

LET GO AND LET GOD

Lastly, It’s important to make your intentions. This can be a prayer, meditation, contemplation, hand written in your planner, a private conversation with God, whatever. No matter how you decide to make your intentions, afterwards, let go and let God. He will do the rest. When you put it into the Universe this way, it will always come back to you better than it left.

MY GUIDING WORD AND LIGHT

Finally, it only makes sense to share my personal mantra for 2018. It is, achieve. This could have been fear, because it’s what I have been trying to get away from for many years. Fear moved me to immobility. How ironic. Scared of what people will think. Terrified of success. Weary of failure. Just scared of everything! And because of the negative connotation of fear, I chose achieve instead. This is my year to achieve all the things I’ve set forth. I’m bagging “fear” up and throwing it out to “achieve” the things I’ve been holding back from.

 

Guiding Word

With conviction, I implore you to choose your word. We’re in the beginning of January and you have plenty of time to solidify the goals for this year. This exercise will be therapeutic. Check out how writing can really improve your mental health in my blog post Blogging Saves Lives.  And when you’re done, answer the question below, and share it with me.

So, what’s it gonna be?

– With love, Bibi

BLOGGING SAVES LIVES

Blogging Saves Lives

BLOGGING IS THE NEW JOURNALING

Let’s just start by acknowledging on one hand that it is such an honor to enjoy blogging as a writer, and on the other, people taking the time to read and digest what you’ve written. That thought alone, encourages me to keep writing, and gives me the warm and fuzzies!

This platform can be used in so many ways. Whether your blog is about Fashion, Food, Fitness, Fun places to go in your City, etc., it is a means to share something you are passionate (or not so passionate) about. Its an avenue by which you can add value to the lives of others. Gain and give support. Learn and educate. And who wouldn’t want to pour into others while exploring their own passions? That’s an easy win/win for everyone, if you ask me.

3 MAIN REASONS I BLOG

1. If you read my first blog post why I chose to blog, you already know I was forced into this position…sort of. For one, I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but kept waiting until the perfect time. To be more ‘ready’. But the truth of the matter is, I may have never taken that leap of faith if I wasn’t laid off. I’m a perfectionist, AND a procrastinator. I believe it was Allah (God) telling me to get rid of my fears,  and rise to the occasion.

Not to mention, I used to blog on Blogspot under my poetic stage name Beetrue circa 2009. I truly love it now just as much as I did then…if not more. But that was almost 10 years ago, and everything about life has changed. My relationship, the number of children, my writing style,  I’m a hell of a lot more developed and mature. I’m an overall different person.  

2. I’m a writer. I have been all of my life. I heal, release stress, find joy, happiness, and enormous amounts of peace/piece when I release the chaos in my head. The “piece/s”  of myself I’m sharing with others, make for a vulnerable yet empowering place to exist in.

3. The last reason is actually the perks blogging in this day and age bring. I can do something I have a strong passion for, and possibly earn a little somethin’ too?!

*Insert excited emoji here*

THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND BLOGGING

No really, in 2014 there was an article written on the American Psychological Association website about the health benefits of blogging.

Psychology Dr. Deborah Serani encourages her clients to engage in expressive arts, be it blogging, journaling or taking an art, music or dance class.

” In a 2013 study of 161 high school students, researchers at the University of Haifa found that writing a blog was more effective than writing in a private diary in improving troubled students’ self-esteem and lessening their social anxiety and emotional distress (Psychological Services). Opening the blog to public comment intensified these effects.”

It was a great read. I had researched the topic for a few days, and this one was by far one of the best I read. Check out the full article here.

WHY DO YOU BLOG?

If you are reading this, and you’re a blogger or any kind of writer for that matter, please share why you blog, and how you benefit from it.

11 TAKEAWAYS FROM BLACK GIRLS GATHER

Black Girls Gather
Black Girls Gather
Sisterhood

EPIPHANY I HAD AT BLACK GIRLS GATHER

Ladies, if you’ve never attended a Black Girls Gather event in your locale, and want to know what’s all the fuss about. HERE’S THE TEA!!!!

Firstly, the event in Houston took place on October 28th, at the venue Sharespace.  It was an absolutely beautiful space with a great vibe, so click that link and check it out for yourself. Now, if you’re wondering why it took me so long to write about my experience, I’ll tell you this. There were so many emotions I couldn’t sort them out. I didn’t know how to express them. There was happiness, sadness, anger, frustration,  and I was just all over the place. So I waited. And like I always tell #MrX, I waited because “I can do whatever I want.” Teehee!

BLACK GIRLS GATHER – CHARLOTTE, NC

Also, there was an event in Charlotte, NC earlier today, and I wish I could have been there. So today, it just felt right.

I’m not going to be nice here when I speak my truth about the experience I had at this gathering. I’m going straight for it…so prepare yourselves if you’re not ready.

Black Girls Gather
An experience every Black woman should have

11 TAKEAWAYS I CALL TEABAGS

  1. Houston is the 4th largest City in America and the room was not overflowing with Black women. That was simply disappointing to me. I’m not sure if it was   due to poor advertising, the awareness of ForHarriet hasn’t reached far and wide yet, or there aren’t enough black women that care to be part of this environment in Houston. But, I wasn’t here for that at all.
  2. You always have preconceived notions about someone before you meet them (which I try not to have, but sometimes my being an imperfect human takes over), and mine were that, Kimberly Foster would be more sociable. Maybe, she’s a shy person in real life, or she was exhausted from being so awesome for so long, IDK. But she just seemed a little more introverted than I had expected. HOWEVER, she’s super dope, and IS #HairGoals.
  3. The room didn’t have the energy I thought I was going to walk in to. I pictured myself walking in to a room full of Afro’s, smiles, and welcomes. But no, I felt the weight of struggles when I walked in. It could be that my energy is too sensitive, or my energy detector was off that day though.
  4. As I knew I would, I made some great connections with other dope black women. I think it’s a great platform to network.
  5. Based upon one of the few questions Kimberly successfully asked the room, the majority of women there felt they are their best protector/protection.
  6. There is a large disconnect between the ideal of roles in a relationship and its correlation to the number of single black women.
  7. There aren’t enough safe spaces for intimate conversation and sisterhood circles in the black community.
  8. Our women are hurting. From the world  beating us up, our men downing/disrespecting us, and from our own sisters jealousy and hate.
  9. Your tribe is not necessarily those you’ve known the longest or the most about. It can just as well be the sister you just met who really understands what being a “sista” is.
  10. Black women are NOT angry. We/they/us, are hurting, and there is a BIG difference between the two.
  11. I may get chewed out for this one, but two things: 1. I’m not scared of yall. 2. I feel this way in every black womens circle I’m present in. We need more men/husbands in our homes, and less independence.
Black Girls Gather
Kimberly Foster, Founder of ForHarriet and Black Girls Gather circle.
Black Girls Gather
Me and Cheri Gardner. The Entrepreneur, Educator, Financial Professional, RF Consultant, survivor in pink, Lover of Life!
Black Girls Gather
Valencia Thompson of FROREALDOE

WHY I DIDN’T WANT IT TO END

Ultimately, any room I enter where everyone looks like me in some way just feels right. I loved this circle so much because it forced me to have a conversation with myself. One that I may not have ever had if I didn’t go. I wouldn’t have met some of the powerful women I did. And lastly, any gathering of black women for the purpose of support, is going to be one I show up for.

Have you ever gone to a Black Girls Gather event, and if so, what did you come away with?

 

P.S. Check out my list 11 Things Black Men Should Know 

 

11 THINGS BLACK MEN SHOULD KNOW

Black Love

***ATTENTION***

To begin 11 Things Black Men Should Know, I’ve been pondering about what I can do to uplift the black family unit a lot lately. Specifically as it relates to our intimate relationships. This in turn, uplifts our community as a whole. For the most part, I see dissension, division, and a disconnect. We’ve lost all compassion, understanding, and forgiveness with and for one another. Not to mention, patience. That left the building a long time ago. I know “they” want us to believe the black family is so broken there is no way to heal and mend our disfunction. But I totally disagree. I’m willing to be part of the conversation and traverse the path which changes our narrative.

I feel there couldn’t be a better way to start, than with the head of household. So here goes the beginning of my list series. Proceed with caution and an objective mind.

DEAR BLACK MEN…

1. IF YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE MULTIPLE WOMEN, DO IT IN A NOBLE MANNER.      

By the same token, I’m not telling you all to run out and find a bunch of sidechicks to shack up with, no. What I’m saying is, there is a multitude of women who are willing to be in a polygamous relationship with you, if you’d just be honest about your intentions. Many of you are going to do it anyway, so why not do it the right way? You’d be saving everyone the heartache.

2. WE SUPPORT YOU BEING WITH A WHITE WOMAN, SO LONG AS IT IS NOT DUE TO SELF HATE, OR THE IMPERFECTIONS OF YOUR BLACK FEMALE COUNTERPARTS.

If you fall in love with a white woman (or any woman that isn’t black), that’s ok.  But please, do not allow your reason to be because of the shortcomings of black women. Do not perpetuate the bosh that black women are too strong, too loud, too hard to love.  We are just as worthy as everyone else. Kimberly Foster of For Harriet explains my sentiment in her video titled “We Don’t Care Why You Don’t Date Black Women.” The only thing I’d change, is my tone when communicating the message. Otherwise, she’s dead on.

3. WE DON’T WANT TO CONTROL YOU, WE JUST WANT STRUCTURE IN OUR LIVES.

It is imperative you realize we need to work together to create structure and consistency in our home life. When we request that you handle business with urgency, it isn’t because we want to control your actions. We’re just trying to provide stability, consistency, and set a standard of excellence and growth in our homes, and for our children.

4. WE HAVE YOUR BACK.

And it’s really that simple. We are not asking for praise because of it,  just know we have always been down for you. We are here to support you, hold you up/down, and will be your rock while the world continually tries to break you.

5. BLACK MEN, WE WILL NOT GIVE UP ON YOU.

No matter what happens. We will not give up on you. So long as you are living. We will not give up on you. They will make you second guess yourself, they will make you want to give up, but we, we will NOT give up on you.

6. WE NEED YOUR COMMITMENT.

Desperately, and for the long run. We need you to commit, and stay committed to your commitment; and to us.

7. WE ARE NOT THE ENEMY.

First of all, whenever you are stressed or feeling defeated from the world beating you up, we are your first target. While we may be the easiest to release on, that’s not why we came nor is it what we are here for. I’m here to tell you, WE are not the enemy.

8. WE NEED YOUR TRANSPARENCY/HONESTY.

Yet, we’re only offered deception. So, I’m gonna repeat it for the people in the back. WE NEED YOUR TRANSPARENCY, AND HONESTY! What do I/we need to say or do to get yall to understand how important this is?! It is not an option. We are resilient enough to hear the truth.

9. WE ARE GOING TO BE LESS SUPPORTIVE.

Much as I hate to include this, you may even think it is a contradiction to #5, but the way it’s looking out in these streets, yall haven’t supported us for a long time. We cannot be expected to continue on our own. There has to be reciprocity, or we’re simply going to stop supporting yall.

10. WE ARE TIRED…

Because the world tells us we are not beautiful, do not matter, and we turn to you for solace. Only to face being alone, called selfish, beaten, abused, abandoned, and hung out to dry. We are tired.

11. WE ARE NOT SELFISH, WE ARE AMBITIOUS.

Seems like there’s a mysterious consensus among black men whenever a black woman (yes that’s important to mention) starts working towards a goal, that she instantly becomes “selfish,” How do I even address this foolishness? Since forever, we have lost ourselves bending backwards as wives and mothers. We shouldn’t have to choose between personal growth or the success of our family. The two are not mutually exclusive.  We want to be visible, successful, and celebrated the same way we celebrate you and your accomplishments.

IN CONCLUSION

Black men, please take this to your circle of friends. Share this with your brothers, fathers, cousins, colleagues, and anyone else who needs to hear it.  Most noteworthy, if nothing else, just take a moment to let it all sink in. See how you can take this list and apply it in your personal life and relationships. Thank you for your time.

With love,

Bibi Watts

MY FITNESS JOURNEY

ZUMBA | BODY SCULPTING | YOGA

That pretty much sums up my Fitness Journey ladies and gentlemen. I have a membership to an all women’s gym, and those are the 3 classes provided.

Ok, ok, ok, let me back it up and tell this story. So, about 3 and a half years ago, I was introduced to Zumba while volunteering for a youth lock-in. Basically, a Zumba Instructor came the night of the lock-in, and taught a beginner class to all of the young girls and advisors (the boys did Martial Arts). We absolutely loved it, did Zumba allllllll night, and even into the morning. The instructor was tired by the time we got done with her, LoL! So I’ve been hooked ever since.

Intro to Zumba Fitness Journey
Youth Lock-in Advisors

BODY IMAGE EPIPHANY

 

I didn’t actually decide to join a class until late July of this year. It took so long because of circumstances and the fact that I wasn’t committed  to my health journey yet. That’s the honest truth. In addition to that, I saw a picture of myself, and realized how big I was/am. I mean I knew I was bigger, but didn’t know how bad it had gotten, until I saw it.

Zumba Fitness Journey
Left: early 2016 – Right: late 2017

“BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD” – MAHATMA GHANDI

As a result of that shocking image (not the exact image above, but you get the point), I made a decision to stop complaining about what I don’t like, and work to change it. So I’m on that journey now. In making that decision, I also decided I would do something I really enjoyed, to find that inner peace. And that happens to be Zumba.

So, back to the gym I joined. It’s an all women’s gym that offers Zumba, Yoga, and Body Sculpting. I take part in all 3 classes. I enjoy Zumba and Yoga the most, because Body Sculpting is just HARD. Zumba allows me to dance often, which I LOVE to do, and Yoga is he centering I think we all need. It also helps with my flexibility goals.Honestly, I started off slow in the beginning. Maybe going 2-3 times a week. But now, I’m on a roll, and have been attending about 5-6 times a week since October. Finally, I can see the progress, and am feeling a lot more optimistic. It didn’t start easy, and it hasn’t gotten any easier, but I don’t plan on quitting either.

INSTRUCTOR IS IN THE FUTURE FOR MY FITNESS JOURNEY

Ultimately, you’re looking at your soon-to-be Zumba instructor. I love it so much, and the way it is transforming my life, I want to help others change their lives as well. I’m on a mission now. Everything must be done with a plan, and process though. I have to get to a certain point in my fitness journey, before I can help anyone else. So, I hope you all don’t mind me venting about my struggle every now and then. You can use this platform to do the same.

What are your fitness goals, and what are you doing to reach them?