HighlightHER™️- Behind the Author. Part 2

Around this time I finally got to meet my siblings and go to my dads house for the first time. I was so excited. I felt happiness and a sense of completion. Getting to know the other side of what makes me, me.

I met my step mom, my 2 older brothers and my older sister. It was awkward at first because no matter what, I’m going to ride for my mom! So being older, I think I always had a defensive attitude. But eventually I learned to love everyone for who they were to me.

My sister called every day leading up to meeting. I was so excited to have an older sister. She would do my hair and get us matching sneakers and shirts and take me to the high school games. She wasn’t ashamed of me and that I will forever hold dear. Out of everyone on my dads side, I’m closest to her. She still shows up for me to this day and I don’t have to question, I know she always will.

I was happy to spend time with my dad. I was named after my dad. We have always had a special bond from the beginning. I remember going many places with him on the truck. My brother and I would take turns riding up front, dad would feed us good food and we got to see some amazing places. From Ohio to New York to Florida. We took family trips to Disney, which will always be some of the best memories. I definitely get my passion for travel from him.

No matter the absences, he’s still my dad and there have been times he has come through for me when I’ve made mistakes. It took me a while to look at it like that though. I held a lot of grudge and hurt for a long time. But all that did was hurt me in the long run. Projecting that pain in hurtful ways held me captive from who I knew I could be. In the end, I will never give up on my dad. I am forever a piece of him.

Entering into middle school, I remember being happy. Having my mom, my dad, good friends and making the cheerleading team, I started feeling confident. But that ship soon sailed.

When I look back on middle school I just cringe. They were some of my worst years emotionally. Boys definitely didn’t take a second look at me, cheerleader or not. The people I had gotten so close to, I was drifting from. I remember getting cheerleading uniforms and the girls whispering comments about mine because of the size. I went crying home to my mom. She said words to me that means so much now. “Chesney, either you suck it up and stop caring what people think, or if you don’t like it, change it.”

So that’s what I did. I had a great cheerleading year. I just went back to being in my own glory, the space I’ve always known. Ignoring my friends, my family. Everyone. I got so caught up in my space at the time that I stopped wanting to be noticed. To be seen. I started dressing in boys clothes at one point. As my mother would say, “you were from one extreme to the next” lol. And that is nothing but the truth. By the time middle school ended I was cheering again and showing off my newly developed cleavage. Lol.

I was finding a part of myself then, I see now as I look back. But when high school came, it was a whole different ball game. I had started losing weight, got back connected with my people and started being rebellious. I was straight A student my whole life until 9th grade. I think subconsciously I was tired of being good. I felt like it never got noticed. My greatest quality was how smart I was. I didn’t understand the value of that then.

Although I brought my grades up and continued to be an honor student the rest of high school, I still found my own ways of being rebellious. My mother had a strict curfew and I hated it. I tried to find ways around it. Looking back I know she was trying to protect me, but that’s where the start of our arguments grew.

As my life began to unfold as a young woman, I had the mindset that I knew it all, and that I could do anything on my own. Needless to say this mindset and attitude changed the course of my life….

Life After Heartbreak

I think heartbreak is one of the hardest things to come to grips with. I think more than anything we as women start to question ourselves. Are we not good enough, pretty enough, exciting enough, are we making the right decisions? These thoughts affect how we see ourselves and it takes real emotional work to overcome it.

Heartbreak could be the result of being incompatible, constant disappointment and infidelity. Being incompatible is hard to accept. We put our whole selves into a person only to find out our paths differ in a way that ends the relationship. This can make us question our path, and sometimes, from my experience, we tend to deviate from our purpose to prolong the heartbreak. Sometimes I think it’s harder to accept because on the surface we look at heartbreak as if someone has done something wrong. When that isn’t always the case.

Constant disappointment is when promises are being constantly broken, they aren’t showing up, it becomes a one way relationship. We give chance after chance. We love to give chances don’t we ladies. Lol. Only for them not to change. That’s the heartbreak. Often we see people, especially someone we love, for what they could be and not for who they are. Sometimes the heartbreak lies in the courage to say I’m worth more; and sometimes that hurts!

Infidelity…whew! I don’t think anything makes us question ourselves as a woman more than our partner dealing with someone else! That’s the type of heartbreak that is crushing. I think it’s important to remember that someone else’s decisions aren’t your fault! Trusting someone else is what takes the real work. That heartbreak will forever carry trust issues into every relationship unless we take the steps to remember we are ENOUGH!

Heartbreak is delicate and life after heartbreak is vulnerable. We have to keep in mind that going through the emotions is imperative to overcoming it. It’s okay to be mad. To be sad. To have good days. To have bad days. The key is to keep going. Get to know yourself again, be confident in your decisions, remember your worth and most importantly remember you are ENOUGH! Life after heartbreak won’t be easy, but it’s about getting back to you. We have to find strength in ourselves and confidence in who we are. Don’t be afraid to do the work. A piece of your new life is waiting for you after every step. THERE SHE GO!

HighlightHER™️-Behind the Author. Part 1

On Wednesday’s we highlightHER 👑

In honor of There She Go empowering women for 6 months (yes 6 months already), I wanted to do something special for my readers. Many beautiful women have gotten vulnerable and have shared their stories in hopes to inspire all of us. I hope my story will do the same. I thank you all for reading and being apart of TSG! The responses have been amazing. With your continued support we will continue to grow this movement of supporting real everyday women.

I welcome you to get to know deeper pieces of me……

Part 1

From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always known I was different. The daughter of a truck driver and his mistress; the outside kid. The truth never hurt me, I just had to learn to not let it define me.

Until 3rd grade I lived in Frankford, DE on Honolulu street. I remember not being able to play outside because the sewer leaked in the front yard. I remember drug addicts peeking in our windows at night. But my mother was determined to get us out of that and she did!

My mother was and still is my angel on earth! As a mother myself now, how she moved the mountains she did, I will never know! Growing up it was just my mother, me and my little brother. My mom put a lot of pressure on me to be responsible, look after my little brother and hold down the house. Especially after she became free from a severely abusive relationship.

I’ll never forget moving mattresses on top of my moms Honda Nova, with my brother and me hanging out the back window so they wouldn’t fall. We would get to laughing so hard when one fell. But that’s just the type of mother I have. She can make the best memories from the craziest moments. I definitely get that from her.

Growing up, I was always to myself. I’ve never felt alone tho, I just learned to enjoy my own company. My God Mother and Mom would talk about how I would sit and color by myself or read for hours. It’s funny because I’m still the same way. I remember a teacher calling home concerned because it was time for a group project and I wanted to do mine by myself. Lol. At first glance people would say I’m stuck up, when in reality it’s more timidness than me thinking I’m better. As long as I was by myself, I knew I was good enough. Being around others made me question that. I eventually had to learn to get out of my own little world.

My mother worked multiple jobs to make ends meet. Coming from a white family, where most disowned her and her black children, she didn’t have much help at all! My God mother, who was there the day I was born, was the one family member I remember always being there. During some of our hardest times; she opened up her home and her heart to us and those moments will always stand out to me.

My mother always said we were a team, so I helped my brother write his name, taught him how to read, how to do math; he was truly my first baby (and still is lol). Yet we are only 2 years apart. I was well beyond my years even as a 8/9 year old child. I loved being apart of our team. Because when all else fails, as I learned in life, I’ll always have them.

I was a bigger girl growing up, the glasses didn’t help. Lol. I’m mixed so I found it difficult to find my place. I remember having white friends whose parents called me colored. Black girls pulling my hair in school to see if it was real. Boys saying they liked everyone in the group except for me because I was too big. As juvenile as those moments may seem now, they definitely had a hand in shaping the way I looked at the world. BUT I knew “my people” would find me one day.

In 5th grade I met my first real friend in an advanced math class. She was taller than everyone, Tom boy, and smart as hell. She was different just like me! 20 years later, we are still just as close. I always say God placed her in my life right when I needed her and she has been my sister ever since.

During that year I also met another friend. We were in the same homeroom and we used to laugh a lot together. What I loved the most about her is she made me feel included. She had me jumping double Dutch, playing the saxophone and trying out for cheerleading. She helped me come out of my shell. To this day, she is my very best friend.

Finally, I was making some real friends, I made the cheerleading team for middle school in 5th grade. I remember just being so happy in that moment. I felt accepted, I felt loved, my brother was doing great, my mother was still working hard, but she was happy, she was free. I was coming into myself, as much as any 10 year old could, except I still felt like something was missing…

HighlightHER™️

On Wednesday’s we highlightHER 👑

This week we are highlighting Bianca Stevenson. She was nominated because other women admire her drive, hustle and positive energy. She stands for living fearless and stepping out on faith. Bianca shares a piece of her story and how at an early age she learned the value of life. She talks about the power of moving forward to be who you want to be and who you know you can be. I thank Bianca for opening up and being honest! THERE SHE GO!

“My name is Bianca. I was raised on a farm in Maryland ! I’m 26 years old with no kids but I do wish to have some in the future. At a young age my parents split up due to abuse, so my brother and I were raised by my wonderful mother Tammy with the help of my grandparents. Until she met my amazing step father Alfred, who has been in my life every since!”

“My biological father disowned us and still to this day I have no relationship with him by his choice! It really affected me as a young woman growing up craving that relationship from a father and wanting to be a daddy’s girl, but I’ve overcome the rejection and I understand God did it for protection.”

“At the age of 6 I faced death. I overdosed on 8 muscle relaxers that were at a friend of the families. I had to be rushed to the hospital, then flew to John Hopkins Hospital to have my stomach pumped, where they stated I was minutes from dying . I’m not sure why this happened but it did. BUT GOD had another plan for my life.”

“I attended and graduated from Laurel Senior High School In Laurel De. Then attended Delaware Tech In Georgetown Delaware. Where I ended up dropping out of school due to the challenges of balancing school and work and with bills coming in I chose work. But last March I decided I was ready for more and wanted to continue my career in criminal justice and I applied to wicomico county detention center for a correctional position out of faith!”

“In August I received the call that I had an interview and from there I received the job! In February I began the correctional academy, all paid for through the county. After 8 weeks of boot camp style training, I graduated the academy and now I am certified in the state of Maryland! I plan on returning to school to pursue a parole and probation officer this fall, if God’s willing!”

“Growing up I faced many challenges that made me who I am today and that’s why I push to be great! I’ve conquered depression , mental abuse , anxiety , rejection , molestation , Etc …. and I walk today in dignity, and pride, with my head held high knowing who I am! In all things GOD is number one ☝🏽I attend church at Agape Community Center as much as I can under Apostle and Pastor Smack💗

“If there’s anything I will say to encourage people today it would be to continue to grow in life 🌹 Never allow what you been through in life to dictate where you go in life. Never put yourself in a place where you’re comfortable and not wanting more . We all have it in us to be anything and do anything we want to do !! Never let complacency sink in and that’s in everything, in all aspects of life. Life is what you make it and I encourage all to do more and do what makes you happy 💕

Bianca

What does love mean to you?

The first thing we need to understand about love is it’s not all glitz and glamour. Social media sometimes portrays that love should be extravagant and the look of perfection. When in reality, in love there are going to be times when it gets tough. Tough times meaning when you aren’t communicating, financial hardships putting pressure on your relationship, you’ve let an argument about laundry escalate to days of the silent treatment. Lol. But seriously! Tough times are more than the infidelity and lies people think of. Expecting perfection is setting yourself up for disappointment. Someone once told me “the perfect person for you is out there, the perfect relationship is not.” I didn’t understand that until I got older.

The most special thing about love, in my opinion, is it’s uniqueness to everyone. One of my favorite authors Alex Elle wrote “we must keep in mind that love tastes different to everyone.” That has forever stuck with me because it’s true. I need love in different ways than my husband. Even in my circle of friends, the way we all crave love is different. I think that’s important to remember. We shouldn’t feel bad about the way we require to be loved. Only communicate it and stand firm by it. We have to respect the love language of others as well. When people don’t show love the way we do, we tend to think it isn’t there.

The most important thing about love, to me, is how u love yourself. We can’t expect someone to pick up the pieces we don’t love about ourselves, that creates insecurity when they don’t. Loving yourself means knowing yourself. All of yourself. Knowing how you need to be loved. That weeds out the bullshit! Then we aren’t looking for love to pick up the broken pieces. It’s not a void. We aren’t so easily coerced into thinking love exists where it doesn’t. Love isn’t just based on how someone appeals to our insecurities. Love is deeper than that. When we don’t know who we are, we don’t love ourselves and we don’t know how we deserved to be loved, we allow ourself to be played. Pick up these gems I’m dropping ladies!

This week I challenge you to love yourself, all of you. Learn your love language and what love truly means to you and keep an open mind that love will not be perfection. Be in control of how you choose to be loved, by yourself as well as by others. THERE SHE GO!

HighlightHER™️

On Wednesday’s we highlightHER .👑

This week we are featuring my very best friend Whitney Oney. She is a single mother who has overcome every obstacle set against her. Her son’s passion for education and commitment to sports, exemplify the type of mother she is. She sacrificed 2 years of weekends to help build her and her son a home. Once she completed that goal, she sacrificed being at her sons games and practices to attend nursing school, which she recently graduated. Whitney didn’t let being single stop her from looking at the bigger picture. She talks about allowing people to help her, which is difficult for a lot of us women. She talks about the feeling of guilt, that we all can relate to when we are taking time from those we love to accomplish something for our self. BUT through it all, she knew she had someone looking up to her, watching her every move. What he saw; persistence, passion, commitment. Whitney talks about being open with her son and including him in the importance of her goals. I thank Whitney for sharing her story in hopes to empower other women out there to not be a product of your circumstance, but instead using it as motivation to get everything meant for you. THERE SHE GO!

INTERVIEW:

If you could use a quote to describe who Whitney is, what quote would it be?

‘“She believed she could, so she did.” A quote that has been seen many times, and recited on many occasions. To me, it’s the mere fact of me believing in myself being the first step to conquering what I’ve accomplished and what’s to come. Knowing that whatever I set my heart out to do can be done! And believing in myself despite the circumstances around me.”

What are some of the things you cherish most in life?

“What I cherish the most in life is family and time spent. I’ve been blessed with a supportive and loving group of people, and that’s something I could never take for granted. Time is something we can never get back. Every moment spent together or talking from a distance is precious. I’ve lost some people who I was blessed to have for many years of my life; I will always have memories of good moments in time. I’ve instilled the value of family and time with my son, and I’m proud of creating a lasting legacy.”

What is your passion in life and how are you pursuing it?

“My passion is nursing with the ultimate goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner; specializing as a nurse midwife. Ever since I can remember it’s been a constant goal I’ve been wanting to reach. As we all know sometimes life just happens, but I’m more determined than ever to chase my dream. I recently completed the LPN program and I’m currently enrolled in the PN-RN. With a few more “N’s” to go I’ll get there. I’ve learned to ditch the timeline and believe in the magic of the timing of your life.” “Don’t undermine your milestones because you expect to go further faster; it’s the surest way to run in place.”

Being a single mother, how hard has it been to chase your dreams?

“Being a mother isn’t easy and does not come with a manual. Being a single mother isn’t easy and has its own set of challenges. I went into my journey knowing sacrifices had to made; financially as well as physically. It wasn’t easy, but faith and determination got us through! My biggest hurdle was the feeling of guilt. I felt guilty for spending so much time with school, missing practices and games, and spending time away from my son. As a very present and active mother, this was one of the hardest challenges. I broke at the thought of him feeling like he was last or forgotten. It took a while for me to adjust to the changes, but hearing him talk to me or others about being proud of me, let me know that he understood. We had our own little countdown until my last day, we made it! It was something he didn’t even know I needed. A sister friend once told me;” This is a short time out of a lifetime” that stuck with me through it all.”

What encouragement can you give to other single mothers, who find it impossible to have their own life?

‘“Single mom” does not equate to end of life! Ladies, there is so much that can still be done. You can’t escape sacrifices, you have to be willing to face them head on. Balance is key! Find a rhythm or schedule that is conducive to you and your child/children. Welcome in help or as we call it “the village”. This was tough for me, because I’m naturally a “I’ve got it” type of woman. Be strong in whatever you set out to do! And most importantly remember who you are doing it for! Mothering and chasing dreams can be taxing. Remember to schedule in “me time”; whatever that looks like to you. You deserve it! We as single mothers can use this circumstance as a crutch or as motivation. It’s up to us which path we choose!”

What or Who has been your biggest motivation in life and why? 

“My son is my motivation to keep going! He’s watching and learning through me. So, I owe it to myself and him to make the necessary happen. Wanting more out of life for us has ultimately pushed me to strive harder, and to become a better me.”

How does faith take the forefront in your life?

“Faith is believing that what is for you will be yours no matter what your current situation looks like. It’s knowing that what you can’t see happening now can still be achieved. Having this mind set has gotten me through many life challenges. It’s easy to look at your current situation and get defeated. This is where I was for a long time, but I had to change my way of thinking and believing. Keeping faith at the forefront, God, and hustle; allowed me to always keep the bigger picture in mind.” “Faith is unseen but felt, faith is strength we feel when we have none, faith is hope when all seems lost.”

Going to school, working and most importantly being a mother, what does “me-time” mean and look like to you?

“Mother. Student. Employee, etc.…are all full time tasks within itself. All of which take so much of me, but what about me? My “me time” ranges from pampering days, reading, taking rides with my favorite music blasting, to sitting back in peace and quiet watching my favorite shows. Spending time with me doing whatever brings me peace. I had to learn that this was not selfish but essential. We as women give so much to those around us, but remember you cannot pour from an empty cup.”

Why does empowering women mean so much to you?

“Women empowerment is something I’ve always sat back and wished would genuinely thrive. To me, it’s important that I help change the narrative of the nature of women when it comes to each other. We all know we are stronger together, but it’s more than just saying it. It’s time that we start empowering through our actions. You don’t have to be an influencer to influence. From sharing moments of success to uplift the next woman, a simple compliment, offering support, or just being kind. Sometimes all the next woman needs to know is that they’re not alone. We’ve all been through the ups and down of life. Try to Encourage instead of judge, support instead of being catty, and reach back instead of looking down. Women are really reclaiming their time! We can all win!”

If you could leave women with a quote of inspiration, what would it be?

“Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming.

Whitney

Intimacy…without the sex.

Too often intimacy gets confused with sex, which waters down the value of being truly intimate. We can confuse sex with someone as what it means to be close. When in reality, being close and being connected to someone is more than that.

Intimacy is a noun that means closeness, togetherness, familiarity. Being close to someone and becoming familiar with someone requires a certain level of attention. It requires a deeper level of conversation, a listening ear and understanding.

The value of allowing someone to get that close to us has become obsolete. We will let someone lay us on our back before we even know their favorite color, their job and even their plans for us after the fact. We all have done it! We think sex will bring us closer, instead of letting sex be the result of being close. Let that sink.

We as women are emotional humans. We connect on a different level than a man. And more times than not we are left with being hurt after we have given a piece of ourselves. That’s why we have to change the game. We have to change our own narratives. Take back your power.

We have to ask the right questions. We have to listen clearly. Familiarize ourselves with someone’s habits. Require them to listen and understand us. Put value back in to what it means to being close to us. We have to allow ourselves to be intimate without sex. Even in our existing relationships. This doesn’t mean we still won’t be heartbroken. This doesn’t mean our relationships will take a turn for the better. But it does mean we are holding true to what we value. It does mean we won’t be easily coerced into thinking anything else is acceptable. More importantly it means the Sex will be that much better.

This week I challenge you to bring back the intimacy in your life. Get deep. Get real. Even if you are in a relationship, sometimes they can get routine and we are all growing. Get to know your partner every day. Try new things. Be connected deeply. If you are dating, don’t feel bad for having standards, feel empowered. Require them to value that. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes; “Intimacy is the joining of 2 naked minds” THERE SHE GO!