Monday, January 05, 2015

The Year In Retrospect {Thank God We MADE IT}

Let's face it…

2014 was full extremely high peaks

…and extremely low valleys.

I am here to tell you - I am so glad to put last year behind me and start fresh!

How about you?

What did your year take you through?

My 2014 was a year for break-ups and breakthroughs, losses and new found successes. The love I had, I lost it, or rather realized that there was no future in it for me. I left my city job for a job with flexibility and built in travel as well as an opportunity to make real impact in education that is stretching me mentally (I love the job, but I that insurance plan!)

We all experienced the pain and anguish of the police trials or rather the lack there of in the cases of young Black men being slain at their hands. The hashstags #HandsUp #DontShoot #BlackLivesMatter #BlackMenMatter as well as #CrimingWhileWhite will live on to document the disparity in our country as it relates to race and police action.

The end of the year brought me to my knees literally! Spiritually in prayer and physically in pain and illness, but it also held a wonderful praise report in that I was nominated President of the Board of a new organization:

I Am Enough! Empowering Young Women To Discover Their Self-Worth

This was a shock! It really made me think about my ability to impact change on a demographic not unlike my own. It also reaffirmed my leadership potential. I am so ready to get 2015 popping!

What about you!?

What do you have planned to achieve this year?

Do you have goals you want to accomplish like losing that stubborn 25 lbs that won't seem to budge? Or maybe to be consistent with a certain activity like working out or saving money (like me with blogging)?

Let me know by leaving a comment below or sending me an email! Also, you should SUBSCRIBE!
This year promises to be power-packed and full of monthly posts on being a Naturalista in reference to hair, lifestyle, finances, health and personal motivation!

In the meantime, stay positive! This is my new mantra for the year!

Remember, only a positive mind can produce a positive life!

All my best,

Tanefa Wallace
That NY Naturalista

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hey There NaturaliStars! {Life with Anemia: Fighting Back}

How are you guys?

I have been doing a lot over the past six months that didn't leave much time for blogging, but I wanted to come by and give you some updates of the highlights!

I finished another book!
I quit my state job and started at a non-profit centered on closing the achievement gap…

AND unfortunately….

I was losing my hair! It was coming out non-stop every time I touched it. Just sliding from my scalp into my hands and it became difficult to understand what was going on. I went to the doctor after feeling extremely lethargic, my fingers were blue, denim blue, which indicates loss of blood flow to my extremities and my blood pressure was 80/55. I was told to go home immediately and drink lots of water and REST.

My job was part of the issue it was an extremely toxic and hostile work environ. Never underestimate the power of atmosphere. My doctor ran tests after tests and finally, I was diagnosed with anemia associated with Lupus (which I considered an incomplete diagnosis) which was the culprit.

Below is a video from a blogger that I follow. I love her generosity of spirit in sharing her story so that it can help others. The thing is… It's eerily similar to mine. I was rushed to the ER from work one day because of the severity of chest pain! They thought I was having a STROKE toooooo!

SistaWith Natural Hair's description of anemia symptoms

Yes… I know. Crazy right? (here's a link to her initial video that explains what anemia is…)

It was one of the main reasons I stopped blogging. It was depressing trying to talk to you NaturaliStars about hair and natural living when I was experiencing so much trauma and drama in my life and on the health front!

To be honest, what prompted this post was that I was feeling better but stopped taking the iron for about 4 weeks and feel myself slipping back into that dark place yet again. I have to make an appointment with my doctor next week to check my iron levels and check on that half-assed Lupus diagnosis she gave me 6 months ago.

I hope that you guys are taking care of yourselves and if you are experiencing any of the symptoms that she is describing here, please PLEASE PLEASE go see your primary care physician ASAP. 

With love and self-care,

Sunday, May 11, 2014

{MOMMY'S DAY!} Make it Happy!

Please remember that this is YOUR day and YOUR momma's day! 

Enjoy it with them or in remembrance of them… 

Monday, April 28, 2014

{Introspection} His Name is Joseph

Amidst the recent realization that my son will no longer be going to his affluent, predominately white school next year, I began to think about him and how he came to be. Today, as I took a tour at yet another school for him, the director asked me my name and then his and her look was one of surprise when I said his name was Joseph. 

People often have this look of confusion when I tell them my name, then my daughter's, then lastly - my son's. After all, my name is Tanefa. It’s East African, has an authentically African feel to it and my daughter's name is Tihira, which is Arabic and is also African, but Joseph seems to be as American as apple pie. It's deceiving. Most people feel as if I have cheated them when I tell them his name. I have not.

His name is Joseph for a variety of reasons, but let me start at the beginning. He was a child that I felt unprepared for and that I planned on aborting or giving up for adoption because of that very feeling. He came to me in a dream and begged me to keep him, which is how I knew for sure he was a boy child and that he was going to be special. I also knew because his father prophesied to me when he impregnated me, "There's your boy," he stated to me nonchalantly after not using the condom I handed him and he acting like he did. Go figure.
(Lesson 1. All things work for the good of those who love The Lord and are called according to His Purpose…)

I prayed about him after I received that dream message. I told God that I would keep him, but that God would have to be his father and maybe even his mother at times because I wasn't sure (yet) that I was able. I also told God that I would give my son back to Him if He were to help me with his upbringing. I guess I knew in my heart of hearts that his father would not be there.
(Lesson 2. If you want God to listen to your prayers, invest what you want from Him, in Him.)

I will say this, his father was there when he was supposed to be. At birth, to sign the certificate and then the first six weeks of his life when I needed the most support as a transplant with no family to speak of or truly rely on.  Shortly afterwards, it was time for me to trust God. I say that because shortly after his first birthday and my having two surgeries where my mother was there for me, she died. Leaving me in a tail spin as she was planning to come and live with me and start a daycare business in the home we were going to purchase together. So much for the best made plans.
(Lesson 3. God will never give me more than I can bear and He will always provide a way for me to escape when things are about to overwhelm me.) 

Well, back to this boy of mine and his name. I made God a promise connecting Him to the outcome of my son's life, therefore obligating Him to make sure that my son lives and lives blessed. His name is Joseph Rahsaan Langston Purcell. His father wanted to name him Rahsaan Joseph Langston Purcell, but at the last minute in the hospital bed, as the nurse handed me the paperwork, the spirit said, "Make his first name Joseph." I didn't understand why at the time and I didn't want to anger his father. I changed it anyway.
(Lesson 4. Listen to the small still voice. The God within you KNOWS what it's talking about…)

When I got home, I reflected on why this was important to the Holy Spirit. I knew that my grandfather's name was Joseph and that my favorite Uncle Yusuf's name meant Joseph as well, which was part of why Joseph was included. I knew loved that Joseph meant: ‘God will increase.’ I also knew that as a young Black man in America, I didn't want to add to the stumbling blocks for him being employed by having an ethnic name. I know, it seems silly in this day and age but I know better. Then, I went to my bible and re-read the story of Joseph as well and I began to understand the prompting. When I went to read up on the historical Joseph or Imhotep, I truly began to feel like God's hand was on my son's life.
(Lesson 5. Emmanuel - God is with us.)

Imhotep or the biblical Joseph is so many other things. He was one of his father's youngest sons, we learn in the bible story as is my Joseph. But the adult Joseph was an architect who built the first pyramid, a wise sage, doctor, astrologer, and the highest adviser to the pharaoh! He devised a plan to feed all of Egypt during a famine and blessed his family greatly despite their rejection of him. I see all of these in my son at 7 years old. He has been told he will be a great leader among men. He has been called a politician because of the gregarious manner in which he moves about the world. He is an avid student of the stars and space even now and loves to build ships and buildings. He is also fascinated by the human body and has memorized the number of bones, muscles and their placement already. He is wise for his years with an understanding of things that surpasses his age.

I will do anything to protect his genius. 

Let me end by saying don’t feel cheated when I tell you my son’s name is Joseph. He is Imhotep, Yusuf and yes also little Joe-Joe at times and all of these names point to the meaning, ‘God will increase’. 

God is good and worthy to be praised. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

{Take Care} Taking Off the Mask

It saddens me to write again on the reoccurring theme of self-care so soon. Recently, several people I am aware of have passed on. Teyana Perry, a beloved, local natural hairstylist, and Domineque Banks, a natural hair guru I knew from following on YouTube, both of them passed away from Lupus, an insidious, hard to diagnose disease of the immune system. I have also been made aware of another young lady who took her own life in recent weeks. Her name was Karyn Washington and she was the creator of For Brown Girls, an internationally acclaimed movement to empower girls of all hues.

In the midst of all these tragic deaths it makes me wonder. When did we become so strong? When did we decide to hide our hurts and mask our pain? How did we learn to do it so well? When I say we I mean all women, Black women especially and myself particularly. I was diagnosed with severe anemia a few weeks ago. After being exhausted and almost passing out coming down from the choir stand I knew I had to go to the doctor. She made me stay home for an entire week. That's when I knew something was wrong. She's never allowed me to do that!

My blood pressure was 80/50, my fingers were purple, my hair was dry coming out (I have several bald spots) and I just felt drained - literally. There were signs. I wasn't sleeping well; I was eating little and was under extreme stress at my job. My son's school was not only costing me an arm and a leg, they were trying to tell me he needed to be evaluated for ADHD in not so subtle terms. Look. I was under pressure. I've never been one to back down from a fight, but it seemed like this time was different. My ability to bounce back had fallen flat and although I am involved in a relationship, he was of little assistance due to his own hectic lifestyle and schedule.

I was trying not to rehearse my problems. To stay positive in the midst of my trials. To let go and let God handle what I couldn't, but in the process, I almost lost my life. I have been known to drive myself so hard that I won't eat nor drink for hours after waking! That's not healthy. It's okay to be driven, but not at the expense of our very lives. I am getting my life and health in the proper perspective now, but it's a long road back from being Superwoman. Ladies. When you are in the presence of another woman who seems to have it all together, please don't discount the fact that she may be an expert at being super and not at taking care of herself.

We lose ourselves so easily to our communities, our children, our churches, and our significant others (or our lack of one) that we forget to stop and self evaluate. Here are a few simple questions that we can ask ourselves as a way to check in with our self-care daily:

1. Have I prayed and/or meditated today? 
Praying and/or meditating are great ways to start the day focused and intentionally positive. It can set the tone for a positive day.

2. Have I eaten healthily?
People underestimate the power of a good breakfast! Eating small balanced meals throughout your day is a sure fire way to not only keep your blood sugar normalized, it's also a great way to maintain or even lose weight. 

3. Have I affirmed myself? 
Telling yourself how wonderful you are is not an exercise in narcissism. It's a way to boost your self-efficacy and get your mind and spirit on one accord about how wonderful you are! It is also a great way to stop self-defeating internal dialogue.

4. Have I hugged or been hugged today?
Hugging is a scientifically proven way to improve mood and stabilize emotional states. It has even been linked to growth in children! Not to mention, hugs feel AMAZING! I know I have a person or two that I love to hug - Do you?

5. Have I checked in with my inner circle today?
Calling and actually talking to our close friends is becoming a lost art. We have become digital in our ways of communicating and it's not the same. Facebook and Instagram are great, but do not take the place of face to face or even  telephone conversation. Even texting is no way to replace the feeling of being present with someone you are connected to personally.

6. Have I been to the doctor lately for my annual check up? Did I follow up and follow through with their suggestions?
This one is two pronged because many of us will go to the doctor and they will tell us things that they would like for us to work on and then we don't follow through. They say we want you to watch your weight or change your eating habits or lose 20 pounds, but then we don't. They say we want you to get more rest, take more time for yourself, or take a vacation, but we think we don't have the time. Take the time. We only have a limited amount of it here.

All of these suggestions are doable! They all will also keep us connected to one another and to our own self-care. For the record, I am in no way saying that these ladies all suffered from these thought patterns and actions. Bu, I but I do know that they are gone too soon and we, the communities they came from and the people whose lives they touched, miss them dearly. In our mourning and missing we need to make sure we are reaching out to one another. Checking in and checking up on one another and ourselves.

We are all in pursuit of our purpose, but our first charge is to love one another as we love ourselves. So, let's love ourselves enough so that we can share the love.

Love and light,
Originally posted at Soul On Purpose
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