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Peace of Mind

At what expense is your peace of mind? Money? Great sex? Nice things?  A conversation came up within the work place the other day. Relatively new, I mind my business and simply listen. A colleague was going on and on about how unhappy she is with her current boo. In summary, boo thang is trash. She was asked why she stayed and her response was because of the lifestyle he offered. His company came with cash and gifts. I’ve too found myself holding on to things or an individual not because it’s of value or because it was healthy per se but because of what it promised or came with. I’m usually not the one to blame it on the alcohol but I will say that a few days ago it definitely contributed to me being in my feelings. Frisky feelings to say the least, which resulted in exchanging some photos with an ex. I’m not sure if it was that the liquor was wearing off, my inner self trying to talk some sense to me, or a combination of both, shoot maybe it was God, but what originally started off as enticing and sexy, to say the least, turned into me feeling sick to my stomach. I felt rather awkward and began to think to myself.

What good is great dick if it comes with lies, confusion, and heartbreak? What good are lavish gifts if they come with entitlement and no respect. What good is money if you have to compromise who you are at the core to obtain it. What good is that high paying job if the work environment is toxic and literally tearing at your self worth or mental space. What good are thousands of followers and fame if you feel empty inside? Need I go on? You get it. Disclaimer, if an uneasy mind is due to underlying mental health issues, then it’s out of our control and we must not be afraid to seek professional help. But if it is not, understand that health is wealth and so is our peace of mind. A healthy mental space has got to be a priority. Maybe the things mentioned aren’t what contribute to you having a restless mind. None the less, it’s important we pinpoint what it currently is or may be and avoid it. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the notion that money, among other tangible things, are a cure all and will bring happiness. I’m not rich, but I can easily think back on a few moments where I thought receiving a certain amount of money or a specific item would fix a situation and it didn’t. I had to get to the root of the issue. The underlying issue that was making me lose sleep and wasn’t sitting well with my soul. This being stated, make your mental health a priority, choose peace!

xoxo

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Unplugged

As you mature, life forces you to make tough decisions and if you’re anything like me, that isn’t necessarily your favorite thing to do. The year 2018 has advanced technology like no other, especially social media. While most enjoy snapping selfies, fulfilling their self esteem based on the number of views and likes they receive, I take pleasure in the moments that aren’t captured.

Earlier in the week, I experienced a mental breakdown, that I’m ashamed to admit that was linked to my social media platform that had me considering to delete my page. About (2) years ago, my instagram had 600 followers; fast forwarding to today, I’m at 6,000. The irony in this is that I had no intentions on growing my page, let alone indulging in blogging. Due to my oblivion of what was taking place, I hadn’t realized the type of community I was creating solely by being myself. Whether it was posting a picture with an inspiring caption, displaying ways to be proactive in achieving your goals, offering workouts to remain fit or sharing words of encouragement to my story, I related to my followers in some form or fashion.

Regardless of Instagram’s new algorithm, supplying your audience with what they want to see is critical to your success (based on society’s standards). About a month ago, 54% of my audience were men and 46% were women varying from the ages of 18-35. Since I’ve started my medical school journey, I’ve been touching base on the meetings I attend within my medical organization, clinical rotations at the hospital, shadowing sessions with various physicians, as well as my skincare services that I offer as an esthetician on my platform. Most have taken well to it, but some have been requesting more workout videos, makeup tips and stories where I demonstrate how I meal prep. Although I haven’t disregarded these requests, I’m aware of the importance of having a niche and being consistent.

What was the point of the backstory of my mini meltdown you may ask? Although I’m a firm believer of putting yourself first when it comes to your mental health, I’m a softy when it comes to those who seek advise and look for direction. That’s been my biggest battle thus far. Although I experience so much bliss when I’m not utilizing social media and enjoying the moment rather than capturing it, in the back of my mind, I think about those who look for my opinion. Yes, I believe in doing things for me, but I genuinely have a love for helping others. I’ve spent so much more time with God and have obtained the ability to hear him more clearly. On the contrary, I’ve received calls, texts and notifications of people checking on me and inquiring where I’ve gone. Keep in mind that it hasn’t been a full week, yet people have noticed. While that is a positive aspect and this decision has shown me who my true friends are, I still have to maneuver in a fashion conducive to my health. I encourage anyone experiencing similar emotions to take a break, unplug and refrain from feeling pressured to continue to do what you think you should be doing because the majority is doing it. I am so thankful that I have a fulfilling life outside of my platforms and don’t seek for validation from others compared to those who do. I haven’t made a final decision as far as when or if I’ll make a return. I’ve prayed and plan on fasting for an answer, but until then, you’ll just have to stay tuned.

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Sacrificing Your Friends For Your Future

It’s important to monitor your inner circle when it comes to pursuing your goals in life. One of the hardest realities I’ve faced has been learning to let go of individuals that have exceeded their expiration date. I used to be one of those people who held onto relationships (both platonic and romantic) based on the amount of time the person has been in my life.

After various events that took place within a friendship of mine, I realized that outgrowing people is a part of life and accepted the fact that everyone isn’t meant to come along during certain parts of my journey. If you care for your loved ones as much as I do, then you’ll understand why this decision wasn’t an easy one. There will be some people that take offense to your choice because they either don’t understand or don’t want to put in the effort to understand that you all may be growing apart and going separate paths.

One of my biggest mistakes were allowing some of those people to make me feel guilty for growing, for becoming the woman I am and wanting more for myself. Rather than encouraging me, I was ignored, called conceited and selfish. They were wrong about every description except classifying me as, “selfish”.  Even though I’m not a self absorbed person, for the past (6) months I’ve been extremely selfish with my funds, time and things I put my energy into. They say that your 20’s are the perfect time to think about yourself.  This is the time to make decisions for yourself and highly consider what’s best for you; it isn’t the time to settle. 

After having an epiphany and grasping what that concept really meant, I no longer felt the need to apologize for the decisions I’ve been making. I quickly learned that my true friends who genuinely supported me resided in different parts of the world. Sometimes we get so caught up on accessibility and fail to realize that just because something is available and tangible doesn’t always mean it’s in our best interest.

You want to ensure that those around you call you to the carpet when you’re slacking. Your friends must be able to hold you accountable for your actions even when they aren’t the best. They need to have the ability to feed your spirit and pour into you when you don’t have the energy to do it for yourself. 

In no way, shape or form am I telling you to drop your, “day 1’s”. However, I do encourage you to decipher who your are keeping in your life, why you are keeping them in your life and if they deserve to stay.

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For the Love of Medicine

I recently began my clinical rotations at Florida Hospital this past week and although shadowing is not a requirement, it makes your medical school resume more competitive. This experience not only has altered my perception of life, but I’ve gained a newfound appreciation for my well being. Seeing numerous people with a variety of chronic illnesses and diseases opened my eyes to the lack of knowledge surrounding health. 

One patient in particular has been battling sickle cell disease for their entire life; she’s forty years old and a mother of two. Along with excruciating joint pain and body aches, she was also in need of an oxygen mask due to having difficulty breathing. Thankfully, she has the support of her parents to assist with her illness and children, but I can only imagine her daily stressors.

It’s sometimes hard to fathom why bad things happen to good people, but unfortunately, that is life. There is no easy way to accept these circumstances, but this is what makes the job of a physician special because they have the ability to either find cures or assist with prolonging the life of the patient. This experience has further much confirmed my reasoning to pursue my specialty of interest because it breaks my heart to see those in pain. Dermatology not only allows me to educate others about skin care and assist with clearing their skin, but empower them and build their self confidence.

I highly advise those of you who are premed students or anyone interested in pursuing a career in the medical field to not only shadow at a private practice, but at an actual hospital. It will allow you to see what you’re interested in, as well as what you can and can’t handle. Being a medical professional includes having to keep your composure even during high stress situations. If you have a genuine passion to help those and love medicine, then go for it. Yes it will be a challenging journey, but the outcome will be rewarding.

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Fresh Faced

Tomorrow marks the final day of my makeup detox and I must say that I see a significant difference in my skin. Although I absolutely enjoy being dolled up, I usually take pride in my, “Fresh Faced” days. Disciplining myself to go makeup free for an entire week was a slight challenge this go around because I am still recovering from the allergic reaction that I experienced about a month ago. I was so determined to stick to this detox that in the event that I had to run an errand or leave the house, I wore a medical mask to cover the areas from the sun (oddly enough, I still got hit on and approached, but that’s for another blog post lol).

This detox has allowed me to pinpoint certain products and ingredients that don’t agree with my skin and also served as an example for what happens when wearing makeup excessively. Typically, the longest I’d wear makeup is around eight hours, but between relocating within the last two weeks and entertaining guests that were in town, I wore makeup for thirteen hours over the course of three consecutive days and the irritation that I experienced was a clear indicator that this wasn’t something my skin was accustomed to. Initially, I thought that I was building an allergy to my foundation, but quickly came to the conclusion that wearing it more than my regular regimen. Most are unaware of this, but a majority of skin allergies stem from products already introduced to the skin. For example, you could be using a facial cleanser for ten years and the eleventh year, have an adverse reaction to it.

If you’re a product junkie like myself, I suggest doing an at home patch test if you’re unaware of ingredients that don’t agree with your skin. The area on your inner wrist and forearm are the closest to the skin on your face. Apply a pea size amount of the new product (label if it’s more than one) and allow to sit for (24) hours. If you notice any signs of inflammation or bumps, that is a clear indication of an irritant. If you’d like to take it a step further, you can ask your physician if they offer medical patch tests at their office or to direct you to a physician that does. The process is quite similar, but instead of (24) hours, a patch test panel is taped to your back for (48) hours. They can test anything from makeup to latex to decipher what you are allergic to. Since I am constantly asked about skincare, I also recommend getting your blood type tested. Once your blood type is identified, you can obtain a list of foods and ingredients that aren’t suitable for it. This serves as a great way to clear your skin if you are experiencing problems, but as always, I advise everyone who seeks my advice to speak to a Dermatologist; they are not only professional, but have the access to tools and additional knowledge to conduct further research and can confirm if your skin concerns are dietary, hormonally or cosmetically related.

Aside from giving your skin a breather, I encourage all cosmetic lovers to indulge in a makeup detox. My face is brighter, more even and supple. Not only is it great for your skin, but it helps fuel your self confidence if your suffer with insecurities of going bare. There is something empowering about not wearing makeup and living in your natural truth. For those of you who aren’t as comfortable going makeup free, this is a great way to start. As aesthetically pleasing as you may be externally, remember that beauty fades and at the end of the day, YOU have to be ok with what you see in the mirror when you wake up in the morning, so love yourself wholeheartedly; imperfections and all.

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Likes for your Soul?

Social media platforms such as, Instagram, are not only updating constantly, but evolving on a tremendous level. As a blogger, it is important to consistently post quality content in order to maintain your brand, however, Instagram’s recent changes has made it extremely difficult to reach new accounts and engage with others on the platform; even your current followers have become more difficult to connect with due to the algorithm. 

Most of us would agree that the order in which your feed is displayed is one of the worst attributes of Instagram, but I believe the affect it has on the psyche and our self esteem takes the cake. Rather than utilizing this social media outlet to connect with family and friends whom you may not be able to engage with on a daily basis, it is now used to obtain followers, likes and views. To make matters worse, people are willing to do anything for attention; anything to get them seen. This includes paying ridiculous sums of money for advertisements and promotions to compromising their morals and values. 

For those of us like myself, who’s accustomed to being in the spotlight or characterized as the popular kid in school, attention isn’t something you crave when it’s always been handed to you. Please be advised that I am not excluding myself from experiencing a time of self doubt due to social media, however, the confidence and self assurance that I have both internally and externally play a major role in preventing me from falling victim to the psychological plague of Instagram.

Although I’ve received from flack from friends, outsiders and individuals with cyber courage that stated I wouldn’t be able to relate to certain struggles on Instagram because I meet a majority of the standards of beauty or been trendy before Instagram existed, my main goal is to educate and inspire others through my medical school journey, new ventures throughout my career and levels in which God has brought me to and places He intends to take me. I want others to know that He can do the same for them and not to allow the perception of society limit them to what they can do. 

No shade to the accounts that have reached large pinnacles of success, but most of them eat, live and sleep Instagram and have nothing else going on for themselves outside of it. When you begin collaborating with other bloggers or influencers, receive deals from major companies and network with successful individuals in the industry, you learn that IG is not all it’s cracked up to be. It isn’t REAL. The more you begin to focus on all of the positives in your life, what you currently have and cultivating the things in your world, the hype of Instagram will begin to fade and eventually, you won’t even notice it. Remember to water your own grass rather than sprinting in a never ending rat race chasing something unobtainable.

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Soul Ties

Many of us fail to realize the severity of soul ties when we make the decision to lay down with someone. We often hide behind coined terms such as, “savage” and “nonchalant” rather than surrendering to our emotions that follow physical intimacy. Although there are many of us (despite what society believes) that have the ability to carry on as if nothing ever happened after the, “deed is done”, most of us need to admit that as time progresses, feelings eventually resurface and for others, they tend to linger. 

Think about your experiences; are you aware of an individual that you just can’t seem to get rid of? You all may fuss and fight, have spontaneous arguments, take time apart, but then happen to find your way back to one another. Even if you’re cognizant that this person may not be good for you, they aren’t mature enough, ready or on your level, somehow you manage to look past every red flag waived in your direction due to hope, “what-ifs” and unknown soul ties. 

Spiritual bonds such as these require prayer in order to be released. No amount of social media purging and avoidance or deleting contact information and pictures will rid you of what has been internally housed. This is why sex goes deeper than penetration and stimulation; you become one with that individual during the act.

As you mature and the more seasoned you become in life, you learn loving someone does not warrant a relationship. The more time you indulge in your singleness and explore who you are as a person, you will begin to grasp the concept of what you like, dislike and need. Often times, the person that we believe to be our soul mate isn’t meant to be our life partner. With wisdom comes understanding; understanding that what you need from a person to function throughout life is far more important that what you may desire. Many of us have soul ties that we’re unaware of, but in order for you to be freed from something keeping you hostage, you must claim it.

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Blessings In Disguise

The most gut wrenching aspect about life is the simple fact that regardless of the choices you make for yourself, you will never be in complete control of your circumstances. If you’re a perfectionist like myself, the activities that take place in your daily routine are predominately scheduled. Whether it be event and work meetings or the day, time and amount of funds that are to be removed in order to contribute to bills, everything is done in a timely manner. Unfortunately, you come to the realization that although you make your best efforts to ensure that you’ve dotted all of your, “I’s” and crossed all of your, “T’s”, unforeseen events still take place. 

A perfect example of this was when I originally moved into my condo. I was about (3) months in and the 1st week of the month quickly approached and I noticed a notification from my real estate company stating that the confirmation number for this month’s rent reflected an incomplete payment. To my surprise, I called my bank to find out that I was a victim of card theft and due to suspicious activity taking place on my account, they decided to freeze it. I was grateful that the institution whom I bank with was able to locate the discrepancy before any further damage took place on my account, but frustrated because due to their inability to notify me in a timely manner, my rent was late and an additional late fee was added to my overall payment. Had I foreseen this in the future, I would’ve transferred my funds into my second account.

I provided this past experience because it served as a teaching moment. There have been so many unexpected things taking place in my life in which I lack understanding. Typically when I endure these kind of events, God is up to something; something in which I prayed for. Storms always come before your shower of blessings, but it’s important to handle them in manner that reflects your trust for Him. Everything I’ve been asking Him is coming to fruition, but not in the way I thought it would. Usually, it happens this way; we ask for things, but then begin to question our desires because it doesn’t happen how or when we want it to. I ask that you be encouraged, stay focused and endure the storm because your time is coming.

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Racism In Medicine

As a recent undergraduate pursuing a career in Dermatology, I’ve learned that there are numerous unspoken rules that aren’t taught in college. One of those rules included minorities having to work twice as hard to prove they are qualified to become a physician regardless if they exceed their medical school requirements. I came across an article stating that there were fewer black medical students in 2014 than in 1978. This small excerpt of information baffled me because the year of 1978 was closer to the days when racial prejudice was at its peak, but after shadowing various doctors, I grasped the concept as to why.

I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to experience the daily routines of medical professionals both within and outside my area of interests, but I’ve noticed that although my resume surpassed the requirements of that office, there were certain occasions where I was, “handled differently”.  I remember visiting a local practice after emailing my resume, all forms of required documentation and my liability certificate and when we finally met in person, I was further interrogated; some of these questions had absolutely nothing to do with medicine or shadowing. The physician was quite bold and upfront, and even stated that they were surprised someone who looked like me didn’t consider a career in modeling or something of that nature. While most would be flattered by this suggestion, I was offended. I took the physician’s statement to heart because the doctor completely disregarded my qualifications due to my appearance and their preconceived notions. My second experience was during an event that I attended discussing women overcoming adversity and bias in medicine. Although I met the characteristics of being a women with a future in medicine, I was still judged because I was a minority; as if black students shouldn’t pursue careers in this field and should be overly applauded if they make the decision to do so.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but I’ve accepted the reality. I understand that the individuals hosting most of the medical school interviews will be from the majority and a large number would agree that I do not meet the, “typical” physician standard; male and caucasian. I understand the importance of abiding by the rules until I get through the door, but I’ve made the conscious decision not to allow the prejudice stereotypes in medicine stop me from being myself (dolled up/possessing cosmetic interests) because I am intelligent, ambitious, professional and know that I have what it takes to be a physician. As long as I ensure that I am studying, putting in the work, remaining humble and grounded, and keeping my faith first, I cannot lose. Indeed, it will be a challenge, but inevitably worth it in the end. I not only want to improve the overall health of my patient’s skin, but provide them with knowledge on how to live a healthier lifestyle, provide the tools they need to sustain it as well as alternative options that do not require prescription medication. It’s unfortunate, but we lack doctors who know how to treat ethnic skin and it’s an underserved community that need fair and honest assistance and practice in the field of Dermatology. Whatever your passion may be, please do not allow the odds to come against you. Things may be challenging, but nothing worth having comes easy. Remember that it’s ok to bend, but never break sis…ever.

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Self Love

There comes a point in time where life events take place that affect our self esteem. Whether it’s being laid off from your job, you’re experiencing a random breakout or grieving a traumatizing breakup, it all has an impact on our self esteem. Based on my experiences, if it wasn’t for the love and value I possess for myself, I would not have survived certain situations.

Being confident in who you are gives you the freedom to refrain from subjecting yourself to what others think. I stumbled across a suggested page on one of my social media handles and the young lady posted a video responding to negative comments about her weight. She politely stated that she is aware that she is, “skinny” and is satisfied with her size. The young lady also rejected any suggestions that have been made to gain weight similar to her sister’s. My favorite portion of the video was when she made it a point to elaborate regardless of the number of hate comments she acquired, the bottom line is, “I love me”.

Most of us have a difficult time admitting this, but only a portion of us can actually agree with her statement; some of us actually aren’t satisfied with who we are. The minute our skin is compromised, we start to wonder if our significant other would still view us in the same light or if our peers would respect us in the same manner if we decrease our weekend outings due to a job loss. We all have insecurities, as we should because it keeps us humble and we are human, but we should not allow the things that we aren’t pleased with to dictate our overall perception of ourselves. 

It may be hard to stomach, but self love doesn’t happen when everything is going well; it takes place during hard times. The stages that take place before obtaining true self love can be perceived as boot camp; it’s there to strip away remnants that no longer serve a purpose and mold you into the person who you are within. If you are reading this, love yourself on your good days and even more on your bad days, reward yourself for all of your accomplishments regardless of how minor they be, stop looking for validation from others because you are your biggest competition and always remember that no one will love you like YOU.