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Lifestyle Parenting

The Sweetest Embrace….

This is one of those stories that I struggled to share. Actually, this is one of maybe ten stories that I struggled to share. Before I went public with my blog, I thought that this “open book” thing was going to be easy.

Yeah….

I started struggling with my weight when I was in high school. Between being sick and going through puberty, I became disgusted by my body. My hips started spreading, and I had the slightest pudge in my stomach. I hated looking in the mirror. I often wore my middle school wardrobe as motivation for the weight that I wanted to be.

I remember the morning that I was discharged from a hospital stay when I was in the 9th grade. I put my size 11 jeans on. When I stood up, my pants feel to my feet. I thought that I had forgotten to button them. When I pulled my pants back up, I noticed how wide they were in the waist.

I was shocked and excited. I lost weight! Due to the various tests and procedures that I had undergone, I was placed on a strict diet. I just didn’t notice that this diet would have a big impact on my body. I was able to fit my older sister’s size 7 jeans! My clothes from middle school fit like a glove.

Literally…. My breasts were developing, so those shirts were tight in the chest area.

Once I was allowed to return to a normal diet, the pounds came creeping back. In no time, I was back in my size 11 jeans. It was so frustrating!

I started my first homemade “diet” when I was in 11th grade. I ate one Granny Smith apple a day, drank a lot of water, and had 1 hour of exercise a day.

I dropped 30 pounds in a month.

I started wearing my middle school clothes to school again. I knew my shirts were too short, but they clung to me and showed my flat tummy. I just knew I was cute.

I nearly fainted at school a week later. My father was understandably pissed off that he had to come pick me up. He was working second shift, and sleeping during the day. My mother was working first shift and had a lengthy commute from home.

I confessed to my father that I hadn’t been eating. I had never let my parents know about my issues with my body. He yelled at me for a good portion of the ride home:

“You know damn well you’re supposed to eat!”

I felt like I couldn’t talk to my parents about this issue. It was something that haunted me for years. I decided to just let them think I was acting stupid.

I started eating a regular diet and wearing my normal fitting clothes again. It was time for me to accept the fact that I wasn’t going to fulfill my dreams of wearing crop tops and low-rise jeans.

I gained about 60 pounds when I was pregnant with Ariana. It didn’t bother me much because I was able to use pregnancy as an excuse. I had to gain weight for the baby, right? Most of that extra weight went to my breasts, stomach, and face.

After I had Ariana, I began to lose the weight. I credit postpartum depression for that. I remember admiring my flattening stomach while I was in the psychiatric hospital.

After several months, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I was impressed by my ability to be able to keep my weight in check for years. I actually started to accept my curves. The guys loved the curves.

I always craved that attention from guys. I was always jealous of my older sister for getting it. I didn’t know that I was seeking to wrong type of attention. I loved it though. My self-esteem was higher than ever.

Maybe I was never fat to begin with!

I started gaining weight again when Ariana was three. At that time, I was in my first marriage, and I had stopped putting so much into my appearance. I was never into appearances. It just didn’t matter to me. I thought that my husband wouldn’t care because he loved me.

WRONG!

Another damn expectation placed on the woman.

When I was pregnant with Amariyah, the weight started piling on.

My thighs had never rubbed together before. For the first time in my life, the first number on the scale read “2”. I was gutted. I never thought that I would see the day.

After I had Avery, I completely let myself go. I didn’t even want to know what I looked like. I avoided the mirror as much as I could. I didn’t even do my hair in front of a mirror.

I was forced to confront my appearance after seeing a picture of myself from Avery’s first birthday party. It was a very humbling experience. Everyone feels like they look good until that picture is taken.

I’m not talking about a deceptive selfie…..

I reconnected with a grade school classmate on Facebook. It turns out that she had become a nutrition coach. After catching up for a few minutes, she introduced me to the Medifast diet. She gave me her testimony on how it worked for her. I was intrigued.

It was expensive, but I was desperate. My then-husband and I were having trouble paying our bills, but I could tell that he was excited at the idea of me losing weight. At a time when my marriage was quickly deteriorating, I thought that it was the least that I could do to salvage what was left.

The food was nasty. I had to eat five meal replacements a day, plus cook a healthy dinner. I added exercise into my regimen after a month. I was impressed by how fast the pounds were falling off.

I had one cheat day. A friend blessed me with a lunch date at Red Lobster. That endless shrimp was heavenly! Don’t get me started on the Dr. Pepper!

I stepped on the scale a couple of days later. I had gained three pounds. I could tell that my husband was annoyed. I was understanding. We were shelling out a lot of money for me to do this, and I slipped up.

After six months, I lost a total of 70 pounds. I felt fantastic! I graduated from my husband’s clothes to some new, cute clothes that I treated myself with. My husband even acted like he was attracted to me again. That didn’t go unnoticed. As bad as it sounds, I was loving the outside attention that I was getting as well.

After I separated from my then-husband, I gave up the diet. It was more important than ever to solely focus on providing for my babies.

I never entered the official maintenance portion of the diet, but I was able to keep my weight under control with small food portions.

When I started dating Donnie, he knew that I had been struggling with my image. Being the sweetheart that he is, he told me that I didn’t need to diet.

That was easy for him to say. He never saw me at my heaviest weight.

We had both actually just experienced a drastic weight loss. When Donnie and I found out that we were going to have a baby, the weight started creeping back. I craved cantaloupe and Dr. Pepper all of the time.

After I miscarried, I started relying on bad eating habits again. After a a couple of months, I was pregnant with Julian. Again, I put on a lot of weight. Again, I didn’t let it bother me because I needed to put on weight for the baby.

After I gave birth to the twins, I was at the highest weight of my life. Once again, I was forced to confront my appearance.

I took extra pride in doing my hair. My hair is something that I could always count on. Even when my hair was going through different phases of damage(illness related), cuts, and styles, it never let me down. I never had a problem growing my hair. I told myself that as long as my hair was done, the rest of my appearance didn’t matter.

It was nice to have the reassurance of my husband, Donnie, though. He has never made me feel like I am unattractive. He has always loved me. Knowing this made me take some pressure off of myself.

Maybe I don’t need to keep a certain appearance to please a man! The right man! The man who loves me unconditionally!

Sure, people got their fat jokes off at my expense. Good for them. For the first time in my life, I didn’t care because my husband loved every inch of me. My husband helped me love myself. I know that I’m not perfect, but I’m me. What can be better than that?! Certainly I’m not being miserable and cracking jokes on someone else.

Still, I knew I needed to lose weight for health reasons.

I also wanted to look better for me. Why wasn’t I blessed with good genes?! I have seen larger women with great figures:

Titties? Sitting. Ass? Poked. Frame? Hour glass.

Me? The opposite…..

Google told me that I was shaped like a damn apple….

My parents tried to blame my child-rearing for the weight. I mean, food is also good… When I’m depressed, I have an unhealthy relationship with food.

I started a Keto diet when the twins were two years old. I was impressed with the quick weight loss. Unfortunately, my weight loss stalled after losing 25 pounds.

Next, I tried the Atkins diet. It seemed similar to the Keto diet. It was a cute diet, but my weight loss was not cute. I gave up on that quickly. I tried a few more weight loss applications. They just didn’t do the job for me.

I was skeptical about Weight Watchers. This is the oldest diet that I had heard of. I was hesitant because I had to open my purse again. This time, the damage was far less.

I started the program in January of this year. I was actually impressed. You just track and eat in within your point allotment. You don’t have to worry about keeping track of carbs and fat and micros and macros… You know, those pesky numbers that indicate that you are overdoing it….

I think that my favorite part was the lack of food restrictions. I could literally eat what I wanted. The downside was that the portions were extremely small, compared to what I normally would eat. Sometimes I would find myself craving a 17-point Big Mac with only 2 points left.

Huge sigh!

I started losing weight at a normal pace, and I was happy with my results. I was no longer obsessing with the scale. I was obsessing over how amazing my new clothes fit.

One thing that I learned about myself from doing Weight Watchers is that I need to stop putting expectations on myself. I will probably never be tiny again, and that’s okay with me.

Part of the reason why I was failing at these diets is because I only had my eyes on the end result. I didn’t celebrate the small victories. I was only focused on being skinny instead of making realistic goals.

My goal is to be healthy and happy. Salads may make me healthy, but they don’t always make me happy. Oreos may not be healthy, but I will be happy eating them. Thanks WW!

It’s all a work in progress, and I’m still working. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not at my highest weight anymore. Success!

Unfortunately, I’m human. I fell off of my program during my most recent confrontation with depression. I am currently taking things one day at a time until I am fully able to recommit

I want this story to promote happiness and acceptance.

I want to let you know that you don’t have to fit into a box that was designated by man. Break the norms. Fat doesn’t have to equal unhealthy or unattractive, and skinny doesn’t have to equal sexy or desirable.

Stand confident in you. Love you! You weren’t put on this earth to make people accept you.

Thank you for your support, and feel free leave feedback!

Also, don’t forget to check out my other website for some affordable jewelry:

www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

Categories
Lifestyle

“Black-Owned”: Let’s Get Into Some Things!

This writing is dedicated to all of the black entrepreneurs who feel marginalized because their business isn’t “black” enough. You have probably seen those direct or indirect posts on social media. So much for “Unity in the Community”.

In a time of racial tension, the black community has resurged the sentiment that black people should only consume black-owned products. “We should be supporting each other!” With a few stipulations, of course…..

This latest wave had me revisiting the “crabs in a barrel” phrase because that’s exactly who we are. We claim to “love” and “support” our “brothers and sisters”, but we are also picking and choosing who is worthy of support within our community. We are congratulating on the forefront, but engaging in sabotaging behavior behind the scenes.

“Crabs in a barrel”

It’s no secret that I sell jewelry pieces under the name “GlamSc8pe”. I started “GlamSc8pe” as a way to earn extra money for my family. My short-term mission is to be able to help my husband pay off our debts so that we can find better housing and a better school system for our children. We have three children who have special needs. Two of those three children are severely autistic. We currently live in an area that has very little resources and money. This means that my children are not able to get all of the resources and help that they need.

My supplier for “GlamSc8pe” is Paparazzi Accessories. Paparazzi Accessories is not “black-owned”. This fact doesn’t qualify me as a “black-owned business”. That is, according to numerous black people on several social media platforms. This is just one scenario that I have seen scrutinized and deemed unworthy.

Before I get into some things, I just want everyone to know that you are not entitled to support for your business. I don’t care who you are. People are going to spend their dollar wherever they want to spend it.

Are you really buying from a “black-owned” business? Yes, you are creating a transaction from a black face, but did you check the pipeline? Do you know the suppliers? Did you know the supplier’s suppliers? Do you know where some of the revenue is really going?

Every business has at least one supplier. I don’t care if they create their own products or are selling products that they purchased. Unless someone is selling their own piss water, they have suppliers. If that direct supplier is black, do you think they checked who the supplier’s supplier is? Everyone is using something that is not black-owned to run their business. How does that make them different from me? I, a Black woman, purchased something that I profit from. Isn’t that called “Business”?

Where did you get your seed money to start your business? Did that money come from a corporation that is not black-owned? This could be a paycheck from a current or former employer. Did you use that stimulus check? Did you go to a bank for a loan?

You have a building, correct? This could be a home that you are leasing or a building that you are renting. The revenue from your customers is going to whoever owns that place. Not to mention, taxes have to be paid on that building by somebody. Let’s not forget the utilities. How is the electric bill getting paid? Who is paying for water and sewage?

You need supplies to create your product. Where does the fruit come from? Where did the seeds come from to create the fruit? You make shirts? Did you buy those shirts for wholesale price? Who was paid the cheap labor price? Jeff Bezos didn’t get rich on his own. Chances are that you purchased some supplies from Amazon. Was the third party seller black? Well, that third party has to pay Mr. Bezos a portion of his or her revenue. How about your skin care line? We could do this all day…..

How do you handle your transactions? Do you use Square App? Square App was co-founded by Jack Dorsey. Jack Dorsey owns twitter. Square App charges transaction fees after a certain amount of money that is exchanged. Do you use Cash App? Cash App is an extension of Square. Who does your business bank with? BB&T, Wells Fargo, Bank Of America, Chime……

You need to promote your business, correct? What is the easiest way to promote your business? You got it! The use of social media. Where are you advertising it? Facebook and Instagram have been great options. Those platforms are owned by a white billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg. I stated earlier that Twitter is owned by Jack Dorsey. How do you think these people are getting rich?! Social media has been lucrative.

There is so much irony in the fact that someone who screams “Support black businesses!” would use their Samsung or Apple device to tell me on Facebook, Twitter, or instagram that I don’t have a black-owned business.

Dear consumer, when you are shopping “black-owned”, just know that they are sending their revenue to a non black-owned company. There’s nothing wrong with that. I just wanted to point out the hypocrisy. Somewhere down the line, a business stops being “black-owned”.

To the people who slight direct sales consultants:

If my supplier doesn’t make qualify me as “black-owned”, what does that make you?

We don’t have to slight each other to support a cause. We all have a mission. We are all trying to survive by providing for ourselves or others.

Don’t call me your “sis” with the same tongue that you badmouth me with. Don’t look down on my business because we hustle differently. Look down on my business because I served you bad business. We all hustle differently, but that doesn’t make us any less.

If you are interested in jewelry, I sell paparazzi jewelry through my business, “Antonia’s Glamsc8pe”. Feed your $5.00 habit at my online store:

https://www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

Categories
Lifestyle

Protect Your Energy!

This is very important! Don’t sacrifice your well-being or mental health for anyone. I don’t care who they are. Negativity is very contagious, and it is designed to destroy your life.

It’s okay to forgive someone, but you don’t have to interact with that person again. Don’t be a fool in someone else’s game. There are people who will take advantage of your kindness and use it as a weakness. There are people who will continue to practice hurtful behaviors towards you because you are forgiving. There is nothing wrong with forgiveness because it brings peace. However, if you allow this person to keep taking up space in your life, you will continue to get hurt.

Speaking of peace, don’t be someone else’s puppet. If you feel wronged by someone, don’t allow the negative words or actions to live rent-free in your mind. Be angry, but don’t let that anger cloud your judgement. Be sad, but don’t let that sadness keep you up at night. Think about it, but don’t let your thoughts convince you that you are to blame for someone else’s behavior. Don’t let someone else’s negativity take away your peace and control you.

Take responsibility. This is a big one. Just like others can exude negative energy, you can also. Take responsibility for your actions. Taking responsibility when you are at fault will trigger growth and maturity. It’s easy to constantly live in victim hood because it protects us from having to see ourselves.

Every action doesn’t require a reaction. You don’t have to stoop to a lower level to get even. The one thing that a bully hates is a strong-willed person. Bullies hate when they can’t control your emotions.

Adversity is apart of life. You don’t have to be defeated by adverse circumstances. I know this sounds cliche, but “Trouble don’t last always”. How you handle adversity with determine how you get through it. It’s all about your attitude.

Take a break from social media. You don’t always have to be on an app. There is so much toxicity on all of those platforms. A lot of people use social media to play a character. It’s an outlet that allows them to be as disgusting as they want without consequences. Stop taking memes to heart. You know the memes that I’m talking about. I’m talking about the memes that start off with “Only real men…”, “Only real women…”, “A real wife…”, or even “A real mother…”. Those memes don’t dictate who you are or if you are doing life correctly. People who incessantly post or repost those types of memes are insecure. They are looking to validate themselves. You live your life by your own standards.

Everyone who seems nice doesn’t need to be in your life. Sometimes that means distancing yourself from friends. Everyone who is your family doesn’t need to be in your life. Sometimes that means loving from afar. We seem to take on the most relationships when we are vulnerable. This is also when we tend to give out the most ammunition against ourselves. Trust your God-given instinct whenever it speaks to you. You don’t have to be mean, but you need to protect your energy by keeping certain people at length. Have you ever struck up a great conversation with someone, but the next time you saw that person, they acted like they didn’t know who you are? Have you ever met someone who always had a stank attitude with you for no reason? Don’t try to be a psychologist. Move on, and protect your energy.

If you are interested in jewelry, I sell paparazzi jewelry through my business, “Antonia’s Glamsc8pe”. Feed your $5.00 habit at my online store:

https://www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com