I’ve always been uncomfortable with the term ‘African American’, I typically identify as Black. I don’t have family in Africa, nor do I know where my family tree even began in Africa. Somewhere in West Africa, in the 18th century, my ancestors were abducted, sold & shipped to the U.S, right? But what does this mean? Do I have cultural ties to Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, or maybe Sierra Leone? This has sparked my curiosity for years.
I think I was exposed to ethnicity at a very young age. I grew up in a very diverse area, surrounded by Pacific Islanders, West Indians, & Latinx people. Many of these people looked like me, but they were often bilingual. I’m like, damn, you speak TWO languages?!
Here’s a funny, & slightly embarrassing story. When I was in the 4th grade, we did a project on our culture. I’ll be honest, I had no clue what that meant. Our assignment revolved around crafting our country’s flag. I knew what states my parents came from, but I was unsure of the country. Now, I had a friend who had dark skin, hair, & eyes just like me! However, she was Dominican….. well, that day, I was too! I had temporarily convinced myself that I was Dominican lol I didn’t know any better!
Since then, I’ve always desired a culture to embrace and connect with. Now, don’t get me wrong; I love Black American culture, I really do. I just despise the fact that our history always revolves around slavery, & segregation. It’s a very important part of Black history, but Black people are far more than slavery & lynching. Unfortunately, slavery has stripped away many cultural ties to Africa. Thankfully, modern technology has given us access to products that allow us reconnect with what we’ve missed out on. Black isn’t limited to African American. I wanted to learn more about my ancestral background & history. I mean, all Black people DO somehow come from Africa. My ancestors just so happen to have somehow migrate to the United States, West Virginia to be specific.
I had no clue where to start; there are SO many options when it comes to ancestral DNA testing. I did lots of research that involved comparing databases, cost, & user reviews. Ultimately, it was my brother who recommended African Ancestry to me. Although it was the most expensive option, they assured me that they had the largest African database. This means you’re more likely to get detailed results. Other companies will often guide you to a general region in Africa, while African Ancestry connects you to a particular tribe in a specific country.
On October 18, I ordered my ‘MatriClan Test Kit’, this test is for both men & women. The test uses your mitochondrial DNA (which is inherited by your mother) from your saliva to determine your ancestral roots. These results are beneficial for ANY blood relative on your mothers side of the family. The test ended up being a little over $300 with taxes. My package ended up arriving to my mailbox within a few days via USPS Priority Mail.
Inside the envelope; there were 6 swabs, 2 envelopes, competitor information, detailed directions, & a prepaid shipping envelope. They also emailed me a YouTube video that provides additional tips while clarifying the sampling instructions. After collecting the data, I shipped it back out on Friday, November 8. 10 days later on November 18th I got an email confirming African Ancestry received my swabs. Based off my calculations, the expected delivery date for my results is January 27! Let the waiting process begin……
Now, this is where things got a little complicated & annoying. The results were expected to come between January 13 & the 27th. I moved from Texas on February 1st. I expected to have my results by then, but they never came. I also never received any emails from African Ancestry notifying me that they were shipped. I was patient, very patient. I waited nearly 2 weeks before contacting the company via email. I reached out to explain I hadn’t received my results yet. They immediately responded saying they would reship them via 2 day delivery from FedEx to my new address. 1 week later, on Feb 21, still nothing. However, African Ancestry reached out to me asking if I had gotten anything yet. Which I appreciated them going out of their way to do so. This time they overnighted the results. Finally, I received them! Took about 14 weeks from the day they accepted my swabs. I assume this isn’t normal, most people get their results much sooner than this. Although I was eager & annoyed, their customer service was exquisite and it made up for the unfortunate delay.
Now to the fun part! This is a secret I kept from my entire family & it has been miserable! Me & my mom talk almost every 2 hours, so it wasn’t easy hiding this from her. I figured it would be a fun surprise for the entire family. I get to call my grandma, & my brother to join us while me, my mom & sister read the results together.
I opened the envelope, & I had received my certificate saying the company was 100% certain my ancestry ties back to the Tikar tribe currently living in Cameroon. This tribe migrated from Sudan. I’m unsure of what I expected, but I was excited to find out for sure!
Wanna know what’s the first thing I did after reading my results? I went on Pinterest to find Cameroonian recipes, of course! As a family, we all did our research to understand more about our new culture. I was excited to learn that French is widely spoken in modern day Cameroon. I took a semester of French in high school, so I’m already one step ahead of my family… I can introduce myself, and count to 10 in French!
Overall, I’ll say I’m happy with my results. Part of me wants to say it was expensive for what I received. The other part of me understands African Ancestry is a much smaller company than 23 & me, and ancestry . com. I also feel like the security of my DNA samples makes this process well worth it. The company ensured me that my information will never be distributed, because it is destroyed after my results are determined. I don’t know how this works for other companies, so I won’t speak on all that.
All I’ll say is, do your research. Decide which DNA testing company works best for you. Keep in mind, these results only reflect my maternal DNA, it’s quite specific. My great grandma’s, grandma’s, grandma’s, grandma’s, grandma was a part of the Tikar tribe. These results mean so much to me.
Best believe I’m about to show up & show out for my Cameroonian folk! Maybe I’ll be blessed enough to take a trip to the Motherland some day.
Would you consider DNA testing? What would you hope to find? For those of you who have done DNA testing, have you taken a trip to your country of origin?
I highly recommend finding out information that connects you to your cultural roots. Most Black Americans were stripped of that opportunity to know their ancestral origin. Find out where your bloodline began! We deserve to have that relationship!
Let me start by saying, this post is very LONG overdue.
A little over 2 years ago, I decided to enroll in beauty school. Let me tell you, this is something that is WAY out of my comfort zone. But I needed the challenge for myself. I needed to get out of the house, and build something for myself. I made the spontaneous choice to become a Licensed Esthetician.
I remember having acne when I was younger. Throughout middle and high school. My acne made me very self conscious & insecure. I would blur all of my photos to conceal my bumps and dark marks. I spent so much time and money buying products that would dry out my skin & make things far worse. I even used products that made my skin bleed! It was awful. Eventually my dermatologist prescribed me antibiotics, & steroid creams. They did help eliminate my acne & hyper-pigmentation, but at a cost. These products made my skin raw, & sensitive. Unfortunately, this was only a temporary fix. After years of suffering, I still couldn’t figure out how to maintain my problematic skin. Because this played a huge role in my lack of confidence, I knew I had to learn everything there is to know about skin.
I became a full time student at The Salon Professional Academy. Tuesday through Saturday, 9-5. Our dress code required us to wear all black attire, hair & makeup was mandatory. For those who know me, know I RARELY wear makeup & I prefer to spend most of my time in yoga pants. This wasn’t easy for me, however, I knew it would be good for my mental health. I needed something to look forward to. My mama always said ‘an idle mind is the devils workshop’.
We were a small class of ladies. All with very very completely different, and strong personalities. We spent 35+ hours a week together for 6 whole months. We had an ongoing joke that our cycles would sync. It didn’t take long for us to become friends. It was pretty much necessary if we wanted to enjoy ourselves. We all had different goals, & skills. One was known for her bomb ass facials. She basically had clients lined up to get one! Another, was the notorious wax queen. Any free time she had, she used it to brush up on her technique! One more, the makeup artist of the group. Whether a bold lip, or an eccentric eye, she always changed it up! These ladies had obvious talents and ambitions. This somehow led me to feel like an outcast. I didn’t enroll in beauty school because I had dreams of owning a spa, or becoming a professional makeup artist. I just really wanted to learn about skin. I somehow began to question my decision to enroll. I was discouraged because I wasn’t sure where I fit in.
Our curriculum involved waxing, skincare, and makeup. The most common service we performed was the 60 minute facial. Double cleanse, exfoliation, massage, moisturize. My specialty was chemical peels, I absolutely loved doing them! Had I not gotten pregnant while I was in school, I would have become a Medical Esthetician. When it comes to skincare, I personally value health over vanity.
I’ve learned from my instructors and my peers. I’ve learned how to push and challenge myself. I’ve learned time management. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be different. I’ve learned how to believe in myself even when nobody else does. I’ve learned to stop doubting my abilities. I’ve learned to quit comparing myself to everyone else. I’ve learned that it’s okay to not know exactly what you want to do with yourself. I’ve learned that the beauty industry is a massive one, and there are infinite opportunities for us all. I’ve learned that this field is quickly growing, changing, and evolving. I’ve also learned that self care is far more than just a bubble bath & cheap wine.
Overall, I had to reevaluate what actually led me down this path to begin with; my personal struggles with my skin. I’m now on a journey to find effective and affordable beauty products that work for me. This is something I want to share, in hopes of potentially helping someone else learn to love their skin. I’m convinced that beautiful, well-nourished skin doesn’t have to be expensive! While sampling and reviewing products, I want to educate people on ingredients, products, services, and techniques that will ensure beautifully healthy, glowing skin. Join me on my new Instagram — @esthi.ash
Also, feel free to follow my esthi sisters on Instagram! @BombshellBrowsAndBodySA & @Jaxx_FairySkinMother
I’ve always wondered why people shared their birth story, but now that I’ve given birth, I realize how important and memorable the experience will become. Not only that, giving birth is one of the most BADASS things I’ve ever done!
I mean, this blog is 6 months late, and I still remember almost every detail vividly.
I wanted to share with y’all.
Well, here we go…..
A full-term single pregnancy lasts somewhere between 39 and 41 weeks.
Of course, someone like me, who is not only extremely impatient, but a control freak who likes to plan everything, would make it to 41 weeks.
From the very beginning of my pregnancy, I had plans to labor and deliver as natural as possible.
Unfortunately for me, at 41 weeks I had to be medically induced because I was ZERO centimeters dilated. I made the choice to be induced as opposed to waiting because I knew I wasn’t progressing on my own, and I didn’t want to risk the complications of being post-term.
April 19, my husband and I stopped for chicken biscuits from Chick-fil-a, which was very important because I knew I couldn’t eat while in the hospital.
We arrived a little after 8 am.
I checked in and was escorted to labor and delivery room 6.
I changed into my hospital gown, and the nurse hooked me up to an IV and asked about my birth plan—which shocked me because I figured that birth plans were frowned upon because things don’t always go as planned. They asked if I wanted to breastfeed, if I wanted skin-to-skin contact with the baby, if I wanted pain medication, and if David would be cutting the umbilical cord. My answers—yes, yes, no, yes. The nurse also gave me all of my options for pain relief. Shortly after, the anesthesiologist came in. They basically come in to get my consent for an epidural, just in case I need an emergency c-section.
It was around 9:30 am when the nurse practitioner came in to check my cervix, and to insert the Foley balloon catheter. At that point, I still wasn’t dilated at all (although my cervix was almost completely thinned out), which helped reassure me that I made the right choice to get induced.
I could have been pregnant forever, who knows.
The Foley balloon was basically like a weight that was inserted in my cervix, one balloon inside, and one outside. They are filled with water. The friction of the heavy balloons causes the uterus to contract. I was also given Cytotec. The Cytotec is a tiny pill that helps soften the cervix, it also helps cause contractions.
It took about an hour before I started having obvious contractions. They were maybe 7 minutes apart, but they only felt like mild period cramps. I was still in a pretty good mood, watching my favorite show. We brought DVD’s, I wanted to laugh through the pain.
It wasn’t until 2:30 pm when I finally dilated to 4 centimeters, and the Foley balloon was removed.
CERVICAL EXAMS SUCK—so when the nurse asked me if she could break my water, I said YES since she was already in there removing the balloon.
Once my water was broken, the contractions really started kicking my ass.
Things were progressing as expected. The nurse told me that things would move much quicker if I either walked around my room, or used a peanut ball. The peanut ball is basically a giant peanut shaped exercise ball that you hold in between your legs while you lay in bed. Helps open the cervix & get the baby into the correct position for delivery. It wasn’t comfortable, but I couldn’t be lazy if I wanted to get this baby out.
I was still in good spirits, just very very uncomfortable.
The nurse gave me permission to eat real food, as opposed to Jello or chicken broth. I ordered a cheeseburger. I wasn’t really hungry, I just chose to eat because I had no idea how long I would be in labor. The burger was gross, but it held me over.
Even though the contractions were getting pretty rough, I was still anti epidural. I made sure David promised to not let me get one. His job was also to make sure I wasn’t given a c-section unless it was completely medically necessary.
I was able to tolerate the pain until around 7:30. I basically blacked out from the pain. I couldn’t see much, but I felt every.single.contraction. I couldn’t get comfortable at all. I could barely talk. The nurse recommended that I hum in order to calm myself down, which I did.
It was around 8:30 maybe 9 pm when I finally gave in and requested pain medication. I decided to go with Fentanyl which was given to me through my IV. It kicked in pretty quickly, and allowed me to get some rest. I still felt the contractions, but I was able to nap in between them. I knew it was important to save my energy for delivery. Unfortunately the medication wore off around 10. I blacked out once again. Everything was a blur. At this point, I couldn’t even space apart my contractions. I just felt pain consistently. I was restless, and just miserable. I felt weak, and defeated. I believe it was around 10:30 when I got my cervix checked. The nurse told me I was at 9 centimeters, and I wouldn’t get another exam for 4 hours since my water was already broken, they didn’t wanna risk infection. Y’all have no idea how discouraged I was. I cried when the nurse left the room. I basically started to question if I could continue without an epidural.
I was pretty much yelling through my contractions, the humming no longer helped. The urge to push was rough. About 30 minutes after my last cervical exam, I got to the point where I couldn’t hold it anymore. I had David push the nurse call button. He didn’t even know what to say. I’m sure all the nurses heard was me screaming. That was enough to get the whole team in the room. I told them I couldn’t hold this baby in any longer.
I had my two nurses, the baby had two nurses, my OB as well as the delivering doctor were there. So 6 people on the medical team, plus David & I. The room was packed.
The nurses raise the bed up, turn all the lights on. It sounds like it would be embarrassing, having a huge spotlight on your vagina. However, at this point, I just wanted this baby OUT.
THE MOMENT WE’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR.
The doctor gave me a cervical exam. I was at 10 centimeters, and I was ready to push.
Somehow, I got a huge burst of energy, I was still terrified, and I had no clue what I was doing.
During my next contraction, I gave my first push. It took so much strength, it was tiresome.
The next contraction took about a minute, which wasn’t much time for me to recharge.
I relaxed, paused, and took a huge inhale, I pushed long and hard. Her head was out.
THAT WAS SO EXHAUSTING.
I literally asked my nurse if I could take a break lol she said I had to keep pushing.
I’m not sure where the strength came from, possibly fear, or maybe eagerness.
On that third contraction. That. third. push.
She was here.
The first thing I said after birth, “it’s a girl right?” I asked that during every ultrasound as well. I was convinced I would have a boy and he would be wearing pink his entire first year of life.
It was a girl.
I went from screaming “OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH” to ugly crying, I ugly cried 5 minutes straight before I even looked at her face.
Immediately I felt relieved.
I did it.
I. Did. It.
I may have gotten medically induced.
I may have caved and gotten pain medications.
But I did it.
I birthed a baby—and it’s one of my proudest accomplishments.
8 hours and 44 minutes of labor.
Somewhere between 5 & 10 minutes of pushing.
1 Beautiful baby girl.
Let me be honest, I’m extremely socially awkward. I’ve also been told I’m “monotone”, I pretty much always sound like I’m reading a script *shrugs*. This took a ton of courage to upload, hence the reason why it took 3 months lol I wanted to document my favorite restaurants in Okinawa, Japan. I miss the food SO much. This video is pretty much all I have to remember it by. Man oh man I miss Sam’s by the Sea! I hope you enjoy the video!
(Trigger Warning: Mental Illness)
Very rare that I post back to back, because I’m just super inconsistent and flaky. I just needed to write, it is so helpful when it comes to my mental health. Some of you may know that I struggle with mild depression. You could read more about that here. BUT because we are in the process of PCSing (moving from Japan to Texas), I’m now dealing with anxiety, which is triggering my depression and it is freaking awful. I have never had to deal with anxiety, except the occasional flare up while driving. This anxiety though, is disgusting and I feel terrible.
I’m just constantly worrying about everything you could imagine. The packers come tomorrow, and it’s unreal. It’s pretty difficult to decide which items we could live without for 6 weeks, what items we want to donate, and which items we need for our day to day life. It’s just so stressful to get everything organized. I’ve always had this strange obsession with things. I guess I have some mild hoarding tendencies (no I don’t collect dead mice or feces). I find sentiment in some things that most people will look past. I collect birthday cards, attraction tickets, I even have my very first paystub. I guess I’m kinda attached to my house. This is the first house I’ve ever lived in on my own, it was brand new, and it’s my home. Such an odd feeling to pack up all my things to relocate somewhere completely new. For some reason, writing takes my mind off of the tough part. It feels pretty good to write about it, instead of holding all the worry in. Honestly, I just don’t have many people who I can talk to, people who actually understand what I’m going through. So many people are uncomfortable talking about their mental health, possibly out of denial? I don’t know, I’m not a psychiatrist. Anyway, it is pretty sad that I’m so overwhelmed, I can’t even find time to be excited about moving. I want to be excited about moving.
Anxiety to me is: thinking of the worst possible outcome. It sounds crazy, and it kinda is. It’s like my brain is overthinking and causing me to doubt everything that I do. I’m thinking about things that could happen, but are completely unrealistic and they probably won’t ever happen. Of course I’m well aware that my thoughts are very unreasonable, but it’s just the way my brain is choosing to process things right now. I read something that said, “Anxiety is like swimming in the ocean with no land in sight”. Now try to visualize yourself in that ocean………….. It’s extremely scary. You know the feeling when you’re unsure if you left the stove on when you leave the house? The feeling you get when you’re about to take a major exam in your worst subject. Imagine feeling that way for days on end. I feel like I’m constantly forgetting to do important things. Envision yourself in a maze, you’re walking around for hours trying to escape. The hours of walking turn into days, weeks, and you just can’t find an exit. I know there is an exit, I just haven’t found it yet.
I’m struggling pretty badly with my sleep schedule right now. Normally I go to bed at 10 pm, now I’m heading to bed around 4 am. The thing that sucks about that? I have a hard time sleeping when the sun comes up, so “sleeping in” for me, is sleeping until 9 maybe 10 if I’m hungover. Everyone is different, but my body functions much best when I get a full 9 hours of sleep. But this, it’s awful, I’m so exhausted I could cry. I’m so stressed I grind my teeth while I’m awake, the worst! I’ve also been eating horribly. I don’t feel like cooking, so I’ve been eating so much fast food, which obviously doesn’t make me feel great physically. Unfortunately I’m not making the best decisions when it comes to how I’m treating my body, but my mind just isn’t right right now. I’m just patiently waiting for this whole move to be over, so I can hopefully relax and get back on track with my life.
I know that I could go to mental health and see a therapist, everyone who knows me should know that I’m a huge advocate for therapy and counseling. I just don’t really think the timing is right. I’ve sold my car, and I only have a few weeks left here on island. Anyone who knows anything about military doctors in Okinawa, would know that it’s nearly impossible to get an appointment within 2 weeks. So I figured I would just ride this one out, and find other ways to cope. However, because I have never dealt with long-term anxiety, I need some help. Aside from the breathing exercises, how do y’all manage anxiety? Does anyone meditate? I don’t have much experience with meditation, but I really want to learn. Anyone study mindfulness and chakras? Again, I’m learning, but I still don’t know much about how all that stuff works. I would prefer to medicate myself in the most natural ways possible. Before anyone asks, I do not have access to smoke MJ. All I’m gonna say is that if I could, I would. *winks*
Writing is definitely good for my mental health, but I don’t always have any inspiration to do it, so I often hit dead ends. I guess I am just looking for help from people who successfully deal with anxiety and depression. For some of us, mental health takes a “village” to get through. Nobody should ever have to go through this alone, and I’m always here if anyone needs to vent. Trust me, I’ve supported plenty of strangers online who were on the verge of a breakdown. Don’t ever be afraid to talk about mental health, because it is just as important as physical health. I promise, you are not alone.
Howdy y’all! So we are down to our last 5ish weeks in Japan, and when I tell you, I can’t even sleep at night these days! I have never struggled with anxiety until now, and it’s exhausting. I NEED SLEEP! I had been ready to leave island forever, but as we approach moving day, I get more and more nervous. Between the packing, finding an apartment, finding new doctors, prepping for our trip back home, it’s a lot on our plates. I don’t know how to adult, help!!
I’m not really sure why I’m so uneasy about moving back to the country I’ve spent 18 years in. I mean, I’ve heard so much about reverse culture shock. Is it really a thing? It totally makes sense. In Japan, there are so many things we do differently here. Customer service, or should I say, the lack of, is going to take some getting used to. However, one thing I won’t miss, is the fact that there are no free refills in Japan. To top it off, the cup sizes are ridiculously small. Not really sure how Japan expects me to quench my thirst with a quarter cup of melon soda with 4 big ass ice cubes in it. Fun fact: Majority of places in Japan will refuse tips. I’m pretty excited about not having to use my Google Translate app to go grocery shopping. But the toughest transition will FOR SURE be the whole driving situation, I have no idea how long it’ll take my brain to readjust to driving on the right side of the road.
Although I’m starting to see a tiny little light at the end of the tunnel, we still have so much to do. TMO comes in a few days, and shit is about to get real. My dining room table is gone, and we are eating on the couch, #RECKLESS. My car is sold, which is kinda tragic. It’s so crazy how quickly everything is going! I honestly didn’t expect to be this emotional about leaving, but I’ve met so many amazing people here! People I’m going to miss so much, but I guess that’s all a part of the military life. Aside from the people, I’m definitely gonna miss my house! I’m gonna miss Bollywood Dreams, Hamazushi and Daiso, possibly even MaxValu (gotta get used to the Walmart life now).
But I’m so excited I get to see my parents and my sister, hopefully my brother soon! Sucks that we only get to spend a few days back home, but we are gonna make the best of it—if the jet lag allows us to. We are legit gonna be #TeamNoSleep while on vacation, since we haven’t been home in almost 3 years!! But seriously guys, all I keep thinking about is food. Gyros, Flyers, Chickfila, Bahama Breeze, I-CAN-NOT-WAIT. We get to be tourists for once, and I’m pretty thrilled about it. We basically wanna do everything except the theme parks, ain’t nobody got time for all that.
Onto Texas! Super excited for Texas. Super optimistic. Super anxious. If anyone knows somebody who knows somebody who knows anybody who lives in San Antonio, send them to my blog! I wanna know everything about everything. Best places to road trip to, favorite bars, where does everyone grocery shop? Seriously, I really wanna know your favorite hole in the wall restaurants, favorite boutiques, favorite mom & pop shops, tell me everything! If anyone knows anyone who owns any small business in San Antonio, comment below! I would love to visit as many small shops that I can!
I’m hopeful that during my transition back stateside will give me lots of inspiration for blogs, and even possible vlogs. So stay tuned everyone! I can’t wait to share with y’all the business that I’ve been prepping all throughout 2016. But seriously, I’m hoping that I can soon get my mojo back! It’s about that time to make the switch from Ash, to Whiplash *winks**twerks*.
Hey everyone! I know, I’m very inconsistent with my blogging… but I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, I’m really not as interesting as I would like to think I am! I’m working on it tho!
Any way! My husband and I finally got official military orders. For those who don’t know. The military loves to throw curve balls. Just when you think you know what’s going to happen, something completely different happens. We requested Georgia, North Carolina, and California. They offered us New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and South Carolina. Crazy right? Of course we chose South Carolina. We optimistically waited a few days before hearing back. Unfortunately, South Carolina was no longer available, but the other options were. We decided to pass on those options and wait. We waited & waited & did some more waiting. Then they said “You’re going to Mississippi!” I wasn’t really excited to hear that. I’m more of a city girl, and the city we would be going to, was more of a small town. I guess I was just excited to be back stateside, because I can’t handle another overseas tour. HONESTLY OVER IT. I was grateful, and I was going to make the best of it.
But no, we aren’t going to Mississippi. We are going to San Antonio, Texas!! For some odd reason, I’m looking forward to it. It’s not too far from home, but it’s different. I’m thankful for warm weather, and daisy dukes. Texas is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit. So, I guess I get to enjoy a 3 year vacation? I’m so excited for is the barbeque, the basketball and the margaritas! Not that I’m a Spurs fan by any means, Clippers all the way, I’m just excited to be able to watch LIVE basketball.
I am a bit apprehensive about a few things, I can’t lie. For one, I moved to Japan 2 weeks after graduating high school. I used to work two jobs while balancing school, and my social life (even though I only had 3 friends, NOT the point). The past two and a half years here, I’ve been a housewife. Staying home was completely new to me. I’ve never been the one to cook, or clean, I’m the youngest child, it wasn’t my job lol. I learned, but I don’t love staying home. It’s going to be exciting to start working again once I get to Texas, however, it WILL be tough to balance being a wife, and working while I start my business (more details later).
It’s going to be really exciting to buy a car, been doing tons of research, and accepting suggestions! I’m excited about moving to a new city. I’m excited to be closer to my family. I’m excited to be a little west. As embarrassing as it sounds, the farthest west I’ve been, is West Virginia. Texas is going to be new for me, but I feel like it’s what I need. Aside from visiting, I never ever plan to live in Orlando again. So much more to see in the world. I wanna meet new people, try new things, and experience a different culture! I feel like I’m finally getting to experience the real world. I finally get to start a job, buy a house, get a puppy, the whole shebang. So many fun things I have planned for 2017.
I’m well aware of the culture shock I’m going to have to deal with. I haven’t been in the states in over 2 years! Though I spent 18 years living in the US, it’s going to be a huge adjustment. Japanese culture is amazing, and so different than I was used to. For one, Japanese people are extremely polite. The customer service here is taken serious no matter wherever you go. Crime rate? It’s super rare to hear about anything crazy out here. If there ever is crime, 9 times out of 10, it’s the Americans doing stupid sh–. It’s also extremely often to see kids walking to school alone, I mean kids who are barely 6 years old. Not a common site in America. Japan is a gun free country, so you won’t hear about people accidently on purpose shooting their husbands. It’s much quieter here, aside from the occasional Eisa Drummers. Did I mention that we drive on the left side of the road here?! That’s gonna be a huge adjustment.
This is really our first PCS (Permanent Change of Station). When I moved to Japan, all I brought with me was a checked bag, a carry-on, and a personal item. This time around, I have a whole house to pack. So far, I’m not too overwhelmed, but if you know me, you know the crazy will kick in anytime now. Who knew you had to take photos of all your belongings and literally create an entire inventory for it? Apparently it’s very common for the packers to lose and/or steal your things. We have a binder put together, with 18 copies of our orders lol and all the other important stuff. I would appreciate any suggestions or advice for a OCONUS to CONUS PCS! What things helped you transition smoother? What things do you wish you had done differently?
I know I’m constantly talking about how excited I am to leave Okinawa, but that doesn’t mean I hate it here. I’ve had some amazing experiences here, met some wonderful people here. I met my bestest friend here! Though she probably isn’t reading this, because she spends majority of her time breast feeding, I truly truly truly am grateful that I’ve met her, and her husband. Those two definitely have helped me make the most out of being so far away from home. Those people are my family now! It’s going to be tough leaving them, but they can’t get rid of me that easily. I can’t even count how many incredible people I’ve met here. Between my husband’s coworkers, the people I used to work with, and the people I’ve met on the internet –too many people have made things in Okinawa worth it. I’m optimistic that I will meet some equally amazing people in Texas. I’m down to my last few months here, and I’m going to make the best of it. Texas ain’t ready for me!! Soon enough I’ll be saying “Jaa Ne Okinawa, and Howdy Texas”!
You’ve come a long way. You’ve grown older, and wiser, however, you’ve still got a lot to learn. This is what life is about, learning; taking in all the information you possibly can, and using it to live an enjoyable life. I know you often feel lost, and get sidetracked, but I want to share some advice. I want to help you get back on the right path. I want to give you some tips to help you achieve greatness.
You have to find your purpose. Why were you put on this Earth? What things do you want to accomplish while you are here? What things are you passionate about? What things do you enjoy doing? In the words of Buddha, “Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.” You gotta set goals girl. You’re smart, and I know you’re gonna do great things. It’s perfectly okay to dream big. You wanna be a 1 hit wonder? Go for it. You wanna be a pastry chef? Go for it. Wanna be in LifeTime movies? GO FOR IT. Don’t allow people to tell you your dreams are unrealistic. Any dream can come true if you work hard to make it happen.
Learn how to forgive. I know, it’s easier said than done. I know you have a ton of pet peeves, everything seems to irritate you. Whenever you feel like someone has done something to upset you, stop and ask yourself “Is it really worth it?” DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. You have to stop letting irrelevant things ruin your day. Yes, your friends and family love you, but they don’t live to please you. Learn how to let things go.
Be yourself. You’ve got a strong, bold personality, don’t conceal it. Not everyone can handle it, and that’s okay. Those who can’t handle it, shouldn’t be around you. You are sarcastic, raunchy, and you’re what some people would call ‘extra’. In the words of the great Katy Perry, “baby you’re a firework”. Embrace your personality, it’s one of the things that make you unique. Stop trying to change who you are to keep toxic people in your life. Speak how you want, wear what you want, do what you want, be what you want. Be yourself, but better. Better, meaning; being polite, being smart, and being the healthiest version of you possible.
Be kind. This is probably going to be the toughest tip for you. Friendly isn’t a word people often use to describe you. You’re kind of a [bleep](use your imagination). You always have a wall up; It’s okay to let it down. Try to see the good in everyone, because good is in everyone. Whether it’s a blessing, or a lesson, aim to see the glass half full. Learn to trust people, and treat them well. You’ll come across some nasty people who won’t return the favor, but its okay. As long as you know you did your part, then it was a successful encounter. You will feel much better knowing you treat people politely. Smile more, and eventually it may become genuine. As cliché as it sounds; treat people the way you would like to be treated. If you wouldn’t hang out with you, maybe you should reevaluate your attitude and behavior.
Surround yourself with positive people. Don’t allow anyone in your life who doesn’t deserve to be there. Be strict about your friends, and have high standards always. If your friends aren’t supportive, let them go. If your friends don’t tell you when you’re wrong, let them go. If your friends don’t inspire you, let them go. Only keep people around who you can learn from. The friends you do have, make sure you always show appreciation for them. You deserve friends who are trustworthy, and loving. You need friends who you can laugh and cry with, and the ones who will hold your hair back while you vomit Bacardi gold. You deserve friends who truly love you. Life is way too short to have crappy friends.
Live a life that’s worth blogging about! Be the best version of you possible! Be the friend that your friends will brag about. Be the wife that your husband dreams of having. Be the person people want to be around. Be inspirational, be fun, be happy.
Hey everyone! I know it’s been FOREVER since I’ve written anything. I wish I could say it’s because I’ve been busy, but I really haven’t. I’m just extremely lazy these days! & I don’t feel guilty about it at all! Just a heads up, I’m free-writing this, so please excuse any grammatical errors you may find.
This post is about my health & fitness goals. Where I am, where I want to be, and how I plan to get there. I’ve never found interest in any physical activities at all. I always hated PE growing up because it normally involved running, which is something I have never been good at. My brother got all the athletic genes and left absolutely zero for my sister and I. So it’s not a surprise that I gained a little marriage weight, I use the term “little” loosely. Fortunately for me, my husband loves my lil muffin top, but I DON’T.
I’ll be honest, I’m fairly vain. & the thought of me PCSing in March is kind of intimidating because I don’t look the same I did when I left home. I’m well aware that I’m no longer a teenager, but I think my age & physical health are not corresponding at all. I know I need to get it together, so I can live a long and enjoyable life.
Back in May, I decided to do a month of paleo. For those who don’t know what that is; no dairy, no grains, no added sugars, no legumes. Basically I ate strictly meats, vegetables, and fruits for a month. Boy, the weight fell off so fast. Unfortunately, eating paleo requires a ton of work (including but not limited to grocery shopping multiple times a week). I was too exhausted, and partially lazy to work out like I should have. Obviously the weight came back.
I’m now working out 5 days a week, mostly weight lifting. I struggle with running, but I would eventually like to get more comfortable doing it. Now cycling, I can do 5 miles and enjoy it. I’m trying to get myself into a good routine where I can actually make the gym a permanent part of my life. It’s only been 3 weeks so far, and I truly am enjoying it, I just hope I can stay motivated to work out. It’s just extremely annoying that I haven’t lost any weight yet. Part of the reason I choose paleo for weight loss is because it’s fast, it’s just not a long term solution. I am thankful of how strong I am getting though! I actually did 240 lbs on the leg press today, 3 weeks ago I was only lifting 120!
I’m fairly comfortable with the fitness part of it, but I’m struggling with the nutritional aspect of this. Which is the most important part I heard!
I’m actually writing this post because I know I have a ton of gym junkies on my Facebook. Obviously you all have inspired me in some way or another. I want to hear what inspired you to become physically fit. I also would love to hear about your fitness goals. Any healthy recipes you would like to share? Good vibes, and words of encouragement are welcome! Any tips or suggestions about weight loss/fat loss, I would appreciate it!