Growing up, I was taught, to treat others the way I would want to be treated. Yet as an adult I find that so difficult to implement. I consider myself to be a rather kind person. I speak to strangers and hold doors without getting a thank you at times, its apart of life right ? Generally speaking, many will not be to you what you are to them. Knowing this I have accepted many years ago that if I will give to anyone it will be with the best intent. I don't like tic for tac relationships because they tend to not be as genuine in my opinion. A person has a choice in how they choose to deal with you, but if someone is supporting you, I think its distasteful to not acknowledge them and or at least offer appreciation. Within this blog I shall speak more on how some of the interactions Ive had within the same plus community that was meant to build us up and connect us together, has begun its nasty process of tearing us apart.
I jumped head first into the plus community back in 2012 as an aspiring plus model. I was so eager and full of hope, that I failed to do the most important part which was "Do your Research!" I traveled to every fashion show, I volunteered for events, entered every contest and had no idea how these things would be benefit me in my future. In retrospect I now realize that the biggest benefit that I gained in this time period was my relationships. Though the monetary benefits weren't grand, I gained support which many of you know is worth more than Gold. These support systems have helped me learn what my role and impact would be within the plus community. I truly admire the positivity and empowerment that I've encountered from these women and even men within the past few years. It has kept me going when I truly thought I might have thrown in the towel many moons ago.
Like many things in life there is an up side and a down side to everything. Here is the down fall and its rather heavy of a cost to pay at times. The nasty truth about what I've experienced is that people aren't always so genuine as they claim their brands to be. I have purchased tickets and attended events that the host didn't even acknowledge the guests to say thank you or even attempt to even interact with them. The reality is, the people who are supporting your brand are one of the many reasons why other brands want to collaborate with your brand. It is very important to be who you portray yourself to be in real life. I have interacted with people on social media with genuine intent very often and when I get in their presence they act as if I am a ghost. Though these issues and concerns can and will be found in all groups no matter the size, I find it very disheartening to experience it within our small community. I thought this was a safe space to be around people like myself, unfortunately I soon realized that even things with good intent will sometimes have negative, and mean people. Which brings me to the reason why I created Plussizemeplz
Plussizemeplz is an inclusive brand that supports uplifts and empowers the everyday person. We use our social media outlets, blogs and events to bring the plus community closer. Though it is an amateur brand compared to many, its genuine message is making its way around the nation. I found that through modeling, that, you can't change people. Instead of complaining constantly about what isn't happening, I decided to be an example for change. This blog wasn't written to contribute to the negativity, but give hope that change is coming. I pour my heart and soul in this brand. I want my followers and readers to know that positivity is a choice. Ive made mine and I choose positivity everyday. If you choose to speak on an issue or complain about change, be the change. Be what you would want to see, everyday and in every way.
I hope you enjoyed this blog ....
What does that mean?
Not to be confused with "Selfish" or "Self Centered".
Self Care by definition: In health care, self-care is any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated.
Now what exactly does this mean? Does it mean that I only need to focus on myself????? Well let me discuss my journey with Self-Care.
I consider myself to be a good person, someone who has integrity and cares for people deeply. I give as much as I can to support personal goals and aspirations with family and friends. The best part about giving freely is knowing that you don't want anything in return. However when is giving too much? My journey with learning Self Care began when I learned to say "NO" without guilt and meaning it . For so long in my life, I was a YES WOMAN, I thought that by saying "yes" all the time or agreeing with people that it would make me appear more friendly. Less confrontation meant less stress right? NOOOOOOO , It actually turned out to be the total opposite The more i told people yes, they became more selfish and bossy. So much so, that they truly wouldn't even want me to state my own opinion All they wanted to do was take and not give at all. I found this discovery very shocking. So you can have someones time, attention, support and devotion, yet your still not happy. the logic in that still confuses me till this day.
In my adult years, I was connected to many selfish people and didn't realize it until I had to focus only on myself to better my life for my child, or just take time to regroup as life kept coming at me hard and fast! I remember a time where i really needed to disconnect from everything because William was having a hard time in school and it was emotionally taking me some whereA else. I was a single autism mom and his success meant the world to me. I recall getting into a full out shouting match because I couldn't cater to this individuals needs and they threw in my face that they needed me. I replied " but what about my child? what about me and my health? At what point is it ok to just say I need to focus only on me right now. That my friends, is where self care began for me. I literally learned what it meant to say NO and mean it in that very conversation. Though I loved this person very much and had a lot of respect for them, unfortunately they thought that my relationship with them, meant more than my relationship with my child or myself. Though it was a very unrealistic, and tough conversation to have with that person, I learned that it was important for me to speak up about my true feelings.
Now I don't want to come off selfish, I truly am not. I have great friends and family and I have stopped in the middle of my tracks to take phone calls and make sure they are ok. However , at the same time, I had to learn how to balance what is enough and too much for me. When I find that I need time for me ( no matter what it may be), I take it. I never did that previously. If anyone needed me, I jumped to their rescue. The problem with that is, once YOU have solved their issues they will be fine, go on about their lives until the next problem arrises; and that one day you can't help and be available, what do you think will happen? They will survive!!!! I promise they will , and they will figure it out on their own. At one point, I was always available for people, but last year reminded me that I am no good to anyone if I can't be available and practice safe care for myself! That includes over all care... Staying positive, mind, body and spirit. Staying focused on what matters and manifesting the good in our lives instead of the bad. When we constantly listen to everyone else's problems and don't focus on our own, all we are doing is complaining to each other about things that we have the power to change.
I noticed that over the past year as my health declined, so did my connections to some people who were super dependent on me. From this experience, just like many of my trials, they allowed me to get to know myself better. What I also is, I don't over extend myself as much anymore. I give realistic offers of what I can actually afford to offer people. I don't like to mislead people into believing that I am something that Im not. I am a mother of two boys and a entrepreneur. Sometimes that alone doesn't include extras or availability for anything or anyone, but in order to be the best partner, mother , sister, friend and support others like i want to, I have to choice ME! And guess what ??? Its ok, it is totally ok to choose you, when you have nothing else to give! Falling in love with self doesn't exclude other people from receiving the love we have to offer. It only means that self care has to be prioritized as well.
I hope you enjoyed this blog..
"We are a family; I got all my sista's with me!"
This song rang so true to me as the weekend came to a close and the 2nd Annual Swim Soiree had finally come to an end. 6 months of hard core preparation, sweat and even a few frustration tears went into this event and once the night ended, everyone felt empowered and full of hope.
The Swim Soiree began as I became so discouraged at the lack of body positive events held in my home town. Being a full time mother and cosmetologist with a full schedule, the freedom to travel isn't always in the plans. So I took matters into my own hands so that Philadelphia would have a safe place to celebrate their bodies and have a blast while doing so!
Let me be the first to tell you that my experiences with the plus community haven't been all fairy tales and gum drops but I don't let it fill my spirit at all. My biggest goal is to make events that generate so much positivity that negative vibes can't enter. It was a personal goal of mine to speak to almost every guest that attended the Swim Soirée, because I wanted to personally thank you for supporting my dreams. The Swim Soirée almost didn't happen this year because of so many personal obstacles
I had to endure but with the support of our sponsors allof you, it turned out to be bigger and better then I ever expected.
It takes a lot to step out of faith and make a decision to live out your dreams, especially when that deeam is to use your platform to help other people. I refuse to take all the credit in what happened on Saturday! It truly takes a team of people who not only believe in you, but support you no matter what obstacles you endure.
My Sister has been my Best Frannnnnnnnnn since as far as I can remember. She is the ice cream to my cone and the crust to my cheesecake, (chuckle), I know that made no sense, but you get the point. Sarah Lily is 10 years younger than and I am, yet the relationship we have is as solid as a rock. I have a very out going personality and she is more of an introvert. Ironically enough, we compliment each others style by being ourselves, but are very much so alike at the same time. Age is literally just a number to us, she means the world me.
When I began this journey 2 years ago I had limited direction. It took a team of people to get the visions I had in my head to be the brand that you see today. Social media is a job, and it takes a lot of consistent support to gain followers and even keep them interested.
In December of 2016, I experienced a bad Lupus flare and couldn't keep up with the brands social media page and needed help. My sister quickly decided to take on the job and help me. Sarah has always been that person in my life. When I cry she cries, when I can't figure my own life out, she has been there to sort it out for me. Plus Size Me Plz, might not be were it is, if it wasn't for her daily commitment to interacting with many of you. With that being said I wanted to introduce my assistant to you.
Sarah is a fun and loving spirit from Philadelphia like myself. She is a licensed cosmetologist working 40 hours a week and has 3 year old son . She can relate to the body positivity movement as she is visibly plus and proud of it. Sarah is a great asset to the brand and I am so proud to bring her a board as the social media manager.
While looking for new and fun bathing suits to do a photoshoot, to introduce her to my followers. I came across a relatively new brand, that offered plus size swim options that were SUUPPPERRR CUTE. I wanted to assure the fit would be ok for my sister and I, so I reached out about my concerns and they quickly replied with size recommendations! I ordered the "Rum Punch" Bikini and also ordered the " Nicki " Bikini for my sister as she has more of a "sporty" style. The shipping was so fast and the communication through email, even after I received the items was amazing! I was nervous about the fit for my sister, because she wears a size 22-24 in most of her clothes, and I ordered a 2x as recommended through the company.
In my honest opinion, I believe that "Thick Wave" is a very size conscious swim line. Though I can fit a xl comfortably, my sister is a 3x and she looked and felt great in her 2x bikini. My sister and I have similar taste as far as styling. It was nice to shop a brand that had cute options for her and I to choose from! I was very pleased with the swim looks and the fit. Thick Wave was very helpful in assisting with any questions I had, which made the transaction process quick and easy. I love their swim suits and would recommend them to all visably women who want to look sexy and flirty.
To order you own swim suit..... head to
enter code : plussizemeplz
to receive 15% off of your next purchase!
In honor of our 2nd annual, Swim Soiree we are collaborating with Thick Wave for a free give away. Im giving away two free tickets to the party of the summer.
Head to these instagram handles for details!!!!!
The wait is over !
FFFWEEK 2017 is here and its in full swing ! There are so many plus positive events held through out the year but this one; BABY, THIS IS THEEEEE event to attend. Not to mention it is my absolute favorite social event of the summer!
I began attending full figured fashion week in 2014 after deciding to try out plus modeling. I knew that socializing and branding were definitely apart of the package, so attending the events presented by the plus community was a must. I was very new to it all and wanted to just have fun. I was told by a few model friends that attending the FFFweek White Cruise party would be a blast. So, like many that year, I decided to attend and brought a few friends with me! Needless to say, I created such fond memories and built great bonds with some amazing people that I still call friends till this day.
In 2014 I attended the All White cruise party with my pageant sister Nichole Crutchfield, and my dear friend Bernise Wrenn. Nichole and I , decided to go to the white party with TUTU'S on, in which the entire night we were known as the "TUTU QUEENS". Bernise had never met Nichole but after a night of fun and laughs we all became the best of friends. For the next year we would become each others support system, and boy did we have fun together.
In late May of 2015 I lost my pageant sister Nichole with no warning, and I was heart broken. Such an unfortunate event made me sad to connect with the plus community because of all of the memories I shared with her. She was a powerhouse friend and we did so much together, I simply couldn't imagine going without her, so in 2015 I stayed home and healed as I mourned the loss of my dear friend.
As time would have it, the next year I started to work on a few business ideas that Nichole and I discussed before her death. I wanted to reconnect with my model friends and FFFWEEK 2016 was vastly approaching. I gathered up all my strength and decided to go and slay in her honor and thats what I did. Upon arriving on the cruise I shed a few tears in honor of her, (it hit me hard once I saw that boat), but I knew it would pass and it did. That night I had an amazing time and it was like a moment of healing for me. The last time I was there I was with her, so it is natural to feel sad, but I know she would want me to be happy so I had fun instead! Of course my friend Bernise was by my side along with a slew of Philadelphia friends who enjoyed the festivities with me. My "Philly" crew danced, laughed, and just enjoyed being in the presence of so many great people! I made new friends and once again a boat load of amazing memories.
Like so many of us that travel, nationally, even globally now to attend this fun week of fashion, education and over all celebration of body positivity, I can honestly say that Full figured fashion week is always on my todo list yearly! The people I meet, along with the genuine love that is given by the CEO GWEN DEVOE, and her team is simply amazing. The support she offers to the plus community is so inspiring and every year she upgrades the fashion, ideas and concepts. I leave with a sense of empowerment and happiness.
Every Year It feels like a reunion to me!" So many familiar faces and beautiful confident women in one space!!! How can you not love it ?" I literally am so excited to see so many people that I call friends all in one space all at the same time. I know tomorrow will be a blast! To make it even more special this year I am bringing my baby sister with me to introduce her to all of the many people I love and admire.
Full figured Fashion week has created career opportunities, friendships, connections and memories for so many of us. I look to making more this year and hope to see you all there!!!!!
For ticket information and event scheduling head to FFFWEEK'S WEBSITE BELOW !!
LUPUS SLE... by definition it is a nasty auto immune disease that chooses to attack healthy tissues in its attempt to protect the body.
I was diagnosed with lupus on August 1, 2016 and remember saying to the doctor, what does this mean. She only replied,
" it means you will be on medication for the rest of your life." I cried. From the moment she said that and even up until now. Life sometimes can appear to be unfair, I still have moments, I’m actually having one right now. As I sit in the lobby of a hotel I booked for vacation only to realize that free breakfast sometimes doesn't include people like me. (I’ll explain more later) Never the less this is my journey and like many things I endure that are trying and difficult I find a way to accept and persevere regardless of the circumstances, and just like my "Lupie" sisters and brothers, I am a warrior daily, fighting for my health, happiness and better days without worrying about when my body will attack itself again.
As soon the diagnosis was discovered I stopped at nothing to figure out how to get this disease under control. As scary as it was to hear, I was more scared about the effects of the medications that were prescribed. So many bad reviews and so many reactions caused me to be apprehensive about treating it with modern medication. My gut told me to not do it but the doctors encouraged it and I just wanted relief. So I started taking the #1 drug for lupus and I was allegoric to it. Three mediations later I have seen nothing but the same results. Either I get sick from the meds all together or It does the opposite and makes my condition worse. With the constant gamble of not wanting to feel worse, I decided to discontinue medication and attempt to find a way to treat myself more holistically. Soon after I met Yve Edmonds, meeting her changed my life.
Yve is a plus model who was diagnosed with lupus in 2008. She openly discusses her journey with lupus and how she has learned to control her flares naturally. It was like meeting someone who was a reflection to my life. She went through the same journey as I did and is managing it without medication. Now, don't get me wrong, everyone’s journey with lupus is very different which is why it is so difficult to catch and diagnosis. Never the less with her I saw hope and all I needed was a little bit of it.
This past winter I became really sick from a medication that again was meant to help. I reached out to Yve and she gave me some real great natural remedies that helped a great deal! The encouragement received from her helped me find what works for my body. Through trial and error, I learned that my body reacted to any inflammatory foods, particularly (gluten, and dairy products, red meats, and pork.) I am a lot more sensitive to my triggers than she is but never the less it was me being an advocate for myself that has allowed me to get more answers, Yve was the vessel used to bless me with the tools to get fight this disease. Daily I thought about how I could repay her for being so transparent and open with me about her journey and it hit me; A gifted photo shoot to bring more awareness to this "mysterious disease." Like so many people who suffer with "silent symptoms," I knew something was wrong but couldn't get any of my former doctors to listen. I fought for answers, because I knew something was wrong. This Lupus awareness shoot was a product of being completely honest about what lupus really looks like. Lupus looks like me, the mother who takes care of two children, has two businesses, an entrepreneur, model, mentor, lover, sister and friend. Lupus looks like anyone, because anyone can develop it.
I am the first in my family to receive an auto immune diagnosis. I honestly believed my symptoms would amount to diabetes which is very familiar in my family tree. symptoms of Lupus Sle can start with but aren't limited to: Fatigue, joint pain (mild and severe), skin rashes, butterfly rashes, dizziness, fainting, seizures, chest pain shortness of breath, heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, migraines, blood clotting, kidney failure, nervous system attacks, and the list continues. The scariest part about this disease is that most people don't get diagnosed until years after their first symptoms begin. I myself started symptoms in August of 2008. I was coming home from a vacation (in which I received too much sun exposure also known to trigger flares), and I fainted and couldn't breathe when landing at the airport. It was the scariest moment in my life. Needless to say, I was never the same and the fear continued as almost 8 years later they finally figured out I have a serious autoimmune disease.
Though Lupus is a very scary disease to endure and suffer with because of it unpredictable attacks, I have found much needed support and strength in my "Lupie sisters". I have CRIED HEAVY TEARS, had hard conversations and even empowering moments with them. Up until I met them, the only person who knew what I was enduring was my best friend Chanel Addison who literally held my hand while I suffered through my first flare. The biggest gift anyone can to you in life is support when you need it the most. She is a cancer survivor and currently had RSD, also a non-talked about auto immune disease that attacks your nervous system with debilitating attacks just like my flares. Like my relationship with Yve, I knew when I met Chanel I had to support her, I knew I had to hold her hand and be there by her side as she fought cancer and then again with RSD. Ironically enough I now am in need of the same support and she is right there with me! The connection I’ve made with some of these powerhouse queens are so inspiring!!!! They are the only ones that get it.... And I mean truly get, because they experience it first hand everyday themselves.
Having an incurable disease can be heart wrenching at times. The doctors throw you drugs and you pray it works or you pray it doesn't make you feel worse than when you began. This journey has taught me many things, but the thing that it has taught me the most is to appreciate life and those that love you the most. There is no need to cause extra stress in your life. If it isn't there to help, uplift support or encourage you it needs to be removed from your life all together. Life is too short and it just isn't worth it. I suffer a great day deal with this disease but I remind myself daily that it could be so much worse than what it is or how it has been. I am able to wake up and see my children and family, everyday and that means the world to me. Keeping a positive air about yourself is key in all things in life. Staying happy and healthy is my ultimate goal. Ive made many changes since I have been diagnosed and the biggest fight has been staying positive through it all but I am. I do believe that we will find a cure and that better days are coming. Believing is the beginning AND SUPPORT MEANS everything. If you take anything from this blog or my story I hope that it is to never ignore what your body is telling you. Always push for answers, and be an advocate for your health. Reach out and be aware of those that suffer from chronic illnesses, you never know one day it could be you standing in the need of support and prayer.
How many of us have been in dark places and no matter how much we attempt to see the bigger picture we just can't. I was in such a rush to grow up and be an Adult, I had no idea what I was actually fighting for. My father would to tell me over and over ,
"Kate slow down baby girl, You have so much time to be an adult. Be a child while you can." Boy do I wish I listened, even if only for that moment. I recall even while he was talking I would be off some where else in my mind wishing I could have my own personal space to just be free. Little did I know that freedom had a cost..... Nah like a real one. It consisted of having stable employment and a skill set of some sort at the least, and you can't just walk up to an apartment complex and ask for the keys to the fancy apartment you always dreamed of. Nope thats just not how life works.
I call it Adulting !! Its the part that teachers forget to discuss while in high school when young adults scream that they are grown. The part that isn't much fun unless you are purchasing something with adult money other than paying bills lol. Its the responsible skill (that some of us don't have), that reminds us when it is time to not throw tantrums and have a whole bitch fit, all because we have to do something undesirable. Yes my friends, ADULTING - the constant reminder that all things in life aren't fair.
My first over dose of adulating was when my father made me start paying rent at 16 years old. HOW DARE HE? I was only getting paid about $120 dollars weekly and I had so many things I wanted buy. Like really important stuff, (the following are things I wanted at 16 years of age, don't judge). Make up, shoes, clothes, I wanted to going to the movies with friends , a cell phone, the new bad boy cds, (I said don't judge! lol). Never the less my dad refused to let me spend my money on what I wanted, because I had to pay $40 dollars in rent weekly!!!!! I was so mad! After my first check I handed the money over to my dad, and boy was I angry.
Months go by and I decided to ask my best friends if they paid rent to their parents. They all said no, I almost fainted, so I'm being robbed !!! (foolishnesses I know, I was extremely ignorant to reality as a kid.) So the next few times I got paid, I didn't pay my rent to my father and avoided him at all costs. One day he came in my room and said If i don't pay the back rent there will be consequences. I remember rolling my eyes so hard they might have gotten stuck! lmbo!!!! Well, folks what do you think I did? I paid it !! My dad was huge, I wanted to go to prom, and it was coming up soon lol!
Years would pass and I took on many positions, after my first job at McDonalds. In these positions I met a lot of people who were older than me. They assumed I didn't pay rent, because I was 18 years old living with my parents. I surely I had to correct them, " um I pay rent too", I said defensively. "Really, how much "? they replied. "I pay $60 dollars".(rent went up lol) They looked at me and all laughed, and I didn't get the joke. My co worker said, " boo my rent is $650 a month and Im a single mom with two kids. I have to work this job and do hair on the side to pay my rent." I never forgot that conversation with her. She told me a lot about her hardships and lack of guidance with her parents. I know mine weren't perfect, ESPECIALLY MY FATHER, but he and my mother were there and were available to me everyday. So her perspective was enlightening for me.
The next year my boyfriend asked to marry me, I said "yes." I didn't realize that by saying yes, I would be saying " no" to my sheltered life, no to protection and yes to Adulting. Planning my wedding was very expensive. Though they paid more than half of it, I soon realized my $40-60 in rent would mean nothing on the grand scheme of things in the adult world. My wedding cost $12,000, my parents agreed to pay for half. Moving costs and furniture costs $5500 and it all had to be done within 7months. I was stressed out and had no savings. I was the youngest of my friends to go down this road so I basically went on this journey alone, because no one knew what support I needed. I managed to get two more jobs and barely slept, but on September 3, 2005 I got married and moved into my new place. I did it! That sense of accomplishment was priceless. I knew that if I stuck to my goals no matter how hard it got I would be just fine.
After the wedding was over my spouse and I were broke. Thank goodness for the gifts we received they were truly a blessing. One gift stood out most tho, it was from my dad. Remember that rent I paid to my dad ? He gave it back, every single dime! He saved it for me for moments such as these. So when I actually did decide to try this "Adulting thing" I would have a head start. Unlike what he went through when he grew up. He said when he grew up he started off with nothing. He wanted his children to know responsibility before they left the nest. boy did he teach me that! I currently have a savings because of this very same lesson. Did I stumble and fall yessssssss!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course I did, don't well all? I got married and then got divorced. Acquired a load of debt and had to "Adult" my way out of that, but guess what ? I did it. I accepted that most of the circumstances I had were directly a result of my choices. Adulting is apart of life folks, we have to accept it one way or another, or life will make our choices for us.
In my youth I thought like a child and I should have, but as an adult I had to put a away childish things. I have two children, two businesses, and a chronic illness. I have to be accountable for each and every decision I make as they ultimately affect my future. I, like my parents, have many plans for my children and look forward to teaching them this very same lesson that was taught to me. This particular lesson has made me become more accountable for my own actions as an adult. So many times, we want to blame the world for our health, our finances, our jobs, and personal relationships. To be honest, in MOST cases (not all), we can do somethings about the choices we make, good or bad. If you make a mistake and its fixable, FIX IT. This is very important, being a victim is a nasty little disease in our generation. Accountability is a word that we need to keep in our vocabulary often. When I get MYSELF in something messy, that could have been prevented I say to myself, "well how can i prevent this next time." I am far from perfect and I didn't write this blog to be preachy, just to bring light to the idea that though adulting may suck, its apart of growing up. I for one want to raise noble gentlemen and I can't do that without owning my sh*t first. Children only do what they see from example, if they see poor choices they may choose to make poor choices in their future. I went on my own path as an adult but when I decided to accept my role as a grown up, I did reflect on some of the things my parents taught me.
I hope this blog brought some encouragement to you, Adulting is difficult but having a positive perspective and outlook on life will keep you grounded so you may be able to win these battles and storms in life!
Share blog with your friends and family if you enjoyed it !
Dress - Vince Camuto
Photographer - Zamani Feelings
Meet William Seth Kennedy, born February 23, 2007 weighing in at 13 pounds 11 ounces. Thats where my babies story began, he was a fighter from birth and is still knocking barriers down left and right.
I got up from my emergency c section anticipating the moment to hold my new baby, Unfortunately little did I know, that wouldn't be the case. While I was doped up on meds, my baby was struggling to breath. He like many babies that are born through c section had some troubles from birth. He had an enlarged heart, and high blood pressure as well. I of course was so scared and terrified for my sons life. I was told to rest and that he would be fine, but I was determined to see him no matter what. So I told my husband at the time to get a wheel chair and I stood up and walked just to see him. apparently three hours after major surgery was too soon to stand but I had to be near my child. I was wheeled into ICU and saw my little warrior. Life for me would never be the same. I held his hand that day and have been holding it ever since. I stayed by that babies side for two weeks as he built his strength. Within a month his heart was a normal size, and his blood pressure regulated. I was so relieved. Little did I know this would be the beginning of a long road for us.
William started developing like a normal child until about a year old. He failed to give me eye contact and communicate like most children his age. Being a new mother I did what many would do, I COMPARED. Though many would say "he is fine don't worry", I felt in my heart that William may have some concerns that I should discuss with his doctor. So I did, the doctors continued to assure me that he is fine and give it time. Besides there was nothing that the health providers could do until 3 years old. So I waited, two more years and hoped for change, well it never came. At this point William was transitioning homes and his father and I were in the process of a divorce. The transition was hard for us both, but for a kid like William it was much harder. He had no idea of why he had to leave him home and I had no real way of explaining to his understanding.
When William was three years old I quit my job as an assistant educator at a school that specialized in autistic support. I found that the job was very overwhelming because I was often worn out by the needs of the children I assisted during the day and then to come home and focus on my own child was bit much. It was for the best, and looking back I know I did the right thing. The next month I took William to get evaluated and signed myself up for cosmetology school. It was literally the hardest time of our lives. I as a mother barely had enough money to take care of my baby, and we were living from house to house. I was depressed and William was kicked out of 3 daycare centers while waiting to get help for him. IT TOOK 3 MONTHS to get assistance for him. I recall a time when the daycare provider called me while I was in school to say that William needed to be picked up immediately! At this point I was so drained with so much, I had no idea what to do anymore. They told me that William had bit a bunny at day care that day, and the children where frightened and he had no idea what he did wrong. I picked up my baby signed another set of discharge papers and left. I walked with my baby and cried holding his hand. I promised him we would figure this out together. He looked at me with confusion as I asked him why did he bite the bunny. He couldn't explain it to me and I just hugged him. I couldn't imagine how it felt for him to not be able to communicate with anyone about his actions. Even if its only to defend himself, he had a right to do that.
A month went by and I finally was able to get William evaluated. I was blown away by the result, AUTISM. I thought William had ADHD or ADD, I knew he did learn differently, but didn't associate him with autism even tho I knew so much about it. That day I realized that I knew so much, that I knew absolutely nothing! From that moment on we fought together ! We fought for answers, we fought for help, and I advocated for my baby. I didn't ignore it and I didn't want anyone around him to ignore it either. This was our new reality and we had to do what we needed to make William have the best quality of life without being medicated. By the age of 5 William was vocal and I was able to get us a place from a shelter program. For the first time in two years we were settled and were finding balance. I had a behavioral specialist come out twice a week to assist me with behavioral concerns and I went to every IEP meeting (individualized education plan) to assure consistency as he needed this across the board to be successful. William successes came from a team of committed professionals along with his will to want to be the best that he could be. I always wondered if I did the right thing with starting my life over and switching careers. With every year that William learns and gains confidence I realize I did what was best for us both. With building clientele as a cosmetologist I had time to give him the attention he deserved when he needed it the most. William learned a lot within that time frame and his support team and I wear able to provide him what he needed.
William is currently 10 years old, he's in the 4th grade with autistic support AND he makes me so proud. Every mile stone he hits proves that with support and his will to be the best he can be will always make him a success. I openly speak about William's story because it can and has motivated mothers to get help with their children as early as possible. Most parents hate the idea of a child being labeled, I get it. I myself don't like the labeling aspect of it either, however it is the label that allowed us to receive the services needed to get him the help he deserved. It can be a double edged sword, in many ways it can consume your life and all the aspects of it. It isn't easy and it doesn't go away. Like many things that we tend to suffer through in this life, mental illnesses are not easy. They can be so hard to deal with, and as a child I can only imagine what my William goes through. The anxieties and pressures; I don't experience it like he does but I sure am on the battle field with him so I empathize. As a parent I only want what is best for him, but I ALSO DO RECOGNIZE his need to be who he is. Willam may always be socially awkward, and He may also have other concerns like OCD , AND ECHOLALIA. However these things won't enable him from being an awesome responsible adult one day! His humble heart and loving spirit will be a blessing to this world. I take accountability as his parent and all I can do is offer William the best care, education and structure that a parent can offer. My goal is to have William live an independent adult life, while maintaining a relationship with family, friends and doctors. I want him to accept himself as he is; Everyone has good and bad with or without a label. How he identifies with his diagnosis will be his choice. I just want to be apart of it and cheer him on every step of the way!!!!
Images by : Natasha K photos
I have always been taught to take care of myself. Tho many would question that due to my size and proportions, my mother was very involved with my health and food choices while growing up as a child. So needless to say, many of the healthy habits did stick now that I am an adult because of her.
Currently in my life I am finding balance with what seems like a fight with my new reality. Exercise is a must for my weekly routine depends on it. However many days I am exhausted and fighting fatigue. ( a common symptom of Lupus SLE)
Never the less some exercise is better than none, and I try to focused on getting out to the gym; more than actually worrying about if I will make it through a full work out session.
Recently I was looking to find workout gear that wasn't too tight around my stomach, (because I suffer IBS sometimes) and came across Lane Bryant's "LIVI ACTIVE" (CLICK TO VIEW) collection and fell in LOVE. I think biggest issue I have while looking for active wear lately is the lack of uniformity in the clothing sets and the way it fits. I often will have to go up a size in my top because I am "top heavy". So if the pants are a 16-18, I would get a 18-20 top to make sure it fits and doesn't ride up through out my day. That was not the case, and I was actually shocked. The bottoms weren't too tight along my tummy and i felt secure as they didn't roll back down under my pudge either. I purchased this outfit to start back up on my fitness routine after a recent flare in the winter months. I wanted an active yoga pant and shirt that could be worn indoors and out doors and was so excited to have found them right away.
I recently had to accept many changes after being diagnosed. Hair loss, change of diet and even fighting anxiety. I am currently apart of the gluten free lifestyle as breads , pastas and many other unhealthy and processed foods make me sick and triggers flares. With that being said, working out lately has been an up and down struggle, so I often have to find other ways to get a good work out in without always heading to the gym. As many of you know, I am a mother of two boys, that have a lot of energy and require loads of attention. Some times leaving to go to the gym may lead to running errands or taking a walk to the park or on the track instead. I love that with this outfit I can choose how If I will work out and not feel pressured to go back indoors and change if my plans do. It is light weight and has just enough room for a tank top to be worn underneath just in case I become over heated. This is the perfect mommy on the go work out gear in my opinion. Its not over exposed but still doesn't make you feel frumpy like sweat pants tend to do. Good Job Lane Bryant!!!
There are many things that tend to get me down some days. I don't want my lack of clothing options to be one of them. Im super excited to have found a universal outfit that can allow me to be comfy while running errands and hit the gym or yoga class when I have time!
To shop for this set... click the links below
Click here to view the spa tunic
Click here for active leggings
Photographer : Zamani Feelings
I asked this on Facebook " How do you feel when your naked?" I must admit I thought I knew what many would say, but I was actually surprised by the replies.
I decided to ask this question because I really wanted to get some honest opinions on how people feel while in the "Nude". For the most part I thought that being naked would bring up some conversations about feeling insecure about ones body parts or saying they don't like it all. The only reason I would assume this , is because of all the complaining I see regularly about people not liking how their bodies look. So many of us talk about our bodies so negatively that we often over look the best part, THAT ITS YOU! I totally get it, there are a few things on my body that I would like to change, and I do mean ONLY A FEW, but at some point do we ever get to just say f*ck it? Well I was so happy to see that some of my fb friends shared similar views, (I didn't expect that at all).
While chatting with my FACEBOOK family and a few friends through texts and social media interactions, I came to realize that about 80 percent of my friends like to be naked. The majority of them described being in the "Nude" as being FREE. Though I would say that myself I kind of didn't expect that from my audience. Even better than that, 65 percent said that they felt comfortable and sexy while naked in front of their mates. I WAS TOTALLY FLOORED AT THESE RESPONSES, because it gave me clarity on what exactly would cause a person to feel insecure and where it would begin. One friend on Fb said she loves being naked and it doesn't bother her UNTIL, she has to get dressed and may not be able to fit her clothes. NOW that stuck out to me..... and every other response after that had me in deep thought. Another young lady was honest enough to share her experience with being a smaller size in her adolescent years, now that she is a bit heavier and not as fit, she doesn't feel as comfortable with her size currently with affects the way that feels while naked. (FEEL FREE TO LOOK AT THEM on my Facebook page).
After looking over the comments for about a day or so, I truly had an "AHA" moment. Everyone was so free and open with their feelings it truly made me think about what makes us feel as if we are any less beautiful the the next person being in the nude or not. I actually had a flash back moment of an experience I had a few summers ago with a few friends. We went to a local nude beach and all I could think about was how NERVOUS I was to be there. Though I was told all about how freeing it would be and how clean the beach was, I was kind of scared. Never the less I went and mannnnn was it an experience! I literally walked almost a mile to get there and then once I saw EVERYONE NAKED and completely free!!! NO REALLY FREEEEEEEEEE! I MEAN I'VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT. Everyone no matter the color or shape, or age had clothes on. No-one made fun of each other and not to mention that it was the CLEANEST beach I have ever been to. That day I learned a lot about myself and the world we live in. If we surround ourselves around people who will accept us for who we really are, Is there room for insecurities ? if everyone around you only sees the best in you or only sees past the things you hate about yourself , why do you hate it so much? No one on the beach that day was sizing each other up (to the naked eye, I mean, clearly I'm not in anyones head lol) , if anything people were complimenting each other, NO LIE, AND WHILE NAKED AT THAT! That summer I went to that beach with one of my closet friends till this day three tines and each time I went I felt more free than the time before.
Reflecting over the concept of this blog I totally understand why people feel the way they do and in some instances I can totally relate. It is very hard to accept every inch of your body when you are constantly being measured up against perfection. Im sure its the American way I guess, but in order to change that we have to change ourselves first. We have to demand happiness within ourselves so that we can prepare our hearts and minds to be who we really want to be. Don't get me wrong, I am not here to tell you what would be best for you. Running on a nude beach did it for me. IT REALLY DID, but for so many of you that isn't the remedy. All I can do is challenge you to believe that you are beautiful and worthy of happiness, success and love regardless of your shape and size. Putting on clothes is a reflection of your style and personality but we cover up who we really are everyday when we have to cover our bodies with clothes. When those clothes come off ; Are you happy with
you ? If you can answer "YES", that is awesome, and do a twerk in the mirror! lmbo .. If not write down what you would like to work on to love yourself better. I can't tell you what that is. It could be meditation to accept you as you are, OR it could be a work out plan and a clean eating plan to get more fit. Whatever it is, just do it, make your happiness and your body acceptance a priority. Make being happy with you a priority, freedom comes with accepting yourself as bare as being naked. I want all of my followers to experience what I HAVE MANY YEARS AGO, Being "NAKED AND FREE".
Thanks for reading, If this touched you please share! ;)