Motivate Me Mondays: Overcoming your struggles

‘The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.”

-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

It is not secret that in live we sometimes struggle but it is all about how you overcome the struggles you are faced with. Often time we are ready to give up before actually finding a way to make things better for ourselves. Sometimes we bring things on ourselves based off how we speak about the current situations we find ourselves in, in life. We also seem to forget that what you deal with can be worse, someone else would trade their life for yours with no hesitation. It is important to remember to not allow yourself to stay down for too long. Deal with it, pick yourself up, come up with a  plan, figure things out, and accept the blessings along the way. This is exactly what Joia did and she was willing to share her experience with others, here is her story:

Who is Joia Swanson? Tell a little bit about yourself

I am a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, and a person with a big heart and desire to please others. I used to think that having these types of qualities would lead to me never being happy, but so far I have learned that they have also been my biggest blessings in molding me into the woman I am, and still becoming today. Ive learned to embody the sensitivity and heart that I have for people in everything that I do.
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How old were you when you had your son?

I was 19 and a sophomore in college when I found out that I was pregnant with my munchkin. I was on the track team and never imagined my life with a kid, and as cliché as it sounds I definitely couldn’t imagine my life without him now.  He is the epitome of love for myself and my family.
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How did you and your husband meet?

I met my husband when I worked for a call center in Hampton after a horrible break up with my sons father. I found out my sons father was cheating, and my husband was there to comfort me just as my friend and was willing to wait for me to be ready to be in a relationship; no pressure, just a natural progression of love and friendship and he is also awesome with Jaylen. He grew up with a step father and was very sensitive to the fact that being a father is a journey that he doesn’t take lightly. Being married has come with many challenges, he is the biggest teddy bear yet one of the strongest people I have ever met. He loves hard and fierce just like everything else he does in life, and he is a pusher, he has never let me quit on anything , and that was such an important quality that I admired about him when we first got together because my self-confidence was in the trash. He was very reassuring verbally with his intentions, and his love and he followed through on everything, and that consistency was what eventually won my heart over. He showed me that true love looks nothing like I thought it would because he is definitely not my “type” but the Lord knew exactly what I needed when he sent him to me.
How has your relationship with your husband and your marriage helped you on your journey of becoming a better woman? Did this help you change your outlook on men and relationships?

My relationship with my husband has really been about learning. Learning acceptance, forgiveness, picking your battles, and prioritizing relationships. These are things I can carry over into my everyday life, that have helped me push myself to become a better woman which in turn makes me a better wife. My husband is a pusher, he had a rough time growing up, and he has always had that “go get what you want” mentality. I have had the mentality but never quite as much drive as I do now which happened once I got with him. I see him working hard to follow his dreams and support our family and it makes me want to work just as hard if not harder to keep up. We push each other and support each other in weaknesses and strengths; it is an amazing balancing act, and I am so grateful to have him to lean on. So far through our relationship and and marriage he has helped me see that I am capable of so much more than I give myself credit for, and with the right support and encouragement I can do anything I put my mind to.
Being loved correctly has changed my outlook on relationships. It has shown me that effort, and consistency go a long way into breaking down barriers that we’re around my heart and allow to me to be vulnerable and rest in my femininity in a way I didn’t know was possible. I didn’t know that men were capable of such compassion and drive, while still maintaining a masculine vibe and being true to their selfs. He is a great example of the type of man i would like my son to be as well. My dad has always been my example of what a man should be and he is the sweetest man alive, and also very soft hearted. My husband has shown me that you can have that soft heart, and not give people the ability to push you around without loosing out on being your truest self.
God keeps me motivated, on the days when i want to give up on myself he definitely gives me strength. My husband and family are a great support system as well, but i always know i can lean on the lord for strength and guidance.
What else keeps you motivated ?

My faith, my husband, my son, and my family keep me motivated I have an amazing support system.
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What is one thing you have accomplished in life so far that you are most proud of?

I am most proud of starting my own business. I have taken the leap of faith and partnered with Mary Kay I am now an independent beauty consultant. I really want the flexibility to be able to support my family, to be able to work my own hours, and to be my own boss. I never felt like I was built to work for anyone else and I also want to show others how to achieve their dreams especially women with children.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years ?

In the next 5 years I see myself with at least two more children living somewhere close to the beach and making sure that I travel at least 3 to 4 times a year with my family exposing them to the culture and different parts of the world
What are 2-3 goals that you would like to accomplish ?

Things that I am going to accomplish specifically in the next two to five years would be trying to becoming a millionaire; I want to be a national sales director which is one of the highest honors in the Mary Kay business. I want to open my women’s shelter specifically for single moms I would also like to finish my master’s degree
What are some things that you have achieved that make you proud ?

Something that has made me proud would definitely be my son. I wanted to make sure that he grew up to be a productive member of society and even though he is five and a handful he definitely knows how to behave in has a very caring heart for people all of his teachers all of his friends his karate instructors say how big of a hard he has how awesome he is with his friends how polite he is house mannered and that makes me very proud something else that I’m also very proud of is sharing financial literacy with people my age I realize that something that we are very lacking in in general and in the black community so everything that I’m learn I make sure that information is shared whether it’s just with family and friends or their ladies I come in contact with or my Mary Kay Associates because that is something that you can steadily improve on and always grow in. I am also very proud of my marriage, I know as a semi newlywed we’ve only been married a year and a half that is really hard to say but I’m proud of the fact that we still stick by each other through everything and we have been through just about all of it from custody battles with my ex to being separated more than we’re apart to having jobs and not having jobs and just being really supportive of each other no matter what I think that’s strength will carry us through for the next 40 50 year however many years God blesses us with.
How would you define success ?

I think the way that success is defined is a very personal measure for each person. For example, I am trying to improve my health and fitness so for me a successful day is if my jeans fit better and I felt better about myself in general just for exercising; that was a very small success in a larger picture. Success could be getting out of bed in the morning for someone if you’re depressed or making sure that your children are taken care of so success is going to look different in the eyes of each person so you have to personally define success for yourself. I would say it’s the daily wins that you give yourself whether that is self-care or making sure that you are advocating for yourself or opening your mouth when you hear something that you don’t like because it’s very hard for us, especially as women and as nurturers who care about people, to make sure that our needs are also taken care of so I would say success is putting your self care first so you are the best version of yourself which will then allow you to take care of others.
What advice can you provide for someone who may be on the same or somewhat similar path that you were on before being kicked out of school ?

The best advice I would give for anyone in my particular situation especially someone who gets pregnant young. Find a support system, find your tribe, find a group of people to surround you, to uplift you, to encourage you, and to hold you accountable. If it was not for my immediate family, my husband, and my son looking up to me everyday and the group of ladies that I call my friends, I don’t think I would be as successful as I am now. I’m not a millionaire, I’m not even a thousand-are but I am on my way and making steady progress everyday. Don’t give up, if you believe it you can achieve it. Make sure you set goals for yourself and make them happen, find the way to achieve those goals even if it’s a small goal, achieve that goal, move on to the next bigger goal, and keep building on those goals and count every goal as a success. Count every step to that goal as a success because you are steadily making progress towards what you want your life to look like and that is something no one can take away from you, that progress and that passion and that drive then dig into it and remember to re motivate yourself and take care of yourself in everything that you do and you can be the best mother the best wife the best coach the best teacher the best the best version of Who You Are
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Motivate Me Mondays: Are you being your true authentic self?

Belcalis Almanzar also known as Cardi B was born on October 11, 1992 in Bronx, NY. You may have seen Cardi B on IG as @iamcardib or on your TV screen on the well known reality TV show Love and Hip Hop New York. Cardi B is known for never hiding anything about herself from, the people she has and does date to the way she makes her money or in the words of Cardi B her “shmoney”. She is a very lively, outgoing, vocal, down to earth, funny, real, authentic type of person who became an Instagram celebrity while stripping and once she stopped stripping she worked on pursing her dreams of being a rapper and songwriter. When she started to become well known on Instagram she started doing a lot of appearances and then when she took up rapping she shocked the world with her talent. Her most recent mixtape, GBMV2 may prove to be her best work to date.

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Photo Credit: Datpiff.com

Cardi B has faced A LOT of backlash for the type of things she says especially on Instagram but that never stopped her from continuing to be who she truly is. In today’s world, where we deal with so many people who are fake and unauthentic, it seems as though people would be able to appreciate someone who is so authentic; but of course things just do not go that way. Cardi B is the homegirl from around the way who does not care what anyone thinks of her, that just so happened to become famous. Cardi B is also all about empowering women and speaking out on the different things that many other famous people choose to be silent about and that right there alone should be more then enough for people to at least respect her as a person.

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Photo Credit: everythinggirlslove.com

Love and Hip Hop New York is where we really saw alot more of Cardi B on somewhat of a deeper level. The show gave viewers a chance to learn more about her, her dreams, and her love life. These days people are so close minded and judgemental towards people who do not fit into what they consider normal in terms of how someone should act, speak, and dress. Often times I believe that we forget that no person is the same as another person and just because someone acts in a way that you are not use to does not mean it is wrong. We have to stop letting another persons opinion about who we are make us change who we are in order to please them. There is nothing wrong with growth and change because no one stays the same but it has to be done for yourself and nobody else. In life you will deal with people who do not like you because you’re confident enough to speak on how you feel and because you have no problem with being your authentic self. Let Cardi B be an example of not allowing peoples opinions to effect you to the point that you try change who you are because everybody will not like you and that is okay.

Are you comfortable with always being your true authentic self?

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Motivate Me Mondays: Women in technology

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” – Bill Gates

Technology is steadily growing everyday! New discoveries are being made and old ways are being redefined and improved using technology. Often times the younger generation may not always have a first hand experience at being able to learn all that technology has to offer outside of what is being taught in school. We are also still dealing with the world of technology being a male dominated field and although it is getting better we still have a long way to go. The importance of teaching technology to these young girls is important because it can make them not only very knowledgable but very well rounded as well. Technology is the gateway to so many other things such as science, healthcare, fashion, etc and having people find ways to teach younger people about technology by giving them a chance to learn, develop, and grow in the world of technology is something I am always happy to see. I truly love to see my fellow technology lovers, especially women, doing things to give back and help others and Khalia Braswell is one of them. Todays motivational story is about who she is and what she is doing to help young girls, especially girls of color thrive and grow in the technology world, here is her story:

 

 

1. Who is Khalia? Tell me about yourself 

Khalia M. Braswell, 26, UX/UI Designer & Non-profit Founder
I was born in Rocky Mount, NC and grew up in Charlotte, NC. Outside of my love for technology, I also share a love for reading and music. I was a DJ while in undergrad, both on WKNC 88.1 as the host of Soulful Renaissance, and at events around campus. I love reading fiction books the most; however, you can’t go wrong with a non-fiction book if it will enrich your life. I also really enjoy traveling and learning about new cultures.

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2. What is INTech ?
INTech is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to inform and inspire girls to innovate in the technology industry.

 

3. What is the driving force behind starting INTech? What did you plan to achieve when starting INTech?
INTech was started out of a lack of programs in Charlotte, NC that reached Black and Latino girls to expose them to technology. When I started INTech, I just wanted more girls who looked like me to learn that technology could be a career for them and to show them other Black/Latina women in the field.

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4. How important is the presence of women in the world of technology?
It is very important that women are present in the world of technology because our voices impact the direction of products being put into market. Women bring a unique perspective to the creativity process and impacts the bottom line.

 

5. What keeps you motivated ?
The fact that I have so many people depending on me and looking up to me is what keeps me motivated. I think about quitting multiple times a day; however, I think about my brothers and sister, my cousins, my family, my extended family, and I realize that quitting is not an option.

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6. Who inspires you?
Young hustlers inspire me the most. Those who are challenging the status quo and living out there dreams inspire me to continue doing the same.

 

7. What advice do you have for someone who would like to start a non profit?
My advice would be to test out a prototype for their idea, just as they would anything else, and see what kind of feedback they get before going through the grunt work of officially establishing their org as a non-profit with their state. When they are ready to make it official, I wrote an article about the steps that they need to take to get the 501(c)(3) exemption status. http://intech.camp/501c3EZ

 

8. What obstacles, if any, have you faced?
I’ve faced plenty of obstacles. I think the biggest one right now is being so far away from where the core INTech activities are taking place. Luckily, my Board of Directors agreed to implement committees to help get work done so that we are not bottlenecked by the distance.

 
9. How would you define success ?
I would define success by the number of things we say we are going to do compared to the number of things we actually do. If you actually go out and put action behind your goals, you are successful.

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10. Where do you see INTech in the next 2 to 3 years?
I see INTech expanded to different cities and states in the US, exposing even more girls to technology. I see INTech providing hands on training for girls in middle and high school who want to learn about User Experience Design, as well as, how to build websites and mobile applications.

 

11. Are there any up coming projects and/or events you would like to mention?
We have 2 summer camps planned for 2017. Our first will take place in Raleigh, NC at NC State from June 12 – 16. Our second summer camp will take place in Charlotte, NC at Johnson C. Smith University from July 24 – 28.

 

12. Where can people go if they would like to help/get involved with and learn more about INTech?
Our website is the best place to go: http://intechcamp.co

 

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Why Do We As Women?

Why do we as women try to put a title on something before even talking to the guy we are dealing with?

Ladies, whether we do it on purpose or not, we often end up in situations that we know we could have avoided if we handled things differently. I truly believe that some of the problems we encounter and the hurt with deal with, when it comes to men, could be avoided if we asked a guy what his intentions are in the beginning. You have to go into these situations with guys knowing what you want and expect and making those things very clear. Either a guy is going to respect it and be on the same page with you or he is not and one thing is for sure, YOU CANNOT PUT A TITLE ON A SITUATION IF YOU ARE NOT ON THE SAME PAGE WITH THE GUY YOU ARE DEALING WITH.

Sometimes we get involved with guys and determine how things will be before realizing that the guy isn’t even on the same page as us. We start to care more, do more, and expect more from a man that does not care. Don’t get me wrong, guys lead us on a lot of the time but SOMETIMES we as women also play a major part in things falling apart as well. Sleeping with a guy and “talking” to a guy DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MEAN YOU TWO ARE EXCLUSIVE; how can you automatically assume something when no conversation has happened about where things are and where they are going. You also have to know the type of woman  you are when it comes to men because it will help you to avoid a lot of the hurt you may deal with.

I understand wanting more from these men then they are ready to give us but recognize the part you may be playing in the situation that has done you more bad then good. Once you realize it remember it and carry that with you into the next situation so you won’t make the same mistake again. Now, this is not me saying that you will deal with this when it comes to all men, this is me saying that the way things went in the last situation you dealt with should tell you that something needs to change moving forward. If you have certain expectations you are no longer willing to budge on, make that clear. If sex before a relationship is something you cannot handle, make that clear. If you are at a point where playing around and dating different men isn’t you’re thing any more, make it clear.

As a woman you have every right to make it clear what you want and expect NO MATTER WHAT but what you SHOULD NOT do is put a title on situations before even talking to the guy you’re dealing with; you are guaranteed to get your feelings hurt. If you can avoid getting your feelings hurt or ending up in situations that aren’t good for you, DO IT.

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Motivate Me Monday: Staying true to who you are

Raynell Steward aka Supa was born in New Orleans, LA. Supa is a very well known social media icon. If you know about her then I’m sure you have seen her funny videos and the various ways she helps other people. I remember the first time I came across her from seeing one of her funny videos and I automatically became a fan. As time progressed and I continued to keep up with her post I started to notice that she was more then just some videos. Supa is real, genuine, passionate, an amazing mother, friend, sister, cousin, daughter who is using her platform to not only make us laugh but help us advance in life! She allows the world to get a glimpse of her life and that isn’t always easy.

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Photo Credit: @supa_cent

As long as I have been following Supa, she has ALWAYS stayed true to herself and who she is. She has allowed the world to watch here grow as a woman and the growth is undeniable. People who are in the public eye are always judged and talked about by people who have nothing better to do with their time and it is sad. It is amazing being able to watch how Supa deals with people who question her or are out to challenge the type of person she is, the type of mother she is, and how she handles situations.

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Photo Credit: @supa_cent

 

Not only does Supa allow you to see her being a mother and a friend but she ALSO allows you to see things about her love life, she gives advice, and she shares things through the promotions she does. Often times we see a lot of people on social media who are heavily in the public eye doing things that aren’t always positive or putting on a front instead of being their true self. The reason why I am such a fan of Supa is because of how authentic she is and always has been. She never turned away from being who she is and she doesn’t apologize for it either. She has created an entire brand for herself and her following has increased tremendously but that does not stop her from giving advice, taking care of her family, and always showing love to those who truly support her.

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Photo Credit: @supa_cent

If you can learn ANYTHING from Supa it is how to stay true to who you are no matter what! Often times in life we allow things in our life to stop us from being who we really are. We allow what others say about us change us and its not a change for the good either. We have to stop doing this because there is no one in the world like you and to get the respect you deserve often time requires you to stay true to who you are. DO NOT let anyone or any situation stop you from being you; you’re true genuine authentic self.

Let Tay Tell It

Why Do We As Women?

Why do we as women say things we do not mean in relationships?

Ladies, just try to hear me out on this one, okay? It has become a natural and pretty much normal thing to hear guys talk about what a female really means when she says certain things. For example as a female when my man asks me “What is wrong with you” I will typically say “nothing, I’m fine” but my man knows deep down that if he just says okay and does not ask me again or try to get me to talk, it becomes a problem. How about when you are having an argument and you say to your man “leave me alone” but in reality we do not literally mean for you to leave us alone. These are just a few examples of us women saying things we don’t really mean; it is almost as if we want to test our man to see how far he would go to make sure we are okay. This is good and all, SOMETIMES, but then you have other situations where you say mean things to a guy because you’re hurt or because you’re dealing with a good guy and you don’t know how to handle it.

You play a tricky game when you say things you do not mean, you have to be careful. If your man is asking you what is wrong, tell him; he’s asking because he cares so don’t make him beg you every time. If you are in a situation and you want to tell your man to leave you alone just to see what he will do, don’t get mad if he actually leaves you alone; guys take things literally so most of the time they will not automatically think that you telling them to leave you alone, doesn’t actually mean that. With that being said, there are some times where I am all for making your man work hard to figure out what is going on especially if he is the cause of problem and knows what he did wrong; sometimes guys will “act” as if they do not know but they do.

We also have to be careful saying mean things in the heat of an argument. Ladies it should come to no surprise that our words can cut a man deep especially if it comes from a woman he truly loves; he may not show it how effected him like we as women do but it definitely does. An argument and/or disagreement should not the time where we try to hurt each other because nothing gets accomplished and feelings get hurt off of things being said that a person probably didn’t even mean. You do not want to loose someone you love from saying something that you didn’t even mean. I have seen women use their words to try to tear down a good man because lets be honest; dealing with good guys these days seems rare. If all you have ever known are lying, cheating, dishonest men why wouldn’t you expect a good to be putting on a front? Why wouldn’t you start to doubt the situation after while? Why wouldn’t you start to question things? I understand but to tear down a good guy by saying things that aren’t true can cause more harm then good so don’t push that good man away, embrace him.

From testing your man to tearing down a good guy plus any and everything that falls in between that, all results in saying things we do not mean. Things should flow pretty easily in a relationship so do not make it a permanent habit of saying things you do not mean or you may cause more problems then necessary. Also, always remember that your words hold more power then you may know.

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Motivate Me Mondays: Experiencing true LOVE

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

No matter what LOVE may look like these days, I still believe that true, passionate, undeniable, crazy, exciting love is still possible with the right person. You can meet a person and know right away that they are meant for you, as if GOD hand picked that person just for you and nobody else. Robin and her fiancé share a strong love that genuinely shows through all that they do. Sometimes you meet a couple and you can feel the love and that is exactly what I have experienced being around this wonderful couple. I wanted to give them a chance to share their love story with others in hopes it will motivate someone to never give up on love because the person meant for you could be coming sooner then you expect. Here is their love story:
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself and your fiancé
My name is Robyn K, Harris and I’m 25 years old. I’m currently a Social Worker at Union County Department of Social Services as an investigator, CPS (Child Protective Services). My fiance’s name is Dontavius Mobley and we will be getting married on, April 15, 2017. I graduated from North Carolina A&T with my BSW. Donta graduated from Charleston Southern University with a degree in Biology. He is currently employed through Carolina Medical Center as a Histotechnologist.
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2. Where are you and your fiancé from?
I’m from Bridgeport Connecticut however was raised in Charlotte, NC. Donta was born and raised in Rock Hill, SC, where we currently reside.
3. How did you meet?
We met June 2011 at Wendy’s. We used to work together. We both have our own stories on how we met, lol. He says I stalked him and I simply disagree. Lowkey, he’s right, lol. We went on our first date July 10, 2011 and the rest is left unwritten. Stay tuned!
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4. What is special about your relationship and what makes your love story unique?
Everything about our relationship is special. It may sound cliche’ but God made me for Donta and Donta for me. We are complete opposites. I am bold, loud and outgoing while Donta is quite, calm, cool and collective; however we are the perfect balance. Donta treats me like a Queen and he notices things about me that I don’t notice about myself. He encourages me to reach my highest potential and believes in me, more than I believe in myself. I give him the confidence to be unapologetically him. I bring out the crazy, fun Donta that only a few people have seen. We compliment one another.
5. What type of role has GOD played in your relationship?
Without God, there would be no us. We are far from perfect but know without God, we are nothing. I am a big prayer and I pray about everything. Donta and I pray together as well as fellowship with one another and one of our goals is to build a stronger relationship with God as one. We found a church home that we both thoroughly enjoy and agree that God is the foundation of our relationship. Pray our strength in the Lord!
6. What are 3 key things that are important in a relationship?
Loyalty, Respect and Honesty
7. What encouraging words of advice would you give someone who feels like love is just not possible ?
God is love. Love comes naturally and shouldn’t be forced. Love yourself first and when God is ready, your happily ever after will come when it’s least expected. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is beautiful.
8. Additional comments/add-ins/things you would like to include that is not covered in the questions above?
Thanks for allowing me to share our love story : )
Robin and Donta, I wish you nothing but love and success. Congratulations on your wedding that is coming up on April 15, 2017 and remember to always keep GOD first no matter what!
Let Tay Tell It