Lose to Win: My Journey to Mrs. America

A little over a week ago, I competed for the title of Mrs. America in Las Vegas, Nevada.  First, let me say, the experience was amazing, and I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to even participate.  I didn’t bring home to crown, but there were definitely lessons learned and blessings received.  A few years ago, when I participated and lost in another pageant system, I wrote a blog post entitled, “Lose to Win” and figured I would title this one the same because with every loss there is a win.

When I won the title of Mrs. Delaware back in May, I knew the next step would be Vegas to compete for Mrs. America, but to be honest with you, just being crowned Mrs. Delaware was a good enough blessing for me. But as the time passed, I started to have the desire to really want to do well and represent the state well. I thought I want to at least make it to the finals in the Top 15.  I thought, “God, a girl like me has never gotten the title of Mrs. America.” (What I mean by a girl like me was chocolate skin, natural hair, Afrocentric).  I thought, how awesome would it be for the organization to see this as beautiful and showcase it.  Delaware (as a state pageant) has already made awesome strides in showcasing diversity by crowning several minority winners which is so awesome. Now, I thought, Mrs. America needs to showcase this as well, given that the organization is 40+ years old; there have only been 2 African American winners and that has been in recent years. I know there have been other WOC who were titleholders, but very few. (For those who follow this system that will say there has been minority winners in the sister systems, I will get into that later).  Anyways, my mind shifted, and I asked God to help me become a trailblazer, help me open doors for other women like me. I wanted to make a difference.  I made sure I prepared physically by working out daily with the hubs, mentally by taking the SECURE THE CROWN course by Ocielia Sprowl of Slay Your Pageant on IG, getting all the pageant advise, and coaching/training I needed, and spiritually by staying prayed up and connected with Him.  I wanted to make sure I presented well!!  Now granted, I wasn’t sure if I could handle all the responsibility that would have come about with the title of Mrs. America, but I trusted that God would do His thing. 

Upon getting to Vegas, I was definitely the odd ball.  It was obvious, I didn’t fit the mold and quite frankly, I’ve never fit the mold so that didn’t bother me. There were a few of us chocolate girls, 2 of us had short hair, 2 of us, for sure, were natural, but I was the only one with obvious kinks, lol! I have a history of sticking out like a sore thumb, so this was nothing new to me.  However, I felt awkward because I am the epitome of an introvert, so it was a lot of energy to not come off as aloof and to show that I am indeed friendly, just socially different.  Still, the enemy started to play with my mind, and the thoughts of not being good enough started rearing its ugly head.  I thought, oh girl, you are going to have to show perfection (my biggest battle…go figure). You cannot afford to be mediocre on that stage and in the interview.

Things were happening that were making me feel a bit less than.  Now looking back, I wonder if God was preparing me for what eventually was going to be the outcome…not making the semi-final’s list or taking home the crown.  Getting my makeup done daily was new to me, so I was a little out of my comfort zone being glammed up every day. (Crazy, right? Considering I am a pageant queen. I know…I’m just different). I didn’t feel like I was as confident in my makeup as I should have been.  It was nothing to do with the artists, but because I don’t get makeup done often, I wasn’t sure what looked good on me or not. I left it to the professionals to do their thing, but I was definitely out of my comfort zone.  The enemy kept telling me girl that’s not you. That is too much…you know, just messing with my head.

Another thing that kept happening is, I kept getting this feeling that I needed to keep practicing walking in my dress. Mind you, I have never had an issue with my dresses in previous pageants, but something kept saying practice walking in your dress, and I did…each time, there would be little snags here and there, but I would get it together, and it would work out.  On stage, was another story, my dress train kept getting caught in my heel, and I actually thought I was going to trip.  To this day, I am not sure why this was happening and why it decided to act crazy on stage.  I am thinking a sign from God saying, this ain’t gonna be for you, boo boo!

Backstage, I was experiencing weird anxiety. Several times, I felt like I was going to pass out, especially as they called the top 15. I had gotten extremely hot and felt dehydrated.  I drank water and kept it moving, but again…looking back, I think they were signs that I was going to experience some disappointment.

The disappointment didn’t come from “losing” per se. It came from trusting God for something I, first, thought was impossible. I thought that because He placed the strong desire in my heart to display a “different type of beauty” that He had paved a way for me to do well. Doing well to me equated to at least making Top 15. I had been practicing courageous faith on so many things over the past year or so, and reminding myself not to put limits on God, so this was just me, continuing with that same strategy. I knew this was something I knew I had to pull deep down to let go of limits because my first mindset was this is going to be impossible. I really was trusting Him to give me the desires of my heart. I thought this was another thing He was going to blow my mind with… but He was like, nah, boo! This ain’t the one, but you did good though! LOL!

I say all this to say that you can feel prepared and as though God has a plan for you in whatever it is you are pursuing and still LOSE!!! It happens.  You can prepare and perfect until you cannot perfect anymore, and things will still not go according to YOUR plan, and I have learned that you have to be ok with that. What is for you will find its way to you.  In pageantry, systems have their idea of who they want to represent them, and you (speaking to myself as well) may not fit that ideal, and that is ok. He (God) didn’t choose me to be the trailblazer, the first African American pageant queen with natural, kinky hair and chocolate skin to be a Mrs. America legacy, but He did choose me to represent the state of Delaware as a queen who is comfortable in her skin and inspiring other women to feel comfortable in theirs.  He still chooses me to be a beacon of light, and I say YES to this challenge every chance I get. 

Prayerfully, it will be soon enough that someone will be the chosen one to display this side of beauty as Mrs. America, and I pray that they will display it well.  Yes, there are the sister systems, Mrs. American and Miss for America Strong systems, that have had African American women titleholders over the past 3 or 4 years, and I commend the organization for this, but I do think it needs to be displayed across the board as Mrs. America is the older system and the percentage of minority winners is extremely small, non-existent for naturalistas.

Despite coming back with none of my prayers answered (I kid, I kid, lol), the experience was one I hold near and dear to my heart.  I met some beautiful souls.  The women were/are amazing, and that is always the blessing in pageantry.  The ladies that you meet.  The connections are priceless.  It is a sisterhood that is unexplainable.

I cannot express how grateful I am and how wonderful it feels to be on this journey.  It was probably the only time I have had since being a wife and mother that all I had to was worry about was myself and that was the best feeling EVER, lol!! No, but for real, whenever I look back on my time in Vegas, I will always smile with feelings of joy and gratitude. From spending time with my sister queens, chilling in my director’s room, getting my makeup done, attending different events and practices…I will cherish forever!! I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I grew up watching pageants on TV in awe of the beautiful women I saw. Never in a million years, did I think I would be on the Mrs. America national stage.  At the end of the day, the truth remains that GOD IS GOOD!!!  Be blessed, y’all!!!

The Black Sheep. The Rebel. The Misfit

I am Stronger than the Storm is the most recent book collaboration I was a part of. It is a devotional for women that was released last month.  While preparing for my chapter, the words, Black Sheep, kept popping up.  I had never considered myself a black sheep and didn’t know where it was coming from. It was later brought to my remembrance a time when I was young and was called The Black Sheep by a relative. When I was young, I didn’t even know what that was so I ignored it and went about my life. It wasn’t until preparing this chapter, I remembered.

Someone called it a word curse meant to break me. Maybe that was true, but that is why you have to be careful of what you take on or what you respond to.  Even though I forgot about this statement, I realized that perhaps there was some truth to it.  You see, when I asked God to give me clarity about this and how it related to me and my story, He also revealed 2 other words: rebel and misfit.  I never thought that these terms fit me, but as I delved into it, I realized that perhaps it was me.

My thought process was always different from “the norm.” No matter how much I tried to fit in, I always stood out in some way. It was frustrating when I was younger, but I later, began to embrace it.  As I have matured, I have learned that we were NOT meant to fit in.  I was the black sheep, the rebel, the misfit simply because I was determined to break some curses and traditions. 

Coming from a town where teen pregnancies were the norm and losing your virginity very early was the thing to do, that was never my desire. I did not want to be a teen mom and was determined to experience life in a way I felt I was supposed to.  Finish school, live life, marry, have children, live life. Not everyone had this plan.  If they did, they didn’t follow through.  Therefore, I was different.  I was also one who could completely have the time of my life without drinking (or drugging) and that seem to be odd to people.  Coming from a family with some alcohol “concerns,” I wasn’t taking any chances with this becoming an issue for me.  I danced to the beat of my own drum and didn’t care who noticed.  I was the rebel, I was a misfit, The Black Sheep.    At times, I felt uncool for being different, but I couldn’t help myself. 

So, when I thought about why God wanted me to write about being the black sheep, I think it was because He wanted me to know 1) What someone may have meant for bad, He meant it for good ~Genesis 50:20, 2) Although I am in this world, I am not of the world (John 17:16), yet I can still make an impact, and 3) maybe there were some generational curses that needed to be broken and it would take a black sheep to do it.

I write this as an encouragement to you.

  1. People may speak negatively over you, so be careful what you answer to, or how you perceive it. Sometimes word curses are meant to destroy you, but it’s on you how you take it and use it.
  2. It is ok to be different. Embrace who you are, by doing so, you encourage others to do the same.
  3. Sometimes rebelling is good. You sometimes have to destroy in order to rebuild. I had to, mentally, destroy what was considered “norms” to build my own identity. Being a black sheep only means that you chose to go against the grain.

I hope this helps someone. I felt the need to talk and write about it again for those who may be struggling with feeling odd and different.   If you want to read more and check out other stories by phenomenal women, click the shop “tab” to purchase the I AM STRONGER THAN THE STORM DEVOTIONAL. Be blessed yall!

Perfection is a Disease of a Nation ~Beyonce

My first book project was the “I am More than Enough” anthology.  In that anthology, I discussed my battle with perfection. I shared how my religious background along with some of my upbringing made me feel as though I needed to be perfect. I became a people pleaser, and I allowed myself to be walked over and taken advantage of. This spilled into my mothering and my marriage. How?  As a mother, I found myself stifling my children’s growth and personality, trying to shape them into the “perfect” kids.  As a wife, I held my tongue about a lot of things because I didn’t want to come off as a nagging wife or be argumentative.  I lost myself in those roles because I felt like I had to be perfect in order to do them successfully. 

Last week, I came across a video of Taraji P. Henson show, highlighting mental health.  She stated, “Perfection is the perfect lie.” Why? Because there is no such thing as perfection.  When I let go of the idea of perfection, that is when I began to live.  I mean who wants to deal with someone who thinks they are perfect.  I know I get irritated with wives and mothers who think they have it all together, and I am sure you do, too.  Who can relate to that? I know I don’t.  I find that we resonate more with people who aren’t afraid to fail, who aren’t afraid to show to ugly sides, who just say, girl, I am just trying to make it.  Because failures make room for growth and understanding.  I have learned my best lessons since I have decided not to strive for perfection.

I share this with you to say, sometimes momming can be challenging, and sometimes wifeying can be challenging. Both require you to look at yourself through different lenses and decide how you are going to navigate.    Both require giving up a part of yourself to assure those you care about are being filled with love.  Perfection will have you thinking that means your happiness doesn’t matter and that you must pour your all into these roles, but reality says, that is not possible.  Reality says, in order for you to fill them, you have to fill yourself first.  Reality says that they are as healthy as you are. If you are not healthy, they won’t be.  Perfection takes away your ability to feed your soul. It gives the façade that you need to be superwoman.  Reality lets you know, you need help. In fact, you are worthy of help.  Stop thinking that asking for or needing help is a bad thing. It is actually a form of self-care.  It is recognizing that you need a break and are deserving of one!!

So get rid of the idea that you have to be perfect.  The perfect mom. The perfect wife. The perfect woman.  And embrace the idea that you are, indeed, human, and need to be cared for just like those whom you care for. Get rid of the idea that you are not supposed to fail.  Remember, perfection is the perfect lie because there is no such thing!! And if we are not failing at something, we are not learning.  Be blessed, y’all!!

Oh, and if you are interested in reading more of my story, click on the ‘SHOP’ tab, to purchase the “I am More than Enough” anthology. Also, available on Amazon.com.

Don’t Get Distracted

In 2022, I have been struggling terribly with distraction.  It has been a constant fight for me to stay focused on tasks and for tasks to keep my interests.  Whether it is working at my full-time job or working on my personal goals, I am getting distracted.  It is a bit frustrating.  I find myself wasting a lot of time doing absolutely nothing because I am all over the place.  Despite my frustration, I know that God has a plan for me. The enemy uses distraction to steer you away from what God has destined you to do.  Granted, I am still trying to figure out what that is, but I understand the tactics of the enemy.

So, I say to you as I say to myself.  Be careful of your distractions.  On one hand, count them as a blessing because it means you are on the right path, but on the other end, this is the time that you must stay focused on whatever it is you are assigned to and lean into Him more so that you get clarity on how you should be moving. 

I have been blessed this year to experience one of my dreams come true.  With this blessing, has come a scattered brain and a sense of busyness that makes me feel like I cannot rest.   I am constantly feeling like something needs to get done, not allowing me to feel at ease. Just this morning, I stumbled across a snippet of a sermon by Mike Todd that said God gives us the gift of rest.  I realized that I had been feeling distracted because I haven’t been allowing myself to rest.  Rest is a beautiful thing. It gives you a clear head.

Make sure that you allow yourself to rest so that you can function at your fullest capacity.  This will allow you to not only be more alert and aware of distractions but will help combat them. It will give you the ability to make sound and better decisions making you more productive.  How do you combat distractions, you may ask? 

  1. Be intentional
  2. Put away devices so they are not within reach
  3. Keep a TO DO list and mark off as you complete items
  4. Set up a space just for you to work
  5. Have an accountability partner
  6. Stay connected with your Creator
  7. REST!!

This is what I have been practicing, and I am seeing it helps tremendously when I take my tasks seriously.  Hopefully, it can help you too!!  Remember, the enemy doesn’t want you to succeed, so don’t be surprised when things “pop up” to distract you. Just be ready!!!  Be blessed!

I was done with Pageantry…

I don’t even know where to start on this one. Let’s start off by saying, I said I was done with pageantry. I thought maybe it was not for me after failure after failure after failure. Sometime around October-ish last year, I was getting bit by the bug. I decided one last time to come out of “retirement,” and to really give it my all and compete for Mrs. Delaware America 2022. After sharing my decision with a few friends, I was given encouraging words that made me feel like maybe I had made the right decision. I prayed and asked God to place people in my life that would be of assistance to help me be my best and do my best. I said I wanted to be me and not conform to the stereotypical “Pageant Patty” in order to feel as though I had a chance. Meaning, I didn’t want to alter anything about who I was: hair, style, personality, etc. I was nervous about my headshots showing my natural hair, but my gut said, this is the way to go. I set out what I thought was a decent budget for my gown and got a beautiful dress from Cecile Boutique in Newark, Delaware, and started my preparation. (Because of course, the gown is the most important part, right? Lol)

During this journey, I developed eczema rashes on my hands and neck, my right eye would sporadically swell up, I developed a severely dry and itchy scalp causing bad dandruff, and there was never a time where I truly felt like a queen. I felt ugly. My skin, hair, and nails were fighting with me. However, God continued to place people in my life who believed in me and/or help me with this goal. In an accountability group, I meant a former pageant queen, Miss Black USA 2011, Ocielia S., owner of Slay Your Pageant who happened to be a pageant coach (look at God). I began following her and connecting with her and receiving great feedback from her IG LIVES and even met for an interview coaching session. I started focusing on getting my mind right and building a brand for myself.

I connected with women I have met through my pageantry journey and received such positive feedback and critiques on things I may have needed to tweak. The winner of the pageant I competed in in 2010 has always been a great role model in my life, and I reached out to her for feedback and advice. I adored and admired her beauty and her heart and am so thankful that we kept in touch all these years. (One thing about pageantry, no matter the outcome, I have always stepped away with beautiful friends and awesome women in my life).

When I decided to return, it was all about me continuing to step out on faith and seeking God for guidance. It was me taking the limits off of myself and taking the limits off of God. I am continuing to practice courageous faith in my life. So even though this was a competition, in my head, I was not competing with the other women. They were beautiful and just as deserving. I was competing with myself and my past beliefs. I was challenging myself to dream bigger and not throw away a dream because of a few failures. Failures are necessary for growth and improvement. So, this journey meant more to me than just winning a title. It was about putting in the work and trusting God to do His work. And that He did.

I recommend pageantry to many people because it helps you focus on YOU. It teaches confidence, poise, and how to command and captivate an audience. It also teaches the importance of building positive relationships with other women. I spent an awesome weekend with amazing women, and that is what I appreciate most about the experience. Even though the journey started off rocky and made me feel like my outer image was far from beautiful, it truly made me focus on my inner man to assure what I exuded was that of a queen. It reminded me that beauty comes from within, and I am so thankful to the judges and the director for believing in me. So, here I am y’all, YOUR MRS. DELAWARE AMERICA 2022!!! Be blessed!!

You Good, Sis?

I cannot believe, it is May 4th, and I have NOT acknowledged that it is Mental Health awareness month!! I think I have said this before, I am a counselor by trade. I have a MA in counseling, and although not practicing at the moment, I am a Licensed Master’s Social Worker, Licensed Chemical Dependency Professional, and a Co-Occurring Disorders Professional-Diplomat in the state of Delaware. I say all that not to toot my horn, but to share how mental health has always been an interest of mine and is very near and dear to my heart. 

After getting honest with myself a little before the pandemic, I realized I was battling feelings of depression that stemmed from my issues with perfectionism, momming, wife’n, and all that can come with being a woman, in general, like superwoman syndrome (thinking we can do all things without the help of others). My skewed idea that I needed to be perfect in EVERYTHING had me feeling down in the dumps when I realized that was not possible. I cannot be the perfect mom, wife, employee, friend, woman, Christian, you name it because there was no such thing.  I didn’t recognize that it was depression until I started seeing how “dry” my personality had become, how irritable I was, and how I lacked the energy to do anything but the bare minimum.  Thankfully, I was able to overcome this, but I wanted to know, have you ever experienced this? Are experiencing this now? Long story short…you good, sis?

I know as wives, moms, and women…we tend to think we can do it all, but the truth of the matter is, we shouldn’t.  We run ourselves ragged trying to do everything under the sun, but that can lead to mental health concerns like depression and anxiety.  Depression because we are giving to everyone but ourselves, losing interest in our own hobbies and goals, anxiety because we feel like there is always something to do and we cannot seem to get it all done…we start speaking negatively to ourselves, eat unhealthily, never make time for self, become irritated, snap at everyone, etc.  All the time, we think we are holding it together, but really, inside we have 1000 tabs open trying to see which one is safe to close out of at the moment.   As moms, wives, and women, in general, we do not see this as a mental health concern.  We think that is just life, and just how it is. But girl, it is definitely something to be concerned about.  Your mental health should always be a priority to you!!  I know when I got down to the root of why I was so irritated and running on autopilot, it was because I had become depressed and was experiencing forms of anxiety.  I had to get myself together real quick!! The following helped me out tremendously:

  1. Calling it what it is—there is nothing wrong with recognizing you may be experiencing mental health symptoms. ***Please note: just because you are experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety does not mean you have a mental health diagnosis of depression or anxiety. Those are 2 different things; a diagnosis requires a continuum of symptoms that seem to worsen or never go away.  Having certain feelings of depression or anxiety can be temporary depending on the season in your life (makes sense?). However, if you are experiencing symptoms that are lingering and not going away, I highly recommend you to see someone for an evaluation to identify if there is a diagnosis so that you can better address it.***
  2. Take time to REST—My devotional this morning was about rest, and boy, how it spoke to me.  God says rest! Not just physical rest, but rest in Him.  He does not want to see you overwhelmed, running around like a chicken with her head cut off. He wants you to be prosperous, and you cannot do that without resting. Remember this scripture, Matthew 11:28: Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
  3. Set aside alone time to pray, read, journal. This is a way to feed your soul, gain wisdom, and let out all that is cluttering your mind.
  4. Get dressed!!! No matter how you feel, get dressed up in what makes you feel good.  Sweats and messy hair can be comfy, but sometimes it contributes to our “sluggish,” depressing feelings.  Wear the opposite of what you feel!!!
  5. And last but not least, put on some good music and DANCE!!!!  Of course, if you are feeling sad, don’t play sad music.  Play the opposite of what you feel…any Michael Jackson or Bob Marley will work for me.  And you never can go wrong with some good, old gospel music!!

Of course, there are more things that I did, like revisiting old hobbies that made me happy, speaking to friends whom I trusted that had experienced the same thing, expressing what I was feeling, etc., but these are what stood out most.  So, if you find yourself a little shaky and experiencing some feelings that may show that mentally, you aren’t yourself, try these tips, if they worsen, seek a therapist. There is nothing wrong with talking it out with someone or getting on a medication regimen.  We need to make sure we are good. I said a few months ago when Miss USA, Chelsie Kryst, passed.  Let people know if something is not right.  Ask for help.  Always know that someone is rooting for you and want to see you thriving.  Just make sure you are good, sis!!! Be blessed.

Confidence is Key

This week, the word, CONFIDENCE, has been what I have focused on.  I posted on my IG, @thebookofalesha, how being a mom of girls really forced me to look at myself so that I am walking what I am talking.  In my younger days, I battled issues with my self-esteem. I felt confident in some of my abilities but doubted myself in others.  For example, I was a cheerleader in high school.  I know it was something I was good at, therefore my confidence in myself while cheering was high. I was also rather nerdy and smart, so I was always confident in my ability to pass tests. However, I struggled with self-image and because I was a bit eccentric, I was paranoid that my personality was NOT always relatable.  Now, as a woman, I have become more comfortable in my skin, and I want to make sure that I am always displaying this for my girls.  My goal in raising them has always been to make sure I nurture their self-esteem and teach them how to be confident in the abilities that God has gifted them with, despite how others may feel or think about them. In order for me to do that, I had to make sure I was walking the walk and not just talking the talk. Here are a few ways that have helped me with building my confidence.

1. I make sure I am always aware of what I am telling myself and challenge any thoughts that do not align with what God says about me.

2. I give myself grace, and do not beat myself up about things I cannot control. 

3. I make sure I am not taking myself too seriously all the time and remember to have fun!! 

4. I practice courageous faith. (This has created a confidence that is unexplainable).

5. I trust the process and know that all that happens is in divine order. God will NEVER fail us.

When I practice these things and love on myself. It teaches my girls to do the same. 

Some may ask, how does practicing faith and trusting the process build confidence?  Well, when you know that Your creator has plans to prosper you (Jeremiah 29:11), why wouldn’t you be confident? All of who you are was made to fulfill His divine purpose so why doubt it?  Your job is to live your life, nurture your gifts, and seek God for His guidance to fulfill the promise.  Makes sense? Hope so! Be blessed, y’all!

Discovering the Purpose in my Pain Series: What was the Purpose?

I know, I know. It has been a while but trust me, it has been for good reason.  I have just been trying to live in the moment and give myself some time to take care of some other goals of mine…I will have a new post on this soon. Anywho, while I have been on break, I have been focusing on my podcast. I had the honor of interviewing 21 ladies who were a part of the Purpose in my Pain anthology presented by the visionary author, Dr. Tamika Hall.  (Head over to the BOOK OF ALESHA podcast, in order to listen. Available where you listen to your podcasts).

While interviewing the ladies, I was led to think about any pain I may have experienced and what has become of it. I was drawn to what birthed the Book of Alesha brand, in general.  I was battling feelings of depression stemming from perfectionism, fear of failure, and all that encompassed motherhood, wifeyhood, and womanhood.  I had put unrealistic expectations to be the perfect mom, wife, and woman.  When that wasn’t happening. I was feeling like a failure and started operating on autopilot. I had nothing left to give.  I was just surviving. 

I begin to think, well as long as those around me were taken care of, that was what mattered, but I wasn’t taking care of myself.  Don’t get me wrong, being a wife and mother, aren’t painful roles.  Losing yourself in them is what becomes painful, unrealistic expectations are what becomes painful.

Not only was I feeling like I was failing, but I also noticed that all the things I wanted to do, I didn’t do.  All the things I wanted to pursue; I didn’t pursue.  I thought there was no possible way I could nurture my family and focus on myself as well. I decided that my family was more important than me.  Their well-being, their desires, their dreams.  Truth of the matter is, I am as equally important.  I realized that that had been a pattern in my life. Putting myself on the back burner…not seeing myself as important as anyone else. I am not sure where this thought process came from. I think we as women are afraid of appearing selfish, so we put ourselves low on the totem pole to appease the masses and to come off as modest.

What I have learned is, people rarely respect a woman who puts others above herself.  They will walk right over you, spouse and children included.  They respect a woman who knows how to respect herself, sets boundaries, and takes care of herself.  The woman who strives to be all to everyone but herself usually ends up a bitter, irritated, and frustrated woman.  That woman is usually drained and not good for much. Trust me, I know her. I was her.  When I think back to all the conversations I had with another wife and mom whom I confided in, I think, wow, I bet I sounded so bitter and negative.  I remember speaking so dryly every time we conversed.  I was always tired and had no energy.  I was running on empty and trying to pull from any source I could to pick me up. 

I realized that something had to change, and it had to start with a shift in my thought process.  I could no longer think I was less deserving of being cared for.  I could no longer think that being a wife and mother, meant my life was over.  I began to pour into myself by reading the bible, building my relationship with God, journaling, and surrounding myself with women who inspire me, and boy did things shift.  It makes sense now when they say on the plane to put your mask on first before you assist anyone depending on you.  I used to think, well that sounds selfish, but think about it, how are you going to properly assist anyone if you don’t have yourself together? If you are on a plane, losing oxygen, but trying to put the mask on someone else first, are you even able to fully function to know if you are assisting the person properly?? Get my drift? 

So, as I thought of finding the purpose in my pain, I thought of how The Book of Alesha was birthed.  I realized my purpose was to create a safe space for women who may sometimes struggle with getting lost in their roles, who may feel like they aren’t good enough, and who just need to be reminded of the queens that they are.  I see you; I am you!! Know that God has equipped you for all that He has given you.  You just gotta receive and queen it!

Are you OK?

I was so devastated when I read of the suicide of Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019.  Even as I write this I get a little choked up as I think of how beautiful she was and how excited I was the year she won the crown.  It was a year that black women were dominating the pageant world.  I keep thinking, but she was so beautiful and looked so pleasant and happy.  As the news was spreading, I found myself going on her Instagram page, watching videos of her, trying to look in her eyes to see if someone missed something, wondering if something could have been done.  Then I realized, even if she had shown a sign, nobody would have caught it. Why? Because she was a smart, educated, beautiful woman who did her job well and touched the hearts of all who were in her presence.  Even had she shown a sign, it is possible it would have been dismissed. 

A week or so before Cheslie’s news hit, we heard about Regina King’s son.  Months before that, I remember stumbling upon a Facebook thread where a male had set a status that basically stated he was about to end his life, and all the comments were trying to reach him and saying don’t do this, and people were frantic, and all I could think is “My God!!”  I had no clue of who this male was, and I cannot remember how I saw it, but it was sad to watch unfold. 

Depression doesn’t have a face nor does it discriminate.  Mental illness is plaguing our country, and it is saddening.  I have heard different things about how the pandemic has caused a huge increase in depression and anxiety, and it scares me.  I reflect on my own bouts of depression and anxiety, and I find myself praying, “God, just keep my mind” because people are taking themselves out left and right.  What I come to understand is that is the enemy’s plan.  It is a spiritual battle.  If the enemy can get you to think your life is not worth living anymore, that there is no way out of your pain, and that it is too much to bear, he has won the battle.  He wants to make you feel alone and that no one can possibly understand what you are going through, but I just want to say anyone feeling this way,  “You are not alone, and there are people who love you who are there to help if you just speak up and say, I’m not ok, and I need help! You have a purpose, and God has a plan for you.  You may not see it now, but know that trouble doesn’t last always, and you will get through it.  Just keep going through because there is glory on the other side.   Ask God for guidance, seek therapy, reach out to friends you trust, and don’t believe the lies of the enemy….you are NOT alone, and there are people you can talk to.  

There is nothing wrong with seeking therapy.  Find one who fits you, talk it out, and/or get the right medications if you need to. Know that you are loved, and you are worthy of life.  I speak life to you right now.  You will get through this.  This is only temporary.  There is peace on the other side.  

Lord, as I end this post, I asked that you touch the hearts and minds of those who are battling depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and actions (and all other mental battles).  I pray that YOU cover them and comfort them so that they feel Your presence, and they know that You are in control, and You have a purpose and plan for their lives.  I ask that You give them peace and that they learn to rest in You.  Send a friend, a word, a sound, any sign, that reminds them their life is worth living.   I asked all these things in the name of Jesus, Amen. 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  ~Joshua 1:9 NIV

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: If you would like immediate help, please call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). Through this toll-free phone number, they offer a network of crisis centers across the country. These centers staff their lines with people who are trained to listen and offer support to people in emotional crisis.

Make Room and Be Ready in 2022

Man, it has been a while since I have had the opportunity to blog. But it has been for good reason. I have been a bit busy, but I am not complaining. It is Christmas day as I am writing, and I am reflecting on how fast this year has gone by. Not only that but how God has blessed me in 2021. I have experienced growth in so many ways, I don’t even know where to start. From learning how to deal with unhappiness on my job to creating my own outlet to get back to “me” that has led to great opportunities for me to expand my territory and share my gifts.

This year, my mantra was JUST DO IT! I was determined to take risks and invest in myself and trust that God will guide me every step of the way, and boy did He not disappoint. He opened my eyes to ways that I had begun to think that were not only limiting my growth but limiting my faith. I had put God in a box and had just settled for a life of complacency. I felt unseen on my job, not sure of what I brought to the table, not sure if I would ever walk in my gift or purpose. I was overwhelmed as a mother and trying my best as a wife, but running on empty. I thought He had forgotten about me. I began praying more and believing Him for bigger things and trusting Him with what I thought was impossible. All the desires I had stored in my heart, I begin to revisit and started taking action.

In the past year, I started my blog, podcast, and became a best-selling published author and publisher (click on the “shop” tab when you finish reading this). Never had I ever imagined I’d be able to say that. I battled with perfectionism, imposter syndrome, fear of failure and success, and despite my fears, I did them anyway. In doing so, my faith was renewed. I saw life differently, and I saw how much God wanted to see me prosper. He started dropping little things on my heart that showed me that He is not through with me yet. So this year, my mantra will be make room…and be ready!!

I kept receiving several messages over the year such as be still and to trust Him. Now, I am getting the message to make room. God has plans to prosper us and to fully receive what He has for us, there may be some stuff we have to get rid of. We need to make room and be ready. Make room can be in a physical way (in our closets, our homes, our offices) or mentally (forgive, let go of resentments, clear our headspace), or spiritually (create a space where you are meeting Him regularly). Prepare yourself!! Be ready for opportunities that He is going to bring your way so that when they come, you aren’t scrambling and sabotaging, get what I am saying?

In 2022, my focus will be on renewing my mind and speaking life. I wanted to make sure I attract the right people, places, and things in my life. Our words are powerful. Our conversations are powerful. Who we surround ourselves with can hinder us or propel us, so be mindful of the people you surround yourself with because God wants us focused on Him, and sometimes people can be a deterrent.

My prayer is that as I continue to walk in faith, God will continue to guide me. I pray that as I step into His assignment, I will be ready and can handle what he has bestowed upon me. I pray that I would have made room and created a space for Him to work in my life. I would hate to sabotage and prolong the journey because I held on to things that were not meant to follow me to where He is taking me, you know?

So as 2021 comes to an end, I celebrate my growth. I celebrate my journey. I will continue to be open to receive what He has in store. I am so thankful for the people who have come into my life over the last year. I am thankful for friends who encouraged me. I am thankful for the support I can continue to have from people who truly care for me. I will continue to send praises up and shift my mind to things to are good. I pray the same for you! May your 2022 be a year of renewal, opportunities, and growth. And may you not miss it because you were too overwhelmed with things to fully receive the blessings!! Amen and Amen!! Be Blessed, y’all!