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Stardust- John Legend

You’re vast like the ocean
Yeah, the voices in your head have got you
You don’t really know how powerful you are
Always in motion
I smile to myself as I watch you
You don’t need to win me over, I been yours

You don’t need to dress it up, no, no
Don’t need to put on airs to make me care
You’ve got that golden touch, oh, yeah
I mean I know you’re scared but are you aware?

You are made of stardust
The universe inside you, yeah
A straight-up miracle
It’s so incredible
How you sometimes can forget
You’re brilliant
Like stardust
Luminous

I don’t want perfection
You don’t like it when I see right through ya
Tell me what you’re hiding
I’ll love you just the same, ayy
Love’s made of lessons
Through all the hell and all the hallelujahs
You don’t need to worry
I’m not playing games

You don’t need to dress it up, no, no
Don’t need to put on airs to make me care, yeah
You’ve got that golden touch, oh, yeah
I mean I know you’re scared but are you aware?

You are made of stardust
The universe inside you, yeah
Every time that I look into your eyes
I can barely catch my breath
You’re brilliant
Like stardust, ayy
Luminous
Like stardust, oh-oh
Luminous

Yeah, you and I
(The universe inside us) oh, I see it in your eyes
(We are made of stardust) ooh, you and I
(The universe inside us) ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
(We are made of stardust) oh, you and I
The universe inside us, yeah yeah
(We are made of stardust) I’m a miracle, you’re a miracle
(The universe inside us) yeah, yeah
(We are made of stardust)

For You, Daddy

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

The “Lawson” Smile

Dear Dad,

I was not prepared for the phone call at 1:30 am August 3rd, where my sis Michelle told me that you had just flatlined. When I found out that you weren’t feeling well days prior, I started to make plans to travel to Texas. I spoke with my sis Monique and I text my brother Freddy but I thought that you would need some days to recover and all would be well. The picture above is the last time we were together at 1140 in The Bronx. I didn’t know that would be my last time hugging you and talking with you. Hearing my mom tell me that the diagnosis is Stage 4 Lung/Liver Cancer was a sharp blow and I tried my best to make sense of it all. When did this start? Would chemotherapy help or hurt? Why, God? I was heartbroken when I received the news that you had transitioned. It felt unreal. I was shocked and numb. I just sat upright in my bedroom and kept thinking to myself “What do I say/do now?” I drove down to Texas the next day but didn’t arrive until 26 hours later. I had to be with mom. I am afraid of planes but I am working on it 🙂 I needed to make sure she would be OK, at least as best as she can be emotionally. We all spent time together, went out to eat, got in the pool and bonded during this difficult time. Going to the funeral home to view you was mandatory for me. I had to put my hands on your arms, your hair and head, just to tell myself that this was reality. You looked so peaceful and your hair had fully grown, we have the same hair texture and I could not stop touching you. Your wishes were to be cremated and we made sure that all arrangements were in place. Fast forward, I’m back home in New York and still feel numb. Fall semester started @DCC and I tried to attend but my heart and mind was elsewhere. I found myself spending more time in bed just listening to music. I could not attend the memorial in Texas and I was so disappointed. I was not feeling well physically or emotionally so I made a decision to stay home. I started to view the tribute video my sis Michelle posted and I felt all these emotions come to the surface. I started to shed tears and slowly accept that you are in a better place.

“I Can Only Imagine”-Tamela Mann / “Scars In Heaven”- Casting Crowns

Growing up, you were like a superhero to me, always present, showing love, providing for us and making us laugh. Holidays were wonderful occasions and when you were busy with work, you always made time to show how much you care. We always sat down together as a family to eat meals. You and mom were strict in a sense but it was only for our protection. Of course, we didn’t see it at the time lol but I am grateful for the watch over us as we matured. One of my favorite memories is the pinball machine! I was ecstatic, Freddy couldn’t stop smiling as you brought the game in our room. An actual old school pinball machine where we could play for hours, no quarters needed. You guys gave us the best of everything, from slumber parties, rollerskates, Remember Freddys electric truck? He was one of the first kids on the block to have one; trips to City Island, Rye Playland and the list goes on. I remember my blue thriller jacket that I wore daily with my karate shoes. You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t stylin’, I’d walk around with my long pigtails with Freddy following behind me. I love my sisters but Freddy and I were thick as thieves. We’d sit and listen to old records on the record player, Prince, Michael Jackson, watched Hot Traxx and we shared the same love of cartoons like The Chipmunks, He-Man, She-Ra, Pacman and lets not forget The ThunderCats! Dad, I know you weren’t perfect but you tried your best to give us all a sense of stability and security. To know that we could come to you or mom with any issue and it would be resolved. You would always say ” We do things as a family” and it always stayed with me. You had an impressive work ethic, whatever you set out to do, it was at 100 percent. I admired your skills as a tractor trailer operator, driving those big rigs around takes precision and I can say that I am a driver and love it, because of you.

Deborah & Fred

Mr. Lawson

Dad & Freddy

When we headed to Baltimore for the Lawson family reunion in 2013, we were both sitting in the car and you told me that this was my chance to meet all the successful people in your family, like the lawyers, doctors and so on. I remember looking at you and saying “You’re successful too Daddy” and you just smiled at me. It was a moment that expressed just how much I loved you. You didn’t get the chance to finish school but you were so intelligent and witty, no one could get over on you and you were quick to tell someone exactly what was on your mind. Nothing was ever easy for you. I realize this now and all of the anger from dealing with racism, the economy, hatred may have been alot to handle but somehow you kept pressing on.

It rained yesterday, pouring for awhile and I was in here sorting our clothes for the laundry. When we decided to open the door, there was this rainbow that extended from one side of the sky towards the other. I had seen rainbows before but this one was complete and intense. I had Nia take pics/video and a guy stopped in his car to tell me he had never seen a rainbow like this before either. I smiled to myself and thought about you.

“The rainbow is a promise”- Mary Clark Dalton

You are my father and I will always hold you dear to my heart. I know that grief comes in waves and I have to learn how to cope so that I can be my best self for Nia and I. I am also dedicated to be a source of comfort and support for Mom, you guys were the best of friends. Rest in perfect peace Dad and I smile through the tears because I recognize that little by little, we let go of loss but never of love.

Your babygirl,

Mel

And If Today All You Did Was Hold Yourself Together, I’m Proud Of You

I saw this post on social media and I had to share it here. Always remember that you have the power within to overcome anything that comes your way ❤❤❤

DEPRESSION TIPS:

Shower. Not a bath, a shower. Use water as hot or cold as you like. You don’t even need to wash. Just get in under the water and let it run over you for a while. Sit on the floor if you gotta.

Moisturize everything. Use whatever lotion you like.

Put on clean, comfortable clothes.

Drink cold water. Use ice. If you want, add some mint or lemon for an extra boost.

Clean something. Doesn’t have to be anything big. Organize one drawer of a desk. Wash five dirty dishes. Do a load of laundry. Scrub the bathroom sink.

Blast music. Listen to something upbeat and dancy and loud, something that’s got lots of energy. Sing to it, dance to it, even if you suck at both.

Make food. Don’t just grab a granola bar to munch. Take the time and make food. Even if it’s ramen. Add something special to it, like a soft boiled egg or some veggies. Prepare food, it tastes way better, and you’ll feel like you accomplished something.

Make something. Write a short story or a poem, draw a picture, color a picture, fold origami, crochet or knit, sculpt something out of clay, anything artistic. Even if you don’t think you’re good at it. Create.

Go outside. Take a walk. Sit in the grass. Look at the clouds. Smell flowers. Put your hands in the dirt and feel the soil against your skin.

Call someone. Call a loved one, a friend, a family member, call a chat service if you have no one else to call. Talk to a stranger on the street. Have a conversation and listen to someone’s voice. If you can’t bring yourself to call, text or email or whatever, just have some social interaction with another person. Even if you don’t say much, listen to them. It helps.

May seem small or silly to some, but this list keeps people alive.

* At your absolute best you won’t be good enough for the wrong people. But at your worst, you’ll still be worth it to the right ones. Remember that. Keep holding on.

* In case nobody has told you today I Love you and you are worth your weight and then some in gold, so be kind to yourself and most of all keep pushing on!!!!

***People don’t fake depression.. they fake being ok.

Find something to be grateful for!

US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish.
800-273-8255

Even on your worst days you are always worth love and respect. Don’t ever settle for anything less

Embrace Ambition Summit 2022

“Every women’s success should be an inspiration to another. We’re strongest when we cheer each other on”- Serena Williams

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 at Jazz@Lincoln Center, I had the amazing opportunity to attend this years’ #EmbraceAmbition summit. The Embrace Ambition initiative addresses the double standard that exists around ambition, which is often seen as a compliment for men and a critique of women. It is a one-day event that’s focused on overcoming the negative attitudes about ambition in women and addressing other harmful stereotypes that impact gender, race, and sexuality. Visionary leaders in Hollywood, business, science, entrepreneurship, and youth movements take the stage along with performances meant to inspire and empower. You must apply for a chance to attend the summit with an online application and essay about your own experience with embracing ambition.

Tory Burch

This year’s theme is “Confronting stereotypes and creating new norms” We came together to receive a warm welcome from Tory Burch followed by Comedian/Filmmaker Negin Farsad. She talked about the era of 2020-2021, Covid and how we were all able to maintain some sanity. Her humor and candor was refreshing.

In one of the morning sessions, ABC News Senior National Affairs Correspondent, Deborah Roberts, interviewed Melissa Hanna, Founder and CEO of Mahmee, Sheila Marcelo, CEO and co-founder of Proof of Learn & Jasmine Jones Co-Founder and Ceo of Myya. The title of the session “Women Entrepreneurs Respond”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 14: Deborah Roberts attends the 2022 Embrace Ambition Summit | Tory Burch Foundation at Jazz at Lincoln Center on June 14, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)

Another session involved reclaiming our icons in history. Dolores Huerta, President and Founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation was interviewed by Rosie Perez, Actor and Activist. Conversation centered around Unconscious Bias and Conscious Leadership, which was introduced by the President of the Tory Burch Foundation, Laurie Fabiano. Rosie Perez and Dolores Huerta talked about activism and the need for women to have a voice. It ended with all women standing together and repeating the mantra “WE have power” “FEMINIST power” and “Si Se Puede/Yes We Can!”. Ms. Huerta joked that when she met President Obama she told him that he stole her phrase and he admitted that he did! We gave ourselves a round of applause and enjoyed a performance from Author and Poet Ian Manuel. Mr. Manuel was sentenced to 26 years in prison and spent almost half in solitary confinement. He was interviewed by Jacqueline Woodson, Macarthur Fellow, Author and Founder, Baldwin For The Arts. He recited his poem My Time Will Come; it was emotional and heartfelt.

During the 3rd session, there was a panel about The Stigma of Mental Illness. Samantha Boardman, M.D. ,Positive psychologist and Professor, Weil Cornell Medical College and Michael A. Lindsay, PH.D., MSW, MPH, Executive Director, McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research New York University were interviewed by Perri Peltz, Journalist and Filmmaker. It was great to have the conversation about depression, mental disorders and ways we can be allies/assist others or learn how to advocate for self.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 14: (L-R) Samantha Boardman, M.D., Dr. Michael A. Lindsey and Perri Peltz speak onstage at the 2022 Embrace Ambition Summit, hosted by the Tory Burch Foundation at Jazz at Lincoln Center on June 14, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Another highlight session was with Eva Chen, Vice President, Fashion Partnership at Instagram and Min Jin Lee, Novelist about Bias against Asian Americans. Both women discussed their personal experiences with the start of coronavirus and how the negative connotations with Asian Americans affected them and their families. Ms. Chen and Ms. Lee were able to share their viewpoints with some humor and reflect on how we can look forward to a future with diversity and respect.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 14: Eva Chen and Min Jin Lee attend the 2022 Embrace Ambition Summit, hosted by the Tory Burch Foundation at Jazz at Lincoln Center on June 14, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)

I asked the young lady sitting next to me if she would join me for lunch and she accepted. We introduced ourselves and exchanged contact info. Rozella White is focused on “restoring hearts to wholeness so that all can thrive”, she is the #LoveBigCoach, a social impact entrepreneur and inspirational speaker/writer. She is also a public theologian, spiritual life and leadership coach. You can read more about Rozella @ http://www.rozellawhite.com I had a great time connecting with her!

Icon Billie Jean King and Tory Burch sat for a conversation about sports and equality. I have added the video below for you to enjoy.

After closing remarks, there was a musical performance by Flor de Toloache and a session solely for cocktails and shopping Tory Burch Foundation merch. Attendees have time to take photos, and network with other attendees. It was mandatory to be masked up at this event but I can say it didn’t stop the entertainment and discussions centered on empowerment/awareness. I encourage anyone that may be interested in attending, apply early!& be prepared for a full day of awesomeness! http://www.toryburchfoundation.org

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for ALL women”- Dr. Maya Angelou

Prepared – Jill Scott

I been reading my old journals
Checking to see where my head has been
And I been apologizing to some people
Some bridges I needed to mend
And I been eating more greens
Getting my body alkaline, oh
I’m gonna be super fine
And I been lettin’
Been lettin’ some old ideas go
I’m making room for my life to grow
I just wanna be prepared, yeah

I just wanna be, I just wanna be prepared
I just wanna be prepared
Getting myself ready
For what’s comin’ for me yeah yeah yeah
I am (I just wanna be, I just wanna be prepared)
I just wanna be prepared
(Prepared)

Hear me now
I been getting recipes off the internet
Most times they be banging
I realized they’re only good when I put
My lil’ spices all up in rices
I’ve been
You know I’ve been enjoying people who love each other
Husband and wife
Sister and brother
Father and mother
I let the queen inside
I let her shine
I been listening to God more
I been doing my chores

I just wanna be, I just wanna be prepared
I’ve been gettin’ myself together
For what’s, for what’s comin’ to me yeah
I just wanna be prepared yeah yeah yeah yeah
(I just wanna be, I just wanna be prepared)
I just wanna be prepared
(Prepared)

For when I see him at the end of the isle
With that true heart and that real smile
Intentions pure
A love that will endure
I just wanna be prepared
I, I’m gettin’ myself together
For what’s comin’ to me comin’ to me yeah
I just wanna be prepared hmm
Oh
I just wanna be prepared

I just wanna be, I just wanna be prepared
Prepared
I just wanna be, I just wanna be prepared
Prepared
I just wanna be, I just wanna be prepared
Prepared

Let’s Wait Awhile

NOTE TO SELF:

Patience is a virtue indeed. Take the time to slow down, even stop for rest and reflection. Life is about balance. Being successful requires both persistence and determination but it also requires self-care. Your mental health is of utmost importance. You can only advise, inspire and support others when you are at full capacity mentally. Do not worry about your speed or pace. One day at a time leads to months of growth and eventually years of accomplishments.

I want to be free. This may sound silly to some, perhaps even idealistic but I want to move forward into the life I am destined to live. As I look within, there are many areas that need work. This journey is a process and it is not easy by any means. But, I GOT THIS. I’m never giving up or quitting on myself. Even when I shed tears and feel down, I have to remember that I am loved and there is so much in store for the future. It is so easy to get distracted by social media, material things, celebrity news and end up in comparisons about your own life and success. I choose to live in gratitude. It’s the only way I know how to survive and thrive. I have come a long way and it is honestly just the beginning. I am preparing myself to look forward to the rest of my story.

Mental Health Awareness Month

“Women have to take the time to focus on our mental health – take time for self, for the spiritual, without feeling guilty or selfish. The world will see you the way you see you, and treat you the way you treat yourself.” ~ Beyonce’

We’re always on the go, it seems like. Do we even pause and check on how our mental and emotional health is holding up? 

Self care is not self indulgence it is self preservation – Audre Lorde

Asking this same question myself, especially in this time of an ongoing pandemic, I want to share a few tips that definitely work for me:

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

It can be as simple as talking to a friend or family member , inquiring about a baby-sitter for a night to yourself, expressing your emotions on any given day. If you feel that you want to speak to someone consistently, you can seek out a counselor or therapist.

Find an outlet that makes you happy and relaxes you.

From writing, painting, sewing to exercise there are many ways to relieve anxiety and stress. Take the time to enjoy your favorite hobby. For myself, I enjoy writing and working out. Exercise release endorphins and helps my mood tremendously.

Connect with other working women

I made a promise to myself to network more and meet other women that managed to balance work and home life. Attending seminars, zoom calls etc , I get the opportunity to connect. Don’t be shy to extend your business card to another, offering a meet-up for coffee/tea and just simply asking ” So how you do you make it work?” You may be surprised that the answers are similar or that you’re asked for input as well. It helps to know that you’re not alone.

Take care of yourself , first and foremost.

It’s easy to put your needs on the backburner when you’re juggling a million different things, but it’s important to remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Make sure to schedule time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes each day.

Self-care is essential for maintaining your mental health, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Taking a hot bath, reading your favorite book, or taking a walk in nature can all help you relax and recharge.

About Damn Time – Lizzo

In honor of mental health awareness. http://www.whatwaist.com has a sale on their waist trainers code: Healthy15 I’ve purchased from them before and enjoy mine. Black, and cool neon colors as well.

Waist Define Band

Mental and emotional health are important for everyone, regardless of gender. However, women often face unique challenges when it comes to taking care of their mental and emotional wellbeing – so, if you’re struggling, please don’t take self-care for granted!

Adore – Prince

Until the end of time
I’ll be there 4 U
U own my heart and mind
I truly adore U
If God one day struck me blind
Your beauty I’d still see
Love is 2 weak 2 define
Just what U mean 2 me

From the first moment I saw U
Ooh, I knew U where the 1
That night I had 2 call U
I was rappin’ till the sun came up
Tellin’ U just how fine U look
In a word, U were sex
All of my cool attitude U took
My body was next
U made love 2 me
Like U where afraid
Was U afraid of me?
Was I the first?
Was I your every fantasy?
That’s why

Until the end of time
I’ll be there 4 U
U own my heart and mind
I truly adore U
If God one day struck me blind
Your beauty I’d still see
Love is 2 weak 2 define
Just what U mean 2 me

When we be makin’ love
I only hear the sounds
Heavenly angels cryin’ up above
Tears of joy pourin’ down on us
They know we need each other
They know U are my fix
I know, that U know that I ain’t cheatin’ baby
They know this is serious
I ain’t fuckin’ just 4 kicks, no
This condition I got is crucial, crucial baby
U could say that I’m a terminal case
U could burn up my clothes
Smash up my ride, well maybe not the ride
But I got 2 have your face
All up in the place

I’d like 2 think that I’m a man of exquisite taste
A hundred percent Italian silk imported Egyptian lace
But nothin’ baby, I said nothin’ baby could compare
2 your lovely face
Do U know what I’m sayin’ 2 ya this evening
I’m just tryin’ 2 say
I’m just tryin’ 2 say
That until, until the end of time
I’ll be there 4 U
I’ll be there 4 U
On my heart, on my mind, (truly adore U)
I truly adore U (darlin’)
U don’t know what you’re mean 2 me
Baby, (until the end of time)
Baby, (I’ll be there 4 U)
Baby, (U own my heart and mind)
‘Til the end of time I’ll be there 4 U
(I truly adore U)
Adore U (adore U)

Can I talk 2 U? {{chorus repeated in background}}
Tell U what U mean 2 me
Every time U wander
I’ll be your eyes so U can see
I wanna show U things
That I show no other, I wanna be
More than, more than your mother
More than your brother
I wanna be (like no) like no other
If U need me, I’ll never leave
I know, that U know, without U there is no me
There is no me
Without U there is no sea
There is no shore
Love is 2 weak 2 define how much I adore
U, child
U, child
The last words U hear
The last words U hear

(until the end of time)
I’ll be there for you, baby
(until the end of time)

Be with me darlin’ til the end of time (until the end of time)
I’ll give U my heart
I’ll give U my mind
I’ll give U my body (until the end of time)
I’ll give U my time (until the end of time)
(until the end of time)

4 all time I am with U
U are with me
(until the end of time)
U are with me, U are with me

Embrace Ambition Summit 2022

The moment has arrived for The Tory Burch Foundation Embrace Ambition Summit taking place June 14, 2022 at the Rose Hall in Lincoln Center!

Apply to be selected to attend the in-person event by March 31, 2022 or enter your information for a free virtual ticket. The summit returns as a live and virtual experience -featuring conversations and performances from leaders in business, entertainment, science, social justice and sports.

https://events.toryburchfoundation.org/embraceambitionsummit2022

Update: I have been selected to attend! So excited!

Good luck & hope to see you there!