It’s hard to believe that we’ve reached the last (unofficial) weekend of summer. As someone who grew up hating the season it was great to I expected the crowning moment of the season was to be the family BBQ at my aunt’s house in the Bronx, but it was actually rained out this year. The weekend wasn’t a total lost though since I did get to spend time with the family, playing video games, watching Netflix and going through old photo albums. Even though I had a great time sadly the one thing that did end up being left out was my final summer look that I had intentionally left for last as I wanted to make an entrance to the BBQ. Most of my family isn’t exactly body positive so I like to “give them something to talk about” with my outfits whenever I can and I figured it would be great to do that this year was with some JIBRI.
Whenever I’m asked to describe my style I always say that it is eclectic. My outfits can go from preppy to boho to geek chic to vintage to traditional professional wear- all over the course of a week. Sometimes this confuses people, but honestly I’m just making up for lost time that I didn’t spend experimenting with fashion since I was always concerned with keeping my visibly plus body covered as much as possible, so I make an effort to try new things as much as I can. For the most part this has meant adding color and accessories to my wardrobe, other times it has been just playing with trends that I find interesting, like harem rompers.
While day one of our NYC staycation was a day of touring and entertainment, day two was more about relaxing before we tackled a new week. This called for brunch at Alice’s Tea Cup and a spa day at Premier 57 Spa.
Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with ELOQUII, Alice’s Tea Cup, Swimsuits for All and Premier 57 Spa, but all opinions are my own. Continue reading
Since starting this blog 3 years ago I have been very blessed to meet some pretty awesome people including fellow bloggers and models. As influencers we do get the chance to spend time together at events, however rarely does that leave us much time for much of anything else so I was excited when stylist and blogger, Nanthale of N.E.C. Style, getting inspiration from the newly released film, Girls Trip, came up with the idea of a staycation.
We decided to take advantage of just a bit of what the city we call home has to offer, creating a weekend itinerary of activities for ourselves and set off to have a great time. Our group consisted of model and blogger, Brooke of Madame Finehouse, Fabiola of Fabiola Michelle, body positive fashion illustrator, Jonquel of Jonquel Art , Marcy of Fearlessly Just Me and of course, Nanthale. It was a great change of pace to just enjoy each others company for a full weekend even more so since the weekend we chose even fell in line with Marcy’s birthday.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post; clothes and tour tickets were gifted for feature, but all opinions are my own.
Regardless of what many people may think, mental health is just as significant as physical health. Especially within communities of color there is a stigma associated with mental illness and asking for help. I grew up in a household where depression and suicide was deemed issues that only affected privileged and non-religious people. In fact when I revealed to my family that I wanted to see a therapist at age 16 because of a recent suicide attempt, rather than getting any guidance, I was reprimanded for not having faith in God and told to pray for forgiveness.
This is actually just one reason why I have yet to be officially diagnosed with depression, however, I have been for anxiety back in middle school by the school counselor who recommended that I go see a mental health professional after she witnessed me having a panic attack by my locker one morning. For some context I should note that by age 10 I had already attempted suicide three times. At the time I was struggling with self loathing, part of which had to do with my negative body image at the time, but it was also linked to my family’s homelessness. I don’t usually talk about this mostly because (until quite recently) I believed that this would reflect badly on my family. I became an overachiever, and a perfectionist that would break down at the mere idea of failing because in my mind I had to prove that I deserved love and to live. Failure meant that my existence was a mistake and I was a burden.
This was also when I was introduced to the alternative metal band, Linkin Park. Having songs like By Myself, Don’t Stay and Numb made me feel like someone understood – something that I desperately wanted at the time. Lyrics like “I can’t hold on to what I want when I’m stretched so thin /It’s all too much to take in / I can’t hold on to end things watching everything spin / With thoughts of failure sinking in,” gave a voice to everything I was feeling that I couldn’t find a way to share with anyone. (To say I was obsessed with the band would be putting it mildly, their music and genre lead to my current taste in music which I will talk about in a future post.) It may sound cliché but the emotion behind those songs just helped me kept pushing even at my lowest points because it proved that my feelings were valid and that I wasn’t alone.
Through cognitive behavior modification, I did manage to work through my anxiety, during which time I actually moved on to listening to other bands, only going back to Linkin Park whenever I really needed them. After all, anxiety and depression doesn’t just disappear and there are times when your mind will take you right back to the same dark places you once left as if no progress was ever made. Fast forward to July 20, 2017. I was eating lunch with some co-workers when the news broke that the lead singer and songwriter of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington had committed suicide. We were devastated. Here was a man that opened himself up in order to help others not lose themselves in the dark spaces of their minds, who ended up lost himself.
That day at the office was the first time that I had the urge to cry at a celebrity death which is why I was happy that I had like-minded people around me that day to talk through the news. In our discussion the topic of mental health-care came up. Sure, talking things out with family and friends is helpful, yet there are times when you just need that extra professional help, which was something I always believed myself to be priced out off due to my low income, but, as I learned that July afternoon, it turns out I was mistaken. So I sat down with my friend and co-worker, Marjorie, who actually worked in health insurance for two years, in order to learn more about what is covered for those of us that may not have the means to pay for services out of pocket. I hope that this information helps anyone that has been looking for resources to get the treatment and care they need.